Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oren Ambarchi - Grapes From The Estate

oren ambarchi's 'grapes from the estate'
I'm going to see Pavement tomorrow evening and Guided by Voices on Monday. Not sure how I feel about Pavement, but I'm very excited to see GBV. Great band and I imagine their live show is much better than their recorded material. Expect a blog post concerning those bands at some point. The title of this blog is a little misleading. The post will be focused around two records. Oren Ambarchi is an artist I saw opening for Boris w/ Michio Kurihara. He played a set that in my mind was much louder than any of the recorded material I've acquired of his. His recorded material tends to be very subdued and beautifully sparse. His live material has very ominous and from my knowledge (the concert was nearly three years ago) extremely cavernous and huge. His recorded stuff sounds so condensed that it was cool to hear him be very sprawling live. "Grapes From The Estate" is my favorite Oren record and every track is a highlight. The trouble with ambient music is making it simple enough to be subtle, but complex enough to remain interesting. The four pieces on "Grapes From The Estate" encompass that idea completely.
fennesz and ryuichi sakamoto's 'cendre'
Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto are both ambient musicians. Their collaboration "Cendre" is very different from Fennesz's work. The familiar glitchy ambience and solemn soundscapes are there, but Sakamoto seems to make the work very dark. The subtle addition of live piano and field recordings really adds a level of texture to the album that makes it great. Both of these records are excellent companions especially in the early hours of the morning. I find myself slowly drifting off to both Fennesz and Oren constantly in a way that is almost hypnotic. They both know the perfect amount of repetition to instill in a song while still allowing it to be relevant. Fennesz' pieces here are much shorter and less developed than Oren's, but they bleed a atmosphere devoid of Oren's sound. Ripples of sound encapsulating emotion is the only way to describe both of these records.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dabrye - One/Three

dabrye's 'one / three'
Michigan hip-hop production is the best. I'm not saying that other regional areas don't have their highlights. The south, east and west all maintain a level of consistency that allows for the yearly showcase of excellent beats. Detroit and on a large scale Michigan takes influences from all of those styles though. Rather than fall into a trap of defining itself regional, Detroit has managed to create a production style that dabbles in soul samples, hard hitting beats, and influences from the city's own techno scene. Dilla is the easy name, but when you begin examining Detroit and Michigan producers in general they tend to have a level of consistency not seen in other areas. Black Milk, Decompoze, Waajeed, Mr. Porter, etc. the state has a tendency for showing off beats in tracks.

Dabrye is sort of the more electronic version of the Michigan sound. Much like Flying Lotus or Daedalus in the LA area, Dabrye takes influence from the local hip-hop scene but his music can not necessarily be classified as hip-hop. He definitely creates hip-hop sounding beats and the follow up to 'One/Three' features numerous guest rap spots. This music is more akin to the Brainfeeder movement than the Detroit hip-hop sound. 'One/Three' sounds like a Warp Record version of one of Dilla's beat tapes. The album is very organic and passes you buy in a much shorter time than it actual plays for. If anyone has heard 'Vintage Vol.2' this album pretty much sounds like a more expanded, technical version of that idea. Simple beats with not so simple sounds.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bedhead - What Fun Life Was

bedhead's 'what fun life was'
Who knows why I haven't been inspired to post anything lately. My girlfriend moved away for a couple of months. She moved back a couple months ago. I've been taking the final classes for my degree and spending a summer relaxing with friends. I guess that is why blogs tend to die is because people find things they find more important.

Bedhead is a mid '90s alternative group (surprise!). Most people who like the genre of slowcore probably know them. It is autumn in Southern California and I've been looking for records that revolve around the colder weather. Mainly focusing on post-hardcore and ambient music. Bedhead has some kind of combination of both of those types of sound. They play pop music much like the Duster record I posted a few months back. It is extremely melodic and extremely easy to listen to, but it also has these weird dissonant moments along with the more traditional ones. The textural aspects of this record are ones that are very subtle, but at the same time what makes the entire record. Good for cold nights, which I imagine I'll be having a lot more lately. Hopefully I can keep up with the posts.