Spotlight [SP. ED 2]: Light House / DUST!

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This Italian label named Mannequin Records have long been releasing newly re-issued stuff specifically from the 80’s. They’ve actually released new bands since the beginning, but I’ve always seen them as a “re-issue” label. Since I first and foremost saw them as a re-issue label, I needed to wash that stamp away with some highly intensive synth-pop, quirky minimal synth and charged industrialized cold wave. In this Special Edition of spotlight, we’re guided to the latest releases from this magnificent label. One is a debut-release and the other is a group that has been around since 2012. Newly formed, newly shaped and freshly squeezed. We present to you reviews of: Light House and DUST.

a2890133176_10Light House originates from Portland, where they’ve been around a couple of years. This group features the members Chris Relyea (ex- The Rapture), with Dawn Sharp and Brooks Blackhawk from Atriarch. Their debut-release “In Their Image“, is a four-tracked arachnoid, churning out poisonously addictive dark-wave and minimal synth. This EP of theirs is a somnambulist and ritualistic approach to these genres. Forged with utmost respectfulness to the ambiguous elements that rarely is concocted together with dark wave. Every hit of the longing synthesizer is a reminder that this world is much larger than we’d think it would be. As you slowly sink into the deep-end of the rosewater, when the darkened and spacious rhythms hit your ears like a concrete wall. Together with the pumping beat that continuously vibrates in conjunction with the rest of the beautifully laden sound-scape in front of you. Every mechanism is turning til’ the last component, as you slowly get indulged in the momentum that has been garnering since the start. Fleshy arpeggios, abstract motions and a charmingly sinister sound is what you’re trying to grasp. There’s nothing to hold on to, but there’s everything to hear. To the more classic dark wave experimental with darker intentions, that utilize more of the minimal synth phenomenon when it steps up to the plate. Sweeping synthesizers that forms the textures, with thin threads around the cocoon. When they play around a little bit more with the industrialized and constant rhythm of both their cold wave, the spacious sounds and the minimal synth – heads are turned on their tails. You’d feel obligated to vocalize it together with the vocalist, as she for the first time spread out more of her unorthodox arrhythmic wings. Here, the synthesizers become more grandiose, as every melody is being used to convince you that the layers upon layers of goodness is meant to be for you. It feels personal, with no strings attached, and no pretensions to be found. Deep, from within their hearts, this is for you. I can surely recommend this release, because it is some of the better dark wave mixed with other genres as a crossover, that I have heard for a long time. Especially the last song. Unfortunately the EP is already sold out, but you can listen to it down below.

a1178281350_10DUST, on the other hand, is something different. Even though the common denominator is electronic music. Featuring the collective of korean noise goddess Greem Jellyfish, psych musician/model Angela Chambers, tech audio engineer Michael Sherburn and DJ John Barclay. Originally an dark italo project, now a “combat” techno meets acid house phenomenon. Their intentions are great, as their machines continually pound out the analogue wondrous of acidic textures upon psychedelic longing, in the form of wailing. Consisting of rhythms that would easily punch you in the face and not apologize for it. You’ll have your feet stomping to this as you make your way through this four-tracked explosion of influences. Whilst it tries to re-direct your attention from the bombastic tones, it will suddenly begin to smack your face around with its virtually unchallenged beats that make every techno-maniac shy away in displeasure. Not because it’s bad, but because it is so heavy. This is both as crazy as it can get, with the overtly psychedelic screams and insane vocals. Brace yourself, as the reverberated madness strikes you with provocative lines of futuristic synthesizers, together with charred and spontaneous hits with the electronic hammer. Whatever you’d want to fit in here, is fitted. Whether it consists of quirky synthesizers that graciously show you how to move, or if it is aggressively stomping its way through your living room. Even though some of the italo makes itself noticeable within the rhythms and the melodies, they leave far more space for other influences to grow strong and every single member adds their expertise to fulfill their sacred challenge of introducing this irrational mixture to you as a listener. The more you try to understand it, the more mysterious it gets. Don’t turn your back, because this is freakishly potent stuff. So, whether you like acid house or prefer some stompy techno, or simply just want to “chill” out to some italo influences – everything is for you. But I should warn you, this is a deadly mix in between the borders of these three genres. You should enter at your own risk, because there’s a big risk involved with listening to this. Because you might get hooked directly. There are two copies left of this release, so I suggest you make a run for it, over here. You can also listen to it down below.

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!

My New Fascination (Special Ed. 2): Null And Void – Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)

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This is a special-edition of My New Fascination which is directed at the wonderful guy who owns Bunkerpop. It will contain one of two reviews, one of the re-issued version of Coïtus Int. first release “Dead Excitement E.P.” but also of Null And Void and their brand new release of material recorded in between 1981-1982 titled “Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)“, which will be featured in Special Ed. 2. In this edition, I’ll go through the Null And Void release. You should support Bunkerpop by venturing over to his website and ordering these two gems, which will aid the label-owner in his quest of seeking out and preserving old gems.

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