This is the weekly installment where we recap what we’ve been spinning at The Synthesizer Book headquarters during the week. If it’s on this list, it got played more than once!
1.Benoit Pioulard & Rafael Anton Irisarri-Until Then (Broadcast Cover)
Tribute tracks can go either way. They’re either really good or just something you want to throw in the garbage can. Though I guess one shouldn’t complain when it’s a free download. You can find it here at xlr8r.com.
Pioulard and Irisarri are ambient artists who have produced a good ambient track here. I like the slow crescendo that builds toward the end of track and I also like the piano melody motif found throughout the track. I’ve been playing lots of Broadcast, as you know, and this was a very nice tribute to listen to. You can find the original and far more eerie version on the LP, The Noise Made By People, released on Warp Records.
2.Robert Lippok-Little Collector (Yamaha Tenori On Demo)
I finally got my hands on a Yamaha Tenori On. The temptation finally took over me and I took the plunge and purchased this instrument. Before the purchase, I was researching all things Tenori-On and really liked this demo track. Being such a huge To Rococo Rot fan, I had to download it. You can find the demo here. It’s a great demo illustrating some of the possibilities of the instrument which has revolutionized, in part, the way a whole new breed of people are making music. Over the past several years, maybe taking some inspiration from Don Buchla, musicians are now relying on other controllers besides the black and white keys of the keyboard to produce music. The Yamaha Tenori-On is one of these new types of instruments. It’s part sequencer, part instrument, part visual art, it’s a refreshing new approach to generating sound.
3.Thomas Dolby-Amerikana EP
We live in a society where magazines and TV’s play a role in influencing us. Depending on who you ask, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. For me it always serves as something positive, although I’d still rather do away with all that excess advertising, but writers gotta eat and editors need to make a living. So, I understand. Magazines have served me well in highlighting artists I may have not heard before. They also serve as reminders that artists I admire have come out with new releases. Twitter and Facebook probably do a better job of getting that information to me quicker, though. If you are too hip to read magazines and prefer to find your music in more obscure places, then good for you! Drop me a line and let me know if I missed something out there. Until then, I will continue to refer to magazines as another resource for information. This EP is not a very synthesizer heavy recording, but Thomas Dolby never fancied himself a synthesizer icon anyway. It’s a good EP with some hints of Cajun, ragtime pianos, steel guitar and as always, good melodies and vocals by Thomas Dolby. I’ve always liked his more somber, darker tracks. That is why my favorite track on this EP is 17 Hills. This EP was made available to members of his forum and some of these tracks will make it onto his forthcoming album. Also, check out my previous post on Thomas Dolby here.
4.DAT Politics-Freak Me Out
I was listening to some tracks from their 1999 LP, Trackto Flirt. When I went to their site I found Freak Me Out. It was a free download and you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. DAT Politics have always had a very raw almost punkish approach to their tracks and it continues on this track and the rest of Mad Kit, their new LP. Go download this track for free here and preview the rest of their new LP. Mad Kit is out now on the Chicks On Speed record label.
5.DJ Muggs vs. GZA (The Genius)-Grandmasters
This is a Hip-Hop album featuring 2 great icons from 2 great bands. DJ Muggs, as you must know, was a member of the legendary Cypress Hill, and GZA, was one of the MC’s from Wu-Tang Clan. This album is dark, and it features some great beats and some really good samples throughout, not to mention the rapping of GZA. I believe they used an Ensoniq ASR-10 amongst some other samplers. I remember buying this right after reading an interview with these guys in Scratch magazine. Yet another good magazine that didn’t survive the test of time. The first year and a half of this magazine was much better than its subsequent years. The magazine would change its content in order to appeal to advertisers and major record labels. Its first editor going back to his roots at Wax Poetics, which is in my opinion, still one of the better magazines for the record enthusiast. That reminds me, I should renew my subscription soon.
6.Barbara Morgenstern & Robert Lippok-Please Wake Me For Meals
I just ordered their album, Tesri from Amazon. I like the minimalist beat here. The bassline, synth lines and lead line just work on this track. Although I don’t know too much about Barbara Morgenstern, I do know quite a bit about Robert Lippok and am looking forward to hearing this album when it arrives. This came out around 2005. Nonetheless, it has struck a chord with me and so I had to purchase it. On previewing the tracks, looks like there are some vocals throughout the LP too. I think the theme this week is vocals!
7.To Rococo Rot-Hotel Morgen
I was going through my old issues of Grooves magazines earlier in the week. Remember that great magazine? I really miss it. In issue #14 was a To Rococo Rot article. This was done around the time they had just released Hotel Morgen. This is an instrumental affair like most of the TRR LP’s. Most of the drums, according to that interview, were created by Robert Lippok on drum machines. More than likely it was his Akai MPC’s that he used. The recording of this album was at a point where they had to compromise as they were at different points in their respective creative careers. I’ve been listening to this band since their breakthrough album, The Amateur View. These Berliners have always appealed to me in a big way and this is a great recording, filled with electronics, beats and electric bass.
8.Tron Legacy Soundtrack-Rinzler
This has been the most requested song in our car. Both my 6 and 3 year old like this one. I am amazed about how much my older son remembers from the movie. He remembers the music and even many of the lines. How do they do it? This is a great track for a great villain.
There is a lot of buzz going around for this band. When I was listening to this, I was thinking about a time when it was almost taboo to have vocals on electronic based albums. Something happened with the electronic musicians from the mid to late 1990’s to reject the use of vocals. Maybe it was because they could now use the sampler to take ad lib spoken words from records or maybe because they were falling in love with all of their soul records. Who knows, but it happened. Today, I am encouraged by the fact that vocals have now found their place back into electronic music. This album was produced at Assault & Battery Studios in London with legendary producers, Alan Moulder and Max Dingel. There is plenty of guitar here, drums and electric bass. Nonetheless, this is still quite an electronic affair with synthesizer found throughout the entire recording. What really strikes me with this album though are the vocals of singer/guitarist Harry McVeigh. He is no doubt taking some cues from some of the great vocalist of the post-punk and new wave pioneers from decades before. I like this sound regardless of where it happens to draw inspiration from. I hope you will too.