Take one ex-punk band frontwoman well-known in the indie music scene for chugging from vodka bottles onstage, fighting with security guards, and getting pulled offstage for climbing the stage rigging at Glastonbury, add knob-twiddling, shy-guy producer Ethan Kath famous for describing his act’s live shows as a “disgrace to music”, and what do you get? The insanity that is frenetic, electro-punk act Crystal Castles, and they’re back with a second album that is just as riotous and deliciously danceable as their first.
Confusingly, their second effort shares its title with their (self-titled) first outing. Leaked on the internet before being released a few weeks later, there is a definite progression in sound from their first effort – a particularly dire metaphor I drunkenly came up with in an attempt to describe Crystal Castles to a friend: album one is that skinny, beautiful blonde in the barely-there dress at the club, trashed and dancing on tables with all eyes on her. The second is the same blonde in your bed the morning after, hungover, rubbing her tired eyes and beginning to wonder what she’s doing with her life. There’s that same nihilistic, fuck-you attitude to it, but tinged with a shade of melancholia. They’ve grown up and it shows, both lyrically and musically: the producing is tighter, more crisp, but still wild and definitively-‘Crystal Castles’.
‘Fainting Spells’ draws an interesting parallel between the second and first albums: ‘Magic Spells’ on album one was one of the first singles to be released. ‘Fainting Spells’ is a wicked tune, making the punk influences of Crystal Castles clear – Alice Glass’ customary screeching is backed by a wild, noisy mess of 8-bit beeps and beats, setting an interesting precedent for what’s to come. It’s not all in-your-face riot-pop, though: there’s the strangetly heartrending melancholia of ‘Suffocation’ (where Glass sings, regretfully, “I suffocate, and promise me you won’t resuscitate”) and Violent Dreams, interspersed within the dancefloor-type tunes like ‘Doe Deer’ and ‘Intimate’. It’s just as easy to dance to and lose yourself in as their first, rather excellent album, but a beautiful progression in mood for the two.
Even in its more reflective, moodier moments, Crystal Castles manages to retain their skill for tightly-produced tunes, rife with innovatine use of samples and synthesisers and pounding beats. For an act that have made their disdain for disco and club music in general quite clear, Crystal Castles sure as hell do it brilliantly – a testament to the amount of talent possessed by the duo.
For a sample of what to expect from this album, and the Crystal Castles live show, here’s a recording of ‘Baptism’ from Lollapalooza, ’09.
(This review is the first from Miki, the girl behind Iconastasia: let us know what you thought, and keep an eye out for more!)
In the past 2 years, I had the chance to discover great ambient music, and also to be introduced to the universe of electroacoustic compositions. So, I though this was the time to make a journey through all those soundscapes. I hope this selection will be a cause of fascination as great as it was for me when discovering every piece I’ve chosen for this number 11. Have a good listen.
01. Robert Piotrowicz – Lincoln Sea: Ice Walk Draft
02. 36 – Nephyr
03. BJ Nilsen – The Invisible City
04. Mika Vainio – Bury a Horse’s Head
05. Max Richter – A Sudden Manhattan of the Mind
06. Neil Rose – Marsh Mills Flyover
07. Deaf Center – Weir
08. BJ Nilsen – Into Its Coloured Rays
09. Biosphere – As the Sun Kissed the Horizon
10. Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker – Hymn to the Idea of Night
11. Noveller – Brilliant Colors
12. Györgi Ligeti – Lux Aeterna
13. Bernard Parmegiani – Lumière
14. Cliff Martinez – Wormhole
15. Rosy Parlane – Part Two
16. The Beautiful Schyzophonic – Bambilany
17. Hammock – Elm
18. Robert Henke – Signal to Noise II
19. Biosphere – Kobresia
Here it is. Winter, with its snowflakes, blinking lights, slipping people. But this cold intensifies the perception of sounds too. The feeling of density is heavier, everything seems so deep, but so near at the same time…
01. Monolake – Infinite Snow
02. JPLS – Convolution
03. Mika Vainio – Roma A.D. 2727
04. Ben Frost – Peter Venkman Pt II
05. Jerry Goldsmith – The Skeleton
06. Bernard Parmegiani – Géologie sonore
07. Dopplereffekt – Mirror Symmetry
08. Robert Henke – Hommage 17
09. Lawrence English – Allay
10. aMute – Landslips
11. Alva Noto – Xerrox Sora
12. Björk – Headphones (Ø Remix)
I’m aiming to make buttcheeks flutter. Synth stabbin’, massive wobblin’, bass thumpin’, laser beamin’, sirens wailin’, booty rattlin’, hands in the airin’ end of the year banger. Bust out the woooo haaa’s, go wild and go loud!
posting it a day earlier.
01. Cubic Zirconia – Fuck Work (Dances With White Girls Remix)
02. Thor De Force feat. TK Wonder – Not Invincible
03. Last Japan – Just Killa Man
04. Frederik Olufsen – Step One (Lacrimosa)
05. Drop the Lime – Set Me Free (Lil Silva Remix)
06. Last Japan – L.F.O.
07. Jinder – Youth Blood (Sharkslayer Remix)
08. Math Head – Turn The Music Up (AC Slater Remix)
09. Zinc feat. No Lay – Killa Sound
10. Romanthony’s Nightvision – Never Fuck (Jan Driver Remix)
11. Codec & Flexor – Black Diamonds
12. KIKO – Slave of My Mind
13. Brother Brown – Under The Water (Faithless Mix)
Late but back again! The idea of staying away another week was intolerable, so i used the setback that kept me from posting more to wipe the slate clean and get back to the basic-yet-brilliant idea of “let’s just do a good show.” This is all about what’s fresh for this week.
01. Kaito // And That Was the Way
02. Floating Points // Vacuum Boogie
03. Alland Byallo // Rare Bird
04. Vitalic // Second Lives
05. Boys Noize // Trooper
06. Luciano // Metodisima
07. Shackleton // Moon Over Joseph’s Burial
08. Kryptic Minds // Dissolved
09. Kode 9 + Spaceape // Time Patrol
10. Ben Frost // Killshot
Pre-nausea tension. an implied dread. background stress. wrong but not sure why. this episode walks and talks like a show but the selections and mixing of them are skewed towards mild discomfort. like an uneasy dream you can’t put your finger on, i hope that, after this, even for a brief time the world outside looks a bit… off.
01. Mika Vainio // Rome 2727 AD
02. Omar S // Blade Runner
03. Mu // Let’s Get Sick
04. Boys Noize & Erol Alkan // Death Suite
05. Actress // Hazyville
06. The Soft Pink Truth // I Owe It To the Girls
07. Onur Ozer // Vakant Limited 1
08. Holger Zilske // Work
09. Amiina // Tvisturinn
10. Tape Loop Orchestra // Chapter 9: Setsu Ko Hara
11. Sissy Spacek // Song 9c
12. Whitehouse // Killing Hurts Give You the Secrets
Vitamin Attempt II
The Earth is due to have it’s magnetic poles shift soon (relative to Earth’s timeline, anyway). during this time there is a brief window of vulnerability and confusion as it shifts, and when it’s all over North is South and vice versa.
01. Talk Talk // Myrrhman
02. Mount Eerie // Mouth of Sky
03. Bell Orchestre // Bucephalus Bouncing Ball
04. Red House Painters // Trailways
05. Torngat // L’ecole Penitencier
06. Murcof // Sangre
07. Evan Parker & John Wiese // Little Black Book
08. Joakim // Medusa
09. Phoenix // Lasso
10. Vitalic // Your Disco Song
11. Dickie Smabers & the Moerwijk Crew // TR808 Drumcomputer
12. Zomby // Spaceman
13. Mount Kimbie // Sketch on Glass
14. Untold // Just For You
Wasnt here last week. posting a Bonus Show on top of our regularly scheduled program to make up for it. no themes, weaves, or tricks… just put this on, and hopefully it will pull you back in if you float too far.
01. Ricardo Villalobos // Ichso
02. Matmos // The Precise Temperature of Darkness
03. The Field // Day
04. Nana April Jun // Sun Wind Darkness Eye
05. Terre Thaemlitz // Grand Central Pt. 1
Suite were kind enough to offer me a promo of their debut album back in November. I must admit, I do get sent a number of promos every month that vary in quality from ‘alright’ to ‘i will leave some polite feedback’.
They say never to judge a book by its cover, but I was immediately fascinated by the presentation standard that they have achieved, for something that was intended as a debut promo. The CD is heat printed, there is a small fold out artwork booklet and its all enclosed within a fantastic glossy digipak. Such precision is very impressive.
So, the enclosing letter promised a ‘left of the dance floor material’ and ‘the first record you reach for after returning from a nights clubbing’. In my own words, I would describe it as ‘minimal industrial tech’. But hey, whats the point in putting things in boxes nowadays? It is definitely back room lounge material.
‘Childmind’ has a progressive sound with a moody edge, and the vocal is worked in well to add a great texture to the track. ‘Buy Buy’ is a pleasant suprise – a short uplifting piece with soft ambient tones, leading into a retro synth and building into a live drum crescendo. I also recommend ‘Op.1 No.5’ with its deep bass and electro stabs.
I really enjoyed listening to Opus 1, and the quality of mastering is the ‘cherry on the top’. I can really feel the depth of sounds – and the bass rumbles have a cinematic sonic quality to them. The value of the cover is matched by the quality of material they have produced.
Rating (out of 5) : 5
Suite are the Nottingham based production duo Gavin Kirtley and Tim Laverack. The tracks mentioned in this review are now on rotation on the dirtyradio playlist.
Episode is a complete picture, if albedous. one of those mindset things.
01. Starkey – Gutter Music (ft. Durrty Goodz)/VIP Version – Gutter Music EP (2009)
02. Caspa – Riot Powder Intro/Marmite – Everybody’s Talking, No One’s Listening! (2009)
03. Kromestar – Galaktic War – My Sound (2009)
04. LD – Woodblock – HDB019 (2009)
05. Jacaszek – III – Pentral (2009)
06. Nana April June – The One Substance – The Ontology of Noise (2009)
07. Years – 44 – Years (2009)
08. Hildur Gudnadottir – Into Warmer Air – Without Sinking (2009)
09. Soap&Skin – The Sun – Lovetune For Vacuum (2009)
10. Clark – Growl’s Garden – Growl’s Garden (2009)
11. Krazy Baldhead – Saturnication – Sweet Night EP (2009)
12. Maxime Dangles – Organijk – Speicher 64 (2009)
I don’t know what you’ll think about this, but i have a feeling that you would either agree or disagree.
01. Mr. Oizo – Gay Dentists – Lambs Anger (2008)
02. Shitmat – The Fern Britton Experience – Hang the DJ (2006)
03. Clark – Gonk Roughage – Growls Garden (2009)
04. Curses! – Moss Man – Moss Man (2009)
05. Shadow Dancer – Loader – Golden Traxe (2009)
06. Cardopusher – El Pote Que Mece La Cuna – I Need Someone To Imitate (2007)
07. Mu – We Love Guys Named Luke – Out of Breach (Manchester’s Revenge) (2005)
08. John Wiese – Four (abridged) – Arrythmia Wave Burst and Panner Crash (2005)
09. Squarepusher – Illegal Dustbin – Numbers Lucent (2009)
10. Shining – The Red Room – Grindstone (2007)
11. Cornel Wilczek – Kings Of Power 4 Billion% – (movie of the same name) (2008)
12. Dan Deacon – Wham City – Spiderman of the Rings (2007)