“Healthy Experience” Compilation Cassette (2021)

It’s hard to believe this is only my second post on Life in the Vinyl Lane so far in 2021. You’d think with COVID continuing to keep us all in various states of lockdown that I’d have done way more writing here, but clearly that’s not what happened. I’m not entirely sure why – I’ve definitely continued picking up new stuff at a brisk pace, though mostly by mail given the lack of travel and limitations on in-person shopping. But such is life. Truth be told I just haven’t really felt like it.

That is, of course, until this little gem arrived in the mail yesterday from Reykjavik. I’m not sure who is behind this brand new Healthy Boy Records label (though I have my suspicions), but as soon as I found out about the debut release I ordered one of the super limited (individually numbered edition of 50) cassettes. With artists like Kuldaboli and ThizOne and Volruptus contributing, I knew it was going to be good, and in fact it’s better than that, it’s great. There’s a sort of creepy, dark edge the the eight tracks, an unsettling undercurrent of anxiety that stops just short of fear, leaving the listener on edge and agitated.

I for one will be keeping an eye on the Healthy Boy Bandcamp page for future releases. You can stream the release there, as well as purchase digitally. It looks like the cassettes are still in stock for now, but I wouldn’t wait if I were you. These suckers won’t last.

Kuldaboli – “Geðveiki Og Brjálæði” (2019)

I’ve been waiting to get my hands on the latest five-track from Kuldaboli since it came out at the tail end of last year. And it was absolutely, positively worth the wait.

Some of his recent releases recycled earlier songs, but this new one from Sweaty Records not only features five new titles, the songs are fresh as well, a frenetic batch of techno jams with a blend of beats with varying velocities, the one common element being the briskness of the pace. This isn’t sit on the sofa and chill music, it’s the kind of music that makes your body produce chemicals that in turn cause your neurons and cells to fire off, twitching your muscles and making motion unavoidable.

You can listen to Geðveiki Og Brjálæði HERE, as well as pick up the vinyl for a measly €12. It’s a bargain at twice the price, so go move your mouse and give the link a click.

Kuldaboli – “Heilastormur” (2019)

Icelandic techno-maestro Kuldaboli is back at it again on his second release on Stilleben Records, the five-song Heilastormur. While “Vakan Endalausa” is an older track originally featured on 2016s Vafasamur Lífsstíll 2015-2016, the rest appear to be new for this record.

“Eolileg Mannvera” is reminiscent of old school Kuldaboli, dark and somewhat menacing, but the other two A side tracks take us to less sinister territory while still retaining Kuldaboli-esque elements. “Lazer Tag” in particular takes things in a more synthwave direction while still holding onto the fast techno pace, the synths rounding out the edges and angles to create a more wave-like flow, one less jerky and more fluid.

Kuldaboli snuck a pair of records past me at the end of 2019, which is too bad because they would have contended on my year end lists. I still need to get my hands on a copy of Geðveiki Og Brjálæði as well given that I’m trying to be a Kuldaboli completist. I’m a big fan of his music and will pretty much pick up anything he puts out, which is probably the best praise I can leave you with. Give it a listen HERE and decide for yourself.

Sweaty Records – “Blizzard People” Compilation (2019)

Sometimes I ask myself questions like, “Is it OK to review a digital-only release on a blog dedicated to vinyl”, or “Should I write about this record if I’m ambivalent about it”. If I’m foolish enough to ask things like this out loud and within earshot of Mrs. Life in the Vinyl Lane, inevitably she’ll remind me, “It’s your blog, you can do whatever you want on it”. Which is both true and good advice. Recently I’ve been asking myself if a compilation could qualify for my year-end Top 5 releases list, and based on the strength of Blizzard People and my wife’s insightful reminders I think that answer is a definitive yes, at least for 2019, because it’s that good.

The digital release of the six song Blizzard People came out back in March, and conservatively I’d guess I’ve played it at least 30 times since then. It’s definitely the 2019 release I’ve played the most times this year, and I’m still not even remotely tired of it. I’ve been holding off writing about it until the vinyl version came out and earlier this week it appeared in my mailbox, so away we go.

I was hooked right from the opening beats of Logitech’s “Leather Forecast” and its refrain, does your wife even know… It’s mysterious and mildly dangerous, the raised eyebrow of a bystander who finds themselves surprisingly attracted to something they normally wouldn’t give a second look. Does your wife even know… maybe you’re actually into this even though you’d never even considered it before. And that’s both exciting and a bit unsettling, just like these beats.

While I was already familiar with Iceland’s Sweaty Records from their 2016 VA_001 comp and therefore on board with their aesthetic, it was the involvement of Kuldaboli that initially drew me to Blizzard People. And here he’s paired with none other than Volruptus, the duo combining on the high-tempo scattershot “Nightvision”, a high-pitched Speed Racer of a jam that would wear me out on the dance floor even though it’s only four-and-a-half minutes long.

Blizzard People is available online at Bandcamp HERE, both digitally and on vinyl (€12). And I say get it while you can because this thing is hot as hell – all six tracks are outstanding.

Kuldaboli – “Stilleben 053” (2019)

Outside of the big hitters like The Sugarcubes, Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men, and the like, it’s pretty rare for me to run across Icelandic vinyl out in the wild. I figured I’d have a shot, though, on our recent trip to Berlin and Copenhagen given that so many Icelandic electronic artists move to Berlin and the close ties between Denmark and Iceland. And the first nugget I found was this newly-released five-song collection by Kuldaboli, which was in the New Arrivals bin at Berlin’s Hard Wax. I’d just learned of the release while at the airport in Seattle waiting to depart, so I was pretty excited to lay my hands on a copy.

The down side is that all five of these tracks have appeared elsewhere previously. “Nýtt heimsmet í kvíðakasti karla”, “Maður er negldur”, and “Svæsin blæti” all appeared on the 2016 CD Vafasamur Lífsstíll 2015-2016, while “Sovétríkin” was part of a super-rare split 2017 10″ release with Kosmodod and “Strangar Reglur” was on the first Sweaty Records CD comp called VA_001. I’ve never managed to get my hands on that split 10″, so at least one of the songs was new for me.

I’d probably refer you to my post on Vafasamur Lífsstíll 2015-2016, which is linked above, for more on Kuldaboli’s overall sound. I’m a huge fan, so even if I’d known there was only one track here I didn’t have I still would have bought Stilleben 053. You can check it out at the label’s Bandcamp page HERE, though I don’t see the vinyl for sale there, so it might be a bit harder to track down.