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Walter’s Choice: December

What’s that? You want to know what’s been going in our minds this week, reverberating our synapses and sending broader vibrations throughout our bodies and by extension our souls? Today’s choice picks come from EB editor Walter W. Wacht.
Two upcoming records have caught my ongoing attention lately: News From Nowhere by Darkstar and FaltyDL’s Hardcourage. Ever since Drew (Lustman) released the first teasers (namely “Straight & Arrow” alongside the Four Tet remix of the same track) months ago I’ve seen my eager expectations grow.

It was hype o’clock when the track received a music video by blog buzzing Japanese artist and programmer Daito Manabe, using an electric stimulus to control and move body parts.

But luckily all expectations have been fulfilled: Hardcourage is an album packed with textures and rhythms, not forgetting about melodies. Solid pop step this is. But more seriously, Hardcourage is probably the best breakbeats meets ambient meets dubstep album I’ve heard in the past two years—a record that works well for your music geek girlfriend and your pop music appealing pal. Think: shuffling and finger snapping rhythms; church choiral segments in “Re Assimilate” along a straightforward shuffle beat; Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires singing the nicest melody with loads of reverb (“She Sleeps”); Blues piano samples and a straightforward bass line in “Finally Some Shit/The Rain Stopped”. This record works well in clubs and on couches.

Enter Darkstar! Their debut album North already marked a change in general musical direction, but News From Nowhere takes their synth pop to the next level. This is moody and somnambulistic music in its best moments; a bit whiney maybe—but far from being pathetic. Maybe it’s because of this time of the year, me being sentimental and stuff et cetera.
At its best moments I picture the music on News From Nowhere as being played from a music box, with a porcelain ballerina dancing on top of it. Only that the ballerina isn’t wearing a tutu, but raddled jeans, a dirty trench coat and has oily hair. I hope you get the idea.

Both Hardcourage (Ninja Tune) and News From Nowhere (Warp Records) will be released in early 2013—let’s remit until you’ve had a chance to listen to the albums… What else is news?
WhoMadeWho and Mark Lanegan teamed up for a 7″ charity split, and the WMW version Lanegan’s “Deep Black Vanishing Train” is great.

Chromatics and Ida No took on a cover version of New Order, and I liked how they treated this late Joy Division original:

Joy Orbison’s mix for Resident Advisor stays on top of lists!

And then I’ve reconnected to Portishead’s Third album. I think you should do so, too! ~

Photo: FaltyDL – Straight & Arrow 12″

Published December 12, 2012. Words by Walter W. Wacht.