HECQ: Avenger CD Hymen Records
The ever prolific Ben Lukas Boysen returns with his Hecq project, this time basing his output on a cross hybrid of super heroes and Mexican wrestlers. The artwork comes from Mexican street artist Saner and if you hunt down the limited version of this album you are ludicrously going to be walking away with a Mexican wrestlers mask. Want.
So onto the music; you know, I simply haven’t got a bad word to say about Hecq, not one iota… it’s ridiculous that I can pick up any of his albums and mumble the word ‘amazing’ and this again is no exception. ‘With Angels’ is a prime of example of the word, with beats so masterfully cut up alongside visceral power from the electronics, coupled with ‘Pulverised’ this is sheer legendary heart stirring stuff musically. You can forget the likes of Venetian Snares and Aphex Twin because Hecq makes a mockery of them all.
‘Bane’ starts of with supreme quirky pads that just crash into dub-step, warping and evolving into an utter monster of a track, to be paired with the literally heart jolting slow paced ‘Shutter’.
The sheer genius of programming on this album has to be commended with the utter perfection of ‘Nihilum’; it’s so razor sharp and precise it’s ridiculous and the off target ambience of ‘Reprise’ is beautiful in every sense of the word ‘mad’.
On top of the initial ten tracks are five mixes that compliment the originals and are a nice edition if not entirely required, however why not if there is space to be had.
‘Avenger’ has to be one of my favourite releases of 2011 so far. Boysen is at the top of his game right now, and I am not even sure if he was ever off it. Stupendous.
KARSTEN PFLUM: No Noia My Love CD Hymen Records
A refreshing display from the outset of what I could term pure IDM with cut up beats and harmonies that blister and complicate, fold and meld into a mash of emotions that flutter through with precision to hit the senses head on with opener ‘The Hand’.
There’s more than a nod at pure pop as track one dissolves into ‘Lov Dog’ as the pace settles. The madness is blatantly still evident within the skittish beat patterns but what shines through is the use of melody that gives a solid sense of cohesion that is missing from many a release within this genre giving the impression that Karsten Pflum clearly has their head screwed on firmly.
Without a doubt a lot of Aphex Twin purists will lap this up with the rhythm sections that flirt with your ears, but this is only one simple element that is built up within the folds of many of the songs on this album. Rich textures and blunt effective programming genius is just what sets this release apart from many of the artists peers and I was literally astonished at the level of professionalism in the way this release has been executed as a whole.
Moving the pop elements to one side there is more than enough on ‘No Noia…’ to appease the breakcore enthusiasts out there; quite simply put some of the beats on this album pummel the listener into submission and this artist can really get down and dirty when its called for.
A careful amount of planning has gone into this CD, just when you feel the barrage of rhythms is about to overstate themselves everything breaks into mellow electronic sectors to slow you down and come as a welcome relief.
‘No Noia My Love’ is a rollercoaster of emotions and dips, peaks and highs that joyfully play with your ears and thought patterns and quite simply put, is just one of the best out and out real IDM albums on the market at the moment; Love it.
ABS6: Audiomedikation CD Hymen Records
An array of styles clash and ultimately combine on this release from IDM to electro and ambient structures melding drum and bass into twisted scattered concoctions that remind you of a time when we were bombarded with music from the Warp generation.
Many an artist can be cited when listening to ‘Audiomedikation’; ‘Aphex Twin’, ‘Venetian Snares’ and the like. This is done unashamedly and I believe this is the intention, and who are we to argue with the main influx of work from such artists being of a high visual presence if not always of the highest quality; it’s still respected work.
Complex and in some part quite vicious with the assault on the senses this does keep you intrigued for the most part with cut up electronics and frenetic beats that weave and turn on themselves almost at will giving the listener no quarter to absorb upon first listen what is going on in its entirety.
Sometimes however this album is a little too clever and over self indulgent and although cited in the press release almost as a prescription for boredom I still haven’t managed to listen to the album as a whole in one sitting because there wasn’t enough to grasp my full attention, with the nature of the structures bordering on tedious at times.
Don’t get me wrong however as this is a professional release with true highs amongst its journey and the good definitely outweigh the dull even if no track on its own stands out as a classic.
THE_EMPATH: Meanwhile CD Hymen Records
With the main body of this artists work coming in the form of CDr albums he has cemented himself a fairly good cult status amongst the underground over the past few years and more power to Mike Erkau for doing so.
As a full official album release this is to be honest the first time I have personally been exposed to this project and I am pleasantly happy with what I have found.
A lot of the main body of this album reminds of ‘Beefcake’ in some ways and this is no bad thing as ‘Meanwhile’ also has a lot of its own merits to bring to the table with such a respected artist possibly being such an influence, melding the two with ease.
The majority of the sound on ‘Meanwhile’ is built on a vast array of space and ambience, indeed a chunk of this is sourced from field recordings; but thankfully a lot of these are there to fill out the gaps rather than become the main embodiment of the tracks.
Lush pads filter throughout this release and the album has a very clean feel to it; whilst refreshing and uplifting as this can be it sometimes feels as though this is being applied as an antiseptic and you almost wish that ‘the_empath’ had the heart to get a little dirtier and meaner with his listeners.
I note that the artist does a heck of a lot of visual works for people live and so forth; I have also seen a few of the video pieces that he has made to his tracks and this is where the songs shine at their most brightest
NEBULO: Artifact CD Hymen Records
The latest installment from Nebulo surrounds urban society and the moods therein encompassing field records alongside the electronic into an abstract art form.
Mood is very much on the agenda, flittering from subtle harmonics to splashes of emotional pads and near psychotic glitches of sound that are carried along with rhythmical structures that pitter-patter away and eventually fold into miniature stories that collectively come together as a whole.
There’s an almost stop–start nature to the majority of this release, like the listener is travelling along and halted to take in momentary sections of imagery along the journey; in some ways it’s quite dislocated and sparse and whilst this teeters on being close to distraction there is always something dragged in to reel your attention back in.
Off-key as much as it is accessible this really is a roller coaster ride, almost unsettling in its approach and quite a nervous release that keeps you on your toes.
There is an immensely organic feel to ‘Artifact’, and that’s mainly down to the subject matter, it’s almost earthly whilst being predominantly electronic, but because of this it is grounded and feels solidly rooted to the floor, therefore does not overstate itself and gladly doesn’t feel over self indulgent.
Clever and precise there is a heck of a lot on this release to take in and is best served as a whole rather than pick up and play.
THE PRAYER TREE: The Prayer Tree CD Hymen Records
The Prayer Tree, take their name from the age-old tradition of placing slips of paper with prayers upon a tree with three metal branches; also apparently a tree that resides in a downtown Tokyo temple that was saved from destruction that people now commune to make offerings.
Bearing that in mind the opening title is ‘Tokyo’, a pleasant, if not completely engaging dronal affair with melancholic vocals.
Things really do get flowing with ‘Ubik’ however, with gentle downbeat melancholic electronics and warm harmonic vocals that flow with their own gentle hypnosis and in whole is more accessible than both the artists previous incarnations in Ab Ovo and NIMP.
This self titled debut is more for those who like their music of a very eclectic nature and this is mainly due to the vocals which gain prominence over the electronics over the course of the album and give ‘The Prayer Tree’ their unique sound; indeed the music almost takes a back step in its simplicity.
An incredibly sparse album that gives way to silence and its own ambience and with that comes genuine moments of beauty and clarity, and that’s the key to this CD; it has to be taken as a whole and not on an individual track by track basis. Sometimes poppy in nature, sometimes ritualistic from a very different angle and in that sense it is extremely original in its own right.
Intriguing and authentic, primordial and genuine The Prayer Tree is avant-garde without delving into self-adoration and whilst not being immensely ground breaking there is just something about this debut that puts a smile on my face, and that’s no mean feat.
ARCHITECT: Consume Adapt Create CD Hymen Records
Daniel Myer needs no real introduction in the electronic scene with amongst his tally, Haujobb and the factor he now dabbles with Covenant to name a couple.
Architect has come along in leaps and bounds and this latest offering could arguably be his best piece of work under this moniker to date.
Opening up with ambient crawler ‘The Bitch is Back’ there are subtle elements of stripped down Dubstep flirting with IDM that just builds and sails away dripping with atmosphere, only to be taken over by track two ‘The Shadow of Eve’ which is slightly more up tempo, teasing us with cut and pastes that remind me of the better works in this field conjured up by the likes of ‘Skinny Puppy’, that also lets its dance sensibilities shine.
As always the beats are crystal clear with layer upon layer of vocal cut ups and blips and wizard like precision utilising each influence as its own, giving a fresh slant on many a sub-genre within this field.
Fresh for the dance-floor or for those that mostly muse in these circles; this latest offering is rather more accessible for those that may have avoided the project in the past, while still maintaining the rhythmical equivalent of a hammer to the face when needed. This album satiates the Industrial quarter of his fanbase or indeed those that like breakbeats to be as sharp as their closest shave; impressive stuff.