Zombies Under Stress - "Maan Zal Zijn" (Svengalisghost remix)
Mark Forshaw - "Submission"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Contort Yourself has once again gathered the best and boldest from past and present for its fourth EP. To begin with we have the grimacing visage of Volition Immanent, an intense live act made up of Parrish Smith and Mark Van de Maat (Knekelhuis). Behind rawkish distortion, splintered beats and acrid bars screams a boiled anger; a track spitting on the divides of punk and electronics. Nastiness is taken up a notch as noise ne'er-do-wells Zombies Under Stress take over. Static is bent and doubled across thick chords and collapsed clap in the 1986 "Maan Zal Zijn" before the raw and raging battery of "In Onze Tijd." L.I.E.S. regular Svengalisghost grapples with "Maan Zal Zijn, channelling the original's rage into a mechanical monster. The 12" is bookended with bite as Mark Forshaw (Tabernacle/Berceuse Heroique) closes with the tortured and torrential thump of "Submission." A callous, caustic and fervently cruel EP.
Review: Noiztank co-founder Zosima has been surprisingly quiet of late, with his last release of note - the suitably intense and dystopian "Apropos Of The Wet Snow" - dropping back in 2017. As the title suggests "Live Cuts I" is made up of fuzzy, lo-fi workouts that were recorded to tape during live shows in Madrid, Berlin and Vienna. All four are suitably atmospheric and spontaneous in feel, in keeping with the producer's sweaty, hardware-driven performances. What you get is full-throttle industrial techno full of head-mangling distorted drums, rhythmic white noise and - on the clandestine "LC3" and paranoid "LC1" - a sliver of wild-eyed melodic intent. Not for the faint hearted, but well worth your attention if you like your grooves raw, ragged and full-throttle.
Review: Chinese audio-visual duo Zaliva D have been making waves on the underground for over ten years, though this Knekelhuis label debut marks their first ever appearance on vinyl. So was it worth the wait? Most certainly! Out there, intergalactic and alien, the seven tracks see the pair wrap unusual, Far East-inspired synthesizer motifs and tumbling lead lines over a range of unusual drum machine rhythms, often foreboding chords and some seriously wonky, manipulated vocals. Highlights include the buzzing late night paranoia of "Wicked", the skewed cold wave-pop of "Gone With The Pest", the ultra-deep creepiness of "Path" and the glacial, lost-in-space solitude of "Foresaken".
Review: Second time around for Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch's acclaimed soundtrack to Denis Villeneuve's 2017 flick "Blade Runner 2049". Like the film itself, Zimmer and Wallfisch's soundtrack is very much a sequel to Vangelis' 1982 original, with spacey, poignant and bittersweet orchestral compositions sitting side by side with more electronic, synthesizer-driven pieces that match the dark, futuristic mood of the movie. There are plenty of nods towards the musical themes explored first time around, with the climactic "Blade Runner" sounding like a 21st century update of the Greek composer's lauded original title music.
Review: Two killer tracks licensed from Oriki Music and taken from the recent Akwaba Abidjan compilation. These two monsters from De Frank Jr are straight up deep and funky afrobeat from 1970's Ivory Coast. More essential dancefloor delights from Mukatsuku - strictly vinyl only & singles only...
Review: Defining herself as a most transgressional artist, up there with the likes of Bjork, Bat For Lashes and Cat Power, the haunting lyricism, futuristic beats, and folkish, synth demure of Zola Jesus is a pleasure and melancholic amble through the vast pastures of a most inspiring mind. In a way Conatus collides a world of genres, with her vocal presence a focal point amid pumping 808 kicks and percussion, acoustic drum kits, to pianos and pulsating synthesizers. Fitting into the world of experimental, abstract music as much as it does with folk, pop and its contemporary iterations, Zola Jesus' Conatus LP is in a world unto its own.
Review: Modern Love's newest release comes from British beatmaker Zomby, who has reached into his archives to unearth a long lost album nearly a decade after its completion. Said to be recorded between two weeks around 2008-2009, the Mercury's Rainbow LP sees the London based producer interpreting grime innovator Wiley's Eskibeat productions, which played an instrumental role in the genre's formation. It features the 4AD/Hyperdub affiliated artist utilising intricately hand-programmed arpeggios, 'sliding Triton squares' and post-garage drum patterns. On a conceptual level, it uses theories of colour and its relation to the sonic chromatic spectrum - the circle of fifths.