Lord knows I’ve been rinsing Socket Science’s insane Moon Landing Mix ever since the sun first rose in the West, so imagine my delight when another member of the Astor Bell roster dropped a new selection for my listening pleasure. Dubbed ‘Empire’, Mattias Edholm’s latest minimal conglomeration comprises just over an hour’s worth of disconcerting aural delicacies. Featuring the likes of Steve Bug, D.Diggler, Mike Wall and Mikael Stavöstrand, a distinct sense of foreboding characterises this peculiarly hypnotic mix and every time I listen to it, I feel like someone’s creeping up behind me. Nevertheless, I’ve fused it thoroughly into my stereo and it’s smiling at me via the graphic equalizer like a stoned dalek. Excellent.
This is a cool little video of The Subliminal Kid modulating a heavy beat on some classic synths somewhere over the rainbow…in Sweden. The hardware is worth more than the sum total of my life, although things weren’t always going to be like this. I used to be really good at yo-yo and Blue Peter led me to believe that one day I’d be walking the dog for cash. Turns out it was a euphemism. Around the corner now has a whole different meaning…
Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto have been making peaceful music together for almost 10 years now and because I live in an isolation tank, I had no idea it existed until a week ago. Their 2005 album Insen is one of the most serene and magnificent records I have ever laid ears upon and it makes me feel like I’m floating in slow motion above a time-lapsed industrial city. If I was in a coma and this was looping, I reckon I’d be fine.
What most intrigues me about this music though, is Noto’s creative process. His Wikipedia article mentions microsound, cymatics and mathematically precise compositions free of sequencers. Basically, this guy transcends the calibre of producer we’re all accustomed to and takes fundamental innovation and the theory of sound very seriously. This kind of approach is something that both interests and baffles me; a bit like space. Maybe one day I’ll be able to sit down and spend time studying the dusty corners of wave phenomena, but until then, I guess I’ll just admire it.
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an underground ’80s synth movement sometimes referred to as “minimal wave” and for some reason, decided it was amazing. My uncontrollably impulsive late-night nature subsequently led me to go out and buy Cold Waves + Minimal Electronics Volume One, a new compilation of previously buried tracks which dropped last month courtesy of Wierd Records (ego note: it’s meant to be “ie” in this instance…ahem) and Angular Recording Co. After marvelling at the beautiful digipak artwork and deciding I was definitely going to watch Tron later, I shoved the disc into the nearest laser device and assumed my ’80s sitting position.
My first impression of the waves pulsating around me was that they were very spacey, more continuum transponder than post-punk. This could be due to the absence of English acts appearing, or it could just be a case of focus. One thing’s for sure though, it’s still a gorgeous cluster of tinfoil shining brilliance. Absolute Body Control’s ‘Figures’ drops you straight in at the deep end and, sounding like an orgy in a teleportation device, opens the door to a world of electronic futurism. With the anthology comprising 17 tracks, it would be a lie to say that I’m a fan of each and every one and there are certainly some which noticeably surpass others. Ruth’s ‘Polaroid/Roman/Photo’ is a fine example of this, presenting a softer and more subtle sound to a lot of the other offerings. The Neon Judgement’s brooding ‘The Fashion Party’ and Eleven Pond’s ‘Watching’ are also tunes which seemed to stand out, perhaps not in terms of timelessness, but certainly with regard to sheer quality.
Ok, so I’m not going to pretend I’m au fait with the ins and outs of the ’80s minimal wave scene, but I am going to tell you how much I love 3rd Man’s ‘Oral Pleasure’. As far I can tell, it’s the only release by the Norwegian synth duo and oh lord, it’s a fucking cracker. The drums are hypnotic and the synth is as cold as a fridge stuck in an eskimo fishing hole. I love the distance of the vocals too, they communicate that romantic sense of isolation that I can’t help but fall in love with. This is the kind of music that makes me want to jump up and shout “mad tuuuuune this” like a ’90s fuck-up absolutely off my face on whatever mum had under the kitchen sink. But, of course, the situation calls for a euphoric body curled up on a bed. Honestly, I’m on a massive ’80s kick right now…I need more synth. MORE SYNTH!
The video it’s set to below is amazing too. LA to NYC in a car by the Gondry brothers. It’s beautiful.
‘ROOF is an irregular podcast series dedicated to raw, rough and sporadically eccentric club sounds.’
Amen. This time our europals at ROOF.fm have provided for your listening pleasure a real deep-space minimal dub tech treat. To be honest, recent personal linguistic developments and minor epiphanies are making it even harder for me to shoot the shit about, creating the illusion that I know what I’m talking about.
It’s just simple, uplifting stuff. The bass drum/hi-hat combinations get your tribal rhythm fibers twitching while the ever-evolving synth-lead melodies seem to me to deal almost directly with the frustration one may feel when trying to eat spaghetti on the moon. Happy now? Tracklisting after yon leap.