when I first came across this Toronto-based trio I heard them described as a ‘glitch version’ of the Cocteau twins, which instantly got my attention. the Cocteau twins were a Scottish band who made their name in the mid-late 80s with a series of beautiful, abstract albums, fusing layer upon layer of guitar with some rudimentary rhythms and the gorgeous vocal of Liz Fraser. they’ve yet to be bettered in many ways and their music remains unfettered by time. very few bands (if any) have taken up the challenge of building on their template, but it seems like bleep are having a go. the results, fortunately, are very successful if the above track is to be taken as an indication. check out the comfort stand records site for four more tracks.
AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & GARY NUMAN [US / ENGLAND]
metal better propaganda page
surely not … ok, here’s where i confess my early devotion to mr numan. first record i ever bought? ‘the pleasure principle’. that whole ‘am i human? maybe i’m a robot?’ schtick really did it for me when i was eight years old. it’s no secret now that many of today’s electronic musicians rate tubeway army and numan as being hugely influential. numan basically took the model laid out by kraftwerk and basically turned into it pop music. as far as electro pop goes, numan is up there with folks like the human league and telex and a couple of others. so it shouldn’t be a surprise that bambaataa chooses not only to duet, but to cover one of numan’s tracks (from ‘the pleasure principle’!). what is strange is the fact that some critics can overlook the fact that numan made 3-4 good albums and a bucket load of really bad ones. pretty much anything after 1982, in fact. he’s spent the last ten years doing an embarrassing imitation of trent reznor (who himself does an embarrassing imitation of al jurgenson from ministry). still, those early releases will forever remain etched in many memories. if you buy one of his albums, ‘replicas’ by tubeway army is the one to go for. how could you resist songs with titles such as ‘i nearly married a human’?
COBRA KILLER [GERMANY]
let’s have a problem mp3
last year was of course the time when rock and electro disco got back into bed together. there are a few bands who stand above the crowd, but as more and more join the bandwagon, the whole scene is starting to feel a little tired. so, god bless t.raumschiere. his 2003 album ‘radio blackout’ was for me one of the real stand outs in the electro rock genre, taking the whole concept into territory that actually feels new, rather than a retread. check out his collaboration with miss kittin ‘the game is not over yet’ and you’ll see what i mean. good to see that he’s turning his hand to production with this mp3 – i know very little about cobra killer, save for their excellent track ‘heavy rotation’ on last year’s marke b compilation from the wire magazine. this track is taken from their new (third) album, ’76/77′ on monika.
turkish sword swallower mp3
as bryn jones, muslimgauze had over 120 releases to his credit before his untimely death in 1999 at the age of 38. bryn recently came back into my orbit thanks to an amazing compilation released via colors magazine called ‘ottomanic‘ – representing contemporary middle eastern music with an album of sounds that have rarely (if ever) found their way into record stores in the west. and it’s reassuring to see that they chose to reference muslimgauze as he is warmly regarded as being crucial to the development of that sound. check out his epitonic page for a history of his music and an impressive selection of further downloads.
manhattan sapphire mp3
and to someone i only discovered this week – ugress, a solo producer from norway, whose music seems predominatly crafted from samples. the above track is a great marriage of hindi vocal and fat beats, something i’m sure i’ll be playing out in the near future 🙂 there’s a whole stack of mp3s available at his site.