Thursday, 21 November
**A darker neon-lit return from NNF's far-eastern dream-pop idol** "On her first proper full-length album, Tokyo netscape nightingale Sapphire Slows impressively expands on the spider web tone-bank nocturnes of 2011’s True Breath EP, with headier, haunted highs and eerier, elegant depths. Patiently pieced together across all of 2012 (plus change), and inspired by everything from St. Etienne’s plasticine Euro-house, obscured J-pop memories, Blue Bell Knoll and the saddest Section 25 remixes, Allegoria swirls and spirals through ten textural electronic melancholias composed in solitude. The reco… Read more
Molly Berg and Stephen Vitiello reacquaint for a 2nd album of lower case electro-acoustic improvisations. Erring to the less sanitised side of the small sound/rustling ambient sectors, 'Between You And The Shapes You Take' manages to be intimate and quiet without being dull, using carefully calculated and subtle edits to juice the best from their extended gatherings - Molly performing with clarinet, slide whistles and extended vocal techniques, and Stephen on guitar and electronics, plus some violin by Hahn Rowe (fka Hugo Largo).
**New York's 12k present an expanded reissue of Gareth Dickson's intimate debut album, 'Collected Recordings' in edition of 500** "In 2009 Drifting/Falling released Gareth Dickson’s debut album, Collected Recordings, a stunningly beautiful and haunting ambient folk album which caught the attention of 12k’s Taylor Deupree. Thus began a not-as-easy-as- expected search for Dickson to try to coax him into writing an album for 12k. After a couple of cross-Atlantic voyages and a brief run-in involving a failing rental car and a herd of sheep on a dusty Scotish road, Deupree and Dickson me… Read more
"Frank Schültge aka F.S. BLUMM has released his melodic experiments around the acoustic guitar for over 15 years. In their contemplative reduction they miraculously always hit right in the heart. "The man makes some damn charming music", Pitchfork said about his last album. With Up Up And Astray F.S. BLUMM proves that he doesn't opt for routine with his eighth full-length solo release: his unfailing arsenal of acoustic instruments and choice circuits frame the most energetic BLUMM sound we have lived to see so far. It all goes on, and always up, and from there into unknown dimensions. He goe… Read more
**Stunning suite of far-out, psychedelic collaborations between three virtuosic players. Really sounds like little else out there. Intrepid listeners need to check this** "Wake Up Awesome, by C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), Okkyung Lee, and Lasse Marhaug (Jazzkamer), is the second chapter of SSTUDIOS (Software Studios Series). SSTUDIOS is a new venture in the Software Recording Co.‘s expanding catalog that invites artists in the field of electronic music to create collaborative works of quality and vision. Inspired by the historical intersections of live perf… Read more
**Improvised jazz from two titans of their arena** "On a sultry July evening on an intimate stage at Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Norway, two elder statesmen of improvised music – one wearing a grey shirt, the other sporting a T-shirt with the legend ‘Thunder Pussy’ – stepped up to the platform. What followed resembled an in depth conversation between two old friends and sparring partners – one that ranged from the amicable to the argumentative, from hush to harmony. Now, Norway’s adventurous Rune Grammofon label is releasing a forty minute recording of that event. What/I… Read more
**18-track, gatefold 2CD digipak including collaborations and work with Cocteau Twins and Robin Guthrie, John Foxx, and Brian Eno. Features sleevenotes by Mark Prendergast, author of The Ambient Century** "Emerging from the 60s US avant garde and originally influenced by the likes of John Cage and Morton Feldman, Harold Budd rebelled against the heavily conceptual works of his peers to explore his own artistic path of ‘existential prettiness’. This two disc set is the first ever career-spanning collection of his music, featuring tracks from classic albums such as ‘Plateaux O… Read more
Thursday, 14 November
The KVB's debut album, finally available on physical format beyond the original 100 copy cassette edition in 2012. Coming off like moodier English cousins to Wooden Shjips and Cold Cave and landing somewhere between MBV and Factory Floor, 'Minus One', Kat Day and Nicholas Woods' first missive, was recorded, produced and mixed over the course of five days in 2011 and barrels out eight tracks of motorik, gothic bloodlust powered by vitamin C-deficient drum machines, droning synths and razor-cutting clouds of guitar distortion. It will sound perfect with your new leather jacket and studied sneer.
Sublime sophomore album from Dev Hynes as Blood Orange, simply one of 2013's finest R&B/pop LPs. Since his early days as Lightspeed Champion and part of Test Icicles (neither of which we cared much for), Dev Hynes has blossomed into a song-writer du jour for everyone from Solange Knowles (Beyoncé's baby sis) and Britney Spears to Sky Ferreira, Mutya Keisha Siobhan and er… Diana Vickers, blessing each and every one with his patented turn-of-phrase and priceless penchant for killer hooks. 'Cupid Deluxe' is evidently his most mature and definitive statement, somehow combining near-sacred traces … Read more
'Aljawal' is a haunting, modern take on Sudanese music produced by French beat maker Xavier Thomas, aka Débruit, and Sudanese-born US-emigre Alsarah. The two prove a formidable pairing, naturally matching Alsarah's poetic lyrics and traditional melodies with Débruit's signature blend of current American club styles and juicy analog funk. The blend of footwurkin' percolations, jabbing electro-funk, and crooked loops and woodwind recall the culture clashing timbres of great records ranging from Fatima Al Qadiri's 'Genre-Specific Experience' and 'Desert Strike' EPs to a fusion of Forest Swords and… Read more
**Insoluble blend of synthetic and organic textures and rhythms by exploratory producer and sound artist, Raudve, for Stefan Goldmann's Macro label. An unusual piece of work, may appeal to fans of Rashad Becker, Non Place, Jamal Moss, Frak** "When Messiaen set out to transcribe birds songs as models for his compositions, he couldn’t have predicted that by now wild birds would have started to learn mobile phone ringtone patterns. For A System of Objects, RAUDIVE aka OLIVER HO maps an obliquely constructed world in which you lose all certainty of what is nature and what is design. Raudive cel… Read more
"A new Collection of 14 Holiday Classics by one of Acoustic music’s true innovators and eccentrics. Features signature arrangements of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” “Joy To The World," & "Oh Holy Night." John Fahey was a legendary individual…and a crucial figure in expanding the boundaries of the acoustic guitar. Fahey was considered a cult artist by many, and one with a definite cult following, which holds true to today, yet this fact has also ensured his work continues to always sound ‘fresh,’ unique and artistically powerful."
Ben Westbeech, aka Breach, selects 16 house and electro trax for his DJ-Kicks instalment. Cherry-picked goodies run the gamut from Innercity's hypnagogic abstraction 'Prince of The Immortal Woods' to slinky house from Fred P and Breach's own exclusive inclusion, 'Beroving', to the glistening arpggios of Dopplereffekt's 'Z Boson' and Redinho's boogie funk futurism, 'Searching'.
**Includes digital download voucher redeemable from the label. Handmade, hand-numbered, and personally initialed** Slip Discs' sixth release introduces 20 year-old Manc MFAAH, with an intriguing suite of computer music - one of their best releases to date. 'Everything Better Under White Light' renders an abstract six track ecology of abrasive textures and isolated frequencies which the label deftly describe as "the computer's natural noises take on the quality of field recording rather than dense tapestries being constructed from found sound." The artist skilfully segues and t… Read more
**Reissue of a spiky NDW gem originally released on Sky Records in '82** "It stands to reason that any musical journey undertaken by a sceptic like Asmus Tietchens is destined to head into the night (In die Nacht) rather than into the day. In die Nacht, the third album in the so-called time signal (Zeitzeichen) phase continuing in the same vein as Biotop and Spät-Europa, whilst laying down its own stylistic markers, no doubt attributable to the sizeable challenges facing the composer. Time, or the lack thereof, was the most pressing concern. With only a few weeks available in which to prod… Read more
'Litia' is another remarkable treasure from Asmus Tietchens' innovative and prolific early period circa 1982 which also saw his music released on the UK's influential YHR Tapes. During this period the Hamburg-based legend isolated a particular, peculiar brand of abstract dance music driven by spiky, pointillist drum programming and rife with weirdo synth melodies as funky as they are outright odd - a unique highpoint of wave era meshing NDW, EBM and kosmic elektroniks. There are some total bullets inside, none more so than the dark, swaggering, psychedelic Hamburg funk of 'Zeebrügge' the storming… Read more
Diverse dancefloor and home listening remixes of Lau's indie-folk from Claro Intelecto, Sei A, Matthew Herbert and Silver Columns. We're most impressed by Sei A's dally with minimal D&B structures on a mix of 'Torsa', and equally Matthew Herbert's rattling, driving take on 'Throwing Pennies' is much more interesting than the original. Claro Intelecto works well outside of his usual styels with a lumbering sorta halfstep take on 'Saint Monday' using a healthy amount of the original's folksy vocal and strings alloyed to a massive bass slap and spacious percussion, also thankfully included as an instrumental - really good stuff.
Shoulda-been-huge Balearic pop music from '80s also-rans, DJ Ralf Behrendt, Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfeld aka Saâda Bonaire. The first issue on Captured Tracks' new 'Fantasy Memory' sublabel, curated by Andy Grier of Theives Like Us, rescues from obscurity a full album of dub-wise, sexy electronic pop produced by Dennis Bovell at Kraftwerk's studio in 1982. As fate would have it, the project fell foul of EMI's label politics, notably the group's excessive A&R man, who went 5 times over budget on Tina Turner's 'Private Dancer' and more than three times over on Saâda Bonaire, hence the … Read more
**Fascinating collection of early and influential Yiddish Theatre recordings, among the rarest Jewish recordings in existence, accompanied by detailed 40-page booklet of liner notes** "In 1900 Lemberg was one of the most important cities in the Austro Hungarian Empire with a population of 160,000, of whom a third were Jewish. The Lemberg theatre was the first permanent and most important Yiddish theatre in Europe. Sholem Aleichem visited in 1905 and based his novel “Wandering Stars” on his experiences there. In 1910 Franz Kafka was profoundly affect… Read more
**Nils Frahm presents the truest representation of his feted piano performances with this gorgeous treatment of over two years worth of live performance, recorded on all sorts of devices and then carefully assembled in his Durton Studio and referred to by Frahm as "a collage of field recordings rather than a live album." Presented in die-cut slipcase with liner notes** "Berlin-based contemporary composer Nils Frahm has built a steady reputation for his intimate, poignant piano recordings, yet they so far only showed a fragment of what to expect from a Nils Frahm concert. Frahm’s heart lies in improvi… Read more
'Spät-Europa' (1982) is a crucial part of Asmus Tietchens' early '80s catalogue, now mercifully reissued by Bureau B. His work can be roughly described as avant-garde synth-pop, or "pseudo pop" in much the same manner you could call Conrad Schnitzler's music of the same era "pop". 'Spät-Europa' was originally released by the legendary Sky Records and conveys a melancholic, alien mood across twenty succinct vignettes oscillating with wild vision between hi-velocity rhythms, charmingly daft, tongue-in-cheek NDW melodies and darkside coldwave aces all falling under the 3 minute barrier - hence the "pop" tag we guess. RIYL Conrad Schnitzler, Felix Kubin, MFH.
'Supercodex' completes the trilogy of Ryoji Ikeda's advanced frequency studies ('Dataplex' 2005, 'Test Pattern' 2008) exploring the potentials between "data of sound" and "sound of data" for Raster Noton. The raw material comes from re/de/meta-constructed music from his first two albums plus subsequent art installations and projects and his ongoing, parallel project 'Superimposition' focused on quantum information. It features all the convoluted frequency f**kery a minimalist glitch fiend could wish for; 20 tracks of hyper-precise, abstracted auditory representations of complex visual patterns. … Read more
Having just recently been unmasked as the producer behind Blackest Ever Black's excellent Alexander Lewis album, Shifted follows up last years 'Crossed Paths' LP for Mote-Evolver, as well as releases under the Covered in Sand and Pacific Blue aliases with this strong debut album for Hospital Productions offshoot Bed of Nails. 'Under A Single Banner' consolidates the ductile reference points of his nebulous aliases, from cranky, club-crunching gear to noisier experiments, making for the bleakest definition of his sound to date. It's an uncannily tight fit with the Bed of Nails' aesthetic a… Read more
**Includes digital download voucher redeemable from the label. Handmade, hand-numbered, and personally initialed with booklet of texts and artwork** Slip Discs' RNCM graduates present two works on one disc. The first, 'Virtual Airport' (2010) features the words of Matthew Welton set to the operatic vocals of Seaming To & Sofia Jernberg, with music by Larry Goves (electronics), Oliver Coates (cello), and Sarah Nicolls (piano). The second, 'SHUCK! & Black Valley', a "play for quiet voices" features words by Sam Quill set to stark, nocturnal electronics by Laurence Tompkins and sounds something like something like an experimental piece for Radio 4.
*Revised artwork edition of Arthur Russell’s classic, ‘World Of Echo’ in an edition of 500 copies. The packaging is loosely based on the original LP cover art from 1986, now housed in a tri-fold digipack with a rare image of Arthur, plus liner notes. Audio Remastered from Arthur’s pristine original 1/4″ sequenced masters*
Perhaps unavoidably, this new double-disc album from The Durutti Column isn't an entirely consistent affair, yet it almost certainly harbours some of the group's finest material in years. In fact, Vini Reilly's guitar has seldom sounded better, whether he's artfully traipsing though classical figures on 'Catos Revisited' or shredding through 'Requiem', he sounds like a man possessed. As far as negatives go, there's an ill-advised take on Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' encoded in 'Brother', but given how many positives there are to take from this album, the shortcomings seem emin… Read more
Thursday, 07 November
Awesome Tapes From Africa gone done it again, pulling up Penny Penny's outstanding debut tape of slow house swagger from SA circa 1994. As with all the label's cherry-picked goodies, there's a brilliant story behind this one: the son of a famous traditional healer, singer and dancer (now Politician) Penny Penny hails from Limpopo province in Northeast South Africa - same as Shangaan Electro, home of the Tsonga disco sound - and had a rough start working on farms for r2.50 per month (25c US) at the age of ten. Jobs as gold miner, labourer and restaurant owner followed before he found employment … Read more
Guido's sophomore follow-up to his acclaimed Punch Drunk LP is an assuredly mature and measured affair refining his feel for fluoro funk. Eleven tracks juice the tastiest traces of sino-grime, purple funk, jazz-trance (yesss), R&B and off-world folk with an inquisitive, considered approach that's deeply involving for the listener. Highlights have to be the cheeky juxtaposition of oriental hooks, scat and spurting grime on 'Heartful Dodger', the spaced-out keys and twinkle-toed bounce of 'Jupiter' or the militant pomp of 'NRG' for starters…
**New 2013 edition** And so the last of the Loop reissues arrives: A Gilded Eternity was the final album by Loop, released in 1990 not long after the band hit the indie top ten with their single 'Arc-Lite (included on the second disc here). As with the other reissues in the band's discography, A Gilded Eternity is remastered from the original analogue sources and has been compiled with an abundance of extra material that's chronologically in tune with the original album recordings. The first disc reproduces the album tracklist from its 1990 issue while the second disc (not availab… Read more
**Glossy tip on-style gatefold slipcase** Visceral electro-acoustic drone music from Chicago's highly intriguing Coppice duo for New York's Quakebasket label. First impressions are important; the slow, gripping drone of 'Snuck Keel' is a vice-like handshake delivered with the intensity of Colin Stetson and Stephen O'Malley in a stare-out. 'Impulses for Elaborated Turbulence (Excised)' inverts and diffuses that energy with a haptic concrète sensibility calling to mind work by their label mates from Senufo Editions, which continues into the detached abstractions of 'Sop' - 16 minutes of bluster… Read more