Spotlight [Compilation Special]: Not So Cold and White Circles [Part II]

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The newcomers from Eastern Europe called YusYus have proven themselves to be very efficient; both musically but also in other respects. Having released three singles since March of 2013—all of them have been dedicated to compilations. Their latest track “Proleter“, which is featured on the Not So Cold – A Warm Wave compilation, is adopted lyrically from Esad Babačić—front-man for a short-lived Yugoslavian punk-band called Via Ofensiva—that were active in the 1980’s. Re-modeled from post-punkish hardcore, but containing the same melodies sung by Esad, for the melodious run-around for the minimal synth outfit that represents YusYus. What’s most interesting is the gradual shift from the warmth of the synthesized baseline to the cold re-interpreted vocals. Combining electronic tenderness with a stale cold-wave suspension. Ambitiously crafted alongside the original influences, coming at you with a straight rhythm for a rocky appearance, chiseling out the prerequisite for a marvelous sculpture. Nothing is left for the coincidence—everything is carefully planned and staked out for their seemingly effortless implementation.

Having just released a second album, Italian post-punk, darkwave, shoegaze duo Schonwald pick and choose from a range of influences. Their contribution for the compilation is “Gemini“, a track originally featured on their double-single “Mercury / Gemini“, put out on 7¨-vinyl by the American label Hozac Records, in 2013. When it comes to their sound, thoughtfulness are their strongest key to combining these different genres. A hugely sounding bass-drum that pushes everything forward, together with suggestive vocals that solicit our inner feelings—using metaphors in their lyrics to provoke an emotional reaction. Most of it seems to be somewhere in between minimal synth and those sub-genres, but that doesn’t explain the multifaceted deliverance which their darkwave vein conjure in the atmosphere for them. This is from a time where they were in between having released a first album in 2008—experimental as hell—searching for a new sound. We think it was a good situation for them to be in, because this certainly stitch everything together, from beginning to end. Both for the individual track, but also in a larger perspective.

Now here’s a newcomer (at least for us) we forgot about, namely: Tiers. Actualized once again whilst searching for music to write about, as they had been put up digitally on Artificial Records some days ago—for their sophomore release “Winter“—which had been released a year ago from now, on vinyl. Their song “Vignette” is a new one featured on this compilation. What I like about Tiers is how their atonal sound makes for a harsh cold-induced venture into depths of a snow-ridden landscape—much like the title for their release. That’s also one of the reasons I don’t really like their sound, although the vocals are OK, some of their otherwise conceptually interesting sound shows itself to be sloppy. Most of it drifts away into nothingness without leaving you with any reflections on whether you’ve just been snowed in, or if what you heard had any bearing at all—leaving a mark? It starts off good but the more you get into it the more you want to get away from it. The repetitiveness doesn’t give or take anything from the atmosphere as such, nor’ does the instrumentation at any point—it just goes into a mish-mash of… what ever one could call it. We must give them appraisal for their ambitions, because the sloppiness isn’t derived out of them not trying anything at all and just going where they feel like—but rather for trying too hard. We get nowhere and we’re going to suffer from hypothermia if we stay here.

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Staying true to the concept—Hungarian artist Adam Berces have named his track “Hőhullám” (Heatwave). His own journey began with the compilation “A Classical Collection: 2006-2011” on the label Hard Body Sounds, in 2012. Two years later his album “Posztapokaliptikus Almanach” came out in two versions on SINCRONICA. Now he’s gracing us with a completely new song, where he goes ballistic on electronic body music fused with electro and minimal synth-pop. Though his vocals are enhanced and his robotic coolness shines throughout, it merely comes off as a cheap throw-down of 1980’s synth-pop versus a re-imagined minimalistic sound—allowing no ambivalent contrasts or synchronized, swell bombardments of imaginative sounds. No, this is a primitive ravishment that leaves little to your own imagination. Be it for better or worse, things can’t get more straight-forward than this. So the negative annotations to what we feel his musical achievement delivers with this track, can be turned upside down and be used as positive remarks. It depends whether you like it this way or not, and we must admit that we like it when there’s a transcendental feeling, an enchanting vision that cannot be grasped. Another thing which saves him a little bit is the general catchiness he manages to pull off between dark layers of electro, with the minimalistic drums and triggered sounds that come crashing in.

The flagship from Tacuara Records are now entering the mix. Yes, we’re talking about Vólkova—a project that is pleasurable to be introduced to for the first time. César Canali who runs the label is a part of this duo together with Paula Lazzarino. With their song for this compilation, “Come and See“—we’re flabbergasted immediately. It’s a completely new song and it alludes to the general purpose of their project, a melancholic vibe which is blended with ambient music and a film noir touch, occasional flirts with deranged noise and on bordering from darkwave into industrial for moments—quickly replaced with a piano and the continual mesmerizing beat—suddenly entering a breakbeat outbreak which flips the atmosphere entirely.  We must say that it’s one of the more interesting songs on this release so far, unfortunately some of the atmospheric and sullen sound-scape is ruined by the accentuation in the vocals. An exotic touch at first which actually blends into everything else very well, like a subversive message being uttered now and again—but it falls short in its repetitious nagging. Whenever nothing too chaotic is happening it fits, but the further in you get the more tired you are of hearing broken English and his willful dialect. Despite that—we’re more then pleased about their contribution.

Songs from “White Circle Compilation” will also be included into this article, you’ll just have to wait until it’s updated.

Listen: Coarse Language – Definite Hiatus

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There’s a Canadian indie-label that emerged in 2008, that have just put up a forthcoming release for digital streaming. It’s a label called Artificial Records – and their latest addition to their quick growing discography is an album called: “Definite Hiatus“, produced by Coarse Language—an artist (or group) unknown to us. A suitable description for their music would be “deranged electronica“, since the erratic beats and paranoid whispers conjure a prime setting for weirdness. One could also name it experimental minimal wave, but there are so many different influences at play so an umbrella term is hard to set for this kind of music. Not to mention how their melodies swiftly change, with dark baselines that draw out the worst sides of mankind in a musical setting. Multiple personalities, or alter-egos, which make the arrhythmic noise seem more friendly from one track to another — but be on your guard because they’re predators. Sometimes the melodies take the upper-hand but there’s always a minimalistic reminder of how shrouded, clad in spikes, dressed for destruction their environment is — thrashing melodies, relocating sound into bizarre harshness.

We’re not that interested in the psychological aspects of the sound, but rather how it is audio-visually—a thing Coarse Language seem to know how to do. They’re perfect alarmists with a subliminal message, whether it was originally intended for it to be like that, is not something to take into account. But a lot of the complexity in the sound reveal that another more obvious vein shows—a repetitive message (lyrically) which is contrasted by the sheer amount of invention—they seem to possess. If we’re wrong, they might even be playing with illusions to deceive; with their maniacally tedious passages later on in other tracks on the album. Even though it only contains six tracks, it’s a gem that you might not appreciate right away—rather when you’re able to sculpt your own interpretation of them. Listen to their release down below and buy a limited edition cassette (50 units) from Artificial Records — if you want a physical item.

[2nd] December: TSTI – This Way (Inst. Version)

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To be honest I haven’t been monitoring the rapid success of TSTI for a while. I remember when he was in the process of releasing his debut-album, but after that he’s also released a follow-up and there’s more yet to come. Sometimes you just loose track of everything when you’re knee-deep into everything. There’s so much to keep your own eyes and ears open to and there’s so much really untalented junk which floats around on the internet—some of it which is received through e-mail that you don’t even open and send to the trash-bin right away—that you get lost, for real. Even though I know that many things are left unexplored, it’s hard to keep it close and actually have the time to listen through it. I’m hoping that my article will do justice to what I’m going to present to you in the end of it. Before that I need to go through what is unique with TSTI and why he’s featured in Ljudkalendern — the unnamed project which got a name, when the final artwork had been received. It’s really simple and is kind of catchy in Swedish but not in English, as it translates to: “Sound-calendar“. Therefore I’ve decided to keep the Swedish name.

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We’re already in December and time flies by like it didn’t even care for us puny humans. Not that it ever does, because it’s not reversible, but sometimes you wish time would have mercy and be slow for once—not only when you’re doing something really dull. It has more to do with our perception than it has to do with time itself, I can understand and cope with that, but I wish I could just stop and reflect for a moment—which rarely, if ever, happens. TSTI have been releasing so many great tracks since the first release for this solo-project of his, originally intended to be a bedroom synthpop project, turned into a minor mammoth that just seems to go on and on… and on. I don’t really know if he stays true to what he once wanted for it, but that doesn’t make a difference for me anyway, the only difference that have been made is that he’s evolved really much. From a rather neatly placed synth-pop package with huge ambitions—turned upside down, making it an ambitious project extremely nicely packaged both in sound and aesthetics. His artwork follows a linear curve and the only thing different is the main focus point, which feature an industrial compound (Evaluated), as opposed to the Victorian setting on his debut-album (Evaluations). It will be exciting to see what’s going to happen in 2015 and if the aesthetics will follow the red line, or go past, above, away or beyond it. Because he’s releasing something new in the beginning of next year on Desire — and I’m thrilled about it.

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So when I asked him if he would be interested in participating in a non-commercial collection that I was making, he surely was and gave away an instrumental version of a track featured on his forthcoming release. It never got onto the official release itself, so I thought—why not place it on Ljudkalendern? Said and done — now we had an agreement. It is my pleasure to introduce to you an instrumental version of the track “This Way“, taken from his coming album that will be out next year—2015. It’s a step away from what I was used to hearing on his debut-album, definitely with obvious leanings to electronic body music and industrial music, but also with contrasts like including a panpipe in an industrialized setting. Harsh beats, complex rhythms and a nicely woven melody which is supported by this bizarre instrument. A thoughtful song which doesn’t become less interesting than the fully vocalized original track. Before you go and listen to it, read my poem about it. Otherwise, if you’re not into poetry — here’s for December the 2nd and a brand new premiere on Ljudkalendern!

Metal pipes and ringing sounds,
working hard in our compounds
Hammer to metal, machines for humans,
benefited for all means

This is 2nd of December and for now the story is moving straight ahead, but we’re long from close to our final destination. Tomorrow a new song will be released and the story is to be built upon and continued. Until then, enjoy another exclusive song; “This Way” (Inst. Version), on Repartiseraren.

[1st] December: Xiu – Law Of Light

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Winding down, coming home and changing around to accommodate ourselves to the reality we left for another — is not an easy task. We’ve just headed for a vacation and here we are, strong-armed by the world we left a couple of days ago. Time flies by so quickly, so we’ve just calmed down before there was a storm heading for us — a metaphorical one. Now when everything is moving back to what it was before we left it, we have something exciting to announce for everyone reading this blog-zine. You will not believe your eyes, nor’ your ears.

We’ve been working on a project in secrecy. Today is the day when we reveal what’s to come and what you’ll never want to hear, anyway. This project started some months ago and they were only going baby-steps, if anywhere, forward. It all began when I asked Xiu if she wanted to participate and lend an exclusive track for this purpose. She did so and asked if we could not include more people who would be featured in the project to come – so we said: “sure, why not?“. This resulted in the project being even larger then we could have ever anticipated. It grew from one to a number I won’t reveal right now, that will be revealed once the project is over. One of the corner-stones is that it is a non-commercial collection – not really a compilation to be released — but rather a “project” collecting fragments of what Repartiseraren is, and what is preferred around here. I put an emphasis on “non-commercial” and “collection“, just so there will not be any confusion with what it really is and what it is meant to represent.

It was really easy for the artists and groups that are featured on this non-commercial collection — to realize what they should and should not contribute with. Either an exclusive unreleased and newly composed song — or an already composed (but unreleased) track — for the sole purpose of being collected. What can be said, other then “we’re really overwhelmed by the response“? Nothing other than that. We would like to thank everyone that were and still is involved, because without you — this would not even have been possible to begin with. You’ve put your sweat and craftsmanship into it and you can tell by the way it sounds, no matter what genre you’ve set yourself up for.

So let’s get to the point. Since Oksana Rodinova (Xiu) was kind enough to give us ideas which helped the project further, she’s the one who starts this project off with a bang. We’ve gotten our hands on the track “Law Of Light” which is exclusive for this project. We think it displays how she’s evolved and how she can stop in evolution just to give another side of what Xiu is about, another insight — if you will. A suggestive and dark, but transparent song which deals with a certain topic in so many ways possible, within the realms of minimal synth and cold-wave — combined. Before you go ahead and listen to it, we’re also able to present a music-video for your viewing and listening pleasure. You can watch it above. So do that first and then read the first poem when you’ve opened the first window in this calendar:

Take me into the light,
let me be your plight
Lead me to your law,
so that I can withdraw

This is 1st of December and now the story begins. Tomorrow a new track will be released and the story will be continued. But until then, enjoy the exclusive song “Law Of Light” and the music-video for it, on Repartiseraren.

Listen: Geometry Combat (+ Exclusive Premiere)

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Dramatic voices heard in the distance, but still so close. Beats come crashing down upon you. There’s nowhere to hide and a sense of urgency is mediated through roaring melodies. Geometry Combat is a new project — and the architect who creates the schematic (sound-scape) — is rather anonymous. He’s managed to shackle the visionary and at the same time dystopic, landscape with an overtone of dark electronica, where minimal synth and electronic body music form the launching-pad on which he sets the rhythm and melody — prepare for take-off. From the diluted perspective that “Killing Movement” convey, to the straight-forwardness of “Darkest Sins“, up until the nearly wholly industrialized sound of “Body Hammer” — make him a master of contrasts — even though most of his music seem to be shaped from the same genres.

We’re able to give you a foretaste of what’s to come. His only releases so far are three songs equally as diverse, but in two weeks a debut-album will be released. So we came up with a great idea for those of you who might enjoy a sound like this, and for those of you who haven’t yet heard of this project — the ability to stream an exclusive track from the forthcoming release. It’s called “Deadly Armour Ceremony” and holds an even more militaristic stance musically then any other track. The post-apocalyptic scenario is fully embedded, but you don’t really know if you’re in the middle of it or if it’s still pre-, or post-. A great deal of confusion is delivered amidst emotionally provocative melodies that wrench out the most of you — with force, whether you approve of it or not. You have a virtual barrage of artillery, machine-gun fire and everything you could think of, coming at you — full-force. Stream the exclusive track down below and listen to his current tracks up above.

Världspremiär: Agent Side Grinder – Beloved Fool (feat Kite)

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Det är inte varje dag som två av den svenska underjordens väldiga banbrytare möts i en och samma låt. Särskilt inte när det handlar om synth-pop, även om det med vissa undantag har existerar förut. Men det här är något helt annat. Det var ett bra tag sedan något höll så hög klass, att man bara kunde skriva under på det — med silverpenna på ett tomt ark. På Agent Side Grinders kommande EP “This Is Us” så är de så avklädda de bara kan bli, till stor del på grund utav att de gästas men även influeras av Kite som bihang. Fast egentligen känns det inte som att det är dem som figurerar i bakgrunden, för det känns som om deras ljudbilder flyter samman — eller så är det bara en kvarliggande fantasi man har, sedan man lyssnat till deras inhopp och tyckt om precis allt. Allt som händer känns äkta, men det enda referensmaterialet man får är med titelspåret och med den låt som kommer att ha världspremiär här på Repartiseraren. Två låtar är ju remixer och det kan man ha olika åsikter om, men det är inte precis där jag lägger mitt fokus — denna gång.

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Dock är det läpmligt att nämna hur rätt i tiden detta ligger. Bägge planerar nämligen sina egna stordåd, för både Agent Side Grinder och Kite planerar att släppa nytt material nästa år. Då är det perfekt att de verkligen samarbetar på en låt så att det blir en slags försmak inför vad som komma skall. Den låt som Repartiseraren har fått äran att ge er att lyssna på exklusivt från detta insignifikanta lilla blogg-zine, heter “Beloved Fool” av Agent Side Grinder och där gästar Kite. Låten är en väldigt intressant sådan eftersom att det känns som om två ljudbilder samsas om att överta varann, men där de istället fungerar i perfekt symbios tillsammans. Det är inte direkt en ödeskamp om överlevnad, utan snarare en slags fröjd; där seriositeten letar sig fram någonstans mellan lagren. För det är trots allt en förnöjsam låt där lättsamheten bär tonerna längs en kavalkad som lyser upp den mörka vinterhimmeln med värme. När man närmar sig slutet mot året kanske man inte direkt är tillfreds, men till tonerna av “Beloved Fool” så lättar man på sitt missnöje och intar inte direkt rollen som Farbror Scrooge. “This Is Us” släpps av Progress Productions den 26:e November. EP:n spelades in i November, mastrades av Henrik Alsér från Svenska Grammofonstudion Mastering, skivomslag och konst skapad av Kristoffer Grip.

Exclusive Premiere: I/II – Tectonics (Transverse)

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I embarked on a journey a couple of days ago. It had nothing to do with going to Paris, Berlin, London, Oslo, Helsinki or anything else – because it had to do with I/II. Somehow I managed to hijack a premiere which had been lent to me by co-operating with the Austrian label Totally Wired Records. Ever since I interviewed the man behind I/II, 1/2, or what ever he wants to call it himself – maybe Split Personalities to make it more than a suggestive symbol, I’ve had the ride of my life. Not because I ever wanted to, but because he re-tells stories or take up subjects in each of his tracks, at the same time he’s letting the genres change each time a new subject comes up. It started with the first track from his forthcoming mini-album “Earthquakes Usually Come Around At Night“, titled “Let’s call it a day“. This one didn’t actually have anything written to explain what it means, but it has something to do with dancing the night away and ignoring important subjects. Lock away the prisoners – there’s nothing to see here, everything’s nice and tidy. Just take some drugs and it will be fine. It’s a minimal electronics, minimal synth, experimental wonderworld which is laid upon the foundation of something that I would call a split between low-keyed noise and minimal industrial. You never know what will show up, but the soft-spoken voice in such a static environment brings up questions in your own head. Which is probably how it’s meant to be, when synced with the lyrical content.

Then the song “Transmissions End” have a steady post-punk baseline laid upon the same experimental and minimal ground. It takes up many subjects which are entwined with the other song, but it deals with freedom of speech, a realistic thought on how people get by – when time’s harsh on you and the tide can turn at any time. The paradox between your own constructed reality which often times is shaken to the core when faced with the brutality that real life can be – and might’ve become for people. I don’t really know, but that’s how I interpret it via the lyrical content. It’s a catchy song which serves as a tragicomical take on a post-modern world in a digital age, steaming on the tracks of supposed progress just to be flying out of a cliff with the next turn it takes. I believe that minimal synth, blip-blop (8-bit melodies) and post-punk are at the center of this rather cheerful but serious song. There’s a contrast between the melodies and the rhythm of the stern baseline that chugs away.

Now we get to the part where Repartiseraren gets involved. We had the opportunity to collaborate with Totally Wired Records on the weekly premiere that was scheduled before the mini-album is released in its entirety. So we got a hold of the third song, called “Tectonics (Transverse)” which is probably one of the most ambigious songs on the whole release. It starts off with “Kill them all” and a swift but hard-hitting industrial beat which changes into a monotonous acidic temptation, very quickly. We’re somewhere in between minimal electronic body music and acid. Whatever you do, it’s pointless to fight at all. It’s probably the most concrete but vividly explained subject which I/II brings up with this mini-album. Here’s where our own involvement ends, here’s where I present to you the exclusive premiere of “Tectonics (Transverse)“. I believe you should get into “Statues” and “Function (Push To the Limit)” – just so you can make up your own mind when it comes to the two last songs. However, now it’s time to listen to what I can exclusively offer until the 28th of November – when the mini-album is to be released.