petite mort In this issueLa Premiére No.1 2003
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Album Reviews clockwise from top left:
Aislers Set How I Learned to Write Backwards
Sea and Cake One Bedroom
Takagi Masakatsu Eating

Boards of Canada Geogaddi
Yuki Prismic
Buffalo Daughter I
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The Ailers Set - how i learned to Write Backwards The Sea and Cake - One Bedroom Takagi Masakatsu - Eating
Boards of Canada - Geogaddi Yuki- Prismic Buffalo Daughter - I

Aislers Set
How I Learned to Write Backwards
(Suicide Squeeze)
After three years of waiting for the follow-up to Aisler's Set's last album, The Last Match, you won't feel at all ill-used. This is a superb album with simple bass lines, pretty piano, handclaps, chicken shakers, and spare, echo-y guitars. Fans from long ago will notice its similarity to the earlier work on Terrible Things Happen. The songs are more personal and all but a handful of the songs have the mournfulness of Amy Linton's earlier semi-solo work.Not that there aren't moments that are relatively upbeat on the album, notably "Mission Bells", the biggest candidate for the album's single, but the strength the record is its quiet cohesiveness. The Aislers Set produces an entire album worth of quality; something not so easily said about other current bands trying to get away with the renewed pre-Pet Sounds tradition of albums consisting of a pop hit surrounded by filler. And the more you listen to How I Learned to Write Backwards, you'll notice the layers of pop history. Sure, you'll hear why every other critic has slapped Linton with weighty comparisons to Phil Spector, but you'll also pick out other pretty pop threads: janglely surf guitars that seem ripped-off from Surfer Rosa-era Pixies (in turn, ripped-off from various 60s surf groups), a VU nod, a Smiths quote, a Supremes-like line or two. It's all in there. Of course, there is an element that is unique: Linton's voice. It is wholly her own and I assure you, you will not tire of hearing it when this album gets the heavy replay it deserves on your stereo. -SG


Boards of Canada
Geogaddi is music for pilots flying over mountains. Marcus Eoin and Michael Sandison have created this kaleidoscope of distorted reality, a reminder of how music involves sonically traveling while simultaneously remaining physically still. Hallucinating while looking at clouds listening to Boards of Canada is sensationally pleasant, bordering on revelatory. It's an ideal soundtrack to a video game, a reason to be envious of the character that gets to jump and travel through digital terrain. The album maps out topography by borrowing samples, at once textural and full of surprises. This is music evoking fractal images in nature. To be emerged in this music is mental fusion with nature itself. Completing a complex task while listening to this album will improve your concentration and oneness with the world. Geogaddi is ideal for passport holders ready to travel in their own minds. -MNC

Sea and Cake
One Bedroom

(Thrill Jockey)

This is music best heard in sunshine because it could easily lead to a brisk walk or perhaps even dancing. This is the sound of Chicago. Not soul or blues Chicago, but the urban samba of The Sea and Cake, invented by Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, Eric Claridge, and John McEntire. Sam Prekop's voice is an angular lullaby for traveling through cityscapes. Mondrian would have made music like this, at once immediate and in the background as his primary colored squares and rectangles, as easily as slipping around the corner of a city block and hearing a phone's dial tone emanating from the cubicle of a high rise office building window, or the soothing bass pulsing from a passing car. One Bedroom is as much a modern luxury engineered by Stereolab as it is traceable to the post-rock lineage of Tortoise. Indie-rock gone modern, fused with technology - synth, samples, and loops, with tasteful organic undercurrents of live drums, guitar, and bass. More complex and produced than the band's previous releases, a grand evolution in adding layers and picking up the beat. Sea and Cake reveal its key influential ingredients by closing with a sincere and un-ironic cover of Sound and Vision by David Bowie. Post-rock modernity never sounded this crisp and catchy as it does while lazing in the summer sun or hustling to work on a busy morning street. -MNC


(Sony Music Japan)
This album contains some pop, some rock, and some roll, but where exactly is this album going? I couldn't seem to get an idea with all the permutations of styles on this album. Songs like "Rainbow Street" which seemed a beat away from a South Asian Dance floor hit, while songs like "Sayonara Dance" take me back to the funky jumpy JAM days. Aside from these deviations of proper Asian Pop expectations, songs like "I U Me Him", a Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her coached track, and "End of Shite" pole-vault this album into as new, and as I see it, fitting rough female guitar rock sound. In Japan that sound would’t be far from the ranks of Tigers Moth, Kelly's Duck, & M*A*S*H. Finally, Yuki's solemn yearning for both the power of sound and silence in "66db" reminds me of the beauty of the stylistic contradictions in this album's mixed-up wonderful ways. -AS

Yuki - Commune Be sure to check
out Yuki's latest album
Commune available only
on import.

Takagi Masakatsu
(Karaoke Kalk)
I could classify this album to be across between Oval and Tortoise but being sandwiched between those legends of our time isn't giving Takagi enough space to breathe. I suggest giving him some room and time before pigeonholing him because there is a lot on this album to get your ears around. This album has got a clean mix of lean lounge/down-tempo modest drums and horns to back it up. Aside from that, this digital instrumental album does that special thing that both Oval and Tortoise do to me: propel my mind forward in to a neo-jazz future while holding my soul captive in memory inducing analogue samples of children speaking foreign language in a play ground of my past. -AS


Buffalo Daughter
(Emperor Norton)
Voted the best Japanese indie band sans attitude on my charts. I is Buffalo Daughter's latest album that makes me want to kick myself for not getting it soon and writing about it earlier! Almost three years later, and being the only thing released since, then I am here to push it on you -buy this album! After listening to this album my admiration with Buffalo Daughter has been bumped up a notch to the semi-fanatic level. I am still wondering why nobody has really been talking about them? I've also recently heard their remake of Kraftwerks "Autobahn" on an obscure Japanese Kraftwerk tribute album and thought this sounds right. They're not Kraftwerk, but like Kraftwerk there is something definitely solid if not completely new about the way these guys make music. -AS