On Your Radar: DKA Tape Programme Vol. III

DKA Records returns with its third installment of cassette tape compilations featuring local, national, and international artists

Atlanta\’s own electro and darkwave authorities DKA Records presents us with some more heavy duty electronic, goth, industrial, and EBM in the form of a compilation cassette tape. Simply dubbed DKA Tape Programme III, the tape is a handpicked selection of the best the EBM and industrial-electronic world has to offer, all considered through the paths ridden by DKA founders Chris Daresta (Anticipation), Matt Weiner (TWINS), and James Andrew Ford (Tifaret).

We mainly compile a list of artists we want to work with and send out emails, says Daresta. A lot of the time it is a band or performer we played with or saw that we were like, \’Oh fuck, we have to have a track on the next DKA tape.\’ We also try to get a whole new batch of artists for each tape. All three DKA Tape Programmes have a new line-up without repeating any of the same artists.

With Programme III, the guys have once again brought under-the-radar electronic and EBM out of the shadows and into the light. Released today on cassette and Bandcamp, the compilation features an array of local, national, and international artists crossing lines in various parts of the darkwave spectrum. The Atlanta outfits included are Krystal V, USGS, and Ghilliam, along with former Atlanta artist High Marks. Also featured is Nameless City, a collaborative project between Daresta and Travis Thatcher (ex-Judi Chicago, Voice of Saturn).

If it\’s one thing that DKA pulls off extremely well, it\’s the fact that the music they put out all falls in line together. The DKA Records roster is like one consistent, cavernous channel full of blaring beats and hissing synths in one form or another, without being redundant or—God forbid—boring. There is definitely a strong DKA aesthetic that has developed over the years since the label was founded in 2013 (fun fact: for the sole purpose of putting out Fit of Body\’s debut EP Natural Lover). And it works. Really well.

Despite this seemingly single-genre streamlining, or dare I say synergy, DKA\’s roster and compilations remain diverse while pumping blood through the same veins of EBM and industrial-inspired electronic music. Tape Programme III, for example, vacillates from the upbeat and infectious sounds of Los Angeles two-piece DIN in Too Much to the sludge EBM track Spiral Down of Kris Baha of Berlin to the insidious dark pop goth Consent to Death by Bloom Offering of Seattle. These are just a few standouts from the stacked 23-track offering.

This tape is the third installment of a series—which in a perfect world would be released once a year, but alas, it is an imperfect world and releasing tapes of such caliber require a certain amount of resources—and sets a much needed tone for the beginning of the year, filling in the gaps that many labels, streaming services, and outlets no longer care to provide.

Unfortunately, things like Spotify or YouTube don\’t really care about exposing new artists, adds Daresta. A tape like DKA Tape Programme III is like a map to fans of electronic artists that are under the radar. Generally the artists [we feature] work with hardware, are DIY and fiercely independent. We try to work with people who are really dedicated and not jumping on trends.

Keep an eye out for full-length vinyl records by Karger Traum and CRT (ex-Hawks\’ Michael Keenan\’s solo project) later this year. Keenan has also been welcomed into the DKA family as a contributing member to the label.

DKA will host a tape release shot on March 11 at Mother. 447 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, Ga.

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