The Brvtalist is pleased to feature two new releases from Berlin-based label Portals Editions. Releasing material ranging from experimental, techno, ambient and more, the label's roster continues to produce compelling works that are mysterious, complex and thought-provoking. Combining dark aesthetics with heavily textured musical elements, we have admired their output for some time. We were immediately drawn to the latest releases from Consulate and Circular Ruins and are very excited to present their newest material.
First is a composition from experimental artist Alex Campbell's project Consulate. The latest record, "Black Narcissus", is an exercise in bleak, urban malaise, filled with brvtal drum machines and haunting soundscapes. "Panzer" is a rhythmic exploration in dark pounding techno and ambient noise. We asked the artist to say a few words about the release and received the following:
Black Narcissus had a fragmented recording process - the majority of tracks were recorded in the space of about two weeks, while I was housebound with a burst eardrum and wasn’t able to submit myself to loud volumes. The remaining two were recorded roughly a year later, building on the ideas and moods I felt I’d created with the first side - attempting to add other elements, both sonically and aesthetically. The end result is something that I hope to be as pure a distillation of my overarching influences as I could have mustered at the time of recording.
The initial tracks were heavily influenced by an aesthetic that, in my mind, was a specific combination of media both sonic and visual. European football culture; World War 2 history; the 1984 film Threads; Cold War dread; Come & See; Jorge Luis Borges; the Croatian War of Independence & related Balkan conflicts, and a broad and highly generalized sense of ‘futurism’. Trying to capture the feeling of something ancient, worn-in but at the same time out of reach, unfamiliar and completely foreign.
It should be quite obvious what music or musical style I’ve referenced in any way during any of these tracks, but to simplify it – jungle, EBM, 90s techno, psychedelic music.
Panzer was an attempt to convey a sense of dread and unfamiliarity. It is probably the only track on the release for which I had a clear idea of the mood I needed to convey, which was directly influenced by Elem Klimov’s 1985 masterpiece Come and See. Being an instrumental, the main cue is in the title of the track, along with martial drum patterns and a sound palette that existed in my head as green, brown and grey. I didn’t intend for it to a club track, or a track that could realistically be played to a dancefloor – its structure exists mainly as a framework in which I could paint on and erase sounds as I saw fit.
Circular Ruins crafts soaring melodies, marching synthesizer sequences and lush phasing drones that wander through the still void. "North of the Sun" is a complete EP that puts ritual hymns through a paradigm of a dystopian future that echoes a ruinous past. We were immediately drawn to the track "Intuitive Knowledge", as it evokes feelings of a cherished ceremony of a long lost civilization. From artist Marijn Degenaar:
Circular Ruins started about two years ago when I was left with a synthesiser and no band when two members of my previous band, ILL WINDS, returned back home to Australia. Most of the tracks on North of the Sun are recorded about half a year ago, while some are a bit older. The current Circular Ruins sounds is still similar, but perhaps moved into a bit more droney, textural and rhythmic direction.
North of the Sun is an exploration into the past and future. Into ancient, timeless worlds. It came about over the course of a stretch of time. Recorded in various locations, whilst traveling or at home. Often reflecting what was happening around, or born out of need to escape what was happening around me. Mostly the recording process was quite intuitive, without much prior intention. Often using my Korg MS-20 or Yamaha CS-5 running through various delays and loopers. The aim has always been to create a sort of rusty, weathered, ancient sound. It wanted to transport the listener to a different place
Intuitive Knowledge was the first track to have been recorded on this tape. Sound wise, it draws a lot from old Berlin masters like Cluster and Harmonia but also from Chris Carter’s early dreamy soundscapes.
Both releases are available on December 4th on cassette and digital formats. For more information and purchasing please visit Portals Editions.