Review: By now Future Nuggets have surely been established as one of Romania's leading exponents of leftfield electronic oddities, and they don't disappoint on the surprising delights of this new 7" from Renato Din Sala and Ion Din Dorobanai. There's an Eastern lilt to the vocals and melodies on both tracks, but they're framed by some wonderfully quirky synth parts and budget drum machines. "Nu E Injoseala (N-am Carti De Credit)" in particular capitalises on cranky monosynth squelch and organ wails, while "I Love You Viata Mea (Lema)" takes a more energetic approach and works some Rhodes-like sounds into the mix.
Review: Gruth incorporates pitch black and aggressive textures into his sonic palette. Incorporating techno, ambient and industrial, but mainly rooted in the Nordic darkness of metal - this is the experimental music project of Juha Puupera. Drawing further influence from UK sound system culture and Italian 'Giallo' of the '70s, he's joined by homeboy Hannu Ikola (Subself/Ether) who is a techno DJ and producer on this EP. It features the grinding and guttural sludge techno deconstruction of "Severely Decomposed" and "Disgorged Viscera" on the A side. The pitch black techno of "Ke Jawenan Deserration" and the haunting dark ambient soundscape "Futile Demise" where Gruth is joined by Helsinki-based violinist and sound designer KuJo.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Fans of mechanical techno-not-techno sounds will be all over Minimal Wave's latest transmission from 80s French underground heroes In Aeternam Vale. Having reissued several essential lost works from the outfit last year, most notably the proto-Sandwell sound of "Highway Dark Veins", Veronica Vasicka delivers another two tracks from the vault. Stylistically mirroring that previous two track release the title track is an equally brilliant synth-techno beast which could easily pass for a Function track today, while B-side "Calling Somewhere" sounds like a cold wave version of proto-halfstep. Needless to say, the fact that these tracks are 22 years old literally left us speechless.
Review: Fresh from releasing the superb Pink Flamingos album on Dement3d, In Aternam Vale returns to Minimal Wave. This time round, he's not alone. Each of the tracks features the breathy, stylish vocals of Madrid-based Belarusian, Anneq. Her sleazy, whispered refrain is the headline attraction on the throbbing, industrial pop-meets-techno hustle of "Je Ai Dissous", while she also chats seductively over the undulating arpeggio lines, restless drums and dystopian atmospheres of "Tendencia (About Blank Version"). The ambient-leaning "V6" take of that cut is also hugely inspiring, while the Page R version of "Je Ai Dissous" is a dark, atmospheric and intoxicating celebration of legendary '80s "computer musical instrument", the Fairlight CMI.
Review: Samurai's highly collectable Red Seal series continues with a mission to Manchester. Home to key players such as Skittles, Dub Phizix and DRS, the 'Mani' scene just keeps on giving. This three track 12" is a perfect example, as we find fellow native Indigo joining the dots between three genres with ease and engaging production skill. "Reaching The Source" is a blissed out Autonomic workout that's ideal for both headphones or early doors, "Trthys" is a much slower, sludgy bass 4/4 workout that sits somewhere between Dirtybird and Wookie while "Talia" ends us on a soft, soulful note. A lullaby on marbled vinyl: does life get much better than this?
Review: San Francisco trio INHALT burst onto the scene back at the turn of the decade, going on to release a trio of well-regarded EPs on [Emotional] Especial and Dark Entries. Here they return to the latter label with their first 12" for almost four years. As usual, their music is stylish, dark and clandestine, with wild-eyed German vocals riding brooding, John Carpenter-influenced arpeggio lines, creepy chords and bustling drum machine grooves. Our pick of the bunch is probably the up-tempo, triple time hustle of "Commerce", though the more polished and atmospheric opener "Alles" and EBM-minded bubbler "Schwarz" are also mighty fine.
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!
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.
Review: L.I.E.S latest muscular missive comes courtesy of Dutch scene stalwarts Parrish Smith (previously of Knekelhuis and Dekmantel) and Interstellar Funk (AKA Artificial Dance big cheese Olf van Elden). Rich in machine drums, cranky modular synth sounds and industrial intent, the four-track missive sees them angrily stomp between mind-altering, mid-tempo throb-jobs (the strobe-lit electronics and druggy arpeggio lines of "Misinformation"), buzzing 4/4 electro ("High Gates"), raw, redlined, noise-addled techno ("Macrodosing") and the kind of dark, moody and throbbing dancefloor fare that sits somewhere between angular industrial music and frustrated, lo-fi techno ("Collapsed Buildings"). For want of a better term, this is music for dystopian dancehalls, prorogued parliaments and the children of broken societies.
Cameron Allen & Graham Bidstrup - "Bikini Atoll" (3:40)
Foot & Mouth - "I Want My Mummy" (4:15)
Review: An intriguing confection put together by two Antipodean crate-diggers with an ear for the eccentricities and heroic creative travails of a generation of yore, 'Midnight Spares' chronicles a predominantly '80s era in which bedroom musicians took a post-punk DIY sensibility to create work that still rings out with originality and ingenuity decades on. Collected from manifold unusual sources, this compendium takes in early synth-pop, menacing lo-fi soundtrack work, a stray emigre member of The Flying Pickets, and even an early foray into recording from the members of legendary Ozpunk scamps God. Lurking somewhere between the spirit of John Peel and the world of outsider art, the resulting assemblage is a must-have for chroniclers of the weird and wonderful.
Review: Los Angeles based producer Alex Gray aka D/P/I of CHANCEIMAG.es returns, this time on French imprint Shelter Press with more avant electronics excursions on the Composer LP. Thee seven sound collages are said to be an experiment in rhythm, where human error is introduced to basic sounds (such as a djembe or conga) via midi controllers, introducing complex processes and effects which naturally developed into compositions. Gray himself hopes his album "can act as a beacon of creativity for future generations, who are currently being completely saturated by marketing content for products and media that will do nothing but confuse and distract them.
Review: Spanish darkwave enthusiasts Oraculo first appeared on our radar earlier in the year upon the release of the fabulous Larm Und Stahl EP - which featured great music by Melania, Crystal Geometry and Synths Versus Me. The Cataluna based label had been broadcasting their dark transmissions for a long time before this though, having released music by established names on the scene such as Boy Harsher, Kareem, Violet Poison and The Hacker. They now present I Tpame I Tvrame: the duo of Franc Kurti and Dina Hajrullahu, based in Tirana, Albania. Existing in the interzone of goth, EBM and electro, the duo's brooding noir antics are at once bold as they are sensual across this collection of a dozen or so tracks. Dina Hajrullahu's deadpan vocals are complemented by Franc Kurti's giallo synths, wailing guitars and metallic drum computer patterns.
Review: "Say Yes To No" is the debut record from iDEAL Recordings label head Joachim Nordwall, aka the iDEALIST. It is an experimental affair couched in dub but run through with a sense of dread and plenty of noise. Expertly manipulated sound characterises each track - the distant drone of a factory floor, the hum and fizz of machines at work and the lumpy, loopy drums of automation. Fans of Adrian Sherwood's brain frying, punk influenced work are sure to lap up this most dark and dystopian dub exploration, and arresting vocal appearances from John Duncan and Jamaican poet Nazamba only heighten the whole experience.
Review: When it comes to crafting memorable electronica, Malka Spigel and sometime Wire member Colin Newman are old hands. The duo released their first album as Immersion way back in 1994. This fourth full-length follows on from 2016's critically acclaimed Analogue Creatures Living On An Island and shares some stylistic similarities. Like that set, Sleepless contains numerous nods to 1970s krautrock (particularly Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh), alongside detectable looks in the direction of laidback ambient techno, shoegaze, tactile downtempo grooves, melodic Balearic moments and the kind of hybrid analogue/electronic soundscapes that defy easy categorization. Throughout, the duo push mood and melody to the fore; as a result, the album is deliciously soft-focus and dreamy, even at its' most full-throttle and up-tempo.
Review: Minimal Wave return to their self-professed "First French love" In Aeternam Vale with a second LP-shaped trawl through the band's sizeable archive of cassette only releases. The Brooklyn imprint first introduced us to the work of the hugely prolific Lyon band with an eponymous LP of remastered material in 2009, and Dub Under Brightness proves to be just as important a release. The label points to an article on the band originally published by the Douche Froide magazine in 2002, where the journalist nails their appeal in the opening gambit - "There are bands that have been acting ruthlessly in the shadow for years, in a completely confidential manner, then one day chance (but does chance exist?) makes you find one of their recordings, listen to it, and at that moment you could kick yourself for not having discovered these soundscapes earlier and you try to find all of them". If you haven't indulged in the sounds of In Aeternam Vale yet, this eight track selection makes for a perfect introductory primer.