It's the best time of the year—list-making time! This week's Data Breaker includes a survey of all the great electronic releases from Seattle-area artists that can fit into this tiny space. Onward...
Newaxeyes: Assange/Church (DivineDroid 12-inch). This promising quartet's debut 12-inch features two epic tracks that prove there's still creative juice in the "electronic music with guitars" field. Newaxeyes' deft blending of rugged hiphop and inventive sampledelia with Terje Rypdal–esque guitar plangency and sculpted noise comes as a gust of fresh air to the local-music ecosystem.
Marcus Price: Four (three) (Happy Accidents 12-inch). Price is the rare artist in this city whose work straddles the experimental/noise and electronic scenes. His debut 12-inch is an exemplary showcase for his devious methods of disorientation. Four (three) restlessly pulls the rug out from under your baffled feet several times a minute with its jagged, strangely textured tracks. What's exciting about Price's music is how it eludes easy classification while doing weird things to your senses. That quality will likely make it hard for him to gain a big following, but you should make the effort to get on his level.
Gel-Sol: Zetaworld (Further cassette). For more than a decade, Gel-Sol (aka Andy Reichel) has been one of the region's foremost purveyors of third-ear-tweaking ambient music. His debut for the outstanding Seattle label Further, Zetaworld, is an immersive excursion into cosmic turbulence, with some of his toughest rhythmic displays, as well; see the 20-minute stunner "Bunto Redempter" and the sublimely chaotic "Tardigrade."
Panabrite: Pavilion (Immune LP). Norm Chambers continues to combine prodigious production output with stratospheric quality. Pavilion is his latest full-length manifesto of synthesizer majesty. Darker and tenser than most Panabrite releases, this is his homage to '70s Italian electronic and prog minimalism, a rarefied stratum of underground music that Chambers nails. Said it before, will say it again: Panabrite is our Vangelis.
Raica: Motorsatz (Further cassette). Speaking of prolific, Raica (aka Chloe Harris) has been on a tear herself. Motorsatz adds another brick to the formidable wall of dark electronic music she's been erecting over the last few years. Fans of synapse-sizzling '70s German synthmeisters (Conrad Schnitzler, Kluster, Seesselberg) will dig what Raica's laying down here: 60 minutes of diabolically intense ambience that's swarming with scintillating microscopic activity. Motorsatz is the polar opposite of commercial EDM. Hallelujah.
DJAO: DJAO (Dropping Gems cassette). If Seattle harbors a challenger for James Blake's bass-music-crooner crown, it's DJAO (Alex Osuch). His first album is a preternaturally chill and soulful take on future bass, with reverbed, forlorn vocals frosting over pastoral-yet-cathedral-friendly synth foundations that hint at A.R. Kane, Arthur Russell, and Spirit of Eden/Laughing Stock–era Talk Talk. The bliss of sadness saturates this sterling debut.