Distel – nord 7”ep Beläten 2015
Veil of Light – Head/Blood/Chest 12”ep Beläten 2015
Since the last batch of tapes reviewed from the Beläten stables the label has grown substantially in profile and output. To this end the releases have evolved from tapes alone by stepping out with a number of vinyl pressings. Here are two more recent vinyls which highlight the label’s focus on ‘post avant-garde pop’, but again which highlights the diversity of sounds which can be captured under this banner.
Up first is the relatively new ‘angst pop’ duo Distel from the Netherlands, with this being their fourth release since 2010 (album, mini-album and two 7”ep’s). Fitting very much within a programmed synth-pop style, the cold electronics and ‘angst’ tag clearly directs it towards an audience of the lighter moments of the Galakthorrö label discography. The title track is a driving programmed percussive and synth heavy minor keyed mid paced song, complete with understated half sung male vocals and perhaps drawing reference to the Knife at their quirkiest. This is followed by ‘Zelf’ is then slightly more understated in its programming and abstract with the application of melody, to create a darkly twisting mood. The final of 3 tracks ‘raaf’ takes up side B, which is a longer form, more understated angular track built around a low techno throb, and interweaving elements, includes sparse synths and morphed vocals. All in all a very tasty, darkly hued synth-pop 7”ep.
Veil of Light from Switzerland are next, fitting more within a ‘post-punk’ frame of reference and have 5 releases out since 2013 (album, 7” single, MC ep, digital ep and this 12” ep). This 45rpm 12”ep contains 4 tracks (2 per side), where opener ‘All You Have’ demonstrates a clear adherence to ‘classic’ hallmarks of an 80’s post-punk style and sound where stoic mid paced kit percussion, gothic tinged keys and atonal male vocals are wrapped up in a sparse and deep analogue toned production. Simply sublime. Although following a similar tone, the sparse bass drum kick on ‘Adonis’ is processed to sound akin to exploding mortar shells, which giving the track a particularly distinctive edge. The first track on Side B ‘purple’ lightens the mood somewhat with a heavier focus on lighter synth melodies and slightly snapper and more urgent programmed percussion, with additional sparse synth stabs and emulated trumpet bursts. The final of the 4 tracks ‘MMZ’ – pulling back on the drive, the percussion is slow and understated, with the mood being driven forward by a lone guitar melody and single counterpointing synth line which builds to quite shrill crescendo heights over its length. Although quite ‘classic’ in sound and ‘retro’ in feel, Veil of Light manage a sound which replicates an obvious personal obsession for 1980’s post punk but deliver their music without sounding jaded or cynical.