This issue of
Citylife

City Vibes

Artist:
Autechre
Album:
Oversteps
Rating:

Oversteps is yet another fine output from a Sheffield-based imprint (Warp) whose ever-reliable releases make reviewing them superfluous. I only do so here to draw attention to this incredible label and its army of talented signings. Autechre are one such division, blasting out the barracks for nigh on two decades. Musically, they drift on minimalist synths, organic textures and ear soothing progressive ambience that lights up the room, but they also know when to drop the bomb, as on ‘Yuop’ when contorted, bass-heavy walls envelop the listener in cataclysmic claustrophobia.

Artist:
Bonobo
Album:
Black Sands
Rating:

Bonobo’s first two long-players were celebrated additions to a faltering trip-hop genre in the early naughties, but they barely hinted at what has been achieved on Black Sands. This is an artist not simply stroking his Bonobo, but whacking it with a hammer! Black Sands is a mesmerising, airborne flock of tracks with the scent of Cinematic Orchestra’s lush instrumentation and the dashes of Flying Lotus’s bent improbability. The songs engage, surprise and make all seem right with the world with their orchestral optimism. That’s an achievement and this is a must-have for 2010.

Artist:
Gorillaz
Album:
Plastic Beach
Rating:

A nauseous British battle of the bands in the ’90s pitted a camp southern softy, Damon Albarn of Blur against gruff, v-sign slinging northerner Liam Gallagher of Oasis. Stereotypes aside, the battle is now over; and while Gallagher sits in his posh town house stuffing his face with Frey Bentos, Albarn is touring the world pulling together seminal concept albums and forming ‘super-groups’. ‘Plastic Beach’ is one such concept album, which sheds the chavistic cloak of cartoonism and dons the top-hat of triumphalism. Dub-step, funk and indie all form part of this lavish album which represents the Gorillaz coming of age.