Thursday, 24 April
Fourteen years after his abstract pop landmark, 'Endless Summer', Christian Fennesz presents its conceptual companion, 'Bécs' on Editions Mego. He's released a good few albums and collaborative projects in the interim, perhaps most notably the expansive, drone-based 'Black Sea' (2008), and the Fenn O'Berg albums with Jim O'Rourke and Peter Rehberg, but none quite as accessible and ambitious as this one. Taking its title from the Hungarian word for his home city, Vienna, 'Bécs' (pronounced 'baeetch') also features additional modular synth from Cédric Stevens (Acid Kirk) and Polweschel's rhythm section, Wer… Read more
The inimitable Estonian ex-pat takes inspiration from current hood, Brooklyn, in the darker, beguiling pop contours of her 3rd album proper. The challenging yet gratifying arrangements of 'Histrionic' are testament to both her consistency as a boundary-pushing artist, and an enduring belief in the role of pop music as a model for incisive cultural commentary and observation. Her sound here is more layered, spacious than previously heard, yet denser than ever, crammed with uncanny lyrical observations and interweaving, chimeric traces of psychedelic Trap and UK Bass music oiled with the sensua… Read more
Konstantinos Soublis aka Fluxion follows Type's reissue of his classic 'Vibrant Forms' with this set of buoyant dub house riddims recorded in New York for Echocord and starring reggae vocalist, Teddy Selassie. Taking clear inspiration from the seminal precedents of Main Street and Rhythm & Sound, Fluxion gives the Tikiman-alike Teddy Selassie a plush suite of stepping, skanking riddims rent with widescreen dub techno atmospheres, oscillating back and forth between lean, fluidly 4/4 instrumental steppers and dread-heavy future roots styles topped by the achingly mellifluous vocals.… Read more
Hour long live performance by Detroit's dub techno maverick Steven Hitchell aka CV313. It was recorded live at Primary club night, Chicago on 24th August, breaking down to ten tracks, each built from numerous loops and elements of previous releases gelled with live instrumentation and processing inna DE:9 style. Recorded direct from the house mixer so there's some compression/limiting which couldn't be reversed.
**The Norwegian disco chug-master in full, creamy effect** "In Prins Thomas’ own words: “Hi there, this is my new album. Keeping with the tradition I decided to call it ‘III’. There's no great concept, no specific theme, no scheme, no plan... no space disco but still plenty of ‘space’. It is just documentation of the music I made during the recording period. A musical diary so to speak. Diary entry number three. Musically I feel it belongs somewhere between my last two albums - 2009’s ‘Prins Thomas’ and 2012’s ‘II’. They where both a result of the recording techniques and musical ideas … Read more
After 2012's corrosive Unknown Vectors EP on Visionist's Lost Codes label and a subsequent agonising silence, SD Laika's debut album for Tri Angle 'That's Harakiri' makes absolutely sure that no one in this new grime renaissance has a stranger, scarier, more enterprising voice than he does. Peter Runge is based in Milwaukee, but sounds like a jeep-sized inter-dimensional arachnid being based in a mess of webs underneath Wiley's house. This especially deranged collection of tracks branches outwards in two directions, exploring more experimentally noisy forms and textures as well as a wider area… Read more
Thursday, 17 April
*Incredible album of oblique Batucada/Techno Hybrids - new on Hospital Productions* Nicolò Fortuni and Nico Vascellari's flamboyant Ninos Du Brasil battery make their Hospital Productions debut with an infectious blend of bespoke Batucada rhythms, techno and punk in 'Novos Mistérios'. It's a perfectly inappropriate release for Dominick Fernow aka Prurient's label, bound to baffle the purists and incite the dance in equal measures. Pairing carnivalesque percussive rituals with the slinky contours of stripped techno and a deeply engrained punk sensibility, Nico and Nicolò cast a unique al… Read more
Steve Hitchell and Rod Modell present the first part of three double CD disc sets distilling their nebulous and cultishly adored catalogue in the wake of 2012's 4LP best-of, 'Altering Illusions'. In classic Echospace tradition,they pair original, hard-to-find material with exclusive versions. This first volume of three is dedicated entirely to Steve Hitchell's cv313 alias, offering thirteen misty variants on a closely defined dub house theme of fluid chord flux, heaving dub bass and expansive dub noise. Equally recommended to the hardcore followers and noobs looking to dip a toe in their tranquil waters.
**Includes bonus CD with remixes from Machinedrum, Will Saul, Breach, Ben Pearce, Mount Kimbie & Actress** Kelis returns with a Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio) produced glossy sixth album dripping with funk, soul, gospel and Afrobeat influences - he first album for Ninja Tune. 'Food' is the equivalent of comfort eating, heavily informed by a nostalgic impression of the music Kelis grew up with - her father was a Jazz musician - and therefore flush with "proper" instruments accompanied by some electronic embellishments just to let you know it was actually released in 2014. It revolves around an eponymous theme … Read more
**Crazy, hard-rocking proto-punk aces from Detroit circa 1975-1980** "Five years after the second life of Death was started with the release of their revelatory 1976 album, ‘For The Whole World To See’, Death’s ‘III’ slams the door on the vault with a powerful set of songs that bring equal amounts of rock and ethereal soul-searching, in high-fidelity, rich bottomed, studio-grade sound. • ‘III’ starts with David inside a deep 1975 guitar improvisation, rising up through atmospheres and prehistoric guitar murk to coalesce in jagged monster-riff-dom. The whole exercise recalls Funkadelic’s great Eddie Hazel whi… Read more
*Now available again after far too long on CD through Drag City* "Over the years Smog records ranged around from several completely selfplayed and recorded efforts, dictated by voices from within, to more collaborative projects involving the people outside Bill Callahan’s head. However, never before was there a Smog album made like this. Produced and co-arranged by Jim O’Rourke, ‘Red Apple Falls’ combs back the passions of ‘Wild Love’ and ‘The Doctor Came At Dawn’ to make an even part, revealing a purer pop sound; all of it pressed into pure 24k gold. Why is it that Smog looks to find beauty in su… Read more
On this second album, husband-and-wife duo Mike Paradinas (μ-Ziq) and Lara Rix-Martin have honed their craft further and teamed up with French singer Vezelay for some supremely chill rides. The delicate synths and vocal harmonies, both positioned just so, can trace their origins to Paradinas's earlier milieu of 90s electronica, and even further back to 70s and 80s cosmicism, but they also resonate appealingly with contemporary moods in downtempo, such as those of Tory Y Moi or How To Dress Well. A work of calm and carefully engineered beauty.
Thursday, 10 April
Loops Haunt returns with an excellent album of heady, layered, woozy percussive jamz for Black Acre on his new album 'Exits'. "Toying with Jungle and Hip Hop on Zenith and outright sound design on Ark, the wilderness-bound beat alchemist uses his isolation to explore and create his otherworldly sound palate. Lurking behind immaculate drums are the windswept sounds of the desolate North and mechanized textures plucked from his Father’s workshop. Exits is designed to be listened to as one continuous track, opening with ambient mood and emotion, layering outboard synths and found-sounds on the title tra… Read more
Superlative recording of Gavin Bryars performing his elegy for the Titanic accompanied by an ensemble including his four children on low strings and Philip Jeck playing improvised turntable, among others. Nearly 40 years old now, Bryar's signature and best known composition continues to undergo change and refinement in its partly pataphysical reflection of the tragedy, speculating further on the notion of Bandmaster Hartley's group performing 'Autumn' on the vertical deck of a slowly nose-diving ocean liner, and also below sea level, accompanied by the… Read more
The first album ever outside of Spain to focus on the history of Gipsy Rhumba, one of the most interesting musical culture clashes, first taking place in the early 1960s. In the Catalan region of Spain gipsies, primarily known as the creators of Flamenco, came up with a fascinating hybrid style - Gipsy Rhumba - which blended together Latin and Rhumba music of Cuba and the Caribbean together with their own flamenco, as well as the emerging rock ‘n’roll from America. As well as a musical overview of this unique art form, the r… Read more
**Mounted in foil-blocked bespoke card wallet designed by Zavoloka** Kotra's 8th solo album is an uncompromising dispatch from the outer limits of glitching, experimental electronica. On ten original pieces the Ukranian sound-artist and promoter projects an abrasive soundfield using - as far as we can tell - deconstructed samples masticated into irritant tones, isolated frequencies and salty squeaks. Following this theme, five remixers present intriguing revisions ranging from a cracking, abstract Pomassl version to Sturqen's stodgy techno thumper and Zavoloka's spatialized sound re-design. RIYL Raster-Noton's Ryoji Ikeda, Frank Bretschneider et al.
Thursday, 03 April
"Second full-length album from Mtendere Mandowa, better known as Los Angeles-based producer Teebs. ‘E s t a r a’ finds Teebs returning to Flying Lotus’ genrebending Brainfeeder imprint, following 2011’s ‘Collections 01’ and 2010’s full-length ‘Ardour’, an effort that came together in the midst of personal turmoil and the death of his father. In contrast, ‘E s t a r a’ encapsulates a time when the producer (and painter) has been making art entirely on his own terms. That freedom has not only strengthened his creative voice, but led to some of the finest work of his career and a remarkable album in it… Read more
Probably our favourite release on RVNG Intl comes from metal duo Lee Buford and Chip King aka The Body produced by Bobby Krlic aka The Haxan Cloak for their crushing 4th album, 'I Shall Die Here'. Abetted by Krlic's visceral production, The Body sound more fearsome and physical than ever before, shaping a series of tracks which only seem to get more intense and nightmarish as the trip takes hold. From the funereal trudge of opener 'To Carry the Seeds of Death Within Me' we pass through successive stages revealed like some hemlock-induced hallucination, from the eschatological resignation of '… Read more
"Luke Vibert has always operated on the fringes of each musical genre, but in doing so has become a well respected, and highly influential producer. From his early work as Wagon Christ (Rising High/Ninja Tine), Kerrier District and Amen Andrews (Rephlex), Plug (Ninja), Butler Kiev (Planet Mu) and recordings under his own name (including seminal albums for Mo Wax, Planet Mu and Warp Records), this is one artist who has come fully formed and in complete control of the direction his music takes. This new album is a very personal project from Vibert based largely around the Roland TB-303, and a lot of … Read more
"After a seven-year hiatus, Boneset is the seventh album from the excellent Diane Cluck. Cluck's uniquely clipped, glottal vocals and harp-like acoustic guitar embed in rich textures from cellist Isabel Castellvi and drummer Anders Griffen. Recorded to analog tape at Brooklyn's Trout Recording, Boneset is comprised of songs written years ago, not so long ago, just recently, laid out in near-chronological order. Dark to light to dark, the album overends as a kind of mobius strip, songs seeded with birds, death, wealth, poverty, boldness and heart. "Diane Cluck has been under-appreciated for so long,… Read more
**Historically important pieces documenting John Cage's early electronic and tape practice** "Although John Cage occasionally worked in large, sophisticated studios - for example, when he composed Fontana Mix in 1958 - his approach to electronic and tape music was often uncomplicated, makeshift, and pragmatic, employing simple tabletop devices: tape machines, phonograph cartridges, contact microphones, record players, portable radios, etc. He developed a soundworld that was utterly new, radical and demanding. It heralded the age of the loudspeaker, mas… Read more
*CD version comes in a 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package with spot UV printing* ‘Dances In Dreams Of The Known Unkown’ is the new album from Swedish group The Skull Defekts, with the legendary Daniel Higgs (Lungfish) joining Joachim Nordwall and Daniel Fagerstroem on vocal duties and acting as the group’s spiritual ringleader. The Defekts have long acted as the backbone of the Swedish experimental underground, but since their 2011 breakthrough ‘Peer Amid’, the group has emerged at the vanguard of a new wave of radical Scandinavian rock music alongside Ic… Read more
"‘Enter The Slasher House’ is the debut album from Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, comprised of Avey Tare (of Animal Collective), Angel Deradoorian (of Dirty Projectors, Deradoorian), and drummer Jeremy Hyman (of Ponytail, Dan Deacon), Avery Tare’s Slasher Flicks unites Avey Tare’s songwriting abilities with Deradoorian’s melody lines and Hyman’s flexible rhythms. The band could be described as a monstrous and nightmarish jazz power trio inspired by campy horror movie themes…"
"The third album from Canadian composer Christopher Bissonnette sees him expanding his palette by narrowing his sound sources to a self built analog synthesizer. Eschewing the whiplash and/or everything including the kitchen sink style of assembly so common among current analog aﬁcionados, Bissonnette instead applies his signature compositional style of using long held tones and sweeping drones that alternate between, and fuse, pure tonal transcendence and patient, sparkling melodies that slowly reveal themselves. "Essays in Idleness was born from a desire for a more tactile … Read more
Jan Jelinek's Faitiche label presents a new album and, at the same time, a well-known name: Farben presents James DIN A4. In the summer of 2013 Farben (Jan Jelinek) remixed his way through the extensive oeuvre of the sample and collage artist James DIN A4 (Dennis Busch) – and gathered ten of his favorite titles here.
"‘Intoxicated Man’ (1995) and ‘Pink Elephants’ (1997) are Mick Harvey’s interpretations of the songs of legendary singer, songwriter and poet Serge Gainsbourg and are the first major works translating Gainsbourg’s influential work from French to English. The collection includes two unreleased tracks, ‘Dr. Jeckyll’ and ‘Run From Happiness’. Originally Harvey embarked on the project as a result of his own curiosity about the songs and particularly the lyrics. At the time of the original recordings Gainsbourg was little known outside classic works such as ‘Je T’ai… Read more
RIYL: Explosions In The Sky, Eluvium, Sigur Rós, Stars Of The Lid, Brian Eno. "Inventions is the new band formed by longtime friends, tourmates, and labelmates Matthew Cooper of Eluvium, and Mark T. Smith of Explosions In The Sky. There are plenty of talking points here: The fact that Cooper hasn’t been in a “band” of any sort since he was a teenager; no member of Explosions In The Sky has released an album outside of the context of EITS since their inception in the late 90s; and, of course, this is a dream duo for anyone familiar with the unparalleled emotional resonance of Cooper and Smith’s re… Read more
"Ellis Island Sound are Pete Astor (The Loft, Weather Prophets, Wisdom Of Harry) and David Sheppard (State River Widening, Snow Palms). ‘Regions’ is the duo’s third album since their inception and has already been described as “Afro-Krautrock” and “Teutonic High Life”. It is possible to detect the influence of Jean Bosco Mwende or King Sunny Ade’s guitars, along with polyrhythmic ensemble force of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 and T-Funk-period Talking Heads. Sometime Radiohead collaborator John Matthias adds vocals to five tracks, coming on like an opiated James Brown channelling Damo Suzuki."
A welcome and typically beguiling return from Finland's Merja Kokkonen aka Islaja, who's now dropped the freakier folk elements in favour of trippier, modern art-pop and minimal wave. Four years since we last heard from her on Fonal with 'Keraaminen Pää', and in the Hertta Lussu Ässä trio for De Stijl, it would appear she's had a radical revision of her sound now stalking ground somewhere between Björk and Maria Minerva, yet without any concession to her strikingly unique, oneiric sound. You could possibly attribute her palette shift to the input of Heidi Mortenson, who co-produced and mixed the album, bu… Read more
Quite easily the most interesting artists on InFiné's books, Downliners Sekt deliver their debut album proper following a string of excellent EP's for Disboot and a run of MP3 albums released some years back on their own dsekt[dot]com label. The label notes reference everything from Autechre to Rhythm & Sound and My Bloody Valentine, and there is indeed a dubbed-out, rhythmically complex aesthetic that runs throughout the album, but DS work best when they step outside of those parameters and forge stylistic hybrids which are much harder to place - such as on the excellent 'Balt Shakt II',… Read more