Lovely ambient piano and electronic meanderings from NYC’s Chester Raj Anand aka Lord Raja, neatly befitting of Quiet Time Tapes’ snoozy contemporary a e s t h e t i c.
Muting the beats and vibing out in late night loner style is a strong look for Anand, with echoes of James Ferraro’s early vaporwave in ‘Shibuya 5AM’, or the whiskey-sozzled synth meditation ‘$alaryman’ and ‘Voices’, while the shimmering guitars of ‘Blue Memory’ and ‘Hyatt’ wordlessly evoke the balcony gaze mode of a solo traveller soaking up Tokyo, Japan, where the album was written and recorded.
“A collection of minimalist compositions, Chester uses synths, a tape machine, and field recordings to craft an album that’s deeply emotive and contemplative through its simplicity. While these are wordless compositions, many of the tracks carry the weight and melancholy of a love song, revealing his innate songwriting ability.
Strawberry was created while on a solo trip to Tokyo. As Chester traveled the city he'd pull field recordings from the street and Japanese television, recording secret synth sessions at local synth shops. Back at his temporary stay, drifting in and out of sleep, he’d edit the recordings deep into the night. While exploring Tokyo, Chester also captured observational footage on his camera phone; street scenes, bizarre moments from television and an overnight stay at a manga cafe; footage he then compiled and edited into an accompanying video for the album.
Strawberries became a vivid motif during his visit as they were in season at the time and popped up frequently in one way or another. He’d see fresh strawberries being sold every day on his walk to the train. They were a suitable metaphor for his brief experience in Tokyo.
The music conveys the feeling of being a lone observer, looking from the outside into a hyperconnected chaotic world filled with white noise and stimulation. All experienced in and out of a dream state. Something about this experience, and the way it was captured in music and on video, resonate more effectively in these times in which traveling, or being in a crowded urban space, feel like a distant memory.”
Debut volley of noisily complex and twisting IDM electronica from Aho Ssan, a new artist on James Ginzburg of Emptyset’s Subtext label. RIYl Shapednoise, Heith, Pyur.
"Inspired in part by French sociologist Jean Baudrillard’s influential text “Simulacres et Simulation,” the record plays with synthesis and simulation, picking apart notions of modulatable, subjective veneers of reality. Informed by his experiences growing up while black in the French suburbs, Niamké, turns a critical gaze towards facades of inclusivity and equality, and how they diverge from lived experiences of discrimination and racism in France.
Sonically, “Simulacrum” departs from ventures through Sun Ra and Afrofuturist music, as Aho Ssan dreams up new journeys and visions. Wanting to collaborate with a jazz musician but unable to find one, he turned to building patches in Max/MSP to create simulations of them. The Mensah Imaginary Band features on tracks “Blind Power” and “We Don’t Have to Worry Anymore.” Taking shape across Max objects and patch cables, the ensemble takes its name from Niamké’s trumpet player grandfather Mensah Antony, who led a Ghanaian band in Ivory Coast in the 1950s and acted as a conductor at the country’s famed Abissa Festival.
Aho Ssan debuted “Simulacrum” at Berlin Atonal 2019. After studying graphic design and cinema, he started composing electronic music and creating his own digital instruments. Shortly thereafter Niamké went on to win the Foundation France television prize for his soundtrack to the 2015 film “D’Ingha Mago,” and has since worked on several projects affiliated with IRCAM.”
Wicked 2nd album of deft, hard and heavy UK rufige from CPE in a futuristic dancehall techno style RIYL Mumdance & Logos, Pinch, Bokeh
In pursuit of the styles on 2019’s ‘Shattered Retina’ EP, but mixed up with more cinematic sound design and rushes into IDM, Cocktail Party Effect’s sound design chops and ruggedest rhythmic sensibilities are on top form here, resulting strong cuts in the bolshy swag of ‘Talking To Bricks’, pugilistic future hardcore in ‘War On Codex’ and ‘For The Memory Exchange’, and frenetic experimentalism on ‘Cause for Bad Shivering’, with tender moments of beatless respite in ‘Lack of Wrong Format’ balancing the flaschcore levels of programming detail in ‘I Get It (Lost Banknote)’.
Warbling, melancholic ambient-pop, verging on lo-fi and flecked with traces of modern classical strings, but also prone to keen into half-cut, ghostly beats
“Straight from Limbo Tapes HQ, "01" has a signature label sound at it's heart, and marks a meaningful milestone in our history as a DIY imprint as our first vinyl release.
The album was crafted in the Dive Reflex Service production facility, somewhere in the depths of Bristol. Found here are bewitching and magical elements, anchored by deep melodic bass lines that propel the listener through 12 rhythmic scenes.
Using a combination of tape saturated improvisations, ritualistic samples and a beautifully chilling vocal appearance from Jamileh Lee, Dive Reflex Service has conjured a meditative, reflective and at times ominous ceremony.”
Laminate-finish, loft modern classical moods by the co-CEO of Posh Isolation and Frederik Valentin of Kyo, fresh from collaborating with Yung Lean.
“The combined forces of Frederik Valentin & Loke Rahbek first found a way into the world in 2017 with the album 'Buy Corals Online'. Together they now present 'Elephant', an eight-track album that composes an inquisitive space with its parts.
The economy of movement across Rahbek and Valentin's new collaborative album makes for a gentle transmission of its abstract intimacies. This presence, which we caught glimpses of on their previous work 'Buy Corals Online', is shaped by the delicate interplay between acoustic instrumentation and synthetically rendered sounds. Hauntingly melodic at times, the album feels like a suite of uncanny lullabies that grant access to realities that can only be found in dreams. Rahbek and Valentin are always leading us somewhere and showing us something - one piece of the scene at a time, coming and going with different parts of a puzzle that eventually settles into a complete form. And through all this we perceive an inviting restlessness on their behalf, encouraging us to stray further and further into the private space of 'Elephant'.
Valentin is perhaps best known for his work in the exquisite atypical pop group Kyo, though his wide-reaching music and videography practices covertly underpin his flagship projects. Most recently, Valentin has been working with Yung Lean as both producer on his 'Nectar' album as Jonatan Leandoer127 as well as on their commission for Sweden's Cullberg Ballet. As Croatian Amor, Rahbek has made similar forays into unworldly pop and his work with Christian Stadsgaard as Damien Dubrovnik has been as critical as their co-founding of Posh Isolation.
Modest interventions from processed field-recordings and semi-erupting synths invite you to zoom in enough to hear the human hand. An attention to listening, to how sounds cradle the small movements and gestures that naturally accompany the playing of guitar, piano, and viola, is acutely developed by Rahbek and Valentin. It's in this way that 'Elephant' persuades us that even small stories unfurl into the most intricate and tremendous of sagas.”
Substantial payload of nervy algorithmic IDM and post B-Boy techno from Yorkshire’s SDEM for discerning Autechre and Skam heads. Includes a collaboration with NHK yk Koyxen
“SDEM releases have emerged on CPU Records, Opal Tapes and the MEDS platform. Mostly archival, his Seagrave album ‘ZNS’ (or ‘Zones’) describes much less a careful log of experiments conducted over a 15 year period, as an assemblage of electronic maps, a charting of ulterior paths half-followed, impersonal ‘zones’ traversed, mechanical entanglements undertaken and hallucinogenic spaces weathered.
With its cartographic charm, ZNS also confirms that persistent dialogue between visual culture and a rugged approach to drum computers that was, of course, given its boldest expression with graffiti innovation back in the halcyon days of electro and hip-hop. Despite citing the Griselda label as a tonal reference, for SDEM, his project is best construed in terms of mood and intensity rather than easy cultural codes or signifiers. Twenty or so years since Rawkus’ defining image of ‘Soundbombing’ and the hyper-kinetic wildstyle process of Autechre’s output, there’s only the uncertain glow of the past at work here, and which back-lights any present struggle to make and re-make the future anew.
Tempering progressive pattern work with the grainy echoes of obsolescence, ZNS partially expresses the frustration with what seems possible in synthetic sound design two decades into a new century: Across these 21 eclectic sound-pieces, synthetic forces cycle and slam, skitter and jolt; diffused through swarms of painterly pads and technical drones, obliterated vox mug for available space over massively compressed breaks and cracked drum machine clap.
At times brooding, at times banging, ZNS is more than simply a satisfying study in interference patterns and computer downrock. Ultimately, it is a collection inspired by a desire to crash out of the recognisable towards something wholly 21st Century, scrambling the codes towards a blaze of post-generic collisions.”
Japan’s DJ Tystero elides Latinate rhythms and ambient dub techno in breezy, gauzy fashion for The Trilogy Tapes.
Worn out but glowing in a way that recalls everything from Chain Reaction’s Porter Ricks and Torsten Prörock production to son’s Ghost The Drift and Aught releases, ‘High Speed Wind’ finds that precious balance of the natural and mechanical/man-made across ‘High Speed Wind’, scudding from the DJ Python-esque shimmy/shimmer of ‘中間’ to the knackered beatdown of ‘酒気’ via washed-out pockets of beatless ambience and an haunting stepper ‘賛辞’ richly redolent of Detroit Escalator Company.