Review: LA Club Resource's Innsyter helps carry Contort Yourself into this new realm of dedicated solo releases from contemporary artists (their previous form was to split releases between archival and new tracks). The snarling, industrial palette is much the same, and the years of origin are as ambiguous here as they've ever been on the label, making Innsyter the perfect addition to the catalogue. From acid-dipped synth pop to nightmarish wave contortions, this record is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you already love the dark and deadly world of Contort Yourself then this brilliantly-realised, consistently inventive record can't fail to hit the spot.
Review: Whatever Makes You Feel Safe is a collaboration between Canadian producer and singer Marie Davidson and Berlin based Ukrainian sound designer Invisible Church. They met in Montreal during Red Bull Music Academy festival and shared the idea of exploring the concept of feeling safe both on a personal level and as a part of society. Quite different from what you'd usually associate with Davidson but still worthy of your attention all the same. Beginning on the A side with "Collage" featuring some chilling drone experiments over textural sound design and field recordings which allow Davidson's haunting vocals to carry the track further into the void. Sounds like a cross between OAKE and Lustmord. Next up "Never Release The Tension" delves further into pitch black territory on this contorted downbeat industrial thriller. Finally on the flip, we've got an epic 10 minutes of haunting esoterica in the form of "Ten Years" and features Theo Parrish on cymbals! The label recommends it as for fans the late Mika Vainio, Black Rain, CTI, and the Bladerunner OST. Pretty on point, if we do say so ourselves!
Review: In advance of release, Diagonal and Elon Katz have been particularly mysterious when it comes to the contents of The Human Pet. Instead of the usual press release, they simply emailed journalists a bizarre list of "care instructions" for said mythical companion. Katz, who rose to prominence as part of Streetwalker and White Car, is something of a bombastic, electronic eccentric, and The Human Pet is ostensibly a pop album dragged through several hedges backwards. Expect impassioned, stylized vocals, twisted boogie synths, scattergun electronics, bizarre beats, breakcore style cut-up madness, and crusty special effects. Oh, and discernible nods to EBM, industrial and Autechre.
Review: The combination of Richard H. Kirk and Minimal Wave was never going to disappoint, but the four tracks on this Never Lose Your Shadow 12" are still very special! Digging deep through the archives of the Cabaret Voltaire front man, Veronica Vasicka presents a quartet of solo recordings that have never been committed to wax before. The highlight is undoubtedly the A Side title track, a lolloping ten minute track of hypnotic industrial action made all the more memorable by Kirk's acerbic intonations about "the blind leading the blind". If you've caught a Vasicka DJ set recently you will have probably lost yourself to these ten minutes. On the flip are three tracks recorded in the same late '70s period which are distinctly more experimental in tone and just as vital.
Review: Bologna crew Alley Version return with a new 12", this time welcoming Richard Smith in his scintillating L/F/D/M guise. Smith has more than proven himself as a techno outlier par excellence, and so it continues on this gnarled and knotted batch of tracks. For all the lo-fi crunch, there's vitality and verve spilling out of all these tracks, especially the artfully messy "Flats". "Lemon Sunrise" is more decidedly unhinged, and "Plutonium" takes a slow and suffocating glide through freaky soundscapes teetering between the netherworld and the sunkissed boulevard. For DJs looking for the most club impact, "Blank Cheque" is the one though - a dishevelled banger for disjointed souls.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After appearing on Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder with the fiercely infectious "It's Alive!" 12", L.F.T. lands on Eye For An Eye with more gutter-bound sonics from the grungiest corners of the electro scene. There's as much noirish seduction as gnarly distortion going on throughout this deadly record, from the soundtrack steer of "Atomic Enigma" to the brittle minimal wave delights of the title track. Super punky and lo-fi in all the right places, this 12" once again confirms L.F.T. is one of the strongest voices dealing in DIY electro from the darkside.
Review: As part of longstanding no wave duo Naked On The Vague, murky girl group Knitted Abyss and extraterrestrial drone project Half High, Lucy Phelan has been a critical force in the Sydney DIY scene for over 10 years. Under the solo veil of Lucy Cliche, she annihilates with these four wavey techno tracks that honour her noise and punk ethos. With pounding drum sequences, draining synths and emotionless vocals echoing Cosey Fanni Tutti, her dark dreams sabotage our calculations of modern dance while demonstrating how physicality and the ethereal can interact.
Review: Bedouin Records enlist Thomas Feriero for some new music from his current industrial period. The former tech house man doesn't shun his roots altogether, laying down functional grooves but haunted by darker and noisier textures and tones. "Onto Duat" is clunking and intense, "Take Nothing With You" is lit up by serrated synths and oversized hi hats tethered to monstrous break beats, while "Change Your Mind" is a sludgy, paranoid cut for marching crowds. "Riot Patrol" is the best of the lot, with slow motion heaviness and a real sense of dystopian atmospherics locking you to the floor.
Review: Having built his reputation via a trio of must-check EPs on Bokeh Versions, Mars89 transfers to Alex Hall's "mutant electronics" imprint Natural Sciences. The producer is a neat fit on the imprint, with "2020" containing a quartet of creepy, hard-wired, industrial-tinged cuts that seem eerily fitting for these troubled times. He begins with the bone-rattling beats, machine-gun percussion hits, ricocheting metallic clonks and gut-punching bass of "GoodThing", before successfully fusing mutilated industrial sounds and paranoid rhythms on "JoyCamp". Over on side B, "DayOrder" is a strangely swung slab of mind-altering electronica that defies easy description, while "MiniLuv" is a thumping stomp through lo-fi techno territory in the company of a steroid-fired monster.
Review: Pavel Milyakov has largely impressed since making his debut under the Buttechno alias earlier this year, delivering a pair of 12" singles that gather together short, hardware-driven experiments in a variety of dystopian styles. Here, the Russian producer debuts under his given name, once again flitting between dark and spacey dancefloor workouts, bleak broken techno, macabre electro, wonky IDM and panicky ambience. Despite the stylistic shifts, the EP hangs together impressively, thanks in no small part to Milyakov's penchant for industrial textures, tape echo and haunting melodies. If you're into the releases of L.I.E.S and Berceuse Heroique, you need this in your life.
Review: Helena Hauff's Return To Disorder label plunges once more into the grimy underworld of electro and wave music, this time guided by dungeon dweller Morah who debuted on the label in 2015 and has since gone on to great things via Lux Rec, Berceuse Heroique, brokntoys and more. "I Saw, Strained Her Eyes Peering Into The Gloom" is a bittersweet dance with distortion as disheveled as it is catchy, while "Dance When Lights Off" pushes even further into the red with scintillating results. "Against Your Beloved" sounds positively shimmering by comparison, even if on its own it's still a truly dirty slice of jacked up electro. "One Shade The Less, One Ray The More" is a strong closing bout that draws from a similar sound bank and applies it to a more techno-minded structure.
Review: Moopie's A Colourful Storm label launched earlier this year as an extension of the popular online platform that has hosted a rich and diverse stream of mixes from the likes of Imaginary Softwoods, DJ Nobu, Frak and Rabih Beaini to name a few. Pro-tip: do check that latter live mix from the Morphine boss! It was the archival sounds of Denial and their lost Oz classic cover of "California Dreaming" that heralded the arrival of A Colourful Storm, but this second release on the label switches the focus to more contemporary fare. Power Relations is a two track 12" of bad-mannered, f*cked up club trax from Melbourne's Nerve. The stomping, nocturnal techno of the title track is backed with a Photek-meets-Sunn O))) terror stepper entitled "Heads & Ordinary Concrete". For fans of Regis, Emptyset and Blackest Ever Black.
Review: Lucerne based Prasens Editionen was founded in 2011 to give home to Zweikommasieben Magazin. Ever since, a bunch of magazines, books, zines, records, tapes and oddities have been published. After digging deep into their vast archive, they found two gems that are particularly striking: a live recording from a collaborative project (on Side A) in the form of the the textural industrial/noise journey by Nilbog entitled "Liverecording 02/11/16". On the flip Mr Pena's "TMC" (The Markt Chronicles) is a three minute gabba onslught. Mr. Pena lets loose, aiming at hardcore dancefloors while balancing between fight-or-flight terror and pacifying joy. Edition of 300.
Nocturnal Emissions - "Even The Good Times Are Bad (1983)" (4:33)
Innyster - "Todis" (6:08)
Review: Contort Yourself reaches its sixth installment with yet another era spanning gathering of post-punk and industrial oddities for the most deviant of dancefloors to digest. In the contemporary corner we have Penelope's Fiance, a promising industrial artist from Greece. Meanwhile on the B-side, Nigel Ayers as Nocturnal Emissions takes us back to 1983 with the utterly chilling "Demon Circuits Bloodbath" and "Even The Good Times Are Bad". L.I.E.S boss Ron Morelli steps up as U202 to remix "Even The Good Times Are Bad" as a death march of malevolent percussion.