Seldom Felt Reemerges with Skudge
Mysterious UK imprint blips back online with a seventh 12-inch
By Conor Walker,
11:00AM, Wed. Jul. 2, 2014
All Notes Off’s survey of electronic & experimental sound design this week rummages through the enigmatic UK label Seldom Felt, tracking six white label singles and their resurfacing for the latest remix series by Swedish duo Skudge.
Seldom Felt is a double entendre: the name encapsulates both the label’s hyper-mysteriousness, while simultaneously conveying the irony of the music’s presence, which is felt in the most tactile of manners. From 2007 to 2009, they released six, white-label 12-inches. The white label phenomenon turns on an agenda of anonymity, first popularized by the Nineties techno community in concealing artist identities.
White labels are generally premeditated tracks for underground dance floors, where the collective organism outweighs the presence of the individual. Record stores became prone to putting out bins of white-label-only releases (and now black labels), so that DJs could sift through undisclosed material on the caliber of sonic content alone. First utilized for its anti-aesthetic quality, white and black label vinyl releases have since become a widely adopted standard on their own.
As the Internet age escorts the fetishization of information, anonymous acts have either been outed or they themselves stepped out of their blank guises. Seldom Felt are white label purists nonetheless. Whoever’s behind the label refuses to appear in front of it.
Speculation has it that all six of the imprint’s records are the work of the same duo, although the material runs the gamut of club styles, from industrial, Berghain-esque techno belters to squelching acid and rave opuses. They’re likely out of London or Glasgow, but even their location is unknown. Seldom Felt 1 features the thickest sound design of the lot, swirling minimal dub techno with German concrete in mind.
The second release reels it back to the British Isles with a menacing Aphex Twin-inspired number. Seldom Felt 3 permeates techno as clean as a knife in water until the acid bass line in “Face Values” soils the scene. Seldom Felt 4 ricochets against a grainy vat, churning and blaring like echoes off of sand dune curvatures. Number five is the knees of the entire hive – a single-sided rave scorcher built upon fractured samples appropriated from Sylvester’s empowering drag anthem, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”.
The series ends on a poignant note with bittersweet strings and a goodbye beat to boot.
Skudge Skudge Remixes Part 7 (Seldom Felt Remixes)
Out of dormancy, Seldom Felt returns with the seventh installment of Skudge’s Remix Series. Although Seldom Self 6 seemingly closed a chapter of the duo’s output, these new remixes are as ripe as ever. The reworking of “Phantom,” one of the Stockholm twosome’s highest marks, combines screaming, tape-stretched strings with Seldom Felt’s idiosyncratically propelling drum programming. The flip side is a melted slab, a real mush of Skudge’s “Shivers.” Under the dreadfully-titled “Nasty Mind Mix” the track contorts into a rhombus, where parallel parts bend and sloop into perplexing non-shapes.