[Fenętre Records,]

Shapes 07:02 - All New Amazing Sounds

[Tru Thoughts,]

Future Sounds of Jazz Vol. 11

[Compost Records,]

Return of the Instro-Hipster Vol. 2

[Psychic Circle,]

Cotton - Dragon's Eye Second Anniversary

[Dragon's Eye,]

Binary Oppositions

[Static Caravan,]

Corbett vs. Dempsey - Eye & Ear: Artist <-> Musician


A Field Guide to Table of the Elements

[Table of the Elements,]

Certain compilations stand out as having a purpose. Other than an obvious point, which is to highlight the roster of a specific label, this cluster of compilations possesses a unified purpose for existence.

New Norwegian imprint, Fen?tre Records released "Rufs" with an explicit intent of compiling MP3s for an on-line release. This then evolved into a limited edition CD-R, which then resulted in an audio CD we now have. Main impetus for the release was to compile music from a similar atmospheric proximity. These are luscious pieces full of guitars, frivolous percussion and heaps of electronic wizardry. Pieces range from the sublime to the serene. Nick Grey's "Black Paper, Mountain" takes on a light guitar phrase, a deeply hushed voice along with oscillating atmospherics, while Muhr's "We're Falling Like Feathers", with its deathly still landscape presents an even more somber piece. With so many stand-outs, my personal favourite is the album's closer, "Little Hands" by Yasushi Yoshida. Its wilting piano motif and light crackling samples perfectly summarize the compilation's soft-hearted, autumn music feel.

UK-based Tru Thoughts has released more than a dozen classic albums over the last few years. Going deep into soul, funk and jazz, the label's "Shapes 07:02 - All New Amazing Sounds" proves this imprint has a keen eye for what grooves and swings. Most of these cuts are exclusives to this album, from re-mixes to instrumentals. Povo Mix of Nostalgia 77's "Wildflower" exudes an even more laid back feel from the band, while DJ Vadim spices up an already funky "Northern Girls" by Belleruche. Drumagick's mix of TM Juke's "Damn" is done in a d'n'b flavour and The Bamboos are represented with an instrumental version of the funk-heavy "Get in the Scene". Album closes on a high note with Alice Russell's take of The White Stripe's "Seven Nation Army". With fuzzy, distorted vocals and a deep shade of bass, the Grant Phabao remix of the tune points the way for the label to head into on future releases.

Since 1995, Compost has been churning out the ever popular "Future Sound of Jazz" compilations. If you think jazz is what you'll get on the eleventh installment, then you'll be terribly let down. Apparently one angry customer on an internet shop displayed his disappointment by stating, "Call this what you want - but not Jazz. John Coltrane would turn over in his grave." Compost's idea from the start was to put on display club music that was sophisticated but had a certain "jazzy attitude". What you'll find then is twelve tunes that have a particular airy façade. From the broken-down string section on Joash's "Salome", through to Yannah Valdevit [one half of Eddy Meets Yannah] and her sultry "Superlight", finishing off with the retro-minded synth work and sampled horn section on 400 Blows "Movin", the compilation goes from strength to strength. Amazing to hear there is no filler here, just solid beats with that loose feel.

Subtitled Groovy Instrumentals From the UK 1965-1973, "Return of The Instro-Hipsters Vol. 2" is an album whose key emphasis is on groovalicious fun. Filled to the brim with instrumentals from Harold McNair, The 4 Instants, Sounds Sensational, Kenny Clare, Sharks, Thunder Poad, Jerry Allen, Paraffin Jack Flash, D. Cordell's Tea Time Ensemble and a dozen other individuals you may not have heard of before, this is music that is headed straight for your next house-warming party. Picked from rare or hard-to-find singles and LPs, the album covers a who's-who of the British hipster scene. How can you resist the beach-ball frenzy of "Floppy Ears" by Music Through Six or the sensational Hawaii 5-0 inspired "Lulu's Theme" by The Johnny Harris Orchestra? Feel yourself grow weak and give in to Ning's fluffy-rock on "More Ning". So why be like your parents and miss out on these hits second time around? Be cooler than the hipsters and groove yourself silly to this fine compilation before it disappears into never-land again.

Packaged in a thin DVD box, "Cotton" is meant as a celebration of Seattle-based Dragon's Eye Recordings second birthday. As far as birthday presents go, this one is all wrapped up in superlatives. The set begins with Tadahito Ichinoseki and Tomoyoshi Date's "Gensho no Tabi" where one musician plays light touches on the piano, while the other one recites Japanese text, all the while light electronic flutters are heard far in the background. Further on, we have Yann Novak's drone-inducing, metal-sharp "Lullaby" piece, which is followed by Kamran Sadeghi's subtle crackle-thick "Untitled (kha series)". Jamie Drouin's "Dresden" takes a sharper approach, with its bleak and obtuse guitar-driven propelling landscape. "Grand Treatments" composed by Son of Rose ends off the compilation with a heap of crackled bits and wind-like, sifting concoctions. An atmospheric way to end a compilation that will please any fan of microtones and composed electronic sounds alike.

To coincide with an exhibition opening in at Citric Gallery in Brescia, Italy, which was curated by Matt Price, Birmingham-based Static Caravan imprint put together a 21-track compilation, titled "Binary Oppositions". Main goal of the release is to build on the art gallery exhibition's theme of scrutinizing impact of lo-fi culture in hi-fi world. Each of the twenty-one pieces tackles the opposing views of analogue versus digital, via themes of nostalgia versus newness and hand-made versus mass-produced. What a full package this is, brimming with electronic-folk-pop goodness. The Young Baron gives us a quirky, na?ve, chanting "Musical Box". Seeland pretend they're an electronically twisted Brian Wilson, while Mike in Mono strikes out with a lo-fi, machine-box heavy, robotic "Almost Unreachable". Misty's Big Adventure's "The Long Conveyor Belt" recalls the long-gone days of Caravan and Dreams of Tall Buildings belch out an operatic, chant-off on their percussion-heavy performance on "The Shortest Day". I could go on forever as far as the highlights go, but truth is, every one of the tracks is a little tale of resistance in and of itself. Brilliant!

Continuing with lineage of artist and musician, we come to "Corbett vs. Dempsey - Eye & Ear: Artist <-> Musician". As a complement to the "Musician <-> Artist" exhibit [which featured works from variety of musician-artists] that had a run in Chicago between Dec. 2004 and Jan. 2005, writer John Corbett gathered music from seven artists whose works were displayed at that exhibit. Prominent Canadian artist/pianist Michael Snow plays a tender piece called "Jada" with clarinetist Pee Wee Russell that dates back to 1950, while Sun Ra sings on a moving 1956 piece called "I Don't Believe in Love". Guitarist Mark Booth contributes a reflective solo piece called "November", which brings us to Hal Rammel's 22-minute closer. "Weave & Daze" sees Rammel source out a rainstorm, and then move on to play variety of clinky home-made instruments. Talk about ending a compilation on a real high.

Going fourteen years strong, since its inception Atlanta-based Table of the Elements set a mandate to release a rich palette of cream of the crop, modern-day composers, along with some of the more important improvisers in the music field. To celebrate Festival No. 3 / SXSW Showcase 1, the label released an impressive representation of live acts that appeared on that March night in 2006 in Austin. The set starts off with Jonathan Kane's madly addictive, drawn-out blues howl on "Curl". Then, we're accosted with the preciseness of Arnold Dreyblatt's "Star Trap", Zeena Parkins' minimal, electronic doodling on "Below the Wall", as well the minimal but electrifying dual guitars and single percussion assault of San Agustin. Composer Tony Conrad is presented twice - once in a 1998 installation "Indicting Lully" [Conrad on amplified violin and Alex Gelencser on cello, both playing to a drone of three hurdy gurdy-like violins] and another piece which features an encore from an infamous 1995 hell-bound performance with Faust. A prelude of Rhys Chatham's ground-breaking opus "100 Guitars" closes the first disc. Norwegian composer Leif Inge takes up two-thirds of the second disc with a 38 minute excerpt of his phenomenal "9 Beet Stretch", which is a 24 hour, slowed-down [or "stretched"] version of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. With its hummingbird-pace, calming intensity, this turns out to be a highly addictive piece. One only wishes some of these first-rate composers would come to our neck of the woods sometime soon.

Tom Sekowski

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+ Zion Train - Live As One
+ Yam Yam - Eatdubafrobeat
+ Gregor Tresher - A Thousand Nights
+ Smashits
+ We Are Punks 2
+ Necessary Intergalactic Cooperation - NIC
+ Einsturzende Neubauten - Alles Wieder Offen
+ Move D - Tonspuren 1-10
+ Tom Middleton - Lifetracks
+ Leggo Beast - Tales From The Crib
+ Kostas New Progrram - And End Pleasure
+ Headcount - To The Point
+ Faust - Od serca do duszy
+ Ellboy - Mixed By Hell
+ Collective Individualities
+ Classic Cuts
+ Canola Tenderfoot - Winning Is For Losers
+ Xenia Beliayeva - Music
+ Mark Fry - Dreaming with Alice
+ Mani Neumaier/Peter Hollinger - Meet the Demons of Bali
+ Moby Grape - Moby Grape
+ Oren Ambarchi - In the Pendulum's Embrace
+ Gavin Bryars/Philip Jeck/Alter Ego - The Sinking of the Titanic

- - - - - - - - -

+ NEGATIVLAND - Our Favorite Things DVD/CD
+ GoGooo - Long, lointain / DAUNIK LAZRO / PHIL MINTON - Alive at Sonorités / THE PASCHALL BROTHERS - On the Right Road Now / FLYING LOTUS - Reset / JACK WRIGHT / JOHN M. BENNETT / BEN BENNETT - Rotty What / TAYLOR DEUPREE + CHRISTOPHER WILLITS - Listening Garden / THE STUMPS - The Black Wood / WARMTH - Leave Your Wet Brain in the Hot Sun / BELLY BOAT - Dear Robert Hanoy / BJ NILSEN - The Short Night / FOVEA HEX - Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent: Three - Allure / ELIANE RADIGUE - Jetsun Mila / THOMAS DYBDAHL - Science / THE ADVANCEMENT - The Advancement / STEVE NELSON - Sound-Effect / OOIOO - Eye Remix / SONIC OPENINGS UNDER PRESSURE - Muhheankuntuk / SONORE - Only The Devil Has No Dreams / OM - Pilgrimage / REVERBAPHON - Here Comes Everyone / GENE BOWEN - Bourgeois Magnetic / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar [Burma] Vol. 3 - Music of Nat Pwe / FRED ANDERSON & HARRISON BANKHEAD - The Great Vision Concert / GOLDEN DEATH MUSIC - Ephemera Blues / HENRI TEXIER STRADA SEXTET - Alert A L'eau / PENUMBRA / HEQAT - Penumbra / Heqat / NORTHERN - Drawn / SIMAK DIALOG - Patahan / XBXRX - Wars / ALEJANDRO FRANOV - Khali / BRENDA RAY - Walatta / WILLIAM PARKER / RAINING ON THE MOON - Corn Meal Dance / JON RASKIN - Quartet / ICARUS - Sylt / MIKE BONES - The Sky Behind The Sea / CLUB 8 - The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming / LOUIE AUSTEN - Summer Love EP / mwvm - Rotations / LUCAS NIGGLI ZOOM MEETS ARTE QUARTETT - Crash Cruise / SON OF GUNNAR, TON OF SHEL - Son of Gunnar, Ton of Shel / THE NECKS - Townsville / IGNAZ SCHICK / DAWID SZCZESNY - The View Underneath / HERIBERT FRIEDL - Trac[k]_T / OLIVER LAKE TRIO - Zaki / LNGTCHÉ - Music for an Untitled Film by T. Zarkkof / BATCHAS - Explorations 85-95 / MARC BARON / BERTRAND DENZLER / JEAN-LUC GUIONNET / STEPHANE RIVES - Propagations / ANANDA SHANKAR - Missing You / A Musical Discovery of India / DANBERT NOBACON - The Library Book of The World / GROUNDTRUTHER + JOHN MEDESKI - Altitude / INHABITANTS - The Furniture Moves Underneath / FESSENDEN - v 1.1 / SEABEAR - The Ghost That Carried Us Away / NOSTALGIA 77 OCTET - Weapons of Jazz Destruction / STEVE ASHLEY - Time and Tide / MARY HALVORSON / JESSICA PAVONE - On and Off
+ JAMES SAUNDERS - # [unassigned]
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+ ISAAC BABEL - The Sin of Jesus
+ PLURAMON - The Monstrous Surplus / MARCUS SCHMICKLER - Altars of Science
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Airport Symphony
+ SMALL SAILS - Similar Anniversaries
+ MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / STEVE RODEN - Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs Series - Vol. II / MY CAT IS AN ALIEN / KEIJI HAINO - Cosmic Debris - Split Art-LPs Series - Vol. III
+ TRIO M - Big Picture / MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS - Vision Towards Essence
+ ANNEA LOCKWOOD - Early Works 1967 - 82
+ CARIBOU - Andorra
+ RAPOON - Alien Glyph Morphology / RAPOON - Time Frost
+ L-R & RADIOMENTALE - I Could Never Make That Music Again
>> VARIOUS ARTISTS - Rufs / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Shapes 07:02 - All New Amazing Sounds / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Future Sounds of Jazz Vol. 11 / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Return of the Instro-Hipster Vol. 2 / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Cotton - Dragon's Eye Second Anniversary / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Binary Oppositions / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Corbett vs. Dempsey - Eye & Ear: Artist <-> Musician / VARIOUS ARTISTS - A Field Guide to Table of the Elements
+ JOHN LUTHER ADAMS - Red Arc / Blue Veil
+ LITTLE DRAGON - Little Dragon
+ AL MARGOLIS / IF, BWANA - An Innocent, Abroad / IF, BWANA - Radio Slaves
+ SUN RA - Disco 3000
+ Z'EV / DAVID LINTON - Untitled
+ GRAVENHURST - The Western Lands
+ MORGAN PACKARD - Airships Fill The Sky CD / DVD
+ KEIICHIRO SHIBUYA - Filmachine Phonics
+ BENEVA vs CLARK NOVA - Flotsam/Jetsam / DANNY NORBURY - Dusk / VOLE - Vole Radio1
+ STEVE PETERS - Three Rooms
+ TBA - Size and Tears

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+ Dedicated to the dancefloor - wywiad z Gregorem Tresherem