Pulse Seductor

While the copy accompanying the new Fiero EP Pulse Seductor isn’t shy about touting the Colombian born producer’s penchant for classic Belgian new beat, a listener might make numerous other musical connections when listening to the EP’s four tracks. The synthline of opener “Wild Desire” has traces of original school trance via the KLF in its delayed arpeggios, the track’s pounding kick and menacing bassline serving to keep the track from going to Balaeric disco territory. Follow-up “Inhale” is a mite cheekier in its execution, the repeated “Cocaine” vocal sample meshing with the classic electropop synthline that pops up during its breakdown. “Queen of the Nile” appears in both a classic new beat style led by detuned synth stabs, and an EBM remix by Darlos Zeill that pumps harder and tosses in some acid for good measure. The latter is a contrast with “Catching a Bid”, which approaches body music via its gnarly FM synths, a different if no less identifiable approach to the style. By marrying new beat markers with the styles directly influenced by those same sounds, Pulse Seductor ends up highlighting the scope and long shadow of the all-too-brief musical movement.

Caress - Night Call
Night Call
Negative Gain Productions

A recent addition to the Negative Gain roster, one-woman act Caress has been self-releasing darkwave tracks for a number of years leading up to proper debut Night Call. While relatively short, the LP finds LA’s Tara Jane moving through a relatively wide range of expressions of darkwave, moving from doomy guitar to club-focused beats and back again. While a couple of tracks cleave a bit too closely to the current Boy Harsher template (“Mortal Flaw”), those are the exception rather than the rule and for my money it’s when things take a dreamier and more melodic approach that Night Call is at its best. The restless coldwave drift of “Temporary Lover” has an unexpected amount of air and lift in its arrangement, and the cryptic nature of the refrain of “Dark Age”, “we don’t even know how she died,” is somehow made more eerie by virtue of the bright synthpop pulse of the track. The sweet tingle of the title track shows that Jane has a sense that material like this lives and dies by atmosphere and melody, and that she’s capable of both.