30 August 2012

DUST OFF: Cluster - Cluster 71 (Water water160 - 2006)

In 1971 Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Plank shocked the schlager nation with an utterly experimental piece of music called "Cluster". It was the debut of the group of the same name and an important milestone of the pre-Kraftwerk era.
Difficult to believe this three-track album of pulsating drones and irrational synth lines dates back more than 40 years. Certainly not a dance record, it just provides the insight into the vision and abilities of the masters of analog equipment.
The album was reissued in 1980 under the name "Cluster '71" and recent years have seen a number of the group's re-releases. Also solo projects of the Cluster members have resurfaced, many of them on the excellent Bureau B label. So before getting too hyped about contemporary drone & experimental artists, look into the history books to see where the innovation lies.

28 August 2012

Truss - Ganymede (Perc Trax TPT 055 - 2012)

Release date is in September 2012
Perc Trax is a sure bet for uncompromising and oppressive techno, if we only think of Perc’s recent "A New Brutality" or Forward Strategy Group's album. Now Truss, a gear wizard from London and trusted associate of the Perc camp, follows up his recent industrial waltz "Clytha" on Our Circula Sound and drops with "Ganymede" a bonding title track in line with industrial attitude of the label. The shuffled-beat original pushes you against the wall, when sending hoover blasts and acid flashes on shredded drumming. Label head Perc adds some extra kick, shaking it like in the hull of a ocean freighter hit by heavy storm while his dub version offers minor variations of the previous. Up-and-coming DJ Skirt strips it to the basics while keeping the half-step foundations of the original. For the end lands “Hackney”, a blatant acid techno jam bolstered with heavy drum kick.

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Ancient Methods vs. Kareem - Exstinctio Conscientia (Fondation Sonore 001 - 2012)

Berlin duo Ancient Methods, purveyors of the pitch black techno war funk (Boomkat), join forces with Zhark mastermind Kareem for a dream-team of industrial techno. Ancient Methods have been a flagship of the genre for the last couple of years, but special shouts  go to Kareem - nice to see him back and well in form again. Expecting the post to deliver the vinyl soon, I’m pretty convinced "Exstinctio Conscientia" is a striking debut of the French label Fondation Sonore.

A1 Zealots (Kareem Interpretation) 1-2

B1 Dämmerung der Parhelia (Ancient Methods Interpretation) 1-2
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23 August 2012

MPIA3 - Ely / Squatter's Dog (Avian AVN005 - 2012)

MPIA3 goes nasty again on the Avian imprint as it follows up the debut single "Wttp / Casual Welding“. Sulphur is in the air when the Londoner leads his acid techno assault with the A-side’s “Ely”, a prime example of kickdrum rage and poison ivy acid lines. After a brisk start it manages to build up the tension gradually, till the peak arrives after a dramatic break in the middle, with marauding 303 blast tightening the last remaining screws thereafter. The track also leaves room for fiddling on the pitch depending on the crowd’s speed limit.
On the flip “Squatter’s Dog”, a purebred Cerberus, is baring the teeth, irritated by a bleepy and monotone arrangement with distorted bass.
Compared to the MPIA3's debut, which still feels a bit like a test ride, Avian 005 is a real captivating floorkiller for anybody missing harder edge in today’s techno, in Acid Planet and Drop Bass Network vein. This is hardcore, fellas.

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22 August 2012

Polar Inertia - The Last Vehicle EP (Dement3d Records DM3D003 - 2012)

After introductory narrative recalling a 1985 neurology conference in Chicago, mysterious Polar Inertia drops two long and thundering techno journeys on the French label Dement3d. “Major Axis” is an ode to machines, paced by monumental bass and rusty engine noises for brain-drilling shamanism. Emerging from the haze at a mountain pass, “Parallel Transport” continues the mind trip when hauling corrosive cargo. Stretching the definition of droning techno to a new level, Polar Inertia provides two mean cuts for big rooms.

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21 August 2012

SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL - The Call From Below (Digitalis DIGIV045 - 2012)

Rephrasing a movie hero: Digitalis Recordings is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. After excursions to synth, wave, doom or shoegaze it's time to taste some Caribbean-rooted sweetness with SEEKERS-INTERNATIONAL.
Combining traditional sounds from the land of dreadlocks with urban bass and abstract effects, the group underscores its ambition to abstain from an ordinary dub album. And it's easy to become addicted to the nine tracks: One can feel both the warmth of genuine roots'n'kulcha and the chill of metropolitan concrete jungle.
Starting with dub-coated techno chords perceived in deeper spheres of the rebellious opener "TouchRiddim" we see fro the other side a delicately swaying "DropletsRiddim", which is like a slow-motion take of Burial Mix series. Closer to vigorous dancehall action are endlessly looping rub-a-dub cut “Stop Motion” and “Large It Up”, a 74-second call to a wicked soundsystem night. After spiritual vibe in "InVoiceDub" and “HumbleWe” the selector is in charge in minimalistic “PlungedLightRiddim” with hiss and decelerated dubs.
While not slipping to the territory of often so-predictable dub techno, SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL is embracing the elements of IDM to enrich the post-Rhythm & Sound era in dub-influenced electronic music. Using all caps is well justified for this essential piece of ambient dub.

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16 August 2012

Powell - Body Music EP (Diagonal DIAG002 - 2012)

Diagonal is a rather new imprint, now presenting the second release with “Body Music”. Still have to find out who is Powell, the label founder and artist behind the new EP, but he’s leaving embossed footprints. Clearly it reminds of some prominent figures from the past, especially of DAF, which is not the Dutch truck manufacturer but epochal new wave group Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft. Can imagine Gabi Delgado swaying on the stage in the title track "Body Music" while also "Grand Street" and "Nude" are good for some pogo. "Search" is a slow-motion bass & drone intercepting secrets behind the closed doors while "Have It" is in a firm grip of a drum machine. A refreshing piece of wax with dark undertones from the abstract corner of techno.

Powell - Body Music EP [Previews]

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14 August 2012

CHXFX / PLKZFX - Exoferric / Latent Acid (Further Records - 2012)

An entirely X-obsessed release by two electronic heads, originally known as Nochexxx (here disguised under Chxfx) and Ekoplekz (Plkzfx), who come with a split release to demonstrate expertise about machine manipulations.
Chxfx's territory is filled with wrenched sound explorations, characterized by rhythm disorder and noisy lo-fi mess all over the place. With his sketchy approach Chxfx leaves an impression of random tests with gear, ready for surprises. It contains early electronics oscillations (“Ecocide”), sickening cacophony (“Condor Drive”) or click & glitch ambient (“Format Migration”). But we also face “Palace Underseas”, eight thoughtful minutes with piano elements.
Although remaining in the path of abstractions, Plkzfx is more fond of clean-cut rhythm structures and some tracks might work on the floor, for instance distorted drum exercise “Metaflukz” and its twin brother “Metaflux II”, both reminding of Pan Sonic's soulless mechano-funk. Beat arrangements are in the main role also in “Henshin Cyborg” and “North Super Jam II” while “Horikawa Scout” dives into bubbling loops.
With its sound convulsions "Exoferric / Latent Acid" is an exciting addition to the catalog of Further Records. Also the choice of format is obvious for this kind of music - a two-cassette battlepack, which was in such a high demand that label had to report own out-of-stock status shortly after the release.

13 August 2012

Bronze Age - Antiquated Futurism (Bed Of Nails NAIL 002 - 2012)

Those finding Dominick Fernow’s electronic crusades too byzantine might seek comfort in (or on) Bed Of Nails, a new label set up by the Vatican Shadow fellow. After inaugural “September Cell” by the label curator, clearly appealing to the out-of-box dancefloor, the second slot allocated to Bronze Age confirms the label's ambitions to blend techno, industrial and experimental for some marvelous techno-boogie.
Bronze Age is a new act by Kris Lapke, so far hiding behind the names Alberich and Louder Than Life, in addition contributing to nerve damages at Hospital Productions.
His "Antiquated Futurism", a three-tracker on 45 RPM, gets a jump start with grinding synth lines and restless drum patterns in "Surviving Cultural Impedance", to make it a petition against mediocrity. "Coupling Symbols" would be played at the reunion of EBM veterans carrying Front 242 badges and watching the thunder emerging from the distance. Although fluffy first bars create a false impression of facing a reincarnation of Robert Miles, "Modal Ingenuity" grows into a thrilling mindcontroller with prominent chords and stomping 4/4 bass while not hiding its trancy side. It's the closest track to standard techno, but dwarfs similar attempts seeking chart mercy.
I will not second to Boomkat's references to PCP/Acardipane or Woody McBride - the similarities are only vague - but still it's a slamming EP and those liking FRAK, Pete Swanson or Container would find satisfaction here. The past is the present is the future.

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11 August 2012

Edanticonf - Planet EP (Silent Season SSV03 - 2012)

Release date is 26 August 2012
Out out British Columbia operates Silent Season, a platform for mostly smoother and dubbed-out electronics. Now the Vancouver outlet embracing wilderness deserves further attention with "Planet EP" by Italian composer Edanticonf. It's a follow-up to the artist's ozone-filled album "Forest Echo" and features two original tracks with dancefloor potential picked for the clear transparent vinyl. Especially "Planet" is a stimulating cut and somewhat surprising rework comes by Abdulla Rashim. The Swede, instead of adding droning techno elements to "Planet", resorts to a gentle dub excursion in Inca edit.

Planet EP [SSV03] // Ltd 12" EP preview
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10 August 2012

OLD TAPE: Three rave cuts from 1992, Digital Orgasm et al

A flashback from 1992, courtesy of a dusty tape recorded from Radiomafia, Finland and most likely from Tapani Ripatti's radio show. As first comes an euro rave hit, Digital Orgasm's "Running Out Of Time" and the other tacks are probably "Explosion Of A Dancemode" by Motion 1 and "Rave The City" by Rave A Graphixx.

08 August 2012

Various - Estcon 2012 (Trash Can Dance TCD212012 - 2012)

Once a year Estonian sci-fi and horror fans meet at Estcon to spend a few days in the nature with beer and fantasy. The focus is on literature and storytelling, but these good folks with expanded cultural horizon like the music too. This year all participants were eligible for “Estcon 2012”, a two-CDR compilation, 150 copies issued on Trash Can Dance label.
With 34 tracks and more than two hours of playtime it’s a sizable package and offers many interesting finds. In fact, it was a great listening experience and gives faith in the present and future of Estonian alternative music.
The first, red disc, is for brighter and dance-oriented tracks, starting with glittering synth song “Wally Bishop” by White Sparks. Laton recording artist Andres Lõo drops wave-minded workout “Radiant Child”, Laulan Sinule pays electropop tribute to machines in “Masina Sees” and Tallinn Daggers ignites electroclash riot. Punane Magneet-Lõvi does Funkervogt-style catchy industrial song in “Üliinimene”, paired with black power in “End Of Time” by Error: Success. Clumsily titled “Technodancing (Dub Mix)” by Future Brain takes to a simple but efficient goa-infected trip and arpeggios are parading in “Don’t Belong Here” by Tamhiis. The beauty of female vocals is enjoyed in the tunes by Micaramia, Undra and Kroma, while “Clockworkbird” by Possimiste is like an excerpt from fantasy musical and Multiphonic Rodent’s “Väike kosmoselaev” dreams about interplanetary meadows.
Musically more challenging is the black disc, although “Elektricity” by Systeam with guitars and electro house grooves is a rather mild start. Drone/shoegaze faction is made up by Several Symptoms, Deserts, while Voog, with a nine-minute power demonstration in “I”, and Kannabinõid come from the land of stoner. A few tracks rely on sampled Russian: “Roheline järv” by Tont and “malenkov7” by talented abstractionist Misha Mishajashvili. EDASI and doom are inseparable, here spilling black ooze in “Forever Fullmoon”. Cosmos Laguna’s “Ghostpower” is in a good company with wild staccato by Aamen and distorted stomper by Killerkat. “Nucleic Acid” is beatless haunting ambient by Coscyl and Autharktos deconstructs trip hop loops in “Borealic Roar”. “Sounds From Hell Dub” by an unknown artist is a vibrating conclusion of the compilation.
Tracklists and comments to the release (in Estonian) are here. For more information about the artists, just google.

Wally Bishop by White Sparks

Punane Magneet-Lõvi by Üliinimene

Sügis by micaramia

Poehali by Misha Mishajashvili

06 August 2012

George Paar - Angulos Ligeramente Ocultos (Par Rec Wax 03 - 2012)

Release date is 10 August 2012
Uruguay seems a rather exotic place in terms of electronic music and the same applies to Nicaragua, the birthplace of George Paar who is now presenting his third vinyl release on own Par Wax label. Operating out of his current home town Montevideo, geographical distance to Milan or Munich is no handicap to deliver a few cuts of functional droning techno.
Although the peak of sounds fostered by Giorgio Gigli, Abdulla Rashim, Obtane, et al is slowly passing, Paar’s two original tracks are vigorous tools for after-midnight tripping. Bass goes in your face along usual ingredients like hiss, echoes and shredded dubs, especially making impact in my favorite „Prisma“.
Remixing duties are entrusted to Italians to extract some milder elements from the aggressive opener „Cilindro“ : The Noisemaker's swaying dub-embraced interpretation wins over Ness's linear Hypno Rework of the same tune.
Paar AKA Jorge Castillo has his roots in punk rock: Having lived in Miami in the early 1980's he played bass guitar for an underground punk rock outfit named "Social Decay", but since 1999 he has being involved in playing and creating techno sounds in Montevideo.

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04 August 2012

Hauntologist's new career as Modular Cowboy

Essential news about a fine techno producer. After a creative pit stop Jay Ahern pulls out several new tracks to launch a new imprint Modular Cowboy. Most recently the Irishman made his mark with the Hauntologist series of tripping electronic explorations and before that shook techno floors under the Add Noise guise.
The debut release of Modular Cowboy reanimates Ahern's another project, Cheap And Deep, with reworks of hypnotic monster "Words, Breaths And Pauses" by Berlin's own Norman Nodge and by Swedish kontra musicians Jonsson & Alter. A special mention goes to "Beautiful", acid-infected mind blast with female declamation. It's not limited to that, because "Mesa Sequences", a gigantic 25-minute live jam with Morgan Packard recorded in New Mexico, is due on vinyl and digital around September this year.

PS: Initial title of this post was "Jay Ahern rides again", but after finding out the Spin mag had used the same, decided to change it. Still it's a perfect description of what Ahern is doing.

Cheap And Deep "Beautiful"
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