Saturday 9 January 2021

What a Week

The title says it all really. As someone in Europe and in Education the week was already tumultuous from the get go and it's only escalated from there. For context I originally sat down to write this post on Wednesday and have just been a combination of busy and agog at the state of things to really apply myself (and celebrating slightly when it comes to yesterday's developments but that's a topic for another day). But I'm here to wrap it up now!

Charles Sheeler - American Landscape (1930)

So what have I been listening to in this eternal week? Well, the majority of my Phone is still fit to bursting with Eurobeat as it remains my go-to genre for instant energy injection, but I've also been stretching my Punk legs a bit with the charmingly named Diarrhea Planet - though, while badass as hell, isn't really suitable for this electronic space.

On that same note I have fallen back in with Zamilska again. I've not really gone deeper than the Undone album (and I really should one of these days), but even on the relatively short 7 tracks of the album she displays an absolute mastery of building tension. The entire LP is fantastically built, really nailing that slightly oppressive and claustrophobic feel that's only compounded as more and more layers get introduced. Just when you think we've settled into a groove, another layer of sound crashes into the mix to spice things up once again - my favourite being around 2:50-ish. if I had one complaint it would be that the track just kind of fizzles out, I'd have liked one final explosion of noise to ring in the end like on some of Clark's tracks, but that's a moot point as the overall experience is brilliantly executed.

On that same note I dug out the Adult Swim Fever Dreams compilation again, it's a real who's who of Synthwave and general retro electronic but also has a ton of artists I'd never have found otherwise on it. A track I always forget about and then fall back in love with is Stratos by Majeure. As is the tale with so many tracks on compilations, I kinda wrote it off for a while because after a whole album of similar stuff I just kinda lumped it in that 'retro electronic' pile. And the intro kind of betrays it in that sense, I can see why I made that assumption but man oh man was I rewarded for sticking with it - the first of those key changes around 1:30 just sent me. It's not the first track to do so, and I'm not even sure I'm using the right terms there but I just adore whenever that kind of progression crops up (which to be fair, probably explains a lot of my love for Eurobeat as well). It's still not available to stream anywhere other that Adult Swim's site so apologies if you're reading this in the future and the player is broken and apologies if you're reading it now for the bigger than I would like embed.

And finally a tune I meant to talk about when it first came up, but forgot to/couldn't because all the sources weren't official. HEALTH make their first appearance since the NYE post, I'm still in that honeymoon period with DEATH MAGIC since I put it back into rotation and almost picked another track from it, but today we're talking BODY/PRISON instead. A collaboration between HEALTH and Perturbator on paper sounds almost perfect, the kind of sound HEALTH have since their more electronic adventures with DEATH MAGIC has some synthwavy bits to it anyway, so this match up is ideal. I did have some concerns going in about it being too much though, it's very easy to overdo it when it comes to that sound. But when it comes to the end result, Perturbator's touch seems to have been very light and I don't mean that negatively, they've done a very good job of merging their styles which makes it come across as a true collaboration and not just a Perturbator remix of HELATH.

Granted, I haven't really kept up with Perturbator since the release of The Uncanny Valley so I'm not sure if his sound has changed that much, but if you're a big fan of the style of that album and their previous, just manage your expectations going into this one. I've yet to check out DISCO4 as a whole but the couple singles I heard in the run up were really nice - here's looking forward to Part II.

And that'll about do it for this week (or however long it takes until I post again), I hope you are all doing well and that maybe you'll find something you like in these selections. I know for definite I need to check out Majeure's other work for starters. And as always: Stay safe, and enjoy the music.


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