The Orb – “COW / Chill Out, World!” (Kompakt, 2016).

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The Orb, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann, have become known for their genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, exploring experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats. COW / Chill Out, World! Is a masterful ambient album that branches out in many directions, but unmistakably sounds like The Orb. In contrast to their much-acclaimed previous full-length Moonbuilding 2703 AD (KOMP 124CD/KOM 330LP, 2015), which took years to prepare and fine-tune, COW / Chill Out, World! #was produced over the course of only five sessions in six months, directly following the like-minded Alpine EP (KOM 339EP, 2016). Paterson on recording the album: “It got so spontaneous that a track like ‘9 Elms Over River Eno (Channel 9)’ consisted only of material collected at North Carolina’s Moogfest in May – second-hand records from local stores, field recordings, live samples from gigs that we liked, and of course an excursion to the Eno River, which actually exists. This geographic intimacy and the spontaneity are among the top reasons why we love this album so much.” Fehlmann sees the duo’s relentless gigging schedule as a formative influence on the new album: “the countless performances we’ve played in the last years have brought us closer as a musical unit. The spice of our concerts is improvisation – a fertile process that we’ve brought to the studio, where we operate with very simple rules of engagement and go wherever the flow takes us.” It’s an approach that one might expect from traditional acoustic instrumentation, not necessarily an electronic set-up. Once more, The Orb’s trademark playfulness is on full display on COW / Chill Out, World! #and it doesn’t limit itself to the multi-layered sampling and psychedelic sound composites. It’s not so much an obscure trope
coming full circle as a perfect example for The Orb’s multi-timbre approach to sound and meaning – a compelling, immersive journey to diverse places and impressions. Each track title is a conceptual work in it’s own right, playing with multiple references, some of which remain highly personal and mysterious. But the greatest feat of The Orb’s latest outing might just be how all this semantic doodling never gets in the way of the actual listening, at all times directly relating the artists’s sonic vitality and cheerful nosiness.

Einstürzende Neubauten – “Tabula Rasa” (Rough Trade Records, 1993).

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Dieses Album war damals mein erster Kontakt mit den Neubauten, ich habe somit in der goldenen Mitte angefangen und vielleicht ist es dieser Tatasache geschuldet, dass es nach-wie-vor mein Lieblingsalbum ist. Sämtliche Werke darauf, spiegeln die klassische Synthese aus brachialem Industrielärm, komplexer Musik und hochintellektuellen Texten wider, die ihnen mittlerweile leider abhanden kam. Es reicht eben nicht, Schrott statt Schlagzeug und Endloswortspiele aneinanderzureihen. Genauso ist ja auch, wie sie einst selbst erkannten “die Musik nicht im Schaltplan des Radios”. Jedenfalls bildet dieses Album für mich einen Eckpfeiler meiner privaten Musikgeschichte und sollte in keiner gutsortierten Undergroundsammlung fehlen.

LUMP – “LUMP” (Dead Oceans, 2018).

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Lump = grumoso, vecchio. La massa di pelo di questa copertina insolita, altro non è che l’acronimo della strana coppia artistica formata da Laura Marling e Mike Linsday, impegnata qui in 7 pezzi caotici ed elettronici carichi di energia positiva e transistor. L’uno figlio di Neil Young e della controcultura folkotronica, l’altra ormai “Semper Femina” (More Alarming, 2017), sempre più a suo agio con il blues contemporaneo e una voca angelica che Dio ha donato a pochi; la sinestesia funziona bene, la sinergia anche: il loro è un progetto interessante, il che vuol dire staremo a vedere.

Holly Valance – “Footprints” (Warner Music, 2002).

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A volte ascoltare dischi particolarmente impegnativi, mi annoia. A volte ascoltare dischi particolarmente facili, mi annoia. La bella attrice australiana (qui al suo debutto discografico, tanto All Saints, specialmente in “Cocktails and Parties”) è nel più bello stabilimento balneare della riviera, e canta sexy e disinibita un beat orientale. L’ascolto risulta essere a trazione anteriore (specialmente in “Down Boy”, “Whoop” e “Hush”) e lei è bellissima, nei miei sogni perversi, da animatrice culturale. Disco cheerleader, ancora sotto l’ombrellone.

Justice – “Woman Worldwide” (Ed Banger Records, 2018).

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Justice est de retour! Après une tournée effrénée, Justice a décidé de sortir un nouvel album. En 2016, le duo français sortait “Woman”, un album lumineux et plein d’optimisme. La bonne nouvelle, c’est que cet été, Justice sortira donc un nouvel opus, un album qui rassemblera des hits comme Safe and Sound, D.A.N.C.E ou encore Stress. “Woman Worldwide” proposera des titres cultes donc mais surtout, retravaillés.