Gather round and hear a pick of the latest sounds currently gliding under the surface of the mainstream as Getintothis’ Mike Stanton unravels another installment of Unknown Pleasures.
Joe Oxley aka Manchester-based electronica scientist TVAM returns with his trademark dense and unsettling electronics on Psychic Data and it is a portentous and cautious look at the near-future. Part darkwave, psych-rock and electro-surf, Psychic Data blooms with clouds of dissociative gloom and paranoia.
TVAM has been creating vistas of Ballardian dystopia for around 3 years now forging a sound that borrows from a variety of styles, blending the alchemical data to produce this dark electronic pop and rock hybrid. Psychic Data is pure TVAM, opening with foreboding metalized, saw-tooth sequenced synths and spidery guitar followed by brittle drum machine beats under huge arcing surf-guitar riffs drenched in foreboding reverb, creating repetitive drone and washes of fuzz. Oxley‘s murmuring and detached vocals pulse among the hooky melodies riding the hypnotic gallop.
Joe Oxley is adept at creating paranoid cold war atmospheres tinged with nostalgia, weaving slogans with imagery emphasizing the stark opening lyrics:
“IT’S IN THE
EMPTINESS EMPTINESS EMPTINESS
ABANDONED DIRECTIVES AND LONELINESS
PAINTINGS OF POLAROID PICTURES OF THOUGHTS IN OUR HEADS”
Social media has become a tool to control our choices, to manipulate our thoughts and to surveil our lives. Oxley expertly and intuitively taps into this with Psychic Data in a haze of psychedelia, shoegaze and twisted electronics.
Psychic Data is out now on Psychic Data.
RYKARD has just released his third long playing record Night Towers and it is full of lush, deeply immersive and swirling electronics. Such is the density of the Elevate it is a testament to his skills as a producer that the disparate strands of melancholic melodies and subtly tugging beats aren’t lost in an amorphous haze of noise.
There are nods to dubstep (the Burial dubstep not the stadium-filling type), hip hop and trip hop throughout Elevate evident in the gorgeous, building, ambient electro and looping downtempo breakbeat. In less-skilled hands this could sound bland and inconsequential but Rykard has infused the track with a slowly coiling wooziness, allowing the synths to twist and arc around their fuzzed-out edges.
Following the success of 2016’s trip-hop heavy Luminosity which showcased a cleaner and more chillwave-sound, Elevate indicates that Night Towers is a return to the shadowy hypnagogic compositions of his debut, 2010’s Arrive the Radio Beacon. Here on Elevate, he brings back the ice-melting grooves and quarter speed hip hop to summon the heart of a city, creating a neo-noir film the listener can immerse themselves in.
Elevate is a stunning track and bodes well for the album Night Towers, showing an artist at the peak of his considerable powers.
Night Towers is out now on digital platforms.
NEWYOU is the solo project of Guillem, from Barcelona, and encompasses huge anthemic chillwave sounds that are awash with spiraling melodies and slow-build beats. Meteor Dance is cinematic chillwave, it is a track for a lost film giving it an air of mystique and so much aching nostalgia.
With its winding, lush and verdant melody Meteor Dance operates from the same blueprint as Miami Nights 1984 and Mitch Murder, conjuring deeply emotional and evocative synthwave distilled through a gauze of hazy neon-lit soft focus electronics to become the chillest of chillwave. It is an innocent and optimistic track, the chords driving it upwards, ushering in a breezy and summery vibe. If chillwave could be aspirational (and it so often is) then Meteor Dance is a paean to longing soaked in the slow-burn neon glow of a forgotten teen film of the ’80s.
If you love gleaming synthesizer melodies and dreamlike images of phasing sunsets then Meteor Dance is a must, it is a track to lose yourself in as time and space billows around your blissed-out, grinning face.