Review: On his three previous solo albums as Blanck Mass, Fuck Buttons member Benjamin John Power offered up abstract but enjoyable blends of ambient, drone, IDM and electronics. On "Animated Violence Mild", his first full-length for two years, Power has decided to take a far more dystopian path, blending ear-catching, synth-pop influenced melodies with thrusting, doom-laden techno rhythms, growling aural textures, industrial strength noise and hybrid electronic power-pop. It's an ear-catching affair, with highlights including the boisterous, distorted techno-pop of "House Vs House", the post-apocalyptic power-trance rush of "Hush Money", the hypnotic, maximal ambient movements of "Creature/West Fuqua" and the pulsating intensity of "Wings Of Hate".
Review: The legend John Carpenter is back with a new album, Lost Themes II. What more can we say other than the fact that the man is a multidisciplinary powerhouse. The director behind such classics as The Thing and Escape From L.A. presented the first volume of unreleased soundtracks from the crypt last year, followed up by a brilliant remix compilation featuring the likes of Silent Servant, Skinny Puppy's Nivek Ogre and Zola Jesus amongst others. On this volume, Carpenter's unmistakeable sound for these imaginary soundtracks has many a nugget, our favourites were the ever perfect arpeggiations of "Persia Rising", soundtracking the most beautiful of Arabian nights, the indisputable vintage charm of analogue machines on the wonderfully epic "Windy Death" and the tribute to another true legend of the big screen on "Bela Lugosi" you could just imagine F.W Murnau making his grand entrance as you hear this unearthed classic.
Review: If there's a duo who know how to come up with a name, it's Holydrug Couple, and Hyper Super Mega couldn't sound any better. There's a lot of oohing and cooing on this LP, however it's the group's timid and sweet touches that hit home most. There's a friendliness to the music, with "Forever End" the album's undeniable hit number, with echoes of Elton John piano rock (you'll hear it) there to be heard in "Ikebana Telephone Line" too. Further in you'll find the more dreamy, shoegaze-y and 90's pop colours of "I'll Only Say This" and "Easy", to the change in mood that is the urban, danse noir effort "Lucifer's Coat". Take in some more lo-fi synth of "Western Shade" and there's no playing down this album is what Holydrug Couple say it is.
Review: "The Practice Of Love" is Jenny Hval's seventh full-length, and it's the sort of listen that can wash over you while you get lost in a reverie, or take you on a deeply involving inward journey if you tune in to the lyrics. Her voice is angelic, and muses on subjects like growing old, our place in the world, and the notion of intimacy. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the fantastically strong title track with its vulnerable and tender spoken words, folky synth lullaby "Thumbsucker" and "Accident", which could well be a rave comedown with its lilting trance chords and dreamy keys. Quite the trip.
Review: Margaret Chardiet's semi-regular album outings as Pharmakon are always worth a listen, if only to recoil at the intensity of her unsettling blends of buzzing industrial noise, paranoid vocal screams, throbbing aural textures, forthright mangled guitar riffs and rusty, razor-sharp power electronics. "Devour" is the artist's fourth album for Sacred Bones and her first new set for two years. It explores similar sonic territory to its predecessors, offering claustrophobic, mind-mangling soundscapes that are creepy, disturbed, awe-inspiring and sonically challenging in equal measures. In some ways, calling out individual tracks as highlights seems pointless: this is a singular, ever-changing work that sees Chardiet escort us on a nightmarish journey through experimental extremes.