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Recent eMusic downloads March 11, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Music.
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Once again it’s time for a roundup of stuff I’ve downloaded from eMusic, the independent alternative to Itunes.


Alva Noto: Xerrox Volume 2

Alva Noto: Xerrox Volume 2.  Abstract electronic music, sometimes not much more than drifting drones, other times subtly melodic and dynamic. I gather it’s partly built from samples of electric guitar and symphonic music, but this is a long way from rock and not much closer to classical. It is, however, strangely captivating, and though it comes close to ambient, it’s more likely to startle you with the occasional noise burst or crescendo. “Xerrox Meta Phaser” gets downright abrasive and loud, though other tracks are almost pastoral. Could make good soundtrack music for the right SF novel…

LCD Soundsystem: 45:33. One 46 minute song that’s like a series of electronic dance/disco/funk tunes mixed together, closing with a couple of minutes of ambient tones. has its moments, but not getting a lot of play here yet. It’s followed by a four minute long song that’s not much more than a rhythm track, a little funky, a little dubbed out, but not terribly interesting.

Jay-Z: Reasonable Doubt. I like some rap/hiphop but tend to go for the alternative/underground stuff. Still, when the first album by one of the biggest names in mainstream rap showed up on emusic, I figured I might as well educate myself. Based on a couple of listens, I’m liking this well enough; it has more depth than a lot of the popular gangsta and pop/ringtone stuff coming out these days.

The Cramps: Stay Sick! In honor of Lux Interior (RIP). Great, fun, catchy, B-movie rockabilly noise.

Various artists: An Introduction to Truth and Soul. Truth and Soul is one of the labels that arose after Desco Records fell apart. Desco was a small label that specialized in making new funk and soul records that sounded like something from a lost James Brown recording session; Desco discovered Sharon Jones, who’s become pretty popular lately. This compilation follows a similar funk/soul trail but also adds some Latin-style tunes. I think the Lee Fields songs here are my faves.

Horace Andy: Dance Hall Style. I first heard Andy’s distinctive voice on songs by Massive Attack, and got a compilation album of his music. This album was recommended in the Big Takeover’s top 50 reggae albums list, so why not? Half a dozen long songs, the latter half of each song being basically a dub version. The sound is a bit thin but it’s good stuff.

Joker / 2000F & J Kamata: Digidesign / You Don’t Know What Love Is. Hyperdub is one of the top dubstep labels, and when emusic has a new single from them, I get it. Joker’s is instrumental, with clashing electronic lines (melodic keyboard versus what sounds almost like a 1980 videogame); 2000F and J Kamata are a bit closer to conventional dance music, with heavily vocodered R&B vocals.

Pinch: Midnight Oil/Joyride. Another dubstep single from another essential dubstep label, Tectonic. Atmospheric techno with powerful dubstep beats. Pinch’s Underwater Dancehall album is one of the best single artist dubstep albums out, and worth investigating.


Asobi Seksu: Hush

Asobi Seksu: Hush. The latest album from a band that’s helped revive the shoegazer sound, this one is a bit more laidback than their past albums, and on a casual listen sounds reminiscent of Lush and the Cocteau Twins.

Zomby / Darkstar: Memories Rmx / Saytar. Another dubstep single. Haven’t listened to it yet, but Zomby and Darkstar have both done some great singles.

Aardvarck: Bloom-01 and Bloom-02. A couple of EPs, dubstep but with much more of a pronounced dub reggae feel than usual.

Neil Landstrumm: Lord For £39. An album of dubstep, dub techno, techno, etc. In other words, electronic music with a lot of bass.

Cannibal Ox: The Cold Vein. Just downloaded this and haven’t listened to it in full. Classic alternative hiphop album from 2001. I think I’m going to like this one a lot.

Kode 9: Black Sun / 2 Far Gone. More Hyperdub goodness from the creator of Memories of the Future, one of the albums that got me hooked on dubstep. But here he’s moving into funky, a newer UK dance music style that to me sounds a little too conventional to be as interesting. Still, it’s Kode 9, so it’s more interesting than some of the other stuff I’ve heard that’s being labelled funky.

Horsepower Productions: Kingstep / Damn It. A UK Garage/2step group credited with being one of the acts who created dubstep in the first place return with a new single. The A side has an Asian feel (with sampled vocals), the B side has more of a Jamaican dub feel.

If anyone’s actually reading this and wondering what dubstep is, stay tuned…



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