January 5, 2012
Nova Scotian Arms – Cult Spectrum
2011 was another banner year for Grant Evans’ Nova Scotian Arms project, releasing the best tapes of his career as well as making his vinyl debut on the sublime Crystal Anniversary, with wife/partner-in-crime Rachel Evans. Cult Spectrum, however, marks NSA’s first full-length solo vinyl release and undoubtedly his most captivating work yet. Dark and mysterious, Cult Spectrum is an enormous listening experience that combines many of Evans’ talents: long stretches of tape loops, furtive guitar movements, and subtle swells of melodic drone. Cult Spectrum is an enormous victory for the NSA project, and it marks the first truly essential release of 2012 and one of the finest records of its kind in a long time.
December 2, 2011
KPLR – Untitled
At last, one of the year’s most anticipated releases arrives just in time for prime placement in everyone’s end-of-the-year lists. Untitled is KPLR’s follow-up to this year’s astronomically awesome vinyl debut, and it pretty much finds KPLR maximizing on all of the things that has made their music so captivating and weird from the beginning. The pieces here are all fully fleshed-out robotic lurches, squirming and stuttering along to their own bubbling beats and chaotic rhythms, building toward chirping climaxes of electronic mayhem. It’s certainly the most epic and cinematic release in KPLR’s stellar discography, and I think this might even be their most danceable music to date. Seriously – this is one magical album.
KPLR – “circuit.rn 1”
November 15, 2011
Giant Claw – Tunnel Mind
Keith Rankin, the man behind beloved Brooklyn label Orange Milk, creates jumpy, gorgeous, and psychedelic electronic nuggets under the monicker Giant Claw, and he has been refining his style with brilliant consistency on several sublime releases over the last few years. His most recent release is the dark and dreamlike Tunnel Mind, which puts a ghostly neon shine on Rankin’s world of synth mazes and drum machine backdrops. The album is almost operatic in its sprawling nature and the adventurous melodic territory which it covers, yet Tunnel Mind reamins just the kind of intimate and subtly addictive album that listeners will just fall in love with right away.
Giant Claw – “Wonderland”
October 6, 2011
Chubby Wolf – Turkey Decoy
Each release from the late, great Dani Baquet-Long- one half of the fascinating, ethereal ambient duo Celer- carries with it a terrific amount of emotion and intensity. It’s as is her recordings have always existed in the depths of your memory but only begin to surface as she performs them. What’s brilliant about Baquet-Long’s works is that, throughout her powerful and intimate music, her sly sense of humor always shines through (see: song titles like “Cantankerous Baby” and “Cruel Sausage, Gentle Fingers”/her recording alias is “Chubby Wolf”). Turkey Decoy – a brand new record which compiles some of her final works- might be the most uplifting and joyful glimpse into the world of Chubby Wolf, sonically and texturally, to emerge yet. Just an absolute joy from start to finish – essential stuff.
Chubby Wolf – “Birthday Suit”
August 23, 2011
Cray – Show Fades
Fresh out the gate from Digitalis Ltd.‘s latest batch of summer goodness (which also features the sublime and long-awaited return of Sovetskaya Gone, now represented as S. Gone) comes this awesome tape from Australian dreamweaver Cray. Featuring twelve seminal nuggets of tight library-music and wandering synths, Show Fades slips in between dreaming and lucid states at a rapid, mind-altering pace. Best of all are the tape’s noisy, melodic pieces hinting at a fuller, more melodic sound in Cray’s future. For now though, he’s inhabiting a beautiful world, and Show Fades is a fascinating expression of it.
Cray – “Show Fades [album preview]”
August 15, 2011
Emuul – Drawing of the Line
Here is an album titled Drawing of the Line. It is important that Kyle Iman, aka Emuul, makes this distinction right away: he is referring to not the line itself but the drawing of it. Much like the image on its album cover, the music on Drawing of the Line might take a little time to expose its true form. Iman’s minimalistic synth compositions can come across blurry and formless upon first listen, but over time, Iman’s music reveals its haunted and transcendant beauty. Listening to this record is like watching a great painter at work: a blank canvas becomes filled with color and life right before your eyes. Huge recommendation.
Emuul – “Big Clouds”
July 22, 2011
Charlatan – Triangles
It’s only been a moment since Brad Rose last blew everyone’s mind under the Charlatan monicker with the still-awesome Voyager tape on Overland Shark. And now, Brad’s back to remind us all why he’s the undisputed king of all things synth. On this incredible slab of Digitalis vinyl, Brad presents the most melodic, moving, and mind-melting moments of his career – a spiritual and meditative album unlike anything we’ve heard from him yet. Front to back, it’s just a killer work: all rippling arpeggios and echoing 808 beats, shifting keys and tone like the rising tide. Surely, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard all year and comes with the most urgent of recommendations.
Charlatan – “Lime Beauty” (video by Moduli TV)
June 22, 2011
Jürgen Müller – Science of the Sea
Science of the Sea, the sole full-length release by German artist Jürgen Müller, is the latest masterpiece offering from Digitalis vinyl, and it hits almost all of my pleasure spots. For one, it’s a total artifact of 1980’s ambient new age synth music: an era where new sounds and textures were seemingly beamed in from the future on a weekly basis. Additionally, it’s a work revolving around the aquatic world – a theme also explored by modern day heroes like Panabrite – and is the result of Müller’s studies of oceanic science. But it’s also just a beautiful, melodic, and eye-opening classic that deserves to be heard by as many ears as possible. Dive in and stick around: this is a truly spiritual journey.
Jürgen Miller – “Sea Bed Meditation” (video by ModuliTV)
April 15, 2011
Lawrence English – Kiri No Oto
Lawrence English took the world by storm with his 2008 epic Kiri No Oto, but the music begged to be heard outside the CD format – its ocean-sized scope demanded a vinyl edition to match its warmness. And, finally, Digitalis is giving the music just that. This edition of Kiri No Oto is simply breathtaking – each side is filled to the brim with transcendent tidal waves of sound. Endless drones permeate the thick fog of reverb, orchestrated beautifully by English – whose music consistently breaks new ground and never fails to invest the listener emotionally. In English’s illustrious discography, Kiri No Oto has always stood out as a masterpiece, but this edition is without a doubt a truly essential release.
SOLD OUT AT SOURCE. Grab from Experimedia.
April 6, 2011
Temporal Marauder – Contempt
Temporal Marauder, aka the head-spinning electronic explorer Jean Logarin, likes to shake things up with his releases, investigating the boundless worlds of library music and evocative synth composition. On Contempt, his new tape for Digitalis Ltd., it seems Logarin has found his stride, making some of his most interesting, fully developed, and, truthfully, his funkiest music to date. It’s one of those tapes that just blows up and fills the room when being played – if we’re lucky someone will reissue this one on vinyl in the near future for maximum immersion. For now, cop this tape immediately and treasure it!