Review: TSTI – Endings

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Some time ago TSTI had his third album released, or second if you don’t count “Evaluated: An Album Of Remixes“. German-based Basic Unit Productions have gotten the pleasure to release “Endings” – which is the apt title of the release. Other Voices Records have also gotten their share of it and have released a limited edition cassette of it. We’ve had the possibility of listening to a few of the demos before this was released and they sounded promising, as does his whole discography. The aesthetics of the release are industrial and very cut and paste, not really anything we enjoy at all, and the first album “Evaluations” looked more alluring visually.

The album clocks in at around thirty-six minutes in total. So let’s get into what this album has to offer in its entirety, by doing a track-by-track review of it.

Things I Would Do” is a special kind of song when it comes to the atmosphere, right from the start there is an inviting kind of mystic vibe over it but at the same time an assertive industrial sound to it. We’re not really fans of the processed vocals at all but the lyrics in this song are simple but add a catchy melodious tone to an – at first – deserted landscape. The favorite part comes forth in the build-up until the chorus and the chorus itself, as they both pack a melodious punch which is remindable and emotional. It lurks in the background and comes out in full bloom together with the drum beats and snaredrum, which later on forms a stunning introductory to a hopefully, equally as great album.

We’ve been fortunate enough to hear the craftsman, S. Smith, create this marvelous tune step-by-step until it finally was released on Basic Unit Productions. Even though the fondness of the demo-version of this song have caught on, his stamp throughout it makes for a more bombastic and impactful experience.

Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” is a lot more pop-influenced then the first one, but he stays true to himself and his sound, which allows for a heavier side to take place amongst the cheesier vibes of the flute and the melody itself. It is not necessarily the build-up and climax of the song which is interesting, but rather the dissective nature of the downbeat melodies that are produced in between – giving it a whole atmosphere instead of a half one. We don’t think “Jennifer Touch” adds anything that gives this song momentum, or a different characteristic, which is probably not what was meant – but as a collaborative effort it is stale. The instruments and rhythm are more interesting here then the synthesizers for the most part, as they are more complex and add more to the song overall.

The slower nature of “Sincerity” allows S. Smith to build up a better atmosphere then in any of the other songs, this one crushes totally in terms of the synthesizers vibrancy and the emotional delivery of his vocals. It is almost like an anthemic ballad in of itself and layer upon layer of instrumentation cut right through and form the shape of a transgression between straight-forward synth-pop and ambient music. A very nice addition which sprawls from his old sound and new, to connect and make something greater then all of that. Too bad that he underestimates this kind of touch with his other songs, whom are more industrial in nature, but not in the crafty kind of way – because they build upon a foundation of synth-pop – instead of a transgressiveness between severeal genres.

It is a dreamy song and we drear the end of it, which comes at a too fast pace unfortunately. Even though it is the slowest song yet, but at the time it is allowed to brood and deliver chord upon chord of nicely laden synthesized beauty – is precisely the reason why one ought to check out TSTI in his new form.

Forgive Me” catch elements of the previous song and have also been featured on Repartiseraren’s own compilation “Whoever Am I”, long before release. It is noticeable how Sid’s (from Schwefelgelb) mastering have affected the song, because it is somewhat different from Zarkoff (who mixed the re-mastered compilation) – so it is very intriguing to hear how different characteristics, in terms of mastering – can be heard in the end product. Since we have a special bond to this song in terms of nostalgia itself, it is hard to not have a personal connection to the song itself, but it lacks in momentum although it is picked together quite good through the atmosphere of the song itself. There is never a dull moment and around the corner there’s a whole different interpretation in itself.

The song has very different characteristics throughout, which is what ultimately makes it different as well as fitting at the same time. Everything runs like clockwork and the time never stops until S. Smith cares to do it himself, by ending on a high note. It’s a very classy song in terms of tone and clarity, where the repetetive lyrics play an integral role to it moving forward at all.

Strange Times” really catches one off-guard. Damn, the first melody is a work of art in itself and from there and on you can’t turn the song off. Had S.U.R.V.I.V.E moved in a different way and taken the help of S. Smith – this is how it would sound like. There’s a certain niceness about the mysticism in the song itself, the sweet touches of synthesizers and not-too-industrial beats make this outstanding synth-pop music. By now, had it been some other album, it probably would’ve dulled off by now. Here’s the part where musicians fall short, oftentimes, if they have an album that goes on for as many songs as “Endings” does. The samples that can also be heard but in another form, on “Naïveté (feat. Jennifer Touch)” take a step into informing the listener – rather then shake the world together with beats.

It is good to hear how the first melody is expanded in the end and clangs out like it should’ve. Not that we’ve heard this song before, but because it is just what is supposed to happen – it is the destiny of this song.

To Visit You Again” is metaphorically speaking the most emotional song so far. Both in message and sound. The longing, the outdrawn beats that scrape against the soundscape and the desperation in the atmosphere that lunge towards you in an instant. It draws upon mutated choirs that between added effects and from high to low notes, add a nicely angelic touch to an otherwise doom and gloom song. It is also the only instrumental song on the whole album. Which is a pleasure to listen through. The repetetiveness of it doesn’t bother at all because it is inventive and make use of the different small touches added to the whole totality of sound. When “Flatter Me” comes on, it is obvious that it is a direct continuation of the aforementioned instrumental song. They share many of the same ambitions in being emotionally touching and direct, together with impervious melodies that never stagnate.

Here though, the melodies are taken into a different direction which both touch upon these elements and create a whole other atmosphere – the intangible nature of TSTI’s sound is one of his strengths. All of a sudden everything is downhill and from there it goes uphill, the emotions come crashing down and the beats develop intensity as they shift from rhythm to rhythm. Very flattering of him to do so.

R.A.S.” never hits home but at the same time does. It is a song filled with paradoxical sound production, with melodies that sound oriental at times and the complete opposite. There’s a shyness and awkwardness about it as a whole, as if he doesn’t want it to bloom out completely – as he holds it even closer. He shapes and unshape things, from rhythms that don’t really make sense to beats that almost put the synthesizer’s wonderful soundscaping out of play. Maybe it is the complete destruction of everything, the ending as it is, even though this certainly isn’t his last contribution in terms of sound as TSTI.

Unfortunately, the remixes of “Things I Would Do“, by Hante and Ssleeping desiresS don’t do the original justice. It is much better and their versions of it aren’t up to par with it, and it doesn’t even create anything tangible from the perspective of making a new version, or something that could possibly stand out in any way, in terms of musicianship.

The album as a whole is a decent thing to listen to. It might even be better then that, though some things are hit and miss – but when it comes down to it, TSTI hones his old sound and develops something new – not necessarily breaking everything down and making the outcome dull and boring. Listen to it in whole down below.

 

 

[2nd] December: TSTI – This Way (Inst. Version)

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To be honest I haven’t been monitoring the rapid success of TSTI for a while. I remember when he was in the process of releasing his debut-album, but after that he’s also released a follow-up and there’s more yet to come. Sometimes you just loose track of everything when you’re knee-deep into everything. There’s so much to keep your own eyes and ears open to and there’s so much really untalented junk which floats around on the internet—some of it which is received through e-mail that you don’t even open and send to the trash-bin right away—that you get lost, for real. Even though I know that many things are left unexplored, it’s hard to keep it close and actually have the time to listen through it. I’m hoping that my article will do justice to what I’m going to present to you in the end of it. Before that I need to go through what is unique with TSTI and why he’s featured in Ljudkalendern — the unnamed project which got a name, when the final artwork had been received. It’s really simple and is kind of catchy in Swedish but not in English, as it translates to: “Sound-calendar“. Therefore I’ve decided to keep the Swedish name.

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We’re already in December and time flies by like it didn’t even care for us puny humans. Not that it ever does, because it’s not reversible, but sometimes you wish time would have mercy and be slow for once—not only when you’re doing something really dull. It has more to do with our perception than it has to do with time itself, I can understand and cope with that, but I wish I could just stop and reflect for a moment—which rarely, if ever, happens. TSTI have been releasing so many great tracks since the first release for this solo-project of his, originally intended to be a bedroom synthpop project, turned into a minor mammoth that just seems to go on and on… and on. I don’t really know if he stays true to what he once wanted for it, but that doesn’t make a difference for me anyway, the only difference that have been made is that he’s evolved really much. From a rather neatly placed synth-pop package with huge ambitions—turned upside down, making it an ambitious project extremely nicely packaged both in sound and aesthetics. His artwork follows a linear curve and the only thing different is the main focus point, which feature an industrial compound (Evaluated), as opposed to the Victorian setting on his debut-album (Evaluations). It will be exciting to see what’s going to happen in 2015 and if the aesthetics will follow the red line, or go past, above, away or beyond it. Because he’s releasing something new in the beginning of next year on Desire — and I’m thrilled about it.

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So when I asked him if he would be interested in participating in a non-commercial collection that I was making, he surely was and gave away an instrumental version of a track featured on his forthcoming release. It never got onto the official release itself, so I thought—why not place it on Ljudkalendern? Said and done — now we had an agreement. It is my pleasure to introduce to you an instrumental version of the track “This Way“, taken from his coming album that will be out next year—2015. It’s a step away from what I was used to hearing on his debut-album, definitely with obvious leanings to electronic body music and industrial music, but also with contrasts like including a panpipe in an industrialized setting. Harsh beats, complex rhythms and a nicely woven melody which is supported by this bizarre instrument. A thoughtful song which doesn’t become less interesting than the fully vocalized original track. Before you go and listen to it, read my poem about it. Otherwise, if you’re not into poetry — here’s for December the 2nd and a brand new premiere on Ljudkalendern!

Metal pipes and ringing sounds,
working hard in our compounds
Hammer to metal, machines for humans,
benefited for all means

This is 2nd of December and for now the story is moving straight ahead, but we’re long from close to our final destination. Tomorrow a new song will be released and the story is to be built upon and continued. Until then, enjoy another exclusive song; “This Way” (Inst. Version), on Repartiseraren.

Spotlight: Roladex – Anthems For The Micro​-​Age

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Two people participatory in retro-futurism. Texans, synth-poppers, VHS-lovers, retro-lovers – a lot in common. The granular imagery from the VHS gives off a mystic visual representation, maybe even a leery introduction for those whom almost have a fetish for technical progress. A current that has been actualized more and more when we entered the 2000’s, a shift that you might’ve noticed but didn’t care too much for. Tyler Jacobsen and Elyssa Dianne have a lot of things in common, their common denominator being; Roladex. It should be so more enticing then the name would ever suggest. Synth-pop with a retro-fantastic touch, infusing lovely melodies with the charming disco-vibes, quickly shifting focus into their lovely rhythm – moving into their minimalistic undertones. Equate that to their latest release “Anthems For The Micro-Age“, which was released on the 13th of February on Medical Records. Harnessing both the qualities of the long-lost, but now re-emerged – minimal synth of yesteryear. This release can also be seen as a compilation of tracks from earlier releases. If you hold a grudge against analog synth-pop, this is probably not the spot for you.

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From 2013 to 2014, Roladex released their first single “Pink Halloween“, with remixes by Police Des Moeurs and Tiger Team being featured on it. The label back then was AMDISCS, and it was released in May of 2013. After that, a Mini-EP titled “Love Surgery EP” was born, featuring contributions from TSTI, Video Look, REDREDRED and Some Ember – released by the label Beko, in June. Then, the notable label Night People got it together and they got their first cassette put out there. The name of that cassette was to become “Cathode Rays“, whereas the name was taken from the first track on that release. Later on, in 2014, as it has been said – they got released by Medical Records, on vinyl. Which birthed the album, and rather compilation, of tracks that would come together under the title of “Anthems For The Micro-Age“. A lot of tracks that had been previously released were also featured here, but as new versions re-done for the release – like “Love Surgery” as A3, and “Scan Lines” as B4 – taken from their release “Love Surgery EP”. Whilst the track “Pink Halloween” appeared as B2, taken from their first single with the same name. The tracks from their cassette-release “Cathode Rays”, the track with the same name being represented as A2, also got featured on this compilation. “Blacklit Disco” is A4, “Empty Streets” is A5, and “Anthem For The Micro-Age” is A1 – and also the track that the album is named after.

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With this, their latest release, only the tracks “Color Channels” on B1, “Single Cell City” on B3, and “Nuke It Out” on B5, could be considered to be new tracks. One could say that the release represents all they’ve done so far, but also how they’re looking into the future a little bit more. They know themselves that there’s a lot in store for them, and as this compilation becomes even more anthemic in both a semantic way – it also represents a slight bit of how anthemic their tracks also can be. This might be their current state, but take it for what it is, because they’re evolving. You will be satisfied with how they are, and you should take them as they are. A duo couldn’t be much more of a perfect match – in fact. If you want to support them, look for their earlier releases, but do also buy the limited edition vinyl-release from Medical Records – if you want a cross-section of what they sound like, and what they are. Buy it down below.

Some questions for Xiu!

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Xiu is the Russian-born Estonian, but now Milan-based minimal synth artist, whose real name is Oksana Rodinova. Whilst harkening to her dark landscapes and magnificent voice, it gives you a palette of emotions to experience. Hearing her luminescent voice clash within a dark sound-scape of minimalism, is probably one of the most enjoyable things to hear. Since she started her solo-project back in 2010, with the self-released “Dancing Voodoo“, she’s been gaining momentum. Appearing on the German visionary label aufnahme + wiedergabe in 2012, with the self-titled cassette “Xiu“, which sold out very fast. To her collaboration with the interesting act Cold Colors, and their joint release “Loneliness“, where she lent her voice to four unimaginably solid tracks, in 2013. A little bit earlier, she also released the cassette “Possessions” on the increasingly larger (Swedish) Beläten etiquette. Since she’s been interviewed by different outlets, I decided to ask her a bunch of new questions. Mostly about the coming release, but also what her music means to herself, rather than the audience. Therefore, this will be a short Q&A-like “interview”, if you’d like. Hope you enjoy it.

Right now, you’re occupied in making your own debut-album become a reality. You’re also busy filming your first music-video for that particular release. What label have you teamed up with and where does the story begin?

– I would keep the label name in the secret for now.

Since you’ve released a lot of different songs here and there, how does it feel to work with your first “real” release?

– I don’t feel any difference. I mean, its always my own produced songs, it’s just a next step that comes naturally after two EP tapes, different compilations and collaborations.

You’ve also got two demo-tracks which you put up on your own bandcamp. Are these coming to good use in your forthcoming release?

– Well, yes. These tracks will be released but not on the LP. it will be as bonus tracks + some others on forthcoming CD release. Russian label Other Voices Records will release my two tapes (s/t by aufnahme and Possesion by Belaten) and bonus tracks this fall.

Is this album going to be any different from your earlier material in any way? What kind of theme will it have?

– It will be a kind of different but in the same time it will always be an analogue sound. I keep using the same gear that I used before, including some new synths and effects. I can say that debut LP will be more mature and confident.

Your latest release was together with Cold Colors, which was a  collaboration between the two of you. How did it came to be and what could you say about the making of “Loneliness”?

– This might sound weird, but I’ve never met Fred (Cold Colors) in real life. All our collaboration have been “online” through chat on Facebook and Skype. I’m very happy about this work, I’m really in love with that what Fred is doing. Nobody before this have produced music especially for my voice, specifically for me.

What do you think about aufnahme + wiedergabe and Beläten? Since you’ve released stuff on both those labels, how did that came to be in the first place, since your first release “Dancing Voodoo”?

– I tenderly love both labels! I’m proud to be their artist and thankful, especially because I was taking my first steps into the musical “scene” and they’re helped me a lot. Working with them was very enjoyable.

There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding you, and have been since you began to be noticed, it seems. What kind of response have  you gotten through the years?

– Really? I haven’t noticed any hype. I started to produce music two years ago, and less than year ago my debut tape came out, so I don’t think it’s time to speak about any “hype”. Everything have been flowing smoothly.

You’re also going to be featured on a split together with Spatial Relation, which is coming out pretty soon. What can you tell us about this?

– It will be a new song I produced specifically for this release. It will be coming out in September on Peripheral Minimal Records, I’m very excited about it and can’t wait, really! It will be the first Xiu 7” vinyl release.

How would you describe your own music?

– Looking for harmony inside of yourself.

When it comes to the general aesthetics of your own albums, they seem to revolve around yourself. Is there any thought behind – and if there is – then why is that so?

– Do you mean the visual part? Well, that might be because my music is autobiographical. I don’t speak about global problems, politic things, social troubles. I don’t want to change or save a planet, I try to save and understand myself, in my own world. I’m interested in creating something beautiful, fragile, delicate, something about feelings, sensations, sensuality.

Alright, seems like the time’s up. What kind of artists/groups/bands would you recommend here in the end and when will your full-length be out?

– I highly recommend you to pay attention to the small new label based in Italy named Minimal Trend Records. They’re soon releasing their first album on vinyl, a compilation with only Milan-based contemporary electronic artists. So, stay tuned!

Also, the one-woman-project Froe Char going to release her 3rd album, she’s awesome. Again, an Italian project which is unfairly underrated is Spettro Family. They’re soon going to release a new  album. As well, records from Beläten and aufnahme + wiedergabe are always brilliant. Don’t miss out on new releases!

You can find Xiu over at Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube. Do also check out her music-video for the track “Possessions” from the Beläten-release. You can also play two demo-tracks from her bandcamp down below. Her much anticipated full-length album will be released in the beginning of 2014. Do also listen to her latest remix of TSTI’s track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“.

TSTI releases his first musicvideo ever!

TSTI is the product of an analog experience. We’re the listeners to his sounds and now he’s premiered a music-video for his song “In Loving Memory“, from his album “Evaluations“. Highways and cars seems to be the method you choose, when you want to venture down memory lane. Listen to his crisp and retro-sounding bombastic synth, hints of darkwave, concrete industrial – but do also adhere to his sincere singing and overall energy. If you didn’t already know, TSTI is from Schenectady, New York and his real name is S. Smith. Remember, you can buy his album, either as vinyl or CD over at Desire Records. You can also listen to his album down below.

Best tracks of 2012 according to Invisible Guy!

10. Seacrypt – Other Worlds

Taken from their debut album A Momentary Rift which I found randomly while browsing bandcamp. Certainly also one of the greater albums this year, with a roster of eight powerful and mind-numbingly great tracks. An ode to the greatness of darkwave, synth-pop and ambient – all in one.

9. Curxes – Spectre

One of the better bands this year and definitely one of the greatest songs I’ve heard this year. The noir pop-esque feeling that never seems to let go, wherever you lay your eyes, they’re there observing you. An emotional wonder that will hopefully stand the toll of time, and that also have lived the post-destruction era that is and was 2012.

8. Inkvisitionen – Dö som lejon

Knuckleduster hardcore from the city of Gothenburg, representing their city with a monstrous track, demanding complete annihilation of everything. One of the fiercest hardcore tracks I’ve heard this year, fortunately released before next year so it could be included in this list. Like it was meant to be.

7. INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ – The Banishing

A softie from this phenomenal constellation. Featuring my favorite genres, done completely right, with absolutely no regard whatsoever for labels to be smacked upon them. Which is an attitude I mostly support, so you should support them by tuning in and buying their stuff. With that said, this track (and the other one) are totally different from their earlier material, featuring a highly ambiguous (and) ambitious effort from their side.

6. Velvet Condom – Kalter Lippenstift (INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ Remix)

I must say that I enjoy the regular version as much, but I had to choose, so I chose the remix by INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ. Why? Because there’s so much energy in this remix, which overshadows the original song. I’d like to say that they’re good in different ways, but this one is (by far), superior.

5. Black Table – Heist

One of the more surprising tracks in this list. I must say that I have a feeling when I’m about to hear something extraordinary. So, I will have to say that this progressive metal/black metal/post-metal act deserve all credit where credit is due. This is their best track on the EP they released recently. I don’t know why, but the lyrical content and the musical ambitions are outstanding. With a pretty unique vocalist, whom I thought was a man at first. Sorry, Mers, I should’ve known that you’re a she and not a he.

4.TSTI – Love & Truth

Straight from a bedroom somewhere in New York. A man with a quest to enhance his own sound, release his creativity on analogue machinery and be a part of something organic. This track have all the little details, every influence and a feeling that shouldn’t be underestimated. Synth-pop from the glory days, but with a new twist and certainly not a copy of a copy. Deserving everything and definitely fitted for this list.

3. Niels Nielsen – Shadow Twin

I’m going back to the drawing board, I’m hoping that Zeigeist will re-establish themselves, but until then; Niels Nielsen is adequate with this wonderful track. Even though it contain some lethal doses of mainstream, I have endured and must say that this is one of the best tracks this year. Nostalgia may have gripped me by the balls, but I don’t really care. This track will be played on New Year’s eve.

2. Henric de la Cour – Grenade

Calm yet bombastic. One of the tracks I’ve wanted to get a hold of physically, but failed due to my own incompetence. Along with everything else he’s done, I would say that this is probably the epitome. This track is the best that I’ve heard from him yet, so let’s hope that he continues in this fashion.

1. the Hex Dispensers – Parallel

What can I say? I’ve been playing this track non-stop since it was released. The record has been reviewed thoroughly and there’s probably nothing that can match this. Also, it feels good that someone decided to accompany Gérard Depardieu with this track, it enriches it even more.

The runner-ups are the following tracks:

10. Alina Devecerski – Jag Svär

9. Damage – Keeping It Wild

8. The Foreign Resort – Buried

7. Agent Side Grinder – Wolf Hour

6. Övervarning – Det heliga korset

5. Monozid – rita, you know we are doomed

4. Bombangrepp – Skuggan Av Dödens Sändebud

3. Beyond Pink – Statements on statement

2. Xiu – Life Is A Lie

1. Linea Aspera – Malarone

The best releases of the year 2012! (Part I)

It’s been a very interesting year when it comes to music. There have been a great amount of releases that have been up there with the greatest of yesteryear. Since everybody seems to be doing these lists, I will join in on the fun and recommend you the best releases of this year. Some of those releases might’ve been what I’ve reviewed on this blog and some others might be releases that I haven’t reviewed yet. I think it’s fun to do these lists nevertheless and hope that you will be with me next year too, as I will be continuing with my quest to shine a light on good and unintentionally obscure gems that seem to be passing by in the speed of light, only getting picked up by the smaller blogs like mine and other blogs. I will also be doing other lists that will be turning up in the days ahead of us and I might actually do something “big” for a change, just to celebrate this year’s passing. Welcome to Part I which in an unorthodox manner, displays the four best releases of this year.

dalet-cover4. Various Artists – A Somatic Response

A compilation from the wonderful label Beläten. It’s been with me since many months back and was probably the first compilation that I ever reviewed. There is something interesting in the way the artists were compiled on this compilation, it seems like it took a long time for Thomas to sort them out and place them in the right spot. Rightfully so, it also made it a whole lot better and it felt like it had been worked on for quite some time. Even though the music at times might not have been what I expected, I could hear that it reeked of quality. There was basically nothing wrong with it and it was a suitable piece of art which hopefully will get what it deserves in the future. I think its one of the greatest compilations of this year and therefore its included in the first batch of the best releases. If you haven’t already heard it, I suggest you do. I would also like to quote a little bit from the review I did on it:

With a synthesizer brain, you can’t go insane.

solblot-fc3b6r-mig-finns-ingen-vc3a4rld3. Solblot – För Mig Finns Ingen Väg Från Hemmets Dörr

An adaptation of the wonderful poems that Verner Von Heidenstam wrote in the end of the 19th century. If anything, this album should be and is a part of Swedish cultural heritage. It also broadens the horizon of neofolk, since they’ve managed to put their own approach to the music and the genre as a whole. They’ve outdone themselves when it boils down to it, since they made a lot of variation in between the different song and it is noticeable that they have what it takes to put Sweden on that scene. I don’t think any other band in that particular genre (at least from Sweden) have managed to stay that original and still make it. The album is a milestone of their discography but also as a whole, it really enlightens the aspects that might be forgotten nowadays and heighten them to the max. Hopefully they’ll move on to create yet another album that can withstand the toll of time, as I certainly hope that this album will, because its a positive outreach and insight into both cultural and musical aspects of Sweden. I would like to quote a bit from my review of their album (unfortunately only in Swedish):

Jag hoppas att de tänker ta någon av de andra klassiska svenska dikterna och göra något av det, själv tror jag i mitt stilla sinne att Heidenstam hade varit väldigt stolt över detta om han hade levt bland oss idag. Ett riktigt bra album och förmodligen något man kommer att se tillbaka på, när Solblot cementerat sig själva ytterligare, och kunna kalla den för “en klassiker“.

2721236100-12. TSTI – Evaluations

One of the most original albums to be released this year. The throwback to the wonderful 80’s music that I love so much have also made a mark on TSTI. His latest album evaluations is a good reminder of how much greater some of the synth-pop and darkwave could be. It took me a while to find it and I even conducted an interview with him about his music. I also reviewed his album, which was a listening experience that actually could describe this year very well in every sense. He managed to pinpoint the exact things about this year, musically, that made it suck so hard. But there was always some sense of relief, even though there wasn’t much of it to begin with. His music takes out the best in me and riddles in nostalgia, which helps me remind myself of how things were before. Surely a milestone album when it comes to that genre and a very interesting addition to a pretty suffering style of genres. The analog dimension of it makes it even more worthwhile to listen to and I sincerely recommend it. I should also quote something from my review of it:

I love how the synths start sounding like dolphins communicating below surface, even though its almost a few seconds. I believe that is the essence of S. Smith, he can both be very complex at hand but when you think about it – he’s also managed to keep a basic edge to what he’s doing.

PRO002811. The Deadfly Ensemble – An Instructional Guide For Aspiring Arsonists

It’s not hard to realize why I chose this album. Since I’ve listened through it, I picked it up once again and started listening. Every time I listen to it, it blows my mind and it’s probably one of the most original albums I’ve heard in a very long time. I must also say that it was hard to review such a masterpiece, because you didn’t know where you should go and you didn’t know what to say. But I must say that I completely loved the theme of the album and I tried my hardest to describe it in a way that would be suitable. Nothing can really touch this, not even the release that is on second place in this review. The amount of quirkiness, the sincerity and the sheer complexity of the music at hand left me indecisive about including it into the list, just because it blows every other record out of the water. I would even go so far as to include an excerpt from my review of their album, which leaves nothing else to be said:

They’ve managed to fit in so many emotions into this and they’ve managed to actually keep the music alive, the lyrical content excellent and everything else top notch. Everyone involved with this have outdone themselves and I’d like to say that his is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. It absolutely smacks many other albums away from the first place and crowns itself.

Which, concludes this years (Part I) list of the best releases. I wish you a Merry Christmas!