06 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann
As we've told you before, we here at NFOP love everything local wonder woman Emma Czerny aka Magic Island does, and the brand new video for her signature single "Baby Blu" only reinforces our adoration, like a surprise vacation in Portofino after 43 years of being married. Or something. Anyway, go watch below:
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05 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Under Tears is the new solo project of Dublin native Julie Fogarty aka Julie Chance of Berlin duo Kool Thing. Currently residing down under, her first single "Indian Moon Ballad" is a departure from her former work in that the song is an even darker affair than Kool Thing's already not quite sun-kissed art. The accompanying video, directed by Robin Plessy, emphasises the track's encompassing hopelessness, and this, we shall not leave you without warning, in a rather macabre and slightly disturbing way. Appropiately set on a bleak Berlin winter day, it tells the story of a love affair terribly gone wrong, with all sorts repercussions imaginable.
Get the single digitally for free over here and watch the video exclusively below.
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02 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Do you miss Hype Williams already? Could this have been a Hype Williams track? Would you miss Dean Blunt as much as you miss Hype Williams or do you not care as you don't see any difference anyway? Do you think Dean Blunt felt "pressured" to drop a new track now that Inga Copeland has finally announced her proper debut album? Do you think Hype Williams came out of the shadows to direct Yeezus: The Movie because "Hype Williams" is finally not a thing anymore? Do you think Dean Blunt's next album Black Metal will contain black metal samples instead of Julee Cruise or K-Ci & JoJo? Would we need to invent a new genre name for that? Why would anyone leave Hippos In Tanks in order to release new material on Rough Trade, isn't that very 90s? Is that the point maybe, that it "feels" very 90s, so ironically? How did they make Blunt suddenly disappear in the video? Is the protagonists' choice of clothing a comment on or maybe even an endorsement of #normcore? What does it say about us that we didn't know what "Mersh" is? What does it tell us about Dean Blunt?
We have no idea. While you're trying to find out, here's a song to sing along to:
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18 Feb 2014 — Lukas Dubro
"Everyday" by Swedish pop duo Iberia was one of my favourite music videos of last year, with its used footage-driven rave atmosphere. We see some skinhead hardcore fans hanging out at a rave event, taking group pictures, smoking, talking, walking or putting lipstick on. People who know hardcore will be missing one thing: the dance moves. As a concession, we get a lesson in hardcore fashion style, since the camera is paying a lot of attention to their outfits: You get close ups from their futurstically coloured Nike Airmax sneakers, their camouflage pants, the tags on their jackets and sweaters and other small accesoires. So at the end, everyone will be abled to recognize a hardcore kid in a club.
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The clip is one further example of the appropriation of the sound and style of the 90s rave culture in contemproray music. The music of Canadian counter culture icon Grimes is only the most well-known instance. Even magazine Electronic Beats – famous for its conversations with grandfathers of pop and rock – put German mainstream rave legend H.P. Baxxter on the cover. And even the Berlin underground has started to adapt, re-discovering the sweat pants and bomber jackets so signifying for early Dutch hardcore. Just go to any Janus or Creamcake party at expat stronghold Chesters and you'll understand. In a recent interview with Berlin's "The One-Hit Parade", Chesters regular M.E.S.H. bluntly admitted that he's not only listening to and DJing 90s Dutch dance underground tracks, but that the music's samples also serve as his own work's basis. His reappropriation goes as far as using similar software synthesizers for his productions.
It's still not very clear where and when this whole rave revival started. But it certainly grew over the past two years. One of the first artists referencing 90s rave was of course UK producer Zomby with his 2008 EP Where Were You in 92?. Zooming out to get a bigger picture, one cannot deny that the 90s are back on a grand scale. Further examples include vaporwave, the revival of R'n'B (and even Usher!), or the latest album by sound visionist Oneohtrix Point Never. So maybe the hardcore's resurrection is just one further aspect within a larger development.
Even though the latest video for Iberia's new song "Glide" doesn't picture skinheads, we still get to see sweatpants and some branded gloves. We're also confronted with an inverted colour effect, a visual technique that was as well popular some 20 years ago and that's furthermore quite reminiscent of the ghostly 3D animations that Oneohtrix Point Never employed on his tour last fall. The typo used for the Gothenburg/Berlin duo's name tag, blinking up several times in the video, may be viewed as a reference to the vaporwave movement. Once again unearthing that certain decade by means of their visuals, Iberia re-emphasise how serious they are – and we all should be? – when it comes to bringing back the ghosts of our childhood and youth. Watch the video for "Glide" below.
Iberia's self-titled debut full-length is out on Hybris in March.
14 Feb 2014 — Henry Schiller
Channeling Scott Walker through Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack, Missouri’s Phil Diamond – who records music as Scammers – is the pop martyr we didn’t know we desperately needed until his hands were nailed to a keyboard in the shape of god's mightiest, most succulent minor chords. “A Song that Can Exist” is the tautest seven-and-a-half minutes of iterative dream pop that anyone has probably ever thought to record; a sensual elegy of molting synths, chest-cracking bass, and a snappy jazz beat that swings carefully from resuscitative sharpness into melancholy ambience.
Diamond’s voice invokes the comfortable surprise of getting to the center of a Creamsicle in a dark movie theater. Each new eruption of lyrics is a cool swoop of doom, a frosty glisten to burst through the already icy darkness. This is the sound of the lights coming on so slowly that you’ve convinced yourself you’re only seeing things, all the while Diamond wraps you tighter into the cosmic joke of his existential pain. His confrontational softness and lyrical self-possession put Diamond in league with out-of-step new wave groups like Tears for Fears or Talk Talk. A charming, subversive elegance that pop music has ignored for far too long.
“A Song That Can Exist” is accompanied by experimentally cut home footage of snowy mountains, ski-lifts, and desolate beaches. The track almost seems to fill the video’s bleakness, coloring every frame of black and white footage with the warm tones of baked earth.
Sad people who are not Phil Diamond, please take note: apparently you have been feeling things wrong.
Scammers’ album, A Song That Can Exist, is out February 17 on Jehu & Chinaman.
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11 Feb 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski
I am so relieved to come across this type of music, this death metal electronica. A local figure in the music scene, his speciality being electronica, was lecturing me the other day about how dubstep has changed the standard design of electronic music forever, and that from now on sustained bass is a must, causing a rather gritty, black metal attitude to join the ranks. While I didn't agree with him at all, especially because he was narrow-mindedly looking over house archetypes and other factors that haven't participated in the dubstep movement, I feel somewhat satisfied in finding his examples almost spot-on available in The Body's "Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain." With their cut-and-pasted compositions, lain over with proper guttural metal screaming and sometimes perforated guitar, I'd say it's laughable how convincingly this work qualifies as an actual metal release.
The Body's full-length I Shall Die Here is out via RVNG Intl. on April 1.
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03 Feb 2014 — Trey Reis
There’s lo-fi recordings that demand your attention and repeated listens to hear not only what is there, but also what would be there had the limitations of recording not put up a block on the road to (high) fidelity. And then there are those lo-fi recordings so perfectly buried in the low-ceiling mix, that expanding the range of available tones would only get in the way. Like, it may be an unfinished basement we’re talking about here, but the layers of dust piled onto all of these piles of boxes filled previously loved objects from the past: they provide a certain warmth. The boundaries of the sound space drawn in blurry lines by the knobs on effect pedals and amplifiers. Completeness certainly isn’t always measured by fullness, but on Letter Writer, those familiar waves of Vehicle Blues guitar strums are piled to previously unreached heights. The result is something of an enclosure without walls, where distance becomes negligible. Every wave of guitar or drum machine thump or cloudy voice feel simultaneously close and infinitely far away, like the sound of a whisper amplified through the scratch of handwriting on a personal letter sent from the other side of the world. Letter Writer indeed.
Watch the video for the title track below, and buy the whole tape from Chicago’s Pretty All Right label.
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23 Jan 2014 — Trey Reis
Hobo Cubes, aka Montreal's Franceso De Gallo, has a real hefty discography, spread over a list of labels, the likes of which you can’t do your daily new music research without reading something about -- names like NNA, Deep Tapes, Orange Milk, Opal, Digitalis. The list goes on. And that’s all in addition to the work De Gallo does with his own tape label, Hobo Cult, which collects explorative music as stretched out to abstraction as the artwork printed on the J-Card.
With “Structures in Stasis”, the first track previewed from the upcoming Hobo Cubes release on Seattle’s Debacle Records, entitled Apex Ideals, De Gallo enters with a smathering of dance music signifiers, like synth washes, thumping bass beats, and drill-like hi-hat sputters. But at the point that is all begins to ascend, and we, as listeners, are trained to expect it to all drop heavily back on top of us, it instead continues to rise, blending into the low-hanging fog we have suddenly found ourselves encompassed in, blurring into something post-textural, softly transforming and beautiful.
Similar things go on in "Synchronicity", although the pulsating synth pattern is even more heavily muffled, giving way to piercing noice disruptions in a more loosely knitted, impressionistic arrangement. The videofor the track, premiered below, aptly translates De Gallo's sonic abstractions to the visual realm.
Listen and watch below, and look for the entirety of Apex Ideals from Debacle Records on February 11.
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