Late Night Nostalgia with NVY's 'Knife Play'

Remember the golden days of rave? Before the internet, before stream counts and follower numbers defined an artist? When literally the only way to hear a new track was to find that event where one of those select DJs were playing one of the few promo copies in existence?
When going to a party brought with it an air of mystery, allure and even danger?

Well the times have changed and those days have come and gone, but fortunately for us the sound hasn’t. That same surreal and enigmatic quality can be heard in NVY’s recent release entitled ‘Knife Play.’

Born in Vancouver, NVY played guitar and wrote songs in bands throughout high school and found a love for music production after being introduced to Ableton by a friend. Since starting production at 14, his sound has undergone many changes and evolutions ranging from dance music to hip hop to pop. Taking inspiration from the likes of New Order and Metronomy, NVY’s sound features a depth well beyond his years yet remains lush, organic and sonically accessible.  

’Knife Play’ draws the listener into a mysterious world of lost loves and late night, dimly lit underground clubs. With a sound that feels full yet totally natural and uncluttered, ‘Knife Play’ steams forward with a floating sense of nostalgia amidst minimal percussion and a raw, euphoric bassline.

NVY describes his headspace when writing the track:
”I was feeling techy and minimal one morning so I decided to try and write, finish and release a track in a few hours. It was a fun experimentation session that resulted in a nice blend between ambience and rhythm. Also I wanted to release something spontaneously since I've been working on my album for the past year and felt a little bored with all the waiting involved with scheduling releases so some experimentation and jamming was long over due.”

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'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

Lake Turner gives lessons in patience on "Prime Mover"

“Prime Mover,” the eponymously titled single from Lake Turner’s brand new EP, is first and foremost a lesson in patience and composition. Eschewing widespread techno tropes like big bass drops and heavily saturated hi hats, the track builds deceptively, with melodic elements that enter the soundscape around a relatively straightforward rhythmic structure. This slow build makes for a surprisingly emotional release, giving the listener just enough air to prepare for a driving climax that confirms, without question, that this is more than just functional 4/4 beat music.

Have a listen for yourself, and enjoy the chromatic abstractions that visually accompanies the track. If you like it, Algebra Records has released a limited edition transparent vinyl edition that’ll look great on the shelf and sound better on the platter. Click the photos to grab a copy from Lake Turner’s Bandcamp.

— review by autonomy

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Getting lost in Machines with Poltrock.

Belgium producer David Poltrock is not like most producers. He is somewhat of a rarity. He doesn’t come from a traditional producer background, should it be Hip-Hop or some form of computer music. Instead, David comes from an Indie background. And when you are influenced more by bands rather than strictly producers you are naturally more instrument-focused and tend to be more focused musicianship.

Not saying that producers are not skilled musicians, many of them are, but in most cases beat makers tend to focus on drums and layers to create an overall sound in all of their various sequences. While a producer coming from a band background will tend to put instrumentation front and centre. This is very much the case in ‘Titanus’.

Throughout the track you can sense how passionate David is about his vintage synths and as he describes it himself, his “old and stubborn Steinway upright”, which takes centre stage in the second half of the track. You can tell how deeply connected with them he is because of how he records them, clean, crisp and raw!

The mastering of Titanus makes you feel like you are standing next to David in a intimate space while he lays everything down, pounding out pulsing and soaring synth lines and gently coaxing out notes from his Steinway. The piano sequences are edited together in a rough and ready fashion, forgoing unnecessary sheen and polish for a kind of rare authenticity. It is like Poltrock wanted you to feel every frequency vibrate through your body like he does throughout his sessions. And in this he succeeds. The synths resonate powerfully and majestically, taking flight as the track builds in its intensity, while the old, stubborn Steinway gives us relief in it’s still and gentle melodies.

If you are a fan of Nils Frahm, Jon Hopkins or Moderat be sure to check out Poltrock as he is definitely one to watch in the coming years. Also be sure to check out the pre-order for David’s ‘Machines’ album which is due for release on the 16th of November. 

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Tape-tinged techno from audio/visual creative- Daniel Brandt

London / Berlin based filmmaker, composer, and musician- Daniel Brandt, is set to release his second full length solo album ‘Channels’ on October 12th via London imprint- Erased Tapes. As co-founder of the infamous ‘Brandt Brauer Frick’ trio which has been dubbed by the BBC as “concert hall compositions for the clubbing generation”, Brandt is no stranger to intricate and impeccably executed studio productions and live music performances. As both a filmmaker and musician, this multi-disciplinary creative approach ensures an inventive and original artistic output where boundaries are blurred and inspiration spontaneous.

Take the most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ from the album for example. As Brandt explains:

“The song is named after a painting by Roy Lichtenstein which is not one of his typical ones but rather a kind of abstract cubist painting of sailboats on the sea. I wanted to make a song that feels like an electrified sailing voyage and tried to imitate the feeling of this imagined trip.”

This type of cross-disciplinary creative communication is a common thread throughout the album, with many of the tracks referencing rich visual palettes. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.

As we can see the album draws from a variety of sources and creative ideas, but still manages to remain original and organic, with an almost effortless spontaneity to it. Perhaps Lichtenstein said it best when he stated “Art doesn't transform. It just plain forms”.

Pre-order ‘Channels’ over on the Erased Tapes Bandcamp

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From Bucharest with love

Golan is a group of musicians destined for big things. They started a few years back as 3 guys focusing on digital production and electronic music. They released some quality tracks, delving into genres like deep-house, nu-disco, trance and more. Recently they've increased to 5 members deep and evolved to use more acoustic instrumentation, featuring piano, flute, guitar and drums of multiple varieties and more.

They also recently played a massive sold out concert in their home of Bucharest, Romania with a full symphonic orchestra. It was the third iteration of their full symphonic show and from the reactions online, it certainly won’t be their last. They're a band that stays true to their beat based roots, but are seriously kicking things up to another level with their production and live show, which includes precise control of dozens of live musicians.

Their tunes these days can range from the mellow and chill to the wild and tribal, whipping audiences into a frenzy in the live setting. Founding members Alex, Mihai and Ernesto are working harder than ever as the band prepares to drop its’ second full length LP.

The album is sure to be varied and wide ranging, judging from what they've released so far. The track featured above, “September Fall”, is a dreamy, melodic chiller, complete with a well produced video that will leave you longing for long lost summer days of your youth, well into the chill of October and beyond. The song is a self proclaimed 'mood' track rather than a full single, regardless, it’s a good taste of their varied style. Don't hesitate to browse through Golan’s YouTube channel to get a further taste of their forthcoming album. I’d also highly recommend to check out a few videos of Golan in the live setting, where they really shine. Tracks like “Abel” and “Sapphire” are prime examples of the type of excitement, emotion and love Golan can induce in its’ audience.

You're not going to want to miss the release of their new album or the Golan live experience, so make sure to follow the group on the platforms below:

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New release from Cristian Vogel's live-to-tape alias 'NEL'

Vogel first came to prominence in the techno scene when he issued two EPs on Dave Clarke's Magnetic North Records label in 1994. After further solo EPs and collaborations with emerging UK techno artists such as Neil Landstrumm and Dave Tarrida, Vogel released his debut full-length, Beginning to Understand, in 1994 on Mille Plateaux, and subsequently became the first UK techno artist to be signed to Berlin's Tresor Records. He also started the vinyl only label ‘Mosquito’ with Si Begg, on which he released both his own music and other artists', and is considered to be one of the main founders of the No-Future collective that was active in Brighton during the mid-nineties. Alongside Jamie Lidell, he formed the group Super Collider, who released two albums and Cristian also sang and played guitar in his band project Night of the Brain, whilst continuing to maintain a presence on the underground techno scene. 

Over a 20-year career, Vogel has been sought after as a remixer and album producer, having worked with artists such as Radiohead, Maxïmo Park, Chicks on Speed, and Thom Yorke. With further studio albums released on Novamute in the late noughties and albums for Sub Rosa, his most recent run of ‘techno’ productions culminated in a trilogy of long-players for Shitkatapult, ending with ‘The Assistenz’ in 2016. 

His NEL project (NeverEngine Labs) was launched at the beginning of 2018 on EPMMusic, which has seen Cristian develop a different studio process to his album work and recent sound design compositions. While work under his own name will continue to explore new stylistic and experimental territories, the NEL tracks bear a closer resemblance to his earlier production style. The new pen name will be used for studio sessions created in a hands on, live-to-tape process primarily using Modular synths. “The sound is characterized by analog rhythms, textures and beats with an improvised flow.”

This spirit of improvisation and raw rhythms are summed up perfectly in his recent release ‘Jelly Vision EP.’ 4 tracks of live and eclectic recordings from Vogel’s studio, rich in rough, uncut textures, rhythms and soundscapes. The release skillfully balances spontaneity with coherent arrangements, clever sound design, and undeniable infectious grooves. Vogel proves with his ‘NEL’ alias that going back to basics is not only about drawing from the past, but is equally about the limitless creative potential of the future.

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Idm-tinged ambient-techno from German duo 'qrauer'

Creating a variety of left leaning electronica, from micro house to ambient techno, Christian Grochau and Ludwig Bauer aka qrauer are a breath of fresh air in the often formulaic world of modern dance music. With a 4/4 framework driving their tracks, the duo’s productions are heavy on lush sound design and sonic experimentation while remaining reined in enough to sit comfortably within an eclectic DJ set.

With both Christian and Ludwig coming from strong musical backgrounds, Christian being a virtuosic percussionist and Ludwig being a skilled pianist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, the two are able to find the perfect balance between danceable musicality and genre pushing electronic aesthetics.

Their debut EP ‘Aracus’ fully harnesses the duo’s creative powers and concentrates them into 4 tracks of organic sidewinder rhythms and awe-inspiring moments of cinematic brilliance. Brokebone is the concluding track of the album, with an off-kilter chorus of impressively honed percussive elements and richly coloured brutish leads, the track wraps up the EP nicely while leaving us hungry for the next sonic ‘tour de force’ from the ingenious German duo.

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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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Indie Electronica from Hamburg's Lukas Oppenheimer

Lukas Oppenheimer is a musician originally from Hamburg, Germany currently studying computer science and making music on the side in Berlin. Growing up with an American mother and German father gave Lukas a unique cultural perspective from a very young age. Whether it be his open-minded approach to music or travel, his family upbringing exposed him to both European and American walks of life. 

Throughout his youth, Lukas always enjoyed playing instruments and experimenting with music. Whether it was bass, guitar, drums or old synths, Oppenheimer naturally took to being creative with sound. But it wasn't until he was 11 and got a copy of FL Studio that he began down the path of an electronic music producer.

Starting out making unconventional music and sound experiments, it was more the process of creating than the result that intrigued Lukas. To this day he carries that same kind of curiosity and creative energy, often incorporating new outboard gear and workflow into his production setup.

'Never Thought' certainly contains this creative spirit and unique, inquisitive approach.  The track is a 6 minute sonic adventure, progressing through experimental atmospheres, deep rhythms and emotional keys. 

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