This issue of SOUL FEEDING (which comes out superf*cking late) has been really challenging for the whole team. Never, since we’ve started this column, we’ve discussed for so long (and so late at night) and with so much passion as this time in order to decide which albums to include or not in the present issue. Usually, we’re pretty much on the same page, but May was really full of polarizing records, like the new Kablam.
And although I know that some might say that some albums are missing or should be here, some of those we’ve actually reviewed shouldn’t etc., all of our discussions took a lot of energy and time from us and I’d like to think that we’ve managed to create an essential but interesting selection for this month’s second half.
By Michele Sinatti
100 gecs – 100 gecs
Artist: 100 gecs
Label: Self Released
The number of recalls and layers on this EP is outrageous and what is really going on is really up to who is listening and his personal music path in the end. Some listeners happen to hear Blink 182‘s Tom Delonge singing some of the vocals, someone else seems to be sure its Ethan Kath behind the synths of some tracks, others suggest this is just another PC Music experimentation. We at Soul Feeder are pretty sure that all of the above are just fantasising and can’t believe what they are hearing: an incredibly original work by two extremely heavy listeners who are amazingly able to vehicle all of their influences in one monolithic EP. 100 gecs is a project that by definition everyone under 35 years old can’t possibly not love, everything good from our teenage years is condensed into under 25 minutes, a wet dream for any avid music lover in 2019. There’s so much going on it’s really hard to define this beautiful creature.
By pressing play you’ll find high pitch vocals, electro ska beats, pop bangers and Death Grips sounding tunes all in one. What summarises 100 gecs’s music is an extremely pure and passionate approach resulting in naive sounding tracks that are simply unfiltered mashups of everything Dylan Brady and Osno1 deeply love. This said everything is amazingly well mixed together and the EP never sounds incoherent or messed up. All vocal melodies are simply stunning and each one of the tracks could possibly be your next summer hit. Everything sounds strikingly loud and bright but still focused, clear and sentimental at the same time, giving the listener an overdose of emotions.
A record that more than dividing seems to reconcile music fans from extremely different backgrounds, no more metalheads fighting punks out of school or ravers mocking emo kids on their lunch breaks.
By Thomas Borgogni
coucou chloe – Naughty Dog
Artist: coucou chloe
Album: Naughty Dog
After her excellent 2017’s debut EP the French producer and vocalist coucou chloe could’ve literally taken any direction, musically speaking. Despite its very cohesive sound, in fact, erika jane contained a wide range of influences, spacing between industrial, trap, gabber and deconstructed club, which made it really hard to predict how her style would’ve evolved from there.
Now that her second EP, Naughty Dog, is here we can finally stop guessing (and arguing) because coucou chloe seems to have a very precise idea of who she is and how she sounds like.
Leaving the (more) clubby bits that characterized her early releases behind, this new work seems to take “Flip U” and “Stamina” (aka the more trappy bits) as archetypes to explore and develop.
From the very first track, it’s crystal clear that Naughty Dog is not a record that strikes you for its ravey-ness. coucou chloe is more interested in building up an eerie yet trippy atmosphere this time, and with style.
She processes her vocals in a vast number of ways making them act sometimes as the main track and sometimes as melodic or rhythmic fills that enrich the freaky sonic textures she builds through a solid combination of dark pads, leads and all kind of crushing industrial sounds.
These core elements then creepily slither over essential trap and hip-hop beats, constantly trying to slip through the structure that they impose.
Listening to it feels like getting high with a xenomorph or another weird af creature at your side.
And as if this wasn’t enough to keep things interesting, the EP is enriched by two features that further increase its variety. The first one, “Juicy”, features label-mate Shygirl and is an obscure IDGAF piece of music that really makes you wish for these two amazing girls to release a split or something. On the other hand “Waiting”, featuring US producer Lederrick, is a raw, emo slow-jam that sees Erika’s alien voice swing over a looping guitar riff. And although (or maybe just because) it sounds quite different from the rest of the album, this track perfectly fits as a more light conclusion.
Brief and intense, Naughty Dog is for coucou chloe a step towards a more avant-trap, allowing her to create a product that is accessible without ever renouncing to any of the oddities and contaminations (may it be goth, emo or gabber) that made her music so special for us to begin with.
By Michele Sinatti
Net Gala – re:FLEX*ion
Artist: Net Gala
It’s been years now that people like to speculate on the death of club music, constantly declaring that the scene isn’t offering anything interesting to listen to and even though there are signs of inflection in the genre this trend is definitely not true at a global level. What’s going in Asia right now, for example, is unbelievable and growing by the day. More than ever artists and labels are popping out from what once were unusual places like China, South Korea or Japan and the music they are offering is stratospheric. Net Gala is a perfect representative of this prodigious movement and his latest EP, re:FLEX*ion, is with no doubt one of the most interesting and compelling releases we’ve heard in 2019.
From the punchy beats, to the trance sounding synths and the insane metallic snaps, all elements are extremely coherent and are able to shape a majestic soundscape. Not only every track is amazingly well assembled and captivating, each one of them has its exceptional seductive feel and is able to mesmerize the listener by building up an absolutely unique and ethereal atmosphere. The exquisite stratification of different reverbs and delays on each element clashes in the background of the stunning melodic riffs and designs the architecture of the EP giving an extremely rich and bright sound to the entire release.
The whole record is an up and down ride through uptempo bangers and introspective spiritual moments with a touch of oriental esotericism condensed. This said, what Net Gala is able to achieve in just six tracks is impressive to say the least, making the essence of the release only appreciable through multiple plays. Don’t sleep on this magnificent work and you’ll be forever thankful you gave a chance to such a gem. With no doubt one of the most interesting releases of the year so far.
By Thomas Borgogni
Organ Tapes – Hunger In Me Living
Artist: Organ Tapes
Album: Hunger In Me Living
Hunger In Me Living is the third album released by Organ Tapes, this time for TT (Tobago Tracks).
Strong pop vibes are at the basis of this new work. Indeed, the widely used definition of “avant-garde pop” might fit perfectly, also thanks to some feebly perceptible post-rock hints, that untie the whole thing from the mere poppish wire. Simple as that, if it wasn’t for its shiniest facet: the lyrics. Both in meanings and, overall, sound, the lo-fi emo rap superstratum lets us move into a mix of genres even less well defined.
On the one hand, the most representative on an emotional line are “Servant” or even “Simple Halo”. On the other hand, reconnecting to the previous wildcat observation about post-rock, “Dogs Running Free” or “Faithful”s beats taken alone drive us towards a kind of Nordic feeling (I am mostly thinking about Amiina or Múm). On a third hand, ( Chernobyl miniseries is out now too) “Fung Wide Open” is undoubtedly some good club music, easily danceable and shit.
For all these reasons, Hunger in Me Living is an album to discover, ever-changing and mostly half-hiding really astonishing sides.
Editorial note: if you like “Dogs Running Free” and post-rock I highly recommend you Forlorn and Pensive Dogs Pondering The Meaning Of Post-Rock Lyrics on Facebook).
By Margherita Rho
Regular Citizen – Sleeping Unique
Artist: Regular Citizen
Album: Sleeping Unique
Label: Presto!? Records
2019 has been a memorable year so far for the Presto!? Records crew. The cutting edge Italian label is celebrating its tenth birthday in the best possible way: after the beautiful Triad by Triad God, the latest release of the venture founded by Lorenzo Senni is Regular Citizen’s Sleeping Unique.
Let’s start with a very general consideration about this album: it’s technically flawless, everything sounds great and every single note triggers profound emotions in the listener. The sound design is minimalistic (almost pointillistic, as Presto!?’s founder Lorenzo Senni defines his music), yet layered and poignant, conveying a sense of plenitude and engagement. Regular Citizen managed to combine the perfect production with an exciting, almost overwhelming narrative, leading the listener in an enthralling emotive journey.
Reading the author’s bio while listening to this album, it’s easier to understand the direction of this travel and the soundscapes that his music paints. Grown close to Vladivostok, on the Pacific coast of Russia, Regular Citizen offers us a glimpse of life on the frontier, between extended landscapes and stretched time, cyclic routines and amazing discoveries. Sleeping Unique expresses that unique feeling of infinite possibilities that can only be experienced when those possibilities are intangible, almost as they were hidden in the mist behind an oriental harbour.
It’s not easy to control the feelings that Sleeping Unique awakens track by track, as you adventure further into the listening: just try to resist screaming out loud when “Ultramarine Dew” builds up if you can. Regular Citizen’s debut album on Presto!? is one of a kind, a true masterpiece and strong contender for AOTY.
By Carlo Casentini
Special Request – VORTEX
Artist: Special Request
“Fuck all that conceptual guff”. The best way to talk about Special Request’s latest album is provided by the man himself via his Bandcamp page. VORTEX, out via the usual Houndstooth, is Paul Woolford’s new work under his 90’s rave and pirate radio-inspired alias. Since launching this moniker in 2012, Woolford has mined British golden era of hardcore breakbeat, jungle and techno, infusing them with a fresh sensibility in terms of production.
VORTEX is a raw and immediate album, devoid of self-conscious experimental overthinking, following a pure straight-for-the-floor tradition. It also feels a playful album, not in the sense of being light-hearted or superficial, but because it conveys the enjoyment and the easygoing spontaneous process of making it (it’s the first of four albums Woolford made “in his underpants”). Even the gaudy artwork with metal-esque lettering seem to reflect this carefree, exuberant, slaps-to-your-face quality of the music.
It’s the approach that seems to matter here, as genres and tempos vary almost from track to track. From electro (“SP4NN3R3D”), to hardcore breakbeat (“Ardkore Dolphin”) to techno (“Memory Lake”, “Fahrenheit 451”) to jungle (“Vortex 150”) to trance and gabber (“Fett”, “A Gargantuan Melting Face Floating Effortlessly Through The Stratosphere”), acid and melodic at the same time (“Levitation”), you’ve got everything going on here.
Interestingly, the album plays as an evolving narrative arc getting faster as it approaches the end, so that listening to the whole record is like being drawn into a metaphorical vortex. It could be a trip down memory lane of pre-Internet times with molly and loud systems for the older, a surrogate of golden era raves for those who know but weren’t there, and a massive dose of fun and anthems for those who’re encountering this sounds for the first time.
If you’re looking for weird new mutations of dance music, please skip over this. But if you’re going after a set of “strictly bowel-evacuating bangers” to make you bounce (and reeeaaallyyy make you wish you were there in 1992), VORTEX is essential listening.
By Lorenzo Montefinese
Xyn Cabal – Perfect Oracle
Artist: Xyn Cabal
Album: Perfect Oracle
Label: The Death of Rave
The Death of Rave keeps establishing itself as one of the labels leading the wave of experimental electronic music, covering the full spectrum from abstract to floor-oriented. Their latest release is the debut EP from Athens-based Xyn Cabal, Perfect Oracle.
The producer shows his formidable compositional skills delivering five tracks each with a different structure, but profoundly coherent nonetheless. Several influences can be traced down, yet Xyn Cabal doesn’t sound derivative at all as he scrambles shattered techno, kuduro tribalism, dembow and gqom reminiscences, and HD sound design.
The music somehow evokes a sense of awe and/for the ancient majesty of Athens; but at the same time the syncopations, sense of dread, and hyper kinetics of this record reflect Greece tough times and ongoing riots since the financial crisis.
Perfect Oracle starts with “Ǝ”, a nine minutes journey that slowly unfurls as it progresses, adding elements in the mix. After two minutes of drones and squeaky synths, percussions are brought in and kick increasingly harder, backed by a looped vocal and even a trancey synth towards the end. “Nowei” is a moody bass hybrid with highly processed drums; the perfect balance between Rian Treanor kinetic takes on UKG and Raime recent disquieting cut-ups. Haunting vocals are at the core of the title track, whose percussions sounding as distant explosions and high tension synths surfacing in the second half made me think about a spiritual rite going on during the apocalypse. “Veil-Ordnance” contributes to the somber mood with its misty synths surrounding stripped down percussions – think of a slowed down gqom or broken techno – that almost glitch and collapse on themselves towards the end of the track. Finally, “MSFVenom” is all about echoed noises and clangs and muffled kicks, slowing the pace but keeping the alert alarm always on. It’s almost a vapourous end that leaves us wanting more from the producer. As I’m repeatedly listening to Perfect Oracle, I’m already envisioning and getting excited for a Xyn Cabal album. What next?
By Lorenzo Montefinese