Thursday, 07 November
"The Roots Radics were the ultimate reggae studio group in the early dancehall era. They appeared on thousands of recordings, impeccably tailoring their rhythms for the producers who used them. This is a collection of their work with one of their earliest champions Jah Thomas of Midnight Rock. Recorded at the legendary Channel One Studio, these dubs, mixed by the finest engineers in Jamaica, including King Tubby and Scientist, appeared for the large part as B sides of singles and album tracks. They are gathered together for the first time, along with two previously unreleased cuts. The booklet features extensive notes by reggae expert Tony Rounce."
"'Blind Mouths Eat' is the 2nd album by The Doomed Bird of Providence. The album takes the style and content of their first long player (Will Ever Pray) into a more violent, death ridden landscape supported by a more eclectic and experimental approach to song writing, and featuring an extended line-up including Katie English aka Isnaj Dui. Thematically the album is broken into three parts with an overarching theme of helplessness in the face of terror and impending death. The first five songs loosely explore the sealers of Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island, off the coast o… Read more
"‘Shields: Expanded’ is a two disc CD set which features the original ‘Shields’ record along with the eight additional B-sides, bonus tracks and demos. Shields: B-Sides’ is available on deluxe 180gram vinyl with digital download code, and features five never before heard tracks, three of which are demos recorded in Marfa, Texas before the band officially began tracklisting the album in New York and Cape Cod. The Marfa Demos include the hypnotizing new single ‘Will Calls’ plus ‘Taken Down’ and ‘Everyone I Know’, as well as two beautifully constructed bonus tracks, ‘Smothering Green… Read more
**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
**Edition of 200 housed in slimline DVD-style case** Arne Weinberg incurs darkest sci-fi atmospheres on his 2nd album as Valanx for Diametric. If i'm honest, the last time I remember consciously listening to Arne Weinberg he was making colourful, Detroit-indebted house and techno, but he since laid that era to rest with the end of his AW-Recordings and now pursued a much darker path that appeals to us greatly. On 'Ejecta' he ties up elements of D&B, post-punk Industrial, sci-fi soundtracks and IDM with a refined economy of groove and space recalling the work of everyone from ASC, Synth Sense and… Read more
"Folks will want to call this Josephine Foster's 'Harvest' - with its harp and pedal steel, its double bass and cascading piano. And it’s true, I’m a Dreamer beckons with a gentle hand, each note clear and crisp so that one feels each grain. Amid such delicate charms, however, lurk muses with rotting flesh, ugly ducklings and Djuna Barnes, wooden floors upon which no babies will be rocked. Wily is the heart that wanders filled with duende and desire, that rides the thigh like a parlor guitar when a strap just isn’t handy. These are songs comfortably at home in salon or saloon, dreams … Read more
Thursday, 31 October
'Gold' collects outstanding archival material recorded by the legendary Conrad Schnitzler between 1976 and 1978 and previously released on CD in 2003 by Marginal Talent. As the label say, "the compositions are guaranteed to dumbfound even the most enlightened Schnitzler listeners", such is its strange mixture of spectral harmonics and alien electronic pop abstraction. It predates his odd pop period proper in the early '80s but exhibits that sound in genesis with highly structured sequences of rhythm and harmony modulating beside the sort of signature atonal experiments which marked his slightly … Read more
**Portishead's Adrian Utley puts his own mark on the minimalist blueprint with deliberately slow, uniquely textured results** "Portishead’s Adrian Utley brings together an orchestra of electric guitar players to interpret Terry Riley's 'In C'. Written in 1964,‘In C’ is one of the most influential pieces of music from the 20th Century, it established minimalism as a music genre. In C's simple musical rules – 53 musical phrases in C and no duration - allow for infinite variations. Utley's impressive Guitar Orchestra is augmented by organs and a clarinet making for a mesmeric soun… Read more
Austrialia's Gardland duo debut a mystic, frayed sort of techno primitivism with the classy but rudimentary grooves and etheric electronics of 'Syndrome Syndrome', their first LP for RVNG Intl. Their music exists in a curious modern context between the edge-bleeding post-techno of Blondes, the more mutant end of 100% Silk, and the stripped, modulated techno minimalism of Rrose - too grotty to be called techno proper, too canny to be called "outsider", existing in a unique position somewhere between worlds. Its 13 tracks take shape as impressionistic, alien techno scapes, hovering into focus … Read more
**Fine haul of library funk picked from the Bruton catalogue by Luke Vibert for this third Nuggets volume** "With releases to his credit on labels such as Warp Records, Rephlex, Planet-Mu and Ninja Tune, it’s fair to say that Luke Vibert knows a thing or two about electronic music. Now he returns to Lo Recordings for the third installment of his acclaimed ‘Nuggets’ series, this time delving into the archive of the Bruton Music Library to unearth some of the production music studios’ choice moments. Founded by KPM’s Robin Phillips in 1977, Bruton Music represented a significant break… Read more
Following a recent return to the fray with his knotty 'EP1', the Skullflower and Shock Records legend has dusted down some old tapes dating to '82-83 and collected them on 'Eaten Away By Shadows'. Much of it was recorded in Bristol, and some in the London squat he shared with Philip Best, and ranges from pained guitar nosie and shuddering rhythms to beautifully dark constructions reminding of a lower-fi early Pump/MFH thru to distended rhythmic noise a la MB and Whitehouse. Andrew Liles did a great mastering job.
Extensive, cherry picked two CD set presenting Can's founding member on one disc of solo work and one disc of soundtrack music curated by Wim Wenders - including two exclusive new remixes of Can tracks. CD1 spans 30 years of Schmidt's solo compositions ranging from strange, theatrical experiments in '90s D&B ('Fledermenschen', 'Ensemble Joy') to expansive avant-garde incursions ('Burning Straw In The Sky') and jazzy, pop-wsie exotica ('Villa Wunderbar') and noirish psych-pop ('Kick On The Floods') and an unreleased extract of his ballet score for Youri Vàmos. Acclaimed German filmmaker Wi… Read more
"Much like the joining together of Parliament and Funkadelic, Oregon's Pleasure began as a merger between two Portland groups: Franchise and The Soul Masters. Coming together in 1972 to combine the best elements of funk, soul, and jazz in equal measure, the group were considered cult icons of funk music, and their fans included famed saxophonist Grover Washington Jr, and trombonist Wayne Henderson. Despite this, and breaking the Hot 100 charts with their R&B hit "Glide", Pleasure only experienced a moderate amount of mainstream success in their time, and ultimately call… Read more
Impressive debut album of dreamy pop, post rock and driving indie disco grooves from Caribou's drummer, Brad Weber, and friends aka 'Pick A Piper'. RIYL Atoms For Peace, Four Tet, Junior Boys. "In the years since Pick a Piper’s initial output, Weber has taken to flexing his production muscles, swapping out the acoustic palette that characterized earlier output in favor of found-sound samples, synths, electronic percussion, and deftly sequenced helpings of reverb and delay. But even with this new focus on electronics, their aesthetic remains grounded in the natural world, with airy, polyrhythm… Read more
**First remastered re-release of obscure and amazing prog-folk album by Derbyshire band, No Right Turn. Includes some outstanding synth work and groove-driven original songs mixed with their takes on traditional English folk arrangements. Yet another sterling pick from Japan's EM Records, with 16-page liner notes in Japanese and English** "No Right Turn (allegedly after signs on the local bypass, no political motivation) was a Derbyshire band, and befitting a group from the centre of Britain, they combined elements of folk musics from all across the United Kingdom, beginning as an acoustic … Read more
"Following the release of their most acclaimed album of their decade-long career, Deep Politics, Grails revisited Black Tar Prophecies, their ever-expanding, enigmatic tapestry of eclectic experiments. Black Tar Prophecies Vol's 4, 5 & 6 collects the last three volumes in the BlackTar series, originally released as a limited-edition 12", and a split LP with Finish psych-rock phenoms, Pharaoh Overlord. Exclusive to this collection is Volume 6, three previously unreleased tracks that run the gamut from found-sound collage to moody, piano-driven soundtracks to obscure erotic horror films that never existed (but should have)."
""Prominence" is the 2nd full length in as many years from Texas transplant John Pena. It was recorded/mixed in the same apartment(after a failed attempt to mix in a "real" studio) as last years TALENT over the first few months of 2013 after shelving a full length's worth of songs for not being sonically or emotionally interesting enough. Using Primitive Radio God's "Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money In My Hand" as a sonic touch point John built a new album from the ground up utilizing chopped/sampled drum breaks and, for the first time, some non laptop based keyed instrumen… Read more
One year on from 'Perceiver', Peter Van Hoesen presents his first live album, documenting his performance during the Time To Express label night at Tresor on July 19th 2013. Armed with three synths, a drum machine, two iPads and some outboard effects, he covers a brace of new material woven with recent releases in typically disciplined and unrelenting PvH style, capturing his highly efficient energy transfer and breathless momentum in full effect and perhaps providing better context for his music than any studio album could.
Opal Taper, Stephen Bishop's intrepid Basic House project is steadily becoming one of the most fascinating off-road electronic projects around. 'Oats', for Luke Younger's highly esteemed Alter imprint, places him in good company alongside textural and rhythmic explorers such as Jamal Moss, Helm and Damien Dubrovnik. It's his 2nd album of 2013 after the crumbling deconstructions of 'Caim In Bird Form' for Digitalis, and finds his sound at once congealing and diffusing with a unique sonic syntax. Textural decay demarcates its six tracks, flowing from the buckled tape loops and guttural bass thump of 'AR… Read more
"The Swamps arrives as a bridge between the duo's sophomore album, Almanac, and an as yet untitled third studio record. Here the band's characteristic sonic landscapes, haunting harmonies, and layers of delicate guitar-work usher in a new chapter in their dark and dreamy catalog. Inspired by the light-choked wetlands of its title, The Swamps brims with songs about fears of stagnation and the pitfalls of nostalgia, but never relinquishes Widowspeak's melodic optimism."
Clara Moto turns the lights down low and ups the emotive quota on her sophomore album. Moody electronica dominates over the sort of tech-house you'd expect to hear in her DJ sets; only two tracks fit in the 120bpm, 4/4 mold, 'Hedonic Treadmill' and the Pantha Du Prince-like 'Placid Kindness' and duly stick out like proverbial sore thumbs. The rest of the album is given to more soporific tempos and gauzy atmospheric vibes, touching on muggy, chugging trip hop with 'How We Live In Each Other' and melodic, contemplative electronica with the likes of 'I Saw Your Love' or MSOTT-like kosmich-pop with 'For All Reasons So Sad'.
"The first ever solo album from Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean & Britta). Produced by Jason Quever (Papercuts). Includes the single ‘Love Is Colder Than Death’, as premiered on Pitchfork. ‘Emancipated Hearts’ is a downbeat collection that suggests Galaxie 500 playing bucolic folk-rock. As if to underline this comparison, there’s a cover of The Incredible String Band’s ‘Air’. “I know they can be a bit silly, but they can be hilarious too,” says Dean. “Our version was recorded in Jason’s living room, just him and me.” Before this almost light-hearted conclusion, however, the album … Read more
Monday, 28 October
Erupting from the seamy neon-lit wasteland of Los Angeles, California - Frank Alpine's self-titled debut offers a darker, sleazier view of the current cold-wave resurgence. In fact this disc might have more in common with the shuddersome compositions of Chris & Cosey than it does with the contemporary Brooklyn indie set. There's a no-wave grit to Alpine's pained squeals, and over double-time electrical beats he eulogizes a city in decline. I think I'm not the only one getting tired of the same cold wave records being crafted again and again, it's nice to hear at least one artist taking a diff… Read more
Thursday, 24 October
**Reissue of this Chain reaction classic, remastered and cut by Matt Colton** Fluxion's 1999 album for Chain Reaction, 'Vibrant Forms' stands up as one of the label's finest, up there amongst the likes of Porter Ricks' 'Biokinetics' - also reissued by Type - and über-classics from Vainqueur, Vladislav Delay and Substance. It's a masterclass in fluid, groovewise techno reduction and atmospheric rendering which sounds as fresh and alien today as it did 15 years ago. This reissue collects both the 12" and 2x12" released by Chain reaction, plus two bonus tracks, adding up to a beautifully coh… Read more
"SMM: Opiate is the second release in Ghostly's SMM series, which is an ongoing exploration of the evocative possibilities of sound, with a focus on classical minimalism, electronic and drone composition, film soundtracks, and fragile imaginary landscapes. Opiate is the follow-up to 2011's SMM:Context, and as with that record, it's a carefully chosen selection of music, compiled over some two years from around the world. The record opens with Simon Scott's "Water Shadow," a luxuriant piece of beatless ambience that's like a wash of warm water or the first touch of the summer sun on your face after a… Read more
Steve Moore (Zombi) and Daniel O'Sullivan (Ulver, Guapo) achieve heady synth-prog heights with their debut Miracle album. It's the strongest indictment yet of their twin passions for epic dance music and tortuous, noirish pop arrangement, coming off like Depeche Mode or John Foxx soundtracking a giallo set in a zombie-infested discotheque. O'Sullivan's vocals are stellar, a dramatic multi-track constellation of voices set against gorgeous, hyperreal instrumentals synthesising Italo disco, '80s FM electro and widescreen cinematic atmospheres in nine parts. At the top 'Good Love' strikes deep with slow, … Read more
Compiling tracks from all three of Mr. Beatnick's well-loved singles for Don't Be Afraid plus new, exclusive gear on 'The Synthetes Trilogy'. Dropping one-a-year since 2011, the 12"s marked the former beats and breaks stalwart as one of London's finest new House producers, blending lush samples, rich instrumentation and full-bodied production with a canny appreciations of classic Chicago and Detroit bump 'n swing. There are twelve tracks total, best among them the stripped down swagger of 'Casio Romance' and his Dego-like hardcore-house chop, 'Parallax Scroll', and there's also new bi… Read more
Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters, both members of dreamy shoegaze group Engineers, reprise the union that made their 'Underrated Silence' a subtle ambient pop winner. On 'Tomorrow Is Another Day' they seamlessly marry instrumental pop and electronica aesthetics with an unflinchingly positive outlook. Schnauss mans synthesiser, piano and vocals, and Peters plays guitar and bass in ten intricately woven dreamscapes quietly bristling with cute percussion and rent skywards with vaulted harmonies and layers of discrete, criss-crossing melody, everything detailed in crisp, pe… Read more
Machinedrum wanders dazzling electronic architectures in 'Vapor City', his follow-up to the unanimously appreciated 'Room(s)'. Operating at the vanguard of the jungle/juke/electronica nexus, 'Vapor City' is a hyperstitious soundtrack to a metropolis which the Berlin-based producer regularly visits in a recurring dream, imagining a romantic, chimeric panorama of hyper complex rhythm structures and super sleek synth contours rendered with breathtaking sound design. Building on the American/European fusions of 'Room(s)', he laces elements of jungle and juke into something insolubly syncretic, best … Read more
Pure posh peakers right here from Japan's unrivalled don of high class euphoria. Issued in Kompakt's 20th year of operations, the spirit, intent and effect of 'Until The End Of Time' - Kaito's first album in three years - very sweetly rings true with the label's timeless aesthetic. Ten tracks scale the loveliest heights of contemporary trance music, spiralling arpeggios and blooming pads driven to satisfaction by pulsing house and techno rhythms with the odd sidestep into loping beats but always moving forward, upwards. Great set.