Listed: Minotaur Shock + The Kat Cosm
Minotaur Shock is the solo project of 26-year-old Bristolian David Edwards. His debut album Chiff Chaffs & Willow Warblers received exceptional critical acclaim when released in December 2001. Since then he has recorded a number of other releases, all of them for the Melodic label. He has been compared to artists like Aphex, Squarepusher, Bola, Boards Of Canada, Prefuse 73 and Fourtet, but his blend of ambient soundscapes and anthemic electro is truly unique. The latest release from Minotaur Shock, Rinse (Melodic), is actually a re-release of an early ep, and is available now
1. Gabor Szabo - The Sorceror (GRP) - Don't know much about him other than he was Hungarian and could play guitar just like a-ringing a bell. An album that I forget about and then remember every so often. I'm not a huge jazzer, I like Gil Evans/Miles Davis stuff and that's about it, but this recording gets me every time. It sounds so good, and there's a lot of tune in there - apparently down to his Hungarian folksong background. One of those rare live recordings that make you wish you were actually there. Crispy.
2. Prefab Sprout - Swoon (Epic) - I can't get over how good Prefab Sprout were once upon a time. This album and Steve McQueen are both excellent. I'm a sucker for pretty pop that has a sarcastic and nasty underside. Paddy McAloon's voice is like an old friend. The songs are brilliant and the arrangements occasionally wrongfoot you with a crazy time signature change or some strange backing vocals. Shame they went all schmaltzy on Andromeda Heights. Then again, Paddy's solo album last year was interesting, a mostly instrumental minimal orchestral thing.
3. Archer Prewitt - Three (Thrill Jockey) - This is a few years old, and initially it didn't grab me. However, after a couple of listens I have realised that this is a great great record. The songs seep into your conscious like rain on your jeans. Like The Shins (another band that know how to pen a lasting tune), this album made me realise that there are still songs out there that need to be sung. Fairplay to Prince Archer, that's what I say.
4. D'Angelo - Voodoo (Virgin) - I've never heard another album that sounds like this. How did they get so much bass in there? Whilst partial to the odd Neptunes/Timbaland production, I think this is equally fresh. Its mostly live I guess but the drums and bass have such a distinctive sound. The way he arranges the vocals is also pretty mental. And the horns on 'Send It On' are sweeter than Sunday.
5. Debussy - I love Debussy, his piano stuff weaves in and out of my head like I was a rock and he was the stream. Suite Bergamasque is pure melody. And Children's Corner is a lovely thing. Tomita's electronic versions of some of Debussy's stuff are also great. And 'cos some of his compositions are about 4 mins long, I find myself actively listening to him without dropping off. Which is the function I usually apply to longer bits of classical music. Not the pompous stuff, mind. You can keep all that.
6. Thomas Dolby - The Flat Earth (Capitol) - There are so many ideas on Thomas Dolby's albums that it's tricky to get to grips. I like this one due to his use of the 808, which is always nice when used in a pop song context I reckon. And Hyperactive! is one of those songs that leaps out of the stereo and kicks you in the ass 3 times per listen. Considering this record is 20 years old, I don't think it's dated that much.
7. Diana Ross - Diana (Motown) - This is the one that Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards produced. Although I love Chic as much as the next man, I can't help feeling that they lacked a personality (they more than made up for it in basslines though). So whoever had the idea of sticking Diana on top should be handsomely rewarded. You can't argue with this album. It oozes class. And she looks hot with wet hair on the cover.
8. Steely Dan - Can't choose one album, all of the pre-90s stuff is inspired. I love the way that everything is so perfect, polished to within an inch of its life. Some people probably see that as a bad thing - I reckon that they should be applauded. Why not get the best session musicians around to realise your vision? The horn arrangements are always brilliant and you get the sense that every single note has been strategically planned. And although I usually have no idea what Donald Fagen is singing about, you get the feeling that it's quite nasty and clever. I'm a fan of music that is cleverer than me.
9. PJ Harvey - Rid of Me (Island) - Albini's finest hour, I reckon. Rob Ellis's drumming on this album inspired me to start taking the drums seriously. I always figured that playing the drums was quite a standard thing - there weren't that many styles. But on this record, I immediately picked out that the drums were unlike anything I'd heard before, he was playing as if he had been programmed like a drum machine, but everything also had a kind of raw, live feel. Ace. And Polly's guitar work is equally exciting. I love it. In fact, I'm going to put it on right now, you just watch me. I'm still a crap drummer though.
10. Stephen Malkmus - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks (Matador) - An album guaranteed to put me in a good mood, no matter when or where. I love Pavement, but had no expectations for this album. Terror Twilight was a grower, and this takes up where that left off. Its amusing, and each song has a great tune. "The Hook" is my favourite, cos it's about Turkish pirates innit. What a laugh he must have had making it. Thumbs up to SM. He's great.
The Kat Cosm
The Kat Cosm is an open project around the songwriter Sebastian Skalei from Berlin. Besides Jana Plewa, who's is a permanent contributer, Skalei is the lone band-member. His latest release, Knightboat (Staubgold) combines pleasingly simple folk with delicately layered electronics. Kat Cosm's music may be most familiar to Dusted readers for its appearance on DJ /Rupture's 2002 masterpiece, Minesweeper Suite (Tigerbeat6). Skalei contributed this week's list.
1. The Beach Boys - Holland (Brother Records) - Some might say it is the last important Beach Boys album. Anyway, I like it the most and at the end of the day it turns out to be even a little better than Pet Sounds. The Beach Boys added two South African musicians, Blondie Chaplin and Ricki Fataar on drums and guitar into their lineup, which made the music more groovin´. Also both could sing so sweetly like you can hear on the awesome opener "Sail on Sailer". (it is Blondie takin the lead vocal here!) Much of the music was recorded in Holland in 1972. Brian did not make the trip.He was struggling with his emotional problems at the time,leaving the whole chore of writing and production to the rest of the group. Lucky for us they did so well... Once more Carl and Dennis Wilson proved their production skills. "Steamboat" by Dennis comes up with an industrial rhythm and breathtaking backing vocals... or "California Saga", produced by Alan and Carl. It is a three part story about American history showing mike love in best condition! +++ it still sounds so fresh just listen and love :).
2. Plush - More You Becomes You (Domino / Drag City) - A very intense record... There is piano and voice, sometimes a organ - that's it. Seems like it was recorded in one take only. Maybe that's why it sounds a little torn...These "pieces" are more sections than songs and then the whole thing makes you glide away. It goes right into your heart and it wont let you go! if something exists so called "timeless music" - you´ll find it here! Nothing more to say about it!
3. The Third Rail - ID Music (Columbia) - Recorded in 1967/68. "It is an orchestral psychedelic adventure into denunciation of the advertising fuelled culture of 1960's America" - While listening to it, i got reminded on the Brit pop music of the early 90s. Blur records sound a lot like this...Anyway, they did it first. You could call it SoftpopPsychedelia. Great production and not longer than 28 minutes!
4. Kenickie - Get In (EMI) - Get In is Kenickie's 2nd album, the unavoidably difficult follow up to the excellent 1997 debut At The Club...(!!!) It´s a "three girls + one boy band". At the club" was more punk and more lofi. With Get in the band's direction really changed to more pop and easygoin´ tunes. There is a sadness hidden deep behind the surface of major chords and dance floor beats - you´ll get into that the more you listen. The album also contains "Stay In The Sun," which history may reveal in years to come as one the great 'lost' pop singles. If you like singing and dancing - here you can feel free to jump up and down. They know all about you:).
5. Silver Jews - The Natural Bridge (Domino / Drag City) - Formed in 1989 as a trio consisting of Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and sole current member David Berman, the Silver Jews were sidelined when Malkmus and Nastanovich found college-radio cred with indie darlings Pavement. On this one David Berman is singing all alone to laid back arrangements, adding a more traditional twist. I was listening to it in my car all the time when i was about 18 years old It changed my view on the world (it REALLY DID). The way the words were coming out of his mouth was almost magic. It made me feel really cool! It just went aluminium.
6. The Beach Boys - Love You (Brother Records) - Nobody ever made big claims for Love You. What I love best about it is its very real warmth and humanity. Also the vocals have a very personal nature. You got roller-skating children, airplanes, TV shows etc. The brilliant production and studio mastery of the past is gone. It's replaced by a very raw and charming demo character which leads through the whole record. The songs seem very simple but when you have a closer look they are tricky as hell! Lots of the songs were co-written by Dr. Landy who was a doctor and in charge for B. Wilsons mental problems... so this album is some sort of therapy?!
7. Grateful Dead - American Beauty (Warner) - Indeed a Beauty! It's a return to acoustic instruments, a love of melody, twang mixed with sweet harmony,and heartbreaking lyrics. Sometimes while listening to it i feel like its all coming from this one record. What I like the most on todays singer/songwriter stuff was born right there in 1970.
8. The Go-Betweens - Spring Hill Fair (Rough Trade) - It's their third album. It would be silly to pretend the Go-Betweens are a sparkling fun experience - sometimes it's hard to get into their music. Also the lyrics and arrangments seem a little strange. Some say it's the group's hardest album. I used to listen to it in my car so I had the chance to get over the starting problems and I really found a few things I never saw again on other records. "Bachelor kisses" is a awesome single and the hit on the record. My other favorite is "Part Company"!
9. Dånzen Jetzt - Alles will los (KlangKrieg) - Dånzen Jetzt are Alex Kloster, Johannes Malfatti and Benno Belke from Berlin and Olivier Alary, currently living in Montreal. They´re also involved in projects like Transformer Di Roboter (Planet Mu, WMF Rec.), Ensemble (Rephlex) or Chlorgeschlecht (Deco). My favorite electro Record. They really did something new and along with other heroes like Leafcutter John or Guido Möbius they are about to bring back humanity into such music. Also they look great(they really do!!!) and it's fun to watch them live...what i miss on most of these laptop musicians.
10. Salako - Musicality (Jeepster) - Another young UK band to pay attention to...Every song is different here! They sound a little like the Beta Band without all the noises and the 10 minute tracks :). Its the kind of record I always wanted to do - you never know what is coming next. It's a little masterpiece and by the time it came out, it really blew my mind.
By Dusted Magazine