Modulations from the future with Romania's 'Electrons in Slow Motion'

Electrons in Slow Motion (EISM) is a cross-genre electronic project developed by Bucharest-born artist/producer Marius Copel. Combining analog synths with sparse soundscapes, Copel weaves immersive audio environments rich in dissonant drones, field recordings, and far-off arpeggiations. One part sci-fi dream world and one part distant dystopian universe, EISM dabs from his monochrome palette to create a sound that is uniquely his own.

His recently released debut album ‘Ecstatic Technologies’ boils down these central themes and concepts into a cohesive 8 track journey into the abyss. The album opens with ‘Breaking Eleusis’ which Marius describes as a “virtual pilgrimage to an ancient site”. Electronic chatter contrasts with reverb-soaked keys to slowly draw the listener into this mysterious and enigmatic world. The journey continues through a number of environments ranging from the subdued sounds of ‘Nyonoksa’ to the more tumultuous, beat-driven ‘Satomi’.

I would even go so far as to call the release a kind of ‘concept album’ as the tracks flow so well together and feature a steady narrative throughout. Marius describes the tracks as some sort of “sonic vehicle” or “machine” each with a unique initiation stage, environment and context. Regardless of the descriptor, ‘Ecstatic Technologies’ by Electrons in Slow Motion shows us that perhaps the future is closer than we think.

Link in
Website
Bandcamp
Youtube
Facebook
Spotify

Audio of the Urban with Sweden's Victor Öberg

Victor Öberg is an urban planner and musician residing in the southern most part of Sweden. His music goes hand in hand with his research, and focuses heavily on interpreting urban issues mainly concerning urban alienation and identity creation of both people and place in urban society.

Utilizing an array of hardware effects and modular synths, Victor designs and configures sonic environments to reflect these urban issues. His Instagram features a variety of dawless jams and sketches pleasing to both the audio and visual palette. Today’s track ‘Insula’ serves as a progression from these shorter jams into what will be Victor’s first solo album set to release later this year.

Insula features a minimal landscape of plucked arpeggiation, undulating clouds of noise, and rich resonant harmonies. A kind of playful utilitarianism permeates throughout the track, which really shows Öberg’s concept coming into fruition. ”The song itself is a brief sketch of the insula as a building type; part home part business. A concept that has shaped the way we think of city centers throughout history."

Hear more:
Instagram
Youtube
Bandcamp

Robot Koch delivers an elevated piece of emotive electronica in 'Movement I'

Robot Koch is a Berlin born, Los Angeles based artist/composer who has cultivated a dream list of career achievements that would humble most successful artists these days. I could easily write pages about the gigs, collabs, labels, and awards but instead will leave this upto the inquisitive reader. I will however reference a quote from the late John Peel who described his music as “Strange and wonderful pop music from the future” because it’s a good segue into my impressions of his music. 

‘Movement I’ is simply a highly emotive piece of electronica that grabs you from the first note and wraps it's arms around you in the most intense embrace and doesn’t let go until it’s last phrase. The opening three repeating notes almost have the same reverence as a John Williams or Carpenter theme. There is something profound and transcendent about the repeating notes and their effect on our senses. While it would be easy to reference the impact of this kind of notation from such iconic, classic 70’s horror sound tracks it wouldn’t be an accurate comparison because these theme tunes are minimalistic and draw on a sparse sensibility to create tension and dread. ‘Movement I’ does quite the opposite, it creates warmth, melancholy and hope. Offset from the somber melody and opening urgency are lush layers of reversed vocals, soaring synth lines and flourishes of orchestral rapture that whisk you into a frenzy until it’s abrupt end. What you are left with is a piece of electronica that has the emotional range of a film score while being rooted in genre production styles that gives a piece of music like ‘Movement I’ that kind of awe that warrants all of the above dream list achievements. 

You can find more from Robot Koch here:
Soundcloud
Instagram
Spotify
Apple Music
Tidal

Get to know yourself with Semena Mertvykh's debut EP

There is a sense of resigned solitude on Semena Mertvykh’s debut EP. It’s a feeling not uncommon in Russian art, where Mertvykh hails from, and it fits quite well with the thick, syrupy detuned chords that sludge their way through the EP. Those chords, echoing the same analog synth patch techniques of Boards of Canada, are sometimes harmonic, sometimes slightly dissonant, but always lonely. Perhaps it makes sense, then, for Mertvykh to not only self-release this EP, but self-title it as well. Even in the video for ‘Decay’, the airiest of the tracks that reminds me of Dedekind Cut’s more recent work, not a single soul is visible. Clearly, this is music made for the self — self-reflection, self-evaluation, self-control, self-actualization. Watch the video for Decay above, and you’ll see. Just make sure to do it by yourself.

You can check out the rest of the EP as well on Spotify, or pay what you want to download on Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

Semena Mertvykh on the web:

YouTube

Instagram

Bandcamp

NOMVDSLVND finds his place with 'Belong'

NOMVDSLVND (pronounced ‘nomads land’) may live in Toronto, but as many of us in large cities can attest to, having a home and knowing your place are two very different things. Despite a background in dance, NOMVDSLVND crafts music that, instead of compelling an energetic dancefloor, interrogates the uncertainty that comes with trying to find one’s community. Perhaps his transition from dance to music was the creative spark for this idea. Many of the tracks on Part 1 of the 2-part release ‘More Harm Than Good’ slip in and out of musical ideas at ease, like a wallflower timidly testing the waters of a gathering. NOMVDSLVND creates lush backdrops for these ideas, mixing field recordings, found sounds, and broken beats that make each track an entirely new space.

On ‘Belong’, which you can hear above, he uses Rhodes-like chords to invoke a melancholy mood, a sense of feeling unsettled, of knowing what you want but not knowing how to get there. Broken beats skitter underneath, dropping in and out of the track, underpinning that anxious feeling. Punctuating this idea, he uses heavily processed vocal snippets throughout that further capture the distance we can sometimes feel between where we are and where we want to be. It’s an intoxicating concoction.

‘More Harm Than Good Part 1: Here For Now’ is out March 8th on Toronto label- ‘Bedroomer’ and can be preordered now. If you liked ‘Belong’, check out lots more over on Bedroomer’s Soundcloud.

— review by autonomy


More from NOMVDSLVND on Soundcloud or Spotify.

Lichtriss finds hope in the darkness on 'nachts'

‘nachts’, the final track on Lichtriss’ new EP titled ‘Glut’, lays its foundation with noisy, barely-harmonic electric distortions and reverberations that on its own would be interesting enough to fans of dark ambient and dub techno styles. Capturing the unending solitude of the vast expanses of our mechanized landscape is a central idea in these disciplines. But not long after setting this scene of midnight idle-industry, Lichtriss pokes through those endless nights with glowing synth pads that seem to offer refuge from that uneasy feeling that we may very well be living in a dystopia. As we progress, the glow continues; it confirms our hope, it reaffirms our existence as one worthy of life in this world. It leaves us with the message: no, our world is not good. But we are, and that might be enough.

— review by autonomy

Listen to the rest of the Glut EP on Spotify, and keep up with Lichtress’ other music elsewhere.
Bandcamp
Spotify
Mailing list

Beyond The Hill's 'Granular Life' will turn your life into film

The debut EP from Japan’s 丘を越えて (Beyond The Hill), out now on 16:9 Recordings, is the perfect first release for a label ostensibly focusing on cinematic styles of music. 16:9 is of course the standard aspect ratio for High Definition digital video, and the EP’s title of ‘Granular Life’ is certainly evocative of one of the most distinct qualities of film, namely grain. But the title also goes beyond visual qualities, and can be taken more literally: these tracks were produced using granular synthesis techniques.

The opening track, Flicker Wind, (listen above) is a timeless ambient opener that would do well to accompany any number of tasks in daily life. It is at once precise in tone, and also flexible to interpretation. Think Boards of Canada in their more cinematic mode. The rest of the tracks on this EP only strengthen this comparison, expanding the Granular Life cinematic world in all directions. It’s a shame that such a carefully constructed world clocks in at under 15 minutes, just when you start to feel at home in its warm embrace. Nevertheless, it’s a strong first release from 16:9, and we’ll have to keep an eye on the label to see what they conjure up next.

Stream “Flicker Wind” above, and find the whole EP on 16:9 Recordings’ Bandcamp.

- review by autonomy

Follow Beyond The Hill on Spotify

Keep up with 16:9 Recordings further releases on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

A Powerful Presence Felt by Cuts in 'Time Is Not Your Friend'

Anthony Tombling Jr a.k.a. Cuts delivers another harrowing track from his album ‘A Gradual Decline’ which dropped last month on Village Green Records. Cuts is an audio-visual project commenting on the environmental concerns facing us today. We explored the importance of music like this in our most recent review of the title track from the album. As to say for ‘Time Is Not Your Friend’ is very much in the same vein as ‘A Gradual Decline’, although slightly lighter in tone it still plays with the same kind of earnest and urgency. 

Tombling unapologetically lays down a perpetuating melody of distorted organs and synths that build in intensity until around the three minute mark. Then the drums kick in, giving us again some sharp percussion and textures to drive home the sense of a jagged landscape that Tombling has curated throughout the musical and visual elements in ‘A Gradual Decline’. Again Anthony drives home a message of prescience and purpose while lifting us up in the most epic fashion. If you are a fan of cinematic music with a real message at it’s core then Cuts is very much worth putting on your radar. 

Catch more of Cuts here:

Webiste
Soundcloud
Youtube
Facebook
Instagram

Lost in an ocean, Caramel Smooth Heaven finds you

It’s hard to imagine the overwhelming solitude of drowning in the ocean. But that’s exactly what New Zealand artist Caramel Smooth Heaven aims to portray in this new album, “The Shallows.” Heavy stuff, to be sure. Though while the emotions are weighty, the production here on the lead single, “Blue Clouds,” is restrained. The skittering garage-influenced drums, no doubt familiar to fans of Jamie xx, provide just enough structure for the pulsing, saturated synth pads that propel the track. The result is a moody, vulnerable composition that pays respects to the beautiful tyranny of nature.

Releasing this single is Kaiseki Digital, a unique label that aims to sonically capture the spirit of Kaiseki, a Japanese culinary technique that tells a story with food. If you enjoyed “Blue Clouds,” you’ll love the full album, which is available now for just $2 on Bandcamp. Support!

—review by autonomy

Keep up with Caramel Smooth Heaven, part of the Caffeinated Collective:
SoundCloud
Bandcamp
Caffeinated Collective

Hear more from Kaiseki Digital:
Bandcamp
Twitter

Monochrome drone from Ukraine's Kuvallini

Kuvallini grew up between the factories and gates, on the frozen tundra of Siberia. He spent years travelling through places, reflecting on his own wandering path in life. These experiences have been boiled down into his own tunes which contain a neoclassical vibe, oscillating noise and swinging broken beats.

His new track ‘Exaltation’ happened from spontaneous improvisation with a piano and an old-fashioned Russian synthesizer called the ‘Lyra’ which mainly oscillates unpredictable noise and rhythm patterns. Everything was then processed through a vintage analog stereo spring reverb, the Korg GR-1. 

As Kuvallini explains: “most of the pads were recorded in reverse and added to the compressed piano with full wet reverb. The sweeping noise is just from a pedal called ‘Drone Thing’ by Electro-Faustus, which then went through a Vox wah controlled by my foot.” 

Giving ‘Exaltation’ a closer listen and a bit of patience leads to great rewards for the listener. At just over 8 minutes long the track really finds it’s stride after a few minutes in and unfolds into a moody atmosphere of film noir and dark brooding drones. Off kilter percussion gives the track a slightly dizzying feel as layers of noise encircle the cloud of sound.

Hear more deep and desolate drone from Kuvallini on the following platforms:
Soundcloud
Instagram
Facebook