[Bureau B, July 12]
In the beginning (circa 1969-71), there was Kluster, and the krautrock was good. After that there was Cluster, and masterminds Roedelius and Moebius (the Thomson and Thompson of ambient music, if you will) collaborated with Eno and dabbled in Harmonia. And now, after a long wait, there's Qluster, which means sprightly 70-something Roedelius has teamed up with a sound-installation kid half his age to ask some pertinent aural questions. A sound utopia for a profound journey — compositions like "Auf der Alm" could be 21st-century Bach.
When Fish Ride Bicycles
[Green Label Sound, July 12]
We won't make the inevitable joke that the title of the Midwest duo's full-length record almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy in regards to its release. But when hip-hop mixtapes are popped out every other week, and even when you're busy forming supergroups with the likes of Bun B and Freddie Gibbs, three years is a long time to wait for an album. Now finally in everybody's sweaty little hands, the debut will be in heavy rotation, spinning cool breezes throughout the summer. No matter if it's loping lazily like a rickety fan in "Bundle Up" or glittering like pavement that's been baking in the sun all day in the Pharrell Williams–produced "Summer Jam," the Cool Kids' chill prevails.
[Subpop, available now]
Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Ismael "Butterfly" Butler of the Digable Planets) is the nexus of Shabazz Palaces, a Seattle-based avant-rap project that fuses Arabic and Afrocentric visual imagery with exquisitely processed, hypnogogic samples and beats. Rather than following the familiar format of 16 bars alternating with a chorus, the songs follow their own internal logic. Fans in pursuit of an involved and nuanced experience will be satisfied — not much out there, hip-hop or otherwise, sounds like this.
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[Big Beat/Atlantic, available now]
Who would have thought a vocoderized recording of Charles Bukowski would be the spark to ignite a 38-minute dance party that challenges the perception of pop music? The masked Swedish trio seems to be something of an electronic naturalist reaction to a more robotic Daft Punk world. That's right, no DJs here. These dance-floor bangers are all recorded with synths, guitars, basses and drums. No autotune necessary; they have The B-52s, CeeLo Green, Eve, B.o.B., Robyn and The Flaming Lips to fill in the vocals.