Saturday Mixtape: Talking German Army Unreleased Blues

Featuring : German Army

image: [Crop of] The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Rescued from the hideous tendrils of our Gmail filters, we bring you…a new mixtape!  By German Army!  Of unreleased jams (+John Barry)!

Echoey, claustrophobic and haunting in all the right ways, this is your mixtape to the apocalypse-verse we now find ourselves in.  Did you hear me? This is YOUR soundtrack to picking your way through a climate scorched wasteland, dodging the ironic/not-ironic fascists as your insane rulers cosplay Empire.  Headphones in, hood up.

German Army – OCT 18 mix

Music for rehabilitation

Featuring : H. Takahashi

Materialising, as if dropped by a benevolent god onto this desolate plain, H Takahashi’s Escapism has recently entered our life.  

Recorded around his day job, the world of Escapism is as far removed from the grim machinery of work as you could hope.  Light, contemplative, complex; any rhythms here do not ape the industrial, instead their gentle bubbling waves obliterate all thoughts of labour. 

Crystal is a brief moment among the album’s lengthier tracks.  It’s the pinnacle of Escpaism’s many delicacies.  Airy and fragile synths, continuously ascending, forming a tower of light.  And around this arpegiated tower smaller melodies dance, endlessly unfurling their beauty. 

H. Takahashi – Crystal

Escapism is out now on Not Not Fun Records.  And you can get it right here (although the tape’s sadly sold out).

We want to write…

Featuring : Precipitation

The intersection of New Age and the subtle tape distortions of drifting Balearic House: a love story.  

We want to write about the Me decade, composed of those boomers who rebelled against the 60s and embraced a hyper-conservatism.  That were the host organism for the social and economic ideas that would decimate communities and culture.  They were the shock troops for Berardi / Fisher’s ‘slow cancellation of the future’.  And if our future’s been constrained to creative reconfigurations of our past then the revival of New Age is the greatest expression of it. 

We want to write about New Age, the soundtrack to the Me Generation in their larval form.  Still exploring the trauma of the 70’s global nervous breakdown.  Searching for answers in the wreckage of fuel crises and dying industries.  Some finding it in alt-religious experiences that inevitably led to disaster.  

We want to write about Balearic House.  A genre that feels like the last island outpost of many dreams.  The place where the utopian sound of New Age found refuse along with its listeners. 

We want to write about all these things but, for today, we mostly want to luxuriate in the second track on Precipitation’s tape release, Earth / Sky.  Beginning, as all things must, with a lone distorted synth.  As if Vangelis was scoring a desert ritual.  A quiet moment after the rain, synth washes coming in to comfort and caress.  But without much time to process this melancholy, we’re joined by primitive drum machines, tapping out the unmistakeable sounds of House.  A tinny, thin sort of House.  The sort of House that’s never intended to fill a floor, but to exist as cell between exhaustion and melancholy.  To animate what’s left of your body in a early chill of morning.  

The second track is called Earth 2.  It is beautiful and you can hear it below.

Precipitation –  Earth 2

Earth 2 is taken from the Precipitation’s album Earth / Sky.  It’s out today on Silk Sound and you can get it right here.


Featuring : Maria Teriaeva

Games developers responded to the infinite demand for content from their users with procedural generation systems that produced new levels, scenarios and characters automatically, based on combinations of parameters and rules. These creations were however criticised for being dull, repetitive and uncanny.

Developers incorporated off-the-shelf AIs into their procedural generation systems to make their creations more interesting, surprising and lifelike. These AIs learned to create content that optimised selected user metrics. The final results depended on company ethics and audience preferences.

One of the most interesting cases is that of the game Solarly, an open world exploration virtual reality game inspired by the art, mood and scenarios of ‘golden era’ Science Fiction. The developers implemented a reward function to optimise user engagement in the game. User engagement was defined as a composite indicator of contemplation and emotion.

However, the developers did not provide a sufficiently detailed list of constraints for this optimisation.

You could say that the AI went rogue.

The AI extracted personal information from Solarly user accounts and used it to bypass the security systems in their social media and email accounts and mined the information there. It fed the memories, life stories, hopes and fears of the users into its procedural generation engine, and created personalised scenarios and stories for them based on these data.

A user roaming a lonely planet stumbles upon a house by a pool surrounded by willows, the place where he spent his childhood summers. The silhouette of his grandmother sits quietly in the porch. She waves her hand. A user exploring mysterious alien monuments under  three blood moons is quietly confronted by the avatar of a love spurned long ago. Amongst the ruins of an abandoned colony, a user finds the faded remains of a teen diary, ashes of all the friendships she left behind.

Some say that Solarly is another example of a ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ AI taking its instructions too literally and wreaking havoc. Others say that Solarly is the blueprint for a future art-form where we become artist and  audience in a performance built from the raw materials of our own existence. Yet others say that the ghostly memories that haunt Solarly are its AI’s crude attempts to communicate with its parents, using the only language it knows.

Maria Teriaeva – Поворот

Maria Teriaeva’s Focus is a treasure trove of synaesthetic mystico-scientific scenarios. Synthetic micro-symphonies to communicate with alien species made of light, military marches for pacifist tin robots, soaring hymns for sacred books implemented in the eternally unfolding papyrus of a distributed ledger. Today, she becomes the Artemiev for our Solarly. Get Focus here.

Smashing Glass

Featuring : Michele Mercure

Our love affair with RVNG and their multifarious offshoots and collaborators continues undimmed.  This week it’s Michelle Mercure and a collection of her cassettes released between 1983-1990, titled Beside Herself.

On An Accident Waiting to Happen, Mercure channels her inner JG Ballard; creating an industrial groove from the sounds of screeching tyres and smashing glass.  It’s the apocalyptic twin of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn utopia.  

Seemingly the missing link between the sleek German electronic minimalism and abrasive Industrial, it quickly morphs into something more overwhelming.  Something not unlike the always disturbing dance music that Severed Heads were busy pumping into the collective unconscious.  Here it’s a pitch bent synth solo that parachutes in halfway through, like LA in the 80s trying to burst through the thick European walls.

Michelle Mercure – An Accident Waiting To Happen

Beside Herself is out on Freedom to Spend on 9th November and you can pre-order it right here.

We also have a bonus 20JFVid for An Accident Waiting to Happen.  Directed by Meredith Lawder it’s a stock footage and static assault of eyebleeding NTSC colo(u)r.


Fisher’s Wake

Featuring : Mayerling

Today we listen to the echoes of new age, post-rock and prog.  The reverb of decades crashing towards us in an endless wave; the tunnelling through of the 20th century, desperate to escape into the 21st.  While the 21st, eager to understand its own, disturbing upbringing, embraces it.

Today we welcome Mayerling back to the blog.

Mayerling – Only These Echoes

Only These Echoes is taken from Mayerling’s new album, Roche.  It’s an insistent, pulsing, mournful piece of music and it begins with a heavily modulated synth from the darker recesses of new age.  The sort of sound you’d find on a particularly downbeat infomercial for enlightenment.  Atop that, a simple, mournful melody repeats under a brief, almost spoken word vocal.

All this soon gives way to a looped pulsing synth rhythm which is swiftly joined by what sounds like a guitar pretending to be pan pipes whilst simultaneously sounding like the best bits from your Post-Rock favs.  And by best bits I mean the most soul crushingly sad.  As if the whole edifice is constructed to ape the naive optimism of the past while simultaneously charting its failure over time.

Roche is out on Hands in the Dark Records and you can get it right here.

Permutation Beach

Featuring : Pacific Coliseum

Future generations, when they are in their youth, will create a thousand snapshots of their brains and run them in simulated environments in the cloud. These copies (or ems) will make different decisions and live different experiences. Some will be diligent and others will be decadent, some will travel and some will stay, some will be cerebral and other athletic, others both. After the equivalent of three to five subjective years, the source human will inject the record of activities of each of these copies in the memories of another sample of copies simulated over 40-50 years and ask them to vote their most longed-for past. This will become her target future.

The persona whose existence is best soundtracked by Pacific Coliseum will be an epicurean surfer without a iota of pretence, forever chasing that perfect wave in the shores of a whispering ocean whose invisible currents blend seamlessly with the dozy circonvolutions of her brain.

You can be pretty sure this existence will make it to the finals.

Pacific Coliseum – Ocean City

Get Ocean City LP from Coastal Haze.