So That I May See You Again
TBR: 25th July
Wistful nostalgia and acceptance of the story so far brings Fennec to this culmination of emotive progression in the style of spliced and adjusted house. Who ever the album is truly about is hidden from us, yet in the description the words seems to entice the listener into feeling it is about them. Then we, the listener, can gently place our own feelings about special memories into the place of the music. This abstraction of truth to form bonds across music is a simple yet clever piece of emotional engineering that intrigues me into wanting to learn more.
A crackled sample of speech opens the album as a smooth rhythm rolls forward and brings home the dream. More vocals walk over the rhythm all the while stories and emotional conversation, with rootless foundations, waver in and out of the sound like distant lanterns. New sounds find their way through the lattice work of beats as layers of musical sample and voice over mingle and surge with the progression of the percussion. Dramatic ambience holds fast as the dynamic of the sound flows from one tangent to another, all centred around the global sonic experience of tranquillity and presence.
The ingredients to each number fit like well ordered patterns pieced from sources found all over the record collection. Touchy drums bring on sensations of salt and pepper seasoning with clever phrases knitted into the looping sounds. A relaxed groove threads through the otherwise fast paced and shifting music which utilises sounds and rhythms riddled with the latest digital effects. The tracks mirror each other in neatly displaced distortions which allows a gradual evolution of intent within the realms of the piece. As the album moves from number to number, we are treated to a sit down epic that can be danced to as well.
Pieces of Gramatik and Blockhead merge with more underground sensations such as DJ Sprinkles to form a catchy and motivated collection. Listenability is good and as the tracks work well together, they can easily be enjoyed alone as part of a mix. Entertaining and homely, I am glad I own this record.
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Listen to samples of the album before it's out.
Nina Kraviz, Bjarki, Exos, PTU, Biogen, Roma Zuckerman, Nikita Zabelin, Shadowax, Universal Indicator, Pilldriver
трип 20 - Don't Mess With Cupid, Cos Cupid Ain't Stupid
трип Records (Trip)
TBR: 20th July
A ten track concept album marks the twentieth release for the underground powerhouse that is трип. Combining an alchemy of new and old with the glue of transcendental phenomena, Don't Mess With Cupid explores the world of underground electronic sounds in a grand tour of the label's reputable rota. The double EP release is becoming something of a tradition for this impress, much more than a selection record and with a reach a single artist album can only dream of, each musician can provide a true experience in turn.
From shadowy beginnings in the 90s where underground technophiles would compile tricky beats and complex dub loops, to modern era digital wonderworks that utilize the twenty-first century to its pinnacle, the release covers each base one by one. It begins with Biogen and a track called Hexagraphic. A retro pulsing metallic thump kicks it off and its soon joined by a dancing digital tune which two or three steps in rapid formations. More phonics are added, this time from lower ends of the sound spectrum. Digital bass and treble wave in on strange clouds of distortion. Frantic energy seeps in through little gaps and the music revs up into a new gear when a snare loop fills them in with rhythm.
A woob sound with a wobbly bass pinches the end of the track to reveal the next number. Funky dance worthy drums replace the strange phrase and with happy and distant runs down a simple keyboard, a jovial sensation rolls over. New found bass and drum progresses the original sunny section to envisage tall rocky cliffs and mountains, with a shore on the other side of our periphery. Some smooth vocal expressions briefly decorate the rhythm before it breaks down to the strange keyboard runs that pierce and laugh. Castor and Polux by PTU doesn't last too long, it quickly makes way for the final A side.
With DEKA and Pearl, a fast bass tone projects a fantastic driving force. With relentless thrust, a build in amplitude of a heavy bass drum gives each subsequent section more kick. Soon a computerised fill brings an epic and space-age moment of “pay attention!” before the same rhythm gradually evolves and shifts in quality from one ear to the other. Dark rooms with lights, dry ice, and sweaty people all dancing in time to this seems the only logical outcome for this soundtrack to a dazed and memorable night out.
Welcome to level two, some of that retro grit has been taken away as a wholesome drum loop with an offbeat snare brings a new energy of experimental simplicity. Soon the drums add more of themselves to allow a full-on sensation of flow which gives rise to a trilling siren style instrument at the top end. One-two, one-two, goes the insistent alarm. We can allow it to rage on or we can stand up and move to its fluid yet stable instruction. Grasshunter by Exos plays with beats and energy with ever changing mixes of the same rhythms, each taking their place in the driving seat to see how the others react. Everything flows well and with well chosen variety of tone, the track remains fresh through-out.
Bjarki brings an ethnic flurry of fantasy and mayhem as they open with 3-1 tap lush. A smooth and jazzy beat with extra speed added allows the strangeness to sit comfortably. As the drums whittle down to the minimum, an oddly organic vocal effect made from the back of the throat begins to spin an eerie melody. A strike from a symphonic keyboard smashes it all together in a punch of pressure, then like a trampoline the music rebounds into more bouncy tempo rich experiences. Around ¾ of the way through, everything shifts as a cymbal slices through the top layers of the mix. In short bursts it collapses the music like a paper fan bringing everything to a close.
The first C-side number enters on an echoing bass drum that throws itself into every corner of the room. Massive speed and mind-blowing velocity added with thumps of distorted sludge in time to the thrust make one huge sound sensation. As the waveforms are adjusted and peak in their neatly arranged triangles of pitch, the sound evolves and flows as new ever-changing tangents are inserted into the mix. Continual subtle shifts in expressive intent bring the repeating rhythm through cyclic motions that reveal multiple sides to this high energy track. Pitchhiker by Pilldriver does precisely what it says on the label.
I Want To Be A Stewardess by Shadowax slows it down to something that pricks the ears and digs deep into mysterious sonics. Soon, though, a rhythm emerges from the choppy digital ocean and as more layers in the form of vocals lay over the top, a throbbing loop based sound experience ensues. As calm drum tones add sprinkles of delicate timing, heavy vocal lines wrap human form around the structure like a warm blanket. Perhaps each repetition of the lines in the loop represents the job of a stewardess, performing a routine for each customer to make sure no-one feels left out. The trippy sensations that come hand in hand with this track keep the party going, perhaps another calm before a storm moment is in progress.
As the final C side suddenly plunged into high velocity hardcore style drums, with slow but sure twisting of the dials no-doubt, we reach the final installation on this quadruple sided album to hit the pinnacle of the evening. D1 is a track by Universal Indicator. 15 c7 may be an odd title, however this is an arguably odd record label. A weird digital rhythm with a low pitched squeak and drum in sporadic motions brings it on to the full. Pitch shifting energy wraps the sound in one direction then the other, and we're asked to go crazy on the floor. It soon condenses out into a more uniform high impulse number of tone, drum, and sideways sonic effects.
A subtle bass tone replaces the maniac rhythms of the previous number and sounds of the ocean curl over and nestle in the flow. Seagulls squawk over-head and waves splash adjacent to our earshot. As the slow bass changes its pitch in gradual watery bursts, a slow tune begins to poke its head from the spray. Digital pulses and bleeps make interesting bubble pop like sections and the rhythm of the waves keeps all things calm. Zero by Roma Zuckerman seems to ground us, and make room for recent thoughts to stretch in our minds. The EP ends with an insertion by the label's owner, Nina Kraviz. Opa smashes the boundaries on cross rhythmic mechanical dance, confusing the DJ and giving everyone else a really good time. Going out with massive number like this seems to be the order of the day at any decent party.
An evening in a box, this double EP allows us to remember the roots of the electronic music sound and craft an understanding of its evolution into the technical and compositional fairground that it is today.
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Subespai & Doxylamine
The wizard of white noise returns for another wandering into psychedelic sounds. Subespai featured on The Electro Review a few months ago, and we all remember his particular breed of experimental noisecraft that rewrote the rule books when it comes to what music can be like. Now with fellow soundsmith Doxylamine in suit, also from Sydney in Australia, Base is released as a pillar of electronica that will no doubt hold fast for generations. The album is released in typical avant-garde style as a limited edition cassette that all the eclectic fans will no doubt be drooling over, and of course the good old fashioned download is there as well.
Five tracks and a fictional backstory make up the project so far. Playing with character design isn't something new in rock n roll so electronic venues really can't grumble. We have two serious composers of electronic abstractica who, with their combined creativity, have made a new universe of sound. How much of our own story is adapted to fit what we consider our virtues and graces in our minds? We nearly always choose the most pleasant perspective when reviewing our own decisions and deeds.
Like a reactant and its antidote, pollen fire and its remedy, Base reveals subtle nuance and flow only reachable with persistent patience and a highly tuned ear for atmospherics. As we're drawn into the album, a breathy pipe sound envelopes us and begins to twinge in multiple directions. New tones administer their harmonics as drifty waverings spill over one another in competitions of amplitude. A bass tone throbs in the distance marking the onset of some crisper organic chimes that drown in the venir of far away horns and dancing feet. Pitches mingle like dancing swallows in newborn summer skies while metallic buildings cusp the horizons in ever encroaching menisci. Pulsating vibrancies from all ends of our audible span slowly gather a semblance of sculpted silence.
The five tracks progress and evolve like a colossal school of fish, each piece a tiny unit of well designed sound combining to form shimmering and shifting torrents and walls of living material. From where we left off last time, Subespai had created a masterpiece of amplitude and wave, now we're given whole new dimensions to this crazy cacophony. With well meaning tunnels of complete weirdness and rushes of sporadic velocity rich change, the slices of sound worked in between seem to create a spongy and non uniform cream that fills the doughnut perfectly. Doxylamine has given the sound a new flavour, polished the brand, and perhaps has infected the scene with yet another area of exploration many more artists will choose to walk.
Grab your copy of this album on Bandcamp.
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