Review: Ralf Schmidt aka Aera's last outing was on Innervisions and it's not hard to understand why he commands the support of Dixon as well as John Talabot's Hivern. Aera is a gloriously colourful smorgasbord of influences - including house, acid and trance. "Bibimbap" unfolds to metallic, futuristic drums accompanied by trippy acid lines and shiny trance synth. Meanwhile, "Thai Park" sounds like a logical but subtle conclusion to electro house, as Schmidt tweaks and teases a bass that modulates its tone against the backdrop of a rickety rhythm over the course of its eight-minute duration. By contrast, "Rotunde" is far lighter and dreamier: teeming with feather-weight, lullaby melodies and irresistible thumb-clicking percussion, it is nonetheless shot through with a bleeding bass. By the time he gets to the pulsing groove of "Lumen" - also remixed by La Gomera - the sound is tracky but still deliciously tripped out.
Review: Hivern Discs delivers a debut from Anton Klint, a Swedish artist who claims to enjoy "making music at night". Whether the two original cuts here are typical of his production style remains to be seen, but title track "Lyckliga Manniskor" - a slipped, off-kilter house workout full of layered hand percussion, fuzzy synth lines, tropical melodies and Swedish spoken word vocals - is both bonkers and brilliant. "Djembe Unchained", a dub-flecked, decidedly out their chunk of analogue-rich electronic deep house hypnotism, is also rather special. Berceuse Heroique regular Black Merlin naturally does a bang up job remixing that track, too, offering up a mind-altering blend of melodic synthesizer arpeggio lines, foreboding chords and unfussy machine drums.
Review: Berlin's Hugo 'Discos' Capablanca and Spanish homeboy Marc Pinol (of the group Umbral and in Quentin with label boss John Talabot) team up here for the third time on Barcelona based Hivern Discs. From the trippy, heads-down mentalism of "Deine Hand" featuring a rather haunting Germanic dialogue, the hazy and downbeat post-punk experimentation of "Sendero Luminoso" and the very retro, acid house era tribute that is "Masa Y Poder" - the dynamic duo prove thus far that it really is quality not quantity: and their limited output over the last four years is testament to it.
Review: Introducing C.P.I. An almost forgotten project from Capablanca & Marc Pinol granted a full album release via John Talabot's Hivern Discs! Emerging in 2014 with a rare 7" release, Alianza follows a brace of EPs spread across a four year peroid, with this album diving deep into the submersive ambient realms of analogue, machine made music. Full of tension, lo-fi industrialisms and atmospheres that play with themes of giallo italo ("Osera"), and winds of the new age in "Islaalsl", find spiritual spoken word in both "Rasa" and "Epileg", with the latter drifting unnoticed into a haunted cathedral of choirs. For lovers of ambient 4th world music, dub techno noise-floor, crackle and pop ("I/O") and epic space western drone ("Sol"), C.P.I. have arrived.
Review: New Hivern signing Cleveland - AKA up-and-coming producer Andrea Mancini - is living proof that there's more to Luxembourg than tax-dodging corporations and trilingual residents. Certainly, this is an assured label debut, packed full of atmospheric, off-kilter compositions and ear pleasing, analogue-sounding deep house. He begins with the starry synths, bubbly electronics and scattergun drums of the colourful "Shine", before melding electro sounds and breakbeat drum patterns on the similarly melodious "Mercury". He successfully strips back that track on the superb "Early Dub" - think Wolf Mueller on anti-depressants - while "Atlas" sounds like a deep house tribute to vintage Detroit futurism. It's the finest moment on a pleasingly strong EP.
Review: After presenting material on White, Batti Batti and ESP Institute, Brussels based producer/DJ Andrea Mancini aka Cleveland showcases an evolution of his sound into more minimalist and forward looking grounds - with another release on John Talabot's Hivern Discs. The seven tracks on NDSi are 'an exploration of futuristic soundscapes delineated with swirling tones, understated rhythms and ever-evolving patterns... often drawing inspiration from happy accidents with half broken synthesizers". Mancini presents some electronic music with a real soulfulness here: from the deep electro cut "Polar", the emotive tribal hose of "Dx6", the downbeat bleep IDM of "6lx" or on the hypnotic underwater techno of "Kobu".
Review: CPI may well be an unfamiliar name, but the two artists involved in the project are by no means newcomers. Hivern Discs completists should be more than familiar with Marc Pinol, who has completed the odd remix for the label as well as showing off his knowledge of rare music with some excellent contributions to the highly sought after Hiverned series. His partner in CPI is Hugo Capablanca, a self-described "eternal dilettante" who is best known for the Disco Capablanca label he founded half a decade ago. Given the lack of original productions from Capablanca and Pinol, this CPI project debut in the shape of El Tunel/Proceso makes for compelling listening. Apparently committed to tape over two intense days of recording, "El Tunel" lives up to it's billing as a "15 minute cosmic odyssey" and then some! Complementing it, "Proceso" has more pronounced New Beat leanings and will appeal to fans of the more haywire acid rhythm tracks. Killer remix of the latter track from Comeme artist Barnt too!
Review: Spanish techno legend Eduardo de la Calle on John Talabot's Hivern Discs? Yes, he sure is but it somehow finds a fitting home here for this release. A side tracks "Format Times" and "Hope" might be a bit slower and deeper than what you'd usually expect from the Analog Solutions main man, but still have all his trademark hypnotic and droning qualities. On the flip he gets stuck into what he does best; cleverly sampled and restructured DJ tools such as "I Think I Love You" which is totally off the hook; do yourself a favour and listen to this absolute gem. Finally "Passage 2561" which references his love of Detroit so well on this sublime hi tech soul excursion. Brilliant.
Review: Alexander Berg has been a busy boy of late. Hot on the heels of his druggy, voodoo-inspired "Time Stretch Totem" 12" comes this expansive album for the consistently impressive Hivern Discs stable. In keeping with both his work and that of the label he's starring on, Irrbloss is hard to place, featuring as it does atmospheric, out-there explorations that variously touch on experimental deep house, IDM, ambient, crystalline techno and throbbing late night wonkiness. Despite the eclecticism, it all makes perfect sense, and comes cloaked in an air of feverish confusion that's never less than beguiling. We shouldn't have expected anything less.
Review: Eva Geist is the alias of Berlin-based Italian Andrea Noce, a singer and synthesist who has released on French imprint Madam Macambo, Mehmet Aslan's Fleeting Wax and Gainesville, FL. cassette imprint Elestial Sound. This new one comes courtesy of John Talabot's Hivern Discs titled Urban Monogamy. Of the name, Geist says "a sort of Pandora's box opened up to offer me, and pretty much everyone around me, a variety of relationship forms..iIt was very confused. I think this represents that confused time." Features the transcendent kosmische tones of opening opus "Green Healing Highness" and the arcane yet seductive new beat groove of the title track. This is followed by the Velvet Season The Hearts Of Gold Remix which has already been played by the emperor of cosmic sleaze himself: DJ Harvey.
Review: Comprised of Roberto Lobo and Ernesto Avelino, Spanish duo Fasenuova has been releasing CD-R and cassettes of what the duo call "battered free-noise" under the name since 2006, including an album titled A La Quinta Hoguera. Longstanding fans of the duo, Hivern Discs have elected to release 'Cachito Turulo' from that album together with a surprising set of remixes. Keeping in the spirit of the original track's No Wave vocals and motorik rhythms, Marc Pinol takes the track into darkly acidic territory, with a chugging remix whose creeping 303 wraps itself around nightmarish vocals. Meanwhile, Drexciya's Heinrich Mueller places the original's vocals within a crisp electro landscape as stark as anything he's put his name to before, but it's Legowelt's remix that hits all the right buttons, placing mad bleeps and dystopian chords over a rolling bassline that acts as the perfect foil to the ridiculously delayed vocals.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Berlin-based Herzel, whose last releases surfaced way back in 2012. Here he resurfaces on John Talabot's Hivern Discs imprint. Herzel's three original tracks - "Daydreamer", "Closure" and "Shades" - are all superb, with fuzzy melodies, Balearic chords and shuffling beats wrapped in the kind of hissing, atmospheric production that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention. Of the three, it's the dubby, tumbling, sun-kissed deep house of "Daydreamer" that most impresses. Lobster Theremin regular Palms Trax remixes that cut, delivering two tasty versions; the chugging "Backroom Office Tool" and the impressively breezy, melodious "Nothing But A Dreamer Mix".
Review: Having first joined forces last year to lend a hand of Massimo Pagliara's collaborative With One Another full-length, Benedikt Frey and Nadia D'Olo present their debut full-length under the Init alias. It's a thoroughly atmospheric, clandestine affair, with the duo delivering a dark-wave opus that tips a hat to early Depeche Mode, minimal wave, Detroit techno and the ambient soundscapes of Brian Eno. D'Olo provides the vocals, though for much of the time they're utilized as textures, rather than the central focus of the duo's shuffling, slowly evolving synth-scapes. As an album, Two Pole Resonance is initially attractive - albeit in a stylized, late night kind of way - but really comes into its' own after repeat listens. It is, though, definitely worth the effort.
Review: Although his releases can be frustratingly sporadic, there's no denying that JMII AKA Juan Miguel Bassols not only makes great music, but also seems to be getting better with age. A few have commented that "Modulations" - his first EP for three years and second for Hivern Discs - is Bassols' strongest collection of tracks to date, and we'd tend to agree. For proof, check the deep and psychedelic flex of "Synthesizer", where dub techno style synth stabs and undulating acid lines rise above a locked-in groove, and the mangled late night strut of "Modulation", whose reverb-laden percussion hits and cascading synth lines help to create a a mind-altering mood. There's plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere on the EP, too, with the skittish drums and dreamy, meandering musical flourishes of "Communication" standing out.
Review: Juan Miguel Bassols first pricked our consciousness way back in 2012, when he delivered a fine debut under the JMII moniker on 100% Silk. He's not released all that much since, making this first appearance on Hivern Discs his highest profile EP to date. There's naturally much to admire amongst the three original productions present, from the stripped-back but melodious acid house shuffle of "Thrills", to the wild lead lines and chugging bottom end of the analogue synth-heavy proto-house snap of "Tightbrass". Christian S provides two tasty reworks of that cut, including a dark and seductive "Angry Dub". A woozy, dreamier John Talabot re-edit of "Thrills" completes an excellent package.
Review: Roving Romanians Khidja take us on a trip of a lifetime with "Impossible Holiday"... We take off with the stately, cavernous and slightly fuzzy "Die Wilde Spirale" and land in our improbable destination to the spiked out synth washes and dubby bass palpitations of "Pinnacles". We enjoy all sorts of unperceivable activities to the bouncy, analogue bed and fluttering, head-soothing arpeggios of "Haetrin" then fly home to our comparably dismal existences on the droning, groaning and ever-morphing "Kraftfield". Happy travels.
Review: The Lost Scripts project returns to follow up 2016's Hiverned #4 EP. Hivern Discs chief John Talabot and the ever reliable Pional now restart a series of releases featuring some of the jams they have been recording during these past years between Barcelona, Madrid and Giske (Norway). Speaking of the latter, the slow motion groove of "Giske" is an utterly hypnotic and mesmerising minimal techno journey deep underwater, while "Mozart" is more upbeat, featuring an abundance of dancefloor dynamics on this evocative and majestic deep house journey - equal parts tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Marvin Dan III and Lee "The Black Belt" Guy debut on the excellent Hivern Discs with the Egoista release and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and understanding of what makes a dancefloor tick. Most recently spotted on US label Young Adults, Marvin & Guy are known best for the series of cosmic disco mind benders issued for Let's Get Lost, On The Prowl, and their own eponymous label. That sense of cosmic sprawl is very much in evidence on this three-track release, with the seven minute title cut setting the tone, sounding akin to one of Joakim's more epic productions. The star gazing "Cancion (Para Ti)" has Lena Willikens set-opener written all over it whilst "The Man Who Lost The Hat" adopts a somewhat darker tone, despite the silly title. More great music from the Hivern crew.
Review: John Talabot's always interesting Hivern Discs has enjoyed another strong year, with top-notch releases from Red Axes, Marvin & Guy and INIT amongst the highlights. To round off 2015, Talabot has turned to Franc Sayol's Mistakes Are OK project, which was last featured on Hivern Discs back in 2012. "Forgiven" is a wonderfully rich and enjoyable concoction, with headline synth lines, steel drum melodies and Balearic chords riding a rolling, reggae-inspired house rhythm. Edward serves up two reworks on the flip, of which the straight 'Remix' - a late night tech-house throbber complete with alien synth flourishes and rolling, dubwise stabs - is probably the pick.
Review: Now here we do have a bit of a gem as Hivern Discs present the latest chapter of wonderful musical creation from Mistakes Are Ok with a brand new album project entitled 'Outward Summer'. From start to finish, the project gives us a direct look into soundscaping at it's very finest, with each track breathing an incredibly refreshing array of pads and synthesizer harmonies. This is most definitely a project float away to, with our favourite inclusions being the cloudy arrangements of 'Glass Sunset' and the shimmering melodies of 'Certified Clouds'.
Review: Following releases on Be As One and Eduard de la Calle's Analog Solutions, Orbe drops this superb six-tracker for John Talabot's label. "Somebody Bring Me Here" is a deep, broken beat affair with a breathy voice asking "when did you first hear acid?". "Visceral Terror" is preceded by an abstract, noisy intro before it moves into a wigged out, pulsing minimal groove. The mood shifts back to the reflective on the title track's jazzy guitars and off centre beats, before making a dance floor detour for "Unexpected Dream's Rave". Underpinned by the kind of rough beats and rhythm that Lone makes, Orbe then drops layers of dreamy synths, making for a blissed out but clubby track.
Review: The latest venture from John Talabot's Hivern Discs label is the Parple project, a seemingly anonymous endeavour that has a lot in common with James Holden and his Border Community label. "Sacred" sees beats double up and shift in and out of time as airy melodies are fused with moody bleeps to create a dense but atmospheric style. "Ritual" sees Parple use a similar method and the wind chimes and tonal frequency shifts sound more compatible. However, on this occasion, despite the groove sounding pulsing and the rhythm more functional, the track's ethereal qualities prevail.
Review: If you've seen Comeme selector Lena Willikens in the dance over the past few months, you will probably have come away wondering what one track in particular is. Reminiscent of a train going full pelt to the sound of a limber xylophone player, the impossibly catchy "Pil Sagol" from Red Axes has been a secret weapon for the Salon Des Amateurs resident for some time, and is finally available for public consumption thanks to Hivern Discs. You should know Dori Sadovnik & Niv Arzi from their work for I'm A Cliche, Highlife Edits, Relish and more but the three tracks here might be their best Red Axes material yet. 12 minute lead track "Todum Todum" is stripped back techno at it's trippiest, especially the mid point deviation into Vangelis territory, whilst "Ma & Abra In Ruanda" presents a breezier, looser side to the Red Axes sound. What else to say about "Pil Sagol" other than it's possibly one of the B sides of the year!