Morning, gang! Amidst the usual events of the week (Aftermath prep, DJing, video games, pro wrestling jibber-jabber), half of the Senior Staff managed to bracket some time to check out the Vancouver Noise Festival on the weekend. Twenty acts from around Canada and the northwest were jammed into a sweltering gallery on the 100 block of East Hastings, and proceeded to generally Fuck Shit Up. While we were only able to catch about half of the line-up, there was a great range of sounds on display, from pure squalling waves of feedback to sparsely minimal stuff. For our money, the best sets we caught were both by Vancouver acts, Rusalka (churning builds and falls with some rhythmic stabs) and Sistrenatus (a more droney and noisy side project of Harlow MacFarlane of Funerary Call). Perhaps tellingly, there was a real dearth of folks from the industrial club scene here in Van, apart from our boy Big Mike (not to be confused with Regular-Sized Mike or Big Paul). Obviously this sort of thing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for all of the times people gripe about “real industrial”, you’d hope some would come out to enjoy stuff at the Noise Fest that regularly crosses over into power electronics and dark ambient. Cool new music isn’t always going to leap out at you from club speaker or from the writing of dangerously sexy industrial bloggers; sometimes you have to hit the pavement and do some digging yourself. Speaking of which, it’s time to fork over the results of our own week’s forays into the wild and woolly world of new tunes.
Ashbury Heights, “Starlight”
We’ve written very little about Ashbury Heights on ID:UD, largely due to the group’s hiatus (originally purported to be a retirement from music) following the release of the exceptional Take Care Paramour in 2010. That record and the preceding LP were mutual favourites of the senior staff, full of smart, hooky electropop songs that still make appearances in our DJ sets today; naturally we were excited to hear that Anders Hagström was back in the studio with new collaborator Tea Time. The first track from those sessions “Starlight” feels like a throwback to the Morningstar In a Black Car style of production, simple melodies attached to mid-tempo beats, with a less-is-more production sensibility. You can stream the track below and purchase it from iTunes, we’ll be waiting for word on that new album and pass it along as soon as we know something.
In Slaughter Natives, “Cannula Coma Legio”
A full decade’s passed since the last new LP from legendary martial/dark ambient act In Slaughter Natives. There’s something so regal and eventful about Jouni Havukainen’s music that a good layover between releases feels appropriate, but ten years is more than enough of a wait. It’s perhaps fitting that the band, who released so much of their work on the equally storied Cold Meat Industries, will be working with Cyclic Law for their new LP, perhaps representing a passing of the obsidian torch from the now-defunct CMI to one of the most reliable names currently releasing material of ISN’s ilk. Here’s the title track.
Encephalon, “Disintegrators Trench”
We’ve already discussed one track initially meant for the Kinetik 7.0 compilation which has been released independently in the wake of the cancellation of the festival (and ergo compilation as well), and like The Gothsicles, Encephalon have put up their contribution to that effort on Bandcamp. Regardless of origin, we’re always excited to hear a preview of what we might hear on the Ottawa band’s follow-up to their 2011 debut (again, our album of that year), and mayhaps we’ll get to hear this stomper in person when, like The Gothsicles, Matt Gifford and co rep onstage at Aftermath!
Glass Apple Bonzai, “My Alliance (to Science!)”
Hey, speaking of Kinetik exiles who are putting out their comp tracks, we’ve got this new bit of business from Glass Apple Bonzai. Happily, like The Gothsicles and Encephalon, Daniel X Belasco’s going to be at Aftermath as well, exposing heads Canadian and international alike to the more melodic side of his work. We guess given that it’s a classic synthpop jam which throws religion under the bus we can call this Daniel’s own “Blasphemous Rumours” moment?
Agent Side Grinder feat. Dirk Ivens, “Go (Bring It) Back”
A fun record treat finds Sweden’s exceptional punky electro outfit Agent Side Grinder teaming up with Dirk Ivens to record a mash-up of their track “Bring It Back” with The Klinik’s “Go Back”. It’s a simple idea that serves to highlight a few things, namely that the connection to EBM we’ve always heard in ASG’s music isn’t wholly unfounded, especially when you compare Ivens’ vocals to those of Side Grinder’s Kristoffer Grip. This one was a Record Store Day special from our pals at Kollaps records in Stockholm, and can be ordered directly from them.
[product], “To the Wind”
A little something from Portland’s Michael Kurt, who has been taking his project [product] into a lot of interesting directions of late. This number finds the electro-industrial project experimenting with some slower tempo sounds (presaged by last year’s witchhaus EP Awaken the Alchemist) and even some neo-folk and dark ambient feels. The new EP Her Ghost will be out mid-May, and features remixes from Wychdoktor and SALT. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to listen to while you wait you should check out Kurt’s new podcast Talking to Ghosts, the first two episodes of which we enjoyed immensely.