Chernaya Rechka
Artoffact Records

While active for a decade, the self-titled LP from Chernaya Rechka (Black River) is the Russian post-punk act’s first LP to be released on an international label. It’s a record that provides a fairly broad view of the trio’s appeal, a combination of songwriting and a fluidity that runs counter to modern post-punk’s more hidebound traits. In practice that means the band allow themselves a lot of leeway to follow where a song takes them: a track like the raging snare and bass driven opener “Р​о​м​а​н​с (Romance)” is free to dip into heavy riffing and syncopated drumwork without seeming incongruous next to the dubby “Д​в​е​р​ь (Door)” or the brief acoustic ballad “К​о​т (Cat)”. It also means that their more down the pipe numbers like “Лёд (Ice)” (which reminds us of late-2000s acts like I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness) don’t feel like they’ve been crammed into the form for the sake of consistency; if the band go fast and hard or slow and mournful – check “Темнота (Darkness)” for an example of them nailing the power of the latter – it’s always because that’s what the song demanded. A pleasing listen for fans of the style who crave more fluidity in its execution.

Body Beat Ritual
Body Beat Ritual

It’s tempting to try to place Body Beat Ritual’s new EP at a specific point on the evolving TBM continuum; one at which producers are easing back on distorted kicks and industrial atmospheres and instead focusing on softer and more fluid throwback techno sounds. And while that narrative suits tracks like “Dark Decade” with its speed-running klaxons, at its heart Fixation is an EBM record, one hearkening back not to the earliest and most stripped down pioneers of the genre, but to a time just after the turn of the millennium, before anhalt’s day in the sun, when smooth digital production and bleed-over from electro (dark and otherwise) was viewed as a boon. Thankfully, that doesn’t necessitate the resurrection of the cliches of that era; the way opener “Disco Ghost” uses increasingly bent and warbling arpeggios to work through its paces recalls the free-form experimentation of NTRSN, or perhaps even Daniel B’s trips to kosmische heaven in Nothing But Noise. Factor in a few splashes of acid house and you have a fun and funky EP which sits pleasantly out of time.