Music Reviews

Fred Und Luna: Im Tanzrausch

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 22 2019
Artist: Fred Und Luna
Title: Im Tanzrausch
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Compost Records
Acting as a sort of companion piece or footnote to their full-length album “Im Tiefenrausch”, “Im Tanzrausch”, from the still relatively new but profilic mysterious figures of Fred und Luna, is a dancefloor-friendly pack of 4 deep house tunes (“elektrakraut/krautelecktro” if you go by the press release) with an optimistic and bright synth top layers that make them very likeable.

The undoubted highlight is “Compostonikum”, which foregrounds some laidback chanting over warm chords and a bunch of lower rubbery squelches in the bass area, into a result that’s genuinely entrancing. “People Mambo” adopts a similar approach with similar-ish vocal samples but a more laidback attitude and that’s truly effective as well.

Opener “Der Elektrolektor” is a purposeful and driven bit of light electro-house with some nice percussive touches, but without a hook to really set it alight. Third track “Es Ist Heiß” is the weak spot, a somewhat cheeser-sounding affair with a spoken-word German vocal that ends up sounding faintly Yello-ish but a touch on the corny side, lacking the thoughtfulness of the tracks around it.

Leisurely toe-tapping stuff with a definite broad appeal.

Hvmble: Textures 2/4

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Mar 21 2019
Artist: Hvmble
Title: Textures 2/4
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
The second part of Hvmble’s “Textures” series evolves slightly from the first pack, with two six-minute-ish instrumental synth-house grooves that are just a little bit harder and more resolute than on the first, but it’s not a major shift.

“Deadvlei” starts off with an intent-laden kick over which slightly teethy synth patterns gradually fade in then wander about, curving around fairly undramatically, while “Danxia” is a mellower affair with a hint of the Balearic about it, watery sound effects and silky synths tapping away over a light clapping groove, following a very similar pattern to its predecessor.

Gentle walking-and-working music or afternoon mid-set fodder, it’s a simple pairing that’s endearing and relatively simple and honest.

Did Virgo: Rise & Shine EP

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 07 2019
Artist: Did Virgo
Title: Rise & Shine EP
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: La Dame Noir Records
Did Virgo has been DJ’ing in Marseille since the first night of the city’s first techno club, and further afield of course, for decades, and been involved in music production since the early noughties, but this is only his second EP release under that name, with the first five years ago- so it’s a bit of a rarity.

This is steady, generally 110bpm-120bpm house music with a supreme steadiness and a confident lack of drama. Synth bass steps reliably and unambitiously over simple 4/4 drum patterns, and a variety of synth details higher up to give texture. Opener “Show Me”, with its two-word vocal mantra, sets out this template very accurately. The lengthier spoken word work on “Glass Wool Acts” is strangely Yello-ish, while “Rise & Shine” has a more guitar-driven aspect to it that slightly recalls Rinôçérôse or perhaps a more American-ish EDM flavour.

“Kiss Me, Kill You” has a female vocal that’s English language but very French in pronunciation and stereotypical delivery, languid, soft and vowel-driven. It’s the closest intersection to pop, especially when the quite synthwave-ish arpeggios arrive. It’s the only track to get a remix, from Max Pask, whose re-take on it is rather straightforward- changing the sounds, making things sound a little brighter and poppier, but essentially it’s a remix that doesn’t venture very far from its parent track.

It’s a decent, steady, and DJ-friendly EP that will keep you relaxed but moving, without really rocking your world.

Sturqen: Survivalismo

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Mar 03 2019
Artist: Sturqen (@)
Title: Survivalismo
Format: CD
Label: Kvitnu (@)
Rated: *****
Under the genuinely sonic aspect, this new album by Portuguese duo Sturqen (real names David Arantes and Cesar Rodrigues, from Oporto) for the knowingly excellent label Kvitnu, which cab be reasonably considered a milestone for lovers of power electronics, industrial techno, rhythmic noise and acid sonorities, maybe cannot be considered a fully fledged turning point, if you know the approach they followed on their previous outputs. In the first part, it's reminiscent, rather, of the acid stage of so-called elektro of the late 90ies (a branch of techno, siphoning elements of acid trance, who got packed into disorienting hyper-compressed epileptic rhythmical patterns), by following a pattern followed by many contemporary techno producers, who are massively reprising those sounds. Besides the (valuable) exercise in style (tracks like "Nervos", the stifling "Nuz" or "Novag" - the moment where these folk gets closer to some of the highest points reached in that niche by artists of labels like Rephlex, UR or Tresor -), the concept of this album could explain its structure: the first confusing and somehow unpleasant tracks, departing by the intro "Aranha" (Portuguese for 'spider') and the nervously acid glue of the already quoted "Nervos", seems to translate into sound the likewise confusing and disorienting world, where we live, whose timely traps and cages, where metal bars have been replaced by likewise unbending illusions. The following tracks seem to render a gradual awareness of such a concrete dystopia, a sort of carnival mirroring that cyclicality (as suggested by the strangling progression of "Hegel") of a history that becomes more and more smothering. The last (and the longest) track, titled "Energia", seems to cement both Sturqen's conceptual framework and the previous aural clues by a viscous electric storm, that sounds like a distorted declension of some obscure stuff by Gwenn Tremorin (Flint Glass).

Jamka: Inter Alia

 Posted by eskaton   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 28 2019
Artist: Jamka
Title: Inter Alia
Format: LP
Label: Urbsounds Collective (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this London-based duo of Monika Subrtova and Daniel Kordik, but the label calls this album “the latest evidence of their patient, intimate relationship with their analogue machines. From the start there’s a sense of event – we encounter clear, interlaced electronic textures, powerful analogue drones and well-placed beats.” From the opening track, you get the sense that this is not your typical dancy techno. There is a beat, and the music is quite well put together, but this is not music for the club. At least not any club that you want to be at after dark. There is a feeling of unease underlying these tracks that goes against the technological optimism of a lot of electronic music. “Anazmo,” for example, has a kind of minimalism that makes the repetitive beat seem oppressive (and I mean this in a good way) rather than something that gets you onto the dance floor. For the most part, this is instrumental, with the exception of “Eskulap,” which has some distorted, unintelligible vocals. If you like your techno with the bleakness and darkness of old Front 242, with a touch of minimalism thrown in for good measure, this is worth picking up. Pressed on white vinyl.

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