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.
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.
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 FH045, which is “The ECHO People“!
The ECHO People. It feels like a more angular experience, with melodies in-fighting together in a perfect shape of suspense-ridden attacks to the left and the right. With an even more freaky touch which reminds you of the horror flicks that we’re subjected to, through a synthwave assault. Layers upon layers of freaked out synthesizers that bloom out into the flowers in the sound-scape in which they’re planted. Setting off an armada of different sounds that would make you believe that you’re in space. The current is strong with the analog warmth that is pulsating throughout the landscape of sound. It takes a few minutes to realize that you’ve suddenly moved on to another track and that’s perfectly fine, because Yves Malone knows how to lay down the transitions between his more suspense-ridden atmosphere and the more angelic sounds. There’s a certain carelessness with the creation he’s pushing out to you, because it feels like it is improvised to a certain degree, but at the same time it feels like he’s careful where he places his fingers. Just so he can get the right melody in tune with the fast hits and stabs, so the droned out sound becomes even more of an experience. Even though a lot is happening, there’s a certain sense of fulfillment that you get when you’ve listened through it. You’re totally submerged into the unknown territory which he explores for you, you’re just a passenger on your way from place A to place B – even though it sounds sterile – the place you’re moving through is like something sent from above. It is especially noticeable in the longer tracks where he gets more space to make grandiose creations, rather than fast pulses of synthesizer’s delight. There is no dull moment when you’re blown away by the magnificence that is his sound. The difference that can be noted for “The ECHO People” might be minimal, but there is surely payed more attention to the complexities that he’s been working with in “Abysscoteque“. Even though it might be some kind of deja vu, I’m perfectly sure that I could’ve heard this somewhere else. It’s also hard to distinguish a trilogy from the essential make-up of it. You can’t simply take away one of the albums and say that it constitutes something new, because he’s drawn a red line that he follows through with. Similarities can be heard but also the difference in between. I’m haunted (in a good way) by the astonishing malevolence of his sound, but also by the fact that he can create such a wondrous thematic. There is nothing that would surprise you when you listen to Yves Malone, because if you’ve heard just a little bit of what he’s been making, you know its his signature sound. “The ECHO People” will be included in the booklet being released by Field Hymns in June on cassette, make sure you have your eyes open so you can buy it from them when the time’s here.