Arts and Entertainment

With its satisfyingly fat vinyl platters, audiophile-friendly downloads and imaginative catalogue of rediscovered gems (plus new recordings), LP specialist Gearbox is becoming one of the wonders of the age.

Album: Armstrong, Memory Takes My Hand – BBC Symphony Orchestra/Walker (Virgin Classics)

Portentous and banal, "Memory Takes My Hand" is the least interesting of the three works here. Not even Lucy Crowe can make Peter Arnott's lyrics intelligible at the tessitura chosen by Craig Armstrong, and the BBC SO treads water in a score that sounds as though Carl Orff had been reincarnated as an ambient composer.

Album: Matmos, Supreme Balloon (Matador)

This innovative duo of Björk accomplices returns to its core of pure electronic music here, eschewing the idiosyncratic sound sources of earlier works (amplified semen, anyone?) in favour of a battery of Moogs, Arps, Korgs and even Radio France's massive Coupigny modular synth, once used by the likes of Boulez and Stockhausen to sculpt musique concrète.

Album: Steve Reich, Daniel Variations (Nonesuch)

Propelled by darting vibes and dancing violins, Steve Reich’s four-movement memorial to the murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl interpolates apocalyptic dreams from the “Book of Daniel” with Pearl’s own words. Old Testament terror jars against the simplicity of what Pearl said to a friend when asked if he believed in an afterlife: “I don’t know... But I sure hope Gabriel likes my music.” It’s a powerful,thoughtful, loving piece but the voices of the Los Angeles Master Chorale are weak. Far superior is the London Sinfonietta’s performance: a work of classically Reichian dazzled ecstasy.

Klaus Dinger: Pioneer of the 'motorik' beat

In the Seventies heyday of German experimental rock – a once-maligned genre dubbed "Krautrock" – the musician Klaus Dinger pioneered a hypnotic, robotic style of drumming which became known as the "motorik" beat.

Album: The Grid, Doppelganger (Some Bizarre)

In the Old Rave era, long after Soft Cell had fallen apart, synth maestro Dave Ball formed the Grid with Richard Norris, and sold millions.

Album: The Teak Project, The Teak Project (First Hand)

Second-generation Indo-jazz fusions with Jonathan Mayer (son of Sixties pioneer John Mayer) on sitar, Justin Quinn on acoustic guitar and Neil Craig on tabla. What's so attractive about the seven original compositions is the relaxed approach of the players and the easy interplay of sitar and guitar. There's no genre-bending emphasis on raga-form or other geography-teacher stuff, and if the result is sweetly serene and melodic (closer to "Norwegian Wood" than Shakti) this only emphasises its appeal as superior ambient music, although the total absence of McLaughlin-style angstiness means we miss out on drama.

Album: Autechre, Quaristice (Warp)

Their ninth album finds the Autechre duo of Rob Brown and Sean Booth still searching vainly for structure and meaning among a largely impenetrable undergrowth of synthesized ticks and tones.

Album: Food

Molecular Gastronomy, Rune Grammofon

Album: Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West)

It's been less celebrated than other, shinier trends in pop, but the last couple of years have seen a revival of the kind of storyteller-rock with which Bruce Springsteen once dominated American pop culture. Bands such as Richmond Fontaine and The Hold Steady have a wordy, narrative-based approach, combined with a dirty-realist worldview whose roots seem to lie in the downbeat nihilism of Nebraska, albeit given a healthy shot, in The Hold Steady's case, of youthful energy.

Album: The Orb

The Dream, LIQUID SOUNDS

The Fall, The Cartoon Club, Croydon

The resurrection of Mark E Smith

Album: Brian Eno

Another Day on Earth, OPAL/HANNIBAL

Ensemble Modern/Asbury, Barbican, London

The Ensemble Modern's sold-out Steve Reich concert culminated in the British premiere of You Are (Variations), a work for six voices and 28 players.

Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?