Another strong album from British electronic musician Chris Clark; his eighth studio release since his musical debut in 2001. Death Peak is just under 45 minutes of varied techno styles mixed with wonderfully progressive ambient compositions. Glittering melodies on tracks like “Living Fantasy” and “Peak Magnetic”, alongside the washed out vocal elements of “Catastrophe Anthem” give the album a less foreboding feel than some of Clark’s previous works.

Release Date: 4/7/2017
on Warp Records

British electronic musician Darren Cunningham, better known as Actress, returns from early retirement with his densely progressive fifth full-length album AZD. Pronounced “azid,” the album features many songs over 5 minutes and deserves multiple go rounds. Songs like “RUNNER” and “FANTASYNTH”, with their incessant repetition and varied minimalism, paint a vivid picture of a mechanical paradise where robots do the robot. It’s deeply hypnotic and amazing.

Release Date: April 14, 2017 on Warp Records

Remix albums are easy to ignore, so let’s start at the beginning. Félicité is an award-winning film centered around the vibrant music scene of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The backing band for the lead character in this movie are the Kasai Allstars, a well known act from the region known for mixing traditional sounds with what has been described as “Congotronics”. Félicité Remixes features reworks of the original motion picture soundtrack by electronic composers such as Clap! Clap!, Daedelus, Loopido, High Wolf and more. It casts a wide net, with heavy new wave connotations on tracks like “Drowning Goat” to more dub reggae influence on the title cut #5, to even more background noise on title cut # 7.

Release Date: 3/31/2017 on Crammed Discs

Welcome to Heathered, the synth-heavy debut EP from electronic duo darkDARK. According to the band, the record is about relationships. “Everything from the first moments with someone, which can be so amazing and fleeting, to the times where you’ve forgotten who you both are, change, and evolve […]” darkDARK recently told Consequence of Sound. Haley Bonar’s sultry vocals over shadowy synthesizers only gets better as the tracks advance. It takes on a cinematic quality that will have you reaching for the volume knob and player controls.

Self Released 2/14/2017

Carl Craig is known for Techno. So what is this? A collaboration between the Detroit iconoclast and a French Orchestra– a fabulous album that takes his music out of the club and into the concert hall. Beautifully minimal and progressive, tracks like “The Melody”, “Domina” and “Technology” are about as close to pure bliss you can legally get.

“Versus is my desire and dream come true to have my music interpreted by an orchestra.” – Carl Craig

Release Date: May 16, 2017 on Infine

Apparently that genre is a thing with Argentinian born singer-songwriter and an actress Juana Molina. Having not heard of Molina before, it’s unknown what differentiates Halo from her previous six albums. Tracks like “Los pies helados,” “Cosoco,” and “Cara de espejo” are upbeat and catchy, but the album’s general demeanor is pretty cloudy. The nearly 57 minutes of echoing vocals and atmospheric instrumentation gets numbing after about 20 minutes. Sift through the cruft, and there are some real gems to be found.

Release Date: 5/5/2017 on Crammed Discs

Seattle-based electronic artist Yair Rubinstein AKA Big Spider’s Back returns with this 9 track analog playground available as a cassette tape only release. Get lost on a Gold Star highway with tech-house bangers like “Light Sleeper,” “Outbound,” and “Dream Sequencer.” Or find solace on a long walk alone with wavey instrumentals like “Ativan” or “Sunset Programming. Where ever you might going, Beverly Centaur will get you there.

Release date: 4/28/2017 on Hush Hush

Jimmy Whoo, Parisian producer and Co-Founder of Grande Ville Records, returns with the second part to his Motel Music album that he wrote over a three month stay in Los Angeles. Consisting of “dark, filmic moments that weave together dreamlike visions of L.A. landscapes and night time glamour,” or in this writer’s words, a mellow mix of contemporary electronic, hip hop, soul and jazz. Motel Music part 2 is an electronic album safe enough to play straight through at your next cocktail event or dinner party, with enough complexity to entertain the more engaged listener many times over. Truly wonderful.

Release Date: 3/17/2017

wish-you-were-here-symphonic-albumThis one came into the station a few months back and grabbed my attention immediately. Anything remotely connected to Pink Floyd is worth a listen in my opinion. About twenty years ago a record called Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd which is an amazing interpretation of legendary, mind bending Pink Floyd, so that sparked high expectations here. This particular release celebrates the 40th anniversary of the original 1975 Wish You Were Here. While the majority of this album is indeed orchestral, there are vocals. Alice Cooper lends himself to the title track, and “Welcome to the Machine” also features vocals. These tracks feel out of place, and upset the delicate balance of honoring a classic. Nevertheless, the pure symphonic compositions are excellent.

“Plagiarism in graphic design means the unauthorized use or close imitation of existing artwork and the representation of it as one’s own original work […] Appropriation in art and art history refers to the practice of artists using pre-existing objects or images in their art with little transformation of the original”

~ ethicsingraphicdesign.org

Typography Cool

Someone somewhere called this cover art for New Order’s Confusion 12″ single “typography cool”, which designer Peter Saville was a pioneer of. The color combination represents a code of numbers that corresponds to the letters of the alphabet. One would need the color wheel included on New Order’s 1983 release of the same year Power, Corruption, and Lies for decoding.

New Order Movement Album Cover

Plagiarism or Appropriation?

Although the cover art for Confusion is an exception, Saville was dinged on more than one occasion for his “graphical appropriations” in his other designs for New Order. Take for example the cover art for New Order’s 1981 debut studio album Movement. This is a clear reference to a 1932 poster by Futurist painter Fortunato Depero.

Futurist Poster by Fortunato Depero

Comments from Saville

When asked to comment, Saville explained that it seemed more appropriate to “quote Futurism verbatim rather than parody it ineptly.” By making such an obvious statement about the origins of the Movement design, Saville believed that no one would think he invented it.