CHERUSHII & MARIA MINERVA “S/T” 12″ (SILK102) $14
In the fall of 2013 Maria Minerva mapped an 8-show United States trek up the west coast and across to Chicago but, being newly emigrated and without car or driver’s license, needed a traveling companion who did. Given the grueling itinerary only one road warrior / joie de vivrist came to mind: dear friend, penpal, and SILK sister Chelsea Faith AKA Cherushii. The two covered over 3,000 miles together, performing in bars and towns not known for leftfield electronic patronage (i.e. VFW halls in Missoula, Montana). Though attendance was occasionally minimal they bonded deeply, in ways specific to arduous American DIY touring.
In subsequent years the pair shared bills, traded tracks, and remained close – even playing live together a few times – yet the dream of a proper collaboration always loomed. The tragic Oakland fire of December 2016 cut short such plans but not before they’d written, recorded, and mixed the better part of six songs. With the devoted assistance of David Last, Adam Gunther, and Brian Foote these recordings were posthumously polished and finalized and it’s our heart-aching honor to share them with the world.
Drawing on Minerva and Faith’s most vibrant Venn diagram overlap, the tracks evoke mirror-lined music video sets, downtempo night drives, rainbow eyeshadow, glittering skylines, and sweaty discotheques, flowing from lush to lavish, highly finessed and full of feeling. It’s the sound of true union, Faith’s divine dancefloor DNA threaded through Minerva’s chic pop hooks, rhythmic and revelatory, the best of two beautiful worlds.
BODY SAN “MIDNIGHT” 12″ (SILK107) $11
Reigning vibe-wave don of the City of Roses returns to the SILK chalet bearing four fresh afterhours anthems ripe for repeat rinsing. Midnight takes its name from Body San’s special-ordered strain of Nag Champa, and exudes a similar air of nocturnal promise, streetlights reflected in glass brick fountains and condominium windows. Brandon Knocke’s knack for Memphis design funk and skymall fusion hits an apex here, flexing a full spectrum of rhythmic reveries: fluid, jazzy, joyous, sensous.
Song to song and side to side Midnight flaunts a panoramic rooftop view of leather interiors, fern-accented foyers, and supreme motion software. Midnight is 12 AM, 12 inches of bump ‘n’ bounce ‘n’ body euphoria, music for low lit silhouettes unified in emotional response. Somewhere a clock strikes, a ball drops, and day turns to dawn.
Recorded and mixed by Brandon Knocke in Portland, Oregon. Mastered by Eric Hanson in Los Angeles, California. Design by Britt Brown.
DEARLY DEPARTURE “GENESIS” CS (SILK110) $7
Santa Clarita daydreamer Daniel Crook flipped his DX-7 to dent tuition at California Institute Of The Arts but while there fell in with a crew of fellow hardware heads and began making periodic pilgrimages downtown to soak the city’s thriving warehouse scene. His own productions soon followed, inspired by the moodier fringes of LA’s nocturnal underground as well as the “dark gothic energy” of certain fatalist new wave.
Genesis spans 40 minutes across eight tracks, crisscrossing stained glass house, lovesick jack, and varied states of rhythm delirium into a raw, reflective self-portrait of empty streets and midnight memories. Crook’s process is part planned and part exploratory, mapping melody in advance then ripping live takes at a table of synths in his bedroom. From cobwebbed dub-dance (“Serpent”) to cyber-mechanical disco (“Move”), the songs feel intuitive and imprecise, grainy screengrabs of systems in flux. Most are solo instrumentals but Crook’s classmate Bludwork guests on the sci-fi sequencer trance “Infrared” while local morbid beauty duo Morticia My Angel haunt the mic for “Words Unspoken.” Even his own voice makes an appearance on “Own Perceptions,” mixed into a glimmering grey haze: “I don’t know what to do with me / no more.” Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
ROCHE “STILLHOPE” 12″ (SILK062) $8
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.
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.
BOBBY DRAINO “BRAIN DRAIN” 12″ (SILK057) $8
Before birthing his blasted acid alter ego, Bobby Draino drummed for various synth-punk groups around Vancouver. Some of that scorched earth crust bleeds through the five fried bangers comprising his vinyl debut, Brain Drain. Tracked live through one channel of a space echo straight to his computer, Draino’s MO is overdriven drum machines saturated with gritty acid, bass damage, and blown-tone sequencer patterns. The EP’s five tracks emerged across two years of TR-606 and 303 trial & error and warehouse party workshopping. The result is a radical and debased strain of melted alien mutant house, apt for shredding speakers both home and away.
PARADISE 100 “THE LOIN KING” 12″ (SILK055) $8
Paradise 100 aka Graham Peel has been percolating stripped-back house constructs onto the web for a couple years but never locked them to wax till now. Following his minimalist dictum that “any more than three tracks on a song is just indulgence,” his debut EP’s four cuts share a spare design, interlocking slinky bass, sleek keys, lean drum programming, and flashes of synth mirage into fluid, aerodynamic patterns. Touches of melodic acid and crossover new wave color the mood a hedonistic hue (further evinced by track titles: “The Loin King,” “French Kissing In The House Of Love,” etc). His own vision for the project is appropriately fantastical: “The image in my mind is of tropical forests at night, torchlight, distant sounds of tribal ritual dance and ghosts.” Regal music for pleasure domes.
POLYSICK “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” 12″ (SILK049) $8
Roman hyperrealist Polysick is one the most inspirationally omnivorous electronic futurists in the biz right now. From the miasmic sci-fi terrariums of his 2012 opus Digital Native to his scrambled alien radio hijack tape Flow FM to his recent new age metropolis techno-fantasy Daydream, he traverses every sphere with a masterfully warped, expansive, and maximalist touch. Under Construction finds him fracking into fresh dancefloor terrains: breezy rooftop acid stretched into animal balloons, degenerated house dubs refracted through 80’s video arcade ambience, jazzy champagne-spritzed 303-dosed loft funk, screwed Barry White samples echoing across the chill out lounge. Four time-travel classics by one of today’s most clued-in constructionists.
OCTO OCTA “BETWEEN TWO SELVES” 2xLP (SILK046) $14
Octo Octa’s core moods of displaced identity and rapturous intimacy give way to an adrift, uneasy feeling on Between Two Selves. The album’s four sides are spacious and sensual – the reclining nude of Octo’s Blue Period – with room to breathe and swoon. There’s fewer elements in the mix but more space to explore them, amorous samples pitched down and out across abstracted, extended compositions: “I don’t want you to go,” “All his kisses taste sweet,” etc. A deep accomplishment of regal soul and melancholy.
COYOTE CLEAN UP “2 HOT 2 WAIT” LP (SILK044) $9
Detroit’s secret weapon caps a string of deceptively excellent digital and tape collections with his vinyl (and CD) debut and it’s everything it should be. His bedroom blizzard production style shimmers here in a rare and mysterious way, like wandering graffiti’d city streets in a snowstorm: icy reverbed beats ride the rails, cascading synth freeze, sampled vocals fogging like breath. Includes dream-grime mixtape classics like “The Least U Could Feel” and “Awesome Luv.” 2 True 2 Believe. In pointillist posterior artwork designed by Bobby Houlihan.
MAGIC TOUCH + SAPPHIRE SLOWS “JUST WANNA FEEL” 12″ (SILK038) $9
Just Wanna Feelis the expectation-shattering perfect house-pop collaboration of blonde disco don Magic Touch and whispery wizardress Sapphire Slows. The A side floats bright and breathtaking, like St. Germain on a terrace in the early morning. The B track, “When I See You,” is an even purer piano-house pleasure. The 12” also includes a dark rubik’s cubic remix by I:Cube, as well as a fluttering dub by M. Touch himself. A match made in SILK paradise, faraway and forever in my heart. Bi-lingual graphic design by all-seeing eye Bobby Houlihan, plus a full-color insert.
LA VAMPIRES BY OCTO OCTA “FREEDOM 2K” 12″ $9 (SILK031)
Octo Octa brings the melancholy to LA Vampires’ infinite badness on Freedom 2K, their long-in-the-longing collaboration. Sleek/chic haunted house layered with vocal dubs, glass keys, and moonlit piano melodies. An extra-finessed Malvoeaux remix powers down the collection. Stark cover photography by Ashley Anthony; design and layout by SILK lynchpin Bobby Houlihan.