HTRK’s Venus in Leo

Horoscopes infuse us with everyday spirituality. The notion that distant stars might be affecting our terrestrial lives is a bit fanciful, but it’s also fun to indulge the less rational parts of our minds. Sure, these readings may tell us what we want to hear, but at the very least, the universe becomes a bit more connected. Then there are those of us who surrender ourselves to our star charts, seeing them as oracles that provide explanations for life’s successes and fuckups. Venus in Leo, HTRK’s latest collection of midnight-drive songs and the duo’s first new material in four years, is guided by one such astrological maxim.

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes

Tommy Four Seven's Veer

Tommy Four Seven’s Veer

Tommy’s sound has always thrived in the context of these bleak cityscapes and claustrophobic clubs, and they inform the sound of Veer as well. But here, Tommy Four Seven delves further into his sound design approach to composition, producing tighter, more daring results than on Primate. His gnarled industrial atmospheres add a chilling thrust to his Berlin sound, acting as warped machine homages that blend Steffi with Franck Vigroux.

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes

NIN Bad Witch

Nine Inch Nails' Bad Witch

Every band lucky enough to sustain itself for decades is often accompanied by a staunch fanbase who perceive their earlier days with greater fondness. To them, the band’s new sound pales in comparison to their favorite albums. But for any collective, a sonic evolution is not only inevitable, but healthy. Enter Nine Inch Nails, who are celebrating their 30-year anniversary with Bad Witch. In 2018, Trent Reznor has grown up, and his music has matured alongside him.

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes

White Ring

White Ring's Gate of Grief

White Ring members Bryan Kurkimilis and Kendra Malia have adopted the anthropological concept for their latest release, refiguring the phrase to refer to personal struggle. Suffering several issues that continued to hinder music production, Gate of Griefstarted to crystallize after the inclusion of vocals from Adina Viarengo. Following the EP Black Earth That Made Me, the band’s first release in eight years is both a time capsule and an egress from the confinements of the witch house genre to which they’re affixed. 

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes

Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois

Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois

One of the aims of collaboration is to engage in dialogue through musical instruments. On Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois, the musicians talk past each other, each carrying on with their own monologues. One can’t fault either artist for playing his sound; it’s just that these aesthetics don’t gel. If Snares eschews emotion, Lanois is indebted to it. If Snares is complexity incarnate, Lanois is distilled modesty. These are strengths that are realized individually but create discord in tandem.

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes

Alva Noto

Alva Noto's Unieqav

Headliner Alva Noto was slated to perform during the first of two Mutek Mexico City A/Visions programs. These events were more cerebral in nature, pairing innovative visual explorations with electronic sound as a contrast to the dance-oriented weekend. It was the perfect context for Alva Noto to unveil Unieqav, his latest exploration of audiovisual synthesis. Unfortunately, Alva Noto was having technical difficulties.

Published at Tiny Mix Tapes


Poliça and s t a r g a z e Get Political on Music for the Long Emergency

Gentle pizzicato strings pluck at the far ends of the stereo field. They cradle a closely-miked bass that captures fingers grazing, caressing its frets. Though the tempo is a glacial 75 beats per minute, the listener is flung right up against the recording studio amps. Singer Channy Leaneagh's voice enters a moment later, accompanied with a little underscore of a sound, whining low in the mix. This inaugural moment forms "Fake Like", introducing the Poliça-Stargaze collaboration Music for the Long Emergency, out 16 February. This interplay, both intimate and intense, is all over the album, an exchange that produces varying levels of success.

Published at Pop Matters


Eluvium's Shuffle Drones

An accomplished veteran of ambient music, Eluvium's work has earned him a distinguished spot on Pitchfork's "50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time". Shuffle Drones is a collection of two dozen orchestral snippets clocking in at roughly 30 seconds each, but its novelty results from how it is meant to be experienced – in shuffle mode.

Published at Pop Matters


Deradoorian's Eternal Recurrence

Angel Deradoorian, most commonly associated with Bitte Orca-era Dirty Projectors, has been crafting her solo act for years. Both the 2009 EP Mind Raft and her 2015 full-length album, The Expanding Flower Planet, showcase her affinity for mellow, unobtrusive indie rock. Aside from that, she’s worked with an impressive and broad array of collaborators including Flying Lotus, Matmos, U2, Vampire Weekend, Charlie XCX, the Roots and Prefuse 73, experiences the chanteuse has internalized for her own material. But Eternal Recurrence isn’t another EP of rock ballads; it’s a radical shift in her sound.

Published at Spectrum Culture

Emily Haines

Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton's Choir of the Mind

Choir of the Mind returns Emily Haines to poignant piano-driven ballads that meld with her mellifluous voice, a sonic continuation of 2006’s Knives Don’t Have Your Back. A member of Metric and Broken Social Scene, it should be no surprise that Haines’ solo work is a departure from Metric’s 2015 effort, Pagans in Vegas, which found the band skewing toward a heavily electronic sound. Choir showcases Haines’ less bombastic songwriting, where she chooses to leave the songs in a more naked state instead of turning them into guitar anthems.

Published at Pop Matters

Dean Hurley

Dean Hurley's Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△

Twin Peaks is far from Hurley’s first gig with Lynch. The multi-instrumentalist has worked with the director since 2005, including sound work for Inland Empire and several of the director’s musical ventures like Crazy Clown Time and The Big Dream. An accomplished producer in his own right, Hurley has worked with Lykke Li, Dirty Beaches, Zola Jesus, and the Veils (a featured band in the new season).

Published at Pop Matters


KMFDM's Hell Yeah

Few projects are as brashly political as KMFDM. Throughout their three-decade career, the rabble-rousers have continued to deliver aggressive industrial music that opposes rampant injustice and corruption. Keeping with the Bush-era critique WWIII and the Arab Spring-influenced Our Time Will Come, the band’s 20th studio album Hell Yeah is a stirring, brutal rally cry against fascism, conformity, and America’s new administration.

Published at Pop Matters

Isley Brothers and Santana

The Isley Brothers and Santana's Power of Peace

At a time of substantial political and social upheaval, Peace positions itself as a message of love and unity over hate and division. The musicians clearly care about their chosen source material, and as a result, the album features faithful recreations of stirring originals like the Chambers Brothers’ “Are You Ready People” and “Love, Peace, Happiness”, Eddie Kendricks’ “Body Talk”, and Leon Thomas’ “Let the Rain Fall on Me”.

Published at Pop Matters

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails' Add Violence

With many forms of media competing for our attention, releasing an album these days doesn’t have the impact it once had. For Nine Inch Nails, breaking up an album’s worth of music into a trilogy of smaller EPs sustains fan excitement and diffuses pressure on creating a singular, definitive statement. It also allows the duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to take bigger risks.

Published at Metal Sucks


Gaudi's Magnetic

Gaudi’s entire career is one long love letter to dub music. Dub, characterized by sparse drums, murky bass, and generous amounts of delay and reverb, emerged from reggae and forms the bedrock of UK grime, has influenced Burial’s brooding, apocalyptic atmospherics, and spawned modern dubstep’s excessive onslaught of aggressive bass assaults. But Gaudi isn’t interested in these developments. He’s content to dig into the classic ‘70s sound.

Published at Pop Matters

Cal Fish

The Whimsical and Grotesque Tape Manipulations of Cal Fish

The aim of Fish’s method is to parse the rampant media around us into an organized format for a new kind of consumption. Fish states that “Cassette Traveler is the convergence of my whimsical, existential, and practical expressions about everything going onto a magical magnetic medium.” Judge for yourself. “You’re kNot Next Door” introduces squelchy tape fast-forwarding and degraded, faint percussion. There are multiple elements that don’t jive with each other, as if everything were running at their own tempos and in clashing keys. 

Published in Decoder Magazine's Second Issue

The Black Angels' Death Song

The Black Angels' Death Song

Their first album in four years, Death Song continues The Black Angels’ tradition of groove-based psychedelic rock and trippy op-art album covers. It’s familiar territory for their fifth full-length release, continuing the exploration of their last LP, Indigo Meadow, which itself was a return to the roots of their first album, Passover.

Published at Echoes and Dust

Architectural's "Metropolitan Opera"

Architectural's Metropolitan Opera

Architectural constructs minimal techno tracks asserting the traditional European sound. Releases like last year’s Elastic Layouts and Architectural 07 are competent dub and Detroit constructions, but Metropolitan Opera lifts producer Juan Rico’s imagination to another plane. Its seven tracks are distilled and attuned sound collages, more in the freeform vein of Murcof and Evan Caminiti than fellow European DJs Oscar Mulero and Mikkel Metal. 

Published at Decoder Magazine