Monday, 29 October 2012

Zircon - Antigravity (2007) Review

Zircon is the production alias of Andrew Aversa, a musician from the United States who has a decent and growing body of work in video game soundtracks, including the Special Edition of Monkey Island 2 and Soul Calibur V. Aversa cut his teeth on remixes on OCReMix, where his tracks are some of my favourites out of the entire community, "Dirt Devil", being one of his coolest. Antigravity is his third original artist album, self-released through the indie music distributor CDBaby in 2007. This LP focuses predominantly on the progressive and Big Beat styles of the breakbeat genre, oeuvres to which Zircon's sound and creativity seem ideally suited.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Gig Review: Kosheen at the O2 Academy Islington, 17/10/2012

Only two weeks after the release of Independence, Kosheen kicked off their 2012 European Tour with the sole UK date, at the O2 Academy Islington in central London. So just a day after trekking into the Big Smoke to see John Dies at the End I hopped back up to see one of my favourite bands for the first time since 2004.

My feelings of anticipation prior to this gig were tinted with a little trepidation, as with Independence. Would the band that impressed me so much live after the release of Kokopelli still have the same stage presence and anthemic sounds two albums and a lot of years later?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Film Review: John Dies at the End (2012)

Last week, the BFI London Film Festival brought 327 films to London and broke new records for attendance. One of those films, which was screened twice in the same week, was John Dies at the End, an adaptation of the cult Internet-born comedy horror novel by David Wong. The architect of this film is Director Don Coscarelli, known for similar cult classics in the genre Bubba Ho-Tep and the Phantasm series, who took on the project after reading the second release of the novel prior to its major-publisher signing way back in 2007. As a long-time reader of the novel in its online and three separate printed incarnations and a definite fan of the book, this was another long-awaited release, and I attended both screenings. I can't be anywhere near as analytical about films as I can about music, but now I'm one of a relatively small number of lucky viewers to have seen it, I have to discuss this one. I'm not going to discuss the plot much, but I'll mention some things that might spoil elements of the book if you've not experienced it yet. If you have read the book, then this is spoiler-free for you as far as plot is concerned.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Kosheen - Independence (2012) Review

Well, after five years, mysterious legal issues and multiple postponements, Kosheen's fourth album finally got a release on the 30th of September. While some snippets of tracks had been on Youtube, other tracks given away on SoundCloud and some singles have been released for real which I covered last month, I now have the finished product in my hands. The band's previous works were all albums that take some thought to explain, and Independence is definitely a continuation of this trend. Kosheen have created an album with a sound that sticks out as unusual and grimy in 2012 but which doesn't lack care and attention. The strengths the band has demonstrated in the past are almost all present, without them dominating the production so much that it's more of the same.

If Resist, Kokopelli and Damage were to form a triangle of connected but different styles, I'd say Independence would sit in the middle of it. Finally after over a decade, Kosheen have returned to the dance music they last explored on Resist. The progression of Decoder and Substance's work together into techno territory has resulted in several tech-edged songs here, and also a sole reappearance of drum and bass on "Mannequin". The electro and synthpop elements which came in with previous album Damage remain very strong on most of this album despite slightly fewer melodic elements, but the similarity to Kokopelli is evoked by the dark and grimy sound of a considerable fraction of this album.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Andain - You Once Told Me (2012) Review

Andain is the pairing of producer Josh Gabriel (of Gabriel and Dresden) and singer Mavie Marcos, and they have a history with the trance genre dating back to 2002. Oddly enough I somehow managed to miss most of that and only discovered them last week. Their debut album serendipitously came out on the day I first found out about them, after four years of buildup. Considering my fondness for full vocal trance I immediately checked out You Once Told Me, but it's actually not a trance album, going a bit deeper into indie electronica than the stuff I usually listen to but with vocal-centred songwriting very much at the core. This turned out to not be a detriment to the album - far from it.