Tentacle Loot #26 | JHM – Exhaustive Portal EP

Whenever peripheral areas in music are explored, whether in terms of speed, complexity or aggressiveness, there is always a critical point. Regardless of whether we are irradiated at a gabba party and crave for a climax that we have long since passed, or if we boastfully exchange our favorite breakcore tracks until the complex rhythm structures hit us as a wave of snare drums. At a certain point we cross the threshold from art to sport. And while some feel right at home in this spot, I personally often balance on that very partition, driven by a mixture of curiosity and skepticism. My own approach to music is just far too emotional and physical to be charmed only by my left brain hemisphere. And so, after this highly subjective process of elimination, in the end there aren’t that many who still manage to convey a physical or emotional message under the flag of hardcore-whatever.

JHM (aka Jens Masimov) is probably a little too smart for that.

In his self-description he describes himself as a multimedia artist working with ritualistic distortion, and his musical mainspring could hardly be better described. Located in a gloomy no-man’s-land somewhere between driving techno and gabba, he doesn’t seem to care too much about whether he could under-challenge some and overwhelm others. Instead, he fearlessly dives into the very core of the ecstatic ritual of contemporary club culture. With stoically hammering, distorted kick drums and tirelessly circulating sequences, he keeps us in a sustained state of physical exhaustion at just around 150bpm, which can ultimately only be maintained by fading out all conscious thought processes. Masimov’s talent finally reveals itself in his ability to maintain this state. And although you intuitively feel overwhelmed at first, he still allows room for improvement and allows the individual elements of his music air to breathe. And so ultimately he leaves us with the last remaining conscious decision, whether we want to swim or run.

Tentacle Loot #25 | Fuewa – Complete Earthworks

Fuewa‘s second-born Complete Earthworks already celebrated its fifth birthday recently. And, given today’s musical attention span, it should probably be in a sub-category of unheard classics. But as much as releases suffer from those brief attention peaks nowadays, I also have the feeling that the ephemeral trends of these days no longer really disappear from the scene, but rather retreat to niches where they are still celebrated and loved. And therefore are worth being mentioned even if they weren’t exactly fresh from the eaves.

In addition, Fuewa has put together a completely timeless album with his still most recent work, which despite all this has received far too little attention. At least if you believe the numbers on Bandcamp, Spotify and elsewhere. And that regardless of the fact, that Fuewa‘s label of choice, Sonic Router, did took the right turn at a time when the word Future Garage was already part of our collective memory and went on towards something … well … I guess more post-future. Once again they deconstructed the well-worn legacy of Dub- and 2-Step, Garage and IDM and explored alternative timelines with great tape releases by Broshuda and Fuewa. But while Broshuda dismantled his drum patterns until he produced more or less ambient from beats, Fuewa‘s strength lies in the discipline of not achieving musical renewal through limitless complexity. As much as his pieces are influenced by the pioneers of Dub, Jungle and IDM, he retains very driving and repetitive structures and thus leans on a sound that at the same time was mainly shaped and released on Livity Sound (above all Kowton‘s Utility), who married UK garage and driving techno in equal measure. And yet one can clearly hear that Fuewa doesn’t only have a club surrounding as the cathedral of its sound in the back of its head, but also us aging home listeners. Therefore he weaves timeless melodies into his earthy sound textures, lets ambient pieces flow in and takes us on a journey across a planet that seemed so familiar to us.

For me personally, Complete Earthworks – along with the already mentioned Utility by Kowton – is one of the most elaborate albums of this very special straightforward form of UK Garage and should therefore be brought to the mind especially of those who haven’t sorted it into their memories yet. Especially since we are slowly but surely facing a wildly gesticulating drum & bass revival.

Tentacle Loot #24 | Titch Thomas

“[…] music for humans and others with formidable frontal cortexes.”

Noviellion (Discogs User)

The Titch Thomas Tape Trax had a constant spot on my hard drive for quite some time, a recurring companion for stimulating my frontal cortex, until the latter finally formulated a comparatively simple thought: Where that comes from, there must be more!

Lo and behold, at Titch’s Bandcamp a Pandorian can is just waiting to be opened with a handful of old IDM spells to be brought to life. If you look over the quickly put together album covers, you come across well-known ingredients from Acid, IDM and Braindance hold together by a very special cement called Talent. Unforgettable melodies twist out of the creaky goo. The rhythm section always acts on the verge of physical feasibility and these acid sequences work hard on prophecies of an approaching Apocalypse.

It’s been a bit quiet since his split EP on the beloved Mindcolormusic label, but his Facebook profile gives some hope for continuation. Until then, I would advise you to throw a few voluntary coins into his Bandcan: Perhaps just one or the other battered 303 has to be replaced to make him continue his journey 😉

Tentacle Loot #23 | Wagawaga – OuterYerO’er

Wagawaga has been a silent companion in my musical metacosmos since the very early days. With his first releases on Acroplane Рwhere I also had my first flying lessons Рhe absorbed the quintessence of dubstep very early, freed from its bursting clich̩s and reassembled from a fund of unbridled creativity.

While early albums like JinJaNoonBus still shot from all directions with genre references from Dubstep, Breakcore and Acid, his wobbly sound now seem to spring from a center point. That’s neither good nor bad, because Wagawaga has always been somehow … eh ….. Waga Waga … has always been fun, but it offers a different approach to his world. You may stumble and dissolve, change your physical composition, threaten to give up your body in a literal jungle of bass and swelling drums but finally are caught again with a swing. He utters you the desire to use awareness and control as a crutch and fulfills the unspoken desire to be reborn as a rubber ball. Musically, he puts the complete dubstep manual aside and relies entirely on a breathing carpet of bass and natural field recordings. On this he lets his stumbling jazzy drum patterns swell up and down, weaves in sound effects and mantra-like melodies.
What a wonderful late summer!

Tentacle Loot #22 | Lesinge – Plic Ploc

Okay, I’m getting old… starting to repeat myself. But in the case of Plic Ploc, you can’t repeat yourself often enough. Just as I can’t stop treading the repeat button on my tape deck for this great Acid Waxa tape.

The quirky French man Lesinge had his album debut with Slide Blinders 2017 on Acid Waxa and in a peculiar way his sound spectrum developed parallel to that of his label by laying on quite a bit thicker. Because just as Acid Waxa slowly and skillfully pulled itself out of the LoFi love affair (a bit), Lesinge has also served a lot of butter since his debut. Always with a base dough made from pure organic Acid, of course.

When listening to his debut one always got the feeling that this was an extremely talented rookie. For example, when he lets entire tracks sink into a swamp of effects on the master track and all these YouTube tutorials mentally impose  that taught us that we should never do something like that … still it somehow worked perfectly fine.

With Plic Ploc Lesinge is now delivering a Christmas tree that can barely hold up to all these presents underneath. With generously friendly gestures, he takes us on a journey through (almost) all the playing styles that made us love acid. From funky super hooks on Une Verte Deux Blanches to dystopian Leftfield House on Eruption. From melodic space night jams on Chain to this nervously whipping IDM aggression training a la AFX on Bless.

The whole thing is neither a blueprint nor a retrospective, but simply rounded off extremely neatly. There will certainly be a lot more to be heard in the future. Je ne peux plus attendre!!!

Tentacle Loot #21 | Metadata – TRANS EP

Open your ears and tip your toes for this handy 2-Track-Banger from Metadata!

The Argentine label Infinit Records dropped their third EP into the realsm of Bandcamp in notime. And slowly but steady the musical cornerstones that pull the two labelheads Franco ‘D and Cruz Coronado together emerge. Trippy acid jams, analogue breaks and a balanced preference for classic MPC Downbeats without committing to the 90s all too much – at least not in terms of BPM.

Quite the contrary – Metadata’s TRANS EP (a side project by Cruz Coronado and Lan) raises the pace bar siginificantly. Stubbornly impulsive and yet somehow playful, more drum machine than sample chop, the drum carpet whizzes over the almost 10 minutes. The melody part, meanwhile, jumps happily irradiated alongside. Grinning broadly without noticing how the warning tempo limit signs roll by. It all sounds kind of like Plone at a 90s jungle party, but it’s a fun portion of braindance that warms up for the next group activity.

J’s rolled with fingers crossed 😉

Tentacle Loot #20 | Nicolas Spampinato – 0000 Drama

The Argentine label Guerilla Tunes has woven its very own sound carpet over the last few years. A knitting pattern bursting with colorful joy, and yet permeated with patterns that you have to look at from some distance before you understand them. With a mixture of nature-loving field recordings, interwoven yet friendly rhythm experiments, straight acid house and great artworks they celebrate sonic diversity like hardly any other (musical) island. And yes … it all fits together somehow … thanks to this very fine pinch of Balearic gentleness … just in Argentinian … and straight in your face … know what I’m sayin’?!

Or no…don’t you? Then perhaps Nicolas Spampinato’s 0000 Drama could provide a smooth introduction to this complex unity. His recently released 4 track debut is one of the more accessible releases on Guerilla, which does not mean that they have gone too far off the beaten track here. Because although we are dealing with 4 house tracks, which cling to the lingering 90s nostalgia by rolling along quite funky with a manageable number of elements, all tracks have a personal signature. Nicolas Spampinato appears on this EP as an artist whose personal note nestles in the details. Consistently in the tradition of the old school, somewhere between old Traxxx Records, early LFO tunes and refreshed L.I.E.S records and yet never completely cliché, but always idea first. And so all the musical elements constantly urge to get out of hand to escape the rhythmic bars, but are always reminded of their task just at the right moment: Serve the groove! And that’s good! Because the result is a playful design, a stubborn head soaked in sunlight.

Braindance with a parasol.

Tentacle Loot #19 | Northern Ncounters – Steel City Records 1995​-​1997

When you experience this compilation, it quickly becomes clear that this is not a well-researched subcultural gem from the history of niche techno. These are contemporary witnesses, those who have been there and who look back on an imprinted fragment of their past with a well-deserved and balanced portion of nostalgia.

Over 12 tracks from the back catalog of the few main players from Steel City Records, we explore a pool of acid tracks that are as uncompromising as they are experimental, and to which the sweat of blurred Warehouse Club nights generated by them is still clearly attached.

Anyone who has ever stretched out their sensors between Detroit and Manchester cannot avoid recognizing musical parallels. However, these tracks are far too honest, truthful and stubbornly naive for a result of quotation and imitation. Rather, the same spirit speaks from them, which also drove the disoriented youngsters from Detroit and Manchester. For them (unlike 90s Techno  in Berlin, for example) the awakening of techno was not the soundtrack for (spiritual) liberation, but a tool of escapism from their bleak, industrially colored world. This can especially be recognized from the fact that these producers represented here were striving for a much more driving, minimalist and hypnotic sound. While there are excursions in typical Berlin high-speed techno from time to time (such as Opgang 2 “DeChirico”), the naive testing of musical limits infected by experienced freedom does not occur. These Tracks had a task, a clear function (and still do!)

The attached PDF Liner Notes are very much recommended and yet too quickly overlooked. In the brief history of Steel City Records and the associated techno enclave of Canada it becomes clear that Detroit and Manchester were indeed important cornerstones of the musical orientation. Pleasingly, the written transcript of the SCR history is not a hedonistic celebration of better days, but rather an honest review of missed opportunities, youthful egocentricity and loyalty to ideas. The explanations are also exciting as a contemporary document of the pre-Internet hypes, from a time when the social networking of different local subcultures was still so completely different from today. Especially since we are now at a point where the dream of the Internet as a tool for cultural independence has been swept away in many ways and we are once again asked to reinvent ourselves.

 Without a doubt, “Steel City Records 1995 – 1997” would be worth a vinyl release. But as usual you would probably have to seize the opportunity to create a musical hype. Maybe you should miss this chance a second time? I guess so!

Tentacle Loot #18 | The 36 Chambers of Danny Wolfers

 

Usually, if you are a musician with only half as many identities, you can be sure that you have lost any prospect of any kind of musical career. After all, the musical identity of one’s own alter ego is usually the creatorË‹s greatest asset. And once a recipe has been found that will keep your place in the queue of abundance free, you have to stay tuned and repeat formula X-Y until you get bored and get back into freelance poverty.

So it seems that the only conceivable way to escape this creative one-way street is to have a musical output that a single imaginary identity simply cannot cope with on its own. Regardless of the question how a real person can handle this

… because Danny can.

Where (contrary to popular preferences) I enjoy to hear musicians like Kid606 or Mark Pritchard keep breaking their blueprints constantly and pushing me into completely new worlds of sound, the wondrous “Aha!” moment with Legowelt always arises when someone from my musical arena comes back to with something like: “Oh … yeah, that’s good shit, right ?! ThatË‹s actually a Legowelt Track.”

All the more I blossomed through a random Bandcamp fanmail thing from Danny Wolfers, which (far too late) made me realize that another incredible treasure trove of musical parallel identities lives on his very personal Bandcamp site. And even more, mostly on a pay-as-you-please principle. While I recently bought one of the records listed there for a ridiculously low price on Discogs, I guess I will be busy looking at this level of musical effusion even approximately for quite a while now.

Overall, Danny Wolferˋs Legowelt Bandcamp site is a little bit of a personal cabinet of loving curiosities.

Among countless hand-painted, fluffy album covers that reflect a uniquely sympathetic, deliberately naive DIY ethos, circulating Tape Acid Jams and warm, analogue ambient treasures abound, which alternately plant stories of elephants in city parks, extraterrestrials in fast-food restaurants or retro-futuristic vampire societies in the listener’s imagination. And probably the greatest achievement of Danny Wolfers is that you can believe all of these stories. Because he believes in them himself. Because he chose to believe all of these stories. And so with each release you understand a little more that Danny is a great role model for the eternal child in us. Someone who takes well-groomed naivety and an exorbitant knowledge of kitschy micotrends of underground culture to create his dream worlds uninhibited. Someone who does not criticize or condemn exaggerated musical clichés like coolness, but simply soaks up everything and let his robots translate his own version of it.

Danny Wolfers, the man who makes music faster than others can hear it.

“Word.”

Tentacle Loot #17 | Poisson Chat: Nocturna Træcks I+II

As much as I try to avoid mentioning the C-Word these days, opportunities often do lead to inspiration. And so we start this review with a figuratively clichéd thesis once again:

“Isolation is a warm place.”

Not just since his Nocturna Tracks releases I+II Poisson Chat cultivated a very deep and warm sound. In his minimalistic Deep-House compositions he takes us into the comforting realms of pure emptiness that only someone with a truly introverted mind can empathize.

“What I’m looking for when I’m composing music, is an isolated, quiet, and peaceful environment (like the deepness of the ocean). Going like a fish (-cat) to a new world to express what I feel. With my music, I think people can imagine their own underwater stories, and swim into some nice places.”

This is how the artist himself described his musical world of inspiration in one of his rarely seen web appearences Рa DJ-Set Podcast / Interview, which was published for the Italian online magazine Electronique.it in 2014. And these ambitions can still be recognized as a driving force in his releases. In the same interview he also described his efforts to strip down his sound as much as possible in order to archieve a clear idea. And indeed, precisely these ingredients lead him to an amazingly focused sound, well-placed in genre terms such as Minimalism, Deep House or LoFi House, but skilfully eludes the corresponding genre clich̩s. His driving grooves, warm sound carpets and resting melody sequences, create tracks that work on dreamy, lost dance floor escapades as well as on peacefully exhausted six-hour drives back home from the latest festival weekend (which will definitely come ;).

Those who take the rewarding venture to dive deeper into the Poisson Chat‘s catalog will also discover a handful of downtempo treasures in which he has clear evidence for a fluid connection between the early Lofi masterpieces by Boards Of Canada and contemporary LoFi House Trends. This preference is particularly evident on his Unidata alias (which I almost certainly suspect is his creation too, even if this is not clearly written anywhere).

With a few exceptions from the early days, Poisson Chat consistently published on his own label creations Poisson Chat Musique (PCM) and Wave Memory (VΛV).


 

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