Author: Kamryn Feigel

Mosaics
Of Colors
Team Clermont
Street: 02.10
Mosaics = Stereograph + 2nd Priority
 
While I admire the musicality of Mosaic’s latest release, aspects of Of Colors left something to be desired. I wasn’t a fan of the vocals throughout the album. If anything, they just detracted from what enjoyment I could have found amid the instrumentation alone. Of Colors is a new wave, synth-pop album that’s brimming with an indie twist. “Submit” has a crisp, clean beat that really catches your ear. But the folky vocals seem more distracting than anything. Something felt a little displaced about the vocal layering throughout the album, so I had a more difficult time getting behind it as a whole. However, there are some definite diamonds hiding in the rough if you search hard enough. –Kamryn Feigel
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Hawks Do Not Share
HDNS
Predator Friendly Records
Street: 09.09
Hawks Do Not Share = The xx + Parasols

Soft, melodic synths entwine with minimal vocals throughout this self-titled album. After years of planning, mixing, kick-starting and a lot of hard work, Portland-based band Hawks Do Not Share have released something truly noteworthy. This 10-track album is a collaboration of innovative instrumentation and lyricism from George Lewis III and Jeremy Wilkins. These two work brilliantly together, and their solid partnership translates well through their music. “Forgiveness” reminds me of the gentle pulsing sound The xx were putting out five years ago. Although not wildly innovative, this is a solid album and a pop-lover’s dream come true. –Kamryn Feigel

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HURTR
Self-Titled EP
Self-Released
Street: 12.15.13
HURTR = Blvck Ceiling + Bruxa
Portland-based duo HURTR consists of vocalist Heidi Hull and Derek Stilwell. These two are pretty elusive characters. We can confirm, however, that Hull was, at one point, a Utahn and a member of the group Rope Or Bullets. HURTR’s self-titled release is a blend of moody, glitchy electro pop. It isn’t hard to tell that these two definitely possess some real talent, but it unfortunately fell a bit flat for me, and I had a hard time remaining interested throughout the several listens I gave the album. It’s a bit monotone and one-dimensional. “Along The Side” seemed to possess the most amount of character out of the entire album. It is upbeat and Hull’s vocals wafted above a synth-pop melody. It’s not an album I would recommend to everyone, but something I might throw on during a sad, one-night stand with an emo hair swoop from Tinder. –Kamryn Feigel

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Benjamin Finger – Motion Reverse

Benjamin Finger – Motion ReverseBenjamin Finger
Motion Reverse

Shimmering Moods Records
Street: 06.26
Benjamin Finger = Sangam + Fighterpilot

Benjamin Finger digs deep into the darkness of industrial experimentation in his latest creation Motion Reverse. Using much more electronic instrumentation than in his April release, this album has a repetitive vibe. In fact, the first half of the album sounds like different takes from the same song with Finger trying to trick the listener into believing otherwise. So I wish there was a titch more variety in his latest barrage of soundscapes. The second half of the album contains a more diverse lineup of samples and rhythms and feels more balanced overall. “Bright Exit” has a simple beat that adds depth and character to a minimalistic release. I hope Finger continues progressing in this manner with his releases. It shows a maturity not all musicians posses. –Kamryn Feigel

Stage Hands
Self-Titled
Terrorbird
Street: 02.10
Stage Hands = Postal Service + Laurent Chambert
 
Just in time to usher in spring, this twinkly new release from the Terrorbird label by the veteran musician Bradon Locher is erratic, upbeat and brimming with energy. It’s a short album that’s layered with samples of chirpy sounds that zoom off into space. I loved the untitled sixth track, and wished it was longer. “#unabomber” was a highlight for me even though I felt the track could have survived without the vocals. Otherwise, it’s a cool jam that maintains a level of maturity and newness that will keep listeners coming back for more. I’m excited to see what Stage Hands have in store for the future. –Kamryn Feigel
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Loveskills
Pure
No Shame
Street: 11.04
Loveskills = Metronomy + Washed Out

The man behind the machine, Richard Spitzer, is an electronic producer based in Brooklyn. Pure is like a cascading waterfall of sound. The 808 drum flows along throughout the album, and the consistently upbeat vibe is impressive. At times I felt that the bass was a little overpowering to the rest of the tracks. But songs like “Chanel” are so catchy that I could more easily overlook this factor. This is an easy listen and a well-constructed album. Overall, it contains aspects of a lot of familiar sounds, but it maintains its uniqueness, giving it a wonderful, kaleidoscopic effect. –Kamryn Feigel

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Alex Smoke
RS 1403
R & S Records
Street: 05.19
Alex Smoke = Objekt + Synkro
 
Alex Smoke does it again with a follow-up release to his 2013 Dust EP. This four-track EP is packed with minimal tech-house beats and industrial-influenced synths. Lots of reverb and a bit of distorted vocals drift through this EP, adding depth and dimension to the tracks. These tracks contain a big-room sound, so your mom’s laptop won’t do them justice. Do yourself a favor and break out some serious speakers. At first listen, the chopped vocals of “Oni” made it my favorite track. The second time around, it was the fluidity of “Green Man” that stood out to me more. After the third listen, it was the building tension of “Tommy Knockers” that really got me fired up. This album is so diverse and the production is so squeaky clean, you can’t help but admire Alex Smoke for the mass amount of talent this little gem holds. –Kamryn Feigel
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Benjamin Finger – Pleasurably Lost

Benjamin Finger – Pleasurably LostBenjamin Finger
Pleasurably Lost

Eilean Records
Street: 04.04
Benjamin Finger = Lawrence English + The Books

Norway’s Benjamin Finger is a digital composer/filmmaker whose spring release Pleasurably Lost offers listeners an array of instrumentation that creates a unique musical collage. It’s hard to categorize Finger’s genre, and I think he probably likes it that way. His music is best experienced firsthand—words don’t do the album justice. There are definite notes of classical piano that preserve the album’s structure, but layered over that are haunting vocals, meditative chanting, piano tinkering and synthesized twinkling. “Pleasurably Lost” is by far the most organic and melodious piece on the album. It might not be revolutionary, but it’s a skillfully crafted album that is good for unwinding your brain. –Kamryn Feigel

Dfalt
Blackbook EP
Plug Research
Street: 04.21
Dfalt = Kodomo + 
Cassettes Won’t Listen

Hailing from Los Angeles, Dfalt is a dark reflection of the electronic scene. Like a city’s dream, Blackbook is a shifting, unpredictable experience that somehow feels both recognizable and unfamiliar.  The entire EP is a mood piece that reflects the ominous feeling you get wandering home drunk at five-o’-clock in the morning—wondering if you’re going to actually make it home.  Its hip-hop influences lend a grooving feel to tracks, particularly in “Freshkicks” which was my favorite on the EP—a drippy, downtempo adventure that sounds like the Super Mario underground level theme song with smears of demonic rapping. The beats are what stand out to me throughout the EP, even if not much else does. Not the most original release of 2k15, though. –Kamryn Feigel 

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OK Ikumi
10/13
Self-Released
Street: 10.21.13
OK Ikumi = Kraftwerk + Chrome Sparks
Karl Jørgensen, you rat bastard, what have you done with my brain? I have fallen in love with this album and refuse to take it off repeat. OK Ikumi‘s aqueous album, 10/13, has been flowing through my head the past few weeks now, and I can’t seem to shake the sounds from out of my ears. “Red Air” and “Fading” are the most crucial elements that make this album the perfect reflection of astral ambiance. Jørgensen’s builds are effortless and defy gravity, and his drops are so subtle, yet satisfying. Throughout each track, Jørgensen skillfully brings out certain elements (a resounding note or kick), building the volume until your unconscious mind can barely take it anymore before slowly releasing it to fade back in place. The album’s sound is amazingly polished and clean, and I honestly haven’t felt this inspired by a release in a long, long while. –Kamryn Feigel

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