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CD Feature/ V.A.: "Broken Nightlights"

img  Tobias

One of the biggest trends of the last fifteen years consists in labels taking over from journalism when it comes to filtering out new trends, linking scenes and exposing parallel developments between seemingly unconnected events. Suspicious Records from Hackensack in the USA, for example, has almost single-handedly drawn attention to a genre, which had been bubbling underneath the surface of the media radar for years and turned it into something immediately recognisable and noteworthy: Cinematic broken electro-hop. “Broken Nightlights” is a first assessment and summary of this quest.

On sixteen tracks and almost an hour and fifteen minutes worth of material, this sampler collects pieces by the genre’s figure heads, both from the Suspicious vault as well as from befriended labels, such as Berlin-based Ad Noiseam, which is assisting in the distribution of this CD in Europe. If you have been following the reviews-section of “tokafi” for the last few months, acts like Saltillo, Detritus or Leaf will be no strangers to you, their claustrophobic yet spaceous ambiances, dark yet consoling beats, edgy yet melodious and catchy songs constituting some of the highlights. The former contributes the apocalyptically swaying “Denim”, a mere four-minute long struggle against the inevitable, driven on by stuttering militaristic snare fusillades, needle-pin-like piano stings and the line “it’s not so unconvincing” repeated over and over again. To-the-point, groovy in a spookey way and drenched in somberness and sorrow, it is a perfect example of what to expect here: Acoustic instruments echo in lonely valleys, futuristic tones bleep, drums roll stubbornly and mechanically, guitars send messages of pain and girls with voices somewhere between whiskey-induced woe and ethereal elf-jazz are pressing their soft and sad lips close to the metallic fabric of the microphone. In the more pop-directed moments, this results in wonderful slow-motion autumn-synthie-pop, while the more experimental efforts are charcterised by a dialogue between complex rhythmical structures and almost light-hearted electronica, such as in the Mozart meets Fritz Lange utopia of Opgave’s “Writing the Silver”.

Considering that there were more than ten different labels involved in the production of this compilation, it has turned out remarkably coherent – another sign that we have a genre of its own here, with many creative minds working in an invisible accord. With “Broken Nightlights” now out and in the shops, expect music mags to follow suite quickly, with stories, features and entire sections dedicate to this hot development. Which is fine. Just remember that Suspicious Records were there first.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Suspicious Records


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