Monday, February 10, 2020

Krummholz - "Rooted in Despair" [2018]

Artist: Krummholz
Title: Rooted in Despair
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: Uganda / USA / Ghana
Release date: 2018

Track List:
  1. A Morning in the Autumn Forest
  2. To Father Worlds in the Bones of Ancient Solitude
This one would be a fairly typical nature-inspired black metal EP, if not for the fact that it was recorded by an international projects whose members come from the US, Ghana (or according to other sources, Kenya) and Uganda of all places. The EP consists of an ambient/new age intro with nature sounds, and one long atmospheric/post-black metal track  While I didn't notice anything particularly "African" about its sound, it's quite good for a debut release and makes me insterested in what Krummholz may put out in the future.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Don Zilla - "From the Cave to the World" [2019]

Artist: Don Zilla
Title: From the Cave to the World
Genre: Techno, Dark Ambient
Country: Uganda
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. From the Cave
  2. Inside Me
Another interesting release from Hakuna Kulala - the debut 2-track EP by an Ugandan producer known as Don Zilla. The first track is techno/D&B, while the second, longer one is much closer to dark ambient:
"Following up his remixes of STILL’s ‘I’ album cuts in 2018, Don Zilla bares his teef in both parts of ‘From The Cave to the World’, first churning up a viscous groove full of shadow-boxing drums and gutter bass distortion on the cusp of dubstep rave and halfstep D&B with ‘From The Cave’, before opening up a stargate like portal in his studio with 12 minutes of plunging beatless depth and unheimlich terra forming in ‘Inside Me’, and in a way recalling early Emptyset or stare-out Prurient piece"

Slikback - "Tomo" [2019]

Artist: Slikback
Title: Tomo
Genre: Techno, Rhythmic Noise
Country: Kenya
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. Sonshitsu
  2. Gemini
  3. Kyokai
  4. Karum
  5. Zuhura
  6. Rage
Speaking of underground electronic music labels, one of my most interesting recent discoveries is Hakuna Kulala, coming from Uganda of all places. Yes, East Africa actually has a thriving electronic scene, and Hakuna Kulala is specialized in club explorations from the Kenyan, Ugandan and Congolese electronic underground and beyond. All (or nearly all) Hakuna Kulala releases have a distinctive cover art style of geometric patterns on black backgound.

"Tomo" is a 6-track EP by Slikback (real name: Freddy M Njau), an electronic producer from Nairobi, Kenya. Out of all releases on Hakuna Kulala, this one fits the spirit of my blog the most, becoming progressively more experimental towards the end, and even stepping on the territory of rhythmic noise in the last track:
"At the vanguard of a vital East African electronic music scene, Slikback combines local rhythmic heritage with sheer, abstract electronics in ways that utterly fascinate bodies on the ‘floor. Stepping ahead from his debut EP in 2018, he offers twice as much material and amps up the energy and noise in ’Tomo’, surely setting the benchmark for anything to follow in its wake in 2019.

Between the Nostrofmo-like atmosphere and mutant footwork-like percussive intensity of ‘SONSHITSU’, thru the dissonant dancehall swagger of ‘Gemini’ and the hyperhall push of ‘Kyokai’, to the polymetric fizz and parry of ‘Karuym’, and the pelting hardcore of ‘Zuhura’, Slikback’s music will leave nobody wanting on the ‘floor. But if you’re the insatiable type, then the inferno of his parting shot ‘Rage’, switching from full frontal rhythmic noise to industrial swagger and back, will polish you the fuck off"

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

V/A - "The Virus Has Been Spread / A D-Trash Records Tribute to Atari Teenage Riot" [2007]

Label: D-Trash Records
Title: The Virus Has Been Spread / A D-Trash Records Tribute to Atari Teenage Riot
Genre: Breakcore, Digital Hardcore
Release date: 2007

Track List:
  1. RABBIT JUNK - Start The Riot
  2. HOWARD ROARK - No Remorse (I Wanna Die)
  3. ZYMOTIC - Into The Death
  4. UNITUS - Death Star
  5. CTRLER - Deuthschland (Has Got To Die!)
  6. HANSEL - Ghostchase
  7. 64REVOLT - You Can't Hold Us Back
  8. noCore - U.S. Fade Out
  9. DHC MEINHOF - Revolution Action
  11. PHALLUS UBER ALLES - Heatwave
  12. EVESTUS - Delete Yourself
  13. HERCKLEKOT - Fuck All!
  14. CYANOTIC - Your Uniform (Does Not Impress Me)
  15. THE PHOERON - The Virus Has Been Spread
  16. SCHIZOID - The Future Of War
The amount of contributions to the digital hardcore scene by the Canadian label D-Trash Records can't be overestimated. They were releasing obscure breakcore, digital hardcore, noise, industrial, dark ambient, IDM and all other sorts of sci-fi/cyberpunk-themed underground electronic music since late 90s, and the best of all - all their releases are freely available online, and they were at least since the mid-2000s. It was very difficult for me to find such music back then, so their site was truly a blessing at the time.

Here's a tribute to the seminal band in the whole digital hardcore genre - Atari Teenage Riot - made by various D-Trash artists in 2007, keeping all the tracks as close to the spirit of original ones as possible. My personal highlighs are the rather unusual interpretation of "Death Star" (my favourite noise ballad of all times!) by Unitus, and the surprisingly danceable cover of "You Can't Hold Us Back" by 64Revolt. If you're not familiar with D-Trash Records yet, I hope this compilation will make you to explore the rest of their releases (and they have LOTS of great but little-known stuff for all lovers of extreme electronic music with a DIY spirit).

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Alec Empire - "Futurist" [2004]

Artist: Alec Empire
Title: Futurist
Genre: Digital Hardcore
Country: Germany
Release date: 2004

Track List:
  1. Kiss Of Death
  2. Uproar
  3. Night Of Violence
  4. Vertigo
  5. Overdose
  6. Make Em Bleed
  7. Gotta Get Out
  8. Point Of No Return
  9. Hunt You Down
  10. In Disguise
  11. Terror Alert High
  12. XXV3
I think Alec Empire needs no introduction to anyone who knows what digital hardcore is, and I'm honestly not sure why I haven't posted anything related to Atari Teenage Riot on here yet. While ATR was the band that introduced me (and not only me) to digital hardcore, I'd rather post one of the finest solo works of Alec Empire, entitled "Futurist" ("For a man so certain that there isn't a future, he looks like one of its most confident architects" - from a review of Alec Empire's previous album "Intelligence & Sacrifice" in NME 2002). 

While "Futurist" is a logical sequel to "Intelligence & Sacrifice", it's probably more influenced by punk, metal and aggro-industrial than any other release in Alec Empire's discography (but not forgetting the electronics, of course!), and it's brutal and chaotic just like any other his work. There were even attempts to get this album on, although I personally don't think it counts as metal (and the moderators of MA most likely think so too). If anything, "Futurist" would be best described as "cyberpunk", if only it was a proper music genre.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Yunclas / Leila - "Voluntary Punishment ​/ ​Ziyara" [2019]

Artist: Yunclas / Leila
Title: Voluntary Punishment ​/ ​Ziyara
Genre: Ambient, Techno
Country: Spain / Brazil
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. Voluntary Punisment
  2. Ziyara
A few months ago I made a post about Pierre Noir, which is a very unorthodox "blackened techno" project linked to Yunclas, and here's another experimental project which is a collaboration between Yunclas (Asturias, Spain) and Leila (Brazil). This release is best described as ambient/techno with Arabic reminiscences (even if the cover art looks more suitable for a noise album), and reminds me of some releases by Cracked Core and other Muslimgauze-influenced electronic projects I've posted on here before.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Fun-Da-Mental - "Erotic Terrorism" [1998]

Artist: Fun-Da-Mental
Title: Erotic Terrorism
Genre: Breakbeat, Industrial Hip-Hop, World Fusion
Country: UK
Release date: 1998

Track List:
  1. Oh Lord! (Devil Would Like A Word)
  2. Demonised Soul (My Head Bus On A Hard Surface But I Could Never Hurt It)
  3. Godevil (All Tainted By Wickedness)
  4. Ja Sha Taan (Joo Ley Lal Mustt Qalander)
  5. Blood In Transit (After Dinner Mints)
  6. Repent (Not Repented Yet)
  7. Deathening Silence (Thru Bloodless Birth My Being A Clone)
  8. Furious (Crustacean Of The Sea, Organism Of Dust)
  9. See I A (Dust On Ants Feet)
  10. The Distorted C (All We Want)
  11. One Ness (Dhann A Dhann)
  12. Sliced Lead (Fill It With Lead)
  13. Tongue Gone Cold (Grown To A Medical Specimen Paranoid Mad Careless Deviance)
Fun-Da-Mental is a brainchild of Aki Nawaz (Haq Nawaz Qureishi) who started his music career as a drummer in The Southern Death Cult, one of the first British post-punk/gothic rock bands which later took a much more commercial hard/glam rock direction under the name The Cult. In the meanwhile, Aki Nawaz took the stage name Propa-Gandhi and founded Fun-Da-Mental in August '91 during London's annual Notting Hill Carnival. Needless to say that his new band sounded nothing like Southern Death Cult, although still being heavily influenced by the spirit of punk:
Initial line-up consisted of Bad-Sha Lallaman and Aki Nawaz (properly Haq Qureshi) who went under the stage name of Propa-Gandhi, Man-Tharoo (who later went under the name of Goldfinger) and DJ Obeah (who would be replaced by Dave Watts). The least convincing colour on their style palette would be rap; their originality lies in their manipulation of soundbite and sample. Often witty, they mix samples of the classical instruments, the metamorphosed motif of the train whistle from the Hindi film Pakeezah, Pakistani village music and filmi (Indian film music), all woven into a patterns of flavours.
Around the time when "Erotic Terrorism" was released, FDM played a show in my home city. It was the time when bands like The Prodigy were wildly popular here (and elsewhere), so the public was quite impressed by seeing what was described by some critics as "how The Prodigy would sound if they were born somewhere around the Indus River valley" (the most obvious comparison, however, would be "a more heavier version of Asian Dub Foundation", but seems like nobody here has heard of ADF at the time). Back then I was too young to appreciated their music, but I have memorized their name, and many years later I bought the "Erotic Terrorism" on cassette at first opportunity. I wasn't disappointed at all; to me, it sounded more like "how KMFDM would sound if Sascha Konietzko and En Esch were born in Pakistan and met each other in the UK":

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Başkarma - "Kizleü" [1991]

Artist: Başkarma
Title: Kizleü
Genre: Folk-Rock
Country: Finland
Release date: 1991

Track List:
  1. Kaytuinni Saginirmin
  2. Töngi Karlar
  3. Kübelegim
  4. Kaycan Gina Kilirsin Sin
  5. Sin Sazinni Uynadin
  6. Sonlama
  7. Sular Buylap
  8. Közgi Mon
  9. Sonlama, Kil Indi
  10. Zenger Toman
  11. Bir Gine Minutka
  12. Tan Atkanda
  13. Yokla Inim
  14. Elmira
  15. Ey Mokatdes
Did you know that Finland has long had a not very sizable (~1000) but well-established Tatar minority? Well, now you know. They're mostly descendants of Mishari Tatars that came to Grand Duchy of Finland during late 19th / early 20th century from the vicinity of Sergach (not far from where I live; although I've been to Sergach, so far I haven't visited any predominately Tatar villages around there). Although they're completely integrated into Finnish society, they keep their language and culture alive.

Başkarma was a folk-rock band started by the Finnish Tatar musician Deniz Bedretdin in late 1970s. Their album "Kizleü" was released in USSR in 1991, which helped them to get some recognition among Tatars elsewhere. Despite being re-released on CD in Russia in 2003, this release remains to be rather rare and obscure, but when I found it I wasn't disappointed. Very good quality of production for its time and great female vocals, even if most of the songs aren't particularly catchy. Interestingly, their style was described by someone on Youtube as "balearic flamenco AOR folk":

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Samael - "Exodus" [1998]

Artist: Samael
Title: Exodus
Genre: "Dark Metal", Industrial Metal
Country: Switzerland
Release date: 1998

Track List:
  1. Exodus
  2. Tribes of Cain
  3. Son of Earth
  4. Winter Solstice
  5. Ceremony of Opposites
  6. From Malkuth to Kether
  7. Static Journey (hidden track)
Samael are a band that doesn't really need an introduction. One of the most innovative and influental Swiss metal bands along with Celtic Frost, they're among my favourite bands of all times. While their early 1st wave black metal stuff was way ahead of its time too, I very much prefer their later albums beginning from "Passage" where they play music commonly described as "industrial metal" (yet they sound quite different from most other bands in this genre) and "dark metal" (which is a non-descriptive label that could mean anything, at least according to Metal Archives rules), with rather non-provocative lyricsal themes such as space and spirituality. In particular, "Exodus" and "Eternal" were the albums which first introduced me to Samael, and both of them still remain among my top favourites.

Unlike their preceding release, the much acclaimed "Passage", "Exodus" is a quite overlooked EP that received mostly average marks from reviewers and was deemed a release "only for serious completists" (which I probably am, at least when it comes to the electronic/industrial releases from Samael). Actually, I like it at least as much as "Passage", which is widely considered to be the best album by Samael. In the beginning, "Exodus" sounds very much like "Passage", but its sound gradually becomes more and more electronic and experimetal closer to the end. My personal favourite are the piano parts in "Winter Solstice".