The best records of October 2017

The new project of Francis Inferno Orchestra, cassette compilations, bunch of records from Cesare Barbetta and more this month: Contort Yourself, Veranda Culture, Versatile, Bruit Direct Disques, Phormix Tapes, Orbeatize, Charlois, Bedouin, June, 12th Isle, Cocktail D’Amore.

Various Artists — 80s Underground Cassette Culture Volume 1 2xLP [Contort Yourself]

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We keep our eye (or ear, still not what is the best option to say in this situation) on Contort Yourself and this time the label pleased us with a very successful combination of bangers and unknown guilty pleasures. There is an extremely sharp point of view on the DIY minimal synth industrial culture of the 80s. It was a pleasure to meet Other Stranger from the cult Doxa Sinistra here, the cold and attracting at the same time minimal mantra full of dialogues from some other stories. Or check the Human Situation from Software, the one album band on the iconic Bugle Records where The Astronauts were releasing. It’s a pearl of UK experimental post punk scene! There is also a track from patriarch of Japanese noise scene, Merzbow, and from Human Flesh, Alain Neffs’s (check his comp on Stroom) project, and from the cult Ende Shneafliet band — Twistin’ On The Tombstones track. Murray CY found a place for tracks from the best odd/experimental minimal synth bands from 80s — there are Spain, France, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, UK. It’s a sort of DIY synth bible!

Francis Inferno Orchestra presents Veranda Culture ‎– Veranda Culture LP [Veranda Culture]

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The time has come to share the new secret project of Francis Inferno Orchestra he told us about in the last year’ interview. Its name, Veranda Culture, sets the peaceful, contemplative, sort of village or holiday mood. Delicately stitched soundscapes, perfect synthesizer vibrations, field recordings, cool little tricks and effects, elegant melodies — it all makes the listening process so enjoyable. Just don’t put lounge or ambient cliches on it — the album is far more complicated and saturated. Personal favorites here are epic Extrement Enflammable and modern classic Ritual Defilement. Mer Morte feels like a soundtrack to videos of flying around cosmos and observing trillions of stars on the infinite blackness. Sound porn here!

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Zombie Zombie — Livity LP [Versatile]

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Absolutely cosmic, desperately cool, fundamentally wild, right from the ocean depths — I can decribe the current sound of Zombie Zombie in such words. Was amazed right after first listen of Cosmic Neman and Etienne Jaumet’ album. It was like I got the bunch of books well written with its own twisted story and charm. I used some tracks in recent mixes and danced to Acera in the last show on 20ft Radio. Balancing between wild, instinctive rhythms full of drums, percussion, tenacious like lianas, tribal motifs and surgically precise krautrock designs, where you hear grandeur echoes of the prairie and uncompromising Apache beat. Bottomless work, exciting, with huge amount of flexible details and extraordinary sound solutions. The masterpiece.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Maraudeur — Maraudeur LP [Bruit Direct Disques]

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I felt love from the first listen of the Property To Property (the only one track you can listen on Soundlcoud from the record). Love after hundreds of listens. Then god or someone else sent me the whole version of the upcoming album. So: the Maraudeur is the female post/synth-punk group of Charlotte Mermoud and Lise Sutter. The debut 7″ girls had last year on the Gone With The Weed, then mixed mini-album 10″ Split on Le Syndicat des Scorpions. Why mixed? Because there are also tracks from Purpur Spytt (Charlotte’s solo project) and two hidden gems from FATGAL as a bonus. Charlotte and Lise playing garage rock in The Staches alongside Leo Marchand and Martin Burger since 2014. Here we have debut LP under Maraudeur moniker where you can feel the girls’ experience, mutual understanding, teamwork, and most importantly powerful energy, courage and variability. I put Property to Property with its mind-boggling guitar somersault on the first place, a solid garage rock full of smoke, the thunder of hoofs, the tart smell of cigars, the scorching sun and rare desert succulents in Strange Afternoon at the Swimming Pool — on the second. Fake Talks On The Phone closing winners trio: tight synth punk releasing electric sparks.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Various Artists — Light Of Consciousness Cassette [Phormix Tapes]

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It’s not the first time we have a cassette in our top. It’s a special one from Greece. Released by Phormix Tapes, the label also making parties, having a podcast series, and this time they delivered a compilation of cold industrial stuff. The list of names inside is pretty impressive:
Helena Hauff, Morah, Maoupa Mazzocchetti, Black Seed, Restive Plaggona, Kerri LeBon, Magdalena’s Apathy etc. The slow German techno, saturated synth, rhythm noise and of course the atmosphere of a total cold wave. Such artifact needs a special place in your collection.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Enrico Serotti — Homemade Music Vol. II (1983-1999) [Orbeatize]

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The name of this record describes the process of making it: all tracks here are previously unreleased stuff created by Enrico Serotti at his home studio during 1983-1999. The composer in his liner notes says this compilation is also a diary of «transition from analogue to digital technology … a long, steep, exciting road, from tape machines and electro-mechanical keyboards, all the way up — a road to freedom». Duration of the most tracks is around 3 minutes. The style range is wide: from library, leftfield disco, experimental to house and even proto-techno. My fave opens side B, track called Fugue, uplifting piece combining library melodies, cosmic sound effects and fast stochastic drums (which turns in almost reggae rhythm near the end). In the next track, Mercurio, you can hear the influence of early trance music of the time (the track is made in 1992). Very curious compilation.
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Bionda E Lupo — Die Kinder Aus Dem Park 12″ [Charlois]

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This charming duo debuted last year with EP on Bordello A Parigi. Now we are bathing in smooth lines and soft tones of their second record on Charlois. One of the key figure on industrial, cold, dark minimal scenes now, his monumental knowledge, intelligence, fantasy give hime power to create music using Dunkeltier, Sneaker DJ and Gino “Der Hammer” Galan alter egos. The first track is epic Zug Der Vogel. I played it on all recent sets and thinking about the set mixing only this record with itself. This tracks should not have finish point. Then we hear Twoi Glasza — chic, bright, energetic but lost cold wave. Then — great cover on Liaisons Dangereuses — Los Niños Del Parque, lean, rosy and strong. The voice of Sane Fiaba reaches majestic notes in the final Eckstein. Divine record.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Tzusing — A Thousand Hits A Second 12″ [Bedouin]

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Futuristic musical fighter Tzusing based in Shanghai/Taipei fountaining with crazy ideas. He’s reconstructing techno music and its fundamentals in every new release. Winged, like a fairy-tale dragon, he is obsessed with the idea of combining the magical mysteries of his own ethnos with unheard and constantly transforming sound objects and techno-structures. Tzusing has a unique feeling of groove using vocal samples and warlike percussion as a weapon. It’s a true Thaipunk!

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Chris Neal — Crosstalk LP [Orbeatize]

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There are a lot of records waiting for its reissues. The third record on Cesare’s label is remastered version of an Australian record from 1982. This reissue is a soundtrack to the iconic Oz sci-fi horror from the early 80s, melancholic cold cybertronic example, the movie Crosstalk, directed by Mark Egerton. The majestic and a bit cartoonish experiments of Chris Neal he created on Roland System 700 and Roland MC8 in his home studio win your heart with its sincerety and atmosphere. You should feel the richness of the sound. Just imagine the melted key of the synth in The Sound Of Murder. Or the cold sweat in the Roadrunner which wants to slip away on the synth-punk roads to something living outside. Check also the pleasing bonus Jolly Mare remix on Terminal. Very honest and exculpatory record!
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Trenton Chase — Deadlock LP [June]

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June label co-owner and the half of Manie Sans Delire project finally releases his debut album and enters our top without face-control. Clunky, clear, melodic, deeply synthetic Trenton’s compositions balancing between harsh noise techno and electro, fabric EBM with melodies full of volume and power. It fires with no miss like electroballistic gun. Confident, masculine programm longplay. It already reserved a place on the dancefloors and podcasts.

Knut Skodvin — Kondens 2xLP [Orbeatize]

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This mysterious musical cocktail is 2xLP album of Knut Skodvin: the first vinyl is a reissue of 1982′ Kondens and the second one is music taken from 1983-1984 «theatre» tapes. Exotic dance of extreme synthetic harmonies, an experimental library at its best, extra-terrestrial atmosphere, mad cabaret. My fave is Se Og Hør, a grandiose ballad with saxophone, violins and otherworldly vocals of Sissel I. Andersen.
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XYR — El Dorado LP [12th Isle]

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X.Y.R. is an alter ego of Saint Petersburg based musician Vladimir Karpov. Sounds from the parallel dimension, flutes in hands of invisible man, peoples shadows moving between the trees, feeling of something hidden and heavy smoke of weed. Something you can’t remember and not forgotten. The really special ambiance here. Need to admit the mysterious Aguirre Song, the most beautiful song I heard this month. Try it too.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

[PHYSICS] ‎– Starport LP [Orbeatize]

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Cesare Barbetta opens his BEAT series, more focused on new artists, on Orbeatize label with an album of LA-based musician Kevin Skyler and his project [PHYSICS]. It kicks with very dancefloor friendly Launchpad: muscular and hard-hitting slow beat. Synthetic dreamy harmonies are the key here. Atmospheric Undefined gives a breath of fresh air after a bunch of dance electronic pop pieces. New age Cryostasis connects perfectly to the best Innovation Communication stuff.
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Jules Etienne — Triangle Des Bermudas 12″ [Cocktail D'Amore]

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The convincing artwork asks you to put your hands on it. The title track moves you with style, turning into a light elegant house full of rattle, mini-percussions, maracas, then turning into acid and synth melody reminding of a boat swaying from side to side. Needs to admit the track number 4 called John’s Job — chugger in the form of house garland with a flavour of true holiday, sweat, lust and Brazilian carnival craziness.

Buy it on Bandcamp or on Juno:

Words Artem Ikra (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14), Sasha Tessio (2, 6, 11, 12, 13).
Illustrations Turbo Mamba