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weird fiction

by Al Chem

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andyrray thumbnail
andyrray Jane Fitz played this on her NTS show - simply gorgeous 'weirdness' (artist words, not mine). Favorite track: No Hopper.
Twistedsoul thumbnail
Twistedsoul Originally recorded between 2000 and 2005, the six tracks on the album are still some of the most intriguing and fresh music I’ve heard in a long time. Worth your time and attention. Favorite track: No Hopper.
Prophane thumbnail
Prophane Dreamy sparsely produced dub techno with a somber edge - fell in love with the details in the sounds right away ordered the vinyl.
Count Dookhoo
Count Dookhoo thumbnail
Count Dookhoo I like how it makes my fingers move Favorite track: The Red Tower.
Michael Mueller
Michael Mueller thumbnail
Michael Mueller Great albums 'feel' like great albums, regardless of their scope or style. This album's got it. It just 'feels' right.

I love the syncopated patterns; the feel of scratching and scurrying, of clicks and squeaks; of bounce and curious bend. Rubbery, sinewy, taut and restrained. This is a small album, but it's big on lingering impact.

Al needs to sing more, next time. His vocal on No Hopper is the album's highlight, surrounded as it is by a mosquito-swarm's worth of twitchy groove.

Recommended. Favorite track: No Hopper.
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Prophet 08:45
Baudelaire 08:04


In 2009, the label Art Yard sent a probe into the outer regions of contemporary electronic music, releasing Berliner Ring's "Orbital" album, a dub techno hymnal for Berlin’s orbital ring road. Drawing together the disparate elements of invented instruments, modified keyboards, customized rhythm and string machines, it was built around moods and themes drawn from the Berlin landscape.

One member of the Ring, Alexander Christou, also a part of the Berlin electro rock group Elecdrones, recording for Katzensonne. The band were “not interested in the crafting of chunks of music ready to be consumed”. Christou has since been recording under the moniker Al Chem, crossing analogue and digital realms, synthesizing a kind of philosopher’s stone. As Al Chem, he released on Tummy Touch Records, and now follows with a collection of foggy electronic dub meditations recorded between 2000 and 2005 in a full album. In the battle to harness the elements, ancient mists permeated Chem’s music. A murky, mercurial humidity saturates the project. A distinctly north European descendant of dub, a kind of Seventh Seal that Bergman could have made, if provided enough hydroponic infusions.

No Hopper is a rework of the Ras Michael song No Hoppers, from his legendary album, Rastafari Dub, Chem's version shuffles the pack of electronic percussion with organic, Moondog-like rhythms and hazy atmospheric chords; The Prophet pinpoints Chem's GPS firmly in Berlin, just as The Red Tower blurs that kick-drum parallel between reggae and house music; Baudelaire sputters digital delay, piling on the pressure, a clatter of surgical implements performing an operation out of Dead Ringers, the patient storming out of the theatre with loosely fitted mechanical body parts; the instrumental No Hopper only serves to highlight the distant gathering storm. Ladder of Perfection rounds off the set with a drone, creaking with bubbling digital mud pools.


released July 17, 2017

No Hopper written and produced by Alexander Christou with lyrics by Ras Michael. Published by Art Yard Music Publishing and Jack Russell Music.

All other tracks written and produced by Alexander Christou.

P&© Art Yard Ltd and Art Yard Music Publishing.

Illustrations by Veronika Pražanová.

Mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works. 
Printed and manufactured in the EU. All rights reserved 2017 Art Yard Ltd.


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Al Chem Berlin, Germany

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