Review: Identity Theft – Reconnaissance

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Some things change while other things remain the same. The developmental process of Identity Theft have taken some time to get used to, but on his latest endeavor he doesn’t have any qualms with getting rid of the chains of the past – embracing the future and what it holds for him and his project.

Identity Theft is the solo-project of Michael Buchanan, spanning multiple years of experience in other projects and with electronic music in general, and he was kind enough to send me the physical edition of his fifth proper solo-album, which was released in November of 2017 by Treue Um Treue.

With the assistance of Mara Barenbaum (of Group Rhoda / Max + Mara) on three tracks, plus one remix by Arktaion of one of the tracks on this release, this can be considered to be a project mounted by himself, only utilizing the experience of others to enhance it further. I’m thankful that he sent me this physical release for me to share with you, my thoughts on the release in full, a track-by-track in-depth review that has taken a longer time to finish then originally intended.

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The aesthetic aspect of Reconnaissance

When I view the cover from afar, it seems so distant aesthetically that I just want to get a magnifying glass to see what it is that is revealed on the dark exterior of the cover. It is almost an 1980’s-esque vibe that it brings in terms of color, even though it is a more darker and less screechy one that is otherwise found in movies from that era.

There is a certain distance from itself, it is remote and it fits the theme of the process in which the album itself was written – three days of complete isolation from civilization. Even though at first glance the cover might not be something special, it conveys an eerie meaning that in my opinion goes lost within the urbanized centers of the city – there’s something else then you out there, something bigger and more meaningful, something that should be preserved.

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 The musical aspect of Reconnaissance

If you’ve listened to any of Mara Barenbaum’s music, especially Group Rhoda, it becomes clear that their style of music mix very well with Identity Theft’s, the introductory in “Reconnaissance Peak” which is the first song – is at the same time as it is sincere, very forthright about its existence – proclaiming proudly that “I am here, we’re in the moment, but we’re a presence to be reckoned with“. Additional rhythms are perfectly timed and blend in to the general atmosphere, which is forever changing.

Once you let it slip, it will seep out through the rest of the components that build up the songs, from a more hands-on approach to music making into a thoughtful display of ambitiously layered synthesizers that take off into nothingness. You feel so small when you listen to this, it is so graciously laden that once it slips through the cracks of your pathetic being – you just want to hear more of it, playing it over and over again.

Eagle’s Peak” is almost double in length, and has a more subtle tone to it. Even though it can be felt to be much of the same, just in a different pace, it is even more serene and sincere as it plays on the simple notes that go from barely noticeable to a resounding plethora of different synthesizers layered perfectly upon one another – a click away from generating a monstrosity – you feel as if it is about to leap straight into you.

Some of it is too angelic to even fit in, being taken out throughout the back-door by the more sinister themed atmospheres that lurk nearby. Once you feel at ease you get caught off-guard by a sudden blast of noise, it is meant to be enjoyed but it is difficult to be completely on your guard as it is not a song that is foreseeable – you cannot simply categorize it and be aware of all the elements, it is not such a song that leaves you with no lasting impression – it grasps you gently and takes you into it.

It symbolizes perfectly the name it was given, “Eagle’s Peak” is a summary of what you could expect, but you will not know before you enter.

Last Chance Creek” is on the other hand something completely different in terms of atmosphere, it is much more urgent in tone and you get thrown into the mixture directly by the loud base-drum, the soothing percussion and the grandiose synthesizers that blend it into perfect synthesizer-based music that would be a fitting beginning of a movie or the end of the same.

It is by far the most beautiful song on the album yet, and there are many contenders for that throne – but here’s where the king enters and the queen become one. A futuristic blip on a radar that shouldn’t be ignored, an unfathomably great conversion of straight-forward electronic music and the ambiance which is so often ignored – Identity Theft manages to keep control of everything and never slip up.

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My Sentence” is more of an intermission, a placeholder-song that is not bad but it is not equally as great as the other tracks I’ve listened to. There is a place for these kinds of songs on albums, so even though the judgment is quick to come, there’s a certain quirkiness to the sound that can’t be missed out on. You can’t really add much more to the description of this song, it is there but it does not evoke anything, it pumps you up for another song.

Blood Moon” is the next song, it evokes a feeling of hope and that you’re about to be redeemed. There is an underlying sense of belonging, you feel like you’re a part of the atmosphere as you childishly gaze upon the stars and point your finger as to were you’d want to go – the different emotions that are involved range from those described, to some kind of sorrow – that you at the moment don’t have anything of that.

You’re desperate to find a place, but this calms your nerves and make you forget about it for a moment or two, maybe some kind of nostalgic memory is invoked as you travel into the electronic realm, a progressive dream that becomes more and more of a real, tangible kind of matter that you can actually grasp physically and mentally. An ode to the moon, the one that can affect our moods.

What’s coming next is about to stun me, make me fall off my high horses and into the arms of you – whoever is the next to be embraced, to enter my life. The stunningly creative way of making an even more emotionally touching song is just the sheer brilliance of Michael Buchanan, simply marvelous as “Misanthropocene” goes from the meager time it has to be played – into an extended form of electronically charged synthesizer-bliss of a landscape of sound, covering all bases.

How can the sound be so bold? Yet so refreshing, calm and sensitive? There’s a warmth to it but a stone cold outlook in atmosphere of sound, as you float on by, passing your own self by without any reflection – you’re taken aback by the sound as it drives you on, as the motivation of doing rather then listening becomes painfully obvious. At the same time you want to sit still, you want to experience and move with the sound.

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The Unreliable Narrator” is a more unhinged song that move to the left and the right, from the center and to the top, everywhere but within a controlled manner like the last song. Just like the title suggests, it is a more chaotic song with a gloomy mood that fits perfectly between the casual intermission delivered in “My Sentence” and “Blood Moon“.

Though much more repetitive then other songs on this album, there is some kind of progression that can be felt throughout the whole song, the rhythm isn’t that much of an interesting thing – but it hearkens back to older days of Identity Theft – which is reminiscent of some of his first material.

Soft Alibi” is the next one, one of the more experimentally oriented songs on the album so far, clashing between the normal kind of bombastic maximality that virtually all of the songs so far have been attached to, into a monotonous but minimalistic experience that is only alluding to bombastic vibes through the rhythm – which is unusual if you’re trying to create an atmosphere on it alone.

The rhythm is what makes the song enjoyable on itself, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the same infective nature as the more grandiose songs he’s been churning out after one another earlier on the album.

I don’t know what to make of “Lost Frontier“, whether to see it as a genial move away from the more obvious tracks on the album itself, but the baseline packs a real punch and is what drives everything forward in the song itself – after a while it flips out into something out of the ordinary, which is what one can appreciate when listening to this kind of music – the controlled inventiveness of the past songs – and the chaotic nature of the shorter songs.

It latches on well to the next song “Leave No Trace“, which spins from virtually a stale and non-atmospheric mess into a solid, emotive gargantuan that is just waiting to devour you as a whole – the roundness of the synthesizers become more clear the more it develops, as the more sharp nature of the sound in the beginning fades into a whirlwind of magnificent electronica.

The last song, “Prosopagnosia” is not only an outro, it hopefully shows the way to what can be expected from future releases. It is a well-needed break from the more experimental vibes that were delivered in the latter part of the album, it is a firm and shakable landscape of sound that is predictable in its nature but never lets you down. You know what you are getting and you can expect what is around the corner, but it leaves much to be fantasized about.

I don’t consider the remix itself to be the last song, but we’re taking it last as it is a track-by-track review which goes from point A to point B. “Last Chance Creek (Arktaion Remix)” adds a rougher edge to “Last Chance Creek” which couldn’t be felt there, it hypnotizes in a whole different manner then what the original song did, it is crashed into different pieces making it sound like a crossover between the electronica of Identity Theft, spliced into the erratic mood of IDM music.

It is not a bad remix actually, but it makes you wonder what kind of remixes could be done on the other tracks? Maybe there should be a release which features some of the tracks remixed by different artists, that would be a really nice offshoot from the original release itself.

This album is a must-have if you’re interested in the better domains of electronic music, the parts that have not yet been infected by ridiculous clichés. It is a must-have physically for any collector, so I am proud to be in the possession of the review-copy of this album. You should get it yourself, there are only five copies left, you can find it down below.

Exclusive Premiere: La Bile – La Piscine

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Dreamy, dreary breakbeats with tight IDM-influences is what makes or breaks La Bile – a french project having the honor of being released by Tripalium Corp – in their Digital Mutant Series (number 22), titled: “La Sublimation du Poulpe“. There’s a plethora of different electronic influences in each track on this release, from a multiverse of techno, acid and otherwise obscure electronic genres. Fetching the best from each genre, not compromising with the experimental overtones and the grittiness of it all.

We’re proud to be premiering a track from the B-Side of this release, in our ears one of the best tracks on the release, “La Piscine” delves into the human psyche and opens up a world of mystery, through fast-paced drums and constant flickering, there’s an urgency that doesn’t die out until the song finally fades into nothingness.

You better act quickly if you want it in physical form, as there’s only nine cassettes left of forty in total, so pre-order it from here, and stream the exclusive track from Repartiseraren’s own Soundcloud way before it is released.

Exclusive Premiere: Duran Duran Duran – Sinking About You

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Not to be confused with Duran Duran, the more experimentally oriented electronic musician Duran Duran Duran (Ed Flis) is now having his latest release put out on Tripalium Corp – as a part of one of their ongoing release-series – Digital Mutant. The title of this release is “Bolo Trax” and sports some very intuitive, beautiful and forceful ambient-styled electronica on the a-side of the release, whilst the b-side is filled with a claustrophobic and abrasive experimental kind of electronic music.

What’s exciting about this release is that it is a very limited edition cassette, only forty copies made, which after it comes out will become a sought after item. Even though some of the music isn’t that appealing when listening through it the first time, like many good releases it starts to grow on you and certain themes can be sought out within the music and yourself as you connect to it on a weird metaphysical level.

We’re proud to be collaborating with Tripalium Corp in getting to exclusively premiere their releases, and this one is no exception. You will be able to stream the song “Sinking About You”, taken from the a-side of the release, exclusively on Repartiseraren nine days before the actual release. Tune in to it down below and don’t forget to pre-order the cassette. It is also available as a digital release.

Exclusive Premiere: Ele Ypsis – Diplotene

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With stunning aesthetic visuals provided by Svartaphotography, the ethereal vision of Ele Ypsis collapses and is built up within their latest album “Meiosis“. Musically it would not stand on its own with just the percussive IDM and breakbeat sounds, ambient it’d be a shell of what it could be – together with Laure Le Prunenec’s vocals – everything starts and ends in total disharmonious harmony. A double-edged metaphysical sword thrust deep within yourself. What a marvelous piece of music everything on this album is. One can not, however, underestimate Stélian Derenne’s craftiness when it comes to the musical composition, as the vocals benefit largely from that suspicious and ever changing atmosphere.

We’re glad to be premiering the best song on that release, which is: “Diplotene“, as it boils down into a common denominator in terms of how the album can be perceived, what elements are best fitted together with each other and how music really can stand out from the norm – in terms of ambition and overall quality. It is an outrageously great song and we were surprised by it ourselves, having listened to it over and over again.

In collaboration with M-Tronic Label, four days before the official release date – we’re proud to give you the ability to listen to “Diplotene” in full via our Soundcloud. Pre-order the vinyl release, here.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

[12th] December: Bombardier – In Ecstacy

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2013 was the year we found out about Jason Snell‘s music. We had been mindlessly browsing Bandcamp for something to write about for my Showcase – a series of articles I ran – when my blog-zine had a completely different name. A scene plays up in ones head, an abandoned empty industrial workshop, hammers resounding as a fragmented memory of times’ past—exactly how Bombardier came in; one threatening step – and a barrage of well-produced, heavy techno was unleashed. All it took was a single track to get oneself hooked, it came as a lone-wolf released by the New York label Division 13. Even though much of it remained a vague, entertained thought left on a metaphorical loft—we have not forgotten his music and how it thoroughly cleaned our system; fed up on bland and uninteresting cliches strewn across the genre called Techno.

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Though Jason’s first project is Bombardier, which emerged in 1999 with the self-released album “Haine Collective“, he’s maintained different monikers, like for example (The) 13th Hour – primarily an industrial project – extending it’s tentacles pinning them to rhythmic noise and in some aspects even hardcore. First release being a triple-split released on the same label; Division 13, in 2002, with the industrial project, his main project Bombardier and a third side-project called: Kamphetamine. One can not accuse him of coming from nowhere – it’s noticeable that he’s been around for a while, because you can hear it reflected in the skill, ambition and sheer expertise – in creating solid music; classified in so many different genres and styles. So when an opportunity arose to continue writing about him, since he’s wished us to cover releases we hadn’t the time to cover, we took action and were able to put him into a perfect place—a project originally secret and planned since way back—finally materialized the 1st of December.

It’s not what you’d usually hear from this man, it’s not the style we vaguely remembered, it’s a style developed from releases “Absolution” (w/ Mahr) and “Nowhere“. So now he’s completely turned his side on the more concentrated, beat-oriented style he’s refined since many years back, tending to a softer and more ambiguous genre—Ambient. For the 12th of December we exclusively premiered an unreleased and newly produced song by Bombardier, titled “In Ecstacy“—which you were able to pre-listen to before an article ever was written. We sincerely apologize for it turning up so late, but here it is and you mustn’t ignore this wonderful track. It will draw you into a finely woven atmosphere. Here’s for Ljudkalendern and the 12th of December—let’s skip the darn poem—listen to this musical poetry instead.

[3rd] December: Shielding – No Ice

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A metamorphose from beat-orientation to grassy knolls of ambient delight. That is a sentence that can be written for Big End and Shielding — a two-way street of the same project — different approach. Simon Olsson from Sweden have been creating various techno and ambient progeny, sometimes as a unit where he shapes Big End / Shielding under the same guise, oftentimes he just separates the two and create what he prefers, never restricted within the confinements of what techno and ambient are supposed to be, but with a clear vision he separates his visuals from ultraviolet to black and white. Both of the alter-egos influence one another so at times they become inseparable at least to the listener. Pretty much every theme, at least title-wise—have an existential question embedded into it—which doesn’t move away from the depressive notion of daily life. His music is not a cybernetic fortress but rather a human-like enterprise which makes the music easier to relate to.

This is the first time we’ve ever dealt with him. Which makes this moment even more special, as it, after all is a part of Ljudkalendern and the 3rd of December. His music channels the need for something calmer, but at the same time rather unique but complex pattern which he follows when he creates music. Everything seems to be delicate, in order and focused—the sharpness can sting like a needle. So instead of choosing the more beat-oriented side of Simon Olsson’s alter-ego, this was an easy choice which sparked our interest in ambient anew. Parts of it remind you about sound-manipulation but without those pesky R&B-samples or other shenanigans. It’s like pure ice hitting silken and making a path down the steep hill of clothesville—but without any thought on being pretentious. We’ve composed a poem for this occasion, too. You can read it down below.

Poem:

Frosted windows make bad weather,
take us to winter’s meadow
Icy patterns move out,
the chessboard of purity is shattered

This is 3rd of December and now we’re in the Hinterlands. Tomorrow a new track will be released and the temperature will be down below zero. But until then, enjoy the exclusive song “No Ice” by Shielding, on Repartiseraren.