Episode 80 - Daniel Myer (Haujobb, Architect, DSTR, etc)

This week on the podcast we talk to Daniel Myer, the mastermind behind many, many different projects including Haujobb, Architect, DSTR, and the new project called Rendered. Daniel was in town on an Architect tour and we had the chance to pick his brain about performing Architect material live, the new world of techno that he is getting to play in, and starting Haujobb. 

This Week's Poltergeist picks:

You can download the podcast directly: Here!

Poltergeists: Week of November 16, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

Dead When I Found Her - All The Way Down

I spoke with Michael Holloway of Dead When I Found Her in the winter of 2014, nearly a year ago, when he broke through the barrier of this album. He told me that it was dark and heavy, far more extreme than previous Dead When I Found Her releases. Knowing that Michael has a really great sense of sound and rhythm, I was looking forward to this release. I pre-ordered it when it was posted (which is not something I usually do without hearing anything) and I kept away from teasers or samples. Until yesterday. Sonic Seducer had an exclusive stream of the bonus disk and I just couldn’t stop myself from checking it out. “The Bottom” is the third track on the bonus disk, but is obviously the one that sticks out as: “Oh! Yeah! This is way different in the best way.”

All The Way Down is being marketed as a bleak look at aging, death, and dying. The tagline is “What if the last part of your life is the worst part of your life?” It is a complete concept that you can really feel in the album. I chose “Threadbare” for this specific review because it is a great example of the new album’s pace. The album breathes wonderfully. It takes its time. It is a mature step for Dead When I Found Her and I can’t wait to get deep into this album. Its atmosphere, which is something that is important to me, is dark, bleak, and true to the theme. It is chaotic at times - as death, I am sure, will be - and it feels lonely at other times.

Michael did a wonderful interview with our friends at I Die : You Die. He said that “Downpour” was the pop song on the album and that it is closest to the last few albums in structure (verse, chorus, break, verse, etc.). This track is bold and has a lot of elements that I really enjoy. With a solid beat, this is the most club-friendly track, but it still manages to maintain the kind of bleak and dark feeling of the rest of the album. Michael also said in the interview that he wanted to create a feeling of conversation between the samples and the different vocal styles used in the album. This is most apparent on tracks like “The Bottom” or the previously mentioned “Threadbare,” but still holds true in “Downpour.” It is an interesting technique for communicating a storyline - or concept in this case - and is reminiscent of Chrysalide, or Skinny Puppy in its delivery.  

Go check out the full album, and its bonus disk on the Dead When I Found Her Bandcamp, or buy the bonus disk edition directly from the label at Storming the Base.

Wes

The Good Life - “Inmates”

I realized I have never written about The Good Life’s Album of the Year, which considering how much I listen to it, is almost a criminal break from the premise of Poltergeists. This is hands down my favorite song from the album. It is definitely more powerful in the context of the full album - the album is a concept where each track represents about a month of a relationship - but even without the full context of the previous songs, this song manages to tear me up. There’s something about how the song slowly builds from simple plucking of the guitar and soft vocals, something about the painful lyrics, that tugs at me, making me feel in a way that most music fails to.

Haujobb - “Leaving”

The new Haujobb has me in a spot where I can’t talk about the whole album yet; I’m a huge fan of Haujobb, and the sound of the album as a whole has been unexpected, in a way that has me unsure how I totally feel about it. That said, I’ve really enjoyed this song every time it’s come on. I love the simplicity of it. The piano has a great emotional feel to it. It’s dark, melancholic, and when paired with the low hum of the bass and atmospheric elements it begins to feel almost aggressive in a way that was surprising the first time I listened. Pair that with the whispered vocals and the whole thing feels a little disconcerting; there’s a tension that’s created where you kind of expect it to blow up at any moment, but it never really fully does.

Poltergeists: Week of October 5, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

We Are The Alchemists - “The Great Voyager”

Architect, Sonic Area, and Hologram_ all on one release! When I saw that this release was being put together, I was expecting a few tracks on an awesome EP. Nope! This is a full 12-track album of amazing tunes from some of my favorite artists. I love this album because you can tell that they had fun with the sounds and composition of each track. When you hear that Architect (Daniel Myer AKA DSTR, AKA HAUJOBB, AKA EVERYTHING), Sonic Area (Arco Trauma also in Chrysalide, and EVERYTHING), and Hologram_ (Martin from Republik of Screens, Cheerleader 69, and Dexy Corp_) are setting out to make an album under the new moniker We Are The Alchemists, you think “These guys could really break music,” and (I am not saying they didn’t) I am just glad that this is a fun mix of a lot of electronic elements. I chose “The Great Voyager” because it is such a peculiar track that reminds me a lot of a Skinny Puppy filler track, which were always my favorite. It is a great track to end the album with.

Fraunhofer Diffraction - “Todesopfer I”

The latest series of releases from Moscow-based Fraunhofer Diffraction have delved deeply into dark ambient territory. “Todesopfer I” (German: Casualty / Fatal Victim) is an extremely morose track that embodies the texture and romance of death in my mind. There are sections of the song that go through a funeralian marching rhythm while the sound of a rainy night bleeds into the background only to be met by beautiful passages of violin and dark pads. Fraunhofer Diffraction have taken all of the elements that I enjoyed about their previous releases and channeled them into a darker undertaking.

Also released this week were Clod#2.5 and Clod#3, which are not quite as dark, but equally compelling. If you haven’t been following Fraunhofer Diffraction, you definitely should!

Wes

Haujobb - “Dark Heart 5 (feat. Zinovia)”

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for Haujobb. This being the case, I am obviously very excited for the upcoming Haujobb release, Blendwerk, from which this new track is taken.

I love the start to this song; I usually am listening with headphones and there is something about the opening little whirls of sound that always make me double check that my headphones are plugged in. The sound is far away, and when the piano comes in, so present and forward, it marks a beautiful contrast. Speaking of the piano, Zinovia Arvanitidi’s work on this track is great. It provides such a beautiful, natural contrast to the digitized voice and sharp minimalist drums. As always, the beat construction is on point, and the sound design flows wonderfully. I can’t say that I have a single complaint about this track, and I’ve listened to it as many times as Bandcamp would let me on my phone.

Lebanon Hanover - “Saddest Smile”

Taking a totally different tack, I cannot stop listening to this song from Lebanon Hanover’s 2012 Why Not Just Be Solo. I’m not super huge on the more swirly of goth musics, but there’s something about Lebanon Hanover that I really enjoy. Maybe it’s the lyrics: “People say they like me / but how can I believe // when they also like you / and you’re exactly the one I hate.” How can you not love that opening line? I’m sure that to people more versed in this vein of music, Lebanon Hanover may sound a little too much like a prior age, but as someone unversed, I just really love the minimal approach to the music, light vocals, and plucky bass lines.

Poltergeists: Week of August 24, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.

Michael

iVardensphere - “Aether”

iVardensphere + Future Bass = Tribal-bass-drop-future-glitch. Review finished. Nothing else to say. Music is done. We all quit.

I really enjoy this brief step away from the normal for iVardensphere, and in a trilogy no less! There are so many iVardensphere-ian elements in this song, but it is very clearly a different part of Scott’s brain that needed to be exercised. One thing that I often have a problem with when I listen to future bass stuff is that the rhythm is not something that appeals to me easily. Too many glitchy elements lose me or something. “Aether” is not one of those songs. It has a really nice groove to it. I look forward to more of this.

Haujobb - “Input Error”

I know that I Die You Die did it already (we try not to overlap with our awesome Canadian counterparts) but I feel like I have some things to say about this track, and single for that matter.

Haujobb is a very popular project. I am sure that you have a story about how nice and funny Daniel Myer is because it is infinitely true. Sometimes I feel like Haujobb is a project that gets that automatic hype, much like Aesthetic Perfection or Suicide Commando. People are going to buy it no matter what it sounds like at this point because they have been satisfied in the past, and it is comforting for them to know that they will most likely enjoy whatever comes out. But! Take a minute and listen to this track. It is minimal but full, and epic but mellow. It is the perfect combination of elements that I didn’t know went together. The subtlety of some of the elements creates a tension that you may not really even notice because they are just the various textures underneath the more abrasive patterns, and as a musician I am instantly hooked. I find new elements every time I listen to the song, which is what keeps drawing me back to Haujobb. Daniel and Dejan are both extremely talented musicians (check their various personal projects) and I appreciate that they continue to come together and make songs that push what is the most popular style at the moment to the side. It is inspiring.

I am also addicted to the Schwefelgelb remix.

Wes

Deafheaven - “Brought to the Water”

Oh man I am stoked for this! I really loved Deafheaven’s Sunbather; it is one of the few albums that I find myself dipping back into over and over again. In the first half of “Brought to the Water”, Deafheaven seems to depart somewhat from some of the big post-rock feelings that were present in much of Sunbather in favor of a more traditional black metal sound; big open chords are largely traded for chugging, fast lines; tremolo picking and blast beats are out in full force. Once we get to the back half there’s some progressions in here that almost give me a melodic hardcore feel. I’m not quite sure who I’d compare it to, and I’m happy about that. After listening to this track a few times I’m fully ready to hear the new album in October.

White Lung - “Take The Mirror”

There are 488 items in my Bandcamp wishlist. The first thing that I added to that wish list was the album Sorry by White Lung, and you know what? That album is still dope as fuck to go back to. The opening track, “Take The Mirror,” gives you a pretty good idea what you’re in for. Frenetic guitars are paired with a powerful vocal delivery; the song manages to never let up while also evolving enough over the course of the track to never strike as boring. I’ve been listening to this album off and on for three years now, and I’m still loving it every time I rediscover it.