8 Dec, 2012
So, in today's entry, I had intended to pass on some Christmas cheer from Solarno - when I noticed that I hadn't even mentioned Solarno until now! Whoops! Seems like an introduction is due...
Solarno - the musical alter ego of synth mastermind Jim Furey. Trained in both classical and jazz composition, his work combines old-school synths and chiptunes with sleek modern production and effects (including some elements from dubstep), while maintaining a cinematic gravity. "Stone of Lazhward" from the Kyanos EP, which integrates an old-world Asian aesthetic into a pulsing whirlwind of keyboard finesse, is a fantastic example of this dynamic hybrid. What I love about Solarno, though, are the artistic pursuits behind the music - the above EP mentioned, for instance, is a aural investigation into the character of the color cyan.
These quests for enlightenment also compel Furey to record "holiday EP"s. In Solarno's two festive albums - Hark! The Herald Robots Sing and God Rest Ye Merry Robotmen - traditional Christmas carols are adapted into electronic compositions, which feature all of Furey's genius tricks. (And, yes, that first one DOES feature "singing robots" on the title track and "Good King Wenceslas".) The latter EP, recorded this year, comes with some neat liner notes detailing the history behind each carol and the approach that the artist took on his own version. You can download "Hark!" for at least $2, and "God Rest Ye" for no particular price at all (though I'd pay just a bit, if I were you!)
Public Service Broadcasting - You might have heard of nostalgia-mongers Position Normal and Mordant Music, who build their minimal sound around sound clips and old tunes pulled from an older, quieter era. Public Service Broadcasting embraces a similar concept, drawing their retro samples from dated public service announcements; however, instead the barebones approach of the previously mentioned bands, PSB supplies rich, exhilarating instrumentals, both hard-edged and intriguing, to back their archaic quotations. EP One, a name-your-price download, evokes the far-gone days when parties were classy ("Mixergames"), private music players were still wondrous devices ("New Dimensions in Sound"), and PSAs were actually congenial ("Theme from PSB").
PSB has also now released a new EP, "The War Room", which is centered around broadcasts from WWII (and boasts an awesome cover). It's incredible. If you enjoyed EP One, then you'll swoon over this.
UPDATE: Now, of course, PSB are set to release their first full-length LP, "Educate, Inform, Entertain" on May 6, which they have been promoting shamelessly. You can still pre-order it from several reputable UK record stores (such as Rough Trade, Piccadilly, Cargo, and so forth).