As small of an island it may be, Iceland has produced some real pacesetters for the world of music. Sigur Ros, Björk and Exos are just some the names that can be drawn from the hat. ‘Being super bored and stuck on an island…could be the answer’ claims Bjarki, the latest international export from the country’s Underground scene. Another longstanding name that has been bubbling above the surface levels since the mid 1990s is the Reykjavík duo GusGus. A collaboration of Biggi Veira and Daníel Ágúst, the act has been responsible for a number of deviceful hits that include ‘Arabian Horse’ and ‘Over’, as well as a a memorable King Britt remix of their track ‘David’. Their signature parading sound is often affiliated with powered vocals. ‘Fuel’, however, further spotlights the duo’s instrumentation capabilities. Coming from their 2018 album ‘Lies Are More Flexible’ it is a slow-footed synthesis giant.
Released by Oroom, the track can be best described as being a 110 BPM fusion of Trance, Ambient & Electro. Biggi claims the introduction to the acclaimed Belgian composer Jean Michel Jarre‘s album ‘Oxygen’ broadened his perspective to the possibilities of musical composition. The sound of that particular era is returned to here. The track echoes the aesthetic of the album that aims to explore ‘strange chord structures and arpeggios of the old synth wave stuff back in 78-82‘. Subversively, however, elements of future sounds are incorporated, with 1990s Progressive House breakdowns taking centre stage. Transcending of genres has always been common trait for the duo, bolstering a discography that includes everything from synth pop to dub techno. The track’s underlining feature that glues all the fragments together is the perpetual modulation. Shifting its form even through the introductions of Cattáneonian vocals and layered synths, the ever-changing intonation gives the track its spirit. Continue reading →
“I just love emotion in music, I don’t really care what genre or style it comes under, to be honest” Eagles & Butterflies stated in his interview with Pulse Radio. The lush, abstract production that evokes emotion has received endorsement from labels which share his philosophy such as Noir Music, Bedrock & Southern Fried. Incorporating elements of Electronica and IBM, his sound connects the “sense of hearing… to other senses“. His latest EP release ‘Imitations of Life‘ is a return to Innervisions this year after his track ‘X‘ previously featured on Secret Weapons Part 8. With the cover featuring a plastic bag set against the background of molten lava, the statement of this being something unprecedented is clear. The leading track ‘SKETCH 7’ exemplifies his refined layering of a “complex sound world” that is ravished with grandeur .
With an opening drum arrangement that features a live instrumentation snare, an organic sound akin to Will Saul’s ‘Drama‘, leans towards the hallmark of House. The rolling bassline melts into the preceding streams of delight created by aggrandising sforzando. Having previously remixed the renowned Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Elements’, Barratt’s enthusiasm for complex chord-progression goes unchallenged. In such, he joins his contemporaries such as Tale of Us, Henrik Schwarz and Max Loderbauer who have offered their interpretations of Classical music releases. Such free-spirited note alignment is heard in ‘SKETCH 7’, as well as his Get Physical 2015 release ‘Sounds of Colours‘. The imperceptible phasing of topline synth drifts from one ear to the other. This adds to the already established kaleidoscopic dazement. Similarly to Patrice Bäumel’s remix of Khen’s ‘Land Of Goshen’, the track allures the listener to lose themselves in the moment with its Balearic euphony .
Released in 2009 on his Berlin-based Best Works Records, André Lodemann’s ‘Where Are You Now’ is a triumph for uncompromised artistry. The DJ and producer’s versatility has been evident over the years, ranging from the tailor cut deep house cuts like ‘Don’t Panic‘ to downtempo, tranquil Freerange release of ‘Together‘. Yet the mind boggles when you realise that the very same hands were behind the today’s featured track, which has entertained the crowds of some of the biggest clubs in the scene. Masterfully maintaining an equilibrium between that which moves the feet, and that which touches the soul, the track is yet another top-tier German export. The latest release from Lodemann ‘The Deeper You Go’ sounds a return to progressive house with a fresh perspective. To anyone that listens to ‘Where Are You Now’, it should make it clear that this is something to be excited about.
Core to the track is the clash of synth-heath topline that flirts with ambient pads, and the conventions of a bassline-heavy tech-house romper. These two unendingly interchange throughout the runtime. The dominance of trance-inspired progressive house mainstream artists such as Deadmau5 has leaked some of its influence onto the track. Sylenth 1 patch synths will be familiar to those producer out there who have flirted with the VST. The delayed release of the leading synth that infiltrates the lower EQs sporadically creates a sense of tension that is elevated by the breakdown. Then around the 5.50 mark the kooky riff drops leaving the listener in ecstasy. The previously bellicose synths now join in the dance providing an amicable conclusion to the track, with the ambient soundscapes completing the communion of the trinity. A YouTube commentator described it ‘Like a deep house cousin to nthng’s ‘Oralage‘. Lodemann’s refusal to play to the rules is rewarding for the listener. Continue reading →
The A2 on his brilliant debut EP, Make It Good. With Remixes from Larry Heard, Ostgut Tonregular Ryan Elliot and Tale of Us, it was an exercise in Electronic Art, at Picasso Levels. Monocraft (Your Love Is Alright) is a mix of Tech, Deep, Indie and Prog Rock. One thing people can agree about Electronic Music is it can hit every emotion. And having such different genres mixed in hit different parts in one track. Released in 2012 by the Life and Death label co-founder Manfredi Romano, this DJ Tennis cut is a wonderful track completely synonymous with other sombre label cuts.
In this interview with Magnetic Mag, Manfredi mentions ‘I grew up with indie, punk rock, post-punk and hardcore.’ Instantly this is felt within the vocals. Sounding a touch like Caribou or The/Das, it’s bleak and melancholic. It’s hits the crest of the wave at the 4.30min mark with the spine tingling ‘Your Love Is Alright’ motif. Up until this point, there’s been a real buildup. Prog-band bass not too dissimilar to Dubfire’s Deep Dish bubbles underneath. Manfredi’s also said later in the aforementioned Magnetic Magazine, The first artists that got really interested in electronic music were people like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada. This was my approach to electronic music – brain-dance I would say.’ And boy does his synth work just do that. Horn like chords are played airily. Midway, downtempo strums are played with orchestral strings. It teases the brain before a scattergun single note comes in not too dissimilar to Patrice Baumel’s ‘The Hatchet’. Clearly Tale of Us shows Tennis a thing or two, because the staple laser soundscape of theirs, such as the one in their remix of Who Made ‘Who’s Never Alone’ makes a welcome appearance. A track that sends your brain into a frenzy, it’s great for home listening as much as a Fideles set at Hi Ibiza on a Thursday night.