At the top of 2000’s throwback playlists is Aaliyah‘s “Try Again.” A time-honored classic that has aged well, to say the least, the original graced the tracklist of the late artist’s Romeo Must Die LP. Now, it’s serving as the sonic muse for a contemporary dance-pop cover that comes courtesy of Luke Alexander.
Though Alexander has been a fixture of the East Coast club circuit in recent years, the “Try Again” cover makes a splash as the New York native’s first major release. As live events slowly but surely inch toward reawakening, Alexander’s contemporary spin is a clear candidate for live playout, ready and waiting in the wings for in-person deployment. The Simon Blaze feature is out now via What You Need, a division of Deep Root Records.
Epic Pictures Group has released the trailer for Doors, a new science fiction movie, scheduled for release March 23rd, 2021.
Here’s the film’s synopsis:
“Without warning, millions of mysterious alien “doors” suddenly appear around the globe. In a rush to determine the reason for their arrival, mankind must work together to understand the purpose of these cosmic anomalies. Bizarre incidences occurring around the sentient doors leads humanity to question their own existence and an altered reality as they attempt to enter them.”
From the first few seconds of the trailer, embedded above, it appears that the filmmakers are following the time-honored tradition of repurposing electronic music gear as ‘high-tech’ future stuff. Check out the system being used to communicate with aliens:
This raises the question: What Eurorack modules do you need to be able to communicate with aliens?
Check out the trailer and the screen capture above, and let us know what modules you recognize! And, if any readers have any background on what’s going on here – in the movie or in the making of this scene – leave a comment!
Syence have demonstrated their music’s capacity to catch on like wildfire, a trend that now continues with the duo’s viral sensation “a little bit bored” featuring German singer-songwriter Ruuth. Though “a little bit bored” is out now via all major streaming platforms, it will only be new to some, thanks to the fact that it took over Triller in December of 2020 as part of a NYX Cosmetics digital pop-up shop campaign.
After surfacing on Triller, “a little bit bored” caught the attention of HITCO, prompting the label to immediately sign the LA-based duo. Their first release on their new home imprint is, fittingly, the official release of “a little bit bored.” Speaking on the track’s inception, Syence say,
“Ruuth and Quarterhead sent us the original demo for ‘a little bit bored’ and we were immediately obsessed. We knew we had to work on it. We’ve never been so impressed with a vocal. The story that Ruuth is able to tell in the short time throughout the song really resonated with us and made it so easy to build out the production around the vocal.”
Track collaborator and vocalist, Ruuth, extended the sentiments expressing,
“I really get turned off by the type of people who text me with way too many emojis and act too needy. When Quarterhead, Syence, and Chris James echoed that they had similar experiences, we immediately felt that we had a fun concept going. Now, with the pandemic, it feels even more right to re-evaluate the types of relationships we want to keep and the ones we want to let go of.”
The track itself immediately lures the listener in with its charming melody and Ruuth’s alluring vocals, all of which fall into a punchy progressive house backdrop. Those hoping to hear the single live are in luck; Syence are set to perform at Whethan‘s upcoming Anaheim drive-in show on March 20.
From Beirut to Berlin, Perth to Orange County, Moscow to Nanjing, 42 labels are joining the Indonesian underground in imagining a decentralized musical future. Even as DIY duo Senyawa planted the seeds, Alkisah seems a movement as much as an album release.
The idea might seem crazy at first – share all the materials for a release, tracks and stems and artwork at all, and then set it free with any other label who wants to put it out.
“It’s way more than we expected,” Senyawa’s Rully Shabara tells me. “That’s part of the experiment though – to see what will happen if we let go of control.”
It’s hardly the same vinyl over and over again, either. You might get a tape or a CD. You might get a jar of sambal (the iconic Indonesian spice mixture). You might get a handmade dagger. (Take that, Spotify!)
And this weekend, it’s all part of an online festival that is equally decentralized and international – complete with live jams, prerecorded music videos, and a cooking show. Here’s the explanation from the artists:
But Senyawa itself was born of serendipitous encounters and spontaneous networks. The duo of Rully, vocalist, with Wukir Suryadi, maker of instruments, met at a show at Yes No Klub in Yogyakarta. Even if this project rejects decentralization, it does benefit from hubs and meeting places and even various capital cities – Yes No is a cassette label and an event series, in the warm embrace of local musical legend Wok the Rok. If Indonesia has started to gain wonderful notoriety for its experimentalism, with the likes of Senyawa and Gabber Modus Operandi and Y-DRA (and their welcome invasions of Berghain), Yes No has clearly had a role.
But quietly, other networks are forming, too – connections with Senyawa, with one another, with more futuristic and cooperative notions of what music making is about. The surprise bounty of Senyawa releases this month reveals just how many artists and labels seem to desire more sharing, freedom, and experimentation in music releases.
In Amman, Jordan, it’s Drowned by Locals. In the UK, it’s Phantom Limb and Avon Terror Corps. In Moscow, SOTA. In China, WV Sorcerer, with names both familiar (like 33EMYBW) and new. In Milan, there’s Artetetra. The USA has Burning Ambulance. Beirut has Ruptured (who I’ve written about before).
Notably, Indonesia itself demands decentralization. Artists I know have moved from Yogya to Bandung, even just in central Java. Accordingly, the Alkisah project makes a necklace across Indonesia’s span of 17000+ islands, with a dozen labels from the project’s home country alone.
Actually, here – just have a look at the map:
You can also check the BuyMusic.club list and grab whichever you like from Bandcamp – choosing by geography or even which cover you like best:
The best place to start is with the arresting narrative at the release.
The album’s lyrics – all in the shared Indonesian language apart from one in traditional West Sumatran Minang words – trace a progression through dystopia and doomsday. To me, that arc takes on an archetypal shape, as at home in this experimental conceptual context as it might be in the hands of a dhalang.
Alkisah itself can be translated to Once Upon A Time
Alkisah I is basically a prologue to a story that is being told in the rest of the songs
Kekuasaan = Power (as in dominion, control) The short lyrics translated: “what is the meaning of power when the end is at hand?”
Menuju Muara = Towards the Estuary Tells the story of people realizing the end is near decide to rush towards the estuary and build a better civilization to survive the apocalypse
Istana = Palace The people in the estuary becomes just another ruler, and worse
Kabau = lyrics are written in Minang language of West Sumatra, translated as Ox or Buffalo A collection of Minang old proverbs, a reminder of the old world that was left behind before the estuary, about its wisdoms and humility
Fasih = Eloquent People revolt against the rulers of the estuary, who are eloquent in preaching about creating a better world but have created a worse one instead. The people finally speak their mind and rise up to kill them all.
Alkisah II is a conclusion to the story. The regrets, the realization of all the destructions that have happened because of greed and hatred toward each other.
But it is all too late
Kiamat = Doomsday The doomsday is upon us
I got the translation after hearing the music, and I’m struck by how much the emotional reality of the music is interwoven with the sound. Wukir I first met because of his instrument-building practice – he produces original “modern-primitive” instruments, adapting contact mics and strings and found pieces of metal to transform recovered objects into awesomely terrifying hard-metal creations. We welcomed him as an advisor to one of our MusicMakers Hacklabs at Berlin’s CTM Festival, and he came with something he’d discovered in the trash on the streets of Kreuzberg and quickly had our artists making new inventions and inspiring impromptu ensembles.
Rully who co-writes and sings imbues all of this with equally expansive acrobatic sounds from his vocal cords, chilling otherworldly intonations.
There’s a deep structure in the music, a mirror – that itself serves as a warning, a kind of Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience echo (to switch from wayang to Blake). As Rully writes:
As you can see, these songs are structured in a way that they mirror each other: the first song (“Kekuasaan”) and the last song (“Kiamat”) are basically the underlying theme of the album. It’s how power plays its part in every step of the whole story — from having the power by knowing that the end is near, by using that power to lead people to form a new sanctuary, eventually being corrupted by power itself, and how that power shifts to those who dare to oppose. So it’s actually power that brings not only the destruction of society but doomsday itself. And in the end, what is power when the end is at hand?
“Alkisah I” and “Alkisah II” also mirror each other: one is the prologue and the other is epilogue. “Menuju Muara” and “Fasih” also mirror each other: one is about preaching to bring everybody together to form a new society, and the other is from the opposing point of view. “Istana” and “Kabau” are centerpiece. “Istana” is about the realisation that power is corrupt. “Kabau” is a collection of ancient wisdom, representing things that people should lean to in order to break the cycle and avoid doom. But as seen in the story, people choose violence and revolt instead. So the cycle keeps going.
I think it’s just as important to appreciate that there is this textual meaning as well as the sonic one. Rully himself, apart from speaking to me in English and writing these texts largely in Bahasa Indonesian, also speaks his native Sulawesi, Javanese, east Javanese, and south Sumateranese.
And in turn, the mission of Alkisah is an additional reflection of this meaning.
“What we are doing with the decentralized co-release and Pasar Alkisah is actually trying to come up with solution for the danger and doomed prophecy told in the album,” Rully says. “The solution to break that vicious cycle is to share the power once you have it,” he says.
In other words, by definition, Alkisah and the festival Pasar Alkisah are meant not only to be about these artists, but templates for music making and living, for shared interrelationships.
The festival runs Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm Yogyakarta local time (UTC+7), then repeats Sunday. Timetable on Google Spreadsheets.
But it’s not just passive – there are chats, sharing, and more, and labels are even encouraged to actively promote their own local wares. All of this is just a beginning, too. The organizers promise to make templates available for others wanting to produce similar efforts, and for their part, Senyawa are promising a virtual tour through the spring.
Watch for the Yes No release, too, on Sunday:
See you on the YouTube stream – check Senyawa’s channel:
ylva trax has introduced Temporarium Secretarium, a Max For Live device that generates drum patches for Elektron Digitone.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
“The idea is pretty simple; drop the device on a midi track, select the type of voice you want to generate(bassdrum, snar, clap, hihat and tom), send it to the appropriate channel and hit “Generate Sound” to generate locally or “Generate Kit” to generate all four sounds (given that you loaded all of four of them and routed them to their respective channels).
You can then just save your sounds on the DTN – a workflow that i enjoy very much.”
Pricing and Availability
Temporarium Secretarium is available via Bandcamp as a part of the LYV album.
Slime Child Audio’s Coriander Pines let us know that they’ve introduced a new plugin for VCV Rack, Substation.
Substation is a collection of modules designed to create a subharmonic, polyrhythmic synthesis toolkit. While it takes inspiration from the Moog Subharmonicon Eurorack module, with a similar combination of clock-dividing polyrhythmic sequencers and oscillator + dual sub-oscillator voice, it’s an original design with unique sequencing & synthesis options.
Clock generator with sync and frequency multiplier
Three-track polyrhythm sequencer
Four clock dividers
Routing matrix with configurable logic
Quantizer supporting just intonation or equal temperament
Voltage controlled oscillator with two subharmonic outputs
Primary oscillator plus two detuned subharmonic oscillators
Eurorack manufacturers Expert Sleepers have launched a charity auction to support Help Musicians – an independent UK charity that has the goal of supporting professional musicians of all genres.
Expert Sleepers is auctioning several limited edition sterling silver disting mk4s, with the proceeds going to supporting the charity.
Here’s what ES has to say about the auctions:
The year 2020 was a strange and challenging one for many. For Expert Sleepers, it was a year of two milestones. Firstly, it marked 10 years of making Eurorack modules – our first hardware product, the ES-1, was launched in 2010. Secondly, the lifetime sales of the disting mk4 module hit 10,000 units. We’re proud of both of these achievements and very grateful to our customers for helping us get there.
So, partly in celebration of these milestones, and wanting to help those for who 2020 was not such a great year, we’ve created a very special limited edition of five disting mk4s, and we’re auctioning them off for charity.
The special edition disting, has a solid sterling silver front panel, hallmarked as such by the Edinburgh Assay Office. That’s 1½ ounces of precious metal! The panels are diamond etched with the usual panel graphic and a special ‘mk4’ logo.
All proceeds will be donated to Help Musicians’ Coronavirus Hardship Fund. In their words, Help Musicians are “an independent charity which aims to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians, offering a wide spectrum of support which includes: Health & Welfare services, Creative development funding, ground-breaking research, a mental health helpline for the entire music industry and an incredibly popular hearing health scheme which aims to prevent hearing problems that would otherwise bring musicians’ careers to an untimely end.”
Isla Instruments shared this playlist of in-depth demo videos for their new S2400 sampler.
Isla Instruments calls the S2400 “The spiritual successor to the greatest drum machine the world ever saw.” It builds on the classic design of the E-Mu SP 1200, one of the most iconic sampling drum machines ever created.
Parrish remixes ‘Love To The World’ by Patrick Gibin & Kaidi Tatham Feat Josh Milan
Friday, February 19, 2021 – 15:39
Theo Parrish has dropped two brand new remixes on Neroli Records.
The Detroit DJ and producer has remixed the soulful house cut, ‘Love To The World’, by Patrick Gibin & Kaidi Tatham Feat. Josh Milan, which was released on Neroli last year. Check out Parrish’s vocal mix and acapella mix here.
Earlier this month, Parrish, Moodymann, Rick Wilhite and Marcellus Pittman released a retrospective compilation of their collaborative material as 3 Chairs. Learn more about that here.
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