29 April 2012

Paco Sala - Ro-Me-Ro (Digitalis DIGIV043 - 2012)

When Digitalis announced upfront digital single to the album, I thought Paco Sala is a moustached electronics explorer from New Mexico. In fact it's a solo project by Antony Harrison AKA Konntinent, who now presents his first Paco longplayer. He's not alone as the vocal part is done by eloquent singer Leyli, adding fragile touch to the complex sound arrangements.
The album opens in fine manner with "Dumb Truths", a mosaic of melodic synth stabs, whispering voices and percussive claps. Already known from the single, „Gifts Of The Bloom“ features Leyli's French-style murmuring on compelling melody, which would predict a longer lifetime for this mini-hit. In the same league are "Spiral" and also "Tre’s Future First", both feeling the warm embrace of Leyli's vocal talent, but contrasting musical language is spoken in whirlwind intermezzo "Rosa × damascena" or in "Blank Legend", a throbbing ode to confusion.
Though, during home listening I had to push myself through the last tracks of the B-side. It might be that Paco Sala's expressive compositions work better in immediate contact with the audience. I could envisage live performances in intimate art clubs, with bohemian crowds enjoying synthetic sound poetry.

28 April 2012

Duplex - Below The Photic Zone (Harbour City Sorrow HCS993 - 2012)

Duplex is an essential European outpost of Detroit heritage. In their newest release for the Harbour City Sorrow imprint, Chris Aarse and John Matze have succeeded in producing a perfect set of Detroit-influenced tracks, with innovation one would expect from the birthplace of techno itself. Duplex has programmed a set of grooves for well-being, creating a delicious balance between techno, deep house and electro.
Luminescent chords and sweet layers in "Below The Photic Zone" take to underwater travels to discover coral reefs. Deeper bass appears in "Electric Trees", which is mostly carried by a fragile loop and atmospheric textures reminiscent of Digital Justice. The B-side concludes with Detroit vibes in "Galx", the EP's most floor-minded cut for cherishing urban hedonism. Really impressive sounds from the Dutch duo.

20 April 2012

Morphology - Dalek Invasion (SEMANTICA 43 - 2012)

While Svreca's next release is for techno heads, Semantica's electro department puts on display Morphology, a Finnish act consisting of Matti Turunen and Michael Diekmann. Their second single for the Spanish label is something for electro purists. Pure is the keyword here as both tracks are finely produced, with clear ideas executed in a good technical manner. Although in "Dalek Invasion" one might expect deviant sci-fi rumble, it's a friendly tune with gentle pads, reminding of Dopplereffekt. Carrying the mood of a suburban sunset, "Journey's End" features fatter bass along with clean riffs and hints of jazz-funk for an old-school flavored track. Intelligent, but tamed electro without any sharp edges.

16 April 2012

Truss - Clytha (Our Circula Sound OCS004 - 2012)

Expected release date June 2012
After long shifts in the studio, London techno engineer Tom Russell AKA Truss drops a few new releases this spring. A four-tracker is the first of a two-part EP on Our Circula Sound.
The track title "Clytha" might derive from a distant star, or an area in Wales. Despite of being short of three minutes, the track with a sneaking drone and slow-stepping fat rhythm is like a theme song for an Utopian movie.
Knobs are turned for heavier impact in the remix of "Clytha" by T47 AKA Tommy Four Seven. Oppressing by nature, it's built on a slowly accelerating vibrating hum and distorted bass, which grows into ritualistic whipping. "Love the fact he's stuck to a waltz with "Clytha", although it makes it a bit of a nightmare to mix", Truss has said. If I may ask, Emptyset and Ancient Methods could extend the list of remixers here.
Other two cuts are efficient big room tools. "Auden" is remixed by Svreca and unmistakably sounding like Semantica techno, running on a monotone loop and steaming hiss. Techno fans are indulged also in "Beacon", a straightforward banger with dominant bass slap and mutated acid line. Prepare for a ride.

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Innercity - Cyber The Last Grind (Not On Label - 2012)

After being enthused about Innercity's seven-inch on NNA Tapes, a message by the artist announcing a free album full of electronic psychedelia raised new expectations. "Cyber The Last Grind", a compilation of Hans Dens' recordings from 2009 to 2011, is a maze of nonconformist sound experiments under the veil of obscurity, by Belgium's own specialist of cathedral music.
Apart from mindblowing mini-hit "Dada Les Apocalypses" a number of tracks on the fringes on electronic music are found here. Like "Birthriver", hardcore polka coated in gentle distortion and compelling hum, or "Simulation: Untitled 2", where illegal lab experiments are conducted with smoke and steam surrounding the protagonists.
An addictive loop swathed into smudginess and eerie vocal samples accompany a long procession of the damned in "Prisoners Of Memory". Innercity's skills to produce ambient drones with dark floor potential are exemplified in a beastly song "The Drones Of Babalon", while "Grind At Heart" and "Exosimula" delve into nebulae of subconsciousness.

14 April 2012

Red Stars Over Tokyo - 4 Track 12" (Hot Hair 05 - 2012)

One artist, one label - Red Stars Over Tokyo impressed on the previous release for his own Hot Hair and on the new EP the artist from Belgium continues strong performances. The release is an edition of 300, of which each 100 pieces pressed as clear, clear green or black vinyl.
Most of the EP could be described as grown-up electronica, but looking into depths of the compositions a notion of macabre beauty emerges. When we just take the first track "Two Lover Jumping Off The Roof" - musically it's an expression of serenity, but this feeling is made void by the morose textual part, whispered by a female vocalist. Harmonic sound textures, but melancholic atmosphere characterize also "The House Of Erased Dreams" and "Trifling Madness", an electronic ballad with male vocal. Only when you believe it's all about hidden angsts, a liberating breeze comes with "Stop Staring At The Ground", a rhythmic clattering on psy-ambient backdrop, as a proof of the artist's ability to blend techno and electronica.

13 April 2012

Svreca - Vilna / Hagagatan (SEMANTICA 33A - 2012)

Dark techno for big rooms: Semantica drops the heaviest release so far in 2012 with Svreca's two-tracker "Vilna/Hagagatan". By title sounding like a tribute to the Baltic Sea region, its A-side features a galvanized treatment of "Vilna" by Orphx, an industrial-rooted collective knowing no mercy. This is honest techno with echoing thunder and distortion-coated bass, in Spanish-Canadian collaboration. Dark rhythm and noise exposure also in "Hagagatan", which takes to the throat of a foundry with all exit doors blocked.

12 April 2012

Rhythm & Sound w/ Jennifer Lara - Queen In My Empire (Burial Mix BM-11 - 2003)

To preserve their exceptional nature, I pick Basic Channel, Chain Reaction or Rhythm & Sound releases quite rarely from the shelf. These records are for special moments, when the mood and setting is right. Jennifer Lara's "Queen In My Empire" is awesome, like a balm for the soul, providing comfort and protection and sounding in the same very sensual. My favorite in the Burial Mix series and an eternal classic.

09 April 2012

Various - The Power Of Movement In Plants EP (Electronique.it ELE-R001 - 2012)

Italy's webzine Electronique.it has decided to enjoy the joys and sorrows of being a record label and prepares its first release featuring three artists. Preview clips tell that "Soils" by Commodity Place is an ordinary ambient piece and "Is This For Real?" by passEnger keeps tranquil mood while adding some casual beats. The best track comes from the Cosmic Metal Mother - "The Unreleased Techno Mixes Series (comunicazione uno)", which is destined to move the feet and flirts with Detroit and Belgium anno 1992.

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Various - In The Dark: The Soul Of Detroit (Still Music STILLMDLP005 - 2012)

Release date of this reissue is Spring 2012
In 2005 a number of shakers and movers of the Detroit deep house scene were united in a compilation called "In The Dark (The Soul Of Detroit)". Centered around Rick Wilhite and Marcellus Pittman, the release became a highlight of the season and fell to the "hard-to-find" category soon.
Only seven years later Still Music decided to drop a reissue both on vinyl and CD. A good reason to pick the album from the shelf, to revisit exquisite cuts like Pittman's nine minutes of full-bodied drizzling jazz "A Walk Thru Osaka" or "Cosmic Jungle", a crawling percussive monster by all-star combo of Wilhite, Urban Tribe and Sherard Ingram. Most abstract cut between early UR techno and house is "In The Dark", featuring again Pittman and Wilhite along Ray Bone Jones. Exclusive to the reissue "Bosmos", an invasion of looped treble clef in collaboration of Wilhite and Moodymann.
The CD version of the compilation will be accompanied by a 30-minute film "In The Dark: Voices", featuring interviews from Wilhite, Ron Trent, Mike Grant, Mike Huckaby, Franki “DJ 3000” Juncaj and many others.

06 April 2012

Various - Trash Fantasy's Storm (Ojo De Apolo - (ojo.07)_2012)

For a long time Chile has not been an uncharted territory in electronic music, if we just think of Cristian Vogel, Dinky, Matias Aguayo and others, most of them having found a creative home outside the native country.
But it's not quiet in Santiago de Chile either: Ojo de Opolo is a local label specialised on deep and minimal house. After mid-2000's, when the definition "minimal" almost became a pejorative, this particular might seem very outdated, but current EP tries to prove the opposite.
The release is opened by Jorge Cortés AKA Jorge C. with a long and easy-going minimal house cut "Trash Fantasy", which plays with cinematic samples and varied tempo. Chicago Skyway remix features a deeper groove and combines snares and hi-hats in mid-1990's Relief style. On the B-side Japanese producer Kai continues in a more slower house note, although the track title "Storm" might promise something fierce. For the conclusion the release is taken to new heights by Basic Soul Unit, spicing up the "Storm" with ample bass and fat acid house grooves, especially check the second half.
To sum it up, many common elements of house music have been distilled "Trash Fantasy's Storm", but as a neatly produced release it deserves attention, also because of its 32 minutes that make it by length a mini-album.

05 April 2012

Morphosis - The TEPCO Report (Morphine Records DOSER 011 - 2012)

There might be many artists being inspired by devastating atomic spill at Fukushima. First I can think of Biosphere and "N-Plants", a recording project about Japanese nuclear power stations, which in fact started before the disaster and was completed after the nuclear fallout had settled.
Now Lebanese native and Italian resident Rabih Beaini AKA Morphosis has a new single out called "TEPCO Report", making a clear reference to the gloomy events a year ago.
For his own label Morphosis has managed to produce two perfect cuts that sonically describe the drama happened and in the same commemorate people and places lost in the incident.
Radiation, otherwise not perceivable to human senses, is defined by sound in the A-side's ambient "Exposure", where emergency is in the air right from the start, with beeps and signals on a nervous drone. Then it proceeds with the noise of doors and bells right to the headspring of gradually emerging bass hum for a minimalistic non-dance masterpiece.
"Postatomicpoetry" starts like a modern classical composition, then the bass spreads its mighty wings and the track grows into a gigaton techno cut, while preserving some sad notes. Artistically and technically amazing requiem, which confirms Morphosis' extraordinary touch among today's electronic musicians.
Morphosis - Exposure