The electronic experimentations, analogic explorations and humoristic creations of Charles Barabé are back on the Tranquility Tapes label. The sound of this talented Victoriaville-based crazy dude is a sort of condensed history of electronic and experimental music, sounding so natural and organic, almost improvised that it feels like all these machines were actually living beings. A piece of genius.
LFO - Freak
Yes, this is going to make you freak: Mark Bell, founder of LFO unexpectedly died yesterday, apparently after an operation. No comment…
Power Glove - Motorcycle Cop
Of course, you’ve heard a lot of retro-futuristic electro tracks everywhere in the internet. We mentioned quite often Tommy ‘86 here for example. Power Glove is a duo from Melbourne, which gains in notoriety after having made the soundtrack for the videogame Far Cry 3 and appearing in the OST of the ultra-violent movie Hobo With A Shotgun. Ready to take a power glove in your face?
Boothroyd - NYC
When I first listened to this song, I thought there was something weird happening: like a structured big mess first attacking your brain, then making you think about where you were the last five minutes. Then I took time to listen to it again, because there is no reason that Peter Boothroyd made an album that is a big mess. And I was right, there is no reason, because this Mancunian is probably one of the biggest surprise of this year. You might think of Haxan Cloak when you get this extroardinary gangbang of tribal, electronic and organic loud music, but forget it. Boothroyd is somewhere else, in the fog of an abandoned futuristic big city, somewhere between Akira and Valhalla Rising and if you want to catch him, you’ll have to run, come and come back through his EP Idle Hours. Signed at one of the best label of the decade, Tri-Angle, we’ll have to take this 21-years old dude seriously. And check out his Twitter!
Richard Wahnfried - Time Actor
You probably recognized this type of analog sequences as the work of Tangerine Dream’s Klaus Schulze. The german pioneer of Krautrock, master of the sequencer, space traveller started the solo project Richard Wahnfried in 1979 and Time Actor is the first track of his first album under this moniker. Schulze explains this project in a weird text appearing in the release: “Richard Wahnfried is the collective pseudonym of an idea: Time-Electronic, and experiment between avangarde and muzak: Utility-music for sound-covered environment in which a new generation grows up: Richard Wahnfried is this generation: Music between genius and nonsense: New ideas transported by an old medium into your ear: I wish you plenty of TIME” Needless to say that when you produce this kind of music at the end of the 1970’s, you are more than avant-garde, Mr Schulze. Your sound could still be played in 200 years in clubs. And people would dance and transcend themselves. An absolute masterpiece.
François de Roubaix - Piste 23
Belgian excellent label WeMe Records recently released a compilation for its 10th anniversary including their greatest artists : Der Zyklus, Leyland Kirby, DMX Krew, Ceephax, etc. All members of the underground contemporary electronic scene. Among them, one guy that few outside France might know: François de Roubaix. Pioneer of the electronic film music, producer of one of soundtracks and rarities of a very high quality, he is currently being rediscovered by the young french generation, and no doubt that the re-issues of WeMe play a role in that. In this compilation, with a 30 seconds track, De Roubaix, who died at 36 years old in 1975, shows that we are right to consider him as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.
The Normal - Warm Leatherette
Here we have one of the most minimalistic tracks with the richest history ever. The Normal is actually the solo project from the great Daniel Miller, best known to be the founder of Mute Records, home of Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Nick Cave, Apparat, Add N To (X), Plastikman, Goldfrapp, Throbbing Gristle, etc. etc. etc. This EP (the only one by Daniel Miller) was the very first release on Mute Records. Miller used to play with his 150$ Korg 700s in 1978 and made the tracks T.V.O.D. and Warm Leatherette in his living room. This B-Side, today’s slap, is inspired by 1973 Ballard’s novel Crash. Far away to think that this release would work, he sold 30 000 copies, which would help to start the big history of Mute.
Damn, that’s great to start the week with a refreshing soundtrack. After a first remarkable EP called Divine Fashion. Arkia Jahani alias Makeup, musician and filmmaker, invites us again to his clean, aerial and atmospherical world, where he seems to feel at home. Through collaborations with the also Atlanta-based filmmaker Alex Zhuravlov, he has discreetly established himself as a strong newcomer on the underground electronic scene. No doubt that this new EP released for free by our friends of AVNL Records will bring him to the next level. If you don’t know what chilling-out is, then it’s time to download B Sides!
Madison, WI, duo comes back with an incredible release on Tranquility Tapes. We already talked about Joe Taylor and Xavier Kraal for their evocative soundscapes made of classic and popular instruments and electronics, remembering western soundtracks. With Wood Violet, they seem to have com a step further in the elaboration of their music, with a bigger presence of electronics and tracks written like chamber music. We are not in experimental music anymore but really in contemporary chamber music. Still dark, still intense, still beautiful and marvelously produced, the music of Rain Drinkers is one of this soundtrack quiet enough for your ears but exciting enough to stimulate brains in lack of imagination. One of my favorite release this year, so far.
Stian Gjevik, alias CN, alias EOD, alias Bloody Jumper comes back with a long-awaited CN album in the famous 313 series from WeMe Records (home of releases from Heinrich Müller, Dj Stingray, The Caretaker, etc.). Available in september, but already now for pre-order, this album announces something big when you listen to Isis. A pure Drexciya/Gerald Donald sound that all the space travelers should like.
Alain Clavier - Commercial “Parks Canada Northwest Territories”
Many people ask themselves where the inspiration of Boards Of Canada does come from. Of course, 1970’s tv shows soundtracks, krautrock and probably the landscapes of their home in Scotland. But if you look deeper, like in the National Film Board Of Canada (NFB) – a canadian documentaries and films producer that inspired their name –, you’ll find many natural documentaries soundtracks, like in Temples Of Time, who might have been a great source of influence for the sound of BOC. The guys from the forum Twoism shared this commercial from 1983 for the canadian parks promotion. The soundtrack is done by canadian psych-composer, Alain Clavier, who produced an entire album of soundtracks for the NFB in the 1970’s. And when you’ll listen to this short advert and look at the video, you might imagine what Eoin and Sandison have listened to in their youth…
Stephen Mallinder - Cool Down
"Sensoooriiiia! Sensoooriiiia! Sensoooriiiia!" Oh yeah, Cabaret Voltaire, 1984, Richard H. Kirk, Chris Watson and this voice… Yes, this was Stephen Mallinder, the one we talk about today. Beside being one of the pioneers of cold wave with his friends from Sheffield, he produced one solo EP (Temperature Drop in 1981) and one solo album (Pow Wow) one year later. And that’s where you actually hear all the talent of the 26 years old guy: this track from 1981, with its melancholic synth pad, electronic drums and manipulated snares is pure Warp electronica 10 years before Aphex Twin. Since this time, Mallinder wrote for several australian magazines, obtained a Ph. D in music and popular culture in Perth and still produce music, especially with Ben Edwards and Phil Winter as Wrangler. Now, time to cool down for the weekend.
Jan Hammer - Crockett’s Theme
You have here one of the most famous songs ever made for TV screen. Czech composer and keyboardist Jan Hammer, previously keyboard of the Mahavishnu Orchestra was asked to make the soundtrack for the 1984 NBC series Miami Vice. Crockett’s Theme is the song dedicated to the hero, James “Sonny” Crockett, played by Don Johnson. Massive 1980’s hit in Europa, its big synth soundscapes and typical sequenced bassline has inspired the development of electronic music in the 1990’s through movements like trance or progressive. A classic among the slaps.
L’Skadrille - On Doit L’Être
It was the first french hip-hop “mix tape” I bought by myself: it was in 1998 and I was 13. Among other big names of the french rap scene, the great Cut Killer mixed a selection of what I miss a little bit in the contemporary bands: beautiful samples, hard beats and subtle lyrics with intelligent meaning. L’Skadrille (duo composed of 13 Or and 16AR) never was that prolific, but every song was produced in such a high quality that I consider every of them as collectables. On Doit L’Être was released in 1998 and produced by Shean and Tony Fresh. “Remixed, scratched and improved” by Dj Cut Killer. Bam!