Thursday, 02 April
'Wilderness of Mirrors' is a harrowing and compelling slab of dense ambient doom from esteemed Room40 proprietor, Lawrence English. Two years in the making and arguably ranking among his finest works, 'Wilderness of Mirrors' is, as English puts it, "reflection upon reflection, a pure white out of absolute aurality". Taking its title from a phrase rooted in T.S. Eliot's poem 'Gerontion' and later used to describe the misinformation campaigns of the cold war, it finds English channelling inspiration from the affective dynamics of Earth, MBV and Swans, together with his own fascina… Read more
**Edition of 300 housed in letter-pressed gatefold card sleeve and poly jacket** Wall and Rodgers' 2nd batch of surgically disassembled syntax and probing psycho-acoustics for Entr'acte is a bewt. Following on from 'Work 2006-2011' (E114) it presents a single, 27-minute piece of vitriolic vocal convulsions and computer music minutiae finding the long-term collaborators operating at liminal levels of psychoacoustic perception with an avant-garde, Beckettian feel for literary absurdity with Rodgers taking real pleasure in masticating juicy, uncomfortably sandwiched phrases. Very satisfying indeed.
LA's Israel Vines inaugurates Eye Teeth, a sub-division of Ectomorph's Interdimensional Transmissions, with a killer hydraulik techno session. A-side 'WWKD' is the one for us - a reticulated monster of snakey subbass and coiled, latinate drum patterns swarmed with industrial pads placing it in the same district as LADA, Mike Parker, Regis at his best. B-side, 'Relapse' yokes to a subs-driven 4/4 kickdrum agenda offset with super precise and shivering layers of hi-hats and percussion and subtly applied dub chords beside the beatless industrial vent of 'Tone Approach 1'. Recommended!
Monday, 30 March
**Unexpected new one from the hugely celebrated Canadian band. The amorphous, visceral and doom-laced mid-section is truly outstanding** "Godspeed You! Black Emperor (GYBE) returns with its first single LP-length release since the group's earliest days in 1997-99. 'Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress' clocks in at a succinct 40:23 and is arguably the most focused and best-sounding recording of the band's career. Working with sound engineer Greg Norman (Electrical Audio) at studios in North Carolina and Montreal, GYBE slowly and steadily put the new album… Read more
A dream-team meeting of eminent Afro-futurists - for our money Actress' finest moment, bar none. OK, we're genuinely trying to sit on the hyperbole levels here but f**k that; this one is off the scale. Tackling the king of grime, Actress distills everything good about his oeuvre over the last 10 years or more - crooked metrics; THC-fuelled fuzz; bæroque melodies; that rarest late night s-p-i-c-e - inna collaged 7 minute masterpiece that floors us every time. It's like a scrambled Disengage transmission got lost in the æther, modulated with some Wiley… Read more
Four-track sampler for Jamie xx's debut solo album due out in June via Young Turks. It features "Girl", "Sleep Sound", "Loud Places" (with the xx's Romy) and "Gosh".
Norway's Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) & Helge Sten (Deathprod) broach liminal ambient zones in their very keenly-awaited collaboration, 'Stator' for Touch. It's the 2nd time they've appeared together, following 1998's 'Nordheim Transformed', but the first time that they've actually collaborated. You'd be forgiven for assuming what ensues, as the duo plumb very closely to their signatures across seven tracks spread over 41 minutes. Entering with the unheimlich creep of 'Muses-C', balanced right on the biting point of phasing distortion and clarity, they cover vast tracts of ambient terrain… Read more
**First release on a new label from Max Tundra featuring his first productions to surface publicly for over 7 years, fronted by manufactured millennial pop starlets Daphne & Celeste* There’s little doubt among anyone familiar with Max Tundra’s oeuvre that his early 2000’s releases for Domino kinda pre-empted the whole PC Music thing by a decade or so, all hi-sheen bubblegum pop rendered through obsolete digital technology, hooky as hell and just a little bit unsettling to boot. Having laid low since the release of 2008’s 'Parallax Error Beheads You’ he now resurfaces with a new label … Read more
Remarkable, processed vocal studies from Rome. 'Sintetizzatrice' is the first time Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy have worked together but you'd never tell. Their debut release features Anna's voice as the sole source, whisked, chopped and layered into an astonishing spectrum of styles touching on traditional Italian folk music as well as classical chamber music, kosmische and R&B. In stark contrast with the invasive tones of Florian Hecker's recent vocal studies, Dozzy deigns for a more heavenly form and accessible approach with differently transcendent results. Bloom… Read more
Eleh's cultishly celebrated trio of LPs for Taiga released between 2008 - 2012, here remastered and collected on digital format for the first time. Certain pedants would probably scoff at the fact this incredibly pure analog music is now available to download but, we're not among them and reckon it's a crucial entry point for anyone intrigued but as yet unwilling to make the dive. They're some of thee heaviest pieces of minimalist electronic music from the last decade, and we don't say that lightly. Strongly recommended if you like Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock, Sunn 0))).
With a pair of exceptional releases for Liminal Sounds under his belt, Air Max '97 drops his most stripped down rhythms to date on Rushmore's 'World Series'. In flux between discernible traces of grime, techno, ballroom, B-More but drained of most colour, we're left with four skeletal, chimeric cyborganisms, deftly dancing from the spare woodblock snares and pinging bleeps of 'Engaged' to the aerated vocal chops and slicing drums of 'Spoken' and the sick, naked ballroom pose of 'Reflex Glamorized' featuring Divoli S'vere.
Noisy, frazzled slam jams from one of Hamburg's finest. Quick on the heels of her 'A Tape' for Handmade Birds, she heads farther down the alleys of her 'Actio Reactio' EP for Werk Discs/Ninja Tune with five trax of roiling techno muck. 'Drowning Demons' charges up a lamping acid techno sound, chased by the noisier, saltier pounding of 'The Bean Field And The Gods'. 'Reaktion II' is a more tangled shot of psycho-jakk, and 'The First Time He Thought, He Died' resets to a brittle electro style heavily indebted to classic Bunker and Murder Capital records. It works.
**An incredible suite of analog drum machine pop arrangements and tape experiments from the mid 80's** Ecstatic resuscitate Daniele Ciullini's "sonic polaroids" of odder '80s pop, drone and drum machine workouts in the detached dimensions of 'Domestic Exile - Collected Works 82-86'. Compiling the Florentine artist's standout '83 cassette plus a whole other side of compilation obscurities on vinyl for the first time, it presents a series of brilliant, isolated self-portraits by a mail art & tape scene insider (also photographer, zine publisher) who operated… Read more
Gearing up for a new album, Monolake yields a 2nd single in less than four months after leaving us hanging for years. Stepping up with the whirring techno mechanics and dramatic freefall collapse of 'Icarus'; sustaining noirish electro-techno pressure recalling 'Polygon Cities' styles with 'Alto.
Emir Ongun a.k.a. Gantz does it differently for Deep Medi Musik. His 2nd release for Mala's label showcases a tighter, unique brand of dubstep, juxtaposing samples and staggered grooves with unconventional style and pattern. 'Pseudooo' starts up with a jazzy sort of sub-aquatic, noirish stepper, giving way to the lissom harp licks and crooked lean of 'Witch Blues' on some hybrid Alice Coltrane tip. Bristol's Rider Shafique is embedded in the orientalist dubstep dream of 'Rockstar', and 'Supreme A' checks out with a mesmerising mutation of Oud (?) and harp licked into airborne triplets.
Marcel Dettmann compiles aces from Anthony Parasole, Kobosil, Milton Bradley, Norman Nodge, Answer Code Request and his good self for MDR.
Auntie Flo and Esa present the dope results of their early 2014 trip to Cuba as part of The Highlife World Series. Laid down in one take, 'Die Bailando' shuffles across the A-side loaded with a striking vocal by Eric Alejandro and fruity trumpet. B-side, Esa serves an Afro Synth mix of 'Sabela De Cuba', floating somewhere between Jan Hammer's Miami Vice soundtrack and early Balearic house.
Cómeme posse on patrol! Split equally between original trax and remixes from pals, there's some ace highlights in Barnt's sturdy but scrambled take on Philipp Gorbachev; a ruder house remix of Sano's 'Boqueron' by Capracara; a serpentine Aguayo drum mix of Lena Willikens and her own dark-but fruity version of 'Otra Cosa'; the plush electro-house swager of 'Makina' by Christian S.
After a decade of 12" releases, Ostgut Ton boss Nick Höppner delivers his dope debut album for the world-renowned label outta Berlin. While he may not have the celebrity status conferred upon the rest of Berghain/Panorama Bar's residents, Höppner's productions have long stood out as prime examples of *that* Berlin house sound. 'Folk' collects nine of 'em, capturing him at his most focussed and diverse between wayward pieces such as the effluent bubbler 'Grind Show' and beautifully gauzy breakbeat trip, 'Airway Management', thru to his patented style of slinky, trance-y tech-house with the lip-… Read more
*38 track compilation from Soundway, Includes previously unreleased first ever known recordings of Afrobeat legend - Fela Kuti* "In conjunction with compiler and highlife researcher Dr. Markus Coester, Soundway present a very special release - including a bonus 45 that features the two first ever recordings by a certain Fela Ransome Kuti with his band The Highlife Rakers. Recorded by Melodisc in London in 1960, both tracks have been unearthed after more than fifty years in hiding. In many ways this compilation is a preq… Read more
Luis Vasquez a.k.a. The Soft Moon nails his strongest, most-malleable take on post-punk/wave techno to date with third album, 'Deeper'. Since his last LP effort, 'Zeros', he's moved from Oakland, CA to Venice, Italy, with numerous raids on Berlin between. This has clearly influenced his sound, lending a more stringent focus and amped-up studio production ringing deeply true with his mix of formative influences; American EBM muscle and synthetic European emotions. It's kinda what we hoped the last Cold Cave album would sound like, before it went horribly wrong and Fernow scarpered. RIYL Silent Servant, Lust For Youth, Factory Floor.
'Abstraction' continues The Boats' industrial cycle with a remorseless instalment. Quite possibly the most potent of all three slabs, it finds the usually gentle souls of Andrew Hargreaves and Craig Tattersall revealing what they get up to when no-one is listening -- you'd think they're out bothering fields and folding paper until the candles run out but, oh no, they're actually cranking out thunderous industrial beat-offs and dry stone walls of noise. This one is a meaty beast, piling the kicks and distortion higher than a VIP plate at Toby's carvery but, not without glimpses of their vul… Read more
It's 2015 and the guitar as an instrument is pretty f**king exhausted, right? Not in Tashi Dorji's hands. This album was first issued on cassette by Blue Tapes in 2014, just prior to the amazing compilation of his earlier gear on Ben Chasny ov Six Organs… Hermit Hut label and serves to illustrate our point above - where so many guitarists are happy to tread old ground and pay dues to heroes, Bhutanese maverick Dorji is spiralling away, expressing untapped thoughts and feelings on his very own plane, making his guitar sound something like a modular synth system playing ancient Korean clas… Read more
"‘Carrie & Lowell’ is Sufjan Stevens' first album in almost 5 years and is somewhat of a return to the sparse, pared-back sounds of ‘Seven Swans’. While it sounds like a memory, it does not trade on pastiche or nostalgia. Each song begins with a fragile melody that gathers steam until it becomes nothing less than a modern hymn. The album accomplishes the rare thing that any art should achieve, particularly in these noisy and fragmented days - by seeking to understand, Sufjan makes us feel less alone…"
SD's 1996 killer remastered and reissued to download for the first time. Originally issued as part of Metalheadz seminal Razor's Edge series. Here's hoping 'This is A Baad Rmx' gets a look out for the newer heads too, massive percy that one…
Deep ambient techno dubs by the long-out-of-action Son.Sine. Arriving no less than 15 years since his last outing in this alias, it's worth checking for the dark stepper, 'An Island', or the submerged pound of 'A Room'.
Grime's weirdest outpost, Mr. Mitch's Gobstopper Records, drop the freakish debut from Social State. 'Human Error' is a wheezing, gasping, quasi-speed grime mutation that sounds something like a melted Scratchy ting spliced with Giallo synths and accordion. 'She Was Loved' heads even farther into grime's nether zones with staggered trap claps and extruded synth drones holding the strangest tension. Out there, now!
Radgy motorik electronics from Run Dust for Paris label, In Paradisum, arriving off the back of his Tesla Tapes trio and issues for Opal Tapes, Nute Records. Polished is perhaps not the right word to describe 'Serf Rash', but there's definitely a biting clarity to these cuts that we haven't heard in his previous jags, lending a more effective insistence to the helter skelter pelt of 'Wharf Rat' or a lucidity to the entrancing synth colours of 'Doctor John Dee' and the psychoactive affray of 'Scythe Toon'. If we're playing favourites, then the title and gauzy glow of 'British Jumpsuit' gets a … Read more
Roska cracks out his old skool (if 2008 is old skool) drum palette for a wicked Funky session. Returning to similar styles as 'The Climate Change' EP or 'Elevated Levels', it's a pure bass 'n drums session with infectious highlights in deep and rugged thrust of 'This May Take A While', a darkside brokebeat player called 'N.D.O.W.' and tribalist grunter, 'WIAS'.