Shimmering Stars “You Were There” (exclusive)

25 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

You may certainly make a point about overly obvious retromania here, but there has always been something about Vancouver outfit Shimmering Stars that really struck a chord with me. There's some barely suppressed yet indelible sadness lying within every single note that isn't really expressed by the overall melancholy of the band's music itself – instead it's deeper, at the same time more hidden and more urgent. This might be the reason why the work of the late Songs: Ohia mastermind Jason Molina has been such a significant influence for Shimmering Stars' main songwriter Rory McClure. After their disarmingly beautiful and intimate cover of "Hold On Magnolia" two years ago, Molina's spirit remains present on the haunting miniature "You Were There". We're glad to premiere the song below, which is taken from Shimmering Stars' upcoming full-length Bedrooms of the Nation.

Bedrooms of the Nation is out on August 13 via Almost Musique. You may order your copy of the LP now over here.

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Bruce Smear “Pick & Roll”

18 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Stylishly riding the zeitgeist, Bruce Smear's brand new tune "Pick & Roll" is everything you thought it would be after taking a glance at the cover art of his upcoming Chlorine EP. That probably shouldn't come as a surprise, of course, cause what are you supposed to come up with if you live in Brooklyn in 2014 and spend most of your time playing guitar in Beach Fossils, an amiable outfit that's into that kind of music which was en vogue a few summers ago – you know, when blogs were still a thing. This is post-Internet now, we assume, so fuck your stringed instruments and get out your glacial synth presets already! Seriously though why not, and the result sure is compelling, so go listen below.

The Chlorine EP is out on tape on August 26 via Driftless Recordings. Pre-order your copy over here.

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BEAMS “Feeling That The Feeling’s Right”

18 Jul 2014 — Parker Bruce

Cascine's digital singles label, CSCN, continues to forge ahead and impress after heaven-sent releases by Sun Angels, Black City Lights, and Studio Montaigne, this time with two songs by BEAMS aka Zachary Kantor. "Feeling That The Feeling's Right" is a precisely contained and propelled five minutes of magnificence incarnate with Haim-harkening flicking, plucking guitar, modulating, galloping, and jaunty plops, and snipping tufts. The other track, "Quiet Arms," is the more lackadaiscal counterpart that soft shoes about with its cooing and swirling. Get BEAMS' single now with its contemporary version of a classic still life cover art here. We suggest that Cascine should do a full album with this guy.

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Kalipo “Yaruto”

18 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Kalipo is the solo moniker of Berlin-based producer Jakob Häglsperger, at least to German-speaking readers probably better known as one third of left-field electro pop outfit Frittenbude. Where the trio indulge in propelling ryhthms and straightforward anthems with mildly provocative lyrics, Häglsperger's own project keeps things slightly more subtle. "Yaruto", lead single for Kalipo's forthcoming debut full-length of the same name, is a very contemporary piece of electronic that relies on a house-y scaffolding which provides a comfortable basis for the track's dominating manipulated vocals, a well-established formular that lands somewhere between Caribou and SOHN. Check it out below.

The single is out today on local imprint Antime. Get it digitally via Juno over here. The Yaruto LP will follow on September 12.

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Fina Fisken “Save The Day (Cherushii Remix)”

15 Jul 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

San Francisco-based DJ and producer Cherushii, whose Queen Of Cups EP is out now on 100% Silk, has masterfully remixed Fina Fisken's epic "Save The Day."

Cherushii has that instant icon vibe about her. She's like Clio but for electronica – Electroclio. Her longterm and out loud devotion to techno aesthetic as well as politic traverses all of her channels, whether it be during her live sets, her engaging weekly radio shows on Berkeley's KALX, or on her recordings. Applying such authoritative craft to a track that trills and demands praise for macrocosmic things forgotten, is, in essence, an exciting transaction. Cherushii's full and distinguishable sound, one that covers all the bases and testifies for the timelessness of trance/progressive house/Detroit, complements the poignant bigness of Fina's original. XLR8R said it perfectly: Cherushii carves the track in such a way that the "glacial textures" become more prominent, yet are still heard through the jagged, urban architecture of the beat. The ancient ice of Fina's original catches a beam of sun in the remix, and the light glares in the corner of your eye before receiving all of your full-faced attention for the duration of the track. It's music from the ether, both remix and original.

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Stream: The NFOP #33 on BCR: Best of Halftime 2014

11 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Another Friday, another show on Berlin Community Radio, and because it's sort of still the middle of the year, I thought I'd do a little retrospect with select tunes from some of my favourite records of 2014 so far. It's a good year for music I'd say, even if some overarching theme or even merely minor hype seems to be missing. No new Grimes, no Purity Ring, nothing of that sort. Let's see what the following six months will bring. And of course, please bear in mind that this is only a very small, and indeed somewhat arbitrary, section of the vast amount of quality music fed to our blessed ears.

Access the archive of NFOP shows over here.

Tracklist

(1) Alex G "Boy" (from "DSU", Orchid Tapes)
(2) Woods "Moving to the Left" (from "With Light and With Love", Woodsist)
(3) Perfect Pussy "Interference Fits" (from "Say Yes to Love", Captured Tracks)
(4) Lust For Youth "International" (from "International", Sacred Bones)
(5) El Mahdy Jr. "Zarga" (from "Gasba Grime", Danse Noire)
(6) copeland "Inga" (from "Because I'm Worth It", self-released)
(7) Flowdan "No Gyal Tune" (from "Serious Business", Hyperdub)
(8) Traxman "Time Slip" (from "Tha Mind of Traxman Vol. 2", Planet Mu)
(9) The Range "Two" (from "Panasonic", Donky Pitch)
(10) M.E.S.H. "Captivated" (from "Scythians", PAN)
(11) Visionist "First Love" (from "I'm Fine (Part II)", Lit City Trax)
(12) Kassem Mosse "Untitled" (from "Workshop 19", Workshop)
(13) Kyoka "Lined Up" (from "Is (Is Superpowered)", Raster-Noton)
(14) Thug Entrancer "Death After Life I" (from "Death After Life", Software)
(15) Ricky Eat Acid "It Will Draw Me Over to It Like It Always Does" (from "Three Love Songs", Orchid Tapes)
(16) Rainer Veil "UK Will Not Survive" (from "New Brutalism", Modern Love)

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Review: Half Waif “KOTEKAN”

11 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

Operating in the startlingly coherent common ground between AlunaGeorge and Enya is Half Waif. Her album KOTEKAN seamlessly blends the soothing, pre-Raphaelite aesthetic of early-90s new age music with the slick, condensed sensibilities of contemporary ‘LDN’ electronica. KOTEKAN sounds like a collection of Celtic lullabies for millennials suckled on the output of labels like Warp and FatCat; 'contemporary classical' for those who are allergic to the term. An album that paints tarot cards on the backs of BOSS samplers and molds birthstones out of crushed subway tokens.

Half Waif is Nandi Rose Plunkett, a Brooklyn-based synthpop artist with a keen ear for the kind of contemporary classical music that a lot of her musical peers think they don’t have time for. Plunkett's vocals are the driving force behind KOTEKAN's disarming beauty, and they are simply awe-inspiring. On "Octave" Plunkett’s voice ululates around synthesizer swells that would make Toto weep before diving headlong into a wellspring of percussive lashes. Her voice soars to heights an albatross might envy on the arpeggio-gold rush of “Normandy”, a track that might successfully be described as 'Enya sings “The Colors of the Wind”'.

 

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But my amazement with (and love of) KOTEKAN as a musical artifact stems from something that may be an illegitimate basis for praise: I am just amazed that no one thought of this before.

With the sheer volume of 90s revivalism that has pummeled us by way of artists paying explicit homage to Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, Pavement, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (forever). I’m surprised that as far as I know no one is really all that interested in adapting-for-hipster-consumption the friendly blends of contemporary classical and Celtic folk songs that seemed to be ubiquitous on pop radio in the years leading up to the release of Santana’s “Smooth”. Maybe it takes a special tool to dig through certain long-lost caves: in this case Plunkett’s substantial voice and ear for intriguing melodies make the likes of Enya, Annie Lennox, and later-day John Cale the perfect artists to have in her back pocket.

Or maybe we should ask ourselves: is there actually a single Nirvana song that’s as good as “Orinoco Flow?

Half Waif is performing tonight, July 11, at Brooklyn’s Cameo Gallery.

Stream: Imre Kiss “Raw Energy” (exclusive)

10 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann

It is mainly thanks to the still criminally overlooked yet consistently excellent and reliable Eastern Daze that we're aware of the exciting things happening east of Berlin, as we all too often almost ritualistically turn our gaze towards London and New York and whatever else we may find in the west. Of course, there was S Olbricht's compelling contribution to Opal Tape's catalogue, but that Budapest's electronic music deserves our close attention first became obvious when Farbwechsel emerged from the shadows, a label that by now has almost become a synonym for the Hungarian capital's ascending scene. Not only putting out S Olbricht's superb The Last Act of Dorothy Stratten, it is also the home of the first cassette by Budapest producer Imre Kiss.

With the tape’s strong blend of zeitgeist-informed, muffled textures evoking cinematic impressions and impulsive beat patterns reminiscent of Legowelt and other luminaries of the Clone/L.I.E.S. school of gritty dance music, it was only a matter of time until someone from more exposed shores would take notice. Prolific and rising fresh London imprint Lobster Theremin came first to pick up Imre Kiss and release his Raw Energy EP, a 12” that’s every bit as compelling as the producer’s debut effort. The five tracks cover a wide sonic range from more introspective, calm soundscapes to straight-up 4/4 ‘floor bangers, all knit together with a satisfying degree of coherence.

Raw Energy is out on July 14. Stream it in full exclusively below and pre-order a copy over here.

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