Watch: Datashock “Keine Oase in Sicht” (exclusive)

16 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

The heyday of proggy psych rock might be long gone, but stubborn timelessness is a quality that we acknowledge, at least if it materializes as refined and mature as the music of Saarlouis-based Datashock. Pyramiden von Gießen, the collective's 2011 work, was a massive collection of 'shrooms-induced soundscaping inspired by long-forgotten netherworlds, arid and torrid with no end in sight. The group continue their cursed journey on the recently released follow-up Keine Oase in Sicht, and listening to the eleven contemplations that last up to almost 14 minutes, there's indeed no oasis in sight, nowhere: Supplemented with faintly oriental motifs, Datashock's swirling arrangements are still virtually aimless, thrown into the world not through someone's conscious decision but because music like this just is, and always has been, so all it need is a few devoted people to sit down, listen to the fervent winds, and channel the energy. Someone used the word 'nomadic' to describe Keine Oase in Sicht, and indeed, any peripherally desert-related metaphor is almost uncannily apt. Probably try re-reading Nietzsche while listening to this most existential work. It might help to finally understand both him and Datashock.

This morning, we're delighted to present the premiere of the video for the title track, which, curiously enough, does not feature footage of Sahara expeditions. It revisits (and, we reckon, questions) an orientalist perspective though, observing unfamiliar spaces with a certain aloofness, creating a distance that's almost unsettling in this hyper-connected 21st century. Wherever you're going, it's a long way from home.

The Keine Oase in Sicht double LP is out on Dekorder. Get it here.

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Watch: Dour Tonic Input “Immaculate Stone 0.9”

11 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Presumably a side project by Broken20 regular Production Unit (at least if my anagram skills are reliable), Dour Tonic Input's Yogyakarta not only references the elusive musician's purported hometown but most notably all takes native Javan Gamelan styles as the scaffolding for his particularly ruptured beat missives. The result is a roughly half-hour, nine-track assemblage of almost classic hip-hop breaks that by and large shun any melodic ornaments, instead contemplating on repetitive patterns of subtly exotic percussion that slowly evolve into a surprisingly cathartic aural experience that seems curiously out of fashion. If you take a listen, and we recommend you do, don't miss out on unassuming standout "Sick Violins". For now however get lost in the meditative visuals for "Immaculate Stone 0.9", a track that serves as an apt introduction to Dour Tonic Input's subtle approach that shouldn't be misunderstood as vapid appropriation or even orientalist kitsch embedded in shallow romanticism.

Yogyakarta marks the a-side of a split cassette together with DJ Votive, whose broken house one-track side Dead Roads is so troubled and desolate and submerged that we'd use the word 'hypnagogic' if we didn't know better.

Yogyakarta/Dead Roads is out June 23 on Broken20's cassette subsidiary Broken60. It's the sublabel's fourth release and has catalogue number B60_03. Feel free to think about that for a while (but don't ask us, really).

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Watch: TOPS “Change of Heart”

04 Jun 2014 — Parker Bruce

Montreal's TOPS released one of the most underrated albums of 2012 with Tender Opposites, which is kind of a mini classic in my book. So it was quite a terrific surprise to start June with a new track and video by them as well as news of a sophmore album coming in September, all on home of good things Arbutus Records. "Change of Heart" has ramming, revving, and head-held-high guitars along with endearing, near tropicalia-imbued keyboard (both call to mind the theme song to "The Babysitter's Club"), and Jane Penny's funky voice. The video recounts the band's recent tour from earlier this year which looks like the best cross country USA road trip I've ever seen (they've been more places in my country than I have) with all of the soft serve ice cream, motel dance parties, and ponytail swinging. "Change of Heart" is out on 7" on July 14 (June 23 as a download) with another track called "Sleeptalker" accompanying it. And the album, Picture You Staring, is with us September 2! Could not come more highly recommended.

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Watch: Holy Strays “Pathless March” (exclusive)

27 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Parisian artist Sebastien Forrester aka Holy Strays' nocturnal soundscapes have been haunting us for a good while, yet he still surprises us with his curiosity that allows him to ever develop his style, pushing previously invisible boundaries. Release after release, Forrester further carves out his very own style, refining his unique knack for unsettling arrangements that may soundtrack your own personal nightmare, without however insincerely hiding his influences. The video for the latest Holy Strays single "Pathless March" – surely one of Forrester's most elaborate compositions yet, built around unobtrusive sax samples and bleary vocal snippets (there's more to be told about the track, found over here) – seamlessly melds into the music's theme. Created by Lliesse, who had already been responsible for the superb visualisation of "Chasm", the piece is as puzzling and inconclusive as it is strangely captivating despite its incoherent array of images. Watch the premiere of the video below.

Get the digital single via Atelier Ciseaux over on bandcamp.

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Watch: Mathematique “Summer, But I Don’t Know” (exclusive)

19 May 2014 — Parker Bruce

Last month, thanks to Stellar Kinematics, Montreal's Mathematique presented the Feel EP, and it has become a bit of an NFOP favorite with loping, zipping "Summer, But I Don't Know" being played on the NFOP radio show on Berlin Community Radio a little while ago. Now we have the video for that track, directed by Jason Harvey (just like the Antoine93 one earlier today), who's done videos for Mac DeMarco, No Joy,  Majical Cloudz, and Alex Calder as well. The majority of the split screen (sometimes triptych-employing) video is set in a mint pastel room with Mathematique and two friends dancing around with close ups of, among other things, various potted plants (very Bok Bok verdant), a laptop open on a chair "playing" the song, falling green jello, an old amusing flip phone that is opened on a stool, water gushing over rocks, and Mathematique balancing a bowl on her head. It all comes off as a small-scale version of New Radicals' "You Get What You Give" 1998 video.

Mathematique's Eurotour starts on May 24th in Kraków with a June Berlin date with other NFOP fave, Magic Island, on the bill as well. Bon Voyage!

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Watch: Antoine93 “Only Do The Music” (exclusive)

19 May 2014 — Parker Bruce

At the end of last year, one of our two Montrealers of the day (and close friend of Mathematique, more on that later), Antoine93, released Try Something Different, and now here's the Berlin-crafted video for "Only Do The Music" which is rather simply about not doing drugs and just focusing on making music. The video centers on Antoine basically being taught by a woman (Magic Island) and a photocopy of Music Composition for Dummies on how to make music. We see him recording at the mic and playing piano. The teacher shows him a motivitional speech about being happy. This is once again a Jason Harvey affair with photography by him and editing and directing by Antoine himself. Watch the premiere of the video below.

Try Something Different is out now.

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Watch: TALA “Serbia”

16 May 2014 — Henry Schiller

London producer TÃLÃ and director Katia Ganfield filmed the video for "Serbia" on handheld cameras over the course of a three-day visitto Marrakesh*. Ganfield's music video gives jarring, almost rhythmic testimony to budget hostels and tight-wallet tourism, as well as providing flickering glimpses of the beautiful Moroccan countryside. The video has a tense, found-footage feel to it that is nicely offset by TÃLÃ's slick blend of vocal hooks and dance-driven beats.

TÃLÃ's The Duchess EP is out June 2 on Aesop; preorder here.

 

 

*I do not know why the music video for a song called "Serbia" is comprised entirely of footage of Marrakesh.

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Stream: Ed Dowie “The Adjustable Arm” EP (exclusive)

12 May 2014 — Henry Schiller

Ed Dowie's music is from a different world, but it is not one that has invented so much as discovered. The former Brothers in Sound member reveals the demonic forces that hold up comfortable North London homes and proves elevator music to be the products of blood soaked velveteen funhouses. His music digs the impenetrable depths of the banal and shallow, of the everyday, and rather than coming up empty handed he shows that even the most ordinary of things can become something lush, magnificent, and terrifying.

There’s a strange nostalgia present on Dowie’s The Adjustable Arm EP, almost as if he’s reminiscing about a version of pre-contemporary Europe that he a) could never have experienced and b) only exists in supernatural horror novels. Still, Dowie’s music is firmly contemporary; “Bosnia & Herzegovina” is in direct dialogue with the likes of Julianna Barwick, and “Meadow Song” sounds almost like a London post-dub take on the “Jenova” theme from Final Fantasy VII. Angelo Badalamenti and Arthur Russell are obvious influences, though Dowie skews towards a delightful snap of circus music combined with a dollop of Cthulu mythos that is uniquely his.

The Adjustable Arm is out tomorrow, May 13. Order it over here.

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