NAARC – LOAM

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[ IF, 2017 ]

It was in early 2017 when I received a beautifully packaged double cassette by the Atlanta based industrial trio NAARC. When I listened to the tapes, they didn’t catch my attention at first. The harsh, electro-industrial seemed simply out of my league. But then I asked myself: “Since when exactly do you classify yourself into leagues!?”. So I listened again as a means of reverse engineering the post-industrial genre I’m hooked on lately and I got some sort of an epiphany. I’ve never been able to precisely describe the “industrial” genre, but now I am, because it’s so clear now. The rusted, acid-stained sound truly sounds like something born in a dirty factory, and the two lengthy tracks that finish the album go beyond, into the noisy fog somewhat reminiscent of Skullflower. It’s like getting lost in the part of the city you were never aware of, but enjoying the surroundings.

Darren Keen – It’s Never Too Late To Say You’re Welcome

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[ Orange Milk, 2017 ]

On his second full-length for Orange Milk Records, Darren Keen achieves the escape velocity that plunge him beyond the clichés of footwork, setting him free of endlessly repeating spoken-word samples that, let’s face it, can get quite annoying after a longer while. The drum patterns are as tight, fast and complex as ever. But here, Keen manages to slow down sometimes, providing a much-needed rest from the sensory overload of the genre, while proving that he’s able to break the mold and look further without locking himself into the safe zone. The album is full of politeness, which is also a welcome thing in the world of ubiquitous trolling and constant middle fingers toward everybody. Keep being polite, Mr. Keen. It works very well. Highly recommended!

Jonas Reinhardt / Jürgen Müller – The Encyclopedia of Civilizations vol. 1: Egypt

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[ Abstrakce Records, 2017 ]

In the first installment of The Encyclopedia of Civilizations, a long-term project by the Spanish label Abstrakce where different artists are asked to present their visions of various ancient civilizations, the land of the pyramids is the focus of two West Coast synthesists. Jonas Reinhardt and Jürgen Müller (the more esoteric side of Panabrite’s Norm Chambers, making his first appearance in the musical world after 2011’s Science of the Sea) split sides on this vinyl LP with their progressive electronic visions that translate the hieroglyphs into arpeggios, sequences and New Age approximations through a series of Teutonic impressions with a mythical edge. I told you man, the pyramids were built by the aliens, man. Synth-wielding aliens. Highly recommended!

Chino Amobi – PARADISO

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[ UNO NYC, 2017 ]

The map of Tumult: Emerging from the depths of the Internet, the co-founder of NON netlabel and Richmond citizen Chino Amobi has slowly worked out a personal brand in the world of digital punk through a string of EP’s, singles and mixtapes, resulting in the debut full length PARADISO, out on the NYC based label UNO NYC known for fishing out visionaries and weirdoes such as Fatima Al Qadiri, Mykki Blanco, Gobby or Arca.  PARADISO may be overwhelming not only at the first listen, but also at the second, third and so on… Hell, it may always be a bit overwhelming. But what else you might expect from an album that is trying to convey the sense of disinformation and chaos of the Planet Earth in the year 2017? Sirens wail, speech patterns fly in the air like bullets, the information overload is unbearable while abrasive electronic beats and melodies batter you like riot police during a peaceful protest gone wrong… Disjointed narratives emerge from brutal drones and an industrial atmosphere creates a feeling of constant invigilation. The world is a mess, everyone’s an enemy and there’s no place to escape. Chino Amobi captures these feelings of information war perfectly. Highly recommended!

Location Ensemble – Location Ensemble

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[ Tape Drift Records, 2012 ]

Seven guitarists. One bass guitarist. One drummer. Final destination. This upstate NY six string monster ensemble captures the spirit of Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca in an ever evolving and ever growing mass of sound that just doesn’t let go. Calling it mininalism would be a crime, calling it maximalism would probably not be enough. It’s just an ecstatic tsunami of slightly lo-fi free rock, capturing the incredible atmosphere of a live performance (but not capturing the brain orgasm of those who witnessed them in person). Guitar ecstasy at its finest. Recommended for all fans of freeform electric bliss!

TVLab – Music for Rural Bedrooms

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[ Peace Tunic, 2017 ]

Music for Rural Bedrooms is the debut tape by the very fresh Connecticut based label Peace Tunic. Both the music and the artwork were created by David John DiBella who goes by the truly Fangs&Arrows friendly alias TVLab. The tape has a lovely, lo-fi glaze over its progressive electronic atmosphere and the air or amateurish, unpolished joy of creation. In fact, the somewhat hypnagogic tunes here remind one of the golden era of microscopic tape labels and hazy drone/ambient cassettes coming out by the hundreds of the 2000s/2010s. The psychedelic, lazily tropical atmosphere is strongly reminiscent of classic Brother Raven works, with similarly over-enthusiastic approach to knob fuckery and skeletal structures. Lovely.

Nico Niquo – In a Silent Way

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[ Orange Milk Records, 2017 ]

Hey there! You know what? The second full-length by Nico Callaghan a.k.a. Nico Niquo is out and it’s just as lovely as the debut one, except better. How? Probably because it fuses together the two schools of ambient music: one is the more rigid, sequencer-driven one, relying upon clear time signatures and mathematical precision, the other being ethereal, rhythmless tracks that rely purely upon atmosphere. In a Silent Way sounds like R Plus Seven that got its ADHD medication and manages to become slower and more coherent while retaining the relaxed, calming atmosphere. Recommended!