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January 2012 Performer Magazine print edition featuring record reviews by yours truly.

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This Is the Chip.

One Life Stand is Hot Chip’s fourth record release, a whole two years from 2008’s Made in the Dark. To be honest, his last release completely escaped me. I was, however, a very big fan of 2006’s The Warning which was full of hits I still listen to from time-to-time like “Over and Over” and “And I Was A Boy From School.”

HOTCHIP.CO.UK | MYSPACE | EMIRECORDS.COM

Hot Chip is known for their not-too-fast, minimal electro-pop goodness without being too boring. You could play them at a dance party and people could jam without spilling their drinks. Not to mention the occasional falsetto vocals.  The 10-track offering starts off with “Theives In the Night”, beaming in sonic rays of shimmer before dropping in some sparse percussion and echoing keyboard blips. The song fills out in pieces: first the vocals, a  techno riff then the open-air handclaps. Add in some slick synths, light snares and you’ve almost got yourself a disco hit.

Ten years into their career, Hot Chip still knows how to have fun with their sound and create a deliberate listening experience.  For example, “Hand Me Down Your Love”   is very employs a heavily played piano [you can hear the little hammers striking the keys with brute force], a snare and  hyper-compressed background vocals. At first the song sounds very contained and boxed-in but by the chorus it opens into a fuller, more breathable sound. I know the violins and lighter piano melody play a part, but the attentiveness to detail during production also lends to the layers of listening.

Standout tracks are “I Feel Better”, a pulsating song with falsetto vocals, countering melodies that float in and out of each other over a glitzy synth hook. “We Have Love” has the most upbeat tempo with an emphasis on percussion and keyboard blips layered under the density.

This album does have its slow moments [“Brothers” and “Slush”], but they’re easy to skip and continue on to a jam. If you like handclaps, synthesized instruments or just wish Boys Noize was a few notches less intense, you’ll enjoy this album.

Assume the Lotus Position.

FLYINGLOTUS.COM | MYSPACE | WARPRECORDS.NET

L.A.-based produced Flying Lotus has been gaining lots of exposure after releasing Los Angeles. I found out about him a few years ago after an intense Journey To Satchidananda phase [read 2007’s “Flying Lotus Is (From) the Future“]. After some research on Alice Coltrane, I found out she had a little-known nephew producing music in Southern California. He’s the great-nephew of legends John and Alice Coltrane. Yes, those Coltranes.

He makes great music. His EP Reset was followed by a full-length album, Los Angeles, which was an impressive showcase of his capabilities. Next up is his album Cosmogramma which is set to be released on May 4th on Warp Records.

Word on the street is there will be collaborations with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Ravi Coltrane and others. Stay tuned for more information.

Here’s the tenative tracklist:

01 Clock Catcher
02 Pickled!
03 Nose Art
04 Intro//A Cosmic Drama
05 Zodiac Shit
06 Computer Face//Pure Being
07 …And the World Laughs With You [ft. Thom Yorke]
08 Arkestry
09 Mmmhmm [ft.Thundercat]
10 Do the Astral Plane
11 Satelllliiiiiteee
12 German Haircut
13 Recoiled
14 Dance Of the Pseudo Nymph
15 Drips//Auntie’s Harp
16 Table Tennis [ft. Laura Darlington]
17 Galaxy in Janaki

J-Zen’s Most Important Meal of the Day.

ROOT70 LOUNGE.COM | MYSPACE

Root 70 Lounge is a Japanese Hip-Hip, Nu-Jazz and Lounge label that I stumbled up by luck. I caught an eyeful of that vivid e-flier and the search was on. Within a few minutes I found that they have a new release on the horizon set to drop on February 10th in Japan by a French producer by the name of J-Zen.

J-Zen isn’t making music I haven’t heard before but he falls so gracefully into the canon along with other soulful sampling greats like Madlib and Dilla but he fits into the new school wonderboy category with my favorites Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing who compose original beats with thoughtfulness.

MYSPACE

His album “BREAKfast” was released on French label Dooinitmusic last year. It’s a mid-paced affair with lots of snares and wavering melodies that play through seamlessly. Each track ending tacks onto the beginning of the next, making it an album that begs to be listened to in it’s entirety because it’s obvious it was made in that way.  

The first track,  “Wake Up Call”, begins quite appropriately with a blaring alarm clock followed by a lazy, wavering chime melody reminiscent of a baby-mobile. It’s a sort of  lullabye to wake up to. The album listens like a mediation. There’s a method to his madness that makes “BREAKfast” sound like a 4 a.m. creation, a breakfast right at dawn not around 1:30 when you roll out of bed just in time for Divorce Court.

My favorite track on the album is “Moka.” It has that crackling vinyl sound, that fuzzed-out crisp  kind of percussion  and a really warm, thick melody. It sounds like all it’s missing is Q-Tip. “Muffin” is also sweet with a slightly off-tempo melody tinkering throughout the track.

I highly recommend this album for people that go on bike rides, long public transportation commutes or staring off into space while listening to something your brain doesn’t have to dissect to appreciate it’s tiny details.

 

Wake Up Call

Moka

Muffin