Tag: new music

Fine Folktronica Foray

voxel records head

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.

 


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 Electronic Alt Pop from August 2016

voxel-cloud-storm-830x693

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.


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

spook key apple

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.

 


New Year discoveries in underground music

voxel records jet microphone

Welcome to the New Year with Voxel Records. This trip around the sun has started with the loss of some influential musicians – so we would like to show big respect in particular for Bowie, Lemmy and Brad: Thanks for all the good times and the inspiration!

The RedSix studio has once again expanded its sonic arsenal. From the depth and control of the Roland JU-06 boutique synthesizer to the playful japery of the Teenage Engineering PO16, resident producer Maze Car is busy noodling with buttons and small lights. Apparently it is entirely acceptable artistic behaviour to fiddle with one’s Pocket Operator day and night …

Now for some more great music we discovered in the underground this month. First on the playlist is Final Lap by Cleeve Morris. This is a nostalgic journey inspired by the classic 80s video game Out Run. The tinny, cheese-grater FM synth sounds are complemented by deep, wide drums that plod firmly beneath the melodies – in fact, the snare is so deep that it is barely discernible from the bass drum. The tones are right on the money, though, from the arpeggiated lead to the late impro breakdown. Cleeve’s melodic retro synthwave fills the audio spectrum with a depth that the arcade games never could!

h.o.p.e. by BTFL MND is a down-tempo affair. The bright percussion is subtly glitched, and the pulsating pads and bass are given space to move and morph around each other. The lazy groove of the bpm is decorated with further arrhythmic morsels, resulting in some laid-back synth trap that fills the page with its beautifully balanced mix. There isn’t much on the BTFL MND stream yet, but keep your ears pressed to their Bandcamp page for future releases.

Finally, we really enjoyed the latest tracks by Way, Shape or Form, with 1.2.2016 being the first of the year from this American collective. The close, boxy drum machine is intelligently programmed, and it spits a rhythm tight to the groove of the track. These computerised timbres both contrast and complement the more organic elements of the music, which builds from a foundation of bass, through syncopated organ arpeggios and thick jazz-tone electric guitar to distorted pad finger-work. This is an accomplished performance and a fresh mix of instruments – keep it coming!