Review: Since launching in 2011, James Healy's Air Texture label and compilation series has become something of an institution within the ambient scene. As with its predecessors, the seventh volume in the series has been jointly compiled by two artists with an existing musical relationship, in this case Rrose and Silent Servant. Their selections are on point, drowsily drifting between academic ambient compositions (see Rrose and James Fei's "For Bass Clarinet 8.97 (Rrose Version)", uncomfortable electronic explorations (Ron Morelli, Anthony Child), modular movements (Not Waving), jazz-flecked deep space soundscapes (Luke Slater), horror-influenced throb-jobs (Phase Fatale, June & An-i) and 1990s style ambient electronica (Octa Octa, Function).
Review: Given his prolific nature, we were rather surprised to find that "Shadows of Death & Desire" is actually John Juan Mendez AKA Silent Servant's second album for six years. It's an impressive set, with Mendez offering up a stony-faced, steel-eyed shuffle through industrial-fired machine chug ("Illusion"), mind-altering EBM workouts ("Damage", "Harm In Hand", the throbbing "24 Hours"), icy electronic soundscapes (the vintage Autechre style dancefloor IDM of "Loss Response"), early '80s style Cabaret Voltaire industrial funk (the brilliant "Glass Veil"), and moody compositions where razor-sharp guitars and foreboding electronics envelop particularly skittish electro drums (closing cut "Optimistic Decay").
Review: ** Repress ** If you've been keeping abreast of all things Minimal Wave this year, you'll probably have picked up on Veronica Vasicka hinting at a forthcoming split release from Silent Servant and Broken English Club, the new project from UK techno man Oliver Ho. We've certainly been eagerly awaiting it her at Juno HQ and it's great to see Violence And Divinity live up to and surpass these expectations! Silent Servant mans the A Side with two tracks that will be familiar to anyone that's been lucky enough to catch his live sets of late, indeed it's almost too easy to visualise the flashing strobes as the pummelling EBM lines of "Cut Unconscious" unravel and beat you down. The two accompanying productions from Ho's Broken English Club dovetail nicely, but veer off into more wave orientated territory, with "Divinity" sounding quite like some of the earlier material put out by In Aeternam Vale. In a word superb.
Review: Cititrax's first Tracks 12" sampler did a good job in showcasing material from some of the Brooklyn-based label's favourite contemporary producers. This follow-up, arriving only a few short months after the first, aims to do the same. Returning for his second appearance, Tsuzing kicks things off with the razor-sharp shuffle of "Nonlinear War", whose intoxicating electronics and wild synth lines recall Brown Album-era Orbital, before London-based L/F/D/M takes a trip into bleak techno territory with the acid-laden "Mouth Holes". Flip for Silent Servant's deliciously grandiose, muscular electro-disco workout "The Touch", and the clanking industrial percussion, EBM attitude and humming electro beats of Maelstrom's "Lithium".