Exclusive Premieres: Paradox Obscur – S/T

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Rhodes is the basis of this project. A duo consisting of Kriistal Ann and Toxic Razor, two nick-names appropriated by Anna Michailidou and a furtherly unknown figure whose real name I haven’t found out about. For the solo-project that is called Kriistal Ann, Anna Michailidou created a release last year for release on Werkstatt Recordings, titled “Refraction” – a solo-project based in and out of goth mixed with dark-wave – showing a whole other side of herself. Even though she’s intimately connected with Paradox Obscur, the difference lies in the approach that the duo has in comparison with her own project. The aforementioned project is based out of dark minimal synths with a cold-wave atmosphere, content at leaving the listener in a dismayed landscape of sound – harnessing a deep inner-feeling – charged with an ambulation of emotional lyrical content. A rather bleak introductory to a sound they’ve been working on since releasing a few tracks here and there, some on their own Soundcloud and one for the Parisian podcast-mixes courtesy of M N M L. After a while, before they even had announced the release of their self-titled debut, I got introduced to their sound for real by Jason of Peripheral Minimal.

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We decided for me to be releasing a track each day, showcasing their sound to a broader audience. So I started to put up a track after another, until I hit the limit of five tracks that I decided would be appropriate. These five tracks, namely “Scourge“, “Creatures“, “Dirty Parades“, “Grieving Days” and “Conviction” – in no particular order. It got warmly received by those interested in their sound since before and those that hadn’t really been introduced to their sound yet. Everyone got a chance to listen to all these tracks, on a day-to-day basis – to form their opinion and/or interest for their self-titled release – by listening to exclusive premieres of tracks from that release. Now that these days have already went by, you get another chance to listen to these tracks, since they’re up indefinitely. Prepare yourself for a wonderfully cold receipt of what can be done with an erratic sound-scape fueled by the desperate and depressive content that Paradox Obscur shows with their passion for music, accompanied by analogue equipment for the best sound. The artwork for the cover was designed by Frantz Schlusselhuber, displaying the elephant man and various other individuals whom you might or might not recognize. However, you should be listening to these five exclusive tracks on Repartiseraren, because each track has its own character. The release will be put out on Peripheral Minimal in the beginning of May. Stream all tracks down below.

Listen: La Fete Triste / The Harrow – Giant / Axis

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Haunting is the first word that comes to mind when La Fete Triste and The Harrow join forces, releasing a split together with the title “Giant / Axis“. The solo-project La Fete Triste is the enigmatic and sorrowful new-wave project by Gabriel Brero, one of the men involved with aufnahme + wiedergabe, based out of Berlin (now in Hamburg). His twisted synthesizer and drum-machine-driven project derive inspiration out of both minimal synth and post-punk, coating his arms with a new-wave overlay that deliver the greatest sadness with melancholia at the middle, together with melodies that will ensnare you imminently. Add to that a guitar with concrete rhythms that adds a touch of your own dismay in the mix. Before this release, he had put out a single called “Lèvres Froides“, and he also did a split-release together with Lebanon Hanover, titled “Lebanon Hanover / La Fete Triste” where four tracks were put out. A lot of people have apparently been longing for new material for quite a while, three years to be exact. Together with The Harrow, he delves into this split-release with the track “Giant“. An at first ballad-esque track which soars through the landscape of sound with a post-punk sound with an almost anthemic touch to it. The mournful and depressive vocals with a German intonation at the end makes it a lot more impressive, because it builds up to a magnificent track because of that. An interesting anecdote is that Justin Stephens (Passion Play) is doing back-up vocals on this track, he’s produced and mixed it as well.

The Harrow, on the other hand, had delivered their first official self-titled debut on the now defunct label Function Operate last year. Even though some of their sound isn’t that emotive for me to begin with, I must say that I am impressed when I hear “Axis“, a track which breathes the otherwise so scarcely atmosphere that had been lacking before. It’s got more warmth than the earlier release of theirs, and to add insult to injury – Vanessa Irena‘s vocals attract you to their post-punk sound even more, as she adds another dimension to an otherwise good track. Making it even greater. The Harrow have been interesting in several ways before, but they haven’t really made anything that have been as great as this. Here, they show their true potential as craftsmen. Bringing their music to a whole other level together with their minimal approach to post-punk, with goth undertones that make you take it in even more. Everything is emotionless, but at the same time very emotive. A good paradox to be written upon their release as it is. Looking forward to hearing more of this kind of sound, in future releases. An interesting sway into the right direction. Stream both tracks down below and wait until you can buy the physical edition on vinyl on the 18th of May on aufnahme+wiedergabe.

Spotlight: Life Is Pain – Born, Suffer, Die…

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Missing out on two years ago is not such a big deal. But once you find something that simply attaches itself into your mind, you want to show it to the world – no matter how many years on its neck it might have. The largely existential project Life Is Pain is the solo endeavor of an unknown character from New York. His influences range from Arthur Schopenhauer‘s stance on suicide, which is that it’s not wrong at all or born out of cowardice, since; “They tell us that Suicide is the greatest piece of Cowardice. That Suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in this world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person“. This project also harkens from the depths of atmospheric dark wave, to the less intriguing blend with melodious cold wave – to the more exciting metamorphosis from experimentalism to post-punk, goth and minimal synth. Even though the more melodic parts make you shy away from the project, the absoluteness of the darkness that can be derived from the absolutely soul-wrecking topics that are brought up make you turn the other cheek and face it towards “Born, Suffer, Die…”, which is the two-tracked release that is talked about above. Featuring the two tracks “Unassailable” and “Sindrome“. Unfortunately, he hasn’t released anything else then this, but this might help spark interest in what he’s been working with before. Stream it down below.

Premiere: Orchidée Noire – Défense de se noyer [Musicvideo]

Xavier Soquet, also known as “Orchidée Noire is a french-based minimal wave (and synth)/cold wave aficionado. His take on this whole ordeal is to be a little more minimalistic then his counterparts. Which is really strange, since the genre itself builds upon the concept of minimalism. Does it even get more minimal? Yes, it obviously does. Some of it actually reminds me of Techno in the start, with a nice utilization of what’s probable analogue equipment. Even though simplicity is the key, there are thoughtful layers that compromise even the smallest part of the song itself. If you’re a strong proponent of everything French, then you’d dig the vocals also. Therefore, we premiere “Défense de se noyer“, over here on Invisible Guy. Some of you might’ve already gotten the taste, but you can get even more of it here. Listen as the outdrawn synthesizers, with excruciating warmth and power in themselves are consumed by a catchy rhythmic baseline. The music-video itself is pleasurable to watch, since it feels like you’re going on your own adventure – accompanied by the song itself. Listen to it down below or watch the music-video, up above.

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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!

Spotlight: Peter The Roman – Printer Silicone Machine

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If I could be a Roman for a day, something would change in every way. His name would be designated, I would be elevated and everything would certainly be electronica-related. This man is Peter The Roman and he’s a new man in this world of three-dimensional sounds, equipped with a repetitive and snarky responsiveness, musically. His latest release “Printer Silicone Machine“, could be everything in this world that you’d want to hear. Besides the fact that it’s pretty repetitive, it’s also monolithic to an extent and what I would envision myself doing musically, actually. Not in this shape, maybe, but where the sounds aren’t that predictable – and weigh a heavy amount of tonnes. At times you’ll hear some nostalgic vibes, but it’s original in the manner that the warmth exhilarated from the body of the electronica is sincere at the top, but wondrous “down below“. It might not seek anything below the underground, but he certainly has ambitions at times. However, it’s noticeable that it stems from an experimental waypath that he has embarked upon. Among all the jibberish samples, there’s a little hint of everything that makes electronica what it is. Or, at least – how it should be. I find it odd, but I enjoy it when it doesn’t set me offbeat. The album features ten songs and you can download two of them for free. It was probably released D.I.Y., by himself.

Dreamlight: architecture – diamond mind

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Caress your body, feel your brain floating around. It’s not messy, it’s not careless – rather; dreamy and lush. The duo architecture compose melodies that can be considered clandestine. Furthering our destiny, towards something higher than just the category titled “pop“. Somewhere in between the sincere analogue experience and the digitalis futurism that is blended through the cracks of the music. Faithful, whispering, psychedelic – but also filled with concrete and raw emotions. Downbeat when they have to, upbeat when they see the sun. Albeit gazing through a layer of pouring rain. Rhythmically, they utilize the best they themselves can offer. As the melodies are played, you do heed to the rhythmic notion that they deliver with an utmost arch towards the naive. Don’t look, because it might hit you. Just feel how the music is siphoned from architecture, into your own mind. Wind down, relax a little bit and just take it in. It might be a grandiose experience at large, but you’ll also find pockets where you can breathe. This is their newly released 7¨ titled “diamond mind“, featuring the two songs “diamond mind” and “bb beware“. Released by Notes and Bolts, coming out on the 17th of April in physical format. Also, they will soon release a full-length album.