Review: TSTI – Endings

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Some time ago TSTI had his third album released, or second if you don’t count “Evaluated: An Album Of Remixes“. German-based Basic Unit Productions have gotten the pleasure to release “Endings” – which is the apt title of the release. Other Voices Records have also gotten their share of it and have released a limited edition cassette of it. We’ve had the possibility of listening to a few of the demos before this was released and they sounded promising, as does his whole discography. The aesthetics of the release are industrial and very cut and paste, not really anything we enjoy at all, and the first album “Evaluations” looked more alluring visually.

The album clocks in at around thirty-six minutes in total. So let’s get into what this album has to offer in its entirety, by doing a track-by-track review of it.

Things I Would Do” is a special kind of song when it comes to the atmosphere, right from the start there is an inviting kind of mystic vibe over it but at the same time an assertive industrial sound to it. We’re not really fans of the processed vocals at all but the lyrics in this song are simple but add a catchy melodious tone to an – at first – deserted landscape. The favorite part comes forth in the build-up until the chorus and the chorus itself, as they both pack a melodious punch which is remindable and emotional. It lurks in the background and comes out in full bloom together with the drum beats and snaredrum, which later on forms a stunning introductory to a hopefully, equally as great album.

We’ve been fortunate enough to hear the craftsman, S. Smith, create this marvelous tune step-by-step until it finally was released on Basic Unit Productions. Even though the fondness of the demo-version of this song have caught on, his stamp throughout it makes for a more bombastic and impactful experience.

Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” is a lot more pop-influenced then the first one, but he stays true to himself and his sound, which allows for a heavier side to take place amongst the cheesier vibes of the flute and the melody itself. It is not necessarily the build-up and climax of the song which is interesting, but rather the dissective nature of the downbeat melodies that are produced in between – giving it a whole atmosphere instead of a half one. We don’t think “Jennifer Touch” adds anything that gives this song momentum, or a different characteristic, which is probably not what was meant – but as a collaborative effort it is stale. The instruments and rhythm are more interesting here then the synthesizers for the most part, as they are more complex and add more to the song overall.

The slower nature of “Sincerity” allows S. Smith to build up a better atmosphere then in any of the other songs, this one crushes totally in terms of the synthesizers vibrancy and the emotional delivery of his vocals. It is almost like an anthemic ballad in of itself and layer upon layer of instrumentation cut right through and form the shape of a transgression between straight-forward synth-pop and ambient music. A very nice addition which sprawls from his old sound and new, to connect and make something greater then all of that. Too bad that he underestimates this kind of touch with his other songs, whom are more industrial in nature, but not in the crafty kind of way – because they build upon a foundation of synth-pop – instead of a transgressiveness between severeal genres.

It is a dreamy song and we drear the end of it, which comes at a too fast pace unfortunately. Even though it is the slowest song yet, but at the time it is allowed to brood and deliver chord upon chord of nicely laden synthesized beauty – is precisely the reason why one ought to check out TSTI in his new form.

Forgive Me” catch elements of the previous song and have also been featured on Repartiseraren’s own compilation “Whoever Am I”, long before release. It is noticeable how Sid’s (from Schwefelgelb) mastering have affected the song, because it is somewhat different from Zarkoff (who mixed the re-mastered compilation) – so it is very intriguing to hear how different characteristics, in terms of mastering – can be heard in the end product. Since we have a special bond to this song in terms of nostalgia itself, it is hard to not have a personal connection to the song itself, but it lacks in momentum although it is picked together quite good through the atmosphere of the song itself. There is never a dull moment and around the corner there’s a whole different interpretation in itself.

The song has very different characteristics throughout, which is what ultimately makes it different as well as fitting at the same time. Everything runs like clockwork and the time never stops until S. Smith cares to do it himself, by ending on a high note. It’s a very classy song in terms of tone and clarity, where the repetetive lyrics play an integral role to it moving forward at all.

Strange Times” really catches one off-guard. Damn, the first melody is a work of art in itself and from there and on you can’t turn the song off. Had S.U.R.V.I.V.E moved in a different way and taken the help of S. Smith – this is how it would sound like. There’s a certain niceness about the mysticism in the song itself, the sweet touches of synthesizers and not-too-industrial beats make this outstanding synth-pop music. By now, had it been some other album, it probably would’ve dulled off by now. Here’s the part where musicians fall short, oftentimes, if they have an album that goes on for as many songs as “Endings” does. The samples that can also be heard but in another form, on “Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” take a step into informing the listener – rather then shake the world together with beats.

It is good to hear how the first melody is expanded in the end and clangs out like it should’ve. Not that we’ve heard this song before, but because it is just what is supposed to happen – it is the destiny of this song.

To Visit You Again” is metaphorically speaking the most emotional song so far. Both in message and sound. The longing, the outdrawn beats that scrape against the soundscape and the desperation in the atmosphere that lunge towards you in an instant. It draws upon mutated choirs that between added effects and from high to low notes, add a nicely angelic touch to an otherwise doom and gloom song. It is also the only instrumental song on the whole album. Which is a pleasure to listen through. The repetetiveness of it doesn’t bother at all because it is inventive and make use of the different small touches added to the whole totality of sound. When “Flatter Me” comes on, it is obvious that it is a direct continuation of the aforementioned instrumental song. They share many of the same ambitions in being emotionally touching and direct, together with impervious melodies that never stagnate.

Here though, the melodies are taken into a different direction which both touch upon these elements and create a whole other atmosphere – the intangible nature of TSTI’s sound is one of his strengths. All of a sudden everything is downhill and from there it goes uphill, the emotions come crashing down and the beats develop intensity as they shift from rhythm to rhythm. Very flattering of him to do so.

R.A.S.” never hits home but at the same time does. It is a song filled with paradoxical sound production, with melodies that sound oriental at times and the complete opposite. There’s a shyness and awkwardness about it as a whole, as if he doesn’t want it to bloom out completely – as he holds it even closer. He shapes and unshape things, from rhythms that don’t really make sense to beats that almost put the synthesizer’s wonderful soundscaping out of play. Maybe it is the complete destruction of everything, the ending as it is, even though this certainly isn’t his last contribution in terms of sound as TSTI.

Unfortunately, the remixes of “Things I Would Do“, by Hante and Ssleeping desiresS don’t do the original justice. It is much better and their versions of it aren’t up to par with it, and it doesn’t even create anything tangible from the perspective of making a new version, or something that could possibly stand out in any way, in terms of musicianship.

The album as a whole is a decent thing to listen to. It might even be better then that, though some things are hit and miss – but when it comes down to it, TSTI hones his old sound and develops something new – not necessarily breaking everything down and making the outcome dull and boring. Listen to it in whole down below.

 

 

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.

 

 

Review: Marker – Marker

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Medical Records haven’t gotten that much attention over at Repartiseraren, which needs to be changed right away. They’ve been putting out some really solid releases throughout the years, but as they’ve been etched to the back of the brain for some time – it felt necessary to take a closer look at one of their latest releases. One of those releases is a self-titled one by Marker – it is also a debut full-length release from him – which makes the reviewing more exciting in a way. The album clocks in at around forty five minutes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything this laidback and dreamy, yet in-your-face emotional. The first song “Identification Of A Woman” stands out from the stereotypical shoegaze drivel, laying down a serious beat and having an atmosphere that isn’t drowned out by the reverb. There are undertones in the vocals that make for an outdrawn, dreamlike scenario that could be listened to for as long as one pleases – without pauses, really. As the song grows on you, it develops that pleasantly emotional vibe which pushes every instrument at the forefront suddenly.

Having been more of a concentrated song that relied more on the combination of the instruments, the synthesizers, the drum-machine and guitar-riffs stand out on their own to add their own urgency to it. As the song comes full-circle in the end and fades out, “Nothing New” draws in from nowhere and is more nonchalant. There’s a boldness that is added into the rhythm, which feels very solid and present. It is a bit less bombastic then the first song and have been stripped a bit. One great aspect that gets more noticeable half-way in is how the reverb is used perfectly to draw out the atmosphere and extend the song, giving it a different character – then bouncing back to the established rhythm.

Now I Know What You Really Think” – the name of the song alone is something that draws you in. As it starts, the accentuated baseline fetch a certain groove together with the basedrum. Starting off minimalistic, gradually attaining the more atmospheric sound which by now feels very characteristic and established only three songs in. What is exceptional about this song is how the melodies are applied with a soft touch and are unleashed with their maximal potential in the end. A nice addition is how the intro and the outro of the song is – as if something tuned on/off a radio or a TV-set.

At The Memory” is nicely laden musically – perfectly set up as a more retrospective kind of track. The melodies are nicely paired up with one another in the beginning of the song, but it kind of sets off on its own further in. I’m not sure what to think about that, but it is made up by how the melodies hold together impeccably. The main ambition in this song are the melodies. Everything else is a bit lacking, honestly. It could be because you don’t notice it as much or because it might’ve been become slightly formulaic by now. The song organically floats on and is caught up in some kind of intermezzo as it ends. Entangled in greatness.

By now it would seem as if this bedroom-pop metamorphosed into shoegaze could become a bit boring – this is proven wrong in “A Problem With No End” – whose atmosphere stands out even more. The vocals add up even more in creating the general feeling of this song. When one thinks it sounds out of tune, the sheer complexity of it all prooves it to be wrong, as it changes in the last second to progress the rhythm and melodies further. As the baseline trickles down and become darker and darker, everything else drifts away and becomes even dreamier. When “Classic II” comes on, it feels like every one of the songs are intimately connected, but not in the traditional way.

Let me explain. Each fragment of sound from each song is collected and utilized throughout, which give similarities but also differences. He plays around with the melodies, the rhythms, the atmosphere – not trying to create anything completely unique with every track – but giving them common denominators – which is especially noticeable with the vocals and melodies. While not straying to far away with experimentalism, his attempt at creating worthwhile music has succeeded. But when you’ve come as far as “Pale Silver“, it feels as if the album could’ve been shortened a bit.

As soon as that feeling is taken into account, there’s an off-shoot of the melody that create something new. Unexpectedly. The anguish in the vocals in this particular song feel really powerful. It is probably one of my favorite songs off the whole record. “What You Do To Me” is a more ballad-like and slower track which make the instruments shine more on their own. It is not as harsh and it in some way encompasses the ride one’s taken as one embarked upon listening to this in the first place.

Come Out“, the next-last song is more of the same but the expressiveness can’t be left uncommented. You feel very frail, but at the same time it gives initiative. One is filled with energy by the sudden shift of rhythm and the angelic synthesizers. A certain kind of hopefulness can be found in the middle of all anguish. Though after having heard this song, as it switches into the last one, titled “Follow It Down” – it feels like a mish-mash of everything – executed poorly. To begin with, there’s a good kind of atmosphere but after a while it goes bonkers. Had it been more structured – it would’ve been a great end to a good album.

You can listen to it in full via Medical Records bandcamp here below. If it is anything for you, I suggest you get it. Apparently it releases on the 21st of July, but if one is to generalize about this album in whole – it is definently worth laying your hands upon. Get the vinyl by following this link.

 

[13th] December: Acapulco City Hunters – Chaser

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Acapulco. A Mexican municipality but mainly a city, with as many as 234 communities—the most populous being Acapulco itself—with 673 479 inhabitants as of 2010, 85,25% of the people reside in the city. When counting the most populous cities except the main one, which are: Xaltianguis, Kilómetro 30, Tres Palos, San Pedro las Playas, Amatillo—the population combined account for 3,25% of the whole municipality, making it 25857 inhabitants in total, one starts to wonder where the rest of the 11,5% have gone. Where are the other cities? Are there smaller towns, considering there are so many communities? Questions remained unanswered. Here are when Acapulco City Hunters come in – it seems like they’re looking for an answer to that question. Maybe they’re straying away, in metaphors and synonyms, but they’re probably concerned.

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Or maybe, just maybe – we’ve been tricked by these con-artists. Making us think of Mexico as the main inspiration for their name, specifically related to the aforementioned questions, but it can also mean “Goin’ to Acapulco“—a track from “Dylan Basement Tapes” (1976), and I paraphrase from an outtake from Sid Griffin’s book “Million Dollar Bash” – from the source Shelton, Robert (1986)—music-journalist Clinton Heylin commented on its sexual innuendo: …featuring the usual debauched narrator, rambunctious harmonies, and euphemistic ribaldry according to Wikipedia. We can see how both sexual innuendos are fitted in a musical environment, influenced or not by either Sid Griffin’s book, Basement Tapes, or Mexico’s ‘lost’ cities and/or communities. A lot of the topics seem to suggest a strong influence of either everything – or simply one of the things listed above.

It’s interesting to note how Acapulco City Hunters is in plural, though other things like ‘his’ patchwork blog “Cosmic Beam“—suggests otherwise. Maybe since the Facebook-page is categorized as a “Community“, rather than an Artist-page, could reveal certain other possible theories. Pluralis it is because it suits the influences for ‘his’ project. If you get the reference we’re trying to make here, you’ve got a good sense of detail. The music-making dates back two years, from when he released “Haunted Bombai“—later to have a remix of the song by “DYSWIL“—filmed by Thomas Skrobek. Apparently a collective (now defunct?) named: “Negative Beat“. One of the actors’ names (Juliette Mellard) suggest that it really is a project born and based in France—collecting individual influences elsewhere.

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He’s also done a good rendition of; Marianne Faithfull‘s “Broken English“, originally released on LP in the UK 1979, via Island Records—now a sub-division to Universal Music Group. Though we’re not enthusiasts of Marianne’s intonation – we respect and understand such an immense contribution to England’s—and the world’s—music-life that she, and her discography have revealed throughout the years. With added minimalist synthesizers and a stripped-down not as extravagant atmosphere, Acapulco City Hunters make me like “Broken English“, and take the song for what it is – albeit in a completely new way. We must say that nothing beats an original, not even an original you’re not so delighted to hear in the first place, but they do a perfectly okay effort. We’re sorry to say that the bleep-synthesizer sound is too loud, which takes away part of the experience of listening.

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Now I won’t go any further into his discography, more than note that I have written about the split he did with Luminance, titled “The Cold Rush“. Sure, most of it sounds alike when listening through once in a while, but there are certain characteristics that Acapulco City Hunters had developed—that I heard when I had listened to it for a while. We prefer when he doesn’t overcharge on his ethnic vibes. When he keeps it nice and tidy, melodically ambitious and switches between different modes of electronica – is when he’s at his peak. This was exactly what he did with that release. Ironically enough he sings about evolution in “Magdalena” and evolved he has—at least musically. Recently, he also was featured in a track he did together with Luminance—on the “The Broken Window Theory“—a newly released compilation on Wool-E Records.

For Ljudkalendern he gives us, on the 13th December, unfortunately with a delayed article, a song titled “Chaser” – which might actually be the musical hunt for Acapulco. It seems to be something defining him, at the same time cranking up the tempo to maximum—making way for a spastic and erratic synthesizer-driven track. It’s a newly produced song for the purpose of this non-commercial collection – not compilation. We hope that you’ll take a bit of his musical concept with you in your thoughts after you’ve heard it—as delicate as it is forceful.

[7th] December: Conspiracy Coven – Plague

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Things mustn’t happen for a Sunday to be exciting. It’s not the excitement that makes for a good Sunday—it’s the ability to relax from a hard weeks work. Whether you enjoy it or find it to be a day where nothing materializes, it’s still one of the most important days in our opinion. You can make much of it if you only wanted. We’ve invited Conspiracy Coven to participate in hindering this night from entering the next day, an even worse one called: Monday. Being an anonymous solo-project which leaves no trails for investigation—we’d rather not anyway—make it even more of a fascination—in sound. His first album “Dark Disco“, a five-tracked mini-album have not yet sold out the twenty limited edition copies of a cassette well-worth buying. So we’ll push for this release here and make you buy it because it lends more funds for him to continue making his music. You might have noted that it’s somewhere in between minimal synth and post-punk, though not a regular streamlined project as it holds a layer of nicely crafted analog synthesizer. A simplified and minimalistic approach with tendencies to whirl out into a planned happenstance. Not to mention how irregular synthesizer melodies are smashed together by an analogue drum-machine.

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We must admit that some of the vocals on the release sound rather cheesy, but in an intelligible way. This son of Norway have just put out his first release a few months ago so cut him some slack. He’s still developing his sound into what came to be a ragbag of different influences, plus ways to create music in which other artists and groups fall short. For Ljudkalendern he’s created a completely different track—from what he usually puts out. It’s in a whole different class and style, putting an end to the cheesy interior of his otherwise promising sound—making it even more intense and dark. There’s some kind of electronic body music peeking out of his energetic minimal synth, minimal wave sound which he’s constructed for this non-commercial collection. A newly produced track called “Plague“, featuring darker tones in his voice and a more spastic, erratic atmosphere which fills you with uncertainty. Maybe not as predictable as other tracks in our fair opinion. You’ll be able to stream this song exclusively as a part of Ljudkalendern—for the 7th of December.

Poem:

Head down into your conscience,
for a new reality of unbridled brutality
Re-wire your synapses,
until your brain collapses

No more questions shall be asked. Just let it sink into your mind and make his sound a spiritual protection. We’re in a meta-physical state over-viewing our puny selves. Shape up and settle down, because your savior is here, he will shield you against inadequacy. Here’s for a new form of Conspiracy Coven, for the 7th December, exclusively for your listening pleasure (or displeasure): “Plague“. Next up is the 8th of December, a dull Monday where you’ll need another track. You’ll have to wait.

Listen: Venin Carmin – Glam is gone

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We must admit that we’ve gone and gotten ourselves stuck with a ‘guilty pleasure‘. Venin Carmin from the electronica duo Kelly und Kelly, have moved on to a solo-project. She calls it ‘dead pop‘ but we’re not sure what she means by labeling it that. Her sound is in between the peppiness of popular electroclash artists and groups, with an emphasis on pop. The album “Glam is gone” is her debut-effort that is ten tracks long and spans over thirty minutes in length all together. We’re not sure if the glam has gone away but we’re pretty sure that elegant glam, glitter have gone and died somewhere, in the depths of the club’s catacomb. Though questions arise when it comes to descriptions—we’re intrigued by the sound if we could strip away the inane lyrics—but also the singing style. The whole internationally-styled delivery, often courtesy of Ed Banger Record’s entrance into French electronic music, have always been unbearable to listen to—as proven by Uffie‘s debut in the limelight with: “Pop The Glock“.

She does it way better when her chansons turn into semi-ballads with an emotional message, rather than the mindless and vain attempts to create a hybrid of melodic synth and generic post-punk. So when about half of the album have been listened through, songs like “Fade & Forget” enhance our understanding of her music. When she has the capability to create such an emotional barrage that is catchy but not too deep into pop-oriented templates, it’s intolerable to start everything over again and endure the first songs. After that song everything seems to have started over again and then—”The Spiral Dance” starts—changing everything again, to a melancholic ballad with its main focus on percussion—with lovely, but static synthesizer-pads that create a whole new atmosphere. The last song is the title-track “Glam is gone” which surprise us as she focuses more on a cold-wave singing style, a concrete and stern voice resounding. Matched with an equally as restricted atmosphere that is well-produced, but intriguing. Listen to “Glam is gone” down below and make up your own mind.

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.

B-Side

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.