19 Feb 2015
Free Download Roundup - Opium Eyes of Nico, Tanizaki, Marble, The NoMen
Reviews by Nathan Ford
Opium Eyes of Nico "Dronecaine"
Russian duo Opium Eyes of Nico (a side project of Cosmic Letdown) have an absolutely astounding debut full length out this month. "Dronecaine" proves that with a little imagination you can build an entire album around drones without the listener ever growing bored. The variety on display here is astounding, with plenty of Indian instrumentation (used gorgeously), heavy guitar drones, keys, and hypnotic percussion that helps accentuate the album's trance inducing properties. Those of us who like backwards guitars are in for a bit of a treat too. Largely instrumental, there's also an absolutely killer version of "Tomorrow Never Knows", which as absolutely fitting as the father of contemporary drone music.
I can't recommend this highly enough, although the cover of Syd Barrett's "Golden Hair" mentioned on the album's Bandcamp page isn't streamable and doesn't appear to be part of the download package, which is a bit of a tease, but a very good sign that I'm left wanting a whole lot more.
Free download or stream here:
Irish occult-electronica artist Tanizaki makes his debut with an extremely impressive E.P here. Tanizaki confesses that "Ouroboros" is the result of a Ghost Box binge session, but this is far from a carbon copy of any of the artists associated with the label, although it will certainly appeal to the label's fans. There's a warm wash of radiophonic keyboards which certainly evoke the same mid seventies nostalgia (particularly on highlight "Seed Pods Explode"), but this is a beatier affair than your average hauntology release. Like Moon Wiring Club, some of the beats here would work in a hip hop format. But where MWC's creations are generally quite clean, Tanizaki's beats sound, for want of a better descriptor, unwell. They're all a bit woozy and wobbly. Which coupled with some ever present background crackle (ala The Caretaker), makes "Ouroboros" sound like a dusty artifact from an arcane alternative past. Very highly recommended.
Free / name your price download available here:
Noisy U.S dream pop duo Marble are a surprising package. I get sent a lot of demos, but this one is extremely professional, with the influences of Kevin Shields and Robin Guthrie very apparent. That late eighties/early nineties dream pop / shoe gaze sound is captured perfectly here, with Shield's guitar work in particular invoked in the often claustrophobic and discordant guitar work. Best of all though is the absolutely gorgeous "Lavender & Cherry", with a lovely, dreamy melody as sweet and soothing as its title would suggest - the perfect Cocteau Twins tribute. "Slimy" isn't far behind either, with angelic vocals and soaring guitars ala Sigur Ros.
Lovely stuff and available for free here:
The NoMen "Space 2015"
Our favourite mad Scots return with an album dedicated to man's exploration of space. As we've come to expect from the NoMen, it's all over the place stylistically and a whole lot of madcap fun. A lot of it sounds like you wish those old easy listening / moog space themed albums would sound like. Fairport's Judy Dyble makes a guest appearance on the opening track and from there we're all over the map from space rock to synth pop to krauty psychedelia. Best of all are the spacey surf tracks (check out "Space Surfin' Blues"), which sound like early Ventures dosed with LSD.
The free / name your price download of "Space 2015" is a five track tester for a full 16 track CD which can also be purchased for only five pounds via the same link below.