Listen: Various Artists – Let’s Peter Out

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För nästan två år sedan så släpptes “The Peter Out Wave“, vilket var det första samlingssläppet signerat Peter Out Records. Henrik Leander, som driver detta skivbolag har även ett vidare engagemang i duon Monument, vars vinylskiva jag recenserade för ett bra tag sedan. Under dessa två år har han blickat framåt och släppt en ny samlingsskiva med några band, artister och grupper som varit i framkant när det gäller det som skulle kunna samlas under paraplybegreppet “post-punk“. Eftersom att hans ambition med dessa samlingar har varit att låta de som varit mest aktuella men inte direkt fått skina få ta plats, så är det en salig blandning av musik från de mest avlägsna delarna borta i USA, till de som ligger oss närmre. Bland annat så får vi bekanta oss med en ny låt av det danska post-punkbandet Metro Cult, som för övrigt fick en plats på det här blogg-zinet också, vid ett tidigare tillfälle. Sedan finns det även mer populära band som legat i framkant på sistone, som solo-projektet Veil Of Light, det svenska bandet Hemgraven, Sally Dige, amerikanerna i The Harrow och åtskilliga band som gått mig förbi likt Moth, Low Sea, Komplikations, Cemetery, Cosmetics och The Flatfield. Dessutom så har även Henrik Leander upplåtit plats ått sitt egna band Monument, som verkar ha lärt sig av historien och levererar en riktigt mörk låt som i all sin glans förs fram av de mörka basslingorna, den vackra kvinnoröst signerad Linda Löfqvist och virveltrumman som sätter en särskild rytm och tempo för musiken. Kombinera detta med den allmänna atmosfären i låten så har du något alla monsterdiggare springer ur sina mörka hålor för att lyssna till.

Även om det för två år sedan var aktuellt med “The Peter Out Wave” där jag fann Svarta Hundar vara det mest njutbara, så har konceptet utvecklats till att mer omfamna de uttryck som kommer post-punken till. För i den första samlingen så återfanns även Agent Side Grinder och andra akter som inte direkt kan kategoriseras som det. Jag tycker att det är bättre med det senare konceptet eftersom att det är vad Henrik Leander gör bäst, han är kanon på att sammanställa det bästa och mest aktuella, utan att hänföra sig till de etablerade. Vilket i många fall är väldigt tråkiga, även om vissa kan ha nyanser i sig som man tycker om. Men det som är bra är att även om det är han som valt artister, grupper och band – samt tillhörande låtar – så påvisar det styrkan med att leta i underjorden lite mer. Man får rent generellt plats med bättre musik, helt enkelt. Det som är fascinerande är även hur han lyckats plocka ut dessa människor från mängden och hur denna samlingsplatta introducerar mig till de jag inte ens visste fanns – och då har jag bättre koll än eljest. Det är allt från den mest minimalistiska och klaustrofobiska post-punk du kan finna, till den mer elektroniskt lagda post-punken, till drömsk shoegaze-aktig sådan och allt emellan. När man tycker att det mesta på samlingsskivan låter bra så har man gjort rätt. Det är inte ofta samlingsskivor blir bra, men det här är sannerligen en med mycket eftertanke och där det prickats helt rätt. Men jag hade inte förväntat mig något annat. I samband med denna samlingsplatta så kan ni även ladda ner låten “Döden i drömmen“, helt gratis. Titta till det här nedanför och lyssna till hela alltet också.

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Some questions for Ray Creature!

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Ray Creature is a band that I thoroughly admire since hearing their first release “Don’t Stop Talking EP” which was recently put out on NO! Record Label. Both of them are Americans and I first thought they were a band, but they’re actually a duo. This duo is compromised of Jon Erich Booth and Natascha Buehnerkemper, having been Jon’s solo-project at first it transformed into a duo. Which is both surprising, since most of their sound is so underrated and explicitly great that I actually wouldn’t have thought that it would’ve not been a band, but hey, here they are. Right after their first release they actually had another one which is getting put out by Sister Cylinder, a full-length S/T debut album. I wanted to clear out some things that I wanted to have answered, so I put out a series of questions which they answered. JEB stands for Jon Erich Booth and NB stands for Natascha Buehnerkemper. Enjoy it. You might also enjoy the freely downloadable track “White Suits” – taken from their S/T debut.

It’s interesting to note that you’re a duo. I would’ve expected it to be a whole band, considering the variety in your sound. Why are you a duo and not a whole band?

JEB: – That’s an effect of layering instrumentation. We take ideas from No Wave and other minimal aesthetics, but our music is in no way minimal. If a song calls for more instrumentation, we add it. Natascha and I have similar ideas about music, and we’ve found ways to reproduce the songs live, so adding more musicians seems unnecessary at this point. Anyway, it’s hard to find people who won’t dilute ideas with compromises or conflicting theories about how the music should work.

NB: – Ray Creature actually started out as Jon’s solo project, and I joined in August of last year. My addition brought along with it the possibility to add even more dimension, both live and recorded. When we play live, there’s so much going on in the backing tracks, having just two of us brings a minimal element to the live shows that is counter to the complexity of the music, which I think makes it more exciting. On another note, being a duo as opposed to a whole band gives us a lot more flexibility regarding touring and shows. Less scheduling bullshit to deal with.

You started out with three demo-tracks and later on you were picked up by NO! Record Label, or how did it go by? What went into recording “Don’t Stop Talking”?

JEB: – When we played a show with Dry Socket, Dylan Ettinger couldn’t make it so Joseph McGlone, the founder of NO!, filled in on synth. After the show he expressed interest in putting out a cassette tape. We had already been producing the self-titled LP with Scott Ferguson of Sister Cylinder Records, so we took an extended version of the opening track, “Don’t Stop Talking,” and three other tracks that didn’t make it on the record and packaged them together as the “Don’t Stop Talking” EP.

“Don’t Stop Talking” is our modest attempt at an austere funk track. Like most of our songs it started with drum machine and bass. The interplay of the guitar, my and Natascha’s vocals, and the lead synth followed from an attempt to keep an unvarying bass line interesting over the course of several minutes.

NB: – I view the “Don’t Stop Talking” EP as a companion release to our LP. It seems that it might be confusing to have two separate releases coming out at the same time on different formats, but in my mind the cassette release was perfectly timed. Even though some of the songs didn’t make it onto the LP, I think they’re really great, and they fit well with the LP aesthetically. It’s possible that we could end up going in a slightly different direction with our future releases, so it’s exciting that all the songs from this songwriting phase were able to make it onto some physical format at once.

Why did you decide to go with such a varied sound, was it the result of experimentation during a long period?

JEB: – I try not to over-determine the music with genre requirements or restrictions. Each song points in its own direction and writes itself to some degree. That’s to say, a set of elements in a song will suggest further styles of instrumentation, which lead to unexpected sounds and song structures. This can create weird stylistic juxtapositions, but it also sets up dramatic transitions within songs, which I think is one of our strengths. For better or worse, that’s the only way I’ve been successful at songwriting while keeping myself interested. There are enough people writing minimal, genre consistent electronic music —I don’t see myself contributing much of interest to that.

NB: – It actually opens us up to being flexible for different shows. Depending on the bands with which we’re playing, we might decide to play our more poppy, dancy tunes. Or we might decide that it’s more appropriate to go a more abrasive, dark route. Since our songs tend to go in a few different directions, it really opens us up to being able to play with lots of different types of bands.

You’re going to have a self-titled debut album out in June with another label called Sister Cylinder. I also noted that you’ve gotten mastering help from Mahern Audio. Have you been mastering your releases on your own before this, or what? How did it feel to have your debut mastered there?

JEB: – I recorded the self-titled LP and recorded and mastered the “Don’t Stop Talking” EP, but I’m an amateur engineer and a dilettante mastering engineer. Since I’m untrained I end up trying too hard in that area. I was exhausted with recording by the time we had the LP mastered by Mahern. I felt relieved to have songs taken out of my hands and began trying desperately and unsuccessfully to forget about them forever. I’m proud of them, but I’ve grown to hate them in some ways. They’re like time-sucking kids I was ready to kick out of the house. Any opinion I have about them is by now irrelevant.

Since you’re going to play a lot of shows in the near future, what are your experiences when playing live? In what way are you stoked for your future performances?

JEB: – We now know the songs well enough to occasionally forget we’re playing them, which is ideal. I like presenting the music at shows, but from the perspective of live performance, the idea is to let the songs go and be inside them rather than exert control over them. We’re touring with Bad Psychic, another electronic act from Bloomington, which is a pleasure because the music is great and the style works with ours. So I’ve been looking forward to every show.

NB: – We’re writing to you right now from Nashville, TN on our third day of a two-week tour. I think this is true of most bands, but people get the best idea of what we’re like from our live performances. We play pretty loudly with a lot of speakers and the live, often repetitive drum parts add an element of intensity that I think people find entertaining, even if they may not be digging what we’re actually playing. It’s always hugely rewarding to see people in the crowd looking pumped about what we’re doing, and it’s a huge payoff for all the hard work we put into this.

It’s nice to be having a freely downloadable track from you. Could you tell me something about it and also what’s in store for you in the coming months?

JEB: – “White Suits” is what passes for another Ray Creature dance track. There was some debate over whether or not to include it on the LP because of its length and atmosphere, but I think it ultimately worked. I tend to think of it as an alternate approach to ideas we were trying to get at with “Don’t Stop Talking.”

In the coming months we hope to start recording our second LP. The plan is to write more relentlessly aggressive songs and incorporate more of Natascha’s vocals alongside my own. Beyond that, we hope it will inspire some confused sexual feelings in people who thought they weren’t confused to begin with—the noblest ambition of rock music.

Down below you can find the track “White Suits” which is freely downloadable as a part of this questionnaire. Hope you enjoy it and do listen to their sound from their own Bandcamp, too, as a complement. If you want to buy it, you should check out Sister Cylinder.

Interview with Ivan Antunovic of Small Doses!

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In Croatia we found Ivan Antunovic. Now, Ivan isn’t like everyone else. He has his own micro-label, does professional design work for a living, create music and also makes a fanzine. He’s been active in different groups in the Yugoslavian, now Balkan, underground. His alter-egos range from Half Releases to Innumerals, from his zine Small Doses to his designer-ego Nieuw NDG. This man has as many aliases as only he himself could know. Since a few years back he’s mainly been concentrating on releasing different singles and mini-albums alongside his fanzine. Even though the fanzine comes out every once in a while, he’s made a name for it through his proffesionality and originality when it comes to the design of the zine itself and all the macabre subjects which are disseminated within each number. He’s taken it from number one to number six – the last-mentioned due to be out in the very near future. I wanted to get the larger picture of what Ivan Antunovic actually does, how he copes with his egos, the climate in former Yugoslavia, his relationship with those he works with when doing the zine, the releases that are put out by him, his different projects before every alter-ego and many other things which you may find interesting.

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Exclusive Premiere: Yves Malone – Through His Grace’s Burned Flats / Standing On The Ruins!

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The busiest of them all seem to be the label Field Hymns from America, whom have been keen on releasing a booklet with a very special artist. This artist is Yves Malone – the creator of music for himself and to soundtracks for 1980′s independent movies – like Abysscoteque, The ECHO People and Zenith City. A common theme is the 1980′s but also the fact that every movie that he’s created his own music for, perpetuating a soundtrack of his own, are horror movies from this time period. Those kind of horror flicks that you wouldn’t know anything about unless you stumbled upon his creations, or if you were in any way involved in doing them in the 1980′s in America. Well, that might be stepping over the line a little bit, connoisseurs might have their thing and know it – but I sure as hell didn’t until I listened through his albums. These three releases are all a part of the booklet that Field Hymns are organizing to be put out for release, in honor of the already released albums which he put out himself in December of 2012. I’m here exclusively premiering two tracks from each album, but first you’ll get a description of what I think about them. Here you get FH044, FH045 and FH046. Now it’s time for FH046, which is “Zenith City“!

FH046Zenith City. Here’s where you go to cool off all that cyborg steam. The difference between Zenith City and the other albums might be miniscule at a first listen, since they have a lot in common. The difference here is that this album utilizes more of the chillwave which is residing in the genre of choice; synthwave. A calmer yet more urgent stream of different feelings are catching on. Everything from the mournfulness you feel when the synthesizers hit that sweet melody, or when you feel a sense of camaraderie when the urgency in the sound is topped up a notch. It feels like déja vu, because I’m sure that I’ve heard this somewhere before. Even though Yves Malone seem to have set the record straight before with his complexity, this is where it reaches its peak. These concentrated rhythms that softly breaks out the melody is simply flabbergasting. He’s also not afraid to show the roughness which he can channel into the sound at any given point, which is virtually unheard of in the starting and the middle parts of this album. It begins to break down into some kind of hard industrialized sound which meets the synthwave half-way. Let’s meet at the crescendo. As the beat gets harder and harder, the magnificence in the landscape of sound is noticeable – as it is crushingly apparent in the undertones of the latter part of this album – because it’s coming for you. Yves did an amazing job when it comes to the atmospheres of some of the tracks, when nothing much is happening, until you realize how you pick out the clues in the atmosphere as a whole. There’s a whole lot going on subliminally, with dampened synthesizers that glimmer for a short period of time, just to fade out into the sound-scape. Morphing into a whole different sound which takes its place and keeps the track relevant and energetic for the whole run. It’s a soundtrack that I would’ve loved to have for a film that I will not be making any time soon. But I know who to get in touch with if I want an all-round amazing electronic soundtrack to an independent film, a horror flick or a slasher. Unfortunately to say, this is the last album that I have been reviewing in short for you to read. It’s saddening to see that it has come to an end, because I was awaiting a couple of more albums, even though I knew it was a trio in a coming booklet. This is probably music I want to listen to whenever I want to relax, even though some of it give a sense of stress-induced, energetic flagellation. I feel like there’s a lot of intelligence that had to go into these projects, these albums as a whole, because even though it’s not IDM – there’s a certain kind of craftsmanship that takes a lot of intelligence to pull off. Intelligent synthwave is coming your way and it will be here soon, as a soundtrack for virtually anything sci-fi, horror or the likes of it. Stream two exclusive tracks from this release, namely “Through His Grace’s Burned Flats” and “Standing On The Ruins“. The booklet, three limited edition cassettes, will be released by Field Hymns in June.

NO! Spotlight: Dry Socket / Ray Creature! [Part II]

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I found a rather anonymous label which is situated in Terre Haute, Indiana. The American label that I found is called NO! Record Label and is hosting itself on Tumblr, giving off a rather secluded interior for me to find mysterious. All the better, because it leaves much to my own imagination. This mysterious label have released two releases before those that I am going to cover in this spotlight. One of the releases are of Drekka and Assimilation – a kind of live re-work of each others live performances – but also a late introductory for me to Michael Andersons brainchild Drekka. This was actually the first release to be put out on this label. The second release was a compilation featuring the artists Drekka, NOON, John Flannelly, Canid, Assimilation and Agakus. Featured musicians working in the Bloomington, Indiana area, described by the label: “a collection of tracks that represents the loose circle of musicians that play weird electronic music together in basements, coffee houses, and bars“. But the two releases that I’m going to cover here are Dry Socket and in the second part; Ray Creature. This is the last part and it features Erich Booth and Natascha Buehnerkemper, known as Ray Creature. Let’s see if you enjoy it.

a3748909156_10Ray Creature. The fourth release on NO! Record Label is “Don’t Stop Talking EP“, featuring four tracks. Lo and behold, what I find is one of the finest examples of what can be done with post-punk. Combining it with the wide-array of genres like dark wave, no-wave, synth-pop and a rather odd experimentalism is the way to go. The fact that Ray Creature is a duo is mind-boggling, because they sound like they’ve had a whole band and that they just quit after this EP due to the difficulty of conveying such a sound. Such a huge sound is being created by two people. A shady sound, with funky undertones of the baseline and the general feel of it is somewhere in between the bizarre and the ingenious. Unfortunately all the steam goes to the track “Don’t Stop Talking” which is probably the best track on the release. After the haziness of the minimal synth landscape, which suddenly just shifts into some kind of disco-vibe mess, featuring no-wave vocals and a general sense of disobedience. The modular synthesizers are working hard on delivering the undertones of electronica to such a harsh example of the successes this band has, with experimentalism. After the first track which could be regarded as setting the theme for the rest of the release, it just delves into some kind of weird example of how the electronica doesn’t really cope with the weirdness of the atmosphere. There’s such a messy landscape of sound that you don’t really know what to look for. Too much happening at the same time.

Even though I know their ambitions have been great, they once again pick up where they left off the stream after “Success“, when we enter “Ripped Apart” – a totally energized maelstrom of the best synthesizers and up-tempo beat you could find. Cocky vocals at that, too. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of “Success” is good to begin with, but I just end up finding myself reminded about the melody – but in the way of that is the general anarchy that actually turns me away from that track to begin with. The last track seems to be a whole long intermezzo between catchy instrumentation, steady rhythms and a snare-sound that i find myself enjoying more than the general mood of the track at all. The vocals in this track is so good, but I don’t really enjoy the lyricism. Even though I have a lot of criticism to give, the general feel of the EP is great. It seems to be long in between when you hear about a sound that has taken off, then you listen to it and find out that it’s like something you’ve heard before – but not really in this format. They do a good job of pulling off the crossover between genres and fill it up with nice experimentalism. I must say that without the soothing but urgent vocals that Natascha deliver, this wouldn’t be as great of an experience as it really was. Enjoy it yourselves by streaming and listening to it here, down below.

Exclusive Premiere: Identity Theft – Targeted Individuals

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In some genres there is a certain kind of experimentation allowed. When it comes to minimal synth, there seems to be an invisible box in which people that make this kind of music seldom go outside. Michael Buchanan of Seacrypt have a long-going project which goes by the name of Identity Theft. It’s a solo-project experimenting with minimal synth and synth-pop. He’s been making his music under this moniker since the first release “Night Workers” back in 2011. Then he was known as Djynnx Ogo and the aforementioned release is a testament to this, featuring material from 2008-2011 packed into a compilation. With little help of Duncan Gerow, Paul Sutfin and Chelsea Crypt, for both synthesizer work and vocals, on tracks like “Cryptoterrestrials“, “Small Knife” and “Our Game“. It took him one year to release his first proper album, titled “Security Theatre” – featuring material recorded in between 2011 and 2012. This was his first release since his new nickname had been formed. Entering a world of surveillance, loss of privacy and other current important issues related to this. Some months later his first mini-album emerged, titled “Black Opsis“. Originating from a label called Cognito Percepti. The difference with this mini-album was the original intention of making it a live-session, composed in 2011, whose tracks later became the album “Security Theatre“. Next, a true live-album came to be through the Record Label Records event “Memoirs of an Invisible Woman” recorded live in 2013.

Recently, the second proper album was released. It was titled “The Future Hates The Past” – featuring material recorded between 2013 and 2014. Repartiseraren was lucky to catch an exclusive premiere of the track “Targeted Individuals“, before the album itself was properly released digitally. Every release that I’ve counted here have been released on Michael Buchanan’s own label Katabatik. I believe that this song especially, show the experimental nature of what he’s trying to confront with this album. It’s probably the most experimental of the albums he’s released, which is perfectly noticeable with this track. A blend of paranoid minimal synth with original analog synth-pop makes the most skeptic electronica-lover a convinced believer. You can exclusively stream the track “Targeted Individuals” down below, alongside the full album that was released by him recently.

Spotlight: Passion Slaves – Demo 2014

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It’s a nice day for a nip of post-punk. Canada have been boasting with their simmering environment of talents that have been emerging from nothing. One of those seem to be Passion Slaves, which I frankly know nothing about and whose imagery suggest minimalism – to such a degree that I might not even agree. But my weakness for the classic approach to post-punk seem to have tainted me this time around. The only thing which bothers me is the vocal part, but that’s a miniscule objection to their sound as such. They’ve actually recorded their first demo, so that objection might be weak to begin with. One thing I like about the vocalist is her energy when she sings, but there seems to be a show-stopper in their unharnessed energy – because at times it feels like they don’t master it yet. With that in mind, the two demo-tracks “Mortal Coils” and “Shadow Grounds” have an interesting goth rock and post-punk sound. The gloomy melodies resound in my own mind and their boasting sound as a whole give me an impression of them as serious musicians. It feels good to observe that they haven’t submitted themselves to every cliche possible when handling such an environment of genres. The fast riffing, great drumming and overall performance of this group makes me want to hear more of them. It seems like they’ve given much thought to these two songs so I wouldn’t really be hopeful for more in the near future, but who knows. I feel like there’s a mystery within their imagery and the visuals that are put into my head when listening to them. I just hope that the one ingredient, e.g. the vocalist and the lyrics, don’t steep too far down into the unlisteneable fold. Stream their whole release down below and give them some money if you like it.