Friday, 25 May 2012

No UFO's - Soft Coast (2011)

Konrad Jandavs has been playing in various bands since the 1990s around his hometown of Winnipeg. Following a move to Vancouver, he created a cassette of collaged "cosmic trash" under the No UFO's moniker and established the Nice Up International label to release it. 'Soft Coast' created quite a stir on the underground tape scene and was quickly picked up by Spectrum Spools who reissued it in a limited run of white vinyl in 2011. This initial release is now sold out at source but there are still vinyl copies to be had over at Spectrum Spools. A digital version of the album is also widely available.

The album itself pays a clear and central debt to 1970s German electronic music as well as subsuming a variety of other, disparate audio sources. This is a channel-hopping glide through early electronic loops, pulsating minimal synth-scapes, ambient drones, punky guitars and musique concrète, sometimes in the space of a single track. The influences here are sewn together in the best possible tradition of mix tapes; you appreciate the connections as they’re replayed in a joyous, nebulous drift. It is an album which has obviously been crafted by a true music lover and dedicated record collector.

On opening track 'Evidence / Century Park', jagged post-punk guitar lines are gradually replaced by spaced synths and a bouncing rhythm track straight out of Berlin circa 1976. The fabulously titled 'Punx on the Promenade' is two and half minutes of sun bleached drone whilst 'Untitled I' sounds like a decaying tape containing a lost Neu track. My pick of the crop however has to be 00/00/2010 which begins with a lazy guitar figure and bassline, adds a mumbled vocal cloaked in reverb before throwing in some primitive electronic tones. It almost sounds like Suicide on a heavy valium kick. 

Or, as Weird Canada rather succinctly put it;

"Soft Coast is a drum machine-laced Krautno adventure catalysed by morbid visions of a future techno. Lurking minor-key experimentalia draggle the distorted grooves and subtle Much Dance vibes while cosmic drones pace the whole adventure. Grip now or regret missing the disjointed journey through Vancouver’s avant - Mise-en-scène."

I couldn't have put it any better myself.

For dedicated fans of reconfigured Krautrock and Kosmische tropes.

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