Music Tuesday, December 22nd

Rad Releases: Circuit Sweet's 2015 music review

In the end-of-year Rad Releases series, Naomi Preece - founder of Herefordshire-based music media outlet Circuit Sweet - asks musicians to reveal their favourite musical moments of the past year. Here, Naomi writes about the albums she's had on repeat in 2015.

Modest Mouse - The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box.

Maserati - Rehumanizer 

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This year the legendary instrumental post-rock outfit returned with their highly anticipated album release ‘Rehumanizer'. The Georgia-based quartet have redefined the instrumental experimental genre and more importantly this intricate act have created what is essentially a full on fast-paced dance album.

When their album Pyramid Of The Sun was released, it was a sentimental explosion of all things experimental but the band, with time, once more evolved and back in August of this year I was delighted to announce their return with their phenomenal, monolithic album Rehumanizer. This high octane album from start to finish is all about momentum. Recorded, mixed, and produced entirely by the band in their own studio, this is the first Maserati album completely devoid of outside collaboration or interference. Focussing on complex instrumentation, surging beats, 80s synth sounds and a flurry of electronic elements, Maserati have delved deeper into the technological soundscapes and have incorporated processed vocals on a seemingly flawless record.

And when performed live, Maserati can relay the message their compositions consist of just as easily as the recorded studio version. A credit to the musicians. Rehumanizer was worth the wait!

Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves

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Ultimately I have three very special bands that mean the world to me - Maserati, Modest Mouse and The Appleseed Cast, my big three. So to see all of these bands live on more than one occasion and for 2 of these bands to return this year with new studio albums and trips to Europe, well that alone has made my year in music.

Another record showing the next direction for a well established and notorious act. Whatever point I’m in, in life, Isaac Brock seems to narrate those journeys.

And once again this album came at a time that just clicked, I needed to hear it and now it’s very much overplayed, yet it’s another record that will never grow tiresome.

Temple Complex - Self Interest Behaviour 

templecomplexcoverSomething a little closer to home, in fact a release I’ve been thrilled to help with. I’ve been managing the instrumental two-piece Aulos for six years now and this year both members Oli and Josh have been busy writing, recording and releasing their own new efforts -  Oli in A Parliament of Wolves and then Josh, earlier this year under the moniker Temple Complex. Josh is also known for his involvements with Black Elephant and The Anomalies.

Regardless of my personal relationship with this talented Hereford-based musician, when a few unmixed demos of his new effort landed in my inbox - I was left speechless. I’m not sure what I was expecting and although I’m fully away of Josh’s abilities, this release blew me away.

An experimental multi-instrumentalist, Temple Complex has indulged in a intellectual solo creation and produced a quirky, refreshing and truly substantial release - his most immersive and compelling work to date. Temple Complex is described as being a personal project of musical expression focused on experimentation, honesty, depth and progression. Self Interest Behaviour reaches out and provides such emotion in a boundary breaking deliverance.

The entire eight-track EP resonates in honesty and thrives in sentiment and I urge everyone to take the time to embrace this record.

NAH - Light as F--k 

nahcoverFour years later and with countless influential releases under his belt, Mike Kuhn is a machine.

Recognised for his involvement in Philadelphia’s 1994!, Mike’s solo outfit NAH dropped his best record yet in August. Split into two sides, “Light As F--k” courageously yet aggressively flows from track to track featuring the musician annihilating his drum kit with the most insane beats mixed with samples, electronic noise, intense lyrics - including an appearance from Ho99o9- and a brooding atmosphere.

Each track is suspiciously eerie and at times NAH proves that creating such deep layers of sound comes effortlessly to this influential figure.

NAH has created an innovative record and it’s a must-hear.

Alright The Captain - Contact Fix

alrightcoverAt the start of the year, Alright The Captain released their stunning follow up to SNIB, Contact Fix - an incredible representation of their continuous hardwork and dedication.

The band have constructed a record that is not only technical but accessible on many levels, melding heavy passages with smooth cleans and a set of cleverly selected synths and samples.

Best of all, as the band is constantly carving roads through Europe on multiple tours each year, the songs translate to a powerful and memorable live experience.

This is a vital listen from the Nottingham/Derby trio. It’s been great to see the three flourish this year supporting the release of their album and what a fitting accomplishment for ATC with a much deserved and loved headline performance at ArcTanGent!

Battles - La Di Da Di

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I was quite sceptical prior to hearing the release in full as I’d heard all about it with regards to other people's opinions and as much as you’d like to block these out I wanted to embrace my first listen and create my own opinion.

La Di Da Di, the third studio album from Battles was put on through the best speakers and whilst I sat there fully absorbing the release I was left in awe. The startling 12-track album has everything you need, simply incredible- the production, that Battles sound, and the tentative journey each track takes you on.

To fully appreciate the album it needs to be heard as one, in full. The legendary musicians are purveyors in instrumental math rock and have once more created a record which will influence and become an iconic release to thousands of fans and musicians.

Chiyoda Ku - Not Listening

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Chiyoda Ku are a fresh and aspiring trio who are undeniably one of the best instrumental acts in the UK.

In the spring of this year, Chiyoda Ku released their new four-track EP Not Listening, recording in one intense effort. Just four tracks showcase the musicians' abilities to the fullest, it's an EP with dynamic percussion throughout, illustrious riffs and no boundaries. A typhoon of unruly math and alternating time signatures create a frenzied mix of By The End of Tonight-esque sounds.

Not Listening highlights a dirty tapestry of angular guitar textures and irregular rhythms that propel the EP’s four tracks forward at breakneck speed.

Olde Pine - The Jawns

oldpineOlde Pine, the delectable quartet from Westborough MA, released their 10 track album early this year the addictive The Jawns. This compelling release provides contrast within the math rock genre.

With resemblance to early Dads and Algernon Cadwallader found in each high energy track, each musician effortlessly brings their own creative competency which culminates in exceptional compositions. These four musicians have come a long way together- and their unity as a band, their workmanship and creativity radiates their aptitude.

Chemistry Lessons - Real Life Man Museum 

chemistrycoverWith their outstanding debut album being unveiled to the world at the very end of 2015, Chemistry Lessons immediately topped my favourite albums of the year. This highly anticipated release from an eccentric electronic duo is a credit to the pair who have created and orchestrated a phenomenal masterpiece.

One very early morning, whilst I was fast asleep the delightful other half received this record and immediately put the album on. At 3am, the sheer heaviness of this album not only startled me but shook the walls, I genuinely believed the house was being raided and I jumped out of bed and ran out of the house. I can safely say no other album can have that effect on me.

Blending the best space-disco beats, distorted synths, drum machines, abrasive and abusive in your face riffs. Chemistry Lessons are purveyors of sound manipulation. This act should be on tour with HO99O9 and NAH!

Honourable Album Mentions

I have to credit these albums who have also topped my most played and most cherished releases of the last 12 months:

Naoise Roo – Lilith,  A Werewolf – Bigger Than The Beatles And Godzilla Combined,  Lord Huron – Strange Trails, Western Daughter – As The Sun Went Down, Mylets- Arizona, Health – Death Magic and Brave Season– On Long Distance and The Ties That Held Us Together. 

For more Rad Releases head over to Circuit Sweet.

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