Salem - “King Night” (IAMSound Recordings)
Having already heard their bass heavy sluggish, screwed and skewed remixes of Gucci Mane, I had an idea of what this album would sound like. Oof! This album is fantastic. The sluggish, dragging tempos, stuttering Michael Watts style chopping of the beats and pitch dark swarming synths all come together to make some really intense crawling Witch House. Although that genre name is pretty much an internet joke, it’s really appropriate here; this is the electronic soundtrack to witches cooking up potions with frogs and puppy dogs tails. Influenced seemingly from hip hop equally as much as house, with the addition of sampled rapping on several songs, this is excellent music for hubbling, bubbling, toiling and troubling.
Oneohtrix Point Never - “Replica” (Software)
Apparently this is the first Oneohtrix Point Never release to be crafted on modern software, rather than the vintage equipment Daniel Lopatin has favoured on previous releases. Sound wise you’d not know it however; this album is based on warmly humming ambient sounds, floating together and gradually developing. Tangerine Dream would be a good comparison, as would any number of eighties science fiction soundtracks. Almost entirely beatless, when there are beats, as on ‘Nassau’, they are somewhat reminiscent of Autechre material like ‘Chiastic Slide’. Although very slow to develop, this is an entertaining release that’s well worth the time it takes to get going.
John Maus - “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves” (Upset The Rhythm)
So, John Maus used to be the keyboard player for Ariel Pink. Personally I’ve not listened to much Ariel Pink, just enough to know I’m not massively into it. This album, however; is a really fun, if rather melancholic in tone, listen. Sounding like the kind of eighties pop made at the point when synths stopped being thought of as experimental and started being high gloss pop, musically this album reminded me of stuff like pre-‘Dare’ Human League and maybe some of the earlier stuff by Cabaret Voltaire. There’s also a kind of cosmic, pre-‘Autobahn’ early Kraftwerk kind of sound to it, particularly the endless swirling synths on some of the more upbeat songs, like ‘Keep Pushing On’ and ‘Matter of Fact’. John Maus heavily echo laden morose vocals really kill the mood of the party, but I really enjoyed them. He sounds kind of like Ian Curtis or David Bowie. This album is definitely worth a listen. I really enjoyed it.