NEW MUSIC: Albin – Mellandagar

Albin is the moniker of Albin Johansson, a musician, composer, and producer based in Malmö, Sweden. Primarily using analog synthesizers and drum machines, he’s released material on a number of labels over the last seven years and performed in cities such as Malmö, Berlin, Vienna, and New York.

‘Mellandagar’ comes from his new EP Passage, and it cuts a wonderfully minimalistic swathe through the history of electronic music, from Kraftwerk through to the early 80s experimentalists in the UK who were adding pop aesthetics to the synthetic framework of the music. Bleeps, pulses, weightless drum machines and a playful sense of melody are the key elements of Albin’s track.

Check out the full EP over at Spotify and Apple Music.

ALBUM REVIEW: Moon Duo – Shadow Of The Sun

Rating8shadow-lpMaking use of a limited palette of instruments and ideas is an approach that has tripped up many a musician as they’ve endeavoured to get to the core of their creativity and cut out any frills and fireworks. Both Moon Duo and singer/guitarist Ripley Johnson’s other band Wooden Shjips have always attempted to do just that and almost without fail they’ve succeeded.

Moon Duo’s fourth album takes the repetitive melodic hooks of Circles (2012) and takes them to a darker and more cocooned place. There is an increased sonic density and sometimes claustrophobia on Shadow Of The Sun even though they still sound like a band trying to create the aural equivalent of interstellar travel. Sanae Yamada’s keyboards take the lead in most cases, conjuring up the gothic garage rock of Zero, Free The Skulls’ droning psychedelic organ and the billowy dream pop of In A Cloud. Johnson knows that vocals are just another part of the compositional puzzle and provides them in the form of textural tones rather than a lyrical lead instrument.

Through the haze and drone there is a pop sensibility at the heart of Moon Duo’s music. Slow Down Low could easily be early rock n roll if it wasn’t for the Suicide and Krautrock filter the pair apply to the song. Shadow Of The Sun is ghostly, parallel-world music that hypnotically and economically rephrases the past. This is a mind-altering, chemical-free trip of the highest order and their strongest album to date.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

LIVE REVIEW: Michael Rother @ OAF, Sydney (17/03/12)

 

written by Chris Familton

Melbourne’s Baptism of Uzi opened the night with their heavily krautrock influenced take on instrumental rock. With busy and propulsive drumming and wonderfully swirling psych synths they took the music into a decidedly human realm rather than the robotic nature of much of the music of that genre. Guitarist Bojan Stojanov kept the sound riding high and melodic with his heavily Tom Verlaine-influenced playing yet he also filtered it through a blurred combo of metal styles leading the audience away from new age post rock into a more febrile and primal place.

It was clear from the moment the OAF curtains parted that Michael Rother was going to give us a set of clinical, precise and studious music. From the clean, white backdrop showing minimal textured projections of light and shapes to the three professorial looking musicians it felt I’ve you were in the presence of musical scientists rather than a primal rock band. Rother looks much younger than his years and with the assistance of the grinning drummer Hans Lampe (Neu! La Dusseldorf) and Dieter Moebius (Cluster, Harmonia) he set about conducting a lesson on krautrock and it’s role as one of the crucial signifiers of space rock, electronica and post rock.

Rother played a range of songs from Neu! to Harmonia and onto his solo work. Hallogallo, the undeniable highlight was epic in scale, a pulsing motorik mantra of a song that Lampe anchored with his precision drumming, as he did all night long. Most songs followed the template of mood setting atmospherics before Lampe’s electronic kit entered the fray bringing it all together and leading the song into space. The audience, that was overwhelmingly made up of middle aged men, nodded heads in unison and approval as the trio shone fresh and playful light on electronic music and Rother showed how guitar solos and psychedelic rock can be played without an ounce of posturing and bravado attached.

The transportive feel that Rother and co created on stage was entirely the result of the music, not ‘rock star’ personality or stage presence. It was born of repetition, slowly evolving melodies, drones and controlled noise, all the while anchored by that essential motorik beat. It felt like a special privilege to experience firsthand the sound from such an influential period of European music and Rother executed the celebration perfectly.

this review was first published in Drum Media