New Electronica Adds: CyberSonicŁA, The Field, Slackk, Pop District, Public Memory, Tim Hecker, Leon Vynehall, DJ NJ Drone, Ash Koosha

CyberSonicŁA - CyberSonicŁA Vol. 1So this slaps. It's huge. Massive. Adjectives. CyberSonicŁA is a roaming party in Los Angeles, and they'll often put on events in the burgeoning warehouse scene here (other parties include Fine Time, Acid Camp, Brownies & Lemonade, et. al). I initially got to know them as part of that party circuit, and through the artist Machine Girl who has played at their parties before. Their parties tend to emphasize the more under appreciated club music, and differ greatly from the general house/techno fare that's come to take over most electronic music clubs these days. This compilation mostly has artists who are the residents of these parties, but make no mistake -- their music rules. If you want "The State of the Union of the Los Angeles Club Scene", this is your transcript. It's got everything that we at the Electronica Department enjoy -- gabber (Machine Girl), dancehall (Habibiboi, he's been to KXSC parties!), reggaeton (but actual good reggaeton), Fade to Mind-esque bassy weird tracks (Farsight & JX Cannon), UK Bass in general (Ballast), and of course, hints of jungle (Javascript). It doesn't matter what type of club music you're a fan of (if you are a fan), you'll find something you like on here. If there was one thing I'd encourage you to listen to on this email, it's this. TL;DR This compilation is current electronic cutting edge club music. D/L immediately (it's free & local). Go to their parties. Have fun.

Recommended Tracks: Pro Spacemaker, Ennui, Pon Ur Ha, Gabber BRKR48

RIYL: club bangers, hard tracks, understanding where the LA scene is at, parties

The Field - The FollowerIt took me a while to write this up, mostly because I don't really know where to begin with this guy. The Field, from Stockholm, is a minimal techno producer who has always seemed to operate in parallel to dance music, but occupy a different space entirely; I've never once heard of his material being played in sets, but his first few albums are well recognized amongst the indie literati (as one of the few "electronic music" albums they could recognize as passing their criteria of "intellectual deepness"). Case in point, P4K has routinely covered his output and given him favorable to great reviews ever since his first album, as their initial tiptoe into electronic music began (as an aside, the only good thing P4K has ever done for dance music is that retrospective on NASA). The music, like most techno, has a general theme/loop and pretty closely sticks to it. But, as you start listening to it more intently, there are sounds within the cracks of the song's motifs which serve to characterize and give an overall softness to the record. However, this is absolutely his darkest record yet, and where From Here We Go Sublime was uplifting, these tracks beget obscurity. I used to listen to his albums as I went running, and it fit really well as you entered dusk - interesting enough to keep your attention, perfect pace to keep time with, but repetitive enough to ensure you were entirely focused on the task at hand. I wouldn't really call this album a "running album" though; if anything, it's more one of those 1 AM in the deserted park of the LA Warehouse District (protip: do not be there alone). One cool thing I've noticed is that his album covers progressively got darker as he's gone further into his career. You can hear the similarities in his music. TL;DR This is great running music and good 4AM minimal techno.

Recommended Tracks: Pink Sun, Soft Streams, Monte Verita

RIYL: Pantha du Prince, If Four Tet made minimal techno, running in a forest at dusk

Slackk - Aviary EPProtip: R&S is amongst the pantheon of labels where almost everything released on them are great. You'll see me wearing the shirt every so often. In the past couple of years, instrumental grime has made an impact on the world of production, and every Anglo-centric producer worth their salt has attempted to make some tracks "for the roadmen". Largely these have many of the same qualities and attempt to overemphasize them, to ensure the listener knows they're listening to a "big badman grime chune". You'll hear the same things played over and over: the clicks, the off-tempo bass, the 2-step shuffle, the Fruity Loops-esque cheesy synths. But, these are all parts to a whole: they are simply elements. It's the placement of these elements that really makes the song. This is an entirely different take on grime than you might be used to. It's essentially the sparsity of instrumentals combined with high production values -- where most grime tunes tend to emphasize the fact that they're lo-fi as a form of authenticity, London-based Slackk goes the opposite way and polishes these tracks until they're spotless. What's more than that is the fact that they manage to keep that same grimey authenticity. TL;DR This EP is to instrumental grime what a newly repressed leather-bound copy of Hamlet is to a First Folio edition. Same underlying material, but refixed, refreshed and made for a more contemporary audience.

Recommended Tracks: Skeleton Crew, Hundred Flute, Returning Geese

RIYL: Anything on R&S, Lone, Alex Smoke, hi-falootin' dance music, big thinking music, being the bossman/dan but also liking to read books by the fireside with a pipe

Pop District - Pop District EPEveryone needs Korg samples in their musical lives at some point. This EP fills that need really well. Chris Macintyre, a Toronto native, has put out his first release as Pop District on an emerging label, Distant Works as their second release. With the advent and departure of chillwave/nu-disco/synthwave, the 80's has been thoroughly played out in terms of sampling. At some points, I get really, really really sick of hearing the same old Rolands, Moogs & Korgs, played out over and over again. But, there are infinitely many ways to play with old material to make it new and fresh once again, and this EP is exemplary in that regard. Having a way to make these synthesizers new once again is novel within itself. Moreover, Pop District is not just a single take on the 80s, where each song is continually recycled with the same overall beat structure; songs like "Red Eye" & "Undertow" emphasize more of the traditional darker dance floor feeling, while "Secret Dream" & "Curb Stomp" take more direct influence from artists like Kraftwerk/Depeche Mode/Duran Duran and layer on the samples accordingly. Finally there's "Point Prim", placed in the middle of the EP as a nice airy synth-driven break from the constant kicks and samples that both sides of the EP contain. TL;DR This EP is a funky, synth driven Gatekeeper-style 80's callback. It pays homage nicely.

Recommended Tracks: Secret Dream, Undertow, Curb Stomp

RIYL: Ford & Lopatin, Gatekeeper, chopped-up Classixx, 80's soundz

Public Memory - Wuthering Drum: This is pretty cool. It's like Portishead mixed with krautrock. Vocals were probably recorded in a smoky room somewhere. It's a bit strangely composed, and there are really nice piano interludes here and there. Unlike most records that try to blend the two, singing and electronic backing goes actually well here. The two complement each other nicely. The production is pretty intimate. TL;DR Interesting singing combined with traditional rock instrumentation + synths backing actually makes a pretty good record. It's Radiohead-esque.

Recommended Tracks: Cul de Sac, As You Wish

RIYL: Portishead, Radiohead, krautrock, singing over electronic music, Stereolab, interesting cover art

Tim Hecker - Love Streams: Originally, we were going to wait for a while to include this album in the adds, but he came to Los Angeles this Thursday, and upon seeing him, we realized that we really could not wait to add this. It's very jarringly different from what we tend to add, and I think it's for the better. Tim Hecker is one of the sphere of instrumental artists that are associated with electronic music in the sense that their works are intensely art-focused, and the sound design and overall layering of the record is the most important thing about the record. He's known for focusing on how sound is transformed by its environments (his last few records focused on analog decay & spatial sound design). On his last record, Virgins, he worked with a group of live studio musicians for the first time, and developed an extremely dark & brooding horror movie-esque soundtrack. This record has seemed to evolve out of that. A recurring favorite place of his to work, Iceland, plays an integral role on this record: the chorus which is featured in the majority of all the tracks is Icelandic and many of the co-producers (Ben Frost, Johann Johannsen) are either based in Iceland or Icelandic themselves. The process for this record came from a realization of this that the concept of "heaviness" no longer mattered to him: "It was mostly my realization that using sound intensity, density, loudness, pressure, and bombast was like a nuclear arms race with one sound that eventually would go nowhere. What are we going to do after a while? Make a heavier record than the last heavy record?" The concepts on this album are widespread and highly conceptual: depersonalization of the human voice, digital sequencing of medieval choral pieces and the resistance to analysis of lyrical content (the lyrics are in "Reverse Latin"). However, they relate to extremely physical situations: Hecker recorded the chorus in one day (extremely hungover), "Castrati Stack" and "Voice Crack" are explicit references to castrati (male singers who were castrated to keep their vocal range high), and "Bijie Dream" and "Collapse Sonata" refer to an incident in China where a stage collapsed under the weight of a police choir, leading them to fall 20 feet into an underground parking lot. I think it's this dynamic between the real and intangible where most of his music lies: in the first track,  "Obsidian Counterpoint", what appears to be a recording of a bone flute is interspersed with electronic percussion and is almost chopped by it. TL;DR Incredibly interesting nigh-process art electronic/analog ambience. Almost heavenly choirs feature alongside electronic distortion. Amazing live. SEAN

Recommended Tracks: Castrati Stack, Music Of the Air

RIYL: David Borden, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Oneohtrix Point Never, Alejandro Cortini, Iceland, 2deep4u music, feeling pretentious, listening to medieval choirs on a distorted CB radio

Leon Vynehall - Rojus (Designed to Dance): The all encompassing sphere of electronic music can be really really really pretentious sometimes. It gets to be a little too much quite often. Sometimes you just need that staple of stuff that doesn't pretend to be any more forward thinking than it needs to be. All it just needs to be is that it sounds good. We've got it for you right here. Leon Vynehall's latest, Rojus (Lithuanian for "paradise"). It takes the old trope of the many clubbers seeking paradise in a night out. Tropical bird calls echo around, pianos play backing tracks, traditional house rhythms are echoed. These same things have been echoed time and time again in house music; they're staples. That doesn't mean that staples aren't good though. TL;DR This album is like eating a really nice steak. It may be basic, it may not be pushing the boundaries of culinary prowess, but it was a great steak, wasn't it? You'd eat it again, and enjoy it, wouldn't you? (unless you are vegetarian or whatever). SEAN

Recommended Tracks: Paradisea, Kibiru's, ...There Is You

RIYL: Frankie Knuckles, DJ Sprinkles, Strictly Rhythm, Head High, The Upper Cuts, feel-good house, having a chill night out, summer nights when you're just hanging out in a house completely content and not worrying about anything

DJ NJ Drone - Syn StairIn the spirit of the CyberSonicŁA comp we listed above, DJ NJ Drone's newest EP will be added. The elusive producer has barely any online/IRL footprint, except for a fire saündklaudHuman or drone? Actually from New Jersey? We do not know. All we know is that FACT called them health goth, and some of these traxare MASSIVE. Stripped-down ray-gun synths litter grime-tinged percussion on "SYN 555 Cones". The spectre of footwork looms on bassless rave track "Spectral Future Loop." And "Syn Stair (no fountain)" just fuccs u up idek what im listening to rn. SEAN

Recommended Tracks: 10 Cones, Syn Stair (blind)

RIYL: Habibiboi, Lit Internet, the vanguard of soundcloud producers

Ash Koosha - I AKA I: This Iranian-born producer was exiled from his homeland for breaching artistic expression laws and is now producing music as an asylum seeker in London, despite expressing a desire to go back to Tehran. Pretty sexy stuff here. This is Ashkan Kooshanejad's second offering on Ninja Tune, and delivers on his idiosyncratic style of breaking down samples into unrecognizable waveforms and then building them back up into complex, textural trax. Lead track "Mudafossil" is an instance where Koosha's Eastern influences shine, but he is certain not to box himself into a 'world music'(down with eurocentrism) act and makes musical references to rave, grime and UK bass throughout the album. SEAN

Recommended Tracks: Biutiful, Mudafossil

RIYL: Bonobo, Holly Herndon





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