Beaches – Second Of Spring

I will admit that Beaches were only vaguely known to me until quite recently, their name jumbled together alongside Best Coast and Beach House and one or two other similar bands whose music would appear every so often in my streaming playlists and whom I had decided were at least listenable. Some will know of them from their 2013 album She Beats … [Read more...]

Scatter Factory – self-titled

As it begins, the opening track of Scatter Factory's album "Catatonic Voyage" seems as if it could take nearly any musical direction. The atonal and metallic first twenty seconds might lead into some clubby drum and bass electronica, a country-psyche guitar number, or even a full on prog rock anthem. In the event, "Catatonic Voyage" does none of … [Read more...]

FAO#33: Land Observations & Dead Rat Orchestra

Although instrumental music is so intrinsic to our daily life, whether it’s deadly lift muzak or the enthralling score to an on-screen drama, it’s still considered somewhat of an oddity for your average music fan to stock up on releases with a wordless voice-free remit.  Which is a shame, as good instrumental music can often be a life-line for … [Read more...]

Can – The Lost Tapes (boxset)

With the influence of Can seemingly reaching its highest watermark right now, it’s somewhat inevitable that a long-awaited trawl of the band’s archives has finally come to fruition.  Although a reissue campaign in the early-to-mid-2000s for Can’s official album catalogue put the group’s legacy into good working order with strong yet sympathetic … [Read more...]

Can – Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Reissue)

Having been on a shamefully belated personal Can back catalogue trawl over the last year, it’s clearly apparent that not one album can truly represent and illustrate what made the band so special and so important.  Even the over-polished and disjointed albums from the band’s twilight years are at least, in parts, crucial in explaining their … [Read more...]

Qluster – Fragen

It’s hard to think of many musicians with a 40+ year career sustaining inspirational creativity whilst retaining much of their original modus operandi, but Hans-Joachim Roedelius is certainly one of those gifted few. A genuine grandee amongst Germany’s pioneering and close-knit experimental musical community since the late-‘60s, the septuagenarian … [Read more...]

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key – Double Star / Eleventh Dream Day – Riot Now!

With its sheer volume of releases and increasingly vinyl-centric tilt, it’s arguable that the current workings of Chicago’s pioneering Thrill Jockey label are straining fans’ finances as well as running the risk of over-supply and quality-control lapses. No such concerns can, however, be raised when a less-prolific elder statesman on the books … [Read more...]

FAO#22: Kraftwerk – 12345678 The Catalogue (reissues)

Although retrospective eyes regularly fall upon Kraftwerk for the group’s profound impact upon the music world as we now know it, we should not neglect re-examining the actual recorded body of work produced by the Düsseldorf pioneers.  Sure, we can forever play a spot-the-Kraftwerk-influence game when analysing the good, bad and plain ugly of … [Read more...]

Tortoise (Doug McCombs interview and albums guide)

Despite nearly two decades of activity, Chicago's Tortoise continue to sustain an awkward yet alluring sense of mystery.  Consequently, for many it has become all too easy to define Tortoise by well-merged collective influences (Miles Davis, Can, Kraftwerk, Neu!, John Fahey, Ennio Morricone, Gang Of Four, Augustus Pablo, Brian Eno, Tom Verlaine, … [Read more...]