Nyege Nyege Tapes boss Arlen Dilsizian aka Moroto Hvy Indstr supplies a jaw-dropping mix of field recordings made in Sub Saharan Africa between 1949-1977 on NPLGNN’s cherry-picking MBE Series, astutely highlighting parallels between little-heard African musics and ancient art and their echoes in the European avant-garde over the same period.
Truly a music nerd’s wet dream, MBE 004 comprises field recordings recorded between 1949 and 1977 in Sub Saharan Africa and compiled by Moroto Hvy Indstr, whose influential and world-class label Nyege Nyege Tapes has practically revolutionised perceptions of modern African music - particularly from East, central and South Africa - to a global audience over the past half decade. The tape gives some vital background to the selector and label’s interests in African music, combining his studies and trade as Anthropologist-cum-label owner with his passion for beguiling and radical music to present a thrilling, educational mix that arguably proves the Western music world’s shocking and perhaps unpardonable lack of knowledge of these prescient and naturally radical works, and that sprawling part of the world in general.
Racking up 40 tracks from (deep breath) - Congo DRC/ Congo Brazzaville/ Nigeria/ Niger/ Ethiopia/ Gabon/ Cameroon/ Malawi/ Namibia/ Tanzania/ Central African Republic/ Togo/ Guinea/ Ivory Coast/ Rwanda/ Liberia/ Angola/ Madagascar/ Togo/ Sudan/ Ghana / South Africa and Uganda - your man lets most tracks play out in their entirety, with only dabs of reverb and echo in transitions, and most crucially never looping it up - acutely highlighting how these styles do repetition that’s always different but ever the same in a way that’s become a holy grail for so, so much European avant garde and experimental electronic music, but which doesn’t acknowledge it nearly enough.
In Moroto Hvy Indstr’s own words “This mix tries to explore similar territory from a different angle. I have tried to select field recordings that puts 'traditional' or 'classical' music from Sub Saharan Africa in direct conversation with modern avant-garde compositions of the same era, especially 1950's - 1970's electronic compositions, anything from Jocy De Oliveira, John Cage, Gruppo D'Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Steve Reich etc.” and we can only affirm he does it incredibly well.
Do not sleep on this!!!
Another beautiful edition from 12th Isle, this one from Denis Morin aka Vague Imaginaires on a washed out / sunset vibe that sounds to us like Maurizio if he was feeling Balearic.
"The Underwater Island is a collection of four tracks from Grenoble based producer Denis Morin. Philosopher, gardener, father and sonic explorer. Our friendship dates back over a decade, with some of this music first shared during a visit to Glasgow almost 5 years to the day - when 12th Isle the label was but an idea. For ISLE009, Vague Imaginaires gifts us with autobiographical field recordings, FM synthesis and skilled sound design inspired by the ocean and the Drac river which flows through the mountains of his city.
Harmonising natural sound sources with digital realms, he navigates through minimalism, ambient techno and flashes of dub inspiration. Morin combines these musical ideas with Roland TR-8, 303 emulations, hydrophone recordings and vocal fragments from Tunisia, Morocco and Vercors Massif."
Vladimir Karpov’s questing Soviet synthesizer designs as X.Y.R. evoke desolate landscapes, lost worlds, and labyrinthine inner realms but his latest is less destination than journey: Pilgrimage.
"Comprised of two simmering, serpentine side-long compositions – “Black Monk In The Dunes” b/w “Echoes Of Time” – the album summons a sense of pensive processions across shifting sands, “an internal dialogue with reflections and obscure images,” twilit horizons dimming to starlit mirage. Karpov likens these long-form voyages to temple meditations, “trips in search of something,” looking in as looking out.
Whispery pulses of percussion echo under ancient cosmos keys while devotional textures drift like smoke from nomadic encampments. The sound of water in a well or an exotic caged bird occasionally cuts through the holy haze shrouding these ceremonies but the truth of their trance never wavers, the guiding star holds its light, the pilgrim progresses. Attuned achievements by a deepening master."
D.K.’s blissed performance at intimate S. Korean venue The Edge becomes the latest LP on 12th Isle
Following in a familiar vein to D.K.’s enchanted fortcoming Good Morning Tapes EP ‘The Goddess Is Dancing’, the Paris-based producer of Vietnamese descent spies a rolling soundscape of lissom rhythmic contours and finely graded harmonic humidities across the tranquilising expanse of ‘Live at The Edge’.
Everything inside feels to float gradually higher from the ground and hold a mid-air conference of chirruping avian electronics, wilting gamelan-like tones and DMT-breath synth chorales on the A-side, while the B-side introduces purring low end and nimbly stepping percussion until it wins up in massage chamber ambience.
Mark Fell and Will Guthrie join forces for the second time this year with ‘Diffractions’, the 2nd in a two part series released via the new NAKID label set up by Koshiro Hino of Goat / YPY fame. On 'Diffractions' the pair push ever deeper into percussive R&D informed/inspired by Gamelan and Carnatic musics - massively tipped if you’re into anything from Autechre’s Confield-era abstractions to Milford Graves’ fluid drumming or even the insular soundworld of The Necks.
Rhythm has always been central to Fell’s work, from his icy, repetitive minimalist excursions with SND to his legendary run of unashamedly funked abstract house experiments as Sensate Focus. Here, he continues to excavate that rich seam with an ongoing collaboration with Aussie percussionist Will Guthrie; “Diffractions” pushing both artists’ interests into sharper detail, toying with polyrhythms and unusual tuning to uncover a suite of transformative fidget spins and sonic storm clouds.
“Diffractions” features another two lengthy pieces of future-facing percussive abstractions that blur the line between synthetic and organic. Taking the influence of gamelan and fusing it with the heaving computer music that Fell has obsessively picked-at over the last four decades, the duo here zoom into a sound that’s almost effortlessly engaging; each piece is almost twenty minutes in length but they shift and mutate into polyrhythmic outer-realms and eerie universes of microtonality that are hard to fathom in one sitting.
There are trace echoes of free jazz hanging from the rafters, the post-everything clatter of Humcrush and Food drummer Thomas Strønen’s mind-expanding solo material or even Autechre at their most confounding. The genius here is that just when you convince yourself that this music could only possibly have been generated by a computer, Guthrie’s unmistakably human flex edges into focus - playing with your perception - your expectations - in the most bold, innovative way imaginable. Basically, this record fucking rules.
Mark Fell and Will Guthrie deliver the first release for Koshiro Hino's (Goat, YPY) newly minted NAKID label with a pair of extended, astonishing rhythmic inventions that mess with meter and space through interlocking, polyrhythmic and polymetric variations inspired by Gamelan and South Indian Carnatic musics.
‘Infoldings’ combines synthesis and sinew in unpredictable, pointillist arrangements where Guthrie plays against patterns derived from Max MSP patches by Fell. The album’s two tracks are in this sense different to the man-machine concept of Fell’s acclaimed ‘Intra’ album, where he triggered performances by Portugal’s Drumming Grupo De Percussão to play a metallophone designed by Iannis Xenakis. Here, the pair find common/contrasting purpose in a probing of rhythmic signatures, with groundbreaking, unusual results.
Recorded at HFG, Karlsruhe (where Fell is guest professor), and finished later in respective isolation, the two pieces were edited from iterations of call-and-response between Fell’s rhythmic patterns and Guthrie’s overdubs. They effectively propose beguiling and convincing solutions to electronic music’s problems with grid-lock, using illusive generative processing that appears to make physical actions seem unfeasibly effortless, while melting the computer’s clock to a real-time, free-hand syncopation.
On the taut, snapping structures of these two pieces they enact a form of quantum origami that sounds like an MIT-designed robot playing cubist jazz with a sense of mischief and complexity that recalls Fell’s studies of brownian motion on ‘Scale-Structure-Synthesis’ (2011), and strikingly builds on his creative relationship with Guthrie that started with their ‘Oglon Day’ (2019) album alongside Oren Ambarchi and Sam Shalabi.
In all, it’s one of the most liquid, forward iterations of computer music you’ll likely hear this - or any other - year.
Lorenzo Senni’s ravishing new album ‘Scatto Matto’ prizes thrilling new music from a teenaged background as drummer for straight edge hardcore bands and a nostalgia for the rush of trance, bringing the tension of his early releases to a glorious conclusion.
‘Scatto Matto’ is a complex love note to the ecstatic, aerobic, and emotional ‘90s and 00’s dance and rock music formative in Lorenzo Senni’s multidisciplinary practice. Its title translates as ‘Check Mate’ and it is the ultimate move in Lorenzo’s triptych of PointillisticT records which began with ‘Quantum Jelly’ in 2012, and arrived on Warp in 2016’s ‘Persona’ and its follow-up ‘The Shape Of Trance to Come’.
Refining a now signature, minimalist No Beat etiquette of crisply melodic arps and repetitive loops, Lorenzo more confidently and cinematically expresses a broader spectrum of feelings, lucidly advancing his style and language of Pointillistic Trance to reap a hugely rewarding album for lovers of emotive, electronic music and contemporary composition. The rapt tension of Lorenzo’s early releases surges out in eight parts where his lavish, romantic virtuosity is tempered by a focussed tactility and tone. Working with his trusty Roland JP8000 and some computer editing software, he pushes his ideas in joyous rushes whose elaborate emotional colours speak to a more self-aware grasp of style.
Between the ebullient opener ‘Discipline of Enthusiam’ and the surprisingly introspective closer ’THINK BIG’, Senni engages himself and the listener in a game push and pull of feelings, epitomised in the melancholy empowerment of anthems like ‘Canone Infinito’ and ‘The Power Of Failing’, and captured in the tongue-in-cheek title and jowly pomp of ‘Wasting Time Writing Lorenzo Senni Songs’. ’Scatto Matto’ may be the last in Lorenzo’s PointillisticT trilogy, but it signifies a broader horizon for his sound, whose soundtrack potential has already been proven in collaboration with Franceso Fantini on ‘The Challenge’ and in the Bandersnatch episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.