Sound Bytes : Akatombo, The Ebertbrothers, Yuri Lugovskoy and AMNPTN
Akatombo is an alias of Paul Thomsen Kirk, who is running his own label, Hand-Held Recordings out of Hiroshima, Japan, and False Positives is his third full-length album. Here’s how it goes. The menacing sound of the concrete decay is mixed with an uplifting rhythmic beat, exploring the themes of “urban & cultural alienation in a media-connected (controlled?), Japanese metropolitan environment”. The dark textural concept of Kirk’s sound shape-shifts through organic and electronic sound, never comfortable in its own skin, always questioning its true existence. Was this a memory or only a dream? Is this the truth or another false positive? The acoustic instrumentation – guitar, bass and a violin – are drowned in post-industrial distorted percussive treatments, floating up to the surface just enough for a breath of air, before diving back down into the depths. My promo copy came with a newspaper clipping of two Japanese drawings and misconstrued words : “Hook” (that thing you hang your jacket on) and “Huku”, which means to blow (the drawing depicts a kid blowing soap bubbles). Which one is it? My copy also included a bonus DVDr with six short music videos of glitching visuals of Japan – these go great with the album to set up a context of a passing daily life, and I can almost relate to this ex-patriot Scotsman’s experience. Almost…
Engine Eyes EP
The Ebertbrothers‘ second release on Mindwaves Music has only four tracks and three remixes, with contributions from Karsten Pflum, Badun, and Lackluster. Wait… who? I completely forgot about Esa Juhani Ruoho (that’s Lackluster to you) whom I’ve been following since the early days of Merck, Monotonik and Psychonavigation. Great score for Axel and Michael Ebert, and an excellent addition to their Engine Eyes EP. Following their last full-length album, Susten Pass (Mindwaves, 2011), the brothers have slowed the rhythm a bit, dropping the kaleidoscopic confetti of IDMesque abstraction and settling into a glitchy downtempo vibe. The music is given time to breathe and develop, allowing for complex organisms to evolve into spacious and warm depths. There’s plenty of experimental elements to let your cerebral claws to hang on to. The intelligent sound design is complimented by melodic excursions that move from abstruse images to concrete, evoking sparkling cinematic illustrations as previously implemented by the brothers in their visual works. Speaking of Mindwaves… I also recommend you check out releases by Badun, whom you should know from Schematic, and Karsten Pflum, with releases on Hymen and Ad Noiseam. A nice independent Berlin-based label you should keep your eye on.
Home Assembly Music
Yuri Lugovskoy‘s self titled album is a bit of a mystery. First of all, there’s a shroud of enigma around the artist himself. You won’t find much about this Ukrainian musician, except perhaps for his appearance on The Remote Viewer‘s Moteer label, back in 2010. To add to the confusion, that last release was also titled Yuri Lugovskoy, and contained eleven untitled tracks. The album of this particular review, contains just eight tracks. These, however, are also untitled, leaving one in desperation for knowledge (or not). The press release describes the music as influenced by the Berlin dub techno scene, but make no mistake, there are no Basic Channel beats on here. Instead, the pulsating tones are deconstructed beyond their original mysterious source, hovering somewhere between the sonic textures of beatless Gas and micro-dissected low-range oscillations of bvdub. These are short loop-based studies, slowly evolving in the mid and upper register of the frequency spectrum, until they take on a trance-inducing state of mild euphoria. The sound source is obscured, although I’m told it contains “samples of old ’70s movies and processed beyond recognition”. The second disk is even more interesting, as it contains reworks of the originals from the likes of William Ryan Fritch, Brave Timbers, Mugwood, and Fjordne. These are ten beautiful, ambient and modern classical pieces. A welcome surprise from Home Assembly Music, a West Riding of Yorkshire (England) based independent label!
Dancing On Sharks
Dancing On Sharks is a small independent label in London, which recently released AMNPTN‘s first full length album. There isn’t much info on this artist that yields to hasty research. The alias is derived from an atypical tricyclic anti-depressant, Amineptine, and the title of the album is Melancholia. So there you have it. The path is set. Now all you have to do is take the first step. And it swallows you wholly. AMNPTN’s music explores the topics of dysphoria, nausea, and yes, melancholia, through eight acoustic pieces, bordering on post-rock, post-ambient, and post-drone. In fact, the ‘post’ in all those genres comes after you have ingested a dose of this TPA, which attempts to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine, but instead it drags you further into the darkness. Surprisingly, the album contains vocals. I say ‘surprisingly’, because they are barely noticeable and decipherable, yet the voice is unmistakably there, floating among the deep notes of the doom-infused orchestral vapor. Since the discovery, I have listened to the album half a dozen times, finding myself gravitating towards the sound when I’m in the mood for music from the likes of Bohren & Der Club of Gore, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Povarovo and Kammerflimmer Kollektief. Although AMNPTN claims this work to be a result of a side project which sprouted from a few unfinished introspective pieces, Melancholia is indeed a mature album, which blossomed into a beautiful misery. Well done!
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