While I rarely, if ever, go for these multiple release posts, I believe this is the perfect opportunity to do so. For those unaware, Beläten is the label directed by Swedish musician Thomas Ekelund of Trepaneringsritualen, Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words and several other guises. The labels tagline of “Post avantgarde pop for a pre-apocalyptic world” could not be phrased any better. Specializing in Industrial, Synth Pop, Dark/Ritual Ambient and many other types of left of center experimental forms of electronic music, these multiple release issues, usually with a “buy them all” price break package deals have become some of the highlights of my year, musically. I’ve learned the hard way that sleeping on them or balking at international shipping costs almost always ends up with my kicking myself later. Here is the Spring 2015 selection for your perusal.
Distel : nord
Format : 7″
First up is the Netherlands duo Distel. These gentlemen have continually been blowing me away with each consecutive release. This is their second for Beläten, coming on the heels of last years Ultra2012 cassette.
Minimalist electronics and the silky smooth vocals of Æter, my immediate comparison was to Cabaret Voltaire, one of the personal favorites from my youth. Subtle grooves just off-kilter enough to keep you engaged, but not so experimental as to leave you confounded.
Side B’s “raaf [鴉]” is the stand out track for me, although I love the entire release. Just three tracks to, as Bobby Womack said, leave you wanting more. Fantastic presentation as well, the photos look like some bizarre daguerreotypes.
Veil Of Light : Head/Blood/Chest
Format : 12″ EP
Veil Of Light is a Darkwave/Post-Punk project from Switzerland with 4 of his 5 releases on Beläten. Last years “Ξ” received heavy turntable rotation at the Plague Haus HQ, and I suspect this EP will do the same.
Ok, so comparisons to Joy Division are obvious, and not a bad thing in my book, but to write VoL off as mere imitators would be asinine. While M channels the ghost of Ian Curtis, these tracks are even colder than the Prince of Gloom could have hoped for. Synth-heavy, subtle guitars and mechanized drums drive your dark depression, it’s danceable, but lets be sad instead. Seriously, these are great tacks, and make me wish my man cave had a fog machine.
Daybed : Weird Sailing
Format : LP
Last but certainly not least is the only full-length in the bunch from Berlin’s Daybed. With only one other EP under their belt, I guess it’s no sin that I was unaware of this duo before now, but what a great way to discover them.
Yea, my tastes lean towards the dark, hard and heavy, but since my teens I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for poppy, minimal synth bands. I ain’t ashamed, kids. There seems to be a huge resurgence in the genre as of late as folks rediscover the joys of analogue synths. Here the angelic voice of Clara H is paired with the crystalline synth lines and shiny guitar rhythms supplied by one Tim F. So many great memories came rushing back with this one: “Pleasure Victim” era Berlin, Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” as well as more obscure acts like Oppenheimer Analysis, Tara Cross and a whole milk crate full of early French stuff. It’s also damn near impossible to be in a bad mood when Clara and Tim sing lines like:
“You might eat meat, you might vegetables,
But to us, fruit is preferable.”
So there you have it, kids. As I hinted above, Beläten releases always sell out eventually, so take heed. Get them directly from the label in Europe, etc and now in the USA at Cloister Recordings US. All of the releases also include download codes from Bandcamp so you can enjoy them on the go.