December 21, 2011

Essentially Eclectic Albums of 2011: Numbers 20-11

Posted in Albums of 2011, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:15 pm by essentiallyeclectic

It’s list time all over the world once again, and Essentially Eclectic neither sees itself above them nor can resist the chance to share its own. Last year we went for an ambitious top 40 songs of 2010, so this year we’re concentrating on the long players – 20 of them to be precise. Here’s numbers 20-11 (with a track from each). The top ten to follow over the coming week…

20. Jonti – Twirligig

Some delightfully bizarre production trickery from the Stones Throw man. Colourful, playful, delightful.

Jonti – Cyclic Love (Twirligig)

19. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Scott-Heron’s sad passing this year was marked poignantly by this Jamie xx reworking of his final word, I’m New Here. Also check out a Gil Scott-Heron minimix we did back in May…

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – The Crutch (We’re New Here)

18. Teebs – Collections 01

The former Flying Lotus apprentice moves out from behind his master’s shadow with this fine collection of neck-snapping beats.

Teebs – LSP featuring Austin Peralta (Collections 01)

17. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise

Elements of trip-hop, electronica and a healthy dose of musique concrete went into Jaar’s impressive full length debut.

Also check out this video/short film for the track ‘Keep me There’, directed by Lucas Duchemin…

Nicolas Jaar – Colomb (Space is Only Noise)

16. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

Merrill Garbus’ wonderfully weird world is given album form on the bizarre and incredibly creative w h o k i l l.

tUnE-yArDs – Es-So (w h o k i l l)

15. Tycho – Dive

Scott Hansen’s warming Boards of Canada-esque synth textures are put to good use on Dive, his latest full length as Tycho. Also check out Hansen’s immaculately kept photo and music blog.

Tycho – Elegy (Dive)

14. Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa

Santa Barbara group Gardens & Villa arrived in the summer with a unique sound and a handful of great songs that make up their self-titled debut.

Gardens & Villa – Black Hills (Gardens & Villa)

13. Bjork – Biophilia

Essentially Eclectic’s tendency for a bit of Bjork love is no secret, so it’s no surprise that her adventurous latest Biophilia makes the list. The album came complete with a set of apps for each track based on the scientific content, but it’s the music itself that interests us.

Bjork – Thunderbolt (Biophilia)

12. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

Obaro Ejimiwe delivered a refreshing take on UK hip-hop with his Ghostpoet debut.

Ghostpoet – Us Against Whatever Ever (Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam)

11. Cults – Cults

Mixing Spector girl-group aesthetics with incessantly catchy tunes (and an almost unhealthy amount of glockenspiel), Cults’ debut produced the (cringe) “feel good hit of the summer” (cringe) with ‘Go Outside’.

Cults – Go Outside (Cults)

November 16, 2011

Sonic Images 1

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:41 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Welcome to a new feature on Essentially Eclectic, Sonic Images, celebrating the great alliances that can potentially occur between images and music.

There is no deep meaning or social commentary relevance to any of these posts, just simply stare at the given picture and play the provided songs and enjoy their possible mutualism.

[Opening the photo in a new tab should make it bigger]

Kria Brekkan – Wildering (suil version)

Pole – Silberfisch°

Shells – Pastels

Balam Acab – Now Time

Evenings – [Lately] See You Soon

Teebs – LSP featuring Austin Peralta

Dntel – Pillowcase

Blue Daisy – Fallin (feat. Heidi Vogel)

Bjork – Aurora

November 2, 2011

Review: Teebs – ‘Collection 01’

Posted in Reviews tagged , , , , at 2:14 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Teebs – Collection 01

Brainfeeder

If you’re not already aware of the Brainfeeder label and its contribution to the modern music world, then an exploration of all the wonder it has to offer could potentially wreck your mind if experienced in one sitting, so start slowly and work your way in. This latest offering from Teebs, ‘Collection 01′, would work well as both a jumping off point into the Brainfeeder universe and as a welcome stop along the way for those already on the train.

Teebs, real name Mtendere Mandowa, is instilled with teachings from time spent submersed in the LA scene built around the fabled Low End Theory club, as well as a co-residency with fellow beat tweakers Samiyam and label boss Flying Lotus, leading to Mandowa becoming a natural addition to the Brainfeeder stable.

To borrow a couple of horrible yet applicable adjectives from the Ibiza Chillout dictionary, Mandowa is a true merchant of “chilled” and “blissed out” productions. Here there is little of the ‘over-jerked’ shuffle of Flying Lotus or the Weather Report bass meanderings of Thundercat: of any of the Brainfeeder collective, ‘Collection 01′ ploughs similar ground to the more restrained end of the Daedelus catalogue. Indeed, there are stylistic similarities between this set and that of Mandowa’s collaboration with the sharply dressed label hopper on last year’s LA Series 6, as well as a natural continuation from his impressive debut ‘Ardour’.

‘Just the Yellow Bits’ opens with a tambourine loop similar to that of Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’ from ‘In Rainbows’, and given the seemingly devoted relationship between Mr Yorke and the Brainfeeder crew, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume that it’s a straight out sample. Nevertheless, it soon gives way to a softly flowing couple of minutes of warm chords and playful beats: a gentle easing into the hot bath that is ‘Collection 01′.

The real magic on show here is how Mandowa shows range while maintaining coherence, from echoing astral-soul (‘Cook, Clean, Pay the Rent (New House Version)’) to cascading harp loops and pensive, spacious beats (‘Jahara’, ‘Verbena Tea with Rebekah Raff’). Indeed, this latter cut belies Mandowa’s previous work as a skilled painter, an art form that seems to have influenced his music making with attention paid to levels of texture and whole soundscapes over loop-based composition.

The gorgeous ‘LSP’ features the otherworldly keys work of frequent Thundercat collaborator Austin Peralta, who layers spread chords over restless percussion rattles, before riding seamlessly into an incessant but not overpowering beat drop. The subsequent ‘While You Dooooo (Extended)’ and ‘LSP’ are natural bedfellows, and provide a striking mid-album fulcrum on which the tracks either side are perfectly balanced.

‘Collection 01′ is a perfect set for those that fiend for that distinctive Brainfeeder flavour to their beats, but have perhaps grown a little weary of FlyLo’s extensive noodling or TOKiMONSTA’s all-out rhythmic assault.

Read this review in context over at HYPONIK