the latest between the weird and the conventional

SLIM TWIG : a hound at the hem : DFA
Dars: Originally released on vinyl in an extremely limited run via Twig’s own Calico Corp imprint, DFA Records now gives “A Hound At The Hem“ its proper release. To be found is a varied selection of straightforward melodies and layers of sounds that occasionally turn into darkness. Self-produced in 2010 and featuring string arrangements by Owen Pallett, it’s a suite of narrative songs thematically inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita“ - exploring the troubling and the taboo and themes like the transformative power of lust. 8.2/10
Seven: And what a well-deserved proper release it is! Admittedly, it took me some time to warm up with it, since it was way too close to the darker sides of 80s smut and smelled like an ashtray full of rolled-up cigarettes that accompanied drunken intellectual late night conversations on first impression... but once it kicked in, it actually became surprisingly addictive. 7/10


ARCHIVE : restriction : Dangervisit/PIAS
Dars: I’d never heard of London’s trip hop/shoegaze collective Archive before, which surprises me as they’ve been going for some time. Anyway, their latest LP is a series of somewhat moody electronic-meets-acoustic-croon tracks, crafted with precision and created with longtime collaborator Jerome Devoise. The result doesn’t speak to me really, so maybe Seven finds suitable words for this? 5/10
Seven: This must be the penicillin playing tricks on you, because we’ve actually talked about their “Axiom“ album earlier this year... and what I said back then actually became even more relevant with this album: 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. 2/10


GIRLPOOL : s/t : Wichita
Dars: Lots of guitar-wielding fun by this Los Angeles based two piece, packed with repetitive bass lines, nasally harmonious and smart-mouthed lyrics. Simple, but to the point, at just 15 minutes. Not bad! 6.8/10
Seven: Agreed. The only bad thing you can say about these ladies is that you’ve heard this kind of music a million times before... but in some cases, and this is one of them, this would totally miss the point. 6.5/10


LOSCIL : sea island : Kranky
Dars: This one sees Vancouver-based Scott Morgan (alias Loscil) inviting outside influences, exploring more organic rhythms that lend an unique twist. Now, even melodie enters his world. Most impressive are his inclusion of violins, pianos, vibraphones and vocals - all play a part in this cacophonous landscape. Perhaps Loscil’s best work to date, “Sea Island“ is easily one the most beautiful records you will hear this year! 8.5/10 8.5/10
Seven: Instrumental music that’s flirting with ambient often has the tendency to simply put the listener in this kind of wannabe meditative state. Luckily the albums of Loscil never worked like that, since Scott Morgan is much more interested in sonic experiments and inviting you on journeys to places you’ve never heard of before. The artwork for “Sea Islands“ backs up the impression that it actually could be this season’s soundtrack, indeed. 8.5/10


LEN LEISE : music for forests : International Feel
Dars: Lush and deep, strikingly beautiful music made of delicate twinkling synths, gentle percussion and deep, warm bass. I felt asleep somewhere along the schmaltzy continuation and found myself dreaming of pink flamingos, coconuts and being reborn as a Dwarf Sloth. 8.4/10
Seven: Man, I just love the direction Mark Barrot is taking International Feel lately... it’s this melting pot of free-floating ideas that’s gracing every set of the more adventurous DJs on this planet. This one here is the musical equivalent to licking toads. 9/10

GRAVENHURST : 10th anniversary reissues : Warp
Dars: To celebrate a decade of work on Warp Records, English singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gravenhurst now re-released two of his early albums of melancholic, mid-paced pop goods (‘Flashlight Seasons’ and ‘Black Holes In The Sand’), complemented by a surprising new release called “Offerings“, which is a nice collection of previously unheard recordings from the early days. 8.8/10