Review: Thomas Leer was mainly active in the late 70s and early 80s, dropping two singles on Cherry Red that provided the source material for the two original tracks on this Emotional Rescue reissue 12". Opener "Saving Grace" is a rich, bombastic blast of synthwave, all chugging arps and massive leads, while "Tight As A Drum" heads into more psychedelic territory, using strange gating techniques and deft FX to create a wondrous, shimmering bed for Leer's poetic chat over the top. Bringing an inventive angle to the release, the label signed Bullion up for two wonderfully warm, wobbly remixes. Honing in on the weirder qualities of Leer's work, these modern interpretations make a perfect bridge from the old to the new - highly recommended!
Review: Lhasa is the brainchild of Alain Raes from Siegen, Germany. As a teenager he was inspired by Tubeway Army's "Are Friends Electric" and Art Of Noise's "Beatbox". In 1985 he began collecting analog equipment (Prophet-5; Oberheim OB-X; Linn LM-1) as digital synthesizers had started to become more popular. In 1986, New Beat was born in Belgium. Dancers tapped into the darker side of synth pop, and DJs would play 45 rpm records at 33 with the pitch control set to +8. Alain was playing in New Wave bands and had started production work and synth programming for other acts.
In 1988 he self-released the debut Lhasa single 'Acetabularia' / 'Acetatechno', with help from Kris Tremmery on vocals and concept. The record combined the icy melodies of Gary Numan and John Foxx with with the mechanical rhythms of Detroit techno and EBM. Thematically, both tracks revolve around the end of life on Earth, and include samples from 'Dr. Strangelove'. For this first time reissue, we've added 4 bonus tracks rescued from a 1990 recording session DAT tape. These demos show further development of the Lhasa sound with updated instruments (Roland D-20, Yamaha TX16W, Korg 707), faster tempos, and menacing proto-rave energy. All songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each copy includes an 11x11 poster with photos and liner notes by Alain.
Review: Musical (and real life) couple Local Suicide has been in fine form of late, delivering a series of solid collaborations with the likes of Curses, Franz Matthews and Theus Mago. Here they go solo once more via a first outing on Lumiere Noire. Title track "Leopard Gum" is dark, woozy and feverish, with the pair wrapping curiously off-kilter vocals, intoxicating electronics and ghostly chords around a slow, sparse, bass-heavy groove. It's given a throbbing, darkwave inspired makeover by regular studio buddies Smagghe & Cross, before Local Suicide serves up the clandestine and atmospheric new wave chug of "Already There". In typical fashion, synthesizer fetishist Phillip Lauer offers up an Italo-disco influenced interpretation that turns the track into a cheery chunk of Balearic disco goodness.
Review: De:tuned are in the midst of a 10 part anniversary series, and this latest missive - the seventh in all - brings together a hefty selection of talents old and new on heavyweight vinyl. Jonah Sharp opens things as Spacetime Continuum and continues to fuse ambient, techno, and IDM on the absorbing cosmic adventure that is "Only One Sky." Scanner's "Mothlit" slows things down with a hip hop instrumental from outer space, and then the beats disappear altogether on Ross 154's suspensory ambient cut "Earth To Our Friends." Lastly, Leo Anibaldi's "Crion" will make your skin tingle with its deft and delicate melodies which float about like fireflies and leave gorgeous, glowing trails in their wake.
Review: Back in 1981, London-based Anthony Waites decided to create some "poetic, subversive pop music" with borrowed synthesizers in friends' bedroom studios. The result was a sole, self-released seven-inch single under the Scenes De La Boheme alias, a record that has long been a cult item amongst collectors. "Standing In The Rain", his first ever album, includes those two tracks - the bubbly brilliance of "Zara" and the lo-fi, beat-free, guitar-driven shuffle of "The Tale Of The Butterfly" - alongside four others recorded in the same period. It's an impressively off-kilter and atmospheric set, with the early Human League style hum of "Leap Into The Void" and the icy shuffle of "A City Such As This" standing out.
The Twenty Second Step As Well As The Tenth (5:06)
The Gates Made Plain (7:25)
Review: Back in 2014, RVNG Intl. released "Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Volume 1", a compilation of pioneering early 1980s electronic music by composer and producer Craig Leon. Five years on, they're finally releasing a follow up - and this time the music is brand spanking new. Leon, with assistance from vocalist Cassell Webb, recorded the showcased music between 2015 and 2018. It explores similar sonic territory to the artist's celebrated early work, offering up an atmospheric, synthesizer-driven fusion of ambient, modern classical, New York minimalism, Radio Workshop style electronic experimentalism and new age soundscapes. The set more than lives up to its grandiose title, offering up atmospheric, extra-terrestrial musical movements that sound like they've been beamed down from a galaxy far, far away.
Review: Leopoldo Rosa AKA Lerosa has been fighting against lazy categorization for years, offering up tracks that go way beyond the deep house sound he cultivated in the early years of his career. Those who still think he makes records like that should definitely check "Bucket Of Eggs", his long-awaited second album, because it's far more thrillingly wayward, off-kilter and alien-sounding than anything he's released before. It's rooted in house music - and twisted acid house, in particular - but also doffs a cap towards Rephlex style mutant electronica, turn-of-the-90s Bleep and Bass (the superbly weighty and spacey "Sheffield"), skewed electro ("Subterfuge") and even deep space electronica (killer closing cut "Don't Worry"). In a word: essential.
Review: Lifted's off-kilter ambient electronics were rightly praised by critics when the improvisation-loving trio (who can count Andrew Field-Pickering AKA Max D amongst their number) released their debut album back in 2015. It's likely that this impressive follow-up will be similarly lauded. "2" offers up tracks that mix languid ambient motifs and pleasingly skewed melodies with jazzy, off-kilter drum machine percussion, unsettling free-jazz sax solos, starburst electronics and bizarre but brilliant blasts of instrumental eccentricity. At times, it's deliciously challenging, at others blissfully brilliant. On rare occasions - as on standouts such as "Rose 31", "Blackpepper" and "Total Cure" - it's both of those things at the same time.