Friday, June 6, 2008

sweet as honey...

while some readers might be starting to get the impression that ostgut is about the only label we listen to, believe it or not, this is only partly true. another label of recent vintage which we've quickly fallen in love with is smallville records. much like ostgut, the immediate thing which stands out about smallville is the quality of the releases. you can feel, see and hear the warmth, care and attention to detail that has been put into each record. another important part is the beautiful packaging, with the distinctive, playful artwork of stefan marx always catching the eye. the picture above is from the cover of smallville's latest release: 'songs from the beehive' by move d and benjamin brunn.

in a recent post i mentioned how much i was enjoying 'honey', the lead-in ep to the full length lp, which has just been released. having now heard the whole album, much to my delight i can say that 'honey' is only a sample of the delights that can be found in 'the beehive'. i need to think more about it, but this is probably my favourite album of the year so far. it has been on repeat since receiving a copy. it has an incredibly warm and inviting vibe throughout which has completely won me over.

i should say that i've been a long standing sceptic of artist albums in this genre. they work so incredibly rarely. the most common problem is that while there might be good individual tracks, the whole fails to cohere. this is a pitfall move d and brunn avoid, and i think it is the key to why it is so good. the album sounds like it has emerged from a series of jam sessions between the two - all the tracks have a very organic, natural feel to them and match well. some have more groove, others are more ambient and introspective, but all come from the same sound palette. actually, i am getting my analogies confused here. they all emerge from the same beehive. there, that works better.

and something to sweeten your tastebuds: a livepa from half of this duo, benjamin brunn. it is not quite the same sound as what you can find on his album with move d, but there are some similarities and overlap, especially with the last two or three tracks from 'the beehive', which happen to be my favourites. regardless, it is a lovely set and definitely worth checking:

benjamin brunn @ westwerk, may 2008.

my suggestion is simple: go and get yourself some honey. it tastes so sweet...

*EDIT* pete has written a really fantastic review of the album over at RA.


  1. I haven't heard the whole album yet, but must concur, the cut "honey" is ridiculously good.

  2. Agreed.

    Picked up a bunch of Smallville recently:

    Sten - Squares EP
    Jacek Sienkiewicz - No Movement No Sound
    DJ Swap - Consequence
    Laps - Fog Off
    Sten - Fortress

  3. I can't wait to hear this. I simply can't get enough of Move D.

  4. Hey Nik,

    How's the Jacek? When he's on form, he's one of my faves. But his releases are (almost as precisely as odd and even numbers) hit and miss.

  5. Just chiming in to basically agree. This album is brilliant. I'll be very surprised if this doesn't end up in my "best albums of 2008" list. It's most definitely one of the best of the year so far.

    Actually, the last couple of months have seen some absolutely fucking amazing albums come out. I suspect the ssgs will all be doing a post around the end of June, looking back at the albums from the first half of 2008, but the following have really got a hold on me:

    Jacaszek - "Treny"
    The Mole - "As High As The Sky"
    Kangding Ray - "Autumne Fold"
    Dettmann - "Berghain02"
    Move D/Brunn - "Songs From The Beehive"

  6. Pete,

    Amongst the glut of Smallville, Jacek has probably been the least accessible, even through repeat listens. It's a really long track and yet it doesn't quite seem to unfold (to my ears) in an agreeable way. Let me keep listening and I will get back to you. Sometimes patience is rewarded!


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