26 May 2005

Starfrosh - Da Schau Her [rabr006]

That lovable collective that brings you the podcast and britney - the netaudio mother braves the music side of netlabel "business" and makes a release on the swiss Realaudio label.

Starfrosch is the name and Da Schau Her is the release title. Funk being the primary definition of the music found on the release with tender vocals, filtered here and there, funk guitars and a steady rhythm section together in a live jam (atleast it sounds live to me). Each track of the 4 oozes groove and funk while the fifth, retooling of Series3 by McLoud, has more rock like guitars. I do have to complain about the constant 'starfrosch' repeating sample in some tracks, self-promotion is good but in small doses. Still, a really fine release by the Bern guys and gals who know their funk, touching the rarely explored musical genre in the scene.

recommended track: Don't Ever Come Back

Kudos to realaudio guys to finally release something worthwhile after rabr001.


25 May 2005

GILO - Chasing The Dragon [enrmp049]

GILO, a portuguese born Londoner, brings you his downtempo ep via Enough Records and their quite minimal website (hint: scroll all the way down for the release list).

As we are suckers for laidback trip-hop beats we got hooked on the annoucement and promises of the aforementioned. Lucky, lucky, cause some fine downtempo we got indeed. First track, Ai Visto... filled with scratches, floating vocal lines,phat beats, piano tingles and portuguese radio transmissions that manage to sound really melancholic. is it cause of the language? we honestly cannot tell! Lei 4 goes more laidback with a string quartet, slower beats and another portuguese radio transmission but suddenly switches into an electroid beat halfway through. Xangai features an absolutely wonderful chinese melody over strong beats with a dreamy vocal sample. a truly remarkable track!

recommended track: Xiangai

World is full of surprises. I went and downloaded this release with very low expectations and got blasted away with excellent quality and talent on this one. Every track has its own aura yet the complete release sounds like one whole. Great beats and quality sampling by Gilo. Now if only it there were some more artist info, like in the ID tags or somewhere, eh?


24 May 2005

VA - Pentagonik Label Compilation [pntg001]

Pentagonik is a new german netlabel, apparently specialized in tech/micro/click house variants and they started their life with a big compilation filled with mostly unknown names (at least in the netlabel world).

The first two tracks are a tad boring sparse click affairs and aren't replayable, maybe they work only on the dancefloor. Things really start to move with Ludwig Coenen's acidy L5 and a trademark house beat but a bit too long with not enough progression. Demir shuffles things a bit on You Got It but the acidic taste remains until Kairos says No More Acid and goes the tech-house way. Liam o'Leary and Heyden keep rockin' with Rock The Boat, glitchy-quirky stomping track with melodic breaks inbetween. Mabik's Deep House does a 180 degree turn and goes all french house deep on you together with Kareem's synth waves in Fuck The Rack On. Cint wraps it up with a standardish ambiental Bluescreen.

recommended track: Mabik - Deep House

Quite nice introduction to the world by Pentagonik, nothing amazing but a quality showcase nevertheless (if you manage to live through the first two tracks) since there are some really fine techhouse grooves in the heart of the compilation. Kinda refreshing after all that clickglitchmicro stuff that comes out regularly. Judging from the site and the release party images Pentagonik guys have high ideals for the label but they fail to deliver since this release is dated 04.03.2005 and they haven't released anything meanwhile. And that is a real shame cause there is some real talent on that label. Come on guys, don't pull the one hit stunt here!


23 May 2005

Comfort Fit - Forget & Remember LP [tdrlp02]

Suh-weet! After a lengthy pause Tokyo Dawn Records bursts at the seams with a full album release filled with lovely souljazzhiphop goodness!

Comfort Fit graced us with a chock full album of thoroughly souled hiphop beats. 20, yup, 20 tracks of what you're used to from TDR, a whole lotta soul, a bit jazz, retro hiphop beats and a slice of techno even. All that produced and mastered to perfection with a lovely set of covers. Most of the tracks are instrumental beats but Blaktroniks made a vocal appearance on Freeze The Cut and Something To Do, as did Mercury Waters on She Knows Me Now. Ranging from jazz tributes, 70's grooves, straight up hiphop bouncers and even love songs, Comfort Fit put out a diverse yet tight, well rounded out release.

recommended track: oh, just download the whole album

"a very personal diary of mine. I feel music is my natural form of expression, not words", Comfort Fit says. "It is very important for me to escape from the noise pollution of the cities and from the media hypes going on. I'd rather create my own". And you can feel it, through and through.


19 May 2005

Lily Lavandula - Neccopuck EP [lcd055]

Following the well trodden path of rephlex and warp signed artists, Lily Lavandula comes in full force in an incredible mishmash of downbeat, drum'n'bass, idm, drone, electro, ambient, etc. that is called Neccopuck EP. The short temp8080 romps in a Squarepusher style, ambient strings and windpipes over complex processed breaks. ximer2 goes the way of glitch'n'noise confronting slow tripped out beats in a kinda sewery atmosphere. Another shortish track, Siren, reminds of aphex twin while playing with vocal snippets and chip melodies. Tasty is a grime sounding piece, with a prominent bassline but keeps on playing with breaks, filters, effects and samples. Everything ends when ambient drones with field recordings clash into rigid beats that take on an oriental twist in sesionNoises.

I'm left a bit speechless after hearing Neccopuck. It is an experimental sounding release but what does that mean in todays electronica, maybe we should just say its an electronica album. Anyhow it is executed really well, blending various influences and electronica genres with ease in this EP. Overall it sounds a bit bleak, depressive even, but it's a nice set of headphone tracks with lots of small things going on in each track. I only miss that the two short tracks aren't developed into lengthier mixes. That's creative process for you.

A great release by an unknown artist on an unknown, atleast to me, label. This was infact 55th release on LacedMilk Technologies. I suppose I missed out on this label cause of its poorly built and difficult to navigate webpage, dunno. Presentation is key and first impressions are important.

recommended track: Siren


17 May 2005

mp3tag: tag your mp3 correctly!

When you roam the net as a music geek you download your music to the hard drive first in order to hear it later. You can get quite frustrated when you realize the netlabel didn't do its job with naming and tagging the sounds. Phlow (& phonq!) recommend you mp3tag for that purpose.

Quality filled out ID tags, be it Ogg Vorbis or MP3 files, should be a virtue of netlabel owners. True, it costs some time and effort but the listener will be thankful afterwards and potential for visits to the website increases. Its no wonder people like mrcs and [in]anace weighted their opinions recently in the Netaudio News Group. Meanwhile, every netlabel owner sits in front of a computer, which can reduce the waste of time to a minimum. Syd Mead told me two years before: "A job a computer does best is: copy." You just have to instruct it, or in our case snatch an ID-tag editor that will as much work as possible by itself. For example...

mp3tag from Florian Heidenreich

The outstanding Freeware MP3 Tag Editor from Florian Heidenreich is a superb tool much more with its batch processing which is a breeze to use. 100 MP3s are quickly linked to one of the Creative Commons licenses in the Comment field. Filenames themselves can be converted to lowercase in a moment. Luckily the program also tags Ogg Vorbis files. When you set aside half an hour to learn its insides you save yourself hours and let the program do the repeated tasks. And that is not an empty promise! You can find out how the program functions in details in the excellent help file. We just want to give you a couple of useful filenaming tips for the road....

naming MP3s correctly

Netlabels should pay attention to the following steps in naming and describing ID tags. The following facts should belong in the filename:
  • label ID
  • catalog number
  • album title plus EP/LP/Single
  • track number
  • artist name
  • track title
The filename should be over 64 characters. Otherwise your CD burning program messes up and crops the filenames. An example for correct file naming is:
tagging MP3s correctly

In any case I'd wish a link to the netlabel or the artist in the ID tag. The promotion effect is often completely missed here. Hey, if I like the MP3 i'll look at the tag info and become frustrated when its empty.

Therefore we wish for the following additional information in the tags:
  • complete description of the release - Artist, Title, Album, Tracknumber
  • a link to a creative commons or another license (so you can know if you're allowed to use it in your netaudio mix)
  • link to the netlabel or artists website
  • genre classification
Note: If I forgot important components, note it in the comments.

written by mo., translated by argus

This article was originally published on Phlow and after getting permission from the writer we translated it in english cause we want to spread the word. This here is an action for better ID tagging in the scene and we hope the intiative will spread. Bad filenames or nonexistant ID tags are the biggest problem with netlabel releases. ID tag is a powerful tool and it is left untouched. What prevents each netlabel owner to correctly fill out the tags and even attach cover art?

This is our little contribution to the ongoing debate and also a recommendation for mp3tag - an excellent program which we've been using for some time now and it helped sort out over 20 Gb of mp3's in mere couple of hours. Imagine how much time it takes for a couple of tracks then!

Here's to a fully tagged and properly named netaudio future!

Authist & Dub One! - Dub Illusions EP [iD.021]

straight from the heart of berlin comes this (mini)album of dub flavored downtempo by the amazing Authist & Dub One!. conveying the true jamaican spirit, the first half of the album are all genuine dub jams, not so heavy on delays like their rolemodels but nevertheless excellent. the duo also explores the world music edge of the spectrum with Around the World and Insomnia in Dub featuring a lovely vocal appearance by Marisa combines dub and loungy jazz. Trulala gives the second vocal appearance in a sweet, and completely uncommon style for netlabels, r'n'b track Sweet Berlin (Vocal Mix). final tracks offer up some true barrywhitesque funk as witnessed in Get on Upaaah! and instumental hiphop beats in Lounge 36 (Oldskool Mix) and the bonus tracky instrumental rendition of Sweet Berlin.

recommended track: Insomnia in Dub (feat. Marisa)

that was a nice album. dub is currently a technofied genre in the scene and its refreshing to have a couple original dub track. vocal work in the two tracks is great and i was genuinely surprised when i heard a typical r'n'b track in there.


11 May 2005

qwikiez vol.1 (aka no time to write a long review so i compress a couple of em)

The Adjuster - Over His Heart [s13]
bevlar music is an excellent outlet for dancefloor music in multitude of styles. this is a shameless abba influenced, daft vocoded, happy happy dancefloor stomper which grooves steadily and shakes ya' bootay (gotta stop talk writing like that). on the a side is the short edit identical to the b side track so you can just skip it and go for the gusto!

Kplecraft - KNMS-001 [mtk146]
it just like old faithful h0l to dig up the weirdest of the weird of bleep chip electronica. stemming from the land of the rising sun (ed: japan), kplecraft are a duo of gameboy jazz musicians. whaaaaat?
if you're confused yet, wait till you hear the album! dark brooding technoid jazz interpretations jamming over gameboy induced bleepish beats and "breaks". truly not everyone's cup of tea but we personally liked most of it, excluding the two last gameboy only romps which sound just like everything else from the gameboy scene. oh so adorable is the weirdness that comes from japan, or not.

and now something completely different and non netlabel related:
don't know if you've heard of John B but this is a live drum'n'bass set unlike anything you've heard. famous for his unending love of everything 80's, John B succesfully blends dark and jazzy drum'n'bass, electro, new wave, electroclash, punk. we likey!.
here's part 1 and part 2 of John B's live mix from WUK, Vienna. (courtesy of breaksblog.)

10 May 2005

Kolibries - Tales of the Circle EP [kahvi143]

kahvi is one of scene's longest running netlabels and this is their 143st release, yep, a triple digit number and that has to account for something, right? in this case it is quality. continuing the long tradition, kahvi finds new talents and brings them to the fore, just like with Kolibries and his Tales of the Circle EP.

Kolibries introduces himself with a five track ep of ambient electronica that dodges conventions and whisks away to downbeat influenced rhythmic patterns and jazz instrumentalism. so you get trademark ambient-ic synth chords and the warm analogue pads intertwined with some bass and dub. that analogueness is truly obvious on the central track, Radio, together with the cutesy processed vocals and as 4t thieves (label manager/owner) said, it does remind of apollo 440. what about the jazz? oh! the jazz comes to the fore in Soulmates creating a sentimental and emotional ride crisscross a live-like jazz band section with analogue twinkles. the ep comes to a conclusion tripping out on Tale of the Circle, which reminds me on all those demo sountracks from the yesteryear. a smooth trippy experience and for a debut release it is truly an above average set of tracks.

recommended track: Soulmates

i have to admit kahvi isn't a label i downloaded from often in the past year but my mouse pointer was drawn in with the mention of a fresh artist. lucky me and lucky you! if only 4t would put some more artist info about kolibries on the kahvi site!

08 May 2005

Sinestetici - The Definition Of Imperfection [drift001]

unlike the usual netlabel fare (not meaning that in a bad way) this first release from a brand new netlabel offer a new concept to the scene. Sinestetici didn't produce anything on this album, she is only a singer that employs the talents of three different netaudio artists to produce the background for her songs. The Definition of Imperfection is a misnomer, this is an awesome album that zigzags through glitchy melotronica (courtesy of Daigoro), ambient acoustic guitar entourage of DoF or up/downtempo beatwork by KiloWatts complementing the smooth, dreamy vocalism of Samantha Ryan aka Sinestetici. truly a different concept that is implemented perfectly and all three producers have a great sound. we're particularly partial to KiloWatts here, showing the bouncier side on this dreamy, melancholic album.

recommended track: Ideal Chameleon

mint fresh stuff on a fresh netlabel. first release for drift records and its some excellent, nay, uberexcellent music. hopefully they'll continue in this way and keep such a high quality level. don't disappoint us since you've started on a different note. expectations are high for drift002.

07 May 2005

Moosefrog - Come [lokw001]

a tiny message on archive.org saying:
Lo_Kiwi is a new netlabel.
indicative isn't it... and thats all there is. except. a link. a link to their first release, an album by mark & sam ie Moosefrog. lo_kiwi - now thats a weird name for a label!

Come shows organic jazz blending with electronic samplework and beat programming that converges into seven impeccable nujazz downtempo jams. but this ain't no ordinary downtempo music, a special touch comes from sam's electric guitar solos and riffs emphasizing the mood of each track, be it funk or blues. from the bossa nova-like opener in Zero Gravity Containerstraight thru the funky center of the album right to the dreamy trippy finisher Dreaming of Wings the finnish duo excercise their superb skills in creating moody memorable music.

after visiting moosefrog's page i found out they have one previous release on a label that seems defunct now (that coming from the obvious lack of a webpage on the address supplied), luckily most of their music can be also downloaded from download.com.

note to the lo_kiwi organizers, whoever you might be: you've got a real gem here, don't waste it. netlabel running isn't just uploading mp3's to a site and saying "here, a new netlabel, download our stuff". make a webpage, promote, contact other sites! i hope phonq boosts the download count a bit.


their webpage is online and available on http://lo-kiwi.org

06 May 2005

Kiorda Däkin - Interstellar Paradise [1bit004]

one bit wonder does its magic again. it is only their fourth release so far but they set the bar real high by now and are striving to become the best lounge/groove outlet in the vast netlabel scene.

kiorda däkin gave us five tracks of groove delights aptly named insterstellar paradise as the latest one bit wonder. it is a potpourri of disco(ish) summer house topped of with jazzilistic rhodes, saxes, pianos, synth strings and a granule of vocoded vocals thrown in for good measure. except for the last track. the last track breaks the mold and features Iblesse's lovely vocal skills in a beautiful slice of lounge downbeats. summer is coming and kiorda knows that and serves you this soundtrack for the first warm days of this year.

recommended track: I Miss You (feat. Iblesse)

kiorda seems to be a newcomer in the netlabel world and one bit's artist page doesn't offer much info yet but his music defies my theory since it sounds well rounded and is well produced.

btw i just love those orangy covers for one bit's releases with the distinct 70's feel. if their creator reads this i'd like him to contact me on arguson@gmail.com.

03 May 2005

Macc - Empty Instrument/Non-Linear Phasing [XGN013]

yay! a drum'n'bass netlabel! well, finally... since scientific and language labs withered away, your reviewer was looking for a nice drum'n'bass/breaks oriented netlabel and here it is - exegene, releasing true broken beats in hq 256kbps mp3 form. its thinking man's drum'n'bass, not the standard dancefloor techstep fare we're being bombarded with.

Macc's two tracker is the latest release on exegene and it's dark and moody. Empty Instrument is a dark eerie (sound)track with slightly warped (in a good way) breakbeat manipulation and an bassline that ominously emerges from the background, definately not for the faint of heart. Non-Linear Phasing gets even darker with its spine chilling intro that breaks down into amazing break rolls but Macc is injecting small doses of funk in the gloom to stirr things up.

recommended track(s): Empty Instrument / Non-Linear Phasing

yep, both tracks are recommended and with a reason. can't wait to hear new stuff from exegene cause their old releases are quite good and with a very small percentage of letdowns.