Tag Archives: Kraftwerk

Playlist: Jens Kuross

Jens Kuross

Los Angeles-based vocalist, songwriter and alternative producer Jens Kuross has just released the shadowy single, ‘Done With Dancing’, a new stripped-down take of the track ‘Yard Two Stone’ that he collaborated on with Lane 8 last December.

Having toured the world as the drummer for RY X, Howling, and The Acid (a supergroup comprised of DJ/Producer Adam Freeland, Californian polymath Steve Nalepa, and RY X – who Jens also performs with as an active member of), as well as supported Bonobo, Rhye, GoGo Penguin and RY X, it’s time for Jens to step forward.

First on the list is his playlist called “Jens Friends”. You can check it out below.

Fred and Luna – Mini Song
This was the first song on the first release from a label my good friend Frank Wiedemann started a couple of years ago. It’s very minimal but it really makes the most out of all of its elements. There are no wasted sounds. It sounds like it could simultaneously be a Kraftwerk b-side from 1980 and also a hip new track on some indie-electronic playlist on Spotify…wait…

Point Lobo – Platform
Producer, Engineer, Drummer Miles Senzaki is great at everything he does. And I should know as he’s engineered almost all of my own recordings. His solo project “Point Lobo” is a perfect distillation of his love of Prince, Talking Heads and I don’t know what else really. It’s beautifully done and impeccably crafted.

Human Barbie – Don’t Run Away
Human Barbie is the brainchild of Bassist, songwriter, producer Chris Hackman. Chris and I met when we were fresh out of school and still playing jazz gigs to make a living, then somehow migrated into the indie-electronic scene together. This project has its fingers in some 60’s psych-rock but Chris also tastily brings some of his jazz sensibilities to bear here.

Tyler Chester – Setting
I knew of Tyler for a while before he and I met, primarily from his work with Blake Mills but he and I eventually ended up collaborating on a track that’s on his most recent record. This track, “Setting”, is from that same record. It has some really beautiful but dirty synth tones that make you feel like you’re listening to Vangelis if he was doing all his composing in a dusty basement with a bunch of broken gear that’s just barely clinging to life.

Howling – Lullaby
This is my favorite track off the Howling album “Sacred Ground”. Probably because I helped write it and I’m feeling a little shameless. “Write” might actually be a generous term here as it was almost entirely improvised. We were all just in a room jamming and Frank (Wiedemann) hit record in the middle of it. Then I came back around later and layered some synth pads. It’s probably the only song you’ll ever hear on an electronic dance record that wasn’t tracked to click.

The Acid – Onyx
This is another song I helped write. I’m super proud of the piano part I played. It’s an odd phrase length but it feels entirely natural and it ended up being the germ that inspired the whole song. The Acid boys ended up going for the jugular in the build and outro which wouldn’t have been my first choice but it definitely works and you can’t argue with the results.

GF3 – Prelude 5
I produced a couple of EP’s for some friends of mine in a jazz trio who wanted their jazz record to sound nothing like a jazz record. I’m super proud of how it all turned out but this might be my favorite offering from that little experiment. It’s the most stripped back of all the recordings but I think the subtle, understated effects on very delicately performed acoustic instruments yielded some really beautiful results.

Nalepa – A Study of Dreams
Steve Nalepa is the secret weapon behind so many amazing electronic tracks that you’ve probably heard. Working with him has really taught me a lot about the beauty and potential of raw sound. My tendency is to get a little lost in the weeds of music theory land and Steve can bring me back to earth by just producing some amazing sound that, once heard, inspires you to write a whole song if not a whole record.

Jeff Parker – Executive Life
I don’t know Jeff, but I do know some of the guys that played on this record. I think this is just a really creative example of incorporating sampling and electronic musical techniques into a jazz/improvisatory context. Usually, attempts at jazz-electronic synthesis go horribly wrong, ending up in the nauseatingly bland category of “smooth”, but the results here are phenomenal.

Louis Cole – Big Green Suitcase
Louis and I both got our start playing drums in the LA jazz scene but he had a bead on his artistic persona long before I could really figure mine out. This might be my favorite track from his eponymous first album. It really captures all of his quirky, beautiful, sincerity and adds a tinge of nostalgia with that pseudo-Bossa Nova drum machine pattern and the line-cliché in the piano.

Sounds like: Ry X, Sacred Animals, Solomon Grey, Bonobo, Rhye, James Blake, Howling, The Acid

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Fröst – Keratin

Fröst

Electronic band, Fröst, share new single, ‘Keratin’.

Fröst is a collaboration between Franco-Swedish sound artist Johanna Bramli (vocalist for Stereolab offshoot Imitation Electric Piano) and Fujiya & Miyagi’s synth player and producer, Steve Lewis.

It’s the duo’s intention to take us on a journey whilst we listen to the ethereal track of colourful proportions rooted amongst minimalistic electronic beats.

Enjoy!

It’s the lead track from a forthcoming new 4 track EP due for release in May under the emerging record label Lost Room Records.

Sounds like: Lilies on Mars, Massive Attack, Kate Boy, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Warpaint

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Fröst – Crackling On The Wire

Fröst

Fröst

Meet electronic band, Fröst, a collaboration between Franco-Swedish sound artist Johanna Bramli (vocalist for Stereolab offshoot Imitation Electric Piano) and Fujiya & Miyagi’s synth player and producer, Steve Lewis.

‘Crackling on the Wire’ combines icy, minimalistic electronic landscapes with motorik beats. There are even elements of the Madchester rave culture from the 90’s in there too.

The track is out on 9th December via Lost Room Records.

Sounds like: Lilies on Mars, Massive Attack, Kate Boy, Radiohead, Kraftwerk

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GRIP TIGHT – Never Enough

GRIP TIGHT

GRIP TIGHT

GRIP TIGHT is the electronic project of English producer Benjamin Gregory.

The video for ‘Never Enough’ is a smooth cinematic replica of the track. Robotic beats of 808 drum machines and the oscillations of synthesisers, with the vocals captured in the crypt of Kirche Luisenstadt, a Polish Church in Berlin.

The track – written about one night in two lovers’ lives – emerged in an apartment by a canal in Berlin’s Neukölln district – Gregory’s home for almost two years, and where he explored abandoned places for inspiration and recorded sounds to document this period of time in his life.

‘Never Enough’ is released June 24th through FEINT (cd, digital) and Musclemilk (cassette).

Sounds like: Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Arthur Russell

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Amason – Went To War

Amason

Amason

Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow), Gustaf Ejstes (Dungen), Nils Törnqvist and Petter Winnberg (Little Majorette), and Amanda Hollingby Matsson (Idiot Wind) form supergruppen Amason.

Despite the Swedish background, the band are situated in L.A. and are turning out to be the best supergroup of 2013.

Super catchy tune, ‘Went to War’, features on their debut EP, which was released on 28 August 2013 on Stockholm-based label/artist collective INGRID.

The track continues with the 70s synth rock theme prominent throughout the EP and we especially like the soft beats layered underneath the female/male vocal interplay, similar to that of fellow Swedes Peter Bjorn and John.

Citing influences from Kraftwerk, think of the group as a indietronica version of The Carpenters.

Sounds like: Peter Bjorn and John, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Carpenters, Miike Snow

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