[ Kompakt, 2017 ]
17 years after Pop, Wolfgang Voigt, the fearless visionary behind the timeless techno project GAS and co-founder of the legendary German label Kompakt is back with new material, aptly named Narkopop. Now, if you’re familiar with the music of GAS, you know exactly what to expect: orchestral samples stretched into ambient oblivion, sometimes also complimented with a relentless, hazy techno beat that just goes on and on forever. The music of GAS has no beginning and no end, the lengthy tracks on Voigt’s albums are just tiny glimpses of the endless processes that take place somewhere deep, deep in the primeval woods of Germany, like the hearbeat of Mother Nature herself. Just naming it “ambient techno” doesn’t cut it. At all. This is something much more abstract and primal. This is some Twin Peaks kind of stuff. Highly recommended!
[ Brutaż, 2017 ]
The diverse EP Kenk! by the Berlin-based Italian soundshifter Carlo Maria explores the different possibilities of the mighty Synthesizer: from the opening piece’s melancholic drone, through the lysergic progressive electronic of “Mirage”, reminiscent of many side projects of Emeralds members (quite possibly the highlight here) to the thumping, relentless techno of “Kenk Kenk”). It’s as if Carlo Maria is torn between the dancefloors of Berghain and the psychedelic trips of the early synth masters and he’s trying to find the golden ratio between the two extremes, with a surprisingly interesting results. Add the fact that it’s released on Polish label Brutaż and you get a truly international mix. Recommended!
[ Mik.Musik.!. / BDTA / Flesh & Brain, 2016 ]
The captcha codes. The simple words or phrases written in warped text in order to prevent computer algorithms from abusing different services, such as file storage systems. They became a target or ridicule, even getting memes centered around them, but also posed some unexpected deep philosophical questions, such as an eerie “are you human?”. 17 years after the release of The Matrix, reality is stranger than fiction, with the man becoming the President of the USA largely thanks to filter bubbles, bots and memes and the number of fake news sites proliferating to a degree no one can the bullshit from the truth. Czech musician Jakub Adamec plays on these sentiments, creating an album full of automated, fucked up dystopian technoid electronics ripe with plunderphonic experiments and speech synthesisers, like an evil James Ferraro making techno music. With its frenetic beats and a dusty, lo-fi atmosphere it creates an atmosphere of fear and alienation, the stand-out being “Take Me to the Light”, a hazy techno steamroller filled with bloodcurdling screams, like a Boiler Room party with a serial killer among the crowd. Are we human? Or are we just lines of code in a sophisticated simulation? 2016 seems more fucked up than ever before. And there’s still some 60 years to live. That’s pretty fucking terrifying. Recommended!
[ Moss Archive, 2016]
Nippon LP (actually, here it should be actually called Nippon CS after a cassette, or even Nippon DL, since it’s also a downloadable digital file) is both a travel diary and a tour release spanning both Bastian Void’s HQ in the USA and Japan, where he was touring and where he came up with the idea of releasing his dancey synthy music in digital form to be available in the form of download codes during his shows. It’s a lovely retrofuturistic release, spanning both Berlin school ambience and the more cinematic, rhythm driven soundtracks, all packaged into an 80’s throwback minimalistic artwork. Nippon LP is like a nostalgic homage to the country obsessed with new technologies and calm, meditation approach to life. An intriguing release, for sure.
[ THRHNDRDSVNTNN, 2016 ]
If you’re more into airy, outsider house electronics than acid rock abandon, maybe you’d enjoy spending this Ghost Night [tm] with Shedbug, the Australian ambient techno whiz whose ambient-worshipping grooves fuse the future and the past into acid-influenced Eternal Now, hooked in an an endless repetition built around skeletal melodies and wobbly basslines that makes you wish they could carry on forever. If you’re a fan of Huerco S. or most of 1080p catalog, then Shedbug should be right up your alley. It’s the kind of ambient techno the genre needs – the one with a muscle. Acceptance doesn’t suffer from anemia – fear not. Recommended!
[ BLCR Laboratories, 2016 ]
While the beginnings of the British “genrequeer” musician Ross Baker aka International Debris reach the vaporwave fog with a ravey edge, his newest release Opaline seems to be taking cues from early 90’s British IDM scene. The opening 20-minute hypno-zone “Bone Breaker’s Mountain” sound like a perfect Articificial Intelligence beat stretched to half-infinity, like early Autechre trying to put themselves in a trance via sheer repetition. Next up is the acidic techno of “The Old Man of the Woods”, playing New Agey synth pads between against an oldschool 4/4 beat, where the shimmering drones gradually decay and degrade into bleep bloopery fuckery. The closing “Fountainkeeper” brushes tape drone sequencer against early OPN ambient aesthetics, making you think of all those home labels in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. Great, psychedelic IDM trip. Recommended!
[ Mik.Musik.!. / BDTA, 2016 ]
Lautbild is the new solo vehicle by Paweł Kulczyński who usually makes deep fried electronics under the alias Wilhelm Bras. With Lautbild, he takes a more dancefloor-oriented approach, while never severing the link to the original noisy synthesizer work. Pulsus Frequens is like that only 4-year old kid in the family: spoiled, hyperactive and sometimes annoying as fuck, but once it makes a few dance moves and gives or two of these children’s observations, everyone’s heart is melted and you can’t help but say: “oh, how can you be angry at them!“. Pulsus Frequens is exactly that – the sort of slightly damaged, fractured record, despite all the glitches, is wonderfully melodic. Recommended!