Planet Boelex – Misplaced EP

Misplaced EPLet us take you back to 2006, the year which some of you might remember for outbreaks of avian flu or the 250th birthday of Mozart, but that will actually be remembered for the third release of Planet Boelex on Monotonik. Misplaced EP is a masterpiece of beautiful, layered synths and IDM drum elements.

Forgive me, analogy old and weary, for disturbing you once more during your well-deserved rest, and let us compare Planet Boelex’s musical poetry with a painting, if you will. Though IDM made by lesser gods often suffers from the a-lot-of-different-colors-make-a-quite-unpleasing-brownish-tint, this is not the case here. Planet Boelex knows his art, his canvas is silence. The synths and pads which serve as base layers of cyan, green and yellow are decisively added in broad strokes, but without smothering the underlying calm of the cloth. Pleasantly crackling noise, distant hihats and other drum elements enhance what is already present and the painting comes to life, pulsating to the heartbeat of a growling bassline.

The four tracks on Misplaced EP are quite different. ‘Diciassette Anni’ combines the aforementioned classic Boelex composition with vocals written and performed by Valentina Gualtieri. ‘Seadreamers’ is the odd song of the bunch, which sees Boelex trade most of his synths for a guitar. However, every track breathes that special quality that one comes to recognize as a sort of beautiful melancholy always present in Planet Boelex’s tracks.

If you like what you hear, we absolutely recommend other releases from Planet Boelex. One of my personal favourites is the one hour liveset he played at Virus Festival in Lithuania, back in 2007. You can find it here.

Planet Boelex – Seadreamers


Release Page

This review was originally published on, an online music magazine covering netlabel culture and releases. I was editor for the magazine from January 2011 until December 2014.

Netwaves interviews me about Netlabelism

Belgian Radio Scorpio dedicated episode 176 of their Netwaves broadcast to Netlabelism. I was interviewed about my work with the magazine. The interview is in Dutch. You can find it below.

Al voor de 176ste keer brengt netwaves jullie een dwarsdoorsnede van netaudio-land en dat is vandaag niet anders. Alhoewel, zoals we vorige week al lieten vallen, hebben we vandaag een speciale gast in de studio. Simon van Bockstal is een naam die waarschijnlijk niet veel belletjes doet rinkelen, maar als ik er bij vertel dat deze jongeman zowel bij het netlabel Stadtgruen als bij de website van actief is , mag het wel duidelijk zijn dat deze Gentenaar wel bekend is met de netlabelcultuur. De uitzending van vandaag staat dan ook helemaal in het teken van Deze website is ontsproten uit de Keulense netaudio-scene en bundelt reviews van interessante releases, maandelijkse compilaties, filosofische mijmeringen rond vrije muziek en nog veel meer.

Gras – Gras

gruen005_artworkOriginally released in 2004, Gras is still as green as ever. This album was released on the Stadtgruen netlabel, which houses an interesting combo of both techno (Stadt) and ambient/downtempo (Gruen) releases. They have released some 45 albums and EP’s in total, the last of which has been published almost two years ago, in April 2009. Unfortunately, the label has been silent ever since.

‘Gras’ is an alias for Tobias Hornberger. He chose to name this album ‘Gras’ as well, but he might just  have called it ‘Soundtrack for Moving Snail’. Actually, he could have called it ‘Soundtrack for Snail Taking a Nap’ and he still would have gotten away with it. This album is a garden of slowly-moving, ever-evolving ambient soundscapes with parts of grooves sprouting, than quietly wilting away again. All songs have lots of space, and it seems ‘Gras’ is characterized by the silence between the notes just as much as the notes itself, which is both a tell and a prerequisite for great downtempo.

The preview track is called ‘Morgentau’ (which means morning dew), a fitting metaphor for the light and delicate atmosphere created throughout the entire album. If you like ambient/downtempo releases, you simply have to download this release. And even if you don’t, this release might be the one to change your mind.

Gras – Morgentau


Release page

This review was originally published on, an online music magazine covering netlabel culture and releases. I was editor for the magazine from January 2011 until December 2014.

Martin Schulte – Underwater EP

Before proceeding any further, readers are encouraged to press play on the preview track. This text will make a lot more sense if you do. Done? Welcome to the submarine world of laidback sounds that is ‘Underwater EP’ by Martin Schulte (an alias of the Russian musician Marat Shibaev)

Throughout this 20 minute EP, listeners’ ears are massaged by muted bassdrums, pleasant crackling in the high-end and pads that seem to come rolling from miles away. Sporting characteristics of deep house, dub, and some very lazy techno (this techno is so lazy it has started living in symbiosis with the couch, man, seriously), this is one heck of a chill-pill. I chose the title track for the preview, because out of all 4 tracks, this is the one that best illustrates these qualities.

underwaterep_coverThe title and cover are incredibly well-chosen, as they are spot on when it comes to conveying the mood for this EP. The occasions for playing this record will be plentiful: as one is equally inclined to play these tracks on cold winter days as on lazy summer evenings, for they fit in remarkably well in both contexts. This is no false claim, as it has been tested and found true for the past five years since its initial release in 2006. This is that most remarkable of gems, a release that sounds fresh every time you listen to it, no matter how many times.

‘Underwater EP’ is permeated with a warm, submerged sound that inevitably reminds one of tropical seas. If you’ve never scuba-dived in your life, then this is about as close as you’ll get without actually getting your feet wet. Highly recommended.

Martin Schulte – Underwater


Release page

This review was originally published on, an online music magazine covering netlabel culture and releases. I was editor for the magazine from January 2011 until December 2014.