Like every year Hands Productions organises their Forms Of Hands festival. Like many a year, I buy one of the 1000 copies of the festival compilation during the Wave Gotik Treffen. Like every year, the compilation contains the Hands-type of music: “rhythmic noise”. Well actually, much of the music is not that hard or noisy. Most of it, as usual, is good though. Hands seems to operate mostly on the harder side of IDM these days, but they do well. They find new and interesting projects and with a remaining high standard, buying a compilation like this is by far no leap in the dark. I said it before. The style of music is not one that I listen to very often, but every once in a while, so it is good that there is this ‘standard’ yearly buy at the Hands stand in the Agra hall in Leipzig during the Whitsun weekend!
Link: Hands Productions
By far the greatest show on last year’s (2013) Summer Darkness festival was Sonic Area. Musicwise somewhere between dubstep, witchhouse and IDM with a pompous sound. The album that was (mostly) performed was the magnificent “Music For Ghosts” (2012). Not all albums are as good as that cd, apparently Sonic Area is/was more of an IDM project.
Now Deezer recommended me a new release of this French project. Four wonderfull tracks which are perhaps not as gloomy as “Music For Ghosts”, but they do have the same weird approach. “Madness & Miracles” seems to be a download album only. Oh well!
Link: Sonic Area
Just like two years ago I got me a copy of the latest “Forms Of Hands” when in Leipzig. Hands appears to become more and more a label balancing between the good old “rhythmic noise” and techno music. Quite like Ant-Zen perhaps. “Forms Of Hands 13” is largely still what I can call “rhythmical industrial”, but much of this music has left the sharp edges and became somewhat technoish. Then again, the music is quite energetic like we are used to of this style and the variation between the more seriously loud tracks and the more IDM-type of tracks make the “Forms Of Hands” series a nice series.
Just like two years ago there are the relatively famous projects such as Winterkälte and Ah Cama-Sotz, allmost classic projects such as Orphx and Geistform and projects that are new to me such as Kaibun and Phasenmensch.
However I like the music live, I do not play it much at home, but these Hands compilations are a reason to buy something in the style.
Link: Hands Productions
Google translator says that the title is Latvian and means “Crooked Smile Futurity”. That sounds as weird as the original title! The music is not too common either. Oyaarss makes some kind of IDM (is that term still used today?) of the tranquil kind. So tranquil even that the music sometimes leans towards soundscapes or ambient. Here and there the sounds gets rougher and goes more into the direction of “rhtymic noise”, a sound that I somehow expect from the label Ad Noiseam. However the Last.fm info on the project speaks about “harsh and atmospheric sound, with heavy distorted beats” and even mentions the music styles industrial, post-metal, sludge and noise, this will make you overly expected about the intensity of the music. I can tell you, it is all fairly easy-listening. Not bad though, it is a nice IDM sound that serves well as background music.
Links: Oyaarss, Ad Noiseam
I do not think that I ever heard of Aabzu, but since I also never heard of the labels that released the first two albums, this may be very well possible. In 2010 Aabzu released a cd called “Rambo” and Zoharum presents recordings of a live performance in the same year. The music can be described as ambient IDM, often soft and soothing, at other times a bit more rhythmical and technoish. The overall atmosphere is ambient though, but I think that people who like those tranquil sounds of dub/IDM might enjoy this album as well. For me there might have been a bit more variety, but I guess this album goes well as background music.
Links: Aabzu, Zoharum
I did not buy very much at this year’s Wave Gotik Treffen, just this compilation and a Loki compilation. I hoped to get “2011 Hands”, their annual multi cd label compilation. Unfortunately these series are abandoned and now you can only get the series of the annual Hands festival which started in 2000. This 11th festival compilation has several projects that are new to me. Libido Formandi, Shorai, Wieloryb, Hysteresis and Edgey. Projects that I did know are Angina P, Maschinenkrieger vs Disraptor, Empusae, Winterkälte, Incite/, Greyhound and Orphx. Of course that is just me, but when getting a Hands compilation I hoped for some heavy “rhythmical industrial”, “indancetrial”, “rhythmic noise”, whatever you call it. It takes a few tracks before the harder sounds gets in. It looks like it that Hands became (or perhaps always was), more of a techno label. The sounds here go from IDM to more straight forward (soft) techno, but also breakcore and fortunately the larget part is “rhythmic noise”. I must say that most tracks do not sound all that bad and some are simply great (go Wieloryb!), so this is a nicely varried compilation. I still like the harder tracks best.
Last week I stumbled upon the French distro and label Steelwork Maschine. I never heard of them, nor have I heard of most projects they release and sell. Not having enough time to carefully look through their catalogues, I got a copy of this split cdr. Neon Rain offers some alright to nice rhythmical industrial tracks, HP Unit 14 has more tranquil IDM or drum’n’bass sounds which are not too good. It is always nice to run into new music, but I will have to check if Steelwork also sells really good stuff.
Links: Neonrain, Steelwork Maschine
Like I wrote earlier, HeilsKabaal is an “ambient/ noise/ drone/ audio-collage/ fieldrecording” label. In my opinion AvoidAudio does not really fit that picture. What I hear is good old “idm“, or “intelligent dance music”. The more tranquil projects in this style have always used stretched sounds on the background of their cut-up rhythms and the same goes for AvoidAudio. IDM, wasn’t that somthing of 8 years ago? I haven’t really followed it and I don’t know if the projects of back then still have the same sound, but the way I see it, AvoidAudio is at best a “vintage” IDM project. Not that “The Idea…” is a bad album, it’s just not very original and I don’t even have such a big IDM discotheque. I guess I expected more of an “ambient/ noise/ drone/ audio-collage/ fieldrecording” album with IDM elements. Oh well, let’s say: “for vintage sake”.
I don’t think that I heard of the label before they sent me an email to notify me about their free compilation. “IDM” I am not sure if this is still the name this music goes under these days. In the beginning I called it “abstract techno” by lack of a tag, later terms used in the media were “cuts and clicks”, “dub”, “electronica” and later “intelligent dance music”. The most funny thing is, is that the music isn’t really danceable (in my opinion). The music seems to go back to weird electronic acts such as Autechre and Aphex Twin, but it seems that in the evolution of this cut-up breakbeat music seems to have gone in two directions. One is a more soft and melodic sound (Funckstörung, Funckarma), the other fucked-up and violent (following Venetian Snares). The first then is “IDM”, the latter “breakcore”. Of course there are numerous crossbreeds and novelties. What -for example- to do with a weirdo such as Kid 606? Anyway, in the beginning I had the idea that the music is still the same as seven years ago when it was still new. Soft music, crazy rhythms/beats, a bit of orchestrations. But as the cd continues there come some harder tracks and some tracks with new elements. There are some very nice tracks on the compilation and you can heard the sound of both old and new.
Well, I already liked the cooperation between the Wu-Tang Clan and Funkstörung (see Funkstörung “Additional Productions” review) which is a crazy mix between difficult electronic music (it seems that some people decided to call it “idm” or “intelligent dance music”) and hiphop; crazy music with funny rapping. However Antipop isn’t as crazy as the mentioned track, this is still pretty funny! Actually the insane rhythms and sampled go very well with a fast kind of rapping and the combination here sounds pretty damn good! There is already a new Antipop album called “Arrythmic” which I hope to hear some time soon.