Hold on to your soul, the first ladies of Minimal Synth, Violet Tremors, are about to drop their début album, the awesomely titled ‘Time Is The Traitor’.
The opening track ‘Between Us’ is well chosen, atmospheric and harsh, the track taken no prisoners and utilises vocal processing in a way that, like much of VT’s tracks, makes me think of early Cabaret Voltaire. The combination of Sparse beats, early EBM and Daniel Miller style synth work and haunting pads with vocals that are not quite human sets the listen up well for the rest of the album. Jessica White & Lorene Simpson do a good job of authentically recreating the early days of the Futurists and the sonic experimentation that cantered around Sheffield and Mute Records. The record swings, at times, from harsh and aggressive, as with the Industrial ‘Concentrate’ to the ice cold machine beats of the likes of ‘Caution’ to almost warm, enveloping tracks like ‘Time Dissolver’. Throughout, though, the girls display a keen ear for both melody and texture, and a production skill that suites their sound perfectly. What’s surprising though, is that it’s not all doom and gloom. That is to say that although the record is as fine an example of Minimal Synth as you could ever care for, there is little of the irritating pretension so often heaped onto Minimal Synth records, there’s actually a lot that would kill on any New Romantic dancefloor. I guess what I’m saying is that there is just as much ‘80’s in this album as there is Minimal Synth, and Violet Tremors passion for their sound and their influences shines through.
♫ Violet Tremors – Caution
♫ Violet Tremors – Violet Trance
♫ Violet Tremors – Future Love
‘Time Is The Traitor’ is released 1st December.
Buy Violet Tremors’ music from:
Funerals have just, finally, released their album of reMixes from ‘Marae’, the album includes a brand new tune too.
Alongside reMixes of ‘Marae’ and ‘Out There’ tracks from the likes of Star Eyes, Ritualz, ∆aimon and Goteki sits ‘To The End’, a brand new track which one again elevates Funerals way above their Minimal-Synth or Witch-House contemporaries. Saying that though, I’ve never really though of Funerals as either Witch-House or Minimal-Synth, they are far too rooted in ‘90’s House to be minimal synth and far to interesting (and actually talented) to be Witch-House. No, what you get with ‘To The End’ is a dark, evolving, slice of Edgy, and ElectroPoppy, Deep House that owes to more to the pioneers of Acid and the early Warp Records sound that it does to anyone with symbols in their band name, and is infinitely better for it. OK, so it is pretty moody and atmospheric, in an enigmatic way, but what sets Funerals apart for the pack is they really understand rhythm, especially synthesized rhythm, how to program it and how to produce it and that just sees them breaking mew ground between the graveyard and the dancefloor.
♫ Funerals – To The End (New Funerals Track)
‘Marae: reMixes’ is out now.
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The king & queen of post-Futurist SynthPop, or Minimal Synth, or whatever Xeno & Oaklander return later in October with a brand new album, ‘Set & Lights’.
‘Open Walls’ is a taste of what you can expect from the new record. Slightly more upbeat than you would expect from X&O. Full of the duo’s trademark icy analog synth work and the interweaving of deadpan and ethereal vocals, the track has all the elements of back room Minimal-Synth there, but also contains something of a bounce to it. It’s a nice compliment to ‘The Staircase’ and bodes well for the forthcoming album.
♫ Xeno & Oaklander – Open Walls
‘Set & Lights’ is released 11th October on Wierd Records.
Buy Xeno & Oaklander’s music from:
Funerals reMixing Burial Hex. That all sounds a bit ominous, but the result is pretty epic deep Electro.
Otherworldly and dreamlike, Funerals capture the throbbing dread of the original but morph it into a hypnotic Bleep House odyssey that moves through various atmospheric soundscapes, including a synth part that resembles a haunting Morricone harmonica, with a relentless kick drum as your tour guide.
♫ Burial Hex – Book of Delusions (Funerals Lanakila reMix)
Funerals are gearing up to drop a new reMix album, featuring a bunch of people and Goteki.
Funerals reMix of ‘Book Of Delusions’ features on the bonus CD that accompanies Burial Hex’s new LP.
Buy Burial Hex ’s music from:
It’s been a few months since we featured Canadian deep ElectroPop duo Purity Ring so it’s high time we dropped their third track, ‘Belispeak’.
It’s quite a stunning peice of work, encompassing shuffling Electro 808 beats with moody Minimal Synth-esque sounds and a truly epic vocal performance. There really is something special about the twisted innocence of the vocals working in tandem with haunting synthetics and almost Hip Hop beats.
♫ Purity Ring – Belispeak
‘Belispeak’ will be released on an forthcoming double A-side 7” split with fellow Canadian ElectroPop outfit Braids.
Buy Purity Ring’s music from:
Here’s the new video for Soft Metals’ track ‘Voices’.
Directed by Christian J Petersen, the video puts a dreamlike spin the the tracks 808 and 303 flavoured minimal SynthPop.
Buy Soft Metals’ music from:
New York Minimal Synth duo Xeno & Oaklander’s released their new single, ‘The Staircase’, this week. An arpeggio fuelled synthesizer lament, the analog electronics conveying just as much frustration as the lyrics. Still, the track isn’t nearly as cold as the outfit’s previous offerings, ‘The Staircase’ is almost warm and dreamlike, if a little edgy.
The Taryn Waldman directed video is a grainy, stark, haunted journey through an 19th-century Brooklyn tenement building.
‘The Staircase’ is taken from Xeno & Oaklander’s forthcoming new album, ‘Sets and Lights’, which drops 11th October via Wierd Records.
♫ Xeno & Oaklander – The Staircase
‘The Staircase’ single is out now.
Buy Xeno & Oaklander’s music from:
The first time I heard Portland duo Soft Metals I was instantly enamoured with their blend of Minimal Synth and 90’s House and Techno. Next month they finally release their début, self titled, LP.
Their highly acclaimed EP, ‘The Cold World Melts’ was a five track synth music lovers dream. Analog machine music tempered with soaring melodies and haunting vocals, and surprisingly funky too. The forthcoming album promises a full ten tracks of the same. Check out ‘Psychic Driving’ the sweet electronic ballad the record opens with.
♫ Soft Metals – Psychic Driving
Soft Metal’s début album is released 19th July on Captured Tracks.
Buy Soft Metals’ music from:
We mentioned in our feature on them that Ohio Dark Synth act Funerals would be lending their skills to a reMix of our favourite Minimal Synth girls Violet Tremors. Well, here it is.
Mixing up Violet Tremors’ ‘Violet Trance’ with this dark 90’s house sound results in an evil industrial groove. I do love how Funerals can sound uncomfortable and atmospheric and funky at the same time. The machine rhythms, scrapyard percussion and relentless synth bass in this track owes much to New Beat but is tempered with a haunting lead line. I feel like in in a dark EBM club in 1989 all over again!
♫ Violet Tremors – Violet Trance (Funerals reMix)
Violet Tremors’ début album is out on Mannequin later this year.
Violet Tremors @ Facebook
There doesn’t appear to be anything minimal about Columbus, Ohio based Minimal Synth duo Funerals. Their tracks are thick, multi-layered, atmospheric synthesizer odysseys.
Musically, Funerals actually remind me a lot of really early Beep House tracks, the first few releases on Warp Records (think the first thee LFO 12”s), which defiantly endears them to me. The drums are harsh but dancey, the synths sound ice cold but seem to collaborate together to create an addictive robotic groove.
They’ve just dropped a new EP, ‘Marae’, and the title track is a relentless Industrial dance track which brings to mind some of the more Techno influenced Cabaret Voltaire (more Sheffield comparisons!) tracks or that period between New Beat and EBM. ‘AITU (LQD Live Edit)’ is pure Beep House/Minimal Synth crossover. Sounding like Fan Death reMixed by LFO in 1993, the raw analog drums and hollow synth melodies create a dark warehouse atmosphere with Mollie’s vocals just tipping the track over the edge into slightly scary territory.
♫ Funerals – Marae
♫ Funerals – AITU (LQD Live Edit)
I hate copying and pasting press releases, and hate blogs that do it, but I just have to share this piece of their EPK ‘cos it made me chuckle: “Producers Casey Immel-Brown and Mollie Wells are married, but listen: that means nothing. These songs don’t sound like matrimony; they sound like gray oceans and the terrible waiting for sun.”
Funerals’ ‘Marae’ EP is out now and features reMix work from Jokers Of The Scene! The duo also have just completed a reMix for electronic rumors favourite Minimal Synth ladies Violet Tremors, which we hope to bring you soon.
Funerals @ Amazon