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Electronica

Silver Waves do the unthinkable and out noise themselves

 

 

Silver Waves, AKA Dylan Mallett, is not for mass consumption. If Mallett was, he’d make inoffensive pop music that is catchy, but ultimately means nothing. But he doesn’t want to, so he’s chosen a different path. This patch is rather uneven and at time is covered with grass, pebbles and brambles. It’s the kind of path you’d only take if you have a curious mind and wanted to know where it went, and had the time to find out.

 

 

Over the past few years Mallett has released a couple of EP’s, on a couple of labels, that showcase his brand of experimental symphonies. They’ve raged from full on gabba workouts, to delicate tone operas, all wrapped up in a blanket of feedback and distortion. Now he’s returned with his third EP, imaginatively titled EP3, which takes his ideas of how much is too much to another level. Consisting of just two song V and VI, EP3 opens to what sounds like Velcro being ripped apart then reverbed, manipulated and screamed over while droney electronics vie for your attention. Bass stabs and break beats pepper V, all the while an overriding feeling of unease permeates throughout, until its exquisite outro. VI opens with a barrage of blast beats and cut up vocals. It’s abrasive and lets you know that V wasn’t a one off! During its eight minute duration you are taken on a journey through avenues of dark lurid soundscapes and inescapable cacophonous maelstroms.

 

 

After a first listen it all just sounds like noise. Not even organised noise, but a load of sounds shoved together, compressed then a load more of unrelated beats thrust underneath. However after a few listens you realise that there is a method to the madness and everything carefully plays off each other with glorious counterpoints. Granted this isn’t an easy listen, and at times it’s not even that enjoyable, but that’s not the point. The point is that EP3 is about as experimental and visceral as you’re likely to find and when it does work it’s transfixing and fantastic. Oh the EP also contain remixes from Ossia and Giant Swan. And I’m sure you can guess how that goes… So what are you waiting for? Well go on then. Click the link and buy this slab of experimental majesty!

 

 

EP3 is available now through Howling Owl Records/Portals Editions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In 2011 a Welsh duo Right Hand Left Hand released a debut album called Power Grab. This wasn’t just a clever title, the music within was full of clever ideas and forward thinking composition. In the intervening years Right Hand Left Hand have played countless gigs and festivals and supported Super Furry Animals, Future of the Left, Los Campensinos and the Mae Shi to name an illustrious few. Now they have returned with their second self-titled album Right Hand Left Hand.

 

 

Lead single ‘Tarts and Darts’ picks up from where Power Grab left off, but this time they have expanded their sound by adding layer upon layer upon layer upon layer of devastating riffs that starts to redefine post-rock. From the opening layered riff making Right Hand Left Hand sound like a different band. The time off appears to have focused them more and the math elements are more pronounced than on previous tracks. By the half way mark, when ‘Tarts and Darts’ starts to build toward its monumental conclusion, you’re totally swept along with its vim and vision.

 

 

The album doesn’t start this way however. ‘Seat 18c’ eases us into the album gently. There is a slight abrasive feel to the proceedings, but through layered guitars and lyrical drumming and percussion ‘Seat 18c’ moves forward until its delightful outro. This then leads in nicely to ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’. In a matter of seconds the intensity levels have been heightened and there is an element of menace that the opener was missing. Another subtle difference is that there are lyrics. This lyrics don’t just tell a slightly surreal tale, but add a nice change of texture of tone to opening track ‘Seat 18c’. However this break is fleeting as the remainder of the album is mostly instrumental. If ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ was heavier and more erratic, ‘Jack Churchill’ is reminiscent of the opener. It’s a slow burner that has more in common with Kasabian’s third album than post-rock. Atmospheric guitars swell while synths throb and bass ripples all the while a massive repetitive beat keeps things moving forward. It’s like Kraftwerk played at 45 RPM!

 

 

The ‘War of Jenkins’ Ear’ is a stand out moment. The music acts like soundtrack to a B-Movie or pulp novel classic that never existed. Cinematic synths jostle with gangster-esque guitars to create a feeling of anxiety and danger. You can almost imagine the her Jenkins’ inner monologue pepper this score like Harrison Ford in the original Blade Runner. As the song draws to a close claustrophobic chines usher in the demise of Jenkins, at his own hand. His war, just like the song is over. The album closes with ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’, another cinematic beast. As the song progresses you get the feeling that Jack is creeping up on this next victim, and after he has struck, he flees into the night before anyone can catch him. This is the exact feeling that you feel after the album has finished. Right Hand Left Hand have stalked you, taken you on an exhilarating ride and finally vanished without a trace as soon as it is over.

 

 

While intensity underpins this album, but there are pop hooks that stop it from being something to endure to something that you can actually enjoy. The melodies and riffs are catchy and interesting arrangements stop things getting formulaic and boring. Basically Right Hand Left hand are Lightning Bolt’s little brother that followed their blueprint, but added a pop sensibility to it. This is what makes Right Hand Left Hand sounds like the neo-post-rock opus it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brighton’s favourite live band returns with not only a new EP, but vision too

 

 

Since the release of Tano Dragon and thanks to countless gigs, Merlin Tonto have developed their indie prog sound thanks to Owen Thomas’ carefully arranged synth compositions and Miles Boyd and Stefan Eliades’ pulsating bass riffs and off-kilter drumming. But that’s not all, they have also grown not just as musicians, but as songwriters too. This is showcased in the themes of new EP Baotou. Not just content on setting some trippy synth loops to a beat, Baotou has a fully defined concept. When asked recently what Baotou is about, Miles said “The EP title is named after an industrial city in Inner Mongolia which has this huge man made toxic polluted lake, a by-product of all the industrial activity in the area. Apparently it’s created this dystopian, almost like alien environment which we thought really conveyed the sound and imagery of the EP”.

 

 

Although Baotou is made up of four songs, it needs to be played in its entirety and as loud as you can to get the full effect. Lead single Time Pilot kicks things off in fine form. It says “So you liked the last EP and have come back for round two? Good. We’re pretty much the same band, but you might notice some subtle differences…” These differences is that the rhythm section is tighter and the electronics more out there and ultimately it feels like a step up. Shimmering Mist opens with, well a shimmering mist of electronic drones and blips until the band comes together in glorious unison for a few moments and then a slow outro beings. Forest Primeval is chocked full of techno influenced pulses and bleeps, that show the bands influences aren’t just Kraut and Prog rock based. As it progresses it teeters on that brink of breaking and self-collapse, but luckily neither happen. Beat the Sun closes the EP with track that on one hand wouldn’t have been out of place on Tano Dragon, but shows how far they’ve come since then.

 

 

Over all Baotou sounds like Holy Fuck writing a twenty minute pop song, while Vangelis producers and orchestrates everything from his framework of synths. Their songs bustle with sci-fi motifs and lo-fi indie prog attitude, culminating in a sound that bustles and pulsates along while glitchy blips and hypnotic loops fire around you.

 

 

Rumour has it that the rest of 2016 will consist of gigging and writing and recording sessions for their highly anticipated debut album.

 

 

 

 

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South Korean ethereal dream pop group release the musical equivalent of a freeze pop on a summer day

 

 

In two hundred words I’m going to tell you about something wonderful and hopefully make you a fan of this unique and exciting project.

 

 

For about a year South Korea’s Janice and the Pink Monkeys have been releasing slices of electronic dream pop. This is personified, and intensified, on their new release This Girl Harriet. Consisting of only three songs, but don’t think you’re being short changed, each track is at least twenty minutes long, we’re taking on a journey through a lurid musical landscape where there are no corners and everything is both fluffy and bubbly. Imagine a longer, slower version of Brian Eno’s classic Deep Blue Day and you’re on the right lines.

 

 

As the three songs, Harriet, Harrier Harriet and Never Afraid, take their time slowly snaking and roaming through vivid dreamscapes there isn’t really a stand out moment, apart from the start of This Girl Harriet to its delightful end. There is another reason to adore this EP. During the creative process Janice and the Pink Monkeys wrote, and published a diary about the process. This is a fairly frank, but surreal series of blog posts. If you want more of an insight into this South Korean’s recording procedures click on the link below!

 

 

Damn two hundred and fourteen words…

 

 

goodenough.webcomic.ws

 

 

 

 

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Melt Yourself Down join the Speedy Wunderground gang

 

 

There are fewer sentences in the English language that get me more excited than “New Speedy Wunderground single”. Whether these four words are either be said or written down, it doesn’t matter I immediately get Goosebumps. But when I found out that Melt Yourself Down were going to be the eighteenth release in the on-going saga, saying I got Goosebumps doesn’t quite cut it.

 

 

When MYD first exploded onto the scene in 2013 with their self-titled debut it caught most music fans by surprise. No one expected an Afro-Beat Punk jazz group from London to deliver the goods, but deliver they did. After winning over audiences wherever they played, they won over music buying fans with an album that is still hard to explain three years later. Then all went quiet and I feared the worst. Was it just an amazing one off?

 

 

Luckily I was proved wrong when they released their follow up, Last Evening on Earth, earlier this year. As the title suggests it was as apocalyptic as it was danceable and remains a highwater mark for this year. Now they’ve returned with their first new material since its release, and let me tell you, it’s an absolute screamer. You know that goal that Luka Modric scored against Turkey in the European Championships? Well that was a tap in compared to this!

 

 

Another Weapon opens with a MYD’s trademark rhythm section firing on all cylinders as Kushal Gaya sings “You’ve got the rage, You’ve found someone to blame”. Not to get all political, but could this song have had any great impact if it had been Speedy Wunderground #15, or #21? As Another Weapon progresses it gets more and more frenzied and more and more out there. But there is a lo-fi charm to it that keeps us on our toes. We’re given the impression that everything could fall over at any time under its cantering rhythms and liberal use of timings. In fairness the time signatures are all over the shop and the horn section is having blast. In a nutshell, imagine Sun Ra being produced by, well, Dan Carey. But just when you think all is lost and the freak out will never end, it only comes back together again for its glorious outro.

 

 

Unlike other Speedy Wunderground singles, where the song is written during the 24 hour session, Another Weapon has been part of MYD’s live set since 2013, but as Speedy Wunderground say on the sleeve notes to their Year 2 compilation “Rule #11. Speedy Wunderground Reserves the Right to Change its Own Rules”. Everyone at thisyearinmusic is glad they did, as this is another weapon to their 10 11 point arsenal.

 

 

Another Weapon is released on 5th August and can be bought here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bug unveils new single before he drops yet another EP! Prolific needs a new definition….

 

 

It seems like only last week that Kevin Martin AKA The Bug was releasing his last EP. It was in fact August 2015. In that time frame it’s looking like the world is falling apart, countries are imploding under petty nationalism, heads of state are dropping like flies and unprovoked violence is on the rise*. Despite all this global horribleness there are a few things to look forward to. I don’t want to list them all, but one of them is Martin’s new release, the double A-Side Box/Iceman. Box features rapper D Double E while Iceman features Riko Dan.

 

 

Musically it’s business as usual. Deep basslines meander through valleys of stark drum machines and layered effects and studio trickery. Its dense, dark and devastating. But it’s the lyrics that are the main event. Box showcases that D Double E is at the top of his game. He uses a simple word like ‘Box’, then due to his references and inflection it has a totally different. At one moment he’s saying be different thing outside of the box, then if you are too different you’ll be inside a box, like dead, then a moment later he uses a football reference that means you have to twist and turn to get in space so people can see you for what you are. All of these thing have different meanings, but because they are all grounded by the same word they are all the same. Clever man…

 

 

* Um, didn’t Martin kinda predict this on his last two albums?

 

 

 

 

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WERC’s debut EP for Bedlam Music could be the coolest thing released this year!

 

 

WERC’s debut EP for Bedlam Music, Framewerc, is cool. In fact it could be the coolest thing released this year. Its oozes machismo. Vibes effortless cool and gives off a blasé feeling that would make Zinedine Zidane feel uncomfortable. Basically it’s cool as!

 

 

“So how has WERC created an EP of this quality?” I can hear you ask. Well each track on Framewerc is made of multiple samples. Most of the samples are full samples, but cut up’s that have been manipulated, very similar to how William S. Burrows wrote The Nova Trilogy. A slight vocal line here, half a drum loop there and a vague feeling of bass and its done. Each track on Framewerc sticks to a certain genre and this feeling of cohesion really helps to win us over. Of course WERC isn’t just sampling, he’s adding his own loops and concoctions to the mix to create something that has the same feeling of familiar as a dream. You know where you are and who you are talking to, but everything is slightly skewed and lurid.

 

 

Stand out track is A2. On this track WERC samples classic, and (un)classic Hip-Hop. NWA rubs shoulders with ODB, to name a couple, while WERC himself layers loop upon loops to create a feeling my claustrophobia, the likes of we haven’t heard since Carl Crack’s debut. Is dense, confused, unyielding and very, very, very listenable!

 

 

Framewerc is the equivalent of meeting your hero and then having a pint with them, only to swap numbers/emails at the end and start up a lifelong friendship. Yeah, it’s that cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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