The Fourth Kind
Spanish producer WLDV was first brought to our attention via his excellent edits of classic dark alternative club tracks, from artists as diverse as Psychic TV, Linea Aspera, Armageddon Dildos and Switchblade Symphone amongst many others. His original productions often fall into the giallo disco category, plying the darker, horror soundtrack oriented side of electronic dance music. New EP The Fourth Kind for Aspecto Humano still has those earmarks but falls closer to the body music and electro-darkwave sounds of his DJ edits. “Master of Disguise” makes good use of a thudding kick-snare pattern and gated pad to back up a simple repeating synthline; it’s still cinematic, but reads more as a vintage low budget science fiction a la Cyborg than say, a classic Mario Bava joint. “La Herencia” comes out strong with a big new beat bassline, working it to the bone before bringing in more layers of synthesized orchestration and samples for the track’s latter half. The final two tracks show some subtle shading in approach with “Rigor Mortis” taking the route of big arpeggios and pulsing bass akin to the more tasteful side of retro-synthwave, while “Vomit and Vibrations” has the more atmospheric side of the sound down via its spookier sound design, although the rhythm track never strays far from the heart of the composition. Its solid instrumental synth music that shows some understanding of the ways that specific forms and genres can be played off one another.
Send Angels Here
The world is awash in lo-fi goth bands who call back to the first wave of goth rock, perhaps at least in part to make a virtue of some of their technical shortcomings. And while Portland’s Nightsister certainly fit the lo-fi goth bill, there’s far less hoary nostalgia in the sort of sounds they’re mining on new EP Send Angels Here. A good portion of this brief, 13-minute release smears itself in pastel dream-pop, finding a suspension between colour and shadow which isn’t too far off from Drab Majesty. But elsewhere, as on the spiky “28” and “Rust”, it’s a bouncy and frothy mix of darkwave and synthpop which swishes about the more stoic and dark pillars of the tunes. In those tracks, and really the EP as a whole, Nightsister do a great job of recognizing which elements are best suited to a muffled and cryptic register, and which deserve a clear and bright spotlight being shone upon them. The shuffling up of that interplay from track to track means that the band’s aesthetic stays fresh throughout (okay, that’s not so hard when we’re talking about something this short), and both the ambience and the hooks stick with the listener well after Send Angels Here finishes.