Album Review: Cuefx – International Post-War Chill Remixes

CuefxLabel: Export Label

One of the best things about electronic-based music is the remixing. The ability to completely cut up and dissect every bit to a song, mash them up and twist them about has been made extremely easy. It brings an outpouring of inventive collaboration from contemporaries, each with their own style and perspective. 11 different artists have twisted around the songs of unique electronic artist Cuefx into a chilled out series of jazzy tunes slathered in hip hop. The original songs can be found on Cuefx’s latest release, International Post-War Chill, although I must admit I have not heard it. Therefore these remixes have been examined for their own merits with no bias towards the original mix of the songs. The ignorance of this gives a unique perspective on the music itself. Every chopped up tone and sound wave is entirely new to my ears, gently ringing and soothing.

The remixes sample a variety of genres, already found in the original mixes, and meld them together in different ways to form even more innovative sounds. The fusion of nu-jazz and hip hop influences sparks a chemical reaction that freezes your synapses and awakens the beat inside you. The mild relaxing beats add electronic twinges of synthetic bliss. A soft euphoria descends on the city streets, accentuated by a rolling fog that dials the senses into the music. It’s a score for those dark hollow nights in some nameless lounge club in the middle of the city. Smoky, somber tones vaporize into the air and set the mood for unwinding the day’s stresses and readjusting the mind.

These tracks are recommended for anyone who enjoys a chill evening. The dark and morose undertones are no match for the calming effects of the drumbeat. They convey a nuclear winter feel, where everything is destroyed and there’s nothing left to do but enjoy what’s left of the world. However depressing the subject matter is, there is no escaping the music, which is a special hiding place from the negative screaming of the world. The creative endeavor of the remix album has given artists a chance to give their own interpretation of relaxing in a post-apocalyptic world. Something we may have to try and accomplish in our own realities pretty soon. Who knows what tomorrow will bring so until then, enjoy the music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: Who Wants a Bomb (Nik Laker Remix)


Album Review: Somnambuliya – Sleep Deprivation

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

From deep within the dense forests of Russia a subtle frenetic beat begins to pound. Augmented by a wave of dreamy harmonies, a deep and sullen voice croons in its native language. The piano hums a somber melody as the snow lazily drifts down from the sky. Lack of sleep has taken over and a waking dream assaults your senses. A new world appears and there is no way of knowing if it is a tangible presence or merely a tricky phantasm sent here to fool your perception. In this state of conscious hibernation the music has complete control over you, making you see whatever it wants you to.

The piano cuts into you like an icy wind. Taps and clicks accompany the wind and stutter out a lazy and comfortable pattern. You wrap around the slowly winding curves of the beat and let it take you. It sails across a desolate winter, drifting smoothly past snow drifts and icicle-draped evergreens. It is all so beautiful yet melancholy. The soft singing hypnotizes your sleep impoverished mind, massaging your synapses and reviving weakened cells.

You can’t understand what is being said but this ignorance has an added aesthetic benefit. The Russian lyrics have a disorienting effect in this dismantled state. The emotive inflections are understood but not the actual words; all meaning absorbed in a deep cavern somewhere inside your head. Somnambuliya’s dark textures are a morose experience that fuel your emotions with deep disconsolate moods. It’s all laid out on a waving tapestry that plays beautifully sincere music. Together they can be ridden to the edge of consciousness, the music guiding you towards sleep.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Winter Song

Album Review: The Developing – The Puzzle

Label: Trippin’ the Rift

Catalog No: TTRR011

The Developing has taken trip-hop to another level. I bet you all thought that trip-hop was dead and nothing new could come of it right? This album has just proven all you cynical skeptics wrong. The Puzzle features retro-fitted artifacts from the early 90s, giving a “stereotypical” sound to the untrained ear. Upon closer listening you discover a wide depth to the music that sinks deep into your skin. Elements of jazz and IDM are also swirled in to provide another dimension in the beat. The many sounds are layered so well that a harmonious whirr blows through the room, giving everything perfect unity.

The samples used are taken from a wide range of sources. From train horns to trying to start a car, The Developing has turned everyday sounds into symphonic accents for chilled out dance music. The use of these types of samples is nothing new but here there is a very unique character to them. I can easily see some hipsters writing this album off as a rip-off of classic 90s dance music. This is a complete misnomer. The Puzzle’s influences come from all over the spectrum and were mixed together in new ways to create something sui generis and personal. It may sound familiar but that is only your mind trying to link together what the music means to you.

The Puzzle is exactly what its name implies. There are 12 big pieces each composed of hundreds of smaller pieces. Upon each listen you will find new pieces and uncover different sounds. This is totally tuned to take the listener on a journey but only with the listener’s help. You have to be open to the idea of letting the music take you where you want to go. So rare is it that we come across music that gives us a blueprint and lets our imagination fill in the rest.

Rating: 4 Stars

Standout Track: Over Clouds

Review: Viral Implications – Tears of Glass EP

Label: On-Mix Media
Catalog No: onmp188

Viral Implications is making a quiet entrance into the new year with this five track EP. Mixing downtempo beats with worldly electronic vibes, a chillout experience has been manifested. You can fluidly weave in and out of the beats and feel the constant motion of everything around you. You get wrapped up inside a warm cocoon spun by lush tones and it makes you want to nestle inside and wait for your metamorphosis.

The mild poignancy of the songs shows us a human side to mechanical warblings and robotic drum patterns. The task of attaching emotion to lifeless computer sounds is difficult and this release makes the process seem effortless. There is an unfortunate inconsistent gap with some of the songs. The lack of proper transitions takes away from the fluid flow of the music. It is a subtle reminder that you are only listening to music and not experiencing a total rebirth.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: A Homeless Farewell

Review: Aqosto – Blurred Paints EP

Label: Trippin’ the Rift
Catalog No:TTRR004

A dreamy beat starts to permeate. A serene cat wags its tail in time to the beat. Everything falls into place. The order of the universe becomes a plot on a timeline, set to go off at a precise moment to coincide with the music.

Trip-hop and chillout meld with ambient to create six delightful tracks. Samples are spliced throughout to add a human aspect as the grooves bring a smile to your face. The programming is very well done and entertaining. A new lies around every corner to keep you strapped in on this placid boat ride through a tunnel of acrylics and watercolors. They splash against the boat, painting a tapestry of color that wriggles and sways with the music.

Aqosto have created a very enjoyable EP that speaks to all walks of life. Everyone should be able to find something they like and shout it from the mountaintops.

Standout track: Alison
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: EugeneKha – Low Sky

Label: Earth Mantra
Catalog No: earman168

The clouds hang low, engulfing the tops of buildings. They are so dense you wonder whether the rest of the building even exists anymore. You could go inside, take the vertical submarine up the heavens and be transported to the heavens. Offices mingle amongst clouds and water droplets. At any moment the pressure would drop and all the cubicles and corner offices would rain down upon the earth in a bureaucratic nightmare.

Low Sky is like the elevator music for a video game inside the submarine. Bits of aural information whiz by you while drones cascade around the chamber ascending upwards. EugeneKha adds layers from many cultures and beats to create phenomenal tapestries for the spirit. The electronic washes and quaint melodies flood the ear canals, leaving behind a haze that rises into the brain and in front of the eyes, making it easy to stumble into furniture.

There is a lack of consistency to this album. It goes from drenching drones (some very somber and tear-jerking) to melodic electronic songs you could almost dance to. There is not a clear segue in between. Given its length, this release could easily have been split in two and the distant feeling stemming from the conflicting moods could be avoided.

Standout track: Sometime (In Memoriam Evgenij Glemba)
Rating: 4 stars