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Belladonna

Instra:mental – “Resolution 653” – [Nonplus+]

Belladonna   8/14/2013   A Library, CD

aka British artists Alex Green and Damon Kirkham aka “Kid Drama” and “Al Bleek”. Although categorized as Dub Step, drum n’ bass and Techno, its actually all and yet none of those things. Beat driven, at times its sunshine-y Plaid-y or house-y and at others more crunchy and mean hard techno but overall there is an interesting and at times annoying retro analog-y quality. At first I thought this was an older release but its just their style. Its unique and definitely diverse and I find it hard to make comparisons to other artists. NOT into the vocals on tracks 1&2 but there are definitely gems on here.

Photek – “Ku:Palm” – [Photek Productions]

Belladonna   7/17/2013   A Library, CD

aka Rupert Parkes, LA bssed/ British born Jungle guru and known for a major role e in the creation of the “Intelligent” drum & bass genre. In addition to being pretty much a genius with the beats, Parkes has been doing film scoring (The Italian Job and Animatrix). Be still my heart. This is truly addictive, a great mix of beats and melodies. A touch of a retro flair at times, jazzy elements, triply ambience, some soundscape lushness, swiveling and swerving moodiness and an air of mystery. He’s known for his drum programming which is pretty apparent. This is so great. I was in a crappy mood and put this on and instantly felt better. Apparently critics disapprove of the diversity on this release but that makes it so much better for us.

Met@musik [coll] – [Force Inc.]

Belladonna   7/10/2013   12-inch, A Library

Released in 2000 by the German Force Inc label. This 3 lp set is an interesting assortment of electronic artists including many faces like Vladislav Delay, Sutekh, Joshua Kit Clayton and Donnacha Costello.
Here is a quick cheat sheet: Vladislav Delay – upbeat peppy clang tech house, Sutekh – metallic, Jasper & Kit Clayton – acidy bleeps, Auch – great hard hitting techno******, Alton Inc – bompy and swervy, Twerk – glitch tech, Tomas Jirku – swervy mellow beats, Stewart Walker – repetitive beats, G – beats with a nice groove, SRI – hard hitting melodic beats, Aufried – nice metallic crunch, Jake Mandell – hard crunchy beats, Heckmann – repetitive insanity driven beats, Donnacha Costello – straightforward techno, Exos & Ohm – amazing minimal electronics
Pick and choose your favorites!

Zomby – “With Love” – [4AD / Beggars Group]

Belladonna   7/10/2013   A Library, CD

Zomby is a UK born and NY dwelling electronic artist with a strong cult following based on a notorious and elusive internet persona. The more I read about him, the more intriguing he seems. Zomby (real name please?) began releasing music in ’07 and this is his second release on 4AD. He has been compared to everyone from Spooky to Burial and in 2012 he was accused of plagiarism by UK producer Reark, taking a loop created in Reason. It was settled by giving Reark a producer credit. He is a huge sampler and this release features Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy is Mine” among many others.
His influences seem to be the UK Garage and Rave scenes along with Breakbeat, dubstep, techno, drum n’ Bass and even goth. Disc 1 is definitely more my style with lots of dubby breakbeat awesomeness and cray samples. Disc 2 is more goth style with HEAVY bass. it reminds me of seeing your friends death rock/industrial band at an underground club where the performance relied heavily on a very strong bass beat. Tracks that just end abruptly, like your friends synth track abruptly ending and your friends all clapping anyway. There is a “homemade” studio quality that invokes images of a black clad dude hiding in his garage. Regardless Its super addictive and enjoyable for many reasons.

FCC: Disc 1/Track #6: audible “Fucking”

Phork – “Entertainment” – [NNA]

Belladonna   6/12/2013   A Library, Cassette

aka LA based Neil Reinalda. Its a quirky little cassette release filled with abstract and random electronic sounds. Experimental noize to glitch to techno tracks, its all over the place but in the best way possible. You can dance or you can just trip out on it. Enjoy!

His Divine Grace – “Reverse Aleph” – [Tesco Organisation]

Belladonna   6/12/2013   A Library, CD

HIs Devine Grace (aka “Moonchild Erik”) is an elusive dark ambient artist. This was released in 2001, there hasn’t been a release since ’07, where did he go? Perhaps he slowly disintegrated into a pile of sand in a vast and desolate desert. This is 66 minutes of sleepy, dark drones. This creeps along for a full 66 minutes but only really develops towards the last few minutes. Its not much of a crescendo and the end leaves you wanting but if you are looking for a layering track of just a chunk of drone, this will fulfill your needs.

Ocoeur – “Light As a Feather” – [N5MD]

Belladonna   6/12/2013   A Library, CD

aka French electronic musician Frank Zaragoza. “Ocoeur” translates as “to the heart” and this definitely stole mine. Beautiful and lush sounds that are truly mesmerizing. Waxing and waning from dark to light, fast to slow, these soundscapes are so compelling. Classical instrumentation and delicate melodies, layers of rain and ambience interspersed with IDM beats. This release is too good to be true. I’m addicted.

Badawi / The Lady Room [coll] – [ZamZam Sounds]

Belladonna   6/12/2013   7-inch, A Library

Limited edition cute lil’ 7″ from the infamous Raz Mesinai working under his Badawi/Lady Man monikers/projects/aliases. This is sweet dubbiness with a bit of step but heavier on the dub. “Lost Highway” is more dark beats and plenty of bass. “In The Lady Room” is a bit more clang-y with a whisper of glitchy bleeps. Both are super catchy and enjoyable and my only wish is that they were longer. Also both work well at 33 rpm. Enjoy!

Camping [coll] – [BPitch Control]

Belladonna   5/15/2013   A Library, CD

This is the first in BPitch Control’s “Camping” collection series, celebrating their 100th release and focusing on artists from their inception in ’97 until 2002. Great stuff here and quite varied. Beats range from upbeat dance oriented like Sascha Funcke and Sylvie Marks & Hal2000 to the more contemplative like quirkiness of Ellen Allien and IDM-ness of Modeselektor, Paul Kalkbrenner and TimTim. “Blutenspab” starts off with an interesting country style into and morphs into a Kraftwerk with female vocals (very Miss Kitten, except German), Housemeister’s “Do What You Wanna Funk” is totally Peaches singing about not being a midget, Smash TV “What About Me” has vocals about sunbeams and rain falling with all processed vocals/autotune, its interesting and the disc ends with a not quite expected TimTim doing a folksy track with slide guitar. Something for everyone!

FCC: Housemeister “Do You..” “Bitch and possibly a muffled “Fucking” in a thick German accent at the beginning

Grenier – “Voids One” – [Self Released]

Belladonna   5/15/2013   A Library, CD

Dean Grenier, aka “Grenier” aka DJG is a Bay Area native, making music since ’06. This the first in a series of three “Voids”, its a self release and donation based download (nice!) of gorgeous and grooving dubsteppy-ness. This zigs and zags but at the speed limit, no head spinning, just nodding. More relax and trip out as opposed to get up and dance. Very enjoyable!

Fort Romeau – “Kingdoms” – [100% Silk]

Belladonna   5/8/2013   12-inch, A Library

aka Michael Norris who is also the keyboardist for La Roux but don’t let that hipster entry on his resume confuse or dissuade you. This is his debut release with some serious early house influences going on. This is some serious deep house, very retro and groovy beats, upbeat vocals, definitely a booty shaker. Although I’m not usually a huge fan of vocals on house releases, it really works. This is very nostalgic.

Magda – “From The Fallen Page” – [Minus Records]

Belladonna   5/8/2013   A Library, CD

aka Magdalena Chojnacka, a Polish born Minimal House/Techno DJ who grew up in the US, began DJing in ’96 and ’98 she joined Minus and began touring the world as Richie Hawtin’s sole opener. Magda is also one of the founders of the Berlin based Items & Things label along with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce.

Not only do I embrace Magda as a female electronic musician but love this chick’s sound. Its dark creepy techno with lots of chunky thunks and twisted beats mixed with an eerie horror soundtrack. Her sounds are super quirky and its a twisty maze of cinematic layers. She knows how to use space and bend beats in new ways. The mix of soundscape and beats is just genius. This new genre of unique sounds that some of the M-nus artists are making (Heartthrob etc) is where I hope this music is going.

Bola – “Fyuti” – [Skam]

Belladonna   5/8/2013   A Library, CD

Bola is Darrell Fitton who is considered to be one of the more ambiguous members of the IDM community. His first release was on Warp’s Artificial Intelligence II release.
Fitton loaned equipment to Autechre in their early days and his first noteworthy involvement with electronic music was as assistant on their debut album Incunabula.
“Fyuti” was released in 2002 on the Skam label. This is IDM at its best, a full and lush cinematic sound. This mesmerizes and intrigues with cool crunchy beats, waves of sounds and quirky electronic sampling. This is a nice warm snuggly down comforter of sound thats too comfy to leave.

Fitton was rumured to have left the music industry in November 2007 but this past January 2, 2013, Fitton addressed the rumors of his retirement, stating “I figure 5 years of relative inactivity is an adequate musical absence. New music will be produced and released this year.” I’m looking forward to future releases.

Oxia – “Tides of Mind” – [InFine]

Belladonna   5/8/2013   A Library, CD

Oxia is Olivier Raymond a French DJ/producer, well known in the house music scene and making music for 20 years. He co-founded both the Ozone and Goodlife labels. Oxia was a duo formed with Stephane Deschezeaux but is now a solo project. Strangely enough this is only his second full-length release.

“Tides of Mind” is an interesting mix of beats, some deep house with some soothing, mellow techno sounds. He uses jazz and classical instrumentation and guest vocals (Miss Kitten, Mesparrow, Scalde) to keep things interesting. I don’t love the Scalde guest vocals but Miss Kitten is so quirky on “Housewife”, its weird enough that the non beat heads might want to give it a try. Overall this is very upbeat so expect an involuntary toe tap or booty shake.

My favorites are tracks 1 & 11 the intro and outro, filled with beautiful orchestral lushness yet sadly they are teeny tiny little micro songs. I’d love to see him explore more of those minimal sounds.

Soriah With Ashkelon Sain – “Atlan” – [Projekt Records]

Belladonna   4/17/2013   A Library, CD

Master Tuvan throat singer Soriah along with Ashkelon Sain (Trance To The Sun). This is AMAZING! Very ceremonial/tribal/ritualistic, incorporating shamanism and butoh. Soriah’s haunting vocals are intoned in the ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl combined with Ashkelon Sain’s cinematic, hypnotic, mesmerizing soundscape. This drifts and drones using Central Asian ethnic stringed instruments alongside atmospheric synths and hand percussion creating a very visual image of forgotten lands. If you enjoy Dead Can Dance and the like, you will definitely appreciate this. I only wish Cytoth was here to enjoy this, he would most definitely appreciate the imagery and symbolism.

Daega Sound – “Fonica” – [Crude Records]

Belladonna   3/13/2013   10-inch, A Library

Vancouver based Daega Sound released this limited-run white label 10??? vinyl celebrating the 1 year anniversary of Crude Records. The B-side is a remix by DJG aka Grenier. Both sides are great, the remix has a bit more punch. Its great tribal-ish beat-y dubsteppiness, that really verges on techno. I would almost consider this more “dubstep lite”. Great bass-y heaviness and roll. I only wish the tracks were way longer! Enjoy!

Mushroom’s Patience + Outofsight – [coll] – [War Office Propaganda]

Belladonna   2/27/2013   A Library, CD

Released in ’06 on the War Office Propaganda label, since renamed Rage In Eden, this is probably one of the more amazingly strange things I have reviewed. A split between Mushroom’s Patience aka Raffaele Cerroni, an Italian avantgarde band based in Rome and Outofsight, an elusive Polish dark ambient/experimental artist.
Mushroom’s Patience is an Alien Space Rock Opera, some glitch beats, melancholy piano, quirky bleeps, improv Jazz and experimental chaos. Outofsight is equally strange and perplexing, dark ambient, experimental weirdness, darker than Mushroom but equally quirky. Overall this release is like the soundtrack to a newly remade Flash Gordon movie. Enjoy!

Final Testimony: Sekuencias De Culto [coll] – [Tesco Organisation]

Belladonna   2/6/2013   A Library, CD

The “A Final Testimony” is an homage to the Sekuencias de Culto Spanish webzine. SDCzine was founded in 1992 as a paper sine, a website followed and this ’05 farewell compilation and marked the ’04 end of the Spanish webzine. “A Final Testimony” is a good representation to the music which SDC was devoted to: Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Martial, Experimental.
Disc I features industrial noise, power electronics and dark ambient. Lots of slow and deep rumblings, crackling power lines, experimental soundscapes, power electronics. The standout for me is by Propergol with an amazing creepy lullaby, scary vocal samples and heavy horror sounds. Thorofon is also mind blowing. I loved pretty much every track on Disk 1
Disc II is mainly dark folk and “martial” soundscapes. Love the soundscape creepy darkness, not a huge fan of the neo folk but it didn’t bother me as much as most. People that dig that will LOVE this, creepers of any kind will also really appreciate this. Not quite The Absolute Supper but close.

Lego Feet – “Lego Feet” – [Skam]

Belladonna   2/6/2013   12-inch, A Library

Lego Feet is Sean Booth and Rob Brown of Autechre. This is a reissue that includes additional tracks not available on the original release. The original was released in ’91 in limited quantities as the mythical first release from Skam records, predates Autechre and is considered the holy grail of British electronic music, perhaps to those mainly interested in the IDM genre anyway.
This pretty much blows my mind. Nice acid-y, squelchy bleeps and blimps, beat-y bass. Glitchy, quirky moments and a nice analog-y synth sound that is classic early electronics. At times there is even a Cabaret Voltaire quality and early LFO. With its buzzy jams and bouncy acid house romps, not only is this the most “happy” release from these guys but also the most varied stylistically. Something for everyone!!

Ultrakurt – “Bled Runner” – [Minibar]

Belladonna   1/16/2013   12-inch, A Library

Ultrakurt was formed by David Gluck (Paris) and Jean-Guillaume Cabanne (Berlin) in ’99 on a warm summer night in the spider-invaded shed David was using as a studio, somewhere in the woods around Paris, or so the story goes. David split for Berlin and Jean-Guillaume founded Minibar but they still managed to put out a few releases of this mild thumpy beats. Its not too fast, not to slow, too loud or too quiet, just a nice head nodding techno.

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