Category Archives: Moon Gangs

Best of 2011, part II: Resurrection of the Synthesist

Given our name, it’s no secret that we gorge on electronic sound, be it discomforting or transcendent.  Guttural or sublime.

We’re forever wary of confirmation bias but this year does seem to have seen wave upon wave of synth based music.  Not just music that features a synth but music that’s built around the synth, great cathedrals constructed to encapsulate the idea of making synthetic sounds that by their design are alien and other.  Except, they’re not anymore.  Thirty years of indoctrination has made the music of the synths mean something else.  A piece of retro nostalgia at one moment, something transgressive the next.  Often extremely beautiful in that airbrushed way that was once cliche but now — as the world folds in on its credit default swapped self –seems aspirational; utopian.

So this then, is our loosely assembled collection of synth focussed tracks which, like a good Bela Tarr movie, create a world and give us time to think within its borders.

 

Jonas Reinhardt: Eos, the Dawn In 2011, Jonas Reinhardt returned to these warm zones: constantly maintained by solar winds and the unfathomably complex gravitational dance moves of the planets.

Speeding through the heavens of blue refracted light that bounce freely off of vast glassed worlds, before slowing to take in the cresting of a sun over its many orbiting bodies.  Eos, the Dawn holds itself in a perfect moment before the god of arpegiated synth pulses rises from her slumber to usher in a new day.  Below a strange planet populated by sentient piers springs into life, their symbiotic Wurlitzers emerging out of the wooden decks like budding flowers to pipe a salute to the new day.

Jonas Reinhardt – Eos, the Dawn

Buy: Music for the Tactile Dome

 

Gatto Fritto: S/T Beachy Head is a beautiful suicide spot in the Sussex coast not far away from Brighton. It is the place depicted in the front cover of Throbbing Gristle’s 20jazzfunkgreats, and soundtracked in a most foreboding manner in the selfsame record. It also seems to be a place that Gatto Fritto, one of the most accomplished sages of the neo-Kosmische diaspora has given some thought to. His Beachy Head is a wonderful quantum waltz that stares not at the maelstrom swirling below, but at a night sky above, where subtle shifts in the luminosity of the constellations reveal a soothing message of galactic rebirth.

Gatto Fritto: Beachy Head

Buy: S/T.

 

Eric Enocksson: Apan Ramble through the hazy palace of your past, and into a cellar of gentle ruins where you collect memories of those pets that grew up with you, and grew old and frail and one day, died.  Bask in the portentous sadness of a wordless farewell, sweetened by the remembrance of the joy that was, and your ability to love, which is also the root of all your tears.  Now picture a dynasty of galactic shepherds whose flock is of planets and constellations, and of the races that thrived and decayed and perished therein, their affection and ache as great as yours, but stretched over aeons of blackness, interrupted by a blinding light, once in a while, once in a while.

Across which echoes a song like this.

Erik Enocksson – IV

Buy: Apan.

 

Borden/Ferraro/Godin/Halo/Lopatin: FRKWYS Vol. 7 One of the many strands that compose our love of music made with synthesisers is its ability to describe nature in a medium that is completely abstracted from.  As the sounds become more sythesised the creator’s intent is more nakedly revealed and in this instance, the feeling of drifting into night — which let’s face it is pretty fucking abstract — is conjured from the minds of the song’s participants.  Droning waves of synths layer each other like laser coloured veils until more excited flourishes tweet their arrival like thousands of birds of pure light arising for the gloom.

Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin – Twilight Pacific

Buy: FRKWYS Vol. 7

 

Harald Grosskopf: Synthesist (Reissue) Picture the collection of delicate vibrations through which sound is transported across air as a nascent civilisation of golden-skinned homunculi toiling in barren lands, developing in a super-compressed evolutionary process a theory of the mind and language. If the stars are our destination, then we must be theirs, for they populate our sensory system with awe-inspiring structures that will thrive long after a supernova of silence has obliterated the system whence they arrived. Harald Grosskopf is the Deus-ex-Machina behind this beautiful infiltration, the all-knowing watchmaker that set this process in movement. He is their God, I wouldn’t be surprised if he became ours too.

Harald Grosskopf- Synthesist

Buy: Synthesist

 

Food Pyramid: Food Pyramid III Food Pyramid don’t (need to) mention anything eluding to German 60s/early 70s music in their email to us, but as with the Boredoms, Juan Atkins, Holy Fuck, Death in Vegas, Fuck Buttons, The Time and Space Machine, Deerhunter, Gavin Russom, Oneida, Lindstrom or P.I.L. – reading between the lines gives us great delight.

Food Pyramid – E-Harmony

Buy: Food Pyramid III.

 

S.C.U.M.: Again into Eyes When teenagers making epic industrial goth by way of southend on sea make a first album on Mute records team up with the combined production talents of Ken and Jolyon Thomas you might expect something interesting. Again into Eyes goes beyond anything you’d expect as a first album, beyond the combined age and wisdom of all involved. If this is their first offering, then personally we cannot wait for more.

S.C.U.M – Whitechapel

Buy : Again into Eyes

 

Rene Hell: The Terminal Symphony Rene Hell gives us large hadron collider tickets to an abstract universe where Andrei Tarkovski directed Tron, and Terry Riley teamed up with Aphex Twin to make the soundtrack. BLAM.

Rene Hell – Lighthouse Marvel

Buy: The Terminal Symphony.

 

Moon Gangs: S/T Moon Gangs  plug a whole array of synthetic apparatus into the output devices of our planetary sensory system, thus generating a tape, the latest episode in an invisible collection of factual documentaries through which generation after generation of stargazing weirdoes (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Terry Riley, Ligeti, Lindström, OPN, etc.) have attempted to reveal a truth that can’t be spoken.

Moon Gangs – Sea

Buy: S/T (sold out soz)

 

IFEEL Studio: Morgengruss III IFEEL Studio stretches fingers of gold into the core of the galaxy, and the deepest recesses of the human heart to grasp the mysteries of love, and scatter them into the wind. From these seeds grows a mighty tree under whose shadow we rest in a furious summer afternoon, eating cheese and bread like humble and satisfied shepherds, humming a melody of beauty and peace.

IFEEL Studio – Watching Stars Over The Rubicon Beltway

Buy: Morgengruss III

 

Zombi: Escape Velocity Escape Velocity is a new instantiation of our manifesto: numinous motorik disco for emergent new era cults, party music for the post-singularity hivemind, the blueprint of an interstellar motorway where a suicidal priesthood accelerates its sexy silver machines towards the ultimate event horizon.

Zombi – DE3

Buy: Escape Velocity.

 

Mist: House Mist’s House is a collection of prophesies about the day-to-day of our poly-mathematic future, and a tribute to the pioneering work of the Kosmische school that first calibrated its main parameters, and anticipated its sentiment.

In it, the fundamental relations in the science of harmony are expressed mechanically by marshalled regiments of numbers marching with irresistible power

Mist – Twin Lanes

Buy: House

 

Deep Earth: House of Mighty Deep Earth lash out with the pent-up energy of a zillion Zenta laser panthers as they lunge forward, not to snap your neck with mighty fangs of antediluvian vintage, but to carry you dangling from their mouth into exotic lands of strife and illumination like a psychedelic version of He-Man’s Battle Cat, dreamed up in some German progressive commune circa 1976.

Deep Earth – House of Mighty II

Buy: House of Mighty

 

Thug Entrancer: Case  Mounting a late surge into this list Thug Entrancer’s email popped into our swamp-like inbox linking us to Volume 1 and 2 of Tropics Mind.  Pulling in Carpenter synth workouts, Juke influences and more ambient meanderings they’re nothing if not superbly ambitions explorations of synth driven dance music.

Whereas initially they volumes seem arbitrary, volume 1 soon reveals itself as a finely honed, low key Juke inspired, bubbling gem.  With only Spiritual Growth losing the frantic rhythm of its peers, opting instead for a spot on the Carpenter/Goblin axis of tension/terror.  Volume 2 seems more focused on the aforementioned Carpenter/Goblin/(slowed)-Italo synth driven genre…we still haven’t got a suitable name for.  [We suck at genres]  From which Case comes.

Thug Entrancer – Case

Buy: Tropics Mind

 

Throbbing Gristle: all of it (re-mastered reissues) All of them.  On vinyl.  Get them now.  Even if they’re not really ‘synth’ albums — in the same way that David Lynch isn’t really a pop star.

Buy: ALL THE THINGS

Logarhythmic

Featuring : Cabaal, Moon Gangs + Peepholes

Been wanting to use this image by TagliaMani for a while — thanks to the ever wonderful 50 Watts.

Quickly (in 20JFG time*) following on from last week’s post about Peepholes‘ laboratory-fresh detour, Tunnels, comes the Moon Gangs remix.

Combining a decaying Techno drum sequence — seemingly heard from beneath midnight-black ocean waves — with reconstructed Chi-House synth hooks, Tunnels is turned from a cyclopean night drive into something (even) more cosmic.  Which you’d expect from Moon Gangs.  Katia’s vocal forced into a distant endless loop forming a hymn in some celestial cathedral that’s incrementally more disturbing as its grove remains locked.  The remix ends with a final breakdown that’s soaring and trembling and extremely delicate all at once; anchored with reverb heavy handclaps: an archeological reconstruction of pop played at entirely the wrong speed.

Peepholes – Tunnels (Moon Gangs Remix)

Cabaal are part of a thankfully pretty strong tradition of incredible records dropping, unheralded, into our inbox.  We do our best to scan through everything that doesn’t get filtered away by the legions of autonomous (and often rebellious) drones we’ve installed to keep the spam from the door.  And quite frequently we’re rewarded with records as good as Cabaal’s Light Pollution.

Light Pollution’s final track is called SOMA and it’s beautiful in a way Balam Acab’s Sea Birds (Sun) is beautiful.

Inescapably drawn to the points of critical comparison that orbit the mutant strand of modern music that Tri Angle have curated: this is vast, emotive music that owes as much to chopped and screwed epics as it is indebted to minimalist electronic compositions.

SOMA oscillates its way into being; gorgeous synth waves washing over a blank landscape.  Larger structures slowly appear: towers that provide some perspective.  Chimes orbit them, drifting and darting around them like playful spectres.  A bass throb rises up (relatively briefly) to clear the way for a vast, tape delayed procession to pass between our synthetic towers — both beat and vocal slowed to a narcotic drawl.  A plaintive torch song just about visible among all the temporal remapping.  And then the pixilated echo of a rave turns up and everything goes sublime.

Cabaal – SOMA

* which deviates from the logarithmic hype of internet time in that the distance between two points in real time rapidly decreases the further they initially appear apart.  Story of our life really.

And here’s Rick with the weather

Featuring : Moon Gangs + Zomby

(Image by Natsuo Noma via the infallible 50 Watts)

Thank you Cindy, nice tiara by the way, really loving the mystic look!

It seems that the Summer doesn’t want to get started yet. Heavy winds and some rain in Brighton – not great if you want to picnic in the beach, but a total blast if you are one of the hawksmen who live on top of Sussex Heights. We hear the jokers have spent the whole afternoon swirling above the centre of town and dive-bombing the shopping crowds. All in good fun though, take that Von Richtoffen!

Further up in the thermosphere, we are registering a strong cosmic ray count, any astronauts listening are advised to bring out the lead suits and switch the life systems to manual – sprouting extra limbs may sound like a sensible long-term evolutionary strategy, but we doubt your loved ones would appreciate the new look when you get down from there. Scouts of the Cassiopeian fleet, this doesn’t apply to you guys, your insectoid bodies can take these puny effusions and more.

Clairvoyants at the John F. Dee Station tell us that there has been a flood of negative manna in the Rosicrucian section of the astral plane. There is poor visibility and transit is cut in many psychic pathways. Pure White Tendency folks planning a weekend trip over there may want to take their purifying charms with them, unless you don’t care much for becoming minions of the evil one. Happy times for dark sorcerers though, the current conditions are great for all sorts of corruptive spelling, get the same effect for half the virgins! Enjoy it while it lasts you heartless bastards!

And that’s it for today! But before we go, a word from our sponsors. We have all suffered from those turbulences in the blasphemous hurricane at the centre of infinity where Azathoth gnaws, surrounded by a flopping horde of amorphous pipers. AstroZeneca ‘Sane ‘n’ SoundTM’ pills guarantee you a good night sleep devoid of lurking horrors no matter how strong those disturbing effusions from beyond space and time get. Remember folks, ‘Sane ‘n’ Sound, taking the Ooze out of the Snooze’!

Western governments continue investing mega-bucks on antennas and telescopes through which to capture snippets of that conversation where the universe speaks to itself, from the micro whisper of subatomic particles spinning their quantum dance to the macro symphonies of mass gravitational collapse.

The best scientific minds of our generation have not yet devised the tools through which to visualise the beauty of this system, just reams of data, cryptic charts and disappointing Computer Generated Imaginary. We are still groping in the dark.

Moon Gangs cut to the chase and plug a whole array of synthetic apparatus into the output devices of our planetary sensory system, thus generating a song, the latest episode in an invisible collection of factual documentaries through which generation after generation of stargazing weirdoes (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Terry Riley, Ligeti, Lindström, OPN, etc.) have attempted to reveal a truth that can’t be spoken.

I can’t say for sure that they are getting any closer, but the sights along the way are truly something.

Moon Gangs – Sea

Get the debut cassette from WhereToNow.

(Visitation by Simen Johan)

Zomby’sDedication’ will be topping end of the year charts like it should.  But.

Thinking. So. Far. Ahead. Is.

Hard. Because.

Ok. Rewind. Stay. With. The.

Now.

Here, buried in a frozen and dead ocean. Surrounded by a constellation of discrete music molecules floating in stasis, they recall the past (massively compressed Jarre, blocks of primary colour which are the slices of a Jan Hammer gradient) but aren’t it.

Rather, evolved echoes, nano-designed DNA blueprints for a future fauna, Cupertino Panthers sleek and brutal like Bradbury’s mechanical hounds, dragonflies with fractal wings and a telepathic drone.

For now they await dormant, dreaming of the abstract hunt that lay ahead.

Zomby – Mozaik

(it does end like that)

As a bonus, here you have Adriana Alba’s ace video for Harald Grosskopf’s Emphasis. Why does it rule so much? Perhaps because it summarises visually the grief at the heart of German 1970s electronic music (particularly Kraftwerk, who could be the grandparents of some of the actors therein featured): Man turns machine (or a cog in the machine), and the machines sing a ballad for his loss.