Tag: experimental

Deep and Diverse

deep and diverse music

Welcome to the latest Voxel Records news from March 2018!

This month, we found yet more deep and diverse tracks, showing off some great production talent – listen to the playlist and read more about them below.

Back in the studio, Maze Car continues to work with a couple of new artists on tracks for release this year. With each songwriter bringing urban and folk vibes into the studio, our resident producer is adding the xtronica suffix for new and interesting results.

Meanwhile, in the news, it seems that the inevitable has finally caught up with our social media masters. Indeed, the incessant hunger for personal data means abuse is rife. The resulting dip in public trust is the theme observed in Maze Car’s 2014 release Trust Me. Who would have thought we could be so prophetic …?

First on the playlist this month is Dove Holes by Spite Zoo. This could be considered a kind of showcase for Manchester’s Matttech Modular euro-rack synth store, but this is no detriment to the epic exploration of evolving tones that lovingly immerse us here. A maze of modular timbres echo and dance around the stereo field until all the rhythms are bound together by a solid deep bass line and acoustic dub drum loop. It’s well worth taking a quarter hour to meditate within this labyrinthine production, which is a perfect polygamy of modular, dub and funk.

Standing out proudly on the Eyes. All. Red. EP, the glitch intro of Satisfye‘s Decay deals us a heavy dose of dub shuffle with its simple wubbing rhythms. The purity of the groove is lost when the track breaks down, but the mood is rebuilt with a long pad that ascends into plodding stabs of synth-wave disco. With this track, Satisfye proves there is no need to be adventurous with melody when the sound palette and rhythms are so succulent: Fat. Deep. Wide.

Lastly, Heather Jayne offers up her latest track Better Than This as a quality follow up to last month’s Let Me In. Heather’s pouting, urban vocal is immediately familiar, warm and accessible to any lover of modern urban pop. Gritty backing vocal loops and swirling effects are spun into the captivating production and garnished with acoustic drum accents. The essence of tape-spliced loops are the original hallmark of Heather’s production, presenting all the wow and flutter of lo-fi alongside the brilliance of contemporary urban soul-tronica.


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?


Fresh New Sounds

voxel records pixel headphones

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.


Hidden Pop Joy

voxel records hidden pop

Welcome to the November news from Voxel Records!

The latest Maze Car single Those Shallow Games is now available in all major online retailers, but it is FREE for you to download right now from Orfium, Bandcamp and SoundCloud, so please play, like and share!

Coming up in December we will also be publishing the first of many investigations into the classification of musical styles. The aim is to analyse some of the labels and categories applied to music, from the very basic through to the unfathomable. We will be deconstructing and reconstructing various genres in the Red Six studio, and sharing a free demo track with every installment. Keep your eyes on the blog for updates – who knows how far this journey will take us …?

Once again this month, our ears have taken us on a journey through the very latest underground releases on Orfium, SoundCloud and Bandcamp. We have stumbled across the next Lady Gaga, found some great but unshareable music and finally managed to collate a few tunes we think are worth a listen – scroll down for the reviews.

Despite the somewhat incongruous presence of the bass drum, Let Me In is a great production from London collective Lyne. The gentle introduction soon builds up the pace, adding shimmering urban trills to the backing synths in place of the more traditional traps. The instrumentation rightly gives way to the excellent vocal performance that is more than tinged with the character of Adele, and this is no bad thing. The music is already fulfilling its potential as it gathers a ton of plays, so check it out now.

Candle Light is an experimental production by Lebanese producer Stephanie Merchak, Here, mellow trap clicks introduce feel-good melodies constructed from gentle chimes and gently distorted vibrato keys. A fluttering of bit-crushed chip-tune motifs precede the thin pad break down, before the tune resumes with a phased signature of accordion. The endearing and stimulating timbres glitch their way through this track, and indeed throughout the parent album From Dusk Til Dawn.

Bitter Brain appears to be the only track available from Texan duo Tripl3ts, so we hope there is more in the pipeline. A deep, dark monastic humming that borders on the satanic opens this track like a chasm, before familiar soulful vocal exercises and provocative effects are married with the powerful undertow of dub step and trap. The addictive pitched-drum bass licks bring extra greatness to this track, as it plays out with twitching trap hats. And it’s a free download!

Pay heed to the capitalisation of TechNo by US collaborators Casio Playa, because this is far from a pounding club track. The simple, clean production enables a heavy down beat hat to anchor a groovy synth-wave jam session, as choppy synths twirl and riffs emerge and subside with light-touch back up from the pads. This pair of artists have posted plenty more of their ruminations on various music styles, so tune in to their stream for fun sounds.


New music treats from the indie electronica underground

Voxel Zombie Controller

Spooky. It’s nearly Halloween, so the Christmas lights are going up in the neighbourhood. Here at Voxel Records, our tiny minds can only handle one capitalist festival at a time, and only then in chronological order. So we are keeping close to tradition by providing you with a loosely horror-related graphic. And some awesome tunes!

Maze Car has experienced some more tech problems recently. There has been a bit of a horror-show in the studio whilst porting to Windows (so-called) 10, and what seems like a tidal wave of updates to Apple devices. But after all this, the break-bit tune project continues with help from Donkey Kong and Pocket Simon …

First up on the playlist this month is Socio by Wing Tip which represents one of the more recent offerings from this UK producer. We are thrown straight into a shuffling house beat and a powerful, flowing chord progression, which is subsequently peppered with a haunting vocal stab. It gradually builds layers which generate subtle underlying melodies, and the ensemble swells into a turbulence of echoing synths until the drop. This interlude is groovy but brief, before we are launched once again into the wall of sound for a climax. It’s the funky shuffle of the beat that gives this track the edge, and the layers of timbre and melody strengthen the appeal.

Voyager by Exile Pots is one of many abstract, experimental and captivating creations from the Exile Pots back catalog that we discovered recently. The release is by no means new material (having originally been recorded some time ago), but it is new to our ears and maybe yours. The lonely chimes from deep space echo, loop and dance like stars and planetary orbits, and whilst the parent Randomiser EP explores various sonic themes, Voyager is a particularly sweet and gentle example. Inspirational stuff, and lots of it!

Alright by suiix is the result of an apparently international collaboration (Berlin and Sydney) led by Sarah Julienne. The song impresses with mellow, breathy vocals and is blessed with subtle strokes from some skilled guitar drops. The beats stumble and stutter along a trip-hop vein, with pitched percussion peeping through the mix as the creation develops into a cascading flurry of strings, wandering vocals and wild intertwining guitar solos. Altogether this demonstrates some innovative production and arrangements, so hopefully we can expect more from this group in the near future.