Review: After the brilliance of his intoxicating Themes From An Imaginary Film album, there's no doubt that Chromatics producer Johnny Jewel is on a roll. Here, he returns to his roots to helm the fourth full-length from the futurist crew, their first since 2007. In typical fashion, it's a beguiling set that draws on Jewel's usual cinematic influences. Musically, it sounds like a particularly heart-aching road movie, shuffling across the mid west via dark soundtrack moods ("Candy","11th Hour" and "Dust To Dust"), fragile balladeering ("Birds Of Paradise"), eyeliner-laden electronic moodiness ("A Matter of Time"), and Johnny Marr-goes-to-the-movies indie-pop (see "Kill For Love", "Into the Black" and "Back From The Grave").
Review: On its initial vinyl and download release late last year, Cherry was proclaimed by critics as being one of Chromatics' strongest albums to date. Given that the Portland band have now released seven acclaimed sets, that's some claim. This first "deluxe" CD edition adds previously unheard cuts and alternative versions, but it's the core set - featured on the first half of the CD - that really sparkles. As you might expect, it's not only full of the atmospheric, slow motion synth-pop with which they made their name, but also a swathe of cuts heavily influenced by the cinematioc soundtrack work Jonny Jewel has been concentrating on since their previous full-length dropped back in 2012. In other words, it's quite possibly Chromatics' most evocative and rounded set to date.
Review: Disco producer, synthesizer pioneer and Hi-NRG originator Patrick Cowley made a lot of highly sexual music. In fact, his muscular synth-disco productions were, for years, the soundtrack of choice in San Francisco's notorious bathhouse scene. It doesn't stop there, though. Unbeknownst to most disco aficionados, Cowley also provided experimental synthesizer tracks to soundtrack gay porn films between 1973 and 1981. Initially released on vinyl last year, School Daze has now been granted a CD edition by Dark Entries and gathers together the best of those productions. Arguably, the material here is amongst his best work. Free of the constraints of the dancefloor, Cowley let himself go, delivering avant garde synthesizer compositions that ranged from spaciously psychedelic ("Out of Body", like some lost Confused House record) and decidedly cosmic (the chugging "Journey Home"), to otherworldly and outlandish ("Zygote"). Recommended.
Review: The final part of Dark Entries' long-running series of archival Patrick Cowley releases showcases tracks originally recorded for Afternooners, a late '70s gay porn film by director John Coletti. As with previous Cowley releases on Dark Entries, the double album also contains previously unheard material rediscovered from the Fox Studio archives. It's another essential collection of atmospheric synthesizer music in the producer's distinctive style, all told, with tracks ranging from the whistling cheeriness of "Hot Beach" and the sparkling, cowbell-laden throb of "One Hot Afternoon" to the dubbed-out, semi-ambient dreaminess of "Bore & Stroke" and the humid, upbeat "Jungle Orchid".
Review: Having previously impressed with their reissue of Patrick Cowley's brilliant, all-synthesizer soundtrack to obscure '70s gay porn flick School Daze, Dark Entries and Honey Sound System once again join forces to shine a light on the high energy disco pioneer's work for San Francisco's Fox Studios. Unsurprisingly, it's another impressive collection, and features material recorded for a number of different pornographic films. There are naturally more up-tempo moments - see "Somebody To Love Tonight", which would later be re-recorded with Sylvester, and the synth-weirdness-meets-jazz-funk brilliance of "5oz of Funk" - but it's the impressively cosmic and exotic ambient moments, such as the stand-out "Timelink" and "Jungle Magic", that really stand out.