Auclair “Second Signal (Semaphore Remixes)” (exclusive)

02 Dec 2014 — Richard Greenan

In September London-based singer and producer Auclair offered up a beguiling set of electro-psych pop swirlers entitled Semaphore. Calling on a gifted roster of artists and buddies, she now presents Second Signal – four mirror versions, deformed, pepped up or lugubriously stretched out to form a weird echo of the original quartet.

Second Signal has the pleasing sequencing pattern of catchy / weird / catchy / weird. Shape Worship recalibrates the spiralling prog of 'Mersea Mersea Me' with dense, fidgety grooves and globules of bass undulation. Italian headspace master Sebastian Palomar promptly flings us from this solar system into the inky deep, Auclair's crushed and obliterated vocal a wail of existential horror or ecstasy.

Taking on 'Here Come The Planes', Toby Gale scrubs it clean as a whistle before festooning with springy, wayward bleeps and gorgeously wonky keys. Finally, the great Anna Meredith completely rebuilds the closer, draping Auclair's voice in bafflingly elasticated chords and creaking, ravey arpeggios. The whole thing is quite bizarre and brilliant.

Second Signal will be released as a free download on Dec 8 via Kit Records. You can stream it below.

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Stream: Mongo Skato “I Don’t Give It” (exclusive)

01 Dec 2014 — Henning Lahmann

The press release nails it: New Zealand outsider producer Mongo Skato's debut I Don't Give It is arriving "virtually completely out of nowhere". And indeed: of all the things we hadn't really anticipated would happen this year (there are a few), this super hi-energy piece of AHDH techno certainly comes as a surprise – we've never come across this name, and we hadn't sincerely dealt with the possibility of this heavy yet euphoric footwork/jack-induced dancefloor bastard to emerge from the other side of the planet either. Sure enough, it might have to do with the fact that Mongo Skato's label's mastermind Richard MacFarlane is, though nowadays based in Vancouver, a Kiwi himself, so there might be some actual insight involved that we lack. However, I Don't Give It should be received as a refreshment in any place. The cover art might hint at techno's gritty late 80s/early 90s beginnings, but even though the producer clearly isn't ashamed to reveal his influences, every single of the eight tracks on the tape makes sure to avoid getting stuck in stale retromania. Playful 4/4 galore, if there's one release we want you to give your little sister for Christmas, let it be this one. Stream the release in full exclusively below.

I Don't Give It is out tomorrow, December 2, via 1080p.

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Sleep Thieves “You Want The Night”

01 Dec 2014 — Andrew Darley

You Want The Night is the first full-length album by the Irish synthpop outfit Sleep Thieves. Since their initial EP release in 2009, the band have taken their time to develop their style and identity. Their debut album confidently slinks in with sultry synthesizers on its opener "City of Hearts". Exploring the excitement and loneliness of living in a city, lead singer Sorcha Brennan gazes “I wanted not to be lonely but still alone” before its wistful chorus arrives. She commands focus as the album shifts between several moods, from the shadowy world of the title track to "Sparks", a song that could sit amongs a classic John Hughes soundtrack. The bewitching heart of the record is "Through A Sea". Opening with sparse synths, the song laments a lover who fled. After two ominous minutes it takes an unexpected turn as beats start to stutter in and steers it into full force dance-pop. The trio appear to have an experimental approach to songwriting that is simultaneously rooted in a love for melodies, like the unforgettable bassline of "French Kiss". For their first album, Sleep Thieves have crafted sensual and brooding electronic pop with lyrics that encapsulate the sprawling feelings of our inner worlds.

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Stream: The NFOP Show on BCR: Kometenmelodien Preview

01 Dec 2014 — Henning Lahmann

As mentioned last week, we've partnered with Kometenmelodien to curate an extraordinary night at Berghain Kantine this week Wednesday, December 3rd, featuring copeland, Jabu, and Lief Hall. In anticipation of the event, we made a little special on our show on Berlin Community Radio last Friday. If you've missed it, stream it now below.

Tracklist:

(1) Baba Yaga "You'll Never Know"
(2) Jabu feat. Kahn "Still"
(3) El Mahdy Jr & Jabu "They Come for You"
(4) Jabu "Chamber"
(5) Young Echo "Voices on the Water"
(6) Hype Williams x Drake "Ooovrrr"
(7) Hype Williams "untitled"
(8) Hype Williams "The Throning"
(9) Inga Copeland "Trample"
(10) Inga Copeland "B.M.W."
(11) Inga Copeland "Speak"
(12) Copeland & Gast "Strict"
(13) Inga Copeland "obsession 2"
(14) copeland "Inga"
(15) Lief Hall "Glass Machine"
(16) Jabu "Empty Days"
(17) Dean Blunt feat. Inga Copeland "The Narcissist (aka Choice of a New Generation)"
(18) Lief Hall "Destination"
(19) Hype Williams "Infinity (live)"

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Stream: Katie Rush “Law of Attraction” EP (exclusive)

26 Nov 2014 — Johanne Swanson

I have an early memory of asking my seventh grade English teacher, my favorite teacher, if he listened to Madonna while he was growing up in the 80s. She was my hero and I spent most mornings getting ready for school pantomiming The Immaculate Collection in front of the mirror. Reluctantly he told me no, that everything about her seemed sort of-- I kid you not, he used the word icky-- back then. It crushed me and then fueled some fire because I knew in the most innocent part of my heart that Madonna was truly great; she was someone that I, a thirteen year-old Catholic school choir girl, still wanted to be. Yes, if Madonna expressing all of that feminine desire rolling around in a wedding dress at the MTV Video Music Awards was icky, then I wanted to be icky. Icky, or maybe just threatening to a grown man.

Enter Law of Attraction, the debut EP from Katie Rush aka Katie Wagner with production by Sam Mehran (Test Icicles, Outer Limitz) and Zak Mering (Raw Thrills, Greatest Hits). Wagner is our pop star, someone we want to be and are becoming, as she demands space (cosmic or otherwise) and in turn discovers self. This is the soundtrack to our coming-of-age drama. On the neon shining four tracks Wagner writes, “I hope that people feel what I feel when I hear and sing the songs, making them feel riveted and want to just groove hard to life's possibilities!” 

Law of Attraction is out now on GUNK TV. Stream the EP in full below. 

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Devotional Music For Invisible Cities

26 Nov 2014 — Richard Greenan

With their aphorism "music with stories to tell", Dramatic Records have presented music from a variety of oddballs over the years - coffee-addled, corporate nutjobs, duplicitous Czech entrepreneurs, misty-eyed anthropologists and unhinged swimming gurus (?!).

Their latest offering, then, seems conspicuously devoid of protagonist and accompanying backstory. Even the title of the album is hollow. Does Invisible Cities point to the Calvino book of the same name, itself an exercise in styles of the imaginable? The artwork, too, is laced with baffling cyphers, Escher-esque false turns and never-ending staircases...

Musically, "Love Of Pleasure Is All" is warming, unplaceable, devotional - the end credits of a civilisation-building dynasty, or murmurs from a nightclub in the middle of some Final Fantasy VII desert.

Invisible Cities is out soon on Dramatic Records.

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NFOP x Kometenmelodien: copeland, Jabu, and Lief Hall at Berghain Kantine

25 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Very honoured to have been given to curate the next edition of Kometenmelodien's precious concert series at Berghain Kantine, happening Wednesday next week, December 3rd. For the night, we've chosen some absolute NFOP darlings, familiar to anyone who has been following this website over the past years or who's even just periphally interested in cutting-edge pop music one and a half decades into the third millenium: Young Echo members Amos Childs and Alex Rendall aka Jabu are coming across the Channel for a rare live rendition of their sublime blend of Child's productions informed by Bristol's boundless heritage and Rendall's soft-spoken vocal intervention, before (Inga) copeland is blessing Berlin for the first time since releasing her superb debut full-length Because I'm Worth It earlier this year. The night will be opened by Berlin-based artist Lief Hall, who will present her new live set that she first performed live on our BCR show back in April – revisit the stream below.

We're giving away 1x2 guest list spots for next week's show. Just write an email with the subject "copeland" to submissions@nofearofpop.net before Friday, November 28th, at 12pm.

Find more details about the event over on Facebook.

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Design A Wave “International Journey of Synthetic Emotion”

24 Nov 2014 — Richard Greenan

For around three years Chloe Frieda has wooed electronic music aficionados with her weekly show on NTS Radio – a special blend of calming voice and downright odd sounds. She's now putting those excellent ears to further good use, as her Alien Jams project evolves label-wards, purveying the dark, weird underside of English music.

AJ01, oMMM's Parallel Lines Converge, resembled a mournful, hopelessly distorted SOS message from another dimension. Frieda now points the telescope earthwards – or, more specifically, towards the dancefloor – to reveal London producer Design A Wave's International Journey of Synthetic Emotion.

In this engrossing first cut, the Rush Hour and Alter veteran makes you wait – coaxing an array of serpentine, bubbling synths and softly padding chords before flinging us forward through a decidedly groovy wormhole. Quite hard to not press repeat on this one.

Design A Wave's International Journey of Synthetic Emotion is out on Dec 1st via Alien Jams.

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