I had heard of The Singularity, and then when the name Julian Shah-Tayler was connected to this project… I believe my brain went into a series of loops of thinking, wait, isn’t he an actor? He is, if I recall correctly. Well, if you are not familiar, British born Shah-Tayler is The Singularity, now based in the US, and his latest album, Elysium, was released on the 24th of October, recorded between the Bird of Paradigm studio and the TARDIS studio….. but is it bigger on the inside?!

Photo by John Travis

This album seems to have been about a year in the making due to the gradual release of singles, and this could be due to issues in the past two years, i.e., the plague but also from my perspective, a lot of effort and attention has gone into each track. And with fourteen tracks on offer, there is a lot to get into, so we thought we might draw your attention to some of the singles.

Melt” is about being with the person that truly makes you weak at the knees and yet light as a feather. The general ambience reminds me a lot of Duran Duran in their period of 1993, with their self-titled album that had the amazing “Ordinary World” and “Melt” has that same flow. Chris J Olivas of Berlin fame supplies the drums.

David J. is a solo artist in his own right, but best known as a member of Bauhaus, and he also appears on the track, “The Devil Knows,” laying down the bass, in this rather funky song. The music video is also well worth checking out.

The track “Kintsugi” is breathtaking in both its conviction and sound. A whirlwind of guitar and drums, again percussion by Olivas, with Shah-Tayler singing these beautiful lyrics. For those unfamiliar with the concept of kintsugi, it is a Japanese tradition of not throwing away broken pottery, however, using gold to repair the vessel, which in turn makes it more unique and precious. A metaphor for a once broken heart.

Shah-Tayler doesn’t have to make music, as the acting gig makes far more money than being an alternative musician, but it is very evident he does it because that is where his heart is at. His passion for the avant-garde and darkwave artistry is very deeply ingrained. This then draws together the talents of David J. and Chris J Olivas, as well as MGT, Gene Micofsky, and others. Elysium is a bit synthwave, a bit post-punk, and most importantly, never boring.

https://thesingularitymusic.bandcamp.com/album/elysium

http://www.thesingularitymusic.com/

http://www.facebook.com/thesingularitymusic

What happens if you get two blokes, Gary Watts and Jay Taylor, to create music? The answer is Nature Of Wires vs j:dead and the new single “Thrive“, which came out on the 8th of December.

From the outset, there is the thumping rhythm and energetic synths, which points to a floor filler, and although there are lulls, this is just gathering you up for the roller-coaster ride. The j:dead vocals are spot on. Imploring, pleading and plumbing the emotional depths of the drudgery that is everyday living. Things such as job and general existence are weighing down on your shoulders, sucking the joy out of everything.

The music is very much Watts and you can hear it in the way the synths are crafted into this sophisticated industrial whirlwind, that supports and cradles the vocals. There is also the added extra bonus of being able to hear the Nature Of Wires remix of “Afraid“, which was originally only released on the physical copy of the EP, Vision Of Time.

https://natureofwires.bandcamp.com/album/thrive

https://jdeadband.bandcamp.com/album/thrive-nature-of-wires-vs-j-dead

https://www.facebook.com/natureofwires?mibextid=ZbWKwL

https://www.facebook.com/jdeadband?mibextid=ZbWKwL

LMX has released his third album, Habits & Addictions, on the Meshwork Music label, as of October the 28th. Keep in mind that this German electro-pop musician isn’t even twenty yet…….

There is occasionally, a harder edge to this music than you think. “Addiction” has elements of industrial experimentation, while the circling fragile sadness of “Not Made For This” is in the morose synths even with the constant paced rhythm.

There are beautiful synth lines in the spiralling “More Time” with almost an 80s feel to it, then you have a kind of ambient euro dance thing going on with “That Summer“. The heart rending “Stay” is yet another facet of the performer and writer, with such a simple track that bares his soul. In all, there are ten tracks, all flourishing these incredible electronics and lyrics.

I know that it is the current rage to use those vocal modulation thingies to give the singing that echoing tone but I’m not a great fan of it, especially when you can hear the fact they can sing. I really wanted to hear LMX without it, however I’m sure maybe it’s just one of my foibles and I am fairly certain there is a multitude out there that absolutely love it. Other than that little quibble, it’s a really excellent dark pop album and some tracks did become embedded into the old brain box, refusing to leave.

LMX is going to have a long future in the music scene, if this is to go by and he does have a great pedigree, being the son of X Marks The Pedwalk’s ESTEFANÍA and SEVREN NI-ARB, who also helped produce this album. Habits & Addictions is emotion filled, raw and yet, in the end, looking for the light, LMX might become your addiction.

https://lmxmusic.bandcamp.com/album/habits-addictions

https://www.facebook.com/meshwork.music?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Covid decimated the music festival scene, around the world for 2020, 2021 and a good chunk of 2022. Things are coming back to normal and in fact, you can add a new festival to endeavour to attend. Dark Force Fest will kick off in 2023, over three days, March 31st to April 2nd, in New Jersey, USA.

The event is being run by VampireFreaks, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Parsippany and this is not the first time the venue has been used by the VF crew. The hotel was built like a castle, including crenulations (just in case you find yourself in a siege situation with all those goths).

There will be over 100 vendors, to buy things that make your little dark heart happy, clubs, costume competitions and sideshow performances. However, the most important thing is the music… there will be 30 plus bands/artists ranging from darkwave through to industrial. A chance to see pioneers such as Das Ich and Suicide Commando, big hitters Combichrist, Solar Fake, HEALTH, Empathy Test and ACTORS plus brilliant acts like MORIS BLAK, Third Realm, Bootsblack and Rabbit Junk.

That is a whole lot of music and an amazing line up, so you are spoilt for choice. As the inaugural show, you want to be able to say you were there for the first ever…. unlike myself, stuck in another country, half way around the world, who will have to live vicariously through others, and the buckets of fun they are having. (Insert gothic weeping).

Home

https://m.facebook.com/darkforcefest/

https://vampirefreaks.com/

Swedes, Hatif released their very impressive debut album Everything Is Repetition, recently via Town And Tower Records. They have now released the single “Pool” as remixed by fellow Swedes, Agent Side Grinder.

“It was fun to work with. I tried to make it more direct, highlighting the chorus and the 303” – Johan Lange of Agent Side Grinder

Agent Side Grinder have looped those beautiful Middle Eastern excerpts, twisting them marvellous into extra rhythm keepers. The vocals now have a cavernous quality, mysterious and timeless, while the electronics have become the swirling storm.

This is very much a match up, made in heaven. “Pool” was already a really great track and Agent Side Grinder have increased the dance floor appeal without removing the bits that make this track so likeable. This version is stellar and if you haven’t checked out Hatif, I cannot advise you strongly enough to get out there and do so.

Pool (Agent Side Grinder Remix) | Hatif (bandcamp.com)

https://facebook.com/hatifband

https://instagram.com/hatifband

Looking for something cyber industrial with quirky edges? Neon Shudder might be the ticket. Based in Philadelphia, their full length album, Welcome To The NET, was released on October the 7th.

This is a project purely instrumental and from the first track, you can tell the mind behind it all, draws their inspiration from a lot of different electronic styles. “Welcome To The NET” has this speeding trap style with flowing synths. The “Tiger Drive 86” start has a very Nintendo game feel and then launches into full flight…..I swear I can hear the occasional plane engine. The music sparkles and yet there is a urgency. Something sinister this way comes, stalking and persistent in the single “Something Darker“, with the graduating keyboard work creating an air of foreboding.

Things have sped up again through the cyber highways and the sun is merrily shining on the “IO Pathways“. “DReaMCuBE//SYSTEM MENU MUSIC” is an ambient piece, star struck and meandering, possibly waiting for the gamer to press play, leading into the “inter(NET)mission“, which is literally a bridging track of very cute burbles. There is something a bit special about “Brain Drive” with its languid swells below the piano styled keys, holding a promise of something else. The else is a build up of wavering electronics entrancing the senses.

Ransomware コンピュータウイルス“…….no one likes ransomeware, unless they created it. Police sirens before we launch into a drum & bass inspired cyber-menace with storyline attached. There is a nice flow into the heavier and noisier “TECH BRUT!“. Here we find some gorgeous synth lines in this track and experimentation with the time signatures. Finally, “A Port in a Storm” both beautifully swirling and dominating at the same time, waiting out the inclement weather.

This really does drag me back into the early period of the 80s, with gaming consoles, where we were excited if we had a few snakes to whack or aliens to blip off the face of the black screen and the fantasy/science fiction movies that embraced synth music, that caught our imaginations. Even though this holds that elemental sound, this is far too modern to be from that time, the advancement in technology creates some scintillating and smoother music that indulges those childhood memories. Welcome To The NET for this is Neon Shudder.

Welcome to the NET | neon shudder (bandcamp.com)

Neon Shudder | Facebook

Mix one part Danish with one part United Kingdom and you get a spark of magic called Perpacity. Martin Nyrup (Den) and Ian Harling (UK) dropped their new single, “Little Death” on November the 11th.

Don’t Let the shamanistic wails at the beginning fool you. This baby is all electronic, suave and suggestive, with the synths rolling in all the right curves and the vocals entreating you in “Little Death“. There is also the ‘b’ side, “Feel My Pain” which is far more reflective and sorrowful, mirrored by the sombre tones of the music.

The title track has a decidedly Depeche Mode vibe with those graduating synths and sexy lyrics, while the backing track, “Feel My Pain” is the quiet and brooding type that gradually creeps into your head. As the French say, petite la morte and really we all need a “Little Death“.

https://perpacity.bandcamp.com/album/little-death-single

https://www.facebook.com/perpacity

Sweden has a rich history of electronic bands and Stockholm’s Hatif have joined these illustrious ranks. The duo released their debut full length album “Everything Is Repetition“, on September the 30th with the label Town And Towers Records.

From the start of the first track, “A Small Scratch“, your senses are wrapped in the gorgeous folds of the electronics, heightened by the Middle Eastern influence, pervading like the delicate smoke from a beautiful incense. “Pool” is imbued with the sights and sounds of a Moroccan bazaar with silken like darkwave and those are just the first two tracks

Even in the smooth electronics, there is an undercurrent of tension such as the sexuality in “Repetition“, the dispossessed in “City Beneath The City” or the entrancing “Close to None“, which is about loneliness, yet so utterly hypnotic and mesmerising… possibly one of my favourite tracks.

In some ways, Hatif remind me very much of the great Deine Lakaien. The vocals effortlessly creep under your skin, saturating the senses with sensual perfection. It is extraordinary electronica with the divine infusion of the exotic East, creating a glorious album where not “Everything Is Repetition” with the rather darkwave cool that is Hatif.

Everything Is Repetition | Hatif (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/hatifband

The 31st of October was a rather busy time for releases that I’m working my way through. In that vein, the Boston based label, Info Sec Records has put together a compilation of electronic artists called Music For Hacking.

INFO SEC RECORDS

The Neon Droid brings a “Cloud Of Ashes“, sailing across the net, floating in the electronic world, while “terminus” from Rap2h has its video games inspired tones.

There is the cool beats and ambience of Inter Gritty’sThe Chase” or you can go full cyber angst with Psi Drive with the tracks, “Master’s Revenge” and “Hail Overlords“…. plus there is the synthwave crossed with crunchiness of “REJUVENATE” by TWINKLE MARIA きらきら マリア.

Not all is instrumental, with Neon Tuesday covering “Rhythm Of The Night” which is a bit more calm that the original and later also providing another cover in the form of the Amiga game theme from “Lotus III” which is full on cheesy and amazing. ThyHarvest has this wonderful techno sound, with synths trickling down, making you think of the Matrix code in “Net Terminal“.

M73 is surfing the “Interlinked” data, like a stream of conciousness, with dark synth intent and, oh my, _NetNomad with “Build“, makes me think of the old games like Prince Of Persia, with its whimsical chip tune style.

This is another project where a label is showcasing independent musicians to help raise their profiles but also garner more interest in the electronic scene. There is an inclusiveness in this compilation with synthwave along side darkwave, chip tune, ambient and even industrial, all sharing a deep passion for experimental electronica. So plug in and become one with the interface with some Music For Hacking.

Music for Hacking | Info Sec Recs (bandcamp.com)

https://neondroid.bandcamp.com/

https://rap2h.bandcamp.com/

https://intergritty.bandcamp.com/

https://psidrive.bandcamp.com/

https://twinklemariamusic.bandcamp.com/track/it-s-out-of-this-flaesh-world

https://touzimsky.bandcamp.com/album/rhythm-of-the-night

https://thyharvesting.bandcamp.com/

https://m73dk.bandcamp.com/

https://netnomad.bandcamp.com/

The latest single from M73, has just been released, off the album Motor Romantik., on the record label, LÆBEL. “Vampire” has been given a lush video, care of Anna Tartaglia, exploring the visual concept that not all vampires live off blood but many are regular humans who feed off the power of controlling another person. As always the synth lines are stunning and John R Mirland completes the track with his vocals.

https://m73dk.bandcamp.com/album/motor-romantik

https://www.facebook.com/m73official

https://www.facebook.com/laebelmusic