Thursday, July 15, 2010


Otomo Yoshihide

Optical*8 is a four-piece Japanese experimental rock group.
The band consists of Hoppy Kamiyama (vocals, synthesizers, samples, violin), Reck (guitar, metal cavasa, bass),
Masafumi Minato (metal cavasa, backing vocal, drums) and probably the most-known of the group - Otomo Yoshihide (guitar, turntables, backing vocal) of Ground Zero.

Most of the lyrics seem seshual in nature and are frantically interjected through the band's drum/bass heavy sound; extended jams pulverize some of the beefier tracks, with pockets of weird experimentation present throughout.
Both of these '94 releases essentially round-out their discography (minus their '92 self-titled that I can't find), with 'Bug' being my personal favorite.



Friday, July 9, 2010

Swollen Members - Balance

1999 debut album from the Vancouver based hip-hop collective Swollen Members.
The group was founded in the mid-nineties between Mad Child, Prevail, and Moka Only, earning a following in Canada's hip hop scene and spurring the release of 'Balance'; the album included tracks with vets Aceyalone, Dilated Peoples, and Del - as well as future longtime producer/collaborator Rob the Viking.

Moka Only left the group (twice) to pursue his solo career, officially leaving as a permanent member in 2005.

I haven't come around to much of SM's newer material, and oddly enough I'm not huge on Moka Only's solo stuff, but in my opinion this debut is among the most consistent in hip-hop...
Also worth checking out their 2001 follow-up album 'Bad Dreams'.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kimono - Arctic Death Ship

Kimono (often stylized 'kimono') are an Icelandic-Canadian alternative/math-rock three piece.
The band came from the ashes of an instrumental post-rock group, continuing under Kimono with the inclusion of vocals.
Kimono released 2 albums under the Icelandic label Bad Taste (Sugarcubes' label from '86). The latter of these two albums was 2005's '
Arctic Death Ship', which was well-received especially in Iceland; nominated but losing out to Sigur Ros' 'Takk' for Iceland's Rock Album of the Year.
Album arrives as an enjoyable listen and leaves as one, with highlights like "Sober" and "Railroads" pushing repeat listens.

Their latest is '
Easy Music for Difficult People'.