Clockwise from left: Jean-Louis Huhta (Photo by Andrew Chen), Jim “Foetus” Thirlwell (Photo by Beatrice Neumann), “Smoking Kills(?)”
Life without music would be as desirable as having eternal life. In both cases existence would be kind of pointless, right? One thing’s for sure, I wouldn’t want to live without my copy of Vitalic’s
(Citizen/PIAS). It’s EASILY this month’s best release. Every time Vitalic releases a new track he renews himself. That’s why it’s so great that Vitalic classics like “Poney” and “La Rock 01” are included on his debut album.
sounds like dark Daft Punk techno. Or maybe more like Murmansk techno—the 13 tracks have a melancholic, east European feel.
contains body moving shemale electrotech (“Repair Machines”) as well as spooky little organ grinder tunes like “Polkamatic.” Ah fuck it, just listen to the album yourself, it’s a superbly crafted electronic trip from a truly innovative mind.
Another release that brings disturbingly eerie sounds to the dance floor is Sebastian’s 12” single “Smoking Kills(?)” Released on Ed Banger (the label that brought us the Justice/Simian anthem “Never Be Alone”), “Smoking Kills(?)” is harsh electronic dub disco. I hadn’t heard of Sebastian before but according to Ed Banger’s extremely secretive promo department he is a 23-year-old Parisian beatmaker. Nice cover though, by fellow Parisian artist SO_ME, who is responsible for all the Ed Banger covers at the moment. Anyway, Sebastian is influenced by Aphex Twin, Penderecki and Prince. The Aphex Twin influence is the most obvious since a trademark on “Smoking Kills(?)” is the cut up technique that Richard D. James perfected on “Windowlicker.” “Smoking Kills(?)” is not mind-blowing, but it’s still good. And the flip side tracks “Dolami” and “Shoot” are hard and funky electronic tracks with a dark edge that you easily surrender to.
When it comes to musicality and innovation within Swedish independent music Jean-Louis Huhta is unmatched. He’s been a percussionist, composer and computer nerd. And, since the 80s, the main force in like every project I ever hear about. He was one of the founding members of Anticimex (they released grind core records on Earache), he played percussion in Stonefunkers and later on in Lucky People Center. He’s done the soundtrack to numerous dance performances, theatre plays and films and worked with people like William S. Burroughs, CM Von Hausswolff, Union Carbide Productions, Jesper Dahlbäck, Freddie Wadling and The Leather Nun. He’s one of Sweden’s most talented and skillful musicians and composers. He is also exceptionally dirty and have been exploring the darkest corners of Miami bass, dirt dub, black metal, hardcore, and electro ever since those genres first were invented. But his output as a solo artist has been way smaller than you’d expect. But that’ll change now, since Ideal Recordings in Gothenburg decided to take him on. April sees the release of his first Ideal recording, the 7” single “I Am FoFo/Like a Drug” which he describes as an “homage à Stooges.” It’s easy to tell why, despite the fact that it’s pure electronics. The raw power of it is only matched by Ig and the Asheton brothers. Be sure to keep an eye on this and forthcoming Jean-Louis Huhta releases. Apart from all this he’s also a versatile skateboarder and an exceedingly nice guy.
On Jim “Foetus” Thirlwell’s
EP (Birdman Records) we get a foretaste of the forthcoming Foetus album Love. The EP is cinematic disco that could have qualified as a soundtrack to a late 70s John Carpenter flick. After some unfocused records under the Foetus moniker it’s a reminder of the originality of Jim Thirlwell’s musical sensibility. It’s got horror movie harpsichord riffs and heavy Bernard Herrmann orchestration—
is everything you would want to avoid if you’re into minimalism and nuances. This is full-blown Wagner doom frenzy.
In much the same vein as the best Foetus outputs (ie. the 1983 album
) we find the Brooklyn noise duo Mouthus. Add a bit of warped psych-rock and what you get is their latest vinyl-only album
(Ecstatic Peace). The duo could be mistaken for yet another bunch of university drop outs in the wake of Lightning Bolt, Wolf Eyes and Sightings, seduced by the industrial, pre-digital musical era where noise artists like New Blockaders, Whitehouse, Sutcliffe Jugend, early Sonic Youth, Merzbow and The Boredoms reigned. But Mouthus guitarist Brian Sullivan and drummer Nate Nelson have their own particular way of warping large critical masses of noise. Their self-titled debut album on Psych-O-Path is also worth checking out, if only for its take-no-prisoner-approach to the noise genre.