YUM 1 & 2  –  S T F U (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a1556912115_16I tend to use the word soundscape a lot in reviews because when put together right, when suitably structured, when layered with intricate textures, when music moves beyond the familiar, it has the ability to build new worlds. They may be sonic worlds but they can be as beguiling, as varied, as wondrous as anything you find in the physical realm.  Dean Garcia and Preston Maddox, back under the moniker of S T F U, do indeed fall into such a category.

But unlike the more ambient creations of Garcia as SPC ECO or the cinematic electronica of Maddox’s Bloody Knives, instead S T F U fashion more intense, claustrophobic, angular and alien musical worlds. They pile layer upon layer to build crushing weight, shoegaze on cavernous drone, darkwave on art-punk, noise rock on sinister psychedelia and all the while industrial beats and invisible digital forces seem to toil endlessly to push the whole intricate collection forward.

The Same Way is mechanical in its nature, hypnotic factory rhythms meeting barely human vocals in the perfect synthesis of man and machine and The Liar is a blend of scuzzy electro-rock and android pop, a mix of hot oil and cold metal, or perhaps vice versa.

YUM 2 is a collection of remixes mirroring the first album but taking the songs into even more strange places. Secrets We Keep becomes a glitchy and almost arabesque industrial pop piece, Choloro is washed out even further into hazy space noise whilst Blind proves to be even more intense and brooding.

This is dance music built from the detritus found scattered across an industrial wasteland, all sharp edges and jagged design and driven by a relentless powerhouse of bruising beats and searing sparks. It is the white-hot groove of factory noise being rendered onto the night club floor, but not the night club that just anyone can find. This one is probably in a decaying warehouse or dead car plant miles away from civilisation and possibly even in some sort of parallel universe, and as the clock strikes thirteen this is the sound which hits the sky for probably the last party before the apocalypse.

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Volker – Blurred City Lights (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

472749Dean Garcia’s post and parallel Curve career is a CV which demonstrably shows that he has never been someone to rest on his laurels and coast on past achievements. Bands such as The Secret Meeting and more recently SPC ECO prove that he hasn’t lost his sense of musical intrigue, always moving forward as he wanders new and less well trodden sonic landscapes. Volker, the second album from his intriguing collaboration with Polish musical protagonist and multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer Jarek Leskiewicz, sees the pair of them heading into hazy, post-rock minimalism and the quieter echos of shoegazery to wonderful effect.

It is an album which drifts as much as it pulses, skitters as much as it beats, is shrouded in gloom and glitch, in pause and effect and there is a restrained and smoke-like beauty to the music it contains. But this minimalism is in constant flux and flow with more robust and well-rounded sounds and it is this dynamic which creates the charm of the album as it drops down into near silence, reaches for noisy crescendos and explores every combination in between.

Night Crawlers is as tense and scratchy as its name suggests, Is This It wanders between clinical beats and a wall of cavernous industrial noise forged into a melody which seems just outside the range of human senses and Starry Eyes draws a line between the then and now of alternative synth music. And all the time the vocals seem to lurk below the music playing an instrumental rather than a communicative role.

Blurred City Lights is helping to add a wonderful new genre to the modern musical canon, one that sits between post-punk dream scapes and modern ambient pop, between post-rock excess and cinematic delicacy. It revels in space and a whole new and evolving sound palette which doesn’t seek to conform and in not doing so is being picked up by a whole new alternative pop and indie audience.

New Music of the Day – CCVI: Palio – Fassine

18922842_1549791551739121_6760479845550914864_oFassine has been teasing us with chilled and sophisticated tracks accompanied by intriguing videos for months now as they pave the way for Gourami, the latest, long awaited full album. This last chapter before the big reveal sees them at their most minimal, a beat cloaked in whispers and anticipation, the trip-hop vibe of the fledgling Portishead, the fragility of Warpaint and the ethereality of SPC ECO meeting in a loving embrace.

Neo-classical charm is threaded through futuristic beats, plaintive electronica washes through vocal delicacy, dance floor culture is turned into smoke and anagrams and dream-pop vibes soak into a wholly new sensual and understated EDM sound. This minimalist vibe even runs through the video, a hypnotic monochrome affair, again just lyrics and (hoof) beats, hypnotic and understated matching the slick and spacious music that drives it.

We have known for a long time that the pending album is going to be well worth waiting for, what has been floated out into the world so far has been wonderfully enticing, their track record has revealed impeccable taste and musical finesse, and if that isn’t what the world needs right now I’ll eat my Kate Bush albums.

 

Weekly Review Podcast – Episode 2

Welcome to Episode 2 of the Dancing About Architecture music review podcast.

This week we review;

  • the new EP from SPC ECO called “Under My Skin”,
  • Iktelan, the new album from Israel’s Zoo Harmonics,
  • Plummie Racket and the Dicemen’s new EP,
  • Frontback’s “Heart of a Lion”,
  • Gotthard’s “Silver”,
  • Gravedigger’s “Healed By Metal”,
  • and Orango’s “Mules of Nana”.

If you want us to review your music, drop us a line and we’ll be delighted to include it.

Under My Skin – SPC ECO (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a0071911525_16Preconceptions will always let you down. After all, a band made up of a dad and daughter just smacks of working men’s club acts and pub duos doesn’t it? Well, not when the dad is Dean Garcia, better known as one half of Curve and certainly not when daughter, Rose Berlin, has a voice, which sounds as evocative as this. Billy Ray and Miley this ain’t!

Under My Skin feels more like a collection of moods than music, of wistful reflections made into sound, of heart-breaking emotion, of barely tangible but emotively powerful expressions of love and loss and life. It feels like the ghosts of sounds that hang in the air when the music itself has been erased before itself being lost to the breeze. Garcia’s track record in crafting such ephemeral statements is well documented but the duo’s strength is borne out of more than just a musical connection.

“There was a truly emotional earthquake between Rose and myself due to a personal ongoing issue, which left us both scarred and in tears,” explains Dean Garcia. “One hour later to mend us both, I asked her if she would like to sing on the sad piano song again and she sang what you hear on the track. Driven to tears once again, but for the polar opposite reasons, this song is the epitome of the unquestionable love and bond that only occurs between family.”

 

Music is made for many reasons and using many tools and inspirations but it takes a bond this close, this raw, this loving, this primal, to truly make music that resonates this deeply.

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