Dirty Scarab

Sometimes, some musicians are enigmatic, not because they don’t want to be found, but building a mystery behind the incredible skill and production that goes into making memorable music compositions, creates an allure that music fans flock to. One of the most high profile cases of this was the mystery surrounding electronic producer Burial, who for years was a myth, aside from his untouchable production abilities and stunning musical invocations because he kept himself hidden from the public. But the second he pulled back the curtain, the hype began to fade. Talents never die, but enigmas certainly can. Dirty Scarab is no exception. Prior to writing this piece, there is next to no social media presence nor a website for this under-the-radar producer, but details did eventually emerge with a little further digging. Dirty Scarab is the brainchild of Ben Youngs, a Leicester man who currently resides stateside, that specialises in remixes and soundtracks, accumulating a wealth of independent movie credits and more impressively, Trent Reznor-endorsed Nine Inch Nail remixes. Such as his talent for excelling in sheer breadth of production, his only album, 2009’s First Stint, contains a playroom of eclectronic sights, sounds and sensations, to sate whatever aural desires your state of mind decides. Naturally, a single song doesn’t speak for this brilliant artist’s entire creative repertoire, but it can showcase an aspect that they are capable of and nothing else says blackened mechanical wasteland like The Brooding. Setting forth on a high-impact hip-hop pace, booms of bass nestle under the encroaching menace and what sounds like robotic gurgling. The danger then engulfs you and a blasting of pained sirens and rusted robotic limbs edging closer, with the padding of a deep rumbling bass wall is incredibly unsettling. Everything screams foreboding, but there’s a delicate light of hope in a small riff of bright, graceful synth that in its two appearances, banishes that intense darkness and more than completes this track. No wonder Ben Youngs is proficient in soundtrack work, such well-realised and crafted atmosphere could cradle a compelling visual scenario with absolute ease. Though I have taken aback the cover over Dirty Scarab’s persona, ending an albeit brief puzzle, his versatility and adeptness behind the production desk heighten his credentials as a sterling young electronic producer, as much as a social media face figure equivalent.

Dirty Scarab’s work can’t be traced on the usual modes of music discovery such as Bandcamp, but First Stint is available completely for free, with the option to donate for his work on Jamendo or you can find him on CDBaby and support him that way. Of course, his music can be found be on most respectable music retailers too.

http://www.last.fm/music/Dirty+Scarab

P.S. Eclectronic is a term I’ve decided to use, to give to artists that can make or excel in producing more than one kind of electronic music.

Orange Tulip Conspiracy

Paranoia is something that seems to grip hold of a large portion of us at times, like a leash round the neck. The constant feeling of unease that somebody is watching us, or that there is a much larger agenda happening right underneath our noses. This state of mental chaos can be the birthing place of conspiracies, tales that hold weight as to why events transpired in the manner they did, more often than not focused around pivotal moment in history. As far as a band named Orange Tulip Conspiracy goes however, the jury may be out on that one. For this Los Angeles five-piece, their work remains focused on a deeply involving instrumental cinematic experience, drawing influences from Balkan folk music, lounge jazz, classical music and some heavier aspects of progressive rock at times. It seems odd yet rather fitting when you have a rich, smoky ambience of expertly woven strings, every now and again plunging into total dread from gigantic amounts of distortion entwined with the guitar. Luckily across the six and a half minutes of Fall Creek, that monster hides its ugly head. This stays as an extended jam of cultural magnificence, hypnotic in drums maintaining a steady rhythm the entire time whilst strings and saxophone recount the tales of days gone by. The atmosphere is sitting around a fire, in a tent that towers above you, whilst the haze emitted slowly envelops those listening into a trance of total relaxation. The conspiracy I guess then is this: how can five Los Angeles musicians create the sound of traditional Eastern Europe so perfectly and yet very few have experienced their astonishing craftsmanship? Keep an eye on those orange tulips, who knows what other wonders they have in store.

The band now go under the name of Atomic Ape, and apparently their album Swarm sounds a lot like a spy thriller. Fancy. Anyway, both that and Orange Tulip Conspiracy can be bought on the Atomic Ape Bandcamp page in digital and physical formats.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Orange-Tulip-Conspiracy/167129410109217?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/AtomicApeBand?fref=ts

Vulture Industries

Circumstances make me wonder if opinion polls are ever conducted on whether the world needs more metal musicals. Currently the best example may be cult classic Repo! The Genetic Opera, certainly a polarising experience at the best of times however. The music itself was very well composed, especially for the sheer scale of original songs written for the score, but the lyrics at times, came over as unintentionally hilarious. Very few bands nail that balance between theatricality and musiciality perfectly, so when a new avant-garde metal band emerges onto the fray, attention spreads like wildfire. Enter Norway’s Vulture Industries. European metal circles are quickly cottoning onto their amalgamation of styles, instruments and notably the quirky vocal menagerie of frontman Bjørnar Nilssen. While most likely not conceived in that matter, each song written by Vulture Industries takes its place as a scene or chapter in a blackened, twisted storybook, exploring the depths of emotion and the human condition. Most recent venture, 2013’s The Tower is their most ambitious tale to date. Stretching beyond an hour in running time, this five piece have taken extra cues from symphonic metal, as well as enlisting the help of various session musicians and choruses along the way. Divine-Apalling is the second track in, and from the get-go takes you into the warped pantomime of a slightly Vaudevillian landscape. There’s so many well thought out touches in what becomes a carousel, or a carnivalesque waltz of joyous and melancholy tones, but amplified like only a metal band can realise. Vulture Industries have the inner workings of utter genius, and are creatively one of the most unique bands around right now. Take the stage, this applause is all yours.

Their three albums can be purchased on their own Bandcamp page as well as their website, whereas their earlier works and demos, are no longer in print. As usual, these can also be bought at most respectable music retailers too.

https://www.facebook.com/vultureindustries?fref=ts

Fjodor

Better get a beverage of choice and get comfortable for this one. This is by far the longest song you’ll have heard on this blog. But in the best of ways, as a two part space epic absolutely cram filled with unique musical and cultural ideas that keep this a truly fascinating listen. Comparisons to the works of Hawkwind, Pink Floyd and the heydays of krautrock have all been ushered to these four (now three) Croatian gentlemen, but the first part of 46 minute long St Anthony’s Fire, reminded me a little more of Ozric Tentacles, at least from the psychedelic scale of their music. While somewhat of an extended jam, the influences from Balkan and Oriental scales and dipping into jazz territories, even classical compositions at times, keep a gorgeous constant flow throughout the unbelievably tight evolution of both pieces. Electronics haze, phase, swirl and whirl in and out of multi-textural guitar exhibitionism, pace changing as quickly as British weather thanks to an insane drum performance, but there is never a lull in its running time. Consistently exciting from beginning to end, music oft doesn’t sound so free and unrestricted by traditional music conventions, and that what makes Fjodor and St. Anthony’s Fire from 2013 a stroke of genius from a band of phenomenally talented musicians.

St. Anthony’s Fire is readily available from the band’s Bandcamp page, whereas their previous work is much more difficult to come across, so research is definitely needed to unearth that.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/FJODOR/71237823451?fref=ts