KUEDO: Slow Knife 2xLP/CD Planet Mu

kuedo

KUEDO: Slow Knife       2xLP/CD   Planet Mu

Returning after five years since his debut ‘Severant’, Berlin’s Kuedo, starts where he left off with relative ease.

The beautifully simplistic rhythmic patter of ‘Hourglass’; allows for an emphatic and glorious selection of pads, to lift the listener spirits in a nostalgic array of dips and dives through the aural equivalent of an 80’s city vision of the future.  This is further explored on the ambient interlude of ‘Under the Surface’ and the spacious ‘In Your Sleep’; that allows for obscure vocalisations that fit snugly, when in all fairness, they shouldn’t.

The expansive sounds of the title track have the unique knack of sounding way more complex than they actually are; and it’s this management of production that involves the listener to the point of addiction, where they cannot help but listen on, to see what comes next.

Riddled with harmony, ‘Slow Knife’ as a whole, covers a variety of emotions and raises many a question internally.  Played out as a backdrop to a dystopian world of rain and neon; the only downside is that sometimes things tended to linger on a little too much in the slower areas, where I really wanted the pace to turn up a notch.

As a release in its entirety, this latest body of work does what it sets out to achieve.  With an expansive polished production, there is little more you could ask from the artist, even if it does become a tad tedious in small measures; where you randomly find yourself skipping to the next track.

8.5/10

ASHER LEVITAS: Lit Harness LP/CD Planet Mu

asherlevitas

ASHER LEVITAS: Lit Harness LP/CD Planet Mu

Mainly known for his work with UK experimentalists Old Apparatus; Levitas has here, produced his first solo album, from a project he formulated in 2015.

Basing his debut album on themes of extreme emotion, this translates well into the music on offer.  For the most part this is translated as varying degrees of darkness, with layers of pitch resonating alongside the odd vocal sample and organic interplay.

The end result captures waves of Dark Ambient, ethereal electronics and an ability to switch mood into lighter shades of grey as well as the blackest of blacks.  Harmony plays its part on expressive numbers such as ‘Waiting by an Open Door’; where the turmoil of previous numbers, are allowed to settle as dust amongst rising emphatic waves of sound.

‘Lit Harness’ is like a boxer that doesn’t do anything spectacular, but wins by generally being good at everything he attempts.  Nothing on this release will have you screaming from the rooftops, but it will sit well as a solid safe pair of hands; and in this day and age, that is more than you can ask for when considering splashing out on your hard earned cash.

8/10

KONX-OM-PAX: Caramel LP/CD Planet Mu

KonxOmPax

KONX-OM-PAX: Caramel   LP/CD Planet Mu

‘Caramel’ is the follow up to this Glaswegian artist’s 2011 ‘Regional Surrealism; which had a press release that smacked of something out of the film ‘Trainspotting’.

Lighter in tone and mood, no longer influenced by the grim surroundings of concrete flats and junkies; this latest release is openly proud of its cheesy synth sounds, 80’s computer game electronic tinged tunes and a distinct nod to rave culture.

For the most part, this latest album is surprisingly beat free.   Concentrating on rhythm created purely by synth, leaves ‘Caramel’ sounding like the soundtrack to a future created by such programmes as ‘Tomorrows World’; which in turn however, does limit the listening appeal overall to a somewhat smaller audience.

This is no less a colourful album, which provides and aural kaleidoscope of sound; occasionally drawing on feel good themes that resonate from a distance, as if hearing them from a faraway stage in a field at dusk in the height of summer.  This is in turn one of the albums strongest selling points, even if this means selling it solely to those who live and breathe early 90’s rave nostalgia.

7.5/10

ITAL TEK: Hollowed 2xLP/CD Planet Mu

italtek

ITAL TEK: Hollowed         2xLP/CD   Planet Mu

Alan Myson’s latest album is the culmination of two years sat in the studio, reliving old techniques that he originally started out with as tools for the journey ahead.

Broodingly dark, yet with shimmers of desperate hope, opener ‘A Delicate Balance’ is just that; the musical equivalent of fingers clawing at the edges of a bottomless pit, with an angelic hand reaching down to pull the you away from the impending fall.

The ghostly vocals of ‘Redeemer’ are a wonder to behold on the atmospheric scale; and it’s this variation in approach from say, the grinding Industrial inky black march of ‘Reflection Through Destruction’, that keeps the listener on their toes.

Alan flirts with various elements of electronica throughout ‘Hollowed’, but keeps an overall aesthetic for continuity purposes. Ambient tones flitter between the brightest of whites and the darkest of blacks; occasionally straddling dystopian visions of the future along the way.

Sonically speaking, the range on this latest album is a far cry from more previous dance oriented work and is all the better for it; smacking with a new found maturity and purpose. Whilst not being the most accomplished in this newfound field, this album does have enough weight and chamber reverberation to resonate loudly for some time to come.

8.5/10

VENETIAN SNARES: Traditional Synthesizer Music 2xLP/CD Planet Mu / Timesig

vsnares

VENETIAN SNARES: Traditional Synthesizer Music     2xLP/CD    Planet Mu / Timesig

Aaron Funk has always been guilty of saturating the market he resides in; with what seems to be a million and one releases to his name. The majority of his work is quality though with just a few rare duds to his name and that has to be commended.

This latest album does exactly what it says on the tin. Modular synthesizers are performed live, then treated and folded amongst a bed of breaks and beats; culminating in some of the most musical work I have come across in his lengthy career.

Funk has always been a law unto himself and a key component of his longevity is a haphazard and sporadic variation from album to album. ‘Traditional Synthesizer Music’ is by and large a less in your face and ultimately more tangible release that would also appeal to the more casual observer as well as the steadfast Snares diehard.

Complex, yet understated and less over the top than a lot of what we are used to, Aarons modular weapon of choice makes for a warming and pleasant array of tunes that display a new level of attention to harmonies, that are sometimes sorely lacking within his many breakcore assaults; and here the electronic bleeps and twangs are tinged with a poppy edge, displaying an entire new level of madness.

If anything, this latest output almost parallels Aphex Twin in his path to ‘Syro’, sound wise; and could quite well rank as one of Funk’s most accomplished and enjoyable collection of songs to date.

9/10

KONX-OM-PAX: Regional Surrealism CD/LP Planet Mu

KONX-OM-PAX: Regional Surrealism  CD/LP Planet Mu

Konx-om-Pax is the musical project of Glasgow based film director Tom Scholefield, who is more known for his video work for artist such as Mogwai and the like.  Couple the nature of his past works with an album tile such as ‘Regional Surrealism’ and it isn’t going to take much guessing as to the nature of the journey this 14-track release will take you on.

Unfortunately, if not surprisingly, the word ‘surrealism’ has been take a little too literally throughout this album.  It’s only on the odd occasion that we are given a glimpse into the scope that Scholefield obviously has and when he does give the listener a ray of hope, he annihilates it; take track five, ‘Sura-Tura-Gnosi-Cosi’; a beautiful arrangement of chopping piano, that hums with emotion and is cleverly understated, but ultimately ruined with the addition of horrendous, down-pitch vocals.

‘Regional Surrealism’, is an infuriating release that promises way more than it delivers.  Come the end of the album, I was genuinely peeved with the aural hug that is ‘Let’s go Swimming’, a song that begs a question, requiring answers as to why such an obvious talent has been wasted, when they clearly had the opportunity to give us something special.

5.5/10