Musicakes bits - March 2010

First of a few bits from my column in the Westender:

March 2010:

LHF is a mysterious collective of elusive artists that includes but is not necessarily limited to: Amen Ra, Double Helix, No fixed Abode, Low Density Matter, Escobar Seasons, Solar Man and Ocataviour. Collectively they're making the sort of music that the world has subconsciously been crying out for, uniting influences as varied as Afro Space Jazz, Qawwali and Asian Dub, before bringing them all together within a constantly shifting framework of Dubstep, 2 Step and 4/4 rhythms. LHF have created beguiling hybrid sounds in which perfectly selected and hugely varied samples are interwoven with intricate, skittering percussion, creating an atmosphere of mystic wonder alongside an irresistibly contagious ability to make you move. The snatches of obscure dialogue and nostalgic yet alien ambiance evoke an intercepted broadcast from deep space, emanating from an endlessly spinning gramophone on a similar yet subtly different sister planet to our own. Uncompromisingly brilliant and utterly essential music.

On a completely different tip, James Blake (he of the Mount Kimbie vocalist fame rather than the Tennis World Tour) has been messing with my head for a while now. Remarkable singing voice aside, he possesses a singularly unconventional ability to manipulate sounds in a way which unnerves and amazes in equal measure. Despite having just a handful of releases to his name and a sound that consistently redefines generic boundaries, Blake has a veritable choir of critical plaudits from every corner of the musical map and it behoves you to go find out why. I won't spoil too much, suffice to say he is the only person I've ever come across to make a tune that sounds like a wobbly owl leading a chorus of ghosts on a rubber pipe organ in a melting Romanian castle, if you can imagine such a thing.

Finally, we come to Asura, pet project of LA's Ryan York, a sonic reinterpretation of Kenji Miyazawa's poetry collection, Asura in the Spring. The resulting collage of sounds is a trickling, shimmering, achingly beautiful progression of textures and soundscapes that could just as easily fire your imagination as it could lull you to sleep. Here and there contemporary influences shine through, scattered glimpses of deep house, hip hop and 2 step come and go amidst flourishes of IDM intricacy. However the defining moments can be found amidst the delicately filtered atmospherics, conjuring lush imagery from elegantly understated modern classical synths and strings. That's not all, a quick perusal of the non-projects label website reveals that York and his friends have myriad artistic skills that they are yet to unleash upon the unsuspecting public so keep your eyes open for more in the future.

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