Grauhandversteinerung - Wir Pfeifen Auf Den Gurkenkönig [Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse 007 Promo]
There's some heavy stuff coming atcha with the latest limited release put on the circuit via Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse which seems to be one of the most active German tape labels these days. And - apart from the 16 pages of the absolutely unreadable and fully incomprehensible additional magazine / booklet entitled "Die gegen 0 tendierende Geschichte" (read as: "The totally random, disconnected story that makes no sense at all") - it's the 21+ minutes long opener "Transgendered Childhood Pt. II", a heavily distorted and super noisy hybrid of Hardcore, Industrial Techno and Tribe Tekno, which - from it's very first bars onwards - makes a clear musical statement about how the worlds going down and how we're all about to end up in hell, no exceptions. Merciless bassdrums and twisted cuts provide maximum mayhem in drugged out concrete bunkers here. With the follow-up "Heptagramm (The Phuture)" we're taken further into Rhythm Industrial wars that are mixed up with computer game bleeps, piano lines on Acid and other madness before the short cut "Der Baum" caters the headstrong with echoes of Post Industrial Hardcore. Turning to side B we'll find tracks like "Verrückte Sachen Von Hinten", "Personenschwanzaenderung (So Siehts Aus)", "Kackschlappen (Radio Edit, 2004)" or "Useless (Deine-Fresse-Im-Nagelbrett-RMX)" and many more meandering in between Rhythm Noize, insane loop attacks, dark'ish drones and alien'esque echo signals as well as brutal bass-lacking Noize Rave signals. Plus: there's lo-fi, analogue Speedcore and musical power violence for those who love a bit more of brutal excess blasting through their stereo speakers. Good stuff for sure.
We love concrete from the depths of our hearts so that's one good reason to totally feel "Zurück Zum Beton" - translate as: back to concrete - as played and performed by the long-time standing Kammerflimmer Kollektief - great song, great lyrics and a sweet little video piece.
Der Meisenknödel Brennt / Als Die Letzte Maus In Barmbek Starb [Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse 008 Promo]
We all know that the tape-focused Raketenbasis Haberlandstrasse-imprint is an outlet for, well, musical weirdness and heaps of experimental underground sounds but the release of their latest C7-cassette "Der Meisenknödel Brennt / Als Die Letzte Maus In Barmbek Starb" takes even this super leftfield imprint into new territories soundwise. Surely influenced by Musique Concrete, Plunderphonics and early electronic music experiments including the use of tape loops and echoes this weird release is sporting the same track on both of its sides, consisting nearly exclusively of partly layered, echo-heavy vocal loops of unknown origin, possibly taken from very old German Schlager records or - with a little bit of vocal manipulation this is - being produced for the abuse on this cassette. Alongside these vocals we find more loops put in here, mostly quite concrete clicks that sound like heavily scratched vinyl and other mechanical / industrial tones adding their bits to the overall quirkyness of this release. This is a puzzling one indeed.
It's been a while since we reviewed a Dub / Reggae-related album here on these pages but as most of our readers might know we've got a thing going for what's to be referred to as the original backbone and mother of all styles of contemporary Bass Music. So what's been sitting in our P.O. box lately? The sophomore album of Brian May's project Beam Up named "Innerstand", dedicated to the heritage of studio legend Osborne 'King Tubby' Ruddock and due for release via BBE Records on March 9th, 2015 - a thirteen track journey into super solid Dub works, vocally led by Terrence Alfonso Bowry, Jornick Joelick and Katya Tasheva, all rolling out their vocals on top of a vast variety of Dub riddims. Lovers of heavy steppers will be pleased by tunes like "Hanabi Dub" or "Fisherman", the Roots-oriented Dub-head looking for spatial, echo-busting vibes will go for "Dive" or instrumental cuts like "Divers" and "Kick Off", whilst the lover of classic, laid back Reggae will be pleased to come across songs like "No Chains" and "Travelling". "Icchieban", a conjunctional effort with Daisuke Ichihara, introduces some deep and jazzy melancholia that's fused with a dubbed out structure and with "Innocence" we even find a romantic, tender and Dub-related slow jam of a love song on "Innerstand", an album that truly represents all shades of Dub, both classical and modern, in 2015 - showcasing the everlasting fascination of echo, bass and space that's never about to grow old although the foundation for this style has been laid down more than four decades ago. Nice one.
Recently released on February 6th via the ever thrilling Miasmah Recordings label is "The Summoner", the first Kreng album after a four years period of relative silence in terms of new musical works. And, at least according to the album info sheet attached to the promo, it seems like the Dark Ambient / (Neo)Classics composer has been going through some deep personal shit in the meantime that has led to this new album which is dealing with the feelings of grief, loss and mourning on a conceptual level, musically stepping away from a sample based approach in terms of production but relying on an ensemble of 12 string players directed to create unusual droning and plucking sounds on their instruments. Especially the super dense atmosphere created by climaxing Drones is overwhelmingly dark and threatening here whilst the hectic, nervous and often dissonant bow movements create an unresting feel of despair and distress before falling into sudden near silence in tracks like "Anger" whilst tunes like "Bargaining" or even "Depression" serve a more comfy, warm though even melancholia-heavy space in which - this goes for "Depression" only - slow tribalistic drums do trigger ancient memories and subconcious tiers of the human self alongside epic Ambient string arrangements. "The Summoning", a 15+ minutes conjunctional effort created with the help of Amenra, starts out as a cinematic, tension-breathing Ambient / PostPostRock affair before introducing a deep but funky bass guitar repetition that - after about three free-floating minutes - gives way to heavily distorted slo-mo riffing and essential apocalyptic DoomHardcore - an epic musical evolution within 15 minutes and by far the most fascinating tune on this album. After this heavy tournament we see the final "Acceptance" serving a more forgiving musical closing, being a nearly unprocessed piece of calm and tender Piano Ambient that might seem unexpected to some but perfectly makes sense in terms of what the album is all about.
Frank Bretschneider - Sinn + Form [Raster-Noton 157 Promo]
Having announced Frank Bretschneider's most recent album project "Sinn + Form" both on these pages as well as via the Psychedelic Kitchen Blog a few weeks ago we're pretty thrilled to review the full album as the theoretical approach behind the whole album is a quite fascinating one. The sound source behind "Sinn + Form" is a system of modular synthesizers triggered by a randomly generated data set influencing parameters like pitch, volume, tone and others - to cut things short, feeding the system with random data, supervising the likewise random or at least unpredictable result whilst trying to influence the whole thing in terms of aesthetics through improvised change of parameters etc.. The final outcome of this more scientific approach towards sound generation is a dazzling array of non-repetetive complexity where shrieking sinewave bleeps meets digital clicks, alarming electronic feedback loops - especially to be found in the nerve wrecking "Free Market" - as well as some random sweet melody bits and highly amusing tongue-in-cheek twists for those loving their Clicks'n'Cuts from the heart. Surprisingly there's even a slightly, yet abstract dubby feel to be found in the deep rhythm foundation of "Funkstille" whilst the alien'esque bleeps and pecking sounds of "Data Mining" and "Wave Of The Week" seem to sonically depict a variation of exotic interstellar communication - remember that weird extraterrestrial pet thing appearing in John Carpenter's "Dark Star" ? If you do and at the same do approve of complex dynamics in experimental compositions whilst knowing and appreciating the sound of early electronics created at places like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop or Cologne's WDR Studio For Electronic Music "Sinn + Form" might be your album of choice these days to expand your collection. But also aside from this we reckon that "Sinn + Form" is about to appeal to a wider audience these days as - after years of DAW-based production - we've seen a decent revival of interest in modular systems lately so "Sinn + Form" might also be used as a reference and inspiration of what to get from Buchla and Serge Analog synthesizer systems soundwise by new modular fans and users.
I've mentioned this on twitter before and I'll use this space to emphasize on this point again. A fuckin' great tune is a fuckin' great tune - no matter what genre it is or whether there are beats involved or not. Based on a sparse skeleton of all embracing, ever floating basslines and the best synth hook ever created Breakage and Detour City cater a blueprint of 23rd Century Pop music that will go down to the history books of electronic music for a reason. Sheer beauty and a mother of a tune in the original version whilst the VIP on the flip transfers this stunning vibe into a classy NuSkoolBreak context without losing any of the great vibes. Massive!
03. Fabio Crivellaro - Comic Sans Terrorist [Self-Released Tape]
See review for details...
04. Jubei (ft. dBridge) - These Things VIP / Artificial Intelligence - Dillirious VIP [Metalheadz]
If there's one label within the whole of Drum'n'Bass that's equivalent to quality and consistency it has to be the Metalheadz-camp that's mentioned first and foremost. Especially the A-side "These Things VIP", a conjunctional effort of Jubei and dBridge, is nothing short of a banger, fusing a futuristic, stripped down and uberly cold approach to Drum'n'Bass reminiscing of late-90s Virus Recordings releases with sparse, longing off-kilter vocals asking "These things - they come and go - I'm here - where are you?" into a super tense break in which each and every sound comes to a total halt. A priceless contrast to all these stab and synth loaden Rave Drum'n'Bass tunes out there and hopefully only the beginning of a rising, minimalistic darkness that's overdue for a reason. On the flip we see Artificial Intelligence providing a dark stepper as well, bringing in deep, threatening tunnel sounds, mean alien basslines and a bit of amen attack here and there to a nice effect but still it's Jubei & dBridge serving the stronger, more impressive tune on this 12".
05. Second Moon Of Winter - One For Sorrow, Two For Joy [Denovali Records 219 Promo]
See review for details...
Strange days these are and I feel that a bit of change lies ahead in my personal perception of and consumerism towards music, especially new music. The farther I'm away from the regular club circuit both as punter and as a DJ, regarding the fact that my most recent club appearances took place about a year ago and, since then, I've been focusing on embracing the more art-related, audio-visual side of electronic music when taking part in the Berlin-based, experimental television show #lsb_TV, the less I feel the urge to dig for new music, especially when it comes to recently released club music which, in most of the cases, I simply cannot relate to anymore as it either is just another variation of things I've heard thousands of times before or, referring to stuff like SlowHouse, GipsyHouse or the so-called DarkTechno, I simply don't get or embrace. Maybe I've come to a kind of repletion effect being backed by a collection exceeding the 5k-mark widely or it's just a change of attitude towards a kinda collectors point of view, trying to get hold of records I missed back in the day for one reason or another so my focus in buying music is more backwards-oriented recently. Strangely enough, I still feel well-prepared to eventually step up to a club or festival stage again at some point, not necessarily playing what might be called a 'classics set' only but with a more reflected attitude of having been around electronic music for decades now and the ability to present a blend and amalgamation of timeless and worthwhile quality electronic music, fusing things old and new, telling tales of great vibes and deep tunes instead of caring about the latest hype. This said, watch out for further musings in podcast, radio and experimental TV spheres as well as the occasional appearance in the art world.