“The album is a dialogue between the inner self and outer, and romance of eternal and immortal existence. Hence the first single, ‘Miriam’ being a ballad to the Vampiress main character in The Hunger book and film from the 80s. How do we make an emotion timeless?“
Acclaimed saxophonist, producer and composer Yasuaki Shimizu will release Kiren, his unreleased album from 1984, on the Palto Flats record label. Kiren is Yasuaki Shimizu’s work for experimental dance music. Employing cutting edge production to create lush new wave soundscapes, it bridges the gap between his early 80s recordings and his later work with the Saxophonettes, filling a key lost chapter in his discography. By the early 1980s Yasuaki Shimizu had established himself on the Japanese new wave scene, producing many important experimental pop records and releasing several albums as the bandleader of Mariah. Following the release of his widely regarded solo classic Kakashi, from 1982, and the otherworldly Utakata No Hibi, by Mariah in 1983, he went into the studio the following year with frequent collaborators, producer Aki Ikuta and Morio Watanabe (bassist of Mariah), to record a mystifying collection of experimental dance music. Utilizing cutting-edge technology and studio trickery, Kiren showcases Shimizu’s trademark playfulness, marrying richly layered production techniques to off-kilter, sometimes traditional sounding rhythms and melodies. Portending his work with the Saxophonettes as well as forecasting trends in techno, new wave, and futuristic rhythmic music, this formerly lost album represents an important period of Shimizu’s artistic expression, an artist at his peak, while successfully exploring the intersections of fusion, synthpop, new wave, and jazz.
Detriti Records presents a next cassette release from Swiss artist Karl Kave.
Tabula Rasa is a deep and often wistful journey into the world of Daniel Holt’s project Human Figures. Transitive and ethereal, these eight tracks effortlessly fuse elements of cold wave, post-punk, and minimal electronics culminating in a pensive opus awash in faded dreams. Another classic from the visionary artist at his finest.
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.
In 2012 Claus Fovea self released a cassette containing 10 tracks, he was at his Swedish beginnings. 9 years later Lux Rec re-discovered his tape and it still sounded so true and relevant to them that they decided to release it on vinyl. Claus then reworked some tracks, scrap some, and made few new. Florin Buchel mixed them down and Andrea Merlini mastered them. The result is a picture frozen in time, in between now and then, the struggle, and sadness, that fragile construction of hope shattered as time goes by, like nothing ever change. It is indeed, as he sings, just the same song playing all the time. Over and over.
Mannequin Records introduce you a brand new album by Johannes Haas aka L.F.T. (Love, Fist, Tears) – one of the hottest electro/wave names around the globe. Pursuing a stubborn DIY aesthetic with an extensive use of lo-fi technology, over compressed drum machines and tapes, over the last two years L.F.T. has released several records on different labels like Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder and Elena Colombi’s Osaré Editions. Endorsing a distinctive contemporary sound, ‘Salz’ is moving forward to an highly authentic mixture of electro and synthwave, with a lo-fi analog power blended all over his tracks, somewhere between Liaisons Dangereuses, I-F and Bakterielle Infektion, bringing us back – and fresh as never before – the amazing early days of CBS Radio – now Intergalactic Fm.
SIRS presents a selection of edits in the memory of the East German music available for download on his bandcamp.
A roundup of positive nostalgia from Fontaine SMC: two French artists and friends who share the same vision of electronic music. They have several project under other names, often axed on IDM/electro, but this time the joined the forces for a synthwave and punk flavor project. I was a soldier EP is a social criticism/journey into human fears and hard relationships, synthetized into an 80s look, dusty and raw sounding. A mix of punk dementia and the most intense dance music, the one that takes the joints and makes you move them well.
On Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop, Dark Entries brings us 10 divergent tracks of Mexican electronics from 1980-1989, full of skittering analog drum boxes and saucy synthesizer hooks. 8 of these songs were culled from the 2005 CD-only compilation Backup: Expediente Tecno Pop on AT-AT records. Also included are two previously unreleased cuts. This release marks the first time many of these songs will have appeared on vinyl; it is also the first ever vinyl compilation of Mexican New Wave and post-punk. While synth pop and obscure electronics from Europe and the United States have been extensively documented, much less attention has been paid to such offerings from the periphery. Back Up serves as a vital document of Mexico’s flourishing DIY scene in the 1980s, surveying a wide range of styles and moods. By using home recording techniques, the bands featured here were able to circumvent relying on the expensive studios of the era. Tracks by Avant Garde, Vandana, and Silueta Palida mine the kind of dreary-but-infectious wave that long-time Dark Entries fans will celebrate. Meanwhile, Volti and Artefacto offer a floor-ready pop sound that has echoes of NY freestyle, with Latin percussion and boxy beats. But darker turns are present as well, with Decada 2s New Beat-inflections and electro experiments of Syntoma and their side project Escuadrón Del Ritmo.
Absolute Body Control was formed by Dirk Ivens in 1980 influenced by the sound produced by the likes of Suicide, D.A.F. and the UK electronic scene. Eric Van Wonterghem joined the project next year just after the release of the debut 7″ “Is There An Exit?”. They released together just some cassettes during its brief initial run, but this was enough to gain a following in and outside Belgium. A compilation of tracks entitled “Eat This” was eventually done in 1993 and a first edition of the collection “Lost / Found” was issued on CD in 2005. Dirk and Eric took the project back on stage in 2006 and decided to re-activate it. They first re-recorded some of their classic songs for the album “WindReWind” and then continued releasing new material and touring all Europe and beyond. “Lost / Found” is the definitive collection of this minimal-synth-wave act and is now available for the first time on vinyl record with a total of 52 songs including 8 previously unreleased.
In 1986, the young Rickard Karlsson, Magnus Jönsson and Fredrik Bergman formed the all-synth band Etage Neun in Ystad, Sweden. Admittedly influenced by Depeche Mode and right in the middle of the Cold War, their lyrics were often dark, about human conflicts and the nuclear threat. In May 88 they self-released their first album “War And Emotions” in cassette format only. This album has been impossible to find for decades and has become a must have for synthpop fans all over the world. Time has proved that Etage Neun should have gained more recognition back then, but at least we have the opportunity now to listen to this synth masterpiece with far superior sound quality than ever before.
An album of intricate minimal wave/post punk from Daniel Holt’s new project Human Figures. Human Figures is a completely new and personal avenue of expression for Holt. “Footsteps” is liminal, lonely and misty with negative space between each instrument. Each note invokes a warm hypnagogic atmosphere, tinged with fluttering anxiety. Through these eight tracks, this multifaceted musician shows another side of his art with guitars, basslines and drum machines. The mournful “Lifted Burden”, with its cowbells and echoing vocals swaddled in warm strings, sets the tone. Haunting notes are supported by a staccato beat as Holt´s melancholic vocals sail in “40 Days” before the bare brilliance of “An Open Heart.” A spread of influences is drawn on for Human Figures: the post-punk rawness of “For My Angel”, the synth romance of “Footsteps” the cold reductions of “Passing Beyond Body.” Sombre, stirring and superb.
“Footsteps” was release also on cassette last year on Popnihil.
The second instalment on the Lux Rec 7″ series comes from Zurich based musician Nicola Kazimir. Fast paced, powerful yet dramatic, shaped by his interests for occult rituals, Japanese weird imagery and fringe politics of life, these four songs are the soundtrack of those long hours spent in haze in his studio next to the Limmat river.
The Swiss New Wave heroes Karl Kave & Durian collaborate for the album”Untergang und Finsternis” on Detriti Records. Dreamy synths, dreamy lyrics, dreamy people.
Karl Kave makes his appearance on Lux Rec for their first release in 7″ format. Four terse tracks influenced by his past experiences, high and low as they come, tumultuous thoughts and life events. The result is a sombre nostalgia for all that is not there anymore. Coming from Rheintal, a valley on the eastern part of Switzerland, he uses English, German and his native Swiss dialect to sing. Dive into it, meet sadness.
Minimal Wave presents ‘Recordings 1980-1982’ (MW077), a triple 7” box set by pioneering south Florida synth-punk band Futurisk, in honor of their 40th anniversary. Founded by Jeremy Kolosine in 1978, Futurisk recorded many songs and performed live throughout the early 1980s. Though they had released two 7”s that sold out, had a legendary live show, and even some videos, by 1984 Futurisk was history. Eventually, the main core of Futurisk would be the Jeremy Kolosine, Richard Hess, and Jack Howard line-up though much happened leading up to this point.
WRWTFWW Records reissue Swiss cult band Grauzone’s self-titled album in an expanded 40 Years Anniversary Edition packed with the original 1981 album plus 9 extra songs, as well as extensive liner notes by Swiss music historian Lurker Grand. The pioneering band from Bern (Switzerland) had a short-lived but highly-regarded career which birthed a cult discography that still fascinates and resonates today. Consisting of core members Martin Eicher, Stephan Eicher, and Marco Repetto, and on-and-off participants Christian GT Trüssel, Claudine Chirac, and Ingrid Berney, the elusive group broke new grounds in the early 80s, experimenting with punk and industrial music, early techno sounds, minimalism, new wave, pop, and various electronics. With an innovative and polished approach to design, visuals, performance, and all around style and philosophy on top of their superb music, the constantly transforming unit developed a whole experience – the Grauzone experience: wild and unpredictable, yet sophisticated and cohesive, or as Swiss music historian Lurker Grand would call it, “an Art band with a Punk attitude”. Completely rejecting the music industry rules and refusing to play the game of promotion, touring, release schedules, and TV appearances even though they had a multi-platinum international hit with the song “Eisbär”, the band quickly disintegrated in full convention-defying glory, leaving behind an inspiring music legacy for the world to discover and discover again, one generation after the other. This extended version of their debut (and only) album beautifully crystallizes the Grauzone miracle/accident – where pop and youthful experimentation meet at (new/cold/no) wave and industrial crossroads.
Cardinal & Nun returns to L.I.E.S. now with his debut LP, 8 songs of full on rotten stripped back, fuzzed out, synth punk mayhem. Straight to the head beautifully thrashing anthems, Cardinal & Nun goes in with catchy basslines, dissonant guitar chop ups, and vocals that creep from the shadows throughout the affair. Don’t gas out though, there are some somber cuts on the b-side’s ”Whats Goin On Tonite?”, ”Pandemonium” and ”Day After Day”. A true gem in the French scene, now get in the pit and slamjack.
Russian no wave / synth duo The Bleak Engineers seem a neat fit with the first 12″ release from Rotation Mecanique. It’s the new statement of the band, whose members are worth of attention: the grey eminence of the Russian electronic scene Alexander Moralez (Brokntoys/Gigolo/MSQ) and the horror and surf rock goddess Svetlana Zombierella (Messer Chups). The main track, “Unconscious”, is accompanied by 5 more new musical revelations: the fresh compositions, which will be the new hits and the mysterious instrumentals in their trademark gloomy electronic no wave sound. The isolation is not the reason to be silent. Hearing the bleak, sometimes hopeless and sometimes hopeful vertigo of synths, vintage drum machines, floating bass lines, frank and mild vocals without any rush and without any attachment to time and place. And that is the incomplete list of adjectives related to this release.