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.

Exclusive Premiere: Schonwald – Achrome

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Very much have changed since Schonwald came upon us with their debut-album “Amplified Nature“, released on Pocket Heaven in 2008. From indie rock with synth-pop overtones to pure synth-pop in five years, when they released their double-single “Mercurial / Gemini” – which was dedicated to their freshly made synth-pop endeavor, on Hozac Records. Since then one year has passed and they’ve been welcomed into a place where they fit all too good. This place being Anywave, the french connoisseur for everything from dark ambient to cold wave and minimal synth – to virtually every other sub-genre you could think of.  Here they put out a taste for what is to come with another double-single, this time called “Rays“, featuring two tracks from their forthcoming second album titled “Dream for The Fall“. Many things have changed but their signature has stayed the same, they’ve just engineered a more intriguing sound with futurism embedded as a central part of it. Dreamy, thoughtful and sincere are three words that can be used to describe their forthcoming album. They leap into a peripheral landscape of sound which reminds one about shoegaze – if it ever would fit into an electronic shape. Ethereal might be one of the better descriptions genre-wise, but they lend much of the influences elsewhere, too. Like cold-wave, minimal synth and post-punk.

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I’ve gotten the honor to premiere a track from their forthcoming album. It’s a more bombastic track which I think is separate from the other tracks, but it’s also a great summary of the album at hand. Driven by the groovyness of a baseline that with post-punkish fervor tears into the dreaminess – creating a nice paradox. This track is titled “Achrome” and is the fourth track on “Dream for The Fall“. You can listen to it exclusively from Repartiseraren and note the date of 25th September – which is the release-date for this beauty. It will be featured on CD as well as vinyl, and you can pre-order it from Anywave or Manic Depression Records, as it is a co-release between these two labels. Pre-order it already and receive the whole album digitally and ready to be downloaded, or buy it separate if you wish. Everything on this album was recorded and mastered at Duna Studio, except “Rays” and “Lower Lovers” – which was recorded and mixed at Silver Veins Studio. Post-production was made by Aurelien Delamour, and the cover was designed by Myriam Barchechat.

Spotlight: Various Artists – Transmission Barcelona – Second Anniversary

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Having put on a show with the first anniversary a year ago, of the monthly party in Barcelona called Transmission, which is a party dedicated to the international scene of post-punk, new-wave, cold wave and dark wave. Domestica Records return once again with the second anniversary of this party. The first compilation featured the following artists and groups: The KVB, Selofan, Paralelo, White Hex, Bonjour Tristesse, Ssleeping DesiresS, Crystal Soda Cream, Principe Valiente, Die Selektion, Lebanon Hanover, Chevalier Avant Garde, Police Des Moeurs, Petra Flurr + Modernista, Miserylab, Accident, Jewels Of The Nile, Fernand and Press Gang Metropol. Once again, the compilation is compiled by DJ Sandman – a long-going DJ since the 1980’s, that have played every notable club in Barcelona and Madrid by now – but also internationally at the Nachtwerk Club in Karlsruhe, and for having performed at the 17th edition of Wave Gotik Treffen Festival. As the last time, the artwork for this coming release have been created by Jordi Serrano, and the release itself has been mastered by Roger Cuixart. Interestingly enough, our favorites Női Kabát returns with a cover of an Associates-track called “Kitchen Person“. A fine new artist have also shown himself to be of much pleasure, namely Madmoizel, with his track “Come” – his first track since 2009.

This release will also feature contributions by Seacrypt, Phosphor, Des Âmes Libres, Schonwald, enigmatic group In Death It Ends, Más Allá, In A Lonely Place, and the lovely Xiu with her track “Dancing With You“. Last year the compilation which celebrated the first anniversary, featured more artists and groups, but even if that’s true – this second anniversary contain a lot of contributions that should be checked out. Virtually every track is priceless in one way or another, so it sounds really good having it comprised of only ten tracks. This also makes it less of a nuisance to listen through and every style imaginable is represented within the boundaries of electronica. It will be released on the 19th of May by Domestica Records. You can stream this release down below in full.