Spotlight: IC3PEAK – Vacuum

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Three releases on the same year ain’t bad for a duo. Nick and Nastya are two audio-visual artists based out of Moscow, that have released three EPs to date, one being a remix done for their track “I’ll Be Found” by MXXN, Sidewalks and Skeletons, Feki, Tyler Tastemaker and PrayForYourself. A track featured on their debut-EP titled “Substances“, which they had released by a label called STYLSS. What’s interesting about this duo is that everything you hear and see is made by them, as you can experience every medium you’d ever need to appreciate them. Mixing digital audio with analogue, to create their nice blend of untouchable witch house and hard-hitting bass music. Two genres I rarely appreciate, which these two have changed my opinion on – but only in regards to what they’ve been putting out. Now they have a third EP, or second – if you want to count it by original material.

So this release is titled “Vacuum” – a perfect description for their artistry on this release, by the way. You can’t help but adore the sincerity which overflows throughout their blend of steel and fluff. A balance of Yin & Yang, an experience that is captivating and showcased with the first track and it never really stops. No moment is a dull moment. It’s amazing how they fit you through their hourglass and decide what kind of time you’ve got left, because they’re in complete control of your senses. It can be hopeless to fall so quickly for a release, but it has really happened and it is hard to admit when confronted with genres that are often so banal. Nothing here is banal and it hooks you immediately. If I had a hate and love relation to Grimes, I have nothing but love to offer IC3PEAK. You can download the whole album digitally for free, but also order a physical CD, limited to 50 copies, from the label Stellar Kinematics – now!

Some questions for Yöri Bjártsdóttir!

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Yöri Bjártsdóttir, or Yöri, is an Icelandic/Lithuanian artist that delves knee-deep into trip-hop mixed with danceable industrial. Earlier this year, she released her first EP titled “Capsule EP“, which was produced by Andrew Means, whom also goes by the moniker of “H3X3N” – a dark electronica project. Together with Yöri, they produce some of the most wonderful pieces of crossover electronica that have been put out there, lately. With his production skills and her wonderful voice – they’re a match made in heaven. I found Yöri on the forum Violent Playground and decided it was time to introduce her to a wider audience. So, therefore I sent her a couple of questions which she answered. You’ll get to know everything about the intent of her music, what it means and also the fact that she’s collaborating with H3X3N on a new album that will come out sooner or later. Tune in!

Now, I know virtually nothing about you. More then that you’ve just released your EP titled “Capsule EP” a month ago or so. Where you mix trip-hop glitching with industrial dance music. The common denominator, at least when listening to the track “Jupiter”, influence-wise – would be Björk! It makes sense, since it seems like you’re from Iceland. But who are you and why did you embark upon making this kind of music?

– Surprisingly enough I was never a follower of Björk, don’t know why. I’m only half icelandic, the other half Lithuanian and have absorbed both cultures while growing up. I’ve been singing before I could talk and was very excited to make my debut as an electronic musician. I just basically didn’t want to make a record that has been done before. What happened was just a very beautiful musical affair between me and my producer, H3X3N/Andrew Means, doing things that we felt were right and sounded even better.

Oh and also, as much as I can appreciate her talent, for some reason I just never found my way to her music. Being compared to someone as talented as her is a very big compliment in itself and I appreciate it. I would just rather be the first Yori than the “next Björk“.

How did you and H3X3N (Andrew Means) go by when you both began to work on your debut-EP, and was it always clear to you that the music you’d be putting out there would be within the sphere of electronica?

– We kind of went from song to song, not really knowing what was going to happen next. It was an improvise-like process, very introspective. When recording, you really have to be two people. One, a teenager who does all these things unconsciously and fucks up from time to time, doing things for no apparent reason, and the adult – the other half which is always trying to rescue the other one when she gets in those situations. It’s almost like setting up a trap and organizing an accident. You put all these sounds together, gather all these ideas and then you have to sort them out.

Did you ever feel like it could’ve been more then an EP, or did you want to compromise it everything into that particular format? Have you stored away songs for future purposes?

– Um, well, it definitely wasn’t a compromise, we just felt like we’d rather start out with a 6-track EP. Yes! As a matter of fact we have a lot planned, my next release, “In Dreams” will be a 5 track EP, with a more washed out, romantic, afrobeat dreamwave house brew. That was a lot of adjectives but it does the job. Love songs tinged with oceanic feeling. It will also be more lyric-based.

Speaking of lyrics, the song you put up titled “North” was inspired by “an ogress called Gryla”. Could you elaborate? Also, what influences you?

– Gryla is part of Icelandic mythology, she is a lonely ogress who lives in the mountains and eats kids that don’t believe in Christmas. A friend of mine is working on a project about her and it was my job to contribute the music for it, so we adapted a version of it for a track. I think of pop’s boundaries to be elastic. It’s like a thunderstorm building up inside me. I think of songwriting almost as a survival instinct. Different people do different things to deal with their problems, I sing. If I dont do it, I start to suffocate. Anything can be full of inspiration if you look deep enough, a crystal, your friends, mathematics, a wind that won’t stop beating you up, a certain taste. What both inspires me and turns me on the most is mystery and the unknown.

And that’s what Capsule was, it was staring into the abyss and having the abyss stare back.

So, one could certainly say that you’re influenced by Nietzsche? That’s interesting. It seems like some of your aesthetics (besides H3X3N as a producer) adhere to witch house, which seem to have somewhat of a “naive”, but pseudo-nihilistic aesthetic to it. Do you have any relation to witch house as such, or do you simply consider the apparent genres that you tag yourself with?

– Definitely not Nietzsche, that’s overstepping it a bit. It’s not nihilistic per say, it’s just the hunger for jumping into the unknown. Jumping off that metaphorical cliff and challenging yourself. I don’t have much to say about witch-house, as I didn’t even know of it before the release of Capsule. I guess I’d classify myself as trip hop, industrial.

Well, it seems like I’m going to wrap this up. Thank you for answering these questions, the word’s yours now!

– As a finishing side-note, I’d like to just state that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my extremely talented producer H3X3N, and that everyone should check out his music.

Listen to Yöri perform on her debut-EP “Capsule” down below. Do also pay some heed to H3X3N, her producer. Delve into their world. But, do also check out the SKVM remix of her track “Coma“.

Skinny Reptile Youth cover Crystal Castles!

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They’re at it once again, they are considered to be: Skinny Reptile Youth. I’ve written about them earlier, as they’ve released an EP in March. Since I’ve compared them to the obvious, which is Crystal Castles, they’ve since released two tracks. One of them is a cover of the song “Black Panther” from the aforementioned band’s first self-titled full-length “Crystal Castles“. But they’ve also released a track from their own compartments, which is titled “71723“. Needless to say, you need to check them out if you haven’t done that already. Also, you can listen to both tracks down below and download them free of charge.

Slowday Showcase [#7.3]: Hungry Soul and Delphine Coma!

224176309-1I remembered, vividly, that I hadn’t included electro yet. I thought it was because of the lack of authentic electro, but I was wrong. First up is the sublime Hungry Soul from Antwerpen, Belgium. His latest endeavor is the release titled “Afterlife Resort“, which gives a rather mushy impression. I’ll explain why. The taciturn yet expressive landscape of both a futuristic time, yet induced and sprinkled with a feeling of nostalgia, has you hooked beneath your kneecaps. Maybe the robots are attacking, but they’re no elites. No, they’re drunken of oil and impaired due to excessive oiling. This could be described further, as they run berserk in your neighboring town, hurting nothing but the infrastructure and themselves.  They do really hate anything even remotely close to them, so they want destruction. It might not be noticeable at first, but the cleanliness and sublime nature of the music arcs into a terribly malevolent situation of electronica and electro joining forces with man instead of machine. Some of it might seem arrhythmic, but it’s really rhythm through and through. That old-school wobble, those analog and those alien. Fearing before caring, locked up in different dimensions, miles apart from each other. Yet something forcefully eradicates your control, which make you a spastic piece of fabric for them to work with. Everything seems remote, but still connected to a centralized authority of electronic(al) magnitude. Actually, the probability of this experimentalism couldn’t be counted on. I was thinking more on the lines of AS1 and instead I got Hungry Soul. But now I know why the soul is hungry, because it wants more of that rhythmic stuff that is delivered through tubes of electro synchronicity. It’s spaced-out, yet confined within its own realms of progression and ambition. Ambiguous at least, ambitious at most – but in between is the only certain thing. Featuring the four tracks “Afterlife Resort“, “Heaven Was High“, “Blunted Beach” and “Jack Lag“. Released on Jack Playmobil Records on the 23rd of February.

1846120871-1Also, it’s been a long time, since I heard anything bombastic within darker genres. Either they limit themselves, pending from bombastic to minimal, or just stay within the confined limits of the minimal genres. Now I’ve found something else, something really special, a duo from Houston, Texas called Delphine Coma. It might not be an actualized release right now, since it was released a month ago, but I had to include it. Their release “Exit Isolation” is anything in between cold wave, minimal synth and darkwave. It’s weird, since it’s only minimalistic in the way the landscape progresses and maybe also the vocals. Everything else about it is monumental and bombastic, utilizing the best of two worlds to withhold the minimalism, but at the same time showcasing both minimalism tendencies with a bombastic core to sit on. The overlaying beauty of the sound-scape is wickedness with melancholic intent, but not to a degree that makes it totally ridiculous. It feels like I’m stuck in a dark vortex, slapping me around and carrying me back each time I take a listen. Everything with it grows on you and the tracks differ in both their attitude towards the listener and the general sense of belonging. They’re inviting you to a world of hurt, but you’re too damn attached to even look away or try to make it out. When you’re sitting on the top of a glacier, looking down on the magical spectacle that is Delphine Coma. It might frighten you at first, but when they’ve got you in their grasp, you’re theirs for the taking. I believe that this is what I think of when recognizing the different genres that influence them. This is exactly how it would turn out, but without me knowing it. There’s a sense of gratitude towards them, at the same time, there’s also an edge to it – which takes you from a non-believers perspective, to a cultist worshiper. Even though some of it could be predicted, their unpredictability and underlying sense of movement makes it such a different experience all-in-all. Transgress and transcend from your own apartment, include yourself or be included. You really have no choice in this matter, because it’s in their hands, which is powerful stuff. Something that isn’t going to be reserved for memory lane, it’s something now a part of you. Featuring the two tracks “Exit Isolation” and “Sothis ▲ Dog Star“, released on the 7th of January, on the label In Aeternum.

Interview with Heretics!

Heretics started out in early 2010 and have since then produced their first self-titled album named Heretics. Later on the single Epitaph came out, accompanied by their latest addition to the family Wealth = Success in 2012. They’re playing a mix of synth-pop, post-punk and witch-house. This year they’ve got a gig at Young Twisted And Black, over at The Finsbury in North London and one at Destroy the Silence – Underworld in Camden, London. I got the opportunity to interview one of the bandmembers, namely David Whiting – whom concentrates mostly on the more synth-oriented pieces but also do the vocals. Mostly about how their journey started, how they have developed and many more interesting things which you can read below.

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