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short info:

  • Cat.No.: US008
  • Title: Now 01
  • Artist: Funckarma, Gram, Pytlik, Somshit
  • Type: 12" (lim.500)

Now 01

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NOW is the new compilation series on Underscan which is released as four 12" vinyl records. A full length CD featuring all tracks will be put out aswell to coincide with the fourth and final EP. NOW presents the current state of the label and what is to be expected in the near future.
Featured acts are Underscan recording artists GRAM, DALEZY, SOMSHIT, ONETHEMA, ROD and MENU:EXIT aswell as SCANNER, FRANK BRETSCHNEIDER, FUNCKARMA, EVEREST, QUENCH, FIBLA and others.

FUNCKARMA opens the first installment in the series with the hectic uptempo track "BRIM"where soundscapes reverberate with a wall of melodies and echoes are combined with complex crisp beat structures. Funckarma consists of brothers Don and Roel Funken from the Netherlands who already have a strong reputation worldwide for their production work with the Shadowhuntaz, and many other projects.

GRAM's deep bass track "KEEP YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER" follows up as a slow and reduced mind bender that creates an ominous atmo- sphere. Gram aka Graham Love from London has already released the "Simple Funk" EP on Underscan in 2001. This track keeps up with the very unique production skills GRAM stands for.

SOMSHIT's track "ELZ ZUPPER" provides the listener with slightly distorted rhythmic variations and weird melodic fragments which shift towards a powerful harmonic climax at the end of the track. Somshit is Akira Sawada from Saitama/Japan who released his debut album "Paster" on Underscan in 2002.

PYTLIK's wonderfully dreamy "ATMACHB" finishes the EP as the most seductive track. Classical melodies are wound up around tricky beats and evoke a floating listening feel. This very personal track by Menu:Exit member Ralf Pytlik unleashes emotions of transiency and unfulfilled hopes.

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Ace first installment in this compilation series on Underscan, opening up with a squelchy acid clunk from those Shadow Huntaz operators Funckarma. “Brim” features cluttered beats and layered melodies, cisp as you like. Graham Love’s “Gram” project is up next and shoves the bass modulations to the forefront, low-end pressure in minimal styles, very cool warez. Somshit bring on their blend of decimated beats and disjointed harmonies for “Elz Zupper”, while Pytlik end off the EP on a suitably cathartic, soothing note. Good stuff.

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Calling a compilation of elctronic music “now” is quite obvious but also bold bordering on arrogant. Of couse, electronic music is the dish of the day, but who wants to claim the yellow shirt for real? There is just too much variety, and this compilation is proof of that. So I’ll take this “now” as documenting the space of electronic music occupied by Underscan records, which also offers a lot of variety as opposed to the majority of small electronic labels, that stay close to a certain style. The combining elements of artists on underscan records are more in a feeling for textures and landscapes formed from sound and in an aspired attitude of finding a singular approach towards production.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to underscan records, once again, for releasing the beautiful EP "All my love” by ROD, which was the highlight of the electronic music part of my DJ set on Saturday night of Bulbul’s Fitze Fatze. And also for starting a series of 12”-compilations, this one here being number one. There will be three more parts with artists such as Rod, Dalezy, Scanner, Everest, Fibla, F. Bretschneider, and more. As you can see, quite a wide variety of styles and approaches, and if the label is able to keep the level of quality of the first issue, I am sure to check out the other three as well (and not at all for completist record collector’s reasons).
“Keep your head above water” by Gram is my favorite track on here, due to its fat, steady and slow pounding bass sound with some distorted crackling noises mixed in as beats. And except for some bleeps and peeps, some wave sounds and some more pre-fabricated samples here and there that’s it for the whole track. Sounds boring? Well, it isn’t. Not at all, because of the atmosphere of slowly sinking below the surface. It is not eerie or dark, more like floating in a weird dream that consists of only one colour, with a few sparks of the same color but in different shades busting in the corners at times. But I am, as they say, addicted to bass-sounds. From the Melvins to Sunn0))) and from Si.Begg to Akufen, I don’t care where the frequency comes from, as long as it is low.
It is impossible to rank the remaining three tracks, because they are all good in their own way and practically incomparable. If it weren’t for the bass-sounds, I wouldn’t have put Gram on the podest as well. But as it comes, “Atmachb” by Pytlik also has a nice bass/synthie-drum-rhythm-complex, that changes over time. This one is drenched in synthie-keyboard-sounds that float around the room in a dreamlike state. Maybe a little too synthetical or artificial for my tastes that were spoiled by Mitchell Akiyama’s great “night is a weed…” album about a year ago and which featured “real” piano. Mind you, it is not the origin of the sound, that I prefer, but the sound. Actually, if Pytlik would have used a regular or traditional piano sound instead of the more electronic one, I would never have noticed. Anyway, “Atmachb” has a similar feeling of floating in a dream as “Keep your head above water” and there is nothing to complain about.
The other two tracks are faster and more about destroying expectations of percussive elements. “Elz Zupper” by Somshit, mangles its rhythms, plays around with them and then, after about half of the track, throws in a layer of keyboard sounds, maybe because he got bored with the rest. The opposition of distorted rhythms and harmonic keyboards is definitely interesting and worthwhile, the track would have worked without it as well, though. But you should never reject unexpected developments as such. Well, in music, that is. In real life, I usually hate surprises, but that is a completely different issue. The fourth track, “Brim” by Funckarma, is the most distorted, percussive and fastest song on here. It relies heavily on the fast and complex contrasts coming from clashing drumparts together. It is hectic, it is dizzy, it is making you nervous and you’ll like it. But is is never plain harsh distortion or provocation, but sounds very refined and produced in detail and makes me wonder why I haven’t heard of Autechre in so many months.
The label “idm” for music has always remained somewhat of a mystery to me, which I attribute in fair shares to not getting out as much as I used to and to my complete and utter ignorance towards musical labels (though I have to use them a lot myself) and what is what. So I’ll file this under electronica and by having to search for records I find a lot of stuff to listen to.

Published in: De:Bug

Großes kündigt sich an bei Underscan. Eine Compilation, aufgeteilt auf vier 12"es, später auf CD, soll alles klar machen. Funckarma lassen es ordentlich schunkeln, Gram bremst und baut ein Downtempo-Monster, das in der Kommandozentrale eines arabischen U-Boots auf Endlosschlaufe läuft, Somshit mag es gehechselt und Pytlik gibt sich schließlich versöhnlich, hat keine Lust auf dieses endlose Gesäge und spielt einfach. Warum sind Kids eigentlich immer so technisch?
thaddi ••-••••

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Der Auftakt einer Compilation 12" Reihe kommt hier aus dem Hause Underscan. Zu Anfang sehr unverständlich, hektisch un fast ungeniessbar, was im ersten Track von Funckarma "brim" so alles passiert. Ruhig, fast hypnotisierend hingegen, was "keep your head above water" von Gram so ausstrahlt. Wieder recht verzockt, was Somshits "elz zupper" so veranstaltet. Doch dann kommt man zu "atmachb" von Pytlik - und dann weiß man auch, warum diese Platte echt was drauf hat. Einer der melodischst und schönsten Tracks seit langem, der nur darauf wartet in der Werbung oder in einem Soundtrack aufzutauchen. Ein Klassiker von Anfang an.

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Underscan, an electronica label from Berlin, already surprised me positively with the fantastic Vool EP by Menu:Exit. They have recently started a new compilation series, called NOW, to be released on four limited 12" records. A full length CD featuring all tracks will be put out to coincide with the fourth and final EP. In the first part of this series, four different acts are participating.
"Now 01" starts with my Dutch countrymen Funckarma. 'Brim' is a rather hectic, complex affair. There are melodic elements and nice ambient layers, but the beats going back and forth like a fast tabletennis game make it pretty intense.
"Gram" takes things more slowly, at first you think it is playing at the wrong speed. The untraslow and deep bass is joined by some dry clicks after a while and soon by more sound sources, like tweets and scratches. A monotonous, chilly soundscape with a dark hiphop feel.
Somshit from Japan brings us more IDM-like structures, with a crisp, midtempo mixture of clicks and beats and some nice watery background sounds. Gradually the rhythms and sounds change, towards a more melodic final part which I like a lot.
Then it's time for Pytlik, apparently a project of Menu:Exit member Ralf Pytlik to finish the first NOW 12". His tracks 'Atmachb' is of a kind of which I can't get enough. Combining light flowing classical melodies with restained IDM beats, it results in a lovely melancholic track which gives me sweet dreams. Its calmness forms a nice contrast with the hectic start of Funckarma. In other words, a varied record which I quite enjoy.

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Az Underscan négy maxiból álló új sorozatának ez az első darabja. Négy különböző előadótól találunk rajta egy-egy szerzeményt. Elsőként a Funkcarma duó zaklatott és gyors műve csendül fel, amiben a viszonylag tompán, elmaszatoltan felvitt alapokat ütköztetik nagyon éles cinekkel, semmiképpen sem könnyű, kicsit idegesítő hallgatnivaló. Az Underscan-hoz tartozó Gram egy brutál basszusvonalra épülő click-hop-pal van jelen. Ez már sokkal érdekesebb és hat perces hossza alatt eléggé elvarázsolja a hallgatót. Aki nagyon mélyre került, azt gyorsan felébreszti a Somshit névre hallgató japán csávó, egy kis Aphex Twin szerű őrülettel. A jól összedobált ritmusok és a beteg billentyűtiprás igazán figyelemreméltó eredménnyel járt, számomra ez a korongon a legértékesebb darab. A sort a Menu:Exit egyik tagja, Ralf Pytlik zárja. Érzelmes, melodikus búcsú ez. A négy bakelit anyaga egy CD-re összegyűjtve is elérhető lesz, ha valakihez az áll közelebb. suefo

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FUNCKARMA, u.a. bekannt durch ihre Zusammenarbeit mit den Shadowhuntaz, eröffnen hektisch mit komplexen Beat-Strukturen und weiträumigen Soundscapes.
GRAM's zwielichtiger Downtempo-Track kommt mit viel Tiefenbass, reduziertem knarzigen Beat und, im Kontrast dazu stehenden, hochfrequenten Klängen und Signaltönen daher.
SOMSHIT aus Japan setzt auf verzerrt-verschrobene Rhythmen und kleinteilige Sounds, die sich zu vielschichtigen, eigenwilligen Melodiefragmenten verdichten, welche im weiteren Verlauf noch durch harmonische Flächen untermalt werden. Ziemlich strange das Ganze, aber Klasse.
PYTLIK aka Ralf Pytlik, auch Teil des Projektes Menu:Exit, welches ebenfalls schon auf Underscan releaste, steuert hier einmal mehr wundervolle Melodien bei und liefert so den wohl eingängigsten der vier Tracks.

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Now here's a great idea: release four 12-inch discs in a compilation series and then collect them onto a CD as a comprehensive label overview, allowing the listener to either graze on the smaller portions or feast on the full-course meal (future participants include Underscanners Dalezy, Onethema, Rod and Menu:Exit as well as Scanner, Frank Bretschneider, Everest, Quench, Fibla, and more).
While subsequent installments will no doubt emphasize other styles, the first puts the label's mechanoid leanings on full display. All four tracks situate themselves firmly within the IDM/electronic music tradition, yet all are distinctly different too. Autechre and AFX influences are audible in the opener “Brim” when Funckarma (Netherlanders Don and Roel Funcken, two-thirds of Shadow Huntaz) drops a breathless display of frenetic pinball skitter alongside rumbling bass pulses and intermittent washes. The title of Gram's (Graham Love) “Keep Your Head Above Water” belies its subterranean sound, as a lethal bass pulse lumbers through an ominous undertow of cranium-rattling throbs and thwacks. Pulsating electronic shivers mix with coiled beat splatter for the majority of Somshit's (Akira Sawada) “Elz Zupper” but a delectable hiccup signals the track's final ascension with the unexpected addition of churchy chords. Pytlik's (Menu:Exit member Ralf Pytlik) “Atmachb” arrives as a warm and inviting coda, coming after the more clinical ambiance of the other three. Here lush, almost classical melodies chime serenely over languidly floating beats, bringing this strong opening chapter in the series to an idyllic close.

Published in: Vital Weekly

This is the first of four 12"s, presenting new and old Underscan artists as the current state of the label. The first one is Funckarma with a rather nervous beat track, highly uptempo and hectic, with walls of reverb playing in the back. Never my thing. Gram is on an opposite side with a much slower piece, involving a deep bass sound but also likewise heavily reverbed sounds to form a 'melody'. Somshit has a somewhat hectic breakbeat too, but their synthesizers hiss analoguely in the background and that makes it into a rather ok piece. The best piece comes last, by Pytlik and has a melancholical edge and a pretty straightforward rhythm to it. Mixed feelings here, but maybe I'm too disconnected to dance music these days. (FdW)

listen to tracks:

Keep Your H... buy
Elz Zupper buy
Atmachb buy