Hazy Mountains – Late Reflections LP

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It was only early on this year that I discovered German-based electronic dream pop artist, Hazy Mountains. Having listened to all of his 2012 releases over and over since then, it was such a welcome surprise to see that he was releasing new music again and there was news of a new album on its way. Now that Late Reflections is here, my love for Julian Prott’s music has grown even deeper (I did not think this was possible.)

Late Reflections permeates a distinct warmth and pulse in every track. The sweeps of synth and hazed-out vocals have been brought together with, what is clearly, an incredibly keen ear for harmony and an ease-of-hand that makes this album yet another wondrous work of art. The album dances between bouts of momentous euphoria, riddled in bouncy synth work; to sweet streaks of calming ambient music.

Grab it over on his Bandcamp for 8 Euros, and while you’re there, check out his other albums and EPs.

Savage Sister – Wild Sleep EP

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Last year, I wrote about the incredible self-titled debut album belonging to Chicago’s brooding shoegaze specialists, Savage Sister, made up of Michael Tenzer and Chloe Lundgren. It definitely featured as one of the top of the year for me (although I have no official list), and it seems like this year they are off to a cracking start, yet again, with their latest Wild Sleep EP affirming their brilliance when it comes to concocting pure doses of mystical shoegaze.

The title of the album, Wild Sleep, could not be more appropriate when one considers the sonic temperament of the album, which ranges from moments of tranquility, to bouts of dark and evocative darkwave. A staple, however, is the startlingly beautiful vocal work by Lundgren, the almost palpable sense of reverb, and a dense atmosphere, all culminating to form a completely alluring sound. Multi-instrumentalist, Tenzer, has clearly spent many gruelling hours perfecting each and every detail, and it has certainly paid off – it’s another masterpiece!

If you like what you hear, the EP is going for $4 via their Bandcamp, where you can also find their debut.

 

Graveyard Orbit – Secret Peaks // Winter Compilation 2014

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Before I begin with all my love and praise about Secret Peaks, the 3rd compilation by Austin-based tape label, Graveyard Orbit, I would first like to speak a little about their first compilation, Space Junk: Cassette Store Day Compilation 2013which not only showcased their eclectic aesthetic, but also affirmed that they’re a serious force to be reckoned with in the cassette scene.

Randall Taylor, the brains behind the micro-label, was ever-so kind enough to send me over one of these special Space Junk tapes (MY FIRST TAPE EVER!) and I could not have been more chuffed when I went down to the post office and picked up this rad parcel, with the tape hand-wrapped in custom packaging, alongside a funky Graveyard Orbit robot mascot. They’re just cool like that! The meticulous attention to detail in both the selection of the featured artists (all of whom are some of the world’s greatest hidden gems when it comes to underground indie pop and electronic acts), as well as the whole look and feel, showed me that they’re not here to fool around when it comes to independent music and art. Another thing is that he is also just an all-round cool dude, and deserves all the support in the world! So, although these tapes may be sold out, it would still be worth your while to check it out and see what they’re all about!

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However, what I am really here for today is to talk about the brilliant new compilation they have just released, namely the Secret Peaks Winter Compilation. To put it into perspective, I know max 4 of these artists featured, and the rest are all just amazing hidden gems who have all been dug out of the Internet and put on a pedestal – as they should be! Of course, they’re all brilliant and work so well together in a compilation, which, as many of you know, is pretty important on tape considering you can’t really jump very easily between your favourite tracks. It’s evident that the people working so hard to get these amazing tapes out are not only innovative and hard-working, but also consistent and thoughtful when it comes to creating a work. Their ability to maintain high standards, while simultaneously grow and explore, is super commendable, and pretty dam inspiring.

So, the next step would be for you to go and check out this brilliant label! And if you like the compilation, buy it! Treat your boo, show your friends, show your mum…whatever! Once you’re in Graveyard’s Orbit, you can never get out (this is a good thing, believe me).

 

Stratford CT. – Amicus Curiae

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I was pretty taken aback when I got sent this amazing new Stratford Court compilation by Malik Buthelezi of SageVideõs (one of the featuring artists on the compilation). It came out of the blue, and I was definitely not expecting to discover one of the most compellingly whole, warm and forward-thinking compilations I’ve come across in a long time – all coming from a record label/curator that has only been around since the beginning of this year! I’ve often been faced with compilations which have a couple of tracks worth listening to, but often disappoint as an entire body of work However, this is definitely not the case with Amicus Curiae. It’s fun, futuristic, and a brilliant taste of the rich and soulful sounds of the appropriating and funk-minded digital music club. An interesting aspect of this music is its repetitive nature is exactly what makes it so good! – As Christoph Cox once said, Repetition provides a stable backdrop against which alteration– auditory and visual, temporal and spatial– is made manifest.” 

Each and every one of the artists featured has either already found a special place in my heart because of their consistent outpouring of sensual jams, or, are completely new to me, but definitely show themselves to be worthy of support in their future musical endeavours. Each song is gooey and captivating, in both dance and chill capacities.

I highly recommend you a) download this compilation, and b) take it for a walk, or show your friends. None of this ‘listen before you buy’ stuff is necessary with this badboy – it’s guaranteed to deliver!

SAINT PEPSI – Pineapple Juniors (マクロスMACROSS 82-99 Remix)

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I’ve been listening to this song all day, no jokes. I’ve almost been planning whole parties in my head, solely based around this song. You know when you envision everyone jumping around, drinking seriously fruity cocktails, and getting far too wasted? That’s all I can think about. This マクロスMACROSS 82-99 remix of SAINT PEPSI is a future funk jam to beat all future funk jams, and sees the combined work of not one, but two, digital practitioners, chopping and screwing all sorts of great sounds to create something wholly unique! Featured on Keats//Collectives, a.k.a. The Home of Good Vibes, you know you’re in for a treat! Also, it’s part two of a new Remix Wednesday thing they’ve got going (along with their Future Funk Friday thing), so make sure to be all over them like a flannel, because there’s way too much goodness coming your way in the following weeks.

Also, speaking of SAINT PEPSI (You know, that genius who’s taking over the whole of the Internet?) Well, he just released his amazing new EP, Gin City, which you can grab over on his Bandcamp for ‘pay what you want’ – Do it now!

This is my favourite track from the album: ‘Walking Talking.’

Oh, and this is the last Future Funk Friday instalment – so good.

Secret Attraction – ‘Tonight’

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I’m pretty bad at keeping up with submissions, or checking out the music of people who follow me on Soundcloud. In an effort to change this, I checked out the music of a young guy called Derek Wise who followed me on Twitter the other day. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised! Making music under the moniker Secret Attraction, I soon discovered that there was absolutely no secret about how attracted I was to his song, ‘Tonight’, which I have listened to more than a few times. The song starts with beautiful synths and strings, that soon cave into a really catchy array of beats and synth details, with these incredibly beautiful vocals giving the track just the perfect dream-like quality. I’m absolutely addicted! With an EP on its way, this newbie is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Daniel Gray – ‘Slope’

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It’s always the best thing to hear amazing music coming out of South Africa – there’s such a profound sense of being able to connect on a more intimate level with it, and I love to be able to have a greater understanding of the sounds being used and the context of its creation. One of the newest talents to emerge from the scene is Cape Town’s Daniel Gray, who has completely blown me away with his debut album, Fantasmagoria, the first to come out of Primitive Ancestor Records. It’s probably easier to understand the nature of the album when one understands the thinking behind its creation: an experimental audio-visual collaboration along with Thuli Gamedze, through a forum called corruptedarchives.com. The brief went as follows:

“One artist creates a piece of sound/video of a specific length of time and briefs the other artist with a phrase/image/word/clue, as well as the exact length of the piece. The second artist then creates a piece of video/sound of the exact same length, in response to the brief, without actually hearing/seeing the original work. The two pieces are then fused. No. matter. What.”

‘Slope’ is my favourite track off the album. The electronic textures have this almost 3D quality, allowing them to jump out at you, making it the perfect example of what Gray and Gamedze were trying to achieve in the first place. As it progresses, it gradually picks up a steady rhythm, formed by the combination of fine guitar, firm beats and a pulsating synth line. Every time I listen to this track, I become completely lost in its eerie beauty. Check out the rest of the album over on his Bandcamp and grab it for ‘Name your own Price.’

 

I did a full album review for PLATFORM Mag, which you can read here.