Archive for November, 2011

Review: Muchuu – On Beyond

Posted in Review with tags on November 30, 2011 by softsynth

When we complied last year’s Best Electronic Albums of the year list we were delighted to be able to include Muchuu’s impressive debut among the lot. They were a breath of fresh air giving us something light, airy, innocent and highly original. It was a delight to sample what we came to think of as “what childhood would sound like if set to music.” A quickly released follow-up begs the question, is this something that can be sustained over the period of multiple albums or is it a case of “best in small doses”? Continue reading

Review: Aesthetic Perfection – All Beauty Destroyed

Posted in Review with tags on November 17, 2011 by softsynth

We haven’t always loved everything Aesthetic Perfection have released though we are nothing short of reverent at the feet of the principal behind the project, Daniel Graves. That’s largely because of the unequalled other Graves project, the now-defunct Necessary Response. Graves balanced his two sides through these diverse projects: AP is a hard-edged industrial-influenced project full of screeched, distorted vocals with a most creepy vibe; NR was a more pop-oriented, melodic, though still edgy electronic project. He indicated a couple of years ago we was “disbanding” the latter “band” in order to focus on the former, noting how thin he was being stretched between the two. But, he noted, the next AP project could contain elements of what made NR so special. And so it was that Softsynth went from inconsistently digging Aesthetic Perfection –  enjoying a number of songs, but finding others too off-putting, too lacking in a fundamental element of songcraft – to anxiously awaiting the next one, which as it turned out would end up taking a very long time to see the light of day. Was the wait worth it? Did AE grow in all the right places? Did it evolve a promising formula beyond its worse excesses…? Continue reading

When the prestige isn’t quite enough

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on November 16, 2011 by softsynth

Let’s start by saying up front, this blogger occasionally displays something of a…shall we say a snobbish quality. We aren’t proud of it, but we realize and understand it. Especially when it comes to culture and more specifically pop culture. We don’t embrace mass tastes in television, in film, in theatre, in books, and above all else, in music. There are occasional popular, mass-produced acts we enjoy, the periodic Gagas of the world, the periodic Evanescences, and so forth, but generally speaking our tastes run to the more alternative, and like most who identify with the alternative movement (let alone the alternative electronic movement), there’s that little nugget of self-satisfied superiority when we turn our noses up at what constitutes the “mainstream”. However, even such a snob as this sometimes can’t go with the hipster douchebag holier than thou (TM) trends as much as we might otherwise like. Continue reading

The Softsynth Flavour of the Month – Huski

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 11, 2011 by softsynth

We’ve gone back and forth on the newest Huski album so often and so aggressively we have whiplash.

Background first; Huski’s debut album, Love Peace Pain was a pure electronic delight. The coupling of Melanie Garside and instrumentalist Pike made for a perfect blend that resulted in what this blog named one of the best electronic albums of the last decade (and so it was). A lot of years have passed since then and it would be a reasonable guess to suggest Garside had moved full-time onto her Maple Bee project. But in one of the longest rollouts ever (save for Ashbury Heights’ last album and the eventual appearance of Javellyn), their sophomore album Strangelove finally, finally limped out of the gate. When did it actually come out? Depends on who you ask. Some have suggested it’s been available in some form for a couple of years, others say it was released on August, yet iTunes doesn’t carry it still and it’s nigh-on impossible to find, but out it is with a 2011 date appended. And yet word from the band’s website is there is yet another album now on the coming soon radar, a self-titled work that is the result of a collaboration with Psychemagik. The production duo were brought in to mix a song and as the band report:  Continue reading

Three artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on November 6, 2011 by softsynth

There have been big swaths this year where the electronic music been has been nothing short of arid; then, there are times like now when we are blessed with a surfeit of excellent tunes swirling around our heads.

Three artists that are on such heavy rotation on the Softsynth playlist this week they might just develop whiplash. One favourite with new stuff, another this-year-new and another still, new in terms of musical output but one we’ve been waiting for literally, for years. Continue reading

Review: Diffuzion – Winter Cities

Posted in Review with tags on November 4, 2011 by softsynth

Sometimes we are taken completely by surprise by a new band, one we hear little-to-nothing about, one we go in with no expectations of, and they emerge to be nothing short of a revelation. Belarus darkwave band Diffuzion were one such band who took the Softsynth world by storm back in 2008 with their terrific, game-changing album Body Code. It’s been a long wait but the wait has, refreshingly this year when many anticipated releases felt like left-downs, been very much worth it.

Winter Cities is a very difficult album to classify. It’s not pop, it’s certainly not industrial, it’s not even really darkwave technically speaking. Much as Body Code seemed to carve out new musical ground, building a musical structure where one simply never stood before, Winter Cities is…something else altogether. Dark beats, heavy bass, dance rhythms, spoken harsh vocals mixed with occasional sweet underlying background vocals, it’s not any one identifying thing within the world of electronic music, it’s simply…Diffuzion.  Continue reading