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Posts Tagged ‘electronica’

Roberto Massoni‘s “Diter:0” is the first album to be released on the Docil netlabel, which is based in Argentina. According to the Internet Archive, the label may previously have been named Data. The label also has a SoundCloud page with some additional tracks. The description on this release’s webpage (as translated by Google) describes the music as being “created from the kindness and acceptance of happiness”.

At just over half an hour long, the album moves from one slow, perfect slice of beauty to the next. “Ruido” starts uncertainly, before lush chords are placed across an over-driven guitar rhythm; male Spanish vocals add the final icing. “Enero” has gentle guitar notes above a tantalisingly complex structure, all the more odd for having a wonderful naivety to the music. On “Descalzo”, electrical hum is juxtaposed with long, soft pads and soft tinkling bells, creating the perfect contrast.

“Distro” has hazy chords, sizzling and shimmering above a thick bass pattern, sinewy guitar notes travelling neatly above and creating a beautiful dense effect. A soft, train-like rhythm propels “Mismile” forward, with long ethereal pads and stereo guitar notes spilling out all across the aural horizon; it’s difficult to choose one, but I think this may be my favourite track here. The soft chords in “Acuoso” move around more restlessly, never quite settling. It’s the only track here with no real resolution.

The mechanical sounds of “Carrousel” are set wonderfully against light guitar strums and muddied, nostalgic piano notes; thick synth chords pull the track along. This music definitely deserves to be used in a film. “Tresam” opens with simple guitar, its reverb laying a gorgeous backdrop of chord changes to anchor haunting piano notes. The last track, “Honso”, is also the album’s longest, at just over five-and-a-half minutes. A lonely breeze of thin guitar notes hovers over distant ambient piano. It’s quite melancholy.

This is a free release that I would have gladly paid for if I’d heard it playing on the radio or elsewhere, and it’s a lovely way to fill 30 or so minutes.

Label: Docil   Cat: Docil 01   Artist: Roberto Massoni   Price: Free

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The BFW Recordings site tells us that Amygdala Projects is the stage name of Hungarian musician László Néder. He has played guitar for 20 years, and aside from Amygdala Projects, he’s also a member of a rock band, TerraLuna. This ten track album, however, is a solo release, and his fourth on the BFW label.

“Galactic City”, the opening track, starts with a long, slow introductory sweep, as a Berlin School sequence bubbles under sonics which sizzle off to left and right. A solid bass groove kicks off underneath as filters open and close. Halfway through, a driving beat kicks in, propelling the track forward relentlessly. The music fades, but then suddenly we’re back in a psytrance groove. It’s a fabulous opener. “Ancient Rite” begins with bells and a female choir; a slow rhythm builds up with guitar and drums. Huge, almost tribal drums appear, then male vocals (Indian, perhaps?) are draped deftly across the top. The track maps itself out slowly, almost feeling its way around the edges of the soundstage.

“The 7th” has a hazy, shimmering opening, with a male voice drone and female speech. Synthetic voices jitter and slither above a heady bass and drum groove, to be subsumed by vocals, now female and in English. “Gene of Machine” is slithering, sinister electronica, skilfully built from blips and coils into an almost physically tangible structure. A deep bass synth carpets breathy ethereal vocals. It breaks down just after the two minute mark, snatches of speech flittering in and out, before the quasi-industrial rhythm takes over again. “Distilled People” takes us half way through the album, delay-soaked guitar and synth laid over a massive pounding beat.

The second half kicks off with “Evolving Lifes”, organic sounds overlapping a sinuous bassline. A quiet electronic rhythm is steadily built up, before being joined by a solid drum pattern. “Substance Z” starts with a very grand synth riff. A wordless female voice takes up the high end. Drums are pinned, Hillage-like, below. “Cauteria” has a ominous beginning, with eerie distorted voices and edgy chords. Another Berlin-style sequence emerges, completely contrasting with the voices. Synths zip under and over the beats as they become denser, folding and unfolding like DNA.

The album’s penultimate cut, “What Do You See in the Sphere?” has an almost martial rhythm. It’s a slow burner, hypnotic and fascinating. Finally, the closer, “Paroxysmal Love”, is the shortest here by far at just over two-and-a-half minutes long. It begins firmly in ambient territory, until a synth pattern and processed vocals overlay an opening drone. The track fades, leaving the listener relaxed after nearly an hour of alternating tension and groove. It’s quite the trip.

Label: BFW Recordings   Cat: BFW181   Artist: Amygdala Projects   Price: Free

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True story: Les Scott (a.k.a. Neu Gestalt) and I live in the same city, and worked in the same organisation, and yet we’ve never met. “Altered Carbon”, his début release, was an astonishing tour de force. Indeed, it’s one of my five favourite electronica albums ever. “Weightless Hours” has been three years in the making. That’s a long time by any standards. Given how much I love his first album, I hoped so much that I wouldn’t be disappointed. Thankfully, I had nothing to fear.

“Toxicology” begins with lapping water and breathy shakuhachi over band-passed crackles and phased synths. A glitchy pattern breaks out, underpinned by an immense bass. Simple piano notes are then draped over all of this, creating a fabulous contrast of acoustic and electronic instruments. It’s a cracker of an opener, signalling in advance how the album might develop. “Abandoned Cities” has a cinematic oriental feel, with melted shakuhachi notes warping themselves around a highly structured, intricate rhythm. On “Cold Wave”, a bright chiming pair of stereo synths lead us into a shuffling, loping beat, lurching relentlessly forward under reverb-drenched stabs and icy flickers.

“Saturn Park”‘ is the most rhythm-driven track here, liquid keys burbling as the beat is fuelled by odd synthetic springs and coils which fit perfectly. Again, there’s piano, though with much more reverb, and wide panoramic pads. Sublime music for daytime train travel, as the listener follows both an internal, and external, landscape. “Winter” is truly beautiful, soft notes suspended in pointed shards of ice as the music stutters and shivers; tiny aural snowflakes fall to left and right as a gentle beat builds. The half-way point in the album, “Sub Rosa”, is reluctant to give up its secrets; a pad shimmers above water and a highly complex organic rhythm, which crackles and spirals off into the distance, then somehow reassembles itself.

The second half begins with “Curtain of Rust”, which gives a nod to electronic music of an earlier decade, though this is dragged firmly into the present by an almost mathematical beat. It’s dense and multi-layered, with shakuhachi making a reappearance over a gentle series of metallic riffs, contrasting elegantly against the sound of water. “On Haunted Shores” evokes the ghosts of industry, as dead machinery pulls its sound across the decades into the present; it grinds and clicks, a forgotten memory projected onto a lonely, dark shore of minor pads. These two tracks together are the most reminiscent of “Altered Carbon”, albeit with more emphasis on rhythm, though with similarities in texture.

My favourite track here is “Aerial Eleven”. This is electronica at its most sublime and artistic. I defy anyone who says the genre has no soul to listen to this and not change their view. Beginning with a distant rumble, a muffled keyboard lays down a few plaintive chords. Suddenly we’re inside the most luscious environment imaginable. Fluffy pads push slowly forward and back against the gentlest of rhythms. Languid shakuhachi notes come and go. Metallic coils, organic noises and processed birdsong slither off to the sides. The effect is absolutely stunning, and unlike anything else I’ve heard.

“Metalline” has skittering, fractured textures overlaid with piano. Glitchy ticks zip off to the left and right, leaving the piano as a solitary island in a sea once calm, then less so. Metallic sculptures suspend themselves above the water, rotating and reflecting the light. Again, an extraordinary mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. “Sheltering Skies” is perhaps the most complex track here. An oriental rhythm pushes on through all manner of electro-acoustic sounds. Phased pads cluster thickly over a clean, delayed synth bassline. Layers of percussion are built up, and long notes are drawn out above these layers. It’s complicated and fascinating.

The final cut on the album, “We Who Walk Through Walls”, in contrast to the album’s title, is drawn in thick, heavy pulses of colour, with iridescent tendrils swaying above their roots in a futuristic glimpse of something unstoppable; never menacing, never rushing, but pausing for nothing and no-one. Dense pads are glued to an organic bass, and the music threatens to break up, but instead grows even more insistent. It’s a fitting conclusion to an absolutely stunning album. The visual icing on the cake is the sumptuous fold-out cover design, which carries some fascinating background sleevenotes together with black and white photography from Les, all wrapped up in an extraordinary design. It’s simply beautiful.

Many thanks to Les for supplying me with a promo copy of the album, which is due to be released on 22 June.

Label: Alex Tronic Records  Cat: ATRCD 143   Artist: Neu Gestalt   Price: $$

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Cryxuss hails from Italy, and as far as I can tell, this is his second album; his first seems to be Harey on the Torrentech netlabel. First impressions? I have to say I love the cover. If you click on the picture on the right, you can see it in full size on the original release page.

We open with “Tamura”, where a sudden burst of heavy rain and a woman’s voice (Moira Fogarty, reading from a LibriVox reading of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War) lead into dense pads with a chord sequence which stitches the track together. Tinkling keyboards echo above all of this, and it moves forward when a pattern of beats is taken up around halfway through. “Abstract Joke” is very rhythmic, with a driving bass, pulsating percussive effects and short snippets of vocals, which propel the track forward with a huge sense of urgency. Again, around halfway through, the patterns change and the rhythm changes too, with little staccato synth bursts, although the pace remains the same.

Fast fade to “Ethereal Creature”. Again, this one moves along at quite a pace. Layered piano strides a repetitive bass motif, and the percussion, whilst subtle, is always present. That heavy rain from the opening track returns in “This Will Be My Last Submersion”, which starts as pretty much an ambient track apart from periodic clicks which define a tempo. Soon, the clicks are joined by percussion which is subtle, but almost tribal in style. Snippets of Moira Fogarty’s spoken word drift into and out of the mix.

The closing track, “Need to Hurt You”, continues the theme used in its predecessor. Piano arpeggios rumble lazily over distant, high, keening chords. I hesitate to mention Frippertronics in two consecutive reviews, but the influence is definitely here. A few distorted, delayed chords, and suddenly the ride is over.

Label: Silent Flow   Cat: SLNT038   Artist: Cryxuss   Price: Free

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