Categories
electronic

Jordan GCZ – Space Songs EP

One of my favourite techno acts of the past two decades is Juju & Jordash. The two producers from Amsterdam possess the ability to make new music sound like old, and old music like new in a way that the result always has that authentic vibe. Their live-sets are amongst the best I’ve had experienced in my thirty-year life as electronic music adept/raver. Making them the poster boys od Dekmantel.

Both are also producing solo material. While Gal Aner (Juju) is working together with others a lot, Jordan Czamanski is quite busy as Jordan GCZ releasing a new 12″ at least every year. His style is in line with that of Juju & Jordash: open, lush, raw.

Jordan has the ability to strip music to its essence: a beat, a loop, a synth melody. That is the start of all his tracks. By adding new layers he is adding more soul and emotions. Perfection isn’t a goal here: his music always had this imperfect, raw vibe.

Space Song EP, released on the Future Times label based in Washington DC, is no exception. The five songs on this release embody the essence of techno: feel one with the machine. The ten minutes of ‘Half-Time’ lead the way: this is techno that is not trapped in a space-time vacuum but just is. The lushness of the beats, dominant open bassline, meandering synths: this is what techno embodies. Electronic music doesn’t get any better.

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Space Song EP by Jordan GCZ will be released by Futures Times on April 3rd.

Categories
electronic

Graham Dunning – Reach Into Time

To be honest, Reach Into Time isn’t the best representation of Graham Dunning’s musical catalogue, but it reflects his way of working and his values towards craftsmanship well.

Dunning has released a lot of electronic music on different labels and teaches experimental sound art at the Mary Ward Centre in London. He experiments with sounds, hardware, software, instruments and locations. For instance: the basis for the piece ‘Windchange’ is recorded inside the top of a 100-year-old windmill in Harplinge, Sweden, during a rainstorm and a change in the wind direction. Dunning enhanced the recording and released it earlier this year on Something About Still Trying. The title track is based on a mobile phone recording taken on a coach. Glocken – released last year, but recorded in 2018 – he worked with a turntable and modified records.

Reach Into Time is a collection of live coding performances Dunning did. Instead of using pre-set software, Dunning is coding the music bit by bit on the spot. A wonderful, creative way to stay close to the essence of rave: machine and men merging in one. Failure can be part of the process: one mistyped letter or symbol and the sequence is broken.

Without this background knowledge, Reach Into Time still sounds like a refreshing collection of old school techno, breakbeat and electro, close to the fragile sound of the best years of rave culture. The limitations of the machine are the key here, giving a much more authentic sound than Fruityloops will ever be able to deliver.

The cassette tape comes in a beautifully designed cover. There are still a few left here.

Make sure to check Dunning’s Boiler Room performance in 2016 out. It is magical and a must-watch for everybody into experimental electronic dance music. It’s over here.

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Reach Into Time by Graham Dunning is released by SØVN Records.

Categories
electronic

Sounds from the Rocking Chair

One of the coolest and most interesting labels from Amsterdam is already going strong for over a decade: Moving Furniture is a haven for qualitative experimental, mostly digital music.

The back catalogue is impressive: most known experimental composers and musicians in The Netherlands released their music on the label. Owner Sietse van Erve is a key figure in Amsterdam’s experimental electronic music scene.

It isn’t easy to keep up such an effort in the current musical landscape. A lot of labels are struggling and have a difficult time. At the end of last year, Van Erve announced a successful crowdfunding campaign. He also asked musicians for help. This compilation is the result. Twentyfour musicians contributed to Sounds from the Rocking Chair. Most of them teamed up in pairs and composed new music dedicated to the campaign.

The result is one of the coolest compilations of mostly Dutch experimental electronics. Resulting in over sixty minutes of cutting-edge ambient, noise, drones, modular synthesizers, modern classical and mixtures of all of these genres. Making Sounds from the Rocking Chair also an excellent introduction into the world of Moving Furniture.

Personal favourites? The ice-cold collaboration between Radboud Mens and BJ Nilsen, and the gloomy ‘Piano Music Redux’ by Freiband and Orphax (label owner Van Erve himself). But every track on this compilation is worth a listen.

The successful crowdfunding already led to a beautiful release by Tongues of Mount Meru. Make sure to check it out on Bandcamp.

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Sounds from the Rocking Chair is released by Moving Furniture.

Categories
electronic pop rock

Deutsche Ashram – Whisper Om

In the early 1970s, kosmische rock acts like Ash Ra Temple and Amon Duül organized their own ashrams, modelled after Indian examples, in the rural areas of West Germany. The ashrams were ascetic and spiritual places that offer room for meditation, yoga, experimentations with music and drugs. By creating an open space, they offered a way out of western society,

Are Merinde Verbeek and Ajay Saggar referring to these havens of consciousness with the name of their Deutsche Ashram project? Fact is that the music on their two albums sounds like a soundtrack of a world that is embracing the blend of the individual and the cosmic body. The basis is the shoegaze like indie pop that Verbeek already experimented with in her former band Mineral Beings. Sagger, of King Champion Sounds, adds deeper layers of psychedelic and cosmic instrumentation, without drifting too far from the shoegaze sound.

The combination of Verbeek’s airy vocals and Sagger’s walls of sounds works well. On second album Whisper Om the duo is drifting from Cocteau Twins like shoegaze over Ummagumma Pink Floyd to early 1990s Madchester meets My Bloody Valentine in the excellent ‘Slackjaw’.

Oh, and don’t forget to admire the beautiful artwork. An extra reason to buy the vinyl (the other being able to use your pitch and play the songs on all kinds of different speeds).

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Whisper Om by Deutsche Ashram is out now on Wormer Bos Records.

Categories
rock

Pink Cigs – Pink Cigs

Riffs. Beards. Nostalgia.

That’s Pink Cigs from Sheffield. The self-titled debut sounds like it has been recorded in 1971, but the album definitely doesn’t sound retro or pastiche.

Yes, the influence of early heavy rock is crystal clear.

Black Sabbath. Blue Cheer. A bit of early Purple.

But there is more. The production of Pink Cigs is raw and direct. Then there is the intensity of the records. Reminds a bit of Monster Magnet’s Spine of God: this is a band that doesn’t hold back and goes all the way. Like this is the last thing they’ll ever do.

In Exposed Magazine Pink Cigs describes themselves as “Picture the toilet bowl after Sabbath, Deep Purple and James Gang went for a big stinking curry at Balti King… That’s us!”

Classic riff rock and Indian food? Does it get any better?

This debut is a must for lovers of the classic riffs, early New Wave of Heavy Metal and raw psychedelic and early stoner rock.

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Pink Cigs by Pink Cigs is out now.

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.