Out: 22nd January
The Norwegian ambient electronic music master returns in 2021 after much success with his collaboration in the company of America's Michael Stearns. Convergence played into all the right courts as synthesiser and atmosphere combined to produce a unique and splendid journey. Now, with a new breed of his own music, Erik Wøllo provides a dosing of digital clarity and intrigue as Recurrence marks the latest chapter.
With an epic whistling melody that builds across expanses of potential, a soundscape is built note by note. Shifting tones roll like hills and cloud shapes as light bounces from the progressive tangents. Harmonising pangs coil and stretch within the moment of sound, a draughty progression gently lifts the composition with pushes of atmosphere. Title-track Recurrence sways like a towering pillar, gazing out upon rivers and landscapes that shimmer in the language of music.
The Presence Of Future opens with a quiet humming that gracefully grows into a sonic sea of moving sounds. Waves begin to crest and create lines of sound that streak in patterns dictated by many subtle forces. As the amalgam projects onward, choral feelings merge with symphonic tone in slowly dancing couplets that drift in anfractuous harmonics. A plucky synthesiser then flows in like ice-cubes in water and the fragments of rhythm within its rill splash with adaptive cymbals. Spectral and serpentine tones cast shadows and glimmers with bipolar intensity as a churning of sound distorts into beautiful patterns.
Smooth chiming tones build like underwater reflections growing nearer. Abstract harmony defines an air of intrigue and fascination, as the amplitude rises a bubbling light spills into new areas to explore. Melody describes shapes and textures that shine with a dreamy and timeless presence. Oblivion takes a portion of infinity and describes it in vivid detail. Fractals of intention and potential sprinkle like flour on a surface before the kneading of bread. The moments of creation captured in dynamic and resolute form are explained in this wash of pleasant and interesting sounds.
A swift and tenuous tone breaks through the quietness with roomy gusts that coil behind. Bass rises in synthesiser harmony as the winding melody slowly drifts through spacious portals. A guitar finds its way into the mix, plucked chord fractions create melodious formations of current that combine with the flow of the digital predisposition. Drums then snake in with high end snare and a rattling bass kick which thunders in tampered sections. A post-rock style progression lends its energy to the way this is panning out, melody that repeats on naked drumming and harmonies which span and evolve over the bars bring out a momentous journey. This is Clouds Forever and it's the perfect soundtrack for gazing into the upper blue beyond.
Way Of No Return is next. The music begins with an orchestration of string sound which is soon joined by raindrop like notes. An atmosphere of cosmic expanse and astronomical energies forms around a settled and calm sensation. As bubbles of shifting tone froth and flow, new shapes of clarity begin to create themselves under invisible instruction. Bass and drums then pulse in, a stabbing tone pushes the rhythm into a defined structure as melodious undercurrents continue to reveal the tempo.
This is followed by a starry effect of points of light which coalesce into a globular luminous form. Throbbing bass twangs like plucked thick strings as tonal percussion begins to spread intention from left to right. More melodic elements are added, layers of harmony skim the surface and glide along the sheen of its edge. Splatterings of drum and cymbal cast ripples into the otherwise tranquil zone that vibrates and sings according to its own design. Umbra breaks into a piano melody as the hypnotic rhythm crafts its sleepy journey. Slow and meaningful notes clamber along neat and well-worn facias and paths.
They lead to a magical place. As we approach Dream River 1, speckled lanterns of distant hope flutter in breezy harmonies. The riverbank is adorned with braces of bulb flowers and tangles of tall grass. As the magical waters glide effortlessly across the refracting bed, alive with wishes like fling like fish scampering under pygmy woods and rocks. Watery landscapes form in bubble of vision as new lights shine upon distinct and characterful testaments to terrain.
It's time to turn our eyes skyward as we enter the world of Stargazers. Moving tones scale in neat stairways as an escalation gradually takes hold. High-pitched composition then skates across the top, leading us further up. As we stretch and climb, the sky reveals itself with astronomical majesty. The slow and mixing synthesiser sounds form small vortices that rise piece by piece into the night sky. An acoustic guitar melody then plunges a new dimension into the picture. Slow and emotional notes in a pentatonic scale glide and sing as warbling synthesiser buffets and carries it away in the wind.
A shaking hum with static infusion brings out a dank and cavernous sensation. Throaty rumbles and mindful whisks of moving air join forces as the passageway blusters with timeless movement. Dreamy melody casts a magical projection through a shimmering scene of natural rock and crystalline etchings. In the remnants of what a giant once scooped from the earth and from where jewels of geology grow like trees over aeons of time, we sit and dwell on the sound inside. Cloud Circles ring the opening like lenticular patterns over mountain peaks. In our throne, excavated from some previous tor, the sky opens and calls to us, insisting our minds extend beyond the flesh and into infinity.
After all this cloud-building it's no surprise that we find ourselves in the rain. Chime Rain uses bells and horns to pull together a semblance of storm while dreamy melody plays out through the energy thick and slow moving body of power. Bellows of tone call out with depth and reach while twinkling lights bounce and fall as arpeggios of bell coalesce within torrents of sound. Sweeping air then moves freely through the film as the weight of an atmosphere provides ample activity. A slow and powerful lunge through the geography of time leans in on gusty sails that catch and continue the vision into beyond.
It finishes on track eleven and Afterprints. This finale breathes itself into life as angelic voices sing in choral-like prayers to the sky. We've witnessed the dynamic of nature in many forms, as the hidden dimension contains processes which appear in synchronous co-incidence across the pains of existence and understanding. Here, we sit in though while the images of the story rerun through our mind and new levels of calm continue to adjust our ability to perceive the greater picture. These fruits of hindsight are destined to be the foundation for tomorrow's deep thought.
You can find out more by visiting Erik Wollo online
Find the music on Projekt Bandcamp
Ordinary Things & Other Problems
Out: 19th February
We are pleased to review this latest output from France's Amsem with Joe Lewandowski heading up Ordinary Things & Other Problems. Do we define our normal experience by the problems we face? It raises an interesting question. I think sometimes we do. This four-tracked production takes ingredients from late night party vibes such as post-punk, house, and dark disco in order to form a work that can find its way into plenty of venues. The EP is said to build individual universes with each offering of sound, so let's plug it in and see what they look like.
On a heavy and forward-pushing synthesiser drone tone, rhythm breaks open the egg of Storm Eyes. Viscous and thick sounds drip and pour from the cupped container, overflowing with sonic class. Punchy bass then hits the spot, ramming up in between the rhythm on the drums. That synth continues until it splits into a spectrum of notes. They harmonise and bounce until a new a leading melody begins to direct the music. Catchy and smooth strings pluck through a thick and fizzy distortion, reaching pitches and speeds that elevate the energy of the track.
A thick and resonant bass then falls into place. A kick drum frames the pulsating slender melody as it rips through the quiet. Then a drum-fill and a synthesiser flourish push the gear into the new level. A clutch of bars helps too lubricate the flow as another synthesiser punch adds the desired effect. Walking bass continues through vocal echoes and additions of atmospheric percussion, all while heavy beats and a heavy-metal like guitar slaps chords in at highlighted interludes. Regazzi has a smooth and creamy filling that snaps with a little crunch as we bite down.
Bitter Sweet begins with a boing and a thumping bass. Twangy bass smashes a rhythmic pulse across a muffled kick. Synthesiser builds with multi-tonal harmonies as sways of sound implode and spread out. The bass continues to rip through the music as new drums find their place in the layering of tempo. A funky dance groove is predominant while moving swishes of moody synthesiser grasp the loose left-overs. Continual building reveals multi-storied towers of progression which sit on well-placed fulcra. As the music continues, more sounds pile in, vocal, synth, and digital orchestration all play their part.
It finishes with a smooth high-end percussion that sloshes with snare and metalwork. A sweeping bass carries the floor away as a pumping bass begins to pulse. Vocal spoken word then folds in, reverberating words instruct us to evacuate. The bass is then revealed once more as more composition unravels and continues the sonic story. It breaks with a distinctive run-down as ribbons of melody and emotive sounds flutter and fly from the end of the bars. Pipes and hoots scatter into airy spaces while flux and flow continue to add potential energy to the equation. Kingdom Of God is a marching journey through abstractica and funky bass which leaves us ready to begin the EP all over again.
Follow Joe Lewandowski on Facebook
Amsem Records are on Bandcamp
TBR: 29th January
Fresh from the well-known Bristol based music producer is a series of cuts made with a single piece of equipment. The kit in question is the Elekron Digitone Synth, a versatile and well-made box of sonic trickery. Every title on this six-track recording beings with a Q, maybe a reference to the studio dial that changes the tone, every offering shows us how the EDS can manipulate and generate various types of sound. Each of these mixes was created in just one or two takes each, which opens up an ad-lib quality that we may not notice unless told. A real signal of skill, the art-form of digital music creation has been actualised again.
It begins with Qui. Random tuneful bursts of chiming instruments scatter phrases into dancing globules of sound. Wooden and metal hits create a textured rhythmic melody. Then a drum beat begins to staple the atmosphere together. Snare and cymbal work in snappy motions that rumble with kick drum and shaker. New melodious synthesiser tones rise from the main body of sound. Interesting and distorted rings and strings vibrate and twang in neatly observed paragraphs.
Rubbery tones join muffled drumming as the next offering takes control. Smooth and introspective bass wobbles in puddly reflections as short and twinkling lights skit from corner to corner on clouds of warmth. Humming tones dress down behind the foresound which glisten and fill the sponge with textured and oblique subtlety. The bouncing tune wanders through differing angles and lighting effects that either enliven or reduce the accompanying flow. Qat delicately treads over stony ground that shimmers in the evening sunshine.
Qin is next, it unties itself in ribbons of near harmony as splashes of colourful sound decorate abstract shapes. A shaking sensation rises as rhythm tumbles into the mix across a selection of bars. Simple yet interesting, a sudden incoming flux of differing and chomping sounds rushes through and begins to dance. A sudden shift of energy reignites a feeling of movement as slow and dreamy tones continue to run along peacefully behind. Then we're left to admire a solo of bubbling rhythm as the background fades into curtained corners. The levels emerge from the shadows to continue the vibe of enjoyable melody which shifts and evolves as the music progresses.
A spinning-top of bell like sounds revolves and creates a child-like tune which lifts the spirits. A new and quick drumbeat is then thrust in, digital kicks and static infused snare pins and clasps at the notion of rhythm. Bass creeps in the carpet as ding-dong keyboards make blip sounds that shift like sand. Tropical waves bask in the composition of bells that begin to take on a form of steel drums. Then springy and tensile sounds start to chatter like disgruntled roots as the choppy rhythms continue to grind and pulse. Qua takes on several shapes as it progresses through attention grabbing beats and mellow phrases.
A combination of beats and meandering tones overlap and mix as the next number begins to play. Rushing sounds and scoops of kicking bass dish and dive as odd yet homely melodies churn and climb. QCD is rich with layering and counter-active beats which seem too dance and skip as the bars seamlessly barricade the silence. Tinkling synths and funky bass combine as sudden bursts of energetic drumming quick-fire the ingredients with heat.
It ends with Qis. This one brews slowly as dreamy synthesiser gazes outward and inward in equal parts. Playful melodies run along shaped combinations as evocative tones rain with airy redolence. A simple and meaningful bounce soon draws to a close as does the album.
Find music by Minotaur Shock on Bandcamp
Follow Minotaur Shock on Twitter
Body In The Thames
Public Domain 3D Terrain
Disintegration State Records
TBR: January 15th
We welcome Disintegration State to 2021 at the Electro Review as they set sail with their latest catalogue entry. Public Domain 3D Terrain is the home-brewed sound potion of Sweden's Body In The Thames. The label have had their eye on this prolific producer for some time with headline work on Midland's Intergraded label plus remixes with Django Django / Self Esteem that demonstrate absolute proficiency. This full-length digital music production wants to sweep you away with clarity and class as well-made computer generated music forms unique and memorable functions of sensation.
With shimmering spotlights of abstract sound, keyboard works a crooked journey into a droning ambience. A humming throb reveals a layering of bass which accompanies the now melodious and evolving wavery kinesis. Slowly, the vibrations in the music grow and branch as separation of sound ensues. Electronic clicks wander along characteristic whisks of synthesiser. 6000...cash is a short number that creeps in and sits down without much fuss. It lets us grow fond of the choice sounds presented by the artist.
It follows with Alligator Souffle. Whisking chirrups of synthesiser spiral up and down as charming motifs sparkle around. A grabbing digital bass chants along with a stepping rhythm that insists we march along with it. A culmination of rhythm and melody grows like a crystal as facias and surfaces caress the glistening sunlight streaming in. Dancing funk and expressive motions of tone comply with steady bass which throbs in time and tune. Melodic edges play gracefully on the outer borders as self-similar phrases focus the flow.
A twinkling symphony of silken tones dances in a three-dimensional space somewhere above our heads. Plunging keyboard strikes dispel the gloom like comet-tails glistening as they plummet to distant horizons. A gradual unveiling of spectral majesty sheds the mantle of darkness as a sudden influx of chiming bass crunches in with a robotic influence. Harmonising digital tones wash with astral splendour as drums are layered in with a perfect transition. A kick drum and a shiny cymbal portray a neat and straight forward line through moving and weightless artefacts of sonic design. Xanthe Acid Youth glimmers with an ethereal cloak of translucent evidence. Shimmering synthesisers glance from gravitational waves under percussive propulsion.
A squelchy bass melody sponges and scoops with a swaggering rhythm as the next number opens up. Drums frame the sauntering digital effects of Bus Trips as tone reverberates along some meaningful reverb. Pulsing dapples sprout from undercurrents of rhythm which grow and push through the balance to dictate dancing warbles of melody. Tuneful bursts rise like newly formed birds leaping from dreamy realms made apparent by the wishes of well-behaved children. Frameworks of synthesised composition rise like scaffolding as the track is built up from simple rhythmic beginnings into complex and disparate shapes and sounds.
A new wave of funky rhythm pushes forward as the last instalment unwinds like a long day come to a close. A melody that carries like a cool breeze shifts evocations of sensation and dream while neat and well trimmed drums add just the right amounts of pressure. A drifting river that slumbers along in hazy evening light pours like liquid gold as the smooth and easy-going composition dictates. Some People Just Never Know When To Leave glides along with carefree abandon. Trills of slight melody scatter with temporal beats that reflect in the twists of flexing rhythm. Neatly parcelled sonic partitions span the distance taken as the adjusting and contoured projection continues with upbeat energy.
Find out more by visiting Body In The Thames online
Cultivated Electronics Records
TBR: 25th January
Following from his remix and collaboration duties, DMX Krew returns with a full EP of original material. This first outing for the label in 2021 sees DMX Krew lighting the way as he prepares to unleash Overseer EP. Riding out on the experimental funky stallion, the analogue and glistening sounds find foothills and outcrops to admire in turn. This sparkling new release is the latest in 25 years of work from Edward Upton, who also works under the name Rephlex and manages Breaking and Fresh Up Records.
It begins with Overseer. A smashing digital collapse implodes as a scattering of blippy beats begin to dance in droplets. Bass and snare rumble into the mix as a choppy digi-wah-bass begins spurning toward the sea. Buoyant tones then sail alongside in up and down formations that mirror the undercurrent of bass and drum. Deep and quenching thrusts on the tone compression invert the delivery of bass as percussive rolls fill the spaces with extra clarity.
A throbbing and thunderous bass then injects itself into the mix. Drums scamper around the inviting tempo as interesting angles dance from tone to tone. A quick and frantic motion stands tall as the track reaches its main body. Then dark and mysterious tones creep in shady regions hidden behind the towering beats. Serpentine transitions of sound coil and develop as the rhythm progresses into ever more energetic dimensions. Plashingers has a dual edge, one is pointy and vibrant like neon stars and the other is slow and sensual like a prowling jaguar.
Next, a shifty bass rhythm dishes out direction in throws of angular movement. Tonic drops and beeps begin to bump up the tempo before distinctive keyboards shimmer across the surface. A smooth outlay glides from corner to corner across an ornately decorated and textured surface. Dials and switches line the table like plastic soldiers, painted and ready to be put into action. Vacuum Surfers rumbles along with rampant pace, the grinding bass and thumping kick-drum combine to push all its synthesiser effects out to sea.
Diaspora once again hits us with that familiar analogue bass sound. Crunchy and grit-laden streams of highway line the composition. Sunny and low-bit flutters skim the luminescence as steady hats clamber in regular pulses. A gradual evolution studs the backdrop as churning rhythms and similar lines craft a streaming hypnosis that quivers with mechanical power.
Catch up with DMX Krew online
Find Cultivated Electronics on Bandcamp
Show Some Respect EP
TBR: 29th January
Lighting the way for a full-length 44 track album which includes styles like Bmore, Techhouse, Ghettotech, Electro, and Juke, DJ Godfather releases Show Some Respect EP. Introducing a snippet of the sounds we can learn to expect from this producer, the treat is in the unwrapping as we get to grips with this new sound collection. The work on the album has been mastered in such a way that the tracks bleed into each other, making seamless transitions of power seem like child's play. The following six months will see a gradual release of the entire production via these teasing yet generous stand alone instalments. This way, other DJs get samples of greater works that they can acquire and listeners can enjoy the definitive sounds of DJ Godfather.
It begins with Show Some Respect. An up-beat snappy rhythm starts and it's heavy on snare. Then, bass and sound effects wander in with a casual swagger. Meandering synthesiser tones dig out channels of bass-line while wispy and diverse sonics dance in a well-made choreography. Playful edges and plenty of drumming energy thrash out their differences over the chewy and deep-reach undertones. A choppy vocal enters, sneaking in syllables in expert time. Dancing forces spin us around as interesting and catchy sounds create a unique digital brew.
Track two begins with a driving rhythm, laid back yet fast in tempo. Shakers and bass dig around the pockets for a lighter, entering the realms of Sunday Morning Spliff. The music opens with a new layering of quick hats that roll and tumble with the addition of slow and graceful piano tones. Keyboards sway over like flowing curtains or the ends of a dress as its owner walks briskly past. Plucked strings from violin echo into blank spaces as framings of temporal beats bubble and effervesce.
A retro futuristic synth motif begins, it's melodic and rhythmic. Fun bass and drumming create a backdrop for a man talking about strippers. These Strippers takes us into the mind of a person who has lost self-control over two professional sex workers. All that pent up sexual energy has to come from somewhere, what drives people to such activities? As a work of art, the music makes you think about the basic desires and instincts that some find more difficult to handle than others. The track is listed twice, once as a vocal version and again as a running instrumental that holds the energy for another round of the circuit. It also gives us a chance to listen to the progressions and harmonies without the distraction.
You can follow DJ Godfather on Facebook
You can find Databass Records on Facebook
Dogs Versus Shadows
Nagasaki Collapse Team
TBR: 15th January
With a limited edition of 50 first pressings CD that contains a full-colour comic as well as the music, Dogs Versus Shadows slams into 2021 with absolute authority. Another dive into dystopian-futurist imaginings stalks the tracklist as a full-length journey through electronic sound configurations and beats carries us through.
A shrill harmony of pitch and buzz grows like the rising sun before dashes and sprints of digital notation flow across jagged horizons. Sparkles of an even higher harmony flutter like colourful insects and birds. A merging of walking and floating gestures amble in clouds of sonic dance. Today Only reminds us that we only get one of each. It's followed by Howzat. A cricket tune perhaps, it rolls like long stretching greens, sodden with rain. A sample cuts through in a haze, before close.
A thundering bass kicks in as a new level of music pinnacles with track three. Brutalist takes us to large-scale facias and orchestrated squares. Mournful pipe sounds curdle among sprinkling mute bells as resonant and atmospheric bass throbs in the undercurrent. Nagasaki Collapse Team is next. With ferocious buzz-saw synthesiser, the music spans into spreads of flashing strobe and glimmering lamp. Various tones and pitches project from occulted fountains yet appear in darkness as spectral and vaporous distinctions. A mournful song of an egregore that scampers the decks of forgotten estates.
Spongy trumpets rise like alien reeds among sludgy footsteps. Out-sprays of gas and colourful spores fling as gravity and mass combine in pressured rhythms. Negatives feels subterranean, damp and formless corridors reach into unknown cavities. Then, a mechanical engine of ruckus grumble-digs in through the walls. This is followed by a declining energy, and silence. Whisks of deep movement spin and coil as radio sounds spill into the centre. Bells clamber together in a brief tapestry that leaves us with Mouth.
A vast synthesiser opens out with bass and floral as plastic drums shift and turn. A wooden percussion then thumps in before metalwork crumbles like some fantastical cake. Spoons perhaps, the combination of rhythms grows again as more beats layer in like custard or cream. Heavy melody in the bass wanders in simple progressions that repeat and evolve as the rhythm goes through a tidal dynamic. Diary Moon seems to have phases, in which we occupy various mental perspectives. Not Spoken About For Years hits us with a discordant and fiery pipe sound that harmonises gently while overpowering us with volume. An uncomfortable sensation pierces the stillness while formula and aesthetic make headway in asserting themselves.
Water notes spill and twinkle in harmonics that resonate from cavernous walls. It wasn't meant to be like this, a simple and underground gambol of one into drippy and dimly lit surroundings. Next is Easy To Build. Wandering bass tones branch out from vinyl pressure that drags with the static needle. Minimal and sombre, a melody grows gently from the ground up which gathers bells once the wind catches its protrusions.
Windows Walls and Locks begins with a deep and thoughtful drone. Electronic telephone sounds with a disturbed and echoing shroud chime in harmonies that ghost in empty rooms. The hum of the generator keeps the space warm as subtle incompatibility grates on its edges. A slow and smoky floatation casts off into far-away waters. Lights on-board symbolise the living, unseen in the night, who go about their individual lives despite being so far away. Whitebeam lends us its energy and lets us peer in.
The final number is Stones and Sticks. Vibrant synthesiser orchestrates a buoyant melody which spreads out in an inflatable area. Drums begin, loose hats slap together in almost time as new sounds flirt with the backdrop. An uplifting combination of climbing melodies and interesting brightness within the sound design brings the splendid dream to a close.
You can get your copy of Nagasaki Collapse Team by Dogs Versus Shadows from Bandcamp
Catch Subexotic Records on Vimeo
Thank you for your visit, please consider helping with a donation.