Neo-kosmische duo Golden Retriever continue their sparkling voyage into the clouds with this fluorescent intermingling of lifted modular synth and heavily effected bass clarinet. Twenty minutes of heaven for followers of Emeralds, Bee Mask, Terry Riley or Klaus Schulze.
Another banger from the Longform Editions stable, "Sense of Place" gives us a lengthy dip into the world of top class synthesist Matt Carlson and bass clarinet player Jonathan Sielaff. The duo have maintained a fathoms-deep run on Thrill Jockey in the last few years, as well as releasing records for cult outlets NNA and Root Strata, and this composition swells the canon effortlessly,
Fuzzed-out cascades of modular sparkle usher us into the duo's gilded zone, draping themselves around deep woodwind drones and subtle piano loops. About mid-way through the piece, we flip into surrealist euphoria as deep bass tones cut through the cloudy pads and Sielaff's clarinet dances with theatrical whimsy. It's moving, emotional stuff that links the '70s trippers with the '00s tape/cdr wave and adds a sprinkle of magic dust.
Lafawndah compliments last year's brilliant (and bizarrely overlooked) "The Fifth Season" with expressionistic remixes from Tirzah x Coby Sey, Moor Mother and Laurel Halo. Each artist pushes the source material into another creative zone, but Laurel Halo's 11-minute jazzbient version of 'You, at the End' really goes the extra mile.
Tirzah's contribution with Coby Sey transforms 'La Malentendu' into a whispered, tripped jazz miracle. If Lafawndah's original is a flickering candlelit meeting in some French alleyway, Tirzah brings it to London with a subtle shake and a puff of smoke.
Moor Mother meanwhile truncates 'The Stillness' into just two minutes, carrying over its central theme and adding raw poetry and fresh instrumentation. Laurel Halo finishes things off, stripping Lafawndah's voice from 'You, at the End' and drawing it out with fuzzy tones and dimlite drones.
It's an apt accompaniment to an album that wasn't exactly screaming out for remixes.
Documented during peak isolation times in Los Angeles, between December 2020 and January 2021.
"These pieces were performed as Live AV pieces from 2017-2019, at Coaxial Arts, Zebulon and Desert Daze 2019, but not documented in a release until later. Signal processing and sequencing frameworks built in Max 8 with signals generated from Prophet '08, a broken AW16G, 0-coast, Max, and a MC-909. With the context of the electromagnetic medium, the absence of live performance and moving visuals and the new "spirit" of the pestilent times, "Cutting Them All Off" should barely be represented as reworks of the originally performed pieces. What was once pulsing and blasting out of PA speakers live is now referenced as a distant past document. These pieces (for better or for worse) have been removed and cut-off from their contextual source and can only be presented in their displaced/liberated state. Like a fish out of water gasping for air, or the only drunk survivor of a car crash that was his fault.
Christopher Reid Martin started Rotary ECT in 2016. The project focuses on highly active signal processes on synchronized Audio -> Visual signals, with many signals being constructed to self-generate. Much like a rotary machine's rotation, the process is consistent and signalled when turned on. Much like electroconvulsive therapy, a human need to be there to actively monitor and attend to the process and generation of the signals being emitted.
Christopher currently works for Cycling '74, is a curatorial/programmer at Coaxial Arts Foundation and ⅓ of curators (alongside J.Prey and J. Rivera) behind the ephemeral stream Cathode TV/Cathode Cinema. Christopher continues to show gallery works, both virtual and physical, digital and video works and performs in other numerous events and projects such as Bailouts, CGRSM (with Gabie Strong), Shelter Death, Gate (with Michael Morley) and Via Injection. He has performed and collaborated with artists Joseph Hammer, Bryce Loy (RIP), Tetuzi Akiyama, Christopher Thompson, James Roemer, Andrew Scott, Gabie Strong, Michael Morley, Lev Abramov and many others."
A big influence on the tropicália of Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé and Gilberto Gil; Swiss-Brazilian artist Walter Smetak is subject to reissue of his fascinating 2nd album, recorded and released in 1980 when the artist was in his late ‘60s
Accompanied by a band of microtonal guitars, aka Conjunto De Microtons, Smetak used ‘Interregno’ to move his musical ideas deeper into the strange tuning systems found on his seminal self-titled debut in 1974. Picking up where ’Smetak’ left off, he effectively positions himself like Brazil’s answer to Derek Bailey, getting right inside and messing with his chosen forms in an holistic, nose-to-tail style that he’d pursued since the ‘60s/‘70s, and which would play a pivotal role influencing the expressive freedoms and glorious wonders of the tropicália movement.
Guided by a personal mythology and religious-esoetric weltanschauung, the results speak clearly to a singular mind and conception of style, sounding uncannily like tropicália’s tropes are in the process of melting into air, unravelling and vaporising its mix of tradition and futurism into post-body, metaphysical forms with a visionary approach most obvious in the album’s longest work, the 12 minutes of twangs and whistles ‘Plágio,’ the pineal pinch of ‘Trifles,’ and coterie of instruments resembling avant-naturalistic, animal-like forms on ‘Ofício’ or the breezy ephemera of ‘Convite.’
A must check for fans of everyone from Annea Lockwood to Derek Bailey and Tom Zé!
US synth-o-naut Naucke supplies Longform Editions a chilly sliver of kosmiche promise
With stripes earned for some of the best underground synth academies - Arbor, Spectrum Spools, Hausu Mountain, not to mention his Catholic Tapes label - Brett Naucke envisions the sound of a ‘Arctic Watch,’ mixing a sort of noirish spy film intrigue with sci-fi thriller esque tension and new age wonder for Preservation’s prolific digital series.
Around a core of glowing organ cadence, crystalline ice formations accumulate and tessellate, and a backdrop of dancing aurora borealis light shows play out beyond the confines of your research cabin, evoking a sense of being stranded thousands of miles from humanity and given to polar ghosts and experimental cold war creatures. Fans of classics from Tangerine Dream to Popol Vuh and Jean Michel Jarre need check.
Amsterdam’s Electric Party pack more wobbly bounce to the ounce than your average waver in a strong comp of their hard-to-find 1982 output - RIYL Saâda Bonaire, Lifetones, Material
Drawn from their sole full release, ‘Work’ as well as compilation and demo cuts that have surfaced in recent years, ‘Play’ frames the four-piece at their low-key funkiest, echoing disco-not-disco and new wave trends from New York and London in nine svelte tunes built around synths, bass guitar, puckered vox and snaky Roland drum machines.
40 years after they were made, the tunes surely hold up to spec for the retro-futurists with a strong haul of that sits between many poles, variously taking in the lilting dub-rock of ‘Caribe’ on a Saâda Bonaire-meets-ACR tip, and what sounds like a funked up Nine Circles in ‘Tension,’ along with a freakish adjunct to Funkadelic in the alien voices and splashy fonk of ‘Words From The Underground,’ with a killer cut of YMO-esque new wave flush with cod-Eastern tones in ‘Imagine A Blind Man Dreaming.’
After great editions by Tape Loop Orchestra and John Powell-Jones, Open Tapes host the tantalising first breaths of Ovïd - an as-yet-anonymous operator hailing from Stockport and reminding of Pub, Xela, Automatisme, Signer
Primed to trigger intrigue with the ambient techno sleuths, Ovid’s debut arrives in a fine vein of contemporary atmospheric pursuits where the dancefloor is a distant but glowing memory and the bed is a raft for all night flight. For just shy of half an hour they furl a totally classic sound, yet one defined with a dewy, plasmic texture that feels like the edges of seminal ‘90s ambient and techno have been smudged and eroded to leave behind the essence of a style, all harmonic hues and submerged, grooving inference that feels like a nostalgic echo of the original thing that feels more appropriate to modern states of flux.
‘Ovdub’ tenderly outlines his style with pillowy pads and a sloshing groove that feels like a more ephemeral adjunct to Automatisme’s ambient systems, before ‘Ovdub2’ follows that line to slip below the surface into submerged dimensions recalling the systolic throb of Thule Records classics. ‘Ovdub3’ naturally extends into purist ambient pads, no beats, letting his melodies float in gauzy air like a beatless Signer bewt, while ‘Ovdub4’ returns to a sort of greyscale iridescence and brownian slosh that sends your bed/raft bobbing off on late night currents.
OOOF! Upfront SA bubblegum house pressure from Morgan, dealt by flawless Amsterdam label La Casa Tropical
Hitting it hard and bright from the top, ‘Vakowana’ tees up UKF-compatible snares with natty keys and percolated bass in a style that actually feels too fast to be from SA back in the day, but it is what is; banging! There’s a straighter house version on the flip with more Bowlers-style piano house chops, but the A-side is all you need.
Flora Yin-Wong’s long-in-the-making book finally arrives via Primary Information x PAN, a highly engaging and original collection of magic/realist fantasy that lands somewhere between fiction, travelogue and journal of curiosities. If Yin-Wong's ‘Holy Palm’ album last year documented real travels, ‘Liturgy’ ventures into the uncanny.
Originally intended as a companion of sorts to her Modern Love album ‘Holy Palm’ (concepts and track titles are referenced throughout), ‘Liturgy’ was developed into a book following on from several short stories published over the years. Although essentially framed as a work of fiction, it’s a book that blurs lines between fantasy, diary and cosmographic journal, yielding as much insight into the inner life of its unnamed protagonist as it does into the blurred world of curses, hexagrams, Cantonese traditions, parallel universes and superstitions.
Take, for instance, the ‘Places/Doors to Hell’ chapter, where a small section on the Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan (considered by some to be an actual gateway to hell) led this reader to spend hours looking at images and trawling thru articles online - the sort of thing you’ll find keeps on happening as you get deeper into the book.
Liturgy's other chapters—Rituals & Fire; Omens; Hexagrams / Oracles; Curses; Gods & Creatures; Ghost Cities; Paradoxes; Sound Phenomena; Reality - are equally compelling, functioning like "a secret dossier” into the realms of geographic and personal anomalies that often reach into the unreal.
A precious, endlessly fascinating read.
Push For Night is the New York City based duo of Oliver Chapoy and James Elliott.
"Trafficking in dark, liminal electronics, the duo's sound is an ever shifting morass of psychoacoustic textures and spectral utterances. Evoking eerie, unnatural, and hidden spaces, this is music that exists in the threshold – locked in a constant push and pull of thwarted expectations and sublime release, hovering in a trance state of the always in-between. These seven tracks reference dark ambient, post-industrial, electroacoustic, 90s IDM, even fourth world explorations, but the music never truly slides into any definable style. The uncertain and illusory rule this sonic soil. Recorded by PFN in NYC and CDMX, 2017-2020 using various synthesizers, drum machines, heavily processed field recordings and guitars."
'Torn Page' is a glacial 20-min slab of floatation tank ambience from enduring Japanese shapeshifter Eiko Ishibashi. Completely lifted material that's like Grouper x Stars of the Lid x Celer >> ie. xtra lovely.
It's frankly hard to keep track of Ishibashi - in the last few years the prolific singer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer has released a slew of records and each one sounds completely different. "Torn Page" finds her at her most peaceful and meditative, working wordless vocals into dense harmonic synth clouds and almost orchestral drones.
The first half of the composition sounds like Grouper filtered through Stars of the Lid's pedal chain, but as the haze clears, the sounds degrade into resonant tones to levitational new sounds. Eventually, the Basinski-esque drones nudge against atonal bursts of fractured jazz - it's a peculiar blend that allows the composition to stop short of being too sugary sweet. So good.
Astral Industries illuminate the highly prized first Cotton Goods release by Craig Tattersall (The Remote Viewer, The Boats), first issued on CD in 2009 to present his deeply charming solo work as The Humble Bee, and now impossible to find.
‘A Miscellany for the Quiet Hours’ takes its second bow and a new life on vinyl with the label best known for more widescreen works by Deepchord and Wolfgang Voigt. The Humble Bee’s efforts now lend a finer strain of semi-domestic/pastoral bliss to the label’s catalogue, potentially introducing a new wave of ambient fiends to Craig’s more intimate, nuanced, and ephemeral sort of “background” music, while plugging a gap on the shelves of many others.
Upon its release in 2009 ‘A Miscellany for the Quiet Hours’ marked some of Craig Tattersall’s first solo work beyond his decade of action beside Andrew Johnson (his former bandmate in Hood, now known as A New Line (Related)). It revealed Craig’s richly sound sensitive approach to composition, or even de-composition, and what would become a feverishly sought-after label with Cotton Goods’ releases always snapped up within hours, days of sale. Over 10 years later, the label is defunct, and Craig has gone on to explore myriad other projects, but the textured, patchwork quilting of his first outing as The Humble Bee remains a definitive and modestly contrary classic in the 20th century ambient canon.
D. Tiffany & Special Guest DJ’s XPQ? hustle the brittle machine funk twysts of PVAS on their small but expanding label roster
Hailing from the middle nowhere in Canada, via the centre of everywhere in Berlin, PVAS pursues his own take on techno with a mix of hardware and bespoke software, generating organismic permutations of broken beats (‘Drakön’), insectoid electro (‘Passing Through’) and sound designer techno (‘Day Six’), along with the class aerial rolige of ‘3rd Concession’ landing surely between his label bosses styles, and swanging mid-tempo parries in ‘~~~~ (Laid-Back Rave.)’
Originally released back in 2011, "Welcome Abroad" is a plunderphonic symphony, splicing together well-known sounds with a wink to camera and a smirk.
Vicki Bennett wrote "Welcome Abroad" after being stranded in the US when Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and grounded planes in northern Europe. Stuck in Baltimore and NYC, she decided to write an album themed around displacement and disaster, and had help from local heroes M.C. Schmidt (of Matmos) and Jason Willett (of Half Japanese).
Funny, poignant and strangely historical given the conditions of its composition, "Welcome Abroad" is a delightful collage - one part Avalanches, one part Dangermouse and one part John Oswald.
Factory Benelux presents an expanded double vinyl edition of Sex and Death, the 11th studio album by lauded Factory Records ensemble The Durutti Column. Originally released in 1994 on CD only, the album has now been re-mastered with 5 bonus tracks and appears on vinyl for the VERY FIRST TIME in a coloured vinyl edition limited to 1500 copies.
"The writing and recording of Sex and Death closed an uncertain period for Vini Reilly and the group following the collapse of Factory Records in 1992. Factory founder Tony Wilson remained in post as manager of the band, but Sex and Death would be their last album with producer Stephen Street, famed for his work with Morrissey, The Smiths and Blur.
Writer and master guitarist Vini Reilly remained philosophical. “People say the Durutti Column is this or that. I don’t care, so long as we make good music. There’s screaming feedback on some tracks, heavy metal guitar, Spanish picking. It’s not just this ethereal trip. Don’t listen to the form, never listen to the form. Listen to the content.”
Stand-out tracks include Anthony (dedicated to Wilson), The Rest of My Life, and Believe In Me. Guest musicians include viola player John Metcalfe, vocalist Ruth-Ann Boyle (later to form hitmakers Olive with Tim Kellett), programmer Martin Jackson (Magazine, Swing Out Sister) and bassist Peter Hook, then on furlough from New Order post-Republic.
All 5 bonus tracks are previously unreleased, having been retrieved from a long-lost DAT tape located in Tony Wilson’s personal archive. All tracks on the album have been newly re-mastered in 2020 by Peter Beckmann and Technology Works."
Cold crushed electronics and tape noise by iDEAL faithful, Altar of Flies, returning to his native Swedish label with a 3rd album of possessed and unsettling tonal abstraction and psychoacoustic isolationism
Known to the reaper as Mattias Gustafsson, Alter of Flies is the Mjölby-based sound artist’s most prolific alias, responsible for dozens of tapes and LPs for Chondritic Sound and White centipede Noise beside his trio of turns for iDEAL since the mid ‘00s. ‘Bortom Reven’ sticks closely to what he does best, conjuring bleakly depressive atmospheres ripe for inhabitation by the harder-to-please followers of North European ambient and industrial musicks, with an alchemic application of field recordings, tape loops, and primitive oscillators that vividly brings his thoughts into the dark light.
‘Bottom Reven’ is perhaps reflective of a certain, ascetic and isolated Swedish characteristic, enacting solitary rituals that better connect Altar of Flies with his environment, or simply entertain him during long, cold, dark nights. With hints of CMvH’s EVP and John Duncan’s searching shortwave radio textures to ‘Hur regn uppstår,’ and more ruptured reception of scrambled ether voices in ‘Terapimusik,’ alongside the title track’s worn-out nub of intrigue, and the damp basement clangour of ‘Under vår livstid’; its not one for those who get shook by the sight of their own shadow, but a real treat for listeners of a lonelier disposition who get off on the sound of the house creaking at night.
Sublime fourth world cosmos-scouring from Canadian mainstay Colin Fisher, produced in collaboration with Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan. Light, airy and disarmingly delightful.
Playing guitar, saxophone and electronics, Fisher constructs an inviting soundscape on "Reflections of the Invisible World". It's somewhere in-between Brian Eno's "On Land" and the faded dream ambience of Jon Hassell, as the veteran Toronto player twists his instruments into pillowy textures and pliant, plastic tones.
It's more than just fuzzy ambience too - Fisher plays with our shared memories of jazz and blues, blurring familiar sounds into an astral hallucination. There are moments here - 'Double Image' or 'Sanctum' for example - that sound like Angelo Badalamenti jamming with "Blade Runner"-era Vangelis and it's hard to argue with that. Soothing stuff.
Blawan plays fast and loosey goosey on his latest Ternesc
‘My Guide to Dancing On Carpet’ lays down the quick law with grouchy bass shapes and scratchy modular growls at 140bpm+. ’Spooky Fingers’ keeps up the pace, sounding like two records being nimbly mixed jammed in-the-mix, and the EP’s title tune goes wilder like some kind of Somatic Responses or Acid Planet blow out, with ‘The Conjurer’ working up a tracky, Millsian fuss.
Anthony Naples’ Incienso grip Aussie raver Big Ever for a tightly coiled and restless quartet of electro, garage, breaks and deep house sidewinders
Previously known as half of Cop Envy, and more recently for their work with Logic1000, Big Ever strikes solo with his own brand of daring dance music, testing out harddrum-adjacent twysters and slippery offbeats that will work a treat in-the-mix with other mutant grooves.
The hiccuping electro roil of ‘Rolled Into’ sets out his style with needlepoint arps weft into a pendulous swang somewhere between Simo Cell and Ciel, whereas ‘Burst Dial’ switches tack to nervy, tracky minimalism with lurking but driving bass. ‘Apt’ is the set’s craftiest oddball, working trim tresillo rhythms into a other recalling Call Super’s album on Incienso before him, and ‘Otto’ evens out the groove on an earthy, trippy deep house tip shades away from DJ Qu.
Brothers Tessela and Truss work it up on a breakbeat garage tip for their Poly Kicks label
Paralleling the posh pads and breaks style of Ilian Tape in their own manner, the duo’s ‘BMW Track’ pivots filtered breaks around tasty woodblocks and rounded subs replete with a hazy breakdown for eye-fluttering 4AM moments. ‘So U Kno’ is the one, though, 2-stepping somewhere between El-B, Dem 2 and Burial with precision tooled snares, furrowed Reese bass and an infectiously choppy vocal motif.
Text by Philip Sherburne:
"In the beginning, there was just a box of tapes and “Fate’s Gentle Hand.” It was the autumn of 2010, and an anonymous figure known only as the Head Technician, an employee of Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services (“Magnetically aligning ferrous particles since 1970”), found himself at an auction in the village of Coldred, pop. 110. He was on the hunt for tobacco pipes when he chanced across a trio of boxes listed in the auction catalog, which described their contents only as “archived magnetic recordings.” The sole bidder, he won the lot, and upon receipt of his purchase took possession of an unspecified number of mouldering cassettes and ¼" reel-to-reel tapes. The collection contained no identifying information save for a single phrase scrawled on each box: “Black Mill Sessions.” And so, armed with razors, eyedroppers, and a bevy of solid-state circuitry, the Head Technician sat down at his machines and got to work.
Whether anyone believed it or not, this was the framing device surrounding Pye Corner Audio’s Black Mill Tapes Volume I: Avant Shards, which took the mysterious tactics of artists like Boards of Canada and Burial and raised them exponentially. Much like the narrator of a 19th century novel, the anonymous Head Technician purported merely to be the messenger of secondhand sounds. These were not compositions, we were told; they were tape transfers—“transcriptions” of an unknown author, slathered."
The works on this cassette are based on a historic recording of "Structures I" by Pierre Boulez. Tom Schneider cut it into shreds – samples which he then mapped onto a MIDI keyboard, ready to be played freely while pulverising any overarching structure.
"In addition to improvisational reshuffles, acts of sock-puppetry join the resulting collection: The thinking behind other seminal works for piano such as John Cage's "4'33" and Helmut Lachenmann's "Guero" are linked to the audio or parametric content of "Structures". "0.433" takes the original recording's pauses and sequences them into a bumpy stretch of silence. For "Boulero", temporal and tonal properties of one of the underlying works drive the shape of the other.
Further pathways open up through MIDI data-extraction, generating new layers, organised into musical units which then can be played on a keyboard: Authentically serialist extensions of the limited parameters available to the pen and paper of the original composer.
Stefan Goldmann's remixes of Schneider's work are based on different types of MIDI data-extraction, with the results being routed to FM synthesiser presets. Further historic concepts and techniques are filled with the shreds of "Structures" – one of Schneider's selective loops is 'phased' with two different durations rubbing against each other. The focus however is on spontaneous order and emergent phenomena. Different MIDI-fication methods escalate from solo piano to robotic fusion trio in three steps. "Str_ct_r_s" is driven by multiple layers of the same material, slightly trimmed back into half-coherent shape by broad-brush deletion of MIDI notes. Most extremely, Schneider's "0.433" is restored to Cage's original duration by plain time stretching. The detected MIDI information is thus entirely accidental, with automation conjuring content out of the void.
Tom Schneider is a pianist and composer. As a member of the trio KUF, he has released three albums and performed extensively across Europe and East Asia. Sampling is integral to his work, which he applies to band interaction in multiple ways.
Stefan Goldmann is a composer and DJ of electronic music. His work offers close re-examinations of the aesthetic and technological foundations of techno, from shifting metres and designing tuning systems to re-imagining the technological fundamentals of storing music."
All Night Flight salvage an impossible-to-find ambient tape for its first proper reissue since the ’93 release. Lovely, serene stuff transcribing a summer’s day in Scotland into a form of environmental ambient composition controlled by the waves, wind, and sunlight
“Cruelly overlooked sound installation works from Brighton-based multi-disciplinary artist Professor Charlie Hooker, self-released in ’93 but here faithfully reproduced from the original master-tapes in cooperation with the artist. Separate Elements is one of Hooker’s pioneering ‘site specific’ sound installations - a large sonic sculpture consisting of music-generating buoys with wind powered sails anchored in an arc in St Andrews Bay, Scotland.
Utilising emergent glass sphere recording technology, Hooker captured the varying amount of Sunlight throughout a summer’s day and transcribed it into a musical score. Reworking these results into a mollifying electronic pulse, the resultant piece is a pacifying synthetic score of sustained chords and swelling overtones, combining the Earth’s four elements into an infinite musical companion. It lures us in like a siren's call, with man-made and natural elements synergising to produce a moment of true calm - the ceaseless crashing of the waves on the rocks, musical phasing created by the wind moving the floating speakers - it’s the sound of nature in stasis.”
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.
Theo Parrish’s label host Detroit beat breaker Jason Hogans for a fine session of dreamy, asymmetric grooves and louche moves.
A proper one for the drum nuts, ‘Mallets Creek’ courses with a rawly sophisticated Detroit brokebeat suss that, once reminded of, makes us pine for the ruder styles of Carl Craig, Detroit Escalator Company, Urban Trube, et al, something bad.
It’s maybe no surprise, then, that Hogans dropped his finest turns on Planet E back in the day, which share a lot join common with this lot, ranging from the killer drum keepie-uppie of ‘A Daydreamer and a Clown’ for the Dego headz, to the inch-tight beatdown swivel of ‘Favourite Coffee Mug’, and thru to stickiest heads-down tackle in ‘Do This Proper’, the swingeing syncopation of latin drums and guitar strokes in ‘Blue Blessed Rider’, and a fine Theo-esque hustle, ‘Kitchen Hype’ for good measure.
Of all the Sakamoto/YMO reissues, this is the one we’ve waited for the most. Hidari Ude No Yume (Left Handed Dream) was released in 1981 and is here reissued for the first time in decades in its rare Japanese edition - beautifully remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and sounding better than we’ve ever heard it before, including a 2LP version with a bonus album of instrumental versions pressed on vinyl for the first time ever.
Recorded during a pivotal period for Sakamoto - around the same time as his stunning ‘Bamboo Houses’ with David Sylvian, and in between two classic YMO albums, 'Hidari Ude No Yume basically sounds quite unlike anything he made before or since its release, a sort of anthology of pop interiors made with hi-gloss synths and unexpected edits, from farm animals to simmering, percolated drum machines.
‘Hidari Ude No Yume’ was Sakamoto’s follow-up to the seminal ‘B-2 Unit’, and sees him smudge that album’s angularities into weirder shapes that are somehow both more experimental and oddly accessible. The newly available instrumental versions offer previously unheard perspectives on the remarkably detailed production; including an amazing tweaked-out and extended mix of ‘Relâché’, plus a beautifully slippery mix of the album’s best known highlight, ‘Kacha Kucha Nee’.
It’s a sound that has had countless imitators and acolytes; using the newest Japanese synths, traditional percussion, and his own vocals to create a sort of infectiously rhythmic future-primitivism recalling his work with David Sylvian in the Eastern electro orientation and new wave vocal affectations of ‘Living In The Dark’ and 'Saru To Yuki Gomi No Kodomo’, which also sound incredible in their brighter instrumentals, along with more avant jags into collaged 4th world electro-steppers on ‘Sarunoie,’ and a psychedelic masterwork in the strutting ace ‘The Garden Of Poppies.’
What a record.
Stunning, revelatory set of sweeping electronic composition by the late Mitar Subotić, a.k.a. Rex Ilusivii (The King of Illusions), dug out by Salon Des Amateurs resident Vladimir Ivkovic to mint his Offen Music imprint.
'In The Moon Cage' captures six lush and spellbinding shots of previously unheard material realised by the Serbian producer circa 1988, framing a vast, digitally-rendered world perfused with Eastern-enchanted vocals, amorphous synth scapes, balearic bird calls and plangent ambient guitar work tripping lines between abstract, esoteric styles best associated with Coil, Muslimgauze, or even JG Thirlwell.
Like many other listeners, this is our first introduction to the work of Subotić, who was born in the Former People's Republic of Yugoslavia before latterly transferring his lauded production skills to Brazil, where he died in a studio fire in 1999 on the eve of release for his 'São Paulo Confessions' LP as Suba.
What remains with 'In The Moon Cage' marks him out as a sorely missed talent, mixing classical training and a keen taste for cutting-edge sounds with a timeless spirit, manifest in a spatially diffuse, yet intensely emotive and detailed sound. Kudos to Offen Music for rescuing this collection from obscurity, it's a real beauty.