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

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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

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LA producer Deru's blistering new track 'Torn in Two'

Benjamin Wynn, aka Deru, is an Emmy Award winning American composer, sound designer and music producer. Born and raised in Chicago, it was Wynn's early experiences with urban music and hip-hop that sparked his initial passion for production and sound design. It was the raw, rough sound of 90s hip hop that formed some of his earliest musical sensibilities, Ben stating "I loved the sonic quality of hip-hop, I loved how gritty it was, I loved the sound of hiss and record noise." Even to this day, many of these rough, organic elements that influenced him so many years ago can still be heard in his productions.

In the pursuit of further honing his sonic sensibilities, Wynn took to the west coast where he studied electronic music at the California Institute of the Arts. He focused on synthesis, signal processing, acoustics, music theory and composition, and earned a Bachelor's degree in music technology. Adding a well-rounded technical skillset to his ever growing passion for music and sound design was a key step in the young producer's music career. 

Over the next decade Wynn put these technical and creative skills to good use, releasing 4 albums under his electronic music 'Deru' alias as well as countless television, film and even ballet scores. Incorporating a unique mix of electronic and acoustic elements Ben states "I love the control over sound that electronic music provides, and I also love the sound of acoustic instruments and human players."

His forthcoming release 'Torn in Two' serves as a perfect example of this unique marriage of electronic and acoustic elements.  The album is a collection of microtonal pieces where the pitches were derived from acoustic instruments, and processed woodwind and brass recordings. Both represented new directions for Wynn, and the results are pieces that are more dynamic and full-spectrum than his previous body of work. 

The track 'Torn in Two' serves as the powerful album opener to the upcoming release. A dizzying array of slithering distortion set within a dissonant dystopia. Bone-crushing builds give way to moments of supreme sensitivity and delicateness. 

'Torn in Two' releases Oct .19th on LA label 'Friends of Friends' 
Pre-order the vinyl over here.

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New ambient album from Manchester producer- Twin Complex

Oliver Hardingham aka Twin Complex is an electronic producer, composer and filmmaker based in Manchester, UK. Although writing and performing in mostly hardcore bands throughout his teens, Oliver always kept small electronic side projects on the go. But it wasn't until early 2017, when his electronic productions started to become more the focus of his creative output, that he began to develop his own unique style and sound. 

As Hardingam shaped and sculpted his early ideas, over time more and more refined forms and structures emerged. Ideas turned to concepts, and concepts to arranged tracks, until gradually he was compiling a number of completed pieces. 

Released just over a week ago, Twin Complex 'Permanence' represents not only the coalescence of these various creative narratives into a debut album, but also a turning of the page in the young producers aesthetic progression. The album is 6 tracks of brooding ambient soundscapes, entrancing arpeggiation, and just the right about of percussive framework. 

'Remnants' is a swelling ambient piece from the album, exhibiting a tasteful mix of minimalism and tonal hypnotism. Cascading synths enter quietly only to bloom into full blown firework-like analog expressions. 

Stream the release here 

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