Woods, Tales & Friends (Part One)
TBR: 8th May
This three-track digital release is an opening prelude to Mollono.Bass's new album. The founding member of Kombinat100 and ACKER Records is demonstrating his solo prowess even further. Three uniquely designed atmospheric electronic tracks depict a diversity and similarity within. Inspired by nature, time spent with friends, and the allure of musical escapism, Woods, Tales and Friends is perhaps a hidden gem that deserves a home in your collection.
It opens with No Silence which features Kuoko on vocals. With pipes and radiant sounds, the music begins. A funky bass rhythm is struck down onto firm sand as melody builds across an array of instruments. The song starts and beautiful vocals flutter out of the shadows and into the daylight. A catchy tempo rides alongside shades of tone and instrumental exploration. Dancing energy projects through a mesh of sonic imagination.
A driving beat plunges through the moment as the second number enters. Claps and taps frame a steady rhythm. Various talkative drums of different materials chatter along in well times dialogues. A rocking sensation gives the music an element of energy while a continual discovery of sound evokes a multiplicity of imagery. The voices of singing children are added to the flow, their innocent and happy words fling across the play as they hang from the climbing frames and sprawl over the woodchips. Furaha Ya Kucheza doses us with a sunny jive, layered with dried grass and dusty footsteps.
It ends on Wild River. A snaking bass pours through the mix as trance drums smash and ride into cosmic perspectives. Energy is raised as various tones input their dynamic forms and build through the persistent and relentless drumming. Melody strikes out from keyboards with blippy tones that resonate and harmonise on the sustain. A dreamy and electronic cyberspace is formed before our ears as rhythm, tone, and melody combine in a conscious outpouring of new dimensions.
You can listen to Mollono.Bass on Soundcloud
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Record sales from Bandcamp
Europe Volume 1
Aurora Techno Records
TBR: May 27th
This is the first release from the brand new Aurora Techno Collective. Their mission is simple, to unite European and international communities from across the continent and beyond through the medium of great sounding techno. We are all one family after-all, and if we share the love of banging tunes with mind-melting mixes then it only fortifies our identity even more. Getting a music production together from all corners of the continent is no easy task. Finding time to get in touch and establish working relationships with musicians from other geographies takes dedication and perseverance. Never-the-less, the dream is real as we stand before the latest creation - one of four already in the framework.
To open up, the UK is given top-slot. It's so refreshing and relieving to know that despite political separation, the people on the landmass still consider us one of them. I for one feel a twinge of guilt for not being part of the Union however I have to keep reminding myself that I don't need guidelines to be a nice guy. Hesper Act is a fresh face on the techno scene and brings an astronomical influence. Babbaj66F demonstrates exquisite sound-sculpture and dynamic shaping of atmosphere. The music opens with eerie chimes and space-age rumblings of mechanical pressure. It spans out with throbbing vibrancies which scatter digital tones across the stereoscope. As it progresses, the tune decreases in power and begins a tranquil journey through ambient melody and echo. Like a cosmic journey, the music takes us from a hub of activity to a loneliness only explained in generations.
After the graceful opening sequence, track two breaks open the techno drum and hits us with a pounding bass. Digital voices creep and climb across invisible frames that glisten in their effects. Rhythm builds, quick drums are doubled up with shaking snares and slicing treble tones like cymbals thrown into dynamic orbits. We're led by the gut through the crowd to the centre of the floor in order to fully encapsulate the music. Mattia Prete, famed from the luminary Jazz O Tech label from Lecce in Italy, brings us Pidocchio. It's a throbbing rampage through tangled beats and robotic poetry.
Nino Sebelic joins the party with Smog. It begins with disharmonious melodics which create a tensionable atmosphere. Neat beats slide through with crafty insight while energy is gradually given to the bass. Fiery beats then surge forward in rivers of thunder as splashing cymbals combine with kicking bass that floods the sound with push. This is Serbian and it's heavy. We're thrust into hypnotic dance motions by the sheer power of the rhythmic surge. Behind the flames can be heard smokey melodies which rise and twist in the upward force.
Next up begins on a fruity bass motif which rumbles with digital distorto-bass. Wooden thumps and chimes clatter among shaking beads and rattling sounds. Background static crumbles in random tunings as a vocal sample begins to repeat. 2000 Machines conjures an atmosphere of digital synchronicity and aspects which all have a well researched place in time. Loose fizzing sounds give a slidey underway while static infused beats continually mark its passage. Ireland's Fran Hartnett offers a calmer yet rich journey.
We're hit by a swelling undercarriage of sonic rumbling that's pitted with tribal rhythms in distorted sustain. A feel of extra-terrestrial vortices and sweeping trajectories lends an alien kinesis which pulls us into realms unknown. Beyond the white-noise and frothing static the bass drum pounds onward in scatterings of rhythm. New rhythmics are added. Bass stretches out and percussion sprinkles in phasing vector plots. A map of sound is drawn from cartographic radials and gradated tensions. Stanislav Glazov delivers Letters, and with a progressive rise in pulsation and tone, a meshwork of sounds create a searing hunt into raging territories. Russian techno always has a distinctive and effervescent backbone.
They Always Come Back is a deep and introspective number all the way from Greece. We are with Here Now There Then. Drum kick builds under a blanket of electro-fizz while cymbal strikes gradually fill the voids. Shimmering metalwork and empty spaces dance under the light of repeating rhythms. A synthesiser melody finds a home in the empty shell, like a hermit in a cave, solitary compositions muse and wander within buildings of crystalline bedrock. Spacious journeys through enclosed avenues reveal an ever more pressing sense of being lost among familiar things.
A quick kick-drum and snare-cymbal combo rolls out the carpet for a thrust with someone pushing from behind. Yet more break-neck speed beats unravel as a slower throbbing bass tone swerves through the sliding corridors of sound. Volume then increases across the spectrum which reminds us how to dance. Extra bass then finds a platform to stand on, pumping its fist in the air while stamping its feet in time to the drum. A unitone dynamic surges up and down in a continual snaking motion. Stndrd from Spain brings on Placebo and it's just as good as the real thing.
We finish with FU 5. Intrance opens with a harp like cacophony of disjointed arpeggios and scales. Butterflies launching from windy leaves build into a vast cloud of colour and motion of many heights and depths. It's like being caught on a fishing-line, we're yanked by the mind into realms of uncomfortable outworldlyness. It makes sense because this artist is from Argentina. Why not? That's what I say. It's as good as gold.
Audiophile Deep Records
TBR: 24th April
This short and catchy single release from Cannibal Coconuts is enough to revitalise the floor at any self-respecting dance club with 80s inspired beats. This duo of Spanish producers with long histories of music behind them have adorned this new faced to bring on something a little different. Utilising Audiophile Deep's desire to delve into these unexplored realms of music, this debut pressing opens the door for many more to come.
It begins with the title track. A classic A-side begins on house inspired hats that shuffle and splash with a quick tempo. With a dabble of keyboard that swerves and glistens with melodic inflection, bass notes are given volume. A shuddery digital fizz-bass makes a catchy and kinetic addition. Snares give yet more percussive intent as the rhythm steps up for a new chapter. Wailing synths spiral upwards as the groove is implemented into deeper functions of sound.
Next up is a Steady State Remix of Tenochtitlan. The Statesman has brought about a new dimension to this otherwise heavy synthwave rendition of modern sound. Ghostly synthesiser voices call out from the sidelines as rumbling beats crisply shake through dried leaves and paperwork. Windy passages and downswept velvet build an ambience before pottery drums with electronic additions find a sneaky pattern. Odd angular beats with reversed elements create a spongy texture for a splattering of varied motions of sound design.
Finally, a deep bass opens to reveal splashy cymbals which shine with glisten and radiance. Dripping sonics build pressures and densities within the fragile pulse. Scatterings of metalwork continue to add velocity in neat portions while a gathering of bass begins to find a niche. Plucky beats with a warm cybernetic distortion rise and fall in a bouncy scale. Then some smooth synths add a layer of melodic drama with active note patterns and inflected harmonies.
Muzak Pour Ascenseurs En Panne
Circus Company Records
TBR: 12th June
Brigitte Barbu utilises sound collage and deep-sculpted composition to form unique and evocative electronic music productions. This album was recorded during a residence at the Our Lady of The Ark of The Covenant and makes use of all kinds of acoustics as well as many ingenious uses of instrument. Guitars have been teased from their original sound by electronics to produce a whole new dimension to their voice. Synthesiser, computer, effects rack, and a head full of dreams have led to this hugely momentous piece of work.
The album opens with Dae Boj DeMoya. A looped mixture of sounds opens the track, which are shuffled along and stitched with ever more disjointed sonics. A bass begins to twang while high end strings bounce and shimmer on spectral guidances. Whistle like tones glide on icy textures as resonant thunder rumbles in distant ranges. Loose yet perfectly positioned snippets continually merge into the mix. A continual breathing of melody acts like a thread which permeates even when rhythm is added. Crisp and distorted percussion adds yet more layering to this amalgam.
This is followed by a strange sample followed by a chunky and de-tuned rhythm. Wah bass thunders through in a brief plunge into groove. A minute passes by and Trou Vert 1 is over, to be replaced by Beau Zoo. This begins with laid-back melody which swishes in on dynamic fabric. A warmth beneath the tones gives rising currents to the dance inspired guitar. Speckles of note dapple like rain-drops as strings are bent and bottle-necked with graceful composition. Sounds of distances and space fold in, a mute ambience begins to fill the soundsphere as drum-beats like alien hearts resonate in the near stillness.
Disparate squelches and thumps make up the meat of Trou Vert 2. A siren like synth adds splashes of tone and puddle within a sludgy picture of voices and strangeness. This opens out into Sainte Amante. Stringed sounds combine with odd bells which clatter and clunk in distorted spaces. Fizzing tones with squeaks and scattered harmonisations give an odd perspective to a tubular and deep rhythm. The music shifts to a looped sample for a moment until that hypnotic and inward reaching tone returns. Melody on electronic noises adjusted for pitch and tone shape makes interesting additions to the second half of this track.
Sinuety rhythms slenderly snake out a crafty groove that shudders which depth and resonance. Yet another short number, Trou Vert 3 in fashion makes way for something more epic. The music overlaps to bring in shrieks of synthesiser which glisten on space-age zeniths. A rhythm gradually makes a layer through the abstract injection of progressive loops. Couvre chef en peau de taupe takes us to a distant energetic realm where intention and motive reflect in endless corridors of opportunity. We are taken to almost near silence for the beginning of what comes next. Distant thumping drums find a space in the nothing as sinister synthesiser decorates the passages. Trou Vert 4 ends abruptly.
Ray Z begins with a rhythmic synthesiser tone that dashes with velocity and adjusting tone. Varying elements of instrumentation add different melody patterns which harmonise in strange dimensions as notes bend and squash into place. Slow moving yet full of thick and gloopy sonic atmosphere, new elements find crevices and hand-holds to latch their dynamic to. The rhythm is given more pressure, extra beats find the half-measure, quarter-measure, and then begin to snake through the fizzing and reactive enchantment that surrounds it. Next, another micro-dose of atmospheric and rhythmic sound makes an appearance, it seems to follow on from its previous rendition. Trou Vert 5 ends on a vocal sample, repeating in a ghostly echo.
Droning melodies open the final number. Splatters of rhythm are hard to find among bendy notes which glow and fade in slow-burning formations. A deep tone begins to harmonise in a unitone pulse, it gathers energy and then fades away again as other notes dance and gesture on the liquid tension of presence. The music has a sleepy edge which lays us down for dreamy introspection and barely gives us enough motivation to reach for the play button when it's over. Luckily the album ends on a full mix of the entire album as one bonus track.
You can listen to Brigitte Barbu on Spotify
Visit Circus Company Records online
Minimal Drone GRL
Out 3rd April
Fans of evocative and spacious electronic soundscapes will be pleased to know that Canadian drone sonician Minimal Drone GRL has released her long-awaited debut album on Bricolage Records. We listen intently as she conjures imagery from British Columbia past, present, and beyond, to form a continual passage through magical and dream-building sound. The artist utilised recording capabilities on both sides of the Atlantic with live takes in Canada and the UK making up this ninety minute release.
The album opens with forest sounds. Footsteps merge with tingles of electronica as birds and wind-swept canopies dapple in the luminous mix. A chiming whistle calls out in an adjacent voice to the luxurious birdsong. Warm chords then form beneath which carry organic and orchestral sounds on their currents. River water moves the progression along in drifting ambience, Belcarra Forest Ambience.
Torpor (Eyes Through A Bear) takes us to water again. This time the ocean surges in neat portions along the lines of a breaking shore. A rumbling bass begins to cast a rhythmic spell through the chaos of aquatic nature. This grows to become a shimmering ray of sound which radiates up and through the matrices of happenings below. A pulsation becomes apparent, it stammers on occasion and in an almost talkative manner, the tone begins to dictate the rest of the music. Harmonising tones add a minor perspective to the originally positive sound. Ghostly atmosphere now permeates the track as the music takes us deep into a shadow-lined realm.
As forest sounds bring us to the end of the previous track, we're given an audio recording of a platform announcement at a UK station. A steam-train hoot is sounded as carriages rattle by. Disparate organ sounds then churn and gather as eerie sonics tumble and crawl in distant passages. We're drawn in, other electronic noises find a way to increase the intensity without breaking the fragile tension. A voice then resonates across the vast expanse of digital atmosphere. This is joined by a rhythmic bass tone that plunges before more train sounds and abstract movement add another dimension to our realm. This is replaced by a phone call, to a recording of a nature tape. This evolves to glowing chords that bustle away the abstraction with vibrant statements. Cross Country 365 Days is an immense track, dynamic and folded with imagery.
Next we enter Realms Of Foreshadowing Hindsight. It's not a nice feeling when our errors are obvious. Better to focus on the learning and growth. We can nearly always go back and make corrections if we want to. A beautiful melody on bells rings out in high pitched tones which sparkle like glistening lights. A lush choral synthesiser shimmers and glows with seductive waves underneath. A warmth paired with mystery unveils a corridor of melody and imagination as the tones evolve and grow in ever-present radiance.
A sinister multi-tonal shining beams forward from angular perspectives as the new track begins. Shimmering wavelengths coil and bend around lucid frameworks that glimmer and dance with gem like lustre. Buzzing undertones rise from cavernous spaces as the thickening amalgam tenses and flexes within containers of compression and pitch. Various unique sounds form from knotted potentials and assume attitudes and other artistic postures as the gradual flow releases. Improvement District No. 12 is a slow and dreamy number which opens like a flower. Drums scatter vibrant chords along with dashing cymbals that clatter in happy patterns.
Sudden plunges of cyber-bass walk us through synthetic landscapes as a high-end melody chimes in an 8-bit sounding pattern. Echo and reverb warm the mix into lush and comfortable spaces that build with shifting tones. Contours of wave-form link together as topographies are scattered with ice crystals and rain-showers depending on their situation. Velvet Shadows takes us through under-passages and side-walks welded to the water's edge that lead to mysterious and aromatic niche venues.
Ambivalence is next. It begins with the familiar sounds of a firework display. Is it November the 5th or the 1st July? Who knows, who cares, after-all this is something we're ambivalent about isn't it? Fun sounds of children cooing and screaming descriptions at one another are merged with nattering adults and crackling gunpowder. Strings then sweep in like a cool night breeze as birdsong breaks through the commotion. Night birds sing among ghostly harmonies with the distinctive sound of a jet-plane soaring over-head. A siren rings out, warning of the impending barrage. What do we do? Coo and wonder at the light-show or run for cover? Who cares, after-all we're ambivalent to this, are we not.
We are whisked away from the disorientation of warfare and plunged into the peel of a church tower. Multiple bell call out in neat formations until they're replaced by more birds and a whistling harmonisation that tingles and shivers in the open. Pianos and drums are added, they rhythmically bind the piece with tempo driven phrases that repeat in small sixpences. A hypnotic surge of energy pushes through as the mix builds in background ambience and glimmer while the percussion kneads ever onward through the recipe. Nostalgic Echoes is a track of wanderlust and packed with subtle chapters that gracefully evolve in long-winded passages of sound.
Strange pipe and flute noises call out in vast caves of indoor space as odd glistening windows beam warm light into the dusty air. Tonal qualities stretch from all sides in a diverse and multi-cultural rendition of organic and electronic. Huge depth meets airy breath in a mixture of up and down tones. These fade all of a sudden, revealing a sombre and low-pitched bass tone. This curdles and coils in abstract gloopy movements as extra colour is brightened in the shape. New tones with ever higher harmonisations reach through like glitter in a sticky mixture. With lava-lamp like quality, the mix becomes less solid and begins to travel with convecting currents. Then, at a critical moment, the whole mass melts into lots of small globules and bubble shapes that froth and dance in the churning tides. Shifting Plates (Juan de Fuca) is a dynamic track which eloquently evolves from phase to phase.
More flute sounds play in a folk inspired melody, invoking images of windy hills and people wearing ramshackle clothes. Patchwork skirts are back in fashion perhaps, as we wander through green hills littered with flowering heather and meadow flowers. A river shines through the nature sounds, an ambience and seclusion forms around us. Here, among the natural processes of the universe, we are aware and we perceive. Human voices and digital noises break through the sonic blanket like a shark-fin on a sunny beach-day. This is then replaced by chattering birds and a solitary tribal drumbeat. A voice singing in time to the rhythm joins in, foreign syllables chant traditional sounds across the pattern of percussion. Spirit Of Kolus then turns to the sounds of wild animals and strange instruments to completely take us into the wilderness.
CloudWalker begins with a vocal sample that describes a journey into space. Then, disparate keyboards add various tones and colours to a melting fluid that creeps gradually like warmed butter. Ever-reaching keyboards shimmer and scatter lightness through deep and angular dimensions as strange noises sweep from each abstract side. Lights from the walls greet sludgy bass and subtle percussion while draughty currents slink and slide through the openings. A wholesome timbre is added to compressed keyboards sounds, muted and squashed, the end result is a warm yet faded bubbling of chord. These match up with high-reaching beams of sonic illumination.
The album ends on Taiga (Boreal CDA). Heavenly chords nestle between swift and timeless atmosphere that crumbles and folds with each application of tension. Bells ring through the misty sky, their simple melody strikes memorable elements of our inside that tingle as the notes sink in. New synths rumble and fizz underneath as extra layers of melody swerve in their pathways. A dreamy and relaxing sleep filled with beautiful sounds is perfect for the finisher. We get a few bonus tracks too, but you'll have to buy it to know what they sound like.
Get Ancestral Origins by Minimal Drone GRL on Bandcamp
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FIT SOUND Records
Out 31st March
FIT Siegel returns with more sounds for the first time as a solo musician since 2015. Fans will remember the January 2019 collaboration with veteran Kassem Mosse, called Saboten. For Spring 2020, we're treated to Formula. This three track single release is made in honour of those who find an escape in music. So, prepare to be lifted away from your body and have your stresses unpicked one by one as this dose of transcendence plays out.
The music opens with a swervy melody, shimmering on adjusting vectors. A rhythm is added, snares and hi-hats shuffle in a neat and shining tempo. The combination grows with an increasing tonal pressure. Evolution is subtle, the music gradually shifts and chops with added beats. Underneath, synthesiser pads rumble with astral radiance. Repeating phrases mingle with progressive melody and bubbly scales. Exist On is a dreamy rendition of happy moments where our worries are all a keystroke away.
A chunky fizz bass opens for the title track. Formula begins with a one-two drum-beat and a melodic rumble in the undergrowth. It makes my knees shake as the bass rips through the air. Twinkling bells add a high end section to the mix. They dance in spiral melodics which keep the tempo as well as colour the walls. Discordant tones then ring out in the weft of the matrix. Their adjacentness and strange correlations distinguish themselves and shift the track's energy towards the mysterious.
It finishes with a retro-robotic riff which grinds and shines along a selection of notes. Sky-facing notes shine from pillars of illumination to match the digging sensation of the bass. Blipping notes find a middle ground to form a trio of synthesiser which dances in a choreographed melee. Steady drums pound in the spaces between melodic motif as the music changes in graceful computerised shifts of program. Wayne County Stomp is a fun and exciting whist through memories of previous technology.
Listen to FIT Siegel on Spotify
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Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.