Twenty Knives – “Royal We, The” – [Hymen Records]

Belladonna   6/15/2011   A Library, CD

Twenty Knives is a guy supposedly named Steven Mannheim Archibold McDonald III aka SJM who used to also use the alias Pale. This is a “concept album” about a spaceship crashing and and a pilot who explores the weird terrain guided by a small robot, they have a few conversations although it can be hard figure out what they are talking about, I know some of it involves a cup of coffee. This is suuuuper quirky/weird and at times borders on irritating. this ranges from dub step to sqonky sing song bleep ballads to chamber music to of course, conversations with a robot. It is definitely entertaining and there’s enough of a range of sounds to please almost everyone and the robots conversation is definitely worthy of play From the Twenty Knives website:???This informational data repository is provided to you on behalf of the Royal Holy Island’s Travel and Information Committee. Unfortunately we cannot field any further inquiries via this repository; please wait patiently for your brochure. If you are accessing this site via a public information terminal, please wash your hands to prevent the spread of disease.??? That pretty much sums it up.

Cyclo – “Cyclo” – [Raster-Noton]

Belladonna   6/8/2011   A Library, CD

From Raster-Noton, home of Alva Noto comes Cyclo which sounds just like….Alva Noto!
This release bears such a striking resemblance to Noto’s “Unitxt” release that at first I really thought there was a labeling issue. Cyclo is Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda, two master minimalists and sound composers and clearly contemporaries of Noto. These artists have developed a database of sound composed to produce visual responses when analyzed in real time with the help of stereo imaging monitoring equipment (see insert for interesting details). This release will be followed with a publication and extensive presentation of their visuals. This test tone brain bleep blows my mind. The repetitive rhythmic sounds and screeches wrap around my brain in the best possible way. If you love Alva Noto, then you will LOVE this slightly grittier release.

Deaf Center – “Owl Splinters” – [Type Recordings]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   A Library, CD

aka Norwegian friends Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland.
This is so beautiful!! A cloud of perfection and simplicity. The combination of classical elements (piano and cello) and electronics are mesmerizing to me. Murcof without the beats, just pure simple dark cinematic soundscapes. An earlier release is an homage to David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti just to give you an idea of where they are coming from. This may just be my new favorite thing!

Red Math – “Unhinged” – [Digitalis Industries]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Lance Dibblee. I hated this at first. Its a perplexing mix of harsh noize, bleeps, “industrial dance”, glitchy frenetics and techno. So you can see why I was confused. It has a hollow analog quality that bugs me and I wish it wasn’t so noize-y. The choices are noize or beats and nothing in between it seems. I preferred the simple nature of tracks 6 & 10 but I think there is definitely something to be found for everyone.

Barricade – “Aleko” – [Victoriaville]

Belladonna   4/27/2011   12-inch, A Library

aka Stefan Goldman a Berlin based DJ and producer. I would just ignore the title trace “Aleko” as I find it to be fairly irritating and not very pleasing techno but the B-side has two great tracks “Frantic” a nice hollow clang-y electronic beat-y song and “Heliotrope” a spacey, dark, moody track. Its hard to believe those two tracks are by the same artist, they are that different.
Please enjoy!

Pushkin, A. – “Figure, The” – [Avant Archive]

Belladonna   3/23/2011   A Library, Cassette

aka Alexey Pushkin, also goes by the name of “Analog Concept”. This is an unusual combination of raw and crunchy beats with moments of menace and of cricket hums, then techno-y beats and rounded out with lovely and melodic ambiance. There are moments of all of my favorite electronic elements, there is something for everyone which makes it excellent.

Hood, Robert – “Internal Empire” – [Tresor]

Belladonna   3/23/2011   A Library, CD

Robert Hood was a major player in the Detroit techno scene and was a founding member of the Underground Resistance label before moving to NYC and founding M-Plant with Jeff Mills. This was released in ’94 during what some might consider to be the height of the rave era. That combined with this being a Tresor release guarantees that you will find some hard pounding beats. This has a bit of a “vintage” sound but like most techno, it stands the test of time and can still be considered fresh in the right context. Its fun, its nostalgic but most importantly it is very well crafted and has unique qualities that make this very enjoyable.

Zimmer, Hans – “Inception” – [Reprise / Water Tower Music]

Belladonna   3/9/2011   12-inch, Soundtrack

one of my favorite composers (Zimmer) collaborates with The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr for this very dramatic cinematic exploration. At times its dreamy and hopeful but the majority of the tracks are ominous and overpowering at times. Yes! Its a tad creepy and definitely dark and very mesmerizing. Pauses between songs are such that you can let this track if cueing up is too difficult. I love all of the tracks equally but many will appreciate the munchkin serenade and dark side of the moon moments on track 2/side 2 “Dream Within A Dream”. And the movie is good too! Enjoy!!

Kangding Ray – “Pruitt Igoe” – [Raster-Noton]

Belladonna   3/9/2011   12-inch, A Library

aka David Letellier who was born in France and started as guitarist and drummer before venturing into electronic music. He currently resides in Berlin aka the electronic music capitol.
Studied architecture, which can be hard as this is very architectural in nature with the complex layers and forms. Deep sonic dark beats, cavernous rhythms, imposing melodies. This reminds me of Monolake, (and I might even like it a tiny bit more). Has collaborated with Alva Noto and Ben Frost on this release and earlier material is definitely much more minimal but I am hoping that these intense dark beats are what we can expect in the future.

Peaches – “I Feel Cream” – [Xl Recordings/Beggars Grp]

Belladonna   1/5/2011   A Library, CD

another electroclashy, sassy, sexy, punky, beat-y release from the sassy lass with class. This is a more mature side of Peaches even if it still seems like all she sings about is sex and relationships. More fame means better production and new producers/collaborators and it’s all for the best. Definitely on the lady power side of things, its naughty, its girlie, it will make you want to drink 10 shots of Jack Daniels, make out with 10 guys/girls at the club and wake up wearing nothing but gold sequined hot pants, yeah it’s like that. Guys want to f&*k her and girls want to be her (isn’t this usually the case?). This is what you will want to listen to when nursing that broken heart.

Five Years of Rotary Cocktail [coll] – [Rotary Cocktail]

Belladonna   5/12/2010   12-inch, A Library

Part One of Rotary Cocktails new collection featuring Marko F??rstenberg, Mod.Civil, Dreher & Smart and Holger Flinsch. I hate to play favorites but the Mod Civil and Holger Flinsch tracks really stood out to me. A nice mix of sounds, very enjoyable mellow beats, dance-y and upbeat without being intrusive. It’s sophisticated, and uplifting. I love each of these tracks in very different ways. I could honestly listen to this over and over and over.

Pawel – “Berkeley” – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

Belladonna   4/7/2010   12-inch, A Library

Pawel aka Paul Kominek is cofounder of the Dial label. Minimal techno, delicate beats. This is happy, light, airy and chimey. Track 1 “Berkeley” is a nice long dancefloor nodder, Track 2 “Mate” is my favorite and starts out slow and dreamy, building to soothing beats, Track 3 “Whitney” is very similar to Berkeley, nice mellow and beat-y. Its very melodic and pleasant.

Audiovoid – “Disconnect Yourself” – [Self -released]

Belladonna   3/17/2010   A Library, CD

aka LayerZ (pronounced “layers”) aka Lindsey R. Green grew up in Healdsburg, CA. Started out in a Death Metal band at 11, slowly moved onto more electronic styles/influences. This is hardcore, breakcore, frenetic, noiz-y sample-y, self proclaimed “Glitch Hop”.
Amusing in small doses. It pounds, it punishes, it will blow your speakers out. There are some interesting samples, this isn’t earth shattering (i.e. Venetian Snares) but I think with time there could be some really amazing stuff from this guy. My mind isn’t blown but I am entertained.

Lackluster – “Portal Ep” – [Cornwarning]

Belladonna   3/10/2010   A Library, CD

Esa Juhani Ruoho, a Finnish ambient electronic artist. This is a release of earlier works 2003-2005. It’s slow moody ambient, a tad snooze inducing at times, uplifting at others but definitely lulling and mellow. Neither inspiring nor repelling, just mild and pleasant ambiance. I prefer the more upbeat tracks, the rest are just a tad too minimal for me. It’s enjoyable but you *will* be tempted to turn it up because it is so quiet.

Pink Elln – “Electronic Dreamplant, The” – [Saasfee]

Belladonna   2/17/2010   12-inch, A Library

aka Tobias Freund is an established sound engineer/producer and is also one half of “Sieg Ueber Die Sonne” and one half of Non Standard Institute. This is chirpy, dreamy, loopy electronics. It gets a tad glitchy but doesn’t lose the dance element. There are also Kraftwerkain vocals that really bug at times, not my thing but it might be yours. Enjoy!

Mills, Jeff – “Good Robot, The” – [Axis Records]

Belladonna   1/27/2010   12-inch, A Library

I love techno pioneer Jeff Mills and I like robots ok. Actually robots are scary but this EP is not and I wish it was.
The tracks contradict themselves with a choice of: a- cinematic, dreamy beauty or b- repetitive anxiety ridden beats and nothing in between. I love the dreamy, droney, sweeping tracks but the beats make me want to punch someone, they go nowhere and inspire nothing. So I half like this and I half like robots.

Emptyset – “Emptyset” – [Caravan]

Belladonna   1/27/2010   12-inch, A Library

aka James Ginzburg & Paul Purgas, based in Bristol UK. After a few minimal techno 12″ releases, this is the looong awaited full-length LP.
It’s amazing!! Minimal electronics, a mix of beats and excellent techno tracks along with long sonic soundscapes and tones that will appeal to the droners too.
They give a nod to Alva Noto and Deathprod (Dark Ambient/Drone) and you can hear those influences. They say “Emptyset acts as a research project connecting the ideas of a modern dancefloor with experimental approaches to music and its design” and that sums it up quite nicely. Even if you don’t like the beats, check out the drones!!

Hacker, The – “Reves Mechaniques” – [Goodlife]

Belladonna   10/20/2009   12-inch, A Library

The Hacker (aka Michel Amato) is a well-known French electronic producer who has worked extensively with Miss Kittin and founded his own label Goodlife (Oxia, Kiko, Jerome D. and other misc techno artists). He as influenced greatly by bands like Kraftwerk etc and is considered part of the Electroclash movement. His own sound definitely has a late 80???s/early90???s sound even though this was released in 2004. To me this is very Industrial Dance/Wax Trax/early 90???s???.definitely a more ???retro??? feel to it and I had to check the release date just to be sure but that sound is back again anyway. Guest vocals by Miss Kittin, good beats and a quirky quality should make several DJs very happy.

Sun Electric – “Aaah!” – [R&S]

Belladonna   10/20/2009   12-inch, A Library

Enjoyable German electronics from Tom Thiel & Max Loderbauer. This was released in ’94 but definitely stands the test of time. Definite early-mid 90’s Berlin sound (Tresor etc).
Side 1- Super mellow
Side 2- Orbital-ish and delish
Side 3- Upbeat happy but not as good as side 2
Side 4- It???s BLANK!!! Don???t even bother trying, theres nothing there???

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