Review: Those with a passion for heavyweight electro and Drexciyan sounds have long held French producer Franck Kartell in high regard. He's been working away on the fringes delivering high-grade material for a decade, and finally got round to dropping his debut album, Afterlife, last year. Here he delivers a swift follow-up, effortlessly flitting between icy ambience, Vector Lovers style electro-IDM, creepier compositions, and the kind of oddly symphonic, soundtrack-inspired fare that exists to stir the emotions. It's a far more fragile sounding set than some might expect, but no worse for it. While there's little dancefloor material on show, Kartell's downtempo fare is a cut above most of his contemporaries.
Review: You'd be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Carl Gustav Gjengen Og Parkeringsbandittene, a 1982 Norwegian children's mystery film with an eccentric, convoluted plotline. This is the first time that the soundtrack, which was created by former Norwegian progressive rocker turned composer Pete Knutsen, has been released. It's an imaginative and largely colourful affair, with Knutsen utilizing spacey synthesizer sounds and bold melodic riffs (very reminiscent of the period in which it was created) alongside his usual fuzzy rock guitars and out-there electronics. It's hugely evocative and entertaining, with nods to a myriad of contemporaneous American and European styles as well as the Beatles circa The White Album and Abbey Road.
Review: Is this LIES release of the year? Produced by Born Free's Samo Fosberg in collaboration with Max Stenerudh from Stockholm creative collective Top Nice, Dream Of The Walled City is a conceptual soundtrack for a movie script themed around Kowloon Walled City, the densely structured seven acre plot of land that stood tall for over nearly centuries before getting demolished in 1993. Not the most obvious of L.I.E.S. releases you might think, but this album has classic written indelibly into it's DNA. It's one of the most engaging releases of 2013, with the six tracks effortlessly coalescing into one whole immersive listening experience that was no doubt informed by Fosberg and Stenrudh's own visit to what remains of the Walled City.