Barry Adamson announces ‘Memento Mori (Anthology 1978 - 2018)’, a 40th anniversary release charting the artist’s writing and recording career.
"Memento Mori’ charts Adamson’s career from 1978’s Magazine track, ‘Parade’ (co-written by Adamson, from their debut album ‘Real Life’) to his work as founding member, alongside Nick Cave, of the Bad Seeds (‘From Her To Eternity’, co-written by Adamson), through his nine solo albums, from 1988’s ‘Moss Side Story’ to the latest ‘Love Sick Dick’ EPs, bringing everything up to date with a brand new unreleased track, ‘The Hummingbird’."
Forged Prescriptions is a double album by Spacemen 3, containing alternative takes and demo versions of songs from their album The Perfect Prescription, plus some previously unreleased tracks.
"In his liner notes, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom says this release presents the album's songs in their "full guitar laden versions with all the layers of beautifully streamlined guitar — considered by us to be too hard to replicate live and therefore reduced for the original release." “For me, this is where Spacemen 3 song writing came to a head - many of these songs pre-dated "Sound Of Confusion", some were even recorded at both sessions, but I am still impressed mightily by Jason’s lyrical genius on originals like "Walking With Jesus" and re-writes like "Come Down Easy" and his fluid guitar playing across the whole sessions. To be sure "Playing With Fire" was soon to be our long and sultry Indian Summer but "Perfect Prescription" was the progeny of that hot, lazy (and occasionally rainy) summer.” - Sonic Boom.
Motohiko Hamase’s ‘Reminiscence’  is reissued for the first time in over 30 years by Tokyo’s Studio Mule. Wonderful, enchanted, ‘80s Japanese ambience/jazz fusing silky fretless bass, crystal clear electronics and effervescent mallet rhythms.
"In the 1970's Hamase was no stranger to Tokyo's vibrant jazz scene. together with jazz pianist tsuyoshi yamamoto and jazz-rock guitar-ist kazumi watanabe he played in the Isao Suzuki sextet and was part of their classic landmark jazz-funk album "ako's dream" from 1976.
In the following years he also participated on records like mikio masuda's latin-funk-jazz gem "moon stone" or japanese female jazz singer, actress, and essayist minami yasuda's last album "moritato". in the early 1980's his work shifted from pure jazz to electronic and ambient spheres and he started to compose his own music around his deeply emotional bass play. From 1985 to 1993, Hamase released five solo albums. just recently studio mule dropped his first one, "intaglio", in a new recording that sounds as stunning as the original release from 1986.
"Reminiscence" was his second work for the celebrated defunct japanese new age record label shi zen, featuring a rhizome of soundscapes that capture, settle and sound elusive."
Staffordshire’s purveyors of pastoral pop, epic 45, return after a seven-year hiatus with new album, their first release since 2011’s acclaimed album ‘Weathering’, which explored the lingering death of rural communities.
"Much of what has always driven epic45 still remains; the British landscape, hazy childhood memories and a sense of loss. However, as tensions across Britain have increased, epic45 have been forced to re-examine their relationship with the country in which they live. “The album is about, in part, returning to the place where we grew up from birth to our early twenties.
From a personal perspective, it’s sad to see the place changing; new houses, the disappearance of old landmarks etc and the sadness of our childhood homes, strangely quiet now. But on a wider scale, it’s the palpable sense of cultural and political stagnation too. It’s a very insular place now, the community more fragmented than ever before”. Atmospheric soundscapes combined with subtle electronics permeate throughout ‘Through Broken Summer’. ‘Outside’ and ‘From Quiet Houses’ are written with a sense of grandeur and astral beauty but darker moments are witnessed on tracks like ‘Other Rooms’, a glitchy, static affair.
There is a calming and addictively measured beauty to ‘Through Broken Summer. ‘Hillside ‘86’, which includes a guest appearance by Antony Harding of July Skies, shimmers against a backdrop of broken beats and heavenly sonics. If you’re looking for musical references, you might be able to hear the ghosts of Sarah Records, Disco Inferno, Slowdive and New Order in epic45’s ever evolving sound. It comes as no surprise to find that epic45's Ben Holton and Rob Glover grew up in a small rural village in the English Midlands. Since their debut 7" single in 1999 (which received immediate support from John Peel on Radio 1) they have released a series of widely celebrated EPs and albums, inspired by their surroundings; blissful childhood summers and the ever-changing landscape of the English countryside."
"Where Moth and Rust Consume takes the multitude of influences always present in Sone Institute’s work to create a record he describes as his ‘pop album’, but very much one which build on the weird and disorienting approach present in all his work. Where Moth and Rust Consume is at once living and also decaying, uplifting and deeply unsettling. He says “I wanted to create electronic pop music, but from the only possible perspective I have”.
Where Moth and Rust Consume is the third Sone Institute album, following Curious Memories (2010) and A Model Life (2012). He is also responsible for contributions to the Long Division with Remainders projects ’14 Versions of the Same EP’ and ‘Collision/Detection’, and a collaborative EP with Dollboy (Oliver Cherer) – The Sum And The Difference.
This new release also marks the first volume of a new series on Front & Follow – Ex Post Facto – which seeks to celebrate experimental electronic music in all its forms, showcasing new work and old, exploring the relationship between the current and the past, how they influence and shape each other and our experiences of them.
For each volume in the series we ask artists to create a new project of their own choosing and present it alongside a retrospective of their past output. Volume sees Sone Institute create Where Moth and Rust Consume, which is presented alongside Past and Spared, a collection of tracks from the Sone Institute archive, including remixes and previously unreleased music (Past and Spared comes FREE with all physical orders of Where Moth and Rust Consume).”
Sepulchral, shoegazing goth-pop modelled in the classic image of Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, The Sundays
“SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew) is the solo project of Kennedy Ashlyn (vocalist/keyboardist of Them Are Us Too). Creative voids aren’t filled, but rather holes left that push the edges of the present into new realms of consciousness. SRSQ’s pulse began after the death of Kennedy’s closest friend and TAUT collaborator Cash Askew, a casualty in the sudden and tragic Oakland Ghost Ship Fire of 2016. Driven by loss, SRSQ became the vehicle for Kennedy’s transformative process, exploring nuance, nostalgia, reflection, and reconciliation, manifesting in the aural landscape of Unreality.
As a debut, Unreality is entrance into a new form of storytelling, traversing the present while pulling from a deep swath of experience, immersion, and sound. Like the impulse it pulls from, each song evokes the complex duality of meditation—where simple intersects with infinite. Ambient synthesizers that approach harshness, relentless arpeggiations act together with Kennedy’s vocals as a lush weapon, weaving cloudlike fables over orchestration that’s familiar and foreign. Trance-like at times, yet always rooted in cadence and structure, the synesthesia of sound and feeling takes cues from the delicate miasma of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, or Dead Can Dance, using their example as the ground floor for building a new temple of frequency. Kennedy proves an adept architect of rhythm, using sequenced electronics as a deep backbeat that allows the harrowing beauty of her vocals to lead the journey.
Produced by Matia Simovich of Inhalt, Unreality is simultaneously crisp and full, each tone and note occupying its own unique sonic world - grief butted against power, tracked to a heavy heartbeat.”
Lucy & Rrose merge as The Lotus Eaters for a dense and murky trip to the nether fields of abstract techno.
“Lucy and Rrose, now coming together as The Lotus Eaters, have established themselves separately as techno artists who are just as comfortable operating in the uncharted area of experimental music. Running their own labels (Stroboscopic Artefacts and Eaux, respectively), they have gained a cult following, both influencing and challenging the direction of techno.
Their first collaboration took the form of mutual remixes. Lucy remixed Rrose, taking on his modern classic “Waterfall” while Rrose remixed Dadub for Stroboscopic Artefacts, and shortly thereafter contributed an extended EP as part of SA’s Monad series.
Eventually, the idea of working together became inevitable. Several intense sessions in Lucy’s Berlin studio followed, using mainly analog hardware. These sessions gave birth to a new project, starting with two EPs signed Lucy and Rrose, called “The Lotus Eaters” (SA) and “The Lotus Eaters II” (Eaux). With the “Desatura” album, the first release signed under the project name The Lotus Eaters, their common work is refined further, also becoming a live act which will debut at ADE (Amsterdam) 2018.
With “Desatura,” Lucy and Rrose explore themes of physical density, emptiness, and space, creating sonic objects which can be rotated and viewed from multiple perspectives. Eschewing the typical instrumentation of techno, the duo use synthesized sound and feedback as fundamental sources to generate both textural and percussive elements. A sense of tension and weight emerge from sources that cannot be easily pinpointed. The resulting album forms a complex narrative from a paradoxically simple and restrained set of sound sources. A mysterious and profound accomplishment.”
"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."
The 5th solo album by Holger Czukay, ‘Rome Remains Rome’ bubbles up for its 30th anniversary reissue on Gronland - bastion of all things good and Krautrock
Arriving after a string of total classics such as ‘Movies’ and ‘Full Circle’’, and before his ambient outings with David Sylvian, 1987’s ‘Rome Remains Rome’ is a typically, lysegically playful and odd collection of songs tripping lines between pop, jazz and the avant-garde.
Make sure to check it for Holger’s possessed vocals on the psychedelic whirligig of ‘Sudetenland’, an appearance of then pope Karol Wojtyła on ‘Blessed Easter’, and the intoxicating drift of ‘Music in the Air’.
Plush UK neo-soul from Eglo queen, Fatima, produced by Theo Parrish, Knxwledge and Floating Points and following 4 years since her debut LP, which was subsequently reissued in 2016 on Blue Note
“It's been four years since Eglo Records' Fatima released 2014's Blue Note-approved, critically acclaimed debut Yellow Memories. This September, the London- via -Stockholm, Sweden songstress, returns with her second album, And Yet It's All Love — an emotional, yet entertaining trip through the full cycle of a romantic relationship, told in Fatima's now-familiar soulful style.
From first singles "Somebody Else” and "Caught In A Lie" to "Waltz" and "Just To Hold You" — listeners are transported from first meet, the blinding honeymoon period and struggle right through to the break-up and eventual fallout. Once again, she calls on a talented array of producers and instrumentalists to paint that picture; from Stones Throw's MNDSGN, J.D Reid (Mabel, D Double E), Purist (Daupe), Taz Arnold (Kendrick Lamar), Swarvy and regular collaborator, Natureboy Flako.
Early support has already come from the likes of Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music/Worldwide FM), Benji B (Radio 1 / 1Xtra), Toddla T, NTS Radio, Crack Magazine, Pitchfork and Resident Advisor. Up-and-coming San Francisco-based illustrator, sculptor and painter, Monica Kim Garza crafts the album artwork, placing one of her powerfully intimate nude paintings at its centre.
For the uninitiated, Fatima, has earned a reputation as one of the UK's most respected vocalists. Her debut LP Yellow Memories featured heavyweight collaborations with Floating Points, Theo Parrish and Anderson Paak producer Knxwledge. It was met with critical acclaim winning Gilles Peterson's 'Album Of The Year' at the 2014 Worldwide Awards as well as ranking No.10 in Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 20 R&B albums of the year before being re-released by the legendary Blue Note records.”
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.”
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."
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."
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.”
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."
Akio Suzuki : kikkukikiriki, stone flute, small stones, pan pipe, ireba, silent toy David Toop : flutes, bone whistle, dog whistles, stones, whistling pot, organic materials, feedback device Recorded at Sound 323, London on March 15, 2003 by Akinori Yamasaki.
"Breath-Taking is the result of one of Akio Suzuki's rare visits to England. Suzuki's music proceeds from meditation and transforms quotidian objects (a stone flute, small stones, a "silent toy") into fragile means of communication. David Toop makes a very compatible sound-mate. Here he uses an assortment of flutes and whistles, along with a whistling pot and "organic materials" (a vague enough description to allow the listener to imagine at will).
Upon first listen, one may think of two serious men making childlike music, but the level of contemplation found in this single, 37-minute piece dispels this first impression. The performance is not particularly striking, even from the point of view of such a quiet form of improvisation, but it is obvious that the music doesn't intend to strike or compel. It is born out of such simplicity that it simply exists -- it is there, discreetly inhabiting your listening space, and its sole presence is a marvel. One finds an interesting level of interaction between the artists and inventive, creative sound-making at play.” (François Couture, All Music Guide)
After returning to resounding acclaim with The Thing in 2012 and then solo on 2014’s ‘Blank Project’, Neneh Cherry channels her timeless soul into the Four Tet-produced ‘Broken Politics’, her 2nd solo album for Smalltown Supersound.
“Following the release of her first earth-quaking single in 4 years at the beginning of August, counter-culture pop icon Neneh Cherry announces her fifth solo album Broken Politics, produced in its entirety by Four Tet.
Continuing her blurring and conflation of the personal and the political, the second single Shot Gun Shack tackles the link between violence and deprivation using poetic logic. The track deals with the ever-present and always-global issue of gun violence in society. The track's name was the result of inspiration that sprung from a half-remembered conversation Cherry had at the funeral of late jazz great Ornette Coleman.
Broken Politics pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.”
New York-based percussionist and sound artist Eli Keszler dropped jaws last year with his unstoppable one-two punch of the ‘Red Horse’ LP on Type and ‘Cold Pin’ on PAN. Admittedly this was the first most listeners had heard from him, but new devotees were quick to fall over each other to grab anything else Keszler had put his name to, so it’s a fan service from PAN that they’ve put together this bumper double CD that collects up all the disparate pieces of the Cold Pin recordings.
The original installation was set up in Boston’s cavernous Cyclorama gallery, and finds Keszler stretching gigantic strings across the walls and letting small motorized hammers ‘play’ them at random intervals. Accompanied by a group of similarly outré minds (Geoff Mullen, Greg Kelley, Reuben Son and wife Ashley Paul) the musicians played to the randomized booming strings, and now, unlike the studio recordings we heard on the previously released LP we can hear the piece in full unedited form, together with the gigantic reverb of the room itself.
Probably the most stunning addition to the original pieces though is Keszler’s recordings of the Cold Pin exhibit he set up in Shriveport Louisiana, where the strings were stretched across two large empty water purification basins. You probably have an idea of how that might sound, but needless to say Thomas Koner’s peerless ‘Permafrost’ might be a good place to start. Elsewhere we’re treated to a full ensemble recording (with the Providence string quartet), which reframes the piece as a defiantly modern re-imagining of Ligeti – dissonant, disconcerting and gruesomely eerie. Even if you’ve already bagged the LP you won’t want to miss out on ‘Catching Net’, it’s yet more proof that at only 28 years old Eli Keszler is already one of the most important voices in the experimental music scene right now. Highly recommended.
Stunning exploration of traditional Arabic music and electronic processing by pivotal Montrealer Radwan Moumneh (boss of the legendary Hotel2Tango studio), including unmissable meshes of rolling rhythms with spectral ‘tronics in ‘Bein Ithnein’, and Coil-like digital vocal manipulation on ‘Thaha, Mish Roujou’, Thahab’, along with entrancing theatric orchestrations of trad vocals, buzuk and zurna with synths and tape FX. TIP!
“Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) is a project of contemporary Arabic and electronic music interwoven with 16mm film projections and light-based (de)constructions of space, exploring a relationship between music, visuals, projections and audience. With performances thus far occurring once or twice a year, no two JIMH events have ever been the same: configurations have ranged from solo to 35 participants, with varying degrees of stage theatrics alongside a film & visual component, using multiple projections to construct a space in constant flux. JIMH's vocals and purposefully blown-out sonic sensibility have been the consistent thread, but neither its music nor visual propositions have ever repeated themselves – one of the reasons why JIMH has resisted for eight years any official documentation or definitive recording of the project.
JIMH was formed in 2005 by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, a Lebanese national who has spent a large part of his adult life in Quebec and has been a fixture of the Montreal independent music community, from his early days in various notable 90s punk bands to his tireless activities over the last decade as a sound engineer, producer and co-owner of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango recording studio. Moumneh is also active in the Beirut experimental music scene, where he spends a few months every year. JIMH now consists of a core trio with French musician & producer Jérémie Regnier and Chilean visual artist & filmmaker Malena Szlam Salazar, whose two-year collaboration with Moumneh has resulted in the co-creation of JIMH’s debut album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.
JIMH forges a modern experimental Arabic music by wedding melismatic singing in classic Arabic styles and electronic compositions with contemporary electronic production. The album equally emphasizes the intimacy and narrative pace that focused, intentional studio recording allows. The result is a unique and profoundly emotive album of contemporary Arabic music, a stunningly subtle first record for a project that resisted documentation or any sort of fixity for so many years. Moumneh's voice has become a powerfully authentic instrument, and his production techniques applying distortion, tape echos and delays to varying degrees transmit a timeless intensity to the recording. Saturated synths and the overdriven signals of Moumneh's acoustic buzuk and zurna reinforce the reigning sensibility, providing a bracing counterpoint to the vocals and lovely, searching instrumental narratives in their own right. Szlam’s work was the source material for the album’s visual aesthetic. Szlam’s visual creation for the album derives from sequences that echo lunar notions and photographic intervals that reverberate and resonate, evoking the oscillation of time. Using frames from various hand-processed 16mm filmstrips, Szlam created a lunar sequence that consitutes the album cover artwork.
Inspired by the Lebanese educator Boutros Al-Bustani’s book Circumference of the Ocean, Mo7it Al-Mo7it signifies, in JIMH’s open and poetic interpretation, “Ocean of the Ocean.” The numeral 7 is pronounced like an h; all titles on the album are rendered in contemporary colloquial “mobile” Arabic (the transliterative characters used in Arabic phone texting). Thanks for listening.”
Todd honed his craft composing for acoustic instruments - string quartets, small ensembles and orchestras. In the 1970s he was drawn to emergent synthesiser technologies because of their abilities to access tones ‘between’ the standard 12 notes of the Western musical scale, and to have the power to craft music out of glitches and unique sonic gestures that are unplayable on acoustic instruments.
"Multum in Parvo is reflective of this approach - it has a definite and logical flow as a composition, but its content is abstract sound sculpted out of pure energy, something only analogue synthesis can offer. Sometimes sparse, sometimes bristling and jumping with detail, Multum... provides a genuinely multidimensional experience. Listen to it in the dark on your best headphones, you experience your brain moving slowly through a black space where an orchestra of strange, electro-microorganisms seem to swarm, murmurate and disperse, adding their distinct flutters, whispers and calls to an immersive electronic symphony.
Like the classic Forbidden Planet soundtrack, which Todd was inspired by, or indeed Music and Poetry of the Kesh - Multum in Parvo seems to function as part of some unique sonic ecology, according to its own rules, in its own universe and somewhere just beyond time. Multum in Parvo is available on CD with artwork by the artist Ursula Barton - Todd’s daughter, named after his great friend and collaborator."
Archival Scanner work recorded in mid ‘90s with involvement from Jim O’Rourke and Robert Hampson (Main, Loop)
“There were three performers and one witness. I can remember this day so well, even though it was some twenty-four years ago. Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk. Introducing sounds to the mix, unexpected, unpredictable, where the accident reigned supreme. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss. Mike Harding from the Touch label stood silently, listening intently. A couple of years earlier we had set up Ash International, an audio project which allowed to release unusual and exploratory music and sounds that we felt deserved a wider audience, from Runaway Train to the early Scanner releases.
Two mixes were captured directly onto DAT tape. One of which would be officially released as Ash 1.7 Mass Observation, an EP that featured a 25 min version of one of these sessions, but until today the second longer expansive mix has never been heard. Each quite different from the other. Dehumanised communications, beatless, radio signals drawn in live to tape, and accompanied by dial tone pulses and abstract textures, Mass Observation is a highly suggestive picture of a particular place in a city at a very specific time. A form of Sound Polaroid as I tended to call such recordings.
This early body of work of mine, in the early and mid-1990s was a study in surveillance. Long before our concerns about data leakage at Facebook, and Siri spying on our private moments, I used the scanner device itself - a modestly sophisticated radio receiver - to explore the relationship between the public and private spheres, lending a deep sense of drama to these found cellular conversations within a contextual electronic score. In many ways, this work pre-empted our reality culture, as it exists today, with our TVs now saturated by Love Island and Big Brother.
In the experimental techno uprising of Britain in the mid-1990s this work proved controversial and memorable. Bjork sampled Mass Observation controversially for her Possibly Maybe single, whilst Coil and Aphex Twin bought radio scanners and introduced these found voices into their recordings, whilst I continued to create work in this grey area of ambient sound. It’s work that still carries great meaning for me, opening up possibilities with sound and introducing the human voice back into experimental electronic music.”
The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
"Released in 1999, the album “The Beta Band” followed the critically acclaimed compilation “The Three E.P.'s” (1998). With high anticipation for The Beta Band, the band originally planned to record the album in four separate continents, but financial constraints slimmed the recording locations down; however, the album was still recorded in a variety of locations and pulling inspiration from sources as diverse as Jamaican reggae, Disney's movie “The Black Hole” and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
The band also originally intended the album to contain a bonus disc of two long form ambient pieces, ‘Happiness and Colour’ and ‘The Hut’, both of which lasted over 20 minutes and represented the band's desire to "make a record of sound as a description for something like happiness, where a distinct first part gives way to a distinct second part”. However, the band and label ultimately decided to remove these tracks from the album prior to release."
Canada’s modern day answer to Arthur Russell and Paul Simon; Sandro Perri unfurls a wonderful new album of syncretic disco, country, and ambient-pop in his ever-charming style following recent avant escapades with his Off World group
The teasing edit of lead single ‘In Another Life’ is rolled out to a full and immersive 25 minutes of giddily uplifting electronics and softest blue eyed soul vocals inside, firmly set to soundtrack balmy evenings everywhere, while ‘Everybody’s France’ is a gently psychedelic three-part tapestry lilting from folk-soul sung by Sandro in the first part, to bring the huskier tone of Andre Ethier on board for the Leonard Cohen-like kitchen sink observations and shimmering meld of lap steel guitar and lapping congas in Part II, with Dan Bejar of Destroyer joining in for the 3rd part of woozy psychedelic country.
“Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” (Boomkat) and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.”
‘Solipsism’ writes a line under Mike Simonetti’s tenure at IDIB, the label he co-founded with Johnny Jewel in 2006 and brought to worldwide acclaim, before leaving in 2013 to pursue solo work and the Pale Blue project at his 2MR label (Two Mikes Records) with Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks
As one of those characters who naturally shapes the wider world, before humbly moving on the next project, Simonetti has lead an illustrious career arc from his days at punk label Troubleman Unlimited to his crucial role in establishing the resurgence of disco/synth/soundtrack styles which strongly prevail in 2018.
The 12-track ’Solipsism’ clears Simonetti’s archive of unreleased goodies conceived for TV commercials, runway soundtracks and film scores during his tenure of IDIB, where he released his debut album ‘Capricorn Rising’ in 2011. The set spans entirely unreleased business, including a stack of tracks made for a thwarted Hollywood movie project and one outtake from ‘The Magician’ sessions.
DJs and dancers should listen up for the sublime slow disco pulse of his ‘Through The Clouds’ ace and the ambient techno suspension of ‘Los Angeles’, while lovers of the cinematic IDIB aesthetic will get their kicks everywhere from the slowed-down Gqom-like sci-fi pressure of ‘A Prayer For War’, and the drizzly introspection of ‘Requiem’ and the soaring Tangerine Dream-esque ‘Acceptance 2’.
Yves Tumor lands on Warp with his debut album for the label; more popwise and polished than before, still pitched perfectly between the avant garde and the mass market...
Laced with guest vox and production from Croatian Amor, James Ferraro, Oxhy, Puce Mary and James K, on ‘Safe In The Hands of Love’ Sean Bowie a.k.a. Yves Tumor is the liminal, connecting spirit between a unique push ’n pull of samples and original instrumentation, acting like a porous transducer of style, tone and pattern that absorbs and amplifies lost (but not dead) light and energy and turns it into something wholly his own.
Where previous singles such as ‘Noid’, ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’ - the album’s core trio - distinctly nodded to Brit-pop and ‘90s ambient-pop pastoralism, the rest of the album curiously unfolds along those axes to take in nods to Warp’s earliest signings, N.O.W. on the introductory fanfare of ‘Faith In Nothing Except Salvation’, while ‘Economy Of Freedom’ opens out into futurist sci-fi soul, and ‘Honesty’ masterfully melds indie-pop and rugged electro-soul.
And it’s that polysemous definition of soul that continues to be the uniting ligature or filament to the rest of the album, from the raging black metal mutation of ‘Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’, to big beat-y psychedelia of ‘All The Love We Have Now’, and the white hot, foaming shoegaze distortion of ‘Let The Lioness In You Flow Freely’, all cannily highlighting a sense of emotive mutualism that transcends style, credo, and vibe.
The french EBM specialist spanks out a 6th album of the steely stuff, also making up his debut LP with Ostgut Ton after delivering them two 12”s in recent years
Skip the obligatory “drone” intro and you’re left with seven protein-fuelled dark dancers shifting weight from the tarry subs of ‘Shout In A Black Hole’ with its AFXian holler, to the slow and wide roll of ‘Mind Event Horizon’, the icy groove control of ‘Accelerate’, the sexy trance hypnosis of ‘A Halo Somewhere’, and the album’s most percussive banger, ‘Phase Shift’.
The KVB put another gallon in the tank with ‘Only Now Forever’, their 6th LP of motorik, melodic wave pop. RIYL Death In Vegas, Beak>, Spacemen 3
“After intense touring their 2016 release ‘Of Desire’, The KVB returned to their home to further immerse themselves in sonic experimentation. The resulting Only Now Forever heralds the next chapter in the adopted-Berliners dark, electronic pop development.
“On our new album we wanted to take everything we had learned in the studio recording our last album and apply it to self-producing this album,” explains the band. Recorded entirely in their Berlin apartment throughout 2017 the band decided they wanted to take a freer approach to writing and recording. “In the past, we had always tried to restrict ourselves productions wise, to what was possible to play live as a duo, but this time we wanted to expand our compositions and instrumentation, and let the atmosphere dictate the layers of sound.”
Whilst holding evident inspiration from previous times, the sound this London-founded duo present is progressive and distinctly new in every sense. Idyllic at times; gritty in others, each bar is as enchanting as the last, leaving you in a melancholic trance.
Offering poignant lyricism that explores modern anxieties that plague many, the duo manage to imbue feelings of empowerment, fighting such struggles with a deceivingly sanguine sound. This seamless juxtaposition is perhaps their best trait.”
Mute bundle 17 highlights, including two bonus tracks, from Manc punk-funk troop A Certain Ratio
Throwing back to the heyday of Manchester multi-cultural groove explosion, there some proper evergreens inside, including the sleazy twist of ‘Wild Party (12” Version)’, the utopian dance-pop of ‘Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Mix)’, the 7” mix of their jazz-funk turn ’Shack Up’, and the gauzy groove of ‘Knife Slits Water (7” Version)’.
A revelatory study of Philip Corner’s experimental compositions circa 1958 and 2016. Performed by Rhodri Davies, among others
“Extremes are extreme, extremely. For Philip Corner, a lifelong commitment to extremes - extreme expression, extreme beauty, extreme noise, extreme silence - developed a mastery of expression, any one extreme may result in all of the others. In gripping new recordings by the duo of Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello - with assistance from Rhodri Davies, harp, and Philip Corner, piano - Corner's early ensemble works from 1958 are paired with newer, late works from 2015-2016.
The works from 1958, "Two-part monologue" and "FINALE,” were composed while Corner was teaching at City College and still finishing his Masters at Columbia University under Henry Cowell and Otto Luening. Extremes being extreme, they were too extreme for Columbia. Yet, Corner completed his degree and continued to stretch on, creating works somewhere between the supercomputer-refined micro-tunings of James Tenney and the ecstatic enactments of Malcolm Goldstein, his Tone Roads bandmates. Now, with the world (somewhat) caught up, we can appreciate Philip Corner’s EXTREEMIZMS, early and late, together.”
Koichi Matsukaze's incredibly rare and much sought-after album Earth Mother sees a deluxe repress on BBE Music. This is the third highly anticipated release in the series.
"Regarded as one of the most sought-after yet elusive albums from a pivotal era in Japanese jazz, Earth Mother was originally issued in 1978 on ALM, a private label home to some of the most innovative jazz, contemporary classical and free improvisational music released in Japan during the late 70s and early 80s. It was here that Earth Mother found a natural home among the experimental and transgressive, destined to remain in obscurity for decades until the album’s muscular, bass-driven title track was included as the opening cut on BBE’s acclaimed compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1969-1984. It was a fitting way to start such a landmark collection and the track quickly became a favourite among DJs and jazz fans.
Earth Mother sees saxophonist Matsukaze team up once again with legendary drummer and band leader Furusawa Ryojiro; joined by Tamio Kawabata on bass to form the core trio which is augmented by Daitoku Toshiyuki on acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes.
This is a mythic album, seen and heard by very few; often among the top wants for even the most hardcore jazz collectors. The album ranges from heavyweight spiritual jazz and post-bop burners, to Dolphy-esque experimentation (Don't Worry About Tenor Saxophone) and a singular take on the classic, Round Midnight."
‘Bunny’ is Matthew Dear’s first new album since 2012, and lands nearly 20 years since his debut on Ghostly International
Trust he knows how to grow older gracefully, as ‘Bunny’ works to a steady mid-tempo with lots of processed croon, really focussing his work into a pop-wise framework, with dancing resulting as a possible side-effect.
Factory Floor unfold their full length live score to Fritz Lang’s seminal, silent 1920s sci-fi ‘Metropolis’, which they previously performed live at the Science Museum’s IMAX in April 2017, coinciding with the film’s 90th anniversary of release
With over 150 minutes of the film to soundtrack, Gabe Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void a.k.a. Factory Floor cover a lot of bases, from tense greyscale ambient to needling electro and pulsating techno and industrial minimalism, often in the same track, which scale from tense, 3 minutes themes, and up to a 20 minute-long tract of woozy slow electro.
Tim Jones, also known as Preacherman and recorded under Midi Man, Ironing Board Band and T.J. Hustler made one very rare lp, and two even rarer CD’s. These tracks are from the CD’s.
"He was a salesman for IBM in Las Vegas, where he sold Selectric Typewriters and then word processors during the day and at night he would perform in the Las Vegas lounges. He was somewhat of an engineer and adapted a Hammond B3 organ to play a moog synth with some of the organ keys, (some still played the organ), and he adapted the organ’s foot controlled bass levers to play two Moog synth bass pedals (a failed item Moog made for a few years.) Thinking he wasn’t much of a live performer he had a wooden puppet made that he named T.J Hustler, and together with the puppet, he would engage in long philosophical soliloquies, (some of which are featured on this album).
If you meet Tim, he is not someone who stops talking. In fact he even created a little book called Universal Philosophy. He has a lot to say about everything. Currently he lives with his 103 year old mother in Oakland. There he infrequently plays shows on his Casio where he fashions himself a live Karaoke performer, who comes complete with 5 wireless mics and P.A. and a list of about a 100 songs he can play. His invented organ contraption and puppet are in storage in Las Vegas, and he seems intensely uninterested in getting them out, as “The kids these days want to hear the sounds the Casio makes.”
With Shadow Aesthetics, Marc Barreca accomplishes something rare in electronic and ambient musics. The fluid, dynamic changes and movement within pieces; the complexities in time and pitch variation and evolution—typically absent from the mostly homogenous constructs of drone and ambient—all bring previously unavailable depth, shading and emotional charges to a form usually admired for its neutrality.
"Shadow Aesthetics results from a virtual arsenal of digital and analog sources operating in a complex system of origination, structuring, processing and editing. The result is a moving, articulate and complex work: music that is a profoundly emotive, original, and experimental electronic work that is in many ways the culmination of decades of listening, performing and composing in a form known best for continuous change.The album includes an eight-page booklet and a digital download code for the complete album plus two bonus tracks.
Marc Barreca has been creating and performing electronic music since the mid-1970s. His 1980 album, Twilight, reissued on vinyl last year, was one of the earliest releases on PoL. Shadow Aesthetics is his eighth solo album for the label. Recent releases include Aberrant Lens (2017) and three collaborations with K. Leimer. Reissues include work on the acclaimed VOD box set American Cassette Culture, an upcoming Cherry Red compilation of seminal U.S. electronic music and the 1983 cassette, Music Works for Industry, now on vinyl. His work is also included in the collection of The British Library."
Daniel Brandt, co-founder of German ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick, delivers his second solo album for London imprint Erased Tapes.
"Titled Channels, the new record follows the release of the London and Berlin based producer’s solo debut Eternal Something from 2017. The seven-track LP is Brandt’s biggest statement yet, with the album’s thrilling avant-garde framework interweaving chord-driven techno, orchestral flourishes, rich electronic textures and hints of dark cinematic pop.
Following on from Eternal Something, which captured a contemplative kind of isolationism, with Channels Brandt set out to create an album that captures the essence of minimalism whilst lending it to a more playful context. After performing and recording Steve Reich’s Six Pianos in a group of six, Brandt began regularly composing long meditations on the piano, something that permeates the sound of the new record. Its frenetic energy and shape-shifting identity was also born out of touring with his new band Eternal Something — comprised of Brandt on piano, drums and synthesisers, Pascal Bideau on guitar and bass, plus Florian Juncker on trombone — and a desire to translate both the sound and spiritual unity of their live shows in which musicians locked together to create an intriguing meld of expansive works.
Intricate floor-filler and lead track ‘Flamingo’ synthesises the measured pacing of Detroit techno with an orchestral background. As with all of the tracks on Channels, ‘Flamingo’ began life as a sketch with very basic instrumentation, before taking it into the studio to rehearse with his band members, giving the album a live and visceral sound that sets it apart from his debut; “It was a great experience to do it this way as I have always wanted to have the chance to try out something in a live setting before recording it in the studio and not the other way round,” explains Daniel. “The actual typical rock band recording style that I never had the chance to do before.” The album’s most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ is built with a vivid and pulsating bass line that takes inspiration from a Lichtenstein painting, as well as the UK bass scene and producers like Tessela and Lord Tusk. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint as well as Daniel and his band’s live improvisations with orchestral collective Stargaze, whose founder and conductor André de Ridder contributed violin on the album. Title track ‘Channels’ melds instrumental ambient with melodramatic embellishments, whilst the record’s closer ‘Twentynine Palms’ takes its name from the vast Californian desert, and was written while Daniel was travelling there, evoking the widescreen and rapturous sound of open space and nature.
With Brandt also being skilled as a filmmaker, directing and producing visuals for BBF and Eternal Something, much of the new album’s creative ideas reference a rich visual palette. He directed the video for ‘Flamingo’, a sideways glance at the art world that takes the concept behind John Cage’s 4’33” and turns it on its head. “The video for Flamingo is deliberately non performance — people sitting in a room and watching basically nothing, never really sure if anything is ever going to happen. It’s also a play on John Cage’s 4’33”, except in this instance there isn’t even a performer present.” — Daniel Brandt Daniel’s passion for film even prompted him to kick start his own online television channel Strrr.tv in 2017 that since attracted a lot of attention with guest moderators including BBC Radio DJ Gilles Peterson, modular synth legend Suzanne Ciani and Berghain bouncer Sven Marquardt counting amongst the most popular episodes. Recorded between Berlin and London, Channels is a deeply enthralling listening experience, which sees Daniel Brandt build upon his distinctive percussive sound whilst exploring new and expansive horizons."
Ryuichi Sakamoto presents his original soundtrack to Rage「怒り」, a Japanese murder mystery by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-Il, his second film adaptation of popular novels by Shûichi Yoshida.
Predating Sakamoto’s work on the immense, panoramic OST for The Revenant with Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner, his score to Rage is a far more intimate and finely melancholic affair, reflective of the film’s shifting themes exploring identity and the malaise of contemporary society.
The main title theme is a memorably symphonic swell of lustrous strings and keys riven with he heartbreaking emotion Sakamoto specialises in, while the rest of the suite is swept between grand instrumental gestures and subtler electronic gilding, feeling out a filigree spectrum of emotions from noirish paranoia to genteel, glitching romance themes.
Deep house craftsman Lawrence coaxes out trademark slinky bass warmth and playful drums on his 8th album since emerging at the turn of the century.
A perennial favourite of house heads in the know, the Dial Records co-founder continues to find iridescent variation within his style on ‘Illusion’, inducing the lushest hypnotic states with beautifully woven square bass and cirrus pads in ‘Treasure Box’ and the feathered flight of ‘Yu Yu’, while ‘Flaunting High’ seduces with some of the strongest bass work his side of Terre Thaemlitz, and ‘Transitions’ makes a lovely foray into midnight jazz-toned electro-house.
There are few voices more deeply embedded in the iconography and mythology of American indie rock than that of Chan Marshall.
"On her 10th studio album, ‘Wanderer’, Marshall resets her dials, offering a collection of winding, wondering narratives all perfectly imbued with the kind of yearning and warmth that have made her one of the most distinctive and beloved artists of her generation. Held aloft primarily by Marshall’s own guitar and piano and featuring appearances by longtime friends and compatriots, as well as guest vocals courtesy of friend and recent tourmate Lana Del Rey, the new album ‘Wanderer’ is a remarkable return from an iconic American voice."
Air Texture hand the reins of ‘Vol. VI’ to Steffi and Martyn for a 26 track set of atmospheric IDM, electro, techno and D&B from friends, family and their favourite artists, including pieces from Stingray, Mosca, Actress, Shed, Herron and many more...
“The Air Texture series asks two producers/performers to provide a selection of unreleased music. The only guidance is the music should not be main floor bangers; other than that, the label gets out of the way, allowing them autonomy over their selection. For Air Texture Volume VI, Steffi and Martyn were asked to step up. Exciting, since as residents at Berghain/Panorama Bar, two of the most important dancefloors in the world -- how would two such respected artists approach our experimental ethos? Bringing together contributions from veteran producers such as Total Science, As One (Kirk Degiorgio) and Stingray, as well as contemporaries Actress, V.I.V.E.K. and Shed, the artists explain in a press release that the selected tracks are all "unique interpretations of a leftfield, non-linear aesthetic". Double-CD version features Synkro, Appleblim, Answer Code Request , dBridge and Lewis James, Tracing Xircles, Samuel Pling, Herron, Steffi, Afik Naim, Mosca, Novocanemusic, Mesak, FaltyDL, 214, Basic Soul Unit, Barker, Late Night Approach, Martyn, and KiNK. Double-LP version features: Steffi, Tracing Xircles, Basic Soul Unit, As One, Martyn, Afik Naim, Late Night Approach, and Answer Code Request.”
Hans-Joachim Roedelius meets Gotan Eject founder Christop H. Mueller in etheric space for a 2nd time, reprising the serene buoyancy of their 2015 debut across a longer, broader, and immersive 2nd collaboration finding the sweetspot between Latinate fancy and ambient tranquility
“In 2015 their debut, IMAGORI, was released on Groenland Records. It is an album that readily demonstrated how well their musical visions fit together. Roedelius’s soundscapes joined Christoph H. Müller’s electronic productions and beats and they entered into a dynamic symbiosis that gave rise to music that, instead of uniting two worlds, created a new one.
That process continues seamlessly. The title itself implies as much: IMAGORI II. The second joint album from these electronic music virtuosos shows new facets of their collaborative efforts and reveals all the new discoveries there are to be made when two explorers join forces. IMAGORI II’s twelve tracks oscillate between tender and hard-edged, between science fiction and the Garden of Eden; they call forth organic orchestral sounds that then fragment; they create moods ranging from melancholy to euphoria and are all the while accompanied by Roedelius’s filmic pathos, which has no use for extravagant gestures and instead tests the limits of minimalism.
Language is employed strikingly often; for instance, on the first track “FRACTURED BEING,” which is sung by “Miss Kenichi,” alias Katrin Hahner. The song “ICH DU WIR” is a family affair in which Rosa Roedelius gradually allows the listener to observe how soundscapes allow deconstructed language to fuse into structured form once again. Then, on “LA VIE EN BLUE” we hear Christoph H. Müller’s daughter illustrate the boundlessness of her father’s music in while singing in French.
Thus, we witness new experiments on IMAGORI II that are well aware of the foundations they are built upon and that sometimes let us forget the present with their future-oriented perspective while never descending into pure escapism. The twelve tracks allow the listener to close his or her eyes and enter a dream that could not sound more beautiful – we experience this phantasm as IMAGORI II. It contains no fractures, merely passages that provide a plane on which something new emerges.
The album ends with a song that could not be more defining and that recapitulates the production’s musical harmony one final time: “HIMMLISCHER FRIEDEN.” Hopefully, this will go on for a long time.”
Organic melds of plaintive vocals, primordial techno and rustic folk with subtle electronic backdrops. Recorded in Talinn, Estonia and recalling elements of Cucina Povera, Fönal Records’ Paavoharju...
“The presiding spirit of “Muunduja” (Shifter) is a state of being between states, the warping of time’s arrow using sound. Maarja Nuut & Ruum’s music often lures us into unimagined conversations with elements of our psychic selves that we may have otherwise forgotten. Whether the listener reacts through out-of-body experiences, glitches in cerebral programming, or old fashioned magic is immaterial. We experience the phenomena presented to us, and we take new insights from them.
Essentially the recording of two musicians’ inner travels, “Muunduja” is a release that relies heavily on gesture and spirit. Rich, rounded and expertly arranged, the music is also presented as a series of contrasts, heavy on shifts of tone, texture and mood.”
Marie Davidson is a synth-pop star for our times. Her belting 4th solo LP, ‘Working Class Woman’ is a definitive reflection of her character and current sound, including road-tested zingers from her powerful live show along with genuine surprises, while introducing a whole new wave of listeners to her charms.
In hot pursuit of the more ‘floor-friendly styles on her ‘Adieux Au Dancefloor’, and marking distance travelled since her cinematically sculpted ‘Un Autre Voyage’ for Holodeck, Marie’s 4th album inseparably binds the sound designer and dancefloor aspects of her sound in a sleek, witty, and totally captivating album which, for all it’s vintage touchstones, feels very symptomatic of 2018.
Her grooves are firmed up to direct functionality while the arrangements are as varied as anything from her intricate earlier works, resulting in big highlights on her live show favourite, the playfully raunchy EBM of ‘Work It’, and the rabid drum machine razz-out ‘Workaholic Paranoid Bitch’. But the amazing late ‘80s synth-pop-house of ‘So Right’ and the album’s two bookends of sardonic and sensual vocals, set to respectively pensive and sublime backdrops, really set this album apart from the crowd.
As the legendary Art Ensemble Of Chicago celebrates its 50th anniversary, Soul Jazz Records release a new, fully re-mastered edition of the group’s seminal 1970 album ‘Les Stances à Sophie’, which features the great singer Fontella Bass on the opening track ‘Theme de Yoyo’, a stunning 9-min opus that continues to startle and compel new audiences today.
"The Art Ensemble explored many areas of popular black music during their career. For instance, their ‘Ancient to the Future: Tribute to the Masters’ album covered songs by artists such as James Brown, Fela Kuti and Jimi Hendrix. This however, remains a pinnacle moment in their exploration of black dance music.
‘Les Stances à Sophie’ was recorded in Paris in 1970 and features regular Art Ensemble members (Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Flavors) alongside newly recruited drummer Don Moye and guest Fontella Bass on vocals and piano. Fontella Bass already had a successful career as a soul singer - ‘Rescue Me’ was her biggest hit in the Sixties. She and Lester Bowie first met in St Louis while working with legendary rhythm and blues producer Oliver Sain. Vocals (and lyrics), alongside a constant drum and bass beat, were new elements to the music of the Art Ensemble at this time. Musicians such as Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane spearheaded the free jazz movement at the start of the 1960s.
Far from simply defining a musical concept, they also began to redefine the concept of the African-American musician in society. A new period of self-respect and spirituality among musicians paralleled the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, encouraging self-determination and empowerment in every African-American musician. The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) was formed in Chicago in 1965 by Muhal Richard Abrams with members including future Art Ensemble of Chicago members Bowie, Jarman, Mitchell and Flavors, as well as others including Anthony Braxton and Amina Claudine Myers. The AACM explored experimental music and began promoting concerts, teaching music and Black history and offering spiritual guidance to youngsters in the Chicago community.
Out of this The Art Ensemble was formed in 1968 and in June 1969 the group headed for France. ‘Les Stances á Sophie’ was originally released on EMI France in 1970 and later in the US on Nessa Records. Soul Jazz Records first released the album in 2000. Now ten years out of print, they are releasing it once more in this new fully re-mastered edition. ‘Les Stances á Sophie’ came about when Israeli film director Moshe Misrahi befriended the group and asked them to record a soundtrack to a (then unmade) French New Wave film of the same name. During a two-year period in France the group recorded an astonishing amount of music - over fifteen albums recorded for various labels such as BYG, Freedom, Nessa, Arista and EMI - before returning to America in 1971 to continue their journey. The Art Ensemble Of Chicago’s musical soundtrack remains perhaps the definitive release from this period, a stunning exploration of radical jazz music and, with with the rare addition of vocalist Fontella Bass on ‘Theme De Yoyo’, an unashamedly powerful celebration of Great Black Music."
A tremendous collection of recordings from famed Fluxus poet and artist Jackson Mac Low (1922-2004). Originally published on New Wilderness Audiographics as a cassette in 1977, these recordings have been cleaned up and remastered by Sean McCann in 2018.
"Jackson’s beautiful text formulas are supplemented by stereo multi-tracking, creating a spatial jungle of wordplay. One gem of this CD is the live foray into tape manipulation from 1966 featuring the assistance of James Tenney and Max Neuhaus. It is fabled that they took Jackson’s voice and slowed it down to a guttural thunderstorm during playback, resulting in a manic blend of words darting through a black cloud of reverberation.
Only a small amount of Jackson’s sound poetry is available, making this collection a delight to swallow and digest. Produced with Charlie Morrow, we are thrilled to re-present this history to the ears of both young and old."
‘Music Of Southern and Northern Laos’ ‘Music Of Southern Laos’ presents an outstanding set of recordings made by Laurent Jeanneau (Kink Gong) in the landlocked, mountainous, South East Asian country as well as the Luang Namtha & Phongsaly provinces, a rare collection from a region which has been generally overlooked by the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry.
Replete with Jeanneau’s lucubrate liner notes and detailed track descriptions, it’s a totally transportive survey for both beginners and studious ears; covering a remarkable range of styles from the almost sea shanty-esque cadence of the qeej - bamboo pipes fitted with a reed - to quietly intimate acapella folk song; a beguiling demonstration of extended breathing/singing techniques on the tot, a fresh green bamboo played with reed; and thru to ululating songs about solitude; a rolling percussive piece played by a shaman; and a mad, buzzing piece somehow played with the palm of the hand on a bamboo tube.
Highlighting a region and musics usually obscured from the the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry, ‘Music Of Southern Laos’ offers a rare overview of folk styles from the Champasak, Attapeu, Sekong & Saravan provinces bordered by Vietnam and Thailand, and home to a panoply of marginalised ethnic communities which Jeanneau places particular focus upon.
Given their proximity to Thailand, the music of Southern Laos perhaps understandably bears resemblance to the Thai folk-pop style of Molam in their singing, as documented in some of the LP’s most charming pieces, such as the slow, elegant sway of ‘Lao Lam Saravan’, but our personal highlights are the beguiling instrumentals, including the mesmerising metallic scrapes and glances of ‘Brao Lave Gongs’ from the Brao minority, as well as the beautifully drowsy ‘Alak Gongs’ of the Alak minority, played by three elderly performers surrounded by crowing cockerels and tropical fauna.
Colour us utterly enchanted.
Italian artist David August blends ambient-pop with Nico Jaar-like grooves, blues vamps and Giallo soundtrack-styled motifs in ‘D’Angelo’, his follow-up to a self-released ambient album and prior outings with Solomon’s Diynamic.
Well, this is just lovely; Hiroshi Yoshimura’s soothing electro-acoustic ambient suite, Music For Nine Postcards  is made available outside the Japanese market for the 1st time, unfurling the Tokyo-based artist’s delicate, minimalist masterwork inspired by Satie, Schaefer and Eno to whole new generations in need of blissed sonic respite. Unless you’re a bit wadded or simply helpless to the charms of early ‘80s Japambient records and bought a dead expensive original, it’s maybe likely that you’ll only get to hear this one via YouTube otherwise, so the opportunity to hear this beauty in full fidelity, at a reasonable price, is not to be missed!
"Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs–a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy and Spencer Doran–is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues ofHiroshi’s works to follow in the future.
Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound.
His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture.
This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it.
Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly."
SOPHIE presents one of 2015's defining records with the immaculate electro-pop of 'Product'.
Since emerging with a flash remix of Auntie Flo's 'Highlife' in 2012, SOPHIE has infused a minty fresh digital air to modern pop music with a procession of stunning solo singles, co-productions for PC Music's QT, and production credits for Japan's queen of J-pop, Namie Amuro, Mad Decent's LIZ and erm, songwriting for Madonna's 'Bitch I'm Madonna' alongside Ariel Pink.
We'll assume you're already au fait with the record's previous singles - the ecstatic, 'Bipp' and heart-rinsing emultion of 'Elle', or the textural hyper-sensuality of 'Lemonade' and 'Hard' from 2014 - so we'll skip to the new stuff. Msmsmsm ratchets his sound with ambassador-grade trap potency, whilst 'Vysee' sounds like '07 electro-bassline updated by Florian Hecker for a Japanese sex hotel. But it's the final run of cuts that really sends us reeling; 'L.O.V.E.' leaves everyone for dust with its visceral production values, teasing melodies and pointillist edits, whilst the lazer-crafted 'Just Like We Never Said Goodbye' is one of 2015's strangest bubblegum pop hits-in-waiting, or at least one of its most hyper-affected sensations.
In the best sense, this is a record that should divide opinion like few others, and which side of the fence you land on says a lot about your grasp of current, mediated culture. For our 2p, it's the sexiest, provocative, and uncannily tactile grip of tunes we've heard in years; a massive recommendation!