Lyssna: DDR Space Program – Race To Win

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Ett uppiggande släpp, minst sagt. DDR Space Program från Stockholm levererar optimistisk och dansant retrowave, i och med det senaste släppet “Race To Win“. Det låter som något som skulle kunna vara ett reklamsläpp för Tour De France på åttiotalet. Allt handlar om fart och flärd, ‘var den förste i mål och ta hem vinsten’.

Uppsvinget som denna slags musik har fått på senare tid är intressant och kan reflekteras över, för vem kan egentligen ifrågasätta den framtidsoptimism som kännetecknade 80-talet? Hur väl passar den in i 2010-talet? Det känns väldigt främmande att denna tidsanda kunnat återuppstå, så det är magiskt hur väl den kunnat anpassas i musikform till hur vi lever nu. Trots att det ibland känns malplacerat, så lyckas DDR Space Program producera en ambitiös och närmast gudomlig ljudbild.

Det måste också tilläggas att en av de främsta influenserna är italo disco, kanske inte i sin renaste form, men i samklang med nyare electroclash – vilket gör det hela ett snäpp intressantare, eftersom att den genren i sig sällan är något att hänga i granen. Det här är vad han själv har att säga om släppet:

Race to win är DDR Space Programs andra släpp. Som vanligt är den inspelad i min hemmastudio på mina analoga syntar och sedan mixad ihop med min kompis i hans studio. Det är viktigt att för mig att använda riktiga syntar när jag spelar in. Det är en viss känsla i att sitta och ratta på riktiga grejer och så låter det oftast så mycket bättre.

EPn har ett cykeltema, vilket kanske märks. Mest för att jag själv börjat cykla väldigt mycket och tycker det är otroligt frigörande och kul, samtidigt som det på något sätt passar genren eftersom både spacesynth och cykling är snabbt och tufft. Från början var nog inte tanken att det skulle handla om just cykling, men när jag skrev “Le Tour” så kände jag att alla låtar passade in ett sådant sammanhang.

EPn har skrivits och spelats in parallellt med att jag skrivit låtar och spelat in med mitt andra projekt “Carino Cat” som är renodlad italo disco. Självklart tar jag ibland idéer från det ena projektet och lånar ut till det andra, vilket säkert gör att italoinfluenserna är ganska tydliga i DDR Space Program. Känslan jag vill få fram med DDR Space Program är att folk som lyssnar på det ska känna att det andas 80-tal. Tiden då gated reverb var norm, virveln var blaskig, syntarna var analoga och musiken var bäst.

Lyssna till släppet i sin helhet här nedanför. Man kan också köpa en CD-skiva för 50 kronor om man mejlar till ddr.space@gmail.com

Exclusive Premiere: Yves Malone – Cheap Thunder / Abyssoteque!

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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. Right now, however, you get FH044 – which is “Abysscoteque“.

FH044Abysscoteque. The first release in this series of three releases, all themed after horror flicks. Albeit the fact that Yves Malone has put his sight on the softer but more concentrated side of 1980’s synthwave in this release, it is clear to me when listening to it that his intentions are of creating a soundtrack. Panning into the first few melodies, to hear the static rhythm that pumps up the blood within me, to listen carefully to the basedrum which is stomping its way through the sound-scape in a rather subliminal fashion. The first setting is already here and is placed upon me to decide, as the melodies gradually change from the darker intonations to a more grandiose and melodious; shall I say clearer sound, to which I nod my head to as I get tossed around. I’m waiting with suspense just to hear any form of subtle change in the sound-scape as it moves forward in a lingering fashion, making every synthesizer stab more aggressive, freaked out and non-passive. To then be introduced after the departure of the first, to a rather gloomy entrance of different synthesizers matching the neon colors that glow somewhere in the distance. This does not remind me of a horror flick at all, even though I notice the suspense to be there all the time. A rather doom and gloom sound for synthwave – which always seem to carry an upbeat torch not falling from grace – unlike the sorrowful display of palettes that remind me of awful days. Painting a broader picturesque notion of decay, a city that earlier bloomed has gone astray and you’re alone in the darkness, catching yourself in the monotonous living, the scariness of dark alleyways and people whom you do not recognize. People whose faces are covered. Maybe in masks. The album slowly sinks into the same methodical pattern that make it what it is. Feel what you’d like about it, but it is a masterpiece none the less and the more you get into it, the further you dig – the more melodious, morbid and angelic it gets – yin & yang are present to deliver their verdict. I’m noticing that everything really lies with the overtly grandiose sound-scape, created by layers of differentiating melodies, synthesizers, drums – but mostly synthesizers – far-fetched from any reality that I know of. Abysscoteque is a true soundtrack, no matter if you say its synthwave over and over again, the execution is in the aforementioned style – which is great if you’re interested in cinematography of different sorts. I can drift away into this every day, but it seizes to be music and simply needs a visual element to be paired with. Though I’m not so sure if any of those movies would do for me, since they’re not really my reel of film. Anyhow, it’s a basic introductory to the baby-steps you’re taking when taking in Yves Malone and his music – the sincerity is never lacking. You can buy this release soon, from Field Hymns records. But you will have to wait for a bit before it is fully realized.

Article: Imaginary trips into outer space with Adderall Canyonly – the Field Hymns years! [Part I]

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Introduction

Tumblr-esque aesthetics have never ever been so nauseating. We’ve seen it everywhere, and continue to see it here. But somehow Adderall Canyonly fed this appearance to the monster of the 1980’s, an American ghastly and gargantuan 1980’s beast, whose aesthetics are similar to Tumblr fast-food. One must admit that the aforementioned decade is more impressive when it comes to the aesthetics, then what Tumblr ever could deliver. It seems like this man is tired of putting out material for almost an eternity, well yeah – four years now – and not getting as much as a glance from the trendy music-press (both mainstream and the so-called ‘underground’). However, what makes the aesthetic nerve of his project even more interesting is the covers for his releases, which seem to be bright pastille-colors blended together with the adolescence of cartoons. Add that together with their rather psychedelic influences and you have a formula that they’ve settled for. If you’re not being fooled, Addreall Canyonly is the alter-ego of Wayne Longer, based out of somewhere-in-America. Probably a rather boring place, with regards to his musical fantasies. This is Part I.

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Premiär: Optic Nest – Chromosphere

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Inom världen som Optic Nest har nästlat sig in i – så är allting möjligt. Det är allt från etnisk musik, musique concrete, 70-talsdängor och 80-talsvibbar som får plats inom gränserna för vad Daniel Fagerström sysslar med under detta alias. Ibland svävar man iväg på en luftig synth, för att i nästa sekund forslas förbi ett industriellt ljudlandskap, för att sedan försöka konkretisera den abstraktion som ryms inom musique concrete. Med andra ord så skapas det en jäkligt mäktig ljudbild som fylls med allt och ingenting. För den oinvigde är det kanske inte just “Ride On Silver” som man ska börja med, men det är en inkörsport till allt möjligt annat. Från att gå till en huggsexa mellan monotona tongångar, till att introduceras för en dimridå av förvrängdhet – till att helt plötsligt ha sina fötter på marken och vara jordnära – är väl en beskrivning om något av detta ljudlandskap som tornar upp sig. Varenda låt på albumet är annorlunda, men det finns ändå en röd tråd – långt därinne någonstans bland allt vimmel. Men det är inte egentligen albumet som vi är här för att prata om, utan det är just den sista låten “Chromosphere” som jag tänkte erbjuda till er, med hjälp utav Daniel Fagerström. Det finns något särskilt här i denna blandning av utsvängda synthljud, den mjuka men ändock svimfärdiga miljö som man far igenom. Det känns som att man är i nästet, när man slår på denna låt av Optic Nest. Även om jag inte är särskilt mycket för Etiopisk musik, eller etnisk i allmänhet, så är det en intressant värld som öppnar upp sig. I början hörs Daniels fjäderlätta sjungande, ackompanjerat av svepande – men inte särskilt strömlinjeformade – synthar. Ni kan nu streama denna låt här nedanför. Om ni vill köpa LP’n, så kommer den med en CD-skiva också, så den som vill köpa – kan vända sig till Moptaco Dics.

Exclusive Stream: P X A / Felix Castenzio – Phases (Split)

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Invisible Guy have been enlightened by the apparition that is I Had An Accident Records. Which means, that in a sweet collaboration, we’ll be streaming three albums that are all due to be released on the 18th of June. This means that you’ll have a treat on set dates up until that particular date. The clock is ticking, the drums are beating and now you’re up for a sweet treat. Because now it’s the 12th of June, which means that our collaboration with this wonderful label has ended. Don’t fear, there will still be an exclusive stream for you to partake in. Somewhere in a lucid dream, Felix Castenzio is playing his sweet synthesizers, which morph into uncanny and simple melodies that holds the boat afloat. In between experimental electronica and noise, is where he’s at. But its hard to place him in any category, because his music is so orderless. Feel the nostalgic samples throw you into a totally different sphere, as you cling to the sweet sensations and arythmic pace that was created for you. But behold, because P X A is also on this cassette, since it’s a split. Here, we’ll be put into a somber mood, as its meditative tempo and outrageously steep vision of music shrouds your judgement. As it combines the idleness with contextualized rhythms that could put you in a state of trance. Caressing the wonders of a landscape filled to the brink with exciting sounds, noises and temporary timelessness. If you don’t know where to turn, pass on your thoughts for the oracle IHAA to analyze, in written text about this release:

Phases is one of the most beautiful releases we have had the pleasure to be part of, from the album artwork and cassette to the split sounds of P X A and Felix Castenzio. 
We begin with the retro feel of P X A, a project of Astro Nautico’s Paolo Xz. The mixes dance like silk dresses on a spring day, they are so light and rolling, it is an emotional decay, the perfect way to end a hard day and the perfect moments of relaxation. We are fortunate to have this Brooklyn based artist develop such a meditative relaxation piece, like glass gently tapping on ice, or the clink clink of champagne, the moment before sleep overcomes, the drag of the day dissipates like ripples in water. 
Felix Castenzio fuses the sounds of the 80’s and 90’s into a formidable cool respite from the summer’s heat. The feeling of the air conditioner on a hot body after returning from long-boarding or a quick game of tennis with your girlfriend and her white short shorts, this just feels right. It is all timed out like a distant buzz of a lawnmower or the lucid dreams from a nap in the hot sun. It’s the moments of bubbling bliss that makes this lo-fi soundscape sensational. Limited to 60 c40 pink tint cassettes.

Tracklist:

P X A Side
1. Hall
2. Island
3. Garden
4. Quarantine
5. Canyon
6. Station
7. Animaux (w. Annik)
8. Sun

Felix Castenzio Side
1. Suburban Girl
2. Abstract Garden
3. Cooper’s Theme
4. Champion
5. Aquarium
6. Night Drive
7. Kids World
8. Isabelle
9. Starfish

Spotlight [SP. ED]: A New Life / Soft Riot!

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Russia wouldn’t be my main vantage point if I think about retro-fantastic synth-pop and minimal synth. Obviously, Los Angeles have been in the headlights for far too long, even though they have some merits to withhold that certain degree of appreciation. However, it seems like the Russian label-boss have been at it, at least if you check out Other Voices Records, whom we’ve interviewed earlier on this blog. Taking influences both from legendary groups such as Human League, and specifically; Soft Cell – there’s a resurgence that simply can’t be ignored. We’ll see if any other label from that particular region of the world are up for the challenge, but it seems like they’re the number one contenders so far. To be noted, the artists themselves aren’t from this region, but the mastermind is the Russian label. In this special edition of Spotlight, I’ll guide you to the two gems “Fright †reasures” and “Your Own Private Underworld“. Courtesy of A New Life and Soft Riot, one Italian-based producer and one UK-based producer of synth-pop music, with the word “retro” in the mainline.

1481648355-1What can possibly be said about A New Life and his newly released cassette titled “Fright †reasures“? Firstly, it’s based off material that was recorded in 2011-2012, by the synth-pop producer Maurizio Pustianaz. Besides the obvious fact that it’s retro all over, there’s also the importance of analogue. Smearing our brains with a current of force, but at the same time also a sincere yearning for times that have past. The music itself strays from synth-pop, to minimal synth and he delves into the 80’s – with good intent. His abysmal fascination for that decade, is preceded by the apparent structure of the songs, whom in their natural state reveal much of the influences. But they are pretty unconventional – and are only matched, when it comes to superiority, by the fast-paced sections of synthesizer goodness. Some of the ambitious hints of melodic content, are sometimes not his strength when it comes to the music. The weird, showcased melodies in the choruses don’t intertwine in a good way, within the context that is intended – of the structured colossus that is his sound. Which at times actually can be turned in his favor, since the music itself relies on the ambitious notion and atmospheric experimentalism that is rarely seen within this decade. Sure, if you’re interested in Soft Cell, their experimentation seem to be a guideline for his music. But when it comes to the regular synth-pop, with 80’s vibes, this is not something for the faint of heart or primitive minds. No, this sounds like an intellectual approach to an otherwise pretty basic genre, at least if you gather up all your synth-pop belongings and heed to the overall quality. Catchy, it is and can be when he lets it form around the strengths that emit throughout the often heartbreaking lyrical content, but not to an extent that is in his favor. Since the vocals are 50/50, they’re just too much in some of the songs, but at the same time add up in the end – which makes this a case of how you’d like the lyricism to be. When he sings from his heart, the music itself is energized and should re-conquer the castle it needs to forcefully re-take. Otherwise, when it comes to the overall picture, it’s a picturesque cassette which needs to be listened to. At least if you compare it to the not-so-stiff competition out there.

1006979070-1As you listen to Soft Riot, which is a moniker for another UK-based producer, who goes by the name of JJD (Jack Duckworth) – there’s an instant appeal to your own monotonic glory. His single-based release “Your Own Private Underworld“, from his forthcoming cassette “Fiction Prediction“, is a fusion between the minimal synth landscape, of dark intentions morphed into a kind of shallow Miami synth-pop sound. There’s a glimmering haze around the general atmosphere of the song, along with almost atonal sounds with monotonic intentions. The contradictions that feed off this sound is astonishing. No cliches are being re-interpreted into the shrewd landscape of ludicrousness, angelic dismay and sincere synthesizers. If anything, this is simply a display of utter originality. Quenching the thirst for some post-punk, by squeezing some influences from that pathway – into an all-out electronic endeavor. At times, the vocals and the interchangeable nature of the music, reminds you all too much about the totally non-electronic band Lebanon Hanover. The kind of dry atmosphere of aridity is utilized as a kind of undertone, which is absurd when blended with the glamor in the overlying parts of the songs structures. It’s odd, but it’s actually one of the better blends of minimal synth, with irregular influences, that has a more static synth-pop ground to stand on – which in the end actually works. Since there’s only two songs, as this is a part of a forthcoming cassette, I am dismayed. Not because anything is bad about it, it’s just because there are only two songs so far – and I want him to get on with it and deliver the rest of them. The urge that simply walks into your brain and make your hands click on the mouse-button, just so you can hear the songs on repeat. Really great songs, original and unique in so many ways. This is a cassette that you simply have to listen to. You should wait until the forthcoming cassette and whole album “Fiction Prediction” comes out, but I urge you to buy the digital download of these two songs – right now!

B.S.R. [#1]: Tonight, we’ll sleep well!

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Yes, I’m afraid this is another one of those games. I love to play with words. At least when it comes to categorizing things or starting to explore new areas of both music and writing. I’ve had Harvesting and Showcase before, but it’s time to introduce, yet another one – which will be called B-S-R (Best Right Now). This implies that I’m not being selective enough, which I totally am, but I need to be even more selective this time around. With this, I’ll only include the best of the best or the créme de la créme. Or as some people say; the cream of the crop. It might be a hard task, it might not be. We’ll see how it pans out, but I’m already starting to dig the abbreviation. In today’s “session”, you’ll find the following groups of musicians: Umwelt, Disco I Mitt Hjärta, CMBN8R and Night Terror.

2226241973-1What a great blend of every different nuance in electronica you could find. Or, it might just be related to electro, breakbeat, dark wave and our companion; synth-pop. Raw, tough and rugged electro from the depths of your safe haven. That is, if you’re into ‘real’ electro. Fronting with some great vibes, which almost ‘takes you back’, even though you haven’t lived the 90’s rave-themed parties. I could imagine that this would be something that could’ve been played at one of those warehouse clubs. But with no further insight, the tastiness of the hard, but dizzy instrumentation – makes it all worthwhile. Stingy synthesizers, and a thorny assault on your mind. Ripping the flesh, dropping the whooping bass that simply throws off your own boundaries. Completely insane, in a good way, of course.

Favorite track(s): Don’t Trust Me, Mogul Project, P.O.W.

2609351793-1This is completely related! Or not, because it’s dream wave meets nu-disco – thrown back into a hazy 80’s atmosphere. Snap your fingers, settle with some cheap champagne. Rhythmically ingenious, satisfyingly pretentious at worst. Down tempo, somewhat sensual at times. The pop-oriented vibes take over the landscape of sound at times, making for what could be called a cheesy ‘hit’ from that time period, at worst. For the most part – it’s melodic, catchy and dreamy. Yes, it also contains some of that heartbreaking lyrics, contemplating why and how. Let your limb stomp to the harder beats and let your heart melt within the socket, together with the synthesized prophecy that you’ve been longing for since a decade was over, a long time ago.

Favorite track(s): Creative People and If Only.

211160994-1An astonishingly great example of how you mix ambient with an atmospheric trip. Taking the listener throughout tribal mysteries, natural phenomenons and altercations within your perception of the world – and how it might be. Fusing the appropriate elements of trip-hop, beats, experimentalism and IDM – together in a basket with atmospheric ambient. Utilizing more traditional instruments, together with a whole range of differentiated harmonies and melodies. Witnessing a total rhythmical crash-landing. Too bad that sometimes the different samplings ruin the whole feeling of the song, but that’s of a minor concern when the music at hand is talking to you – so that you can feel it deep down, all the way into your own soul. Appreciatively intelligent, unblushingly great and mystical at the same time.

Favorite track(s): Tigris and Solar Myth.

442702281-1Industrial at its finest, thinking out of the box. Experimental roots burrowing down, deep into the conscience of the amoeba that is industrial. Giving it a whole new way of orienting in the world, disorienting the listener, to the quick and hasty sounds that are emitted. Real psychedelia, in the purest form, ready to delve into your circuit – to control your body. Fearfully using the synthesizers as both a fortifying experience in itself, carefully branching into what they’d call ‘space pop’ and the likes of the electronic mind. Sinister at the core, with underlying grimness – almost cheerful in the overlaying carcass. Sometimes even noisy and brawny, as the tropospheric bolts of lightning quickly lunge out and strike you where you least expect it – continually, like (non)rhythmic noise.

Favorite track(s): Forever (extended version)