Poltergeists: Week of April 18, 2016

Michael

Sonic Area - “it’s about time”

Sonic Area - the solo project of Arco Trauma (Chrysalide) - has always been something that I go to when I want to hear something that is well off the beaten path. Arco has a way of constructing original music that is completely unique. The new album, Eyes in the Sky, put me immediately into a trance. From the opening track (which I highly suggest listening to early in the morning while driving into work) through the more chaotically-tuned tracks like “it’s about time,” to the well named closing track “spacewalk incident,” the album took me to a place like very few albums do. Coupled with the music video for “pale blue dot,” Eyes in the Sky is a great space odyssey of classic 80s synths and crazy atmospheres.  

Shizune - “Notes of Decay”

This one is for all of the Aviator fans out there. Shizune is a great emotional hardcore band from Italy that really scratches that Aviator itch for me. The lyrics and the instrumentation are very similar. They manage to capture a kind of frantic aggression with the structure of each song. Something cool about the Le Voyageur Imprudent is that there are at least three different languages on the record and even though I don’t understand all of them, I can feel that the songs are very emotionally driven.

Fun fact: Le Voyageur Imprudent was a novel by French writer René Barjavel about time travel. That kind of puts a different spin on the album for me, which is kind of cool.

Wes

Youth Code - “Doghead”

Listening to Commitment to Complications, I had an incredibly hard time deciding what I’d like to write about; from the d-beat of “Transitions” to the heavy “Glass Spitter”, every track on the album is worth writing about. Eventually, though, I really was drawn to “Doghead”. I love the funky feel of the track. During the verses, the way the bass pops along, accented by the bum chsh, bum-bum bum chsh of the drums, created a flow that was really easy to fall into. When the chorus hits, that flow morphs smoothly, breaking into a new emotional space without feeling disjointed.

Also, just gotta say, that little funky synth hit near the front of the verses is wonderful. It’s probably better that it’s used as sparingly as it is, but I can’t get enough of it.

Soft Riot - “Attrition's One Horse Rider (Soft Riot's Sunday Driver Version)”

I wasn’t familiar with the original version of the Attrition’s “One Horse Rider” when I found this track; I checked it out for some context after falling in love with this track. I gotta say, as good as I found the original to be, this track treats it in a really interesting way. While the original is dark and brooding, the instrumentation of this track brightens the tone of the track significantly. The punchy drums kick along nicely; it’s easy to imagine dancing to it. The little plucky synth mixed with the kind of morphing saw bass hits consistently through the song, but with the little additions of kind of electric piano sounding chords and choir and vocal samples popping in and out, it never really feels like it drags. This song is continually fun to listen to, front to back.

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.