Thursday, 28 May
**Letter-pressed card jacket** "On Moon Light Reflecting Over Mountains, Tokyo’s Chihei Hatakeyama evokes an instrumental poetic grace, that marks him out as one of the icons of his generation. Drawing broadly from aesthetic references, that traverse music of the past 30 years, he seamlessly melts glacial ambient drifts with richly harmonic guitar strata that echo the gliding motions of My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Cocteau Twins. Never resolving to clear melody, his interest in unrestrained harmonics creates a depth to his compositions and moreover a profound se… Read more
The esteemed Norwegian troupe forge a tougher, dizzying sound galvanised by electronic experimentation in their 6th studio album. Since their last LP, 'Live With Britten Sinfonia' (2013), the band's principle song-writer Lars Hortveth took off to L.A. where, inspired by the scale of space and its flashing neon lights, he started composing the material which would become 'Starfire'. Recorded back in Oslo at his band's own studio, the album neatly transposes the rolling, glittering landscapes of California to Jaga Jazzist's rockier topographies and smart jazz chops, manifesting a wide-scoped… Read more
"Automat is: Jochen Arbeit (Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Haut), Achim Färber (Project Pitchfork, Prag, Philipp Boa), Georg Zeitblom (Sovetskoe Foto). The Berlin-based trio has recorded an exceptional album. Denser and yet even more unflinching than the debut they released one year ago, PLUSMINUS recalls the mysterious monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s '2001'. There’s nothing here that one could hold onto, and yet so much of it that the listener is transported into a kind of trance. While its predecessor was still characterized by prominent guest vocalists like Lydia Lunch, Blixa Bargeld and Genesis P-Orr… Read more
"Staubgold presents the first ever reissue of "While the recording engineer sleeps", the first album by The Cocoon, recorded in 1985. The Cocoon was a kind of psychedelic supergroup featuring legendary figures of the German music scene of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s: Gunter Hampel (vibraphone, piano, flute, bassclarinet, lead vocals), Jürgen Gleue (bass, guitar), Matthias Arfmann (guitar, bass organ, electric piano, lead vocals), Rüdiger Klose (drums, vocals) and guest musician Thomas Keyserling (flute, alto saxophone). The legendary jazz composer, bandleader, vibraph… Read more
"Sometimes miracles happen. In the case of 'Contraband' (1980) it took 35 years! One of the most-wanted scores of Lucio Fulci’s filmography, it’s not a horror but a crime/action movie, produced during one of the most prolific and creative phases of the director’s career. It’s a story of two gangs, one devoted to cigarette smuggling (the “good” guys) and the other to drug dealing. With Fabio Testi in the starring role, Fulci created one of his most violent movies, adding Maesto Frizzi to the pentagram and inspiring him to create one of the most iconic scores of his career. On the trail of t… Read more
"André Bratten grew up in Oslo on the border between a bustling city and a dense forest. That juxtaposition has informed his sound: Bratten skillfully imbues cosmic disco with intense cerebral techno. Bratten's cinematic tendency stems from his experience as a theater score composer, while his dancier side is influenced by the Norwegian disco scene that raised him. He released his debut album Be A Man You Ant (2013) on Prins Thomas' Full Pupp label, and shares a studio with Thomas, Todd Terje, and Lindstrøm. However, rather than simply emulate these figureheads, Bratten blazed his own tra… Read more
Thursday, 21 May
Arch techno-conceptualist Thomas Brinkmann presents his most intriguing solo outing yet with the abstract sound structures of 'What You Hear (Is What You Hear)' for Editions Mego. In an attempt to detach himself and his art from any concrete descriptors and also camouflage the intent behind these tracks, Brinkmann offers a greyscale of electronic fundamentals largely devoid of his patented minimalist rhythm trickery or discernible melody, allowing the music to do the talking and make us poor sods work harder to describe what he's doing. Thing is, he just kinda gave it a… Read more
We find Wolfgang Voigt in his natural habitat amidst the sweeping, Gas-like ambient scenery of 'Rückverzauberung 10'. Written to commemorate the opening of German national park, Hunsrück-Hochwald, where the piece is played through loudspeakers to enchant the woodland and vice-versa, it gracefully unfurls just over an hour of deep forested strings and quietly intoxicating atonality in a reflection of the the wild, rolling landscape and its natural topography. From the elegiac appeal to the woodland cover art, it's arguably the closest you'll come to Voigt's template-set… Read more
Thore Pfeiffer makes his maiden voyage on Kompakt's Pop Ambient artist album series. Hand-picked for the job by Wolfgang Voigt (a.k.a. Gas etc.), Pfeiffer's 'Im Blickfeld' follows Leandro Fresca's inaugural edition with a feather-light moire of panning pads and quiet ambient thought bubbles owing much to the original Pop Ambient aesthetic whilst also gently refreshing its now well-established memes. Rather than any grand, layered statements, Pfeiffer exhales wispy chords and airborne chimes in a smoky mesh of tones and phrases, forging intangible structures somewhere between the elusive po… Read more
Honey Owens makes a rare and welcome outing as Valet with 'Nature' for Kranky. Her first album in seven years finds the American indie-child making broad gestures to '90s dream-pop and shoegaze with eight songs aided and abetted by regular spars Rafael Fauria (guitar) and Mark Burden (drums/bass/keys). It's an enveloping sound, layering up swirling guitars and stoned drums around her glossolalic vocals at the centre of its slow-shifting harmonic pressure systems.
*White Vinyl Edition* 2nd LP of ear-worming electronic-pop from Becoming Real - a strong tip for those missing Holy Other or Tri Angle's bewitched pop aesthetics. Between 2010 and 2012 Becoming Real was behind a string of smart releases for the likes of Ramp, Moshi Moshi and GETME!, and then… nothing until 2015. With 'Pure Apparition' he reminds us what we have (or might have) been missing with 12 tracks of eldritch-tinted pop deviation soused in dreamy melodies and stranger electronic tones given impetus by strong yet deft dancefloor impulses. Dunno if it's just us but it seems like thi… Read more
Invada present a collection of unreleased instrumentals and analogue experiments by The KVB. Originally issued thru the band's own Flesh Tapes in a super limited edition of 100 cassettes, 'Mirror Bein' serves to reveal another side of the duo, mixing the apocalyptic synth appeal of T2 and John Carpenter with a throbbing cyberpunk techno attitude in eight iterations. Guitars and vocals are largely subservient to drum machines and synths, resulting a sound more akin to Beppu's recent blow outs on Other Ideas than their cadaverous death rock 'n roll sound. From cinematic intro, 'Atlas' the storm bui… Read more
Swanky, diverse new Dial compilation featuring exclusive material from all your deep, techy and ambient house faves. This has to be the most far-flung suite we've heard fromt he Hamburg-based label, unravelling a fine spectrum of coherant styles between Christian Naujocks' poignant opener, 'For A While' and Dawn Mok's R&B abstraction, 'Like Thoughts Or Moments We'll Fall' via the simmering, airborne deep house of Lawrence's 'Chex Dupont', drifting shoegaze-pop from Pawel, Physical Therapy's skewed junglism, and the posh trancey luft of DJ Richard's 'Zero'.
*Ships Friday* A brilliant expansion of the invaluable, cherry-picked expo of NYC's experimental Latin streak covering ground prior to the disco explosion. You should expect some incredible, definitive rhythm trips, with outstanding highlights in the likes of Ocho's far-out 'Tornado', replete with blustering intro; the hip-gripping battery of drums cycling thru tempo changes in Stone Alliance's 'Amigos'; the visionary fourteen minutes of modular synth and expansive electro-acoustic jazz scapes in Eddie Palmi… Read more
Expertly selected compilation of blindspot gems from the 'Worldwide New-Wave, Post-Punk and Industrial Underground 1978-1984' picked up and spat out by London's venerated Cherrystones. A killer compilation for both the insatiable digger and curious psych-o-naut alike, it starts at the fringe and moves every farther outwards via the sort of selections that only come from decades of paper cut cuticles and breathing in decayed cardboard in mildewed basements and record shops. From an unfamiliar treat i… Read more
"While legions of artists show fidelity to psychedelia's roots, Unknown Mortal Orchestra has always shared the rare quality that makes the genre's legends vital, a constant need for exploration. Last year, frontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson descended into his home studio in a Portland basement to chart out where's he traveled since his last set of unhinged psych-soul ballads. He discovered that the best way for him to move forward would be to look back. Where Nielson addressed the pain of being alone on II, Multi-Love takes on the complications of being together."
Jay Ahern (Cheap And Deep) and Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot) a.k.a Hauntologists deliver their debut full-length as The Hauntologists after five EP'. They form a microcosmos of massive, pulsing bass objects orbited by planetary percussions and filigree dust clouds, or, in other words, haughty minimal techno for the best Berlin darkrooms.
"Oiseaux-Tempête return with "Ütopiya?" - and travels move to Istanbul and Sicily. While the structures still hint at moments of post-rock, they go further now, almost into the area of free-jazz yet without loosing a directness rooted in punk (highlighted perhaps by the presence of G.W.Sok from The Ex). In addition, the bass clarinet of Gareth Davis references both the roughest of experiments of Akosh Szelevényi and of The Stooges Fun House. File under Experimental, Stoner, Post-Rock, Ambient, Free Music."
Thursday, 14 May
**5-track CD** Beppu (Andrew Hargreaves) presents a companion piece to his current album trilogy, 'Coercion Persuasion Subversion', containing unreleased material recorded during the same sessions. They're as fierce, if not more so, than anything off the vinyl, drifting head-down from craggy ambient to ferocious Merzbow-ian sturm und drang and stressed, jagged EBM thunder delivered like he means it.
Nick Edwards a.k.a. Ekoplekz explicitly pays homage to his formative influences with 'Reflekzionz' - kosmisch electronics and '90s electronica - on his 3rd LP for Planet Mu. Radiophonics references are swapped for a reverie of early AFX, Autechre and Wolfgang Voigt, among others, filtered thru his grubby dub lense to slot grittily with his previous. And, rather than bleached out tones, 'Reflekzionz' is fringed with a faded colour scheme psychedelically reflected in Zeke Clough's dreamlike sleeve artwork, creating a sort of false-memory implant aesthetic that frames his sound like a polaroid recollection of the originals.
From unknown to XL entity in the space of two records, Shamir's success story is being quickly written to catch up with his debut LP, 'Ratchet'. Hailing from Las Vegas and in possession of the sweetest, playful soul voice, Shamir Bailey debuted in 2014 with a unique treat in 'Northtown' produced by Nick Sylvester for the Godmode label. Working again with Sylvester for 'Ratchet', Shamir posits himself as a nu-skool disco-not-disco prince, backed with a selection of largely uptempo and light-footed grooves perfectly suited to his effortless, flighty tone. It's a summer record through-and-through, from th… Read more
The sampledelic don, Luke Vibert revives his disco alias, Kerrier District for Hypercolour a decade on from his much-loved album for Rephlex. Still sounding like a library record from 1979, his '4' album collects 14 cuts of kinky disco breaks and wobbly Moog lines crammed with cheeky samples under naughty names like 'Treacle Tits' and 'Brush The Bush' or any combination of the word "Disco" plus suffix/prefix. Consider your party started.
"The Eccentronic Research Council’s fabulous fourth album, ‘Johnny Rocket, Narcissist & Music Machine… I’m Your Biggest Fan’ is written from the persuasive point of view of an obsessional fan of a (fictional?) local band - The Moonlandingz, who gig around the (fictional?) South Yorkshire district of Valhalla Dale. The album also sees The Eccentronic Research Council team up with Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski of South London’s The Fat White Family, who ably play the role of The Moonlandingz."
**Featuring members of Emeralds and Cloud Nothings** "The bouncy, surf-esque qualities pitch Total Babes a million miles from their Cloud Nothings connections (the bands share the octopus-onamphetamine drumming of Jayson Gerycz), with ‘Heydays’ instantly presenting itself as a beachcombing ode to sweaty summers. Lead by the undulating basslines of Nathan Ward (Smooth Brain / Cruelster) and fleshed out by warped synth work John Elliot (Emeralds / Outer Space), the choruses are a masterclass in the ability to shift perceptions - “I only want to be beautiful,” frontman Christopher Brown cries but it’s in their rough edges that Total Babes really shine."
William Fitzsimmons is equal parts songwriter and psychotherapist, creating captivating music that uniquely melds depravity, honesty and autobiography into a counter-intuitive seamless whole. Since 2005, Fitzsimmons has created six full length albums, each thoroughly themed and embossed with matters of family history, intimate disclosure and bold confession, yielding rich folk music, ranging from the stark and acoustic to the voluminous and electronic. All the while reflecting William’s commitment to addressing what is always pressing, and yet all too often ignored. His new mini-album, … Read more
"Within their 1973 European tour, Sun Ra and his Arkestra had just completed a residency at the legendary Gibus in Paris in October before travelling to Amiens for a Sunday afternoon concert. Those filing into the city’s Maison de la Culture that day would have little idea of the intense, visceral experience that awaited them. “Sun Ra’s use of the Arkestra as his instrument in an onslaught of sound, colour and movement stimulated and even shocked the senses and the shakras of audience participants onto a higher plane of spirit consciousness,“ explains the Arkestra’s Knoel Scott..."
*Includes digital download voucher redeemable from the label* Tom Trago serves a handy summary of his Voyage Direct series for Rush Hour. Orbiting disco, soul and jazz inna house fashion, his ecletic bunch of contributors are at best with William Kouam Djoko's jazzy ambient footworker, 'Deflourished' ; that classic Chi update from House of Jezebel (Legowelt), 'Love & Happiness'; Carl Craig's taps-aff Detroit disco boost of Trago's own 'use Me Again'; Interstellar Funk's odd disco droner, 'House Train'.
**Edition of 100 housed in fold-over artwork by Michael Holland** Fragile yet playful new composition from Joe Snape, who was last spotted on Slip, and is here teamed up with Manchester's Another Contemporary Music Ensemble for ONO ahead of their upcoming UK/Euro tour.