Shadow Wands

Chris Mitchell is back on the scene and this time he has flipped the script with a beatless LP titled “Shadow Lands” on XCPT. Available in cassette tape form and digital, this project will leave you stunned. Eight compositions that are completely unique and separate but yet fit together. The cohesive nature is due to the titles, each tune feels eerie and emotive by virtue of Mitchell’s synth choices and effects work. Really this release could be a series of soundtracks for movie scenes and the like. Mitchell really looked into himself to pull out these tones and his imagination has really matured in comparison to his earlier works. The sonic palette is quite full and impressive in that the full frequency spectrum is used and with every new listen you discover new elements. For chilling, cleaning, or smoking this release will keep one’s mind going, placing unconscious suggestions into your psyche, which will make one want to play it over and over again.

Severing the Pain on Analysis///Mitchell begins the project with a bubble like arpeggio that leads into melody and harmony tones. The choir effect is in full form, giving this first song an ancient church feel. The long drones become the forefront and hypnotize you just to be replace by a forever morphing arpeggio. The drones come in and out with different amount of velocities giving variety to the sound.

Undivided///A tin like melody comes out the box that is supported by a bass line. Like an 80’s science fiction movie, the synths and melody sound like they should be accompanying a low budget b film in where something shocking had been revealed. As the tune progresses, new tones appear to create an atmosphere of perhaps remorse.

Igo///Noise is the theme here, distorted waveforms pulsate while a sub bass booms underneath it all. Quite subtly is there a white noise line sounding and suddenly distraught tones play. These tones continue to modulate as one hi-hat can be heard keeping the tempo. Short and sweet is this track, and I am picturing a space traveler who’s life is suddenly in danger; and the traveler fails to save it.

Galdos///An aggressive bass tone begins followed by sparse synth work. The pulsating effects and distortion could cause some disturbing thoughts. One could ask what happened, or would be asking if this sound was brought to life. Again hi-hats strike as the next section begins with an arpeggio lightening up the mood a bit. Mitchell really got that SH-101 sound going here.

After the Fall///The lighter side of Mitchell is present here. The tones are not as harsh as in the previous tunes until the bass line arrives. The bass changes the complexion of the whole tune. Really it is sweet and sour. While the tones above are nice and airy with beautiful synth patches and effects, while the bass is evil and hard. Like the Gemini astrological sign, one is getting two personalities wrapped up in one.

Spirits of the Fallen///Sparse melody notes ring from the ether. The bass line is driving and all these elements are sounding. It is a slow sensory overload. The low sounding horns are speaking. I cannot quite make out the message but there is definitely meaning there. The bass line is keeping the pulse like a march to the place where the spirits will rest their weary souls.

Weighs in Passing///Dissident notes sound almost like random arpeggios, but there is order to this madness. The tone timbres are actually quite soft sounding but mixed with the tone pitches makes the piece a bit uneasy. Sometimes some of the tones are panning left to right and are joined by bass notes and drones. I get a feeling that a surprise is about to happen at any moment. Like a guy about to pull a table cloth from the table with dishes on it, except he never does. Quite the build up with no release is my description.

Prayers in Empty Street///Mitchell ends the project with arpeggios and droning synths. The drones make the tune rhythmic with them serving as the back beat, striking on the two and four. Maybe the most straight forward composition in the project, however I am okay with that due to the fact my brain needed the time to process all of what I just experienced.

hakim murphy



Remnants EPa


Chris Mitchell is back on Anunnaki Cartel with a three track 12″ that features strong drum programming with a dystopian feel. Mitchell is pushing the worried and anxious sound, apparently he thinks house and techno is not always roses and peaches. The Remnants EP features three tunes with the mechanical feelings of cyborgs running around in industrial areas creating dance music.

Remnants///Panning arp lines, boxy percussion, with long bass notes that double as a melody begin this 12″. Later the beats become chunky as the toms strike and shimmering sustained crashes appear. The tune remain crunchy until its conclusion as the dystopian feeling is prevalent.

Opinions Are Prisons///A full palette of sounds begins the B side of the wax. A voice in the background states something that is not recognizable. An arp line is the main focus with long bass notes serving as a complimentary line. The voice modulates as the percussion moves along. A melody line comes in to add depth. The elements continue to change as the vocals ring out until the end.

Succubi///A sub kick begins the end as a voice and synth slowly gain steam and volume. The pulsating kick leads us into percussion which is a change from the first two tracks. The vocal moves around as two synth lines play off each other with slow modulations. A melody line appears to cause an emotive feel as all the elements progress to their peak. The synth lines become a bit more fuzzier as a filter also becomes audible which leads a listener right to the break.

Remnants EP


Available at:



Redeye Records













Chris Mitchell is up next on Vanguard Sound with a solo piece called Phrenetic EP. A four track 12″ that shows off Chris’ versatility as each track has a different style and feel. Some new music from the American south that is making waves as Chris is creating his own sound. Check the prose from the one sheet:

Vanguard Sound is back with its newest record. Chris Mitchell‘s Phrenetic EP is Vanguard Sounds second release. Coming on the heels of the wildly popular Vanguard Sound Vol. 3, this EP continues to uphold the aesthetic created with the first release, while simultaneously expanding it. The Phrenetic EP features four tracks from the mind and studio of a quickly rising North American talent that all walk the fine line between house and techno. All are very complex rhythmically, with both banging drums, and lush tones. A perfect 3 way marriage of classic Chicago, Detroit, and New York vibrations, the record contains set peaks, as well as transitional tracks that allow DJs to traverse from house to techno and back. Already receiving massive amounts of positive feedback, this EP is proving to be a more than worthy follow up to VS001.

Phrenetic///Floating synths stabs appear as the percussion hits, later joined by another synth line to round out this banger.

Lazerdrive///Bumping bass sounds with a matching synth are driving the track. Suddenly a stuttering voice appears that adds more flavor to the tune.

California///Definitely a west coast sound; guitar riffs sound, a vocal phrase appears, and finally a chord progression comes in with percussion driving it along.

Y.I.C.U.///Synths and bass begin the last track as a filter voice saying Y.I.C.U. floats the forefront. Later more synth lines appear as the vocal gets longer as the tune fills up.

Available at these fine retailers among other places:











Okay I’m in Japan and am now taking time to recover from going out everyday; seeing the sites, eating food, and getting new music. So I am chilling out and decided to do some writing. Being that I am a music person and Tokyo is a good place to get you music and fashion fix on, I am inspired to present some new music. So next on the burner is a piece of vinyl coming out on Plan B Recordings NYC from new artist Chris Mtichell out of Tampa, FL. Chris is a fellow Vanguard Sound member and this is his first vinyl 12″. Moreover this vinyl piece features Dakini9 and Amir Alexander on remix duty, they both did a great job of making brand new ideas from the original material resulting in a diverse vinyl piece. Yeah, this release is for people on the plan b tip, especially if you are looking for music that is 180 degrees opposite of popular culture. Enough prose, let’s get to the music.

Lonely Nights – Is an melody driven tune in which stabbing chords and synth hits that float up from deep within the depths of Chris’ psyche. This is the most emotional tune of the EP.

Lonely Nights (Dakini9 Remix) – Is a raw and sparse soundscape with vocals samples that make it sound quite eerie. The chords sound every once and a while and then laughing voice and reverberating claps take center stage in the track. This tune is great for set transitioning due to the fact that it can blended with most any other dance song.

Worker Ants – Is quite gritty, Chris’ synthesis skills are on display as he works the filters and oscillators to portray a dark mood. The more you listen the deeper you will go into the fathomless, dark world of the proletariat in synthesizer form.

Worker Ants (Amir Alexander Remix) – Brings fourth the calling to the sonic brothers and sister of the struggle with a funky bassline and long sustained chord effects. The drum patterns walk along as the melody line is the call to action!

So the Vanguard advances once again…

hakim murphy