Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance.
It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. The 11 songs within are simultaneously psychedelic, but austere; sensual, but cold; organic, but electronic; tense sometimes to the brink of mania, but always retaining perfect poise and control.
From the beginning, Suuns (you pronounce it "soons", and it translates as "zeroes" in Thai) have sought to do things differently.
They formed in Montreal 2007 and the group's first two records, 2010's Zeroes QC and 2012's Polaris Prize-nominated Images Du Futur - both released on Secretly Canadian - were immediate critical hits.
Suuns soon found themselves part of a late '00s musical renaissance in the city, alongside fellow groups like The Besnard Lakes, Islands and Land Of Talk.
Still, at the same time, Suuns feel remote from the big, baroque ensembles and apocalyptic orchestras that typify the Montreal scene.
After two records produced by their friend Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes at his Montreal studio Breakglass, Suuns decided Hold/Still demanded a different approach.
In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas, Texas to work with Grammy- winning producer John Congleton (St Vincent, The War On Drugs, Sleater- Kinney).
For three intense weeks, the four recorded in Congleton's studio by day, the producer driving them to capture perfect live takes with virtually no overdubbing.
The result is undoubtedly Suuns' most focused album to date, the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting a guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets.
Hold/Still is an album which derives its eerie power from simmering tensions and strange, stark juxtapositions, and in doing so, directs rock music down a new, unventured path.
180g Vinyl + Download Code Gatefold Sleeve The German instrumental duo SANKT OTTEN (Stephan Otten, Oliver Klemm), founded in 1999, has been releasing music on Denovali Records since 2009.
Their 10th full length album called MÄNNERFREUNDSCHAFTEN UND METAPHYSIK (eng: Male Friendships and Metaphysics) is once again a collaboration record - this time with fellow countryman and experimental guitarist N (Hellmut Neidhardt).
The eight pieces on the album are based on freely improvised studio sessions and have all been recorded live, with a few overdubs added by SANKT OTTEN later.
SANKT OTTEN's Denovali labelmate N - for whom this album is release nr. 47 - is well-known for Noise, Ambient and Drone sounds standing apart from classical song writing.
The aim of this collaboration was to combine the perspectives of the genres of both partners, with N adding a grave and menacing mood to SANKT OTTEN's Electronica and Kraut Rock and SANKT OTTEN providing the sound walls of N with an unusual dynamics.
The german instrumental duo SANT OTTEN already teamed up for building the first walls of sound in 1999.
Since then they released 4 albums and several eps together. In 2009 they joined Denovali Records to realize their 4th length "Morgen Wieder Lustig" followed by a split record with MAJEURE - the solo project of A.E.
PATERRA from ZOMBI (relapse records) - in 2010. With "Fast neu ist auch gebraucht" the full length includes an homage to the old Krautrock heroes NEU! just as a ROBERT FRIPP influenced 13 minutes monster piece like the title track Gottes Synthesizer.
Other songs ("Die Welt ist ja nicht zum aushalten" or "ich verlasse mich selbst") are rather influenced by STEPHAN OTTEN's energetic electric drums.
Mellow epic ambient hymns like "Wir sind deine Propheten" or "Das Ende vom Lied" are their great instrument to create a connection between specific soundscapes to make a coherent album out of the single tracks.
The main excellence of this full length is that SANKT OTTEN are combining influences of an old genre with elements of today's music to a new interesting mixture.
The vinyl comes as a thick 180g gatefold version - the cd in nice digipaks. FOR FANS OF KLAUS SCHULZE, ZOMBI, BRIAN ENO or KRAUTROCK in general.
Strict psychedelic jams and a rhythm section squeezed from concentrate are hardly things we’ve come to expect from a release that has Aidan Baker’s name attached to it, but if you’re looking for a way out of his darkened drone tunnel, then Hypnodrone Esemble might just do the job. This release sees the Nadja soundscaper join forces with thisquietarmy’s very own Eric Quach, the duo employing not one, but three drummers, each of whom helps create a hypnotic wall of sound that’s both furiously loud and strictly maintained. Three drummers isn’t quite enough to make a drum circle, but it’s something of a drum triangle, and it totally changes the way these artists’ ambient leanings come across.