Listen: Giant Swan, Rivière de Corps, Luminance, and V/A – Spänningen Band II

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We’ve had quite a run for many years, the machinery have worked as intended but sometimes they need to be carefully restored to their former glory once again. We have no excuses to not post anything, it is just that the current musical climate is so lethargic – either waddle through a pool of mud – or directly finding the gems you’ve sought out for so long.

Running your own label takes time, and having a full-time job hinders the crew from working on this site at all times. The intention for the future is to update more frequently, the ideal would be once or twice a day – but time needs to be portioned up for this to work – which is difficult to say the least.

If you haven’t checked our label out yet, here’s some shameless self-promotion, visit our bandcamp-page and support us: https://repartiseraren.bandcamp.com/

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It’s been a long time since anything from Mannequin Records was featured on this webzine, we’ve not really been keeping up with what they’ve been doing – but they’ve released quite a number of records since then.

The latest of their releases is “High Waisted“, by a Bristol-based duo Giant Swan, their second EP in their discography and a really good mixture of ominous industrial music that have an outstretched hand into more obfuscated music like rhythmic noise.

It is too complicated in rhythm to be equated with regular techno, even though some of the settings and moods suggest otherwise. Maybe industrial or hard techno would share more similarity with the genrebending they’re doing in this maddening approach. “The Rest Of His Voice” is easily the best song on the whole record, as it captures their whole essence on this EP, furiously stomping into your eardrums without any hesitation.

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Maybe this french one-man outfit, Rivière de Corps have drawn a lot of influence from Pure Ground? A lot of the material is reminiscent of the earlier outputs of that duo. Both aesthetically and musically, a lot of it sounds alike, some of the songs are alright on this release but other songs like “retour du dieu plutonium” should’ve had more thought put into them.

Even though a lot of songs on this release needs a few adjustments here and there, the general theme of the record and the aesthetic aspects of the release as a whole make it better. With the song “échec critique” they reach a high point of the release itself, if only all the other songs had the same standard, it would be an even better release.

In general, it is satisfying to listen to and it explores a lot of themes and moods that don’t need that much more additional presentation. If you like the music, consider buying a cassette directly from the bandcamp of Vague à l’Âme, and listen to the release in whole down below.

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We’ve covered Luminance some time way back when, but now they’re released a single, a different version of the song “Martyr” (from The Cold Rush), which is more mystical in its approach and a calmer version, titled “Martyr” (Version Longue). The only reason for us to cover a single, is basically because this is a great version that stands on its own and challenges the original version.

This is the point of music, to exponentially go in different directions and instead of stagnating it evolves in manners that might be unknown to the listener until he or she hears it. Could we all agree that french lyrics, when done properly, adequately enhances music and takes it into a whole other dimension? It adds a perfectly great mysterious undertone which is desperately needed in the first minute of this song.

Listen to it down below and give them some money if you like it.

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When I boast about Sweden, I boast about these kinds of compilations. We’re truly great at discovering obscure artists and groups, and we’re even better at showcasing them in equally as obscure compilations. It haven’t been on our horizons, but since we heard about Yta Recordings, we felt we needed to give them some coverage somehow.

Spänningen Band II” is the second compilation in a series, coming in strong with a hard-hitting claustrophobic track by Adore that gently shove in hints of a compact, ambitious dreary landscape of sound that is equal to none. Most of these artists and groups are unknown to us, but when you pass through the quirky repetitive acid mixture that is hidden between Nima Khak and Lrh, a more urgent response is felt within the song by United Hive Mind Of Sweden, perfectly igniting the next artist Stilnoct.

We must admit that we find some of these artists hard to listen to, and that is not because of the music itself, but it is because the same boring archetype of techno music is repeated throughout the compilation in ways that are common with these compilations, unfortunately. The music itself is well-produced, there is no question about that – but after Adore dropped “Time Is Anima“, everything else was pale in comparison.

Celldöd graciously ends this compilation with “Du Som Försvann“, maybe it was the start and finish that would keep you listening throughout? If so, it’s a good compromise. Even though some of the music is not really in our ballpark, it is a good enough compilation to recommend because of its aesthetics and that it contains a few really good tracks, and two really great tracks.

Listen to it down below in full and support them by buying the physical cassette of this release.

 

Review: Led Er Est – Dust On Common

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To be honest, I haven’t paid that much attention to Led Er Est at all. Their sound haven’t attracted me in any way, yet I decided to do a track-by-track review of their first release “Dust On Common” (now re-released by Mannequin Records) originally released on the New York label Wierd Records, in 2009. However, my initial reaction on their music will not affect how I review this record – it is all about how good or bad the songs are, individually – and how good the album is in general. The album is around 35 minutes long in total.

For a person that haven’t listened that much to Led Er Est, the first song “Bikini Fun” is catchy and gloomy at the same time. Even though the name of it is kind of inane, it doesn’t reflect in the atmosphere at all – the amped up and bleak vocals add a whole other dimension to the soundscape – together with flipped out guitar-riffs and solid, rhythmic drumming, minimalistic synthesizers warped in and out – together with a baseline that could break through walls – make for a thoroughly wild experience.

There’s a nice way to how they tweak everything, especially the vocals. It is a very nice mix between minimal synth and new wave music, at the same time that it wants to be uptempo and is – they keep the downtempo in terms of how the song progresses – going from a stripped environment to a concentrated barrage of all instruments at the same time. It does also fade out very nicely.

AsPort Isabel” comes on, it is a more straight-forward track. It starts off very good with riffs that are put in well, together with the constant synthesizer-stabs and steady rhythm – but then, suddenly, the vocalist enters – and everything goes downhill from there. What could’ve been an emotionally touching song turns into everything but. Maybe this song should’ve been named “Bikini Fun” instead of the first one – because with such a beautiful name and pleasant introduction – it shouldn’t be reduced to utter tripe. Moving on.

Laredo” thankfully return the original song-style, which pairs much better with their music. It is a very oldschool-sounding and spastic atmosphere, giving back to the roots that started it off once. Minimal wave have never sounded better together with new wave, if that makes any sense. Instead of going too minimalistic with just the one synthesizer and the accompanying melody – they’ve added sweeping beauty to it and a perfectly laden guitar to match it up with.

It never goes out of style and one could listen to it over and over again. The song feels much longer then it really is. With solid melodies and anarchistic vocals – you can go very far, apparently. It is what Led Er Est prooves at least, with how they’ve constructed it musically. “Destination Sanity” is something entirely different, minimal in rhythm but bombastic in everything else from synthesizer to the outdrawn vocals. Connecting the dots where they left off with “Port Isabel“, adding to that even more of their own characteristic sound – the good one.

There are even some gothic-sounding acoustic guitar that paves the way for complex melodies to entwine and push the sound even further, larger then anything else that’s currently been covered. It evokes an emotional response that is sorrowful in one way, a tragicomic farce translated into music, by all means tragicomic in a way that is beautifully told musically. One is touched by the sheer wondrousness of it all, something to daydream away into.

Eerily similar to “Laredo” is the fifth song “The Unkept Area” – where the songstyle in “Port Isabel” actually fits with the running theme of it. One of the most catchy songs so far, mostly due to the more energetic performance by the vocalist, plus all the freakishly quirky synthesizers that would sound horrible if not layered on one another. The desperateness of the singer descend into a violent, chaotic mixture that make each part of the atmosphere change slightly, going more and more berserk.

What becomes noticeable as “Something For The Children” plays, is not only the irony of the song-name itself, but how they transcend genres completely and bend them to their will. This goes into noise and back again into minimalistic synth. But what would all that be without a post-punk baseline? Not sure, but they’ve layered it indistinguishable at points with the screechy noise, at times playing almost solo – giving it a melodic touch – together with the rhythm of the noise. Quite deranged in the end. Even more ironic is how it fades out and then becomes “I Wait For You” – which is different.

How different? In many ways. The rhythm isn’t pumped up to the max, but more steadily going, while the melodies are of secondary importance. The coldness of the minimalistic atmosphere is what glimmers in the dark. Clad in a remorseful outfit, it almost makes it ballad-like in all simplicity. But they way they manage to keep changing everything around, firstly with just a few tweaks here and there, finally breaking out the synthesizer to completely mesmerize the listener. One of my favorite tracks on the whole release so far.

Scissors” is their definitive anthem. It is sad to hear how it goes down the same way that “Port Isabel” did. The vocals really don’t fit, they sound so off together with the wondrousness crafted with the drummachine and the synthesizers. There was an urgency in this song that allured to emotion – but as the vocals make their presence heard – one just wants to turn it off. Otherwise, had it not been like that, it would’ve been a great song. But no, sorry, it simply doesn’t fit with everything else and if anyone suggest it does – sure, it might, but in a very weird and unkempt manner.

CC Exit” is all-in-all a nice medley, intermezzo if you will. A bridge which one would want to cross, to find out what is beyond it. Since I haven’t heard their other, later releases, it’s kind of an obstacle to describe it in relation to one another. But in regards to the album as such it is something that keeps you stunned, and motivated to seek out what comes next. Led Er Est have made an impression with this, first release. I weren’t too interested or thrilled to be listening to their music before, but this album prooves me wrong.

Well worth a buy from Mannequin Records now that they’ve re-released it. Buy it here. Listen to the album in full down below, to make up your own mind about it.

 

 

Premiere: Light House – In Their Image [Musicvideo]

The people of Light House, namely Dawn Sharp, Chris Relyea and Brooks Blackhawk, have been busy making their track “In Their Image” from the EP with the same name – into a music-video. With the help of Brooklyn filmmaker Jeffrey Richardson, whom have directed this video, and cinematographer Rebecca Steele – they’ve realized a totally symbolic, and picturesque landscape. Matching their song in a way that represents both the song itself, but also their intent with showing the visual elements of nature, as well as the cross that Dawn Sharp has on her garment. There’s a lot that the viewer will have to rationalize and take in, but it is inducing, hypnotizing and serves to make something more out of the track at hand. The looming heavy beats, the sharp atmosphere, suggestive filming – everything is important in compromising the song for what it might contain, and adding to the sublime nature of it. We get to follow Dawn Sharp in this music-video, in what I presume is a channeling of everything we’re missing out on. There are certain ritualistic aspects about the music-video, from the slowly fading clips of trees, vegetation, dew – the last-mentioned making you feel like it’s early in the morning, but still cold. It’s post-winter and pre-spring.

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In my interview with Dawn and Chris last year, they actually hinted that they were going to film this. In regards to the song “In Their Image“, Dawn Sharp outlined: “That song is really important to us because it kind of exemplifies Light House’s sound. We are getting ready to shoot a video for that song actually“. She also commented: “…we want to keep it a surprise but it will definitely include some Northwest beauty and filming at night“. This will, beyond the shadow of the doubt, set some things straight in regards to this music-video. Because some of the video is set in the early morning, and some of it is filmed by night. The most wonderful thing about the video is when Dawn Sharp comes into the picture in the beginning, and the music haven’t started yet. It gives you some kind of peace of mind, just to disturb you a little bit and get you into the song immediately, only sparing a few seconds of total calm. A video worth watching. Additionally, Dawn Sharp edited this piece together with Jeffrey Richardson, and she was also the stylist of this production. I will also mention Sarah Jane McKinley, who was the production assistant. They will also be finished mixing a new EP, when this weekend has passed. By the way, Dawn Sharp of Light House also mentioned that the re-presses of their EP is sold out over at Mannequin Records, but that they have a few vinyl-copies left of the first pressings – released by themselves. So go and get them!

Interview with Light House!

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Light House is a two-piece group that is hard to categorize music-wise. They stumble upon each other as their intricate music is filled to the brink with cold wave, minimal synth, industrial, dark wave and everything in between. The core members of Light House have always been Chris Relyea and Dawn Sharp, with occasional help from Brooks Blackhawk (Atriarch) and their new addition to the gang – Frank Burkard, whom you’ll know more about if you read this interview. It’s one of those groups that you simply set your eyes on and couldn’t turn away for a moment. When I started listening to their music, I was simply hooked. Since 2011, they’ve released everything from their self-released 7¨ in that year, to their “2012 / WISHBONE” 7¨ which was released in 2012. To their first EP ever, titled “In Their Image EP“, which was first released by Freee Records and later on, in 2013 – re-released by Mannequin Records. Here, in this interview, you’ll get to know a little bit more about their forthcoming album, how they evolved, what Light House means to them, their thoughts about their own music, and much more. Read this or leave it be, but I bet it won’t leave you unshaken.

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Spotlight [SP. ED 2]: Light House / DUST!

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This Italian label named Mannequin Records have long been releasing newly re-issued stuff specifically from the 80’s. They’ve actually released new bands since the beginning, but I’ve always seen them as a “re-issue” label. Since I first and foremost saw them as a re-issue label, I needed to wash that stamp away with some highly intensive synth-pop, quirky minimal synth and charged industrialized cold wave. In this Special Edition of spotlight, we’re guided to the latest releases from this magnificent label. One is a debut-release and the other is a group that has been around since 2012. Newly formed, newly shaped and freshly squeezed. We present to you reviews of: Light House and DUST.

a2890133176_10Light House originates from Portland, where they’ve been around a couple of years. This group features the members Chris Relyea (ex- The Rapture), with Dawn Sharp and Brooks Blackhawk from Atriarch. Their debut-release “In Their Image“, is a four-tracked arachnoid, churning out poisonously addictive dark-wave and minimal synth. This EP of theirs is a somnambulist and ritualistic approach to these genres. Forged with utmost respectfulness to the ambiguous elements that rarely is concocted together with dark wave. Every hit of the longing synthesizer is a reminder that this world is much larger than we’d think it would be. As you slowly sink into the deep-end of the rosewater, when the darkened and spacious rhythms hit your ears like a concrete wall. Together with the pumping beat that continuously vibrates in conjunction with the rest of the beautifully laden sound-scape in front of you. Every mechanism is turning til’ the last component, as you slowly get indulged in the momentum that has been garnering since the start. Fleshy arpeggios, abstract motions and a charmingly sinister sound is what you’re trying to grasp. There’s nothing to hold on to, but there’s everything to hear. To the more classic dark wave experimental with darker intentions, that utilize more of the minimal synth phenomenon when it steps up to the plate. Sweeping synthesizers that forms the textures, with thin threads around the cocoon. When they play around a little bit more with the industrialized and constant rhythm of both their cold wave, the spacious sounds and the minimal synth – heads are turned on their tails. You’d feel obligated to vocalize it together with the vocalist, as she for the first time spread out more of her unorthodox arrhythmic wings. Here, the synthesizers become more grandiose, as every melody is being used to convince you that the layers upon layers of goodness is meant to be for you. It feels personal, with no strings attached, and no pretensions to be found. Deep, from within their hearts, this is for you. I can surely recommend this release, because it is some of the better dark wave mixed with other genres as a crossover, that I have heard for a long time. Especially the last song. Unfortunately the EP is already sold out, but you can listen to it down below.

a1178281350_10DUST, on the other hand, is something different. Even though the common denominator is electronic music. Featuring the collective of korean noise goddess Greem Jellyfish, psych musician/model Angela Chambers, tech audio engineer Michael Sherburn and DJ John Barclay. Originally an dark italo project, now a “combat” techno meets acid house phenomenon. Their intentions are great, as their machines continually pound out the analogue wondrous of acidic textures upon psychedelic longing, in the form of wailing. Consisting of rhythms that would easily punch you in the face and not apologize for it. You’ll have your feet stomping to this as you make your way through this four-tracked explosion of influences. Whilst it tries to re-direct your attention from the bombastic tones, it will suddenly begin to smack your face around with its virtually unchallenged beats that make every techno-maniac shy away in displeasure. Not because it’s bad, but because it is so heavy. This is both as crazy as it can get, with the overtly psychedelic screams and insane vocals. Brace yourself, as the reverberated madness strikes you with provocative lines of futuristic synthesizers, together with charred and spontaneous hits with the electronic hammer. Whatever you’d want to fit in here, is fitted. Whether it consists of quirky synthesizers that graciously show you how to move, or if it is aggressively stomping its way through your living room. Even though some of the italo makes itself noticeable within the rhythms and the melodies, they leave far more space for other influences to grow strong and every single member adds their expertise to fulfill their sacred challenge of introducing this irrational mixture to you as a listener. The more you try to understand it, the more mysterious it gets. Don’t turn your back, because this is freakishly potent stuff. So, whether you like acid house or prefer some stompy techno, or simply just want to “chill” out to some italo influences – everything is for you. But I should warn you, this is a deadly mix in between the borders of these three genres. You should enter at your own risk, because there’s a big risk involved with listening to this. Because you might get hooked directly. There are two copies left of this release, so I suggest you make a run for it, over here. You can also listen to it down below.