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KNEKELHUIS

Sometimes, looking back to the tracks that have been most inspirational yields very interesting results. In the last couple of years these four tracks stood out and share a deep sonic connection. All artists produced music in the early/mid 80s, played in post-punk, experimental and EBM/industrial bands and transitioned naturally into the techno, ambient and trance sounds of the early 90s, while maintaining an elemental early 80s live feel in the process. It’s no coincidence that these tracks date back to 92-94, a time defined by rapid technological change and a major political landslide.

The fall of the Berlin wall seemed to herald the dawn of a new era of peace and prosperity. The Cold War thawed, a sense of relief took hold, the West appeared victorious and the future looked bright. The emergence of rave culture seemed to embody this world of endless technological possibility and future optimism, techno-optimism indeed. Fast forward to 2019 and this optimism has obviously faded into oblivion, where the dream of universal freedom turned out be the empty promise of free market hypercapitalism beneficial to a small elite only. But thirty years ago rave culture was the product of that change and felt like a new home for those who discovered it. All these tracks are a precursor to sounds we hear today, an integral part of an ongoing cycle of trends where successive generations take over from previous ones. Rediscovery of that moment in time and sound is what Transition is all about, a collection of penultimate tracks that define that era.

EYE is back. Metamujer marks the third installment on the Knekelhuis label and the latest chapter in Laurène Exposito’s life. Recorded on various locations ranging from the Swiss mountains to the chalky coasts of Brittany, "Metamujer" is an 8-track ode to salty love and closeness to nature, a tribute to a modest lifestyle à la Henry David Thoreau. Far from being praise for self-sufficiency, this new LP is deeply influenced by Laurène’s environment. We can hear Korg MS-10 created synthetic waves (Sanatorium) and birds (Luscinia), but one can also catch her singing in Italian, one of 3 languages spoken in Switzerland. Still minimalist and yet more aesthetically diverse, her new sounds are on the edge of EBM and synth pop, between classic minimal wave tunes and rustic ballads on acid.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: It's been a cracking couple of months for fans of coldwave, minimal wave and superior synth pop, and the latest LP from EYE is another chilly killer. At times she edges into EBM with 4/4 aggression, at others she embraces the bontempi cosmic of Wendy Carlos or late 70s Sheffield.

Smersh

M Appeal - Inc. Parrish Smith Remix

    Back in 1981, bedroom autuers and rhythmic anarchists Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard founded Smersh as an experimental offshoot of their Pop Tarts day job. Operating with a strict dogma in place, the duo would rehearse every monday night, record their improvisations and never play live. Following their strict guidelines the duo went on to record more than thirty LPs and cassettes during the 80s and 90s. Now Amsterdam's Knekelhuis imprint cherry pick a couple of their favourite moments from that extensive discography, chuck in a remix from family friend Parrish Smith and whack the whole lot on a weighty 12" pressing.
    "M Appeal" opens proceedings with a little percusso-weirdo a la drumbox, pinging and phasing away like a right ketmess. Solemn bass and mournful keys add a welcome level of musicality to this strange wave wonder, flirting with the funk but maintaining a miserablist distance. "Kiss Me Stupid" steps up the intensity thanks to a machine gun snare, squalls of guitar feedback and floaty sequences, attaining the same level of industrial pop brilliance as Propaganda or Cabaret Voltaire. Over on the flip our attention turns to Nieuwegein's most warped mind, Parrish Smith, who transforms "M Appeal" into a biting, buzzing, basement belter. The freaky beat is amplified and rewired, topped with bitcrushed bass swells and disembodied, mechanical vocals. Lurching hits of metallic percussion break up the dark and brooding tone, hinting at an afro-futurist dream which never quite materialises. It's not all about the k-hole though, keep listening and you'll feel the warm embrace of poppers-laced melody. One for the fReAkZzZzZ.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: 1 COPY FOUND!

    Deep-frozen for many decades, something is on the verge of being released from obscurity. Dark Star is the project of Wolfgang Reffert (Ger). In the late '80s through the early '90s he released a couple of albums that invoke the darkness of infinite space. Clearly influenced by '60s and '70s sci-fi, the mechanical grooves and spiraling synths bring to mind the worlds of Alien, The Forbidden Planet and Solaris. Utilizing a less is more aesthetic, Dark Star breathtakingly soundtracked space travel to far away galaxies like no other. Rhythmic postpunk drums lay the foundation for slow, down-tuned spacerock that goes deep into industrial proto-techno-like territory, while always maintaining a sense of groove. Resurrected from the days of yesteryear, Dark Star once again re-imagines the eternal harshness and emptiness surrounding spaceship Earth. Cyborgs, extraterrestrials and genetically modified creatures rejoice on the dancefoor! This is a collection of Dark Star’s best material. Originally released on two cassettes and one CD. Mastered by Wouter Brandenburg. Photography by Rogier Houwen. Poetry by Alex Deforce.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: So, to the disdain of the true heads, this is my first introduction to the world of Dark Star, and I’m hooked. From the drifting kosmische of the opener, through chugging machine funkers, proto techno stompers, slo-mo slammers and asteroid assaults, this is home listening for the apocalypse. Fuck what anyone else thinks, be your authentic self.


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