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.

Catch more from Alaskan Tapes here:

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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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Sample, soul, sincerity in Anthony Bailey's 'Don't want you to go'.

We covered a release from Anthony for his ‘Maelstrom of Thoughts’ Ep back in February when we talked about higher values within a hip-hop collective and how Bailey distanced himself from the lime-light instead always putting his peers front and centre stage. Not much has changed in that regard where you will still find blank bio’s on all of his socials and music platforms which is extremely refreshing. Remember the days when there was such a thing as mystery/privacy! When all you got was a few random interviews and some accompanying stills. In an age where all abstruseness can be banished with one click it’s gratifying to see an artist still holding it down and applying a rare, ethical code to his craft. 

Speaking of craft ‘Don’t want you to go’ is a track built entirely around a vocal hook that is unapologetically omnipresent throughout, showing a reverence for sample flare and technique. What this creates is something nostalgic, warm and sincere while being celebratory about the trade of hip-hop. Perfect summer, lo-fi listening. 

Catch more from Anthony here: Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram

Seb Wildblood Allows us into his Personal Space in "Sketches'

South London producer and label head honcho Seb Wildblood has had a very busy year juggling not one but three labels as well as touring globally to put wax to waves at various notable festivals. Often regarded as one of the most prolific figures in the Uk underground scene, Seb impressively has managed to carve out  time to work on his debut LP ‘Sketches of Transition’ which is due for release on the 26th of July on All My Thoughts. 

Church and Coastal Haze are both labels that stretch the limits of house and deep house often venturing into experimental territory where few tend to tread. Fused with Jazz and heavily influenced by 90’s production styles that borrow from a lot more genres than just house, Church and Coastal Haze have grown to forge a reputation for being taste makers that never hold back in terms of imagination and flare. 

’Sketches’ is a departure from the output of both Church and Costal Haze by being more grounded and introspective, delivering an opening to an album which feels a lot more personal. The lead synth melody is constant throughout supported only by a few other elements, playful percussion and a lazy warm and fuzzy bass-line that drop in and out to converse with the principal melody. What Seb creates is a beautiful simplistic down-tempo track that creates moments of serenity while still managing to be uplifting and vivacious. Perfect lounge listening for any day of the week.

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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:
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Neu Balance wears his heart on his sleeve for 'In my life I've loved them all'

Neu Balance, one of Vancouver’s great breakout artists from the heyday of 1080p recordings, is back with a second full-length album, this time for the Seattle label Budget Cuts Records & Tapes. Despite retaining the name Neu Balance, however, this album is anything but the same rubbery, lurching, hazed out sounds of the first album, “Rubber Sole.” After the departure of Sebastian Davidson for solo works, Sam Beatch seems to have taken the opportunity of full control at the helm to branch out and collaborate in all directions. This new album, titled “In my life, I’ve loved them all,” includes a whole host of features by fellow producers, session musicians, and vocalists. They all work in tandem to expand the NB sound palette considerably, and coalesce into a polished, coherent, and smooth listen right from the first play.

The sound is still unmistakably PNW, but where Rubber Sole felt idiosyncratic and rhythmically experimental, In my Life, I’ve loved them all finds a confident unification of ideas. Track arrangements feel much more natural, the production is precise, and the emotional resonance of the compositions shine bright through it all. This is intuitive music; it prioritizes feeling over thinking, and the result is entirely sumptuous to consume.

Get a taste up above by streaming “I left my body alone with you,” featuring vocalist Forever, and hop over to Budget Cuts’ Bandcamp to get a copy for yourself.

— review by autonomy

Neu Balance on the web:
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More from Budget Cuts Records & Tapes:
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Winter Chill with Kurt Stewart's 'brrr!'

Winter on the east coast of America and Canada brings with it a few guarantees: short days, cold temps and regular dustings of snow. But this sub-zero hibernation isn’t all bad as Vermont- based beatmaker ‘Kurt Stewart’ shows with recent track- brrr! Although the name incites a whole body chill experienced only when your older brother shoves a handful of snow down your snowsuit, the sound of the track itself is actually quite warm and toasty. With a vintage croon to open the beat, the track bumps along with warm sense of nostalgia as the thumping kick drum drives everything forward. Although just over a minute long, brrr! gives us that brief moment of respite before heading back out into the bitter elements.

Happy winter from Kurt Stewart!
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Current Eddy serves up a Tasty slice of synth pop heaven with 'Eyes'.

Current Eddy is an international electronic music group based out of Thailand, Korea and the UK.  ‘Eyes’ being only their second release to date displays a track with well established synth pop sensibilities. 

According to my good friend at wikipedia Current Eddy “are loops of electrical current induced within conductors by a changing magnetic field”, it seems that this is the premise behind ‘Eyes’ as the track plays with elements that do exactly that, not just within the audio but also the animated accompanying video. Both sound and vision are created with an infectious playful energy that are excited by all the elements of the track that flutter, swirl and simmer like sparks of imagination caught in a magnetic field. Accented by a bell-diving bassline that bubbles back up towards the surfaces of swirling synths and crisp percussion.

The video is beautifully animated and supports the viscosity of the vibrant pallet of colours which is omnipresent in every sense. Current Eddy already sounds like a group with a distinct style, bringing something fresh and energetic to the table while managing to engage with the more familiar elements of pop we love. If you are a fan of groups such as MGMT, Tama Impala, Flume, and Gotye then be sure to check out future releases from the rising international electronic group. 

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Ambient dream-time from Germany's BLCKCSTLS

As Brian Eno once said “Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.“

We’d definitely like to think of the ambient music of German producer Georg-Christoph Stadler, aka BLCKCSTLS, as falling in the latter category, being dynamic and intriguing sonic creations deserving the listener’s undivided attention. And while this is certainly true, there is an effortless unobtrusiveness flowing through his productions which also makes them the perfect companion for an evening of studying, relaxing or getting work done.

And this is the real beauty of a good ambient album, appealing to the various layers of a listeners attention without imposing any sort of will upon the observer. Leaving it upto us to decide how closely to listen or how deeply to dive. Allowing the listener to complete other tasks or close their eyes and let the sounds envelope them. This is indeed a unique freedom, rarely afforded by other genres of modern music.

This kind of passive beauty can be witnessed in Stadler’s recent EP entitled ‘Secorder’. The album description reads “A quick and unmastered EP made on a cold Autumn evening to shorten the wait for Notes from the Dust.” Although only running about 15 minutes in length, the uncluttered and spontaneous EP gives us a good taste of things to come from the rising ambient composer.

Support his music over on Bandcamp

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Spiritual music from a Tokyo Dragonfly

Next up for your listening pleasure is a local (for those of us in Japan, that is) Japanese artist, Tonbo (meaning Dragonfly in Japanese). Tonbo has been flying around the Tokyo underground electronic music scene for some years now, exploring the spiritual side of music and Japanese culture. Tonbo produces, DJs, plays guitar and even gets on the mic from time to time. He also puts on a regular party dubbed the Tonbo Matsuri, (Dragonfly Festival) which is described as, "...a crazy bash to make a place for releasing spirits." Our featured track, "Gion", comes from the recently released Yellow Trance EP. It’s been released on the Psymatics label and follows Tonbo's first full length album, released in early 2017, Tokyo Mad Cave. Tonbo works and collaborates with numerous musicians and creators, "Gion" follows that trend. The tune features the Japanese traditional string instrument the shamisen, as played by Tokyo Ghetto Shamisen.

"Gion" is hard to pin down, it dabbles in the ambient, downtempo and psychedelic genres, while also containing elements of minimal, acid house and trance. As a whole it has a deep, transcendental feeling, combining analog and digital sounds. There's both traditional Japanese drums and our aforementioned shamisen playing a dominant role in the track, along with electronic drum beats, treble droplets, and a constant bassline. At times the track feels foreign and cold but always maintains a feeling of Japaneseness; a certain ancient spirituality, that lingers throughout.

Tonbo is an interesting experience listening to in single track form. A given tune feels like it belongs to a piece of a much bigger expression. I have a feeling a full set from Tonbo is an experience that is sure to transport participants to another world and may very well be up to the task of releasing a spirit or two in the process.

If our Dragonfly man Tonbo has enticed you, as he has me, make sure to give him a look on the following platforms.

Soundcloud
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Instagram
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Web
Bandcamp