Electronica

 

The latest releases reviewed.

ULRICH SCHNAUSS Goodbye Independiente ***

Anyone for a shoegazing revival? German electronic producer Ulrich Schnauss has never denied his affections for the scene that embellished My Bloody Valentine's template of fuzzy white noise by employing an onstage stance of looking at their footwear. But while previous albums such as Far Away Trains Passing By were all about soulful soundscapes punctuated by the slimmest of guitar marks and the merest shade of vocal cooing, Goodbye is saturated in dream pop by comparison. Just as Judith Beck's vocals seem calibrated to emulate the breathy, ethereal murmurings of Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, Schnauss's own beautiful swirls and sheens are highly buffed and polished with references to that era. It does undoubtedly make for some beautiful music (few will not swoon at the delicately gorgeous contours of Stars or Shine), yet it also makes, ironically, for a strong sense of ennui about what you're hearing. www.myspace.com/ulrichschnauss JIM CARROLL

Download tracks: Stars, Shine

THE FIELD From Here We Go Sublime Kompakt  ****

It's easy to understand why Alex Willner's debut album is collecting praise and plaudits galore. Too often, electronic music's possibilities become mired in techniques and textures, leaving little room, time or inclination for real flights of imagination. Since the Swedish producer first arrived two years ago with a brace of singles for Kompakt, he has demonstrated an ability to fire up more than just dulcet atmospheres and breathtaking sounds. On this album you will find as many tonal references to Steve Reich and Slowdive as you will to electronica's usually gallery. But he repackages old sounds, samples and songs in ways that are spacey, bright and startling, be it the rhythms that run The Little Heart Beats So Fast, the manner in which My Bloody Valentine's crystal stillness is alluded to on Sun & Ice, or the panache on the title track. www.myspace.com/thefieldsthlm

JIM CARROLL

Download tracks: The Little Heart Beats So Fast, From Here We Go Sublime

FRIDGE The Sun Domino ***

It's perhaps a sign of how high Kieran Hebden has set the bar for himself that many will be disappointed by The Sun. As Four Tet, Hebden's electronic adventures have uncovered gems time and time again. On The Sun, Hebden is reunited with old school-chums Adem Ilhan and Sam Jeffers for their first album as Fridge in some six years. While there are interesting parallels with Hebden's ongoing collaborations with US jazz drummer Steve Reid, Fridge are very much about group dynamic. Raw, angry bursts of sound such as Eyelids and the placid, laid-back melodic twists of Years and Years and Years are the soundclashes book-ending the latest Fridge experience. Best of the pack here is probably Clocks, a track that builds and blends to a suitably epic clatter. Yet, overall, it's the interplay between the musicians rather than any shards of innovation that makes the most impression. Solid rather than spectacular fare. www.dominorecordco.com

JIM CARROLL

Download tracks: Clocks, Eyelids