My name is Daniel, and I am your friendly KZSC Electronic Music (RPM) Director for the year! I may not be the most experienced genre director this year, but I’m going to try my damndest; I’m happy to be here and even more than happy to be producing for the blog (and my shows, of course). Every week I’m going to create a small write up about the new CDs coming into the RPM department so you, the esteemed (and technologically savvy) listener, can know what to expect from our musical universe, and whats current in a musical genre that really doesn’t get that much public attention!
Grafton Primary is an electro dance band from Sydney. They draw their sound through the heavy use of synthesizers that shimmer and glisten, overlaid on deep, driving bass beats – the sort of sounds that really lend themselves to night driving in the rain. Their latest album, Eon, is almost a nod to the synthy days of the 80s – as it seems a lot of modern Australian dance music is want to do! The first half of the album is very tongue-in-cheek — We are the Music (#2) literally asks the listener: “does anybody know / what this song is about? / I’m fresh out of ideas / but I’ll buy any lies you can sell me” which, to me, seems like the musical equivalent of an author writing about himself writing — but I digress. The album ends up on more serious and dance-able notes, however, with the late-night dance floor suited Telling Lies (#7) – hyperactive bass, lifting bridges, and synth lines that build into a fervor before letting go – a song that is just asking for a sweet remix.
What a pleasure to have the new Bibio cd new in the station this week! I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t heard his older albums, the sounds of which are apparently important to understand because his newest cd, Ambivalence Avenue, has a markedly different (more focused? more polished?) sound. Where his older albums were heavily influenced by electronic acts from the late 90’s such as Boards of Canada and others and therefore possessed certain ethereal and experimental qualities, Ambivalence Avenue is much more focused and is full of solid, hip-hop inspired beats (Fire Ant, #4) yet is still, at times, overlaid by a nostalgic, pensive haze, created through the use of soft guitar arpeggios in what could almost be considered folk (haikuesque [when she laughs] #5). The Boards of Canada and IDM influence definitely shows through in the track Sugarette (#7) with the style’s signature wet drums and off-tempo, spastic beats.
Rebotini is an experimental electronica throwback to the early days of electro. In Musical Components, Instead of names, the brands of his synthesizers are credited to song names (#5 Swamp Waltz, for instance, is credited to ‘TR-707, SP 1200, SH-101, JUNO-60 and MONO/POLY). This album has deep synth beats, programmed drum machines and all the constructions of music that is begging to be remixed or used by other DJ’s as a beat. While some songs are more danceable than others, the whole album is characterized by a consistent beat throughout that is more or less followed by erratic synths.
Another artist par excellence that we are pleased to have new here in the department is Tiga’s Ciao! Produced with help from Soulwax and DFA the record is very, thoroughly danceable and is characterized by deep, bass heavy house beats, a tongue-in-cheek attitude and a thoroughly enjoyable, light, and farcical. A great example of whimsical songwriting can be found in Shoes (#3) – “whats that sound / I like that sound / I love that sound / Its the sound of my shoes.” All the trimmings of a great club-suited dance album are here.
Finally, Bodycode’s Immune is a new album that is ambient, experimental, and very chill. Erratic programmed beats and subdued basslines feature prominent which make it at times sounds very IDM-ish. The #2 track, is almost dance-worthy, yet still maintains the ambience and down tempo qualities found throughout the rest of the record. This is not unlike a more adventurous Thievery Corporation – chill out, ambient experimental!