26 October 2014

Various Artist - Work

I have no idea how to start this blog, this is just a random complication that I read about in a magazine and I liked the cover of the album.  It just looks so minimalist and empty; it just appeals to the handmade stuff I used to see being made when I was at college.  So I go into this album completely in the dark, I would also like to point out that it was a little difficult to find out much information about it or finding the album to purchase on legitimate sites.  The title makes it akin to finding a needle in a haystack.  But find it I have, it felt like an achievement as sadly there is a lot of shite out there with the word 'Work' added to it - you know, all those work out Ministry Of Sound stuff for the sheep lead masses to us when in their gym prisons trying to impress their fellow fake tan detainees and masters.  Anyway, that is beside the point - this is a complication of tracks released from label/magazine Other People.  That is all I have to say about that, so let’s look at the album.

The album starts with "The President's Answering Machine" credited to Nicolas Jaar.  It sounds like the recording that would have been placed when the Federal Government funding went tits up in the grand old US of A.  It is over very soon, so it acts as more of an introduction to the record.  Next is "Freedom" by Soul Keita, starting with a dose of bass, pipes, snare drum smashing and haunting vocals.  Eventually they add a piano and it just drifts around the listener.  This is music to relax to; you are not going to smash around the place with this sort of music.  It is one of those types of tracks that makes for a relaxing Sunday morning and is well performed.  Next is "Things Behind The Sun" by Dave Harrington & Tamara; this was the track title I used to find the album on Amazon for the purchase links below.  It begins with some dream-pop guitar working, and then the vocals of Tamara drift over the song with the reflective nature of the minimal sounds keeping the listener entranced and bewitched.  Following on is "A Pixel" by Visuals, this has a trip-hop quality to the sound than makes the song very infectious indeed.  The chilled back nature of the tune just sings to me, makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention and after I am finished reviewing this album this will be the artist I will be checking out (no offense to anyone else on here, Visuals wins hands down).

After this comes the first track from Darkside called "What They Say", this song sounds like a mixture of Kraftwerk, Portishead and a stripped down Daft Punk.  It is another piece of intriguing dream-scape sound that you can very easily drift into and almost never return.  Even when they introduce drums, it still has a very relaxed feeling and it could be the background to an excellent chill out session work.  Following on is the first track from the brilliantly named Ancient Astronaut with help from Powell, the track is called "SSCS - Powell 'Lift Off' mix".  This is a bass heavy remix that will have any Soundsystem wanting to be turned up to the maximum volume.  It is different to the rest of the tracks from the early section of the album, sharing some musical leanings with Aphex Twin so it automatically gains my interest for that fact alone.  It does descend into noise, but it always breaks back to that original bass working; keeping everything on track; this is a well delivered remix.  Next is the funky bass lead track from Darkside, which is completely different to "What They Say".  It is much more rhythmical, still with those sections of dream-pop that can enchant the listener.  I found myself wishing that the track to continue when it ends, but it is probably the perfect length for the number.  It is also good to hear two different sections of the band's creative template, another excellent track this compilation.

After this is the first of two remixes of the same Ancient Astronaut song - B2.  This one was remixed by Jelinek and is a tad long; well it is over eleven minutes in length so it is not for those with a short attention span.  In fact, nothing much happens in the mix at all; you have this repetitive rolling of keys and sounds of a distant alarm and various sonic noises that come and go at regular intervals.  Of course I love it, but I am awkward and strange.  It is something that is very marmite from the start, with people either loving it or hating it out right.  I fall firmly in the former camp, but I can see that even when the noise level starts to build up toward the end that it is not going to please everyone; it is not aiming for that, it is just aiming to be the evil, nightmarish beast that it is - a very disturbing piece that I adore.  Next is the second piece from Dave Harrington called "Form And Affect", it seems to continue the noise at first with some strange background sounds and high pitch ear busting notes coming into the mix; but this is all laced over another slab of dream-pop guitar playing, but the dream has turned sour on this piece and about time too.  It is not a relaxing holiday track; it is broken, twisted and flawed which ends with no real warning or care for the listener.  It is great to see a dangerous piece of dream-pop; it feels like your viewing a Sasquatch - something that is mythical and brilliant.  The last proper track of the album is the second remix of "B2" with "(dub)" after the title.  This remix was created by Francis Harris and Gabriel Hedrick.  With it being a dub mix, the bass is the main focus of the track.  Much like the other mix, this is an endurance test of a song; out of the two mixes it is the one that I found the least interesting, but that is not to say I did not like it.  It is beautifully constructed and the mix is a joy on the ears, it is just not as good as the Jelinek mix for me.  Ending the album is another recording piece by Nicolas Jaar called "The Boy Who Asked Too Much", another short piece with a record that acts as the outro of the record.

As an introduction to Other People records and the artists on this label, this is perfect.  I had no idea about their work beforehand and now I will do as much as possible to keep my own interest alive for their releases.  Visuals were the artist of the album, with Dave Harrington coming a very close second; however all the artists on this record are worth checking out.  As an introduction to all of these artists, I think the results of this are near perfect release from a label which I already find as interesting as Warp and Ninja Tunes.  Expect more blogs about Other People artists.

9 out of ten - Almost perfect....almost

Top track - Visuals - A Pixel

You can purchase the vinyl version of the album off Amazon here

Here is a link to the Download edition of the album on Amazon as well

Here is a link to the website of the label - Other People

Here is a link to the label's Soundcloud page

Here is a link to the Other People Facebook page as well

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link to the album on Deezer

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