Xam – Tone Systems EP / Autumn Of Pækward – Iktsuarpok

Now firmly established as the ‘go-to’ UK label for all flavours of modern day motorik-seeded produce, Deep Distance continues to crank out fresh releases at a bank account frightening pace this year, with bottle-necked vinyl pressing plants being the only break on owner Dom Martin’s prolific harvesting rate.  And here – almost straight after sold-faster-than-hot-cakes confections from the relatively established Cosmic Ground, Listening Center and Zone Six – comes two more-than-noteworthy releases from newcomers Xam and Autumn Of Pækward, to validate the magic A&R ears at Deep Distance.

Xam - Tone Systems EP

Xam – Tone Systems EP

The Tone Systems 12” EP, is the debut offering from Xam, the side-project of Hookworms’ Matthew Benn.  A far cry from the untamed psyche-rock intensity that dominates the main Hookworms oeuvre, Tone Systems is an absolutely sublime suite of analogue synth-led journeying.  Sprawling-out over three tracks across 42 or so minutes makes this arguably more of an album-sized vinyl statement, where no plastic groove is wasted.  The first side holds two comparatively shorter pieces of wordless retro-futuristic electronic enchantment; with “Werk & Play” joining the dots between Harmonia and the spacier tracts of Kraftwerk’s The Man Machine and “Coke Float” luminously threading together hypnotic pulsing and ethereality from strands unstitched from the Cluster and early-Human League wardrobes.  Nothing quite touches the frankly awesome “Lifer” on the flipside however, as it unfurls with a meditative blissfulness that picks the baton up from Mountains’ Centralia and Sam Prekop’s The Republic to unfurl 22 minutes of majestic synth-layering, sprinkled with soothingly watery and ornithological sonic burbling.

Autumn Of Pækward - Iktsuarpok

Autumn Of Pækward – Iktsuarpok

Taking things even further into the realms of ambient abstraction is the simultaneously unveiled Iktsuarpok LP from Autumn Of Pækward.  Seemingly the work of one man – the Leipzig-based Jochen Koch – and his multi-instrumentalist imagination, the long-player’s four expansive tracks push things to the outer realms of the kosmische musik world.  The opening “Devereaux” is perhaps the most intimidating piece, moving glacially through near-ecclesiastical drones and distant militaristic rhythms, whereas its first-side-of-vinyl companion “Nylund” is a more serene and barely-there synth-led affair that would sit well on a deep space sci-fi film score.  On the second side, “Zbornak” thickens the sonorous interplanetary vibes with more dystopian aesthetics, through Tangerine Dream synths and muffled rocket engine-like drones, before bleeding into “Petrillo”, which shifts between pastoral atmospheres, dread-infused rumbling, eerie vocal samples and fuzzily-processed percussion.  Whilst such descriptions may suggest that Iktsuarpok is an unapproachable proposition, its overall enveloping mood bubble is calmly captivating.

With even more Deep Distance catalogue entries lined-up for the coming months these two nuggets might get lost in the flood but it would be simply rude to let them pass by unnoticed.

Deep Distance