Modular Project – 1981

The sixth volume of hfn’s Sisters & Brothers series comes from Modular Project, a duo of Italian producers Alberto Iovine and Alessandro Fumagalli. With a title referencing a pivotal year for the development of electronic pop, and wrapped in a sleeve praising the keep fit fads of yesteryear, it probably comes as a surprise to absolutely nobody that Iovine and Fumagalli are fans of 80s synth music.

And so it is that the three tracks here nod firmly in that direction. The title track, a brief, 90-second , beatless progression through stalking bass synths and winter-crisp melodies is like an abandoned demo from a particularly meditative Kling Klang studio session.

‘Past Present Future’ finds the duo offering a steady, immovable web of quiet tones, fuzzy guitar samples and vocoders, hitching all of that to early drum machine rhythms. Taken together, it makes for a hypothetical imagining of how techno minimalism might have sounded had it been created forty years ago. ‘Freshback’ takes a similar approach but from a firmer starting position, with heavier beats, a nagging bass line and a squelchy, elastic pattern that flutters and gyrates around and through the whole track like the blades of Stringfellow Hawke’s Airwolf.

1981 – Sisters & Brothers Vol. 6 by Modular Project will be released by hfn music on February 22 1981, sorry, 2019.

Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.

Karolina Rose – Invicta


Brooklynite Karolina Rose’s route to electronic pop isn’t exactly a common one: having graduated from Philly’s prestigious Wharton School, Rose wound up in New York’s financial heartland before giving it all up to focus on the somewhat more perilous business of being a singer-songwriter.

Invicta was trailed by last year’s ‘Going To Berlin’, a buzzing track filled with crisp beats and a rapidfire bassline, its lyrics showcasing an artist unafraid to deal with erudite lyrical concepts many times removed from the usual concerns of the pop scene. On Invicta, Rose develops those sensibilities further, with tracks like ‘Crystal Gem’ taking the club-infused, sharply-rendered synth gestures of ‘Going To Berlin’ and adding a bold, defiant lyric and a bassline that nods to Talk Talk’s similarly resolute ‘It’s My Life’. The urgent closing track ‘Move With Me’ adopts a distinctly 80s production panache, containing all manner of sinewy electronics and icy, melodic hooks.

Elsewhere, the tender ‘Goodnight, Mr. Moon’ has the kind of happy-sad textural fabric that belongs on the end credits of an indie film, while the heartfelt chorus on ‘Downhill’ and towering, anthemic build suggests that Karolina Rose studied the pop playbook just as hard as she did business studies.

Invicta by Karolina Rose is released by Violet Sunset Records on February 1st.

Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.