Monday, 21 May 2018


You know that feeling when the sun is too bright, and it's too hot, and humid, and the brightness of the sun is so much that you can basically feel the UV toasting your skin, and you can smell the heat. That piercing abrasive sunlight feels like the sounds in 'Memory Arc', created by English musicmaker Rival Consoles; primarily this is a heavenly harp sound that is degraded and decayed, the scorch of retinas as humans look upon gods, the curse of theophany. Like a molten zither it plays—or like inverse steel pans for an inverted paradise.

Because there is that flipside to tropical beauty and to the beauty of nature in general, and that is in the danger of it, the undesirable and uncontrollable; survival at nature's mercy. The sweltering heat, dehydration, poison and venom, infection, insects. It feels as if the lower tones of Rival Console's monolithic track provide the looming menace, of something primeval and earth-shaking, whilst the scorching sweeps of melody above paint a picture of the parched sun.

And so there is this sense of wonder, but at no time does it feel triumphant, or chilled. The feelings here, in the drawn-out nature of it, the abrasiveness, the actual progression of the notes, the feelings are of anxiety at its root, the basest worries in the midst of a world a million times bigger than ourselves; a concept that is reminiscent of a similar one in The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard, where global warming has taken our minds back to a world of prehistory. With these sweeping threats and glittering terrors, 'Memory Arc' may represent our most primordial collective recollections.

  • πŸ”” The looming 'Memory Arc' is taken from Rival Consoles' new album Persona, released back in April on Erased Tapes.

Rival Consoles Internet Presence ☟
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Thursday, 17 May 2018


This collage of sound comes from musicmaking veteran Jon Hassell, a collection of almost random knockings and thudding perucussion, striking bright piano feeling chords and twinklings, insectoid and creeping and with satisfactory edits to almost be venturing into the zippy world of breakcore. Tumbling soft chimes and bassy bell synths roly-poly throughout, helping with that sense of speed and motion. Background noise comes and goes, fizzing and whooshing as new and sharper chimes set in, this time real, organic, and which (sort of) give the track its title: 'Pastorale Vassant' (meaning 'Hillside Pastoral' in Catalan)—How though?

"I was staying in Deya, on the island of Mallorca," explains Hassell in the track's description on SoundCloud, "where flocks of goats roamed in the hills at night, each one with a slightly different neck bell. One balmy Summer midnight I stayed awake to record this floating, constantly-changing "gamelan" that enters in the distant background halfway into the piece."

You can hear in the track that nocturnal sound, the feel of mild still-awake night terrors, the what's-out-there wonder of the dark, and then the homely but lonely sound of these goats' bells, by themselves yet together, no other human around. All the other flighty noises of the night, the harsh abrasions of the ambient sound of the air like the esoteric recordings of a cryptozoologist, but above all the constant flutter of a mind churning and churning... And then: that blissful chord at the end, disparate to everything else that has come before, chimes into earshot rich and radiant, a dream of digital dimensions as the organic gives way to the synthetic, and sounding beautifully similar to the PS2 startup sound by Takafumi Fujisawa—that same full emptiness, empty fullness.

  • πŸ””
  • πŸ”” 'Pastorale Vassant' is the second track to be taken from Jon Hassell's upcoming album Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), following the urgent, relentless glitter of 'Dreaming'. You may pre-order it on Bandcamp ahead of its 8th June release on Ndeya Records, Hassell's own newly launched label.

Jon Hassell Internet Presence ☟
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018


With its variegated textures, from trickling percussion to wibbly synth like otherworldly spirit voices, and a sense of space that borders on threatening – like, you can almost imagine things lurking in the heavy electrically charged spaces between sounds of the track – this track is awash with mystery and delicacy, like some luxury item hidden in the depths of a forest, or like approaching a neglected shrine overgrown with creepers and leaves. LEESH, a musicmaker from Arizona, has succeeded in creating a vital soundscape, one that pulses at all times with power as much as intrigue, a mystical natural landscape conjured using a big imagination combined with a pristine collection of synthetic sounds.

"This track was definitely a huge experiment for me," LEESH told us via email. "I wanted the track to feel familiar, but disorienting and kind of uncomfortable at the same time. Mostly the inspiration came from trying to do something that nobody has heard before."

Between soft subby kicks, like the faraway footsteps of a giant beast, and woodblock hits like trees being tapped, skittering percussion – hi-hats, like unknown flitting creatures and a spooky arpeggio make this track feel alive; the feeling of being lost in strange woods. And by the end, the cyclical nature of the track stops, the unexpected journey is almost over as warm chords play abrasively: the sight of the bright sun again as you stumble into familiar territory, leaving the bristling trees and the forest spirits to their business.

LEESH Internet Presence ☟
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The name of the game here is hazy. It's also cloudy, misty, nebulous—it's all of those things. That insubstantial foggy-headed feeling, sun glinting in your eyes, all created by gorgeous washes of sound that swish and sway with lo-fi abrasions like some sort of dust storm just so that they graze your mind ever so slightly, so that all that loveliness can pour in, you know. It's called 'Expensive Flights' and it toes the line somewhere in the heavenly kingdom between chillwave and dream pop, a delicious combo of live drums and bass and guitar and synth in a soothing symphony of sound created by the Charlottesville-based Inning.

Like dream pop, it feels alive yet somewhere else, voices soaring in the sky, and the drums thump and rattle with a doofing pulse and scritch-scratch metallics – yet in a pattern that summons something more electronic-based, a slow house sorta pace; but though a 'real' instrument, the bass guitar coarse and grinding in low-slung indie-band fashion, it is founded on this sub-bass frequency that has that quality of being able to erase everything going on around you. And at a heavenly crescendo the guitar arpeggiates like glitter, like light, soft synth chords ever-present, everything slots into place as the vocals refrain enigmatic: "Are the things that I like me for the reasons I like you, or are things that I like you for the reasons I like me?" Self-doubt broiling beneath a calm exterior; a vocal that with its reverb and light decay feels faraway, like a vague worry.

This is a late afternoon sound, a montage of the day's move into night, with that beatless and wordless outro, cool and blissful, hitting just as the sun fades and dusk sets in, inky and purple, a watercolour in sound of the feeling that comes at the end of a good day with its effusion of doubt and its memories, when the passing of time is most visible and poignant in a dramatic colour-changing sky. And besides, Inning sang it at the start of the track:""Yeah I like you, but right now things aren't right." A breeze picks up, and your summer clothes feel suddenly inadequate.

  • πŸ”” 'Expensive Flights' is taken from Inning's recently released D.C. Party Machine EP, a 5-track exposition of thick body-wobbling low-end frequencies and hazy-headed washes of sound in patterns that evoke vague emotions amidst of chillment. You can listen to/download it on Bandcamp if that sounds like your thing.

Inning Internet Presence ☟

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


It's musicmaker extraordinaire Eugene Cam with gis uncompromising, unapologetic fusion of beats and videogame aesthetics. This time around we're at the starting gate, stumbling in a pre-World 1-1 soundscape, a tottering, unstable feel thanks mainly to the producer's ability to put minutely arrhythmic patterns together in an easy-to-catch swaying flow. The kicks thud-thump richly deep, sub-bass bouncing warmly beneath it all, snares crack and hi-hats and other zippy janglings tap-crackle circuitboardly. The beat scuttles along, skittering and pounding, weighted but giving this impression, between each percussive pop, of weightlessness and wall-jumps.

Stars of the show are those synth chords: partially lost to the void and colourful yet abrasive, they provide the perfect scratchy high-end antidote to the lower frequencies in 'Grain'—as does the marimba: gleaming clonking sounds that play mystic melodies, the untitled mystery of what may or may not lie ahead. These arrive whilst the track is calm, there are even people talking in the background; and as the difficulty curve begins to show itself, as the challenge presents itself, the beat grows intense, overdriven, synth wheels over sirenlike.

And the brash boom of the track dies down to its previous intensity, night noises help portray the passing of time, or rather these insectoid whirrings signify just one of a few different areas to a 'hub world' (which is what this track is tagged as). You realise that there is no immediate danger, no actual peril going on here: it's setting the scene for something larger, each differing level of intensity in sound, beat alteration, addition or subtraction of an element, each one could be the basis for a whole tangential level theme. And in that way, 'Grain' sparks imagination, encourages you to fill in the blanks that it itself has created.

  • πŸ”” Like this? Well then you literally must check out Eugene Cam's BOOLIN EP from earlier this year. Released on SoundCloud-label Mekaplex it's a pure crossover of trappy beats and videogames with a scrappy spirit and a world-building aesthetic at heart. You gotta check it out. We particularly liked 'The Gate'.
  • πŸ”” Oh and in case you didn't know: Eugene Cam made this LIVE on Twitch. V impressive!

Eugene Cam Internet Presence ☟