Been a while since we featured anything by those purveyors of dream pop over at Saint Marie. Latest to escape from their sound house is a much-tipped debut full length from London duo Swoone entitled ‘handcuffed heart’ from off which, currently breaking hearts, the solitary ‘this bullet never kills’ is currently weaving its shadowy seduction on the band camp page. Pared down to a close spectral intimacy, this emotionally bruising noir toned torch song comes cloaked in a svelte and sultry bruised demeanour whose coolly 60’s cinematic brushing is hushed with an aching spy theme shaded grace fall. Add to that some breathless old school 90’s Bristol scenery and you have something sublimely rarefied that deftly nods to a classic ‘Dummy’ era Portishead artistry as were tweaked by the subtle caress of John Barry’s craftmanship. https://saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com/album/handcuffed-heart
Just out on digital download, Cielo Oceano feature the combined talents of Lugo brothers Tom and Andres (well we’re assuming their brothers – guess we’ll expect the complaint jottings very soon). The Tom half of the equation you might well know better as Stellarscope and Panophonic – both bands having made frequent visits to these pages in recent times. Anyhow, this ‘un comes primed from what we gather, will be a debuting EP primed for appearance shortly via Patetico Recordings. For now, ‘moth to a flame’ has been sent ahead on scouting detail. A typically bliss bathed bruiser replete with withdrawing sighs solemnly ghosting dream dazed corridors occasioned by rupturing ripples of radiating angel sighs which all said had us a tad pining to go out and reconnect with our treasured Chapterhouse platters. https://pateticorecordings.bandcamp.com/track/moth-to-a-flame
In addition, to further whet your appetites there’s this here promo video features sound snippets from the EP…… utterly disarming…..
I was sure there were two releases from the blue tapes imprint that we were minded to tell you about, yet for now we appear to have mislaid the email with all the relevant gubbins. Dare say we’ll be back sharpish once the errant missive is located. So, for now you’ll have to make do with just one release and boy is this a good ‘un. I’ll be honest we haven’t gotten past the opener salvo (‘2 da RDG’), so smitten are we that we locked this down on looped play. Anyway, this be Check!!! with ‘blue twenty-seven’ a strangely curious and deeply alluring (musically) multi lingual set that appears to cut across the generic divides constantly shifting back and forth (and occasionally left (field)) with such artistic and creative freedom it leaves you dizzy. As said, we’ve been more than tad taken with opener ‘2 da RDG’, a frisky little blighter that trades its headspace with a classic era Detroit techno vibe which through all manner of contortions and intricately phrased glitch framing assumes a delightfully subtle funky minimalism which weaves ever so daringly into terrains once occupied by Autechre as were here in a creative head to head with Jeff Mills. While we’re here, we’ve been casting our ear a little further, hitting upon ‘innocent lie’. In truth a totally different beast sound wise and it’s here were we find the press release boasts of Vini Reilly-esque fully realised for this cut is simply smoking in a bonged out woozy way, all trippy riff dissolves and freaky flotillas of pure laid-back loveliness not to mention full on head expanding wigginess which had us much minded of some secret gathering of a pre ‘second coming’ Stone Roses in cahoots with 808 State. It’s this chill formed state of grace that excels perfectly with the appearance of the parting shot ‘inner of the sea’ as it blissfully and dreamily navigates the cosmic oceans lost in the moment whilst purring forth radiantly pulsing love notes into the celestial nothingness. https://bluetapes.bandcamp.com/album/blue-twenty-seven
Not quite sure where this ‘un fits in the grander scheme of things, these Champion Version outings usually appear as ultra-limited lathe pressings available to those attending their rare events, one of which we believe is due to occur very shortly, sometime August if our memory serves well. Anyway, this three-tracker – incidentally titled ‘the Crofters Rights’, was drawn to our attention by Jon Yellow6 who this year celebrates his 20th anniversary with the release of a colossal 5 CD set, more details about that in due course, found here opening proceedings with a track from that very set. ‘looking glass’ is phrased with a close touch pensiveness, those familiar with a youthful Gnac and earlier still back to Roy Budd will have a rough grasp as to where this is pitching its tent. The atmospherics torn and bruised, sigh as though a briefly passing memory opining in the quiet solitude of twilight moment, simply crushing stuff. Up next, Saltings serve up ‘cantilevers I’ and in so doing drop the mean temperature to chill point with this primitively sparse ghost light, much like a prowling leviathan, this dark star visitation glides ever watchful through the unseen spaces between the gaps to literally fill the canvas, in its wake hulking swathes of drone drift tones cloak its shadowed passing. Minus Pilot wrap up matters with ‘South Late Winter Dream’ which strangely enough we had cause to be wowed over the last time one of these CV salvos veered our way, which just in case you either missed, forgot or simply ignored featured here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/champion-version-edition-3/ – still sounds like a slow burn quiet epic to us and certainly something that admirers of the very excellent Balmorhea ought to check out at their earliest convenience. https://championversioneditions.bandcamp.com/album/the-crofters-rights
The much eagerly anticipated ‘official’ full length debut from Scottish space probers Tomorrow Syndicate. I don’t mind saying that this has been a long time coming, for me personally its been akin to meeting my former self as a child whilst I patiently counted down the days to Christmas. Debut you say, and I hear you, but pardon me didn’t they release a limited video cassette type thing a little while back, was that not their debut then, well yes and no, it was more a work in progress tying up and along the way showcasing their video making skills (of course all the while backdropped with their purring astral groove). ‘Future Tense’ appears via the irrefutably cool Polytechnic Youth sound house, as ever limited to just 300 copies (all of which these days have the habit of flying out before you’ve barely had a chance to draw breath). Comprised of twelve (including four linking interludes all of which I’d love to hear expanded especially ‘impulse’ and ‘gravity wave’) distant star fused memories (perhaps galactic call signs) sent forth from a forgotten outpost at the edge of the cosmic outlands, it’s a point that’s brought into sharp clarity by the fact that ‘Future Tense’ is teased in both optimism and melancholy. The former embracing the unknown, pushing the frontiers of space travel and the understanding of the universe, the latter crushed at the prospect of a one-way trip with no means or hope of returning home, in effect making these twelve salvos the equivalent of cosmic messages in a bottle. The sounds of course, are sublime, for Tomorrow Syndicate reveal an adept craft for the harvesting and honing of a kosmische vintage whilst piloting upon an axis that brings it into alignment / configuration with the likes of Wire, La Dusseldorf (most notably on ‘lifeforce’ as it sveltely shifts through the gears free-falling amid spiralling swathes of bliss toning vapour kisses all the time emitting a radiant spray of pulsing arc lights into the darkening voids) , Astronauts (see the lunar love note that is ‘dark matter’ – by some distance the best thing here given its cut to a demurring pop pulsar classicism), a youthful Eat Lights Become Lights and Fuxa whilst simultaneously emitting on frequencies that engage a stream lined crystalline sound palette that manages to sound at once – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amid these cruise-controlled grooves familiar intermissions re-engage contact with previous PY happenings – ‘altered state’, ‘okulomotor’, and ‘into the void’ peppering the track listing with the latter mentioned still the cause of smitten ripples in the gaff – of which we’ll briefly say, is a nifty spot of fondly nostalgic lunar psychedelia dappled in 70’s woozy. And while we might have already crowned ‘dark matter’ as the albums best moment, the affection stakes are tested by the closing slow burn seduction of ‘a glitch in time’ which possessed of a quietly epic phrasing, manoeuvres with majestic finesse and stealth snaking to a string swathed spell charming astral arabesque.
Many thanks to Dom over at Polytechnic Youth for shipping out the latest batch of sound experiences all of which you will no doubt find populating these pages in the coming days though not before we adjust our radar for two very special incoming happenings shortly to land. First of which from Dialectric finds ERR REC head honcho Gilles Maté stepping away from his usual production and label running duties to the front of the mixing desk to craft a deeply svelte trimmed old school lesson in pure electronic sound. Strictly limited to just 300 copies and certain to vacate the shelves in quick time, if previous PY artefacts are anything to judge by, ‘Phase’ provides for perfect evening listening. That way free from the stresses, struggles and demands of day life you can unwind and momentarily lose yourself in your own headspace with these eight mood murmuring modulations serving as guides or more so, pre-programmed mapping destinations conceived to enhance the cerebral connection. Away from the fashionable engineering of hauntology, kosmische and the cold war politik, ‘phase’ slipstreams with deft grace embracing casually these sub generic sources without ever trapping itself in their confined spaces, its far to clever for that, instead, stilled with an affection for the silver age electronic sound, Dialectric’s brand of retro-futurism is galvanised by a classicist ear and vision that longs and yearns for the space age of the late 60’s and early 70’s with each of these demurring lunar recitals sighing and pirouetting with lulling lonesome wonder. Such minimalist beauty easily draws immediate reference to ISAN’s ‘Digitalis’ with ‘minor melancholia’ and ‘expiry’ particularly tuning in the hive mind of Messrs Ryan and Saville with the former tenderly trimmed with a most alluring and captivatingly chill tripped cosmic symphonia whilst the latter, arrives awash in twinkling flotillas of affectionately gloopy spectral waltzes whose focus shifts with delicate artistry to assume a Carpenter lite VHS era monochromatic which in truth purrs and prowls to a ‘stranger things’ pulse. Much like a passing visitation, ‘Analog Mass’ pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin, located on a fixed axis at the very outlands of the galactic divide, it silently weaves a welcoming homely lunar hymnal whose lulling lilts pulse brightly across the voids like a cosmic lighthouse. Mentioned in previous dispatches – see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/dialectric/ – ‘awakening’ still holds up as the best thing here, its serenely dappled cosmica contours swirled and shimmered in svelte swathes of oceanic lulls, pirouette with an intimate arrest whilst softly sprayed in kosmische garlands. Unless my ears do deceive, the teasingly brief ‘shortcut’ is pure ‘telekon’ era Numan while elsewhere, just to prove that Dialectric can do dark when dark is required, ‘paper sharks’ assumed of a shadowy demeanour silently navigates the cosmic outlands like a watchful leviathan majestically graced in brooding swathes whose magnetic fixed-point glare brings it into the orbital sphere of influence of Polypores and Pye Corner Audio. ‘Polaroid’ ends the side A and indeed this particular set pretty much like Side 1 (‘paper sharks’), could easily be its twin and is something of which it should be noted, is cut finitely with such an economy of sound that you’d swear a form of sorcery was afoot in achieving such cinematic majesty. Still, rather than attach to Polypores et al, on this occasion it recalls the Human League as though re-engineered and re-wired by Carpenter into a beautiful lone dark star here found emitting love note pulsars into the deep depths of the galactic void. Ridiculously essential as though you needed telling.
As to that promised second newly peeled sound clip, a richly lush beauty from the workbench of Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals. Taken from his new, dare we say, essential set ‘Tungska Tydfil’, this is the quite perfect ‘the Phoenix of Albany Road’, by our reckoning the albums best moment not least for its beautified baroque florals and disarming dinks of rustic idyll which when gathered together nods respectively to the late Greg Lake.