Watch: Born In Flamez “Polymorphous” (exclusive)

30 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Despite having been recently added to Berlin Current's illustrious roster, signifying the project as pushing the boundaries of the city's current musical landscape, not too much is known about the people behind Born In Flamez. Conceptualised as 'transhuman' and making arrangements for a post-gender future, Born In Flamez' utopian vision sits comfortably among projects like The Knife, Perera Elsewhere (who is featured on the EP), or, perhaps the most striking resemblance, Planningtorock. There's tangible evidence that there is a human ultimately responsible for the sounds we hear, but the point is, of course, that it shouldn't matter: all this could have come from someone, or indeed something, else instead. It just so happens that it didn't. The current physical embodiment of Born In Flamez, that particular person hiding behind a mask, is arbitrary, so to speak. Fittingly, "Polymorphous", the title track of BIF's debut EP, was allegedly conceived in the aftermath of a DJ gig at one of the highly notorious GEGEN events at Kit Kat Club, likely the closest thing to a post-human experience Berlin has to offer. Staying pointedly coherent, the visualisation of "Polymorphous" emphatically rejects notions of determinable human nature, resorting to abstract iterations of what could have once been evocative of objects found in a human world. Something strange to come.

The Polymorphous EP is due October 13 via UnReaL Audio. Pre-order the release's physical version – a limited edition etched glass pyramid, no less – now over here. Born In Flamez will be part of Berlin Current's delegation to MUTEK.MX in Mexico City from October 23 to 25.

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FKA twigs: Against a Musical Vocabulary of Phallocentrism

29 Sep 2014 — Jennie Freeburg

As a girl, we sat along the wall under the barre and played a back scratching game in between ballet class: inscribing words, letter by letter, on a back while we simultaneously absorbed and read the letters being pressed into our own. My younger sister, grown now and still dancing, once conspiratorially confessed to me that the feeling of letters on her back and shoulders often created a line of sensation down there.

Dancers are acutely attuned to how down there is bound up with a host of sensations and processes— sinewy ligaments transmitting messages through body, mind and space. Moving is thinking is feeling is speaking.

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Review: Ellis Swan “I’ll Be Around”

24 Sep 2014 — Dalton Vogler

When it comes to learning more about the man behind the music, there’s not a whole lot we know regarding reclusive Chicago-based artist Ellis Swan. With the exception of a few Soundcloud plaudits and a brief feature from a local magazine, Swan has gotten pretty good at keeping his backstory from getting in the way of his music projects.

And to be fair, that’s where most of our attention should be focused. With his newest release, I’ll Be Around, Swan has constructed a beautiful, haunting album that borrows folk elements to create a uniquely “noir” sound. It’s a bedroom artist production, but only by name, as Swan’s mind-altering use of space transports you beyond an intimate setting.

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The Boy & Sister Alma “Lady Killer”

23 Sep 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

I introduced you guys to The Boy & Sister Alma last year. At the time, I found their EP to be hands down perfect for the atmosphere of the holiday season -- they even made a Christmas song. In hearing their new material, which bears some immaculate quality from pop heaven, I find once again that they've graciously generated sounds that speak to the season. Hailing from Helena, Montana, Lenny Eckhardt and Jennifer Murphy manage perfect pop structures and breathtaking melodies that are both cool and nostalgic, especially in the case of their new single, "Lady Killer," a part of Retro Promenade's Vox Populi 2 compilation. Adorned with lyrical cadence and some furtiveness concerning desire tucked safely away in melodic undercurrents, this track should be dealt with as if a message from the autumn that is about to hit, the falling forward, the pre-nostalgia that arrives before the actual autumn.


 

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Miracle Sweepstakes “Maker’s Script” (exclusive)

23 Sep 2014 — Henry Schiller

On “Maker’s Script”, NYC-based Miracle Sweepstakes straddle a fine line between the instrumental gobbledygook of Pere Ubu and the neurotic fortitude of a secret show in a Bushwick basement (with some of the bloodshot sci-fi of Piper at the Gates of Dawn thrown in for good measure). In spite of a heavy sonic presence, “Maker’s Script” is instrumentally austere. The weight of the track is borne mostly on one guitar part that refuses to reconcile itself to either assaultive rhythm or semi-prodigal spasms.

Around this wanders caustic drums, which reverse at one point, and bass as sharp and precise as anything on Remain in Light. There’s a palpable psych pop influence with the theremin, vibraphone, and vocals sounding like an incantation being recited in an ancient English field. A middle section of the song, where the drums go backwards, feels like a Beach Boys sample is subtly encroaching no-wave.

In the Alan Moore sense, “Maker’s Script” is a Swamp Thing of a track. Taken part by part it's easily identified by a range of psych-pop, post-punk and lo-fi influences, but taken as a whole the amalgamation is no longer recognizable as anything other than something before unheard of; so fine and delicate is this monster’s stitching. “Maker’s Script”, and it's Dr. Frankenstein, Miracle Sweepstakes, share superficial features with other well known acts (The Fall and Pere Ubu come to mind), but as a substance unto itself, it is something unique and fired with urgency.

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NFOP Recommends: Hannah Diamond at Südblock

15 Sep 2014 — Johanne Swanson

We can be thankful for our times and the categories of gender fluidizing; meaning more or meaning less, one thing is sure: those comfortable binaries of 'man' and 'woman' are being dismantled. A net label like P.C. Music in this context, with its founder and primary producer A.G. Cook and starlette Hannah Diamond proselytising all things girly, proclaiming we look good in pink and blue, isn’t just aesthetics, it’s borderline dissident. The linear range of cute to subversive is getting fucked, and we couldn’t be having a bigger party in the process. It’s so immoderate, so garish, that FACT Magazine has called them “the most divisive recent event in UK music.”

The few shows that Hannah Diamond has played have been described as “Hannah Diamond ft. The Audience, who are shouting the lyrics at her and at each other like it's the only song anyone knows.” Thanks to our friends over at Creamcake, we’ll see how our likely-more-reserved German audience responds this Saturday at Südblock as Hannah Diamond makes her Berlin debut with A.G. Cook in support. Bring your girlfriends, bring your boyfriends, and hold their hands while you yell along, oh Hannah, we’ve waited for soo-ooo-ooo long for a grrrl like you. RSVP here.

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Preview: Decibel 2014 NFOP Favorites

13 Sep 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Last year Kelsie and I had the pleasure of attending Seattle's beloved and rather large Decibel Festival. While the overall curation of this event was and will continue to be professionally executed, one thing that stuck out as a negative was the line-up's startling lack of female artists. This year, however, there are more than a handful female artists, as well as a wide range of acts that use electronic instruments in various ways to relay diverse messages. By presenting an expansive line-up, Decibel ends up appealling to all types of music lovers, whether techno and club music agrees with them or not, which is a deed that affectively and somewhat diplomatically assists in adjusting the North American attitude toward electronic music. Starting small and intimate, dB has turned into a crucial beacon for techno advocation and forward thinking in the States. It is put on yearly by passionate fans and strong believers in the many assets offered by this world of music and sounds.

Below is a list of NFOP-recommended artists who are playing this year. Some of them you will know, some of them might be new to you. Some we have collaborated with and reviewed, others we will be supporting, or continuing to support, in the years to come. I'll post a recap post-festival.

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HOMESHAKE “Making A Fool of You”

12 Sep 2014 — Henry Schiller

Montreal-based musician Peter Sagar’s nominal motto of “all caps, all the time” gives the name of his solo project HOMESHAKE the look of an advertisement in a garden center. It feels like the capitalization is the actual name, and that the scramble of letters are just flavoring.

Why is this relevant? Because on “Making A Fool of You”, a track from HOMESHAKE’s upcoming In The Shower LP, presentation is everything. Like the capitalization that turned Homeshake into HOMESHAKE, “Making A Fool of You” has the affectation of force – a snappy drum ride and almost aggressively slick bass – but plays it off like it's just a bit of nothing special. As with anything that has to do with typefaces, the track's supposed suaveness is all a front for some sort of higher-order anguish.

HOMESHAKE is the subtle rush of a cool glass of water drunk on a day where all you wanted to do was drink a cool glass of water. On "Making A Fool of You", soothing, smooth jazz overtones are buttered with pillow talk moans of vocals that sound like they originate from the sore throat of someone who’s been crying, filtered through a moustache that could only be described as ‘righteous’. Sagar, an Edmonton transplant, names Canada’s icy landscapes as a source of inspiration for his music's chilled disposition. Indeed, "Making A Fool of You" feels like it could soundtrack a steep, dangerous descent into the bowels of a glacier made by two college-aged lovers on a weekend getaway. Aww.

In The Shower is out October 7 on Sinderlyn.

 

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