Premiär: Pär Thörn & Martin Küchen – Växjö 130509

coversista

Zeon Light Kassett med Joakim Granlund vid rodret har alltid överraskat på ett eller annat sätt. Denna gången är överraskningen lite större, dock inte med tanke på val av personer, men i alla fall genren som man hamnat i. Pär Thörn, som är en av de artister, som utges inom ramen för Zeon Light 051 – har en gedigen diskografi när det kommer till field recordings. Från det tidigaste släppet “Följ Bara Anvisningarna“, släppt på Firework Edition Records, till “Variations On A Theme By Pierre Degeyter (Celebration Of A Revolution)” med Leif Elggren. Tillsammans med sin vapendragare Martin Küchen, som även är saxofonspelare sedan länge, så kommer de släppa “Växjö 130509” – vilket kan antydas vara ett tidsdokument av just den dagen. Inte för att jag är nämnvärt intresserad av fältinspelningar som genre, eller förstår mig på det överhuvudtaget, men det finns något där som är så lockande. Egentligen kan det bara ses som en slumpmässig lottning att det blev just detta, med tanke på att premiärspelningarna har duggat tätt nu på senare tid. Men det finns en slags visuell skåra i den här låten som ni kommer att få lyssna till, exklusivt på Invisible Guy. Låten i sig kan antas vara ett livespår när man kommit tillräckligt långt in, men det är inte så säkert när man först lyssnar på det. Det som är säkert är att det utspelar sig i Växjö.

backsista

Det är en långsam process av att försöka förstå varför de gjort just på detta sätt, och vad innebörden kan tänkas vara – eller om det ens finns någon innebörd att ta hänsyn till? Det låter i vilket fall som socialrealism instoppat i märklig experimentalism, när de ljud man hör egentligen skulle kunna vara vilka vardagliga ting som helst – enda skillnaden är att de är stöpta i ljudform och att det egentligen inte är något man tar hänsyn till vardagligen. Måhända tar man hänsyn till något för stunden, men den här låten frambringar mycket eftertanke. Kanske borde det inte ens kallas för låt, då det är närbesläktat med “non-music” – kanske inte en genre i sig, men en beteckning för “icke-musik“. Nåväl, låt “Växjö 130509” ljuda genom ert system nu när ni kan streama släppet exklusivt via Invisible Guy.

Recension: Övervarning – Mellan Rummen

3341694734-1En överkomlig känsla av dark ambient, drone och allmän fasa. När man börjar lyssna på låtarna så slås man av att det här inte är det vanliga tugget av dark ambient. Det finns en viss slags nyans, ljudbilden drivs inte av förvrängningar utan snarare ett stort svängrum som drar runt ljudet, och som med hjälp av artificiell rundgång, tar sig tillbaka in. Första låten “Det dom ännu minns” ger lyssnaren en inblick i hur dark ambient kan göras på annat sätt. I början så hör man kaskader av ljud pressas mot väggarna, tillsammans med ett undertryck som föser ljudet närmre öronen. Med tanke på låtens namn och dess musikaliska klang, så känns låten ännu mer morbid. Det verkar finnas en särskild koppling mellan låtarnas namn och det mörka ljud som försöker att leta sig in i öronkanalerna. Något som skiljer sig från den dark ambient man lyssnat på förut, är att utrymmet mellan de olika sammansättningarna av ljud inte är lika svåra att snappa upp.

Allting är samspelt och det som hörs blir inte utslaget av något annat. För den första gången på länge så kan jag njuta av det. Måhända att det handlar om den experimentella ådran som finns där eller de noise-inspirerade bakgrundsfigurerna som dansar i takt till allt som görs av musikanten. Den utgröpta bilden man får framför sig är ett mentalsjukhus som lagts ner för länge sedan, men där man fortfarande kan höra patienternas plågoandar. När man tar sig genom korridorerna för att se all den förstörelse, förruttning och allmänna misär som numera kan utgöra en sådan plats. Slutet är mäktigt på sitt sätt, det känns som att ljuset i tunneln håller på att slockna, men försöker att hålla sig vid liv – endast för att ge lyssnaren den suggestiva känslan av att låten ska fortsätta, men istället dör den ut med små ljudvågor.

Den uppföljande låten “Lasarettet slutar här” är lugnare och mer metodisk rent ljudmässigt. Telefonerna har slutat ringa och allting som är kvar är deras tomma signaler, som fortsätter att låta trots att de för länge sedan blivit avslagna. Ju hårdare man trycker hörlurarna mot sina öron, desto mer ljud uppfattar man. Det finns alltid någonting i bakgrunden som man kan fokusera sig bort på och låten ger även de vildaste bilder i huvudet man någonsin skulle kunna föreställa sig. Av någon anledning känns det som om någon använder asfalten för att rita med kritor. Ljudet när själva kritan når marken och man drar den längs med, endast för att kunna göra en ruta. Värmen i ljudlandskapet är en sak som fångar in en på direkten, trots att det är repetetivt. Man kan känna hur ljudet pulserar från det enda örat till det andra. Som om man lyssnar på något som är mono men som försöker att göra sig självt till stereo. Även det larviga ljudet som kan höras genom en bit av landskapet är en del av helheten, som får en att långsamt försöka analysera saker som kanske inte ens finns där.

Även fastän låtarna är hanterbara, så känner man sig uttömd efter ett fåtal låtar. Som om berättelsen har tagit överhanden och vill hålla en kvar, så att man kan sitta och lyssna tills slutet och försöka anamma det man hört. När man väl kommit en bit på vägen, så öppnar sig ett helt annat ljudlandskap. Denna gång är det låten “Fält bakom simhallen” som nästan känns som om den försöker slå en volt genom hela kroppen. Eller när vått gräs möter elektricitet. En låt som kan vara väl passande när det regnar utomhus och själva landskapet blir föränderligt beroende av hur många blixtar som slår ner. Där finns en slags oregelbundenhet som återkommer för att gestalta ljudlandskapet och lyfta det till skyarna ytterligare en gång. När man sitter och lyssnar på det så fylls hela kroppen av statisk elektricitet, så det känns som om man blir ledande och är en del av det musikaliska man sitter och lyssnar på. Som en slags out of body experience som väntar runt hörnet, som för en in i en värld där Övervarning drar i spakarna.

Nästa anhalt är låten “Det heliga korset” där det spelas någon form av orgelmusik, till en ljudvägg av oväsen som letar sig upp mot väggarna och klättrar runt. Själva akustiken är ett perfekt sätt för musiken att eka runt i lokalen. Här verkar det som om musiken försöker att utvecklas till något sammanhängande ibland, men blir hela tiden satt bort från kursen den försökt att äntra. Där finns en melodi som hela tiden försöker att trycka till de andra ljuden och forma dessa efter sig självt. Trots att sekvensen är repetetiv så finns där något att hämta, det påminner om någonting som mycket väl skulle kunna spelas i en katedral eller mindre kyrka, om man fick händerna fria för att göra det. När man tänker efter så känns det som om plattan hittills har en tematisk följd, där alla låtar spelar en roll i sammanhanget och är anknytna till varandra. Som om vi skulle vandrat genom alla ljudbilder för att försöka ta oss till slutet och besegra den.

Om man inte redan vid detta laget har fäst sig vid musiken, så kommer det att fastna ännu mer. Med låten “Lekplats, staket, kyrkogård” lyckas Övervarning sätta känslorna på plats ytterligare en gång. Man känner hur det passar in i de flesta känslor man fått inför dessa platser, då särskilt lekplatser som man varit på när man var yngre, eller som man varit på med vänner och deras barn. Där det som passar in är känslan av att sitta och stirra ut i mörkret, en sen Septemberkväll medan barnen åker rutschkana och allting känns fridfullt. Här finns en känsla av igenkännelse, som gör att ljudbilden inte endast hankar sig fram på de otaliga antalet ljud som det ger ifrån sig. Att gå igenom kyrkogården och höra hur ljudet av klockorna fäster sig i sinnebilden, samtidigt som de enkla skutten mellan olika ljudvallar frammanar dessa känslor, är en historia i sig. Nu är det möjligtvis inte de Svenska kulisserna som avses i och med denna ljudbild, men det ringer åtminstone en klocka.

Slutet är nära, men än är man inte där. Låten “Söndagssändningar” prickar in söndagsångesten på ett perfekt vis. En låt som sannerligen skulle kunna göra sig bra på de långa, men ack så tråkiga, söndagarna då det knappt finns något annat att göra. Nog för att dagen kan anses som vilodag, men den sprider även en stämning av total långtråkighet. Sinusvågorna rör sig långsamt över ljudbilden och bildar till slut ett bedövande oljud som endast kan väcka en från det avsomnade tillståndet man befinner sig i. Här känns det som om det kliniskt rena möter det smutsiga och försöker att forma ett band tillsammans. Nog för att det är något som man kan försöka sig på, men det fungerar inte så väl, vilket gör att ljudbilden är i ständig förändring och kolliderar med sig självt och sina ljud åtskilliga gånger.

Vägarna skiljs åt och den sista låten “Förvarningar, förvarningar” är ännu smutsigare än de tidigare låtarna. Men här verkar det finnas en sammanhängande melodi och rytm som man kan ty sig till. Avslutningslåten fylls av både det minimalistiska och bombastiska basljud som ibland kan höras i bakgrunden, för att sedan avslutas på ett sådant sätt som endast är värdigt en bra platta. Genom de svängande melodierna och ekande rytmerna, så tar de sig fram på ett dansant vis, om än monotont. Behållningen är de industriella ljuden i bakgrunden, som om någon försöker sig på att manövrera en av de största maskinerna i närheten, endast för att ljudet ska klinga bra i takt med de andra i ljudbilden. När allt kommer omkring, så är det här en av de bättre släppen inom dark ambient.

Måhända att den är för experimentell för de flesta, men den lämnar även en hel del till lyssnaren och tolkningarna man kan göra på dessa verk måste vara tusenfaldiga. Det är ett rent nöje att lyssna igenom och försöka att bilda sig en egen uppfattning. De som är intresserade av denna form av musik eller rättare sagt konstform, borde genast bege er till bandcamp och ladda ner hela skivan. För det är verkligen ett verk som måste beskådas, om än via öronen snarare än ögonen.

Interview with Alex Ketzer about Noorden!

Noorden is a music-collective from Cologne with focus on producing both music and art, which is also open for people who just want to support them or hang around. They arrange concerts, they produce limited edition material and are spearheaded by two men, whom go by the names of Alex Ketzer and Florian Gassman. One of their most popular releases is the V/A – Rumble When Bumble compilation which feature artists from the label, some of them might be known to you, some of them might not be. The ambitious release is a hand-made digipak also containing a 40-paged fanzine, printed on neon-paper. Amongst other things, they always have some of the most stunning releases, in limited edition for the collectors needs. They’re currently paving the way for a release that will celebrate their first netlabel, Noorden and unreleased tracks in a proper fashion. I took some time to write questions for Alex and I hope that you will enjoy this interview, as it also contains a lottery further down below in which readers of my blog can win exclusive limited edition releases from Noorden. You’ll also get a sneak peek of the upcoming 3-CD release, as I show you the artwork exclusively for this interview. Because I think we’re going to see more of them in the future.

Could you tell me about how and why it all started and what paved the way for your first release ever? How was the creative process in that regard?

– Before starting the Noorden project, we had another netlabel called WeArk (you can find all releases from that time here: noorden.org/wa) from 2007 until mid-2011. But during the last year of this project, we felt that its spirit got lost more and more. We all grew up and developed ourselves, but for some reason our project didn’t. So we made a break and everyone concentrated on their own music and art for some time. But after a while, we felt the need to show our projects to each other and, above all, to present the results to the world.

The idea and the spirit behind Noorden was born on a 3-week trip to Norway (without mobile, internet and Facebook) where I thought a lot about what a new project should feel like and how to make it work for everyone involved – but that was just the starting point, the 10% input from which the new project was to grow. The rest just worked out by itself and the project started to take shape. The first release was dedicated to the village of Flatabø in Norway – the »birth town« of Noorden. The track by Odda, who I met during my trip, was produced a couple of days after I told him about the idea for the project. He put this inspiration into his music and sent his results to Salmiak and Suod who decided to remix it for our first release: Noo1 (noorden.org/noo1). That’s it.

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

What artists and bands are in the collective…

– The inner circle of Noorden consists of two people –Florian (floriangassmann.com) and me (alexketzer.com). Then there are Steffen (gatonet.de), our secret consultant and exceptionally gifted bartender, and Johannes, who also releases music as »Suod Ulbeba«. Another member of the collective is Andreas (andreasmuxel.com) who created »NoordLicht« (a DIY light controller and modular light installation system) together with Florian. Furthermore, there are several artists that share the studio floor called »Kunstetage« with us and who we occasionally organize art shows with, e.g. Dennis Guillomo (denisguillomo.de), who will equip one of our next »Cluster« events, or Wolfgang Voegele (wolfgangvoegele.com) with whom we organized »Cluster« for the first time.

Another part-time member of the collective is Gabriel Vanegas (firstlife.me) who was responsible for some great visuals at our parties. We also got into contact with a couple of other artists through the internet: The OP1-Compilation for example brought us together with a handful of nice people (eg. Virtual Flannel, Jogging House and Dataline), others sent us demos which we liked and thus released. And then there are people like The Marx Trukker who just liked us on Facebook and we get in contact that way. So, as you can see, the constellation of members is the result of a mixture of fortune and being »in the right place at the right time«.

…and what’s the history behind the different shows you’’ve put up?

– For our shows we try to bring together artists, musicians/bands and DJs. We call this format »Cluster« and it’s hosted at our studio once a month. It starts with a one-day exhibition at 7 p.m., followed by a concert at around 10 p.m. and ends with several DJ-sets and dancing late into the night and the early morning. We also have visual and/or light installations on these parties that interact with the whole event. In the past, there were other shows, too, but those were special events like watching the UEFA Championchip together or just hosting club nights without showing any art.

By the way, I found Noorden via the “rumble when bumble”-compilation you released some time ago. Could you tell me anything about the creative process behind it? And what did you think about the end-result of it?

– When I first saw this fucking great piece of hardware (Teenage Engineering OP-1) I wanted to own it so badly. And when I finally got it, I spent hours browsing the ohpeewon-forum, listening to the op1-only tracks, and was stoked by the possibilities this gadget offers. That was at the same time when we launched the label. As we wanted to be the first to make a compilation with OP-1-only tracks, I wrote an email to Yellow Tangerine (soundcloud.com/yellow-tangerine) and asked him if he was interested in curating this project together with us. We sent soundcloud links back and forth and after a couple of weeks the final playlist was all set. We also wanted to include some background information about the artists and why they are so much in love with the OP-1 so we sent out a questionnaire and asked each artist to create a cover artwork for their track.

Regarding the layout, we wanted to produce a fancy, neon-colored, DIY-xerox-like artwork with a look significant for its content. I wanted to finish the layout as soon as possible, but was very busy with my job at that time, so in the end the whole process took several weeks. But then, one evening, after a couple of beers, I decided to start designing and it took me two nights to finish the artwork and two more days to produce the 100 CDs. Everything was handmade: We sorted and folded the pages ourselves, bound them with staple guns, glued in the cardboard etc. But we (and also the artists as well as the audience) were very happy with the result. Submissions for the second edition which will be released in spring 2013 will be possible from January.

How would you like to see Noorden developed in the future, do you have any certain plans as of now?

– First of all, we are very happy with the results of the project’s first year. For the future we’re planning to find a distributor for our releases which will enable us to reach a wider audience with our music. Furthermore, we’re dreaming of being able to release 12-inch-vinyls, but this is too expensive for us at the moment. With an adequate distributor, however, this should become possible. Anyway, we’re doing the same things as last year: releasing great music made by great people, digitally as well as in form of limited CD and cassette editions that we produce ourselves with a great amount of love and dedication.

What’’s the most fun part about being a collective and what’’s the least fun part about it? How much time and effort do you need to put into it and what do you normally do on a hectic week?

– The most fun part about everything is to have people around you that you like and that inspire you. We’’re all friends sharing our working space together and also our spare time, so that’s a really great gift! We meet up, drink beer or coffee together, talk about the things we love and make plans for new projects. I guess there’s no negative side to it, everyone contributes whatever they like and it’s just great the way it is. We don’t measure the time we spend on the project because we do everything between our daily routine, between working and living. But I guess, if it was a full-time job, we had to spend one full day per week for all the things that need to be done. And when we’re planning an event, you can add two more days. Usually, we all work as freelancers and designers for magazines, books, websites, products and prototypes for several agencies, publishing houses and other, smaller clients.

Noticed that you have a temporary headquarter, but where would you want to be based, how is it to live in Cologne and do business, music and art from there?

– In our »temporary headquarter«, the lovely »Galerie Frei« (facebook.com/Galerie.Frei), we hosted a 3-week-exhibition in March 2012. We invited all our buddies that are involved in art and music to show their works – along with happenings, live performances, concerts and DJ-sets. We all had a really good time, so much fun and met loads of very nice people. At the moment we are thinking about exhibiting at »Galerie Frei« again in spring 2013. Our »real headquarter« is our studio which is situated in a former factory building in »Köln-Deutz«. We’re three people (Florian, Steffen and I) who work (and sometimes live) in this studio as a graphic designer, web designer and architect. In our spare time we use the studio for making music, meeting people, drinking beer or sometimes even listening to soundchecks at Gebäude 9 (http://www.gebaeude9.de), a wonderful and atmospheric concert venue on the ground floor of the building.

The building’s windows are so thin that during sound checks the »whoop-whoop-whoop« of the basses makes listening to our own music inside the studio impossible – but it’s also a lot of fun at the same time. To live and work in Cologne is very nice and relaxed. I read a quote in a magazine some weeks ago that described Cologne quite well: »In Cologne people collaborate and work with each other in a very friendly, family kind of way. You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody, time just moves at a different pace here…« So this is what most of us feel like. The city is rather small compared to Berlin or Munich and you can reach everything by bike in about 20 min. Interesting spots are located quite close to each other and if you long for a day in the nature, it takes you less than 20 minutes by car to find beautiful spots. Another thing (in comparison to Berlin) is that everything is a bit less »hip & cool«, so life is very laid-back… »Prost!«

Could you tell me anything about the creative process behind your latest release on Noorden? Also, why should one consider to buy it from you?

– I guess you’’re talking about the DOMINGA release? I first got into contact with Jeff Ortega about a year ago when he sent me an email with a link to his tracks. I listened to them and was hooked right away, wanting to release them. But I thought that Noorden was too unknown at that time and his music was – in my opinion – too good for just a digital release only a small audience would listen to. So I asked him if he was interested in having us as his »art directors« for the release of a CD and he liked the idea and sent us some images and the lyrics for his tracks. We then decided to produce a CD in a handmade cardboard-sleeve and a trifold poster with a typographical interpretation of his lyrics on the one side and a nice picture of him on the other side.

Unfortunately, I was very busy at that time, so a few months went by until we finally released the CD a couple of weeks ago. Jeff and we really dig the result and we already got some positive reviews on the music as well as on the artwork. People should hurry buying it because there are just a few CDs left from the first release. The music is fucking awesome and your CD-player will be forever grateful. If there’s a second release, we’’ll produce the edition in a different way than the first release though, i.e. with a different kind of paper. The current release has a little bug in the cardboard sleeve which adds this certain something to the product, but also degrades it in its quality. So if you want something special with a touch of class – GRAB IT!

Are there any other collectives or organized forms of music collaborations that you admire or would just like to recommend for this blog?

– Yeah, there are many of them around. At the moment we’re in contact with two crews: 101.io crew (facebook.com/101.io) have their rehearsal room located about 50 meters from our studio. They also release great music and I love their style very much. We’’ve also released a single with two of our remixes together with the very talented Morning High (morninghigh.bandcamp.com). He’’s also running a label called ZIPS records (http://zipsrecords.bandcamp.com) which is definitely worth checking out.

I know by now that you’’ve got a big release coming up in the middle of November, care to tell me a little bit more about it?

– In the last week of November we’re releasing a 3-CD box as a kind of »best of«. The box comes in a stamped and numbered cardboard sleeve with 3 CDs, a 24-page booklet and a trifold poster. CD1 is a best of of our first netlabel which we ran between 2007 and 2011, CD2 is a best of of our recent Noorden project and CD3 is a mixtape with unreleased tracks that can exclusively be found on this compilation. Altogether there are 45 tracks with a total running time of almost 4 hours! We’’ll produce an edition of 25 pcs. which you will be able to buy from our Bandcamp-store or download all tracks from our website for free.

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

What’’s happening on the Noorden-front in the end of November and the last month of this year? Do you have any other releases planned?

– We have a release schedule providing for one release every week until Christmas. There will be a new album by Virtual Flannel (www.facebook.com/VirtualFlannel), an ambient tape by The Marx Trukker (soundcloud.com/the-marx-trukker), an EP by Zasten from the Noorden crew, a new EP by Jogging House (facebook.com/Jogging.House), a remix single by Morning High (morninghigh.bandcamp.com), another ambient project by a secret member from the hood, and, finally, the second album by Dataline (www.facebook.com/Project.Dataline). We’’re very happy to have all these great artists with us and are looking forward to their releases!

Thank you for answering my questions! How would you like to end this?

– Thank you for the interview. It’s always good to reflect on things and think about your own project. We would like to finish the interview with a mixtape that we made exclusively for your blog, it’’s a mix with the most loved and most influential tracks by each artist. We hope you enjoy it.

And if you want to be part of Noorden – with your music, your creativity, or just as a friend or supporter – we would be happy to hear from you! Cheers!

Listen to the exclusive mixtape Noorden produced for Invisible Guy down below:

http://official.fm/tracks/M0hx

The latest release from Noorden:

If you want to participate in the lottery, go to Noorden on Facebook and like their facebook-page and write “Win-Invisible” on the image to win the following packages:

· 1 x http://noorden.bandcamp.com/album/falling-off
· 1 x http://noorden.bandcamp.com/album/all-night
· 3 x CD »Rumble When Bumble« mini-fail-edition (from the super pack)
· 2 x SCHWERMETALL fanzine (from the super pack)

Artwork from the upcoming 3-CD release!

Review: TSTI – evaluations

Pretty sharp, analogue and complex for being a bedroom project. Like a throwback from the wonderful 80’s. First song “In Loving Memory” is a wonderful example of what could be done with a little bit of synth-pop and dark wave, without a forced etiquette and instead of trying to push a false sense of genuine feelings. This is what happens when you combine the finest elements of both genres, and when you have put so much effort into the music that it stays afloat without doing a thing. There’s a sense of deepness in this song that provokes the most profound feelings from inside. A sense of loneliness and a sense of love, reeks out of the holes from the sound-scape. Unable to keep it in, it spreads throughout and just stays put on the edges as they touch you slowly but with much sincerity. The synths are a huge part of that experience, which goes from angelic to dreamy, back to the darker spheres in no time spent. I cannot grasp how a bedroom project could do such an impact, as I was expecting a much more amateurish and foolish approach to the wonders of those genres he’s involved with.

Needless to say, my expectations met their match, beyond my own grasp of the reality at hand. The slow-paced synths, the bombastic elements and the utter and sheer dedication that can be felt – have moved me inside and I’m not the same again. As for the next track “Queen of Swoons“, I can feel the more industrial-oriented rhythms and controlled environment that enrich the sound even more. A totally different track at hand, but with the same sympathetic vibe noticed within. I have a slight feeling of a totally new thing, but at the same time one or another remnant from times past. If Fad Gadget had combined his ingenuity with the synth-pop serenity of a band like Depeche Mode, put into a time-capsule and moved to the 00’s, their own brainchild would be TSTI. A weird sense of a predecessor being influenced by a progenitor, all mixed down into their counterparts, but also what doesn’t separate them. It’s like everything is falling to place, with immense speed and just leaving it up to me to decide how this wonderful piece of art should be described. Not being able to grasp it fully, not being able to describe it properly. But I surely want do my best. The third track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“, begins with a rather heavy intro and is masked with a nice synth-line.

When I think about it, the vocals of S. Smith are both soothing and entrancing at the same time. The whole mood of the songs feels like something Andrew Eldritch would’ve put together if he was working with S. Smith. With that said, I think the utterly complex structure of the song deepens the mood of the sound-scape as a whole and surely grasps the 80’s melodic content by the balls. No, it’s not being castrated, but it’s being squeezed out and used as a resource for the wonderful path of laying both a concrete and emotional landscape of different harmonies, synths and the wonderfully arranged drums. Fourth track “Love & Truth” is about as minimalistic as its gotten on this album, a much harder edge to both the synths and the sound-scape at hand. Somewhat decorticated to fit the means of the analogue wonders that he is working with. It reminds me of the old-school EBM-styled beats that were prevalent in that genre in the 80’s but also later on in the 90’s. Not only the fixed and repetitive synths with an unorthodox touch to it, but also the more pop-oriented and dreamy synths that works like a wonder when combined with the vocals. As I move on to the fifth track, which is titled “Acquaintance“, the harder beats get even more room in the mix. It feels like a religious experience and it feels like Smith is opening the door for me and welcoming me into his adamant home. Whilst it at the same time feels sinister and include some damn fine synths that together produce this kind of sound-scape that feels like its about to fall down below because of the pressure on it.

The progression of it is totally out of my own realm, its as if he’s got a bunch of different alter-egos that sit with him and compose these songs. One where the darker side of him is allowed entry and one where the “lighter” side is inducing the sound-scape with a refined reality. Even though it very much feels like its a well-produced piece, at the same time it feels like something beyond the borders of music. I can sense a lot of hard and cold nostalgia revealing itself here. Sixth track “Match To Friendship” is enough industrial-influenced to make me spew out nuts and bolts. At times it feels like its borrowed from indie pop, but at the same time, there’s a harsher sense to the sound-scape than that. There are synths in this sound-scape that I wouldn’t hear anywhere else than in a great 80’s song and it feels like its built up by those synths. When I listen through it, again and again, I feel like he’s borrowed a lot of influences from genres that might not be that apparent. I feel like there’s a more commercial vibe to it, but on the other hand, I don’t believe that it would be accepted there. Much because of the hard-knocking beats and severe punishment you get to endure whilst listening to it. But it’s all worth it. However, when the seventh track comes on, there are a lot of things that are about to change. It’s titled “This Damage Is Magic” and it feels more like a knock away from a harsh newstyle EBM song than anything else.

Blend it with the finest you can get in future-pop, add up some nasty elements to it and you’ll have a hybrid of VNV Nation and something else. I’m not really sure what that would be, but it surely would be something angelic. I love how the synths start sounding like dolphins communicating below surface, even though its almost a few seconds. I believe that is the essence of S. Smith, he can both be very complex at hand but when you think about it – he’s also managed to keep a basic edge to what he’s doing. Now things get even more out of hand, as I tune in to the eighth song “Because You Told Me To“, which sounds like something the cat dragged in. I’m confused now, very confused. From a mighty synth-pop and extravagant dark wave album, to a techno-oriented house-hybrid? There’s a lot of 303 in this mix. I feel Acid House, but its not even close. However, he’s close to the 80’s, which is when it had its peak. But I don’t really know, I can’t really dig it. Even though the sound-scape is perfectly fine, the softer side of it is just so malplaced amongst this 303-vibe. Well, enough with this, now its time for the last track: “In Loving Memory (anti-707 mix)“, which is basically the first song but without a 707, which means “no drums for you, sucker“. Personally, I think this song doesn’t really take on the first song, but fine, it sounds pretty good anyway. I feel like there’s something missing and I feel like the drums should be there. However, this is one of the greatest albums of the 00’s (2000’s), that I’ve heard and I’m going to bookmark his bandcamp. Thank you for such a fantastic experience, never stop making art.

You can and should buy his limited edition CD over at bandcamp, but if you don’t want to, you could buy the digital download-only album. Do also listen to his album below.