New music review – Blanck Mass – Silent Treament

Never heard of Blanck Mass before this, although I remember plenty of people getting on my case for not listening to Dumb Flesh, but I love the mix of heavier electronic sounds mixed with the dreamier/ethereal bleeps and bloops that make for an interesting listen.

Well, it makes for interesting multiple listens. It certainly feels like there are a lot of changes in this song that you might not fully appreciate on your first listen through.

Silent Treatment is taken of Blanck Mass‘ new album, World Eater, set to be released on March 3rd 2017 via Sacred Bones.

Check it out.

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Review: Code Orange – Forever

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Band: Code Orange
Album: Forever
Genre: Hardcore punk, sludge, metalcore
Social Media: Official site/Facebook/Twitter

Almost done with January and I’ve already got a favourite album for the year. At least, I’ve got a favourite loud/mean sounding album.

Code Orange, formerly known as Code Orange Kids, are a hardcore, experimental, punkish band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and this album is their third, full-length album, Forever.

Forever is, from the beginning, a vicious and aggressive ride that allows a listener few chances to catch their breath, besides maybe one or two points. One such break comes with the third song fourth song on the album, Bleeding In The Blur, which has clean vocals provided by the band’s bassist, Reba Meyers.

This song honestly caught me off guard with it sounding more like an alternative rock song than anything else present on the album. I love the way the song sounds and it offers up a surprising amount of versatility.

The band also brings these strange little editing flourishes into some songs, like stutters and sudden audio stops, and while it is interesting to see the band going for something different, it doesn’t feel necessary. Thankfully, they don’t happen often and when they do, they are brief.

The band also brings these strange little editing flourishes into some songs, like stutters and sudden audio stops, and while it is interesting to see the band going for something different, it doesn’t feel necessary. Thankfully, they don’t happen often and when they do, they are brief.

Speaking of things that may be unnecessary, the last song, dream2, doesn’t really do it for me as a closer. As a stand-alone track, it’s fine, but as a closer, it just shouldn’t be there. Maybe try it as an interlude somewhere in the middle of the track listing.

However, the rest of the album, aside from maybe two other tracks (dream2 and Hurt Goes On), is a complete onslaught of abrasive and girthy punk that proves, the scene still has massive balls. You just need to look for it and looking at Code Orange shows you why this is the band that’s making waves.

The title track, Forever, is brutal,  Just have to know where to finds it. Ugly feels like a grunge throwback until the vocals come in, it’s Code Orange playing with our expectations and it is a blast. You can also hear these expectations challenged in Hurt Goes On.

This album is just a delight, in a sick, twisted way that’ll have you head banging and deciding to just say ‘fuck you to authority, expectations and your dreams.’

Listen to it if you like anything mean, gross, punk, industrial, or sludge sounding.

New Music Review – RedWater – Day 1

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Artist: RedWater
Album: Day 1
Genre: Electronic, ambient
Social media: Soundcloud/Bandcamp

Listen:

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Let’s do some more ambient/electronic music, because why not? I mean I’m totally getting encapsulated within it recently with all this Boards of Canada and such.

RedWater, is the instrumental, electronic project of this Utah based produced that has previously released two other bits (an EP and another LP) both of which sound surprisingly different to RedWater’s most recent effort, the effort we’re looking at today, Day 1. When I say different, I don’t mean anything leaps and light-years away from the previous sound, but there’s a bigger focus on some interesting synth textures and percussion than the previous album, Natural Division.

Every track on this little album feels like an intimate little snapshot of RedWater’s life and composition style, and because of this, nothing ever feels too similar. From the poppy/lounge feel of Second Chance, to the largely progressive electronics going on in Temporary Permanence, you’ll find a brief little moment to fall for. Even the tracks I’d consider to be lesser than the others still have aspects that make them interesting and worth listening to – Entropy and the Intervals didn’t particularly thrill me, but I appreciated some of the fascinating aspects in each tune. I mean Entropy almost sounds industrial at times and that’s sweet when you consider the majority of the material here is all rather major sounding.

The End Of April, also contrasts this major sound well by being one of the more serene tracks that I’ve heard this year.

I guess if we’re nit-picking, I’d like to nit-pick at the intro to Day And Night, it seems to go on way to long with some rather plain piano and synth chords before things take a more interesting turn later in the song. However, I do like the erratic percussion on this track and the twinkling arpeggios in the second half… Oh and the skanky beat that in the second half as well. Oh, I suppose the track RedWater is a little dull when compared to the rest as well…

Final Thoughts:

I don’t really have much to say on this album because I think it’s worth your time in its gorgeous simplicity. Day 1 is varied, curious and delightful for it’s short playtime, so why not at least give it a quick listen? If you like music from electronic producers, or you love music you can stick on in the background while you enjoy a book, grab this album. It’s a name your price album and it’s worth however much you can give RedWater and then some.

New Music Review – Helicopter Quartet – Ghost Machine

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Band: Helicopter Quartet
Album: Ghost Machine
Genre: Post-rock, ambient, dark ambient
Social Media: Facebook/Twitter/Bandcamp

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One year ago I reviewed the album, Leading Edges, by Leeds dark ambient duo, Helicopter Quartet. Leading Edges was dark, dismal and oppressive, but with a post-rock leaning in some of the songs, which created this, thankfully, not stock post-rock sound that’s being pushed everywhere these days. And so, one year on from Leading Edges and Helicopter Quartet have released their new album, Ghost Machine. Let’s start things off by saying that, the dark ambient is fully out on this release, darkly teeth gnashing and snarling with the frightening viola and synth tones produced by Chrissie Caulfield.

The oppressive and dreary nature of the songs on Ghost Machine has been turned way up and never have these two sounded so doomed. Romanze is looks like it would be right at home in a post-apocalyptic soundtrack, very akin to that of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but without the monolith run times and bombastic build-ups. The guitar from Michael Capstick and the viola work on this track are so damning and remind me eternally of East Hastings by GY!BE, but dronier and less driving than that track. Because of this droning, it can be rather hard to listen to casually. To truly enjoy this track, or any of them, you have to be paying attention, or at least not doing anything that takes up to much RAM, because this music requires your attention.

This mood strikes me as the kind of atmosphere that this album is hitting. All of the tracks seem a lot longer than they really are, but this gives a feeling that each of the creeping sounds in each song has a chance to grow. Cortege, is the best example of these dark tones shifting and growing throughout the song. The guitar contrasts with the massive and constant booming here and even the viola has moments of not sounding likes it’s been bathing in complete despair. This track travels in a lot of different ways in a lot of very subtle manners. The booming on this track did make me wish for a bit more percussion though, as a tool to help break things up a little bit.

Even with so few instruments blaring off in this mix, it sounds like a lot is going on, but I think there’s room in there for more, nothing large and obnoxious, but something subtle to help space things out.

Just like last time, subtle is what these two are here to do – Each song starts with a little idea and grows from there in a carefully considered way. The title track starts with something being dropped and dragged along some strings and it grows from there. It’s like a machine winding up and getting ready to haunt your ass. When this song is ready to haunt your ass, about halfway through, it lets you know and catches you off guard. It made me jump the first time I heard it, but I’m a complete wuss.

Final thoughts:

This album is massively comparable to the last one, but it does do enough for me to think that it treads interesting enough ground for it to not get boring. This Leeds duo has managed to pull off dark and oppressive even darker and more oppressive than last time, but I would like some more percussion play next time, something of a personal preference, but something breaking up this massive textures would be more than welcome.

New Music Review – Bettenhaus Ryne – Calculation​:​twenty​-​three Authority (Single Version)

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Artists: Bettenhaus Ryne
Single: Calculation​:​twenty​-​three Authority
Genre: Synth wave/industrial/glam rock
Social media: Facebook/Bandcamp

Listen:

The neo-80s/synthwave trend has been going around for a few years now to differing levels of success. My main problem with it is that despite some fun sounding synths and punchy percussion, it usually tends to get repetitive rather sharpish. Which is why I can’t stand listening to it for more than a few minutes. However, I do love artists like PerturbatorLe Matos and of course, the Hotline Miami soundtrack still does it for me whether I’m playing the game or hyping myself up.

Today, we have Bettenhaus Ryne, a Cincinnati based 80s influenced glam rock, synth pop, early industrial project that released a new single on the 6th of June, Calculation​:​twenty​-​three Authority. The single is from an, as of yet, unnamed album that will be released at an, as of yet, unannounced time, so for now, I’ll just stick to the single.

First aspect I notice is how different the production is to most mainstream synth-wave style acts that feel the need to go over the top with production and volume. Here we have some slow building ambiance that quickly blurts towards some effective percussion that isn’t (thank God) some overzealous barrage of thunderous beats. I adore how industrial the song sounds with it’s ominous synths, that house this subtle touch that a lot of producers miss the point of. Yet it still manages to keep this driving nature about it that works with the chase/driving atmosphere that the artists is recreating here. Fitting to this atmosphere is the dirt and grime that a lot of these sounds manage to pick up as they role along – the guitars are probably the cleanest sounding thing on this single and ever they’re distorted!

I think the guitar leads work well here as well – they’re not too reverb heavy and serve as another layer in the measured bricks of sound. Couple this with the synths rolling up and down, there’s some serious sinister sounding material here. This actually fits nicely with whole, dystopian themes that are often approached in these styles of songs, however, this track is not camp in the way that a lot of these tracks are. For an example of this camp and overly produced (not always bad) style, just check out anything on the Miami Cannibal Massacre mixtape that’s floating around on the internet. Again, I’m loving the grit and rough sound of this song as well as the vocals that fuzz in for a few seconds that pulls this track away from the trashy side of ‘clean’ industrial/synth music made in honour of the 80s.

Final Thoughts:

This track does 80s style production proud and sets up a great scene for the rest of the album that I’d be very enthusiastic to hear. It’s themes are firmly rooted and a delight to listen to whether your cruising from the cops, or chilling at home with your shutter-shade sunglasses. Keep an eye out for the album coming soon (hopefully).

New Music Review – Waveless – Hopelessness

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Artist: Waveless
EP: Hopelessness
Genre: Electronic, ambient, IDM
Social-media: Facebook/Twitter/Soundcloud/Bandcamp

Listen:

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Hopelessness is the debut EP from Australian producer, Waveless, published through the electronic record label SVNSET WΛVES, on May 2nd. The label itself is one I’ve been working through recently, thanks to all the chilled releases that put their material up for a cool, ‘name your price’, price, so if you like what you hear at all, then don’t be afraid to contribute a to these hardworking artists.

Waveless has, like the title of the EP, a hopeless and melancholic sound. The chords are minor as fuck, the tempo crawls along and the instrumentation is so thick, it’s an emotionally heavy sounding EP that has a surprisingly large amount of colour in it. The second track here, Numb, is probably the most dreary piece of work, with its tragic keys and synths backing up the gorgeous guest vocals of self-confessed gloom-popper, Mothica (who is also rather talented). I think these vocals bring a lot to the table of Waveless’ compositions, if only to fill up the music a spell more.

That’s not to say that these songs are empty, but the vocals do Numb a lot of favours. There are subtle touches in these songs that fill them up adequately, but not to the extent of the vocals. For example, Hurricane, has some quaint arpeggios rolling up and down near the end; Forever Forgotten has lots of synth extras whirring off near the end; Oceanic had some vocal samplings during the outro. The format of these songs is predictable, but it gets the job done and each of these tunes has a thick sense of Hopelessness to them, except ESID, which didn’t strike me as particularly moody, but it was a cute little track.

I also liked the beats going on here, nothing complex, but for what this EP is, I don’t think they needed to be flashy at all, but what does matter is the use of synths and texture in this release.= and Waveless has some brilliant textures here. There’s a great sense of overwhelming textures that come hand-in-hand with the saddening chords and melodies here and it’s all channelled in a small period of time that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.

Final thoughts:

Waveless says that ‘the EP aims to evoke a sense of emotional fatigue’ and it accomplishes that with some stunning synth work and killer manipulations of atmosphere. And although I don’t agree that these songs are, ‘The perfect soundtrack to drown to’, they do feel like the soundtrack to something less than favourable. But until that less than favourable thing happens, I’ll just enjoy the laid back ambiance of them though – a must for anyone that favours the chilled side of electronic music.