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System

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    New recordings by Danish electronic trio System (aka Future 3) in collaboration with Berlin based composer Nils Frahm The new album from Danish electronic trio System is a special kind of collaborative effort with piano magician Nils Frahm. His purpose-built improvisations on synth, organ and piano served as source material for the members of System (Thomas Knak, Anders Remmer & Jesper Skaaning), who merged his warm acoustic tones with their minimalist digitalism and set out to translate their distinctive clicks 'n' cuts electronics into vivid soundscapes. The blending of piano and digital tones and noises into emotive pieces might instantly recall the work of Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, though System and Frahm come to quite different results.

    Spirit Fest

    Anohito

      Flowing and brimming with life, Anohito', the second album by indie supergroup Spirit Fest, has come ashore. The group is comprised of Tokyo-based duo Tenniscoats (Saya and Takashi Ueno), Markus Acher (The Notwist, Rayon), Cico Beck (Aloa Input, The Notwist) and Mat Fowler (Jam Money, Bons). 

      Mum

      Menschen Am Sonntag - Live In Berlin

        Returning to Berlin for the third installment of their acclaimed live-score performance to accompany silent film classic "Menschen am Sonntag" (1930), mum will also present a special treat during the upcoming Berlinale: The band's label Morr Music will release a limited edition vinyl 10inch comprising of material that was recorded during previous installments of this extraordinary film/music event.

        Joined by guest percussionist Samuli Kosminen, mum founders Gunnar Tynes & Irvar Smorason create stunning instrumental soundscapes to accompany and enhance the late-1920s action portrayed in the film, which was already considered a milestone shortly after its release. Absorbingly rich in scope and cinematic in their own right, the four tracks that comprise this (significantly shorter) release work just as well without their visual counterpart. 

        Lali Puna

        Two Windows

          The world has changed rapidly since Lali Puna released Our Inventions in 2010, a fact that is also reflected in the band's fifth album, Two Windows. Written and produced over almost two years, these twelve new songs meet those changes head-on both musically and lyrically. Keith Tenniswood (Two Lone Swordsmen) contributed as Radioactive Man. Dntel aka Jimmy Tamborello, another old friend of the band, is featured as well as harpist / Ghostly International alumna Mary Lattimore and experimental artist Midori Hirano (here under her MimiCof moniker).

          On their first album in six years, ISAN once more weave together electronic soundscapes, delicate rhythms and the occasional odd sound into a pulsating, ever-morphing whole. Glass Bird Movement is Antony Ryan and Robin Saville's eighth studio album since they have started the project two decades ago. Exchanging ideas between England and Denmark, where Ryan currently resides, ISAN have crafted an album which is reminiscent of heyday Boards Of Canada productions, the friendlier ventures of Aphex Twin or the most focused moments of Ulrich Schnauss, if you will. However, this album (as well their impressive back catalogue, as subtle it may seem) displays a strong signature. ISAN constantly move forwards without leaving their respective studios. And why should they - it's warm and dry in there and the kettle is always boiling.

          The title Glass Bird Movement, like those of many of their records and songs, is the product of an free associative process which reflects ISAN's creative methods and frames the eleven songs in a way that triggers the imagination. Communicating less about their music than rather with their music, Ryan and Saville together immerse themselves in complex structures without shutting out their audience. Instead, the friendly bouncing grooves of songs like "Napier Deltic", the washed out harmonies of the aptly titled "Risefallsleep" or the circular rhythms of the album's opener, "Cuckoo Down", have dream-like, inviting qualities to them. ISAN are particular about incorporating the element of chance, a sort of second-hand human touch, in their music. If it's a cheap keyboard that is only good for one note in one song alone or a tape loop cut by hand, anything can find its way into an ISAN song. Even though they take most of their inspiration from the machines they work with, they do not fetishise their gear - but play with it.

          Glass Bird Movement relies just as heavily on all those sonic idiosynkrasies as it does on the sophisticated rhythms and throbbing basses that form its foundation. Like the colourful art of Morr Music's in-house designer Julia Guther, which was based on Saville and Ryan's visual ideas, it is a record that very politely defies categorisation. One might call the music that ISAN make Intelligence Dance Music, as it has often been done. However, be aware that there has reportedly only ever been one person seen dancing to it. Glass Bird Movement is likely best enjoyed where it is warm and dry, while the kettle is boiling.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Deluxe LP Info: Vinyl version comes with 7" and download code. Side B of the 7" contains 6 locked grooves.

          Duo505

          Walzer Oder Nicht

            Duo505 is Bernhard Fleischmann and Herbert Weixelbaum.

            Duo 505’s new recordings are somewhat reminiscent of Velvet Underground (at their catchiest), of Yo La Tengo’s sense of melody, or the kind of ballads Brian Eno or Zach Condon are known for. Make no mistake: Even though “Walzer Oder Nicht” certainly has its noisier moments, some Tall Dwarfs-style clank and clatter even, the new album is even more thoughtful, quiet and warm-hearted than its predecessors.

            “Walzer Oder Nicht” is an album that sounds very much complete and very dense and full of hidden layers; an album that evokes childlike enthusiasm with its magnificent melodies. Fleischmann and Weixelbaum are currently looking for a way to present this new sound on stage.

            Seabear cover the classic Undertones track in a laid back easy-indie manner on Morr Music, nothing too surprising, it's a nice version. On side-B "Piano Hands" is a beautiful late night drift, backed with strings, organ and some lovely otherworldly noises.

            Seavault

            Mercy Seat / I Could Be Happy

            More covers on Morr, this time Seavault cover Ultra Vivid Scene's "Mercy Seat" turning it into a blissed out downbeat indie track. On side-B Altered Images' "I Could Be Happy" gets the treatment, and shuffles along nicely without the thump of a kick drum.

            Butcher The Bear

            Get Away

            A superb exercise in dreamy indie from Butcher The Bear on Morr Music. Side-A's "Get Away" is a dreamy accoustic number with breathy vocals, strummed guitar and a little bit of harmonica at the end, lovely. On the B-side "Leave This Town" ploughs a similar furrow, almost identical bar the words. Lovely Autumnal music for dark nights by the fire.

            Bernhard Fleischmann and four of his pals are The Year Of, providing Morr Music with another quality album. Somehow, out of a mis-matched collection of scattered beats, gentle indie rock, alt.country twangs, dusty laptop breaks and defiant post rock, they've conjure up a lovely album making them Austria's answer to Wilco!

            Morr Music do it again. On paper it doesn't look half as lovely as it sounds, a folky German singer songwriter whose album includes electronic input from Berlin collective Rechenzentrum and Sweden's Smyglyssna. But Masha Qrella deftly merges sweet European pop, indie rock (she's supported Sonic Youth and Calexico), noisy guitars and laptop rhythms in a thoroughly convincing way. An early candidate for one of our favourite records of 2005.

            The belated follow-up to "Lucky Cat" takes Isan's brand of melodious sound further into fairytale soundtrack realms. Not entirely dissimilar to Boards Of Canada's mellow moments, they manage to coax the sweetest harmonies from overclocked processors, maintaining a warm and tender connection with their machines as if they were antique musical instruments. Combining the relaxing hum of 240volt computers with gentle acoustics and wooden percussion conjures up a magical, quiet blend.


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