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All posts by Jakub Alexander

Jakub Alexander curates the music selections here at the blog. He also runs his Moodgadet record label out of Brooklyn, NY and does A&R for Ghostly International Records. Links: Moodgadget Records Jakub's Tumblr

Pop Ambient 2009

Posted by Jakub

Pop Ambient 2009
The record heads over at Kompakt have done it again by continuing to floor ambient lovers with one of the best compilation series of the 21st century. Pop Ambient 2009 has some jaw dropping moments, for example when you pick up the CD and find out that Tim Hecker, Burger/Voigt and Mint all make appearances then its an easy sell for any frequent ambient music buyer. The compilation starts out with what maybe could of been William Basinski’s original Disintegration Loops but with a layer of brass added by the ever talented Klimek. Popnoname comes in with one of the most gentle and entrancing melodic pieces. Freshman Sylvain Chauveau carries us into a more looped lo-fi laptop folk sound that seems to be a new branch that Kompakt has added under the Pop Ambient umbrella. The real show stealers are Burger/Voigt who really knock us back, the song Frieden gets me so excited that I almost become ill from my uncontrollable slow swaying, minute after minute I just think about how exciting it is to be able to own this song. For those who haven’t ever purchased a Pop Ambient compilation than this is a perfect one to begin on since its one of the more diverse and inviting collections because of its use of guitars and soft noise.

Rating: 8.8/10

Similar: Kranky Kompilation | Idol Tryouts 2: Disc 2 SMM | Expanse At Low Levels | Good Night: Music To Sleep By

Sylvain Chauveau – Fly Like A Horse

Burger/Voigt – Frieden

Popnoname – Nightliner

Minotaur Shock+Lapaglia+Wink+Webb

Posted by Jakub

Joe LapagliaMinotaur Shock at first never caught my ear because I skipped thru the songs too quickly but the meat and potatoes of “Luck Shield” makes me so disappointed in myself that I didn’t catch this song before. The song sounds like a collaboration between Mum, Calmer and Final Fantasy because of the gentle melodies, the jazzier drum at times and its heavy on the strings in the main parts.

Niagara Fall’s americana lo-fi folk artist Joe Lapalgia only has a 5 track EP under his belt but that doesn’t mean his sound isn’t mature, with hints of Red House Painters and Bon Iver on the Day Behind EP I definitely see a bright future for this young man.

If you’re listening to song after song on this post then jumping from lo-fi folk to tech-house sometimes might be a bit of a stretch especially on a Monday but Josh Wink is a definite veteran in making some of the catchiest dancefloor tracks.

I’m still trying to figure out this song that Andy Webb “blended”, is it pieces from different songs by each musician listed? if so, is the song title also pieces of song titles as well? either way it sounds like an extended Cut Copy remix in my opinion thats done really well but pretty much anything Erlend Oye is on is gold so good choice(s) Mr. Webb.

Minotaur Shock – Luck Shield

Joe Lapaglia – Birds Flew By

Josh Wink – Everybody to the Sun

The Whitest Boy Alive vs Mylo vs Cut Copy – Otto’s Golden Journey (Andy Webb’s Dreamy Blend)

Patrick Rocha Jr.

Posted by Jakub

rocha jr. 1
rocha jr. 2
rigorI can always identify a Patrick Rocha illustration because of the strong angles on body figures or his style of drawing hair. One of my favorites is what he did for the JDSY – Adage of Known album cover which is a illustration of a women slowly turning into a deformed monster, another part of this drawing is the use of only red and blue colored pencil was always grabbing. My mother(professor at MIT for fine arts and portfolio preparation) always told me if I was going to get into graphic design then i’d need to relearn to draw again but that was 6-8 years ago because employers would want you to be an illustrator too, do you think that will ever came true?

Below is a song by JDSY that always floors me, it worth seating thru like a well composed classical piece that flows thru 6 different sections in the matter of minutes.

JDSY – Else2

Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest

Posted by Jakub

The FiremanI’ve been meaning to share this reissue of Paul McCarthney’s side project The Fireman. I’m really fascinated in every sound he uses in this collection of songs but almost each song sounds the same on the LP. I’m guessing it might be for something as simple as meditation use or maybe there was a longer version of this LP as just one live set that he pieced out into songs and he ran the same sounds thru the whole piece? what do you guys think?

The Fireman – Trans Lunar Rising

The Fireman – Celtic Stomp

Ratatat+Terje+Troxler+McCartney

Posted by Jakub

Ratatat - Mirando - Animal Collective RemixAnimal Collective keeps pulverizing the 2009 year, this time with a remix for Brooklyn’s Ratatat duo. This isn’t a song you skip around on and decide you don’t like because you sit thru the first 2 minutes and it might not do anything for you but where they build from there to about the 7 minute mark is a complete mind bend that can only be described by me as if the NES game Jackal(where you drive around in the Jeep’s) completely went spastic into some stuttering dream sequence which sounds awful but its a good thing.

One of the first records Tom Croose ever played me was this Paul Simon edit by Todd Terje, now I always ask him to play it whenever he dj’s out around town.

I’ve known Seth Troxler since he was in his teens, a definite talent in the house/techno world. He has this ear for perfecting tweaked vocals and keeping a song interesting by getting a new sound out of what works on the dance floor. The part where he comes in is where he disassembles tracks and follows the paths of people like Arthur Russell and Matthew Dear.

To keep with the older music kick recently I wanted to share/confess i’m not a big Beatles fan but I am a fan of this Paul McCartney song, some friends of mine have tried to play me some Beatles but I just couldn’t do it until I heard one record they did and it really grabbed me but I can’t for the life of me remember which one it was, its not that important, its not like there music is going to disappear anytime soon.

Ratatat – Mirando (Animal Collective remix)

Paul Simon – Diamonds Dub (Tangoterje Edit)

Seth Troxler – Love Never Sleeps

Paul McCartney & Wings – Let ‘Em In

Interview: Sam Grawe [Dwell/Hatchback]

Posted by Jakub

Sam Grawe
Name: Samuel Grawe

Occupations: Editor-in-chief at Dwell Magazine / Musician in Windsurf & Hatchback

So, you started Dwell Magazine in Oct. 2000 but your first full length as Hatchback was put out in Sept. 2008, I have a feeling you’ve had this album in you for awhile now but i’m sure Dwell takes up most of your day?

Right. Being the editor-in-chief of any magazine is time consuming, but with Dwell, I’m also working on our website, our conference, various brand extensions, and so on, so that keeps me fairly busy. Hatchback and Windsurf are what I like to do in my down time—mostly weekends, late nights. Sometimes I wish I could have a little more flexibility, for instance, I could wake up and say, ok, this morning I want to play Rhodes for an hour and then record a drum track, and then I’ll go to work. That would be ideal.

Can you list off 3 of your favorite pieces of furniture and 3 favorite instruments and one of each that you personally own?
This list is pretty arbitrary, it would probably change tomorrow, but here:

Furniture:
Ultima Thule by Tapio Wirkkala, a 30 meter long sculpture of laminated plywood carved to look like a wind-blown glacial ice field made for the Finnish Pavilion of Expo 67.

The Sausage Chair by Nana Ditzel, mmm… sausage.

High Back Alcove Sofa by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec, this piece has an Empire Strikes Back quality which I admire.

Instruments:
roland_jupiter8-1jpg
Roland Jupiter 8, they don’t make synths this sexy anymore.

Synthi AKS, I got to play with one of these once, I had no idea what I was doing, but it sure was fun.

Fender Rhodes, the creamy keys. Every song I really dig tends to have some Rhodes on it.

My favorite furniture I own is probably my Bertoia Bird Chair and my favorite instrument is the Korg MS-20

Does Dwell ever feature or use music on any level?
Not really. Every now and then we’ll feature a home where the resident is a musician. I was able to include a rhythm ace drum machine in a caption once.

Who did the Hatchback album cover? Do you feel like the cover best describes your sound and does it seep into a design style that you like as well?

The design firm Non-Format did the cover for my album, and most of the Lo Catalog. They’re really talented graphic designers and certainly great typographers. I had envisioned something a little more handmade originally, and perhaps inspired by folk art from India or Mexico or pornographic sci-fi like Boris Vallejo, but ultimately I really dig what they did.

I think your sound is the future of slower tempo music with depth that can be listened to by a broad crowd, could you share who got you into this type of music? And maybe suggest a few records to ease someone new to your sound into it.
I’m not really sure what style my music is honestly. Maybe I’m not a good marketer, but I tend not to think in genres or that I should make a slower trac or faster trackk. That said, I tend to listen to older albums and soundtracks—I’m usually the last to know about really good new music.

I think Vangelis’ Bladerunner soundtrack continues to have a huge influence one me. The synthesizers on that are so on point, and the songs have a really emotive quality. Its pretty much as genius as it comes. You should also check out the Bilitis soundtrack by Francis Lai and La Planete Sauvage by Alain Goraguer.

Can you go thru for us a busy day that would have you working on both Hatchback and Dwell?
Dwell: 9 am – 7:30 pm Hatchback: 10pm-4am

If I had a best songs of 21st century list going i’d seriously include “Everything Is New”, do you ever share any of the music at the Dwell offices?
Wow. Thanks! Yeah, the designers have all my older jams and keep threatening to release a bootleg one of these days.

What plans do you have for Dwell in 2009? Any style architecture that we should be looking into?
We try not to espouse style per se. We’re more interested in the timeless quality of modern design and the relationship between a building and its context—how does a place influence the architecture and how does architecture influence a place. Right now, green design is coming of age and really becoming mainstream—but the best green ideas are often timeless notions of building that have either been maligned or ignored by trends of the last 100 years, things like solar orientation and natural ventilation. These are things we need to re-learn fast, and couple with emerging technologies. Buildings, not cars or anything else, are the biggest contributor to green house gases and consume roughly 70% of the energy in this country, so its going to be critical that architecture addresses the environment above all else.

As you’re going into your 9th year with Dwell, what directions have you taken the company that you never thought you’d be doing but your glad you did?
Well, when I started as the editorial assistant (a job I found on craigslist in 2000) I never dreamed that 7 years later I’d be the editor-in-chief. I’m really proud of the magazine we make and just want to keep the quality level high and the content interesting while having it be an entertaining read.

Is Hatchback available for a Tycho remix? I’m sure we’d all love to hear that.
I’m up for it. I just might have to take the day off.

Links
Dwell Magazine
Hatchback on Myspace

Mum+Studio+Aeroplane+UR

Posted by Jakub

Mum4 stunning and steady tracks for a monday afternoon, i’ve included more Studio which I re-fell in love with over the weekend and some recent purchases of tracks that I only had on vinyl. The Underground Resistance track is a must listen if you want to get a taste of the melodic side Detroit Techno.

Múm – Flow Not So Fast Old Mountain Radio

Studio – Origin

Aeroplane – Aeroplane

UR – Abandoned Building In Mono

Bishop+Deodato+Starbuck+Mangione

Posted by Jakub

DeodatoFirst of all, i’m going over this Deodato(which is the cover art above) live version of Do It Again and I realized I heard the best thing ever which is just ONE guy whistling really loud in the middle a key solo like it was the only record he had at home. These 4 tracks have something in common other than just being old, you can file them all under Yacht Rock which is an amazing genre of music if you like your brass section epic, your bass guitar lines soft and smooth, your keys saturated like off white stage light glare and most importantly strings being played like your in a 70′s spy movie chase scene in speedboats. It’s an easy genre to rip on i’m sure for people that don’t dork out on the certain instruments that I mentioned before but if you take all the labels off of it or any bad memories then this music has a lot to offer in my opinion.

Stephen Bishop – Save It for a Rainy Day

Deodato – Do It Again

Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right

Chuck Mangione – Give It All You Got