As an album, Attack of the Koala People is a frolicsome romp through a 16-bit game of your childhood.
Mukqs - “SD Biomix”
Mythical audio alchemist Max Allison once again summons the swirling mechanisms and darting digital divisions of his Mukqs persona, to create another work of tumbling aural collage, on a new Orange Milk Records release, SD Biomix.
Pickle Darling - “Bigness”
Musician and producer Lukas Mayo returns with another release under his Pickle Darling moniker. Each of these ten tracks is a unique and tightly produced blend of electronic pop, and intimate singer-songwriter musings. These songs sound like they were written on guitar first and elevated with all the electronic goodness. There’s an earthiness and down-to-earth feel behind all the bright rhythms and beats.
A good example is the track Rinse Spin Cycle / Nicolas Cage. This six-minute track exudes the warm, buzzing energy, clean lines, and personal writing that exemplifies everything we love about Pickle Darling. “What if no one likes my music?” sings Pickle Darling. Not a problem, Lukas. We really dig this.
Standout tracks include: Soft Cars, an intimate ballad that begins with good guitar textures, and slowly introduces bass and drums to fill out the track, as the lyrics meander through a story in a string very casual, conversational lines, and Greta, which is built on a warm synth line and some curiously tune bent vocals.
Bigness represents to me a movement from the lo-fi beginnings of bedroom pop to a much more polished sound that still retains the innocence and personal connection that made bedroom pop so popular to begin with, and is a logical successor to the previous Pickle Darling album, which hit a lot of the same marks. This album is a realization of more, further, and higher.
Whettman Chelmets - “Infant Eyes and Baby Steps”
(Girly Girl Musik)
The indefatigable Whettman Chelmets drops his first release for 2019 in the form of a tight, little EP that communicates the travails and triumphs of raising a newborn but in a style that only Whettman can deliver.
The droning, ambient post-rock of the tracks certainly convey the surreal, sleep-deprived state that all parents have experienced. Indeed, track titles such as TFW it’s 400 am and you’ve been up 3 times already and MRW I Drop the Passie in the Dark express a verisimilitude of lived experience, and the field recordings of life in the Chelmetts’ household further amplify the authenticity.
Fans of Whettman’s previous work such as Annihilate your Masters and Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive will recognize the expansive soundscapes he can create with with reverb-drenched shoe-gaze guitar work and ambient synth. However, where Annihilate Your Masters stayed gritty and nihilistic, this latest EP goes to uplifting and hopeful places. Likewise, where Alas The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive could be overly giddy, Infant Eyes and Baby Steps is touchingly heartfelt.
All in all, another solid release for the Whettman discography and the soundtrack for sleep-deprived new parents everywhere.
Vinyl Dial - “Space Wizard”
Space Wizard is a wide-angle, prog-synth explosion of complex compositions, bursts of anthemic power, and energetic futuristic fun. Built from layers of tightly managed electronic instrumentation, UK artisan,Vinyl Dial, wields a uniquely honed power to spin an upbeat, concept-driven architecture of driving rhythms, soaring melodic themes, and dense world-building atmospheres.
The album is engineered to continuously flow from one varied musical idea to the next, which can be felt right away as album opener, Into the Oversky, leads from cloudgazing wonderment, to ramping forward momentum that transitions into the tense technological interplay of Areonausea. The story hook is here - presenting the first set of problems for the protagonists. Spectral Universe is a spaced-out break in the action to admire the grandeur of it all. Sparse, computerized vocals add storyline to the action.
Fast-paced thriller, Solar Sands, gives us the first furious space battle, with plenty of intricate, sweeping note runs that are almost vaguely Celtic, while Anunnaki is a cooler, jazzier number, with flirty synth embellishments and fuzzy guitar fills.
The closing track, Bad Trip is a sidelong arrangement that defies comprehension. The compositional movements in this grand final chapter of the Space Wizard story are worth repeat explorations.
Space Wizard is an entertaining and engrossing oddysey of electronic prog rock that we highly recommend. It is an energetic exploration of theme with enough artfully managed intricacy to become a favorite repeat listening experience.
Spartan Jet-Plex - "Godless Goddess"
Richmond, Virginia-based Grimalkin Records' label boss, Nancy Kells, has a lot of irons in the fire. When she isn't dealing with label-running, performing in numerous other musical projects, or helping vulnerable & marginalized people in RVA and around the world, she creates her own personal music under the moniker of Spartan Jet-Plex. Her latest release, Godless Goddess is a varied collection of experimental, avant-garde neo folk, drone-tinged noise explorations, and intimately expressed acoustic offerings.
The album opener, Stop, builds on a strong beat, and a looped set of horns and echoed vocalizations, across which Kells weaves an infectious melody with her clear and distinctive voice. Melted and disintegrated samples bookend the track and lead into Chronostasis Interlude, which features circling vocals from another member of the Grimalkin family, Berko Lover.
Fear is a beautifully minimal piece featuring a strummed acoustic guitar and a distant organ, lending a sacred air to this ballad. A short interlude, Baubo, blends some spacey synth with distorted laughter.
Everything, like Fear, is a stripped down acoustic track, blessed with haunting and tender vocals. Entrance brings a blending of songwriting with experimental synth vibes, ending with a thick braid of twisting voices.
Throughout the release Spartan Jet-Plex weilds the power of raw, unbridled self-expression augmented with electronic & ambient synth interludes, making Godless Goddess an album that walks the line between musical worlds, benefitting from each zone it passes through.
Aloysius Scrimshaw - “Post-Music”
(Pink Dolphin Music)
Just when you thought underground music couldn’t get any weirder, Aloysius Scrimshaw’s latest release burrows to even lower depths of strangeness and insanity.
With his previous album Kind Regards From Isaac, the Dead Musician imprinted his peculiar style on a folk aesthetic. However, on Post-Music Scrimshaw pivots to a more electronic sound.
Imagine a club of undead ravers hypnotically swaying to an unholy amalgamation of throbbing drum and bass layered with unsettling synth pads and accentuated by guitar and assorted sonic freakery.
Atop of the musical morass, Scrimshaw delivers Rorschach-esque narrations of the macabre and morbid.
Second Wakeup tells the tale of how claustrophobic and tedious environs pushes a submarine crewman to his absolute breaking point.
Wendigo Psychosis recounts grisly scenes of animalistic barbarity and Creature 432 paints an eerie setting of a house by the lake.
All in all, Post-Music is a solid entry in the Dead Musician’s discography and an interesting artifact in his musical quest for the offbeat and unusual.
Check out the link below to add this disturbing little gem to your collection.
Sing along with the Dead Musician: “Second wakeup for the shipmate, second wakeup for the shipmate…”
Ursula's Cartridges / Kizunaut - "07:15:14:05 OFFLINE"
Though this split release is described as a nod to industrial electronic music from the late 80s and early 90s, the music found within is by no means recycled. This one is an absolute banger, all the way through.
Unlike most split releases Kizunaut and Ursula's Cartridges are not relegated to their respective sides of the tape, but instead alternately queue their tracks in a call and response that plays out like a futuristic duel. Kizunaut's weapons are powerful rhythms and hooks, while Ursula's Cartridges relies on compositional subterfuge and cleverly chosen ancient earth samples.
The back and forth play between these two varied electronic artists creates an excellent sense of depth, while their collaboration keeps the release on a steady path. A path of grinding, buzzing, dark synthwave future jam that is going to rock you.
Taxxess - “Resistance Fatigue”
San Antonio experimental dark idm artist Taxxess releases Resistance Fatigue, a dark and twisted journey into an avant-garde electronic world of driving rhythm, disembodied voices, and piles of computer pasta.
The opening track Intrusive Thoughts, sets the tone for the album by delivering dark, smoky ambient chambers filled with downtempo brooding and distorted speech. This leads the way into Anxiety, a tense and grinding throb of idm beats, furious bleeps and bloops, and screechy, terrifying vocalizations. Resistance Fatigue continues into other audio zones including The Fuss, which is an intricate mess of woven robotic sound, Scatter, a mechanical string trimmer jam with a swarm of chewed up, buzzing machine sounds, and also an absolute burner of a track called Ideation, a minimal offering with atmospheric pottery pounding and malevolent dronings, and a shadowy and deep conclusion.
Taxxess closes out the proceedings with Nublood, which is a slower piece, filled with slowly aggressive rhythms and buzzing drones of cruelty. Overall, Resistance Fatigue is a cathartic mix of determination and sorrow, willfully constructed with technological artistry.
Kaleem X Will - "Light of Heaven"
Sail across a crystal expanse into a brightly lit, swiftly moving metropolis where the future is happening in Light of Heaven. This release begins with From Water to Land,a dreamy, gliding synth pattern that slowly transitions from the peaceful, oceanic peacefulness to a more down-to-earth sound that is cattied forward in the second track Sinking Castle. This feels like the true arrival on a new terrain, surveying all of the overwhelming beauty - and also the dark, deep injustices and evil that simmer beneath the surface.
There is a serenity and peace in Kaleem X Will's work that is tempered with sorrow and longing, and examinations of the mechanical inner workings of life. Opposing musical ideas are readily played against each other in lengthy crossfades that create chaotic interplays between notes and rhythms.
The audio concepts of Light of Heaven are arranged in poetic couplets that appear to call and respond to each other. Moon's Intimidation pairs with Suns Strength, Abyss with Ocean Rebirth. It is this type of artful ideation that keeps this release in motion, always en route to the next chapter.
Sone Institute - “Where Moth and Rust Consume”
(Front & Follow Records)
If Where Moth and Rust Consume were a film, the TV Guide description for the film would read:
A British misanthrope gatecrashes a poetry convention with a Casio keyboard and trolls/amazes the audience with tales of wildy vivid apathy and disturbing beauty.
The latest release from UK experimental electronic pop artist, Sone Institute, Where Moth and Rust Consume constantly walks the line between carefully crafted lyric, artistic composition, and devious “wouldn’t it be funny if” type experimentation, all of which comes together to create an album that I am enthralled by.
The opening track, I only exist, comes off as a pseudo-philosophical exploration of being. The speaker in the song repeats a refrain of:
“I only exist because you love me/
You will die the day I say goodbye/
I only exist because you love me/
Even though its a lie”
Is the speaker here Sone himself, or are we hearing an intangible concept personified, like love or God? Between the existential wonderings, disturbing imagery and unusual perspectives weave their way around the narrative.
Most other tracks on Moth and Rust are devoid of such probing queries, and instead offer contemplative electronic music tinted with variety and depth. Tracks such as Summer Lightning, The Devil Works in ASDA, and A Gilded Cage are filled with this brand of driving, buzzing electronica, laden with catchy, electro-pop beats and buzzing with synth detail. There is a delicate balance of pain and pleasure in these works that is hard to identify. One must undergo it in order to understand. The track What’s Bred in the Bone stands out as a worship of the preset rhythms and chord structures from those keyboards we all had as kids, while Winter is Dead is a looping found sound that slowly drowns in ambient waves.
Throughout the release, Sone Institute continues to shift and grow the sound of each selection, so that every experience is a new one - creating a complete, but varied experience, in what feels like just a taste of something much larger that has been going on for quite a long time without our knowledge. Overall, Where Moth and Rust Consume is a lot of things, and also none of those things. It’s a shouted statement in an empty room, and a platitude in the shadow of a deep loss. It’s a mercy kill, a long kiss goodnight, and joyful euthanasia. The release closes with a simple and short track entitled God Bless You, that features a vocal sample that repeats just that until the record ends. It never really ends, though.
Elizabeth Joan Kelly - “Music for the DMV”
Before you take a number, get your headphones ready and cue up this music. New Orleans classical ambient artist, Elizabeth Joan Kelly presents an album of multi-layered electronic compositions collected under the somewhat humorous title of Music for the DMV, noting in her album description that, much in the same way that Brian Eno made Music for Airports, she herself has made setting-specific music for a far less thrilling location - the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Prior to listening to this work, I was imagining slow, plodding dirges to accompany the interminable lines and gloomy atmosphere of the DMV, and was surprised by the myriad of styles and sounds that awaited me. Instead of the low, mournful drones I was picturing, I was greeted by Industrial Ambient Prelude, a MIDI piano track of Chopin's Prelude in E Minor (Opus 24, no. 4) re-imagined by Elizabeth Joan Kelly with modern beats and ghostly augmentations. Much of Kelly’s work here is comprised of famous classical compositions adapted to a shadowy futuristic style that is altogether refreshing. For instance, the trilogy of songs that are tracks three, four, and five - (Ambient Industrial Gymnopedie, Electropop Swimming Pool Gymnopedie, and Mysterious Grooving Gymnopedie,) are highly creative EJK reworks of the Gymnopédies by French composer Erik Satie. Each selection is adapted in a differing syle, as noted by their descriptive titles.
The end result of this digital collage of classical pieces with unique audio treatments is an artistic and detailed sonic work that one need not visit the DMV to enjoy. For those of you who are unfortunate enough to have business to conduct at the DMV, you might want to bring this album with you. The calming and intriguingly arranged music contained therin just might make your stay a little less unpleasant.
Wizard Apprentice - “I Am Invisible”
Imagine a tender, intimate musical performance in the corner of a small, dimly lit venue. The singer, under a gentle spotlight, artfully lays bare poetic expressions of honesty. You may be picturing someone strumming a guitar. Imagine, instead of a guitar, the singer has an array of electronic instruments.
I am Invisible is a recording that is free from the anesthetized, mechanical styling of today’s popular music, and, despite the synthesized background, the lyrics and vocals that Wizard Apprentice presents are surprisingly candid.
I hurt someone so badly/
and now that I have I'm reminded of the people who have hurt me/
at the times that they did it was impossible to forgive/
it wasn't time for forgiveness/
but now it is.
In the track, A Debt, the free-form thoughts are spread out in an organic way, as if Wizard is speaking to us in a dream. Ambient swells spill emotion into the darkness behind the voice, circling upward until the song dissolves into silence. This music is poetry for the future, expression for a post-existence world.
In the end, I Am Invisible is a half-hour of burgeoning energy that vibrates with emotion and depth that balances basement-cafe-nakedness with engrossing digital composition that serves as a worthwhile introduction to the artist.
Quimper - “Perdide”
A soft-edged, quckly moving keyboard introduces this quirky, inward-looking ousider release Perdide from UK band Quimper. The release takes no time to move into experimental zones, with the track Lovely Bees, which buzzes in the ear with heated looped synth lines and almost whispered vocals. Warm Carpenter follows with a driving beat, weaving synth augmentations, and choir-like vocals reverberating in the background.
This collection of strange music, which the band self-describes as “wonky pop,” is a glimpse into another world that is quite different from the one we inhabit. It is one of those weird planets where many ordinary-looking things are very dangerous, and everything is a vastly different shade and color than one expects it to be. The title track, Perdide, presents a looping buzzing bass line that is visited by unearthly voices. The sparse vocals that occasionally drift through these wobbling synth meanderings are hauntingly echoed, and delicately faint. The meaning derived is wordless and obscure.
The sum of all the parts is an otherworldly audio experience that transports the listener in a pensive way, enabling one to travel to another world, where strange wonky-pop illustrates a colorfully odd existence. Though electronics play a large role in the production, Quimper has cultivated a powerfully organic sound with an aural artistry that plays on the senses to create a light tension and wonder.
Diamondstein & Sangam - “The Ocean Between Us”
(Doom Trip Records)
Thus arrives the much anticipated second team-up between Diamondstein and Sangam - a jazzy, rain-soaked night drive in an imagined 80’s film. The Ocean Between Us is a high-dollar injection of absolute mood. Mood drenches every inch of this record, from the swirling synths of the opening track, April 1987, to the hazy patch of fog that briefly wafts by in the closing track, Here is Where I Sit, this release delivers everything which it promises, neatly topping the duo’s previous Doom Trip release, Lullabies for Broken Spirits.
For reference on what to expect in this release - see the track Finding Peace Where There Isn’t. Built from an ambient backer, with a driving synth loop, and a electronic drum sounds that merge together to evoke distant stretches of lonesome highway and long, thoughtful gazing at the starry horizon as desert, city, and mountain pass by the windows of an ever-moving automobile, traveling from one emotion to another, always maintaining that elevated sense of tone, imbued with draught of heightened feeling.
Feeling is the main instrument used in this work, an instrument that both artists wield with proficiency and tightly focused intent. If you’re looking to go on a journey without leaving, or you are leaving on a journey and need a true accompaniment, this one is for you. The Ocean Between Us, a stylish record deserving of presentation in LP format, (a first for the label,) is now available.
VVV - “Canson Months”
Dark, echoy, and enjoyably off-kilter recordings characterise this release from VVV - a careening night groove filled with cautious footsteps and whispered questions. While ambient showers of cool, shadowy presence color the lens through which this ghostly cinema is projected, powerful rhythms keep the ear attenuated and the body tempted to move.
The eerie opening track, Greyhound, is a lighthearted, yet macabre amusement park ride in the dark, which sets the tone of this release right away. Other tracks, such as Tangled Highwire and Lithia, add to the mystique by blending pop, EBM, and gothic sounds to create cemetery dance music for broken-hearted spooky kids. The title track, Canson Months is built on a driving beat and icy cool moods delivered by smooth synth and distant chanting voices. Flash Flood introduces a world music feel that expands the reach of the album without betraying the prevalent atmosphere.
Canson Months is a release that always seems to be resting comfortably between juxtaposing of disparate styles and sounds, pulling together ambient chill vibes with looped pop choruses and compelling beats, all while making it sound like a moonlit night outside a haunted factory.
åmßêrVVåvê§ - "Organics"
Lush beats, natural sounds, and smooth synths swirl together in a refreshing concoction of electronic bliss. Enter a world where vibrant landscapes are lit with gentle sunsets, and twilight brings an incandescent energy powered by earth magic.
Born in clear, focused vaporwave, Organics is a lo-fi burner that delivers a surprisingly meditative energy - through peaceful audio imagery from another realm. In the track, Secret Garden, a soft synth pad backed by bird calls forms the foundation on which a repeating melody plays, on Photosynthetic, a simple, looping rhythm and a pair of reverb-enriched triplets repeat a call and response, and Tranquility brings us a nightscape with crickets and gently undulating sounds that evoke cool forests and placid waters.
Organics neatly fits in a much needed role as a soothing balm of electronic serenity that listeners will find themselves returning to for repeat plays.
Bunny & The Invalid Singers - "Fear of the Horizon"
Dense compositions and off-center eccentricities characterize this electro sleeper-pop from UK weirdo group Bunny, listed here as Bunny & The Invalid Singers.
This record hits hard and fast right away with a thick atmosphere of oddity, blending recorded and synthesized instruments that play off of each other in strange ways. Imagine an independent film about the cannibals next door. These cannibals would have intense philosophical discussions while cooking their human foods. And delightfully weird tracks like The Positive Approach of Talkative Ron would add just the right amount of grizzly, unpredictable circus waltz, infused with synth accents.
There are vocalizations in here every now and then, but not much lyrics. Largely instrumental, moody pieces that evoke various sensations of lonliness, abandon, or madness. And while certainly telling the story with a whimsical, wry smile, the story still has plenty of solid moments of real expression and artistry.
This is one that I really had to dig into and listen to several times to get a read on, but there was no time wasted. There is a genuine power in the complex musical textures presented in each of these tracks. Take yourself on an odball ear journey today with Fear of the Horizon
Jennifer Doll - "With Everything"
Electronic artist and songwriter Jennifer Doll blends clear, genuine vocals with pleasing pop instrumentation for this fresh-sounding EP, With Everything. As a release it really does have a bit of everything.
Each track is built up with layers of sequenced instruments that form a dense musical foundation upon which Jennifer Doll's bright voice dances across. From shimmering pools of synth backed with electro-pop drums in Siren Song, to fuzz powered bass stacked with idm beats and reverb-tinged backup vocals in Secrets of the Dance Floor, to the electric string backed ballad, Heavy, Jennifer Doll packs this EP with musical variety.
"Can anybody hear it? All the broken truths, And hollow lies?,"
she sings, in Secrets of the Dance Floor, a song about combating normalcy of living in a dishonest society. A bonus track, Glitter Tits, explores a youthful party where glitter ends up everywhere.
In this release, Jennifer Doll delivers some open, heartfelt songwriting - while wielding multiple musical styles with layered track-building. Recommended for your autumn playlists, or early evening twilit upstairs shoegazing.
Jamie Awakshidar - "There is More Beauty in Corruption"
This densely packed dark ambient album personifies its title, showing the deep beauty in damaged, disconnected things. The concept is quite strong, and plays out across the release in a dramatic way.
The opening track Skyhack Rising is a transcendent, powerful surge of uplifiting synth tones, a meditative icon of beauty and peace. As soon as the triumphantly titled Sic Transit Gloria Mundi begins, strains of corruption can already be felt. The track is drenched in a self-feeding reverb that washes the track over its brim in waves of chaos. As the album continues, the sounds and moods continue to shift toward shadowy, darker zones.
In dramatic contrast to peace, stillness, and calm, as the release nears its core we can sense the radiating undulations of malice and entopy. The audio becomes an overwhelming, swirling malestrom of disfigured audio and crossing frequencies that feels like it's trapped between the walls, in a frenzied focus on complex movements in the dark.
It is in these startling moments, that Jamie Awakshidar displays a true artistry, reveling in the mighty power and detail found in the broken, misty passageways between worlds. As far as this release goes, There is More Beauty in Corruption.