The revival of the late 1980s New Beat sound has simmered below the surface of a variety of Underground trends for a while now. Returning at a lower tempo, its releases retain the squalling synths that crown the jolting sound. YouTube channel, label & party promoter Les Yeux Orange (translated as Orange Eyes), has been a notable supplier of tracks that fall under such strain. Proponents of the sound pushed by the French group include Romanian duo Khidja and Moscow-hailing Simple Symmetry, amongst many others. Yan Wagner’s Belgian Trip remix of Bagarre’s electroclash-inspired ‘Le Gouffre’ original is a copybook example of the modern take on the Belgian sound.
The track establishes a cadence from the get-go, with a high-cutoff synth that glazes over the kick. A quintessential reverb-infused snare and clap combo drub with no remorse. The evolving collection of high-pitch synths intermingle to create a symphony that feels Middle-Eastern inspired. However, Wagner restrains himself from ample modulation that would borrow heavily from Acid Arab’s toolkit. The vocals that enter around the three minute mark are irregular in delivery. Providing tremendous inflection, they remind of the Robotiko Rejekto’s 1987 EBM classic ‘Rejekto!‘. Reflective of the track’s spirit, Bagarre translates as brawl, while ‘Le Gouffre’ means the gulf. With a breakdown that scales down to a single element outside of percussions, the structuring of 101’s ‘Rock To The Beat‘ is dexterously applied. The end result is a sirenic admix of chaotic sounds that have been blended to chill the spine.
Paste Magazine discussed in 2018 how the Modern Rock genre has been left soul-searching whilst Post-Punk is thriving. The fractured nature of Post-Punk lead to the formation of many sub-genres. Synth-Pop, EBM, New Wave being just some that preserved its parent genre tropes, whilst interloping with electronic unorthodox sounds. These in turn gave birth to a wide variety of sounds including Italo, Bass, Techno, Cold, Dark and Minimal Wave, all of which edify each other. Listening to Peggy Gou, and even Jamie Jone’s recent remix of Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Life Is A Song Worth Singing’, demonstrates that the style has hit the upper echelons of the underground dance scene. Desert Sound Colony, aka Liam Wachs, seems to be as fluid as any in carrying such sound. The Londoner seemed to be an ideal fit with his first releases being manufactured for Scissor & Thread. With hints of Indie & more angular Rock, they shared similarities with Bob Moses and Clockwork releases on the label. Black Light Smoke’s ‘Firefly‘ showed more ambition, however, and certainly Desert Sound Colony seems to have hit a power-boost upon hearing. ‘Lose My Rhythm’ is a track by a man at the peak of his powers. It unmistakably stands heads and shoulders, if not above, the rest.
Liam has also released under the moniker of DSC. ‘The Sorcerer‘, his 2017 release on Holding Hands Records was one that showcased his more experimental side. It had an abstractness, but minimal leaning of a Roman Flügel project. ‘Coming Round‘, released just a year later, was a return to his regular Post-Punk productions. A dance-floor belter, ‘Lose My Rhythm’ sounds like a product coming from the same studio sessions. A voluminous kick drum starts the track off before a warbling bassline kicks in. Vocals hum chorally. Sounding like a lovechild of Roland 909 and KORG MS-20, the gyrating melody is mesmeric. As one YouTube comment points out, the track sounds like an updated version of Belgian New Beat producer Richard H Kirk’s ‘Never Lose Your Shadow’. Guitar is plucked, before the main vocal enters. ‘When I Lose My Rhythm I Feel Alive’ it echoes with revelry. Naturally this paints a picture of a dancefloor bedlam. The punk influence kicks back in from the simple guitar picks heard in the breakdown. It all hits the nail on the head as it picks back up with crystallising splintered synth stabs kicking in. Hectic stuff. Continue reading →