TBR: 29th March
So hot off the presses, it was only safe to touch yesterday. This four track landmark release from Bricolage has been eagerly awaited by a huge crowd of eclectic electrophiles in the home town of Glasgow and across the global tribe. Choosing experimental layering of heady to rushy elements gives this producer a subtle craft which he manipulates expertly with each master copy. That distinct flavour of hypnotising mesmagorica which pulsates from the stereo while Loui Cleghorn is in the system is becoming ever more appreciated everywhere. What's been given is a two track original with a remix for each by a duo of wave-makers in the industry.
Starting with a party atmosphere with high energy tones and a quick stepping beat, a hat tap doubles up the tempo within bars. Revolution of metal on stone casts a rhythmic grinding sensation while digital drops of sound grow like upwards falling rain. A break rolls down in a sonic avalanche of subtle drums which allows the music to reveal a bright and sparkling core. Synthesiser arpeggio like compositions glint in the new surfaces and a bass tone on a distorted keyboard forms a driving pulse. Movements of tone upwards gives an uplifting force to the onwards momentum behind this piece, with a title like The Halcyon Days, we can expect a confident and optimistic sound. That's what we get.
Echoing beats start the scene for Fortysomething. Now with a few years under the belt, what's changed? Introspective warbles of worming synthesiser spell magical wisps in twilight skies. Digital bass runs bring on a sense of futuristic pace which manifests as everything learned up until now. This brings a sense of direction and internal geography to where we are headed yet still there's a lot more exploring to do. Sudden and dynamic, the energy of the mix climbs on itself with continual repetitions of tone and beat that pierce and wiggle their way into our minds. It's okay though, it sounds really good. Dancing in spotlit corners with pint in hand while chatting to various familiar faces has its new soundtrack. Here we are, in the darkroom, summoning the might of the fantastic night out meant for this recording.
Devras Plexi gets a turn to remaster the initial number, the remix of The Halcyon Days makes its way over for track three. It starts with an industrial edge. Digitally enhanced sounds reverberate well into the distance with perfectly timed inclusions. The vibratory quality of the whole piece shifts a gear after a few moments and brings on crazy minded melodics which jump and leap like grasshoppers in the rough. Then, a pulsating thread of synthesiser is needled through like a tapestry of sound being threaded with a brand new colour. This chiming sensation that washes like fluid bubbles sits back and forward in turn with various other forms of melody. Blips, rumbles, and turning over metalwork make up a homogeneous and smooth delivery of lumpy percussion. The texture fits perfectly with the adornment of various sonic phonics which scatter and stick in distinct and multiple directions.
Finally, we're greeted with a tough and down to earth drumbeat. Funky and pounding, the dirty bass drum gives way to robotic sounds and chattering. A formulative rhythm is crumbled over with dusty beats that sit on angular projections of sound. Quick marching snare and hats gift the sound with a sense of crunch while poingy notes dance and squirm on axis hidden within the crust. Crackling drums merge with the cheeky android sounds and lofi beats keep the timing in function when the music breaks down to a minimal score. These two remixes are around half the length of the two epic originals, however their compression has made room for a much more ferocious energy that's been mixed in to completely change the flavour and temperature of each offering.
You can preorder/buy the EP on Bandcamp
And follow Bricolage on Facebook
Also, follow Loui Cleghorn on Facebook.
Mirador / Ozen
TBR: 26th April
This second number on the P&F catalogue brings the third offering from ambient electronic symphonistas Ghost Vision. Already with deck time from influential DJs like Lovefingers and Jonny Rock, this two track blaster gives the ambient room something to chew on. Fusing old technology with new hardware brings home a uniquely blended sound that captures the best parts of the whole electronic music journey. Building on strong and solid foundations and then decorating the entire place with the most up-to-date furnishings makes sure we have something that's going to last. Said to balance the chakras and instil a sense of inner peace, we're invited to be swept away by the tide of musicality that is Mirador / Ozen.
The first track begins with a euphoric synthesiser tone. It spans a wide key and puts chord structure down for the drums to keep in time with. A beat resounds over the top like a flock of birds, each wingbeat represented by a crash of cymbal, or a tap of the snare-drum. Synth bass creeps in, plodding along in a slow but steady throb through the well ordered trees. High-pitched droning sounds echo from cliff-edge to the ground while a smartly dressed piano melody starts to tell a sonic story. Notes jump and giggle together, shifting in phase to alter their expressions. Dreamy and well-manicured, guitar sounds seem to dwell in a distant part of the room. A remarkable adventure spans out and we're gently prodded along the avenue by catchy and provocative beats.
Finishing on Ozen, the offering has only just begun. Almost double the length of Mirador, this finale wants to draw us further in with extra-ordinary sounds. A shaker and subtle bass start the scenery, their lines draw patterns in the sand which we gladly follow in a playful maze. Spiralling notes flutter and fall through graceful leaves snagged on their still growing branches. Progression forms a surge of energy, notes begin to compete with each other for unison glory while the rhythm ensues with an intention to grow. Then, as if someone turns off a tap, everything ceases but for a slow, well-timed drip. The pressure of the moment can't stop this track, though, and each drip passes by and shifts the faucet ever more open. A measured pour takes over, steady culminations of built up integrity worm their way through the gradually opening gap. A recording of a live performance, this track makes use of space and resonance to build fantastic volleys of synthesiser over anticipation and atmosphere.
Drawing on sounds of the new age to provide a psychill escapade into aural mystery, Ghost Vision bring on a universe of gentle experience.
Find Ghost Vision on Bandcamp
TBR: 8th April
Since the success of the flashy Hymn To Lust, previously released by this artist, Cressida makes another splash with Borneo Function. This EP draws heavily on the dubstep and techno roots which inspired his journey into electronic music. Perhaps inspired by Kayla Painter, a similar artwork to Cannibals At Sea shows a naked man among natural foliage. While exploring recordings of pirate radio shows and old albums tucked away in the filing system, Cressida found a unique blend of sounds that just needed to be reworked and put on something more modern. Setting up in Berlin and bringing his direction to the flux of electronic output there has helped Cressida to naturalise a well worked and identifiable musicality.
The title track opens on heavy reverberating beats tapped with 8-bit warbles, springy industrial sounds bounce in the centre. A clear and defined slow beat is projected from the sections which all take turns to bring their flavour. Human voices in the background add a fluffy warmth, and rotating scratches add even more insertions of energy. The beat doubles up, with the help of an extra push from the kick drum, and the track begins to find some freedom. More melodics on digital instruments coil up and form neat packets of emotive energy. Suddenly, the whole track opens out into wide open space, the percussion and noises span ever reaching distances, beyond our initial scope of hearing. Exploratory and heavy on the bass, the drag down effect of this sinister and high energy dance number is destined for many basement sessions.
Next up is No Luv Ting. Swollen beats with fat charges of dripping bass hang from the bones of a skeleton ship, sailing into the moonlight. The tempo gradually increases, an unnerving sensation of impending obliteration washes over us. Sonic strikes in distant hallways reverberate into earshot through their twisted corridors of gloom. Some spongy beat begins to bounce in an almost playful manner, it's as if we're being mocked by an audience of meatheads. Something changes, and a light starts to shine. As the room is illuminated, what was once a dark and ominous presence has become something much more natural and relatable. Tones wash over like relieving reassurances while a digital harp rendition throws scales at us from a double vision dream.
Turn the disc over and we get track number three. Upbeat digital rhythms grow in amplitude. With talkative style, drums work from each other's bouncing beat to produce a long line of chattering percussion. Metallic wails and tribal chants crawl around in muddy enclaves while a pressurised beat remains true to focus. New drums begin to top the mixture. Cranking snaps and wandering damp chimes create an enchanting slurry of repetitive meaningful nonsense that's continually dressed in appropriate sonic mischief. SansF makes use of percussive melody to become a story-telling vector of sound.
The EP ends on What Are You Like. A catchy rhythm strikes the first bar open with a slash of its edge. Soon after, clinking metalwork adds another direction and sheen to the flow. More human vocals begin to decorate the sound in abstract clarity. The pulse quickens, as new drums add yet another layer of rhythm to the mix, the accelerative force of the track surges onwards. Pin-prick high pitch tones and reaching globules of bass dance in prettily coloured skies. Happy and motivational beats keep everything levitating, while beneath a realm of shadows provides ample playroom for subtle and cheeky additives.
The EP as a whole brings on a true sense of artistic direction within the scope of some better-known music forms. It's interesting, traditional, and unique, and that's rare.
Follow VOITAX Records on Soundcloud
TBR: 5th April
Bristol is a melting pot for all kinds of electronic experimentation, and this album by local hero Minotaur Shock reflects this perfectly. Admittedly made by experimenting without any clear direction, MINO is comprised of those moments when the exploration of technical equipment meant the only thing left to do was to press record. Finding a unique flow and flavour in amongst the chaotic realms of testing and trialling various techniques, getting to know ones own kit involves pushing it in as many directions as we can creatively imagine. Knowing when what we have is gold is also a skill that takes minds like Minotaur Shock to recognise and put into action. This first release on the brand new Bytes imprint, the offshoot of Ransom Note aims to highlight some of the more heterogeneous offerings on offer from the area.
Opening on wobbly space-age tones, multi faceted melody draws abstract lines in the shifting sky. Digital breaths and pulsations of intentional fizz culminate in a watery shimmer. This sleeks out to a silence, while brief sonics poke through like reflective eyes. All returns, and new layers of melody pull the intentions together. Sunny and bright musical lines run into airy and light percussion that pushes out a neat and well timed motion to the otherworldly manifestation of sound. Chords break free, their resonant chimes lift the whole piece higher into the space provided. Another break down reveals more breathy tones, this time more human sounding. The rhythm capsizes again, bringing the aquatic realm of bubbles and light around us once more. Grey is a tranquil and dreamy number, it has punch yet also leans back in a relaxed groove we can feel comfortable in.
Flytip Toe starts with a sinister edge, eerie and full of character. Broken drums scatter like shards of sound over a plate of sonic intentions. Manic bass wanders in aimless scales up and down stairs to nowhere while the music pulls itself together for the break. Chiming lights transcend the darkness and shimmer a pleasurable softness across the disjointed flow. Oddly angled drumming and long stretches of instigatory synthesiser bring on mental pushes of picturesque thought. Digital sounds and space-age orchestral fills allow for a sense of the distant future echoed back in time for us to listen to.
Summertime grooves span out before us for track three. Feel good chord progressions reveal sunny avenues to walk down and a neatly timed kick drum provides an interesting progressive tempo. New elements of drumming are added which smooths out the percussion into a more recognisable bar shaped structure. Simple yet effective, two tone synthesiser melodics create a stereoscopic scene for our ears. Subtle drums continue to fill the spaces between the footsteps, a backdrop of social-life and pleasure found in daily living shimmers from both sides. Foment is a slow number, it's steady evolution brings on dreamy and vibrant horizons of sonic sculpture.
A playful and childlike melody opens the score for Petr Petr. This sunny and vibrant number uses tropical sounding chimes to bring on a fun and laid-back groove. Suddenly, like a clap of thunder, the voice of the synthesiser changes and with looped tones in sequenced formations, a new melody begins. Full of jumpy bass that's puffed up with stodgy drums, metallic percussives and bouncy distortions reverberate together in a cake-mix of layered rhythm. Those steel-drum like sounds creep back in from the sidelines and with new and organic compositional additives, bring in enlivened and dramatic twists and turns. This track evolves gracefully and with passion, delving from one end to the other with the help of some funky composition, we're left in awe as it fades into silence.
Industrial buzzes and taps build the next number. With rhythmic strikes on various hard surfaces, a brisk string melody builds from underneath. Pipes with distorted trill effects crow in unison while the melody evolves and becomes much fuller with the insertion of extra synthesiser tone. Windy corridors of sonic infusion twist through the centre while digital flurries of snowy notes blow around in the tunnels of moving air. Drawn out sustain mirrors abstractly with stuttering and short lived strikes on various musical elements. Manic melody spreads across the whole surface like a fruity jam, full of seed and various mixed flavours. Prittskin is an insane yet highly enjoyable frolic through sonic craziness.
A slow and intricate intro comes next. Good Birds To See starts on a delicately placed drumbeat full of extremely light touches. Chirruping notes begin a pretty melody, which evolve into much more jungle infused warbles. A bassline then breaks open the bottle and pours out a digital fizzy liquid. Chiming melodics on slow moving discs twinkle like distant stars as the quick stepping and expressive digi-bass manages to tell the story pretty much all by itself. It's given a brief reprieve, and more birdlike chimes and whistles crow out over the hilltops of sound. All comes together as the track finds its feet, each element ideally mixed into the amalgam and allowed to sit where it feels best.
Upbeat and disco inspired rhythms make a show for Landline (Your Dad). It's got a party feel that comes on hard with even more jumpy composition in the rapid fire melody and bassline. Catchy clap drums give a steady beat that anyone can dance to, while fun and enchanting note combinations emote their abstract messages over the top. Fast and fun, this digital electro number is like driving down the motorway, each street light zipping by at regular illuminated intervals. As the car turns corners and passes over ever encroaching horizons, the scenery merges from city to country then back again with mere flickers of the dreamy eye.
Ending on Waxflower, this subtle and beautiful number uses all kinds of digital wizardry to draw us in for one final journey. Pleasant rhythms and deliciously designed sonics build on each other to create a wander through yet more imagery and futuristic feeling landscapes. Wooden feels on blippy sonics with the crumble of digital replication create a cavernous space full of drips and representation. Long passages of time reach out while we slowly walk down them, admiring the formations on the walls. This dreamy yet highly catchy album makes use of dance and ambient themes to bring about a truly worthwhile sonic experience.
Get involved with Minotaur Shock on Facebook
Also find Bytes Records on Bandcamp
Steel City Dance Discs
TBR: 19th March
From one Steel City to another, The Electro Review is in Saint Petersburg this week to get to grips with the latest release on Steel City Dance Discs. Fresh faced Maruwa is already making massive waves in the Russian dance-floor scene with her DJ work taking her far and wide. Now producing this 3 track EP, and putting it out there for all of us, Maruwa has been able to utilise her expert piano skills as well as her proficient DJ ability. Taking us back to the formative influences who dominated the scene in the 90s and 00s while holding onto the present day with white knuckled enthusiasm, Maruwa makes SCDD010 her own.
Starting with a jazz inspired rhythm, full of cymbal and snare as well as deep and resonant kick drum, the first track brings on a warm and organic feeling. Distant human voices and manic pipes chortle out over windy fields, the scene is perfect for colourful flags and people dancing in disorganised circles. As the bars continue, a bass tone begins to call out. Digital and synthetic, it adds an element of polarity to the almost real to life backdrop. Sparkling lamps of synthesiser tone ripple across the surface of the music, their analogue waveforms repeating in phrases that match the snowed in drums. As the sun shines down in ample beams, everything thaws and the full power of the mix is unleashed for our dancing pleasure. Borderwalk makes use of far reaching bass and fast tempos to throw interesting melodies and rapid evolution of formula high into the air.
The next track is called Freeze. It opens with a bouncy bassline, jumpy drums, and a gradual pressure behind that grows into atmospheric pads. Intensity rises on all fronts, and new sounding melodics poke through. Layerings of sound fall into place as the fast drumming and elastic inspired bass dances on its rubbery tension. Huge dancability runs through this number, upbeat and full of energy, the uplifting tunes pull us in to further enjoy the flow of the composition. Jagged synth lines form a horizon of stuttering patterns, running in dual tones, the octavian feel allows us to project our full attention into the sonic universe. A much more electro feel from the last offering, this second A-side pulls in the digital directions and makes them as natural as the person creating them.
The final instalment begins on a blippy melody that scatters tones in many directions. Sunny elements of scale decorate a neat and minimal percussion on simple drums. Exciting beats thrust the music forward on two-stroke jolts which, with the help of clever off-beat cymbals in the right places, manage to form a dynamic of fun and lively energy. Compelling and socialising, the music seems to draw in from various crowds to enable a feel good vibe that would suit all the parties. Massive thumping bass tones swell over airy sparkles of synthesiser while vocal snippets encapsulate tiny fragments of expression. This B side is equally as fun and enjoyable as the first two, which makes 31 Seconds an instant hidden classic.
Find Steel City Dance Discs on Soundcloud
Must have for any DJ - Professional fog machine
Bis Bald Records
TBR: April 18th
When passion takes hold of an electronic music producer, we know that we're in for a treat. Barney Khan is one of those sound sculptors who knows how to utilise the full arsenal of devices at hand to create ultimate works. Naming his adventure after the iconic Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Khan hopes to establish a ground-breaking design that defines a whole generation of sounds. By drawing on film, live vocals, poetry readings, and all the traditional tools of the EDM scene, Khan brings on a dimension all of his own in this work. Exploring various corridors of cartographic sound, Fahrenheit 311 is said to lead us in various directions as we submerge ourselves in the creativity of the artist.
Beginning with Delayed Gratification, a dusty intro reveals a distant and resonant kick-drum. A fuzz and static blankets the sonic atmosphere, gentle clouds begin to swell in the sky. Rhythmic globules of vapour in the form of tightly knitted light tap drums build foundations while long stretching tones draw giants across their columns. Metallic percussion makes an appearance, hammering us down like steel pegs into soft and forgiving earth. Vocal lines with abstract distortions echo across open expanses of space. Everything boils down to distant happenings, and as we pierce the darkness with our audial senses, a flood gate opens and lets the compressed energy bolt through the filter of drum and pounding sonics.
The next track opens on a deep and punchy bass tone. It begins to loop and with the help of a fast bass-drum, it forms a line of sonic fusion from which all begins to grow. A delicately plucked rhythm emerges from the overlapping bass tone which grows into a throbbing beat. Drums and distant vocals dress the spinal sounds in loosely fitting garments. A real charged flow comes from this number, bringing us closer to the music while remaining dreamy and artistic. Catacombs makes use of a dancing tempo with experimental expressions of sound to merge the dancing party with the story-book of Barney Khan.
Next up is an album mix of Despot. Starting with gentle metallic percussion with a wooden bass to keep time, synths gradually lumber in on drawn out notes. A melodic rhythm begins an enchanting dance before growling gives way to alien energy beams. We're hypnotised into a world full of pressure by this burst of mental focusing, and to make it sink in there comes a deep and heavy kick-drum. Digital moans and exclamations of emotive power are scattered over the framework which mingle with swirling synths and abstract forces of sound. The progression is tidal, and with each new wave, a churning sonic experience crests over us before splashing down with all its kinesis.
Following from this, we're led down a gloomy tunnel of spiralling descent. The shadows flicker in the presence of lamps, which grow to become fires as the passage opens out into a vast underground hall. The orchestral and atmospheric composition gracefully reclines after only a minute or two. Impressionism rolls out into As A Young Wasteman via some jumpy choral bursts. Drums and chimes relocate the track's energy before more choral wails, like ghostly voices in subterranean labyrinths, shimmer into fading existence. Bells and chimes begin to dominate, their tunes dissipating across the soundscape like herds of social animals.
Kersal Massive enters with a steady bass-drum-beat that is soon joined by off kilter hats, puffing out the tempo to fill the void. Computer sounds reminiscent of tiny bells jingle like disturbed ornaments while the rhythm progresses and includes more variation of percussion. A timed sample repeats in a distorted growl while clanking machinery and analogue sound production grapples with digital inflections of synthesised tone. Whistly tones repeat a brief coded message like sound across the top layer of the mix while the tempo crumbles down into bare minimums. Bass tones then fall into place and entice the music to rev back up again, which it does with more ferocity than before.
Next, a simple two note melody projects out in a sombre rhythm. A minor key is felt, and as the notes build into chords, this effect is accentuated. Worming down cast shadows snake into coiled masses of sonic placement while a melody grows and evolves to encapsulate ever more feeling. Darkness prevails, yet with a glistening of hope stitched into the very fabric of its existence, the track shows us a despair and a wish. Another short one, Self Destruction boils off to leave us with Hauntology.
An elasticated tone springs from the stodgy backdrop of sound, and on rubbery shoes, a melody begins to build and push forward. As it breaks free into its own rite of being, a drum joins in to provide a stable casing for its vibrancy. Plucked and bending notes mix with solid and grabby beats to give a double layering of well joined flavours. There is a sinister and eerie sensation about this track, yet it is full of adventure and follows a positive direction. Are we seeking ghosts or proving an after-life?
Straight-away Welfare System strikes us with tones, beats, and a direction. Dance worthy composition rumbles on a tight turning circle, only to be squeezed in further with a compression style synthesiser. Tones in the same family of keys all jostle and pack together as if shuffled cards of all the same suit. Jangle cymbals provide a sparking illumination to the wobbling and rhythmic culmination. Minimal yet full of character, a natural tension infuse through-out. Is this a soundtrack to life on benefits? Your review author once wrote on this subject for true to life fiction.
Next, another deep and delicious bass-tone opens for us. Joined by seductive vocals, briefly casting a spell over the first few bars, a distant monotonous synth holds down an airy tone. The close to the ear vocals begin again, causing us to listen intently to what is about to follow. A tense cymbal beat keeps everything in high tempo before it breaks down into egg-yolk style loose notes that drip from the once compressed feelings. Beats and gloopy music float on a wave of vocal energy that simmers on a light heat. Shutters seems to be an introspective and sensual number, lost in one's own absorption.
Ending on A Portrait Of and then Midnight In Moabit, the album of twelve tracks really opens us up to a world of electronic sounds and dreary inner landscape. With multiple directions and influences such as James Joyce and Mark Fisher, which are unusual for a musical product, we're given a defiantly unique and self-manicured escapade through various campaigns of sound manipulation. It all works well, nothing has been left to chance as each second of this near hour long quest hangs beautifully from the last.
Get involved with Barney Khan via Soundcloud
Long Island Sound
Signs Of Space Records
TBR: 6th April
Somewhere between the Berlin electro scene and the Dublin dance populous we find Long Island Sound. This duo of multicultural music producers want to bring the best of both worlds to one well built home. That's exactly what this record is going to do when it hits the decks sometime at the beginning of April. We all love the colour, and the fact that it's nurtured in the hungry crowds of Ireland on countless live shows and mixing sessions, this final product of the moment will of course nod towards all the sonic highlights so far. It's on its own impress, Signs Of Space Records being the brainchild of Rob and Tim a.k.a Long Island Sound. Branching out like this is a way many similar minded electronic music producers think, perhaps it is a sign of how diverse and rich the nuances are in this type of music. After-all, it has to feel right as well as sound right doesn't it?
Title track, Initial Ascent takes off with a steady surge of rampant drums. Light touches build into full sounds with the addition of more bass and hats as the bars roll onward. A distant cosmicesque synthesiser chirrups in portions over the secluded sky. As the rhythm builds, with the use of snare and a dose of reverb to warm everything up, the melody starts to describe in more detail. Wistful sways to one side and then to the other while walking briskly through long ears of ripening corn come to mind. Motivation and relaxation work hand in hand to make the atmosphere one of dance and pleasure. Vocal synths start to sing, their mimicked word-forms breaking over the neatly positioned crags of drum and diving bass.
The second number opens on a high. We've just been taken into the realms of sonic infinity with the first offering, now we're tailored to by drum and bass feeling beats. The marching, head-bopping tempo mixed with the sloshy metalwork in the percussion brings on a light-heartedness and once again, a relaxed groove. Revolving synths start to produce a harmonising tone, which builds and sprouts leaves. Insect like laser zaps sparkle across the watery surface as obedient rays of light jingle in the movement. A surging bass with a wooden heart resonates deep down and with melody and rhythm, we're spoken to by the instruments of the day. Airy starlight like synthesiser tones decorate the ceiling with various colours and textures, their subtle compositions touching keys and scales with the slightest of pressure. This is Shadows From Nowhere and it's full of light.
Next, we have Alone (But Not Alone). I think this is how many of us feel. It starts with a dreamy melodic journey up some crystalline stairs. As our steps match a rhythm, the universe accompanies us by adding an element of percussion. It builds, and is joined by blipping sonics which scatter like exploding seed-pods over the forest of digitally organic sounds. Growls, crows, and gruffles seem to swell from some sludgy undergrowth. Then, a human voice flies up from one of the nearby hills and illuminates the tree-lined riverbank with stunning emotive inflections. It makes us sit up and listen, it's unclear what the words are but it's certain she means them. More elements of rhythm find their way into the pie and it culminates in a frenzy of snare, hat, bass, and melody all competing for the centre spotlight. Somehow, like some crazy jigsaw, they manage to fit in the one place. Not only this, the dream like ambience remains as a fundamental element of the track.
Finally, a sudden electro-bass kicks in with a classic tempo. Industrial smash sounds clatter down from heighty places while new percussion perks up and joins the party. When all is in place, and everyone knows their lines, the synthesiser starts. It's a rhythmic melody of pulsing major key. An uplifting fizz to the sonics makes the track lift us up like an aircraft. As the runway steams past, the lights merging to form one giant line, it shrinks and fades as we veer upwards, turn, and head towards some distant coast. ADK After Midnight has a disco feel that isn't apparent in the previous numbers. A more heavy dance element brings home thudding bass and retrograde synth choices that all work to bring out the nostalgic and still highly relevant dance-hall vibe.
Get involved with Long Island Sound by visiting them on Soundcloud
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Street Justice EP
Ten Trax Records
TBR: 5th April
The Memphis electronic music scene gets its own record label in the form of Ten Trax. This brand new imprint for quality underground dance aims to highlight the ultimate level of skills being nurtured in this southern states part of the world. With a goal to highlight the talents and hard work of lesser known music makers, Ten Trax are reshuffling the pack and finding that many great acts are hiding among the aces. Ethically, the label wants to make the party better via the use of heavy beats and brilliant composition. This six track entry makes full use of their idea and puts it into practice. Combined with a provocative front cover, guaranteed to glean reactions, this EP is made by music people for all people.
Opening with wandering tones and a vocal line, a cracking drum breaks in and begins to pulse. A sneaky rhythm with a heavy bass penetrates the tune and puts it all into perspective. Fast paced hats crackle over the top on a layer of their own and the vocal starts to churn. Focus by Tanglewood Boyz makes full use of a driving energy and attitude laden lyrics about life. It's got a rough edge like a band-saw, as the music rotates in our ears, the teeth grab and nestle in our memory. It's sporadic and effective, garbled synthetic tones and drums create a dynamic knotted avenue of moving sound. The vocal remains permanent and repetitive, maintaining a consistency and drive that threads through the whole piece.
Next up is an electro beat comprised of subtle kick bass and an industrial effect. It's matched by striking hats and a new layering of bassline comprised of various tones and sounds. Vocals on the undercurrent swell and warble like viscous mud effervescing at the bottom of a lagoon. Steady and buoyant bass strikes a dancing pace, drums crumble over in portions administered by an out of reach DJ. The bass evolves to become elastic, a bouncy vibrancy hastens to fill the empty spaces. As the track progresses, the formulaic bending increases in factor to eventually create a ball of rubbery pitches. Once again, a consistency in the vocal line pushes through like a skewer of steadiness. Balls Deep by Will Azada throws gut-wrenching sub at us via experimental and snappy rhythms.
Third track is SCREAM by NRVVS. It begins on a swell of amplitude. Maniac synth melody and hard hitting drums build into a wall of danceable sound. Soon, a new layering of hats is injected to form a new wave of vibrant energy to the already fast moving flow. Space-age twisting howls streak across the sky while the disjoined and jilted melody makes its way over the spiky mountaintops of morphed sound. Steady thuds of bass act like a heart beat while the spiralling and swooping composition of synthesiser and sample bring an almost kite like acrobatic to the top end. Miniature breaks and run downs on the drumming allow for expression and subtle shifts in the direction of the tune.
Massive and twisted drums open the cue for the next number, Alepurr. Electronic bass tones splurge over in generous clumps of sound before a shimmering ceiling illuminates in melody. Glistening pads adorn the sky like sheets of freshly woven silk while distant bells and abnormal sounds reverberate from the horizons. With the lightest of touches, the drums span epochs with the use of heavy handed spaciousness. Drum and bass elements run through this track by Ben Bauermeister. Next is Walk by z72.52. With a splash of almost nonsensical drums and a hollering vocal line, the music opens like a shaken can of drink. Piercing inflections of sound combine with a now steady and surging rhythm to bring a pin-point feel to this kinetic number.
Finishing on Free Mike by Michael Kuntzman, we're adorned with a sonic experience of horn like melody. Fluttering synths and subtle drums break through, and as the force increases, a tear is made in the fabric to allow for harder beats and a steady flow of electronic bass. Fast paced and frantic percussive tones merge with the slow moving swing of wind instrument like chortles now distant and pinned back by the regulatory rhythm. Bubbling sounds spill out, echoes and strange vocal expressivism curdle into a new cyberbass progression. Drums are added again, the spooky and ethereal feel of this final number takes us into the gloomiest of social events. When the lights are low and the music is good, people can really be themselves.
Get to grips with Ten Trax Records on Soundcloud
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X-Rated (Remastered Re-release)
Out 1st March
Celebrating the pioneering steps made by analogue Soviet sound sculptor Solar X, Galaxiid take a profound move forward of their own. Being the second release on this brand new label, a bit of number symmetry makes perfect sense. A second run of this classic album with brand new artwork and a vinyl edition for the first time ever will really put this imprint on the music map. The great eye-catching cover image designed by Japanese graphician Kaiichi Tanaami, and distinct flavour of soviet era technology, will no doubt inspire a whole new generation of sonic experiments. It's well known that Solar-X also works as a lecturer and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. The psychological impact of his music definitely utilises some of the known principles about pattern and form within information, even if presented as sound. As we are aware, some of the best electronic music in the world comes right out of Russia, with Moscow being a hub for all kinds of sonic art. This is arguably where it all began.
It opens with a static infused rhythm joined by a deep and sumptuous bass. The sub-tones reach right into us and as we are left in awe, a new phase begins on chording synths. Oddly harmonised sounds begin to carve a sonic journey through distorted drums and rhythmic pulsations of industrial sounding percussion. New patterns in the drums emerge and bring various directions of mobile energy to the track. It all slows down, a curious sensation builds over the music and a new quicker drum breaks loose and pulls the whole thing along. Then, muddy and coarse tones push on through the sludge, their globular forms dolloping wavelengths over the pristine landscape. A sudden and steady cymbal beat surges forward, dominating the tempo and revealing a brilliant dancing pulse. Everything then speeds up, slows down, and warps into minimal beats. Wicked And Beautiful lives up to its name. It ends on a run of blippy bass with catchy dancing tones which reverberate over disjointed percussives.
Second number TuchPulses (edit) makes use of dreamy chime synthesiser sounds with staunch bass distortions mirrored by glass bottle percussion. Warbling effects swoop in with gliding ease, culminating the recipe for a slow moving stroll through ambient soundscapes. Crystal clear sonics with regular broken sections of drum build and flow like a viscous liquid, as it churns and rolls over its own weight, different elements of the amalgam present their delectability. With swamping sound of thick current which push us on through the mix, the scenery gently changes with new insertions of rhythm. Various tree forms and fence-posts line the way among standing cattle and distant chimneys.
Now we reach the next section, as we turn over the vinyl and replace the stylus. A steady beat with industrially edged bass tones begins the tune. New rhythms appear and as they layer in neatly, the width of the track increases exponentially. A driving energy rises to the top as everything centres on a frantic two-step drum-beat, marching us forward in the gloomy dancing halls of the Russian city life. Grimy undertones with computerised fractal melodies join hands to the continual bolting percussion, flying us over fields and hedges, rivers and towns. Like a wet, underground cave, the reverberations of sound create a spacious arena for our ears to explore. This duality of sonic effects is really fun. A track called Dominatrix, we're reminded of the power-play of ego.
Mistress Awaits You finds us in a calm and shimmering zone. Pipe music shines in from each side, oddly ejected notes protrude from sweet melodic composition. Duck sounds, distorted and bent over steep inclines of torque quackle like sinister voices. Maybe this ghostly pond of peddle-boats and decrepit islands just outside the rickety bandstand is home for many a spectre. Bringing home the energy of darkness and mysterious unknowing into the sonic realm for us, the mistress Sonic X speaks of is perhaps this. As we invent our allusions into the pitch, only the haunting resonance of previality can help us.
Warmth and relaxing tone wash over the uncertainty of before. A quicker, clubby rhythm penetrates the cushioning and provides us with an uplifting energy. Life is good on this side of the border, and as the progression pushes into second gear, the melody shifts to incorporate more depth. A wide reaching spectrum of sonic archaeology spins a web of rhythm and intrigue as various tones nestle together with drumming and vibrancy. Hot Cherry draws on fruity bass and spacial melody to draw in a sense of laid back yet complex music. Organic sensations behind the more wholesome array of drums on offer here deliver a human element to this otherwise synthesised masterpiece.
Time for disc two, Soft and Deep is exactly that. Entering with similar tones to the previous track, a new family of melody is knitted from the basic thread. Sudden key-change in the harmonising section shows us a new dimension to the statue. Then, a deep and sinister revolution occurs as a snaking synth spews a thinly traced line of intent over the surface. New drums, quick and full of assertive force, fill the spaces with a franticness which captures the listener and pulls us in. Just as quickly as it took over, it fades away again to revel the initial phrase of dreamy progression. It's not for long however as the music soon builds up into the dark-side for us once again. This time it draws on even more variations to the introspective murk than before.
Even more smoothness is rolled out for us with the next number. A fully baked cake of melody with thick chordy cream layers the initial section. A static mechanical sound like a printer adjusting its heads begins to spark a clear rhythm. This is replaced by electro drums fairly early on, and as the bass and melody sandwich the progression, that whirring sound appears to bring everything to a peak. Where there is a peak, there is a trough and it's not spared this time. We're dropped down to minimal beats and quirky melody that bounces on variously placed fulcra while the energy of the tempo remains static, in the shadows. It slowly gathers momentum once more, and with a few false starts, the track builds up to its previous higher energetic state. It is a teaser of a track,and with a title such as Spanking For Pleasure, I'm not exactly surprised.
As we reach the final side of this collectable twin vinyl set, it's Report Now that starts the party. An urgent drum-beat begins on a steady rhythm, then breathy sounds mixed with synthesised tones swell from the twisting sonics. New pounding bass-drum throws in a heavy beat and in pursuit are whistling waves of spiral forming melody. Metallic tingles reverberate through the mists like pin-points of brilliant light while the surrounding rock-faces and clumps of woodland continue to project haunting shadows over the path. Alien sound technology beams with sudden intention, and as the saucers mass over-head the music cranks up with a pulsing metallic bass. Ever-while the harmonics and rhythmic progressions continue on their stoic journey.
Next up, a much lighter sound shines forth. Delicately placed drums dance over a slowly walking melody. Bell like and contained within a scope of bubbling dreams, the track grows gradually as more energy is infused with its nature. Crashing drums in distant places echo through the more imminent sonics that create forward facing explorations into rhythm and key. Doom at the Dorm perhaps nods towards university life, where independent young people no-doubt get themselves into all kinds of unwanted mishaps. Being in charge of a group of young adults and responsible for their ultimate well-being is not a shy job.
The album ends on Dare You Play? It's a challenge to even the best of us to put away the guitar music and discover what the world of electronica has in store for you. And those who already understand the reasons why electro is so good to listen to, it asks us to take a moment to enjoy a time honoured delve into the well of sonic history.
These are a really underground label, you'll need to keep an eye open for the records when they appear. Start now by following Galaxiid Records on Soundcloud
From the author of The Electro Review: 575365 365 Haiku and Senryu. Get yours while you're here. Thanks!
Also, you may be interested in reading: Computer Music: Electronica, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence by Zahra M.M.A. Sadiq
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
Thanks for supporting the documentation of underground electronic sounds!
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