These first two weeks of October have been absolutely nuts in terms of releases: a lot of big names finally made their comeback, and a lot of good, new underground stuff emerged, especially ambient stuff.
However, since we (your favorite bastards) think that variety is also quite important when it comes to talk about new music, we have decided to give space to as many different genres as possible in this new issue (sorry ambient lovers), so get ready to switch from post-industrial to gqom and from ambient to trap.
This is your Soul Feeding!
By Michele Sinatti
Age Coin – She Who Told Me Sold Me Review
Artist: Age Coin
Album: She Who Told Me Sold Me
Label: Posh Isolation
If you happened to have listened to their 2017’s debut album, Performance, you know that the Danish duo known as Age Coin is all about deconstructing techno, but this year it seems like they have decided to encapsulate and rework in their own clicking style various type of rave music.
In June they have, in fact, released Maybe Fake It’s What I Like, an enigmatic and emotional two-track work, in which they explored a more trance-y sound, with mellow arpeggios sliding over brilliantly irregular drum patterns. And now they strike back with She Who Told Me Sold Me, another two-track EP, as mysterious as its predecessor, where instead they appear to be evoking the phantom of UK dance music.
The first track is a pure experimental banger, with a kicking, syncopated drum section as interesting as driving, and a grime-y yet luminous synthesizers, perfectly entwined between them, variation after variation.
The second one, instead, makes me immediately think of what Burial’s “Spaceape” would’ve sounded like without The Spaceape spitting over it, with its 2-step beat and its hard-boiled, ambient atmosphere. Then I hear what is happening in the background of the song, the clicks, the crackle, the rattling and the rustling, and I forget about Burial, don’t miss the vocals for one bit and just get amazed once again by how many tiny sounds these two Danish artists are able to stuff into a track while still making sense.
She Who Told Me Sold Me, mixes tradition and innovation with impressive skill, and manage to create a good balance between being experimental and being a lot of fun to listen and dance.
I can’t wait to hear what Age Coin’s next move will be.
By Michele Sinatti
Buga – Visions Of One Truth Review
Album: Visions Of One Truth
Bruxelles based artist Buga, recently came out with a flamboyant new EP, resembling even from the album art, a piping-hot molten lava. It’s an enthusiastic, thrilling and well-composed piece of work.
The opener “Cattle Call” starts off light but frantic (with echoes of the Berliners Amnesia Scanner here and there), while velvet arpeggiators and tight kicks carry you to the second track, “Visions of One Truth”, which create a pretty ethereal dimension while keeping it ever-increasing. It’s a weird feeling, honestly. Like being in a very hurried urban overview looking for a bed to lie down. But, eventually, you find out the damn crib is in a fake sheltered area of an overhang. Visions are the ones of a rapid, ever-changing present. Truth is one, subjective and individual. And as a consequence, you’re the only one who’s going to deal with that damn bed. “!-1”, the third track, is a love-affair with more traditional IDM’s drum patterns and fresh, mellow sounds. “Immunity 925” enters into more lonesome and bittersweet territories, sounding like a darker shade of its previous production. A closure in weightless fashion with a vintage sense of nostalgia.
The distance between physical and mental participation is at a close range, being both moving and interesting. In other words, Buga released a ‘sometimes torched by a futuristic wrath’ and sometimes more relaxed work. To be listened to enraptured, nodding your head or while heavy dancing. Highly entertaining.
By Andrea Alfieri
Julz Da Deejay – Gqom In Transit Review
Artist: Julz Da Deejay
Album: Gqom In Transit
Label: Liquorish Records
We are used to hearing and to saying things like “music has no boundaries and no country”, and it’s true, but sometimes it takes a local to capture the real essence of a genre. It’s the case of Julz Da Deejay, that, in his first solo release, Gqom In Transit, gives us what could be an academic essay about the SouthAfrican genre.
Gqom emerged in Durban, Julz’s hometown, in the early 2000’s, and is characterized by bass oriented beats that take a lot from African traditional percussions. In his highly-diversified four-track work, the SouthAfrican producer tries to innovate the canons of the genre, while sticking to its roots.
In facts, while the kick and drums maintain a quite similar pattern in all of them, the dynamics, mood, and sonorities vary a lot. “Ground Shaker” sounds very clean, almost scholastic, but it’s a perfect introduction to the album. “Trip to Amsterdam” reverb creates a darker and more spacious soundscape. The third track, Midnight Bang, follows in the direction of the previous, but with a less club-oriented turn. Finally, “Demolition” is a huge, layered track, with synths and effects that create the perfect scenic ending for the EP.
Julz Da Deejay declared that he’s convinced that gqom will have a great relevance in the future music scene; we agree with him, and we are quite sure that he will be one of the most important advocates of the genre.
By Carlo Casentini
Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman Review
Artist: Marie Davidson
Album: Working Class Woman
Label: Ninja Tune
Would you ever listen to an album in which the artist, in the first track, derides its fans making them look like stupid nosy irritating posers?
The question is pertinent while approaching Working Class Woman, the fourth solo album by the Canadian producer Marie Davidson. If you are not too touchy go ahead, you will find patients in awe before the psychologist, workaholic paranoid bitches and profound judgments on the meaning of life.
Sarcasm has always been present in the works of the Montreal-based artist: the previous album Adieu Au Dancefloor (Farewell To The Dancefloor) was a detached and ironic portrait of clichés about club culture – still today, I am left with the doubt that club culture actually is sh*t.
The themes become more varied this time, but the center remains the world of clubs and the experiences of Marie as a successful underground artist (throughout last year she toured around the world with her husband Pierre Guerineau, together they are known as Essai Pas).
The spectrum of sounds is the one that has always characterized Davidson’s productions: minimal wave, lots of samples and spoken lyrics. A wide range that spreads from acid house to suffused ambient synths, passing through groovy loops with an analog flavor and techno rhythms.
The original title of the record was supposed to be “Bullshit Threshold”, we do not know why she changed it with the more feminist Working Class Woman (and we’re a bit sorry about that, too). In the end, you do not understand whether she wants to be serious or just funny: it’s a long, inconclusive, ambiguous, multilingual rant, but it sounds so sincere and visceral that you end up worshipping it.
By Francesco Cellino
Ouri – We Share Our Blood Review
Album: We Share Our Blood
Label: Ghostly International
The first time I heard about Ouri was a few months ago, when between random listenings, surfing on the net, I came across this live for Boiler Room “Reminder: keep an eye on what’s happening in Montreal” I must have thought, since even one of the funniest and most watched Boiler Room ever was recorded in the capital of Quebec.
We Share Our Blood is the new EP of the Canadian DJ, producer, and musician, released on September 28th on Ghostly International. Unlike previous releases, Ouri’s voice is present in all of the songs, in the form of a continuous whispered speech. The five tracks of the EP feature a multitude of influences and electronic music styles: from “Down”’s dance-popish atmosphere, with its slow breakbeat rhythm and looped voices, we move to the polyrhythmic, powerful bass of “We Share Our Blood”. “Hpersensis” is the most dancefloor-oriented song, it’s a melodic and dreamy techno jam with an unconventional structure, while the last two tracks (“Escape” and “K-Yen Dreamin”) are closer to future R’n’B and experimental pop.
In just twenty minutes you can find reminiscences of Fka Twigs and Aphex Twin, Jon Hopkins and Moderat, Smerz and Massive Attack, but the distinguishable touch of this talented emerging artist is always recognizable.
By Francesco Cellino
Puce Mary – The Drought Review
Artist: Puce Mary
Album: The Drought
Label: P.A.N. Records
After five releases on the Danish label Posh Isolation, the post-industrial musician Frederikke Hoffmeier, also known as Pucer Mary, attains at P.A.N. Records with The Drought, her latest LP and probably her more complex work to date.
While preserving the inescapable sense of claustrophobia and the love for creating mutant pieces of ear-violating music, typical of her previous works, for this new record Puce Mary seems to have chosen a more subtle approach, progressive I would say, as the process of decomposition that affects a corpse.
But not all the dead bodies decay in the same way, even if they all turn into dust eventually, they can go through several, unpredictable changes, exactly as the nine tracks of The Drought do.
For this very reason, the album is able to keep a constant grip on the listener attention and at the same time shows the maturity Puce Mary has reached in the building and use of her musical palette, which is now far from the trite aesthetic of power (namely: I broke things) of post-industrial, and seems more focused on creating an unprecedented aesthetic of fragility (namely: of broken things).
This peculiar approach, which is recognizable in (and probably comes from) her live performance, allows the artist to avoid an excessively solipsistic perspective and at the same time to create music that is both narrative and dialogic, involving the listener directly and not just throwing to him a ready-made product to listen passively. It is also the reason why the lyrics of The Drought are mixed so that they are far more understandable than those of The Spiral, because the main goal of this record is to “expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music”, as stated on Puce Mary’s Bandcamp page. And I can assure you it does.
By Michele Sinatti
Tauro Boys – TauroTape2 Review
Artist: Tauro Boys
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an uptight snob techno sommelier that only attends underground clubs (those actually under the ground at the bottom of infinite stairs) or the number one fan of Cannibal Corpse, you will end up listening to some trap music at a certain point in your life and, if you’re lucky, it will be good trap music that you might also like.
For us (neither techno nor metla bois, just your regular assh*les), this moment has arrived a couple years ago and when we discovered the Italian, Rome-based trio known as Tauro Boys. Active since 2016, this month they have released their second mixtape TauroTape 2, produced by Close Listen, a direct follow-up to their TauroTape.
The album features eleven dreamy and fancy tracks, typical of the trio: they set a mood halfway between Dark Polo Gang’s 2016 no-sense audacity and Ketama126 and Pretty Sowlero’s soft druggy-ness. Putting aside the lyrics, which are somewhat between romantic, emo, old-school and pure flexing (and really fun in general), for the sake of Soul Feeding we should focus on the beats. The two singles “Marylin” and “Dieci Ragazze” (a rare case in which, if you’re Italian, the remake of a classic doesn’t trigger you negatively) are maybe the ones that least represent our choice in reviewing this album: definitely too many Weezer guitars and not always used in a smart way.
Others, though, hide the beauty: “Labile”, for example, has a traditional flirty and enjoué melody, but the constant detuning of the synths turns into a melancholic, lo-fi-ish gem. The same happens in “Compasso”, which deserved to be praised only for the anime samples in the intro, although it is less evident because of some louder stuff that overhangs what matters to us. Now, take every single lyric out of “Tempo” and tell me if you wouldn’t enjoy it in a club. It is so dry – in the best metaphoric meaning possible – and neat that I can really picture myself bringing Tauro Boys to Northern Europe. Finally, the masterpiece: “Napoli”. Electronic ethnic sounds are something that can only get along with serious dance music OR, of course, trap.
In a few words, this album is yet another proof that the really good quality trap, in Italy, is born and raised in Rome and nowhere else, and it’s no surprise that is able to surpass the Italian borders and hit Europe.
By Margherita Rho
Various Artists – Air Texture Volume VI Review
Artist: Various Artists
Album: Air Texture Volume VI
Label: Air Texture
The concept behind the Air Texture series is simple yet exciting: for every release, two producer/musicians are asked to curate a double cd compilation containing unreleased material only. The five volumes between 2011 and 2017 have been provided by top-notch artists-turned-curators like Bvdub, Loscil, Deadbeat, Steve Hauschildt, Juju & Jordash. Its sixth installment is supervised by Dutch heroes Steffi and Martyn (already partners in crime with their Doms & Deykers project), who asked friends, both well established and newcomers, for “their own unique interpretations of a leftfield, non-linear aesthetic.”
As the duo’s own production and taste often indulge in, and is informed by, non-4/4 dance music styles, Air Texture VI is indeed a pantheon of artists who have been pushing electro, IDM, (post-)dubstep and everything in between over the last two decades.
All the tracks are focused on syncopated drum patterns adorned with sci-fi and escapist atmospheres. Celestial pads and acid-dipped synths reminiscent of the heydays of ‘90s futurism abound, whose effects are as impressive today as they were back in the days.
Sometimes the music matches our expectations, as it’s the case with the ambient opening by Synkro, the UK funky and -step echoes of Roska, or Martyn’s and Basic Soul Unit’s drum programming mastery, and 21st century IDM by Answer Code Request, Shed and Steffi. But some stunning twists and turns are to be found as well, my personal top three being an electro bomb by FaltyDL, the cleanest sounding ever track made by Actress, and an unusual peaceful, ambient-ish Stingray.
Apart from the biggest names, there’s quality in abundance here, even from artists you may have never heard of before. That is exactly what is striking in Air Texture VI, how flawless and consistent these twenty-six tracks are: no fillers, all killers, although suited more for the home (car/commute/comedown/…) listening rather than frenzy clubbing.
If electronic music had its own yearly all-star game in the form of a compilation, this one would easily be the dream team we were waiting for.
By Lorenzo Montenfinese
Wiliam Basinski + Lawrence English – Selva Oscura Review
Artist: William Basinski + Lawrance English
Album: Selva Oscura
Label: Temporary Residence
If you’ve even only scratched the surface of the last twenty years of ambient music, then the names of William Basinski and Lawrence English should sound familiar and need no introduction. A tape-loop master the former, a sonic sculptor the latter, whose collaborative album feels like an inevitable development of their respective artistic paths, and is a serious contender for the “collab-of-the-year-award”.
Selva Oscura, the album’s title, is a quote from Dante’s Divina Commedia, and its meaning – ‘dark forest’ – is as evocative as the music it contains. It may metaphorically allude to the dark times we are collectively living through; to Basinski’s and English’ personal struggles; to the dominant somber and precarious mood of the album; or to Dante’s oeuvre itself, a work pondering on human life from the grossest pains in hell to the highest relief of paradise.
With all of this in mind, what we encounter here is a record made of two long suites running for almost forty minutes. Each track is a world in its own.
Things set off with “Mono no aware”: after one minute the lead drone comes to the surface, followed in the background by other elements. Piano, strings, guitar seem discernible as they slowly unfold; sometimes they go along together and the effect is magnificent, sometimes one catches our attention in the foreground before stepping back and giving space to sounds previously lying in the background. The mood here is graciously suspended between several shades: not really uplifting, yet not melancholic; not too pensive, but not bright enough.
On “Selva Oscura” the atmosphere becomes gloomier, drones get menacing, repetitions and delays fill the air with uncertainty and the sense of actually wandering through an obscure forest. Although darker than “Mono no aware”, it never feels negative.
The two pieces fit perfectly together, creating a rich aural scape in which macro stillness matches microdynamics.
Selva Oscura is the sound of world revolving and life unfolding, with all the unspeakable, irreducible mix of feelings it conveys.
By Lorenzo Montefinese
Artwork by Francesco Battaglia