Loto Retina – Fiction

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[ Orange Milk Records, 2017 ]

More crystalline internet musique concrete from the always boundary-bending label Orange Milk. Fiction is an ADHD infested mirror hall was constructed by the French glitch conoisseur Loto Retina. The album is yet another pristine labirynth of MIDI deconstructions, momentary microgenre outbursts and snippets of wordless vocals mixed with self governing rhythm patterns. With generative titles like “Canal Xylo Sat1” and “Tension Chrono” it reminds one of the cheerful randomness of Autechre, but Fiction is far more abstract than that: it’s more like a music making software using deep learning via neural networks to create electronic music. The effect is eerie, yet aesthetically pleasant. Sounds from the other side. Recommended!


Various Artists – Mono No Aware

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[ PAN, 2017 ]

The year 2016 might have seemed for some as some sort of end-of-the-world year with all the major changes going on in the US, Europe, or globally in general. The media were keen to fuel the panic with nearly apocalyptic images of protests, terrorist acts and riot, leading many to believe the next Big War is coming. Meanwhile, the team of the Berlin-based electronic label PAN asked themselves a simple question: What is ambient music in the 21st century? With the help of the musicians who released albums on PAN they answer this question: Well, ambient is still mostly about calmness and atmosphere, but in 2017 it’s stylistic influences are much wider than in the 1970’s when Brian Eno coined the term. The compilations title refers to the Japanese philosophical concept regarding being aware to the passing of all things. The ambience on Mono No Aware is “contaminated” by noise, musique concrete, grime, even ASMR aesthetics. It’s indeniably futuristic but also very traditional at the same time, keeping faithful to the original concept or answering to the question of what ambient music is. Featuring tracks by Helm, Yves Tumor, M.E.S.H., Jeff Witscher, SKY H1, ADR and many more, Mono No Aware is an ecletic, yet coherent collection of the 21st century ambient music. Highly recommended!


KURO – KURO

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[ Rocket Recordings, 2016 ]

A primordial fog rises above this genre-bending dark masterpiece by the Bristol based duo KURO. With its minimalistic artwork (and name) referring to the masterpieces of Japanese psychedelia and avant-garde, the thickly layered drones bring to mind the music of Tetragrammaton or Yoshi Wada (although not that minimalistic) with an occult twist. Referring to ancient cults and religions, KURO creates a dense, thick atmosphere that sounds like a preparation for a conjuring of a forgotten deity about to emerge from a trans-dimensional portal. This is a work of psychedelic beauty to get lost in. Recommended!


Fire-Toolz – Drip Mental

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[ Hausu Mountain, 2017 ]

Angel Marcloid a.k.a. Fire-Toolz proves to be one the most devoted KAOSS EDGE fans with a totally crazy cybergrunge trip Drip Mental. With a cool death metal logo and even cooler album artwork (Windows XP background! Blue screen of death!! Bong!!!) the debut album by Fire-Toolz is a wonderful clusterfuck of ideas and melodies, easily crossing the lines between easycore techno and e d g y industrial electronics with who appears to be SammyClassicSonicFan on the vocals in some of the tracks. Drip Mental is, well, for the lack of the better word – mental. In a good, whatthefuckamilisteningtoandwhydoiloveit!? sort of way. Recommended, you post-web weirdos!


Królestwo – Ćwiczenia repetytywne

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Music Is the Weapon, 2016 ]

Dreams of Power: The debut album by the Gdynia based free rock trio Królestwo (Polish for “Kingdom”) is a listen I find difficult to describe. The best way to describe this album would be simply “free rock”, but that’s a simplification. The compositions are really open-ended, usually built around some simple bassline or rhythm that morphs and changes forms over time, but almost always returning, like an endless repetition. The open structure might suggest some psychedelic rock or post-rock influences, but Ćwiczenia repetytywne has an uniquely dark, almost industrial air to it: you can almost feel the smog hovering above bleak urban landscapes. This album is a big, dark cloud that slowly sucks you in and puts you in a trance with its ominous power. Highly recommended!


Mchy i Porøsty – Hypnagogic Polish Music For Teenage Mutants

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[ Recognition, 2017 ]

Polish visual and audio artist Bartosz Zaskórski explores the half-forgotten, dusty memories as Mchy i Porøsty (Polish for “Moss and Lichens”), exploring the strange zone between being awake and asleep and trying to rebuild full compositions out of snippets of remembered moments from the deep past. The newest album by Mchy i Porøsty is as hypnagogic as it gets, erasing all semblance of clear melody or structure under a heavy shroud of faulty memories and the dust of past experiences. Distorted tape loops emerge and disappear under hazy drones and meticulous musique concrete in the vein of Wanda Group, except with some occasional thumping rhythms and a somewhat industrial air about it. Like drinking several beers in a car on a foggy parking lot and slowly drifting off to unconsciousness. Recommended (the album, not the drinking)!


Innercity Ensemble – III

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[ Instant Classic, 2016 ]

On their third studio album, the Polish band Innercity Ensemble keeps their central idea of improvisation strong, but this time the music is more concise and rhythm driven. Despite a double album (like it was in the case of II), they go for a shorter, yet fuller experience, balancing between tribal trance and jazz aesthetics. What stands out here is the amazing drumming – everything else is subject to it, it’s the rhythm that rules the album. Innercity Ensemble is a supergroup – but not a kind of supergroup that has some big names in the roster and releases something mediocre. They do exactly the opposite: their cooperation on III is so perfect they might as well be one organism. And they manage to express their organic approach to improvisation and psychedelia with truly magnetic power. Highly recommended!