Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Diskjokke is electronic disco delight

June 22, 2010

I had never heard of Diskjokke before I was handed a copy of his 2010 release En Fin Tid, which drops today. Doing a little bit of Internet searching, I found that Joachim Dyrdahl (the man behind Diskjokke) has put out remixes and is planning to release remixes for some relevant names (Crystal Castles, Bloc Party, the xx, etc.). Remixes are some of my favorite things that electronic artists do, but I feel that sometimes content and quality control of solo albums creates a product that is a bit less accessible.

With En Fin Tid, I was afraid of getting such an album with the 9-minute-long opener “reset and begin.” I like my electronic music to be dancy, and this track is more ambient.  It’s a gentle introduction to an hour-long groovefest, though.  Diskjokke’s buildups are incredibly tight, and I don’t think I can compare his style to anything else out right now. That’s an incredibly good thing in today’s oversaturated electronic market. On “Big Flash,” a conga-sounding drum loop rides along with wobbly synths, giving the tune a jungle theme while still being very electronic. On “1987,” the listener gets bass grooves reminiscent of 80’s pop that are chopped up and manipulated.

I would say that En Fin Tid is an interesting release for this year. At first listen, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But like all good electronic albums, it’s got depth that allows one to listen to it repeatedly.  The tracks slide in and out of each other while all being unique. Diskjokke has created a pretty cohesive album. Let’s see if he will give us more releases like this in the coming years.

Don't get Blacklisted from this one

July 29, 2009

Instantly accessible, incredibly entertaining, and zipping along at the rate of a punk album, Kap Bambino’s Blacklist is a thorough album. Kap Bambino is an electronic French duo, Caroline Marital on vocals and instrumentals by Orion Bouvier, that I stumbled upon on the internet much earlier this year and heard their 2007 lp Zero Life, Night Vision, which is a harsh electronic punk album with some 8-bit influences. Because of their musical tendencies, Kap Bambino will garner instant comparison to Justice and Crystal Castles. However, this quirky, electro-punk duo has been doing this stuff since 2001, and has seemed to steadily improve their craft.

Kap Bambino’s Blacklist is a much more accessible affair than their previous lp Zero Life, Night Vision.  Zero Life, Night Vision is a bit noisier, layered with Caroline Marital’s screaming vocals that reminisces of TV static because of it’s lo-fi nature. It’s a renegade punk electronic album that’s full of high-energy, but, because of the noise, most people would miss the intrigue. Blacklist keeps  the base of the same recipe of Zero Life, Night Vision, but smooths it out and creates some tracks that are more grander in production. This is due to Orion Bouvier’s expanded range of sounds, such as a spare bass guitar line on “Lezard” or the Monkey Grinder Organ core to “Rezozero.” This album shows that Kap Bambino can keep the experimental punk flavor while making an album that more fans of electro, or similar electronic sub-genres,  might have missed on Kap Bambino’s earlier work.

Another difference on Blacklist is that Caroline Marital’s vocals become more recognizible as words, and her french-accent broken english vocals provide the same fun and energy as Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki. On “Batcaves,” Caroline Marital sings “It’s a good time for bat caves” over and over again, that helps to create a quirky, campy fun song.

Blacklist just needs to be listened to. It’s barely over thirty minutes, so there’s not much excuse not to. The only downside to the album is that it stops at barely over thirty minutes, and between most songs there’s a couple seconds of silence that kill the party, but you can use that time to try to digest what assaulted you aurally.

Follow the Turquoise Trail to your next rave.

January 23, 2009

Pictureplane is one-man electronic artist Travis Edgey from Denver, Colorado. He gained fame last year with the remixes of “lost time” on noise-rockers Health’s  remix album “Health//Disco” and of Crystal Castle’s “Air War.”  Last year also saw the very,very independent release of his debut Turquoise Trail.  To sum up Pictureplane’s sound as underground electronic dance music would be misleading,  and to attempt to explain the experience that is “Turquoise Trail” leaves much to be desired.

With Edgey’s ghostly crooning in the background, synths rip open and quickly flare up on the album opener “The Turquoise Trail,” which barely makes it over two minutes. The vocals can barely be made out on most songs, making Edgey’s mouth just another element of  the crazy, cracked-out dance tracks on Turquoise Trail that weave together seamlessly but pop in with unexpected beats.  For instance, on “Wearing a Nothing Cloak,” a pulsing drumbeat partnered with an instrumental that sounds like the baby of a saxophone and a tuba prepares the listener for a darker beat. But as soon as such an assumption is made, the intro gets pierced by a much lighter sounding synth that eventually takes over.

Every song on Turquoise Trail is unique, and also makes one reminisce of sounds produced by other artists occasionally, while still maintaining its own identity. For instance, “Temporary Infinity” begins with light, Daft Punk-esque jagged synths that burst into a trancey dance banger. It’s a shift that is quick, but fluid.

My favorite track on Turqoise Trail at the moment, is “Tha Dark Lord/Warp to Level8.” It begins with some heavy, glitchy, dark synths that open to some slow, heavy-hitting snares. It’s a track full of all the  intensity and bang one could ever desire in a minute and a half.

Every track on Turqoise Trail has something to keep the listener entertained and occupied. With about 200% more influences on sound than world music, Pictureplane has a killer debut album that is an excellent starting block for so much more incredible music. I would say it was the best six dollars by mail I have ever s(p)ent.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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