Review: Various Artists – Artificial Selections

a3207601573_10More then a week ago, a new compilation emerged out of the alternative underground. A compilation that caught people off guard because of the beautiful representation of cold-wave, post-punk and experimental selections – including a wider variation of genres. Featuring both unrepresented artists and those who are not. First off are Excuses, the solo-project by Matthew Rowe whose debut was put out on the now defunct label Function Operate, back in 2012. This self-titled release featured five songs but his contribution to the compilation was with the track “We Are Fuel“. It is a raw track which lets a dodgy atmosphere with shoegaze fill out the sound-scape, together with the ambivalent riffing you’d only find within darker post-punk. Although his vocals on this song isn’t up to par with the rest of the landscape of sound, it is held up by the general mood that he delivers with sincerity. I just wish it was coupled with a better vocal representation because right now it sounds too cheesy. But I must say that it is a good opener which sets the bar for the rest of the compilation higher up.

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Exclusive Premieres: Kaval and Niedowierzanie!

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R-5883490-1405360667-8956Vrystaete is yet another endeavor by the already busy Martijn from Enfant Terrible. It is a new sub-label meant to capture folklore, psychedelic and lo-fi sounds, with emphasis on small editions that come handcrafted with packaging, artwork and everything attached to a release. The first release on this label was an album with Kaval, a Holland-based duo compromised of Ian Martin (DJ from Rotterdam) and Derk Reneman, who’s also a DJ (and producer) from the Netherlands, known by the name of Roberto Auser. The album is called “Zee Van Gedachten” and is an ominous release featuring the likes of field recordings mixed into ambient, not too far of a leap from their first album “Sky Of Mirrors“, but rather more well-thought out. A soundtrack to the new generation of folk-fearing peoples that only get their doses of that through electronic music, although much of it could be considered to be non-music – rather a palette of different thoughtful sound-scapes – all centered around the vibes that instruments and ambiance create together. When listening through it, I came to the conclusion that “Mechaniek Der Dingen” would be my tune of choice, because it brings a lot of nostalgia to me and could’ve been a track featured in Diablo 2 or any of those earlier games, those games with a darker atmosphere around them which made them more enjoyable – yet with undertones of scariness. You can listen to that track exclusively down below. If you like what you’re hearing, consider buying the vinyl from Vrystaete, over here.

 

R-5877459-1405412461-9551The second release on this label, whose great start with Kaval could not be mentioned enough, was with Niedowierzanie (meaning: disbelief, in polish).  He’s been around for much longer, having released his first album “Niedowierzanie” in 2008 on the label Reue Um Reue. I kid you not, the man behind this project is French and his name is Léo Maury – an experimental artist delving into the Mediterranean folk-sound. Otherwise known for his projects; Hjärna (Brain), Helaas – a four-man experimental group, and the three-man neofolk duo that is Wermut. When it comes to Léo Maury’s track record, nobody can deny that he hasn’t got the experience to pull off something this delicate. Even though a project like this sears with the passion of our Southern European brothers, there is a certain delicacy which comes into play when listening to the album, which is by the way called “Felicita” (to congratulate?). It feels like a combination of World War II french recordings, together with the romanticism that have shrouded the french for years and years to come – with the rather raw passion that is delivered amidst a barrage of traditional instruments – a call for some kind of Italian and Spanish (Catalan) folklore music. I know that I am not an expert when it comes to this, but it is what my impressions were when first listening and what they still are. Have all that and the experimentalism which lays the foundation of Léo Maury’s craft and you have the complete product. I chose the track “Bappa“, an exclusive track for you to listen to, because I feel like it embodies what my impressions were and it is like a summary of the album. If you like what you’re hearing, buy the album here.

Listen: Xiu – One Thrilling Night

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As last year went into the last month, the compilation “Minimal Milan” was released on the then newly created label Minimal Trend Records. A label run by Oksana Rodinova, otherwise known as Xiu, whose contribution to this compilation was under a new alias called MarryMe2Night. Individual songs and remixes have been released, but the Estonian-born queen of minimal synth hasn’t stopped short of that. aufnahme + wiedergabe decided to test the waters again, having released her first self-titled EP back in 2012. This time our Berlinian label have put out “One Thrilling Night” – the latest release by Xiu up to date – a double-single of some sort featuring the tracks “One Thrilling Night” and “Turn Me On“. Porl King (In Death It Ends/Miserylab, etc) have mastered this release.

When listening to these songs, it feels like a recognizable Xiu stream of consciousness. Taken into another direction with the calmness; smeared with metallic percussion. Dreamy landscapes of sound pull the dirt with it, because she’s not afraid to have some dirt under her nails. The whole sound-scape in the first track is drifting between semi-consciousness and a state of dreaming, with a suggestive dark undertone and rhythm to angelic melodies that flow through. A difference between the first and the second track is that in the second – she introduce her vocals. Reverberated strings of some kind of hopelessness, together with sunken beats that wouldn’t really make you move but rather contemplate. You can stream the whole release down below.

Exclusive Premiere: Weeping Rat – Eulogy

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These Australians have a weird habit of returning to my blog-zine. Weeping Rat is a mini-ensemble of Australian people whom I’ve written about before. Essentially, they’re a perfect example of what a band actually can do and how not to be a bland mess of influences. Changing themselves over time from a death-rock outfit to a more experimental industrial one. Having released stuff as far back as 2012, now beginning to shape their latest release “Eulogy“. Making a weird kind of transition when they released their two EPs “Forced Vision” and “Fractured Zones“, showcasing two different sides of what was to become a future release. Now they’re limiting themselves to a weird kind of mixture between industrial, cold wave and post-punk – experimenting between the three. Capturing a certain kind of melancholic vibe together with their unusual sounds, a clingy theme of an abrasive singer, with the inspiring percussion.

I got to put up the first single taken from this future release. This particular song is really what defines their new selves. Featuring a meditative rhythm, hiding away a cluster of percussion in what could be referenced as a rain-forest of instruments. At the same time there is a lot of things going on, but it doesn’t really hinder the atmosphere or make it clutter. Well, I put up the song a while ago and I hadn’t written about it until now. So here you are being given the first single from their forthcoming release. The song is called “Eulogy” as you might’ve already found out about. Let’s hope that you listeners enjoy it as well as much as I do.

 

Premiär: Maskinåldern – Avsnitt I

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Det är svårt att veta var man ens ska börja ibland. Tiden flyter på som om ingenting hänt och det känns som om det var flera månader sedan pilotavsnittet spelades in. Egentligen är det inte mycket som har förändrats med formatet, men det känns friare på väldigt många sätt. Nu är till och med det första avsnittet någonsin av Maskinåldern inspelat och uppladdat. Det känns surrealistiskt.

Första intervjun som är med i avsnittet är inspelat i Malmö på ett hemligt ställe, eller närmre bestämt – en replokal. Där huserar nämligen en av Malmös nyare hardcoreband Urban Savage. De har satt på pränt att lira hardcore punk blandat med oi och gammal hederlig rock’n’roll. Deras debutalbum “Let Thunder Roar” ligger runt krokarna för att släppas, och från vad jag har hört så låter det som ingenting jag lyssnat på innan. Eller jo, kanske, men i mina öron så låter det unikt.

Vi sätter oss ner i en skinnfåtölj, vid ett bord där det för en stund sedan stod en tom ölburk, någon slags föda och kartonger. Det är här intervjun börjar. Mina lämpliga intervjuoffer heter Viktor och Ruben, bägge två och resten av bandet har lirat i andra band innan och listan kan göras lång. Tyvärr var de andra två i bandet inte närvarande, så det fick gå ändå. Ämnena som vi kom in på under denna intervju var både intressanta och gav en eller annan tankeställare efter att intervjun var klar. Till podcasten så har de donerat de två osläppta låtarna “I’ve got nothing to say” och “When the day comes“, bägge är tagna från det kommande albumet. Intervjun är indelad i två olika delar, med cirka femton minuter för var del.

Utöver detta så var faktiskt Magnus Gyllenswärd den som skulle få sätta agendan för avsnittet, i alla fall när det kommer till de övergripande låtvalen. Magnus är annars känd som en del av det märkliga indie-pop-bandet Differnet, men det var inte därför jag var intresserad av att intervjua honom. I hemlighet, eller nåja, under ett annat namn – nämligen “Övervarning” – så har han redan släppt fyra album. En skiftande blandning mellan dark ambient, ambient och en allmän experimentallusta. Från det första albumet “Mellan Rummen” som släpptes i December år 2012, till hans senaste album “Förberedelser / Åtgärder” som släpptes i Mars år 2014. Till Maskinåldern så gav Magnus en osläppt live-inspelning från den 6:e December för några år sedan, under namnet Bodén-Gyllenswärd.

Det har varit en intressant resa att göra detta avsnitt. Man skulle även kunna påstå att det varit omväxlande. Från att göra en intervju öga mot öga, till att vara mer digital och Skype:a. Kontrasterna mellan artisten Magnus Gyllenswärd och hardcorebandet Urban Savage är slående och kanske en del av det som definierar just Maskinåldern.

Slå er ner och lyssna på Avsnitt 1, där Urban Savage och Övervarning bestämmer reglerna.

Avsnitt 2 ligger inte långt ifrån och kommer ut inom kort. Dessutom så görs det även reklam för en hardcorefestival som går av stapeln i Uppsala den 7:e, 8:e och 9:e November.

Låtlista:

1. Kunskapslådan – Xerox
2. Fuse – Nitedrive
3. Urban Savage – I’ve got nothing to say (Osläppt)
4. Raketerna – Ståplatsbiljetten
5. Missbrukarna – Du E Inte Du
6. The Jack Brothers – Min Lilla Ros
7. Urban Savage – When the day comes (Osläppt)
8. Ståålfågel – Avdelning stormen
9. Paper – Strider
10. Bodén-Gyllenswärd – 6:e December – Del 2 (Osläppt)
11. Blacken – Myggor som svalor tar
12. Solar Quest – Singtree
13. Nilp – Kloeti
14. Undergång – Disconnect
15. Dom Dummaste – Död

Chondritic Spotlight: Klinikal Skum and Fejhed! [Part II]

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These are the earlier releases from Chondritic Sound. Since these releases, including Sissy Spacek and Jason Lescalleet’s VHS-release, there’s a lot more coming. But since I haven’t written about Klinikal Skum and Fejhed, I am about to do that right now. What’s interesting about these two releases and specifically one of them – is that both of them are dribbling in experimental territory – whilst one is wrought upon the grounds that Puce Mary stands on, with a part of Hoax (the crusty and dark punk band). You’re right, Frederikke Hoffmaier of Puce Mary fame have teamed up with Jesse Sanes of Hoax. They’re creating a regurgitated landscape of sound which can be found within the confinements of “Persona” – the latest release on the Danish label Posh Isolation, by Frederikke. But what is equally as interesting is how these confinements are diluted with this duo. There isn’t really any borders for how horrid and claustrophobic a noise-act can be. When it comes to Klinikal Skum, his sound-scapes are long and dampen from the suggestiveness of his exploration into the human psyche. From the delusional nature of humanity and what kind of psychosis lay hidden beneath the shallow appearance of so-called “sane” human beings. These are the two bands that I will delve into in this edition of the Chondritic Spotlight, which might actually be the last one.

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Ryan Oppermann. Klinikal Skum. Two different names that coincide with one another, one his real name and the other his pseudonym or alter-ego (if you prefer). Released his first album in 2005 on the label Ghost King, then aptly titled “Pulsating” – a word that can be pinned to his music now as well. Besides having started this project back then, he’s indulged into aliases as: Fabbrico Incubo, Neuntöter Der Plage, Post-Mortem Junkie, Redrot, Xombie and groups by the name of; All Bells Grounded, Aram Chaos, Black Lace Drag, Narcoleptic Ward, Rust Owl, S.P., Some Larval Dream About Smothering, Unveiling Asylums and maybe even more that I am not aware of. The similarity between these groups are his fascination of genres like power electronics, noise, industrial, ambient and whatnot. Add experimental in front of these labels and you might pinpoint where he’s been heading to. Besides that, he’s also kept busy with his own label Skeletone which have almost only released material with his different aliases as authors of it.

Now I’m here to describe his latest release under the name of Klinikal Skum. This particular release; “Negativ Psykotelepathi Surveillanz” was put out by Chondritic Sound back in May of this year and is actually some of the more disturbing blend of experimental industrial and power electronics that I have heard. It is sickening and almost unbearable to listen to and feels clinical in the way you wouldn’t want it to be. I feel like I’m visiting a morgue as a dead body and experiencing the wide-range of tools that Ryan Oppermann is going to use to dissect me. That is one of the more insane thoughts that have entered into my mind after listening through this album. What is more horrid than being exposed to this ecstatic wasteland of normal human dignity is to hear the complexity of the music he delivers – as it is actually well-thought out and that is probably the most scary part about it.  It could serve as a blueprint for how you’re supposed to enter a state of mind which we rarely, if ever, encounter in the real world. This is the kind of music that bring it upon us. I can actually offer a free download of the track “Dizeaze Blotter“, which is the track I find to be the best on this album.

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Frederikke Hoffmeier + Jesse Sanes = Fejhed. In Danish, the word “fejhed” translates into “cowardice” in English. It actually translates well into the name of some of the titles, like “Sorry“, “Silence” and “Drinking Spit“, for example. But when it comes to what they conjure together, it feels like might is right and that you’re stuck in a situation with someone whose might is above what you can say or do, a situation which you try to pathetically cower out of. Everything from the freaky atmosphere that lumbers on whereas Jesse and Frederikke take turns to shower you in pure filth. Feel your own disintegration as you fade away from this horrid reality that you have been forced into. This album of theirs is self-titled and is actually the first release under this duo’s name. I’m more than eager to just turn it off before it gives me a headache or any thoughts in my head that shouldn’t really be there. When it comes to the genres they mix in together it could be some kind of minimal wave nonsense blended into the harshness of “normal” noise, but it also feels experimental in the fact that they utilize the unorthodoxy of beats, rhythms and the general sense of an atmosphere, as you travel through a horror-show. I’m not sure if I could describe it any other than just that so you will have to check it out for yourself. All I can bring to the table is a free download of the track “Sorry“, which is the one I felt had the best overall feeling to it and that I really like. You can stream it down below, and this is the end of the spotlight.

Listen: Image Of Life – Last Letters From The Leper Colony

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Having only been available on self-released cassettes and vinyls, the original debut-album by Los-Angeles based nihilist-pop act Image Of Life has been put up on bandcamp in its entirety. This album features twelve tracks recorded in between 2010-2012. The A-Side was recorded in June of 2011 to October of 2012, whilst the B-Side was recorded as early as October and November of 2010. Since the cassette was limited to only 45 copies, it was hard to obtain for those interested since it sold out pretty quickly. The second edition, a vinyl-edition released in conjunction with the Pure Ground tour in Europa some months ago – was released in an edition of 90 copies, by Image Of Life himself. Since I interviewed him in 2013, when he released his “Weight Loss In Wartime / Walking In The Dark” single on Chondritic Sound, not much have been heard about him more than being featured in occasional articles. So it comes as a glad surprise that he chose to do this so you can stream the whole release digitally, before you consider buying the cassette. Since it seems like there’s a new cassette-run of 15 limited copies of this original release “Last Letters From The Leper Colony“. Stream it down below and consider buying it if you like what you hear.