Regis – Hidden In This Is The Light That You Miss [DNLP028]

Regis lets his rhythmic noise opus out into the world, a bruising and hauntingly absorbing album – his first since 2001 – dispatched on his pivotal label; Downwards. On a masterful twenty-year followup to ‘Penetration’, Karl O’Connor yields a definitive solo LP that distills his passions for sonic brutalism and bastardised Chicago tracks with syncopated UK swagger and reverberating warehouse ballistics. Its lip-bitingly gripping effect is testament to a resounding reputation as one of Industrial music’s most influential producers, and sees the artist bring his own influences – from Test Department to Jeff Mills – into line with his potent palette of narcotised tones. Recorded in Berlin with Einstürzende Neubauten’s producer/engineer Boris Wilsdorf, the album’s supple, spartan, and rhythmic gymnastics notably benefit from acres of icy room to roll around and lash out. Snagged around muscular bassline revs, and caressed with keys and vocals by postpunk catalyst Annie Hogan (whose recent turn for Downwards was a total revelation), the 9 tracks portray Regis at his leanest and most mesmerising, which is all the more impressive coming from an artist who’s deliberately held his line through club music’s mutations for more than 30 years.

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Regis – Hidden In This Is The Light That You Miss [DNLP028]

Regis – Delivered Into The Hands Of Indifference [DNLP005]

21st anniversary edition of Regis’ sophomore album on Downwards in Silver Vinyl. Entirely remastered at D&M and cut with 3 bonus locked grooves not found on the 1998, 2003, or 2012 editions, Karl O’Connor’s banging Regis 1998 blueprint is back in circulation for the techno ultras. It hardly needs to be reiterated but this set includes some of the meanest examples of late ‘90s UK techno, and more specifically, the Birmingham sound that Regis forged so definitively with this album, alongside efforts by his peers, Surgeon, Female, and Mick Harris. If you weren’t party to the original pressing, this one stands out thanks to the remastering, which really highlights the pebbledash grain and clangorous industrial atmospheres of the original recordings, which surely set this record and sound apart from the crowd.

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Regis – Delivered Into The Hands Of Indifference [DNLP005]

Veronica Vasicka – In Silhouette [LIN080]

Pivotal, peerless DJ/selector and Minimal Wave overse’er Veronica Vasicka serves her solo debut on Downwards. ‘From Here’, a dank industrial-pop workout recorded in 2004 and now issued for the first time, backed with sick remixes by Regis, Paul Kendall (Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb) and Robert Hampson (Loop, Main) in his lesser-spotted Chasm alias.

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Veronica Vasicka – In Silhouette [LIN080]

Simon Shreeve – Lust Product [LINO72]

Simon Shreeve appears again this year for Karl O’Connor’s esteemed imprint. The man also known as Mønic pushes the kind of highly-engineered modern industrial music on his own Osiris Musik label, so easily finds a welcome home here. On side A, harsh textural abrasions are contrasted by body bashing bass frequencies on the demonic “System Living” while the seething and slow burning breaks contrasted by eerie chimes and nefarious sound design on “Silver Sun” sounds like running through a nightmare in slow motion. The paranoid and immersive sound design of the title track (on the flip) is reminiscent of some of Trent Reznor’s soundtrack work, yet fantastic in its own right. Shreeve deconstructs the classic aesthetic of UK techstep, deconstructing it in a modern format.

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Simon Shreeve – Lust Product [LINO72]

Kerridge – Fatal Light Attraction [DNSKER002]

Kerridge’s 3rd long player marks a more fluid, or effluent, refinement of his sound, blurring the boundaries between organic audio sources and custom-constructed synths to flooding the senses with waves of bristling, oxidising industrial tones and coruscating texturhythm seemingly intent on separating flesh from bone. It’s evil stuff, all seven tracks of it, forming a closed feedback system of guttural, choking frequencies and cardiac arrhythymatics.

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Kerridge – Fatal Light Attraction [DNSKER002]

Tropic of Cancer – Archive: The Downwards Singles [BLACKEST041]

Blackest Ever Black serve up a double dose of Tropic Of Cancer goodness, with the fresh material from Camella Lobo complemented by this Archive: The Downwards Singles 12″. The smarter cookies out there will glean the content from the title, with Blackest Ever Black gathering together the earliest Tropic of Cancer material issued through the DO sublabel of Karl O’Connor’s Downwards label. These three tracks were recorded in Tropic Of Cancer’s original iteration of Lobo and Juan ‘Silent Servant’ Mendez, a time when the band was exploring a more explicitly bleaker, hazier sound. The motorik stomp and yelping Mendez vocals of closing track “Be Brave” remains a thrilling experience to sink into.

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Tropic of Cancer – Archive: The Downwards Singles [BLACKEST041]

Grebenstein – Grebenstein EP [DN063]

The mysterious Grebenstein is the latest artist to grace Downwards. It starts with the searing drones and rumbling drums of “Acting Within Your Terms” before progressing into the utterly menacing tones of “No You Don’t” and “Principles of Trust”. The latter’s dark soundscapes are underpinned by crashing drums and it is this element that makes the final track, “That’s Where The Answer Was, In Your Body” so memorable, as bombastic kicks and percussive volleys underpin the air of gloom.

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Grebenstein – Grebenstein EP [DN063]

Kerridge – A Fallen Empire [DNKLP001]

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First surfacing with an impressive debut EP for the Horizontal Ground label, it makes perfect sense that Berlin-based Samuel Kerridge should then gravitate towards Downwards to further expand on his own brand of industrial techno. You get feeling that the knowing sense of humour apparent in many of the titles to Kerridge productions appeals to someone like Downwards label boss Karl O’Connor. After several EPs for Downwards, Kerridge unveils his debut album A Fallen Empire which comes brandishing “7 pieces of sonic warfare” that lodge the producer ever deeper into the crawlspace between jagged industrial techno and white noise laden experimental sounds. B side behemoth “Death Is Upon Us” is a morbid highlight.

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Kerridge – A Fallen Empire [DNKLP001]

Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)

Finally we are at the last part of the 2012 review. In the first part of our review, the preferences of our followers are shown, according to the number of click and stars. Top 3 albums of the years, top 3 EPs, compilations and mixes loved by our followers can be seen here.

In the second part, I presented some of my favorite events and performances from last year. For more details go here.

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Continue reading “Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)”

Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)

Russel Haswell – Remixed [LINO051R]

Cover art - Russel Haswell: Remixed

Ahead of Haswell’s hugely anticipated album for Downwards, Regis, William Bennett (Whitehouse/Cut Hands) and Kevin Drumm set about his ‘Chua Rave’ and ‘Harshing’ cuts taken from a 5″ vinyl. Regis goes in first with a jagged, loopy rebuild of ‘Chua Rave’ revolving around a signature, numb hook crawling with insectoid, stereo-swarming textures and swung round a killer metallic clap. William Bennett meanwhile is back to his old tricks, refrying the same cut in a sweltering headfuck of disembowelled modular madness, but the star of the show is undoubtedly Kevin Drumm’s “GODDAMNIT!! 1,2,3” Remix. To ‘Harshing’ he applies cryptic, haptic processing, resulting a deeply rewarding noise punishment which subsides to cosmic splutter and elegiac microtonal drones reminding of his seminal ‘Imperial Distortion’ works. So damn good.

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Russel Haswell – Remixed [LINO051R]

Regis – Death Head Said [DN050]

Raw banging techno racks by Regis. ” the tracks from the Death Head Sessions were originally dub-plates used for Regis Live Actions at the End of the 90’s. They were used to layer over live electronics and are all interlocking pieces that were constructed to be played back to back. They have now been reclaimed from the earlier decoy release * ,re- mastered and arranged in the order they appeared on the original dub plates.”

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Regis – Death Head Said [DN050]

VA – So Click Heels [DOWNWARDSCLICK001]

Downwards’ collect the best of their DO series, together with a handful of exclusive aces on ‘So Click Heels’. Since 2009 the label’s affections for the miasmatic drizzle, sonic innovation and repressed violence of post-punk and shoegaze has manifested itself in some twelve releases veering between the scuzzy basement noise of Collin Gorman Weiland, the blissful feedback blooms of The KVB, and swaggering rock’n’roll from DVA Damas. A good proportion of them feature here – including Richard H Kirk’s droning remix of Tropic Of Cancer’s ‘Be Brave’, the desiccated drum machines of Sandra Electronics (Regis), and Pink Playground’s powdered-glass shoegaze bloomer ‘Ten”. Unreleased bits: the phet-clenched twitch of Deathday’s ‘Dropped Into Obscurity’ or V West’s ‘Catching Me Cold’; the excoriating sludge of The KVB’s ‘Dayzed’; a mighty slab of monochrome, motorik punk from Silent Servants (Juan Mendez); the psychoactivated rock ‘n roll of Green Screen Door; and not least an insidious Electro cut from Antonym, or the graphite surfaces and choking dust of Six Six Seconds’ ‘Tearing Down Heaven’.

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VA – So Click Heels [DOWNWARDSCLICK001]

The KVB – Into The Night [DN010]

Downwards continue to split the crowd with their riveting 10″ series, presenting this astonishing slab of motorik depression from The KVB. Klaus Von Barrel show here something darker, sexily narcotic and thrusting to their sound. ‘Into The Night’ is a case in point, with couldn’t-give-a-fu*k, glazed-eye vocals heard from behind a wall of Joy Division synths and a bruisingly muscular, meth-fuelled bassline. ‘Lost’ is perhaps more spacious, mixing everything tantalisingly out-of-reach, but with just enough abrasive guitar to gnash on. Again on ‘Hide & Wait’ the flanging, fire-and-ice-breathing guitar is upfront, while vocals are half-heard in the murk next to unrelenting drums Stephen Morris would be proud of. Includes 10″ x 10″ insert.

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The KVB – Into The Night [DN010]

Karl O’Connor – White Savage Dance [DN006]

Karl O’Connor digs into his sizeable archives for White Savage Dance, collating several key moments of his early experiments with industrially charged post-punk which surfaced during the early years of Downwards existence but were actually recorded long before. Sandwell District fans will find much to appreciate in the corrosive, metallic sounds that permeate throughout, not least the Anglo- Germanic versions of “Here & Now” that open and close the A Side. The jerking, spasmodic cold wave nature of the latter is a personal favourite here at Juno HQ. The B Side provides further intrigue as both tracks here see O’Connor step behind the mic, delivering some Robert Smith style vocals in his typical Brummie brogue atop sinewy guitars and drums that sound as if they’ve been carved from the hollow battering of caustic tin pans.

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Karl O’Connor – White Savage Dance [DN006]

Tropic Of Cancer – The End Of All Things [TOCCD001]

Tropic Of Cancer wrap up their time on Downwards (before their full time move to Blackest Ever Black) with a retrospective of their Downwards EPs and a collection of early demos. ‘The End Of All Things’ is Tropic Of Cancer’s tender farewell note to Downwards, collecting their two 10″s for the label together with a cover of Soft Cell’s ‘L.O.V.E. Feelings’ and new, unreleased material – seven tracks in total.

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Tropic Of Cancer – The End Of All Things [TOCCD001]

Tropic of Cancer – Be Brave [DO08]

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Stark and beautiful.. an amazing new title from John Mendez (Silent Servant / Sandwell) alongside his partner Camella Lobbo with the one and only Richard H Kirk (Cabaret Voltaire, Sweet Exorcist etc.) on remix duties.

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Tropic of Cancer – Be Brave [DO08]

Collin Gorman Weiland – Price Of Leather / Despair & Confession [D07]

Cover art - Collin Gorman Weiland: Price Of Leather

Downwards uproot a fine clod of propulsive drone noise from one Collin Gorman Weiland. He follows in the freshly trodden footsteps of Six Six Seconds to release a brilliant debut on the Regis-curated label. A-side ‘Price Of Leather’ attains a pummeling attack velocity of  industrial rhythms and sludgy, crooked kosmische spirals and the flipside ‘Despair And Confession’ zones out to gunkjack machine throbs and walls of welting distortion.

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Collin Gorman Weiland – Price Of Leather / Despair & Confession [D07]