168 posts tagged electronic
Romeo Rorschach EP
Free Friday: Microfilm: Romeo Rorschach EP
I’m proud to present the first single from Microfilm’s forthcoming album, AggroPastels. “Romeo Rorschach” features a chorus guest vocal by Chanticleer Trü of Portland indie band Magic Mouth, and it’s the first taste of our album. Pete Ellison, aka the very talented Initial P of Disko Warp fame, contributed a whole slew of 90s house remixes (complete with bonus beats, YES!) alongside a thick electro-house rework by Boston duo Assassins. It’s all available for FREE on SoundCloud!
Microfilm is entirely a DIY operation — we create, design, and promote everything entirely on our own without a publicist, label, or representation. So we appreciate any reposting, signal boosting, tweeting, etc. — thank you! :)
Markus Enochson: “B” EP (Machinists)
This is a rather unassuming but fantastic trio of tracks from techno producer Enochson. “Bohoo” kicks it off and is the best of the series, with a hypnotic, unchanging bassline and steady groove that keeps it moving while a mono-lead is free to roam. In its repetition, it gives the illusion of minimalism, but its less predictable synth lead takes it far. “Boy” is tracky as well, with its title repeated again and again over a nice chunky tech house groove, but it pales next to “Bad Choice” which is a lot punchier and more engaging. Its metallic arpeggios work well over a crisp, bright drum track, especially when a drumkit comes in on the offbeat, rising to the surface furiously before filtering and decaying into the background. This tide of rhythm continues throughout the track, lending an unexpected drama that must sound absolutely massive on a big system. All three cuts are solid, but the contrast between the first and third cuts is wonderfully sharp.
Atom™: Cold Memories (Sähkö)
Uwe Schmidt recorded Cold Memories as Atom Heart way back in 1994, when it was nearly impossible to avoid some kind of project of his. This was before the schtick of Señor Coconut, but during his initial prolificacy that included projects Lassigue Bendthaus, n+, Midisport, Fonosandwich, HAT, and more. It’s a testament to Schmidt’s ingenuity and originality that nearly 20 years later, this still sounds fresh as ever. The double album is comprised of two long halves, each one nearly an hour. “Slow motion,” utters a time-stretched voice in the opening seconds of Cold Memories, and it’s a sign of what’s to follow. Most of the first half is beatless and sublime, with passages that all blend together like vapors mingling in the air. Only in the final moments of the first half does a rhythm section really come into play, and it’s in this final movement that it sounds mildly dated (with a chugging broken beat that recalls the mid 90s trip hop of Delerium, complete with disembodied chanting). The second half begins with a chill as well, mostly beatless though with some rhythmic undertones that especially take shape about a quarter of the way through with undulating sounds and reverberation. The beat kicks in with a slower but steady drive, but it’s a series of strange, squeaky noises and woodwinds (like strangled bird calls) that set the tone periodically, even with a touch of acid in its final stretch. All in all, it’s just another installment in Schmidt’s massive backcatalogue of interesting, quality music. But I’m thankful for Sähko giving it the royal treatment and making it more readily available after all this time. It’s both a time capsule as well as more evidence that Schmidt is a true innovator, both in touch with what’s happening in electronic music as well as unafraid to wander wherever his inspiration takes him. The vague shifts between ideas and sounds, blended over the span of two single long tracks here, feels like dream logic, sometimes taking unexpected turns but always leading the way confidently, regardless of what strange path it might be taking you down.
Romeo Rorshach (Assassins remix)
Free download: Microfilm: “Romeo Rorschach (Assassins Remix)”
Happy to unveil another taster for our upcoming Microfilm album, AggroPastels. “Romeo Rorshach” is the second track on the album and features chorus vocals by Chanticleer Trü of fellow Portland band Magic Mouth. This pumped up mix by Boston duo Assassins is a free download on SoundCloud — grab it now!
Locust: You’ll Be Safe Forever (Editions Mego)
When Mark Van Hoen was asked to perform on KFMU, he began rehearsing and collaborating with Louis Sherman — after deciding that the results sounded suspiciously like his 90s project Locust, Van Hoen revived the moniker and collected some of those sessions along with some new stuff for the first proper Locust album since 2001’s Wrong. You’ll Be Safe Forever is not so far off from the haunted samples of his previous outing under his own name, The Revenant Diary, but it also falls in line with the chunky beats of Locust’s Truth Is Born of Arguments album from 1995. Anyone expecting the more chanteusy lyrical side of Wrong or Morning Light may be slightly disappointed, but this is very much Van Hoen in his element otherwise. Hazy interludes break up the more rhythmic tracks, and it’s the contrast between these more ambient interludes and strong beat-laden pieces that defines the album. Like The Revenant Diary, there’s something somewhat dated in Van Hoen’s approach, using a lot of old-sounding loops, repetitive structures that sound perhaps hardware sampler-based — but Van Hoen’s knack for infectious tracks is still strong, and it’s evidenced fully on a track like “Strobes,” whose weird vocal refrain is not so far off from The Revenant Diary’s “Don’t Look Back” (one of my favorites on each release respectively). Opening track “Fall For Me” is also gorgeous, setting the tone for the proceedings really well with its undulating pads and manipulated vocal pieces. There’s a balance between grooves and discord here that works to Van Hoen’s favor, like the weird gallop of “Just Want You” pitted against dissonant layers of sequencing and samples or the Burial-esque breaks of “Oh Yeah” that provide a grounding for its airy, nebulous chords. But this is not to discount the ambient element of the album so casually; those shorter, abstract sketches are key to the album’s flow and sense of wholeness. “The Worn Gift” finds Van Hoen flexing the same tension found on his beaty tracks but with a weightless ease. The final stretch of tracks somewhat brings those two contrasting elements together with a more sedate downtempo groove accompanying pastoral mixes of sound. It’s great to have the project revived, even if Locust continues to shift shapes over time. That Van Hoen has managed to tap into something that sounds at once nostalgic and new is a testament to his skills as a producer as well as his ingenuity as a creator.
Mohammad: Som Sakrifis (Pan)
Mohammad is a trio that seems to truly triangulate between its members’ strengths. Coti K plays contra-bassoon, Ilios (owner of the Antifrost label) plays oscillators, and Nikos Veliotis plays cello. For Som Sakrifis, the trio migrated to Pan instead of Ilios’s own Antifrost imprint. This is my first exposure to their music, but it’s a logical fit on Pan, veering into the fringes of experimental and drone music with a heavy emphasis on timbre and texture. Most of the time, Coti K. and Veliotis play in sync, with droning, extended tones that bend within one another, creating a beguiling result that certainly sounds acoustic but otherwise can be difficult to identify specifically as to what exactly is creating the sound. “Sakrifis” starts it off with 7 minutes of gliding, deliberate, dirgelike tones that culminate in a swell of sound with vocalizations underneath. “Lapli Tero” continues along those lines but with a more compelling, hypnotic refrain that sounds as resolute as it is hopeless. But perhaps the most evolved piece is the last of the three: “Liberig Min” is seventeen minutes long and starts unassumingly with a rhythmic tweet and a slow, steady crescendo of cello and oscillator tones, one which persists throughout the track, punctuated by prolonged rests and near-silence. Som Sakrifis is nothing if not consistent, with its languid arrangements and morose disposition, but the trio really work the sound to their best advantage.
Lee Gamble was new to me when he released these two albums on the esteemed PAN label. Each release is unique and quite different from the other, but both are quite excellent and have earned him a rightful amount of respect.
Diversions 1994-1996 has such a simple concept that it’s disarming; Gamble deconstructed old jungle mixtapes and pieced together various ambient breakdowns, interludes, dropouts and passages into a sublime mini-album that is both beguiling and so damn smooth. Lest you think this might come off like an LTJ Bukem soaring piece of nostalgia, it’s far murkier and more subtle than that. It’s this mutation into something entirely other that makes Diversions feel so startlingly new in spite of its source material. There are a few clearer glimmers of the past it references, such as the jazzy tones of “Razor,” the melodic tinge of interlude “3, 4 Synthetics” or the straightforward breakbeat lurking in the distance on “Dollis Hill,” but most of the time he takes us down darker, less nostalgic corridors with sounds that are ambient but slightly “off.”
Dutch Tvashar Plumes is a different beast entirely. It’s more of a proper album (Diversions is something between a mixtape and a mini-album), running a full 40 minutes and chock full of strange ideas. It’s perhaps a more accurate representation of Gamble’s skills and strengths, each track with its own weird personality. It’s glitchy and computerized, particularly on a track like “Skorokhodz” that sounds more like the software experiments of Florian Hecker than anything you’d hear on a dancefloor. But there is also a surprising accessibility despite the playful and experimental nature of the album; Gamble is unafraid to let a beat tie it all together. I find that combination of tinkering and accessibility to be not so far off from what Actress has been exploring in the last few years. However, I think that Gamble does it differently and far better. The weird glitchy groove of “Coma Skank” is infectious against all odds, and the mutant house of “Nowhen Hooks” is oddly irresistible. I think it works best as a full album start to finish, though; the progression as Gamble starts far out and reins it in, only to go back back out there all over again, is what makes it so appealing to me.
Both releases show off Gamble’s talent for the unusual and unexpected, but Dutch Tvashar Plumes is perhaps my favorite of the two. Both are highly recommended though… two sides of a musical personality that will no doubt continue to only get more interesting.
Ital Tek: Nebula Dance (Planet µ)
Ital Tek’s 2012 full-length moves away from the darker dubstep sounds he explored a few years ago and instead brims with a vibrant energy. This post-dubstep (or whatever you want to call it) collection of tracks is both shimmering and melodic, still with an infectious focus on rhythm, but with a heaping dose of digital optimism. Tracks like “Pixel Haze” (which appeared previously on the Gonga EP) and “Intercruise” brim with enthusiasm and a distinctly melodic sensibility, with layers of synth leads and pads working in harmony to create a gorgeous result. But he’s not afraid to throw down some wild beatmaking, either; “Gonga,” previously released as the lead track on the EP of the same name, is a frantic, spastic wallop of programming and soaring, bending synths. And the title cut that leads the album is a frenzy of pitch bent loops and sounds that flit in and out of its chuggy halfbeat anchor. It’s a varied album with some handsome contrasts between breezier grooves like “Steel Sky” and “Discontinuum” and the more frenetic anthems of “Human Version” and “Solar Sail.” Of all of Ital Tek’s material I’ve heard, this album is perhaps my favorite. It’s such a spot-on fusion of his previous repertoire, current trends, melodic flair and something new. One of my favorites from 2012, much belated in posting here, but no less good now than it was the first time I heard it.
Taxi Zum Klo
Free download for Record Store Day
Happy to present “Taxi Zum Klo,” a new Microfilm original, available as a free download in advance of our forthcoming album, AggroPastels. This will not be included on the album but was recorded and produced in the same sessions.
How could we not write a tribute to her? Microfilm’s “Tilda Swinton” track is a free download now on SoundCloud. It’s a preview to our forthcoming album AggroPastels; the track will not appear on the album but was recorded and produced in the same sessions.
Microfilm: “Taxi Zum Klo” (FREE download!)
In celebration of Record Store Day, we’re releasing another new track as a free download! “Taxi Zum Klo” is a tribute to the art-house film of the same name from 1981. It was recorded and produced during the sessions for our forthcoming album AggroPastels, but it will not be included on the tracklist.
Main: Ablation (Editions Mego)
Mego continues its winning streak releasing quality new music. They’ve managed to resurrect Robert Hampson’s Main project for this new album, his first under the name in seven years. Ever since Main became a solo project for Hampson, following the departure of his former Loop cohort Scott Dawson, the focus on non-traditional music using guitars shifted into something more sublime and cerebral. Field recordings play a role in most of Main’s output, and Ablation is no exception. To create these four extended pieces, Hampson collaborated with Stephan Mathieu, and it’s a very exciting meeting of the minds as far as this listener is concerned. Stephan Mathieu consistently creates compelling textural ambient music, and so having his creative voice as part of Ablation only helps things. The album is broken into four movements. “I” is sufficiently dark, starting with field recordings before the low hammer of a piano resonates and decays. Unusual sounds sourced from instruments and objects (piano, tapped surfaces, field recordings) work in counterpoint to tense, high pitched drones. It may be minimal and not without some drones, but this is far from relaxing music — it’s taut and tense until its final trail-off. “II” is more purely electronic in nature, beginning with a slow crescendo of electronic chirps, like a chorus of cicadas that swells in loudness. Stephan Mathieu’s influence seems to creep to the surface a bit more with each successive track, often in the form of a wash of microtonal drones and overtones. However, the tone is significantly darker and more unsettling than most of Mathieu’s solo material lately. While his albums Remain and A Static Place are quite serene, this is all unresolved tension. Even on “IV,” where more atmospheric drones take center stage, there are disorienting elements including bright morse code-like blips that pan from one channel to the other or swelling, layered bleeps that comprise its final crescendo. Only in the final moments of playback does Ablation feel resolved and at peace. In this sense the album is also fairly different from Main’s more minimal previous output (the mid-90s Hz EP collection, for example). It has a unique sensibility and a restless disposition relative to Hampson’s previous œuvre, and this is no doubt a result of a significant passage of time as well as working with a new collaborator. It’s an outstanding addition to both Mego and Hampson’s repertoires — highly recommended listening.
Valance Drakes: A Fatherless Child (Detroit Underground)
Valance Drakes (aka MusSck) created this collection of tracks as a farewell to his deceased stepfather. He posted his own artist statement [sic] about the music on the Detroit Underground site:
On June 5th 2012 My Step Father Kenneth Knight died of a rare form of cancer known as Mesothelioma. He left Barbados and came to London to work for London Transport in the early sixty on the buses, he was a quite person and always smiling, He came into my life and took me as his son.
He was a very loving and caring father and I remember the times when he took me bike riding and he played the role of a dutiful father, I had a very loving fulfilling upbringing, he was a role model, he instil morals and standards which I hold in extreme even today, he left a void in my life that will be fulfil.
Ken was proud with my studies and my music, he always tell my mom secretly how amazing it is seeing his son travel around the world not just for a holiday but for his music which is not just my job it’s my life and he’s one of a very few that witness my ups and downs.
This Ep is my final send off as I didn’t get the chance to tell him goodbye, I want to thank all the sound designers and producers that hook me up with sounds when my laptop crashed at the time.
The music itself flows continuously, four movements of one whole idea. The sound design is meticulous, skittery and detailed, as one might expect from Detroit Underground. It recalls the fussy, springy step of Richard Devine and Kero in its bright, spry sounds and highly manipulated effects. It’s a healthy mix of downtempo grooves and tweaked-to-the-gills IDM, anchored in intensity a bit knowing that this music is Drakes’ eulogy to his father figure. The reversed choir on the final title cut lends a certain reverence without feeling over the top — it all seems to click together just right.
Barry Adamson: “On the Wrong Side of Relaxation” (Moss Side Story, Mute 1988)
Barry Adamson’s Mute debut in the late 80s remains odd and interesting 25 years later. It’s by far less jazz-tinged and non-vocal compared to his later work, and this opening track from the album includes some signature wailing courtesy of labelmate Diamanda Galás.
(Trivia: I actually sampled the last little bit of spoken audio in the track “Anathema” on my 2nd 12” release, Secrets II.)
Christian Löffler: A Forest (Ki Records)
The pastoral combination of delicate IDM, dancefloor motifs, and songs that comprise A Forest make it an overlooked gem of 2012 for me. I stumbled onto it via Kompakt’s best of 2012 list early this year, and while it’s taken some time to put this earworm into words, it’s certainly a good one. The mots obvious comparison I can’t help but draw is to Trentemøller’s superb 2006 album, The Last Resort. It shares that album’s left turns into gorgeous headphones listening as well as well-crafted songs aimed at the dancefloor as much as the heart. Most of the album is instrumental, but Löffler’s melodic sensibility is usually quite lyrical in its own right. From the opening effects of the title cut it’s clear that Löffler has a talent for crafting sound in the most delicate ways. Everything sounds in its right place, little synth filters and details weaving in and out of each other with a keen sense of space. There are a couple tracks that slow the tempo down away from the dancefloor, but this helps give the album a nice pacing; “Pale Skin” has the fragile beauty of an Ulrich Schnauss track, while “Swift Code” is a beatless one. But typically Löffler keeps at least one foot on the dancefloor, with a kick drum anchoring most tracks, and that straddling of worlds — that of moving the body and moving the mind — is what makes A Forest such a thoroughly satisfying listen from start to finish.