Mix: Love Cult “Things Are Worse in Russia” (Exclusive)

27 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia duo Love Cult aka Anya Kuts and Ivan Afanasyev - who also run the sick tape label Full Of Nothing and who had already been featured on this website sometime last year - dropped their LP Fingers Crossed yesterday via our favourite label Public Information, and Boomkat has correctly named it "album of the week". To celebrate the massive blend of pitch-black drones and post-ironic noise assaults, the two have assembled the charmingly entitled mix Things Are Worse in Russia, a superb hour-long exploration into homegrown folk and electronics as well as everything from Slowdive to The Beach Boys, closing with an exclusive remix of album track "Lulling Demons to Sleep" by Public Information fellow Austin Cesear. Here's what the duo has to say about it:

Be still, we're trying to grasp something here. Never mind the coos and interruptions. These are tunes frost-bitten and sun-warped. Some may save lives and break hearts - exactly what one needs for the coming winter. Snow falls steadily in Karelia, we have our collars all the way up. Black nights filled with editing and manipulating, coffee, zombie flicks. Some in-the-red tones for courage, a couple of laid-back breakdowns for soothing. Have you heard "Fingers Crossed"? 3 years of Love Cult: crude visions, new honesty, strange beliefs and sonic quests. Togetherness. As things seesaw back and forth, no drugs are needed. The winter is here to stay, get in the loop. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Fingers Crossed is now out on Public Information. Get it over here.

Tracklist:

I. Sam Mayo - Things Are Worse in Russia
II. Кино - Следи за собой [Thomas Brinkmann "Pass Auf Dich Auf" Remix]
III. Мох - А я?
IV. Black Dice - Live Loop
V. Ignatz - Eager Eyed
VI. Savant - The Neo-Realist
VII. Wolfsheim - Lovesong
VIII. James Ferraro - Steel Escape
IX. ADD - Ju Tu
X. Kool A.D. - Power/Refinement Knowledge
XI. Уроборос - Наши призраки [Private Edit]
XII. Slowdive - Trellisaze
XIII. SCSI-9 - Ich Kann Nicht Anders
XIV. Pye Corner Audio - Recrypt
XV. Swans - You Know Everything [Reprise 1991]
XVI. The Beach Boys - All I Wanna Do
XVII. Янка - Я повторяю 10 раз и снова
XVIII. The Low Frequency in Stereo - Man Don't Walk
XIX. Death in June - She Said Destroy
XX. Woodpecker Wooliams - Crow
XXI. Psychic TV - This Is The Final War
XXII. Broadcast - Microtronics 16
XXIII. William Basinski - Untitled
XXIV. Love Cult - Lulling Demons to Dub [Austin Cesear Remix]

Listen to samples from Fingers Crossed and watch a video edit for closing track "Place To Get Lost In" below.

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Digits “Do What It Takes” (Exclusive)

12 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

Chapter Six: Do What It Takes

You think that you're a good man.

But everything is built on sand.

Months pass as J wanders through the wasted countryside near the Borderline, traveling alone after a companion betrayed him. He marches cautiously along the highway, carrying a heavy pack, hand near his gun, searching for a gas station that will hopefully prove safer to hole up in than the last one. He's starving but he's gotten used to the feeling. Nothing left to live for, he doesn't know why he still tries. But you do what it takes to stay alive.

---

This was, dear reader, the sixth chapter of Digits' ongoing opus In the City of the Dead, the story of journalist J and his struggle in the eponymous forsaken township sometime in the all-too-near future. The previous parts of the bleak and breathtaking tale, of course all accompanied by a superb new song by Alt Altman's seminal synth-pop project, may be read over at 20JFG, Dummy, WAWSTSF, Listen Before You Buy, Silent Shout, and Prefix (in this order). In the City of the Dead is a grand statement and artistically more ambitious than anything we've seen in 2012, undeniably bold and presumably born out of hubris - just as every truly great tragedy should be. Musically, as we've come accustomed to with Digits, "Do What It Takes" is as cutting edge as outré synth pop can get these days, an abundant, bourgeoise transmission in full CinemaScope, slowly building up tension before the sudden release sets in by means of an unexpected, almost cynically upbeat synthline and Altman's repeated, constrained uttering of the apologetic line, "You do what it takes to stay alive". Things are surely getting tough for J. Stay tuned.

 

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Mix: Evian Christ “No Experiences” for Fortyounce London

08 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

UK producer Joshua Leary aka Evian Christ, who recently showed up at Berghain for a very convincing first Berlin live performance, has a knack for unusually strong and original mixes, a fact that has already been proven this year with his works for Mary Anne Hobbes and especially Dummy. Today, NFOP is happy to premiere Leary's next piece that he's made exclusively for über-rad London fashion label Fortyounce Clothing. "No Experiences" is another brief yet breathtaking reminder of his wide-ranging taste and knowledge in modern music and his outstanding musicality, a quality that not all that often shows in mixes. It is a seamless, pleasantly slow-burning and downbeat twenty-minute contemplation that features zeitgeist-y NFOP favourites such as Vessel, Wanda Group and 1991 but also a version of Arclight's "Holographic" by Evian Christ himself that we think we haven't seen anywhere else so far (we might be wrong though), and a beautiful closer by the great Julianna Barwick.

You may strean the mix below and will be able to download it through the Forty Ounce website.

Tracklisting:

arclight - holographic (evian christ version)
wanda group - a warm perspective on a liner
vessel - lache
steve peters + steve roden - fade away within
1991 - domination translates directly into efficiency
weit draussen - durch!
julianna barwick - bode

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Mix: -8° Celcius

30 Oct 2012 — Tonje Thilesen

In courtesy of Henning's retrospect on the future of pop music, Michael McGregor gave us an excellent mix with thoughtful picks from the many different sounds of pop we're surrounded by, everything from Teebs to its more contemporary form of art, be it relevant to the changing season or not. 2012 is the year of futuristic pop music in all its unique outfits, but most importantly the electronic kind, from the atmospheric to the static, footwork or UK garage; the club music is back and we know it so well.

This mix contains a bit of everything from the massive melting pot: our brilliant friends Kuhrye-oo and Born Gold, Helsinki's Albert Swarm, Offshore, Actress, Dublin electronic representative Faws, and of course our personal 2012 obsession Unknown. It is also a direct tribute to the french record label BYRSLF, which I would personally name as the most influential electronic label throughout this year, with recent releases such as PEDRO123, Seapoint and the very amazing Umba, who also received a mind-boggling remix by Unknown To The Unknown; one of Cecil Frena (Born Gold)'s biggest influences on his newest album Litle Sleepwalker. The young electronic ambient producer Even Ireland is also worth a mention,  whose self-release Ten Songs About The Last Six Months is definitely worth a a proper listen, whatever you may or may not mean about his originality.

And to our friends in New York: enjoy this one and stay safe. 

 

0:40 -  Ryan Vail - Heartbeat (Unknown Remix) (+ sample Julia Holter - Moni Mon Amie intro)
5:00 - Evan Ireland - Potential 
8:40 - Kuhrye-oo - For The Fame II
12:30 - Faws - Fuck It (+ intro sample of The Radio Dept - Heaven's On Fire)
16:40 - Albert Swarm - He Took A Deep Breath
20:00 - Offshore - Summer Hits (+ sample of Traxman - Let There Be Rockkkkk)
23:15 - PEDRO123 - Oh (original mix)
27:00 - Acress - RIP (1/2)
28:00 - Umba - Acid Rain
33:45 - Born Gold - Lethe
36:40 - Seapoint - Unknown Ruins
Outro: fragment of How To Dress Well - When I Was In Trouble

 

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No Fear Of Pop: Notes on the Future of Music

29 Oct 2012 — Henning Lahmann

’Popular music’ can either mean ‘music that is widely appreciated’ or else music for ‘the people’ or by ‘the people’, regardless of how many people actually appreciate it. I’m referring to the third category, but either way the term is generally a catch-all category for music that isn’t thought to be Western classical music. Since the Second World War this ‘popular music’ has been increasing exponentially in diversity and complexity, incorporating new, technological structures and forms and becoming a powerful new site for musical modernism. It hopefully goes without saying, then, that modernist music isn’t limited to one particular musical style or genre, but can and will manifest through hundreds and thousands of different styles. In any case, the main thrust of musical modernism has largely fallen out of the hands of Western classical music over the last fifty years.

Adam Harper, Infinite Music

 

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In line with above introductory statement in Adam Harper's wonderfully inspiring Infinite Music and contrary to what Adorno would have us believe for decades, we are convinced that pop music indeed is capable of introducing something "fundamentally new" into the larger picture of contemporary culture. We believe, in essence, that what's currently happening in Montréal or Bristol, in Brooklyn or L.A., or what might happen during a night at Berghain or the Golden Pudel Club, can be a manifestation of true modernism. However, it would also be too short-sighted to only look for the avant-garde in Burial's or Julia Holter's latest work, or in a Laurel Halo remix of a Kuedo track (though we're sure it's there) - boundaries are also being pushed in Oklahoma, or in Georgia, or indeed in Scandinavia's latest dance anthem; it is in this sense that we have no fear of pop.

On the occasion of the first exhibition of Vir Heroicus Sublimis, Barnett Newman had attached a note that read, "There is a tendency to look at large pictures from a distance. The large pictures in this exhibition are intended to be seen from a short distance." As a blog, which this site has been so far and will remain to be at its core, we follow Newman's instruction. Standing right in front of the painting, we gaze at the details that are the tracks that we post and write about, a tiny selection of the thousands of musical works that appear each single day. Only in retrospect, from a distance, those details may or may not turn out to be of significance for the bigger picture that we like to call the culture of contemporary, forward-thinking pop. This self-perception surely does not mean that we don't have our own thoughts about the evolution of music, and one reason for relaunching the site was to allow the presence of longer and more reflective pieces in the future. However, for the time being we happily and emphatically direct you towards the people whose job it is (or should be) to stand in the safe distance and shed light upon the big picture, publications that we trust in such as The Wire, The Quietus, Ad Hoc, FACT, Dummy, Tiny Mix Tapes, or Electronic Beats.

What you see here should nonetheless be more than another random assortment of the arbitrarily hyped or soon-to-be-hyped or would-be-hyped. Apart from pure pop-cultural relevance, our primary aim is to provide at least some meaning in and of itself. As Pitchfork's Mark Richardson put it so beautifully the other day, "I am absolutely saturated with new music every day, and finding new things I like is not just easy, it's inevitable. So when I ask someone, 'What have you been listening to?' I'm trying to learn something about them. (...) The fact that someone would find music interesting purely by virtue of the fact that I am listening to it is foreign to me. What I listen to does not seem notable; why I listen to it might be. I need context." That's exactly what we shall be trying to achieve; not so much simply acting as curators of the dernier cri but as an honest guide into the ever-growing obscurities of today's pop music. So when we're good, you will like the stuff we post, or ideally even find it intriguing, engaging, and challenging. But when we truly succeed, you will also know why we posted it.

To celebrate No Fear Of Pop's second metamorphosis, we've asked our esteemed friend Michael McGregor (Meadowlands/The Report) to share his vision of the future of music with this exclusive mix that you may listen to below.

"The idea was certainly in keeping with, and from the point of, exploring the 'future of music', however, most of the tracks are pretty old, or at least not contemporary. Either way, these songs, together, feel symbolic of where things may go as the archive of music opens and expands for all to hear and enjoy."

Tracklist:

(1) Bearns & Dexter - Golden Voyage
(2) Jean Bouchety - Lifebound (Submix)
(3) Teebs - King Bathtub (minus 10)
(4) Kevin Ayers - Pisser Dans Un Violon
(5) Nini Raviolette - Suis Je Normale
(6) Actress - Ascending (bckwrds)
(7) Dick Sutphen - Trance Sex
(8) DJ Sprinkles - Brenda's $20 Dilemma
(9) Elaine Radigue - Adnos 3
(10) Gramm - Legends / Nugroove™
(11) Prince Jammy - Wafer Scale Integration
(12) Inoyama Land - Apple Star
(13) Roland Douttate 7 Orchestre - Gymnopedie no. 3 (Erik Satie)
(14) F. McDonald/ C. Rae - Memory Bank
(15) Bullwackies All Stars - Black Heart Dub
(16) David Caspar - Dawn Poems part 1: Early Moments
(17) Reichmann - Weltweit

NFOP Recommends: Drop Dead Festival.

26 Oct 2012 — Henning Lahmann

This planet's prime instalment of all things cross-cultural mayhem Drop Dead Festival returns to Berlin next week to celebrate its tenth anniversary together with everyone who's not afraid of questioning or redefining their own preconceptions about the rather ill-lit strands of contemporary underground music. What the festival offers is less your inner hipster's most cherished new subgenre but a sweeping curation of audiovisual madness that is as much art for art's sake as it is your own personal gateway to well-deserved insanity. Featuring appearances by N.U. Unruh (of Einstürzende Neubauten), Pictureplane, Young Hunting, Low Sea, Butterclock, and countless others, Drop Dead spreads across five awakening as well as exhausting days that are meant not to be thought but felt, evading all overcome determinations on genre and underground/overground dichotomies. Just don't say "goth".

The magic runs from Halloween till November 4 and happens at Neukölln's CUBE. Go here for more info and to check out the complete, stunning lineup. For tickets head over here. Get a rough idea of what you might encounter at some point during the festival's five days by streaming this excellent minimix provided by one of the enigmas behind the madness, BlackBlackGold:

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This planet's prime instalment of all things cross-cultural mayhem Drop Dead Festival returns to Berlin next week to celebrate its tenth anniversary together with everyone who's not afraid of questioning or redefining their own preconceptions about the rather ill-lit strands of contemporary underground music. What the festival offers is less your inner hipster's most cherished new subgenre but a sweeping curation of audiovisual madness that is as much art for art's sake as it is your own personal gateway to well-deserved insanity. Featuring appearances by N.U. Unruh (of Einstürzende Neubauten), Pictureplane, Young Hunting, Low Sea, Butterclock, and countless others, Drop Dead spreads across five awakening as well as exhausting days that are meant not to be thought but felt, evading all overcome determinations on genre and underground/overground dichotomies. Just don't say "goth".

The magic runs from Halloween till November 4 and happens at Neukölln's CUBE. Go here for more info and to check out the complete, stunning lineup. For tickets head over here. Get a rough idea of what you might encounter at some point during the festival's five days by streaming this excellent minimix provided by one of the enigmas behind the madness, BlackBlackGold: