Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Danseizure-- This is Danseizure

At once energetic, ambient, and brimming with both field recordings and original sounds, the appeal of Danseizure's LP "This is Danseizure" lies in his ability to grasp the ephemeral, detailed mystery of countless moments, all in the span of ten tracks. 

Opening with a riotous cacophony of birds over a stunningly euphonic drone, first track "Naturlike" emanates from a deeply rustic and calamitous but calming place, and there's a fecund, joyous simplicity in the shimmery tones that dapple above the woody percussion. 

Track two, "Satellite Dish Crumbling Wall" shares some common threads with the first track, but tackles a far different soundscape. Turbulent, resonant, and restive, the piece relies on a rolling beat, a clipped, boxy bass, and simmering little high notes that soundtrack the juxtaposition and uncomfortableness of the urban experience. 

Third track "Blue Sunshine" veers away from its more pensive predecessors and boasts a danceable, clubby beat. Peppery handclaps and a winsome synth pulse with a bold fluidity. By adding forested textures upon textures, the track manages to make a listener feel at once relaxed and energized. 

"Who put your nose out of joint" dives into a soundscape much darker than previously explored on the album, using distorted field recordings and a deep, spine-tingling drone. A pinched synth provides an uncomfortably high contrast against the deep bass, and a militant beat further moves listeners out of their auditory complacency and into a prison-like hollow. Despite the darkness, there's a forbidden-fruit sort of temptation in the drone, an ungraspable aural thread that permeates the beat and ends with a whimper.

"Holes in Walls" is much less heavy-hearted than "Nose out of joint". It shifts into a more mechanized world that's full of brassy synths and queasy little counter-melodies working through scattered electronic blips.

"No ideas but in things (feat. Ryan Van Winkle)" blasts into being, with destructive buzzing transforming into deep organ distortion. Ryan Van Winkle's superb, smoothly spoken word poem feels right at home in this dark din that fades back into distorted nothingness.

Seventh track, "Take what you want" is a completely shameless homage to the insipidity of prayer hotlines. At once viciously amusing and sad, the track captures the desperate hopes of the misguided, and the following track "Out" explores a similar loneliness, albeit through a single, simple piano. Its melancholy theme and meandering melody are at once evocative and ever-so familiar.

Ninth track "Berlin" opens with an off-kilter percussion. Light electronic piano patters like rain over the drumbeat. Distorted conversation filters through in the background, creating an open, disjointed impression, and electronic bass hums like thunder and fades out like a passing storm.

Final track "The world is a sad sad place" offers a sorrowful melody and counterpoint borne by twin synths lacing one another. However, the driving beat seems to criticize the anguish, encouraging action and engagement with the world instead of helplessness. It's a fitting end to an album that wanders through joy and suffering with equal courage.

All in all: it seems that Danseizure is able to find inspiration in just about anything, and his depth of understanding shines through in his sincere, meaningful LP. Each track is an evocative representation of a place or an idea, and his field recordings, original sounds and borrowed words augment his ideas. Some tracks are pop-tart worthy, while others are dark, deep explorations of places few others would dare to go.

Available at Invisible Agent (a net label full of very talented people), free to listen on-site and available for digital download, $9.90.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tay0-- Names and Numbers

"Names and Numbers", the most recent album available from Tay0, is a fulfilling and exciting aural experience that showcases brilliant bass and percussion-led tracks. These pieces at once generate vivid imagery and span a spectrum of styles.

First track "Jodrell Bank" opens with strong percussive elements and a faint buzz, relying on soft, rattling beats that morph into bass pulses and ominous drones. A quiet synth that feels at once hopeful and maligned interplays with the sharply glitched elements of the track.

Slower in tempo, second track "Wintermute" displays a mosquito-ey synth supported by a watery and diverse percussion. It fits, strangely enough, very well with following track "Behold tha Lamb", a piece that builds itself around a booming spiritual woman's voice preaching. By working her voice through the chaos of synths and an upbeat rhythm, there is a somehow symbiotic blend between the two seemingly unamalgamable styles.

"Backscatter" moves away from the characteristic upbeat rhythmic patterns of before, using eerie echoes, a hint of bass and a slight smatter of random blips to surround the listener with chilling sounds. Sound-rays like distant sirens creep up and down the spine amidst the frenetic blips, proving that it's somehow possible to emulate the sensations of going through a backscatter scanner with sound. 

Easing us back into a more comfortable, more high-spirited beat, fifth track "Names and Numbers" features smoothly expanding hums and gently tinkling little synths whispering above twisting mids that unwind and finally detune. Following up is the well-recorded "ModoKun (Live 01092010)". It opens with a deep booming rumble and unwinds into impressive, frenetically paced drums, which are well-bolstered by an airy synth.

Track seven "Bubblegum Beats" encompasses a number of vibes: first, it opens with a solemn synth and beat. Then cleverly played, enthusiastically cheerful video game beats hop over soda slurping and sunny plungs. Finally, the track darts into a synthesized beat breakdown, while vocals gleefully tell us: "Oh that's so sweet. It's so melodic. It's so tuneful, and accessible; this is Bubblegum Music!" 

The final track "Flyover Country" is more serious, sincere, and shows off once more Tay0's ability to paint complex visuals with his sounds. The track's elevated sonic movements glint and gleam, making for a well rounded track that feels like a view of earth and sky at a travelling pace. The fadeout comes as a gently ascending takeoff, leaving listeners satisfied.

All in all: Listen if you are desirous of strong rhythms and bass without sacrificing ambience, and if you're in the mood for a wonderfully varied album that makes excellent use of transitions. The album has a fantastic balance of lighthearted upbeat grooves and sobering moments, and is a mature, attentively created collection. 

Available on Tay0's site, free download. Find more on Soundcloud.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Leonardo Rosado (Subterminal)-- Dream On

It is impossible to listen to Leonardo Rosardo's "Dream On" and remain unmoved. The light touch with which Rosado lovingly blends his recordings is so captivating that, although the album is a scant 20 minutes long, the listener becomes irrevocably wrapped up in it as a willing participant and floats dreamily through its sounds. 

Beginning with a deep, quavering drone, "Rebuilding the Dream" features warm wooden pulsings, gentle water drippings, and achingly light, hovering pitches. The radiant tension wrapped up in these sounds is a muted melancholy, a shuffling wariness, shifting in and out of focus.

"Dream On" hums deeply and evolves into an opening, welcoming drone. Two soft percussive elements knock brush against each other, birds chirp, and . Dripping with rich affection, Rosado's sounds are as softly blended as watercolors and as vibrant as a photograph. Electronic glitches interrupt the frequencies like fragments of missing memories, feet and keys stumble through, and a high pitched ring echoes into a fadeout.

Unlike the sundrenched prior tracks, "Wiped Out" sputters to wistful, restless life with static and cold metallic whirs. Distant, perfunctory heels stepping impregnate the track with darkness, and the footsteps morph into misshapen copies of themselves, leaving only a tiny, blemished drone that acts as a pinhole of light over the hollows that threaten to extinguish it entirely.

"Sleepless Murmur" captures all of the uneasy gloom and resignation of the insomniac tortured by anxieties half forgotten. Night oozes through in a deep bass, and the inky midlevel drones are held aground by low pitch. The resultant watery dirge seems to take on a life of its own that wishes equally for sunlight or oblivion. The track's lack of shimmering field recordings sets it apart from the others, further adding to the semi-conscious impressions of sound.

All in all: "Dream On" is a beautiful introduction to an artist whose work is exquisitely difficult to pigeonhole. The sounds present are warm, swelling with joy and sorrow, and Rosado entwines them all together intricately, inviting us, rather than pushing, to listen with an open mind and receptive soul. 

Find "Dream On" on Audio Gourmet£.40 for download (or free here). Find more of Leonardo Rosado's 'wordsoundscapes' on his Tumblr.