Posts by Henning Lahmann
It’s the times we live in, though we can’t even tell anymore what kind of ‘time’ that is or could be; but maybe, when we’ve grown tired of discussing ‘future shocks’ and ‘retromania’, when we stop waiting for the future and stop longing for the past that probably was nothing but an illusion in the first place, maybe then comes a time when we actually rediscover the ability to focus on the art in and of itself, an ability that lets us appreciate again that kind of music that doesn’t care for the ‘time’ it was written in, music that exists in a gap where those categories have no meaning. It is such a gap in which Ninety Thirty Thirty has found its place, the sophomore album by Fielded. The album’s eleven songs are not trapped in the past, though quite a few elements and means may remind you of things you’d find on records hidden in the attic of your parents’ house. They are not headed towards some utopian future either, where contemporary music’s foundations will be reconceived and overthrown. And surely, they are not particularly now in any way whatsoever.
Fielded is the solo project of Chicago resident Lindsay Powell, to some perhaps still better known as part of Ga’an or Skyblazer or Festival. Her music revolves around intense, inescapably stirring vocal explorations. Though more emphasis has been put on the overall production compared to her previous efforts, Ninety Thirty Thirty is no exception. The surrounding instrumentation, mainly composed of opulently arranged synths and programmed drums with the occasional sax intervention, may in itself be more sumptuous than what is commonly accepted in pop music these days. Yet within this setting it still can’t achieve more than merely providing the aptly luxurious decoration around the self-proclaimed diva’s absorbing vocal delivery. Just listen to the especially breathtaking standout "Eurynome": Lindsay Powell makes music that probably shouldn’t exist, anymore or yet; in that sense, we can’t be sure if it actually does. So you better check it out while it lasts. (co-premiere with No Fear Of Pop)
Ninety Thirty Thirty is out April 23 on Captcha Records. Pre-order now here.
We're still thoroughly enjoying Mr. Jonathan Clancy, a.k.a. His Clancyness', extended version of his fabulous debut LP, Always Mist. Indeed, it's more than exciting news to hear that the Canadian/Italian artist got signed by Brighton/Brooklyn powerhouse Fat Cat Records, but that he appears to have a full album's worth of new material ready. The actual record is due sometime this fall, but it will be preceded by the Charade EP, which arrives as a limited edition cassette, sold during his upcoming tour through Europe. Appearing on both the EP and the album, the first new song to be unveiled, "Machines", takes up the project's signature sound of moderately nostalgic, unassuming yet disarmingly candid rock and roll. Watch the track's video now, shot by band member Giulia Mazza. (co-premiere with No Fear Of Pop)
Still largely and undeservedly overlooked by most, Tokyo's Taka Noda, who since 2010 records as Mystica Tribe, is about to drop not one but two follow-up records to his remarkable 2011 debut Meditation Stick. Again released by Rotterdam-based imprint Syncom Data Records, the EPs Flowers and Stars Are Mine both continue to delve deep into dub-heavy territory, with techno-leaning compositions that give a lot of weight to bass while leaving enough space for every single element within the arrangement to breathe. The textures exude a somewhat exotic feel, though it is unclear if that is due to the listener's preconception of dub, the knowledge of the artist's origin, or simply the occasional, eponymous tribal beats that break up the tracks' basic grid. All along, the music's otherness remains elusive and hard to really attribute to a particular place: Mystica Tribe's music will send you off on a trip, but the destination remains obscure. --via No Fear Of Pop
The Flowers EP is out already, Stars Are Mine arrives May 7. Order Flowers now via Clone Records. Preview both EPs below.
Of all those things that the British just know how to do so much better than anyone else-- in terms of music-- is their knack for immensely compelling female vocalist/cutting edge producer collaborations. Such combinations have always been most striking, especially with the seemingly effortless ability to turn put a perfect pop song without at all comprimising on the forward-thinking production end. Examples for this claim are countless; now, add to that impressive list Saa, a duo recently formed by Old Apparatus member A. Levitas and singer Linn Carin Dirdal. To call their first three tracks 'promising' would be an understatement-- everything sounds well-considered and strikingly confident. Dirdal's vocal delivery is gorgeous, and behind the knobs and screens, Levitas brings to mind the brilliance of last year's Old Apparatus release Alfur-- the second EP of the group's trilogy that was credited to him. Just as with his elusive collective, the production's overall tone is dark and melancholic, with wide-ranging influences from post-rock to trip-hop, R&B, and contemporary UK bass, with highly convincing results. --via No Fear Of Pop
This year, that whole anonymity shtick among underground electronic artists seemed to be more present than ever. It's rather refreshing to encounter a young and ambitious artist who simply starts uploading samples of his work to a Soundcloud account that bears his actual name, with no pretentious secrets whatsoever. Quite impressive, highly promising work it already is. Though originally from Ireland, Hubie Davison has been enrolled at Goldsmiths in London for the past two years, where he studies studio composition. Not considering himself part of any particular scene, Hubie nonetheless demonstrates that he is very much aware of what's up in contemporary UK these days, showcasing a surprisingly refined, very intriguing blend of contemporary bass music tropes. Intricately arranged and sonically expansive-- even if his recording setup has been rather limited so far-- his first tracks are truly exciting. Rest assured that we're not the only ones who think so. Below, take a listen to two equally enticing examples of Hubie Davison's work, and watch out for him to return in 2013. And oh, that might actually happen under a different moniker. (via No Fear Of Pop)
Like its acclaimed predecessor ICU Tracks, Dave Donnelly aka Production Unit’s latest work There Are No Shortcuts In A Grid System puts heavy emphasis on concept and coherence. This time however, the Glaswegian producer abandons the bleak, skeletal techno that characterized the last album in favor of an unexpected turn towards withdrawn, glacial hip hop. The piece is composed of two parts that both reflect on the idea of being forced to operate within the confines of a predetermined structure, and each new track is conceived as a remix of its preceding one, taking up recognizable elements of its precursor to mess around with and manipulate – an ambitious concept that works out marvelously. With its sparse beats and gritty synth pads, second track “Further Uncounted Steps” thereby sets the tone for the whole, truly fascinating operation. (co-premiere with No Fear Of Pop)
There Are No Shortcuts In A Grid System is out November 19 via Broken20. Pre-order here.
Enigmatic London collective Old Apparatus have been turning heads since they launched their imprint Sullen Tone earlier this year, which explores the corners of UK underground. Alfur is the second chapter of a 12" trilogy that the collective's been working on, each installment produced by a different member. In this case, A. Levitas takes the reigns on Alfur and pushes the unsettling and opaque signature of Old Apparatus in a slightly trippier direction, drawing a discernible line from early '90s Bristol to the cinematic soundscapes of early Amon Tobin and South London sounds of the 21st century. (No Fear Of Pop co-premiere)
Alfur is out digitally October 8th and on vinyl the 29th via Sullen Tone.
Daniel Matz, an alumn of the Berlin University of the Arts and a mainstay of the city's underground club scene dropped his debut full-length, Atta Atta, under the moniker Phlex. The album emphasizes playful rhythmic arrangements and focuses heavily on lower frequencies. "Roast Beef" is a standout-- a frenetic, restless piece that lies somewhere on the outer fringe of modern bass music. Despite Phlex's obviously experimental sensibilities, the track never slips into the purely intellectual territory, instead staying true to the environment it was meant to shine in: the club. Atta Atta is surely one of the most exciting things to emerge from Berlin this year. (via No Fear Of Pop)
Atta Atta is out now on Schematic. Get it here.
The only real chance to rework the compelling beats of Fay Davis-Jeffers' FAY project would be to rip it up entirely and shamelessly turn it into something that is distinctly your own. Enter Baltimore's Matthew Papich, better known as Co La, whose reputation for inhabiting his own autonomous sonic realm makes him a great candidate to remix FAY's "Shadow I". Even though Papich leaves the track's bare framework intact, his "Iceless Version" completely realigns the original, abandoning its signifyers while adding some truly unexpected, iridescent layers of synth that perfectly harmonize with FAY's outré R&B stutter. (No Fear Of Pop co-premiere)
DIN is out on Time No Place. Stream it in full here.
Initially shrouded in mystery, young Finnish producer Pietu Arvola, aka Albert Swarm, caused quite some stir last year with the release of his EP Held, provoking countless comparisons ranging from Holy Other and Balam Acab to The Field. While his debut was remarkable, the occasionally all-too striking resemblances appeared to get in the way of praise to extend beyond appreciation for a skillfully executed replica. Fortunately, it only took one more effort for Arvola, now based in the capital Helsinki, to entirely develop his very own musical language.
His sophomore EP, Wake, draws on the sonic concepts of its predecessor yet finds a comfortable new home within patterns that are somewhat darker, but above all considerably more mature and intricate. Remaining in an irresolute position between slow-burning techno and UK bass, the stunning, thoroughly haunting EP closer “Moths and Moth Catchers” finishes off any connotations we might associate with the word ‘talent’. (No Fear of Pop co-premiere)
Wake is out September 4 on Ceremony.