Thursday, 31 October
"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.
Cómeme's Colombian badboy brings a taste of his 'Perro Negro' parties in Medellin full of "thieves, guerrillos and prostitutes" to his debut album. Essentially, Sano's sound is Salsa dosed on lysergic fructose, synching a unique swing between wavey synthlines, discoid bleeps and sub-heavy, robosexual machine groove. His pals Los Malos, Diegors and Daniel Maloso from the Cómeme family all appear over its ten tracks variably running from stripped down numb-but-kinky EBM shuffle on 'Anestesia' to uptempo cowbell grooves on 'Contoneate' and raw, coked-up techno muscle on 'Boquerón' or darker New Beat thrust in 'Necrophilic Love'. Exoticos!
**Hyper-active, hyper-coloured computer game soundtrack from Daniel "OPN" Lopatin's Software label. Lushest cyberdelic Vaprowave futurism in 29 parts. Housed in gatefold slipcase with extensive liner notes, annotations and snippets of the code behind the music** "David Kanaga's maximalist score for the video game 'DYAD' fuses a breakneck array of sound events to rich, ambient segues of layered harmonies and melodic color. Like the ceaseless forward movement of the game itself, where the protagonist particle encounters cascades of oncoming enemies, the elements of the music al… Read more
**Double disc career retrospective featuring 20 classics and rarities. Includes 24-page booklet** 'Celestial Music' is a long overdue career retrospective documenting the highlights from over 30 years of spiritual music by Edward Larry Gordon aka Laraaji. Like many others, we were first turned onto Laraaji by Universal Sound's recent(ish) reissue of his 'Celestial Vibration' (1978) debut, which originally predated his better known "discovery" by Brian Eno, documented on 'Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance' (1980). Inspired by Eastern Mysticism and played on an electronically modified zither, … Read more
Beautiful slice of 1987 new age ambience by Laraaji and his plugged in zither, reissued by Brian Eno's All Saints Music. "Heavenly tone clusters that stretch out into infinity and recall Popol Vih's soundtracks for Werner Herzog. Floating, dream-like music to lose yourself in."
Double disc suite collecting Edward Larry Gordon aka Laraaji's two albums for All Saints in the early '90s - a beautiful set of concise instrumentals recorded with Michael Brook in England, and a vocal collaboration with Japanese electro-dub reggae group Audio Active. We'll make this quite simple, one of them is brilliant, and the other not so much - you may be able to guess which is which. OK, we'll spell out: 'Flow Goes The Universe' (1992) stars Laraaji at his subtlest, spanning two magnificent long form pieces, 'Being Here' and his stunning 'A Cave In England' along with some delectabl… Read more
"Reissue of 26-year old American composer Peter Broderick's 2008 debut album Float, remastered by Nils Frahm and including two additional bonus tracks with each album download. Brought up in a musical household in Oregon, Peter quickly became a popular session musician for the likes of M. Ward in the Portland area. Later discovered by the Danish band Efterklang he joined their live band and spent the next six years based in Europe where he collaborated with many like-minded contemporaries. Through relentless touring, multiple album recordings and film scores Peter has established hi… Read more
*Archival find of early material from Jimmy Jam, of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis / Prince fame* "Jimmy Jam Harris was just 16 when he began writing and arranging for Minneapolis 11-piece Mind & Matter. Boasting a perfectly calibrated vocal quartet, an aggressive rhythm section, and stacks of Rhodes, Rolands, and Hammonds, the danceable act failed to win favor with frigid Midwest audiences. Tracked in 1977, this bundle of never-before-released basement demos throw Harris’ beloved Philadelphia Sound into an unfinished root cellar, pelting it with Clavinet attacks, disco skats, and … Read more
"On the heels of last years critically acclaimed debut LP “Under the Pale Moon,” and “Earth Has Doors” EP comes the sophomore full length from Wymond Miles, guitarist of San Francisco garage-pop titans The Fresh & Onlys. “Cut Yourself Free” assembles another convergence of moon-lit romantic swagger and post-punk massacred urgency. Again self recorded and produced to tape, Miles’ song-craft has emerged more refined and poignant, benefitting from the avalanche of his frenzied live shows, but also adhering to a more minimalistic fashion with crooning mid-era Nick Cave or Bowie/Roxy Music s… Read more
English techno producer Ashley Burchett aka Ø [Phase] marks up a solid debut album of ten idiosyncratic techno tools for Belgium's Token. Highlights appear in the thunderous, tunnelling drive of 'Misaligned' and the Convextion-like Detroit space techno of 'Just Another Dance'.
Deetron and a small army of guests including Cooly G, Seth Troxler, Ben Westbeech, Simbad and Hercules & Love Affair weigh in on the Swiss producer's 2nd album of cosmic disco-house. Highlights include the cool breakbeat house number, 'Come Away Further' and the slick, sultry Chicago house of 'Love Song' with Seth Troxler.
To celebrate Fela’s 75th birthday, Knitting Factory have put together these repackaged versions of Fela Kuti’s entire back catalogue. Each CD is presented in a deluxe digipack, with booklet including Fela’s biography and track-by-track commentary from Afrobeat historian Chris May.