Seeking out the edges of existence isn’t an uncomplicated place to dwell but the subsequent rewards for the listener are temptingly ecstatic. Situated somewhere in between the unseen and unspoken Dominique Van Cappellen-Waldock’s exploration of lines drawn and dissipated is as revealing as it is hidden. It sounds like history reverberating around tales of folklore as drums beat, vocals soar and sounds collide in ever questioning ways. To put it simply, it’s thrilling. Like a strange, smouldering cinema of the mind each piece suggests a series of motifs primarily centred on the voice. The introduction of increasingly vibrant combinations of sound infused atmospheres, from organic guitar to sonically charged synthesized sound, then succeeds in never dancing too close to convention. For life affirmation, See The Sun. For spiritual confirmation, Hors du Temps.
Music always appealed to me so intensely above almost everything else because it lives and breathes the language of existence, constantly evolving in unpredictable ways while transforming the cultural landscape surrounding it. Unidentified Aerial Phenomena plugs directly into those same principles engaging with the receiver in all sorts of illuminating ways, it is also sounds like a particularly wonderful title.
The formula seems to be that there isn’t one which in turn stimulates the true pulse of creative necessity. In that process you can also hear occasional echoes of the past musical influence drive through the stereo field, although this glimmer of nostalgia is continuously accompanied by a fierce desire for something new. Try the dark bass underscoring Hollow or the proceeding atmospheric reflections of Tournicoti as modular rhythms race through a generation of electrical impulse to conjure up all sorts of provocative possibility. UAP offers a notable soulful respite with vocals adding fuel to the fire, while Are You Sure? channels the fiery spirit of Detroit into its fibres feeling life affirming. Planet X ft. San Proper then completes the mission with a twist of nerves that unsettles convention via its succession of heavy-duty beats and bass hotwiring the experience to mind, body and elsewhere.
I could listen this for days or so it seems. But sometimes nothing is quite as it appears. However, what becomes wonderfully apparent is getting lost for seconds at a time with notes uncoiling around the emotions they touch upon. It’s a breathtakingly simple proposition and yet a rigorously difficult achievement I should imagine. The collaborative process generating all of this happened between Andrew Heath, Mi Cosa de Resistance and Anne Chris Bakker who collectively land in-between textures of guitar, piano and field recordings framing a simply wonderful occurrence. Perhaps a bit like being in church but without someone telling what you should be thinking, just feeling heavenly vibrations course through the air alongside a resilient contrast of questioning darker depth. Photography of note by konophotography.
Release: May 23
Maybe it’s the title Mind Power Mind Control, maybe it’s the searing intent fuelling this incapacitating listen as dangerous electronics hardwire themselves into your consciousness. Maybe it is simply because this is outstanding Art or music, call it what you will. It’s so tempting to ignore the labels added by the mainstream mind-set to categorise music so I am going to do precisely that for the simple reason that music of this standing deserves more than that basic impulse to dissolve real meaning.
The album’s name refers to the set of circumstances we find ourselves in, voluntary or otherwise, and as you listen to the brooding intensity evolving throughout you can reach your own conclusions in that process. You could certainly suggest the psychological dark arts are at musical play. Take the ten plus minutes of Hatsumi which combines tantalising landscapes of provocative sound, heavy bass and dubbed out drums feeling like the band has perhaps taken something they shouldn’t have to elicit something that is quite so potent, so trail blazingly wonderful.
The sky outside may look like its closing in but there is always light to be found if you look in the right places. There is a connection to be found as this collection of disparate pieces joins the synapsis of what ifs and just maybe’s. This most certainly is sublime in the sense of wonder that changes night into day sowing a rich tapestry of thought together with the threads of human emotion we have remaining to call our own. A depth charge of excellence.
Release: May 20
If the appeal of grainy, analogue holds sway then this is most definitely something you will want to experience. Temptation is all about the soul of machines and their consequent human interaction, which in this case positively smoulders offering deep drums offset by cosmically charged future echoes. The Mathimidori interpretation is likewise excellent adding a definite spring in the step of the rhythm section while its breezy use of vocals sprinkles extra magic across all the heavy-duty Jamaican inspiration.
The word rugged was built specifically for this production. After all who doesn’t love bass. Mareen Life is all about bubbling low-end theory, thumping kicks plus reverberating synth lines hinting at an incendiary melodic charge, complimented by an array sizzling sound effects. Good remix from Audio Analysts too who transform it via a heavy dose of Acid, while second track Afters Journey contrasts nicely feeling suitably deep, reflective of late nights and smouldering grooves galore. Terry Francis then supplies a hot and fiery remix working the filtered stabs alongside its crisp, rolling rhythm section into cool distraction.
Release: May 20
Buy / listen https://www.beatport.com/release/mareen-life-ep/3705589
Beats and Bass. This is pirate radio calling. Created by Lucas Alexander the original FM Dial echoes classic sounds of yesteryear, alongside a voice from the past proclaiming that you need to tune into this brutally compelling production. Then we come to Seb Zito’s devastating remix which reworks the elements while the introduction of grinding, killer stabs transforms it all provocatively into 2022. Collaborating with Joey Rich & Harrie Summers next for Move It another killer slice of House takes effect. Leaving the excellent Itchy Feet featuring Fernquest to hit upon the 90’s once again like tomorrow never happened. Back to business.
I listen to a lot of electronic music which more often than not configured around the movement of dance. Then I listen to Dissolve In The Rain and wonder why the leap of faith expands way beyond words, why you would produce club music to exist as being simply functional rather than seeking out true longevity and excellence. That is not just with regards to the qualities of modern song writing, though that certainly raises some doubt whenever you feel the brutal impact of modular instrumentation at its most radically creative.
This piece of music however talks directly to your heart in ways that are intensely personal, arousing an authentic sense of empathy if you’ve ever found yourself hanging around in such as lonely position. Words drift in and out plotting a course over the uncomplicated yet devastatingly emotional musicianship that touches upon the spirit of Jazz and Blues alongside a contemporary electronic impulse. Maybe that in itself is one of the answers as these sounds have nourished our collective souls for what seems like an eternity. Stunning melancholy redefining what is called beautiful.
Where does one note begin and another end. Think about Pierre Boulez when he greets you with Sonatine for Flute and Piano, Op. 1 (1946; revised 1949) as danger dances in the air mere moments after the end of the Second World War. Why should music remain the same. The safety of nostalgia never seemed so tempting. The intensity is almost terrifying, yet completely engaging and thrilling.
The accompanying booklet contains a number of quotes from the composer whose defiance is both parts refreshing and informative. Likewise the notes expand and inform on the story of this iconic, disruptive figure in full. In ways the music spanning his early works feels found somewhere in-between the expression of black and white and the explosion of technicolour. While each story is being told it is constantly caught off-guard. His experiments with magnetic tape conjure up a whole other abstraction that is as timeless as it remains radical: Deux études de musique concréte For Magnetic Tape (1951-2). However these words do little justice to the sheer exhilaration of pieces like La Symphonie mécanique musique concrète, for a film by Jean Mitry (1955) as his involvement with France’s Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrète testifies.
As an addition this brilliant four disc compilation includes music from other composers who occupied a similar orbit, as well as his work as a Conductor – a word that perhaps best describes Pierre Boulez.
Thinking can be a dangerous business demanding a definitive response without thought for consequences. I sometimes wonder whether the radical nature of music that seeks to engage the mind rather than a response to the rhythm of movement suggests one is more important than the other. I do know the imagination is limitless whereas the structures of dance music are often not…
Vanishing Lands as the title indicates proposes alternative questions about the nature of our continued existence, given the destruction all around us, as everything we consider is stripped bare. This is a soundtrack to accompany that series of enquiries created by the labels own Alessandro Tedeschi. The opening title Last Sunset captures that revolution perfectly as hints of heavenly melody get twisted out of shape and yet you can’t help but fall in love with the idea. The album proceeds in the same vein combining cosmic wonder with hints of the eternal, while contrasted by darker replies. Each counterbalancing the other. Each beautiful in their own right. A magnificent album that finally stretches out the possible.
Release: May 6