Meticulous Midgets is a magazine out of Russia who did me one of the kindest honors by doing a sketch on the blog. I am delighted to return the favor by covering their survey on not only the Russian electronic, avant-garde, experimental and indie music, but a few tracks from the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Croatia, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well. This is a compilation whose broad scope equals that of my colleague Raffaele from Unexplained Sounds Group.
I expected to hear good headphone music, and I am happy to say that the comp delivers handsomely. There are three standout tracks for me:
The whole comp makes for solid listening, but just by hearing these three tracks, you can hear the depth and scope of the sort of music Meticulous Midgets covers. They have made a fan out of me.
Being someone who cut his teeth on post-punk, new wave and other genres of the decade, it blows my mind that one can find bands who keep these traditions alive, and in some cases, make improvements on them.
Lovataraxx are a band based out of Grenoble, France. The French have a a criminally neglected history of amazing cold wave acts who deserve far wider recognition, but a lot of the music here seems to be influenced equally as much by their neighbors to the west, across the English Channel, and to their immediate east in Germany. One can hear the influence of bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure in their early incarnations, DAF, and several other bands I grew up enjoying.
Much respect to Hélène and Julien, who have released an unpolished gem here. Fine work!
This is something of a revelation to me. Until the good folks at Kalamine Records (run by Zumaia) told me about him, he was off my radar. This I count as a loss, because Philippe Simon brings a vibrant, updated sound to the Berlin School of electronic music which peaked with artists like Klaus Schulze, Mario Schönwälder and others during the 1980s. Simon’s sound is a fresh, even better-produced continuation of that tradition.
He has made 200 albums. I have some exploring to do.
À Découvrir Absolument is a magazine out of France which covers its country’s best indie music. They have 50 compilations, and #48 was my intro to their label. Worth exploring deeply.
Hip-hop blended with a touch of bossa nova, a twist of funk and a couple drops of electro swing. Minimatic is out of France, and he manages to mix up these genres like a well-done Blue Hawaiian. Bravo!
This is the last release of 2019 for Kalamine Records, a label out of Bordeaux, France, who have a deep catalog of bands deeply made in the post-punk and electro-Industrial mold.
Nass Zuruck release a very short album, but this is good. The grooves are tight, meaty, and it left me with a tinge of disappointment because the album was far too short. This is definitely for fans of Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft and mid-era Wax Trax! Records fare.
This release bridges the not-so-large gap between genres, connected by Heldon guitarist and loop master Richard Pinhas, and perhaps the most prolific post-Industrial composer of all time, Masami Akita (under his performance monicker Merzbow).
This is a live recording performed live during the Sonic Circuits Festival, September 24, 2010 at La Maison Française [The French Embassy] in Washington D.C. The sound quality is superb, and as one would expect from two masters of their respective fields, their instruments of choice (guitar and loops for Pinhas, computer for Merzbow) ebb and flow into each other effortlessly. This is a powerful release, and I hope it is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between both.
Listening to what I would assume is microtonal guitar work (if my friends would be so kind as to correct me, I would be much obliged) proved to be a very rewarding expeience. HJ Ayala, a friend of this blog, collaborates with cellist Stéphane Clor in this release clocking in at just under 40 minutes. This is a quiet release, but the interplay between guitar and cello seems to intricate that it managed to hold my attention throughout. I’m already a fan of Ayala’s guitar playing, so I’m not surprised he continues to release improvisational music of such great quality, but it’s nice to see him collaborate with Clor, whose work I had never heard until today. A recommended disc.
La Souterraine continue to be the best alternative music label out of France. Each release is a treasure in and of itself, but the fact that they are free means that they should be accessible to anyone who has the time or opportunity to listen to them. I would highly recommend downloading these files in the FLAC format, as the sounds tend to be so rich, but even a 320 kpbs mp3 file would suffice.\
Musically, Terre Battre’s instrumentation is sparse, harsh at times, but with vocals that straddle well between harsh and delicate. French is a fine language to make pensive, moody music in. The label continues to surprise and please me.
Ben Rath is an experimental musician based out of Manchester, England, who specializes in dark, foreboding minimalist compositions which leave you feel unnerved while working on blog posts at three in the morning. He makes his recordings with the use of keyboards, piano, guitar and some slight effects. Really good listening.