Categories
ambient electronic

KROOKS FIFTEEN

Party in Amsterdam!

KROOKS celebrates its first fifteen releases with this free compilation. A great way of getting to know the records label that started out earlier this decennium as a bold adventure by three friends to integrate electronic music culture with new ways of telling stories.

Although KROOKS magazine – with short, inspiring stories about contemporary issues with a call to action in the last sentence – and the KROOKS events – always a cool program on a special location – became popular in the city, both ended after a year of hard work and not earning enough to sustain high quality. In my opinion, KROOKS peaked too soon. The concept would flourish in the new culture of the 2020s.

The output of the record label has been stable since the early days (2015, right?), giving a voice to the emerging new kind of downtempo and lounge-like initiatives in the city.

This compilation is a good overview of the recent developments in the scene. The diversity is great, but all tracks included have that KROOKS-feel to it. It’s hard to describe what that is.

Let’s give a try: a slightly positive attitude with dark edges and a spiritual feel laced with downtempo beats and lush basses.

Something like that.

Best examples on this compilation? The moody and slow ‘Coyote de Arena’ by Absentune, the faster and playfully exciting ‘Supernova’ by SpaceAgePoetry (the beautiful spoken word in Dutch) and Dialogue (the production), the dreamy ambient pop of Arjuna Schiks’ ‘Mahesvari’, and the jazzy house of ‘Pink & Orange Sky’ by label co-founder Satori.

Leaves eleven more fine examples of the contemporary downtempo sound of Amsterdam. Although, there are also contributions from Nijmegen, Manchester, Buenos Aires and Mexico City on here.

Maybe it’s time to extend the solid musical basis of KROOKS to an event or even a publication to propagate the open and progressive nature.

Oh, wait…

Fifteen is released by KROOKS Records.

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

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.