Soft Rocks – Talking Jungle [ESP008A]

On this 12″ (the first of 4 surrounding The Revenge of Soft Rocks remix album) we’re treated with a serious disco belted version of Talking Jungle as reworked by Justin Vandervolgen and an insanely serene take on Obo by ESP favorite Tiago.

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Soft Rocks – Talking Jungle [ESP008A]

Dalo – Punch [ESP095]

DALO aka Nadia D’Alò emerged at the ESP Institute in 2018 with a brutal remix for Benedikt Frey’s Private Games. Having been floored by her sinister aesthetic and stripped-back approach to production, as well as being long time fans of INIT (her collaborative project with Benedikt), the ESP institute was compelled to commission a dedicated solo work. Across four beastly tracks, Nadia pulls from a gritty palette of instrumentation, combining ritualistic drums, industrial percussion and scratchy acid lines with a blurry montage of demonic sighs and whispers. The result is deeply hypnotic.

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Dalo – Punch [ESP095]

Autre – Everybody In The Past [ESP086]

Autre fell asleep in a gondola and awoke in the Krankenhaus. This is his first offering for the ESP Institute. Side A’s Everybody In The Past is sharp techno aimed for the alleys of your mind — gritty, driving, and melodic combinations of blown-out drums and classic electro riffs that relentlessly sprint for a good 4 minutes before a squelching arpeggio and angelic solo kick in — tugging the heartstrings and lighting a beacon for those noble morning dancers lost at the front left speaker, channeling from the deep. On Side B, Frigo completely dismantles any expectations you might have after listening to its predecessor. An undoubtedly seductive Samba rhythm comprised of distant snares, rim shots and cowbells holds together an aggressively active bassline, a steel drum harmony and synth solo that crawl all over like a funky worm. This track is truly something special, a gift for the prodigious selector — when dropped in the deserved context, it has the potential to unlock unprecedented levels of euphoria. These two songs are as fluid as a paintbrush yet precise as a scalpel.

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Autre – Everybody In The Past [ESP086]

Sharif Laffrey – Tangier b/w Everything Is Nice [ESP079]

Sharif Laffrey can charm the snake out of any basket. This is his first offering for the ESP Institute. Side A’s Tangier is a long drawn-out exercise, an endurance test of the highest order. Over the span of some thirteen minutes, elements bob and weave intermittently and layers overlap haphazardly—the type of exciting dynamic that’s born out of restriction—as if putting down a live jam without enough hands to work the console, yet Sharif perseveres. As touch and go as this arrangement may be, there is something that undoubtedly glues it all in place; the combination of his massive rolling 16th-note bassline and his tough-as-nails drumkit is so good that, upon first listen, we spat out our tea and insisted on its release. On side B, Everything Is Nice carries on with loose arrangement, dirty production and layers of inexplicable spoken- word samples (a Sharif calling card by now) but this time we’re lead to a melancholy place, the blue comedown to Side A’s antagonistic trial. With his ESP Institute debut, Sharif leaves you mentally unhinged, as if you’ve smoked something interesting and arrived bewildered in some Saharan labyrinth. These two songs will guide you through the medina to score the black meat.

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Sharif Laffrey – Tangier b/w Everything Is Nice [ESP079]

Man Power & Last Waltz – Tistish b/w Nee Shitteru [ESP069]

Man Power returned to his Northern home for one Last Waltz. This is their joint offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, Man Power welcomes us with Tistish, stepping slightly out of his comfort zone and employing a boxy breakbeat to create a dose movement. This contrasts his signature fatty bassline and together they establish a ground on which to stack layers of atonal square and sawtooth waves. About halfway through he introduces a massively seductive string lead and for the remainder of the ride this palette of sounds coalesce in dark orchestral beauty. On side B, Man Power’s cohorts Last Waltz deliver Nee Shitteru, a true stomper of a track complete with in-your-face toms and off-time percussion patterns, an intense driving acid line, and aggressive shamanic chanting. Throw in some crash cymbals, sci-fi sound effects and a smattering of gamelan and it amounts to an overwhelmingly chaotic and psychedelic trip. These two songs will have you speaking in tongues.

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Man Power & Last Waltz – Tistish b/w Nee Shitteru [ESP069]

Benedikt Frey – Artificial [ESP048]

There is a sense of urgency increasingly infecting the human condition, fragmenting our attention span, accelerating our needs and often influencing our motives when making creative decisions. The result is a lack of dynamics, there is no ebb or flow, its “go” time, all the time. Electronic music is one of the clearest examples of a widening division between great art created in a deeply imaginative vaccum and the soulessly formulaic and branded product that serves the impatient masses. What draws the ESP Institute to Benedikt Frey is his ability to operate on the fringe, outside the constructs artists constantly channel themselves into—his art speaks a pure language that is realized by any means necessary, a process devised solely to articulate his own message, one delivered with patience, never rushed nor dictated by the outside world. Artificial was written and produced over two years, tirelessly sculpted into a sequence abstract pieces that are fiercely independent but accumulate layers of meaning when collaged. It is electronic and rhythm-based, but never reliant on any prescribed instrumentation, arrangement or expecatation. This is our idea of well conceived and executed album; not simply a collection of tracks but a complex narrative that unfolds over peaks and valleys, pulling the listener into emotional corners before leaving a residual impression. Some may describe music very well in words, but there is always something lost in translation—a story only the music itself can tell.

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Benedikt Frey – Artificial [ESP048]

Warp Factor 9 – The Atmospherian [ESP056]

Warp Factor 9 is a one-off project by John and Russell Kilby of esoteric post-rock bands The Crystal Set and Bhagavad Guitars respectively. The Atmospherian originally appeared on their self-released 1993 album Five Days In A Photon Belt. Carpentaria made an edit of the track linearly and replayed certain elements from scratch along with some re-recorded vocals from John. During this process, Tamas and Paul generated elements that would subsequently be used for a remix by fellow Aussie producer and prodigy Tornado Wallace.

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Warp Factor 9 – The Atmospherian [ESP056]

The Hands – The Hands EP [ESPHB001]

Freaked out crunchy psychedelic trips on ESP. label promo text:”Whilst on a Balinese surf safari searching for a secret spot where pink dolphins populate the line-up, The Hands would be my guide. I’d been warned he had recently been busted trying to purchase human flesh on the black market. Bombing through the jungle, The Hands hit play and the truck was bathed in Gothic Berlin toilet techno. ”Holy shit,” said I,“what is this?” The Hands said, “The Hands.” But what else was I to expect from an Austrian/Balinese techno cannibal? —DJ Harvey”

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The Hands – The Hands EP [ESPHB001]

Toby Tobias – Gravitator / Right Turn To Nowhere [ESP061]

Toby Tobias can be found in the shadows of South London. This is his first offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, ‘Gravitator’ evolves slowly over ten minutes from a somber intro of supernatural sighs, pulsing machine feedback and techno squelches into an ethereal landscape peppered with dissonant fragments of synth. With side B’s ‘Right Turn To Nowhere’, Toby stretches out even further, flexing a tasteful programming of the 808 while taking the long road to a reverb-drenched crescendo of distortions and expansive string swells.

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Toby Tobias – Gravitator / Right Turn To Nowhere [ESP061]

Mister Ho & Heap – Feeling Hopeful [ESP045]

Mister Ho & Heap close their eyes and float downstream. This is their second offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, Feeling Hopeful is a straight-ahead burner comprised of minimal thuds, bumps, honks, blips, bleeps and bloops—a harmonious arrangement of percussive elements and soaring synth chords that feels both slow and fast paced, sunset and sunrise hour, island back roads and traffic in metropolis. On side B, Gis Gis explores a similar notion of contrast, setting a the scene with a driving mechanical hi-hat that never dips below the selection of luscious melodies—a cha-cha bassline, breezy chords and a slippery lead hook that collectively invite us all for poolside Pin?a Coladas at the Ho & Heap villa. These two songs were conceived in the year of the monkey.

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Mister Ho & Heap – Feeling Hopeful [ESP045]

Vactrol Park – II [ESP026B]

Vactrol Park, the collaborative endeavor between Kyle Martin (Land of Light) and Guido Zen (Brain Machine), returns to the ESP Institute with II, rounding out the second half of their EP series. For this installment, a sojourn was made to Stockholm to record at the computer music mecca, EMS (Elektronmusikstudion), where the artists had the opportunity to experiment extensively with the legendary Buchla 200 Modular and Serge Modular, two of the rarest and most pornographic modular synthesizers in existence. While both instruments originate from California (Buchla in Berkeley as a commission from pioneer Morton Subotnik, and Serge at the California Institute of the Arts), the music Vactrol Park draws from these machines is far from warm and sunny. Akin to their predecessors on the 2015 debut I, these works materialize a level of taste and measure of craft that’s unattainable by most, each retaining an individual cinematic approach yet working collectively toward one consummate goal—paralysis.

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Vactrol Park – II [ESP026B]

Mister Ho & Heap – Collision Resistance B/W Veils Of The Beloved [ESP044]

Mister Ho and Heap are ambassadors of the river Danube. This is their first offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, Collision Resistance throws us into the bowels of an underground sex lair with an adrenaline-laden heartbeat for a kick drum, a rough dose of fisting illustrated by the combination of bassline with low-tom and an unrelenting snare that whips us raw into submission. Somewhere in between the waves of punishment we can start to audibly pick up tortured moans of endurance and pleasure, but maybe its time we pull our minds from the gutter, wipe the sweat from our brow and flip the record for a reward. With side B’s Veils Of The Beloved, Mister Ho & Heap deliver us via speedboat to the white isle, coasting along to bouncy staccato bass notes and machine bleeps as a euphoric chord progression puts us in an 808 state of mind. The percussion arrangement and phasing string flourishes are introduced through a filter, opening slowly as if coming up for air from a beautiful blue abyss.

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Mister Ho & Heap – Collision Resistance B/W Veils Of The Beloved [ESP044]

Benedikt Frey – The Lobbyist [ESP028]

Benedikt Frey crafts a musical aesthetic that might only be seen in its true form from a birds-eye view—a whole greater than the sum of its parts. His playful indifference to genre specifics and pre-prescribed instrumentation or production techniques makes for a loose and refreshing collection of work, and this debut for the ESP Institute, The Lobbyist, serves up an incongruous three tracks so bewildering and narcotic we’re already impatiently fiending for more.

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Benedikt Frey – The Lobbyist [ESP028]

Vactrol Park – I [ESP026A]

Vactrol Park is an honest outpouring of thematic obsession, a celebration of championed studio components and the mastery of their nuance, an avant garde collaboration between Kyle Martin (Land of Light, Spectral Empire) and Guido Zen (Gamers in Exile, Brain Machine). Simply entitled “I” (the first of a 2 part series), this debut EP opens the door to a world of ebb and flow, layers of oscillation falling in and out of sync, keeping us on the brink of vertigo and, as cliché as it may sound, we find solace in its chaos. This homogeneous release plays with the notions of systems as beautifully symbolized Mario Hugo’s capsule of cardiology—yet another visually arresting module in the ESP Institute catalogue.

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Vactrol Park – I [ESP026A]

33.10.3402 – Mecanica III [ESP016C]

33-10-3402, also known as Serbian-born artist/producer Nenad Markovic, returns to the ESP Institute for the fourth and final release in his opium den and whorehouse inspired Mecanica series. ‘Slow Port’ is a cacophonous track, skillfully composed of an erratic barrage of percussive klinks and klanks as you might find in an automotive factory—pistons, gears, quips, cranks, but despite its industrial instrumentation, Nenad manages to extract a beautifully seductive quality from this beast. On Side B we’re faced with the slightly more musical ‘Plutonium Certainly’, an exercise in distortion which is punctuated by repetitive androgynous chanting, and finally we culminate and release simultaneously with ‘Elika’, an overtly ethereal blur somewhere between hope and melancholy.

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33.10.3402 – Mecanica III [ESP016C]

Mark E – Emergency [ESP025]

Mark E with his first offering for the ESP Institute. ‘Laurentian Abyss’ undoubtedly conjures narrative images from the depths of a man’s soul, trudging through an array of rhythmic pulse, percussion and arpeggiation that resembles the inner workings of a grandfather clock, based on a disorienting 5/4 timing yet culminating in a singular stroke. On the flip side, the title track ‘Emergency’ begins with the formula for which we know Mark E best, the ultimate tease winding us up for the big payoff, yet here we’re forced into a cyclical trance which diverts our attention so effectively that we never actually receive what we’ve been waiting for, Mark’s elusive drop.

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Mark E – Emergency [ESP025]

Tornado Wallace – Thinking Allowed (Remixes) [ESP015B]

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Tornado Wallace’s massive “Thinking Allowed” EP gets a nice re-rub! Side A brings mysterious bella, Nina Amnesia, on board for a crispy 909 workout of “Bit 1” — a  nice float on the breeze, ready for Summer! On side B, Pharaohs do what they do best, adding warmth and live instrumentation to the title track while losing the original vocal altogether — a welcome transformation.

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Tornado Wallace – Thinking Allowed (Remixes) [ESP015B]

Tornado Wallace – Thinking Allowed EP [ESP015]

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Tornado Wallace with a new EP on ESP Institute. Tree killer tunes from starting with “BIT 1”, a hypnotic groove with a deep bass and slow arpeggiated synths. “Cloud Country” follows with a space-like electro vibe while the title track on the flip opts for a sweet atmospheric feel and more outer space attitude.

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Tornado Wallace – Thinking Allowed EP [ESP015]

Pharaohs – Island Time [ESP014]

Pharaohs is a live band from Los Angeles including blossoming producers Suzanne Kraft, Ale Cohen and surfer/synth-geek, Sam Cooper. Side A leads with “Ahumbo” (named after Sam’s dream beach in Zanzibar), blending a dry and simplistic rhythm section with swelling synth chords, a cheeky vocal and a vibrant surf guitar. The title track “Island Time,” a bouncy jungle vibe with chant about tropical fruits, a reminder that its always Summer somewhere. Side B doles out “If It Ever Feels Right,” a percussive House jam that is literally a JAM.

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Pharaohs – Island Time [ESP014]

Michael Ozone – Perfect Systems Remixed [ESP006B]

Michael Ozone, the character who’s just dropped his debut offering for the ESP Institute this July, is back with a remixed version of his jungle-tuff “Perfect Systems” EP. On Side A, Steve Summers has taken Perfect Systems for an imperfect ride, jacking it up as expected while keeping the somewhat sinister mood of the original. On the flip, Young Marco strips down Hetrotopia to its core, letting you realize how a well-programmed track can maintain its melodic and hypnotic sense, even when all that’s left is percussion.

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Michael Ozone – Perfect Systems Remixed [ESP006B]