Amazing and unique private soul/jazz-funk fusion LP, the first release (1980) on Andrew Scott Potter and David Eric Tillman’s PO/ET label. Sublime from the beginning to the end, it has become, just like their second and final release “…Space…Rapture…”, a sought-after collector’s item.
"Andrew and Eric both come from Chicago. They met in the early 70's, shortly after Eric's discharge from the U.S. Air Force. They played together on the local jazz scene for several years (among others, with Maulawi). During that period, Andrew also toured with Minnie Riperton and Eric toured with The Dells, Linda Clifford and others. In the late 70's Eric left Chicago for Los Angeles, when he began touring with The Temptations. Since moving to California Eric has played and/or recorded with a variety of artists, including, Willie Bobo, Justo Almario, Alex Acuna, Norman Connors, Billy Paul, GAP Band, Linda Hopkins, Billy Higgins, O.C. Smith, and many others."
‘The Dream Tec Album’ is an expanded edition of Jeroen Brandjes & Nastasja Hagemeier’s classic early Dutch techno album for U-Trax, and serves to prime the scene for reissue of their golden classic LP ‘Painless’
All conceived, written and recorded during the duo’s earliest phase c.1991-1992, this newly remastered edition of ‘The Dream Tec Album’ features the original LP’s 6 tracks, themselves drawn from a mix of projects - Syndrome, Paradise Syndrome, Bitch&Bites, and The Connection Machine - plus two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Patently in thrall to pioneering Motor City artists such as Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Carl Craig, the duo forged a driving, spacious, and heady sound compatible with both 313 emissions and emergent UK techno/AI styles, resulting some fine highlights strewn between their David Koresh-sampling breakbeat workout ‘Dream Affected Dream’ and the pendulous ambient techno drift of ‘X-Manray’, plus the previously unreleased nightflight of ‘Cafe D’Anvers’.
Obscure 1988 album from Doctor Umezu Diva, the work of japanese sax player Kazutoki Umezu on a one off project in which he invited legendary marimba player Midori Takada and Jazz vocalist/pianist Ichiko Hashimoto for an album of collaborative improvisations.
"This album was one of the best kept, secret jazz albums from Japan; it's really hard-to-find and very limited. Dubby from Ondas Tokyo -- who compiled Midnight In Tokyo Vol. 2 brought this record to Studio Mule's attention. This album is a unique mixture of modern classical sound and avant-garde jazz, which is kind of similar with Strata East or Nimbus."
By turns lysergic, wistful and doomy, Jim Williams' soundtrack for Ben Wheatley's baffling period piece, 'A Field In England' neatly reflects the films psychedelic feel.
"Ben Wheatley’s black-and-white chamber horror, set amidst the strange margins of the English Civil War, is a puzzling, inexplicable nightmare, made all the more disturbing by Williams’ spare, brooding score of early music textures that gradually morph into electro-psychedelic overload, aided by Martin Pavey’s sound design and, in one terrifying sequence, the use of Blanck Mass’s ‘Chernobyl’."
Magisterial, glacial, attention-demanding and powerful exposition of Buchla 200 synth tones mapped to acoustic woodwind and brass by a promising young composer; Stockholm’s Kali Malone. A strong tip to fans of work by Caterina Barbieri, Emptyset, Sarah Davachi.
Arriving in the resonating wake of her self-released solo début Velocity of Sleep , and flanked by the recently issued Organ Dirges 2016-2017 tape for Ascetic House, the Cast Of Mind LP gently but grandly expands the constellation of Kali Malone's solo releases, next to her Upper Glossa collaborations with Caterina Barbieri, a tape with Ellen Akrbro, and acclaimed live performances.
Joined by Yoann Durant (Alto Sax), Isak Hedtjärn (Bass Clarinet), Gabriella Varga Kalsson (Bassoon), and Mats Äleklint (Trombone), Kali’s Buchla 200 Synthesiser forms the basis for a quartet of diaphanous and slowly unfolding electro-acoustic landscapes that externalise a highly personalised form of emotive topography.
In the titular opener, wood and brass trace the swooning ellipses of Kali’s Buchla contours in stately procession suggesting a sort of resigned march to battle, before the Buchla appears to dominate in the warped streaks of Bondage To Formula, but listen closer and it’s harder to tell whether it’s electronic or organic sources so fully lending flesh to her rich sound field.
The answer to that question is much clearer in Arched To Hysteria, whose keening, hunched electronic forces hold powerful potential to conversely induce paranoia and heavily hypnagogic effects, whilst Empty The Belief yields a lustrous, Raga-like drone capturing a marriage of Buchla and bassoon at their most transcendent and steeply attractive.
This one should be filed for reference and safekeeping beside recent transmissions from Sarah Davachi, Anna Von Hausswolff, and Catarina Barbieri = properly good.
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
‘Sensudestricto’ is the 2nd volume of steeply immersive, abstract industrial/experimental ambient recordings from Stephen Thrower (Coil, Cyclobe) and David Knight (Shock Headed Peters) in their UnicaZürn duo
In a concerted effort to bypass genre clichés, the pair project four durational parts of amorphous, shapeshifting drone structures that speak to visions of psychedelic horror and ache for an escape from the prosaic and mundane. They’re gurningly dissonant, dense and roiling things that resemble aspects of the obscure and classic film soundtracks Thrower is so fond of, drifting from the expansive horrors of ‘For The Dark Planets’ to something like a Carpenter-esque theme for drug-fuelled, noirish stalker scenes, before switching modes again to a sound recalling earlier Alex Zhang Hungtai records, thanks to Thrower’s pealing blue sax in ‘Stems of the Shadowmind’, and ‘A Gulp of Moss, a Breath of Stone’ most beautifully, frightfully limns parallel ambient dimensions in darkly seductive yet elusive detail.
The dynamic creative relationship between Arovane & Porya Hatami yields some of their most delicate, low key textural ambient arrangements in ‘C.H.R.O.N.O.S.’, the duo’s 5th collaboration and 3rd for Karlrecords
“After “Organism” (2017) and the musique concrete influenced “Organism_evolution” (2018) UWE ZAHN alias AROVANE and PORYA HATAMI continue their sonic explorations with “C.H.R.O.N.O.S.”, the fifth collaborational album by the German electronic producer and the Iranian sound artist. While the duo’s last album was a collection of 23 mostly short tracks, each an acribic examination of sounds that treated by techniques like modular synthesis, granular synthesis, spectral processing, granular synthesis, resynthesis and resonator / modal synthesis, ““C.H.R.O.N.O.S.” consists of five longer compositions that focus on creating a contemplative, zen-like atmosphere of subtle beauty. Rich in details, carefully sound-designed, AROVANE and PORYA HATAMI prove once more their top notch skills when it’s about creating state of the art contemporary ambient.”
To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider’s TAL pluck out the fuzzy charms of a 2000 oddity by Maher Shalal Hash Baz singer Reiko Kudo to follow up their killer Roter Stern Belgrad and Konrad Kraft reissues
“Tal present a reissue of Reiko Kudo's Rice Field Slowly Riping In The Night, originally released on CD by Majikick Records in 2000. Reiko Kudo first debuted on the Tokyo underground music scene in 1980 with Noise, a duo which apart from herself under her then maiden name Reiko Omura on voice, guitar, and trumpet featured Tori Kudo (Maher Shalal Hash Baz) on organ. Like other pioneering female producers from Japan such as Non (of Non Band), Phew, and Haco, Reiko Kudo has an incredibly unique, uncategorizable, and daring voice. Rice Field Slowly Riping In The Night was Reiko Kudo's second album under her own name. It features Tori Kudo as well as Saya and Takashi Ueno (Tenniscoats) on various instruments. The recordings took place in 2000 at Reiko and Tori's house in the rural surroundings of Shikoku Island. All recorded music on this album sounds like it originates in a parallel dimension where time and key signatures simply don't exist. There is nothing accidental or forced here, this is simply music created in a very different way. Restoration and mastering by Detlef Funder at Paraschall Mastering, Düsseldorf; Cut at Calyx, Berlin Translation by Miki Yui and Claus Laufenburg. Includes insert and download; Edition of 400.
"After producing the album Souvenir De Mauve with Maher Shalal Hash Baz which we released on our label Majikick, the idea came to us, to release Reiko Kudo's work. For Reiko's work, we brought our recording equipment from Tokyo to Shikoku and recorded the entire album at her house . . . Reiko plays only at certain times of the day, so that we were able to complete only two or three recordings a day. Therefore, we had plenty of free time. We went to a hot spring, to a cafe, or we tried pottery on a spinning wheel at Tori's workshop. It was a very rewarding time. When this album was finished, we brought it to her to listen to. She said happily 'I think this is the best work I have ever done.'" --Saya and Ueno (Tenniscoats), Tokyo, 2018
Planet Mu’s first footwork signing, DJ Nate boomerangs back to the label nearly a decade since his debut EP and album triggered a rush of interest in the hyper Chicago style.
After Nate’s tracks first cropped up on a Dissensus forum thread at the end of the ‘00s, Planet Mu were quickest to his Myspace page, signing what would be most people’s first introduction the evolution of Juke music into its concatenated, battlefloor-ready cousin. The pivotal ‘Bangs & Works’ compilation followed, and with it amazing releases from Jlin, DJ Rashad and Traxman et al, but we’ve basically all got DJ Nate to thank for kick-starting a wider interest in the hyperlocal Chi-town scene.
Since then, DJ Nate has focussed on producing R&B and hip hop, finding a strong local following and even an underground hit outside the Chi with ‘Gucci Goggles’, but two years ago he was paralysed from the neck down in an accident from which he only just recovered.
But he never forgot about the footwork. ‘Take Off Mode’ collects 17 of Nate’s footwork tracks produced over the interim, including many previously uploaded to YouTube. They’re not quite as frenetic as Nate’s early style, but they’ve still got that sweet, almost feminine sort of pressure intact, making gripping use of pitched (up + down), syrupy R&B and soul samples and his own vocal idents woven into mercurial rhythms and palpitating bass.
‘Simulated Thunderstorm’ is Phillipe Hallais’ (Low Jack) seamless 60 minute mix of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement recordings, originally realised as part of Hospital Productions’ CDMX earthquake benefit and released on tape alongside ‘Panama Canal Left-Hand Path’
Following his role in the heavyweight ‘Venus Flytrap Exotica’ 7” and the ‘Red Ants genesis’ LP, Phillipe Hallais is the logical pick to mix RSE’s baaad vibes, sequencing and layering 90 minutes of slow burning fever from the project’s earliest to most recent releases.
As a lot of us have found, many RSE releases could happily go on for twice the length before we’d get bored, so it’s nothing if not handy to have these immersive tracts to properly wallow and wander in, affording all the duration and space needed to let the infection take hold, metastasise and possess your imagination without distraction.
Venerable composer and pianist Charlemagne Palestine revisits his seminal 1976 work ‘The Golden Mean’ in duo with enigmatic artist Rrose, reprising a dialogue started 10 years ago when Rrose was studying at Mills college and looking for a score to Charlemagne’s amazing ‘Strumming Music’…
“In 2018 the Festival Variations in Nantes commissions Palestine to perform The Golden Mean, reworking the piece for two pianists. Palestine chose Rrose to join him in this new rendition of the work. Together, they performed The Golden Mean (reborn as “The Goldennn Meeenn + Sheeenn”) onstage at the main opera house in Nantes -- the sumptuous Théâtre Graslin – with extraordinary results.
The concept of the ‘golden mean’ goes back to the roots of mathematics, and ancient Greek philosophy. It is an important work in the Palestine mythos, embodying his total immersion in the power of the interval. “It’s probably his most systematic work . . . a step-by-step journey through the intervals of the octave,” says Rrose. “When we rehearsed it, we were noticing how each interval is like a universe of its own -- with its own history, emotions, and sonic qualities all mixed up together. Every time you move from one interval to the next, it feels like moving into another world.”
“I love the interval,” Palestine told me in a recent interview. “I love when it plays with itself. That's what I learned from organ musics too. You can just do an interval, and if they're just slightly out of tune with each other, then they shimmer . . . they play themselves. And it sounds like somebody's playing lots of notes. In your ear, it's like an aural phenomenon . . . that's my whole concept. I make something that then does itself somehow. It continues by itself. So I don't have to always be there. And that makes my music a little less egocentric. So there’s more space. Also for the listener — the ear plays with these things, and you're not always being given orders. Your ear isn't given orders all the time of what to listen for.”
Beautifully recorded, with mastering by Rashad Becker of Dubplates and Mastering, The Goldenn Meeenn + Sheeenn feels expansive, radiant and hypnotic, opening new ears to its enduring mystery.
Rrose adds this note to listeners: “Do not focus your attention on the notes being played, but on the ocean of overtones swimming, suspended, overhead, brushing against one another, kissing one another, melting into one another.”
Stefan Schwander’s Harmonious Thelonious harvest two slinky, strutting workouts for Italic, backed with twanging remixes by Tolouse Low Trax and Wolf Müller
In ‘Blinky’ he plays your tendons, glutes and hips like a fleshly instrument with swivelling, swingeing syncopations that play out over multiple bars in coolly delirious style, whereas ‘Shark Dance’ looks into a more intimate centripetal motion, bringing the limbs in and winding into fluid figures of 8.
Toresch’s Tolouse Low Trax lends his sought-after touch to ‘Rivera’, resulting an effortlessly sprung and tactile skank and parry, before Wolf Müller hacks deeper into psychedelic tropical undergrowth on a humid remix of ‘R.F.S.’
Amazing CD volume of unreleased work by Martin Bartlett; a British emigre based in Canada for most of his life, where he established Vancouver’s first Gamelan orchestra, and cultivated a singularly beautiful, even prescient style of electronic composition that worked within, around, and against its conventions and restrictions. This CD containing four durational works, is more sprawling than its sibling LP, running raga seemingly play on electronic bagpipes, thru to vast generative noise tracts, and grand orchestral composition somewhere between Webern and Alice Coltrane. A Real find, especially RIYL Roland Kayn, Pauline Oliveros, David Behrman
“Bartlett was a prolific writer, and he expresses himself in fresh, lucid, and wonderfully descriptive prose, offering clear thinking on social aspects of electronic music performance; on the barriers between the performer and the 'black box' and on possibilities for organic systems in electronic music. He also wrote accounts of his sailing trips, treatise on performance practices, and technical academic articles on the systems he built, along with the incandescent manifesto-like piece Electronic Recalcitrant, in which he hoped that electronic music would be imbued with “organic codes of growth and metamorphosis” so that he could “pluck elegant and fleshy electronic sound fish from the frothy algorithmic sea of possibilities”.
Key influences were Pauline Oliveros, John Cage and David Tudor, all whom he studied under. Like many of his generation, he became interested in non-Western compositional and philosophical practices, and in 1981 he travelled to India to study Carnatic vocal music with V. Lakshminarayana Iyer in Madras and then on to Burma, Thailand and Indonesia where he studied shadow theatre. He studied South Asian music with Pandit Pran Nath, gamelan with K.R.T. Wasitidipuro, and closely collaborated with Don Buchla on live performances and synthesiser design. He was particularly interested in the Javanese gamelan, which led to him founding the Vancouver Community Gamelan in 1986. On his travels to Indonesia he made hours of field recordings, many of which are accompanied by vivid narrations on the rituals and ceremonies he was documenting.
It is unclear why Bartlett’s work remains unknown. Perhaps it is because it remained largely inside the academy. Perhaps his commitment to live performance and community activity means it was more transient than the work of others. Perhaps his openness about his sexuality played a part in his music not receiving much recognition – one can only speculate. But correspondence in his archive shows that rejection and general lack of interest from labels was a source of great personal discontent, leading to Bartlett working again with the Western Front to release his final opus Pythagoras’ Ghost shortly before his death.
Bartlett died young, of AIDS-related causes, in 1993, but his music remains a rich source of inspiration, and is characterised by an irresistible and unselfconscious charm that renders his sound unique. These selections, along with the companion LP Anecdotal Electronics, and Luke Fowler’s film Electro-Pythagoras, aim to redress this prior neglect, shedding light on this little known personality from electronic music history, who still has so much to say.”
Arc Light Editions locate that rarest thing - pure electronic music with pathos, warmth and humour - in their vinyl collection of unreleased work by Martin Bartlett; a British emigre based in Canada for most of his life, where he established Vancouver’s first Gamelan orchestra, and cultivated a singularly beautiful, even prescient style of electronic composition that worked within, around, and against its conventions and restrictions. This LP, focussing on Bartlett’s preferred live practice and “other recordings” in 15 parts is a real find, especially if you’ve a penchant for Laurie Spiegel, ÉLG, Todd Dockstader, or David Behrman
“Martin Bartlett should be a familiar name. As well as working with a who's who of electronic music, he was an inspiring and original thinker, composer, performer and organiser. His music is distinctive for its warmth and fleshiness, for taking joy from the incidental and anecdotal, and it remains a characterful counterpoint to much contemporary electronic music. It is his preoccupation with building aleatoric elements into electronic music that distinguishes his work, and he devised elegant and open interactions for instrumental performers and computer-controlled synthesizers. This included building his own electronic devices, and extensive work on the Buchla 400.
Born in Croydon in 1939, he was adopted as a baby, and later moved with his family to Canada. He did a short stint in the Navy and completed a music degree at the University of British Columbia, studying under Barbara Pentland, before going on to study composition at Mills College in the late 60s. In 1973 Bartlett and seven others founded the Western Front in Vancouver – a cultural cooperative, gallery and performance space that still exists today, housed in the old meeting hall of the Knights of Pythias (a mason-like fraternity). He continued with his research and teaching, and in 1982 was made professor at Simon Fraser University where he remained for the rest of his life.
His performances were often collaborative – for the Western Front's second anniversary in 1975 he devised the four-channel piece One Piece for Everyone, a composition where he prepared and cooked a cauliflower curry on a table connected to a synthesizer he had built, while reading from texts on food. When the curry was cooked, the piece ended, and everyone was fed.
Bartlett was a prolific writer, and he expresses himself in fresh, lucid, and wonderfully descriptive prose, offering clear thinking on social aspects of electronic music performance; on the barriers between the performer and the 'black box' and on possibilities for organic systems in electronic music. He also wrote accounts of his sailing trips, treatise on performance practices, and technical academic articles on the systems he built, along with the incandescent manifesto-like piece Electronic Recalcitrant, in which he hoped that electronic music would be imbued with “organic codes of growth and metamorphosis” so that he could “pluck elegant and fleshy electronic sound fish from the frothy algorithmic sea of possibilities”.”
Greg Anderson & Stephen O’Malley’s Sunn 0))) mark 20 years of shaking our foundations with ‘Life Metal’, their 8th studio album and first all analog recording, engineered by none other than Steve Albini.
Under a title that pricks trve metal seriousness (it’s an inside joke about Norwegian metal “sellouts”), ‘Life Metal’ is offered as the closest possible representation of the band’s staggering live prowess. Recorded specifically and intensely over a period of just 2 weeks with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio after initial sketches made in LA - contrasting with the 2 year process behind 2009’s ‘Monoliths & Dimensions’ - their intent was to capture the sensation of physically standing in front of their amps whilst they play, aiming to better convey the sensation of being drenched in distorted tonal colour and ravaged by gut rumbling subharmonics. And it’s fair to say they’ve nailed it, like. The sense of resonant space and blistering air throughout the album is viscerally clear and present, but also manifest in a newfound sense of depth to their wall of sound, which is now almost more coral/spongiform, porous to a broader set of world views, energies and influences, yet still unmistakably Sunn 0))).
Of course, you’ll need a decent amp and speakers to really feel the lower registers, but this is perhaps one of the first Sunn 0))) albums that’s not so brutally dedicated to the low end. While it’s certainly there, a lot of information is also contained within the mid and even upper ranges of their frequency spectrum, most likely due to the way Albini’s entirely analog signal chain - from mic to tape to vinyl, with no DAT used - truly captures the complexity and shuddering movement of overtones emerging form their claw handed riffs. The appearances of trusted allies such as Hildur Guðnadóttir, who provides eerily absorbing vocals in ‘Between Sleipnir’s Breaths’ and a flooring section on the unruly oddity Haldorophone worthy of comparison with Tony Conrad in closer ‘Novæ’, or Antony Pateras’ pipe organ burning into ’Troubled Air’, also serve vital variables that marble and colour the record, lending an elemental iridescence that highlights the depth of ‘Life Metal’s character.
After following these guys for much of their unique artistic trajectory, and paying dues whenever they’re playing live in our city, it’s ever more rewarding to find new subtleties and aspects to Sunn 0)))’s always the same, ever amorphous sound.
Well this is sad, not necessarily the music, but the fact that ‘Mark of The Mould’ is apparently the last full length LP from Mordant Music caretaker Baron Mordant, the persistent crank who introduced the world to Shackleton and Cosmic Dennis Greenidge, scared us to sleep with ‘The Tower’, parsed the BFI for gold in the ‘MIsinforMation’ DVD, and irregularly spiked our days with strange music from the underbelly of England’s South Coast
Known as Ian Hicks to the taxman and his former bandmates in Portion Control, Baron Mordant is perhaps among the last of fading breed of belligerents who have made the UK underground such a brilliantly fetid, overgrown, litter-strewn siding to the mainstream. From his own music to the music of others dished up (quite literally on a 3” Petri that shattered dead easily) on Mordant Music, she has been nothing if consistent in raking up some terrific muck.
‘Mark of the Mould’ clears out the best of what was left in his shed/harddrive, featuring one of his wrily excoriating rap-not-rap joints on ‘The Internet Did It’, while he rants in scratchy dub on ‘Somebody Wake Up Hicks’, and gets wild with it in ‘Blong’ like a blunted Yeah You. But towards the end of the set he allows the sentimentality to creep in in his own way with the sour bliss of ‘KFC’s Toilets’ and his cutting humour and punning non-sequiturs on ‘Aldi Bag’ - choice example: “Adidas Legionnaires Disease/More and More Womane are growing imploded faces.”
TTFN, Baron. It was a strange pleasure.
Divine gospel modern soul boogie LP written, composed and produced by Jeffrey Roberson, first released in 1982 on Black Diamond Records.
"Every once in a while, an exceptional talent impacts the gospel industry and leaves an incredible impression. The anointed and Grammy nominated Jeff Roberson is one of the those rapidly expanding gospel artist who have done just that.
Jeff Roberson was born and raised in Long Island, New York, the son of Pentecostal parents who had a compelling love for music. Actually, he is endowed by God with a melodic intrinsic distinctive rooted and grounded in the splendid tradition of the church. His keen interest and focus in music was so intense that his parents encouraged him by purchasing a piano. During his teenage years, he was significantly blessed to be tutored by the late Rev. Timothy Wright, and the late Professor Benny Cummings and the Kings Temple Choir. It was during this season of his life that he continuously developed his skills as a keyboardist and songwriter.
Not only is he a skillful world-class vocalist, his talents transcend various creative art forms such as a skillful musician, innovative producer, accomplished pianist and organist. He simultaneously projects his uncompromising vocal talents and musical gifts to an unprecedented level of artistic achievement. Simply stated he excels in the excellent - (Excerpt taken from Jeff Roberson’s biography).
“Ever since I can remember, music has been to me, as a mother is to her child. Just as the sun enhances daylight, music is my life throb. Music puts life and joy in that sacred dimension. It fills the void of darkness and brings with it New Life.”
Spiky deco-club gear prone to emotional spasms, with rugged highlights in the pranging hardstep of ‘Dominatign The Matrix’, and gurning cyborg funk of ’Spit Hearts’
“Following September 2017's release of "Imperfect Charm" a 5-track EP of post-club, haunted techno and heady sound designed industrial. Evitceles has developed his sound far further, with releases on Seagrave, Yerevan and Sofia locals Amek.
"The Substance Of My Fantasies" is his first album and boils down the previous work into a narrative and truly dramatic session over its 9 tracks. Opening gambit "Take Me to Common Ground" unlocks the gates with bruising rave stabs left to exist in a vacuum of sub-bass boom and augmented voice. "Nightcrawler / Third Night" is a diffuse future-garage roller, priming razor-edged basslines against a hollow melancholia, a theme present throughout this album. "Spit Hearts" cranks the busted drum patters out through a super hi-fi field of gothic synthesiser. Closing piece "Behaviour Exercise" places off-thumbed emo-guitar lines and barely uttered exclamations into a gorgeous outro recalling sad boy rap styles from the darkest corners.”
This album is incredible - a highly complex but beautifully fluid traversal of Iranian folk music and modular synthesis that reminds us of Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s unparalleled ‘Electronic Music, Tar and Sehtar’ with its fantastically creative sense of freedom and abstract expression, pulling us deep into uncanny valleys of hyper modernism bursting with ideas and a sense of disrupted harmony that’s hard to absorb in one sitting. One of the most original, multi-layered things we’ve heard this year - a huge recommendation.
Ata Ebtekar’s restlessly searching sound has been in action for 30 years now and first appeared on our radar two decades ago with his debut 12” for Warp. Over the years he’s released on half a dozen labels - with Morphine, Sub Rosa and Opal Tapes among them - but this latest work for Diagonal has hit us like no other. On ‘Parallel Persia’, Ebtekar finds a poetic way of uniting his sounds into a brilliant aural energy that absorbs centuries of tradition before feeding into a new dimension of musical exploration.
Triggering a series of beguiling chain reactions that resonate throughout each track with electronic frequencies modulating the acoustic and vice-versa, Sote gradually re-sets templates to take us through a wormhole into an alternate reality, the Parallel Persia of the title. On the opening ‘Modality Transporter’, traditional Tar and Santur lay bare, unbothered by synthesis - but by the end of the track they become gradually transformed into ribboning tendrils of extruded electronics that continue to morph in fascinating ways. On ‘Brass Tacks’ they’re joined by unearthly, treated voices, before being pulled into bittersweet taffy on ‘Atomic Hypocrisy’, and utterly upending our proprioceptions in ‘Trans Force’, and the ancient-futuristic chants and dance rhythms recalling Rashad Becker in ‘Pipe Dreams’, until the whole thing ends in a purely singular language of unique intonation and shatterproof, beatless rhythms on ‘Pseudo Scholastic’.
‘Parallel Persia’ explores a subtle, gradual transformation into the unknown that’s both dizzying and inspirational, a reminder that pushing boundaries and templates works best when those boundaries are fully appreciated and understood. Innovation often births chaos and disruption, but beauty and symmetry, ultimately, prevail.
Madam X’s Kaizen deploy Walton’s ‘Murdah’ EP of slunky, sub/c.120bpm UKB pressure some two years after he debuted on the label with the ‘Taiko EP’
Up top, the Manchester-based producer shapes cranky drums and shuddering, effluent bass into ‘Squelch’, then works it off-the-bone with the staggered drums and hollow mid-range signals of ‘Onslaught’.
Downtown, he weighs in the title tune’s pendulous, darkside dancehall-styled slosh and screwed vocal to wicked effect, and rounds up with the brukken flow and wheezy leads of ’Submerged’.
Kenyan and Egyptian musicians meets Düsseldorf’s downtempo expert Jan Schulte on a swingeing, grubbing percussive tip nodding to classic Wally Badarou and cosmic disco vibings
Up top on ‘Mabomba Dance’ they set sights on the horizon for a 15 minute trek hustling Kasiva Mutua’s percussion with acidic synth wiggle and Ahmed Omar’s panting vocal, before a creamy breakdown takes them into a lusher 2nd half lit up with arcing synth chorales.
Down under, they contract to a nattier groove built from Jaw Harp and loose drums and framing a low key vocal from Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno in ‘Ruoth Radido (Nyangile)’, before traditional Kenyan strings appear on the dusty shuffler ‘Moso Radido Wuod Ndege (Nyatiti)’, and they wrap up with the tightest mesh of clipped clave rhythms and Adel Mekha’s balmy, plangent Arabic vox.
Cinematically-scoped debut collaboration between gothic spirit Marissa Nadler and post-hardcore figure Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man). We can hear shades of Portishead in there, along with strung out Americana, folk and sparingly used ambient strokes...
“All the songs on Droneflower were recorded in home studios, and they throb with the frisson of that intimate environment. For much of the recording process, Brodsky would stop by the ramshackle studio that Nadler set up in Boston whenever he was in town visiting family. Songs like “For the Sun” were written on the spot there, lyrics and all. The lush ambient pieces “Space Ghost I” and “Space Ghost II” began as Brodsky piano compositions and were later fleshed out by additional instrumentation and Nadler’s inimitable vocals.
Nadler and Brodsky also recorded two cover songs for the album — the epic Guns n’ Roses power ballad “Estranged” and Morphine’s beguiling “In Spite of Me.” Since childhood, Nadler had been transfixed by the “Estranged” video where Axl Rose swam with dolphins, and she and Brodsky breathe new life into the song here. Their take on “In Spite of Me” is invigorated by a guest appearance from Morphine saxophonist Dana Colley, who ironically didn’t play on the original recording but is indispensable on Nadler and Brodsky’s version.”
Highly respected violinist Laura Cannell, a specialist in early, medieval, and folk music, who has worked with Mark Fell and Charles Hayward, typically blurs the line between improv and composition in ‘The Sky Untuned’
Conceived based on an accumulation of thoughts and feelings over 18 months of commissions, tours and adventures, ‘The Sky Untuned’ was recorded in just one sitting at St. Andrews Church, Raveningham, Norfolk, UK on 10th December 2018. Considered in the platonic ideal of great music, the album finds Laura essentially speaking out loud through her trusted Overbow Violin and Double Recorders, as her music flows with a natural cadence, urgency and intimacy that keeps us rapt with the rustic charm of a master story teller from the sticks.
“THE SKY UNTUNED takes as it’s starting point the theory of the music of the spheres, in which the universe is constantly making sound that humans cannot hear. The music is teased out of the land and sky and performed using Cannell’s signature minimalist chamber sounds, utilising extended instrumental techniques of overbowed violin (with deconstructed bass viol bow wrapped around the violin to produce drone and melody), scordatura violin tunings and double recorders (inspired by medieval stone carvings).
“It is not the result of one commission but a performance drawn from the ideas that have travelled in my thoughts wherever I’ve been over the past 18 months. The ones which wouldn’t leave my heart and head, the ones which demanded to be played over and over through internal speakers, the ones which need to be explored and performed as if it’s the first time every time.”
Under an unwieldy title Katsunori Sawa (BOKEH, Steven Porter) shares some of his sharpest, diverse gear, vacillating ritualistic tonal experiments with future tribalist techno functions for Opal Tapes
“Never one to adopt normalcy, Katsunori has proved once again why his music stands alone in the contemporary scene. It is both adaptive of the hyper-modern post-club trends for higher BPM, off-kilter sound design and abrasive techno composition and reflective of traditional music, improvisation and the wide classical traditions of Europe, Africa and Asia.
On "An Enlightenment Manual..." an ear for traditional Japanese melody and tuning compliment an array of technically brilliant drum programming ("Frozen Dirt Trace" - "Strange Hell") or are smeared out into new-world drone forms and exotic cloud formations ("Camellia Blossom" - "Underwent A Pronounced Shift…”).”
Swing Ting’s Samrai and Platt on the buttons for a boogie dancehall squeeze with Jamaican MCs/deejays Blvk H3ro, Kemikal & Bobby Blackbird
“The result of a memorable studio session at Equiknoxx's Vineyard Town base, Play Another One picks up where previous H3ro-collaboration Can't Wait left off. This time it takes cues from breezy funk & boogie as much as hip hop & dancehall, culminating in a bumpy four to the floor outro featuring a crooning Blackbird on the Talkbox -"I said God dayme!"
Already becoming a staple in Swing Ting sets, Play Another Oneis the first of a wave of new material due for release in 2019 and beyond.”
Dais filter late ‘80s dance-pop and ‘90s synth-pop gems from Tor Lundvall’s abundant archives
Scrolling deeper than ever into Tor Lundvall’s private niches after a handful of albums and singles since the start of this decade, ‘A Strangeness in Motion (Early Pop Recordings 1989-1999)’ finds Lundvall clearly in thrall to the influence of New Order, Vince Clarke and the likes Hard Corps, and replete with angelic vocals that split the difference between Erasure and Hot Chip.
It’s exactly the kind of strapping but dreamy pop power-ups we crave, especially in his super pert dancer ‘Original One’, the brimming optimism of ‘The Melting Hour’, and the lush midnight flight of ‘The Night Watch’, but there are also some superb downbeat songs strewn between the soft focus drift and Paddy McAloon vibes of ‘Lessons That Kill’ and the gentle plangency of ‘Hidden’.
Dominick Fernow’s RSE locks its attention to “the bloodshed and blind economics of the (panama) canal… and its consequences and absurdity, then and now” in one of the project’s finest dispatches since the early days
With uncanny effect the music evokes its subject with soberly transfixing sound design, explicitly taking cues from Basic Channel’s hypnotic bass undulations to underline and power a series of rotting electro-acoustic soundspheres, never quite fully letting on, but bringing the sense of trudging linearity and humid menace thru suggestive inference.
Thru his combination of richly evocative titles and reserved sound design he prompts rather than tells, always leaving lots to the imagination. In ‘Hunting Down Individual Mosquitoes’ he evokes the feeling of a Predator-like character poised and patiently waiting for Schwarzenegger and co, with tense, lurkign pads offset by natural bird calls - half sleepy, half acutely focussed - before ‘Isthmus Dark Arts (Electricity Arcs Through Rain)’ brings nightfall with screeching parakeets and booming heartbeat. ‘Demons Tour The Canal’ then finds the perfect tension between blissed synths and distant, warning rhythms, priming for the extended isolation of ‘The Mountain Didn’t Want’ in two parts.
‘Supreme Self Dub’, the lead track from ‘Musical Traditions in Central Europe: Explorer Series Vol.4’ epitomises the album’s aesthetic with a tangle of rhythms pulling in various directions but gelled with a grittily viscous coherence.
Foundation ska from the cradle of Jamaican music…
Federal Recording Studios nurtured the talents of innumerable Jamaican artists in the early sixties… this set showcases seriously sought after rarities and previously un-released tracks from Don Drummond, The Maytals , Lynn Taitt and many more
Manchester’s Mike O’Neill speaks truth to power on ‘The Binary Order’, a scuzzy raw gob of vitriol produced by Sam Weaver and Danny Saul, leading on from Mike’s cult 2013 cassette for Gnod’s Tesla Tapes
Lyrically taking aim at Arts Council/Trust-funded lightweights, capitalist realism, and the precarious insecurity of working class life, and set to a mix of rugged, lo-fi breaks, visceral electronics and textured field recordings, the record draws listeners perhaps uncomfortably close into Mike’s street-level worldview.
Across 11 songs he grasps the pissy nettle of modern life on a low wage, oppressed by massive, unanswerable corporations and forced to work around a Tory logic that’s at Victorian levels of patronisation and disregard for social welfare - made all the more acute by the fact he hails from within hollering distance of the original slums and overcrowded housing that influenced Marx and Engels’ philosophy. He’s the articulate inheritor of generations of proud, necessary social resistance, the latest vessel for a spirit that runs from the Peterloo Massacre to Emeline Pankhurst, Mike Leigh and John Cooper Clarke.
Most distinctively, purposefully enunciated in Mike’s vowel-stressing Manc accent, the lyrics observe a perpetually gloomy state of affairs with the same poetically rhyming meter, unflinching honesty and conviction that makes his live performances so transfixing. Opening with the rising rage of ‘Bleak Northern Roads’ where he zooms out from street-dealing scenes and increasing food prices, to the politics of whit hall, his voice steady but seething, Sam Weaver’s knackered breaks and atonal, slimy electronics bitterly underline the sentiment, using samples of archaic Monarchistic announcements to punctuate the fury leading into cranky highlights such as the hardcore ’89 style UK hip hop of ‘Breakneck Pace’ and ‘Cultural Capital’ - think The Criminal Minds before they went fast - while he excels at a form of modern folk reality in the narration and inclement, skeletal sonic scenery of ‘Modern Industry’, and the pranged dancehall noise torque and warning barbs of ‘Citizen 107’.
This is not some trendy virtue signalling or detached do-gooder speaking for others, but the anxious, impending everyday reality of Mike’s life and the communities around him. In ‘The Binary Order’ Mike necessarily sees things in stark monochrome - matters right now are glaringly black and white - but the way the production’s lighting and texture highlights subtleties with flickers of One-Stop neon lend it to comparison with the washed out feel of Mike Leigh’s ‘Naked’, and, just like David Thewlis’ Johnny, Mike tells it how it is.
Joachim Nordwall aka The iDEALIST gets right inside the echoplex in ‘Early Tactical Experiments’ for the Industrial Coast label.
In line with Nordwall's recent run of dubwize material, including a killer 7” and the charred dub pressure underlining the Joachim Nordwall album of collaborations ‘Communication Is The Key’, his ‘Early Tactical Experiments’ are still rudely stripped down and brutish, but also now more technoid and lithe.
Whether placing listeners in a ricocheting matrix of splayed drums and bass (‘A Hopeful Dub’), testing out longer-form dub-techno structures (‘The Lowest Form of Your Mind’ + ‘Fire In The Mind’), getting gunky and loose (‘Dub On Arrival’), or pushing dub to its logical limits (‘Zoned Out Deep Zone Son’), he just can't help but apply his taste for extreme, disruptive, or hallucinogenic sounds and forms throughout the album, and that’s one of the big things we love most about his music.
Master of screwed dub and altered ephemera, Black Zone Myth Chant acts as a dark interpreter for chemical elves on the sunless psychedelia of ‘Voyage Sacrifice’ for Félicia Atkinson & Bartolemé Sanson’s faultless Shelter Press label, under the slightly altered Black Zone Magick Chant alias. It's a whirlpool of fugged-out hallucinations and severely down-pitched vocals with an altered, kaleidoscopic quality - for our money the project's finest hour, residing somewhere between Popol Vuh, Hype Williams, and the knackered smudge of Andy Stott’s classic 'We Stay Together'.
Temporarily sacrificing his consciousness for the good of your trip, Maxime Primault aka BZMC has now somehow realised some of the most phantasmagoric sounds in his entire catalogue, which now stretches back over ten years and includes notable highlights in his psych drone project as High Wolf, and pulsing rhythmic noise as Iibiis Rooge. Gutting out his screwed hip hop and dancehall inspirations over three durational parts embracing pitch black, miasmic abstraction, perceptions of time and rhythm become dissolved in the process, aided by a severely down-pitched vocal growl that absorbs the listener into its tantric pacing on ‘Lightless Mountain’, holding the senses under as deathly bells peal for someone or something, and scattered metronomes occasionally accentuate the temporal smudge, spilling over into the seasick brownian slosh of ‘Incineration of Thoughts’.
Occasionally a rusted, lurching metronome emerges, infusing a drugged sense of forward motion, but the essence of 'Voyage Sacrifice' is textural and tantric. The specter of dub still looms in the disorienting fog of FX and negative space, but ultimately these sides exist outside (and deep beneath) any recognisable sonic lineage. Like the potential of any trip worth the effort, however, the darkness and the sublime become entwined in the 22 minute counterbalance of ‘Where will we meet when our ashes are spread in the wind?’, which, thru its convincing, iridescent detail seems to describe from the inside, rather than speculate, a divine space or spirited beyond as the result of lived experience.
Strongly recommended to anyone with a strong urge to zone out.
A strong new addition to Colin Potter’s voluminous catalogue, ‘The Abominable Slowman’ features a mix of new and archival 20 year old recordings polished for purpose.
Arriving as the solo follow-up to ‘Rank Sonata’ [Hallow Ground, 2015], and dished up just prior to his part in last year’s ace Potter Natalizia Zen trio side for Ecstatic, 2017’s ‘The Abominable Slowman’ sees Potter time-travel between various IC Studio locations, tying up loose ends and manipulating perceptions of temporality in his lauded style of psychedelic magick.
In five parts he explores components of rhythm as a tool for bending perceptions of time. His motorik meters dwell in a paradoxical state of driving forward motion and repetitive stasis, first erupting from dense, buzzsaw noise into swampy, lysergic and acidic psych grind in ‘Not Yeti’, then slowing the tape down to a crawl and opening out, emphasising strange artefacts therein with ‘The Knights Are Drawing In’. ‘Unstable Tennis’ follows with a gnashing flux of percussion and distorted whirligig leads in a viscous whorl, and the contrast of sludgy trample and piquant electronics in ‘Never Underestimate The Power of Nothing’ brilliantly pull mind and body in opposing directions.
Peder Mannerfelt & Pär Grindvik merge minds + bodies as Aasthma for a new label and blacklabel bomb, hugely tipped if yr into the idea of Oni Ayhun & Sandwell District fucking with the grid, and yr mind...
Taking notes from all corners of the contemporary electronic spectrum, Aasthma distill a keening mode of modern but classically-sculpted techno in ‘Only The Appraiser’. Ready for warehouses and smoke-filled basements alike, the duo’s new venture puts their combined decades of dancefloor experience to heavily functional yet unpredictable and disorienting effect that begs to be explored by DJs in-the-mix.
Establishing the project’s broad coordinates, the 90 second sound design study ‘Das War_s Dann, Leute!’ is an enigmatic palate cleanser for the main course, where ‘Only The Appraiser’ modulates from a sleek, stepping acid techno groove recalling Function or Rrose productions, and into sweltering psychoactive dimensions rent with disembodied stabs, before calving off into pitch black, viscous, lysergic abstraction, leaving the path wide open for DJs to twist where their fancy and the rave feels to go.
Don't miss this.
Carla Dal Forno yields her self-released cover versions tape, ‘Top Of The Pops’, which was previously only available on her 2018 US tour
Recorded on the cusp of winter/spring, it features Dal Forno placing a gently haunted spin on personal pop & wave favourites by The B-52’s, Rénee, The Kiwi Animal, Liliput, Lana Del Rey, and The Fates.
Stripped down to their essence, the songs provide a fine showcase for Carla’s strong yet plaintive vocals and skill in painting and framing her subtle instrumental backdrops. The results are most alluring in her skeletal reduction of the B-52’s ‘Give Me Back My Man’, with its seaside town-in-winter ambience, and in the dark blue stripe of her take on Lana Del Rey’s ’Summertime Sadness’, but we’re sure you’ll all have your own favourites.
Sold out at source. Think quick if you’d like one.
A year has passed since the untimely death of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. In tribute to an exceptional artist and musical storyteller, Deutsche Grammophon has compiled a two-volume selection of his most important works. This first part - RETROSPECTIVE I includes seven albums featuring Jóhannsson’s earlier works, including his previously unreleased soundtrack to the documentary White Black Boy.
"The phenomenal Jóhann Jóhannsson was, in his own words, “obsessed with the texture of sound”. Together with a serious dose of creative inspiration, that obsession enabled him to distil music into primal forms. He had a gift for bringing together highly complex themes and starkly contrasting musical ideas with both apparent ease and striking emotional directness. The composer died a year ago at the age of just 48. Deutsche Grammophon is now celebrating his legacy with a two-part retrospective project which will encompass all his major works, along with a previously unissued soundtrack album. The first part of this special edition will appear on 26 April and will comprise seven albums and a hardcover book.
Born in Reykjavík on 19 September 1969 Jóhann Jóhannsson was involved with music from an early age. As a young man he played in various rock and pop bands and was part of Iceland’s indie scene, before eventually deciding to focus on writing music rather than performing. His debut album, Englabörn, which came out in 2002, reveals that even at that early stage, he was already a master storyteller, a composer who could translate feelings and emotions into powerfully atmospheric soundscapes and compelling musical portraits. Jóhannsson gained international renown for his 2013 score for the film Prisoners – just two years later he won a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for the score for The Theory of Everything. A second Oscar nomination followed in 2016 for the thriller Sicario (2015). He went on to write the scores for the science fiction film Arrival and for The Mercy – the latter album was released shortly before his death; further Hollywood projects were in the pipeline.
A pioneering figure in the contemporary music scene, Jóhannsson ignored the barriers between classical and electronic music. By fusing together Minimalist elements, traditional forms, symphonic expansiveness and both acoustic and electronic sounds, he created not only hynotically lyrical images, but also an entirely new musical idiom.
The selection of early works that have been chosen for Deutsche Grammophon’s RETROSPECTIVE I show Jóhannsson to have been a composer of imagination and versatility in equal measure. The earliest recording is Virðulegu Forsetar (2004), an hour-long elegiac work for eleven-piece brass ensemble, percussion, electronics, organ and piano, recorded in Reykjavík’s Hallgrímskirkja. The soundtrack album Dís features an exceptional array of artists, including members of the bands The Funerals and Singapore Sling, and singer Ragnheiður Gröndal, who all give intensive voice to Jóhannsson’s melancholy narrative. And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees – which weaves together orchestral writing with electronic synth sounds in unique style – was written to accompany the animated short Varmints, while The Miners’ Hymns is the audiovisual masterpiece that resulted from a hugely productive collaboration between Jóhannsson and American filmmaker Bill Morrison. The documentary soundtrack Copenhagen Dreams is Jóhannsson’s tribute to the city in which he was living at the time – a moving sound collage for string quartet, clarinet, celesta, keyboard and electronics. As for Free the Mind, it was written to underpin a documentary about the power of meditation, and is evocatively scored for orchestra, piano, percussion and electronics.
A special inclusion in this first retrospective volume is Jóhannsson’s score for White Black Boy. Previously unreleased, this is the soundtrack for the Danish documentary of the same name which sensitively tells the story of Shida, a Tanzanian boy with albinism who is taken away from his parents and sent to boarding school, in order to be kept safe from witch doctors who would otherwise target his body parts and blood.
This vibrant and revealing musical portrait of Jóhann Jóhannsson is accompanied by a hardcover book containing essays by Wyndham Wallace and John Schaefer and a generous selection of photos of this most modest of artists, providing further insight into his life and work."
First reissue of Ut’s NYC no wave classic ‘Conviction’ since 1987! Newly packaged with liner notes by OG fanboy Stewart Lee
Well known as the band who would all swap instruments after every song, Ut are the pioneering trio formed by Jacqui Ham, Nina Canal, and Sally Young during the heyday of “no wave” - a non-sound drawing on everything from noise to disco and jazz, and hellbent on pricking punk’s swell head and the pomp of late ‘70s heavy and prog rock styles.
Ut were among the most adept of their wave at ripping it all up and starting from scratch, quite literally doing it between songs, insisting on a reliance on in-the-moment intuition and improvisation in a way that railed against mainstream trends for virtuosity and unwieldy egos.
Their ’Conviction’ was recorded in 1985 toward the end of the no wave phase and finds their white hot guitars at their most nerve-jangling and spiky, pushed by clattering drums and possessed vox from the slunky swagger of ‘Confidential’, to open-out in key with their free jazz inspirations on ’Stain’, balmy folk strokes in ‘Bedouin’, and skipping from the reversed tapes loops of ‘Kcahsmahs (Spare Coconut)’, before letting all slosh out without giving a fuck on ‘Mouse Sleep’.
Faith was released in 1981 and is the second in a trio of albums (starting with Seventeen Seconds and ending with Pornography) that are considered by some the most important and influential in The Cure's discography. Fuelled by Simon Gallup’s Fender bass - in turns deep, angular, growling and comforting - for our money it's one of the most sparse and singular albums to ever edge into the mainstream.
The monochromatic cover image (a picture of Bolton Priory in the fog, painted by The Cure’s Porl Thompson) gives away the mood here; funereal, downcast, brooding, containing some of Robert Smith’s most unashamedly morose songs. But it’s the production, influenced by Joy Division, that’s a complete revelation. ‘All Cats Are Grey’, as one example, does a thing with synths, bass and percussion that could effectively have been the blueprint for much of the last 4 decades at the fringes of electronic music. ‘Faith’, the closing, title track, repeats the trick - but this time with a treated drum track so delicate and forward thinking we could listen to it on a loop for eternity.
All of this would be for nothing if it wasn’t for Robert Smith’s songwriting - here in fine form on the hooky ‘Primary’ and ‘Doubt’, as well as the foreboding ‘Funeral Party’, but this is The Cure album that is, above all, defined by its sound and production. ’Disintegration’ (which appeared almost a decade later) is far more grand and ambitious in scale and has understandably become the go-to The Cure album for those looking for a depressive fix. But, for us 'Faith' (and to a slightly lesser extent, ‘Seventeen Seconds’), feels like the most conceptually tight and age-defying work in their enviably deep catalogue, and the one whose influence we hear most often at the margins. If you’re interested in bass sounds, and space - so much space - in production, this is basically the template.
Ravishing, dramatic and rambunctious chops from sax virtuoso and Joy O collaborator Ben Vince accompanied by Micachu, Rupert Clervaux, Merlin Nova, Valentina Magaletti and Cam Deas. Definitely one of the strongest WTN? drops in memory. RIYL Diamanda Galas, Chaines, Karl D’Silva, Colin Stetson
“‘Assimilation’ dives right in with Vince assuming downtown skronk, perfectly complementing the commanding no-wave theatrical vocal prowess of Merlin Nova. ‘Alive & Ready’ serves as an avant-garde energy blast, launching us into orbit.
Ben’s next spatial movement glides towards ‘What I can see’, a collaboration with Mica Levi, here donning her Micachu moniker to deliver her signature downcast experimental pop dexterity across Vince’s beautifully treated sax scape. The results are a moving, considered, crafted piece which undeniably nods towards Arthur Russell’s ‘World of Echo’, encompassing that same timeless, ethereal beauty.
Mica and Ben’s moment of longing melancholy is short lived, as we’re shuffled along to ‘Sensory Crossing’, a collaboration with Rupert Clervaux in which he evidences his groundings in Jazz percussion, experimental electronics, and deep interest in ethnomusicology - further exploring and expanding on the basin navigated during his collaborative album with Beatrice Dillon ‘Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion’ to create a blanket of bubbling, wired, frenzied yet fluid motorik groove. Vince’s improvisation here remains restrained throughout, conversing with Rupert’s movements rather than attempting to shadow or overshadow them, an idea which perhaps is cemented in his exclamation that “Collaboration, and also the wider idea of 'communicating' in general, is, for me, assimilating the other, becoming the other, at least temporarily, to forge a point of connection. When we are able to let down our barriers, let ourselves affect and be affected, we can truly communicate.”
‘Tower of Cells’, another percussion led collaboration features drummer Valentina Magaletti (Editions Mego), and sonic explorer Cam Deas (Death of Rave). Magaletti’s immersive, hypnotic, & deep styling holds firm Deas’ synth transmissions & Vince’s wandering, brooding, layered sax drone across 10 minutes of truly refreshing alien Jazz – Think the Necks mixed by Scientist on this one.
‘Assimilation’ rolls us out in fine style with Vince riding solo. Fluttering tonal Sax lines build and build before become interspersed with layers of fourth world styled exotic flurries. Held together by a single perpetual hypnotic bass thud ‘Assimilation’ brings to mind the similarly exotic experimental works of Muslimgauze & Jon Hassell. This final track essentially serves as a space for some reflection, joyously winding down a journey which manages to truly make the ethereal and the intense run alongside each other in perfect harmony.”
South London grime/drill producer Nammy Wams kicks off Grime Tapes, a physical wing of Slackk’s seminal pirate radio archive, Grimetapes.com, with ‘Yellow Secret Technology’ - a killer 20 track retrospective pulling from Nammy’s archive of hyper-colourful and kinetic productions circa 2013 to 2018
Compiled and sequenced by wise wan, Slackk, ‘Yellow Secret Technology’ is the 1st in a series of releases promised on Grime Tapes, the label, which is founded just over 10 years since the demise of Slackk’s Grimetapes.com. During grime’s golden era in the mid ’00s it was one of very few sites online to share pirate radio recordings beyond their original broadcast range, providing an invaluable service to many appreciative ears and early grime fiends in the UK and abroad.
As host of his own weekly Croydon FM show and producer for Marcus Nasty’s Rinse FM slot, Nammy Wams brings that London grime radio connection full circle in ’Yellow Secret Technology’. Under a title that nods to his Vietnamese heritage and A Guy Called Gerald’s classic jungle LP, Nammy’s trax clash the dynamics of early jungle with the Far Eastern-facing melodies of early Jammer, Slew Dem or Hyperdub, plus the weirdo, mutant freakishness of the Boxed lot, whom Nammy has been affiliated with since their inception, and where he started to feed demos to Slackk.
Without exception, all 20 tracks of ‘Yellow Secret Technology’ are bangers in their own right, each riddled with nagging hooks and burning emotions, but it’s Slackk’s sequencing that makes the collection such an enjoyable album. Selected from an abundance of material, the final cut expertly highlights myriad shades to Nammy’s style, from the star-eyed pads and wavey flow of ‘Rocks’ at the front to the giddy rude fanfare of ‘Less’ at the back, taking in crushing grime/drill fusions such as ‘Tempest’ and the darkside pressure of ‘Wapper’ alongside ecstatic dancefloor sidewinders in ‘Miharu’ and spine-tracing sweetboy grime of ‘Prayer’.
Like we say, there’s a f*ck-tonne of material here - and not a dud among them, effectively serving the fullest testament to Nammy’s faithfully rugged, rude and playful style that any grime fiend could hope for. Moreover, ‘Yellow Secret Technology’ highlights a modest but gifted artist in an appropriate manner, providing physical space and time on the tape to really immerse in Nammy’s sound, and in a way that’s often negated by everything-at-once streaming/scrolling/skipping. It’s a properly ideal listen for late evening headphone commutes, and a neatly nostalgic yet forward survey of where grime has come and gone since the golden days of the Grimetapes era.
Studio alchemists George Thompson (Black Merlin) and Gordon Pohl (Kunstkopf, 3rd Wave) uncoil a blinding 2nd album as Karamika on debut for Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music
Masters of making the least say the most, Karamika rejoin at cosmic junctures of slow techno and industrial ambient, skirting black holes of electronic darkness and sliding down time-warping wormholes to scenes populated with sublime sirens.
Arriving four years since the 1st Karamika LP on ESP Institute, ‘2.0’ feels equally dazed and etheric, like the work of inhabitants on a shuttle travelling light years from earth, for whom time has become a relative concept compared to their dying species back on earth. Drawn into their space and pace, we find unnamed voices revolving like obsessive memories in a lonely head on the pulsing reiterations of ‘Ton 2.1’ before slipping into Global Communication-esque celestial isolation on ‘Ton 2.2’, whilst slugging mechanical rhythms chart a path towards the quietly breathtaking sublime of ‘Ton 2.5’, and what sounds like Teresa Winter singing from beyond our solar system in the utterly unmissable highlight of ‘2.6’. A rolling piece of Pye Corner Audio 0-esque techno and an ultimate collapse into derelict space station ambience seal the deal - this is a killer album.
Raw Detroit house pearls from Omar-S, hustling gritty garage-house and boogie flavours on both sides
Uptown he samples Tia Monae’s 1983 proto-house/garage gem ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting’ to ruggeder effect in ‘Better Believe It Baby’, alongside a belting vocal garage house cut ‘Catch Ya’.
Downtown, he serves the slamming sampler workout and crispy polyrhythms of ‘Cheat’ inna Shake or Soundhack style, then properly cuts loose on the ragged tribal house rhythms and teasingly percolated chords of ‘Pull Ovaa’ in a manner reminding of The Oliverwho Factory’s haughty power-ups.
The new Twigs is here, written and produced by Twigs in collab with Jeff Kleinman and Michael Uzowuru.
“Throughout my life I’ve practiced my way to being the best I could be, it didn’t work this time”, she explains. “I had to tear down every process I’d ever relied on. go deeper. rebuild. start again”
Dubkasm time-travel between early ‘90s and modern day Bristol in a wicked suite of steppers’ psycho-dub-geography and echo chamber science
“The accumulation of months of hard work down in the Dubkasm studio, Shady Grove is a homage to Bristol’s St. Paul’s, and the many places of inspiration, culturally and musically, that it offered to the likes of Stryda & Digi, especially during the 90’s….
“We dedicate this album to the community of St Pauls in Bristol, now being stifled by gentrification. We hope this LP is a musical window into a time when the neighbourhood, despite being plagued by poverty and constant racist intrusion from the authorities, had an energy, a rebellious spirit and nightlife that inspired the music which has made Bristol world famous.”
Musically speaking, this LP is purpose built for the Dub LP format – stick on the record and let it play from start to finish, with no interruption!
Shady Grove, whilst inimitably ‘Dubkasm’ all the way – nods to the benchmarks and signature styles of original dubwise production – wether that’s a vintage tape-delayed, spring reverb’d analog sound as we know it from the founders of dub during the 70s, or a wicked & wild chain of digital effects, as heard in the later 80’s and during the 90’s, by producers such as Sly & Robbie or Philip ‘Fattis’ Burrel, the name behind the Exterminator label.
Another proud factor is the inclusion of so many great recording artists – from Dub Judah to Blood Shanti, through to Tom Fenech (the Victory Hornsman) and Rider Shafique, who appears on the title track, a previously unreleased dubwise cut of ‘Enter The Gates’, the LP features a whole heap of singers and players of instruments, just like the best of the dub LPs.”
Lawrence rolls out with a tangy lysergic flavour to his deep house strides this time.
A-side squares up the sleek tech-house chassis and burbling melodic textures of ‘Black Cats’, sweetly embellished with soft touch Detroit strings recalling classic E.R.P., while the B-side comes closer with the more intimate lather of ‘Nozomi’, and a slunky, sleepy-eyed beauty ‘Radiance’ sounding like early Claro Intellecto.
Deadbeat explores oneironautics in the heavy-lidded ‘Waking Life’ session for his BLKRTZ label
Leading on from the downbeat styles of ‘Wax Poetic For This Ourt Great Resolve’, Scott Monteith aka Deadbeat picks up the pace but keeps the vibe airy and mystic in ‘Waking Life’, stretching out from the Rhythm & Sound-like title track to his gently undulating dub-techno stepper ‘A New Sense Of Purpose’, a pulsing Mathew Jonson-esque disco-techno piece ‘Midnight In The Garden’, and the 14 minute deep techno trek ‘A Last Swim’.
Purveyors of ace obscurities and overlooked gems, Canada’s Telephone Explosion Records host the first reissue of Bob Bell’s schizzy 1978 free jazz private press, ‘Necropolis’
“Necropolis is a highly sought-after 35 min doom-laden trip for the connoisseurs of noise. Recorded in 1978, Bell splits the difference between his love of basement psych splatter/pummel and squalling free jazz ramble, the former occupying side A with a stunning four part suite of wasted guitar scuzz and churning Krautrock-like drama with an akin to German Oak, Roland Kirk, Albert Ayler, DNA, Melt Banana (minus the vocals) and Guru Guru. The latter represents Bell as a saxophonist on side B, and the music itself translates into a 15-minute free-jazz exploration.”
Warbling, melancholic ambient-pop, verging on lo-fi and flecked with traces of modern classical strings, but also prone to keen into half-cut, ghostly beats
“Straight from Limbo Tapes HQ, "01" has a signature label sound at it's heart, and marks a meaningful milestone in our history as a DIY imprint as our first vinyl release.
The album was crafted in the Dive Reflex Service production facility, somewhere in the depths of Bristol. Found here are bewitching and magical elements, anchored by deep melodic bass lines that propel the listener through 12 rhythmic scenes.
Using a combination of tape saturated improvisations, ritualistic samples and a beautifully chilling vocal appearance from Jamileh Lee, Dive Reflex Service has conjured a meditative, reflective and at times ominous ceremony.”