The shortest month is almost half over, but it’s still very early in 2018 to start really trendspotting with any degree of accuracy. That said, we wrote a bunch of reviews of new darkwave recently, and you may find one or two songs tucked into Tracks this week as well. It may just be a fluke of release schedules, but it certainly feels like the union of goth aesthetics and gloomy synthesizer action is gearing up. If one or two more good albums hit in the next month or two we might even have a full-blown revival on our hands. Let’s all enjoy some piping-hot Tracks sampler plate while we wait to see how this one plays out.
Victor Kalima, “Operations & Interactions”
Finnish producer Victor Kalima is releasing his debut LP on Infidel Bodies in a week, and while the preview tracks feel very much at home in the current techno/EBM landscape, there are plenty of broader flourishes which hearken back to a time before Perc and Berghain were on everyone’s lips. The squared-away bounce of the bassline has a good deal in common with classic Black Strobe and some of Daniel Myer’s solo work, and the whole tune conveys a smoother and sexier feel than the grime and noise we’ve come to expect from this sort of work. We’ll be interested to see how Kalima’s style plays out over a full LP, and promise not to make a Temple of Doom crack if you don’t, either.
Totem, “A Night in Reverse”
The year in darkwave rolls on with another new one from emerging Berlin act Totem. We were impressed by their first demo song a few weeks back and are equally taken with new one “A Night In Reverse”; distant guitars, plaintive vocals and a synthesized rhythm section keep this one cooking. Christoffer Bagge has announced that a Totem EP will be forthcoming. If the tracks on it are on par with what we’ve already heard it’ll be a welcome release indeed.
TVMVLVS TABIDVS, “DO VT DES”
Squalling stuff from Costa Rica, TVMVLVS TABIDVS (roughly translated as “rotting burial mound”) are serving up a murky brew which seems to borrow from the most scraping and wailing of deathrock depths as much as it does an equally rough incarnation of darkwave. Everything blends together in a mode which should be cacophonous but carries a musty dignity and immediacy, though. A more lo-fi revisting of The Vanishing, perhaps?
Agent Side Grinder, “Into the Wild (Kill Shelter remix)”
Longtime readers of the site will probably know about our affection for Stockholm-based synth wave band Agent Side Grinder. Though we were disappointed to hear that half the band (including singer Kristoffer Grip) had decided to split last year, we’re still cautiously hopeful for the new incarnation featuring Emanuel Åström on vocals. While we wait to heard how this new version of the band sounds, let’s all enjoy this new remix of “Into the Wild” from Alkimia by Kill Shelter, who take the song in a brusque electro direction.
Plack Blague, “Leather Life (Sweat Boys)”
Who doesn’t enjoy a lil’ blaguin’ off on the weekend? If you aren’t familiar with Nebraska’s finest leather-sex minimal EBM act, y’all could do worse than to check out last year’s terrific Night Trax, and some of the sweet merch too. This here remix from the appropriately named Sweat Boys certainly amps up the body music quotient. A tune to cruise the wasteland by indeed.
Body Snatchers, “Give Fuck No More”
Lastly, some German EBM which is about as raw and lo-fi as the project and track names would suggest. Coming to us via the still new but thus far excellent Smashing Tapes label, much of Body Snatchers’ EP is made up of clattering and somewhat deconstructed minimal synth brap-outs, but the bassline on this number can’t be mistaken for anything other than anhalt goodness. Adjust headphone volume accordingly; it’s brief but packs a punch.