Infinite Glance Court – Maoupa Mazzocchetti

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aaaaand finally, here come the Belgians! So, I guess we had to wind up in Brussels, administrative epicentre and continental byword for wrongheaded micromanagement. In unrelated news it’s also home to wonky techno chap Mauopo Mazzocchetti, who appears to be in flagrant contradiction of some EU edict about adding surplus letters to one’s name, the tinker. He’s not much of one for observing genre rules either, more into wandering around giving free rein to his own curious imaginings. This EP is a clutch of endearingly odd little adventures that hold onto the techno tag somewhat absent mindedly. Submerged voices are slowly drowned out by slightly awkward space age bleeps and clonks on first track ‘Infinity A’. The pick of the bunch is ‘I Would Prefer Not To’ which is like some kind of Kraftwerk/Pram hybrid voiced by a speak and spell. Okay, yeah, it is like Modified Toy Orchestra. Although at the same time, it’s not. ‘Gelatin Liposuction Candy’ is a disturbing title and the track buzzes and pulses like some cheerfully awful machine subjecting you to a medical indignity. This is the ungodly robot surgery they have planned for us if we don’t quit the EU and destroy the NHS as quickly as possible. Mark my words.

 

 

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cats ‘n’ techno – they love it

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Italian kittens. Let’s press on and round out this tour of EU countries by Friday, get to the pub early. Italy – it ain’t all pizza and bunga bunga. Some more techno here, a couple of releases on Opal Tapes at the end of this week. Both tunes up for streaming are claustrophobic, driving, machine-tooled clank and grind. No messing, no murk, no time wasters. Gondwana is Andrea Taeggi who has put out stuff on Opal Tapes before including last year’s excellent Transmissions From Revarsavr  as half of Lumisokea with Koenraad Ecker. The title track ‘Miccaotli’ has some clattering erratic percussion and builds a unique pile of twisting metal noises up on top.

Domenico Crisci is pretty much new to me but has put out stuff on all kinds of labels including Jealous God, which makes sense, even the title ‘Black Roses’ is like something Jealous God or Downwards would put out – and it has that familiar dark pounding thing going on. It’s splendid.

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hickraine-sonicWell my fellow eurotrash, after a busy weekend enjoying myself and ignoring this irritating blog it’s looking increasingly unlikely we’ll actually make it around the 28 EU member states in the 28 days of February. It’s pancake day for one thing, and I’m not about to give up my weird not exactly catholic national heritage day of feasting just because I have pancakes every saturday, no indeed. Not to fret, having dug through some favourites from 2016 to shake out the first half I’ve quite warmed to the challenge of what can be found in the further corners of the euro musique-mart if you set out to looking for it. Now, searching for music by nationality is a curious way to go about things but it does throw up stuff you might otherwise never have found. A lot of it pretty bad. That thing about not judging a book by its cover? Maybe people worked hard to make that artwork fit with and represent the music it accompanies. Or maybe they just used a bunch of shockingly pervasive and easily read genre clichés to save time. Black Metal and Techno are among the worst offenders in this respect, if far from the only ones. Lets just say there’s a stronger subcultural identity there shall we? Anyways, as I pointed last week that one of the many things that bind us as a continent was black metal, so it is with techno (and, lamentably, all kinds of psy-trance and electro pop horrors). Now, let’s have a good, stiff, drink and get out there amongst it eh?

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This is only the fourth release from Sofia’s DVNTT –  a new techno/experimental imprint. First track takes the crown for best title with ‘Prone to Verbosity’ (I know a guy like that, don’t you?) it kicks in with a claustrophobic pulse slowly adding elements until it dissolves into a rather lovely melodic noise meltdown that hovers for just as long as it can before everything comes smacking back in eventually building up to a worrying swarm of bugs knocking itself off kilter. The other tracks are good too but that ones the pick of the bunch. Annoyed by the apparent missing S in Diaster I found myself googling it so you don’t have to – it may, or may not, have something to do with Diastereomer who knows?

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Hot off the presses people! Microlith has a new EP arriving presently on Sheffield’s CPU. Only one we can stream at the moment is called ‘8oh8 Freight’, which is a shame ‘cos who doesn’t want to hear a tune called ‘Acid In A Church’ right? The clues are right there in the titles, couldn’t make it more plain really this is all the way squelchy, wibbling, wobbling acid. Everything on what I guess are now the retro or vintage settings, endearingly rubbish electro handclaps – all that business. It’s bright and breezy and interesting enough not to be pointless, made in a clean, white space that dreamt of a bright future that we lost along the way. It’s a bit like that recent pHarmerz record only without all the agricultural filth all over it. The bright clear skies of the mediterranean not the west country mud. Not as wildly inventive as the Analord stuff but in that area. Whole album’s worth from last year here too, includes the splendid ‘Bouncy Castle’ . . .

croatia

Croatia proved a little trickier at first but behold the marvel that is the Low Income $quad. ‘A record label for the true folks’, a local label for local people, if you will. They’ve a taste for the crappy pixelated imagery of old video games and this is their fourth compilation of rough and ready techno that sounds like it was made on similarly dated and wheezing gear. There’s plenty of murk and distortion, buckets of hiss and grating sheets of noise. Mmmm, delicious. Throughout the whole thing there’s a strong live on hardware vibe and a general ‘waking up in a dank basement when the party is over but not dead yet’ mood. ‘Dank’ as the young people allegedly say. None of the names here are familiar to me and the aesthetic is so consistent you can’t help but suspect some, if not many, aliases are at work. Turns out Ford Foster and Drvg Cvltvre have appeared on the previous installments knocking down both the theory of one core group or individual and of it being exclusively drawn from a shadowy Croatian underground. Nonetheless – it’s an enjoyably dysfunctional ride. The best title nod goes to Qnete for ‘Balls Hanging Out Of Pants’, Yeah, cheers for that one mate.

tallin

Meanwhile, in Tallin Estonia . . . last Friday saw the arrival of this latest EP from the insanely prolific Oudeis. It’s more a sci-fi synth thing than actual techno to be fair with you but it is lovely and full of warm, swooshing, dramatic synths. As best I can tell this is something of a new development although he seems to like tinkering with a variety of forms, (‘Electronica, hard- and darkcore, dnb, IDM, derpstep, techno, Slavic and Middle-Eastern folk, mental delusions, noise, dark ambient, drone’) there’s loads and loads of music on his bandcamp site and most of it is name you price if you want to investigate. Here as a bonus is the much darker, colder, moodier ‘Premonition’. oooooh, spooky.

Mirt – random soundtrack

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“Random Soundtrack” indeed. For a blurry, enigmatic art film possibly. A collage assembled by chance gesture. Without resorting to nostalgia or pastiche the album is subtly dressed in the vintage clothes of library music and 50’s exotica albums. The hot colours and tribal mask of the cover, the titles (ambient interlude, night sequence, love theme, main theme etc) which come to seem randomly attached to their tracks, found elsewhere and borrowed as much for their blank functionality as anything they evoke, the very title itself. Mirt seems disinterested in literal minded narratives or the familiar emotional button punching of film soundtracks, this has dream logic, what might the unconcious conjur from the collision of disparate elements? For clarity the first track is called ‘Second Track’ – you will be wrong footed from the start, ‘Motorboat Chase’ has bubbling synths and a vaguely aquatic feel but nothing at all to suggest the mechanical urgency of the title. Shifting moods and atmospheres step discreetly back from pushing a particular reading onto you. ‘Night Sequence’ moves from a vague disquiet through clouds of synths and tension building percussion but steers clear of allowing either chills or exhilaration claim it. Like those Exotica records and Eno’s dictum for ambient music, it works well in the background and rewards your attention should you listen closer. Found sounds and field recordings wash through and the whole works as one extended changing and evolving piece divided more for expediency or amusement. ‘Love Theme’ is smudged by rain and traffic and deep down there’s the muffled heartbeat of the city, steady but untroubled by any romantic melody. The pervasive mood is like the warm pink of the cover, it could be the soundtrack to a completely uneventful Bond movie, a shifting travelogue of locations blurring together, the surface of its reflection unbroken by anything so vulgar and needy as drama. The elements begin to align as the sound of waves lapping opens ‘Sunrise On The Beach’ but it’s less a glorious idyll than a confused awakening as the waves morph into abstracted electronic noise. It gives way to the beautiful and calming ‘Main Theme’ the waves briefly returning. Saving the best forlast it’s definitely the high point. Mirt compares making it to a form of automatic writing and suggests it’s “a worrying thought about capturing the image of the last quiet days of the chaotic world.”

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S. Olbricht – For Perfect Beings

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I’m pretty sure it was Opal Tapes, that font of all things murky, subterranean and analogue, that first put S. Olbricht’s name in front of me, one of a long and impressive line of intriguing artists they’ve sign posted. Still, Lobster Theremin is a better name for a label though, no contest. This album from last year is pleasingly fuzzy, off-kilter techno, a soup of textured sound that comes into focus with closer listening rather than clattering you with rhythm tracks, which it keeps generally submerged. The cover is an out of focus shot of a forest, the tags include ‘swampy’ and, you have to concede, it does sound a bit like something mythical woodland creatures might have created using moss covered alien technology they found in a crashed aircraft. Which is obviously a good thing.

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SsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs

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Awkward Swedish buggers with an unpronouncable name and cryptic titles hiding themselves in hoods or masks. What are they up to? Textured unease, carefully sculpted sound, barely techno at all anymore. Clanking, scraping and hissing disquiet. Each track gains a few extra s’s to its title but there’s no real clues – you just have to go in there blind and see what it has for you. Not always the same thing.stockholmshxcxchcxsh

 

Purple Bean

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Gnomic new release on Modern Love, G H’s ‘Housebund Demigod’ apparently blends black metal and techno. Love the picture of the goat on cover. No streams I can find but the whole thing is on youtube for now if you want to check it out. It’s largely brooding ambience more than out and out banging. Expect it takes repeat listens in better quality to fully absorb but moody as the music is I can’t help feeling there’s a sly sense of humour just below the surface. This tune ‘Yorkshire Fog’ stood out because it features a cut up vocal of a yorkshireman speaking, among the repeated words and phrases are twin pronunciations of the word controversy, which it would be fun to see as a little Prince tribute, especially as the narrator sounds like Sean Bean. One does not simply party like it’s 1999. Is it just me who thinks the idea of Sean Bean hosting his own chatshow called ‘Bean’ is hilarious? He’d be like that goat there, vaguely menacing and staring implacably at his guests nonsense. happy tuesday party people.