Reviewed this week
Some 13 months after the label's last round-up of cuts from associated "Rotten Citizens", Rotten City Files serves up a third edition of its popular annual compilation series. There's loads of music to set the pulse racing throughout, from the opening slo-mo chug of Roe Deers' suitably psychedelic "Hunting" and the throbbing, strobe-friendly pulse of Thomass Jackson's exotic "Copcacabana's Magic", to the New Wave era, post-punk hum of D.Y.O.R's "Devil's Way" and the Weatherall-friendly dark room mysticism of 'Do You Know" by Skelesys. We're also rather enamoured by the reverberating, 4/4 electro/dub disco fusion of Marco Dionigi's "Listen To My Beat".
Over the last two or three years, New York's Minimal Wave outpost has focussed on releasing plenty of new music that fits in line with their unashamedly 'cold-wave' approach, and this has opened them to a whole variety of listeners and DJs. However, in our opinion, where they truly shine is in providing the underground masses with compilations such as this latest The Bedroom Tapes: A Compilation Of Minimal Wave From Around The World 1980-1991, a glorious snapshot of all the very best slices of lo-fi that has largely gone unnoticed to the modern eye. Of course, the majority of these tunes are now expensive in their original formats, but we're taking about a small crew of Discogs sharks who are upping the prices. Here, you're able to properly - and peacefully - enjoy some of the very best minimal machine-drum soul from peeps like Karen Marks, Vorgruppe, Perfect Mother and Aural Indifference, among others. This truly is a feast for the modern digger. Excellent.
Laurene Exposito is back on Amsterdam's Knekelhuis with a follow up to her well received debut album. This new record is said to be very personal - life changes and her love life are said to be central themes. All tracks have been recorded at Exposito's home in the Rennes, France using all analogue equipment. Starting out with the seductive coldwave tribute "Yellow Density" which features some inventive synth action that reaches near acid moments over her deadpan vocals. Title track "Cocktail Mexico" goes for some Dopplereffekt style electro shenanigans and "Go Forward" conjuring up comparisons to early Tropic Of Cancer on this hazy lo-fi goth journey.
Our favourites, Cititrax, roll the third editions of Tracks out onto our shelves, and the results are unsurprisingly strong on this excellent various artists comp. It's a mixed bag of skills, as per usual, and the sounds are those of a new NYC, fuelled by a new sort of post-industrial sensibility. Amato Y Mariana open with the tight beats and groove of "Queires Bailar", followed closely by the ominous compositions of the EBM-flavoured "Montgat" from The Sixteen Steps. Then, His Dirty Secrets bleeps out some morphed acid on "Structures", and "Another Stranger" from Further Reductions churns out a slow, mild-mannered house experiment with its roots clearly planted in the coldest of waves. Sick.
Job Sifre follows up an impressive debut on Artificial Dance last year with another blinder for the local Knekelhuis imprint. It's absolutely a retro affair for the most part, with opener "Bestaan" nailing that classic old school EBM vibe, complete with deadpan vocals and rusty arpeggios. "Zodiak" with its early '80s street sound injects a breakdance flavour into things and the lo-fi sludge of "Mars Express" sees Sifre do his best impression of James T Cotton. Finally "Zeno Dicho" goes back to the electro side of things on this breakneck dystopian number, calling to mind Carl Finlow or Keith Tenniswood's exploits in the early noughties.
Knekelhuis will release Kale Plankieren's first volume of a collection of Dutch rarities that were released on cassette tape in the '80s, with this stuff, in particular, being recorded between 1981 and 1985. Compiled by compiled by Mark van de Maat, it features a wide range of artists, from the Amsterdam Fetish scene and cities such as Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, and Zwolle. It gives "a glimpse into the artistic DIY music movement that was growing extensively outside of mainstream circles.' Acclaimed Detroit duo ADULT. could well of taken their cues from the likes of Y Create or Rotterdans: take a listen. The legendary Das Ding has get a mention in: their track "Meteor Sinkhole" features their unmistakeable sound.The neon-lit pop-funk of De Fabriek's "Het Terrein"probably was around long before Kajagoogoo! It includes liner notes (in English and Dutch) that paint a great picture of the context where these bands and artists lived and breathed.