A beautiful, then-and-now document of banging Japanese folk traditions featuring one side recorded in 1982, and the same pieces performed in 2017, recorded and mixed by Sugai Ken, whose recent LPs for RVNG Intl are a farther, electronic extension of Japanese tradition
“EM Records is proud to present, following “Yumi Kagura” the second edition of the Japanese folklore music series, directed by Riyo Mountains. Japan has a long tradition of annual pre-harvest summer dance festivals, known as Bon-Odori festivals, which continues to this day. One of the longest-running of these festivals is the Sakai Ishinage Odori festival, taking place in Sakai town, Saitama, north of Tokyo.
Unlike some festivals which function as tourist attractions for domestic and international visitors, this festival is resolutely local, with no professional performers, the music being passed down from generation to generation, played by local men and woman ranging in age from elementary school students to senior citizens. With percussion, massed flutes and vocals, this is a vital, living music, a sort of minimal disco born in the rice fields, agricultural “industrial” music, low-tech hard techno. Available on CD and vinyl, this release features 1982 recordings, plus 2017 versions of the same pieces recorded and mixed by Sugai Ken.”
Pye Corner Audio brings his wood-fired analogue sound to Lapsus Records after touring the houses of Mondo Tees, Polytechnic Youth, Analogical Force and More Than Human already in a productive 2017 cycle.
In a smart play of contrasts, we hear much-loved and lesser-heard sides of PCA’s sound in Where Things Are Hollow. The supple, rolling arpeggios and acid tweaks of Resist, and his wobbly, chromatic cosmic chugger Northern Safety Route both bear the hallmarks of Martin Jenkins’ signature dancefloor romance.
However, fans should be very intrigued to hear him go beat-less and weightless in the other two parts. With Mainframe he conducts a stellar display of piquant bleep motifs and arcing choral pads converging into a gently distorted and dissonant harmonic smudge at the track’s peak, and Continental Drift seemingly operates on the opposite side of that wave with a sullen stir of low end swells and light pollution aurora reflecting the scale of the track title.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
Back in print for 1st time in years, Scott Walker’s starkly funereal Tilt is the first in a seminal trilogy of LPs which was completed with The Drift  and Bish Bosch . Upon its European release in 1995, Tilt, Walker’s 12th solo studio LP, was also his first release in eleven years, and found the arch avant-pop songwriter pursuing the mix of industrial, rock and classical in Climate Of Hunter  much farther down the rabbit hole, achieving a distinguished sound which can easily be mistaken as electronic, but is remarkably, entirely acoustic, orchestral.
Few artists work is harder to get a grasp on than Scott Walker. From beginnings as a teen idol, then as frontman of ’60s pop trio The Walker Brothers, thru the subsequent, change of direction with Climate Of Hunter, and his modern avant-garde masterpieces, Walker’s oeuvre is practically unparalleled in its diversity, which requires some effort of behalf of the listener to really join all the dots.
However, the one constant theme throughout Walker’s recordings is that baritone vocal, alternately booming, crooning and lamenting depending the song, and giving life to his lyrics in the manner of some ancient, spellbinding bard relaying tales from the brink. It’s a voice that has unmistakably lived, and evokes life in the richest colours.
Of course, life would be nothing without contrast, and that’s where Walker’s genius really comes into play on Tilt, as a lone, detached presence echoing against backdrops ranging from the grandiose, panoramic, operatic and cinematic, mostly thanks to strings by London Sinfonietta, to moments of utter, stark despair and bellicose militancy, often in the space of a single song.
If you’ve ever been intrigued by Walker’s indomitable body of work, including collaborations with Sunn 0))) and song-writing credits for Bat For Lashes, we thoroughly recommend immersing in Tilt and following your nose into the abyss.
Gorgeous 2nd album from Glasgow’s Happy Meals, dispatched via the ever-tantalising Night School a few years on from the duo’s equally endearing debut, Apéro (2014). If you're into Young Marble Giants, Vazz, Antenna, Pram etc, you'll love this.
Fruit Juice can be broadly but cleanly divided in two parts; on the hand they effortlessly charm with slower, creamily kosmiche pop pieces such as Run Round, which sounds a little like Quarantine-era Laurel Halo gone minimal wave, and the woozy psychedelic spell-casting of Fruit Float, which could be imagined as Julia Holter meets Iasos; whilst on the other hand they excel at a smartly pop-wise late ‘80s house and synth-pop style, marking up delicious gallic acid pop in If You Want Me Now and the Deux-styled Suivez Moi, and a real standout portion of mind-bending metallic techno-dub-pop in Now That You Have Me.
Tresor’s 300th release is a 15 track anthology of the Scopex label, a hugely coveted late ‘90s UK electro imprint whose releases by Simulant and Pollon now fetch triple figures for 2nd hand copies. When this set was announced a few weeks back, we could practically hear the collective relief of a thousand night owl neeks hooting at the moon and salivating at the prospect of fresh vinyl editions of Simm City, Out OfEther, and Electratech, all newly remastered from DATs and included here inside.
Right up there next to classic Drexciyan Storms and the black secret technologies of Ultradyne in the pantheon of 3rd/4th wave electro, Scopex releases defined ’90s electro at its tightest and mercurial best with a blend of razor sharp production and concise, sci-fi vision that’s rarely been surpassed.
In chronological order, you’ll find diamond-cut new pressings of Simulant’s Simm City , which is perhaps most noted for its Stinson-esque strengths in New Machines and the rare charms of Musical Box, or the low-lying missile Wav. Form (Mix), before Out Of Ether  dispenses some of the nastiest electro-funk to come from the UK in Knife Edge and the clenched swing of Access Future Audio (Mix).
Pollon’s Electratech  follows to open the 3rd disc with the tense angles of Lost Souls, as deployed by Objekt on his Kern Vol.3 mix for Tresor, and also included in a banging alternate Mix beside the epic Lonely Planet, while the previously unreleased, slow-mo sci-fi electro grunge of Optimal Flow completes the set and sees the label to its final resting place in one piece.
Come git it!
Mississippi Records furnish a very necessary follow-up to Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru’s Spielt Eigene Kompositionen with the eponymous Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru including the remaining eleven pieces from her Éthiopiques 21: Piano Solo CD.
Beloved of almost anyone who has heard her meandering, rhythmically complex piano meditations, Emahoy’s music feels like she’s channelling gestures and sensations from another dimension, which probably makes sense when you consider that she was ordained a nun at age 19, before subsequently studying the sacred music of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and eventually fleeing to the Ethiopian Monastery of Jerusalem because of a conflict between her beliefs and the marxist regime of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
There is no pretension or conceit to Emahoy’s style; it is beautifully vibrant yet melancholy, comparable with the most affective American Blues yet, still, far out on its own plane of musical perception.
One to cherish.
Veronica Vasicka and Karl O’Connor (Regis) unleash a handful of secret weapons as The Floor on Minimal Wave following their blink ‘n miss debut flexidisc 7" The Desire  for Downwards, and an outing with Oliver Ho’s Death & Leisure in summer 2017.
As The Floor, they enhance two mutual Minimal Wave favourites for the dance, firstly giving Five Times of Dust’s Computer Bank a prodding reboot, coolly accentuating the proto-techno potential of its driving mono-rhythm and cascading bleeps with lean, deadly effect, before returning attentions to Tara Cross & Unovidual’s Like I Am Comme Je Suis, highlighting its brittle jack beat, beaky synth pecks and shrill synths for bruxist effect.
If that wasn’t enough, the 12" also features two previously unreleased gems from the MW archive. A-side you’ll catch the steaming Armoured Car by Five Times of Dust’s Rob Lawrence in solo mode - think Warm Leatherette with an ultimate death wish - while Unovidual and Tara Cross’ Imponative cuts a darker instrumental swagger across the B-side.
2017 repress of Walhalla Records’ class 2nd volume of Underground Belgian Wave rarities, all making their vital first appearance on vinyl, mostly a generation after their original release on some of Belgium’s hardest-to-find tapes.
Volume 2 is perhaps bets known for including the nifty Berntholer rarity Toys, and also features some big highlights in the likes of Autumns’ slippery synth-pop bubbler Synthesise, and two bullets from almost-rans Tangible Joy, namely the rocket fuel of Move and the swirling disco jakbeat Some Say I’m Drunk (But I’m Only In Love), alongside Eliza Waut’s etheric beauty Summary Of All My Dreams.
If you’ve been following Minimal Wave, Dark Entries, Mannequin Records, or STROOM 〰 in recent years, you need to check this one ,too.
Four Tet and Jamie XX remixes of The XX, limited vinyl only.
Jamie xx gives On Hold an uptempo french-touch house remix. Four Tet reworks A Violent Noise with a tech-house canter ready for the big room gymkhana. Tally ho.
Geir Jenssen offers a very handy scan of hard-to-find Biosphere cuts c. 1991-2004 on his Biophon label, the latest in a comprehensive reissue agenda which has turned up some real charms so far.
The set ranges from his earliest dalliances with bleep techno rave, superbly so in the sub-loaded killer Hypnophone  off an obscure Norwegian rave compilation, thru to the coruscating ambient loops of Reef  for the Gonzo Circus magazine, taking in gorgeous Lynchian ambience with The Third Planet  and floating ambient structures redolent of X-Files atmospheres in The Seal & The Hydrophone , while catching him at his most wistful and cinematic with Bird Watching , and his subsequent, post-2000 turn toward textured ambient neo-classicism, such as the spectral interceptions of Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt , the stark but sensuous lushness of Valchirie , and his organ work, Visible & Invisible  for Touch.
Definitely not just for the fans, this is a discreet slice of ‘90s ambient history for lovers of icy electronic romance.
A superb work of recondite sonic fiction, Blade Jogger is the palpably clammy tale of an erstwhile Salford doorman with a taste for ‘SWENDAB’ - a new drug of potent psychotomimetic efficacy - set to a backdrop of Brexit bruxism. Conjured by author and artistic director of The White Hotel, Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives at Tales of Mark E. Smith & The Myth Brilliant Summers), narrated by James Stannage, and set to a synthesised score by Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral) and By The Sea. Think Anthony Burgess meets Savoy with sound by Martin Hannett in Delian mode. The White Hotel’s shadow looms large over proceedings. Jog on…
“The place is England: a horrible electronic slum. The time is 22 minutes and 11 seconds into the future. A new drug - SWENDAB - is doing the rounds, sending everybody round the bend - as per. And as ever, here in this ‘less-than-United-Kingdom’, the rain must fall continuously. (It’s a wonder we haven’t all rusted by now.)
Rebelling against the drudgery of his surroundings, trapped inside his own fragile psyche - with no map nor money - meet GAZ-15: ex-bouncer/ex-lover/full-time-fuck-up.
Tonight, like every other night, he will go AWOL, lost in ‘the hallways of always’ of another SWENDAB-binge, searching for a meaning he knows he will never find. All those memories leaking into the eternal drainpipe. What a monster he’s made of himself. Not quite human. Oh to be a clone of others.
Evoking the underbelly of urban life, along with an even darker and deeper spiritual dimension, this bleakly-comic and moving musical collaboration between writer Austin Collings (Renegade: The Lives & Tales of Mark E Smith & The Myth of Brilliant Summers) and By The Sea, is Blade Runner re-written and re-scored by two steam-punks waiting to see their Jobseekers’s contact, or Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape soundtracked by Delia Derbyshire, or simply War of the Words - a 22-minutes and 11 seconds ‘single’ that summons a feeling of medicated drift, of hearing beautiful sounds through some kind of filter, as time collapses in on itself.”
Redshape cuts rug with swaggering style via the razor cut but splashy drums and pendulous bass work of Blink
Strongly owing to an enduring passion for the hi-tek funk of original Chicago and Detroit house and techno, whereas the Blink (Tunnel Mix) is a dedication to the Tunnel Club in Paris, and works to a more linear, sexy sort of Franco-Teutonic darkness.
Mississippi Records make Marisa Anderson’s woozily enchanting instrumental solo guitar suite Traditional and Public Domain Songs available again on vinyl.
Packing two new pieces that were on the CD release but not the original LP, namely the Portland artist’s takes on Amazing Grace and Bread and Roses - a must for any followers of solo desert blues from Earth to Sun City Girls!
Despite the break, this album can be seen as a direct follow-on from his previous Drag City albums - most closely resembling 1997's Bad Timing given its lack of vocals and the continuous passages of steel-strung acoustic guitar-led arrangements.
This all adds up to a seriously exciting release; Jim's cycle of Drag City albums (this being the first not to take its name from successive Nicolas Roeg films - following that logic this one should have been called Castaway) is one of the most revered bodies of work in American alternative rock. As this latest addition to that canon starts up, one of the very first things to strike you is that the production and mixing are undertaken in a fashion that is (to say the least) highly unusual by today's standards.
Seldom do you hear so much dynamic breadth in a contemporary record; this is not one of those releases that's had every ounce of life compressed out of it, instead O'Rourke leaves the quiet parts quiet and the loud parts... marginally less quiet. This is an album that's made according to old-fashioned principles, presented with vintage levels of clarity and warmth that benefit from being turned up for full appreciation. A decent amount of cranking will reveal countless layers of instrumental threads, and according to the great man himself there are around two hundred tracks used up in the recording of The Visitor - and that's two hundred tracks he's played himself. Given the long break, it's easy to forget just how brilliant a musician O'Rourke is; his production skills (as demonstrated on records by Wilco, Sonic Youth, John Fahey and Joanna Newsom among many others) are well documented, but since 2001 it'd be all too easy to think of O'Rourke's musical output as being restricted to occasional drone pieces, or the odd film soundtrack here and there for pals like Werner Herzog and Olivier Assayas.
The Visitor is a comeback of heroic proportions however - an auditory feast featuring acres of guitars, immaculately pieced together percussion elements, and all kinds of subtle yet elaborate arrangements for strings, horns and keyboard instruments. John Mulvey really hit the nail on the head when he recently described this as "a kind of folk symphony, a heavenly realisation of modern composition rescored for Laurel Canyon habitués", and it certainly feels every bit as substantial and gratifying as that assessment alludes. Don't leave it so long next time, please Mr O'Rourke.
Drag City reissue O'Rourke's timeless fusion of Bossa-pop, folk, classic rock and jazz.
"Here's another few sides of long-ago and far-away Jim O'Rourke back on vinyl for the first time since way back. It's the 'Halfway To A Threeway' 12" back to set turntables a-spinnin'. Fans of his 'Eureka' and 'Insignificance' albums (not to mention Jim's tomfoolery as part of the Loose Fur band) will appreciate the analogue pressing of these four cuts of the pop music party-pooper combination of folk, classic rock, smooth jazz and a bit of the avant-garde to help communicate the twisted ways of the misanthrope that made Jim such a perennial int he fickle world of record sales.
A quick listen to the title track exposes our sweet soul-crusher as a lustful man-beast on the make. The song is a straight folk number. Straight, that is, until you listen through the haze of those 6 string overtones and chirpy harmony vocals to hear the true perversity of O'Rourke's fantasies. The whole record's a blast, and it hasn't really aged that much in the eleven-odd years since it first emerged."
He's alive!!! And can he sing! Could this be the world's first experimental MOR album? Nah, but time will tell whether or not it is the most supreme. Wackos of the world, take over.
Jim here creates his own personal brand of progressive pop music the likes of which have only ever been hinted at or nodded towards by past artists. From Bacharach to Fahey with several unpredictable trajectories in between....
Synkro diversifies his bonds into blue half step and downtempo modes on Hand In Hand
Sweetly exercising his signature melancholic touch between the pastoral flutes and half step sway of Vanishing Point, the slow-motion Chuck Person/0PN vibes of Hand In Hand for chromatic sunset washes, and Burial-esque senhsucht in red Sky.
Viennese techno in effect from Dan Lodig and Martin Sovinz (Dibek)
Springing the chewy acid and Rob Hood-style minimalism of Lap.AM (Mix 1) and the recoiling, subaquatic dynamics of Lap.AM (Mix 2), plus the soggier slap of Lap.AM (Palma Mix) and a hi-NRG Euro Techno House remix by Erdem Tunakan & Alpha Tracks.
Anthony Child (Surgeon) and Daniel Bean (Spiritland) generate gusty electronic folk drones resonating somewhere between La Monte Young and Coil...
“The title of the debut lp from The Transcendence Orchestra outlines the modus operandi of this pairing of Anthony Child and Daniel Bean. Recorded in a remote English rural setting over a period of 24 hours this is an apt location for a recording that eschews time and space in favour of methodological displacement and deep psychological navigation.
Modern Methods For Ancient Rituals is an experiment in acoustic and synthetic symbiosis which is deeply influenced by the atmosphere and acoustics of the rural location of Cats Abbey resulting in a set of recordings which can aid to the transformation of consciousness. Deploying a range of ancient and modern instruments and effects including Buchla Music Easel, harmonium, shruti box, bass guitar, hurdy gurdy, Electro Harmonix 45000, Strymon Blue Sky and Roland RE 101 Space Echo among others, Child and Bean conjure an audio experience which encapsulates elements of drone, trance, pulse, rhythm and melody subtly shifting all into a psychologically penetrating experience beyond the aesthetic and into the comforting unknown.
Written and recorded at Cats Abbey in November 2016 by Anthony Child and Daniel Bean.
Anthony and Daniel played the Buchla Music Easel, harmonium, shruti box, bass guitar, hurdy gurdy, symphonie, glockenspiel, hand bell, Electro Harmonix 45000, Strymon Blue Sky, Strymon DIG, and Roland RE 101 Space Echo.”
Bubbling up from the archive, a brilliantly warped, acidic and intoxicating décollage of soundsystem shrapnel rinsed thru the echo chamber. RIYL Tapes, Raymond Scott, Ennio Morricone, Horsepower Productions
“Shimmering hologram oases belie the bone-dry heat inna this ya ghost-bloodcl@$t-town; When tumbleweed beliefs pose as the only sign of life, it's time to step into Death's saloon; Bust down the dusty double-swinging doors even the Preacher-man dares not enter!
The Bartender has run out of liquor and listening; Sullied Doves have danced their last number; Lawmen, levelled and long-gone, litter the dance floor; Bodied outlaws doubled and draped over the bar. When the only exit is a horse-drawn hearse; Face to face with Death, who will shoot first!?!
Step into this rattlesnake-ridden realm! Dancehall Showdown is a crazy non-place world where 60’s Spaghetti Westerns, 70’s Library Synth Records and 90’s Golden Era Dancehall come together for a death-defying communion inna Yard! The old posse of SKRS and MX7 ride once again under the banner of their co-run label, ICS Library Records, off into the fringes of sound-based reality.
SKRS' OG Papa Coolbreeze reinforces their select palette, "This album is our reiteration of influences ranging from Spaghetti Western era Upsetters to Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research Inc. to early Horsepower Productions. Now the soundtrack we paint, however, is something entirely unique on its own". Simply put: there's NOTHING like it out there!
Full disclosure: this LP has been shelved for well over 3 years now with the sudden disappearance of Oklahoma's now-mythical Digitalis Recordings, who were set to release it hot on the heels of their 2012 SKRS debut LP, TheCallFromBelow. Since then, we've laboured to break more ground and lay several more keystones in the growing SKRS/ICS groundation-foundation in order to withstand its intensifying expanse and weight. Now that the ground has been prepared, we've decided to take Dancehall Showdown back into our own hands and give it the proper love and nurturing we had always intended for it.”
Never before pressed on vinyl, IBM 1401, A User's Manual, is one of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s most loved works. Released in 2006, the decade since its release has seen Jóhann establish himself as one of the most important composers in the World today, most notably scoring movies such as Arrival, Sicario and The Theory of Everything.
:Inspired by the work his father did in the sixties when chief maintenance engineer of one of Iceland’s first computers, Jóhann originally wrote IBM 1401, A User's Manual to accompany a dance piece by long-standing collaborator and friend, Erna Ómarsdóttir. For this album release, he rewrote it for a sixty-piece string orchestra, with a new final movement (built around a poem by Dorothy Parker) and incorporating both electronics, and reel-to-reel recordings made by his father and friends in 1971 of an enormous IBM 1401 mainframe computer singing the hymn Ísland Ögrum Skoriðby Sigvaldi Kaldalóns as it was being decommissioned.
The first ever pressing of IBM 1401, A User's Manual comes in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, having been reworked by Chris Bigg (v23) from his original design. Pressed on clear vinyl, two album tracks recorded in 2010 with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at the Rudolfinum, Dvorák Hall in Prague have also been added and are exclusive to this release: