‘Radikale Akzeptanz’ is the ruggedly sculpted debut of synth-pop deviation from Belia Winnewisser for Präsens Editionen, the label wing of Lucerne’s zweikommaseiben magazine
Widescreen in scope and caustic in texture, ‘Radikale Akzeptanz’ offers a definitive dose of Belia’s style following her 2017 split tape with L. Zylberberg, also for Präsens Editionen. Over its eight tracks, Belia scales form iridescent steepled drone and depth charge synth shocks to a transfixing piece of Skull Disco-esque dance music, covering everything from blistering dream-pop and shoegazing EBM between.
Susie Ibarra’s feted percussive skills mingle with the the DreamTime ensemble for a heavy-lidded, melancholy, and contemplative album of jazz, folk, avant-classical and world music themes...
“Susie Ibarra is one of the most significant female percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music, having worked with the likes of John Zorn, Yo La Tengo, Mamadou Kelly, Marc Ribot, and many more. Perception, self-released in December 2017 and now being distributed through Thrill Jockey, is a beautiful piece of art, layering sound and centered around the way one perceives the world around them, and how this dictates one’s reality. Ibarra also released an album earlier this year on Thrill Jockey, Flower of Sulphur, with multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB) and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens, OM).
Perception was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Olivier Chastan and performed with the DreamTime Ensemble, consisting of Claudia Acuña (vocals), Jennifer Choi (violin), Yves Dharamraj (cello), Jake Landau (piano and guitar), Jean-Luc Sinclair (electronics). While processing grief and loss in her life, Ibarra found her senses more vivid and channeled those heightened feelings into dynamic, expressive pieces, from melancholic contemplation to percussive bombast to jagged grooves. Ibarra crafted the detailed arrangements of the album to reflect varied impressions and perspectives of the album’s musicians as well as the listener’s. The range of sounds and emotional artistry on the album are bolstered by Ibarra’s own unique perspective as a practitioner of traditional Philippine Kalinga music, jazz, and contemporary composition.”
Following singles and remixes for the catalogue, Famous Eno steps out with his first Swing Ting EP proper; six heaters for the club - showcasing the full range of the Irish producer's floor-focused abilities
"With vocals from Uniiqu3, Killa P, Bay-C, Trigganom, Bryte and input from friends Gafacci, Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, Music For Clubs is exactly that, soundsystem-ready weaponry for DJs from all corners of the globe.
EP opener Make it Clap features New Jersey scene Qween Uniiqu3 over a ravey, raucous beat sure to provide reloads galore either side of the Atlantic. Longtime - a fixture in tastemaker DJs sets heads to London to find grime legend Killa P deftly riding Eno's deadly riddim. Bay-C of Jamaican supercrew TOK makes an appearance on bashment banger Gal a Bubble, before Ghanaian wizard Gafacci drops by to co-produce the skippy afro-house bubbler Ranting. Accra-based MC Bryte showcases his microphone dexterity on Money Collector with set-closer Life rounding things off neatly with Killa P & frequent collaborator Trigganom on fine form over the skewed otherworldly backdrop aided by Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones.”
Lisbon’s finest Bruno Silva aka Ondness aka Serpente aka a bunch of other monikers (google it) presents a schizophrenic split EP on Sucata Tapes, featuring different projects on each side.
“Ondness showcases what Bruno’s ‘main’ project has been elegantly and quietly doing for a while. Sound debris, chopped beats and rejected samples are intertwined to create two unique epic tracks that travel far and wide between the zones where you wished you would be.
Serpente delves deeper into Bruno’s repetitive mantra styles. Blasting sample based beats into a disparate whole, and coherently collaging it all through vivid sleep walking techniques.
In our (not so humble) opinion, an extremely welcome addition to the ever growing Sucata Tapes catalogue.”
R.I.Y.L. Grimes, Kelly Lee Owens, Phantogram, Sylvan Esso, Sophie, Toro Y Moi.
"Pure-O, the new LP by Berlin-via-Norway musician Farao, is a prog-pop exposition on the curious dichotomy between beauty and destructiveness in sex and relationships. Where so much modern pop attempts to tug similar thematic threads only to succumb to naiveté and euphemism, Farao grabs these subjects and dives headlong into a neon pool of synthesizer, zither, drums, and soaring vocals without sacrificing maturity, complexity, or artistry. Musically, she references 90’s R&B, and the untapped goldmine of Soviet disco.
But the most important pillar of Pure-O – its living, breathing, biological quality-- is entirely Farao’s own. To be sure, all of the electronic ingredients are in the exact right places on Pure-O. Soviet-made synth tones ripple out fr om an undefined center lik e a Frank Stella painting, with sharply angled lines of color buzzing with concentric, hand-painted ecstasy. Rolling vocal melodies carry descriptive turns of phrase to gratifying heights, echoing in listeners’ minds long after their ears. In the spaces between all this electricity, there are shimmering microcosms of Alice Coltrane-esque acoustics that provide the album with an unmistakably rich, tactile marrow.
Perhaps, then, we’re hearing Farao’s early youth in Norway finding perfect equilibrium with her adulthood in Berlin on Pure-O. She says of the time she spent recording, “I was in the process of learning how to conduct myself while not getting sucked in to the whirlpool that is Berlin party culture,” and of her childhood “It wasn’t a place I felt stimulated creatively, and felt quite lonely there growing up, which made me turn to music as a language for a set of emotions I didn’t know how to release otherwise.” It’s precisely this relationship between quiet reflection and overstimulation that makes the album unlike anything of its genre. In an age when non-electronic pop seems like an outlier, Farao constructs a bridge of humanity from the organic to the inorganic, rounding out the hard edges and sharpening the soft ones, thereby transplanting a healthy, beating heart into modern synth-pop."
One of the year’s most crucial wave reissues, Stano’s debut LP ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is a seminal and sought-after Irish post-punk album starring two rare appearances by the near-mythical Michael O’Shea. Nothing less than an essential recommendation to anyone familiar with the Michael O’Shea LP, Finders Keeper’s ‘Strange Passion’ compilation, or early Dome experiments!
We can barely contain our buzz over this reissue. From its wild DIY drum machine programming to the appearance of O’Shea’s cymbeline-like home-built instrument and the cut ’n splice, layered song arrangements, ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is one of those blue moon reissues that, in hindsight, seem to blow away so much other, better known material from the era whence it came.
As spotted with ‘Town’, a highlight of Finders Keepers’ great Cache Cache compilation, ‘Strange Passion’, Stano’s mix of hands-on drum machine rhythms and bittersweet songcraft remain among the strongest examples from Dublin’s punk/post-punk scene of the early ‘80s. And judging from the 2nd hand asking prices of ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ in 2018, quite a few other listeners are patently aware of his prowess, too.
A former member of The Threat (also found on ‘Strange Passion’), John Denver Stanley or Stano recorded his first album in Dublin’s Alto studio, in the basement of late C.18th Irish Nationalist leader Robert Emmet’s house, where he made sublime use of the studio’s natural reverbs, inviting around pals and peers to work in a musique concrete-like method of playing, processing and editing to achieve the wickedly unpredictable, flowing chicanery of his first album.
The two appearances of Michael O’Shea and his Mo Chara (a self-built, 17-string, zither or cymbeline-like instrument with pick-ups) are noteworthy not just for their haunting beauty, but also their rarity, amounting to the near-mythical busker’s only known recordings outside an eponymous classic for Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ Dome Records. Whether meshed with Stano’s drum machine and echoplex FX in ‘Seance of a Kondalike’ or layered with his Sitar and Stano’s tabla-esque tweaks in ‘A Dead Rose’, the effect leaves us a shivering mess, to be honest and still scratching our heads why there’s no recent, significant reissue of O’Shea’s own work.
The rest of the LP is no less brilliant in it’s own way, roundly speaking to the diversity Stano, a self-described “non-musician”, and his intuitive way with sound. From the almost lusting funk of ‘White Field (In Isis)’, to the wild-pitching drum machine of ‘Blue Glide’, thru the icy elegance of the grand piano in ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Dawn’, to the sheer concrete sound design of ‘Melting Grey’ and again with that deadly machine swagger on ‘Emma Wild’ and ‘Room’, we’re left in no doubt this LP is a true, overlooked classic of its time.
Switched-On Eugene documents the Eugene Electronic Music Collective and some of the many synthed-out gures in and around Oregon’s iconic hippie stronghold during the 1980s.
"Whether connected by membership, geography, or the tape trading scene, the artists in and around the EEMC shared compelling visions of the future we now inhabit, vividly captured on home-recorded tapes and distributed via zines, classi eds, and local radio. Switched-On Eugene is a deep dive into a heretofore forgotten sonic microcosm unlike any other."
Aman!!! is a newly formed project by Tasos Stamou (Greek bouzouki & Turkish saz) and Thodoris Ziarkas (blues guitar).
"The duo explores the borders of improvisation in the context of traditional music, especially focused in the musical heritage of Greek Rebetiko and other styles of the South East Mediterranean. The project reflects reflects both musicians' interest about reinterpreting traditional music in a contemporary, non sterilized form whilst dealing with music tradition in their very own special way; abstract prepared-strings improvisations blend back-and-forth with original old songs of '30s and '40s phonography.”
Forever developing her ‘Music as Art’ aesthetic into a meeting point between technically brilliant Plunderphonic technique, and ludicrously funny Toilet Humour, Vicky Bennett’s ‘People Like Us’ project reaches another zenith with the release of this excellently titled ‘Recyclopaedia Britannica’,
It's a compilation of selected works recorded between 1992 and 2002, utilising an array of distinctly british quirks in the construction of mock-lounge music intercepted by gaffs, blips, and narrative absurdities. Vicky has become a master of malladjusted social commentary. Fans of John Oswald, Stock, Hausen and Walkman, Negativeland and Matmos will want to check.
Preeminent sound artists William Basinski and Lawrence English roll out the quietly breathtaking ’Selva Oscura’ as the first fruit of their collaborations spanning the past half decade and more.
Mantled in reference to Dante’s Inferno, ‘Selva Oscura’ literally translates to ‘Twilight Forest’, a title which serves as metaphorical device for the way Basinski and English’s lives in transit have serendipitously crossed paths over the years between Zagreb, L.A., and Hobart, in a variety of situations. On another level it also speaks to the nature of losing one’s way in place and time, which is beautifully reflected in the music’s disorienting, otherworldly ebb and flow flux.
Using a palette of sounds broken down, magnified and inverted from macro to micro scales and vice-versa, and mailed to each other between L.A. and Brisbane, the results map out vast tracts of psychic terrain that shift like the sands of time, with sounds perpetually rearranging themselves on the granular level to render a broader, slow moving tapestry of sublime, anaesthetic quality.
The A-side’s ‘Mono No Aware’ (Japanese for “the pathos things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”) is a captivatingly transient and hypnagogic work of sferic tones and sprawling wide bass, lulling listeners into a state of lushest melancholy with the allure of a time-lapse video of autumnal weather patterns. ‘Selva Oscura’ follows with a discernibly darker and submersed appeal, as though the clouds have come down to us (or us to them?) and we’re left wandering the firmament, initially swaddled in a creamy grey-pink expanse marbled with pealing partials, before crossing oceanic basses and gently touching down to pinch ourselves.
The Brooklyn based Upper Wilds features Dan Friel (Parts & Labor) on guitar and vocals, bassist/vocalist Zach Lehrhoff (Ex Models, Pterodactyl) and drummer Jeff Ottenbacher.
"The new album dramatically expands their musical scope with noise-pop epics about our colonization of the red planet. Featuring collaborations by Katie Eastburn (Young People, KATIEE), Mark Shue (Guided by Voices), Jeff Rosenstock, Aaron Siegel and Jason Binnick, ‘Mars’ is an album that is bristling with energy and passion. ‘Mars’ is pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged with free download card."
Phantasmagoric sci-fi soundtrack styles from Swedish synth-fondler Johan Öhman Sollin, landing square between the styles of early 0PN, Hype Williams, and James Ferraro.
Marking his debut for iDEAL after more than a decade of trading as Johan Rohbau, Time Deleters, Knife and Ape, Minimen, and Sphinxes for a handful of secretive labels, J.Ö.S. draws from classic pulpy ‘80s cyber-goth and video nasty horror soundtracks for a personalised and totally immersive suite of home-brewed, synthy hauntology.
Essentially relaying the sound of loooong Scandinavian nights where there’s not much else to do other than frighten yourself to sleep, ‘Ultra’ perfectly connotes the clammy feel of ‘80s horror/sci-fi soundtracks and their fixations with body horror, technology, and the occult, figuratively using tape recording techniques and embracing the infidelities of decay to conjure 10 bittersweet, poignant scenes that could have feasibly accompanied the imagery of ‘Decoder’ or some John Carpenter knock off...
Optimo Music serve your disco with five ‘80s-styled bobby dazzlers by Noo
Primed for peak times in red-lit rooms, ‘EP4’ turns out handy jams in the full beam chug of ‘Just Can’t Give It Up’ and the S’Express-esque acid-Italo-house of ‘Tripchild’.
CAVE are kind of beyond time. You might feel like it’s been a while since you’ve seen or heard them but when you see or hear them again, that moment will feel like ‘Allways’.
"During the making of the last album, ‘Threace’, CAVE was in the process of becoming a quintet. They toured the world afterwards, playing on four continents and eighteen countries - as close to everywhere as they could get. Then they took a minute. They recorded it over time, in Chile and then Chicago. You can hear all of this, the energy of liveness, the reps, and consolidating expanded possibilities within their new alignment, the time away, the distance and the freshness of returning to recorded sounds, everywhere on ‘Allways’.
In the past, much has been made of CAVE’s use of particular compelling tropes but their inspiration comes from everywhere - Miles, psych, beats, exotica, library music, rock, punk, the Germans, the New York guys too, minimalists, the Dead, music from India, everywhere. This is a bunch of guys playing rock-based music in a way that pushes them forward from everything they’ve experienced. When you listen to the new CAVE you hear guitars - lots of them - bubbling under, scratching, fanning, locking in and taking off, soaring on acid-washed wings, with keys that pump, burr and whoosh in and out of the rhythms.
Half-speed mastering of ‘Allways’ at Abbey Road has allowed the activity at all frequencies to present with a liquid fullness and ripe detail. ‘Allways’ is a blueprint for your ears to read and a map for CAVE to follow through the world."
Imaginative, impressionistic reframing of field recordings, intended for close listening
“From Geneva Skeen - As I’ve tried to understand what is happening now without judgement––a collapse of systems, boundaries, and symbols that crumble faster with each forcible attempt to reinstate them––I am finding equal failure in streamlined, singular methodologies for both comprehension and composition. Outside, reason and rationale wane in heft and clarity. Representation in a world that refuses fact is uncertain and deceptive. Time is complicated by the failure of the linear. Inside, what we see is not what we hear, what we hear is not what we think, what we think is not what we feel, and so on.
The dread incited by this precarity is difficult to interpret without announcing failure: the anxiety of watching our own hourglass is palpable and demanding. I feel existence in this moment has required a move away from my own humanity in order to simply live in it, live through it, live with it while refusing to release the idea of environmental recovery. It is to request your humanity to unwillingly shift, to mutate toward something sharply resilient and relentless. The sounds on this record embody this sense of mutant consciousness. It is, for me, a representation of a vigorous sprint towards complexity, towards the interdependencies that serve as stop-gaps, towards freaky, slippery, compounded stacks of reality.
The title, A Parallel Array of Horses, is derived from a geologic phenomenon in which a block of a specific type of rock has been completely separated by mineral veins from its counterpart within another body of rock, and then stacked upon multiples of others like it. Sounds on this record are both recorded and produced: the album opens with recordings of a Mojave wind storm and closes with the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats departing their cave to roam the summer night air of Southeast Texas. Both scenes are landscapes of precarity, politically or meteorologically or otherwise. Interspersed are a variety of electronic instruments and processes, and compositional techniques that are variously clear-cut or intentionally buried by digital processing. Tracks three and four are composed entirely with my own voice––my own body as the original playback mechanism for experiencing the world, but manipulated, elaborated upon, and layered to express a more complex interpretation of that subjective reality.
Through listening, I find myself able to retrace my steps back to a sense of decentered, porous presence––the present is still here, with all of its shifts and confusion and valuable interdependencies. No matter is created or destroyed, only new forms arise.”
The songs of Will Oldham have been written most often for the aliases of Palace or Bonny. Their identities, kept necessarily separate from Will’s, the songs were written to create a singular encounter, to be shared among those who choose to listen.
"‘Songs Of Love And Horror’ is a rare entry in this oeuvre: a Will Oldham album, with the writer taking a turn as singer. As befits the nature of this project, the songs are sung and played by Will alone, in a setting enjoyed by fans of his music - that of one voice and one guitar, the better to savour the spare changes and starkly-cut lyrics, operating in quiet tension and ultimate collaboration.
Will brings to the songs all that he has learned from his stage-crafting fellows over the years, singing new versions that quiver like fresh young things in the air of today."
"Los Angeles" started out as a commission work for the Vossajazz festival, and was performed in the scenic village of Voss in western Norway in March 2018.
"A far cry from Los Angeles, but to mastermind and founder HP Gundersen there are no boundaries in music and such differences are only sources of inspiration and natural parts of his vast musical universe. For the previous album "Mudflowers" HP Gundersen "found" and recruited the perfect singer in Maesa Pullman, daughter of famed actor Bill Pullman. Coming from a musical family, she performs frequently in different musical constellations in Southern Califonia, being a profiled presence in the local roots community. A songwriter in her own right, Maesa also handles guitar and piano as well as the drums. Since the release of "Mudflowers", bass player, recording engineer and co-producer Jason Hiller has come onboard as a permanent member of the trio that currently serves as the core of The Last Hurrah!!.
Originally seen as a one-off project, it soon became clear that the chemistry between the three went much deeper and far reaching than the Americana influences that dominated parts of "Mudflowers". HP Gundersen has been a central figure on Bergen´s vibrant music scene for more than three decades, as producer, composer and mentor for many of the city´s artists. As a producer he discovered and nurtured the career of a very young Sondre Lerche, one of Norway´s most successful international exports. As well as Madrugada´s mega-hit "Lift Me" with Ane Brun, he has produced over 50 albums - including Tim Rose´s final album "American Son". He names The Beatles, early Stones, Tin Pan Alley and cosmic American country as his life changing musical epiphanies."
Freaky garage-techno minimalism from Deadboy, providing Trule’s wicked first release
Intently focussed on the groove rather than melodic or harmonic aspects, see find Deadly at his very best between the scissoring micro-funk of ‘Klint’, the almost Herbert-styled parry of ‘Pack It In You Two’, and an outstanding workout named ‘Nomos’, where he really goes in with whirring, techy twysts and freaky, spaced out synth jabs perfectly offset with hiccuping 2-step vocal edit.
Geotic is a new project from Baths.
"Ask Will Wiesenfeld to contrast his project Baths with the music made under his Geotic alias, and you'll get a simple response: Baths is active listening, Geotic is passive listening. But behind this straightforward duality exists two projects that are equally poignant yet starkly distinct, reflective of the emotional complexities of its creator.
Don't mistake passive listening for anything remotely resembling apathy. Over the course of nine self-released albums plus a handful of singles & EPs (all released on Bandcamp), Wiesenfeld has certainly proved the contrary. With Abysma, his first release for Ghostly, Wiesenfeld solidified this notion as Geotic makes his label debut in tandem with the projects first ever physical o ering. In 2018, Wiesenfeld presents his second full-length for Ghostly: Traversa.
Part of Wiesenfeld's inspiration comes from his own domestic situation. A native of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, the classically trained musician has settled on the Westside, inhabiting an apartment a short ride from the ocean. "It's a relaxing and slightly displaced vibe that informs the project. It's full of art everywhere, all my comics, an amazing media set up," Wiesenfeld says. "It's all the stu that I've saved for and wanted to have in my life but didn't feel comfortable [setting up] until I moved in here. We nested the shit out of this place."
"So much of dance music is about partying and going out and having a really hardcore social experience," Wiesenfeld says. "Dance music has never been that for me. So much of my experience listening to music is being by myself - at home or in my car. Those feelings are especially apparent on the tracks that comprise Abysma: songs that feel lived-in and comfortable - imbued with feelings that cant be faked or compart- mentalized. "
Steve Albini’s Big Black classic - listed in the top 100 records of the ‘80s, according to Pitchfork - comes around for its umpteenth reissue
Driven by a Roland drum computer, Albini and his cohorts slash and burn thru 13 songs about fucking, Colombian execution techniques, bread that gets you high, and humanity’s inevitable descent into darkness, along with a blistering cover version of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’. What more could you ask from a record?
Natsukashii's 'Driving East' is a foundational landmark in functional music intended to occupy a particular space.
"Their minimalist composition techniques prove that only a prophet of the quantum cycle may manifest this harmonising of intention. One could describe this previously unreleased cult album as ambient or new age, perhaps drawing similarities to minimalist contemporaries of the early 1980's, but if you look within and realise you have never experienced this rekindling on a cosmic scale, it can be difficult to believe. The stratosphere is calling to you via frequencies. Can you hear it?"
Kompakt presents a new LP and audiovisual venture by Danish producer Kasper Bjørke and close cohorts. Epic and in length but always captivating,
"‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ is an entirely ambient concept album, that interprets and evokes the emotional rollercoaster Kasper experienced, from his cancer diagnosis and throughout the five years of regular check-ups. The week of album release marks his 2nd anniversary of getting the all-clear.
“Just two weeks before my 35th birthday, doctors discovered a tumour during a routine scan. The prognosis was positive, but the anxiety that accompanied the diagnosis was incredibly difficult to navigate.
I felt this urge to document what I was experiencing through music, but at the same time, I didn’t want to begin recording before my final hospital examination; not until I knew for certain I was going to be okay. On October 16th 2016, after five long years of regular CT scans, x-rays and blood samples, I left department 50 11 for the last time.
I wanted to document the gamut of feelings – both light and dark – using these long instrumental compositions as the narrative, and the track titles as a cronological guideline. The album chronicles a journey from discovery of the tumour, to the operation and frequent examinations; from feeling a beacon of love and light in the birth of my son (in the same hospital), to finally leaving that waiting room for the last time.
The project has been a therapeutic way of me processing the diagnosis, the constant fear of relapse and the light in being healed. Throughout the process I used the music to fall asleep to — and as a sonic space to meditate in and contemplate my journey. My hope is that others; healthy, ill or next of kin, will be able to use ‘The Fifty Eleven Project’ in that same way.”
The base of the album was composed on vintage analogue synthesizers, reverbs, echo and sequencers – using the computer solely as a recording device – by Kasper and synth wizard Claus Norreen, in the latter’s Copenhagen studio. The violins, violas and cellos are composed and played by the Italian composer Davide Rossi, who has also worked with Ennio Morricone, Jon Hopkins, Röyksopp, The Verve and Goldfrapp. The piano parts are composed and played by Danish musician Jakob Littauer (of Kompakt labelmates Jatoma) on an old upright piano in a studio, and on a Steinway Grand Piano in the concert hall at the Royal Danish Music Conservatorium.”
Steeply hypnotic and immensely powerful mix of possessed drone, doom metal and pounding motorik rhythms from Manchester’s Primitive Knot, who, being local and all, we’re ashamed to say we’ve never seen before, but will do on the strength of this evidence presented by Aurora Borealis (home to The Haxan Cloak, KTL, Burial Hex)
“Hailing from Manchester, UK, Primitive Knot have created a cult underground following with their prolific output and aura of arcane mystery. Primitive Knot cover a lot of musical ground, from motorik Krautrock to primitive thrashing doom metal, garage rock to the kind of industrial pop bombast associated with latter era Sisters of Mercy. Yet at all times, the sound is pure Primitive Knot. ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ sees Primitive Knot exploring the spiritual outer realms with drone, doom and dark ambient methodology, delivering over an hour of shamanic cosmic drift.
‘Thee Opener Of The Ways’ collects the sold out tape releases of ‘DOOM I’ and ‘DOOM II’, combining them with the tracks ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ and ‘Devotion And Decay In Interstitial Space’ to bring this material to a wider audience in a cohesive album format.”
Swooning, melt-on-the-mind solo piano studies from Shida Shahabi, an Iranian-Swedish composer in possession of a sublime grasp of melody and airy meter, as revealed across eight pieces clearly inspired by Erik Satie and warmly recommended to fans of AFX’s prepared piano works, or the melancholy of Goldmund and Dustin O’Halloran.
“Shida Shahabi is a Swedish-Iranian pianist / composer, currently based in Stockholm. The beautiful, intimate and homespun piano of ‘Homes’ marks Shida’s debut release and the fourth in a row of new albums by female-fronted artists released on 130701 this year.
The entirety of the album was recorded at various home locations. During the writing process, Shida was renting a one bedroom appartment which she used as a studio space, before moving to a new house in the midst of the recording. So the music was actually written in one home studio and recorded in two different living rooms, hence the title, ‘Homes’. A sense of this homeliness and unpressured ease is clearly audible across the album – something utterly natural and unforced. There are no whistles and bells attached here, no big name guest performers or hired studio hands. Absolutely beautifully played and composed, it is a deeply charming record that exudes a confident warmth and an emotional depth and honesty in every note. Its production eschews the prioritising of cleanliness, with a warm, fuzzy noise floor audible from the very first track immediately immersing the listener into this sublime yet imperfect reality – as though the whole existed beneath a layer of dust. It posits comfort over obsessive cleanliness. Living comfortably with traces of wear and decay, the recording makes audible intimate acoustic details and imperfections – creaking and hissing; tiny distortions; the pressure exerted by fingers and feet against the piano’s pedals and keys.”
Restless sound explorer James Ginzburg (Emptyset) commits his definitive solo opus with debut LP ‘Six Correlations’, an immersive trench of dense harmonic expression consolidating influences ranging from Gaelic folk music to Iranian and Indian classical styles and generative composition techniques.
Originally composed for a commissioned performance in Berlin and recorded in early 2018 over three days, ’Six Correlations’ considers the relationship between the organic and the digital world as a meditation on whether modernity implicitly represents a long slow goodbye to nature: to everything that is not integrated into the networked world.
Rather than a eulogy to the Anthropocene, Ginzburg renders an optimistic, imaginative solution to the disappearance of nature and non-digital culture, seeking out new, harmonious relationships between organic instruments and technological process. Using a hand drum, piano, voice, shruti box and Roland SH-101, he beautifully puts that idea into practice on 6 tracks that short circuit and play around with conceptions of consonance as organic bliss and dissonant noise as chaotic malevolence.
Between the undulating box drone of ‘Light, Timed - A River’, and the swelling gust of bagpipes in ‘Above Water, Inside’ he locates and conveys a mercurial, bittersweet soul at the biting point where consonance and dissonance dissolve into pure sensation, conjuring a harmony of feelings that transcends time, space, light and sound with the lushest yet, crucially, humble and broad appeal.
‘Kontrapoetik’ is a tumultuous and cinematically absorbing suite reeling from dark ambient to burning organ and Buchla 200 synth fanfare, all laced with samples of field recordings and archival Swedish radio recordings. More specifically it is a lament for peripheral communities and also a hymn to satanism. It’s a lot, aye, but highly considered and powerfully sculpted in a way that will appeal to fans of Kali Malone, as much as Emptyset or Stephan Mathieu.
“Kontrapoetik is a very personal and simultaneously historical investigation, tackling the deceivingly serene, yet turmoiled past of composer Maria W Horn’s home region Ångermanland in the North of Sweden, and her own counter-exorcism project thereof. Drawing from archival material in the region she taps directly into the conflict of this bastion for the worker’s movement with the Swedish military in the 1930’s that left 5 dead and nearly triggered a revolution. Even before that it was the site of Sweden's largest documented execution of women accused of witchcraft in 1674 in the form of burnings and decapitations. Constituting two thirds of Sweden's total area, Norrland is sometimes referred to as "the colonies" because of the uneven distribution of the wealth generated by the natural resources of northern Sweden, a small portion of which is reinvested in the area. Since the 1970's it has seen increasing depopulation and disintegration of the welfare state. The piece Ångermanländska bilder is based on material from a collection of Super-8 films that depicts the environment of Ångermanland from 1930-1940; the manor houses of the rural community, the steamboats transporting timber along the river that runs through the landscape, the power plants and sawmills.
The musical territories explored by Horn on Kontrapoetik are vast, but at the heart of each piece is a strong fundament of reductionist technique no matter how maximal the results may sound. Deceptively simple harmonic progressions are refractured through the means of inversion and repetition, presented either in a pure state or being crushed and deformed by layers of distortion. Coupled with this is an almost tactile relationship to texture as well as an immaculate sense of the physicality of sound. This work, while saturated by an almost overbearing sense of longing and loss, never gives in, but stands steadfastly defiant.”
Hypnotic, offbeat, earthy dance music from Stefan Schwander’s Harmonious Thelonious
Leading on from turns with Kontra-Musik, Disk, The Trilogy Tapes and Versatile in the last year alone, ‘Petrolia’ keeps up the quality levels with a six choice new cuts roving between the almost New Beat styled chug and fiery pipes of ‘Disko Marak’ to the spiralling stereo helix of ‘Just Play’, and the effortlessly mesmerising swag roof ‘Petrolia’, along with the Dembow-like bump of ‘Nous n’Avons Jamais’ and the fractal synth noise mosaic, ‘Tig Tig Tig’.
In the past three years since Michael Greene's breakout LP on Ghostly International as Fort Romeau, the British producer has toured the world many times over and recorded for labels such as Running Back, Live At Robert Johnson, and his own Cin Cin imprint.
"Coming off the acclaim of "Pablo" — designated by Pitchfork as “Best New Music” and a candidate for the song of summer 2018 — Greene drops a three tracker for Ghostly’s Spectral Sound imprint that finds him in fine form.
“Untitled III” pulses out from the onset, riding a serpentine melodic line into a haze of impressionistic house before its final demystified minute. The drama swells in the back half while never losing its resolute calm. “Organelle” slows the pace with twilight stabs and warm subs in check, claves echoing down the hall. “Empire” revs the tempo back up, all twinkling synths and gnarled bass, the cerebral, celestial sequence starts off as a night drive and ends well above the road. A fitting close to a stately return to the fold."
John Carpenter’s soundtrack for the new ‘Halloween’ movie. Spoiler: it sounds a lot like the previous ‘Halloween’ scores
“When the new Halloween movie hits theaters in October 2018, it will have the distinction of being the first film in the series with creator John Carpenter’s direct involvement since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Carpenter serves on the new David Gordon Green-directed installment as an executive producer, a creative consultant, and, thrillingly, as a soundtrack composer, alongside his collaborators from his three recent solo albums, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.
The new soundtrack pays homage to the classic Halloween score that Carpenter composed and recorded in 1978, when he forever changed the course of horror cinema and synthesizer music with his low-budget masterpiece. Several new versions of the iconic main theme serve as the pulse of Green’s film, its familiar 5/4 refrain stabbing through the soundtrack like the Shape’s knife. The rest of the soundtrack is just as enthralling, incorporating everything from atmospheric synth whooshes to eerie piano-driven pieces to skittering electronic percussion. While the new score was made with a few more resources than Carpenter’s famously shoestring original, its musical spirit was preserved.
“We wanted to honor the original Halloween soundtrack in terms of the sounds we used,” Davies explained. “We used a lot of the Dave Smith OB-6, bowed guitar, Roland Juno, Korg, Roli, Moog, Roland System 1, Roland System 8, different guitar pedals, mellotron, and piano.”
Unlike the Lost Themes albums, where the composers wrote the soundtracks for imaginary movies, Halloween saw the Carpenters and Davies collaborating on music set to images for the first time. Though it marked a significant change from their previous creative process, the trio thrived under the constraints and tight deadlines that film scoring work demands.”
Plangent , minimalist isolationist ambience from the high planes drifter, William Fowler Collins.
“A fluid dream logic runs deep in William Fowler Collins’ Field Music. The New Mexican composer of dark minimalism has long centered his practices upon the slow burn of the drone through guitar, electronics, etc. That remains the case for Field Music, with Collins extending his strategies through compositional exercises into rhythm and a diverse array of conceptual signposts that push his work along unfixed, sometime oppositional directions. The idea of ‘field music’ can relate to the archaic use of military drum corps in battle, whose patter Collins has intermingled with the polyrhythms associated
with Voodoo ritual.
Collins also proposes that the ‘field’ be defined as the physical self as gleaned from his secular readings of the Bhagavad Gita. The ‘field’ as the fabric of time and space also becomes a possibility when Collins literally wraps this album in the history of the atomic bomb, as the cover photo portrays the humble ranch where the first nuclear weapon was assembled.
Field Music grounds itself upon sustained tones that churn through controlled oscillations as the fundamentals to activate a trance-state in the listener. Out of this, Collins introduces hypnotic machine-looped convulsions and almost EVP-like disembodied voices on “Contact Is A Mother” as well as those those aforementioned polyrhythms that ripple across the title track. He pushes a motorik thump to the foreground of “They Wept Together” to the glowing dilation of foreboding ambience, running parallel to the restrictive strategies of Wolfgang Voigt.
The subtle complexities of Field Music address the primal nature of rhythm in connection with the body and the building blocks of energy, matter, and consciousness. Fans of Eliane Radigue, Christophe Heemann, and Demdike Stare would be well served to investigate Field Music.”
Addendum to Chris Carter’s first Chemistry Lesson, the ‘Coursework’ bonus offers a new original, ‘Bongo Glow’, along with remixes of album tracks by Radiophonic Workshop, Chris Liebing, and Daniel Avery
Carter’s unsettling synthetic vocaloid makes another appearance in the retro-futurist charms of ‘Bongo Glow’, crooning like a forlorn AI, before the highly active Radiophonic Workshop rework ‘Blissters’ to sound even closer to one of Akira Rabelais’ rewired renaissance pieces or a Jóhann Jóhannsson epic. Teutonic techno boschmaster Chris Liebing offers a stern, ‘Slow Burn’ techno overhaul of ‘Tones Map’, and Daniel Avery reworks ‘Uysring’ as a rolling big room heater.
French electro specialist Maelstrom returns to Sheffield’s CPU for a smart 2nd session
Working within sharply defined parameters, he turns out four distinctive cuts ranging from the stilted lurch of ‘Fragment’ to the punchy knocks and squirrelly synth jabs of ‘The Scope’, then slows down for a cranky acid turn in ‘Ussidd’, and a proper, Stingray-style shadowboxer titled ‘Utility Shift’.
Lone stepper Orson persists with the halfstep sound on his Version label
Gwan like it’s still 2006, the German producer simmers the vibe in ‘Life Gamble’ with a fine balance of dankness and light coming from the levitating pads and keys, whereas ’12:09’ fully commits to bassbin dread with seismic bass wobbles.
Jagged avant blues rock from the Dead Rider Trio joined by catalytic narrator Mr. Paul Williams
“Hot enough to jam, Dead Rider welcomes ghostly presence/wild card Mr. Paul Williams to the mic, resulting in a delightful exquisite corpse four-car pile up for the mind's eye and ear!”
Scudding acidic swingers and wild-eyed techno from San Francisco’s Taraval, razzing out on Four Tet’s Text label
Check ‘Aardvark’ for a galloping, swanging slice of peak rave pressure, or ‘Pumpkin’ for a more buckwild, percolated Chicago mutation, and ‘Basketball Cookie’ for a hyperkinetic techno trip.
Improv noise and sludge rock; a split tape featuring the return of the dungeon masters Angela Valid with broken rock splices by Sparrows Herne (from Hey Colossus).
"Angela Valid return from spawning —whoopy shit. Bob from Hey Colossus added the string plucking on this number and single-handedly churns up a two piece pong on the flip under the newly hatched Sparrows Herne moniker.”
Joachim Nordwall and Henrik Rylander pound out a powerful new Saturn And The Sun album on the former’s iDEAL Recordings, following up an album for The Tapeworm and the death of their band, The Skull Defekts, with a monotonous, harsh missive from the cold North.
Recorded at the legendary Gothenburg Sound Experiment in 2017, ‘In Love With The Extreme’ finds the duo explorating core influences, consolidating everything from ‘60s minimalism to early techno and tribal musics into a densely textured, future-primitive sort of rhythmic noise possessed with mesmerising traction and troubling distortion.
With brute force and admirably unrefined, intuitive intent, the pair palm out four hot streaks of molten electronics, fulminating tarry basses and noxious clouds of buzzing metallic overtones with pineal-pinching effect. This approach manifests stealthily in the subliminal transition from viscous atonal roil to undulating noise techno on opener ‘In Love With The Extreme’, while the bitter thizz and grungy bass distortion of ’Saturn War Chant’ feels like a slowed-down, ancient Viking battle cry to alien foe.
On ‘Cross The Line’ they invoke the elemental might of Mika Vainio in a hauntingly gutted and head-engulfing tract of high-register stress and sickly subharmonics, and again the charred electronics of ‘Pleasure Is Relief’ clearly nods to their departed peer’s Pan Sonic output.
Killer, mutant jungle and Bristol bass functions from Rhythmic Theory, including a seriously strong remix of Pessimist
Originally issued in 2017, the EP somehow escaped our full attention until recently, when we encountered the full might of RT’s ‘Choppage’ mix of ‘Empty House’ by Pessimist. Hewing close to Pessimist’s ruggedly stripped down sound, RT injects his own flavour with patented bass drum clout and tail-chasing, smoke-curl breakbeat edits that really set it apart.
The rest of the EP is smart, too, from the Batu-esque rolige of ‘Outlawed From Reality’, to the dank lean of ‘Cyclic Motion’ and the cavernous stepper ’Rachael’s Theme’, but to be fair the first track is the one!
A new album from How To Dress Well, Co-produced by Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin, Airbird), this record plays as a single continuous piece of 21st Century psychedelic music.
"The stories Krell sings on this record - some biographical, many from the most knotted corners of human life - are deeply personal and human(e). ‘The Anteroom’ - with its blizzardous electronic noise, fragile melodies and poignant poetry - reclaims the experimental core of the How To Dress Well project."
Tymon and Ansome rework neo-gabber/hardcore techno trax in brutal fashion
Sydney, Australia’s Tymon brings his industrial strength class to a bushwhacking doof mix of Perc’s ‘Hyperlink’, and Ansome executes rugged skullduggery on Manni Dee and Ewa Justka’s ‘London Isn’t England’.
Hospital Productions invoke ancient arcane sensations with Old Tower’s Dutch dungeon synth trip
“Hospital Productions presents: emerging from the nether regions of times not spoken and lands raised with blood Old Tower pays homage and servitude to the drachen. moving away from the streams of modern decay and following the ancient path laid bare by cold meat industry, metgumbnerbone and tangerine dream ‘drachenblut’ shows the synthesized pact of organized ancient electronics. hail the spirit of feudal darkness and clotted blood coagulating in the shadows!
arriving on the nearly extinct 7” format for the first time but make no mistake dear mortals, 'drachenblut' presents 3 of the most intricate and hypnotic tracks from the specter. short in length like the life span inside the drachen’s breath this archaic ep will leave the forsaken listener into a trance of self destruction honoring the horrific mythology returning to revenge our time.”
Leaving Records don Matthewdavid diffuses an hour of marimba and field recordings in ‘Marimbza’ for Sydney, Australia’s Longform Editions
“LA composer and Leaving Records label founder Matthew David McQueen is largely known for his experimental production including releases on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label. After nearly a decade of evolution, Matthewdavid's Mindflight is at once a powerful statement of identity and a new door into cosmic consciousness.
Marimbza is generative re-sampled MIDI marimba and field recordings. Deep listening is huge – it assists with sleep, centeredness, stillness, being present, slowing down, relaxing. Most all of the music I'm making currently is free-flowing and potentially endless.”