What is the best soundtrack for fencing? Classical music? Smooth jazz? Folk music? No, Portuguese, avant-garde electronica of course!

Sturqen, the very interesting and creative electronica-duo from Portugal have released a new record on the Ukrainian record label Kvitnu, which focuses on “high blood pressure”, dense, heavy, and experimental electronic music. Neophobia is like their other albums full of energy and very rough and hard sound textures, with quite danceable beats. The description may sound like the other more “heavy” electronica artists that’s been popping up since the advent of dubstep and the increased poularity of more experimental sounds and aditions to more regular dancehall tracks. But whilst artists like Skrillex still keeps the distortion and crazy sounds to the “drop” andu under control, STURQEN goes all out with the feedback, screetches, tones, and the audial equivalent of concrete texture.

Neophobia is NOT a dubstep album and does not try to pander to that audience, Neophobia is a experimental electronic album from start to finish. I would almost be so brave to call it a glitch album, in the style of Grantz Graf by Autechre. Almost all the sounds and beats have been distorted or tampered with to create very harsh and raw textures from the sounds. And the stuff they manage to produce is glorious! Almost every song has something unique to offer, whether it is crazy chopped up seizure inducing rhythyms of Toxinas, or  the thundering bass of Ingebrik, or the breakneck speed of Jalcova, it is all of masterful execution.

Neophobia keeps a very high quality standard and there are very few, to none, flaws in the album. But perhaps I am a bit partial, since I am a wierdo who loves having my eardrums violated by messed up sounds. Still, I would recomend spinning this record at a party of a bit more open-minded crowd to give the people something fun to dance to, and satisfy the couch-music-elitists at the same time.

Neophobia is available as a 12″ vinyl, and digital download at Kvitnu. Also be sure to check out their absolutely fantastic music video of Toxinas! Play it loud and proud!