Review: The Poverty Is Violence stable are firmly established now as an essential conductor for rabid, rowdy and downright rasping mechanics from subterranean operators of all shapes and sizes. Anonymous but reportedly veteran Dutch producer XXX previously appeared on the label in 2016 with the wild Noorder Scannen 12", and now returns with a bludgeoning new release. There's a consistent metal grind to the percussion on Westzaan Doelen, while the synth tones in between tend towards the jagged and abrasive, there's space and poise in the arrangement to lift this out of knuckleheaded noise. "Don't Go After Her" reverberates with clamouring intensity while the beefy chassis of "Just The Two Of You" shimmers under an acidic glaze - this is full-tilt deviant music executed with finesse to match the grime.
Review: The original pressing of Subsequent Pleasures, the self-financed and ludicrously limited debut EP from Dutch darkwave pioneers Xymox (later to rename themselves Clan of Xymox), is notoriously hard to get hold of. Props, then, to reissue specialists Dark Entries for making it available again on vinyl for the first time since 1983. While this version doesn't include all of the tracks featured on the original, it does contain all the killers, including the electro-goth wooziness of "Going Around", the Joy Division-ish "Strange 9 To 9" and the superb synth workout "Call It Weird". It's one of those releases that should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the remotest interest in darkwave.
Review: Having previously released on such admired underground imprints as Ghostly International and Weird Records, it would be fair to say that Brooklyn duo Xeno & Oaklander has a quietly impressive track record. "Hypnos" is their fifth album to date, and the first since they signed with Dais Records late last year. As usual, the eight tracks on offer draw huge amounts of inspiration from early '80s cold wave and the weirder end of new wave, with occasional forays into more industrial-tinged and proto-electronica style pastures. Throughout, Liz Wendelbo's vocals provide a weary, stylish and occasionally standoffish focal point around which the synthesizers and drum machines merrily whirr and pop.
Review: Synthesizer and drum machine obsessive Xosar (AKA producer Sheela Rahman) has enjoyed a productive few years, building a formidable reputation via releases on Rush Hour, L.I.E.S and Creme Organization. Here she delivers her first full-length for Opal Tapes' occasional vinyl offshoot, Black Opal. It's perhaps a little less colourful and synthesizer-heavy than previous excursions, instead focusing on dark, fuzzy, heavily percussive takes on acid house and techno. Of course, there are curious interludes - see the wonky industrial IDM of "Prophylaxis" and the beatless synth madness of "Gnome Circle" - but it's the more floor-friendly excursions (and most profoundly the bleak and intense "Hades Gates") that really stand out.
Review: Bay Area producer and acclaimed live act Xosar returns with her fifth album, which follows up last year's Xymeria and 2015's Holographic Matrix. Named The Possessor Possesses Nothing, it was composed in a state of optimistic nihilism and draws inspiration from themes as diverse as alchemy, Kundalini yoga, fractals, DNA structure, the Golden Ratio, biofeedback, quasicrystals.. and stand up comedy! Moreover, her relocation to techno capital Berlin a few years ago has definitely made its mark on her sound here: dark ambient ("Transmogrification"/"The Video"), contorted techno ("A Heart Encircled By A Serpent"/"Pikachu Police State") and EBM ("Heavens Gate") are all apparent on this wild excursion through the underworld.