Talaboman – The Night Land [RS1702]

It’s been over two years since Talaboman’s ‘Sideral’ EP, a joint release out on Hivern Discs and Studio Barnhus. It was John Talabot and Axel Boman’s collaborative debut and marked a new sound for the pair, consisting of rich synth motifs and vivid, afro-infused drum programming. 

The two electronic artists have been independently successful in their respective careers, responsible  for some of the most well-received dance releases in recent years (including Talabot’s ‘fin’ LP and Boman’s ‘Family Vacation’ LP) . Featuring on labels such as Permanent Vacation, Young Turks and !K7, Barcelona-based Talabot has become known for his unique take on chugging house and electronica. Similarly, Boman’s refined his own dusky aesthetic via Pampa, Hypercolour and his own Studio Barnhus imprint. 

Now, the pair come back together with an album’s worth of material in a release titled ‘The Night Land’. Due for release on [date], via R&S records, ‘The Night Land’ continues Talaboman’s head-first dive into the deeper reaches of their conjoined musical creativity. 

Nothing’s really changed since their first release, apart from the fact that this time round they produced (in their own words) an “absurd amount of music”. Writing sessions spread out across studios in Barcelona, Stockholm, and Gothenburg have given space to nascent ideas, where the two have been able to mature their sound.

The music is patient and warm, but also broad and diverse. ‘Midnattssol’ opens with atmospheric tropical panoramas, coloured by rhythmic stick hits and bell chimes. ‘Safe Changes’ and ‘Brutal Chugga-Chugga’ are hazy slow burners that crawl at a nonchalant pace, while tracks like ‘Samsa’ and ‘The Ghosts Hood’ are contrastingly more immediate and assertive. 

‘The Night Land’, as the title suggests, “is a journey inwards, an attempt to reach our subconscious and to document our dreams. We want to ignite hope and push imagination. Close your eyes and open your mind.” Even when many tracks involve the heavy use of synthesisers and distortion, Talaboman have been sure to keep things sounding organic and light. 

There is no complicated message or hidden concept behind this release, it’s simply “two persons meeting and playing music, a catalan and a swede talking blip blop until we felt that we had something worth saying” – and perhaps unsurprisingly this impromptu style of working has resulted in an album that is rich and vivid, but also feels somehow pure and sincere.

The message is clear: “Love is all this world needs. Loosen up those tight fists and give your sisters and brothers a helping hand and dance your anger away.”

Khidja – Impossible Holiday [HVN039]

Flore and Rusu met in high school. Growing together through various musical phases, they ended up channeling their love for outlandish dance music into one of the most exciting projects to emerge from the bubbling Eastern Europe underground scene. In their Hivern debut, they keep pushing the boundaries of their sound to forge some of their boldest productions to date. In all four tracks of ‘Impossible Holiday’, we find distinctive elements of the Khidja palette recomposed under a new (and darker) light. With it’s persistent guitars and syncopated drums, ‘Die Wilde Spirale’ sounds as German krautrockers experimenting with Trinidadian rhythms and inventing a new kind of industrial funk along the way. ‘Pinnacles’ sees the duo exploring cosmic techno terrains, building up tension with a misty arpeggio and eerie vocals until making the track explode into a momentary synth hecatomb that will cause frenzy even in the toughest dance floors. “Haetrin” is a sultry composition constructed around a lush arpeggio that keeps contorting through all sorts of mallet tones and ritualistic percussion to consciousness-altering effects. The closing track, “Kraftfeld” is another of Khidja’s unmistakable psyched-up productions, leaded by a motorik bass line and topped with frisky synths, fx experimentation and torrid vocals. The 12” comes wrapped in a sleeve featuring an oil painting by the Romanian artist Serban Savu and design by Arnau Pi.