Tag Archives: Electronic

To Rococo Rot – Instrument Album Review

Over the course of 18 years, Berlin-Duesseldorf trio To Rococo Rot have carved an identifiable niche for themselves and one which has crossed a variety of styles; neither wholly in the realms of ambient or pure electronics. The late 1990s albums of Veiculo and The Amateur View brought their fundamental and innovative landscapes of sound to the fore while 2001’s collaboration with I-Sound, Music is a Hungry Ghost, showed their ability to blend disparate influences into something cohesive. Remixed by Four Tet and Daniel Miller and heralded by the likes of Modeselektor, their influence extends as far as their unique approach deserves.

To Rococo Rot

To Rococo Rot Instrument artwork

The music of brothers Robert and Ronald Lippok and Stefan Schneider has always existed in its own world and Instrument is a landmark album for the group. The serenely soft melodies of No Wave pioneer Arto Lindsay (Lounge Lizards/Ambitious Lovers/DNA) adorn three tracks, offering up a new perspective. Though melodies have always been a big part of their sound, the inclusion of a human voice is a distinctive modification making it the most accessible introduction to their world of diverse electronics and experimentation.

Instrument starts with the single release, Many Descriptions, one of the three tracks on the record that features vocals while the latest single release, Classify, features later on the album.

Next comes Besides with its calming and ambient tones. This song has all those things that allow it to be the sort of background music everyone should have in their lives.

Down In The Traffic appears next with its jazz inspired ambience. The drum beat is heavily influenced by jazz and the whole song is mesmerising and interesting yet soothing. The melody is repetitive but it never becomes boring – there are so many other layers to this track that are brought in gradually which builds the song and allows it to expand and breathe, give it that pulsating effect. Similarly, Baritone has the same feel to it; it’s jazz with a distinct twist. In the background, there’s a synth used which creates the effect of distorted human voices. If you listen really carefully, it sounds like people talking in atmospheric places like cafes and coffee shops giving it that very real feel. There’s a sense of sophistication in this track – you imagine that those indecipherable conversations are of philosophy and poetry.

The last track on the album, Longest Escalator In The World is a little bit John Martyn influences on tracks of his such as Small Hours. It’s incredibly unusual and heavily synth based which all makes it entirely atmospheric and indulgent. There’s the recognisable spontaneous guitar twangs, lingering synths and randomness that make this song feel like Small Hours. There are also world influences heard in the drumming introducing a whole other level to Longest Escalator In The World.

Instrument may be a To Rococo Rot record unlike any other – and one that treads unfamiliar ground – but it also represents a return to the beginning. Instrument is out now via City Slang.

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Owl City Release New Video For Single, Beautiful Times

Owl City has teamed up with RollingStone.com to debut the music video for his latest single “Beautiful Times (ft. Lindsey Stirling)” today. The premiere came just in time for the digital release of the multi-platinum singer, songwriter and producer’s new digital EP, Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet is now available on iTunes.

The video for Beautiful Times is a gorgeous and whimsical cinematic tale. It follows a young protagonist waking up and venturing beyond his own world while showing the musician do what he does best. With an imaginative story evocative of the song’s ethereal melodies, the clip channels the distinct and dynamic energy of Ultraviolet. Musically, it also marks the first collaboration between Owl City and Lindsey Stirling who lends her inimitable and impressive violin skills to the track.

Across Ultraviolet, the Minnesota native—aka Adam Young—seizes the spirit of his early material while still progressing as is apparent on Beautiful Times as well as tracks like Wolf Bite.

Personally, Young has grown into a prolific pop presence. His breakout single Fireflies from 2009’s Ocean Eyes is certified six-times platinum and it landed at number one in 26 countries. Moreover, it’s generated sales of 10 million tracks globally. Again in 2012, The Midsummer Station yielded the double-platinum smash Good Time (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen) also a top five hit in the U.S. Meanwhile, filmmaker Zack Snyder [Watchmen, 300] sought out Young to pen the theme song for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole while Disney tapped him for an original composition in the Academy Award-winning Wreck-It Ralph. His tunes have also been featured in The Croods, Veggietales and Smurfs 2. Peers including Armin Van Buuren and Paul Van Dyk also reached out for collaborations.

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The Naked And Famous Announce Pre-Order For Deluxe Edition Of In Rolling Waves

The Naked and Famous has expanded their critically acclaimed sophomore full-length, In Rolling Waves, with a special deluxe edition available digitally on July 1. The pre-order is live on iTunes and other digital retailers now.

For this deluxe package, they teamed up with top remixers including Sombear, Ducky, Big Black Delta and more to re-imagine and re-envision key tracks. In addition, the band enlisted the talents of Chain Gang of 1974, Space Above and Strange Babes to cut covers of select songs, each act adding their own flair and fire to the music in the process.

In Rolling Waves comes to life vividly through all of these artistic innovations. You can hear a fresh vitality coursing through Sombear’s remix of the single Hearts Like Ours which premiered on HillyDilly.com. The remix tempers a lush soundscape with cinematic flourishes, allowing listeners to fall deeper into the embrace of The Naked and Famous. As synths, guitars and vocal harmonies collide, the group’s sound once again emerges vibrantly.

The gold-selling New Zealand quintet recently gave stunning performances at both Governor’s Ball and Bonnaroo. They’ll cap off the summer with a string of West Coast dates starting August 20 at North Park Theatre in San Diego, CA.


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Mark Barrott – Sketches From An Island Album Review

Mark Barrott’s newest album Sketches From An Island compresses this Balearic heartbeat into nine warm gems which paint a picture of the island, the people and the magnetic beauty that pulses through it.

Barrott himself is a man of serious musical pedigree. He founded the highly-respected International Feellabel in 2008 after moving to Uruguay, where his A&Ring tempted the elusive DJ Harvey out of studio retirement which he followed with new work from artists like Quiet Village, Gatto Fritto and the Italian cosmic disco don Daniele Baldelli.

Recorded in Ibiza’s northern hills using “weird percussion, some slide guitars and a few borrowed synths,” Sketches is a melodic and mysterious representation of a place seeped in a rich and rebellious history. Or as original Café Del Mar’s José Padilla, has it: “This is what I call Balearic.”

Baby Come Home kick starts the record with its summery, repetitive melody that allows this to become one hell of a soothing track. It has funk influences heard in the guitar riff while the natural sounds, such as the pipes, allow this song to let you feel free and careless.

Dr Nimm’s Garden Of Intrigue & Delight is very experimental and has a distinctly sci-fi feel to it. There’s psychedelic elements which make it atmospheric. Dr Nimm’s has a heavy electronic feel to it in comparison to Baby Come Home due to the use of lots of synths. Barrott has added natural sounds such as birds tweeting, the sound of waves etc that all compliment the title of the song – this idea of a wonderful, colourful, exotic garden of tranquillity and wonder.

Go Berri Be Happy changes the tone of the album entirely. This song has folk influences and lends itself to sound a little Laura Marling in places but without vocals. It gradually develops into the sort of track you hear on those chill out compilations. It’s soothing, sensuous and sparkling.

Deep Water introduces more World influences than heard in the previous tracks on the record. It starts with a meditative continuous sound and soft chimes blended with the sound of waves crashing gently on the shore. Gradually the pan pipes and the African drum come in giving this track a deep, meditative effect on the brain. Your muscles release as you listen, your mind pictures that perfect beach with light blue, warm sea to dive in and a smile creeps onto your face. It’s the perfect summer track. It’s the perfect track for your secluded island break.

Sacred Islands finishes off the album leaving the listener with a steady mind and calm breath. The sounds of birds are the only thing heard to start with before the soft piano steps in alongside the strings. Sacred Islands builds slowly and with each new note or instrument, the listener becomes more settled. The song ends with the natural sounds of birds singing and tweeting – what else could you ask for to keep you calm and happy?

Mark Barrott’s Skecthes From An Island is a cracking album for your summer. If you’re looking for chill out music that keeps you dreaming of hot weather, beautiful beaches and good times, look no further. This is the album for you. Sketches From An Island is out now.

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VTCN Radio Release Two New Singles, Holy Frank And Jean Moulin

VTCN Radio (pronounced Vatican Radio) is a Parisian duo doing experimental electronic music that drench you in a dark and melancholic atmosphere emancipated from genres.

Their first single Riddle Song was released last month and was well received. The track was relayed by media such as Radio Nova, The 405, We Are The Mascotte Magazine, Nylon Guys Magazine and Earbuddy, to name a few

Now VTCN Radio have just released two brand new tracks, Holy Frank and Jean Moulin, a tribute to the high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II.

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