Archive for the ‘experimental’ Tag

Album: Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner

As we enter what is very much the business end of the year for album releases countless music bloggers and writers are readying their generic but oh-so-personal’ Best of 2010 lists’. Those who have prematurely completed their lineups may be forced to shuffle things around when they get a hold of Gold Panda’s Lucky Shiner. The Essex born electronic musician has produced one of the years’ most engaging and rich experimental works.

Inspired by the emptiness and isolation Panda experienced when working in Japan for a year, the 11 tracks are carefully crafted and aligned. Powerful and colourful images spring from the lush soundscapes offered on Lucky Shiner. The tag ‘experimental’ is so widely abused it’s almost redundant at this stage but Gold Panda’s latest LP actually earns the label. Opener ‘You’ is a Bath-esque head bopping, glitch-hop beauty which runs into ‘Vanilla Minus’ a celebration of electronica which would fit snuggly into any four tet set. Just to eradicate any possibility of pigeon-holding track three ‘Parents’ is two minutes of beautifully understated acoustic guitar set against breezy outdoor effects.

Lucky Shiner, like so much of contemporary electronic music centres on swirling synths and varied percussion with loops and samples making their customary appearances. What separates Gold Panda from the masses is his patience. He allows the many different limbs of his songs come together at their own pace. You’ll struggle to find a more emotional and fitting curtain closer than the ghostly’ You.’ Inspired by the pain of solitude, Gold Panda has created an electronic album that makes for great company.

Album: Glasser – Ring

There are only so many hours in the day, only so long one can spend listening to and acquiring new music. As such we must pick our albums carefully, avoid the forgettable and seek out the original. It’s often disheartening to think of the many amazing albums out there that will never grace our headphones. But sometimes, when we take chances on the unknown, we are rewarded with a rare kind beauty, an album so powerful and brilliant we allow ourselves a pat on the back for getting it right. Ring is one such album.

Glasser is the stage name taken by US electronic singer songwriter Cameron Mesirow. That Glasser will draw comparisons to Bjork is inevitable, most experimental female artists are branded with this flattering but overused tag. However to get an accurate idea of Mesirow’s sound we must look beyond the Icelandic icon. Ring bares a vocal wizardry akin to that of Zola Jesus with the varied instrumentation of Efterklang.

Opening track ‘Apply’ lays down a marker; the low, marching tribal drum provides the foundation for Mesirow to showcase her vocal range chopping from teasing lows to all-consuming highs. That voice, fragile yet unbreakable, offers several breathtaking moments throughout Ring. While Mesirow’s singing is undoubtedly the most striking feature of the debut LP, the carefully crafted instrumentation, which seamlessly combines the classical with the contemporary facilitates and bolsters the impact of her vocals.

Glasser, though armed with a killer voice, does not shy away from the experimental, on ‘Mirrorage’ the Bat for Lashes-esque rumbling drum beat is set against dreamy synths and bells to create a psychedelic gem. While closing tune ‘Clamour’ sounds like something four tet has already gotten his hands on and rearranged, with its off-time beat and erratic bursts of brass and strings mixing with a whole host of vocal layers. If Glasser can replicate the heights of Ring she could join Bjork and Fever Ray on the hierarchy of experimental female artists.