Review: "Curveland" is the third solo album from Japanese musician Aus. Yasuhiko Fukuzono is only 23 years of age, and already he has put his name to a quite substantial body of work, developing his production talents from glacial electronic experimentation to pure vocal pop. There is something delicately cinematic about "Curveland", and not in the way you might think - there's none of the menace of Angelo Badalamenti or the forced grandeur of John Williams here, rather we are treated to the soundtrack to a simple film about love, say "Brief Encounter" or fittingly, "Lost In Translation". Unlike his contemporaries in the Japanese scene, he seems to fit in perfectly with Moteer's pastoral and unashamedly British vision - long green grass, knitted sweaters and hot cups of tea. This bright-eyed homespun sentiment is exactly what makes "Curveland" so hard to forget.
Industrial Violence, Venus & Mars, When Planets Collide???
Got To Sleep (Or I'll Put You To Sleep)
Wasn't Changing Your Mind An Option
Review: The well practised duo of Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall are now up to their third album and have possibly come up with their most defined statement yet. After conquering the mighty piano on their homespun and beautiful "We Made It for You", the two have now made the ultimate Christmas card with "Tomorrow Time". At least, it's the Christmas card you wish you could send; with titles such as "You're an Idiot" and "A Sincere Fuck You", it's a far cry from garden-bound Robins and snowy Idylls. However The Boats have not injected their loving music with this harsh sentiment, you'll be pleased to know that they're as warm and as delicate as ever and are joined by vocalists Chris Stewart and Elaine Reynolds who aid in the band's quest to weave the most pleasing micro-pop yet borne on our fair earth.
Review: The latest release from the Moteer family, "Reverberate Slowly" is a smoky collection of gorgeous late-night dub miniatures from mysterious Berlin-based producer El Fog. Sounding at times like a less academic Jan Jelinek or a hopelessly innocent Rhythm and Sound; deceptively complex click, hiss and pop rhythms are used to underpin a series of minimal elements (Rhodes and vibraphone tones, sleepy acoustic guitar, samples of piano and double bass) that slowly resonate through each track, quietly pulsing and reverberating as suggested by the album's evocative title. "Reverberate Slowly" is a totally seductive listening experience and, like a candlelit supper with that special someone, it won't fail to draw you into its moonlit night time mood.
Review: Minimum Chips are an Australian five piece, and after a slew of Aussie-only releases, they have finally joined the loving Moteer family. "Lady Grey" is a collection of tracks taken from the "Sound Asleep" EP and "Kitchen Tea Thank You", and gives the perfect introduction to one of down-under's best kept secrets. The first thing you hear from these tracks is the band's deft and undeniable ability to create classic pop music; in the same way that Stereolab and Broadcast have wowed us with their 60s swooning and lilting analogue pop sensibilities, Minimum Chips are the next in the line to win over our hearts and souls. We can only assume it's the perpetual sun that does it, but there's a baked, warming vibe present on this album that their contemporaries can only hint at, and a home-cooked feeling which makes it so much more honest, so much more real than you could ever believe was possible. These days it is a breath of fresh air in a music scene populated by idle trend following sheep and naïve onlookers dazzled by haircuts and ripped jeans, Minimum Chips have sidestepped all the scenesters and sculpted something timeless. Starting as they mean to go on, the five-piece kick off the record with "Cold Afternoon"; a slice of pop perfection if ever there was one, with nods to Low, Francoise Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg in it's smouldering and sultry half-tempo swing. Organs slice through heartbreaking vocals and tape saturated percussion to create something memorable and quite simply gorgeous. By the time the record is half-way through we're onto another high point, the dream pop excess of "Know You Too Well', which squashes the influence of Stereolab and the Concretes into a carefree ode to brighter days and lighter moments. Another incredible addition to the already reliable Moteer catalogue, this is an album to re-affirm your love of life, and to take you singing and dancing into the Autumn months.
Review: Chris Stewart (aka Need More Sources) is a perfect addition to the Moteer label, creating gentle ballads for string quartet, guitar and piano. "Shed" stands up as one of the label's most inspired and emotive releases to date. Nothing is really known about Need More Sources except what is presented to us through the ten songs on "Shed".
Review: It's safe to say that all good things come to the patient among us, and John McCaffrey, better known for his collaborative work under the Clickits moniker, has created a record for those calmer moments; the times in life where all that's left to do is to sit and watch the world go by, to realise where we are and take in the sounds around us. 'Part Timer' is a time capsule of a record, a decomposing wooden box of long-forgotten English folk cassettes buried for countless years before being rediscovered and then reworked all over again as McCaffrey has seen fit. There is the hand of a master at work, engineering music that could be as old as time and weaving his influences in and out of each track. We hear fingerprints of The Books or Jan Jelinek about his warm vignettes, but McCaffrey's touch is his own, and the quaint worlds he effortlessly conjures up could come from his mind alone. Featuring the vocals of Nicola Hodgkinson of Empress, the album's defining moment comes on 'We Made A Big Mistake', which sees Hodgkinson's dulcet tones accompanied by distant piano and decaying glitch-laden percussion. It sounds as peaceful as a half-heard lullaby, and McCaffrey's skilled production seems perfectly matched with the like-minded vocalist. Around the album's half-way point we reach the Wild West lament of 'Sad Little Dennis', a cinematic horn-laden ode to sun-baked lands and creaking architecture. And this is the true power of 'Part Timer', that within such a small space of time he can create such a rich and visual experience, all it requires is patience.
Review: "The Scientific Contrast" is the debut release from mysterious German producers Kibbee Theodore and Bernd Hamblin. This Moteer release is for anyone who is interested in introspective music full of mystery and fragility.