Helena Hauff – L’Homme Mort (2015)

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Helena Hauff will release her debut solo album via Werkdiscs/Ninja Tune on 4th September 2015. Titled Discreet Desires, it’s the most in depth summation of the Golden Pudel resident DJ’s improvised one-take machine-funk to date.

Making her recording debut just two years ago in 2013, Helena’s first release was a 3-track EP – Actio Reactio – on Actress’ Werkdiscs imprint. She has since partnered with PAN (as Black Sites alongside F#x), Lux Rec, Bunker sublabel Panzerkreuz and Texan cassette imprint Handmade Birds to share her overtly analogue excursions into techno’s shadowy fringes, improvised and recorded in her bedroom studio in Hamburg. Fully embracing her love of hardware, Helena joined James Dean Brown’s legendary electronic improv outfit Hypnobeat (founded back in 1983) in 2013, blazing a trail across Europe with their intense polyrhythmic jam sessions on the TB-303, TR-707 and TR-808.

“I have the feeling it’s more one-to-one – you do something and then the machine reacts. The machine has its own mind too, so it gives something back.”

Ten tracks deep, Discreet Desires is the embodiment of Helena’s deep-seated beliefs about music as a radical force and unifying movement. Something that is evident from her growing stature as a selector and her enthusiasm for musical subcultures from punk to nu wave, industrial, krautrock and avant garde electro – all of which were rooted in raw experimentation and existed in polar opposition to the perfect, polished mainstream.

“Perfection is pretty boring. It doesn’t really exist anyway… only in death. Death is perfect.”

Track taken from the album ‘Discreet Desires’, released 4th September 2015 via Werkdiscs / Ninja Tune.

Heathered Pearls – Abandoned Mall Utopia (2015)

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For Jakub Alexander, the languages of music and visual art are permanently intertwined. And he’s always been this way—from his birthplace in communist Poland, to growing up outside of Detroit, to his current home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “When music like Gas, early Dial Records, and Mille Plateaux releases in the 2000s popped up in my headphones,” Alexander begins, “it was completely visual for me. Something clicked from collecting pages out of old Architectural Digest magazines and being completely overwhelmed with inspiration for my own visions of interior architecture.” The concept carries on still, now as an integral part of Body Complex, his second album as Heathered Pearls. Body Complex represents a new form of Alexander’s visually inspired sound creation, but just as it points to changes in direction for the ambient-inclined producer, it also revisits the past experiences that make his music possible.

Perhaps the most important era referenced in Body Complex is Alexander’s mid-teens, when he was a 15-year-old DJ going to raves with the older kids. Sure, the parties themselves were influential, but it’s the afterhours that resonate the strongest onBody Complex. “I remember those mornings better than the holidays during those years, the drives home from Detroit at 7AM were always stimulating. Everyone was so content, we’d usually listen to something deep and easy on the ears. This was a perfect time to let your mind wander.” It was also an opportunity for him to discover the likes of Terrence Dixon and Lawrence, artists who would eventually offer encouragement to Heathered Pearls as he moved into a new beat-centric sound. “I respect [Terrence Dixon and Lawrence] because they can ride the same thin lines of what I love: electronic music that is heavily repetitive, melodic, and deep. They both can find this elegance in techno beyond the dark warehouse.”

Body Complex doesn’t necessarily aspire to recreate the music of Alexander’s youth. But while taking inspiration from !K7’s classic audio-visual mix series, X-Mix, and early-aughts techno compilations, Heathered Pearls has moved himself closer to the dancefloor. “Loyal was these indirect, huge, heavy, slow ocean waves off in the distance at night,” he says of his beatless debut album, “and Body Complex is a stunningly bleak, uncharted landscape of man-made cement and artificial foliage.” Take a track like the desaturated “Sunken Living Area”, where flickering synths and chrome-plated drum patterns sketch out Alexander’s conceptual backdrop. You can almost envision the sounds as columns and plateaus protruding from a dusk-lit valley. “Personal Kiosk”, an exuberant ambient-techno highlight with The Sight Below (who also mixed and mastered Body Complex), might best represent everything Heathered Pearls brings to his second album: whorls of deep texture, abstract melodic drifts, elegiac beauty, and illusory dance music.

Of course, the artwork is another integral aspect of Body Complex, especially as it was conceived around an object designed by Alexander. “The shape came from wanting to create an imperfect sculpture that, from a distance, looks like a display piece,” he shares, “but when you get closer and you have more time with it, you see its flaws.” And that sort of ever-changing perspective reflects how the album itself can be heard differently in various contexts. Put on the Shigeto-featuring “Abandoned Mall Utopia” at home, and it’s a softly pulsing current of astral dust; put it on in a DJ set, and the music becomes a heady balm for the dancefloor. “You’re given this body and mind to build on, and everyone has their imperfections they don’t love,” Heathered Pearls explains in regards to the double meaning of his album title. Indeed, Body Complex is an elaborate expression of personal memories and visual metaphors as nuanced electronic music, and just like any fully realized body of work, it’s best understood from more than one vantage point.

Conrad Schnitzler & Pyrolator – 289-5 (2015)

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From “Conrad Schitzler & Pyrolator – Con-struct”, out on Bureau B on July 17th 2015 // http://bureau-b.de/con-struct.php

VIDEO INFO // VIDEO EDITED BY PYROLATOR

Documentary sequences show Conrad Schnitzler walking on the street with a speaker attached to his body during one of his typical performances as the “lebendige Klangwolke” (living sound cloud). He was dressed in a white leather outfit with a megaphone attached to a black helmet.

Other sequences use material from his rare video-art which he created in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The videos were done with the simplest of methods, using only available equipment, his visual inspiration drawn partly from the 1920s avant-garde, with strong black and white contrast and overexposed images. Conrad Schnitzler stopped producing videos after a relatively short time, preferring to concentrate on his music compositions. He felt video was the medium for “rich men’s kids with enough pocket money to buy expensive equipment.”

Seeing this rare video material, one has to come to the conclusion that, even if Schnitzler‘s music is sometimes described as harsh or cold and mechanical, his videos reveal that he was actually a very humorous man who had lots of fun making art.

Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Christoph H. Müller – Time Has Come (2015)

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Imagori is the first collaborative recording from musical trailblazers Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of Cluster, Harmonia et al.) and Christoph H. Müller (Gotan Project et al.). Electronic beats, buoyant piano melodies, percussive elements: an album with atmospheric density that is warm and harmonious throughout – although it thrives on clear contrasts.

Christoph H. Müller and Hans-Joachim Roedelius are two legendary musicians who are separated by over a generation and a half. Both share a desire to discover, to break through established patterns of thinking and listening – yet they are soundsmiths with completely different natures: Roedelius, as a pioneer of experimental electronic music and a member of Cluster and Harmonia, two trend-setting band projects of the 1970s; Müller, as a composer, producer and soundtrack artist who entered the charts in the late 1980s with the electropop group Touch el Arab and who later shifted his focus to South American roots music and played a significant role in moving the world music genre in an innovative and future-oriented direction with projects like Plaza Francia and the electronic tango of Gotan Project. [Source]