Astrobotnia - Part 00 (2011) :: Review

Monday, March 28, 2011

Part 00
[Aleksi Perälä :: 2011]

Astrobotnia's Big Bang on Bandcamp

Just 2 weeks after releasing a bunch of unheard Ovuca material, the prolific Aleksi Perala has put a new Astrobotnia album up for sale on Bandcamp titled Part 00.  All of the music included in this album was produced in 2001, taking us back in time not only to some of the earliest Astrobotnia material ever recorded, but also to a high point of the IDM era.

Aleksi tells us that Part 00 should be considered the definitive prequel, the earliest recordings pre-dating Parts 01-03 that served as the birth of the Astrobotnia project, a sonic exploration of space and time.  Though composed entirely on a laptop with endless sound and style options, Astrobotnia demonstrates a disciplined focus from day one, choosing to create beautiful otherworldly atmospheres by combining ambient synths and strings with complex and sometimes harsh beats.  Track 2 "New Earth" is a perfect example of this, wherein a fusion of electronic and acoustic hand drums smack out tribalesque toe-tapping rhythms while floaty, spatial chords shimmer and swirl all around you, making you feel as though you are somewhere that gravity nor time are of any importance.  Soundscapes like that of "Rainforest" also contain hints of world percussion and concrete sounds giving them a grounding familiarity, but the injected electro alien beats and strange, unsettling non-melodies spark the realization that you're in an alternate dimension.

Though focused, Part 00 delivers a fine showing of dynamic range from the beatless to the beat-down.  "Hydrocortisone Saga", "Unknown Variable", and "Space Camp" all exude a warm and relaxed nostalgia within the artist's original framework, perhaps what Boards of Canada would have sounded like had they been from another galaxy.  On the other end of the spectrum we have tracks like "The Message" and "Fever" that both crush you and make you want to dance with a caustic, ear-shattering force.  Part 00 is absolutely gorgeous and an obvious must-have for any Astrobotnia fan or classic IDM loyalist.  My only regret is that it's not available on vinyl (yet). What else does Mr. Perala have up his sleeve?

Buy Astrobotnia - Part 00 :: Bandcamp

Connect with Aleksi Perala / Astrobotnia :: Official Site | Facebook

Ovuca - Short Attention Span (2011) :: Review

Short Attention Span
[Aleksi Perälä :: 2011]

Bandcamp Release

If you thought you'd never get another Ovuca release, you're in for a nice surprise.  Aleksi Perala has pulled out a slew of Ovuca tracks from deep within his musical archive, circa 1998 in fact, and set them free in a self-released LP called Short Attention Span, the first Ovuca release in 10 years.

In a news post on his website Aleksi tells us these tracks are a continuation of the experimental sounds heard in Lactavent and Onclements, and if you're familiar with these first two albums, it should come as no surprise that many of the 31 tracks included in Short Attention Span are between 30 seconds to a minute and a half long.  Though all the tracks were made on his simple 1998 setup mainly consisting of a Roland XP-80 and Akai MPC-2000 without the use of a computer, the album spans a pretty wide variety of beat styles and sounds.  It begins fast with atmospheric jungley IDM, moves into harder acidic dance floor ideas, veers into some oddball stuff and then begins to slow down with a few reverbed out jazzy interludes, eventually dwindling into beautiful ambience.  A few of the shorter clips such as "Hey Bob" (0:11) and "Beta Force" (0:21) end a bit too abruptly, jarring the listener out of the "zone", but for the most part the whole thing flows surprisingly well like a purposefully constructed album should from start to finish.

The longer tracks, even when only something like a minute-thirty, are really the meat and potatoes here.  "Focus" is a gorgeous piece featuring fast, repetitive oil drum rhythms juxtaposed with gentle glass flute meanderings, achieving a classic early IDM feel that I wish would go on longer.  I'm really digging his use of acoustic drum kit samples like in "Jazzy 107", "Jazz Hop" and especially "Off We Go" where he cranks up the hall reverb and pairs them with some eerie pads.  Aleksi closes out with two ambient pieces, the first being "Personal Digital Sound" experimenting with what sounds like a recording in reverse overlayed by his own voice singing out a somber hymn. Final track "Luostro", which also happens to be the longest at a whopping 8:08, is a gorgeous new-agey meditation full of swelling synths, trailing sustains and dream-like atmosphere, with the tiniest synthesized rhythm chugging along quietly somewhere in the mix.  If you were jumping around in the track list while sampling the album, you might not understand how a gorgeous piece like this could exist on the same release as a goofy, fun track like "Vicky Doesn't Eat Fish", but when you hear the whole thing in sequential order, it all makes sense.

Buy Ovuca - Short Attention Span :: Bandcamp

Connect with Aleksi Perala / Ovuca :: Official Site | Facebook

Orbital Video Diary Documents Making Of New Album (2011) :: Video

Saturday, March 26, 2011

P&P share making of new album through video diary, updates on Facebook and Twitter

The brothers Hartnoll are back in the lab working on a new album, and this time they're sharing their progress with fans through periodic YouTube video diary uploads, Facebook posts and Twitter updates.  In their first charmingly sheepish video posted back in mid-February, we are introduced to "the map", a large scribbly thing looking something like a synthesizer schematic that is said to be a visual representation of their plans for the album. The Map hangs on the wall above their workstation, and though we can't decipher much on it, it shows us how much further along the guys are in their process.  My favorite bit in this video however is the brief live performance of one of their new tracks - it's sounding great!  Though they just put out the banging double-single Don't Stop Me / The Gun Is Good in 2010, their last full length Blue Album was released way back in 2004, so needless to say I am well excited for a new one.

Orbital - Video Diary Part 1 (16 Feb 2011):

Orbital - Video Diary Part 2 (18 Feb 2011):

Orbital - Video Diary Part 3 (4 Mar 2011):

Orbital - Video Diary Part 4 (14 Mar 2011) at Valencia gig:

Orbital - Video Diary Part 5 (25 Mar 2011):

To be notified of future video diary entries:

Connect with Orbital :: YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Official Site

Ceephax Acid Crew - Electric Independence Video Interview (2011)

Friday, March 25, 2011

ceephax-interviewvidCeephax Acid Crew
Electric Independence Video Interview
[ :: 2011]

Jordan Redaelli of Electric Independence sat down with Ceephax in his east London studio to talk about his love for classic video game sounds, vintage synths, how he got his start, his jumper collection and a bunch more.  We even get a bit of a gear demo.  A fun and inspiring overview of Andy's musical approach and light-hearted philosophy.


SFV Acid - New West Coast (2011) :: Review

Saturday, March 19, 2011

sfv-nwcSFV Acid
New West Coast
[Post Present Medium :: 2011]

Limited Edition 12"
Free Title Track Download

If you are ready for a funky, laid back, acid-laced, lo-fi electronic cruise down the intergalactic boulevard, pop SFV Acid's new 12" EP New West Coast onto the turntable, grab your favorite imbibable and let your sofa do the driving.

The 6 cuts on this vinyl debut feature stronger and funkier beats than heard on the artist's previous Get Laid cd-r but they still ooze a similar cool sensuality.  From the porn-like grooves in "2" to the almost tribal rhythms in "SThPss", it often feels like listening to homebrew tape recordings of his music machines making sweet love to one another.  In fresh head-nodding cuts like "Bobz Skagz" and "Sylmar Cement", the Southern California native takes hints of old school west coast hip-hop influence and twists them into something new and different.  But not to worry, he never leaves his 303 at home, as evidenced in standout track "818 (Beat)" featuring a quick paced acidic bassline paired with funky hi-hat work and a subtle gangsta melody.  Though you may already have the spacey synth funk title track "New West Coast" in digital form as it came as part of his split EP with Polysick, now is your chance to own it on collectible wax.  This valley boy knows what's up and I highly recommend this 12" EP to fans of Space Dimension Controller, EOD's recent Utrecht record, and the ballads of Ceephax Acid Crew.

The 1st pressing of 550 is now available to purchase (500 black vinyl / 50 red white and blue swirled and mixed vinyl) complete with SFV Acid's kooky hand-drawn b&w sleeve artwork direct from L.A. based label Post Present Medium.

A1. New West Coast: 2
A2. New West Coast: SThPss
A3. New West Coast: Bobz Skagz
B1. New West Coast: Sylmar Cement
B2. New West Coast: 818 (Beat)
B3. New West Coast: ....

Stream Sample Tracks:

Download Free Track "New West Coast: ...." :: .MP3

Buy SFV Acid - New West Coast 12" :: Label Store

Golden Girls - Kinetic (Lone Remix) :: Review

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Golden Girls - Kinetic (Lone Remix)
[R&S Records :: 2011]

Free Download

I love LONE. His lush and sparkling EDM gives me the same happy, carefree feeling I get from listening to multi-layered '90s ravey house from artists like Orbital and FSOL without the guilt of being stuck in an era long gone.  The UK artist has decided to give out a remix to prep everyone for his first R&S Records release Echolocations EP (due out April 11, 2011) and Lone-and-behold, it's an updated rework of the classic early-nineties warehouse techno single "Kinetic" by Golden Girls, a Paul Hartnoll (of Orbital) side project from the R&S archives.  It retains the emotional loveliness of the original while giving us everything we love about a LONE. track including upbeat dancey drum machine rhythms and warm, warbley synths.  Just beautiful.  Listen / download below.

Download Golden Girls - Kinetic (Lone Remix) :: .MP3

Pre-Order Lone - Echolocations EP (2011) :: R&S Records | Boomkat

Buy Lone - Emerald Fantasy Tracks (2010) :: Amazon | Boomkat

Connect with LONE. :: MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud