minimal wave

Black Bug * Frozen Energy (7″ 2015)

When my eye fell on this 7″ in the shop of Aufnahme + Wiedergabe, I did not know that it is actually a brand new 7″. Some three years after lp (click on the bandname to read the review) there is new material of Black Bug.

The title track of this 7″ is an uptempo and nicely raw sounding electropunk track. Side B, “Push You”, sounds more like that wave-sound that is so popular nowadays. It is not really “minimal wave” that I used as a tag, but more like the style between shoegaze-rock energy and minimal wave, perhaps reminding a bit of some material of The Soft Moon. So what do they call that these days? “Now-wave”? “Ghost wave”? No matter, as long as it is good and that certainly goes for this 7″.

Videos for both tracks can be found on the Facebook page of the band, so it is easy to listen to the music.

Links: Black Bug, Avant!

Tanz Ohne Musik * Belong (mc 2014)

The new Tanz Ohne Musik seems to be a small step back to the synthpop / minimal wave sound of earlier releases and away from the Galakhorrö angstpop. A small step though. Like on “Between Our Body Shapes” there are still heavy Galakthorrö influences, but Tanz Ohne Musik seems to be working more towards their own sound; an interesting sound! Most tracks have a slow, analogue sound with typical vocals. Some tracks tend more towards minimal wave, other more towards angstpop, but most are somewhere in between. Recommended!

Links: Tanz Ohne Musik, Red Cavity Records

v/a * Death # Disco IV (2cd 2014)

Discogs.comIn the summer of 2013 I visited a Dutch festival and in some cd stand my eyes fell on two volumes of a compilation called “Death # Disco”. To my surprise I recognised several band- and project-names, but in my head they were from different scenes. Death # Disco is a disco evening in Berlin where they play a variety of music. Old fashioned gothic/wave, more contemporary wave of the “minimal wave” genre, but also shoegaze (that apparently is called “ghost wave” sometimes). The same can be said about the compilations and volume IV is no exception. New this time is that IV is a double cd.

The compilation opens with the strange band The Devil & The Universe that have a quite easy sounding EBM/synthpop-like track. There is also the electropop/-punk project ADULT., the shoegazers of The Soft Moon, minimal wavers such as Newclear Waves and Tropic of Cancer, the more poppy project Xeno & Oaklander and projects with an industrial background like Klangstabil and Echo West. Then there a whole range of projects that I never heard of.

Like volumes II and III there are a few good tracks, a lot of alright tracks and a handfull of tracks that are not my taste. But for 10 euros you get a good overview over ‘the larger wave scene’ and that makes this compilation a suggested buy.

Link: Death # Disco

Cryme * Mekonium (mc 2013)

It may become boring, but here is another wonderfull Beläten tape/download (the tape has probably been sold out for over a year). Of course, since Beläten puts their releases on Bandcamp, you can listen to them before you buy them, I only got myself the ones that I liked. That is not to say that the all other Beläten releases are boring, but they were either obviously not my taste or I had to make choices because I did not want to buy everything.
In any case, Cryme makes a strange kind of industrial which goes from old-style industrial to a more minimal wave sound and less common sonic experiments. Sometimes Cryme reminds me of the ‘industrial disco’ style of Thorofon. Actually the latter may not be such a bad comparison. Not that “Mekonium” sounds like Thorofon, but the two projects would fit well together on a stage. Recommended.
Link: Beläten

Ekman‎ * Kalla Rytmer Att Dansa Till I Ensamhet (mc 2012)

Another countrymate on Beläten (besides Distel). Contrary to most Beläten projects this is not Ekman’s first or second release. Ekman already has an impressive list on Discogs with releases on a variety of labels, apparently from different music scenes. This includes Enfant Terrible, so perhaps that explains why the name rings a bell.
The sound is one that fits well on the Dutch Enfant Terrible label: minimal wave, a bit weird and atypical though. The music is not really danceable and there are no vocals. Perhaps ‘analogue minimal wave’ is a description for Ekman. Minimalistic certainly is a term that comes to mind when listening to this music.
A nice, though slightly unexpected, addition to the Beläten roster.
Link: Beläten

Tanz Ohne Musik ‎* Between Our Body Shapes (mc 2013)

I stumbled upon the Bandcamp of this Romenian project. The name sounds familiar, but according to Last.fm I had not played (or at least “scrobbled”) Tanz Ohne Musik before today. This project has quite a few releases available, most of them online, but what I have heard from previous material it is all just alright minimal wave. For the last release TOM seems to have had a good listen to Haus Arafna and other Galakthorrö projects. “Between Our Body Shapes” is a very nice angstpop release that reminds of more tranquil Galakthorrö/Arafna material, especially in some sounds (samples perhaps?). This release being available through Bandcamp you can of course just listen to it, I also have it on the computer, but I hope to receive one of the 50 copies of the tape as well.
Links: Tanz Ohne Musik, Red Cavity Records

va * Schlagstrom vol. 7 (2cd 2013)

This double cd celebrates 10 years of Schlagstrom. I have never been to the Schlagstrom festival. Actually I have known the name for quite a while without knowing that it is a festival (I thought it was a label or something). In any case, this compilation has some names on it that made me buy it to try it out, but there are many more names on it that are new to me, which could be another reason to get it. Thorofon is on disc 2, but they have a not too interesting discoish track. Better in ‘the Thorofon style’ is Gerechtigkeits Liga’s track on the first disc. Unfortunately M.A.O. is again somewhat disappointing.
What I expected the festival to be like, the first disc mostly contains ‘rhythmical industrial’ (what today is called ‘rhythmic noise’). Mostly not really extreme, but nicely danceable. There are also some harder tracks and a little bit of downright noise. Disc 2 is nice with a lot of analogue electronic music. Unfortunately there are two terrible tracks (Underhill and Kunst Als Strafe) in the beginning and towards the end the more experimental tracks are not always my taste.
Overall I think the first disc is most consistent in enjoyability, but the most interesting tracks are on disc 2. Indeed, a varried compilation for people who are interested in the current state of industrial music.
Links: Schlagstrom, Prodam

Distel * Puur (lp 2013)

In 2009 I was looking around to see what Last.fm users would have tagged “angstpop” besides Galakthorrö projects. I found a project from my own country that was (and is) not on Galakthorrö, but on a Dutch label that releases all kinds of weird electronic dance music and retro-wave kind of things. At the time I was not too enthousiastic about most of the music from that scene (but I was about Distel). Several more years of exploring have granted me a couple of great projects and also proved that I was not alone looking for new music, since both the Wave Gotik Treffen and Summer Darkness also book minimal wave and related projects. In any case, after a great 7″ in 2010 things were quiet around Distel and I accidentally found out that the debut album is finally available. I waited a bit more for the version with bonus 7″ (there are 50 copies of the first version and 200 of the second) and today I could finally hear more music of this great, Dutch project.
Again I have to bring up Galakthorrö. The simple reason is the Galakthorrö sound comes closest to a large part of the sound of Distel of what I know (mostly the sound of Herz Jühning). In other tracks Distel remains closer to that “minimal wave” sound, but dark and slow variety. Some tracks seem earlier released tracks with another title, but most material is new to me and what is more, it is pretty damn good! I love the dark and gloomy sound of Distel (almost) as much as that of Galakthorrö and that can most definately be regarded as a compliment!
Links: Distel, Enfant Terrible

v/a * Death # Disco III (cd 2013)

Strange how things work sometimes. I listen a lot of different kinds of music. Since Last.fm this has increased a lot and now in combination with Deezer perhaps even more. A while ago I ran into the brilliant band A Place To Bury Strangers who make some sort of shoegaze (1980’ies wave elements, screaming guitars, etc.), but much more uptempo than the “dreampop” variety of the style. I have been looking for other interesting bands in that style and found good bands that combine guitars and electronics. To my surprise one of these bands (The KVB) played at last year’s (2013) Wave Gotik Treffen and than two more (The Soft Moon, Lebanon Hannover) at Summer Darkness. At a music-stand at Summer Darkness I checked the boxes of the usual goth-mailorder and found A Place To Bury Strangers, but also quite a bit of “minimal wave” (and related) music. That part included “Death # Disco” compilations, compilations of a Berlin based monthly clubnight. To my surprise these compilatons contain bands that I previously discovered as “shoegaze” (The KVB, The Exploding Boy, The Lost Rivers, etc.) and as “minimal wave”, another genre that I enjoy discovering (Agent Side Grinder, Xeno & Oaklander, Echo West, etc.). Apparently everything is growing together or is not as separated as I initially thought.
In any case, “Death # Disco III” goes from very nice uptempo analogue dancemusic to screaming guitars. Some tracks are downright briliant, but others are pretty boring, an experience that I got used to in ‘both scenes’. Nice to run into these compilations though.
Link: Death # Disco

Metroland * Mind The Gap (cd 2012)

Metroland’s show at the Summer Darkness festival was great, but the audience was too small. Metroland has a Kraftwerk sound, but it is faster and more danceable. The music is completely metro-themed. The visuals were also well-done and the combination was highly enjoyable. So how would this music stand in the living room?
Well, on cd Metroland is quite tame. Nice analogue synths and old-fashioned vocal effects though, but perhaps the higher volume made the music more danceable or the ambiance added to the experience. Not that “Mind The Gap” is a boring album, but I remember more energy. The album is the moments when you want something tranquil to shake your head to.
Links: Metroland, Alfa Matrix