Emancipator – Minor Cause [News/Listen]

Here’s a nice midweek surprise, Emancipator will be releasing his new album Dusk to Dawn on the 29th January. Yes it really is that close!

Emancipator Dusk to Dawn announcement

The record drops on Doug Appling’s new imprint Loci Records (which had it’s debut release last month with the rather superb TorDrum Therapy).  It’s been a while now since 2010’s Safe in the Steep Cliffs and after the extensive touring that followed the album it’ll be nice to hear some brand new tracks starting with the first single Minor Cause. The track is a free download over on the Loci Records bandcamp page and it’s a gorgeous slice of lush downtempo with beautiful instrumentation including the trademark strings, trip hop elements and electronics bubbling around in the background. It’s beautiful and if this is anything to go by January 29th will be an exciting release for Loci Records.

Check out Minor Cause below and head over to bandcamp to grab yourself a copy.

Poppy Ackroyd – Escapement [Review]

Poppy Ackroyd has had a busy year it would seem. Many will know her as the talented violinist and pianist of the Hidden Orchestra whose superb second album launched in September to a positive review from us, however there appears to be a lot more to her than that. The classically trained Edinburgh based musician is now close to the release of her debut solo effort Escapement (due December 2012). A heartbreakingly beautiful record of intricate and very delicate compositions made exclusively, bar the odd field recording here and there, using the piano and the violin. It’s a wonderful idea and is executed to perfection to the point if you weren’t aware this was the case you probably wouldn’t question it. Continue reading

Andrew Bird – Hands of Glory [Review]

Andrew Bird’s distinct sound is the reason why I remember first listening to his track A Nervous Tic back when I was 18. Earlier this year his much anticipated album Break it Yourself valiantly galloped its way through music stores and blogs leaving dust clouds of positive reviews. Click here to check out Sam’s review of it.

Andrew Bird has been touring through the summer, and due to the highly positive response to his performances, he decided to record a mixture of reprises from Break it Yourself, along with a few classic Americana folk songs that he had performed. The result is Hands of Glory, another satisfying hit of Andrew Bird goodness.

From the age of 4, he’s been plucking and playing the violin, and so without making obvious comment to the beauty of it in his previous work; getting to hear him cover classic folks songs – especially, If I Needed You makes this compilation extra special. The rendition of Orpheo is another favorite, it’s completely stripped and played so slow that every word and creak of the bow lends itself to producing a more delicate and soothing song.

You can listen to the whole album on the Guardian website here. It’s a great collection of songs that make the perfect soundtrack to your Autumn walks. My only criticism is that I wish at least one track had him whistling!

Tracklist: 

  1. Three White Horses
  2. When That Helicopter Comes
  3. Spirograph
  4. Railroad Bill
  5. Something Biblical
  6. If I Needed You
  7. Orpheo
  8. Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses

Kishi Bashi – 151a [Listen]

“Grand and transcendent… the layers of beautiful sound, homage to Japanese culture, and use of violin make 151a a dreamy, pocket-sized symphony, perfect for anyone needing a lift.”
BUST

This artist has jumped to the top of my ‘most played’ this summer. Kishi Bashi, aka K Ishibashi is a solo artist who has toured with the likes of Of Montreal, and is also a founder of the NY indie rock band, Jupiter One. Now going solo, K Ishibashi has produced something fresh, new and wonderfully weird. From listening to the first intro track on his debt album, 151a, you wouldn’t expect what would follow.


It’s electronic, folky, classical – a tornado of musical goodness that’s entertaining from the beginning to end. Drawing from his classical routes as a violinist, K Ishibashi conjures a melody of genres, which I can only compare to an artist such as Animal Collective. He mixes up English and Japanese in his lyrics, which add to the sometimes manic feel to the songs. The transition from each track to the next leaves you wanting more of his feel-good musical world he creates.


The birth of this album was conceived through a Kickstarter campaign – a site where entrepreneurs, filmmakers, musicians etc pitch their project and rely on the support of the public to donate money to fund it. Ishibashi’s target was $12,000, and within three weeks he raised $20,000, an impressive achievement, and one that paid off. Since the album’s release in April, Ishibashi has been impressing critics and the public with his live loop-based performances.

“The way I create my loops, I just kind of — they’re not exact. So a lot of it has to do with a feeling and it might be faster, I also like changing things up, so I’ll change things and kind of make it different, and I also like the audience to have a different experience.”
KISHI BASHI – RIVERFRONT TIMES

The album is diverse and unexpected. It paints a picture of both joy and melancholy, and it leaves you feeling great. Ishibashi is currently on tour around the US, and is yet to pencil in anything for Europe. You can get your hands on his album here.

Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself [Review]

My introduction to Andrew Bird was while browsing the shelves of the small and rather wonderful record store People Independent Music of Guildford, Surrey. A superb Indie store packed with a range of genres and always something interesting or new, if you’re ever in the area check it out, it’s well worth a look. So, I’m standing there, browsing the Alternative/Indie section, I have one CD in hand, probably all I’m going to spend today and then this song kicks up, it’s beautiful, it reminds me of the Fleet Foxes, with a little Ryan Adams, but with a whole lot of violin and a little more subtlety, it’s sort of quirky as well. The guy next to me leans over to the counter and asks “Who is this?”, to which the girl replies with a smile “It’s Andrew Bird’s new album”, “Hmm…” the customer ponders for all of half a second, “I’ll take one!”. Handing the CD over in my hand to pay I echo, “You know what, I’ll take one as well”.

It was one of those moments I had to hear more on my own stereo, if I hadn’t bought that album there and then I’d be a mug. That’s a great start, first track of the new album and I’m totally sold, as was my fellow customer. I’m happy to report Break It Yourself delivers. I’d heard Birds name thrown around before, I’d heard his outstanding whistling skills (seriously, check it out – this song also features on this album), but never taken the time to check out his music properly. I was pleasantly surprised to find a sound that mixes beautiful strings with soft guitars and rock elements, arranged with just enough oddities to keep it fresh. It straddles modern acoustic songwriting and traditional folk music pretty comfortably and never feels like an unnatural or forced combination. Desperation Breeds elevates itself to one of my favourite album openers of the year beginning slow and brooding before bursting into life with beautiful flourishes of violin. These frequent the album and compliment most songs bringing the music alive with a bright and vibrant feel. The aforementioned whistling is there and is as excellent as ever, Bird really does have some skills and no matter what he is playing it all comes together so perfectly well with a natural and effortless flow. The short recording window and live studio recording only helps to give the album the organic, natural sound is presents. Pacing is graceful and mixes the uplifting with the more gentle mellow tracks.

The only complaints I have are aimed at the latter half which drags slightly before soaring again with the absolutely superb Hole in the Ocean Floor. It never becomes wearisome however and overall it can be taken as a very well rounded full-length. It’s worth keeping in mind that this is my first Andrew Bird album so I cannot compare it to previous releases, but it’s definitely a great place to start and I can safely say I’ve come away a fan.

Andrew lacks a website at the moment but check him out on facebook if you want to keep up with news and tour info.