Tracks of the moment #1

Yesterday the indie fellas Mansions on The Moon gave a heads up on facebook about their new song, Full Moon, which is a pleasant arrangement of retro-style synth chords and smooth, echoing vocals. The sound feels a bit 80s, and it’s really just going right in your head and stays there. Have a listen:

(are these guys soon releasing a full length?)
EDIT: while it ain’t a full length release, they have a new EP coming Oct. 14th, yay!

Cyril Hahn played in Copenhagen last week @ Rust, and I did not make it to the gig, which I am so bugged about. Especially since I’ve heard from friends that it was a really great set. So, recently I’ve been spinning his remix of Solange’s hit single Losing You, and I really can’t seem to get enough. Hahn amplifies the theme of losing, transcribing the song into a track with a darker atmosphere and deep bass, aswell as changing the pitch of the vocals, which I just think this is a great yet simple foundation for a nice, almost hypno-like track. Get on it:

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Unique & Urban: Burial

Today I want to talk about Burial, which might sound like some death metal band (actually I think there is one by that name), but that’s not the kind of music I will be featuring in this post. I would rather talk about the London based electronic musician & dubstep ghost William Bevan, who remained anonymous until sometime back in 2008. That was about a year after the release of his 2nd full length album, Untrue. He stated in an interview that “only five people know I make tunes“, which to me evokes a great deal of astonishment; releasing 2 full length albums with critical acclaim and still remaining anonymous is to me remarkable in the age of individualism and self promotion. As an artist he is very elusive, and this also tells us a lot about Bevan as a person. He is a loner, introvert and thoughtful person, and he does not seek fame or fortune. I think this is a great feat, and it is definitely mirrored in his music.

Burial – Untrue

Genre-wise it is being described as dubstep, among other things; a tag that is for the wide majority associated with the ‘wobbling’ sound that has been popularized by artists such as Skrillex and Rusko. However, this is not a sound that can be found in any of Burial’s tracks, nor do you find any of that explosive energy. What you are going to find, on the other hand, is atmosphere, emotion and melancholy. There is no doubt that Bevan is very connected to his music on many levels, and that solidifies his integrity as an artist.

There is also this urban sound to his music, which I personally find very interesting. In fact, it inspired me to write a short story that plays out in a big city, which I wrote while listening to almost nothing but Burial. When describing his music, one can not get around without mentioning his signature clink-clank, organic sounding beats, which has spawned a wide range of imitators. Few to none have had success in imitating Burial’s sound completely, yet there’s an attempt worth mentioning.
Since the release of Untrue, Burial has moved from the full length format and started to experiment with the EP format. Subsequently to Untrue, he has released 5 EPs, the first of these being the EP Moth / Wolf Cub, which he did together with Four Tet. Following this, there was the Street Halo EP and Paradise Circus / Four Walls EP, which was a remix of two Massive Attack songs. The remixes are very atmospheric, ghostly and almost dream like, with very little percussion/beats used. The most recent EP releases from Burial are the Kindred and Truant / Rough Sleeper EPs, of which I mostly enjoyed the former. The Kindred EP, which I also featured in my 2012-end-year list, contains three tracks: Kindred, Loner and Ashtray Wasp. The first and last of these go past the 10 minute mark, with the 2nd track being about 7 minutes long, making the whole EP clock in at half an hour. Have a listen:

Out of the three, I enjoyed the first two tracks the most. On the first one, Burial weaves his signature beat together with a beautiful female vocal sample creating a harmony that is simply chilling. I especially love how he ‘bends’ the sample to make it fit into the progression of the synth chords.
Loner is of a bit different nature, as it has a more standard, forward-going beat, with some great synths aswell. The atmosphere of the song is dark, and the synth chords are arranged in a way so that they almost sound alerting, indicating that something bad might happen soon. It was recently featured in the movie Elysium, a pleasant surprise in an otherwise predictable and bland movie (however it fit really well into the scene). Have another listen:

Antlers Mulm – a sonic journey into the dark

Some music has the ability to bring back memories of places. Places that hold experiences or impressions. Music can remind one of people and relationsships. And some music can mystify you, create images in your head of places you’ve been or never been before. Places that don’t necessarily exist, but are comprised of dozens of visual impressions you’ve encountered earlier in life. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read along, take a listen, and you might just find out.

Antlers Mulm is a dark electronic, ambient & spoken word music project whose sole member is Hans Johm. He is hailing from Germany, and is also running a record label known as Sonder├╝bertragung.

The three ‘tags’ mentioned above (genres, if you will) are fairly good as guidelines for what to expect from a Mulm release – yet there is still a lot between these that is not easy to put tags on.

A thing that seperates Johm from other ambient projects is the use of clear, bleak keyboard melodies, that sound like they are pulled out of a machine from the 70s; they have this “fake” feel to them. This, together with subtle samples and Johm’s calm, almost preach-like vocals creates a surreal atmosphere.

This being said, there are some points where I think that the vocals don’t work very well together with the melodies – this is typically when Johm’s lyrics goes from being spoken to almost sung – however, this is a rarity, seeing as Johm does not have the abilities of a singer. But this fact is something that I at the same time admire a lot: despite his lack of this particular feat, he is still the man behind the microphone; the man with the ideas – and it simply works.

He has released over a dozen of full length records throughout the years along with a couple of EPs, and done some minor touring (mainly in Russia; the ambient scene there seems to be quite extensive). The latest full length I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying (Weihnachtsfunk 4 has since been released) is the Age of Efficiency – an album that was a little different from the other releases I’ve heard by Mr. Mulm. It’s a bit difficult to put my finger on what it is, but I think that this release might be a bit more beat-oriented, yet it still retains the mystical atmosphere that Johm is a pure guru at creating. There also appears to be a bit more focus on the lyrics here, although they seem to be quite cryptic in meaning – but my guess is that there is a certain critical approach against modern society inbetween the lines.

One of my favourite tracks by Antlers Mulm is the track Untruth (Restructured), which is featured on the Lone Songs EP. I find this to be a very appropriate title; seldom have I experienced a similar feeling of loneliness while listening to some of these songs, or any other songs by a different artist for that matter. Have a (lonely) listen: