Fragile X & Esef
Out 22nd May
It's a privilege to once again feature Fragile X on the Electro Review, this time the Bricolage label head takes the two person chariot with Esef. This dual artist EP makes a great effort at techno, breaks, and other coolities with a delve into something a little harder than the recent ambient Bricolage release. In a sure artistic fashion, each musician has produced an original then worked on their counterpart's material to see what they come up with.
Fragile X opens with Damage Control. A slicing quick-fire cymbal scatters beats in a three-sixty dimensional flow. Then, crispy bass crawls in under the rug while spacey whistles coil upwards in the distant sky. Beats emerge, rampant drumming with sleek design peel away the blankets and reveal glistening monumentous expanses. Chewy bass lines filter in, they rumble on shuddery woodwork and angular frames. Drums and synth fly in on sweeping lines of flow, their apt additions prop and suspend the music in slender portions.
Track two gives us an instant hit with boppy beats and chatty melodics riding underneath. Sloshy cymbals create a one-two wave motion that pushes the whole thing along like a yacht. Vocalisations work their way in, garbled phonics buzz and flicker as various angles of attack are gleaned and sampled. Rumbles and build-ups of various energetic flavours delve in devious forays and motions of captivated kinesis. Twinkling synths are given a spotlight, these lift the calmness of the interlude into a new phase of being before the thunderous bass brings on another round of up-there drumming. Esef's Through The Static is a clever and punchy merry-go-round of electronic formations.
Damage Control is remixed by Esef. The Damage Is Done remix opens with buzzing static and distorted waveforms that create a distinctive tapestry filled with fun and lively drums. Swirling sounds swiftly bounce from side to side as fluctuations scatter the intention of composition into wider areas. The persistent drumming knits together a loose and meaty cake of sound with abstractly painted notes. Plucky bass begins to chime with harmonising highs which become the backbone for a frantic beat left to rip through the dream-cloud and into the stereo sweet-spot.
To finish the EP, Fragile X makes an impression on Through The Static. This White Noise remix opens with vocal samples that diffuse through various layers of texture. As synths spin and wind in increasing velocities, a drumbeat smashes through. Twisting noises and spinning percussions batter together in a focussed intention of tempo. Strangeness mingles with the familiar as drums and synthesiser coalesce with odd juts and elastic interactions.
The EP is pretty lengthy for a four track offering. Each chapter gives more than a few spectacular minutes of energy that sit atop the speakers in different expressive poses as the music seamlessly progresses.
You can find Fragile X on Bandcamp
You can visit Esef on Soundcloud
Science Cult Records
TBR: 26th June
Comprised of two traditional career miners with a talent for electronic on the side, SOSANDLOW share a passion for rhythm, sound, and fantastic crowds. Science Cult Records being the reincarnation of the American label, bringing these fresh sounds to the repertoire was an ideal wanting to be reached. Their twist on cosmic disco is something that becomes a must-have ingredient to a playlist.
La Espiral begins with a gradual bass and snare combo that taps and staggers in unison time. Synthesisers are iced on, piped in layers of harmonious tone, the notes buzz and fizz in various electronic motions. A phase on the rhythm sweeps the sound up and down in a zigzag before a vocal sample breaks the surface tension with a few words. The music composes and evolves in a cycle that gives way to a thumping digital bass-line that walks with a strong gate. Percussion and synthesiser froth and swirl around until another break gives us an intimate view on the sample. We hear the voice again to the sound of delicate yet frantic drums before we're treated to another round of bass.
This is followed by a remix from none other that Darlyn Vlys. A thumping bass opens the score with a groove and swagger that oozes cool. A rhythmic compendium of sounds is added, vocals, drums, synth strikes, and a few effects combine to dig a serious groove. Repeating and heavy bass roar alongside energetic arrangements that swell and curdle with each passing section. A progressive theme raises the energy into spiralling winds as the music shifts along the continual pounding of the thumping drum.
The final number opens with a sunny snare rhythm that's sprinkled with hats and a neat bass which slots underneath. Fruity synths warble and spin with oscillating vibes as new and vibrant segments drift into earshot. Funky synth bass gathers momentum and the percussive pressure elevates in a dose of wailing lead synth. Talkative mid-range notes garble melodics while strings slide on notches of tone which climb and drift in persistent kinetics. Rain, Sun and Dance sounds like it could be level on Sonic The Hedgehog, and that is definitely a good thing. Watch out for the boss, this one's a killer!
Find out more about SOSANDLOW on Facebook
Listen to SOSANDLOW on Spotify
BPitch Control Records
Out 15th May
Bringing our attention to her album Auraa, this double A side single reveals the passion and devotion to music that clothes Ellen Allien in talent. With ideas about invisible life that exists among us, perhaps on a different level of physical existence to us yet within the universe all the same, the album dreams and explores the possible. After-all, it took our species millions of years to discover the world of microbes, and with nine out of ten cells in your body as a separate organism, that's a pretty big discovery. Who knows what we can find on the other end of the scale, so far away from our natural perception that special instruments are needed to detect and study, perhaps even communicate with what ever we find.
With a pulsing synth melody and a snappy percussive tempo, the music begins. It's like a count-down to something explosive, waiting in the sidelines. Then, a heavy sounding bass plunges in, forming a canyon of sound as it drives the dance onward. Dreamy synth chords wallow and swish in the flux as rhythm increases tone and flavour with additions of new percussive instruments. Vocals wiggle in, they slide through the warm and radiant track as the pressure shifts into ever growing gradients. True Romantics is a sleek and delicious number, full of swagger and physical sensations.
And Hello. This full-on rhythm-fest hits us with a double bass kick which wobbles the core of our being. Spongy notes add a squish to the melody which transcends and ascends with each bar. New harmonics are slotted in, the doubling up gives rise to some interesting stereo mirroring. New sounds emerge, bubbling phonics drift in and decorate as strange passages. The progression works up and down in neat adjustments, each climax brings a new dimension to the euphoric vortex.
You can visit Ellen Allien online
Follow Ellen Allien on Facebook
Woods, Tales & Friends (Part Two)
TBR: 6th June
Regular readers will remember the Woods, Tales & Friends part one release which we covered a few weeks ago. Mollono.Bass returns with the second chapter. This three track EP provides us with another marvellous mosaic of mashed and mixed sounds. This fractional release of the forthcoming album is really getting our attention, like a sonic intravenous, the sounds are drip fed to us track by track.
The opening number is Twilight feat. I AM HALO. It starts with an atmospheric synthesiser tone that break open into quick beats. Delicate touches on the kit give a smooth and ambient rhythm section which smothers in bass and cymbal. Melodic harmonies simmer beneath which become a foundation laid for vocals. The song is emotional yet relaxed, a sense of whist and wonder permeates the airwaves as we're driven through urban byways. The song progresses as extra instruments add new layers of composition, the harmonisation bringing moody and introspective tones.
Track two takes us to a thudding bass which resonates with drippy luminescents. Shimmery cymbals quiver and shake with metallic sheen as synth plips decorate in oddly angular structures. Progressive tones repeat phrases and rhythmic sensations in a merging river of tributary instruments and percussion. As the track builds up on itself, new layers of background noise fill various unknown voids and spaces, graceful projections of new melody occasional find a path to wander too. The Glade feels like a beautiful place where lights waltz with shadows as the sunlight moves through kinetic leaves. A platonic cave without the suffering, that's all in the past now. This Mollonic Glade is a much more reasonable location.
To finish we get an instrumental version of My Way. Groovy bass chunks along with sludgy beats that march through the field. Ambient bell strikes cast a magical melody across the top-side, revealing the catchy tune. Harmonising synths twinkle and splash in the centre as the progressive composition moves us in graceful synthpop style wanderings.
Visit Mollono.Bass online
You can find Mollono.Bass on Soundcloud
TBR: 8th June
VOITAX prepare for their next release with Ireland's Dara Smith AKA Arad. Extra points if you can spot why the name. This EP takes Arad away from Lakker, his collaboration project with mainstay Eomac. Fans will remember work of theirs from R&S, Blueprint and Stroboscopic Artefacts. This time, listeners are brandished with six new mixes that range from heavy beats to dreamy atmosphere. Something for the whole party? Let's see.
Interesting layers of rhythm clang and clash together in a swathe of movement and fizz. An entire drum-set is put to use in a neat and slightly distorted compendium. Breaks scatter dynamic edges in multiple directions as wholesome and full-bodied synths begin to wah in various tones. Melody builds as notes begin to grow from each other, like cacti growing off-shoots. Wavery mirages of synthesiser give way to a vocal section of spoken word. Echo and reverb project the phonics in a stereo-sphere that degrades gradually. Barometric Shuffle takes us in with droplets of hard-nosed rhythms that crumble into sticky innards.
Flux States swiftly adapts the rhythm. New energy is projected into the crackling drum-kit, a swerve and a change of momentum gives rise to chapter two. A multi-tap melody issues repeating notes in an adjusting scale before a vocal line adds a singing section. Robotic effects distort the voice yet allow the composition to sit sweetly on the skipping beats. A low end throbs with a kick that swoops as various high end sounds pluck and hoot with various zaps and snaps. Vocal melody overlaps then builds with increasing echo along harmonies and reductions of rhythmic inclusion.
Next, a deep and multi-textured bass rhythm kicks open the door. A constant and shuddering tempo rides out in streams of movement as elemental flickers of transparent sound dance in the coiling dust. A fleshy middle then wanders slowly from the shadows, investigating and assessing with each tentative step. A quickness to the underlying rhythm accompanies slow and graceful kinesis of tempered thought mirrored in the synthesiser. Barn Gate feels tall and slightly rickety yet enriched with memories and the backdrop to many more.
Squidger begins on a simple rhythm for a few moments before a horn like sound reverberates across the peaks. The music jumps and bounces like its name suggests, and has a tactile element that compresses and reshapes as the beats coalesce. New melodics find snug places within the composition as harmonics and granular scales emerge from the separation of sound. Slow and emotive stokes of melody whisk the temporal areas as plunging and far-reaching rhythms cast the antithesis of starlight beneath our feet.
Next, a sudden smash of bass thuds in with double strikes. The heart-beat like rhythm is amplified and distorted beyond recognition. A plunge of bass crumbles and rains down as a vocal starts to sing a chant across the top. Rhythm slowly gets fortified by extra elements that shimmer and weave along transient lines. New percussion sounds are added, a drum-kit behind a forcefield manages osmosis with sheer power. Overflowing with energy, an oceanic accompaniment of vocal paints the framework in dapples. These give rise to synths that dance and bounce in droplets of effervescent sound. Vortex is a sweeping and intense escape into infinite dimensions.
The EP finishes on its titular track. Radiance Haze begins with a flutey ambience that opens into natural sounds and harmonies. It feels like sunlit waters sliding past in tranquil exchanges of energy. The evidence of time passing as the micro-scenery changes and flicks from perspective to perspective. A transcendence takes hold and lifts us beyond the commotion of our minds.
Find out more with VOITAX Records online
Get Radiance Haze by Arad on Bandcamp
Listen to VOITAX on Soundcloud
All My Things Are Broken Because I Am Broke
TBR: 15th April
Berlin's Céad Records are on a roll, with only three releases so far, this fourth record from Kincaid sits alongside work by Lewski and Blu Terra. When you consider the relief record which raised funds and awareness for the Australian wildfire rescue, Céad Records are making their presence known and admired in a big way. London's Kincaid features on this next episode with a single bearing two tracks, each one made for the dance-floor. Of course, the intellectual and designer beats on offer here are intended for only the best dance-floors.
The music opens with It All Sounds The Same. It's often said of music that people haven't been taught how to appreciate. That's why we're here. A dappling of scattered beats rings out with various tones of depth. As tempo rises in adjustments of layer and flux, the steady pace is elevated and fortified from adjacent perspectives. Bellowing synths squelch with radiant melody as twinkling elements decorate the under-passage of sound. Delicate drops of ambient tone sparkle and dance on shiny surfaces as moody and evocative drum and bass merges with the dream.
Next, a chiming bell opens the door for swervy beats and skidding cymbals. Vocals project from the distance until they craft shapes in our ears. Plunging bass tones rattle and metallic bells clank as powdery rhythms pinpoint and starlight in ambient and story-telling lanes. Synths add rhythmic progressions and pulses that form high and low edges which add qualities beyond the beat. Percussion froths among vanishing motions and exchanges of musical energy. All My Things Are Broken Because I Am Broke, I know the feeling! It reminds us that from snippets and semi-functions, a creative genius can form something of greater value.
You can follow Kincaid on Facebook
and listen to Kincaid on Soundcloud
Find music from Céad Records on Bandcamp
This Is A Quarantine
Black Strobe Records
TBR: 8th May
French electronic music creator Arnaud Rebotini is making use of his time in quarantine by putting together a new single every week. A full-time occupation making music surely is one of the best ways to pass the weary hours waiting for the end to arrive. Demonstrating skills from each corner of the talent certificate and including remixes from friends and colleagues along the way, this set of eight is a moment in history. It's been a good two months in self-isolation, tackling the boredom is never an easy task. Here's something to sink your ears into and explore with your mind wide open.
Chapter one is called Minimise Contact Between People. It grabs us with a robotic vocal that's quickly joined by a tappety beat. Rim hits and shake-snare rattle on pivoting angles while odd synth bends throw high-end notes into the playing field. Bass rumbles and growls in electronic stabs as interesting elements of uneasiness and cosmopolitanism waver in clouds of kinesis and charm. The progress brings in various shades of the repertoire with additions of amplitude, effect, and direction of flow. Occasionally new sounds are injected which compliment the whole in subtle new ways.
Next, a sudden influx of wobbly bass hits us as a another robotic voice creates inflections of sound. A melodic and jazz inspired composition unwinds into vocals that half sing over rumbling beats. Shimmering chord synths decorate with luminous backdrops of tone what dance and flutter like wall-hangings in the breeze. Staggered notes flow in alongside zaps and more vocals to bring on an exciting and dreamy sensation. Digital Lockdown seems to have relaxed a little since the first track, and lets loose on some wild keyboarding.
This is followed by a couple of great remixes of the first track, Minimise Contact Between People. Alessandro Adriani offers a Nightmare City version followed by a Pablo Bozzi rendition that takes yet another perspective.
Track three is inspired by the lambda commentators who have strong and unfaultering opinions on subjects best left to professionals. With a scattering of maniac beats and vocal inflections, the music begins on a snappy snare and wobbling bass. Synth stabs induce an atmosphere of chaotic alertness as poetic lines holler and muse in self-talk style motions. Blipping beats and upbeat synth additions find neat homes. Spirals of tone bending sound then begin to swirl and hypnotise within scopes of pulsing rhythm. Chloroquine is about scientists experimenting to the sound of the misinformed and paranoid.
The music is provided alongside remixes of Digital Lockdown. These are provided by Phase Fatale, Lokier, and Christian Zanesi.
An online collaboration between Arnaud Rebotini and fellow countryman Jonathan Fitoussi brought the fourth original into being. It begins with cosmic waves of openness and melody. Twinkling keyboards splash various tones and magical flavour into the mixing pot. Then, a chunky cyber-bass throws down a steady marching pace. The synth layers continue to fill the spaces and illuminate the musical passages with effervescent colourations. Etat Naturel feels like a stroll through imaginary jungle forest as glades beckon from behind layers of unique flowering plants and fruiting trees.
The remix offerings of Chloroquine are crafted by none other than VTSS, Fabrizio Rat, and Raffaele Attanasio with his Southern Riot version.
With a passion for the ingenious methods people all over the world have used to create effective masks, this next track is called Masquerade. Of course, if you work in hospital or somewhere like that you'll need the proper thing but for the rest of us, instead of using up national resources, we can adapt. The track using vocals and slow moving synths to give a laid-back and house style mix. Electro drums bounce in an 80s way while expressions of voice dance with various colours of synthesiser.
This release contains four remixes. The first of which is The Hacker's version of track one, Minimise Contact Between People. This snugly fits the rhetoric of this fifth edition. The other three remixes are of Etat Naturel and are kindly provided by Leonie Pernet, Etienne Jaumet, and Turzi with the Illegal Jogging version. A term we'd not have expected until now.
The format of this series was originally billed as five tracks plus remixes, however it became apparent that week six would be just the same as before. So the music continued in the brave and quite frankly (no pun intended) enjoyable for us listeners way it ought to. This time the inspiration is in the daily exercise routines people are adopting. One way to pass the time and keep the spirits up is to actively seek a healthy body. Dancing to great music of course is a sure way of achieving this. Workout starts with a subtle pulsing that's joined by a deep bass. Motivational lyrics about moving the body are laid down as a throbbing bass begins kicking the drum in a river of sweaty tempo. The pulsing sound maintains a regularity and relaxation through the otherwise hectic and full-one mix. Synths gallop around repeating lines as the progression leaps over hurdles into cosmic elevations.
The Masquerade is remixed three times for this release, expect versions from Cardopusher, Zanias, and Zombies In Miami.
Those who know me personally know that I usually cut my own hair with varying degrees of success. However, most of us are obliged to visit the hairdresser at least once or twice a year. This next track is intended to highlight the universal desire to look your best and the fact that our services are on hold. Clean and Neat begins with the sound of a hair-clippers buzzing. This is joined by frantic electronic drums which chatter and tap with a fiery beat. Deep and squidgy bass gives a depth to the track as distorted and distant vocals whisper in strange verses. Odd oscillator sounds pluck and wobble in arpeggio style motions. Otherworldly tones are added too, lending a sense of strangeness.
The remix editions this time are in two parts. Masquerade is given a fresh face by Kittin while Workout gets a dress change into something more comfortable from Shun and Radical G.
To finish this series, in the final week of strict lockdown for the French nation, Arnaud Rebotini presents an homage to the people on the front-line who have been providing essential services for everyone during this pandemic. Courage to go to work in the frightening reality of a indiscriminating virus takes exception beyond exception, whether it's in the medical places, the factories, or the food shops. The servants are the new aristocracy. To (Wo)Men On The Assembly Line begins with an exciting sonic stab that brings out a thriving digital bass and drum. Amplitude and elevation gives rise to a frantic rhythm that encapsulates the desire to get out and party without restrictions. Your day will come, my friend! Electronic beats rumble and scatter as head-shaking motifs wander and warble on various adjustable plinths of sound.
This final number is accompanied by the most generous dose of remixes of them all. Workout is revamped by Perel and Max Durante while Chloroquine is reinvented by Jensen Interceptor and Kris Baha in collaboration. Clean and Neat is tidied up and restyled by Djedjotronic and David Carretta.
This huge project symbolises a moment in time that we will no-doubt be talking about long since it's over. The history books will remember the narrative of politics and science in equal amounts so it's up to the artists to explain how it felt to be someone here and now. This excellent contribution of music deserves to remain a significant resonator for many years.
Wolf Trap Records - Red Series
TBR: 5th June
Wolf Trap Records unveil the Red Series. A subgenre, peripheral outlet, and experimentation arena, this new avenue is headed by Wolf Trap regular Stefan Weise. With a harder and darker direction, the Red Series wants to demonstrate a more brutal and less subtle form of techno that reaches in and grabs you by the gut. Oleg Mass brings us a new EP of analogue and tactile techno from his home in Ukraine. Previously releasing on Octopus, Elevate, Credo, and Fachwerk, it seems that Oleg Mass feels at home almost anywhere.
It begins on a grubby kick-bass layered with various depths of tone. A distorted drum resonates through and bouncing thuds fill the void. Odd samples of sound decorate with abstract, something moving through slurry then voices and crockery. The beat continues all the while with sprinkles of addition creating a flux in the flow. New drums and percussive sounds replace the abstract samples to bring us into a dusty realm of strange reverberating tones and rhythmic explorations. Title track Hydraulix takes us in with an eerie and adventurous array of sounds.
Zauberberg opens on another dirty thump-bass. It taps along with minor percussives which elevate the main thunder. The beat plods on with a steady pace. New beats with tonal character of their own are injected to bring on new force in the direction of composition. Rhythm dominates as each aspect serves to boost the flow of tempo which rattles along like a train.
The next track opens with oscillating tones which bounce and squidge along in a breezy tempo. Deep jungle like bass throbs in beaty sections while the melodic analogue progression warbles into new areas. Disjointed sampled rhythms and phrases merge together in a syrup of sound. Vocal sparks like naked wires, deep and resonant, while the rhythm builds with extra elements. Swishy synths dive and swerve around axes of stereo positioning as garbled and compressed tones merge with sudden and off-kilter beats. Verfall takes us into cybernetic realms of shady techno while thumping us with heavy bass.
Rejection starts with a blip melody which rattles along a staticy bassline. Tonal melodics bleep in repeating phrases that reservedly chime to a cracking and thumping bass. Shakers are added that fill all available space. This lifts the track into another level of pressure. As it evolves and progresses, new dimensions open out with various aspects and percussion instruments. High velocity rhythms break through the repeating motifs and lend various angles of incline to the energy in the room.
Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.