MIWON: Jigsawtooth LP/CD N5MD
Balancing complex patterns with an immediacy of harmony, ‘Jigsawtooth’ provides an instantaneous hit. I appreciate the no-holds-barred level of entry, with no build, nor drifting around on a lengthy intro; and when Miwon leaps straight into pitter-patter beats and the fluttering emotive electronics of ‘Fuzzy Words, it’s an all welcome refreshing approach to a full-length release.
It is be all too easy to band about lazy terminology such as Ambient, or indeed IDM; but it is, in all its unchained glory. The occasional use of Disco synth and 8-Bit rhythm splices, add to the jovial nature of this album; that manages to draw a sense of beauty whilst not taking itself too seriously.
With a warm full production, there is a sense of an in the same room as you, studio feel that feels inclusive and sharing; assisting the listener in being receptive to all the subtle changes and fluctuations of timbre that scatter trough the speakers.
Altogether, this is an impressive return from Miwon; and whilst not revelling in the grandiose spectrum of the genre, the balance and shift of power between evocative and playful, provides a necessary lift emotionally when it matters most.
LOESS: Pocosin LP/CD N5MD
The gloriously downtempo ‘Petrel’ opens up this latest album from the well-respected duo of Clay Emerson and Ian Pullman; where harmonies dance and flutter in glass-like transparency, alongside warm, subtle bass pads.
‘Kype’ moves forward in a more traditional IDM vein; flowing gracefully into the sparse and staggered, ‘Straie’. A song that has pulls on emotions with a genuine yearning and desperation; that leads up to the barely evident intermission of ‘17p132’.
The second half of ‘Pocosin’ covers much of the same ground as the former. As with most Loess releases, there is little to actually surprise the listener, relying on just what they do best. Intricate electronics that probe, poke and prod, as opposed to grabbing your attention by force; and it is a formula that has served them well throughout their tenure.
What I do love about this latest album; is the use of off-key notes that bed and distort before fading away into clouds of foggy introspection. The end result being another impressive release to add to their personal catalogue; and another quality driven episode in the cult of n5MD, that will simply not disappoint.
RUXPIN: We Become Ravens LP/CD n5MD
‘We Become Ravens’ is the eighth studio album from Icelandic producer Jonas Thor Gudmundson; and is a continuation of his previous release, ‘This Time We Go Together’.
The opening subdued ‘Piano I’ is followed by the dramatic ‘Memories Warm You Up, But They Also Tear You Apart’; proving itself with a beautifully composed display of programming prowess and attention to detail where harmony is concerned.
There is a carnival-esque feel to the pads on the title track that seamlessly flows into the contemplative ‘Hours Go By’, alongside the down-tempo ‘Softly Said Hello’ and purist IDM number ‘Saying Goodbye Was Never Easy’; which is one of the better numbers on this album.
If I was to say anything negative, it would be that ‘We Become Ravens’ as a whole, feels too drawn out; a little too lengthy, just teetering on the edge of boring on a couple of tracks. There was a need for me to take a break mid-way; and sometimes, less is evidently more. However, once you strip away a couple of the ‘samey’ numbers on this album, there are some true gems, such as the resonating ‘Polly Polly’; and it’s moments like these that make up for the couple of throwaways.
Overall, this is a solid display of musicianship and a more than worthy companion for all fans of well-produced electronic music
V/A: One Five Zero 2xCD n5MD
Yet again n5md produce the goods. Two CD’s of genre specific IDM and electronica as you would expect from this stable.
Quality as always is paramount to this release as it is to the majority on the label. Opener ‘Near The Parenthesis’ is immediately overshadowed by the now Hymen Records clad ‘Keef Baker’ who started out here. His track ‘Never’ is what you will all have come to expect, know and love from this artist, never failing to give you sounds that are organic in nature, filtered through electronic beauty.
‘Lights Of Asia’ produce one of the most stand out tracks on the album, superb in every way, awash with synths, guitar and atmosphere, this comes across as one of the most organic tracks on the album and unbelievably reminds me of ‘Anathema’. Therefore, along with Keef they have more identity and something you can hold on to amongst most of these artists.
The danger with such a compilation is that a lot of the songs do sound pretty similar, and to the first time listener it could be a little too much to swallow in one sitting.
For me however, this is a great release with a lot to offer from a lot of artists on this quality label. If you are new to n5md you couldn’t go far wrong picking this one up. Prepare for some soul searching and food for your emotions if you do.