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BETONKUST

Betonkust immediately blended in with the 9300 family and it felt like we've been knowing each other for years and years. After his characteristic remix on Innershades' latest EP (AAL006), it was only a matter of time before he would deliver his own release on our label. With varied percussions, hard kicks and dark synths, the 0% swing EP brings you back to a time when Belgian highways were still lavisly flanked by discotheques and afterhours clubs. An era that counts as one of the most beatiful pages in Belgian dance history and of which Betonkust probably has more knowledge than most of our fellow-countrymen. All four tracks on this proper release produce a thrilling energy that will bring those sleepy ravers, from the 90's, back to life.

Moving on from their time holed up in a leisure resort relic, the Dutch retrogressive, analogue synth machine obsessives and tape fanatics Betonkust & Palmbomen II have teamed up together once more for a new EP.

An immediate follow up to their debut LP "Center Parcs", the new EP pays fictional homage to a now deceased famous TV star, who instead on working on the screen, took up a new direction in making music. More replete with esoteric experimentalism, analogue jams, drums machines, synths, and a healthy dose of acid basslines, the production duo advance upon their aesthetic with a new extended EP of nostalgic, melancholic electro.

With Palmbomen II aka Kai Hugo, based out and working in Los Angeles, collaborations with Dutch-based partner Betonkust happen less frequently than they should - especially when you acknowledge that they do not use, or record to computers. When they do happen though, their distinctive sonic palette of saturated distortion and warm melodic waves shine through. This time recorded in a bungle somewhere in the Dutch countryside, the two producers have created a concept record about Bart, a local hero and his imagined life in a parallel universe. In this reality, instead of making it in TV, Bart is a successful music producer, the track titles detailing his journey through this new and imagined life. "Bart Is Alone Again" kicks off the record with its wistful melodies, and harmonic leads, before "Underground Dance Floor" kicks in with its predominate bassline, and squelching deep-rooted, undercurrents of hardcore. Along Bart’s odyssey there are moments for "Bart's Jam", an early days Warp Records / Detroit belter; "Rejected Demo Tape" a downbeat moment of anguish; ending with "A Series of Bad Decisions," in which the EP plays out to somber, yet harmonious conclusion.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Lo-fi tape sizzlers from this creative pairing who impart a level of evocative narrative through the six track journey. A must for fans of Legowelt, Person Of Interest & Ed DMX, fans of the recent RAMZi are also gonna enjoy this.

Recorded in an ageing holiday park during off-season, "Center Parcs" is the debut LP by Dutch artists Betonkust & Palmbomen II; a conceptual, musical-tristesse full of lo-fi harmony and fanciful, psychedelic-coloured modulations. With an undercurrent of in-vogue saturation - beats, vintage synths and the omnipresent gnarl of the Roland 303 - all recorded to tape. the duo have crafted an LP of esoteric-electronic-pop, reflective of the time the two spent holed-up in isolation, in the out-of-time Center Parcs setting.

'It’s a weird environment, but we like it,' Palmbomen II says about "Center Parcs", where the album was recorded. Originally built in the 70s, Center Parcs De Eemhof in Zeewolde provides a pseudo-tropical environment for vacationing families, with an ageing, ersatz jungle; its faux decor gradually fading to grey. Recorded during the winter, the two Dutch men took-up home in one the park’s chalets with select hardware - predominately synths and drum machines - and recorded all of their progress to tape. Being the only occupants in the melancholic, somber settings, the duo made an LP that was reflective of the unpretentious surroundings. 'Some people think it’s ironic, but this is not a tongue-in-cheek joke,' Hugo says about the record. 'There’s sadness here that people try not to hide.'

Everything on "Center Parcs" was recorded on hardware, in the moment; 'real jams' as the guys describe them. No computers. It was through this in-the-present-process that led to the recondite, lo-fi shoegaze record, reflective of their shared influences - from the likes of I-F. through to Cocteau Twins.

Opener "24x33", has a reverberated VHS aesthetic; "De rust die je zocht"('The peace you were looking for') sounds like an angelic score to a forgotten family game show; "Nintendo Pantera" a solemn, upbeat Detroit-retroffited-vapourware melody. The album is a follow up to the "Center Parcs EP" - the producer’s debut cassette release on Canadian label 1080p in 2016. This will be the first time that these tracks have been made widely available, and on vinyl release, and is seen by both artists as a chance to expand on the moment that they captured together - to share the beautiful-tristesse with all.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Proper feelin' this concept me. If anyone wants to rent a chalet in Southport Pontins this winter and make some lo-fi gabber with me - you know where to find me... x


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