A duo that you probably haven’t even heard about, due to their mystical appearance, both aesthetically and musically – is Nic Hamersly. When searching out Nic Hamersly, he first appears on The Scrap Mag‘s first compilation titled “The Scrap Mag First Compilation 0001“, under his own name. Well, no wonder that he does that, after all – he’s most known as Ortrotasce, his minimal synth-pop moniker. By knowing that, it makes this even more interesting. Together with Jacob Hales, he produced an album titled “sad“, that had gloomy post-punk with notable influences like shoegaze and darkwave, experimenting with those genres together. This release was sadly self-released by them in 2011, which meant that it had been dug into the muck. Thankfully, Ritual Tapes unearthed their gem – re-releasing it, but bringing out other surprises as well. Originally, they also released two tracks under the name of “Instrumentals” the same year. Instead of just re-releasing both releases as one, Ritual Tapes have gathered their first five tracks from their album, and balanced it out with tracks from demos, compilations which includes everything from “sad” to “Instrumentals“, and “Black Earth” – but they’re not limited to just that.
Ten tracks spanning up to 42 minutes, with the additional female vocals of Chloe Kendall on the 5th track titled “Empty“. Featuring an A Side and a B Side, whereas the B Side feature tracks created from 2011 to 2014. Nic Hamersly hand-picked these tracks together with the label Ritual Tapes. Everything on this cassette, except the track “No Tomorrow“, written by Nic Hamersly and Jacob Hales, was solely written and performed by Nic Hamersly. This might interest those of you whom are very into the gothic rock of yesteryear, but need that shoegazer fix appropriated into the atmosphere of the tracks. It’s all-in-all a very devoted release, and a very interesting one, especially for those of you who might’ve followed Nic Hamersly’s work with the solo-project Ortrotasce. Even though some of the synthesizer-sound might be alike in some of the tracks, this is something entirely different. You can stream the whole release down below.
It’s mechanic all the way through. Industrial hegemony over techno beats, IDM eeriness in the atmosphere, a full dosage of all this is to be heard – from the first release on Mecan!k Records. Ram I/O is the alter-ego of Mario Reijnen, a man who translates his music into the genre of techno, with the inherent focus for the label, in: “dark and industrial techno“. This is what he’s aiming to put out on his rather newly-founded record label. “Fundamental” is his first release ever, a double-single with an edge to it that connect the dots completely, between the intriguing hardness of industrial, and the rather repetitive 4/4-motion of techno. The most important ingredient, however, is IDM. Without it, the atmosphere and the general sense of it would’ve been lost – and also the mood of the tracks. Whilst listening to the first track “Piles and Cranes“, which begins with a roaring but rather static beat, it slowly evolves into a crushing behemoth.
We’re somewhere in between the territory of inane hardstyle sounds, whom are shaped into something entirely different, and more exciting. These beats are underpinned by a strange, but sensible current that doesn’t make it too hard, but not too soft either. Especially in the second track “Future floor minus one“. It is noticeable that there’s an amount of structure and complexity between these genres and in general for these tracks. When taking influences from different places, albeit it being in the same category as electronica, you need to form a sharp context that can deliver this rather unconventional mix. It becomes unconventional in the hands of Ram I/O, not that it hasn’t been done before, but he utilizes the beats, rhythm, atmosphere and general landscape of sound, to his favor. You can listen to this first release from this label, down below.
The people of Light House, namely Dawn Sharp, Chris Relyea and Brooks Blackhawk, have been busy making their track “In Their Image” from the EP with the same name – into a music-video. With the help of Brooklyn filmmaker Jeffrey Richardson, whom have directed this video, and cinematographer Rebecca Steele – they’ve realized a totally symbolic, and picturesque landscape. Matching their song in a way that represents both the song itself, but also their intent with showing the visual elements of nature, as well as the cross that Dawn Sharp has on her garment. There’s a lot that the viewer will have to rationalize and take in, but it is inducing, hypnotizing and serves to make something more out of the track at hand. The looming heavy beats, the sharp atmosphere, suggestive filming – everything is important in compromising the song for what it might contain, and adding to the sublime nature of it. We get to follow Dawn Sharp in this music-video, in what I presume is a channeling of everything we’re missing out on. There are certain ritualistic aspects about the music-video, from the slowly fading clips of trees, vegetation, dew – the last-mentioned making you feel like it’s early in the morning, but still cold. It’s post-winter and pre-spring.
In my interview with Dawn and Chris last year, they actually hinted that they were going to film this. In regards to the song “In Their Image“, Dawn Sharp outlined: “That song is really important to us because it kind of exemplifies Light House’s sound. We are getting ready to shoot a video for that song actually“. She also commented: “…we want to keep it a surprise but it will definitely include some Northwest beauty and filming at night“. This will, beyond the shadow of the doubt, set some things straight in regards to this music-video. Because some of the video is set in the early morning, and some of it is filmed by night. The most wonderful thing about the video is when Dawn Sharp comes into the picture in the beginning, and the music haven’t started yet. It gives you some kind of peace of mind, just to disturb you a little bit and get you into the song immediately, only sparing a few seconds of total calm. A video worth watching. Additionally, Dawn Sharp edited this piece together with Jeffrey Richardson, and she was also the stylist of this production. I will also mention Sarah Jane McKinley, who was the production assistant. They will also be finished mixing a new EP, when this weekend has passed. By the way, Dawn Sharp of Light House also mentioned that the re-presses of their EP is sold out over at Mannequin Records, but that they have a few vinyl-copies left of the first pressings – released by themselves. So go and get them!