V/A “SILK TO DRY THE TEARS” 2XCS (SILK101)
Sorrow’s only silver lining is the selflessness it inspires in others. The nightmare of last year’s fire in Oakland left so many of us shredded, shattered, and speechless. But a communal compassion surged up in response, with artists, allies, and acquaintances from all over the globe re-connecting and re-committing to the power and potential of independent music as a healing, unifying force. So many SILK friends and family reached out expressing the desire to contribute creatively to a relief effort it was clear the emotion deserved an outlet. Silk To Dry The Tears collects 31 such songs from a spectrum of 100% Silk alumni and affiliates, threaded across four sides of fogged house, fantasy acid, nocturnal electronics, sleepwalker pop, and rhythmic reveries of varied internal states. Totaling nearly 170 minutes, it’s a sprawl and a statement, shared in the spirit of inclusion, endurance, and empathy. Music brought us together; music will keep us together. Mastered by Matt Tammariello. Design by Britt Brown.
50% the profits donated to Safer DIY Spaces, an Oakland-based coalition offering guidance, financial assistance, and labor to non-traditional creative community spaces.
V/A “SENSATE SILK” CS (SILK100)
To commemorate the label’s catalog centennial 100% Silk spread its threads coast to coast and station to station for 11 faded blazers and future classics from a fresh cast of characters spanning Okayama to Berlin, England to Echo Park, Boston to British Columbia. Despite such distances the rhythms run parallel: lithe, low-lit, lush, and lost in sense memory. Sensate Silk swirls 75 minutes of smeared neon house, glitter decadence, skyscraper shuffle, flatliner acid, lovesick loops, mutant pulse, rave reverie, and tactile electronics into an expansive voyage of motion, mood, and meaning. Roster includes: Keita Sano, Cromie, Sage Caswell, Inoue Shirabe, Jack Novin, Donny, Badia, PARC, Helios Mode, Nackt, Westcoast Goddess. Defend the dream; feel the feeling.
MICHAEL CLAUS “MEMORY PROTECT” CS (SILK099)
Bay Area beacon Michael Claus operates from an overtly Pacific perspective in his house and techno constructs, shaping fog and bass along shorelines of elusive rhythm. Though active since 2004 he’s only in the past few years begun issuing tracks under his own name to the public domain, the latest collection of which goes furthest in embedding amorphous acid and cloud-soft synths into introspective coastal jack. Memory Protect maps eight hazed designs sourced from three years of work, misting the difference between movement and meditation, atmosphere and anticipation. Past collabs with Nackt hinted at a subtle touch for hypnosis and heightened sensory environment but here Claus captures his essence in its freest, most fluid state. Bodies of water, oceans of memory – what collects, continues. Recorded in San Francisco, 2014-2017. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
ÅMNFX “MOSCOW BEAT” CS (SILK098)
Russian producer Vasily Skobeev’s recording alias, Åmnfx – an abbreviation of the phrase “amen to FX” – alludes to the transformative power of multi-effects on devotional music. His own tracks convincingly demonstrate this principle, routing piano, drum machines, samples, soft synths, and field recordings through a selection of pedals and amplifiers to condense and color the sound, adding grit, grain, space, and shadow. Moscow Beat ranges from moody memory house (“Forget,” “In The Café”) to wintry minimal tech-dub (“Build A Home,” “Strictly Dub”) to wavy rhythm deliriums (“Wayback,” “Moscow Beat”), all sourced from recent insomniac workshop sessions: “Most of the good ideas come around 4-7 in the morning, when you’re tired as a dog.” Previous offerings on Opal Tapes, Neo Violence, and Dirty Tapes impressed but these eight FX-flexed cuts trace a fuller portrait of an artist at the threshold. Cover image by Sasha Popov. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
KAAZI “ZEN TRAVEL” CS (SILK097)
Emergent New York City producer Kaazi conceives of his woozy rhythm experiments in lofty terms – utopian extensions of self, alternate windows of perception, “something to move beyond the static,” etc. – but their mesmeric and transportive properties need little explanation. Zen Travel voyages through nine winding, textured terrains of breathy acid funk, foggy jungle dub, and violet vaporous house, inspired by youthful trips to Tokyo and the adventurous synthetic fusion of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Yasuaki Shimizu. Recorded in the summer and fall of 2015 using a Bass Station, Prophet 600, and minimal palette of FX, the tracks were born from long-form improvisational sessions, then later edited for brevity and essence. The titles gesture at the mood and motion of each microcosm – “Air,” “Tropics,” “Skate,” “Street,” “Cruise” – but taken as a collection Kaazi conjures a sense of expanse, altitudes, flux, and feeling, where the dance floor and the devotional dissolve as one. Mastered by Rioux. Artwork by David McLeod.
DEEPER KENZ “S/T” CS (SILK096)
Wayfaring American producer / DJ Deeper Kenz named his project in homage to the “cinematically intense” Northeast Philly hood where he resided intermittently for nearly eight years. Surrounded by dive bars and decrepit lots, he turned inward and crafted a set of recordings “designed as tools to light up a small but intimate community of dancers and lovers.” The A side skews lean and linear, crisp percussion laced with shaded bass and violet textures, while the flip goes more mirror ball delirium, sweat and heat and disco samples “chained up and grooving to the unceasing rhythms of the big city machine.” Indulge, internalize; motion is meaning. Recorded in Kensington, Philadelphia, 2013-2016. Illustrations by Mariah Welch. Mastered by John Flynn at Balance Mastering, UK and Eric Hanson at Maven Mastering, Los Angeles.
INNER SELF “O.E. OUTSIDE EXPERIENCE” CS (SILK095)
New York producer Andrew Stefano’s freshest guise reflects the different headspace he was seeking last fall, shifting gears from his ongoing jungle fusion project, Trust Image. O.E. Outside Experience finds him flexing more muted and melancholic shades of broken beat, jazz techno, and high-stepping warehouse hybrids, inspired by notions of internalization and exploration – plus “a lot of Detroit shit.” The seven tracks traverse therapeutic contrasts of rhythm and reflection, solitude and celebration, crisp percussion offset with smeared synths, vaporous texture, and acidic bass. A decade of music making has honed Stefano’s instincts for motion, melody, and atmosphere, which he wields here with a distinct, dynamic touch. The Self speaks. Recorded at his home studio in Brooklyn on a mix of hardware and software in late 2016. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
BLUDWORK “NIGHTMARE” CS (SILK094)
Debut public collection of smooth and sorrowful rhythm glides by Long Beach student / soul enthusiast Bludwork feels equal parts loose and lost, vibe-y and vulnerable. Nightmare traces six subtle shades of sunset melancholia through sculpted improvisations of intuitive inner space house, inspired by gospel, southern rap, and rejection. Since starting the project his final year of high school Turner has honed his hardware configuration and emotional palette, arriving at a sensual fusion of midnight melody, muted bass, slippery percussion, bold samples, and spare design, ideal for solitude or celebration. For music so rich and reflective it’s apt he credits family as formative, particularly the “beautiful chords that warm my heart from soul and gospel records my dad used to play when I was young.” New dancefloor nostalgias for the Now by a distinct coastal talent. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
AKASHA SYSTEM “VAGUE RESPONSE” CS (SILK093)
Proper extended-play collection of clouded quartz electronics and hushed house designs by pensive Portland producer Hunter P. Thompson aka Akasha System following a pair of promising prior tapes – Sea Glass (self-released) and Twin Optics (issued through his own Cloudbank imprint earlier this year). Vague Response finds him in peak form, leanly tracing muted melodies with fog, bass, glass, rhythm, and reverb. There’s a touch of the current Pacific Northwest scene to these pieces, heavy on vibe, texture, and space, but Thompson cites a 2015 trip with an ex to the temples of Mt. Koya near Osaka as his central inspiration: “These songs helped me close the door on a chapter of my life while opening another into the future.” Compelling portals of shaded motion and dancefloor introspection cut from the dreamer’s cloth. Mastered by Joel Shanahan.
POTIONS “PUSHING THE CUBOID” CS (SILK092)
Eight new nubby acid permutations by Chicago’s premiere liquid electric projectionist, Potions. Sourced from a set-list of 2015 live staples, Pushing The Cuboid expands Tom Owens’ melting microchip fusion to include a more warped spectrum of bubbling concoctions. Recorded to a Tascam 4-track and digitally mixed with limited overdubs, the album oil-spills an array of fantastical wavelengths: moonbase monorail cruise (“Heel Lift,” “Space Mountain”), rubbery sarcasmic jazz (“Goof Forward,” starring Rob Frye of Bitchin’ Bajas on multi-tracked horns), outer rings cosmos shuffle (“Cool Ride”), cyber warehouse lurch (“Detroit Heart Strings”), etc. As always with Potions, there are no solid states, only alchemic flux – dissolving textures, rhythmic wobble, heavy phasing, cuboids pushed through unstable grids. In addition to Frye (whose flute and bass clarinet color the entire B Side), PTC also shows influence from Owens’ visual collaborator, Jillian Musielak, who projects mutating textural environments during performances. Speaking of: a string of spring dates throughout the heartland and west coast have been mapped to occasion the new release – catch his morphing electricities live if geographies allow.
FOANS “FRONTIER” CS (SILK091)
The latest slate of rarified Rocky Mountain nocturnal house moods by sharpening craftsman Andrew Dahabrah distills his production instincts to their starkest, most sensual essence. Tight, tense rhythms intertwine with sinuous bass lines overcast by fluttering software gauze and dizzy sequencer patterns, evoking thin air, cold roads, icy peaks, oxygen deprivation. Since 2013 the FOANS discography has deepened at a steady clip, morphing through pixelated ambience, trip-hop abstraction, and bedroom techno – capped by last year’s Schema cassette for austere Danish electronics imprint Speaker Footage – but Frontier synthesizes the project’s strengths in a uniquely persuasive manner: lush, strung out, blissed out, bleary. Dahabrah paints the picture succinctly: “These tracks were made late at night.” Fluid city hazes in high altitudes by a deepening talent. Mastered by Alex Nagle.
PLEASURE MODEL “KENDO DYNAMICS” CS (SILK090)
Bristol giallo disco meta-morphist Antoni Maiovvi flexes a fresh facet of his production arsenal as Pleasure Model, mapping leaner schematics of vintage cybernetic dread through stark drum machinery and cold fluorescent synthwork. Kendo Dynamics is his debut under this divergent replicant guise; it presents a persuasive world of fiber optic paranoia and technoid effacement. The album’s eight tracks trace various nuanced parallels of brooding arpeggiator jack (“Calmstone On Sea,” “Bealichtbach”), voidist new wave (“Mounnrocc,” “Dreams Of Crystal”), and blasted sci-fi body music (“Eat Itself,” “Abandonment Issues”), coaxing a mood of melancholic circuitry and souls on the brink. Data is DNA; every self, a subdivision. Slit the skin and count the pixels. One of Maiovvi’s finest futurist hours. Recorded at Mantueffelstr, Berlin, in Fall 2015.
ROCHE “DAWN OF THE NEXT CYCLE” CS (SILK089)
Ben Winans’ work as Roche resists niches and deadzones, threading through the outer rings of quasar-techno and hypno-house. His latest logbook, Dawn Of The Next Cycle, spirals deep into red-eyed trips of pulsing, gaseous patterns, electric body music reflections on “a world at war, a world that is falling apart, or perhaps reforming.” Shades of tribal jack, slap bass, submerged disco, cyber club, and programmer haze interweave and evaporate; nebulous melodies swell and dissolve; cycles dawn and die. Adapt or collapse – both man and machine. Even more than on previous releases, here Winans wields an innerspace touch, sinuous and circular, heavy-lidded like a horizon line. It’s always darkest before the Dawn. Recorded in San Francisco, California and mastered by Matt Tammariello.
NACKT “VIREX” CS (SILK088)
A decade-plus duration of Bay Area electronic community building has distilled Johnny Igaz’s production alias Nackt down to its rubbery, resinous essence. Virex captures the project in its purest state: all live, all hardware, traced in curvilinear acid. The collection flows from fog machine night-stalk (“Full Coat,” “Ford”) to grooved mothership jack (“Black Widow,” “Trash Brothers”) to 303 soul (“Husk”), cut with verve and variance. Outpost party co-founder CM-4 shares much of the writing and production credit, frequently joining Nackt for live hardware PA performances. A squad of other SF house associates – Michael Claus (Outpost), Jason Key (Rotation), Doc Sleep (Jacktone) – cameo with drum patterns, 303 design, and additional production duties. Both alone and in collaboration Nackt conjures a riveting chemistry: lean, liquid, mechanized, and mesmerizing. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
MR BRONSON “TRANS PACIFIC” CS (SILK087)
Melbourne hardware flatliner Mr. Bronson (aka Andrew Broughton) strips tracks back to their strobing skeletons, lean sequences of poly-synth and 707, a spiraling infinity window across Oceania. Motion does not equal movement; Pacific vertigo is its own reward. The eight woozy waveforms of Trans Pacific traverse overlapping strands of tranced acid, throbbing bass, and minimal synthesizer design, alternately stealthy and slogged, a low-slung speedboat in the dusk approaching Ball’s Pyramid. Previous limited lathes on his Bad Party imprint have explored similarly endless grids but the cuts collected here cruise the furthest into Mr. Bronson selfhood ritual, raw constructs of mantric pulse and drum machinery, gear in flight. Mastered by Alter Echo.
BUZ LUDZHA “BASSLINES FOR LIFE” 12″ (SILK086)
Buz Ludzha belongs to the “tape throb” lineage Andrew Morrison more prominently pioneers as The Cyclist, but filtered through an even more blasted, resinous speaker cone. His 2014 debut single on All City, Love Repetitive Rhythmics, traced the template but this newest EP, Basslines For Life, delivers on its title, going harder and stretching further into his unique splinter mode of wrecked EQ’s: grainy drum machinery, gain-streaked synths, decayed soul samples, motorik dancefloor manoeuvres in the dark. All four tracks are mixed hot and humid, swarming cassette textures churning over conveyor belts of blown-out bass, warehouse rhythm, and salvaged voice, jacking through body masses towards quaking systems you feel as much as hear. Communion demands desire; believe or be leaving. Black vinyl 12 inches with center labels designed by John Michael. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
JAMES BOOTH “HUMAN RITES” 12″ (SILK084)
Mancunian producer James Booth holed up in various Hulme flats and half-studios with nothing but an old iMac to craft the six lushly overcast house designs comprising his vinyl debut, Human Rites. And, as is sometimes the case, the limitations were liberating: “With all of my gear in storage I downloaded a couple of plugins and tried to breath some life into them… with none of my old dusty buttons and keys I ended up focusing more deeply on the melodies and sound of each instrument.” Building on the misty-lensed techniques of his 2013 SILK cassette, Reunion, Booth’s new set of tracks feel even more nuanced and rain-streaked, streetlights dissolving through night bus windows, suburbs and moors glowing grey in the motorway’s false dawn. Structurally these songs swirl more than peak – synth lines spiral woozily, rhythms flex and fade, emotions come in and out of focus. He sees it similarly, describing Rites as “music for processes and passages; time elapses and we change.” Personal music for an impersonal world. 33 RPM black vinyl 12 inches in SILK label jackets designed by Roland Tings. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
CHERUSHII “MEMORY OF WATER” CS (SILK085)
Released in advance of her forthcoming Far Away So Close 12” though recorded almost a year later, Memory Of Water pools together eight dazed Cherushii excursions through sci-fi opera house, digital dolpin-scapes, cloud city slowgrind, ultraviolet synthwave, and ambient quicksand. Distinctly her least DJ-dedicated collection, exploring all kinds of sprawls and sketches and planetarium textures not intended for dancefloor consumption – although ex-tour sister Ms. Maria Minerva does cameo on “Thin Line,” a prize pearl of Estonian discotheque-pop about “trembling on a tightrope caught between sweet seduction and mass destruction.” But in general this is Cherushii in research-and-development mode, vibing rich veins out of new wiring schemes, chilled champagne, and Mission District memories. A revealing cross-section of diverse designs, down its own side street. Mastered by Matt Tammariello.
PARADISE 100 “NORTHERN SEOUL” CS (SILK082)
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.” 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. Subtle Seoul-searching by a craftsman out of the lights and off on his own. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
CHERUSHII “FAR AWAY SO CLOSE” 12″ (SILK081)
San Fran rave loyalist Chelsea Faith aka Cherushii centered her 2nd EP around its title track, which evokes a Balearic brunch dream sequence set along a Mediterranean isle – swooping shorelines, seagulls, liquid sky sax (courtesy of jazz multi-instrumentalist Marcia Miget), sensual surfer acid. Escape as experience. The record’s other three cuts stake her map across varied terrains, from maximalist catwalk (“Set You Free”) to sensual moonlight (“Nightsteps”) to fogged up DJ booths (“Sweet Spot”). Far Away So Close finds Faith at her most focused and free, glitter in her eyes and the dancefloor in her fingers. Music for bodies in motion, no matter the ocean. In SILK label sleeves designed by Spencer Longo. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
V/A “SUNSET SILK” CS (SILK080)
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 as 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.
AUSCULTATION “L’ETREINTE IMAGINAIRE” CS (SILK079)
Auscultation is Madisonian-gone-Oregonian musician Joel Shanahan’s outlet for slinkier, more subliminal productions, as inaugurated on last year’s sprawling self-titled debut for 1080p Collection. His sophomore set, L’étreinte Imaginaire (which translates generally as “imaginary embrace”), was recorded off and on across France and Wisconsin throughout the last year, during and between various regional tours. The album’s seven selections swerve through jazzy, sunflared house (“Black Window,” “Composure Fuzz”), glimmering rhythm (“Stranded Love”), and misted, moody electronics (“Drop Off,” “Lost You In The Fog”). As with Shanahan’s work via Golden Donna and elsewhere, structures spiral and slide, textures phase in and out of focus, and a mood of heavy longing hovers in the headphones. Even so, the sense of focus and craft-sharpening here is unambiguous; these pieces are among his most plasmatic, pensive, and aerodynamic. Slow growth on a shadowed vine. The embrace may be imaginary but the touch feels real. Mastered by Alter Echo.
COSBY “MIRROR BOX” CS (SILK078)
East Coast audio curator Will Creason’s recording alias inevitably exudes a darker resonance in light of recent events, but coincidentally so does his latest sheaf of Cosby cuts, Mirror Box. Inspired by an amalgam of “real and imagined locations” ranging from the Strip District to Surfers Paradise, the album’s six songs stalk starker and steelier circuits than his previous work, from the glassy, paranoid dub of “Mirror Box” to the hollow powder rush of “Gold Coast” to the twitchy trio of bleakly jacking EBM B Side tracks. Each piece is a spiraling ice-slide further inside its own event horizon, cyclical and relentless. Play loud and late. Mastered by Alter Echo. Edition of 100.
POLICY “THE REPUBLIC” CS (SILK077)
Last summer Francis Hsueh (aka Policy) revisited his childhood neighborhood in Taipei, where his parents settled briefly after fleeing China when the communists seized power in 1949. Despite its legacy of displacement and diaspora, he felt a communion by riding the city’s MRT train through hazily remembered suburbs and landscapes: “The sounds of urban life, of people going someplace, made sense no matter who or where I was.” This “steady thump of movement” led to the creation of The Republic, an essentially unbroken 50-minute piece of music, with each section named after stations along Taipei’s subway. Opening with the airy chords of “Shipai,” the album curves through expanses of phased percussion, melancholic organ (“Jiantan”), post-punk basslines, cryptic voice samples (“NTU Hospital”), street ambience, syncopated bells (“Daan Park”), and beyond. But the rhythm never brakes, riding the rails through and past each new cosmopolitan borough, structures ghosting away in the dusk. A captivating sight-see of sinuous, autobiographical house. Mastered by Alter Echo.
POTIONS “PHASED” CS (SILK076)
Chicago’s Potions (aka Tom Owens) oozes a suitably liquid sub-species of electronic rhythm miasma, which he’s been bottling on boutique cassette reels since 2011, exploring various vibes and viscosities. Phased collects seven of his latest and most luxuriantly languid lava lamp concoctions for what, to our ears, may be his supreme setlist to date. Recorded primarily using “MIDI technology of decades past” (not for nothing was his debut LP called MIDI Jazz Bass), the album slips and slides through jittery cyborg jazz, disjointed lounge-fusion, siphoned acid, and dubby, dissolved house, a bubbling beaker of fluid synthetic textures. The off-kilter percussion programming gives each piece a pleasingly unstable voltage, skewing the equilibrium in whooshes of phaser and stereo rainstick. Fellow ambient sculptress Laura Jane Friedman guests with some gorgeously reflective multi-tracked vox on “Glass Lake,” but otherwise this is an instrumental affair. Mastered by Alter Echo.
THE CYCLIST “HOT HOUSE” CS (SILK074)
Andrew Morrison’s grasp of static-hazed grit as a Cyclist production signature continues to grow more grisly and majestic. On Hot House he pushes beyond tape throb into widescreen steel-wool jack, cooled with fifth-generation hiss and electric new age. Side A is all singles: heady bass, blasted dub, and phasing, echoed keys. But the reverse three lurk outside the club, blanker synthesizing, droned rhythm spirals, desperation on the streets. It’s not afraid to be epic too; 9-minute EP closer, “Higher Volumes,” is a saga of opaque tape emotion, samples, synthetic rain, and deep house. Another impressive structure from an artist miles from peaking. Pro-dubbed cassettes in label J-cards. Edition of 100. Vinyl and digital edition available worldwide via music/is/for/losers.
LUNATE “FAR SHORES” CS (SILK071)
Bogota believer Manuel Cortes conjures a spare schematic of autobiographical street house. Tracks emerge from experiences and lived insights into lean rhythm assemblages bouncing through zones of bass, acid, ballroom, warrior funk, tripped-hop: Lunate. Like the narcotic medication his alias echoes, Far Shoresshivers with a blurry pulse through wavering doses of nocturnal lament. “The Liminal,” “Cold City,” “Molt” – identities unravel in the numbing metropolis, chiming keys flashing like digital clocks in glass mansions. His vacancies are deep; “Pawn Shop Romance” sparkles on a cheap streetcorner runway groove but is about “people who make choices where they sell out true happiness for comfort and wealth.” Across 8 tracks Lunate leaves a loose-limbed trail of late nite truths and dancefloor introspections, molting into new percussion-and-sample symbioses. Recorded in Turkey, Colombia, and beyond across the last year, and mastered by Alter Echo.
LUCA LOZANO “ISOLATION DISTORTS” CS (SILK070)
Berlin-based label impresario and shapeshifting selector Luca Lozano has sounded a lot of ways across his expansive discography (spanning his own Klasse Recordings plus Optimo, Morris/Audio, and more), but Isolation Distorts stands as one his most skewed and striking. Wheezing sci-fi textures ebb into martian techno; organ melodies lilt over lunar acid; cold synth-pop burrows into craters of dust. Lozano’s pacing is patient, loops and melodies hung along alien canyons, pivoting from one tranced conspiracy passage to another. The collection brightens toward the end, planetary shadow receding into jazzed breakbeats (“Lifting Forward”), which then cuts loose into space station 303 boogie (“The Fox”). Overall, an oxygen-drunk six-pack of general utility astro-tronics by a man with a plan. Mastered by Josh “Alter Echo” Derry.
BODY-SAN “CORPORATE INTERIORS” CS (SILK069)
Shopping mall lobby vapors waft heavy in the strutting fluorescent house of Kansas City producer Brandon Knocke aka Body-San’s latest collection, Corporate Interiors. The album’s 8 tracks share a waterfall window display endlessness, fluttering rhythms and escalator synths chilled with air-conditioned muzak and ambient space. Dance music for posh changing rooms and DVD seminars – utopian, sensual, blanked out. Recorded in the afterglow of relocating to a new “light-drenched Florida Room”/studio in Hospital Hill, KC, MO, these pieces feel uplifted and empowered by positive motion, preferred parking, and plastic plants; the seams of experience gleam. Fantasy-funk urban planning from a musician/mastermind with the liquid crystal touch. Mastered by Alter Echo in Portland, Oregon.
PRISON GARDE “OCCULTSYSTEM” CS (SILK068)
Montreal barber Robert Squire has a lengthy music biz CV as hip-hop producer, remixer, label boss, DJ, graphic designer, and beyond, but the past few years have seen him zeroing in more exclusively on his revolving door hardware operation, Prison Garde, with rawer and more ruthless results. Occultsystemgathers ten of his starkest grey-scale technoid skeletons into a tense suite of paranoiac electronics and faded 5 AM cruises down desolate service roads. Entirely improvised using a TR909, Moog Minitaur, Juno-60, Tetra synthesizer, 3630 Compressor, some pedals, and a mixing desk, Squire’s tracks strip rhythms to the bone, leaving them to shiver in a shadow of echo and bass gloom. Close associates like Ango, Ace Decade, and Kevin Eames contribute as well, co-scheming percussion blueprints, modulating FX, and whatever else gets deemed crucial to the particular Prison Garde industrial complex at hand. A bleary, brooding, but banging decagon of jammed signals, hunkered youth, and concrete tunnel visions, decrepit grain elevators flashing past in the window.
VERTICAL67 “AURA” 12″ (SILK067)
Berlin sequencer Thomas Pahl aka Vertical67 pitches his latest sheaf of sim city nostalgia acid away from the lovers lanes of his last SILK sides, Soulmates, towards a new nocturnal dome. Faded neon, concave rubber basslines, fluorescent synths, and Roland rhythm patterns interweave across expanses of spheric interior space – an Aurapervades. The EP’s 5 pieces patrol different perimeters, evoking various shades of windswept, moon-burned, ecstatic, restless states of mind. Pahl’s interests in electronic textures spill over into his ambient work as The Coloured Chaos, a fixation with fluidity, weightlessness, lasers fluttering between microchips, an android’s haunted thoughts. Interface and inter-place. Features a remix of zero gravity poolside theme “Invisible Presence” by Octo Octa. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
STRATEGY “BOXOLOGY” CS (SILK066)
The breadth of bass and rhythm imagineerings devised weekly by Portland machinist Paul Dickow is as invigorating as it is overwhelming – some cups run dry and some flow forever apparently. More than a decade in and Strategy’s strategies only continue to pinwheel and proliferate, as showcased on his latest capsule collection, Boxology, which swirls through slinky sunrise house (“Panorama,” “The Mink”), acid-splashed funktronix (“The Works,” “Drag It Through The Garden”), jazzy Detroit shuffles (“A Secret,” “Planet Of Jazz”), and airy dancefloor escalators (“Tomorrow May Never Come”). Throughout, Dickow wields a light touch, allowing each concoction to fizz, flex, and ferment before queuing up the next hardware pattern or pitch-bent synth hook. The fact that the bulk of these pieces were road-tested at west coast parties over the last couple years helps explain their fluidity and sneaky footloose agenda. Also worth mentioning/praising: for a dude this deep in the game this is some seriously un-cynical music. Who else writes Chi-house jams about their hot dog condiment preferences? NOT ENOUGH. Mastered by Josh “Alter Echo” Derry.
GOLDEN DONNA “II” CS (SILK064)
Madisonian synthesizer omnivore follows the trippy club-crunched double helixes of his recent split 12 on Atlanta’s burgeoning CGI imprint with a 7-song skybath of breezy balcony themes, trap-flecked trampoline electronics, pale dream-pitched slow-rides, and diamond-headed aerodynamics for SILK’s subliminal magnetic tape division. There’s a consistent looking-glass curvature to the way he bends textures and percussion, giving them this lens flare glow, like a warped sheen of translucent plastic. Dense but dispersed, IIpushes past his debut into higher altitude airspace, towards warmer climes. A uniquely hardwired hanging garden of hibernation strategies from a voracious jammer locked in the lair of midwestern winter. Mastered by Ghost Sounds.
TEMPLES “EARRINGS II” 12″ (SILK063)
Portlandia house bastion Ecstasy termed Temples’ 2012 debut mini-LP, I-VII, “ambient jack,” which captures something of the project’s contradictory strengths: airy yet agile, sparse but plush, flights of intuition mapped onto morphing grids of percussion, crystalline electronics, and pastel skylines. Avalon Kalin’s latest collection of tech finery, Earrings II, dials back the atmospheric quotient somewhat, though there’s still a rock garden spaciousness to his mixes, each element arranged with regard to some higher harmony, the poetry of negative space. Recorded in his home studio “while dancing,” the four tracks here ebb between passages of pressure and release, euphoric but unstable, dusted with pyramid-chamber slap back and live dubbing acrobatics. Their melting clock asymmetries more closely echo Kalin’s hardware improvisations with Scott Goodwin as Polonaise than the velvet vocal house of his other solo vessel, Finesse, but Temples is ultimately a holy place all its own. A sleekly compelling statement from one of the Pacific Northwest’s secret weapons. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
ROCHE “STILLHOPE” 12″ (SILK062)
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.
OCTO OCTA “CAUSE I LOVE YOU” 12″ (SILK061)
New England deep house patriot Octo Octa logged serious miles in 2013, flexing live sets and DJ gigs worldwide, refining production techniques, and tracking a trio of fresh EPs. Cause I Love You is the first (to be followed by 12’s for Skylax and Argot), and it’s a shot to the heart. “Cause I Love You” jacks out of the gate, a jubilant drag race of tumbling percussion, intestinal bass, and slipstreaming vocal samples, a bold banger to break the mold of Between Two Selves’ moody collective soul. Live staple “So Lux” lives up to the title, a creamy, serene slice of stereo software, while “Give” (featuring Raw Moans) coasts on a mesmerizing melody loop, filtered, flowing, and low to the ground. Closer “Mine (Second Chance Mix)” is classic Octo: lens-flared, high-stepping, turned on, turned loose. Though more of a variety pack than a linearly themed collection, these four cuts show a crafter hot in the pocket, still picking up steam, alive with ideas. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann.
BEAT DETECTIVES “MUSIC 2” CS (SILK059)
Anarchic trash-techno trios from Minneapolis aren’t a plentiful commodity in our experience, especially ones as freewheeling and funked up as Beat Detectives. Comprised of visual artist Aaron Anderson, Chris Hontos (also of Food Pyramid and Dreamweapon), and Oakley Tapola, the group got their start playing a heavily screwed form of rudimentary dance music at “dirt raves in punker basements” around the Twin Cities before Anderson relocated to NYC. Music 2 is the perfect sophomore stepping stone to follow Casual Encounters Of The Third Kind, their debut on Moon Glyph from earlier this year. Woozy house mutations and pitch-shifted party-acid experiments congeal and dissolve around Tapola’s delirious, deadpan vocals (she manages to make lyrics like “American flag / with weed leaves / replacing the stars” sound strange and deranged instead of silly), interspersed with dizzy dub grooves and displaced electro-jack. Reminiscent in places of those weird deep cuts on certain late 80′s Warrior Records acid comps, before the style got codified and normalized. Regenerative club mutagen for a world with a stick up its ass. Recorded in Minneapolis and Brooklyn, 2012-2013, and mastered by Cole Weiland.
FAST TIMES “BODYTALK” CS (SILK058)
Brooklynite Jorge Day’s musical CV includes synth duties in Wierd Records mope-pop act Plastic Flowers as well as production for sultry neo-wavers Lingerie, but when left to his own devices he crafts gritty skeletal house sketches under the Fast Times flag. Bodytalk is his debut after a year of workshopping demos and touring Europe, and the results caress a spectrum of SILK sweet-spots: reverbed runway themes (“Mon Petit”), warehouse memory tapes (“Ephemera”), dirty drum machinery (“Eternity Is Past”), naked soul samples (“Toxic City”), luxe lo-fi hypnosis (“Male Polish,” “Midnight Vamp”), etc. There’s a starkness and crunch to these tracks that skews them more towards the proto-house vibe of various mid-80′s analog sides, when productions were more about raw rhythms and melodic minimalism, instead of the prolonged tension-and-release model which dominates to this day. History aside, Fast Times makes background boombox gold, ripe for cranking loud and cutting loose. Expect more from this transporter in the near future. Mastered by Brian Pyle.
BOBBY DRAINO “BRAIN DRAIN” 12″ (SILK057)
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 either home or away.
CHERUSHII “QUEEN OF CUPS” 12″ (SILK056)
Bay Area native Chelsea Faith’s debut as Cherushii – a name she’s been recording under since her first teenage techno Tascam experiments more than a decade ago – spills over with loves and lessons gleaned from a lifer voyage through the city’s expansive rave underworlds. Though she trained as a classical pianist at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music, the rigidity of the culture disillusioned her, so she dove headfirst into the Bay’s electronic warehouse scene, both as a promoter and performer. For her 19th birthday she received a Yamaha RS7000 sequencer, thus birthing an obsession with live PA sets, which she’s never deviated from. Recorded mostly in SF (with the exception of one track cut in Berlin), and mixed by Matthew Zipkin, Queen Of Cups takes the expansive blueprint of slow-burn deep house but threads it through with waves of synth wash, acid flash, and simmering strobe glow, for a loose yet composed suite of 21st-century free-spirit pulse generation. Mastered by Eric Hanson. In SILK label sleeves designed by Bobby Houlihan.
LES LEVEL “HOUSE OF NEED” 12″ (SILK054)
Melbournian multi-hyphenate Luke Brown aka Les Level has logged time in DJ duo Leslie Salvador and dark synth revisionists Negativ Magick but it’s his solo work as Les Level that hooked SILK’s ear, birthing his vinyl debut, House Of Need. Capped by a complementary pair of mixes of the EP’s titular neo-Chicago anthem, the rest of the collection prowls through a spectrum of shuffling, Strictly Rhythmic club cuts, from the 3 AM skyline seducer “Smooth Sailing” to the jazzy, jacking classic “Working Nights.” An expert assemblage by a nuanced craftsman with style to burn.
JAMES BOOTH “REUNION” CS (SILK053)
Memory-taper James Booth trickled through his teen years in Manchester tracking melancholia house shadows and overcast bedroom bangers on a home-rigged dictaphone/Tascam arrangement, and though he’s since upgraded his studio assemblage the essential agenda remains unchanged. Reunionis his debut, documenting ten of his choicest Northern isolation reveries, a Polaroid-hued tube-ride-turned-rhythm-odyssey through 150 shades of grey, from the nocturnal ice-house jazz of “End Tipsy” to the foggy, 5 AM club deja vu, “Seeing Voices.” An alternately hushed and hypnotized journey to the end of the night, in search of pleasures known and unknown. Again, please. Pro-dubbed, hand-numbered tapes in full-color SILK label J-cards.
COSBY “HANDS TOGETHER” CS (SILK052)
American bass lifer Will Creason aka Cosby has a storied history in various electronic micro-scenes, with hands in an an array of labels and modes, but he first cropped up on our radar back in early ’11 with his “Sangria” demo, an entrancing anthem of sultry, Sound Stream-y nu groove magic that we immediately burned and spun out in several time zones. Inspired equally by NY garage and Baltimore club music, he patiently pieced together the rest of his SILK debut EP from sessions in Seattle and D.C. and the results reveal a colorful cutaway of classic club energies: dubbed vocal workouts, confused house, funky footloose FX, jacking party acid, woozy filtered disco edits, etc. Hands Togethercasts a wide net and is all the better for it, dragging up a fun, freaky mishmash of time-warped dance forms from the bottom of the body-music world-brain. Pro-dubbed and hand-numbered.
ROLAND TINGS “LIVE IN THORNBURY” CS (SILK051)
Australia friends always tell us what a slayer SILK house-smelter Roland Tings aka Rohan Newman is in the live setting, as we’ve never had the pleasure yet ourself. Finally someone sent us proof: this cool, ripping, well-recorded recent warehouse set of his. Stitches in some choice trax from his Milky Way12″ as well as a slew of inspired unreleased jams.
ALEX BURKAT “TAROT” 12″ (SILK050)
Prolific Pennsylvanian Alex Burkat has been active in several spheres of house, disco, acid wash, and global rhythm both as DJ and producer but his 100% Silk debut skews more hazed and sensual, to great effect. Swelling loops of new age mist give way to classic Chicago figure-8 bass patterns punctuated by dubby drum fills, before billowing back into breathy warehouse atmospherics. His recent EP for Mister Saturday Night explored higher tempo dynamics but Tarot unwinds with a dreamier deja vu, waves of arpeggiatted echo, strobing stereo shimmer, and low acid warble arcing over a limitless subterranean dance floor. Hypnotic humanist mantric mystery music for the 21st century, for those invested in what the deck has to hold.
POLYSICK “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” 12″ (SILK049)
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.
JUPITER JAX “CITY LIFE ’88” CS (SILK048)
City Life ‘88 is the hypno-melancholic synth-fantasia of Maltese producer Rudi Agius aka Jupiter Jax, a daytime computational biologist and nighttime sensational keyboardologist, coding and de-coding his way through dancefloor cosmoses. In his teen years he began throwing underground parties in Malta, flying in artists from the Crème/Bunker/Clone set, revivifying the mezmer-magic of early Chicago house and obscure Italo-Disco. His compositions are omni-influenced, conjuring nocturnal neon cities of the mind.
TELESEEN “PASSAGES” CS (SILK047)
Producer Gabriel Cyr aka Teleseen fluctuates between Rio and NYC, with layovers in Africa and the Caribbean, where he accrues Mid-East beat feasts, electro-ragas, Ethiope tropes, and Carnivale Dance Hall into his Blessed-Meets-West electro-dub fusions. Teleseen drags the dancefloor to the desert floor, creating saxxy, sandy, sensual stops around the midi-map of Ethnography House. Bumper Dub for NatGeo trips, sambas for Saharan sunsets, enigmas for your savannah train trances.
COYOTE CLEAN UP “2 HOT 2 WAIT” CD (SILK044)
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.
BOBBY BROWSER “STILL BROWSING” 12″ (SILK043)
San Fran smiley face Andre Ferreira lives and breathes analog acid/house/jack in a way few other heads do, and his tracks as alter ego Bobby Browser feel sifted from some cosmic lifelong mastermix DJing through his brain. Following patiently on the heels of 2012’s Just Browsing EP comes this fresh new 4-track 12″: Still Browsing. The title of the third piece of the trilogy is rumored to be Just Hurry Up And Fucking Buy Something Already. In May Señor Browser will be cruising down under on a 100% Silk Australia tour alongside Magic Touch and Octo Octa; get warmed up.
LEECH “TUSKS” 12″ (SILK040)
Multi-scene main man and Kranky konfidante Brian Foote bounced from Chicago to Portland to L.A. before birthing Leech, his diagonal dub endeavor. Foote has helmed the mixing board and production duties for scores of innerspace artists, from Zola Jesus to LA Vampires to Grouper and beyond, but as Leech he masterminds a hybridized mode occasionally termed Chrono Dance, a non-time all-at-once synthesis of hardware rhythms, siphoned techno, and double-helix structures. Funked and freaked, rich and rare-brained.
VERTICAL67 “SOULMATES” CS (SILK039)
Casual R n’ B swagger, puro-Euro instincts, and studio techniques swarm over Soulmates, Vertical67’s debut SILK cassette. The Berliner combines heartbreak house with analog haze and anime melancholia for a mood so true you won’t know what you’ve been missing till you’ve kissed it and missed it.
ROCHE “A NIGHT AT THE HAÇ” 12″ (SILK036)
Bay Area hardware burner Ben Winans aka Roche tracks long-form odysseys of spiraling electronics and technoid hypnosis, releasing sides through Hieroglyphic Being’s Mathematics imprint as well as Icee Hot and Hobo Camp. His SILK debut, A Night At The Haç, is dedicated to the San Francisco club night (not the Manchester venue), and conjures a dizzying mood of modulated circuitry and alien acid. The title of the closer captures the brain-hazed wavelength: “Psycho Zombie Dreams.”
EZLV “SELFISH BEAT” 12″ (SILK037)
EZLV are like SoundStream in song form, luscious and light, soul-sampled, elegant acts of DJ creationism. Selfish Beat sparkles, shimmers, allures, uplifts, indulging in the beauty of nighttime exhibitionism and extravagance. Get a good feeling about this one. [NOTE: Don’t trust the center labels, these play at 33 not 45].
JUST BLACK “CAN’T PUT MY FINGER ON IT” CS (SILK035)
Smooth is the groove with Just Black. These deep house pulse-progressions hump n’ pump the body right. Six tracks of now and how, for slow burners, all-nighters, jam vamps, sleek seekers, jackin’ jills and running men, stitched together by the slinky Sir Stephen.
ANDY SANGRIA “KILL THE PRECEDENT” CS (SILK034)
The Sangria atmosphere is chilled with notes of ripe summer fruit. Kill The Precedent warps and wonks with past-tense idealism, supple samples, subtle bubbles, soupy bloops, smeared snares, raw awe. Distill the Precedent. Bleeding edge side-long mixes by the light knight of bright nights, Sir Stephen.
JMII “NUEVA YORK” 12″ (SILK033)
Barcelona-to-Berliner Jami Bassols aka JMII makes his SILK debut with Nueva York, a sensuadelic 5 a.m. slab of primo Gold Coast acid. Psychedelic, textural, and fluid, his compositions unfold and dissolve according to some sea-breezed continental logic. His side project Aster has dropped releases on Hieroglyphic Being’s Mathematics label; JMII’s poised to loft even farther afield. Ciento por ciento seda.
SIR STEPHEN “HOUSE OF REGALIA” LP (SILK032)
This homme of homage creates a time-tripped, style-slashed virtual reality of cooltempo rare grooves, Black Box jack, fashion struts, slippy UK house, acid jazz lounge trance, and cut-loose electro-soul. Music for dancers, pure n’ sample. X-scaped sleeve artwork by digital age meme sensei Spencer Longo.
LA VAMPIRES BY OCTO OCTA “FREEDOM 2K” 12″ (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.
MAGIC TOUCH / ITAL 12″ (SILK030)
Groovesome twosome Damon Palermo and Daniel Martin McCormick disjoin forces for a split personality/12 inch. Like his previous single Clubhouse, Magic Touch’s “Anywhere You Want Me” explodes in a slip-disco dash, while Ital’s reworking of the track pitches things into a delirious paranoia. On the B side Ital’s “From A Dream” follows a more jacked muse, maxxed and throbbing. Magic Touch’s remix softens the beat into italo-boogie loops, eventually ebbing to interzone afterglow.
JONAS REINHARDT “FOAM FANGS” 12″ (SILK029)
‘Foam Fangs’ could describe SILK’s preferred take on dismissed 70’s disco: the soft bite, love nibble, mirrorball on steady/ready perma-revolve. Jesse Reiner (Jonas Reinhardt’s first mister, alongside past/part-time collaborators like Phil Manley of Trans Am and Damon Palermo of Mi Ami/Magic Touch), travels head-on through long-form cosmic Moroder constellations on Foam Fangs. It’s a sonic language both transparent and metallic, cold ribbons of data surfing across infinite space. Digital version comes with an exclusive remix by Beat Broker.
COYOTE CLEAN UP “FROZEN SOLID” CS (SILK027)
Coyote Clean Up aka Ice Cold Chrissy went to the same high school as Madonna but Frozen Solid goes eons further into glam-mo sensuality mesh/mash-up, fashion apocalypse humor, and Midwest wind-chill dream grime. CCU’s got old style for the new world, fresh and frozen for all you future freaks.
POLYSICK “FLOW FM” CS (SILK026)
Tune in Tokyo, Rio, Rome, to Flow FM, Polysick’s choppy, reality-byting radio station. Channel glide between robotic-chaotic dub, ecstatic acid static, sunny synth sampladelica, Jack-the-Risker groove stabs, Rowdy Rick Dees-sleaze, organ-doning vogue-zoning, crunk color wheelies, sweet jellies and sick jams. What? And now a word from our SILK Sponsors: Flow FM has the sleekest sounds on the waves.
OCTO OCTA “ROUGH, RUGGED, AND RAW” CS (SILK025)
First in the SILK DJ Cassette Series, limited edition of 200, hot for tour. 35 minutes of previously unreleased Octo Octa tracks, mixed together for a smooth, creamy flow. 100% MILK. These bootlegs were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do.
ROLAND TINGS “MILKY WAY” 12″ (SILK024)
Roland Tings is Rohan Newman, a Melbourne producer who, like recent rubies Holy Balm, Forces, and Canyons, proves there’s more and more greatness behind the great and powerful Oz. Melodic acid over rubber basslines, like a bouncy ball in a space chamber, effervescent and buoyant, cut with echo-plexed percussion and touches of Trax magic.
FORT ROMEAU “KINGDOMS” CD/LP (SILK022)
Sensual, immaculate, jackin’ romance masterpieces by boy London and rarefied studio craftsman Fort Romeau aka Mike Norris. Kingdoms is a swooning swirl of synth finesse, microscope-dust crate-digger production nuance, house-pulse heartbeats, heavy breathing, empty 3 AM South London streets, night bus stops in the rain, memories, etc. A stirring, secretive, subtle, and singular collection of dancefloor ghost-soul anthems.
STRATEGY “BOXY MUSIC” 12″ (SILK021)
PDX hardware vet Paul Dickow aka “Strategy of Cascadia” has been channeling the depths of dub, house, acid, and similarly circuit-bent rhythm voyages for approaching two decades now, issuing sides through a universe of illustrious labels: Kranky, Further, Field Hymns, Endless Flight, Idle Hands, Peak Oil, Boomarm Nation, etc. His 100% Silk debut, Boxy Music, fuses five of his most dynamic recent forays through kraut-tech, dancehall piano house, and futurist dub into one unified slab of funked electronic wizardry. A pioneering west coast force of multi-faceted avant-electricity.
BODY DOUBLE “MY LIFE (WHAT YOU NEED)” 12″ (SILK019)
Butch, bossy, industrial, and immediate, Body Double conjures KLF’s cult convictions with the same stadium strength and flamboyant fire-technics. Shifted deep down vocals, deconstruction factory fetishes, and bang-the-barrel-slowly tom fills build “My Life” to religious heights, while “Be Strong” takes another avenue to mournful masculinity and strapping sweat gospel house. Rounded out with a 5-hour energy-boost remix from Sir Stephen.
POLONAISE “TROCADERO” 12″ (SILK018)
Scott Goodwin has pursued diligent electronics as Bonus and live-band techno as Operative but when teamed up with Avalon Kalin (aka Finesse) as Polonaise they delve into vibrant new terrain of analog piano trance. Named in honor of the famed San Francisco den of disco oblivion, Trocadero sucks you into its fluid analog spectacle, mechanized and mesmerizing.
BOBBY BROWSER “JUST BROWSING” 12″ (SILK017)
Bay Area whiz kid Andre Ferreira aka Bobby Browser makes People-Mover music: refined glides, dewy bass, escalator acid, sunny techno. Spot him around town biking the Bay Bridge with a 909 in his knapsack or grabbing organic produce alongside some Berkeley techno vegans. A Man Of The People, primed for all your Uplift Mo’ Blow Party Plans. Just Browsing? Just Buying.
SFV ACID “GROWN” 12″ (SILK016)
The postured squelch of SFV Acid is a midsummer night dream of homegrown arcade groove, sci-fi FX, piano leisure, alien elation. Driving up a wide boulevard in the San Fernando Valley never felt like this.
MALVOEAUX “BROKEN ANTHEM” 12″ (SILK015)
Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers, Innergaze, Rhythm Based Lovers) brings his graceful tranced touch to all his identities, whether cutting loose at an outdoor rave, an abandoned department store in Hollywood, or an 800-capacity warehouse in the bowels of Bushwick. With his debut Malvoeaux outing on SILK he channels slaying French filter-house like you can only find in the most off-the-chain clubs in Western Europe (or certain corners of the internet). FX-jacked, revved-out disco edits to get your mind’s night in full swing.
PEAKING LIGHTS “936 REMIXED” 12″ (SILK014)
Ponies from the SILK stable transform 936 on this remix redux. From the chic metallic vocal pitch n’ bounce of Ital’s take on “Marshmellow Yellow” to Xander Harris’ giallo-reggae revision of “Birds of Paradise” to Innergaze’s minimal wave “All The Sun That Shines” and Cuticle’s hi-hat space jam conversion of “Tiger Eyes,” this is even beater than the real thing. Let the Domino fall; 936‘s gone nightlife.
MARIA MINERVA “SACRED & PROFANE LOVE” 12″ (SILK013)
Producer/chanteuse Maria Minerva is the gift that keeps on giving. Her fourth effort of 2011 (after the how-low-can-you-fi Tallinn At Dawn, the upside-down disco EP Noble Savage, AND the salty sweet striptease Cabaret Cixous) has it all: drugged drag choruses, saucy pans, lines of echo powder, candy flips, layered bangs, crooked hooks, pop weaseling, sand dune sparkle, dream reels. Sensual in every sense. Comes with a swaggering Ital remix of “Luv So Strong” as the closer cut.
100% SILK 2011 TOUR T-SHIRT
PHARAOHS “UHH UHH” 12″ (SILK012)
Mad Madchester vibes define Pharaohs debut Uhh Uhh, happy mondays, tuesdays and wednesdays full of synthetic drums, funky 808, pitch-shifted vocals, freaky dancing, baggy world party heaven. Add a bit of bubbly acid, some extended jazz grooves, a dash of KLF big band UK mayhem, and a touch of 94.7 FM liquid sax/velvet breath and you’ve got the deep pleasure these LA kings can conjure. Taking the shiny dance floor to the warehouse cement, then out on to the sandy patio floor for hot Hacienda nights.
OCTO OCTA “LET ME SEE YOU” 12″ (SILK011)
“Tryin’ to let it go” is the theme at hand: yearnin’ to earn it. Rhythm is feeling, especially when feelings are feeling bad. A 12″ can be therapy, cutting through the pain. Docto Octa is in, checking the pulse, charging by the half hour, recalling past lives when the ball dropped, glittering with glitter, standing in a room full of strangers and lovers, life and loves fading into fog. And the DJ played on.
ITAL “ONLY FOR TONIGHT” 12″ (SILK010)
Dancing in the light of a miracle, a love song from an era gone, “Only For Tonight” is a tawdry affair with rhythm, noise, and soul. And if rhythm is a dancer then Ital is her choreographer, hands on her hips and showing the way. Twelve inches of time running out; you’ve got this night with Ital but will you love him tomorrow? Lovers don’t just rock, they let their bodies talk, but only for tonight.
MAGIC TOUCH “I CAN FEEL THE HEAT” 12″ (SILK009)
Groove into Magic Touch’s pleasure factory, a floor-to-ceiling inventory of disco-covalence, guitar rush, even-better-than-the-real-thing samples, and jumpin’ jackin’ flash. A vice is nice but pills will never thrill you like the sensation of Magic Touch, his feverish fantasia of sweet heat. “I Can Feel The Heat” features guest guitar by So-Cal shredder Josh Anzano; “Clubhouse” stars additional instrumentation by Miracle Clubber Honey Owens.
INNERGAZE “SHADOW DISCO” 12″ (SILK008)
Innergaze your innerself – a Ror-shock of broken dreams and disco balls, cracked make-up mirrors of lipstick stains and smears, and Tom Collins highballs spilled on the tile. Innergaze makes dance music to lurch around to at 3 a.m., when the dry ice is dried out and you can’t find your fur coat. There’s taking candy from a baby and then there’s taking candy-colored cocktails from a stranger who’s dosed you with Innergaze’s bump and fuzz and slo-mo vocoderisms. For writhing on a cold white leather couch in an air-conditioned club. Strictly ballroom, strictly Freudian, and strictly speaking from the Innergaze Shadow Disco: Are you my mother, lover?
SIR STEPHEN “BY DESIGN” 12″ (SILK007)
Catwalk calls from a Creole Camelot; Sir Stephen’s more Boy London than Boy Bayou. Like the well-lit fitting room of a United Colors of Benetton store in Milan, By Design is consumer-cool counter counterculture – if the counter’s a denim bar that only takes gold Amex. Like the pool on the roof of a luxury hotel in Tokyo, By Design is Starck-er than stark, wetter than wild, and deeper in the shallow end. It’s so down it’s beat, so afterhours it’s early afternoon, so oversized there’s room for two. Made by design with the finest materials – rayon and on, cashmere and cream, and 100% silky Silk.
XANDER HARRIS “I WANT MORE THAN JUST BLOOD (HIGH HEELS REMIX)” 12″ (SILK006)
Italians may do it better (ice cream, genuine leather, synth splatter) but everything’s still bigger in Texas. Like this X-Large redux from Austin’s X-ander Harris. He calls side A the “high heels remix” and it sounds like a cosmic navigator who’s recently returned to Earth only to realize he’s left his generation behind, it’s closing in on 2012, and everyone he loves has aged and moved on without him. If Xander Harris had a hammer, he’d beat down John Carpenter’s door, turn Carpenteria into a Danceteria, and make that grave-waver Sweatt. Finally, an escape from New York.
GILLETTE 12″ (SILK005)
Gillette are a monorail through black-lit airbrushed metropolis cityscapes, liquid metalheads and bladerunners bargaining in back alleys for stolen hardware. Dying yet eternal, scenic but bleak, formless though fated. Remote with control. Craft/work for the machines of men. Features members of Profligate, Lazy Magnet, etc.
MARIA MINERVA “NOBLE SAVAGE” 12″ (SILK004)
Bedroom dance from the London flat of Estonian goddess – and self-professed “hippy chick” – Maria Minerva. The A side touches on tribal trance, hacker boy beats, looped love, and the atmospheric long walks down dark dawn hallways. But the hit is “Disko Bliss,” where Maria’s brand of cracked-mirror disco could chill out Donna’s hottest summer. If Blondie was bizarrer, if Madonna’s raver bedtime stories actually went deeper and deeper, you’d have the beginnings of the world of Ms. Minerva. But would she have you?
CUTICLE “CONFECTIONER BEATS” 12″ (SILK003)
Misunderstood during their time together by an Iowa City that couldn’t feel the computer-generated heart beating as one, Cuticle make the music of the matrix, jacked through the green grids of tron city. Blue pills of lazer tag, Strange Days steady cams, morphing synths, circuit rupture, cyber-symphonic warps. If neon lovers glow in the dark then Cuticle can be seen radiating for miles. From the finger-less gloves of Daren Ho (Driphouse), Brendan O’Keefe (Nimby), and Jeff Witscher (Rene Hell): a three-dimensional systems preference sound show.
THE DEEEP “MUDDY TRACKS” 12″ (SILK002)
The Deeep’s Muddy Tracks is the kind of Toronto shamanism you never knew existed: like someone pulled the stinger out of Beth Gibbons and sucked the poison out of Tricky, leaving a stripped zombie trance-hop. The remixes fold in jubilant Indo-Eastern moves, for sophisticates only.
ITAL “ITAL’S THEME” 12″ (SILK001)
Hot and sticky humid DC nights. San Fran brotherly love bangers. You-Can-Have-It-All loftings in Brooklyn. Ital bounces between these like a mechanized conga beat, offering up the kind of cuts that make you move like the smoother, sweeter version of yrself. “Itals Theme” is magnetic; the cold open for a one night stand, the montage you’d set yr Thursday night to – back when Thursday night was Friday night and you had to get out of the house. “Queens” reverberates through the dance hall like a rubber ball, off one wall and onto the other, picking up sweat and steam on the way. “One Hit” sounds like the scaling of a skyscraper, higher and higher.
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NEWBODY “EMOTIONAL” 12″ (HOS004)
LA/Detroit two-steppers Newbody (aka Roberto Ramone and Jonathan Roshad) keep the faith on their latest single. “Emotional” and the flip “Wut U Do” share the duo’s brisk vocal house signature: cooled garage energy, uptown piano, bass calisthenics, satin shirt soul. The remixes flex different tendons of the tracks: Emotion II Emotion pumps a Jack City vibe, piano stabs and discotheque horns over a lewd bounce, while Cromie & Sage Caswell go more stereoscopic, dizzying up an abstract sunrise awakening. Also includes a radio edit of “Emotional,” to bait the Top 40 DJs on the fence. Mastered by Mark Pistel. Center label design by Trevor Tarczynski.
GEMINI LION “ADORATION” 12″ (HOS003)
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.
SIR STEPHEN “SANCTUARY” 12″ (HOS002)
French Quarter diva-house decadent Sir Stephen explores fresh palatial terrace party terrain on Sanctuary, a six-song rosary for SILK streetwear subsidiary House Of Silk. Seemingly inspired by that short-lived (and culturally off-limits) stylistic intersection of 90’s club music and devotional New Age – think early Enigma, deep house PM Dawn white labels, wind chime samples, etc – the EP glides between moods of self-reflection and celebration, often in the same track. Vocals rise through synth-swells of incense and candlelight, tag-teaming with sub-currents of tribal percussion, trumpet, sax, software warble, piano stabs, and acid-jazz flute. An absorbing and sensual resurrection collection by New Orleans’ foremost dancefloor defibrillator. Hand-stamped white label 12 inches mastered by Marshall Jefferson in Chicago, IL.
EZLV/ROMY “HOME” 12″ (HOS001)
French-Canadian dirty-disco duo EZLV kick off SILK’s new imprint, House Of Silk, with four fresh & carefree club classix led by “Home,” the lush uptown house anthem by Melbourne vocalist/MC/boheme Romy Hoffman. The rest of the EP spans funked-out nu-groove edits of prized Salsoul sides, a “Home” deelite-dub by EZLV, plus an androgynous slow-pitched re-imagining of the hard house heartbreaker “It’s Over Now.” Quebecois culture’s finest body-rocking export of late, crafted expressly 2 B N-Joyed. For fans of letting loose. Black vinyl 45 RPM 12 inches mastered by A.P. In hand-stamped and stickered sleeves.