Just in time for the 20th birthday of his label Hospital Productions, Dominick Fernow released his first release under his techno alias Vatican Shadow on Ostgut Ton, following the last year of his Berghain residency and joining the Ostgut Booking Agency with his Vatican and Prurient projects.
The Cocteau Twins / This Mortal Coil-evocative, beat-free, opening play “They Deserve Death,” as well as the two collateral club / dancefloor-friendly tracks “Rubbish Of The Floodwaters” and “Weapons Inspection” are in dialogue with each other The tape processing technique, which laid the basis of Vatican’s first performances using analog hardware and minimalistic MIDI dissection. Produced in Los Angeles with Josh Eustis, Vatican Shadows’ Rubbish Of The Floodwaters EP is a picture of where the project began, and where the journey goes.
A special focus lies on this EP on the artwork, a work from the Softex series by Berlin-based photographer Christian Vagt . With Softex, Vagt documents the refugee camp of the same name, located on an industrial road near Thessaloniki. Vagt’s photography of Softex’s pervasive, yet transparent fence expands Vatican Shadows Recontextualization of quotations from news media, military and religious contexts, from the vinyl record vinyl becomes a mixed media art object, the Vags motif from Softex with Vatican Shadows concept of the media communication lock united.
One of NewYork based experimental artist Fred Welton Warmsley iii FKA Lee Bannon many monikers, Dedekind Cut (pronounced “Ded-da-kend Cut”) draws out the dark calm of Coil, in the guise a modern approach to Noise, New Age and Ambient music.
Triple LP version. Includes CD. Comes with a 24-page booklet in a hardcover book. In the body of work of Cologne artist Wolfgang Voigt – who, like few others, has informed, shaped and influenced the world of electronic music with countless different projects since the early 1990s – Gas stands out in particular, a saturnine sound cosmos based on heavily condensed classic sequences. Even after nearly 20 years, the sound of Gas doesn’t seem to have lost any of its luster, as shown by the commanding success of Kompakt’s fall 2016 re-release of the essential back catalogue as a box set (KOM 370LP). The overwhelming feedback from a loyal international fan community and worldwide media outlets attests once again to the sheer timelessness of Gas. Which is why it will feel like hardly a day has passed since the release of the last official album Pop nearly two decades ago in 2000, when Wolfgang Voigt resumes this specific creative path with the upcoming new full-length Narkopop. Even in the here and now, the unmistakable vibe of Gas immediately hits home, taking the listener on an otherworldly journey with the very first sounds, drawing them into an impervious sonic thicket, down to the depths of rapture and reverie. From wafts of dense symphonic mist emerges a floating and whirling feeling of weightlessness, before the listener steps into an eerily beautiful forest of fantasy, pulled in by the allure of a narcotic bass drum. While earlier Gas tracks were often based on the hypnotic effects of looping techniques, the ten new pieces on Narkopop unfold their magic in a more entwined manner, sometimes with the sonic might of an entire philharmonic orchestra, at times subtle and fragile. A main characteristic of Voigt’s oeuvre, the coalescence of seemingly contradictory stylistic aspects such as harmonious and atonal, concrete and abstract, light and heavy, near and far is also a decisive feature of Narkopop. In accordance with the transgressive spirit of his collective work, Voigt carries the aesthetic conceptions of his music over to the realm of the visual. Based on his abstract forest pictures, the Gas artwork addresses Voigt’s artistic affinity to romanticism and the forest as a place of yearning. For the first time, a closer look at the cover of Narkopop reveals signs of architectural fragments which hint at another, maybe parallel world behind Voigt’s forest. Truth is the prettiest illusion.
Palto Flats and We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records present the highly-anticipated reissue of Japanese percussionist Midori Takada’s sought after and timeless ambient/minimal album Through The Looking Glass, originally released in 1983 by RCA Japan. Considered a holy grail of Japanese music by many, Through The Looking Glass is Midori Takada’s first solo endeavor, a captivating four-song suite capturing her deep quests into traditional African and Asian percussive language and exploring contemplative ambient sounds with an admirably precise use of marimba. The result is alternatively ethereal and vibrant, always precise and mesmerizing, and makes for an atmospheric masterpiece and an unparalleled sonic and spiritual experience. Midori Takada is a composer, multi-percussionist, and theater artist renowned in Japanese vanguard circles.
Anthropologist Marc Augé calls hotels and airports “non-places,” where “people are always, and never, at home.” As a touring DJ, Roman Flügel probably spends as much time in non-places as clubs or his studio. The Frankfurt-based artist has said that his third album for Dial, All The Right Noises, is very much a product of those surroundings. In particular, it’s about the solitary time in hotel rooms between gigs, and that strange mixture of peace and isolation. Released in October 2016 on Dial Records.
In the early ’90s, as the rave fever-dream gripped Europe, people started writing lullabies to soothe it. Adam Feingold’s latest EP as Ex-Terrestrial echoes this counter-movement, falling somewhere between the proto-IDM of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence comps and the then-burgeoning chillout sound. This music styled itself as sophisticated, but its simplicity by modern standards often makes it all the more charming. Feingold, who has celebrated a different kind of ugliness on a redlining house EP for Apron, captures this contradiction. The occasional rough edges make his radiant tracks all the more beautiful.
Much of Paraworld captures techno just before it lifts off into space. The title track’s hissing hi-hats and artful congas keep one foot on Earth while rich synths tug us towards the great beyond. The chords are so serene that you sometimes wish they’d untether entirely; they do so on the beatless “Dreams Of Jupiter,” two minutes of Detroit noodling and dreamcatcher twinkles. “Aletheia” remains gravity-free for the first half, before settling into a comfortable broken-beat slouch. On brilliant closer “Blue Smoke,” another dog-eared breakbeat trudges along under a starry canopy of synths. Save for the simplest of midpoint breakdowns, the most striking event in its simple arrangement is a voice intoning, “deep… inside.” Here and elsewhere, Feingold spacewalks elegantly between retro-kitsch and straight-up gorgeous.
Youth isn’t usually associated with wisdom, or depth or complexity for that matter. Most 22 year-olds are still figuring out how a washing machine works but in the case of Howes (the solo project of Manchester-based John Howes) he’s making electronic music that is operating on innovative and experimental levels one might expect from a hardened career musician hitting their stride. Having released a more House-oriented 12” on Melodic a couple of years ago, his debut album proper is a record that is as expressive as it is cohesive. It’s a release that floats between nocturnal stillness and insomniac driven intensity. The shift, Howes Says, “Comes from the forced and narrow nature of a lot of electronic music. Most modern electronic music to me is too safe in terms of ambition, sound design and intention.”
The aforementioned middle of the night quality is hardly surprising, given the creative process behind making the record as he points out, “Most of these tracks come from finishing work on Friday, going home and starting a patch, working on it till the sun rises, sleeping a couple of hours, waking up and working on it all day and through the night until Sunday night. By this point you’ve honed down all the madness into something you understand and control in real time. Then I record live to a cassette machine I’ve had since I was a kid. There’s only two tracks on the record that have any editing and overdubbing, the rest are just recordings of the cassettes.”
The referred to patches come from Howes’ experiments with modular synths, “I used to struggle making stuff on a computer, you can do anything, sound like anyone, but there’s nothing the computer gives back. To get around it I started making my own software to make tracks on, then I got into modular stuff and building my own bits of proper kit. I wanted to have a setup that works like my head and the only way to do it was to start making these bits myself, I’m not into the fetish of modular stuff and analogue this, vintage that, I just like the way I approach these things I’ve put together myself.“
Howes’ work method has resulted in a record that feels at times personal and melancholic, charged with emotion and humming with a warmth that comes from such a labour intensive and solitary work routine. By not doing any editing or overdubbing Howes admits that “Its pretty hard to listen to because I can hear the shortcomings” however, it’s a process he’s overall very pleased with, “There’s other bits that make me really proud. I like the fact there’s nothing to hide behind, you can hear mistakes, you can hear me tweaking notes till I find the few that emotionally resonate with me, its like trying to put people in the room with you.”
Trying to place a label or genre association on this record is like trying to keep hold of an oiled snake, the second you think you have it, it wriggles away from you. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what Howes intended, “I don’t really think in terms of genre, most of the tracks are from self generating patches which sometimes come out with elements of house/techno but are mainly stripped back to the point where they can’t resemble any established music form, maybe ambient but that’s a cop out. I’m more into getting lost in something and not knowing what it is I’m making, getting stuck in a trance all weekend and then recording the last 5 minutes.”
Previously releasing Silent Servant and Broken English Club’s excellent industrial EP ‘Violence and Divinity’ the Brooklyn based label Cititrax has followed up that release with a deliciously dark and driving cut courtesy of AN-I. The three track EP is aesthetically beautiful having been pressed onto a lovely orange 160 gram 12 inch, however don’t let the beauty of the vinyl deceive you, pressed onto this glowing vinyl is some rather rude techno.
The very appropriately named ‘Gutz’ has a bassline punches you in the stomach when it drops in after an intro of pure industrial noise. At first I thought there was a dodgy connection to my decks, then the kick dropped in and I realised I was being taken for a ride on the techno train. ‘Rut’ doesn’t have the driving fury of ‘Gutz’ and is a more intricately produced techy track. A funky electro-esque rhythm frames the track whilst some Phil Kieran styled synthy bleeps and minimal percussion playfully pan between your ears. I really enjoyed ‘Rut’ however it definitely doesn’t have the club-orientated steel of ‘Gutz’. If you think the first two tracks are something, they have nothing on ‘Save Us’. I’m smiling just typing about it! It’s a beast and an example of techno at its finest. It builds and builds before a fast and unrelenting sub-bass compels you to nod your head and move your feet.
This is an excellently crafted EP and a real joy to listen to either in the club or in your house. It’s tremendously well produced and definitely worth a listen.
After the ground-breaking release of 1990′s “Love’s Secret Domain” album, Coil were not dormant; the main project was “Backwards”, which was started in 1992, updated considerably between 1993 and 1995, and transferred in 1996 to New Orleans, where it was finished in the magic of the Nothing studios of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). The album saw the fruition of Jhonn Balance‘s recent vocal coaching, producing haunting, passionate vocals, while reaching new heights.
23 years after its initiation, these tracks have been beautifully preserved by Danny Hyde and are finally available in highest quality audio. Differing substantially from the later, remixed incarnation, “The New Backwards” (2008), “Backwards” contains the original versions of Coil’s much-loved tracks; ‘A Cold Cell’ and ‘Fire Of The Mind’, which have appeared on various compilations over the years, and are now presented as originally intended.
This album is the essential bridge between “LSD” and the later “Musik To Play In The Dark” series. It is an essential conduit, to understand the journey that was taken. It was to be released… it should have been released… but because of issues with grey men it wasn’t. It is now, so enjoy. (Danny Hyde).
Deluxe double LP pressed in an edition of 500 copies. First 200 copies pressed are on red vinyl and packaged in a deluxe heavy duty gatefold jacket printed on thick board stock with a lush matte laminate.
Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails/How To Destroy Angels) composed the Forse series using a Buchla Music Easel. Forse, meaning “maybe” In Italian, is a series of 3 double LP releases Cortini recorded for Important to release in 2013.
“All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity.
Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions.
Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment. “