Leaving no stone unturned, Mannequin Records give up a sterling example of the early ‘80s Italian new wave with this expanded reissue of Atelier Du Mal’s sole, obscure release Noblesse Oblige cadged from tape and pressed to vinyl for the first time, replete with two bonus tracks.
With the original cassette release nigh on impossible to find, this will be many wave jumpers’ introduction to Atelier Du Mal, who nimbly trade in a spectrum of sub styles ranging from bittersweet synth-pop recalling Depche Mode in A Promise, thru to ruggedly stylish electro in Another Kind Of Madness, and gorgeous gothic torch songs such as Waiting For Someone, while the bonus bits highlights Lapo Pistelli’s canny drum programming and anguished vox in the hot stepper, Palau 2 and the aching DM-style perfection of Waiting For Someone (Someone’s Calling).
Fr3sh out of Nanjing, China, Dirty K wrestles with the dichotomy between online and IRL representations of his waking life with Exsciccation - meaning ‘the complete removal of moisture, to a state of absolute dryness” - for the steadily expanding Genome 6.66 Mpb cause.
Exsciccation (Intro) sets epic, widescreen sci-fi dimensions for a high-tension club cuts, taking in the clash of c*nty stabs and hardstyle hooks in Pyroclasm and a fusion of traditional melodies with cyber-dancehall bounce in 龙拳 (Dirty K Remake), then scaling up the Kamixlo or Suicideyear-type trance-trap peak of Dispossessed, and handing over to Hyph11e and Yikii 内脏螺旋 for a pair of T2-in-the-club remixes.
With the widely-acclaimed Ess B EP under his belt already in 2017, Sega Bodega pumps the dance floor inflation of Nivea and the forward tilt of Bacardi for his brethren at Crazylegs.
Nivea wilds out with scribbly synth graffiti over testy drill rhythms and a demented vocal chop-up that will sound f**king mad in the dance when accompanied by strobes and body heat.
Bacardi, on the other hand, ramps the tempo to a sort of halfstep-to-quicktrot licked up with zippy zither and again that exacting, distinctive vocal processing. Think soca for hyper coloured UK club kids.
Rob and Lyric Hood lord the dance with Let The Church, firing off alternate versions and previously unreleased aces of their Floorpan zingers.
The belting breakbeat techno charge of Let The Church was formerly exclusive to their Inside Out mix for Mixmag and now comes fully prepped for club use by DJs and dancers. Made Up In My Mind brings it back to gospel roots in Victorious style, whilst Rob Hood convinces with the deep burn of He Can save You, and his daughter, Lyric Hood gives up a hard-working edit of Never Grow Old, mostly omitting the main refrain to focus purely on the groove and ripping chords.
German wave legends documented live at Berlin’s Haus Der Welt Kulturen, mixed by Marcel Dettmann.
“F.S.K. plays "Ein Haufen Scheiß Und Ein Zertrümmertes Klavier" live at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, October 3rd, 2015; Mixed by Marcel Dettmann. F.S.K. (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle) is an art school band from Munich that formed in 1980 and issued disturbing slogans of a new dissidence.
The futuristic development of so-called noisemakers carried a key moment of deviant pop music into its emerging discourse. "Ein Haufen Scheiß Und Ein Zertrümmertes Klavier" (a pile of crap and a shattered piano), developed for Berlin's HKW, explores productive axes between destruction and deconstruction (paying tribute to Luigi Russolo).”
Nina K’s трип present a wormhole like introduction to the stellar electronic work of Sigurbjörn Þórgrímsson aka Biogen; an icelandic artist at the core of his country’s electronic music scene since the early ‘90s, back when he can lay claim to working with Goldie in his nascent Rufige Kru guise, and was responsible for co-founding one of Iceland’s best regarded techno labels, Thule Records. Sadly , Sigurbjörn passed away in 2011, but evidently left an impressive body of work which many listeners will only now be made aware of.
Compiled by Nina K from DATs collected by Þórgrímsson’s pal, Jonas Gudmundsson aka Ruxpin, the set covers 13 parts of virulent acid, breakbeat and “sofa-trance” mutations which effectively bridge the gap between the label’s rather obvious obsession with Aphex Twin and their series of contemporary productions by Bjarki, which have so far taken up most of their catalogue numbers.
The vibe is mostly optimistic and utopian spirited in that classic early ‘90s sense, shot thru with pangs of melancholy that may be attributed to the artist’s struggle with manic-depressive disorder, and likewise understood by anyone who enjoys going thru the usual seesaw of emotions that come with hardcore weekends and mid-week recompense.
It’s the kind of unconventional, twysted and lush gear you could easily imagine turning up on Rephlex or Planet Mu any time over the last 20 odd years, launching listeners from cryptic monologues to HangableAutobulb style electrocutions in Lag 38 and the shelter skelter velocity of Borealis and levitating chromatic harmonics in Autofloat - and that’s only the first side; with the rest taking in slamming Universal Indicator acid on 160 techno; quicksilver electro in Lag 9, epic ‘sofa-trance’ (his own term) in Bliss; dextrous braindance in 303 Ambient,; and a beautiful beat-less kiss off with Halogen Continues.
Glasgow’s wonderfully fickle Happy Meals kicks off So Low, a new label from Optimo, so called after their new wave/EBM club night, with a naturally variegated suite veering from tonal hypnosis to pulsing krautrock and levitating kosmiche themes and back again in Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony Volumes IV-VI.
As it was originally intended for release on tape, and to be heard as one long continuous piece, you’re recommended to do the same with the digital. But , it neatly breaks down into five discreet parts, too; in palindromic formation entering and closing to the purified, La Monte Young-esque frequencies of 432hz Resonant Activation Zone and 528hz Full Heart Vibration, and flanking the swirling raga-like vocals at the centre of Full Ashram Emerging Theme with whirligig krautrock in May You be Thje Mother - May You Be The Sun and its kosmiche inversion Every Moment Is A Birth,
“Full Ashram is the name of Happy Meals’ recording studio. The Devotional Ceremony is Happy Meals connecting with their cosmic inner selves. They realise their Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony on vinyl (and digital) banishing demons, devils and ill will. Devote your soul to the positive forces before the misguided, suffering spirits pull you down and wipe you out.”
Alex Zhang Hungtai explores forlorn, strung out avant-industrial and rhythmic noise feels as Love Theme for Luke Younger’s Alter after laying his Dirty Beaches alias to rest in 2014, and more recently guesting on Dedekind Cut’s American Zen album
“If there's a single guiding motif to this debut recording from Love Theme, it's the melancholic throb of love learnt and love lost, a descent that tumbles and slips through the overall feeling of looking back. As intimately and carefully as its parts cohesively lament a narrative, it's the after-image that catches your breath, like a memory morphing as it is observed.Comprised of Alex Zhang Hungtai of the now defunct project Dirty Beaches, along with Austin Milne, and Simon Frank, 'Love Theme' is arranged from an improvised session with twin saxophones, synthesizer, percussion, drum machine, and voice.
Over the course of a year the material was edited remotely from the members' home cities of London, LA and Taipei.The record's sullen ambience is never left too long to set in. The aching wane of the saxophone arrangements frisk the propulsive aggro of the mixed percussion, forcing a melancholic halo upon the queasy stupor of the synthetic swing that closes each side of the record. It's a bizarre lust for life that's being divined from equal parts dislocation and invigoration, a potent remedy which perhaps Love Theme can call their own.
Percolating and finding form over time, the record instinctively follows a travel narrative, moving across a series of landscapes, reflecting the innate experiences of the expressions and voices that were first collected in South London back in February 2015."