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Tusk / Aku

Cleveland is forever in search of the brown note. This is his second offering for the ESP Institute. Side A’s "Tusk" is a beautiful paradox—rhythm programs that churn like the inner workings of a grandfather clock, unmistakably mechanical, yet fashioned through muted analogue instrumentation that paints a deceptively organic picture. The crystallized jangle of FM synth voices toy with the softened drum patterns and vibrant animal-like chord gestures over nearly seven minutes of splendor. On side B, "Aku" digs further into mysticism, manifesting digital jungle themes, cleverly abstracted through erratic bleeps, distant tribal drums, atonal flutters and synthetic bird calls. The cinematic quality of Clevelands production shines through both tracks, but its "Aku" that sweeps us from reality to embark on a moonlit expedition in search long lost treasures, proving Cleveland a virtuoso skilled in building complex narratives with sound. These two songs will modulate your frequencies.


Patrick says: Cleveland's back on ESP with more ritualistic business for the club, skirting round the fringes of minimal techno and micro house to offer something hypnotic, exotic and esoteric that we like to call rainforest house.

Greenvision is the collaborative brainchild of two ESP Institute artists, Juan Ramos and Luca Trentini AKA Trent, both longtime fixtures of Berlin’s infamous playground known as Cocktail d’Amore. Separately, these two explore their own very personal avenues of expression, putting their time in the trenches and endlessly polishing their works (this is Juan’s third release with the label), but when their efforts overlap we’re gifted a view into their uncanny synergy. Juan and Trent channel an exorbitant amount of smoke-fueled creativity, building layers upon layers into music so dense that the bulk of their studio time might then be spent navigating and formalizing their output into tangible tracks. Greenvison’s collective debut with the ESP Institute showcases three intense cerebral workouts, "Banana Paradiso", "Rambutan" and "The Color Of Maracuja", an array of experiments pulling from all the corners of the duo’s imagination - it is disorienting, cacophonous, introverted and psychedelic, but at the same time playful, melodic, euphoric and undoubtedly arresting - guaranteed to induce hallucinations under proper circumstances.

Sonns & Tavish


ESP Institute have been somewhat of a staple around these parts for some time. Now up to their sixty seventh release no less, it's a pleasure to see their commitment to delivering high quality music hasn't waned.

Producers Sonns (Alexandre Mouracade) and the mysterious Venice Beach native Tavish Graham are both long time friends of the ESP Institute family, The two have long been stewards of the Los Angeles underground for some time, sharing hazy conversation in strobe lit environments with the ESP boys for as long as anyone can remember. Side A’s title track, "Trycksaker" is a thumper, a mid-tempo, big-drum-laden beast that chugs the whole way through carrying an array of eerie bleeps and fleeting sighs. Side B’s "Roguish Days" pulls together influences from various corners of the pair’s DJ repertoire, gelling a wicked breakbeat with a wormy acid bassline and even more exotic sighs, something that might possibly grow into a signature of sorts. Just in time for party season, locked and loaded and ready to roll. TIP! 

Toby Tobias

Second Stimulus / Synchro Surfer

Toby Tobias has a lengthy history of disturbing the peace. This is his second offering for the ESP Institute. On side A, Second Stimulus stirs shimmering staccato chords, roaming pipes and detuned robotic sighs into quite the disorienting stew—the loose arrangement remaining fragmented over 9 minutes of touch-and-go 808 programming, picking up a pseudo bassline assembled from sub toms, introducing a gritty break loop and eventually blissing out into oblivion. With side B’s Synchro Surfer, Toby plays with the notion of suspense by gently teasing a muted kick and percussion rhythm under washes of white noise, bleeps and sirens that are tape-dubbed and which, over time, begin a dialogue with each other, as if the machines have declared mutiny on the garage. Toby continues to stretch his limits with his output for the ESP Institute, possibly headed toward a full-fledged devolution of conventional dance music. These two songs may have you arrested for public nuisance.

Five hundred and seventy-three moons ago (give or take), Thunder Tillman and his personal shaman emerged from the ESP Institute with an epic debut EP of baked psychedelics entitled 'Jaguar Mirror'. We now bare witness to the duo’s glorious follow-up as they initiate us into the 'Night School Of Universal Wisdom'. These two cosmic jokers possess a vibrant and fearless sense of exploration that knows no boundaries, as if their dreams translate directly into song and their bodies exist merely to channel music they’ve tapped into from another world, one where influences are uncharted and any instrument imaginable is available at their fingertips. As with 'Jaguar Mirror', their grasp of all things analogue begins with guitar laying the slightly imperfect foundation for four harmonious narratives, a journey that begins with a fast paced gallop across vast landscapes in search of the Incan god of thunder, Catequil, and gently concludes with us lying horizontally to absorb sporadic beams of healing light. The discourse throughout Night School Of Universal Wisdom is as charming as it is exquisite, orienting the listener with a bouquet of warm tones whilst layering plies of musical dialogue so subtle they require repeated study. Thunder Tillman manage to weave the past into future without diverting to pastiche, successfully merging their characterized production with melodic mastery and a sense of humor, a creative achievement that accredits them as two of our most esteemed scholars.

There is a sense of urgency increasingly infecting the human condition, fragmenting our attention span, accelerating our needs and often influencing our motives when making creative decisions. The result is a lack of dynamics, there is no ebb or flow, its “go” time, all the time. Electronic music is one of the clearest examples of a widening division between great art created in a deeply imaginative vaccum and the soulessly formulaic and branded product that serves the impatient masses. What draws the ESP Institute to Benedikt Frey is his ability to operate on the fringe, outside the constructs artists constantly channel themselves into—his art speaks a pure language that is realized by any means necessary, a process devised solely to articulate his own message, one delivered with patience, never rushed nor dictated by the outside world. Artificial was written and produced over two years, tirelessly sculpted into a sequence abstract pieces that are fiercely independent but accumulate layers of meaning when collaged. It is electronic and rhythm-based, but never reliant on any prescribed instrumentation, arrangement or expecatation. This is our idea of well conceived and executed album; not simply a collection of tracks but a complex narrative that unfolds over peaks and valleys, pulling the listener into emotional corners before leaving a residual impression. Some may describe music very well in words, but there is always something lost in translation—a story only the music itself can tell.

"Whilst on a Balinese surf safari searching for a secret spot where pink dolphins populate the line-up, The Hands would be my guide. I’d been warned he had recently been busted trying to purchase human flesh on the black market. Bombing through the jungle, The Hands hit play and the truck was bathed in Gothic Berlin toilet techno. "Holy shit," said I,“what is this?” The Hands said, “The Hands.” But what else was I to expect from an Austrian/Balinese techno cannibal?" — DJ Harvey

That's what Harvey says, and whomst am I to disagree? The latest offering on ESP Institute takes their anything goes mantra and Cronenbergs it right up. Bali is one of those Indonesian countries where booze and drugs are strictly verboten...and yet this EP sounds like its creator has racked up a 50cm x 1cm line of mixed media drugs and banged them all right up his snuffler. The gothic "groove" (loosely speaking) of "Coconuts" opens the EP with reverb heavy snares, angular guitars and the kind of pissed up vocals Harvey rapped on that Locussolus track. "A Mind" ups the tempo to a phet-driven 208bpm and fires a gurgling, corrosive synth line down the nearest industrial aperture. Over on the flip "Deep Tubes" fuses ear-bleeding guitar feedback and cavernous techno vamps while "She Scream" squares up to Kevin Shields and Richard D James and leaves them cackling their power electronic panties. Unclassifiable, unconventional and strangely irresistible.


Patrick says:

Bartellow's no stranger to the Zener cards and tie-dye lab coats of the ESP Institute, first checking in back in 2013 as one third of Tambien. If you've kept a keen eyar on the more interesting fringes of the underground dancefloor, you'll be well aware of the loose and lysergic heat our main man cooks up alongside Marvin & Valentino, but this debut LP is an entirely different preposition. Fusing the boldly go insanity of his youthful jazz instruction with a perverse obsession with unnatural electronics, the German producer has gone off well beyond the deep-end for ten tracks of mechanical tribalism. The LP kicks off in gloriously unhinged fashion with the future primitive sounds of "Sala-Sensi", wall melting up date of Baldelli's afro-cosmic vision complete with chanted vocals, metallic keyboard stabs and an utterly whacked out groove. From there, "Clypp" nudges us further towards the limits of our own consciousness via cavernous reverb, nebulous 6/8 sequencing and sci-fi synthlines. The intensity drops a touch as we drop into the batshit, breakdance of "W.C.R.", a tropical tune for Venusian beaches, before "Shufflington" turns up the heat in a cosmic techno styleé, perfectly seguing into the industrial distortion and whirly tube action of "EX%". Opening the second disc in off-kilter fashion, "Amenesia" sounds like the imaginary soundtrack to a B-Movie about the condition and not at all like the fabled superclub (thank god). As we head to the finish there's On-U meets Joy-O in the rattling "Operator In Excelsis", chromed out rainforest rhythms in "Saba" and inside out, upside down, zero gravity weird shit from the bizarrely danceable "Notion". After a night of eyeball licking fun, it's only right that we're left with a tender goodbye and the Jupiter jazz and freaked out fusion and Neptunian new age of the title track offers just the right amount of wrong to keep us smiling as we slip into an inner space wormhole. 


Patrick says: Tambien man Bartellow goes it solo for this debut LP, treating ESP Institute to some A-grade weirdshit. At times we're dancing through the starfield of Afro-cosmic 2.0, sprinting past machine elves dressed as metal Mario or rolling head over heels down the neon sand dunes of an alternate world. You need your space suit, hazmat gear and dancing shoes for this one - Mint!

Welcome the first in a philanthropic, pedagogical series of compilations from the ESP Institute label (home of Cos/Mes and Sombrero Galaxy). Curated and programmed by Lovefingers, "Concentration" is a narrative blend of obscurities, re-edits and remixes contributed by the label's international family of collaborators including Abel, Alexis Le-Tan, Basso, Bumrocks, Chee Shimizu, Cos/Mes, Eddie Ruscha, Jonny Nash, Lee Douglas, Lexx, Lovefingers, Sesto Falconi, Tako and Tropical Jeremy. There's a CD-only full length collection to come, in the meantime vinyl junkies will need to snatch these two vinyl samplers pretty darn quick! "Concentration Vol. 1 - Sampler A" opens with the sublime cinematic boogie of "Rocks In Me", edited by Alexis Le-Tan & Lee Douglas. Bumrocks take a typically off the beaten track route with the slinky "Piedra" - some kind of Balearic pop ditty that warms the cockles of your heart. On the flip the soft rock driver "Worldwide" arrives edited by Take, while we close with the Laurel Canyon dreaminess of "I Gotta Woman" (Abel edit). All proceeds from this series are donated to , a non-profit organization dedicated to youth development through music study, practice and performance.

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