With the technology behind electronic instruments changing rapidly, many electronic artists have given their own sonic takes in the age-old argument of analog vs digital. Brooklyn's own Flash Trading belong to the camp of electronic musicians that seek to pay homage to classic analog sounds while pushing forward the genre through their bold songwriting. Their newest video for "Acceleration," off their upcoming EP The Golden Mile, which AdHoc is premiering today, plays with the line between the retro and modern by utilizing not only analog instruments, but also old webcams and video effects to film the music video. The video itself plays even further with this divide between the modern and the nostalgic through its depictions of the song lyrics written out on social media posts and text messages. In this way, even as the filtered bass, syncopated claps, and classic synth sounds that make up the track calls back to 80s and 90s electronica, Flash Trading reveals that through reproduction, all sound is ultimately timeless.
Keita Sano’s jam-packed 70-minute cassette is forever-favorite 1080p Collection’s newest release. The Japanese producer already has an impressive back catalogue, with releases on Mister Saturday Night, Crowd Spacer, and Strictly Groove Recordings. Holding New Cards is a delightful blend of nostalgia-inducing melodies, hybrid genre drum machine grooves, punctuated with anything from ecstatic vocal samples to washed-out noise, a process that 1080p accurately dubs “joyous experimentation.” “Onion Slice,” the first released single of the album, is a reconstruction of archetypal breaks with soaring vocal and synth melody. “Search” is punchy, dragged-out downtempo reggae. “Insomnia” and the title track delve into slightly darker territory with bubbling, hypnotic acid, and noise. “African Blue” rounds out the album, taking African-influenced percussion and splicing it with '90s Euro House. Holding New Cards presents a refined yet freeing kind of maximalist oeuvre, bolstered further by Keita Sano’s background in jazz music.
Vancouver tape-and-digital powerhouse 1080p has signed off on plenty of eclectic work over the two years of its existence. Petra I, the first part of a double cassette release by New York-based artist Saffron (formerly Spirit Guide), gravitates around a decadent microhouse aesthetic, yet strives to encompass a lot more. The terse piano loops and vocal samples of "Blueland" recall Boards of Canada's moody late-'90s IDM, while the press release's assertion that Saffron deals with trip-hop vibes is not entirely off-base, either; however, it is not the trip hop of mean Bristol streets at nighttime, but experienced from the snug vantage point of one's living room. In fact, the whole thing brings to memory Matthew Herbert's wonderful Around the House, playing out like a mundane evening in a big city apartment. Saffron's smart use of dynamics and arrangement recreates a real-life sense of passing of time, and in a way, Petra redefines the term "background music," yielding agency to the background itself. It is music that sounds as if unintentionally shaped by the clinking of dishes, air bouncing off modernist furniture, and the impossibility of complete unwinding in an age of distractions.
Petra I is out March 24 on 1080p. You can pre-order it here as a double cassette, together with Petra II.
Berlin has been having a techno and house rennaisance for a good quarter century now, attracting all sorts of talent to play weird clubs in back alleys. Berlin transplant Campbell Irvine was a classically-trained violinist in Australia without any background in creating house music. He emerged with the Shambala EP last year and moved to Berlin where he met David Sumner, aka Function, a New York DJ whose label Infrastructure NY had been dormant since 1998. Sumner heard the tracks for Irvine's Removal of the Six Armed Goddess and, having just revitalized his label, he decided to put out the 12" this past June. The three songs on the record are texturally complex, featuring thick swaths of delayed static, ominous moaning, and samples of Arabic music that hovers like a miasmic fog above a deep industrial 4/4 groove. Nevertheless, this is dance music indebted to UK darkcore and acid house, with a dark ambient electronica bend ala Muslimgauze or Demdike Stare.
Listen to a track off the record, "Thread Laid Bare On The Ground," below. You can order Removal of the Six Armed Goddess from InfrastructureNY here.