Notes on Some Recent Acquisitions

(the full list)

Here's my best of 2003 list :

Belle and Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
: the song writing's still fantastic and the production just makes it sparkle even more.
TV On the Radio - Young Liars EP
: the finest avant-gospel-rock record ever made!
Amos, Tori - Scarlet's Walk
: over-stays it's welcome but easily her best full recording since 'under the pink'
Books, The - The Lemon Of Pink
: effortless mingling of electronics and analogue sounds with a warmth that pays off
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
: easily lived up to the promise of their 1st ep and shows a range of emotion i didn't think they had
Komeda - Kokomemedada
: got pop tunes  to die for wrapped up in a post-stereolab ironic sound
Taylor, Lewis - Stoned Part 1
: yes, you have to ignore the lyrics for the most part but his sumptuous soul stylings are as lovely as ever
Radiohead - Hail To The Thief
: not as good as the last 2 but still the best art rock in town
Loose Fur - Loose Fur
: beats all those avant jam-improv bands hands down
White Stripes, The - Elephant
: i disliked 'white blood cells' but this has some great songs even if it tapers off a bit
Secret Machines, The - September 000
: pink floyd 2003
Kraftwerk - Tour De France Soundtracks
: didn't really want to get this but they've still got that mechano beat, haven't they?
Wyatt, Robert - Solar Flares Burn For You
: not much new music on this one but the stuff from the peel sessions is gloriously sad.
Kings Of Leon - Youth & Young Manhood
: the stomp, the tunes, the flares.
Necks, The - Drive By
: i suppose i've reached necks saturation point but this is still mighty fine minimalist improv
Wire - Send
: a great bunch of art punk songs slightly hurt by over limited production
Wainwright, Rufus - Want One
: taken in small doses this is just fine medicine but it's a little sickly in one hit.
Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird Bark
: left this off my emailed list but it may be my favourite after all.
has this been released yet? Air - Talkie Walkie
: if so then it's up there too - a true return to depressing pop form
John Cale Hobosapiens

Initially I was hesitant about getting this - I mean, really, how could someone who's best work was in the 60s and 70s possibly create something of any interest in 2004. But any reticence was quickly dissipated by a strong voice and a fantastic sense of melody and orchestration and... just about everything. Amazingly this is as good as his best releases - Paris 1919 and Fear. 8

Dexy's Midnight Runners Let's Make It Precious

Apart from the great early radio hits, this really is a dull piece of work. His voice is just so weak especially when compared to Van Morrison who was the obvious influence. 5

The Innocence Mission
Arhur Russell
World Of Echo

2 albums decades apart but both with a similar problem. They're both great at what they do (although Russell is obviously more enigmatic) but they really need some differences in tone throughout the work. Their antecedents - C, S & N John Martyn respectivelly - managed to create a body of work that was diverse, not just one theme, one way of playing, one way of showing their emotions to the world. Still and all, very beautifull. 7

Joni Mitchell Don Juan's Recless Daughter

The late 70s stuff that never really interested me until I read that great bio - Shadow and Light. Not half as bad as I'd remembered although the tang of cocaine is so prevalent it's cloying. 7

Soft Machine Backwards

An amazing bunch of releases, spanning the whole breadth of the band. Spaced is interesting (if little else), Backwards is more so with a couple of great things and Virtually is fast and violent jazz rock. 7 

Deutsch Nepal
Jeremy Dower
Tod Dockstader
Eno (Bang on a Can)
Ben Fleischmann
Sentimental Dance Music
Music For Airports
A Choir Of Empty Beds
Not The Wheel

Some lovely electronic and minimal music in this bunch. D.Nepal are the most trance like I've heard for some time; Dower continues his 70's analogue fetish with more than a twist of the Tsk Tsk Tsk eps; Dockstader is a true genius of the downplayed modulator; Bang on a Can's version of a seminal Eno piece seems rather redundant; Fleischmann is another great mixer of the digital and real world and, sadly, Tarwater's schtick is pretty tired sounding. 7-8

The Doors
The Kinks
The Doors / LA Woman
Village Green / Ultimate comp

2 bands that I remember vividly from radio in my late 60s pre-adolescence and who I never really wanted to own. I had a Doors comp that bored me to tears but these 2 are quite terrific - a fair bit of filler but still they sound like no-one else. Same can be said for The Kinks whose Village Green... I hadn't heard before : and what a great psych gem it is! The comp shows their melodic and lyrical strengths. 7-8 

La Monte Young 56-73

4 cd-r bootleg comp containing snippets from all his major pieces. The sound quality's pretty dire but it's an illuminating, if slightly tiresome, journey. 7

Agitation Free
Jackie-O Motherfucker
Taj Mahal Travellers
Xhol Caravan
Fig. 5 / Change
August 74
Motherfuckers Live

All this freak-out improvising proves is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Use your editing skills, chaps! That's what made Can so great. Still and all, there's some wonderful sections on all these releases. 7 

The Necks Drive By

Now this is more like it. Far better than the lacklustre Photosynthetic and their last studio work - Aether - it tries to get the rollicking mesmering feel of Hanging Garden but falls short - it seems a bit tricky or that their tricks have lost their charm. Great drumming as always. 7

Philip Glass Music in 12 Parts

This version was released in 1989 on vinyl and hasn't been released again. It's been replaced by a 1995 recording that, to my ears, sounds far too clinical in all the sections (it's also longer). The 1st 6 parts of the LP release were recorded in 1975 with lots of the early players + Joan La Barbara and the later half in 89 with the mid period group, some of whom played on the 95 recordings. There's no doubt that the 75 recordings are very special, easily some of the best things they recorded. The 89 recordings are still a bit stiff but I think now that it's completely due to the pieces themselves - they sound like he was sick of the whole thing and / or they're too simplistic, especially in comparison to the warmth of the earlier parts. Great to have - and all thanks to Pat who found a pristine copy of the box set somewhere - I don't think it's been played much at all : about 1 pop / click per side. 8

The Books Thought for Food

I enjoyed Lemon of Pink so much that I got this one quick smart. It too is lovely and, possibly, of an even higher quality. The mix of acoustic and electronic elements is superb. 8

Eno and Winkies Dali's Car

A complettists purchase, I suppose, but it does have some good moments. 7

The Fall The Real New Fall LP

Surprisingly buoyant release from one of my favourite old-worlde bands. Who'd a thunk it? Almost 30 years later and they're still producing good albums. It DOES sound like every other album they've ever made but it's still terrific. 8

Jackie-O Motherfucker The Magick Fire Music

I was concerned that this may have been as bad as those US new-folk experimentalists but instead it's quite lovely in a rambling fashion. Reminds me of too many late night jams fuelled by one thing or another but it has a consistency that's enticing. 8

Todd Rundgren Runt
Runt, The Ballad Of TR

That's the last 3 then - I'm a Todd completist (until the 70s ended anyway). The first 2 show glimpses of the brilliance that would happen the next year but sound under-worked if anything. Todd is at the other end of the spectrum - overwrought and slightly panicky sounding. Must have been the drugs. 7

The Secret machines September 000

Modern, spacious psychedelic rock with whiffs of mid period Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips (but lacking the latter's annoying vocals). 8 

Small Faces There Are But 4 Small Faces

The real deal psychedelic pop containing their best hit singles and a lot of other great songs. 8

Blondie Blondie
Plastic Letters

Some great plastic pop interspersed with a reasonable amount of filler. 6

The Books Lemon Of Pink

Excellent new electronic music mixing lots of acoustic guitars and vocals with slightly glitchy noise. Sort of loungey and in a similar vein to The Notwist but a million times better. 8

Nat King Cole The Unforgettable

A 6 LP Readers Digest comp of, what I'd hope would be, all of his saccharine period which I digitised for someone else. Some great stuff but also some weird choices. 6

Elvis Costello North

Lachrymose attempt to be Burt Bacharach, yet again. 4

Neil Diamod Best Of

A real pop songwriter who I feel I should like more than I do. Maybe it's the voice, yet again, that puts me off. 6

The Necks Photosynthetic

Possibly the worst Necks release of them all. Lack of cohesion, uninterested or disconnected playing and not a decent riff amongst the lot. But it still has pockets of charm. 6

Outkast Speakerboxxx / Love Below

Got it only because (a) I enjoyed Mrs Jackson and (b) the video to Hey Ya is so spectacularly good. Not a real fan of the more standardised (but still energising) Hip Hop of Speakerboxxx and Love Below flags after about the 1st quarter but it's all amazingly vibrant. 7

Various Artists Mutant Disco
Northern Electronic
Wire Tapper 10

The 2 cds of Mutant Disco remind me so much of parties in the early eighties but that still doesn't make them more than just listenable. Nth Electronic reminds me of early Human League but tires me out with it's incessant electro beats. The latest Wire Tapper is quite dull too. 6

Robert Wyatt Solar Flares Burn For You

Now this is more like it. Gorgeous stripped down versions of the 2 virgin album material (and earlier) + some weird bits and pieces and off-cuts.  Far better than his real release of this year. 8

Bowie Ziggy S/T

I don't think I've heard a Bowie live release that I've liked much at all. At least this extended Visconti remix is an improvement on the original LP. 6

Pedro Pedro

Not dissimilar to the sample based aesthetic of DJ Shadow but augmented with live instruments. Can't shake the feeling that I've heard it all before. 5

Ilse Lau Kat

An 3 piece delivering instrumentals of a prog type. Harsh, angular fuzzed guitar, muscular bass, drums rallying it all. Reminiscent of mid 70s King Crimson and some Henry Cow throw in for good measure but sounding like no-one else. 8  

World Standard + Moose Hill
Town and Country
Gracefull Silence
It All Has To Do With It

With a name like Gracefull Silence you know it's not going to be a bumpy ride. Mainly acoustic instruments and folk based songwriting, leaning towards the orchestral (some nice High Llama-ish arrangements). Quite beautifull. 7
T&C is similar but more downhearted, veering towards a sound like Rachels. Slightly nowhere. 6
Richterband - hey, is this the first Czechoslovakian cd I've got? More acoustic moments with a free improv bent and even more downbeat than T&C but with a passion for playing that comes through. 7

Black Dice Beaches and Canyons

A nice connection between those above and those below. Some quiet elegant post-rock moments that are  shattered when they start up the experimentalism and, yes, it does sound like glitch albeit done live or approaching it. Uncompromising and original. 8

Pimmon Orquesta del Arrurruz
Secret Sleeping Birds
Electronic Tax Return

I think I have all of the Pimmon releases now (thanks Paul). The lastest - snaps*crackles*pops adds a more straightforward framework around the sounds with loops and beats and chord changes manifesting themselves to fantastic effect. Maybe it's my jaded post-punk ears but it's the one I'll probably play most often. The others are as diverse as the ones I already own - from dark droning ambient, through cut ups and glitch and onto debrided sounds and noise. All patched together seamlessly with snatches of melody. 8

Ekkehard Ehlers
samartzis + pimmon + verhagen + brown
Ambarchi / Ng
Endless Summer

EE plays... is a gorgeously rich amalgam of found sound, deep synths, glitchy electronics and loops. As moving as abstract music gets? 8
Endless Summer has lots of sections reminding me of a guitar lead being unplugged (but with the nasty bits removed). Another lovely piece of modern electronic music. 7
Grain is a mainly quiet affair with long extended moody pieces jarred by incongruous cuts. Brown's Voices of the Air Shaft is welcomely reminiscent of music concrete. 6
Vigil is a very quiet piece built on older style sounds - Bailey like guitar plunks, reverb and echo, gongs. Listenable. 6

La Dusseldorf
Cluster 71
Krautrock Archive Vol 1

Cluster 71 is an improvement on their Kluster release and a move towards their later stylings. But the echo box is well in evidence and the smells of the Tangs is prominent. 6
The Archives is a mixed bag of 2nd string German bands from the early 70s. There's some great stuff that sounds like Can or Tangerine Dream and there's some shockers too but that's half the fun. 6
Individuellos continues the prettifying of NEU!s sound that the other 2 started. Less intense than all previous material it's still charming. 6

Anglieger Frei / Haushaltswaren s/t

Early 80's experimental post-punk from Germany. 2 bands, probably loosely alligned or with cross membership which sounds like a great lost M Squared band! 7

Ghost s/t

Modern psych-folk with a real touch of the acid flashbacks. More self contained than the other release I have of theirs. 7 

Gastr Del Sol Camofleur

Less electronic wandering and more direct songs on the last collaboration between Grubbs and O'Rourke. It's just fantastic. Reminiscent of the sound of the Sea and Cake but without that bands ridiculous anal retentive quality.8 

Stereolab Instant 0

Their latest EP treads water... but in a lovely manner. The melodies are similar to those on Sound Dust but there's less complete flow about them. Too many of the songs have disparate sections butted next to each other to no great effect. But the sections still appeal. 7

Belle and Sebastian Dear Catastrophe Waitress

I've always liked B&S even if their last 2 did little for me. But this surprisingly buoyant record makes me wanna laugh with joy. All those vocals, all those instruments piled on top, strings even! Some parts 'sound like an Association outtake' - yes, that's right. Then they'll sound like the Cars or many 70s pop songs. Wondrous. 9

Robert Wyatt Cuckooland

Eagerly awaited but slightly disappointing. Yes, that voice can still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, the melodies are still beautiful and, as someone said in a review, his drumming is sprightly and energetic. But there's too much Benge in the lyrics (not enough of the wordplay I love so much about his other releases) and too much of that dull cornet he seems so enamoured of. 7

Rufus Wainwright Want One

At times the production is so ramped up and overbuilt that you wonder when it's going to collapse. At all times his singing is over the top and melodramatic. And yet there's some of his best songs here. Typically frustrating and wondrous. 7

George Harrasment Masai Sleepwalking

One of the many Homosexuals related solo outings. Lo-fi with occassional glimpses of fantastic melodies and a heap of filler. 5

Jobim and Regina
Elis Regina
Elis and Tom
Samba, eu Canto Assim

Elegant, vibrant Brazilian pop at it's best and worst. E&T jumps between Jobim's sprightly pieces and very Portuguese torch stuff. Samba is an earlier, more straightforward, dryer release. 6

Perry Leopold Experiment in Metaphysics

Supposedly a lost psych-folk classic, there's not enough instrumentation to raise it above the pedestrian. 5

Ladytron 604
Rare etc

I liked Light and magic so much that I thought I'd check on the other stuff. It's good too - more great songs and synths - although I like the high end production values on their last release. Who'd have thought you could build a career on imitating Numan. 7

Akiyama, Fransic, Kneale, Neville, Watkins
Dellaria, Sonderberg
Sonic Catering Band
Akiyama etc
Fold Your Arms...
Live from the Kitchens...

3 interesting releases from the Absurd label. Akiyama et al and Sonic Catering are good examples of modern free improv with some great moments. I wish that I simply liked them more. Dellaria / Sonderberg is a hard listen with tones clashing and moving up and down scales - slightly ambient but noise based as well. 6/7

Boards of Canada Disengage EP

Early material from the Scottish duo that pales in comparison to their later work - fairly house / techno more than anything else. 6

Curt Boettcher comp

I thought Harpers Bizarre were the low point of lounge pop but this sometimes scrapes the barrel. But, yet again, there's some lovely tunes. 6

Antonio Carlos Jobim Wave
Stone Flower

Late 60s / early 70s lounge jazz and it's the best of it I've ever heard. Complex arrangements, that gorgeous swaying Brazillian beat and chord changes that make your heart ache. 8

Need New Body UFO

Alongside of Deerhoof, this is some of the best modern leftfield rock I've heard. Glimpses of other bands styles aren't used wholesale (unlike the new post-punkers) but are simply assimilated into their own noise. 8

Simple Minds Early Gold

They promised me a miracle but failed, as they always did. 6

Ben Folds
Devendra Banhart
The Notwist
Elliot Smith
Speed Graphic EP
Black Babies EP
Lichter EP
Pretty Ugly 7"

A bunch of newish EPs and singles. 
Ben Folds seems to have grasped back his tunes on this 1st of 3 EPs before an LP next year. The last BFF CD and his 1st solo album lacked something undefineable and added a studio gloss I found cloying. The new stuff seems rawer - much like the early BFF in both playing and production. I just love it, really. He shows off all his styles with great aplomb. 8
Banhart's is more of the same and a little bit tiring because of that. This time I'd love to hear a bigger production. 7
The Notwist's is a soundtrack, I think, and sound lovely in their rather non-involving way. 7
Smith's latest single is fairly dull. 6

Strokes Room on Fire

More of the same. I really loved the 1st album but I expected something slightly different this time round (not sure why). How long can he use that damned distortion box on his vocals, for heavens sake. I suspect I'll like it more as time goes on but not a whole lot. 7

Subway Sect comp

Collates all the singles and bits and pieces when they were a punk band. Sometimes glorious and sometimes annoying, it's Goddard's voice and his melodies that always sticks in the brain. 7

John Luther Adams Clouds of Forgetting, Clouds of Unknowing

Jeez that's a terrible title, especially when the music is particularly good. Tiny runs of notes, reminiscent of Anthony Moore's pieces without the in your face intellectualism, meet with jabs of sounds. Quite relaxing until the notes collide. 7 

Basement Jaxx Kish Kash

The problem I have with albums like this is the different singers. I suppose they're taking the old soul review idea and highlighting the talents of everyone but it doesn't make it a compelling whole for me. Still and all, some great tunes. 7

Bowie Reality

I will just keep hoping that another, more experimental version of Bowie pops out again in the next 10 years. With all the stock business over his head I suppose that's not really going to happen. Do I really want to hear Scary Monsters style Bowie? Better than the last 2 in any case. 7

Nuno Canavarro Plux Quba

More excellent and previously unheard electronic / music concrete - this time from Portugal. 8

Rhys Chatham An Angel Moves Too Fast To See

3 cds of archival material from the guy who taught Glen Branca his whole schtick, or so it seems. Some truely marvellous guitar drones. 8

Hafler Trio Seven Hours Sleep

Another minimal concrete composition. Passes through me without noticing. 7

Grace Jones Island Life

Not all good memories are that way in reality. Except for the still fantastic Slave To The Rhythm and the more popular tunes, there's little here to excite me. 6

Kraftwerk Tour De France Sountracks

Not too keen on the pure techno of the first few tracks but by the end of Vitamin I am theirs once more. 8

Laraaji Ambient 3

Glorious ambient in a world-music stylee. 8

Slits Y

Intriguing bootlegs and so on documenting the roots of punk and DIY a'la Slit world. 6

Kevin Ayers

Soft Machine
Joy of a Toy
Shooting at the Moon

BBC Radio 1969-1971
Peel Sessions

I've had a dissapointing Ayers comp for a while but remastering / added tracks dragged me into these and I'm glad I did. I always loved his songs of the first Soft Machine album but Joy of a Toy is the real psych pop goods - as good as that gets, really. The other 2 are slowly working his way into songcraft and so, for me, a little less interesting. 6-8 
The recent Softs BBC re-issue is great but, my, how my mind wanders after Wyatt and Ayers stop singing. Some of the 'big band' stuff is great, though. Obviously I decided to download this after I'd spent days transferring the original 2 LP (that comprises at least 2/3 of the downloaded one). Redundancy lives. 7

Branca Symph 8/10
World Upside Down

Probably the least interesting of his output but it could just be my brain saying enough is enough. I mean, none of his things are that different to one another. One good idea does not a career make. 7

Jimi Hendrix Experience Hendrix

I've got a couple of tracks on home made comps but this official remastered comp sounds great. Still not as good as seeing him on videos, though. 7

High Llamas Beets, Maize and Corn

I'll have to give it more time but first impressions are not that good. The slow dissipation of tunes from O'Hagan's  music is not something I want to hear. 6

Kings of Leon Youth and Young Manhoos

Peter tried to play his copy when we last saw him but it just wouldn't work. Now, after getting it myself I can see why he was so worked up - more tunes than the Strokes, played ferociously, fun, gasping fun. 8

Komeda Kokomemedada

A couple of terrific songs again with a touch more filling than I'd have liked. The reason I like them is that her voice just sits in my chest and head, fitting there unlike anyone else I can think of. 7

John Martyn Live at Leeds
One World

More of that slow, bluesy folk he made so elusive on Solid Air. The live one noodles along a bit with a 20 min intro! - too much dope, obviously. The later One World is still pretty special. 6/7

Roxy Music Live

From all over the world during their 2001 tour. Some excellent versions of old favs although I still miss Eno's strange warblings - especially on Remake/Remodel. Still and all - I wish I'd actually seen the show. 7

Steely Dan The Royal Scam

I can now say I own every separate album they released. Oh joy. I don't care what anyone says - they're fab. 7 


Turn On
Imitation Electric Piano
Splitting The Atom
Live Munich 18/09/2001

various releases

Stereolab live are obviously going to be a hit or miss proposition. Some of the newer Sound Dust material sounds very under-rehearsed but the earlier tracks are outstanding. 7

The others are various side projects all released on Duophonic. Turn On is mainly Gane and O'Hagan and sounds just wonderfull (much better than the new Llamas). IEP is the rhythm section doing a jazz rock influenced version of post-rock (very Third Softs) and StA sounds like a myriad other Lab songs. 8

Tahiti 80 Puzzle
Wallpaper for the Soul

As much as I adore a good pop tune with oodles of harmony, these French blokes are just too much like escaping gas. 5

Robert Wyatt Dondestan (Revisited)

Amazingly, a remix album that works spectacularly well with the originator making (sometimes) completely different songs from the originals. Still can't watch the video. 7

10cc Best of

Far too plastic and manufactured, 70's style or my current liking but, like Steely Dan, these are songs I remember most from my teen radio. 6

Linda Perhacs Parallelograms

Beautifull psych inflected singer songwriter pop. Most is stunning but the rest can be a bit like guessing who influenced her. Still, some of those melodies are superb. 8   

King Crimson The Great Deceiver

4 cd box set of the mid 70s 4 piece playing live in the US, Canada and Europe. Partially thrilling, partially as dull as they could be but Wetton's bass playing always makes me shiver. 8

Basil Kirchin Quantum

A weird one and that's for sure. Mixing music concrete with free improv and synth sections, it's uncomaperable across it's whole breadth. Scary recordings of children top it off. 8

Tangerine Dream Rubycon

Another from that period I particularly like of theirs - when they were moving away from slow sound pieces (with the obligatory flute) and into pulsed beats and snyths. Maybe less interesting than some of the others from this time. 6

This Heat Outtakes and Rarities

Not sure if this was worth the time and effort of downloading but it's definitely the last bits and pieces of their recorded output. Pool is another version of 24 track loop, the 'original' 12" version of H&E is crystal clear and the rest are mildly interesting. 7

Various Gravikords, Whirlies and Pyrophones

Experimental musical instruments from the last century, lovingly recorded and beautifully packaged - the large size booklet is terrific. There's some waffly, forgettable new age stuff in here but that's balanced by the completely left field - like the final song : a version of New York New York played on car horns. 8

Michael Yonkers Band Microminiature Love

Excellent late 60s garage psych with dry production and good tunes. The voice is a bit wayward but no more so than a lot of underground bands. 7


PS - I downloaded Michael Yonkers and Basil Kirchin after reading reviews in the latest The Wire magazine. I think that's a first - useful reviews in the Wire!

I also downloaded some tracks of the New Weird America bands and found them to be particularly boring. I can understand what they're trying to do and I imagine that both playing and listening to it in a live situation could be a great experience. But it's really no different to a million other loose spacey jams performed by a million other bands throughout history - myself and friends included.

This Heat After The Heat

Post-Deceit demos and a few tracks from the two Charles' first solo albums. The demos are, for the most part, decidedly whimsical in a typical English manner and are reminiscent of (Makers of) the Dead Travel Fast and/or the Residents - slightly out of tune piano, some rhythm machine, softer, slower, far less intense. The solo material is interesting too and shows more of a pop / dance influence (reggae riddums, fer heavens sake): Bullen's voice is crystal clear in all it's nasal glory. A fascinating artifact of the way things always change. 7

ARE Weapons ARE Weapons

Like the stupid younger brother of Alan Vega. Occassionally interesting. 6 

Elbow Cast of Thousands

I was intrigued by a song off their first album but quickly tired of the droll rest of it but this one's the opposite - first listen... pah... 2nd and onwards, most enjoyable. Better tunes if sounding slightly like every other UK band sometimes. 7

Matmos The Civil War

Not enough connections between the different source musics they call upon but one or two tracks atre fluid and mesmerising. 6

The Nazz The Nazz
Nazz nazz

Some great psych pop and guitar workouts mixed with some less than interesting last 60s rock. 7/6

Soft Machine Noisette

On the cusp between interesting, exciting jazz rock and the noodly, annoying jazz rock they preferred without Mr Wyatt. Looser and rawer than expected. 7

Stockhausen Spiral -Pole

One of the ridiculously expensive private editions released by the old master to make himself some dosh in his old age. A usefull historical document if nothing else. 5

Various Improvised Music From Japan

Amazingly vibrant, genre hopping 10 cd compilation of the current Japanese improv scene. Some wayward experiments and some ignominious failures but the breadth of the music available is just spectacular. 8

Animal Collective Here Comes The Indian
Spirit They've Gone..

Another band mixing kosmiche style free playing with rock and pop and doing it very well indeed, thank you. Maybe the noodly aspects will wear thin over time but they sound just fine now. 8 / 6

Glenn Branca Symph No 2
Symph No 3
Symph No 6

I commented below that #5 was a live hall sound and it dissipated the energy of the piece. #6 is an earlier recording, studio based and... it STILL sounds quiet. Obviously, a live experience is required but it's a terrific flowing piece anyway. 3 and 2 are less impelling but show a willingness to experiment. 7/7/8

Broadcast Noise Made By People

Doo be doobe doo be doo be. Facile but, mostly, true. 6

Instant Automatons Not So Deep A Well

US DIY post-punk with a light touch and a good turn of phrase. It doesn't do as much for me as the UK lot in a similar vein but it's just another indication of how fabulously global the whole scene was - if only we'd known. 6 

TV in the Radio
Young Liars EP
We No Longer... Peel Sessions

Put onto one cd for the synchronicity (NY bands, friends, TV's ep called Liars, etc) but they really have very little in common. 
TV are the closest I've heard in all this new 'rock' to what I'd like to have made myself (yes, Pat, that's melody, chords and the human voice). Maybe too much gospel but their voices sound lovely. 8
The Liars stuff isn't as memorable as their other releases but still interesting. The Peel sessions are recorded well and they sound great live. Too bad they've lost their rhythm section. 7

Liquid Liquid comp

Amazingly I'd never heard this band before this year although they seem like the sort of band we'd have played at parties quite a lot if we'd known about them. They certainly had the disco attitude down pat. 7

Joni Mitchell Travelogue

2 cd set of her back catalogue swathed in some lovely string arrangements and with her smoke riddled voice to the fore. In most cases, not a patch on the originals. 6

Parts and Labour Groundswell ep

An unknown NY band, mixing post-rock with harder math rock stylings, all instrumental but they're dieing for raging vocalese. 6

Television Rarities

Neon Boys, Little Johnny Jewel, the Eno demos and some other live things. Hardly essential (except for LJJ) but still enticing. 7

Various Disco Not Disco
New York Noise

Comps detailing the disco / post-punk interface. Wildly divergent as expected which, sometimes, makes for uneasy transitions. Great to hear Yoko's Walking on Thin Ice, Branca's Lesson 1, etc. 7 / 8

click HERE for some not so recent notes

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