Listen: Grand Mal x – Darkness

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Harrowing, eclectic dance music for those who appreciate the esoteric. Grand Mal x surprise us with another release, in companionship with Michael Idehall whose music can be related in one way or another to this project musically, but they deal with the concepts differently. What is most enjoyable when listening to “Darkness” is the complex synthesizers that pin angelic towards demonic – sin against the good – a constant battle between what is right and what is wrong.

Stjärndamm” is our favorite song on this release, with a purposeful barrage of basedrums that hammer into your consciousness, the dreariness of the atmosphere consumes you as it progresses – or regresses. There are some beautiful chords laden from the synthesizer as well, together with second long samplings that pierce through the malevolence of it all – though the concept of it seems beautiful when you utter the title, but the music itself suggests something different.

A thoroughly complacent album, a deep insight to everything that shaped and formed Grand Mal x from before – concentrated into a roller-coaster of emotions, messages and sublimity. There are facets you don’t recognize once you hear it the first time, as in “Black Book” which was co-written with Mattias Ivarsson, a very different song that detaches from the release as a whole, but knits it finely together with “A Star For Everyone” – a song also featured on our own compilation “Volume 2 – It Will Never Be The Same“.

Buy the CD from the Ant-Zen mailorder, or purchase the digital release below while you’re streaming the release anyway.

Exclusive Premiere: Knifesex – Living Flame

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Finally, Vanessa Irena of Knifesex – as she calls her solo-project – is getting a proper debut-release via 3t3rnal Records on the 17th of November. Repartiseraren have gotten the exclusive opportunity to premiere a full track from her album “Babalon“. According to herself the inspiration for this release have come through an appreciation of the occult, a dedication to the apocalyptic. The ritualistic nature of her music is expanded upon in this release, for those of you who’ve heard “Blood From Stone” from the first compilation on Repartiseraren will not be disappointed – it is more of the same and even furthers the experimental, but ambitious electronic sound.

There is no secret either that she draws these inspirations together within a feminist approach. The album consists of seven songs and we’re going to give you “Living Flame” to listen to, a week before the release-date. You will be able to purchase the album digitally through 3t3rnal Records on the 17th of November. Listen to the exclusive song down below.

Review: Keep – For Your Joy

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With strange but charming aesthetics to a degree, Virginian duo Keep made an effort and released their debut full-length album now in June. Finding them wasn’t difficult, they’ve been featured on VICE before, and their sound is something that sticks out in many ways. We decided to do a track-by-track review of this release, titled “For Your Joy“. It clocks in at around 41 minutes total.

YHB” is the introductory to this album, a sullen gothically sounding track which suddenly bounce into alternative territories. It has that slow, decimating feeling and nicely crafted harmonics, together with afflicted vocals. At one point it almost lends itself in whole to a sludge-rock, doomy kind of sound – making the atmosphere bigger and more psychedelic the further in you get. The drumming goes from the steady rhythm into a frenzy and then back again as if nothing had happened. It is a downbeat experience throughout but pack a relentless upbeat punch if needed.

Their sound feel like something unique but at the same time pays homage to their influences. It’s weird to realize that it is a duo, because their sound is much greater then just that. “Temporal Drift” pick up and switch into post-punk and goth directly, there’s no time for the lull and slowness of the first song, and here they clearly make use of the beauty in their simple melodies – alluding to the core in their songmaking. When the quick, bleak riffs come and go – they break through in the chorus, blooming into a special kind of song – together with the vocals.

As they drift farther away with their rhythm and melody, they still attain a charismatic sound. The seriousness in their lyrical content shape the soundscape and even though it derives out of the simplicity in short – but emotional vocals – they’re outdrawn and carry one with the atmosphere and the totality of the sound itself. An absolute joyride in terms of uncanny craftsmanship in music. I’m stunned after hearing this song.

Welcome To” is jumpstarted by “Temporal Drift” as it faded out. What is even more clear in this song is how the baseline and the individual items in the drumset make way for a sinister apocalypse – in the manner of heavily distorted guitars – which take the song to a definitive crescendo. Even if there is only one chorus, it feels like it has multiplied and represents the mix of two songs in one, a harsher part and a gloomier more softer sound that give away another side of them. From here it just gets better, with “Response” – that go from a promising introductory to a complete anthem in just a few seconds. The glaring noise of the synthesizer and more electronically-based soundscape masquerade, adding a theatrical feel and an even bigger sound.

Being the shortest song on the album, one wants it to go on forever. It feels like it could easily turn into something completely ambient, but as it is torn apart by the instrumentation, it hides away what lurks around the corner, taking the listener by surprise as it carries on. When hearing “In Perfect Order“, it just feels like one has found the perfect blend of shoegazy vocals and atmosphere, in a post-punk setting with that ingenuity that helps it be anything but confined within those genres. The vocals are chanted more, giving it a whole other vibe in general. The playfulness they display is obvious in this song – it sounds more like a session turned onto its head and into a very well made final product.

WithEarthly Desired” I am reminded by how RA sounds and how their nordic noir sound is something that stand out on its own. Keep have got that kind of touch in their vocals, especially, in this song. This is as emotional as it can gets and the lyrics stand out on their own here, the ingenious dark melodies are churned out with total attitude. So far, this is one of my favorite songs on the whole release. Damn, these guys really know how to make music and one is still flabbergasted by the fact that it is a duo.

As Testament” goes off, the more slower side of things return. Here’s the anti-thesis of the last couple of songs. A downer and a shapeshifter, at least. One suddenly feel the urge to bob head side to side. Everything’s so concentrated, the twang in the baseline and the precision of the drumming, the plagued vocals. When you think it is going to sound absolutely the same all the way through, they step their game up and slam on the drums and create a rambunctious setting where nothing is sacred. From this to “My Love” which almost sound industrial to begin with, as they carry on with a distorted basedrum. The vocals being as distorted as they are in some of the parts of the song adds a little rock’n’roll in the middle of everything.

The attention to detail in the atmosphere is remarkable. Everything has been thought out but at the same time, volatile. From this complete predestined setting to an even more industrially sounding track, “Man Made it“, completed with the pure delight of gothically sounding post-punk. This is the good variant of it. Noteable about it is how the lyrics, especially this passage: “Feet don’t touch the ground, ear don’t like the sound“, pass right through and make you feel it by the singer’s emphasis. The reverberated sound of the riffs together with the dark, pounding baseline give the rhythm a whole other dimension – a more sinister one. This song is mysterious, callous in a way – but realistic.

Lastly, “7 Days” is a pure ballad. Not in the traditional sense, but in the sense of how Keep wants it. With it you have more time as a listener to focus on the vocalist and the lyrics. The riffs are absolutely on point in this song – making it one of the more beautiful ones on this release as a whole. Their lyrics are absolutely phenomenal on this song, when combined. It is sad to have listened for this long and then hear how it slowly fades out into nothingness. I’d like to thank Keep for delivering such a solid record, one of my favorites of 2017 so far. Thank you.

Check out their earlier releases first, but if you want to you can start as we did, with their latest one: “For Your Joy“. You can listen to it in whole down below.

Some questions for Xiu!

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Xiu is the Russian-born Estonian, but now Milan-based minimal synth artist, whose real name is Oksana Rodinova. Whilst harkening to her dark landscapes and magnificent voice, it gives you a palette of emotions to experience. Hearing her luminescent voice clash within a dark sound-scape of minimalism, is probably one of the most enjoyable things to hear. Since she started her solo-project back in 2010, with the self-released “Dancing Voodoo“, she’s been gaining momentum. Appearing on the German visionary label aufnahme + wiedergabe in 2012, with the self-titled cassette “Xiu“, which sold out very fast. To her collaboration with the interesting act Cold Colors, and their joint release “Loneliness“, where she lent her voice to four unimaginably solid tracks, in 2013. A little bit earlier, she also released the cassette “Possessions” on the increasingly larger (Swedish) Beläten etiquette. Since she’s been interviewed by different outlets, I decided to ask her a bunch of new questions. Mostly about the coming release, but also what her music means to herself, rather than the audience. Therefore, this will be a short Q&A-like “interview”, if you’d like. Hope you enjoy it.

Right now, you’re occupied in making your own debut-album become a reality. You’re also busy filming your first music-video for that particular release. What label have you teamed up with and where does the story begin?

– I would keep the label name in the secret for now.

Since you’ve released a lot of different songs here and there, how does it feel to work with your first “real” release?

– I don’t feel any difference. I mean, its always my own produced songs, it’s just a next step that comes naturally after two EP tapes, different compilations and collaborations.

You’ve also got two demo-tracks which you put up on your own bandcamp. Are these coming to good use in your forthcoming release?

– Well, yes. These tracks will be released but not on the LP. it will be as bonus tracks + some others on forthcoming CD release. Russian label Other Voices Records will release my two tapes (s/t by aufnahme and Possesion by Belaten) and bonus tracks this fall.

Is this album going to be any different from your earlier material in any way? What kind of theme will it have?

– It will be a kind of different but in the same time it will always be an analogue sound. I keep using the same gear that I used before, including some new synths and effects. I can say that debut LP will be more mature and confident.

Your latest release was together with Cold Colors, which was a  collaboration between the two of you. How did it came to be and what could you say about the making of “Loneliness”?

– This might sound weird, but I’ve never met Fred (Cold Colors) in real life. All our collaboration have been “online” through chat on Facebook and Skype. I’m very happy about this work, I’m really in love with that what Fred is doing. Nobody before this have produced music especially for my voice, specifically for me.

What do you think about aufnahme + wiedergabe and Beläten? Since you’ve released stuff on both those labels, how did that came to be in the first place, since your first release “Dancing Voodoo”?

– I tenderly love both labels! I’m proud to be their artist and thankful, especially because I was taking my first steps into the musical “scene” and they’re helped me a lot. Working with them was very enjoyable.

There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding you, and have been since you began to be noticed, it seems. What kind of response have  you gotten through the years?

– Really? I haven’t noticed any hype. I started to produce music two years ago, and less than year ago my debut tape came out, so I don’t think it’s time to speak about any “hype”. Everything have been flowing smoothly.

You’re also going to be featured on a split together with Spatial Relation, which is coming out pretty soon. What can you tell us about this?

– It will be a new song I produced specifically for this release. It will be coming out in September on Peripheral Minimal Records, I’m very excited about it and can’t wait, really! It will be the first Xiu 7” vinyl release.

How would you describe your own music?

– Looking for harmony inside of yourself.

When it comes to the general aesthetics of your own albums, they seem to revolve around yourself. Is there any thought behind – and if there is – then why is that so?

– Do you mean the visual part? Well, that might be because my music is autobiographical. I don’t speak about global problems, politic things, social troubles. I don’t want to change or save a planet, I try to save and understand myself, in my own world. I’m interested in creating something beautiful, fragile, delicate, something about feelings, sensations, sensuality.

Alright, seems like the time’s up. What kind of artists/groups/bands would you recommend here in the end and when will your full-length be out?

– I highly recommend you to pay attention to the small new label based in Italy named Minimal Trend Records. They’re soon releasing their first album on vinyl, a compilation with only Milan-based contemporary electronic artists. So, stay tuned!

Also, the one-woman-project Froe Char going to release her 3rd album, she’s awesome. Again, an Italian project which is unfairly underrated is Spettro Family. They’re soon going to release a new  album. As well, records from Beläten and aufnahme + wiedergabe are always brilliant. Don’t miss out on new releases!

You can find Xiu over at Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube. Do also check out her music-video for the track “Possessions” from the Beläten-release. You can also play two demo-tracks from her bandcamp down below. Her much anticipated full-length album will be released in the beginning of 2014. Do also listen to her latest remix of TSTI’s track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“.

Spotlight: Kid Moxie – The Bailor

Hello there, I’m back again. Once more there’s been a line that had to be fixed. Communications are up again and Spotlight is re-instated. Well, this time around Kid Moxie gets a light shone upon her. The moniker of Greek-born musician and actress Elena Charbila. She currently resides in Los Angeles, and is on the way of creating her her forthcoming full-length album. The people involved with this include Angelo Badalamenti (David Lynch’s composer) and The Gaslamp Killer, as this will be a collaboration of some sort, with those musicians. However, let’s get back to the song at hand. It’s “The Bailor“, which is a sweet sensation of downtempo electronica fused with the attrition between that and pop elements. It might not be what I’d normally listen to, but it’s got some hints of everything that spreads around. A bit of sensuality is also involved, but with utmost sincerity. Falling of the edges of the box we’re sitting on, but sometimes aiming on breaking free from the chains that confine the sound. Interestingly enough, the anglicized piece of musical landscape instills a sense of absolute sorrowful beauty. I could totally imagine falling into this, listening to it while heading through the night on a bike – somewhere far, but still close, to civilization. Check out the music-video above, or indulge yourself with the track, down below.

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