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)

http://exportlabel.com/post/37556361703/cuefx-international-post-war-chill-remixes
http://exportlabel.bandcamp.com/album/international-post-war-chill-remixes

Album Review: Vulpine Smile vs James Bondage “Angelscrapings”

1285309282-1Label: D Minor Records

One of the most creative musical trends bouncing around today is the art of combining mismatched genres in a beaker, incinerating the beaker then sit back and revel at the astounding hybrid that comes out. Many of these chemistry experiments exist but some are much more daring than others. This collaboration by US based Vulpine Smile and Portugal/UK based James Bondage mixes elements of Big Beat, Industrial, Krautrock, Ambient and Noise with experimental smatterings stylized by an avant-garde flair. Atmospheric rhythms rattle inside your brain leaking out of the holes in your head. Harmonious onslaughts of factory noise and distorted electronic beats dart back and forth, raining fuzz and sparks in a gorgeous display.

This elixir is a widely influenced and extensively sampled composition. Different sounds from various parts of the spectrum weave in and out of each other, coming to fluid halts as they progress with the poundings of the beat counting the passing of time. Lines from numerous films pop up in randomly places that always match the current mood, whether it’s a high energy sonic mayhem or transcending psychedelic space.

The name of this album conjures up images of an angelic vibration that has had a tiny part of its essence scraped off to be used for divination. In this case the divination is an aural experiment and this metaphysical addition gives an ambient aura radiating a delighted sense of chaotic bliss. All the spliced sounds starting and stopping at first seem disjointed and out of place, but if you concentrate on the overall heavenly vibration you can find order in everything you hear.

Angelscrapings is a merge between the past and present. Its unique blend of old and new is a continuation of the present and an homage to the past. If H.N.A.S. ever made it to the electronic age they would have been making music like this. Analog atmospherics and early electronic noises hauntingly emerge from their graves and return us to a forgotten perception few have heard before. Twisting into the vortex with new sounds has generated a more enlightened insanity for the eardrums. A psychic round of applause for these two daring artists willing to push our sensory boundaries a little bit further and helping us gain a new perspective on music.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout tracks: “Subterranean”, “Malingerators, Fudgerators and Drudge-Dodgers”, “Tune In, Turn On, Fuck Off”, “No Need to Panic It’s Only a Nervous Breakdown”

http://dminorrecords.bandcamp.com/

http://soundcloud.com/d-minor-records/sets/vulpine-smile-vs-james-bondage/

Album Review: Lcoma – Evolve EP

Label: Inner Ocean

The faint ringing of a faraway alarm wafts over airwaves, dispersing an alert agitation to the ears it reaches. A continuous drone spirals its way out as the ringing ripples across the land. A change has occurred somewhere nearby and all organisms give off a sudden reaction; a biological response to the tough times that will soon arrive. The evolution of the planet takes one more small painful step towards serenity.

Lcoma’s Evolve EP is a cyclical story about the struggles of anxiety. All living beings in this dimension battle this ailment at one time or another and it’s always in a circular pattern. We start off feeling apprehensive and concerned. This gradually descends into a worrisome obsession. We begin to dwell on every miniscule aspect until all of it means nothing. A darkness washes over and the smothering stench of desperation overwhelms the mind. The progression of time brings us back into the light. A harrowing experience always end with a dose of wisdom as the world feels inviting and cheerful again, all fright vanquished. Further on down the road a new obstacle appears and the cycle begins again.

Evolve starts in a bleak dream state, a swelling ethereal loss of physical perception. The music transports you to another world, dark and eerie at first but soon comforting. Distorted particles caress the skin and send shivers throughout the entire nervous system. This aural out-of-body experience is new yet strangely familiar. It is a refuge for the soul to escape to whenever peril arises. This is replaced by deep tones of anxiety palpitating on the window. A floating sensation takes over; you are now suspended in a riotous wind. Various spirits and emotions try to pull you in different directions and end up ripping you apart. For one brief incalculable moment all hope seems lost.

By the time the eponymous track at the end appears, a wondrous process of regeneration has begun. The harrowing experience has come to pass and time begins its eternal task of healing. Docile tones enliven your molecules, repairing your understanding and clearing your mind. A mild enlightenment has just occurred as the circle arcs to its completion, ready to begin again. Every time we finish a circle we evolve a little more. As the drones fade and the guitar tremors all alone, we walk into the horizon ready for whatever may come next.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout Track: Evolve


http://shop.inneroceanrecords.com/album/lcoma-evolve

Album Review: Emotion Coder – My Never Ending Wish EP

Label: Mojear Records
Catalog No: MJ50

A soulful night in the city. Street lights streak past, leaving a bright stain on the car’s metallic shine that immediately melts away. Wheels endlessly turning towards the modern mountains of concrete and steel, all lit up twinkling in the dark abyss. A quick drive from home to downtown, anticipation for the evening’s events mounting. Smooth beats pulsating from hidden speakers simmers the apprehension and quiets the mind. Three new tracks from India’s Emotion Coder have let their powers of repose be known. On a short 15 minute twilight drive you can experience a soothing variety of electronic possibilities.

“Signify” is the first track and gets the ball rolling with grandiose trumpets and spastic percussion. Accompanied by seductive vocals from a smoky angel looking out over the darkness. The car melds with the music and becomes part of it: windshield wipers keep the beat, the hum of the engine recycles echoes back into the ears. The act of driving feels more like the art of playing an instrument when this happens. A dark an empty country road becomes a blank staff waiting to be filled with music. Suddenly, “Streets” appear. The 2nd track is a chilled out mix of downtempo and jazz elements. A unifying groove is carved, drawing various sounds together like water into a ditch. It accompanies you on your journey as the city looms near. Track number three, “Concentric”, paints the portrait of a harmonious urban atmosphere. Industrial influences lurk out of the shadows while a dream-like fog is blown in from placid synth tones. Lights melt into watercolor hues across the windshield, only to be swept away.

My Never Ending Wish is a great sampler from a talented artist who can turn any electronic genre into a transcendent sensation. The future holds a special place for such moving sounds that can tell a story before our very eyes. This solid release has given us a small taste of what Emotion Coder is capable of. In time I hope he will share all of his aural wisdom with the world.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: Streets

http://www.beatport.com/release/my-never-ending-wish-ep/978648
https://bedroomrecords09.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/emotion-coder-my-never-ending-wish-ep-mj50-mojear-records/

Album Review: Steven R. Hess / mise_en_scene – Non-Distinction

Label: Los Discos Enfantasmes
Catalog No: LDE 030

We all thought the days of cassette tapes were over but like vinyl it’s trying to make an artistic comeback. The economic world has no use for this obsolete medium; it doesn’t make enough money. Creative people who care about the essence and art of things rather than their dollar amount can still find a sense of joy in such outdated material. It brings back a whim of nostalgia, a distinct smell that only tape conveying past metallic heads can make. This vintage sensation creates a unique experience for the music featured on the tape. It is a transatlantic collaboration featuring Chicago drummer Steven R. Hess and Israeli minimalist mise_en_scene. The project was recorded and edited on tape with some sounds added later. The textures and deep vibrating motions circle and hover around, asphyxiating the listener with extended drones. A translucent cocoon is sonically woven around the body. Heavy rumblings sneak through the membrane and gradually make their presence known, filling the chamber like a soothing vapor.

These distinct artists have forged a delicate intertwining of industrial and organic noise, melding into one uniform whole. Waves of oceanic distortion crash into silvery drones, ringing beautifully for an eternity. The hums of machinery constantly whirr behind the subterranean growls protruding from the purgatorial underworld. All life suspended in mid air while an aural tapestry unravels a minimalist arrangement. Harmony resonating from the convergence point of two different worlds. A new perspective is presented as another chemistry experiment is performed. From halfway around the world a sensory collision fused this impressive display of sound. The density from such cavernous thunder weighs deep into the body; it absorbs it like some therapeutic balm. This intense release is a reassurance that there are still people out there willing to take great risks in music.

Rating: 4 Stars
Standout Track: E.g_3

http://losdiscosenfantasmes.blogspot.com/2012/03/sten-r-hess-miseenscene-non-distinction.html

Album Review: JTrux – Death On the Seventh Day

Day 1: The bustling murmur of a busy downtown street. Glinting highlights of passing conversations sail past as the electronic hums rise formidably into an abrupt silence. Rounding the corner, you enter a sanctuary free from prying eyes of security cameras and chic pedestrians. The echoing sounds of the sun cascade over skyscrapers, enhancing the industrial squeaks and bangs from a nearby factory. The further you walk the darker it gets and the rhythms of the city continuously bounce of buildings before descending upon your ears. To escape the clamor you enter an abandoned warehouse whose long forgotten operations still secrete a haunting reverie of past noise. A broken window overlooks a never-ending forest and the setting sun in the distance. As the beats and high pitched whirs slowly quiet with the oncoming darkness, you lay your head down on the dusty floor to sleep.

Day 2: Hissing and buzzing of strange insects inside the forest. You take the first important step into the green depths. A somber elegy flows past with crackling rumbles and a saintly plucking of strings. The trees gradually come alive, releasing fast growing vines and blooming flowers that spring into existence before your eyes. Beauty is effortlessly born around you, only to die a few minutes later. Plants and animals begin playing a concerto as an overwhelming sense of loneliness drapes over you. You feel like the only human left on Earth and this natural concert has been specifically composed just for you. The swan song of insects darting in between leaf-covered branches scratching against each other, the quiet swirls of ambient photosynthesis. You can actually hear the forest growing. The night begins crawling in as only tiny shafts of light can break through the thick layer of leaves. Climbing a tree just in time to see the sunset, the music below slowly dwindles into a fantasy as the metallic sun rays force your eyes closed.

Day 3: Back on solid ground an exciting sense of danger prevails as you suddenly realize you are being followed. Everything you have ever run away from in your life is chasing after you at breakneck speed and its too much to handle. So you begin to run as fast as you can through the brush and undergrowth of the woods. The impending doom slows down behind you and a cautious relief sweeps over. Lost in the sprawling forest, a tense quiet is accented by the faraway drones of a factory somewhere on the edge of the forest. A soft watery flow is heard and dances around, confusing your senses. Ears filled with an imaginary substance clouds your hearing and there is nothing left to do but stagger through until you find whatever it is you are looking for. In the distance a glowing beam of light appears. It’s milk-white florescence illuminates the lazily darkening woods. Your ears become clear from the psychosomatic blockage and the crackle of a fire can be heard. Closer to the beam of light you see it is a giant freshwater pearl, floating in midair and emitting docile tones. They kindly suffocate your synapses and you drop to your knees in languid bliss, dreaming of floating orbs in the forest.

Day 4: Hours passed. The sun grazes past your closed eyes and you awake to a fiery world of iron and lava. Skeletons of former travelers sharpen swords on large decaying anvils. A rushing sound inside your ears grows ever more abusive before cresting and falling back to a sprawling spectacle of distant echoes. These echoes possess a strangled ethereal strand of hope, like a caged angel singing an imprisoned song. The siren’s call draws you away from the hellish awakening to a strange door amongst the trees. It opens to a world of bright white light and angelic drones so beautiful in their resonance that the all the darkness of the world fades away. Some unseen force lifts you off the ground and you begin to float, weightless, an amoeba lazily floating in a still pond. Years of grief and anguish are melted away from your sullen face and your eyes return to the wondrous luster they possessed as a child, before you lost your way. You are reborn, falling back to the Earth while the fires of Hell can be heard dying in the distance.

Day 5: Now an enlightened wanderer of the forest, you see everything the way it should be seen. Colors are more vibrant, the details of the forest ever more prominent. Bird songs ring like bells high up in the towers of the trees. A peaceful unity with the natural order of the world. But there is still a minute problem, something still scratching away at your psyche. You can hear it crackling away somewhere inside you while the rain drizzles and the sun sets. Orchestral waves of nature’s music crash around you as you sail through the forest, searching for meaning now that you have achieved total understanding. The drones continue to oscillate and the concerto continues to play.

Day 6: The slowly encroaching realization that you have been drugged. The enlightened feelings experienced the day before were nothing but tricks played by the forest. Something inside you is still lamenting, aching to be set free. Dark undertones slowly sweep in as you come to understand what this journey was about. It wasn’t an escape or a spiritual journey to find understanding. It was your body coming to terms with the fact that it’s dying. Your mind has continually set up roadblocks to prevent this inevitable. Your body struggles to run away from the soldiers of death and keep out of sight. Your soul has played beautiful music to give you comfort during this transition. The heart sits back and listens to its requiem, content on its demise. Realizing that it is better to accept it than fight it, you lay down amongst a twisted jumble of tree roots and close your eyes, letting the somber harmony of the piano take you away.

JTrux has given us an example of death. How the mind and body struggle with this eventuality and how the heart and soul make us realize that the experience is necessary and beautiful. Death On the Seventh Day is an inspired look on a subject we will all experience but few want to think about. JTrux’s meditative drones and grim noises exhibit a range of emotions providing comfort and peace no matter how scared we are. He has given us a piece of his soul so that our own souls can feel safer during that scary process when we close our eyes for the last time.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout track: Dusk III

http://jtrux.bandcamp.com/

http://www.thesirenssound.com/2012/08/23/jtrux-death-on-the-seventh-day/

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:

http://music.schemawound.com/album/they-want-to-make-your-body-move-i-want-to-hold-you-perfectly-still
http://soundcloud.com/schemawound/sets/they-want-to-make-your-body/

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

http://trippintherift.com/en/archives/2400

http://soundcloud.com/ttrr/the-developing-the-puzzle

Review: Morphine Bandit – Inside the Steel Dome

Label: Eg0cide Productions
Catalog No: Eg0_051

This full-on minimalist assault for the ears is well worth a listen. You are treated to dark textures crawling across the muddy ground, dragging electronic pulses and swells behind them as it all unfolds into a bleak landscape of sound. The sprawling drones feel like they could extend forever, touching the furthest reaches of our perception. All of the sounds blend into each other in a seamless connection, a conjoined bridge between life and death.

Drones and quivering shrieks echo around you in a stifling metallic fashion. They spin about and screech ever so slightly, like catching a radio signal in a metal bowl. This release is a morose enlightenment plunging you into a deep sensory deprivation. You see patterns of grey and dark emotions wash over, sweeping through the crevices in your brain. You feel ready to descend deep into the junkyards of the human wasteland, lost forever.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Standout Track: Across the Frozen Circles

http://www.archive.org/details/eg0_051

Review: Three Kinds of Water – Three Kinds of Water EP

Label: Trippin’ the Rift
Catalog No: N/A

This quaint EP is a wonderful revival of old school downtempo. Back in the day this was the ultimate chill music. It’s nice to know that this spirit continues to thrive and people can still find some amazing mood music.

This release is exquisite, a wonderful combination of aquatic beats, classic piano and sampling. The music transcends genres, incorporating every corner of the globe. It is a fantastic voyage guided by classic trip-hop style beats. The songs flow by forcing you to groove to them. The movements are inescapable. A whole club of dancers slows down to a relaxed speed, the rhythm in tune to flashes of time darting across your eyes. The end message the songs leave behind is to always feel good. Take life one beat at a time.

Standout track: Festival Spirit
Rating: 4.5 stars

http://threekindsofwater.bandcamp.com/album/three-kinds-of-water-ep