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Reviewed this week
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She Lies define themselves as a "disco post-punk band from Berlin". In practice, that means an atmospheric, stylish blend of darkwave, new wave, post-punk and Italo influences, with just a smidgeon of disco release. This debut EP features two original productions - the woozy, late night hedonism of "Needed You" and the chunkier, bleaker "Sickness" (which comes complete with a thunderous bassline) - plus a smart remix of the title track from the Asphodells. Messrs Weatherall and Fairplay strip back "Needed You", adding some hazy synth-strings and a little more of a psychedelic vibe to proceedings. It's not their best rework by any means, but it's still mighty impressive.
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The Ecstatic label run by Walls pair Sam Willis and Ale Natalizia has really stepped it up this year in terms of scope and intrigue. Both the Daphne Oram reworks and the long form sonic decay from The Field producer Axel Wilner as HANDS suggests a label is happy to remain driven by the esoteric interests of its founders. This latest release is another conceptual curveball which finds Natalizia teaming up with Pye Corner Audio for Intercepts, a split album themed around notions of espionage. Regardless of how much you invest in the conceptual motivations of both artists, fans of Pye Corner Audio and Not Waving are spoilt musically with the latter's side proving particularly dreamlike and intoxicating - "Protect The Revolution" is a notable highlight.
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Having already been reissued by VNG Int'l a few years back, Bureau B have decided to repackage this leviathan of a release once more. Harald Grosskopf is something of a legend, having been a collaborato with Klaus Schulze and the drummer for Ash Ra Tempel. Synthesist is a rare work of visionary futurism fused with the motorik rhythms of Krautrock; equipped with a Moog synthesizer and a drum machine, Grosskopf creates a world of his own, one which sits somewhere on the border between light and dark, never steering to close to either one. It's both fun and a eerie at the same time, precisely the reason for its singularity. If you haven't checked it, you're missing out.
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French label Desire spark up a full working relationship with pioneering producer Konrad Becker here following his commission to remix Ike Yard and their reissued edition of Monotonprodukt 07, his seminal early 80s album under the Monoton alias. Operations is Becker's latest creative endeavour and this four track Possession EP finds him operating in the crawlspace between synth pop, electronica and dub, seemingly exploring themes of a spectral nature with the assistance of vocalist Sela. Described by Desire as linking "21st century technology to ancient communication practices," the project is as political as it is dancefloor-focused and makes for compelling listening.
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Bernardino Femminielli is a Canadian born, Berlin-based artist who in the past has released on labels like Clan Destine and Digitalis. In 2012 he released this Double Invitation LP on Desire and they now bring his cohesion of industrial, Italo-disco, French new wave and post punky sounds to the digital medium. All but the final "O Sodoma" from the LP are awash with walls of synth, reverb and delays that Femminielli pairs with strung-out guitars and faded variety show vocals in a sound that sits somewhere between Tropic Of Cancer, Sisters Of Mercy and Giorgio Moroder (and do we dare add, Michael Bolton?).