• Obskure

The June releases

- Rikhter – Rik1 – R Label Group (6.06.2019)

Kobosil’s record label has managed to create a musical identity which is very peculiar to R Label Group, and Rikhter’s recent release perfectly fits with its artistic image. The newcomer is still a kind of mysterious figure, but doesn’t beat around the bush with this EP, that comes on strong on the Techno scene.

Regarding the track titles and the atmosphere that emanate from them, mystery and secret seem to be the common thread of this EP. Indeed the first track title – R23- derives from a soviet cannon whose use had fallen under military secret. In the background, we can hear the murmur of a russian voice while a saturated riff directly plunges us into a gloomy and post apocalyptic atmosphere as though we were facing the threat of an another Cold War. The most careful listeners have certainly already heard Phiom Enah among the past few weeks. Boosted with a dreary incantation which casts a spell on you, it throws you into a shamanic trance and it becomes more and more difficult to forget this track that sticks to your skin. Then, with a fast paced rhythm, Defender, rises from the darkest depths to literally wage war : opening with the saturation sound of a defective jack cable the synths then throw a mean melody, and the siren that occasionally rings sounds like a tocsin warning us about a pending disaster, plunging you into a dyspotic universe where human life is being ruled by machine. Salt II goes on with the military metaphor (Salt II was indeed one of the agreement between the USA and USSR in order to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons). This song is re- presentative of the whole EP : a cold war soundtrack, with a heavy, anxiogenic atmosphere.

- Remco Beekwilder – Culture Vulture – Emerald (7.06.2019)

This first album is interspersed with three excellent collaborations and can be considered as one of the best releases of the first part of the year. Remco managed to create a real combination of patterns that come back throughout the whole LP : sirens, breakbeat, and different kind of voices (pitched, sung, or vocoded). Thus he creates a complexe and creative narration all through the album.

The LP opens with the frenetic breakbeat rhythm of Culture Vulture whose twisted aura forshadows the rest of the album. Breakwilder and Breakwilder Terror Mix establish a martial atmosphere, and the rising synth makes the composition more efficient than any speech to motivate the troops to go further into the rave. The tracks Midnight Marauders, and Anybody Out There (ft Stranger) bring a much darker and murky ambiance. Shorter tracks are also to be found, such as Federal Signal, with a break beat rhythm and a police siren, a siren that is also more occasionally to be found on the striking Skeemask, on which the loud and unrelenting jungle snare rolls establishe a military mood. The sample of Hallpower is a little surprise (Yo Soy Cubano by The Chakachas), for it actually opens Backseat Freestyle by Kendrick Lamar. Primal Symphony is made in collaboration with Tim Tama, whose touch is recognizable in the rise of the delicate melody which echoes from afar, and sets against the heavyness of the drums and the bassline.

But among this atmosphere of last rave before the end of the world slip a few glimmers of light. It's the case of Flower Warfare (ft Nur Jaber) : a sublim chant wraps the hard pounding drums in incredible harmonies, giving to this track a deep and intense poetic dimension. A cristal clear voice shines through Hold My Hand, and the joyful sadnesss carried by the melody feels as soft as the caress of a ray of sunshine... In Universe of Memories the pitched vocal above a breakbeat foundation, sounds like an inner reminder of the impossibility to flee from nostalgia, and the ethereal Far Away From Yesterday, the shortest track (barely lasting more than 1 min), leaves the LP open-ended. Yet one of the track is beyond all category and shows how easily the danish producer skillfully gathers many influences. The triphop infused Tripwire actually sounds like a real UFO among the album : the beat pounds deep and slowly, offering, with a hint of anxiety though, a very sensual and kind of erotic mood.

- I Hate Models – L'Age des Métamorphoses – Perc Trax (21.06.2019)

It’s a really intense and strong LP, firstly because of the length of each song (between 6 and 9 minutes), but also because of the evolution within each track. For instance in The Beginning of The end, the track opening the album, a female voice takes charge of the storytelling, while a repe- titive bass pattern increases the tension. The track second part breaks codes and barriers between musical genres : the metal worthy drums and distant screaming guitars indeed give the song a pro- nounced rock aspect. In this way, this first piece is an excellent introduction to the LP, which from the beginning foreshadows an unpredictable, hybrid, and very well shaped masterpiece. Thus, there is something very theatrical in both track succession and composition.

Impossible Love is a good example, sounding like an android’s harrowing monologue of a tortured love. This saturated lamen- tation, weirdly jazzy though, moves on to anger expressed by a bordering on Gabber outburst. Each track constitutes a peculiar act, a step in the narration’s continuity, which deals with the topics of love, sensual relationships and inner suffering, as though the album was permeated with elegiac themes. The saturation of the synths, the guitars and the presence of sung voices give a kind of rock n roll dimension. A punk energy is for instance to be found on Romantic Psycho -the first song that has been released (with a music video by VJ Holy Bottom) and is also the second song of the album with IHM’s voice. The textures are very rich, undertaking a syncretism between an orchestral com- position and a raw violence. Some tracks are very saturated (Sexual Tension, Fade Away), or further explore deconstructed rhythms (Partner In Crime). The Night Is Our Kingdom or Crossing The Mirror perfeclty match Perc Trax's artistic direction. But the french producer never takes the easy way and adds his voice on Crossing The Mirror, a voice at once hypnotic and nagging, giving a rock tone to the overall. Likewise in Shiny Razor Blades, the same female voice that was to be found in the introduction evokes her inner fears, against a backdrop of a tribal industrial techno rhythm, carried by a saturated bassline. The break gives a gleam of hope, taking the track to another direction, towards much more soothing emotions.

Here, I Hate Models gives a real twist in this composition by adding a melody that was not expected. He proceeds between industrial violence and synthetic softness, having a head for harmonies. These harmonies can give a sensation of great- ness, like in The Beginning of the End, but their majesty can also be more fragile, such as in You Are Not Alone, where the spellbinding melody shrouds the drum’s brutality with softness.