There has been a fair amount of press coverage of a rave music revival in the past few years, but that coverage rarely acknowledges the fact that rave has lived on in the form of hard dance, an umbrella term for a number of techno subgenres popular throughout Europe. On this mix from Alex Kidd and Kutski, the British DJs showcase a range of current tracks, landing somewhere between Jeff Mills, Alice Deejay, Belgian hardcore and dark trance. There are some cheesy moments (DJ Isaac’s moronic “Bitches”, for example), but this is largely an exhilarating listen.
Barcelona by Mattin & Cremaster
Basque provocateur Mattin teams up with Barcelona-based improvisers Ferra Fages and Alfredo Costa Monteiro on this short e.p. of seven untitled tracks. Opening with savage feedback and screaming, the trio then slowly builds mixing board sounds and computer noise from near silence to another harsh climax. Silence and tiny gestures return on the third piece, while a shrill noise ushers in the fourth. Sputtering, humming, distressed machinery pushes forward, Mattin breaking in again to scream before being subsumed back into the melee. The most unsettling moment of this uneasy listening music, though, is what sounds like teeth rattling around in a tin cup on the final track.
Catshoukah EP by Panagiotis Spoulos
This sixteen-minute piece from the Greek experimental musician sounds like you’re in a dream. It starts with a lighthouse fog horn in the distance before slowly building in intensity and sound. A train calls out its horn as it gets closer. The feeling of dread starts to take over. It is cold, and you feel uneasy. The sound recedes again to that slight drone, before picking up with alien synthesizer patterns that race up your spine. Headphone music for a walk in the dark.
Miastenia by OvO
Italian duo OvO are a hard group to place. On the one hand, there’s punishing, sludgy metal (“Anime Morte”), thrash (“Fobs Unite”) and grunge with Yoko Ono-esque vocal quavering (“Mammut”), but there’s also minimalist jazz (“Coco”), drum-and-cello driven art song (“VooDoo”), and what sounds like Paris café music from an alternative reality (“Rio Barbaira”). The album closes with “Miastenia,” which manages to unite slow, heavy riffs, a middle section of dubbed out piano, followed by more riffs and demon growls over the course of twenty minutes. This is an odd, engaging album.
Thanks to Absinthe music contributor Jeff Sumner for these recommendations.