octo17 experiments with hybrid forms on 'playtest'

Russian producer octo17 returns to the ADSR blog with a new track titled ‘playtest’, a hybrid form that takes elements from electro, deep house, and hip hop. The rhythm is unmistakably electro, with thick kicks and a boom-bap beat; but the pads and melodic elements are certainly more common in the deeper end of house music. And to round it out, the rap vocal samples give it an extra bit of swagger that will have you bobbing your head to the beat in no time.

Everything comes together to invoke, perhaps, early Drexciya, with their organic-yet-foreign, sunk-in-the-ocean pioneering form of electro. And yet, octo17 still flexes his modern production chops, creating a balanced frequency range that thumps in the lows and tickles in the highs. Combined with some unique atmospherics and well-tuned delays, the track rolls along nicely and would be hard pressed to keep anyone still on the dancefloor.

— review by autonomy

Hear more from octo17 by following on Soundcloud

Escape to Another World with Escape The Loops

Of all the modern day electronic music genres, perhaps none are surrounded by as much ambiguity and individuality as IDM. In fact, ‘Intelligent Dance Music’ is a name which many of the scene’s biggest stalwarts, like Aphex Twin, actively reject. Regardless of the labelling though, the genre itself is a dynamic melting pot of techno, breaks, brain-bubbling sound design and finely tuned production. Coincidentally this sentence also perfectly describes St. Petersburg-based producer Escape the Loops’ recent release ‘Archive pt.3’.

The album features an impressive sound design palette that is truly a feast for the ears. Breaking outside the confines of genre-defined electronic music, Loops is able to conjure up a collection of tracks that really play by their own rules. From the breakneck percussion of the opening track ‘Sleeping Eggplant’ to the soothing melodies of ‘Bob’s Green Mazda’ and the dubby feel of ‘Microtuning16 final 2’ the spectrum of expression and auditory acumen throughout the album warrants multiple listens.

Although technical sound design and production runs deep throughout the album, it never feels high brow or elitist but rather remains fun, playful and accessible throughout. Not only does Escape the Loops turn these original sketches into a fully realized 9 track album but he does so in a way that is uniquely his own.

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Finding hope in a Dystopian future with the Nowhere EP

Russian producer Evgenii Popov paints a bleak, grayscale world of the not-too-distant future with his new release- Nowhere EP. An uncluttered sonic approach, utilizing mostly his modular synth to drive the album, creates a cohesive and convincing landscape of deserted dissonance, rich arpeggiations, and even some glimmers of hope.

The EP opens with the track ‘hiding from the storm’ which gradually introduces the listener to this kind of post- apocalyptic reality. With subdued pads and and filter sweeps gradually giving way to rich stabs of electricity, the track feels warm but with an underlying air of instability.

’White Sun’ builds on this false sense of security with an almost inviting first couple minutes of slowly morphing synths and deep reverberations. But this is not the world we once knew, and just as quickly a maelstrom of electronic modulations are unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener. All the while Popov maintains a solid balance of rich melodies amongst the arpeggiated chaos.

Lastly ‘bridges’ leads us through an epic 9 minute journey of peaks and troughs complete with otherworldly voicings and delayed serpentine synthesis. At moments it feels as though this is just a dead end, and humanity is destined for disaster. But the contemplative and melancholic last few minutes hint at a sense of resolve and even hope for the future. A future that perhaps we are heading aimlessly towards, but we are certainly heading somewhere.

More from Digital Moss…

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:




'point of departure,' a harmonically tuned machine of a track from octo17

The first thing you can tell about ‘point of departure,’ a brand new track from St. Petersburg’s octo17, is that it was built with precision. Like a seasoned machinist steadfastly grinding away parts for the perfectly tuned machine, octo17 produces a sonic aesthetic that is crisp, airy, and grounded in harmony. Every component of the track works with another, whether it be the harmonizing arps, call-and-return stabs, or cross-panned percussion.

And because everything works together, it builds quite naturally to a satisfying climax, taking its time to get there. Fans of melodic or slow techno will surely appreciate this one. Stream it above, and after follow octo17 on Soundcloud to keep up with the rest of his output.

- review by autonomy

Deep, Dubby atmosphere from Russia's Inchange

It’s not an easy task to make music that sounds good on a system, in headphones and is suitable for chilling or going out, but the versatile Russian producer- Michael Soldatkin aka ‘Inchange’ does just that.

Beginning his musical journey in 2013, slowly tinkering with sounds in FL studio and eventually teaching himself music theory and the guitar, Michael wasted no time in developing his own signature style of deep, atmospheric electronic grooves.

Upon closer inspection of his back catalog, it quickly becomes apparent that Inchange is a flexible producer creating everything from hip-hop to house. His output includes a broad range of sounds, from mainstream remixes to more niche underground tracks.

Utilizing a variety of studio gear such as the Elektron Digitakt, Analog Heat, and Native Instruments Maschine alongside live instrumentation ensures a dynamic production process creating tracks with a wide sonic palette and deep, texture-rich atmosphere.

’Night Shift’ is a track that ticks all definitely ticks all of these boxes. Dubby guitar plucks dance around a lofi 2 step beat, while a gently resonating hand pan floats up high and a billowing sub ties in all together down low.

Hear more from the upcoming Russian producer ‘Inchange’