From hip Berlin comes yet another form of techno, a minimalist kind. The label Stroboscopic Artifacts has a series of 12″s with alchemical / esoteric covers, all called “Monad” and then numbered. Oake released such a “Monad”, numbered XXIV.
Another artist in these series is Tommy Four Seven who also has a label… 47, the label that released the latest Oake.
The artists in this genre do not just come from Berlin. When you look around there are quite a couple of more or less similar artists. See my review of Kerridge for a couple of names. Strangely enough, with quite a few artists making this dark, minimal and fairly industrial type of music, noone seems to have come up with a way to describe the style.
It is not that the music always leans towards a dark type of IDM (‘intelligent dance music’). Most projects also have tracks of a more minimal techno (hence: danceable) kind. Indeed, sometimes the sound is well described as “industrial techno”. Less convincing is the term “dub” as it has been in use for decades. Spotify / Everynoise seems to prefer the term “mandible“, but they seem to be the only ones using that term.
That said. As I said in my review of “Monas XXIV” I prefer the style of Oake of the first releases “Vollstreckung” (2013), “Offenbarung” (2013) amd “Auferstehung” (2014) which are much darker than what this duo made later. But “47019” is still a nice piece of dark techno music. Four tracks, spanning about half an hour.
This ‘genre’ / ‘scene’ keeps bringing me interesting new names every once in a while. Not all music of all artists sounds brilliant to me, but if you want to get an idea of style that I do like, listen to my Spotify playlist that I named “electronic doom” a couple of years ago when I quickly had to come up with a name and could not think of anything better.
It does not happen often that I run into a musical genre that is totally new to me, but that still proves to be highly interesting. A while ago I stumbled upon OAKE. When reviewing that latest EP I wondered from what type of scene they would come. Some fringe of industrial, some fringe of techno, experimental doom, or something wholly different?
Then I ran into Kerridge, the sublime “Fatal Light Attraction”. Kerridge’s music is very minimalistic techno, somewhat industrial in approach with pulsating rhythms and noises and (sometimes depending on what beat catches your attention mostly) a very slow pace.
So I have started doing some research. Kerridge has a few releases out. Under the monicker Samuel Kerridge there are some more and the man also has a label: Contort. There are projects like Kerridge and not just a few either it seems. Lakker, Talker, We Will Fail, Ketev, Positive Centre, Rrose, Shifted, Silent Servant, Shapednoise, SHXCXCHCXSH (who I already knew) and more. Sometimes the music is fairly typical “minimal techno” with a steady beat and ‘happy sounds’, but some of these projects make a nice piece of fairly slow and dark music (and some combine the darker tracks with more ‘easy listening’ ones. This starts to look like a scene to sift through to see what I like. So far the journey has been quite interesting!
Not all music is as good as that of OAKE or Kerridge, but I must say that from most of the music that I listened to, I like the larger part and that is something that rarely happens to me when I find a new genre. What is a bit odd though, is that there is enough of this music to ‘be a scene’, there are labels that release this sort of material and yet I have not found a ‘name’ (‘tag’, ‘cabin’) for it. “Industrial techno” is a description that I run into frequently, but this term is also used for harder types of techno ((post-)gabber). “Minimalistic techno” is also already ‘in use’. The beats are not always such that I could use the term “IDM” (Kerridge has very regular beats for example). I do not know. Yet, perhaps.
A while ago I heard a magnificent track that made me think a new Galakthorrö project was on its way. It was a track with the mysterious title “Sehtohree Diin Chromtas Vehns” and it proved to be of a project called OAKE. The track can be found on the 2013 EP “Vollstreckung”. OAKE appears to be a couple from Germany and they have quite a couple of releases available.
These releases are usually vinyl and released on labels that I do not know, Downwards, Resistance / Restraint, Noiztank, Stroboscopic Artefacts. Apparently nowhere near the industrial scene, I have not seen a place that sells their releases.
The music of OAKE and dark and mysterious. Weird dark ambient and rhythmical soundscapes that sometimes seem to lean towards IDM, while at other times there is a guitar drone that makes me wonder if this is a very experimental doom project. Like I said, in dark and rhythmical moments, OAKE could be on Galakthorrö. Especially their oldest material (2013/4) is some of the best new music I heard in a while.
“Monad XXIV”, the latest release, is again an EP. It takes about half an hour and has four tracks. “Monad” is a bit more typically rhythmical ambient, not unlike some material from a label such as L.O.K.I.-Found; sometimes a bit ‘tribal’, sometimes more IDM. The music is certainly interesting, but I like the earlier material even better.