Posts Tagged ‘Synth’

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – “Unificado (Pye Corner Audio Remix)”

Earlier in the year Guadalajara’s Lorelle Meets The Obsolete released one of their most potent records to date. It pulled them out of the murk a bit and into a crisper vision of shoegaze, dreampop, and scarred psychedelia. Perhaps as a reminder of that album’s prowess as we near the end of the year, the band has released a remix of the album’s darkly simmering “Unificado” by UK synth slinger Pye Corner Audio. The Ghost Box alum has been haunting the edges of horror soundtrack-style rev-ups of late, but here he’s all in for atmospherics. Taking the track’s airy creep and white-hot guitar and giving them a slinking makeover that utilizes Lorena Qintanilla’s vocals as not a harbinger of psychedelic fry, but as a conduit for tense cinematic sweat, this is a completely new side of LMTO. Still time to get into their latest if it has eluded you for the past year, and quite recommended that you do.



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Jonas Munk & Niklas Sørensen

Another sparkling gem out of the El Paraiso pocket here, this time from label co-head Jonas Munk along with Niklas Sørensen (Papir). Always Already Here locks into a Kosmiche wave and threads synth ripples through the swell. The pair head into the project with minimalism on the brain and they come out of it nicely unencumbered, building hypnotic patterns that play in the analog fizz. With a palette of synth and syncopated guitars, the duo submerge the listener into the light, dripping sounds from the surface and rendering any surrounding noise canceled with their startling calm.

There’s a deep dedication to the Göttsching school here, and the album brings to mind Inventions For Electric Guitar‘s lagurous beauty on more than one occasion, among some later nods towards Ashra’s more synth heavy trips. The album is a sonic cavern, a protective layer that spreads like gel around the brain as it unfolds. More than just hanging the listener into suspended animation, though, the pair strip away the weight of worry with each round of repetition and each opalescent splash of guitar. The record is a sonic scrub for the soul, allowing a disconnect from reality to recalibrate the brain and take a breath. If the world’s been getting to be too much and you’re in need of an aural vacation, then Munk and Sørensen have just the deep dive you’ve been looking for.




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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “Joy”

Another haunting track from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma tips off his third release with Mexican Summer. After contributing interstitial magic to their upcoming surf compilation, the artist goes deep into aching drones after his brush with shoegaze on On Echoing Green. The fuzz is wiped away, replaced by a crispness that can’t be shaken. Several of “Joy’s” tones tiptoe in the background, with the main melody sighing heavy with an unseen tragic turn. Cant-Ledesma has long been a frontrunner for ambient ache, but this is him at his least obfuscated, his most present vision of rippling melancholy that’s hard to shake. The track prefaces his upcoming LP Tracing Back The Radience, out July 12th.



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Skyminds

Skyminds slipped a small eponymous tape run (100 copies) out on Auasca earlier this year and its sorely deserving of more attention. The set, from members of Channelers, Ashan, and Selaroda, is ladled with the same syrupy serenity that their other outfits offer, slotting definitively into the mind melt zones one would expect. However, they also expand amiably on the synth duo dynamic with forays into desert dub, radiant high plains guitar shimmer, and meditative acoustic strum. Henning and Conrad melt their psychedelic float into a record that ripples like mountains out the window, calming as a sine wave but also rather breathtaking as the full horizon unfolds.

With a drone underpinning most tracks, the pair place delicate stacks of flutes, strings, plucks and even the occasional beat into the mix but they always return to the ether to unwind with pillowy synths as the bedrock of their sound. The album’s first half mix n’ picks some of their strengths, but the band stretches out completely as they ease into the latter tracks, “Morning Way” and “Illuminated and Warming.” The sounds become a bucolic haze washing over the listener. Each listen on the album picks out new combinations of sound that give the album shading and shape. Recommended picking this one up before the run sells through as its a nice little gem.

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Jacco Gardner – Fading Cosmos 12″

Jacco Gardner’s last album, while still quite steeped in the seeds of psychedelia, was a departure of sorts. It served as a complete instrumental journey that echoes the type of synth-heavy psych and prog that inhabited the Harvest label, the more cosmic side of the ‘70s German underground, and pastoral Swedish psychedelia. Along with those sessions Gardner recorded two songs that didn’t seem to quite fit with the overarching journey and now they being released as a 12” called Fading Cosmos. The title track still follows the album’s thrust of burbling synths and lilting guitar melancholia, but there’s not as much buzzing of the MS20 that drove his direction on Somnium.

Rooted in the idea that artificial light is slowly eroding our ability to observe cosmic occurrences, the song wafts into a quivering dream state that’s almost unsettling in the ease of its embrace. Hazy, and rocking on a lullaby beat, the song slowly hypnotizes the listener into a meditative bliss while the organ sketches soft penlight patterns on the eyelids. Along with the flip, “Autumn in Lisbon,” the release makes a nice compliment to Somnium‘s synthedelic themes. The new EP out June 14th from Full Time Hobby.



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Dominique Guiot – L’Univers De La Mer

The crew over at WRWTFWW have always been true to their masthead, exploring any facet of the musical landscape that catches their fancy. Earlier this year they set sights on French prog and cosmic synth artist Dominique Guiot’s 1978 album L’Univers De La Mer. The album, inspired by undersea exploration, skews a bit from the wide-eyed wonder of Jaques Cousteau scores, adding a sense of danger to the mellotron’s quaver and a medieval bent to some of the more pastoral passages. The record employs minimoog, clavinet, guitar, and organ alongside the seaside call of the mellotron, and while the damp inspiration remains in tact, the styles change as Guiot sees fit – winding through space-odyssey jazz and dense prog to tracks.

Guiot’s vision comes close to that of Sven Liabek, whose undersea scores were a vanguard of the ‘70s. Again though,, as with Cousteau’s scores, Liabek was a bit less heavy on the throttle than Guiot. The sci-fi keys kick in giving the album a kinship with Eloy or Embryo at their heaviest. Its a beautifully engrossing gem of an album that’s worthy of rediscovery, given the limited nature of its original issue. Just as good for meditative bliss as it is for head-trip excursions to the inner most reaches of the soul. Highly recommend dimming the lights and letting this one float over the eyelids.



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Patience – “The Girls Are Chewing Gum”

Following the dissolution of revered band Veronica Falls, Roxanne Clifford’s taken a shift towards synth pop, using her gift for gauzy pop to pin down deft hooks to a more propulsive muse. Patience has been issuing a sterling run of singles since 2016, but today she announces her debut LP, Dizzy Spells for Night School/Winona Records. The announcement comes with a new video in tow for the Eurythmics via Tones on Tail slanted cut “The Girls Are Chewing Gum.” The track dances in the corners of the room, lost in its own dream. The synth tones sidle up just this side of goth, but those skittering drums splash a bit more sun on the track, keeping the velvet curtain of that particular genre at bay. Slotted alongside former standouts “White of An Eye,” “The Pressure,” and “The Church” the album already feels like a future classic. Check the neon nostalgia of the video for “Girls” above and watch for the LP May 3rd.

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Pye Corner Audio

Nine years in, Martin Jenkins is still chasing the slick synth dystopia under the guise of Pye Corner Audio. For his latest, Hollow Earth, he jumps just left of Stasis, his 2016 LP for Ghost Box. Still steeped in the disembodied bio-mechanics of a future rendered sterile, cut off from contact through the invisible walls of technology and anxiety, but less blunt than its predecessor. The album practically glides off the glossy curves of plastic fixtures. It recycles air in dry batches to keep the home sterile – livable, but not lived-in. The plants are all poised to give the air some much needed oxygen, but like the rest of the environment, they seem curated rather than organic.

PCA’s work has drawn as ever from the kind of sci-fi soundtracks that have been finding homes on Death Waltz, Mondo, and Waxworks. There’s definitely the feeling that there’s a flicker of film somewhere missing its soundtrack. There’s also nods to the pulse of ‘90s Berlin as the album slides into its midsection. The creepy calm of “Descent” and the title track are replaced by heart-quickening adherence to beat – though Jenkins doesn’t shift gears hard and hairy, the anxious pulse creeps up the spine of the album weaving through the New Age warbles like a germ before it breaks like a fever sweat – almost imagined, almost unreal.

Any fans of Pye Corner Audio should feel right at home here, but nonetheless this is more refined than Jenkins has sounded since Sleep Games. There’s an icy confidence that pins this to the pineal gland, lulling the listener into a somnambulant waking dream state that’s surreal and uncomfortable. Ghost Box rarely dissipation, and Pye Corner Audio delivers another slice of surreal synth that stands up to anything in his catalog.



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Jacco Gardner

Over the last five years or so, Jacco Gardner has created a world dedicated to spreading the seeds of swirling psychedelia. His debut for Trouble in Mind leaped out of almost nowhere, preceded by a few singles that hinted at what was to come, though nothing could prepare for how dense and complete the vision of his debut album would be. With his follow-up and jump to Polyvinyl, he’d only deepen the hues and expand his Papier-mâché psychedelic wonderland. Both albums were anchored by Gardner’s grey-streaked vocals that carried with them a sense of melancholic weight, so its most surprising that his third LP takes the bold leap to strip them away entirely.

Inspired by a couple of key pieces of equipment, a Dynachord Echochord mini – a cheap echo unit – and an MS20 mini synthesizer, the album began to take shape in the wake of the release of Hypnophobia. Both of the pieces have a distinct quality and a dreamy voice, but more importantly they can both be overdriven to create a distortion that adds a lot of the prominent character to Somnium. Rooted in the burbling Kosmiche psychedelia of Cluster and Tangerine Dream and the often whimsical works of Bo Hansson, the record picks up a cue or two from the kind of episodic, story-heavy progressives of the ‘70s. At its heart, Gardner seems to be cutting this album from the same cloth that Alain Goraguer wrought La Planète Sauvage. While Somnium doesn’t play as an outright concept record, its definitely building its own sci-fi landscape that leaves the story up to the listener. Its an endlessly absorbing soundtrack that twists itself in slow knots for the listeners’ amusement.

Much like the recent work of Frank Maston, the album also owes a debt to the ‘70s library collections that dotted the television and film landscape, though Gardner is creating a far more cohesive statement here. He trips quite a few of the same triggers as Matson, but dives a bit further down the luminescent rabbit hole. The record is whimsical, without becoming too precious, poking at the telltale hallmarks of ‘60s psychedelia, without becoming a cartoon litany of blacklight mushroom posters in the process. While the album might lop off a good chunk of fans who’d come in the past for the psych-pop but would ruffle at the lack of vocals, it should also open up Gardner to the avid army of synth worshipers out there. As much as any lost Waxworks or Death Waltz soundtrack, Somnium is a heady trip carved out of dedication to the authenticity of synth as a terraforming tool to create psychedelic landscapes. In that regard, its well worth going back time an again to find new corners of Somnium to inhabit.

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Sungod

Holodeck Records has long stood as a purveyor of synth madness. They traverse the kosmiche highways as seasoned travelers release after release, and with the latest LP from Sungod, they’re still tapping deep into the cosmic well. Notably, though, Sungod have expanded their vision on Wave Refraction from the school of Goblin and Göttsching and the wider scope looks good on the Austin band. While the bedrock of analog keys remains, the band winds the expected synth strains through a psychedelic burner that’s burrowed in Prog – using those keys to reach ‘70s heights of power pomp and reaching for their inner Tangerine Dream. They skitter through the cross section of prog rock’s affiliation with jazz, peppering in mournful flutes, while breaking down into tumultuous drum workouts.

What makes the album work is that the band knows where to cut the stitching so that its not just a jumble of their pet indulgences bumping into one another. The album flows from the hard-edged Düül drop-in of opener “Little Gold Mouth,” back to their Goblin vamping Italo-horror sweep by the album’s close. The emotional heft moves from psych fury n’ fry to dosed Floyd numbness and into the good ol’ dystopian dynamics as they embrace the throttled glow of their tube-lit future. Its funny, as the prevalence of ‘70s soundtracks has exploded and in turn created an army of acolytes, the analog scene got a bit stale. There’s only so many times you can hear a band try to second hand Carpenter and spitball at Simonetti-Pignatelli-Morante’s unique dynamic. In that regard its great to hear Sungod strive for much more.

Wave Refraction’s strength is that its not trying to imitate or recreate anything. Sungod have absorbed the touchstones they tug at and have found a way to let their own synthesis vision of prog prevail. The record winds up hairier and heavier for their troubles and the cohesive through line they cast gives the album a broken soul that bubbles to the surface listen after listen. If you don’t think you can stomach one more bubbling Korg, be ready to open up to Sungod’s solid inversion of a genre gone mad.



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