‘Sign’ is Autechre’s first new album-album proper since ‘Elseq’ and contains some of their most emosh compositions in eons, perhaps since ‘Tri Repetae’.
Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, ’Sign’ is a return to the sort of concision found circa ‘Exai’ and their earlier albums. Effectively they’ve gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume ‘Elseq’ and 8hrs of ‘NTS Sessions’ have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on ’Sign’.
After their music has undergone what could be called a growth spurt in recent years, the acrid plasma of their complex, hyper-inorganic systems feels to congeal, create more intricate snaps across the album, from the lush cosmic collisions of ‘M4 Lema’, to the rhizomic arp weaving on ‘F7’, while refining their tendons and muscle in the gyrostep of ‘au14’ and ‘such.mefd2’. The anthropomorphisation of their synthesis accelerates with the album’s 2nd half with the elegiac catharsis of ‘Metaz form8’ displaying a greater emotional intelligence, while their shapeshifting synthesis grows semblances of glowing hair and teeth and skin in ’th red a’, and even a plaintive human heartache in the systolic thud and bloo pads of ‘psin AM’ that rawly bleeds out in the album’s future classic closer ‘r cazt’.
This LP was hinted at by Autechre as one of two albums ready for 2020, so we’ll take it this is their “U Ok Hun?” one to some possibly more hardcore turns in the future. Have it.
In pursuit of their acclaimed and already sought-after debut LP, Metal Preyers stake out a grippingly stark second chapter of hallucinatory dread, powered by frayed electronics and cranky wooden drums, no doubt inspired by their time in Kampala, Uganda with the unstoppable Nyege Nyege Tapes. Highly recommended if yr into Mica Levi, Spencer Clark, Duma…
Metal Preyers is the alias of Jesse Hackett and Lord Tusk, alongside visual artist Mariano Chavez. Their second release picks up where the first left us, deep in the scuzzy underbelly of Kampala nightlife, to explore an even more sozzled style encrypted with a sense of melodic intrigue that lends it something of a thriller-like atmosphere.
‘Boötes Void’ stealthily unfolds with the sounds of processed leopard snarls, soured string dissonance, and crumbling rhythms, at a stygian pace. Like crafty psychopomps, they lure listeners into surreal, otherworldly settings and evoke uncanny sensations with a palette of textured, coruscating electronics and blood-curdled tones set to palpitating, distant percussion with the most arresting/paralysing effect.
For comparison, they share something of the impending apocalyptic atmosphere to Duma’s blinding debut, as well as hints of Spencer Clark simulating an eclipse on the equator, or even Mica Levi’s warped soundtrack for Monos, but there’s just something unshakeably paranoid and genuinely unsettling to Metal Preyers concrète sound-sphere that gets right under the skin and holds the ear’s gaze with frightening traction.
Following last year’s inaugural box set, Power Corruption & Lies is the next Definitive Edition to chronical New Order's run of albums.
"The box includes an LP, two CDs, two DVDs and a book, features the album remastered for the first time from the original analogue tape masters on LP, and CD. The Extras CD contains previously unreleased writing sessions from New Order’s Manchester rehearsal rooms and the 1982 John Peel Session for the BBC. The DVDs capture New Order live during 1982 & 83 at The Hacienda and Kilkenny, the 1984 Play at Home Channel 4 TV documentary and other rare live & TV performances. Finally a beautiful 48 page hardback book of rare photos and brand new essay from Dave Simpson completes the Peter Saville designed box. Power, Corruption & Lies was recorded in 1982 at Britannia Row Studios, Islington and produced by New Order."
0PN mounts a definitive opus with his rapturous 9th studio album, entirely produced during lockdown, with “executive production” by The Weeknd, who also supplies vocals alongside Arca and Caroline Polachek.
‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ is titled after the mispronunciation of Magic 106.7, a local radio station in Boston, Massachusetts; the state where Daniel Lopatin aka 0PN grew up, and where the album was created. The radio station’s adult contemporary programming is a formative and enduring influence on 0PN’s music, and it’s clear that he’s saved this album title for some of his most accomplished tributes to his influences, but refracted thru his prismatic styles to illustrate the distance between that era, and this, with some of his most elusive, illusive and beguiling sound design wrapped up in a mix of stunningly mazy and pop-toned arrangements.
0PN is one of those artists we’d imagine took to lockdown quite naturally, sequestering themselves away to immerse in their art for the good of everyone outside. Written between March and July, the results of ‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ speak for themselves as 0PN’s most broadly appealing record, typically placing avant-inventiveness and curiosity at the service of a tumultuous narrative that really needs some kind of road-trip simulation game to go along with its possessed dial-strafing.
You’re probably familiar with the album’s opening sequence, which appeared on a lead single, and includes the lushest FM synthesis of 2020 in ‘Long Road Home’, and the rest of the album follows suit with a profligate approach to genre, cutting from phased dream-pop grunge in ’I Don’t Love Me Anymore’, to hypnagogic ident collage in ‘The Whether Channel’, and The Weeknd’s romantic ‘80s power pop turn on ‘Lost But Never Again’, crucially fractured with cut-scenes and mutant jingling of the ‘Cross Talk’ parts that tie the album’s story together with something approaching a sonic-visual analog of Safdie Brothers’ choppy editing gone lysergic.
Sheffield’s industrial music legends returns with a first album in 25 years, shaking up a classic style that has come to influence countless others, from Regis and Powell, to NIN and Mark Fell, since the band first emerged in the late ’70s
Cabaret Voltaire now revolves sole surviving member, Richard H. Kirk, but mostly sound just like they did in their ’80s heyday, mixing agitprop samples with cranky mechanical grooves and sparky synths in a sulky SoYo style they have exported to record collections across the globe. You probably already know they’ve become a byword for this sort of music, and ’Shadow of Fear’ is definitive Cab’s, like.
RHK’s longheld latin kinks come out to play in the cyberpunk soirée opener, and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge)’ shows the hordes of drum machine/synth wielding scuzzers how to do it. With a level of sort of psycho-dub sorcery that’s become RHK’s signature, he properly get his hands in there and twists structures like an avant metalsmith or mad scientist, creating strange temporal distance in the ruptured breaks of ‘Microscopic Flesh Fragment’, and panel-beating out 10 mins of factory line disco in ‘Universal Energy’, plus some dodgy Goan techno in ‘Vasto’, and a throwback to Cab’s (and his own) influence over early acid house in the cuboid bass and chattering bleeps of ’Night of the Jackal.’
Sound artist Jasmine Guffond and composer Erik K Skodvin bring the best out of each other in a masterfully moody, unpredictable collaboration featuring sylphlike guest vocals by Finnish psych spirit Islaja.
Brought together by Sonic Pieces’ Monique Recknagel for the label’s 10th anniversary show in 2019, Guffond and Skodvin’s live performance was so strong that an album was commissioned and ‘The Burrow’ is the brooding result. Named after Kafka’s unfinished short story, written six months before his death, and revolving “a small creature who builds a burrow that's anxiously fortified in an attempt to protect against perceived attacks”, the album unfolds with a quietly immanent, intimate procession from stately classical minimalism gilded with haunting glossolalic vox by Merja Kokkonen (Islaja), before nesting in a prickly lush haze of cymbals and subbass on ‘White Eyes’, and further exploring that cocooning sub bass into ‘The Burrower’ and ‘Cozumel Trasher’, but somewhat threatened by anxious outside forces with a masterful grasp of quiet/loud dynamics.
The album gives both artists a mutual, inspired platform for summoning their ability to conjure uncanny, emotionally charged sensations and totally enveloping, abstract narratives.
Sote puckers up beautifully bittersweet synthetic orchestrations in a staggering new marvel for Opal Tapes, home to some of his most blinding modern works - BIG RIYL Arca, Björk, Autechre.
Entirely synthesised nose-to-tail yet often sounding uncannily instrumental, ‘Moscels’ sees Sote’s acute proprioceptive grasp of acoustic physics transposed into deeply uncanny electronic simulacra. Moving away from the more explosive dynamics of his preceding string of zingers, ‘Moscels’ effectively comes up somewhere between the developments of late ‘90s Æ, Analord-era AFX, and the fascinating new tonal accents and synthesised electronics also voiced by Rashad Becker, but blossoming with dizzying sprouts of fractal magick and needlepoint rhythmic ingenuity in a thrillingly unstable but beautifully coherent style that Sote can safely call his own.
The ‘Moscels’ of the title for Sote’s sixth album refer to his modular synthesisers’ physical modelling features and oscillators, and gives a strong hint at what Sote intends to convey with the tactile physicality to his new body of work. Working within finely attuned parameters optimised for expression, he enacts a spellbinding abstract narrative between the five parts with a hugely convincing confidence in his own compositional abilities. Holding back on the more typical IDM rushes and impulses, his pieces move with a classical symphonic mastery in a boldly modernist new way that allows for the damaged vulnerability of noise and expressively complex tunings that speak to the artist’s heavy sense of traditional roots and keening, visionary futurism.
We’d end up tying ourselves in knots trying to describe the thrillingly density of movement and emotive gradients to ‘Moscels’ controlled maelstroms, but its perhaps best summed in how much it reminds us of the inexplicable enigma and visual opulence of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle, or perhaps the melodrama of Arca with the theatrics toned down, firmed up and perhaps maturer in a classical, timeless sense. But that said it’s still daringly iconoclastic and ravishingly future-curious, recalling awe-inspiring works by Xenakis or Autechre, and more recently Cameron Shafii. It’s properly rewarding stuff, dive in with both feet.