Another week, another batch of new arrivals for us to paw over at Filter Musikk. Our little corner of paradise in the heart of Oslo’s city centre, Filter Musikk is the refuge from the innocuous and incessant drone of mediocrity pummelling our ears from every which way today.
It’s our fortress of solitude, no more like our Hall of Justice where we, the kindred spirits of music convene to find new music curated, personally it appears by Roland Lifjell. We don’t even need to get our fingers dusty for this one, everything still pristinely wrapped in its cellophane packaging with new, unknown- and familiar titles, artists and record labels to discover.
Yes we can find all these records online and on streaming applications, but the chances are we would hardly come across them if left to our own devices, and where else could we find the latest releases so wonderfully presented, usually on the floor somewhere behind a load of boxes.
This week, it looks like Roland has made the industrial section a permanent section at Filter Musikk with more releases from aufnahme + wiedergabe and two droning cuts from Roots in Heaven extending beyond ten minutes petrifying at the bottom end of the new arrivals list. But since it’s still summer, we’ll leave these for the winter doldrums and head straight to the House section.
DJ Senior Vasquez – No More Drama (Paraiso, 4)
No more drama indeed. A top-to-bottom House record form the Portuguese artist previously known as Photonz, rolling House music out of the deep and back onto the dance floor. As a nod to the early sounds of New York House (uhm Junior Vaquez, anybody) this record doesn’t disappoint. It provides a modern, and darker (I might add) twist to that classic New York sound with deep 808 kicks pounding a steady, quite demanding kick out at 4/4 with an overtone of mystery provided by keys and synths.
It comes via the new Portuguese label Paraiso, another nod to that era in New York House music – Paraiso is Portuguese for paradise wikipedia tells me. This record from the Senior Vasquez fits perfectly within the other three EP compilations released by the label, but it also solidifies the sound of the label. I’m gonna take a wild guess here and suggest DJ Senior Vasquez is also it’s proprietor of the label.
“No More Drama” and “Herbalife” are the guts of this record, with the latter specifically noteworthy for its invigorating percussion, and it’s sense of drama, ironically.
Omar-S – That’s Me (FXHE)
I mean, it is Omar S. Most will know his sound instinctively by now as that Detroit House sound, replete with dusty samples, invoking the entire history of House music through his records. This is only one track, and although we usually would pass over this, because let’s face it when you’ve heard one FXHE track, you pretty much heard them all, there’s a sense of celebration to this cut that is weirdly alluring.
That annoying vocal sample and what is that… a saxophone!… is usually the kind of stuff that we tend to avoid, but like a bout of syphilis, once it’s in there it’s annoyingly in there and the temptation of contracting it is just to great an indulgence. Once you’ve heard “That’s me” there’s no forgetting it, annoyingly.
96 Back – Provisional Electronics (Central Processing Unit)
Central Processing unit was one of Resident Advisor’s label’s to watch last year. Although we’d been keeping an eye on them for some time (thanks to Filter Musikk) before the feature, with tracks from Nadia Struiwigh, Annie Hall, Morphology and DMX Krew had been catching our ear consistently through the label’s releases.
96 Back makes his debut through the label and it’s as you’d expect from CPU; demure bleeping Electro with designs on the dance floor. Like every release before it, a simple binary number which is the real number of the release in actual fact, marks the cover immediately drawing the eye and with it the ear to what’s contained within. Track titles echo the numeral theme of the cover on this occasion… intriguing.
Spacy Electro, rather than the more schizophrenic IDM we’ve heard from other releases on the label, groups these 4 tracks under a defining model. It’s achieved through oblique machine maneuvers; bubbling sequences and wafer thin drum programming. Stark, but ingratiating there’s more than just what’s on the surfaces of these tracks, with each listen revealing a new layer. “000” and “100” are particularly captivating, and offer two very unique sides to the same coin. It’s just another reason to keep listening to CPU and keep an eye 96 Back, and not because RA told you to.
Phase Fatale – Reverse Fall (Ostgut Ton)
The title track, “Reverse Fall” and “Blackbox” are the tracks you want to focus on, on this release. Although Phase Fatale has a penchant for the darker side of electronic music genres, it can often lose sight of the focus target of this kind of music, the dance floor. The brutalist nature of his sound has never quite cottoned on to the functionality of the dance floor, and while previous EP’s like “Anubis” and the album “Redeemer” were pronounced examples of his No-Wave/EBM sounds, they were often erratic or short-lived, with little in the way of seducing a dance floor.
“Reverse Fall” and “Blackbox” rectify this and wow! This takes Phase Fatale’s sound out of the second room of some DIY squat joint and places it peak time in Berghain’s main room. Ignore the two filler tracks, unless you’re a fanboy/girl, and just get stuck into these two meaty Techno tracks. Don’t let “Reverse Fall“ fool you with its subdued intro, the sequential synth running through various melodic patterns, while different elements move in and out of the arrangement, won’t leave you bored or disconnected. It seems that something might have been leftover from the young artists previous collaboration with Silent Servant, or there’s been a guiding hand from the Ostgut Ton talent pool. Whatever it is, He seems to have arrived at the sound he’s been trying to cultivate.
Will Saul – Bugs (Aus Music)
Will Saul’s latest for his AUS label is a mesmerising percussive workout, featuring acoustic drums and off-beat rhythms, or at least for the first minute of the opener and title track, “Bugs”. After that it’s business as usual for the label honcho and DJ with a stomping kick drum and staccato stabs that aren’t in the habit of mincing words.
Jumping between acoustic percussion and 4/4 kicks through some of the slightest sonic arrangements, this two tracker is Will Saul doing what he does best; providing the pulse of the dance floor with the odd curveball thrown in for effect.”Map Room” features a little less of the latter, with the austere atmosphere’s only tempting with those thin swathes of metallic synths streaked through the auditory landscape.
Matt Karmil, who’s remixing docket seems to be getting stamped every which way of late, is on the “Bugs” remix, toning the excessive urgenicies of the original down to a more palatable level. Between the remix and “Map Room” there’s seems more of a consistency to the sound of this 12”, and it’s more in line with AUS a few years back, during the Bicep era, than anything coming over the last two years.
Morphology – Mind Stealers EP (Cultivated Electronics)
More Electro? Yes please! It should be no surprise that Morphology should be on the cut this week. We really like Electro, but too few DJs play it out. Perhaps this will change their mind, probably not, but it’s worth a try, so if subliminal messages are indeed a thing… PLAY ELECTRO…
If you happened to see Morphology at Kafé Hærverk a few months back, it would no doubt have stuck with you, and their releases are no different. Besides featuring on CPU, mentioned earlier (PLAY ELECTRO) they’ve had releases on DMX Krew’s Abstract Forms, Semantica (even), Solar One music and now again on Cultivated electronics. The Finish Duo are an absolute must see in the flesh, but their recorded music does well to relay that energy they bring through their shows.
They have a very distinct sound; like the claustrophobic feeling of a JG Ballard novel brought to Drexciya’s vocoder. There’s a sense of gothic drama to their music, with densely orchestrated layers of machines rupturing under the weight of salacious 4/4 kicks. You only need to hear the opening track “Mind Stealers” to get into the sound of Morphology, which even SYNC 24 manages to uphold with his remix of the title track.
It’s a sound that grabs you by the gut and immerses you completely in the moment before spitting you out on the other end of “Wages of Sin”. There’s no moment for repose and you simply have to acquiesce to its urges. Just remember to… PLAY ELECTRO.
*Filter Musikk present Etapp Kyle and Kobosil this Friday in our basement for an Øya Natt special.