Elevating Grooves in Sondrio - Crisis

Clipp Art is no stranger to ADSR as we have reviewed tracks from Computer Data and Tekkla in the past on the Melbourne-based house label. Clipp Art is well know for delivering up-front, emotive, groove based house music that focuses on 90s’ aesthetics. In doing so giving us a familiar foundation of sound that still resonates with us today. 

Sandrio’s ‘Crisis’ is no different. It knows what it is. There is a reason why the magical combination of 120bpm kick drums, crisp snares, dreamy Rhodes and lavish synths still persists today. It is a genre that has been a constant since the 90s, really it never went out of fashion. Largely because this particular approach to music is based entirely on feeling. If you think about other genres that hold the same appeal: 90s Hip-Hop, Classic Rock, Jazz, Motown, Disco… they all have an honest direction basing their sound on being present in the moment , transcendent through masterful instrumentation, and infectious grooves played or sampled. These are basic, feel-good elements that we naturally crave, and for that reason, tracks like ‘Crisis’ will still hold their value in a musical culture that hops and skips from a new trend and fad every few months. Deep house is modern day Motown and if you want to listen to something with an infectious groove, lush melodies, elevating vocals and, most importantly, something with a lot of soul then look no further than “Crisis’ because it has it all of the above in spades. 

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Rob Simonsen Harnesses Nature's Beauty in 'Coeur'

American born Rob SImonsen, who has contributed his music towards some prestigious films such as ‘The Life of Pi’ and ‘(500) Days of Summer’, joins the Sony Masterworks label with a piece he has written and directed - “Coeur”.

The Los Angeles based musician has been in touch with music ever since childhood, his home was musically oriented and so he began acquiring the piano by ear at a young age and eventually became a ‘bedroom producer’, experimenting on his Macintosh with synthesis and MIDI programs. Since then he has studied Jazz piano in Universities across The United States, played in a live Drum and Bass band as well as produced various kinds of musical pieces and graphic art. Rob developed a keen sense towards soundtracks and scoring which has led to him being a well-known name in the film industry, and today his scores can be found in various projects and commercials.

When you listen to Coeur, a clear objective of Rob’s art presents itself through polarizing emotions created by rhythm and note combination - you can sense his intention to ‘harness beauty in the natural world’, representing not only one aspect to the world, but many in correlation to one another. This sense is highlighted throughout Coeur with various elements working independently to create a cohesive story, with stretched pads, gliding pitch, soft percussion and a rhythmical piano progression, Rob utilizes his well established experience. Coeur is a story of its own, with sudden changes in rhythm, melody and mood, it offers to harness the versatility of our world into a work of art.

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TWYN Rips the roof off with 'Ravana'

TWYN is the collaboration between two reputable, highly accomplished multi-instrumentalists from Miami, Florida who have been making waves for some years in supporting roles, winning a multitude of industry awards and touring internationally. Jason Matthews (keyboardist) and Aaron Glueckauf (drummer) together create music that spans multiple genres and decades. With the use of the TWYN synth collection and the guidance of Matthews’ direction, the shape of their sound becomes timeless and modern at the same time, finding the space within to showcase their flare for playful, unique moments. The union of Matthews’ noodlings, cosmic explorations and epic explosions along with Glueckauf’s energetic drumming and precise programming leads to a pairing that puts together a well-rounded sound that fits perfectly. Whether they are making more downtempo or high-energy tracks you still feel like the duo are fully focused on their vision to create highly imaginative, experimental electronica brimming with energy.

‘Ravana’ is a power-house track that blurs the lines between multiple genres such as jazz, electronic and breakbeat. Opening up with a commanding presence of two opposing synth lines, one epic and uplifting the other forbidding and almost oppressive, causing instant drama and tension. This is what I love in music, ‘Ravana’ grabs your attention from the first second and takes you on a  thrilling journey throughout, with highlighted elements of jazz drums, cosmic fluctuations and playful textures that really brings the track to life. 

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Alaskan Tapes breaks hearts in 'The Times Are Tired'

Brady Kendall  known also as Alaskan Tapes is a Canadian producer and composer based out of Toronto. Diving into his discography you are quickly submerged in a smorgasbord of soundscapes, plucked guitar and a host of lavish, atmospheric strings and synths that make up the body of his work; exploring the realms of ambient, drone and fragile electronica. Brady’s work can be heard on a variety of short films, and while Kendall has created some conventional songs, he seems mostly interested in the abstract; drawing you gently into the most intimate of spaces. 

‘The Times Are Tired’ is no exception. The unmistakable sound of a sliding steel string of an electric guitar opens the track giving you a brief impression that we are about to settle into some raw vocal/guitar rendition. Instead delicate elements soften the steel strumming and elevating strings join to harmonize what I can only describe as a moment in music that embodies heat-break and loss. This is Alaskan Tapes at his best. While, if I am completely honest, I really wanted more from this piece. For me it ends too soon, it feels like I was introduced to the most beautiful of moments only to have it taken away. Whatever Brady’s intention, we are treated to something special if only for a fleeting moment.

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Tourist travels to new musical territory with upcoming album 'Wild'

UK-based producer and composer Tourist has been producing steadily in the pop-electronic arena for the better part of a decade, and throughout that time has also been evolving his sound with an ever-accelerating tempo — both literally and figuratively. Incredibly, his upcoming album ‘Wild’ will be his second of 2019 (yes, we’re still in summer), and for this particular release seems to be pushing the pace of his tracks as well.

The second single from Wild, titled ‘Bunny’, is a slow pop-house burner clocking in at around 117 bpm. It’s a bit of a departure from his traditional downtempo/synthpop space, but it fits in well with a number of other artists that have made the switch to 4x4 beats lately, most notably Bonobo with his Outlier concert series. The track has a straightforward rhythmic structure that’s easy to dance to, a subtle oldschool rave/dnb-style bassline, and surrounds itself with a hazy arpeggio that wraps you up like a warm blanket on a cool summer night. And of course, that’s exactly how many will listen to this track as festival season enters the home stretch and we all try to hold on to the magic for just a little while longer.

Stream ‘Bunny’ above, and look out for the full album ‘Wild’, dropping on Monday Records soon.

— review by autonomy

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Drifting Resonant moments in Non-Functional Harmony's ---a---

Non- Functional Harmony is a British-born producer based in Berlin who since 2017 has been steadily releasing ambient, techno/house inspired music. While there is little online that reveals a profile of his identity and back-ground there is enough to establish that N.F.H is a diverse and highly skilled producer with an impressive range in skills that see spectrum leaping genres come together under his brand of electronica. Jumping from synth pop, to house to ambient, to drone and the avant grade N.F.H. leaves a deep emotive imprint in all he touches. 

—-A—- is a collection of field recordings, distorted vocals and lush harrowing synths that creates a clutter-free collage of sonic stills that feels like the breath of space. It feels as if you are orbiting in the inner working of some kind of underlying sub-conscience. Snapshots that focus on a multitude of different moments that drift in and out. N.F.H. creates a lucid landscape that has the power to be very emotionally resonant, the reason being that no matter what genre or track you are listening to from N.F.H. you are fully immersed, fully engaged, feeling every note because N.F.H. is; it’s transparent and transcendent. 

While N.F.H. does have more than one ambient/drone release under his belt I would urge you to check out his Spotify or Soundcloud page to discover how broad and fully realized N.F.H. range is. While doing my research some tracks stood out to me and I think they are worth your attention, ‘The Fire’ and ’18 Frames’ in particular but be sure to check out more for what I am sure will be some new firm favourites waiting for you.

Catch more from Non-Function Harmony from the links below: 

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Fervent Frequences in Fevrmoon's 'Summer Rain'

Fevrmoon is a singer (Jon Weston) and producer (Anton Patzner) combo hailing from Sacramento and Oakland in the U.S. On first listen to ’Summer Rain’ I became an instant fan. Not just because of the level of talent between the duo but also because of their story which reads like a script to that film you always wish would get made. 

Weston who decided long ago to leave behind any musical ambitions took up a secluded residence in Sacramento to farm walnuts and sell antiques. Struggling with depression and deciding to face it undertaking a spiritual journey that would change his life, opening him up to vulnerability and fear, Weston embraced all that lay before him and was able to put his demons to rest. 

Patzner was some what lost in today’s modern musical landscape coming from a traditional career within pop music, arranging strings that left him wanting to adjust to a whole new digital world that had changed so dramatically and rapidly. 

While working in his studio in Oakland, Weston had visited to loan Anton some antiques. Being friends, Anton asked Jon to lay a vocal track over something he had being working on. What happened next was a meeting of pent-up passions perfectly complementing each others release of sincere angst. That afternoon ‘Summer Rain’ was produced and holy moly is it something that makes the hairs on your arm stand to attention. 

Between Weston’s fervent vocal and the highly polished production value of Patzner, we are treated to a track that is lavish in harmonies and aware enough to pull back when it’s time to be more minimal and introspective. “Summer Rain’ is a song that explodes with feeling when it gets going, you can feel all the emotion of being found again after you have travelled for so long being lost. This is a beautiful piece of contemporary song writing that well deserves its place within your music collection for moments when being lifted is all that matters. 

Summer Rain is one of nine tracks from the self titled album ‘Fevrmoon’ available to stream or download from the links below:

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Red The Chef does lofi a little different on 'Is This It?'

It would be easy to throw Connecticut producer Red The Chef’s latest EP into the catch-all “lo-fi hip hop beats to chill/study to” bin, because it certainly fits the aesthetic. But that listening environment, of filling the background with something to keep your mind on anything but the music itself, tends to mute subtleties and flatten differentiation. Yes, the beats on this EP, titled ‘Is This It?’, have the same warm, vintage processing that has come to define the genre, and yes the melodic samples are fuzzy and pitched around in the same way, but there are also elements that are squarely Red’s. Most notably, his tendency to drench every element in dreamy reverb creates a unique space for the tracks to sit in, as well as the presence of detuned acoustic instruments that float in and out of each track. The effect is something like listening to music blasted distantly in the park on a warm summer day, instilling a feeling of limitless boundaries, inspiring those nights of aimless exploration. It’s liberating to move about without knowing where you’re going, and this EP might just be the perfect soundtrack to make it happen.

Stream the title track ‘Is This It?’ above, and hop over to Spotify to hear the full EP.

— review by autonomy

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Datach'i discovers the cycles of life with 'Akemies'

A few weeks ago we heard the first new music from veteran producer Datach’i in a few years, announcing to the world his return with an upcoming LP entitled ‘Bones,’ releasing the 26th July 2019 on Planet Mu sublabel Timesig. As mentioned in that review, Datach’i’s approach to this album was unlike any other in his now-sizable ouvre. With the recent passing of his father, he channelled thoughts and feelings into Bones that only significant disruptions such as this can bring.

Electronic music is almost intrinsically linked to repetition, to loops, to cycles. A form in which time bends back on itself, creating moments with no predetermined end. Datach’i employs this principle masterfully when he operates his custom-designed modular system, but in the context of this particular album, the producer born Joseph Fraioli reflects deeply on how this manifests in life: “It was something very much on my mind throughout recording this album, ends being beginnings and beginnings being the end. Cycles of time and how time works, it's all reflected throughout the album right down to how the tracks are ordered."

In particular, the opening track on Bones which we get to preview today, unmistakably captures how electronic music can reflect life in this cyclic manner. It’s a rhythmically mesmerizing start, intentionally obscuring the structure of various modulations to capture a feeling of perpetual movement. Fittingly, the track is titled ‘Akemies’, likely after Akemie’s Castle, a beautifully classic sounding FM synth module that propels the frantic synthetic percussion and kicks the album off with a bang.

Stream it above right now, and hop over to Datach’i’s bandcamp to pre-order the full album.

— review by autonomy

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Michael Red flexes his dynamic range in remix of Kasm's 'Stargate'

Adam Hannibal A.K.A Kasm is a DJ, producer and label founder of the Juno award winning ‘Balanced Records’. A label based out of Montreal and Winnipeg that produces music that explores the more experimental and naturalistic side of electronic music. Over the last 15 years Balanced has released music that has consistently explored the fields of experimentation through multiple genres such as Dub, Reggae, House, Ambient, Hip-Hop, and Drum & Bass just to name a few. While doing this, Balanced has constructed a back catalogue of reputable music that has always explored the dynamics within these genres. 

‘Stargate’ is a track that is no different. Working upon on what Kasm sets out, Michael produces something that is far from routine. Expanding the naturalist percussion Michael’s well-crafted sound design creates something of an immersive world. The clever use of panning and reverb throughout draws you into almost a cinematic headspace that is further compounded through its main melody that has a sense of urgency and purpose. While Red’s remix doesn’t stray too far from its source material, it seems he has taken some of the signature elements and dialled them all the way up to eleven giving us a more club focused version.

Catch more from Kasm here: Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook
Michael Red: Spotify, Soundcloud, Insta