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Synkro

Images

    Since his last album ‘Changes’ released in 2015 Synkro has been exploring more ambient influences and introducing new studio techniques. ‘Images’ is heavily inspired by the 80s-90s new age/ambient movement and artists such as Andreas Vollenweider, Jon Hassel & Marc Barreca (as well as some Japanese ambient techno influences such as Susumu Yokota & Ken Ishii's early work), most of the music uses a full analogue set up, moving further away from McBride's earlier sample-based work.

    Following a long trip to Japan, McBride became "addicted" to vintage synths, and returned to his studio in Derbyshire to write the album. The twelve-track long player still contains his trademark rural soundscapes suspended in a rich seam of hooks and emotive synth arrangements but this time with focus on more weightless, looming melodies that extend throughout the album.

    ‘Images' distils the pure essence of the Synkro sound, a step in a different direction from some of his more beat led releases and an alternative from his collaborations with Liam Blackburn (as Akkord) or more recently with Arovane. Yet the music is still immediately recognisable and it’s an album in the old-fashioned sense that is best consumed whole.

    Paul Frick

    Second Yard Botanicals

      Paul Frick is a Berlin-born music composer primarily known as one part of the group Brandt Brauer Frick. Stunningly despite a 20+ year history of making music 'Second Yard Botanicals' is his debut album. With BBF keeping Frick inspired and busy since 2009, other ideas had piled up until a temporary break allowed him to fully dive into them - "While it took so long until I made my first album, it took about two months once I started."

      Exploring a vast number of instruments, field recording and deconstructed breakbeats woven with undulating filters and gossamer melodies, the album sees Frick drawing on the world around him in a free associative style ; "A word I sometimes had in mind was „Alltagspoesie“, the poetry of everyday life," he explains. "The thought that however small and unimportant things and people are, they - or we - all hint towards each other, if not to say towards the whole. The fact that half of the pieces on the record are short miniatures has to do with that. Throwing something in and hearing what it tells.“

      'Second Yard Botanicals‘ at its core is based on sonic collage, from a genre point of view it's highly eclectic, remotely echoing Frick's classical composition background as well as his hip hop / trip hop past - "which is how I first learned using sequencers about twenty years ago".

      While Frick is coy about direct influences on his music, non musical inspiration played a key role - such as the novel 'Anniversaries‘ by Uwe Johnson, which is divided into the 365 days of a year and weaves a large nonlinear picture; „It’s among the things that showed me on how many levels a piece of fiction can be able to resonate without falling apart completely."

      Besides the actual recording of instruments like piano, guitar and percussion, Frick sampled heavily from his twenty year deep sonic archive of performances and field recordings. "Mostly they were from unused sessions, forgotten projects that I rediscovered or live recordings of my chamber music pieces, using them as samples to make something new," he explains. „Also chance recordings on the phone like the boomy snares in ‚Church 5 Loop 2‘ which Daniel (Brandt) played during soundcheck for a BBF gig in a huge church, or rain drops in the gutter of our studio backyard, and more things like that."

      Recorded in the band's shared studio space in Neukölln and mixed by bandmate Jan Brauer the whole project was kept in house. "We are surrounded by a bunch of other musicians and artists in the second backyard, who share their ideas, parts of their lives and often their equipment." These musicians and others feature heavily on the record, incorporating a laundry list of sumptuous sounds.


      A German dream team pairing on Apollo here as Glenn Astro joins Hodini for a deliciously sprawling EP that covers Astro's crate-dug style and Hodini's keen ear for electro-jazz sketches. "Turquoise Tortoise" is a masterful, unique concoction that infuses future soul experiments into Detroit influenced house, broken beat and even technoid, up tempo percussions rounded off with classic boom bap sounds.

      Conceived as a loose limbed creative experiment, 'Turquoise Tortoise' was not written and recorded in the classical sense of a collaboration as Astro explains: 'We had the idea of doing an album together for quite a while, but with one of us living in Cologne and the other one in Berlin we never really had the chance to spend enough time together in one place and go to the studio together properly.'

      Unsatisfied with simply sending files back and forth via the net, they struck upon the idea to produce tracks individually, bringing them together finally on one album. - 'Although we didn't make the music together it still was really important to us to have a motif and to keep it cohesive.' Astro adds.

      Hodini's experience working with vocalists proved invaluable, as "Turquoise Tortoise" is the first time that Glenn has worked on a record with such a portfolio of talented featured artists - Ajnascent contributes his dulcet tones to "Found!' and "Viktor And The Quasar" to mesmerising effect. Longtime Astro pal Max Graef shows up to play bass on the vibey b-boy workout "Malaysian Moped" alongside a carefree vocal contribution by Knowsum. A UK flavour comes courtesy via the rap / toasting talents of Peckham's MC Pinty on the beatific "Beautiful Music'".

      Within the first three tracks we're hurtled through neo-soul, boom-bap hip-hop and frenetic future jazz before sinking into another opiated sections rich with liquid soul inflections and drizzled in phosphorescent jazz stylings. The perfect album for the intrepid, ADHD-fuelled modern music fan, the depth of Astro & Hodini's musicality, and reinforces anyone that's seen Astro's live performances as a completely multi-talented instrumentalist. A tour de force!


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: After winning me over on Money $ex, Glenn Astro continues to tickle my fancy as he joins Modini for an expert lesson in downbeat / hip-hop and jazz-tinged vibrations. Check!

      R&S' dreamy sibling, Apollo (often found in her bedroom watching vapourwave videos on youtube - ed) introduces the spaced out soul and future boogie from Lahun, who was last spotted remixing Lakker’s "Milch". The romantic types will appreciate the slow tug of "Slow Love". With Sarah Garvey on vocal duties the track constantly pulls on your sleeve, beckoning you into its loving gaze with hues of red, purple and green. "Mystic Jam Hands" has that celestial dreaminess we usually associate with Dam Funk. Infact, this is as good if not better than the LA new boogie poster boy! An absolutely breathtaking slow jam, laid back as you like and with delicious piano licks, spine-tickling chord progression and one of the tastiest B-line / xylophone combos you're ever likely to hear. Worth the entrance fee alone! "Slow Love" gets an instrumental outing, which seems to bring to focus its darker, shadow-sculling underbelly. "Siriusly" opens the B-side with percolated wood blocks, astonishing synthesizer parts and neck snapping snare hits. It's long arrangement giving birth to many different themes before reaching its logical conclusion. It's worth noting here that Lahun's productions seem to exist on a plane which time forgot, and have an air of the everlasting about them; allowing the listener to dip into the stream whenever he or she pleases. "Nana Chan" concludes proceedings with more suspended strings, rampant percussion rhythms and a wavy, disorientating aesthetic. Totally out there and sounding all the better for it! Welcome the future with a loving hand, Lahun is by our side. Recommended.

      Cloud Boat aka Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts are back with their second album following last year's critically acclaimed 'Book Of Hours' debut. Part of the R&S label's resurgence, north London-based producers Clarke and Ricketts fuse Burial-inspired dubstep and spaced-out folk.

      One listen to 'Model Of You' tells you that Cloud Boat are not the same band they were 12 months ago. Richer, heavier, more adventurous. This is an emotional record untethering themselves from the past sailing into deeper waters. The man charged with helping Cloud Boat navigate this new course is Andy Savours, the English producer who has worked with the pair's favourite bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros and The Horrors.

      The result is a dramatic body of work destined for further greatness.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xLtd LP Info: Limited red vinyl pressing in gatefold sleeve.

      2xLtd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Apollo are proud to present the beautiful debut LP 'Book of Hours' from Cloud Boat aka London duo Sam Ricketts & Tom Clarke.

      This deep and melancholic debut brilliantly showcases them as part of a generation for whom electronic production and songwriting are far from separate worlds similar to childhood friend James Blake.

      It’s been a great journey so far and their live performances continue to be at the core. “I think what sets us apart” says Sam, “is that we can do it completely live, not just rearranging songs but building them from the bottom up.” It's this which has led to the staggering confidence of 'Book of Hours'. Soft-edged but monumentally huge bass tones in 'Youthern' support Sam's Ennio Morricone-esque guitars and Tom's velvety folk lament. 'Dréan' is even more bare, a fingerpicked acoustic ballad with insidious waves of background guitar that well up, sounding both ancient and sci-fi despite having none of the obvious signifiers of “futuristic” electronica. On 'Wanderlust' Tom hits a liturgical tone, a hymnal yearning filling the song as a cloud of Burial-like crackles rise up around it creating pressure despite their delicacy & showing how it's possible for Cloud Boat to maintain intensity with the most unlikely source materials.

      It's easy to see how Cloud Boat's sound could work for demanding and hedonistic techno crowds yet this is also an album for headphone reveries.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      LP Info: The LP format is a single LP with printed inner sleeve, metallic ink and includes a CD of the album.


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