PARADISE 100 “NORTHERN SEOUL” CS (SILK082) $6
Brussels-based rhythm nationalist Graham Peel aka Paradise 100 returns to the recorded realm after 20-plus months off the grid with a four track EP of “micro fugues” designed to evoke a sense of “hazy ecstatic awe.” That’s one way of putting it. Like his last SILK outing, 2013’s The Loin King, Peel’s pieces pulse with tactical patience, carefully Jenga-piling synths, drum programming, and samples (voice, xylophone, etc) into fluid, curvilinear forms spiked with off-sync hooks, stark breakdowns, and filtered acid bass. Northern Seoul spans a quadrant of moods, from sunblind jack to dusk terrace to shattered glass piña colada, “when we wander around a foreign place for the first time.” Second time’s a charm, apparently. Subtle Seoul-searching by a craftsman out of the lights and off on his own. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
V/A “SUNSET SILK” CS (SILK080) $7
Five years flies by in a flash, but feels like an eon. Sunset Silk reflects on the label’s half-decade dim glow in the distance of dance with new tracks and remixes by Prison Garde, Jupiter Jax, James Booth, C.L.A.W.S., Cruise Family (a vintage unreleased 11-minute recording), Strategy, Sapphire Slows, Afterhours, Roche and his brother CB Radio, as well both Bobbys: Draino and Browser. Though the rhythms come far-flung – Montreal, Malta, Vienna, beyond – the approaches feel unified, faded, fogged, and heavily felt. Woozy coastal house, MIDI new wave, cosmic techno, Bay Area dark jack, ripper acid, vapor grooves – the forms fluctuate across 60 minutes of shapeshifting SILK. Body music for sinking suns. Mastered in Portland, Oregon by Alter Echo.
BOBBY BROWSER “CLUBSPINNING” 12″ (SILK075) $10
Bobby Browser’s human counterpart, Andre Ferreira, decamped to Brooklyn last year after nearly a decade in San Francisco but his Pacific moods and Portuguese slang remain undiminished. Clubspinning is his latest EP, culled from a series of 2013 sessions based around a Yamaha SU700 Sampling Unit, the tracks “selected to represent the most unique and memorable performances during that time.” Mission accomplished: “Clubspinning” and “No Attachments” are great glitterball glides, soft-lensed and silk-spun; “Manchester” a bass-prowler dubbed with synthetic flute and Factory samples; and “Go 90” a complete soul-in-the-rain ghost comedown, misted in piano, voice, and percussion. That pieces this sculpted came mainly via hardware intuition is beyond impressive – limitations turned hyperfocus. This is Browser at his best, strobing but smooth, four gems of weirdly elegant smiley face minimalism. Mixed by Matthew Patterson Curry at Transmitter Park Studios in Greenpoint, BK. Mastered by Eric Hanson at Maven in Los Angeles. Center label artwork by SF club cat Primo Pitino.
JUPITER JAX “VISIONS” LP (SILK072) $12
Two years ago Maltese musician Rudi Agius aka Jupiter Jax was in London, finishing a PHD in computational biology, awake late and usually alone, when Visions emerged: “My life was literally getting back from the lab, and spending the night (usually till 4-5 AM) making some music… the gloom is something that I love.” Many nights bled into dawn while designing presets for his synths – “sounds that give me feeling” – from which bass lines, beats, and the exploration of “further territory” flowed forth: quartz-clouded, questing house (“Armed For Peace,” “Soul Searching”), foggy breakbeat (“The Deepest”), tranced technoid (“Beyond The Walls”), plus glimmering, ghosted-vocal guest spots by Merwyn Virgo Four, Xosar, and Mykle Anthony. Across eight hazed vistas, Visions never wanes: “Jupiter Jax is about ethereal music.” Deep planetary Italo disco moods dissolved through overcast city voids, haunted by the heartbeat of melancholic early Chicago jack. See beyond the walls. Grid-mapped cloudscape cover art by the artist. Mastered by Alex Nagle.
GEMINI LION “ADORATION” 12″ (HOS003) $9
Portland vocal house roots duo Gemini Lion is an ongoing collaboration between soul-singer J. Green and SILK staple producer A. Kalin (Temples, Polonaise, Finesse). Adoration, their debut, pickpockets from various downtown wardrobes for a multi-culti vibe that’s equal parts party monster, ballroom strut, and melancholic sweat. Green’s voice is a rich and dexterous presence, waxing after romantic obsessions and delineating queer terminology, while Kalin’s lean bass lines and percussion sequences shuffle and flow through fluid, reflective states. Their commitment to such a classic palette (especially on the ravey, pump-up-the-volume closer, “Best Believe”) might ruffle the feathers of certain prickly futurists but GL know the difference between affect and effect; they even have a phrase for the former: ”a boy / in a dress.” Center label artwork by GL. Edition of 150.
ROCHE “STILLHOPE” 12″ (SILK062) $9
San Fran synth sensei Ben Winans aka Roche ventures further into his arcane hardware labyrinths on Stillhope, his second slab of mind-wired Pacific house for 100% Silk. As always with his work there’s a great sense of spaciousness and flow, coastal fog billowing around Alcatraz and over Land’s End, invisible currents taking control. “Stillhope” and “The Medicine” skew more towards the hazed and zen, cliffside smoke seances rendered via samplers and circuitry, percussion patterns ghosting through hidden lunar cycles, while “Change” brings back the bass, riding an acid-funked electric slide into a chorus of street soul chanting. Closer “Theme For Ikaros” leaves the bay (and earth) behind, a techno spy theme for hijacking a distant moon base, filtered arpeggios ramping the suspense against a steady stalker’s pulse until it all dissolves in dubby echoes, a stark clap, and a sample whispering about “the essence of life.” Even in deepest space, there’s Stillhope. Black vinyl 12 inches in SILK label sleeves designed by Luke Brown. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 315.
HOUSE OF NEED – LES LEVEL
FLOAT KEYS – OCTO OCTA
FLUTTER & MOAN – PHARAOHS
WHATEVER – POLYSICK
ONLY FOR TONITE (ORIGINAL INSTRUMENTAL MIX) – ITAL
FROM A DREAM (MAGIC TOUCH REMIX) – ITAL
CLUBHOUSE (WITH HONEY OWENS) – MAGIC TOUCH
FLAVORED BEATS – SIR STEPHEN
LET ME SEE YOU – OCTO OCTA
PSYCHO ZOMBIE DREAMS – ROCHE
WETDEVIL – SFV ACID
VEIL (VERSION) – COSBY
PANORAMA – STRATEGY
REMOVAL ACID – VERTICAL67
SILK: THE FILM – DIGITAL RENTAL & PURCHASE
(via VHX) $1.99 / $6.99 / $7.99
SILK, the 100% Silk documentary and dance film, is available through VHX and Amazon Instant Video. Shot over two years, the film follows four acts from the label – LA Vampires, Ital, Magic Touch and Maria Minerva – across a lengthy 2012 tour of the UK, Europe and Russia. SILK chronicles the performances, environments, and scenes they passed through: congested underground Parisian clubs, motorcycle showrooms in Bristol, abandoned industrial lots in Moscow, afterhours Berlin compounds, re-purposed World War II gun towers in Hamburg, plus large international festivals (Distortion in Copenhagen, Sonar in Barcelona). The film is punctuated by staged dance sequences conceived, choreographed, and performed by Mecca Vazie Andrews and the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. SILK premiered in 2013 at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen and subsequently screened at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, as well as la Gaîte Lyrique in Paris. SILK was an official selection at the 2014 Amsterdam Dance Event, Melbourne International Film Festival, and Planete + Doc Film Festival in Poland. The SILK: DELUXE package includes the film as well as four exclusive live sets from the tour by each of the featured acts.