Skip to content

Some 2012 Leftovers

December 6, 2012

So I’ve submitted my top 25 list to Boomkat like every year.  I’ve compiled a mixtape list for Dummy and have a tape list and reissue list also in the works.  BUT… there’s always more great music than can fit on a few little lists.  With that in mind, here’s some other great stuff from 2012 that just missed the cut:

Ian Martin “Mechanical Rain” (Further)
Raica “Dose” (Further)
Jam City “Classical Curves” (Night Slugs)
NIL “Nilmonic Process” (Phaserprone)
Lord Tang s/t (Self-Released)
Inez Lightfoot “Three Weaving From the Well” (Biological Radio)
The Haiduks “1968” (Kinnta)
Giant Claw “Mutant Glamour”; Foodman “Shokuhin”; Henry Dawson “Brain Love” (Orange Milk)
WANDA GROUP/Ekoplekz split (Further)
Tilth “Angular Music” (Soft Abuse)
Eldorado Red “Welcome to McRado’s 2” (Self-Released)
Jon Convex “Idoru” (Convex Industries)
R. Adams “Wrestle” (Sunshine Ltd)
Gangrene “Vodka & Ayahuasca” (Decon)
Tinashe “In Case We Die” & “Reverie” (Self-Released)
Window Twins “Wish” (Crash Symbols)
Perispirit “Strung arm Brigade” (Arbor)
Fort Romeau “Kingdoms” (100% Silk)
Romare “Meditations on Afrocentrism” (Black Acre)
Grischa Lichtenberger “And IV (Inertia)” (Raster Noton)
Georges Vert “An Electric Mind” (Self-Released)
Femminielli “Double Invitation” (Desire)
Gary Sloan & Clone “Harmonitalk” (Finders Keepers)

DIGIV042: The Slaves “Spirits of the Sun” LP

July 12, 2012

Portland, Oregon duo, The Slaves, only have a handful of releases under their belt so far, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t left their mark. Operating in the void somewhere between shoegaze and doom, this is music that is stretched to its breaking point and epic in the true sense of the word. Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper know how to fit within each other’s movements, piling on in all the right places and knowing when to pull back. Spirits of the Sun shows their singular focus at its peak. These four dark and lush dreamscapes stretch their claws, dig in, and never let go.

The Slaves have no qualms about who or what they are. The formula is simple: guitar, synth, voice. Yeah, there’s some effects thrown in for good measure, but this is music that thrives on how well it’s written and performed rather than because of endless lists of gear. Kinzle’s synth work is where the backbone begins, but Cooper’s caustic guitar raids are always lurking, waiting for the perfect moment to disrupt the harmonic elegance. It’s these layers of smeared guitar chords and synth notes that add so much depth to each piece. It feels like you’re being swallowed by a sonic abyss and it’s only Kinzle’s narcotic, sublimely towering vocals that save you in the end. As her voice ascends on “River,” it becomes eternal.

Throughout Spirits of the Sun, there is a dichotomy pulling in opposite directions. The Slaves create music that is simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. There’s a twisted dark side that is consistently being overshadowed by sounds that are overwhelming and majestic. Each aspect pushes and pulls, but the beauty and the symmetry win out in the end. By the time the album closes with the soaring “Born Into Light,” it is statuesque and firmly entrenched in the deepest reaches of your psyche. Spirits of the Sun is a force and The Slaves will guide you toward your own oblivion.

Mastered by Brad Rose and cut to vinyl at D+M Berlin. Artwork by Birch Cooper

Ordering/samples/etc here ::

DSQ052; DSQ053

June 13, 2012

DSQ052: Ajilvsga “Live Blood” c50
“These guys really need two drummers… you know, like Ministry used to have? Yeah…” Edition of 26


DSQ053: Inez Lightfoot “Live” c34
Home in the forest, home on the range… find a way to coalesce into these enchanted melodies. Edition of 26

Each tape is $6/$7/$8 in the USA/Canada/INTL. Email to order

 Tapes are now sold-out.


Jean Piché “Heliograms” LP & Betawave X/MX7 double tape

May 24, 2012
Hey Everyone,
Lots of points of order here as there’s a lot going on.  Yesterday was my birthday and as such, this feels like the best way possible to celebrate.  Into the abyss:
digiv040: jean piché “heliograms” LP $16 / $19 / $28
In 1982, a small Canadian record label specializing mostly in classical music released “Heliograms”. This was the first record by Canadian composer and video artist Jean Piché, and it was also one of the first albums to feature music produced almost entirely with digital synthesizers. But, due to an unfortunate turn of events, the label went bankrupt as soon as “Heliograms” was released, therefore relegating this essential piece of electronic music to obscurity.

Jean Piché recorded “Heliograms” between the years 1977-1980 during his time at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. The music on the LP consists of works for computer, digital synthesis and acoustic instruments, and most of it was composed using the POD Interactive Compositional System that Barry Truax had developed at SFU. The four compositions that make up “Heliograms” are often dense, harmonically rich pieces that slowly evolve through time. There is a strong use of tonality throughout which characterizes Piché’s work during this period. It echoes a fascination with the music of Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Lou Harrison, placing it firmly in a minimalist approach to electronic music, alongside the contemporary work of American composer Laurie Spiegel, then working at Bell Labs.

The initial sounds that would end up constituting the bulk of “Ange”, the first piece on the LP, were created on the Systems Concepts Digital Synthesizer, also know as the Samson Box, during a residency at Stanford University, California, in the CCRMA facilities. The Samson Box was a powerful machine and the first of its kind. It was designed to synthesize complex musical events in real time using FM synthesis. As soon as Piché returned to SFU, he mixed all the tracks in a traditional analog studio and then proceeded to record the voice of Joanna Anonychuk, as well as his own voice, carefully blending these with the sounds generated with the Samson Box. The result is a striking oceanic drone of microtonal frequency waves shifting in and out of focus.

“La mer à l’aube” starts with distant cascading lines that rapidly dissolve into a gaseous, neon-tinted trip through icy digital landscapes. It was actually the first piece here to be recorded, and it is one of the very first digital synthesis pieces ever produced in Canada. This track, along with the remainder of “Heliograms”, was created on a Hewlett-Packard 2116 mini-computer running the POD System. This software enabled precise tuning of harmonics, making it possible to build chords consisting of up to 500 differently tuned notes, creating a natural chorusing effect that can be heard throughout the LP. “Rouge” is a more rhythmical proposition and certainly breaks away from the overall aerial mood of the LP. It features the percussion work of Paul Grant performing along with a series of complex computer-sequenced patterns of synthesized sounds, eventually disintegrating into the title track of the album. The scattered piano flourishes that open “Heliograms” announce a more pastoral affair, but this eventually gives way to organ-like tones that rise and fall, morphing into glacial rays of brightness that reach high levels of intensity. It is a very majestic ending to a sadly overlooked document of its time, and we hope that this reissue will finally give “Heliograms” the place that it deserves in electronic music history. – Roger Tellier-Craig (Le Révélateur, ex-Godspeed You! Black Emperor)



ltd142: BETAWAVE X / MX7 FOR MYSTERYSEVEN split double c28 
$12 US / $14 CANMEX / $17 INTL 
The journey of S. Kidlat! Ocampo is a mysterious one with endless twists & turns, but with the result always swimming in neon and on the virgo tip. First we have BETAWAVE X and this eight piece songbook, “Ghetto Hymns for the Earthbound & Weary.” The title couldn’t be more fitting. Aspirations and public archiving make their move with funk-infused synth routes blazed on golden highways and leads that drip with sweetness and hope. Futurism is never far from the past and robotic vocals are simultaneously harmonic and clinical. It’s in the groove that paths are traversed and the stars are brought into line. These are exaltations. Post Office Damaged Parcels Clerk, Totoy Monteiro, assents, “…this is some funky shit I ain’t never heard before!”

MX7 for MYSTERYSEVEN is another vehicle entirely with Ocampo burning the candle from the other end, looking for new modes of public broadcast. Context is stripped down to the basics and reconfigured into machinistic daydreams. Academic in approach, “A Patient Transit” unfolds organically and uncovers heavy sonic truths. This is music that will integrate into your synapses, becoming a singularity within your fluid mind. It is living aural research. These simple ideas breed explosive results and each note, chosen with purpose, sings like an endless parade to the cosmos..

Your stars are my stars.

Edition of 75, Chrome tapes.


Thanks for listening, as ever!

much love,

p.s. follow me on twitter for all kinds of updates/news/special offers/etc ::

Looking Ahead…

May 21, 2012

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these posts (actually, maybe I never have… I can’t remember.  Alas…), but after a relatively slow couple of months as Eden & I have adjusted to our new reality (after months of dealing with a lot of stressful crap), we’re finally ready.

We announced that we’d no longer be doing regular, large tape batches at the beginning of the year and bowed out of the mode we’d been operating in with a bang.  As we continue to evolve and mix things up we are planning irregular missives dispersed as they’re hatched in the form of small-run LPs (editions of 150 or less with digital versions also available), live performances, individual cassettes from Digitalis (runs from 40 to 75), & of course the rebirth of Dial Square.  This all will coincide with our larger-run LPs in an attempt to create an aural conversation of what is happening within our various spheres.  And also it will attempt to unearth a lot of great, often under-represented music.

So with all that in mind, a busy summer begins this week with two new missiles fired on Thursday.

First is the year-in-the-making double-cassette split from Vancouver’s S. Kidlat! Ocampo (lots more from him later this summer/year) dual solo personalities of BETAWAVE X and MX7 FOR MYSTERYSEVEN.  Hear for yourself:

On the same day a Canadian legend gets his due as Jean Piché’s seminal work, Heliograms, will be available again on vinyl from Digitalis & Boomkat (and to follow all over in the next week).  Read more HERE and take a listen:

Looking further down the line, DSQ’s gears continue to unthaw and the pipeline is open.  In a week or two we’ll have two live tapes, one from Inez Lightfoot and one from Ajilvsga, available.  Following that will be a massive undertaking – the six-tape North Sea boxed set, Dismantled.  As The North Sea will be put into indefinite hibernation following 2012, the project will go out in style.  We haven’t determined, yet, how many copies of this box will be made and are open to taking pre-orders to quantify demand.  It will be fully-assembled and ready for digestion in late June.

The first of the short-run LPs (“I Was a Teacher” by Birch Cooper) will be available sometime in June as well.  Charlatan will be invading Montreal as part of Suoni on June 9th, performing alongside Digitalis-mainstay Ricardo Donoso as well as Pulse Emitter & Le Révélateur.  Digitalis is inching toward its 10-year anniversary and I think we’re just getting started.

As ever, get in touch with questions, etc.

DSQ029; DSQ042

May 2, 2012

After an absence of over a year, Dial Square is born again.

DSQ029: Dada Centauri “I” c28
First taste from this excellent duo from Calgary. Sci-fi droplets of synthetic ice cooling itself in the Earth’s magnetic fields.  Skitzed-out beats that pummel melodies into the wormhole.   Edition of 22.

All sounds by Whitney Ota and Andrew Hume on Moog/Korg/Casio/Effects
A 2012 recording
Recorded by Whitney Ota at Canopy Sound Studios
Mixed/Mastered by Whitney Ota
Photograph by Whitney Ota

DSQ042: ZX-9 “Particle Decay” c32
Electronic workouts from the land of Oz that zap the atmosphere like a cosmetically-altered rocket with little more than straight jet fuel for a booster. Sequencer dances and decaying bleeps all join together in the abyss.  Edition of 22

Each tape is $6/$7/$8 PPD in the USA/Canada/INTL.  Email to order.

 Both tapes are now sold-out.  Stay tuned for future editions around the bend.

DIGIV043: Paco Sala “Ro-me-ro” LP

April 14, 2012

DIGIV043: Paco Sala “Ro-me-ro” LP

Paco Sala first came to fruition sometime in 2011 as Konntinent’s Antony Harrison began exploring a totally different side to his musical personality. In many ways, Paco Sala is the complete antithesis of what Konntinent is. What is most impressive, though, is that while each project has its own, distinct voice, both are showcases for Harrison’s incredible talent.

Following up the debut cassette, Radial Sundown, that introduced Paco Sala as a new solo vehicle for Harrison’s love of hip-hop, Italo-disco, & synth-infused pop music, Harrison joined forces with vocalist Leyli. And that is when everything changed. Leyli’s voice became the perfect muse for Harrison’s squashed productions, adding an elegance and airiness to the dark, heavy-handed crunch. This is most evident on the show-stopper, “Spiral.” Leyli’s voice is divine, streaming skyward as it twists into endless, delicate shapes. The plodding, hypnotic beat and tropicalia-infused loops are the perfect backdrop. This is the sound of being lost in a future dystopian Caribbean nightlife. It’s stunning.

Elsewhere, such as album opener “Dumb Truths,” Harrison whispers sweet, unintelligible nothings on a star bed of blown-out beats and melodic sci-fi synths. Crystalline drops are compressed into fluorescent neon highways on the bass-heavy “Legacy Edition” while the title track is a muddy excursion to an underground club where everything is about to fall apart.

Leyli slowly takes over the album’s first single, “Gifts of the Bloom,” with layer-upon-layer of wordless murmurs. Along with B-Side opener, “Tre’s Future First,” these two pieces show off Paco Sala’s Italo influence with stunted dance beats and catchy, yet minimal, synths. It’s the vocals, though, that continually push Ro-me-ro to another level and this is perhaps most obvious on the magical “Earn Your Stripe.” This is as musically understated as any piece on Ro-me-ro with Harrison showing incredible restraint in his production. Leyli, however, knocks it out of the park, wrapping the song with an intimate warmth. As she purrs, “We were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” nothing could be further from the truth. This is what it feels like to be home.

Original art by Marie-Pascale Hardy. Mastered by Brad Rose and cut to vinyl by Rashad Becker at D+M Berlin.


Digitalis LTD: The Final Batch

February 22, 2012

so it is with much excitement that today is the day we officially unveil the last batch of digitalis ltd tapes.  i’ve had a lot of emails asking WTF over the last few weeks, but no fear – we are not closing up shop or anything like that.  we’re just evolving and changing things up for 2012 in order to try and satiate that constant desire for something new, something different.  in addition to our large-scale pressings on the mothership, we’ll be doing future limited/short-run editions through digitalis LTD as well – it’s just that the format and scale will change.  so without further rambling, take note:

ltd#229: rj valeo w/ justin gibbon & justin miller “the philadelphia recordings” c40 (75 copies)
imagine ’70s-era roedelius remixed by autechre and you’re close
ltd#231: jerry paper “vol. 1” c32 (75 copies)
woozy pop songs from the artist formerly known as zonotope
ltd#232:  nodolby “every night we are haunted by a dream” c31 (75 copies)
time-lapsed drones that drown beneath the blackness
ltd#233: nick forté “starved for ascension” c40 (75 copies)
blown-out scuzz that is utterly, deliciously relentless
ltd#234: asha sheshadri “flowers in glass cases” c32 (75 copies)
ex-mutation in the gryd hauntress that is willing to throw acid on your dreams
ltd#235:  guerilla toss “young christian balls” c32 (75 copies)
boston free-spazz skronk masters ready to burn down your town
ltd#236: lightning strike lightning “creepy power” c40 (75 copies)
l’aniamaux tryst supergroup’s second effort reissued from its desert doldrums
ltd#237: brian lavelle “amulets” c41 (75 copies)
dripping prisms that stick like meat to your bones

individual tapes are $7 US/$8 CANMEX/$9.50 INTL.  entire batch $43/$52/$61. get in touch. (sorry for the slight increase.  shipping prices are brutal)

there will be no delays w/ this batch like last time.  everything WILL SHIP next week, guaranteeeeeed.

DIGIV039: FRAK “Muzika Electronic” LP

February 10, 2012

digiv039: FRAK “muzika electronic” LP $15 / $18 / $27

When I really think about it, it utterly blows my mind that FRAK has been around for 25 years now. They have been the talisman of Sweden’s inimitable Börft label since its inception. Over the course of dozens of tapes, 12”s, and full-lengths this group has known no real boundaries. It is alien music in every sense of the word. Even if each track offers something different to the narrative, the album keeps a connective tissue running throughout. After 25 years, FRAK is showing no signs of age.

Muzika Electronic is a mix of skewed dance music paired with heavy doses of modular synthesizer exploration and bizarro pop. It’s all brand new, recorded specifically for Digitalis. FRAK is constantly skirting the line between minimal dance music and noise music, often finding new and innovative spaces to occupy and exploit. Album opener “Voyage No. 1” embodies this to perfection. Slow-moving rhythms provide the backbone while looping, crusty synths spin around, spiked with dizzying, high-pitched melodies. It seems odd at first, but as an introduction to what is contained within the sonic walls of Muzika Electronic, it starts this journey off right. It flows into the deceptively catchy “Tristesse Dance” like magic. You will find yourself hooked on the cyclical bassline within a few bars.

FRAK’s pop sensibilities are most on display, though, with the New Order-tinged “Pulse-Crack.” Wide-eyed leads mesh into the pulsating bass undercurrents, riding a blissed-out electronic wave into outer space. It is absolutely hypnotizing. The robotic vocals of “Varje Dag” and “In Order to Create” are swimming in a sci-fi glow. This is music that is wrestling with itself, never sure if it is searching for the future of dance music or harkening back to its past. That dichotomy, though, is what drives Muzika Electronic into so many great and unexpected realms. Ultimately, this is a place we all should want to be.

Cut to vinyl (LOUD) by Rashad Becker at D+M Berlin. Art by Tiny Little Hammers.


Coming Soon pt. 4

February 8, 2012

the final batch. two weeks.