Marrow Mandler – Escapist Grounds MC Beläten 2013
German Army – Burushaski MC Beläten 2013
Veil of Light – Veil of Light MC Beläten 2013
I have to admit that up until recently my interest in Beläten’s releases had been targeted towards their ritual / industrial styled tapes, rather than those which more appropriately fit with the label’s ‘post avant garde pop for a pre-apolcalyptic world’ description. Nevertheless, here are the three new tapes which make up the latest batch releases from Beläten, which more faithfully align with the ‘post avant garde pop’ tag line, despite sounding absolutely nothing alike.
On ‘Escapist Grounds’ Marrow Mander deliver a sound which merges jittery programmed beats with cold minimalist synth style, maybe sounding something like the a bastard lovechild of Kraftwerk and Devo attempting a German industrial / synth pop album. In other words bizarrely excellent. The monotone commanding male vocals are also a highlight of Marrow Mandler’s sound, which in some segments are morphed and slightly processed for good measure. ‘Bound Forward’ is also a stand out track with the elephantine sway of its programmed beats and commanding half sung/ half spoken vocals.
German Army are up next (hailing from LA of all places despite what the name suggests), who deliver the most experimental of the latest batch of tapes being something like abstract post punk. The material on ‘Burushaski’ ranges from programmed compositions to relatively abstract soundscapes, which are constructed with manipulated tape experiments, morphed radio samples, fractured tribal-esque beats, occasional wayward guitars (meandering bass and screaming solos), hallucinogenic vocals etc, which are wrapped up in hazy lo-fi analogue aesthetic. ‘Stone Walls’ rates a mention, featuring some excellent mid paced clinical beats, vague melody and distant spoken/ sung vocals.
For the final of the tape batch Veil of Light deliver their debut EP, being a solo project hailing from Switzerland which aims at a ‘classic’ 1980’s goth / post-punk sound of Joy Division, early Death in June and the Dead Can Dance debut for suitable reference. Across the six tracks Veil of Light blend stoic drum kit percussion, plodding bass lines, jangling and intertwining guitars, serpentine melancholic synths and commanding male vocals, which are presented as straightforward and catchy songs. For its apparent lack of originality, this is of little concern when the material presented is this strong, not to mention being absolutely faithful to the sound and era it emulates.
The slick presentation of the pro-print tapes and covers feature Beläten’s now trademark graphic design template and aesthetic (including individual runic symbol for each release), which only adds to the sheer collectability of this emerging cult label. Whilst the tapes are work owning for their packaging and presentation alone, if you have any doubts about the music they contain, the complete Beläten catalogue is available for streaming on their website.