Tag Archives: Electronic

Crystal Castles

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Crystal Castles was an experimental electronic band formed in 2003 in Toronto consisting of producer Ethan Kath and formerly of vocalist Alice Glass. The duo was known for their chaotic live shows and lo-fi melancholic homemade productions. They released many limited vinyl EPs between 2006 and 2007.
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In 2006, their first single/EP “Alice Practice” was released on vinyl and was limited to 500 copies, which sold out in 3 days. Their debut album, Crystal Castles, was released in 2008 and was listed on NME’s “Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade” list at No. 39.
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In 2010, they announced their second album, titled Crystal Castles aka (II), after they released their first studio EP, Celestica/Doe Deer. The album was their first release to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, and includes their first worldwide charting single, “Not In Love”, featuring Robert Smith of The Cure. The album has received general acclaim and was placed on many 2010 top critics lists.
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Their third album, (III), was released on November 12, 2012. 4 singles have been released: “Plague”, “Wrath of God”, “Sad Eyes”, “Affection”.

Alice Glass announced her departure from the band in October 2014, citing both personal and professional reasons.

Formation and debut album
Ethan Kath met Alice Glass in Toronto when she was 15. He thought he had found an “undiscovered poet” after hearing her sing in her all-girl punk band Fetus Fatale. Kath asked her to record vocals over tracks he had been working on since 2003. After writing lyrics for 5 tracks, she went to a studio to record them, where an engineer secretly recorded her soundcheck. Kath discovered the secret soundcheck recording, named it “Alice Practice,” and uploaded it online under the band name Crystal Castles, a line from the cartoon She-Ra that stated “The fate of the world is safe in the Crystal Castle.” In 2005 the songs “Magic Spells”, “Untrust Us”, and “Alice Practice” grew popular online, and he began receiving offers from record labels. This news was especially shocking to Glass, having lost touch with Kath since the recording and up to that point unaware “Alice Practice” even existed. The song became the band’s first official release in 2006 on a limited vinyl which was released by London’s Merok Records. The record included tracks like “XXZXCUZX ME”, which Kath states he made ‘grating’ on purpose. When questioned about his motives behind this move, Kath responded with “To weed out the wimps, to annoy the posers. We are saying, “We are not for you”.
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Several limited edition 7″ vinyl singles followed in 2006 and 2007 on various independent labels, including two on London’s Trouble Records.[citation needed] In 2008, Lies Records collected most of the vinyl singles and released them on CD and 12″ vinyl for the first time, along with many previously unreleased tracks and 3 songs recorded just for the collection which made their debut album.[citation needed] This eponymous debut album was included in NME’s “Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade” list at number 39.
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Crystal Castles (II) and (III)
Crystal Castles at Counterpoint Festival 2012
The band’s second album, also self-titled (also known as Crystal Castles (II)), was released on May 24, 2010. In April 2010, an early mix of the album leaked, prompting the label to release earlier than expected (original release date was June 2010). The album was moderately successful charting in the UK at number 48, the US at number 188 and number 25 in Australia.
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The third single taken from the album, “Not in Love”, featuring Robert Smith from The Cure, is currently the band’s highest charting single to date. Crystal Castles headlined the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour 2011 in the United Kingdom while singer Alice Glass suffered from a broken ankle.
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In March 2012, Crystal Castles announced their relocation to Warsaw to begin recording their third album. On June 14, 2012, a self-shot video of Crystal Castles’ June 9 performance at Parklife 2012 was uploaded to YouTube, boasting a then-untitled new, unreleased song. Over the following weeks, the song’s name was revealed to be “Plague” and was released on July 25 as a single, via Crystal Castles’ SoundCloud page. On September 26, the duo released “Wrath of God” as the album’s second single. On the same day, the duo stated that the album would be released on November 5, a date that was later pushed back to November 12. The official cover art of the album was posted on the band’s Facebook page. On October 9, the band revealed the official track listing on their Facebook. The album was released on iTunes on November 7, five days earlier than the anticipated release date. “Affection” was released as the album’s third single on October 31, 2012.
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Alice Glass’ Departure
In October 2014, via a Facebook post, Alice Glass announced she was leaving Crystal Castles. The statement read:

“My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty, and empathy for others. For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal I no longer feel that this is possible within Crystal Castles. Although this is the end of the band, I hope my fans will embrace me as a solo artist in the same way they have embraced Crystal Castles.”
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Musical style
Crystal Castles’ musical style has been described as “ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast that pierces your skull with their sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever.”[19] To listen to Crystal Castles, according to the BBC, “is to be cast adrift in a vortex of deafening pain without a safety net. You get the feeling you could do anything in the world, but that ‘anything’ would ultimately mean nothing.”

With the release of their second album, their music made a “shift toward beauty and clarity,” finding “different ways to mix icy synth pop with white-hot noise, as well as present them in an ever so slightly more polished form.”
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During recording of their third album Ethan Kath adopted a “strictly no computers rule,” and ditched their old synthesizers and keyboards. Of this decision Ethan revealed Crystal Castles wanted “the new album to sound like a completely different and new experience” and revealed that they had limited themselves to one take per song because they believed “the first take is the rawest expression of an idea.”
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Scattle

Scattle-spotlight
Scattle is a producer, indie game developer, graphic designer, music video maker and game composer. Best known for the soundtrack to Hotline Miami.

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Terra Glitch:
What was your first ventures into music creation?
Scattle: The first thing I ever used to make music was called Tunafish. Great sequencer but I just stuck with all the stock sounds for ages because I never knew any better. Used to make weird videogame remixes and like, 30 second tracks. Next I started using Daisuke Amaya’s PXTONE to start making random chiptunes and remixes. But at last, I have found Renoise and have been cranking out beats with that awesome tracker since!

Terra Glitch: Kavinsky or Justice?
Scattle: Both, and Mr. Flash

Terra Glitch: Tell us a little bit about your tools of the trade and tell us a bit about your process?
Scattle: I use GraphicsGale, Photoshop, Game Maker Studio, and Renoise. Adobe Illustrator too, sometimes. Right now I’m working on a game so I like to devote an entire day to a certain aspect of development. If Im doing sound I’ll just have Renoise open, if animation, I’ll just use GraphicsGale, etc. until I have enough assets for the game to really make a difference, then I open up Game Maker and code them all in.
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Terra Glitch: How did you get to be on the soundtrack of Hotline Miami?
Scattle: When Hotline Miami was getting made, me and Jonatan would chat on msn messenger. One day he sent me over a build for a game called Cocaine Cowboy wich was basically the prototype. It was pretty damn fun but after a couple months passed I was wondering what happened with it. I ended up emailing Jonatan and asking if he would be cool with me making a song for the game. I sent him the demo for Knock Knock, and the rest is history!

Terra Glitch: Any new projects we can look forward to from Scattleware?
Scattle: My first iOS game Smash Jungle is coming quite soon and I couldn’t be more stoked about it! I feel like I’ve finally made a really decent little arcade game for the platform. Here’s a little teaser for it:

Other than that, just more music and hopefully some more DJ gigs around the corner

Terra Glitch: What do you prefer, making music or developing games?
Scattle: So hard to choose! I’d probably say I like developing games a bit more because it provides a bigger canvas for the music to exist, if that makes sense. Plus its also really fun to think up weird gameplay mechanics and mess with people’s expectations.
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Terra Glitch: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Scattle: I’d absolutely love to collaborate with Anamanaguchi. Those guys have been killing it for years. It would also be pretty rad to collaborate with Oliver too

Terra Glitch: If you had to make a 10 song playlist what would be on it?
Scattle:

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https://soundcloud.com/scattle

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Covenant

CovenantIn the late 1970s and early 1980s, electronic music and several of its subgenres became a preferred musical style among European underground culture. It gained favor initially within major cities and eventually trickled into the continent’s more secluded regions. This new wave of music was discovered at different instances by a group of friends living in Helsingborg, a scenic town in south western Sweden. Eskil Simonsson, Joakim Montelius and Clas Nachmanson, three teenagers with mutual, youthful curiosities for science, philosophy, and matters of existence, were all enthralled by the unique presentation and the emotional content of the music, specifically by that of bands such as Kraftwerk, The Human League, Depeche Mode, Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb.

The friends carried this fascination with them to university life in the historic town of Lund, approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Helsingborg. In between their academic endeavors and discussions of worldly affairs, they assembled a small recording studio in Nachmanson’s bedroom and began to experiment with their own musical compositions. In 1989, the name “Covenant” was selected for the group—a name derived from the unspoken, spiritual bond the trio professed to share.

As Covenant, the three produced their first publicly released track, “The Replicant”, by invitation of Swedish record label Memento Materia. “The Replicant” was released on a compilation album in 1992, and the track thrilled label executives, prompting them to ask for a full album. In 1994, the group compiled enough songs to release the album, which became Dreams of a Cryotank. Dreams was well received by critics and fans alike, and with its success, the boyhood friends decided to take their musical efforts more seriously. They upgraded and added more equipment, relocated their studio, and committed to tour.

In 1995, Covenant performed at a festival in Germany at the request of Off-Beat Records. The band impressed Off-Beat’s attending A&R representative, who signed them to a record deal the following day. Excited by the prospect of broader exposure, the band members eased further away from their educational pursuits and devoted themselves to completing a new album, 1996’s Sequencer.

With Sequencer, the band sought to improve upon the weaknesses they found in Dreams by combining sequencing, diverse melodies, and commanding lyrics. It became an instant classic among many observers, some of whom boldly declared it “the best electro album of the decade.” It would go on to be re-released a number of times throughout the world and remains a club favorite in many settings.

Later in the year, San Francisco-based record label 21st Circuitry agreed to distribute Covenant’s albums in the United States, expanding the band’s reach in the process. As a result, the group created the Theremin EP in 1997 specifically for North American release and started to accept tour dates throughout the US and Canada.

The trio’s third full-length album, Europa, debuted in 1998. Europa carried Covenant’s initially aggressive, often distorted brand of music into the beat-driven realm of synth pop, marking the beginning of a gradual evolution in the band’s collective sound. Also in 1998, they sued the Norwegian black metal/Industrial metal band The Kovenant (then known as Covenant) for the rights to the name “Covenant”, arguing that they had established use of the name first and forcing the Norwegian band to change the spelling of their name.

Covenant spent 1999 touring, changing record labels, and on the preparation of another album. Off-Beat Records went out of business, and Dependent was created by former Off Beat employees. Together with a few selected former Off-Beat acts, Covenant joined Dependent. In addition, Covenant were signed with SubSpace Communications in Sweden, effectively ending their tenure with Memento Materia. Meanwhile, 21st Circuitry Records ceased operations, leading the three to find a new home in America with Metropolis Records (Metropolis had bought the rights to the 21st Circuitry back catalogue). Shortly thereafter, the band’s first three albums and the Theremin EP were re-issued in the US under the Metropolis label.Covenant

United States of Mind was released in 2000, and with it, Covenant’s tendencies strayed further into synth pop. Also released that year was a stand-alone single, Der Leiermann. Sung to the tune of the album track Like Tears in Rain, it was a version of the German Art song of the same name. The song was originally a poem by Wilhelm Müller, set to music by Franz Schubert as part of the poem cycle “Die Winterreise”.

A live album, Synergy, was released later in the year which featured tracks from the band’s first four albums. The group continued with 2002’s Northern Light, which they portrayed as having a more sombre, cold sound in comparison to their earlier offerings. In another transition between labels, the European release of Northern Light was handled by Sony Music’s Ka2 division rather than Dependent or Subspace. (The US release was through Metropolis.)

Whilst they continued to produce music together, Montelius and Simonsson took up residence in separate countries; Montelius residising in Barcelona, Spain, and Simonsson living in Berlin, Germany. Nachmanson remained in Helsingborg.

Covenant released their sixth studio album, Skyshaper, in March 2006 to an overall positive reception. The band toured Europe prior to the album’s release and toured the United States beginning in September 2006.

In March 2007, Covenant announced that Nachmanson would not be touring with the band in and his replacement would be Daniel Myer of Haujobb. In an interview with Side-Line magazine Covenant’s Joakim Montelius said he was not sure if Clas would still continue with Covenant.Covenant

In October 2007, Covenant released the road movie “In Transit” on DVD. It contained material from the world tour undertaken in support of the album “Skyshaper” and documented the band’s travels in Europe, North America, South America and across Russia over a period of 18 months. The band confirmed Clas’ departure in the DVD documentary.

In January 2011, Covenant released their seventh studio album, Modern Ruin. The band released a new EP, “Last Dance” in June 2013, and currently, the band are working on a new album, titled “Leaving Babylon” and planning another tour.

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