Music Reviews

Dedekind Cut: The Expanding Domain

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 19 2017
Artist: Dedekind Cut
Title: The Expanding Domain
Format: 12"
Label: Hallow Ground
Leaving behind his old aliases as a hip-hop producer, Dedekind Cut offers us a concentrated pack of experimental electronica with a cinematic quality and a very off-kilter structure. Broad and slow soundscapes of drone meet glitchy electronic noise.

After a confidently sparse opening with the looping synth pattern of “Cold Bloom”, we get “Lil Puffy Coat” which, despite its jaunty title, is particularly epic in tone, dark and sci-fi. It’s followed joltingly by the hammering rhythm of “Fear In Revese 2” which is a right-on-the-edge bit of raw industrial.

The two final tracks are the longest tracks, and both self-contained progressive pieces in their own right. “The Expanding Domain” has further industrial tones but with a crisp softness and it drifts from pounding to gently melodic and back again, underpinned by an awkward three-four rhythm that never lets you get comfy. Final track “Das Expanded, Untilted Riff” is a mellower affair with a synth melody reminiscent of old-school trance hopping wistfully over an ambient backing that’s 1990’s-esque in the middle and more contemporary and experimental by the end.

Showing the benefit of contributions from six of his friends contributing elements such as modular synths, piano and percussion, the result is a supremely good, diverse, un-pigeonhole-able EP that really ought to make fans of cinematic electronica stand up and pay attention.

Iokoi: Liquefy Reworks

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 18 2017
Artist: Iokoi
Title: Liquefy Reworks
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: -OUS
Two tracks from the downtempo 2016 Iokoi album “Liquefy” get the remix treatment here.

Furtherset offer up a version of “Touchreel” that’s very stripped back, just a gentle light mechanical rhythm with sparkly pads, gated chords and vocal snippets all twinkling on top. It’s an oddly structured affair which, at under five minutes, feels like it’s a broader and darker bit of abstract soundscape design that’s been grafted bonsai-style into a small package.

NHK yx Koyxen (not a typo, and not just me hammering the keyboard)’s take on “Realien” gives things a more conventional light techno flavour, with soft 4 4 beats, a slightly Josh Wink-ish gradually unfolding melodic pattern, and whispered vocal noises. It progresses nicely, with a nice twist on the beat past the 5 minute mark to keep things moving, and it’s DJ friendly so long as the slightly abrupt end is anticipated.

It’s an odd pair of tracks that does feel like unused remix leftovers rather than a particularly coherent 2-track mini-package, leaving the “bold statement” of the original album behind somewhat, but the NHK yx Koyxen remix is certainly worth checking out, if you can get the spelling right on Beatport.

Psycho & Plastic: Planet Seductron

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 15 2017
Artist: Psycho & Plastic
Title: Planet Seductron
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: GiveUsYourGOLD
“Planet Seductron” is a slice of funky mellow electrohouse, centred around a crisp bit of guitar, a fairly languid beat, and theremin-style high synth melodies. It’s around 124bpm with a confident and assured swagger and a bassline that’s borderline lazy. Halfway through, a deep and rich male rap starts looping around as the centrepiece. Lyrically it’s rather cliché but as the peak rather than the core of the track, it works. It’s certainly not the sexiest piece of house I’ve ever heard.

In a two-track package, you get the original plus a long remix from Der Schmeisser, Tietz & Mano Meter (three names, one remix) which brings a bouncier percussion pattern, more energetic bouncy bassline and stretches the transitions and progressions out into a more spaced-out result. Careful sprinklings of small snippets of the vocal and a rich extra rubbery bassline flow around in a way that stays interesting.

A strong track-and-remix package from GiveUsYourGOLD, and a great advert for the forthcoming Psycho & Plastic album due in October.

Gebrüder Teichmann: Lost On Earth

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 14 2017
Artist: Gebrüder Teichmann
Title: Lost On Earth
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Noland
On their third full-length album, Andi and Hannes Teichmann serve up a bit of light home-listening techno, taking the crisp sonic elements from minimal and a touch of synthwave and twist and rework proceedings into something more suited to a long slow walk than a dance.

There’s a wide variety of collaborators, recorded across multiple continents. After the quite leisurely opening of “Identity Check”, previous collaborator Wura Samba brings a soft African percussive sound and vocal to “Transist” and while the vocal is rich, the groove still feels European somehow. The same approach on “ChakachaMaasaiMbili” also works well and feels a touch more organic.

“Tiny Cracks” meanwhile brings unusual time signature patterns into a hip-hop groove complete with cleverly timed and strangely compelling rap vocals from Max Turner, Sasha Perera and Amman Mushtag (one of whom may not actually be a vocalist, that’s unclear). “Mindfields” and “Higher”, with other guest MC’s, are a bit less distinctive, arguably bordering on flat.

When not collaborating, the brothers seem to wander a little further off the leash, such as in the quirky, not un-funky “Stylomezzo” or the odd 12/8 stepping patterns of “Dzoka”. The boys are presumably keeping it in the family with Uli Teichmann’s unspecified appearance, probably the quiet spoken word bit, on the nicely dubby final track “Für Fred”.

The ten-minute long Abe Duque collaboration is a mini-opus in its own right, initially a very steady and deep bit of techno, but it goes bizarre in the second half with some bold synth-arpeggio breakdowns before looping back to its original understated groove, then disassembling into lo-fi oddness to conclude.

Don’t be put off by the fairly unappealing artwork- this is an accomplished and strangely luxuriant hour-long listening album experience that puts the ‘I’ but a little less of the ‘D’ in ‘IDM’.

Mirt / Ter: Bacchus Where Are You?

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 07 2017
Artist: Mirt / Ter
Title: Bacchus Where Are You?
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Monotype Records
“Bacchus Where Are You?” comprises five long slices of studio-based improvised electronica from an enigmatic Polish duo who use modular synths to generate slowly evolving, gently rhythmic ambiences full of breathy noises, clicks, and soft pads. It’s valid that they describe their work as “post-ambient techno”, but it also harks back to early 90’s trance (“proper trance” I’ll admit to being very fond of), and the sounds of Rising High Records or some of the less organic early Future Sound Of London tracks.

“Morphing” is genuinely beautiful if you’re in the right mood, broad and atmospheric. Second track “Bacchus Theme” is a bit more techno-minded, still lightweight but less progressive and with shorter edgier loops. This mood continues fairly seamlessly into the slightly washier “Disaster Reworked”.

Things reboot a little for “Wooden Object” which has subtle shades of Global Communication’s “76:14” about it, or a mellower version of CNSNNT’s “Z”. Dubbier electronic wubbles towards the end draw obvious but unavoidable comparisons to The Orb’s more stripped-back sound. Things are wrapped up with “Holographic” which, with its more percussive and sparse synth key presses, seems to want to travel slightly further back in time and become a Tangerine Dream track.

It’s an extended, deep but soft-edged journey along the line where sounds can be almost-ambient but also almost-techno, where consistency is a bonus and familiarity is an effect. It’s only in some of the production details that it’s cutting edge, but its sonic approach otherwise manages to be more ‘timeless’ than ‘dated’. It’s sincere and completely successful and one of the most satisfying all-round album listens I’ve experienced in some time. I’ve used comparisons to some of my favourite artists above and it’s intended as high praise.

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