Suuns are a 4-piece group from Montreal that are about as hard to categorize as a band can get without being just straight-up bizarre. They not only traverse many genres over the course of their LPs “Zeroes QC” and “Images du Futur” (that’s French), but also manage to get away with their plethora of genetically-modified sound fusions. A friend of mine despises Suuns, and described them as “music a city of rats would listen to underground”. After I finished having a good laugh, I began dissecting into this statement and realized its profound accuracy; Suuns make jiggy, eerie, intense, visceral outbursts of incoherent whine-singing, rudimentary distorted drum programming, shrill guitar lines, and haunted organ overtones. And it’s great.
It took me a few listens to each album to really get interested, but it quickly became apparent these guys are calculated and esthetically brilliant. Masters of restraint, Suuns take care to use the open space of their songs as a stage that accentuates the perfectly-placed melodies and drum fills unleashed. So the next time you’re feeling musically adventurous, see if you can make it through a Suuns album without ending up doubled over, foot-stomping with your eyes closed in a sewer. Update: Ruthless and uncompromising, Suuns have thrown down the gauntlet with brand-new LP “Hold/Still” (get terrorized by “Translate“).
Favourite track: Arena… in actuality my favourite is Pie IX but I’m cognizant it might scare people off, so I recommend starting elsewhere.
Moderat is the portmanteau project title adapted from German electronic artists Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring). Curiously, I know very little about their respective bands (mainly because it’s like impossible to approach a new artist with 5+ studio albums… where does one start? What does it all mean!?), but it definitely doesn’t stop me from jamming on a regular basis to this side project. The members of Moderat combine forces beautifully, creating intense, tasteful electro that crosses effortlessly over subgrenres and emotional states-of-mind, making for a coherent and captivating listening experience. With an amazing sonic foundation of textural blends and elegant beats, the vocal work of Ring provides a silky-smooth webbing that amalgamates their worlds together into passion and sincerity.
Pumping out a multitude of music with their home pet projects, these dudes have still somehow found time to put together a few Moderat EPs and 2 stellar LPs: 2009’s “Moderat” and this year’s top-notch “II” (one of my most listened-to albums of 2013). In addition, their killer live performances feature crazy eye-candy visuals and they’ve one of the most interesting music videos I’ve seen in a while. Update: Ze Chermans are back with a deep, gauzy mediation into darkness: LP “III” (try stand-out banger “Finder“). And while we’re at it, check out these a-ok reciprocal remixes by Jon Hopkins and Moderat.
Favourite track: Gita… Just bask in it.
The Field is the project name of electro master Axel Willner, based out of Sweden since 2009. Amalgamating pop hooks, techno and ambient with short term memory loss, it’s like listening to the expansive darkness of outer space swallowing a lollipop whole. Repetition is a powerful but dangerous tool; it takes a keen mind to tip-toe the fine line between emphasis and overkill / monotony. The Field is amongst the select few who does this flawlessly. With lengthy, familiar loops, trucking 4-on-the-floor beats, shape-shifting bass lines and a crucial peppering of sample tweaks and change-ups to keep the listener’s mind attentive, he’s got it figured out.
I was introduced to his music with 2012’s amazing “Looping State of Mind”, and only after being affirmed of his brilliance with this year’s “Cupid’s Head” took the time to head retrograde in his catalog. It’s all noteworthy and critically successful, including 2007’s “From Here We Go Sublime” and 2009’s “Yesterday and Today”. Not surprising, The Field is an avid remixer, adding his amnestic touch the likes of Tame Impala, Bear In Heaven, Thom Yorke and many more. So the next time you’re feeling hypnotic from the lull of a robotically repetitious task, throw on The Field and see what happens. Update: Willner recently released a drone-heavy LP “The Soul Is Quick” under the moniker Hands, and is offering free download of his excellent new remix of Wild Beasts’ “Wanderlust“… this guy’s on a roll (or should I say, a loop). Update II: The Field is back with his latest brainwashing sonic march “The Follower”, a 6-track LP with an average song length of 11 minutes (let “Pink Sun” take you over).
Favourite track: Then It’s White… Sweet, supple trance.