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)


SML023 w.x – . – The Best of w.x


. is a 3 part series featuring the best material from w.x. Since 2007, Ian Witzel has been releasing music covering a varied selection of genres under the name w.x. He has since decided to retire that name and expand the horizons of his music. After 5 years and over 20 releases the time has come to lay w.x to rest. This compilation features an assortment of different styles and textures ranging from harsh experimental noise to the more ethereal ambient and drone.

You can now get the entire 3 part compilation showcasing the best of w.x in 1 free download. Altogether this series has 40 songs and clocks in at almost 4 hours. That’s 3 full discs’ worth of experimental ambient, drone and electronic soundscapes from a prolific yet reclusive artist. Throughout his career he has touched on many genres and taken lots of risks, blazing new paths in the electronic jungle. He has assured fans that even though his moniker is being retired he will continue to make music. Stay tuned in the future for new music and good times ahead. Thank you for listening.

SML023A . – The Best of w.x, Part I

. is a 3 part series featuring the best material from w.x. Since 2007 Ian Witzel has been releasing music covering a varied selection of genres under the name w.x. He has since decided to retire that name and expand the horizons of his music. After 5 years and over 20 releases the time has come to lay w.x to rest. This compilation features an assortment of different styles and textures ranging from harsh experimental noise to the more ethereal ambient and drone.

Part I focuses more on the noisier aspects but still includes drone pieces. It starts off with the very first w.x track, “Instant Replay Sequence”, originally found on the Vines for the Electric Pant Leg EP. It continues to cover sounds across the entire spectrum of the w.x catalog, including 2 songs from the last release, Hailstone. Dark sprawling epics coincide with noisy smashes of electronic distortion. Even though these songs were created years apart from each other they are able to coexist beautifully and help display some of the best this artist has to offer.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for the releases of parts 2 and 3 of this compilation. Thank you for listening.

Album Review: Schemawound – They Want to Make Your Body Move. I Want to Hold You Perfectly Still

Label: Waxen Wings
Catalog No: wwa0000

Schemawound is the brain child of J. Siemasko and employs a variety of electronic genres. Ranging from ambient, glitch and IDM to noise and industrial, his works has broken the genre rules. They stand alone as being completely unique, impossible to categorize. This has given him the freedom to expand his sonic horizons with every new release. Being confined to the strict criteria of a specific can often be a creative hellhole where you end up creating the same songs over and over again. Schemawound’s newest release They Want to Make Your Body Move. I Want to Hold You Perfectly Still breaks free from the musical canon, fusing genres together while simultaneously inventing new definitions for what we perceive to be music.

Grains of synthesis sprinkle on the ceramic counter as a lightly jarring ambiance pulsates through a fuzzy television screen in a beige waiting room. Meticulous drones crawl across the hospital floor. A completely clean and sanitized noise slithers through the air vents, wafting into the nearby surgical suites. The room becomes a foggy chamber, encasing you in fragments of sound ricocheting back and forth. Subterranean vibrations and high-pitched chimes descend from above like a flying saucer coming to take away our dead. The whole experience plays trick with your mind as time, perception and intonation morph into something new and frightening.

The songs fluidly blend into each other, seamlessly bound together by an intricate stream of ligaments and tendons. You don’t know where to begin or end; you simply continue. Life goes on and as one thing ends you drift into the next one without even realizing. The concise rigidity to this album is due to the fact that it was composed entirely from code on a computer program. The technical aspects are awe-inspiring. Such fastidious generation takes hours of precise calculation and detailed analysis. The end result is an avantgarde robotic composition that is devoid of emotion.

There is very little human expression; it all sounds so cold. The bleak empty cavity is instead filled with a revealing creativity. Siemasko has shown us the computer’s soul without its heart. It’s a very stark display. The entire ensemble has a very otherworldly quality making it strange and intriguing. The computer, though artificially powered, is still a living being. It’s thoughts might be programmed but it still has spiritual vibrations. This is a glimpse at the capabilities of metaphysical computer music. Deeper exploration will reveal entire new dimensions of music and sound to our senses.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Standout Track:

Album Review: Damn Robot! – Jasurp

Label: Hawk Moon Records

Through a creative mix of musical styles, the new album from Damn Robot! is a laid back stroll through your mind. Sit back and let your brains wander off for a little while. They will go to a dreamy comfort zone conceived for relaxation and subconscious contemplation. Jasurp has utilized some of the best rock, jazz, electronic and ambient elements and weaved them together into a lush blanket of monochromatic warmth.

The Honey brothers come together to spin rotating compositions that can entomb souls. Each of the songs are beautiful and full of power. They are at the same time serene and cumbersome. It feels like you are carrying a heavy weight but wouldn’t have it any other way. Each track seamlessly drifts into the next keeping you suspended in a dreamland of grey solace.

Most of the songs are sweeping downtempo epics drenched in echoes and ghostly guitar riffs. Songs like “The One Who Knocks” turn into a lounge act jam session with hindered tempos and psychedelic drizzle spattering down from the drums and guitar. Various samples of people’s voices compliment the reserved vocals, reflecting the crazy conglomerated world against our restless determined spirit. Some of these kooky samples seemed slightly out of place yet they still made me smile.

Jasurp is a restful joyride for all us passengers at the onset of night. There is a comforting wisdom that shines from the placid beats and ethereal vocals. It sets a melancholic tone for all those sad moments but it still brings us cheer. We can all find some joy in this chronicle of human emotion. No matter what happens to us in this life, always remember to find happiness where you can and keep on moving.

Standout track: A Drop In the Ocean
Rating: 4.5 Stars

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: Mizontiq – A Room Without Mirrors

Label: Dusted Wax Kingdom
Catalog No: DWK116

An abandoned house, hollow and decrepit. Adjacent to a junkyard littered with forgotten lives. The hollowed out cars and discarded refuse are more of a comforting home than any concrete foundation ever could be. An eerie vibration of sound falls over this grim scene. Dark beats begin to pulsate inside your veins, sending this new found drug straight to your brain. You fall victim to its spell and there is nothing you can do except listen to the music.

Russian producer Mizontiq has combined trip hop elements with a deep sorrowful electronic mood to create a ghostly myriad that reveals the monsters under your bed. There is a supernatural emanation, as if Mizontiq has opened a forbidden box allowing certain demons to roam free. By mixing warm and profound synths with sullen drum programming he has shaped a cinematic grandeur, heartwarming and scary awareness of human alienation. You come under a hypnotic enchantment that freezes your emotions and hold you hostage. You want to run and hide but you are forced to hear the sufferings of the world through these songs.

As a whole this album presents sullen theatrics and a bittersweet taste. The songs themselves are hit and miss as some are very jumpy; the beats tend to go haywire and lose their rhythmic hypnosis. They create a momentary lapse in the spell as if for a brief moment you feel the grip of the music letting you go. Its clutches are relentless and mesmerizing, slicing your heart open and releasing some of the pressure. A Room Without Mirrors is a sigh of relief, like a serious operation that you need to survive. The whole time you are lying there helpless, ghastly images flashing before your eyes. Afterwards you are refreshed, reborn. Sometimes in life you need that insurmountable obstacle to overcome, just to see what’s on the other side.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: Heart in the Air

Stellardrone – Echoes

Label: Energostatic
Catalog No: Stasis009

The clouds up above shroud the stars from our view. The sun slowly emerges from behind the mountains, shining heavenly light on everything you can see. Colors blossom before you as your mind and body prepare for another beautiful day in this existence. You are rested, peaceful and eager to experience everything the world has to offer.

These are the first thoughts generated when listening to Stellardrone’s Echoes. This Lithuanian composer has joined forces with nature, space and music to create stunning ethereal soundscapes. The drones paint an abstract landscape across an atmospheric canvas. The sounds are very gentle and calming. They shelter you from a cold rain while still giving you opportunity to look out upon the wondrous spectacle nature is creating. An Ambient flow is unceasingly felt as sounds effortlessly flow back and forth into a beautiful spectrum of tones.

Stellardrone’s orchestra of the spirit is a placid journey, taking you through the space up above and the space around you. It guides you across barren terrain’s as you get a birds-eye view of the world through a different set of eyes. The whole experience puts your own vision into perspective as you slowly learn that what you see is not all that’s really there.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Nightscape

The Shimmer Effect – Uranometria

Label: Bushmen Records
Catalog No: bush30

In the current world of music, it is very common to come across an artist that is very fluid with their choice of genres. These days contrary genres are being fused together to create new sounds, be they good or bad. The Shimmer Effect have taken elements from an array of genres, including Ambient, Techno, Hip-Hop and World Music and threw them all into a high-powered blender. After blending on pulse for what seems like endless hours, a vibrant collection of songs pours out. Colorful, flavorful and very chilled, this is one concoction that is good for you.

This duo have layers upon layers of unique sounds on this release. They use beats inspired by Hip-Hop and Techno and add dreamy soundscapes, accentuated manipulated samples from countless sources. The entire collaboration melds together, forming a cohesive bond surely meant to bring all the music lovers of the world closer together. There is a little something for everyone here. The whole thing puts you in a very chilled out mood. It’s still carries some intensity though. You keep getting a feeling like something is right around the corner waiting for you, but you are in too much of a laid back state to care. You possess the knowledge that whatever it is cannot hurt you and just wants to join you in the listening experience.

The ultimate challenge here is trying to find a distinct consistency. Though some songs flow into each other and are very complimentary, there are others that spring out of nowhere and lack a direct connection. That jumpy feeling that something is about to get you looms and you’re just not sure when it will come. I think it adds to the overall experience. They have created something new and are forcing us to experience new feelings that best explain what we are hearing. There is still a flow throughout the album, it’s just always changing. You can sense the fluidity inside as you slowly become one with the music.

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standout Track: Paranormal Activity

SML016 w.x – Spontaneous Evolution

After taking a break from music and going back through my old catalog, I started to gain a sense of the true nature of my music. It is an intense tidal wave crashing down on the shores. It requires endurance and commitment. In an effort to branch out of this dark and depressing box I wanted to go a different direction. Drones and electronic tremors still fluctuate but in a softer vein, more soothing to the soul. The rhythmic synthesizer adds a level of time and rhythm leaving room for sounds to explode from their waves. Highly manipulated theremin recordings contribute to the atmosphere while software synthesis provided some of the drones.

Spontaneous Evolution is an enhancement to an environment. It sets mood, provides pleasant background noise and can also take you on an inner journey to a mindset of peace and tranquility.

Genres: Ambient, Dark Ambient, Drone

1. Drone Symphony (9:33)
2. Dead Sea Depression (4:27)
3. A Few Steps Apart (7:27)
4. Microbe (5:02)
5. The Water Bearer (6:04)
6. Static Moment (3:56)
7. Lucid (7:53)
8. Linear (9:05)

Download here.

Static Moment by w.x