"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Feeding time

Poptronica near-perfection (shame about the toy synth, but otherwise exquisite bassy melodic interplay, with a great scratchy noise half-way through...): Barbara Morgenstern & Robert Lippok - Wake Me Up For Meals (from Tesri on Monika).

Lippok also has a remix of Christopher Willits' Yellow Spring (from Surf Boundaries on Ghostly): think this is it...

Finally, also on Ghostly, Kiln's Fyrepond (from Dusker).

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Class of 2008, part 2

It was a struggle to be particularly contemporary in 2008: my fault, of course, not the year's - much of what I listened to was released in the previous 50 or so years (often finally catching up, years late...). But responding to ah's very welcome Christmas post, here's a sister list of 15 more of the year's stand-out albums from an LMYE vantage point:

Aidan Baker/Tim Hecker - Fantasma Parastasie (Alien8)
Gavin Bryars/Philip Jeck/Alter Ego - The Sinking of the Titanic (Touch)
Carl Craig/Moritz von Oswald - Recomposed (Deutsche Grammaphon)
Four Tet - Ringer (Domino)
Fuck Buttons - Street Horrsing (ATP)
Headhunter - Nomad (Tempa)
Ezekiel Honig - Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band (Anticipate)
Philip Jeck - Sand (Touch)
Pedal - Pedal (Staubgold)
Solo Andata/seaworthy/Taylor Deupree - Live in Melbourne (12K)
Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches (Planet Mu)
Various - Dub Step All Stars Vol. 6 (Tempa)
Various - Ghostly Swim (Ghostly)
Various - Lagos Shake: A Tony Allen Chop-Up (Honest Jon's)
Christopher Willits/Ryuichi Sakamoto - Ocean Fire (12K)

& a deeply unfashionable extra that charmed these ears anyway:

Portico Quartet
- Knee-Deep in the North Sea (Babel/Vortex)

I suspect Lawrence English, Jacaszek, Klangwart, Mapstation/Paul Wirkus, Juana Molina & Shed would all be pushing for a place in our Group of 30 too if I'd heard more than a track or two from them...

May also have to have a go at this year's Grouper, given how highly ears that I rate rate it.

Few kosher giveaways to hand to accompany all this. But here's one, beefed up with a blast from the past & a couple of extracts from one of my best backwards-looking discoveries of the year:

Scanner - I Cannot Forget

Tortoise - Seneca (from Standards, Thrill Jockey)

Keith Fullerton Whitman - Multiples extract & another (Kranky)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Class of 2008

Here is a list of some of the best albums from 2008 and I hope it will encourage further investigation. Some of these have been mentioned on other blogs but they all produce the kind of music we like here at LMYE.


Arve Henriksen-Cartography

Eine Kleine Nacht Musik-Eine Kleine Nacht Musik

Fennesz-Black Sea

Gang Gang Dance-Saint Dymphna

Gas-Nah und Fern

Goldmund-The Malady of Elegance



iTAL tEK-Cyclical


Max Richter-24 Postcards

Quiet Village-Silent Movie

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Wah do dem

Would have liked to purge that fairly unforgiveable trumpet & generally warp & toughen this very Balearic remix up - but here anyway is a rough & ready hack of Loving Hand versus Lykke Li. Get the given-away 'original' here & the remix EP from which it comes here (listen via widget below).

Can hardly claim this version as a full-blown edit. But it does add a welcome wodge of wah wah to LH (part of DFA)'s nicely spacious, richly throbbing re-imagining of the Nordic popstress's saccharine rush.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Polar clarity

Stung by LMYE's thundering denunciation - well, possibly - ~scape have sorted their Pole giveaway. It's now soared past its original 12 seconds (which you'd probably be right in assuming was more a reflection of my fuck-wittery than any fault of theirs...) to the full six minutes-plus: frohliche Weihnachten!

Alles Klar (originally from the monstrous Round Black Ghosts compilation) isn't Pole's finest moment - try the widget of 1 below for some of that. But on the basis that inferior Pole is superior to most everything else around, its mesh of restrained percussive skip, wild spurts of noise & a fat farting bass - a fairly experimental take on dubstep - needs a listen...

Delighted to see that Herr Betke is touching down in the UK this spring - & even more excited by the prospect of him, Herr Jelinek & other ~scape-sters at BEMF in Brussels a week later (an event so cutting-edge its venue doesn't yet acknowledge it...).

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Amersham action

Not us, but obviously worth supporting...

Competition here

Widget for Kode9's awesome Konfusion: 

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Despite the shoes

You might be forgiven for having a few reservations towards Richard Barbieri - what with Japan being somewhat dubious, in both their glam rock & preen pop phases, & his Porcupine Tree stuff being dull. Moreover, I once saw him perform in possibly the dodgiest pair of shoes ever cobbled.

But there's definitely more to the man. For one thing, he's often played with The Bays - the non-recording, non-rehearsing, improvising electronica quartet billed here previously (before it got too embarrassing to be this pompous...) as 'the most important band in the world'. 

Most recently, he was part of most of last month's high-stakes live collaboration with The Heritage Orchestra (covered by LMYE here). 

For another, he's made some good stuff solo & in collaboration with fellow Japan alumni Mick Karn & Steve Jansen. Check out stately, scratchy Drops of Mercury from his first solo album, Things Buried (buy here) - which features the mighty Bays drummer Andy Gangadeen & legendary bassist Percy Jones. 

TB's squelchy, frantic Light on Glass is also a giveaway, by the way. 

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Never before, never again

Having frothed up more hyperbole here about The Bays than any other artist, arguably (this & this, for example), LMYE was fairly invested in their recent classical collaborations. Happily, despite the vast scope for it to degenerate into toss with strings, adding most of an orchestra to the live-improvisation, 'music at the moment of its creation' project only cranked its bravado & wonder even higher.

The combined band isn't as nimble as the quartet, of course. But with a pair of string & wind composers writing a stream of fresh music that gets sent instantly to the classical players' screens (Wagamama, please try to keep up...) in a real-time response to The Bays' bleeps & beats & a brilliantly nonchalant conductor holding it all together, the juggernaut somehow pulls it off.

Proof? Try a storming extract from this event, which featured both the Heritage Orchestra & Norway's BIT20 Ensemble, as well as grand-standing pianist Neil Cowley: Integra 2008 (LMYE hack) [longer, lower-res version here; full performance here].

Video of the first Bays classical mash-up:

Friday, 5 December 2008

Atlantic submergence

Back to Jarrett: incredibly refreshing after Monday night's disappointment to be reminded, finally hearing 1972's Ruta & Daitya for the first time, that Keith was once a highly adventurous artist almost endlessly open to new sounds & textures. 

After two highly constrained decades, it's almost shocking to hear him neither solo nor in the standards trio (even though the mighty Jack DeJohnette is along for the ride) - & playing stunningly dense, rich, school of Miles electric jazz. 

In the same way, it's disconcerting to go back to the challenging, beautiful & original music the trio were once generating on albums like 1977's Tales of Another (in Gary Peacock's name), or the exquisite, live-improvised Changeless

That's not to say that there's no boldness in his tradition mining in the meantime - Monday's many peaks at the RFH showed that yet again. But, as Daniel Paton points out, he seems to have lost interest in innovating (& certainly in writing).  

It wasn't always this way. That's hardly a surprise, of course, with someone whose post-Miles, pre-standards output includes landmarks like Facing You, the Sunbear & Bremen/Lausanne concerts (&, yes, Koeln too...), & the two astounding quartets

For a reminder of that time (& not forgetting how thrilling the standards can be too, especially the earlier stuff): You Know, You Know (from Ruta) & Vignette (from Tales).  

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Posten Norge

Having so far failed to get anything together on Monday night's solo Jarrett 'stravaganza (excellent reviews here [with LMYE tagging along] & here [without], though...) & having missed out on Punkt UK, infuriatingly, a diversion into Norwegian post-jazz. 

Kornstad's Tempelhof is an oddly guilty pleasure - a trancey, horn-adorned rifforama given away to fuel his Single Engine of last year. 

Kornstad is also in the sometimes excellent Wibutee. Here's a nicely brisk & blobby remix of their Playmachine by the, er, sometimes excellent Scanner - his version of Tempelhof would be worth hearing...

Saving the best for last - & getting some Punkt in through the back door - Jan Bang & DJ Strangefruit (last featured here in the company of Nils Petter Molvaer) trip out with the loveable Bugge Wesseltoft for 10th anniversary live antics: Belleville Session

& Bugge explores his soulful side, anchored by Sidsel Endresen & NPM: River

Lots more live Bugge & co-conspirators here, by the way. 

Now, about that Arve Henriksen album on ECM...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Wonky honk

No great surprise that a wonky, honking (&, yes, chunky) Jelinek remix of some previously unencountered jazztronica should float LMYE's boat: Yeah, That's Right (Meteors Noire remix) [from this EP] NB: ad-supported giveaway from We7, as you'll hear... 

From the same stable as Our Theory, who include Blue Noter Eric Truffaz, is the Nublu Orchestra: visit L.E.S Gardens [from this album] for a more sprawling, spacey take on honked-up 'tronica. 

For once, thumbs down to ~scape, by the way. A fresh Pole 12" (half-fresh: a new track & his contribution to this awesome compilation) is great news - but a 12-second freebie? Lower-res but somewhat meatier are this extract & this one

Thumbs up, though, to the excellent Beta Lounge's "countless hours of expert audio arrangement and dj mixes digitized live at our studios in San Francisco, Hamburg, and from locations across the globe" - 774 sets archived with love over 12 years, including Burnt Friedman/Jaki Liebezeit/Atom Heart, Jah Wobble, Pantha du Prince, Efdemin & even Derrick May, plus Pole & Jelinek: donations welcome.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Friday's forcefield

LMYE recently shook the hand of modest genius. Having sat through a pretty woeful support act to deliver a fierce, deep masterclass in layering & reducing drones & scraps of found sound, Philip Jeck only allowed himself to thank someone for having helped him out with some forgotten leads. After that performance he'd have been entitled to punch the air, whoop & big himself up MC-style...

Pax (from Stoke) is nothing like last Friday's forcefield performance - but its woozy, hymnal beauty is worth your time anyway. 

Jeck's collaborations are also notable. The most obvious & lauded is with Gavin Bryars on The Sinking of the Titanic. But he's done good things with the Jah Wobble/Jaki Liebezeit post-everything drum 'n' bass pairing too, like Live in Leuven: from which, try Three.

Now bring on 'Jeck meets Pole' or 'Jeck meets Jelinek'!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Nudity covered

After the remixes, it's not obvious that the world was much in need of jazzy covers of Radiohead's Nude. Still, amid a quintet of largely dubious & notably safe reworkings cooked up by a UK newspaper today, is this exemplary, scorching version by Jonathan Gee - reimagining it as a lambent, pregnant riff-out from a post-modern Jack JohnsonNude

Trio VD's version is refreshing & messy: Nude too.  

Finally, for the sake of sad train-spotting completeness, a re-up of Holy Fuck's half-decent official remix seemed indicated. But my anorak's gone limp: just get it here

Friday, 24 October 2008

Still inextricably linked

Final instalment of our BreakThru Radio week comes in the form of two recent hacks from contrasting electronica mixes (both freely available): first - & for absolutely & definitely the last time (until November 5, anyway) - this awesome splicing of fairly minimal techno pulses & swirls with soaring Obama rhetoric. We Cannot Turn Back is an LMYE-curated extract from Francois K Minitek earlier this year. 

Apologies for the somewhat abrupt ending, & the remorseless re-upping.

Any guidance on the underlying tracks most welcome...

Hope/Progress image by Shepard Fairey.

Second,  from a Blu Mar Ten mix that kicks off in the same brainy ambient territory as the Aphex/Eno mash-up re-upped this week, this lovely thing: To Do Something To Me

It splices Eno talking (about dissolving personality, the revival of interest in acoustic instruments, & cultural history & tradition informing performance) with the burbling intro to an Aquasky remix of Omni Trio's Who Are You? (from The Haunted Science; hear both the original & the Eno-free remix at OT's MySpace). 

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Anatomy atomised

LMYE's comically unnatural & dour 'The Anatomy of a Blogger' interview show is broadcasting now & for the next week on BreakThru Radio. Transcript covering our origin & future, favourite artists & blogs, & the internet's impact on music, below...


The Anatomy of a Blogger
DJ DoseU
October 23, 2008

00:00 DJ DoseU (Hands - Four Tet)
00:23 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) The Beginnings
01:37 Music Is Math - Boards Of Canada
06:59 Endless Soul - Josef K
09:25 Nothing Is Worth Losing That - Telfon Tel Aviv
14:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Four Tet
15:37 Our Time - Kieran Hebden And Steve Reid
20:42 Safer - Animal Collective
29:49 Alberto Balsam - Aphex Twin
35:01 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & The Best Blogs
35:48 Ribbons - Four Tet
41:09 Applebush - Josef K
43:33 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) (Hands - Four Tet) & Music on the Internet
45:55 Sorry For Laughing - Josef K
48:54 Oh My Lover - Adem
52:03 Water Curses - Animal Collective
55:25 Julian (Lend Me Your Ears) & The Future
55:56 DJ DoseU
56:13 Street Flash - Animal Collective

Not to be ungrateful, but LMYE isn't responsible for that feast of Animal Collective nor the Josef K orgy - we just wanted the Pantha du Prince remix of Peacebone (buy here or here) & the Scots' It's Kinda Funny (which, it's kinda funny to note, didn't make it...): listen via widget below.

Anyway, in case anyone's interested, here's the interview:

1) Could you say a bit about how Lend Me Your Ears came about (name, decision to start a blog and anything else you'd like to mention)?

At its heart, Lend Me Your Ears is a conversation about music between two very old friends who haven’t lived in the same country for 20 years, unfortunately, & are still hugely into new sounds from across the very broad spectrum of what we’ve called ‘less obvious music’. The fact that people in more than 100 countries have visited the blog this year alone & in that way joined this conversation, which by definition is not a mainstream one, is a massive endorsement of which we’re quite proud.

The name Lend Me Your Ears always seemed an ideal one for a music blog. It’s what we want you to do!

Brian Eno once said that his inspiration was the idea of fusing the music of Steve Reich and Tony Allen. Notwithstanding how little Tony Allen is there is in almost all of Eno’s stuff, this is a good description of where we’re coming from – though I’d also add Allen’s partner Fela Kuti, plus John Coltrane, Joy Division & Basic Channel. & Eno himself, obviously.

2) Could you say a bit about some of your favorite groups on the list you've given? Maybe how you first encountered them or a memorable experience you've had with them?

For me at least (we haven’t discussed this), Four Tet is arguably the definitive Lend Me Your Ears artist – in his various guises, he’s drawing on a host of influences (both acoustic & electronic, from fairly minimal to jazz via countless points in between) that matter to us. In fact, Kieran may be as close to Eno’s Reich plus Tony Allen recipe as anyone has yet come.

Launch Yourself by Adem (who’s in the post-rock group Fridge with Kieran) was the appropriately-named first track ever on Lend Me Your Ears, about 16 months ago.

Josef K were my first gig, with Orange Juice & Aztec Camera at the long-closed Venue by Victoria Station in London back in 1981 (documented on this album, by the way...). To my lasting shame, I may have worn leg-warmers! I certainly had my top shirt button done up in the official post-punk style.

3) Do you have any other music sites or have favorite music sites or blogs you read?

So many blogs & sites: our Google Readers are never empty!

We admire Motel de Moka a lot, particularly their commitment to the art of the mix. Also Beat Electric, Comfort Music, Dilated Choonz, the ill-ec-tro-nic, Just Press Play, mapsadaisical, Palms Out Sounds & Undomondo. & we really miss Good Vibrato!

The Hype Machine & elbo.ws, of course. & Last FM, in a slightly different vein.

Boomkat’s incredible enthusiasm isn’t for everyone, but I like it (including their very cool 14 tracks service). We like bleep too. & eMusic’s pretty decent for less obvious music.

4) How do you think the internet and other music technologies regarding promotion or creation have found their effect in the quality of music? (I realize this is somewhat of a limitless question, but feel free to keep it short or as simple as you'd like, just a way of jogging ideas).

Not sure that it’s had as much impact on the quality of music as on the quality of the experience around music – in theory, much faster feedback could contribute to making better music. But great artists make great music in any conditions. The pre-digital My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is still the best sample record of all time.

Certainly, though, the way that technology has democratised the experience of music has countless benefits - more contact between artists & fans, & among fans, the sort of self-publishing exemplified by In Rainbows or Everything Happens, the remix competitions & online mixes that flush out huge non-public talents, the power of software to see patterns & give recommendations based on what you listen to.

One really interesting use of the internet is the approach of The Bays (bays.com). They are arguably the most modern band in the world – they play completely unrehearsed, improvised music that is all about the moment of live performance & they sell no records so that what they do isn’t compromised by having to market a product: on the contrary, they use the internet to give their music away. That’s a very unusual model that couldn’t have existed before the digital era, though obviously in some ways it’s a continuation of a sort of troubador approach you find in more marginal musics like jazz.

Lend Me Your Ears also has an unusual policy of posting no music without permission from the artist/label. Bloggers are enthusiasts who want to champion great music. But they’re also competitive & everybody wanting to put up their own exclusive or somehow different track can lead to wholesale rape of some artists who are never going to be big sellers. Look at how much Gang Gang Dance you can scoop up for free currently.

At the risk of being old & boring about this, we recognise some responsibility in what we post. We love this music & want to do nothing that hurts the artists who make it – on the contrary, we want to support them. Read what The Books have to say on their web site about struggling to sustain themselves financially.

5) Anything else you'd like to add, maybe what you're doing in the future, site developments, upcoming events you're attending?

Just keeping posting with any regularity is quite a challenge for guys with kids!

But lately we’ve posted a couple of remixes by Prince Charming, an Australian guy, & hacked a few chunks out of other people’s mixes. So one logical further step would be to try & get some primitive remixes together. But that’s a long-term aspiration, not anything imminent.

Continuing the inter-generational conversation

BreakThru Radio re-up: on paper, the Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid collaborations could have been commissioned for a pair of Four Tet fiends & jazz-loving chin-strokers like LMYE. In practice, the ensemble stuff often plays it safe (even when getting pretty free) by leaving Kieran to squiggle electronically in the background. But the duos are particularly rich, subtle, fascinating conversations between two generations of musician & any number of genres.

To these ears, the pair's highlight so far is the timeless yet fantastically modern Our Time from Tongues. Their We Dream from The Exchange Sessions Vol. 2 is less obviously beautiful, but still spurts & pounds to massive effect (NB: version here is a giveaway edit...).

One peak from the ensemble is the intense Which One? from Spirit Walk; the storming Lions of Juda, especially, & Lugano are deep workouts too. 

Jiggy Jiggy
 from the more recent Daxaar starts fairly lame, but gets rather more rewarding as it builds (NB: giveaway version to comply with LMYE's hair-shirt policy on music under a year old...); the title track is fiercer, by the way.

To finish, here's a couple of other collisions of jazz heavy-ish weights with more contemporary-ish sounds: Pharoah Sanders with the underrated 23 Skidoo - Hendang (from 23 Skidoo) - & Courtney Pine with Attica Blues - Trying Times (from Another Story; there's a bone-crunching version from an old Talkin' Loud promo, Year on Year).

Official Hebden/Reid video:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Flat-topped inflorescence

Resplendent with remixes by Boards of CanadaFour Tet & MogwaiBoom Bip's Corymb is almost ludicrously star-studded ('star' used in a pretty relative sense, obviously...); even its lesser names are luminaries like Lali Puna & Venetian Snares

All the same, some of its best tracks are by Bip himself: the brooding, epic build of Pulse All Over, for example, or the Four Tet-style moody post-jazz of In the Tree Top - check out the full album via widget:  

Bonus: Ghostly-style bouncy poptronica giveaway The Move (from Blue Eyed In The Red Room).  

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Whole History of Piano Music

A tip of the LMYE hat to daniel: he chided us for the Aphex/Eno mash-up re-upped yesterday as part of our BreakThru Radio week - to these ears it's still incredibly moving, so we have to agree to disagree - but also directed us to a Blu Mar Ten mix that kicks off in the same brainy ambient territory. 

This splices Eno talking (about dissolving personality, the revival of interest in acoustic instruments, & cultural history & tradition informing performance) over the burbling intro to an Aquasky remix of Omni Trio's Who Are You? (from The Haunted Science; hear both the original & the Eno-free remix at OT's MySpace). It's a lovely thing

Princely charm

Two LMYE exclusives revisited: first, an inspired reimagining of one of the better tracks on 
In Rainbows - Australia's Prince Charming (plus a sample cast that includes Martin Luther King, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon &, less obviously, Whittaker Chambers) wrings yearning, menace & uplift out ofVideotape with his poignant Videotrip (Tragedy of History).

NB: current version at Charming's MySpace sounds updated...

Hear a sanctioned Nude remix here & others here (NB: LMYE's 'nothing unsanctioned under 1 year' policy waived for Videotrip in view of IR's original distribution...).

A second Charming remix again reimagines UK indie angst-rock into something more spacious, fractured & moving via a perhaps predictable, but still incredibly resonant, public voiceCompliments (Prince Charming's Admiration).

Photo by Nils Tober.

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