Edward Feuerhand (Die Orakel)
The Die Orakel imprint launched last year with a very impressive EP that instantly set my ears to tingling. Now theyre ready for release number two with Edward providing 3 tracks of understated, atmospheric electronics that pick up where the last release left off.
The EP opens with the subdued chugger that is Feuerhand. It has a downtrodden, shoegazey vibe to it and it drips atmosphere. Next up we have Midnight Express which has a much brighter, more optimistic feel to it. Theres less of the shoegaze, indie feel and more of an early house aesthetic and it feels much more open and (dare I say) dancefloor friendly. Finally we have Symbols of Balea and with the more dramatic name we have a more dramatic feel all round. Here we enter almost cinematic territory, and we can let ourselves submerge into the wonderfully crafted soundscape. All in all three very different tracks, beautifully executed, with an underlying coherence that makes for a very pleasing whole.
Out on wax on the 3rd March
Bartellow Humming Birds EP (City Fly)
City Fly are fast becoming an essential label to check if your penchant is for deep down, raw house music with soul and with their 7th release theyre really cementing this even more. Here they team up with the Munich resident Bartellow, who makes his debut on the label, for an EP thats has a slightly tougher sound than usual for the Leicester imprint. Bartellow may be a new name to us but his collaborations with Roman Rauch have seen him release on the mighty Philpot in the past. Lending a little weight to the proceedings, Fred P and Ugly Drums are drafted in on remix duties.
The EP kicks off with Humming Birds which is all about the stripped down, analogue drums contrasting with the melancholy of the pads and the Humming Birds vocal sample. Raw Material is more of a straight up floor destroyer. Understated as a whole but the drums are heavy beyond measure. When it comes to the remixes, Fred P takes Raw Material into deeper, more spirally territory and Ugly Drums are all about the jagged 707 drums an pianos which add a new layer to Humming Birds. Another consummate release from City Fly.
Out 3rd Feb on wax and digi
Yr Shtum Records 003 (Shtum Records)
The Dresden based Shtum Records reaches its third release with this EP from Hamburgs Yr and its definitely worth checking out. The result is four tracks of deep, beautifully crafted techno of the highest order. Its deep, moody, warm and expertly put together. The opening track of Nachtwacher is the pick for me. That kick drum is so beautifully rounded and thick it deserves a medal.
Out 7th Feb on wax and digi
The Normalities - The Normalities (Subatomic)This is an interesting meeting of minds. The Normalities is a collaboration between Balearic old boys Chris Coco and Steve Miller (AKA Afterlife, among others), where Chris Coco basically sings indie-style vocals over the top of lush electronic music.Coco's vocals sound a lot like Ian Broudie from the Lightening Seeds. I just find this funny. Sometimes it works to great effect. Pink Skyscrapers is probably the best example.The best instrumental effort, sans-Broudie, is Dead Cat Bounce, with a guitar that sounds more like a live cat, with some nice reggae sounds lobbed in as well.Ambient landfill it ain't. Buy the album here.Lil' Mark - End Of The Road (Bone Deep EP) (Lost My Dog Recordings)The brilliantly named and ever consistent Lost My Dog rocked my world with this the other day.
You've got a nice combination of a modern day (and yet 90s) Deep House bassline but with inventive stuff going on elsewhere - more inventive than the stuff that gets pasted on top of most basslines like this these days there's a bit of Acid thrown in there as well.
Robert Babicz - Venus Transit (Ripperton Remix) (Systematic Recordings)
Robert Babicz and Ripperton - you know that's gonna be musical. This is a great piece of work.
All remixes here are great, but Ripperton's is my favourite because of how it evolves. It has some dirty old-skool-prog synthery combined with the ambience of a flute, and then it eventually builds to this filtered piano riff. Expect the unexpected. And watch out for a contribution from a riff that is almost identical to Claude VontStroke's - Who's Afraid Of Detroit. I'm sure he won't mind - it has been put to fine use here.
Velvet Morning - Blue Jean Baby
In the same way that electro no longer means electronic music deriving from Detroit possibly influenced by underwater life, the word psych has been appropriated by a bunch of bands who have no regard for 3.5 minute song structure constraints and who make tunes that may have resulted in illegal narcotic activity. This is no bad thing, Hookworms, Temples, Toy and Wooden Shjips all recently released great music which could be classed as a new kind of psych, it's not really psych or krautrock, it's indie but way more challenging than the majority of acts that get stamped with this increasingly obsolete moniker.Despite having a name that shouts we like music from 65 to 68 only and who spend more money on shades than guitar peddles, this is a bunch of guys who are obviously as clued up about the long forgotten bands on the Nuggets compilations as they are with Slowdive's third album or the kind of material Richard Ashcroft was involved in 2 decades ago when he was last good.This six track EP is a huge statement of intent, each track indicating future long playing greatness without breaking a sweat, breaking a sweat is NOT psych, unless you're Roky Erikson. Black Velvet Morning and Blue Jane Baby are bass heavy and gaze of shoe, heavily reverbed vocals and a musical vagueness indicate a love of The Verve's debut A Storm in Heaven'. I got you introduces bongos and electronics to the mix and best of all, the closing track She's a Live Wire is everything good from indie music in 1991.As a collection of songs, there's not much variation from dreamy drone and shimmering guitars, luckily each track is of such a high standard this doesn't even matter, unknown pleasures await us on their future releases.Morgan Visconti Cant say Goodbye EPMorgan Visconti (yeah, yeah, thats his dad) has spent a number of years on the periphery of music, incidental music, TV scores, producing albums for his mother, whimsy 60s Apple signing Mary Hopkin and music for ads for bumwipes or something.2014 sees him embarking on a solo career which brings immediate ear fruit. The lead track is a very able 80s tinged electronic introverted pop song, the crisp beats and arppegiated riffs give the track an enticing and mournful glow, the kind that Johnny Jewell is the master of. Even better however comes after the myriad of functional atmospheric bass and beatless dub step mixes. The Glass V3 has a jittery edge to it, an urgent electronic pop song which brings forward memories of his fathers production on Scary Monsters but re-imagined as being covered by Ultravox at their most new-wave sounding.Even the lyrics evoke Midge Ure at his most pretentious, Visconti proclaiming about not being able to find love in dark rooms, it sounds arty but doesnt mean much, this is a good thing. The song is made complete by a crunching synth riff, underpinned by acoustic guitars and a dash of brass, think 1981 era Human League remixing a lost Stax track covered by OMD. If the rest of the album is as good as this, its probably damn near unmissable.
Alex Oxley's Postcard from LA.This week I've been getting a bit homesick for London town, so we're paying a visit to my home from home. Stop offs include the Science Museum, the V&A and the ICA via Dalston. A tour de force where tapestry meets music, Paddy from Emmerdale turns his hand to horror films and Loops Haunt makes a welcome return. Plus there's more...Kraftwerk UncoveredThe brainchild of composer J. Peter Schwalm, Kraftwerk Uncovered will see 12-piece contemporary music group Icebreaker rewire tracks from Kraftwerks back catalogue for a what will no doubt an mindbending live performance. The premiere takes place at the Science Museum in London on January 24th and heads out across the UK for a bunch of dates follow that. Check out the Icebreaker website for more info, read an extensive interview with J. Peter Schwalm here.Loops HauntI got pretty hot under the collar this week when news of the long awaited debut album from Loops Haunt hit the internet. He's certainly been a producer to walk his own path, taking the 'everythings fair game' influence from the likes of Clark and Aphex Twin, and channeling his love for soundtracks through sonic experiments. If Howl is anything to go by the album 'Exits' is gonna knock things up a level, and then some.
Ghosting Season - Shell Shocked soundtrackMy love for the music of Ghosting Season is well documented, and when their not busying themselves pounding the pavement on tour, they are hauled up in the studio crafting their krautrock infused electronica. Oh and they run their own label This is Forever too. Ghosting Season have now turned their hand to soundtrack work, in this case for one Dominic Brunt who plays soap star hotshot Paddy on Emmerdale.Out on January 27th the Shell Shocked soundtrack really is the bees knees.Moderat - Last TimeI was a bit slow to pick up on Moderat's album from last year, but I've really been digging into it over the past few weeks. Their forthcoming single Last Time see's long term collabarators Pfadfinderei take the video reins, and as expected they deliver the goods.The single comes packed with a blinding remix from Jon Hopkins. Who really turns it out.In VisionIn collaboration with Mike Zoidis, composer and sound artist Ryan West (otherwise known as Rival Consoles) will be performing in incredible Tapestry Gallery at the V&A this month. In Ryan's own words: 'I have been running a lot of visual tests, which look great but dont really have a connection with the space. So after considering the surrounding space, it makes a lot of sense to take images of the Tapestries found in the gallery and have them deconstructed/reassembled keeping the colours and in many cases the form.'Some images from the performance can be viewed here, and feast your eyes on the video for Odyssey below, which featured on the outstanding Rival Consoles EP last year.P.S.An art and music event that's certainly caught my eye this week, comes courtesy of NTS. Taking place on February 18th at the ICA on South Bank, one of of my favourite areas of London. Art Director, DJ and Producer Trevor Jackson curates a multi-dimensional experience inspired by Richard Hamiltons Palindrome. Featuring DJ sets from Trevor himself and Tom Furse of The Horrors, plus live performances from Luke Abbott and Dave I.D this is sure to be something of a one off.Alex Oxley
Don Nino - Beats (Turzi remix)
Well lush from the middle.
Audio Love 003 - 2014
Bumper lurrrrve to Velvet Morning, Edward, Bartellow, Yr, The Normalities, Lil' Mark, Robert Babicz, Morgan Visconti, Kraftwerk Uncovered, Ghosting Season, Moderat, In Vision, Don Nino