Thursday, 02 April
'Wilderness of Mirrors' is a harrowing and compelling slab of dense ambient doom from esteemed Room40 proprietor, Lawrence English. Two years in the making and arguably ranking among his finest works, 'Wilderness of Mirrors' is, as English puts it, "reflection upon reflection, a pure white out of absolute aurality". Taking its title from a phrase rooted in T.S. Eliot's poem 'Gerontion' and later used to describe the misinformation campaigns of the cold war, it finds English channelling inspiration from the affective dynamics of Earth, MBV and Swans, together with his own fascina… Read more
**Edition of 300 housed in letter-pressed gatefold card sleeve and poly jacket** Wall and Rodgers' 2nd batch of surgically disassembled syntax and probing psycho-acoustics for Entr'acte is a bewt. Following on from 'Work 2006-2011' (E114) it presents a single, 27-minute piece of vitriolic vocal convulsions and computer music minutiae finding the long-term collaborators operating at liminal levels of psychoacoustic perception with an avant-garde, Beckettian feel for literary absurdity with Rodgers taking real pleasure in masticating juicy, uncomfortably sandwiched phrases. Very satisfying indeed.
Thursday, 26 March
Norway's Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) & Helge Sten (Deathprod) broach liminal ambient zones in their very keenly-awaited collaboration, 'Stator' for Touch. It's the 2nd time they've appeared together, following 1998's 'Nordheim Transformed', but the first time that they've actually collaborated. You'd be forgiven for assuming what ensues, as the duo plumb very closely to their signatures across seven tracks spread over 41 minutes. Entering with the unheimlich creep of 'Muses-C', balanced right on the biting point of phasing distortion and clarity, they cover vast tracts of ambient terrain with … Read more
**Unexpected new one from the hugely celebrated Canadian band. The amorphous, visceral and doom-laced mid-section is especially outstanding** "Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GYBE) returns with its first single LP-length release since the group's earliest days in 1997-99. 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' clocks in at a succinct 40:23 and is arguably the most focused and best-sounding recording of the band's career. Working with sound engineer Greg Norman (Electrical Audio) at studios in North Carolina and Montreal, GYBE slowly and steadily put the new album … Read more
Remarkable, processed vocal studies from Rome. 'Sintetizzatrice' is the first time Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy have worked together but you'd never tell. Their debut release features Anna's voice as the sole source, whisked, chopped and layered into an astonishing spectrum of styles touching on traditional Italian folk music as well as classical chamber music, kosmische and R&B. In stark contrast with the invasive tones of Florian Hecker's recent vocal studies, Dozzy deigns for a more heavenly form and accessible approach with differently transcendent results. Blooming fr… Read more
"‘Carrie & Lowell’ is Sufjan Stevens' first album in almost 5 years and is somewhat of a return to the sparse, pared-back sounds of ‘Seven Swans’. While it sounds like a memory, it does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Each song begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. The album accomplishes the rare thing that any art should achieve, particularly in these noisy and fragmented days - by seeking to understand, Sufjan makes us feel less alone…"
**Class lo-fi synth-pop and depressed R&B futuristix from NNF's Teutonic ambassador** "German steamroom wrecking crew LX Sweat returns from a winter of festival dates and self-symbiosis to lay out an impressively realized full-length debut of voidist club fantasia, equal parts Screw bootlegs, slow-jack synth freestyle, and degraded phaser wash. City of Sweat spirals through a judgement night of weird, codeined lust, luxury hallucinations, overdosed syrup rituals, and long, blurry nights stumbling home through alleys in the rain. Like last year’s Sweat Sweat Sweat cassette, this new LP siphons ce… Read more
*Ships Friday* Luis Vasquez a.k.a. The Soft Moon nails his strongest, most-malleable take on post-punk/wave techno to date with third album, 'Deeper'. Since his last LP effort, 'Zeros', he's moved from Oakland, CA to Venice, Italy, with numerous raids on Berlin between. This has clearly influenced his sound, lending a more stringent focus and amped-up studio production ringing deeply true with his mix of formative influences; American EBM muscle and synthetic European emotions. It's kinda what we hoped the last Cold Cave album would sound like, before it went horribly wrong and Fernow scarpered. RIYL Silent Servant, Lust For Youth, Factory Floor.
*Third album from Baltimore’s Jana Hunter aka Lower Dens* "Escape From Evil is a cinematic, tonally rich work. The sounds are clean and warm. The pulse of the album is strong. Melodies are potent and songs are physical. Lyrics are direct, frank confrontations with life’s common crises. The album title is brazen, and along with the grimly funny title of lead single, ‘To Die in L.A.’, almost theatrical. The album was produced by Hunter and co-produced and mixed by Chris Coady (Beach House, Cass McCombs). Other production elements came from Ariel Rechtshaid (Sky Ferreira, Vampire Weekend) and… Read more
**Lighning Bolt take the skin off it with their 1st album since 2012 - recorded in a proper studio, too!** "Fantasy Empire, Lightning Bolt’s sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. More than any previous album, Fantasy Empire sounds like d… Read more
*Double CD book-style package / 38 track compilation from Soundway, Includes previously unreleased first ever known recordings of Afrobeat legend - Fela Kuti* "In conjunction with compiler and highlife researcher Dr. Markus Coester, Soundway present a very special release - including a bonus 45 that features the two first ever recordings by a certain Fela Ransome Kuti with his band The Highlife Rakers. Recorded by Melodisc in London in 1960, both tracks have been unearthed after more than fifty years in hiding. In many ways t… Read more
**CD in a book-style sleeve with over 60 photo stills, includes interview with director Gerard Johnson** Matt Johnson returns with another soundtrack outing as The The, this time round for new film Hyena. Hyena is the third volume in the Cinéola series of film soundtrack releases - published as a deluxe edition CD/Book, packaged in hardback form and filled with additional and exclusive material including photographs, interviews, and stills from the films and notes from the directors.
*Follakzoid return with 'III', their third release for Sacred Bones* "Föllakzoid began seven years ago as a trance experience between childhood friends Diego, Juan Pablo, and Domingo from Santiago, Chile. Heavily informed by the heritage of the ancient music of the Andes, the band has learned to integrate this influence with contemporary sounds of their times, creating a rich yet minimal atmosphere. III is a four-part minimal sound voyage in which you can hear Föllakzoid’s musical language developing into something more upbeat, obscure, and sharp, yet even simpler in terms of elements."
**Debut album by the former 100% Silk regular for Ghostly** "Throughout Insides, Fort Romeau guides us down misty corridors lined with supple synth pads, quietly thumping kicks, and elastic low-end sequences reinforced by an emotive confidence. Thick dancefloor cuts like "All I Want" and "Folle" are built on such satisfying elements—sounds so full-bodied, you'd swear they're knocking against your bones. This, too, is by design. "I wanted to make sure all the songs have a tangible quality," says Greene of his LP's physicality, "to make texture and grain become as important a part of the vocabulary … Read more
**Slinky garage/electronica including a remix by Warp's Plaid** "IRIDE is the debut album of Italian musician Marco Donnarumma aka Kuoyah, whose artist debut also came through Frijsfo back in 2009. Iride is a long player weighing in at just under one hour and like his previous work it makes for intriguing, challenging yet rewarding listening. Iride in Italian translates to ‘Iris’, by the way…These tracks were written and put together in spurts of productivity between 2012 and 2014. The first fruits dropped in 2013 via the strange yet well-received digital tracks 'Freight-Rejo‘ – a different version of th… Read more
From some rusted womb, Akatombo returns with a 4th album of mechanised illbient misshapes on Hand-Held Recordings following his contributions to Graham Lewis ov Dome/Wire's excellent 'All Over' (2014) album. 'Sometime, Never' captures the atmosphere of an isolationist mind - quite literally; he's a Scotsman marooned in Hiroshima - in ten pieces of blown out dub and hip hop doused in late night jazz motifs, drizzly ambience and all round pallor of noirish intrigue. There are distinct parallels to be made between this and the kind of beats that Spectre's Wordsound were pushing back in the late '… Read more
"This is Soul Jazz Records/Universal Sound's third album from deep jazz flautist and composer Lloyd McNeill (alongside the earlier 'Asha' and 'Washinton Suite'). Tanner Suite is one of the most beautiful and the rarest of all McNeill's records, a unique piece of music especially commissioned by the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art in the late 1960s to accompany an exhibition of the work of Henry Ossawa Tanner, the first African-American painter ever to gain international success. Tanner Suite was originally released in 1969 as a private individually numbered pressing of … Read more
**Liturgy augment their transcendental black metal with bolder electronics to ecstatic degrees in their 3rd album and follow-up to the radical 'Aesthetica'. Deluxe, spotgloss-printed and debossed gatefold jacket includes printed inners and DL code. Initial 500 copies on coloured wax** "Liturgy is a Brooklyn-based, self-styled “Transcendental Black Metal” band whose yearning, energetic music exists in an uncanny space between avant rock, black metal, fine art and shamanic ritual. Led by songwriter and conceptual architect Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, who is joined by guitarist Bernard Gann, bassist Tyler … Read more
Thursday, 19 March
Jlin breaks thru the Chicago footwork ranks with one of the scene's most fascinating, essential mutations in 'Dark Energy', co-presented by Planet µ and Jamie Kuedo's very promising new Knives label. It's quite possibly the most distinctive contribution to footwork since the RP Boo album and Rashad's jungle splices, and, in such a fast-moving (quite literally) and active scene, that's gotta be saying something. Keener Chi watchers may have previously checked Jlin's standout 'Erotic Heat' and 'Asylum' joints on the Bangs & Works Vol.2 compilation but, since then, the Gary, Indiana-based producer has h… Read more
Jam City flourishes a breathtaking pop sound with his not-so-difficult 2nd LP, 'Dream A Garden'. Phase-shifting from the sleek contours of his seminal 'Classical Curves' to a much grittier, slower and bittersweet style laced with his own vocals, he discerns a gap in contemporary electronic/pop music, and proceeds to boldly prise it open, casting coy glances at Prefab Sprout, Prince and Talk Talk from the midst of his finely-layered, swirling arrangements. It's the antithesis to the Club Constructions - themselves influenced by his own reductionist style - stitching a dis-affected heart to his … Read more
**Chris Menist and Andy Votel return from Lollywood EMI with archives packing some serious disco heat! A must for fans of the Ilaiyaraaja, Thai Dai or BVollywood Bloodbath volumes** "Disco Dildar features rare plugged-in proxy pop from some of the country’s lesser-known teen flicks spanning the late 1970s and 80s featuring drum heavy disco guesstimates built around multilingual lyrics celebrating Saturday nights, Disco Dildars and Hindustani Hogmanays. These original synth-dripped 45 EPs are not from the front of the pile, nor the quirky result of some token musical tourism. The music found here … Read more
*Initial copies come with a bonus CD 'Chambers music lessons' audio with chilly as the teacher..."* "Since the release of Solo Piano II, Chilly Gonzales composed the best-selling book of easy piano pieces Re-Introduction Etudes, produced and released Octave Minds, the piano-meets-electronica album with Boys Noize and, most importantly, devoted himself to finding a modern take on chamber music. The result is "Chambers", an album for piano and string quartet (and a few surprises along the way). Inspired by the deepening relationship with Hamburg's Kaiser Quartett, the album re-imagines Romantic… Read more
**The very long-awaited follow-up to 'The Cold Vein', featuring guest spots by MF Doom and U-God** "An air of mystique surrounds the careers of Harlemites Vast Aire and Vordul Mega, collectively known as Cannibal Ox. Fourteen years after earning their status as luminaries of underground hip-hop, Cannibal Ox release the highly-anticipated sophomore album, Blade of the Ronin. Serving as the follow-up to the duo’s acclaimed debut album, Blade of the Ronin is the embodiment of Vast and Vordul’s years of creation and properly serves to provide listeners with the grimy yet futuristic soundsca… Read more
"Cover Girls is a women only recording and has the following wonderful, unique, charming and beautiful women contributing their voices: Elisabeth Oswell, Katie Oswell, Gena Netherwood, Baby Dee, Jess Roberts, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Melon Liles, Lavinia Blackwall, Alex Jako, Miranda Kinkelaar and Bobbie Watson. The album includes cover versions of songs originally by David Essex, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel, The Buggles, UFO, Einstürzende Neubauten and many more..."
New album of affected electro-pop homage to classic Factory Records, by Manchester-hailing Lonelady for Warp Records.
**CD limited to 1000 units. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy, with in Houndstooth’s spot-varnished PVC outer sleeves.** Houndstooth collect Akkord's sickest EP to date, together with brand new remixes by Regis and Fis alongside grade A reworks by Vatican Shadow and The Haxan Cloak. In the original 'HTH020' Akkord ease off on the trickier elements in favour of focussing on sculpted, visceral sound designs done to powerful effect. The kerb-crawling half-tempo house pace and drizzly, sleazy atmosphere of 'Gravure' gives a brilliant opening for the collapsed 'ardcore structures of 'Continuum', splicing c… Read more
**Expanded CD Edition featuring 84-tracks of US R&B favourites from the early Jamaican sound system era* "This 3CD selection features US jump/shuffle blues recordings, which will be of equal interest to both Jamaican music fans and connoisseurs of classic US rhythm & blues. Putting this compilation together was no easy matter, considering that many labels scratched out their releases and were retitled by DJs keen to preserve their “exclusives”, meaning that they were known on the island by their sound system titles. This is the music that provided the inspirati… Read more
Scientist's 'Jah Life in Dub' is the dub album they didn't want you to hear! Essentially the unreleased dub companion to Flick Wilson's 'School Days' LP, it features nine killer dubs to said album, plus one from Wayne Jarrett's 'What's Wrong With The Youths' album, including wild and seriously deep desk FX versions flipping the recognisable elements of 'Collie Dub', 'Skylarking' and 'Shaolin Dub'. Replete with the amazing artwork - loadsa vintage images of Haile Selassie alongside quotes by the man his-self - it's a top-a-top package...
**Dippin' way below the equator with a fantastic, 15-track haul of Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco & Mbaqanga from Soweto, South Africa circa 1975-1985** "Strut continue their acclaimed ’Next Stop Soweto’ series as they return to the rich archives of South African music to spotlight the fertile era of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Tightly controlled by oppressive Apartheid laws, South Africa’s music scene had nevertheless progressed into myriad new directions, embracing funk, soul, rock and disco. The era marked a crossroads for the country’s black musician… Read more
"The new live record from the Tokyo-based all-female intrumental trio Nisennenmondai. Recorded Live in Hamburg by Johann Scherer (producer i.e. for Gallon Drunk, Bosnian Rainbows). Nisennenmondai formed in the late '90s and took their name from the Japanese translation of the then-current phrase 'Y2K bug'. Johann Scheerer (owner of Clouds Hill Recordings Studio, in Hamburg, Rothenburgsort) invited the band to his recording studio where they performed in front of a small live audience a maximum 64-minute long set which is exactly the length of 2 x analog tapes. The performance was recorde… Read more