Tensnake – L.A. LP

With a strong reputation as an accomplished artist who sits confidently in the underground retaining his kudos, whilst simultaneously releasing crossover hits, German producer and DJ Marco Niemerski, better known as Tensnake, has a proven track record. With over 70 Million combined steams of his work to date, he is one of the most acclaimed international house producers of the last decade.

Having remixed a who’s who of the world’s best-known pop talent including Dua Lipa, Aloe Blacc, Lana Del Rey, Azari & III, Pet Shop Boys, London Grammar and Duke Dumont, and working with three-time Grammy winner Stuart Price, Nile Rodgers, Jamie Lidell and MNEK amongst many others, he returns with his second studio album entitled L.A. named after the city that until recently he called home.

The city and all its aspects had a huge influence on this music,” says Marco. “You see the Pacific Ocean coming up and you get all those sunsets. Amazing food, hiking, your first earthquake! And also, the craziness about it.”

Composed of 14 very distinct tracks with a wide array of feelings from L.A.’s upbeat party-loving craziness, to the bittersweet emotions triggered as a result of a 6-year relationship and breakup with then partner and album
vocalist Fiora. This album showcases his outstanding and refined production range incorporating the distinct elements of house, funk, disco and 80s boogie alongside the added and very strong L.A. pop influence.

“L.A. is to pop music what Berlin is to Electronic Club Music. I wanted to put an album together that focused on songs and pop rather than on club tracks, L.A. was the right place to make it happen at that time”.

L.A. is a progression from his debut 2014 album Glow. With a steady stream of featured vocalists bringing extra dimension, this is everything that you would want from the accomplished producer, oozing smooth production,
signature big vocal moments, and retro synth lines.

The last 6 months has seen Tensnake release five standout singles including ‘Automatic’ which is a rework of the Pointer Sister’s 1983 soul infused classic.

“It is a cover of one of my all-time favourites ‘80s songs, Fiora and I recorded the vocals while we were working together on my debut album Glow in 2013. I’ve always loved it, even though it did not make it onto my first album. So, seven years later, I gave it a new treatment, and reproduced the music”.

Second single from the album ‘Somebody Else’ features the UK’s Boy Matthews, best-known for his work on Duke Dumont’s gigantic 2015 house hit, ‘Ocean Drive.’ Listen also for ‘Strange without You’ featuring Daramola, a multi Billboard-charting singer/songwriter based out of Miami, and most recently ‘Make You Mine.’ All have received critical acclaim.

Elsewhere, the fluid bassline and clipped guitars that propel ‘Antibodies’ infuse it with a classic French Touch feel. ‘World Beneath’ is probably the most Tensnake-esque thing on the album, a little leftfield and disco infused, and ‘Simpansi’ is a 4/4 instrumental, energetic and designed for the dancefloor.

With many moods and feelings reflected in this album you can hear the diversity in production throughout. In ‘Overnight’ there is a reduced pace, gentle, slower and low-slung feel, as is ‘Nightshift’ and ‘Latching Onto You ft Nazarene’. ‘Rules’ displays a soulful vocal from UK singer Chenai and a classic house feel. ‘Wait It Out’, picks up the pace again with classic house piano stabs and a powerful vocal from the same mystery singer that is featured on “Make You Mine”. Keeping up the momentum of the album and primed for radio is ‘Call Me ft HËXĖ’ with its uplifting UK house vibe.

The album closes, poignantly, with what Marco describes as his most personal track of all – ‘Adam’s Hill,’ a beautiful, hypnotic swoop that feels like it’s made to soundtrack a ruby red sunset. Towards the end of his time
in California, Marco and Fiora went their separate ways. “It’s the last track I made in Los Angeles,” he says. “When I basically had packed all my stuff, left the house and I moved to a place called Adam’s Hill.”

Cataloguing his time spent in L.A., this album is almost a musical diary of Marco’s thoughts and feelings of his time in the city, the highs and lows, documenting a whole life chapter. Now that Marco has returned to Hamburg (Germany), he is ready to release his new body of work, propelling him to the top of the playlist charts and is sure to get well deserved airplay across international radio.

Tracklist
1. Somebody Else ft. Boy Matthews
2. Automatic ft. Fiora
3. Latching Onto You ft. Nazarene
4. Antibodies ft. Cara Melín
5. World Beneath ft. Swedish Red Elephant
6. Overnight ft. Fiora
7. Rules ft. Chenai
8. Make You Mine
9. Simpansi
10. Nightshift ft. Fiora
11. Strange Without You ft. Daramola
12. Call Me ft. HEXE
13. Wait It Out
14. Adams Hill

Tensnake’s album L.A will be released Oct 16th via True Romance & Armada Music

Video: The Bug feat. Dis Fig – You

Taken from the album ‘In Blue’ Released on Hyperdub Nov 2020. Preorder here: https://smarturl.it/In_Blue

Grandbrothers – All The Unknown

shot by Toby Coulson

Grandbrothers have announced details of their third album, ‘All The Unknown’, which is set for January 15th release on City Slang, and have also shared the album’s title track.
 
On the leafy cover they invite the spectator to peer through the thick foliage of a hawthorn bush, seemingly powered by a similar sense of curiosity that informed this exploratory new record. Ditching the restrictions of their former setup, with their new record the Turkish-German/Swiss duo took a leap into the dense unknown—and landed on their feet.
 
The album maps out a wide-open soundworld of compositional possibilities for pianist Erol Sarp and producer / electronic engineer Lukas Vogel, who have been putting their modern and unique electronic spin on prepared piano since first forming in 2012. Forgoing the need to play every single note live, this new album sees the pair juxtapose the old and new once again, venturing further into the electronic cosmos armed with a grand piano, self-built computer-controlled mechanics, and a new sense of latitude.
 
The debut single and title track from the album All The Unknown” starts out with the clanging percussive piano figures that have danced across Grandbrothers’ previous terrain, but grows with stuttering digital percussion to cast out allusions of classical romance, guided by emotive, cascading keys.
 
Listen to “All The Unknown”

Listen closely to this latest album and you can hear an old-school hip-hop beat enmeshed in melodic piano, or feel the cold rush of techno fly past at lightning speed. “We wanted to leave the lovely romantic piano music behind,” explains Sarp, whose affinity with dance music has always been an influence on his writing process. Motifs of club music creep subtly into ‘All The Unknown’’s impeccably textured palette, which nonetheless uses sounds found exclusively within the piano. These sounds and samples are triggered and collected using mechanics built by Vogel and placed inside the piano, then extracted, processed and shaped beyond their original identity to create alien beeps, beats and tones. Melded these with the organic piano sounds is what fuels Grandbrothers’ creativity.
 
Sarp and Vogel met nearly a decade ago while studying audio and video engineering in Düsseldorf. Conceiving a project that would draw on Sarp’s piano skills while also providing a piano part for Vogel through bespoke programming and mechanical apparatus, Grandbrothers was formed.  They brought their vision to life with debut album ‘Dilation’ in 2015, followed by the majestic ‘Open’; a swirling fusion of electronica and classical piano, which was released on City Slang in 2017. These days, with the pair no longer both residing in Düsseldorf, they have forged a new remote working relationship that involves a lot of back and forth and more time spent on developing ideas and producing. This new album documents that process. 
 
“The main difference compared to the last two albums, is that we set ourselves a rule that everything needed to be created on the instrument in that moment” explains Vogel. “But now that this rule is gone, we’ve started to produce or record things on the computer which means we can stack up more layers” Sarp surmises. “Previously, it has always just been me sitting at the piano playing, but now we have three or four piano parts together, which I wouldn’t be able to play at once as it’s too many notes; it just wouldn’t be possible as I only have ten fingers. This new method has opened up worlds and given so many more opportunities to write music.”
 
‘All The Unknown’ will be released on January 15th 2021 via City Slang. Pre-order and streaming options can be found here: https://grandbrothers.lnk.to/AllTheUnknown
 
‘All The Unknown’ track list:
 1. Howth
2. What We See
3. Umeboshi
4. All the Unknown (YouTube)
5. The Goat Paradox
6. Four Rivers
7. Shorelines
8. Auberge
9. Organism
10. Silver
11. Black Frost
12. Unrest
13. Mourning Express

Lake Turner – Videosphere LP

Videosphere, the debut album by Kompakt’s latest signing, the London-based artist Lake Turner (aka Andrew Halford), swoons into focus with “The Sunbird”, a teasing drift of lilting, ambient tones, riding out a submerged piston-pulse rhythm. Across its brief 109 seconds, it manages to traverse evocative terrain – something mythopoetic, something both humble and grandiose, a glimpse of the other behind the sky’s curtain. “I wanted to conjure up something resembling an ancient ceremony or death procession,” Turner nods. “Like a hymn to the surroundings of a faraway hill.” It’s both sky-bound and earthen, a ritual incantation to call in the music of the spheres.

Turner was introduced to the Kompakt family by his sometime collaborator Yannis Philippakis of Foals. He’d previously made music in post-punk and indie groups Great Eskimo Hoax and Trophy Wife, but Videosphere is the first time he’s fully articulated his own vision of electronic music, aside from one limited lathe-cut 12”, 2018’s Prime Mover EP, on Algebra. The lush ambient-disco-techno dreams of Videosphere were constructed and completed in his London studio and at his parents’ arable and sheep farm in Worcestershire, which might help explain the hazy, unhurried pastoralism of the album.

“There was a slight bittersweetness in finishing the record (in Worcestershire) as my parents were in the middle of selling my childhood home,” he sighs, before quipping, “on the plus, I ended up shearing a lot of sheep over the summer.” A student of archaeology and ancient history, Turner is no doubt carefully attuned to the twisting cogs of history and memory, and it’s no surprise that Videosphere has a nostalgic, melancholic cast; much of its beauty rests in the way it tugs, gently, at the heart strings – see the tear-stained cheeks of the lush, dappled “Honeycomb”, or the sweetly sad electro-roundelay of “No Way Back Forever.”

It’s not all drift-dream hypnosis, though – Videosphere is very much grounded in the now. ““No Way Back Forever” is a nod to the linear nature of time,” Turner explains by way of example, “and the tipping point of the world climate crisis that scientists have now declared.” Jayne Powell’s vocals are sent spinning through the song, wound like candyfloss; she takes centre stage on the techno hymnal title track, too. Throughout, there’s a sense of forward movement, despite the life stasis we find ourselves collectively bound by in mid-2020; there’s also a yearning for the communal, for community, that’s captured in the album title, a nod to an object Turner encountered at London’s Geoffrey Museum, “a television set in the shape of a spaceman’s helmet from the 1970s.”

“The vision I loosely had was to make an electronic record that had a communal warmth and almost ceremonial or ritual feel. I wanted to examine the relationship of our archaic minds in the trappings of the modern world,” Turner concludes. “What the Videosphere also symbolizes for me is the oneness of humanity and community, prevailing.”

Out 23 October 2020 on Kompakt Records – pre-order: https://kompakt.fm/releases/videosphere

Video: Bicep – Apricots

Taken from the album ‘Isles’, released 22 January on Ninja Tune: https://bicep.lnk.to/islesYo

Betical – Icon

Out now on Atlant.

The Ghost of Helags – Chemistry / Night Summer Waiting

Music video for the Ghost of Helags’ song “Chemistry”.
‘Night Summer Waiting’ is the new single from the Ghost of Helags.

As Autumn descends around us, the latest track from the Berlin-based duo finds them attempting to out-run the encroaching darkness, while dreaming of a new dawn that will surely come tomorrow.

“Watching the world with restless eyes… keep up, don’t fall behind” sings Teresa Woischiski, lyrics defiant with notions of escapism, yet tinted with a world-wary melancholy. “Night Summer Waiting, what you keep within, you can do without”, she lulls, her crystalline vocal rising through layers of dreamy atmospheric synthesisers and elegiac piano motifs.

Written at a small Italian hilltop town under the scolding Summer sun, ‘Night Summer Waiting’ is a song ultimately born from a sense of isolation, claustrophobia and paranoia. Finding a country and its people still gripped in fear of the ongoing pandemic of 2020, The Ghost of Helags sought to escape from the intensity of their surroundings and turned to music for solace. 

Reflecting on the challenging writing conditions that helped to form ‘Night Summer Waiting’, Teresa says:

“The song  was written in the heat of this small mountain village on top of a hill in Italy. Completely isolated from society, only reachable via heavy serpentines, almost dangerous to drive in the rain, as the narrow streets get flooded. The only contact with people was the local bar, but everyone wore masks and human contact was almost impossible. There were no visitors, only a few locals who live there. Between Espressos, red wine and the almost unbearable heat of the South, this track emerged. As an outcry. In a feeling of vertigo, isolation, exhilaration and haziness from the heat. From the pain of being denied human touch and belonging.”

Driven by its crisp electronic percussion, ‘Night Summer Waiting’ recalls the majestic dream-pop masterworks of Still Corners or Chromatics and finds The Ghost Of Helags striking a perfect harmony in their sound. The track will feature on an upcoming new album being planned by the duo for release in 2021.

The Ghost of Helags are singer-songwriter and producer duo Teresa Woischiski and John Alexander Ericson. Hailing from Sweden and now located in Berlin, the pairing combine the dream pop sounds of their Scandinavian roots with the electronic nuances inspired by their newfound home and beyond. ‘Night Summer Waiting’ is the latest in a string of innovative and exploratory tracks by the duo and follows recent 2020 singles including the Chemical Brothers-inspired ‘Parallel’ and the seductive Lynchian-inspired synth-pop of recent single ‘Chemistry’. Other highlights of their continually expanding repertoire include the New Music Friday playlisted debut single ‘I Carry Your Heart’, ‘Autobahn Lullaby’ (a tribute to their Berlin home) and 2019’s hymnal ‘The Santa Rosa Song’.

UNKLE x Girls Of The Internet

UNKLE have joined forces with Girls Of The Internet, for a four track remix EP, the first in a new series. Given free reign to pick tracks from UNKLE’s two top 40 album’s The Road: Part I and Part II, they singled out three songs, and have given them their own spin in their unique futurist-disco stylings.

Opening track Sunrise takes the Liela Moss featuring blissed-out house track and strips it right back to its bare elements. Guided by a four to the floor kick-drum, Liela’s ethereal vocals glide over the top as the track builds. The soundtrack to an Ibiza summer that never was.

Only You switches up the pace, with arpeggiated synths and bumpy drums leading the Miink-featuring track in a completely new direction.

Farewell, the opening track to The Road: Part I takes the epic choral elements of the original and sets them over a skittering electro drum beat, for a late night back-room moment.

The EP is rounded off with an ambient take on Sunrise, removing the drums and providing the perfect reprise to end on.

Releases October 9, 2020

Video: GLÜME – Come Softly To Me

Out now on Italians Do It Better. Get it here.

Robert Babicz – Utopia LP

Moments of unbridled creation often manifest themselves in rather eccentric ways. Be it a sudden eureka moment, where the internal light-bulb flickers on sharply, or the seamless state of flow that appears when writer and pen are in-tune. But what about electronic musicians and that of the equipment around them? In Robert Babicz’s instance, the very sounds produced by this relationship morph into shapes and colours; sonic frequencies become visible objects due to the rare phenomenon, and indeed gift, of synesthesia.

Evidenced by Robert Babicz’s eighth album, Utopia, this inherent creative process has resulted in a body of work that embodies his own personal experiences, forming a life soundtrack to epitomise moments of both elation and hardship. Memories enjoyed contrast with those endured, interwoven in a tapestry of musical expression that encapsulates a human story we can all relate to. Set for release on Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings, a label of which the Polish-born artist is more than familiar with given his two previous ‘Butterfly’ LPs, the album touches upon some of society’s fundamental challenges, most notable of which is our search for the ideal world. Perhaps most strikingly is Robert’s assertion that the ‘Utopia’ we seek is not in fact a destination; rather it is a journey, one in which we must introspectively assess the notion that to find “a better world to live in, we must create it each day ourselves.”

Each track therefore is a reflection of such a discovery, acting as an auditory representation of Robert’s personal tale and typifying the evolution that naturally ensues. In this instance the symbolic nature of the butterfly, showcased in the album’s cover artwork, represents this transformatory experience. The voyage soon begins with Childhood, an ambient introductory piece that blissfully sets the tone of the release with emotive keys and warm, ethereal pads. Heartstone soon takes the helm, as progressive synths converge on a rhythmic kick-hat backbone, before the instrument-dotted Heroes opens with a stunning guitar-riff lead and resonant snare patterns.

The subdued tones of Hotel Kalimba soon grace us, a beautiful interluding track that works to rise and fall simultaneously, paving the way for a reworked version of Sonntag, one of Robert’s most popular tracks previously released on the well-established Kompakt label. Come Down swiftly ups the tempo, featuring a compelling main bassline that accompanies the poignant storytelling of vocalist Zera, before the hypnotic hum of Super Cactus softens the pace and gifts us a glimpse into a world far-removed from ours.

We are graced with another bespoke offering in Sin, an enchanting seven-minute rework of Robert’s debut Systematic Recordings track of the same name, whilst the heartfelt sense of No One Else undulates with a gentle lucidity, as Zera’s docile tones shimmer amidst a saxophone solo that evokes feelings of contemplation and anguish in one. Climax soon emerges with its breaks-inspired drum patterns and ethereal synth pulses, before the cosmic notes of Garden of Souls leave us in a haze of starry, wide-eyed reflection. Alice Rose’s mesmerising vocals amplify the meditative qualities of Infinity Inside, a delicate penultimate record that unfurls into the album’s eventual closing track: Utopia. Club-ready whilst retaining the emotional flair with which Robert has become best known, the near nine minute piece rounds off proceedings in a state of euphoric, dream-like perfection.

Having relocated to the picturesque island of Malta from his previous residence in Germany, Robert Babicz has remained a staple artist in electronic music for nearly three decades. Cutting his teeth in the acid house era of the early nineties under his Rob Acid moniker, Robert’s innate ability to resonate with listeners has seen him produce several acclaimed albums for Marc Romboy’s Systematic Recordings previously, alongside connecting with clubgoers around the world through regular performances across Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as North and South America. Since 2010 Robert has used his own label Babiczstyle to put out self- produced work and has released twenty five EPs on the imprint in just ten years, a testament to his creative zest and inherent talent for production.

Utopia will be released on November 13th on Systematic Recordings and is available for pre-order now.

Tracklist

  1. Childhood
  2. Heartstone
  3. Heroes
  4. Hotel Kalimba
  5. Sonntag (Album Version)
  6. Come Down (with Zera)
  7. Super Cactus
  8. Sin (Album Version)
  9. No One Else (with Zera)
  10. Climax
  11. Garden of Souls
  12. Infinity Inside (feat. Alice Rose)
  13. Utopia