of Illusion has actually been out since November, but I just picked
it up last month. And I couldn't be happier that I did. This extra long-play
disk reunites Kut Masta Kurt with Kool Keith (they were together last
on the fabulously underrated Dr. Doom) who are joined by Motion
Man trading off with Keith on the mike.
Florida - Arrived Phoenix
Standards, the latest Tortoise CD is really a nice surprise. I enjoyed TNT, but felt the disk to be too moody and disjointed to be really enjoyable. There were some great moments to be found on it, but in the long run it hasn't been spending too much time in my CD player. Standards, on the other hand, has been in rotation ever since I bought it last week. It perfectly blends the melodic cohesiveness of Millions That are Alive Today Will Never Die with the intricate instrumentation of TNT.
Tortoise is clearly trying to do something a little different this time out. Some tracks are much heavier than you would expect from this usually jazzy and somber Chicago band. This is especially true on the opening drone-filled track "Seneca." They also seem to be expanding upon the sound of Isotope 217 (that other Tortoise band) on tracks such as "Six Pack" which are downright funky.
If you have never heard them before, critics call them the leaders
of the "post rock" movement, meaning (I guess) that they use
xylophones as frequently as guitars to carry a melody and vocals are
not present. They are often very jazzy and use subtle electronics to
flavor their songs.
Jan Jelinek - loop-finding-jazz-records
Do you like Pole? Then you will like this CD. Haven't heard Pole? Then go out and buy anything from this German minimal dub/techno artist today because he is not to be missed.
This is Jan Jelinek first CD on Stephan Betke's (AKA Pole) Scape label and it sounds like an expansion upon Betke's work. The usual scatched- vinyl-sounding pops and crackles are omnipresent, but Jelinek juices things up a tad with a toe-tapping 4/4. For those of you bored by the minimalism of Pole (not me), this disk showcases more variation than you would expect from Betke.
Supposedly, the title comes from the fact that Jelinek took samples exclusively from old jazz records and then reworked them to create his soundscapes, but he could just as easily have used the Monkees. The samples are never more than a second long, so melody is indistinguishable. What remains though, is a beautifully ambient techno/dub disk, that will delight fans of this emerging genre.
(I hear that Jelineck's Farben tracks are even better, so I will keep you posted when I get them.)
-- Robert Lanham
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