Welcome back to STASIS. It took me nearly a year to publish this new edition. Check the STASIS Mixtape that will be released monthly on Mixcloud.
Enjoy, and let me know what you think of this newsletter.
Ten years ago, Justin Broadrick and I met for the last time. The Supersonic festival celebrated its 10th birthday at the East Side Gallery in Birmingham. Alongside King Midas Sound System, Iron First to the Sun, Sarah Framer and Laurence Hunt, Broadrick played as JK Flesh, his then-just-revived techno moniker. In the afternoon, Kevin Martin walked around like a madman, trying to produce the perfect crystal-clear sound in the stripped warehouse space. In a corner, Broadrick observed the cursing and muttering sound artist with an amused smile. Later, in a smaller room that functioned as a dressing room, Martin told me how important perfect sound is for his project King Midas Sound System. Broadrick, a hood hiding most of his face, didn't mingle in the conversation and instead listened to our discussion about neoliberalism, Amsterdam and London. It got pretty heated (Martin hated Amsterdam but loved London, for me a total contradiction since both cities are such clear examples of neoliberal culture). His amused smile didn't leave Broadrick's face.
Earlier this year, I read the interview The Wire did with Broadrick. Besides being surprised we are around the same age (he turned 53 this year), I was touched by the story of his extraordinary youth shaping his personal and musical career. Since Scum, the debut album by Napalm Death from 1987, I have been collecting everything Broadrick does (as and with Godflesh, JK Flesh, Jesu, ZONAL, Final, Napalm Death, Techno Animal, Head of David, amongst others). Although his musical projects are so diverse, this common element is not easy to describe. It's the pushing of boundaries, the search for the extreme, and the joy that can be found in (sonic) violence. My youth was ordinary compared to Broadrick's, but I can relate to the need to exorcise the demons from my past. The negative, often strange thoughts that have been haunting me for a long time, needed to be contained. There was no 'just living with them'. I finally learned to accept them a decade and a half ago. Broadrick's music played an important role in keeping my sanity for a long period of my life. Not because of the more or less violent and extreme nature of it, but of the sonic explorations that did not leave room for anything else. Plunging myself to Broadrick's adventures felt like escaping to a different reality.
That is why I have always wanted to interview Broadrick. I never did. Maybe also because he seems unavailable to me, as if he is not of this earth. I didn't even try.
This year, Broadrick released three albums under his moniker JK Flesh. First, New Religion Old Rules is full of pounding minimalistic, industrial techno recorded in 2019. Veneer of Tolerance was released in early summer and is a brutal metal-like techno album (or EP). Love it. I like the slow beats of 'Empty Words', as the world is coming to a halt.
The music on his latest album Sewer Bait is slower. Much slower. As if the goal is to decelerate. Sewer Bait is released on Kevin Martin's Pressure label. In the liner notes, Martin describes Broadrick's music on this sixth JK Flesh album as somewhere between Andy Stott, Porter Ricks and Techno Animal. Makes sense. There is also a link to dreamcore and some vaporwave explorations. In these genres, the idea of deceleration is also a prominent feature, although they don't embrace the grinding minimalism of metal(lic) and machine-like sounds. In a more transcendental way, it doesn't matter if the mood is dark and metallic or light, airy and melancholic. The result is the same: as a listener, you are plunged into a xeno-environment that feels like a haven and functions like a barrier to the hostile outside world. How slow, rough, and disturbing the slo-mo and slo-fi techno on Sewer Bait is, it still offers an escape from the extremely violent reality of our current neoliberal status quo. In that sense, Sewer Bait is an antidote to fear. You know there is a way out.
Sewer Bait by JK Flesh is released by Pressure. https://pressurerecords.bandcamp.com/album/sewer-bait
New Religions Old Rules by JK Flesh is released by Avalanche Records. https://jkflesh.bandcamp.com/album/new-religions-old-rules
Veneer of Tolerance by JK Flesh is released by KR3 Records. https://jkfleshkr3.bandcamp.com/track/jk-flesh-veneer-of-tolerance
More info on the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham can be found on their website. https://supersonicfestival.com
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Good movie soundtracks stand independently, but most are written for a specific visual narrative. Lars Meijer loves movie soundtracks. At least, that's what his Instagram account suggests. He also loves ambient and 1980s stuff. In his work as Hunter Complex, all those influences are undeniably there. On Airports and Ports, he blends them more subtly than ever. Hunter Complex sounds more distant, less personal.
That's not a bad thing. The more abstract mood suits Airports and Ports well. Compared to Open Sea (2019) and Dead Calm and Zero Degrees (2020), this album is less song-structured. It even reminds me a bit of the film and series works by Ben Frost. Not in style, but in the mood. Thinking of it, Airports and Ports would make an interesting soundtrack for Netflix's 1899. Maybe Hunter Complex could do the OST for season two?
Airports and Ports by Hunter Complex is released on Burning Witches Records and can be listened to here: https://burningwitchesrecords.bandcamp.com/album/airports-and-ports
Genres are dead. Especially in the non-mainstream. New emerging styles like hyperpop, city pop, oddcore, weirdcore, dreamcore and vaporwave are not defined by specific musical boundaries. That's totally in line with the implosion of hierarchy. Okay, maybe there still is a mainstream (serious question: is there?) but it will vanish in the near future. Pop culture deserves to be free. AUW (Altered Undefined Waveforms) is an excellent example of a post-mainstream band. The band is a loose collective of musicians from the Heerlen area. A sort of all stars band with members of local bands, electronic music producers and poets.
The first EP, Flur 13, is a blend of styles, indirectly referring to the past without being nostalgic. 'Keep Quiet' and 'Panhandler of Dreams' echo the late 1980s Madchester sound and early 1990s Bristol trip-hop. 'Left My Keys At The Jazz Club' and 'No Lullabies' relate more to 2020s lo-fi and underground hiphop and downtempo stuff. All four tracks have something in common: the lush beats and bass lines, and playful rhythms. Listening to Flur 13 is like hanging out in a studio somewhere in the woods where your favorite musicians (in this case: Goya van der Heijden, Maurice Hermans, Gert-Jan van Stiphout, Sergej Kreso, Lars Ickenroth and Merlijn Huntjens) are jamming and getting to know each other better. Let's hope AUW stays xeno.
Flur 13 by AUW is self-released on Bandcamp: https://a-u-w.bandcamp.com/album/flur-13
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Since October, STASIS has a monthly Mixtape. You can find the tapes on theo's Mixcloud. https://www.mixcloud.com/theoploeg/
So looking forward to the debut album of lof-fi bedroom indie rocker Parent Teacher (the opening track 'Impending Doom 1.13' is stuck in my head) that will be released in early 2023. For now, there is the first single 'evEryThiNG's NoRMaL' to enjoy. https://parentteacher.bandcamp.com/track/everythings-normal
With Sunday Morning, Lucinate wants to recreate the lazy Sunday mornings during his youth when his father and he would play vinyl records together. The album is based on samples from his father's record collection. King Deluxe releases Sunday Morning.
Yes! Part three of Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson is about the basic elements of creativity. https://youtu.be/dwxtW1Aio68
Big fan of Osean and his Osean World. Everything he does is related to this world. One of the characters in Osean World, Doom Doom, released debut album Doom 1 earlier this year. It's a blend of everything that makes hyperpop so attractive. https://youtu.be/AFAqpw6WVB0
Interesting read by Brazilian journalist Lidia Zuin about why lo-fi hiphop and POV playlists are symptoms of our neoliberal system. https://lidiazuin.medium.com/lo-fi-hip-hop-and-pov-playlists-are-symptoms-of-late-capitalism-3dddb5f6fb5a
I am a sucker for the lush, warm house sound of Portable. Early this year, he released My Sentient Shadow under his moniker Bodycode. Can't get enough of this album. https://portableakabodycode.bandcamp.com/album/my-sentient-shadow
You've probably seen this scene already a couple of times, but Wednesday Addams dancing to The Cramps' 'Goo Goo Muck' is so good. https://youtu.be/tg3m1N6V_fk
Black Metal Rainbows compilation: 130 tracks by black metal musicians supporting LGBTQ youth. https://blackmetalrainbows.bandcamp.com/album/black-metal-rainbows
Another one by My Analogue Journal (I could list them all). Carla of Batukizer spinning her favorite samba grooves. Don't you love the combination of plants, vinyl and good music? https://youtu.be/GyU8jToVmI8