Album Review: Cuefx – International Post-War Chill Remixes

CuefxLabel: Export Label

One of the best things about electronic-based music is the remixing. The ability to completely cut up and dissect every bit to a song, mash them up and twist them about has been made extremely easy. It brings an outpouring of inventive collaboration from contemporaries, each with their own style and perspective. 11 different artists have twisted around the songs of unique electronic artist Cuefx into a chilled out series of jazzy tunes slathered in hip hop. The original songs can be found on Cuefx’s latest release, International Post-War Chill, although I must admit I have not heard it. Therefore these remixes have been examined for their own merits with no bias towards the original mix of the songs. The ignorance of this gives a unique perspective on the music itself. Every chopped up tone and sound wave is entirely new to my ears, gently ringing and soothing.

The remixes sample a variety of genres, already found in the original mixes, and meld them together in different ways to form even more innovative sounds. The fusion of nu-jazz and hip hop influences sparks a chemical reaction that freezes your synapses and awakens the beat inside you. The mild relaxing beats add electronic twinges of synthetic bliss. A soft euphoria descends on the city streets, accentuated by a rolling fog that dials the senses into the music. It’s a score for those dark hollow nights in some nameless lounge club in the middle of the city. Smoky, somber tones vaporize into the air and set the mood for unwinding the day’s stresses and readjusting the mind.

These tracks are recommended for anyone who enjoys a chill evening. The dark and morose undertones are no match for the calming effects of the drumbeat. They convey a nuclear winter feel, where everything is destroyed and there’s nothing left to do but enjoy what’s left of the world. However depressing the subject matter is, there is no escaping the music, which is a special hiding place from the negative screaming of the world. The creative endeavor of the remix album has given artists a chance to give their own interpretation of relaxing in a post-apocalyptic world. Something we may have to try and accomplish in our own realities pretty soon. Who knows what tomorrow will bring so until then, enjoy the music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: Who Wants a Bomb (Nik Laker Remix)

http://exportlabel.com/post/37556361703/cuefx-international-post-war-chill-remixes
http://exportlabel.bandcamp.com/album/international-post-war-chill-remixes

Album Review: Dr. m.o.m. – Thank You

Label: Trippin’ the Rift
Catalog No: TTRR013

My Own Mind. That’s what the “m.o.m.” stands for. Doctor My Own Mind. The alias of Otari Kakanov, music brain surgeon and pretty handy with scissors. He has cut and assembled a plethora sound pieces from old records and films, pasting together a smoky cast-down atmosphere to dwell in. Influenced by the work of early abstract hip-hop artists, Dr. m.o.m. has gone a level deeper, descending into more somber territory and creating dense textures that knock down walls.

Thank You is a story that takes us through despair and joy. An excursion down a twisted road of unfortunate circumstance that comes to a dead end at rock bottom. Then the assistance of a friend turns everything around and happiness is restored. For that you must tell them thank you. What began as a fun jaunt with ethereal effects and bouncing grooves quickly morphed into a morose chaos soon to be supplanted by a gloomy melancholic pain. Emotive orchestral tones twist around the morose strikes of the piano. Sliding further down until the end of the road unfolds and presents a dimly lit room clouded by smoky vapor. A half empty bottle of whiskey, ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts. Eyes glassed over, faint objects mere blurs of light dancing to the sedate drumbeat and mournful piano.

Through some unexplained karmic portal comes the aid of a familiar comfort. An old friend that is held close to the heart materializes and begins the painstaking process of helping repair the damage from the abuses of life. An astral uplifting begins. Ambient swirls cut through smoke and disperses it, banishing it to another dimension. The drums take over and fill the room with an energetic pulse, commanding the senses into action. The mind has cleared. The room falls away to a bustling city, lighting the sky up with a palette of various colors. Everything has an angelic glow to it, a positive radiance and it would not have been possible without the inspiring guidance of an old friend.

Thank You combines jazz elements and hip hop beats with record scratching and the occasional ambient echo. Borrowing from a varied selection of genres makes it an eccentric familiarity. It’s something we have all heard before but not in this way. All the sounds compliment each other to represent every emotion felt in the whirlwind tale it tells. The moral of the story is to, of course, say Thank You to those you are grateful for. Give thanks to the ones who are always there for you.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Reign Over Me

http://label.trippintherift.com/ttrr013-dr-m-o-m-thank-you/
http://drmom.bandcamp.com/album/thank-you

Album Review: Emotion Coder – My Never Ending Wish EP

Label: Mojear Records
Catalog No: MJ50

A soulful night in the city. Street lights streak past, leaving a bright stain on the car’s metallic shine that immediately melts away. Wheels endlessly turning towards the modern mountains of concrete and steel, all lit up twinkling in the dark abyss. A quick drive from home to downtown, anticipation for the evening’s events mounting. Smooth beats pulsating from hidden speakers simmers the apprehension and quiets the mind. Three new tracks from India’s Emotion Coder have let their powers of repose be known. On a short 15 minute twilight drive you can experience a soothing variety of electronic possibilities.

“Signify” is the first track and gets the ball rolling with grandiose trumpets and spastic percussion. Accompanied by seductive vocals from a smoky angel looking out over the darkness. The car melds with the music and becomes part of it: windshield wipers keep the beat, the hum of the engine recycles echoes back into the ears. The act of driving feels more like the art of playing an instrument when this happens. A dark an empty country road becomes a blank staff waiting to be filled with music. Suddenly, “Streets” appear. The 2nd track is a chilled out mix of downtempo and jazz elements. A unifying groove is carved, drawing various sounds together like water into a ditch. It accompanies you on your journey as the city looms near. Track number three, “Concentric”, paints the portrait of a harmonious urban atmosphere. Industrial influences lurk out of the shadows while a dream-like fog is blown in from placid synth tones. Lights melt into watercolor hues across the windshield, only to be swept away.

My Never Ending Wish is a great sampler from a talented artist who can turn any electronic genre into a transcendent sensation. The future holds a special place for such moving sounds that can tell a story before our very eyes. This solid release has given us a small taste of what Emotion Coder is capable of. In time I hope he will share all of his aural wisdom with the world.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Streets

http://www.beatport.com/release/my-never-ending-wish-ep/978648
https://bedroomrecords09.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/emotion-coder-my-never-ending-wish-ep-mj50-mojear-records/

Album Review: The Developing – The Puzzle

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

Catalog No: TTRR011

The Developing has taken trip-hop to another level. I bet you all thought that trip-hop was dead and nothing new could come of it right? This album has just proven all you cynical skeptics wrong. The Puzzle features retro-fitted artifacts from the early 90s, giving a “stereotypical” sound to the untrained ear. Upon closer listening you discover a wide depth to the music that sinks deep into your skin. Elements of jazz and IDM are also swirled in to provide another dimension in the beat. The many sounds are layered so well that a harmonious whirr blows through the room, giving everything perfect unity.

The samples used are taken from a wide range of sources. From train horns to trying to start a car, The Developing has turned everyday sounds into symphonic accents for chilled out dance music. The use of these types of samples is nothing new but here there is a very unique character to them. I can easily see some hipsters writing this album off as a rip-off of classic 90s dance music. This is a complete misnomer. The Puzzle’s influences come from all over the spectrum and were mixed together in new ways to create something sui generis and personal. It may sound familiar but that is only your mind trying to link together what the music means to you.

The Puzzle is exactly what its name implies. There are 12 big pieces each composed of hundreds of smaller pieces. Upon each listen you will find new pieces and uncover different sounds. This is totally tuned to take the listener on a journey but only with the listener’s help. You have to be open to the idea of letting the music take you where you want to go. So rare is it that we come across music that gives us a blueprint and lets our imagination fill in the rest.

Rating: 4 Stars

Standout Track: Over Clouds

http://trippintherift.com/en/archives/2400

http://soundcloud.com/ttrr/the-developing-the-puzzle

Review: Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Label: Anti-
Catalog No: 87151-2

From the opening assault of horns to every subsequent growl of his voice, Tom Waits leads an army of manic ghouls through smoky lounges and dive bars. Orchestral blues jive through dark corners, forcing raspy vocals to the front, right up in your face. The toe-tapping, frenzied spectacle of some of these songs stirs the whiskey in your glass, making your anticipation for that strong bite even greater. The descent into a humane closet for emotions to hide extends a welcome arm as you stare into the cracked mirror, reflecting on who you were and what you have become.

The absence of Tom Waits these past few years has been marked by downward spirals and torrid emotions. For decades Waits has been one of those artists we turn to for perspective and restraint. His weird and turbulent musical styles have always been bizarre yet we have always been able to identify with them on a deep level. He speaks to our raw animal instincts and somber temperaments.

Waits left no stone unturned on Bad As Me. All of his strengths are exercised to their fullest extent, with a fusing of jazz and blues and the very distinguished roar of his voice. This album takes you back to the seedy motels of the past. A simpler time when havoc still lurked around every corner, but no one used it as an excuse to run and hide. Images of rain-soaked evenings stutter across the eyes as you stand in a deserted parking lot, your cigarette drowning beneath the raindrops. You stand watching your life go by as the intoxicating sounds of a horn section filters out of an unknown window.

Bad As Me gives us a glimpse in the mind of a lovesick bloody-minded fool. It teaches us to never back down. Always keep your enemies in front of you and give them hell every chance you get. We also get a view of what this mindset does to heart and soul. We must stand tall and fight for what we believe in but not let it rule our lives. Our lives may be short but we do have enough time to sit back and reflect on what we have done. Good or bad, when you reflect you must not dwell or regret. Just look back and try to learn something new. Then get up and go back to the revolution.

Rating: 5 Stars
Standout track: Hell Broke Luce

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/23/141565981/first-listen-tom-waits-bad-as-me
http://www.anti.com/catalog/view/183/Bad_As_Me