Spotlight: Liquid Transmitter, Nikmis, None, Palissade

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Midsummer is upon us. A new line of spotlights are due to appear sometime every week. I’ve picked out some new and interesting releases for you all to enjoy. From post-punk to IDM and everything in between that. Everytime I do this, I see what I can find under different categories on Bandcamp – writing about each release that is featured in the article, summarizing the components and recommending it.

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Have you ever dreamt about something ever so vividly exciting, strange or beautiful? Liquid Transmitter’s release “Turn” is turning IDM on its edge, presenting to us a less rhythmic annihilation and more complex atmospheric development. From the introductory “Morning Watch“, to the last one “Uncertain Dusk“, each track is imaginative and explorative. It is as if an artist outlines his visions carefully and break the transgressiveness between genres in an uncanny way. Connecting the dots in every way, both musically and by the titles themselves.

It is finely woven into good electronic music. Slightly drone, more ambient and definently something to be heard. The quirkyness of the melodies add in the personality of this project very well – it’s self-explanatory really when you hear the music. Check it out on Bandcamp and purchase his release there, listen to it in full down below.

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Now here’s a whole soundtrack for you to enjoy. It is really odd music in a way, but perfectly obstinate and neatly created. Nikmis release “Widdendream” on Third Kind Records go forth in its own manner, holding up the banner of experimental electronica in a way – considering the composition of each track, first and foremost. From the cute little first steps of “The Big Fence On The Other Side“, to the more classically-oriented “Embarrasingly Paralell“, each facet of this album have its own sides of it. I think “Tremendous House” capture an oriental vibe and contribute to a summary of everything in Nikmis music that make it stand out in originality.

So if artists and bands alike want to describe something with their music, or capture a feeling, this picturesque wandering between the oddities in synthesizer-based music and the outrageousness of it – make it very easy to follow the story. Instead of capturing something by writing it in lyrics, he manages to break free from that and with instrumental music capture the essence of storytelling anyway. I suggest you check out the album via Third Kind Records, and listen to it in full down below.

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Abstract, frightening and cold. With resounding, repetetive vocals and majestic synthwave – Anna of None deliver a great sounding album, titled “Vacuum“. There is a lot of focus on the bombasticism of the drums in the atmosphere of some of the songs, but it does not take away from the fact that the rest of the instrumentation is equally as good, and thought out. There are serene melodies that encapsulate the hopelessness she is portraying, especially in the aptly titled song “No“. Things develop further in terms of the sound itself in “Faces“, which almost becomes theatralic with the continuous haunting baseline.

She really breaks apart from the dry and stale projects that have been popping up everywhere. Wherever you read post-punk, it either consists of a band trying to ape a style they can’t grasp by inspiration of classic post-punk releases, or the one-man project that doesn’t hold up at all – with them being predictable as ever. The song “Nightmare” really touches on the synthwave this project relies on, giving it great effect and with “Flesh” fulfil the epitome of it. I suggest you check it out, it was released by Black Verb Records and I recommend it of all my heart. Listen to it in full down below.

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Canadians have been providing us with some really good synth-pop, but have they pulled off the post-punk? As of now, Palissade can be considered a contender, with their release “Éclats“. This four-tracked release have beautiful aesthetics in terms of artwork and their music does not lack those aesthetics either. There is a certain focus on the vocalist and more bittersweet melodies then one have heard before, it is not that fast-paced to begin with, as one hears in “La Fin“. Their more alternative and highly melodic way of post-punk is attractive. There is not that much emphasis on the baseline alone, but more on the whole togetherness of everything.

The rhythm stabs and the melodies entwine as one hoped they would. As the layers shift in character, the soundscape looms on steadfastly and “La Vie des Autres” combine the first two songs into one, it feels like. Every song is interesting to listen to and each one of them give off a different emotion. It’s a solid release that I recommend and you should check it out. If you’re interested in wayward but challenging post-punk – this is the release for you. Listen to it in full down below.

 

 

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Review: Die Selektion – Deine Stimme Ist Der Ursprung Jeglicher Gewalt

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aufnahme + widergabe have gotten the privilege to release the second album by Die Selektion, late May. Last time they released an album was six years ago, their first self-titled album on Fabrika Records. Much have changed since then and it is a more refined and interesting Die Selektion that can be found with their newest album “Deine Stimme Ist Der Ursprung Jeglicher Gewalt“. The album is roughly thirty-four minutes long.

“Schatten”, the first song off the release, is a really emotional trip. A song which slowly develops and jabs you straight in the heart. There’s so much nostalgia to be had while listening to it, essentially a very good introductory. Here darkwave meet electronic body music and dance music in an odd combination – add to that a trumpet and you’re set. It is interesting how it builds up and then unleashes mayhem upon the listener. Rhythms are on point and you’re caught up with the motions of the baselines, synthesizers and vocals. A certain distraught tone is brought out by the vocalist, making the setting even more postapocalyptic then it could’ve been otherwise.

There is really a perfect groove between the trumpet and the thumping baseline. One discovers complex melodies layered upon one another in perfect synchrony. It hits very deep just before it fades out into nothingness – there’s something really touching about how the atmosphere goes from energetic – to sullen and accepting of its own fate. Personally, there’s not been many songs that hit as deep as this one, the only exception being the repertoir of Keluar. That’s a good point of reference when it comes to how expressive the song really is.

WhenUnter Die Haut” storms in with the alluring electronic body music á la Schwefelgelb – one is immediately hooked. Repeated in this song is the atmospheric notion of the previous song, but with an extended prescence of the trumpet which gives it a huge sound. Sharp baselines tear through whilst the attendance of the synthesizer sounds make for enjoyable rhythms. One thing that is more characteristic of this song is the presence of the vocalist – he tears through like nothing with an attitude perfectly in tune with the bombasticness of the soundscape.

Not much more can be said about the song as such. It translates perfectly into “Dir & Mir“, whose atmosphere is more focused in terms of the percussion. Added into the mix is a guitar that doesn’t leave you hanging with meaningless riffs. Everything is in tune with each individual song and the laid back style in this one captures the attitude perfectly. There’s a discipline, a decadence and a retrospective imagined into sound. An unnatural blend of genres that shouldn’t have been – but became something more then a transgression into awfulness.

“Kalter Atem” almost catches one off-guard in terms of how the intro makes one expect the awfulness of aggro-tech to leap into the mix and ruin everything. Sadly enough, the beats in this song aren’t really much to cheer for. They do nothing more then keep the rhythm steady, although monotonous – it is bad monotony. The atmosphere don’t develop until the song is almost over anyway. It gives the air of being intermission before the continuation of the next half of the album.

Brennende Brücken” is really minimalistic – giving the vocalist more space to shine. Together with the low-key trumpets in this one, it adds a more sincere touch and you feel closer attached to the musicians as such. It is hard to explain, but the immaculate use of sampling and the tearfelt delivery of the vocalist reeks of passion. The further in you get, more experimentalism is added – which makes it feel like something new in electronica. As the melodies are intimately attached but so far away from one another in the atmosphere, it gives off a really nice vibe.

Wow, the intro on “Der Himmel Explodiert (feat. Drangsal)” stir things around even more. The depths of the synthesizers is a nice touch – and then, suddenly, electronic body music in its purest form is added to the mix. There’s a more exotic kind of atmosphere in this song and you really can’t get enough of the trumpets. As Drangsal is introduced, there’s a noticeable shift to the more upbeat and lighter soundscape. It is a nice addition which makes it more distinguishable from the other songs one already have listened to. The outro is what the intro of this song was but it is perfect the way it is.

If rhythm was something lacking earlier, in comparison with melody, “Der Augenblick” adds even more ambitious percussionism – giving it a multi-layered, energetic switch into danceable electronic music. You’re given an acute sense of controlled chaos. Because it is “The Moment” – which would’ve been cheesy had it been in english instead of german. For some moments one is not sure if it is about to go full-on psy-trance or if it won’t go astray at all. This goes to show what they are capable of and that they don’t limit themselves to formulaic songs, because everything is well thought out and dynamic.

Dein Hertz Wiegt Tausend Scherben” feels very retro. The synthesizers in this song add mystery into their music. It is quite a straight-forward song but the melodies are some of the nicest on this record so far. Dreamy, but saturnine to the core. The constant use of the trumpet in almost each song is about what the saxophone is to 80-90’s action movies – though the main difference would be that it never gets tiresome. Max Rieger have really outdone himself and Die Selektion were right to add his instrument into the mix. The casualness of the vocals is also another thing of note in this song – they seem so unforced and authentic. Lyrically speaking it is very good in all its simplicity.

Deine Stimme“, the last song on this album, really says something about where they might be heading next with future releases. There’s a heavier, more experimental tone to the synthesizers and the vocalist concludes the record mysteriously. Reverberated voices and noisy rambunctiousness – a cyberpunk feeling. A clarity, a mission of something even more grandiose. After having listened to this album it feels empty, especially when the last song in the end of it builds up something that might’ve even been a tenth song. aufnahme + wiedergabe really knew what they had assembled when releasing this.

Listen to the release down below in full and if it is alluring to you – buy one or both of the physical releases. Currently available on limited edition CD and vinyl.

 

 

Listen: Ancient Methods × Black Egg – The ‘Ohne Hände’ Remixes 12″

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Chaos-disciplinarians Black Egg have been ushered from their sheltering oval cistern by Wollenhaupt. The group had their magic rejuvenated as he channeled the sullen vigor for his own intentions. “Michael Wollenhaupt!“, they shouted in unison. Now his name was finally to be known to the world. He had long before hidden under the guise of Ancient Methods—a brutally resounding, uncompromising manner. Now he was finally a part of the collective aufnahme + wiedergabe—if only a loose connection between an egg and its hatchery.

Michael himself take proverbial inspiration in the word “method“, as seen with his other alter-ego Ugandian Methods. Everything’s aligned properly to become a method, pluralism: methods—a course his specific choice of music takes, while it may be unbeknownst to him in the initial stages—or change with the different alter egos of his. His other aliases suggest that he likes not only to be a part of systematic music-making, but also less musically involved, as suggested by the naming of “Backseat Driver“, and the furious “Midnight Madness“—retrospective impressions. This is of course just an interesting side-note to the primary objective of writing this article.

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One year before his involvement in remixing one of Black Egg’s tracks, Michael Wollenhaupt released his sixth album—if one counts earlier releases, with Conrad Prutzmann—as Ancient Methods originally were a duo. It bore the name “Seventh Seal” and from the titles of the tracks, resembles an allegory of Ingmar Bergman’s legendary film with the same name. An unavoidable settlement with the past and the acceptance of his coming fate—the dance of death—in Michael’s case a figurative separation from Prutzmann as his co-musician. 30th May a digital and vinyl-release of the album was put out via his own label bearing the same name: Ancient Methods.

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A year and one month later Black Egg formulated their first appearance, an album titled: “Legacy From A Cold World“. The group’s flighty musical base is constituted by the following members: USHERsan, Vera, Corina KRAUTER, Normotone, Sebastien FD, Peter Render, HIV+, and Judith Juillerat—whom parted from the group after in June after the release. The release got a favorable review on Gothic.at, summarized by the following words and I quote: “…die es zu einem kurzweiligen, vielseitigen und spannenden Werk” (…which is an entertaining, versatile and excitingly made work) roughly translated via Google Translate—my apologies beforehand. It is no secret that the masterer for this album is Friedemann Kootz; notable for mastering November Növelet’s masterpiece “Magic” and other Galakthörrö-releases. Other members whose involvement are to curate the aesthetics surrounding Black Egg are Mimi Gall—graphic designer photographer (for their debut), alongside Titus Le Pèse Nerfs who create art and alchemy—what ever the last-mentioned title is supposed to mean. Maybe entertaining the groups’ dynamic.

Now we’re on our way out of 2014—earlier this year a fruitful combination yet to be was chiseled in stone—announced figuratively on aufnahme + wiedergabe‘s Facebook in May. Ancient Method’s experimental and calculating techno was set loose, for the purpose of conjuring remixes, plucking apart Black Egg’s song “Ohne Hände” (Without Hands)—molding it gradually with methodical precision. He chiseled away sublimity, kept the pulsating energy, turned it up a few levels to make it energetic and strayed away from his own artistry—with “(Pogo Im Säurebad Plural Mix)” sounding like what could be called: noisy ritual drum’n’base. Doubling the running time in comparison with the original track, with the exception of “Ohne Hände (A Capella)” but in that case it’s comprehensible. The release The ‘Ohne Hände’ Remixes 12can be bought from the label aufnahme + wiedergabe, and is limited to five-hundred copies. You can also get it from Berlinian distributors Hard Wax. Stream the release in its entirety, below. Ancient Method’s “justified ancient” t-shirt is available for pre-order.

Listen: Venin Carmin – Glam is gone

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We must admit that we’ve gone and gotten ourselves stuck with a ‘guilty pleasure‘. Venin Carmin from the electronica duo Kelly und Kelly, have moved on to a solo-project. She calls it ‘dead pop‘ but we’re not sure what she means by labeling it that. Her sound is in between the peppiness of popular electroclash artists and groups, with an emphasis on pop. The album “Glam is gone” is her debut-effort that is ten tracks long and spans over thirty minutes in length all together. We’re not sure if the glam has gone away but we’re pretty sure that elegant glam, glitter have gone and died somewhere, in the depths of the club’s catacomb. Though questions arise when it comes to descriptions—we’re intrigued by the sound if we could strip away the inane lyrics—but also the singing style. The whole internationally-styled delivery, often courtesy of Ed Banger Record’s entrance into French electronic music, have always been unbearable to listen to—as proven by Uffie‘s debut in the limelight with: “Pop The Glock“.

She does it way better when her chansons turn into semi-ballads with an emotional message, rather than the mindless and vain attempts to create a hybrid of melodic synth and generic post-punk. So when about half of the album have been listened through, songs like “Fade & Forget” enhance our understanding of her music. When she has the capability to create such an emotional barrage that is catchy but not too deep into pop-oriented templates, it’s intolerable to start everything over again and endure the first songs. After that song everything seems to have started over again and then—”The Spiral Dance” starts—changing everything again, to a melancholic ballad with its main focus on percussion—with lovely, but static synthesizer-pads that create a whole new atmosphere. The last song is the title-track “Glam is gone” which surprise us as she focuses more on a cold-wave singing style, a concrete and stern voice resounding. Matched with an equally as restricted atmosphere that is well-produced, but intriguing. Listen to “Glam is gone” down below and make up your own mind.

Spotlight [Compilation Special]: Not So Cold and White Circles [Part II]

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The newcomers from Eastern Europe called YusYus have proven themselves to be very efficient; both musically but also in other respects. Having released three singles since March of 2013—all of them have been dedicated to compilations. Their latest track “Proleter“, which is featured on the Not So Cold – A Warm Wave compilation, is adopted lyrically from Esad Babačić—front-man for a short-lived Yugoslavian punk-band called Via Ofensiva—that were active in the 1980’s. Re-modeled from post-punkish hardcore, but containing the same melodies sung by Esad, for the melodious run-around for the minimal synth outfit that represents YusYus. What’s most interesting is the gradual shift from the warmth of the synthesized baseline to the cold re-interpreted vocals. Combining electronic tenderness with a stale cold-wave suspension. Ambitiously crafted alongside the original influences, coming at you with a straight rhythm for a rocky appearance, chiseling out the prerequisite for a marvelous sculpture. Nothing is left for the coincidence—everything is carefully planned and staked out for their seemingly effortless implementation.

Having just released a second album, Italian post-punk, darkwave, shoegaze duo Schonwald pick and choose from a range of influences. Their contribution for the compilation is “Gemini“, a track originally featured on their double-single “Mercury / Gemini“, put out on 7¨-vinyl by the American label Hozac Records, in 2013. When it comes to their sound, thoughtfulness are their strongest key to combining these different genres. A hugely sounding bass-drum that pushes everything forward, together with suggestive vocals that solicit our inner feelings—using metaphors in their lyrics to provoke an emotional reaction. Most of it seems to be somewhere in between minimal synth and those sub-genres, but that doesn’t explain the multifaceted deliverance which their darkwave vein conjure in the atmosphere for them. This is from a time where they were in between having released a first album in 2008—experimental as hell—searching for a new sound. We think it was a good situation for them to be in, because this certainly stitch everything together, from beginning to end. Both for the individual track, but also in a larger perspective.

Now here’s a newcomer (at least for us) we forgot about, namely: Tiers. Actualized once again whilst searching for music to write about, as they had been put up digitally on Artificial Records some days ago—for their sophomore release “Winter“—which had been released a year ago from now, on vinyl. Their song “Vignette” is a new one featured on this compilation. What I like about Tiers is how their atonal sound makes for a harsh cold-induced venture into depths of a snow-ridden landscape—much like the title for their release. That’s also one of the reasons I don’t really like their sound, although the vocals are OK, some of their otherwise conceptually interesting sound shows itself to be sloppy. Most of it drifts away into nothingness without leaving you with any reflections on whether you’ve just been snowed in, or if what you heard had any bearing at all—leaving a mark? It starts off good but the more you get into it the more you want to get away from it. The repetitiveness doesn’t give or take anything from the atmosphere as such, nor’ does the instrumentation at any point—it just goes into a mish-mash of… what ever one could call it. We must give them appraisal for their ambitions, because the sloppiness isn’t derived out of them not trying anything at all and just going where they feel like—but rather for trying too hard. We get nowhere and we’re going to suffer from hypothermia if we stay here.

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Staying true to the concept—Hungarian artist Adam Berces have named his track “Hőhullám” (Heatwave). His own journey began with the compilation “A Classical Collection: 2006-2011” on the label Hard Body Sounds, in 2012. Two years later his album “Posztapokaliptikus Almanach” came out in two versions on SINCRONICA. Now he’s gracing us with a completely new song, where he goes ballistic on electronic body music fused with electro and minimal synth-pop. Though his vocals are enhanced and his robotic coolness shines throughout, it merely comes off as a cheap throw-down of 1980’s synth-pop versus a re-imagined minimalistic sound—allowing no ambivalent contrasts or synchronized, swell bombardments of imaginative sounds. No, this is a primitive ravishment that leaves little to your own imagination. Be it for better or worse, things can’t get more straight-forward than this. So the negative annotations to what we feel his musical achievement delivers with this track, can be turned upside down and be used as positive remarks. It depends whether you like it this way or not, and we must admit that we like it when there’s a transcendental feeling, an enchanting vision that cannot be grasped. Another thing which saves him a little bit is the general catchiness he manages to pull off between dark layers of electro, with the minimalistic drums and triggered sounds that come crashing in.

The flagship from Tacuara Records are now entering the mix. Yes, we’re talking about Vólkova—a project that is pleasurable to be introduced to for the first time. César Canali who runs the label is a part of this duo together with Paula Lazzarino. With their song for this compilation, “Come and See“—we’re flabbergasted immediately. It’s a completely new song and it alludes to the general purpose of their project, a melancholic vibe which is blended with ambient music and a film noir touch, occasional flirts with deranged noise and on bordering from darkwave into industrial for moments—quickly replaced with a piano and the continual mesmerizing beat—suddenly entering a breakbeat outbreak which flips the atmosphere entirely.  We must say that it’s one of the more interesting songs on this release so far, unfortunately some of the atmospheric and sullen sound-scape is ruined by the accentuation in the vocals. An exotic touch at first which actually blends into everything else very well, like a subversive message being uttered now and again—but it falls short in its repetitious nagging. Whenever nothing too chaotic is happening it fits, but the further in you get the more tired you are of hearing broken English and his willful dialect. Despite that—we’re more then pleased about their contribution.

Songs from “White Circle Compilation” will also be included into this article, you’ll just have to wait until it’s updated.

[1st] December: Xiu – Law Of Light

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Winding down, coming home and changing around to accommodate ourselves to the reality we left for another — is not an easy task. We’ve just headed for a vacation and here we are, strong-armed by the world we left a couple of days ago. Time flies by so quickly, so we’ve just calmed down before there was a storm heading for us — a metaphorical one. Now when everything is moving back to what it was before we left it, we have something exciting to announce for everyone reading this blog-zine. You will not believe your eyes, nor’ your ears.

We’ve been working on a project in secrecy. Today is the day when we reveal what’s to come and what you’ll never want to hear, anyway. This project started some months ago and they were only going baby-steps, if anywhere, forward. It all began when I asked Xiu if she wanted to participate and lend an exclusive track for this purpose. She did so and asked if we could not include more people who would be featured in the project to come – so we said: “sure, why not?“. This resulted in the project being even larger then we could have ever anticipated. It grew from one to a number I won’t reveal right now, that will be revealed once the project is over. One of the corner-stones is that it is a non-commercial collection – not really a compilation to be released — but rather a “project” collecting fragments of what Repartiseraren is, and what is preferred around here. I put an emphasis on “non-commercial” and “collection“, just so there will not be any confusion with what it really is and what it is meant to represent.

It was really easy for the artists and groups that are featured on this non-commercial collection — to realize what they should and should not contribute with. Either an exclusive unreleased and newly composed song — or an already composed (but unreleased) track — for the sole purpose of being collected. What can be said, other then “we’re really overwhelmed by the response“? Nothing other than that. We would like to thank everyone that were and still is involved, because without you — this would not even have been possible to begin with. You’ve put your sweat and craftsmanship into it and you can tell by the way it sounds, no matter what genre you’ve set yourself up for.

So let’s get to the point. Since Oksana Rodinova (Xiu) was kind enough to give us ideas which helped the project further, she’s the one who starts this project off with a bang. We’ve gotten our hands on the track “Law Of Light” which is exclusive for this project. We think it displays how she’s evolved and how she can stop in evolution just to give another side of what Xiu is about, another insight — if you will. A suggestive and dark, but transparent song which deals with a certain topic in so many ways possible, within the realms of minimal synth and cold-wave — combined. Before you go ahead and listen to it, we’re also able to present a music-video for your viewing and listening pleasure. You can watch it above. So do that first and then read the first poem when you’ve opened the first window in this calendar:

Take me into the light,
let me be your plight
Lead me to your law,
so that I can withdraw

This is 1st of December and now the story begins. Tomorrow a new track will be released and the story will be continued. But until then, enjoy the exclusive song “Law Of Light” and the music-video for it, on Repartiseraren.

Listen: Equinoxious – Singles

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For some time now Equinoxious have been releasing single after single – finally compiling everything into a triple-single. It’s been a while since his E.P. “Astros Prometidos” was released, a year ago. Then it was re-released on the Valencian label SINCRONICA in April this year. But then singles showed up roughly two months ago, hinting that his forthcoming album “Cosmódromo” was due to be released, on the aforementioned label. These three singles are titled “Astrónomo Insumiso“, “Cosmódromo (ft. Kriistal Ann)“, and “Σ“. I haven’t really been following this Mexican artist more then when one of his tracks were featured on a compilation not too long ago. That seems to have been a greater mistake then what I ever could have anticipated. His music is really something which connects the otherwise blurry dots between minimal synth and synth-pop. Often times the minimalism takes a greater toll on the sound then it should, in my opinion. It becomes bleaker then intended and carries nothing much of weigth. Equinoxious manage to find a balance in the contrast between minimalism and the otherwise glamorous synth-pop sound – by relying on catchy, primitive and repetetive beats – intermixed with a clever and complex rhythmic pattern that have the ability to change – rapidly.

Another thing which hasn’t gone unnoticed is how many within minimal synth, cold wave, darkwave and other similar sub-genres collaborate more then usual. Just see how Paradox Obscur’s own Kriistal Ann is featured on one of the single-tracks featured both in this foretaste and also in the forthcoming album by Equinoxious. You don’t have to go far when you’d want to see a collaboration, just check earlier releases by other artists in nearby genres; Roladex and ((PRESSURES)), Xiu and Cold Colors, Larissa Iceglass from Lebanon Hanover on the forthcoming Selofan-release, and many more. It doesn’t just have to be split-releases but it can also be collaborations. I hope to see even more of that in the future, to say the least many of them have been surprising and others not as surprising. So now when SINCRONICA will be releasing Equinoxious new album, you’ll unfortunately have to wait until 2015 for the end result. I hope there’ll be more collaborations on the release instead of just one, but I can right now only hope for that to show up next year. I suggest that when you’re patiently waiting, stream the “Singles” down below.