Premiere: Machine-Age – Episode 2 – Zarkoff

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This is the first international episode of Maskinåldern. For this episode it is called Machine-Age. Time for everyone who speaks English, to listen. Episode number two of this podcast-series contains a longer interview with the Croatian-born producer Saša Rajković – also known as Zarkoff. He’s been having a surge in the international scene with releases together with Popsimonova, but also under his own alter-ego. Besides that, he’s part of a group called Florence Foster Fanclub together with his friend Jasmin Yas – whose new endeavor just happens to be called Honored Matres – which Zarkoff had a split-release called “Pannonia Noir” with, released on Kraftjerkz Records just recently.

Whilst it stands clear that he’s got a lot of passion for music, he’s had a long road to even get there in the first place. Some things you may not know about him that you’ll get to know more about here. From having a working-class job to being a promoter, live-performer, studio engineer and basically an artist. One of his most alluring releases to date under his own moniker Zarkoff, have been the “Die Brücke” album that was released on J.A.M. Traxx not too long ago. An album that captures the historical significance of his collaborative effort together with Popsimonova, but also where he’s heading in the future.

The most significant thing he’s been imprinting with his vocals (and work) recently has been with the super-group Sumerian Fleet, together with Mr. Pauli and Alden Tyrell. This year they released the much acclaimed album “Just Pressure” on Dark Entries Records – a much revered San Fransisco label. Besides that, Zarkoff have mastered Legowelt’s latest “Crystal Cult 2080“, becoming more and more involved with the label Créme Organization, mastering and helping with different releases both for that label and the sub-label R-Zone. Now it’s time for him to tell his story and you get almost an hour long interview together with exclusive unreleased material, from demos to a session recorded with Sumerian Fleet in 2013.

Welcome to Episode number two.

Tracklist:

1. UZS – Izgled
2. Le Chocolat Noir – Pasto Nudo (Borgesia cover)
3. Kali Jugend – New Body Beat (Demo) (Unreleased)
4. Kali Jugend – Vapor (Demo) (Unreleased)
5. Synth Lab Recording 7 (Unreleased)
6. Dan White – S I Tape
7. Tony Blood – World Of Blood (Tony’s World Mix)
8. UZS – Emisije u zrak (demonstracija)
9. Hawaiian Surfer – Big Wednesday
10. Synth Lab Recording 4 (Unreleased)
11. Zarkoff – I should leave (Demo) (Unreleased)
12. Session 2013 – Den Haag – Sumerian Fleet (Unreleased)

Listen: Cute Heels – Spiritual

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Formerly living in Colombia, now being a neo-Berliner, Cute Heels – will let you into a realm of his own. From Bogota to Berlin, from the 1990s punk-scene to the newly shaped and harnessed, 2000s cybernetic electro-musician. Releasing a digital album on Black Montanas, called “Love And Hate” in 2011. To his rather newly put out digital stream of “Silence” – a totally new album being released on Dark Entries Records on the 15h of April. His perfect match with electronic body music takes it into a whole new era, with the catchy retro sound of yesteryear, molded into a completely rhythmic gargantuan, in electro-setting. Whilst having dealt with his track from the “Untitled” release on Gooiland Elektro & Enfant Terrible, it’s clear that his brand of weirdly matched borderline electronica is attached to a rather lively and successful development, which has been evolving since his first release. Cute Heels deal with the futurism in a not so futuristic way, more like in a here-and-now kind of way – probably crushing the dream of an unknown destiny into the new era. Not in the now nostalgic onward-looking and rather dreamy vision of the 1950’s, but rather a cold and harsh one – a world in which the future isn’t that optimistic, a way of life in total Silence. Stream the whole digital release from Dark Entries Records. Victor Lenis is his name, so you’d better own up to the fact that he’s your overlord by now. Forget everything you’ve dreamed of, slide into his neo-futuristic vision that do include a dreary landscape, but also rather melodious atmospheres. The name itself will not explain what you’re about to experience. This is how it feels like when being crushed under a stiletto heel.

Exclusive Interview with REDREDRED!

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Michael Wood. The name might not enlighten you that much, but he’s the man behind the solo-project REDREDRED that garnered a lot of success through the label Function Operate. A widely appreciated artist that has been a rising star since they decided to completely disappear. After that event, he got on the roster of Dark Entries Records, whom is currently in the process of mastering – and then re-releasing his first release – on vinyl. Featuring it with tracks not heard before that he had in his repertoire, making his first move from “Pattern Completion” on cassette, to vinyl. Michael has since his rise towards the stars been interesting to me, with the warmth of his analogue electronics, his electronic body music approach and new beat-outfit blended together with general electronica – would make anyone whom like these genres, respect his ingenuity. I’ve interviewed him via mail, asking him about his first release, the deal with Function Operate, his future release, philosophy, individual tracks and much more. As I was going to post this interview, Michael said he would create a track for this occasion. So I waited until it was complete, and it was overwhelming to realize that he made that track just for this. Listen to it yourselves, the track is named “Dialog” and does in many ways represent the time which he spent being interviewed by me. Enjoy this.

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Exclusive Premiere: Joy Before The Storm – Quiet Past (Re-Mastered)

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The year is 1985. A year, and specifically a decade, where synth-pop and minimal synth are thriving – all over the world. Making it a quite pleasant decade for those whom indulged themselves with music from these genres. I’m keen to mention the US as one of the more underrated bastions, delivering solid acts like Near Paris, and their one and only EP titled “Visions” that was released on Imperial Records in 1985. This group got revived through Medical Records, who in 2013 released a limited edition, self-titled LP that included never before heard tracks. A compilation, if you will. I’m primarily talking about Near Paris as an exquisite and rare exception to the more popular groups and solo-project around this time, because it’s relevant to what I’m about to bring you. But it’s also relevant in a world where re-issues and re-releases seem to be popping up here and there, like mushrooms through the ground. As I mentioned, Medical Records is simply one bastion, in a fragmented world where these record labels serve as a beacon – and perhaps also a guide to how you’re supposed to do it – when re-releasing and re-issuing records. Especially if we mention those rare gems of the past, which people haven’t really heard about until they pop up on these labels. Dark Entries Records is another one of those beacons, mostly catering to your more experimental and dark needs, as they’ve recently pumped out Lassigue Bendthaus, Crash Course In Science and Psyche – the latter being one of the more melodic exemptions.

But there are more labels out there who do these kinds of things, from every genre that you can think of, to every genre you’d never think of. Bunkerpop is one of those more unknown labels that have up until now re-released the Coïtus Int. gem from 1982, “Dead Excitement E.P.“, which I reviewed over here. They also gave the same treatment to Null and Void, putting out material by them which was recorded in 1980-1982, under the guise of “Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)“. Unfortunately, Bunkerpop seem to have taken a minor hiatus since then, but they might be coming back very soon – you can always speculate. Another re-issue label that I wanted to mention is Domestica, which is one of those labels that release a lot of interesting, and different stuff from the past. This Barcelonian mammoth that seem to be steaming onwards like never before, have just recently re-released Son Of SamThe Collapse Of Ancient Funk (1984-85 A.D.).” – under the name of “The Collapse Of Ancient Funk (Vol​.​1)“, Little Nemo and their “Past And Future“-album, but also the Barcelonian synth-group Terminal, with their album “La Vida Es Como Un Gel”. There are many more labels that could’ve been included, but I’d like to mention them a little off-hand over here, instead: Emotional Rescue, Anna Logue Records, Infrastition Records, Avant! Records (both new and old), and many – many more. But these record labels are basically those that I’ve appreciated the most.

Well, we should continue. What we’re about to give you is an exclusive track from a forthcoming re-issue of the album “Silence Ever After” by Joy Before The Storm. This album was originally written, recorded and mixed in 1984 at High Noon Studios. Spanning in between dark wave and synth-pop, delivering both the cheesyness that I so adore, but also the seriousness and complexity that a lot of these crossover acts had, especially those that were rare – as is the case with Joy Before The Storm. Together with the independent record (and re-issue) label Atemporal Records, we’re prepared to give you the track “Quiet Past” from this album. This track is a re-mastered version of the original, and is featured on “Silence Ever After“, the re-issue that is going to be the fifth release on this record label, and that is going to be released in the very near future. You can stream this track down below and check out Atemporal Records, for more information. Joy Before The Storm was Matthew Anderson, Kevin Kaulson and Dan McKay.

Label: Atemporal Records – Cat#: AT-005 – Artist: Joy Before The Storm

Exclusive Song: Quiet Past (Re-Mastered) – Title: Silence Ever After (RE, RM) – Format: Limited Edition 12¨ LP (320 copies)

Stream: Group Rhoda – 12th House

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I know that it has already been streamed before, countless times. But it’s time for me to admit that I began to have a liking for Group Rhoda, even though I’ve only heard “12th House“, so far. I found out about Mara Barenbaum through Max and Mara, the interesting co-operation between her and Max Brotman – that is due to come out this month on Dark Entries Records. Even though I’ve already written about Max and Mara, I wanted to take a listen to “12th House”, which is the latest album by Group Rhoda – a solo-project courtesy of Mara Barenbaum. It’s also her second album, as “Out Of Time – Out Of Touch” was the first release under this alterego, put out by the label Night School in 2012. These intriguing melodies that spring from what is a 8-tracked album became too overwhelming. Accompany that with a sullen voice, partaking in the melodic and more anthemic rhythms – made into a potpurri of genres. I must say that I’m more fond of the darker tones in the B-side of this album then anything, but I’m happily seduced by the subliminal rhythmic tantrum that is being sparked throughout these songs. By far, the song “Dust” have me entangled in a psychotic synthesized tango, which I recant for myself as I bob my head to the wonderful elements of the song. I’m not sure about you, but I feel like Group Rhoda is a more subliminally militant dose of synthesizer delight than I could’ve ever imagined. Some aspects of Group Rhoda actually remind me of Tredje Mannen, a synth-pop group that existed in Sweden from 1982-1988. A video can be found below.

The name itself, could mean everything from “a group of roses” – to a minor character in the New Testament, a biblical figure, a servant in the house of Mary. But I’m not the one to speculate, and frankly, I couldn’t give a toss about it. Or maybe I could, because I keep thinking to myself what it could mean. As I make up analogies in my head, as the music paint picturesque and overtly nostalgic images in my head. Anyway, I suggest that you take a listen to it, because it might be one of the greatest albums of this year. I’m not simply saying that because I have to, but because I became seduced once I listened to it. If I can find at least one, two or three favorite tracks on an album – it becomes a clear contender. I don’t want to like everything about it, I simply want to be seduced by something in it. By the way, the wonderful cover was created by Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough. Now you can stream it down below and make up your mind, or get a copy digitally, as well as physically – from Not Not Fun Records.

Could it be Max and Mara?

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Swing your minimal hands to this shit. No, we’re not shitting you. Max and Mara is a duo made up by Max from such acts as Brotman and Short, or the solo-project of his own – Business Etiquette. Mara, on the other hand, is known for her solo work under the alterego of Group Rhoda. No wonder, these people seem to spring out of the ground like mushroom. I’m not talking about people this time, because I’m talking about those that seem to have bought into this whole minimal wave thing. Needless to say, I’ve known absolutely nothing about Max and Mara and I’ve been such a delusional fool. This is your ultimate mix of acidic techno vibes, minimal synth shenanigans and intravenous synthesizer symphonies. I see myself bobbing my head back and forth as I listen to their latest track “Unseen“, which is one of those tracks that simply grow on you. If you peek in from the outside, the track doesn’t seem to be much at first, but after a while – you realize how complex it actually is, from the ground and up. Their first track that was put up, namely; “Hands” – is more of a psychedelic, or rather enigmatic experience, which is to say the least – superior when it comes to the atmosphere as such. Even more minimalistic, but it pertains the mood that seems to dwell within each track. Even though I’m sorry to say this, I haven’t been able to get more out of this than what was possible. But you can gladly stream both tracks from here, as if you couldn’t do it from their Soundcloud alone. You can now pre-order their forthcoming debut-album “Less Ness“, from Dark Entries Records.