Enhet För Fri Musik
Det Finns Hjärta Som För Dig
Enhet För Fri Musik
Det Finns Hjärta Som För Dig
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Another peach from the STROOM〰 label, this selection of avant-garde pop by NSRD catches the ace Belgian label looking beyond The Lowlands to one of Latvia’s most important, multi-disciplinary groups of the 1980s, sounding out a style somewhere between the slyvan, drizzly post punk of Vazz and the poetic art-pop of Lena Platonos, but with a chilly Baltic air all of its own.
Circling core members Juris Boiko (1954-2002) and Hardijs Lediņš (1955-2004), NSRD or The Workshop for the Restoration of Unfelt Feeling were a self-professed group of non-musicians who happened to make music as part of their practice, which also encompassed performance and action art, visual arts, poetry, samizdat (clandestine or bootleg literature) and video art, all in a fine attempt to explain, import and transpose postmodern art ideas into their home country.
NSRD called their movement ‘Approximate Art’, and by the end of the ‘80s were working with West German artists such as Indulis Bilzēns and Maximilian Lenz aka Westbam. This set surveys the years leading up to and including the late ‘80s, mostly collected from from reel-to-reels, tapes and obscure releases via Seque and their own Approximate Art label.
It’s all a bit like watching or listening in on someone else’s strange dreams, or tuning in to an unidentified radio station, where the lo-fi quality and synthetic inputs give a weirdly detached yet captivating quality that we can’t quite place a finger on. It lends an heavy-lidded lullaby-like effect to Karstvīna recepte / Uz pirti / Garām aiziet vīrs ar cigareti, whilst the icy slow synth-pop élan of Pļava provides a massively seductive highlight to lovers of Northern electronics, and Kastanis beautifully catches that Vazz sound, but replacing their supple dub suss with a strange mix of plasmic tones and brittle groove.
Kurmja aptuvenie ceļi finds them porous to mystic eastern influence and the possibilities of computer music in a way that recalls László Hortobágyi’s imaginative fusions from the same era, and the industrial klang of Ievadmūzika Maskavas TV programmai “LAIKS” - or Intro Music for the Moscow TV programme “TIME” has got to be one of the sickest, dissonant ‘80s TV themes we’ve ever heard.
Total revelation this one.
Floating Di Morel / Ulf
Floating Di Morel / Ulf
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Inna Babalon is perhaps the strongest indictment of John T. Gast’s eldritch, even medieval-tinged take on UK-bassed dub themes, ‘fessed up for the natty, mystic 5 Gate Temple label.
Firmly pushing a personalised furrow of rolling, stepping drum machines and near-baroque choral arrangements, the follow-up album to Excerpts for Planet Mu is more defined by a consistent, tangible thread of logic than its predecessor, working like the soundtrack to a lo-fi, time-travelling Brit-flick set between modern day Brixton and some stone circle in Cornwall circa the 17th century.
It’s very fair to say he’s in his own world here, working away at a cauldron of bubbling drum machines and oxidised synths to reveal a sort of nostalgic regression for parallel dimensions in eight parts.
We’re totally smitten with this guy’s work, it’s kinda hard to put into words how much he’s nailing a sound we hold so dearly. And if you’re on the same tip, we urge you to check his amazing Blowing Up the Workshop mix-turned-LP if you haven’t already.
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A ghostly, pastoral pop bewt from Belgium’s Okraina Records, Delphine Dora & Mocke’s debut collaboration is what wet summers were made for: staying indoors and indulging your sweetest pop folk-pop tooth.
As the latest 2 x 10”s from the charmingly precious Okraina label, the etheric coos and jangles of Le Corps Défendant joins a small but perfectly formed cast to follow-up Delphine & Eloïse Decazes Folk Songs Cycle and La Maison d’Amour’s persian classical pursuits with a hushed and rustling set informed by late night jazz and classical as folk, country, and presumably the psilocybin experience.
“There is something special about when artists like these collaborate. Two independent talents, both completely self-sufficient choosing to come together and see what happens, to let the muses mingle and share the results with the rest of us. What we have here, however, is not some quick jam caught on tape but a long distance collaboration carefully put together over three years. The result is something that gives us a broad overview of the two talents spotlighted here, showcasing many different moods, sounds and styles. Created like an exquisite corpse story they sent each other music to work on with no instructions or suggestions, just some inspiring mix tapes of everyone from Duke Ellington to Harry Patch. They clearly found their way.
As well as her own music (which ended up on Pitchfork’s best of 2015 list), Delphine runs the excellent Wild Silence record label. As well as being a solo artist, Mocke has played with the likes of Arlt, Holden and Midget !
On this record, Mocke plays the guitar and Delphine sings and plays everything else. He’s one hell of a guitar player, bringing to mind Loren Connors, John Fahey and anyone who ever took a six string and mastered it their own damn way. Delphine sings sweetly, sometimes from classic texts or as a glossolalia (divinely expressing without words), though to a non-French speaker you would swear was some lost classic pop song reinterpreted in her own style.
Both Delphine and Mocke are originally from Paris but both have long since left, Mocke for Brussels and Delphine for the deepest French countryside. That difference can be found in their music. Mocke’s music is urbane with a touch of inner-city paranoia. Delphine’s music always sounds isolated in a big landscape. They compliment each other as opposites.
Like all Okraina releases, the stunning artwork is by Gwénola Carrère and I can’t think of anyone better suited to try and encapsulate this stunningly varied and vivid album. The title does not translate to English as it is a poetic corruption of a common phrase. I think something similar happened to common music on this album. Ned Netherwood, Was Ist Das?
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Félicia Atkinson is a multidisciplinary artist with many strings to her bow. Hand In Hand elevates her work to a completely higher plain as far as we are concerned though; fusing field recordings, modular and MIDI electronics with an almost hypnotising line in whispered/ASMR vocal narration to subliminally affective degrees, lulling us into an alien - yet incredibly human - soundsphere. It’s rare to hear a singular artistic vision translated into a sound that is so inherently personal and inviting - but somehow Hand In Hand is both one of the most accessible, and most experimental albums we encountered in 2017. It’s riddled with so much nuance that many months on we’re still discovering hidden new crevices with every listen. If you’ve yet to hear it - what are you waiting for?
Preeminent avant-garde composer Felicia Atkinson weaves myriad, filigree electro-acoustic and non-musical metanarratives in her totally absorbing follow-up to A Readymade Ceremony  - a remarkable album which attracted high acclaim worldwide and pushed her to the core of the modern experimental sphere.
Hand In Hand consolidates Atkinson's refined palette of modular and MIDI electronics with ASMR voices, field recordings and instrumental improvisation to subliminally affective degrees, whilst conveying the ambitious complexities of her sound art with a harmoniously organic, spaciously poised appeal.
Where her last album A Readymade Ceremony emerged fully formed from a protracted period of experimentation and research whilst based in The Alps c. 2013-2015, Hand In Hand finds Félicia building a metaphysical playground on its foundations, meshing recordings and lyrics - found and composed between her home in Brittany and Stockholm’s EMS facilities - into a finely sculpted and dreamlike web of subtle sensations and hyperstisised fiction.
In the process she brings closer together a wide-range of her artistic practices, incorporating elements of sculpture and painting along with sound installation, multichannel diffusion and live performance into her ever-expanding sonic vocabulary and grammar. Whether consumed on headphones or loudspeakers, it’s clear to hear this sharply honed sound sensitivity come into play as her carefully hushed vocals are bathed in placid yet suspenseful tones and almost imperceptibly underlined by an attention to timbral detail and those infrasonic frequencies normally ignored or blithely unattended by other composers within the field.
This all becomes apparent within the first side’s transition from warbling ambient-pop/neo-classical in I’m Following You to a stark contrast of hushed ASMR vocals and Rashad Becker-ish crack-bug electronics in Valis laid over Oren Ambarchi-esque bass tones, and then again into the hyaline gamelan dimensions of Curious In Epidavros, each laced with layers of spectral detail that only reveal themselves after multiple listens, and quite differently in each mode (headphones or speakers).
The dichotomies or paradoxes between the seen/heard/felt and unseen/unheard/elusive continue to beautifully, mystically inform and frame the rest of the album; begging us to chase her vocals around the stereo field of and mazy shimmers of Adaptation Assez Facile into the upside down oddness of Monstera Deliciosa’s rising basses and the curiously erotic lyrics about plants in Visage, before calving off into squashed rhythms with the hymn, A House A Dance A Poem, emerging into the sublime, weightless ambience of Hier Le Désert, and the surreal avian jazz Buchla strokes that resolve No Fear But Anticipation.
In the best way this is a record that is immediate and enduring; transparent yet oblique, riddled with nuance and underlying layers that keener listeners will discover in their own time.
I Won't Have To Think About You
I Won't Have To Think About You
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Psych-folk invocations from the wilds of Maine, USA
“Millions Brazilians formed in Portland, Oregon in 2006. Founding members Grant Corum and Suzanne Stone have been central to the band since it’s inception, while a rotating line-up backs them depending on their latest vision for the sound. The band carry out their own interpretation of a genre bending ethos that has evolved throughout the American underground. Drifting between boundless compositions, focused energetic improvisations and experimental collaborations that embrace a weird sort of transcendence.
Their next installment Red Rose & Obsidian was recorded in Maine and engineered by Big Blood’s Caleb Mulkerin. Both he and the band deliver a powerful yet fragile and personal release. The mythical and evocative recordings are inspired by Maine's rugged coastlines; mournful ripples of sound wash up on the shore, whilst a lonesome, at times harrowing saxophone drifts through the rolling mountains, providing unsettling melodic interludes. Electronic treatments veil organic sounds, a fleeting whistle meets spontaneously with spacey flutes, mutated rock rhythms are topped off with the soaring vocals of Suzanne who leads the listeners into the magical world of the Million Brazilians.”
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An awe-inspiring sampler of the late, great musical polymath’s music. From pop punk pop to field recordings, jazz, horror film music, ambient sounds, experimental ideas and all points in between. Many tracks have not been released before.
"Basil Kirchin was a unique talent. A man brought up as a drummer in the post war big band era, he soon shunned the sounds of London ballrooms for world travel, marijuana and spiritual enlightenment. On his return to London in the mid 1960s he started work on experimental “sound picture music”, a direction that led him into horror film music, library music and eventually to field recordings.
He then developed the idea of slowing down the sounds of bird, insects, animals, autistic children – anything he recorded in fact – to reveal the hidden particles of sound that made them up. Mixing this with free jazz improvisation in 1969 he developed a new, peculiar sound that we now know as “ambient”. Here, in this unique Trunk Record’s sampler, we offer a fascinating musical glimpse into his world, bringing together work from three decades, PLUS parts of a long conversation between Jonny Trunk and Basil Kirchin recorded a few months before he died.
There is unreleased film music, field recordings including autistic children from Schurmatt, music for advertising, the opening of “Quantum”, brilliant mixes of jazz and birds (“Charcoal Sketches”), the newly discovered digital post punk classic “Silicon Chip” plus brilliant and moving homages to his life with Esther, his wife. Together it makes extraordinary listening."