Categories
electronic pop

Fluqx – Monolith

At the end of last year, the duo Fluqx released a couple of independent songs. Next month there will be a debut album: Monolith.

Fluqx is Joel Krozer & Brian Della Valle. Both met in a studio where they recorded independently. Krozer is a known Danish producer, mostly working for film and commercials. Della Valle’s Of The Valley is a moody and intimate singer-songwriter project.

The combination works well. Della Valle’s fragile voice intensifies Krozer’s cranky and glitchy electronics. It’s like Weval and Boards of Canada meet.

Latest released song ‘Vanishing Point’ is the best so far: slow, glitchy, moody driven by a deep bassline and eighties synths. The song, beginning and ending with a dark piano line, could break down any time, but you know it won’t: the instability of all the different elements is also its stability.

‘Vanishing Point’ has a melancholic quality that isn’t purely nostalgic. The German word ‘Fernweh’ suits better: the song makes you long for a place and time that never existed. The accompanying video animated by Alex Dubrocard and shot by Joel Kroz captures that feeling in a beautiful way.

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Monolith by Fluqx will be released by hfn.

Categories
film

Too Old To Die Young

One of the best series I’ve seen in a long time: Too Old To Die Young is the heir to True Detective‘s first season (and maybe second). It’s a masterpiece.

Dutch critic Harry Prenger wrote some excellent words about it for The Post Online. In Dutch, but easily translated with thanks to Google Translate. Read it here.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn and writer Ed Brubraker constantly refer to pop culture. The most brilliant scene is the last one. In a very short finale (in length only one-third of the rest of the episodes) Yaritza – played by Cristina Rodlo – kills a couple of Mexican gang members and frees a group of women forced into prostitution by. It marks a somewhat optimistic end: as High Priestess of Death, she is continuing the battle against pure evil, like the other protagonist Martin Jones was doing before he was brutally killed.

As the minutes pass away, Yaritza leaves the bar and closes the door with the guitar riff of Judas Priest’s ‘Rocka-Rolla’ (1974) accompanying her.

Sadly enough there won’t be a second season, but Refn and Brubraker are definitely the ones to watch out for.

Harry Prenger’s review is here.

Too Old To Die Young (2019) is released on Amazon Prime.

Don’t remember ‘Rocka Rolla’ by Judas Priest? Here’s the YouTube video.

Oh, also must share this scene with music by The Leather Nun (1983).

Categories
pop rock

We Are The City – RIP

One of the most intense pop albums of the last decade was Violent by We Are The City. The music of the Canadian trio sounded like a blend of Coldplay, Mogwai and MGMT. Sounds like nothing else, right? Make sure to check the accompanying Norwegian-language feature film.

Their fifth album, just released on the Vienna based label Sinnbus (for Europe), is a bit more introvert and poppy, but as intense. The trio went back to Kelowna – where Cayne McKenzie, Andrew Huculiak and David Menzel spent their youth and started the band – and recorded the album.

RIP is probably style-wise their broadest album. ‘You’re so Clean’ sounds like a blend between a power-pop song and, melody-wise, a seventies Thin Lizzy song. First single ‘Killer B-Side Music’ starts out like an Elton John ballad but explodes in the middle. Make sure to check the beautiful video that accompanies the song.

In February and March, We Are The City is touring through Europe. Dates are over here.

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RIP by We Are The City is released by Sinnbus.

Categories
pop

Ella van der Woude – Sol Mineur

In two weeks the album Sol Piano by Ella van der Woude will be released by Snowstar Records. We know Ella for her more poppy electronics. She released an album as part of the band Houses in 2011 and made a cool triphop EP as ELLA in 2016.

Sol Piano is different: Ella recorded the album in her apartment in Amsterdam mainly using her piano. The result is abstract yet close, intimate yet distant.

The first teaser singles are beautiful. The video for the latest, ‘Sol Mineur’, is shot in Switzerland, her second home, and matches well with the serenity of the song. Looking very much forward to the whole album.

Sol Piano by Ella van der Woude will be released in a couple of weeks by Snowstar Records.

Categories
electronic

Arandel – InBach

Since its debut ten years ago the French project Arandel – swallow in a regional dialect – has released some interesting music floating between electronics, avant-garde and classical music.

This latest is definitely the weirdest: work by Johann Sebastian Bach is used as a basis for excursions into electronic pop music. Bach’s music has been (re)interpreted a lot, but not in the way Arandel is doing here.

The mysterious producer got access to some vintage instruments like a viola da gamba, an Erard square piano, a clavichord, and a 1940s ondioline proto-synth. With the help of a handful of musicians and 21th-century electronic filters, he managed to make an album that sounds like lush and open dream pop with a touch of Bach. Definitely worthwhile.

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InBach by Arandel will be released by InFiné later this month.

Categories
electronic

Oval – Scis

For nearly thirty years Markus Popp aka Oval is using external processes like glitch, software, hardware and AI to compose electronic music with.

Since his move from Cologne to Berlin, Popp seems to be even more open for generative influences, taking a step back from the production process. After the lovely Popp album releases in 2016 that was influenced by club music, he turned back to his software and more nerdy stuff, gave workshops in algorithmic production and did a solo exhibition in London. Now he is back with new music.

The results are a new album Scis and ep Eksploio, both filled with electronic experiments that partly go back to the open and experimental periods of Oval in the late nineties and early 2000s. From dreamy to rough, playful to rigid. It’s all on there and laced with that sound that is so typical for Oval, no other non-Oval would be able to do that. Welcome back Markus!

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Scis by Oval is released on Thrill Jockey Records.

Categories
electronic

Vladislav Delay – Raajat

Sasu Ripatti is like King Midas: everything he touches turns into gold. A couple of years ago he left Berlin for a small island in the Baltic Sea. “There is a lot of nature here and not many people. I need that after six years of living in a city that never sleeps”, Ripatti told me by mail. He was disappointed in electric dance music becoming a product that everybody could make.

As Vladislav Delay he was so active that Ripatti got tired of house, 4/4 beats and ambient. The fresh air on Hailuoto, and his travels to the wilderness above the arctic circle and tree lines, has been good for him: after five years there will be a new album as Vladislav Delay: Rakka. The first track he shares, ‘Raajat’, is the perfect combination between sultry ambient and hectic industrial-like breakbeat stuff.

Rakka by Vladislav Delay will be released on Cosmo Rhythmatic/WARP.

Categories
rock

Dead Neanderthals – Mankind

The leaders of the New Wave of Dutch Heavy Jazz (NWoDHJ) movement released a couple of tracks on Bandcamp in 2019.

‘Mankind’ is the last one. Dead Neanderthals sound there like those psychedelic drone bands at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. Think Loop’s A Gilded Eternity meets Monster Magnet’s Tab.

The White Noise Studio in Winterswijk must have looked like a desert when Ethan Bokma, Otto Kokke and René Aquarius recorded this nearly 14-minute masterpiece.

Maybe because I’m re-reading the work of Timothy Morton, I find ‘Mankind’ to be an excellent soundtrack for the alienating effect that thinking of nature as the strange stranger has on me.

‘While crossing the desert by night, the neon lights of decades of psychedelic history catch up and try to seduce us with lush dancing and promises of alternative realities to strange to comprehend. The strange stranger is here.’

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