Tag: electronica

Fine Folktronica Foray

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Welcome to our round up of new music discoveries from the month of September. What?! It’s not September! Not anymore … but when your internet service provider removes all contact with the outside world for four days, lateness happens. Here at Voxel, we may be late to the party, but we’re last to leave – and this includes calendar months.

More than the usual amount of folktronica releases cropped up on our horizon recently …. but wtf folktronica? Well, it’s not about the jaded stereotype of fiddles, scrumpy and roving maidens – it’s more about those acoustic singer/songwriters exploiting electronic production techniques, e.g. The Ed Sheeran or The KT Tunstall with their new-fangled loop stations. Have a listen to this clutch from the underground …

Black Sheep is definitely accessible to many, and although NYC’s singer/songwriter Alex Martin has been around for a while, his Soundcloud presence is surprisingly slim. The authentic hip hop thump and tactical stabs of acoustic guitar carry a groove complemented by the intonation of the urban vocal. The production gels really well, with subtle trills of FX and even the cheesy whiff of brass towards the outro – this a great example of urban acoustic hip hop.

Blood on the Floor is the brand new demo on Nosila‘s stream, and it bears all the hallmarks of an experienced songwriter. The somewhat dark subject matter is presented through delicate yet agile vocals, and cleanly filtered strikes and plucks are woven into the fabric of a mix that swells slowly from beneath with subtle drums and percussion. This is the only song that represents Nosila’s new direction, but the production, arrangement and performance make us want to hear more.

Greta Isaac‘s intricate electronic manipulations of acoustic guitar result in a dynamic and energetic ensemble, especially when injected with her immaculate vocal performance. Comfortable is a recent (but not the latest), example of Greta’s exuberant and infectious style. The production techniques are an exciting extension to essentially simple instrumentation, which is even more impressive if it can be carried off live. This songwriter is gaining followers quickly, so get out in London to catch one of her shows.

 


Dark Electronic Experiments

voxel records theremin music experiment

welcome to our latest update from the world of underground indie electronica. this month we found some experimental producers making music with a dark and moody edge, and the tracks on the playlist are tinged with styles that sculpt acid, techno, electro, dub-step and ambient into their creators’ own niche. have a listen!

First, we found Tabula Rasa which is from last year’s album SEUIL by ArtSaves. This has recently been given the remix treatment with brand new versions of most tunes. The original version of this particular track opens with a slow, haunting techno riff whistling behind bit-crushed percussion, but the rhythms slowly build as bass drum decay extends into an anchoring riff. The pace evolves by its rhythmical complexity, before a giant pad chops the track in two. The string synth signatures of this second movement intertwine into an echoing, ambient soundscape swollen with subtle motifs before fading into the gentle pick of acoustic guitar. This is a sophisticated production which is recommended for fans of Autechre and LFO.

Simplextro by Ring Theory launches us into a swamp of pacey effects from the outset. As the effects subside, the track breaks down into an innocent piano riff before reaching out its spiny tentacles to mash up the track with more effects wizardry. Whilst the production lacks the full bottom end typical of mainstream dub step, the adrenaline builds and nimble drum fills keep it true to the form. The production does well to encapsulate the simplicity of dub step into a more measured, electro context without mounting a full on and uncontrollable assault across the frequency spectrum.

The Time Will Never End by German producer n8front is introduced by a soft, steady heart beat from an electro bass drum accompanied by a sustained vocal pad. A breathy aqualung is sprinkled across the mix, before it breaks into a plodding, yet complex rhythmic shuffle. it is the lumbering variations in the percussion that drive the track, allowing simple sustained pads to breathe their mystery through it. The heavy rhythmical backbone sinks this track into the earth, and the lighter melodic tones to drift around it like mist.

Dark Ecstacy is the only track available from TiNO KREY on the Soundcloud stream. It opens with old-skool acid rave voices prodding a minor 3-note riff that is rendered by a howl reminiscent of the classic Korg M1 synth. The dry 808 drums add unadulterated authenticity, but the rhythms swing in and out of traditional acid and contemporary trap to give the whole arrangement its modern edge. If you’re looking for a bit of that retro rave spice then follow TiNO for any future tracks!

 


Stitching Glitch

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The influence of glitch production has worked its way throughout the underground music community over the last decade or so, being used for a subtle tonal and rhythmical garnish and full-on abstract music concrete. This month we have selected a few tracks that demonstrate just how well it can be merged with other musical styles.

First on the playlist we have shared IT Breaks ME by Alecek. Bulgarian producer Alexander Ivanov kicks off with a dark and moody hip-hop shuffle, which anchors abrasive rhythms and tones that pepper the track with Gatling fire. A fluid bass persists the groove beneath, making this track a great example of contemporary glitch hop. Alecek has many more abstract and extreme examples of glitch production available on his stream – so we recommend that you don your Kevlar ear protectors and dive right in.

Glitch Hop (work in progress) is a track by the (presumably) Japanese producer Film, a.k.a Wataranai. Uplifting synth-wave riffs conjure Megadrive memories of Sonic the Hedgehog at a Power Puff disco, and the generally sugary complexion of the track is reinforced with skinny drums and playful pianos. There ain’t a lot of glitch or hop in this track, but it places itself beautifully right in the middle of chip-tune and synth-wave. Definitely one for a feel-good road-trip atmosphere.

Finally, we have Funky Feeling by Skank Spinatra. This is creation by UK-based producer Edward Clarke starts off with the as a simple combo of pure funk licks from guitar, drums and bass but then takes us on a journey through hip-hop and jazz before building into a crazy glitch breakdown. The blend of all these styles demonstrates a finesse worked expertly into a warm club vibe, making the track a welcome addition to your summer party playlist.

 


Quirky Grooves

Welcome to our run down of quirky grooves we discovered in the last month.

First on the playlist is Plastic Dreams by Kid Glow. The track opens with the grating dissonant tones of chip-tune synth, setting expectations for 8-bit retro chimes and trills. But instead, the tune rolls in an immense side-chained bass and shuffle, kicking a masterful groove on the off beat to form a weighty hip hop. Subtle space noises circulate as synth melodies become more sophisticated, but this is essentially a track that counters the simplicity of its riffs with the bold roundness of its timbres. Love that groove.

Kick the Wolf by Low Level Enemy is introduced by a child-like finger-prodded riff played on a prominent synth bass. As the rhythm section waddles along, dreamy reverberating synth arpeggios intertwine in the mix beneath. It is these airy melodies at stark odds with the weighty staccato of the drums and bass that form a perfect contradiction and make the track stand out.

Drone by The Shade Structure is introduced and underpinned by a slow, intricate acoustic drum performance; but it is the subtle myriad of individual electronic timbres that swarm underneath the warm and gentle vocal that give depth to this song. The lyrics eventually give way to many tracks of improvisation and electro wonderment to form this individual and experimental composition. Check out more of The Shade Structure’s stream for more bold experiments.

Finally, Burn Down The Disco is a track from the current EP Living Space Head Space by the Space Kiddettes, which is available now on Bandcamp and demonstrates the duo’s super-compressed hi-skool synth pop brand. A gawky synth riff drives a song peppered with simple percussion and a monotone pseudo-rap, and the result is truly appealing – like the sweet yet bitter sensation of lemon drops. Bis Ting Ting.

 


Fresh New Sounds

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Welcome to our round up of new tracks discovered in the internet this month. Wrestling with the search engines in the online music community has proved challenging, but we have still managed to pull together a small clutch of tunes by underground producers that stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile, resident producer Maze Car has been researching another genre of electronic music to accompany our next Electronic Music Adventure, following on from our deconstruction of techno back in December. Which style of music will we choose …? Watch this blog over the next few weeks to find out!

First up on the playlist this month is Chemistry by tv room, which presents us with some really fresh production techniques. Eli Ganem produces 8-bit bedroom hip-hop that carries melodic emotion and quirkiness together in perfect harmony. Game fx pitch and echo around a soft, restrained vocal; and voluminous stabs of well sculpted synths add an extra dynamic. The small collection of short songs on the tv room stream make for similarly intriguing listening, and this original writing is sure to find favour with followers of other experimentalists like Moloko and Broadcast.

Next, we found James Pond by Japanese theremin master Kuritez. This short piece is introduced by synthesised droplets that set the mood of water falling on water. Subtle percussion opens up the production as it continues to swell with analog bass, subtle bells and acoustic piano stabs. The drums mature into weighty band-limited bass and snare as the brighter layers of delayed, staccato synth arps continue to play off each other before the music submerges once more. Innovative sounds.

Finally, Jet Jazimov introduced us to Women Of Mars,  which, somewhat ironically, represents synthwave coming of age. Much music of this genre places its tongue firmly in its cheek and only aims to mimic the sound of the 1980s arcades and garish graphics. This track, however, harnesses romantic timbres and chord sequences above soft jangling guitar to produce a sensitive and genuine song. The wavering guitar progression and complementary synth interplay polish the track off sweetly. True.


The Darker Side of Indietronica

voxel records discover indie electronica october

This month, we have found ourselves drawn to the darker side of indie electronica, as Autumn closes in and Halloween lurks on our doorstep. We have found another formidable clutch of tracks which we recommend you check out, ranging from electro thrash to sci-fi disco.

Out first discovery in Soundcloud this month was 192tentacles by Japanese experimental electronic rock bad Paris death Hilton. The mangled chip-tune synthesizers cast a spine-tingling shadow over what may otherwise be cutesy timbres, and these complement the incredible live drum performance. There are hints of heavy metal in the arrangement, but the musicianship and vibe result in a new take on electro rock, landing somewhere in the vicinity of angry Atari Teenage Riot and shouty Melt Banana. Fresh thrash – best served NOW.

The creepy imagery of Knots by electronic post-punks Ribcrow is well-timed for a Halloween drop, and this represents one of the groovier tracks from their current EP Defective Plexus. The hip-hop drum loop leads into a detached and dreamy mood, with light and airy vocals that belie a darker lyrical theme. With this EP, Ribcrow definitely create a mould of their own, and it is available to download on Bandcamp. Turn it up, and let it envelop you.

Our first trip over to Orfium this month revealed Gott ist Tot by Electrodaimon. Synth sounds sparkle in the mellow shadows of this pure and simple electro groove, where analog bells chime above the thin, shredded synths as they phase together over rhythmic ripples anchored to a sumptuously distorted bass drum. Releases from Electrodaimon are few and far between, but what exists is beautifully polished and sculpted.

Carousel is a free download from Hamburgers Gatwick that tempts us into further listening. The simple side-chained synth moods and minimal percussion underpin a seductive vocal, echoing the melancholia of Beth Gibbons and the soulfulness of Shingai Shoniwa. This track is just a foot in the door for even more, so we recommend you go have a listen to their current 7-track EP Boundless to sample their wares.

Bandcamp brought us to In The Shadows by Sunrom, which features on a current release by French label Place For Us along with various artists. The intro whistles like wind into a slow, dark groove peppered with clicks of glitchy percussion, as deep undertones sway in and out, playing off each other before merging into a muffled, mysterious hip-hop that fills your head with cotton-wool melodies. A beautiful creation.

Your Monster Is Me is the first track on It Came From Beyond Eternal September by mad scientists Ugress. An infectious off-beat side-chained groove, growling synth and cinematic suspense meld into a style that looks to create a great live show. This is strongly recommended for anyone who, like us, loves sci-fi disco laced with a feint touch of Royksopp.

 

 

 


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.


Addictive ambient, indie and trip hop for April 2016

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Welcome to the latest news from the indie electronica underground!

The current Maze Car demo Dub Croaky is still available for FREE DOWNLOAD at Soundcloud until a single release in the summer. Between now and then, Mazey is reworking the demo of Those Shallow Games – you can catch up with his developments on the blog as usual. Also this month, we heard a tweet that there is a film being made about the 1990s music scene in Glasgow – we strongly recommend following the development of Lost In France if you are a fan of indie music history!

Our playlist for April 2016 opens with No Sign On The Door by Kiwi producer Tom Cadillac. The track was apparently produced without the use of computers, and with minimal use of sequencers. Indeed, why would one impose such boundaries on creativity? The movement is based around a compelling groove with a loose and squashy feel, and various twangs and pings are dubbed in to give a hip-hop mood to this experimental ambient music. This is some cool stuff from the other side of the planet that’s well worth a follow.

Fools With Good Intentions by Polaroids Of Dead Lovers opens with a short synth intro before bursting into a lo-fi, jangling guitar riff underpinning Lasse Liisberg’s delicate, echoing vocal. There is a subtle minor-tinged darkness to the tune as the chorus approaches, and the breakdown of bass and synths swirls and reverberates to a half-tempo outro. Here, Lasse has created a track with a retro vinyl vibe which compliments the slightly creepy band name.

Finally this month, Dark Stars* also give us The Creeps: This track from producer DSC opens with a light, fluttering synth which is quickly stamped upon by a massive, lolloping bass drum and stack. The heavier synths dominate as they lumber, fizz and growl their way through this down-tempo trip-hop; and the fearful, quivering vocal line with droplets of theremin add more nervous tension to the mood. Check out the DSC stream for a wide variety of other production capabilities.

 


Box-fresh synth pop, electronic grooves and style-busting drum and bass for March 2016

voxel records potent new music discovery

 

Welcome to our latest update from the electronic music underground! We have a bit of a frog-flavoured theme this month, in order to celebrate a new demo from Voxel Records resident producer Maze Car. as ever, we also bring you a short playlist containing three more great tracks we discovered in the internet during the month of March.

The Maze Car demo currently goes under the working title Dub Croaky, and for a limited time you can download it for FREE at SoundCloud! This experiment combines some abrasive 8-bit tones with shuffling grooves and thick deep bass. It’s an epic journey that builds from basic beats into a trancey glitch-house workout – we hope you enjoy it!

First on the playlist for March is Trouble In My Head by Human Skills. This is the only track we found by this brand new, box-fresh band from somewhere in the USA. Launching into an up-tempo rhythm, the bendy, echoing synth motif takes the lead before the crystal clear vocals burst through like a shaft of light through an otherwise lo-fi mix. The wall of synth lines eventually gives way to a clean guitar solo and middle-8 (in true indie style), and there is enough freshness and familiarity to this music for it to find a home with all fans of indie synth pop. If this track serves to demonstrate their potential, we are expecting great things from Human Skills.

Having been available for two years, Rive Gauche by Carlini is not quite as new, but we are glad we found it. A slow, bouncy introduction with acoustic funk feel plays on before the piercing timbres of zither and thin synths form the true mood of the track.  The deep groove and the subtle bubbling of the bass mooch along until a neatly-etched passage of poetry finally plays the track out. This is a moody melting pot of influences that would be well received by any lovers of retro movie scores and Air.

Finally, we have Images With a Heartbeat by LA producer Hermetik. We are always pleased to discover a pioneering genre as we wander the internet in search of music, and this example of drill and bass introduces a new take on DnB. A simple hi-tempo synth arpeggio kicks off before the percussion takes control with a rigid, robotic jungle vibe. After a half-tempo breakdown, dark and dirty pads ebb and flow beneath the drums until more machine-edged synth motifs limp in and out of the mix. Make way for new wave industrial drum and bass!

 


New innovations in electronica and techno

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Welcome to our latest update from the world of underground music! During the month of February we have found some more awesome tunes as producers make use of their influences to transcend typical genres. The very nature of these crossovers means that we can’t put a label on the music – and that’s just the way we like it!

Maze Car has spent the last few weeks crossing various boundaries of his own, using some delicious new synths to explore the grooves that lurk between dub, chiptune and house. Head over to the Maze Car blog to hear about how he is stitching his latest demo together.

First on the playlist, though, is From Within, by Canadian synthwave sci-fi gurus c+d. This song is driven from the outset by stabs of thin bass and hissing snares, and the mood is lifted by every iteration of the powerful chorus. The mix fills with dirty synth-vox and wiry strings, and Donna’s vocals gain a dramatic urgency as she tries to keep her head above water. The c+d sound is reminiscent of Broadcast and Add N to (X) (wink), but there are also clear nods to NIN and Depeche Mode. There are more great sounding songs on their stream – so go have a listen!

Next up is Tune WIth Horse by aLLriGhT (featuring Horse). This pair of London DJs drops us straight into rude, spitting synths and heavy, plodding drums. The basic monotonic riff does battle with pitch bending buzzes and shredded arcade effects, resulting in a sound potent enough to demolish the sound system without the need for excessive bpm. Mike and Luke throw slow, weighty techno that was born and razed on the dance floor – keep checking their blog for more releases throughout this year. This is loud. With added Horse.

Finally, Irrealiser beta is the very latest from Japan-based producer Christmas (a.k.a. Dear McQueen), and the track is available for free download. The music has all the power of that uplifting, big hall techno vibe, but it is constructed from a brighter sonic palette and more stimulating grooves. The aggressive synths squawk and squeal over the boom of the beats, resulting in a style that takes old-skool Faithless to a new level of breaks, grit and groovy bass.