133: Hauschka

Every since I first heard the piano tracks on drukqs, I've been interested in the prepared piano. As the story goes, the legendary composer John Cage was asked to create a percussion based soundtrack for a modern dance ensemble. The space he was given for this performance was not large enough for set he usually played with, but it could fit a grand piano. Cage's answer was to turn the piano into a percussion instrument. The piano was opened up and objects were placed inside. Screws were wedged in between strings. Objects would be placed in the way of the strings and the hammers. Anything to alter the sound of the instrument. Since then the prepared piano has been used by some of the more ambitious composers of the past few decades, as well as prepared guitars, violins, or whatever other instruments we can alter.

Now Hauschka (aka Volker Bertelmann) has created an album called Prepared Piano which, as the name suggests, uses little else (although you can hear some synths, bass and drums as well) to create some incredible music. This is music that could fit perfectly to a melancholy yet eccentric movie. It's almost jazzy, almost classical, almost freeform, but all of these terms belittle it. A previous album, Substantial, explored single note, sustained piano notes. Below is an unreleased track from the Substantial sessions.

Hauschka - untitled

132: DJ Pierre (AFX Remix)

It seems that Rephlex has been nice enough to give us some free music. Maybe Aphex Twin is following through with some reported rumors that he would one day start offering his music free on the internet (although trusting Aphex Twin rumors is not always the safest bet). While there's no track info included with this file, it appears to be a reworked version of a track from 2 Remixes by AFX (now out of print) that wasn't included on 26 Mixes for Cash. It's actually a remix of Box Energy by DJ Pierre. This should hold me over until Warp re-releases Hangable Auto Bulb.

DJ Pierre - Box Energy (New Remix by AFX)

131: DMX Krew

It's been about a month since Ed DMX completed the Collapse of the Wave Function series, five 12" records inspired in equal parts by quantum physics and the Rephlex braindance style. Definitely, his most experimental stuff to date. The first two releases were anonymous and then later revealed to be a new incarnation of DMX Krew. Later releases started to sound a bit more familiar with minimalist pop vocal tracks like William the Conqueror. For those who prefer CD's, now there's Wave, a best collection from the last three EP's with some exclusive vocal versions. A bit more exciting is the bonus CD for this release, which is closer to a proper Best Of collection called Our Most Requested Records. The best of DMX Krew from the past nine years on Rephlex Records, with 8 songs re-edited for the release. This is an ideal release for anyone who's never heard DMX Krew before, the perfect collection of experimental electronics balanced out with the braindance pop that Ed DMX is known for.

I posted this mix before, but to anyone who'd rather heard a bit of the style first, here's a dj mix by DMX Krew, tracklisting is here.

eDMX - on the mix


130: Bloc Party Remixed (Contest)

I'm still hosting the contest for free Bloc Party swag. Read about it below this review.

There's a handful of bands that I've always considered to be sort of blogger success stories, that is favorites among the blogosphere that have gotten pretty big and gained recognition across the music scene. Often I'm tempted to stop paying attention to a band when they become too big. It's not so much a mainstream thing, as much as a sign that maybe they've run their course on my iPod. But I still like Bloc Party.

The second curse is sometimes the remix album. Silent Alarm Remixed is coming out this tuesday and while I can't claim that these are the most drastic re-inventions ever, they tend to compliment the original songs pretty well, something that's often lacking in a remix album. Besides the fact that the remixers include the likes of Ladytron, Four Tet, M83, Phones, Mogwai, DFA's Automato, and Death from Above 1979. To sweeten the deal, they've included b-sides and acoustic tracks, for the less remix inclined among us.

[Contest is done, thanks for entering. If you did]

[Sorry, I had to take the link to download the album down. I had agreed to only host it for a limited time. Suppose you should have gotten here sooner, eh?]