Monday, 18 February 2013

Crow verses Crow / Yeah I Know It Sucks

Online radio show Crow verses Crow have featured one of Umez's tracks from their Liminal Noise  cassette along with a whole host of other awesome musics.

Listen here: Crow Verses Crow


Blog 'Yeah I Know It Sucks' posted this complimentary review of the Umez cassette:

"London must be a merrier place with UMEZ in it… the fog is lifting, the tea is boiling over into the streets. Love & Anarchy in the UK! You can blame it on UMEZ, an experimentally awesome Japanese noisepop group. We had this short album that is also available on tape sent to us for review recently, and I have to say… I’m in love with it! I listened to the first track probably two or three times. Speaking of…

… ‘Good Bye My Friend’ begins with some fuzzy guitar, some acoustic guitar and what sounds like it could be a simple 606 rhythm track. The guitars filter out and then back in, and the music starts picking up, sounding like a beautiful day, a day of wild energy spent on recreation. We hear some kind of crazy guitar solo stuff that begins with what might have been a scream-ish sort of thing. The vocals are all very pretty and dreamy, adding a feel that is almost like shoegaze, subdued and introspective, and it works very well with the more uptempo style of the music. Toward the end the drums start getting more intense, like someone is just slamming down on some toms.

‘Hello Pt1′ surprises the ears with blasts of sonic noise! Weird electro sounds are bonking around amidst the chaos. Then there’s a repeating low bass hit, followed by more audio harshness. This is really great! Screams are happening here. It’s like a soup of frequencies, most of them in the highs and mids. Very effective use of filtering and effects, panning especially in one section. I think a flock of menacing pigeons are attacking my head, and for some reason I’m enjoying myself.

The next track, ‘Z Fighters 2 With C6.1′, kicks off with a low synth sequence with amp distortion… some white-noise static modulation… the vocals seem to have a slight touch of tremolo and are really nice! It’s like listening to a lullaby run through a distortion pedal. The synth/violin lead is really cool, it sounds as if the key it’s in is meant to disorient the senses. This track has an uptempo throb to it that I find hypnotic as well. Suddenly, bell tones shriek their way into the mix, disrupting everything else, and then when the track gets back to where it was there’s a really beautiful arpeggiated synth that’s been added. The vocals shift for a bit, sounding like they’re coming from another place in space and with more reverb.

Then there’s a bouncing ball thing happening that gives way to screaming noise on ‘Hello pt2′. Laser resonance, harsh signal tones everywhere. A voice pans back and forth for a time, yelling in each of our ears. Several contraptions seem to be malfunctioning at once, throttling, exploding. The vocals emulate this… screaming and harsh.

Then, unfortunately, it ends… but it was a lot of fun to listen to."

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Umez and Kostoglotov now on sale - plus reviews

The Kostoglotov and Umez tapes are now for sale from the paypal buttons on the right, plus Kostoglotov's tapes 'Louis Althussar knows why my heart is asunder' has already received two favourable reviews from A Closer Listen and Soundblab, see below:

Louis might be aware of Kostoglotov’s malady but having died in 1990, the French philosopher isn’t really in a position to say. The music on this tape captures a mood of ineffable sadness though, so we are definitely aware that hearts are asunder, even if we’re not sure exactly why. Opening with the mournful arpeggio of an analogue synth, he gradually introduces layers of texture into the arrangement; a drone, a bassline, the clang of percussion, which reaches a swell of sound before swiftly dissolving. The second side unveils a puttery keyboard pattern that seems to be playing the rhythm, but not the tune of “The Gonk” from, before splitting amoeba-like into multiple synths which eventually coalesce into a beat and a swirling cloud of atmospheric texture. The tape takes us on some journey, for despite remaining fairly downbeat and introspective throughout, it’s an immensely pleasurable listening experience. If you love cassette releases, grab this now, to these ears it’s an early contender for tape of the year. 

A Closer Listen

London-based knob-twiddler, Dalston clubnight maven and (full disclosure) Soundblab contributor Kostoglotov aka Daryl Worthington gained some exposure last year with a plethora of releases. He kicks off 2013 with this new one on Liminal Noise Tapes. Divided into two long pieces of music, each one split into three sections,Louis Althusser knows why my heart is asunder is, as its title suggests, inspired by the life of post-modern Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser, although I don't think you necessarily need to know that to enjoy the music. 

'Side A', then, begins with twinkling, utopian synths and warm washes, very much in the vein of Vangelis, and stays like this for a good few minutes before some unsettling rhythms emerge, leading to a new section where desolate pads underpin an echoing siren-sound. Kostoglotov expertly builds the music here, layering textures to maximise both an emotional depth and a sense of a wide, barren space. After the flat emptiness comes what sounds like a brief evocation of a busy city-scape, which in turn gives way to a longer final section of recurring chimes and burbling synths, recalling Cluster at their most pastoral. 

'Side B' continues this bucolic theme, beginning with airy, vapour trail synths chuntering along in a blue sky. Here, the music unwinds and builds slowly, again adding textures in the style of Tangerine Dream at their most 70s kosmische. Eventually, this falls away as the music moves into a sparser, stiller phase, with only minimal, clict thking beats to give a sense of movement. The following section, however, feels as though it begins almost arbitrarily, with no build-up. It's the one time Kostoglotov's production skills seem to fall short. That said, the music itself remains lovely, so it's not a huge deal. 

Overall, the music on 'Side B' is cinematic, widescreen, with a travelogue feel that recalls Dam Mantle. It feels like a sincere attempt to filter some 70s progressive influences through a modern lens and in this it succeeds.Louis Althusser knows why my heart is asunder could maybe do with a few more peaks and troughs throughout, but 'Side A' is a never less than interesting listen while 'Side B' is simply gorgeous. Definitely an artist worth keeping an eye on.