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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"Iona" displays of a slow ringing of bells and gently corresponding melodic progression. If ever there was a song or story about what it must be like to sit through watchful, alienated nights on a hillside in Iona, this is it. Perfectly in the middle of the track, Morgan drops the ambient bass and thus Loscil-esque cadence and clicking that is coded in heavy filter and effect lifts us back up into implied, perhaps aerial movement. "Holding Pattern" sits with itself well, talking to itself while gracefully moving around octaves for a more dynamic anthemic experience. As we dive deep into the album, we reach more consistent darkness. "Catalina 1943" (which perhaps reflects on the sinking of US PBY Catalina boats implemented during World War II) and "En Masse" embody the attitude of unwillingness to compromise or forgive; "Sturgeon Bank" somehow metes out memories of betrayal with quicker and more clever rhythmic work. The angel songs, "Angel of Loll" and "Angel of List," are flecked dub tracks sans dance beat. 

That said, it is perhaps agreeable to observe that any Loscil album compliments the mood of any November upsettingly well; Sea Island, however, belongs to this particular November, and is a precedent of the start of this particular winter which is predicted to be brutal. With all the North American uproar in dub techno lately, Sea Island surely stands a chance for becoming a favorite of the current mood in electronic music. Implied appreciation for nautical geography, for where land meets water, this album is a highly recommended sad and slow dub techno selection, dub of the rainy north. Dub, after all, tends to associate itself with water and the coast, doesn't it? 

Sea Island is out today on the one and only Kranky.

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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Leisure “Gone Again” (exclusive)

12 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Some of my favorite projects reflect pop in a much darker matter. It probably stems from my love for cult-bands like New Order and Pale Saints, but it's thrilling to see new acts twist classic styles into their own essence. Part of the reason Brooklyn-based Leisure aka Jon Jurow emulates so much is due to his live recording style and habitual use of first outtakes. The naturally raw, shadowy vocals mixed with jangly guitars and constant cymbal crashes create an absolutely lush disposition. 

Give "Gone Again" a spin, or maybe a few, since it's under a two minute cut. The Gone Again EP is out November 25 via Portland, Oregon's Track & Field Records and look out for a full-length LP in fall 2015. 

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M-Band “Haust” (exclusive)

12 Nov 2014 — Andi Wilson

Icelandic artist M-Band, moniker of Hörður Már Bjarnason, sheds a new light on how compassionate electronic compositions can be. Throughout his new single "Haust" you're surrounded by surging beats and claps. The beginning quickly unravels as Bjarnason's vocals (somewhat of a mix between Jens Lekman and Dan Bodan) carry endearing lyrics into a vast sea of synths. In its entirety, the track glows with sincere illustrations of wistful desire. Without any doubt, what's so special about M-Band is it's intense, conscious, and full of nurture. Willing to take a listener in with open arms and float to a warm haven.

Expect Bjarnason's debut LP Haust to be released in the UK & Germany November 17. Guided by Projekta in collaboration with Nordic By Nature.

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sonofdistantearth “Parachute EP”

10 Nov 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

The much beloved Lobster Theremin continues to impress my eyes, ears, and techno encyclopedia brain. sonofdistantearth's Parachute EP demonstrates upsurging bass and the right amount of chaotic saturation. The artist title itself suggests some appreciation for noise and/or metal band names, methinks, so this observation is not too far off. While noisy and progressive, the EP is plenty repetitious and minimally melodic. "GAZA2" starts off great, wavers into a slightly silly melodic phase before collapsing into itself to come back with a more refined, beautiful melody. "Koan" is tribal, corrugated, and spacious. Occasionally, a paddy synth sneaks up into the prominent percussion work and tinkles into our ears, readying us for the next thing – whether in life or the stream of music – in a most gentle way. It rocks.

Download and order sonofdistantearth's Parachute EP from Lobster Theremin here.

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Win Tickets for CTM’s Monolake 2015 Live Preview at Volksbühne

10 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Continuing their Berlin Current project, the curators behind CTM (after recently having announced the first wave of artist for the festival's 2015 edition) are set to present project fellow Ame Zek, a Croatia-born artist who's been part of Berlin's electronic music scene since his arrival in 2005. Zek's excellent debut full-length Rostfrei finally arrived in June of this year on Keep It Business, showcasing his highly interesting and challenging approach to contemporary club culture. Structurally reduced yet invariably intricate and complex, Zek's arrangements are the perfect accompaniment to the music of Berlin eminence Robert Henke aka Monolake, who is coming to Volksbühne on Thursday, November 20 to present a sneak-peek at a new project – a bit of a consolation, of course, as the originally scheduled performance of Henke's Lumière project had to be postponed to next year. Joined by Tarik Barri for the visuals, we can be sure that the night will be remarkable enough.

For more details, check out the event's Facebook page. We're giving away 1x2 tickets for the show. Just send an email with the subject "Monolake" to submissions@nofearofpop.net before noon (CET) on Friday, November 14.

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