Thursday, 05 January 2012
*Initial copies come on limited edition coloured vinyl* Since 2009 Grant Evans has been peering ever deeper into the kosmische abyss with his records as Nova Scotian Arms for Aguirre, Preservation and Hooker Vision. He's also known for the lush Quiet Evenings releases with his wife, Rachel Evans (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel), but in solo flight his sound is more wide-eyed, exploratory, reaching heady new climes on 'Cult Spectrum', arguably his most vivid vision yet. Perhaps it's thanks to an exquisite mastering job by Lawrence English, but there's a tangible elevation and expansion… Read more
Here’s an interesting one from Blank Dogs’ on-form Captured Tracks imprint – a collection of lesser-known shoegazing fuzz from Jersey band Deardarkhead. Recorded between 1991 and 1993, those of you familiar with the genre should be able to guess the sound, and that familiar soaring guitar squeal we fell in love with on countless Ride and Catherine Wheel tracks is here in spades. Deardarkhead thankfully manage to steer away from the overproduction that plagued many British records at the time though; these tracks sound almost like demos at times and flourish in the gritty lo-fidelity … Read more
*500 copies on clear vinyl* Cute first single lifted from Diagrams' debut LP 'Black Light', backed with a bent edit of 'Hill' by Metronomy's Olugbenga. 'Tall Buildings' recounts the naive joy of travelling from the countryside into a metropolis set to a bouncy, almost C86-style beat and swaying guitar and string orchestrations. Olugbenga's edit of 'Hill' from the group's eponymous EP experiments with hyper pitched vocals and skittering slowfast drum programming with a icier electronic outcome.
Tuesday, 03 January 2012
*Incredible wrap-around sleeve and insert. Limited edition* 'The Last Record' is the earliest and most obscure LP by Samon Takahashi's French experimental avant-garde unit. This is an original copy, first released in 1993 before the group disbanded for the next ten years. The insert tells us "All tracks are based on scratched records with additional help of flute, shakuhachi bamboo flute, whistle, jew's harp, djembe darbuka, tambourine, violin, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, voice, tapes, toys, etc." all of which are deployed in unique and fascinating ways. Essentially it's a musique concrète collage e… Read more
**Includes digital download coupon redeemable from the label** Hailing from San Francisco, this latest from Anticon lad Raleigh Moncrief shows still more diversity in the label's canon. Taking liberal scoops of Animal Collective, Washed Out and Panda Bear, Moncrief's woozy chillwave is an interesting sidestep for the label, and one that pays off well. The more I listen to 'Watered Lawn', the more I begin to hear the comparisons between Moncrief's music and classic Anticon jammers like Why? Or even Themselves. There's just something about the delirious lo-fi production, the wavering voc… Read more
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
Groovement offer a fine three-tracker of hip, mid-tempo House backed with a Carlos Nilmmns remix. Face up, 'Ode To The Ancients' is a dense, gripping groover paying tribute to classic Chicago and New York styles with a twist of his signature Balearic bounce, while 'Twin Sparkle' rides a fat-assed square bass and almost Hip-House drums through vapourous, cosmic electronics. Flip it for Glaswegian, Carlo Nilmmns' chord-enriched Deep House overhaul of 'Able To Find', and Kaspar's passionate, heavy-swinging original.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Mike Harding of Touch fame and UK ambassador for Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland, makes a rare recorded appearance with these two field recordings. They were recorded in West Wittering and Balham using DPA 4060s onto a Nagra Ares P-II digital recorder. We're not made privy to what's actually being recorded on either side, but the topic of interest in 'Repaired' is a curious, whining tone which sounds like wind escaping a cracked window and playing out an eerie little tune. The other side 'Replaced' is much shorter (or longer depending how you view it) and would appear to capture the sound of pissy drizzle before (never) ending in a locked groove.
Lush, experimental and atmospheric rollers from Sam KDC, including a superb 140bpm collaboration with Eveson. On the uptempo tip you'll find the beautiful, awning pads and dextrous drum programming of 'Walk The Path' with his pal Mr. Smith, plus a murderous stepper named 'Betrayed' primed for a proper soundsystem manipulation. On the 140 flex his 'Chalice' collaboration with Eveson is a big recommendation, shifting tonnes of Reese bass weight with an effortless 2-step/Dub-Tech slink, and 'Sparks' offers a more introspective Garage groove produced with typically exquisite attention to detail.
*White label with printed insert* Deadly Techno platter featuring two live cuts/DJ tools from Regis and Ruskin's O/V/R project. A-side is James Ruskin's pummelling 'Live Rhythm Separate', using what sounds like elements of Kalon's 'Born Against' 12" reconfigured with harder kicks and icy, droning atmosphere. The flipside is more intriguing. Karl O'Connor (Regis) disengages from the beat and leaves the resonant rhythmic imprint rolling in a storage tank reverbs punctuated with field recordings and a breathtaking mid-section ascent. This is a something we've personally wanted to hear him doing sin… Read more
Leila heralds her new album on Warp with a smart EP, featuring vocals from The Knife collaborator Mt Sims on lead and title track '(Disappointed Cloud) Anyway'. It's like like an Escher drawing: it works despite making no structural sense - testament to Leila's well-honed writing and production skills. The instrumental version allows us to pay closer attention to the pacy footwork-style rhythm mechanics. 'Not Havin' That' sounds like grime routed through jabbering 90s breakcore and 'Inci' closes the EP on a dreamy, ambient note.
Classy House session with two new Lee Jones grooves plus remixes by UK youngers, George Fitzgerald and Midland. Jones rolls off the big-bottomed, twinkle-toed swinger 'Moment' complemented by a fairly straight-playing, dubbed-out Fitzgerald remix on the A-side, contrasting with the grubbier, grinding Electro-House inflection of 'Duvel' and Midland's intricate remix.
Rounding up the best of RKS' recent digital output on one platter with tracks and remixes by Terror Danjah, Tickles and J:Kenzo. A-side Terror Danjah absolutely decimates Roska's 'Without It' running the riddim inside out with body-twysting syncopation. B-side J:Kenzo leans on a whooping, brick-hard House joint 'Let It Move', and Tickles drop the barking ruffige of 'Da Growler'.
**Includes bonus 7inch plus digital download code redeemable from the label** What set Trinidiadian troupe Black Truth Rhythm Band apart from their funk-flecked contemporaries back in 1976 (when 'Ifetayo' was originally released) was simply that they were looking to a different continent for their influence. Rather than set their sights on America, the band looked to Africa (even taking African names) and this rare Afro-beat hybrid was born. That's not to say there's no funk present on 'Ifetayo', quite the opposite in fact - but the pervading sound is straight out of Africa and it's … Read more
Mark E transforms 'Meu Mengo' into an opulent, ten minute House odyssey on his third remix for the Far Out series. The original recently appeared on Azymuth's 'Aurora' album, but here it's a far more subtle, hypnotic creature, rearranged with a stealth and guile befitting of Mark's reputation as one of the world's finest mid-tempo disco and deep house producer/DJs. A-side features the full length glide, a sumptuous, steady exercise in delayed gratification, while the flip features a swimming 'Head Dub' and the stripped down 'Beats' version. We could very easily mistake this for a Carl Craig production, it's just impeccable.
Monstrously garish Dubstep rave and D&B. A-side delivers sheer Trance peaks and Sam Frank's talkbox-ed vocal reaching for the lazers while flipside Netsky bowls out a charging, 180bpm D&B sound.
"When James Jackson Toth, aka Wooden Wand, was invited to record for a split 7" with his friend Duquette Johnston (formerly of Verbena) and his band the Gum Creek Killers for release on the Communicating Vessels label, his first impulse was to send a track from his legendary archives of unreleased material. But Duquette suggested Toth visit him in Birmingham and they record both sides of the record together, from scratch, using the same band, at Ol Elegante Studios in Homewood, AL. Toth claimed that it was one of the most positive recording experiences that he ever had, and immediately wanted t… Read more
Peepholes are the Brighton/London duo of Katia Barrett and Nick Carlisle and they make the kind of jagged, electrically charged avant rock music you'd usually hope to hear on a Deerhoof album. That's not to say 'Caligula' is a studied listen mind you, Peepholes aren't afraid to inject their songs with a DFA-primed floor stomping rhythm, and the synth-heavy, percussive jammers present here will likely leave most with a smile on their face. There's something labored and hard working about 'Caligula', no doubt due to the intense recording process from veteran recording artist Sherry Ostapovitch (Thro… Read more
"Newcomers The Last Hurrah!! was a pleasant surprise with their acclaimed debut album "Spiritual Non-Believers" earlier this year. On the back of this UK music mag Mojo invited them to cover a track from Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" for their September issue. Their take on the most iconic and uncoverable of Floyd tracks, "The Great Gig In The Sky", had readers and journalists naming it the outstanding contribution to the project. Here it is in all its glory together with their interpretation of another classic, Sandy Denny´s "Who Knows Where The Time Goes" and two new originals penned by Hurrah mainman HP Gundersen."
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
*Faithful reproduction of a seminal Brazilian psych-folk LP from 1973* The Rozenblit archives yield another Holy Grail to Mr Bongo with Lula E Lailson's only release as Satwa - regarded by many as Brazil's first independent record. Their self-titled debut is an almost entirely instrumental affair, largely due to the fact their lyrics would never pass the strict censors at a time when newspapers would apparently print cake recipes on the front page in place of rejected news stories. But that is possibly one of the record's greatest strengths; in the absence of vocals emotions are expressed more p… Read more
The clandestine duo known as Cessa unveil themselves as Oliver Caird and IF Music's Jean-Claude on their 6th 12". A-side 'Nameless' rolls out Soca-synched snares and plump, pushy subs with tweaky bleeps for the 2011 warehouse vibe while B-side 'Flow' steps up to 138bpm on a swinging acid boogie flex.
*Faithful reproduction of this stunning rarity pressed on 180g audiophile vinyl with fold out lyric sheet* Mr Bongo's Rozenblit reissue scheme follows up that crucial (and quite bonkers) Tom Zé LP with Lula Cortes' revelatory side of folked-up and tripped-out Brazilian psych-rock. 'Rosa De Sangue' was conceived in 1980 as the closing chapter to Lula's 'Abracadabra' art collective in Recife - which had existed since the release of his 1973 LP 'Satwa' - just prior to him signing the major label deal that resulted in the far tamer 'O Gosto Novo da Vida' LP in 1981. In all respects, it's a min… Read more
Monday, 12 December 2011
*Blue vinyl includes download code redeemable from the label* LA's Swahili Blonde supergroup embrace all manner of exotic and No Wave sounds on their highly endearing sophomore LP. 'Psycho Tropical Ballet Pink' is their lush followup to last years scratchier debut 'Man Meat' and notably features the likes of RHCP's John Frusciante and Fool's Gold's Brad Caulkins on guest duties accenting the mellow but psychedelic melee of ideas and styles helmed by Nicole Turley, formerly of dub punks WEAVE! Inside, convention is cast aside in favour of a playfully syncretic approach, patc… Read more
"Paper Dollhouse is the work of Astrud Steehouder; dark minimal gothic folk which comprises haunting vocals, acoustic guitar, effects pedals, found sounds, slide projector and minimal electronic atmospherics. Her debut album 'A Box Painted Black' is set for release this winter on Bird Records, the femme-folk off shoot of the Finders Keepers family. Inspired by early 60s electronic pioneers Delia Derbyshire and Eliane Radique, bleak British television soundtracks, minimal dark electronica, Scott Walker, Arthur Russell, Christine Harwood and France Galle, the music combines simple f… Read more
Thursday, 08 December 2011
Numbers push up with two futurist electro funk and soul jams from Montreal's Sibian & Faun, and Redihno. Frontside is the massively promising debut from Sibian & Faun, 'Sorry' - a flawless darkside glide thru emotive R&B glossollia, neon synth pollutants and a tormented 2-step/Dubstep rhythm - imagine a more radged, seething Holy Other and you're in the right ball park. Flipside Redihno's 'Stay Together' captures a more melancholy romantic essence with crooning voicebox alloyed to depth-charge 808s and lushly dissonant synth drones, kinda like Dam Funk jamming with Jimmy Edgar. Wicked.
Debut album from VVV on Glasgow's Fortified Audio. The Texan's hazy-hued but rhythmically robust 2-step variations rarely fail to please, and the LP format gives him room to breathe and show off the full breadth of his abilties. At first his reliance on Burial-style spectral vocal pressure and woodblock percussion don't mark him out as the most original, but it doesn't take long to see he's bringing plenty new to the table: check the strafing synths on 'Jade Mountain', the techno-grime flex of 'Falling Low', the deep house pianos of 'All That We've Been Through'. For fans of El-B, Burial, Horsepow… Read more
Knowing Looks bookends WNCL's 2011 run with another funked-up dancefloor bomb 'Listen To My 45'. Like Todd Edwards on too much church wine, Jason Hopfer jams tidy samples on a woozy, off-centre Garage rhythm with cuckoo'd breakdown and palmed edits before a wickedly slurred ending and falling asleep under the table. Flipside 'Ghost Baby' gets a second wind and comes out all bandy-legged and bonkers, spooling screwy synthlines over clipped breakbeats to keep the party going.
*Psyched-out pop idiosyncracies with a cool Rock'n'Roll swagger and some assistance from Marcus Schmickler. Fans of Planningtorock and PJ Harvey should check it out* "For the Cclose Calll, Yvonne Cornelius has once more performed magic, enveloping little stories in multi-faceted songs. As always the exotic atmosphere that is lost in reverie is maintained. A near escape from the "other" life. Twelve pieces about the question, how one's life might have possibly turned out. Yvonne Cornelius (Niobe), composer of colourful and complex arrangements, and extraordinary vocal virtuoso, narrates in rich… Read more
Graphics slides in with something more blue and melodic backed with a rogue Dem Mantle remix. 'There's A Way Back' is markedly different to his dancefloor-dedicated cuts like 'Wiping The Eye' and 'OK Rainbow', attempting a sober style of beatdown electronica akin to Mount Kimbie or James Blake on the naggingly emotive title track and the slippery rhythms of 'Fiddla'. Dam Mantle's remix picks apart the title tracks and re-patches it as a crooked kind of House track with stumbling square bass, real low-down subs and unique drum programming to brilliant effect - the highlight of the record.
The first new Howling Hex release since 2009's 'Rogue Moon' is a typically cerebral, weird affair from former Royal Trux and Pussy Galore dude, Neil Hagerty. It follows last years audio book version of 'Victory Chimp' with four new songs ranging from spiked ska to off-kilter country all with Neil's very unique take on music.
Drag City uncover another great bit of Manchester post punk experimentalism few knew existed. Originally released on the short-lived Groovy Records, Sally Smmit's 'Hangahar' is a soundtrack to the eponymous film and was recorded in 1979 at Whalley Range's Smile Studios with a cast including former Buzzcock Pete Shelley, Lindsey Lee, Francis Cookson and Gerard Cookson aka The Tiller Boys. Beguiling and esoteric, 'Hangahar' is defined by sparse, minimal percussion rituals and skewed, scrawled synth patterns with Sally and Lindsey's angelic vocals spiralling across the first half,… Read more