Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: May 2007

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Softwar & The Jewelled Antler Collective

Another day and another review for Angry Ape, this time it comes in the form of mysterious Californian quartet Softwar. I have to admit this was one of the most challenging CD's I've had to tackle so far. Softwar don't deal in conventional songs. In fact, the word song is probably the wrong term altogether. Combining folk music with drones, acoustic instruments, 60's psychedelia, Middle Eastern instrumentation and a love of recording in natural surroundings, Softwar's self-titled debut is challenging to say the least.

Further investigation revealed the four musicians are major players in the enigmatic Jewelled Antler Collective. A group of musicians whose initial aim was to explore drone, improv, field recordings and free-folk music and distribute the results on CD-R's. The music was often recorded live and spontaneously, but has since evolved into something much bigger. Groups like The Skygreen Leopards and Thuja (video) are all part of this collective and some of the music is now being distributed by some of the finest labels on the planet. Softwar's debut can be found on Digitalis, but it's not an album for those with a short attention span. It took more than a few listens for anyhting to register. I almost gave up trying to like it, but then something clicked and dleightful sounds started to trickle through, culminating in floods of enjoyment during last track "Prui".

It's experimental, improvised and frustrating at times. But Softwar are worth investigating for those interested in the whole New Weird America movement. Angry Ape is also hosting an mp3. You can also stream every track at Boomkat.

Softwar Review


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Efterklang & The Twilight Sad

Hi, sorry for the lack of updates, but this is the time of year when my work gets busy. On another note, I have started contributing to a very cool webzine called Angry Ape. Its like a UK version of Pitchfork. The first two reviews are Efterklang's wonderful "Under Giant Trees" Ep and The Twilight Sad's distotrion heavy "Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters".

'Under Giant Trees' - Efterklang (Leaf)

First review for Angry Ape and there is no better way to start than Danish collective Efterklang. I liked 'Tripper' but felt it was a little fragmented. However, the songs on the recent Ep "Under Giant Trees" are wonderful, some of the most magical I have ever had the joy of listening to. According to Leaf, their record label, an full album is due later in the year. If there was ever a band on the verge of greatness, I'd say it's Efterklang. The video is a live performance of 'Jojo', the final track and argubly the best on the ep. I think it conveys the magic of this collective and I urge you to seek this one out, if you haven't already. Angry Ape is also hosting an mp3 from the release, just click the link below.

Efterklang Review

The Twilight Sad - "Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters" (Fat Cat)

I've known about The Twilight Sad for a longer than I have been letting on. Back in 2003 I distinctly remember being mesmerised by a band called The Cholo at Glasgow's 13th Note Cafe. They used an array of strange instruments and created crazy, pyschedelic sounding jams. I remember raving about them and searching for releases in all the usual indie record shops, but nothing came to fruition. Even on the net, my searches were weilding very few results. However, the following quote on the Fat Cat website ahs me convinced The Cholo has since became The Twilight Sad:

"The band played a couple of gigs at the 13th Note in Glasgow, creating half hour-long pieces of music using guitars, bass, drums, theremin, tape loops from films and old folk/country songs, effects pedals, toy keyboards, thumb pianos, saws, computer games and a lot of noise in an attempt to try and discover a sound they could call their own and continue to develop. After these two shows, they rejected many gig offers, and became a more reclusive unit, spending any spare time they had in the studio focused on writing and sculpting away at new material"

'Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters' is just what the Scottish music scene needs right now. Mogwai don't bother with words, Idlewild have lost the plot and the likes of The Delgados, AC Acoustics, Arab Strap and Aereogramme have decided to call it a day. Its a simple formula : towering waves of distorted guitar and hugely infectious choruses. Even the stone-hearted couldn't fail to love this band. And in frontman James Graham, The Twilight Sad have one of the most unique voices out there. No wonder, America loves them. We all should too.

The Twilight Sad Review

The Twilight Sad Myspace

'That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy' mp3 - The Twilight Sad

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