Stream: The NFOP #33 on BCR: Best of Halftime 2014

11 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Another Friday, another show on Berlin Community Radio, and because it's sort of still the middle of the year, I thought I'd do a little retrospect with select tunes from some of my favourite records of 2014 so far. It's a good year for music I'd say, even if some overarching theme or even merely minor hype seems to be missing. No new Grimes, no Purity Ring, nothing of that sort. Let's see what the following six months will bring. And of course, please bear in mind that this is only a very small, and indeed somewhat arbitrary, section of the vast amount of quality music fed to our blessed ears.

Access the archive of NFOP shows over here.

Tracklist

(1) Alex G "Boy" (from "DSU", Orchid Tapes)
(2) Woods "Moving to the Left" (from "With Light and With Love", Woodsist)
(3) Perfect Pussy "Interference Fits" (from "Say Yes to Love", Captured Tracks)
(4) Lust For Youth "International" (from "International", Sacred Bones)
(5) El Mahdy Jr. "Zarga" (from "Gasba Grime", Danse Noire)
(6) copeland "Inga" (from "Because I'm Worth It", self-released)
(7) Flowdan "No Gyal Tune" (from "Serious Business", Hyperdub)
(8) Traxman "Time Slip" (from "Tha Mind of Traxman Vol. 2", Planet Mu)
(9) The Range "Two" (from "Panasonic", Donky Pitch)
(10) M.E.S.H. "Captivated" (from "Scythians", PAN)
(11) Visionist "First Love" (from "I'm Fine (Part II)", Lit City Trax)
(12) Kassem Mosse "Untitled" (from "Workshop 19", Workshop)
(13) Kyoka "Lined Up" (from "Is (Is Superpowered)", Raster-Noton)
(14) Thug Entrancer "Death After Life I" (from "Death After Life", Software)
(15) Ricky Eat Acid "It Will Draw Me Over to It Like It Always Does" (from "Three Love Songs", Orchid Tapes)
(16) Rainer Veil "UK Will Not Survive" (from "New Brutalism", Modern Love)

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Review: Half Waif “KOTEKAN”

11 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

Operating in the startlingly coherent common ground between AlunaGeorge and Enya is Half Waif. Her album KOTEKAN seamlessly blends the soothing, pre-Raphaelite aesthetic of early-90s new age music with the slick, condensed sensibilities of contemporary ‘LDN’ electronica. KOTEKAN sounds like a collection of Celtic lullabies for millennials suckled on the output of labels like Warp and FatCat; 'contemporary classical' for those who are allergic to the term. An album that paints tarot cards on the backs of BOSS samplers and molds birthstones out of crushed subway tokens.

Half Waif is Nandi Rose Plunkett, a Brooklyn-based synthpop artist with a keen ear for the kind of contemporary classical music that a lot of her musical peers think they don’t have time for. Plunkett's vocals are the driving force behind KOTEKAN's disarming beauty, and they are simply awe-inspiring. On "Octave" Plunkett’s voice ululates around synthesizer swells that would make Toto weep before diving headlong into a wellspring of percussive lashes. Her voice soars to heights an albatross might envy on the arpeggio-gold rush of “Normandy”, a track that might successfully be described as 'Enya sings “The Colors of the Wind”'.

 

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Stream: Imre Kiss “Raw Energy” (exclusive)

10 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

It is mainly thanks to the still criminally overlooked yet consistently excellent and reliable Eastern Daze that we're aware of the exciting things happening east of Berlin, as we all too often almost ritualistically turn our gaze towards London and New York and whatever else we may find in the west. Of course, there was S Olbricht's compelling contribution to Opal Tape's catalogue, but that Budapest's electronic music deserves our close attention first became obvious when Farbwechsel emerged from the shadows, a label that by now has almost become a synonym for the Hungarian capital's ascending scene. Not only putting out S Olbricht's superb The Last Act of Dorothy Stratten, it is also the home of the first cassette by Budapest producer Imre Kiss.

With the tape’s strong blend of zeitgeist-informed, muffled textures evoking cinematic impressions and impulsive beat patterns reminiscent of Legowelt and other luminaries of the Clone/L.I.E.S. school of gritty dance music, it was only a matter of time until someone from more exposed shores would take notice. Prolific and rising fresh London imprint Lobster Theremin came first to pick up Imre Kiss and release his Raw Energy EP, a 12” that’s every bit as compelling as the producer’s debut effort. The five tracks cover a wide sonic range from more introspective, calm soundscapes to straight-up 4/4 ‘floor bangers, all knit together with a satisfying degree of coherence.

Raw Energy is out on July 14. Stream it in full exclusively below and pre-order a copy over here.

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Stream: OxenFree “Fire If We’re Anything” EP (exclusive)

08 Jul 2014 — Ashley Canino

It is getting hot and humid and New York and I am getting careless. Strange how OxenFree was able to to capture that exact mood in their forthcoming EP Fire, If We're Anything despite recording in the New York wintertime. Maybe it is the brass on "Signal Fire," or the imagery of "Make Out," but this release says everything you need to think, feel and know about connection in this moment. Streaming this preview will pull you deeper into the present than you knew was possible, or your money back.

Fire, If We're Anything is just a taste of what OxenFree put together this past winter. They have seven more tracks in the bank. (Like, stop holding out, guys!) For sure, the coyness and vulnerability of these three tunes is mirrored in their release strategy. At least we will all get to see where this relationship is going before we demand any more of each other.

Fire, If We're Anything will be available on cassette and for digital download July 15.

 

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Preview: The DAT Music Conference

07 Jul 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

I wrote about Missoula once before in an essay about what it's like to see electornic music in a rock town that thinks it has it made. Relatively, Missoula does have it made, since it's the single best spot in the state for music and art. Now it's time to announce its techno side. Next month, Missoula will host a three day electronic music conference, which displays a brilliant line-up, including John Tejada, Natasha Kmeto, Lusine, and Nordic Soul. Yet, the DAT will do more than bring quality electronica out from different corners of the states, and join them in this particular corner few people have ever heard of: it is bringing to the fore why a place like Montana is a hitherto under-considered most excellent location for experiencing techno, as its geography has the potential to poetically complement aspects of electronic music culture.

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Review: Tasty Morsels, vol. 2

07 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

Tasty Morsels, vol. 2 is a compilation album by a “group of best friends” who are also in some vague way all members of an avant-pop music collective called Tasty Morsels. The best compilations tend to revolve around a palpable theme, and though Tasty Morsels 2 is explicitly genre-agnostic there is a definite sense of cohesion in terms of the direction and purpose of what’s been included. Predominant, here, seems to be the idea that what by many might be regarded as musical kitsch is actually capable of being renegotiated into something novel, honest, or even stunningly pretty. Tasty Morsels 2 is a proverbial smorgasbord of novelty tools: faded synthesizers, blunt tearful vocals, over-sexualized disco riffs, and RPG adventure music (not to mention children’s poetry).

Tasty Morsels 2 starts with an experimental composition that sounds like the ‘myths of the ocean’ version of Sciene of the Sea (“Forevertime Journeys pt. 1” by Naran Ratan) and ends with a pun-reliant poem about a shoe whose companion has gone missing (“Lonely Shoe” by Daniel Scott, age 9); it’s a journey from one version of the avant-garde to another. And despite not being an album proper, it is hard to imagine Tasty Morsels 2 opening or closing in any other way. Indeed, Ratan’s whisper of a track sets a tough example to live up to; “Forevertime Journeys” is gorgeous and its atmosphere immense enough to rival the more emotionally exploitative works of people like Vangelis or Angelo Badalamenti. It’s the kind of piece that would make any scene in a film the best scene in that film by virtue of its inclusion.

 

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Stream: The NFOP Show #32 on BCR with Julia Holter & Jason Grier

06 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Listen to the latest episode of our show on Berlin Community Radio, this time around with dear friends and very special guests Julia Holter and Human Ear Music's Jason Grier, playing some rare tunes, a few even never to be heard anywhere before, and chatting with me about Berlin, LA, and other things that came to our minds spontaneously. Check the tracklist below and find the archive of NFOP radio shows right here.

Tracklist:

(1) Julia Holter "Don’t Make Me Over" (orig. Bacharach/David)
(2) Jason Grier "Karma (feat. Julia Holter)", from "Clouds", 2013, HEM
(3) Background Music: Selections from "Solitudes: Acoustical Environmental Sound Experiences" — Dan Gibson (Vinyl LP, 1984, Holborne Records)
(4) Jason Grier "Der Wind und das Meer (feat. Lucrecia Dalt)", from Unbekannte, 2013, HEM
(5) Lucrecia Dalt "Selections from Dizzygy"
(6) Background Music: Erik Satie "Mass for the Poor", from Esoteric Records, Vinyl LP, 1960s, organ by Marylin Mason
(7) Julia Holter "Ground Bass Aria #6", unreleased, HEM Archive, 2008
(8) Marc Sabat "Two Commas", from Les Duresses, 2014, Care Of Editions
(9) Julia Holter & Jason Grier "No GDM", live at CalArts, 2009, orig. Gina X Performance
(10) Ivan Gomez "Calling Human Ear Music" (Answering Machine Message, 2006)
(11) Weave "G is for Gangsta", Demo, "Weave EP", 2008, Pacific Reasons
(12) Shira Small "Eternal Life", from Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies of the Canyon, Compilation, 2006, Numero
(13) Jason Grier "J-J-Julia", unreleased, HEM Archive, 2009
(14) Julia Holter "Cookbook", John Cage’s Roratorio, Sleepy Mammal Sound

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Video Premiere: Vehicle Blues “Waving Steps”

05 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

“Waving Steps” is a mirage; the Vehicle Blues B-side (from his just-released 7”) has the focus-too-hard-and-it-disappears beauty of a waterfall a mile high that appears suddenly in the middle of the sahara. Recalling the first Real Estate LP as well as more foundational shoegaze influences, the reverb-drenched guitar and Gabe Holcombe’s effervescent vocals seem to wave goodbye at the same time as they welcome you in for a bear hug. The video for “Waving Steps” is composed of grainy, home video style footage that looks like it could be decades old. There are shots of several people walking around a park, leaning over a bridge, sitting, smoking, always mugging for the camera. These are intercut with shots of flowers, gently vibrating to the stiff hum of the ancient camera.

Watch the video for "Waving Steps" below, and check out our interview with Vehicle Blues’ Gabe Holcombe from earlier this week here.

 

 

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