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Diversity, Maturity, General Saxiness Color Moon Hooch’s “Red Sky” (Review)

Posted by on Jun 18, 2016 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

Kicking off your career with a solid LP isn’t unheard of. Hell, vaulting over the sophomore slump & releasing a well-received follow-up isn’t always a surprise either. But here we are, three albums deep, and New York based brass-blowing darlings Moon Hooch show no signs of plateauing. Red Sky is musical growth personified, tracked & mastered; full of diversity inspired by maturity and risk-taking inspired by the confidence said maturity entails. Of course, it’s also endowed with the frenetic energy that made Moon Hooch This Is Cave Music such stellar albums. Convinced yet? No? Yeesh, and I was hoping I could step out early on this one…

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Tor’s “Blue Book” Well Worth The Wait (Review)

Posted by on Jun 13, 2016 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

From the opening moments of Blue Book, Loci Records mainstay Tor invites the listener into a carefully crafted world of monolithic ambience. Picking up right where 2012’s Drum Therapy left off, the lush minimalism present on the Canadian producer’s sophomore full-length is all-absorbing.  With attention to detail uncommon even in the nuance-laden sphere of downtempo his work occupies, he’s able to create a ten track trip-hop smorgasbord delectable in both its delicacy and digestibility.  Headphones are all you need to start this 45 minute aural journey, buoyed along by a diverse coalition of instrumentation & driven forward by an oft-shifting, ever-present beat.

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Opiuo Traverses Sonic Terrain New & Familiar on “Omniversal” (Review)

Posted by on Jun 9, 2016 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

Few artists have a hold on my heart (and ears) quite like Opiuo. His wobbly, wonky, oh so funky brand of deep bass glitch-hop reeled me in, and his ability to innovate sonically within his own creative space has kept me hooked ever since. It follows, then, that Omniversal shines as a fresh take on the themes and styles that have long defined the Australia-based producer’s work. Picking up this album equates to obtaining a ticket on the Mid-Tempo GlitchFunk Express – dress code casual, dance parties inevitable.

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On “The Dream Is Over,” Pup Confirms the Opposite (Review)

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Featured, Latest, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

For all the misery Pup espouses on The Dream Is Over, they seem to be having a pretty good time. While the Canadian foursome’s sophomore full-length teems with omnidirectional vitriol, it also teems with insightfully empathetic, listenable music. Thanks to the group’s admirable acumen, these elements coalesce to make up one of the best albums of the calendar year.

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On “Seven Seas,” Emancipator Dives Deep, Sails Far, Stays Chill (Review)

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

These days, Doug Appling should be feeling pretty good about himself. In less than a decade, the man better known as Emancipator has grown from a promising young producer & performer into a well-respected, scene-renowned artist with a slew of stellar releases under his belt. He’s founded Loci Records, a music label which he utilizes to curate some of the finest sounds trip-hop and downtempo have to offer. He’s started a band – the eponymous Emancipator Ensemble – and toured the world, allowing him to reinterpret his studio-based music in a live setting. And now he’s stuck another feather in his plumage-laden cap with his fourth full-length album, Seven Seas.

The experimentation and maturation we first saw on 2012’s Dusk To Dawn continues here. Like a track and field star working his way from single events to the all-encompassing decathlon, Appling’s arsenal seems to grow with each subsequent release. From the gentle, intentioned bounce of album opener “All In Here” to the closing notes of the slow-building, multi-faceted “Barnacles,” Seven Seas is a work of serious merit from a producer both comfortable within his self-defined musical boundaries and eager to push against them in all possible directions. His ear for that intangible sonic space between steady chill and forward progression is also stronger than ever – the hurried, echoing guitar anchoring “Delta Trance” and frenetic violin-led, bass-drum backed breakdowns on “The Key” attest to that.

Of course, it never hurts to have good friends, and on Seven Seas Appling showcases his excellent choice in musical mates. Aside from longtime collaborator Ilya Goldberg – whose silken violin tones feature on five tracks – a plethora of additional guest appearances go miles in adding depth and texture throughout the album. “Canopy,” with its non-traditional percussion courtesy of Cedar Miller & Jamie Janover, plus the heavily augmented vocal work of Amy Obensky, is one of the album’s most fully realized songs. And while lyrics have rarely factored in Emancipator’s catalog, vocalists Molly Parti and Madelyn Grant prove they fit snugly into the puzzle, lending their talents to personal album highlights “Land & Sea” and “Seven Seas,” respectively.

Above all, it’s worth noting the entirety of Seven Seas exists on the same metaphorical tapestry. Thanks to little, seemingly inconsequential details – the occasional lapping of waves against the shore, guitars fed through effects pedals as if being played underwater, synths manipulated to create aural ebbs and flows – guide us through the album in one coherent trip. Chalk it up to a deftly crafted, purposeful ambiance – something Appling has explored, tested, and honed from day one. In 2006, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough took us on a melancholy, introspective stroll through snow-covered hills and woodlands. Four years later, Safe In The Steep Cliffs found us even deeper in the wilderness, a dark and often somber place. A few years after that, Dusk To Dawn saw us forgo the woods for a crackling bonfire at the water’s edge, feeling at many moments more upbeat and sporting some of Emancipator’s lushest production to date.

And now we have Seven Seas, wherein we abandon the safety of the shore in favor of the contemplative endlessness of the 0cean. Once more, Doug Appling has put painstaking effort into the conceptualization, writing, recording, and post-production of an album – perhaps his best to date.

You can grab a copy of Seven Seas now through all the standard channels (Bandcamp | iTunes | Physical copy). Emancipator is also currently on an extended North American tour in support of the album, with Yppah & Wax Tailor(*) / Blockhead & Manatee Commune(^) along for the ride – check the full schedule below + purchase tickets right here.

Seven Seas North American Tour Dates

10/14/15 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground*
10/15/15 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club*
10/16/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts*
10/17/15 – New York, NY @ PlayStation Theater (formerly Best Buy)*
10/18/15 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom*
10/20/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater*
10/21/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom*
10/22/15 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue*
10/23/15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection*
10/24/15 – Detroit, MI @ Fillmore Detroit*
10/27/15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room*
10/28/15 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note*
10/29/15 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre*
10/30/15 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Miramar Theater*
10/30/15-11/1/15 – Chicago, IL @ Freaky Deaky
10/31/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights*
11/10/15 – Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo^
11/11/15 – Victoria, BC @ Sugar Nightclub^
11/12/15 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub^
11/13/15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater^
11/14/15 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Market^
11/15/15 – Eugene, OR @ Hi-Fi Music Hall^
11/17/15 – Ashland, OR @ Ashland Armory^
11/18/15 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst^
11/19/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom^
11/20/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater^
11/22/15 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House^

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Dreamscape Festival Day 1 Recap + Photos

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reads, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

Over the weekend, the annual event known as Dreamscape experienced a plethora of firsts in its fourth year of existence. It was the first year Badass Raves chose to expand the event into a two-day festival. As a result, it was also the first time Dreamscape called Camp Ramblewood home, allowing attendees to pitch tents and spend the weekend in rural Darlington, MD. Perhaps most relevant to this write-up is the fact that it was the first time I attended a Dreamscape – after the weekend I had, it certainly won’t be my last.

IMG_8564Ended up parked all the way in the back of Camp Ramblewood. Nice view though.

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