There is, of course, something about German artists and gloomy, at times stodgy works that seems almost all too intimately connected. Think lonesome wanderers standing on rocks staring into the clouds below, or something along those lines. Even translation will fail you: 'Schwermut', the most Teutonic of all sentiments, finds only an approximate equivalent in 'wistfulness', and is miles away from 'melancholia', more dismal, more inescapable, yet more hopeful at the same time. Thomas Bücker's Bersarin Quartett embodies such Schwermut. Slow and pondering, Bücker's compositions create gently unfurling sculptures that may stare into the clouds without getting lost in dull sadness. Instead of relying on cheap effects, the cinematic arrangements on the artist's third LP III remain suitably complex and subtle. Take album standout "Jeder Gedanke umsonst gedacht" [Every thought a thought in vain] with its sprawling yet reluctant strings, hinting at life's hardships without ever willing to give in.
With their second release, 1800HaightStreet make it evident that they've dialed in signatures of their sound. Hi hats and noise cut across chthonic dub in both releases, but their first work felt paranoid and frenetic at times, propelled along by snare fusillades at 130. In their new work, the anxiety has been released. It's still night, but the visions have have slowed down and become warmer.
The three tracks take their direction not from the awkwardly titled B1 track "Heldled" but from its A-side, "Dreamer." Like the track name, the album does threaten heavy-handedness. Airy synths and soothing dub traverse well-tread space, but then acid, noise, and the surging sound of electricity provide the contrast that holds everything together. As the record's most remarkable track, "Heldled" touches on familiar sounds with a melancholic Burial-esque woodwind and a melody that's reminiscent of Four Tet's "She Moves She," it's the surging electricity that save it from sentimentality and marks out the Vancouver trio's aesthetic.
While the EP doesn't have anthemic stompers like predecessor The Pursuit, the sound is just as big. There's no getting lulled into complacency or to sleep. The visions aren't so straightforward after all.
I'm sure plenty of us agree that Hungarian producer S Olbricht exudes plenty of novelty as well as mystery. To try and understand this better, I contacted Martin Mikolai, the man behind the make-believe legendary name, and asked him some questions.
S Olbricht's latest 12" Trancess is out via Bratislava-based imprint Proto Sites. Stream it in full right here.
It was said that Objekt 'achieves a quintessentially techno aim: embodying the future.' The statement could be made truer. It's not techno that most reflects our anxieties about our future world back to us, but electro. The 4/4 that exemplified the unimpeded production of industrial modernity is torn apart by a future that's unpredictably complex, frenetic, and not easily understood – a future of break beats. Dieselboy released The Human Resource in 2006. And now, on September 11, 2015, Privacy has put out The Human Resource Exploitation Manual on Lobster Theremin. The future has grown dimmer, but have the sounds become more future? No new heights in sound production and composition are attained here. Nevertheless, Privacy has produced a consistently good piece of work in these three tracks.
The best parts of the EP are when the sounds of percussive machinery, tones, and noise roam – intersecting and diverging into an edifyingly complex, mutating, and dystopian world; the worst when the A-side tracks make use of the melodies and chords of black and white scary movies to signify the eerie. For electro to continue to break boundaries (and to be taken seriously), it has to cut itself free from such cliches and embrace the dazzling and frightening future. "Apex Predator", the standout track of the EP on the B-side, makes sparing use of melody, and does just that. Vaulting itself forward at 133 BPM into driving dance music, it leaves sentimental impulses behind. As the record comes to end, we're left in the place we want to be.
The Human Resource Exploitation Manual is out now. Get it here.
So you’re coming down from a night of uppers, walking home from that party that surprisingly didn’t trigger your social anxiety, feeling a bit bummed because the person you had your eye on went home with someone else but, hey, they’re their own self, and jealousy is a useless emotion anyway (most times, at least). You look at your reflection in the window of the Chinese takeout and realize that you’re wearing lipstick, which you definitely weren’t wearing when you arrived at said party, that it actually looks pretty slick, and that it even matches the red of the neon dragon. You need more red in your life. It’s raining. All is well in the world because time is happening and even though it’s kind of an accident that you’re here, you’re still here and you’re gonna have a great time and drench yourself in red.
A bit poetic, I admit, but it’s hard not to be when talking about Montreal-bred balladeer Sean Nicholas Savage and his newest album Other Death. I had the pleasure to sit down with Sean a few days before he departed from his latest stint in Berlin. We talked about LA, spirituality, death, jazz and being a freak. Check it out on the link.
Originally from Dublin, Michael Orange relocated to Quebec for two years. At the beginning of 2015, Orange released his debut record The Skeletal System under his artist name Feather Beds. Only a few short months after its release he is now releasing a new EP, Ah Stop. Written in the depths of a sub-zero Canadian winter, the EP has a contrasting glowing feel. Opening with the sleepy “El Manx”, the EP’s four songs comprise looped instrumentation, treated vocals and muffled textures, which reverberate like old memories. There’s a warmth in the swell and restraint of “Manx”, while the closing song “Drat” echoes the soft keyboard melody of its opener alongside audio clips of old-school television. With only a few months since his debut record, Ah Stop shows a more concentrated electronic sound set to feature on his second album scheduled for 2016.
Night Trap are an electronic duo based in Dublin made of Jill Daly and Ciarán Smith. They formed their band over a mutual love of synth music of the ‘80s such as Kraftwerk, Oppenhemier Analysis and the music of Vince Clark. Their approach does not attempt to replicate what was great about that period in electronic music; instead, the pair emulates the wistful vitality of the era’s music. Over a stuttering beat and sharing vocals, their new single “Someone Like You” yearns for a new love: “Is there someone else around that’s just like you?” It’s sweeping dose of electronic pop about a desire to find new love without having moved on from a former relationship.
Long Beach, California is where Cameron Stallones has chosen to live and to work. The musician is one of the most celebrated experimental artists of our days. The music of his alias Sun Araw is a synthesis of various styles of krautrock, electronic, dub, funk and afrobeat. With his recent project Duppy Gun he collects and puts out dub music from Jamaica together with M. Geddes Gengras, a modular synth wizar he met in the L.A. experimental music scene. Although Stallones is featured on the soundtrack of our fav video game Hotline Miami, he isn’t a big gamer. What he does like is playing pool, eating noodles and petting animals. We asked him a few questions about zoos, pets, his artwork, veggie food and dinosaurs. Read after the break.
Stallones and his band are presenting their latest record Gazebo Effect and are spinning records as Duppy Gun Soundsystem at ACUD on Sunday, September 13. No Fear Of Pop is media partner of the event. RSVP here.