Ocean Hope “Forever” (exclusive)

29 Oct 2015 — Henning Lahmann

Arriving fashionably later for the 4AD-infused, shoegaze-informed dream pop revival of the early 2010s, Greek brother/sister duo Ocean Hope do not seem to care too much for Internet hype cycles. Which is fine with us – a song like "Forever", the second single from their upcoming debut EP Chamber Dreams, will work in the fading sunlight of any given October. Dream your own dream while streaming the track below.

Chamber Dreams is out digitally on November 13 via Hush Hush Records.

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Antoine 93 “Me and the Sound”

29 Oct 2015 — Henning Lahmann

A little while ago, I had the honour to be part of the jury that picked this year's winners of Berlin Community Radio's Welcome to Berlin, a Musicboard-funded venture that attempts to tap into the city's forward-thinking pop undercurrents. One of the three nominees is an NFOP regular, Quebec City native Antoine Lahaie aka Antoine 93, and he is also the first to have taken advantage of the chance to record a new song in a fully equipped, professional recording studio. The result of that day-long project is "Me and the Sound", a glistening gem that stays true to the sound of the Montreal/Berlin axis that Lahaie is as devoted to as few others. The single is furthermore backed up by a compelling remix by fellow Montreal cosmopolitan Agor Cowan aka Blue Hawaii. Both tracks are available as a free download right here. There's also a comprehensive interview with the artist over at i-D, another partner of Welcome to Berlin (in German).

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Stream: Tara King th. & Halasan Bazar “Unreleased from ‘8’ E​​P” (exclusive)

27 Oct 2015 — Zachary Taube

The collaborative project of Tara King th. (FR) and Halasan Bazar (DK, mostly) has been one of nostalgic exploration and vintage aestheticism. This year’s broodingly hallucinogenic 8, an album filled to the brim with luscious farfisa and space-echoed 60s pop nostalgia, placed the project in line with continental European neo-psych aesthetes Jacco Gardner and Forever Pavot. “Dreaming On”, a lost track from 8, fathoms and romanticizes the vast mythos of the American expanse – a theme of endless inspiration for any psych junkie. Patient, cinematic and tied together with the strings of a zither, “Dreaming On” is a (re-)imagining of the American century from the distance of the 21st century old world – an ode to and lamenting of the spirit and legend of “American culture / sound / lives.” Give it a listen below, alongside four more tracks of previously unreleased material and remixes from the 8 recordings.

The Unreleased from "8" E​​P is out now via Greek imprint Melotron Recordings. Get it via bandcamp.

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Watch: Cherushii “Indigo Wave (feat. Golden Donna)”

26 Oct 2015 — Max B.K.

A Vimeo staff pick, Cherushii and Golden Donna's music video has turned Keith Apicary on his head. Outside of her more straight-faced and ambient 2015 LP Memory of Water, Chelsea Faith's tracks tend towards a quirky fun that never indulges itself. Her richly layered, persistent, and loopy grooves provoke smiles not laughter. "Indigo Wave"'s curve ball synth – a Golden Donna addition to the track – may be as close as her work gets to inducing one. The person who's definitely not laughing is the star of video, Anthony Abbadessa. Abbadessa paid director Ezra Ewen to make the video after becoming obsessed with the track. Dancing his way across hipster icons of New York, one imagines a world where the cool kids never toyed with irony. Perhaps it's not a matter of self-indulgence, but abandoning oneself to dance. Everyone is left better off for it.

"Indigo Wave" is taken from the Starlight Express EP, which is available via bandcamp.

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Arca “Soichiro” / “EN”

26 Oct 2015 — Andi Wilson

Arca (aka Alejandro Ghersi) is someone we all can’t stop watching. An ever-evolving transformation since the &&&&& mixtape, several EPs, 2014’s release of debut album XEN, not to mention collaborating on production with FKA Twigs, then Björk’s ninth record Vulnicura; it’s difficult not to be addicted to the aura that is Arca. The Venezuela-born, now London-based producer has shared two new tracks from the forthcoming, sophomore studio album, Mutant.

“Soichiro” is extremely emotive and sensual while recently released video for “EN” only showcases the abnormalcy that Ghersi strives for. In white thigh-platforms, it shows Arca, dancing in slow-mo to match the track’s dark, experimentally-pioneering manner. Both tracks are freeing and continue the project’s radical spirit. Nothing seems too ambiguous for Ghersi at this moment. In regards to the release, they reveal “softness as a weapon when the mind attacks itself”.

Mutant is out November 20 via Mute digitally, on CD, and 2xLP. Also peep the artwork from long-time collaborator Jesse Kanda.

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Stream: Mansions and Millions “Mixtape Vol 1” (exclusive)

22 Oct 2015 — Henning Lahmann

Not least channelled through acclaimed Montreal-based imprint Arbutus and Berlin club/concert mainstay Shameless/Limitless, the two cities have had a fruitful creative connection for quite a while now, a fact that local label Mansions and Millions only began to seriously tap into not even a year ago. Adding some flavours of the equally buzzing (if almost unnoticed) Warsaw scene, label head Anton Teichmann's knack for highly enjoyable outré pop – invariably slightly off-kilter, mildly dazed, lo-fi, you know the deal – is starting to pay off, as neatly summarised by the appropriately christened Mixtape Vol. 1, a compilation put together on the occasion of last weekend's Cassette Store Day Germany. Pretty much all the artists that come to our minds when someone uses the words "Berlin" and "Montreal" in one sentence are gathered here, the wonderful Magic Island, veteran Sean Nicholas Savage, Antoine93, NFOP darling Pascale Project, or Bataille Solaire, sitting next to a couple of promising wild cards such as Karolini, Helen Fry, or Jason Harvey. Well curated and meticulously assembled, Mixtape Vol. 1 might not push any musical boundaries, but it may serve as a fitting introductions to the trans-Atlantic state of outsider pop, further corroborating the involved cities' prominent status as some of the last true refuges for free-thinking musicians.

Check out the whole tape below and get it via Mansions and Millions' bandcamp.

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Born In Flamez “Easier Like That (Aïsha Devi Remix)” (exclusive)

13 Oct 2015 — Henning Lahmann

About a year ago, we introduced the Berlin-based artist Born In Flamez, a deliberately amorphous, intangible entity signifying a musical project that emphatically rejects any notions of both genre or gender. Born In Flamez' debut EP Polymorphous was, accordingly, hard to grasp and impossible to define. Floating freely between hints of grime, a very local flavour of stone-cold techno, and some of the more gloomy corners of otherwise surprisingly accessible pop, Polymorphous spelled out the conditions of possibility of a future that, if slightly dystopian, may help overcome the reality of the patriarchy that defines our present. With such a concept, the EP almost naturally functions as the blueprint for the imaginations and projections of other, like-minded artists, which makes the release of the forthcoming remix EP seem almost inevitable.

CYPHR, Paula Temple, She's Drunk, and Anika all re-interpret BIF's tracks, thereby creating their very own version of a trans- or even post-human tomorrow. Of all the tunes on the EP, however, it is Aïsha Devi's riveting, haunting remix of the rather quiet and pensive Polymorphous closing track "Easier Like That", which captivated us the most. Fresh off her own, excellent debut LP Of Matter and Spirit, the Swiss-Nepalese producer thoroughly deconstructs the original, turning it into a disruptive intervention that offers an almost epiphanic dramaturgy. Take a listen below.

Polymorphous Remixed is out via UnReaL Audio on October 16.

On short notice, Born In Flamez will support HEALTH at Berghain tonight, starting at 9pm. There might be a few tickets left, get more detains over here.

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Bersarin Quartett “Jeder Gedanke umsonst gedacht” (exclusive)

07 Oct 2015 — Henning Lahmann

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.

III is out November 6 via Denovali Records.

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