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POLYTECHNIC YOUTH

Self Modifier

Lozells Drone Survey

    Well, after a nigh on three year sabbatical, North London’s POLYTECHNIC YOUTH label returns to the fray with an absolute cracker. The label built up not only an esteemed back catalogue of releases (featuring the likes of Sonic Boom / Spectrum, Tim Gane’s Cavern of Anti-Matter, Pye Corner Audio, Polypores, Heartwood Instititute and so on) but was also constantly name dropped as a source of inspiration to a number of newer electronic labels such as Castles in Space, Woodford Halse and Library of the Occult .

    This new release is an absolute banger. ‘SELF MODIFIER’ is the new project from Peter Duggal, the current musical partner of ex-KRAFTWERK legend WOLFGANG FLUR. His work with Wolfgang has seen collaborations with Peter Hook, Juan Atkins, Midge Ure, Claudia Brücken, Carl Cox and many others for the critically acclaimed 2022 album ‘Magazine 1’ (which reached the top of the UK Electronic Album Charts).

    His background is particularly interesting, as he himself explains “growing up in Lozells and Handsworth in inner city Birmingham during the Thatcher years, technology and music were the ticket to escape out of the fear and oppression to somewhere unreal. On the TV were threats of impending nuclear war and out on the streets in Lozells (as in other deprived inner cities around England at this time), there were the well publicised riots - police banging on the door instructing us to turn the lights off and lock ourselves inside until further notice. Shops, houses and cars were ablaze, and some lost their lives - those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Computers were appearing everywhere… including the home. According to the older generation they were going to take over the world, destroy everybodys’ jobs and eventually start thinking for themselves at which point they would be out of control and destroy everything else too. I, like many of my friends, became totally fascinated to the point of obsession with these machines—these were ours, and the idea of creating a whole world in your bedroom by typing in obscure commands was something truly magical.

    Rooted in the memories and landscape of that time, this collection of pieces emerged from nostalgia of people and places, and a deep yearning to engage with all that is no longer real”.

    4 intensely beautiful slow building pieces of electronica, rhythmic and richly melodic, it's a beautiful record and a fine addition to the PY canon. Pressed on lush marbled orange wax and with a sleeve continuing the labels’ tip of the hat theme to the 70s BBC sound effects series of library releases, this one is not be missed....

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: PY Are back?! Praise Be! One of the bastions of electronic music and one of the reasons I got into playing about with oscillators return with a lovely suite of woozy arps and brilliantly heady percussives. Think Sankt Otten or Kriedler, Kosmischer Laufer etc. Lovely.

    Shibuya Station

    Always Waiting At Shibuya Station

      A 6 trk 10” mini-LP from SHIBUYA STATION, an all-analogue synth project founded by Marc Schaffer (aka solitude fx, Endphase, Twins Natalia, as well as being the founder of the Anna Logue Records and Nadanna labels).

      Finding his inspiration in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s synth music and the machines of that period, Marc recorded a few tracks back in 2013 which were further developed by fellow musicians Stefan Bornhorst (The Silicon Scientist), Dave Hewson (Poeme Electronique), Orpheo Weidelt (solitude fx), Kriistal Ann (Paradox Obscur) and Erik Söderberg (Kinder Aus Asbest) over the following years.

      As Marc says: “Six tracks made it eventually onto international compilations “Tunes That R Attractive!”, “Sie Hat Schenkel Wie Godzilla”, “Jubilee Jamboree: 10 Years Of TuT/RuR” and “Synthesizer Music On Tape” vol.3, which are now presented on a 10” vinyl via the renowned Polytechnic Youth label, who say it’s their last release for awhile, as they concentrate on their new label, Feral Child.

      Instruments used were Amdek Percussion Synthesizer PCK-100, Boss Voice Transformer VT-1, Casio VL-1, Crumar Performer, DSI Mopho, Korg KR-55B, Korg MS-20, Moog Little Phatty, Moog Voyager, Novation Bass Station II, Oberheim DPX-1, Roland CR-78, Roland SH-2, Yamaha CS01, and VST synthesisers ARP Odyssey, EKSSperimental Sounds ES101, Korg MS-20. The project name is reference to Hachikō, the dog who continued to wait for over nine years following his owner’s death at … Shibuya Station”.

      10" vinyl features: a limited edition of 300 copies, black vinyl, 40 mm mini labels.

      Mastering by Stefan Bornhorst (The Silicon Scientist). Artwork by Steve Lippert.

      Richard Formby / Spectrum

      Sweet Running Water / The Drunk Suite

        A first time release for 2 untitled demos from Spectrum’s 1992 classic “Soul Kiss (Glide Divine)” LP.

        Listed here as “untitled”, the pair of tunes here were penned by Richard Formby initially and were developed into the classics “Sweet Running Water” and “The Drunk Suite” for the LP which represented Sonic Boom’s first project as a band post Spacemen 3.

        Lovely stripped down minimal pieces which represent a fascinating insight into how the tracks were first laid down and presented to Sonic and Mike Stout in the band.

        Definitely one for all Spacemen (and post S3 bands) afficionados and released as a one time pressing of 500 45s dressed up nice in PY’s BBC ‘70s library ‘tip of the hat’ sleeves and additional backing card. 

        Pye Corner Audio

        Circuit Rot / Pocket Disco

          A second release on the label for Martin Jenkins’ always amazing Pye Corner Audio. Riding high with acclaim for his current full length on Sonic Cathedral, Martin offers up 2 fantastic new pieces in tandem, unique to this vinyl only 45.

          As a longterm fan, label head Dom has always been intrigued by Martin’s love of label hopping and recording pieces especially geared to what he feels is each label’s aesthetic; and sharing a massive love for Spacemen 3 and Stereolab, it is always hugely exciting to receive new music from him. These two tunes were all we could possibly ask and then some; in his own words Martin says: “Pye Corner Audio return to the haunted dancehall with a brace of stripped back analogue tracks. Casio-tone rhythm meets Moog bass line on “Circuit Rot”, while “Pocket Disco”’s title speaks for itself”.

          Two absolute beauties, all dressed up nice in PY’s Red / Tracing paper homage packaging concept to the BBC’s library releases of the early to mid ‘70s. 

          Gabe Knox / Pulsliebhaber

          Gabe Knox / Pulsliebhaber

            The Gabe Knox side collects a trio of hard-to-find rarities and ‘lost’ gems; kicking off with “Student Disco ‘81”, previously available on a limited Record Store Day 7”, it’s a sickly-sweet Krautrock inflected synthpop confection, with just enough bite to fill the dancefloors of a bygone era. The other two cuts, fan favourite “Carbon Bubble” and the ultra-rare “Cosmic Debris”, which amply showcases Knox’s more expansive, experimental-but-still-melodic side, made available for the first time on vinyl.

            On the flip, Mat Handley’s Pulsliebhaber project was an exercise in super-fast recording with as little computer use as possible (for sequencing or processing). Although, as Mat explains : 

            “my keyboard playing skills are rudimentary (at best), first takes were used just about every time. Each of my seven tracks were written and recorded in a single session with not one of them taking more than a couple of hours to finish, some of them significantly less than 60 minutes. I think the original intention was to record a bunch of tracks and revisit them later, but after sending them to Dom PY it was agreed to release them as they are with just a little sheen provided by Jez Butler’s mastering.

            So yes, some of the timings are shaky with the odd bum note here and there, but the process was very refreshing especially after spending five years each on the first two Pulselovers albums. Drums were all provided by Volca Beats and the Volca Kick (with maybe one appearance of the Drum Brute). Synths used were the MFB Dominion X, the Korg MS20 Mini and my trusty old Bass Station 2. Everything was fed through a variety of noisy guitar pedals and recorded either onto tape or directly into Audition, whilst titles were all selected from a half hour spent down a Wikipedia rabbit hole and mean absolutely nothing. Thanks go to Gabe for agreeing to share this piece of plastic with me, to Jez for making my synth noodles (almost) presentable and especially to Dom for his enthusiasm and for giving us all Polytechnic Youth”

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Two of my favourites here, with Gabe Knox filling his side with typically gorgeous motorik synth fare, while the affable and talented Handley modestly describes his side as quickly pieced together, but the result is both brilliantly evocative and entirely at odds with the rushed creation. A talented duo on another beautiful piece of PY wax.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Gabe Knox - Student Disco 81 / Carbon Bubble 10:23
            2. Gabe Knox - Cosmic Debris 10:04
            3. Pulsliebhaber - Catching Buckets 02:27
            4. Pulsliebhaber - Synthetic Aperture Radar 02:55
            5. Pulsliebhaber - Domestic Fission 02:49
            6. Pulsliebhaber - NDT Bomb 02:28
            7. Pulsliebhaber - FFWD>> 03:20
            8. Pulsliebhaber - Transient Emotion 03:04
            9. Pulsliebhaber - Underground Architect

            Free / Slope

            Blissful Repetitions

              The wonderful new full length from Swede, Daniel Brandt’s Free / Slope project. “Blissful Repetitions” features 5 extended kraut infused jams, inspired in equal measures, by the likes of Spacemen 3, “Lazer Guided Melodies” era Spiritualized, Manuel Gottsching, Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley, Cluster / Harmonia, Morricone, David Crosby and Bo Hansson.

              …..”Through the haze of a warm summer night FREE / SLOPE emerges, painting in tones a lazy state of bliss and calm. By blending the enigmatic melancholia and pastoral tones of fellow countryman Bo Hansson, (with cues taken from many of the names above), Daniel improvises kosmische jams that evoke not only space but also the serene scenery of Swedish west coast nature, afternoon daydreams and otherworldly psychedelic landscapes.

              With a truly unique and personal melodic sensibility the music shines bright with its own special colours, ensuring the listener an experience both familiar and excitingly new. “Blissful Repetitions" will appeal both to the seasoned krautrock aficionado looking for some fresh jams to the casual listener seeking everyday escapism. Experimental but accessible, crystal clear yet blurred, organic but electronic - a fully formed vision brought to reality in a small bedroom studio.

              It’s a mellow yet adventurous trip, cut on gorgeous clear vinyl, a soothing remedy for anyone wanting to escape the anxiety-ridden current state of the world" - Daniel aka F R E E / S L O P E.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: You know it's a good week when two PY records land at the same time. First up is this beautiful selection of blipping oscillations and (ahem) blissful repetitions from Free / Slope aka Daniel Brandt. Whirring and cosmic, full of beautiful proggy guitar and snappy percussion. You always know you're in for a treat with PY, and this is one of my favourites so far.

              Le Cliche

              Vicarious Life

                Next up on Polytechnic Youth is the eagerly anticipated new full length from the mighty Le Cliché, the minimal synth project of Limerick born, Spanish based Gerard Ryan. 12 tracks of fabulous classic analogue, mono synth sounds showcasing Ryan’s obsession with minimal, lo-fi electro pop- as do his sleeve notes, which credit vocal samples by cult synth forerunners Boris Dzaneck, The Petticoats and Tara Cross, a collaboration with Ricard Anderson of ‘This is the Bridge’ and liner notes (an essay on vicarious consumption) edited by Danny Bosten of Das Ding.

                Kicking off with the album’s title track- which, as a 45 last year attained plays on 6Music, reviews in “Electronic Sound” and “Record Collector” and sold out in a tick (as does all the LC back catalogue). Elsewhere on the record, tips of the hat to early Cabs, Fad Gadget, Transparent Illusion, Neural Circus et al, yet firmly sounding as fresh and current as any new electronica doing the rounds just now, lovely stuff and a superbly free flowing consistent set of tracks. Hugely recommended to anyone into any of the above and destined to sell out super quick….

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: I do love a PY record, almost all of them actually and while this certainly bucks the trend from the airy melodic synth we got from Melodien last month, it's another killer outing. Hypnotic synth stabs and echoic vocals twist around each-other in a high def minimal-wave/acid meltdown. Thoroughly superb, and quintessential PY.

                Charlie And The Oscillator

                Journey Of Echoes

                  Here’s a superb new album on Polytechnic Youth, the last of the label’s trio of recent CD releases, aimed partly at circumnavigating the crazy world of vinyl pressing just now. The third here is an absolute beauty- by a country mile the label’s most bonkers, whacked out release, sample heavy, dancefloor friendly and all interspersed with voiceovers / track intros from Charlie Pellett of NY subway system announcement fame!

                  17 tracks, clocking in at over an hour (the CD’s biggest saving grace?) including a bunch of extras not included on PY’s mailorder LP edition from a couple of years back that sold out same day and is now a £30+ record. This is a nice opportunity to hear the album in full and is released as a one time pressing of 500.

                  “Formed in 2018, the London based duo fuse breakbeats, synths and samples to create eccentric alternative dance music, twisting and bending sounds into their own distinctive style using a vast collection of vinyl 45s. Their endlessly intriguing world has already drawn comparisons to the likes of DJ Shadow and Death In Vegas. With a backbone of funk and soul they blend together many different genres including ambient, trip-hop, dance, disco and more, creating a new form of sample-heavy, dancefloor-friendly electronica. ‘Journey Of Echoes’ is exactly this: a fusion of analogue grit, psychedelic colour and a mass of ramshackle ideas, and in a world where it's almost criminal to be joyous and inventive this is the soundtrack of a rebellion!” 

                  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! 

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    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!” 

                      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. 

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        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.” 

                          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

                            E+

                            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….

                              Sunray

                              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…

                                Alpar

                                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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