the latest between the weird and the coventional

THE ACID : liminal : Infectious Music (04.07.2014)
rnk:  Lots of different scientists have come up with lots of different definitions of what an acid is – Arrhenius, Bronsted and Lowry, that guy Mr. Lewis – and yet all this knowledge has been turned upside down with the arrival of THE ACID, the one sizzling, scorching, smooth liquid that does not only increases the concentration of H+ ions in an aquaeous solution, but sends goosebumps down body parts, changes breathing patterns, and makes molecules regroup, which, in turn, can lead to moving limbs, nodding heads, bitten lips, and half-closed eyes. When Ry X, Adam Freeland, and Steve Nalepa unleashed the first results of their musical/chemical reaction, it was an instant epiphany: there was something deeper than Massive Attack, there were the sweetest vocals by Mr. X, plus a lot of wicked bass that pushed things forward, all of it combined to sound like something that can be poured into ears (and burn you) rather than be consumed through classic audio speakers. Now that they’ve recorded their first full-length, the vast scope of this match made in heaven is even more obvious: Some tracks take off altogether (“Veda”, “Ghost”), others remain caught in a sort of beautiful twilight like “Basic Instinct”, their first proper single/video release that rightfully managed to turn heads everywhere, and the mix of drones, depths, strums, found material, and that voice, it’s always hair-raising in the best of ways: you have to drink this ACID, have to feel it on your skin, then deeper down, until you corrode and dissolve, Liminal, subliminal, minimal, animal, nimal, imal, mal, al, l.


YOUNG MAGIC : breathing statues : Carpark (06.05.2014)
rnk: No longer a one-man operation, since producer Isaac Emmanuel got his former guest vocalist Melati Malay to join full-time now, Young Magic’s second album nevertheless picks up where the Australian world traveler left off after “You With Air” and his amazing Melt debut: Still into “things that are delicate and beautiful but also heavy and warped,” as he told us last time around, Breathing Statues ranges from minimalist sweetness (“Foxglove”) to freaky and banging tracks (“Mythnomer”), and yet they all feel otherworldly, like a soundtrack to an initiation ritual, a cult gathering somewhere in the woods of the future. “I have folders and folders of instrumentals sitting on my computer just waiting to soundtrack super slow motion buttery back smiths,” he also told us a few years ago, and even though a lot of these new tracks don’t make the best skate video soundtrack, they are perfect for tripping out and running off into a world that looks like Leif Podhajsky has created (he did the awesome cover artwork once again).


EL_TXEF_A : we walked home together : Fiakun (26.05.2014)
Seven: One of the most fascinating things about Aitor Etxebarria’s debut album “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room“ was that it basically offered a completely original take on contemporary electronic music while it simultaneously called a strange kind of mass appeal its own. Two years - and a lot of remixes and live shows later - the aforementioned attribute is still a very relevant one, even though things apparently expanded in every direction on his sophomore longplayer “We Walked Home Together“: the production is a bigger one, the vocal slots have heightened up, the club references are entering (very) deep territory and the slices of alternative pop are boasting off with grandeur. And even though El_Txef_A’s latest offering was entirely produced in his homeland - the Basque Country - and nods to the rich musical past and present of this very region, it’s a rather safe bet that his new album will finally get him on the international radar big time.


ROUGE MÉCANIQUE : don’t touch my sister : Pyramids Of Mars (out now)
Skism: Ich liebe Überraschungen dieser Art. Da stöbert man ein wenig durch die VÖ-Listen der Promoagenturen, liest einen vorher nie gehörten Namen auf einem qualitätsgarantierenden Label, hört mal kurz rein und ist nach zwei Stücken: hin und weg! Keine Ahnung, wo und wie Matt Edwards diesen jungen Mann aufgegabelt hat, aber goldrichtiger kann man nicht liegen. Obwohl recht reduziert arrangiert, schlingert „Don’t Touch My Sister“ als unglaublich dichte, gleissend gelb-orange-silbern schillernde, mystische Collage aus kosmischen Referenzen, Disco, Post-Punk, Kraut, Ambient, Filmmusik, bluesgetränkten und furztrocken staubig besaiteten Westernlandschaften an jedem Kategorisierungsversuch vorbei, dübelt sich direkt ins mesolimbische System, fleht wöchentlich ein „hör mich!“ tief nach innen. Das passierte bei mir bereits im Januar, ist dort noch lange nicht wegzudenken und gilt - trotz eines noch recht jungen Jahres - für mich bereits als Direktanwärter für das Album des Jahres. Definitely a must buy!


THE DIAPHANOIDS : lsme : Tirk (May/June 2014)
Dars: Now, this is an unexpected hallucinatory pleasure. Some impressive monster slabs of mind-expanding space rock by this space-psychrock project, consisting of Italians Andrea Bellentani and Simon Maccari. Eight rather short pieces to be found here, with this duo exploring ethereal sound structures and psychedelic soundscapes, lifting into the depths of the cosmos and resulting in a beautiful but challenging listen - more of a sonic assault. At times driving but also utterly relaxed rhythms unfold, as soaring guitar riffs tremble over the top of soft, fuzzy, analogue sounding drum arrangements and twisted, garbled synth noises dance haphazardly between the lines. With 'Isme' delivering a delightful burst of weird psych rock, I urge you to turn your dream machine on, get off your psychic asses and start walking on the laser's edge. It’s a mind journey, really.

PRINCIPLES OF GEOMETRY : mainstream : Tigersushi (out now)
Dars: Fourth album by French duo Guillaume Grosso and Jeremy Duval since their 2005 debut, and once again new lands are being discovered by these two artists. 'Meanstream' appears as a vivid childhood fantasy they had to accomplish and that will become their most humble and honest expression of emotions yet. Sensual downtempo grooves and warm rhythms broaden up their sound-scrub of psychkraut and electro/synthpop gimmickry, while some of the beats here suggest a retro scenery - blending r&b structures with synthetic patterns, with 70s/80s legendary duo 'The Alessi Brothers' (responsible for timeless classics like 'Oh Lory' and 'Seabird') providing lush vocals and even co-production to three of the songs. Catchy, melodic pop-hymns to my ears, wrapped in an overall supremely crisp production. Kudos!


BO NINGEN : III : Stolen Recordings (09.05.2014)
Dars: Beautiful. Hailing from Japan and meeting in London, Bo Ningen’s psych-metal-punk-rock already broke our hearts with their eponymous debut, and they're now lifting off from where their second effort, 2012's 'Line the Wall', departed. The result is a rich and accomplished album, which clearly sees them evolve musically and furthermore spending extra time on the production and development of their songs. Expect an ear-blistering but dreamy journey, fizzing through with customary echo-soaked vocals and guitar lines colliding in a great wall of fuzzy rejoice. They endlessly spiral out into space but the rhythm section (always the most vital component of any space rock group) remain locked into the groove. Collaborations with Jehnny Beth of Savages and Roger Robinson of King Midas Sound feature and they also sing partly in English for the first time. A frenzied esoteric fellow - at times sounding manic and deranged, that demands the full attention of your mind and body.

POPSTRANGERS : fortuna : Carpark (02.06.2014)
Seven: Surf City. The Ruby Suns. Shocking Pinks. The last few years in particular proved that New Zealand has a lot more to bring to the indie-table than the (admittedly) untouchable Flight Of The Conchords and Flying Nun Records’ back catalog. And while aforementioned bands might have mastered the challenge of finding just the right name for their outfit a lot better than the Auckland-based trio Popstrangers, it is rather unlikely they’ve delivered an equally strong and faultless take on the good ol’ indie rock as well. Equally flirting with (post) punk, 60s pop and psych, “Fortuna“ isn’t shying away from big infectious hooks without ever imparting the impression that the presented ten songs are the result of a meticulously designed masterplan, which assures them prominent slots on the alternative radio stations of this planet. If this still sounds too vague and cryptic for you then simply imagine (early) Tame Impala with worn out Chucks instead of barefoot and you get an idea of what 'Popstrangers’ second album sounds like.


V.A. : too slow to disco : How Do You Are? Recordings (02.05.2014)
Skism: Erinnert ihr euch auch an die Musik, die eure Eltern früher auflegten, wenn sie sich einen hübschen Abend machen wollten, sie euch bereits tief schlafend wähnten und in einem der drei TV-Programme nur Schrott lief oder ihr vielleicht mal ein Wochenende bei Omma und Oppa einquartiert wurdet und die Platten am Sonntag Abend ganz vorne im Regal standen? Ned Dohenys „Give It Up For Love“, Chicago, Doobie Brothers oder Jan Hammers „Don’t You Know“? Damals fanden wir das alles scheusslich, Jahre später gestanden wir uns heimlich ein, dass sich hinter dieser Käseschicht oft grossartige Musik verbarg, fragten schliesslich Papa erst nach der Plattensammlung, als dieser schon längst ungläubig die Gegenfrage stellt, ob es denn überhaupt noch Plattenspieler zu kaufen gibt. Heute läuft das unter Adult- oder Yachtrock, weckt Fernweh und Sehnsucht nach weissen Leinenhosen und Segelschuhen auf Schiffsparkett im Sonnenuntergang, verursacht Verwunderung, Neusortierung und Preissteigerung bei Flohmarkthändlern. Kuschelrock für Grossstadtthirtysomethings, wie eine verwaschene, coolere Raffaelowerbung mit besserem Casting, Styling und spätabendlichem Sendeplatz. Wenn schon nicht mit Reiseticket, so müsste diese Compilation wenigstens mit Hotelpantoffeln und einem Bademantel ausgeliefert werden.


MARK BARROTT : sketches from an island : International Feel (02.06.2014)
Seven: It’s weird that “balearic“ is still a dirty word for the majority of aficionados of electronic (dance) music, even though it is rather obvious that there’s so much more to it if you’d just look beyond Pete Tong’s current Top 10 or the latest Café Del Mar compilation. Especially Mark Barrott’s International Feel label, which he started on Urugay’s shores and sent into a hiatus a few years later from sunny Ibiza, established itself as a reliable tastemaker for a new kind of musical breed that isn’t too interested in three-digit BPM numbers. Having already released through different monikers on his label, it is now time to rise and shine for Barrott under his birth-given name. “Sketches From An Island“ turned out to be a rather horizontal affair as expected, rich on magic, weird percussion, and vintage synths. It’s honest, positive, and almost genreless sounding music, which carelessly removes itself from time to offer you a soundtrack that will last a lot longer than just one single summer.