DISPLACER: Spirit Guide DL Crime League

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DISPLACER: Spirit Guide     DL   Crime League

A retro sounding bass synth pattern opens up this latest EP from Toronto’s Displacer.  Somewhat reminiscent of some of John Carpenter’s works, mixed with a touch of the opening theme to ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Ectenic Force’ slides gracefully into ‘Killer’; which is co-produced with Chase Dobson.

Arpeggiated electronics permeate the entirety of this five-tracker and are solidly layered in Michael Morton’s trademark beds of synths and warm, beat-driven programming genius.  The title track (co-written with Snowbeasts) offers a ghostly, drifting apparition of choral effects and slabs of ethereal sensibility; that’s sits well placed between ‘Manifestations’ and the 80’s soundtrack web of intrigue, that is ‘Visions’.

Prolific as ever, Morton is a busy man that never stops giving his listeners ear candy, with strings of downloadable EP’s alongside his full hard copy releases.  I would have loved to see this on vinyl, or at least, compact disc; but I am more than grateful to get to hear these tracks on a relatively frequent basis if those options are not available.  If anything, they keep his project ever relevant.

9/10

ADAM PROBERT: The Battle for Tomorrow CD/MC Sonic Entrails

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ADAM PROBERT: The Battle for Tomorrow     CD/MC   Sonic Entrails

A real peculiarity here, with a spoken word release alongside sound, reminding me somewhat of the works of It-Clings; minus the forced humour, it is an overall more serious affair.

The ‘music’ side of ‘The Battle for Tomorrow’ is simplified more often than not to drones and other sounds, such as air raid sirens and grinds and whirs that are encountered on many a PE structured album.  If anything, as on ‘I am War’; this portrays a riotous anarchism to the ambience of the album as a whole, working to great effect.

As a whole though, you have to treat this release differently to any conventional album.  Relying on poetry as its driving force requires a listener that is completely embedded into ethos of making a piece of work such as this; and I can only entertain this sort of field in small bursts.  In all honesty I found 11 tracks somewhat overbearing, desperately clinging on at least for some traditional screaming vocals, leaning more to the side of Power Electronics; where I feel this would have worked better.

Kudos has to be given to Probert for at least sticking to his guns with the daring it takes to produce an album such as this; and even swelling with overt pretentiousness, I am fairly sure there is a market for his work.

7.5/10

LOESS: Pocosin LP/CD N5MD

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LOESS: Pocosin      LP/CD    N5MD

The gloriously downtempo ‘Petrel’ opens up this latest album from the well-respected duo of Clay Emerson and Ian Pullman; where harmonies dance and flutter in glass-like transparency, alongside warm, subtle bass pads.

‘Kype’ moves forward in a more traditional IDM vein; flowing gracefully into the sparse and staggered, ‘Straie’.  A song that has pulls on emotions with a genuine yearning and desperation; that leads up to the barely evident intermission of ‘17p132’.

The second half of ‘Pocosin’ covers much of the same ground as the former.  As with most Loess releases, there is little to actually surprise the listener, relying on just what they do best.  Intricate electronics that probe, poke and prod, as opposed to grabbing your attention by force; and it is a formula that has served them well throughout their tenure.

What I do love about this latest album; is the use of off-key notes that bed and distort before fading away into clouds of foggy introspection.  The end result being another impressive release to add to their personal catalogue; and another quality driven episode in the cult of n5MD, that will simply not disappoint.

9/10

OLIVIA LOUVEL: Data Regina CD Cat Werk Imprint

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OLIVIA LOUVEL: Data Regina         CD       Cat Werk Imprint

As a concept, this latest piece of work from French born, British composer Olivia Louvel, is an interesting one.  Basing ‘Data Regina’ on the exploration of the reign of two Queens ruling at the same time, upon the same isle (Mary Queen of Scots & Elizabeth I); Louvel has provided 17 compositions, through a series of different narratives and sounds.

Above all else, the vocals on this album are sublime; and ooze across the tracks with a dripping seduction.  Musically, a variety of instrumentation has been utilised alongside electronic programming; and many a base is covered as orchestral sensibilities dance across gritty noise and ambience.

To simply say this album is haunting would do it a disservice.  Olivia’s voice has carefully been layered into a series of ghostly chants along the way, as various key elements of her vocal lines have been dropped in as instrumentation and notes; the best example of this being ‘Good Queen Bess’.

Many a genre is crossed, from downtempo IDM, through to straightforward electro; and the odd nod to pure industrial, scoured with pop.  To top this all off, visitors to her website will encounter a showcase of 3D animations from Antoine Kendall to coincide with this release.

Overall, ‘Data Regina’ feels remarkably original, highly polished; and well thought out.  The music itself has a little of something for everyone and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to dip their toes into something with an aura of pure class.

9.5/10

RELAY FOR DEATH: Natural Incapacity 2xCD The Helen Scarsdale Agency

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RELAY FOR DEATH: Natural Incapacity     2xCD   The Helen Scarsdale Agency

Sisters, Rachal and Roxann Spikula, have provided here, two very long tracks over the course of two discs; that provide a sea of unending ambient noise from start to finish.

I am torn really, as in short bursts I do love noise as a genre; and really should lap this up.  But, whilst this album as a whole does have the foundation to build something great upon, there seems to be little else but the sound of factory with machines whirring and humming away.

Overall, this is actually fairly inoffensive; and ultimately this is its undoing.  As a whole it feels fairly lifeless, neither too noisy, nor ambient enough; and whilst sat lost all at sea, this draws zero provocation and ultimately does nothing for the listener.  It really needs some screaming, shouty vocals.

The worst crime of all is that this requires little talent to produce.  Get yourself a tape recorder and a friend in a factory; and you too can produce over two hours of pointless droning noise just like the Spikula twins.

5/10

ANGELINA YERSHOVA: Resonance Night CD Twin Paradox Records

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ANGELINA YERSHOVA: Resonance Night    CD  Twin Paradox Records

Utilising piano and electronics isn’t anything new; but it does take a degree of talent to actually produce anything of worth.  Luckily, Yershova has it in abundance.

Pulling notes into textured drones, she evolves and draws them through beats, providing a relative discord; and more often than not, an off-key web of mystery.  This then, in turn emphasises the natural harmonies when they do arise.

This won’t be for everyone, such is the haphazard nature of the album, which utilises Jazz structures at its core; but produces something far different as the end result.  There is a strength in creating something that manages to grab emotion from the claws of nonsense; and Angelina plays with the two in equal measure.

Sonically torrid in spaces, ‘Resonance Night’ is an accomplished production that is as uncomfortable as it is welcoming.  Hard to pin down to any one genre, whilst this won’t be on constant rotation, there is no denying the talent on display; such is its urgency.

8/10

ANDREW TUTTLE: Fantasy League CD Someone Good

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ANDREW TUTTLE: Fantasy League      CD      Someone Good

Combining acoustic and electronic sonic layers together as songs isn’t a new medium; but it is one that Brisbane’s Andrew Tuttle does well.

Opener, ‘Registration’ is a peculiar oddity; that despite its overt country references in the form of banjo, plays out appropriately into the cascading electronic simplicity of ‘Activation’.  From here on in, the album follows a similar exercise in crossing between the two.

‘Fantasy League’ is a warm summery affair that smacks of feel good harmonies throughout.  The pitch is quite bright (maybe a little too bright for me); and whilst this adds to the overall glow, it does tend to become a touch grating over the course of the entire album; where the frequencies used, pierce the eardrums a touch too much in needle like fashion.

Overall though, this is a solid piece of work; if just a touch too much on the hippy side of space age, electronica wise.

7.5/10