Welcome to Nicolini’s wonderful world of surprise – Penni’s Palace. Here you will find zebra-chairs and matchbox countachs, colourful tv-screens and Penni the cat presiding over proceedings. You will also find Nicolini, hunched over his MPC or Casio keyboards, sweeping the EQs to make the sounds move, jamming out his songs in heavy microdoses. They are the sounds of machines and the city – Amsterdam centre to be precise – brought to life with volts of electricity. These songs started out as a live show on the terrace of Garage Noord nightclub, and over the following months Nicolini tweaked and re-recorded them into the collection of tracks you have before you. Bristling with energy, these live jams have a loose, almost mystical feeling – you never know quite what’s around the corner. Sounds jump out of the speakers at you, from car engines to reverb crashes. Opposites face off against each other – the mechanical meets the organic, and the cold emptiness of the city contrasts with the warm timbres of tropical climes.
You could think of the collection of tracks here as a library record of sorts, and each track inhabits its own universe. Tropical fits various moods and situations, and it could soundtrack any number of activities at home or on a dancefloor – whether real, imaginary, or hallucinated. Strangely enough, it sounds like it could have been constructed from obscure Italian library breaks, when instead every instrument has been played and panned, several times over, across magnetic tape. The genesis of many of these tracks began when CV Vision moved to Berlin in 2014. His flat had a small chamber where he could fit a drum set, so he treated the walls with foam, and in true DIY style, dived headfirst into recording these tracks. It was the natural next step on an audio adventure that first began when CV Vision picked up the guitar in his teens, and a couple years later started recording with friends in his home town of Bayreuth. Fast forward ten years and here is his debut – a culmination of practising chops and learning instruments, mastering recording techniques and fine-tuning the CV Vision sound. It’s a sound that condenses elements of acid rock, psych soul, library funk and new wave oddities into a movie soundtrack for your mind. It’s a journey from ‘60s west coast LSD-drenched excursions to ‘80s synth and post-punk mutations. Tropical is a plunge into another time, another music you can simply swim around in and explore.
Welcome to the curious world of Peter Graf York: a world full of city centre safaris and epic train journeys, Soviet cosmonauts and Oakland rappers, filtered synths and plucked mbiras. It’s a wild ride inspired as much by Jamaican dub sorcery as by playful minimalism outta the Pacific Northwest. Many of these tracks were composed on the hoof – literally en route across sections of the ever-reliable Deutsche Bahn network. As such, there’s a certain travellin-without-moving dynamic across this collection, capturing that cinematic feel of window frames flickering past graffiti’d signal exchanges, morphing into rolling hills and green forests. Expedition Bahn is the sound of ideas being set in motion, each track heralding the arrival of an uncanny destination. Blazed beats give way to acid-fuelled electro, and dub rhythms step aside for 4th world meditations as readily as sleepers on a train track. We can leave the last word to heroic USSR cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, who spent the final moments of his fateful re-entry giving the administration an earful of righteous proportions (regarding the technical failures of the spacecraft). Taking his place as the first martyr of space travel, Komarov accepted the Soyuz mission despite safety concerns, in order to protect the other cosmonauts. It’s an attitude that echoes throughout PGY’s sonic universe – make the most of the trip you’re on… ‘cause you never know just which way it will go.