Stratis is an electronic duo from Cologne, Germany, formed by Antonios Stratis and Albert Klein in 1981. They took inspiration from the progressive electronic synthscapes of Tangerine Dream & Vangelis and the proto-techno of Chris & Cosey and Yello, as well as jazz and funk. The duo recorded 5 cassette-only albums between 1982 and 1986 – Exotic, New Face, Musica da Ballo, Film Musik, and Raging Beauty – which were released on their own label Creative Tapes (later called Temporary Music), and which were also licensed to Colin Potter’s Integrated Circuit Records (ICR) label. We are pleased to announce the first ever standalone vinyl reissue of their sophomore album “New Face’, which was recorded and released in 1983. It consists of eight future-fixated tracks that could have been composed for movies like Blade Runner or Tron. A wide range of minimal electronics are presented, from robotic synth pop to melancholic cold wave to Neue Deutsche Welle electro.
Victrola is the duo of Antonio ”Eze” Cuscinà and Carlo Smeriglio from Messina, Italy. The band formed in 1979 but shortly thereafter relocated to Florence take part in a rich musical scene alongside Neon, Pankow, Alexander Robotnick, and Diaframma. Beginning as a 4-piece (two guitarists, bassist, drummer) they slimmed down to a synthesizer and guitar-based duo by 1982. Their sole release was the now classic ”Maritime Tatami”/”A Game Of Despair” EP from 1983, which we reissued in 2012. ‘Born From The Water’ is a 12 song collection of unreleased demos recorded between 1983 and 1985. The band sent us over 100 cassettes, through which we dug to compile the first volume of their archival darkwave ballads. They used an array of Roland synthesizers (TR-606, TB-303, TR-909, Juno 6) plus a Korg Polysix, Yamaha DX7, Casio VL-Tone VL-1, DR-55 Dr. Rhythm, and Fender Stratocaster and Jazz Bass. Some of the songs would later appear on various compilations, but the versions presented here are unique. Victrola engulfs the listener with trance-inducing synth lines, oblique minor-key bass lines, angular guitar riffs, and melancholic vocals. The songs tell tales of youth, love, karma, and the decline of civilization in modern times.
After 10 years of deep hibernation, Southern Outpost’s sub-label, Datadisk, brings the first in a series of ‘System Updates’ (think Direct Beat style bonus beats). Southern Outpost label boss, The Sentinel has compiled 9 byte-sized electro tracks/tools programmed specifically for DJ’s who like to throw down. The updates were developed by 3 programmers, from opposite ends of the planet. The Sentinel (Southern Outpost/Datadisk), Sol37 (Southern Outpost) both Australian ex-pats now based in San Francisco and Drox (Analog Cabin) based in Sydney, Australia. The tracks are on average 2 mins long, which mean they get straight to the point and are ready to deploy at a moments notice. For the advanced DJ, utilizing 2 copies will offer the opportunity to extend and remix the updates 24,310 ways. The release was mastered at Dubplates & Mastering and pressed at R.A.N.D to ensure the release is at the highest sonic quality.
Following volumes 1 & 2, Cultivated Electronics label-head Sync 24 hails another world-class line up to the helm to bring ‘From The Dark’ to a strong close with Volume 3. Finnish duo Morphology kick things off with ‘Sentinel’; a gritty stepper with a sinister synth riff, followed by Alpha 606’s ‘Zombie King’ of wiggy arpeggios and off-kilter analogue delays. Flip for the B1 where Silicon Scally enters with a raspy and cutting, harmonious jam. B2, which is a collaboration between CE head-honcho Sync 24 and NYC based Joonam, Prada, is a 140bpm big-room monster, with a reverberated low end and quivering moans of spooky voices. On the next disc, is Miami-based Calderin with a sickening groove that draws you in and holds you where you are from start to finish. Following up is Brooklyn based techno stalwart Donor under his new SC-164 electro alias switching things up with earthy snare rattles and a tweaked-out, panicky synth lines. Nomadic (of UK electro label Touchin’ Bass) then rolls out an addictive chord progression above tight, snappy beats, while masked, Dutch duo Animistic Beliefs close out the series with winding, morish pads that draw from a sci fi sound-palate, showcasing a glimpse into their astounding live set-up.
Stilleben’s latest EP is a no-holds-barred, all-action affair that gathers together previously unheard cuts from a quintet of label associates. Boss man Luke Eargoggle is naturally involved, with his hook-up with Swedish veteran Ola Bergman – the angular analogue bass, Italo-disco influenced grooves and shimmering chords of “Macho Macho” – being amongst the EP’s many highlights. You’ll find more razor-sharp, mind-altering robo-bass propelling Das Muster’s brilliant opener “Sinnestauschung” towards the electro stratosphere, while IXRQ’s “Robotic Nature” brilliantly combines ghostly, crystalline synthesizer melodies with a suitably dirty, club-ready electro groove. The most intense and sweaty cut of the lot, though, is Suicider’s suitably dystopian and psychedelic closing cut “Trainwreck”.
Cestrian (aka Ali Renault) lands on Mechatronica for the Berlin label’s 10th release with a remarkably wide electro-driven EP, exploring different rims of the genre from the transporting melodic peripheries and weirder edges, to the raw core. Two hypnotizing journeys in ”Gradients” and ”Rake & Pikel” make up the A-side along with the frenzied styles of ”Cat Strain”. ”Speak & Spell” blasts open the flip with an anthemic groove and potent basslines, before ”The Weir” rounds off the EP in heavy and atmospheric fashion, concluding an essential electro record – for the mind and for the floor.