On his new album for Artificial Dance, Tsampikos Fronas aka June takes a departure from his dance orientated earlier work. Recorded between 2018 and 2020, Window of Time sees the Berlin-based producer explore sparser arrangements than his previous releases. The record unravels like a dystopian cyberpunk novel, something akin to William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Both the title track and ‘Stratagem / Predator’ create an increasing tension that builds through repetitive sequences. The arpeggiated synths on ‘Year 2092’ evoke images of sprawling metropolitan city scapes, while the claustrophobic mood of ‘The Master of Electricity’, the first track written for the album, wouldn’t go amiss on a soundtrack to a sci-fi thriller like Blade Runner. Created using modular synthesizers, analog sequencers and analog polyphonic synths, Window of Time eschews melody in favour of cold, pulsating rhythms. Combined with haunting choral toplines and minimalistic flourishes, such as those on album closer ‘Elegy’, June invites the listener on a free dive into their subconscious; to navigate boundless, unexplored territories.
Artificial Dance spent a wealth of time going through the archived recordings of Richard Zeilstra, AKA Genetic Factor. Richard was a pivotal figure in the Amsterdam new wave and avant-garde pop music circles. Besides hosting the ever-influential Spleen and Radionome radio shows on the VPRO he also found time to conduct his own audible experiments. As a firm believer of music by non-musicians Richard has made the effort throughout the last decades to keep on recording in a variety of different guises on different parts of the planet. In these different times and places, the genetic factor was always there. The sampler contains 2 songs from a forthcoming 2×12″ full-length archival compilation and 2 exclusives. The archival compilation will see the day of light in 2022. Fully endorsed and in collaboration with Richard, compiled by Olf van Elden & Robert Bergman.
From the long overdue debut albums of LeRon Carson and Steve Summers, to the revelation of An Anomaly, from the roughness of Filmmaker and Ratsnake to the meditative music of Les Filles de Illighadad, from the established Greek artist June to the very limited synthwave album of the unknown Greek artist Tatat, here are our favorite albums from 2021, compiled in chronological order.Continue reading “2021 Best Albums”
Half of Manie Sans Délire, June, turns up on Artificial Dance with his anticipated new mini-album, ‘Horizons’ – following on from his studio companion Trenton Chase’s ‘Planar Array’ released earlier in 2020. True to the signature synth-splattered sound of his and his duo, June’s newest wave-imbued manifesto has us swimming amidst an organized chaos of roughly extruded keyboard wizardry, punk-minded drum programming and a retro-futuristic headspace. Scanning out the gap between Italo, new wave, EBM and new beat, ‘Horizons’ shifts seamlessly from forward-moving, arpeggio-laden circuitry (‘JW’, ‘Infinity Room’) to hi-intensity body music (’New Horizons’), through ambientoid spaced-out sonic explorations (‘Uncharted Territories’) and quirky downtempo chuggers (‘Reverie’, ‘Psychic Process’). A kaleidoscope of rhythmic tricks and shape-shifting mirages, June’s scope-expanding six-track voyage vows to play mind games with its listener till all lights have gone off.
We have four albums more on the electro side coming from DMX Krew, Men With Secrets (Donato Dozzy and Retina.it), Nullptr and The Exaltics & Heinrich Mueller, while on the industrial/EBM side we have albums by A Civil Terror, La luna sotto il ponte and LBEEZE and impressive works from Black Meteoric Star, Ian Martin and Trenton Chase.
On the synthier side of music we have four albums coming from Das Ding, Linea Aspera, Newclear Waves and Jake Schrock, while for the Detroit lovers we have two Detroit influenced album by The Beneficiaries (Jeff Mills, Eddie Fowlkes and Jessica Care Moore) and The Nightstalker (Dan Piu and Martin Akeret).
Closing the list are the debut album of disco-don Franz Scala on Slow Motion, Obergman‘s acid album on Furthur Electronix, Anthony Collins with his album on Lobster Theremin under the Grant alias and Shifted with his first album on Avian.
The list is compiled in chronological order.
To honor Stephen Huss and his impressive career as musician with Psyche (together with brother Darrin Huss) and as a solo artist, Artificial Dance decided to release his solo work on vinyl for the very first time. The Galaxy LP is a collection of 6 tracks recorded between 1983 – 2005 and selected by Artificial Dance, together with Darrin Huss, to give a complete overview of Stephen as a solo musician. These wide-ranging synth instrumentals were recorded between 1983 and 2005 and you can clearly hear the range of talent through the early Psyche influences to his further experiments in the electronic genre. Let Galaxy be your guide into this unique musical experience created solely by Stephen Huss.
Interstellar Funk & Robert Valera roll out a wealth of EBM, darkwave and acid leaning electronics in a new instalment for Olf van Elden’s (Interstellar Funk) label Artificial Dance. Devil’s Juice is a split twelve and the result of two analog recording sessions that took place in New York and Amsterdam in 2019. Van Elden and Valera met each other through mutual friends, sharing a love for deep and twisted bassline explorations, visceral melodies and analog machine funk. Robert Valera is a seasoned live performer but this will be his first release. Devil’s Juice is a testament of Van Elden’s and Varela’s fascination for analog instruments and how they are able to communicate in spontaneous and unpredictable ways.
Birthed at the turn of the ‘80s, synth and wave music has remained a constant force over the last four decades, with a recent spike in interest in the sound offering further proof of its’ timeless, out-of-this-world quality. It’s against this backdrop that Dutch DJ Interstellar Funk presents his celebration of the style, “Artificial Dancers – Waves of Synth”. A bumper compilation bristling with obscure and hard-to-find gems, the set sees the Artificial Dance label founder joining the dots between synthesizer and drum machine-driven tracks in a variety of subtly different styles. It’s the result of hundreds of hours spent digging through dusty old records, tapes, and the Bandcamp accounts of DIY musicians who have been active since the sound’s first boom in the early 1980s. The 11-track set draws on tracks made and released at different times over the last 40 years, with the earliest cut committed to tape in 1978 and the most recent in 2018. While the tracks date from the ‘80s, ‘90s, noughties and 2010s, the showcased cuts are united by a primitive but futuristic quality that makes dating them difficult. In many cases, it’s hard to tell which tracks were made in the early 1980s and which were conjured up in 21st century studios.
Following his debut LP in June 2017, Trenton Chase returns with “Planar Array”, a 7 track LP on Artificial Dance. As half of Manie Sans Délire and the co-owner of June records, he’s known for his uncompromising sound that touches a wide range of genres. The release is heavy-hitting with distorted vocals, industrial textures and dagger-like synths, a satisfying array of wave, EBM and experimental music. From Transit Decay with the clunky bassline and depth at its core to the aggressive electronics in Narked. From the title track, Planar Array’s melodic high synths to the dreamy contracting offbeat of Doppler Shift. Trenton Chase brings the smoke out of the machine, progressively getting harder, faster and more destructive.
Yesterday we presented the preferences of our readers from last year, now this is a list of 20 albums from 2019 that made an impression on us.
We have three pure electro albums from E.R.P., Jeremiah R. and Plant43 and the new electro-synthy album of veteran David Carretta, his first solo album for ten years. On the darker side of the synth palette we have two EBM/synth-pop albums from Boy Harsher and Years Of Denial, the debut album of Kris Baha, the third album of Greek producer June, a new one from Jason Letkiewicz aka Steve Summers under his new moniker Opposing Currents and two more industrial albums from Autumns and Colombian Filmmaker.
On the other had we have two acid gems from DimDJ and Paranoid London, the first ever Gladio album, the second album from Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani and an experimental/ambient album from veteran Function on Tresor.
So, here it is compiled in chronological order.
Continue reading “20 Albums from 2019”
Since forming in 2006 post-punk experimentalists Sebastian Melmoth have been on a thoughtful and adventurous musical journey. In a constant state of aural evolution, the London-based four-piece has a delivered a string of albums and EPs that variously touch on everything from garage-rock, grunge and lo-fi pop, to electro, new wave, dark ambient and music concrete, all the while drawing on a myriad of literary and artistic influences. The band’s first release for Artificial Dance digs deep into their admirable and eye-opening catalogue and draws together some of the Amsterdam-based label’s favorites from the more electronic end of the band’s output. Entitled “The Dynamics of Vanity” – a comment on Western culture’s obsession with rehashing the past and the band’s own in-built distrust of artistic naval-gazing – the set is not a ‘best of’ retrospective but rather a ‘sort of’ selection of stylistically interconnected cuts that gives a very specific snapshot of the band’s work.
This latest collection for Artificial Dance comprises three freshly unearthed iterations coming from Hypnobeat. Spearheaded by James Dean Brown (also known from Perlon’s Narcotic Syntax) and Victor Sol, and featuring other rotating members, Hypnobeat is a true product of the open-ended spirit of DIY music that proliferated in the 1980s. The prescient project championed deft, machine-powered rhythm programming as its modus operandi long before the practice would become a dominant global cultural form. Since Hypnobeat was revived in 2012 with Helena Hauff joining JDB on stage for improvised live performances based on one 707 and three 808s, there have been a string of archival releases shining a light on the early and more recently recorded works of this forward-thinking venture.
Jason Letkiewicz has always swum against the musical tides, flitting between different solo pseudonyms (including Steve Summers, Death Commando and Alan Hurst) and collaborative projects (most notably Mutant Beat Dance) in order to explore different aspects of his leftfield inspirations. With his latest release, a first full-length outing for Artificial Dance entitled ‘Mirage Information’, the Chicago-based artist is operating under an alias that celebrates this approach: Opposing Currents. It’s an alias he’s used once before – for a track featured on Chronditic Sound’s 2015 cassette compilation Non-Christian Referent – but ‘Mirage Information’ sounds like an artistic rebirth. Densely layered, mind-altering and often intense, the album’s seven tracks update the Cold War paranoia and pulsating electronics of EBM and industrial music for today’s complex and chaotic political climate. Throughout, Letkiewicz smothers off-kilter drum machine rhythms and throbbing, body-jacking synthesizer basslines in untold layers of hazy audio detail, creating a dystopian sound soup out of which alien electronic melodies, psychedelic acid lines and barely audible vocals emerge. At times, such as on angry opener ‘Lying Awake’, the extra-terrestrial ‘Dissolve’ and foreboding ‘Shallow Grave’, we’re invited to dance in the darkness in celebration of impending doom. On other occasions, such as the poignant and melancholic closing cut ‘It Awaits’, Letkiewicz simply seems exasperated at the chaos that is life in the 21st century. It makes for a genuinely arresting and thought-provoking listen.
This is the second night of Interstellar Funk’s Video Club residency, this time an all nighter B2B with non other than Intergalactic Gary himself.
Having previously released some rare solo material from Ende Shneafliet member Hanjo Erkamp AKA Dr. C. Stein, Artificial Dance is now serving up something special from the cult Dutch minimal wave band’s lesser-known side project, King Ende Shneafliet. The result is the first ever vinyl release of tracks from the outfit’s cult Dimension Mix series.
To kick-start Artificial Dance’s 2018 release programme, the label has once again delved deep into the darkest corners of the Dutch electronic underground. The result is a debut solo EP from another future hero, Hague-based Pasiphae. Born in Greece, Pasiphae took up DJing and music production when she moved to the Netherlands five years ago. The Siphax EP is her first solo outing. Packed with mutant alien funk (the superb title track), horror-fired dancefloor dystopia (throbbing opener Tachynons’) and skewed electronic soundscapes ( Vertical Rotation’, which sounds like it could have been taken from the soundtrack of an early ’80s art-house movie), the six tracks offer a neat summary of Pasiphae’s unique musical world. Check out, in particular, the two-part murkiness and late night hum of ‘Quelque Chose De Mauvais’ and ‘Quelque Chose De Mal’, which are creepy and clandestine in equal measure. If that’s not enough to set the pulse racing, turn your attention to EP closer Hedera’, a beat-less but rhythmic romp through muggy, psychedelic pastures.
Artificial Dance has returned to the source for release number two. The 12” pays tribute to one of the most influential figures of Amsterdam’s original DIY electronic music scene, Hanjo Erkamp. During the first half of the 1980s, Erkamp had a hand in some of the most experimental and forward-thinking releases on the now legendary cassette label, Trumpett. Famously, he was a member of two of the label’s key bands – industrial outfit Doxa Sinistra and new wave combo Ende Shneafliet – but during the period he also recorded a swathe of solo tracks as C. Stein, most of which only saw the light of day decades later. ‘La Bombe Plastique’, a thrillingly spacey and futurist cut rich in proto-techno rhythms, intergalactic electronic motifs and drowsy choral vocals. For this timely reissue, the superb original version comes accompanied by a fresh re-edit created primarily for DJ use.