We changed our name! Goodbye Weekly Soundscape.
Ah! We also slightly changed our format: if you’re a member of the Electronic Avantgardeposting Facebook group, you can now vote between all the releases we reviewed to decide which one of them should gain the title of “Album of the month”. We’ll then try to reach for the artist behind the winner album and organize and AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit open to all the members of the group.
Now that everything is clear and set, welcome to the first issue of Soul Feeding!
By Michele Sinatti and Margherita Rho
Artist: Amnesia Scanner
Album: Another Life
Label: P.A.N. Records
The Berlin-based Finnish duo Amnesia Scanner is nothing new around. During the past years they’ve been building their identity, culminated in the AS TRUTH EP, a milestone for the entire deconstructed club music genre, and with their new album, out for P.A.N. Records, they’ve decided to develop their style even further.
But let’s proceed with order: Another Life is one of those records that you can defined “techie” in the sense that all the technicalities and skills needed for creating a concrete product are effectively used, but at the same time you can still enjoy a euphoric listening session because the final result is so good that you don’t necessarily have to split and layer your judgment according to those usual different criteria such as structure, composition and sh*t and fans and stuff. The process of deconstructing music doesn’t reduce the whole thing to sterile mastery (read: masturbation), which is always a big risk with experimental music, but shows a real interest in offering something outstanding in its entirety.
Compared to previous works, this album seems to follow a way more “structured” layout in terms of songwriting. The development of the tracks is now clear, there definitely is a sort of organization, something that was deliberately missing before. The key to understand this choice may lie in a hypothetical answer of AS to what we identify as accelerationism in music. If the latter consists in deconstructing each sound down to the bone in order to break new grounds, these “new grounds” may actually be the result of the re-composition of all those fragments. Also, the not-so-obvious technological element is crucial in this sense. The human meets Oracle, the inhuman, the robotic. This intangible entity is an integral part of the single tracks, it goes hand in hand with Pan Daijing’s chorus. This encounter works as a collaboration, almost a fusion between the two that brings us back to the initial issue of perfect usage of technology. The tracks vary a lot from one to the next, many of them are definitely more energetic and vibrant, like “AS A.W.O.L.” and “AS Another Life”, others gently function as an homeopathic neuro sedative, such as “AS Daemon” and “AS Chain”.
In conclusion: this album is a must listen whether you’re a cryptoclubber wannabe curious of what the future of clubbing might sound like or you’re just a normal individual looking for something different to rave on.
By Margherita Rho
Artist: Aphex Twin
Label: WARP Records
It’s never easy to review the latest Richard D. James’s fatigue(go figure). Why you ask? Because ALL of the records he has released up until 2001’s druQks have been so heavily impactful and revolutionary, both for the history of electronic dance (and ambient) music and for the developing of AFX’s own sound, that every time he releases a new album you always hope to witness those hard and yet coherent shifts from a musical style to the other once again. But at the same time I recognize that he is Aphex mohterf*cking Twin and he has already created his own language and legacy, artistically speaking, so maybe us fans have no right to ask for more groundbreaking releases and we should be just happy to hear records like Syro or Cheetah, which are definitely good but not innovative at all. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a solution for this problem but this time it doesn’t seem to matter that much since the devilish ginger boy from Kernow has decided not to play it safe (not completely, at least) with Collapse. All the tracks of this new EP have in fact the recognizable AFX’s signature on them: the irregularly hyperkinetic, crunchy percussive section, the celestial ambient pads, the dissonant braindance synths and the laser-emitting, acid bass-lines. But at the same time there is an undeniable freshness in the way these classic elements are used, combined and in the perverse maximalism that progressively saturates the construction of the songs until it seems they’re about to literally collapse (no pun intended) under their own weight.
Sometimes it happens in the middle of the tracks, like in the leading single “T69 collapse”, sometimes right after the start, as in “abundance10edit[2 R8’s, FZ20m & a 909]”, a personal favorite, but every time these collapsing occurs they reveal to the listener something new and unheard in James’s production so far, and then disappear as the songs reprise.
And I would be lying if I say that these few moments of musical brilliance doesn’t let me hope for a new chapter in the Aphex Twin saga after all the structures of the past have collapsed.
By Michele Sinatti
Album: Drawings Of Desire And Hate
After releasing the excellent To Alter And Effect on the Swiss label -OUS earlier this year, the Urbino-based, Italian producer Tommaso Pandolfi, also known as Furtherset, has come up with a new three-track work, out on the very same label.
Named after Alter And Effect’s last track, Drawings Of Desire And Hate immediately defines itself as a direct follow-up to his predecessor, a sonic appendix or comma, in which Tommaso explores the lighter shades of the sound he achieved in his last work.
While the tracks’ layered textures remain highly abrasive and the meeting between the noise puffs, the voluminous ambient pad, and the trance-y broken melodies keeps creating a kaleidoscopic sense of luminous claustrophobia, the album pace is, in fact, slower, more pensive and less explosive, putting the listener in a state of floating numbness for fifteen minutes.
So, if you’re looking for a high-quality work to trip with, be sure not to miss this excellent slow-flowing cascade of sounds.
By Michele Sinatti
Label: Teklife Music
WFM is the last release by Heavee on Teklife Music, one of the most influential and prolific labels in the juke, footwork and house scene. And it’s from the roots of these genres that Heavee draws to create new, cutting-edge soundscapes. The heavyweight Chicago producer managed to innovate one of the most consistent genres of dance music, starting from his approach to production. As he declared on the label’s website, the studio work behind WFM didn’t start from the rhythms and bass-lines as his former production, but focused on the synthesis and sound design. The result is a cornucopia of fresh, kick-ass leads, sometimes aggressive, sometimes subtle, in case the track features some spittin’, that shows the great cure this producer put in his work.
Despite his effort for innovation, Heavee didn’t disdain some easy wins, as the album features some of the iconic figures of the genre like Dj Paypal, Dj Phil, and even an unreleased 2013 collab. with Dj Rashad. But this changes nothing: WFM is, indeed, both a dancefloor bomb and a sophisticated sound journey into the new sounds of ghetto house.
By Carlo Casentini
Artist: Ital Tek
Label: Planet Mu
It was already in the air with Hollowed, his previous LP. Now the change of direction undertaken by Alan Myson aka Ital Tek is clear and complete. Whereas Hollowed presented a set of dance music emptied and, actually, hollowed out – yet with recognizable roots in the (post-)dubstep heritage – on Bodied, his sixth studio album out again via Planet Mu, Ital Tek seems to further give up his affiliation with percussion-driven electronic music.
The thirteen tracks comprised in Bodied are best evoked by its cover: monolithic, stark, spacious, full of details and nuances. Opener “Adrift” sets the tone for the entire record, with heavy and angelic synths slowly unrolling and occasionally a submerged kick drum. The tension between light and darkness is consistent in every track, as lead melodies always merge with a drone-like backbone. The spare use of drums and especially vocal elements result in powerful additions that enrich the sonic palette and the range of synaesthetic sensations aroused by the music.
Forget about massive breakdowns; this record is all about balance and prolonged tension rather than explosions, even on the most percussive cuts (“Lithic”, “Vanta”, “Across time”, “Prima”, “Bodied”). The tension between luminous and bleaker passages – often palpable within the same track – reflects the coexistence of mechanic and processed organic elements, as Myson himself stresses the “human acoustic foundation” of the album, made with “live recordings of cello, violin, harp, guitar”.
By Lorenzo Montefinese
Artist: Yves Tumor
Album: Safe In The Hands Of Love
Label: Warp Records
Not only has Warp Records been at the forefront of electronic music for the last thirty years, but recently it’s also indulging in an omnivorous pop sensibility, resulting in releases that take the best of both: think of the latest Mount Kimbie, Kelela, Gaika – maybe even OPN. The addition of Yves Tumor to its roster sounds almost as the natural evolution of the artist’s creative path.
On Safe In The Hands Of Love Yves Tumor doesn’t change much the formula already shown in Serpent music; instead, he takes that form of mutant pop, hazy psychedelia and electronics to its height. Listening to this album means to float seamlessly between 80s/90s-inspired pop (“Noid”, “Licking an orchid”), alt-rock reminiscences (“Lifetime”), darker noisy episodes (“Hope in suffering”, “Let the lioness in you flow freely”), electronic weird r&b (“Economy of freedom”, “Honesty”) and harder to define moments where all we are left with is Tumor’s (artistic and human) self, regardless of what musical genre you’d like to pin it down to.
Throughout the entire album, there’s a constant balance of opposites: noise and quiet, hope and despair, suffering and, of course, love. Tumor’s voice sounds at the same time irreparably distant yet physically close, as if the listener slowly establishes a psychosomatic contact with him as the tracks go by. The album and the tracks titles witness the intimacy infused in this record, halfway between auto-analysis and a declaration of intents.
If I could only have one word to summarize it all, that would probably be ‘cathartic’: becoming part of Yves Tumor’s tortured soul, scrambling across unstable rocks, and eventually feel born-again when the music abruptly stops at the end of “Let the lioness in you flow freely”. Let’s just hope all of us will be able to let it flow as amazingly as Yves Tumor did on this album.
By Lorenzo Montefinese
Artwork by Francesco Battaglia