Ear Influxion

Army of God: Salvation (AOG/Delsin)
I don’t know much about Army of God, but this first 12” single is well worth a listen. The original track is fairly dour, smacking of the same melancholic goth club dancefloor stylings of Trust, looking back to the past but with an edge that feels current. The vocal is alternately sulky and yearning, giving its mid-tempo italo-disco sound a little bit of extra emotive swoon. The dub mix strips out most of the vocals, faithful to the dub mixes of the 80s, sprinkling vocal bits throughout while the backing track is slightly reworked. Oddly, the dub mix is mastered much louder than the original (I suspect the original has a little more dynamic range, though), but it serves its rather tool-like purpose well enough. But the real magic is in the Spaventi d’Azzurro remix, wherein he reworks the chorus into a soaring, inspiring anthem while the verses have a much richer low-end and patterns that recall equal parts Legowelt and Peter Dundov. It turns the gloomy original into something much brighter and more lush, a real standout. Synth-pop and goth DJs would probably enjoy this as much as italo-disco and “witch house” (groan) fans, as it straddles those worlds with relative ease.

Buy it: Delsin Store | Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon

Army of God: Salvation (AOG/Delsin)

I don’t know much about Army of God, but this first 12” single is well worth a listen. The original track is fairly dour, smacking of the same melancholic goth club dancefloor stylings of Trust, looking back to the past but with an edge that feels current. The vocal is alternately sulky and yearning, giving its mid-tempo italo-disco sound a little bit of extra emotive swoon. The dub mix strips out most of the vocals, faithful to the dub mixes of the 80s, sprinkling vocal bits throughout while the backing track is slightly reworked. Oddly, the dub mix is mastered much louder than the original (I suspect the original has a little more dynamic range, though), but it serves its rather tool-like purpose well enough. But the real magic is in the Spaventi d’Azzurro remix, wherein he reworks the chorus into a soaring, inspiring anthem while the verses have a much richer low-end and patterns that recall equal parts Legowelt and Peter Dundov. It turns the gloomy original into something much brighter and more lush, a real standout. Synth-pop and goth DJs would probably enjoy this as much as italo-disco and “witch house” (groan) fans, as it straddles those worlds with relative ease.

Buy it: Delsin Store | Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon

Transfiguration

Matthew Mercer: “Transfiguration” (2014)

Another new piece as I continue to explore the concepts of tension, a lack of resolution, and minimalism. Digging deeper within as I explore how I actually feel and how that is reflected in the sound itself, exploring the nuances of balance, pitch, microtonality, and depth as discrete sounds layer and weave in and out of each other.

Mike Dehnert: Lichtbedingt (Delsin)
Mike Denhert has always been slightly elusive for me. I’d heard numerous tracks on compilations and previewed several of his 12”s before hearing his Fachwerk 25 collection — I think that was the first time his music really resonated with me on a deeper level. Lichtbedingt veers away from some of the more listening-oriented sounds of Fachwerk 25 and instead feels more like a collection of slick DJ tools, but hearing such a block of quality productions and experiments back to back, I feel as though there is more of a method to Dehnert’s madness than I’d originally perceived. These are often minimal, dubby james that bob in time with equal amounts of sleekness and utility; “Emlo” is a prime example, with its undulating sub-bass line and clean rhythm section that never seems to let up. Other tracks are even more tightly wound, like the urgent stride of “Channeled,” a cut that would no doubt sound fantastic on a massive system. The odd, angular shape shifting of “Movement” and the jagged edges of “Single Action” harken back to techno’s most mutant phase around the turn of the century, when rules largely went out the window and yet the music still held together to move dancefloors in new and exciting ways. So I find there to be traces of the warped genius of Dan Bell and vintage Perlon in Dehnert’s productions, even as these are less tidy, more impatient and squirmy.

“Remove” is an exception here, sputtering and bleeping like a machine that’s run out of gas, lending a little extra edge to the album by virtue of breaking tradition so fully. It’s diversions like that, or the beatless forms of “Quadrature,” providing some real shifts in dynamics and pacing. But Dehnert really does save the best for last: “En Outre”’s funky as hell weirdo synth pattern and a shimmying tech house kit make it purely irresistible. Dehnert often skates the line between looped improvisation and utility, but there is a certain urgency and a playful personality behind many of these tracks that gives them their own infectious flair.
Buy it: Delsin Shop | Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon | Emusic

Mike Dehnert: Lichtbedingt (Delsin)

Mike Denhert has always been slightly elusive for me. I’d heard numerous tracks on compilations and previewed several of his 12”s before hearing his Fachwerk 25 collection — I think that was the first time his music really resonated with me on a deeper level. Lichtbedingt veers away from some of the more listening-oriented sounds of Fachwerk 25 and instead feels more like a collection of slick DJ tools, but hearing such a block of quality productions and experiments back to back, I feel as though there is more of a method to Dehnert’s madness than I’d originally perceived. These are often minimal, dubby james that bob in time with equal amounts of sleekness and utility; “Emlo” is a prime example, with its undulating sub-bass line and clean rhythm section that never seems to let up. Other tracks are even more tightly wound, like the urgent stride of “Channeled,” a cut that would no doubt sound fantastic on a massive system. The odd, angular shape shifting of “Movement” and the jagged edges of “Single Action” harken back to techno’s most mutant phase around the turn of the century, when rules largely went out the window and yet the music still held together to move dancefloors in new and exciting ways. So I find there to be traces of the warped genius of Dan Bell and vintage Perlon in Dehnert’s productions, even as these are less tidy, more impatient and squirmy.

“Remove” is an exception here, sputtering and bleeping like a machine that’s run out of gas, lending a little extra edge to the album by virtue of breaking tradition so fully. It’s diversions like that, or the beatless forms of “Quadrature,” providing some real shifts in dynamics and pacing. But Dehnert really does save the best for last: “En Outre”’s funky as hell weirdo synth pattern and a shimmying tech house kit make it purely irresistible. Dehnert often skates the line between looped improvisation and utility, but there is a certain urgency and a playful personality behind many of these tracks that gives them their own infectious flair.

Buy it: Delsin Shop | Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon | Emusic

William Basinski: “D|p 1.1” (Disintegration Loops, 2011)

William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops series is a document of magnetic tape loops actually mechanically disintegrating as they loop on a reel to reel over the course of an hour. Set to actual footage of the collapsed World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, it’s a haunting eulogy to the fallen as much as an expression of the fragility of things.

House of Jezebel: Back in DogTown USA (Voyage Direct)
Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt revives his House of Jezebel project with a new two-track EP for Tom Trago’s Voyage Direct Series for Rush Hour. For me it’s his strongest showing in a very long time. For whatever reason, my interest in his Legowelt records waned over the years, despite some of his early 00s 12”s being my favorite of the whole Dutch electro and italo revival scene.

Each of these tracks fuses Wolfers’ signature style of repetitious patternmaking with a slick nod to 2nd wave Detroit techno in its use of clean synth sounds and airy pads. “Back in DogTown USA” shows off some fairly classic Legowelt acid squiggles in its arrangement, but the production feels cleaner, lighter, clearer. “I Took a Train in 1976,” on the flip, is a jaunty nod to early techno and house with its clear, repetitious organ line and flanged strings that recall some of the more soaring vintage tracks by Model 500. Great stuff!
Buy it: Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon

House of Jezebel: Back in DogTown USA (Voyage Direct)

Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt revives his House of Jezebel project with a new two-track EP for Tom Trago’s Voyage Direct Series for Rush Hour. For me it’s his strongest showing in a very long time. For whatever reason, my interest in his Legowelt records waned over the years, despite some of his early 00s 12”s being my favorite of the whole Dutch electro and italo revival scene.

Each of these tracks fuses Wolfers’ signature style of repetitious patternmaking with a slick nod to 2nd wave Detroit techno in its use of clean synth sounds and airy pads. “Back in DogTown USA” shows off some fairly classic Legowelt acid squiggles in its arrangement, but the production feels cleaner, lighter, clearer. “I Took a Train in 1976,” on the flip, is a jaunty nod to early techno and house with its clear, repetitious organ line and flanged strings that recall some of the more soaring vintage tracks by Model 500. Great stuff!

Buy it: Boomkat | iTunes | Amazon