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Mitra Mitra

Hands Remain

    A new year kicks off at Polytechnic Youth HQ, and it’s with an absolute beauty with which they re-enter the fray. The first new MITRA MITRA full length since 2018’s hugely well received “Marionettes” set (also on PY).

    The band was formed in Vienna in late 2014 by Violet Candide and Mahk Rumbae. Originally from New Zealand, Violet Candide has been a fixture of the Vienna post-punk and minimal synth scene for many years as a DJ before making music with Mitra Mitra and her other projects Slow Glass (with Bobby from Low Sea), Peppy Pep Pepper and Violetiger. Whilst British musician Mahk Rumbae is known for his work as a member of the industrial/experimental project Konstruktivists, Oppenheimer MkII (with Andy Oppenheimer of Oppenheimer Analysis) and his solo techno project Codex Empire.

    After working together on one of Violet’s solo songs, the pair decided to continue writing and working together as Mitra Mitra, with the aim of writing electronic songs not tied by any particular influence or style – but combining elements of synth pop, electro and minimal synth to create a modern take on classic period electronic music.

    Despite initial plans involving studio only work, the band were persuaded to take to the stage in 2015 and have since played shows in England, Germany, Belgium, Hungary and their adopted home country of Austria; quickly gaining a reputation for their unique presentation and interaction with the audience.

    The new LP is their strongest set yet; 'Hands Remain' is perhaps darker in nature than previous MM releases; although mostly completed before the pandemic, it somehow fits the times we live in now…

    The sleeve design is based on a work by Canadian artist/filmmaker Michael Snow, who kindly gave permission for a processed version of his image to be used on the cover. A wonderful 12 track collection hugely recommended to fans of classic era synth pop, early Mute, Cherry Red, Blackwing Studios etc etc…. One time pressing available now! 


    Javi says: Plug a fembot into a Moog, and you get Mitra Mitra's 'Hands Remain', a Polytechnic Youth gem caught between Spacer Woman boogie and Moonlandingz grim-pop. These are some synth-ridden end-of-the-world anthems, custom built for fans of yesteryear's German dancefloors - and the price tag ist ziemlich gut too!

    Holy Fuck

    Airport Dreams / Lost Cool

      Moving slightly away from the label’s penchant for the classic minimal synth / synth pop sound, HF offer up two super dancey tracks; each with a guest female vocalist across a double A sided 45. “Airport Dreams” featuring Sarah Bonito vox (guesting from Kero Kero Bonito here in the UK), and “Lost Cool” with vox and added synth parts from Madrid based synth pop artist Lucia Tacchetti.

      Upon “Airport Dreams”’ initial digital only release, Lauren Laverne’s breakfast show on BBC Radio 6 Music nominated the track as the ‘While You Were Sleeping’ tune of the week, whilst ‘Under The Radar’ called it “an unforeseen delight that brings together branching talents for something new and unexpected.” Sarah’s catchy vocal parts were initially intended for a different idea altogether, but further catalysed that which formed "Airport Dreams” in to a frenetic and energetic song that’s the antithesis of being held back or restricted.

      As for “Lost Cool”, HF explain; “In the spirit of online collaboration, we sent song ideas out to some incredibly talented artists to collaborate. Lucia Tacchetti brought her amazing voice and jittery synth parts from Spain, cementing the perfect danceable vibe for "Lost Cool.” Lucia added "It´s been an honour to collaborate with Holy Fuck and being able to be part of the process. We had the opportunity to do everything remotely and communication flowed perfectly. I worked from Argentina with some ideas and luckily we understood each other super-fast. I'm really happy with the result. Our universes coexist very well. I loved putting some words in Spanish. I am very grateful to the band for making me part of this track and super anxious for everyone to hear what we have been working on, I hope people dance to it everywhere!” 



        The magical, Liverpool based MELODIEN release their fifth LP for the Polytechnic Youth label as the New Year kicks off. Harry Sumnall’s superb Kraut tinged project continues to produce some of the most authentic Germanic Kosmische currently out there, also drawing inspiration from classic US and European electronic artists such as Suzanne Doucet, Lapre, and Peter Michael Hamel, and contemporaries such as Jonathan Fitoussi.

        As Harry himself explains: “Monad is a meditation on the indivisible; the past and future that unfolds; the pre-established harmony that unveils the universe. Built on soft and ornate synth sequences, live bass, and clockwork rhythms, tracks range from Kosmische new age excursions to Linn lysergic disco”.

        The album features wonderful, original album artwork by Fernando Manfrini, and is released as a one time pressing of 300 copies. 

        Lone Bison

        Transistor Memory

          An incredible 13 track, electronic project for Ramsgate UK based Nick Bonell. Inspired by a love for ‘70s German electronic music and the current golden age of synthesizer based film soundtracks, it’s key theme as Nick says is “Repetition. I just like to lose myself in interlocking arpeggios which transport me away from the stresses of the day job. The tunes came out of me moving increasingly away from guitar and towards using hardware synths like the Korg MS20, and, having made music as part of a band or a duo- I fancied something solo this time. The album was recreated very quickly, often with single takes and carefully choosing times when the family and neighbours were out!”

          Hugely recommended to fans of Tangerine Dream / Klaus Schulze or Edgar Froeses’ solo work as well as Cluster and lots on (label favourite) Sky records’ output. Musically, the album is wonderful but the sleeve is pretty neat too; Nick adds “I will be forever grateful for the amazing linocut cover art by Ieuan Edwards aka The Black Gold Press. I originally asked if I could use an existing print, but he insisted on a bespoke piece and chiselled lino all night to turn around the print in 24 hours. Then Jules Bigg (one of the original team behind the launch of Ramsgate Music Hall) did the photography and graphic design, the man is a wizard. I am truly lucky to live in an area where, if you chuck a rock in the air, it will land on an artist or musician. I had pretty much given up on making original music, after the untimely death of my songwriting partner some years ago. However, living in an area where new venues have mushroomed and great gigs are so plentiful, has inspired me to dig out the synths and fx pedals again”.

          Released in a one time pressing only of 500 with insert cards carrying more of Ieuan and Jules’ work, the album is released by Polytechnic Youth in December. 


          Barry says: This is just superb, a rich and beautiful collection of krautrock-inspired jams. Twinkling arps all slightly off-kilter and saturated into a wonderfully organic juxtaposition of glitchy filter artifacts and blissful, euphoric melodies.

          The Prison Of Winners

          Vols. I & II

            ‘The Prison of Winners’ is a brand new project consisting of David Mason of Listening Center and Martin Jensen of The Home Current. Between them, they have issued a range of acclaimed releases for labels such as Polytechnic Youth, Castles In Space, Ghost Box, Deep Distance and Woodford Halse, to name but a few.

            The collaboration’s two volume set contains a selection of music that came to life through a long-distance work routine back and forth across the Atlantic (David resides in New York and Martin is based in Luxembourg) between 2020 and 2021. Having been fans of each others’ work for years, it was only natural that they should eventually pool resources.

            “Volume 1” had long been earmarked for a vinyl release with PY, but with the aforementioned problems of world vinyl production currently being on its knees, and with a boom in lockdown recording seeing “Volume 2” quickly materialize; all parties quickly realized that a super value-for-money, lavish 2 x CD set might just come together perfectly. Thus, the double disc set is released late October in a beautiful sleeve featuring artwork from acclaimed photographer Geneviève Cygan and David Mason.

            Both volumes lean heavy on the pairs’ previous wonderful electronic experiments, minimal DIY pieces intercross with more uptempo synth workouts, which the artists themselves reckon “inhabit a space somewhere in between feeling lost in car parks and hazy memories of nights out clubbing, in what feels like a lifetime ago.” 

            Eat Lights Become Lights

            The Romance Of The Stars

              An absolute stripped down, minimal masterpiece recalling nods to Eno, Cluster, Popol Vuh and Steve Reich amongst others. Richly rewarding and beautiful, it’s Neil ELBLs’ “classical” record in many ways- stripped right down from his trademark, layered Neu! homages and driving motorik grooves, longterm devotees may at first be taken aback, but the albums’ absorbing, meditative grooves are utterly intoxicating, and all parties here, agree that it is his finest offering thus far.

              Neil himself describes the record as being easily his most personal ‘til this point, almost playing out as a soundtrack to the last five years of his life; trekking across Spain seven times, journeying the length of India by train for 3 months, living on the beach in Sri Lanka, watching lightning storms rage around him at the foot of Spanish mountains, falling in and out of love…

              Three beautifully hypnotic slow builders grace Side One of the record- lush, orchestral and utterly beautiful. However, it’s Side Two’s epic 23 minute, 3 part title track that acts as the cornerstone to the work. A glorious side long opus beginning with an emotive orchestral piece, with its achingly beautiful strings-heavy, slow builder of a melody which -quite possibly crazy by definition- to these ears, merges some weird Popol Vuh meets Tchaikovsky collision!? As the track reaches its crescendo, (longer term ELBL listeners fear not) it builds to a pleasingly “four to the floor motorik bliss” conclusion!

              The recording of this track began in 2008 but lay abandoned for over ten years. Neil explains that it “was just too complicated and difficult to finish”, however it was finally completed in 2021 and we thank our lucky stars that it was. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: It's been a long time coming but the new Eat Light record for the venerable Polytechnic Youth is an absolute winner. Beautifully evocative synth swells and blipping, aquatic arps PLUS a stunningly effective classical influence. Essential.


              Dur Au Mal / Mes Amis

                A holy Suicide | minimal synth mash up over A/AA sides from Parisian trio BLACKMAIL.

                They describe themselves thus “Blackmail dig a synthetic and saturated rocky groove. Few instruments, always the same, few words, all in French. Sometimes it sounds like the band leave the machines play by themselves, like an open window on a post-apocalyptic urban daily life show. Blackmail could be summed up in one word: Omnipresent. Permanent; and promised to a bright future after having had a glorious past. One quite simple word, crisis. And making music maybe the best ways to occupy its time in times of crisis. Like a lot of people right now, the band clench its teeth and hopes that something good will emerge from this big mess. All hopes are high, magic mushrooms grow well on cow dung!”

                There you have it, an enigmatic description for a fabulous band- all their previous output is massively recommended to all fans of the aforementioned Suicide, Silver Apples, Fad Gadget, Throbbing Gristle, early Cabs- all the greats….

                Will Sergeant

                Themes For Grind

                  Despite wonderful records from many luminaries within the synth | minimal | electronica world over the last few years (Cavern of Anti-Matter, Pye Corner Audio, Colin Potter etc etc), Polytechnic Youth’s next full length is especially close to PY head, Dom’s heart and firmly in the “honour to do” camp.

                  As a Bunnymen fan since the early 80s, this curiously out there and completely stand alone, solo LP from Will Sergeant came as a real curveball at the time. Released in 1982 between “Heaven Up Here” and “Porcupine”, the LP honed in on Will’s home 4 track recordings of darkly ambient, exploratory electronica and was self released on his own “92 Happy Customers” label. Worlds away from his work with the Bunnymen, the album has gone onto attain cult status as something of a deeply hidden cornerstone to the UK’s early ‘80s underground DIY / electronic scene.

                  From it’s almost bleak, very industrial sleeve art with no track titles (instead it’s ‘imaginary film soundtrack’ feel is maintained with the tracks listed as numbered scenes) the record is at times otherworldly -even now- while certain scenes recall the work of Cluster, early Cabs and nods to Eno and perhaps Throbbing Gristle, This Heat or certain Popol Vuh. There was precious little treading a similar path in 1982 and that it was the low key, solo creation of a -by now- huge band’s guitarist, made it all the more baffling.

                  An utter joy, at times unsettling, at others beautifully atmospheric- the record still flows majestically well, and although a CD was reissued some time ago, this is its first official LP reissue. Released as a duo- coloured wax pressing of 500 in original sleeve art. It is hoped that “Electronic Sound” will run a corresponding piece to co-run with the album’s reissue, and by chance, it also coincides with Will’s first book on life within the Bunnymen for over 40 years.

                  A beautiful duo coloured splatter wax edition of 500 in reversed board sleeve and expected to sell out sharply….


                  Hoofing The Oboe

                    First of two more fabulous new Polytechnic Youth 45s for the start of June, PY141 sees the debut on the label for Liverpool based HARMONISCHE-23, with 2 killer tracks across 1 45. Both A and B have already been played back to back on 6music and response has been massively favourable, with the single sure to sell out super quick style. The band emerge from the ranks of Loka and The Rotary Fifth blended with additional contributors, all of whom draw on the revered Kosmische sound as it’s major source of inspiration. The single is accompanied by 2 ace film clips for each side and a digital release accompanies the PY 7 in time for release.

                    Musically, this kraut-pop gem sounds a little like 'Star Guitar' era Chems sampling Tone Loc's "Funk Cold Medina then blossoms into a Neu-like head nodder with some celestial vox. Also, if I see a better track title than "Hoofing The Oboe" this week, I'll eat Martin's swimming trunks (perished lining and all)...

                    B-side "Empathetic Eliza" shimmies between kosmische and psych, making ace use of tropical woodblocks and a vocal process so garbled it renders the words wonderfully indecipherable. Distorted Hammond, frazzled guitars and an motorik beat round out the sound - expect plenty of Clinic comparisons.

                    Charlie And The Oscillator

                    Big Unit

                      The second of PY’s new singles sees a return to the label for Charlie And The Oscillator (after the first lockdown period’s half hour sell out LP of psych / electronica mash up classic “Journey of Echoes”.) The band offer up their first 7” here and is released in PY’s lovely new BBC 70s tip-of-the-hat library tracing paper sleeves.

                      Formed in 2018, the London based duo fuse breakbeats, synths and samples to create eccentric alternative dance music. Their endlessly intriguing world has already drawn comparisons to the likes of DJ Shadow and Death In Vegas. Incredibly adventurous and broadly ambitious, the backbone to their sound is poles away from usual PY fayre, based upon a backbone of funk and soul. Yet from this base they merge many different genres including ambient, trip-hop, dance, disco and more, creating a new form of sample-heavy, dancefloor-friendly electronica.

                      On the A-side, "Big Unit" is a warm and fuzzy serving of sampledelic freakbeat, simultaneously kraut, big beat and psych pop. A bit like a Bentley Rhythm Ace cover of Can redrawn on an etch a sketch by The Go! Team, but also not really anything like that. It's a kaleidoscopic beauty though so maybe just trust me. On the B-side, 'Rüftop' (maximum respect from Piccadilly's umlaut appreciation crew) is a more pensive piece, meting out public service broadcasts over hazy breaks and a shifting shimmer of synth stuff.

                      The follow up second album 'Musical Emergency Evacuation Kit' is scheduled for 2021, with these 2 tracks released as a taster in advance…

                      All power to the imagination, All hail Charlie And The Oscillator! 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      A1. Big Unit
                      B1. Rüftop

                      Masonic Kitchen

                      Stahlex Theme

                        Polytechnic Youth return to the fray following 2 fabulous, quickly sold out full lengths from Polypores and Home Current- both of which attained “album of the week” status with a number of shops. This time round it’s back to the label’s preferred format- the 45. Two killer 7”’s nicely wrapped up in the label’s new BBC 70s inspired tracing paper label bags.

                        First up is the curiously named MASONIC KITCHEN. The solo project of Chris Walker, whose inspiration came when he found an obscure 1970’s sc-fi novel in his local bookshop’s bargain pile. It’s intriguing cover (with Asimov font) and story’s themes “despite being quite dated, inspired 4 tunes that easily have been conceived in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s.” PY lifted 2 of these tracks for the 7” here and both are just fabulous; ticking all the minimal synth boxes- sequencers, drum machines etc etc. the A side is a particular banger and is already incredibly well received after initial listens to it’s teaser clip online… (link below)

                        B side “T-City Scavenger” is also right up there, another killer track. The single is expected to sell out super quick and comes hugely recommended to fans of the early Cabs, Chris & Cosey, early Human League, DAF, Fad Gadget etc….. 

                        Hologram Teen

                        Géométries Insensibles

                          The second of January’s brace of new Polytechnic Youth releases sees the return to the label for Morgane Lhote, with her post Stereolab project HOLOGRAM TEEN. A fabulous new 4 trk 7” EP entitled “Géométries insensibles” and released on pink wax in ace new Nick Taylor artwork.

                          Morgane herself says of the project “the EP is the soundtrack to an imaginary 1980s dystopian sci-fi French movie in the vein of "Le Prix du Danger”, "Les Maîtres du Temps" and "Le Dernier Combat". The tracks follow the linear film narrative (at least my version of it!) of set up/conflict, "the chase scene", hope, and finding love. I kept the instrumentation simple and the songs short, with a handful of tracks and synths settings across the tunes, to keep a cohesive sound and narrative. it was really freeing to go for the "less is more" approach for once. That is until the last track which goes a bit "Xanadu" on you, but trust me, that's a good thing!"

                          The EP, to these ears, recalls a passing nod to those early to mid ‘70s French cosmo-disco LPs, which at one point you’d struggle to give away, yet now fetch £50+ at Utrecht fairs- once thought as cheesy now highly sought after and in their own way, quite pioneering and often in whacked out, cosmic sleeve art. Regular PY (amongst others) art genius Nick Taylor reproduces this look perfectly for it’s sleeve, cemented further with the pink vinyl pressing…

                          The second of the new PY releases sees the return of VORDERHAUS. Familiar, longterm label favourites and solo offshoot project to Mark Vorderhaus’ Detox Twins groop. 

                          In Mark’s own words; “From a simple past, Vorderhaus recollects a decade living in Neukölln, Berlin. Dimly lit urban streets unfold as a backdrop to reveal the lives they contain and their stories within. Tales of love and loss, carved out destinies and shadows that despair, of driven ambitions and broken dreams all eventually consumed by time and the city to be rendered nothing more than a series of lights and faces stretching back into Berlin’s recesses. Simple lines and motifs collect the atmosphere in the music and melody for each life and each street - nowhere is ever home…”

                          Once again, we strongly recommend the 45 to all fans of early Mute, Fad Gadget, Blackwing Studios, Minimal synth / synth pop. A pressing of 250 copies and another brace of perfect electronic pop gems and sure to sell out super quick style….

                          TRACK LISTING

                          A1. Lights & Faces, Faces & Lights
                          B1. Tanz Tanz Tanz Oder Ich Bin Verloren

                          Gabe Knox

                          Hello World / Taking A Break

                          Two fabulously infectious synth pop gems that contain Gabe’s uncanny knack for killer hooks and unerring ear for playfulness within his amazingly melodic electronica.

                          These two tunes precede a 10” mini LP with PY later in the year and contain an interesting back story which we’ll allow Gabe to explain: “In 1982 at the height of the first Personal Computer boom, I was commissioned by a company called Automated Micro-Systems to compose and record some demonstration music on a prototype of what was going to be a home computer/music studio aimed at musicians called "MusiComputer". The system was a combination of analog synth, drum machine, and 4-track cassette recorder all housed in and controlled by an 8-bit computer. From what I understand, certain world events and a recession disrupted the supply chain, and it became unfeasible to bring the product to market, so the project was scrapped. I was recently sent the master tapes by someone involved with the project and have done my best to duplicate the concept artwork for the cover”.

                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Barry says: Another absolute classic from Polytechnic Youth, with this rich synthesis retropspective from the ever excellent Gabe Knox. Soaring krautroctaves and swirling oscillators work their way around blipping melodic hooks and a driven, CR-78-y backline. 'Talking A Break' is a particular favourite.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          A. Hello World
                          B. Taking A Break


                          Poison Control EP

                            The second of January’s new Polytechnic Youth releases is a 6 trk 7” EP of lo-fi, 4-track home recordings of minimal synth | primitive drum machine goodness. With heavy leanings towards PY’s favourite era of killer small run, often private press experimental electronic releases, dressed in hand assembled, very DIY packaging. This one not only sounds the part but looks it too.

                            Debuting here, e+ is the performing name for this enigmatic Ontario, Canada based solo, electronic project. 6 dark pieces of exploratory electronica, delivered in the kind of lo-fi tape hiss you’d find those early Flying Saucer Attack drenched in, this in a way is the electronic equivalent; nice n murky and lo-fi and the sleeve it’s delivered in also harks back to those glorious post punk, DIY days- a hand stapled, numbered pressing of 250 in flipover style sleeves just like the old days…. Lovely record, and quite reaffirming in a way, that you still see 7”’s like this….


                            Music For The Dreamachine II

                              PY label head, Dom initially released Phase One of this killer drone dream / psych collaboration, on his Earworm label in 2000. It was always at the back of both his and Sunray’s Jon Chambers’ minds’ that the unreleased Phase II (not to mention Sonic Boom’s unreleased remix here) would see the light of day somehow; and lo-and-behold, here it is kids; a whole 19 years later!

                              Although, never one to shirk the opportunity of releasing a musical curveball of types; it could be argued that this one strays from “usual” PY territory; the darker nature of ‘Phase II’ with its’ edgy, pulsing electronics and heavily treated guitar effects pull this closer to Throbbing Gristle, Conrad Schnitzler and Heldon territory (all PY heroes!) than the original version; so perhaps on closer examination this comes as no major surprise. Sonic Boom’s purely electronic remix on the flip expands on this theme and is suitably meditational, hypnotic and intoxicating, and is an absolute must for Spacemen and Spectrum aficionados.

                              In Jon’s own words: “The version released in 2000 through Earworm (‘Phase One’) is really the definitive version as far as I am concerned. The original version was influenced by the sound experiments carried out by bands like Kraftwerk, Suicide and Spacemen 3 and I was keen to work with a sympathetic producer/remixer. Sonic Boom seemed the obvious choice so I approached him and he agreed. Sonic said he thought the track sounded like something off Suicide’s second LP.

                              All the tracks were recorded at Great Central Studios in Rugby over two days using some nice old analogue equipment including a Fenix modular voltage synth, EMS Synthi, Korg Electribe and a modified Speak & Spell from Texas Instruments which provided the weird ‘click’ on the record. Initially, we did three mixes, the first (Phase One) is the Earworm 12" and CD EP- I might get round to releasing Phase II and the second Sonic Boom mix soon”

                              Wait no longer, both versions are just great and appear as a 300 copy pressing on SILVER wax in a Nick Taylor sleeve that tips it’s hat to (as eagle eyed library record obsessives may spot) the ‘Audio Obstacle course – era III’ sleeve from ’73…


                              Wakayama / Mejiro

                                Polytechnic Youth enter the fray once again, continuing an already productive year (these new 45s are 4/5/6th releases in 2018 already!) with a trio of quite brilliant yet totally different 45s.

                                Alpár aka Hungarian Bálint Zalkai, is the co-founder of ‘Farbwechsel’, the Budapest based record label, and his own recordings of electronic compositions (often built upon random looping sequencers in a minimalist style) are key to the label’s release output thus far. His goal as he sees it is to “catch a random pattern, loop it and build up a piece with that randomly pulsing theme. Just let to flow the voltages and sound waves and try not to disturb them or change their basic behaviours”.

                                The two tracks here were recorded with this approach very much in mind. The atmosphere of 'Mejiro' is “not unlike a bird observation. Attempting to find the right spot, getting closer and closer to the bird, which almost controls you and your movements as you attempt to near it”. Whereas 'Wakayama' is a more direct piece, and maybe the most melodic song Alpár ever recorded. While 'Mejiro' is a woozy, cautious piece, ‘Wakayama’ is like a tropical fruit or the ume, (the japanese apricot); colourful and full of flavour yet -with thanks to- the slowly humming theme in the background, an element of sourness grips you at the back of your tongue as it ends!

                                A beautiful pair of tracks released as a double A side 45 early March 2018. Pressing of 250 numbered copies….

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