Kicking Off 2017 With The New Dark Generation

2017 will see a rise of Lovecraftian, cosmic horroresque aesthetics

2016 slipped away without a spotlight for a development in music that has come into full force over the course of this year, completely out of view of most blogs and music magazines, even independently of the internet avant-garde’s metal fetish. It is one of the most successful stories of how a music movement can be assembled from different genres and musical backgrounds. Meet the new dark generation.

I’m calling it a generation rather than a movement or a scene because not all of the artists are necessarily connected or would recognise each other as part of the same thing. Rather there are smaller groups and scenes, probably more than there are on my radar right now, that are making forward looking, multi-genre music with a dark twist. With the facebook group Dark Electronic Music, I’ve tried to tie all of these small movements together and to some extent this was successful, but still far from where I’d hope it will move. But all of these movements and scenes have grown and diversified this year and that is something which can never deserve enough support.

Some household names and some new names to support. Also I lost a bit sight on the techno, hardcore and industrial side of things, so that’ll be saved for next time.

1. Hexx 9 records (label)

Of all the labels and collectives out there, few embody what I call the ‘new dark generation’ as on point as the New York based trailblazers of Hexx 9. Born out of the post-witchouse movement, they have released next generation gothic music on the interface of witch house, industrial, ritual ambient, drone, noise rave, dub, trap and more. Even Abu Ama‘s Arabic ambient dub tarraxo has found a warm home at the label.

***

2. 209 SINS

With separate projects known under different pseudonyms, 209 SINS is one of the most consistently active Soundclouders, combining repost selections with own productions and mixtapes: れモモ刀下∨ㄥ 匕卄丹れム乙 for vocal hiphop, ᴆ ᴀ ᵛ ᴵ ᴆ † ᴌᴬ ᴮ 0 ᵙ ℜ for hard-hitting industrial DnB rave crossovers, Philip K. Decker for cinematic ambient influenced instrumental tracks and yunΠg≠wellbutriΠ for mixtapes.

209 SINS recent selector’s choice of industrial bass rave mixtapes

***

3. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş

We’ve supported the Paris based prodigy ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş and his alter-project Shinji (now [lyn]) several times before on the blog, but 2016 was the year where he put himself on the map, both with his two artistic projects and with his avant-witchhouse Facebook channel U+06e9. An autodidact classical singer, electronic producer and improvisationalist, bedtime stories’ has developed an impressively unique style, individually, without following any trend. Although he calls it ‘classical witch’, the sound transcends the witch house genre in every possible aspect, while its relation to classical music is even more intriguing. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş is a neoromantic, early-classical punk, reclaiming the sound and aesthetics of thoroughly elite, institutionalised entities as a tool for improvisational self-expression.

I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring. Yet for now, ‘Gaia’ (Hexx 9, September 2016) is ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş’ defining release.

>> BUY IT HERE <<

Ģăīă was a project created by an unknown entity, a creature able to bend the nature of things and able to change reality by interacting with dreaming people. Ģăīă was able to save lives, but playing with human psyche is not without consequences, and most of the dreamers died. Only a few stayed alive, connecting with nature to transfer the energy of the entity into the lands. Now, Ģăīă is all around us and influence our reality, but maybe this reality is just a lng dream orchestrated by Ģăīă itself.

One of the exiting aspects of ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş is that he knows how to deconstruct his own sound, combining elements of it such as the gothic opera singing, with vastly different vibes such as this industrial, rhythmic ambient track collab with Achromatic Residue.

***

4. Volkanos

Another very active producer and scene pusher involved in blending witch house elements with industrial ritual ambient music is Volkanos from Denver, U.S. Involved with the Hexx 9 label as well as the dark experimental techno label Tenebrous Music. Grown up in a family involved with Wicca and Shamanism, Volkanos always had a vision of fusing music with symbolism, mythology and ritual choreography. Expect a more in-depth interview soon on the blog!

https://soundcloud.com/v0lkanos/dethrite-valley-of-misery-volkanos-x-andrvj

Volkanos’ style: suggestive horroresque soundscapes, blended with organic percussion and witch house flavoured rave synths

https://soundcloud.com/v0lkanos/all-souls-mixtape

The All Souls mixtape which came out around halloween is one of my favourite mixes of 2k16, particularly because Volkanos, next to myself, is one of the only artists in the world fusing witch house, dark techno and 209 sins style industrial bass music with the dark flavoured side of ‘avant garde club’

***

5. Young Yogi

Supported several times before, Young Yogi, alter-project of GAMEFACE, is paving the way ahead of the dark trap microgenre which GAMEFACE has been building for about two years now, steering away from sounds of EDM trap as well as from post-internet cloud trap into a more unique and conceptual direction. Young Yogi’s sound combines the explosive tension and monstruous 808 bass of the new dark wave of cloud trap and with psychedelic uplifting melodies and cyber-utopian mystical thematics.

***

7. SADWRIST

Mad genius of the witch house scene, playing with thematics and imagery sometimes too gruesome for even me to share. When he disappeared from all his social media platforms at some point last year I, and probably more with me, was honestly worried he’d put an end to his life. But he came back and has been uploading so much fire lately, venturing from his already rough and eclectic twist on witch house further  into noise, breakcore, hardcore, dark trap and black metal.

***

8. RARE AKUMA

Especially Sadwrist’s more trap leaning work would probably fit the new #RAGECORE genre, created by the Antwerp based beatmaker Rare Akuma. Pushing a blend that is sitting somewhere in between drill, deathstep and metal, Rare Akuma bridges the worlds of hiphop, loud bass music and the rise of metal in the electronic avant-garde.

***

9. ATILLA THE HVN & NOIRE ANTIDOTE †

The witch house scene in the Netherlands is small and fragmented. The people that make it are not really connected into one scene. In fact, there isn’t really a scene at all. The genre is just getting a bit more known over here only recently (then I’m not talking about Crystal Castles) among the new generation of dark-alternative leaning fans who can nowadays listen to anything from vaporwave or sad rap to anime music or whatever edgy genre the internet has spit out over the last years. Producers are a different story. With Atilla The Hvn and Noire Antidote there are two great forward looking examples, one coming (as far as I can tell) from industrial techno, the other (alter-project of Benjamin’s Plague) coming from the cybergoth-industrial scene.

From Tilburg, home base of Generation Bass, Atilla the Hvn seemed to come out of the blue when I first discovered him last year, but apparently he has not only been experimenting with witch house for more than two years, has a solid following and is well connected in different forward looking corners of music. If I may bet on any producer from the Netherlands to rise to greater heights in 2017, Atilla The Hvn is the one.

Dark melancholic trance & hardcore beautifully blended and distorted into a powerful emotional rave flavoured soundscape.

I’ve known the guy behind Noire Antidote for a while (never met him in person tho) because of my occasional adventures in the industrial scene and how much I like dark electro, I was even happier to find out that within the remnants of the gothic scene at large, there is interest in witch house as a direction to go into. Not that I have anything particular against industrial hardcore or psytrance, but with self-proclaimed scene destroyer DJ Krat (industrial hardcore/rhythmic noise), the psy/goa scene or wallowing in German festival nostalgia as the only three options, witch house was never embraced by the gothic scene in the Netherlands so far. In 2017, things have changed. Whether it makes sense or not to still talk about a gothic scene is irrelevant. Noire Antidote is making great music and actively reaches out to crowds with livesets on industrial minded festivals, without the need for a witch house scene.

***

10. The Enigma TNG

Back in the days I’ve suppored The Enigma TNG, still one of my all-time favourite producers, as an example of what an eclectic, multi-genre cyberpunk flavoured dark music future could look like. Almost two years later, he is still going strong, consistent pushing and developing his unique style. And where back then, he was a solitary pioneer with a solid following mainly in the world of cybergoth-electro and alternative electrostep, today his sound, involving elements of metal and cinematic epic orchestral music, is being mentioned as an inspiration for the direction in which the club avant-garde will be moving in 2017.

His newest album, ‘Midnight’, came out in October last year.

>> BUY ON BANDCAMP <<

***

11. Toxic Embryo

Upcoming live electronic formation and enfant terrible of the dark-alternative scene in the Netherlands. Drawing inspiration from sources like Babymetal, BOTDF, anime music and nightcore, Toxic Embryo’s twist on dark electropop possesses the same post-ironic DIY edge as PC Music’s bubblegum rave or Elysia Crampton’s conscious use of cartoonish horror elements and recontextualised pop sentimentality. The nostalgic, trancy neo-rave melodies and anime-esque adventure lyrics combined with campy cyberpunk aesthetics will leave the traditional electropop fan in utter confusion whether this is a joke or truly garbage. Yet at the same time, this androgynous blend of hyperpop and angelwave, fused with metal, hardcore, trance, rap and live performance is exactly where the avant-garde of internet culture will be moving in 2017.

***

Renick Bell and the Promising Future of Algorave

renickbell

One of the tragic side effects of always being tuned onto the most innovative and culturally challenging music is that you’ll get bored ever more easily. Nights revolving around one specific genre, like techno or DnB, can annoy me to death. But also in the worlds that I’m active in, like global bass or ‘avant-garde club’, there isn’t much that can amaze me with the same power any more as when I was still new to all these things. Between my early Soundcloud days and now, the “‘this BLOWS my mind” feeling has gradually faded from multiple times a day to often months without. Simply because I’ve heard so much of the most fantastic stuff already. But last month I had a life transforming experience in a way I haven’t had since my early days of music digging, not while surfing Soundcloud in solitude for a change, but on the middle the dancefloor, walking into a liveset from Renick Bell.

Immediately when I heard the robotic abstract beats and alien ambient scapes while seeing the hypnotising coding lines glide and morph over the big screen, I knew that I would write a Generation Bass post as soon as I had the occasion. And doing a quick search I also realised that this is the first-ever Generation Bass post about algorave. Developed in the underground of tech enthusiasts, the technique of using software code commands to generate live music has been around for more well over a decade, yet hasn’t crossed paths too much, not with the ‘post-internet undergroud’ and let alone with global bass. It’s logical why.

What has fuelled the internet hypes over the last decade has mostly been driven by the products of the democratised accessibility of simple production and sharing techniques, which has enabled teenagers from around the world to develop new styles and subcultures that are often quite simple in the production process but creative in the way they bring together cultural elements available via the internet. The development of a whole new kind of instrument, especially one that requires very specialised knowledge only shared by minor section of the population, is a diffent world. In 2013, when the algorave first caught attention as an upcoming scene, Vice notoriously called it the “future of music, for nerds”. This esotheric character is one that algorave hasn’t managed to shed so far, at least in my perception, interesting mainly as a mere nice idea for people passionate about exploring the possibilities of coding as a human craft with vast latent cultural potential. All of this might well change soon, both because the coming generation will hopefully have much widespread knowledge of programming, but also because, as the craft matures, its fruits will improve and diversify. The previous generation has witnessed the shift of electronic music in general from an experimental niche genre pioneered by a small bunch of wire enthusiasts to the most widespread, popular way of making music. And with the potential of open-source software, in principle accessible to anyone anywhere with an internet connection, coding as a new form of musical expression may well be on its way to be embraced by marginalised people to articulate political realities that go beyond the privileged bubble of nerd culture. After all, the ongoing historical development of music is essentially cultural heritage x socio-political context x technology. And that is why, on the brink of 2k17 it is more urgent than ever to start talking about algorave on Generation Bass.

Enter Renick Bell, a Texas born, Tokyo based programmer, musician and teacher. His abstract, visceral sound, shared by artists like Partisan, Morten HD or Sentinel, has attracted the attention of avant-garde platforms such as J.G.Biberkopf’s Unthinkable series on NTS, Quantum Natives and Infinite Machine and has doubtlessly also been shaped back by these movements. More importantly, the amalgam of sounds combined in these music scenes has brought algorave in direct contact with the musical heritage from marginalised global club & bass undegrounds as well as with the socio-political contexts of the struggles of oppressed people for alternative futurisms. This happed very literally on Native Self, where Renick’s set was immediately followed by Terribilis playing baile funk and Lisbon batida.

During Native Self there were, as is common in the Algorave scene, no additional visuals apart from the real-time projection of the live coding process: a form of opennes to visitors with knowledge of the technology and an invitation to contribute.

His most recent official release Empty Lake EP, which came out in October this year, on the London based experimental label UIQ.

His most defining works: a series of tracks called “fractal beats”, drawing from genres like footwork, gabber, psytrance, techno and noise, but with the improvisational chaos of experimental jazz.

Moving into melodic territory, with poppy vocal samples, his sound becomes essentially identical to the sonic palette that I typically categorise as ‘avant-garde club’

Renick’s collab from half a year ago with the Japanese experimental club producer KΣITO

“Beats for traditional dancing”, a composition where live coding and otherworldly electronic sounds become antirely one with the spirit of Jazz

***

Follow Renick Bell:

OFFICIAL WEBPAGE
SOUNDCLOUD
YOUTUBE
TWITTER

Generation Bass Introduces: GORGE

rockwallgorge

Imagine a genre supposedly born in in the mountains on the Indo-Nepal border, communicating the aesthetic and spiritual sublimeness of rock climbing, becoming the soundtrack to an international rock climber-clubber subculture in Canada and Argentina and eventually morphing into a passionate avant-garde movement in Japan: it exists and is called gorge.

Exactly a year since we officially introduced our last genre, Shamstep, it is high time to return to doing what Generation Bass was originally created for: introducing cutting edge dance flavours from around the world to URL music enthusiasts. But at the same time, 2015 was the year in going into the music history chronicles as the year in which genres as a whole were officially dead. Most probably killed by cyber-deconstructionism. What could have been bandwagons just some years before were now all destined to prematurely popping out of existence, like soap bubbles. That makes it extra shameful that we totally slept on gorge when it was hot, back in 2012, when we were too busy pushing moombahton and 3ball. But now the genre, once a completely separate, ungoogleable bastion of secrecy is now slowly creeping into wider attention with artists such as Kazuki Koga (Canada), whose Salathé Wall EP for the Apothecary compositions label, introduced the mysterious percussive sound into the avant-garde club movement. So if there is any right moment to introduce a genre so long after it’s beginnings, it is now.

***

Gorge, best described as an experimental electronic interpretation of Nepalese folk percussion, is vaguely defined by its own inside conventions and legends. The sound can range from very distorted and noisy, to organic and minimalistic, from straightforward rhythms to complex experimental patterns and from downtempo to uptempo. Still gorge has, if such thing exist at all, a strong signature that makes the genre recognisable. According to gorge originator Himalayan Giant DJ Nanga in an interview from 2013, if you make gorge, apply the Gorge Public Licence:

  • Use Toms
  • Whenever you feel that a track that you make might me gorge, it is already gorge
  • Never ever call it ‘art’

I’m fascinated by why ‘never calling it art’ is such an important part of gorge. I suppose it’s because ‘art’ implicates human mastery and control, whereas the whole idea of gorge is precisely to embody ‘the sublime’ which escapes and resists human control. Not culture but nature, the impersonal, relentless magnificence embodied by the rocks, refusing to be conquered and tamed by humans trying to climb them.

In the words of DJ Nanga, gorge is ‘rock music’ in the most litteral sense. It is the “sound of a rock, sound of water that beats the rock, sound of a mountain held by the rock.” And according to DJ Fhuck TheChipping, gorge “is not a human expression, Gorge only has the hardness of the rocks. Can you survive?” Accordingly, producers making gorge aren’t called ‘artists’ but ‘bootists’: they don’t craft their own sound, but climb them. And perhaps that is – in the wake of aesthetic trends like xenopunk that are reflecting on non-human sublimeness against an increasingly artificial world tailored for human comfort – why gorge is more relevant than ever in 2016!

***

The newest EP of Hanali (Tokio), one of the leading figures in the Japanese gorge movement

And the promotion video for Hanali‘s 『ROCK MUSIC』 EP from 2013

Hanali is not a DJ but a live electronic musician who performs gorge by on-the-spot improvisation

A gorge tune from the very early days (2008) from the further unknown DJ Kinabalu

Industrial space-synth gorge by Drastic Adhesive Force (Japan) from the 2012 ‘Gorge Out Tokio‘ compilation

And another selection of Japanese gorge from 2014, by the Kyoto based label Terminal Explosion

Gorge from US based bootists, ‘the United GORGE Bootists of America’, released in april this year, featuring less industrial noise and much more crossovers with electronic genres like techno, avant-garde club, ambient, kuduro and more

Kazuki Koga‘s grand EP for Apothecary Compositions, which we supported before, blending gorge with juke & footwork

Kazuki Koga performing his EP alleingehen live

In the Japanese electronic underground, juke & gorge appears to be a powerful combination to blend together on club nights.

The most important artist who brought gorge into the internet-underground last year is seapunk OG Ultrademon who was inspired by Kazuki Koga and announced to make a gorge EP last year as a tribute to his cousin who died ice climbing. This EP was materialised via a his side project Thiefist, released via the gorge.in label & platform.

Gorge & post-internet aesthetics influenced rap by rapper MC松島, produced by bootist Franz Snake

According to Japanese gorge specialists HiBiKi MaMeShiBa and Mr. Ishii these are two tracks, one from the British industrial band SLAB! (1987), the other (1969) from the German experimental krautrock band Organisation (Kraftwerk before they started Kraftwerk)

And here a fresh EP from this year’s most active and passionate gorge bootist, Indus Bonze, who asks the question whether gorge is dead or alive…

…but, to speak in the spirit of DJ Nanga: gorge is never dead nor alive. Gorge is the water crashing down from the rocks, with with no beginning and no end. Gorge is the rumble of the elements when the rocks were formed. Gorge was there long before us and will be there long after we are gone. Gorge is eternal.

***

Find more >>

FAQs >>

Bęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ EP [Witch House + Classical Music]

AlmightyDeities

No genre is absolute any more. Was 2015 the year where genres definitively died, 2016 is the year in which even overarching categories of music such as ‘club’, ‘dance’, ‘bass’, ‘avant-garde’ or ‘band music’ are gradually becoming meaningless. Even the rusty bastion of classical music is no longer able to isolate itself from the creative promiscuity of the forward-looking underground. We’ve seen this in the avant-garde club movement but there is more out there. Like ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş, who not just uses or ‘seasons’ classical music, but actually IS classical music in its own right.

The remarkably unique music project is the new creation of the Paris-based musical misfit prodigy whom we supported before under his previous moniker Shinji. Where Shinji was energetic experimental dance and bass music for gothic minded clubbers, ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş is most accurately described as lullabies for young adults with wounded souls. This sounds as dark as it is tender, emotional and strangely comforting.

The heartbreaking emotional soundscapes, built up from cinematic orchestral strings, introspective French romantic piano music, occasional drums, ethereal sound effects and noise, are, above everything else, impressively honest. Confrontational instead of escapist, but confrontational in a deeply compassionate way. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş doesn’t present the world as any better than it is, but beholds it in silence, standing powerless on the shore of an ocean of horrific magnificence. This intense, desolate intimacy pierces through into our deepest fear of cosmic insignificance, and that makes this music so cathartic and universal.

But just as unique as the sound is the way sound art is combined with vocals from the producer himself, singing in quasi-classical style, often using falsetto. His voice sounds ethereal and eerily angelic, like the wandering ghost of a dead church choir boy singing mournful, lyricless laments.

‘Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ’ was released a month ago as a single track, accompanied by poem about the inevitable perishableness of sparks of joy.

Quand les anges s’évanouissent
Que les enfers se réjouissent
Les dieux dans l’amour s’épanouissent
Et de leurs baisers des lumières jaillissent
Et soudain en un instant s’évanouissent
Les fastes d’un bonheur, d’un délice
Lorsque s’enfuit l’infini

When angels vanish
And the hells rejoice
Gods, in love, bloom
And from their kisses lights do spring
And suddenly vanish, in an instant
The splendors of a joyful flare, of a delight
When infinity flees

After a couple of reviews and blogposts, ‘Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ’ became ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş‘ best listened track so far. This spontaneously resulted in a remix EP, with six remixes from various producers, especially from the witch house scene, where the producer is most involved. Where the original leans very much to the classical side, economical with drums and synths, the remixers bring in heavier and more rhythmic sounds. Most standing out are the subtle cinematic noise remix by witch-horror-noise experimentalist W H I † E, SEMICOLOŊ‘s two deliciously percussive psychedelic chill remixes and the avant-garde club flavoured “witch-grime” vibes from M-UGGR333.

Tracklist:

  1. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (W H I † E remix)
  2. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (BL▲K.:P▲N3L:.SKR↑P† remix)
  3. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (SEMICOLOŊ remix 1)
  4. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (Original mix)
  5. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (ΛΛ4Я4ZΛΛ remix)
  6. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (SEMICOLOŊ remix 2)
  7. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (M-UGGR333 remix)
  8. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (Live mix)
  9. ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş – Āłmįģħŧŷ Đęįŧįęŝ Kįŝŝįŋģ (Achromatic Residue remix)

***

Follow ßęđŧīmĕ Šŧōŗĩėş:

SOUNDCLOUD
FACEBOOK
BANDCAMP

MUSIC, TECHNOLOGY & THE FUTURE PART 2 : The Podcast

KevinMackArt

Artwork: ‘Transhuman Godatalia Complex’, a digital sculpture by the forward-looking, science-rooted visual artist Kevin Mack

When music, technology and the future intersect, what are the main issues that come to mind? Label owners may be stoked to find the ideal disruptive business model, forward looking artists may want to experiment with new ways to create and deliver sounds, while bloggers or academics would rather focus on the way in which future technology shape social and political contexts in which music acquires significance. The issues are interrelated. Progressing communication technology – not only the internet but also its precursors such as radio or successors like virtual reality – changes the world in a way that inspires artists to make music, offers a pool of crude material from which music can be assembled and simultaneously offers a medium for music to spread. And if we take a step further, beyond the internet and current conceptions of music, there are even more fundamental questions about the creation and perception of sound, be it by artificial intelligence or by a generation of post-humans who have transcended natural sensory or cerebral limitations to preceiving, interpreting and conceiving the essentially infinite possibilities of imagination.

Our latest talkshow brought these two perspectives about music and technology together, featuring Demian Zivkovic and Lotte van Noort, respective President and Chancellor of Insitute of Exponential Sciences on the transhumanist movement as a cultural phenomenon, its reception and its relevance music and other forms of art and innovative music business consultant Bas Grasmayer of Music x Tech x Future. As a soundtrack to the theme, I selected a broad range of tracks from several corners of the music underground, that are at the same time a direct result of today’s accelerating, high technological time and an artistic reflection on it.

***

IESLogo

The Institute of Exponential Sciences is a think tank and platform that brings together scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, culture makers, journalists and students with an interest in fields of technological innovation that will fundamentally reprogramme human nature. With social events, lectures and partnerships, the institute promotes transhumanist perspectives and initiatives in different sectors of society.

***

MusicTechFuture

Music x Tech x Future is a consulting service for professionals in the music business, sharing the sharpest insights in the impact of technological innovation on the music economy in the broadest sense.

***

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE >>

Important Stuff We’ve Slept On

Holographic

I am a slow blogger. I usually rake in as much as possible of everything that pops up in my soundcloud feed or on Facebook and if I dig it, repost, comment, or thumb it up.

But as usual, I´m behind with important posts so that all the important new stuff disappears to the end of the queue of everything I still need to (or sometimes even promised to) post. In the end, it always ends up in big roundups with deep background reflections – because novelty isn’t really the point any more when a track came out a month ago – which is what I am focusing on and nicely sets apart the value of blogs compared to faceboom groups. But inevitably, there are always too many things that escape the radar, some of which I keep being reminded about as they release new stuff or if I notice that other platforms do give them the recognition that I would like them to give as well.

Therefore, here a selection of stuff, mostly artists, who always sticked around in the back of my head and should have had a shoutout long ago. Some of them may be familiar to you, others less so, dependent on the kind of music you’re into, but all have something unique that makes it something Generation Bass should have blogged. We didn’t, but it’s never too late for a second chance.

Abu AMA

If there is one producer who should have been a Generation Bass household name since the very beginning, it is the enigmatic producer Abu AMA. His unique style is possibly the most Generation Bass thing ever: a fusion of Middle Eastern music, portuguese tarraxo and an experimental electronic twist, coined #ArabXo. More than simply experimenting with sound, his music carries a powerful message against todays rampant plague of islamophobia and Western belligerence the Middle East!

A warm shoutout from the blog that so closely matches every aspect of your passion and style. From now on you WILL be our household name!

Stomping uptempo portuguese batida with Middle Eastern samples and industrial ambient noise!

Downtempo organic tarraxo with a some baile funk/rasteirinha flavour

***

KABLAM

In the club underground, KABLAM, from Berlin’s JANUS collective, is one of the most essential artists as well as a main favourite of tastemaking music platforms like THE FADER and FACT. And rightly so, because her abstract flavoured productions are among the most unique even in the scene of which she is part. What strikes me most about her style is the skillful minimalism, carefully cutting out the ‘soft middle filling’ of music, retaining only the skeletal essence of rhythm and the aerial cloud of melody. I know that, with these wordings, I am kind of parroting much better reviews of her music on other sites but I simply can’t but entirely confirm these analyses. Next to her home base at JANUS, she is also closely connected to the Staycore117 family.

Comforting devotional string loops interrupted by unpredictible echoeing claps create an incredibly powerful state of mind, best comparable to a moment of slowly calming breath and heartbeat after an intense experience of agony

Another unique, ostensible juxtaposition, as contrasting as could ever be possible: late medieval choir chants, created to reflect the rational perfection of the heavens against the oceanic, apettitive ID-unleashing baile funk sound of Mc Marcelly‘s ‘Vem Sarrando‘ (“come lick”) – yet it makes perfect sense, creating a powerful spiritual reunitement through female sexual energy, utterly destroying the fascistoid, patriarchical Platonic-Freudian tripartite hierarchy of the Western world-picture

***

mobilegirl

Another important member from the Staycore 117 family, also living in Berlin, mentioned a couple of times in earlier posts already but so far never got a specific shoutout. Her combination of dembow beats, RnB and conceptual club music is the ideal balance between accessibility and cutting edge, forward looking attitude.

Dembow-club bootleg of Jennifer Lopez’ hit ‘Play’!

Her oldest track on Soundcloud which I somehow never noticed at all before writing this post: an incredibly beautiful crystalline melodic track with an unmistakable moombahdeep/luv vibe, yet with incomparably many times the creativity of most generic stuff that passes as moombahton

***

mapalma

A third important Staycore 117 family member, based in Croatia who should have received our support since a long time ago. Mapalma also uses mid-tempo BPM range dembow as a backbone but has a much more energetic, even subtly dark melodic sound. One of the questions still puzzling me is why it could be that a sound so close to moombahton, or global bass in general, is kept so separate from that. There must be a reason. While she must certainly be aware of the global bass sound and movement, not even eshewing the term subtropical, she and the wider Staycore scene are clearly and probably consciously not associating themselves with it. I talked about this with Munchi and he was of the opinion that it is a very good thing, arguing that heading it under anything ‘global bass’ or moombahton would charge it with so much ballast expectations and not do justice to its uniqueness. Good point, ‘club music’ is a much better umbrella in so many ways, but it’s still fascinating me.

One of her newer tracks: dembow, baile funk and melodic synths

Amazing collab with mobilegirl, going for a much heavier, futuristic club sound

Impressive to realise that this is really two years old and still sounding so fresh, even among all the conceptual ambient trap/trillwave tunes I hear every day

***

Normal Nada a.k.a. Theoscicloff

I discovered this producer about half a year ago when I tried to find out whether there were any serious blends of kuduro, afrobeats or with psytrance/goa or any kind of underground trance music. As expected, I found loads of ‘pseudo-African’ 4/4 trance with some djembe added to make it sound “tribal”/”exotic” (LOL!!). Also was there an occasional poppy, EDM flavoured afrohouse mixtape tagged as ‘trance’, without having much of an actual trance sound at all, until I noticed the Principe Discos logo on one of the tracks in the list, uniquely tagged as afro-trance and even psytrance!

Mystereously, the producer, who used to have an active soundcloud account and only one release with Principe, removed all of his online presence apart from his YouTube account. Even the Principe account removed the track and I have really no idea why. Let’s hope he’ll come back this year, continuing this exciting style. If not, I hope the YouTube will remain online at least.

His release with Principe: a magnificent banger blending Portuguese batida with oldschool psychedelic acid-trance

An even harder scorcher of kuduro with hardtrance!

***

CYBEREALITYライフ

One of the things with vaporwave and trillwave producers is that usually they keep their information very enigmatic and delocalised, usually not disclosing where they are located. In such way I’d been knowing CYBEREALITYライフ for a while already when exploring vaporwave, trillwave and the wider post-internet scene. Until I came across him on Facebook and realised that he is from Mexico and right at that moment, really into experimenting with as many different genres and sounds as possible such as jersey club, juke and synthwave. I was stoked to hear that he was now drafting a 3ball tune, even allowed to check out the preliminary version. I promised and truly wanted to give this a major shoutout on the blog, which I eventually never managed to do and I still feel bad about that. It’s even one of the most lit 3ball tune that have come out in 2015 and I hope more of this will follow this year!

CYBER3BALLITY!!

Closer to his core-style: his amazing fresh album of SESH-flavoured suicidal shoegaze-hiphop beats (>> BUY <<)

***

...torus

Talking about the post-internet music scene (which we never covered extensively enough on Generation Bass in the first place), I entirely overlooked the unique Dutch exponent of this movement, based in The Hague; torus! While his visual style is very similar to the broader trends in the post-internet/net-art community, moving from marble renaissance architecture and art to office plants and surreal virtual objects and now, in the wake of health goth and the club movement, sports clothing & gear aesthetics, his music is extraordinarily personal and unique, holding the middle between vaporesque, ethereal melodic soundscapes, recontextualised abstract influences from 00s RnB or eurodance and even some ambient trap and future beats. I met him at Progress Bar a couple of weeks ago and found that he is also a great enthusiast and endorser of the new club movement, which means that he may well turn into one of the most essential musicians in the Netherlands this year. Don’t sleep on this!

His most recent EP, ‘temples’, from a year ago, combining all the different colours of the spectrum of his style (>> GET IT NOW <<)

And a short 2 track bundle focusing more on one specific sound of aquatic ethereal ambient with crystal clear, crispy percussion

***

PIVOTAL

When I stumbled upon PIVOTAL while making my wanderings through the Soundcloud networks of the new club scene, my mind was blown immediately. Here is somebody who, as it seems, combines the abstract rhythmic backbone and cybernetic grime synths of the new club formula with harder, more explosive drums than I ever heard before in that scene, as well as unscrupulous scorching distortion and noise, creating a unique sound that approaches the brutality of crossbreed or industrial hardcore. On the artist’s soundcloud page there are tracks in many different styles, few of them coming even close to this. This unique fusion seems to come out of the blue. I definitely hope to see more of this stuff this year!

https://soundcloud.com/fivestarhotel/hyyydraulicmelt

Recklesslesly stomping conceptual grime/club

Distorted industrial noise fused with avant-garde club/trax influences (>> BUY HERE <<)

***

Siete Catorce‘s ‘Paisajes EP’

Siete Catorce is one of our all time favourite artists since the beginning of the blog. Been there since the early days, before the rise and fall of global bass, lived through the budding and now bloom of Mexico as a hotbed for innovation in music and youth culture. And he’s still there, pushing his uncompromisable hypnotising style of experimental polyrhytmic beats with sparkly melodic synths and deep ambient soundscapes.

It’s just that my own personal sour-hipster mood sometimes witholds me from posting and promoting stuff released by big labels that are surrounded by an air of commercial success and mainstream vibes. Jealousy…? Maybe. Childishness…? Certainly. Because Paisajes EP should have been a unquestionable #ESSENTIAL right when it came out. I hope it isn’t too late yet to make that sure!

(>> BUY IT HERE <<)

https://soundcloud.com/sietecatorce/sets/paisajes

***

and this album!

I really do like techno but barely blog it on Generation Bass for the sheer sake of focus (any techno bloggers, be welcome to join our team!). I found out about this while exploring the soundcloud networks around Psychick Warriors ov Gaia’s amazing ‘1989 EP‘ which I blogged back in may last year. Like the Psychick Warriors EP, this EP too heavily involves polyrhythmic elements breaking away from the 4/4 + swing syncope formula that is still uncontestedly dominant in the genre. The first track, ‘Dissociate’ sounds like an industrialised version of Siete Catorce’s take on the prehispanic triplet, while ‘Weasels’ is the 100% perfect fusion banger of acid-techno with bubbling! Can these similarities be unintentional, coincidence? I have absolutely know idea who these artists are or whether there is something like a scene around this exciting approach to techno but I do know that, as soon as I heard it, this blew my mind hard. I’d like to educate myself more into this and pay more attention to it on the blog!

>> BUY IT HERE <<

***

Sonic Acts and Lighthouse bring the Club Underground to The Netherlands!

ProgressBarNew2

Kamixlo and Endgame behind the DJ booth in the smoke clouds left behind by King Midas Sound & Fennesz

(Check out the the entire photo series >> HERE <<)

One of the things that has been puzzling me most last year is why there was virtually nothing going on in the Netherlands when it comes to the new club/trax avant-garde. While in many countries around the world, collectives, events, labels and communites where mushrooming everywhere, there was nothing even close to that over here. Sure, there are individual producers involved in the movement such as Torus, but they exist more or less in a vacuum, a product almost entirely of the internet instead of their physical surroundings. But now times seem about to change, with the first Amsterdam edition of Progress Bar featuring London underground excitements Kamixlo and Endgame, alongside live act King Midas Sound & Fennesz and Progress Bar host DJ Juha van’t Zelfde.

Progress Bar is a creation of the Brighton avant-garde cultural platform and venue Lighthouse. Evolving out of Lighthouse’s earlier Improving Reality events, the Progress Bar is a catalyser for “cutting edge thinking and dancing“, a podium to explore the significance of new cultural expressions in a context of technology, society and politics by means of a diverse blend of talks, workshops, live music, film and club nights. After a series of successful events in Brighton, Lighthouse’s artistic director and Progress Bar host Juha van’t Zelfde teamed up with Lighthouse’s Dutch counterpart platform Sonic Acts to bring the Progress Bar concept to Amsterdam.

Progress Bar was set in the cultural meeting spot Tolhuistuin, located on the north side of the IJ river, just a three minutes free ferry cossing away from Central Station, with the modest skyline of Amsterdam’s old city centre glowing on the horizon. Described by the website as the place where the cultural experimental garden of Amsterdam’s North abandoned shipyard area is connected to the outer world, the location left an almost symbolic impression of the night. The programme consisted of a lectures session with THE FADER journalist Aimee Cliff and the influential Trinidadian writer and performer Roger Robinson (both based in London), a live concert from King Midas Sound & Fennesz, introduced with a short set by Juha, and afterwards the Endless club night experience with no less than Kamixlo and Endgame.

Not so long ago, Aimee Cliff wrote an article in THE FADER about the current state of club culture in London and the way it is influenced by continuous gentrification. The transformation of neighbourhoods from neglected impoverished areas into expensive places for young rich families, pushing out the original poor inhabitants as well as the unique club cultures they were home to. In her lecture she pointed at the Endless crew as one of the prime examples of an independent movement which posits itself as a protest force against gentrification of their physical neighbourhood Brixton as well as the social environment of the club itself. I had a chat with her afterwards about the similarities and differences between the UK and the Dutch situation, considering what makes London so different from Amsterdam or Rotterdam even though they are so similar in so many ways.

***

Being less actively involved in the ambient/noise scene, I was not yet familiar with King Midas Sound & Fennesz, whose sound immediately reminded me of the sonic style of the live acts at the Afrofuturism Festival, Morgan Craft and Nyfolt in particular. King Midas Sound – originally a joint project in itself already of the abovementioned vocalist/poet/performer Roger Robinson, experimental ambient-bass producer Kevin Martin and the Japanese artist and singer Kiki Hitomi – joined forces last year with the Austrian guitar-noise artist Fennesz for a forward-looking album called “Edition 1”. The unique musical direction of the album is a perfect blend of King Midas Sound’s melancholic, poetic vocals and experimental beats with Fennesz’ abstract art of stacking layers of melodic loops and noise into atmospheric soundscapes. The intense, mysterious ambiance, arising from the depths of the ocean and swelling into an apocalyptic thunder so loud that standing in the room was only bearable with earplugs, was enhanced by smoke machines cloaking the entire stage in a blanket of barely translucent mist. Viewed from the floor, the clouds surrounding the stage like a sacred mountain and the rumbling soundscapes became one, filling the entire place, alternately bursting out, lightening and evaporating again. Piercing through the sonic thunderstorm came the angelic voices of Robinson and Hitomi, singing tender songs about pain, love and desolation.

“Edition 1” (>> BUY HERE <<)

KMSFsmoke

Kiki Hitomi from King Midas Sound, only visible as a silhouette, veiled behind the mist

Crowdview

View from the crowd

A documentary impression of the band King Midas Sound from four years back

After the live performance, the floor was to Kamixlo and Endgame. The third Endless crew member Lexxi, originally part of the line-up, couldn’t be there unfortunately because of his health. Since 2012, they’ve been building a whole new club culture from the scratch, one that breaks every expectation commonly associated with clubbing while at the same time, bringing club culture back to its essence of providing a safe space for young people, especially from intersections of ethnic and sexual minorities, to do their own thing and escape the hardships of life in music that reflects their reality. Endless utterly erases the boundaries of conventional genres and the dominance of 4/4 beats with nothing more than a laptop on a small table from which the crew members play with their back towards the dance floor.

At Progress Bar, things were a little bit different so that the Endless experience couldn’t be transplanted in its entirety but had to be translated and conveyed to an audience relatively new to the underground club sound in a hall with a high stage and a robust DJ booth that automatically created a sense of distance between artist and crowd. Kamixlo opened with a first set presenting his unique personal style and sound. To me, the explosive rollercoaster ride between industrial dembow beats with mellow references to reggaeton and RnB, mixed with heavy grime and Chicago drill bangers was one of the most powerful emotional experiences I ever had on the dance floor (possibly anywhere at all). It was as if a trapped chain of suppressed feelings was progressively pulled, teased and out of its cage by a continuous back and forth massage between tender sensuality and total destruction.

Endgame’s presentation set leaned more towards the conceptual ambient side of the underground club movement, with his own characteristic signature style of dark-ethereal melodic synths accompanied by the downtempo rhythmical patterns of reggaeton and zouk. During his set, the dislocating, sterile yet sensual cybernetic sounds blended together with the fluorescent geometric light patterns projected in the dark hall into one impressive, dystopian-futuristic ambiance that felt as if I were dancing in the universe of my own tumblr. In a way, Kamixlo and Endgame together showed both essetial faces of the club underground movement. Kamixlo demonstrated the attitude of crossing the boundaries of genres and showed how vibes commonly understood as opposites can perfectly supplement each other, while Endgame showed the uniquely futuristic sound that comes out of the ever growing scene of young creative musicians expressing their reality with this attitude.

Sniper Redux ft. Blaze Kid & Uli-K, based on a Kamixlo & Uli-K edit of Endgame’s ‘Sniper Riddim‘ shows the absolutely unique sound from the London underground, combining the essence of underground reggaeton, rap and grime with a subtle dark-futuristic club atmosphere

Kamixlo

Kamixlo behind the decks

Endgame

Endgame

In the meantime, I hang out with grime/footwork experimentalist J(ay)A.D., just back from a trip to Suriname, and his friend the eclectic bass alrounder and Liquorish Records curator Oomboi Lauw and also met the unique Dutch conceptual producer Torus, who happened to be a good friend of NAAFI OG Lao. Strolling between the dancefloor, the smoking area and the bar in the hall outside, the night slowly changed from a showcase of specific sounds and personal styles more into the radically eclectic, ‘endless’ whirlpool of vibes that I imagined of the nights in London, varying not just between dembow, ambient club music and rap but now between anything from dancehall to nostalgic 90s rave to metal or industrial caribbean drums, beyond rational coherence. But it al made deep sense on the level of expression, loosing yourself entirely in the music.

Dancefloor

Cyberpunk-esque geometric projections on the dance floor

At the end of the night I had the great opportunity to sit with these two amazing musicians, also really cool people in person, for some water and Haribo’s and chat with them about the history and future of their scene in London, soon published for the new Trailblazers session.

***

This first edition of Progress Bar has powerfully shown that The Netherlands is ready for the new club movement. With Staycore showcase NASE3 last week, which I couldn’t attend due to my own gig, it had an immediate follow up for people who got enthusiastic for this sound. The next edition for progress bar is already scheduled for March, but who can’t wait until then, there is a regular nights in the making in Amsterdam and, of course there is the grand SONIC ACTS ACADEMY, entirely dedicated to the club avant-garde with an absolutely splendid line-up. Of course Generation Bass will be there to report. We’ll be back with more news!

SonicActsAcademy

Flyer for the Sonic Acts Academy

Afrofuturism: The Apocalypse and Beyond

NOTE: My Afrofuturism series are a week belated because I had problems with logging on to the site

BQFMirrors

Photo via: Black Quantum Futurism

“You ARE the noise gate” – Magician from the shortfilm ‘Noise Gate’ (2013)

The venue WORM is connected to a bar-restaurant, Wunderbar, where the afrofuturist vibes trickled through in the form of shangaan electro, and music from William Onyeabor and Fela Kuti, softly playing in the background. But behind this ostensibly superficial scene-setting hid a deeper message. Continuing the theme of the movie Crumbs, the second day was in many ways dedicated to the notion of a future after the apocalypse, which, as I found out, plays an important role in the afrofuturist movement as a whole.

The afternoon zine workshop was organised by Rasheeda from The Afrofuturist Affair and Ras from Metropolarity, two affiliated platforms where the creation of zines to showcase literature, art & more is a central activity. With a powerpoint presentation, the participants were challenged to reflect on human life in a possible, post-apocalyptic world. The assignment was to create a zine, with possible drawings, poems, ideas, quotes and picture collages from the many newspapers and magazines that covered the table only using sissors, paper, a copy machine and staples. Issues that were discussed were causes of the apocalypse, opportunities and challenges, leftovers of the known world, technology, traumas, identities and communication. Towards the end, the title of the zine was called ‘bubble to bubble’, referring to a networked community-structure as a replacement for our complex pre-apocalyptic mass society.

***

In the films too, the theme of perception and interpretation, one of the more intellectual elements of post-apocalyptic sci-fi came back in different ways. In the film ‘Noise Gate‘ (2013), directed by Vim Crony (Long Beach, California) a scientist from the future in search of the ultimate truth travels through different dimensions via a space-time tunnel called the noise gate. Inside the noise gate, the vibrations that produce reality lose their harmonious coherence and change into a whirlpool of cacophonic noise, at the end of which a wholly different kind of reality will be assembled. Every passage through the gate is a little apocalypse in itself. Stranded in a desolate, lifeless world and looking for the gate to exit, the (male) scientist encounters a majestically dressed (female) magician who appears to hold the key and answer to his search. Taking off his steampunkesque goggles and opening his eyes reveals a buzzing iris, the color television, tuned to a dead channel: Gateways for imagination, holding the power to travel dimentions and to create realities. “You ARE the noise gate”.

‘Touch’ (2014), directed by Shola Amoo (London, UK), is almost the opposite in both story and aesthetics. No desolate wastelands or otherworldly dressed scientists and magicians, but rather green fields outside London, covered with gently waving grass, and and two innocently dressed adolescents. This film was hard to review because of it’s many, multi interpretable layers and symbolic messages.

I personally perceived it as a critical commentary against the self-perceived purity, fragility and mindfullness of white-people’s intimacy (time and again perpetuated in mainstream cinema through the aesthetics of whiteness) juxtaposed to the supposed physicality of black people’s sexuality, expressed by means of a science-fiction story about a controlled, black-female conscious real-life avatar robot, who discovers the meaning of love and tenderness as an intersubjective experience between her lover and her. Official descriptions and reviews however, give a totally different picture and call it a film “about becoming a 21st century creative amidst a rapidly gentrifying city.” Here, the protagonist girl is an artist who develops a relationship as a way to escape a creative impasse and explores the limits of human experience that can be shared through technology. Two interpretations of a film that have absolutely nothing to do with each other; mine probably even making no sense at all. Nevertheless, stunning cinematic work and definitely food for further thought.

The final movie is more a music video than a film per sé, in the sense that the experimental rhythmic ambient track produced by Moor Mother Goddess plays an equally important role as the visuals. Black Quantum Futurism, is a third Philadelphia based community of deep thinking creative minds, established by Rasheeda Phillips and Moor Mother Goddess, which focuses on the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics in relation to worldview, consciousness and cultural perceptions of time and language. In a brilliant word-play, ‘Black Bodies as Conductors of Gravity’ connects the notion of the black body in the politics of race to the black body as a theoretical concept in physics of an ideal material object which perfectly absorbs all radiation. The video is a creative, cryptic expression of the dichotomy between reflection and absorption as well as the relation between the studied object and the observer. The mirror-masked woman in the speculative laboratory full of mirrors, takes her reflecting mask off and seems to be making the discovery when seeing her face reflected in the mirror.

https://vimeo.com/139816961

***

The films on Thursday were followed by three performances, from Moor Mother Goddess about whom we’ve already read, the ambient-noise duo Nyfolt, whom we will hear about much more in following posts as well as electric guitar experimentalist Morgan Craft. Unfortunately, experimental vaporwave producer and graphic artist Marlo Reynolds couldn’t be there.

Moor Mother Goddess is a multi-talented artist: a producer as well as poet and vocalist, whose style can only be characterised as experimental rhythmic ambient. Her sets vary between cyber-delic digital soundscapes energetic bassful beats & plunderphonic deconstructionism, enriched with clean as well as distorted vocals. These vocals in turn vary from single utterations to spoken word poetry to essayistic prose to rhythmical rap and everything in between. Moor Moder Goddess manages to encompass the whole spectrum of afrofuturism’s cultural expressions into one single act, which makes her one of the movement’s most iconic present-day voices!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0O0ZilYu5YM

Check out a snippet of Moor Mother Goddess’ performance in Rotterdam here!

And here a gripping music vid from 2 years back of the track ‘Of Blood’ from her ‘Alpha Serpentis EP‘!

Check out her new track!

Second to ascend the stage was the duo Nyfolt from St. Louis, consisting of visual artist, vocalist and songwriter Joan McNeil and electronic sound designer Nathan Cook, who describe themselves as a “a multi-faceted / pluralistic Afrofuturist, Neoplatonic, and Cyberpunk sound art / noise group.” Most characteristic for their approach is the intimate fusion of text with music into one very powerful sound-poem. Words and sentences become truly one with the sounds. Ideas, thoughts and emotions become live-created, analog soundscapes, while the soundscapes are in turn verbalised into words and sentences!

Their music stems from an eleborated philosophy, articulated in an official manifesto:

WE ARE FED UP WITH DIVISIVE RHETORIC/ACTIONS AND ARE SEEKING COMMUNION. […] THE GENESIS OF OUR SOUND IS THE COALESCING OF OUR INDIVIDUAL PSYCHSOCIAL TOPOGRAPHIES. […] HUMANISM IS OUR CATALYST AGAINST MARGINALIZING AND ALIENATING IDEOLOGIES. […] TRANSHUMANISM AIDS IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRICITY to diffuse our art effectivelt. WE ARE INVESTIGATING IMMATERIALITY AND AND METAPHYSICAL THAT AT TIMES IS INDIFFERENT TO THE FLESH. […] We confront the turmoil, frustration, and anger involved in the culture wars and through interrogation TRANSMUTE these feelings into communion, accord and empathy. NYFOLT IS CRITICAL OF MATERIALISM. Other trajectories are led by INTUITION, AN AFFINITY FOR THE PECULIAR, and a desire to avert, neutralize, and extinguish THE CORROSIVE AND PARALYZING EFFECTS OF PREJUDICE, DISCRIMINATION, AND CONFORMIST THOUGHT/LIVING.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY9F7RUO_KI

Nyfolt’s freshest release ‘Gutter Echoes Side B’

When, after these two powerful performances, the crowd was only half prepared to have their minds blown for yet a third time. Guitar virtuoso Morgan Craft‘s music was in many ways unlike the other two, particularly because of his unique use of the guitar as a tool to make experimental, futuristic music. Craft is a veteran when it comes to experimental music. Originally from Brighton, he has been based for long periods in NYC and in a small village on the Tuscan countryside and is now operating from the cosmopolitan, yet cozy and friendly Amsterdam, the best of both worlds.

In an in-depth interview with the experimental music blog The Improvisor, Craft describes himself as a bluesman, ‘blues’ not to be understood as a genre but as a well of emotion, and a heir of the intellectual and spiritual freedom of jazz, again not a genre but an attitude towards making music. If there is anything Craft reacts against, it’s the phenomenon, also described often here at Generation Bass, about musical flavours degenerating from open-ended expression into a fixed formula, a genre, that can be copied. This even goes for experimental or improvisational music or the use of computers as a gimmick instrument to merely ‘look’ futuristic.

IMG_20151015_233807

“I don’t care one tiny bit about the style of music called ‘improv’, in fact I think most of the people who play ‘improv’ are liars at this point.  They get up there and think they have to play like what ‘improv’ is supposed to sound like.” – Morgan Craft to The Improvisor

In this indeed highly original performance, he recorded loops of sounds, both harmonic and noisy, live played on his quitar and stacked new layers on top of it, including using a early 00s discman which transmitted hip hop beats to the pickup via headphones. He kept alternately adding and replacing elements so that the sound body organically evolved into an organic being able to propel itself. At several moments, Craft laid down his guitar and walked off the stage like a Leibnizian deity, resting after masterfully winding up the clockwork of the universe, now running itself in perfect harmony.

IMG_20151015_234336

Morgan Craft’s instrumental setup with guitar, discman and several connected recording and effect devices

Morgan Craft’s recent full album, improvised and recorded live

Darkness Rising [Special Mega Feature]

Darkness

***

This was originally a Krampus-special, planned for half a year ago. Last year, I first introduced krampus to Generation Bass in a legendary edition of Sexxy Saturday Cumbia.

***

And with every passing year, ever more people all over the world are finding out about this frightening creature that unleashes chaos and darkness in the streets of cities and villages at the onset of December. There was a Krampus Walk and Krampus Fest in Rotterdam to which couldn’t make it so a Youtube clip is all I can give you until upcoming year…

This is what regained my interest Krampus, a radiopodcast from Rotterdam, hosted by forward looking minds from the dark-alternative electronic scene who have been pioneering in the borderlands of hardcore, industrial, schranz and more. Since this year they’ve launched a campaign to introduce krampus in the Netherlands to show that an alternative to the Dutch idiotic blackface tradition doesn’t need to be a character-less, watered-down-consensus figure, but can also be something vibrant and exciting. As a teaser for the krampus walk and krampus fest, they made this podcast with a 2 hours of mindblowing brutal dark beats and background information about krampus (in Dutch).

https://soundcloud.com/rtvrijnmond/krampus-naar-nederland

***

At the same time, I’ve witnessed a rise of dark, apocalyptic vibes in many areas of music, including global bass genres. We’re in the midst of a transition and ever more revolutionary chaos is spreading in music and in our understanding of virtually everything in the world around us. I’ve been talking with people about the idea of dystopian futurism and darkness in music, fashion, art and wider culture for about a year now and mainstream vids like Skrillex ft. Ragga Twins‘ ‘Ragga Bomb‘ and Skrillex newest video Dirty Vibe‘ confirmed that gut-feeling.

As I explained in my skullbass post, there are three main innovations going on in our times: 1.) fusions of different dark/hard genres music such as hardcore, breakcore, drum ‘n bass, dark dubstep, dark techno, industrial, hard electro, noise music and metal; 2.) global bass; and 3.) fusions between urban flavours with dark music and aesthetics.

Fusions between styles that are known as dark and those that are not that much known as dark have, in fact, always been there, but throughout the 2000’s, the hey-days of animosity between scenes, it has never grown out into something more substantial. But towards the 2010’s, a fusion emerged between southern Chopped n screwed hiphop and gothic flavours which became hyped by the music media (in parallel with global bass) as which house. Remeber those days? Witch house was kind of the ‘thing’ before seapunk and vaporwave and a lot has been written about it that seems to be iconic for music in the internet-age: is it an actual genre? when did it become a ‘thing’? was it just an empty bandwagon?

And the list is much longer. Venus x‘ vanguard movement GHE20G0THIK is probably the most transformative cultural initiative of our time, Tommy Lee Sparta fused dark sounds and gothic aesthetics with dancehall in a way nobody has ever done before. But dark-alternative dancehall is growing (more about this later), and so is industrial hiphop, brought into the mainstream by Death Grips & Kanye West. And only think about the dark-industrial influences in bass music genres like grime, dubstep and DnB, which are endless.

So what’s the idea.. Global bass is the source of innovation for EDM while dark-alternative music incorporates ever more flavours of dance music (for an excellent history of how goth incorporated EBM and trance and transformed it into cybergoth and then died of a lack of innovation listen to this podcast!) and urban music is innovating by incorporating dark, abrasive flavours. Considering that global bass itself are often urban inspired rather than dance inspired music, an eventual convergence of dark music and global bass rhythms and flavours seems almost unevitable. And with internet trends like Healthgoth now also embracing the idea of cross-genre dark music, there is only more potential for this to happen in 2015.

Munchi was years ahead of his time..

To actively speed it up, I created the Facebook group Dark Bass Underground, later turned into (for the lack of a more accurate name) Dark Electronic Music to share stuff from both sides, trying to inspire people. And especially now we at Generation Bass started the NXNW section, we also moved more solidly into dark terrain. Time to celebrate it with a massive dark bass post, with picks from the best of what has been shared in that group so far.

One of my main loves when it comes to dark music is the 80s retrofuture-noir atmosphere of cyberpunk, which I call ‘a mirror’ for our own world. It is the sound that emerged as people were thinking about the times ahead of them that we are now living in, and it is only logical that this music will rise again after the euphoria and consumerist air castles from the 90s are stripped away. Perturbator is one of the most important new generation of artists who is bringing dark, often analog, synth music back to the forefront of electronic music today! Check out this amazing set from November!

What’s especially promising about analog oriented styles like ebm, early electro, early techno, synthwave and synthpop is that they can be performed by bands and can break the current dominance of DJing in electronic music. As I found out while writing this post, the line between live and pre-recorded is often very blurred when it comes to performances of electronic bands, but nevertheless, this performance from the Detroid based electro band Dopplereffekt shows what kind of things we may see much more in the future.

Now compare this to the legendary Boiler Room performance of the ruidosón OG’s Los Macuanos, and imagine what may happen if band-based electronica and global bass will merge on a larger scale!

The Enigma TNG is one of my all-time favourite producers, with an eclectic retro-futuristic approach that varies between cinematic electronica, industrial and hiphop!

GR∆V3☦ROBB∆ is currently one of the most active and experimental names in witch house. He doesn’t follow fixed formulas but always explores diverse sounds, from dark dubstep to ritual ambient to techno!

For more of most forward-looking witch house, check out one of my absolute favourite YouTube cannels: Nightmares & 808s. This mindblowing, industrial-inspired tune from the Russian dark avant-garde producer Greycity is a good example of the fantastic stuff that you will find on this channel!

Before I move to the next genre, here an stunning, genre-crossing tune from Wanage Ska, an industrial & witch house producer from Rosebud Sioux Tribe reservation Lakota!

A whole different kind of fusion of dark sounds and southern hiphop is dark trap. As an antidote to the brainless euphoric laser-sound of festival trap, dark trap could be called ‘funeral trap’, combining distorted 808s with ritual chants, mysterious pads, trans-dimensional synths and brutal bass stabs.

If there is anyone who should be credited as the originator of dark trap, it is the cosmic trapgod Gameface. Check out his newest, apocalyptic track that pierces a hole in the veil between life and death, in the middle of the harshness of the streets!

https://soundcloud.com/officialgameface/karakorum

Another rising dark trapper is the Portuguese producer Bruno Alison! That subtle percussion is just perfect and my deepest wish is that he will collaborate with the Portuguese tarraxo underground one day!

https://soundcloud.com/nextgentrap/bruno-alison-limbo

Avant-garde producer Flint Beastwood from Amsterdam made this stunningly dark for his grand Blasphemy Age album that was just too good to leave out.. It’s definitely the darkest track on the list but if you want to hear some of the best post-internet underground vibes, you should definitely check it out!

https://soundcloud.com/realmsix/flint-beastwood-god-of-hellfire

A specific genre of ‘dark urban music’ to mention is drill, Chicago’s dystopian, ice-cold cousin of Atlanta trap, which has been on the rise over the last years as one of the new major waves of hip hop, known for acts like Bobby Schmurda and Chief Keef. The harsh lyrics go hand with the most spine-chilling dark sounds that sometimes comes close to a industrial ambient flavour, fused with downtempo 808 beats, like this throat-gripping instrumental by Dj Hitkidd!

https://soundcloud.com/dj-hitkidd/shooters-prod-by-dj-hitkidd

Industrial music, the prototype of all dark electronic music, seems to be in a state of confusion for a while now, torn between innovators and purists who do everything to keep existing sounds subgenres the way they are. Meanwhile, fans hop into ther scenes, such as hardcore or goa.

But in all different corners of the umbrella term ‘industrial’ there are interesting things going on. Especially now the early and heydays of industrial are being rediscovered in the wake of internet hypes like healthgoth, I’ll expect it to get only better in 2015!

For me personally, this massive yet thoughtful electro-metal flavoured stomper from the German band Chrysalide was the best industrial single of 2014! Download it from their webpage!

The experimental producer Grimstatic keeps impressing me with a eclectic blend of dark electro, harsh EBM, industrial noise and complex rhythmical patterns. I’ve been reposting him for a while and I’m happy I can finally support him on Generation Bass!

Electronic Body Music and industrial music are not the same thing but they are often heard together, especially when it’s harsh EBM. Generation Bass on an 80s underground synth trip and EBM is definitely a fascinating movement of electronic music rooting in the 80s that you will hear more often on the blog in 2015. Here an great example of an 80s flavoured EMB tune that blows my mind!

Spectral Incision is an experimental producer who calls his own style ‘industrial filth’: a fusion of industrial, metal and dubstep. His newest track explores a whole new sound, an abrasive, percussive DnB-flavoured beat with a vibe that goes into the direction of zoukbass!

And here another experimental industrial track, from eclectic dark producer Beat Driven Insomnia, fusing a typical industrial cyber-electro synths with an uptempo, distorted breakbeat!

And from Argentina we’ve got PSICOTOP, a very interesting experimental producer who fuses industrial and EBM with dark ambient, noise and Latin influences. I originally wanted to blog a track where you could clearly hear elements of cumbia and salsa but he took it off his soundcloud so here another amazing example. Not exactly industrial, but dark ambient with flute sounds from the Andes!

https://soundcloud.com/psicotop/se-que-te-vas

In you are interested in what’s happening at the front-line of innovation in hardcore and all its sub-branches, check out the magnificent label Noisj and new events such as N.O.R.A.D., where excellent crossovers between hardcore, DnB and hard techno are starting to form a whole new generation of hard-dark music fans from many different directions. People from the cyber-industrial scene, the still substantial gabber underground, from DnB, from raggacore, acid and tek, from hard techno.. all have found their way into this new and exciting world.

Let’s start with crossbreed, a hybrid genre of hardcore and DnB, which I heard is still far from embraced both by the hardcore scene among DnB fans. First an example which is still close to the darker side of DnB, by the Russian dark-hard eclecticist DNE!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/noisjltd-32-dne-control

And here a crossbreed track with the same monstruous energy as hardcore, a fresh release from the Belgian innovative hardcore duo Existh!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/noisjltd-39-existh-we-gave

With more complex breakbeat patterns on the high frequencies it becomes breakcore rather than crossbreed. There’s some very interesting experimental stuff out there which tries to bring the drum insanity from breakcore and the brutal harshness from hardcore closer together.. Check out this stunningly futuristic track by Maza (Russia) & The Infernal Brothers (Russia)!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/noisjltd-38-maza-the-infernal

Other experimental vibes go more into a melodic, quiet direction, like ‘dreamcore’. With soothening pads & piano work, Ragnarok (Norway) & Starving Insect (Sweden) manage to fuse abrasive, distorted kicks with a toughtful, post-apocalyptic chill-groove!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/dd00065-ragnarok-starving

Also from Ragnarok: a magnificent techno flavoured banger with a vibe that almost becomes 3ball!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/redsp-08-ragnarok-synaptic

And here a third track from Ragnarok, remixed by The Peoples Republic of Europe, one of the most influential formations in another hybrid genre, industrial hardcore!

https://soundcloud.com/noisj-nl/redsp-08-ragnarok-breathe-the

A genre where dark sounds are living a strond and passionate underground life is techno. There is a network of connected subgenres like doomtechno, dark techno, industrie techno, mainly located in Germany. I can’t cover it all but I can share an example of the amazing stuff that is coming from this underground..

Here brutal fresh release from the Düsseldorf based producer Klangtronik!

The Belgian producer Ethan Fawkes is a producer-dj who stands with one leg in the world of industrial and with the other leg in the world of dark techno and a lot of amazing industrial flavoured techno is being released these days by him and producers around him. I picked this remix by the duo E-Squad, because of the groovy tribal flavoured percussion!

Of course there cannot be a Generation Bass post with dark techno without a major shoutout to Generation Bass godfather Drvg Cvltvre.. Check out this fabulous dark, almost Latin-flavoured percussive techno track!

https://soundcloud.com/drvgcvltvre/drvg-cvltvre-bloodlust

The Colombian producer Luix Spectrum combines percussive dark techno with a rhythmical pattern that comes close to 3ball!

But the most deliciously polyrhythmic percussive dark techno I’ve come across so far is this EP from the Marseille based brothers F. Akissi and M. Akissi!

https://soundcloud.com/alhena-records/al001-fakissi-makissi-no-gain-ep

We’ve seen that there’s a lot of experimentation going on in different dark electronic music scenes, especially with rhythm and percussion, and urban music embracing dark flavours on an ever larger scale. So what about ‘global bass’?

The duo Deadstare is the most outspoken dark-global bass initiative, who referred to their style as a the middle between the Owsla signed, occult-cyberpunk themed black metal dubstep act Phuture Doom (one of my favourite dark music acts, which I couldn’t blogged here because they haven’t released in a while), and global bass! They fuse sounds like cinematic horror ambient, terror and speed- and breakcore with latin rhythms like cumbia and 3ball. This is one of their newest releases that you might have missed: a moombahton rework of one of the tracks from their New EP!

NAAFI signed Mexican avant garde producer LAO made an absolutely stunning 3ball rework of a horror ambient piano track!

The innovative 3ball bass duo Los Innsurgentes dedicated an entire, evil-themed EP last year to energetic dark sounds, drawing from dark trap, metalstep and witch house! This should have received a massive shoutout from us long ago already, but it’s never too late I suppose.. Grab the EP here!

One of the most established subgenres of dark, dystopian global bass fusion is rough kuduro, which we introduced last year with Nazar‘s magnificent Nihil EP! It isn’t bad to reblog a post that almost went unnoticed: this industrial horror vid with a dark ambient-noise kuduro track from avant garde producer OnlyNow a.k.a Kush Arora!

SP Deville is a London-based Portuguese producer with Angolan roots who specialises in hiphop beats, Luso-African styles as well as eclectic bass music with a dark edge. Check out this fabulous track which draws influences from drill, dancehall, kuduro and grime!

https://soundcloud.com/deville-1/boom-shock

I remember from my Sexxy Saturday Cumbia time that there are many amazing dark cumbia tracks out there. This is the newest example I could find: a black metal flavoured electronic cumbia tune from the Argentinian tropical alrounder Fede Trip!

Deliciously dark avant-garde dembow here, from the upcoming eclectic underground formation Santa Muerte!

https://soundcloud.com/svntvmverte/santa-muerte-only-bootleg

Under my new artist name S x m b r a, I try to experiment some different dark global bass blends myself as well. Here a quick demo where I try to capture a typical cyber-goth atmosphere, fused with moombahton. Try to picture a choreography that holds the middle between industrial dance and perreo!

Closing this mega-post with some uncategorisable but mindblowing dark tracks!

iLLu!, dark trap duo from London, released this powerful, apocalyptic DnB track!

Another new trend of 80s inspired electronic underground music you will come to see more often is ‘minimal synth’. Also analog and melodic, but more minimalistic and groovy than synthwave or EBM. Ortrotasce is a musician who is specialised in this sound, which can be mellow and dark. This absolutely perfect, surrealistic underground track is his newst creation!

https://soundcloud.com/ortrotasce/sahara

Alternative hiphop producer Mike Sore, from Warsaw, Poland, makes beats for rappers as well as dark trap, witch house and experimental stuff. This menacing instrumental hiphop tune blows my mind!

https://soundcloud.com/mike-sore/i-ll-ll

Another dark eclectic hiphop producer, Dark User, is one of my most interesting recent finds on Soundcloud. This symphonic-electronic-blastbeat-ambient-industrial track is one of the best things I’ve heard lately!

https://soundcloud.com/dark-user-records/ghost

A third experimental avant garde dark trapper who deserves more attention is AyyJAy, from London. This horroresque, mellow dark pearl of a track is one of my favourites of is productions! Close your yes and feal the fear..

 

Drvg Cvltvre presents: North by Northwest

nx8

hey guys, it’s your favourite web hound with some new gems of the industrial techno / techno / abstract / weird house / noise kind…I found some really good stuff this week, so I’m just going to dive right in here:

D. Tiffany drops some seriously dark stuff with his new track zZzz. I love how those eerie strings keep going and then suddenly drop out. drums and percussion are awesome and then the vocal snippet is making it all hypnotic. really cool. check it:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170711905″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Interesting little label COS_MOS follows up an EP from Clendon Toblerone with a new one by Italian duo Life’s Track. Previously the pair have released together the Bosconi label and always favour a raw, analogue house sound that is physical as well as emotive. The first track here is ‘Stone’, a hurried house jam with raw and splintered hi hats racing over broken sounding drums as urgent synth stabs fill in the spaces left behind. It’s live sounding and loose, ghetto in texture and truly arresting in nature. The b-side starts with ‘Velocity’, another over-driven bit of house with non-stop claps chattering over slower, purposeful kick drums deep down below. Nagging synths slowly shape shift and draw you attention away from the physical percussion, making for a nice duality to the track. Lastly, ‘Invisible Symphony’ is a stripped back techno banger with heavy kicks, a great little hook at its heart and turbo charged synths slicing through it like lasers. This is no nonsense, high impact house and techno that takes no prisoners.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/52521785″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

One of my fav incognito collectives of late is the mighty RSS B0YS from Poland (I think?) who keep bringing their twisted version of techno and industrial to us via the webz. This is a speedy and dark transmission referencing Shangaan Electro, but also Tekno and Gabba. Check out these guys before they become the new Daft Punk..

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170613864″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

And since it’s my bit I can also safely introduce you to my SLUDGE HOUZ series, upcoming on RADIO KOBAYASHI RECORDS, run by my good friend ARCHIE KOBA.I’m dropping three sets of 4 tracks this month. Each digital only. The blurb: Hot on the trails of his acclaimed ‘American Psychosis’ releases, Drvg Cvltvre is back with new music to claim that dark little corner on your dance floor. Sludge Houz is like a Dj Screw blend of straightforward techno from the Terrence Dixon and Hieroglyphic being school of all-out and the dark UK experimental sounds of Actress, Throbbing Gristle and Demdike Stare.

Opening cut ‘Codex Regius’ kicks off with some repetitive power and a pounding drum machine that sets the tone for the entire Sludge Houz sound. Followed by a crowd favourite in my dj sets, ‘Faraday (Version)’ which sounds like a slowed down Regis track corrupted with a computer audio virus. Third up is ‘Dark Clouds Coming’ an acid stomper that’s designed to break sound systems and crowds. Finishing up this first EP is ‘Spooky Kind of Love (Acid Redux)’ an alternate version of a track released on Porn Wax last year. This new version has a completely different build-up and melody though. Solid acid worx and lush melodies.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/50182054″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

and this is a free edit I did of an already really awesome KEVIN MORBY song, buy the original if you have the cash to spare:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170842487″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Just when you thought it was safe, NTOGN returns with an ice cold cut from the North…excellent stuff this, you people should really forget about skudge and book this guy more often. freakin amazing output and an original and authentic voice in modern techno!

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/169657454″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

This is just in, an awesome record by the awesome WHERE TO NOW? crew. check it out:
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/54065935″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

also BASIC HOUSE, all the time every time. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall you fuckers. Buy all the releases by him and his mighty OPAL TAPES and less of all that other stuff you seem hell bent on buying.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/170620201″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/165437244″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Another Number was D’Marc’s debut EP which came out way back in 2009, when the outsiders where still truly outside – but not looking in! – toiling away in obscurity for a handful of freaks ~ the true salt of the earth. This features the criminally overlooked JAK Blues anthem “Another Number”, that echoes the ghosts of a unholy marriage between Bitches Brew and Sleezy D, JTC’s powerhouse remix of “No Control” and three further flabbergasting template cuts from one of the future masters of JAKbeat.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171000206″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

I’m going to leave you with some seriously twisted stuff. For his Environs album LAICA continues the less-is-more path trodden on his earlier works. Where previously he was removing melody leaving just a smudged and faded memory – with Environs he has taken his sound a step further, removing instrumentation all together.

Built entirely from field recordings, the composite sounds of his album have been edited, looped, treated to layers of reverb, run through various resonators, sped up, slowed down, stretched, granulated and eroded – creating an entirely new environment. Check this out:

[bandcamp width=350 height=522 album=2646475094 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]