the latest album reviews

DJANGO DJANGO : late night tales : Late Night Tales (12.05.2014)

Seven: These Scotsmen didn’t only fill the void the Beta Band has left us with after they’ve split up around ten years ago, but prove you wrong in case you were ever of the opinion that Map Of Africa, James Last, OutKast and Canned Heat don’t belong in the same mix. Nice one. 8/10

Dars: London based indie-pop band Django Django's take on the Late Night Tales compilation includes bits of TNGHT, Primal Scream, Outkast, Massive Attack, Roy Davis Jr, composer Philip Glass, plus a spoken word segment by Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Django Django’s new cover version of the Monkees’ Porpoise Song. An eclectic mix! 7/10



REWORK : you play : Visionquest (26.05.2014)

Seven: German/French dance outfit Rework and British tastemakers Visionquest actually should be a match made in heaven, but for some reasons this album doesn’t enthuse as much as I supposed it would. It just feels a bit too antiseptic in places where it shouldn’t be afraid to get its hands dirty. 6/10

Dars: A complex, immersive club tapestry of everything from retro synth-pop to sleek techno via deep, dubby house. Rework’s “You Play“ delivers eleven crisp'n'groovy dancefloor rhythms, as well as melancholic new-wave pieces, all spiced up with French and English lyrics. Not bad! 5.5/10


CANDIE HANK : demons : Shitkatapult (25.04.2014)

Seven: Candie Hank aka Patric Catani is an integral part of the Puppetmaztaz universe - and a handful of other projects, actually - so you shouldn’t be too surprised about the musical open-mindedness and general infatuation with heavy beats on this one here. What seriously amazed me though is how much I actually dig his battle against his demons. almost 7/10

Dars: The mischievous alter ego of Patric Catani is back with an exciting mixture of arabesque melodic lines, balalaika samples, ethereal female choruses, high-speed drumming and Jamaican spoken word experiments - a playful but chaotic musical odyssey, exactly to my taste! 8/10



TELEMAN : breakfast : Moshi Moshi (23.05.2014)

Dars: Effortlessly cool stuff once again from this young band (the legitimate successor band to Pete and the Pirates), with a slightly geeky, refined English vibe. An almost hypnotic backdrop to sit back and listen to, as Johnny Sanders’ vocals rise and fall. Mellow, fresh and just generally lovely sounding music. 8.1/10



SASCHA DIVE : dark shadow : Deep Vibes (07.04.2014)

Dars: 11 tracks of exploratory electronic sounds to be found here. Dark drones, noir and involving, leaving you on the edge of your seat. It makes for an ever evolving listen that never stays in one place too long, instead exploring every outer region of house and techno yet tying the whole thing together into one cohesive whole. 7.7/10


KING OF THE MOUNTAINS : zoetrope : Melodic (14.04.2014)

Dars: Emerges as surprisingly accessible, and epic and cinematic as it gets. The solo debut moves in the more temperate regions of the sound spectrum, and in addition to the artificially generated electronic sounds it also contains a number of embedded live instruments. It's warm, it's fuzzy, and Boards Of Canada fans are surely going to go apeshit for this stuff. 6.4/10

Seven: Phil Kay, formerly one of the driving forces behind Manchester’s genre-bending Working For A Nuclear Free City, returns with his new solo project, which lets the synths run wild in all the right places. Actually being not too far away from Jon Hopkins’ latest work, it’s carefully constructed electronic music for people who reduced their rave routine to once a month because they’re old enough to realize that they have more important shit to do. All hail the new king! 8/10



SWANS : to be kind : Mute (09.05.2014)

Dars: Swans have delivered their third flawless masterpiece in a row. They surely have a reputation nowadays for being exceptional live. The band is at their best when they are laying out lengthy, mindlessly repetitive drones of primitive, numbing noise, at least in my book. Plus: "She Loves Us!" has the best use of the word "fuck" you'll hear all year. 8.8/10

Seven: Michael Gira continues to enjoy his second musical spring on “To Be Kind“, and even though it’s as beautiful and violent and knowing and dark and confident as “The Seer“, the unstoppable undertow it unleashes feels like a very different beast compared to its antecessor from 2012. “To Be Kind“ is a powerful and pitch black opera, that feels like an antidote for a gentle, sunshiny day in spring. 8/10



ORCAS : yearling : Morr Music (out now)

Dars: With a composition of swirling electronica and swathes of rural atmosphere, Orcas have teamed up with kindred spirits Martyn Heyne of Efterklang and Michael Lerner of Telekinesis to create their second album, illustrating the vast diversity of songwriting that they’re capable of, and weaves a transcendental musical landscape anyone with half an ear for good music can get lost in. 9.1/10

Seven: Benoit Pioulard and Rafael Anton Irisarri return with a less experimental but overall beautiful second chapter of their Orcas saga, which might be the result of integrating members of Efterklang and Telekinesis during the recording sessions of “Yearling“. The apparent pop appeal still is a rather hazy one though, which obviously is a perfect match to Pioulard’s distinctive vocals. Lo-ve-ly. 8/10



KHAN : the enlightenment machine : Albumlabel (out now)

Dars: What an eclectic offering (inspired by Brion Gysin’s Dream Machine) by the multi-talented Khan, a music producer, performer, actor and visual artist who has been based in Berlin since a while. Based on a series of siren grooves, Khan intersperses the new tracks with dense layers of dub reverb, live percussion, lots of (sub-)bass and some spectral-sounding cello recordings (contributed by Julia Kent from NYC). Once put in motion, “The Enlightenment Machine“ works just like aforementioned 'Dream Machine', all you need to do is sit down in front of it, close your eyes and get illuminated! 8.2/10

Seven: Berlin’s premium vocalist/entertainer/multi-instrumentalist/musical globetrotter and overall rad guy Khan makes a glorious return with “The Enlightenment Machine“, which combines synth-pop, house, dub, soul and whatnot to a suggestive soundtrack, which flirts with the idea of the freewheeling possibilities this capital still has to offer... if you’d just look in the right places. 8/10 



ARCHIVE : axiom : Dangervisit (09.05.2014)

Dars: An overall beautiful partly orchestral/electronic/soulful sound experience, delivered by London based collective Archive. This album consists of one bold 40min piece, evolving through seven tracks and is accompanied by a forty minute short film reflecting the albums personal and political themes of despair and disconnection. 7.5/10

Seven: Contrary to the general opinion that Archive is a kind of keeper of the grail in terms of progressive contemporary music, I always regarded their output as being borderline pretentious, to say the least. Unfortunately “Axiom“ won’t change that. 3/10


GANZFELD : temas spatial volume one : Rotary Tower (05.05.2014)

Seven: Wow, this is excellent. Deeply rooted in jazz but not shying away from exploring the space beyond it, Ganzfeld’s debut for the growing force of James Dyer’s Rotary Tower label is one of those records that isn’t interested in keeping up with the times at all. Instead it delivers a mood piece filled with analog glory for those quality hours you’d love to spend by yourself. 8.75/10 



PAPERCUTS : life among the savages : Easy Sound Recording (12.05.2014)

Seven: I’m actually pretty sure that Jason Robert Quever - the driving force behind San Francisco based project Papercuts and proud owner of the Pan American Recording Studio, in which he recorded and mixed albums from indie darlings like Beach House, Port O’Brien and Vetiver - hasn’t recorded a single bad song yet. Therefore it’s pretty surprising that Papercuts still isn’t on the radar of those who call a soft spot for Phil Spector-influenced indie pop their own. 7/10



THE TROUBLE WITH TEMPLETON : rookie : Bella Union (09.05.2014)

Seven: Australia’s TTWT have formed into a fully band after its early beginnings as the semi-one man show of mastermind Thomas Calder. On their debut for Bella Union, they continue to explore the borders between adventurous folk and epic pop with stunningly melodic results. Unfortunately they’re very generous with exposing a certain kind of pathos in their music as well, which might work for getting them opening slots for the big bands on this planet, but certainly not for me. 4/10 



PRINS THOMAS : Prins Thomas III : Full Pupp (28.04.2014)

Dars: This album by Norwegian disco producer Thomas Moen Hermansen aka Prins Thomas lines up nicely with the existing collection, so you'll find Krautrock-inspired darkness, balearic disco and various paranoid moods, all wrapped up in his trademark prog rock-influenced production. Lots of gradual forward propulsion, while he never gets overbearing or in your face. The 11 songs here ebb and flow, sparse sections yield to glorious tonal outcrops and melodies blossom and flourish unpredictably. Pure glaze! 9/10