News:: Rumraket records


What is it about Scandinavia that just seems to attract great music? I recently got a nice little surprise in the mailbox from the Copenhagen label, rumraket. They lured me in with mention of a Grizzly Bear remix disc, but I stayed for the sparse, eclectic, multi-instrumental and electro-pop records.

Kama Aina - Club Kama Aina
I know that the organic, visceral, multi-instrumentation isn’t for everyone, but this album is really good. Kama Aina is the work of one man - Takuji Aoyagi - and a yard sale stock of instruments. Mixing strings, crazy electric piano and organs, guitar and percussion to forge an amazing blend of old and new, within a few beats you can’t help but be intrigued.

Takuji is from Tokyo, but his influence definitely comes from his extensive travels – like the street noise of Cubali Street Scene or the ocean sounds used to compliment Millport. Relying on Spanish guitars, banjo and a subtle blend of textures, this album delivers an overwhelming sense of relaxation. He combines sounds and ideas, but never feels the need to raise his tone. The muted piano and finger picked guitar are played like it’s late at night and he doesn’t want to wake the people who’ve already drifted off to sleep. It’s just him, his instruments, a half-drunk bottle of wine and whatever friends are still roaming around the almost deserted party.

The lovely Isobel Campbell shows up on a few tracks and the partnership works out fantastic. Rather than try to thrust her into the spotlight, Takuji and Isobel both seems to shy away from center stage, using her voice as just another instrument in the lovely composition and staying true to the vibe of the entire record. This is a perfect record for the end of a night.
MP3:: Hotaru

CacoyHuman is Music
I assumed from the title of this record that I could guess the goal of the project without listening; laptop sound effects and ethereal beats. In reality, it’s more of a combination of muted hip hop jazzy back beats and blips and bleeps, complete with tracks that serve almost as the hip-hop interlude (Cacoy’s Mood). Cacoy is two pop stars from Japan teaming up with DJ Klock. Do I know anything about any of them? Nope. Not a lick.

The album is an interesting listen, much like injecting a dose of Caribou (Manitoba). The beats, when hitting – like Piracle Pa – are head nodders, but for the most part rely on understated layers and effects. The tracks are crisp, and experimental and the focus seems to be letting the trio explores the limits of their jangly guitars, horns and muted percussions. With any experimental record, the results will be mostly hits (the lovely Farewellwell with the pefect hint of guitar) with a few misses (Mo ma w maw), but the effort is what counts.

The stand-out jam is the abtly titled Mural of Music. One of the few tracks with vocals, this track uses bells and a driving beat to form the rhythm of the song, but intertwines horn solos in an almost free jazz flow. The 8-minute track takes on the feel of a “let’s just record this over the beat and see how it goes” and it works perfectly. This record isn't limited by expectations, rules or even an desired effect. It plays like a polished rehearsal session, which help add the sincerity that lacks from a lot of electronic artists.

MP3:: Piracle PA
MP3:: Yoke Majikick Ono

Bonus links - Grizzly Bear remixes::
MP3:: Don’t Ask – Grizzly Bear (Final Fantasy Mix)
MP3:: La Duchess Anne – Grizzly Bear (Safety Scissors Mix)


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