Spacy, dreamy ambient trance on this 7″ single from Lucky Dragons. Very light and beautiful, shimmering electronics from the experimental duo – I wish it was a full album. Reminiscent of the more ambient side of Orbital.
A collaboration between Acid Baby Jesus and Hellshovel that happened in Greece in 2010, including 2 new tracks from each band. Spacy, psychedelic weirdness; at times it sounds like a western movie and sometimes like early Velvet Underground. Noisy, folky rock, trippy, warbly, short and sweet.
Another collection from Freude-Am-Tanzen / Kompakt. I hate having to keep describing things as “very German” but I gotta tell you… This is very German. Deep, minimal tech, avant-house. The first and last tracks are a bit fluffy, but things start getting interesting with “Black Woman,” a deep, stoned 90s Chicago sounding groove. There are some light tracks, like Funky Transport’s “Hells Bells,” but the meat of this album is quite suitable for The End Up at 5.30am on a Monday morning when you really should have stopped ingesting chemicals 27 hours ago, but everyone wanted to keep partying and who are you to say no, so you just went with it and now you’re probably going to have to take Tuesday off too. Glitchy, subtle, driving and definitely under the influence. The stand out track on this is Hemman and Kaden’s “Vaganza.”
This is the second, and unfortunately final (at least for the time being) release from Linea Aspera. The first self-titled album on Dark Entries got a lot of love from a few of us at KFJC, and at least two of us are sad to see the duo split up. The follow-up EP, simply titled II is a limited edition cassette and digital self-release. This swansong is only three tracks, and it is certainly interesting to see where they would have gone after this. While staying in the spirit of the original album, parts of this are more noisy, more avant-garde, a black and white 1980s that never happened. The first track is frantic disco, ending halfway and yielding to rhythmic, soft-edged noise. “Vultures” is most like the first album, a minimal wave dance synth jam with Alison’s haunting vocals. The final track has no vocal, and is a soft noisy analog k-hole of black inky blackness. I’m really bummed that this band isnt continuing on, because their evolution would have been great to listen to. I suppose better to burn out than fade away.
This is the 2009 debut album of Sektor 304, out of Porto, Portugal. Hard, noisy industrial beats with a tinge of power electronics and dark ambient. The two piece group performs using, in their own words, “vocals, beats, synths, bass, metal junk and power tools.” Dark, metallic noisy industrial that remains rhythmic and at times even melodic. Some of the tracks have a slow, doomy vibe, (Voodoo Machine, The Beast”) while others are straightforward industrial pieces (“Power Exchange”) with a few ambient tracks (“Pulse Generator, Blood Rush”) thrown in. Heavy metal satan sh*t all over this one.
Wighnomy Brothers and Robag Wruhmed teamed up to remix some big names on this 2007 release. Including remixes of Future Sound of London, Royskopp, Underworld and Depeche Mode, this album runs through downtempo, deep house, minimal dubby tech and idm, and even dabbles in some very artsy 180bpm breakbeats. A solid album of remixes, from an ambient, trip hoppy remix of FSOL’s “lifeforms” to deep glitchy mixes of Matthias Tanzman and Underworld. My favorite on the album was the hidden breakcore/idm/jungle track, Robag Wruhme’s “Bakkenvesper.” A really nice album, where the tracks hold their own as standalone pieces or parts of the whole.
Industrial downtempo doesnt quite begin to describe this, although it’s a fair start. Author and Punisher weaves together a harsh, metallic but surpirisingly palatable tapestry with Ursus Americanus. Taking elements of dark ambient, power electronics, dub and sludge/doom metal and blending them seamlessly into an album of hard as f*ck riddims. Maybe not for the weak of ears, as this reminded me of Vex’d, if Vex’d was really into doom metal. Fans of harder and darker shades of electronica, breakcore and noise will appreciate this offering of dubby and sludgy beats. Bassface all round.
This full length release from German producer Lars Leonhard, titled “Seasons – The Four Seasons” is a very lush album. It has a minimal techno vibe, with heavy dub influence. There are bits of dub and downtempo, deep house and techno. There are some very obvious Rhythm and Sound types of sounds, samples and filters throughout the album, but if anything, that should be a compliment. Alvina Red sings in French on a few of the tracks. I love this album – its simultaneously warm, ambient and lush, yet minimal. Really excellent release.
Minimal sounds from Planetary Assault Systems, remixed by Silent Servant and Black Dog. The Silent Servant remix of “Bell Blocker” is a 4am minimal tech house anthem, while the flip is a more straightforward and subdued techno. I only wish this was a full album.
Heavily layered, droning and slow blend of shoegaze and post punk from Clipd Beaks. This 2010 release is rather dark with some occult and apocalyptic themes. Self described as “way goth,” Clipd Beaks easily moves from melodic and almost light to a wall of sound within the space of one track. The typical fare of guitar, bass and drums is augmented with occasional brass and heavy effects.
The 2013 edition of Kompakt’s “Pop Ambient” series is a full length release suitable for your morning meditation, spacing out on a drive down highway 1 or just zoning out to some beautiful sounds. 10 Tracks of atmospheric particles, solar rays and waves of gorgeous space wash over your ears on side one of the LP, with a bit of a darker theme on side two, with minor piano scales and somewhat ominous atmospherics. Influences of Brian Eno, The Orb, and the more ambient sounds of Good Looking Records are heard throughout. Melodic and light, this is a great album with outstanding tracks from Leandro Fresco, Marsen Jules, Mikkel Metal and Anton Kubikov. If you have a steady diet of hard, experimental music, this is just the thing you need to take a little break.
Back in 2002, the Darkmatter Soundsystem guys were one of my first introductions to breakcore, when I saw them put on a show with Hecate and Venetian Snares in a warehouse in LA. These guys were hard as f*ck back then, and it seems that in over a decade, they haven’t lost their edge. The accretion EP is breakcore, LA underground style: unfiltered, nasty hardc0re techno drums, screeches, breakbeats and drones. This is raw and uncut, with roots in the gabber, hardcore and jungle scenes of 90’s LA. Tracks by Minion, Poxxe, Fiend and Resurrector ranging from 190bpm breakbeat assault to gabber influenced 140bpm dubstep-mocking hardcore, with a bonus scratch track from Baseck. These guys are still doing it hard.
This is actually a promo copy of what I believe will be Bradley’s 2013 release titled “Strictly Reserved For You.” Very 60s/70s influenced soul, very much in tune with the revivalist aesthetic of the Daptone Records label. Chances are, if a track title has the word “love” in the title, it sounds very motown, a predominant style and theme of the album, with lyrics mostly about romantic love and heartbreak. There are a few meaner licks spicing things up, like “Hurricane” and “Confusion.” Really classic sounding soul, fresh for 2013.
Compiled by SF’s Ana Sia, “Surreal Estate” is a collection of forward thinking bass music. Featuring artists like DJG, Distal, Kuro and UFO!, it’s a showcase of local electronic artists that have been involved in the jungle, drum and bass, techno breakbeat and dubstep scenes over the last decade, and then some. The LP is a sample of the 17 track long mixed album, but the cuts here are outstanding. Broken beat and atmospheric tracks on side A with XI, Distal and Sepalcure; proper bangers on side B with Kuro & UFO!’s tribal “Aoki,” DJG’s “Rites,” and B. Bravo & Teeko’s “Drop It” treading close to trap territory.
The second volume of the Minimal Wave Tapes, compiled by Veronica Vasicka and Peanut Butter Wolf, released through the Stones Throw label. This is a fantastic collection of hard to find tracks from 1980s minimal electronic artists and producers, including In Trance 95, Hard Corps and others. Some of the tracks certainly sound dated, but so many have drawn from these sounds that they’re almost iconic. “What Happened to You” by Subject combines electric guitar power chords and drum machines that so many would later emulate and define the darkwave and minimal sounds of the 80s, while tracks from Hard Corps and Phillipe Laurent sounds like electro inspired cuts that could just as easily be in a goth danceclub, dropped between Bauhaus’ “Ziggy Stardust” and a Siouxsie song as on a soundtrack of an 80s scifi movie. There are some absolutely outstanding tracks here including Ohama’s anthem “The Drum” and In Aeternam Vale’s “Annie,” which is so beautifully proto-Ladytron that I had to listen to it six times in a row. Any one who appreciates the genealogy and history of electronica and dance music will love this album.
“Golden Tree” is a collaboration between Acid Mothers Temple’s Kawabata Makoto and accordionist/vocalist a qui avec Gabriel. The 3-track full length release is a shimmering, evocative droning ambient study in soundscapes, with Makoto’s guitar creating a rhythm and melody, with accordion dancing around it. The track “Solid Torus” is a 26 minute journey through sound moving from playful to ambient to menacing atmospherics. The duo works seamlessly together, and the result is a very pretty and light record, sometimes droning, sometimes atmospheric, always inventive.
Raime’s “Quarter Turns Over a Living Line” is the duo’s first full length release since their inception in 2010. iTunes seemed to place them in the “dance and house” genre, although for the life of me I cant figure out why. While they may have elements of dance and electronica, their sound is such a unique hybrid that it cannot be very snugly squeezed into a genre. This LP for the most part sounds ambient, using moody atmospherics and slow, deliberate drum patterns. Raime creates big open spaces, punctuated with often syncopated, distinct, yet quite minimal and almost background drums. The melody, if you want to think of it as such, mostly comes from the clean, heavy low end, and airy samples and stabs. I particularly liked “Exist in the Repeat of Practice” and the closing track “The Dimming of Road and Rights,” although I absolutely and genuinely enjoyed every moment of it. This is a fantastic album, worth listening to again and again.
Laye, Mordy and The Group Modular – “Mystery of Mordy Laye and The Group Modular, The” – [Audio Montage]
Markey Funk and Mule Driver, aka The Group Modular produced this album from a collection of tapes given to Funk by a mysterious man in Tzur Hadassah, a small town in Israel outside of Jerusalem. The tapes were simply marked “Mordy Laye” and belonged to a band that had practiced at the man’s neighbor’s house every day for two years in the late 1970s, but never played a single show. At some point, the house was sold, all traces of the band and Mordy disappeared, and only the tapes were left behind. The unidentified man entrusted Markey Funk to produce the music, handed him the files on a flash drive, also never to be seen again.
The final product is a very soulful and funky album. Spacey, jazzy, warm analog sounds with a distinctive flavor of 1970s soul and rare groove with a touch of psychedelia. My favorites were “Lunokhod,” a solid driving groove, “Scooter Chase,” vaguely reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s “Junkie Chase” and the deep, mellow jazzy “Parhelion.” I immensely enjoyed this album, as will any fan of funk, soul and rare groove.
Adult’s 2005 release D.U.M.E. is less electronic than their earlier works, though preserving some elements electro and tech sounds. The 6-track EP reminded me of Bauhaus, Siouxsie and PIL. A dystopian, frantic, paranoid theme is prevalent through out the album, underscored by fast sequenced beats and electro synths. D.U.M.E. is a quick, but very enjoyable listen.
Metaboman’s minimal house / techno release on Music Krause immediately reminded me of the 2006-2009 days of SF house undergrounds. Minimal, twitchy, techy beats, square waveform bass, hollow space 3am ketamine robot house, occasionally accented by guest vocalists. This is hard to describe as anything but very, very German minimal. If you’re a fan of minimal house beats in the vein of Steve Bug / Pokerflat, you’ll love this.
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