Margot – Moderno (2017)

Releasing timeless music has always been one of the main aims of Hivern. Sometimes, this purpose asserts itself in curious manners. Take Margot’s ‘Moderno’, a track made in 2003, several years before the label was born. Actually, when Pepe and Giaga produced the piece for a punk oriented art installation, Margot didn’t even exist as a project.

14 years later, ‘Moderno’ sounds as fresh and contemporary as it can be. It’s one of those cuts that chases a very specific idea with a very unconstrained scheme, that knows exactly where it wants to go, but is not sure about how to get there. ¿The perks? Being able to invent your way on the go. Fast-forward to today and this approach seems to have become one of the keys of Margot’s open-minded understanding of techno. Maybe that’s the reason why their vision is as sharp as ever.

Proof of that is ‘Apple S’, a track that despite being much more recent shows the same idiosyncratic spirit when exploring the danceable margins of cosmic music. In this case, channeling a certain moroderesque legacy and reconfiguring it for the sweatiest hours of the modern club-night. The 12” is completed with two remixes of the title track by in-house fav Marc Piñol, whose sound keeps flourishing with each track. Both of his reconstructions manage to give two new functional dimensions to the track as well as adding its own emotional spin to it. The “Morning Mix” captures the kind of blurry bliss of those moments when the verbal tense in which the party started is not longer valid. A mixture of joy and confusion perfectly embodied in the way the wobbly melody and the acid phrases dialogue with each other. The “Acid Mix” insists on the same of fuzzy feeling, but with a darker and blunter varnish.

The vinyl comes wrapped in a sleeve with original photographs by Anna Meléndez and design by Alicia Carrera.

 

Com Truise – Isostasy (2017)

“Repetition is a form of change,” reads one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. Seth Haley knows the concept well, and his style of technicolour synth-wave takes the mantra as a challenge–how much emotion can one man convey through his machines? Six years ago, Galactic Melt introduced space traveller Com Truise and his journey through far-flung galaxies, before mini-epics Wave 1 and Silicon Tare expanded the story in further cosmic detail. And now Iteration concludes this sprawling saga. True to its name, the album is built on Com Truise hallmarks: neon-streaked melodies, big drums, robotic grooves, bleary nostalgia. But Iteration is also the most elegant and streamlined that Haley’s music has ever sounded.

At the album’s heart is an elaborate narrative, one full of longing, hope, anxiety, and triumph. Iteration illustrates the last moments Com Truise spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his alien love escape its clutches to live in peace. Album opener “…Of Your Fake Dimension” launches the interstellar drama with its anthemic swells and widescreen sound design, before lovesick songs like “Dryswch” and “Propagation” outline scenes wrought with cybernetic pathos. In “Isostasy”, the synaesthetic quality of Haley’s compositions is presented in ultra-high-definition. Later, the frantic rhythms of “Syrthio” conjure images of panicked flight as Haley’s gorgeous synth melodies gild the action in quiet heartbreak. Then comes the resounding “When Will You Find The Limit…”, when Iteration‘s pain and sadness finds liberation in the vast unknown. The closing title track ends it all in a gush of majestic revelry.

So goes the winding story that Iteration tells, and yet there’s more behind its telling. “I try hard not to write from my personal life, but it’s inevitably going to seep into the music,” Haley explains. “It’s basically like I’m scoring this film in my head, but that film I’m scoring is also somehow my life.” There are glimpses of the difficult time the East Coast native spent adjusting to a new life in Los Angeles, fighting homesickness and burnout while also touring the world. It was a time full of uncertainty, transition, and self-realization. After a year and a half of living in California, Haley finally recaptured his creativity by finding new excitement in his work. “I put more air, more breathing room in the music—that was the big change,” he says. And once that clicked, the album quickly materialized.

Such a clear refinement of the Com Truise sound took time to develop, but Iterationis well worth the patience and perseverance it cost. Some of Haley’s smartest, catchiest work is here, from the weightless pop heights of “Memory” to “Ternary”‘s lush synth-funk. A song like “Vacuume” somehow manages to balance massive bass swells and punishing drums with stuttering angelic gasps, and “Usurper” gracefully pairs subtle poignant melodies with uplifting dance beats. “For me, it feels like change,” Haley says of his second album, and yes, this is Com Truise like never before. By embracing the music’s inherent nature and peerless qualities, Iteration finds new avenues of expression in its vivid, familiar surroundings.