Evan Sawdey: I’ve been listening to Joe McBride’s (aka Synkro) album for some time now, and it truly is a “lay in bed with the lights off and your headphones on” kind of trip. There’s a lot of great mood, ambient texture, and walking-the-streets-at-night vibes going on, making it a pretty fascinating little item to drop in 2015. Unfortunately, “Shoreline” is definitely one of its lesser moments, a bit of flaccid post-Squarepusher beatmongering dressed up in ambient clothing. It’s dark and atmospheric but also drab and uninviting. There are numerous great tunes on the full-length, but “Shoreline”, sadly earmarked as a single, just ain’t one of ‘em. [4/10]
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It was only a matter of time, but the two most important progressive rock acts of the 2000s, Steven Wilson and Anathema, have started to yield other younger bands with a similar, broad-minded vision that takes the genre into exciting new territory in the 21st century. Chile’s Bauda are such a band, and as they show on their newest album Sporelights, they not only capture that soulful, melodic essence of those bands, but do so in a way that sounds wholly unique. Touches of avant-garde black metal are discernible on the new track “Vigil”—namely Enslaved and Ulver—as well as a very accessible side, too, making for a warm, very appealing sound.
“FF Bada” is an exciting, funky instrumental that draws inspiration from the worlds of electronic, jazz and new classical. The song has a great sense of movement, feeling simultaneously like a master jam session and a carefully constructed composition. “FF Bada” is equally for the brain and the feet, like all of Battles’ best tunes. The group continues to smash genre barriers in a successful effort to create truly original music.
Steve Horowitz: This track is crammed. The lines range from everything from the biographical (“You want to know me I put my life in a song”) to the existential (“No love in the land of the lazy”) to the mundane (“I like rice, Basmati”) without ever dropping the beat or straying from the icy landscape of the sonic construction. There’s something happening here. Resolution may not be reached, but it’s a step. No wonder it ends with a sour vocal. Growth is painful. [7/10]
Adrien Begrand: The UK hip-hop great’s new single is so simple in approach—a murky, nasty dub groove that creeps along menacingly—but it gives Rodney Smith ample room to deliver a pointed diatribe against the allure of money and society’s (music especially) perpetual willingness to bleed people dry. “How could we hate the Queen, when the social bill seems so obscene and it helped to create the scene that put the people where the people be here?” It’s food for thought. [7/10]