Crikey, K1 is lush. Unfathomable how I bounced off this unless the rest of the record turns out to be drastically different.
Yeah, this is mint. Past AT was a moron. Everything swirls so beautifully around those driving beats.
So I did this.
I’ll keep it updated.
cheers dude - strong list so far.
On my second Donny D playthrough. @GrandMoffTarkin are you familiar with the Silent Season record label?
Yeah I am, big fan! They’ve been producing the goods. Like the Wanderwelle album from last year. Acronym, Segue, ASC… Even that recent Mohlao album was pretty sweet. Yeah lotta time for them.
Glad you’re enjoying K. Had hoped it was on Spotify (I have Apple Music, not on that) but apparently not then…? Shite.
I thought you might be. My fave from them is Seraphim Rhtym’s Aeterna. Properly enclosed swirling techno - so good.
Oo haven’t heard that - I will check it out!
Some more cohesive thoughts - hope the lack of spotify isn’t too much of a barrier for folks this week, as this is well worth everyone’s time!
K1 is giving me proper feels for the openers on Bola’s Soup and, even further back, B12’s Electro Soma. Really expansive with a less overtly ‘techno’ beat and a great way to open up.
K2 is doing some interesting things with the beats where it’s gradually layering little rhythmic motifs - it’s a reference point I hit a lot, but it’s because it is one of my favourite things, but it reminds me a lot of the way tracks were pieced together in early Autechre. The pads are kinda ominous in the background.
Kinda like that it’s 17 minutes into what is nominally a techno album that K3 drops the first four-to-the-floor beat, and even then, it imbues a sense of lethargy rather than urgency into the music - it’s kinda soft at first and the BPM is pretty low (I think?). Both this and K2 have sort of mechanical whirrs way off in the distance - the album definitely has an aquatic feel to it as a whole, but there are definitely some heavy-duty submarines off in the distance to overextend the metaphor.
Crikey, if K3’s four-to-the-floor came across as lethargic, K4’s is positively comatose! Those swells of pads are beautiful and haunting all at once, and I love how oppressive the music feels. It feels properly enclosed and swirling and those distant waves of static starting about 3:30 give the impression that it’s all on the verge of collapsing in on itself.
K5 is an unmitigated banger, huh? That incessant kick and the simple looped pad sounds like a high-octane Gas track.
K6 is another really ominous track. The rhythms are really skittery and the harmonies are proper eerie. Kinda like that tracks like this don’t really go anywhere - they have that hovering quality of certain types of ambient music.
K7 loses me a bit - it’s when this kind of techno is all sub and very little treble that I’m less interested. Like, I quite like the distant build of static-y pads towards the end as a way to close out the album but the 6 or 7 minutes it takes to get there feel a bit empty and cold to my ears. I’m back to fully-invested by the end, mind.
Really hope I haven’t dropped the ball too much with the streaming thing Playback on bandcamp is much better through the app, if anyone doesn’t have it (it’s excellent and well worth getting anyway).
Nice feedback. Agree with all your thoughts tbh. K7 is probably my least favourite track too - overlong really - but that sort of spacious acid line and, like you say, the ending, are still really enjoyable for me. K3 has probably emerged as my favourite overall though.
Bandcamp should be ok for most folks - obviously not ideal for on the go, but we’re all office drones, right? I already owned it but it actually got removed from my iPod synced albums in the great cull of 2017 (when I retired my classic and moved down to a touch with less memory) which tells you how little it had stuck with me initially. This re-evaluation has been great fun.
So I managed to get this record. It’s pretty excellent.
I was going to suggest something; I do a podcast, as you all might know. I’m going to start popping a track from these selections on the weekly show, starting this week. Just in case anyone cared.
@Aphextwinkletoes asked me if I could do the nomination this week. I’m a bit behind on the listening myself, so apologies to other recent pickers. I’m trying to catch up, but these records don’t tend to lend themselves to listening ‘on the go’ or in the car, and they’re generally very long! Without much home working time recently, it’s been hard.
This week’s selection is someone who I haven’t seen being discussed much on DiS other than by me occasionally banging on about him in the DiS mixtape exchanges, so I’m hoping it’s new to at least some.
Another long album - apologies there! It’s a record that pushes a lot of my buttons - cinematic, atmospheric, and with plenty of variation and melody. For me there’s a particularly good run of tracks from Arrival to an Empty Room to Insomnia in Roscoe Village which is just sublime.
I think only real mis-step is on the first track (which is an unfortunate place to have one) where after a promising build up, the bombastic rhythm and lead guitar come in all heavy handed and totally out of place. Rock guitar and electronica isn’t often a good combination imo…
The Flashbulb - Opus At The End of Everything
I feel like The Flashbulb has been on my to-do list for over 10 years now - one of those artists I recall last.fm recommending when I was 18 and loved trawling through the treasure troves of netlabels that existed in those days to find things like Wisp and Milieu. Why I’ve never properly gotten round to checking him out is a mystery but glad this will finally prompt me to in any case.
I haven’t been posting much the last few weeks but this is one of my favourite records of the decade and one I considered posting Haven’t listened in a while so looking forward to revisiting (playing catch up with the thread atm)
Was driving at night earlier this week with Donny D at full-blast. Properly atmospheric.
About halfway through my first listen and there’s a lot to dissect here! It feels quite unfocused, but not necessarily in a bad way - just a very different proposition to something like Burger/Ink. It reminds me in form of Hecq’s earlier albums (albeit much lighter in tone) where it feels like the artist has a wealth of ideas and part of the charm is a lack of clear structure. It’s jumping around a lot of styles (currently on Island On An Endless Plane which has a jazzy lilt to it with the drums and arpeggiated piano chords).
The sound-palette is interesting - feels reminiscent of the n5md label in the mid-to-late 00s with the acoustic IDM blend. Not on that label, but have you heard Arovane’s Lilies @woweezowee? There are some similar textures and atmospheres going on there I think you might like.
Yeah, I did start typing in the original post about how it was quite different from some of the other picks so far in that respect, and hoped that that didn’t push it away from the side of electronica/IDM that people liked, but it all started getting a bit wordy, so I cut it back.
If you ever delve into his back catalogue, the most striking thing is how diverse it is (I think he covers all of the listening club bases in the title at one point or other). For instance, his Hardscrabble album has a harsher Squarepusher drill n bass feel, whereas Pale Blue Dot under his own name (Benn Jordan) is more ambient. They’re both more cohesive works than this, but I really like that ‘acoustic IDM’ point he pitches up at here.
Somehow it all holds together for me at least. It’s more of a patchwork blanket than a sheet, with 60+ minutes of ideas layered and patched together, but I always liked that cut and paste hiphop/electronica style where the emphasis is on creativity and variety more than slow building.
Thanks for sharing your initial take ATT. I don’t know Arovane’s Lilies, but I’ll try and give it a listen this evening and let you know.
Yeah in my head he was filed under drill ‘n’ bass - got real fond memories of the underground scene fronted by Wisp from that era - when clearly he runs the gamut of the broad IDM genre.
“Patchwork blanket” is a nice description - it has those folktronica pastoral feels at points as well which makes a patchwork blanket feel thematically on point.
Just begun my second listen and that opener is a spectacular mis-step. The second track does the same thing much more successfully. On that topic, I’m enjoying the occasional use of heavily vocodered vocals throughout - one of those tropes which has broadly died out it seems, but it gives me fond memories of folks like Proem.