out now: Austra – Sparkle EP [Domino Records]

Artist:
Austra

Title:
Sparkle EP

Label:
Domino Records

Cat#:
DNO938

Release Date:
15th August 2011 (vinyl), out now (digital)

Format:
vinyl & digital

Tracklist:
01)
Spellwork
(MNDR Nighttime Remix)

02)
Lose It
(Mark Pistel Dub)

03)
Lose It
(Planningtorock Remix)

04)
Beat and The Pulse
(Still Going)

05)
Beat and The Pulse
(Steffi Bass-Break Dub Remix)

06)
Beat and The Pulse
(Kool-Thing Remix)

07)
Lose It
(120 Days Remix)

08)
Lose It
(Young Galaxy Remix)

09)
Lose It
(Mark Pistel Vocal Remix)

10)
Lose It
(Mark Pistel Funk Bass Remix)

tracks 7 – 10 are digital bonus tracks.

Info :
“I don’t think it’s possible for me to write in a major key,” says Katie Stelmanis, co-founder and lead singer of Toronto trio Austra. “I don’t know why. It doesn’t seem to factor in my brain.”

It’s not like the longtime vocalist and producer makes Anton LaVey references or has an austere demeanor. Quite the opposite. But on Feel it Break (Domino, Release Date), Stelmanis, drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf have crafted a dark, danceable masterpiece suitable for both ritual incantations and clubs; an album hearkening back to the sleazier side of New Wave but still deeply rooted in Stelmanis’s classical and operatic upbringing.

This confluence of classical and electronic has been at the heart of Stelmanis’s career before there even was a career. At the age of 10, Stelmanis joined the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, where she sang regularly for the prestigious Canadian Opera Company. While simultaneously learning viola and piano, Stelmanis pursued a career in opera, studying privately for four years while making plans to study the genre further in college.

A week before school started, with her calling seemingly mapped out, the singer made a decision that would affect her subsequent musical career. “I wanted to stay in Toronto and didn’t want to live in Montreal,” recalls Stelmanis. “So I decided to just not go to college, get a job, save up for five years and go on my first tour.”

Spurred on by her production work for soundtracks for local plays, Stelmanis began immerging herself in electronic music. “I wanted to be able to write music for orchestras and with MIDI, you could just press ‘Record’ and bring up any instrument you wanted,” says Stelmanis. “It took me years to not think of MIDI as a substitute for real instruments and as an actual electronic instrument.” With new obsessions Bjork, P J Harvey and Nine Inch Nails weaving their influence, Stelmanis’s goal was clear: “I wanted to make classical music with really fucked up, distorted crazy shit on there.”

In 2008, after playing with Galaxy for three years, Stelmanis appeared on Fucked Up’s The Chemistry of Common Life and released her debut solo album Join Us. Pinned as goth by everyone in Canada who didn’t entirely know what goth was, the album, written and recorded entirely by Stelmanis, combined dark, yet poppy, synth melodies with the singer’s operatic voice for what Chart Attack called “oddly beautiful and enchanting.”

Through it all, Stelmanis remained fiercely independent, managing every creative, technical and business aspect of her career herself – she embarked on six self-organized tours in the past three years including an opening slot for CocoRosie – all while trying to thrive in a country not exactly receptive to her brand of music. “A lot of people didn’t understand my first album,” she says, laughing. “So I booked my own tour of Europe, where they seemed to be more open. But we were the most DIY you could possibly be. I just figured everything out by myself the whole time. That’s always been my mentality. I was watching bands in Toronto that reached some level of success and they were booking their own tours, so I just thought, obviously I should book my own tours.”

Three years later, Stelmanis’s innate do-it-yourself ethos hasn’t changed, yet with the addition of former Galaxy member Postepski (Princess Century, Trust) on drums and programming and former Spiral Beach bassist Wolf, the singer has created her best work to date. Written primarily by Stelmanis – “Most of the songs are finished in my bedroom,” says the songwriter – and mixed by Damian Taylor (Bjork, The Prodigy, UNKLE), the album rests nicely with your Kate Bush, Bat For Lashes and The Knife albums, but also conjures up the seedier sides of early 1980s British New Wave (think the dirty alleys and after-hours clubs dreamed up by Japan and Soft Cell.) On their first single “Beat and The Pulse,” Austra have created the warmest cold track of the year, a pulsating, synth-driven attack laced by Stelmanis’s gorgeous, towering vocals.

“For me, music should be a release,” says Stelmanis. “I used to write songs with the intention that people would listen to it in their headphones when they needed to escape. Now I keep the same mentality, but also want people to be able to dance and completely lose themselves in a more physical way. If I can emotionally stimulate the mind and the body through music, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something significant.”

Listen:
“Beat and the Pulse (kool thing Remix)”

or all @ @Amazon GER

Free downloads taken from this EP:
#1 not any longer available
#2 not any longer available

Videos:


Buy:
Domino Records (vinyl)
Amazon GER (vinyl)
Amazon GER (digital)
Amazon UK (digital)
Amazon US (vinyl)
Amazon US (digital)
more soon

Websites:
Austra
Domino Records

out now: Head-Less – imperfect: [mensch]

Artist:
Head-Less

Title:
imperfect: [mensch]

Label:
Danse Macabre

Cat#:
4042564130874

Release Date:
25th May 2011

Format:
CD & digital

Tracklist:
01 Contrapunkt
02 Punish Your Head
03 Burning
04 We Stand In Hope
05 Dialoque
06 Als Ich Fortging
07 Forgiving
08 You
09 Down Memory Lane
10 The Deep Insight

Info:
New York, Moscow, Berlin, Mexico City, Belgrade, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Helsinki, Madrid, Prague… just to mention a few stations Head-Less have visited during their “Rouge et Noir Tour” in the past three years. Still they are treated as an insider tip in their own country and they work totally independently from the usual label and booking agency structures of the German scene.

This status is supposed to be changed after the upcoming release of their new album “imperfect: [mensch]”.

Once again head-less prove their ability to create danceable beats, catchy refrains and complex electronica.

Besides club-worthy tracks like “Punish Your Head” and “We Stand in Hope”, the songs “You” and “Forgiving” also show their preference for classic synth/electro-pop without being stuck in the usual clichés. The hypnotic “Down Memory Lane” shows their addiction to playful instrumentals and sound experiments.

A special highlight is the cover version of the East-German classic rock hit from the band Karussel “Als ich fortging” which has been a stable part of Head-Less’ setlist for years. In spite of language barriers at shows abroad, it has always been a special moment at every concert.

head-less like to think outside the box of stylistically narrow electro music. The groovy and catchy “The Deep Insight”, with its striking guitar sample and a totally captivating synth lead sound is a good example for that. Laid-back electro tracks like those from Northern Lite served as inspiration and show the complexity of Head-Less.

imperfect: [mensch] was partly produced in collaboration with Kolja Trelle again and was recorded in the Fastlane Studios in Dresden.

imperfect: [mensch] works in the club as well as on the home stereo and it is sure that everyone can find a bit of themselves in the lyrics… who’s perfect anyway?

Listen:

Official videos:
“Als Ich Fortging”

“Punish Your Head (Live in Rom & Tel Aviv)”

Buy:
Danse Macabre Shop (CD)
PopOnaut (CD)
InfraRot (CD)
Amazon GER (CD)
Amazon GER (digital)
Amazon UK (CD)
Amazon UK (digital)
musicload (digital)
more soon

Websites:
Head-Less
Danse Macabre

out now: Compact Space – Nameless [Elsbeere Recordings]

Artist:
Compact Space

Title:
Nameless

Label:
Elsbeere Recordings / Ferryhouse Productions

Cat#:
tba

Release Date:
24th June 2011

Format:
CD & digital

Tracklist:
01. Push Push
02. Who Says It’s Real?
03. The Unstoppable Collision
04. Red Alert
05. Lonely Star
06. Don’t Look Back
07. My Other Life
08. Reverse Happiness
09. Where a Boy Used to Be
10. Don’t Look Back (Extended)
11. The Unstoppable Collision (Extended)

Info (German below):
The story of how some bands were formed can be as fascinating as it can be surprising. The British-Austrian trio Compact Space is one such example. Their first single “Push Push” inevitably enchants the listener and that’s only the beginning. Compact Space’s debut album “Nameless”, which comes out on 24th June 2011, will impress the listener with its excellent songwriting and first-class production.

Compact Space was founded by Christian Eigner, Daryl Bamonte and Florian Kraemmer. The former are already particularly well-known among Depeche Mode fans. For years, Eigner has played drums for the band and has also co-written various songs with Dave Gahan – for Depeche Mode as well as for Gahan’s last solo album, which he also co-produced.

As a musician Eigner has contributed to a total of more than 100 albums for various artists. Bamonte began working for Depeche Mode from the start of their career in 1980, taking on a variety of roles before moving on in 1995 to work for The Cure for several years.

The trio is completed by the exceptional singer Florian Kraemmer. Kraemmer, like Eigner a native of Vienna, is the son of an
actress and an opera singer. As a result, he was able to benefit from classical piano training from the tender age of eight. To date, he has worked mainly as a TV composer and has preserved his passion for classical music.

Eigner and Bamonte, who is also his manager, began writing together by chance. Needing toplines for his songs, Christian asked Daryl to write lyrics and on seeing the results immediately brought in long-time collaborator Kraemmer to complete the writing team.

At first, this involved writing songs for other artists. But when “Push Push” took shape the trio realised that this had to be the start of a joint project – Compact Space was born and their first single was already complete.

From then on, they were full of ideas. All nine songs on “Nameless” feature captivating melodies, sophisticated sounds and powerful production. Songs such as “Who Says It’s Real?”, “Reverse Happiness” and “Don’t Look Back” are perfect examples of this contrast. The album was mixed by Paul ‘P-Dub’ Walton, and the aesthetics of Compact Space are also visually consistent: Danny Drysdale, who filmed among other things the Killers’ hit “Human”, made the video for “Push Push”.

When it comes down to it, the trio shares creative equality when they work on their songs. Daryl writes the lyrics, Florian develops the melodies and Christian puts together the powerful music that marks Compact Space with their own unmistakable style as soon as you listen to them.

Info (English above):
Manche Bandgründungen sind ebenso faszinierend wie überraschend. Das britisch-österreichische Trio Compact Space ist ein gutes Beispiel dafür. Der Hörer kann sich dem Zauber ihrer ersten Single “Push Push” nicht entziehen – und das ist erst der Anfang. Das Debütalbum “Nameless” wird am 24. Juni 2011 veröffentlicht und begeistert mit exzellentem Songwriting und einer erstklassigen Produktion.

Compact Space wurde von Christian Eigner, Daryl Bamonte und Florian Kraemmer gegründet. Erstere sind vor allem den Fans von Depeche Mode bereits wohlbekannt. Eigner spielt seit Jahren Schlagzeug für die Band und schrieb mehrere Songs zusammen mit Dave Gahan – für Depeche Mode sowie für Gahans letztes Soloalbum, welches er auch co-produzierte. In seiner Eigenschaft als Musiker hat Eigner an insgesamt mehr als 100 Alben verschiedener Künstler mitgewirkt. Bamonte begann seine Arbeit für Depeche Mode zu Beginn ihrer Karriere im Jahr 1980 und nahm unterschiedliche Rollen ein, bevor er ab 1995 mehrere Jahre für The Cure tätig war.

Komplettiert wird das Trio durch den österreichischen Ausnahmesänger Florian Kraemmer. Der Sohn einer Schauspielerin und eines Opernsängers, heute ein erfolgreicher Komponist von Musik für Fernsehproduktionen, begann bereits im Alter von acht Jahren mit einer klassischen Klavierausbildung, die den Grundstein für seine musikalische Karriere legte.

Eher zufällig kam es zum Zusammenschluss der drei Musiker, der zunächst mit dem Komponieren von Songs im Rahmen der Produzententätigkeit von Christian Eigner für andere Künstler begann. Christian brauchte ein paar herausragende Zeilen für seine Songs, und so bat er Daryl, die Texte zu schreiben. Als er das Ergebnis sah, holte er zusätzlich seinen langjährigen musikalischen Weggefährten Florian ins Boot, um das Songwriterteam zu vervollständigen. Als “Push Push” Gestalt annahm, erkannte das Trio, dass dies der Anfang eines gemeinsamen Projekts sein musste – Compact Space wurde gegründet, und ihre erste Single war bereits fertig.

Ab diesem Zeitpunkt entwickelten Sie eine Menge neuer Ideen. Alle neun Songs auf “Nameless” zeichnen sich durch fesselnde Melodien, anspruchsvolles Sounddesign und eine beeindruckende Produktion aus. Songs wie “Who Says It’s Real?”, “Reverse Happiness” und “Don’t Look Back” sind hervorragende Beispiele für dieses Zusammenspiel. Das Album wurde von Paul “P-Dub” Walton gemischt, und die Ästhetik von Compact Space ist auch in optischer Hinsicht konsistent: Danny Drysdale, der unter anderem den Killers-Hit “Human” filmte, nahm auch das Video für “Push Push” auf. Letztendlich sind die Mitglieder des Trios bei der Arbeit an ihren Songs gleichermaßen kreativ. Daryl schreibt die Texte, Florian entwickelt die Melodien, und Christian stellt die beeindruckende Musik zusammen, die Compact Space und ihren unverwechselbaren Stil ausmacht.

Listen:

Special:
Album launch @ Planetarium Hamburg (Germany) on the 23rd June – get your ticket here.

Video:
Push Push

Who Says It’s Real?

Buy:
PopOnaut (CD)
Amazon GER (CD)
Amazon GER (digital)
indietective (CD)
iTunes (digital)
more soon

Websites:
Compact Space
Ferryhouse Productions

out now: Miktek – Anisotropy [Abstrakt Reflections]

Artist:
Miktek

Title:
Anisotropy

Label:
Abstrakt Reflections

Cat#:
AR_012

Release Date:
12th March 2011

Format:
free download

Tracklist:
01. Anisotropy
02. Abstract Particles
03. Ping
04. Collapse (feat. Cellar Door)
05. Striped Aurora
06. Never To Be Found
07. When The Day Breaks
08. Total Consciousness (feat. the_empath)
09. A Walk In A Cloud IV
10. Noosphere
11. Apognosis
12. Cost Of A Simple Hello
13. My End, My Beginning
14. The Time Off
15. Inner Meditation

Info :
Abstrakt Reflections is honored to announce the release of Miktek’s first full-length album, “Anisotropy”. Meticulously crafted from beginning to end; featuring unique percussion, palpable atmosphere and subtle melodies. This highly anticipated release is sure to please fans of ambient, down-tempo and IDM music. In his own words:

“Anisotropy is something different for your ears and not what you usually hear from me. You will listen to the sound of the amazing hang-drum, toms, various percussion, deep ambient pads, down-tempo sounds, abstract and sometimes glitched beats with a chill-out mood…”

Listen:

Download:
mp3s 320kbps
flac

Websites:
Miktek
Abstrakt Reflections