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.
Ralf Schmidt has always been a nomadic soul. A spirit that reflects into his expansive take on house music. Yet, his first installment for Hivern might be his most diverse work to date. Four tracks with traces of techno, house, electro and even trance that showcase Aera’s vivid vision and pristine production skills. Bibimbap starts things off by contrasting sparkling ambiences with caustic electro-infused sequences that keep meandering while a gauzy melody provides a mystifying counterpoint. Thai Park presents a much more humid atmosphere, pairing a woozy bassline with the shimmering tones of digital synths and building up the tension with menacing leads that sound as a swarm of tropical insects gliding through the jungle. On the flip, Rotunde builds around a rubbery bass, heavenly plucked notes and effervescent arpeggios. It’s a serene take on trance, that reminds us that there’s no need for saccharine to reach bliss. Lumen is the most vigorous track of the release, providing a heady trip through steady chords and playful arps with cyberdelic accents. It might have a big-room kick, but with all the nuances of a headphone-treat. The 12 inch comes wrapped in a sleeve by Barcelona-based designer Xavier Mar.
Benedikt Frey’s arresting Out Of Here was the second entry of Hivern Blanc series. Originally a vinyl-only limited release, now the track gets a fresh new treatment in the hands of two mainstays of European techno: Roman Flügel and Simon Haydo.
Flügel’s Cosmic Disco Drama Rework lives up to its name, maintaining the noir disco spirit of the original track but infusing it with tension-building sequences and strings that give it an extra mischievous twist. Our favorite frankfurter also straightens the rhythmic skeleton and adds shuffling shakers to make it a relentless dancefloor weapon. Haydo’s remix delves into a more dismal terrain, transforming the vocals into haunted echoes, adding esoteric synths and topping it all with razor-sharp percussion in what sounds like a storm of ice asteroids falling into a lake of steel.
The 12” comes in a beautiful sleeve featuring an exclusive illustration by Barcelona-based artist Pau López and design by Arnau Pi.
Next up on Hivern Disc’s edit series comes a very special vinyl-only release by collaborative project Lost Scripts – a match made in heaven between label head John Talabot and Pional.
“A.F.K.” is our highlight, found on the flip and providing an uplifting Afro-inspired house track. The track balances its influences evenly, with percussive saturation and ritualistic vocal chants entwining with curly synth patterns, creating a journey that starts – as the Hivern family put it rightly themselves – ‘in the savannah and ends in outer space’.
HVNED04 drops on July 29th as a limited edition 10″, housed in a silk-screened sleeve.