Thursday 26 April 2018

🐣 MILAN RING — 2063

The slowest sway ever swings in the liquid bliss created in the effortless backdrop that ripples in this song’s glorious electrified crystalline flavours, piano chords that fuzz and envelop you warmly in their all-encompassing sound, and resounding chilled guitars lightly tread a line between staccato soul and flighty resolute arpeggios. This is ‘2063’ by Australian producer and singer Milan Ring, a song that is so futuristic nouveau soul that it’s based 45 years from now, referenced in the lyrics too, which speak of 5G (already a thing) and the iPhone 17.

The musicmaker herself calls the track “essentially a love song about focusing on the important things and not getting caught up in the negative chatter"—perhaps reflected in the resounding laissez-faire swirl of the instrumental. "But it also plays upon the telepathic connection I believe we can have with our loved ones," Milan Ring continues. "Like when you think of someone right before they call.”

And the lyrics that spin this story of farflung temporal love get delivered in aching soulful lines of vocal, merging with the sultry atmosphere of the trarck, or else they’re sent into the air of this world in rapid syllable clusters, laid-back and intoxicated-feeling and popping out thanks to the multiple layers here, and to the poised minimalism here, the bump of the beat dancing with negative space; it’s this dual aroma softly soulful vs. snappy and angular, that gives ‘2063’ its delicious stylistic blend that draws you into its otherworld of foresight and connected minds.

  • πŸ”” '2063' by Milan Ring can be streamed and purchased variously from the options at the other end of this hyperlink.

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Wednesday 25 April 2018


This song was pitched very briefly with the captivating subtitle ‘Elvis trying to use Windows 98.’ Clickbait, you may think. But upon listening, upon hear the guttural abrasive vocals of PORTALS curling round each pointed word like a cyberpunk savant fortune-teller and the gabbering liquid gooey instrumental, this description seems quite spot-on - at least superficially.

“Looking back,” Alejandro CaΓ±ellas, the human behind PORTALS, kindly explains, “it seems the track focuses on the law of correspondence. Every line is a reference to either looking at myself from within myself or from without.”

Accordingly the lyrics of ‘WAKELAST’ - taken from a recent double-single Voult//Wakelast (tagged ‘win98core’ on SoundCloud) - are cryptic and self-examining. The refraining nature of it gives a mantra quality to how it is delivered, making it feel like a frenzied, searching howl into the vaulting void: “eyes look into the next life / myself always outside / eyes look into the next life / I stand behind my eyes.” Not to mention how it is viscerally scrawled into the air by the vicious vocals, falling thunderboltish on the bed of garbled plasma noise - a sample taken from 'jacket funk' by pilotredsun track. ‘WAKELAST’ is like a brutal reflection, self-reflexive poetry in the form of a fist to one’s own face—aggressive existentialism.

“It's like a hall of mirrors,” CaΓ±ellas tells us. “I think people should spend more time in mirror halls cause no matter where they look they're forced to stare at themselves and at their own vampire elementals and smoke demons.”

  • πŸ”” Listen to the Voult//Wakelast double single over on PORTALS' SoundCloud.
  • πŸ”” There is also a suitably abrasive and glitched-out music video for the other track 'VOULT' to illustrate the garbled existentialist aggression of the track. This can be viewed on YouTube.

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Minimalism lies at the ambivalent heart of this dancefloor-flavoured number, a track so heavy in directional atmosphere that even in its minimalism there is serious gravity. The vocal samples in this track don’t have to be full-frontal, catchy things that other dance tracks may rely upon. Here they hold so much charged energy that each echoing vocal is like a crack of electricity on the robust, uncompromising beat.

“The creation of this track started with a drum loop,” the track’s creator, the Chicago-based Kamal, told us. “I wanted something that reminded me of when I was at the Chicago dance parties back in the 90's. This track was created with that party feel in mind.”

And as such ‘Feel It’ bumps away, syncopated plasma synth soft and cyclical conducting proceedings with wanton retro-futurism, the splashy strobes and laser shows in a the dark of a club, diagonal shots of dancers mid-move, drinks and sweat, sleek lines. That’s what this song is: an entire groovesome universe, something you might dance to on a space colony one day, like a throwback gem that turns everything wild.

  • πŸ”” This track appears on Kamal's The Prerequisite EP, which you can listen to on SoundCloud.

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It’s the enchantment of synthetic regularity and modern-day decay, and what that decay leaves roiling and gushing behind in its wake - absence, void - that fills the soundscapes of Rotterdam’s very own Alberta Balsam. Both ‘Feels’ and ‘I Can’t Save You’ are pristine currents curdled by a sense of warped disintegration, the synth burbling like overused magnetic tape, the tinge of distortion like fabric frayed at the edge and sun-bleached; ‘I Can’t Save You’ feels cold, a light phaser hypnotic and thin on its fuzzing columns of clouded sound, but a constructivist arpeggio (late-20th century documentary footage of money being printed; cameras panning up half-built skyscrapers) keeps spirits up, along with a soulful sirensong of a vocal oscillating in and out of earshot.

In both tracks too, the beat is this set of building blocks - in ‘I Can’t Save You’ patterns of polyrhythms layered on each other mix themselves into a cocktail of organic clacks and synthetic ticks, a snappy clatter of lightly cudgeling percussion almost nudging the track into the realm of broken beat. The decidedly darker ‘Feels’ uses percussive sound to punctuate the track with glistening mystery, golden exotic clockwork on electrified fields of thick synth with liquid ghostly vocals running through, and crunching columns of synth and a stuttering sling of skittering beats.

These two morsels illustrate a deeply embedded duality that is always recognisable - that idea of dark and light, night and day. Though icy, robotic and eaten-at, ‘I Can’t Save You’ is Alberta Balsam’s bright-side, no matter how lonely the minimalism makes it seem; ‘Feels’ is its antithesis. And yet how its creator is recognisable in both, like sonic siblings they complement and oppose each other, each a distorted reflection of the other.

  • πŸ”” You can stream and download 'Feels / I Can't Save You' from Bandcamp, if that is something you wish to do. This double single arrives after Alberta Balsam's debut track which dropped back in January, 'Ngelem'.
  • πŸ”” ‘I Can’t Save You’ comes with a music video too. Shot in Rotterdam, it “follows a lost spaceman on a journey through a desolated city filled with alienating architecture,” Alberta Balsam herself tells us. Directed by Rick van de Dood, and with Boris Chomette starring as the Spaceman, it illustrates the angularity and singular feeling of detachment with which the track is imbued. You may watch the visual treatment below at your convenience.

  • πŸ”” Unsure whether the moniker Alberta Balsam is based on the title of the Aphex Twin song, or whether it’s based on Alberto Balsam, the line of shampoos and other potions which is the song’s namesake. Maybe we’ll never know. On the other hand, her human name is Aniek de Rooij.

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The textures here are gorgeous, soft snow flurries and twinkling icicles, the crackling fruit juice appeal of Fox’s Glacier Mints in hologram format, the pixelated glassy clink of Chaos Emeralds, the sparkling metallic impact of the gleaming Big Key falling from the sky when you defeat Bowser in Super Mario 64; the sound of treasured trinkets now airborne and floating in a speckled cloud of crystalline decay; memories held dear now swirling in the contemporary realities of life.

These are the synth sounds that take flight and conjure exotic nothingness in ‘Waiting’ by Cluj-Napoca-based Romanian musicmaker Max ANXD. Ascending melodies paint intrigue whilst its irregular patterns and seeming randomness summon up an elsewhere yet to be explored, unfolding in the mists before our eyes.

It moves in three parts: firstly the glistening synth of the beginning soon is joined by swathes of thick sound like hurricanes in slow motion or the slow unfolding of an alien landscape as your mind hovers above it; secondly there is a bold crunch of distortion which heralds this new minimalist urgency as the synth, equal parts soft and sharp, stutters in rapid-fire bursts; thirdly, we emerge into a cradle of sound where the hush of vox synth becomes the overriding voice, a finale of soothing synth chilliness, the atmosphere calming itself in choir, re-balancing after the anxious midsection. It is a sonic illustration of the impatience as much as the resolve of an active imagination, the expanse of externality as much as the depths of internality.

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Wednesday 11 April 2018


From literally the first few seconds of 'Canal' we're dropped into an ultrachill atmosphere, one that begins smooth and viscous, hefty on the sub-bass and the lounge-flavoured piano that meanders throughout—and which turns cinematic, with flashes of freewheeling strings that zing on beds of wide warm synth; this morphs into a tract of hard-boiled electronica, with wibbly synths and brash columns of synth-bass buzzing beneath. Canadian musicmaker Anomalie sets us floating down this chilled flow, actual water noises and waves washing on sand interspersed throughout.

And besides the obvious chill of this track there's the dynamism of it all – very much helped by the rattle and thump of the prodigious drums ; the way it sways between different atmospheres and different textures, being neon bubbling contemporary synth jam one moment before reverting to peals of kinetic piano the next: the corollary being this contemporary nocturne, a highly polished, ornately sculptured piece of noir that remains light instead of weighed down by the world. The six seconds between 2:24 and 2:30, with the piano's motif at the end before those synth chords again, sums up the playful virtuoso and expansive subdued nature of 'Canal', sitting somewhere at the juncture between gorgeous inactivity and exciting hyperactivity.

  • πŸ”” This wonderful slice of classy piano is taken from Anomalie's upcoming second EP, MΓ©tropole Part II (out 13th April), the follow-up to last year's MΓ©tropole EP, which featured tracks like the well balanced jazz of 'New Space' and the elastic 'No Way'.
  • πŸ”” You can download and stream 'Canal' variously here.
  • πŸ”” The artwork was created by fellow Montreal resident Ali Hassanein.

Anomalie Internet Presence ☟
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