These four new releases represent some distinctively innovative directions in electronic music at the moment. From delicate sound design to nu-dub to multi-layered and restrained techno oscillation, each with its own distinct take on the medium.
- Belief Defect | Remixed 01 [ Raster – 12″/DL ]
- Efdemin | New Atlantis [ Ostgut Ton – LP/CD/DL ]
- Ulrich Troyer | Dolomite Dub [ 4-Bit Prod. – LP/CD/DL ]
- Franck Vigroux | Théorème [ DAC Records – 12″/DL ]
Take my word for it…or just spin ’em for yourself.
Belief Defect | Remixed 01 on Raster (12″/DL)
Four tracks from their Decadent yet Depraved album have been treated and otherwise remixed with precision. Remixed 01 from Berlin/LA producers Belief Defect captures an almost post-dancefloor feel, decades after disco and acid house, after raves and IDM, we are in this flex/flux moment when it comes to finding a new meaning of techno in this virtual/social media driven society, and its ability to move us. Kangding Ray lays heavy, driven beats on Unnatural Instinct that have a slightly heavier feel than his original work. It bares a passing resemblance to some of the short-lived industrial dance music of the 90s without any of its trappings. Alessandro Cortini’s contribution to Disembarking Horizons makes a darker turn into the gray side of drone. It’s textured and infused with mysterious offshoots and sonic restraint.
One artist who takes the material by storm by adding a signature blurry geometry and gutsy abstract beats is Surachai. No Hope No Fear is like taking your cues from Einstürzende Neubauten by adding a layer of funky electronics. Lastly, Telefon Tel Aviv’s dub variation on Deliverance brings a sensitive side to the record, one with a plotted build and a blend of saturated echoed vocal diversions. It’s out now and you won’t miss the emerging Matryoshka-style cover gorgeously created by Sarah Sitken.
Efdemin | New Atlantis on Ostgut Ton (LP/CD/DL)
Out on 2/25, New Atlantis from Efdemin (Phillip Sollmann) is a significant departure from earlier releases like Chicago and Decay. He’s infused proverbs and several guests to expand on this conceptual gem. At first I was taken aback by the prophetic take on Francis Bacon’s unfinished 17th century novel, with it’s quirks, crooning and disparate spirit on the opener, Oh, Lovely Appearance Of Death, but soonafter the beats resume, taken with the foreshadowing, the layers include a bit of melodrama and contemplative breadth. This is most definitely a slice of peculiar inflection, heard most identifiably on the title track, also the records centerpiece and longest running at over fourteen minutes.
This is a slippery slope for a modern electronic half-step record to dips its toes in a bit of melancholia, but it oddly suits the cinematic fever it induces. Tracks like At The Stranger’s House and Land Unknown each have their own short story to tell, laidback at times, changing speeds, and otherwise reveling in their own shape-shifting moodiness. And the twists and turns continue with the tribal short Temple and the 60’s Southeast Asian folk inflections of the brilliant court-like closer, The Sound House. This is by far the best these ears have been treated to Sollmann’s body of work, it’s a true stylish sleeper.
Ulrich Troyer | Dolomite Dub on 4-Bit Prod. (LP/CD/DL)
Parts I-IV of Ulrich Troyer‘s Dolomite Dub is the Vienna-based sound artist’s latest foray into taking an Alpine hike and delivering it as a whirlwind of in-situ activities that offer both dissonance and meditation. Along with other invited musicians, the pieces take you into passages along a journey of doorways, down roads with the aid of bells/chimes, wind instruments and a plethora of ancillary percussion. A set of complex minimalism where atmosphere meets the timbre of a quasi jazz at the crossroads of beat abstraction. The melodies are reclusive yet warm. And just when there is a certain contentment drums and horns ruffle the feathers. I’m reminded of some of those Morphine records on Rykodisc back in the day, this sort of genreless fusion between alternative rock, jazz and the unexpected.
The psychedelic effects of dub really begin to take hold on Part III where things meander in the soft hiss of quietude alongside Didi Kern‘s expert drumkit that keeps the beat and adds a shaky bone china element that is stylish and effective. By the final of these four lengthy vignettes there is this sense of weariness, like any roadtrip might calculate and hope to redefine. But the determination to reach the end of the road takes its paces here in a blend of funky, languid beats.
Franck Vigroux | Théorème on DAC Records (12″/DL)
The prolific French musician Franck Vigroux is has just released his latest EP through DAC Records. Théorème is a 12″ (two tracks per side) that “describes a dystopian reality where humans and nature fight the material world“. At first, on Carré the leathery beat has a jittery coating that’s translucent and viscous. As it sears away a puzzling set of soft bell-like synths traipses through, showing a soft side to the edgy mix with open circuits burning out. VX90 builds a bewildered bridge that stacks up a sense of chicanery with a ruptured line of industrial interference. It’s a jarring discordance that grows, shaped by its own semipermeable variables. I’d imagine if you stripped this down you have a fine hard rock solo in there somewhere.
Once flipped to the b-side TT pops like a stellar cross between classic microsound glitch and a wanton techno vibe teasing to implode. It stirs up a scaly atmosphere that shifts nervously in its weight. The drop and sizzle of Nord is a refreshing conclusion. As if an old school arcade game were on a respirator, this track is impregnated with a hovering effect and a potentially sinister plot line. Vigroux offers a sleek peek into the future while borrowing from both the luminous glow of cinema and a portico into bit-rate reduction.