So, we are still watching (or listening to, I guess) the netlabels. And, on this particularly grey day in Berlin, it seems fitting to follow some of the more brooding pieces.
Trawling some slightly average, and some slightly less than average, netlables is, at times, a frustrating experience. Passing by sites with variable levels of graphic design capability presents a somewhat challenging experience on the eye, and an even more troubling experience on the ear. But then you come across a gem. A shinning beacon of expansive, guitar based ambient soundscapes from Gareth Dickson, on the polymorphic music netlable.
Dickson's sound is a spacious blend of guitar, soft male vocals and airy, somnambulate sound scapes. Beautiful, subtle, not really electronic in the sense of this blog's main focus, but perfect for a slightly grey day that leaves you blue. The Dance is repetitively lulling, brooding and deep and a highlight of the Gareth Dickson Sampler.
Hal with The Raw Deal EP is currently making my ears buzz with a low-frequency bass-sample overlaid with micro-clicks and hisses. It's fantastically dark, slightly oppressive but if you enjoy a bass induced state of relaxation, then I think 750 Hurts could hit the nail on the head. Ate Bit Bite - is reduced, a radically clipped vocal over a slowed-down four-four beat with a really quite beautiful underlying melody (of sorts). Every good story on the other hand eschews the beauty for some more bass induced oppression, incorporating a haunting synth-loop that seems to gradually shift and change as the track progresses.
This is a netlabel to watch for things more left-field, which seems to release with a consistent quality, but varied set of, mostly electronic, styles. Spatial's Dynamite Skank is another slice of minimalism, but with a bleak dub-beat and hissy, breathy, clipped samples.
Cism, a label from Smolensk, Russia, which 'is a non-commercial netlabel focusing on deep music with dub mentality.' And the dub-mentality certainly shines through. Vacation by Christopher Schindling on the Cism_7 release is as floating, yet dance-inducing piece of deep-techno as you are likely to get. Reminiscent of STL, or Deepchord, this a track that will certainly be getting play-time in future sets. Its production values are superb, and it is eminently, throughly body-moving music, yet intricately deep at the same time. Inside on the same release does a similar job, with the added joy of a tiny, yet radically precise high-hat that pierces the bubbling ocean of dub-synth. The Havantepe remix of Vacation plays with the original, cutting it up slightly and adding a slightly more bouncy bassline and a more liberal sprinkling of snares over the synths. It doesn't exactly vary much along its way, but nevertheless, it supplies the atmospheric space of the original with a more up-beat tone. Releases from Mr Cloudy, such as Long Wandering, follow a similar aesthetic (not surprising considering the stated ambition of the label), but in a slowed down fashion. The Marko Fuerstenberg remix of Long Wandering picks the pace up somewhat, turning a home-listening track into a bit of a dancefloor rotation. The dub-atmosphere remains, but with a couple of build-ups and drops thrown in, this has more appeal in a club-space. The other remix, from grad_u throws everything up in the air, lets it absorb a cubic-mile of oxygen, then brings it slowly, but thunderingly, back to earth. Much, much slower and quite intimidating in its spaciousness, this is one for those 7am mornings of anxiety and dislocation.
Have a look at their website (as both of the above are flash, I can't link to the specific tracks and pages.)
If it's something more of the 6am minimal weirdness you're after (which is something, I've realised, we don't address on this site so much), then a release from the Monofónicos netlabel is where you'll find it. According to their blurb, 'Monofónicos is a creative space of digital action. A colective initiative from Medellin, Colombia seeking an exchange of musical ideals with a modern spirit of organic electronic music.'
The V.A. Colores: Ocultos release contains those Konrad Black like tracks that would be at home on a Wagon Repair release, or in Matt John's record box. Odd, menacing and completely inducing early morning paranoia in those still in the club, these releases stand their own against anything I've heard from more professional labels recently. The delightfully named Hairy Guys' release of Blattod (Original Mix) chugs away with the determination of those who just won't sleep, interspersing a sparse minimal-beat with freaky hushed out vocals and a disquieting underlying synth. Snail by the equally pleasantly named Rat puts a Troy Pierce type spin on things, also moving at that somnambulate pace and playing with a mournful sound-effect that is a mix between water, an early echo-chamber and some kind of distorted electronic device, before dropping back into the well programmed drums. Weird Number by Abstrakt, conversely, is less weird than the other two, and steps the pace up a degree, but still using the classic pitched down vocals (why are they so low? who knows... but it works). Sounding something like a Gaiser release, the production values on this, as on the other releases here, are excellent.
Ok, so some things to have a look at if you're interested in this extensive scene. And, with all these releases, I'd pay good money for every single one on Beatport, and here they are, sharing them with the world, gratis: thanks.
A mix of last months net-labels to follow shortly.