What do you want from an album review?

I’ve been attempting to write some album reviews for the last 4 months.  However I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Perhaps, dear reader, you can help me?

One of things I’ve been trying to avoid is some of the senseless, egocentric bullshit that I came to expect from Sounds, NME, Melody Maker and other printed media that I used to read when I was a teenager.  Most of it was pure rubbish invented by hacks who, quite literally, would go off to a ganja filled office to dream up some hitherto unexperienced musical landscape to accompany the review of “Tales from Topographic Oceans” by Yes.  Yeah Baby!

Nor do I want to produce the time-honoured, but completely overused metaphor: “Bastard Son of Thin Lizzy meets Lady GaGa at a trucktop owned by Acid Jazz freaks from the 1980s”.  That said, the metaphour does offer the ready some idea what the music actually sounds like. Unlike some of the lines presented by some of the bands on this year’s Great Escape Festival Programme…

“The pick of the crop from this years Rotherham Rumble, this 5 piece give as good as they get.  Expect the unexpected and then some more. They come from Leeds.”

WTF does this say about the music? What does it say about Rotherham or Leeds for that matter?  More importantly it gave me and my compadres no idea what to expect to hear, and so I’m sure we missed some artistic gems. All for the sake of a little clarity.

So, what I’ve focused on so far is a description of the tracks – the musical genre, the vibe I get when listening, the track’s narrative (as I see it).  Seems pretty obvious, innit! However it has been pointed out that a review should be more than just summing up the different tracks of an album, and should present some insight or analysis from the reviewer. For example….

“XXX… rings out as a cry from deep within for personal understanding and comfort. A rich tapestry of sounds is woven with a sense of abandonment and loss and the struggle to make sense of these feelings as they unfold for the listener.” Or

“Each melody, much like the landscapes they represent, still holds the memory of a time when it thrived bountifully.”

These examples are taken from beautifully written articles, I agree, but the problem I have is that I’m none the wiser about the music. I’m still required to click on the “sample track” to make my own judgement. In the case of the above examples I was disappointed.  For me, the music failed to live up to the message.

So, dear reader, what do you want from an album review? I want to learn how to do this properly, and unlike podcasting, it’s not “intuative” to me. Please make a comment below or drop me an email. What floats your boat?

What do you want from an album review?2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

Various Artists ―HARUTA EP [A Lowfers Records Sampler]

You’ve got to smile when a new netlabel advertises itself as “Second Original Rudest In The Infants from JPN“. Anyone that makes a reference to Underworld’s classic album “Second Toughest In The Infants” has got to be worth checking out.

The HARUTA EP is a sampler album, the first from new Japanese netlabel Lowfer Records. The collection of tracks is categorized as “dubstep” but there’s a lot of variation here, which is nice.

From the opening track, Soda Float by Mononofrog_4sk, you know there’s something slightly retro about the feel. There’s a central section that I swear is like New Order’s 1963. Really nice happy poppy and dubstep tune at the same time. Cool!

In fact I’d say the first 4 tracks of the album all have the same happy feel, which doesn’t mean they’re all the same, but just all have the same feel good vibe.

By the time you get to Hit Me! by Yasterize you get more of the dub influences coming through, before the classic dubstep drop hits. Metastep by Dominik is equally dark and wobbly, but the mood turns upwise again, and by the time you get to Where Is The Sun, by Kard, you’re almost in trance-dubstep territory.

It’s not until you get to Miss Pararel World by Theory of Relativity that you hear some of the wacky, perhaps kitch Japenese-ness coming through, in between the wobbles.  The final track, Forest Bath by DJ Sea is a much more subtle piece and a fitting way to end a varied album.

I wish there was more to say about this album and this new netlabel, but there’s not a lot more on their website to say. My ears are thankful in any case!

Link to download the album.

Link to the netlabel homepage.

Link to a sample mixtape on soundcloud.

Various Artists ―HARUTA EP [A Lowfers Records Sampler]2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

Voting is Open for the Euopean Podcast Awards 2011

The European Podcast Awards have just opened for nominations and voting for 2011. As you know, I was the “Personality” winner in 2010, but I cannot take part in the 2011 awards.  No matter, because there are lots of excellent podcasts out there, just waiting to be voted for. Go here to the European Podcast Award website and vote for your favourites.

So if you like a podcast (or several) go along and vote (you can vote every day). If the podcast you like is not available for voting then give the podcaster a nudge and get them to register!

Voting is Open for the Euopean Podcast Awards 20112018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

Review: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican - Remembering Machine

Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican on the web:

Bandcamp | Broken Drum Records | Facebook

Release date: February 1st 2009

Bandcamp: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

by Pete Cogle | June 25th 2011

Having just reviewed Secret Archives of the Vatican’s, Barbary Lion album, I was thinking about their last major release and how this was a pivotal moment in the band’s direction.

Remembering Machine came out in February 2009, and was relatively hot on the heels of their June 2008 album Babylon Halt. It was, however, a completely different proposition. Whereas Babylon Halt was produced over a 10 year period, involving many members of the collective and came from the live-set period of the band, Remembering Machine was the rapid outpouring of new studio ideas over about a four month period. It’s entirely instrumental, different, and trend setting.

Beginning with “Cryptonomicon”, the new mood is set. Broken, almost DNB beats are supported by strange tonal wobbles overlaid with string orchestrations and a faintly heard lone voice.

“Stainless Steel Cat” begins with a complex broken beat overlaid with a string echo, which leads into more or the tonal wobbles that we now know are going to morph into kick-ass bass in later EPs and albums.  “Before Beauty” starts with the drum and string riffs that are the signature of the band, but this is later added to by a funky bass and eventually more string orchestrations.

“Beloved” lays down a complicated beat pattern over which a simple guitar (perhaps oud) riff is introduced and allowed to develop.  It’s simple, yet complex, all in one piece. The eponymous “Remembering Machine”, like “Cryptonomicon” before it, has an almost mathematical beat structure, overlaid with strings and a subtle, jazzy organ over the top.

“Gangs Of New Earth” has a simpler, almost bhangra beat, with oud and vocal samples on top, leading on to “Overground Resistance”. Again this uses the complex, mathematical beats, over which tabla and DNB breaks are allowed to swirl around over a bass, and sitar mix.

“Pity The Fool” has just about the simplest drum pattern on the album, giving the bass, tabla and some scratch DJ work room to move. “Dread” is the final track and is led by the bass and tabla. This time drums are less complex and it’s the keyboards that invoke the melody.

I did have problems understanding this album when it first came out. Not because the album was lacking, but because I really wasn’t ready for the change. It took me a while, but I finally got the message. Since then the band have produced numerous singles and three further EPs that have refined their musical direction and enabled the excellent Barbary Lion to be born. I’ve adapted to the change and it’s been good. I encourage you to do the same. You’ll not be disappointed.


Review: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

PCP#356…Noises Off!

with tracks by…Protodome, Cobson, Natural Roots, Secret Archives Of The Vatican, Eternal Nightmare, 82nd Ave, Orchestraniké, The 99ers, Anonymous Coward,  Kemek.

[wpaudio url=”http://m.podshow.com/media/2585/episodes/285949/pcpodcast-285949-06-24-2011.mp3″ text= “Play PCP#356”]
  1. Deep Roots, by Natural Roots. Salt Lake City, Utah.
  2. Heavyweight, by 82nd Ave. Chelmsford, England. [Yuki Yaki]
  3. Minnesota Day, by The 99ers. Minnesota St Paul, USA.
  4. Vitamin Drumming, by Kemek. Los Angeles, California, USA.  [IODA Promonet]

Sine LanguageKemek
“Vitamin Drumming” (mp3)
from “Sine Language”
(Muti Music)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Amazon MP3
More On This Album

Bedding music byKaya Project Dubrifles

[Blogsite] [RSS Feed ] [Download] [Email Me ]

This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License .

PCP#356…Noises Off!2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

TDZ#102… 4 corners of dub…

With tracks by… Phoni and Flori, Roots Revival Soundsystem, Dub Town, Forward-I, Le Cherga, Uncle Riotous, Doobie Sounds, Susheela Raman.

TDZ#102… 4 corners of dub…2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Barbary Lion

Barbary Lion is the first release from Secret Archives of the Vatican, since the Dreams and Visions EP in October 2010, and the first full-length album since Remembering Machine in February 2009.

This loose collective of musicians describe their music as Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science as it contains elements of many genres: breakbeat, dub, dubstep, drumstep, triphop, drum and bass, with Indian, Arabian and Turkish influences. It’s certainly an exotic blend.

The album begins with “Veiled Beauty, Dark Magic”, which starts subtly, and then hits you with with the bass-kicking funky groove that drives the track. Arabic strings, tablas, and drum & bass beats are all added to excellent effect, but it’s the bass that sets the tone for the rest of this album.

“West of Eden”, starts with the same arabic feel, but then morphs into a groove that The Prodigy would be proud of.  Secret Identity” lulls you into a false sense of security with it’s quiet opening, but there’s a lovely bass wobble that’s just waiting to get you.  “Mesopotamian Homesick Blues” is a track that’s been around for a little while now. This carries on that lovely bass wobble from “Secret Identity” and overlays some arabic samples on top.

Whenever I hear “The Empty Quarter” I always think I’m playing a video game and have just entered a new land, complete with Palm Trees, Orange Groves and houses with those distinctive blue doors. In the distance a holy man is in deep contemplation, As you get closer, he rises to his feet and begins to spin. Slowly you join the bass fueled dervish and find your own groove.

“Hunter’s Moon” is a track that simply must be played loud on decent headphones or on a decent hi-fi with a sub-woofer. Playing this on your iPod on the train will simply not do the track the justice it deserves.  Check your speed if you’re playing this in the car – you will be driving too fast.

“Radagast in the East” harks back to the earlier influences of SAotV, with an arabic infused reggae groove, that will have you skanking in no time. “Enter Unseen” is about as close as SAotV ever get to “traditional” dubstep with it’s 2-step beat, but it’s never about the obvious with these guys. They have their own unique sound and it’s just great.

“Summer Lightning” begins with a musical call that could almost have come from a muezzin, which then fuelled by that signature bass wobble, calls you to sway to the beat. The final track is “Ravens Will Feed You”, which starts off with a dub reggae feel and then overlays with arabic strings, pipes and piano to round the album off to an excellent close.

Like all musical collectives, SAotV’s music varies along with the musical influences and strength of input from the musicians. Like a well-crafted blend of spices from the bazaar in Marrakech, this album brings together those influences and mixes them into that perfect marinade to spice up your musical mealtimes.

Time to play the album again? Oh yes!

[wpaudio url=”http://netlabelism.com/wp-content/uploads/Secret-Archives-of-the-Vatican-Veiled-Beauty-Dark-Magic.mp3″ text=”Secret Archives of the Vatican – Veiled Beauty, Dark Magic”]

Link to Release Page at Bandcamp

Link to SAotV at Broken Drum Records

Secret Archives of the Vatican – Barbary Lion2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

PCP#355…Honk! Honk!

with tracks by…Biting Elbows, Baba Brinkman, Mrs Jynx, Youssou Ndour, Kodul, Secret Archives Of The Vatican, Angil And The Hiddentracks, Gnawa Click, Bueva Vulcano, Orkestra Del Sol.

PCP#355…Honk! Honk!2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

H2Z#4… Symmetry…

With Tracks by…Tha Silent Partner, Chinese Man, Oddatee, Break Asymmetry, Mr Moods, Bleubird, Elliot, Darkstorm & Diabolic.

H2Z#4… Symmetry…2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

PCP#354… Your Weekly Panda…

with tracks by Opa!, The 99ers, Liquid Stranger, Dengue Fever, Alpha D, Heifervescent, Dumbo Gets Mad, 1-Speed Bike, Adamed.Age, Berlinist, Echilon Effect.

[wpaudio url=”http://m.podshow.com/media/2585/episodes/284158/pcpodcast-284158-06-09-2011.mp3″ text= “Play PCP#354”]
  1. Bombaclaad Star, by Liquid Stranger. Scottsdale, USA. [IODA Promonet] [Interchill]
  2. Cement Slippers, by Dengue Fever. Los Angeles, California, USA.
  3. The Arcane Terrain

Liquid Stranger
“Bombaclaad Star” (mp3)
from “The Arcane Terrain”
(Interchill Records)
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

This week’s featured Netlabel is Bad Panda Records. Claudio, who’s based in Rome, Italy, sent me some answers to an email interview.

Bedding music byKaya Project Dubrifles

[Blogsite] [RSS Feed ] [Download] [Email Me ]

This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. .

PCP#354… Your Weekly Panda…2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

TDZ#101… Dub Be Dub…

With tracks by… Steenkoud, Kunta Estudio, Neblina Soundsystem, Ashley, Guitoud, Mackadub, Shan-A-Shan, Killasoundyard.

TDZ#101… Dub Be Dub…2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

DSZ and TDZ now available streamed via dubstepforum.ch

The Dub Zone and The Dub Step Zone have been invited to be streamed from the Swiss website dubstepforum.ch.  Big thanks to Niklas for setting this up.   If you’re here on petecogle.com for the first time, because you’ve followed a link from dubstepforum.ch then you are most welcome! Remember there are over 37 (and growing dubstep podcasts) and over 100 dub podcasts available to you free!


DSZ and TDZ now available streamed via dubstepforum.ch2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

PCP#353… Depuis la France, avec l’amour ! …

with tracks by…  Black Devil Disco Club, Susheela Raman, Chinese Man, Charles Pasi, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou, Vismets, Dye, Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal, Donso, Vero Sego, James Vincent McMorrow, Discodeine, High Tone, Massivan.

[wpaudio url=”http://m.podshow.com/media/2585/episodes/283252/pcpodcast-283252-06-02-2011.mp3″ text= “Play PCP#353”]

Big thanks to Gwenaelle Sanchez, from Bureau Export for letting me take so many CDs.

  1. Raise Up, by Susheela Raman. London, England.
  2. Fantasy, by Dye. Paris, France.
  3. Mogoya, by Donso. Paris, France.
  4. Unoticed, by Vero Sego. Toulouse, France.
  5. Spank, by High Tone. Lyon, France.
  6. Saturday Nite, by Massivan.  Formentera / Ibiza, Spain

Bedding music by Kaya ProjectDubrifles

[Blogsite] [RSS Feed ] [Download] [Email Me ]

This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

PCP#353… Depuis la France, avec l’amour ! …2018-04-20T12:46:10+00:00

DSZ#37… Dubber’s Moon…

WithTracks by… Synthager, The Circle Corner, Layer Z, Radio Manetta, Redub, Secondhead, Secret Archives of the Vatican, Myrkur.

DSZ#37… Dubber’s Moon…2018-04-20T12:46:11+00:00
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