Monday, 29 September
Ghost Box bruk out the dancing clogs with Listening Center's charmingly optimistic library disco moves. Following his Study Series 7" with Pye Corner Audio, David Mason aka Listening Center makes two solo flights urged by beaming arpeggios and the kind of heart-swelling melodies that childhoods were made of. 'Quotidian Forgotten' could be the soundtrack to the best school trip to Rimini via Munich that you never had, whilst 'Our Material' sounds like The Human League scoring a TV for schools module on astrophysics.
Creep's Lauren Flax serves a killer cover of Janet Jackson's 'Pleasure Principle', aided by Kim Ann Foxman and Eli Escobar remixes. The mystic '90s house aura of the original cover is best, but if u like it tuffer check Kim Ann Foxman's deep 'n rugged NYC house version.
Kim Hiorthøy returns with his first new album in almost 8 years with the excellent 'Dogs'. This time round Hiorthøy has stripped everything down to a minimum, and gone to the core of his characteristic sound. The album consists of mostly just piano and ambience with some beats, and on some tracks the occasional synth. Dogs is his purest and most beautiful album. Hiorthøy cites Jan Johansson as an inspiration, but says the music is still anchored in early hip-hop, sample-based music (though there are no samples on Dogs), and even the simple, cheesy melodies of some 90s rave tracks. That said, D… Read more
Opal Tapes and the Blowing Up The Workshop mix-blog-cum-label introduce two new artists to our ears on 'Mirror & Gate Vol. IV'. Aniello sprawls across the A-side with some 30 minutes of uniquely syncopated percussive loops and tape FX oscillating somewhere between Thought Broadcast and Decimus in its refusal to stick with any discernible structure and wickedly atonal no wave qualities. Freaky ish. John Sandia's 'Pierrot Lunaire' opens up an equally aud, abstract space on the flip with the possibly Schoenberg-referencing four-part movement of worn-down rhythms, ambient gloom and spectral presence.
Sacred Tapes offer a poke around the depths of John Powell-Jones' phantasmagoric mind with 'The Necromantic Bell Of Giradius'. Whilst perhaps best known as brilliant illustrator and screen-printer - his work for Reel Torque, Basic House, and Moon Duo features regularly on these pages, and he recently exhibited in Geneva accompanied by a Demdike Stare installation - his musical praxis is also gathering recognition, both in the motorik psych unit Horrid, and now revealed here as unique solo artist. Recorded some years ago, these two improvised pieces for guitar, … Read more
Clone's better mannered sub-label makes good with two deeper tech-house pieces by Brian Wong aka Gingy backed by a smart Serge & Tyrell remix. The original finds a classy balance of techy broken beats and rolling, soulful house replete with full blown vocal by Starving Yet Full, all trimmed down to a bumpy Jersey groove in Serge + Tyrell's Dub. Better yet, 'VSCUS' strikes on the biting point of raw modular madness and big room tech house trance.
One-shot studio synthy-pop takes from the excellent Swedish label, Flexiwave. Futility performs all synths, drum machines, sequencers, vox, all at once, channelling classic Human League and Chris Carter with a more stripped-down, full-bodied modern aesthetic.
Big people's D&B/dancehall minimalism from Fracture, Sam Binga and Rider Shafique backed with a weightless Logos remix. 'She Want It Ruff' is a self-explanatory tale of bedroom athletics set to tight-belly minimal wine; 'Back It Up' keeps it lewd on a dark 'n slow flex with squirting synths; 'Bubble' takes it to the dancehall proper. Check the Logos Space Jam of 'She Wants It Ruff' for a more sensuous, tactile inversion of the original's pent energy.
"Echo Park (by way of Minneapolis) motorcycle mechanic Nick Koenigs aka Filthy Huns follows his 2012 self-titled debut with a freshly iced 8-pack of stark tar-streaked roadburn meditations, Leopard On My Right. Echo-blurred metronomes rev from dive bar dub to aging engine chugs, laced with keyboard exhaust, stick-and-poke guitar designs, hungover highway vocals, and dust-choked American desolation. As before, Koenigs keeps the dead-eyed leather menace quotient high while bleaching the songs' rock bone structures into pale, emaciated shapes ("Ancient Hell," "Nomad Status"), occasi… Read more
*Epic 5- Disc set featuring the first four albums from Eyeless in Gaza plus bonus material* "Originally signed to Cherry Red in 1981, Eyeless in Gaza moved very quickly through four albums of skewed free-pop explorations to become the intriguing, uncomfortable cousin of the brash new wave sound finding its way into the mainstream at the time. Picture a place where scratchy guitars, synthesizers, primitive rhythms, found sounds, technical experimentation and neo-noise come together to provide a bed for the poetic, exploratory lyrics of Martyn Bates. Oblique, anxious, diffic… Read more
Impressively puristic techno experiments from a new American name, Elizabethan Collar. Starting out with Craig Leon-like metallic rhythms, the set twists from concentrated, fibrillating 4/4 rhythms reminding of Sleeparchive or Antti Rannisto, to one pensile killer looping a lost voice in darkside chamber dub fashion recalling Dale Cornish's 'Xeric' release. Tipped!
Rugged robo-house swing and shuffle from Effy, tricked out with Troy Gunner and Hound Scales remixes. Check up 'Move' for a chunky, Joy O or Boddika styled jacker, and 'Bourbon Switch' for some crafty 4/4 - 2 - 3/4 time signature switches built for the moodier shape-cutters. Troy Gunner gives a nimbly brutalist halfstep techno rework of 'Move', and Hound Scales follows some smart work for Fifth Wall Records with a clattering rework of 'Bourbon Switch'.
Earth's Dylan Carlson answers more than a few dreams with his first ever soundtrack work, 'Gold'. Composed for a Western about settlers on the West Canadian frontiers - we're guessing relatively close to his Seattle base - Carlson takes license to conjure some of his freest, intuitive axe work, breaking down to a mixture of 24 concise cues and more widescreen pieces, all strongly evoking expansive landscapes and harsh terrain...
Super-stripped rhythm excursions from another new American name and label to these pages, De Leon for Aught. Feeling out space between Shackleton and N.M.O., or Burnt Friedman and Lee Gamble, '/\\03' clocks up chiming, Afro-centric syncopations and plangent metallic atmospheres from a mixture of what sounds like a copulating mixture of programmed and live drums slithering and bathing in their own harmonic resonance.
**Adventurous, pioneering pieces from an unsung hero of Italy's influential experimental scene of the 1970s** "In an alternate universe the Rome born female synthesist Daniela Casa would be a household name. A genuine pioneer of experimental pop music, abstract electronics, Giallo jazz and even heavy drone rock jams, her elusive and infectious music joins the dots and loops between other Italian female electronic composers such as Giulia De Mutiis (later Giulia Alessandroni), Doris Norton and Suzanne Ciani while retaining one of the most individualistic and diverse comp… Read more
Technoid dubstep weight from West Canada via Brooklyn's Tuba Sound. 'Under Pressure' rolls out on top with trancey licks and searing neuro lashes yoked to a billowing bottom end and tumbling drums. B-side, 'Spirit' builds another trancey head of steam, this time on a pneumatic footworking riddim a la Addison Groove, and 'Abyss' bowls into exotic halfstep terrain with shades of vintage Tempa and DMZ 12"s from Skream, Horsepower Productions, Mala.
**100% Silk darlings scrub up nicely on a much shinier return to the label** "When Cuticle’s asteroid techno shrapnel formations finally streak the sky, they’re immediately recognizable – the stark cubic mixing eccentricities, a clashing crosshatch of alien bass patterns and arcade synth fingerpaint, acid atmospherics dripped like candlewax, poems whispered through futuristic air ducts. Brendan O’Keefe’s phantom touch has been distinct since the project’s origin but Mind Holding Pattern feels even more defined and isolated than his earlier work, nine morphing textures charged with d… Read more
Lovely, fluffy ambient house from Canada's Cloudface for Opal Tapes, fronting his first new material in over a year. Since his in-demand 'Devonian Garden' 12" for Mood Hut in 2013, Cloudface's 'Wyre Drive' cassette for Nice Up International was reissued by London label Going Good, which have both rightfully earned him something of a cult status in the lo-fi house quarters. His 'Untitled' effort for Black Opal is arguably one of the label's sweetest releases since those early 1991 and Huerco S tape joints. Its seven tracks are naturally blessed with a sort of synthetic serenity that could only… Read more
Bolder new styles from Will Saul aka Close, and Second Storey fka Al Tourettes, backed up with remix by Seven Davis Jr. 'No Love Lost' is a surprise deviation into different tempos than usual for Aus Music, tackling a sort of dreamy post-punk pop and halfstep D&B hybrid in 'No Love Lost' featuring Morcheeba-like vox by Kid A, plus instrumental, slo-mo electronica in 'Lacuna Slide', and techier swing moves in 'WAL'. Seven Davis Jr provides some relief for spun-out house heads with a more conventional, uptempo house rework of 'No Love Lost'.
Mannequin Records introduce us to Mexican New Wave unit Casino Shanghai with two previously unreleased aces plus a banging remix by In Aeternam Vale. While their title track is a touch too cheesy, the mixture of echoic, Liz Fraser-like vocal inflections and dry, driving drum machine in 'Le Tombeau D'Edgar Poe' really hits the mark, and harder again on the kicking, technoid remix update.