26 October 2011

OLD TAPE: Digital orgasms and nightmares from 1991

Recorded from Finnish public radio channel called Radiomafia, the mix contains many usual suspects of the rave scene from the beginning of 1990's. It's not really underground, because acts like Channel X, Digital Orgasm, MNO, Holy Noise were found on many major compilations that time. But after a break of several years, it's like meeting old friends again. 
 



23 October 2011

Red Stars Over Tokyo - Hits Of Sunshine (Hot Hair 04)

Rating: 9/10
Never heard about the Red Stars Over Tokyo before. The act name promised an atmospheric affair, as did the album title "Hits Of Sunshine". Had a strong feeling of prejudice of being affronted with sounds that are good for watering the plants. Not true, it offers much more.
The title track is, as expected, a lush electronic composition, although minimalistic humming interference closer to the end hints that this might not be so mellow thing. Also in "Lost Trace" the beats are still buried, but odd voices reminding of sacral choir and secretive whispers indicate a small change.
Only when you think it's really sofa music, the gates are slammed open and a cavalry of freaky beats is unleashed in "I Can Hear Your Breathing Heart", reminding of diluted Zhark-like loop machine. The track is twinned with B-side's "March Comes In Like A Lion", both reminding of Container's LP on Spectrum Spools.
In turn "Endless Dreaming", "Imaginary Landscapes" and the concluding "The Long Day Closes" are of fragile nature again, seeking the ultimate beauty with synths while not abandoning pulsating bass beneath the surface. I'm obviously lacking words when describing this mini-LP, the music tells for itself. Deserved to be played on repeat.

Buy

Blawan - What You Do With What You Have (R & S Records RS 1108)

Rating: 9/10
Blawan got the message: If the label's slogan says In order to dance, one has to come with a dance record. Having sprayed Si Begg's and Cristian Vogel's historical techno funk with large blobs of acid, out comes a distinctive release to be sent through big systems during Notting Hill carnival.
Timidity is not something for Blawan as he enters the saloon with doors banging. "What You Do With What You Have" uses a vocal sample by Moodymann for a non-deep-house, but acidified analog monster. On the flip, in "Vibe Decorium" abrasive beats get some extra weight, feeling well in a bubblebath.
With "What Do You ..." Blawan challenges current techno scene that has sunken too deep into stripped down and droning sounds. This very extrovert record might open a new, a bit retro-sounding direction in contemporary electronic music.
R&S's back catalogue is largely who is who and what is what of the 90's techno. Now with Blawan's newest single the legendary Belgian imprint confirms it has a serious comeback going on.

Buy

20 October 2011

Innercity - N/A (NNA Tapes 033)

Rating: 8/10
This music is difficult to fit into tight places as it needs high ceilings. Cathedrals would suit the best, especially for the A-side's "Dada Les Apocalypses". Solemn droning organ music, both festive and menacing, for the very last minutes before the final demise.
Witches would like distorted pumping lo-fi in "The Pyramids Of Northeast Belgium" that goes also easily over quota of sound decadence.
Innercity is not a project of Kevin Saunderson - the Detroiter founded Inner City - but conceived by Hans Dens, a Belgian artist who literally caused a flood of releases since 2010. Current seven-inch works as an appetizer for Dens's new LP called "Terrestreality".

13 October 2011

Smoke Machine Podcast: Abdulla Rashim

Taipei techno squad Smoke Machine offers pure quality with its guest mixes and now it's the turn of Abdulla Rashim from Sweden to be on the decks. Once his biography claimed he hails from a tribe in Botswana and after years of hardship has found redemption in 4/4 beats, yes indeed ... Still Rashim, whatever is his real name, did an impressive debut in 2011 and recently issued the second EP of droning techno called "Asayita".
  Smoke Machine Podcast 028 Abdulla Rashim

For a preview of "Endasilasie", out in October 2012 on Abdulla Rashim Records, click here.

11 October 2011

The Amazing Births - Younger Moon (Cylindrical Habitat Modules 55)

Rating: 8/10
It's the turn of Westlake, Ohio to put another US city on the map of a new electronics acts. Whereas The Amazing Births is not a rookie thing, as both members, Julian Gulyas and Mark McGuire, have made music in several groups. Still it's their first LP, after two cassette releases on Cylindrical Habitat Modules.
Electronics and synthesizers are the protagonists but seeing it as another synth and drone album would be a very untrue assumption. The textures are smudged and rather warm, except in the A2 track "P.K. Ripper" with a dramatic melange of voices and subtle pulsating bass sounding like sharp-edged interpretation of Wendy Carlos' work.
Bits and bytes are oscillating in beatless mode in the opener "Dial Out", which expresses the moods of early stages of information society, when future of computing was seen in Eniac. On the flip, guitar-backed electronic narrative "Whelm" is the closest to what could be described as new age sound. 
For the end comes "Eclipsed By The Younger Moon", a bit melancholic piece for those standing at the window and looking how the sun plays on little fishes in aquarium, before the synths start showing a grim face. Forty minutes of lush sounds that require listener's attention for full enjoyment

09 October 2011

DUST OFF: Carlos Perón - Impersonator II (Play It Again Sam 116 LP - 1988)

This record is just screaming out loud: Welcome to Bela Lugosi disco. The horror screen hero himself makes a posthumous appearance in "Galadiner With Boris The Vampyr", in a track from the experimental end of the album, which is full of filthy EBM and industrial with mashed voices and vocals.
Lugosi is not the only celebrity here, as Dieter Meier of Yello recites in another macabre piece titled "Happy New Year", also written by him. Meier's input is not surprising because Carlos Perón, the mastermind behind the album, was part of Jurassic Yello and left the band in 1984 to pursue his nocturnal operations.
The first beats in "A Dirty Song" make clear that here we face twilight, underlined by theatrical vocals of Canadian Jaymz Bee who sounds like a younger brother of Alan Vega. Hysterical "The Hate Song", black leather boogie "10.000 Zippers" and "Commando IV" will appeal to any Gothic dance floor. If we add manic synth staccato in "Popt In Riga" (Hello Latvia!), ready is an occult ceremony led by Dr Faustus of the industrial scene.
Perón's following years were very productive, with a number of albums that seemingly follow the same dark paths of the 1988 release.

04 October 2011

09/2011: Kassem Mosse, Blawan, Mark Ernestus

The last month's chart generated in Juno sees Kassem Mosse leading the game with "Enoha EP", a percussive deep house experience in electro dressing. Blawan is another guy to watch out and although his EP on tradition-filled imprint R&S received controversial critics, it's a blatant mixture of techno and house. Mark Ernestus Meets BBC delivers two superb versions of dehydrated dub techno, while Consequence comes with surreal and depressing ambient and bass. Mu EP was a strong start for Japanese 10 Label, featuring also Ancient Methods, and "Lostbahnhof" by Lada goes along the same ways of industrialized techno. Ricardo Donoso would have made to the Top Three, only it's a pity that the LP is not stocked in Juno yet.