Spotlight: Squieti and Pastel – the Italian D.I.Y!

a0073546405_10With their debut-release “Impronte Nella Cenere“, the Italian math-rock outfit Squieti blend those post-hardcore vibes with a punk-attitude. Their eight-tracked album showcase their melodic talent with rather melodramatic drumming. It feels like being caught in a limbo with no way to get out of it, together with a constant barrage of melodic post-hardcore with a despaired vocalist. Even though emptiness might be his schtick, the band itself make up for a lack of atmosphere with the clinging of riffs with the concrete drumming. The technical aspects seem inverted. The arguably short hints of what could make up a rather soothing atmosphere is quickly struck down with the beat of a drum, favoring the rather amelodic connection between vocals and the general melodies of the guitars. It is clear that Squieti focus their darnedest on delivering a rather original hardcore-sounding math-rock experience, where the melody is the center of attention whilst the drums control the rhythm of the sound-scape. Positioning themselves in a fortress of their own whilst not letting anyone enter for real. There are lots of great things about their music but they have their weaknesses. Sometimes the math-rock inspired wholeness of their sound is hard to really appreciate. However, they make up for this with interesting choices of melodies and their rhythmic greatness. Their tracks seem to loosen up for the real hardcore sound when you get past the fifth track, so that’s by all means a time-stamp for when shit hits the fan for real. Listen to their album in full down below. Made possible on vinyl thanks to their friends Annoying Records, Boned Factory, Fast DIY or Die, L’oltraggio Autoproduzioni, Speed-Up Agency and Sons Of Flies webzine. Recorded and mixed by Stefano Romano in 2013, released on the 29th of January 2014.

a1784089479_10Another Italian band called Pastel did a split with the British band Merridew, featuring two songs by them titled “Momento nove” and “Laminal“. Their sound is very reminiscent of Squieti, with the difference of it being more into the screamo sound. Which is more of a 90’s-inspired one, together with desperate vocals which can also be heard from the aforementioned band. It wouldn’t surprise me if they share the same singer, because it really sounds alike when everything comes together. One main difference is the atmosphere which Pastel manages to curate from a whirlwind of drums, guitars with a rather dreamy but realistic sound, together with the stillness in between breakdowns and experimental touches of rhythm. A rather weird combination of deciding to go with a baseline that dominates through sections of their songs, especially when it comes to their second song from this split. Then it all suddenly blasts away again, making it feel like I’m able to reach further for myself, into the sky and the distant continuum that is space. They’ve got a rather space-y sound which is psychedelic when it comes to some of what it contains, but not all of it. Even though a lot of their sound is based around tempo and going downtempo, there’s nothing that can stop me from completely relaxing to this sound. Maybe it’s because of their passion which is channeled throughout, or their off-shoot from the shoegaze to the screamo sound. Whatever you’d like, this is certainly borrowing a lot of the greatest stuff from the 90’s, fueling their gruesome invasion into enemy territory. It’s because there’s a certain unfamiliarity when you try to decide for yourself what’s next. You never really know with these guys, which is a plus in my book. I might’ve heard it time and again before, but I am really into what I’m hearing. This split-release was put out by Glass of Spit Recordings on the 13th of March, and you can listen to the Pastel-side down below.

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

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)

Prelight: The Pocket Rockets – Golden Gloves 1902 EP

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The Pocket Rockets are a peculiar band. Not like everyone else, but at the same time lending their hand out to everyone. Their practical blend of new-wave, post-punk and indie rock come across as melodic and emotional. When you’re having your first taste, you’re hooked by each beat and as the uncanny sound-scape draws you in. It’s gritty and unbelieving, but still manages to transgress beyond those borders. As far as you go into it yourself, you’ll find a companion with their music as their guide you through it. There’s also somewhat of a 90’s vibe that lines itself up against the wall and watches you as you proceed through. Every song adds up in its own regard, lending some from our indie pop superheroes The Radio Dept., without them knowing it. I would say that they’re like the stepbrother of that band, retaking Americana each step of the way, but influencing you to take that trip with them. It’s also the perfect music to listen to if you’ve been having a hard time, because they’re understanding to the core. Music for lively people with lifelessness, a hint of hopefulness – in an (un)living world. The Pocket Rockets are Ralph Blanco, Lyndon Millon and Chris Magallon.

Harvesting #5: Have we passed the test or are we nostilevo? [Part II]

Time for another edition of Harvesting. This time, it’s Part II of the nostilevo anthology. A pretty obscure label from the former industrialized town of Detroit. Since the first part wasn’t that big, I’ve decided to enlarge it further. Four artists and releases from the nostilevo label will accompany you this dark and rainy October-night. Those that are included in this part are the following: Craow, Siobhan, and Slaymaker Welding. I must warn you about the nature of this music, it isn’t for those of you that are experience an excessive headache right now. So, if you’re not, you shall look no further – because this is some of the hardest experimental music I’ve heard in a while. Before you move on to the music and the reviews, you should check out their page over here. Brace yourself, because this is going to be one hell of a ride!

Craow – C-Bank

What could this be? It sounds like 8-bit meets industrialized havoc, squeezed into a barrel of power electronics. This is Craow and the release C-Bank, which will be out tomorrow on the 7th of October. It feels like Craow issues a great big chunk of lost industrial with this tape. It certainly feels like that, when you listen to the first song “No Time“. Whirling mechanical noises, a sturdy base drum and monotone meets monologue. At times it even feels glitchy, but it’s hard to put any weight in categorizing this. The total mesmerizing sound of the past, combined with the wickedness of experimentalism. It’s not an exaggeration when I say I just felt the end of the fucking world, like pieces of earthly matter crumbling beneath me, incorporated with total anarchy and chaos. There’s such a contrast between the first song and the second song on the album, because “Square Blocks & Dead End Streets” feels like some retro-80’s meeting cold wave darkness.

Maybe this is the part where they battle their way through many levels of alien forces. Further into the song, wailing vocalists make their entrance. It feels like a weird combination, but it actually works. Somehow, it feels like they’re putting on a serenade just for me, personally. And since I love the 80’s so much, I’m reminded of the Streetfighter soundtrack for some odd reason. Maybe I’m just deluded, or maybe it’s just that. I think I’m pretty off to be honest, since it was released in the 90’s and I’m here babbling about the 80’s. However, it might just be the fusion of the two that make this great. Also, the lack of a conventional approach to it, with anarchy as a motto but controlled chaos as a secondary objective. I’m impressed by the album as a whole, but those tracks are probably my absolute favorites.

Get yourself a copy from their bandcamp. Digital-only download for five dollars, a physical cassette for eight dollars. It’s also limited to 100 copies, so snatch one as soon as you can. There are some really mesmerizing tracks on that album, and you should have it as a cassette so you can brag in front of your friends. Support their cause and buy one, it’s not that expensive to be honest.

Siobhan – Mind Court

This is not the first time that I write about unconventional stuff, but there’s also a guy named Siobhan whom releases some of that stuff. His release Mind Court is a real genre-hopper and is made up out of two different sides. Side A and Side B, which means that there’s a big possibility for including things you like. On “Side A” of the coin, there’s a lot of things happening. Starting off with some lo-fi lounge that sounds really funky, which transgresses into an abomination that could be called “industrial“. I like the wide array of different genres that are mashed together within this Side, it leaves nothing to the imagination and actually sounds like a good mixtape. My favorite parts might not be the skull bashing industrial side of it, one of my favorite parts actually consist of some hard-hitting electro. No, not that stuff that’s being put up and sold as electro, I’m talking about the real deal. Robotic, fat base drums and bone crushing beats. At first it starts off with a siren and ambiance, consistently pushing through a harder sound and letting the steam go, which drops the fattest bass drum you should ever hear in your life.

Reminding me of a lo-fi version AS1 at times, but with the heaviness and girth of Ra-X. Since this bad boy is lo-fi, it makes the sound-scape much more enjoyable. It also feels like the drum is going to pierce my thick skull at any given time. “Side B” also has some memorable passages, I like the down-tempo techno one, crushing everything in its way. There’s also a deeper passage which sounds like something in between darkwave and goth rock, with hard-hitting industrial at the core of it. Shooting lasers, guided missiles and an overall bombastic experience, if you listen to it as a whole. Everything neatly packed into lo-fi, for your listening pleasure.

You get the same prices as you’d get for the other tape. There’s the five dollars for a digital download-only release and eight dollars for the limited edition cassette. Latter one includes a digital download version of it also, and the cassette is limited to 100 copies. It will be released on the 9th of October and I hope you’ll be one of the first to get it. So get yourself over there and order it, follow the link at the end of this sentence. My mind is starting to crash on me right now, but I’ll have to endure the other two releases also.

Slaymaker Welding – Ov Melt Ruin

It’s probably one of the more loud releases I’ve covered so far. Going to the extreme and pushing it to the limit, with Slaymaker Welding and the release: Ov Melt Ruin. How does it sound when you hit different objects against metal or other surfaces, do they create a reasonable amount of noise? The answer is: yes. Experimenting in between the barriers of glitch and power electronics. Some industrial is also included, and can be found within the first side of the mix: “Side A“. My ears tell me that this music is just pure noise and nothing more than that. But my brain begs to differ, you can hear distinct noises as they hit each surface at different speeds and different angles. The more metallic and enduring noise gets switched out with a more electronic one, as if there are sparks flying across the pavement. If electricity can make noise, which it can, this would be the embodied sound of it.

Listening more closely to it, you feel like there’s something haunted going on in the sound-scape. Sounding like a resonating heavy metal sound, quickly delving deep into a sea of metal. No, not the conventional heavy metal – but heavy metal as in the metal itself and not the genre. As I’m starting to get into it, it feels like Side A is much harder to get into than “Side B“, because the b-side of the tape sounds like something that could be much closer to the general sound of power electronics. My ears are being torn apart and I finish it by listening to the b-side and discovering a whole other side to it. I feel like such an amateur when describing it, but it could be described as: you don’t tread into these lands, they tread on you. When the noises fade out, it feels like I’m being blessed, because I couldn’t endure that much of it to be honest. But I guess that’s what the producer of this music would want me to feel, like I’ve experienced something beyond normality. And that’s how it feels, now I’m going to rest my ears for some time.

I was going to take the last release in consideration, but since my ears and my brain need a little rest from this, it will show up somewhere else. Fetch your own copy of it, digital-only download for five dollars as usual and eight dollars for the limited edition cassette. Limited to 100 copies. You should get this if you’re into this kind of music, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it. Since I’m not into it, I’ll be enjoying the aesthetics of it instead. There’s some damn fine esthetic components in this release and I believe it could become a collectors item at some point. Get it over here.