Bush Tucker

In honour of her recent return to the stage, this fortnight we are listening to Kate Bush’s 1985 album Hounds of Love. With the Futureheads’ rocky cover to this album’s title track being my only exposure to Kate Bush to date, I am looking forward to hearing this iconic singer-songwriter in the original! Dave and I will be listening to Hounds of Love until next Sunday.

Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

Each fortnight Fran and Dave choose a new album to listen to. We write about the genre or artist during the fortnight, and post our reviews on Sunday. Want to join the musical adventure? Subscribe by clicking the link in the sidebar to get an email every time there’s a new post.
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Bacon Lettuce Techno – Fran’s Review

Orbital’s 1993 techno epic is a sandwich of aural experimentation. The crusty bread surround is the symmetrical vocal loops that begin and end the record, moving slowly together then apart again. Which other Musical Adventure albums open to the melodic wisdom of Star Trek samples, I ask you? (None, obv.) And if the loops are the bread, then the satisfying main fillings are the hypnotic techno tunes like Lush 3-2 and Impact, spiced up with an occasional exciting hint of didgeridoo or tasty crackle of vinyl.

But in the middle of the sandwich, you encounter Remind, the tediously pervasive mustard of the piece. A taste that lingers, long after you wished it gone from your palette. Fortunately, the mustard fades by the time you get to the last few bites of sandwich, and just as you come to the terrible realisation that lunchtime is nearly over, your sandwich reveals the sweetest flavour of all. Halcyon + On + On indeed goes on and on, but in a fantastic, blissfully spaced out, dancing in the sea kind of way.

Orbital 2 (or the Brown Album) is an intriguing slice of the 90s, which leaves you thinking… that’ll keep me full ’til dinner time.

★★★☆☆

Sandwich

A sandwich

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Calming yet Danceable – Dave’s Review

Orbital’s ‘the Brown Album’ conjures a calming yet danceable atmosphere. The sort of music that would accompany a sunrise during a long night out for example.

The gradual, layered introduction to ‘Planet of the Shapes’ focusses on the machine-like, repetitive structure of the percussion and bass, for which the techno genre is best known. As like many tracks on the album, the beat drives the song forward with other elements fading in and out. Every now and again the percussion will pause, to rest those legs and soak in the moment, before starting back up again to carry the song on.

There are some lovely, simple riffs, for example that of ‘Lush 3-1′ which soars over a dense synth pattern and percussion arrangement. The airy vocals of ‘Lush 3-2′ and ‘Impact (The Earth Is Burning)’ complement one another well and form a dreamy section of the album. The mood becomes more tense in the middle of the record, with the keyboard lines of ‘Remind’ and ‘Walk Now…’ adding a sense of urgency. The occasional sonic experiments, such as the opening looping of ‘Time Becomes’ and ‘Input/Output’, add an extra dimension to the record and offer a glimpse into the sort of work that goes into creating the music.

The pinnacle of the album is reached with the near ten minute epic ‘Halycon + On + On’. It’s as if the dust is clearing and we have reached our techno destination. All the tricks from earlier in the record – the airy vocals; the repetitive, danceable beat; the chilled out feel – come together to form a soothing and pleasant finale.

★★★★☆

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Non Stop Techno Party

Orbital - The Brown Album

Orbital – The Brown Album

We’ve had a few weeks away as we were in Germany at a scorching Melt! Festival. While there were several genres of music on offer, the one I found myself drawn towards was Techno, with headliners such as Modeselektor, Ellen Allien and Kölsch among the festival’s highlights.

So to continue our musical adventure we will go back to the Music Tree and discover some early 90’s techno. For the next week and a half, we’ll be listening to Orbital’s second album, nicknamed the brown album.

Each fortnight Fran and Dave choose a new album to listen to. We write about the genre or artist during the fortnight, and post our reviews on Sunday. Want to join the musical adventure? Subscribe by clicking the link in the sidebar to get an email every time there’s a new post.

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Forwards Berlin – Mini Review

The main thing that these Melt mini-reviews have taught me is that a day is not long enough to understand an album! At least, it’s not long enough for me. I don’t know how music critics manage it – surely they can’t give a whole week to each album they review! Anyway, here goes my one-day review, although I reserve the right to change my opinion on this any number of times in the near future.

Howlin by Jagwar Ma is an eclectic album with lots of nice moments. Jagwar Ma are not quite up to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros standards, but this album brings other bands quite strongly to mind at many points. However, unlike the Magnetic Zeros, the references are fresh throughout. Whether channeling the Beatles on Come and Save Me, or Nine Inch Nails on Exercise, Jagwar Ma’s sound retains its modern psychedelic aura.

★★★★☆

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It’s a Melt!down: 1

Dave has nominated the final album for a Melt! countdown mini-review. Howlin by Jagwar Ma was released in June 2013 and showcases the Australian duo’s psychedelic electro-dance style. With one day until we head out to Berlin, we’re pretty excited! Hopefully Jagwar Ma can put us in the mood for Melt…

Jagwar Ma - Howlin

Jagwar Ma – Howlin

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I’m Gemini – Mini Review

I’ll be honest: I struggled to listen to Metronomy today, because I just wanted to listen to Hold On on repeat. When I did manage to drag myself away from SBTRKT, I found a sweet but unassuming pop record. Title track Love Letters and its follow-up Month of Sundays have a very 70’s pop sound, which is fine for a while, but it’s a welcome change when the electronic instrumental Boy Racers brings the sound racing into the 80’s! I particularly enjoyed Reservoir‘s video game vibe and the ocean sound effects on The Most Immaculate Haircut (surely the best-named track since this one), but the highlight has to be astrological break-up song I’m Aquarius. Although I may just think that because it’s the track I know best – my boyfriend just informed me that the reason I recognise it is that he used to be in the habit of playing it on loop!

★★★☆☆

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