Gold Panda- Companion (2011)

6 04 2011

A Collection of EPs and singles that were released before his amazing LP, Last Years Lucky Shiner.I admit I’m cheating a bit on this review,  I’ve had the majority of this compilation on their respective EPs Before, Miyamae, etc. for some time as he’s one of my favorite new artists.  But now that it’s combined into one solid package, I have to express its greatness. It displays that Gold Panda had made great techno right from the start. There is a wide range of electronic styles Gold panda dabbled in before settling on his characteristic form of hazy glitch-hop and house.  tracks like Quitter’s raga shows he can dice and warp a sample like a mad scientist.  Back Home – a pulsing four tet-esque track that almost beats him as his own game, The Before EP shows off calm, contemplative, side – bustling with hip hop drum breaks and tranquil grooves.

The only issue I have with Companion is not the songs, but the track order. It’s like the guy at the record label just dragged and dropped all the EPs from iTunes and just pressed “burn”.  The Singles front load this album, with the b sides of these often being a much calmer, ambient sound following after. If this were an LP,  Going back and forth from glitch to calm every track would make for a perplexing listen. My humble suggestion would be to reorder it with Before first and the singles After. that way all the singles are still in order and it has a more balanced flow to the listening experience. But hey, what do I know? I’m no Mastering Engineer. Taking this album for what it is, which is a very convenient collection of Great Singles from Electronic music’s Rising Greats – There is nothing to complain about.


Quitter’s Raga “Experimental” Video. I like this more than the “Official” which was the cliché  slice of life video of people enjoying themselves. yawn… I love this guy’s music but one thing he does NOT have is exciting/ interesting videos.


The Squeezebox: Bibio- Mind Bokeh (2011)

31 03 2011

Wild, unfocused, and occasionally fascinating – Bibio surely isn’t trying to repeat himself much on the appropriately titled Mind Bokeh. Doing away with some of the sunny, almost tropic folk sounds of his previous LP Ambivalence Avenue and created this chaotic and Soulful slice of pop/electronica. It’s very overwhelming hearing this record the first time -you’re sort of confused and wonder where this album is going. Hazy Atmospherics, murky soul-searching, weaving bubbly Techno melodies, Funky Bass-lines, and stuttering Found-Sounds. While some songs are instantly appealing  and recall his earlier work (K is for Kelson, Anything New) some tracks begin to feel a little cluttered or are just total curve-balls (Take off Your Shirt). The more you listen however, the more the album unravels and the disparate elements seem to really gel. Mind Bokeh might make you scratch your head like I did the first time, or it could reveal itself for the album it is the first listen through – an eclectic showcase for one of electronic music’s most inventive producers.


Fresh Fish: Burial, Four Tet, & Thom Yorke- Ego/Mirror (2011)

25 03 2011

Need I say more?  It’s everything you could want from such a collaboration. Bringing in Burial‘s Murky Dub-stepping, Four Tet eccentric noodling, and Thom Yorke‘s Ghostly Vocals. check out this electronic Dream Team NOWW! or you know, later, or whatever..

Let’s Collectively cross our fingers for a full length album

The Squeezebox: Daedelus- Bespoke (2011)

23 03 2011

Hmm.. a rather puzzling album from Bookish Electronic Wizard Daedelus and his latest Bespoke on the stellar Ninja tune Records. Filled with sporadic, strung-out layers meant to whirl and dazzle unfortunately  may leave you confused and a bit unsettled. It just never feels comfortable with itself or to the listener. and more importantly it doesn’t go anywhere. Like chugging a fifth and going on a carnival ride (Something I would never do) – it just makes you dizzy, blurs your vision, and you feel a little woozy; once you think your head is about to stop spinning and a song feels like it’s coming into focus, it veers off  and you’re seeing double again.

There are undoubtably good songs on here; Penny Loafers featuring Inara George uses this woozyness and turns it into a hallucinogenic Nightmare (In a good way)  and Tailor Made featuring Milosh is a bustling techno track that’s just a bit too weird for the dance floor. it hardly makes it worth a purchase though, this ends up being the one Album from Daedelus to put back on the shelf.

54/100 -Armordillo

Tailor Made Featuring Milosh

The Squeezebox: James Blake – James Blake (2011)

5 03 2011

How ’bout that dubstep?  Popular with British clubheads since the late 90s, dubstep’s head-nodding, syncopated beats and complex percussive arrangements have provided a very chill, cerebral alternative to the house/techno standards common in British club for quite some time.  But its spacey nature, instrumental focus and fixation on the club environment have limited dubstep’s popularity to its own small niche market, just waiting for someone to break it open into the mainstream psyche.  Last year, James Blake began that process with his series of EPs, The Bells Sketch, CYMK, and Klavierwerke, a collection of some of the most innovative dubstep to be released last year.  The title track off CYMK, a groovy slice of dubstep-pie featuring heady vocal samples, sliced, diced and pushed through effects boxes like a garlic press, received plenty of acclaim and airplay, ranking highly on several “songs of the year” lists and helping the 3-EP set reach #8 on Pitchfork’s top albums of the year.  But even with all this critical acclaim, it was still just dubstep, and as cool as it was, as pumped as the electronic music scene was about it, it was still a niche sound, not quite ready for the mainstream.

But then, in November, James Blake dropped a bombshell with his single “Limit to Your Love,” a cover originally recorded by Feist off her 2007 album The Reminder.  The song starts with an immediate surprise to those who were expecting more dubstep: no effects, no samples, nothing but a piano and Blake’s voice, crooning like he was born for it.  As the song develops, it picks up some barebones percussive instrumentation and some great supportive vocal harmonics, but through the whole thing it retains that slow, swaying, narcotic vibe, shocking anyone who expected more beats and bumps and adding a whole new facet to Blake’s cache of musical skills.  Critics were left dumbfounded, wondering how he would use this previously cloaked vocal prowess in his upcoming album.

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Fresh Fish: Dunian- Dunian EP (2010)

28 02 2011

It’s hard to find much information on Dunian, A little-known Electronic Artist that meshes the Hazy nostalgia of chillwave with some  trippy  beats of flying lotus-style hip hop. But here it is, a Free EP for you all to absorb. Hopefully this Guy can get some more exposure and perhaps bless us with a full length soon. click on the album art on the right to Download for free.

The Squeezebox: Radiohead – The King of Limbs (2011)

21 02 2011

What can I say about Radiohead that hasn’t been said before?  Arguably the most revered music group in the past 20 years, a group that has developed a higher standard that all their albums are held to.  What would be a great album for another band turns into “adequate” for Radiohead.  It can be unfair and would be crushing to any other group, but it seems that when Radiohead releases a new album of material,  their music is pretty universally accepted in the Indie-verse.  Something incredible in this day and age of disparate tastes and trolling opinions.  That day has ended now, and opinions will be divided and lines will be drawn on The King of Limbs, The 8 Song album download that came out last Friday, almost out of nowhere.

Those expecting In Rainbows part deux might be a little put off by King.. as this album is much more difficult and has more in common with Kid A/Amnesiac or Thom’s Yorke‘s Eraser.  Skeletal, skittering drums, triggered electronic pulses layer and ebb, bass lines rumble at the forefront, and Thom Yorke is as cryptic as ever. Each instrument on these songs has a distinct rhythm to it, creating a shifting, off-kilter void to be wrapped around and get lost in. The songs might not pop out to some listeners initially, but repeated listens unravel the album to me for what it is:  Another work of brilliance.  It’s strange but fascinating, disorienting but familiar. It might bewilder a lot of listeners at first expecting traditional Radiohead (Is there such a thing?) but this is a band doing what they do best, making compelling music while evolving their craft into the next chapter.

95% -Armordillo

New Video for Lotus Flower, Off the new  Album The King of Limbs

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