Monday, February 05, 2007

The Week That Was #5: Disco Infiltrator

Hm, apparently I've still been listening to the old stuff a bunch (and Sally Shapiro). While rediscovering how much you enjoy favorites is always a good time, it doesn't really make for a particularly fresh set of picks. So, in the interest of variety, let's dive deeper and look at some new artists, some of which are already dominating this week. Enjoy!

The duo Azure Ray is signed to the prominent Saddle Creek Records. They've definitely embraced that indie collective, appearing on both Bright Eyes and Now It's Overhead works, in addition to their own solo efforts. I suppose my first encounter was noticing that Maria Taylor's 11:11 shares a name with Regina Spektor and I just read that they also co-wrote a Moby song, which is pretty convenient. Anyways, this track is a really nice slice of that indie pop that we all cherish, with just a hint of synth.

MP3: Azure Ray - New Resolution
Buy: Here

I've heard a lot of good things about the somewhat new BT album, This Binary Universe. It's definitely epic, with seven tracks spanning over seventy minutes, but the ambition seems more horizontal than vertical. In other words, whenever I expected a song to get huge, it settles back to a pleasant, but manageable point. The exception is this closing track, which reaches the emotional heights that I'd expect of the producer-turned film scorer. I'm not ready to call it the first electronic masterpiece of the new millennium, as I read somewhere, but it is really, really good.

MP3: BT - Good Morning Kaia
Buy: Here

I guess traditional advertising does still work, but only when there's some preexisting inclination. I was up at the Virgin Megastore* on Union Square a couple nights ago, and I came across Cicada's self-titled album a number of times, once in the electronica (or dance) section, and later in a shelf of staff picks. Admittedly, I'm predisposed to like this sort of stuff - synth-drenched, female-fueled electropop - but when their MySpace cites everyone from Cocteau Twins to Daft Punk, I'd think there's something here for everyone. I've also included their excellent remix of Editors, which provided my introduction to Cicadian production.

MP3: Cicada - You Got Me Feeling
MP3: Editors - All Sparks (Cicada Mix)
Buy: Here

*Bitter:Sweet will be doing an in-store interview at this locale on February 14th at 6:30 pm, a night before their show at Joe's Pub. Prizes will be given.

Diplo is the man. You've inevitably seen his name alongside some remix, and his album Florida keeps the sampler very much in force. It's a bit of a throwback, with Shadowesque cut-and-paste, as well as an appearance from Martina Topley-Bird on this first track. The second track I'm posting is an ambitious, eight-and-a-half minute meander, with a sample that really jumped out at me...

MP3: Diplo - Into The Sun
MP3: Diplo - Summer's Gonna Hurt You
Buy: Here

Yeah, it's Múm! I don't know what's making that sound, but you can definitely hear a piece of this song sampled on that Diplo track. So, it's been a while...Múm released their Peel Session a couple weeks ago, although they still haven't had any new studio work in a couple years. That isn't to say that I've exhausted their work by any means, unfortunately I haven't explored much beyond Yesterday Was Dramatic. On the bright side, this is one of my favorite tracks, as it's one of the few on the album with vocals. This is a good place to start if you're new to the group.

MP3: Múm - The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records
Buy: Here

I revisited the classic Moby album Play over the weekend. Instead of looking towards the popular hip-hop/turntablism link, Moby explores African-American culture by sampling various blues and soul vocalists, which provides a backbone for his electronics. While reminiscent of earlier Massive Attack at times, it's definitely a distinctively organic and danceable work. Here's the track that made one of those arbitrary "Top 1,000 Songs" books I was flipping through back at Union Square, and while I question that inclusion, I can't dispute the quality of the song.

MP3: Moby - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
Buy: Here

Apparently, Sophie Ellis-Bextor's upcoming album, from which the blazing single "Catch You" originates, won't be coming out for a bit. That song's been eating up my listening time (again, check out Merry Swankster for the mp3), but another track I've really enjoyed is her collaboration with Spiller. It was later recorded live and released as part of the international version of Read My Lips, and both versions are worth hearing.

MP3: Spiller - Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)
MP3: Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) [Live]
Buy: Here

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