Axxon N “Petri Dish”

09 Sep 2014 — Henry Schiller

It took four years for UK producer Axxon N (whose pseudonym is an appropriately obscure reference to David Lynch's Inland Empire) to construct  “Petri Dish”, a nearly danceable mishmash of savage samples and percussive experimentation. The length of the recording process seems to have had nothing to do with a lack of ideas on Axxon N's part: “Petri Dish” feels like it's been packed to a bursting point with four years worth of samples, headaches, and technical ingenuity.

Rather than a digital drum machine, the knife-sharp percussion on “Petri Dish” sounds like it might have been generated from samples of:
a) quarter inch cables making brief contact with active inputs
b) microphones getting too close to a singer’s mouth, then shattering
c) trash can lids that have somehow been hooked up to phase shifters

Choppy and repetitive, “Petri Dish” bears some resemblance to a version of Kraftwerk that’s been turned on its head. Rather than take something emotive and turn it into something technological and methodological, as Kraftwerk did with their pop music forebears, Axxon N turns the inhuman and digital into something feral and organic. And so, “Petri Dish”, an apt title for Axxon N’s high-energy samplethon; it's a science experiment. A living explosion of activity that feels like it's caught between a biology student's thesis and the catastrophic release of a dangerous pathogen.

Axxon N’s debut album Heal is out October 13 on Domestic.

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unhappybirthday “Keanu” (exclusive)

09 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Not sure if the German vocals are a recently added feature of Hamburg-based lo-fi outfit unhappybirthday, but the singer's sloppy and languid baritone is definitely the perfect complement to the disillusioned, detached words about a desolate human interaction, probably a failing relationship. The laconic crooning is nicely accompanied by naively warm twinkling and plucking synths that exude an eerie coziness, giving "Keanu" a curiously nostalgic and comforting feel, almost as if life didn't really suck after all.

"Keanu" is taken from Swimmingpool, which will be released later this year via Night-People. The band will tour Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands this fall beginning September 19.

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Watch: Austin Cesear “La Paloma”

08 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Ever since the release of his superb Cruise Forever on London imprint Public Information in 2012, New York via San Francisco producer Austin Cesear has become one of the spearheads of the lo-fi undercurrent within contemporary dance music, consistently following up his acclaimed debut with a cassette on Opal Tapes and a 12" on Anthony Naples' Proibito Records. Against this backdrop, the most striking thing about "La Paloma", the first track of his upsoming mini album West Side – with which the artist returns to PI, is not so much the music itself. Cesear's work is still muffled, analogue, distorted techno, albeit now with added bleakness that would fit well on Berghain's main floor on a Sunday night. Rather, it's the juxtaposition of this established sonic formular with director Paul Clipson's crisp, cool and alienating impressions of nocturnal urban landscapes that so oddly yet perfectly work against each other, creating a mesmerizing, druggy experience.

West Side is out September 29 on Public Information.

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Delicate Features “Kiss By The Sea”

08 Sep 2014 — Henry Schiller

The whimper of a Space Ghost transforms into the subtle deluge of seaside IDM. Synthetic tones jitter nervously between caterwauling vocalizations; mouth sounds which Delicate Features seem to slug softly, aimlessly and with the pensive force of a little league pitcher. Delicate Features hail from St. Petersburg but the electronica team's mnusic now comes to us via Los Angeles. This unusual combination of locales is very apparent on "Kiss By The Sea". Euro-sharp synthesizers dart out of mesmerizing could-be samples of a California coastline; “Kiss By The Sea” is a blithe, brilliant marriage of the former’s fragmented chilliness and the latter’s oceanic chillness.

The Passenger CS is out now on Not Not Fun.

 

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Sandra Kolstad “Zero Gravity State Of Mind” (exclusive)

04 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

There's something about Berlin via Oslo artist Sandra Kolstad's music that we can neither properly grasp nor even clumsily frame into words, and that is certainly not to be sufficiently explained by referring to that sad old cliché of the Scandinavian pop genius (a trope that we, gentle reader, love to invoke both ironically and in all seriousness). "Zero Gravity State Of Mind", title track and second single taken from Kolstad's upcoming third full-length, is not only more complex and rich in detail than perhaps any other straightforward pop song you'll come across in 2014, effortlessly stuffing more ideas into a single bar than your average internet phenomenon has had during their entire career, it's on top that also flawlessly titled: the song's playful loftiness triggers just that, a worry-free four and a half minutes that are probably the closest you'll get to finding your peace of mind this week. Listen to the premiere of "Zero Gravity State Of Mind" below.

Zero Gravity State Of Mind is out October 6 via Red Eye Transit.

Sandra Kolstad will be performing live at Nordic By Nature's Our/Berlin Music Week showcase tomorrow, September 5, at 8pm. Find out more over here.

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Via App “I Came To Win”

03 Sep 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

I was telling Henning the other night that I love sloppy, hypnagogic, noisy dance music. I like how it's sort of funny, and carries some anarchic syncopation while conveying both slimy and metallic quality. Controversially, I think it's the only actual new thing to have happened in electronic music in the last ten years, apart from slow disco and stretch. Learning that Via App is an exceedingly young American producer (20-year-old Boston-based Dylan Scheer), turns my entire perception of this track over: where did she get such a succinct understanding of techno song structure? "I Came To Win" starts quite bare, then explodes with some chopped and pitch-bent vocal sample, braided tightly around the beat. Then the 1970s sounding guitar sample corrals the beat into an adjusted assortment before the entire track strobes into your ears. It transforms into absolute magnetic, telekinetic chaos. I get so excited by this track, I can only think of what context to apply it to to pipe back down. For me, this song would be best played either as the last track before turning the wheels over to the second DJ, leaving him or her with a tumbleweed to work out from (be sure and wink so they know you're fooling around), ONLY if the crowd is hyped enough from sugary cocktails and the venue caters to this type of experimentation with nightlife rituals; or first thing during the morning of an important day, like your wedding or something, over a blood mary.

Pre-order Via App' Dangerous Game from 1080p here.

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NFOP Presents: Girl Band at ACUD

03 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

While we had to admit to be mildly irritated by their name, The Quietus thinks of Girl Band as "Dublin's finest exponents of hulking, screech-laced noise rock", and who were we to argue with London's finest analysts of contemporary dude rock? Right. There's a brand new video for the band's latest single "De Bom Bom", which we called fresh and angry and aimless, and while avoiding the word "rock" like the plague, we did say noise and forceful and revolt and put all these words into one single sentence, which now makes us seem like the palest imitation of the London lads' mighty wordsmiths; so the joke's really on us, basically. Anyway, what we wanted to point out originally was that the release of said video is only too fitting, as Girl Band are coming to town this Saturday, September 6, more precisely to the wonderful ACUD in Mitte, and the whole thing is presented and warmly recommended by, who would have thunk, No Fear Of Pop. So come by, if only in order to punch us in the face while we're providing pre- and post-show DJ mimicry, playing music that will probably feature noise, but certainly no rock.

Ignore what we just said and check out the event details right here.

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Win Tickets for the CTM Showcase at Berlin Music Week

01 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

As part of our commencing cooperation with CTM Festival's Berlin Current, we are presenting this Friday's night at Urban Spree within the framework of Berlin Music Week's showcase programme First We Take Berlin, as reported earlier. The line-up looks sublime – if you've somehow missed out on Sarah Farina, Ketev, Moon Wheel, Lief Hall, Phoebe Kiddo, and Opium Hum so far, this will be your ultimate chance to make up for it. And if it's still not enough reason to spend money on it or you find yourself to be short on Euros at the moment, here's the deal: We're giving away 1x2 tickets for the showcase on Friday. Send an email to submissions@nofearofpop.net with the subject "Berlin Current" and a friendly message before Thursday, 12pm.

See you there.

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