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Archive for January, 2006

BUILD BUILDINGS – there is a problem with my tape recorder (self released)

Posted: January 4th, 2006, by Alasdair R

Build Buildings, a.k.a. Brooklyn based Ben Tweel, is a master of subtlety: “there is a problem with my tape recorder” is a strong collection of minimal electronica that is crafted with care, warmth and precision.

Tweel provides the listener with a seemingly limitless assortment of beats and samples, each delicately and purposely placed to build tensions and melodies that slowly slide under the radar of the listener.

There is a feeling of familiarity throughout; Tweel has produced something that is imaginative, playful and rooted in the every day. Sampled clicks, hums and whirrs from the gadget and button filled world around us meet sparingly used acoustic strings, percussion and piano. I imagine at times his music sounds like what a fax machine might sound like if it tried to serenade a photocopier with a harp.

Even at loud volumes, “there is a problem with my tape recorder” will always seem quiet, which is no bad thing. Sounds from outside of the music rub alongside the music with ease – beats mix with the hum of traffic or shop lights elegantly. I even found that at times that I had forgotten that I was listening to music and had become half convinced that my life had always been soundtracked so perfectly by Build Buildings.

CANNONBALL JANE – Street Vernacular (Fortuna Pop! Records)

Posted: January 4th, 2006, by Alasdair R

Imagine a world in which drum machines are made from bubble gum and the best guitars are kitted from fuzzy pink wool. In such a world Debbie Harry or Vivienne Westwood would rule the earth and Cannonball Jane would be on the radio 24/7.

Street Vernacular is bright pink bundle of New York flavoured lo-fi pop. It rocks, bubbles and shimmers in all the right places, showcasing Cannonball Jane’s warmth and humour. While the album is a perfect soundtrack to daydreams and wistful gazes, it is cute without being cloying. With a mixture of home-taped samples, Abba-esque keyboards, fuzzy guitars, and future disco drum machine patterns it is adventurous, exhilarating and above all really good fun.

Cannonball Jane
Fortuna Pop!

my space or yours?

Posted: January 3rd, 2006, by Thorsten Sideb0ard

Ug. I did it, i finally caved in and built a proper myspace page.

I don’t know why, i’ve never like myspace from the beginning. It smacks so much of sheer marketing ploy, it gives me the jeebies. I know about the Robert Maxwell Rupert Murdoch buyout of Intermix Media who own myspace and all that, but i mean even before then.

I jumped onto the friendster bandwagon pretty early. It seemed fun, it seemed like all the san francisco and uk indie-kids and hipsters had effectively taken over a dating site. I like mis-using things, i like other people mis-using things, finding new uses for something the original creator never intended. Then came tribe.net, which i reluctantly also subbed up for. It did seem like a genuinely better community site, more geeky and less fratboy. But still.. i got bored entering all that information in a second time. I got bored after that with community sites.

Then i got my audioscrobbler plugin, and when that merged with Last.fm, here was a true community site that really kicked ass, was genuine about the music, innovative with the features, and i instantly fell in love with it.

Flickr is my other online obsession these days, since i upgraded my camera a few months back. Same story, innovative and easy to use website, and seems genuinely passionate about the content and the users.

So, back to myspace. Whats not to like? Its pretty easy to use, up-to-date features (nothing truly innovative there, just seems like the best features from what has gone before), and i guess thats it. Its the ease of use i guess that gets everyone on board, and now that the whole world and their granny is on there, they pretty much have the dominating force for any would-be music community site challengers to the throne. So what am i griping about? i dunno! Myspace is just ugly and full of too many ads, and i feel like i’m selling out by building my own page, so i guess i’m just venting/justifying/whining!

The thing is, what makes a good community site is having a large community, and myspace now has it, with so many members. Everyone i know is up there, and its good people, its people i really do know and share a life with outside of inter-web-land, people doing and making and promoting great independent music.

But still i can’t shake a sneaky image of boardroom meetings and brainstorming sessions behind the myspace origins, rather than bedroom or garage hackers, and *splutter!* thats, thats just not indie-rock!

( http://myspace.com/highpointlowlife in case you were wondering.. )

PFM – Pre FM Tracks (noground-r 3" CD)

Posted: January 3rd, 2006, by Simon Minter

This is a beautiful and nifty-looking little CD in a miniature sleeve. It makes me feel most giant-like. The three tracks on here seem to me like fairly close cousins to the music on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works, vol. 2; moody-sounding, sparse ambient instrumentals with a general lack of apparent beats. First track ‘The Beauty of Repetition’ is a wonderful 9’31” series of drones, which enveloped my ears and warmed up my chilly car this morning. As the CD goes by, the edge (for me) is slightly taken off with the introduction of more structured melody and rhythm, making things more FSOL than Sunn o))), to put it ham-fistedly. But what a great little item this is! A compact twenty-minute blissout in a pocket-sized edition for those with tiny pockets.