Listen: DECADES / FAILURES, BURA BURA, Soft Riot

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Though the cover is too macabre for our taste, as the once beautiful woman have been thoroughly manipulated into looking as a piece of modern art – which in itself is very distasteful – DECADES / FAILURES musical aspect trumps everything else. As written in the description for the release, this piece of music was mastered in all haste, only using meager methods of recording – such as a blown speaker – all-in-all it adds more then it takes away from the music.

A bed-ridden and sickly vibe transformed into brazen post-punk, with an atmosphere of chords that are simply otherworldly together with the heavily distorted vocals. There’s a hopelessness that can be found in the lyrics and the general mood of each song, especially “Song 5” – but as a closing song it manages to ooze with hope, a light shining through in our darkest moments. Had this been mastered a bit more, or maybe been recorded in a different setting – it quickly would’ve lost its inner message and tone.

Listen to the release in full down below, buy it digitally to support the artist, so this can hopefully be made into a cassette.

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Uncompromising body-music turned into a mish-mash of new beat industrial greatness, Australian outfit BURA BURA manages to catch a depth which is overlooked within electronic body music, as his heavily transformed vocals bounce against the complex percussion in each song. A lot of the songs would fit better in a cinematic setting, but some of them are outright ridiculously great to listen to in some parts, especially “Flex Like Rex“.

Ironically enough, what he manages to pull off best is the neo-noir vibe of post-punk lewdness and electronic body madness – not so much with the more electro and industrial-influenced tracks – a catastrophic mess of blends and meshes that need to be more thoroughly tested for the forthcoming releases. The passages of swirling ambient that takes you into new heights of your own consciousness is frightening at first, but when the beats whirl around your head and you go further down the tunnel, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.

The release is available both digitally, and on cassette via Moontown Records. If you’re into it, you can also purchase one of the totebags specifically made for this release. Just follow the link through bandcamp down below.

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Soft Riot have long been one of our favorite artists, as he dabbles with the most comedic aspects of synth-pop music – but manages to keep a straight face through everything – delivering complex and atmospheric synthesizer music – especially in this new release, “The Outsider In The Mirror“. When it comes to the lyrics of some of these songs, he reveals how much talent it takes to create such imaginative lyrical content – whilst keeping the music in tune with everything he utters. It might not be the prettiest voice in the world, but there’s a sinister tone in his voice, there’s a sincerity being delivered with every word.

Waiting For Something Terrible To Happen” is a spastic ambush, a ticking clock of weirdness and anticipation, delivering catchy arpeggios and creative outbursts of heavy, deep electronic vibes. Even though it might not be some of this best releases of all time, it is a more cheerful and less moody vibe to this, a sense of belonging is shown between the lines of tongue-in-cheek lyrical brazenness. We’re eager to hear more of this, even though he’s heading in a very experimental yet freakishly pop-oriented direction.

The release is available for purchase via Possession Records, digitally, on CD, vinyl and cassette. You can purchase it below by following the bandcamp-link, or simply stream until you make your mind up.

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Listen: Keluar – Keluar

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After having spent my days in another country, on an island, I listened very much to what I got handed to me by Keluar. This was some time before “Vitreum” was due to be out on Desire Records, so that’s precisely what I was listening to. The combination in arms between Sid Lamar of Schwefelgelb and Zoé Zanias of ex-Linea Aspera is such a damn great collision of the best of worlds. Now they’ve just put up their self-titled album release “Keluar“, which combines their both EPs “Ennoea” (the first) and “Vitreum” into one – alongside two bonus tracks “Cleo (Soft Riot Remix)” and “Coralline (Distel Remix)“. Which is a joint release that was also put out by Desire Records. When it comes to their sound, I believe that I am in love. The craftsmanship that both of these people enjoy is formed into a luminescent landscape in a combination of minimal synth, wave and the experimentalism that they themselves put onto it. If you combine that with the strength in melody that new wave gives them, you’ve got a dreamy landscape which shapes the forthcoming lights that shine upon your face – as in a kind of religious experience. Every little detail that is chiseled out is part of a wider array of magnificence. Most of the songs are actually of that caliber that you’d simply want to listen to them over and over again, remembering each tracks unique character. With a little help from the new-beat meets darker electronic body music (but really not), they channel our darker sides and manage to shape a current of volatile electricity that is about to snap and crackle, but then suddenly something else enters the landscape of sound and circumvents that intention.

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The lyrical content of this album is also astonishing. Everything blends in well with the form of vocals that Allison Lewis decide to deliver. Sharp contrasts in between outdrawn sighs of lyric content to the almost despaired cries of misanthropy. With the ambiance that creates a shroud of mystery around it, her voice pierces the bubble in which the shroud is covering – showcasing the naked truth from inside – with her clarity and deliverance that signifies what she’s all about. She’s in for it all and can’t wait to strike you down when you least expect it, whether it might be after a crescendo of electronic beats or the suggestive atmosphere delivered with a percussionists precision. I urge you all to buy this album if you really like it, because it might be one of the best albums since Distel entered once again and got their album “Ultra2012” put out on Beläten. Giving me a grip once again to embrace electronica that has that experimental touch and can deliver what it is said to, or even more than what I’m introduced to. You can listen to “Keluar” down below.

Interview with Ivan Antunovic of Small Doses!

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In Croatia we found Ivan Antunovic. Now, Ivan isn’t like everyone else. He has his own micro-label, does professional design work for a living, create music and also makes a fanzine. He’s been active in different groups in the Yugoslavian, now Balkan, underground. His alter-egos range from Half Releases to Innumerals, from his zine Small Doses to his designer-ego Nieuw NDG. This man has as many aliases as only he himself could know. Since a few years back he’s mainly been concentrating on releasing different singles and mini-albums alongside his fanzine. Even though the fanzine comes out every once in a while, he’s made a name for it through his proffesionality and originality when it comes to the design of the zine itself and all the macabre subjects which are disseminated within each number. He’s taken it from number one to number six – the last-mentioned due to be out in the very near future. I wanted to get the larger picture of what Ivan Antunovic actually does, how he copes with his egos, the climate in former Yugoslavia, his relationship with those he works with when doing the zine, the releases that are put out by him, his different projects before every alter-ego and many other things which you may find interesting.

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Interview with Jen Ellerson of Modern Movement!

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Modern Movement is a project that was jumpstarted by Jen Ellerson, back in 2010. She wanted to capture a movement that she’d seen rising in Berlin, which was limited to eclectic and nocturnal sub-cultures within this specific region of Germany. Mainly ranging from cold wave to other obscure sounds. Those that are involved with the project, describe themselves as “a collective of ambitious, international misfits with irreproachable taste“. So, when this concept first set out to do something, it was by putting up club-nights that would fuse together the potential she saw in Berlin. Garnering a lot of momentum from her previous (and still current) project Brave Exhibitions, which is about the same thing, but not really. It’s based out of London, but it’s focused within a similar scene. She’s been running it together with James Lowry for some time now. Anyway, since club-nights only and installations at that, didn’t really pinpoint what was happening around her, she sketched out an idea for a book in 2011. This later on formed into a bigger project, which would come out in 2013 and also include a compilation of tracks to accompany the book itself. Like a soundtrack for everything that’s been gathered around. There’s a lot to say about Jen Ellerson, and she’s got a lot of experience within multimedia as such, but hopefully this interview will clear up a lot of question-marks. I asked her about the book, the idea behind it, Brave Exhibitions, Modern Movement, what it was like coming to Berlin, how Berlin differs from London and much more. I’m hoping that you’ll find this informative and enjoyable, and I hope that some of you actually recognize yourselves as part of this story.

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Spotlight [SP. ED 1]: Nouvelle Phénomène / Soft Riot!

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As always, we head back to the realms of Other Voices Records. Who is on a certain music-spree, killing off all the competition. Or, well, that’s not really the case – but some seriously great releases have been relieving one another. Some that should’ve been Spotlight:ed a while ago, like their Nouvelle Phénomène-release. Since there haven’t been any creativity in the loop for a while, other business had to be dealt with first. But now, we return to the great Russian-based label which sorely needs our attention. Together with a whip of Soft Riot, as they’re also featured over there, with their already released album (since a month ago) “Fiction Prediction“. Hey, who doesn’t like when it rhymes. Well, let’s get to it, since you don’t want some blabbermouth introductory, as you’d already know them by know. This post will be updated with a review of Soft Riot’s latest endeavor, when it’s done.

a1778775496_10Nouvelle Phénomène is a group of Hungarians, that haven’t been brought to my attention, til’ now. Santa Angela, Santa Fanni, Dziba Zsolt and Peter Buza have one thing in common – which is synth-pop with a jaded edge of new-wave and minimalism. The catchy tones of this double-single, titled “Caresse / Glory of Romance“, is a tease indeed. The concentrated drums, hitting the soft-spoken nerve that they’ve incorporated with their rhythmic endeavor, is carefully packaged together with a francophilic adoration, sampled amidst the up-beat happiness of “lé soleil“. It’s important enough, because the sun is shining in their direction. Grandiose on one hand, minimalistic in the carefully laden undertones of the swooping synthesizer. Frankly enough to touch the tip of your noise, be so brazen to ask you out and invite you to the party of your life. “Retro-fantastic“, could be a world to describe it, as they see to their roots before they carefully model the landscape they wish to present. Clinking to their pieces, mapping out exactly the feeling, without having to pinpoint it for the listener. Sometimes interpreting the atmospheric senselessness that isn’t always present in synth-pop, and as such – they’re leading the charge towards a brightener future. At times, the darker tones of their loveable sound-scape move you onto dampening and tearjerking journeys through imagined landscapes of ultimate destructiveness. Reminding you, oh so much, that your perception of invulnerability is a joke. Well, it would not be so far away to remind them of Swedish purveyors (now disbanded) Zeigeist, as you indulge in the second song “Glory of Romance“, which certainly has its likeness. Cleanliness is not a sin, remember that, as the angelic sounds clean you out totally – turning your mind upside down, and your heart inside out. Nouvelle Phénomène might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they strike a resemblance, and they strike when you need them to.

Spotlight [SP. ED]: A New Life / Soft Riot!

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Russia wouldn’t be my main vantage point if I think about retro-fantastic synth-pop and minimal synth. Obviously, Los Angeles have been in the headlights for far too long, even though they have some merits to withhold that certain degree of appreciation. However, it seems like the Russian label-boss have been at it, at least if you check out Other Voices Records, whom we’ve interviewed earlier on this blog. Taking influences both from legendary groups such as Human League, and specifically; Soft Cell – there’s a resurgence that simply can’t be ignored. We’ll see if any other label from that particular region of the world are up for the challenge, but it seems like they’re the number one contenders so far. To be noted, the artists themselves aren’t from this region, but the mastermind is the Russian label. In this special edition of Spotlight, I’ll guide you to the two gems “Fright †reasures” and “Your Own Private Underworld“. Courtesy of A New Life and Soft Riot, one Italian-based producer and one UK-based producer of synth-pop music, with the word “retro” in the mainline.

1481648355-1What can possibly be said about A New Life and his newly released cassette titled “Fright †reasures“? Firstly, it’s based off material that was recorded in 2011-2012, by the synth-pop producer Maurizio Pustianaz. Besides the obvious fact that it’s retro all over, there’s also the importance of analogue. Smearing our brains with a current of force, but at the same time also a sincere yearning for times that have past. The music itself strays from synth-pop, to minimal synth and he delves into the 80’s – with good intent. His abysmal fascination for that decade, is preceded by the apparent structure of the songs, whom in their natural state reveal much of the influences. But they are pretty unconventional – and are only matched, when it comes to superiority, by the fast-paced sections of synthesizer goodness. Some of the ambitious hints of melodic content, are sometimes not his strength when it comes to the music. The weird, showcased melodies in the choruses don’t intertwine in a good way, within the context that is intended – of the structured colossus that is his sound. Which at times actually can be turned in his favor, since the music itself relies on the ambitious notion and atmospheric experimentalism that is rarely seen within this decade. Sure, if you’re interested in Soft Cell, their experimentation seem to be a guideline for his music. But when it comes to the regular synth-pop, with 80’s vibes, this is not something for the faint of heart or primitive minds. No, this sounds like an intellectual approach to an otherwise pretty basic genre, at least if you gather up all your synth-pop belongings and heed to the overall quality. Catchy, it is and can be when he lets it form around the strengths that emit throughout the often heartbreaking lyrical content, but not to an extent that is in his favor. Since the vocals are 50/50, they’re just too much in some of the songs, but at the same time add up in the end – which makes this a case of how you’d like the lyricism to be. When he sings from his heart, the music itself is energized and should re-conquer the castle it needs to forcefully re-take. Otherwise, when it comes to the overall picture, it’s a picturesque cassette which needs to be listened to. At least if you compare it to the not-so-stiff competition out there.

1006979070-1As you listen to Soft Riot, which is a moniker for another UK-based producer, who goes by the name of JJD (Jack Duckworth) – there’s an instant appeal to your own monotonic glory. His single-based release “Your Own Private Underworld“, from his forthcoming cassette “Fiction Prediction“, is a fusion between the minimal synth landscape, of dark intentions morphed into a kind of shallow Miami synth-pop sound. There’s a glimmering haze around the general atmosphere of the song, along with almost atonal sounds with monotonic intentions. The contradictions that feed off this sound is astonishing. No cliches are being re-interpreted into the shrewd landscape of ludicrousness, angelic dismay and sincere synthesizers. If anything, this is simply a display of utter originality. Quenching the thirst for some post-punk, by squeezing some influences from that pathway – into an all-out electronic endeavor. At times, the vocals and the interchangeable nature of the music, reminds you all too much about the totally non-electronic band Lebanon Hanover. The kind of dry atmosphere of aridity is utilized as a kind of undertone, which is absurd when blended with the glamor in the overlying parts of the songs structures. It’s odd, but it’s actually one of the better blends of minimal synth, with irregular influences, that has a more static synth-pop ground to stand on – which in the end actually works. Since there’s only two songs, as this is a part of a forthcoming cassette, I am dismayed. Not because anything is bad about it, it’s just because there are only two songs so far – and I want him to get on with it and deliver the rest of them. The urge that simply walks into your brain and make your hands click on the mouse-button, just so you can hear the songs on repeat. Really great songs, original and unique in so many ways. This is a cassette that you simply have to listen to. You should wait until the forthcoming cassette and whole album “Fiction Prediction” comes out, but I urge you to buy the digital download of these two songs – right now!