The Greek new wave/minimal synth band Convex Model released today, March 28th, their second album "Quantity Of Motion" on the German label Kernkrach. The project started in 2017 by Nick K. Maldoror (a.k.a. Nick Kapantzakis, member of Human Puppets, Plexiglas and Dislocation Genders). The sound landscapes of Convex Model are created by analogue equipment, instruments and plastic toys. Their self-released debut album "Life In A Glass Cube" was released in 2018.

The band from the northern city of Thesaloniki, Greece, have a love for 80's new wave, minimal synth and early post-punk. From the begging of the album, with "Sightless Open Door", we are introduced to their poppier side, a kind of nostalgic pop that has a slight melancholy feel. It’s the kind of music that seems appropriate for cloudy grey days. Following in the same footsteps we have "Distant Call", that’s a bit more minimal and then the darker "Hollow Inside". The first side of this limited edition vinyl LP ends with "Night Visit", a more up-tempo track that’s still haunting with its icy synths. What is evident by listening to this first side is the use of live drums, compared to the drum machine used on their first release. This has changed the sound of the band, making them sound more organic, as they do when performing live.

The second side opens with the punkier track "Politics Of Lust". Here, the lyrics are more political as the title suggests. We hear Nick singing “You don’t know how many tried surviving today, You don’t care how many died on this day, You don’t know how many were sent away, You don’t care how many cities were burnt away… Politics of lust they bring to you with glowing gold in their hands”. The melodic "Strange Machine" follows, characteristic of their minimal approach, with the melodies played on the keyboards standing out and Nick’s voice hovering in the distance. The tempo steps up on "Cracks In The Ceiling" where the rhythm section come to the foreground. Their dreamy "Illusions Made Of Solid Ice", sounds as if it came straight from the early 80’s, with its melodic bassline and retro synth sounds. A real trip down memory lane, with the words going “Walking down these corridors so long this line of sight, Looking back with eyes that hurt from artificial light”. The album ends with the more experimental piece "Almost A Song". The tone here is darker, with a dominating bass that thuds like a stressful heartbeat

Convex Model for these recordings are Nick Kapantzakis (synths/voice), Stavroula Tsiara (lyrics/visuals), Eleni Tzouna (synths), Kyriakos Tsakalidis. (drums) and George Papadopoulos (bass). The very striking cover design, which is very appropriate to the music it holds within, is designed by Manolis Nikitianos. The album is a limited edition release of 350, pressed in 180gr black vinyl, with added printed lyrics vinyl insert.

Review by Nick Drivas

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KalteNacht (Cold Night) are a minimal/dark synth duet that has emerged from the Athenian underground the last couple of years. Their first self-titled full-length LP "Kalte Nacht" was released on March 12, 2020 amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic and the lockdown of everything. Composer Nikos Konstantinidis and singer Myrto Stylou have revealed all their sins and inner thoughts through the eight tracks that make up this 80’s inspired sounding album.

Opener is "GhostDance", a dark track with Myrto’s deep vocal dominating over the synthetic sounds and beats. While on "Humans Are Mistakes" we have a pure minimal track that also has some synthwave passages. Things get more rhythmic on "Sanctum", that builds a nice atmosphere with Myrto providing one of the best and more soulful vocals of the album. The first side ends with "Inmost Desire?" where the pace quickens A kind of punky minimal synth track with sharp abrupt sung vocals that sit perfectly on the rhythm.

The second side begins with "Nychta Skia" (Night Shadow), the first of two songs sung in Greek. This can be considered the single of the album, and as such, a video clip was made for it directed by Nikos Chatzis (of Press Eject and Give me the Tape productions). Like the whole album, the themes lyrically and sonically here rotate around the night, something that conjures up visions of urban night scenes. This is also very evident on the next track "A Rare Obsession" where the beat calms down and which also differs with its distinctive bass played by Nikos. The next track "Voices In Silence" is not new to us here at Die Seele, since it was on our "Stimmen Der Seele Vol. 3" compilation two years ago. But here on the album version, Myrto’s vocals have been added over. The album closes with the short two minute "Kalte Nächte", a spoken word piece in Greek filled with sounds and noises as if from a movie soundtrack.

All songs where written and performed by Kalte Nacht, with Nikos Konstantinidis on synths, bass, backing vocals and Myrto Stylou on lead vocals. The guitars on tracks "Inmost Desire?" and "Kalte Nächte" where provided by Panagiotis Dedepsidis (of the post-punk band Data Fragments). The album was engineered and mixed by Nikos Triantafyllou at Sonic Playground and mastered by Iraklis Vlachakis. The cool minimal artwork that fits perfectly with the music was done by Danai Margariti. The album has been released by Geheimnis Records in 300 copies, half of them on black and half on yellow vinyl.

Review by Nick Drivas

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The Swedish post-punk band Isolated Youth returned with their second EP "Iris" released on Fabrika records, a year after their debut EP "Warfare". Since then, they have only released the digital single "Voodoo" released in December 2019. With this second extended play, they present us with 5 new stunning tracks.

First track is "Iris", a song that follows in the footsteps of the debut EP "Warfare" and reaches ever deeper into the fatalistic world of the band. Again, we get those forceful guitars, hunting basslines, thumping drums and Axel’s sentimental unique voice. The video for "Iris" was created by guitarist William Mårdberg, showing cold evening landscapes and some nightlife snapshots besides the band. The track "ICT (Instalment Credit Transaction)" that follows, was the first sample we heard from the EP, released on Youtube a month earlier. A track in which we see that they still retain those ritual and tribal aspects of their older songs "Oath" and "Safety". Also, they still manage to have their distinctive post-punk sonic aesthetic, with sparkling jangling guitar melodies, melancholic rhythms, that exude raw and heartfelt emotions with a voice that seems so fragile and human.

With "Humanoid" things get even more melodic with Axel singing even more emotional and fragile. The song gives you the feeling that the band members have let themselves get carried away by the music, like as if playing in a long emotional jam. Their melodic songwriting is also found on "1984", that also has a nice 80’s indie vibe. It’s as if we have the perfect mix of Morrissey and Brian Molko of Placebo in the same song. By saying this, I don’t want to underestimate Axel’s vocal performance. His singing is unique, full of his own personality. It’s just to give the reader a quick understanding of this upcoming band’s sound. The EP ends with the more energetic and jumpier "Ferris Wheel". Here we have more dynamic drums and guitars strumming with more nerve but still retaining the overall mood of the other songs.

Review by Nick Drivas.

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“Loveless Adventures” is the third full length album and the most ambitious artistic output in Neon Lies’ discography, which will be released April 20th on multiple formats. Wave Tension Records, Cut Surface, Cosmic Brood and Black Verb Records teamed up for the 12” vinyl, while cd and tape are released on Periphylla and Mental Healing, respectively.

Neon Lies started as a synth wave bedroom one man project in late 2015 by Goran Lautar while he was still singing and playing guitar in Modern Delusion and The Celetoids, prominent bands from Zagreb D.I.Y. punk and post punk scene gathered around label Doomtown Records. Soon after that initial period, the project already became a full time one man band adventure. Since then, Neon Lies toured and played shows endlessly, releasing two albums (“Neon Lies” and “II”) on Black Verb Records and Cosmic Brood Records. Also some limited lathe cut 7"singles for Vinylograph and tracks on numerous compilations, including couple of digital only EP's for Balkan Veliki and Detonic Records have been released.

“Loveless Adventures” with its 9 tracks is a result of one year making and relentless touring and it's a perfect blend of minimalistic lo-fi darkwave sound of Neon Lies’ early stages when Goran was revisiting his teenage crush for early minimal synth punk and proto-industrial, and the second album, when he was more into exploring experimentation with repetition, noise, electro and up to date sounds and ideas from European underground dance floors. This album, recorded and mixed, as always, directly on tape by the man himself, finally brings all of this together in one deeply moving and authentic intimate disclosure of personal loss and gain, euphoria, happiness and sadness. But no matter how much this journey was loveless, it was profoundly lovefull. Dedicated to all the loners and their dealers.

Artwork for “Loveless Adventures” created by Sven Sorić, audio mastered for vinyl by Ruud Lekx.

                                                    Release Data
              Labels                                                                           Format
Wave Tension Records (NL)                                           LP/Tape/CD/Digital
Cut Surface (AT)
Cosmic Brood (HR)
Black Verb Records (DE)                                        Release Date : Apr 20th , 2020
Mental Healing (US)
Periphylla (ES)

            Labels                                                                               Band
wavetensionrecords.bandcamp.com                            www.facebook.com/neon-lies
cutsurface.bandcamp.com                                           neonlies.bandcamp.com/

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Lupe is a solo project that was created when the album "Burn" happened to be born. The album is the outcome of many strange, unusual days, based on improvisation, spontaneity and pure expression of thoughts and feelings. The man behind this is Michalis Latousakis, lead singer of the Greek gothic rock band Mosquito. He describes his music here on his first solo attempt as gothspel.

The nice thing about solo projects is that the artist is freer to improvise and not getting trapped in the usual norm of a band or some genre stereotype. The album begins with the instrumental piano piece "The Door", serving as an introduction to his music. While with the next track "Burn My Desire" we get to hear Lupe’s voice that sounds very haunting. His deep vocals in general sound spooky with his characteristic vibrato. The song "Why" could have been a theme from a dark (goth) rock opera. The piano in the intro sounds like it’s from and empty mansion. The guitars and bass where provided here with the help of his fellow band mates from Mosquito, James and Jare. In the same tone we have "Dedicated Rain" that as it  gradually grows, it reaches a peak.

"Have You Ever" was accompanied by a very professional video directed by Domniki Kastanaki. Showing urban scenes of decay, displacement and the main figure feeling unoriented in its surroundings. Lupe’s vocals here are even more passionate and distressful. While on "Cold Surrender" the crisp beat of the drum machine is accompanied by strings giving it a more dark romantic tone. The next song "Timeless" is another piano piece that has Lupe’s deep baritone voice that later transcends into a more synth track with some really high pitched vocals. On "She'll Burn The Dawn" things get a bit more classical. The same could be said for "Till That Day" that also features guitars by Kastan (George Kastanakis) who is also responsible for the artwork. The last track "Burned Down" due to the piano, synths and strings, make it sound so neoclassical in style.

In general, we find here many elements of electronic rock, dark cabaret, darkwave, gothic with a dramatic, almost theatrical and cinematic feel. The album was released on digipak CD in October 2019 by Alcyone Records, from Thessaloniki, Greece. The booklet inside contains all the lyrics of the songs.

Review by Nick Drivas

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