The Roux: February – Week IV

Welcome to The Roux! Every Friday, new music is released. Though the internet and streaming make it easier than ever to discover something new, the main channels usually rep the same established big names. This leaves equally great records on the sidelines. Each of these artists is talented and accomplished in their own right. With this weekly feature, I do the searching, selecting five releases discovered while exploring beyond the algorithm.

All releases are linked to the artists’ respective Bandcamp pages.

01. ANTI FASCIST FUCK MACHINE

by GUSSYEE

[Self-Released]

Moving in a darker and heavier direction, all the idiosyncrasies that make GUSSYEE’s previous work engaging remain; however, the stakes are taken up on ANTI FASCIST FUCK MACHINE a notch. While there is not anything as brutal as “noizfag” or “total annihilation” from reformed semblance, The beats are a bit more totalitarian in design; samples of cracking whips on “Amor” offer an ambiguous message, pleasure or pain, or maybe pleasure in pain. GUSSYEE makes their territory known in this ambiguity that at once suggests being sexual liberation and the continued social and political struggle to express oneself truthfully. 

While there are plenty of frenetic beats throughout, ANTI delivers some of the more ambient moments of earlier, particularly in the last two songs. The penultimate “Another Reason To Stay” is a hushed ruminative balm, relieving after the onslaught of previous tracks. Meanwhile, “Vapour” might be Gussyee’s most blissfully transcendent song yet. Coming at the end, it is a heavenly closer that clears the dark elements from earlier in the record, instead enrapturing the listener in diaphanous texture and divine fashion.

02. Here Comes the Sunset

by Cheer-Accident

[Skin Graft]

Another fascinating entry for a veteran band, Here Comes the Sunset, is an urgent breakneck array of Avante-Garde post-rock. A bit of electronic-infused-jazz-swagger struts through this tight collection.

There is a fine amount of fun to be had here; Cheer-Accident ensures rewarded listening for such a short record. Their cover of Cheap Trick’s “Dream Police” extracts some of the cheese while doubling up on the original paranoia, stretching the song beyond expectations. Twin instrumentals, “Maison De Velours Écureuil” and “Les Vandales De Paris” flesh out the album with dual extremes, the first sounds like a jaunty walk through the park, whereas the latter sounds a bit off the rails with its blaring trumpet and keys, ultimately they are nice sweeps where variety is abundant. The title track is a tender-hearted dirge, delivering the album’s darkest moment.

Ultimately for a band that has been running for this long, Here Comes the Sunset sounds like a flex, a stretching of the muscles, offering mastery and variety without committing to one direction, and while a grabbag, Here Comes the Sunset retains an outstanding cohesion.

03. Flow

by Lara Jones

[Self-Released]

Lara Jones’ Flow finds the saxophonist moving beyond the dense soundscapes of earlier releases, instead reveling in dance-floor filling beats. The record is a showcase for ambient dance music, filling the area with dimmer layers.

“Upside Down” hits hard and opens Flow with what sounds like a lost Prodigy demo. “Pillow (Rework” begins as a slow-bubbling drone before boiling over near the midway point, becoming an exhilarating pulsating tune. Jones continues this fusion of ambient-drone and techno with “Eurythmical” and “Arcade” working in the same fashion. The closing “Inside” ends things in a more traditionally ambient gesture, with the sound of rainfall, the record’s sweat-inducing frantic pace is cleansed away in a brief point of purification.

04. Field Notes 14-10-19

by Nemerov

[Self-Released]

One twenty-eight-minute piece of minimalist glitchy IDM, Field Notes never stays in one sound for too long, instead continuously pivoting from one component to another. This schizophrenic execution makes the twenty-eight minutes seem relatively ephemeral.

05. VI

by Arkrohn

[The Tourette Tapes]

Two tracks clocking in just shy of twenty minutes, VI is heavy in dense dark-ambient atmosphere. Some dark ambient records can come across as a caricature, whereas Arkrohn takes the best bits of the genre and strengthens them. To hear VI is to stand within the storm, helplessly gazing into the abyss, to accept the emptiness. This quality drives the record forward and makes VI a substantial entry into a genre with an ostensibly inexhaustible supply of variations.

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