In my ever-quest for new music in the netlabel world, I have come across a pretty solid label called 23 Seconds. They seem to hail from Sweden and has, so far, one of the greatest selections of music, like this EP from Adam & Alma.
This release, Back To the Sea, is a great set of what I guess is considered electronic indie pop. It measures in at only 23min long, which is a shame, because it’s phenomenally good.
The texture of the songs are really light and almost etherial in the subtly of handling the electronic back end, which jibes very well with the vocals. There is a luscious minimal quality that they’ve achieved as well – that sort of restraint is difficult to come by. The EP is reminiscent of the two vocal tracks on Royskopp’s first album, but a bit more adult in feel. There’s also a faint undercurrent of Postal Service in there as well. The tracks are certainly slower than either and perhaps more thoughtful.
I think you should get a copy, and you do, too.
Download the EP here
23 Seconds Netlabel
I was browsing around some of my favorite netlabels and I ran across the Detour par la Departementale release from Au Fond du Car. It’s billed as a “peculiar journey of pop-folk-electronica and retro singer-songwriter music” and I tend to agree, although that definition gives a somewhat incomplete representation of what this release is about.
I think the music is all those things but it’s far more precious that what this label implies. It really reminds me of what it’s like to be driving on a crisp spring day, windows down, no other traffic on the long country road…like one of the driving scenes from Jump Tomorrow(a great film, I recommend that as well).
The bulk of the release is acoustic guitar with some easy and minimal harmonic synth-work. There are vocals. They have an introspective quality and most are in French, which I think also helps to set the mood in the ‘I’m feeling content, although it’s overcast’ sort of feeling I mentioned before. French is not a language that I pretend to understand so I cannot vouch for the lyric qualities but the first song is in English and those are quality.
I am not sure when the release came out, so I can’t really say whether it is new, but when you find little gems like this it’s like it’s brand new to you, so enjoy.
Netlabel – Rec72:
Release Download (.zip):
Down Team Up brings us this album, Give and Take.
Back in the day, and that day being somewhere around the early 90’s, there was this big push to make electronica albums. When I say electronica albums, I mean works that were not built for the dance floor, more for just listening. They were works that kind of had something to say, encapsulated in computer music delight where one would put the headphones on at home and just enjoy the journey. Bands like Underworld and The Orb did this surprisingly well. They’d play out, too, but they’d change up the songs for a more dance-inspired set.
Recently, this sort of electronic album has seemed to fall out of taste ( or at least I have a hard time finding them) for more club-inspired stuff. So it’s nice when you come across an album like Give and Take where you still can have that audio storytelling for all those times when you are not at the club, going to the club, thinking about the club or working at the speed of the club.
The Album is pretty much one complete set that’s broken up into tracks, and I would hope that the artist would produce a continuous mix version, soon. The songs move pretty seamlessly through thoughts and themes creating a rather enjoyable sort of story.
Do pick up a copy, as it does work really well as a summer album, like they said!
Today, I’d like to point out that I’m not very original. Case in point: I had been thinking for a long time about creating DJ Mixes of netlabel artists. It seems that there are already people doing this and doing it quite well. Take for instance, this mix by Sea.Envy, Wood Chop – a 79 minute mix that starts off in that sweeping techno that seems to be played in better clubs at around 10-11pm – not the maddest of floor stompers, but good head-nodding stuff nonetheless. Toward the end we get in to more of a minimal, I guess Tek-house sort of feel, but I’d call it more minimal. So pretty much the mix that transfers from that new guy DJ at 9pm that nobody listens to to the guy who still uses vinyl before the banging dude at midnight. I think we all can follow that, right?
Also, a really nice part about this site, other than the fact that there are more mixes to listen to later, is that they give us a track listing WITH links to the artists – rad! That means there’ll be more techno on this blog, beware.
The mix page:
This MP3 compilation was put together by the good folks at Phlow magazine. A great place to find new netlabel stuff. Even if you don’t like techno, you have to check out the site.
On to the compilation. It is techno, but not the stuff you think of when you hear the word ‘techno’. By that I mean the endless drone of 135bpm and sweaty glow sticks. I suppose it’s more of the electronica bend. It’s good stuff and definitely worth your time.
I think it’s more of the headphones/working on stuff sort of electronica and is a good blend of songs that work well together with a feel of about 1993 or so – a good year for electronic music – the years when prog-trance was king and garage two-step was just crazy terrible dream.
It also seems to be the sort of stuff that will get you home from downtown Chicago at 3am, as long as you have a good stereo.
I hope you like it, as I’m going to be plumbing the artists’ catalogs on this album for more great stuff.
X can be downloaded here:
Ok, this is one album you have to get RIGHT. NOW. before a label comes along and snatches them up.
This band Magic Man has put together an album that really kind of sounds like the twin of Postal Service – you know the twin with the mustache that has the cooler car? Now, I know there’s been a lot of bands to come out that sounds kinda like Postal Service and when you smear them with enough hope, you can nearly convince yourself that they might be the same.
This one is different in that they have really got the sound down. They even have a congruent story to the album. If you like PS and you’re like me and really, really wanted another album from them, this is the best thing until that happens!
Magic Man – Real Life Color
There’s a lot of music on the web. There’s a lot of pretty good music on the web for free and then there’s something from a netlabel that is really really good. This Syndrom album Nomades En No Man’s Land is one of those.
When I reflect on it, I think of something of a cake – ythe frosting is basically Amon Tobin while the thick cakey bits are definitely the hard parts of Photek. So, yes, it is drumb and bass, but not the Dieselboy variety.
Normally, I like to talk about what tracks really shine on a release, but this one is so cohesive that even though it has 20 tracks, it feels like one. The whole thing seems like a story, very good headphone music with a very well executed sound. I totally recommend this one. It works really well for a sunny day as it works for a drive through fog – both I have tested.
You can get it here:
Syndrom is on the Bypass Label:
The Toruda EP is a pretty nice release on the AuflegWare label. I guess if I were to categorize it I’d put it as down tempo/lounge that boarders on techno, both with the tone and tempo. The EP takes a bit of time to hit it’s stride but it does so about track 3 so if you’re getting it, and perhaps you should, you have to do Geoff the solid and hang in there to track 3. Past that, the rest are some really nice tracks. The last half seems to take sonic ideas that seem to be on the edge of non-functional and craft them into some pretty nice grooves – good for working to. They were my friend for clipping out some images, and maybe they should be your friends, too!
I’d also like to take the time to point out that a lot of the other stuff on the Auflegware Netlabel seems to be pretty good, as well. Certainly worth exploring.
This is a nice 8-track collection of probably loosely described ambient music. I think it would work really well around 3pm on a Sunny Saturday, and definetly with headphones. Fescal does a pretty good job of combining drone with just enough melody to make it work right. Overall, the release is consistent. There are two tracks stray a bit, notably Wayfaring Geography, having a darker feel and Aboon which has elements of field recording mixed in – to good effect, though.
All in all, a solid album, available through the Bypass netlabel.
Fescal – Lethal Industry (album download available here)
One of my passions is searching out new music. In the past, it was really kind of exciting when you could go to the record store and try out vinyl, and digging through racks of it. It seems that all the places around here where you could do that are gone. CD shopping isn’t the same and neither is looking through online stores. There’s something slightly missing.
Now, digging through what the world’s netlabels have to offer has got that kind of stink to it – especially when you have tastes like mine: IDM, glitch, ambient, minimal techno, experimental and hardcore. There’s a lot of labels out there that cater to that stuff. I listen a lot so I’ve decided to give back, beyond handing off CDs to people. I’ve decided that I’m going to post the ones I am listening to and give an admittedly ham-fisted review so that hopefully, I can get a few more converts out there or at least some exposure to the people out there making all this great stuff, so stay tuned!