Washed Out – Paracosm
Washed Out‘s Within And Without was one of my favourite albums of 2011, so I picked this new one up without hesitation. I’m pleased to say it’s more of the same; as with what I said about Beach House‘s Bloom last year – when you have nailed a particular sound this good, it can definitely be milked for more than just one album’s worth. Stylistically Washed Out isn’t a million miles from Beach House, either, both occupying some of the ‘dream pop’ space, but Washed Out is much more, well, washed out, really. There’s a lovely saturated, hazy atmosphere but not so much that the tunes and harmonies are lost. A lovely carefree, summer vibe, too.
Blondes – Swisher
Blondes came to my attention via their distinctly ‘indie’ take on house, on last year’s self-titled 12″s compilation. Swisher, then, is their debut proper and it’s considerably more obtuse. It sounds quite … grey to me, although their method (I think) of partly improvising the tracks keeps things a little more ‘organic’ and it is quite hypnotic. Not an immediate favourite but one I’ll give a chance to, longer term.
Forest Swords – Engravings
Every now and then a record surfaces from relatively obscure origins to garner rave reviews from (seemingly) all quarters. I can’t help but sit up and take notice on such occasions, particularly when said album comes from the home-listening end of electronic music. Forest Swords‘ first full length is one such example. Everyone seems to be loving this at the moment but I’m not totally convinced. It is certainly a pretty original blend of languidly slow dub(step) beats and slightly mournful samples of instruments and voices. He has a weird way of placing his sounds in the mix with varying amounts of reverb that makes them sound oddly disembodied, like objects half-glimpsed in murky water. As you can probably tell, I’m not quite agreeing with the rave reviews (yet) but there’s enough here to keep me coming back. It may well be a grower…
Donato Dozzy – Plays Bee Mask
Believe it or not, given the artist and title, this is ambient techno, not some sort of hyperactive happy acid hardcore. I think this is Donato Dozzy (of 2012’s awesome Voices From The Lake) remixing a track by an artist called Bee Mask into 7 movements. Anyway, it’s pretty, ambient drifting and plinking-plonking and rather nice generally, although I’ve only put it on a few times so far.