Review: Canter – Traveller

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Ever since I first heard a song by Canter, their sound have struck me as something unique and out of the regularly mashed out minimal wave, cold wave, dark wave, and synth-pop sound one has gotten used to nowadays. There’s a transgressive notion in their music that descends the genres and picks influences from each one of them. When I saw that TONN Recordings had released a new album by them, I just had to listen through it and do a track-by-track review of it.

What begins as a musical seance, “Deflection” slowly descends into a mixture of industrial and synthesizer-based music. It has a very unorthodox approach as to what track it should be that starts off an album, as this song isn’t very introductory but rather downtempo and experimentally odd. As if they’d walk on the steps of acapella, electronic music and post-punk – simultaneously. Subliminally it is a wicked song that etches onto your brain and have a very disturbing approach in general, vocally.

It very much seems to continue down the trodden path in “Traveller” for the first seconds or so – but instead takes a turn for melodic, surprisingly pop-oriented synth-pop music. They seem to be splintered as a group musically, but it builds on you and it feels like the metaphorical line on which they tread is ever expanding. Especially noticeable are the vocals in this song, how the singer accentuates the last lines in the lyrics and sets the melodies up for a continuum of greatness. Being their first album ever this song gives off a really promising and unique sound in the sense that it is like nothing I’ve heard before, in terms of simplicity but also in terms of ambiguous and ambitiously sounding synthesizer music.

One’s mind is blown when “Metal to Metal” comes on. What an imaginative and stylized type of electronic music they’re capable of making. Melodies upon melodies that are layered sufficiently to create both an overtone of raw energetic music and a mystic undertone. Unfortunately the vocals aren’t that inspiring on the song, but it doesn’t matter as they go well with the sound-scape anyway, so that is just a minor nuisance. It’s a dreamy song, a well-thought out one in terms of synthesizer sweeps, minor stabs and general rhythm. Slowly fading into nothingness one more time, the more you listen to it, the more you’re hooked and can’t stand anything else.

Just to have an upbeat song, titled “Red Heather“, throw em’ into the kind of maniacal but genial type of electronic body music Schwefelgelb handles – if they’d be stripped to the core and devoid of that harsh rhythm, and beats. This is more of a fast-paced electro-punk – at the core melodious darkwave – which goes from that spastic rhythm into a controlled, hard-line maelstrom of punishing emotional electronica. After each song they seem to outdo themselves in terms of musicality, as they play around with the clay in which they mold their wondrous, dreamy but human music.

Now this song I recognize, having had the pleasure of uploading it myself into my compilation titled “Ljudkalendern III” – the song “Same” was first to be featured there. It is more of a ballad, really. Breaking from the shyness of the vocals and maturing together with the uncompromising synth-pop. I notice this might come off as being a bit biased since I’ve released the song myself some time ago, but let it be that – I’m just giving you my honest opinion. The song is great in and of itself and it was well-placed on this release, since it feels like you’re moving to the end – as the album is.

The last song on the release, “Highest Peak“, reminds me a lot of one song from the Person:A-release “Beneath The Grey Line (Sketches)“. They share a lot of attributes at least, but Canter have a more shadowy approach. It is unfortunately one of the least great song on this release. It feels too splintered in and of itself that it only works as an outro, not as a way of bridging the release towards the end and making you (the listener) want more, or at least a forthcoming second album. Even though it fails in many ways it builds up quite a momentum – only too late.

I’m surprised that TONN Recordings have released such a good album. The other releases on that label haven’t been that much of interest, but with this one they’ve managed to set themselves up for future releases. It is more then a decent release, it is actually good and most of the songs hold up. Order the physical vinyl from them if you can, otherwise you can settle with the digital release itself. Listen to it in whole down below.

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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.

 

 

Video Premiere: Man, Woman, Friend, Computer – Exordium/Outgrown

Man, Woman, Friend, Computer released their debut-album self-titled album last year and now Yuliya Tsukerman (of Mana Contemporary) have created a music-video titled: “Exordium/Outgrown“. The music is electroacoustic pop music, with experimental tendencies. It is exciting to see such craftsmanship when it comes to music-videos.

The methods Yuliya have used are one-hundred percent analog. With the help of centuries old Czech marionette-techniques, the dolls are paired with modern materials and objects, creating a story that is moving. It is the story of a spaceman coming to terms with his own isolation and loss as he cares for an injured alien. A narrative is created – analogue versus digital – a re-imaginative trip from old to new – pairing them both, but  telling them apart as well.

Listen to the album down below and view the video up above.

 

Exclusive Swedish Premiere: The Album Leaf – Between Waves

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Repartiseraren, in collaboration with Relapse Records, is giving you the full stream of the forthcoming sixth album “Between Waves“, a week ahead of the scheduled release date (26th August). This is the Swedish exclusive of this album, which you get to stream in its entirety right here and now. The release itself will be available in a wide-range of formats on release: CD, LP, DLX, 2xLP, and of course digitally. The physical pre-orders can be done via this link, the digital via The Album Leaf’s own bandcamp. The single “New Soul” will become available on 7¨ vinyl via bandcamp as well.

Well, what do we think about it? This is not something that we’d cover regularly, so it’s kind of special to us, in a sense. We haven’t paved our way through The Album Leaf’s discography yet, but when listening to the release itself, there’s a certain sublime atmosphere in the songs – and the ambitiousness of the percussive elements, synthesizers and general feel of it – can be heard through and through.

It’s not your standard run-at-the-mill music and they have not just picked the basic elements of each genre they find themselves in, which is more then we need to have this on here. When we’ve listened through it, everything is up to par and possibly even better then what we anticipated it to be. There’s also a certain allure to their cover and a perfect representation of the aesthetics of the name – on the artwork.

Full tracklist is as follows:

1. False Dawn

2. Glimmering Lights

3. New Soul

4. Back to the Start

5. Wandering Still

6. Never Far

7. Lost in the Fog

8. Between Waves

The Album Leaf (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/TheAlbumLeaf/

Relapse Records (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

Repartiseraren (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/Repartiseraren/

Exclusive Premiere: Former Descent – Tough Love International

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When moving into the darker part of the year, it’s best to have something that will light up the sky. Not neccesarily in the shape of a lamp or anything like it – but rather a sound that you’ll recognize, a flame that will – metaphorically – be lit. Dutch sound artist Bas Welling seems to be an expert when it comes down to this. His immensely diverse projects range from abstract chipetune music to experimental ambient with electronica laid upon it like oil to a flammable substance. Creatively he’s got a hand in virtually everything, which is almost always relatable to him – whether it is a group he’s connected to or if he does everything himself beneath the shade of a moniker. We actually heard about him for the first time, properly when it comes to his own solo-project Former Descent. A project which has changed so much since it once started out with his album “My Life In The Box Of Ghosts EP” on the Netherlands-based label Shipwrec, up to the mini-album “The State Of In-Between” on the French net-label Sirona-Records, to his forthcoming release on the much revered label Enfant Terrible’s sub-label Gooiland Elektro.

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This is indeed in perfect synchronic harmony. Martijn who’s the label-boss on Enfant Terrible and the sub-etiquettes Gooiland, and his rather newly started etiquette Vrysaete, takes good care of the artists and groups that are housed on these labels. His eccentric taste brings forth great music for a new public viewing – since there’s always something you miss out on – as new discoverys are made each time a release comes out on his different labels. Not to mention how the artwork is structured and is linear to follow, but unique when matched to each band or group that makes a release – everything different for each label, not the same for the sub-etiquettes as the head-label – making for an exciting twist and unique branding of each release that is unleashed. Repartiseraren is proud to be working with such eccentric artists through Martijn’s generosity, as he supplies us with something new on a regular basis.

So we’ve caught the fish in familiar waters this time, as Bas Welling wasn’t unknown to us but certainly not a household name, his experimental electronica with overtones of ambient and a steady rhythm won’t make anyone surprised. But the outlay of each track that is featured on this forthcoming release, aptly titled “Tough Love International 12¨“, are of such creative ambivalence that you don’t need more of an alternating sound-scape to be pleased with what you’re hearing. We can exclusively offer you the title-track from this release that is due to be put out on Gooiland Elektro late November, for your listening pleasure. We hope that you enjoy the concept and definently that you enjoy Former Descent – a project we’re certainly going to keep our eyes peeled on for the coming time – and see to it that you’ve gotten your dose for the rest of the year. Stream the track “Tough Love International” exclusively through Repartiseraren, in collaboration with Gooiland Elektro.

Exclusive Premiere: Husbandry – Biralata

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In Brooklyn you find a band that has its roots down under, but above the ground they reside with post-punk overtones. With their interesting combination of metal, experimental rock, post-hardcore and post-punk they make way for who they’ve become. Since they haven’t been around for that long, let alone put out anything besides their newly released “Make Room For Waves” EP, it’s great to hear something fresh once in a while. With this comes Husbandry, whose singer sounds like somewhere in between Katzenjammer Kabarett‘s original misanthropic tone and the rather mesmerizing moments with the band reliq. Together with the breakdowns of pro-longed post-hardcore junkies caught in a time-machine. The band itself consists of Carina Zachary, Jordan Usatch, Arnau Bosc and Andrew Gottlieb. The fascinating thing about this release is that it was recorded during a weekend back in April this year, which makes it about a month later that they’re releasing it for the world to listen to.

So I got the opportunity together with Husbandry to put out one of the tracks from this release, on Repartiseraren. The track wasn’t really chosen by me to begin with, but I think it’s their best track on this release by far. Because in it they showcase the greatness of structured post-hardcore with post-punk baselines that soar through the landscape, together with erratic drums that keep the tempo to a max.  Just as they come into some kind of weird medley whereas Carina Zachary with her vocals make it an endurable process to listen to, as it moves back into the sound-scape which they created before. Moving back to the intermezzo once again in another part of the track, making it a very predictable but at the same time unpredictable track. I simply adore the melodies that are laden before me when you’ve taken yourself through it, together with cluttering hi-hats and complex rhythms howling in the background as the vocals feel even more dedicated and soulful. The track chosen for exclusive premiere was “Biralata“, a six-minute long song which you can listen to down below. If you’re interested in buying their album you can go to their Bandcamp.

Spotlight: Passion Slaves – Demo 2014

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It’s a nice day for a nip of post-punk. Canada have been boasting with their simmering environment of talents that have been emerging from nothing. One of those seem to be Passion Slaves, which I frankly know nothing about and whose imagery suggest minimalism – to such a degree that I might not even agree. But my weakness for the classic approach to post-punk seem to have tainted me this time around. The only thing which bothers me is the vocal part, but that’s a miniscule objection to their sound as such. They’ve actually recorded their first demo, so that objection might be weak to begin with. One thing I like about the vocalist is her energy when she sings, but there seems to be a show-stopper in their unharnessed energy – because at times it feels like they don’t master it yet. With that in mind, the two demo-tracks “Mortal Coils” and “Shadow Grounds” have an interesting goth rock and post-punk sound. The gloomy melodies resound in my own mind and their boasting sound as a whole give me an impression of them as serious musicians. It feels good to observe that they haven’t submitted themselves to every cliche possible when handling such an environment of genres. The fast riffing, great drumming and overall performance of this group makes me want to hear more of them. It seems like they’ve given much thought to these two songs so I wouldn’t really be hopeful for more in the near future, but who knows. I feel like there’s a mystery within their imagery and the visuals that are put into my head when listening to them. I just hope that the one ingredient, e.g. the vocalist and the lyrics, don’t steep too far down into the unlisteneable fold. Stream their whole release down below and give them some money if you like it.