Friday, March 1, 2013

:Papercutz-The Blur Between Us (2012)

A while back we talked about a series of free download compilation albums from Future Sequence.  These discs are loaded with great finds.  Among the golden, I discovered a Portuguese artist called :Papercutz.  I didn't discover this album until late, or it might have made our year-end list.

"The Blur Between Us" has a diverse array of sounds on display throughout the record.  Perhaps the defining characteristics are the brooding ambient undercurrents interspersed with electronic beats and flourishes of modern classical harmonics and percussion.  These elements show an impressive depth that you simply can't get from any similar artist (if there is such a thing).

With a Cranberries-meets-Enya vocal style, the singing is what really sets this album apart as a can't-miss.  The vocals are varied, but repetitive enough to maintain a distinct pop vibe.   Not quite to the realm of electrogaze, the vocal stylings dwell mostly between dream pop and new world music. This is perhaps the area in which :Papercutz shines the most.

By that last line, I of course meant the figurative sense, because most of the music in this album is indeed cinematic and dark.  The undertones of drone ambiance mixed with modern classical instrumentation lends the music an eerie feel.  If this is not your thing, please be advised that this quality is not overt, nor is it an attempt to make the music a statement of what it is not.  This is simply creative, emotional genius.  "The Blur Between Us" is much more accessible than I have so far made it out to be.  Do not underestimate the dream pop effects present in this album. 

I normally don't enjoy much pop music; I'm not a musical purist.  Therefore I enjoy a broad spectrum of styles that defy classification.  Thus, :Papercutz has turned out to be right up my alley. 

Get this album.  It is perhaps the best album you didn't hear in 2012.  Another thing to note is that if you order through the artist's bandcamp page, you get a bonus track which is a rather incredible cover of The Cure's Disintegration. Speaking of the :Papercutz bandcamp page, below you will find the full album stream.  Just push play and let the music become you...or something like that.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Apricot Rail-Quarrels review

Some time ago we posted a quick review of a new single by a post-rock band from Perth, Australia called Apricot Rail.  The Australian release date has hit and we have a full album to review!  For one reason or another, this hasn't hit US shores yet, but thankfully, Apricot Rail has a fully armed and operational bandcamp page to peruse.  (Props to those who just picked up on my blatant Star Wars reference...what a NERD!)

I would almost hesitate to call this new release post-rock.  Post-rock music in its purest form is highly processed and heavily distorted instrumental rock music that more often than not hints at a coming apocalypse.  Apricot Rail has crafted an interesting release in instrumental music that eschews the heavy distortion for more organic instrumental melodies with just enough feedback to provide a sweeping atmospheric texture.

Vocals, while sparse, only serve to accentuate certain melodies without playing an integral part in the sound as a whole.  This is immediately evident from the opening bars of the very first track.  Another thing that stands out with this release is that this band is not afraid to experiment with lullaby-style electronic harmonies or unconventional instrumentation.  More than one track includes strings and several feature full-on horn sections.  This creates yet another interesting dynamic in the music.  During Cicadas...Part II, a horn section almost had me convinced that I was listening to an odd rendering of The Beatles' Strawberry Fields.  This was a rather astute observation considering that I'm not a Beatles fan.

This album almost literally renders me speechless.  It is that good.  There is something in this music for everyone.  I can't find a single beef with the flow of this album.  "Quarrels" is certainly an early candidate to make our year-end list.  This is extremely impressive music from a relatively unknown band.  The music beautiful and uplifting in ways that most post-rock fails or does not care to attempt.  If you like instrumental music of any kind, you MUST check this out.  You can stream the entire album below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy!