Thursday, 18 April
The most keenly awaited entry in Fabric's mix series for a while is finally here. It's over a year since Karl 'Regis' O'Connor, Dave 'Function' Sumner, John 'Silent Servant' Mendez and Peter 'Female' Sutton called time on their Sandwell District collective and label, but Function and Regis continue to use the name for their DJ/live incarnation - and it's the sound of that battle-hardened tag-team which is captured on Fabric69, a 30-track rinse-out of high-torque techno broadcast from their bunker in Berlin. The first half of the disc feels like it belongs to Regis: his def… Read more
**Includes a bonus disc selection of ClekClekBoom singles from the archive** French Fries' Clek Clek Boom label shows how they do in Paris with tracks of his own bundled with bass-wise Chi-house hybrid exclusives from Jean Nippon, The Town, Manare, Ministre X, and Coni. CD1: The bossman tosses his stepping, holo'd-out 'Southside' and c*nty consideration, ''Yo Vogue VIP' to the 'floor beside The Town's deft, dust-scuffed 808 dip and roll on 'Dice'; Jean Nipon goes grimy with the brass stabs and slicing syncopation of 'Coming At You', Coni locks down to a… Read more
*Includes Two Bonus Tracks* One of our favourite albums from the Kompakt archive is now finally given the reissue treatment via Koze's own Pampa imprint. Here's what we said when it first came out: "Koze has done something rare with this album - carefully assembling a tracklisting that's perfectly tweaked for primetime warehouse abuse alongside music that's hand carved into the most delicate homespun niche you could possibly imagine. The immediate destroyer here is the almost unacceptably good "Don't Feed The Cat" - a classic jack-track full of the most spannered synth mutilations you… Read more
Strong darkwave debut from Vulgar Fashion. Aimed squarely at the more decadent wave 'floors, their eponymous entry deals in dramatic synths, kohl-eyed vocals and bodily drum machines arcing between the EBM thrust of 'Nite Yacht' to the piss-party-on-the-moon lyrics and prickly sensuality of 'Golden Showers' to a hell-for-leather NRG boost 'Pact With The Devil' and the poignant synth-pop of 'Krystal Tearz'.
'Vier Stücke' or 'Four Pieces' by the renowned sound art pioneer, composed between 1988 and 1999, collected and released in 2000. 'Vocrolls II' (1988) is the longer version of a recording of toy marble coming to rest in a Tibetan metal bowl, and later processed through an early phase vocoder algorithm in "physics-defying fashion" on a computer at Berlin's Technical University. It marks Kubisch's first work with computer processing and is eerily redolent of the interference we'd hear now on skype calls or youtube compressions. 'Mouseware' (1998) is the soundtrack to an installa… Read more
**Glossy digicase with label catalogue and fold-out liner-notes** Editions RZ collects historical recordings of Italy's forward looking and influential Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza 1967-75, a collective featuring Egisto Macchi (percussion + celesta), Ennio Morricone (trumpet), Walter Branchi (bass), Franco Evangelisti (piano), John Heineman (trombone + cello), Roland Kayn (hammond organ + vibes + marimbaphon), Giovanni Piazza (horn), Frederic Rzewski (piano), and Jesus Villa Rojo (clarinet). All skilled players and composers, the Gruppo di Improvvisazi… Read more
**Glossy digicase with label catalogue and fold-out liner-notes** Editions RZ collect ten early works by the late Morton Feldman (1926 - 87). They're largely his shorter pieces, spanning compositions made between 1952 and 1959 alongside esteemed peers including David Tudor, Cornelius Cardew, John Tilbury, and János Négyesy. ""In his compositions for piano, which make up a central part of his oeuvre and in which all of his experience is accumulated, it is the play of Feldman's hand whose touch is intended precisely for the 'untouchableness' of sound. The clear character of the 'attack' th… Read more
**Double disc with label catalogue and 12-page liner notes housed in glossy trifold slipcase** Expertly compiled selection of Tudor's essential performances of works by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Sylvano Bussoti spanning 1955-1963. "Includes "Music For Piano 21-36", "Variations 1", "Variations II", "Winter Music", "Piece For Four Pianos" (including performance by Feldman), etc. Essential document. "David Tudor, pianist -- a profession, a vocation, a life. From 1950 until around 1965, David Tudor was the epitome of the pianist who could simply play anything. In fact, David T… Read more
**Double CD with label catalogue and 24-page liner notes housed in trifold slipcase** 'Kompositionen 1950-1972' collects 16 compositions by Christian Wolff. "Most of the pieces collected for this portrait of Christian Wolff document the composer’s early activity and were mainly recorded around the time of their composition. Each recording exemplifies the sound gestures from their time. "Finally I realized that the kind of sound made in an indeterminate situation includes what could result in no other way; for example, the sound of a player making up his mind, or having to change… Read more
Fantastic soundtrack work from Jonas Munk, previously known as Manual, for the documentary 'Searching For Bill'.
Review to follow shortly…
**Rustic Americana for followers of Will Oldham, Black Twig Pickers, Lambchop. Housed in heavy, 24 pt matte gatefold wallet** "Haw is the name of a river, a modest tributary of the Cape Fear, flowing rocky and swift through 110 miles of Piedmont North Carolina, wending Southeasterly past abandoned and repurposed textile mills, rickety hippie homesteads, and red-clay farmland fringed with pine forests. Green corn in the fields/River running like a wheel. Haw is also one of a few names for a small Siouan tribe that once resided in the eponymous river’s valley and may have alternately known them… Read more
**Double disc compilation cramming 62 tracks of early soul music and 28-page booklet of liner notes** "New Orleans.... home of jazz, birthplace of the funk and, some would say, of rock'n'roll. No great controversy there, but The Big Easy's role in the history of soul music has been less well documented. Part of the 'History of Soul' series, this compilation of tracks illustrates the depth and breadth of music produced in the city between 1958 and 1962. Music that went way beyond R&B, taking into soul the joyous rhythms of funky second line parade bands, the gospel-based pian… Read more
**Double disc compilation packing 54 tracks of golden era southern soul from Otis Redding to Gorgeous George and James Brown** "The Golden Age of southern soul lasted from about 1964 to 1975, when disco ripped the heart out of it. Although it may seem as if the blend of country, gospel and R & B that emerged from the great studios in Memphis and Muscle Shoals in that decade was entirely new, like any other genre, southern soul absorbed influences from a whole variety of sources. Part of the 'History of Soul' series, these CDs reveal the musical antecedents th… Read more
**Double disc collection of 57 tracks putting the history of soul in order** "This collection of breathtaking blues and spiritual music brings you some of the most impassioned, compelling vocal performances ever to be recorded. The first in America to transition from religious to secular music, these artists were all significant in their way in creating a new vocal and rhythmic style that paved the way to soul music. Part of the History of Soul series, the accompanying illustrated booklet sets out the historical background and explains some of the technical features that make these beautiful songs the precursors of soul music."
Sham Palace, the label owned and operated by Sublime Frequencies associate Mark Gergis, presents an amazing selection of intense and driving Dabke - the regional folk dance style popularised to some extent in the west by Omar Souleyman. Not limited to Souleyman's native Syria, this selection spans the Houran region "...a swathe of south Syria and north western Jordan, beginning just below Damascus, and encompassing the Syrian cities of Daraa, Suweida, Bosra, and the Golan Heights. Its populations include Syrians, Bedouin, Druze, Palestinians and Jordanians." It takes in seven … Read more
Review to follow shortly…
Review to follow shortly…
Thursday, 11 April
**Housed in die-cut slipcase** Erased Tapes illuminate the sorely overlooked work of Continuous Piano Music pioneer, Lubomyr Melnyk, on five pieces in collaboration with the label's stars, Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm. As reputedly the fastest piano player in the world, Melnyk conceived and developed a signature style of rapid notes and note-series, sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, and also holds the record for most number of notes played in one hour with 93,650 individual notes. Of course, that's impressive, but not as impressive as his music, here playing aga… Read more
Finders Keepers' 3rd volume of Ilaiyaraaja tunes offers a bounty of south subcontinental '80s electro-disco-pop. While their previous collections have homed in on his work with the "Tamil Nightingale", K.S. Chitra, and "The Electronic Pop Sound Of Kollywood 1977-1983", this one follows in the same groove as Bombay Connection's excellent 'Fire Star: Synth Pop & Electro-Funk From Tamil Films 1984-1989' or Cartilage Records' amazing 'Play That Bat Mr. Raja' compilations with 17 songs selected for their dancefloor potential. Drawn from a collection of over 4500 (and counting) songs mostly written for o… Read more
Nu-boogie's flyest practitioners display the breadth of their versatility on this well put-together debut album. Childhood pals Andy Harber and Richard Roberts established an enviable rep with a pair of 12"s for Alex Nut's Ho Tep label circa 2010/11 that effortlessly slid between house, '80s boogie and hip hop with incisive, modern production swerve blending Dilla-esque MPC knocks with digitally-misted, Actress-style flex, and the romantic boogie psychedelia of, say, Maxmillion Dunbar, or the filter disco curves of Thomas Bangaltar. Their eponymous long player finds them deadly cool, deft a… Read more
Bobby Krlic returns with his hugely anticipated second album as The Haxan Cloak, and his first for Tri Angle. It's an unrelentingly bleak offering that will satisfy fans of his terrific Aurora Borealis debut, but it also has a more electronic, rhythmic feel befitting of his new label and which will potentially appeal to an even wider audience. Though it was supposedly conceived to soundtrack a soul's journey beyond this mortal coil, don't come at it expecting some blissed-out amble through Elysium; Krlic's vision of the afterlife is a decidedly gloomy and abyssal, an all-out descent into the… Read more
**Individually numbered edition of 50 hand-stamped CDr in 7" wraparound sleeve and poly jacket with bespoke art print** Ghostly, longform electro-acoustic invocation from Sub Loam, the character also known as Thomas Shrubsole and Jesus On Mars. Via soprano saxophone fed through multi-cassette, twin-reel-to-reel set up, 'Ruderal Memory' manifests 45 minutes of seancé-like atmosphere with patiently unfolding arrangement informed by yoga breathing techniques and conducted from an anti-anthropocentric stance in key with Sub Loam's themes of elemental interplay and chlorophyllic consciousness. Aesth… Read more
Sweet balearic dance boppers in signature 100% fashion, featuring cameo from the label's #1 lady, Maria Minerva. With multiple pairs of hands at the machines, Pharoahs brew a richly colourful and finely layered sound, sorta like a cruder, downgraded LCD Soundsystem with a thing for sci-fi novels. The title track stakes their territory in vintage future-disco lands with lush choral synth pads and supple basswork in breezy form; 'Miraculous Feet' pairs Maria M with louche dub-disco recalling ESG; 'Everything' takes it to late '80s Manchester with a mix of Belgian beat grunt and frothy acid soul.… Read more
**Intra-galactic synth spectacular spiralling between Italo wormholes, celestial devotionals and psychedelic electro** "Vintage synthesizer music has ballooned from a fringe interest into something approaching an outright renaissance across the past half-decade, but few wield as much radical mastery in the realm as Jonas Reinhardt. After a couple years experimenting with group arrangements, Jesse Reiner (Reinhardt's mastermind / alter ego) returned the project in 2011 to its solitary roots, birthing the distant moon terrarium Music for the Tactile Dome, the Klaus Schulze-spawn The Pri… Read more
LA's Danny and Tiffany Preston aka Rainbow Arabia reach out with a canny 2nd album of colourful synth-pop following their well received debut LP for Kompakt. At once perky and melancholic, 'F.M. Sushi' has a more defined '80s synth sensibility than its predecessor, replacing the ethno-touristic elements with songs full of clean, crisp and bubbly synths and drum machines referencing classic Italo, UK synth pop and minimal wave.
"Following 2011’s ‘Kiss Each Other Clean’, ‘Ghost On Ghost’ is the fifth studio album from Austin-based Sam Beam. Beam felt it time to move from what he called the “anxious tension” from this record and his previous one (‘The Shepherd’s Dog’). “This record felt like a reward to myself after the way I went about making the last few,” he says. Recorded in New York and produced by Beam’s longtime associate Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Califone, Fruit Bats), helping achieve Beam’s vision were a group of stellar musicians including Rob Burger of Tin Hat Trio, Steve Bernstein, Tony Scherr, Kenny Wo… Read more
**Spotgloss jacket** HIT indulge a spot of acid-jazz diversification from Aaron David Ross aka Gatekeeper. From a possibly ironic stance, the clearly talented producer oscillates between lurchy downbeats of a Meat Beat Manifesto ilk and uptempo flurries of breakbeats, fusion flutes and wormy 303s recalling classic Red Snapper.
Xander Harris swaps hackneyed Giallo references for sexy cyber visions on his follow-up to 'Urban Gothic' for Not Not Fun. It's OST techno, or dancefloor cinema, depending on your disposition, foregrounding a feel for noirish romance and subterfuge moods scripted with the skill and ambition of a jobbing synthesist breaking into the late '80s sci-fi industry. With one cyborg eye on John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, and another on Brad Fiedel, Austin, TX's Justin Sweatt navigates the aerial highways of 'Tristitia' to the dark synth power of 'Legacies', passing thru the Drexciyan ele… Read more
**Haunting soundtrack works running the gamut from elegiac strings to music box melodies and ambient Americana**