As announced on Facebook, it is time for us to close the curtains on this concept of releases that are all commented on. Our “weekly selection” will be back after our summer break, but in a lighter version, to refresh our creativity and reallocate time for other projects as well. It has been an honour to cover all these magnificent releases so intensively: it was pretty experimental, but we hope that we entertained you a little bit.
As philosopher Terminator once said: “We’ll be back!” In the meantime, our last “full version”:
As this series of articles will be completely rethought, some features will disappear, including the “Mystery release”. For the very last one, we reviewed our most awaited album of 2023, and to celebrate the last issue, we invited a talented artist to also share an opinion. Jump through the keyhole for some extra minutes with us and come back here 🙂👋
Psyk – Ritmico EP [Non Series, 2023-06-23]
Just for pleasure:
If his track “Out Of Sight” on his 2022 EP “Back To Basics” somewhat recalled “Christ Figures” by Sigha, who contributed to that EP with a remix, we have again a certain sense of “déjà vu” in “Ritmico EP”. “Organic”, barely edited from its 2019 version, is an obvious well-assumed rework of Plastikman’s “Spastik“. So how to call that? Influence? Tribute? Update? Perhaps all three: we all know Psyk’s fascination for minimal art and “Organic” definitely refreshes “Spastik”, for our greatest pleasure. That apart, the well-designed spirals and grooves of the other tracks also succeed in dissolving the mind, so there’s nothing left to say than “Thank you Psyk”.
9beats – Katan EP [CWR, 2023-06-20]
Do you remember?
If we’ve always considered 9beats as a talented musician, his recent album “Gupta Tribes“, under his other – more shamanic – alias Sindh, marked his entry in our “Hypnotic Banquet”, a caste of “mighty wizards” regularly mentioned in our articles, including prodigies such as Al Wootton, Konduku, Launaea, Rambadu, Azu Tiwaline and Valentino Mora.
“Katan EP”, techno-ish in the vein of what 9beats usually does, is somewhat also borrowing some of Sindh’s deep tribal vibes, showing how one project nurtures the other in the French artist’s evolution.
Mora also participated, because, well, the world is small, and also – maybe – because Sindh released “Kalahari” on Mora’s label earlier. No matter if it was “an exchange of courtesies” or not, the winner is the listener, who has dope music to play.
KOP 32 – Chasm [Annulled Music, 2023-06-21]
In 1866, the French emperor sent a punitive expedition to South Korea, after the execution of French Catholic missionaries, but with 800 naval fusiliers against 10’000 angry warriors, the French soldiers “just said hello and left”. Some centuries later, French artist KOP 32 succeeded in living in South Korea, thanks to two – much more dangerous – weapons: music and love. In the name of France that we don’t represent, we solely congratulate KOP 32 for his triumphant travel, and for bringing dope DnB to Annulled.
In some years that we run HTC, we’ve never witnessed artists that are so connected to the tribal culture, privileging social over individualism, local over global, instinctive over learned: they travel everywhere in the world, have created hundreds of peaceful meditative atmospheres and chill-out music, they manage various projects around water, ethnobotany, aromatic plants, they meet, they share, they jam, they live.
Escaping from home is not an easy decision for nerds like us, because the older we get, the more cocoons of comfort we own, which “shall not be disturbed”. Little by little, we forget the energy of the youth, while we were not looking for comfort back then, we were looking for life…
“Resistance” is conceptualised around the cultures that faced invasions, but it also resonates in us as a call to “resist” maybe a little bit more against ageing. These are not empty words: flight tickets bought for a two-month explorative travel. Thank you, dear inspiring artists…
Van Morph – Reliable Promises EP [Lotus Parable, 2023-06-21]
Some weeks ago, we shared the preview of the track “Reliable Promises” in our group, and here are some of the words that your dear commentator used in the description: “I want to thank my mum for having given birth to me so that I can listen to this track. I want that my government set a free day to celebrate this track. I want the world to scream Van Morph’s name so loud that Earth leaves its orbit. I want this track to replace religions to diffuse love on Earth”… And people say we are extreme, pffff
Blazej Malinowski – Perception of Tomorrow [Kvalia Records, 2023-06-16]
“In Blazej we trust!” (Katerina Maragou)
For Malinowski, “home is where the turntables are”, artistically speaking. As a producer, he mainly creates tracks that he would enjoy playing on stage, inspired by the music of his peers. Yet such an approach makes it difficult for us to understand who he is as an artist, even if, thanks to his DJ-practiced ear, he produces indisputably impeccable music. However, the melancholy of “Perception of Tomorrow” is more meaningful for us. If it eventually evokes the title of his previous EP, “Are We All Alone or Just Overwhelmed?“, it is in fact an obvious sequel to “States of Consciousness EP“, also on Kvalia Records. Yet his double work on the label opens a door, hopeful and cinematic, speaking a little bit louder than his other works, a direction that we enjoy and encourage.
The concept of “Special guest” will also disappear in our major overhaul of the series, and for our very last one, we have invited a friend, a brother, very active in our community. Hailing from France, he’s also a talented musician, very kind, with one foot on Earth and one foot on the moon. He has been behind the machines for more than a decade, playing around with well-thought cinematic oppositions: light VS dark, intriguing VS repetitive, deep VS neutral. After numerous digital EPs, he released his first vinyl record in 2018 on CHEZ.KITO.KAT Records, and his first album in 2022 on Bella Ursa Recordings. When not producing, he plays live in the company of Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, DJ Nobu or Kangding Ray…
CLARENCE RISE PRESENTS DJ AND PRODUCER
Al Wootton – We Have Come To Banish The Dark [TRULE Records, 2023-06-23]
Clarence Rise: Every Al Wootton release is an event on its own, even if the London producer is extremely prolific! His recent Forest Trilogy was already undeniable proof of the Trule Records boss’s talent. He’s now back with a brand-new double LP, whose title intrigues me: how could we musically illustrate the fight against darkness?
Let’s face it, it’s not an easy battle: the world depicted by Al is dark, and the themes dealt with are heavy and very contemporary. There’s not much relief for the listener, who finds himself drawn into a dystopian world of sharp, woody percussions and dehumanized industrial sounds. Our narrator’s atypical sound design hits the nail on the head, shaping our imaginations to better project us into the midst of super-factory assembly lines.
The album format is fully justified, as it can be appreciated in its continuity, bringing the listener face-to-face with the common enemy. It’s a tough battle, with a nuance provided by “Devarim” halfway through, a lighter track whose tessitura reconnects us to the earth, to nature. Before this salutary pause, the album offers a very explicit, dark and uncompromising introduction: the stage is set. The tracks follow on from each other with incredible coherence and a variety of electronic influences, from the hypnotic techno of “All the World is a Hospital” to the DnB loans of “Number, Weigh, Division”; from drone experimentation (“Becoming Light”) to efficient and tense club-oriented techno (“A Pox Cast”, “The Norman Yoke”).
In the end, as we might have hoped, the final track provides enough lightness to bring us back to reality, in a world perhaps not as dark as it looks. Was it really a dream? Are we really going in the direction presented by Al Wootton? The final echo of “May Your Angels Of Light Accept Him'”, which follows a very solar pad, leaves us in doubt.
This concludes an album of the highest quality, oneiric and dystopian, dark but not hopeless, coherent from start to finish, with All Wootton’s sound signature pushed to the limit. A must-have!