Pulselovers – Northern Minimalism 2

SoYo: so much to answer for. The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire has given the world more than its fair share of electronic music delights over the years. Sheffield of course draws most of the plaudits, with the likes of Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Warp Records et al having laid down a rich and well documented musical heritage.  

But Mat Handley (Pulselovers) hails from Doncaster and his latest love letter to northern England’s electronic music scene Northern Minimalism 2 showcases influences not just from either side of the Pennines, but from Europe and across the Atlantic.  

The four-track release starts off close to home with the blocky techno beats of ‘Danum Shield’, track reminiscent of latter-day Black Dog caught in a good mood. Things then move into more cerebral territory with ‘Frames Of Reference’. Handley’s frames of reference doubtless include early-90s Warp records, and te juddering, pulsating bass that lopes along, underpinning this track could easily be a nod to LFO’s eponymous hit. 

We then head back in time and on to the smoke-filled dancefloors of the 70s and 80s with the electro funk of ‘Slope And Intercept’. But all too soon the lights come on and it’s time to head home – final track ‘Night Drive‘ sees us embark on a chilled-out, 3am journey out of the steel city, or possibly the motor city. Street lights twinkle and blur in passing as this stab of Detroit-style techno draws things to a close. 

Released on Do It Thissen Records (‘do it yourself’ for any southern readers), this EP will appeal to fans, not just of northern techno (if such a thing exists), but anyone with a penchant for northern minimalism; not northern miserabilism.  

Northern Minimalism 2 by Pulselovers is released by Do It Thissen Records on November 6 2020. doitthissenrecords.bandcamp.com 

Words: Chris Hill 

(c) Further. 

Simon Klee – Phototaxis

‘Phototaxis’ is the natural process of animals or plants moving towards the light. Ironic, perhaps that this latest nature-themed release from London-based electronic musician Simon Klee emerged a few days after the Autumnal equinox. But as those of us in the northern hemisphere head towards the darkness of a depressing Covid-shrouded winter, this could prove the perfect electronic tonic to lift our spirits. 

The opener ‘Corixadae introduces gentle, gleaming synths that evoke shards of light on a spring morning, before a gentle beat unfurls into a gorgeous chunky melody. From here, the six tracks progress slowly yet purposefully, as layers of percussion crawl, build and recede, giving way to uplifting shimmering melodies.   

The most joyous of these are ‘Light Radiates From Within Me’ and closing track ‘Transendence’. You can imagine these tunes soundtracking inspirational nature documentaries, as, say, an egret launches itself from its nest and makes its first swooping flight across a mountainous vista. 

The only minor quibble is that such tracks draw to a close just as they’re getting going, giving the impression that Phototaxis could easily have been stretched to a full-length long player were these ideas allowed greater room to develop further. 

In six months’ time, as we hopefully emerge into a warmer, more carefree world I for one will be digging this out again. Klee will probably choose this time to put out a release celebrating Autumn mists and the turning of the leaves.  

Phototaxis by Simon Klee was released September 25 2020 by Subexotic Records. 

Words: Chris Hill 

(c) 2020 Further.