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Sunday, July 31, 2016
Moskus - Ulv Ulv [Hubro Music]
Put on the circuit via the Norwegian imprint Hubro Music in late April was "Ulv Ulv", the third album effort released by the trio Moskus comprised of Anja Lauvdal, Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson and Hans Hulbækmo which are joined by Nils Øklund on Hardanger fiddle in two of the ten album tracks. Whilst the opener "Medstrøms" starts with a harp-driven, inward looking and slightly romantic feel we see the follow up "Angelfossen" sinking deeply into foggy, autumnal melancholia represented by inertial chords before "Noe Med Utopia, Klondike" delivers a more lively, yet somewhat alien take on off-kilter Piano Jazz with a bit of a Bossa-infusion. "Den Store Skjønnheten" wallows in lovely Bar Jazz romanticisms for rainy sunday afternoons, a journey continued by the epic slow motion beauty of "Chimes / Gullregn" which is picking up a little pace over the course of 376 seconds total runtime and "Kullgraver" seems to focus on the slightly humor'esque aspects of randomly jamming on off-tune instruments to create a certain kind of twisted, stumbling and improvised Jazz Funk for parties taken over by obviously drunk cartoon characters of some sorts. "We Will Always Love You Too, Whitney Houston" is nothing less than a harmonium sporting Dark Jazz homage to the queen of high end drama, the 42 seconds of "Gramjeger" are a sweet, playful interlude also appealing to those loving the more electronic, yet mostly friendly approach of the Rephlex label whilst "Borre, Borre Gulleple, Slå Vekk" sharpens our senses and instincts with a subtle, yet inherent feel of tension and awe like one would feel when exploring deep primeval forests, emphasized by dramatic military drums coming into play throughout the last quarter of the tracks close to 10 minutes runtime and the closing tune "Ei Signekjerring" deals with reprocessed FM modulations or modular synthesis of some sorts, using them as a more lively base for decent chord improvisations and magical, charming wind instruments waving goodbye to the listener in a quite sad, romantic feel evoking memories of black and white nature shots from the very early days of cinematic work. Defo an interesting and well varied body of work in this one!
Mouse On Mars - Lichter [Infinite Greyscale 010 Promo]
Recently coming in from our favorite Berlin-based 10" focused imprint Infinite Greyscale is "Lichter", the most recent release created by longtime electronic music ambassadors Mouse On Mars. Pressed on beautiful diaphanous pink vinyl, produced by Thomas Knoefel and mastered by Cem Oral a.k.a. Jammin Unit at his very own Jammin Masters studio the infamous pairing of Jan St. Werner and Andi Thoma are taking us on a 13 minute spanning trip into krautsy, well hypnotic Electronica realms here that is, despite relying on clean, buzzing synths reminiscent of the scientific approach once found in the ultradigital Clicks'n'Cuts genre layered on top of loose, slightly ritualistic drum sequences instead of the organic, PostRock-y textures of their early works, a well logical sequel to classic Mouse On Mars tunes like the 1995-released "Papa, Antoine", especially with decent background strings and a slightly dubbed out feel appearing in the last third of the tune which, at this stage, reaches a level of multi-layered, post-chaotic abstraction that will surely please not only the band's most dedicated followers but also those still loving the hollow, muffled and slowed down breakbeats of the NYC Illbient scene ca. the late 90s. Thrilling stuff.
Black Sun Productions - Dies Juvenalis [Hallow Ground Promo]
The second Black Sun Productions re-release that was put on the circuit via Hallow Ground in early May is their EP "Dies Juvenalis" which originally came out on Anarcocks back in 2007. Consisting of three tracks and rolled out over a total of approx. 23 minutes this one starts with "Percettive Riflessioni", a more inward-looking, yet uneasy piece of Electronica comprised of thick layers of distortion, repetetive glitches, fractured non-vocalisms and a general late 90s / early 2000s feel that evokes many fond memories of an era in which creativity and a well leftfield approach ruled this scene. With the title track "Dies Juvenalis" the duo goes into musical terrains which are surely influenced by Classical music whilst bringing in bits of Ambient / IDM as well as ethnic vibes, possibly of Peruvian or Chilean origin, whilst the closing tune "Veneration XXX" caters a tripping, dreamlike Ambient / Electronica vibe for psychedelic out of body experiences and journeys to places beyond consciousness. Recommended!
Black Sun Productions - Toilet Chant [Hallow Ground Promo]
Originally released in CD format via Anarcocks in 2004 and now reissued on vinyl for the first time ever via Hallow Ground on May 2nd, 2k16 is "Toilet Chant", one of the earliest works put on the circuit by the duo commonly known as Black Sun Productions. Opening their album with its title track we're getting a first impression where they're going with this six track longplay piece as we're confronted with icy, permeating strings from another world accompanied by echoes of heavy gear being shifted from one place to another in a far distance, "Anarcocks Rising" - a title paying homage to the Anarcocks label which originally released "Toilet Chant" back in the day - brings in fragile rhythmic elements and a very abstract, yet fascinating sense of melodious structures with a sterile, scientific twist and "E2 = Tree 3" which features the extremely reprocessed vocals of Jhonny Balance as an additional sound source even incorporates some elements of Phonk in its captivating and advanced dancefloor fueling crossover between ritualistic Electronica and Rhythm Industrial. Next up is "Yesterdays Dream", which once again brings us into the center of late night Ambient dancefloors, vibing off to decent 4/4's and ruminant guitar resemblances before "Glüewürmlitanz" fuses a sterile, scientific pulse with spiralling, folk'ish patterns to a slightly medieval effect to which subaquatic bleeps add a new level of mystery. Finally the "Spermiatic Cord" evokes a feeling of standing in the middle of a frosty alien swamp, surrounded by a bunch of reptilian creatures and other strange critters lusting for warm blood and the echoes of a dying soul. Surely an intense one that's a perfect conclusion for an album well worthwile to be reissued for a reason.
Released in June on the Indonesian (!!!) tape label Tandem Tapes is this split release featuring the ever busy German producer Dr. NoiseM and the Borneo-based artist Theo Nugraha. Whilst Dr. NoiseM covers the thin, pulsating line between Noize and Dark Ambient / Cold Ambient with his icy piece "Outer Limits" which spans over the entire A-side of the tape we see Theo Nugraha open his side with "Nyem-Nyem", a more lively piece seemingly featuring eruptions of clanging glass or scattering metal, filtered and sent through several well-trippy echo effects creating a hypnotic take on dubbed out experimental music before the second tune named "Tabrakan Mata" explores more brutal Noize territories through providing a continuous stream of electrical hum and storming motor buzz that's about to drive your neighbours insane when listened to on a certain volume. This is what we like for sure.
Recently put on the circuit as a limited cassette tape only release is Sascha Müller's latest eight track album release entitled "Dub-Gun" on which he explores a new variation of dancefloor-focused electronic music that we haven't seen him exploring before over the course of more than the full decade in which we've been reviewing his music so far. And hence the album's name is "Dub-Gun" one educated guess might lead to the conclusion that the focus of this longplay piece is DubTechno, not necessarily in its classic, raw form like once introduced to the electronic music world by the likes of Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus but on a more modernist, stripped down tip that's having a sweet little acquaintance with deep, floating TechHouse as well as Armchair Techno like imprints like Dubwax or Stardub provided throughout recent years. So if these names do strike a chord somewhere down your memory lane and you're into the specific approach of their productions "Dub-Gun" is defo a release that might be well applying to your taste for a reason.
Sitting in our P.O. box only recently was "Thismorphia", the most recent album release by Portoguese producer Fernando Cerqueira created under his artistic moniker Rasalasad. Released via the Thisco imprint the longplay piece is comprised of a total of eleven tracks, most of which following the conceptual approach of embedding, remixing and recycling sound sources and Spoken Word bits taken from a bunch of other artists including the likes of Von Magnet, Antonym, Merzbow, irr.app and various others. Coming from this very special approach the album starts on a fragile Dark Ambient tip incorporating tentative whispered Spoken Word lyrics by Jarboe in "Value", makes a transition into haunting, yet abruptly ending Ambient territories with "Astellar" before fully unfolding cinematic, slowly evolving beatless beauty in "This" using and abusing Spoken Word bits appearing courtesy of Wildshores which, referring to the way of vocal processing only, kinda evoke memories of Jam & Spoon's well-trippy Ambient classic "Hermaphrodite" released back in 1993 whilst another variation of "This", this time including lyrics by Von Magnet, drifts away into more floating, slightly balearic realms. Furthermore we see "Spectre" managing to fuse scenic strings and bits of digital distortion to a well-calming effect, "Axx" brings in sound sources taken from Japanese Noize legend and Rasalasad-collaborator Merzbow, causing a ruminant, possibly even ecclesiastic soundclash of devotional nature whilst the Rasalasad solo piece "Night Walk" seems to be influenced by Southeast Asian meditations, modular synthesis as well as Spoken Word performances. Following up is "Silence" featuring reprocessed words taken from John Zerzan's text of the same name which are embedded in a tense, danger inducing sonic surrounding, "Deriva" caters the first beats of the album and comes across as a fusion of Noize and Illbient influenced by producers like Muslimgauze or Mutamassik and "Stellar" introduces a colder, more sci-fi-reminiscing feel which could be well taken off a classic 70s score of the genre. Finally we're experiencing "Simulacra" remixed by Shhh... which concludes the album in a quite fascinating way, juxtaposing classical Ambient / Chill Out structures and layers of Industrial Noize to a great effect. Defo a good one to check out, this. Album artwork on Instagram!
Scheduled for July 21st, 2k16 is "M", the next sequel in Dr. NoiseM's epic series "The CDr A-B-C", a string of releases that readers of these pages should be well familiar with as we've been reviewing its sequels on a regular. Sticking close to the general theme of the series we're entering a fascinating, yet louring and perilous world of Dark / Death Ambient that sounds like it was recorded in a gargantuan underground void filled with cold and damp air, holding unutterable secrets of a long gone past. Carefully moving through unknown terrain, whispering, breathing muggy air and trying not to reawaken ancient demons able to cause major havoc we're hypnotized by uniform sonic movements and the sound of everlasting, eternal darkness, causing our perception of space and time to dissolve as well as the slow evanescence of our souls which is transforming our inner beings into pallid reflections of ourselves, lost in the void and wandering unhallowed grounds forever. If you're able to withstand the seductive power of the dark side, this limited to 26 copies piece is an album for you.
Aaron Spectre - Jungle Boots E.P. [Jahmoni Music Promo]
Coming in from the Munich underground is latest vinyl joint released by the mostly 7"-bound imprint Jahmoni Music which are switching to EP format these days to unleash a massive four track outing by American DJ and producer Aaron Spectre - also known under the Drumcorps moniker when providing an ultraviolent fusion of Punk / Grindcore / Hardcore and Breakcore. On "Jungle Boots", released under his real name, we see Aaron Spectre taking a shot on more Reggae-infused DarkJungle, a style he's also spinning out on a regular to heaving crowds all over the globe. The opener "Captured Land" serves heavily chopped up Jungle breaks and various halftime sequences for the rasta audience and "My Attitude" gravitates towards his Drumcorps productions stylewise whilst fusing raw and rugged PunkRock and mashed amen breaks. With "Pon De Battlefield" Mr. Spectre provides one of the finest DarkJungle clash anthems we've come across in ages and caters the needs of those who're missing the heydays of the legendary Boston-based Mashit imprint for ultimate pleasure before "People Of The Sub" is getting folks pumped on an electronically remashed, violent take on Rage Against The Machine's Crossover Funk that's able to turn every dance into a massive mosh pit. Recommended? Indeed.
Out on the circuit and released via Siyal Music since June 17th, 2k16 is "6AM", the sophomore album joint served by Tel Aviv-based producer Ophir Kutiel, better known to many as artistic and musical multi-activist Kutiman. Known and appreciated for his broad approach towards production and sound incorporating elements of Dope Beats, Funk and a lot of influences drawn from 70s Psychedelic Rock the eight tracks on this album are all about the groove, starting from the heavy instrumental cut "Jaffa Beach" as opening tune via the haunted uptempo banger "She's A Revolution" and the following anthemic Psychedelia jam named "Shine Again". With "Zeelim" we're entering more summery, laid-back territories with a slightly oriental touch, "Stranger On The Follow" might be identified as the most radio-friendly and Pop-oriented song on here without giving in to any mainstream lures but serving a fascinating guitar jam throughout its second half instead before "Dangerous" introduces the more lugubrious side of Kutiman's work in form of a melancholia-infused ballad that makes us call for a glass of proper bourbon immediately. "I Think I Am" brings us a well-smoky, raw Soul vibe featuring the stunning vocal talent of Karolina on microphone duties before the title track waves goodbye with a good portion of Jazz Noir / Future Jazz after too short of a runtime of 34 minutes only. We're hitting repeat immediately - and so should you.
Leighton Craig - Green Coronet [A Guide To Saints 018 Promo]
Another one coming from the other side of the world is "Green Coronet", the most recent album outing produced by the Brisbane / Australia-based artist Leighton Craig. Put on the circuit via the label A Guide To Saints we're experiencing a bunch of four tracks here rolled out over quite exactly 50 minutes of time, all of which are exploring the pure, untouched beauty of blurry synth-based Ambient, graced with additional bits of processed Field Recordings as well as a little distortion here and there. If one wants to put this album consisting of slowly floating rivers of sound and hints of autumnal melancholia into a musical drawer we'd probably say that Pop Ambient would be the most suitable one although the scenic wind section to be found in the tune named "Drowned World" as well as the falsetto-reminiscing vocals on "Divided By Zero" might exceed this genre term for more than only one reason. File under: music for dreams.
Antiplastic - Under Arrest [Elastica Records Promo]
Fresh on the circuit since June 24th, 2016 is "Under Arrest", the latest album effort produced by the Italian sound collective Antiplastic signed to the label Elastica Records. With a dozen tracks and numerous guest appearances by artists like Dub FX, Blitz, Ganji Killer, Ackeejuice Rockers or the Numa Crew we see Antiplastic refining their vision of banging, party rocking Bashment music on steroids, a hyperactive musical potpourri drawing influences from Dancehall, Trap, HipHop, EDM, Reggae, Drum'n'Bass, Brostep and the aftermath of Big Beat aiming to make crowds consisting of glowstick waving global youths go wild on festival floors worldwide. And we'd say that their mission is accomplished to a certain extent as songs like "Booka", "Paperkills" or "BoomBoomChao" are certainly made to rock and provide loads of dancefloor functional energy for sure but interestingly it's the more discreet, laid-back parts to be found in tunes like "Make A Wish" or "Under Arrest" that really stick out here as the overall vibe of the album feels like a little too formulaic and generic to make a heavy impression on us - with the exception of the dope ass HipHop-influenced large scale anthem going by the name of "Photoshop Soul" which is the only tune on here that we see standing the test of time for a reason. The rest is to be filed under pure party music for the ADHS-generation.
Lawrence English - Approaching Nothing [Baskaru 040]
Another box fresh release out on the the circuit via Baskaru is Lawrence English' new album "Approaching Nothing", a 30 minutes one track piece approaching the concept of so-called relational listening which basically translates to the process of letting an audience be a part of the artists listening experience a.k.a. letting them hear what he or she hears. In this case it's the found sound of the Croatian village Vela Luka somewhen throughout the late summer of 2013, a place in which experimental composer Luc Ferrari already recorded the source material for his piece entitled "Presque Rien No 1 (Almost Nothing #1)" back in the summer of 1967. Joining Lawrence English's very own listening experience in more recent times without much artistic intervention done to the original recorded material we're experiencing the uncut sound of Vela Luka and its streets which are surely a little busier than almost five decades ago although it still seems to be a relatively contemplative place according to the fact that cars are rarely present in the recordings. Instead we're confronted with knelling church bells, some melancholia driven fragments of brass, small talk on the street, frolicking kids playing out in the open, bits of what seems to be a kitchen in use and - towards the very end - a kinda romantic and well-familiar sizzling noize that reminds us of amplified surface noise often found in the lead-out groove of a vinyl record, perfectly blending in to the real world when not consumed on headphones and therefore providing quite a soothing, yet delicate listening experience for all fans of Field Recordings as we are.
Recently put out on the circuit via Baskaru as the labels cat.no. 039 is "Plateforme #2", the follow up release to Laurent Perrier's 2014-album "Plateforme #1" in which the French artist introduced his concept of so-called 'one-way collaboration'. What this means is that Mr. Perrier uses a raw recording of another artists representative sound world as source material to create a piece of his own without aiming to reproduce the style of the specific artist / composer. Starting with "Francisco Lopez" we're getting a sparse, cold and sterile interpretation of experimental electronic music bringing us short spine-tingling swells of dynamics and "Tom Recchion" starts off on a similar tip, adds some backward sequences and twists of modular synthesis before abrupt Noize eruptions and eerie droning come into play, bringing surprising twists and even some scenic, slightly score'esque moments of string-infused beauty. Finally "Christian Zanesi" takes us on a 24+ minutes journey into more digital realms, opening with a short, yet harsh sequence of Noize, gravitating towards Clicks'n'Cuts aesthetics for a while, paying homage to releases like Aube's "Deglaze" thereafter and cutting up these various approaches in the following to create an interesting, yet not always coherent and easy to follow conceptual path for die-hard fans of electronic experimentalism. See album artwork on Instagram!
02. Throwing Shade - House Of Silk [Ninja Tune]
Some records need a while to grow. Whilst the internet-savvy and highly infectious tune "Hashtag IRL" caught our attention immediately we were slightly thrown off by the other tunes featured on Throwing Shade's most recent EP as they didn't really match our expectations of being served a menu of Bass Music-influenced Electronica with this one. Instead, we're getting highly chromatic Intelligent Techno, melodic, bass-heavy Electronica / TripHop-amalgamations and other goodness we learned to appreciate after giving them a few spins although still "Hashtag IRL" wins for us. Also a point of criticism: there should be at least some space or a second of silence between tunes as different as "Marble Air" and "Ecco Echo" to give DJ's a chance to play these out to the very end.
03. Amit - Spring Cuttah [Amar 008]
What a blast for all lovers of dubwise music. Amit, best known for his unique approach towards Drum'n'Bass and Halfstep, serves a first class, high quality Dub jam that even Dub connaisseurs like Adrian Sherwood or David Rodigan would approve of. Think a 10" vinyl that oozes ultra low bass frequencies like no other, accompanied by echoes and sparse melody bits. Quite an excellent bit this tune named "Spring Cuttah" although the quality of the pressing is questionable, especially on the flip which holds an Addison Groove Remix of "Operator" that is quite crackly and poppy with even some bits of dirt found stamped into the grooves. This though doesn't matter too much for us as super slomo Jungle / Amen Dubstep is not our preferred genre of Dub related music but we're sure that the people who like this tune best would've appreciated - and deserved - a slightly better pressing for sure.
04. Protein - The Secret Garden [Schamoni Musik / Alien Transistor Promo]
See review for details...
Iannis Xenakis - La Legende D'Eer [Karlrecords 024 Promo]
To be released on July 15th, 2k16 via Karlrecords in the labels Perihel Series is "La Legende D'Eer" by the highly acclaimed experimental composer Iannis Xenakis who surely has set new standards in the creation of music and non-music throughout his impressive career due to the use of mathematical principles in composition which are also used in the piece featured on this album - a piece which has been messed up a lot in the past, especially as it was officially released with several flaws before. Now remastered by Rashad Becker for stereo use from the original eight track tape that Xenakis himself presented at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse back in 1978 for the first time we're drawn in and immersed into a musical approach that starts from pure sinewaves and subtly evolves from scratch into a not chaotic but surely unfamiliar, multi-rhythmic layered musical structure taking over the stereo field in a pretty much alienating way, presenting an array of formerly unheard - and at the time shocking - sounds of which only some plucked strings and abused, mutilated brass pieces sound slightly common whilst others resemble screaming monsters, bring in heavy Noize blasts, dark, gnarling bits or even sounds of shafting waves and clanging glass in a way that antedates the now common #TMI abbreviation for more than one reason. An overdose of sonic events for those who are ready to melt their brains on this well exciting trip into what experimental electronic music was capable of way before computers and DAW's became commonplace. We're in for the thrill!
Recently put on the circuit via the Belgium-based Sub Rosa-imprint is "Vvolk", the second full album release by the conceptual project Book Of Air which is not necessarily comprised of the same musicians / producers in every release given that the first album was performed by a quintet whilst the recent longplay piece sees a whole bunch of eighteen - 18 !!! - performers contributing to the two 24+ minutes tunes found on here entitled "Lente > Zomer" and "Herfst > Winter". Musically exploring and investigating the slow tempo and invisible motion of nature we'll find the group of musicians, most of which rooted in improvisation as well as Jazz and Classical Music, bringing on two seemingly endless streams of warm, highly organic and well-floating Ambient structures incorporating certain characteristic elements of Post-PostRock and echoes of so-called Indietronics which - altogether - can be filed under the genre flag of PopAmbient, a term well-known to and highly appreciated by the friends and followers of Cologne's electronic music staple Kompakt and their several sub- and sister divisions. If this term rings a bell, you're well likely to add "Vvolk" to your collection in the near future as well. At least that's what we presume. Album artwork on Instagram!
After introducing the video for Pierce Warnecke's track "Remnants Remembered" on these pages a few days ago it's now about time to examine his new longplay piece "Memory Fragments" from which the mentioned track was taken and which has been released via the Australian Room40-imprint in late May 2k16. Based and built around the idea that the human brain can never recall events excactly as they were IRL the artists first full-on solo album opens with lonely, dark, minor piano chords fading out, accompanied by Drones and sparse additional sounds in "Fragments Of Things Forgotten" which is the first of four tunes grouped under the subtitle of "Part 1 - Hidden Beyond The Rays Of Sunlight". Following up is the "Recursive Sedimentation Of Thoughts", a beautiful Ambient / Deep Listening experience, "Silent Light Reveals The Unreal" presents a slow ebb-and-flow rhythm of minimalist, yet intense qualities with an emphasis on alarming higher mid frequencies and a slightly retrofuturistic attitude in which the piano chords of the opening tune are making a short comeback before the first two thirds of "Built On Folds And Braids" redefine scenic melancholia in a way that'd perfectly accompany open fires, red vine and long late night talks happening shortly before fall comes to an end but is later interrupted by heavy glitches, stuttering cuts and noisy distortion. "Part 2 - As The Cold Dust Of Time Settled" begins with "Sparseness Gave Way To Infinite" which is mostly comprised of minimalistic Drone layers which also play a role in the sparse, more sci-fi'esque follow up "Broadsided By Sudden Swells" which somehow evokes memories of Single Cell Orchestra's legendary album "Dead Vent 7" for some reason although the raw, wildly modulating bass synths seem to steer into a totally different, more adventurous direction. As we've previously talked about "Remnants Remembered" we're directly skipping to "Shivering As The Warmth Returns", the next that features Pierce Warnecke's lonely, trademark piano chords and combines them with swells of what seems to be field recorded wind blowing over abandoned sites and growling didgeridoo-resembling tones whilst the final cut "A Snake In Her Hair" moves in a slow, buzzzing, electric elegance that might remind some of Muslimgauze- or Goem-releases once put on the circuit via the Audio.nl imprint more than a decade ago. Defo a recommended album full of electronic beauty.