Third Kind Records

YVES MALONE - "The Most Of What You Need Is All You'll Ever Have"


Yves Malone - "The Most Of What You Need Is All You'll Ever Have"

(Third Kind Records)

Prolific synthwave/darkwave/anywave artist Yves Malone transmits yet another tasty morsel of electro-tastic note bounce in this Third Kind Records release, The Most of What You Need is All You'll Ever Have. That title is certainly a mouthful, and, just like the fancy toy horses on the cover, this release is raring to go, right out of the gate.

This album, coming to us straight out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yves Malone's home planet, kicks off with the ear-grabbing track Too Dark to Feel, a nearly eight-minute burner that pumps clear, unadulterated synth right into your brain space. Expertly mixed and mastered computer tones surge through this release without all the trippy distractions that lesser artists are tempted to gimmick us with. Don't mistake - this jam is trippy all right - but everything in here is a clean, pure note. I cannot imagine how Yves Malone even does this. I take that back - I can imagine Yves Malone doing this - what I cannot imagine is how Yves Malone does anything else. If I made a piece of music this intricate and pleasing, I would emerge from the glowing, whirring room filled with blinky computer lights with red eyes and skin ailments, forming a tin foil hat for myself and then falling face-first into the neighbor's swimming pool.

Yves knows how to keep this ripper going with massive tension and release, such as in the rockin' 80s vibed track Savings and Bone - (get it?)  I don't really even understand what that little play on words means? Banks will kill you? I believe it! My favorite track on here is Crimson Rain Swept it Away - which has this great tempo change about halfway through. What a ride! If you dig synth of the highest order, washing over you in fast-paced, labyrinthine melodies and punchy polyrhythms - you need to quit reading this review and get over to Third Kind Records right now!

Gray Lee



Bary Center / Yorihisa Taura / Nicholas Langley / Chemiefaserwerk - "Puzzle Time"

This 88 minute monster of a release is one of my favorites of the year. It is easy to look at a four-way split tape and just dismiss it as practically being a compilation tape. And we all secretly loathe most compilation tapes, don't we? Puzzle Time is not a compilation tape.

What Puzzle Time is, is the opportunity to explore the artistry of four truly great artists, without having to switch tapes. There are a wide variety of sounds and moods on this lengthy journey, all quite engaging in their method and scope. Each segment of this release is basically an EP that introduces you to that artist. The artists represented here are:

Bary Center

Electronic artist Bary Center is no stranger to us. His work boasts a recognizable style - a tightly woven blend of ethereal ambient sounds and precisely controlled, intensely compelling beats. Bary contributes six tracks to Puzzle Time - each its own unique balance between cerebral ambient cloud cover, and thunderclaps of throat-punching beats.

Yorihisa Taura

Compositional heavy-hitter Yorihisa Taura delivers three tracks of droning guitar loops that sometimes circle in a hazy way, but often spiral up into frenzied intensity that threatens to topple the whole track, only to settle back down into more peaceful movements. Heavy distortion brings rewarding crescendos out of continuous tones. 

Nicholas Langley

Third Kind Records label boss Nicholas Langley makes an appearance on the tape with carefully balanced compositions that stimulate the mind and entertain the ear. His four tracks are built from found sounds and crafted synth overlays joining to create beautiful mind-benders that tickle the thought engine.


Sound shaper, Chemiefaserwerk, presents two lengthy avant-garde noise pieces with plenty of tension builds and racket-infused payoffs, that serves as a perfect closer to Puzzle Time. 



Each artist represented in the nearly hour and a half of amazing sounds on Puzzle Time offers high-quality musical output that begs to be explored further - and that's exactly what owners of the cassette can do. That is because the cassette edition of Puzzle Time comes with a puzzle, that, when put together, reveals a code to download an additional secret album. This is the kind of stuff I really love! The puzzle is a small stack of rectangular cards with designs on both sides, and features the same type of beautiful artwork found on the front cover of Puzzle Time

The bonus album, Puzzle Time 2, is a collection of tracks from the same artists listed above that is just as thoughtfully arranged and presented as the main album.

The level of satisfaction of the music included, and the intrigue and creativity exhibited in the physical release, make Puzzle Time one of the best releases I have reviewed this year. I highly recommend this one.

Gray Lee


NIKMIS - "#17"


Nikmas - "#17"

(Third Kind Records)

Japan-based classitronic composer Nikmis adds another solid release of synthesizer work to their outstanding discography. #17 is a lighthearted journey through a mystical land far away. In the opening pair of tracks, Cold Heaven and Hot Blood, a story is introduced through quirky electronic instrumentation - perhaps the story of Toothy Boy - who awakens one bright morning and gets out of bed by walking one step to the right.

Emerging from the covers fully dressed, Toothy Boy goes downstairs to find his mother making a pie. She chides him for sleeping in and tells him that it is important for him to head to the castle right away, because the king has had another dream.

All along the way to the castle, various villagers comment to Toothy Boy about how the king has had another dream and that Toothy Boy should definitely head to the castle right away, and not rummage through the unattended treasure chests found in the houses of the townspeople. At one point, he becomes annoyed with the villagers and tries to leave town, only to be blocked by a shrubbery. 

At last arriving at the castle, Toothy Boy is summoned to the throne room where the frantic king awaits. "I've had another dream!" He shouts, "You must interpret my dream!"

The music on #17 is that dream. We are welcomed to a distant land filled with enchantment, wonder, and all the classic electronic tones your heart could hope for. Don't be fooled by the cute approach! There is some serious composition in these pieces - definitely worth a listen. From the opening track's cathedral/organ overtones to the unusual children's choir at the end, #17 is full of fascinating musical zones and weirdo electronica. The deal is sweetened with a cassette release that comes to us courtesy of  Third Kind Records and features some striking reversible cover art. 


Gray Lee