Pure Ground - Standard of Living

Pure Ground is a human electronic duo from Los Angeles. Their latest LP, Standard of Living, is nine songs of esoteric strife. Industrialized minimal wave in the form of an electrical storm.

Listen and order here.

Posted on June 1st, 2015 under Releases, ,

Drab Majesty - Unknown to the I

In the smoggy orange light of a new millennium, the young Deb Demure would take the bus, once a week, from his home in crumbling Hollywood to his grandmother’s apartment, nestled in the pastel pristineness of Beverly Hills. During these visits, Deb couldn’t help but notice the disconnect between the glow of his grandmother’s temple, and the downtrodden, alienated figures that populated the seats of the mass transit that took him there. Week after week, he would observe these characters: fading B-movie starlets, leisure-suited alcoholics, aging transgender prostitutes, and forgotten civil servants. But one fateful commute home, as the twilight waned to the purple Los Angeles night, he realized these figures were not as lost as they appeared – there was a nobility in their failure, reflective of the dignity of the city’s vanishing golden era. They were survivors, in need of a voice: a spokesperson for every color of hope and hopelessness, transcendent of gender and time; Drab Majesty became Deb’s musical podium for this undertaking.

Raised in a music-centric household, Deb would find the time to teach himself to play his father’s right-handed guitar upside down and left-handed; an unorthodox fashion from where his earliest understanding of chords and harmony were conceived. Exploring the bins of discarded vinyl in his neighborhood thrift stores, his toolkit expanded with the subterranean sonic gems of the recent past. Influences range from the virtuosic arpeggiated guitar work of Felt’s Maurice Deebank and the grittier pop progressions of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry’s Chris Reed as well as Steve Severin from Siouxsie and The Banshees. He also studied the harmonic oscillations and utilization of the occult power of vibratory frequency present in New Age sounds of Greek artist, IASOS. In terms of orchestration, he consciously culls from the seaside maximalism of Martin Dupont and mechanized grooves of early Depeche Mode. Like a dualistic pendulum, his vocals swing from a preistly baritone to a choir boy’s falsetto reflecting the sepulchral ambiance of church visits with his grandmother.

Currently the drummer for Los Angeles lo-fi rock ensemble Marriages and having honed an unorthodox home recording style, Deb sources his sounds from a repository of “mid-fi” synthesizers and other lesser-quality instruments. Following the release of his debut cassette EP, “UNARIAN DANCES”, he also shared a split 12″ with synth pop forefathers, Eleven Pond.

Listen here and order here.

Posted on May 31st, 2015 under Releases, ,

Daybed - Weird Sailing

Following on from their 12” EP “Preludes” (no emb blanc), Daybed (New Zealand/USA) releases their full-length album “Weird Sailing” in April, 2015 on Gothenburg-based Beläten Records. A diverse collection of songs set against analogue synthesizer landscapes, the album playfully jumps between the upbeat and pop-inspired to the reflective and lyrical. “Weird Sailing” consists of ten original tracks as well as a special cover of KKD’s minimal synth gem “And Your Mind”.

Hailing from New Zealand and the USA, Daybed crafts music that both references and innovates on the wave genre. Band members Tim Farland and Carla M use these elements to produce songs with a hint of discord that alternately reject and accept traditional pop structures. The effect, pleasurable yet jarring, is heightened through heavy use of analogue synthesizers. Having performed with classic minimal synth acts such as Oppenheimer Analysis, Sudeten Creche and Somnambulist, Daybed balances nostalgia for the sounds of the past with a strong musical focus on the present. “Weird Sailing” combines these aspects, representing a pop odyssey with palpable links to the history of underground music.

Listen and order here.

Posted on May 29th, 2015 under Releases, ,

Distel - Nord

The donut has its toroidal shape for a reason. It’s a slippery fucker, and the hole is there so you can hold on to it during preparation and indulgence. The Dutch version of the donut is called oliebol – literally, ball of oil – and for some probably cunningly commercial reason it lacks the hole. It’s just a slippery sphere. Irresistible, but unmanageable. Another Dutch treat is Distel. Although irresistible, the music they make is nothing like an oliebol. The sounds they sculpt are, invariably, perfectly distinct and tangible to such an extent that the first time you hear them, they sound oddly familiar. Highly unlikely, since they are all prepared according to a secret recipie and did not exist in the material world before Distel coerced their modular and digital devices to produce them. Distel’s got the definition and clarity of Kraftwerk, coupled with a vividly imaginative repertoire that surpasses the German stiffening lumbar foursome by leaps.

You might have heard people liken Distel to bands such as Coil or the Knife. With the release of the new 7″ EP nord, however, it becomes strikingly apparent that Distel has a unique voice, sonic vernacular and style of their own. When this gets out, read my oily lips, people will start likening stuff to Distel instead of the other way round.

This single is a sure-fire musical milestone. Hear it for the first time and realize, the reason it sounds so familiar and obvious is not because you have ever heard anything like it before. Rather it is because, in the future (readily present to the sentient), you will have listened to it thousands of times already.

Listen and order here.

Posted on May 27th, 2015 under Releases, ,

Veil of Light - Head-​Blood-​Chest

Veil of Light is back with his first release since the majestically morose Ξ album of last year (now sold out). The new 12″ EP contains a quartet of songs that capture the artist’s signature air of serene and complex industrial melancholy, yet widens the spectrum to include glimpses of, dare I say, joy and hope. All the more powerful, then, the main theme of dead serious exploration of the emotional torso, its appendages and circulatory system. The title, Head/Blood/Chest, inevitably brings to mind the seminal Throbbing Gristle album Journey Through a Body. But the kinship ends there. This is no experimental 1/2-inch tape cacophony. This is beautiful and evocative music, redolent with wonder. The bleak, yet confident, tone echoes like the early literary works of James Graham Ballard, particularly The Drowned World (1963). The ever-heating climate is going to sizzle the poles and submerge all major cities on Earth. We will return to the humid, reptilian lagoon from out of which we once evolved. As with Ballard, the lasting impression from Head/Blood/Chest is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, this is a good thing. A long overdue return to our archaeopsychic past.

Head/Blood/Chest is a journey through an emotional as well as visceral landscape, that arrives at the conclusion that the two seemingly dualistic properties are, perhaps, made of the same basic stuff. A hauntingly atmospheric and heart-swelling dreamscape, magnetically etched into twelve inches of black vinyl.

Listen and order here.

Posted on May 25th, 2015 under Releases, ,