Archive for July, 2010

Secret Pyramid – Ghosts (no label) CDR

Secret Pyramid - Ghosts

Secret Pyramid - Ghosts

Secret Pyramid is the solo project of Amir from Vancouver-based drone-rock overlords Solars. Ghosts is a thoughtfully-packaged CDR mini album, issued in a ridiculously limited run of 50 numbered copies.

The Secret Pyramid sound is more reflective and song-based than Solars’ adrenalin-rush abstraction. Basically, Amir is working at the deeper, darker end of the dream-pop spectrum, with Flying Saucer Attack and Lovesliescrushing being obvious points of reference.

Those who enjoyed Secret Pyramid’s contribution to the Acid Folk Remix Project Vol. 2 compilation will be delighted to hear the very same cover of Sandy Denny’s “Milk & Honey” cropping up again, sandwiched between two equally excellent new tracks.

There are plenty of artists traversing similar sonic hinterlands to the ones Secret Pyramid explores on Ghosts but few of these folks are quite so adept at pushing the borders of their chosen micro-genre. Presumably, the vast majority of the sounds here were made with guitars and effects pedals but – by the end of “Permanence” – you’ll swear you can hear choirs of angels.

Ghosts is almost certainly out of print but you can stream the whole thing at the Aquarius Records site and – if they get more copies in – you might even be able to buy a copy.

July 29, 2010 at 9:00 am 3 comments

A.R. Kane – Green Hazed Daze

July 28, 2010 at 9:00 am 6 comments

Fennesz is Playing in Vancouver, September 26th



Heard a rumour about this and it’s on Last FM now, so it seems to be official. Unfortunately, the massed editorial staff of this here blog will probably be in Seattle that night, attending the Decibel Festival, so we might not be able to attend.

Edit: Full details on the Western Front site.

Fennesz – “Caecilia”

July 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Actress – Splazsh (Honest Jon’s) 2LP

Actress - Splazsh

Actress - Splazsh

Album of the summer!

This summer, Splazsh – the second album by Actress (aka Darren J. Cunningham) – seems like the ideal solution to the same summer itch that The Field’s Yesterday & Today scratched in 2009. Like Yesterday…, this album offers a highly cohesive collection of deliciously immersive, subtly innovative tech-house, ideal for blasting out of open windows on hot, sunny days.

Sonically though, Actress doesn’t really have the same wide-screen vision as The Field. Indeed, he seems determined to narrow his focus into a wilfully compromised frequency range. Cunningham is the man behind the Werk Discs label and – as such – he is commonly perceived as an adherent to the teachings of UK bass music’s broad church. But there’s not much bass here, just a grainy mid-rage that sounds like it might be emerging from an iPhone across the aisle of a London bus.

Even more than Hazyville (Cunningham’s excellent debut album), Splazsh is an exercise in digital lo-fi, the like of which has rarely been heard since the heyday of glitch, circa 1999. Sounds are down-sampled into dessicated, rubbery strands then time-stretched until the holes start to appear. All the annoying detritus we normally associate with 128k MP3 and laptop speakers is marshalled in the service of an uncannily ear-catching and  shamelessly contemporary sound.

The glitch comparison is apt because what this album perhaps most recalls is the psychedelic sample-splicing of glitch-associated techno producer Akufen. Cunningham has talked inspiringly about using sampling to capture the abstract essence of one’s favourite tunes and deploys this methodolgy to absolutely stunning effect throughout Splazsh, using all the DSP tools at his command to trip almost-recognizable fragments of music into stuttering abstraction.

Still, whereas glitch highlighted the deficiencies of digital audio, with a clear critical agenda in mind, Actress just revels in the decrepitude. And sometimes, it can get to be a bit much. For instance, he harnesses the overuse of compression (a common complaint about contemporary audio production) and channels it creatively into dense tracks that sound fit to burst. But sometimes, as on the “Bubble Butts & Equations”, everything just sounds deflated, with quiet bits that won’t shut up and kick drums that just won’t kick.

For the most part, though, it works wonderfully. There are so many great moments on Splazsh that it’s hard to pick favourites but “Hubble” and “Maze” are particularly tasty. Also, the fact that Honest Jon’s has a policy of getting its vinyl cut by the great Moritz Von Oswald helps to considerably soften the hard edges of Cunningham’s productions. Listening to the MP3s on headphones will probably give you a headache but buy the vinyl at Forced Exposure and throw your windows open and then… well, then you’ll really be making the most of your summer.

July 24, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


Funny Ha Ha

Quiet City

The Puffy Chair

Sentridoh – “Losercore”

The Ice Cream Floats – “Sundae” (from Quiet City)

July 23, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Sam Shalabi & Josh Stevenson

July 22, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Another New Oval EP – and it’s FREE!

Oval's Markus Popp

Oval's Markus Popp and His Look of Vague Bureaucratic Indifference

Didn’t see this one coming!! Courtesy of FACT magazine.

July 20, 2010 at 9:24 am 1 comment

Schitty Batman

July 20, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Oneohtrix Point Never Mania!

Oneohtrix Point Never

Oneohtrix Point Never

Well, 2010 really does seem to the year of Oneohtrix Point Never, doesn’t it? Daniel Lopatin is certainly getting a lot of much-deserved column inches right now, including an excellent piece by Simon Reynolds in the Village Voice.

Meanwhile, the good people at Arbor Records have seen fit to satiate the record-buying public’s need for OPN merch by reissuing the Zones Without People LP. Any chance of No Fun reissuing Betrayed in the Octagon and Russian Mind?

In any case, the really exciting news is that Lopatin will be following up Returnal – his recent Editions Mego LP – with a 7″ (also on Mego)  reinterpreting the album’s title track in a couple of intriguing ways.

The A-side of the 45 will feature none other that Antony (he of The Johnsons) singing the tune, accompanied by Lopatin on piano. The B-side, meanwhile, will be packing a remix by the mighty Fennesz.

All of this attention and activity is well deserved. Returnal is a phenomenal album, which makes clear Lopatin’s uncanny ability to simultaneously deliver the goods and upset expectations. Long may he oscillate.

Oneohtrix Point Never – “Zones Without People”

Oneohtrix Point Never – “Returnal”

STOP PRESS: Oneohtrix Point Never will be playing at this year’s Decibel festival in Seattle, as will the Moritz Von Oswald Trio and the aforementioned Fennesz.

July 18, 2010 at 9:00 am 1 comment

connect_icut: Music for Lunch Breaks Live

Walk In

Music for Lunch Breaks

As part of of the aforementioned Music for Lunch Breaks series, connect_icut will be performing at the Vancouver Central Library (North Plaza) on Saturday July 17th. The performance will be at 9pm sharp. Afterwards, they’ll be showing The Sixth Day aka “that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie where the library gets blown up”. There is NO CHARGE for admission. It’s FREE!!

It’s going to be weird and (hopefully) awesome. Tell your friends.

connect_icut – “Two Rios (Extract)”

Add Music for Lunch Breaks Live to your Last FM calendar

Here are some more details, from the organizers:

Walk In/Here You Are
connect_icut & The Sixth Day
*Saturday July 17 at **9pm***
Please join us for the first in a series of summer movie and performance evenings at the Walk In/Here You Are installation on the North Plaza of the Vancouver Central Library.

For this event, we will be presenting a performance by local electronic music producer connect_icut whose music mixes generative processes and the creative use of digital audio errors with live improvisation and a vague pop sensibility. The performance will be followed by a screening of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Sixth Day, a sci-fi film about cloning, in which the Vancouver Central Library is prominently featured.

The events will start at 9pm. Bring a blanket or folding chair and enjoy the summer evening with us!

Walk In/Here You Are is a commission of the City of Vancouver Public Art Program. The project, by artist Christian Kliegel and curator Cate Rimmer, is an art work, a social space and a venue for visitors to engage with a curated program of videos, sound works and live performances by Vancouver artists.

Currently Here You Are Part 2, a program of videos by Kathy Slade, David Crompton and Andrew Herfst, Brady Cranfield, Ryan McKenna and Rodney Graham, is presented in the evening and Music for Lunch Breaks, ambient sound works by Scott Morgan, connect_icut, Joshua Stevenson, Larissa Loyva, Julia Marshburn, Anju Singh, Brady Cranfield, Alanna Tailfeathers, Andrew Herfst and Jeremy Shaw, is played during the day. Music for Lunch Breaks is co-curated by Brady Cranfield. The video soundtracks and ambient sound works can also be heard live around the installation on 94.9fm.

For more information please visit the City of Vancouver Public Art website or the Walk In/Here You Are page on Facebook.

*Please note: the event will be rescheduled if it rains.

Walk In/Here You Are
Vancouver Central Library, North Plaza
350 West Georgia Street

July 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

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