Category Archives: EP

Walsh / / ‘Smoke Weed about It’ [ E.P ]

With Britain gripped by a heat-wave, and the South-East slowly turning into a desert, what we all need is thick slabs of futuristic-electronica, downer lo-fi rap flows and drug-induced stupors to soundtrack this premature summer vibe.

Walsh is Brandon Biondo, a big beat producer from Knoxville. Now I know that this  E.P may be a few years old,  but it is honestly one of the sexiest, funkiest and down-right cool things Black Tar has ever heard and definitely worth a re-plug. ‘Day of Thunder’ is the cult 80’s soundtrack record that you’ve never heard, and ‘Luxury’ (feat Squadda Bambino) is late night,  hazy club music laced in sedatives and grime. So kick back and ‘Smoke Weed About It’:

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Melvins // The Bulls & The Bees

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In true self-referential fashion, The Bulls & The Bees begins with riffs phrasing sections from The Bride Screamed Murder in a manner which greatly appeals to my inner music geek. ‘The War on Wisdom’ evolves to enjoyably connote Wrong-era NoMeansNo, before ending with more rephrased guitar lines (here from Nude With Boots). A good start.

‘We Are Doomed’ is practically a mix of Nude’s “Suicide in Progress” and Continue reading

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Playground

We recently stumbled across Playground, the creation of Parisian musician Sophia Lamadi, and we like what we hear . It’s a compelling slice of glacial electronic pop that in some ways reminds us of the haunting ambiance of acts like Burial, albeit somewhat more restrained sonically. She’s just released a self titled EP produced by Ensemble Economique, and it is mighty fine, and also mighty depressing, but hey its the beginning of march, and its grey, so why not wallow in your misery to these smooth morose sounds.

You can stream the entire EP below, with Come Alive in Me being a particular album highlight, or you can very generously and LEGALLY download the EP over here:

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Burial – Kindred EP review

ImageIt’s hard to overestimate the influence Burial has had on electronic music of the past half decade. With his second album, 2007’s Untrue, he opened the door for so much music that has come since. His record sales alone have greatly contributed to the continued success of Hyperdub, one of the most acclaimed forward-thinking electronic music labels in the world.

“I want [my music] to be like a little sanctuary,” he told The Guardian in 2007. “It’s like that 24-hour stand selling tea on a rainy night, glowing in the dark.” Then again, Untrue was intended to be an optimistic record, unlike the bleaker worldview of his self-titled debut. Last year’s excellent Street Halo EP and his collaborations with Four Tet, Thom Yorke and Massive Attack all suggested a return to his darker origins after scarcely releasing material for years., but Kindred has examples of both, and often on the same track. Rather than use longer track lengths (all songs are between 7 and 12 minutes long) to expand on one idea and incrementally build it to a crescendo in the way artists like Villalobos have mastered, the three songs shift, twisting into unrecognisable shapes. ‘Loner’ is a bonafide techno banger  until its dizzying arpeggios give way to a brief, beautiful ambient epilogue.

Low-quality rips of ‘Ashtray Wasp’ have been circulating online for a while now. I managed to resist the temptation to listen to it until I could hear it in all its glory, and it has paid off. It’s widescreen soul music for the digital age, and it makes perfect sense after the closing passage of ‘Loner’. It’s the EP’s highlight, with Burial is at his understated best, employing distorted and manipulated vocal samples fluently and, as ever, everyday sounds like footsteps or trains. It has the hallmarks of Burial’s classic sound, but it’s also arguably his most ambitious work to date.

Despite the upcoming Olympics, and Michael Gove’s idea of a “gift from the nation” to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee – a £60m yacht for the Queen on her Jubilee – the country is in complete disarray. Recent reports from the CBI suggesting the UK is set to avoid a double dip recession have done little to quell the ever-growing wave of discontent. Only a fortnight ago, RBS boss Stephen Hester was forced to give up his £1m bonus due to public and political backlash. The ominous melancholia that always informed Burial’s sound has a new context that is more appropriate than ever. It’s tempting to view Burial’s shift towards more driving, claustrophobic bangers as a conscious one. Given how withdrawn the South London producer is, though, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know.

There have been many pretenders to the throne in Will Bevan’s absence, but as Blackdown said in a podcast years ago, “just because you’ve got an ambient pad and a two-step beat, it doesn’t mean you’re Burial”. There is an unmistakeable ‘ghost in the machine’ quality to his work that no one has yet managed to replicate. Rarely has electronic music sounded this human, this organic, this perfectly flawed.

Listen to/buy the EP here: http://www.hyperdub.net/releases/view/149/HDB059

Jack Steadman

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Matthew Dear – ‘Headcage’ EP

It’s been a year and a half since Matthew Dear’s last original release. In the ever-evolving world of electronic music, that is a long time. What’s changed?
If you’re familiar with Dear’s lengthy back catalogue up to this point, don’t expect a cataclysmic change in sound palette. Sonically, Headcage is a continuation of the sensual, pad-laden techno explored on 2010’s excellent Black City. Headcage, though, shows both Dear’s more playful side – the titular track and ‘In the Middle (I Met You There) – and his more reflective side – the last two tracks, ‘Street Song’ and ‘Around A Fountain.’
Frankly, the former two could easily have fit on Black City, but it’s the the latter where new avenues are explores. On those two tracks percussion is minimal, allowing the Michigan producer’s unorthodox tendencies to breathe. ‘Around A Fountain’ is particularly impressive. It comes across like an amorphous hymn for the sleep-deprived raver; a lullaby for lost seratonin interjected with shamanic groans.
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