Watch: Ketev “Uruk” (exclusive)

08 Apr 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Once again Opal Tapes delivers to us homemade electronica formerly from the outer reaches. As this music approaches some kind of center, perhaps a center of our contemplation (as some of this stuff tends to be very brooding), it furthermore beckons admiration in a double-take fashion, like passing a person or sight that is worth turning around for. Laslo Antal captured such an occurrence for Berlin-based Ketev's slurpping, accessible yet undoubtedly dark "Uruk" off of the self-titled release due April 20th. While the film quality, stride and speculation of the person on camera (presumably the artist Yair Elazar Glotman), as well as the mantric beat, all give the impression of a street scene of some kind, we double-take to resolve that this footage was taken indoors, and that there's something familiar about the stacks of specimen soaking in viles of formaldehyde. This work has done an interesting job masking the Berlin Naturkundemuseum, as I have walked these same corridors numerous times yet was only vaguely reminded of the place instead of quick to recognize it. Such an effect is fitting for Ketev's abstracting style, which in a way reminds me of the more experimental material by This Heat. Since Glotman phases "patterns from Reel-to-reel tape loops being manipulated by 4-Track cassette decks creating roaring textures above slow shifting rhythmic mantras," a comparison to This Heat is not so terribly far off as they are famous for tape manipulation and reel-to-reel looping (as well as being awesome).

Ketev is out April 20th on Opal Tapes, and you can pre-order the cassette here.

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Watch: The Body “At The Mercy Of It All”

07 Apr 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Learning that The Body's I Shall Die Here inspired Jason Evans' (Hey Convinct!/Purple Brain) short film "At The Mercy of It All," we understand how it is that the visual tension works so well with the audio, and how The Body's jarring, horrifying music could evoke a piece satiated with discomfort. But why specifically the scary bearded mountain man, the brokenhearted Thoreau? Living in Montana, this romanticized state of isolation, as well as its frightening aspects, is a common thing, and there are a lot of men around here who look like actor Todd Schrock. This archetype of ole' skinny obsessing over decontextualized newspaper clippings, scheming, struggling to uphold the difference between reality and dream - or nightmare - seems on the verge of kitsch, a stale story of a man unable to cope with loss or a blow to the ego, reminding us of Ted Kaczynski (who was, by the way, hidden in the Helena National Forest near Lincoln, Montana during the time of his assaults), and takes away from the authenticity of The Body's soundscape. Still, as voyeurs we long to know this lonely man's living situation: what happened between him and Laurie to make him flee into the woods? Did she drop him off and never come back? Constantly bewildered, and at one point trying to contact his inner child who knew how to play the piano, we watch him struggle to keep his mind engaged, the essential thing for surviving in the wilderness. He's clearly not on any mission - he is posing, ogling topographical maps, walking around like he's afraid of slipping on the ice and totally out of his element, acting as if he's worried he can't find something but doens't reveal what it is he needs. At the end of the video, we would believe that he was afraid that he'd lost the sunny picture of him and his girlfriend or sister who has a car. This image upsets him, for he is jealous of the warm scene and probably the car, so he drops it in the snow and walks away. Is this piece ironic, archetypal, or successfully representative of man's restrained hostility? In any case, I think someone ought to give him a ride out of there.

I Shall Die Here is out now on RVNG Intl.

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NFOP x CTM: Excepter & Black To Comm

07 Apr 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Proud to present the forthcoming Berlin appearance of NYC experimental legends Excepter together with our friends at CTM. The group, currently consisting of founder and No Neck Blues Band member John Fell Ryan together with Lala Ryan, Jon Nicholson, and Jon Williams, will conquer the stage of Kantine am Berghain on April 15 to showcase another set of the project's distinctive take on electronics-infused, transcendent rock. Self-described as "a synthetic protest band engineered to erase cultural distinctions through polarized confusion," 12 years after its foundation the veteran band still manages to push the boundaries of our common perception of latter day avant-garde. Excepter will be supported by another very noteworthy project, Black To Comm aka Dekorder mastermind Marc Richter, whose work we last covered two years ago when seminal imprint De Stijl released his immersive soundtrack for Ho Tzu Nyen silent movie EARTH.

Highly recommended. Check out the event details over on Facebook.


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Watch: Pieces of Juno “Saffron” (exclusive)

03 Apr 2014 — Tonje Thilesen

For the past three months, Norwegian producer Pieces of Juno has spent her time running between studio sessions in L.A, briefly working with people such as BC Kingdom and Axel Morgan; co-writer of Kendrick Lamar's M.A.A.D City. "Saffron", on the other hand, is a lush and honest approach from Kine Sandbæk Jensen, perhaps a little different than what she's been working on down in L.A. The track was originally released back in January alongside the B-side, "Heliophilia", and we're very happy to show you the first glimpse of the video for it below, directed by Kristine Meling Enoksen. Needless to say, keep your eyes open for this girl. 

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Watch: Karneef “Swimming” (exclusive)

02 Apr 2014 — Parker Bruce

The video for "Swimming" by Montreal's Karneef from his 2013 album Love Between Us is kind of like watching a documentary about a painter, but it's also the story of a man and his bass. Karneef has produced the new EP by fellow Montrealer Mathematique as well as been a bass player for Sean Nicholas Savage. "Swimming" was directed by fashion designer/artist Renata Morales who is known for works she has done for Yelle, Arcade Fire, and Phi Create. The song itself has hunky bass for miles and what sounds like someone giving a kiss into a megaphone. The video is tantalizing and even sexy, both filmically and in the stilted, lanky, and herky jerky movements of Karneef himself. It's a pretty great sight to see Karneef lick his bass and then smile. A bunch of "Swimming" remixes by NFOP faves ¡FLIST! and Rich Uncle-Skelleton (aka a member of Syngja) will be out soon but meanwhile, dive into the video below. 

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Penny “Pen#3 (Yola Fatoush Remix)” (exclusive)

02 Apr 2014 — Henning Lahmann

A little while back, we presented the stream of the convincing inaugural effort by Penny, the new project by Old Apparatus and Saa member Asher Levitas together with visual artist and writer Michael Crowe, describing the self-titled EP's sound as 'nocturnal' and 'gritty'. While this assessment most certainly holds true for the closing track "Pen#3", London duo Yola Fatoush nonetheless found some brighter elements buried deep within the track's opaque arrangement to play around with. The result comes in the form of their "Zero Discipline Refix", complete with absorbing vocal manipulations and an almost alienating grooviness. Were it not for a slightly unsettling thunderstorm halfway in, we'd find the remix even light-hearted. This way however, we suspect something sinister going on right under the surface.

The Penny EP is out on Overshare Records. Get it here.

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FAY “Can’t Fall” (exclusive)

31 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann

LA artist FAY's massive 2012 debut DIN caught us completely off guard with its bold blend of uncomfortable rhythms and forward-thinking arrangements. Now, Fay Davis-Jeffers returns with her sophomore LP Deathwatch, an effort that is both more adventurous and refined. Vastly expanding the variation of sounds, the new album still emphasises the artist's uncommon and challenging approach to rhythmic patterns, but the whole piece still manages to come across as an ultimately somewhat smoother and more coherent listen. "Can't Fall", premiered below, is a case in point. Integrating elements of drone and built around a few losely composed, reduced piano chords, the track would strike an almost comforting tone were it not for the seemingly randomised noise interruptions that perforate the otherwise peaceful setting, providing an uneasy structure that never allows for a convenient decrease of attention.

Deathwatch is out today on Time No Place. Highly recommended.

(Photo by Patrick Mapel)

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NFOP Recommends: Rauschen w/ Gebrüder Teichmann

31 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Fusing however conceived “classical” music with any variation of pop is a delicate affair, all too often settling for a middle ground that is nothing more than a sad cliché of either world (violins! grandeur! guitars! roughness!), unnecessary at best and the epitome of proto-romanticist kitsch at worst (examples abound and therefore omitted, thank me). Now don't get me wrong. There are, of course, ways to do it right, and if successful, the result may not simply provide for an entertaining night but indeed open up new perspectives on the subject matter, and alter our stagnant perceptions of both pop and "serious" music. The latest attempt to legitimise the notion while avoiding its inherent traps and pitfalls comes from two classically trained Hamburg musicians, pianist Anne von Twardowski and cellist Sonja Lena Schmid. Their upcoming concert series Rauschen aspires to convince all sceptics by taking up a more progressive and uncommon stance: Instead of an obvious amalgamation of the two worlds, the night will instead start with the duo's unaltered interpretation of a piece of chamber music – this time, Sergej Rachmaninov's 1901 Cello Sonata in G minor – before their guests, Berlin electronic luminaries Gebrüder Teichmann, join in, sampling and then re-contextualising elements of von Twardowski's and Schmid's performance by way of improvisation. The subsequent live interaction with the acoustic rendition will gradually be transformed into the Teichmanns' own set, ultimately opening up the dancefloor. This intended seamless integration of the sonically rather polar opposites surely sounds like quite an ambitious venture, yet without doubt promising to be so much more compelling than, say, Metallica ruining the San Francisco Symphony (and vice versa), and is thus warmly recommended by us.

The debut edition of Rauschen will take place at Nachtasyl in Hamburg this Friday, April 4, starting at 10.30pm. Watch the official trailer below, find more details on Facebook and get tickets over here.

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