After an all too brief dry spell, we’re now into the period where we actually have way more releases to review than we have time for. It’s frustrating for us, as we’d love to write about everything we get sent as a promo (okay, that’s a stretch, but it’d be nice to theoretically have enough time to do so), but there’s only so many albums you can really listen to well enough to write about in the course of the average week. Not that we’re complaining mind you, we love doing this, and rest assured, we’d quit the moment it stopped being a rewarding experience for us, but it’d be great if we could find more hours in the day for this. On the plus-side, we just arrived home after checking out a new event in our own backyard, Under The Spell. Folks from Mitochondrian and Cvlt Nation (the excellent metal/extreme/dark music site which we only now realised was also based out of Van) are putting on neo-folk, dark ambient, and psych-ish parties with bands every second Sunday, and we were fortunate enough to catch a set by none other than Funerary Call. It’s damn exciting to have a new live performance oriented endeavor starting up in No Fun City, especially one dealing with genres which so often get short shrift. On with Monday’s tracks!
Believer/Law, “War Story”
After a couple of demo appearances, the minimal/synth-punk side project of Cult Of Youth maniac Sean Ragon has its first proper release, and at first pass it’s a doozy. That the Matters of Life and Death EP is appearing on Chondritic seems like a match made in heaven; Ragon has a talent for infusing unsuspecting genres with a broadsiding sense of violence and joie de vivre, and we’ve been digging the label’s essays into more melodic electronic territory. There’s been no small amount of buzz surrounding this project for a year or so; let’s hope listeners follow through.
Mallevs, “Psychic Lines”
Some lo-fi, rough and ready darkwave out of Phoenix, from an act whose sound is commensurate with the complete lack of information about them anywhere we checked. We’ve lamented the loss of mystique in Our Thing a few times previously, and at the risk of showing our age, we often get excited when a band isn’t wholly formed in our minds from the moment we hear them. There’s something cool about listening to a track like “Psychic Lines” and imagining what the band that made it might be like (maybe supplemented by a shaky video of a live show, like say, this one) that’s been lost in the age of FB profiles and endless promo spam. The band has an LP coming out on Gilgongo records soonish, colour us intrigued.
MultiColor, “A Special Moment”
We’re starting to suspect that Tympanik label-head Paul Nielsen has a ranch going in the suburbs of Chicago where he raises moody IDM and technoid musicians. It sounds unlikely, but what other explanation could there be for where he keeps finding these fully-formed artists in the style to bolster his label’s already mighty roster? We haven’t heard enough to really get a bead on MultiColor yet (the project’s debut EP Cyclicity comes out on March 18th), but we’re feeling the almost dubby bassline and cut-up guitar glitch that informs this track, it’s real mellow dig.
Adán & Ilse, “Skin”
Okay, remember that muddy, minimal USHERsan & HIV + record we wrote about last year? Well it turns out the dudes behind that (Pedro from HIV+ and Usher from Norma Loy) have still another project we weren’t really aware of, this one in a more punky electro vein. This puts us in mind of some of the darker electroclash stuff from a decade or so ago, like Dakar & Grinser and Codec & Flexor, albeit with a nice layer of squirty analogue baked in and some of the edges sharpened up a bit. Not shabby, we’ll be looking out for the next record, as well as going back to check out the single they released last year that had mixes from the Horrorist, Equitant and Liebkecht.
Finally, we’ll leave you with some simple yet gorgeous minimal wave from Xiu, occasionally of Aufnahme + Widergabe, always of the night’s quieter moments. While resolutely spartan in instrumentation, there’s a depth of atmosphere to these tunes that recalls stone classics like Kym Amps along with more lush material (Cranes, perhaps?). Very difficult not to float away with this one.