Archive for Ayria

Review: Ayria – Plastic Makes Perfect

Posted in Review with tags on June 12, 2013 by softsynth

As a Canada-based blog it’s always a delightful surprise when a Canadian electronic artist rises from the cold to make a stake in the firmament. It’s all-too-rare, but a nice treat when it comes along. Jennifer Parkin aka Ayria has been a consistent presence on the scene over the years and she has only gotten stronger with each release.

An unbelievable, heart-rending, five years since the release of her last album, Hearts for Bullets (which was on the first Softsynth best of the year list in ’08), she’s come back strong.  Continue reading

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Three artists we’re digging this week

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on June 23, 2012 by softsynth

We were going to lead off this edition of “three artists we’re digging this week” with the terrific Anothers Blood but they’ve up and called it quits before they really got going. See a related post coming soon to talk about the sadness of this move. Meantime we’ve lots of other bands we’re all over right now.  Continue reading

Alright 2012, whatcha got for us…?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2011 by softsynth

So, 2011 is now on the way to the compost heap and we sweep the hearth clean in anticipation of what 2012 will bring. Lots of good stuff on the electronic music horizon, fortunately mostly slated for the early part of the year, which is a good thing as we’ll get to enjoy some good new music in advance of the looming apocalypse in the fall (or is it the spring? We get our apocoli confused).

Our list is topped by Assemblage 23’s Bruise (supposed to be out this fall, but we’ll take it whenever Mr. Shear wants to deliver it, so terrific was his last A23 album); and after hearing sensational advance tracks from Bunny Lake their The Sound Of Sehnsucht is also high on our anticipated list. But these two are far from alone. 2012 looks to be replete with potential awesomeness, to whit: Continue reading

The synthesizer was the ultimate punk instrument

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by softsynth

We recently alluded to the fact that we believe the synthesizer was the ultimate realization of the punk movement. This is an idea we’ve embraced for decades and as time passes it becomes more clear the early, pioneer electronic bands carried the spirit of the punk scene, if not in attitude, definitely in the democratization of music-making.

The entire punk ethic was built around the populist democratization of music. It was in part a rebellion against the bloated, technically efficient but emotionally void prog rock supergroups, your YES, your Supertramp, your Genesis, your ELP, your Chicago, your Rush. These bands were big, blowsy, splashy, proficient to a fault and oh-so-controlled. To the youth of, especially the US and Europe this wasn’t music that connected to them emotionally. At all. Witness a movement that said, “prodigious proficiency is not what makes music connect, it’s heart and guts and a message that matters most.” Continue reading

Bounty of DM riches from Alfa Matrix

Posted in News, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by softsynth

I don’t think I ever realized just how many of my favourite bands are on the Alfa Matrix label. New out is the latest in an endless stream of Depeche Mode tribute albums, most of which suck donkeys, but this one may be the most interesting of all. Some of the finest electronic bands on the planet, spanning the full spectrum of electronic music’s subgenres cover some of DM’s best (and often less obvious) songs. Two of my absolute favourite bands of the moment are featured here, Belarus’ Diffuzion and Germany’s Technoir, but they only scrape feebly at the surface – Leaether Strip, i:scintilla, Nebula-H, Regenerator, Ayria, Inure, Psy’aviah (I never noticed how much electronic bands abuse the “gratuitous punctuation rule”), and a host of bands I’m less familiar with come up with some truly inspired cover versions of DM’s very best. It’s a pricey €20 and only available at the Alfa Matrix website, but highly worth it if you enjoy electronic music, even if Depeche Mode leave you cold.

Listen to samples:

Best of 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2008 by softsynth

I’m reprinting this from my lastFM account as it seems relevant to this blog. Not all the albums on this list are electronic but not all the best albums of the year are electronic (though I think most were). (and that said, only R.E.M. and The Breeders can be absolutely said to be wholly organic, The Kills and Maple Bee, some case could be made for a hybrid.)

While 2008 left a lot to be desired on the part of mainstream music (Kanye West, Keane, Pink and even Britney had some interesting stuff out these year but these were exceptions), alternative music had another bang-up year. I’m an album guy so I tend to focus on the “best” albums (knowing full well how stupidly subjective something like this is; look at someone’s playlist and you’ll be able to guess their best of list, which would be markedly different than anyone else’s), but there were some singles (and a few album tracks) that stood out in a big way like Weezer’s awesome “Pork and Beans”, Tricky’s fantastic take on the Kylie Monogue track “Slow”, Ra Ra Riot’s “Ghost Under Rocks” (an album that, along with Humanizer by Thermostatic, would be in my “top 12”), Lily Allen’s great new track “The Fear” and “The Best Revenge” by Fischerspooner, among many more. Continue reading