Review: Over the last four decades, we've come accustomed to veteran electronic experimentalist Uwe Schmidt surprising us with each successive album. Even so, we were still pleasantly surprised by his latest Atom TM release, whose title - Walzeryklus ("Waltz Cycle") - offers a hint to his latest inspiration. Recorded with angel-voiced singer Lisokot, the album is entirely made up of tracks recorded in the 3/4 time signature of classic waltz. Naturally, these waltzes are unlike anything you'll have heard before, variously taking in neo-classical inspired ambient, eccentric left-of-centre synth-pop, bubbly electronica, fizzing Rephlex style "Braindance" and even a gtouch of wonky, mind-altering techno.
Review: It's been seven years since the last offering from Munich-based electropop group Lali Puna, in which time two years of writing and a change in lineup have nudged the band in a subtly different direction. The roots of their sound haven't changed too much, and there's plenty of variety to be heard here. The rattling clipped samples and surging synths of 'Come Out Your House' contrast pleasingly with the twinkling warmth of tracks like 'Wear My Heart'. The subject matter of 'Two Windows' empathetically reflects on issues of individuality, freedom and surveillance, with lyrical content that's open enough both to connect with and reflect upon.
Review: It's been a couple of years since we last heard from Greta Cottage Workshop's experimental offshoot, Greta Cottage Woodpile. We'll forgive their inactivity, though, because this belated return to action is very good. Minden Nap Vasarnap is the work of little-known Hungarian artist Laslo, a producer who utilizes all manner of outboard hardware and effects units to create atmospheric and densely textured tracks that defy easy categorization. At times, his manipulations of tape hiss, reverberating samples, delay-laden bass pulses and trippy electronic motifs sound like some mutant form of dub techno; at others, these evocative and otherworldly soundscapes inch further towards becalmed electronica. Throughout, Laslo's compositions are never less than strangely alluring.
Review: Since returning to action last year following a near eight-year hiatus, Pete Swanson and Jed Binderman's Freedom To Spend label has been on an impressive run of form. Predictably "Music and Poetry of the Kesh" is another doozy. It was first released on cassette way back in 1985 and saw experimental composer Todd Barton (then still finding his feet in music) and science fiction writer and poet Ursula K De Guin join forces for the first and only time. It's a curious but thoroughly absorbing and entertaining set that mixes and mangles spoken word passages, experimental choral pieces, crackling filed recordings, dreamy analogue electronics, Berlin School ambient, elements of pastoral folk and more than a few nods towards the giants of American minimalism.
Review: Back in 2014, RVNG Intl. released "Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Volume 1", a compilation of pioneering early 1980s electronic music by composer and producer Craig Leon. Five years on, they're finally releasing a follow up - and this time the music is brand spanking new. Leon, with assistance from vocalist Cassell Webb, recorded the showcased music between 2015 and 2018. It explores similar sonic territory to the artist's celebrated early work, offering up an atmospheric, synthesizer-driven fusion of ambient, modern classical, New York minimalism, Radio Workshop style electronic experimentalism and new age soundscapes. The set more than lives up to its grandiose title, offering up atmospheric, extra-terrestrial musical movements that sound like they've been beamed down from a galaxy far, far away.