Yokan System is a Japanese pop duo who make some of the classiest electronic music you’ll ever hear, so much so that it all feels rather effortless for the pair. Their debut album Whispering is released by Ample Play and is probably one of my favourite pop releases of the year.
Lilies On Mars are another duo, originally from Sardinia but now based in Hackney. Their second album is released by Lady Sometimes and finds the pair dabbling with dreampop without surrendering themselves fully to drab shoegazery dullness.
Shape Worship is the alias of Ed Gillett, and his debut album A City Remembrancer was released by the fantastic Front & Follow imprint. The album concerns itself with the constant mutability of London, from the windows to the past revealed in the mudbanks of the Thames to social disruption from the demolition of Corbusier-inspired housing, which we might be used to thinking of now as a failed social experiment. A complex album, for me writing this review allowed me to indulge two of my other passions – the history of London and architecture. I often say that I’d love to have become an architect if my actual career hadn’t gotten in the way.
‘Tppr’ by Laica is also a social experiment, though arguably more successful. For his latest release on his own Arell imprint, Dave Fleet sent a raft of friends and collaborators a small rhythm he’d tapped out on his desk while setting up his equipment. He asked them to mess with the sequence and send it back to him for further tweaking and re-assembly into a single track album. The result is, as I say in the review, proof that “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”. Fleet was a massive guiding presence in my MuteResponse compilation project and contributed a cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘See You’ to the album under his MO75 alias. Some of the artists he sent his inchoate rhythm to also appeared on MuteResponse – Thee Balancer, Joe Ahmed of Security and Simplicity Is Beauty.
I was delighted to get the chance to review Fleet’s album for Electronic Sound. I’ve championed his work for a while, and we featurd him in the 50 artists to watch in 2015. Both my piece on the album and ‘Tppr’ itself are among my favourite things I’ve written about / heard this year. In keeping with the original theme of the album, here is a picture of my writing environment for the review of ‘Tppr’ – a desk in my room in the funky Chambers hotel in New York in November.
Electronic Sound is available from the iTunes Store or electronicsound.co.uk. The latest issue also includes a lengthy extract from Kris Needs’s new book about legendary New York synth punks Suicide.
(c) 2015 Mat Smith / Documentary Evidence