The Retail Sectors – March Of Incurable Workaholic

The Retail Sectors – March Of Incurable Workaholic – Distraction Records

The cover of March of Incurable Workaholic
The cover of March of Incurable Workaholic

Writing music under the name of The Retail Sectors since 2000, Kentaro Togawa, the Japanese multi-instrumentalist takes as his primary inspiration Japanese video game and film music and incorporates this into guitar-driven melodic sound explorations in the same vein as Steve Reich. The experimentation of sound, though, whilst leaning towards the abstract, shows an acute sense of musicianship, a deft touch for rhythm and a passionate understanding of dynamics.

Don’t be fooled into thinking, though, that The Retail Sectors’ newest release “March of Incurable Workaholic / Song About A Girl Who Killed Herself Yesterday” is some blippy electronic release. These are carefully worked soundscapes and subtly crafted compositions. The Retail Sectors’ drums, for example, are something very special. Reflecting the title of the first piece, they are incessant and brutal, but the sound of the snare penetrates everything with a resonating warmth and devastating reverb.

Then there are the layers of sound. Mixing both distorted and chiming guitars, The Retail Sectors creates the musical landscapes previously associated with bands like Sigur Rós. Yet this is instrumental, and so the dynamics do all the talking, the piece appearing to be being held at bursting point for so long that finally the guitars drop out, seemingly exhausted from the exertion.

The second track on the record “Song About A Girl Who Killed Herself Yesterday” is darker and more abstract. The guitars progressively work in several different ways – evoking solitude, fury and devastation at various different points.

The tracks are released by Distraction Records on 8” clear square 150 lathe cut numbered vinyls, presented in cotton paper, photoetched with miraclon letterpress (pretty special to see a label care about their releases) on the 17th of November. The vinyl also comes with a free download code for the MP3-minded. See here.

Here is the video for March of Incurable Workaholic:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFjlWMZgpBw

Album review – d_rradio

d_rradio– d_rradio (Distraction Records)
Released: March 3rd, 2008

d_rradio - d_rradio debut albumd_rradio (pronounced D R Radio) have created a wonderful self-titled debut album on Distraction Records that spans a wide spectrum of electronica genres. Apparently three years in the making, the result is a beautifully crafted album that will hopefully gain the group the recognition they deserve.

Ten self-penned songs offer an eclectic mix which opens with a psychedelic ambience. Paper Soul, with its lethargic, hazy summer-fresh electronica sounds, is a gentle introduction that makes way for a more uptempo second track – A Life Alive, with its harder beat and analogue sounds.

Rest Of Your Life offers a slice of synth pop with a rhythm reminiscent of Pete Wylie’s classic eighties pop song – It’s Sinful.

Long Way Home closes the album as it began, with a more gentle drift through the electronica ambience of Melodic artists such as Pedro and Minotaur Shock. A favourite track is the electronica doodling of Bag Of Lovely, mellow rambling rhythms laced with soft easy listening innovation.

Prior to this album, the three-piece have released three singles on Distraction Records and a well received mini album entitled U_nderscore on Static Caravan but this is my introduction to the wide and diverse sounds of d_rradio, and I am now looking out for more.

Susumu Yokota new album – Love or Die

When Radiohead release a new album there is plenty of publicity but for other equally essential artists with independent labels recording non-commercial songs, the internet can play a great role in spreading their work through word-of-mouth.

Susumu YokotaSusumu Yokota releases a new album in February, Love Or Die. For those of you not familiar with this prolific Japanese artist I would describe his music as sublime, beautiful, relaxing electronica music that spans a wide spectrum of influences and electronic genres from ambient to more beat-driven songs. What sets Susumu Yokota apart from most other electronica artists is his music has no boundaries, and often errs more towards classical than electronic music. The opening track on Love or Die is a good example of this. Yokota plays a dreamy rolling piano backed by a string section. A perfect way to start the day.

I was first introduced to Susumu Yokota in 2000 when I was fortunate to be give the album Magic Thread to review. Since then I have listened to most of his album releases, my favourites being Sakura (2000), The Grinning Cat (2001), Symbol (2004) and Wonder Waltz (2006). But Yokota has released many albums both as an artist and a house music dj.

Yokota’s albums regularly appear on his own Japanese label, Skintone, before being released on other labels worldwide. Leaf and Lo release his albums in the UK.

As if Yokota’s music isn’t far enough from the world of commercial pop music, the titles of each track on the new Love Or Die album sound more like paintings than song titles.

01 – for the other self who is far away that i can not reach [listen]
02 – a slowly fainting memory of love and respect,and hatred [listen]
03 – the loneliness of anarchic beauty achieved by my ego [listen]
04 – a heart-warming and beautiful flower will eventually wither away and become dir [listen]
05 – the sin of almighty god, respected and believed by the masses [listen]
06 – that persons hearsay protects my free spirit [listen]
07 – the things that i need to do for just one’s love [listen]
08 – the scream of a sage who lost freedom and love taken for granted before [listen]
09 – a song produced while floating alone on christmas day [listen]
10 – the now forgotten gods of rocky mountain residing in the back of the north wood [listen]
11 – the sacred ceremony concieved by chance from an evil lie [listen]
12 – the destiny fo the little bird trapped inside a small cage for life [listen]

There is plenty of awe-inspiring original music out there, away from the commercial plastic, money-making pop of the X Factor & Pop Idol. Susumu Yokota is one artist that everyone should listen to.

Susumu Yokota Official Website

Feist wins award for The Reminder

Feist album The Reminder has won this years Shortlist Prize- the American equivalent to the UK’s Mercury Music prize- seeing off strong competition from Arcade Fire and M.I.A.

The award is open to Artists who have released an album during the period of January to November, that has sold less than 500,000 copies. Other contenders for this years prize were the afore mentioned Arcade Fire and M.I.A, as well as LCD Sound System, Spoon, Wilco and Burial.

The Reminder has now sold over 500,000 copies , mainly due to the Apple ipod campaign using the track 1-2-3-4 as its backing track.

The panel of judges for this tears awards, included Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Ronnie Vannucci from The Killers.

Susumu Yokota – Love Or Die

When Radiohead release a new album there is plenty of publicity but for other equally essential artists with independent labels recording non-commercial songs, the internet can play a great role in spreading their work through word-of-mouth.

Susumu YokotaSusumu Yokota releases a new album in February, Love Or Die. For those of you not familiar with this prolific Japanese artist I would describe his music as sublime, beautiful, relaxing electronica music that spans a wide spectrum of influences and electronic genres from ambient to more beat-driven songs. What sets Susumu Yokota apart from most other electronica artists is his music has no boundaries, and often errs more towards classical than electronic music. The opening track on Love or Die is a good example of this. Yokota plays a dreamy rolling piano backed by a string section. A perfect way to start the day.

I was first introduced to Susumu Yokota in 2000 when I was fortunate to be give the album Magic Thread to review. Since then I have listened to most of his album releases, my favourites being Sakura (2000), The Grinning Cat (2001), Symbol (2004) and Wonder Waltz (2006). But Yokota has released many albums both as an artist and a house music dj.

Yokota’s albums regularly appear on his own Japanese label, Skintone, before being released on other labels worldwide. Leaf and Lo release his albums in the UK.

As if Yokota’s music isn’t far enough from the world of commercial pop music, the titles of each track on the new Love Or Die album sound more like paintings than song titles.

01 – for the other self who is far away that i can not reach [listen]
02 – a slowly fainting memory of love and respect,and hatred [listen]
03 – the loneliness of anarchic beauty achieved by my ego [listen]
04 – a heart-warming and beautiful flower will eventually wither away and become dir [listen]
05 – the sin of almighty god, respected and believed by the masses [listen]
06 – that persons hearsay protects my free spirit [listen]
07 – the things that i need to do for just one’s love [listen]
08 – the scream of a sage who lost freedom and love taken for granted before [listen]
09 – a song produced while floating alone on christmas day [listen]
10 – the now forgotten gods of rocky mountain residing in the back of the north wood [listen]
11 – the sacred ceremony concieved by chance from an evil lie [listen]
12 – the destiny fo the little bird trapped inside a small cage for life [listen]

There is plenty of awe-inspiring original music out there, away from the commercial plastic, money-making pop of the X Factor & Pop Idol. Susumu Yokota is one artist that everyone should listen to.

Susumu Yokota Official Website