Review: L’Avenir – Soir

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A couple of months ago Cold Beats Records announced the fourth album by L’Avenir, titled “Soir“. In terms of aesthetics he’s been consistent but it is not the most pleasing artwork to lay your eyes upon. There’s a certain connection between each of his albums and it is noticeable even though he’s shifted to a more ethereal approach on this release. He’s kept the most interesting elements of his music and developed it into an otherworldly experience – but how that holds up in practice is what you’ll find out – in this latest track-by-track review on Repartiseraren.

The introductory for this album, “Modern World” is excitingly refreshing to hear as it starts off but when the melody is laid down in the song, it gets increasingly mind-numbing. Going from laying a creative and ethereal sound, bouncing from ambient to minimal wave, synth-pop and back again – is simply astonishing. The lyrics hold up well and the dismayed tone of the sound is also an unpleasant reminder of the topic that Jason brings up in this song.

As the song comes to a close, another melody is laid upon the frankly cheesy melody that he decided to delve too much into. This other melody is more in tune with the overall sound and fits the picturesque notion he deliver with the rhythm, drums and occasional synthesizer bravado. Conceptually the song is much better, however it lacks severely in captivating melodies and make it a blunder in terms of the passage between the intro and the outro.

Desert” is way more of a stable track, which in its essence has a great melody and move toward a decent sound. The problem with the song is that it suffers from the opposite of what the first one did, that is the vocals and lyrical content isn’t that good to begin with -but the melodies, rhythm and everything else that carries the atmosphere and develops it into something more are consistently surprising – in a good way. The alarming nature of high-note synthesizers is reminiscent of Person:A.

Another thing must be said about this and that is how the rhythm in the beginning slowly drags the listener into the sound-scape and lets the ambient side of L’Avenir glisten. It is good that the vocals and the lyrics don’t take up much of a space in general and that one can drift away, enjoying the remainder of the music itself and how he professionally crafts what is his own sound.

InThe Stranger” the beats get heavier and more pulsating. There’s an eerie darkness and the synthesizers get to be in the background a lot more, as the vocals and the rhythm are the first and foremost benefiters in this song. The rhythm is simple yet hypnotizing when the base drum resounds and the snare drum hits, a very unchanging atmosphere that relies on what already has been presented in the beginning of it. It’s overall the best sounding tune so far.

As it switches into more ambient settings the further in you get, the melodies layer beautifully upon one another and connect marvelously, inserting that much needed emotional touch which L’Avenir can pull off brilliantly. This is where the transition into “Mirror Men” goes painfully, as they share many of the elements that made “The Stranger” and “Desert” much better then “Modern World“.

WithMirror Men” you can almost hear some of the hints that are so lovable in Drab Majesty, for example. A sound-scape clad in an ethereal form, where smoke sifts through the cracks and give off a mysteriously but huge atmospheric draped in a synth-pop outfit. The melodies are crystal clear and put forth some kind of eerie existentialist but immortal vibe to it. Your body is more then a vessel, it is one metaphysical step closer to god and the divine. The beats have also become more concentrated and punched up, there’s more guts in this song.

Silence Shouts” become more of a standardized song for “Soir” after the aforementioned one. A bridge to something else. But he utilizes the differentiating vocals in this song to create a worthwhile listening experience. The more you get into it the further it develops in the background, together with the constant synthesizer-baseline and then a grandiose section is dropped in – the synthesizers get more brazen and deliver a more confident version of the same song. Hearing the different components go out of their way, some of them in a minuscule fashion, others drift away into complex melodies, is very satisfying.

Then comes a transgression from regular minimal synth and synth-pop, a more electronic body music oriented vibe in “Winter Calls“. If the other songs had a string of sublimity in it – this is when the hammer hits the nail – it is without any mysterious intent and more with a colder touch. Here’s where the concept have been on point with the actual song it self. As the beats stumble more and stutter, the synthesizers are more concentrated then ever. It doesn’t stand and fall with the rhythm and beats, it stands on its own in melodies and general atmosphere.

Now whenOutside” comes on, it hits right at home but there’s something off with the sound, one doesn’t know if it is intentional or if it is the masterer’s fault. We on Repartiseraren have released “Outside (Just Like Home)” on a compilation before this. It sounds a bit different. The melodies should be more apparent then they really are, the beats are too hollow and in front of the atmosphere that should be felt in a different way. It is as if someone activated a drum-machine and had the intentions of making another song, at the same time that L’Avenir made “Outside“. It doesn’t really fit.

It is one of the more serious disappointments on this release. “What Happened To Yesterday” is, however, a great example of the adaptiveness of Jason’s music as it is a pure synth-pop gem. The melodies are central and bring out the soul of the song immaculately. Even though some parts of it ain’t my cup of tea, one can not dismiss it in its entirety. Atmospherically the song is huge and covers more territory then any other on this album. Synthesizers are in the background and foreground without the rhythm or beats interfering in an awkward way. A great addition to a so far alright release.

The songVivet” is more playful in its style and stray away from the seriousness in the music at times, giving it a more ambiguous feeling while listening to it. A very dancefloor-friendly song. Rhythmically it is enchanting and nothing bad could be said about it, it is the embodiment of what L’Avenir tries to say and establish with this release. It is funny how the songs gradually get better, then as they get better it turns for the worse and come back to the greater side where they could’ve stayed in the first place.

Had this album been released in August or September instead, “August” would’ve been the epitome of an outro – the change from summer to fall – for better or worse. A sullen baseline carries the rhythm of sharpened beats that steadily marks the end of “Soir“. Even though you’ve already been given a lot to listen to, it doesn’t end with the outdrawn melodies and simple beats to shut everything down and call it a day, there are bonus tracks and remixes available as well. Let’s take them on.

Interestingly enough, “No Destination (Bonus Track)” is a really experimental gem that should’ve been saved for the b-side instead of one of the other songs. Not to mention “Fault” – which is quite frankly one of the best songs on this release. Even though one gets why “No Destination” doesn’t fit the album, “Fault” could’ve easily outmaneuvered one of the A-Side tracks – because it is really, really great. The fast-paced rhythm, playful synthesizer melodies and overall great, ambitious sound-scape is reason enough.

Denial (Bonus Track)” is also one of those songs that would’ve made it better on the line-up for the original line-up. It has a well-crafted atmosphere and even though it might be a bit more experimental, it is way better and more inspiring then “Moonlight (Bonus Track)“. Experimentalism doesn’t always have to be on the bad side of the spectrum, it could very well be a more enthralling song more fitting on an album such as this.

Remixes, what about them? Well, they’re in most cases hit or miss – oftentimes more a miss. Forever Grey make a reasonably ok attempt at their version of “Mirror Men“, but the original stands much taller and this remix does nothing to stand out on its own, not a memorable attempt either. But there’s something about it that is charming but it is reserved for some parts of the remix only. Since the original song “Outside” was ruined, it is nice to hear the Person:A-remix which deliver some really claustrophobic, minimalistic cold-wave interpretation of the original. He’s managed to pull off a really ominously sounding melody, that make the song less upbeat and more downbeat.

The breakdowns made by Kline Coma Xero on “What Happened To Yesterday” are charming but not enough to be considered great, but it adds a different touch and a whole new version of the original track, that coupled with auto-tuning gives it an experimental electronic and electro-ish vibe. MAKiNA GiRGiR‘s rework of  the same song almost makes it a chiptune tribute, one of the best remixes on this album for sure. They have a really minimalistic approach and it becomes a song on its own, ready to stand by itself in the atmosphere they’ve created and especially the melodies.

When the song “Silent Shouts” get the remix treatment by Nina Belief, it unfortunately falls on its own into the category of uninspiring. Had the beats matched the tempo better and her vocals as well, it might’ve been an off-shoot into something different and more alluring. This is most definitely a miss in terms of the remixes. The remix of “The Stranger” by Lola Kumtus is not anything interesting either, unfortunately. It just rehashes the song and makes it more cloudy, repetitive and basic.

So this is what I think of this album. In terms of the overall quality the record is not the best L’Avenir can do but it is worth listening to, since it contains a few really great songs and some that are not as great. You can listen to the album in full down below and if you like it, you can order a double-CD or a vinyl as well from Cold Beats Records.

 

 

Invisible Guy and Beläten presents: Strife and Fight – an Invisible Guy mixtape!

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Visions and Light, Shadow Rite and now – Strife and Fight. These three names have something in common, and that is the fact that they’re a part of the same mix tape-series. Beläten and Invisible Guy go way back. They’ve worked with each other for a number of years by now, delivering something extra for the readership of this blog-zine each time. Years have gone, and this is one of the few things that really remain. Last time, when “Shadow Rite” got introduced, the mixtape was mixed by Th. Thot of Beläten, himself. It got received very well with everyone, and everyone else. This time, Invisible Guy himself steps up to the plate to show that he can mix, too. Well, since it’s only a mixtape and not a mix, you might get the picture. The difference about this mixtape, from the last, is the fact that everything you’ll hear here constitutes the six recent releases on Beläten and nothing else. That means that every release from 2014 so far, have been jam-packed into this mixtape. You’ll get familiar with Grand Mal x, Dmitry Distant and Distel – from the first tape-batch – and Blitzkrieg Baby, Sebastian Melmoth and L’Avenir – from the latest. The name for this mixtape will be “Strife and Fight“, because I’ve strafed and fought my way when doing this mixtape. Pick up your strength, fire off a right-hook right into solar plexus, because now you’re a fighter. Fight your way through and make yourself a name. Throughout militant martial pop, pseudo-something with a large dose of psychedelia, clamoring electro with a hard-hitting hammer to a beat, weirdly X-files related synthesizer delight, angst-pop in its finest manifestation, and finally – melodious and angelic synth-pop.

This is not from Sweden with love, nor are we in Bromley, if you catch my drift. This is from Sweden with pure hate, from Sweden whose dark forces assemble once again. We’re ready for a fight and we’re willing to take it, we’re ready to strike. If you’re weak, this is not the recommended remedy for you. Since this is a rather harsh mix-tape, this is rather a remedy for all those passive souls that reside within Sweden. Yes, you know who you are and you might find this serum useful. Find yourself in this Fight Club-esque hommage from Beläten and Invisible Guy, strictly put together by Invisible Guy himself. You know that we mean business when this happens, because he rarely, if ever – touches it and brews himself. Now it’s brewing over and you’ll have to endure it with your strengthened skin. Take a jab at me, but before that, start this mix-tape by hitting the “play”-button. You will live through it.

Strife and Fight – this is the end of the line. Invisible Guy hasn’t gotten to mix these former mix-tapes that took the name of “Visions and Light“, to begin with, and “Shadow Rite“, to end with. He’s since then taken the torchbearers’ torch and lit the flame himself. Th. Thot is no longer in charge, he only deliver the supplies. This time, we’re getting down to business for real, and we’re giving you strictly Beläten-related material. Invisible Guy has mixed in Distel with L’Avenir, Blitzkrieg Baby with Dmitry Distant, Grand Mal x with Sebastian Melmoth. We’re meaning it with “Strife and Fight“, your guide to manliness – and your guide to catching the drift – with a right-hook right to your solar plexus. This is war. Buy your discount bundle of the three latest releases here, from Beläten. Or buy them individually over here.

Strife and Fight – An Invisible Guy Mixtape

1. Sebastian Melmoth – Catching Up With Morrison
2. L’Avenir – Fallout
3. Blitzkrieg Baby – Broken Child
4. Dmitry Distant – Gates Of Aeon
5. Grand Mal x – The Crossing
6. Distel – Onde
7. Blitzkrieg Baby – The Swine Supremacy
8. Sebastian Melmoth – Black September
9. Dmitry Distant – One Night In Train
10. Grand Mal x – A Sudden Portal
11. Distel – Plants
12. L’Avenir – An Empty Day
13. Blitzkrieg Baby – Those Who Could Not Fuck, They Kill
14. Sebastian Melmoth – Presley Honey
15. Grand Mal x – Late Night Call
16. Dmitry Distant – System Control (The Exaltics Remix)
17. Distel – Vortex
18. Blitzkrieg Baby – Loop
19. Sebastian Melmoth – Prosopagnosia (The Rlf Mix)
20. L’Avenir – Fallout

Exclusive Premiere: L’Avenir – Fugue

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It’ll take some time until you’ve made your way out of the desert. With only disorientation as your friend. You’ve finally made it out from the land of the North, taken a trip throughout the mean desert of Arizona, settling down in the American dream. Yes, you’ve awakened just to be lulled to sleep again. Sebastian left you to wander off into a whole other realm. It gets colder from here, even though you’re not in the Northern landscape anymore, you’re certainly up north. Synthesizers and a harsher climate might just be what you need. Let me introduce you to Jason Sloan, whom otherwise uses the name L’Avenir. He’s the “cold” synth and minimal wave enthusiast, having released his debut-album “The Wait” on Cold Beats Records in 2013, and he’s participated in two compilations, too. Transfer yourself into a whole other landscape of sound, a much more caring, and beautiful one. It caresses your mind and wiping out whatever isn’t good. Feel the relaxation, feel the comprehension. It’s here where your misguided self stops to think and reflect, and where you metamorphose into the being you’ve always wanted to be. A better man.

Well, if it isn’t Beläten, once again – outdoing himself. No, it’s not the name of the man behind it, but they’re equally as great. This is an excitingly great variation of differentiating artists. Whilst he, the man himself, tries to get you into the fold of indifference, you try to make your way out of the maze. Unfortunately, this is the last cassette in the trio, making this number “3” () in khmerian numbers. This is where it gets as wonderful as it could’ve gotten in the beginning, but of course we saved that for last. Eloquent and mesmerizing synthesizer melodies, drift away into the vocals and mesh with the cunning landscape of sound. Cunning, it is, as the landscape of sound delves into the minimalism where it belongs – overturning the grandiose synthesizers. Hear the sound of the future and the past, as one. Don’t despair, even though it’s in the darker area of minimal synth, it’s a meditative experience. Then you’re gone, as it swallows you within the time that’s passed.

This is the end of the collaboration for this time, as the waves slowly sweep us away. The Beläten-cassettes always come as three, and they will surely go as three. I’m honored to have been chosen by Thomas, to release tracks before the cassettes are released. It’s saddening, but it has to be done. You’ll be given the track “Fugue” from the forthcoming self-titled release by L’Avenir. Which will be out on Feburary the 14th, which will be tomorrow. Stream it down below.

Label: Beläten

Cat#: 3 (៣)

Artist: L’Avenir

Exclusive Song: Fugue

Title: L’Avenir

Format: C42

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Jason Sloan as a long history making ambient soundscapes, which is evident in L’Avenir’s dreamy, cinematic minimal synth. But through the hazy din of reverb-drenched atmospheres, melancholy pop gems appear. Simultaneously the preface and the follow up to last years The Wait (recorded before, released after), this cassette every bit as engaging. Song after song drip like a slow rain on empty city streets, the scent of wet asphalt in the air. L’Avenir’s music is heart-achingly beautiful and overpowering in it’s grandeur, yet somehow comforting and warm.

Sloan is a Professor teaching full-time in the Interactive Arts department along with being the founder and program coordinator for the Sound Art concentration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

– The man who controls says bye for now!

Spotlight: Various Artists – W A V E C O R E 2!

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This is a compilation released last year that I meant to cover, but never had the time to cover. W A V E C O R E is essentially a compilation that features artists and groups that have any connection with the label releasing it, namely Anywave, or artists and groups of their liking. It’s a compilation that last year on the seventeenth of December got released in its second edition. The first edition of this compilation was released earlier that year, but I simply scrolled by it and didn’t mention it at all – which is a shame, really. Both compilations feature artists and groups from far and away, all the way from Mexico to Kiev, from Montreal to Poland. Essentially, they haven’t really gotten that much in common, except the fact that they each represent a genre that is virtually unrepresented in the mainstream. Such genres as cold wave, “post wave”, minimal electronics, and the like – have rarely (if ever) struck a chord with the mainstream. Much can be said about that, but most of it is also only represented by alternatives – if they’re trendy, or fit the construed mold of the month.

Anyway, less blabbering about what’s bound to happen, and more about what isn’t. There are a lot of artists and groups on this compilation that I didn’t even know existed, before. Like for example Défecit Budgétaire, Amalaise, Минск, Supahmoonmoon and Jari Pitkänen. The others, I know a bit about, or know a little more then that. Brusque Twins were one of my more obvious finds last year. Whilst I only know a little bit about Psychic Hearts, L’Avenir, Blablarism, Prairie, Jaqueline Sauvage, Kindest Cuts, Mareux, How To Disappear Completely and Seventeen At This Time. All these artists and groups are featured on this compilation, which is seventeen tracks long, spanning on a time that clocks in at roughly seventy minutes. The wonderfully constructed artwork was created by Myriam Barchetat, printed by Atelier OASP, songs were carefully selected by Half Summer – and the whole she-bang was mastered at Anywave Studio – which is basically their own studio.

So, what can be found here? Anything that would interest you if you’re into more obscure music. Everything from post-punk with harsher electronica, to minimal electronics throwing a hizzy fit, together with the most weird and out-there ambient you can find. But that’s not all, as you’ll stumble upon some concrete synth-pop, magical future-pop and utterly brilliant experimental electronics. Well, this is obviously not everything that can be depicted, but it’s a taste of what you can hear there. If you want to buy this compilation, it comes in various forms. A limited DIY digipack for 12 dollars, both compilations digitally for 20 dollars, both compilations physically on CD – together with “Onlooker” by Avgvst, for 25 dollars. Also, the compilation itself can be bought digitally for 7 dollars. So you make up your mind, but listen to and stream it down below – it will be well worth it if you tune in.

Beläten and Invisible Guy presents: Shadow Rite – A Beläten Mixtape!

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Beläten have long been a proponent of Invisible Guy, or at least as long as we’ve been collaborating with each other. Thomas Ekelund is the head of this gargantuan Swedish label. It seems larger then it is, but it actually is what it seems. Invisible Guy have been a proponent of Beläten, since it’s one of the best and most exquisite labels today. It also makes me proud that it comes out of Sweden, my homestead. Earlier, he’s mixed the mixtape “Visions and Light“. This mixtape is the second one in these unofficial “series“. With 50% forthcoming material that’s going out on Beläten later this year, mixed with the majestic wonders of aufnahme + wiedergabe, La Forme Lente, Malignant Records and Avant!. With a great feature, which you’ll enjoy – a world premiere for a Trepaneringsritualen track, which will be out on Malignant Records later this year. Dance in the flaming pyre, embrace the rites of power, thrown into barren landscapes – is your ego being annihilated, in the Shadow Rite.

Invisible Guy and Beläten constitute some of the most powerful forces coming out of Sweden as we speak. Which brings me to introduce this collaboration with Beläten to you people, so that you can enjoy some exclusive songs from forthcoming releases. But do also enjoy those other songs that have been carefully selected to be featured in this mixtape. His legacy returns to my sphere once again, as his selection empowers the slumbering soul of the awaited Autumn. You will find the tracklist down below, links to Beläten and what ever you can and will find.

Shadow Rite – A Beläten Mixtape

01. Blitzkrieg Baby — Half Pig Half Man (Beläten, Forthcoming)
02. Feuerbahn — Triumphwagen (Aufnahme+Wiedergabe)
03. Dmitry Distant — System Control (Beläten, Forthcoming)
04. Michael Idehall — Snake Messiah [Distel Remix] (Beläten, Forthcoming)
05. L’Avenir — Falling Like The Snow II (Beläten, Forthcoming)
06. Makina GirGir — Oedipus Fin (La Forme Lente)
07. Női Kabát — Make Room! Make Room! (Aufnahme+Wiedergabe)
08. Grand Mal x — Tricks Of A Trade (Beläten, Forthcoming)
09. Sebastian Melmoth — Skurwysyn (Self-released, Beläten cassette forthcoming)
10. Distel — White Soldier (Beläten, Forthcoming)
11. Veil Of Light — Light (Beläten)
12. Lebabon Hanover — Gallowdance (Aufnahme+Wiedergabe)
13. Lakes — The Oldest Place (Avant!)
14. Trepaneringsritualen — Åkallan: Mímir (Excerpt) (Malignant, Forthcoming)
15. Carrion Sunflower — Wish For Death (Beläten, Forthcoming)

Beläten is looking forward to a hectic fall with great releases from Sutekh Hexen, Nordvall/Vainio, Grand Mal x, Dmitry Distant, Blitzkrieg Baby, Johan G. Winther, Distel, L’Avenir and Sebastian Melmoth, with even more epic plans for the year of 2014 e.v.

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