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Showing posts from August, 2017

Review: Optical Frameworks – Vertigo (2014)

Vertigo by Optical Frameworks is a quiet Dub Techno record that gives me the strangest feeling that it's been in my collection for 20 years. I don't know why I get this sense of familiarity and nostalgia when I play it; this isn't something I've experienced before. I love this strange sense it gives me every time I hear it. This is the work of one Martin Dlabaja, whose artist page lists the Czech Republic as his place of origin.

The sound of the album includes some Dark Ambient mixed in with varying amounts from track to track, resulting in a quiet, thoughtful, foggy sort of atmosphere. The opener, "I Will Wait for You", is beatless, with a few string instruments on top of what sounds like road noise with a lot of overlaid static. The slow-moving brooding of this track sets the tone for the rest of the album.

"B52 Rebuff" brings in a beat, though it's not super-heavy. A few quiet overheard vocal samples mill around in the background. In usual Du…

Review: DJ Storm – Kicks, Snares & Hi Hats, Vol. 01 (2016)

In the early 90s, I discovered that there were certain threads in the Hip Hop world that I liked. Eric B & Rakim, Ice T, Method Man (well, the first album anyway), and some others. As the genre drifted further into the mainstream, I found I liked less of it, and have been away from that universe for quite some time. Maybe my problem was just that I didn't know where to look. At any rate, DJ Storm has released a collection of tracks that recall that era in Hip Hop, while maintaining a more modern sound in terms of its recording engineering.

It features a large number of guest MCs who have a variety of styles ranging from more serious to very playful. I find myself actually laughing sometimes at funny lyrics delivered with good timing. The common thread among the tracks is Storm's attention to detail and flair for sticking firmly with a certain Golden-Era sensibility while keeping them all from sounding the same.

From the first track, "Back", we have a good sense o…

First Listen Impression: Bola – D.E.G (2017)

I finally got a quiet hour to listen to Bola's new album, D.E.G. As usual, Bola hits a very high level of sonic quality in both engineering and composition. Listeners familiar with his other work will recognize certain techniques he uses (glitch, juxtaposed harsh and gentle textures, unusual chord structures, etc); but D.E.G is both recognizable as Bola and very fresh at the same time. (Don't miss my interview with the artist)

Three of the tracks struck me on my first trip through the album. First was "Herzzatzz", which is considerably heavier than the opener. It has a sound reminiscent of tracks from Gnayse (2004), maintaining a heavy groove with haunting melodies above.

"Pelomen Vapour 2" is also quite heavy. I think my preference for intricate and heavy compositions may be showing, but I found this one really interesting. The bassline that appears around 3:00 has a great sound to it.

As is customary for a Bola album, it finishes with a poignant and thoug…