Posts Tagged ‘Techno’

Distortion Records DIST15 – 30th August 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

The blurb: ‘Beatmatching Metalogue’s cinematic industrial with the dark sci-fi visions of d&b/neurofunk, Decentralized Coercion deals in the threats of mass surveillance, decentralized social control, totalitarian manipulations of trust, runaway artificial intelligence and the addictive mechanisms of the attention economy. The resulting sound is that of Big Data multiplying exponentially, sucking us down in digital whirlpool.’

As well known for their remixing as their own output, and having been featured on a fair few compilations, Metalogue – the vehicle for electronic musician, programmer, and sound designer Robin Fencott – has amassed quite a substantial catalogue in a short time, with an approach to performing that lends itself well to live recordings, of which they’ve released several EPs.

However, the studio work is perhaps the medium through which the details are most discernible, with skittering synths and hectic cymbal stutters providing layers to the stark soundscapes shaped by thumping techno beats. The album’s first track, ‘New Era of Trust’ begins with sonorous atmospherics and a slow, jittery beat, before a woozy bass rolls in. It evokes Bladerunner-esqe images, conjures monochrome city scenes, dark alleys and rusted fire escapes, and 80s sci-fi. It has a certain Nine Inch Nails vibe, but the sounds are crisper, cleaner, and therefore somehow more inhuman and more detached.

Stepping up the tempo and the attack, ‘Spectral Froth Annealment’ clatters and clanks and pounds hard while whirring electronics fizz and grate to forge a bleak, paranoid space, and bleeds into the nine-minute ‘Shadow Text’, which maintains the pace. It’s not the subtle shifts in emphasis that are where these pieces appeal: it’s their relentlessness, their consistency, their clinical sharpness. The treble on the snare sound, the metallic edges, all imbue the album with a coldness that somehow reflects the zeitgeist: we’re surrounded my machines, we’re assaulted by information 24/7, and despite mankind’s unwavering belief in its superiority and capacity to control its environment, it feels increasingly s if that control is being relinquished and handed over to automation. I’m not talking about the way the industrial revolution brought us mechanisation, but that more insidious encroachment whereby Alexa is listening in and Facebook throws adverts having decided what you want to buy based on a conversation or status update from the other day, and your FitBit tells you how far you’ve walked and how many more steps you need to walk in order to burn off the packet of crisps you had mid-morning. We think we own our lives, but that sense of control is illusory. Your employer knows how long you’ve been away from your desk for the toilet, and with cameras every 30 yards (I personally pass no fewer than 13 CCTV cameras on my 23-minute walk to the bus stop on the way to work each morning, and the busses are installed with cameras as well), there is nowhere that’s private, and there is no hiding from the machines. You’re bot paranoid: you really are having your every movement watched or tracked.

Decentralized Coercion is a soundtrack to this harrowing but inescapable fact.

‘Extraction Imperative’ is bleaker, more stripped-back still, the stuttering drum ‘n’ bass rhythms twitchy and tense, and there’s little levity in the trajectory towards the album’s close, ending with the pumping yet magnificently empty ‘Behavioural Surplus’. The beats are whiplash-fast and hard as, but everything else is backed off, distant, creating a distinctly disquieting sensation.

By the finish, I’m left drained, punished, pounded, and pulverized. It’s a microcosm of life. Decentralized Coercion boils it down to a succinct sonic statement that encapsulates that life. It’s harsh, but it’s real.

AA

Metalogue

Music is serious business and you have to be willing to power through on your journey to worldwide success, and Petrol Hoers (with all his Horse Problems and Cross Word Puzzles), is here to guide you.

Of the record, Hoers neighs: "I HOPE YOU ENJOY MY ALBOM PLEASE PRETEND YOU DID NOT HEAR THE BUCKFAST PUN I WOULD LIKE TO USE THAT IN ANOTHER SONG…"

Mixing elements of comedy, industrial, grindcore, gabba and punk music, Hoers is your real alternative in 2019.

Not much is known about this hefty equine phenom, but he does really like Squats, and believes that its very important while you give his new album, ‘I Don’t Know, Just Horse Stuff, I Guess’ (released on August 31) a listen, that you do some too.

Why the long face?

Listen to ‘Music is Serious Business’ here:

Christopher Nosnibor

“Are you a journalist?”

I nod. I don’t like talking when a band is playing. I don’t like other people talking when a band is playing, so why would I do it? It’s rude. And I’m there to watch the band. And so I don’t explain that no, I don’t consider myself to be a journalist or a music journalist, but a writer who happens to write about music often.

She’s already asked me what I’m doing and tried to get a look at my notes – a spidery scrawl barely legible to myself, to which I’d responded by wordlessly waving my A7 pad at her.

Some people just don’t get hints.

Following on from opening acts Steve Hadfield, who’ delivered a set of proficient but slightly static electronica and Dean McPhee, who performed some ethereal, atmospheric guitar instrumentals with the assistance of a bank of pedals that almost filled the venue’s small stage, worriedaboutsatan built their set nicely. One of their trademarks is intelligent structure, and while they’ve woven segments of their latest album’s more delicate parts into their set, they swiftly transitioned from drifting ambience through subtle rhythmic pulsations to propulsive beats, all the while conjuring rich layers of atmosphere. Gavin Miller’s guitar sounds even less guitar-like than ever, as he conjures rippling waves of sonic abstraction from six strings.

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Steve Hadfield

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Dean McPhee

It’s been a long and taxing day, and I’ve consumed more beer than intended, than is wise, I’m switching between tenses, and I’m trying to decipher the narrative of the film projected at the back of the stage. It’s intercut with various black-and-white footage that conveys nothing in itself, but is evocative in its bleakness, and there are flickering light segments, too: beyond this, they play in darkness, visible only in silhouette. Their stage show hasn’t changed dramatically in recent years, but it’s visually striking and effective, and places the immersive music to the fore.

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worriedaboutsatan

Then, halfway through, a couple of women appear at the front and get down to some mum-dancing: fair play, but they don’t need to be exchanging comments about it. I have my earplugs in and am in the zone, perhaps more even than usual in my state of inebriation. It’s the short, chubby one who starts nebbing at my pad – not that I’d have been any happier had t been her taller, slimmer friend.

“Who do you write for?” she shouts in my ear. It’s a shame earplugs only reduce volume and cut top-end rather than muting irritants.

“Me.” I want to tell her to fuck off, but even seven pints in, I’m mindful of manners.

This throws her but she seems to think it’s cool, and she asks yet more questions, and then she starts going on about how she’s worried about my eyesight, writing in the dark and all. I appreciate the concern, but my liver and blood pressure and anxiety are probably more of an issue than my eyes, and besides, I’m wearing tinted glasses at a gig, and if perfect strangers feel the need to worry about anything, I’d say climate change, Brexit, the stranglehold of capitalism, and the simple fact we’re all doomed are more worthy of that worry. Ok, so I don’t appreciate her concern one bit.

Eventually, she leaves me in peace and I’m able to watch the guys bring their set to a triumphant climax to an appreciative response from a home crowd. And deservedly so: the fact they don’t tour often, and when they do, they’re reliably solid, consistently engaging and dynamic in both set formation and performance, and perform with such incredible energy, makes an intimate show like this all the more special.

Folk Wisdom – FW008 1st February 2019

James Wells https://auralaggravation.com/2019/03/05/bewider-full-panorama/

BeWider, aka Piernicola Di Muro, says of his latest offering, ‘Full Panorama is perhaps the most intimate, irrational and emotional work I’ve done. Not only because I freely followed what I really felt close to musically speaking, but also because it is an album that comes from a very important moment of my life: a moment of creative change, of transformation. I wanted to make an album that started strongly from elements that are closest to my heart, which are cinema and imagery. I thought about what cinematically represented me the most. I imagined what the soundtrack I wanted to accomplish would sound like, and these 12 tracks were born. These are more than 12 tracks in themselves, they represent a complete and unitary work, as a whole. It is a journey, a path, that evolves throughout the entire span of the album, and that touches several musical stages of my life.’

It’s perhaps not unfair to say that the context doesn’t entirely convey in the end product, which is a cinematic electronic album driven by subtle but solid beats. It’s pleasant, danceable, even, but the emotional resonance is well buried in the full production and accessible, laid-back dance forms which follow well-established tropes.

The first piece, ‘Panorama’ is built on rippling, gloopy synths and a slow-building feedback that yields to a hypnotically chilled groove which locks in and pulses its way into the distance. It sets the tone for the album as a whole, with broad, semi-abstract washes of sound and undulating synths.

‘Last One Night’ is about soft ambient pulsations and backed-off beats as it evolves into a kaleidoscopic trance, and so it continues through ‘Retina’ and ‘Sartorius’, which slowly drift into one another in a hazy mellifluousness.

It’s nice, its gentle, and it’s largely background: Full Panorama is relaxed and enjoyable, but not an album you really listen to or engage with. It just sort of happens, just kinda drifts. I want to feel the emotional pull, the depth, the range, but I just don’t. But… it’s pretty cool to listen to.

AA

BeWilder

Metropolis Records – 6th April 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

However much music you know, there’s always a near-infinite realm beyond your ken. Until now, German electronic crossover act Haujobb – a hybrid of electro, noise, IDM and techno, who lean toward the more mainstream electro-industrial sphere – have existed beyond my range of awareness. I can’t imagine why.

I would rarely recommend a live album by way of an introduction to any band, but then again, it was by listening to Concert that I found the motivation to explore The Cure in more detail, and it was Welcome to Mexico… which compelled me to listen to releases beyond Gub.

So, we’re presented here with ‘a career-spanning collection of the band’s most beloved songs, recorded at various recent concerts throughout Europe’, which, according to the blurb, ‘stands as a testament to the band’s live prowess and unique creativity’.

They’ve produced a vast body of work over the course of their 25-years existence, and Alive gathers 15 cuts from across it, opening with the slow-building ‘Machine Drum’. Lifted from 2011’s New World March, it’s brooding, dark, and angry. But – overlooking the absence of audience noise, which on one hand can interfere with the listening experience, but by the same token is also pretty much integral to the live experience, and I always eye (metaphorically) a live album with no audience noise suspiciously – the question of how representative it all is encroaches on the enjoyment of such a release. And sequencing matters: is this live collection in any way representative of the actual live experience? I suspect not. The sound quality is pretty consistent given that it’s a compilation culled from various shows, but then again, the slickness and uniformity mean it doesn’t feel very ‘live’, and equally, with so much of the instrumentation sequenced and preprogrammed, meaning that it’s a little hard, perhaps, to convey the band’s live prowess.

‘Renegades of Noise’ – and a fair few others, if truth be told – sounds like a Depeche Move studio offcut, as remixed by RevCo. Elsewhere, ‘Input Error’ is driven by a clanking industrial beat and a bucketload of aggression and anguish. As on ‘Let’s Drop Bombs’, The anger is palpable, while electronic stabs rain in like gunfire from every angle near the end. And while Haujobb occupy well-trodden territory, the semi-familiarity of the structures and delivery doesn’t undermine the fact they’ve got some strong songs and a mastery of driving beats and hypnotically looping sequenced grooves. In all… it’s not bad.

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5th February 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Sidestepping any comparison of the title to Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water and perhaps clocking a nod to Cinema Cinema’s Manic Children and the Slow Aggression, The Tattooed Aunts and Mice on Speed stands not only as one of the most intriguing juxtaposed item album titles I can think of, but is probaby one of the best you’ll hear all year.

It’s been some time in coming, but Rick Senley’s fourth album under the I Am A Man with a St Tropez Tan guise. He has many, including musicforvoyeurs, alongside his work as a photographer, journalist, writer, teacher, actor and guitarist in a number of bands. I Am A Man With a St Tropez Tan is – according to Senley himself – ‘the sound of aggression borne of death, mental health struggles and addiction. It’s also a project centred around one man and his Dictaphone, a magpie-like approach to lifting and combining snippets of sound to create a nasty, messy and quite abrasive collage.

The biographical context to The Tattooed Aunts and Mice on Speed is genuinely harrowing, and I shall quote without abridgement: ‘After the death of his girlfriend and an accident left Rick housebound for months he channelled his rage and despair though electronic sounds and screams – a Chemical Brother nightmare put to sleep by Apex Twin’s downers, a bed-bath by Depeche Mode with Nine Inch Nails glaring through the keyhole and The Prodigy banging on the door.’

It’s a challenging mess of splintered noise, fragmented and disjointed, with pumping technoindustrial beats and dark club-orientated grooves pounding insistently beneath it all.

The whole thing has a nightmarish quality about it. Warped vocal samples taper in the way for a juddering beat and warping bass groove on the first track, ‘Killing Seals’, and thins become only more challenging from hereon in. the second Senley seems prepared to offer an inroad, an accessible structure centred around a solid rhythm and consistent bassline, he tears it to shreds and throws it all up in the air.

Senley pitches the album with the summary ‘Bursts of Burma, Thai ladyboys, Egyptian dogs and kittiwakes from Iceland join forces in equally disturbing measure.’ It’s perhaps a slanted perspective of the actual contents of The Tattooed Aunts, but it does give some indication of the wide-ranging sourcing of material Senley has engaged in in order to formulate this near-Burroughsian cut-up collage of sound. It’s disruptive, disturbing, a soundtrack of dissonance and dislocation. And it very much captures and conveys a mood of a difficult headspace, making for an album that’s at times tough, but ultimately rewarding.

AA

I Am A Man - Tattooed Aunts

Bearsuit Records – 24th June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

If the album’s opening cut suggests an album of slightly hipsterish glitchy electronica, it soon evolves into rather less comfortable territory. The elements of commercial club music are all in evidence, and at times, to the fore, but this is an album that pushes into myriad electronic territories. Throughout, Mitsui keeps one eye on groove and the other on confounding expectations.

You want ideas? You want range? Ippu Mitsui has ideas and range. ‘Small Rider’ is exemplary, flipping between delicate chimes and mellow grooves to altogether more aggressive beats with woozy, warping basslines burrowing every which way. It packs a lot into four and a half minutes, and no mistake.

Moment of ‘Fine Spine’ come on like early Prodigy, with vintage acid house stylings colliding with abstract electro-oddness. ‘Bottle Neck U’ brings a deep, subterranean bass groove and hard beats with an almost industrial intensity, while ‘In My Mind’ ventures into deep, dubby territory.

‘Bug’s Wings (Another Take)’, like its counterpart opener, is, superficially, pure bouncy club music, with a flimsy 90s piano– a throwback to the Chicago house sound that carried forward infinitely too long – line weaving its way through the track, but then it also bundles in a whole heap of other stuff that sees Mitsui leaping off on unexpected tangents with dizzying frequency. The albums final track, ‘Quick 919’,with its fairground organs and explosive beats, owes more to JG Thirlwell’s early adventures with tape loops than anything contemporary.

I might argue that only a Japenese artist could, or would, make an album like this. It is, by turns, kitschy and saccharine, and brain-bendingly obtuse and awkward. It’s certainly inventive, and Mitsui seems bent on self-sabotage, with every moment of linear, accessible dance countered by some twisted and unpredictable moment of weirdness. And this is what makes L + R an album worth hearing.

 

Ippu Mitsui