DISPLACER: Astral EP DL Section Records

DISPLACER: Astral EP           DL    Section Records

Ever prolific, Canada’s Michael Morton has been exceptionally busy this year with a stacked release schedule; and this is his first for UK digital label ‘Section Records’.

Sci-Fi electronics permeate the EP, as expected from its title.  Opening up with the rich pads and chimes of ‘Merge’, dancing across a sea of warm bass and sharp simplistic rhythms, these do indeed meld well into the emphatic title track, as if systematically paired as one.

The mid-way break comes in the form of ‘Extent’; devoid of beats and providing a colder edge to the proceedings, with a wash of glassy surfaces made sound.

The rhythms on the urgent ‘Hypersurface’ rattle and shake alongside carefully selected notes the bend and weave into an end point of clarity, only to flitter away into their own dimension; making space for the slower paced, but no less effective ‘Redshifted’.

Morton has here, sealed off a fair few releases that centralise themselves thematically around space and associated subjects.  Once again, he has carefully constructed a collection of tracks that capture the very essence aurally, that most of us would envisage as the soundtrack to such concepts.

9/10

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THISQUIETARMY: Democracy of Dust LP & CD/DL Midira Records

THISQUIETARMY: Democracy of Dust     LP & CD/DL     Midira Records

Looking through Eric Quach’s extensive back catalogue, I am really surprised I haven’t encountered his works before, by the sheer volume of his output in his relatively short tenure.

Blending synth, guitar and other analogue instrumentation, Montreal’s Quach recorded this in residency at Sao Paulo’s Dissenso Studio; and indeed the city itself seems to be the main impetus, thematically as a whole for this release.

Rumbling hypnotic bass lines keep pace over a staggered rhythm section whilst guitars interweave between distorted chords and high resonating drones.  ‘Democracy of Dust’ is a cohesive and well thought out release that is well constructed for the most part; where each track could be viewed as the sum of one larger track.  This is as much a blessing as it is a hindrance though, with some songs fading out and feeling a tad unfinished.  I would personally just have made each track longer and incorporated the smaller pieces into the fold.

Overall though, this is a decent interpretation of the genre, even if Eric lays far too many of his cards on the table; resulting in an album that doesn’t comfortably know where it sits in the grand scheme of things, experimentally speaking.

7.8/10

ATONALIST FEAT. GAVIN FRIDAY: Atonalism 2xLP/CD Audiotrauma

ATONALIST FEAT. GAVIN FRIDAY: Atonalism     2xLP/CD  Audiotrauma

I normally assume Audiotrauma releases to be of an Electro-Industrial nature, so was pleasantly surprised to find this album coming out of their stable; a blend of Free Jazz, stilted electronics and broken piano, with obscure vocalisations, reminiscent in part of some of the works of scene giants, Neubauten.

The introduction of Saxophone may be enough to send some people running at the mere mention of the instrument.  Personally I have a fair few albums that incorporate the format; and Atonalist utilise this well as foundation to tormented lyrics, heavy guitars and the occasional punching of old school EBM and aspects of Metal.

Incorporating a multitude of styles and genre hopping is a dangerous game.  However; ‘Atonalism’ reeks with a confidence and gusto and as such, every element sits well alongside their not so obvious partners in crime.  The end result is an album that is enjoyable, for all its oddities and split nature; and dare I say it, it feels remarkably original and refreshing to boot.

8.5/10

ANDREAS DAVIDS: Grey 3”CDr Inner Demons Records

ANDREAS DAVIDS: Grey     3”CDr      Inner Demons Records

Taking a sidestep from your main project can be a daunting task; and here Andreas Davids of the mighty Xotox fame has experimented with something devoid of beats.

This neat little two-tracker is one song, split into two halves.  Part I starts off with a pulsating saw-like grind that treads PE territory.  Underneath the slicing electronics comes a wave of Dark Ambient inspired pads; that glide seamlessly into Part II.

Here, one monotone pulse guides the listener amongst a machine droned backdrop; and the end result is a surprisingly pleasant hypnotic journey.

Overall, this will be a welcome change of tack for Xotox fans and indeed listeners within the DA scene.  I am more than intrigued as to what Davids could conjure up, should he be given the opportunity to produce a full-length of this ilk.

8/10

ORPHAX: Warschauer Straße CD Opa Loka Records

ORPHAX: Warschauer Straße       CD      Opa Loka Records

As a concept, Sietse Van Erve has here, centralised his album personally, around his first ever trip to Berlin.  Many an artist base their releases on life experiences; and it can be difficult sometimes for the listener to place themselves at the heart of what the producer is trying to convey.  It’s usually best to approach an album such as this purely from a musical perspective.

As a whole, this latest Orphax release is represented throughout, with a wash of drones and machine hums.  As pleasant a listen as this is, this does lack a certain spark; and covering 46 and a half minutes over just two tracks, begs and wants for something more than what has been ultimately delivered.

7/10

JEFFREY RODEN: Threads of a Prayer Volume 2 CD Solaire

JEFFREY RODEN: Threads of a Prayer Volume 2     CD    Solaire

I have not been witness to the first in this series, so it is a little difficult to compare and contrast; and indeed be party to the entirety of what Roden is trying to express here.  However, I can appreciate genuine musicianship; and as a whole, this as an album is very easy to listen to.

Pulling on solitude, Roden approaches his musicality from a quieter end of the spectrum.  Timpani, organ, piano and a quartet provide a necessary space for contemplation.  Peacefully plodding on, ‘TOAPV2’ places each not carefully and lets them linger in the air, providing the listener time to digest each reverberation, before moving onto the next.

If I have any concern, it is that this latest piece of work never truly gets going.  I love some of the piano arrangements, but they’re so few and far between that I felt disengaged by the time they filtered through the mix. Although admittedly, when they do appear, they’re beautifully sparse and endearing.  Altogether, this is a near silent release, which requires a great deal of patience.

7.5/10

FURVUS: Aes Grave CD Dark Vinyl

FURVUS: Aes Grave     CD  Dark Vinyl

It’s taken 18 years for Italy’s Furvus to produce a new album; so there is an added pressure for Luigi Maria Mennella to have created something exceptional.

Heavily influenced by bands such as Death In June, Rosa Crux and Elend, as well as other bands of that ilk, it doesn’t take much imagination as to some of the sounds that emanate from ‘Aes Grave’.  Although, Mennella does bring his own sense of originality, with the structure of the album played out as reading from scripture, to partner some arcane performance.

As expected, there is a sense of melodrama.  Although, for me, it is a little overblown, which in turn makes it a trifle cringe worthy in part.  Credit has to be given for a mighty production though, where the echo chamber reverberations work well with Luigi’s strong Italian lyrics, sung with gusto.

I prefer however, the quieter moments on this album, where undercurrents of Dark Ambient are allowed to skulk and stalk the listener to great effect.  It is a pity though, that these are just small sound bites in an album that is over concerned with medieval pomposity.

7.5/10