Album Review: Vulpine Smile vs James Bondage “Angelscrapings”

1285309282-1Label: D Minor Records

One of the most creative musical trends bouncing around today is the art of combining mismatched genres in a beaker, incinerating the beaker then sit back and revel at the astounding hybrid that comes out. Many of these chemistry experiments exist but some are much more daring than others. This collaboration by US based Vulpine Smile and Portugal/UK based James Bondage mixes elements of Big Beat, Industrial, Krautrock, Ambient and Noise with experimental smatterings stylized by an avant-garde flair. Atmospheric rhythms rattle inside your brain leaking out of the holes in your head. Harmonious onslaughts of factory noise and distorted electronic beats dart back and forth, raining fuzz and sparks in a gorgeous display.

This elixir is a widely influenced and extensively sampled composition. Different sounds from various parts of the spectrum weave in and out of each other, coming to fluid halts as they progress with the poundings of the beat counting the passing of time. Lines from numerous films pop up in randomly places that always match the current mood, whether it’s a high energy sonic mayhem or transcending psychedelic space.

The name of this album conjures up images of an angelic vibration that has had a tiny part of its essence scraped off to be used for divination. In this case the divination is an aural experiment and this metaphysical addition gives an ambient aura radiating a delighted sense of chaotic bliss. All the spliced sounds starting and stopping at first seem disjointed and out of place, but if you concentrate on the overall heavenly vibration you can find order in everything you hear.

Angelscrapings is a merge between the past and present. Its unique blend of old and new is a continuation of the present and an homage to the past. If H.N.A.S. ever made it to the electronic age they would have been making music like this. Analog atmospherics and early electronic noises hauntingly emerge from their graves and return us to a forgotten perception few have heard before. Twisting into the vortex with new sounds has generated a more enlightened insanity for the eardrums. A psychic round of applause for these two daring artists willing to push our sensory boundaries a little bit further and helping us gain a new perspective on music.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout tracks: “Subterranean”, “Malingerators, Fudgerators and Drudge-Dodgers”, “Tune In, Turn On, Fuck Off”, “No Need to Panic It’s Only a Nervous Breakdown”

http://dminorrecords.bandcamp.com/

http://soundcloud.com/d-minor-records/sets/vulpine-smile-vs-james-bondage/

Review: If This Is a Man – Random Acts of Kindness Have Saved Lives

A somber reel of psychedelic guitar strings is cast into the pond of the soul. Tiny ripples break the surface and cascade outward, sending a solemn vibration to the senses. The sound waves lure positive organisms to the air and repel all negativity, creating a submerged cocoon of safety.

If This Is a Man are giving new definition to the word slowcore. They learned from the masters like Low and Red House Painters and added shoegaze influences to send us down a swirling vortex of beautiful sound. Subtle echos and kaleidoscopic guitar manipulations flutter about the brain, breaking the emotional dams we have built for ourselves. The vocals are soothing and consolatory but at times they become obtrusive and too present. When this happens a barrier is put between the mind and the music and you do not get the full experience.

Random Acts of Kindness Have Saved Lives
. The title is very fitting. This album is a bandage for the broken heart, a blanket for a frozen body. Listen to this when your soul is ready to scream and give up and somewhere among the guitar strums and piano strikes you will find the strength to keep going.

Standout Track: Nostalgic
Rating: 4 stars

http://ifthisisaman.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/ifthisisaman

Review: Braids – Native Speaker

Label: Kanine
Catalog No: KR622

If this is the future of pop music, bring it on. I can definitely get used to hearing this on a regular basis. This album sums up the past decade of music. By weeding out all the insipid crap that indie music has put out recently, Braids have been able to fuse together a compendium of good sounds and make it their own.

Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is dreamy punk vibratos bouncing in between swirls of ambient synths and quaint guitars. She is a trusted chauffeur, guiding you seamlessly through blissful songs of pure emotion, never missing a turn. Every breath she emits flows above the music and into a special dormitory inside the soul. She is able to make you feel euphoria and rage at the same time. Few singers are able to do that.

The music is an electronic uproar, exploding with manipulation that crashes into waves of ambiance. They pair up to form an instrumental tour de force that compliment the vocals superbly. Adding the normalcy of drums and bass to the mix make these unique sounds more approachable. You can tell they took time crafting these songs and the organic flow of the album shows that all time was not in vain. This is a stunning debut from a band that will hopefully keep the new sounds coming.

Standout track: Lammicken
Rating: 4.5 stars

http://braidsmusic.blogspot.com/
http://www.myspace.com/braidsmusic