Jonas Asher and Jochen Hartmann's Phaserprone label returns in a big way after almost three years of inactivity, churning out six immaculately put-together releases over the course of 2011. The Brooklyn based label has in the past been an inspiring resource for little known, off-kilter techno, noise and synthesizer music, and this new batch only sees more austerity injected into Asher and Hartmann's ideology. Pro-dubbed cassettes, letterpressed J-cards, and stunning two-toned (occasionally two-coloured) printed artwork. Really beautiful all around.
Dust - Ballet C26
You may know Daniel La Porte's work under any one of his ever changing guises: Earth Crown, Copper Glove, Door. With this release he's managed to adopt-and-drop yet another. I'm not entirely sure of La Porte's motivation to switch project names so often (someone should ask James Ferraro!). I could see it being an obvious move if a change in moniker also meant a change in direction, but in La Porte's case, the Dust sound is very reminiscent of music he's made in the past – albeit many notches mellower than the Copper Glove material I've heard.
Ballet, his first for Phaserprone and first under the Dust nom, waxes and wanes between apathetic and overambitious. The opener "Pass" doesn't find its groove until half the tape's already passed over the play head, a distorted almost-rhythm eventually swallowing all the swirling bleeps and bloops in its mass. Things do take on more structure from this point, although it feels like an afterthought in these tracks, at least on the A side that at best can't decide if it wants to zone you out, annoy you, or make you awkwardly dance. The flip is stronger, but overall the work doesn't push forward the already over saturated "experimental underground" commonwealth.
Dust - Transfix Mutate (excerpt) by ScrapyardForecast
Hsdom - Am Graben (excerpt) by ScrapyardForecast
Roe Enney - Damnatio Memoriae C42
An apparent ode to the New Romantics, Roe Enney's Damnation Memoriae is far more of a downer's surrealist trip than anything the blitz kids conjured up. Yet, deep down beneath the strange and sunken vocal reveries, bubbling noisescapes, and lonely flickering dance hooks, I can almost feel the connection. Somehow, the link lies with the fact that Enney's music seems to be coming at you from all angles, in one track feeling like a perfect piece of new wave that never was, in another embracing little more than sonic abstraction, while in another unfolding uncannily like an early Grouper or Inca Ore song.
The B side's "Rhythm" is a stand out, along with some of the more poppier cuts from the A side. The album feels like the Roe Enney 'entity' is still trying to find its style (I say entity because I'm not sure if that's her real name or simply a guise). It's a very experimental album, not just in style but in the attempt to find a voice. My advice: stick to the beats, develop the vocals further and the rest will fall into place. I sense some great work in the near future from this mysterious musician.
Hsdom - No Title C31
If there are two things I find extremely off-putting in the so-called post-industrial field, it's the overuse of delay and nondescript vocals as mainstays. The first of the four tracks that make up Hsdom's latest tape only solidifies my disdain for this music's emotional reliance on these tricks; that and an all-too-obvious attempt at build-up via a lack of control on the volume pedal (listen to the sound sample). However, the second of the two A side tracks practically has me eating my words, as it's rather brilliant, exhibiting a quixotic but cohesive raucous that's equal parts arcane techno, synthesizer throwback, and cyclic noise – very Throbbing Gristle, and I think the vocals actually work on this one. There's a slow transition near the end of the piece with some cymbal washing and simple beat cross-over that's especially good.
The flip sees more of this German expat's good side, where he utilizes his bizarro self-written digital synthesis language to spew more of a free form beat structure rather than a soup of noise. "Maschine" has an almost 8-bit feel with its streamlined rhythm, bleeding into the closing track. Some definite moments of clarity to be found, though there's a lack of austerity that I find so rewarding in select 80s synthesizer music and particular artist re-envisioning the stuff nowadays.