Saturday, 22 April 2017

Album: Miwon - Jigsawtooth

Miwon Jigsawtooth

Info: 'Jigsawtooth' is the third album from Hendrik Kroez’s Miwon project. On this long-awaited follow up to his critically revered 'A to B (City Centre Offices)', Kroez displays his skill in marrying motorik techno infused rhythms and soaring pop ambient melodies. This is most evident on 'Charezza', which could be the most uplifting track in the n5MD cannon. Other cuts on the album utilize sweeping synth-work that encourage a near kraut/kosmische travel worthy flavor to the proceedings. It is now available on CD, as well as white, and transparent red vinyl.

Miwon's Jigsawtooth is an album that will immediately sweep you up and under it's blanket of ambient techno and electronic soundscapes. Opening track 'Fuzzy Words' is probably where I had hoped Tycho's Epoch album would have ventured last year but failed to do so. Thumping drum pads and gently stretched effects cast themselves across its 3 minutes and 20-odd seconds like a gently rippling wave.

'Charezza' follows, a feeling of isolation is present in its intro, chimes dangle and move in opposite time to the beat, there is a real feel of Eno's Another Green World meets fellow German downtempo electronic artist Paul Kalkbrenner, it's a really beautiful listening experience that soars slowly and with ease. Then comes the old school house sounds of the glitchy and slightly industrial sounding 'Spiderman', a thudding muffled bass-line and beat forcefully place themselves directly under the more delicate wisps of the synth.

'Shutter (Windmill Version)' shrouds itself in a dark yet flickering light, the beat on this is choppy like a guillotine cutting the song in to tiny fractions, there's a determined drive behind it which is balanced against the soft retro 70's sounding keys. Proceedings get decidedly funky on sixth track 'Pineda', with its air of Massive Attack ambiance, it trickles hazily with a very soft static backdrop.

Again industrial sounds crop up on the wonderfully spatial and creeping 'Mondharke', reminiscent at times of Death in Vegas' 'Aisha' at a reduced pace, it brings inhospitable and bleak alien landscapes to the fore. Following the upbeat and bouncy 'Cool Your Jets', Jigsawtooth concludes with its title track, an equally joyful piece to its predecessor, a retro computer game sound encompasses the optimistic beat, and at the half-way point a funky hip-hop burst introduces itself. Overall Miwon swirls us through a wide range of his sonic catalogue of visions on his new album, and it's a very, very enjoyable trip to take part in.

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Single: THUMPER - Fear of Art

THUMPER Fear of Art

THUMPER - Fear of Art

Info: In the run up to the release of their third EP, Pop! Goes The Weasel, which will be out in May on Little L Records, Dublin pop-punk-rockers THUMPER have shared their brand new single, 'Fear of Art'. 

The magic behind THUMPER lies in their ability, proven over time, to consistently write songs that you initially enjoy, but as time goes by and you come back to them, the subconscious part of your brain informs you that you love them an awful lot. I had this moment only last week when I was listening to another Dublin band's EP on a streaming App and one of their singles from last year, 'Rent Is Due' came on via the algorithm, damn that track is so bloody good I thought, THUMPER are great.

The second great thing about the band is that they give you what you want, but it never comes across as repetitive or reinventing the wheel, far from it. We are given the noise, distortion and vocal effects we've become accustomed to, but each track is absolutely distinct. So it is with 'Fear of Art', where previous single 'The Loser' was a nuclear explosion of static, on the latest single we have a bone fide early 90's Seattle grunge vibe injected with a hyper-version of the The Dandy Warhol's debut 1995 album Dandys Rule OK. Once again it THUMPER leave us fully gratified, they should consider mixing things up a little at this stage and release a shit single.

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Single: The Optimists - Not Her

The Optimists - Not Her

Info: The Optimists are Dublin’s newest alt-pop band. Despite forming just under two years ago the band has already made a significant fan base in the capital region as well as Galway, Sligo and further afield. The band is made up of six members; Tom and Axel on rotating lead and rhythm guitar roles, Ronan on bass, Cheese on drums, Heather on vocals and Raaychull on vocals and synth.

The six piece came together in January 2015 and have already added an impressive array of notches to their collective belt. They’ve rattled the ground of Dublin’s premiere music venues and even gotten a little continental. The Button Factory, The Workman’s Club and Whelan’s have all been left shaking in the wake of their natural gift for performance and the enchanting hooks of
their music. With hype building around their highly anticipated single; 'Not Her', they have recently appeared on and SPIN 1038’s Plan B.

In their press release for 'Not Her', The Optimists note that the tone and mood of the song contrasts the exuberant and high-energy style which characterises their live shows. In that sense I was surprised when I first listened to it, but no less impressed by quality of the recorded track. O'Grady and Lawrie's vocals and harmonies are truly impressive, and without doubt, they are one of the best pairing of singers in the country. 

Their second single is an indie-pop ballad, and despite the for withdrawn sound, they successfully build the atmosphere to restrained anthemic levels by track's end, with a slow-burning guitar loop and drums carefully and gradually lifting the 'Not Her' to its heart-felt crescendo. The Optimists' live shows speak for themselves, and it's nice now to get a feel for how they transfer to the studio, the next single is eagerly awaited already.

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