Review: Golden Diskó Ship “Invisible Bonfire”

20 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

The world of Golden Diskó Ship can be summed up by using the following two terms: krautrock mo-town. Berlin's Theresa Stroetges has busied herself as a "one-girl orchestra" for several years, which has landed her a spot on Berlin's CTM Current program, and earned her recognition from Joachim Irmler, keyboardist of Faust, who released Stroetges' last album on his label Klangbad. For her reveling new full-length, Invisible Bonfire, Stroetges has taken to Zürich's Spezialmaterial, and will release the work on LP and CD November 25th.

Invisible begins with the track "These Thoughts Will Never Take Shape," which is like an intro inside of an intro inside of an intro (if you listening to it enough - the track bears a lot of jammy meandering, so it's like it never fully arrives). The skipping-rocks old school beat commences a familiar and endearing style momentarily met by lovesick, clean lyrics: "you keep changing your mind, but I believe you every time," which kind of also sound like "you keep changing your mind and I will leave you every time." Then suddenly, the lyrics are crunched into ringing distortion, an effect that promises a journey through experimental design and cheerful exploration of pop archetypes. Interchangeability, no-rush-ethics, and fluttering emulations are widely available throughout the album. The title of the opening song alone grants some insight as to how GDS is all about enjoying a thought, love story, or mood that never takes finalized shape; instead, it's all about being present with the journey and watching evolution take place, so much so that, when you arrive at whatever destination, it feels off-putting. Stroetges prefers the company of motion rather than the harsh solidity of a Standort.

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NFOP Presents: Polymorphism x PAN

19 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

When I asked PAN's Bill Kouligas about his label's relationship to its physical home Berlin for a piece I wrote for the magazine of the 2014 edition of CTM Festival back in January, his response sounded very familiar: Arriving in the city in 2009 after a few years in London (where PAN was founded), his main motivation had been the cheaper rents, which made sense for the development of the young label. And while Berlin has certainly had a significant impact on him, he considered PAN still somewhat detached from the city's electronic music scene, with its strong focus on the dancefloor and thus club-ready productions. To be sure: it seems save to say that Kouligas' imprint by now has become one of the most admired outlets for experimental electronic music on a global level, yet while most will be aware where it is based, there is no inherent necessity to actually call it a Berlin label. To the contrary, it is a prime example of one of those aesthetic missions that are so strongly connected to their initiators that their home will naturally be wherever they decide to settle; that may be London, Berlin, or Athens, Kouligas' hometown.

However, starting with the releases of Heatsick's resolutely non-Berlin house oddball transmissions and Rashad Becker's masterpiece Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I last year, PAN has recently developed a more intimate relationship with its current home, more precisely with a very distinct part of it: Berlin's ever-growing – in number and significance – expat community. In 2014, Kouligas has continued to tap into this scene, putting out Scythians, an excellent EP by US native and Janus fellow M.E.S.H., followed by Objekt's long-anticipated debut full-length Flatland, surely one of PAN's most high-profile releases to date. Both artists are also part of the current roster of CTM's Berlin Current initiative, a picture-perfect alliance that will be celebrated in its appropriate setting at Berghain this Friday, November 21 as part of CTM's Polymorphism series. Accompanied by NFOP favourites Helena Hauff, Lee Gamble, and Visionist, as well as Beneath and JM Moser, the night promises to become one of this year's club highlights. As media partners of Berlin Current, we're presenting the event, and that's only one reason why we couldn't recommend it more emphatically.

Find more details over on Facebook.

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Stream: Matte Wood “s/t” EP (exclusive)

18 Nov 2014 — Parker Bruce

Cascine are wrapping up their strongest year as a label to date with Matte Wood's self-titled EP, out on the label's digital counterpart CSCN. Matte Wood or James Jano (from Detroit, now a Brooklynite) usually drums in well-known indie pop group Widowspeak. This EP here, though, is about as far as one can get from Widowspeak. First track "Olive Oil" buzzes, radiates, and glows, and the single "YKNO" glugs and clomps assuredly. The EP is wholly engulfing, pattering and pulsing hither and thither, never dashing too far off, always circling back around, calling to mind Coyote Clean Up's equally engrossing 2013 release 2 HOT 2 WAIT. Matte Wood has made a piece of total submersion, total immersion, and complete diversion. With a hint of quiet voraciousness. Just the way we like our music here at No Fear of Pop. It's out now. Take a listen below.

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Boeoes Kaelstigen feat. Vanbot “Our Story (Gabriel Gassi Remix)” (exclusive)

18 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Before you go ahead and take a listen, allow me to express a few thoughts on this track. One. Up until the remix we ran the other day, we had never heard of a Stockholm-based producer who's into Italo Disco and goes by the name of Gabriel Gassi. And in a way, we're not quite sure what to think about fake Italian names just to get your point across – which is, as mentioned, that you are really into Italo Disco. Because I mean, we get that; just listen. But hey!, no big deal. We like this guy. This is fun. Fun is good. Right? Two. I didn't know that remix packages are still a thing. Remixes, sure. But one song as a single accompanied by a bunch of reworks? That's almost like in the good old days, when we still had CDs. Remember CDs? Yeah, me neither. There was this time in the 90s when we seriously spent something like the equivalent of five Euros (that was before the Euro, duh) for a "maxi single", a mundane silver disc containing one song that we were really obsessed with plus a three or four "b-sides" or more or less crappy remixes by more or less well-known producers. Strange times, the 90s. But apparently these times aren't over yet up in Sweden, as Boeoes Kaelstigen's "Our Story" is already the second remix package to be released in quick succession. But (twist!): As this is Sweden, and not the 90s, the material here is not crappy at all but really rather interesting. Especially this Gabriel Gassi one, but we've said that already. Three. I still have no clue how to pronounce – or spell – Boeoes Kaelstigen. It's confusing.

The Our Story remix package is out tomorrow, November 19, via Adrian Recordings. There will be an album next spring. And more remixes, probably.

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Watch: Odd Rumblings “Ice Floe” (exclusive)

17 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Winter is coming, they say, though we want to stress that we're not quoting some overhyped fantasy television drama here. Cause it really is – just step out into the crisp mid-November air today and you'll realise that once again, a year is coming to its end, leaving us with nothing but shattered hopes and unfulfilled dreams; which naturally draws us to music like that of Brooklyn duo Odd Rumblings, otherwise known as Audrea Lim and Gabriel Sedgwick, whose marvellous glacial synth pop sets the mood for the coming season. Take "Ice Floe", the opening track of the project's six-track debut EP Thieves. Rather literally, Lim is singing of dreams of ice and snow, natural conditions that weaken the human spirit and undermine confidence and trust. There is some warmth in the wobbling pads and enclosing progressions, but when the beat has faded away, we're alone again, awaiting the oncoming night.

Now, "Ice Floe" has received a pretty perfect visualisation by Chinese native Jun Cen, who's currently based in New York City. The animated short film, so much more than a mere accompaniment to the song but really a piece of art in its own right, uses stark, icy images for a captivating narration about a young child who is haunted by deep, subconscious troubles from the past. Watch the work's premiere below.

Thieves is out on Public Information. Get it digitally or on limited edition vinyl over here.

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Review: Loscil “Sea Island”

17 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

It's safe to say that early Loscil is more on the innocent and curious side, however still plenty dour and shy. Triple Point and First Narrows are beautiful, patient works where optimisim, too far too reach but perfectly audible, lingers in uplifting melodies. Twinkling, splattering sounds, droplets of pad synth and glossy breezes contribute to Scott Morgan's compositional aesthetic and form a Loscil leitmotif profile. As a collector, completist of sorts, any artist who has such subtle evolution alongside stylistic constancy is a quality not only appealing to me, but also very admirable, as it reveals a certain amount of focus and aesthetic on the artist's end. It also feeds my appetite for assimilating catalogued containment, a serial package.

Sea Island, of course, is no exception to Morgan's profile. Though still administered with the usual dotty pads and slow, sighing waves of realization, the new material is rich, brooding, and daringly sad. Starting off with "Ahull," our ears immediately laze into a seaside domain that has perhaps recently experienced some ecological devastation.  Aforementioned optimism starts the album off but quickly floats away to another locale. "In Threes" is shiny yet gawking, then, with "Bleeding Ink," we're in full reception of a lamenting, uncomfortable place, and it is there that we stay until the final track. After an IDM-like commencing melody, one that strikes the chords of uncertainty, vocalist Ashley Pitre's crooning palpitates between the tremendous and sparse downbeat. The emotional transformation of this track registers it as one of the more powerful songs on the album, as it communicates the steady arrival of to-be-avoided feelings such as naiveté turned paranoia, second-guessing and foreboding, in a most attractive way.

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AyGeeTee “Imminent Orphan”

13 Nov 2014 — Richard Greenan

Words change music. On the surface, Shostakovich's fifth symphony is a heroic piece of socialist realism, Stakhanovite victory trapped in golden oilpaint. Read around and the same tones appear fragile, sarcastic, frightened. This was a composer writing for his life, smile forcibly held in place, frozen by perpetual ovation.

Here we have the latest offering from producer AyGeeTee, Imminent Orphan. Initially this sounds like a crisp, almost jaunty beat tape. "Brothers of Knowledge and his Brothers", and "Closed Door End Call" unroll with a chiselled energy, while the expansive chords and handclaps of "Leaving No Insides Out" hint at a nicely frazzled Balearicism.

But Imminent Orphan is a thing of tragedy, written in the short six weeks between AyGeeTee's father's terminal cancer diagnosis and eventual death. Suddenly the drums loom overhead, crackling electromagnets propelling urgently forward and skyward. But the meanings are yours to construct.

AyGeeTee writes, "if anyone wants to dance, jump up and down or whatever positive reaction you just might feel, please go ahead because I certainly don't want anyone to have a bad time listening to this tape."

Imminent Orphan is out now on limited cassette via Reckno.

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Tommy Toussaint “Over and Over” (exclusive)

12 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Been a while since our paths last crossed with fairly recent Los Angeles transplant Tommy Toussaint, one of the artists who used to be associated with Oxford, Mississippi's rad Cats Purring collective. The former Dent May collaborator must have spent quite some time in the last year to master his knack for willfully notalgic yet ultimately timeless, wistful synth ballads, as proven with "Over and Over", the first single off his forthcoming full-length A Cool Kind Of Love: it's lush, a little brittle, and very cool indeed. If someone smuggled this into an 80s night at your local bar (I'm sure you'd never go there, but bear with me for a second), no one would ever notice. Which is a good thing. In this case at least.

A Cool Kind Of Love is about to drop on tape via Chill Mega Chill Records.

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