David E Sugar - Fingers on the Button

Fingers on the Button is the first single from David E Sugar’s critically acclaimed debut album Memory Store. The single, officially released on June 13 has been made available to download for free on his SoundCloud.

Also on the release will be Although You May Laugh – a softer, harmonious track composed of synths and melodic guitar riffs.

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In Lieu - Fuck Crz EP

In Lieu - Fuck Crz EP

In Lieu

Fuck Crz

Released: Jan 01 2011

Genre: Electronic / Experimental

Label: Unsigned

Rating: 3.9/5

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Martin Ruffin, better known as In Lieu, is the latest adopter of the swirly, utopian sound that we’ve become familiar with over the past year. The Fuck Crz EP would best be described as atmospheric electronica; voyaging through an array of musical elements in attempt to find the perfect arrangement. Comparisons have been made with the likes of M83 and Sigur Rós, there are similarities, specifically in terms of progressive tendencies and experimental instrumentals; however, Fuck Crz is an ambitious record –liberating and forward-thinking.

‘Sun’, is a suitable opener, hazy vocals overlaying a whirring, ambient backing. Ruffin isn’t only a talented producer, he’s a powerful vocalist – and he makes sure of demonstrating this at the first opportunity. ‘Halune’ transcends from ‘Sun’ without a trace, as strings overlay echoing vocals, recovering from the outbreak of emotion dispersed in the opening track. A pensive collection of percussion maintains an intricate rhythm.

Instrumental tracks are prevalent throughout the EP, but constant key changes and switches in patterns help to keep the record ever-alluring. ‘White’ uses a combination of melodic strings, pulsating drums and chimes before descending into a euphoric breakdown – a heart-warming track constructed merely through careful use of samples. ‘Euthanasia’ follows a similar pattern, free of vocals but questionably the most melodic track on the record; led by a soft-stringed riff.

‘Stala Knight’ is the stand out record of the EP – the vocals giving the track its effective punch. Layered vocals truly emphasise Ruffin’s emotion, reaching out to the listener like tears of rejoice. A combination of drawn-out samples and simplistic drums offer a minimal breakdown before bursting into life with a contagious bassline.

‘Moon’, as it would suggest, acts as the complete opposite to the opener – a suitable exit that absorbs energy from its predecessors, ending with a downbeat and somewhat melancholy finale.

From start to finish the Fuck Crz EP is effective in creating an emotive journey through an odd assortment of elements. Twists and turns throughout the record leave no signs of under-production. It’s quite impressive how the final product, a highly experimental and adventurous project at no point jars unfathomably. With the experimentation showcased throughout Fuck Crz, it would be quite possible to see In Lieu setting sights on an LP – assuming Ruffin doesn’t stray from his creativity, it’s a certainty that future releases won’t go without recognition.

– Article by James Murray

Written for The 405.

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner

Gold Panda

Lucky Shiner

Released: Oct 11 2010

Genre: Electronic / Experimental

Label: Notown Records

Rating: 4.7/5

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Lucky Shiner, the debut full-length from Essex based Gold Panda is a refreshing take on electronic music. It’s unusual for UK based independent artists to rise into the limelight over the past few years, but Gold Panda is proving that innovative, forward-thinking music is budding on either sides of the Atlantic.

Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Caribou — just a few names that have reveled in critical acclamation over the past few years. Gold Panda is the newest artist to add to the list, as his euphoric LP is without a doubt one of the most creative and experimentally inspiring records of the year. Lucky Shiner is a very precise record, emotive and passionate throughout, with no drawn-out moments or lackluster filler. If every record is a portrayal of its creator, then Gold Panda is a wise perfectionist. Such a statement would generally be passed as pure assumption, however, releasing a steady bundle of EP’s over the past few years in combination with a little touring, it would seem that ‘perfectionist’ wouldn’t be an overly arbitrary description.

The record opens with You, a choppy, very much jagged ensemble with heavy use of vocals. The elements throughout the track are somewhat conflicting, but rather than producing a jarred final result, somewhat ironically the cut vocals over melodic synths collaborate impressively cleanly. The LP’s most inventive moment comes four tracks in under the title of Same Dream China. As the title suggests, the track takes a cultural approach, combining a range of Eastern drums and patterns to emit a wonderfully elegant melody. The track isn’t outstanding solely because of its unique production, Same Dream China is more than that, it’s a truly atmospheric and uplifting four minutes of electronic sublimity.

As an LP Lucky Shiner is outstanding; as an electronic record, and as an experimental record. Many tracks including India Lately and I’m With You But I’m Lonely are deep and invigorating; however, there are occasional points in the album that aren’t quite so momentous. Before We Talked is the biggest manipulator of the ‘cut and paste’ production technique. The track clearly aims to be adventurous, along with the remainder of the record, however, the end product is somewhat harsh in comparison to the inspirative vibes ever-present elsewhere. The final track on the record, entitled You (like the opener) is the ideal ending to the LP. Chillingly beautiful female vocals overlaying up-beat drum patterns and quixotic synths – Lucky Shiner is a record to remember.

– Article by James Murray

Listen To: Same Dream China, You (I), India Lately, I’m With You But I’m Lonely

For Fans Of: Animal Collective, Four Tet, Deerhunter, Caribou, Holy Fuck

I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan

I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan

I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan

I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan

Released: Jul 2010

Genre: Electronic / Experimental

Label: Hangman Ho Records

Rating 3.9/5

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I Am A Man With a St Tropez Tan is the debut album from one of several projects created by Rick Senley. Within the first 20 seconds of listening, it becomes evident that Senley is a very inventive character, his music very much reflective of creativity, with its very experimental electronic style.

Although the album title may give little away, I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is certainly not an up-beat record. Several tracks, such as Get Off, I Will Kill You sound suitable for a sci-fi thriller, with eerie distorted vocal samples and an intruding rhythm. It then comes as little surprise that tracks from the debut record featured on the thriller Killer Bitch, featuring Alex Reid.

Throughout the record Senley alternates between a rhythmic and a bleak experimental style. Black Female creates a spaced atmosphere, abolishing any kind of structure and placing a strong focus on unearthly synths and string samples. The more bleak and stretched-out experimental tracks often take a progressive approach, slowly drawing the listener into the assortment of juxtaposed sounds – creating a very hostile and effective overall effect. With such an array of experimental samples, Senely’s project is comparable to the likes of Aphex Twin, demonstrating his ability to create a great range of electronic music.

I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is not strictly morbid and non-structural. Tracks such as Growl take a big-beat approach to electronic production; a Chemical Brothers style that could be appropriate for the dance floor, particularly suited to somewhere around the time of 5am. As a record, I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is very well produced. The general enigmatic and cinematic style results in a unique and very interesting listen, especially considering obvious financial restraints. Combining a range of electronic ideas, Rick Senley’s debut under this alias is an inspiring success.

~ Article by James Murray

Listen To: I Like Your Mouth, Homage, Ignorance Is No Defence

For Fans Of: Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, AFX, Polygon Window (more…)

Delphic - Acolyte

Delphic - Acolyte

Delphic

Acolyte

Released: Jan 11 2010

Genre: Electronic, Indie

Label: Chimeric/Polydor

Rating: 4.4/5

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Electronic indie is a style of music that’s been explored by several well-known bands over the past few years, Editors, Bloc Party, and The Killers to name a few, however; the end-product seems to sound better when it comes to a band naturally. The ‘indietronic’ sound of Delphic isn’t built up of powerful guitar riffs over aggressive electro-effects, as the central sound of the Manchester three-piece is down to Richard Boardman (synths), the raw, electronic aspect of the group ultimately creates an innovative sound, encapsulating their originality.

Opening track, Clarion Call, is a short track, but the overall effect of the opener is explanative, in both vocals and instrumentals, for marking an opening theme and setting the tone. ‘We all need time to change, we all have time to change’, Acolyte is only 52 minutes in total length, but it’s long enough to change one’s opinion on electronic indie: it sometimes can actually work.

Second track, Doubt, is the most pop-orientated of the record, and although it offers the least in terms of originality, it doesn’t fail in tempting the listener to return for more. Here, simplicity is captivating. Similarly, Red Lights is far from complex — nevertheless, the trippy, quick paced backing synth conflicts with Cook’s tranquilising vocals in a bizarrely complementing manner. Perhaps the top layer of music is less complex than the overall product. It’s certainly an audacious move to attempt a sound that could so easily have resulted in an audible monstrosity, so its surprisingly pleasing outcome only makes it all the more sweet.

Album titled track, Acolyte, is the record’s longest, and both the most experimental and progressive in nature. As time elapses, elements of flamboyant electronica come and go, with distant, lulling vocals creating an expansive sphere of utopia for the listener. Following tracks, Halycon and Submission, offer sounds more vocal in dominance, offering a slice of reality before transcending back into an illusory state one last time with record finale, Remain.

Acolyte is an inspiring record, that’s extravagant without being too intrusive. It offers space for indulgence, and space to reflect — a refreshing example of truly mesmerising music. Delphic have set the bar for 2010, and seemingly the start of this new decade could be the ignition of potentially wide-scale success.

~ Article by James Murray

Un

Un

Dan Black

Un

Released: Jul 13 2009

Label: Polydor

Genre: Indie/Electronic/Pop

Rating: 3.6/5

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Last year Dan Black’s ‘HYPNTZ’, a mash up of Notorious B.I.G’s ‘Hypnotize’ and Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ created a build up of some small-scale recognition in the direction of the pop-electro tyro; however, the album version of the track – ‘Symphonies’ takes away many aspects of the original’s raw rap vocals, replaced by even more-so melodic lyrics, drowning the track in generic unremarkableness.

The album is continuous in producing very melodic synth-vocal tracks, and succeeds in creating an album with varying tempo’s and moods, with the fast tempo of ‘Pump my Pumps’ in contrast to the very slow and somewhat phlegmatic ‘Ecstasy’. ‘Alone’ and ‘Yours’ are great dance floor tracks, making it practically impossible not to move about when played out loud. Furthermore, Black is a good live act, not leaving any aspects of his work left behind in the studio when performing on-stage.

Black’s ‘Un’ contains some good tracks, and is effective through its simplicity; as an album to remember, it’s not so successful, being more of an album to forget in the future, but nevertheless having some short-term appeal. As a whole ‘Un’ is a fairly Un-original, Un-exhilarating and Un-sophisticated release, however, more than successful in creating a final feel-good electro-pop album, which unarguably deserves much more recognition than the artist has so far encountered.

~ Article by James Murray

Apocalypso

Apocalypso

The Presets

Apocalypso

Released: Apr 12 2008

Label: Modular

Genre: Electronic

Rating: 3.8/5

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Australian dance music is as big as ever at the moment, with bands like Cut Copy, Midnight Juggernauts and Pnau getting international recognition and success. The Presets; formed of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have sold out shows across the globe, including some of the world’s biggest festivals.

In 2005 The Presets debut album ‘Beams’ was released, including songs such as ‘This Boy’s In Love’ and ‘Are You The One?’, with their electro-gothic undertones, bringing a taste of something truly unique to the table. The release of ‘Apocalypso’ in 2008 didn’t fail to impress, nor bring something new to the Australian electronic scene for the second time. The album has no ‘filler’ tracks; every track produced impeccably with a unique twist. The album opens with the gothic electro style somewhat familiar to ‘Beams’ with ‘Kicking and Screaming’, however, the album concludes with the euphoric trance track ‘Anywhere’, a classic that would get anybody moving towards the dance floor.

The lyrics are catchy and powerful; Hamilton’s voice is projected effectively in every song, cleanly, a sound familiar to that of Tom Smith’s strong vocals. Every song is crafted beautifully, whether it’s through the clean sound of Hamilton’s vocals or through choppy, fast paced samples. This album is highly entertaining and refreshing – certainly worth a lot of attention; hopefully The Presets will continue to create great music and gain the identity and attention they deserve.

~ Article by James Murray