synthwave . electro-pop . alt-R&B . minimal wave


Genre pick of the week Cover of Polaroïd / Roman / Photo - 30th Anniversary Edition by Ruth.


Polaroïd / Roman / Photo - 30th Anniversary Edition

Ruth's "Polaroid/Roman/Photo" is one of the most extraordinary archival discoveries to resurface thanks to a groundswell of vintage 1980s coldwave / darkwave / synth-pop.

Angular included it as part of their awesome "Cold Waves & Minimal Electronics" compilation, and now give the full original album a well warranted reissue 25 years after the drop. The fact that the original only sold 50 copies back in 1985 means it exchanges hands for over £300 these days, which should tell you something about its cult status in the annals of underground synth pop.

Parisian graphic artist and photographer, Thierry Müller, drew upon his inspirations from Eno to Neu, Kraftwerk and the Velvets to create seven tracks of darkly sexy French synth music, from the noirish, wiry collage of "Thriller" to that unmistakable "Polaroid/Roman/Photo", via a cover of Can's "She Brings The Rain" and the Afrobeat-disco-spiked "Mabelle" or the brilliantly odd "Tu M'ennuies". Like the most outstanding artifacts of this era,
Ruth uses the same instruments as everyone else, yet manages to create something so distinctly characteristic and with such a strong personality that it would always eventually get the attention it deserves. 


Patrick says: The finest of all French synthwave releases is back in a gorgeous gatefold repress. A classic for me back in my Barbed Wire Kisses days, "Polaroid / Roman / Photo" typifies the dark wired sound.

“My last record was a break up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make up record. I’m making up with myself. making up for lost time. making up for everything I ever did and never did.”

So says Adele about her new long player '25'. "Highly anticipated" doesn't quite cut it, with the video for lead single 'Hello' clocking in at 404,293,556 views the last time I looked (and undoubtedly more by the time you read this). '25' might be the event record of 2015, but really it's a continuation of the sound that brought '21' 9 x platinum global sales. The intimate piano ballads, epic swelling choruses, R&B pop hints and BIG production are all present and correct on '25', along with the emotional catch in Adele's voice - the thing that lifts her head and shoulders above all the melisma-ing X-Factor wannabes. The album features co-production from Greg Kurstin, Tobias Jesso Jr ('When We Were Young'), Danger Mouse ('River Lea') and Swedish pop svengalis Max Martin & Shellback ('Send My Love (To Your New Lover)') 

Circuit Breaker

My Descent Into Capital

) "My Descent Into Capital" represents the most ambitious recording from this London-based duo to date. Even if they're taking influence from minimal synth, post-punk or early industrial sides, Circuit Breaker are unmistakably contemporary with their delivery. Forging together metallic drum machines, propulsive synth lines and stark guitar degradation into bold , simple and effective songs about down-trodden themes of isolation, discontentment and the true horror of work. This album transgresses any simple nostalgia for its musical forefathers and showcases a band with their eyes fixed firmly on the future. Any obvious reference points are contorted and stretched to the point where they are transformed into something new. After ten years of obscurity and a refusal to go away, and after two well-received records on Tombed Visions, this album is their first full-length album, and first for abstract-punk imprint Harbinger Sound. After many shows with supporting Harbinger Sound mainstays Sleaford Mods, the duo are about to embark on an extensive tour with new label mates Consumer Electronics early next year.
The album was mastered by Barry Grint at Alchemy.

Based in Californian Humboldt County, Brian Pyle is Ensemble Economique. On his by now eleventh album and fourth Denovali release "Blossoms In Red", Pyle combines and perfects elements of his previous output into a cohesive narrative. The opener ""From The Train Window, Red Flowers On The Mountain"" is a surprisingly scarce ambient piece, which feels like an almost infinitely stretched precious moment of time. Despite being austere, it is warm, sublime and incredibly captivating and after listening to its full 8 minutes, one cannot help but to rewind and replay. Having barely escaped this seductively infinite loop, one encounters the title track "Blossoms In Red" featuring Portland electronic duo Soft Metals. Starting off with a characteristic sluggish programmed beat, one is immediately overpowered by the onset of the towering combination of a warm bassline and a shimmering synth ambience. As the track flows, these elements writhe around each other in a delicately beautiful fashion, absorbing the materialising wailing guitar which almost sounds like an ethereal voice, as well as the occasional melodic and rhythmic accents. The next track sees this guitar return in a rather pure form. ""On The Sand"", featuring jack-of-all-trades Peter Broderick, is essentially just reduced analogue drums, electric guitar, a simple vibrating bassline and hoarse almost spoken vocals. Slowly and methodically, these constituents form a captivating erotic ritual, much like a beguiling and hypnotic mandala procession of imperturbable blissful individuals on the beach. As proven on numerous occasions, Pyle can easily lead all his trumps in the presence of female lead vocals, and "Blossoms In Red" makes no exception. Indeed, "You, By Candlelight" is easily the best Ensemble Economique track with female vox to date. Pyle manages to embed the vocals just in the right minimal amount of instrumental layers, making the track radiate an elusive tranquility. The fifth and closing track "Nothing Is Perfect" is a classically tinged piano piece with only very little processing and sparse field recording samples. Ensemble Economique's most minimalistic album, but at the same time - or maybe just for this reason - his most skilled work. 


Barry says: Ensemble Economique's Brian Pyle once again expands his already venerable sound palette on his latest release for ambient/synth/post-rock titans Denovali. Near-gothic sounding drums hammer over echoing guitar and cavernous reverb, backed up on the third track by Multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick's hoarsely whispered vocals. This is a haunting and stunning addition to the label's ever expanding domination over the ambient field.


LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

Includes MP3 Download Code.

Family Fodder

Sunday Girls (Director's Cut)

    "Family Fodder exude an exhilarating sense that everything was possible, that there weren't any limits to imagination and humour. The scope of their musical range remains as dizzying and exciting as it once was." (Time Out New York) Staubgold proudly presents the legendary first 12" EP from 1979 by UK underground heroes Family Fodder, for the first time reissued on CD and vinyl. "Sunday Girls (Director's Cut)" comes as a lovingly assembled full-length album compilation. It features the complete "Sunday Girls" EP, the very first Family Fodder 7" single "Playing Golf" (1979), the "Debbie Harry" 7" from 1980, the 7" A side "Warm" (1980) and last not least two tracks from the rare "Te Deum" 12" (1979) by Alig Fodder's pre-Fodder project Frank Sumatra. Family Fodder was originally formed in 1979 by Alig Pearce - with a cast of thousands over three decades. They emerged from the melting-pot of 70s/80s London alongside This Heat, The Flying Lizards, The Pop Group, Slits and many others. The original formula consisted of psychedelic and new wave influences, incisive song-writing, improvisation, experiment and far-out dub mixing. They always managed to evade major exposure, but influenced generations of bands on five continents. Family Fodder was often more at home in the studio than on-stage, but completed several European tours as well as cherished performances in their native London. The group released a series of compelling, now collectable singles and albums between 1979 and 1983. Described as "entertaining idiosyncratic experimentalism with pop sensibilities", they were best known for indie-chart hits such as "Debbie Harry", "Playing Golf (With My Flesh Crawling)" and "Savoir Faire". More recently, Family Fodder songs have been covered by Zion Train and Unrest, and they've been hailed as "unsung heroes" in The Wire. Family Fodder also appear on the infamous Nurse With Wound list. "Their music was generally playful, a hint of dub and reggae mixed with absurd, blissful pop, with synthpunk and sometimes experimental instrumentation. Most of the lyrics were also sung in French, courtesy of original vocalist Dominique Levillain, a combination rumored to be of some significant influence over Stereolab." (Systems of Romance) 

    Edizioni Mondo presents Serie Due! While the first chapter with four releases dedicated to seascapes ended with the compilation Collezione, we now delve into a new part of Edizioni Mondo’s world that presents new views and also artists. To kick this new chapter off, the imprint trail L.u.c.a.'s forthcoming album with "Niagara", which sees Rotla and Polysick joining the Italian to each provide a version of the same track. Rotla kicks the package off with a drifting, cinematic journey complete with ocean sounds, cool acoustic guitar and a fluttering woodwind. Swapping the 4/4 for a swinging 80s rhythm and pushing the synth vox to the fore, Polysick offers a brilliantly retro version which comes off like a Dennis Bovell produced out-take from "Spirit Of Eden", rejected for being too damn funky. Over on the flip, L.u.c.a. throws us all a curveball, leading us straight to the dancefloor with his own quirky take. Sizzling Balearic disco rhythms, scratched samples and swelling strings all play a part in moving you from toe to tip! Good listening!


    Digital Shades

      Digital Shades is an ongoing ambient series from acclaimed French musician M83. It was released in 2007 and features only founding member Anthony Gonzalez.

      Inspired by Eno and Krautrock in its many forms, M83 focused heavily on subtleties and atmospherics during the writing process.

      Listeners will find the same textured richness throughout the Digital Shades series as can be found on all of M83's releases. And while not a categorical sonic shift, Digital Shades follows its individual elegiac, lunar and dream-like path.


      Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl.



        Saturdays = Youth is the fifth studio album by M83, first released in 2008. It’s produced by Ken Thomas, known for his work with Sigur Rós, Cocteau Twins and Suede.

        Adolescence is the defining theme of this enchanting new album, his most explicit celebration yet of how it feels to be dazed, confused and 15 years old. The record marks a change in a friendlier, pop-shaped direction for M83. After touring Before The Dawn Heals Us for much of 2005, Gonzalez decided to give the noisy rock side of things a rest.

        Pitchfork Media ranked Saturdays = Youth at number eight on its list of The 50 Best Albums of 2008, and it was also named the best album of 2008 by Drowned in Sound.

        New Order

        Music Complete - Limited Vinyl Box Set Edition

          Music Complete is the iconic group’s ninth LP (tenth if you count 2013's mini-album Lost Sirens), and possibly their most eclectic collection of songs yet. Whichever way you count it, it's New Order's return to recording after an absence of more than a decade, and it's an album that finds the group revitalised, refreshed and razor sharp, looking to their past while forging forward. Where the group has previously pushed toward synthesisers or guitars, here the two are in balance.

          11 brand new tracks. Art direction by long term collaborator Peter Saville.

          Music Complete: The Deluxe Vinyl Box-Set
          8 piece deluxe vinyl collection.
          New album on double clear vinyl.
          Extended versions of all 11 brand new tracks on an additional 6 pieces of coloured vinyl.
          Packaged in an archival acid free box, using 1300 micron grey white board and a wire stitch.
          Box is debossed on the lid and base.
          Art Direction by Peter Saville.

          Box-Set is limited to 250 copies only for the UK.

          France's Macadam Mambo top off an exceptional year with arguable their most ambitious release yet. "Be In Sync" is the result of a long distance collaboration between the excellent Andrea Noce and legendary David Kristian carried out during 2013. The duo arranged basic guidelines of style, tempo and structure for each track, then begin to fire loops and compositions across continents, aiming to create a new track in 36 hours. The result is a three track Mini-LP of progressive synthesis, electronic experimentation and deep and hypnotic frequencies in line with Innovative Communication or Editions EG. "Be In Sync" opens the LP with a sense of drama and urgency, as an insistent 80s bass sequence cuts through squeeling drones, cosmic leadlines and electronic percussion, referencing Robert Schroder as well as Goblin. "So Far So Good" offers a change of tack, veering into Balearic waters via new age pads, bright harp, trippy vocoder and crashing waves. Over on the flipside, "Sleepiness Scale" hypnotises us completely with metallic polyrhythms, deep drones and sprawling sci fi synthlines. By the latter stages your consciousness has left your body behind entirely and is happily bathing in the collective energy pool. This record is completely intemporal, made for the past, the present, the future, with marvelous atmospheric and space sounds, escape from your body and synchronise.


          MSMSMSM / Vyzee

          As well as reissuing his monster hit 'Lemonade', Numbers hit us with a couple of new Sophie 12"s to get the dancefloor jumping. Samuel Long asks Carol for perhaps one consonant too many on 'MSMSMSM'. He's never going to make a decent word out of that, but he has made a EDM / trap / booty bass banger for the shape-throwing youth. Flipside cut 'Vyzee' is the tweenie child of 'Pump Up The Jam', an electro house jacker with cute / creepy girl rap.


          12" Info: 12" comes in plain black sleeve with white screen printed Sophie logo.

          Freaky and seductive club studies from NYC producer Via App on the freshest label to come out of Vancouver's THC-laden streets, 1080p. Disparately-sourced vocal samples, twinkling synths, and creeping basslines converge and tangle on this unique producer's cutting table. "Baby K Interaction" takes an almost-recognizable vocal snippet and basically fucks the shit out of if (if you'd pardon my expression) while pouring lashings of analogue goodness, deep bass and fizzing percussion into the mix. "7 Headed" takes cues from Detroit's burgeoning sludge scene and rolls out some gritty, sub-110BPM house dirg. Mainframe glitching melodies, dark buzzsaw bass, and glacial, ghostly vox all joining in the demonic la danse macabre. Flip and "Sunkissed" powers up the pistons for a more high speed ride into chaos. Torn apart vocal delays and penetrating sine tones layered over an uptempo and tuff-ass beat. "Poison" gives Rustie a run for his money as Via App displays an uncanny prowess for head-mangling electronics and disorientating soundscapes, finally bursting into a pummeling 4/4 power-romp towards the end. Finally, "Set You" takes the dark, technoid blueprints of LIES and Trilogy Tapes and sets about making something equally as disturbing. Mechanized, cyclical, foreboding sounds from this out-there-on-his-producer. 1080p have scorched out another belter. Recommended. 

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