Following a strong, sorely slept-on debut album last year and a bunch of audio-visual collaborations with Klein and Lol K, LA Timpa returns with a standout second album of gauzy, avant-soul and dream-pop that comes highly recommended if you’re into Prince’s ‘I Wonder U’ or similarly blunted bloooz from A.R. Kane, Klein, Panda Bear, Smog, Yves Tumor, Micachu and even Smog.
After marking himself one-to-watch with ‘Equal Amounts Afraid’ for the O___o? label, run by underground LDN catalyst Koyejo Oloko, LA Timpa leads on from the diaristic vignettes of that amazing Wayne Phoenix album, issued earlier this year on Halcyon Veil, with a vulnerable, gauzy expression of outsider soul in ‘Modern Antics in a Deserted Place’. The “place” of his title could be practically anywhere during lockdown, and his music’s mix of textured collage, warped ambient, and hunkered songcraft surely fits the mood of frayed and brooding minds in gutted cities with a timely and timeless bedroom pop appeal.
The album’s nine songs unfurl in effortlessly beguiling shapes, poetically eliding cut-up rhythms and plaintive chants on ‘Quarterback’, while ‘Deaf in Three Corners’ mints an iridescent mix of pop and keening electronics a la Panda Bear that leans into the dream-pop propulsion of album centrepiece ‘Pomisea’, and the lush simulacra of street noise psychedelia and distress in ‘Common’.
Timpa’s asymmetric flux then settles down on the B-side with a heart stroked slice of close-mic’d songcraft from the Smog handbook in ‘Wicked’, and slopes off into the oneiric reversed loops and opiated murmur of ‘Best Friend’, and ’Spin’ touches on Lou Reed levels of dirgy drawl sprinkled with ambient fairydust that appears to curdle in the sore harmonic waste of his ‘Tongue Tear Drum’ kiss-off.
It took a f*cking pandemic to get them back, but SALEM finally stake their 2nd album a square decade since ‘King Night’ topped lists and pretty much defined the whole witch house thing
The cult Midwest US band, now a duo of Jack Donohue and John Holland, served a high water mark of that era circa 10 years ago, mixing chopped & screwed tekkers with doomy, emosh metal, gothic pop and hardstyle in a way that’s come to heavily influence or at least foreshadow the 2010s decade of soundcloud rappers, industrial mutations, and much more beside. They were regulars on our playlists back then, and ‘Fire In Heaven’ makes a welcome return in a world we couldn’t have predicted, with a pop-tart batch still snagged on saccharine trance hooks and grungy emo riffs, and smashed with medical grade negative-ecstasy numbness.
Chasing up this years killer ‘Stay Down’ mixtape with its unmissable use of Prokofiev-via-Trump, SALEM’s sophomore LP sees them grow older naturally while staying true to what makes them special. Preceding singles ‘Red River’ and ‘Starfall’ were strong indictors of what to expect, but they’re best consumed in syrupy slow flow of the album context, from the frozen face feels of ‘Not Much Of A Life’, thru the embroidered choral noise of ‘Braid’, allowing for some proper emo wallowing in ‘Old Gods’, and saving huge highlights for the gothic US modernism of ‘Sears Tower’ and the title track’s detuned Reese bass.
“Listen as if you were being told a secret” - Federico Fellini
"A companion piece to 2018’s Listening To Pictures, this second volume in the pentimento series presents eight new tracks by the music visionary, continuing his lifelong exploration of the possibilities of recombination and musical gene-splicing. Pentimento is defined as the “reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed and painted over” and this is evident in the innovative production style that ‘paints with sound’ using overlapping nuances to create an undefinable and intoxicating new palette.
In classic Hassell fashion, the title can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but perhaps the most pertinent at the moment is the human instinct to sing and play through a rain of difficulties. A future blues of indeterminate and ever-shifting shape. The album is buffered by two 8-minute plus epics at the beginning and the end - the hypnotic “Fearless” with it’s metronomic, almost Can-like rhythm, and blurry, noir-ish texture of sound emerging like car headlights from the fog; mirrored at the end of the record by the beautiful sci-fi lullaby of “Timeless”, a track with a gaseous, billowing quality as electronic clicks and bubbles float over a landscape of shimmering, glacially paced complexity. The bridge between those two worlds is no less compelling, from the frantic, spidery IDM sketch of “Reykjavik” to the collapsed-time ballad of “Unknown Wish”. Whilst containing seeds of classic ‘fourth world’ fusion, this record finds the artist still questing to create new forms and mutations of music, a thrilling window into what music could sound like in a world to come."
Bunita Marcus is subject of a first vinyl release with her ‘Lecture For Jo Kondo’, written for Morton’s group, Feldman & Soloists and premiered in 1985, and now accompanied by a dramatic new David August deconstruction .
“Not a lecture in the literal or recognisable sense, the piece is dedicated to the Japanese composer Jo Kondo, who was a friend and exchanger-of-ideas with Marcus. “I think it is a demonstration of the serial patterning I developed by being inspired by his Kondo's ‘Standing’ and how that just messes with your mind”, says Bunita, adding the following:
“’Lecture For Jo Kondo’ was conceived as an instrumental work. The voice part is just another instrument – an optional instrument at that. This isn’t a work where I took a text and wrote music to it. I wrote the music, heard and sensed a speaking part, but it took me a few years to get text that worked in this context. I met the Nico Vassilakis and got to love his work, so I added a speaking part using excerpts from his poem ‘Lowered and Illuminated.’
Musically and compositionally innovative, LFJK? is one of the first works to use consonance in the second half of the 20th century that was not tonal. It also introduces the idea of serialism as an aspect of neuroscience: “This is something that Jo and I had in common. This piece is based in complex theories I am calling ‘serialism’ and showing how Repetition + Mutation = Patterning. It is this patterning that is the basis of musical language and thought”, explains Marcus.
Taking listeners into a sound space unlike any they’ve been to before, the 20 plus minute piece is both dissonant and beautiful. The prominent broad strokes of LFJK are an alternating exchange between Bunita’s voice performance and Adapter Ensemble’s sound clusters, where a repetitive violin refrain at the fore is joined by flute, percussion and piano.
99Chants label owner and notable electronic musician David August provides a more machine-based deconstruction, changing most of the instrumentation and sound design, but maintaining the same narrative. He transports the listener through different environments, all equally connecting to Bunita’s voice, but changing the point of view. Within the release’s illuminating artwork is August’s visual score for his version, where traditional notation is replaced by a Kandinsky-esque abstract diagram.”
Yves Tumor’s 2nd album for Warp sees him assume full form as indie-soul-pop mutant for the times. Tumor handles the majority of writing and production on his most pop-sculpted recording to date, with co-production supplied by Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Ariel Pink, Charli XCX) and a co-writing credit to Clara La San. It sounds a bit like if Prince had grown up 20 years later and naturally drew for Animal Collective as his backing band.
"Heaven To A Tortured Mind -written and composed by Yves Tumor and produced by Yves Tumor and Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Ariel Pink, Charli XCX)- marks the fourth official full-length release from Yves Tumor and the follow-up to 2018's 'Safe In The Hands Of Love'. Yves Tumor has steered the project into a whole new realm with Heaven To A Tortured Mind, piercing through contradiction, redefining expression through song, and catapulting Yves Tumor into the next phase of illusion and evolution. Heaven To A Tortured Mind finds its place in music history as a collection of anthems for a generation."
Quirke’s ghostly take on IDM/electronica/ambient techno was always suited to long-formats and ‘Steal A Golden Hall’ proves it with nine diverse tracks spooling from rave-obliterated ambient noise to nervy electro, spring-loaded jungle, and haunted ambient headspace.
"Are you still there?" "Yeah so she said the body is the mind's measuring instrument or something - the mind renders information registered on its sensory surface, combines it with old info from the same source and keeps the whole accumulated stock poised to guide action" "Hence why it sounds like this?" "Yeah exactly"