Tag: alternative

Abstract Ambience

This month has seen the latest demo from Maze Car begin its orbit around the internet. You can listen to the juicy new demo here, and look forward to capturing it when it goes on general release, with a partner track, later in the year. However, there will be a pause in the output from Maze Car in the near term as we divert our producer’s attention to some exciting projects with new artists!

We also have plans to set free some previously unreleased tracks by Voxel veterans Varjak, so this year promises to be a celebration of old and new. Watch this space for details!

So, what music have we discovered this month? Well, the world of underground electronica has never been so diverse as it is today. We searched for a common theme, but the tracks on the playlist this month are great examples of abstract songwriting that doesn’t need a pigeon hole to call home …

Psyop by summon.exe is driven by its shuffling rhythm of plastic swing and rubbery-filtered synths. The squelchy notes are close and boxy, but also melodically adventurous to the point that the track becomes beautifully unpredictable. Within the various timbres, there are nods to synthwave, acidic trip hop and glitchy chip tune that altogether make this a long, varied and stimulating listen. This is definitely music that you can’t pin down, but why bother when you can enjoy it bouncing all over the room …?

So New by Pleasance House is an ambient enigma that opens with a fast-paced percussive bass melody beneath a dreamy vocal. The softly glitched rhythms of nut-like timbres pepper the arrangement, along with a merry bedlam of granular vocal samples. As the madness subsides, the track glides into a more traditional acoustic guitar riff and spacious vocal delay. The acoustic licks take over for this middle section, before we are returned to the vocal snippets and soft, pacey percussion. Dreamy and refreshing folktronica epics live in harmony at Pleasance House.

Presently by Azuaverian opens up with trippy rhythms from acoustic percussion. Simple scales and delays accumulate in layers, and a shy vocal is harnessed by reverb, deep within in the mix. The lyrics are hard to isolate, but they exude a hidden beauty, like trying to catch a butterfly, before the track disassembles itself, layer by layer, into the original snare percussion. Much of Charlotte Koch’s work builds complex, implicit melodies from simple layers of percussive instruments, so if you are in search of some therapy from aural acupuncture, why not give this a try?


Digging Deeper for Underground Music In September 2016

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Hello once again from the team at Voxel Records! This month we have dug a bit further underground in search of more new and interesting tunes.

The recent changes at Soundcloud have changed how we curate our selections, so we are currently developing different ways to search out original artists. Hopefully the minor changes in format will be good for you too!

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Wild by hip-hop/dubstep producer Exira is a choice cut from a meaty collection of work over the past year. This particular track is dominated by the bend, bubble and buzz of the synth line, but extra lift is provided by the underlying scratches and breaks that you might not expect from your typical dub-step ditty. These subtle differences give extra breadth to this solid, head-stompin joy.

Diskoloser by Rattenjunge (featuring TY GRRR) demonstrates the youthful and sharp style honed by this German outfit. This production combines electro, glitch, punk and rap ethics into one tasty bundle, with poetic delivery cutting through above throbbing synth tubes. Every track is different on this stream, but there is plenty to turn your head upside down and inside out. Glitch-hop heaven.

 

bandcamp It can be a bit of a minefield over at Bandcamp, but the best approach is to dive in, and forget about musical ability and production finesse. Purity is the seed of what may one day grow into something amazing. As with the other platforms, there are millions of tracks to play with, but after a bit of digging we managed to find these beauties.

Threads by Canadian songwriter Loon stirs up a lot of memories. A minimal backing of pads and bells with unobtrusive trills from the percussion support the quivering and almost maniacal vocals of Tessa Dawn K. The obvious comparisons with Kate Bush in the writing and performance combine with the spectre of late-80s arrangement into something beautifully listenable. What’s in a name?

Lyrically, Grind by MuteR carries the work-to-live theme that we have probably all identified with at some point. A soft staccato of melody is scattered sweetly over dark and stumbling traps; but it is the voice of Adrian Shegstad that stands out in this production, and indeed his other tracks. The performance is immaculate, and echoes a blend of classic pop vocalists like Matt Goss and Nik Kershaw. Great work.

orfiumOrfium is filling up nicely with new artists as the platform slowly games maturity. We had a quick pan through the flow of new tracks here, in the hope of finding another golden nugget …

The Great Magnet is one of a small clutch available on the Ercall Knox feed. A short, grainy guitar loop is soon bombarded with bold, dirty drum chops reminiscent of his highness the DJ Shadow; and this similarity continues with the retro-movie sample monologue. The underlying samples are backed up with a raw off-beat synth, and the whole track drops us down on the ambient side of big-beat. Definitely one for lovers of Shadow or maybe The Orb.

Blaquarium by the Niebelungen Blues Band will assault you with mid-range presence and loudness, but the style quickly becomes familiar. The squeaky synth arpeggios and underlying drum groove clearly nod their headlights towards older Orbital, so this is a feed to follow for anyone with a soft spot for break-beat IDM. There is little else recent to be found from these Swedish producers, but we hope there is more to come soon.

 

 

 


New Electronic Alt Pop from August 2016

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Welcome to our update from the world of indie electronica for the month of August. A spanner flew into the works of Voxel Records recently, as Soundcloud deigned to remove the groups feature from its services. This has a serious impact on the way we discover music that may otherwise pass under the radar, but more importantly it also affects the underground community in general. Unsurprisingly, the forums have been positively buzzing with indignation.

This episode also raises yet more questions about the future of music networks. Like many organisations, Soundcloud will have acquired investment and investors will expect them to make a profit. Consequently, Soundcloud argue that they can’t afford to support certain features. We feel that the loss of groups is a serious blow to the music scene from which innovation and talent grow. As such, we are now looking for other ways to find and share new music.

One new kid on the block is Orfium – there ain’t much on it yet, but hopefully it will gain traction as Soundcloud alienates itself from the community. In the mean time, we hope that we can still keep you up to date with all the great music we discover!

First on this month’s playlist is Kingdom by Verna Hark. The blasting synth intro subsides swiftly into sultry vocal harmonies, punctuated only by sporadic synth drum shots. A delicate, wiry riff then opens into a powerful half-tempo synth stack attack, and all elements combine into spiraling echoes and powerful jabs from the drum accents. This recent track demonstrates Verna Hark’s ability to produce potent and infectious alt-pop – grab the free EP now!

Next we have Finding Out by Sarah Denim, which was originally posted a few months back by this Canadian songwriter. The shuffling, pacey and complex rhythmic introduction feels a little bit like Talking Heads, but decoration from the sat-com sample and flicks of the brush from Sarah’s soft vocal lend a new character to the familiar vibe. The lyrics float just beneath the surface of the mix, and contribute much to the individual and groovy production.

Finally we found Mean to be Me by See Ame. Here, bubbling reverse sound effects play into the breathy, distant vocals as they pose their existential questions. The simple, reverberating riffs blend with the lyrical adornments, and the arrangement slowly evolves from these building blocks into a captivating ensemble. This track gives a wonderful insight into See Ame’s fruitful independent songwriting.