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Kai Sync

Rich, Robert – “Vestiges” – [Soundscape Productions]

Kai Sync   11/30/2016   A Library, CD

 

It is subjective to paint a description of ambient music but very tempting, indeed. Based on an initial quick glance on the title names I got a hunch in my sub-consciousness that then blossomed during listening to these seven track — basically you are on a sailing boat on a quiet ocean; watching the night turn into morning just before the sun goes up. This 2016 release by Robert Rich is a continuation of his celestial and down to earth majestic ambience with natural instruments baked into the aural soup which just makes sense. Everything has its place, it’s like listening to a composer that is painting just the right parts in his mental ear to produce something serene as well as intriguing. It is a challenge to lift oneself out from the tidal pools of new age music — this was indeed a rocket blast, a quiet one. Highly recommended.

 

Moon Pool & Dead Band – “Humanizer” – [Midwich Productions]

Kai Sync   11/23/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

Detroit-based Moon Pool and Dead Band’s David Shettler is an in-demand musician and producer, playing with legendary outfits SSM, The Sights, Rodriguez, Paul Collins, Scott Morgan and many more. Nate Young is known for his work with Wolf Eyes, Regression, Dan’l Boone, Demons and many more. Oddly this music is techno electronica meets the psychedelic eye, in a positive way rather than being a cliche hippie group trying to be hip in the age of electrons. This 2016 release has a variety of directions from swirdly arpeggiator electronica to Detroit 2016 techno to blippy noise montages to slower UK style electronic patterns to retro eighties drum machine and analog synth extravaganza to a detuned synth symphony overture. And those were the six tracks.

Huber, Ryan – “Kholstomer” – [Inam Records]

Kai Sync   11/23/2016   A Library, CD

Kholstomer (Strider) is a famous story by Leo Tolstoy that was never finished by him but was reworked and published anyway. This 2016 release by Ryan Huber starts with a non-organic ambient track but then the industrial techno and noise takes over for most of the album. The more techno centric track open up nice avenues into machine dreaming. The non-techno and more industrial harsh tracks moves into the nightmares of machines. The atmosphere is what the AI factory producing androids are creating. Fortunately there are coffee breaks for the more tonal listener.

 

Kassem Mosse – “Disclosure” – [Honest Jon’s Records]

Kai Sync   11/9/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

This Kassem Mosse’s (Gunnar Wendel from Leipzig) second album, a double album, continues his trade of unexpected click and tics and patterns concerning modern Intelligent Electronic Dance Music, breaking dance patterns to electronic dust and re-applying the material back to the sonic canvas. Even if many of the tracks have an anchor point in house beats or other dancy beats, he manages to surprise within the tracks, sometimes by a repetitive figure that is close to Grime than dance, or otherwise smearing in pentatonic scales of stripping down the material to a sharp angle. It’s a puzzle and if you manage to solve the mystery, it just means that the solution was intangible but at the same time the journey was the reward. And all you did was to follow along his path. The best parts are the cases where Kassem breaks down synth patterns to scratchy molecules and re-arranging them. The last side, D, has three locking groves.

 

Matter – “Paroxysmal” – [Kvitnu Records]

Kai Sync   11/9/2016   A Library, CD

 

Matter’s (Italian Fabrizio Matrone) Paroxysmal is an exercise in tech-noise industrial electronica where distortions beat and it feels like you are inside a big shipyard where huge icebreakers are constructed and as as side effect you get noise music, too. The concept was to go through the four states of matter (solid, liquid, gas and plasma) forming the theme of the tracks staring with fluid and ending with Ash. The sonic damage is sometimes intriguing but sometimes also somewhat boring due to the typical noise beats arrangements. The less stressful and IDM-like tracks are more enjoyable even if also the ambient aspiring tracks have tons of grimy elements. There’s a limit to sonic destruction where the harshness has its surprises and its monotony causes mental yawns.

BROKEN CHIP // KLANGBERG [coll] – [3BS Records]

Kai Sync   11/1/2016   A Library, Cassette

 

This is a two track EP from 2015 with ambient synth material washing in and out style cassette compression wobble style. Somewhat like Boards Of Canada didn’t include drums to two tracks. The first one – Broken Chip – Kind — is mellow and introspective, the second track — Klangberg’s 0.5 — has an ending where more energy is introduced in forms of Tangerine Dream style arpeggiator synth waves at the very end.

Prefuse 73 – “Every Color of Darkness” – [Temporary Residence Ltd.]

Kai Sync   10/19/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

Prefuse 73’s 2015 release continues his journey to asynchronous glitchy electronica loops intermingled with voice manipulations and sudden jazz-inspired movements into the unknown sphere of musicality. This is hip hop and also not hip hop due to the spectrum of possibilities explored on this album, maybe this is psychedelic triphop just to make up another genre on the spot. The splitting of small pieces of loops forming a coherent yet unexpected result is the key to untangle Prefuse 73’s music. This EP size, close to an album size, is perfect for exploring this world without getting into filler space or repetitious pattern copying. The collection of parts forming unique structures combined with female voice mangling makes this release a trip to another sonic consciousness.

Elektro4 – “Archaeometry” – [Heardrums Records]

Kai Sync   10/19/2016   12-inch, Hip Hop

 

This is Elektro4’s (Mike Schofield) 2016 release full of psychedelic-soul instrumental hiphop tracks — kind of like The Avalanches on acid or if Orb would suddenly get inspired by the NYC scene. The beats create canvases with introverted movie-style scenarios and oddities appear and disappear between the speakers. This is the closest you could get to a pre-dawn hip hop party where alternate realities are explored. The fascination with other cultures make entrance on many tracks, including dubby side tours. Note the tracks melt into each other so you need to catch the transition from one song to the next. This one is a great include of underground hiphop into our library.

Die Partei – “La Freiheit Des Geistes” – [Bureau B.]

Kai Sync   10/12/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

In 1981 Tim Dokoupil and Walter Dahn – members of the German underground music scene — decided to record a whole album with the concept band name Die Partei. The game plan was to record the whole album on a weekend, music should be electronic and danceable and sprinked with some film quotes. They restricted to using few instruments, mostly early day synthesizers and cheap guitars as well has have contrasts in the music. Even the album was mixed the same weekend including the album cover design. The result is a prime example of very early day underground dance electronica where some elements are surprisingly new sounding even if recorded 1981. The trademark German synth melodies appear and the carefully programmed sequences do their atomic belly dances.

 

Tiga – “Sexor” – [PIAS]

Kai Sync   10/10/2016   A Library, CD

 

Tiga’s 2006 debut album is an exercise in pop meets electronica, or electropop, or man sings when angry bass lines rule and drum machines pound. There are highs and lows, high points are tracks where more playfulness, soul and acid creeps in. The rock bottom parts are where the lyrics deal with high school topics. The Talking Heads cover of Burning Down the House was intriguing but not radical. Who’s That is a good example of a track where this reviewer was happy, same with You Gonna Want Me with a soulful interpretation.

Yppah – “Eighty One” – [Ninja Tune Recordings]

Kai Sync   9/28/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

In this time and age it’s a sensory pleasure to listen and review Yppah’s Eighty One release from 2012, lushfull, playful and optimistic shoegaze dream pop similar to Lush, Coctau Twins and similar more feminine aspects of shoegaze. This recording has similar tonality as Ulrich Schnauss with plentiful of guitar soundscapes and female singing. Yppah is actually the texan Joe Corrales Jr. The first vinyl is more restrained and dreamy while starting with the C side the rhythms get more energetic with even some signature slow tempo drumNBass and hip hop elements mixed into the traditional live played guitar/bass/drums/synth setup. Anomie Belle sings in some tracks and her singing fits like a glow similar to Liz Frazer vocal lines. This is beautiful and playful music; sounds like someone had fun in the studio. Pure musical joy from beginning to end.

Fehlmann, Thomas – “Eye / Tree” – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

Kai Sync   9/21/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

This is the 2013 EP from veteran German lush techno producer Thomas Fehlman (also one of the on/off members of Orb.) A side, Tree: tribal techno with twists and turns, most colorful treatment than expected with syncopated chords patterns and sneaking-in bass lines. B side: Starts on a mellow ambience tone but twists into a a vintage funky tech house variation with the ambience emerging from time to time. This is high grade electronica.

 

 

2000 Hands [coll] – [Hands]

Kai Sync   9/14/2016   A Library, CD

 

Hands the record label was formed 1990 by Udo Wiessmann hand has been instrumental in discovering and releasing many new and diverse electronic music artists. This year 2000 collection showcases their breath of artist material at this particular point in history. Orphx tracks are noise in beat motions, Proyecto Mirage is similar noise/industrial music material, Wilterkalte’s music also has noise as an element building beat patterns towards the techno domain, MS Gentur is similar hard techno noise music, Needle sharing tracks have a surprising DrumNBass element combined with noise sculptures. NKVD sounds more ambient with noise textures, Typhoid tracks have a neurotic drum machine as basis with noise again use for DrumNBass tracks. Ah Cama-Sotz is dark ambience, Xabec is more introspective ambience and finally Schachtanlage Gegenort is pure noise experimentation. So there’s something for anyone.

Die Vorkriegszeit – “Cystis” – [ZZO Recordings]

Kai Sync   9/14/2016   A Library, CD

 

This 1987 release was a precursor release to martial industrial music, pounding drums, march band horns, Lord of The Rings Battle scene string music and much more. It’s a combination of doomsday industrial music meets the battle-scene hardened troops marching towards glory and most likely doom. This dark electronica has touches of neo-classical tones, gothic undertones and dashes of drone. Their only CD — as far as I know — is an enigmatic puzzle especially based on the time this was released. It might lead to some battle fatigue due to the doomsday undertone.

LA Collection: Chapter 1 [coll] – [Arcade]

Kai Sync   9/7/2016   A Library, CD

 

This 1994 release contains French underground dance club music from artists such as Shazz, St. Germain, Laurent Garnier and others, sometimes as acronyms or collaborations between various French producers from the nineties underground dance movement. This is not the Daft Punk compressed disco punk sound, rather clever takes on Acid and Tech House, Detroit Techno and (unfortunately) also on Progressive House and Trance styles. Where this collection shines are the more experimental and forward pushing tracks from Scan X, Orange, Choice. And Laurent Garnier’s Planet Sex is just one of those over-the-top songs begging to be played. Breathless is is another fun take on acid-meets-techno. This compilation is a prime example showcasing what 1990:ies music is interesting still today and what has been mangled to bits due to cliche patterns.

Kompakt Total 14 [coll] – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

Kai Sync   9/7/2016   A Library, CD

 

Kompakt skipped 2013 with their total releases, hence no Total 13 so this 14th release came out 2014. It’s a mixture of proven dandy techno content and experimental beat fun, of which the vocal pop techno side is unfortunately too much present with its lyrical content and formulas and the known Kompakt sound is there with artist tracks from Maceo Plex, Blond:ish and Superpitcher. However, Sebastian Bouchet seems to be unable to make boring tracks, Thomas Fehlman pushes tribal techno to new directions, The Modernist sounds like UK funky techno and John Tejada’s remix of the Field track is elegant. And who knew that Voigt & Voigt would reinvent sixties surf pop. Pick and choose from the 20 tracks as each one has it’s own charm.

Ital Tek – “Hollowed” – [Planet Mu]

Kai Sync   8/31/2016   A Library, CD

 

This 2016 Ital Tek release is very different from his earlier busy-creative pattern, evolutionary dual-tempo dubstep/DnB/anything electronic music. Here instead Brighton UK based Alan Myson took his new favorite guitar just purchased to the studio and recorded sixty minutes of more atmospheric and synthwave-like electronic music. The beat patterns sneak in here and there, but they are mostly used as nuances rather than in-your-face kick drums. And yes the bass lines also have their presence, but more toned than manifested via brutal speaker attacks. The instrumentation moves between modes and fascinating utterances of depth and insight. This is more of a listening album than a club record, as such it’s wonderful that a contemporary producer is mindful and moves into unexpected directions on his fifth record, using classical composing techniques such as dynamic passages and unexpected turns.

Nagamatzu – “Above This Noise” – [Dark Entries]

Kai Sync   8/10/2016   12-inch, A Library

 

This vinyl release is a set of rare demos and takes from the cult electronica-post-punk band Nagamatzu. Nagamatzu was a British duo with Andrw Lagowski and Stephen Jarvis that was formed 1982. This was in the early days with explorations of the new music media using drum machines, sudden cheap Japanese synthesizers and old tape machines in combination with post-punk guitars similar to Joy Division, so these tracks reflect this era. These tracks are from their 1986 to 1991 experimentation. Musically this vinyl is a hit and miss adventure; I enjoyed the first and last tracks, but the rest tended to fall into the trap of ‘it’s an unreleased take and there’s a reason it was not released.’ However, you can experience the primal nerve of a duo experimenting with drum machines and other music toys with a cult-murky tape deck sound.

Irikarah – “Programmed Illusions” – [Misanthrope Studio]

Kai Sync   8/10/2016   A Library, CD

 

This is one of Andreas Arndt’s many albums, released 2007 — the music is lo-fi industrial power angst music combined with heavy doses of pink noise and some non-drum beats sneak in here and there. The voices are manipulated with modulations and distortions and phone eq:ing so that the lyrics are mostly non-understandable statements about something where the title lyrics might give minuscule ideas what the intent of the track is. Some might enjoy this kind of power noise, it is indeed an acquired taste. But I missed any finesse and artistry amongst all the tracks, even with noise music you need artistic intent and the multitude of repetitious noise making has its limits.

(Hypothetical) Prophets, The – “Around The World With” – [InFine’]

Kai Sync   8/3/2016   A Library, CD

Bernard Szajner is a French producer with a style similar to the early day Eno productions. He does not even consider himself a musician, rather a visual music sculptor and has worked on a variety of projects including theatrical events and laser shows. He is also considered the inventor of the laser harp. On this 1983 album he was using the pseudonym The (Hypothetical) Prophets together with Karel Beer for a tour the force audio trip concerning field samples, electro psychedelic walls of sound, collage loops as arranged songs with a variety of singing material, drum machines and odd lyrics. The concept was to present themselves as Russian new wave pop stars acting as anti-nuclear movement artists, hence some of the tracks have Russian voicing.. Some of the productions sound very modern for today, half-way to contemporary techno productions, some tracks are in the vein of Cabaret Voltaire, some have Gong influences (Bernard did work with Gong), but some tracks are modulated into goofiness due to the silliness quota that is cranked up too high. All together, this is a rare album re-released due to its new wave electronica classic status — with occasional warts included.