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Reviewed this week
Helm and Decimus weren't our first prediction for a new Opal Tapes EP but, in fact, this makes total sense, and we're super happy to hear our beloved Helm branch out to new labels and forming new partnerships. This simple yet complex two-tracker is a masterful blend of noise and nu-school power electronics; that is, "Any Surface Will Do" contains a sonic spill so loose and eerie that is would sound almost too cavernous without the help of a pseudo drum groove holding it together. The same goes for "Saved Alone, What Shall I Do?", a spectral wall of sound that somehow manages to find sanity through broken rhythm.
Since donning the Prostitutes pseudonym back in 2011, Cleveland's James Donadio has plied his trade on a variety of hyped labels, including Diagonal, Opal Tapes, Night School, Blowing Up The Workshop and Spectrum Spools. Here he returns to the latter with his sixth album in five years. Ghost Detergent is a typically fuzzy, forthright affair, with Donadio variously joining the dots between crusty electro, experimental techno, Cabaret Voltaire style industrial murkiness, mutant ghetto-house (the mad but brilliant "Skeptalepsy"), sludgy electronica ("Pregnant Toad"), and fluid, out-there electrofunk (the Dam Funk meets L.I.E.S wobble of "Fake Hawaiian Suit").
Joshua Eustis and Turk Dietrich are not the most prolific duo out there, the former being limited to one EP on Bpitch Control back in 2011 and the latter a compilation for Distance Recordings, but their new Second Woman moniker has warranted the attention of the excellent Spectrum Spools and, to us, that is a certified seal of approval. In reality, though, it's easy to hear why they've picked these tracks up; each one of these nine segments are both refreshing and deeply alluring, with drug patterns being given new and exciting shapes by the duo. In fact, the whole LP seems to be made up of a new interpretation around percussion, where Second Woman's jarring sonics are haphazardly folded around layers of brittle drums and noisy electronic manipulations.
It's not hard to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness that drives Tadd Mullinix's label venture, Bopside. In between the recent Charles Manier album and the upcoming JTC long-player - a contender for house album of the year - comes Skein. Produced under his birth name, it's a deeply experimental three-tracker. The title track is a succession of screeches, howls and white noise blasts, while "Hadopelagic Chime" sees the US producer map out a series of soundscapes against a low tempo backdrop. Closing track "Bridge Out" is a succession of abstract clatters, noisy interference and scattered dissected FX. God knows what demographic Mullinix is hoping to an appeal to - if any.
Davide Salvati - literally translated as Dave Saved from Italian - is a Naples-based electronic producer who dabbles in a bit of techno but, in reality, industrial is his preferred tone of voice. After an appearance on Astro:Dynamics, here he is on Gang of Ducks with this raucous six-tracker named Energydream. It has to be said that Saved's particular strain of industrial is both delicate and pensive, preferring to opt for a more meditative sound instead of the usual anger and aggression heard on most noise records. "Let It Evolve", for instance, could almost be labelled as ambient, or "Clubdrome" as 'outsider' dub, and that's exactly the point: David Saved makes sublime electronic music for the minds, not the trends.
Magenta Line is a little work of art. Its artists, Greg Fox and Ryan Soper, are heavily involved in the NYC A/V-come-electro-acoustic scene, and the pair are truly flourishing under this newly found collaboration. The LP would traditionally be categorised broadly as 'leftfield' of 'ambient', but that's just it; Fox & Soper Duo have a way of moulding the music to their own beat, literally. Greg Fox's live drumming is fresh and present, but doesn't overpower the arrangements, leaving room for Soper to weave is synths in, out, and through the sparse sonic setting. Whether you see it as a soundtrack album or a pure listening experience, we think it's another great addition to the NNA Tapes catalogue.