Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Hugo’s foray as Palmbomen II makes its debut on Beats In Space Records with the eponymous full-length Palmbomen II.
Guided by voices hardwired into machines of house productions past, Hugo found his footing on the road most travelled by pioneering dance producers by following a spontaneous ethos to create Palmbomen II. The live ideology applied to Palmbomen’s 2013 album Night Flight Europa guides this path, yet the true vehicle of Palmbomen II is optimized with a single driver-seat.
Recorded during a summer lockdown in his mother’s attic in their hometown of Breda, The Netherlands, Hugo monastically set forth making Palmbomen II with tools of a seemingly distant trade: machines – to program and to play – and tape – to record the results. By reversing the perceived potential in hardware versus software production, Hugo returned to the creative core sometimes blinded by too much screen glow: make good music and the rest will follow.
Over the past six years, the Australian-English trio Seekae have won a hugely loyal following and a swag of awards for their signature blend of electronic pop, post-dubstep, post-rock, house and ambient. Their debut ‘The Sounds of Trees Falling On People’ was anointed one of the albums of the decade by FBi Radio; assured follow-up ‘+DOME’ achieved Mojo Magazine’s Album of the Month in the UK and saw Seekae nominated for four Australian Independent Music Awards.
Heatsick is the project of British born, Berlin based artist and musician Steven Warwick. Whether in his music or broader art practice, Warwick seeks to loosely construct potential situations that unfold into a sculptural experience of a moment, an idea, or a place. He moulds hypnotic, colourful dancefloor-focussed tracks together in a similar way to his visual artwork, where objects and media combine and coalesce in an environment inviting the viewer’s participation.
Percussive and melodic loops are made in real time and interweave with each other onto the dancefloor, creating a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic disco to immerse oneself in and saturate the senses. Live Heatsick performances have been favourably received at venues, clubs and festivals across the world such as Berghain, MoMa PS1, ICA London, Unsound, and Mutek.
1080p Collection’s latest artist to be plucked from obscurity is Boston’s Dylan Scheer, AKA Via App, whose desultory brand of techno recalls Actress and Gobby in its stubborn refusal to cohere. But her tendency to insert random, sometimes startling sounds makes her style all her own.
From the point when Lex Luger-style synths start wrapping around the lumpy kick drums of opener “Photogenic,” you know you’re in for something different. It feels like there are all kinds of ideas and influences hidden in the folds of Scheer’s music, layer upon layer of sound that bury some ideas but still leave brief glimpses of others, like the bits of early rave music floating throughout “Photogenic.”
The garbled sounds running underneath “I Came To Win” are fascinating, if only to try and guess exactly what they might be as a tsunami of distortion crests over the track. Taking the reverse approach, the Gobby collaboration “Greenclaw” takes the New York artist’s sound collage style to its structural limits. A murmur of eerie chimes and aquatic sounds, it’s achy and fatigued.
There are more conventional club tunes as well. “Healthy” is Scheer’s go at deep house (despite its supremely weird bassline), and the comparatively limber “Ace” squeaks by as if it were slathered in motor oil. Even these two don’t stay static, however. Scheer’s wandering mind takes her tracks down winding paths and, occasionally, creative cul de sacs, exacerbated by the persistent drowsiness of her music. It can go both ways: the dynamism of “Photogenic” and “I Came To Win” is thrilling, but a few other tracks feel soupy and bloated. That’s a small quibble to toss at a young artist who seems to take pride in subverting expectations, and Dangerous Game is a promising debut album as it stands.
Palmbomen II, Seekae, Via App, Heatsick
Friday, 01st April 2016 | 23:00 CET
St. Georg | Ritterstr. 26 | 10969 Berlin/Kreuzberg