Thursday, 01 May
"Long lost Indie-pop heroes Bis return with "data Panik etcetera" - a release that brings us up to date with recordings from the year spent re-branded at data Panik, alongside other aborted attempts to record a 4th, and definitive, bis album. Hardcore fans have been desperate to get their hands on these recordings, and the band have carefully selected and remastered the pick of the bunch - which sit neatly together to create a cohesive whole. The band have still been playing storming sets live over the last few years, surprising punters at places such as Primavera in Barcelona and 2013's Indiet… Read more
"Following the critically acclaimed Blood Oaths of the New Blues, songwriter James Jackson Toth returns with a cycle of intimate and raw songs, recorded along his travels. Bringing in like-minded musicians like guitar virtuoso William Tyler and collaborator Darin Gray, Toth wraps his expert wordplay around some of his finest songs to date, including the instant classic "Dambuilding." For his new album Farmer's Corner (due out on Fire Records on May19 (Europe)/20(US)), Toth a.k.a Wooden Wand decided to try something different: instead of spending a week in a studio with the same people, the … Read more
'Past Imperfect' makes a necessary round-up of early, hard-to-find recordings and later, unreleased material by "the more talented half of MFH/Pump." The majority is excerpted from his four tapes released on YHR - the label operated by his Pump bandmate, David Elliott - between 1980-1983 and documents a very particular strain of eerily eldritch early English industrial music and ambience, alongside a trio of unreleased pieces realised circa 2000-2001. In those early pieces especially, we can hear rudimentary traces of Radiophonic sci-fi themes, clear precedents for AFX's SAW hauntings and par… Read more
"Opening with a single repeated note beamed from an analogue basement studio in Shoreditch, London, Wrangler’s debut album LA Spark reclaims lost technology to make new themes for the modern world. Wrangler consists of Stephen Mallinder, best known for his pioneering work with Cabaret Voltaire, Phil Winter of Tunng and Lone Taxidermist, plus the founder of Memetune studios and synth obsessive Benge. His studio’s synth-rammed walls have created an environment where sounds are ripped from a golden era of analogue electronic music to create forward-looking, new music. Wrangler formed in the wires of Mem… Read more
Thursday, 24 April
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
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
**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
"Muyei Power or Orchestre Muyei (muyei means ‘our country’) was one of the top dance bands of the 1970s in Sierra Leone. Soundway Records' first collection of music from this West African country (‘Muyei Power: Sierra Leone in 1970s USA’) is an album of rock-infused, 'afro' music from a group that traveled the world throughout the mid 1970s. Fusing elements of electric Congolese and Nigerian music with fast, syncopated, uptempo modernised arrangements of traditional music, Muyei Power produced a series of unique single-only releases that have been unavailable for 35 years. The rar… Read more
"Imagine a 21st-century amalgam of Talking Heads' Remain in Light and D'Angelo's Voodoo, with a little of OutKast's Aquemini thrown in for good measure, all filtered through TEEN's distinctive musical vision. And listen closely: the tracks are filigreed with all kinds of fascinating events buried deep in the mix. Any great band evolves. And even though TEEN have released some excellent and acclaimed music in their first few years of existence, they knew they were still discovering their voice — in more than one sense of the word. TEEN just might have found it on their brilliant second album, Th… Read more
After more than twenty years, and following two recent EPs and an extensive touring plot, the hugely influential and iconic Pixies mark their return with ‘Indie Cindy’, their first full-length album since 1991’s ‘Trompe le Monde’.
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
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.
'Spectrum' was recorded between 1988 and 1989 during Spacemen 3's golden period and is widely considered a genuine masterpiece of gently psychedelic pop music. The packaging alone will keep you occupied for hours on your bean bag. Recommended!
**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
MJC marks the next big step in her flourishing catalogue with a signature mix of deep and techy house for Fabric 75. Since the late naughties, the London-based British-Japanese producer has been at least partly responsible for a sub-mainstream swing towards fresh, raw house music with a classic integrity. This mix showcases where she's at right now, blending mature house grooves with party-time peakers in seamless style. Over 17 tracks she wends a way from Trus'me's 'Somebody' to Fran Von Vie's trancy synth-pop piece 'Lonely Nights' via her own edits of KSKY's 'Madness' and he… Read more
**CD mounted on spotgloss-printed and embossed card sleeve** 'Reset' (2008) is a fine showcase of solo work by Kotra, owner of Ukraine's Kvitnu label. It inhabits a space between the clinical glitch output of Raster-Noton and a rawer, wayward experimental sound relishing in strange, dissonant tones and clashing organic textured samples with sharp electronics over 16 pieces ranging from CoH-like decimation to blown out experiments in distortion and clipped glitch acrobatics.
Wednesday, 16 April
"Asmus Tietchens is one of the most renowned German artists in the abstract music scene. He began by recording a handful of Residents-influenced synthesizer albums, launching into a peerless mix of stuttering beats and off-kilter harmonies which earned his music the generic tag “pseudo pop”. Der fünfte Himmel reaches back to a time before and after the so-called Zeitzeichen phase, gathering up unwanted or rejected pieces, the ones considered unsuitable or simply left behind."
"Before Asmus Tietchens released four albums on Germany's Sky Records label (home of Cluster, Michael Rother etc.), he recorded "Nachtstücke" (nocturnes) for the french EGG label, produced by Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann. It was recorded between 1975 to 1978 and features shadowy, ghostly, predominantly solemn synthesizer music, far removed from the oblique synth pop albums of his subsequent Sky Records phase."
**Often deranged but somehow collected Krautrock from Teutonic elders** "In 1996 three old hands of German underground music came together to record nine improvised "one take recordings" without overdubs or corrections: Dieter Moebius (Kluster, Cluster, Harmonia) on synthesizer and electronics, Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) on drums, and Jürgen Engler (Male, Die Krupps) on guitars. The result: a fascinating electronic world of sonic spectra, cacophony on the one hand, harmony on the other; dark but not murky, outlandish without being weird – an almost magical, ritualistic atmosphere."
**A far less manic but still dotty follow-up to the trio's 1996 album** "Dieter Moebius, vital protagonist of the Krautrock/avant-garde scene (Kluster, Cluster, Harmonia) since the late 1960s, another Krautrock stalwart and Guru Guru drummer Mani Neumeier, Jürgen Engler from the epicentre of Germany’s (post) punk scene as a member of Male and later head of steel machine musicians Die Krupps. After a 17 year hiatus, the successor to 'Other Places' (1996). The result: no repeat performance, instead a clear progression from its predecessor – the ambitious, but never unduly cerebral improvisation of three musical eccentrics."
Thursday, 10 April
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
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
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