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.

 

 

Listen: Ancient Methods × Black Egg – The ‘Ohne Hände’ Remixes 12″

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Chaos-disciplinarians Black Egg have been ushered from their sheltering oval cistern by Wollenhaupt. The group had their magic rejuvenated as he channeled the sullen vigor for his own intentions. “Michael Wollenhaupt!“, they shouted in unison. Now his name was finally to be known to the world. He had long before hidden under the guise of Ancient Methods—a brutally resounding, uncompromising manner. Now he was finally a part of the collective aufnahme + wiedergabe—if only a loose connection between an egg and its hatchery.

Michael himself take proverbial inspiration in the word “method“, as seen with his other alter-ego Ugandian Methods. Everything’s aligned properly to become a method, pluralism: methods—a course his specific choice of music takes, while it may be unbeknownst to him in the initial stages—or change with the different alter egos of his. His other aliases suggest that he likes not only to be a part of systematic music-making, but also less musically involved, as suggested by the naming of “Backseat Driver“, and the furious “Midnight Madness“—retrospective impressions. This is of course just an interesting side-note to the primary objective of writing this article.

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One year before his involvement in remixing one of Black Egg’s tracks, Michael Wollenhaupt released his sixth album—if one counts earlier releases, with Conrad Prutzmann—as Ancient Methods originally were a duo. It bore the name “Seventh Seal” and from the titles of the tracks, resembles an allegory of Ingmar Bergman’s legendary film with the same name. An unavoidable settlement with the past and the acceptance of his coming fate—the dance of death—in Michael’s case a figurative separation from Prutzmann as his co-musician. 30th May a digital and vinyl-release of the album was put out via his own label bearing the same name: Ancient Methods.

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A year and one month later Black Egg formulated their first appearance, an album titled: “Legacy From A Cold World“. The group’s flighty musical base is constituted by the following members: USHERsan, Vera, Corina KRAUTER, Normotone, Sebastien FD, Peter Render, HIV+, and Judith Juillerat—whom parted from the group after in June after the release. The release got a favorable review on Gothic.at, summarized by the following words and I quote: “…die es zu einem kurzweiligen, vielseitigen und spannenden Werk” (…which is an entertaining, versatile and excitingly made work) roughly translated via Google Translate—my apologies beforehand. It is no secret that the masterer for this album is Friedemann Kootz; notable for mastering November Növelet’s masterpiece “Magic” and other Galakthörrö-releases. Other members whose involvement are to curate the aesthetics surrounding Black Egg are Mimi Gall—graphic designer photographer (for their debut), alongside Titus Le Pèse Nerfs who create art and alchemy—what ever the last-mentioned title is supposed to mean. Maybe entertaining the groups’ dynamic.

Now we’re on our way out of 2014—earlier this year a fruitful combination yet to be was chiseled in stone—announced figuratively on aufnahme + wiedergabe‘s Facebook in May. Ancient Method’s experimental and calculating techno was set loose, for the purpose of conjuring remixes, plucking apart Black Egg’s song “Ohne Hände” (Without Hands)—molding it gradually with methodical precision. He chiseled away sublimity, kept the pulsating energy, turned it up a few levels to make it energetic and strayed away from his own artistry—with “(Pogo Im Säurebad Plural Mix)” sounding like what could be called: noisy ritual drum’n’base. Doubling the running time in comparison with the original track, with the exception of “Ohne Hände (A Capella)” but in that case it’s comprehensible. The release The ‘Ohne Hände’ Remixes 12can be bought from the label aufnahme + wiedergabe, and is limited to five-hundred copies. You can also get it from Berlinian distributors Hard Wax. Stream the release in its entirety, below. Ancient Method’s “justified ancient” t-shirt is available for pre-order.

World Premiere: Mlada Fronta – Strict Dress Code

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Originally a group, now a solo-project. The French electronica-group Mlada Fronta, originating from Cannes, have had a rich history which has left a huge impact on techno, electro, EBM and industrial foremost, but also on ambient and IDM. Before entering the well-deserved limelight, the group released “My Visions“, “Illusory Time” and “Tribal Apocalyptic Dance” – one debut-album, three albums – spanning from darkwave, to industrial and electronic body music. Suggesstive undertones, hypnotizing atmospheres that make way for you to enter a bizarre tunnel of sound which have swept over you before you even know it. Undeservedly underlooked albums that might’ve been the collective form that molded their critically acclaimed breakthrough “High Tension” – an album that was as varied in terms of genres – as was the sound. No room for any clichés, only a space reserved for a palette of different but equally intriguing tracks, strengthened by the crossover itself – not swallowed whole. The track “XB-33” went on to be a banger in the clubs and could be heard everywhere – in 1999. We’ve taken a liking to the title-track itself because of the harsh sound, but “XB-33” surely packs a rhythm that will even make you flail your arms around as if you didn’t have a pair.

Taking the step from Tribal Productions, which almost exclusively released Mlada Fronta’s albums – the German label Flatline Records cut their piece of the cake with “High Tension” – first album to be released by a label other than their own, or at least their first deservable spot on a whole other roster. When the 1990’s were over, it seems like Rémy Pelleschi of the group took his own route with the moniker and released “Fe₂O₃” on the French label M-Tronic. With the earlier albums they had been a collective, a group of people working closely with Rémy on earlier albums before the 2000’s, including: Gilles Saïssi (My Visions, Illusory Time, High Tension), Jan-Louy (My Visions) and Philippe Croq (My Visions). With the album on M-Tronic, Rémy took to a more experimental side, mainly laying his focus on rhythmic noise as an overlaying sheet – taking to account all other genres he’d visited and re-visited during his earlier albums.

In 2002 an album titled “Oxydes” surfaced on Rémy Pelleschi’s own imprint Parametric. It included both the original album and remixes by a number of artists such as: Gom, Tarmvred, Milligramme, Dither, Mimetic and Data Raper. He even went so far as to remix one of his own songs. There was also a limited edition release of “Oxydes + Remixes” which included live performances from 2001 in Liege, Bordeaux, Lyon and Cannes. In 2005 a DVD was created and made under the name of “Dioxydes”, featuring unreleased material in an exclusive metal box, including twelve postcards, stickers, bonus material, photos, a live video from Maschinenfest in 2004, Le Cycle Du Soleil – and a radio-documentary called “The Shaker”. During these years, from 2001-2005, Rémy gained even more fame through bigger magazines picking up on his creative outburst which flourished during this time – as it did before, but with another goal and another sound in mind – so versitale as an artist and uncompromising.

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Let’s not write a whole biography here. There’s other labels who picked up on what he was doing, including Sounds Of Industry who released compilations of unreleased material, like “Contrast 2005-2011 Unreleased And Rare Tracks” and “Contrast 1998-2004 “Unreleased And Rare Tracks“, together with digital releases of “Dioxydes“, and “Le Cycle Du Soleil” – two different versions, one as an album and the other as an EP. The torch was then passed on to Artoffact Records, whom did an ambitious project collecting copious amounts of tracks which carried virtually (almost) every release that Mlada Fronta had put out – re-mastered and re-packaged into a 10xCD Box Set, in 2013. Now they have gotten the honor that it actually is to put out his comeback, an insane album that showcases the talents he still has and reminds a lot about “High Tension” – but actually carries the executed electronic body music and industrial sound – into another dimension including IDM and Techno among the main perpetrators.

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Repartiseraren is a really tiny blog-zine. We could not in our own imagination even fathom that we’d have anything to do with Rémy Pelleschi and Mlada Fronta – ever. But since Artoffact Records will release his forthcoming album (and return) “Polygon” now on the 4th of November, we’ve gotten the rare opportunity to exclusively premiere a track from this album. It is a rather anthemic and harsh electronic body-influenced track with techno smashed into it, titled “Strict Dress Code“. We’re the first to be showcasing his material now when he’s returned. This is a world premiere only available from Repartiseraren for you to stream exclusively. We’re proud and thankful for this opportunity. Please do it justice and listen to it loudly, then go over and order what ever version of “Polygon” you want at Storming the Base. When you think about ordering it, “Night Run” will be the “companion” vinyl-release to this forthcoming one.

Exclusive Premiere: 77™ – She Likes To Watch You (The Horrorist RMX)

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A glistening example of how you combine genres for the best result, can be found with the 77™-outfit – a Polish-Danish duo on the edge with their debut-release “Spam“. This duo started out with a live-performance back in 2009 on Christiania’s Open Air birthday party. Christiania is virtually a society within the society of Denmark, located in the borough of Christianshavn, in Copenhagen. Having played in a lot of different clubs and festivals across Scandinavia and Central Europe, it took a whopping five years for them to put out their first album. Comprised of the all too talented Aga Wilk from Poland, whose first and only release, a split with Marburg on the Polish label Oficyna Biedota in 2013it is nice to have seen her venture into this collaboration. On the other hand, Christian Gjelstrup, the Danish native, an interaction designer turned to form this duo.  Now when their album has already been released on the 9th of June, it is a pleasure to be describing what I got to hear from what they’ve put out. The music is everything from dark and shady electronic body music, to the static measurements of techno. When it comes to their own songs and not the remixes, they tend to present a stale and rather amelodic sound. Unhinged female vocals that are almost distorted beyond recognition, together with the steady rhythm of the beats. The remixes, however, lend the expertise from François-Xavier Michel (Millimetric), Andrea Pritschow & Malte Steiner (Das Kombinat) and Oliver Chesler (The Horrorist) – which the album is in dire need of when you’ve listened too much to them – a good complement to the original songs.

Some time ago I got to premiere the best remix. I found that the maniacal turn that The Horrorist gave the track “She Likes To Watch You” was just up my own alleyway. As he contributed with the nocturnal turn á la Oliver Chesler’s own formula. It was enjoyable to listen to it and it became more of an uptempo track stuck in transmission. A looming rhythm that hasn’t got the need to be moved the slightest, besides when it comes to change of melody. Wrenching in his own vision of what 77™ delivered with their original track. So I premiered this track a while ago and it was enjoyed by a lot of people, and I noticed that Oliver himself posted it around before everything was released. I’m afraid that I haven’t really had the tempo I’ve been keeping this year so far, so I’ve fallen behind on most of the stuff I’ve been doing. But here you go, the exclusive premiere of “She Likes To Watch You (The Horrorist RMX)“. You can also listen to the whole album from Mecanica down below, and you can also buy the vinyl-release here and digitally, here.

Listen: Kontravoid – Impurities (The Remixes)

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I haven’t really been covering Kontravoid a whole lot, with one exception. But what I have been covering has been Tännhauser Gate. Now they’ve outdone themselves when it comes to remixing, as they’ve just now remixed “Impurities“, a stand-alone single that as of yesterday, have been remixed by Equitant, Alixander III, VLsonn and Tarantula X. Also featuring a remastered version of the track itself. It seems like Pretty Pretty Records from California have had their hand in making it happen, too. Anyway, the reason that I’m writing this is because Len from Tännhauser Gate e-mailed me about it, and I must say that when I pick and choose from those remixes – I always fall back to Tännhauser Gate. They squashed in their signature into it, and even though it sounds alike, their more down-tempo take of the track is unabashedly my favorite. When it comes to the actual track itself, the techno-vibes along with the aggressive EBM under- (and overtones) – make me head back to the original source all the time, that is – when I’m not listening to the Tännhauser remix. I actually have no idea what will happen to this single, more than the fact that you can buy it from Kontravoid himself and Pretty Pretty Records. However, this is probably one of the more interesting remix-albums since Three Winters released theirs earlier this year. The album art for this release is courtesy of Ryan Paterson. Buy it digitally by name-your-price and put in something extra there, or buy on iTunes for the ridiculously low price of 0.99 dollars.

Premiere: The Foreign Resort – Dead End Roads [Musicvideo]

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We’re late on a premiere, but it’s beginning to slowly unfold. The Foreign Resort have released a single, as a run-up for their coming tours in Denmark, The Netherlands and USA – this fall. This particular single goes by the name of “Dead End Roads“, and is taken from their forthcoming album, which they have been working on together with the legendary John Fryer. A noticeable difference this time is that they rely on dark and heavy synthesizers to be pushing the sound itself, with a more electronic approach to their music then they usually have. The beginning of the song is absolutely fantastic, but so is the rest of it. But the gritty and adrenaline-filling synthesizer that hits it off, gives a particular sense of suspense. The sound itself is more cold and calculated, as they do not rely that much on their trade mark that is post-rock mixed with post-punk and new-wave. So it’s obvious that a lot of what you’re hearing have been affected by John Fryer’s mixing, producing and engineering. This might just be a temporary thing, just for this album, but I’m currently liking what I’m hearing. It harkens back to some of the legendary bands of yore. But there’s something new and fresh about it. It is deeply emotional, but at the same time on the edge and in the dirt. The music video was directed by Morten Engels Ryming, the actress was styled by Sascha Elvar, and the actress herself is Emilie Flyvholm. With special thanks to Photographica & Henning Ørsted. The single was recorded in the time-span from March to April 2013 – at Black Tornado Studios in Copenhagen. Last but not least, the masterful sound itself was mastered by Chris Cline at Studio Wonder of Sound, in San Antonio, Texas. You can also listen to the track down below, along with two remixes of the same track.