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Q[e]M = Quality [electronic] Music
Monday, January 30, 2017
Olivia Louvel - Data Regina [Cat Werk Imprint 011]
To be put on the circuit via her very own Cat Werk Imprint on February 8th, 2k17 is "Data Regina", the latest conceptual album effort by French-born and now UK-based artist and composer Olivia Louvel who is dealing with the historical fact that two queens, Mary Queen Of Scots and Elizabeth I, were reigning over England at the same time throughout the 16th century on this longplay piece. Based on this occurence and generally drawn to the life and poetic works of Mary Queen Of Scots Olivial Louvel creates a sonic story of seventeen chapters that can be described as a well-fascinating amalgamation of dramatic Electronica / Indietronica compositions, accompanied by tension-rising violins, tender piano bits and Olivia Louvels extraordinary vocal approach which fall together in a dreamy and magical way that can be best described as non-visual, audio based theatre, immediately conveying the listener to the far away past, reliving the time period in question through a modern electronic approach that is highly recommended to all Leftfield Pop connaisseurs for a reason. What a journey this is!
Bvdub - Yours Are Stories Of Sadness [Sound In Silence 034]
Put on the circuit via the Greek imprint Sound In Silence only recently is "Yours Are Stories Of Sadness" by Bvdub, a well familiar artist for all fans of both Ambient and Techno which has been making waves for more than a decade now and has put out numerous releases on respected labels like Styrax, Southern Outpost, Millions Of Moments and many others ever since. On this album which is released as a limited, hand-numbered print run of 300 copies worldwide we see Bvdub catering a menu of nineteen untitled but consecutively numbered tracks which are, according to the accompanying press sheet, closely related and linked to a true story that happened back in 2012. With each tune the artist provides a new, harmonic take on Ambient music, based on soft, ethereal pads and partly infused by echoes of DubTechno like the opener "01" whilst other bits provide slightly moving synthesizers or beautiful, slow moving string and chord harmonies like those to be found in "03" which will be recognized as a blueprint of classical Ambient structures by every electronic music connaisseur for a reason. With "04" we come across some iridescent, yet slightly over the top synth fountains, "05" brings us a little bit of a buzz in terms of melodic movements whilst "06" introduces some sort of a solemn, inward looking attitude with a resemblance of multi-layered, reprocessed xylophone motifs. Furthermore "07" takes us back to the first half of the 90s in terms of the era's Ambient / ChillOut / Intelligent (beatless) Techno music, "10" weighs in a good amount of electronic melancholia and "11" provides more of pure Ambient beauty whilst amalgamating reverberating stabs with blurred background strings before "12" comes up with most calming, yet scenic chord repetitions and "15" provides a steady stream of sound accompanied by a slightly 80s resembling melody progression for all those in need of some ultra-relaxation which comes down to all of us really. And therefore everyone should own this album for a reason. There's no exceptions.
To be released via Sofa Music on February 10th, 2k17 is "Bite Of The Orange", the third album of the Microtub project which is comprised of the three tuba players Robin Hayward, Martin Taxt and Peder Simonsen. Together, the three musicians cater a approx. 26 minutes menu of three deep and droning compositions, creating spheres of hand- or better lung-crafted organic Ambient through their long and layered tuba tones, resonating with each other to a very calming effect which defo are a fascinating example of how Ambient music can be created without any electronic effects and components at all. Recommended! Album artwork on Instagram!
Stefan Paul Goetsch a.k.a. Hainbach is back on track these days with a new, self-released tape album entitled "Shrines" - a fourteen track affair including the great tune "Miasmatic" which we've already featured on these pages in December 2k16. Largely focusing on his love for modular systems and intertwined, intricate and fragile melodic structures we see the Berlin-based artist explore musical realms somewhat in between Electronica, IDM and Ambient, heavily influenced by the playful, spaced out synth approach of Cosmic and (Neo)Cosmic music that sometimes even weighs in massive hit qualities for advanced and well-experienced dancefloor crowds whilst other pieces evoke memories of Plaid's all-embracing musical friendliness throughout their "Not For Threes"-era or are dabbling with a raw, slightly 'troity take on Electro which one could clearly imagine being released via imprints like Viewlexx, Clone or Bunker Den Hague - especially when one thinks of artists like Luke Eargoggle that have also been put on the circuit through the label last mentioned. This amalgamation of various influences on one album, combined with the limited print-run of only 50 copies world wide and a thrilling, highly detailed and multi-layered sound design is what makes "Shrines" a deep, captivating homelistening experience that is recommended to each and every electronic music connaisseur around. Get!
It seems like Mr. Andrew Lagowski is cooking up something well-hypnotic in his lab there. And for some subconscious reasons this rough skit makes us think of both Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia as well as of Empirion.
Ghedalia Tazartes / Pawel Romanczuk / Andrzej Zaleski - Carp's Head [Monotype Records 018]
Released in November 2k16 on the surely remarkable Monotype Records label is "Carp's Head", a collaborational album effort created by the three artists Ghedalia Tazartes, Pawel Romanczuk and Andrzej Zaleski. Dealing with - according to the press release this is - the story of an 'elusive romantic magician personified by a carp-headed cat' the group creates a record thrilling, yet beyond strange featuring highly expressive - and expressionistic - vocal performances and what seems to be a backward played Tango in the opening tune "Dance Inverse", the subsequent "You'll Be Wise" seems to be indulging in the percussive pattern chronology of some obscure, ritualistic cult whereas the "Zither Song" weighs in an exaggerated take on ancient Folk music. The intense "Orient Calling" seemingly aims to emulate - hence the name - traditional Turkish or Arab music, "Wolves And Birds" flirts with an amalgamation of field recorded atmospheres and Dark Ambient combined with the inevitable vocals which surely are the cohesive, all embracing stylistic feature on this highly diverse longplay piece and the "Wild East Blues" fuses a, well..., bluesy harmonica melody with a feverish, organic TripHop-resemblance. Furthermore we see the yearning "Dobra Nasza" dabble with a somewhat ambient'ish feel whilst providing deepness beyond any possible categorization before introducing a slightly latin'esque, Bossa-infused vibe around 4:30 minutes, "The Far Horizon" brings more cult'ish vocalisms and evokes memories of ancient rituals performed in the damp jungle heat of yore, "The End Of The Western World" is dripping with heartfelt ultramelancholia and the final take "Wolves And Birds Part 2" picks up on the vibe of its prequel but comes across in a more looming, unsettling manner that may - or may not - indicate that the end is nigh indeed. Intense!
The Sweet Release Of Death - The Sweet Release Of Death [Katzwijm Records / Subroutine Records]
Still catching up on last years promo mailouts it's time to take a closer look at The Sweet Release Of Death's self-titled album effort which was put on the circuit in fall 2k16 as a collaborational effort of Katzwijm Records and Subroutine Records. With their second album we see the Rotterdam-based triumvirate cater a desparate, greyscale menu of noisy, feedback driven (No)Wave / PostPunk that, atmosphere-wise this is, perfectly depicts the feel of a wasted youth in the 80s West Berlin, corralled by a concrete wall whilst being under siege by the imminent escalation of a nuclear war scenario. Fuse this feel with bits and bops of contemporary Indie and Garage here and there and you'll get quite a well fitting impression of what The Sweet Release Of Death's sophomore album is all about. One track to check: "Smutek", just because its intro sequence and syncopated structure kinda reminds us of the former Hamburg-based Goth- / Wave-band X-Mal Deutschland which he hold in high regards for a reason.
It's been more than two years since the Austrian trio Tumido released their album "Nomads" via Interstellar Records and now they've made a return in early November 2k16 with a sequel, taking one track - "Xaxim" - from the aforementioned album and coming up with a bunch of four remixes which are taking the original piece into new directions. Things start with a rework crafted by Nik Hummer who creates a long and buzzing, electric drone-resembling intro before introducing a looped and distorted electric guitar and deep, technoid 4/4s for a darker twist on the dancefloor whereas Stefan Nemeth focuses on a pitch black, repetetive, yet ever climaxing Electronica vs. grinding and desparate Industrial interpretation of "Xaxim" that may well compete with the most sluggish tunes ever produced by the likes of Pan Sonic or Ø. Furthermore Buenoventura of Elektro Guzzi-fame weighs in a proper, well functional Techno interpretation with a slightly tribal'esque twist alongside beautiful Detroit-influenced string constructions and the final retake provided by Tumido themselves weighs in more of a crackly, organic Ambient vibe accompanied by deep bass pulses and widescreen panorama backings based on vintage synths and what seem to manipulated, subfrequent guitar drones. Good stuff, this!
Released on November 18th, 2k16 via Room40 is Mirko's "LP1", a nine track album created by the Hamburg-born, world travelling and now London-based artist, sound engineer and producer Mirko Vogel who has been working on the Ambient textures of this album over the course of nearly three years. Whilst the opening tune "Glass" fuses a raw, steady synth bass and floating, dreamlike harmonic spreads with epic widescreen background drum resemblances evoking memories of early Synth and electronic music masters like Tangerine Dream, Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre before coming to an abrupt and unexpected halt, the "Cloud Chain" brings crackly surface noise, warm pads and single piano chords to create an all welcoming Ambient blur with a touch of romantic melancholia, "One Hour" lives up to each and every genre cliche in terms of sonic, slow moving beauty but remarkably still manages to not cross over into the land of kitsch driven Muzaq and so does "As The Morning" which is adding a few tender guitar tones to the artists musical spectrum therefore including PopAmbient or Post-PostRock as provided by early works by Klimek and the likes of. And these first four tracks basicly set the mood for what is to come throughout the further course of the album, a piece not necessarily adding anything new to the Ambient spectrum overall but one that is masterly crafted in both its contemporary aspects as well as in paying homage to the aforementioned pioneers of the genre which also happens in the well-epic tune "In Conversation" and therefore is defo a worthwhile addition to any Ambient / ChillOut collection for a reason.
Put on the release circuit in early November, 2k16 via the Australian Room40 label is "Factory Photographs" by Hexa, a collaborational project by Lawrence English and Jamie Stewart which first came to be as a commission for an exhibition of David Lynch's factory photographs - hence the name of the album. And taking into account Mr. Lynch's description of an ideal factory location featuring '...winter-dead black trees and oil-soaked earth.' the musical efforts served under the Hexa name meet this idea with an 100% accuracy. The opening tune "Sledge" comes in as a cold, like: below siberia cold, take on Dark Ambient vs. Industrial noises and an extremeley eerie, threatening atmosphere and sets the path for a journey into a realm of mysterious sonic horrors, including ongoing, near static scraping and far away metal objects clanging in "Lumber", fascinating Rhythm'n'Noize in the ultra dark "Ring Bark" whilst "There Never Was" depicts the void in a calm, yet spine-tingling Dark Ambient matter. With "A Breath" we're taken back to the first half of the 90s when we discovered experimental electronic underground music due to the formative compilation "Abschied Aus Berne: Eine Kompilation Hamburger Geräuschmusik" whilst "Vertical Horizons" seems to be a Field Recording from a doomed, post-fallout production facility far underneath the earth's crust, seamlessly transitioning into more chugging vibrations and relieving, light-bringing atmospheres in the subsequent flight "Over Horizontal Plains" before the final cut named "Body" caters a sequence of apocalyptic explosions and triggers pictures of multiple - and rapidly multiplying - mushroom clouds scattered across the globe. Devastation!
To be released via the Norwegian Sofa Music-imprint on January 13th, 2k17 is "Karpatklokke", a seven track album created by Havard Volden, Martin Taxt and Henrik Olsson under their conjunctional production moniker Muddersten. The groups name hails from a certain kind of mudrock that came to be from clay and soil drying out, and the album is - as far as we get from the press sheet - dedicated to or influenced by process of how plants manage to break through, cracking up this pretty much solid substance, mostly due to the use of hydraulics and the incompressible nature of liquids. And as chaotic, slow and unpredictable the process of a plant breaking through stone like material might sound, the trio's musical work does reflect that with all digital accuracy possible. Using guitar, tape-loops, electronics, objects, friction, piezo and - what ever this might be - microtonal tuba the body of work they create on "Karpatklokke" is, although highly digital and somehow walking the line between Clicks'n'Cuts and Noize for a very rough description, droney, fissured and fractured, at times deeply familiar like the very core of what life, and the everlasting process of bloom and decomposition, really is, at times abstract like the noise silently emitted by pretty much every digital or at least microchip driven device one owns and therefore extremely fascinating and defo one of our first highlights on the longplay release circuit this year. Check!
To be released on January 27th, 2k17 is "Love In Beats" , the eighth full length studio album by British (Neo)Soul legend Omar who is collaborating with the likes of Jean-Michele Rotin, Leon Ware, Natasha Watts, Floacist and a few other guests vocalists on here. Scheduled via Peppermint Jam the twelve tracks represent Omar's musical spectrum to the fullest and fuse Soul with literally everything, from complex, piano-driven Broken Beat in "Vicky's Turn", classic Soul grooves in "Insatiable" and deep, late night vibes in "Gave My Heart". Furthermore we're even surprised by tango'esque offbeats in the well-anthemic, bilingual "Deja Vu" which defo turns out to be our favorite tune on "Love In Beats" whilst "Hold Me Closer" brings a more Easy Listening feel well suitable for 80s-themed cocktail party gathering, "I Want It To Be" caters a little more uplifting atmosphere and a well-interesting stab sequence which reminds us of St. Etienne's 1991-released classic "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" for a reason and "Doobie Doo" introduces a sweet'n'crackly vintage vibe musically whilst keeping it real on the sunny side of life. But these are only a few tunes picked from an album that's defo one timeless and classy addition to any record collection out there. Check.
01. Sledgehead Bristol - Fleetwood Macked [Sledgehead Bristol 003]
Did anyone say Fleetwood Mac, and especially "Dreams" ? Count me in as I've got a personal connection to this specific song due to a Mannheim-based Drum'n'Bass-MC/-singer once known as Lady Infinity who not only was a massive fan of the band but also, as a side project, ran a cover band dedicated to Fleetwood Mac with her dad and once send me a tape including her incredibly good cover of "Dreams" which, at the time, simply blew my mind. Ever since, I feel a connection to this tune and therefore this perfectly crafted bootleg / mash-up which sets the original vocals into a new, more discoid context, serving a sweet DJ tool for use in NuDisco / Edit or Freestyle related sets was a must have for me.
02. Federico Curatolo - The Orchestra EP [Pathway Traxx 003]
All true House Music addicts watch out for this one. Originally released as a limited purple vinyl pressing in 2013 this popped up at our local record store only recently and serves a remarkable take on deep, oldskool Piano House with an ecstatic vocal twist. All these four tracks could've been produced somewhen throughout the first half of the nineties as well and therefore do represent the exact kind of House music we're into these days. Essential piece.
03. The Modulator - Breather / Try Again [Analog Records USA 042]
Two epic, well muscular tracks on this limited to 100 copies 12" pressing which sees our main man Freddy Fresh reviving his very own imprint Analog Records USA by using his Techno-bound alias The Modulator. If you're a fan of the harder, banging side of Techno and have a thing for dark'n'wonky, ever evolving productions this is defo a proper addition to your collection. One to play out at illegal bunker raves for a reason.
04. Deep'a & Biri - Echoic Memories EP [Transmat Records 095]
After a longer break we've seen the classic Transmat label being revived again in 2016 and with the "Echoic Memories EP" by Deep'a & Biri, two producers hailing from Israel, they definitely caught our attention as the four tracks on this 12" single do cater a sweet fusion of Dub Techno-influences, echoes of Detroit and bits of Acid, all falling in place in a slightly tool'ish, yet floating and all embracing manner best served throughout late night Techno sessions. Good stuff.
05. 808 State - Ex:el [Music On Vinyl]
A blast from the past this numbered and limited to 750 copies re-issue on sweet yellow vinyl is. Originally released back in 1991 "Ex:el" does not only include 808 State's benchmark tunes "In Yer Face" and "Cübik" but also two amazing and oftenly overlooked Björk features on the tracks "Ooops" and "Qmart" plus, and this goes for this extended re-issue only, four bonus tracks and detailed liner notes reflecting on the projects history. Sweet.
06. Dr. Walker & Omsk Information / St. Tetik [Subsonic Records 003 Promo]
See review for details...
07. Paul Wirkus - Discours Amoureux [Edition Beides 002]
See review for details...
08. Celer - Two Days And One Night [Sequel 005]
See review for details...
And another new Psychocandies release came in these days, this time it's 4ZZZ1's digital two track single "Underwater Frequencys" which is available via all digital download stores since December 22nd, 2016. Whilst the title track rolls out over a total playtime of a little more than 10 minutes and fuses decent, Acid-fueled TechHouse with a repetetive background harmonica motif we see "Underbello", the second tune on here, gravitating towards a more technoid, tool-orientated focus and presenting a more screaming approach towards brainwrecking, ecstatic Acid modulations. Proper.
Put on the circuit not too long ago via the ever active Acid-focused imprint Psychocandies is Sascha Müller's newest album named "Acid Rampage 606303303", catering a menu of 12 untitled tracks all seemingly, and entirely created by this magical set-up of three Roland machines. And, as one possibly might expect, the outcome of this conceptional production approach is pure madness: screaming Acid lines, minimalistic percussions and a braincell wrecking intensity spread out over a full playtime of 51 minutes are perfect fodder for all followers of psyched out underground Acid and regulars at strobe-lit, fogmachine-fueled bunker raves. If you're one of these creatures - check this out!
Upcoming on the Australian label Splitrec and set for release on January 27th, 2k17 is "Mungo", the projects second release on the imprint after their same titled debut in 2006. With this album stretched out over three CD's and a total run time of approx. 160 minutes we join the 21-piece orchestra going on a road trip from Sydney to Adelaide for a performance, a three days journey which took them to the Mungo National Park where they recorded their long and unusual piece according to their general approach of taking orchestral and experimental music to places beyond the venues where it's usually performed. With the first CD subtitled "Sunrise" and split in two parts we see the orchestra using a method of of moving around two stereo mics amongst and around the performing members of the group, capturing both a variety of scattered wind instruments and strings alongside the surrounding atmosphere of the Australian desert which, in combination, come down to a very calming, ancient effect that makes one really feel in sync with the spirits of nature, at least until fragments of a male voice, seemingly reciting facts from a book, appearing, dis- and re-appearing again when leaving or entering the microphones pick up radius, are becoming part of the scene, leaving us with thoughts about what kind of knowledge we're missing out throughout the course of "Zanci Homestead I" whilst background buzzes and carefully toned down percussions provide a steady, yet constantly evolving backdrop for what is going on. Furthermore, the shorter "Zanci Homestead II" focuses on a livelier, yet also kinda unsettling feel provided by a clustered array of flutes, sax / trumpets and pvc pipes alongside clanging metal objects whilst the recording persons footsteps on the desert sand add a natural rhythm signature which moves on a totally different path than the hyperabstract Free Jazz-reminiscing orchestra performance in this piece. Going into CD2, the so-called "Sunset" section, we find one long, 55 minutes spanning piece going by the name of "Woolshed" which refers to a massive wooden structure built in 1869 to be found at the recording site. Recorded by two microphonists wandering through the space we're experiencing the sonic happenings from different angles at the same time which seem to be of a warmer and more structured, maybe even conducted nature compared to the naturalistic flow of the preceding part of the album. In this session, we even find fragments of a singing female voice, some fluttering electronic sequences and - of course - the special acoustics provided by the "Woolshed" itself which, according to a photograph on the CD sleeve, can be compared to a wide, loft-like space under a not fully closed roof which allows the soundwaves to unfold in a unique way, pleasently underlining the multilayered piece that slowly builds up until it, at times, feels as chaotic, yet functional like a busy open air marketplace in a foreign, exotic country in which one simply is overwhelmed by loads and loads of new impressions and unknown sensations of any kind. Finally, the "Midnight" part brings us the "Airstrip", a discreet and slightly mysterious journey into the wonderful new sonic world of the Splinter Orchestra recorded in near total darkness, incorporating distant echoes of Jazz, decent use and abuse of the high frequency spectrum as well as broken down bits of human voices before swelling crescendoes and increased musical movements indicate cult'ish or ritual behaviour of sorts whilst short, out of context syllables, emulated animal noises and whispering voices accompany the nocturnal, slightly eldritch atmosphere captured throughout the course of this 38 minute ride. Fascinating!
Jos Smolders - Nowhere: Exercises In Modular Synthesis And Field Recording [Cronica 123 Promo]
Scheduled for release on January 10th, 2k17 via the Portuguese imprint Cronica is Jos Smolders newest album effort named "Nowhere: Exercises In Modular Synthesis And Field Recording" in which we see the artist stepping away from his usual approach of detailed, thought out composition and exploring a method of letting his electronic devices of mostly modular nature doing what they do, evolving sounds without much interference from the artist himself. In the opening tune "Incident At Ras Oumlil (Revised 2016)" this new way of working leads to a sequence of highly digital clicks reminiscent of a Geiger counter indicating the presence of radioactivity before descending into a cold, scientific drone which is shortly interrupted by distorted Field Recordings and certain athmospheric tweeks evoking memories of Scanner's most experimental work. Next up is the title track "NowHere", bringing in more tense, science-orientated modulation alongside bewildering scraping sounds and what seem to be sounds of a motor running in some distance and "For Rudy Carrera (Revised For 2016)" introduces smacking, low frequency signatures from the deepest depths of the subaquatic abyss, pairing these with indecipherable, bleeping transmissions of a sequential nature and uneven, metallic rhythms before coming to an abrupt halt that takes us into an alien laboratory / factory of sorts where robotic machines move and soldering processes are happening on a large scale. Going into a twelve minutes run with the "Song For Maya Deren" we're taken into a world of metallic growling and haunting, obviously timestretched vocal recordings, a combination that truly introduces a terrifying tension to a well minimalist composition living by these components and a few additional drones and crystalline tonalities whilst "Up. Up And Back To 1982" gives us a calm start by bringing up a relaxed, slowly moving atmosphere and more crystalline trickles before digital distortions start to infiltrate the sonic system and a series of melodic, off kilter tones build up in a way that makes us think of an ancient folk dance. After abruptly breaking down into near silence around mid-track the 17 minutes track leaves us alone with a few, sparse crackling surface noises and more additional Drone-resembling textures. Finally "NoWhere" get's down into more digital sounds whilst providing an amalgamation of Clicks'N'Cuts and ultraminimalist Ambient seemingly built from signal tones and sparse piano notes which are assembled in a hypnotic and sureless time dissolving way. Good stuff, this is.