Saturday, March 29, 2008

Various Artists - Extreme Music from Africa (2001)

A mixed bag of harsh noise and other electronic wierdness compiled by William Bennet of seminal noise posse Whitehouse. While the anonymous nature of these songs along with the extreme obscurity of their performers makes such claims almost impossible to confirm or deny, I've heard accusations that these pieces were actually produced by Bennet himself and dolled up as 'African' in a crass marketing ploy. If so, kudos to Mr. Bennet for his sharp (if evil) mind as well as his prolific talent, but the variety of styles explored within would seem to suggest otherwise. Either way, the music(?) here is pretty excellent across the board, and manages to keep momentum even across a number of relatively-similar drone pieces. If you think this compilation embodies the imperialist tendencies of 'world music,' you'll love its follow up, the equally tokenizing Extreme Music from Women.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Moose - Jack EP (1991)

This debut EP from British alt-rockers Moose serves as a four-track microcosm of my oft-conflicted feelings about shoegazer music, alternating between syrupy-sweet early-90s-indie vocals that drive me insane and atmospheric guitar workouts for which I go nuts. Flagship members of The Scene That Celebrates Itself, Moose never got the gushes the music press heaped upon My Bloody Valentine and, to a lesser extent, bands like Ride and Slowdive and, to be completely honest, they didn't deserve to, serving up but a few gems across several EPs and an album before shifting to a more country-influenced style that I've never felt the need to explore. While the vocals on the title track embody some of the scene's worst pop tendencies, I'm never going to be able to say no to some shimmering, multitracked guitar haze, and this record's got it in spades, most impressively on the song 'Boy' posted below. Make sure to stick around for the closer 'I'll Take Tomorrow,' a soft'n'dreamy number replete with ethereal swells and some of the best slow tambourine playing this side of The Velvet Underground and Nico, a definite nominee for most beautiful song to fall asleep to (meant to be a compliment).


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