Thursday, February 28, 2013

Abdulla Rashim - Semien Terara EP (Abdulla Rashim Records 004 - 2013)

Release date is February 2013
Too many space-themed metaphors are used in relation to techno but they are really justified when the mystery man from Stockholm Abdulla Rashim reveals the fourth release on his own label. Because in the very moment the 2012 DA14 surpassed the Earth above Indonesia at 30,000 kms, Abdulla Rashim's new EP „Semien Terara“ was playing, sounding as an appropriate companion for the passing-by of the asteroid.
Drifting in thin air the new EP offers different sound picture compared to the previous EPs. It still features weighty bass and determined hi-hats with stratospheric hum pinned to the background but the first cut reminds of Juergen Junker, moving closer to deep house than before. Smoothly floating opener "Semien Terara 1" manifests inner tranquility with some melancholic notes laid on solid and straightforward bass.
The same gentle and dubbed-out stance is maintained in the second track which is like a continuation of the theme with delicate synth pads and metronomic bass, before we touch down with an ambient outerlude.
Although "Semien Terara" has common elements with "Asayita" and "Endasilasie", it seems that after three trippy releases the artist now recedes from functional droning techno for deeper explorations in the sea of sounds.


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Friday, February 22, 2013

Ancient Methods - Secret Thirteen Mix 058 (Secretthirteen.org - 2013)

Ancient Methods is now a one-man operation of the Berlin producer Trias who designed a mix for the Secret Thirteen webzine. The selection largely deviates from Ancient Methods’s annihilating techno war funk and presents the introspective side of the artist's mind archives, for example featuring contemporary classical guru Arvo Pärt or esoteric industrial by Deutsch Nepal. The harder side is introduced with harsh beats by the Cold Meat Industry artist Institut, followed by DAF, Dead Can Dance and a number of obscurities for an ear-opening journey through the last decades of experimental and electronic music. Good reason to pay a visit to Secret Thirteen, online journal operating out of Panevėžys, Lithuania.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gnod - Presents..Dwellings & Druss (Trensmat Records TR034 - 2013)

Not many people might have heard about Gnod but the group tells us there is life in Manchester after Happy Mondays and Joy Division. So far residing in the alternative and krautrock camp, the collective from UK Northwest now knocks on the door of strobe-lit clubs with a new pulsating LP.
Freshly out on the Irish imprint Trensmat, "Presents..Dwellings & Druss" deviates from the classic Madchester sound as it does in relation to the conventional floor fare, still able to address the techno faction. Playing essentially in the same league with Container and Pete Swanson, the group gives us three tracks filled with controlled noise and quivering beats in synthetic glazing.
Already the opener "Revelation 9" drives up the pulse with agile synth drumming but the real highlight is "20 Sides A Minute". Firstly embraced by clasping percussion with an evil wink, a drilling sequence takes over without losing the steady beat control.
B-side is filled with a 16-minute opus called "Defeatism" which throws drone and ambient into the pot with Warp's Artificial Intelligence electronics, exposing the sonic matter to the corrosion closer to the end.
The LP's rattling and pulsating journey just confirms that in Gnod we trust, what else. And increasingly Trensmat Records deserves more attention, especially when next up on the label is wrenched electro-acid blast by The 15 Dead Minutes.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cratedigging: Supertrax, Svante Thuresson, Black Ice, Dragnet et al

Some interesting finds from a box of vinyl stowed between kitchenware and 1990s jumpers in a second hand outlet. Because of limited time for browsing  just grabbed seven items and now I'm pretty happy with the outcome.
Really no techno but the first one, "Supertrax Vol. 1" from 1983, features many highlights of the italo/hi-NRG and electro scene. Taking off with Bobby Orlando and his curated projects like One-Two-Three and The Flirts, we proceed to Patrick Cowley, Paul Parker, Man Parrish, Sylvester and others. Including Maurizio Vandelli AKA Key Of Dreams performing "Africa", a song known from Toto's catalog. Liner notes tell the record contains specially remixed and re-edited versions by F. Ramel, but all tracks sound pretty genuine.
In 1966 performing with Lill Lindfors, Svante Thuresson was the runner-up of the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1978 he published "Svenska Versioner Av Aktuella Disco Hits", a compilation of international disco hits like Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love", "More Than A Woman" and others sung in Swedish, in total ten tunes with jazz and easy listening touch. More disco funk in "7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle)" by Gary Toms Empire and "I Judge The Funk" by Black Ice, the guys from 1979 looking as genuine as their music.
Art of Noise was one of the contributors to the soundtrack of "Dragnet", still a rather unspectacular reflection of pop tunes from 1987. Easy listening album "Hits, Hits, Hits!" by Fantastic Joe Henderson Piano and Orchestra landed in the basket because of classy ladies on the sleeve and for the end, Happy Organ's "Goes Country" has a taste of adventure for any sworn electronic music man.



Friday, February 1, 2013

White Blush - White Blush EP (self-released - 2012)

Clearly filed under synth-pop, White Blush release smells like Commodore and 808. Originally from Chicago and now hailing from Los Angeles, Carol Rhyu, is obviously fond of vintage gear and neon sounds when she, the mind and soul behind the White Blush, presents a definition of urban daydreaming on the self-titled debut EP.
The six-tracker could not have any better start than "True Luv". Kicking off with a Plastic Noise Experience bassline, the tune essentially rides on sultry synth waves topped with Carol's misty vocals. The same scheme prevails, along with agile arpeggios, in "Mirror" while pop meets Gothic melancholy in "Jolene", a song about bittersweet feelings.
Solitude and despair are expressed in electronic shoegaze called "Wait" whereas the first tones of "808 Myst" sound like it's late Korla Pandit himself playing Hammond; references to exotica are not far-fetched in this meditative tune. Concluding the play is "Juice Of My Heart", a neat independent song.
With a portion of sweet primitiveness White Blush offers us both brighter and darker sides of synth pop with the first two tracks working pretty well on the floor.