August 13, 2018

Stefan Goldmann - An Ardent Heart

macrom56An Ardent Heart is a focused techno mini album that brings forward Stefan Goldmann’s most dancefloor-centered material in a decade. The tracks push and pull relentlessly. Despite their linear appeal, there is an intricately balanced interplay between the heavy-handed kicks, the bouncy bass accents and the sizzling, yet clear-cut details whipped up by the rallying drums. The peculiar, seemingly “vocalised” mode of synthesis is maybe the most unifying sonic characteristic of the six tracks and one coda. Formant shaping, vowel filters and airstream perturbations let a wide range of sounding elements speak in the tongues of a cybernetic Babylon. Layered polymetric patterns perforate the aural plane with alien scripts. Clearly structured, yet opaque messages that seem to have traveled for aeons emanate from the red-hot circuitry. They spill into a network of delays, channeled down into labyrinthine corridors, enveloped in electrostatic noise. Most tracks build on chance patterns evoked with hardware sequencers and freeform modulation sources. The resulting synthetic systems are as cohesive as they exhibit vast internal variation and range. Thus balancing simplicity and complexity right in the middle, the results are just as immediately gripping as they can feed sustained attention. A wide palette of distortion and overtones mark the contours of individual elements that seem to have near-physical qualities – as if there were metallic strings, thick membranes, a resonating sphere, all struck by electric mallets, caused to vibrate by mechanical bows and sung by silicone lips.

 

August 13, 2018

Attraktta - Echo Principle

film010Focusing on low-slung IDM, Acid and atmospheric Electro with nods to Krautrock & Ambient sounds, Steve Hy-land’s ATTRAKTTA project gets an extended outing on the FILM label. Across eight beautifully produced tracks, Hyland - one of the founding members of AI Records and subsequently Concrete Plastic, explores vibrant synthesis and intricate drum programming, with the music arriving at a sweet spot between home listening material & club-ready workouts for more intelligent dance floors. Eschewing straightforward synth sequences in favour of blissed out - almost disharmonious sonics, Hyland trans-mits a curious psychedelia on his debut LP. Sounds pitch and warp organically, buoyed up by saturated low end and punchy drum machine percussion. There remains a decidedly accomplished precision to the work, though - with the music bearing all the hallmarks of an artist of some considerable experience - testament to the British pro-ducer & label head’s 19 years working in the industry. A colourful, exquisitely composed LP that riffs on a timeless production aesthetic with considerable style, Echo Principle is a fantastic entry into the FILM Records discography.

 

August 13, 2018

Midori Takada & Lafawndah - Le Renard Bleu

KENZ01It is said that every generation casts its mind back to a previous era in times of crisis; the resources that will allow us to decode the questions of our moment may lie in the myths of another era. Le Renard Bleu, the new musical and cinematic collaboration between Lafawndah and composer Midori Takada, and filmmakers Partel Oliva, takes a cross- generational echo as ground zero for recovering a crucial myth for uncertain times: the blue fox. As transmitted by Takada, the fox appears in both ancient Senegalese and Japanese folktales as the trickster archetype; belonging both to the heavens and to the earth, the fox is the agent of chaotic good, shaking the world up when its energy has become stagnant. Above all else, the fox is famous for its cunning nature. Renard Bleu marks the first new music released by Takada in nearly twenty years; it would be difficult to overstate the importance of her return to the public eye. Her first solo record, 1983’s Through the Looking Glass, has been rediscovered and heralded as a lost classic; the influence of her percussion trio, the Mkwaju Ensemble, continues to permeate and inspire a new generation entranced by its lucid beauty, playfulness, and sensual patience. Takada has performed in numerous film score orchestras, including the ensemble for Akira Kurasawa’s Dreams, coincidentally a key influence on Renard Bleu. In the ensuing years, Takada has worked closely with theater group the Suzuki Company of Toga on productions of Electra and King Lear, an experience, she says, that allowed her to pursue “a unity of music, body and space.” Recent live solo performances have evinced the depths of her exploration of all three. Equally, it is Lafawndah’s freedom of tone, decentralized maps of ancient and modern music cultures, and alloying of devotional intensity with modern songcraft casts her as a distinct relative of Midori Takada’s.