SCNTST’S “Puffer”

20141101_scntst_puffer_sleeve.indd

Dave S. SoDo

Gentle, therapeutic, hypnagogic…three words that certainly do not necessarily epitomize the vast catalog of music that the Berlin techno label Boysnoize have set out to rock the club with for the past decade. However, with SCNTST’s new breathtaking effort, “Puffer,” it is clear that not only has the label stepped progressively left of the conventions of minimal techno’s dance floor comfort zones, but the producer has issued an honest, intellectual statement of independence, achieving something much more sophisticated and nuanced than an album comprised of straight-laced bangers and booty-shakers. With this new effort the 22-year-old producer, born Bryan Müller, has ventured out extensively from his contemporaries absorbing the compelling, profound facets of the most spectacular aspects of music genres not at all associated with his homeland of Germany, not to mention the technoverse, therein.
Over the course of the album’s effervescent diffusion through lush soundscapes a couple solid conclusions can be drawn as to what the mission, or more precisely, the destination of this body of work is: SCNTST seeks to bridge the gap between a number of neglected or shunned peripheral music styles to that of modern day German/minimal techno and house. Unabashedly carving out previously untouched plots of land and adjoining these disparate zones of new age, ambient, and left-field bass music. Not only that, but in geocaching these various, typically isolated genres, he deliberately chooses to buffer the serious hyper-intellectualized roots of booming dance music with occasional strategic breaths of non-linear gags which appear, most often, as vocal samples. Thirteen seconds into the album, as a hazy ambient synth flows in, you hear SCNTST faintly utter, “Yo…” greeting his listeners with a strangely out-of-place playful acknowledgement that at first seems completely alien and pointless in the context of the rest of the album. Two tracks later, listeners are given a mountainous bass blast, with “Hygh 2k12,” where a vocal sample repeatedly advocates they, “Get high,” and, again later, past the album’s half-way point listeners are given a hilariously bleated greeting during “Flight,” hearing a, typically all-too-scripted, female flight attendant uttering, “Thank you for your attention, we wish you a pleasant flight.”

As listeners, and passengers, on what I can only describe as a remarkably smooth relaxing, albeit intrinsically quirky, flight with ‘Puffer Airlines’, one can begin to make out their own home in the distance, below, as they glance out their window seat with one of the album’s most down-to-earth tracks, “UV Houzz”, a four-to-the-floor slow-burner, that is as much after-hours deep house as it is an observably meditative ambient charm. The serenity of its synth fades away in its final seconds, as one final exhalation is made, almost preparing the listener for the harsh reality of the journey nearing its end. So many sonic lessons and subtle breakthroughs can be observed as the closing track deploys the album’s landing gear and the ears are finally reacclimatized to the earth, when “H8 Drop” chugs its way in. In one of the more bombastic beats on “Puffer,” it becomes painfully obvious that the trip has run its course and we must now exit the plane. As the beat tromps along and harps pluck with a delicate, but stern sentiment, forcing listeners to leave the comforts of the album (or first class seats on the plane, as its come to be recognized, by this juncture) and return to their daily lives. So much can be said about the value placed on each song’s titular significance within this magnificent world of music on “Puffer,” but I keep returning to its fourth track, “Gletscherspalte”, a compound word in German translating in English to ‘glacier cleft or crevasse’. It seems even more meaningful to me that crevasse holds both literal and figurative meaning as a physical crack in a glacier, or, more appropriately, in this particular case, as a “discontinuity or ‘gap’ between the accounted variables and an observed outcome”. Such a definition serves as the perfect summation of this new album by SCNTST – a set voyage that drifts away casually into the unknown, soaring above the topography of extravagant landscapes of various musical elements which then, both, connect the dots and blur the lines between standard and unconventional dance music.

EZTV’s “Calling Out”

EZTV

Joshua Daniel

EZTV’s “Calling Out” totally flew under my radar for months after its release from Captured Tracks in July. Captured tracks puts out a lot of quality stuff. Yet it still somehow evaded me. I had no idea what it was and to be honest I thought it might sound somewhat like Mac Demarco, alas it doesn’t in the least.
EZTV is a band from Brooklyn, however it does have a member from Seattle that used to run Cairo on Capitol Hill. The record has an immediate pop rock attack that you grew to love from bands like Big Star. The sound is very immediate and catchy. Production is very on point with smartly written pop rock songs. This is however not a complete rip off of the classic records you know to love. EZTV add their own spin on things with somewhat lazy vocal styling, more guitar production and lots of overall harmony.
I first heard of the band through Kevin Cole on KEXP. He played a track and I pulled my phone out to check the artist, adding it to my favorites. The next day he played another track, I did the same. This continued until I went on my phone and previewed the record. I kept the record on repeat. I ran to Silver Platters and purchased the record. It’s a constant spinner on my turntable. This record is definitely going to be in my top 5 releases of the year. It will appeal to any generation that knows and loves classic rock or pop rock.

The Vinyl Junkie Reviews Wynton Kelly’s “Undiluted”

Wynton Kelly

The Vinyl Junkie

All jazz fans: If you’ve never heard of Wynton Kelly, you need to listen to him. He remains one of the most unheralded pianists of the 1960s and rates with such luminaries as Horace Silver and Hank Jones.
Born in New York City to Jamaican immigrants, Kelly started to play professionally at the age of twelve and by sixteen had earned his first R&B hit, Hal Singer’s 1948 “Cornbread.” After working with Eddie Lockjaw Davis and Hot Lips Page, in 1951 the pianist released his first album as a leader on Blue Note Records. It’s the impossible-to-find “Piano Interpretations.”
After a two-year stint in the army, Kelly came back to the scene to play with bop masters Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Johnny Griffin and many others. He served as the consummate back-up player to greats such as Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday and released his second album as a leader in 1958 for Riverside, simply called “Piano.”
In 1959, Kelly signed with Miles Davis and became part of jazz history by playing on a selection of the record, “Kind of Blue,” which also featured Jimmy Cobb, John Coltrane, bass player Paul Chambers and Cannonball Adderley. He stayed with Davis until 1963. Simultaneously, he signed with Vee-Jay Records and released four classic albums. In addition, he served as the pianist on classic Cannonball Adderley albums such as “Cannonball Takes Charge” and Coltrane’s essential “Giant Steps” and “Coltrane Jazz.”
Once he finished with his Vee-Jay contract and split from Miles, Kelly signed to Verve. The pianist cut a total of six records for the label until 1968, when he stopped recording. Two years later, Wynton unexpectedly passed away in Toronto, where he had traveled for a gig.
Silver Platters has a rare but again totally under-priced record from Kelly, his third Verve release, which seldom surfaces anywhere. Called “Undiluted,” this record features the Miles Davis rhythm section of bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb with a few added artists on side two.
Released in 1965, the record finds Kelly at the height of his powers, playing a soulful, blues-based piano jazz. It contains such gems as “Bobo,” “My Ship,” and “Out Front.” It has the label number, F-8622, an original pressing.
Give yourself a treat, and pick up this Wynton Kelly masterpiece. Sit back and let the blues wash over you.

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author Of

Rockin’ In Time

Vinyl Junkie Reviews Savatage’s “Siren”

Savatage

The Vinyl Junkie

Metal heads, get ready. Silver Platters has a copy of the super rare album, “Siren,” by the rocking metal band, Savatage on BLUE VINYL! It’s on Par Records 1050 in pristine shape.
Savatage formed in the death metal capital of the world, Florida, when in 1978 two brothers Jon and Criss Oliva banded together as Avatar. Two years later, they joined with Steve “Doctor Killdrums” Wacholtz, who earned his nickname from his wild, propulsive drumming. A year later, bassist Keith Collins came into the group to make the first full Avatar line-up.
In 1983, another band with the name “Avatar” threatened to sue the foursome, so they changed their name to Savatage, a combination of the words Avatar and Savage.
In 1985 early in their career, the group signed to major-label Atlantic Records, which constantly tried to push them toward a more commercial direction. Groomed by Atlantic, the outfit achieved its pinnacle of commercial success in late 1987 with “Hall of the Mountain King,” which reached number 116 on the chart and sold nearly 350,000 copies after heavy rotation on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball.” The record showed the band in the beginning stages of abandoning its heavy metal roots for a more symphonic direction. By 1989, Savatage had made the switch completely with the follow-up, “Gutter Ballet.” In 1993, the band experienced another set-back when guitar wizard Criss Oliva unexpectedly passed away. To date, the group has released a total of eleven studio LPs and two live ones, fueled by the energy of Jon Oliva.
But now the good news, “Siren,” recorded in 1983, presents Savatage in an unadulterated, pure form before the hooks of Atlantic Records pulled the band from its screaming, wild version of guitar-based metal. Done by the independent Par Records, the album contains the thumping, arpeggio attack of Criss Olivia on such songs as “Holocaust” and the title cut “Siren.”
If you’ve never heard this version of undiluted Savatage, get it. You may never find it again, especially in the Par blue vinyl edition.

Dr. Dave Szatmary

Author Of

Rockin’ In Time