MAGIC MIX

Electro . Synthwave . Electro-pop

WEEK STARTING 27 Oct

Genre pick of the week Cover of Behind The Curtain by Rodion G.A..

Rodion G.A.

Behind The Curtain

Rodion Rosca grew up and got his musical education in Cluj, on the Romanian / Hungarian border, during the relatively ‘open’ years of 1965-1972, before Ceacescu’s regime cracked down viciously on the cultural opportunities (and freedoms generally) available to the Romanian people. He was drawn to electronic music, at that time still an exciting new possibility, represented by East Germany’s Karat, Czechoslovakia’s Matador and Hungary’s Skorpio, as well as bands from the west including Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes, and the inevitable Kraftwerk and what would become known as ‘krautrock’.

By 1975 Rosca had amassed an eclectic selection of equipment and established a reputation as a DIY tech-wizard. He created his own unique way of creating music on reel-to-reel tape recorders, using the various tape machines to multitrack. His nascent studio included several Tesia tape recorders, drum machines, phasers, flangers and fuzz pedals. Then there were a toy Casio VL Tone and a Soviet made Faemi organ. He was joined by Gicu Farcas and Adrian Caparu in a band he had started, which then took the name Rodion G.A.

Vocals, drums and guitars formed the core ‘rock’ elements but in every other way the music of Rodion G.A. was leftfield, unique and inimitable. Recording opportunities in Romania were severely limited, with just the one state-owned record label (Electrecord), and a paranoid suspicion of ‘western decadence’ and censorship of those who might be seen to have adopted such traits.

Rodion’s band concentrated on touring, from gigs in restaurants to the country’s festivals, where they built up a loyal following for their unique and inimitable sound. Otherwise, Rodion’s career consisted of commissions to score theatre, ballet, opera and gymnastics exhibitions, and, later, in the mid-‘80s, the animated film Delta Space Mission (though his music wasn’t used). At the beginning of the ‘80s his music was even featured on a Romanian TV show to usher in the New Year.

Coinciding with the death of his mother, a dispirited Rodion walked away from music after a festival appearance in 1987, and that could have well been that. It was only some 25 years later that film-maker, blogger and enthusiast for Romanian music Luca Sorin, tracked down Rosca, by now living in a secluded country cottage. Through the auspices of Sorin and fellow enthusiasts Future Nuggets, Rosca’s music came to the attention of our friends at Strut, who last year released 'The Lost Tapes', effectively Rodion G.A’s debut album, to widespread critical acclaim.

Perhaps mindful of his legacy, Rosca has unearthed a good deal of old material, divesting countless boxes at his country cottage of their contents, painstakingly listening to his old tapes on an old reel to reel machine. Amongst this material was that we proudly present here: ‘The Lost Album’. The existence of a complete album by Rodion G.A was somehow known to many enthusiasts of Romanian and electronic music, even though even its creator was unsure of its fate. Rumours about confiscation by the secret police and such like abounded. The more prosaic truth, that it had simply festered indoors as Rosca had turned his back on his old calling, surprised even him!


Dean Blunt

50 Cent / Trident

Hype Williams man Dean Blunt preceeds his soon-come 'Black Metal' LP with this super-limited 12". Showcasing more of Blunt's eclecticism, '50 Cent' combines spacious, shimmering, reverb-laden lo-fi shoegaze guitar work and simple kick-snare machine drumming used as a hip hop break. Over this Williams adds a melancholic rap, duetting with a choral female vocal in a call and response style. 'Trident' offers a more straight forward rap, but again over an inventive dark and grimey backing track. It's indie hip hop, but not as you know it.


FORMAT INFORMATION

12" Info: Limited pressing. 200 copies only.

DFA are delighted to welcome Dan Bodan to the label's roster. Bodan

 mixes traditional song-writing with intricately textured electronic production.

"I write about the things I know, but it should be interesting for other people. So I want it to be like a really great roman-a-clef, or reading your older sisters diary." - Dan Bodan



Berlin based songwriter Dan Bodan was born in the wide open Canadian prairies and raised in Montreal. Reared on the city's underground noise and experimental music scene, Bodan moved to Berlin 8 years ago. Blossoming in the city's unique mixture of crumbling old-world European values, start-up philanthropy, sleepless techno and epic grey skies, he began writing songs to soundtrack his train rides through the city and make sense of it all. 


‘Soft’ is a rose-scented journey through millennial love issues, which was co-produced with Physical Therapy and Ville Haimala (Renaissance Man) and features MESH, 18+, Great Skin, Latisha Faulkner, Dena Yago, and Stadium. The album artwork for ‘Soft’was designed by famed-artist Julien Ceccaldi who currently graces the cover of Artforum's Summer issue.

Working together with a team of world-class producers, poets and artists, he writes songs to fit comfortably in that space between the finger and the mousepad, the bedroom and the club, the earth and the ether.

John Carpenter And Alan Howarth

Halloween II - Clear Vinyl Edition

    Death Waltz Recording Co. present Halloween II Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by John Carpenter & Alan Howarth. Original art by Brandon Schaefer. Includes sleeve notes from Alan Howarth & Brandon Schaefer.

    Death Waltz Recording Company is proud to present the return of one of horror's scariest boogeymen, as well as one of the genre's most iconic theme tunes with John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's score to Halloween II. Set directly after the events of the first film, Rick Rosenthal's sequel sets itself up as the slasher equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back, making a family connection between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers while getting some good kills in at the same time. Carpenter and Howarth's score is beefier and more intense than before, using layers of electronics to drive the audience to madness.

    As before, Myers aka “The Shape” is propelled by that theme, souped up with a new and more powerful arrangement from Carpenter and Howarth. Halloween II is more overtly synth and is perhaps less focused than the original score, although that certainly means it's nastier and more schizophrenic. The score also brings back the evocative 'Laurie's Theme', incorporating into a score full of harrowing musical effect, its synthesised howls and wails piercing your ears so that by the time 'Mr. Sandman' comes around, you'll feel just like the final girl, delirious at having survived the aural ordeal. And that's just when The Shape wakes up.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180g frosted clear vinyl.

    John Carpenter And Alan Howarth

    Halloween III: Season Of The Witch - Clear Vinyl Expanded Edition

      Death Waltz Recording Co. present Halloween III Brand new remaster for 2014 taken from the original analog tape and including 11 never before released cues exclusive to this record. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by John Carpenter & Alan Howarth. Original art by Jay Shaw.

      Deluxe reissue includes 400 gsm Gatefold sleeve and contains exclusive by Director Tommy Lee Wallace , Artist Jay Shaw and film expert Kim Newman also includes an interview with John Carpenter by Joseph Burnett.

      Death Waltz Recording Company is proud to return another previous release to its ranks a true classic of horror cinema scoring, with John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's score to Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. Bravely dumping the character of Michael Myers, the film instead looked at the concept of Halloween itself as a subject, with a mystery involving an Irish toymaker, three gruesome masks, and a chunk of Stonehenge. Eviscerated on release, it's now been re-evaluated as an underrated picture, not least because of Carpenter and Howarth's score.

      Whilst it left the original themes at home, Halloween III still has a plentiful array of musical delights to scare the living daylights out of you. The main title has a palpable sense of dread, with low droning synths providing a backdrop for high-pitched lines representing a television signal. Edged notes along with a foreboding rhythm provide high tension along with stabbing wild synths, while a certain piece of driving music gives a sense of fate dragging you to a very bloody and nasty death. And then there's the Silver Shamrock theme. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: 180g orange vinyl.

      Cooly G returns with ‘Wait 'Til Night’, an album of sensitive, lo-fi bedroom music, its lyrics sketching dreamy scenarios of seduction, lust and sex. The moody South London house of her debut album 'Playin Me' and her DJ sets has given way to a near-horizontal, sometimes melancholy and highly original take on R&B. The tracks swing effortlessly with no-fuss musical arrangements that are filtered through reggae sound system culture and US R&B in equal amounts, with a slight hint of dark synth-pop wound throughout. The pace has come down from the deep, tribal house she's known for so far, with the only constants that run through the album - her intimate vocals and smokey synths - cross-hatched with her characteristic broken rhythmic sense.

      Opening with title track, Cooly coos about a date, over an infectious synth lead that wouldn't sound out of place on a Depeche Mode song. 'Like A Woman Should' is twilight music, synths rolling out like clouds over pulsing drums, while the vocals whisper invitations. 'Your Sex' is a fantasy with synths and surprisingly stabbing, hooky and distorted rhythm guitar. 'I Like' feels like the opening of an especially dreamy jungle track stretched into a full pop song. 'Dancing' rolls out drums and a mini guitar figure into a gently dizzy waltz, while 'Quick Question' plays out the scenario after the dance. 'Want's' barely-there song structure of drum and occasional bass with a wiry synth lead, is accompaniment to a near-whispered vocal. The pace steps up with the smouldering 'So Deep', with a deep synth bassline and a muscular hip hop beat. '1st Time' is all depth charge bleeps, guitars and piano. 'Freak You' is spacious and guitar driven, with Cooly beaming in directives through a distant voice transmission. The album's final honest, angry and forlorn track, 'The 3 Of Us', comes down hard on an absent parent, a full stop on the romance that the album narrates. It also reveals Cooly G as a skilled rap artist, something she’s kept hidden until now, with double-time flows casting off a missing babyfather. ‘Wait ‘Til Night’ finds Cooly G casting her net wider than her debut album, with songs that are more confident, accessible and stylistically consistent. The album comes laced with Cooly's unique honesty and charm and is sure to win her new fans with her catchy melodies, slow-jammed stories of blighted urban romance, and engaging lack of pretension.

      East India Youth

      Hinterland - Inc. Katja Waske Remix

      In a move that's certain to please the proper techno heads out there, East India Youth has finally seen fit to deploy the finest piece of dancefloor weaponary on his critically acclaimed debut LP in 12" form. Militaristic drums, driving sequences and swirling modular washes interlock into a pulsating nuclear core, well on its way to meltdown. Falling somewhere between the stripped back machine funk of Factory Floor and the unyielding energy of a Carl Craig classic, "Hinterland" is the kind of cut you build your whole set around. In other words, totally massive. On the flipside, the mysterious Katja Waske drops in to provide a face melting remix, which ramps up the aggression tenfold, turning "Hinterland" into raw techno filth. If you're after one of those thunderous stadium sized techno monsters usually released by either of the Kalkbrenner brothers, then this is your new jam. Serrated sequences, pounding percussion and searing drones combine perfectly to set the night on fire.


      East India Youth

      Total Strife Forever - Deluxe 2xCD Edition

      East India Youth aka William Doyle delivers his highly anticipated debut long player ‘Total Strife Forever’. It's an ambitious work heralding the arrival of a singular new talent. Doyle is an inventive composer, and not tied to one style of music, bringing a love of minimalist and ambient composition to play alongside traditional song writing. The album ranges from ambient passages and neo-classical episodes and Detroit techno through to effervescent melodic electronic pop songs, with 'On Heaven How Long' combining both elements as the euphoric chorus dissolves into a driving motorik rhythm. Inspirations along the way included the output of Tim Hecker, Brian Eno, Björk’s ‘Homogenic’ and Arvo Pärt.

      East India Youth release an expanded version of their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album ‘Total Strife Forever’ which now includes an epic 54 minute imagined soundtrack for the 1916 silent film ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ on a bonus disc.

      Sharing social circles and spiritual ideologies with artists such as Iasos, Connie Demby and Deuter, whilst splitting label release schedules with Laraaji, Laurie Spiegel and Wendy Carlos, the unique Florida raised soul mate duo known as Emerald Web released their privately pressed debut LP at an axis where post-prog rock met proto-new age and ambient electronic music.

      Notes by Kat Epple

      "When originally released, one music reviewer described Whispered Visions as: “A cosmic tapestry of sound, woven with threads of shimmering synthesizer timbres and luminous flute melodies”

      "This album was made using early synthesizers, sequencers, Lyricon and flutes. When it was recorded in 1980 our synths were regarded as “state of the art” technology. Originally released exclusively on compact cassette it was our second of a total of fourteen independent releases. The band Emerald Web consisted of Bob Stohl and myself and our goal was to create innovative synthesizer orchestration and blend electronic music and acoustic instruments. From 1978 to 1990 we recorded, toured and performed in planetariums whilst composing soundtracks for Carl Sagan, amongst others. Bob and I were consultants for (and were lucky enough to be sponsored by) companies and individuals that were creating the latest music technology. At the time Emerald Web was one of the few “Space Music” bands which performed live in concert using synthesizers and sequencers, most of which had volatile memory and no pre-set sound banks. Unfortunately, Bob passed away in 1990. Since then I have continued to compose music for film and perform in concert as a solo artist, as Emerald Web and with various other ensembles."

      John Foxx

      Metamatic

      Ultravox member and synth-pop legend John Foxx’s debut solo opus 'Metamatic' is reissued via Demon Records. Following the first ever reissue of the iconic recording on vinyl for Record Store Day 2014, this standard edition is pressed on 180 gram heavyweight black vinyl, cut from a brand new 2014 master taken from original analogue tapes and includes lyrics & download card.

      'Metamatic', achieves the same emotional transcendence as his previous group, Ultravox!'s early highlight, 'Systems Of Romance', despite a new reliance not just on synthesizers, but on a musical framework dependent on them. On 'Metamatic', Foxx cultivates a curious air of disinterest that never seems truly bored, but is much more extreme than even his unarguably distant vocal style for Ultravox!. It holds up as one of the peaks of the early-80s fascination with emotionless, Kraftwerk-inspired synth-pop.

      Invisible Menders

      Porn Wax Eight EP

      Everyone's favourite adult imprint offer something bold, new and exciting with their latest hot pink 10", thanks to the debut of the Invisible Menders. I'm gonna come clean and admit that I know absolutely nothing about these blighters, but from the beefy post-punk drums and sprawling synths of "Affected", I'm willing to bet they took their name from a Faust track. The A-side cut stomps out the tracks and explores the post Weatherall wormhole in a blast of Tangerine Dream sequences and baggy backbeat, simultaneously referencing Germany 1978 and Manchester 1989. Those looking for a more recent comparison could do worse than Death In Vegas' "Satan's Circus". On the flip, "To Be Discontinued" opens with an eerie sense of disquiet thanks to some mournful pads and a jagged sequence. As the track progresses we're dragged further into the abyss by a swirling tangle of synthlines until those techy flavours are replaced by the spacey melodies of a classic Bobby O production, albeit played at the wrong speed. An impressive debut from the Menders then, who offer a new take on the ALFOS blueprint. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      10" Info: Limited pink vinyl pressing.

      Kirlian Camera

      Uno - LP + Flexi Disc Edition

      Includes postcard insert and bonus flexi disc. Dark Entries is proud to release Uno, a collection of early recordings from seminal Italian electronic act Kirlian Camera. Keyboardist / vocalist Angelo Bergamini founded the project in Parma in 1979, initially naming it Suicide Commando, before discovering another project using the same name. By 1980, Bergamini had recruited singer Simona Buja, keyboardist Fabrizio Chiari and bassist Mauro Montacchini. Their demo cassette Dawn attracted the attention of Italian Records, a popular independent label. The following year, Montacchini left the band and was replaced by Giorgio Vecchi, and Kirlian Camera recorded their self-titled debut mini-LP. Uno compiles the four songs from Kirlian Camera on Side A and the six songs from the demo cassette on Side B. Also included is the bonus track “Minitech,” originally released in 1981 on flexi-disc. Kirlian Camera’s clean, minimalist new wave is marked by strong haunting melodies, slow-moving synth washes and stark, dramatic vocals. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The artwork replicates the original 12” featuring a painting of a royal Italian noble on the front and black and white photos of the band on the back. Each copy includes a two-sided postcard with a never-before-seen photo of Bergamini and Buja taken from an early concert.

      Mysteries is just as it implies. A few months ago the felte label received an anonymous demo accompanied by a photo of 3 figures, faces covered like some sort of futuristic druids. To this day the label still doesn't know the group's origin, but the joy of discovering this music unimpeded renders this fact almost irrelevant.

      There’s a sense that the band would prefer to keep your focus on the music and not who they are, where they come from or what you might perceive them to be before hearing a single note. If you need glorious mug shots and preamble to capture your intrigue, then this is not for you. The album’s title, New Age Music is Here, could even be interpreted as a sarcastic shot at the new listening habits dictated by the constant noise all around us, but is more likely a simple invitation to engage with the music on its own terms, in its own universe. One thing is certain. New Age Music Is Here glows with exotic, crunchy, muscular, expressive pop music built around vocals and drums, rather than the big synth or guitar riffs prevalent today. Almost like a psych-rock, cyborg, 50's doo-wop Alice Coltrane if you will. Is it truly new age? We definitely haven't heard much like it.

      Listen with an open mind and heart and you too might believe in music once again strictly for music’s sake. Let’s get to it then, shall we?


      The Ting Tings

      Super Critical

        Third album from the million selling, award-winning pop duo The Ting Tings, AKA Jules De Martino and Katie White.

        A modern disco record, ‘Super Critical’ was inspired by the duo’s travels through New York and Berlin. It was written in Ibiza in an old hillside finca overlooking the sea, away from everything but the Ibizian club scene.

        After six months of solid writing the band accidentally befriended Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor and an experiment turned into a studio lock in and as a result both Andy and Jules act as co-producers for ‘Super Critical’.

        The album was mixed straight onto analogue tape in New York at the legendary Avatar Studios. It features the singles ‘Wrong Club’ and ‘Do It Again’.

        In the words of Perez Hilton, “The Ting Tings have gone super disco and it’s glorious.”

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: The vinyl format is a limited edition picture disc (350 copies for the UK & Eire) with a handwritten / numbered sleeve and MP3 download code.


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