REVIEW: Black Merlin – Proto World EP (Berceuse Heroique BH036 – 2017)

In its beginnings, Berceuse Heroique (BH) looked like an adolescent rebel aimed at shocking everyone around. In addition to sowing disorder with harsh, nonconformist sounds the London label was notorious for provocative visuals that went beyond any taste. Still it feels quite the same when – after a break since Marco Bernardi’s hypnotic “The Dancing Clowns” – I’ve added two new BH releases to my collection. The sleeve art of Black Merlin’s “Proto World” – a long EP with over 25 minutes of playtime – sets the tone for the opening title track, which is ghastly enough to imagine a […]

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Bandcamp ambient picks: Horsetail, Jari Pitkänen, Øyvind Juel

Horsetail Horsetail from the UK are ‘makers of noisy outer space music’ from the abstract side of ambient and drone, which is well reflected in the title track and in “The Wound That Never Heals”. If to imagine it as a vinyl, the “B-side” turns out as the winner: distorted creeper “His Terrible Heart” would appeal to techno DJs and “Cloak” is a minimalist ballad for the mountaineers in base camp. Hollow Sea by Horsetail Jari Pitkänen Finnish artist Jari Pitkänen boasts a large back catalogue based on ambient experimentations with Roland MC-303. Of his recent navigations in stellar dust, the […]

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The best of 2016 in a mix

Tracklist Sven Grünberg – Hingus, I Osa (Мелодия / Bureau B) David Morley – Presto (De:tuned) Ioannis Savvaidis – IBM 2870 (Lower Parts) Puto Anderson – Domingo de Paz (Príncipe) Eomac – Same Heart, Same Breath, Same Life, Same Death (Bedouin Trax) Tanzania Soundsystem – Ngono Kijiji (Highlife) Reade Truth – OMM 0910 (Path Records) Population One – Detroit City At Night (Metroplex) Gut Nose – Enjoy Thy Flesh (Styles Upon Styles) Nikolajev – Live Cut (Mutant Disco) (Collect-Call) CT Trax – Toxic (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams) Brassica – Wryders (Feel My Bicep) Kareem – Meyrink (Noiztank) Mumm – Cell […]

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REVIEW: Ioannis Savvaidis – NSA Trusted Networks (Lower Parts LP12 – 2016)

Lower Parts takes a break from the usual repertoire of drum-heavy acidic cuts and changes the mood to sparkling ambient with “NSA Trusted Networks”, the debut from the Greek producer Ioannis Savvaidis. Coming in an edition of 250 copies with A3 poster and download code, Savvaidis’s EP is an admiration of classic synth compositions from the seventies, his tunes carrying the spirit of Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis. From recent times, parallels can be drawn with synth explorations by Freak Electrique or especially Ricardo Donoso, which means that anybody who is missing tunes of the late Digitalis Recordings should find a little comfort […]

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REVIEW: Various – & om det här är slutet är det vårt sista (offworldcolonies ltd. owcltd004 – 2016)

After Cloistral’s “Նվիրվածություն” mind-absorbing ambient deepness recorded in Armenia, another impressive release has landed on the Swedish outlet offworldcolonies ltd. with the title that translates like ‘if this is the end, it’s our last one’. The label’s fifth release comes from various artists, in a criminally limited run of ten cassettes that sold out quickly on Bandcamp but the digital version allows listening pleasure to those who missed out on the physical product. Label founder offworldcolonies delivers a knockout beginning with “Megalit . : / 0501”, heavy-hitting bestial drilling of 10 minutes in the crossroads of techno and power electronics – surely […]

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Sven Grünberg – Hingus (Bureau B BB 241LP – 1981/2016)

Sven Grünberg is real name of a real person and he is not a fictional Lufthansa engineer who secretly became electronic musician in the 1970s and appeared from the obscurity later. Grünberg, who turns 60 this November, was born in the Estonian capital Tallinn and cut his teeth in the local seventies bands Ornament and Mess, acting in the latter as composer, singer and instrumentalist. A graduate of a music college in Tallinn, Grünberg decided to become electronic musician in (then) Soviet Union where he was not a loner, if to recall from the previous generation Eduard Artemyev who wrote scores […]

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REVIEW: Eomac – Bedouin Trax (Bedouin Records BDNX 001 – 2016)

Ethnic music has served as a source of inspiration for many artists and when speaking about Arabic flavour in electronica, the most merited producer might have been late Bryn Jones aka Muslimgauze. Radical both in his pro-Arabic views and sound writing, Jones contributed to the evolution of a particular subgenre without targeting too clearly the dance nation. Merging Oriental influences with synthetic beats is not a formula of success itself, because it requires creativeness and insight that is now available from Ian McDonnell aka Eomac, also known as one half of the Irish duo Lakker. The author of several notable tracks in recent years (my favourite is a remix […]

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REVIEW: Convextion – 2845 (A.R.T.LESS VEXT LP 1 – 2016)

About every ten years, Convextion is shaking up the world. It began in 1995 when Sean Deason’s Matrix Records from Detroit launched with the debut twelve from the electronic artist from Dallas. The follow-up on the same label and EPs on Tektite and Down Low Music brought the Texan Gerard Hanson to the awareness of the public who appreciated deeper, dub-infected techno. Convextion’s brilliant debut album in 2006 created immense but well-earned hype but also left a strange aftertaste because of Down Low Music’s decision to do numerous represses of what initially was meant to be a limited edition. Probably it […]

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SHXCXCHCXSH – SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs (Avian ‎AVNLP003 – 2016)

Sssssnake chhharmers from Sweden, not only linguistically challenging dark knights from SHXCXCHCXSH who boast over 6,300 followers of their empty Soundcloud account, believe in the power of ‘s’ in the new album for UK label Avian. After initial rush to vitriolic roughness, when only to recall earlier catalogue entries by Shifted and MPIA3’s, Avian’s tastes have become more varied (Litüus, for example) and SHXCXCHCXSH’s album belongs rather to the experimental section. Instead of targeting sweaty techno caves with their previous Avian LP “Strgths”, SHXCXCHCXSH emits steamy, pixelated sound that constitutes the basis of most of the compositions. Consciously or not, many parts sound very familiar: one of the album’s best tracks, “Ssss” at […]

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David Morley – The Origin Of Storms (De:tuned ASGDE010 – 2016)

De:tuned is keen to put acclaimed artists from the past to contemporary context, either by reissuing old or presenting new productions. The LA Synthesis double pack was one of the 2015 highlights and after B12’s “Transient Life”, it’s the turn of the UK-born Belgian resident David Morley who debuted back in 1992 with “Evolution” on R&S Records’ ambient offshoot Apollo and was active in the nineties with a handful EPs. With “The Origin Of Storms” the Belgian label resumes the pursuit for abundant textures in electronic music, when Morley’s beatless synth variations are floating over ambient fields in the 12″+10″ album over 40 minutes of playtime. The […]

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