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New Cola Splash: Cider Stream

In the Trekkie Trax song catalog, Cola Splash’s “Curry Drinker” stands as a fan favorite…at least based on seeing people react to it at various DJ events and other live gatherings. It is a pretty good snapshot of what the label is all about — it manages to be both hard-hitting and fluttery, pacing itself just right to be one of Trekkie Trax’s finest bangers. Despite that, Cola Splash has been pretty quiet since putting that one out! But no longer, as now comes the Cider Stream release, a three-track blast of familiar dance energy. The title track recreates a familiar fizzy rush, starting off around sliced-up vocal samples before building up to a big drop, with the slight twist that this central part isn’t quire total release but rather a more reserved outburst. “Crying Salmon” takes this start-stop dynamic even further, while “Charming Steak” moves at a more consistent pace. Glad to see Cola Splash back bringing the same energy. Get it here, or listen below.

Ventla Returns With 10 Albums, Saves 2018

Semi-mysterious producer Ventla set out years ago to release 100 albums featuring instruments all played by Ventla themselves. The resulting releases touched on every style around, from neon-smeared synth-pop to acoustic pop to bedroom exotica. Ventla was getting pretty far and…then just kind of stopped, in 2015. And more or less vanished. When I talked to Keith Rankin at Orange Milk Records — a label that put out a non-100 Ventla album — he told me he had zero idea where Ventla went, but would love to hear more. I think a lot of people fell under the latter.

And then, this week…Ventla just came back! And they didn’t hold back, uploading ten (!) albums of new songs to Bandcamp, which you can get here. I don’t even know where to start, because each deserves to be digested fully. Genuinely Superficial stood out immediately with its slinky electro funk, while Fluffy Yet Moist packs in some oddball pop samples alongside great cover art. Look, more thoughts to come, but for now just dive in here.

Do-It-Yourself Anthem: Pelican’s Furomu Japan Pt. 1

EDM gets tagged as this big decadent, corporate thing, but it can be assembled relatively easily, which was part of the charm early on in that industry’s rise. Pelican reminds of how something most likely made in a bedroom can still carry the same energy. “Furomu Japan” (“From Japan”) is pure energy, starting with some rap-sing declarations (“it’s ok, we are all human baby!”) before building up to a drop. Simple, but effective, and bringing a lot of force through. They round it out with a rework in a style kind of like Dimitri From Paris. Get it here, or listen below.

New CRZKNY: Spit The Album

The newest album from Hiroshima artist CRZKNY will see all of its proceeds go towards emergency disaster support in the wake of the severe storms, flooding and landslides that have been happening in Western Japan over the last week. Beyond being for a good cause, Spit The Album also stands as a highlight from CRZKNY this year. Flashes of his earlier attempt at gabber shine through — see the late synth stabs on “Burn,” or even the acid touches on “Luxuary” — the bulk of this release focuses on his bread and butter juke. “Into Piece” skitters forwards, made unsettling by some wispy vocal samples and electronic spikes, while “Memories” plays around with a start-stop format to create a trippy little track. Get it here, or listen below.

Beef Fantasy Remixes Pasocom Music Club’s “Inner Blue”

First, because this blog doesn’t really do album reviews — especially of releases that require either a physical purchase or access to streaming (a whole different pitfall regarding coverage, but I digress) — let’s set the stage by showering Pasocom Music Club with more praise. Their debut full-length Dream Walk came out at the end of June, and it’s a stunner. Building on last year’s nostalgia-with-a-distance releases, Dream Walk finds a middle ground between sleek Jusco dance-pop and fuzzy city pop memory, with the group pointing their sound towards legit mainstream attention. “Virtual TV” is a bop spit out by a Windows 95 operating system, while “OLDNEWTOWN” nods to the 2000s era of netlabel music while also constructing a groove that stands on its own in 2018 (and has, somehow, crashed the Spotify Japan Viral 50). They bring delirious iMac rave offs (“Waterfront”) and sentimental pop that should get them J-pop writing gigs if anyone has any sense (“Inner Blue”). Almost certainly a top-five lock, personally.

One of the few artists who could rework a song on Dream Walk and make it their own is Beef Fantasy. Maybe it’s returning the favor for their remix of his “Virtua Beach,” or maybe interviewing them charmed him enough to remix “Inner Blue.” Whatever the case, Beef Fantasy’s take on the song injects some funk into the one moment on Dream Walk where Pasocom show some human restraint. Just listen to those big, gloopy bass notes and how the beat gets shifted around to turn this into a song that struts rather than strolls. The human center remains, but now it moves a little looser. Listen above.