Music Reviews

Gebrüder Teichmann: Lost On Earth

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (10064)
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
 Edit (10054)
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.

Mana: Creature

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (10053)
Sep 07 2017
Artist: Mana
Title: Creature
Format: 12"
Label: Hyperdub
Despite being described as an EP, “Creature” is an 8-track release, and Mana’s first release on Hyperdub is a quirky little bundle of atmospheric electronica with grand ambitions. Sharp-edged synth melodies jump and pitchshift over synthetic choral pads and sparse, crisp broken beats. Sporadic, subbass-laden kicks have hints of dubstep, but opened up into a more cinematic environment. Glitchier moments keep things on edge here and there.

Tracks like “Sei Nove” have a touch of the retro synthwave about them, and “Runningman” has a hint of old skool rave in its stabs. Longest piece “Rabbia” is a darker and more ambient journey through church-organ-esque tones juxtaposed against raw electronic pitched waves. Closing sketch “Consolations” gives the plucked synth tones a more Eastern quality. It all makes for a good collection of tunes that’s got consistent threads, yet variety.

Full of character but perhaps lacking a unique selling point, this is an interesting way for Mana to open up his Hyperdub account.

Shit And Shine: Some People Really Know How To Live

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (10052)
Sep 06 2017
Artist: Shit And Shine
Title: Some People Really Know How To Live
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Editions Mego
The Texas-based Shit and Shine offer up ten succinct slices of messed-up twisty beats with a crisp lo-fi tone, and plenty of glitches and speed ramps mixing up proceedings over some steady grooves that are cousins to something very dancefloor-friendly. Short but broadly techno-structured tracks are the biscuit base for a bunch of experimental tweaks but a playful tone.

“Dish 2 Dish” at times sounds like Josh Wink on helium. “Lil’ Wannabe Gangsta” slows things down with one of those hip-hop samples that glitch artists love to tweak. “South Padre Low Life” sounds akin to an 8-bit racing game chiptune soundtrack where the samples have been corrupted, in a good way. “Raining Horses” turns the sound of a man in pain into a percussive crash.

Yet despite all of this, it’s not quite as thoroughly silly as the title and artwork might have you believe. There are more straight-laced tunes as well, such as “Girl Close Your Eyes” with a bassline that invokes memories of Soul Mekanik. “Notified” is a serious heavy-stepper with a lovely bouncy wubb wubb wubb to it.

It’s a diddy little package of glitchy instrumental house, with a cover that looks like CBBC’s Hacker T Dog character has gone rogue. It was clearly a bunch of fun to put together and there’s plenty of energy in it. It’s perhaps short of a stand-out moment or two that would make this shit really shine, but if you like your house music super-quirky and laden with glitch, check this one out.

Antwood: Sponsored Content

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (10050)
Sep 05 2017
Artist: Antwood
Title: Sponsored Content
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Planet Mu
Canadian Antwood (not to be confused with Die Antwoord- or is that just me?)‘s second album is a 12-track, 42-minute collection of mostly instrumental ‘cyborg pop’ combining the energy and tight production of EDM and drum and bass with a cinematic and thoughtful aesthetic, and liberal doses of synthwave-style chords and thin melodies. Throughout there’s some bold and bizarre sample choices, built around the album’s concept of subliminal advertising explained in the interlude track “Sublingual”, that fill the whole release with character, a dash of politics and just a hint of tongue-in-cheek humour.

Opener “Disable Ad Blocker” is an epic opening that sets the tone boldly and it’s only one final crescendo and boom short of being the perfect four-minute album starter; “ICU” pulls a similar trick to open the second half. “The New Industry” is an odd dubstep versus hardcore hybrid of rapid gunfire-beats underpinned by a strangely tempered beat, with odd processed crying noises joining in halfway through to make things just a little weirder than they already are.

Things calm down substantially for tracks like “FIJI Water” and “Wait For Yengi”, which still have a rapid underlying data pulse rumbling inside them but which are dominated by purer, warmer chords and sparser moments. “The Hyper Individual” plays with the shock value of sharply interrupting these calmer times with gut-punching kicks.

“I’m Lovin’ I.T.” is an exercise in stop-start and double-speed rhythms with some quite chiptune-y flavours, while “Commodity Fetish Mode” and interlude “Derealization” are more laidback soporific bits of post-dubstep that give the second side of the LP a more sombre average than the first.

“Don’t Go” is a slightly daft self-contained mini-drama that starts with a monologue about teaching future generations to program computers and ends with an evil robot that decides it will wipe out humanity, before final track “Human” throws the kitchen sink into the production values with a frantic, multi-styled and quite enjoyably jazzy but of sharp glitch.

This is a fantastically polished, top-notch bit of cutting-edge electronica with barely an ounce of fat on it- sharp, focussed, dynamic, and sometimes hard to follow. It’s as striking and odd as the artwork suggests and it’s yet another hard-to-fault release from Planet Mu.

Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha