Matt Maust is the Bassist for Cold War Kids and a great designer as well. Their album Robbers & Cowards has really been a sleeper hit for me. I first became aware of them a while back but sort of thought Hospital Beds was cool and left it at that. But lately I’ve been working to the record and really enjoying it as a whole.
Today I checked on their site to see what they were all about and was greeted by the lovely image you see above. Once inside it just gets better. I’m always a sucker for the big-gothic-type-on-photographs motif, and here it’s done very well. Even with the most talented designers, a lot of the time you can see through to the fact that the artwork for a band was project / money driven. In the case of an outfit like Cold War Kids, I think the (literally) DIY design ethic shines through to great effect. But at the end of the day, it’s not how you look as a band, it’s how you sound.
Kompakt Records just re-released Gas – Nah Und Fern earlier this month which is a collection of all 4 CD’s he released in the late 90′s on the legendary ambient Mille Plateaux imprint. All 4 releases became available this month as a beautiful box set collection. This cover art is from one of my favorite later releases called “Pop” which is on both LP and CD version of the release. The way i always visualized Wolfgang Voigt’s music is if you sat in a flat plain with tall dry grass and watched an old locomotive chug along about a half mile away, each track on this album has a similar feel to this, maybe its the soft kick drum in the background or the constant dull bell. If you don’t mind repetition and can sit and enjoy the small additions and changes in these tracks while you let the song play all the way thru as you do something else(work) than you will get alot out of this kind of music.
One band that i might say is one of my favorites but i probably don’t listen to enough unless i’m in the right mood is Sigur Ros. This is the new single off their new record called Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (English translation: with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly) which is out next Tuesday June 23rd. Personally, i love this song it reminds me of some great tracks off Animal Collective – Sung Tongs.
Sigur Ros: Gobbledigook
I couldn’t find a good quality version of the Gobbledigook video but this gives me a chance to post one of my favorite videos by them which is off the last record, the song is called: Glósóli.
Studio has a CD coming out in two weeks which includes all the remixes they’ve done. This Swedish duo we’re played to me by my close friends and this Rubies remix has been stuck in my head. I’m also impressed by some of their quality press photos, they’re not over stylized but more classic and clean with just that right amount of that extra something that makes them special and looking good amongst others.
Skalpel are a jazz duo from Poland on Ninja Tunes, they sample 50s-70s Polish Jazz and piece together tracks. I always liked the video for this song and the raw lo-fi recording did it for me everytime. It reminds me of The Avalanches alil but not as uptempo, i’ll post something from them soon.
It always surprises me how few people have heard of the German musician Ulrich Schnauss. He’s one of my favorite electronic producers but whenever I mention him (to people I consider to be knowledgeable about music) they usually just shrug and ask who he is. I saw him open for M83 in San Francisco a few years back, it was pretty intense, but he just sort of pounded away on a Siel synthesizer the whole time, no visuals or anything. Was cool to see it live, but the stage presence was a little disappointing; I guess I was expecting a singer or something (he always has those sort of ethereal vocals woven through his mixes). At any rate, I’d have to say that A Strangely Isolated Place is his best album to date, and while it’s hard to pick a favorite track from such a solid release, this song certainly ranks up there.
Since August 2006, i’ve been widdling away at one proper electronic compilation follow up to The Rorschach Suite. I wanted a release that was jam-packed full of diverse electronically made music so that people that we’re new to electronic music wouldn’t be scared off by experimentation or the dance end but mostly getting pulled in by a deal(20 tracks/80 mins of new music for cheap) and most importantly short melodic songs that make you wanna play the song again.
Today The Synchronicity Suite came out on iTunes (and got alil love under the What’s Hot section) and Ghostly International and Moodgadget wanted to exclusively share 5 songs from the compilation with the ISO50/Tycho crowd. I also wanted to point out that the artwork was done by PhilistineDSGN and mastering by Adam Hunt, gotta always give credit where credit is due.
Small Sails – Somnambulist
The Reflecting Skin – Cavedweller (instrumental version)
One of the most influential electronic labels since i started working in the industry has been Kompakt out of Cologne, Germany. Its owned by a favorite musician of mine Wolfgang Voigt aka Gas, who has some of the most unbelievable ambient records on Mille Plateaux in the mid 90′s. 1,2,3, No Gravity was always a great vinyl to throw on during the beginning of a dj set just because it had this feel to it that everybody might actually know it or wanna know it once the distant vocal came in. Also, The cover art is part of a compilation series that comes out every year, i think Kompakt is on Total 8 now, definitely worth looking into especially their other compilation series “Pop Ambient” which is also yearly. For the non techno fans, i promise to keep the techno to a minimum, if i post techno its mostly because of the melodies usually.