emmas house recordings archive reviews…

archive reviews found via the emmas house recordings site – such a wonderful label – these date back to the early 00’s….

First up and just when you thought it was safe to leave the bunker, Emma’s House Recordings of Manchester weigh in with another mighty addition to their already veritable bulging catalogue of delights. This time turning their attention closer to home, pressed on 10 inches of white vinyl and again limited to a meagre 200 copies, which should by rights fly out the door pretty sharpish is the ‘Philokalia’ ep by Manchester based duo Anna Kashfi. Words cannot describe adequately the way these 6 tracks of tortured acoustic fragility kept me bound in a state of wonder and awe. Reference points are easy, try Mazzy Star and the Delgados for starters, and remember the mention of these bands in particular are not easily thrown down. ‘Philokalia’ is a mature collection for a duo who have only been around for 18 months, it hurts, it weeps drowning in it’s own sense of despair, it’s lonely and tugs emotionally at the most ardent of stone hearts. ‘Rain keeps falling’ and ‘Farewell Song’ follow a similar pattern, acoustically driven to delicate extremes, Sian Webley’s vocals imparting a seldom heard longing quality that graze over the sympathetic natural qualities of the dutiful though distantly envisaged chords. However the jewel in the crown can be found on ‘Three Wise Men’, if any record could come near to the dizzy heights of Mazzy Star’s immortal ‘Fade into you’ then this it, prickling and picking at the senses, ‘Three Wise Men’ unearths a hitherto hidden beauty, fractured elegance toying with ethereal smoothness, a real emotional tug of war. ‘Used Up’ is equally tantalising if only for the way it seems to echo the charges laid down by REM on ‘Everybody Hurts’. ‘Sunburn’ is bestowed with an eerie charm, replete with steel guitars and wind chimes, its haunting looped chord work has the effect of trapping you on a spiders web awaiting your fate, a tensely delivered meisterwork. With a self released album under their belts entitled ‘About the Boy’ I’ve a distinct feeling that Anna Kashfi will be around for a long time to come, don’t know about you but I’m off to hunt down that debut CD. The only word of warning I can give is that if your cheque isn’t already in the post for this, then don’t come crying six months down the line wondering what all the fuss is about.
Mark Barton Losingtoday.com – December 2002   



Still available, distributed by Cargo, ask your local independent record shop.

ehr010 Kimonophonic – Bling Bling V’s Bleep BleepOnly one awesome review

In need of a bit of electronic soothing, I think ‘Bling Bling Vs Bleep Bleep’ may be just what you are looking for. This is the latest outing for Canadian analogue alchemist Justin Armstrong AKA Kimonophonic, you may recall he’s previously featured as a regular fixture of our singles reviews, this time we are grateful to get our mits on this tasty six track mini album.

Partly given away by it’s title, ‘Bling Bling Vs Bleep Bleep’ is an unusual counter culture battle between old skool vs new skool electronica. Armstrong adopts his trademark analogue derived landscapes that have graced labels such as Earworm, Queen Nymphet and Jonothan Whiskey while logically endeavouring to bestride the great genre divide to flavour his lullaby like backdrops with carefully annotated drum n bass rhythms that surge between the robotic romance of early Kraftwerk to the primal steps of dark electronica via Aphex Twin.

Because of the adoption of newer techniques, ‘Bling Bling Vs Bleep Bleep’ can be seen in many ways as an experimental release, as Kimonophonic test purchases environs normally out of his reach. Within these six tracks, Armstrong weaves various images and creates differing backdrops, if any fault can be found it is the relative shortness of the whole proceedings at times you just want it to flow forever such is its charm and its overall interaction and smoothness. In reality ‘Bling..’ gives Kimonophonic a chance to spread his wings and explore further fields.

‘German Roadway’ begins the journey, pertly poppy updating the territories of early Kraftwerk’s electronic road music oddyseys but installing a sense of warmth to the Teutonic chill before giving way to the charming ‘Air Hostess’. It has to be said that ‘Air Hostess’ is by far Kimonophonics poppiest presentation to date, encapsulated in all manner of modernist decorations, it neatly crosses the borders between sublime dreaminess and darkened electronic ambience. ‘2p press start’ ambles neatly into Aphex Twins waters, possessing a pulsating canvas of drum n bass beats that with professional ease flits between scratch like techniques and space invader futurism portraying a widened picture of cold, hostile yet deeply mesmerising tranquillity.

Side 2 reverts back to more familiar terrain’s, Anderson delights in providing futuristic lullabies that recall ISAN and send us further back to the dawn of keyboards via Raymond Scott. ‘Dear Korea’ is gorgeously glossed, a maddening suffusion of samples atop a delirious groove while ‘The Winter was long’ has to be the albums highlight. Conjuring up serene images of setting suns in untouched havens, ‘The Winter was long’ tugs with traces of sadness and regret while faintly belying exotic far eastern melodies like some kind of theme for an oriental Robinson Cruscoe. Simply classy.

‘Bling Bling Vs Bleep Bleep’ is a romantic yet often tortured array of scenic images with a sense of warm solitude amid an Artic heart.
losingtoday.com – October 2001

And the ever-marching bandwagon of Emma’s House Recordings just keeps rolling on. Label release number nine sees the debut recording for Tuna. Again limited to 200 pressings and housed in hand made sleeves with stencilled jacket. Based in Siegen, this four piece bands debut bodes well for the future. ‘Graveyard’ sees Katha’s vocals under threat at being left behind by some serious Wedding Present style guitar strumming. A feisty poppified ditty in the best tradition of Sarah records regulars Heavenly, and sounding as cute as a button with it. ‘Tiger’ the lead track is in parts a more relaxed affair though it does have its momentary lapses to sonic eruptions. Courting with a touch of prime Ride and possessing the kind of cut and thrust charm of My Bloody Valentine in so far as their ability to up the ante at any given time but without soaring to white out oblivion, sort of like a rollercoaster ride with brake pedals and gear changes.
Losingtoday.com – October 2001   

I’ve sadly missed out The Workhouse’s previous two releases and given the limited nature of this latest release you’d do well to harass your local underground friendly record store, like now. Pressed on 10 inches of heavy duty vinyl, handmade sleeves and 200 only and carefully nurtured and provided by those nice people at Emma’s House Recordings, ‘Paper Plane’ is probably the best nine minutes of aural atmospherics you’ll experience this month. I pride myself on being blissfully ignorant to most things, but if someone were to say this lot had some loose connection to Bang Bang Machine, then I would not bat an eyelid, such is the intricate nature of the soundscape webs they lay. The Workhouse sound neatly lies somewhere between the tortured monolithic melodies of La Bradford and the shimmering lushness of Slowdive. From tiny acorns grow massive oaks the saying goes, and so to ‘Paper Plane’ it could be equally observed such. Starting timidly in what seems like an age to warm up, it slow morphs in a tense epic of monstrous proportions, from innocent beginning this blighter gains mass as it traverses providing a collective of aural trajectories that leave you euphorically enlightened and emotionally spent. ‘Fry Up’ on the flip side is the beefed up older brother, equipped with edgy zig zag guitars underpinned with a floor shaking grinding bass, the flowing atmospherics within bear resemblance to classic Chameleons b-sides. Stopping abruptly midway through it manifests to an altogether more tranquil altitude and attitude, quite simply mercurial.
Losingtoday.com – October 2001   

Next up, more from Emma’s House Recordings this time in the shape of a split set featuring Krayola and Gillespie. Limited to a miserly 150 copies, mine’s number 99 so getting searching fast. Krayola appear in sci-fi dub meets drum n’ bass shocker. ‘Book of the Dead’ kicks in like a mythical dream meetings at the superhighway crossroads of Dreadzone, Wagon Christ and Biosphere, and damn groovy at that. Flip the disc and you get ‘Anna’s song’ by Gillespie, a more than worthy reason to part with your hard earned cash. Don’t know why but I get a feeling of the Smiths when I hear this, not that it’s psychotically depressing, but more for the weaving of intricate 60’s influences. I wish I knew for certain. Peppered with a lonesome trumpet parping in the background which gives it a smoke filled jazz cafe type melancholic edge, brilliant.
losingtoday.com – September 2001   

Release number three features the excellent Kimonophonic whose previous outings I don’t need to remind you have been featured on Earworm Records. Strictly limited to 200 only, this tasty two tracker provides the same dreamy lines as their previous emissions. ‘Punk rock systemz/my oldest phone’ follows a well trod road journeyed by the likes of ISAN, Plone and mentioned for the second time, Boards of Canada. Simplistic sounding, but creating a wonderful lullaby backdrop, almost ambient in feel, a smooth synth sequence, like the testcard but more Teutonic.
losingtoday.com – September 2001   


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