20 November 2012

Bee Mask

Chris Madak, aka Bee Mask, was responsible for one of last year's best electronic albums, the wonderfully varied affair that was "Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico". Madak mixes analogue and digital sounds to stunning effect in a way that clearly sets him apart from much of the neo-kosmische scene, and puts him somewhere between that genre and noisy electroacoustic sound experiments. Last year also saw the release of his retrospective double-LP "Elegy For Beach Friday".

The last couple of months have seen him return with not one but two new albums, albeit quite short ones as far as playing time goes. But what they lack in that department they make up for in quality and scope of vision.

The latest one, released on digital this week, is his return to John Elliot's Spectrum Spools. "When We Were Eating Unripe Pears" feels like the follow up proper to "Canzoni". It has that same ability to drift seamlessly from almost pure noise to blissful kosmische without any apparent effort. The sound world Madak paints is captivating. There is a nostalgic streak to the proceedings, but never merely for the sake of it. But I also find it hard to imagine a more contemporary sounding record. It's this duality that make it such an interesting and compelling listen. A worthy follow up to "Canzoni", indeed.

Last month Bee Mask also released an LP on the label Room40 called "Vaporware/Scanops". It contains two sidelong tracks of roughly fifteen minutes each. This is a more toned down album than "Unripe Pears" and the kosmische leanings are much more apparent here. The general feel is not far removed from what Klaus Schulze managed to achieve in his heyday with albums such as "Timewind" and "Moondawn". Instead of quickly switching between different moods, that Madak does so well on "Canzoni" and "Unripe Pears", here he let's the sequences slowly develop over the whole tracks, and it makes for a thoroughly entrancing listen. Maybe not the most groundbreaking of his work, but an essential entry in his oeuvre never the less. Together with "Unripe Pears" this has convinced me that Bee Mask surely is one of the most interesting acts of the current synthwave/neo-kosmische/experimental electronic scene. Bee Mask manages to combine well crafted composition and cutting edge sound design in a way few manages to match.

Read full review of Vaporware / Scanops - Bee Mask on Boomkat.com ©

18 November 2012

Space Wars, Vol. 1

Yesterday I released my latest album as AB Lundberg on bandcamp. It's a quite short thing of around 30 minutes of neo-kosmische arpeggios and pads in a soundtrack to an imaginary and slightly hazy, downbeat scifi movie. Not so much a Lucasian affair of blasting laser canons and giant space stations, more the extra terrestrial equivalent of a sunday afternoon with cream tea at some long abandoned sea side resort. Not like that place were Moz wished for the nuclear bombs to come, in this place it has already gone off, and nobody could care less. It's a place populated by all those old 70's and 80's post apocalyptic cliches, where the heroes of my youth's role playing games meet up with my childhood's futuristic toys and take on the evil empire of mainstream scifi blockbusters.

Vol. 1? Yes, it's part of a longer form idea. There's already stuff recorded for Vol. 2 but how it will turn out I have no idea. Didn't really know there was to be a Vol. 1 to begin with, but these 10 tracks just seemed to represent some kind of unity so here they are.

14 November 2012

Vangelis at work in 1983

A Japanese look at Vangelis' work on the soundtrack for Antarctica in 1983. Will also try wearing sun glasses in the studio.

Ozzy vs. the ARP 2600

Apparently Ozzy Osborne had an ARP 2600 tucked away somewhere since the 70's as this clip from The Osbornes show. Wether he once knew how to play and program it (and the knowledge has went the same way as so much in that man's head) or he's always been as ignorant of it's functions as when he rediscovers it, we don't know. Lovely interaction between man and machine. Would love to see a similar video of how Ralf Hutter treats his machines ...

ARP 2500 and TR-808

A nice jam with an ARP 2500 an a Roland TR-808 by David Morley, dug up on Youtube. Pretty expensive gear for this kind of audio quality, though.

12 November 2012

Suzanne Ciani - Seven Waves

The re-issue of Suzanne Ciani's debut album proper "Seven Waves" is out today on digital. It has been available for a while on iTunes in it's original 1982 glory, but this is the 30th anniversary edition released by Finders Keepers on vinyl. The cd version is coming any day now and as on the cd, the digital includes Ciani's entire 1970 private press album "Voices of Packaged Souls" (released as vinyl reissue earlier this year) as a bonus feature.

The combination of those two albums make for a pretty strange pairing. It could be seen as the framework of the tracks released on the "Lixivation" compilation this spring. The no compromise electronic experimentation on "Packaged Souls" and the new age scented arpeggios of "Seven Waves" seems a world apart, or indeed a "Lixivation" apart. Both are interesting additions to the picture of Ciani, but not quite as eye opening and stunning as the compilation. But if you want more of her work after "Lixivation" this is the most comprehensive set to go for. "Voices of Packaged Souls" is pure synthesizer experimentation while "Seven Waves" in it's new age glory somehow reminds me of the the Human League about the same time. There's just something about those shimmering, moving pads.

Read full review of Seven Waves - Suzanne Ciani on Boomkat.com ©

7 November 2012

Subconscious studios

One of the most impressive synthesizer studios in the world must be Cevin Keys Subconscious studios in LA. Not least because Key has managed to produce quite a bit of impressive music there as well, especially the Download and Plateau releases. Here Phil Western, Keys long time musical collaborator, gives a tour of the facilities in 2010:

And here's a clip showing studio work taking place at Subconscious in the summer of 2012:

The following clip shows a much earlier incarnation of Subconscious studios in January of 1995, before it was relocated from Vancouver to LA. The clips feature among others Skinny Puppy and Download member Dwayne R. Goettel, who sadly passed away from a heroin overdose six months later. This clip is probably from the sessions that resulted in Downloads first album "Furnace".

I know I've seen another clip of Cevin Key giving a tour of the studio but can't seem to find it on Youtube at least. If you'r unfamiliar with Keys music and want to try out some of his stuff I would recommend that you start with Download's "Helicopter" and/or Plateau's "Gort Spacebar".

5 November 2012

Peter Howell's Doctor Who theme

Period documentary on Peter Howell's update of the Doctor Who theme in the early eighties. Howell demonstrates the monstrous Yamaha CS-80 and the Arp Odyssey. "The bum ba bum-sound" indeed.

4 November 2012

Delia Derbyshire documentary

A short documentary on Delia Derbyshire. Not the best piece of Radiophonic, but a nice appearance by Brian Hodgson. An what about those rediscovered Derbyshire tapes? When will we see a release of those, Manchester University? There's supposed to be 267 reel-to-reel tapes of material, and if the clip heard here is representative it seems to be some mind blowing stuff.

3 November 2012

New old EP by Kradak

Last summer I spent some time at the house were I grew up in the south of Sweden, shortly before my parents sold it. During those weeks I recorded a couple of tracks late at night using Reason, the DSI Mopho and the Korg Monotron. Four of those tracks formed a kind of EP and had a common dubbed out feel to them. I wasn't quite sure in which of my projects they fitted in, and then I forgot all about them.

When I rediscovered them recently I thought they stood up quite well as a self contained mini-album, and I thought I could hear the kind of brooding feeling that leaving that house for the last time left me with. I felt I could hear traces of what that place meant to me in the music. It's really quite a private sense, but I feel they stand up well enough as a work. It's not in any way the work I'm most satisfied with or most proud of, but I thought the tracks deserved some kind of release and felt they fitted in with my current Kradak project, even if they're much less industrial than that project was supposed to be. The "Dubbed Monologues" is available as a free download on Bandcamp. And yes, that's a picture the back garden of the house on the cover.


I have been reading a lot of good about Cloudface's tape "Wyre Drive", but for some reason it has taken until now for me to buy the download. Anyway it seemed to fit the weather today, so I bought it from Boomkat, shoved it into my iPod Classic and went for a walk along the seafront outside of Stockholm.

Cloudface has made a short album of what could be described as slowed down acid techno with a murky analog tape sound, if that makes any sense. There are tracks that leans towards ambient as well, and some that are not as slowed down, but the general feel is somewhat dazed. It kind of reminds me of what Dungeon Acid did on his Bliss tape earlier this year, but this is a more varied output with shorter tracks. "Wyre Drive" has that murky sound and overdriven drum machine sound in common with Dungeon Acid. There's almost an industrial feel to it. On occasion I'm also reminded of early 90's Warp. Yet, somehow Cloudface manages to add a certain something to the tracks that make them feel unique. The hard edge is sometimes balanced by minimal but catchy melodies that turn up here and there. A very promising debut (and a great mini-album in it's own right), and I look forward to hearing more from this project.

Read full review of Wyre Drive - Cloudface on Boomkat.com ©

2 November 2012

Elektron's new product

Swedish electronic music machine makers Elektron today released a new teaser for their upcoming product in the form of a video showing a record player with a flexi disc playing sounds from the product.

The message is clear: There is something RETRO about the product. In this business retro most often means analog, and judging from the sounds displayed here much points to that it's some type of new analog synth box they have been cooking up. It's nice with a little bit of teasing, but honestly, why don't just come right out and tell us what it is? Would that really seriously damage the impact this product will have on the market and the sale hype they're gonna achieve. Especially after the ridiculously hyped release of the Octatrack, which then took a very long time to turn up in stores and then even longer before it really was a stable product. If it's a cool and useful product they have, I'm sure everybody will love it, if not, no ad fueled hype in hell is gonna make it any better.

The Avengers

In these days of Marvel's The Avengers appropriating the name more and more, it's always a good idea to remind of the other Avengers, the slightly more dashing, and very much more british Avengers.

In these days of Bond hype I recently found myself rewatching one of my favorites in the 007 catalogue, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, starring none other than the wonderfully enigmatic Diana Rigg, aka Mrs Emma Peel of the Avengers.

So I feel it's well overdue to return to some golden age (that is the Peel Years, to me at least) of The Avengers. But before I start digging out the crate of temporarily stored away DVD sets in the wardrobe a quick trawl on Youtube turned up the first episode of Diana Rigg's tenure in the series, containing a fantastic scene of Mr Steed and Mrs Peel having tea on a train. I must say I enjoy the Peel character a lot more than the Contessa in OHMSS. (By the way, John Steed, Patrick McNee, would also later turn up in a bond movie, as Bond collaborator Sir Godfrey Tibbett in A View To A Kill.)

Danger Man

Apparently Patrick McGoohan was Ian Fleming's first choice to play 007 in the movies, but McGoohan turned the part down due to the promiscuity of the character. He was then offered the part of Simon Templar in The Saint and refused for much the same reason. In a sense he trumped both Connery and Moore and was the quintessential agent on tv in the early sixties. What either of those two series would have turned into with him as the lead is anybody's guess, but him turning them down did lead to an extended tenure as John Drake in Danger Man and eventually to the almost-sequel The Prisoner. In any case Danger Man remains one of the best tv series coming out of the ITC stable and one of the high points of sixties tv. Slightly more gritty than The Saint, The Baron and the rest of them, and slightly more believable (mostly). McGoohan barks his way through the series with an intensity that would put Daniel Craig to shame. The following clip is just a brief snippet of an episode, but go get the excellent box set from Network DVD if you want more. Start with the 1 hour episode and then go back to the first series of half hour episodes later.

1 November 2012

Orbital live on radio

Really good quality video of Orbital performing live on radio. Some fantastic close ups of their gear. Almost worth a look even if you're not that into Orbital, just for the gear shots. And I love the fact that they wear their trademark headtorches even if the studio is brightly lit. I kind of want to think that they always wear them; on the train, in the supermarket, in bed. Great for black outs.

Andy Stott

After last year's duo of EP's Andy Stott is back with the full length album "Luxury Problems" on Modern Love. This time he uses a female guest vocalist on the majority of the tracks, something that adds a new dimension to the dubbed out, broken house beats he churns out. Sometimes the result reminds me a little of Portishead or even more so Massive Attack, and not in any bad way. It's a very coherent album with with a very high standard, and should be listened to as such. The only track I find myself skipping on occasions is the opener. Don't know why, but to me it seems less interesting than the rest of the album. The finishing "Leaving" is probably the most accessible track, and probably also my favorite of the bunch. Nevertheless it's a great album, and if you haven't checked out Stott before, now is surely the time.

Read full review of Luxury Problems - ANDY STOTT on Boomkat.com ©