Andrew Coleman: Tony Alva's Hair
 
 

Black (Germany, 2006)
The Milk Factory (UK, 2006)
Chaindlk on-line magazine (Germany, 2006)
Octapus (France, 2006)

Disc - Jockey (Italy, 2006)

Black (Germany, 2006)

The Milk Factory (UK, 2006)

Best known for his drill'n'bass work as Animals On Wheels, with releases for Ninja Tune, Cambridge-based Andrew Coleman has been exploring more subtle and delicate musical forms in the last few years. Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt, released in 2001 on Thrill Jockey, his third album, the first to be released under his own name, hinted at folk structures augmented with found sounds and electronics, evoking a more introvert version of Greg Davis's early work. With its follow up, Demons, published on the excellent Trippel Records in 2004, Coleman refined his autistic melodies further, breaking up his sound sources into a multitude of tiny pieces before painstakingly reassembling them.

For his latest effort, Coleman injects a generous dose of beats and grooves into his crystalline soundscapes and steps into more welcoming territories. Released on Manchester-based imprint C0c0s0l1dc1t1, Tony Alva's Hair is a far more accessible and instant piece of work than previous releases. The title's reference to 70’s skateboard legend and Lords Of Dogtown hero Alva bears no realrelevance to the record itself. From Coleman's own admission, he wanted a title that didn't create a statement on the content of the
album.

Coleman still refers to the general sonic template of previous recordings, but this times he assembles far richer structures around hip-hop-infused beats and grooves. Right from the outset, it is clear that things have taken a different turn on here. Early Fall From Nowhere is funky and warped in equal measures, and its gentle melody soon becomes too annoyingly catchy to go unnoticed. Over Head And Under Feet continues on a similar path, and the sudden appearance of Dose One on Not A Speculation provide yet another clue of the general direction taken with this record. It is not to say that Coleman has totally abandoned the delicate folk tones of previous recordings. Traces can still be found in the background on almost every track, and more evidently on the piano-led Rain & Dogs or on the hidden track that concludes the album, but they don't appear as his main point of focus anymore. As he constructs solid rhythmic backbones and weave his soundscapes around them, he re-introduces playful urban elements to his work.

With each new album, Andrew Coleman offers a glimpse at a different side of his musical persona before refining it. Here, he comes out of his shell and soaks up the sun once again. If Demons was the sound of Coleman looking inward, with Tony Alva's Hair, he undoubtedly turns to the outside world and is determined to make his presence felt.

Chaindlk on-line magazine Germany (Germany, 2006)

Titled after the 70's skateboard legend Tony Alva, the new Andrew Coleman album "Tony Alva's hair" is a mixture of ambient sounds, hip hop / break beat rhythms and modern classical music structure. Also active with the 'Animals on Wheels' moniker, Coleman collaborated with 'Dose One' of 'Anticon' outfit 'cLOUDDEAD' on the track "Not a speculation". The result is a particular hip hop track which sees Dose One rapping on the jazzy / ambient / dub background created by Coleman. Each track has got its peculiarity: for example "Finger tip control" starts as a piano suite just to find rhythm thanks to a break beat tempo and recruiting oriental melodies on its way to the end. Even if every track has got a different approach to melody or rhythm there is always a certain melancholic sense created by the atmospheres: it's like there's always something in suspension or if there is something that is still to come and that will break free into the track. My favorite ones are "Rain and dogs" (where you can find a beautiful piano and no rhythms), "Not a speculation" and "Miles won't answer". To my ear sometimes the tracks sound too clean and this could make the album result as a good style exercise while with some wilderness here and there could help emphasize the geniality of the composer.

Octapus (France, 2006)

Mieux connu sous le nom d'Animals on Wheels dont on a pu apprécier dès la fin des années 90 les ?uvres précédentes chez Ninja Tune, le britannique Andrew Coleman mène également une carrière discrète sous son nom dont ce troisième album - après un passage, le temps de son second opus, Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt (un titre qui résume assez bien l'univers downtempo de l'artiste) chez Thrill Jockey - est la dernière expression. Tony Alva's Hair aligne, pour commencer, quelques plages trip hop de bon ton mais relativement convenu (la participation vocale du rappeur déjanté Dose One pour 'Not a Speculation', bousculant, un instant, les rythmes de salon). Il faut patienter jusqu'à la sixième plage avec 'Rain and Dogs' pour qu'un piano mouillé façon Harold Budd nous emporte vers d'autres sphères. Les sept autres instrumentaux réussissent à nous emmener, confortablement installés, dans un voyage bien préparé qui réussit à suffisamment capter notre attention sans jamais déranger ni vraiment oser s'aventurer en dehors des rails bien tracés d'un électro lounge trip internationaliste.

Philippe Franck

Disc - Jockey (Italy, 2006)

Emozionanti tracciati nel nuovo lp di ANDREW COLEMAN

La C0C0S0L1DC1T1 Records è lieta di presentare il tanto atteso terzo album di Andrew Coleman che soddisferà, senza ombra di dubbio, le orecchie degli ascoltatori più esigenti che hanno voglia di addentrarsi nei meandri più oscuri della musica electronica. Lasciandosi alle spalle il passato marchiato col progetto Animals On Wheels, Andrew Coleman preferisce ora apparire col suo nome di battesimo per rilasciare un complesso elaborato sonoro che prende le pieghe di un pop leggiadro nel quale fa capolino la cosiddetta snapfunk e il breakbeat.

In "Tony Alva's Hair" non manca l'hip-hop e il drill'n'bass, uno stile che aveva già fatto registrare la sua presenza nei precedenti lavori sull'inglese Ninja Tune e sull'americana Thrill Jockey. Dalla sua base operativa di Cambridge Andrew Coleman dirama un'electronica intimista e da ascolto che l'Inghilterra ha iniziato a conoscere già da qualche anno a questa parte.

Dodici le tracce (tutte composte tra il 2000 e il 2004) che attestano il creativo percorso: da "Early Fall From Nowhere" a "Fingertrip Control", da "Miles Don't Answer" a "One Thousand" sino a "Forgetting Monday" e "Rain And Dogs".

Musica elegante quindi per l'agguerrita C0C0S0L1DC1T1 (in Italia distribuita da Risonanza Magnetica) che, per il 2006, ha già annunciato una sequenza invidiabile di cd's e dvd che vedranno come protagonisti artisti del calibro di Pretty Boy Crossover, Julio Soto, Identification, Ryosuke Aioke, Janek Schaefer e David Kristian approdato qualche tempo fa alla Créme Organization di TLR.

 

 
 
Andrew Coleman:
Tony Alva's Hair