November 11, 2008

Presently, Electronic Music's Lover [Luomo]

the Present Lover

Luomo's latest album, Convivial, dropped today, and, man, does it sound good. For the uneducated, Luomo, the most successful handle of Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti, is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of microhouse, dropping his much celebrated debut, Vocalcity, in 2000. Though pertaining the same ideals as the microhouse artists of German labels Perlon and Kompakt, Luomo's sound was distinctly more lush, organic and, often, seductive.

On Vocalcity, crackled, soulful voices broke through propulsive beat/bass combinations and warm, subtle synths, often maintaining grooves that seemed endless though hypnotic at the same time. The crowning moment on the album is the 12-minute "Tessio", which is often considered Luomo at his most anthemic and epic. With his second album, Present Lover, Luomo found himself making his sound more streamlined and pop-oriented, though still maintaining the characteristics of his debut. Vocals were brought to the front and crystallized, though their ambiguity remained, often being cut up and acting as complementing instrumentation as opposed to leading.

On Convivial, Luomo's fourth album, songs still maintain the propulsive micro-grooves of the artist's previous works, though this time they follow more tried-and-true structures, containing verses and choruses and providing vocals a leading role. This is not a bad thing, though, and often the songs are wonderful, particularly "Love You All", which guest stars Sacha Ring of Apparat fame, and "If I Can't", which features Scissor Sisters' vocalist Jake Shears.

Four albums in and Luomo continues to propel his unique and completely original take on electronic music forward. In the increasingly dense and populated format of electronic music, it has become more difficult for an artist to differentiate him or herself, though Luomo's sound knows no imitators, and is one of the best electronic music has to offer (and make love to, but don't tell the kids I said that).

Luomo - Tessio [Vocalcity LP, 2000]

Luomo - Love You All [Convivial LP, 2008]

November 5, 2008

Lost summer [Gangi]

sneaky goat

Allow me to be sentimental for a minute. I first heard Gangi driving across the Bay Bridge, heading back to San Francisco after an afternoon of baseball, sun and beer. I was sort of cramped and stuffy back there, and it was a little strange to have a tape adapter hooked up to someone's Macbook, but somehow this music fit perfectly with that.

I would say these are like tossed-off, airy psych jams. The vocals are very pleasant, and the fairly lo-fi production values work well. If you're looking for some guitar-based music to score a lazy afternoon, this is the ticket.

There was a point in time where I thought I wanted to be a music critic, and in some ways this blog was a good way to see if I would actually enjoy that. But no, I don't find it particularly great to write about music. THESE SONGS ARE CATCHY. Gangi r gud!!

Gangi - Commonplace Feathers [A, 2008]
Gangi - Waiting On The Line [A, 2008]

November 3, 2008

I can be the burger, girl [Claude VonStroke]

c.v.s. coolin out with the dirtybird

Newest Hey! Student blogroll addition Embarrassment of Bitches recently posted an Essential mix by M.A.N.D.Y. for BBC's Radio One. EoB scribe JH has an axe to grind with you weak-willed American clubbers - the gist of his posts thus far is that if only the American metropolis had a streak of Berlin, we'd all be that much better off.

I'm on board with this thesis, without having experienced Berlin, or without having listened to the M.A.N.D.Y. mix for that matter (though I am downloading it as I write this, if that counts for anything, Jeff). Even so, it's not all doom and gloom for stateside clubs and DJs. To match EoB's M.A.N.D.Y. essential mix, here's an Essential mix from Claude VonStroke. It is very, very hot.

Oh and where does Claude VonStroke reside? Aww yeah, San Francisco baby.

Claude VonStroke - Essential Mix