Dynkur – “Tschüssi” (2019)

dynkurThe opening beats of Dynkur’s new release Tschüssi hit you head-on like the pounding of some kind of industrial press, a massive machine punching out widget after widget after widget in rapid, unending succession.  Thump thump thump… even when the more more subtle, dreamier synths appear they are pounded into the background… thump thump thump… at least that is until it’s time to get funky, spacey electronics jumping to the fore and bouncing around like rubber super balls in a small room.  Only then does the machine let up, though just for a bit because it comes back again with a vengeance.  The beats are prevalent throughout Tschüssi, but on “Arecibo” they take on a different quality, less mechanical and more electric, buzzing with current and just a hint of interference on the back-end giving things a rawer, more powerful feel.  It’s definitely the most aggressive track on the album, one that would be at home in a windowless basement, cut off from all natural light for decades… Things close with “Ocean Of Sound”, the first time Dynkur pulls vocal samples into his compositions, which he does to great (and creepy) effect.  It’s a tremendous closing gesture, the record achieving maximum intensity as its final final statement.

Dynkur is Icelander Thordur Arnarson and those evil masterminds at FALK (Fuck Art Let’s Kill) are responsible for this gem making it onto vinyl.  Tschüssi was released in a super-limited pressing of just 40 copies, so if you want one (and you know you do) you better get on it quick HERE, because at just €12 for 25 minute of bangers these are going to be gone before you know it.

Exos – “Alien Eyes” (2019)

Alien Eyes had me right from the first seconds of the opening track “Pulp”.  That bass… that bass!  Thump thump thump… my hands were up in the air and before I knew it I was moving all over the room, completely unable to sit still while these beats were bumping.  Thump thump thump… How many BPMs is it?  Hell, I don’t care.  All I know is it’s the sound is hitting me inside my chest, impossible to avoid, a bass heartbeat pounding pounding pounding…

exosalien

Exos is Arnvidur Snorrason and he’s been super prolific over the last few decades, making a name for himself well beyond the confines of his home country of Iceland.  I’m not sure how I’ve missed him all these years, but I’m certainly glad the guys over at Lucky Records put aside a copy of this for me, because it’s top-notch techno and one of the coolest 2019 releases I’ve heard so far this year.  Don’t let this short post fool you – Alien Eyes brings it low and fast like a Randy Johnson slider.  The title track is both electric and eclectic, a perfect blending of disparate elements with a dose of echo to give the entire thing the feel of deep space with a quasar-pulse beat.  Fantastic and highly recommended.

Alien Eyes is available for listening and purchase on Bandcamp HERE.

Record Shopping – Paris, France Style

Bounjour de Paris!

The Life in the Vinyl Lane crew is headed to Reykjavik for next week’s Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, our seventh consecutive year attending.  Since it’s such a long trip to begin with, we figured we’d take advantage of the fact that we were already basically going to be in Europe (though to be fair, Iceland hardly feels like Europe… it just feels like Iceland) and tacked on a few days in Paris on the way.  So after a quick 45 minute layover in Reykjavik, which was just enough time to pick up a box of the magical elixir called kókómjólk that is so good that it must be made by elves and sprinkled with fairy dust, we continued on our way to France.  And since I’m me I made it a point of hitting up a few record shops while we’re here.  Vinyl culture is alive and well in the City of Lights.

Techno Import
16 Rue des Taillandiers

technoimportparis

The techno scene is kickin’ in Paris.  Not only is it being played all over town in various stores and restaurants, but the city also boasts a number of techno-only specialty record stores.  The first we visited was Techno Import, which offered both vinyl and a full line of seemingly very nice DJ equipment – pretty much everything you need to host your own underground party, other than the glow sticks.  Not only that, but instead of a normal record store listening station, they had some dual-turnbable/mixer set-ups so you could see how a pair of records would mix.  The entire time we were there a woman was flat out grooving to whatever she had spinning on the wheels of steel, and she looked pretty happy about it.  The selection appears to be super deep and broken out by various sub genres.

I don’t know much about techno and its various sub (and sub-sub-sub) genres, but I know that in general I like it, so I picked up a few random things including a newly released 12″ from what I believe is a French “group” called Prospector, a double album by Eduardo de la Calle called The Intellinet Prophecy, and, believe it or not, a picture disc with an outline of Iceland on it called, appropriately, Iceland.  Certainly the Icelandic imagery is what initially caught my attention, but what fully sold me was seeing that the B side included a Gusgus remix of this Marc Romboy original.  Sold.  Techno Import is a winner.

Syncrophone
4-6 Rue des Taillandiers

syncrophoneparis

Just a few blocks up the street from Techno Import is Syncrophone, another shop specializing in techno.  A bit of a smaller shop, but packed full of cool stuff including two display walls.  They had multiple listening stations, though I don’t think they had a full DJ set-up like Techno Import did.  I tried to stick with some local French stuff, so with that in mind I picked out a double-comp by Pont Neuf Records entitled Habemus Paname as well as comp of 1980s synth dreaminess called French Synth Lovers #2.  I also added a copy of Acid Arab’s Djazirat el Maghreb because our friend Matt recently saw them at a festival in Poland and had some positive things to say.  Overall two thumbs up.  Unless you don’t like techno, in which case you’ll be able to save your Euros for our next stop…

Souffle Continu
20-22 Rue Gerbier

soufflecontinu

Back in 2013 Buzzfeed posted a list that got the vinyl community all excited not-so-concisely entitled “27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have To Shop At Before You Die.”  Now, I have no idea how contributor Maria Sherman came up with this list, but it certainly got people talking.  That being said, prior to this trip I’d made it to seven of the 27 (we looked for Elastic Witch on our recent trip to Dublin, but I think it’s no longer open) and found most of them to be really good shops – nice, well organized indie record stores.  Yesterday I was able to mark an eighth store off the list when we stopped by Souffle Continu, a modest sized shop with a fairly broad and interesting selection of vinyl.  Because I need to save ample room in my record back for the riches that await me in Reykjavik, I didn’t want to go crazy here, but I did find a cool French industrial 10″ by Muckrackers called Muckrackers Versus La Fensch Valley Industrial All Star.  I was tempted to pick up a book or two from their strong selection of titles, because I have a lot of music books in languages other than English, but again space constraints made me take a more conservative approach.  A nice spot to check out if you’re in town.

Virgin Megastore
51-60, Av. des Champs-Elysees *Closed*

virginmegastoreparis

We’re staying only a short walk from he world-famous Champs-Elysees and figured we’d stroll it on Sunday night after dinner and hit up the Virgin Megastore since it was supposed to be open until 10PM.  But it was Megaclosed, and in a seemingly very Megapermanent way, since it looked the same both times we walked past it on Monday too.  Not a big deal, really, but it would have been cool to see if we could find some CDs.  So we got iced lattes instead and called it a night, which seemed a lot like winning to both of us.

 

We ran across records in the stalls of a few sidewalk vendors, as well as an outdoor flea market we randomly encountered, but I didn’t bother with these.  There are plenty of other shops in Paris as well, but our time was limited.  That being said, I think we picked out three very good ones, and all three get my recommendation should you find yourself in Paris.

The Advent – “New Beginnings” (1997)

adventnewbeginningsI’ve run across albums by The Advent many times before, but until recently had always passed them by.  I don’t seem to see as much techno in the stores out here in Seattle (maybe I’m just not looking in the right places), and often the prices on used vinyl are too high for me to justify paying for something I haven’t heard before.  But the other day I found a clean 1997s New Beginnings double album in the “New Arrivals” section of one of my regular haunts, and the price was right, so I finally took the plunge into The Advent.

And I’m glad I did, because New Beginnings is some pretty awesome house/techno.  The album opens with “Armageden,” and it had me thinking this was actually more toward the industrial side of the spectrum with the way it used staticy, raspy samples that gave it a bit of a metallic edge.  But from there it grooved into a much more straight-forward house album with steady beats and consistent, simple flourishes that make it easy to trance out to, at least for the rest of the first record.  Side C opens with “House Seed” which kicks up the tempo considerably and adds in vocal samples, something that was absent from three of the four songs on the A/B disc, and does so with greet success.  The C/D material is a bit heavier sounding in general, and a bit “busier” as well with more stuff surrounding the underlying beats.  It would be tough to say that one record is better than the other, though, as it more comes down to exactly what kind of mood you’re in.

Holly gives The Advent two thumbs up, and I think this will be a go-to for nights when we’re in the mood to get our techno on.

Dungeon Acid – “The Wait” (2015)

This little gem caught my eye while I was flipping through the electronic section at Amoeba Music down in Los Angeles.  The simple white, numbered cover stuck out, and while I didn’t have a lot to go on, something told me to buy it (that reckless part of my brain that wants wants wants more records).

dungeonacid

Dungeon Acid is Jean-Louis Huhta and a whole bunch of electronic equipment, fusing together to make acid tracks.  The Wait would seem to be an EP on the surface, with only four tracks, but with a run time of 29 minutes it’s more of a tweener.  Supposedly it’s limited to 326 individually numbered copies (um. OK…), so it might be a bit hard to track down (though there are a number of copies for sale on Discogs right now).

The beats are bumpin’ and the BPMs are brisk but so fast that you feel like they’re trying to give you a heart attack.  “Physical” makes it especially easy to get into a trance-like groove, and it’s kind of making me wish it was nighttime right now so I could get some spinning lights or glow sticks going.  No vocals or vocal sampling here, just straight electronics making music to dance to.