Staff Picks - September

Staff Picks - September

Written By:

Dragoș Rusu

Published:

October 3, 2018

This is what drew our attention musically during September 2018. What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, if you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

2. From bvdub to Glass Knot

Doug Shipton - Beskrajne Dimenzije Mix (self-released)
Doug Shipton - Beskrajne Dimenzije Mix (self-released)

Bionulor - A.S. (Oniron)
The eighth album of Bionulor is a journey to the world inspired by the music of Alexander Scriabin. From delicate dreamy cosiness to more abstract experimental structures, the album evokes dreamy soundscapes and creates an overall immersive listening experience.

Bliss Signal - Bliss Signal (Profound Lore Records)
Bliss Signal is a new electronic metal project between James Kelly (Wife, Altar of Plagues) and UK DJ / Producer Jack Adams (Mumdance). Their eponymous debut album, out on True Panther Sounds/Profound Lore, is the stunning result of an unlikely partnership soldering together a seemingly disparate mélange of sounds. BLISS SIGNAL takes the frenzy and repetition of body-focused electronic music and pairs it with extreme metal’s core elements, resulting in a visceral, often hypnotic, hybrid that belongs neither on a dance floor nor in a mosh pit. Awash in ethereal textures, blast beats are simulated by drum machines while synths soar over heavily distorted shredding guitar. Throughout the album’s 8 tracks, Adams and Kelly trace a line between blackened metal, driving electronic rhythms and ethereal atmospherics. The result finds a common ground in the intensity of these sounds and how they affect the body.

bvdub - Drowning in Daylight (Apollo Records)
Van Wey debuts on Apollo with his stunning new album‘ Drowning in Daylight , exploring cavernous soundscapes on a grand canvas that throb with a delicate intimacy. A stalwart DJ and promoter of the halcyon 90s San Francisco rave scene, Van Wey fled to China in the early 2000s to escape the curdling of his musical dreams as the scene became more commercial. Since his return he’s been incredibly prolific in his creation, etching out peerless ambient works that have captivated listeners with their delicate melody and fascinating textures through releases for the likes of Echospace, Kompakt and Styrax - 2018's A Different Definition of Love marks his 30th bvdub album to date.

Doug Shipton - Beskrajne Dimenzije Mix (self-released)
Doug Shipton, half of the independent archival collective Finders Keepers, is the man of the moment with this stunning (self-released) mixtape that dropped last week. Breaking barriers with the last one of this kind, the excellent Polivoks Orthodox made in collaboration with the other FK half, the spooky driver Andy Votel, this one right here also focuses on the Eastern Europe's 70's & 80's forgotten psych rhythms, ex Yugoslavia to be more exact. Expect the best here, the finest mixing skills with music ranging from Breaks, Disco, Prog, Folk, Krautrock, New Wave and all the impossible obscure tracks you'd want to listen at least once in your life. We were so thrilled for example to hear Bebi Dol's very rare Mustafa 7" single, among so many other incredible songs. You can buy it directly from him and be fast, as this tape is a very limited release. Picked by Alexandru Drăgănescu aka JB.

Glass Knot - Present Tense (Foul-Up)
‘Present Tense’ is a multi-level sonic object whose large-scale reach only equals the profoundness of the tale of love and hate it discreetly tells – in between the lines. Laying down a hot-blooded mixture of warped industrial rhythms, chopped-up breaks, off-kilter drones and hi-NRG anti-techno with a strong punk attitude, the seven tracks blaze their trail away from expectations and norms. Flowing energies and social pressure, high expectations and pathetic fails, driving rhythms and cheerless inertia, so-called integration but effective exclusion; these are some of the opposite poles reeled out of the debut full-length delivery of Glass Knot (Lasse Bjørck Volkmann aka Metalized Man, and Nicolai Vesterkær Krog aka Misantrop) on Foul-Up.

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3. From Ike Yard to Joel Cahen

João Pais Filipe - João Pais Filipe (Lovers & Lollypops)
João Pais Filipe - João Pais Filipe (Lovers & Lollypops)

H Takahashi - Escapism (Not Not Fun Records)
Tokyo architect Hiroki Takahashi is a world-builder both in matter and sound. ‘Escapism’ offers percolating patterns of fiberglass synthetics and fluorescent melody, assembled into minimalist bio-domes of refracted light and hanging gardens. Recorded during metropolitan commutes, afterhours office meditations, and various windows of urban stasis, the album’s six songs actualize the ambient muse of their maker, willing space from density, tranquility from tedium.

Ike Yard - Rejoy (Noiztank)
After their LPs “Ike Yard” (also known as “A Fact A Second” Factory America, 1982) and Nord (Phisteria and Desire, 2010) Ike Yard delivers their last album “Rejoy” on Noiztank, as the culmination of their recent years reinvented sound. As the perpetual flag bearers of the cutting-edge post-punk spirit, the NYC-based band shows muscle in a LP fully loaded with abrasive synth pads, scrap metal percussions, and whispered vocals. Following the previous criteria of “Sacred Machine” 2017, it is worth to remark the inclusion of external vocals in the pieces “Sister M” and “Beyondersay”, which feature Yuki Osaki and MAYa. The nine tracks move through different atmospheres, tensions and moods that would perfectly represent a new contemporary soundtrack of the S. Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”, a major influence and source of inspiration for the group this time around.

João Pais Filipe - João Pais Filipe (Lovers & Lollypops)
The Porto-based artist João Pais Filipe is an artisan behind its own and unique drum kit; he walked the industrial, jazz and avant-garde walk to the point he found a space yet to be occupied by European scholars and their musical notations. In his one of a kind expression, the percussionist bends musical compositions to the point melodies and harmonies are the outcome of rhythmic relations instead of a tyrannic expression ruling over creation. Filipe designed a new direction in sound, which he calls ethno techno and where he manages constant dualities, between mechanic and organic, loops and repetitions, dancefloor explosions and circular mantras. His first, eponymous full-length is composed by three different pieces inhabited by his near-mechanical rhythmic precision and where he reinterprets techno, house and other dancefloor structures through circular patterns and the unprocessed, natural timbres of his kit. An uncanny experience where musique concrète is reshaped to truly moving musical formats created through his own polyrhythmic compositions and unusual bars, while providing relatable and genuinely emotional tunes.

Joel Cahen - Aquadelique (Adaadat)
Aquadelique' is a new album from London-based Israeli sound artist Joel Cahen, due for release on Adaadat. 'Aquadelique' is an album of abstract electronics, designed to be listened to in a semi-submersed state, where sounds are typically felt through the body rather than the ears and sound travels four times faster than it does in the air. It was created as a bi-product of Cahen's experience organising Wet Sounds, a long running series of underwater concerts. This record also features saxaphonist Ricardo Tejero and vocals from Fredy Thuon and Rebecca Horrox. Cahen has been active in London since 1998 sometimes operating under the moniker Newtoy, releasing music on various record labels including; HAK Lo-Fi Record, Earsheltering and Le Colibri Nécrophile. Cahen performed in the noise group The Black Poodle alongside Amir Shoat and Benedict Wallers. In addition to Wet Sounds, Cahen is also known for organising multi-disciplinary art events including; Scrap Club (public Destructivist activity), Cacophony (multichannel sound in libraries) and Interzone Theatre (augmented reality theatre). Cahen's work has been exhibited/performed across Europe, Australia and North America at ISEA, AV Festival, All Tomorrows Parties, The Whitechapel Art Gallery, Tate Britain, Ultima Festival, Helsinki Festival, Elektroni(k) and Red Bull Music Academy. And most recently an award winning show at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe.

Klara Lewis & Simon Fisher Turner - Care (Editions Mego)
This is the first outing from the legendary English musician, songwriter, composer and producer Simon Fisher Turner alongside the highly acclaimed emerging Swedish sound artist Klara Lewis. ‘Care’ is a unique outing rife with delicious dichotomy. The wide scope of references and constant pull of forces make this debut offering a timeless patchwork of sonic spaces. Care is an album which sways in such a salubrious manner one can’t help but delight in its unique form of location/disorientation.

4. From Mayerling to Frank Bretschneider

The Alchemical Theory - Rituale mistico (Annulled Music)
The Alchemical Theory - Rituale mistico (Annulled Music)

Less Bells - Solifuge (Kranky)
The full-length debut by Julie Carpenter’s Joshua Tree, California ambient orchestral project Less Bells emerged from the drama and desolation of its high desert origins. She cites certain compositions as being “specifically inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry nights.” Joined by collaborator Dain Luscombe and utilizing an array of electronic and acoustic instruments, including cello, Optigan, violin, voice, and modular synth, Solifuge conflates not only the solitude and refuge of its title but also intimacy and grandeur, fragility and force, “building from austerity to wild overgrowth.”

Mayerling - Roche (Hands in the Dark Records)
Mayerling is talented electronic music producer Sylvain Bombled, hailing from Besançon in France. He released his debut album 'Cut up' back in 2013 on Hands in the Dark, and five years later, he returns with ‘Roche’, a more electronic and bold album than the first. Less traditional, more adventurous. The guitar has given way to synths and other analogue sequencers. As for the vocals, they have all but disappeared, leaving the listener to be totally taken in by the beguiling, trippy graphic powers and cinematic quality of the new compositions. These ambient hymns reveal something new with each playback. The rich production and fine details guide us through arid, solitary lands, striking us like the midday sun in Death Valley.

Morego - Solivagant (D.M.T. Records)
Morego is the musical project founded by Tehran-based producer Morego Dimmer (aka Xerxes The Dark, Nyctalllz). Known for his cerebral and experimental vein of dark ambient music, Solivagant dips into peculiar, yet cohesive IDM/downtempo strains. Its nine tracks spanning just over 30-minutes, the release feels like an album with an extended player outer shell.

Precipitation - Earth / Sky (100% Silk)
The latest capsule collection from pensive Vancouver visionist Zefan Sramek aka Precipitation presents a more binary take on overcast house and half-light ambience, split between a rhythmic “earth” side and a smeared cirrus “sky” side. Tracked live to tape and padded with Pacific Northwest field recordings of rainy forests and wet meadows, the pieces soar, sink, and spiral like small birds blown by the wind, isolated and adrift.

VA - Sichten 1 (raster)
'Sichten' refers both to 'opinions' as well as the 'examination of material'. In lose sequence, music platform raster invites friends, colleagues and music lovers to share their opinions on music or to look through their collected materials in order to present music that tends to be out of the focus of current media channels. For the first issue of the series, »Sichten 1«, raster asked Frank Bretschneider to compile his own, very personal selection of current electronic music. His choice fell on six artists, whose different styles meander between accessible music on the one hand and very abstract compositions on the other hand. From Benjamin Brunn to Retina.it, from MimiCof to Mads Emil Nielsen and beyond.

The Alchemical Theory - Rituale mistico (Annulled Music)
Rituale mistico was born from the creative union of three young producers very different from each other but at the same time very similar, wanting to represent a mystical ritual, as can also be deduced from the titles of the songs. The album reflects a lot to a character of the past as "Sigmund Freud" pioneer of Surrealism.

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and editor in chief of The Attic, as well as artistic director of Outernational Days festival in Bucharest, a DJ, and allround music adventurer.

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