MICHAEL CLAUS “LAVENDER PALACE” CS (SILK139)
Lavender Palace is a portrait of a process more than a place – the result of a creative headspace San Francisco producer (and Silva Electronics boss) Michael Claus describes as “dropping out of the world and entering a flow state.” That heightened sense of spatial focus, dilated and dialed in, colors the collection in subtle shades of dream house, dub techno, and liquid downtempo.
Recorded before and during the strangest days of peak lockdown, Claus found himself drawn to sci-fi notions of fantastical cities and mythic landscapes, hazy realms in the horizon of the mind’s eye. Further inspired by a new and improved studio arrangement in the city, the sessions unspooled in long, low-slung voyages of texture and pulse, restlessness and reverie, “yearning for a better tomorrow.” It’s music of empty streets and guarded hope, percolating at the precipice of futures too real to recognize.
PARC “WAVE IRIDESCENCE” CS (SILK137)
Vancouver producer Jeremy Rawkins aka PARC’s 2nd collection further finesses his signature fusion of dexterous rhythm dynamics, liquid field recordings, and digital synth ambience into an immersive, aerodynamic domain: Wave Iridescence. Embracing the limitations and tonal saturation of 80’s and 90’s digital synths and converters, the tracks gleam and slipstream with a sleek, weightless futurism, conjuring visions of fiber optic clouds and lost biodome terrariums.
Rawkins cites notions of organic electronics, randomized beauty, and the peripheries of dance music as inspiration, but ultimately the sound he maps is too fluid and prismatic for effective categorization. It’s music of heights and breaks, precision and vertigo, loops and radiance – vivid cybernetic heavens forever in flux.
NATE ARCHER “WILD TIGERS I HAVE KNOWN: ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDING” CS (SILK136)
Nate Archer’s new score to his brother Cam’s celebrated 2006 feature film Wild Tigers I Have Known was conceived as radio transmissions coloring the emotional landscape of the confused adolescent protagonist, Logan. A mix of glittering synths, sampled voice, stark rhythm, and surreal moods, the tracks conjure a sense of “slight menace, or a slowly lifting veil,” as Logan wanders Santa Cruz suburbia, at the threshold of the wilderness of adulthood.
Archer’s background in basement psychedelia (Rahdunes) and leftfield tribal electronics (Leisure Connection) bleed through in the soundtrack’s disorienting diversity, alternately ominous and innocent, hedonistic and hallucinatory. These are less songs than wavelengths, as much internal as external, pulsing with the promise and pain of desires still unnamed, futures yet unknown.
V/A “2ND LIFE SILK” CS (SILK133)
Ten years into the fold and still 100%. 2nd Life Silk celebrates the label’s decade anniversary in the spirit in which it started: inclusive, interwoven, and independent. All 11 artists (or aliases) are new to the roster, stationed from Saint Leonards to San Francisco, Portland to Pittsburgh, spanning deserts, everglades, and intercoastal urban jungles. The sounds are sidewinding and singular but share a mood of hypnotic movement, homemade and low slung, slow strobe dance transmissions from back rooms and basements. Across 69 minutes the compilation surfs memory disco, snake-charmer jack, eco-techno, spiral tribalism, diamond downtempo, breatharian house, skyscraper smooth groove, and mystic new wave fusion, riding different waves of the same sea. Rhythm isn’t strict and gates don’t need keepers. From one life to the 2nd, music will outlast it all.
SOSHI TAKEDA “FLOATING MOUNTAINS” CS (SILK132)
Tokyo visionist Soshi Takeda’s second album took shape across eight months of the winter and spring, inspired by an iconic mid-80’s photography book of Chinese landscapes. Scenes of lantern-lit fishing boats on misty mountain lakes seeded a mood of hidden paradise, ancient waterways snaking secret paths into the past.
Recorded at his home studio using exclusively hardware synths and samplers from the 1990’s, the six songs of Floating Mountains (plus digital-only bonus cut, “Deep Breath,” from the recent 2nd Life Silk compilation) evoke shrouded cinematic vistas of liquid skies and shining lakes, like some Li River twist on Balearic half-light house. Shades of cosmic drift and crystalline electronica ebb and flow within the nocturnal pulse, pagodas and pearls reflecting the waning moon: “I hope you can feel the cool and exotic atmosphere.”
DUBHARP “SPIRAL HEIGHTS” CS (SILK131)
Denver DIY lifer Luke Thinnes launched Dubharp in 2018 as a cathartic experiment in fusing contradictory energies: propulsive but meditative, acoustic yet metallic, heaven vs the terrestrial. Spiral Heights, his sophomore collection, vividly captures this vision of “future Balearic” environments, with synthetic wind, strings, and mallets embedded in restlessly elastic 4th world rhythms. The title itself is “a gesture of gratitude” to the ecstatic refractions of dub echo and its “Ouroboros of infinite delay,” stretching time and opening pathways of mystical ascent.
Though born of improvisation, the album’s eight tracks unspool with precision and finesse, percolating syncopations of percussion, bass, bird sounds, glitch, and gleaming circuitry. Devotional zitherist Laraaji and dub renegade Lee “Scratch” Perry make memorable cameo appearances but otherwise Spiral Heights is a solo endeavor, voyaging and vibrational, multi-directional manifestations of spatial electronics bridging sky and soil, ether and earth.
PRECIPITATION “GLASS HORIZON” LP (SILK130)
The first full-length vinyl collection by Tokyo-based producer Zefan Sramek aka Precipitation crystallizes his evolving synthesis of new age ambience, tape hiss, and house music into a riveting suite of motion and mirage: Glass Horizon. Conceived and recorded between two formative trips to Sado Island in the spring and late summer of 2020, the album feels both insular and infinite, threading paths through wet grass, along isolated coasts. Field recordings of tidepools, birds, and cicadas crossfade into fluid mandalas of bass, keys, and drum machinery, while synths glide and glisten, rising like heat off sand.
Sramek speaks of themes of escape and estrangement, solace and desolation, visions of azure waters lapping empty shores. Weeks spent sleeping in a hammock attuned him to the extrasensory; melodies and memories materialized from the foliage, suffused with ocean air and placeless melancholy. All seven tracks swoop and swirl with patience and precision, grid-mapped golden dawns and gradient sunsets mixed live and captured on cassette. This is dance music as portal and pilgrimage, spiral environments for a refracted age.
GLO PHASE “EARLY MOMENTS” CS (SILK129)
Pittsburgher-turned-Angeleno Joseph Rusnak aka Glo Phase spent an extended recovery from double jaw surgery last year finessing his freshest slate of fluid synthesis rhythm systems to date: Early Moments. Sleek, serene, and elevated, the tracks traverse states of bliss and blue light, a swirl of setting suns above hazy horizons. Incorporating an array of analog and software techniques, it’s music of morning glides and shared glances, romantic but restless, reflective reveries for innerspace dance floors and shape-shifting private depths.
ETARI “RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS” CS (SILK128)
First physical format offering from Los Angeleno hypno-house producer and DJ Lexi Andre aka Etari is a tie-dyed hybrid of eco-tech dreaming and aerated rave energies, eight churning chill-out tent anthems, as suited for rainforests as rooftops. Recorded during long, loose 1 AM sessions at her home studio, Rainbow Eucalyptus exudes a mood of wonder and freefall, swirling strands of liquid synth, broken beats, and hypercolor smoke into emotive electric motion fantasias.
A self-taught DJ since the age of 16, Andre is a key figure in the Brazil-based label network Yellow Island, which issued her 2019 debut EP, Healing Herself, as well as hosting her exploratory monthly radio show, State Of Mind. The sound of Etari has honed by degrees, inspired by rare trees, cool air, and spiraling rhythm, equal parts expansion and embrace.
PLEASURE MODEL “C.M.T.I.E. MANUAL” CS (SILK126)
The don of data bank hijack house returns with his sleekest and bleakest technoid tunnel rat opus: C.M.T.I.E. Manual. Explicating a dystopian corporation’s psychonaut expansionist agenda (“Corporate Macrodosing for Technological Innovation and Efficiency”), the tracks trace a policy of liminal lysergics, automated motion, and sequential circuitry, lit by the iridescence of laser face scans.
Pleasure Model 3.0 operates optimally but its grids flicker with strange sentience and opaque moods, conflicted systems in friction with their directives. Programming is brainwashing; no intelligence is artificial.
THE CYCLIST “WEATHER UNDERGROUND” CS (SILK125)
2020’s tense, tectonic unrest is a fitting foreground for Andrew Morrison’s freshest slab of bruised and blasted Cyclist productions, Weather Underground. Like their ravaged revolutionary group namesake, these tracks exude a mood of strife, shadows, and smoke, simmering protest transmissions from the grim north. The songs smear shades of industrial hypnosis, basement dub, and soul lament within his signature saturated “tape throb” palette like tagged concrete stained by tear gas. Rhythms of release and resistance, bodies in motion on the edge of the storm, coiled to strike for futures too unthinkable to lose.
WELL BEING “PLEASURE GARDEN” CS (SILK124)
The first physical media manifestation by Portland producer Dan Kirschner aka Well Being blurs the boundary between warehouse and wilderness, future and nature, free-flowing frameworks of deep house, relaxed acid, and dewdrop electronics: Pleasure Garden. From the sparkling windswept hang-glide of “Deep Sea Exploration” to the slinky forest path jack of “Moon Valley,” the EP encapsulates a spectrum of contemporary Cascadia eco-techno modes and moves: club cuts tricked with crickets, cloud bank pads above damp earth bass, rainforest rave rhythms filtered through studio skylights. Sequenced palindromically, side one is all originals, side two alternate mixes — including an elusive aerial “rebuild” by Pac Northwest peer Akasha System. Step off of the street; stray into the Garden.
LUNATE “MÉDULA” CS (SILK123)
Bogotá body-music builder Manuel Cortes returns with a sophomore slate of politicized dancefloor schematics inspired by recent South American civil unrest, shattered bones, and the multi-tiered ruins of progress. Médula shares an eclecticism with Lunate’s 2014 debut, Far Shores, but sprawls longer and more limber, wiry workouts of dubby synth-step and coiled energies, alternately delirious, decadent, and downtempo. Some selections skew 80’s or broody but elsewhere Cortes carves up classic glitterball house, surveillance state ambient, opium den dirge, and activist jack, threading a state of the nation panorama through rhythm and sensuous sound.
LA VAMPIRES DOES COLOGNE “10 OUTTA 10” CS (SILK122)
Angeleno escape artist LA Vampires returns from retirement with her first set of hot ‘n’ cold heartwave hymns since 2012, this time in collaboration with bicoastal-tronica duo Cologne. A 7-sided dice of pleasuredome pop, synthetic seduction, and emotional fantasy, 10 Outta 10 spins a sensual web of liminal lovesickness and decadent dance, amorous holograms for today’s Age Of Mirage.
From diva-house strut (“HOWUKISS”) to diamond-life lament (“STRANGERS2ME”), the vocal/production design feels sparkling and psychic, a gallery of glamorous masks: romance, rapture, regret. To feel is to feel unreal; to be moved is to be moved away.
JUPITER JAX “DEE-LIFE MIX” CS (SILK121)
Maltese falcon Rudi Agius aka Jupiter Jax’s latest collection is stoned, cold, classic, and conceptual: a 40-minute ode to and odyssey of smoky basement jack and melancholic warehouse anthems crafted from the psychic crates of short-lived, lost-to-time house imprint Dee-Life Records.
Credited to a cast of forgotten label staples – LifeLess, Hush Hush, Brad K, and beyond – the tracks weave from magic hour to midnight, Chicago moods and Detroit mirages, heady and hypnotized. Deep cuts dug from a dusty DJ bag found behind fog machines in a long-shuttered club, the disco sleeves shredded, the vinyl thrashed, peeling center labels scrawled with BPMs. Dee-Life Mix serves as both portal and party, parallel universe vintage club gems transported to the here and now.
MARIA MINERVA “SOFT POWER” CS (SILK120)
Tallinn’s top leftfield pop export breaks her half-decade solo hiatus with a choice collection of daydream discotheque classics: Soft Power. Recorded between Hollywood and Calabasas over the last few years, and co-produced by Dzang studio pro Adam Gunther, the album is pure Minerva: high and low, heady and hedonistic, deadpan diva designs for neon nights and mirage dance floors.
She starts off seductive (“hey pretty baby it’s been a while / haven’t seen your lovely face for a long time”), then sways through an array of bedroom bangers and crushed crystalline ballads, crooning and swooning, autobiographical electronica spanning Detroit to New York, London to L.A. Songs of intimacy and illusion, impatience and introspection, of cutting loose and being cut off, left wanting more: “Taste this love till the morning sun.”
FORCE PLACEMENT “VIBE REPAIR” CS (SILK119)
Black Lodge mainstay Jason James explains his freshest Force Placement track pack as “a hazy late night vibe… songs you play on your way home from the rave: bottom heavy enough to keep you awake but kind of heady and tripped out.” Sculpted from sketches conceived during early morning post-party sessions, Vibe Repair snakes, slinks, and slides through various fogged comedown rhythms, from noir house to dusty breaks to empty alley jack.
James cites “classic jazz, funk, hip-hop & ambient” as his recent listening cross-section, which slip in and out of focus on these 10 smoky sleepwalker steppers, channeling the bleary bump of a sound system in a busted building down the block on an unlit street. The night’s late but not lost – repair the vibe.
AKASHA SYSTEM “ECHO EARTH” LP (SILK117)
Long-dawning long-player by Pacific Northwest producer Hunter P. Thompson aka Akasha System spins a suite of remote outpost rhythms and old-growth electronics variously inspired by “days and nights spent in the forests,” “long stretches of back road trails,” and “sitting alone under moss-covered trees.” It’s club music for misty mornings, towering redwood canopies, and overcast skies above uninhabited terrain: Echo Earth.
Recorded across the fall of 2018 at Thompson’s lava-lit Portland home studio, the album’s eight tracks trace cyclical arcs and seasonal tides, churning and yearning, meditative motion patterns flickering like holograms projected in the rain. Following key appearances on Elestial Sound, Neo Violence, and New Information, Echo Earth embodies all Akasha’s most evocative and elusive sonic strategies in a nuanced naturalist landscape of rust and radar, information and isolation, wires woven like roots beneath ferns.
CAMMI “LOOK AT THE WORLD” CS (SILK116)
Fresh, fried, and freewheeling debut by Owosso/Lansing, Michigander Cameron Weede aka Cammi checks every SILK box in the book: teen MPC experiments, thrifted hardware jack, tape noise dumpster dub, longform luxury house, department store boogie, standup comedy groove, etc. Tracked in fits and starts over the past eight years, Look At The World runs on immediacy and intuition, man/machine symbiosis at its loosest and most liquidated. Early years spent jamming improv trombone with free jazz hillbillies eventually led to a love of classic house and cheap gear, with a special fondness for “ugly 90’s FM/romplers and digital synths because it’s all I can afford.”
But limited means don’t mean limited ends: across 54 minutes Cammi cuts a sweaty swath of raw rhythm, busted bass, and plastic passion, from outer rings to inner circles. Take a Look: “I just do whatever’s in my head, it’s all subconscious. I’m def not a purist – about anything, really.”
AUSCULTATION “III” LP/CS (SILK115)
A term for listening to sounds within the body as a method of diagnosis is a poignantly perfect moniker for Portland producer Joel Shanahan’s most elusive and emotive electronic aura-reading solo alias: Auscultation. III arrives a full four years after its SILK predecessor, L’étreinte Imaginaire, delayed by tragedies too expansive to enumerate.
Throughout, these shadowy psychic rhythms percolated at the periphery, as both escape and exorcism. The songs share a smeared mood of longing and lament, foggy melodies gliding through low-lit spaces, dissipated dance floor ether spiraling like smoke under a streetlight. It’s a music of faces in the night and things unsaid, swaying at the threshold. What could have been and what will always be.
MATEIS E AQIR “CHROME UPON GUAYOTA” CS (SILK112)
Barcelona-based Russian rhythm reconstructivist Mateis e. aqir’s latest EP emerged during and after a formative sojourn to the Spanish isle of Tenerife in summer 2017, where he slept on the sand, stargazed, and rode scooters along serpentine roads through remote villages. Deeply inspired by the landscape, people, and “new emotions” he experienced, a series of subtle, spiraling, percussion-powered pieces began flowering in flashes and sketches, which were further articulated back in Barcelona. Echo-flexed guitar and circular bass interweave with staggered patterns of bongo and drum machine, alternately evoking a sense of levitation, hypnosis, and vertigo, which approximates his own surreal and revelatory perspective of the trip: “Time exists in us – not us in time. The island’s vibrations made this music play in my head.”
ROBOTALCO “CALLISTO” CS (SILK111)
Milanese melting potter Sebastiano Urciuoli got his start making hip-hop/house mix tapes as a teen in the 90’s before catching the disco bug and crowning himself Club Silencio, issuing a slew of singles and edits for a spectrum of western dancefloor divisions. In the later aughts he fashioned Robotalco to pursue more eclectic crate-digger fixations like “liquid vibes, 80’s French industrial, futuristic house, and the intangible crossroads of Kingston and Detroit” – which pretty accurately pinpoints the palette of Callisto.
Recorded intermittently between summer 2016 and 2018, the collection cruises an enticing coastline of Mediterranean moods, from soft-focus suntan séance to breezy broken beats to dusk dreamer new wave to dada tropical dub and beyond. Totaling nearly an hour, it’s a vast and varied voyage of rhythm, impulse, and color, a trunk of trinkets gripped at sun-bleached harbor kiosks, showcased on leopard-print slip-mats. Indulge the myth and the moon: Callisto.
DEARLY DEPARTURE “GENESIS” CS (SILK110)
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.”
OLSEN “DREAM OPERATOR” CS (SILK109)
Manchester miasma-house specialist Andrew Anderton aka Olsen sculpts swirling, stream-of-consciousness rhythms inspired by subliminal perception, hyperspace anime, and reflections on how the mind works. His latest is also his haziest, tracked at home on analog synths bathed in echo, tape-hiss, and found sounds, conjuring a liminal realm between sleep and reality ruled by a shadowy figure: the Dream Operator. Opaque acid, mumbling voices, and decayed keys whisper in the periphery, tethered by black hole bass, a narcoleptic kick, and dusty claps. This is music for “the space between,” where the dream operator takes control, and “shows you an image of a tree, soft fruit growing… night falls, and the black dog serenade continues.” Compelling contemporary warehouse noir by a producer poised for heady depths.
BODY SAN “MIDNIGHT” 12″ (SILK107)
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.
THE CYCLIST “BEAT AT THE HEART OF THE CITY” 12″ (SILK106)
A six song sidekick to The Cyclist’s latest extended play offering, Alabaster Thrones, these two magnetized sides span nine years of hermetic hardware experiments conducted in itinerant living arrangements across Derry, Liverpool, and Birmingham. From toy tape loops and echobox gauze (“Diorge Grian” – Irish for “Derry sun”) to shredded soul (“Lucille”) and tightly coiled dub noir (“Cologne Halls”), Beat At The Heart Of The City showcases Andrew Morrison’s singular ear for vibrantly damaged dancefloor energies. Tensions and raptures rev and unravel in intuitive asymmetries, evoking cold clubs, deserted streets, dazed gardens – bleary beauty for crumbling kingdoms. Of the feverish rhythm delirium “One Day In The Life Of Ivana” Morrison even credits illness as muse: “I deeply remember being extremely sick at the time.” It’s grim up north.
THE CYCLIST “ALABASTER THRONES” 12″ (SILK105)
Last year’s altered mind opus, Sapa Inca Delirium, showcased The Cyclist at his most eclectic, spanning ayahuasca break-beat and rave jungle pop, but his latest EP returns to the uniquely kinetic and shredded mode of churning electronic rhythm he both named and perfected: “tape throb.” Alabaster Thrones collects four of Andrew Morrison’s recent and most vibrantly blasted house constructs, tracked at his home studio in Birmingham, UK during “the height of mania – a time when I had no time.”
The context translates: this is frayed and decayed music, shifting gears at sleepless hours in dim twisting tunnels. The title is “a deflation of grandiosity” cribbed from Ulysses (“…a noble race, rulers of the waves, who sit on thrones of alabaster, silent as the deathless gods”), though Morrison’s meaning is more personal: “It’s a reminder to level yourself and think of all those around you.” A captivating capsule of reflective forward motion for lean times.
PLEASURE MODEL “THE EXECUTIVE” CS (SILK104)
Amsterdamaged dancefloor industrialist Antoni Maiovvi’s futurist EBM alter ego, Pleasure Model, returns to SILK with a second slate of sleek, surveillance state cyber-jack: The Executive. Recorded in late summer 2016, the album’s eight tracks pulse with android anxiety and pirated voltage, hotwired circuitry snaking through bleached neon tunnels towards strobe-lit ziggurats. More mechanized and weaponized than its predecessor, Kendo Dynamics, these two sides swerve from replicant rave (“International Geographic,” “Sound Investment”) to matrix hacker hardware (“Labelmouth,” “Belinfurbellt”) to liquid chrome catwalk (“Body Double,” “Alumni Precursor”), in the spirit of Bunker, Clone, and Crème. 41 minutes of metro-gnomic sequencing and streamlined code for artificial intelligentsia.
PRECIPITATION “EARTH / SKY” CS (SILK103)
The latest capsule collection from pensive Vancouver visionist Zefan Sramek aka Precipitation presents a more binary take on overcast house and half-light ambience, split between a rhythmic “earth” side and a smeared cirrus “sky” side. Tracked live to tape and padded with Pacific Northwest field recordings of rainy forests and wet meadows, the pieces soar, sink, and spiral like small birds blown by the wind, isolated and adrift. Past cuts for Ville Nouvelle (in the duo Aquatic Language) and Jungle Gym have shown Sramek’s versatility with vignette melody and soft-focus atmospherics but Earth / Sky distills them even further, into a muted, melancholic expanse of elemental conditions and emotive hypnosis. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Video stills by Zefan Sramek.
CHERUSHII & MARIA MINERVA “S/T” 12″ (SILK102)
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.
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.
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.
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.
HUBERT CLARKE JR “AL DENTE” 12″ (SILK083)
Impressionistic dub-house devotee Hubert Clarke Jr. fluctuates through several deviations of Sydney afterhours circuit specialties on his debut, Al Dente. Alternately wired and unwound, classic and contempo, vibed soul and lean house, the EP threads soft-focus funk into longform live voyages, naturalist emotion, dance as relaxed delirium. The vocal samples (“I’m not into this to be traveling around the world / I’m not into this to impress anybody”) evoke a mood of reflective idealism, spirits undiminished, hope in spite of it all. Dusted with memories and reveries of Heavenly, Picnic, and Mad Racket parties, hallucinated Omar-S demos, newer Sex Tags sides, and various nations under a groove, HJC’s 4 originals (plus a remix by Adelaide vibe squad MBM) feel like a beginning, a submerged energy swelling to the surface. Black vinyl 12 inches in stickered sleeves designed by Peta Farago with smiley meatball illustrations by John-Henry Pajak and Geordie Cargill.
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.
BOBBY BROWSER “CLUBSPINNING” 12″ (SILK075)
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 deluxe glitterball glides, soft-lensed and silk-spun; “Manchester” boasts a prowling bass line dubbed with synthetic flute and Factory samples; and “Go 90” is a ghostly soul-in-the-rain comedown, misted in piano, voice, and percussion. That tracks this sculpted arose via hardware intuition is beyond impressive – limitations turned hyperfocus. This is Browser at his best, strobing but smooth, four gems of 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.
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.
JUPITER JAX “VISIONS” LP (SILK072)
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.
NOTE: LP is available individually or with exclusive full-length companion cassette, Visitors (SILK073). While supplies last.
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. What other heads make Chi-house jams about hot dog condiments? NOT ENOUGH. Mastered by Josh “Alter Echo” Derry.
POLICY “POSTSCRIPT” LP (SILK065)
Manhattan filmmaker-turned-beatbroker Francis Hsueh aka Policy traffics a chopped but chic vein of house, releasing EPs for Rush Hour and Argot, and his latest continues the positive flow. Postscript layers fractured jazz textures over shuffled electronics, on & off grid percussion, and lean bass lines for an elegant metropolis rhythm complex: soft pad dub, synth-flute streaks, burnished brass, city grit. A uniquely contemplative take on funky uptown house by one of NYC’s secret heads. Cover photograph by Francis Hsueh. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann at Complete Mastering.
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.
MAGIC TOUCH “PALERMO HOUSE GANG” 2×12″/CD (SILK060)
After three thick years of performances, passport abuse, and pumping, pleasure-principle EPs, Damon Palermo aka classic house torchbearer Magic Touch presents his pinnacle statement to date: Palermo House Gang. Joining forces with a vast cast of collaborators sourced from his intercontinental travels – Octo Octa, Newbody, Benny Badge, The Horses, Sarah Bates, Sorcerer, Ash Williams – the album’s eight cuts swing and sweat through funky new wave club mixes, freestyle R&B, mesh-top house, freeform hardware workouts, and decadent disco, a sprawling celebration of communal motion and dancefloor idealism. Sustained heavy touring often grizzles some musicians into cynical survivalists but it seems to have had the opposite effect on Palermo – these are his most generous, playful, and sensual tracks to date. Let go, lighten up, join the Gang. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann. Krazy cat artwork by San Fran cartoonist Primo Pitino.
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 workshopping. The result is a radical and debased strain of melted alien mutant house, apt for shredding speakers both home and abroad.
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.
PARADISE 100 “THE LOIN KING” 12″ (SILK055)
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.
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.
OCTO OCTA “BETWEEN TWO SELVES” CD/2xLP (SILK046)
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.
PHARAOHS “REPLICANT MOODS” CD/LP (SILK045)
L.A.’s best live band finally delivers a proper full-length after some epic EPs and it fully jacks into the acid gang groove they wield so effortlessly month after month at the city’s various afterhours warehouses. All the strobed classics are here: 303 soul-shakedown “Everything,” nu-groove funk-out “Syzygy,” island-synth escape pod “F&M Suite,” and sweaty set closer, “Above/Below.” Even Miss Maria Minerva pays a visit, on the club/dub single, “Miraculous Feet.” Mastered by Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound. Sleeve design by Cedric Hervet.
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.
MARIA MINERVA “BLESS” 12″ (SILK042)
SILK’s favorite divine-dance diva Maria Minerva dons a new wardrobe for her BlessEP. Opening with the wry ‘n witchy “Black Magick” – Minerva’s take on New Romantic synth-pop – the rest of the record explores downbeat dub-chillers (“Space 4 U”), aroused funk dee-lites (“Symbol of My Pleasure”), and meta island vacation bounce (“Soul Searchin”), rounded out with Lady Blacktonika’s “Black Magick” Garage trippin’ remix – a decadent layer cake of lush house.
SHAMS “PIANO CLOUD” 12″ (SILK041)
This polarizing Brooklyn performer/producer antagonizes crowds with dada pranks during his nightshift but afterhours he crafts sprightly continental brunch-house for escapists, comfort creeps, and borough-wave hedonists. Piano Cloudmixes Balearic floatation modes with cheeky disco love-hangovers to soundtrack illusions, delusions, and divine times.
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.
MAGIC TOUCH + SAPPHIRE SLOWS “JUST WANNA FEEL” 12″ (SILK038)
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.
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].
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.”
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.
OCTO OCTA “OH LOVE” 12″ (SILK023)
Burning deeper and yearning harder than his first SILK outing, Let Me See You, Oh Love projects dreams that can’t be followed, love that can’t last, futures that won’t solve the present. The dancefloor dissolves into warm, womby atmospheres, tear-jerk body-works, poised for poignancy.
FORT ROMEAU “KINGDOMS” CD/LP (SILK022)
Sensual, immaculate, jack-rollin’ romance masterpieces by boy London and rarefied studio craftsman Fort Romeau aka Mike Norris. Kingdoms is a swooning swirl of synth finesse, crate-digger production nuance, heavy breathing, empty South London streets, late night bus stops, and ghosted rhythms reflected in the rain. Mastered by Matt Colton at Air Mastering, UK.
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.
= = = = = HOUSE OF SILK TITLES = = = = =
TORRELLO “OUT OF OFFICE” CS (HOS005)
D.C.’s sleeper cell groove sensation Kenny Torrella aka Torrello debuts on 100% Silk’s revived mirrorball subdivision House of Silk with a starry 11-song suite of daydream disco and vacation mode motion: Out Of Office. These are classic off the clock anthems, for cutting out and cutting loose, island hopping through shades of vapor funk, leftfield luxury, and uptown filter house, sensual and interdimensional.
Torrella’s eclectic palette of passions – smooth jazz, animals, Moodymann – feed into his joyous, jazzy sound, between memory and fantasy, escape and epiphany. A low altitude cruise over private marinas and white sands, where life’s white noise fades to pink, and inner rhythm takes hold.
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.