Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble – Mr. Machine

Along with Wesseltoft/Schwartz’s epic collaboration album Duo, the new Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble LP, Mr. Machine completely epitomises everything I love about electronica infused jazz. By deconstructing what we understand as, in this case, tech house music to its constituent elements, it can be understood what produces a great dance track. The real genius with Mr. Machine is how the music is put back together again. Drum machines, samplers and synths are replaced by traditional classical instruments – Acoustic drums, grand piano and strings are used to create a form of live dance music that is almost beyond genre classification. This isn’t a jazz record, it isn’t a techy house record and its far too upbeat to be considered along future classical artists such as Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and the like.

The album bears some similarities to Anders Trentemoller’s astonishingly brilliant debut album The Last Resort, a multi layered and absorbing exploration of downtempo minimalist techno lounge electronica, as well as the aforementioned Bugge Wesseltoft/Henrik Schwarz collaboration of jazz and techno – in so much as a lot of the album is heavily reliant upon piano. Mr. Machine however, is quite a different beast altogether – a strange and alluring mix of the organic and the mechanical, as the name would suggest. A piece of music that, when performed live, would be equally understandable in the formal concert hall or at a late night Berlin techno party.

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Tonight: Cashier No.9

Bella Union really are a label at the top of their game at the moment, With releases from Lanterns on the Lake, Jonathan Wilson and of course Cashier No.9 ranking pretty highly on my favourite records of 2011 list.

Tonight, perhaps my favourite Bella Union act, Cashier No.9, hits Manchester. A gorgeous blend of alt.country warmth, subtle electronic energy and pop hooks that really drive the sound forward, their recent LP To The Death of Fun blew me away as soon as I heard it (out now on gorgeous 180gm red vinyl – buy it!) and if they’re half as good live as they are on record, then tonight is going to be unmissable.

Cashier No. 9 play Now Wave at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, tonight. 8pm.

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Najia Bagi (To Sophia / The Electronic Exchange) solo album launch

Having already established herself on the Manchester music scene as the singer in acoustic-jazz/soul outfit To Sophia and electro-dub duo The Electronic Exchange, Najia Bagi knows a thing or getting up on stage and singing her heart out. Well, now, she’s done the whole rockstar going full circle thing and ‘gone solo’, having decided to make a record in a quieter, more introspective direction . Comprising of a simple piano and string quartet setup, combined with her incredible voice, this new solo project could be the best showcase yet for what is clearly one of Manchester’s finest vocal talents.

If anything teaser track The Fall is anything to go by, this new record should be a real treat. By stripping back the heavy dub rock influenced instrumentals of her previous work and working with a minimalist, almost new classical style setup, her incredible voice is allowed to flourish.

Najia performs at The Dulcimer, Chorlton, on Thursday November 10th. Info here.

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Patterns & The Louche F.C / Bugge Wesseltoft / Greg Wilson

Another great week for music in Manchester! Tonight, the marvellous electromelodic-post punk band Patterns are launching their brand new single BETA in style at the Castle, with the equally talented shoegaze revivalists Louche F.C showing their support. Whats more, its free in!

Tomorrow night is the biggie – electronica/jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft is set to perform a UK exclusive solo gig at Band on the Wall – having already cemented his place at the top of the pile as king of contemporary jazz, he’s also worked with techno producers Laurent Garnier and, more recently, releasing a collaboration LP with Henrik Schwarz, including a knockout set at the Red Bull Music Academy. A unique music journey through downtempo, techno and jazz, the music of James Blake, for example, owes a lot to his work.

Friday night sees Greg Wilson return for an extremely rare Reels of Steel set – the disco edit pioneer is putting on a full A/V show utilising vintage reel-to-reel tape recorders. Sounds nuts..but it really works. Click the links below for more info.

Patterns & The Louche F.C

Bugge Wesseltoft

Greg Wilson presents Reels of Steel

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Gigs this week: Submotion Orchestra / Plaid / Joy Orbison / Damu

Its going to be a big one this week in Manchester – there’s some epic gigs on in this city.

Kicking off with what has to be ‘band on the moment’, Submotion Orchestra on Monday. My ears pricked up the first time I heard them, largely due to them being signed to Exceptional Records, home to what was one of my favourite deep house producers, the brilliant duo that was Plej (sadly, they’re no longer making music). Submotion Orchestra mix various styles of downtempo electronica and have clear roots in jazz and soul disciplines, yet their live shows are by all accounts almost a full-on club experience. They’re playing as part of the Hit&Run DnB clubnight, so It’ll be interesting to see how they work it. I personally can’t wait to see them live.

Tuesday brings us the return of the mighty Plaid – figureheads of the Warp Records IDM scene, they’re playing Sound Control in support of their brand new LP. The last time they played Manchester, at Victoria Baths as part of the FutureEverything digital arts and music festival they utterly smashed it – an unmissable gig this.

On Thursday I suggest you get down to Joshua Brookes for arguably Manchester’s hottest new clubnight, Chow Down – featuring two of the finest UK Funky producers around today – the now superstar of the genre that is Joy Orbison (last time I saw him was 2 years ago at Band on the Wall playing to about 30 people, so this will be an interesting one), plus support from the ‘next big thing’, the Mancunian rising star and Martin Blackdown‘s latest signing to Keysound Records, Damu, who will be performing a full live A/V set. Can’t wait.

Well, thats one hell of a week to look forward to. See you down the front. Click the links below for more info:

Hit&Run presents Submotion Orchestra

WotGodForgot presents Plaid

Chow Down presents Joy Orbison / Damu

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Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Check out this song by Lana Del Rey – her voice is jaw-dropping. There’s a real tragic, tortured beauty there.

Video Games is out on October 16th on digital and limited edition 7″.

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Jarvis Cocker Supports Finders Keepers

Manchester based experimental/world label Finders Keepers (Twisted Nerve/B-Music) was one of many indies to be severely hit by the fire in the PIAS distribution warehouse as a result of recent rioting and general cunty behaviour by some of this nations youth.

Rather than feeling sorry for themselves, FK have announced the ‘Made Do & Mend’ series of compilation CDs. Each disc costs a fiver and features a selection of the Finders Keepers/Twisted Nerve back catalogue as chosen by some of their favourite artists. The first disc has been compiled by Jarvis Cocker and is out now. Future releases will include tracks chosen by Gruff Rhys and Manchester noise outfit Demdike Stare.

For more info, check out the Finders Keepers website by clicking here.

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