FOR DISCORDER MAGAZINE
Mixed at Buena Vista Audio in Langley, BC, an unlikely locale to spawn such a promising work of indie-tronica, JDH’s debut album is downright excellent. With his delicate voice and superb computer-music skills, this album should be categorized in the same vein as heavies the Postal Service, Frou Frou and Vampire Weekend. Taking four years to record, Arms Legs Feet is a paragon of technical execution, meticulous editing and soulful lyricism.
While the album is a collage of covers ranging from Sufjan Stevens to Fugazi, it’s not a creative cop out in the least. “Quiet Noise,” a stripped-down, almost vintage-sounding track, is hypnotic, and chronicles the musician’s plight since he started the project. During the time it took to make Arms Legs Feet, JDH survived cancer, had a baby and broke both wrists after a 12-foot fall. With the soft crooning and slightly honeyed tragedy in his voice, “Quiet Noise” is a perfect summation of this artist’s life events.
JDH doesn’t work in a vacuum either. The tragic passing of drummer Devon Clifford of You Say Party! inspired him to release “Wake/Sleep Prince,” a single released under Branches, one of his many side projects.
This review would be remiss not to mention that JDH—which stands for Jonny Dylan Hughes—is a pretty badass name sure to garner more attention for his innovative and brass approach to electronic pop music.
Norwegian producer Joachim Dyrdahl (AKA diskJokke) has been very busy since his 2008 release Staying In. Now with his latest offering, En Fid Tid, which translates loosely into “a happy time” in his native tongue, Dyrdahl’s mastery of juxtaposition has come into maturity. The album opens on a trippy, contemplative note with “Reset and Begin,” a catchy, thumping tune that features space-like synths and futuristic electronic beats. Another standout track is “Bastard Alliance,” a slick synth piece that bridges musical elements of disco and samba in a seemingly effortless gesture. After studying mathematics for the last eight years, diskJokke’s technical skills can be heard all over the album, from spacey, psychic melodies to disco-inspired anthems, Dyrdahl’s showing a lot of electronic promise.
Smalltown Supersound website
The playboy of high-fashion house music is back with his seventh full-length album, Dynasty, and it certainly does say something about his posterity. The Chicago-based producer, whose true name is Ryan Raddon, has pumped out 12 very infectious dance anthems, a few of which are quite good. Featuring the vocal talents of Martina Sobara from Dragonette, the song “Fire In Your New Shoes” adds an entirely retro, almost analog-inspired style of electronic music, not to mention a refreshing Canadian flavour to the mix. With the help of Haley, Kaskade’s go-to vocalist, the song “Don’t Stop Dancing” sounds a lot like “I Remember” from his last offering, but with a heightened appreciation of the female voice. It would be remiss not to mention “Only You,” a collaborative piece with Tiesto and Haley. It’s the heaviest, darkest, most atmospheric piece on the album, breaking out experimental glitches and electronic burps, which is something uncommon in Kaskade and Tiesto’s work. Despite the borderline-unpleasant aesthetic of the bright pink and gold CD packaging, the album is successful in all the ways that count, and particularly for an artist who’s been on the road constantly, Dynasty must have been an ambitious project.
For Exclaim! Magazine
Despite the fine mist that pervaded the air at this Vancouver outdoor venue, the kids and the weirdos danced in bass-heavy reverie at the show. Pounded by low-end frequencies, dazzled by bizarre show outfits and the smell of summer rain mingled with the aroma of thick mud, Massive Attack delivered a stunning performance that was both blisteringly loud and dark as hell.
Hailing from the UK, the sonic collective merges the boundaries of dance, trance and ethereality, and couples this with some serious vocal talents. Not to mention, founding member Robert Del Naja’s (a.k.a. 3D) is chock-full of boyish Bristol charm that is often juxtaposed by his unsettling, yet seductive whispers. The band’s history may be riddled by tantrums, personal clashes and artistic differences from days of Mezzanine, but at the show, the stage seemed pretty relaxed and focused.
Singer Martina Topley-Bird came out initially wearing a white wool poncho and a bright pink chiffon skirt, bringing the image of a bizarrely-decorated Bjork, but with more vocal resonance. Other core band member Daddy G looked pretty comatose on stage, but from what’s been written about him, his behavior just typified his brooding style. The group baited the crowd with some classics, from the dark ambience of “Intertia Creeps” to the now-appropriated House theme song, “Teardrop.”
Topley-Bird came back on stage later in the show, morphed into a sex goddess wearing something of a Catwoman suit, complete with skin-tight leather pants. A couple of memorable points in the show was when the band launched into an hypnotic performance of “Psyche” from their latest offering, Heligoland, followed closely by a powerful, ear-drum piercing delivery of “Girl I Love You,” one of the most aggressive tunes on the album. But the best part was when roots-reggae legend Horace Andy killed it with “Angel,” a trip-hop classic with Andy’s trademark vibrato. From this position it’s very safe to say that Massive Attack’s groove-heavy neo-psychedelia is only getting better with age.
Booya! Just read in Exclaim! that electronic genius/madman/misanthrope Aphex Twin (a.k.a. Richard D. James) played a new, untitled song at a concert in Europe during his tour recently. Here’s concert footage revealing the mystery track. It sounds equally ethereal as some of his earlier work, but without his classic glitchy-weirdness. Maybe he’s toning down the electro-craziness?
Sadly, I discovered that there is no mention of a new album coming out any time soon. For those who enjoy this brand of music, feel free to reminisce with this masterpiece of weirdness. It’s Come to Daddy, from his 1997 EP.