We hope folks have recovered from the shock to the system (and wallet) which was the flurry of tour announcements which came last week. While we and plenty of folks were able to nab tickets for the shows which were of the most importance to us, plenty of folks were stymied by a certain ticketing giant’s new predilection for prioritizing secondary market tickets (which they now are trading in, of course) on their website. The upshot of this is that it often looks like a show is sold out (and now can only be attended by shelling out for outrageously hiked scalped tickets), when in fact they aren’t…at least initially. Frankly, it fucking sucks that fans who are already being fleeced by all manner of excessive surcharges are now missing out on shows or having to pay artificially inflated prices, while artists are effectively powerless to do anything about it (if Taylor Swift can’t buck Ticketmaster, what luck would Skinny Puppy have?). Bleh, enough griping, on with this week’s Tracks!
Another intriguing new single from Alison Lewis, aka Zanias, whose credentials as an artist, label head and DJ tastemaker should be familiar to anyone who has been following this website for any period of time. Like January’s “Simulation”, the sound of “Metrics” splits the difference between Lewis’ lusher synth soundscapes and her body music and minimal productions, although it’s the song’s lyrics that grab our attention: struggling with big ideas has long been an aspect of the Zanias project, but the singular, self-questioning angle of this track in particular speaks to the emotional honesty that continues to define Lewis’ work in its many guises. We are naturally already anticipating new LP Chrysalis, and this does nothing but whet our appetite further.
Nature Nvoke, “2023 And Beyond”
We had a lot of time for Cleveland producer Nature Nvoke’s 2020 single “Tears”. While the B-side to his new single “Human Vs. Machine” isn’t quite as grim and claustrophobic, it shows just as much talent for uptempo body music as “Tears” did for darkwave. Finding links between classic electro and EBM rhythms and strange newer forms of house and bass music (of which we’re only cursorily aware), this is the sort of cross-genre stuff that’ll go off well in just about any club.
Moris Black & S Y Z Y G Y X, “Procession”
There’s a uniqueness to the new collaborative single from Moris Black and S Y Z Y G Y X that is hard to define. At least a part of it has to do with the near manic synth programming that chatters its way through the track, creating a sharp contrast with the track’s smokey, trip hop-esque vocals and syncopated drums. But beyond those obvious markers, its a case of two artists with distinct approaches finding a common ground that seems natural to both, with Black’s ultra-designed bass music inspired electronics and S Y Z Y G Y X’s increasingly distinctive vocal sensibility intertwining at a molecular level. An excellent atmospheric single that bangs even as it envelops.
Circa Tapes, “Oleto Lev”
Coming to us about a year after the Olejiaan EP, the new release from Circa Tapes keeps the Chicago project’s somewhat minimal but decidedly quirky take on EBM going. Influenced by electro and motorik sounds while still holding on to some of the project’s earlier allegiance to minimal wave, cuts like this one from Clajsh have a smooth and cool economy to them while still communicating an abstract and somewhat disorienting haze.
Sydney Valette, “Mistress of Desire (Poison Point Remix)”
Sydney Valette’s style of slinky and continental darkwave, as showcased on last year’s Home Alone, is a welcome companion in the club or at home over cocktails. Home Alone seemed like a record well-suited to remixing, and the range of approaches show on this new six track release bears that prediction out. We’re especially impressed by how Poison Point’s mix plays against type, turning the jumped up mania of the original “Mistress Of Desire” into a tumbling, half-time cathedral of crystalline pads.
Helix, “For Bill”
Helix, the duo of Tom Shear and Mari Kattman have released “For Bill”, a charity release to raise funds for the family of one of Kattman’s former bandmates who passed in 2022. Like much of Helix’s material it offers an interesting view of the duo’s creative partnership; with Shear showing the production acumen and melodicism that extends well beyond the normal purview of his work in Assemblage 23, and Kattman applying her remarkable voice in a controlled, yet still emotional fashion, the identity of Helix has continued to grow and feel less like an extension of two existing artists and more of an entity unto itself, cohesive and above all, affecting.