HELM – ‘Impossible Symmetry’ LP
Impossible Symmetry is the third full length record by Helm, the project of London based artist Luke Younger. It marks a new chapter in the artists’ canon as it’s his first to be informed by live performance rather than studio experimentation. The recording and engineering was primarily a solo venture, with some technical assistance from John Hannon on a few tracks. Most of the compositions were created out of ideas / improvisations that were conceived in a live context and then fed back into the studio work. The album was recorded over the duration of a year in London with source material culled from acoustic sound sources in a similar methodology to his previous album ‘Cryptography’, whilst also simultaneously incorporating more extensive use of electronic elements and moments of rhythmic dark ambience recalling the outputs from early Coil and Cabaret Voltaire to even Traversable Wormhole’s industrial minimalism. Helm is Luke Younger – a sound artist and experimental musician based in London, working with a vast array of revolving instrumentation and abstract sound sources. Younger’s compositions build a dense aural landscape that touches on musique concrete, uncomfortable sound poetry, noise, and hallucinatory drones. His most last LP Cryptography, presented a five-part suite of expertly rendered electro-acoustic study which uses processed piano, Casio MT-40, cymbal and broken guitar strings. Younger creates a world where these instruments morph into spectral rust, a shimmering klang swims alongside passive noise and the relationship between acoustic and electronic derived sounds forms a solid foundation. This sound is steered through a melange of fringe territories: glacial drone meditations, reconfigured gamelan clusters, and howling walls of organized feedback, all coalesced in a post-industrial fashion with a commitment to homemade exploratory zeal. For the past ten years, Younger has also performed extensively in Europe and the US with Steven Warwick as pioneering avant-drone duo Birds of Delay. The LP is mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, pressed on 140g vinyl and comes in a poly-lined inner sleeve. It is packaged in a pro-press color jacket which itself is housed in a silkscreened pvc sleeve with photos by Traianos Pakioufakis & artwork by Kathryn Politis & Bill Kouligas.
MIKA VAINIO/KEVIN DRUMM/AXEL DÖRNER/LUCIO CAPECE – ‘Venexia’ LP
The original idea of this project was to allow musicians from different scenes (but who shared common ideas) to work together. In this case, a development of two pre existent duos. Quite often musicians from different sonic languages can be seen being put together, trying to push the artists to develop unexpected works. Vainio, Drumm, Dörner and Capece have mainly strong points in common, that have been executed in different contexts. The music map is generally divided into categories that are determined by it’s most evident and often banal elements; if it has beats or not, if it is quiet or loud, if it has raw material or a carefully worked aesthetic. These four musicians have been working using all the previous elements, but these elements did not determine the music, they were used at the service of deeper ideas related to time and perception. How the sound of our environment can become music, how can music be attractive without telling a story, the work of sound in it’s extreme: noise, granular and delicate, digital, electronic, instrumental extended techniques, preparations. Kevin Drumm and Axel Dörner started working together in the late 90’s as part of a trio with Paul Lovens, As a duo they released an influential album on Erstwhile Records. Vainio and Drumm met in 2005 in Australia, both as part of the touring festival What is Music?. Even if both musicians declared to have a great time touring in Australia, they did never played together. Drumm’s and Vainio’s music is often compared by critics. Capece has released a duo CD on L’Innomable label with Axel Dörner and a trio one with Dörner and tubist Robin Hayward on Azul Discográfica label from New York. Dörner and Capece worked in several projects together, including a residence with Keith Rowe working on ” Treatise” by Cornelius Cardew. Mika Vainio and Lucio Capece have released together the album “Trahnie”. An album they worked for three years on, and also did several concerts as a duo. In May 2008 the quartet made a 6 days residency and concert at Vooruit, in Gent, followed by a 5 concert European tour, that took them to Venice. In 2011 the group played at Konfrontationen Festival in Austria. In the meanwhile Capece and Vainio have been part of the Vladislav delay Quartet. Capece has played, and toured with Kevin Drumm in a trio with Radu Malfatti and Dörner has played with Drumm in a trio with Paul Lovens, at the Meteo festival, in France. The recording in Venice is a multitrack one. It was mixed by Capece with minimal edits, basically panning and volume adjustments. The LP is mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, pressed on 140g vinyl and comes in a poly-lined inner sleeve. It is packaged in a pro-press color jacket which itself is housed in a silkscreened pvc sleeve with photos by Traianos Pakioufakis & artwork by Kathryn Politis & Bill Kouligas.
HEATSICK – ‘Déviation’ 12″
If “Dream Tennis” was any indication, Heatsick has struck a nerve with his singles that stretch preset washes of polyphony through sunset-hued landscapes of disco and house. Equipped with only a Casio keyboard, he has played alongside everyone from Omar Souleyman to DJ Harvey, Daniel Wang and Legowelt, and has demonstrated his ability not only to extend his keyboard to its limits, but to transcend its musical territory, opening up a diverse range of styles, genres and gestures to his dance-addled mimicries and musings. “Déviation” marks Heatsick’s most expansive dance release to date, featuring four tracks of kaleidoscopic house that combine a lo-fi aesthetic with clear, textured structures akin to wandering through a densely gridded, sultry urban environment. With influences ranging from Fela Kuti to Todd Terry, the EP revolves around as much of a disco aesthetic as it does a leisurely soundtrack to a casual day of hanging out. The dub-influenced title track begins with a rhythmic, Latin-oriented introduction that delicately deviates towards its shimmering second half as the pitch spirals in a locked progression. The climax refuses to come quickly, however, and a flow of excitement frames the track until it finishes in step. The EP’s subdued second track, “C’était un rendez-vous”, presents a sort of chill-out vibe with a cinematic consciousness. This track features backing by the prodigious saxophonist André Vida, whose snippets of smooth to free jazz are seamlessly interlaced within the last two tracks as well. On the B-side, the B1 track “The Stars Down to Earth” is overlaid with a vocal sample and brims with a frenetic energy that calls to mind an ebulliently bassy, Bristol mentality. The concluding track, “No Fixed Address”, takes the territory of the B1 and introduces it to a 90s Todd Terry treatment, providing a jacking conclusion to this varied, densely-packed release worthy of multiple listenings. The 12″ was recorded by Mauro Martinuz & Luca Sella at Transfert Studios and mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at D&M. It is pressed on 140g white vinyl which itself is housed in a silk screened pvc sleeve with artwork by Kathryn Politis & Bill Kouligas.