24 May 2013 — Henning Lahmann
This morning, Pitchfork once again substantiated our suspicion that they simply don't get Hype Williams, neither their art in and of itself, nor the duo's approach to pop music and culture more general, though you probably can't really accuse them of not trying ever since the Londoners received too much recognition and acclaim for the top dog to justify ignoring them any longer. These days, everything Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland drop seems to be another Doldrums, too out there to absolve yet too ambitious and in-your-face artsy to just leave it alone at the end of the day. Let's keep waiting for the duo's Before Today moment to occur then.
Speaking of, there are signs that if any of the two, it's Inga Copeland who seems to be both competent and willing to deliver that moment. Ever since starting to put out solo material, her candid pop aspirations have been out in the open, and Copeland's latest collection of songs, the six-track mixtape Higher Powers, recorded last year and available now for free via Soundcloud, is yet another very compelling reminder of that. All tracks are further proof of the artist's ability to turn the messy and deranged Hype Williams raw material into humble gems of farouche and simple beauty, but "Obsession 2" develops into something especially spellbinding, an aloof, disconnected piece that's built around a curiously primitive, off-kilter synth line, something you'd come up with drunk at a stranger's house party on one of the host's keyboards standing around in the living room, before admitting to the other guests (who didn't ask, nor were about to) the obvious fact that you really don't play any instruments. Here however, in Copeland's hands, for some reason pure sublimity emerges. All alone.
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24 May 2013 — Trey Reis
After about a year of promoting weirdo synth and new-wave music all around the Atlanta area, DKA Records has finally released DKA001 – a split 7" between Night People Records alumni Dylan Ettinger and Goldendust.
This video for Ettinger’s contribution, “The Pale Mare” is appropriately dark, distorted, and full of brooding vampires. It’s a great visual companion to Ettinger’s dark-wave synths, tinged with hints of high-end chimes just rising out of the muck before decaying and descending right back into the darkness, like fireworks bursting behind the downtown skyline.
Check out the video below and buy the 7" over at DKA Records. The Goldendust B-side is described by DKA as 'one of the most effortlessly lush and dreamy synth pop songs we've ever heard,' so the whole experience should leave you feeling all balanced and centered between the light and the dark, which is a lot to say for a mere two-song split.
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23 May 2013 — Parker Bruce
Zoos of Berlin will release a new album with the wonderfully dramatic title, Lucifer in the Rain, on July 15 on the always great Time No Place. The Detroit band is something a little different for the label from LA (home to new NFOP fave Yola Fatoush, as well as Coyote Clean Up, Nguzunguzu, and Rainbow Arabia). "Open the Wine" is the perfect way to say hello to Zoos of Berlin. The opening a bottle of wine is the beginning of something: a revealing conversation or a heart-to-heart, opening the wine on a new album. The lead singer talks about a girl whose 'arms are long,' and he is jauntily accompanied by a metronome-esque backing and little fits of drums and swathes of harp strums saying 'Try another light, this won't turn on'. The musicians say the song is 'slow dancing reflected in an old saloon mirror, or a train leaving the station in reverse, clouds of steam pulled into the chimney'. And indeed, listening to the track, it's kind of all those things.
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20 May 2013 — Andrew Wagner
SFV Acid’s forthcoming record, The Dwell, was recorded entirely on analog in a Starbucks. If that might sound like a bit of a gimmick, the music proves otherwise. The new singe “PT Sex” is short-and-sweet, coupling a laid-back synth line with bits of squelching bass. With its tinny drum machine beat, the track feels slightly tongue-in-cheek, not too far off from James Ferraro’s 2012 house music outing, Sushi. The real joys of the track may be in all of its ornamentation, in which SFV Acid mixes in samples of laughing and occasional waves of repeating, unidentifiable noise, which come together to give the house track a mysterious vibe.
The Dwell is available May 28th on UNO NYC.
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20 May 2013 — Ashley Canino
Nikki Nevver is the cornerstone of Canadian, synth pop project Terror Bird. Nikki, the only originating and perennial member, wrote and recorded the outfit's upcoming, third LP while at home recovering from emotional upheaval. The product, All This Time, is a playful approach to boredom and vacancy. Nikki channeled the lows of returning to Vancouver from a whirlwind of experiences abroad -- including ending her relationship with her husband -- into a tragic, glam symphony. The album makes heartbreak and ennui palatable, even intoxicating. Danceable percussion and pop energy in first single "The Wrong Way" are shadowed by the words "I cannot bring myself / to walk in the park without you." The melodic passivity of the vocals on tracks like "Try To Break Me," and "Elliot" lets you slip away from the intensity of the lyrics at points. From a listener's perspective, the time and emotional energy put into the record were well spent in capturing the dynamic emotions that come when one experiences great changes and time just keeps moving on.
Terror Bird is currently on tour in Europe. All This Time is out May 27th on Night School Records and is available for pre-order today.
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18 May 2013 — Henning Lahmann
Vanessa Upson aka Violetness' long-anticipated 12" Last Night in My Dreams, I Was Talking to You has finally arrived, and the all-too brief yet utterly wonderful work has just received another accompanying video, this time for sweeping, defiant and exalted outré pop anthem "The Mighty Moss". The video, directed by Rodrigo Melendez with a stunning performance by Silvia Kaehler, is as unsettling as it is bold and apposite, and we're happy to premiere it here today.
Last Night In My Dreams, I Was Talking To You is out on LebensStrasse Records.
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17 May 2013 — Lukas Dubro
There are different kinds of drone music. Some sound warm and pleasant, others nostalgic and deeply melancholic. Chicago-based trio Kwaidan again plays drone music that will make you feel uncomfortable and paranoid. Their Sunn O)))-inspired and noise driven sound would be perfect to soundtrack any The X-Files episode or horror movie. Those amongst you having a weak stomach probably shouldn't listen to this, especially not when you walk home all alone in the dark. Everybody else though may enjoy technically well-produced drone with a deep and dense atmosphere. Big respect to Zelienople's Mike Weis, who is doing a great job behind the drums. In particular his way of using cymbals contributes a lot to the dark and heavy vibe of the music.
Kwaidan's debut Make All The Hell Of Dark Metal Bright will drop on ambient expert label Bathetic Records on June 4. If you don't want to wait till then, you may already download the "Gateless Gate" right here.
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17 May 2013 — Henning Lahmann
Early on it became obvious that the folks who founded London imprint Public Information in 2011 had not come to run yet another underground label to exploit the latest fad that the Empire's capital's seemingly inexhaustible electronic music well has happened to spit out of late. Instead, the express mission statement is to dig a little deeper than others, with 'deeper' meaning both with more focus on leftfield's edges and further into the forgotten shades of their Island's musical past. Early last year, the latter operation brought to light the work of Frederick Charles Judd, an underappreciated electronic music pioneer, whose wide-ranging oeuvre of library-leaning synth explorations was distilled into the superb 35-track retrospective Electronics Without Tears.
This year, the whole project has been taken one step further, and the result is Public Information's boldest and most compelling statement yet. Interpretations on F.C. Judd gathers twelve electronic music luminaries from both sides of the Atlantic who share a vision of fierce and intrepid experimentalism. The LP is not a compilation of remixes in the strict sense. Rather, all artists were given the permission to delve deep into Judd's sonic library. The outcome is a collection of mostly surprisingly faithful and deferential reinterpretations that nonetheless manage to exhibit the individual musicians' styles and approaches. This highly adventurous and wholly intriguing piece of music is without doubt one of this year's highlights so far, and surely a release you shouldn't dare to miss. Listen to snippets of all contributions below.
Interpretations on F.C. Judd is out now. Get it on vinyl via Boomkat.
(1) Ian Helliwell "Solid States"
(2) Perc "Woodford"
(3) Chris Carter "Flip-Flop"
(4) Holly Herndon "Control Sample"
(5) Mordant Music "Hoarded House (reMMix Fredit)"
(6) The Boats "Space Judder"
(7) Pye Corner Audio "Splice Block"
(8) Leyland Kirby "Slim Jim Wimshurst Mechanicals"
(9) Karen Gwyer "Judd Drums"
(10) Peter Rehberg "FJUDDmix 032013"
(11) Bandshell "Concrete Teeth"
(12) Ekoplekz "Fredwrek"
You may also stream Chris Carter's contribution in full:
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