Hypnotic, pulsating rhythms and arps from inventive composer and instrumentalist Max De Wardener
Tying together his work on records by Roisin Murphy, Matthew Herbert and Plaid, with his background in playing for Zimbabwean Mbira ensemble, and composing for film and TV, ‘Palindrome’ unfurls two symmetric but contrasting pieces - an extended mix of the titular, plugged-in Mbira workout pairing his self-made bass Mbira with drums by Moses Boyd, and a spiralling kosmiche synth vortex called ‘Sun Dogs’ - both heralding his first album for Village Green, ‘Kolmar’, on the horizon.
like the image of a gazing globe [aka a yard globe, garden globe, gazing ball, etc.] under a full moon at night, where you can see a reflection, but it’s not clear what it is,” says Cara Beth Satalino, songwriter and leader of Outer Spaces, when describing the symbolic theme of her new album.
"Gazing Globe, the Baltimore-based artist's sophomore LP, is comprised of songs written during a lonely period of Satalino’s life, spent in introspective solitude. Her search to understand who she was outside of relationships with others left her feeling like she was trying to connect with her distorted reflection in a gazing globe lit by the moon; an image that mirrored her basic movements, but was devoid of the emotional weight she bore at the time.
Born in Pittstown, NY, a rural upstate town with a population of about 500 people, Satalino learned to play guitar by ear after her dad (a bluegrass musician himself) showed her a few chords. A rock & roll misfit throughout her teens, she eventually left Pittstown for Purchase College, where she immersed herself in the DIY culture and new worlds of music as she studied studio composition.
While attending Purchase she met producer/engineer Chester Gwazda (producer of the first three Future Islands albums and Dan Deacon’s Bromst and America, among others), who became her bandmate and partner. Though Satalino has been in many bands, she's a self-described “poor collaborator,” and Outer Spaces was born out of her desire to write solo. “I demoed all the songs on Gazing Globe by myself, and had a very clear vision of what I wanted the album to sound like.” Most of the songs on Gazing Globe are written from the perspective of another version of Satalino herself. “It was a way of encouraging myself. I wrote from the perspective of who I wanted to be, rather than how I felt at the time.” While writing the album, Satalino found herself lost and listless after she and Gwazda decided to take a break from their long-term relationship.
In an effort to grapple with her sense of anxiety and self-doubt, and ultimately evolve emotionally and spiritually, she began trying to find meaning through daily meditation practice and writing songs. “I think I was trying to get back to myself and my identity, separate from my relationship,” says Satalino. “For this record I was trying to articulate a feeling of disassociation, or something sort of intangible, surreal, and ethereal. I wanted it to be less literal and more of an illustration of a feeling.” The result of her efforts is a collection of Murmur-era REM-esque power-pop songs, full of catchy guitar riffs, sonically juxtaposing her despondent perspective.
On album standout “Album for Ghosts,” Satalino reflects on a “period where I was obsessed with finding music from the past that has a cult following now, but never really 'caught on' at the time it was released, either because it was ahead of its time or simply because no one had really heard it. I was thinking of the music industry today and how it's basically flooded with musical content. And how with a changing world (climate change, etc.), we might not be in a position to be searching the archives of Bandcamp for musical relics in 50+ years. In the end it was like ‘You're going to do this anyway, despite the outcome.’” On “Truck Song,” Satalino cleverly sings about her own journey through the story of her beloved tour vehicle breaking down. As she explains, it's “a song about all the horrible cars we've had and toured in. I've loved every single one, and they've all been total pieces of shit.” The song’s last lines, “Get on your feet, you’re on your own” are followed by an infectious guitar hook that exudes the excitement and mystery of starting over, and bouncing back anew. Fittingly, for an album born out of a desire to find herself, Satalino concludes the album with “Teapot #2,” a song “about finding love for yourself, and committing to that love the way that you would with another person.” Throughout the album she injects mundane everyday objects and experiences with glints of thoughtful wit, shining through a keyhole in her subconscious.
Ultimately, these songs document Cara Beth Satalino finding herself through the creation of her own esoteric world of pop songs. Like looking into a gazing globe, there’s never a perfectly clear mirror image, but if you gaze into the murky reflection long enough, you might catch a glimpse of your indelible core."
Some late period Moondog here - Elpmas was recorded in 1991 while the composer was in his late seventies. The disc assembles a number of compositions protesting America's "treatment of Aboriginese [sic] people, against our treatment of nature, plants and animals, also against the idea that we discovered the 'New World'". Consequently, these compositions have a sense distinctly East-meets-West flavour to them, featuring migratorially-themed field recordings of convoys in motion, plus 'exotic' instrumentation, particularly with regards to the percussion, which features heavy use of the marimba. There's something very literal about the way Moondog arranges his pieces too: when he calls something 'Seascape Of The Whales' you can expect to hear some sort of reproduction of whale song in there. Similarly, 'Bird Of Paradise' features mellifluous repeating woodwinds replicating birdcalls. The final two pieces on the disc enter into more esoteric climes, with 'Introduction And Overtone Continuum' taking on a kind of ambient, droning quality before the twenty-four minute 'Cosmic Meditation' fully embraces the tranquil, ambiguous intervals we associate with modern ambient music.
Ace new collection featuring music influential to Keith Haring inc Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yoko Ono, Larry Levan, John Sex and George Condo (The Girls), as well as healthy dose of rare disco, early electro and New York art punk/dance tracks.
"The art of Keith Haring is today one of the most recognisable of any visual artists of his generation, defining 1980s New York during an intense period when downtown artists and musicians collaborated like never before. Haring’s musical inspiration took in the punk/dance downtown sounds of clubs like The Mudd
Club, underground disco at Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage, as well the early days of hip hop and electro.
The album is released to coincide with the opening of the first major exhibition in the UK of Keith Haring’s work at Tate Liverpool, which runs for the next six months. Haring’s many friends included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Madonna, Fab Five Freddy, William Burroughs, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, Grace Jones, Larry Levan, Futura 2000."
The Last Wave (also known as Black Rain in the US) was the final chapter in a trilogy of films scripted and directed by the leading auteur of the Australian New Wave, Peter Weir. With no LP issued after the films premiere in 1977, and together with the mystery surrounding the true identity of its enigmatic composer ‘Charles Wain’, the score is a largely unheard recording of pioneering experimental film electronics, easily compared to the music that contemporaries Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream were composing for Australian films during the same period or the electronic soundtracks of John Carpenter.
"Beginning in 1974 with the absurdist black comedy-horror The Cars That Ate Paris, and followed a year later by the lush gothic mystery Picnic At Hanging Rock, The Last Wave was a landmark in existential horror. Sitting alongside other Australian eco-terror films (e.g. Long Weekend) the film featured a haunting electronic soundtrack that is as mysterious and beguiling as the spiritual themes of the film itself.
Tense atonal electronics, synthesizer drones and manipulated Didjeridu all perfectly capture the film’s ominous atmosphere, punctuating the slow hypnotic pace of this brooding supernatural thriller. The Last Wave soundtrack is released in conjunction with the lost film music to Nicolas Roeg’s 1971 New Wave masterpiece Walkabout composed by John Barry. "
‘Pyrrhic’ is the first ambient album by BNJMN following his string of rhythm-driven techno albums and 12”s over the past decade
Issued on his Tiercel label, ‘Pyrrhic’ sees BNJMN accentuate a side of his music that’s looping been there, in-the-mix, but usually sidelined in favour of dancefloor needs. Across 8 tracks created during the years 2016-2019 in Friedrichsfelde, Berlin, he expresses a mix of formative UK ambient/electronica influences mixed with a detectably Berlin-style melancholy and sexy gloom.
Berlin’s lesser-spotted Acido label makes a rare outing with ‘3 Trax’ by core duo: Dynamo Dresen & Sven Riger = Dresvn
Pairing up for the first time since 2017’s ‘Acido 25’, they turn out the jams with effortless style, from the fluid, silky acid drive of ‘Shelly Beach’, to the biting-point distortion of ‘Cole’s Farm’, with percolated live drums by Tom Page, and over to a sizzling house trek titled ‘Brunswick’ set to wrap up dancers like a birthday present with its thizzing filter chicanery and subtle bassline oscillations.
Paris-based Toma Kami turns up on Livity Sound for a 2nd round of nervously rolling rhythms wrapped up in deftly precise club arrangements
Produced with Livity Sound-standard minimal efficiency, ‘Negative Ecstasy’ plays out a timelessly fresh style with the tentative introduction of ‘E-Ache’ and the sozzled swang of ‘Aces’, before grabbing the waist with the sloshing rhythmic resolution of ‘negative Ecstasy’ in a style recalling Beatrice Dillon sparring with Batu, then stretching out with iridescent chords on a treacly shuffle reminding of Don’t DJ’s enchanted rhythms.
Next in Coil’s archival excavations is their soundtrack to a pre-internet, VHS-only sex ed documentary released in 1992. Released from masters with the blessing of Danny Hyde (Jhon and Sleazy’s right hand man and go-to engineer), this first proper edition of the soundtrack features a newly reworked “sexy” edit of the main theme along with bonus reworks of ‘Nasa-Arab’ and ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’ which appeared in the soundtrack to ‘Gay Man’s…’ as well as on 1992’s CD-only ‘Stolen And Contaminated Songs.’
In a way that Coil would shed with later recordings, ‘Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex’ sounds very much of its time, melding downtempo rhythms with smoky atmospheres in a way comparable to fellow ambient travellers such as The Orb and FSOL as contemporaneous material by Lynch & Badalamenti or even The Wildbunch, essentially nailing a sort of Balearic backroom or afterhours style.
The big highlights are the EP’s balmiest and jazziest bits, namely the dusky blue strut of ‘Alternative Theme From Gay Men’s Guide To Safer Sex’ that opens the EP, along with the iridescent shimmies of ‘Exploding Frogs’ and its rework ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’, which could almost be a fantasy collaboration between Japanese Electronics-era Heinrich Mueller and Angelo Badalamenti at his most snake-hipped and winking.
While we’re not certain of the soundtrack’s efficacy in its purpose - it remains a unique piece of the impossible jigsaw puzzle that is Coil’s catalogue, and a fine throwback to early ‘90s ambient/downtempo styles.
immersive ambient electro-techno Braindancers from Norway’s André Brattan, pairing 3 gems released on 12” in 2018, along with a trio of exclusive new cuts
Working in a filigree minimalist icefield somewhere between Finland’s Aleksi Perälä, Iceland’s Bjarki, and the feathered synths of Kettel, the album presents Brattan at full wingspan, exhibiting a classy feel for uniquely tuned, emotive harmonic arrangement galvanised by razor sharp drum programming.
From his run of 12”s in 2018, we find standout bits such as the Drexciyan electro of ‘HS’, the beautifully thizzing skitter and and soothing pads of ‘Pax Americana’, and the Detroit-meets-UK styled pneumatics of ‘Recreation 26B’ (which are all cut a track per side on the 12”s), while the exclusives variously tilt between Bjarki-esque electro in ‘426’, to vintage Skam-sounding downbeats on ‘Commonwealth’, and a rush of Rephlexian jungle breaks with ‘Ranx’, all with that absorbing sound design.
Excellent, slow and powerful dancefloor traction from Belgrade’s long-serving Tapan duo for Tel Aviv’s Malka Tuti, who delivered that ace side by Toresch’s Viktoria Wehrmeister aka Decha
Working at a devilish, c.100bpm bounce highly compatible with the DJ style of Belgrade-born Vladimir Ivkovic, the ‘Ghana’ EP is primed for swaggering nights on the tiles with the title track’s undulating tribal charge and the grubbing, slow acid swill of ‘The Beast’ feat. Jan Nemeček and reminding of Black Merlin productions.
Rome/Brussels-based Front De Cadeaux back up the original ‘Ghana’ with a crankier remix full of gloomy space and rockier drums, and Odopt tames ‘The Beast’ with hypnotic percussion and glyding synth drones.
Very classy stuff.
August 1990. First ANC Branch meeting in West Johannesburg, South Africa. Newly enrolled members, who have just cast a vote for the first time ever, dance while their votes to elect ANC branch committee members are counted. Abdullah Ibrahim (who has also recorded as Dollar Brand) is one of South Africa's most famous musicians. His music is often referred to as representing freedom.
"His major anti-apartheid anthem ‘Mannenberg’ (released as ‘Capetown Fringe’ in the US) has come to be regarded as an unofficial national anthem in South Africa. He even performed at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, where Mandela referred to him as “our Mozart.” He’s played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Max Roach, John Coltrane to Ornette Coleman and is the father of underground rapper Jean Grae.
Encompassing Township-Jazz, solo piano, Highlife and plentiful modern jazz styles, this brand new studio album (recorded with his band Ekaya at RAK Studios in London) is a major return for a genuine living Jazz legend."
Samuel Savenberg diffracts the ballistic noise shrapnel of his recent Haunter 12” into the darker spaces of ‘Walls, Corridors, Baffles’ for Lucerne’s Präsen Editionen
Obsessively detailed and structured with close attention to the dynamics of tension and release, ‘Walls, Corridors, Baffles’ is an 8 part expression of atavistic rhythm urges and biting point tonal harshness that ranks among SSSS’s most powerful recordings.
Swerving any concepts in favour of a future-primitive approach to his machines and software, SSSS follows his nose down narrowing ginnels of noise to scenes of destructive drones and splintering rhythms exploding in thick air, placing his full electro-acoustic vocabulary at the service of a gurning, twisted tale of excess and contemplative darkness.
Cyberpunk epic about dystopia and utopia and the collapse of technology and civilisation, or something
Pulpy concepts aside, there’s some bangers in the hot-stepping arps of ‘Catalyst’, a convulsive barrage of beat-em-up kicks and nose in ‘Dissect’, and the dive-bombing drill rattler ‘Exo’.
Kyoka and Eomac (Lakker) forge a restlessly rugged style under the fictional moniker Lena Andersson in a striking debut for the Raster stronghold.
Merging their respective styles Kyoka and Eomac patently make a strong studio pairing under their imagined avatar. Stemming from a back and forth session on the Buchla modular synth system at EMS Stockholm, the project has really come into its own with Eomac exacting razor sharp edits on Kyoka’s blend of spiky, freeform textures, sugared vocals and broad palette of field recordings.
There was previously a degree of familiarity between them as Kyoka remixed Lakker’s ‘Tundra’ for R&S in 2015, but here transcend their respective solo work to realise a wickedly sinuous, amorphous body of experimental electronica and crunchy dance trax which, if we weren’t told otherwise, we may never have guessed was made by these two artists.
Taking strong cues from prevailing dembow rhythm trends, the duo work out a range of spiky, crimped dancehall-techno mutations, getting into it alongside Seiki & Mike Watt with the brittle but squirming shape of ‘Middle of Everywhere’, and running thru big highlights in what sounds like Batu and Low Jack getting gritty on ‘Bazu’ and ’37 Years Later’, tucking it where the sun don’t shine in the dark grind of ‘Con Un Cuchillo’ and the cyber-bogle of ‘Anarchy - Joy’, or like some hyper-clipped Amazondotcom or Paul Marmota piece in ‘I Want Her (You) To Call Me Baby.’
Eccentric french instrument builder Pierre Bastien fondles his melodic machines in a jazzy way on ‘Tinkle Twang ’n Tootle’ for exploratory label, Marionette
With a trail of LPs behind him for esteemed label such as AFX’s Rephlex, Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records, and Discrepant, the endless inventive Bastien joins the likeminds of Soundwalk Collective and Burnt Friedman on Marionette with six inimitable compositions that sound like jazz seemingly played by creations from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ or a parallel world without war where humans haven’t quite discovered electricity, but love making machines that chat music.
“Equal parts composer, inventor, mechanic, and performer - Bastien translates his imagination into instruments and compositions that defy any musical categories. Whether it’s preparing instruments like playing a trumpet underwater or through a kazoo, using belt-driven motors and mechanical components to perform cumbersome yet surprisingly musical operations on traditional instruments and household items, or using a fan to hit the strings of a kundi harp with flowing paper - Bastien’s love for tone, rhythm, noise and harmony is poetically reflected across his quite extensive oeuvre.
Playful and melancholic, the sound sculptures that Bastien invents and plays with are partly inspired by the work of Raymond Roussel, a visionary French author who at the turn of the 20th century wrote a unique form of literature which inspired and guided artists from the surrealist and pataphysical movement and was declared by Michel Foucault as one of structuralism's founding fathers. On that note, the influence of literature and syntax on Bastien’s work cuts all the way through to the palindromes he uses for his track titles - which, much like his machines, infinitely loop.
True to it’s adorable title, Tinkle Twang ‘n Tootle is a music box of unfolding whimsical structures, half broken rhythms, detuned harmonies, and fantastical sound collages that evoke a childlike sense of wonder and an urge to explore the spaces in between the sounds.”
Hezziane carves out a pair of rolling, darkside breakbeat techno ravers for Pinch’s Cold label
Up top, after a sweetly wrong-footing intro, he shakes out the big boned knocks, wiggly acid and nasty D&B rave motifs of ‘KV-08’, while the flipside rolls out wider with flared acid lines and stone cut drums inna Beneath style.
Witch’s tit D&B pressure from London’s Outer Heaven, firing his 2nd EP for the UVB-76 stronghold
Last spotted in collab with Sully for the ace Rupture London label, here Outer Heaven goes head-down and solo in an austere dreadnaught mode, getting dancers on their toes with the cage-rattling hardstep and Amen shrapnel of ‘The Last Men’ and the lip-bitingly tight torque of ‘Trapline’, whereas ‘Blemish’ steps into trip hop quicksand recalling Scud & I-Sound’s wasteland as much as the recent Pessimist & Karim Maas side, and ’Still Waters’ wickedly epitomises and finishes the phrase with the threat of plummeting subs.
Adrian Corker gets curiously transfixing results from purpose-made acetate locked grooves, arranged in various states of natural decay to pensive, off-kilter effect recalling the rustle of Bellows or Pole processed by William Basinski. Quietly brilliant stuff.
“SN Variations fifth release features two tracks in three parts each composed for lock grooves recorded onto acetate, percussion by Sam Wilson(Riot Ensemble/Actress) and violin performed by Aisha Orazbayeva.The tracks also feature the piano of Mark Knoop and the voice of Josephine Stephenson.
A lock groove is one cycle of one groove on a record.This is 1.8 sec cut at 33RPM and 1.33 cut at 45RPM. Corker used the cutting lathe currently residing in the living room of The Exchange mastering legend Graeme Durham to experiment with different sounds cut onto acetate and then recorded over different durations back into a computer. Because of the softness of the acetate the lock grooves break down as they are re-recorded causing unexpected effects as the needle carves away the surface of the vinyl. This generative process adds layers of unpredictable noise culminating finally in white noise. These are combined and edited forming frames for performances of violin, percussion and piano. The pieces reflect on the tension between the mechanical and the human gesture/expression and place where they merge.”
Paul Woodford’s Special Request diversifies his bonds into moody IDM/electronica after spending his rave energies on the ‘Vortex’ album
The ‘Bedroom Tapes’ is the sound of Yorkshireman blues; the type of ‘tronica they reach for when there’s no tea bags left and shop is too far uphill, or when chippy’s ran out of scraps. In eight parts he speak to the sundays after, the tuesday mornings when grey matter seeps out of lug’oles onto yer desk as you kling to a kernel of residual happiness from the weekend.
Between the spooling electro bleeps and satin pads of ‘Panaflex Sunrise’, his floating electro scapes in ‘Pineal Gland’, and the muddled harmonic reverie of ‘Entropy’ on the first disc, and thru the sidelong keen of ‘Xenopsin’ to the frazzled, Actress-esque tic of ‘Double Rainbow’ and the shine-eyed twinkle of ‘Phosphorescence’ on the 2nd plate, the ‘Bedroom Tapes’ crucially acknowledge a tender flipside to SR’s usual exuberance.
Playfully witted, dancefloor-curious styles from River Yarra, back on Antinote a year on from the resoundingly well received ‘Lucky Boy’ 12”
Shifting his weight elegantly from 88-140bpm across four tunes, ‘Frog Mania’ has something to do with amphibians but it’s all french to us, to be honest. We can however deduce that trax are primed for dancing in altered states, hopping from the Acid-Arab creep of ‘Toad Charmer’ with its microtonal vamps and synthetic croaks, to what sounds like late ‘90s-era Chris & Cosey on a frivolous flex with ‘Amfybyonzz’ on the front, before picking up the pace with a pendulous electro-stepper ‘Frogz ov Gondwana’ and the rolling breakbeat raver ‘Prog Frog.’
Akiko Haruna draws on backgrounds in Dance and A/V performance and sound design for her smartly off kilter debut with Where To Now?
An electronic expression of emotion through motion, ‘Delusion’ follows from Akiko’s previous work in promo videos for John Newman and AlunaGeorge to present a warped definition of rhythm-driven styles inspired as much by forward-thinking conceptions of club music as ideas from contemporary dance choreography.
In ‘A Mother’s Love’ she finds a fine tension between chattering, swarming vocal cut-ups and lunky, offbeat kicks in a style comparable to Don’t DJ as much as object blue, before the interlocking tresillo rhythms of ‘Husband Established’ work a stumbling, thunderous groove recalling the pressure and purpose of Jlin’s soundtrack for Wayne McGregor’s ‘Autobiography’, and she pushes that crookedly balletic flow into more abstract, spaced-out dimensions on ‘Hetero’ and with heightened, gyroscopic proprioception in ‘Ripheus Alley’.
Deffo one for the dancers!
Boxed don Mr. Mitch on an 8-bit dancehall bogle for The Bug’s Pressure label, backed with tremendously unstable remixes by the bossman
‘Not Modular’ is a mad stripe of bubbling electronics driven by a rugged ‘90s Dancehall engine in Mitch’s more playful, party-guaranteed style, while The Bug typically makes it darker, wilder with dense level of FX applied to growling, noisy fashion in the ‘Straight’ remix, then in super dry and rasping style on the murderously ‘Raw’ remix.
The endless wellspring of electronic Afro-funk and boogie spurts Nkono Teles’ cutting edge ‘80s Nigerian ‘Party Beats’ from the legendary Tabansi label. OG copies are known to trade for $700 on the 2nd hand market and it ain’t hard to hear why - this is street funk gold!
“Few creative geniuses epitomize the Tabansi label’s broad-stroke approach to music than the late Nkono Teles. Cameroun-born and Nigeria-bred, this innovative multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and engineer was one of a select handful of backroom boffins that West African artists and producers would habitually call upon when they wanted a ‘modernist’ Afro-pop sound that would appeal across borders.
A pioneer of electronics in African music, Nkono Teles was equally at home with synthesisers, drum machines, guitar effects and computer programming as traditional instruments. One of West Africa’s most prolific producers during the 1980s, Teles is credited with more than 150 productions, spanning the work of more than 100 artists and groups.
Of Nkono Teles’ three solo-artist LPs, ‘Party Beats’ is, by far, the most innovative and characteristic. He plays all instruments, and was apparently always the first to admit that singing wasn’t his forte; hence the utilization of an eleven-piece choral section! The raw electronic effects used here have always been sought-after by breaks and hip hop producers as well as DJs, with original copies of Party Beats regularly changing hands for anything up to $700.”
The lithe, picky pointillism of ‘Oglon Day’ kicks off a promising quartet project between luminaries of the avant-garde and experimental music
On their debut release, we hear Oren Ambarchi nimbly synch with Mark Fell’s skittish bass drum patterning, while Aussie percussionist Will Guthrie adds a sizzling freeness on his kit, and we presume that Montreal scene lynchpin Sam Shalabi adds the shimmering micro-tonal colour on guitar.
The result on the A-side is a sort of krautrock-techno-jazz jam that feels like a more plugged in and unfeasibly tight answer to The Necks, or an MvO Trio performance where Tony Allen has electrodes rigged to his tendons and some cheeky blert spiked their sparkling water before they got in the studio. ‘Ogle Day 2’ then reminds of the pointillist precision of Kukangendai, whom Mark Fell has previously remixed, with a more tensile contrast to day 1 that’s only diffused thru Guthrie’s effervescent hi-hats and when Shalabi pipes up to smooth off the angles.