The Music Springs Eternal
New Releases Roundup February and March 2021
We want everyone to be able to enjoy the excitement from all of Aberdeen’s artistic burrows and so this latest edition of our release roundup is a particular treat for us. With some of the City’s most exciting musicians releasing awesome new material there is something for fans of every flavour here: from Post-Rock to Punk, Psychedelia, Electronica, House, and Folk. Whatever genre piques your fancy, whichever sounds float your boat – we hope you’ll agree that the last few weeks have seen some staggering releases emerge from Aberdeen’s music scene.
Magazine Girls | Rachel Jack
Ok, we know. Magazine Girls isn’t even out yet – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get excited about it. Rachel Jack seems to have burst onto the scene over the past few months and taken the whole of Scotland by some sort as storm, appearing of BBC Radio Scotland’s Introducing… track of the week back in early February. And it’s easy to see why. The three tracks that have been teased from the upcoming album each pack a hearty bedroom-pop punch backed up with songs embodying female strength and independence. There’s a fair share of inspiration from the likes of pop-behemoths such as Lorde here but Rachel Jack isn’t afraid to bring in a variety of influences that bring a strong tonic the chiptune synths and dark harmonies onto tracks such as ‘For You.’ Powerful stuff and we can’t wait to hear more. The full album releases on the 18th of March.
0.00014 BTC Worth of Beats | T_A_M
We last featured Thomas Emslie in when the track Gilcomston was released by his side project Major Briggs alongside Molly MacLachlan back in August. During that time, we also had a moment to look back at his latest release at the time, A Menagerie For One, and the dream-like shoegaze sounds that album epitomised. Well, now for something completely different. 0.00014 BTC Worth of Beats is a lucid and laid-back release of chill hip-hop instrumentals. There’s a smattering of lo-fi influences through this album as well, from the bridge of ‘Bath Salts’ to the rusty-sounding and balladic guitar track on ‘Cindy.’ It’s an album that makes one long for summer breezes through the window – perky, yet toned down beats for the almost horizontal.
Reekinhame | Kitchen Cynics
What more is there to be said about the Kitchen Cynics? Perhaps the longest running and most prolific of Aberdeen’s bands/musical projects (revolving around the vision of one man, Alan Davidson), Kitchen Cynics have long been one of the city’s cult favourites. Perhaps reaching most prominence with their 2017 album Apardion, which had a distinctly local focus around Aberdeen’s history and landscapes, Reekinhame is just the latest of a career of amazing releases for Davidson. Labelled as ‘the first release of 2021’ and their fourth within a year, Reekinhame opens the year on a stellar note. Davidson’s voice winds its way through of these nine ballads, bubbling out through through a vibrating vocoder and accompanied psychedelic guitars and banjos, even ethereal woodwind on ‘Dunnideer.’ However, the lyric forms and use of scots separate this from your standard psychedelic fare. Reekinhame has an ancient tone blended with the psychedelia – like Burns on mushrooms. Exquisite.
A Fluxion | Thee Manual Labour
A Fluxion is a haunting and symphonic collection which is in equal parts bleak and grand. Featuring an array of manipulated sounds taken from vocal samples, field recordings, and radio static, this 25-minute long release immerses the listener in a sonic catacomb, a subterranean netherspace. Whilst the first two tracks, ‘Corrective Harmony’ and especially ‘Unity Piercing’, may be reminiscent of early noise and post-rock releases (one can’t help but imagine ‘Unity Piercing’ as a forgotten track from Godspeed You! Black Emperor’ F# A# ∞) the sounds develop, warp, metastasize throughout. With just shy of half of this release’s running time take up by the final track ‘Bloodwork’, it is worth noting the stark and disorienting depths that this albums draws its listener towards seemingly bringing in the most heavy use of vocal samples on the album as we are subsumed in moaning, staticky voices. It’s dark, it’s claustrophobic, and it’s great.
Crop Circles | Mark Dunsmore
Tending towards the more experimental end of this month’s releases Crop Circles is the newest release from electronica composer and vegetable obsessive Mark Dunsmore. These tracks tend towards a calculated resonance that is as cool as… well, a cucumber (and feature vegetable-themed names such as ‘Neon Tubers’ or ‘A Leek In Time’). One can’t help but think of other great floral themed albums, most prominently the youtube-algorithm-favourite Plantasia by Canadian composer Mort Garson, that pioneered the use of the Moog back in the 60s and 70s. But this album replaces the utopian ideals of those projects with a certain verve and aggression especially on the tracks ‘Lunar Mushrooms’ and ‘Flappy’s Revenge’ which are hair-raising throwbacks to the thumping basslines and labyrinthine melodies employed by acts such as Muse, Deadmau5 and Skrillex back in the 00s. We think it’s great, so give it a grow and lettuce know what you think (Sorry).
Beneath The Ice | Parkinson White
Remember all that snow we had only a few weeks ago? Parkinson White’s Beneath The Ice drew its name and inspiration for the eponymous track from that moment and was released only a week after the coldest night. But perhaps it would not be kind to say that this EP was strictly ‘of its time’. Each of these tracks embody a chilly, crystalline take on Trap with syncopated synths throbbing in almost sleighbell like fashion. The bass is, however, slowly turned up throughout – bolstering the otherwise light melodies towards the chill bravado of the final track – ‘Castle Crasher’s almost swaggering jollity. ‘Castle Crasher’ is exactly what it sounds like: an uncertain limbo between Club banger and Super Mario soundtrack. It’s from here though that this EP derives much of its charm and serves as an excellent anthem of the late-lockdown.
Ahins Fine | Casper Heyzeus
Everyone’s favourite irony peddlers Casper Heyzeus are back with this very eclectic and rough release that provides something of a twist-in-the-tail follow up to last years The Shite Album and the Awful Cover cover album. This offering even comes with a disclaimer bemoaning a strenuous and perhaps less than convenient production process. Yet despite the slightly rougher quality of production on this album, we see one of the broadest ranges of CH’s repertoire here from the smooth, funk-inspired ‘Just Business’ and the bawdy, almost B52s-esque ‘Pain Is Eternal’ to the screaming finale of ‘Staring At A Blank Canvas’. Whilst much of Casper Heyzeus’ prolificity is very much about throwing new tracks and albums at a wall to see what sticks, this album seems to epitomize the very extreme end of that process and, whilst it is slightly more jarring as a result, is exciting to see the band attempt to branch out so much here. Whilst not what we may expect from a Casper Heyzeus album, it is still very much worth a listen.