Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sweet Trip - Velocity : Design : Comfort

Darla Records: 2003

(a Patreon Request from Philoi)

This is what happens when indie kids discover IDM. Okay, that's not fair, Sweet Trip having debuted with an album that cribbed from acid and jungle drum programming. They were even featured on a couple compilations called Drum & Bliss - what, was Chill & Bass already taken? - and while such a title sounds daft, after hearing their tune Follow Me, yeah, it fits. However, considering their third and final album went full-in with the shoegazey dream-pop, it makes this middle album of Velocity : Design : Comfort stand out all that much more. With fancy production tools and tricks pioneered by ADHD studio rats and IDM wonks far more accessible by the year 2003, such that You Too could create a frenetic glitch-hop schmoze-fest if you so fancied, it seems Sweet Trip fancied it indeed.

I can only imagine the shock older fans had when first throwing this album on, opener Tekka a spastic glitchy, breakcore ditty, leagues removed from whatever 'drum and bliss' business Darla Records initially billed Sweet Trip as. But then it moves onto Dsco, as standard a gentle dance-punk jam as you'd ever hear. Familiar indie territory then, but completely out of sorts from that opener. I cannot deny wondering if this was even the same album, despite all evidence proving it was.

Velocity : Design : Comfort essentially plays out like that for the duration: glitchy IDM stuff, followed by dreamy indie fluff, often within the same track. The rock stuff, I quite like, though as I don't take in much of it in my regular music diet, I've no clue how it stands against the great contemporary dream pop pantheon. In any case, whenever tunes like Velocity, Sept, Chocolate Matter and Fruitcake And Cookies let the indie vibes through (mmm, such lovely vocal harmonies between Roby and Valerie), I'm down.

And that's funny, because I'm not an indie guy – I'm a 'techno' guy. You'd think it'd be all the electronic stuff that tickles my fancy – the twee glitch-hop of International and steady groove of Design : 1 sure do - but there's just so much glitch (just... so much), I too often find it excessively distracting and pointless. Like, all those stutters and fills in the minimalist To All The Dancers Of The World, why do that? The song's fine without them, and they add nothing beyond showing off some technical wankery. Are they there because they can be there? They don't have to be though. Why is this so dense, with so much going on all the time? You had enough sense to leave them out in the dreamy, wall-of-sound climax of the song, so why not the rest?

Hey, to some ears, such wankery is genius. I'm not about to deny them their thoughts. I'm sure that's even part of The Point in this album's concept (it's in the title, mang!). It just comes off needlessly overstuffed to my ears, and maybe even Sweet Trip's too, since they abandoned all that gimmickry when they released their third album. Just sayin'.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Lusine - A Certain Distance

Ghostly International: 2009

(a Patreon Request from Omskbird)

Jeff McIlwain (ergh, there's that 'upper case, lower case' thing again) seems like the sort of producer I should have stumbled upon more recently than via a Patreon Request. And while I do have a single track of his under his L'usine handle, it comes care of a James Zabiela Renaissance Masters set that must have completely passed me by, as I failed to name-drop him in that review. Yet taking in his back-catalogue, I'm hearing things I like, and would have vibed on had I come across them sooner. Well, maybe not so much that self-titled first album, itself treading into the sterile domain of serious IDM. Following that though, it seems Mr. McIlwain fell sway to Boards Of Canada-itis, slowing his songcraft down to a laid-back trip-hop tempo with warm, hazy melodies, while still retaining some of his glitchier tendencies. Then Wolfgang Voigt made shoegazey ambient dronescapes popular with Pitchfork sorts, so we got to hear a little of that as well in subsequent albums. Along the way, Jeff hooked up with Ghostly International, they the home of such Very Important people in the world of techno like Matthew Dear, Solvent, Tycho, and Com Truise. Ah, that's probably why I kinda' flaked on L'usine: my nonsensical instinct to bypass labels techno journalists sing praises of. I blame minimal's overexposure for this gut reaction. No no, it's fine, minimal all too aware of its past sins – it's a burden it can bear.

Anyhow, despite having crafted a half-dozen LPs by the end of the '00s, A Certain Distance was only McIlwain's second proper album with Ghostly International (Podgelism being a remix album of Serial Hodgepodge). Trends had definitely continued changing in all that time, and Jeff had no problem keeping his L'usine project at pace with them. Oh yes, there's blip-bloop, white-noise tech-haus on here, though only one track, Every Disguise. Ignore its hilariously dated hausiness, and enjoy the tunes that haven't dated so much.

Yeah, that opener Operation Costs, with it's low-key electro funk and toasty-crisp glitch, that's the stuff (apparently also the tune on that aforementioned Zabiela set – how did I miss this?). Or how about a song that wouldn't be out of place on a classic Hed Kandi chill-out CD, Two Dots a peppy electro glitch-pop romp featuring soul-jazz singing from Vilja Larjosto - Twilight and, to a lesser extent, Gravity, also get in on that action. Wait, you came here because you fell sway to L'usine's earlier IDM-hop? Don't worry, Jeff has you covered with Tin Hat and Baffle. And don't worry, disc-jockeys, you get your dancefloor pounds of flesh as well in Crowded Room (smooth electro house) and Cirrus (pure crowd pleasing anthem, in that muted Booka Shade vein). Man, hearing how effective these two tracks are only highlights how out-of-place Every Disguise comes off. Please don't tell me Every Disguise somehow ended up the most rinsed-out tune off this album. A Certain Distance has far better tunes on it than that one.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pan Sonic - A

Mute: 1999

(a Patreon Request)

Who knew Scandinavians to be ahead of the techno curve? While Detroit was getting minimal and Germany was getting dubby, a little trio out of Finland were exploring the extreme end of experimental. Consisting of Mika Vainio, Ilpo Väisänen, and Sami Salo, their productions bridged the decades-old gap between techno's futurist outlook and musique conrete's dated art-noise. Okay, that's unfair, plenty of 'interesting' electronic sonic doodles and Pollock paintings by way of vacuum tubes and radio transistors having emerged from this scene. Still, you gotta' be all in with this, or it'll just come off as the random sounds heat radiators or telephone boxes create on a fussy night. Of course, this all became super-trendy once Very Important techno DJs began raiding labels Mille Plateaux and Raster-Noton for a little variety in the sets, but Panasonic was among the first to do it with some level of recognition.

Whoops, sorry, I mean Pan Sonic. Obviously their original handle wasn't gonna' fly with the increased international exposure. Along with losing the 'a' though, they also lost Sami Salo, who had a promising NHL career ahead of him, sporting one of the heaviest slap-shots the league had ever seen. Perhaps not a Hall Of Famer, but still, a top four d-man on whatever team he played for. Just a shame his career was derailed by frequent injuries, such that- Eh? It's a different Sami Salo? Wow, the odds! I mean, he joined the NHL right about the same time as the Panasonic Sami Salo left. That's too much of a coincidence.

Mika and Ilpo may have lost an 'a' (and a Salo), but they still got some use out of it, cheekily sliding the letter onto the spine of the CD case and using it as the title of their third album. As Pan(a)Sonic were definitely in the mix of the new Trendy Techno discourse, there was probably a little pressure in crafting an album that lived up to whatever hype was generated in their favour. Figures they'd almost completely abandon techno for the sake of sonic experiments, then.

I suppose A firmly sits in the IDM camps, though the clinical sterility of the genre isn't so prevalent. Tracks like Maa, Askel, and A-Kemia, for instance, feature nice reverb and echo among its low throbs, clicky percussion and drone tones. Lomittain has a cool, low-ridin' groove going for it. Telakoe is almost an 'ardcore track, though sounds more jokey than po-faced. And Voima could have fit snuggly as a b-side remix on some industrial rock single.

That's only five tracks out of seventeen though, and while a number of the rest are ninety second doodles, there's a wi-i-i-ide gap between 'real' tunes and musique concrete dithering on this album. I get that's the point, Pan Sonic crafting a huge pit of near-nothingness between the noisier tracks on A - makes Talakoe and Voima stand out more. If you've never dug the experimental side electronic music's non-musical potential though, A won't convert you either.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Solar Fields - Ourdom

Sidereal: 2018

After years of forlorn name-drops on my part, Magnus Birgersson finally returns with a new Solar Fields album! Only... it's not on Ultimae, Mr. Birgesson having since gone the independent route. Eh, that's honestly no surprise, his former label taking a path far removed from the lane Magnus traditionally operates from. Still, it can't help but feel like an old family has grown distant from each other, hanging out with different friends and scenes. One of them even ended up palling with creepy Goth kids.

The Solar Fields brand has kept active since his last proper album (all the way back in 2012!), mostly with reissues of his back-catalogue. With that all out of the way though, and nothing better to do than to hit the studio again with some fresh ideas and fresh perspectives in a fresh climate (about as fresh as something in the state of Denmark, sadly), we finally have ourselves an honest-to-God, bonafide and true full-length outing of fresh material from Solar Fields, Ourdom. Erm, an odd title, that. Is it supposed to be a portmanteau of 'our kingdom'? Ooh, let me try one: allingetherness!

When Carbon Based Lifeforms made their return/debut on Blood Music (!), the album came off as though they were hitting all their classic songcraft spots, perhaps showcasing it to a different audience. While I'm certain folks buying Ourdom are almost exclusively long-standing fans, I can't help but feel like this album's doing the same, giving us a traditional Solar Fields album, hitting many of the same pacing and tonal points as records past, as though he's reintroducing himself to a new audience. Or at least reminding folks of his steez.

Like, it's got that inexplicable mega-opulent grande crescendo piece (Into The Sun) as only the third track. Most producers couldn't craft an album climax this massive if they tried, and here's ol' Magnus laying one out barely a quarter through Ourdom. Heck, he pulls it again with Joshua's Shop, and there's four tracks after that. Plus, it just isn't a Solar Fields album without some incredibly twee melodies to trigger your childhood sentiments with (Forgiveness, A Long Tailed Bird Whispered). Or if you preferred it when Solar Fields cranked out the trance vibes, he's got you covered twice with Mountain King and Moving Lines, and neither close the album out. And while the final few tracks don't reach such energetic highs, they still run the gamut from epic (Parallel Universe) to grandeur (The Daylight Carrier) to pure relaxation (Siren Song Of Glass).

Ourdom is essentially a four-part album (perfect for one side of a two-vinyl option, fancy that), each segment offering a general taste of Solar Fields' many facets. What I find oddest about Ourdom is how each segment seems to breeze by, yet taken in as a whole, the album somehow stretches beyond the standard CD runtime. I'm more than stuffed and sated by Joshua's Shop, but Magnus just keeps feedin' me, an' feedin' me, an' feedin' me...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Cygna - Opus Ena

iT Records/Ultimae Records: 2011/2014

I thought to myself, here's another digital-only item from Ultimae Records, a part of their push to expand into that market along the likes of Lars Leonhard and all those Nuit Hypnotique #4 releases. I may as well round out that part of my Ultimae collection with this single, thought I, since I'm splurging a little, Opus Ena truly sporting one of the most eye-catching pieces of cover art the label's ever offered – such a lush, deep blue.

It was honestly only after I played it back that I realized this Cygna release was, in fact, of album length, not an EP like those Leonhard releases. Which was fine – more music to enjoy and all – but found it strange that Ultimae would release an LP as a digital-only item. Then I recently discovered that Opus Ena had, in fact, already been released on CD a few years prior on ultra-obscure Greek label iT Records, and that this Ultimae version was a reissue. Oh man, that directly flies in the face of my “don't buy digital if CD is available” mantra, but how was I to know? Save the odd Ultimae compilation track, I'd never heard of Cygna before, so had no hope of stumbling across Opus ένα (Symphonic Ambient Works) without a deep Discoggian dive. I don't feel tricked or anything, but man, I've a rep' to maintain here. It's not my fault! It's not my fault...

Cygna is Mario Sammut, and was part of that Grecian talent raid Ultimae did that included such names like MikTek and Ambientium. Cygna first appeared with Aes Dana's label on the final Fahrenheit Project compilation, and popped up here and there along the way. Lord Discogs doesn't have much other material from him however, and though his Flash website features an exhaustively detailed biography, there hasn't been any updates for a few years now, much less anything uploaded to his Soundcloud. It would seem Mr. Sammut has put Cygna on hiatus, though watch him put out another album within the next few months, effectively making my statement instantly dated. Happens a lot.

Given Ultimae's general move towards minimalist, dubby downtempo and techno in this period, Opus Ena is quite an outlier, sounding more like the label's earlier forays into widescreen downtempo and world beat. Mario likes his traditional classical instruments, see, showing little fear throwing in acoustic guitars, woodwinds, chants, orchestral strings, ethnic drumming, the works. Reminds me quite a bit of Asura whenever he got his Hollywood Historical Epic score on, though Cygna goes for a more mysterious vibe compared to Asura's opulence in such compositions.

The seven tracks are densely packed with instrumentation, with each featuring something unique in the lead. Caucasus is rhythm heavy, while Euclidean Subspace let the synths take charge. Ada is mostly on that guitar 'n strings stylee, while Oubliée Et Perdue goes minimalist with pianos and string drones. Ah, there had to be something jiving with the nu-Ultimae in this album.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Bubble - OI

Mune Music/Carpe Sonum Records: 2011/2014

In all the music I've gathered, I've never come across something called OI. Now, in two straight albums, I've come across it twice. THE. ODDS! Though really, the Plaid track is called Ol, not OI. Pretty big difference there. Eh, they look the same to you? Oh, right, the standard font of the internet is Arial, which makes a capitalized 'i' and lowercase 'L' look identical. Let me rephrase that: the Plaid track is OhEl, and the Bubble album is OhEye. It's strange that the internet never abandoned Arial due to this – how many times have folks been confused whether a movie's called Rocky [three] or Rocky [ill]?

You know what also threw me for a loop? That John Sobocan got dibs to the Bubble alias with Lord Discogs. You'd think another act would have claimed it earlier, a simple, charming name that any number of producers could have tossed a one-off single with (no, not the Richard Dekkard project on Jackpot – that was The Bubble). In fact, I do have an album by another Bubble, a psy-trance act that released a debut way back in 2005, whereas Mr. Sobocan made his debut as Bubble much later. Psy Bubble were by no means stars, but they had enough presence such that you'd think they would be the Bubble-Prime within Discogs, not this tiny ambient project. The oddities one finds in deep Discogs dives, I swear.

Okay, enough preamble ramble. OI (capital 'i') is Sobocan's second album as Bubble, a collection of very ambient tracks composed and recorded during two sessions. The first occurred when, on the whim of a dream, John took a trip to Puttaparthi, India (as you do), no mean feat considering he resides on the literal opposite side of the globe in Ontario. While absorbing the culture, he made some music, though let it sit for nearly a half-decade before completing the album while wiling the time away in a remote Ontario region (also as you do). He released it on the hopelessly obscure Mune Music, and may have gone unnoticed, had he not caught the attention of Carpe Sonum Records. Oh yes, Bubble, too, was part of the indispensable comprehensive Pete Namlook tribute box-set Die Welt Ist Klang. Oh, and getting an album out on Databloem under his own name probably didn't hurt John's prospects either.

Not much room left to talk music in this review, but honestly, there's little to say. This is as soft, calming, velvety, and relaxing as ambient can go without going full New Age. Some tracks use field recordings and are relatively quiet and subtle, some make use of Halpern tones, others layer pads into lush textures and timbre, and Aum is all on that Eternal OM vibe, but Bubble isn't doing much unique for the ambient genre. It's a nice, simple little album that floats along on tufts of air, its grasp on your attention about as tenuous as that which Sobocan takes the project's namesake.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Plaid - Not For Threes

Warp Records: 1997

All that mumble-jumbo I said regarding digging into an act's extensive discography? Kinda' moot point when it comes to Plaid's Not For Threes. There's some history behind this album, see, making it one of the duo's more essential LPs out of their discography. The Black Dog was...well, not dead, but when Ed Handley and Andy Turner left Ken Downie to his own devices, there certainly was uncertainty in the air. Could The Black Dog brand continue without their input? What would Misters Handley and Turner do for themselves? Might they explore solo careers, or carry on with their older Plaid alias before The Black Dog stuff overwhelmed their careers? Well, obviously we know the answer to the latter one, as Plaid carries on to this day, but man who saw that in ye' olde year of 1997? Hell, some folks thought we were all gonna' die within three years!

Not that those in the know wouldn't know of Ed and Andy's prior work under the Plaid moniker, having already released an album via Black Dog Productions, Mbuki Mvuki, but it didn't have the same recognition as their work in association with Ken Downie. Not For Threes (is this a dig on their former three-person group? Was there bad-blood in the Black Dog break-up?) had the task of not only marking Plaid as their own entity, but convince Black Dog disciples they were as worthy of their attention as anything released in those seminal years. Getting a couple popular vocalists in Nicolette (Shut Up And Dance, Massive Attack) and Björk (endless namedrops) to contribute some lyrics didn't hurt. Ain't no one sang with Black Dog back then.

Sticking with Warp Records no doubt helped the transition, and the clipper-clop beats and funky-quirky melodic electro of opener Abla Eedio likely allayed any lingering hesitation. They were staying the IDM lane, and going as idiosyncratic with their songcraft as ever. Kortisin, Myopia and Fer are chipper, funky jaunts down tropical boulevards. Headspin gets in on that hyper-jazz trend Squarepusher was, um, pushing. Prauge Radio shows they can be just as noisy bastards as Aphex Twin at his drill 'n' bassiest. Or they could go as mellow as a Balearic dawn, as in Rakimou. Ol reminds you of those heady ambient techno days. Ladyburst sounds like something from a Gorillaz D-side. Lilith has Ms. Björk doing her thing over a skittery trip-hop beat, while Nicolette provides her soul croon to an equally sketchy trip-hop outing in Extork. Milh lets the Plaid boys have their modern classical indulgence. Getting sounds like... a deep-dive jazz session in a SNES game?

And there's plenty more charming IDM wonkery littered throughout Not For Threes, which is nice for those who prefer their IDM a little on the sane side of the apple cart. Why, you might even say Not For Threes is the Plaid album you should have, even if you're not a Plaid fan.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Circular - Nordic Circles: live Nuit Hypnotique #4

Ultimae Records: 2013

In yet another move showing Ultimae was shaking up their release options, the label made available a series of live recordings taken from the Nuit Hypnotique #4 festival, emphatically proving their digital-only game was just as strong as any other psy-chill print on the market. Okay, maybe not those exact reasons, but three sets from the event ain't nothing to sneeze at, Scann-Tec and Hol Baumann also part of the series with Circular. Uh, one point of contention though, in that nearly the whole Ultimae roster of 2011 performed there, including three of the big four in Aes Dana, Solar Fields, and Carbon Based Lifeforms (plus their associated side projects). I appreciate giving the roster's second-tier acts some shine from the event, especially as most of 'em were between albums and could have used more material out there so their names wouldn't fall by the wayside, but man, who wouldn't like to hear a CBL live session too, eh?

And yeah, once again, I'm loosening the leash that is buying digital-only items, as it's clear some will never see a physical option appear, so why deny myself? Now, if I fold and buy something that does have a CD out there, then you know I've gone past a point of no return. Until then, however...

Still, even when it was brand new, Nordic Circles was such an alluring temptation, more music from a group whom I'm fairly certain I enjoy. Like, that Moon Pools album was great, and there were moments from Substans that stuck with me too, so odds were good another collection of tunes from the Norwegian duo would have ace material as well. Also, that cover art, it's so... I'm not sure what it is, but it's eye-catching, that's for sure. Probably part of the visuals from Nuit Hypnotique.

While Nordic Circles contains tracks that are new, about half of them were previously released on Circular's sophomore album Divergent. Wait, sophomore? Didn't they have only one album out on Ultimae at that point? Ah, yeah, I neglected to mention Misters Andreassen and Gjelsvik had three albums out prior to joining the Ultimae roster; quite an oversight on my part. Though let's be honest, getting the Ultimae bump undoubtedly helped their exposure a fair deal (sorry, Origo Sound).

The older compositions mostly consist of minimalist ambient, the sort of music clearly inspired by fellow Norwegian Biosphere, and though Deeper's haunting melody serves as a nice opener, the rest work best as they appear in this set, transitional moments between the more upbeat tracks. Well, 'upbeat' in relative terms, tracks like Top Dive, The Circuit, and Cube Snooze still on that Ultimae psy-chill wavelength. All pale compared to the closer though, Glassy thirteen minutes of groovy, uplifting bliss that will get all your Solar Fields triggers flaring. Man, I say that at least once per Circular review, don't I? There's just something about those Scandinavians who know how to coerce all the feels out of their music.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Beatbox Machinery - New Wave Avalanche

Werkstatt Recordings: 2016

Just because I said I'm tapping out on Werkstatt Recordings for a while didn't mean I was tapping out altogether. They had a lot of bulk CD sales, see, and I couldn't help myself in nabbing a massive amount of 'em, even if I had almost no clue what would be on them. For sure I figured they'd offer synthwave, plus a whole lotta' love given to '80s music like synth-pop, darkwave, new wave, EBM, and maybe some unexpected surprises too (futurepop, is that you?). What I didn't expect was such a lenient degree of quality control, but hey, everyone's gotta' start somewhere, and good on Werkstatt in giving so many their first taste of real label-backed business (however that business may go down behind closed doors). On this buyer's end, however, that means it's time to take a step back from all the discount deals, and only focus on the items that truly interest me. Y'know, maybe as I should have in the first place. But, oh man, would I have truly dug into Kriistal Ann otherwise? Conflict, conflict...

Meanwhile, let's carry on with all that I've nabbed from the Greece label, this time with another outing from Werkstatt head-man Toxic Razor, once again from his Beatbox Machinery alias. New Wave Avalanche is one of many singles he's released over the years, and was included in one of the aforementioned bulk deals, hence my having it now. Yeah, not gonna' deny I've been generally lukewarm to his brand of synth music, but that may be in part of just not taking in enough of his material. Like, I'm pretty I can pass on his earliest industrial techno excursions, but he's adopted plenty more retro-leaning tunes since the turn of the decade. He's also paired up with other producers I quite enjoy (Ann, GosT), and he definitely knows how to capture '80s cheese-chic in his cover art few other synthwavers out there have (oh God, that Metal On Metal cover – so stupidly simple, so dope!).

Point I'm getting at is, of all the Beatbox Machinery items that could have been included in whatever that bulk CD deal I grabbed (I honestly forget what the theme was now – probably somehting 'synth'), New Wave Avalanche comes off a little drab in comparison to the rest of Mr. Razor's discography. It almost seems too self-serious, like there's Important Messages in this EP. It's just the usual anti New World Order stuff we've heard from the industrial camps for decades now, with titles like Slavestate, Deoxidize The Union, and New World Of Shit. The music itself mashes EBM and synthwave into Mr. Razor's unapologetic, under-produced aesthetic, which fits the anti-establishment tone, but Toxic's own lyrics do little to inspire me to Fight The Man. I get he's going for that detached vibe, as though modern existence has stripped all emotion and feeling from our sense of self, but man, I'd just as soon succumb to the numbness than overcome listening to this.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Perturbator - New Model

Blood Music: 2017

Yes, there's trap on this album. Like, only the slightest bit of it, mostly in the hi-hats, but really, it's all anyone associates with the genre now, those triple-time rat-a-tat-tat-tat rhythms. It's a sound so ubiquitous in modern music, it might as well be this era's Funky Drummer break, or James Brown sample, or Phil Collins hall effect, or Dick Dale guitar reverb. There may be a genre of music that was dominated by it (breakbeat; hip-hop; 80s pop; surf rock) but became so popularized that everyone got in on that action. Heck, it wasn't that long ago we were trudging through Top 40 dubstep drops, though it seems trap hi-hats have more lasting power than that. Their range of use has proved more dynamic than most other trend-whoring gimmicks of music past.

Still, when Perturbator stated this mini-album would feature a change of direction, I'm not sure folks would have expected trap hi-hats. I don't know why though, as beyond the aforementioned musical homogeneity of them, they're also a necessary staple for most festival headliners these days. James Kent's profile currently isn't anywhere near the top of the pyramid, but his style of music wouldn't be too out of place among the Black Tiger Sex Clubs out there, where aggro-synth drops and death electro can appear in tandem with all the other EDM racket performed. And if any synthwaver has a hope of getting his name in such rotation, there's few out there with more clout that Perturbator. I, for one, would most welcome such music at the peak hours of Shambhala – be a nice change of pace from all the glitch-hop, that's for sure.

That's basically the gist I get from New Model, a collection of tracks mostly intended for a concert roll-out, with all the huge, explosive synths and sounds that come with stage shows. I don't know if he has actually gone forward with that – it's not like any European synthwavers ever tour on my side of the globe – but I can definitely see them played best in that context. Big, loud, aggressive, head-banger fodder, with almost no care or concern for the album narrative most previous Perturbator LPs provide. The first two tracks - Birth Of A New Model and Tactical Precision Disarray - are especially some of the nastiest, sludgiest darksynth jams I've heard from anyone, save maybe some of GosT's demon-possession sounds.

The final three tracks are more straight-forward, skewing closer to the vintage Perturbator stylee, though throw in their own glitch-hop twists too (also, does Tainted Empire ever want to be an apocalyptic death-metal outing). And no Perturbator album, mini or otherwise, is complete without at least one vocal track, Vantablack doing something of a darkwave ballad, a surprising piece of downbeat songcraft compared to New Model's overall feral sound design. And damn, that sound design, these tracks some of the most spacious I've yet heard from Mr. Kent. I knew he'd get beyond that brick-walled mastering eventually!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dr. Octagon - Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation

Bulk Recordings: 2018

And I thought the wait for a Deltron 3030 sequel took forever. Right, Dr. Octagon has popped up here and there throughout Kool Keith's career, but what folks truly clamoured for was Dan The Automator getting back in the studio with him, rekindling the same twisted synergy that made Dr. Octagonecologyst the cult classic it remains to this day. The concept is just so strange, that all the weirdo conceptual rappers ever since haven't quite matched the bizarro sci-fi horrorcore porn world that Dr. Octagon inhabits. And those who do almost inevitably sound like they're trying too hard to be shocking and twisted for its own sake, never finding the effortless cool that Kool Keith brings to the project.

Somehow though, the stars, planets, stethoscopes and Venus mounds all aligned once more to bring Keith and Dan back together for the follow-up album every was hoping to hear... oh, around twenty years ago, if we're being honest. Yeah, fans of Dr. Octagon are happy they've gotten anything at this point, but they'd also long made their peace that odds were slim it would happen at all. Keith had moved onto plenty other things, Dan had moved onto plenty other things (with some unexpected commercial success along the way), and even DJ Q-Bert was having a successful solo career, with little need to be The DJ in an antiquated notion of what constitutes a 'rap group' these days. Heck, all you need is a bunch of mumbling autotune and some bare-bones 808 drum synths for a hit these days. Who's got time for cryptic lewd lyrics about... y'know, I couldn't explain what Dr. Octagon's going on about even if I tried.

What I can tell you, however, is this new album of Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation, is just about everything I could have hoped for in a proper follow-up of the project. I've never met an Automator beat I didn't like, and though Dan could have gone overboard on production as he did in the Deltron sequel, he keeps things mostly on that classic boom-bap simplicity, throwing in mint break samples, orchestral swells, twitchy violin touches (one of the first album's defining characteristics), aggressive guitar licks (care of Gary Holt), and quirky sci-fi clips as needed. Though filled with vividly weird imagery and off-kilter wordplay, Keith doesn't have quite the same level of instantly memorable “WTF?” lines in this outing. Still, he rides Dan's beats with trademark effortless cool, making you wonder why the Hell they didn't reconvene sooner. Meanwhile, Q-Bert does his usual scratch trickery, and even gets another extended solo showcase in Bear Witness IV.

You know what I always hoped to hear though? A back-and-forth between Automator's two famed cult classic projects, Dr. Octagon and Deltron 3030. And holy shit, we get it in 3030 Meets The Doc, Keith and Del delivering all that I could have wished for! And wait... is that...? Is that!? Oh my, a scratch battle between Q-Bert and Kid Koala! Nnnnggyyaaaahhh!!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

B°TONG - Monastic

Reverse Alignment: 2017

How, exactly, is this pronounced? Bow Tong? Bu Tang? Be Degrees of 'Tong'? Also, is this supposed to be upper-case or lower-case, because I've seen both, even within his own Bandcamp page. The casing is important, because I don't know whether the name should be whispered or shouted from the rooftops. Is it some ancient, fancy German or Scandinavian dialect my Canadian hinterland upbringing has made me ignorant of? As we are dealing with a dark ambient project, perhaps it's some super-secret scripture code, the likes of which only those who've read the deepest passages of Lovecraft Lore could ever have a hope of comprehending, but to comprehend is to succumb to the utter madness that comes with comprehension of all that is and shall not be unto itself. Or maybe it's just a collection of characters that look cool together, and aren't meant to be spoken aloud. Hey, works for me – one of the reasons I stick to the written word, and not video on the Vimeo.

For those writing the B°TONG cheques, you can use the name Chris Sigdell. He's been an active musician for some three decades now, flitting between various aliases and noisy industrial bands in that time. Probably his most famous group was NID, though more recently he's gone the way of doom metal in Leaden Fumes. b°tong (sorry, but until I've a concrete answer of which version is correct, I'm gonna' be flippin' them) sprung up around the time NID ended, and has resulted in over twenty albums in a mere decade of activity. Sounds about right for a post-industrial noise-experimental dark ambient project, especially one that I've never heard of until stumbling upon it in Reverse Alignment's catalogue. Can't say I'm familiar with any of B°TONG's previous labels though (Verato Project, Snowy Tension Pole, gears of sand, Attenuation Circuit, Like A/An Everflowing Stream, Hots), but some of his older albums do look intriguing. I wonder what's the deal with that Ov Elf And Haarp?

Mr. Sigdell made his debut on Reverse Alignment with two albums, this one and The Long Journey. I'm... not sure why I passed on the latter, as it's about the black hole at the centre of our galaxy – sounds right up my cosmic drone alley! Instead, I picked up Monastic, an album inspired by the New Swabia conspiracy theories. You know, that ol' chestnut about a secret Nazi base buried under the Antarctic ice, existing to this day. Maybe Hitler's kept there too, under cryostasis. I don't know about that, though it would be funny if he rose one day with cryo-frozen Stalin and cryo-frozen Disney to take over the world.

This is an album that features a lot of cavernous, claustrophobic field recordings, desolate drones, chilly soundscapes, and distant voices echoing off deep, frozen tunnels. You sense there's some sort of civilization lurking in all these ice caverns, but damned if you can find them. And maybe damned if you do find them.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Planetary Assault Systems - The Messenger

Ostgut Ton: 2011

I recall a fair bit of joy when Luke Slater announced he was dusting off his Planetary Assault Systems project a decade ago. We were in peak 'minimal', see, and fans of that ol' school, 4am bangin' techno were left wanting. Their former heroes were chasing 'class' and 'sophistication' (and big bank) in fancy Ibizan clubs and European lofts rather than tearing that shit out in grimy warehouses and dank basement clubs, the former glory of techno's renegade roots all but a historical footnote. Why, even psy trance had more underground cred in the late '00s, despite crossover stars like Infected Mushroom in their camps! Of course, things would eventually work their way back to the Dungeons of Detroit Doof, but it needed someone with some clout to start the mass migration back to the holy land. Or an abandoned power station in Berlin, that'll do.

Ostgut Ton and their various DJs and producers (Shed, Dettmann, Klock) got the ball rolling, but when Luke Slater joined their roster with a returning Planetary Assault Systems album (Temporary Suspension), it gave the young label that all-important veteran cred purists demand. Already responsible for some of techno's toughest classic records of the '90s, Slater had seemingly mothballed the project in favour of seeking his own limelight. That didn't turn out as he planned though, so what better way to reassess one's career than to go back to the scene that nurtured your rise in the first place? Lucky for him there was a fledgling label and club that had an ear for that type of techno already going.

I did check out Temporary Suspension, initially coming away thinking there wasn't that much different in there than was going on with 'minimal' techno abroad. I have no idea what daft nonsense was going through my head at that point though, 'cause taking another listen recently, that would totally have been the type of techno I'd be down for in ye' olde year of 2009.

Fast forward a couple years, and the cavernous Berghain sound has overtaken all forms of techno as the One True Techno all others must follow (suck it, m_nus!). Yeah, it's still technically 'minimal', but not so dry and sterile as before – at worst, you could say it's just functional 4am weapons. And that's what The Messenger comes off as to me, another collection of utility tools for the 2011 crowds. Save a couple chill explorations (opener Railer, Movement 12), these tracks are all business, establishing mood and atmosphere straight away, and riding their established rhythms over spaced-out blips 'n bell tones, dubby effects, and percolating drum kits. The first half is the headier portion of the album, while the back-end unleashes a few feral beasts for the sweatiest moments of a night out. Like a lot of this brand of techno though, it all makes better sense while in the throes of massive sound-system reverberating off concrete walls rather than a typical apartment setting. High-end headphones help in a pinch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Atrium Carceri, Cities Last Broadcast, God Body Disconnect - Miles To Midnight

Cryo Chamber: 2018

I knew a Cryo Chamber release would be among my 'earliest' 2018 reviews, if not the first. Not the one I was figuring though. In fact, I forgot about this one. This isn't meant as a slight against the players involved, but Miles To Midnight didn't light my interest a'fire the way other Cryo releases do. I've found Mr. Heath's material as Atrium Caceri interesting for the most part, but it hasn't captured my imagination the same way Sabled Sun has. Pär Boström has quite a bit of respect throughout the dark ambient scene, mostly through his Kammarheit project, but I haven't taken in enough of that to gauge much of an impression - the lone album I've heard from Pär as Cities Last Broadcast was creepy as all Hell though. Still, when the two teamed up together last year for an album called Black Corner Den, featuring a cloaked man sitting in said black corner, smoking a long pipe with the pale glow of a crescent moon filtering through an open window, I gave it a temporary pass (d'at cover art, tho'!). I'm sure it was, again, at least an interesting album, but with so many options in the Cryo Chamber discography now, I need a little more than 'interesting' to scope a new record out.

And lo', they done did it, catching some interest by including Bruce Moallem in a collaborative effort. Mr. Moallem's work as God Body Disconnect has been among my favourite albums in the Cryo tale, bringing a gritty noir angle to a scene that generally gets its jollies from themes of the occult and abhorrent (also: deepest blackest space). While I've no doubt Misters Heath and Boström have no problem crafting a bleak soundtrack to city existence, adding Bruce's muse to the mix gets me itchin' to hear a tale about someone specific on the verge of collapse as a community crumbles around him. Or maybe a hard-boiled detective encountering something more than expected at the scene of a murder, that might do too.

There goes my imagination again, expecting things that the artists involved may or may not have intended. What I can, unequivocally, proclaim, is that what God Body Disconnect brings to Miles To Midnight, is drums. Like, it's right there in the credits, but Bruce's drum work does lend this album a slow, bluesy, jazzy vibe that does fit the noir theme he's provided in much of his work under the alias (oh man, imagine a Phonothek inclusion too!). Track titles like A Thousand Empty Rooms, Scene Of The Crime, The Other Lobby, and Sorry Sir, You Are In The Wrong Room, suggests a viewpoint character stumbling about a strange hotel, so all that detective stuff is pure impression on my part.

Mostly, Miles To Midnight plays out as a small, contained lonesome narrative, a moody melancholy atmosphere hanging in the air, as strange voices and sounds echo through haunted walls. The Hotel California sounds like a more inviting place.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Groove Armada - Lovebox

Jive Electro: 2002

This may be Groove Armada's fourth album, but I always think it's their second. Once again, I blame my Canadian exposure to the band Andy Cato and Tom Findlay built. Their first album, Northern Star, was a non-entity in my hemisphere of the globe, such that we all figured Vertigo was their debut (only the Brits knew better anyway). And while Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub) was the hotly anticipated follow-up to Vertigo, I can't say it made much of an impression in these here parts, for two reasons. One, the cover-art was kinda' drab, a homely thing that looked more like any dozen of chill-out compilations floating about at the time (reminds me of something off Late Night Tales), thus easily lost on store shelves. Two, the album had the unfortunate timing to be released on September 10, 2001. Uh, yeah, North American folks were gonna' be a tad more preoccupied than scoping out a new Groove Armada record.

Lovebox though, there was no missing that, what with it's big neon artwork against a stark black backdrop, released a year after most nations had regathered their wits. The quick turnaround into another LP caught many off guard, figuring the Armada lads would have wanted their Goodbye Country material to gestate a little longer. On the other hand, with I See You Baby and At The River still getting more airplay than anything in their current discography, it wouldn't surprise me if Misters Cato and Findlay were hit with a surge of inspiration to make music as far removed from those tunes as quickly as possible. Even they had to be tired of hearing about sandy dunes and salty air.

Aside from hot neon colours, you know what else was creeping into clubland around this time? Good ol' fashion 'rawk', the sort of drunken, rowdy business new wavers so often indulged in Back In The Day. Disco punk was peeking its head outside of New York City enclaves, and there was something irresistibly trashy about this new-fangled 'electro-house' biz'. Groove Armada must have noticed these underground developments, as Lovebox features some of the rockiest dance music I've heard from the year 2002 (very small sample size).

Like, there's no denying where their heads are at opening an album with a song called Purple Haze. It's a suitably heavy, thumping groover that doesn't sully the Hendrix song at all, while Groove Is On gets more on that funk action for your all-night festivities. And if those weren't enough to let your hair down, Madder is a fun head-banger tune. Then there's some obligatory house jams (Final Shakedown going a little garage, Easy going a little disco, Lovebox going a little deep, and But I Feel Good going a little ...reggae?), and some soulful downtempo cuts too. Oh, and Remember reminds us that, yes, if Groove Armada wanted to keep rehashing At The River forever after, they could easily do so with skill and finesse. They just, like, don't want to, that's all.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Field - Looping State Of Mind

Kompakt: 2011

It shouldn't have taken me this long to get myself another album from The Field, but you know me. A darling techno act, lauded by indie media who don't usually fuss with 'techno', and here's ol' Sykonee, giving it that 'Drake Pass meme' pose, all the while pointing with a smile at some obscure ambient techno item. Not an out-and-out rejection, mind you, but I can't help but let these sort of releases sit on the back-burner for a few years, the hype passing long enough to approach it with fresh ears, unsullied by what Very Important People tell me I should be listening to. Though I do wonder, why have I still not gotten Mr. Willner's debut From Here We Go Sublime? Like, for sure I've heard it (yay streaming), but it's been over a decade since it first came out, more than enough time having passed such that I shouldn't feel like I'm just hoping on a hype bandwagon.

And it's not like this particular album of Looping State Of Mind wasn't equally hailed when it dropped. Right, maybe not quite the same Metacritic heights as Sublime, but still a darn good response from the usual suspects. Yet whereas Sublime continues to be held in reverence, Looping has kinda' fallen the way of Yesterday & Today, simply seen as just another record in The Field's discography that ever so gradually evolved his songcraft. Maybe it didn't help that it carried the white cover art from Sublime, so it's forever compared to that one (sure didn't help Yesterday's cause). Not to mention Axel flipped the cover-art switch in his next couple records, sub-consciously making us believe those albums were of more importance than supposed retreads. Crafty and diabolical, those cover artists.

Ah well, that just means I get to enjoy it more for the album that it is, and not some Very Important, genre-defining, upper-echelon work of techno mastery (or something). And me, I dig Mr. Willner fearlessness in utilizing more instruments into his brand of 'shoegaze techno'. The bassline in opener Is This Power is one of the grooviest I've heard out of The Field camps, while follow-up It's Up There coaxes out a suitably heavenly techno loop-fest before changing lanes for a lengthy, funk outro (well, as funky as white Germans doing techno can get). Elsewhere, Axel proves he could continue crafting epic, escalating, wall-of-sound techno beasts like Arpeggiated Love and the titular cut till the end of days without a hitch if he so chose.

Fortunately, he has a little more ambition than that, the final two tracks mellowing things right the f' down. Then It's White feels almost jazzy despite being no less loopy than his other techno works, while Sweet Slow Baby treads into abstract territory, its overlapping short loops having something of an ambient drone tone about them. Makes me want to check out where The Field went after this. Eh, what about that first album? Man, that's all in the past.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Kubinski - Life Boy

Werkstatt Recordings: 2015

I think I'm about ready to tap out with regards to Werkstatt material. Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means turning my back on the synth label, and I'll keep tabs on the artists on their roster I've enjoyed. In buying up so many of their bulk deals, however, I fear I've burned myself out on their general aesthetic. There's only so much anonymous, amateur music production I can take before the novelty of it all wears down, and one thing has become clear, Werkstatt head Toxic Razor takes a 'toss every dart at the board' approach with whom he releases. When he hits that bull's-eye, *chef's kiss*, but I've come across a number of artists hugging the outer ring numbers too.

This Life Boy from Kubinski lands somewhere in those big open spaces between the double and triple point rings, possibly in the eight or nine slot, the dart at a slightly askew angle, as thrown by an individual with at least a half-dozen pints previously consumed. Man, is that ever a specific metaphor. One of the unique things about this chap is he hails from Porto Alegre, a city on the southern end of Brazil. Or Rio De Janeiro, depending on which source you go with (forever battling, are Lord Discogs and King Bandcamp). Regardless, it's cool Werkstatt will give a little shine to what's undoubtedly a completely neglected scene. When we think of Brazilian music, it's hyper-sexual Latin dance music, or whatever quirky jazz offspring has sprung up (there's always a new one every decade). And with regards to electronic dance music in South America, it's always the Chilean tech-haus dudes who get the glory. Kubinski proves there's more music in that region than what gets all the sexy exposes.

Man though, could this album have used another once-over on the production department. We're firmly in chipper synth-pop territory here, with splashes of synthwave for good measure, but I can barely hear Kubinksi's lyrics over the big 'n gaudy synths. His vocals are drenched in echo and reverb, capturing that vintage '80s feel where everything was drenched in echo and reverb, but at least I could understand what those singers were saying, even when obscured by thick accents and broken English. Even on the more stripped-back tunes like Baroque and M.O.V.I.N. though, I've difficulty understanding much of what he's saying. Matter Of Time fares better, where the lyrics are clear and upfront, displaying a Tiga charm that only sparingly peaks through in the other songs. D.Day is also fun, in that the musical muscle behind it is strong enough to override the buried vocals.

I dunno. The ideas are there, but the execution on Life Boy is just off to my ears. I kinda' preferred his previous, pure synthwave EPs. Like, how can you not dig the retro-charm of Blade Revenge, a ninja overlooking a 16-bit skyline? Or Reach featuring a glorious beauty-shot of Saturn looming over a vector grid? *chef's kiss*

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Neil Young - A Letter Home

Reprise Records: 2014

With all the agreed-upon classics and intriguing second-tier albums already in my collection, I've grown fussier over which Neil Young projects I'm interested in laying down fresh cash for. A new album needs something unique about it if I'm gonna' check it out. Like, I have plenty 'nuff of his standard folksy-rocksy music – give me something on a conceptual level, like a mini rock opera (Greendale), or a different recording session with a famed producer (Le Noise). Playing music inside an ancient recording booth, refurbished by Jack White, as though it's a transmitter to his deceased mum? That'll do.

First, the technology. Always a hound for quirky recording equipment, Mr. White found himself a 1947 Voice-O-Graph to toy around with. For some reason, the specific year was important – maybe he saw a photo of famed blues musician inside one? Whatever the case, these units were more a novelty than anything, where you could go inside and record your very own words or music to vinyl and play back at home, kinda' like those CD booths you'd find in malls throughout the '90s. Obviously, the recording quality of these booths were rather shite, folks more pleased with just having their own material on a record than any practical use of them, though some in the army found them handy ways of sending spoken letters to family back home. Also, bootlegs, especially of banned music in communist countries.

Anyhow, Jack White got himself one (a 1947 one!), and invited Neil over to his studio to check it out. Seeing the archaic contraption got ol' Shakey's muse all a'twitter, and never one to waste a moment of inspiration, got in the booth and started recording some cover tunes. I'm not sure whether he intended the 'letter to mom' idea to be as though he was sending it to heaven, or to the past. Why not both?

And I know what you're thinking: “wait, isn't Neil Young that old coot who's always complaining about sound quality, even taking his music off streaming services because it didn't match the fidelity of his failed Pono project? Why on earth would he make a record that sounds as cruddy as this?” Ah, therein lies the trick. A Letter Home isn't about making some folk covers sound as pristine as modern production can make them, but making them sound as authentic to the recording process that was used. And if that recording process contains all manner of weird warping noises, swooshing sounds, pops and crackles, then that, by g'ar, is what you're gonna' hear.

Oh, the music? Charming, I guess, with covers from Dylan, Lightfoot, Nelson, Springsteen, and a few others I'm not familiar with. This probably would have been an utterly forgotten album were it not for the Voice-O-Graph gimmick, but it does add a strange, otherworldly vibe to the whole process. You can almost imagine this is how music would sound if you could transmit it to another plane of existence.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Dead Melodies - Legends Of The Wood

Cryo Chamber: 2017

Simon Heath may have rejected the Far-Flung Sons Of Camden Town's Dead Cities concept, but perhaps that completely fabricated recounting of mine implanted the seed for a need of artists with 'Dead' in their handle. Yes, surprisingly, Cryo Chamber has lacked any such aliases. For a dark ambient label, that just won't do! How can you have a print wheelin' an' dealin' in the macabre-fantastica without at least one musician explicitly dedicated to the dead. It doesn't have to be dead organism or the like - even conceptual death will do, like the death of civilizations, or the death of rational thought. It's touched upon here and there in albums, but Tom Moore finally brings a straight-up, no bullshit handle where music goes to die. So, he's a brostep producer?

But seriously, if you're looking to make 'anti-music' of a sort, where melodies are intentionally deconstructed into a moribund state, drone in its purest sense is one of the genres that does the trick nicely. Experimental IDM wank too, and whatever noise arsonists are up to as well, but I highly doubt we'll ever see such stuff on Cryo Chamber. Well, maybe a few noise moments, if the concept calls for it. Nothing like scaring the bejeezees out of someone like a screaming banshee after a long period of disquieting pads.

Tom Moore had released a couple albums under the Dead Melodies moniker prior to this debut with Cryo Chamber, and is part of a post-rock drone duo called Understated Theory, mostly releasing material on the Norwegian print Sparkwood Records. No guesses as to what music they peddle, though some of the artist names there do bring a smile to my face (Nuclear Whale; The Elephant Frame; [MIIIIM]; Above, Convenience Store!). Dronny Darko has also released a collaborative album on Sparkwood, so perhaps that's where the Cryo connection comes into play. Or maybe not, but having all these disparate dark ambient labels interwoven like Lolth's web is something I quite enjoy believing.

Legends Of The Wood is as clear a concept title for an album as you'll ever find, Mr. Moore intent on taking you on a tour through some ancient, old-growth foliage. From A Trial Of Crows And Blood, upward upon On Devil's Hill, past The Hooded Nine (always cloaked figures, always), bear witness to A Malevolent Rising and a Wretched Masquerade, though finally all ebbing into a Beautiful Coalesce. Great titles, all of 'em!

The music itself, such as it is, mostly relies on sustained guitar tones, drawn out into moody dirges as various field recordings provide context in this journey, especially sounds of water sloshing about. Huh, are we in a forest, or a swamp? Some of these tracks are even rather calm and soothing, such as the opener with a fire crackling and spacious ambient timbre making me recall way-early Vangelis. Overall, Legends Of The Wood is a very droney album, but more than makes up for it in pure atmosphere.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

ACE TRACKS: August 2018

This past month, I finally had the opportunity to put something to test I've long wanted to: the practicality of my ACE TRACKS: Ultimate Master List!! playlist as a road trip experience. For the first time in my dozen years of going, I was gonna' drive myself to the Shambhala Music Festival, which meant sole control over the music selection! Right, that one bus sojourn could technically count too, and my many trips with Ishkur as the driver left me mostly in charge of music selection along the way (it helps that we both take perverse glee in torturing other passengers with italo disco sets), but this was a solo road trip for yours truly. As I've long claimed my Ultimate Master List!! should make for a useful aid in ultra-long road trips (9-10 hours, one-way), this was my chance to see if my hype lived up to provable facts.

I, uh, forgot to take one thing into consideration: the lack of cell coverage throughout most of British Columbia's mountain highways. By the time I'd gotten out of the Fraser Valley, all streaming came to an abrupt end, the only signal still attainable within the sporadic towns that dot the Crow's Nest Highway. I fortunately also packed with me an ample supply of CDs (just in case), but man, was I ever looking forward to hearing all those tunes on the road, even the dark ambient ones (nothing sets the mood of a province on fire better than dreary, ominous tones). Maybe next time I'll just download a couple of the monthly playlists instead, like this one for this past month of August 2018.


Full track list here.


MISSING ALBUMS:
Various - A Journey Into Ambient Groove
Porya Hatami & Darren McClure - In-Between Spaces

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 3%
Percentage of Rock: 8%

Whenever I make one of these shortened playlists, they tend to turn out a rather jumbled listening experience. The lack of selection causes frequent genre clashes, especially so when I just go with an alphabetical arrangement. I was expecting the same with this month's playlist, what with music from quite the disparate range of music (UK garage, techno, house, punk, psy, synthwave, ambient). Yet somehow, this turned out a remarkably smooth play-through. Even the jumps into Green Day or Etnica weren't as jarring as I was expecting. Funny how that works out sometimes.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave a.r.t.less A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Community Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Anduin Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Annibale Records Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG B12 Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Bent Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bursak Records Bush Busta Rhymes C.I.A. Calibre calypso Canibus Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records Castroe Cat Sun CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cevin Fisher Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill out chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chris Witoski Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast City Of Angels CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Club Tools Cocoon Recordings Cold Spring Coldcut Coldplay coldwave Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Convextion Cooking Vinyl Cor Fijneman Corderoy Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmo Cocktail Cosmos Studios Cottonbelly Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Crystal Moon Cube Guys Culture Beat Curb Records Current Curve cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyclic Law Cygna Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse D-Topia Entertainment Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Lentz Daniel Pemberton Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkcore darkside darkstep darkwave Darla Records Darren McClure Darren Nye DAT Records Databloem dataObscura David Alvarado David Bickley David Guetta David Morley DDR De-tuned Dead Coast Dead Melodies Deadmau5 Death Grips Death Row Records Decimal Dedicated Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood DFA DGC diametric. 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