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.

Spotlight: Liquid Transmitter, Nikmis, None, Palissade

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Midsummer is upon us. A new line of spotlights are due to appear sometime every week. I’ve picked out some new and interesting releases for you all to enjoy. From post-punk to IDM and everything in between that. Everytime I do this, I see what I can find under different categories on Bandcamp – writing about each release that is featured in the article, summarizing the components and recommending it.

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Have you ever dreamt about something ever so vividly exciting, strange or beautiful? Liquid Transmitter’s release “Turn” is turning IDM on its edge, presenting to us a less rhythmic annihilation and more complex atmospheric development. From the introductory “Morning Watch“, to the last one “Uncertain Dusk“, each track is imaginative and explorative. It is as if an artist outlines his visions carefully and break the transgressiveness between genres in an uncanny way. Connecting the dots in every way, both musically and by the titles themselves.

It is finely woven into good electronic music. Slightly drone, more ambient and definently something to be heard. The quirkyness of the melodies add in the personality of this project very well – it’s self-explanatory really when you hear the music. Check it out on Bandcamp and purchase his release there, listen to it in full down below.

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Now here’s a whole soundtrack for you to enjoy. It is really odd music in a way, but perfectly obstinate and neatly created. Nikmis release “Widdendream” on Third Kind Records go forth in its own manner, holding up the banner of experimental electronica in a way – considering the composition of each track, first and foremost. From the cute little first steps of “The Big Fence On The Other Side“, to the more classically-oriented “Embarrasingly Paralell“, each facet of this album have its own sides of it. I think “Tremendous House” capture an oriental vibe and contribute to a summary of everything in Nikmis music that make it stand out in originality.

So if artists and bands alike want to describe something with their music, or capture a feeling, this picturesque wandering between the oddities in synthesizer-based music and the outrageousness of it – make it very easy to follow the story. Instead of capturing something by writing it in lyrics, he manages to break free from that and with instrumental music capture the essence of storytelling anyway. I suggest you check out the album via Third Kind Records, and listen to it in full down below.

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Abstract, frightening and cold. With resounding, repetetive vocals and majestic synthwave – Anna of None deliver a great sounding album, titled “Vacuum“. There is a lot of focus on the bombasticism of the drums in the atmosphere of some of the songs, but it does not take away from the fact that the rest of the instrumentation is equally as good, and thought out. There are serene melodies that encapsulate the hopelessness she is portraying, especially in the aptly titled song “No“. Things develop further in terms of the sound itself in “Faces“, which almost becomes theatralic with the continuous haunting baseline.

She really breaks apart from the dry and stale projects that have been popping up everywhere. Wherever you read post-punk, it either consists of a band trying to ape a style they can’t grasp by inspiration of classic post-punk releases, or the one-man project that doesn’t hold up at all – with them being predictable as ever. The song “Nightmare” really touches on the synthwave this project relies on, giving it great effect and with “Flesh” fulfil the epitome of it. I suggest you check it out, it was released by Black Verb Records and I recommend it of all my heart. Listen to it in full down below.

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Canadians have been providing us with some really good synth-pop, but have they pulled off the post-punk? As of now, Palissade can be considered a contender, with their release “Éclats“. This four-tracked release have beautiful aesthetics in terms of artwork and their music does not lack those aesthetics either. There is a certain focus on the vocalist and more bittersweet melodies then one have heard before, it is not that fast-paced to begin with, as one hears in “La Fin“. Their more alternative and highly melodic way of post-punk is attractive. There is not that much emphasis on the baseline alone, but more on the whole togetherness of everything.

The rhythm stabs and the melodies entwine as one hoped they would. As the layers shift in character, the soundscape looms on steadfastly and “La Vie des Autres” combine the first two songs into one, it feels like. Every song is interesting to listen to and each one of them give off a different emotion. It’s a solid release that I recommend and you should check it out. If you’re interested in wayward but challenging post-punk – this is the release for you. Listen to it in full down below.

 

 

Review: Baldruin – Biotische Verwitterung

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Johannes Schebler and his main project, Baldruin, is not a novice by any means. Having four albums solo and countless split-albums, this project is not just interesting in that regard – but also because of the aesthetics he includes with his music. It surely marks the experimentalism that can be found in his music as well, in a good way. Oftentime the artists and bands whom go under that banner don’t really make it this well aesthetically. It is pleasant to look at. So, in regards to this album which is his fifth release, it is intriguing to find out that Black Horizons, Aetheric Records and Cloister Recordings US made it possible for release on vinyl – all three labels represent good artistry.

The release itself clocks in at around forty minutes in total. What is interesting about the album itself is that it follows his – since long – short adaptation of tribalistic ambient industrial music. Let’s head into this.

Opfergabe” gets straight to the point, through a muffled and calm atmosphere at first – descending upon the listener with a concrete setting in which this song turns into somewhat of a hymn. There are vocal representations that make it alluring, always accompanied by a steady and not too harsh rhythm – continually shifting the atmosphere around from being rambunctious to softening up and disappearing out of sight. An enjoyable slab of industrialized ambient.

Ins Jenseits” is definently more percussive. Fast, tribalistic drumming, an ever increasing heartbeat that go with the rhythm – to the disturbing voice of a child, amidst tribal chanting. It feels like there’s a part of someone’s life being played in reverse, at the same time as the sound gets more and more intimidating. A father, having lost something into the eternal void, having lost much of his life – it feels like it has been all for nothing. Everything was meant to turn out good but instead turned into a complete horror story.

Das Vergessene Grab” is meditative – but also more retrofuturistic – there are synthesizers that play a bigger part in the music itself. Concentrating more on the ambient landscape. There’s something mysterious about the song, as the sweeps on the synth in combination with the ceremonial percussion become an interlude to the next song – “Im Auge des Sturms” – which almost completely strips the atmosphere of the nostalgic moments that could be felt previously. Even though it feels like a continuation, there is more of a focus on the rhythm of the song rather then the unfathomable reach of the bombastic synthesizers. It focuses a lot more on simpler melodies, there’s one which is with the listener up until the end of the song – slowly evaporating into monotone noise.

Wächter” is from the beginning a sample-based cliché. Until the marvelous synthesizer rings out with an emotional melody. It is joined with the sudden barks of a dog, screeching sounds and a troublesome, intensive melody that pushes the atmosphere further – as if something out of a 80’s/90’s futuristic action flick. The steady rhythm of the massive synthesizer is what makes this song intense – and enthralling from the first tone to the last one.

Hydra“, the next song and the sixth one on this release delves into the same character of the first songs. It kind of becomes annoying with the tribalistic elements at times but it is saved by the chanting of a woman, in german of course, adding a sinister touch which gives the song a completely different edge in the end. The attention to detail of every sound in this song is immaculate. Of all the songs so far – this one is designed the best as it brings out the wondrous nature of each sound – as well as the more horrific one(s).

Der Puppenspieler” is too simple, but the added samples make it far more interesting then it should’ve been in the first place. It is an ode to the more emotional side of Baldruin – the positive, nostalgic, tearjerking side of his music. Even though the experimentalism of it is overwhelming at times and the atonal side of it becomes a little too much – Johannes really shows how nice industrial music, with ambient foreground, can be when synthesizers are utilized properly.

Zone 77” is really captivating. You really feel how complex the music is and how hard it must’ve been to fit the off-beat rhythm to the atmosphere. Pads of majestic sound is laid upon the song with much care. As rough as it sounds, there’s also something delicate about it. You’re hypnotized by the clash of harshness against the soft, picturesque landscape it portrays. How is it even possible to create anything like this? There’s a minimalism and a maximalism. Everything is oxymoronic about it but yet impressively joined together.

Raum ohne Sicht” is psychotic. The intro is off-putting. It feels like a warning, it conveys feelings of utter disgust. Rarely have I ever shrugged away from a song that is so well made, but in this case it is just too disturbing to listen to in full. Here’s a song that would fit well to any story that includes the most horrible of human nature. “Falsche Fährte” is really beautiful and the complete opposite. Even though much of the rhythm isn’t that interesting to begin with, the atmosphere becomes increasingly intense and the more you hear beautifully laden female vocals, the more of a sense of pride is instilled within. The pride of knowing that someone could construct something this beautiful and convey these feelings. A song you really shouldn’t skip.

Panik in der Fabrik” is really what the name says it is. Panic in the factory. In the beginning of it there’s a certain electronic body music influence that can be heard, but as it transgresses more into sample-based industrial music – the more disturbing it gets. There’s a certain two-facedness when it comes to the music on this album and Baldruin knows perfectly well how to pair it up musically. The contrasts are so knife-sharp that it is frightening. “ZüngeInde Flamme” seems to build off all the recent songs, transcending into something that feels very clear and represents the different characteristics perfectly. Subconciously, it is instilling a feeling of wanting more of the music as if the story progresses the further in you get. Even though there might not even be one to begin with.

Fortgeschlichen” feels like an outro, even though there still are two songs left to be heard and dissected. It is dreamy, cosmic and far away – out of your own reach. It feels like you’re daydreaming and accessing remote locations, where men have never been before. A dreary landscape of sound is pumped up with the occassional pumping beats, noisy transmissions and overall increasingly experimental song. Though in the end it just fades away, bleakly. “Fund im Laub” is assembling the lost parts and making it into a behemoth of sound, as it sprinkles darkness around itself on the assembly line. Not the most intriguing song on the release so far, but the attention to detail for each sound is – as for some other particular songs – fantastic, to say the least.

Vom Ende” is the real outro. It’s funny how it is the longest song on the whole release as well. Hopefully this more synthesizer-driven music is how his next release will progress in the future. One of the main strengths of this album, even though it is scarcely represented, is his way of handling the synthesizers and creating the most attentive songs of the release all-in-all. It went from a totally freaked out tribalistic ambient release to a futuristic synth venture and then away into screeching industrial music.

One can understand how this album would be of interest. He has more strengths then weaknesses. The whole album is of interest even though parts of it contain utterly disturbing portrayals of the human race as such – but in the end delivers a story which is created in your own mind while listening. It evokes something more then just feelings, it is cohesive and experimental at the same time, never loosing to one or the other. Buy the album from Baldruin himself, Black Horizons, Aetheric Records, or Cloister Recordings US. Listen to it digitally in its entirety down below.

 

[13th] December: Acapulco City Hunters – Chaser

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Acapulco. A Mexican municipality but mainly a city, with as many as 234 communities—the most populous being Acapulco itself—with 673 479 inhabitants as of 2010, 85,25% of the people reside in the city. When counting the most populous cities except the main one, which are: Xaltianguis, Kilómetro 30, Tres Palos, San Pedro las Playas, Amatillo—the population combined account for 3,25% of the whole municipality, making it 25857 inhabitants in total, one starts to wonder where the rest of the 11,5% have gone. Where are the other cities? Are there smaller towns, considering there are so many communities? Questions remained unanswered. Here are when Acapulco City Hunters come in – it seems like they’re looking for an answer to that question. Maybe they’re straying away, in metaphors and synonyms, but they’re probably concerned.

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Or maybe, just maybe – we’ve been tricked by these con-artists. Making us think of Mexico as the main inspiration for their name, specifically related to the aforementioned questions, but it can also mean “Goin’ to Acapulco“—a track from “Dylan Basement Tapes” (1976), and I paraphrase from an outtake from Sid Griffin’s book “Million Dollar Bash” – from the source Shelton, Robert (1986)—music-journalist Clinton Heylin commented on its sexual innuendo: …featuring the usual debauched narrator, rambunctious harmonies, and euphemistic ribaldry according to Wikipedia. We can see how both sexual innuendos are fitted in a musical environment, influenced or not by either Sid Griffin’s book, Basement Tapes, or Mexico’s ‘lost’ cities and/or communities. A lot of the topics seem to suggest a strong influence of either everything – or simply one of the things listed above.

It’s interesting to note how Acapulco City Hunters is in plural, though other things like ‘his’ patchwork blog “Cosmic Beam“—suggests otherwise. Maybe since the Facebook-page is categorized as a “Community“, rather than an Artist-page, could reveal certain other possible theories. Pluralis it is because it suits the influences for ‘his’ project. If you get the reference we’re trying to make here, you’ve got a good sense of detail. The music-making dates back two years, from when he released “Haunted Bombai“—later to have a remix of the song by “DYSWIL“—filmed by Thomas Skrobek. Apparently a collective (now defunct?) named: “Negative Beat“. One of the actors’ names (Juliette Mellard) suggest that it really is a project born and based in France—collecting individual influences elsewhere.

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He’s also done a good rendition of; Marianne Faithfull‘s “Broken English“, originally released on LP in the UK 1979, via Island Records—now a sub-division to Universal Music Group. Though we’re not enthusiasts of Marianne’s intonation – we respect and understand such an immense contribution to England’s—and the world’s—music-life that she, and her discography have revealed throughout the years. With added minimalist synthesizers and a stripped-down not as extravagant atmosphere, Acapulco City Hunters make me like “Broken English“, and take the song for what it is – albeit in a completely new way. We must say that nothing beats an original, not even an original you’re not so delighted to hear in the first place, but they do a perfectly okay effort. We’re sorry to say that the bleep-synthesizer sound is too loud, which takes away part of the experience of listening.

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Now I won’t go any further into his discography, more than note that I have written about the split he did with Luminance, titled “The Cold Rush“. Sure, most of it sounds alike when listening through once in a while, but there are certain characteristics that Acapulco City Hunters had developed—that I heard when I had listened to it for a while. We prefer when he doesn’t overcharge on his ethnic vibes. When he keeps it nice and tidy, melodically ambitious and switches between different modes of electronica – is when he’s at his peak. This was exactly what he did with that release. Ironically enough he sings about evolution in “Magdalena” and evolved he has—at least musically. Recently, he also was featured in a track he did together with Luminance—on the “The Broken Window Theory“—a newly released compilation on Wool-E Records.

For Ljudkalendern he gives us, on the 13th December, unfortunately with a delayed article, a song titled “Chaser” – which might actually be the musical hunt for Acapulco. It seems to be something defining him, at the same time cranking up the tempo to maximum—making way for a spastic and erratic synthesizer-driven track. It’s a newly produced song for the purpose of this non-commercial collection – not compilation. We hope that you’ll take a bit of his musical concept with you in your thoughts after you’ve heard it—as delicate as it is forceful.

Spotlight: Ōgon Batto – 007 / Ōgon Batto

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The seventh release by Hare Akedod – a label specializing in electro-acoustic “improvisation rituals” on limited cassette-runs – is Ōgon Batto. It stands for Golden Bat, in Japanese; “黄金 バット” – which is a Japanese superhero invented by Ichiro Suzuki, a Japanese illustrator, in 1930. Symbolizing what came to be the first superhero of Japan, at least when it came to cartoons. References to this character have been made in the anime Paranoia Agent, for example. This first release, however, was created by someone whose real name is Bent Von Bent. He also created the beautiful artwork for this particular release of his own. Bent has a history of being involved in different releases on Hare Akedod, specifically on the first release “001” with various instrumentation, whilst David Edren took care of the synthesizers and guitars. David shares the label with Bent, as they run it together. Anyhow, Bent was also a part of the second, fourth and fifth release – in the same kind of way. This seventh release marks a third year of releases, together with Hare Akedod and Forklong Daruplat before this one. Even though a lot of the electro-acoustic music on this label don’t touch me emotionally, this seventh release manages to do just that. Carefully laden guitar-chords that make up the landscape of sound, together with improvised selections of riffs that – together with the swirling and sublime background guitar – make up a wondrous atmosphere that is relaxing to hear. Another thing which makes this music even more exciting is the locations at which he’s recorded field recordings in. To get a local kind of vibration to everything, he’s recorded on site at Xi’An (西安) in the Shaanxi province of China and in Sapporo (札幌市), the fourth largest city in Japan. The intensiveness of the music itself is laden into place with a mellow string of variation instrumentation. Some kind of chaos is brewing down below.

You can fetch the release through Hare Akedod themselves, or soon through distributors ex-Vinylo in France and Tomentosa in the US at the moment – as more international re-sellers will appear. The cassette itself is limited to 80 smokey clear tapes with white print in a black cassette case with black screen-printed golden j-card and fullcolour insert. The music was recorded on site with Field Recordings in Xi’An and Sapporo, but the release itself was recorded in studio with everything else at Zol Der Wahn, whilst the first, fifth and sixth track were recorded by Roest at Jocques & Die Scheldebunker. Synthesizer on track number five, namely “Bunker Symfonie IX : Opmars“, was recorded by D. Edren at CEM Rotterdam. Artwork for the cassette was made by Bent Von Bent and the cover-photograph was taken by Roest. Everything you’re hearing was recorded in between 2013 to 2014, with the assistance of others, but mainly by Bent Von Bent. Stream the whole release down below and listen to it, carefully.

Spotlight: Jogging House – Into

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Changing his tunes completely, to suit his synthesized scheme, Jogging House got rid (well, almost) of the barely tolerable R&B-influences and put on a whole other suit. In this latest release “Into“, there’s a dreamier sound with less annoyance. Even though his music had been tolerable before and even somewhat good, it’s a great trip to be taking, considering how his new outfit that places itself somewhere between chillout and ambient. You’re taken on a more intimate trip, which goes into his brain rather than his heart – because he left it where the R&B began. It is a more well-thought out and complex sound that doesn’t rely as heavily on sampling to get the point across. It is also an adventure in sound. Slow beats, heavy beats, calm synthesizers. It honestly feels even more analogue then it did with his last release before this one; “Longings“. The warmth of the sound is slowly diving into your consciousness, as the samples that actually are there act as a more subliminal drill into your subconscious. Eerie melodies float with the tempo, short breaks constitute that tiny little bit of sound that pulls the whole she-bang over the cliff. An anticlimactic song on this album can turn into a climactic beast in no time, but you know when it’s about to go down. Stream the whole album down below, buy it physically from Noorden.

Premiere: Orchidée Noire – Abscisses et Désordonnées

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Being francophiles and all, there aren’t that much french music being featured here. Not because there isn’t any french music to be put up here, but because we don’t have much contact with french musicians that write lyrical content that is french – staying true to their language. A month or so ago we featured Orchidée Noire, a promising solo-project that Xavier Soquet stands by. Featuring the romantic notion of France in a bouquet of different synthesizer sounds and also a hint of non-electronic music in the shape of sharp riffs that delve into the background of the music. The french language is really the language of romance, but also it sometimes also brings a sorrowful posture, wherein Xavier and the melodic content of his often complex rhythms are laid to support his vocals. This time he’s released a music-video for his latest track “Abcisses et Désordonnées“, a rather energetic synth-pop meets minimal synth kind of track. Laying bricks to build upon his earlier track “Défense de se noyer“, which we also covered. It feels like he’s moving in the right direction with his rather innocent, but at the same time realistic music that gather a little bit of influence from cold wave. A chilling look into the magnificence of minimal synth when combined with other genres.

We’re also going to post the lyrical content of this song, so that you can make sense of it all. I believe that some of it is lost in translation, also figuratively speaking, since a lot of things loose their inherent meaning when you translate them. A rough translation of the name of the track gives us a clue that “désordonnées” means “disordered“, or “disorder“. But that’s also when we loose control of trying to figure out anything else about what the track actually means, in regards to the title. So for those of you that are interested, we’re going to post the lyrical content of this track down below and you’ll have to make up your own mind in regards to how you’re going to translate it. We’re just happy that it means something and that it adds a rather mystic feeling to the track, with us not knowing what it actually means lyrically. You can watch the video up above and you can stream the track down below. Down below you can also read the lyrical content of the track. The track was recorded in March and put out by the 5th of March.

Laisse l’échangeur des voies découper tes formes linéaires,
Admire les pensées en bouquets qui fleurissent le long de ta chair,
Reflets nuit et cervelle étoilée, l’incompressible légèreté flirte avec le rail,
Entre Abscisses et Désordonnées, entre Abscisses et Désordonnées,

Perdons ton ombre,
Perdons ton ombre,
Et trouvons la distance,
Troublons la distance entre l’Abscisse et l’Ordonnée,

Ils te raconteront l’histoire de ceux qui n’ont su partir,
Ecoutant leur récit observe bien leur visage pâlir, leur regard s’enfuir,

Tu y rencontrera l’homme guettant son premier amour,
Sa femme à ses cotés, le cœur battant tel un tambour,
La première impression ressemble à une perte de repère,
Mais tout n’est qu’illusion, questionne donc ton imaginaire,

Quel est ton nom ?
Quel est ton nom ?
Trouvons la distance,
Trouvons la distance entre l’Abscisse et l’Ordonnée,

Perdons ton ombre,
Perdons ton ombre,
Trouvons la distance,
Trouvons la distance entre l’Abscisse et l’Ordonnée.