“I’m obsessed with music…” Scottish producer Hypnokid finds his own wave.

Scottish, musician/producer Duncan Black aka Hypnokid initiated his creative journey back in 2007, directing his inventiveness into the creation of hip-hop beats after pouring his creative juices into singer/song-writing and guitar playing for a while. 

After a series of live performances with his guitar, he began to realise that he wasn’t feeling comfortable on stage and took time out to figure how to tap into his authentic expression, and channel his creative flow.

Through a natural process of self-awareness and acknowledgement, he found the power and creative fluidity he had been seeking through electronic music, and threw himself into the myriad sub-genres of electronica, extracting influences from strains of witch-house, trap, grime and liquid drum & bass. 

He found himself focusing his craftsmanship within the interconnected, evolving sound of wave music, popularised by labels like wavemob. For the uninitiated, wave sits in the overlap of the venn diagram of pretty much all of our electronic and hip hop collections and playlists, taking aesthetic cues from dubstep, ambient, hip-hop, trap, rave, and more, yet it’s something distinct and special.

We spoke briefly with Hypnokid about what music means to him, and his musical inspirations. 

“I’m obsessed with music. The cathartic nature of it has helped me massively in my life,” Black told Revel Rousers. His instinct is to try any musical form he encounters, as a production challenge: “If I hear something new that I love, I’ll most likely attempt to create something myself.”

That journey has taken him closer and closer to the complex hybrid aesthetic of wave, he explains. “I’ve been leaning more towards the wave side of things which contains elements of dubstep, jungle, house, techno and hip-hop. The wave artists that I look up to are Skeler, Kareful, Deadcrow and enjoii.”

Hip-hop and rap remain touchstones: “In terms of hip-hop my main influence is J Dilla and I’ve always been a big Bonobo fan… Simon Green has influenced my sound in terms of liquid drum & bass, but overall my main influence is a northern Irish D&B producer/DJ, Dominick Martin aka Calibre.” 

The hauntological approach of Burial and other Hyperdub artists runs through the veins of Duncan’s production work, with his echoing keys and sampled provoking a strong sense of dusty, dystopian nostalgia through contorted samples and spacey, dream-like instrumental elements. Great swathes of emotion and melody are enfolded in a claustrophobic tension between past and future, like an echo of an imagined retrofuturism. Hypnokid’s music inhabits the spectral present, haunted by dreams of a broken future.

His most recent ten-track liquid d&b album Hear Your Voice was released 30 May. The tracks explore an elegant array of jazzy, groove laden themes, that are equal parts beautiful, graceful and emotive. Hypnokid incorporates some of the more chill wave elements from his other productions to impressive effect, augmenting the mix with live harp-string instrumentation laid down by friend and creative collaborator Anise Pearson.

It’s evident through Hypnokid’s most recent album and EP releases that he has been finding his way to creative distinction, acquiring increased nuance and complexity in his production style with each release. It is an approach uniquely suited to wave music, which continues to evolve as a genre.

Also last month, he released the evocative EP In My Mind, which presented elements of trap and witch house, bringing back a welcome echo of that genre’s chopped and screwed hip-hop soundscapes.

Hypnokid is a young producer just beginning to flourish in ways his early career could not perhaps have predicted, but that early musicality and sense of melody serves him well as he explores the realms of sub bass and epic drops. His progress has been increasingly interesting to watch. Keep an ear out for his forthcoming releases and collaborations, and prepare to be hypnotised.  

Coming up: Cee Elassaad & Thandi Draai – LoMhlaba EP (Connected)

Get ready for another extraordinary EP release on Connected, one of the freshest independent dance labels that continues to deliver innovative, deep and dynamic sonic vibrations (see our recent preview of the Connected release by Re:You if you need more proof!  – Ed.). 

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Cee Elassaad / Facebook

This time around, the label founded by Stereo MCs presents illustrious Moroccan House DJ/ Producer Cee Elassaad, who has collaborated with South African vocalist/ music producer/DJ Thandi Draai for their adventurous forthcoming EP LoMhlaba.

An African Zulu proverb, the word roughly translates as ‘This world is a harsh place’. The resonance of such a sentiment is only heightened in troubled times. The EP offers a sound with sentimental drive and emotional punch. Soul-stirring instrumental textures elevate and accentuate the melodic and rhythmic aspects. This is light, spacious, uplifting dance music.

This exquisite collaboration formed through a chance encounter at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), a five-day electronic music conference and festival which takes place annually in the Netherlands. 

Cee’s creative career has thus far seen him play alongside Louie Vega, Osunlade, Jerome Sydenham and many other legends, with releases on some impressive imprints. Thandi, who is a delectable vocalist, has graced productions by the likes of Charles Webster, Boddhi Satva and Culoe De Song.

The title track’s original mix is a gentle, building cut. Airy chords, kick/tom combos and a loose shaker sit atop warm, long-held bass notes. Layered, looping vocal refrains build the track towards that all-too-rare thing in modern house – a proper song, complete with a heady, effortless and infectious vocal crescendo that pulls at the emotions. 

The remixes wouldn’t sound out of place in one of Highlife / Huntleys & Palmers main man and Kelburn Garden Party favourite Auntie Flo’s genre-defying, eclectic sets. The producers clearly have an eye on the record bags and wallets of the most creative DJs with the Chants Dub and Instrumental versions from ElAssaad and Draai. The remixes will provide endless on- the- fly moments of dancefloor joy for listeners too.

 

Coming up: Clarity – Clarity/Overlook EP (UVB-76)

At the forefront of the progression of drum and bass, Owen Hemming-Brown aka Clarity is set to release his first solo 12” EP Clarity/Overlook, 12th of June on Bristol-based Ruffhouse and Gremlinz’ cutting-edge underground sonic art label UVB-76.

There has been much anticipation within the drum and bass community growing for this core release. Clarity has built his reputation from the tender age of 14 as being one of the most skilled and inventive producers. He is a craftsman, creating a refined, stripped-back, minimalistic approach that offers-up unique groove and texture, informed by the structural potency of techno.

One of the two A sides is an imaginative remix of All Of Them Witches, a bona-fide modern classic from labelmate Overlook aka Jason Luxton, an artist who consistently executes cinematic elements to all his productions.

In this nifty reimagining, Clarity creates a dynamic and intricate rework, attenuating the bass weight of the original to a powerful, rumbling undercurrent. This accentuates the high-hats and snares to provide an atmospheric, surreal, dream-like element to a concise, compact, groove-laden remix.

On the flip, Torsion builds anticipation, a sublime opener with haunting synth undercurrents which swirl and resurface throughout.

A hard kick drum hypnotically allures and transfixes, as the monstrous core components loom and grow to eventually dominate all the intricate elements within the track. This is a deep roller with menace, tension and depth. Clarity’s approach is methodical, high precision, and utterly contemporary.

Stateless is a solid stomper that drives forward with infectious groove elements and  a distinctive atmosphere. Clarity’s creative vision has nuance, and a mind’s-eye visual expression that comes to life sonically through his pure and refined style. This one is destined to set any dance floor on fire, while simultaneously stimulating the brain. 

Taking Effect has the revel-rousing quality we love, with an undeniable, deep and purposeful groove which will prove irresistible to clubbers, movers and shakers.

In fine style, Clarity has interwoven his poise, precision and expressionistic sonic vision into these tracks, showing himself to be a true individualist within contemporary breakbeat form.   

DIY metal king Serotonin stares into the Masonic Abyss

Earlier in April, Masonic Abyss, the alias of versatile theatrical artist and musician Serotonin, released an album titled Music For The Void. The superbly executed ten-track, Gothic Industrial Metal solo project has a raw and uncompromising DIY aesthetic, and deserves to find admirers among the fans of Marilyn Manson, Rammstein or Ministry.

Music For The Void continues the journey begun by Serotonin after leaving behind the classic Masonic Abyss 4-piece, and leaning in to all-encompassing creative control. Taking charge of laying down all aspects of the writing and recording process allows him to channel exactly the atmosphere he wants, developing a rich and textured portrait of his alter-ego

Formed in 2008, Masonic Abyss has been through various former members – the playlist above showcases some of their earlier work. From 2011 onwards, Serotonin has taken the reigns, providing lead vocals, lyrics, guitar and bass, keyboards and drums, and the entire process of mixing and mastering.

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“My alter-ego character Serotonin is a personal demon…” – Serotonin

This is a total contrast with his work as lead vocalist in Volcano X, a powerhouse heavy metal outfit formed in 2013 strongly influenced by NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) bands.

Revel Rousers caught up with Serotonin to find out more about his alter-ego,  the shift from band to solo project, and what the character means to him.

“My alter-ego character Serotonin is a personal demon. He confronts everything on one hand, and is an outspoken in-your-face political activist on the other. The character is extreme in every fashion and sees things in black and white. It mirrors my shy and reserved real life character.”

Does he feel that those aspects of the stage character already live inside him? Or does he have the power to channel those qualities through this alt-character? “Performing brings about a different confidence in me I don’t usually have, so I guess those aspects of character are being eked out through the mask of Serotonin. I feel really at home when on a stage, or creating something behind in front of a camera.”

Masonic Abyss artwork

This album is rousing, with anthemic qualities. Within these well-produced tracks there is a mass of creative energy that unfllinchingly takes the pulse of today’s paranoiac, troubled situation, opening with Pandemic, a booming electronic industrial track. The album opens up into a mass of rousing, riotous songs, all with an uncompromising political edge.

Serotonin might be angry, but he never succumbs to nihilism. There is an empowering quality in his music and lyrics which asks the listener to rise up, be counted and fight. These tracks have gestated over several years, only to emerge at just the right cultural moment.

The atmosphere and tone of the album is showcased with visual flair in the official music video for Sick Sick, where Serotonin takes control of the filmmaking to produce something equally mysterious and terrifying. 

Music For The Void offers engrossing, truth seeking lyrics, agit-prop vocals over militant beats, guitar groove and interwoven electronics. Monstrously energetic and hugely atmospheric, Serotonin draws on influences like Machine Head, Gary Numan, Marilyn Manson, and even Rob Zombie’s grand guignol horror aesthetic. This is truly an outstanding DIY project that oozes creative passion and packs a big punch!

Coming up: Re.You – Maison (Connected)

Following three excellent EPs on Connected, the exceptional label run by 90s indie-rap legends Stereo MCs, producer and DJ Marius Maier aka Re.You strides progressively forward with his deeply dynamic, resolute full-length debut album ‘Maison’ dropping later this May.

The French title is inspired by the city of Paris. Most of the new album was written in the French capital, where Marius resided for a period of six months. “It was a truly inspiring place and time, so I thought I would give the album a French name. ‘Maison‘ means home. That’s what I feel, now I’m back in my German hometown Ulm, after 10 years of Berlin and a short stay in Paris.” 

Maier’s career stretches back to the early 2010s, with notable early releases on Moon Harbour, Kompakt and his own Younion label. The well-travelled producer also feels settled at the label where he has built his growing reputation: “I feel now is a good time to release my debut album on Connected, a platform on which I always felt at home,” he says.  

It was a truly inspiring place and time…
– Marius Maier aka Re.You

The album builds on his three EPs, enlisting guests such as label bosses Stereo MCs, plus, long standing Connected contributors Florian Busse & Ahmad, singer song-writer, Elli, and Afro-house duo Oluhle & Aaaron.

‘Maison’ is a slick and professional full-length debut, where Re.You continues to demonstrate his boldly innovative house music confections through a nuanced instrumental approach, with a distinctive production style. 

digital front maison 2

This purposeful and determined set of tracks pulsate with energy. The flair in Re.You’s production originates in a diverse set of influences, from afro-tinged trance, deep tech-groove, and emotionally-stirring trap-style house. This heady blend stimulates and enriches the essence of the album, marking it out from the mainstream.

Tracks such as ‘If You’ featuring the vocal talents of Elli deliver a no-nonsense, methodical, ‘get to work’ house belter, that gradually elevates from dancefloor burner into bright, hooky synth textures that gush towards the velvety vocal tones. 

Elli’s vocal draws together those tech-groove elements, whereas ‘Inyani’ featuring Oluhle & Aaaron catches you in a trance with tribal patterns, vocal chants, and suspenseful, spiritual chords. Re.You and his guests cast an alluring spell. 

‘Maison’ is an adventurous culmination of many years of artistic endeavour that brings plenty of fresh and exciting new perspectives to house music.

Preview by Miff Morris. Images courtesy of Connected.


 

DeadFire -‘My Mind Belongs To The Devil’ Ep Review.

Artist – DeadFire

Ep – My Mind Belongs To The Devil

Genre –  Drunk’N’Roll /Stoner Grunge

Label – Fat Hippy Records.

At the beginning of the year raucous, booze rockers, DeadFire poured gasoline on absolutely everything and set the joint on fire with their groove-laden, ballsy, explosive Ep ‘My Mind Belongs To The Devil’ executing a boisterous, Spit-N’-Sawdust, grunge-rock atmosphere throughout their outstanding studio production, translating all the energetic edge and rawness into their recording that you would find at a throbbing live show!

DeadFire – Ready to bust loose and cause havoc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fMB2Mun2B8

Hailing from Aberdeen in Scotland, lead protagonist, Charlie Munro has a flamboyance about his vocal delivery that is undeniable, as his  notably distinctive voice draws on bluesy undertones, delivered through a mighty dynamic range and a powerful fierceness to his growl. Groove-laden guitars, chucky, burly basslines and compact, dynamic drumming, orders plenty of… tAps Aff, circle-pit moments.

Check out DeadFire’s official music video for the title track from the Ep on the following……  

The second track on the Ep, ‘Mary Jane’ struts and grooves like no other, reeking the atmosphere of early Corrosion Of Conformity. Delivering a heavier grungier guitar that sits tight into the vocals, hooking around the groovy basslines and exceptional concise drumming. There exists immense swagger to this blazing track.

The third and final stomper on the Ep ‘Call From the Void’ is immensely gripping, sitting as my personal favourite, oozing all the confidence, rumbling gyrations & vocal outpouring that packs as much punch as a trash metal track pumped to number 11. This blazer delivers unrelenting instrumental groove and screams anthemic.

I don’t think this bands fire is dead at all!!…. 🙂  

Smash your way into, ‘My Mind Belongs To The Devil’ Ep by DeadFire on the following Spotify link & EnJOY!

Also, find Deadfire on the UNDERGROUND MUSIC COALITION over on Bandcamp with their track ‘ ‘Bumsteer’ https://undergroundmusiccoalition.bandcamp.com/track/bumsteer

http://www.fathippyrecords.co.uk/

https://www.reaction-management.com/

New York Haunted Welcomes Itzel Back Into The Fold With His Forthcoming Album Release ‘Scelero’ NYH196

Artist – Itzel

Album – NYH196/Scelero

Label – New York Haunted  

https://newyorkhaunted.bandcamp.com/

The highly distinctive, Daniel Hoy aka Itzel rises to prominence once again on Dutch experimental label NYH with his exploratory electronic album, Scelero (The Latin word for Etch) set to be released on the 13th of this month after his sensational EP and LP releases last year. In 2018 Itzel’s unique digital craftmanship was demonstrated through a melodic, ambient techno album titled ‘Basalt’ which was a complete sonic excursion that offered a perfect blend of Electronica, IDM influenced Techno. This time around a mechanical animal of hard edged, menacing experimental sounds comes to life through a prism of human emotion, executed with Itzel’s soft focus version of all of, The Black Dog, Beaumont Hannant and B12’s best tracks, updated into a 2020 sound palette.

The production is truly magnificent on this deeply penetrating album, opening with ‘Phore’ a mathematical array of concise, drill-driven electronics, hard stamped on top of an undercurrent of earthy percussion which grows into a divergence of ethereal ambience. Following is the unsettling sounds of ‘Fresher’ an erratic flurry of manipulated electronics that feels urgent and repressed, intertwined through spacey ambient under and over currents. As where, ‘Was’ shifts the mood into an enormously atmospheric eastern style strut, with chiming keys and an enticing percussive allure that reminds me of something Plaid or U-Zig would lay down in the 90’s.

‘Circle Of you’ delivers bright modulation synthesizer which burns through elongated smothered vocals, providing an organic feel, that is fresh and stimulating, although wildly haunting and unnerving in atmosphere, as where ‘XT’ sits as one of the most deeply melodic, thrilling statements on this astonishingly dramatic, dynamically layered adventurous album. There are 10 thrilling tracks on this outstanding album, owning a stricking mass of technical elements to surprise and stimulate the headspace, so i will leave the rest for your sonic exploration…..

Listen to Itzel’s ‘Scelero’ over on NYH’s Bandcamp on the following link:

https://newyorkhaunted.bandcamp.com/album/nyh196-itzel-scelero

Please stay percolated and ENjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/newyorkhaunted/

B-Burg – Return To The Dessert Island – Album Highlight.

Artist – B-Burg

Album – Return To The Dessert Island

Listen Here : https://b-burg.bandcamp.com/

I am currently freeing mind and spirit by absorbing the uplifting, classy and stylish album ‘Return To The Dessert Island’ by Christopher Hall aka B-Burg. Released April 9th. This sonic expedition is a beautifully constructed organic album which has spanned over nearly two decades of collaborations for B-Burg, compiling tracks previously unreleased & released, now bound together under the one snazzy umbrella.

Scratch Monkey, Turntablist, producer, sound engineer Christopher Hall aka B-Burgh in his natural habitat.

This sonic excursion harmoniously blends vocals by various stellar artists, whom if you don’t know, you should most certainly check out, such as, Hasta, Profisee, Joseph Barnabus Seal, 1sp, Jee4ce, Mr Hiz and Anneke Kampman. The album delivers funky basslines, infectious guitars, percussion & drums as well as  stylish instrumentals & scratches from B-Burg himself, blending elements of turntablism into a blazing hot cauldron of soul, jazz and hip-hop crossover styles.

There exists a fresh & funky, hugely rhythmical aspect to the fluidity of these carefully compiled tracks with many charming attributes to the ambience of the entire album. Bringing forth bright and colourful tones through string sequences, bouncing beats, vocal gymnastics and overall liberating rap flows, as a wealth of vocal dynamic is presented from one track to the next. It is clearly evident the authentic nature of the artists contribution, alongside the highly executed production techniques.

Each artist presents their own distinctive style, covering philosophical, social and poetic narratives, embedded in clarity, strength and freedom of spirit. There is an immensely empowering aspect to these fine tracks which I can’t recommend enough to you all.  Currently available for digital consumption, as well as bonus bootlegs and remix folder to all who purchase this current release, with an Instrumental album forthcoming for DJ’s and remix artists as well!>> Follow @therealbburg for more zesty enterprises<< 🙂

LIVmassive Feat. Hessian Renegade – ‘Erocean’ Ep & Cinematic Video Review.

VIOLIST ‘LIVMASSIVE’ AND RAP DUO ‘HESSIAN RENEGADE’ CREATE A NOVEL BLEND OF CLASSICAL, ELECTRONIC AND RAP THROUGH INNOVATIVE PRODUCTION MEANS TO TELL A STORY ABOUT CHANGE.

Classically trained, Rachael Olivia Black aka LivMassive entered boldly with a innovative project which was released on the 20th of last month that features a distinctive blend of genre integration in fluid cohesion with visual cinematic finesse. LIV locks into creative collaboration with Scottish, Rap/Rave duo, Hessian Renegade to produce a compelling 4-track EP titled ‘Erocean’ which  is complimented by a 15 minute cinematic music video shot in-house, and on location at Loch Lomond. 

Rachael’s project was born from a master’s degree and received a distinction at the ‘Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance’ in London, her eclectic taste in music encompassing country to classical and hip-hop to metal, influences her composition style and enhances her versatility as a musician. She has composed several specially commissioned works and similarly had several works written for her by contemporary composers.

Last month Liv & Hessian released the first single extracted from the Ep titled ‘Locker’, a beautifully haunting track which was created entirely from viola rhythms that were built by tapping the instrument in different positions while plucks and experimental playing styles fleshed out in conjunction with the subtle ambient electronic elements. This project’s creative vision is to unify musical diversity and present it in a unique and striking way.

Technically, both musically and visually ‘Erocean’ comes across as brave and courageous, much thought and effort has gone into the EPs creation and the fusion of complex musical styles has been superbly executed. The visual narrative is incredibly compelling and stirs emotion where both, Rachel and lead vocalist from Hessian, Conor Moore perfectly complements each other’s aesthetic and vocal interactions. Both in the musical and visual sense there exists an alchemy of traditional and contemporary styles, combined with a captivating poetic sensibility.   

The visually arresting, LivMassive feat. Hessian Renegade – A new collaborative force, forging unique moods & atmospheres through their creative ideas.

Take in Erocean’s extremely special cinematic atmosphere on the following link below. The four tracks are combined into this 15 minute sequence, beginning with atmospheric lighting that highlights the beautiful contours of Rachel’s delicate face, as she stands by the Lough Lomond’s water’s edge in a long black billowing dress, radiating a lingering and hauntingly beautiful siren call through the bow of her deeply resonating viola. The way the narrative unfolds is both surprising and gripping.

🌀 EROCEAN 🌀

⚠️ 4 Tracks + Short Film out now ⚠️

➡️ Stream/Purchase/view here:

Spotify: http://tiny.cc/EroceanSpotify
Bandcamp: http://tiny.cc/EroceanBandcamp
ITunes: http://tiny.cc/EroceanITunes

🌊 We hope this brightens up an uncertain 2020 🌊

https://www.facebook.com/livmassive/

https://www.facebook.com/HesRenOfficial/

Asthmatic Astronaut – ‘Spirit World’. Pre-release Album Highlight.

Artist- Asthmatic Astronaut

Album – Spirit World

Genre – Hip-hop/Instrumental/experimental

Label – This Is Not Pop.

Producer/Beatmaker, Gareth Bury aka Asthmatic Astronaut presents a highly distinctive album titled, ‘Spirit World’ set for release on the 24th of this month on independent label, This Is Not Pop. This authentic project was born through a yearning to sonically express and channel the emotion of  grief and loss through thinking about friends and family that had passed away within a short time frame of each other, over the period of a few years. The album is bold and progressive and is surprising in its instrumental dynamics, it is evident that Gareth has dug deep to create these intuitive tracks, achieving a true sense of cathartic empowerment.

Through his internal exploration he also finds external exploration and structure by incorporating a short narrative to aid in the channelling of his emotive expression by collaborating with Caledonian Gothic, a story telling podcast, to create an atmospheric introduction to the album which has helped forge a pathway in bringing forward a mythical story of when earthly realm meets spirit world. As well as steering a unique and extra dynamic to the atmosphere of the album by collaborating with two local M.C’s, Jackal Trades and Kid Robotik x King Meraki who resolutely provide their own characteristic take on the album theme.

Asthmatic Astronaut aka The Wheezy Space Traveller – Between Worlds.

Asthmatic Astronaut’s newfound interest in Wave music, a genre of element-fusing, dubstep, jungle, house, techno & hip-hop, found him drawn to, and sucked in by, slow tempo beats. As far as beats are concerned his cultivated style is a direct evolution of Trap and lends itself well to longer evolving textures. There most certainly exists an empowering force throughout the tracks on the album, a pulsating core and raw edge that carries density, while in contrast ethereal layers interplay and soar above rooted reverberated bass lines, snares and kick drum beats. To me, it feels like sunlight burning through the darkness.

I caught up with Asthmatic Astronaut to ask him about the creation process, the album artwork and musical influencing factors. Here is what he said:

“I used a Boss 303 sampler with this album. 303 sounds grittier and slightly lo-fi. I added lots of noise to the tracks from Vinyl and Cassette hiss and just ambient room recordings. All the synthesized sounds also went through the sampler and almost all had distortion added and large analog reverbs.

As far as influence I’m not sure I can pin point exactly I listen to a lot of music of all styles all the time and when I make music I stop listening and create for a few weeks nonstop or until whatever is driving me leave’s me it’s a strange process and has always been very meditative for me. I always feel as though I have gotten something off my chest, something I can’t put into words as easy as I can music.

The artwork is pieced together from three separate photographs I took while camping in the highlands and basically when I finished the image the whole story of the tree being a gateway hit me, and that really sparked the whole project. So, I guess the album cover image is the main influence on this project.” – G.B/ Asthmatic Astronaut.

PRE-ORDER ‘Spirit World’ By Asthmatic Astronaut over at Independent, Tape/ CD/Vinyl Label, This Is Not Pop Bandcamp –

https://thisisnotpop.bandcamp.com/album/spirit-world

https://www.facebook.com/theasthmaticastronaut/

https://www.mixcloud.com/asthmatic_astronaut/asthmatic-astronaut-faceache-live-april-12th-2020/ Faceache Live – Asthmatic Astronaut.