MAIN: Ablation CD/LP Mego

main-ablation

MAIN: Ablation  CD/LP Mego

Spanning four long tracks, you know this latest output from Robert Hampson will require a great deal of patience, should you have come across his music before.  This time he has teamed up with colleague Stephan Mathieu in an attempt to create a different palette for his listening audience and in some respects this shows limited colour over the course of this release.

Essentially, ‘Ablation’ utilises Music Concrete (not altogether a medium I usually have time for), adding an altogether more electronic feel to the organically led analogue sounds.  Unfortunately for me, none of this bears fruit until the glorious emotional ambient of ‘IV’ takes hold; and then you are at the end of the album.

Tracks one to three seem to drag on as a pointless exploration of sounds that neither evolve, nor have purpose.  I found myself drifting off for the most part, at what seemed to be a black hole of random noises that neither engaged or ravaged my senses; which is a real shame considering what could have been.

6/10

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FORMA: OFF/ON CD/LP Mego

FORMA: OFF/ON  CD/LP Mego

This is the second album by this Brooklyn based synth trio, providing an electronic landscape of clean cut pads and for what is the most part, straight forward rhythmical sections.

I find a lot of the electronica I listen to nowadays veering towards the more IDM spectrum of the field and ‘OFF/ON’ immediately provided a refreshing jaunt through straight to the point hooks and lead elements that were not only engrossing, but induced a fair amount of head nodding in their simplistic approach.

With variants on the group name as the track listing, ‘Forma286b’ along with its colleagues lean more often than not on an almost pop-like 80’s ethos that whilst doesn’t sound specifically like any other act I have heard before, does veer towards the familiar.  Whilst treading old ground there is an overall spark of originality to compensate for any finger pointing that may ensue.

Whilst there are positives in abundance the only negatives I can muster up about this release is that after a while there is a wanting for something different for what’s on offer; the early Depeche Mode-isms of ‘Mécanique’ did stretch things somewhat for me, even if consummately professional for the most part.

Altogether though, this latest instalment is a happy-go-lucky, pleasant album that fans of modern electronics coupled with a nod to past influences will relish; and the closing ‘Forma315’ is a multi-layered analogue joy to behold.

8/10

EMERALDS: Just To Feel Anything CD/LP Mego

EMERALDS: Just To Feel Anything  CD/LP Mego

It’s not often the hairs on my arms are raised within minutes of listening to an album, but this latest release from Emeralds sent shivers up my spine in little to no time at all as well.  Opener, ‘Before Your Eyes’ drifts with glorious ambient qualities that disguise its destination well.   Just over two minutes into this introduction we are treated to an approach that mimics the better hooks of Bitcrush and later Gridlock, with a clinical execution that fans of these projects will benefit from immediately.

‘Andrenochrome’ epitomises those film soundtrack qualities that provide viewers with years of memorable sparks of imagery, coupled with the emotional attachment of expressive musicianship.  This is followed up with the evocative ‘Through and Through’, that is gentle and involving.

The remainder of ‘Just To Feel Anything’ flitters between analogue electronics and subtle, weaving ambient that is smattered with moments of shoegazing and post-rock bliss.  Whilst not as immediate as their predecessors, there is an overwhelming beauty that is as characteristic on these latter numbers as anything that has come before.  It’s not often I immediately drag an album to my phone for listening pleasure on my way to work and fans of the N5MD label should lap this release up with gusto.

9/10

NICK EDWARDS: Plekzationz 2xLP/CD Mego

NICK EDWARDS: Plekzationz  2xLP/CD Mego

Edwards has a history that is more for the aficionado’s out there rather than anything expansive as far as actual output is concerned; more recognised for his blogging in experimental circles and output as Ekoplekz and his one cassette only album under his own name.

Mego tend to release albums that I love or hate in equal measure, such is the nature of the eclectic output they sign to their label; Edwards latest album surprisingly slots itself in the middle.

There are moments to applaud on ‘Plekzationz’, with various nods at Cabaret Voltaire, frostily capturing the essence of early 80’s industrial and minimalist, yet effective electronica; ‘Inside the Analog Continuum’, being a prime example of this.  The live element plays well into the hands of those that have sat in dark, dank underground clubs over the years with nothing but a sonic wall of noise and a strobe to accompany them (yes, I admit I have).

For the most part though, this album may be a little too much to swallow.  There is the occasional stab at Krautrock and so forth, but the sheer experimental nature of this release shoves it into a very tight corner, where only the limited few will try squeezing themselves in.

7/10

KTL: V 2xLP & 12”/ CD Mego

KTL: V  2xLP & 12”/ CD Mego

An echoing organic ambient hum opens up this fifth album from Stephen O’Malley and Peter Rehburg’s KTL; with ghostly frost like washes that glide hypnotically over ever so evolving spaces of sound, these are attention grabbing and eerily stimulating in an anaesthetic like fashion.

This act primarily has always conjured up a much noisier approach than has been visited on ‘V’; this time around everything appears way more relaxed in its composition.  Atmosphere is more at play here and but feels like a tight rein has been noosed firmly behind a lot of the experimentation.

I can’t help feel that this time there has been some hesitancy to really let go and in some respects this does come across as a hindrance; tracks do seamlessly flow from one into another and whilst this is great thematically, I simply got lost midway as to just whereabouts I was on the album.

This aside, this is one of those releases that a lot of subliminal ambient enthusiasts will relish; there is plenty of range throughout this affair from start to finish that will send many into a relaxing trance like state and this is where ‘V’ excels.

My recommendation is that you approach this new collection of works on vinyl where this I imagine will be suitably broken up, giving you time to collect your thoughts, give them a scrub down and start again.

7.5/10