Review: For German retroverts Sign Bit Zero, it's "all about the expression of hate, despair, pain, waste, destruction, tristesse and misanthropic in art and music!" and that's good enough for us, really! On offer here are five noisy reinterpretations of some serious industrial unclassics. Hamburg's Wosto (of Fallbeil) takes the razor to UK pioneers Nocturnal Emissions and the raw tonal energy of "Bite Them Back". Label boss Kilian Krings appears also, delivering an edit of vintage EBM classic "Nervous Breakdown" by Suicide Commando and also for short lived Dutch trio S.M. Nurse and their grinding minimal synth anthem "Heinwerker". Some great edits on here for the new industrialists.
Review: We were wondering what Regis' Downwards stable was planning for 2017, but it's clear that the UK techno lynchpin has absolutely everything under control. The year kicks off with a collaborative EP, The Immortal Eye, featuring a special selection of artists whose sounds only tinker with the techno formula, and which will undoubtedly appeal to a whole spectrum of electronic music enthusiasts. Jan Grebenstein and Christine Seefried, the former having already appeared for the label recently, team up on "Wufferfraction", a mid-tempo roller that ticks along at a steady pace amid a sea of electrifying acid sonics, while fellow recent signee Layne delivers a noxious cloud of rhythmic ambient through "Love". On the B-side, the Autumns outfit offer a cold, bleak, pseudo techno groove on "Imposter Syndrome", leaving the excellent DVA Damas to coax the cold out of the wave thanks to an excellent tune by the name of "Shortcut To X". Recommended.
Review: The second release from Dublin based label Eotrax comes from nomadic producer Lair. With a diverse background that includes singing classical and traditional material, the Irish sound artist has expanded her artistic approach into a diverse multi-disciplinary approach. The music has elements of mysticism, sacred geometry and energy: sound with intention. A side tracks "Invoke" and "Meld" respectively utilise the human voice to create mesmerising and esoteric drones that are chilling as much as they are beautiful. Assisted by pads and textures, likely created by digital synthesis that further add to the mysterious and evocative sound environment. On the flip, hypnotic techno heroine Rrose delivers the goods as always with her singular sound, taking you deep into the darklands of techno. Label boss Eomac; who many of you may now as one half of duo Lakker, has stated that this release is a bold move for the label, as it moves away from the dancefloor and into more diverse and experimental fields. Sounds promising indeed and we cannot wait for what is in store next.
Review: If there's a label that flies even lower under the radar than Felix K's Hidden Hawaii, it's Hidden Hawaii Sub. This is the fifth Untitled transmission which follows 12"s from Shifted and Felix K aliases Delete Everything and Stone Edge, Felix K's //no collaboration with German drum and bass engineer Martsman, and the yet to be revealed Meze. The Late Echo Express name debuts with three ambient drum and bass cuts that sound like a haunted steam works. "Track 1" floats through a ghoulish world of steely dub-atmospherics, metallic drones in "Track 2" are petted by pitter-pattering percussion and q searching sonar blip, while "Track 3" is a low-end swaying movement of industrial textures. As they say in Germany, TIP!
Review: Brussels-based sound designer Yann Leguay has spent much of his career creating experimental electronic pieces that challenge people's perceptions. Whether or not Headcrash, his first release on the admirable Vlek label, achieves this admirable aim is debatable. It is, though, a rather mesmerizing and mind-altering record (and we're not just talking about the distinctive, handmade sleeve art). Near 15-minute A-side "IRQL Not Less Or Equal" sets the tone via slowly shifting drone textures, heartbeat style percussion hits, effected analogue electronics, modular noises, and a smattering of atmospheric field recordings. "Uncaught TypeError", a more cluttered affair that combines droning textures and creepy notes with densely layered, almost rhythmic cracks and pops, completes a deliciously out-there and evocative package.
Review: Having already issued a fine debut album for the Editions Mego label this year, Swedish artist Klara Lewis serves further notice of her clear talent for power electronics and expertly sculpted sonic design with this four track release on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion. Msuic "I", "II", "III" and "IV" follow a similarly gloomy path to her album, where cavernous walls of noise erupt from every angle only to be swallowed back into a long tunnel of atmospherics and grey-scaled ambience. The fourth segment is particularly enticing, where Lewis blends field recordings together with flutters of distant, sinister horns and more tranquil soundscapes.
Review: Blimey, Light Sounds Dark really went to town on this new compilation of curios, obscurities and delights that's spread across three 12"s. If you've indulged in previous slabs of LSD curated obscurity then you should have an idea of what is waiting for you within the rather tempting mirrored, triple-gatefold sleeve; namely a smorgasbord of industrial, proto rhythms and early wave sounds. Unlike previous Light Sounds Dark transmissions, there is no identifying information of any sort, but it will definitely appeal to anyone that likes to spend their weekends in a dark basement dancing whilst Veronica Vasicka, Powell or Traxx beat it down in the DJ booth.
Review: Two excerpts from Max Loderbauer and Jacek Sienkiewicz's live show from Berlin Atonal in 2015 performing a live premiere which took up where their last collaborative EP titled Ridges (on Sienkiewicz's Recognition imprint) left off. Accompanied by stunning greyscale visuals of mountain ranges by Pedro Maia, the duo's transcendental drone therapy built up to some intense and powerful moments. "Andes" features bizarre voices and chants over chilling and glacial electroacoustic experiments. While on the flip, "Himalaya" delves deeper into the snowy mountains where strong arctic winds go head to head with violent washes of feedback.
Review: As part of longstanding no wave duo Naked On The Vague, murky girl group Knitted Abyss and extraterrestrial drone project Half High, Lucy Phelan has been a critical force in the Sydney DIY scene for over 10 years. Under the solo veil of Lucy Cliche, she annihilates with these four wavey techno tracks that honour her noise and punk ethos. With pounding drum sequences, draining synths and emotionless vocals echoing Cosey Fanni Tutti, her dark dreams sabotage our calculations of modern dance while demonstrating how physicality and the ethereal can interact.
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
Review: Oliver Vereker made his debut last March with two decidedly robust 12" singles on the mighty L.I.E.S. Having followed it up with more hard-as-nails excursions on Russian Torrent Versions and The Trilogy Tapes, Vereker now pops up on Berceuse Heroique with more nightmarish visions of a dystopian, post apocalyptic future. Lead cut "Flesh & Blood" is clearly the most floor-friendly of the bunch, offering surging techno rhythms overlaid with clanking percussion and little else. It's stark but strangely attractive. Low Jack hook-up "Event Horizon" flips the script, offering a beatless saunter through drone pastures, while "Bedroom Jihad" offers intense white noise, barely audible vocal samples and intense atmospherics.
Human Inferno - "Sorry, I've Got To Hang Up, My Brother Is On The Other Line"
Lasse Marhaug - "Speculum Architecture" (part 1 & 2)
Review: Lasse Marhaug has all kinds of sounds working for him in a very unfriendly way; a piano, humans, a chair, somebody's wife, junk found in the street; a reactor of some sort marked #23. Human Inferno sings of the strange emotions connected to his brother's death. The intensity is overwhelming. Colored vinyl in a printed polyvinyl bag.
Review: Splitting their time between reissues and more recent ventures in leftfield noise and experimental electronics, Enfant Terrible return to issue further edgy scrapings and monologues from Jeremy Fontan, sadly deceased protagonist behind La Mort De L'Hippocampe. The first side exists in a relatively calm space, as Fontan speaks over an intense, constant organ chord. "Chant De L'Extase" is harder tackle, with an abrasive mess of industrial electronica noise and unrelenting bass underneath Fontan's speech, adopting an aggressive stance reminiscent of early Aphex Twin at his most vitriolic.
Review: Perhaps the most minimal Spectrum Spools release to date, The Sincere Interruption is Eric Lanham's first release under his own name after several ears of performing as Carl Calm and Palmetto Moon Electronic Group. Recalling the precision of early 00s Mille Plateaux and Raster-Noton, The Sincere Interruption clicks with glitches that sound like scrambled MP3 fragments, albeit held together with an invisible matrix beneath. Repetitive, yet imperceptibly evolving, this is a highly rewarding listen.