[22nd|23rd] December: Identity Theft & Michael Idehall

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Diligent musician Michael have ran Katabatik Records for a while now. Being that of a creative soul himself, he’s occupied with a multitude of different projects, in tune with his artistry. There’s a difference between his own project and that of Seacrypt – a group that became a household name, with their smashing mini-album “Seekers” – released on Falco Invernale Records in March of this year. We shouldn’t forget to mention Nommo Ogo, a more experimental act which have been around since the 1990s, which is one of his other groups. This main difference consists of how he portrays his sounds, because under the guise of Identity Theft – he’s developed it further into the obscure, but remains a lot more unique in sound – added to his repertoire via prolonged experimentation.

For his addition to Ljudkalendern he chose a topic, saddening as it is to read about it, for his song titled “Wait For Mask Signal” – which takes up a fragment of the “Leads Mask Case“. That adds a dimension to a song which make it more emotional to say the least. This clouds our own judgement of it and we leave it as a sonic piece; regardless of the influence. Musically, it’s a minimalistic journey with a solid rhythm that furthers an atmospheric consciousness. We feel busily engaged as we normally don’t do in a minimalist’s setting, as we travel into the music instantly. There’s a certain vibe that Michael have managed to create notwithstanding the topic, sonically – which makes us tranquil. Listen to it in whole down below, exclusively for you, in tune with 22nd December of Ljudkalendern.

The master himself returns with an homage, that we interpret ourselves to be, in honor of an ancient Roman tradition. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the ancient roman celebration and festival, which according to the Julian calendar falls in between the 17th and 23rd December. Originally intended to be a celebratory gesture towards the God of sow and seed – Saturnus1. Just as this is written, “Svartkonster” have been launched on Beläten. It was originally a mix that Michael Idehall did for Repartiseraren and has now turned into physical emblems, items and a full release both digitally and otherwise. We thought we would mention it, at least. Because there haven’t been anything else since “Deep Code”, it’s interesting to bring something to those of you mainly interested in the sound – as we are.

For Ljudkalendern and originally intended to be launched on the 23rd December, but due to difficulties to find any time to make an effort for the article – it’s written right here and now, with the help of earlier unfinished scribblings, so bear with us. The song that is shared is titled “Saturnalia” and is a rough mix, both sonically and also because it is an early rendition of what might be something else in the future. Probably one of the rougher pieces he’s created, spanning not so long in time but carrying a weight that smashes through anything – maybe even Mach 1 wouldn’t be a problem if it would’ve been anything even remotely related to aerodynamics. Well, listen for yourselves and see what you feel and hear.


1 – Grout, James. Encyclopaedia Romana; Saturnalia. (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/saturnalia.html)

Exclusive Premiere: Identity Theft – Targeted Individuals

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In some genres there is a certain kind of experimentation allowed. When it comes to minimal synth, there seems to be an invisible box in which people that make this kind of music seldom go outside. Michael Buchanan of Seacrypt have a long-going project which goes by the name of Identity Theft. It’s a solo-project experimenting with minimal synth and synth-pop. He’s been making his music under this moniker since the first release “Night Workers” back in 2011. Then he was known as Djynnx Ogo and the aforementioned release is a testament to this, featuring material from 2008-2011 packed into a compilation. With little help of Duncan Gerow, Paul Sutfin and Chelsea Crypt, for both synthesizer work and vocals, on tracks like “Cryptoterrestrials“, “Small Knife” and “Our Game“. It took him one year to release his first proper album, titled “Security Theatre” – featuring material recorded in between 2011 and 2012. This was his first release since his new nickname had been formed. Entering a world of surveillance, loss of privacy and other current important issues related to this. Some months later his first mini-album emerged, titled “Black Opsis“. Originating from a label called Cognito Percepti. The difference with this mini-album was the original intention of making it a live-session, composed in 2011, whose tracks later became the album “Security Theatre“. Next, a true live-album came to be through the Record Label Records event “Memoirs of an Invisible Woman” recorded live in 2013.

Recently, the second proper album was released. It was titled “The Future Hates The Past” – featuring material recorded between 2013 and 2014. Repartiseraren was lucky to catch an exclusive premiere of the track “Targeted Individuals“, before the album itself was properly released digitally. Every release that I’ve counted here have been released on Michael Buchanan’s own label Katabatik. I believe that this song especially, show the experimental nature of what he’s trying to confront with this album. It’s probably the most experimental of the albums he’s released, which is perfectly noticeable with this track. A blend of paranoid minimal synth with original analog synth-pop makes the most skeptic electronica-lover a convinced believer. You can exclusively stream the track “Targeted Individuals” down below, alongside the full album that was released by him recently.

Listen: Various Artists – Kollektion 6

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The sixth installment of the selection made by Katabatik. A compilation titled “Kollektion 6” featuring both artists and groups that are a part of the roster, but also those whom aren’t. This compilation is the sixth in a row of free compilations that can be listened to through Katabatik. Everything in electronica from C.L.A.W.S. to Zania Morgan, to the Michael Buchanan (the label-owner) solo-project Identity Theft. Weird electronica, minimal electronics, sincere dark-wave, odd industrial and everything in between. The compilation itself features twenty-three songs from artists and groups like Mikronaut, C.L.A.W.S., Zanna Nera, Cinkrillan Weight, Silent Girlfriend, Abandoned Footwear, Obsidian Blade, Not Breathing, RPTN, Thee Source, Exillon, Identity Theft, The Vivid, aratKilo, Blue Window, Seacrypt, Nebuzaradan, Zania Morgan, Antlers Mulm, Veil, Ionophore, Fluorescent Gray and Sinew. Representing the US as a whole, but mainly Oakland, throughout the rest of America. But also featuring international artists and groups whom are everything from known – to unknown – to somewhere in between. The compilation is rather eclectic but seem to highlight the weird combination between forceful techno, acidic house, 1990s themed dance music funneled into psychedelia – and otherwise forgotten electronica, but also new beat mayhem. Maybe not really my cup of tea – but it might be yours. Stream the whole compilation in its entirety down below.

Spotlight: Seacrypt – Seekers

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The Makina GirGir-run label Falco Invernale Records (F.I.R.) have been working with Seacrypt to release their album “Seekers“, a totally new album in which they explore deeper electronica and more inherently melodic sensibilities that have been hidden earlier with their release on Katabatik, titled “A Momentary Rift“. They have matured as a group and are moving to have even more warmth in their analogue synth-pop with cold wave overtones. Since their first release in 2012, which also was a great release in itself in another way, this is a militarized version that you can hear in their new release. More focus on the organic features that need to be kept alive in the landscape of sound. Everything is connectable and together it makes their sound more grandiose. With militarization, I mean that there is a certain overlapping theme of urgency in their material, a certain discipline in regards to the focus of the instrumentation, the delivered product meets the qualities they’ve looked out for, for this album. The melancholic intentions and the darkly lyrics that are spouted in a more enigmatic fashion, switching from a duo of a female and a male, to going completely solo – is mind-boggling in a great way. This changes into disco-vibes with dark beats on the B-side, showing how versatile this group really can be – if they want to. You can listen to snippets from the whole album, which has already (or is being) released on a 12¨ vinyl by this label. It’s the seventh release, a darling of mine already. You must listen to it.

Interview with Seacrypt!

Seacrypt is a synth-pop/slimewave group consisting of Michael Buchanan (Synth/Guitar/Rhythm), Chelsea Friedman (Synth/Voice/Bell) and Paul Sutfin (Synth/Voice/Flute/Horn). They’ve recently emerged from the US and deliver a sharp notion of seaness. I’ve also reviewed their debutalbum, you can find that review over here. Their debutalbum A Momentary Rift gives me a sense of calmness but at the same time it brings moodyness. It also reminds me of a hybrid between Ladytron and The Birthday Massacre, if injected with a relaxant. With all the elements combined, I summoned them for an interview about their aesthetical inspiration, influences and much more.

What are your influences musically?

M.B: – A wide spectrum…. In terms of direct + conscious influence on Seacrypt music: Tones on Tail, The Cure, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Riechmann, Chris Carter, A Blaze Color, Martin Dupont, Le Syndicat Electronique, Klinik.

P.S: – Cocteau Twins, Debussy, Arvo Part, New Order.

C.F.: – The list is too long but just a few of the the top are: Sonic Youth, November Növelet / Haus Arafna, Psychic TV, Xeno and Oaklander, Depeche Mode, Joy Division.

M.B.: – Much influence also comes from the inherent nature of certain instruments and ways of working with them.

What have influenced you aesthetically?

P.S.: – Landscape, particularly the landscapes of the northwestern U.S., including Alaska, where Michael is from. Gerhard Richter, Hiroshi Sugimito. We can all be said to be influenced by surrealist techniques. Minimalism.

C.F.: – Hans Bellmer, Richard Teschner, Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, Joeseph Cornell, architecture, being outside.

How would you define the music that you create?

M.B.: – I suppose: dark synth-pop with some electro and ambient overtones. Slimewave?

Why did you choose to release your album on limited physical cassette?

M.B.:– The release needed some kind of physicality, to make a 7” was too expensive, and tape was something we could do ourselves fairly well. I have a fairly decent cassette mastering and duplication setup, so I am able to get the quality I wanted.

What do you think about the music industry as it is today?

M.B.: – Well, it is still transitioning. The internet has made certain things easier but many things harder. It seems like a large part of the DIY-culture has disappeared along with much of the traditional music industry. The good is discarded along with the bad. Record stores are now anachronistic. Niches survive, for now.

Have you played at any live-shows yet?

M.B.: – Somewhat…. we played a very nascent set at a party at the underground Oakland venue Orbis Nex (R.I.P.) in 2008, far too soon after forming. And since then we have done some improvisational/ambient electronic performances at the Autonomous Mutant Festival in 2010 in the forests of northern California. Both were very loose and not really a representation of what we have done since, or what we do in the studio. We are very interested in playing live in the future, and have some ideas. It’s a little more difficult with the geographical distance between members (Paul lives in Portland now, myself and Chelsea live in Oakland.)

Are you planning to release anything new in the near future?

M.B.: – We have a batch of 4 or 5 new songs that are being finalized. Looking for a way to release these at the moment.

Could you recommend any other bands that you are very fond of?

M.B.: – I am also a member of Nommo Ogo – which has evolved into more of a psychedelic ritual electronics project. Some local (SF Bay area) acts I enjoy are : Brotman and Short, RMS, Exillon, Dimentia, Total Accomplishment and Nezzy Idy.

P.S.: – Chelsea was in a group called Gurglemesh.

C.F.: – Gurglemesh was an acoustic group, I sang and played violin with.

Do you have any last words of wisdom?

C.F.: – Not really, we would hope that people enjoy our music and we encourage people to get in touch if they do! Thank you for your questions…

M.B.: – Thanks as well, we can be reached via email at: contact@katabatik.org.

Seacrypt with the song A Momentary Rift:

You can find them over here:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seacrypt/170403533026368

Bandcamp/Homepage: http://seacrypt.com/

E-mail: contact@katabatik.org