Listencorp review image of international nop underground



Liam Murphy

February 19, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Pedicure Records originally started as a joke. A parody off-shoot of the Manicure Records and PC Music movements that begun…

Pedicure Records originally started as a joke. A parody off-shoot of the Manicure Records and PC Music movements that begun around 2015. The creator found himself armed with a 3-track EP produced under the hilarious artist name A.G. Kush and no label in particular to release it on. Pedicure Records was created.

After the initial confusion of people thinking it must be a spin-off of Manicure Records, real demos began to appear in the labels inbox. Overly-energetic Nitecore cuts, explorative Vaporwave projects, everything from original material to outright parodies. 

It was this energy that spurred the record label onward. Inspired by its half-joke origin story, Pedicure Records dedicated itself to giving a home to projects that found influence from the less serious side of electronic music. Vibrant colours and joke artist names are common in its output, but so too is engaging musicianship and genuinely entertaining albums and EPs. Each release offers the listener an experience like no other. 

5 years since the official starting point and the label has reached its 100th release. And to mark the occasion, they have invited some of the artists that have featured on the label before to contribute a track toward INTERNATIONAL NOP UNDERGROUND.  

The owner of Pedicure Records begins the celebratory compilation himself under his pseudonym Treasure Hunt. A squelchy chorus of playful voices fumble their way through a triumphant note progression. Before long, a hyperactive vocal line has pushed itself to the front of the mix strutting out some classic nightcore-esque lyrics. A passionate, albeit naive love song in which the singer presents an unorthodox partnership with a poppy delivery and adolescent melody. The mood of playfulness and jubilance is set.

The tremendous range of genres available on Pedicure Records is demonstrated even by the shift into the second song as silént phil’s offering is a juddered trance track. I’ll Be There begins with a dramatic piano sequence. Slowly the vestigial synth section grows too strong and bloated. Before long it splashes out into the soundscape and the beat explodes into a grandiose fanfare of emotive euphoria. Echoes of Alice Deejay and ATB are apparent in that beautiful middle ground the melody positions itself in. Too sad to be novelty, but too epic to be taken completely seriously. 

arianna’s step in plays like a middle-tier popstar from a late-noughties Now That’s What I Call Music compilation chatting his face off after shovelling too much MDMA. In the track we hear that intricate structuring that nitecore requires. The unbelievably short time an artist has to create a bridge, or the big climax that only lasts around 8 seconds. arianna handles it perfectly, the track is wonderfully excitable and the texture is flawless.

It’s almost as if Contessa Stuto has been transformed into some sadistic cuddly bear in ice bb’im hungi. The production is heavy and takes no prisoners, taking inspiration from the rappers acidic delivery. Halfway through the track, it explodes to a level even heavier than before. ice bb lets the full power of the bass slip out and combines it with what sounds like sampled wretches pitching up and down in a nonsensical melody. The result is a showcase of the heavier, more primal side of nitecore.

Son Moon provides some much needed respite not even a quarter of the way through the compilation. Warm water trickles alongside washed out instrumentation in Spa. A steady beat builds as water splashes against on every bass hit. Son Moon attempted to bridge a gap between the more hyperactive genres and vaporwave with his 3-track EP Son Moon Industries last year and this same feeling is apparent this time around. In the second half the bass pushes more prominently against the flowing nature of melody. And as we pull into the end of our session a gargantuan pan pipe seems to bring us under the water and into another realm. 

paszka‘s addition to the compilation ripples with movement and fragmented speech, discomforting the listener from the very start. Orphan beeps and corrupted piano chords try and arrange themselves into a structured sequence but paszka smothers them with a rubbish dump of sound and sample. The broken nature of the track causes it to be one of the more challenging songs on the 100th release, but all the more rewarding. 

A mellow sample blooms to life behind glittering toy piano chords on JEL: THE DIGITAL DREAM GIRL‘s track. The adorable modesty of arms (part 2) is striking, the hiccuping vocal line sounding for pretty much the entirety of the track. The poppy nature of the keys almost make you think a crisp beat will burst in, but JEL keeps things understated and the result is a touching interlude.

Jean Bloc brings us back to that classic commercial gym playlist nitecore that Pedicure Records have so helped along its way. The trancey synths presenting this almost nauseously pristine landscape. The rhythm switches up twice. The first half is a palatable, almost hip-hop beat, which in the second half transforms into a thumping dance floorfiller. Jean Bloc pulls the listeners focus onto the emotive nature of the female vocal that continues to croon on the periphery. Another ghostly voice wading its way through a hyper-euphoric plane, forever alone. 

toiret status’s almost nonsensical notes join up alongside a lumbering beat in #84. The artist pulls the chord progression to a strange place. Synths seem to fall in a rhythmless pitter patter until a smouldering guitar line finds its way to the front. This guitar helps the listener to make sense of the beat, and understand the beautifully chaotic style the artist flexes.  

O A K M I L K finishes off the first half of the compilation in a subdued and otherworldly manner. We enter a strange soundscape, like a derelict submarine and the bottom of an ocean trench. O A K M I L K employs a range of different, sporadically repeating sounds to create an alien atmosphere. The artist sits us at the very centre of this incidental orchestra. Strange metallic creaks begin to sound more life like as we move through the track. Two solitary notes, one downward and one upward control the melodic elements of the track. Its hard to know how to feel and where to place yourself as you float through an environment seemingly ignorant to your presence.

Second half review to follow.

Listen to the whole compilation here: