Review: Alexandra Drewchin's work as Eartheater reached a wider audience when it landed on Pan last year via the head-spinning "IRISIRI" album. Now she returns to the label she first emerged on, Hausu Mountain, for a reissue of her 2015 album "Metalepsis". It's a surprisingly direct record, even as it swerves from folky incantations to pastoral techno ruminations across nine bold and distinctive tracks. Both ambitious in scope and focused in execution, it's a perfect companion piece to "IRISIRI" that points out the skill and versatility at the disposal of this most crucial of contemporary artists.
Review: Italo-disco digger Intergalactic Gary has described Silence, the 1991 debut album by largely overlooked synth-pop outfit East Wall, as a "timeless masterpiece" that boasts "unique atmospherics and pure emotion". Thanks to this re-mastered reissue from Dark Entries you can now judge for yourself. It's certainly a hugely entertaining collection of songs, all of which boast a killer combination of analogue drum machine grooves, sparkling synthesizers, and sassy vocals from East Wall's stylish front woman, Tiziana Wells. Interestingly, despite the album's '90s vintage, it all sounds like it was recorded in the mid 1980s. This is especially true of "Privacy", a thrusting chugger that is widely considered to be one of the heaviest tunes in the Italo-disco canon.
Review: Three years after the release of Adrift, Ebauche (aka Alex Leonard) returns with a beautiful new ambient LP. It is inspired by a strange disconnected dream during a long cross-country journey through Poland in the depths of winter in 2014. Mutable reflects the rhythms of that journey and the ethereal dreamscape which enveloped him.
Each track on Mutable pulsates and wraps around itself, gradually evolving its soundscape and encasing the listener in a deep and rewarding world. There is careful exploration of polyrhythmic variations within juxtaposed morphing drones bubbling out from stacks of synthesizers. The pieces are densely layered with fine detail, often only revealed on repeated listens, and are subtly backed by field recordings from locations around Poland.
Chwiac opens the album with scintillating polyrhythms and pulsating bass tones; continuously folding in on itself teasing elements in and out of our awareness. Zmienny evolves gently over its 11 minutes, voices skittering in the background whilst synths, horns and strings grow, waver, and vacillate. Rozwijac' is a lovingly constructed soundscape full of warmth and gentle tones which lull the listener to serenity as the album closes.
Each piece on the album is accompanied by a unique painting created by Polish artist Adrianna Snochowska. The paintings are 50 x 35 cm mixed media (texture & oil paint) on canvas. Adrianna spent many hours listening to the draft mixes whilst creating these paintings and moulded the texture effects to the sounds on each track.
Additionally, long-time producer Arovane has provided a remix of Chwiac which is included on the release. The remix picks up on Chwiac's pulsing polyrhythms and wraps them in layers of gritty distortion and subtle melodic nuances, underpinned by driving beats.
Review: Brussels-based Echo Collective is an extended crew of classically trained musicians helmed by Neil Leiter and Margaret Hermant. While they've been active for some time and worked on countless projects, Plays Amnesiac - a re-imagining of Radiohead's 2001 album of the same name - marks their full-length debut. It's an undeniably impressive collection, with Thom Yorke and company's glitchy, heavily electronic original songs re-cast as neo-classical pieces rich in arresting clarinet and oboe lines, jazzy live drums, cut-glass violins and gentle orchestration. Occasionally projects like this can feel a bit gimmicky, but Plays Amnesiac simply oozes class from start to finish. There are no cheesy gimmicks here, just sublime, classical-jazz fusion cuts that dance from the speakers like the soundtrack of a film we've yet to see.
Review: The ever reliable Macadam Mambo returns with the second opus of Eiger Drums: featuring more oddball grooves of the ambient/krautrock persuasion by Louis E Bola. He's one half of Lyonnaise outfit The Pilotwings in collaboration with musicians Geddes Hadden, Arthur Tempo, Akino Karma, Sound Of Duty Free & Pierre Mortimer-Dubation. A more dancefloor oriented album than the previous outing, reviving early new age/trance aesthetics with tribal influences. From the lo-slung weirdo folk of "The Sun", or "Astral Lights" with its exotic psych-drone aesthetic through to the steely slo-mo post punk of "Astral Lights" or the horror movie vibe of "The Moon" - be prepared to get weird on this one!
Review: El Deux is the Swiss electro-pop trio of Gutze Gautschi (guitar, vocals), Steno Onetz (bass), Martin Kraft (vocals, drum machine). Formed circa 1981 in Aarau by Gutze and Steno who played together in punk/New Wave band Fresh Color aka Frische Farbe featuring a pre-Yello Dieter Meier. Gutze's minimal electronic compositions did not fit the concept of Fresh Color, so they formed a new project with their live mixer, Martin Kraft, on vocals. The group was quite successful with many concerts, mainly in southern Germany and various TV appearances in Germany and abroad. Between April/September 1982 they recorded and mixed their debut album 'Nur Fur Madchen' in 15 days at Powerplay Studios, Zurich. The LP was released later that year on Gold Records. Influences at that time were of course the NDW "Neue Deutsche Welle'' movement and also from Gutze's time as a musician & guitarist since 1965. Their step up for recording was a Moog Prodigy, Korg Rhythm 55 (KR-55), Simmons Drums, Casiotone 202, Guitar and Bass. We've added a bonus track "Video King" that was originally released as a follow up single in 1984 before the group disbanded. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in an exact replica of the original jacket and includes an insert with photos and lyrics.
Review: We've written before about the unique thrills provided by Moroccoan composer Abdou El Amari's obscure 1970s work, which combine electronic interpretations of North African and American funk rhythms, wild and wacky organ motifs, and copious amounts of tape delay. Belgian imprint Radio Martiko has already reissued two instalments of his infamous - and devilishly hard to find - Nuits De trilogy of albums, and here completes the set. "Nuits De Printemps" is dedicated to spring and therefore a little breezier and looser than its contemporaries, with a little more emphasis on live percussion amongst the synthesizers and drum machines. Predictably, it's an exotic and mind-altering treat from start to finish.
Review: Electric Capablanca is a mystery artistic outfit who, on this evidence, are lovers of pastoral landscapes, innocent lullabies and day dreaming. This collection is a spellbinding one with clean, crisp synths and distant pads, soft focus arps and, in some cases, gentle IDM patterns all washing over you time and again. The music here is too detailed and meaningfully structured to be classed as ambient: it demands close attention and rewards it in kind, either with soul soothing and diffusive moods or more edgy drone tracks, amongst a range of other immersive styles.
Review: Electric Youth have already achieved notoriety through their inclusion on one of the most iconic film soundtracks in recent memory, Drive, on which their collaboration with College, A Real Hero played a crucial role in said cinematic sensation. Yet this was merely a moment of serendipity on the way to this debut proper, which sees the Canadian duo set out their stall with a languorous brand of neon-drenched and '80s-tinged synthpop rich in luminous melody and potent melancholy. Nocturnal in atmosphere and cinematic in scope, Innerworld is no retro confection, rather a timeless and seductive document of electronic allure that is set to lurk in the deeper recesses of the consciousness.