Released 10th May
Electronic music has been quite obsessed with its past canon for a while. Ongoing trends such as the reissue frenzy or the obsession with vintage equipment make it harder than it should be to find music that feels absolutely contemporary. But Cleveland's 'nDSi' is a prime example of it. His new double EP showcases an evolution of his sound into more minimalist and forward-looking grounds. The crystal-like textures and playfulness are still there, but displayed with a much more ambitious approach. The seven tracks of the double EP are an exploration of futuristic soundscapes delineated with swirling tones, understated rhythms and ever-evolving patterns. Often drawing inspiration from "happy accidents with half broken synthesizers", Andrea Mancini works with the frictions of apparently contradictory ideas to come across a sound that defies the conventions of modern club-ready music without loosing its primary appeal. The textures might be cold but the vibes are warm, the sounds might be technological but the spirit is lively, the structures might be volatile but the impact is immediate. 'nDSi' not only creates a world of its own but also an impressively balanced one. As with any novelty, it might feel awkward at first, but its weirdness manifests itself in a refreshingly na?ve way, dodging any kind of excessive pretentiousness or overproduction. Truly one of the most stimulating works we've heard in a while. The double 12" comes housed in a sleeve by Barcelona based designer Guillermo Lucena.
Released 12th April
The fifth instalment of the Hivern edit series brings together John Talabot and Mori Ra in which might be its most adventurous release yet. On the A side, John Talabot reformulates a Catalan tribal oddity by reinforcing its off-kilter pulse and ritualistic percussions. On the flip, Mori Ra reconfigures for the modern dancefloor a Japanese synth obscurity that falls somewhere between the weirdest side of synth-pop and a proto-techno experiment. The release comes in a limited edition 10" housed in a silk-screened sleeve. This is a vinyl only release.
a1. Tribu - Arbre Tonke (JT's Hivern Edit)
b1. Mori Ra - Keniya Edit
Released 5th April
When Giampaolo Scapigliati was a kid he liked to explore the hidden abandoned places in the outskirts of his hometown, Viterbo. Especially those natural pools in the middle of nowhere that attract tourists for their sulfurous healing water, not welcoming smell and obscure plants. What he cherished the most, though, was its fascinating aura, one that can only emanate from an immortal ancient site. This kind of mysterious mood is what inspires "Sulfureo", his second album as Lamusa II. Along its eleven cuts, Giampaolo experiments with wet percussive sounds, drum machines, syndrums, echos and analog and digital synthesizers programmed with sequencers and midi devices that, in his own words, "created different paths when crossing on each other". In contrast to all of this synchronization, he also experiments with guitars and bass, using a live "free approach" reminiscent of krautrock and new wave obscurities. Also near Viterbo is located the monumental complex of 'Sacro Bosco', where Giampaolo spent many afternoons walking and losing himself inside the weirdness and charm of that place. Surrounded by the grotesque sculptures, enigmatic buildings hidden among the abandoned vegetation and gloomy animals sounds he used to leap into imaginary alternative states that represented some kind of 'journey of initiation'. Now located in Paris, "away from home, from the nature and from those childhood places", he revisited all of those feelings and moods to create a sonic trip at least as equally fascinating.
01. Due Uno
02. Energia Meccanica
04. Giardino Di Metallo
05. Radici (Percussive)
06. Piano Inferiore
08. Spirale Nelle Mani
10. Rito Sonoro Acustico
11. 2:4 Della Mente
Released 15th March
JMII makes serious music without the need to take himself too seriously. In 'Modulations', the Barcelona producer keeps building an increasingly solid and personal sound in his more accomplished collection of music to date. Five tracks that display a universe filled with inventive synth lines, smart production and quirky references to the "day to day of producing music and the strange world of those who like to read machine manuals and learn to program new synths". Take 'Synthesize',the EP's opening track, in which he samples every gearhead's favourite YouTube video. But far from relying on a gimmick, the track is a lesson in how to make trance the right way. 'Communication' emerged from the same studio sessions, but has a much deeper feel, blending ethereal chords and melodies with voices that seem to get lost in a black hole. 'Modulation' is probably the boldest track JMII has ever produced. Lead by a nasty bass line and punctuated by martial percussions and menacing strings, it's one of those in-between genres cuts that can cause havoc in any kind of dancefloor. 'Polydays' is another great example of JMII's approach to music: odd enough to avoid the cliche but not too overcomplicated to diminish its primal power. In other words, it's the kind of dance music we should always aim for. The 12" comes housed in a sleeve by Cologne-based designer Christian Schafer.
Released 7th December
When asked about the story behind the tracks of 'Journey Through The Outer Darkness from the Inner Light', Jamal Moss answered with a laconic "No story. No dogma. No Hype". After all, his despise of extra-musical paraphernalia is proportional to his productiveness in the studio. But there's always a story. On April 9, 2016, Hieroglyphic Being played a live show in La Casa Encendida of Madrid within the festival Electronica en Abril. Some days later, the recording of the full set was uploaded to YouTube. When we watched it, we were totally captivated. Those eighty minutes of music had the raw power of all of Jamal's body of work, but with a heightened sense of transcendence. Cosmic, spiritual and intensely beautiful, it sounded like a lysergic reinterpretation of Detroit techno transmitted from a galaxy yet to be discovered. As most of the material was unreleased, we reached Jamal in order to try to press it into vinyl. The result is 'Journey Through The Outer Darkness from the Inner Light', a 12" that reunites eight of the individual tracks that conformed that Madrid performance. When inquired about AUM, the sacred sound all the tracks are labeled after, Jamal referred us to a book by author and naturalist Joseph Bharat Cornell. A book that the author himself presents with these words: 'The sound of the Cosmic Vibration is AUM, and listening to it brings the greatest bliss imaginable. AUM is the Omnipotent Force that propels each soul toward Spirit. It's the sacred, inner fire. As you approach the cosmic blaze, you feel at first its radiant, soothing comfort; then, as you come closer - AUM's liberating flames consume you - and bring you to God". There might be "no story and no dogma", but, suddenly, it all makes sense.
a1. Aum 1
a2. Aum 2
a3. Aum 3
a4. Aum 4
b1. Aum 5
b2. Aum 6
b3. Aum 7
b4. Aum 8
Released 2nd November
Limited edition package of HVN039 Khidja - 'Impossible Holiday'. Aufgang B, Lena Willikens and John Talabot rework their favorite tracks of the EP.
a1. De Wilde Spirale (Aufgang B Remix)
a2. Haetrin (John Talabot's Early Remix)
b1. Haetrin (John Talabot's Late Remix)
b2. Kraftfield (Lena Willikens Remix)
Released 5th October
INIT's music has the rare quality of transforming bleakness into a soothing experience. In the duo's new EP, 'Wildcard', this mechanism is more intense than ever. And that might be because of the particular circumstances that surrounded its inception. Two years ago, Nadia D'Alo and Benedikt Frey decided to move from Darmstadt to Berlin. Adjusting to a rough area of a big city when coming from a quiet town necessarily brings a change of perspective. For Nadia and Benedikt, that meant experiencing the city life as outsiders while trying to figure out what they wanted from it.'Wildcard' is the sonic result of this process, and proof that changes always bring growth. Recorded in their new home studio during winter, the six tracks on the EP are as haunting as their previous LP for Hivern, but with a rawer approach and enhanced power. Take 'Cover' and 'Solver', an approximation to the kind of moody psych-techno they display in their live-shows and two of the most dance floor oriented tracks INIT have recorded to date. But it's the title track which best expresses the mindset of this work. With its skeletal rattle and undulating synths, 'Wildcard' feels as desolate as a Berlin street in a winter night, but possesses the kind of focus that turns uncertainty into hope. In a similar way, cuts such as 'Copycat' or 'Half Baked' perfectly capture the sort of estrangement -daunting yet hopeful- that comes when moving into a new place, with its slow tempos mirroring the cautious pace of a foreigner and the intoxicated atmospheres calmly distilling the essence of a new environment. Nadia and Benedikt describe this new habitat as small kids on big bikes, eating dry instant noodles, playing with what's to find on the streets, static aircraft traffic closely over our heads and constant running engines. Listening to the music that arose from it, it's obvious that, once again, they've been able to overturn apparently hostile elements into a place were you'd want to stay forever. The 12" comes housed in a sleeve designed by Xavier Marin.
a2. Half Baked
Release Date: 22nd June 2018
When Harold Boue aka Abstraxion invited Fantastic Man into his studio after playing together the night before he didn't knew he was planting the seed for a new project. As he recalls, it was "a day of intense sun in Marseille with not enough sleep", but the result was so great that it inspired Harold to work on new tracks around the idea of creating music to reflect his city: a bit rough, but luminous and influenced by elements of Mediterranean, African and Northern European cultures. This has translated into a heavily percussive sound, in which tribal disco grooves invoke the spirits of voodoo-techno. Three cuts driven by warmly distorted rhythms, bursts of primitive drums, rubbery synths and uplifting chants that overall feel like the first sunrays after an excursion through a dark cave: both blinding and blissful. The project's name is a tribute to the astrological sign of Harold's son, who was born at the same time as the music on the EP. It was the definitive signal he needed to convince himself it was the right time to start something new and different. And an event that for sure helps understanding the vibes that this music transmits: as pure, fresh and powerful as only a new beginning can be.
b2. Bain De Soleil
Released 23rd March
When Daniel Kyo was producing 'Galaxy' in his studio he stood up and felt it. Following several months of what he calls a "musical reset", he knew he'd hit something special. After releasing music for a decade, Core might be the boldest step in his career. A new identity in which all his influences finally come together into an absolutely fresh perspective. Melodies are still the main driving force of the five cuts in 'Galaxy', but the approach is more raw and heartfelt, injecting the kind of vivacity that determines if a track it's simply a product of it's time or if it becomes timeless. Borrowing elements from the cosmic side of techno, the darkest corners of trance and the glacial atmospheres of Synthwave, all of the tracks in this EP ooze the kind of immediacy and transcendence you can only find in the best 90's dance music. Driven by is interest in astronomy, Daniel says he tried to achieve an "outer space feeling"; we can only add that embracing the void was never so gratifying. The 12" comes housed in a sleeve designed by Barcelona-based artist Alicia Carrera.
b2. Proxima B
Release Date: 2nd February 2018
Shame On Us is a live electronic-percussion trio from Tel-Aviv formed by Naduve, Yovav and Alek Lee. 'NAAM' is their first release and a great insight into their sound: rooted in a balearic spirit, highly percussive and with an hypnotic and uplifting quality. The 12" is rounded with remixes by Fantastic Man and John Talabot, who take the tracks to new dance floor and psychedelic heights. The artwork is an original painting by San Sebastian-Based artist Iker Spozio, with design by Alicia Carrera. This is a limited edition vinyl-only release.
b1. Naam (Fantastic Man Remix)
b2. Naam (John Talabot's Amazonian Rainmix)
Release Date: 8th December 2017
There are tracks that only deploy their full meaning when pumping through the speakers of a dark club. To give shelter to the latter, Hivern kick starts a new series of vinyl-only splits dedicated to club-ready cuts by artists in our orbit. To launch the series, we count with both a well-known Hivern stalwart and a new addition to the label. Side A is dedicated to 'Cel Avall', a track that has been hidden in Marc Pinol's vaults for way too many years. With it's slow pace and direct but hypnotic feel, it sounds as if one of the pioneers of the first wave of Chicago house had spent a night dancing to Danielle Baldelli at the Cosmic club. In the B-side, 'Aurora 2', by Norwegian producer Charlotte Bendiks, also has something of the rawness and minimalism of the first Chicago sound. A perpetually fresh energy that, combined with her nonchalant vocal phrasings, provides the track with her distinctive blend of darkness, sensuality and cheekiness. The visual concept of the series has been developed by London based design studio Dr.Me
a. Marc Pinol - Cel Avall
b. Charlotte Bendiks - Aurora 2
Released 20th October 2017
Some producers regard dance music production as a way of obtaining the tools they need. Others understand creation as a reflection of their vital path. Cleveland clearly belongs in the second group. When talking with Andrea about his music, it becomes obvious that the emotional circumstances that surround each track always outweigh the execution of a purely technical process. "Payback" was born the day before Cleveland's first live set it Brussels two years ago. No wonder it sounds like a call to arms. "Armando The Lizard" has a much more looser feeling. It doesn't pursue an answer, just a little bit of warmth. Created in a small cold studio during the Belgian winter, it's lush and playful as a summer afternoon near the Pacific. Completing the package, illustrious swedes Samo DJ & Pedrodollar join forces to give "Payback" a groove boost and a touch of their trademark quirkiness. The 12" comes housed in a sleeve designed by Andrea Mancini himself.
a1. Pay Back
a2. Armando the Lizard
b1. Pay Back (Samo DJ Petrodollar Remix)
b2. Crystal Quest
Release Date: 7th July 2017
The idea of purity is always recurring when talking about techno. Although purism has long been relegated to a mere excuse for fear, when understood not as vindication of a certain dogma, but as a way of approaching creative expression, purity is, as a matter of a fact, inseparable from the genre. After all, techno is something like the pursuit of transcendence - either visceral, cerebral or spiritual - through the strictly necessary means only. The search of the truest forms by just outlining them. All of this brings us to the story of 'Uniformity', Orbe's first release for Hivern. The 12 comes wrapped in a screen printed sleeve with design by Arnau Pi.
a1. Somebody Bring Me Here
a2. Visceral Terror Intro
a3. Visceral Terror
b2. Unexpected Dream's Rave
b3. De Felipe's World
Release Date: 2nd June 2017
Releasing timeless music has always been one of the main aims of Hivern. Sometimes, this purpose asserts itself in curious manners. Take Margot's 'Moderno', a track made in 2003, several years before the label was born. Actually, when Pepe and Giaga produced the piece for a punk oriented art installation, Margot didn't even exist as a project. 14 years later, 'Moderno' sounds as fresh and contemporary as it can be. It's one of those cuts that chases a very specific idea with a very unconstrained scheme, that knows exactly where it wants to go, but is not sure about how to get there.
a2. Moderno (Marc Pinol Morning Remix)
b1. Moderno (Marc Pinol Acid Remix)
b2. Apple S
Release Date: 19th May 2017
When Lawrence Le Doux was asked by filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova to soundtrack his documentary about Donna Haraway, he requested not to see the movie first. ''Instead, I asked him to tell me the story of his encounter with her and his experience of the shooting in California'', Lawrence recalls. After all, Terranova's approach to Haraway, a science philosopher known for his work on gender, identity, technology and trans-species relationships, had also been an unorthodox one. Far from deepening too much in theoretical concepts, the director spent a summer fi lming Haraway and her dog Cayenne at her home in Southern California. Maybe that's the reason why the sounds in ''Music For Documentaries'' feels so genuine and palpable. Inspired by Terranova's stories about wandering, nature, the deep sea, the West Coast winds, Science Fiction and surf, Lawrence produced a series of short pieces that, a bit like a Miyazaki film, connect the purity of nature to an esoteric dimension. It's music filled with heartwarming melodies and textures, but always with a mystifying undertone. As Lawrence himself puts it, ''I think there is a certain darkness in the Soundtrack, as well as in the documentary, maybe this is inherent of the presence of humans on Earth''. Terranova finally kept four of the tracks for the movie, but there were many more sketches and ideas floating around. After hearing them all, we liked them so much that we asked Lawrence to finish them for us, hence the plural in ''Music For Documentaries''. Even if some of those are imaginary. All of the tracks were created using a limited amount instruments, with a deliberate crossover of old synthesizers like a Far sa organ or Sequential Circuits's Pro-One and 90's technology like the Roland JD-800. It is curious that Lawrence says all his synths are ''half-broken'', since the sounds he extracts from them are absolutely healing.
a2. The Lake
a3. Fabs Sunday
a4. Koko The Gorilla
a5. Cat Cradle
a6. Koko The Gorilla (Part 2)
b3. Straight Teeth
b4. Koko's Photograph
b5. Dog Race
b6. Aquarium Scene
b7. Dune Of Silence
Due 26th August 2016
Benedikt Frey's arresting Out Of Here was the second entry of our Blanc series. Originally a vinyl-only limited release, now the track gets a fresh new treatment in the hands of two mainstays of European techno: Roman Flugel and Simon Haydo.
Flugel's Cosmic Disco Drama Rework lives up to its name, maintaining the noir disco spirit of the original track but infusing it with tension-building sequences and strings that give it an extra mischievous twist. Our favorite frankfurter also straightens the rhythmic skeleton and adds shuffling shakers to make it a relentless dancefloor weapon.
Haydo's remix delves into a more dismal terrain, transforming the vocals into haunted echoes, adding esoteric synths and topping it all with razor-sharp percussion in what sounds like a storm of ice asteroids falling into a lake of steel. The 12inch comes in a beautiful sleeve featuring an exclusive illustration by Barcelona-based artist Pau Lopez and design by Arnau Pi.
a. Benedikt Frey- Out Of Here (Roman FLugels Cosmic Disco Drama Rework)
b. Benedikt Frey- Out Of Here (Simon Haydo Rework)