Rolling, panoramic soundtrack from Dirty Three’s guitar whisperer Warren Ellis for Arno Bitschy’s documentary. Fair to say he evokes the subject beautifully and clearly, and quite literally with the well-placed samples of dialogue.
“The Australian musician (Dirty Three, Bad Seeds, Grinderman) has scored a number of high-profile films (‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’, ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘The Road’) and his latest score is for ‘This Train I Ride’, a documentary film directed by Arno Bitschy.
“My idea was to record, collate and produce the music on trains, in the spirit of the women in this documentary. Brian was so encouraging with this approach and told me about a train journey he had taken in the 80’s with no fixed destination. Over the next month I sat with my computer, loops, iPhone, Reface DX synthesiser and forgotten ideas and composed the music on the Metro and Eurostar and in various hotels while working on Ghosteen. I would send the pieces to Arno from the train, or wherever I was located, and he edited them into the film.” - Warren Ellis
The film tells the story of women hopping freight trains around America. The film follows the life-journeys of these women living on the fringe in a rapidly changing country, in their quest for identity, freedom and finding their place in the world.”
When this record was first released, Pavement were starting to get some mainstream attention here in the UK thanks to bands like Blur citing them as a major influence. Consequently you'd get surreal TV moments like Jayne Middlemiss interviewing Stephen Malkmus and co. on The O-Zone and telling the band that they sounded out of tune. Oh, the indignity. Brighten The Corners spawned memorable singles 'Stereo' and 'Shady Lane', which helped raise the band's profile further in mainstream circles, whilst memorable Peel Session and Evening Session recordings for the BBC did the rounds too. Listening through Brighten The Corners you're reminded of just how formidable Pavement sounded as a rock band: as wordy and nerdish as they might have been, they could also kick out the jams with the best of them, taking a firm grasp of classic rock band dynamics and cranking up the fuzz where necessary. Significantly, when the band hit the chorus on 'Stereo' or break into their stride during 'Transport Is Arranged' there's nothing ironic or half-hearted about the unrestrained power-chord posturing. Another thing that strikes you about all this is that Pavement lyrics, however wilfully obscure they might tend to be, always seem to evade clever-cleverness or mere empty wit - there's a genuine warmth and meaning at the centre of these colourful labyrinths. Recommended to anyone who's a fan of having a good time, Brighten The Corners is boundlessly entertaining and still startlingly fresh eleven years on.
'Space Is Only Noise' is the first album by Nicolas Jaar.
By anyones estimations his arrival into the electronic music sphere has been unavoidable, receiving comparisons to Villalobos and AFX from The Guardian, providing one of Resident Advisor's most adventurous mixes to date and practically having Panorama Bar, Fabric and Bar25 eating out of his hands - all before he'd turned 20! His string of releases for the like-minded Wolf+Lamb Music and his own Clown & Sunset label besides remixes for Matthew Dear and Ellen Allien have defined his sound as purposefully slow, sensuous, and with a graceful maturity way beyond his years, all equally informed by HipHop and his Chilean heritage as he is House music and the furthest reaches of electronica.
Like the relatively recent pop/dance phenomena of Drag/Witch House, electronic Cumbias and Dubstep, his music signifies a sea change towards exaggerated energy efficiency, dropping the tempo to up the groove and deftly filling the space left behind with supremely sophisticated musical decisions drawing further comparisons to everyone from his beloved Satie and Mulatu Astatke to DJ Shadow. 'Space Is Only Noise' is far from being your conventional House music album and should be filed in your 'promising debut' stack.
Hugely necessary first time reissue of Sun Ra’s rare as chuff 1983 side, containing the timeless/timely anthem ‘Nuclear War’ available on original format and CD
At a glance, there’s only one 2nd hand copy of the OG album available for nearly a grand, so we can almost hear the Ra fiends furiously clicking for the new pressing of ‘A Fireside Chat With Lucifer’. It’s most renowned for the expletive-laden, proto-hip hop call-and-response chorus of ‘Nuclear War’, whose message is still a rallying call for conscious stewardship of the planet today, but also revolves some lesser known but no less haunting works between the the deep bluesy jazz hush of ‘Retrospect’, gilded with Sun Ra’s organ, as well as the etheric groove ‘Makeup’, and 20 minutes of staggeringly unpredictable turns in the title tune.
Don’t think twice; it’s a must!
John Carpenter returns with another collection of shlock soundtracks "for the movies in your mind." Kinda good though?
It's been five years since Carpenter last released a collection of "Lost Themes" with Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, but time means pretty much nothing when you've been trotting out quality (and ridiculously influential) synth-laced movie music since the 1970s. There aren't exactly any stylistic surprises here, a bit of refinement though - since "Lost Themes II", Carpenter has been on tour for the first time ever so that seems to have loosened him up a bit.
These new tracks might be the best latter-day Carpenter material we've heard, and he's finally struck a balance between the new and the old, the digital and the analog. It's as if he's finally unified the chunky rawk stylings of his later work (hello "Vampires") with the icy, minimal doom of early classics like "Assault on Precinct 13" and "Halloween". Here's to "Lost Themes IV", we're ready.
Pairing post-minimalist master Daniel Lentz and the spectral tenor of Ian William Craig, the 16th edition of FRKWYS inter-generational couplings is a starkly beautiful suite of elegiac keys and warbling tape textures - a strong RIYl Harold Budd, Tape Loop Orchestra, Willim Basinski
Accompanied by a soon come documentary on the pair by director Eli Welbourne, ‘In A Word’ sees Craig & Lentz undo each other in brittle but sublime style that, as the label eloquently put it, “embraces erosion and the potential of its loam left behind.” It’s surely one of the subtlest charms on the long-running and illustrious roll call of the FRKWYS series, highlighting the timeless, otherworldlyy intent and transportive power of two artists who respectively emerged some 30 years apart, but patently share a sense of pathos that resonates for the ages.
In nine pieces they spell out a hauntingly lived-in sound, evoking a sort of parlour music for creaky abandoned dwellings, imagining a post-dinner performance of ghosts that emerge from cracked wood panels and tatty curtains in once-splendid settings, seemingly convening around a dilapidated grand piano with chipped keys and peeling walnut wood, to play out lamenting nocturnes rendered in mildewed harmonics and fizzing dissonance, with Craig’s beautifully faltering, vulnerable vocals vacillating folkwise and classical spirits.
The first album in six years from German indie-electronic mainstays The Notwist. Gorgeous widescreen alt-pop for anyone who misses the homespun goodness of genre-classic "Neon Golden".
Around for over three decades, The Notwist have helped steer the direction of electronically-augmented pop with the influential "Neon Golden" and its follow-ups. "Vertigo Days" is the band's first full-length in a while, and finds them on fine form, still softly spoken, still charming. Fans of the band's more recent records and releases on their quietly ace Alien Transistor will find plenty to sink their teeth into - not least the Stereolab-in-dub flavors of stand-out track 'Ship', that features Tenniscoats' Saya on vocals.
Elsewhere they explore fuzzy psychedelia with the sweet, smudgy 'Oh Sweet Fire' and hit another high point with 'Al Sur', feat Juana Molina on vocals and electronics for a clattering left-pop u-turn.
"Vertigo Days" is a varied record; it's pop music certainly, but pop that draws from krautrock, Brazilian psych, dusty cult movie soundtracks and vintage British folk as music as it does experimental electronic music.
Camila Fuchs get help from Spacemen 3's Pete Kember to assemble wyrd pop songs that sound like an electro-charged Björk or Jenny Hval. Very nice.
'Kids Talk Sun' is Camila Fuchs' third album, and finds the duo looking back to childhood for inspiration. The result is a bright, breezy collection of brittle electronic pop songs, anchored by Camila De Laborde's signature vocals, that curl around Daniel Hermann-Collini's The Knife-adjacent compositions like bottled smoke. This time around, they rope in super-producer Pete Kember who pushes their songs into widescreen, giving the sheen necessary for that mythical next level.
It's charming stuff from beginning to end, reminding fondly of Jenny Hval's excellent "Blood Bitch" or The Knife's "Silent Shout", but retaining a dark energy that sings of contemporary woes. Recorded in the countryside outside Lisbon, there's a sense of isolation fused with a natural connection. It's electronic music, sure, but there's an organic quality that's echoed in Laborde's voice, that phases sensually, bridging the gap between the physical and digital realms. With the trip-hop revival back in full force, "Kids Talk Sun" sounds present, relevant and cathartic.
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 her 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, most provocative, and uncannily tactile grip of tunes we've heard in years; a massive recommendation!
This is it, the anticipated collaboration between legends MF Doom and Madlib.
The vibe is spread across 22 separate skits/tracks each produced by one or both heavyweights. Opening the Villainy is 'The Illest Villains' a very Doom styled sample skit, lots of TV voiceovers and a storyline about Madvillain which is cut and spliced to perfection, recalling King Geedorah's 'Monster Zero'.
'Accordion' starts the fray proper, an accordion loop drops an almost laxadazical vibe over the beat, while MF styles over the top, namedropping Dastardly and Mutley and Joe Tex, before 'America's Most Blunted' deploys a psyche break with some genius samples lifted from what must be a goldmine Marijuana awareness record.
A collab between 2 of the finest people in hip hop, with some fly guests, a classic for the ages? 100%
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ravishing and rare solo piano suite ‘BTTB’ is finally issued on vinyl - expanded, reshuffled, and newly replete with liner notes by none other than Haruki Murakami. Trust it’s swoon-worthy stuff.
Originally released in 1998 and hard to get hold of outside of Japan, ‘BTTB’, or ‘Back To The Basics’ is now reissued on 2LP to mark its 20th anniversary. It’s effectively a definitive edition of ‘BTTB’, reshuffled from the original 2LP pressing to also include ‘Energy Flow’ from the BTTB’ maxi-single, (which peaked at No.4 in the Japanese singles charts), as well as the slippery elegance of ‘Reversing’, both on the vinyl album for the first time.
Tech specs aside, this new edition is a sumptuous testament to Sakamoto’s effortlessly natural, poetic evocations of emotion, by then channelling some 30 years work as an arranger of classic synthpop (YMO, collabs with David Sylvian), and seminal soundtracks (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; The Last Emperor) into some of his most stripped down yet affective music, hovering on the line between precise, mindful composition and intuitively fluid improvisation.
While the majority of the material here features Sakamoto playing conventionally beautiful solo piano with magnificent highlights on the likes of ‘Opus’, he also extends into experimental, prepared piano on a handful of pieces, both serene and frantic, such as ‘Prelude’, ‘Sonata’ and ‘Uetax’, cannily resonating with Aphex Twin’s prepared piano pieces on ‘Drukqs’, which were released just two years later.
Sakamoto combines classical symphonic composition with experimental music and Japanese traditional sounds on his score to Bernardo Bertolucci's 1994 film 'Little Buddha'
"In 1987, Ryuichi Sakamoto played in The Last Emperor and also composed the original soundtrack to the movie, which won him an oscar. In 1990, he contributed to the musical score of The Sheltering Sky and the movie received the Award Golden Globes of the Best Original Score. Moreover, Ryuichi Sakamoto obtained a major part in 1983 in Furyo (Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence), a production by Jeremy Thomas. He also composed the original soundtrack to the movie."
Fifth studio album from Still Corners.
"Building on 2018’s SLOW AIR, Still Corners return with an album about the myth and folklore of the open road. In a world where everyone thinks all the corners of the map are filled in, Still Corners believe there's something beyond what we see and feel, something eternal in the landscape of those never-ending drives.
With the shimmering desert noir sound the band has become known for, THE LAST EXIT takes you on a hypnotic journey, one filled with dilapidated towns, mysterious shapes on the horizon, and long trips that blur the line between what’s there and not there. Greg says, “We found something out there in the desert – something in the vast landscapes that went on forever."
THE LAST EXIT consists of eleven beautifully crafted songs with organic instrumentation, clean-toned guitar, spacious drums and the smoky croon of Tessa Murray. Album highlights include “The Last Exit”, “White Sands” and “Shifting Dunes” all of which evoke the vast space of the desert and rolling unconcerned skies."
Featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and others...
"The music of CARM features horns in roles typically reserved for drums, guitars and voices, while also escaping the genre categorizations reserved for music featuring an instrumentalist as bandleader. It is not jazz or classical music, nor is it a soundtrack. This is contemporary popular music that features a sound normally used as a background colour and texture as the unabashed lead voice. According to CARM, aka CJ Camerieri, “It started with the question: ‘What kind of record would my trumpet-playing heroes from the past make today?’ I believe they would want to work with the best producers, beat makers, song-writers, and singers to create new, truly culturally relevant music, and that’s what I sought to do with this project.”
Produced in Minneapolis by Ryan Olson (Polica , Lizzo) and featuring collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Yo La Tengo, Shara Nova, Mouse on Mars, Francis and the Lights and many others. This is a completely unique sound that additionally serves as a survey of the collaborations that have come to define the artist’s career thus far. Says Justin Vernon, “I truly believe there isn’t a more accomplished brass player in the entire world of music. And this is way more than a ‘horn’ record. It’s a discovery of new heights with what is possible in creating music.” The album begins with an orchestral brass choir of French horns, which quickly gives way to a piano sample from Francis, as Stevens and Lupin combine voices over a lush bed of horns to sing ‘Song of Trouble’. The album bookends with the same piano sample used as a springboard to an iconic lyric by Vernon in the album closer ‘Land’. Between these two generation-defining artists we have upward sweeping melodies and fanfares reminiscent of Ennio Morricone.
The acutely original sound of Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo in ‘Already Gone’ give way to the virtuoso sound of Nova’s voice. A more experimental path emerges before the strings from Music bring us back to the piano sample that started the record. Instead of recycling well-trodden sounds, CARM offers a respite for those seeking an original voice."
The final performance by legendary electronic music catalyst Mika Vainio depicts the Pan Sonic co-founder at his blistering best only months before he passed away in 2017
‘Last Live’ is demonstrative of the singular way in which Vainio harnessed elemental electronics to his will. Recorded at Cave12, Geneva, on 02.02.17, the set is presented here post-edited by Stephen O’Malley and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, at EMS, Stockholm, to unleash a definitive blast of raw electronic forces that speak unflinchingly to the unpredictable nature of his improvised noise. Quite simply, Vainio is unmatched in his field for this sort of work, and this session stands as testament to the inspirational conviction and devastating effect of his music.
While it may not be immediately apparent on first listen, Vainio’s music has long drawn influence from myriad, intense forms of music. Be it techno, delta blues, dub, black metal, or sheer isolationist minimalism, it was all there, collapsed into a black hole of sound that could be as bloody-minded as it was heart-rendingly sensitive, often in the space of one cut. ‘Last Live’ portrays these unapologetically human characteristics in Vainio’s typically frank yet oblique manner, with each section candidly expressing polarised extremes of sound, from the first part’s transition between jack-licking drones to skin-tearing distortion, while the 3rd and 4th capture him at his most rhythmically disaffected, strongly recalling the almighty, juddering forces of his ‘Kilo’ (2013) album.
Lilting, melodic Malian pop by one of the most popular singers from Wassalou region, highly regarded for producing some of the best signers in Mali
"The meaning of “Kanawa” is so simple. We see our children trying to cross the ocean all the time. I said that many of our children die in the ocean and some of them while crossing the Sahara. Some climb over the wires across the borders and they have gotten shot. We have asked them not to leave and instead stay home. But I ask them why do they leave their country? Why do they decide to go? They said that they leave because of the family situation or problems, poverty, and unemployment. We told them if ever they are to leave, they should privilege legal ways.
They should abide by laws vigorously when they are to emigrate. That’s better than hiding in boats or adopting other illegal means. I ask them to stay and work in their country. So that we can help each other find a solution to this problem. I call on the UN and African leaders so that we can coordinate our efforts to find a solution, to create jobs for them so that young people stop leaving. This song is about that message and I chose it as the title of my album because I like it. My choice is because it is very meaningful and it is something we see on a daily basis. I chose it in order to alert and sensitize everybody about this question of illegal immigration. To sensitize our brothers and sisters. It is a message. That’s why I chose it as the title of my album so that everybody can learn from it and also so that there is a reduction in the number of people emigrating. To sensitize them so that some can stay home and grow the land. Leaving is not the only solution. That’s my message."
First new solo material from Martin Gore in half a decade, packs a gnarled tang where it matters.
‘The Third Chimpanzee EP’ holds Martin L. Gore’s first outing since the eponymous ‘MG’ album in 2015, and arrives 40 years since his earliest roles as one of DM’s founding members and primary songwriters. The five tracks pay testament to a perennially searching spirit still in the process of hunting for the perfect synthetic sound arrangements, but taking “perfect” to mean strangely expressive and uniquely textured synthesis, as generated by his formidable racks of gear.
Melodic and harmonic pop conventions are out of the window, and replaced by a taste for rawest elemental synthesis in all five parts, turning up some heavily satisfying grot recalling Wolf Eyes’ trip metal styles in ‘Howler’, and a ruddy sort of electro-dub chug on ‘Vervet’, along with some curled eastern tunings in ‘Capuchin’, and the elegiac fanfare of ‘Howler’s End.’
We bow down MG.
‘Kin ell, The Body; U OK, hun? Lee Burford and Chip King’s cultishly adored project appears to take absolutely no prisoners on their first recordings since 2019
Marking their first solo jag after ‘I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer’ in 2018 (they’ve collaborated with Thou and Uniform over the interim), the duo deal in their most obliterated music with a concentrated, unflinching style that feels utterly fucking necessary right now.
Everything seethes in the red at a venomous biting point, with guitars, drums and electronics congealed into a mass of matted skin, hair and blood, with vocals alternately wretching with a BM wretchedness, hollering for dear life, or buried down in the belly of it. They’re perhaps matched for sheer ruthlessness by fellow Providence, Rhode Island residents, Black Mecha and Wold, but even still they’re on some scorched earth all of their own in this monstrous creation.
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.
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s darkly beguiling 3rd album, seeing Steven Stapleton go solo in a slowly spirit-gnawing side of collapsed concrète jazz cut-ups that recall pre-echoes of Mica Levi and Demdike Stare at their most zonked
‘Merzbild Schwet’ documents Stapleton left to his own devices in the studio later in 1980 after bandmates Heman Pathak and John Fothergill left due to dissatisfaction with their collaborative efforts on ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’. The results, in their own way, are perhaps more detectably coherent, in the sense that this is the sound of one man’s mentalism, and not the combination of three who can’t decade who’s weirdest. As such, it’s a real warper, with one side seemingly nodding to a classic Neu! B-sides from behind lysergic eyes, and the other striking deep into a vein of theatric avant-garde.
Recycled from hacked and spliced jazz samples, the A-side’s ‘Dada x’ slops over the front with knackered drums and smeared brass tones that recall the B-side to ‘Neu! 2’ (itself crafted last minute in the studio, using slowed down samples of the same record’s A-side) as much as Micachu & The Shapes’ & London Sinfonietta’s ‘Chopped & Screwed’ session, with additional stirrings from a French pop record adding to the oddness in a way that also recalls Ghédalia Tazartès and that amazing Joseph Hammer side for PAN.
‘Futurismo’ is a very different beast though, stretching out 24mins of pineal, searching-in-the-dark atmospheres that feel like they strayed from an avant garde theatre work or modern classical conservatory, with pealing woodwind and arcing spectral keys paving the way for mind-bending corridors of patchworked sci-fi vocals, shatterproof industrial clangour, and Stapleton's patented plasmic electro-acoustic audness.
Utterly fab off-world lo-fi pop construxions assembled using DX7, TR-909 and early samplers from Italian minimalist Tiziano Popoli. Imagine Visible Cloaks rescoring "Liquid Sky" and ur there.
Freedom To Spend's latest rifles through the catalog of Italian minimalist composer Tiziano Popoli, unearthing a series of unreleased recordings for soundtracks, radio and installations made between 1983 and 1989 with a modest studio setup. Influenced by glittery radio pop music, Popoli used the Yamaha DX7 synthesizer along with the Roland TR-909 drum machine and some early sampling technology to belt out a series of surreal cues and themes that sound almost frozen in time.
The distinctive FM sound of the DX7 was relegated to bargain bins for too long after practically defining the mid 1980s and early 1990s, but it's received a well overdue resurgence in recent years. Now the familiar sound (smooth, shimmering pads, plasticky stabs and bumping distorted basses) is easily available inside or outside the box, and it's become ubiquitous once again - hearing it here though, struck through with possibility, is an all-too-rare treat. Popoli uses these sounds without cynicism or reference, crafting angular pop forms from a backdrop of funk, prog rock and disco.
'Minimal Dance N.1' sounds like a long-lost Goblin cue, with fractured synths following eerie piano loops. Elsewhere, album centerpiece 'Mimetico Erettile' develops over fifteen minutes, blending paper-thin pads with marimba sounds that buzz lovingly like Steve Reich in an isolation booth. Each track sounds as if it could rattle off the hinges at any moment and that's exactly what we love about it.
Fantastic music that sings loud from a place of innovation and discovery.
James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra came to be after the blossoming of a long-term friendship between James Yorkston and Karl- Jonas Winqvist, the Swedish music producer, leader and conductor of The Second Hand Orchestra.
"That communal feeling is apparent across the entire album. Recorded and mixed in Sweden over the course of three days, with a selection of musicians Winqvist had brought together, including Peter Morén (Peter, Bjorn & John), Cecilia Österholm (one of Sweden’s best-known nyckelharpa players), Emma Nordenstam (piano & cello) and Ulrika Gyllenberg (violin). The studio approach with The Second Hand Orchestra was entirely improvised around Yorkston’s songs and the only song they heard in advance was ‘Ella Mary Leather’; Yorkston didn’t want to direct anyone too much but instead allowed for a welcoming, instinctive, free-spirited and joyful atmosphere. ‘The Wide, Wide River’ is a soothing, warm and sublime listen whilst also highlighting Yorkston’s skills for songwriting, collaboration and as a musical conductor. The record takes in past loves, advancing age and friends now gone, whilst also containing some of the most sanguine songs Yorkston has ever made."
For fans of Four Tet, The Chemical Brothers, Jamie xx, Bonobo, Caribou / Daphni, Aphex Twin.
"Belfast-born London-based duo Bicep (Matt McBriar and Andy Ferguson) release their hotly anticipated ten track second album ‘Isles’, via Ninja Tune. Two years in the making, ‘Isles’ expands on the artful energy of their 2018 debut ‘Bicep’, while digging deeper into the sounds, experiences and emotions that have influenced their lives and work, from early days in Belfast to their move to London a decade ago. Lead track ‘Apricots’ is steeped in a shimmering bath of warm synths, its spare percussion and arresting vocals bring big room chills while still evoking something lost or forlorn."
"When Nils Frahm kicked off his world tour at Funkhaus Berlin in January 2018 to bring his highly acclaimed studio album All Melody to the stage, an ambitious journey was just to begin: Over the next two years, Frahm played more than 180 sold-out performances, including the Sydney Opera House, LA’s Disney Hall, the Barbican in London, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and several big festival stages around the globe. Yet the stunning setting of Funkhaus Berlin, renowned for its vintage grandeur and outstanding acoustics, and also home to Frahm’s magnificent studio where All Melody was recorded, had occupied a unique place in the artist's heart.
In December 2018, Nils Frahm eventually returned to Funkhaus Berlin to host another set of four shows, tickets sold out within hours. Frahm’s friend and film director Benoit Toulemonde — a collaborator since 2011 — captured the concerts on film, only using handheld cameras, and employing techniques he had mastered for the famous concert series La Blogotèque, which featured some of the world’s most popular artists. Tripping with Nils Frahm is an illustration of Nils’s lauded ability as a composer and passionate live artist as well as the enchanting atmosphere of his captivating, and already legendary Funkhaus shows: An extraordinary musical trip – rare and exclusive, close and intimate, bringing a unique concert experience to the screen.
"It was about time to document my concerts in picture and sound, trying to freeze a moment of this period where my team and I were nomads, using any method of travel to play yet another show the next day. Maybe tonight is the night where everything works out perfectly and things fall into place? Normally things go wrong with concerts, but by combining our favorite moments of four performances, we were able to achieve what I was trying to do in these two years of touring: getting it right! When you hear the applause on the end of the film you should know that I was smiling happily, being a tad proud and feeling blessed to share these moments with you.
Much love, Nils"
Classy debut album of horizon-scanning but intimate chamber compositions by Elori Saxl, seamlessly weaving a range of classical orchestration with field recordings and electronics
‘The Blue of Distance’ sees Elori draw listeners between the Adirondack Mountains in summer, and the middle of Lake Superior at the depths of winter, for a cinematic album that expresses a palpable sense of nostalgia and hope. Its title is inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s observation that faraway mountains appear blue due to light particles getting lost over distance, as outlined in ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, and Elori uses that phenomena as metaphor for the music’s curious sense of physical detachment/immersion and elusive familiarity, meshing recordings of a 6 piece ensemble (Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Flue, Oboe, Bassoon) made in summer, with their re-sampled images, re-recorded thru the foot of ice beneath her on Lake Superior, to create an absorbing blur between place and space, and between physical gesture and artificial resonance. A quiet-minded one for fans of Ian William Craig, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, or the evocative, descriptive powers of Goldmund.
New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records release Tristan Perich’s Drift Multiply as part of the partnership between the two labels. Drift Multiply, Perich’s largest work to date, is performed by fifty violins and fifty loudspeakers and is conducted by Douglas Perkins.
"Scored as one hundred individual lines of music, the piece blends violins and speakers into a cascading tapestry of tone, harmony, and noise. The violins perform from sheet music, while the speakers are each connected to custom-built circuit boards programmed to output 1-bit audio, the most basic digital waveforms made of just ones and zeroes. “I am interested in the threshold between the abstract world of computation and the physical world around us”, Perich explains.
New York–based composer Tristan Perich’s work is inspired by the aesthetic simplicity of math, physics, and code. The Wire describes his compositions as ‘an austere meeting of electronic and organic’. 1-Bit Music, his 2004 release, was the first album ever released as a microchip, programmed to synthesize his electronic composition live.
As a composer, he has received commissions from Sō Percussion, the LA Philharmonic, Vicky Chow, and more, as well as an award of distinction from Ars Electronica for his work for violins and 1-bit electronics, Active Field. As a visual artist, his audio installations, video works and machine drawings have received commissions from the likes of Rhizome and L’Auditori in Barcelona, and his artwork has been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, VOLT Festival, the San Diego Museum, and bitforms gallery."
A colossal, trance-inducing, yet largely overlooked pillar of 20th century American minimalism.
Regarded as a "holy grail" by the likes of Keith Fullerton Whitman, it spans 100 minutes of atonal, amorphous string composition scored in four parts for a quintet, here performed by Linda Cummiskey (Violin), Malcolm Goldstein (Violin), Kathy Seplow (Violin), Stephen Reynolds (Viola), David Gibson (Violoncello).
By all accounts Harley Gaber was a colourful fella, a complex American artist, composer and filmmaker who dropped it all not long after release of this 1976 work to become a full time Tennis player and coach. He would return to the arts, and later music, writing soundtracks for his own films before sadly committing suicide in 2011.
'The Winds Rise in the North' is a frighteningly heavy and rewarding master-stroke, giving rise to dense, gripping harmonic overtones which prickle, seduce and get under the skin in a way that few others achieve. Lock the doors, turn off your phone and give yourself two hours with this. You won't regret it.
Black Ark In Dub is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"Featuring a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded at the Black Ark just before its demise, Black Ark In Dub features bass heavy spooky dub deconstructions of ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’, ‘Ethiopia’, ‘Lion A De Winner’, ‘Open The Gate’, ‘Guideline,’ and ‘Mr Money Man’, along with an embellished dub version of Ras Keatus I ‘Dreadlocks I’ and the much sought after ‘Guidance’ a longime Jah Shaka killer exclusive to this set.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark In Dub remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another. This re-mastered release adds Lackley Castell ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’ (vocal cut to the opening track ‘Jah’) plus Black Ark Vol. 2 the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release took a different path. More vocal oriented the album features extended dubwise cuts of Caol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid do-overs from Third World man Bunny Rugs."
On this newly released work Jakob Ullmann combines his appreciation of Cageian principles with sacred composition in utterly riveting ways, resulting in two of the most extreme and uncompromising examples of his “quiet music” - that is, a music which is composed and realised to be played just above the volume of each listener’s ambient background.
And in case you’re not aware of what we mean by “extreme”, we’re talking seriously quiet - bordering on silent - instrumental gestures; the kind of creaks and klangs that, on the most glib level, recall a “ghost” in your house at midnight, while on a more serious, theological level, are intended to heighten the listener’s sense of the unknown, the metaphysical, the spiritual: the sacred.
In both works the ‘hallmarks’ of Jakob Ullmann’s intently defined yet unfathomably open style of composition come to light. On Müntzers stern, a pre-recorded performance of a hymnal text written by the German theologian is played back at barely perceptible volume into the same space where Dafne Vicente-Sandoval translates the graphic score for bassoon. The result is a totally sparse yet breathtakingly pensive piece where it’s beautifully uncertain what we’re hearing - is that the chance sound of a distant plane or Dafne’s bassoon? Are those voices in your head, outside the window, or on the recording? Either way, the barely-there but complex results are genuinely ambiguous, forming a total breakdown of conventions that leave the listener with far more questions than they answer.
On solo II, part of a group of works relating to the notion of disappearing musics completed in 1992 following Ullmann’s conversations with John Cage, the effect of Dafne’s bassoon, recorded in Kartäuserkirche (Bürgerliches Waisenhaus) is even more extreme. Holistically taking into account everything from the thermal fluctuation of the space and the way it affects Dafne’s reed, to its unique acoustic imprint, and by turns what lies outside its walls, the piece directly builds on Ullmann’s dialogue with Cage, and induces us into a sort of lucid dream state where time dissolves, outside becomes inside, and we feel physically sublimated into the piece and its projected timbral architecture.
As Ullmann’s music has come to light beyond the most rarified classical corridors over the last decade (with thanks to its champions such as Stephen O’Malley and Bill Kouligas, among others), the composer’s radical approach and uncompromising beliefs have given us some of the most memorable and perception-altering musical experiences imaginable. We can surely add these two new Ullmann works to that set of life-affirming and quietly challenging experiences.
Italian ambient maestro Gigi Masin wins our hearts again with this sublime, impressionistic soundtrack to Il Silenzio Dei Tuoi Passi (The Silence of your Steps), Stefano Gentile’s photo book focussed on Venice at night.
Venezia is certain to strike a chord with anyone lucky enough to have visited the city, and even if you haven’t, it’s a beautifully evocative package, marrying Masin’s balmy drift of solo keys and chiffon synth pads with absorbing imagery of the city’s narrow ginnels and, all softly lit by lone street lamps that mirror the music’s plays of light and shadow.
Unfortunately our Italian is beyond mediocre, so we can’t really tell you much about the liner notes, but the symbiotic images and music convey far more than we could ever spell out here.
Editions RZ collects historical recordings of Italy's forward looking and influential Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza 1967-75, a collective featuring Egisto Macchi (percussion + celesta), Ennio Morricone (trumpet), Walter Branchi (bass), Franco Evangelisti (piano), John Heineman (trombone + cello), Roland Kayn (hammond organ + vibes + marimbaphon), Giovanni Piazza (horn), Frederic Rzewski (piano), and Jesus Villa Rojo (clarinet).
All skilled players and composers, the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza were formed in 1964 at the initiative of Franco Evangelisti with an aesthetic agenda looking beyond the boundaries of previous improvisational musics. They focussed on production and the qualities of sound itself, employing innovative recording and playing techniques at the limits of their capabilities as performers and composers in order to discover the "new consonance" inferred in their nomenclature.
These ten pieces spanning eight years are highly considered works of art, aware of the Neo-Dadaists attempts to disassemble the concept of a work of art, and instead attempting to expand its parameters as a transitory body of work in flux. We can hear traces of this work reflected in the more forward thinking Italian film soundtracks of the era and to a further extent, in Ennio Morricone's work for Hollywood, in turn casting an influence over much exploratory, non-academic contemporary music.
Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1 is a new album compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records) that explores the many new styles that emerged in Cuba in the 1970s as Jazz, Funk, Brazilian Tropicalia and even Disco mixed together with Latin and Salsa on the island as Cuban artists experimented with new musical forms created in the unique socialist state of Cuba.
"The album comes as a heavyweight triple vinyl and deluxe double CD, complete with extensive sleeve notes, and is jam-packed with heavy bass lines, synth and Wah-Wah guitar funk combined with the heavyweight percussion, powerful brass lines and the all-encompassing Latin rhythms of Cuban music known throughout the world.
The album is released to coincide with the massive new deluxe large format book Cuba: Music and Revolution: Original Cover Art of Cuban Music: Record Sleeve Designs of Revolutionary Cuba 1959-90, published in November, which is also compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records), and which features the music and record designs of Cuba, made in the 30-year period following the Cuban Revolution.The music on this album features legendary Cuban groups such as Irakere, Los Van Van and Pablo Milanés as well as a host of lesser known artists such as the radical Grupo De Experimentación, Juan Pablo Torres and Algo Nuevo, Grupo Monumental and Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, groups whose names remain largely unknown outside of Cuba owing to the now 60-year old US trade embargo which remains in place today and which prevents trade with Cuba – and thus most Cuban records were only ever available in Cuba or in ex-Soviet Union states.
The music on this album reflects the most cutting-edge of Cuban groups that were recording in Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s – who were all searching for a new Cuban identity and new musical forms that reflected both the Afro-Cuban cultural heritage of a nation that gave birth to Latin music – and its new position as a socialist state. Most of the music featured on this album has never been heard outside of Cuba. Cuba: Music and Revolution is the third book that Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker have collaborated on together and follows on from their two earlier critically acclaimed books, Freedom, Rhythm and Sound (Revolutionary Jazz Music in the 1960s and 1970s) and Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s, both of which also had related album releases on Soul Jazz Records. Both Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker have been involved in Cuban music for more than two decades – Gilles Peterson with his many Havana Cultura projects for his Brownswood label and Stuart Baker with a number of Soul Jazz Records albums recorded in Cuba. This Soul Jazz Records album is released in conjunction with Egrem, the Cuban state record company, and has been put together after the many crate-digging trips that both compilers have made on the streets of Havana and beyond in Cuba stretching over a 20-year period, searching out rare and elusive original Cuban vinyl records."
For new initiates and avant-garde fiends alike, this Xenakis collection renders a breathtaking survey of works by the radical composer, theorist, architect and engineer, spanning the period 1956-1974 and featuring some of the greatest works of the 20th century, including the awe-inspiring sonic architecture of ‘Persepolis’.
Inarguably one of the most important composers to blend electronic process and classical orchestration, Greek-French artist Iannis Xenakis made an indelible impression on the 20th century with his staggeringly complex feats of musical engineering. Regularly cited as an influence by composers ranging from Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker thru Autechre and Reinhold Friedl, Xenakis’s polymath pursuits in hybridising music, architecture and mathematics generated a bewildering array of sounds and structures which have rarely, if ever, been bettered in terms of their sheer scope, scale and technical ingenuity.
It’s possible to break down Xenakis’ approach to composition, and its results, as an extension of his experiences in armed combat, fighting for Greece’s left wing liberationists against the German army and later the British during WWII, with the latter leaving him blinded in one eye. He would eventually leave Greece in 1947 after graduating university with a degree in civil engineering, and before he could be conscripted into the Greek army, who didn’t look favourably on left wing sympathisers. Moving from Greece to Paris left him with a sense of guilt at betraying his friends, and a sense that “I had to do something important to regain the right to live. It wasn’t just a question of music - it was something much more significant.”
That significant something turned out to be a mind-blowing, multi-disciplinary oeuvre practically unprecedented in the history of music, architecture and art; a radical synthesis of ideas which embraced new technology and abstraction as a means to realise and create a new world in the aftermath of WWII. Like the Italian futurists before him, Xenakis would draw on the chaotic soundfield of war, and combined with a strong knowledge of experimental classical music and a special nous of maths, Xenakis’ subsequent studies with Olivier Messiaen and work with Parisian architect Le Corbusier would prompt him to composing groundbreaking new music during the 1950s.
This 2CD contains works from that era, stretching right back to the pranging clangour and jet-like eruptions of Achorripsis [1956-57], an early example of his stochastic style of composition, thru the dizzying, chronic dynamics of Syrmos , and to some of the earliest work composed by a computer, the 7090 IBM, in ST/48(St/48-1,240162).
But it’s Xenakis’ ’60s/‘70s work where his genius is mst evident, from the breathtaking scope of Polytope De Montréal  - written for four orchestras in the same space in the French Pavilion at Expo ’67 - to the gobsmacking dimensions of his seminal Persépolis , which was realised for the Shah of Iran, plus the frankly terrifying, computerised wormhole of Polytope De Cluny [1972-74].
We can’t reasonably describe this set as anything other than indispensable for fans of electronic music from its inception to the modern day.
’Trippin’ Musik’ is Nurse With Wound’s most significant new dose in a while, collecting 3 epic discs of steeply psychedelic sonics that may well alter your breathing and heart rates and mental state. No tracklisting provided, play however tf you like.
Following from the reissue of NWW’s ’Soliloquy For Lilith’ boxset, ‘Trippin’ Musik’ relays the most recent findings from Steven Stapleton and co’s ongoing psychedelic research / surrealist reconnaissance / occult practice in electro-acoustic and avant-garde spheres. As the title suggests, it’s one for the journey, taking up whole sides of vinyl with intensely and intently focussed recordings that often take over 20 minutes to say their psychedelic piece in a cryptic language of abstraction.
Whether you take drugs to listen to this music or not, the effect is likely to live up to the title, but we’re pretty certain it will be stronger with than without. One disc features a whole side of what sounds like a folk song fractalised and slowed down by Carl Stone, while another also sees them strung out in desert guitar scenes sort of like a digitized interpolation of Earth jamming with Soisong, and the side of rapidly panned gasps is practically guaranteed to send your head into a tailspin given the right conditions, before it all shores up in a deeply lysergic scene of strolling, head-squashing, liminal/laminal electronic timbres that feel like classic kosmische slowed down and exhaled by an AI.
Trust the efficacy of ’Trippin’ Musik’ for psychoactive potential is right up there with the most potent sonic substance. Approach with spare time and a well stocked freezer for best results.
Jangling shards of guitar and puckish drums meet close vocal harmonies and punkish “hey!’s” in Palberta’s 3rd and latest jag with Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records
On ‘Palberta5000’ the trio of Anina Ivry-Block, Lily Konigsberg, and Nina Ryser elide the pop and punk aspects of their sound tighter than ever, resulting oodles of sing-a-long lyrics and nagging melodic riffs that will be trotting around your noggin for days, maybe weeks, to come after each play.
Quite notably, ‘Palberta5000’ was recorded in a studio located in the former home and family lamp-shop of Paul Reuben (aka none other than *that* mad egg, Pee Wee Herman) and it’s possible that his sense of U-cert mischief perfuses the album’s sense of exuberant youthfulness, which is practically spilling over from the likes of their dizzy harmonies in ‘Never To Go’, and the ‘90s indie-pop charms of ’Summer Sun’, or The Raincoats-like jangle and quicktrot of ‘Something In The Way.’
Another totally obscure diamond that we might never have found without Edition RZ’s prompting, and should be strongly recommended to fans of durational, minimal works by Stephen O’Malley, Eliane Radigue, or Jakob Ullmann.
Trauermusiken, or Music for Grief, offers two gravely intense compositions for strings written by contemporary Austrian composer and organist Klaus Lang.First released in 1995 by Lambeart, and reissued by Edition RZ in 2002 (this edition), it ranks among Lang’s earliest works and consists of one relatively short prelude followed by a quietly crushing 69 minute piece.
The five minutes of Der Wind und das Meer, Trauermusik für Bratsche solo (The Wind and the Sea, Music for Grief for Viola solo), performed by Barbara Konrad, foreshadow a glacially unfolding and technically demanding piece performed by the Amras Streichquartett.
In its slow, sustained and keening intensity we’re instantly reminded of Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In The North, which was also reissued via Edition RZ. However, Lang’s piece feels like the inverse of that record, trading teeth-chattering high-end for a solemn exploration of lower registers, operating at near-liminal levels of concentration and focus.
It’s yet another totally obscure diamond that we might never have found without Edition RZ’s prompt, and should be strongly recommended to fans of durational, minimal works by Stephen O’Malley, Eliane Radigue, or Jakob Ullmann.
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s second album dating back to 1980, wickedly complicating their enigma with a perplexing surrealist collage of psychedelic freeness and communal industrial jams
Available on LP for first time in 30 years, ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’ is still as strange and twisted an album as its title and that artwork would suggest. It marks the group near the start of their bent curve, with Steven Stapleton joined by early members Herman Pathak and John Fothergill, and French avant-garde legend Jac Berrocal on Conch, for a decimated trip into sub- or pre-conscious sound arrangements that get under the skin and unpredictably writhe with a raw, unsettling sensuality dislocated somewhere between snuff film ambience and post-industrial organism.
Leading down their overgrown garden path from 1979’s legendary ‘Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella’, the band’s follow-up could have conceivably moved in any direction after that unprecedented start, and it bloody well does; tripping balls in a way that juices, un-stitches, and messes with then pre-existing frameworks of free jazz, industrial music, and avant-garde experimentalist expression: or simply what would become known as NWW musick.
In tortuously durational side-long works they morph amp hum into licks of fiery psych guitar and cut-up concrète, initially forging a sort of lysergic caveman rock fronted by clangers, that descends into bestial howls, pockets of squealing guitar abstractions and what sounds like a a flock of jazzy geese. And that’s only the first side. The second is equally un/hinged, with cut-up voices pranging from the ether against backdrops of machine elves unscrewing a cavernous workshop at midnight, then gelling into the sickliest music box mælodies and back to avian jazz frolics from another dimension. The band were apparently unhappy with the results of this album, and it remains a fucking weird piece of experimental history.
Haunting chamber invocation by the Austrian organist, composer and academic; written for flute, voice, percussion and viola. The quietly minimal, single, 50-minute piece is intended for reflection and altered, heightened states of sonic perception. RIYL Jakob Ullmann.
“Through concentration on listening or concentration on what we are listening to we can enter a state of simplicity of mind which is a state of the highest inner clarity or inner silence. In other words:when concentrating on the flow of music we can reach an inner state: The inner silence which is the simultaneity of stasis and flow. This paradoxical situation poses the question: Is the flow of music passing us, is music flowing through us thus evoking this inner stasis or is it not a state at all what we experience: should we not most seriously take into consideration the possibility that it is us who are flowing through the sound?”
'Kompositionen 1950-1972' collects 16 compositions by Christian Wolff. Most of the pieces collected for this portrait of Christian Wolff document the composer’s early activity and were mainly recorded around the time of their composition. Each recording exemplifies the sound gestures from their time.
"Finally I realized that the kind of sound made in an indeterminate situation includes what could result in no other way; for example, the sound of a player making up his mind, or having to change it. In fact, the indeterminate notation I've used is, as far as I know, the only possible one for the kind of sound I should like. And don't forget, we also like to be surprised. ...and the rhythm produced by that situation is like no other rhythm."
Now of a 20 year vintage, NWW’s pair of haunted works with Czech violinist Petr Vastl aka Aranos resurface in a double pack of deeply spooked out material.
Aranos’ violin ranges from folksy see-saw to abstract extended tekkers in a pair of albums written and released four years apart but both bearing a very similar sort of etheric wanderlust that leads them from midnight darkness recalling Deathprod from roughly the same era in ‘Either Open Or Unsound’, to a stunning 24’ ambient etherfolk vista ‘Every Bower Builder Aims To Be A Polygamist’ on 1997’s ‘Acts of Senseless Beauty’, to take in industrial -cut-up rhythms, concrète haptics in ‘Marbles’, and smoked out death jazz in ‘Mary Jane’, and concluding in the snuff scene atmosphere of ‘Knife Knows His Doing’. With Aranos’ strings resembling a killer’s garrotte.
Sam Amidon considers his new self-titled album the fullest realization to date of his artistic vision.
"It comprises his radical reworkings of nine mostly traditional folk songs, performed with his band of longtime friends and collaborators. Amidon produced the record, applying the sonic universe of his 2017 The Following Mountain to these beloved tunes, many of which he first learned as a child. ‘Pretty Polly,’ for example, was one of the first traditional tunes he learned to play, and ‘Time Has Made A Change’ is a song that his parents – singers who were on the 1977 Nonesuch recording Rivers of Delight with the Word of Mouth Chorus – sang around the house when he was young."
Calexico’s 'Seasonal Shift' is less of a Christmas album and more of a cross cultural seasonal celebration.
"The themes are based around that familiar end of year feeling, of reflection, of ceremony and of recognition of the year gone by and changes it brought for better and for worse. It contains a few cover songs including classics by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tom Petty and a few more special guests, combined with a whole load of good will. It’s heartfelt but fun, and earnest but celebratory. It features Calexico in an assortment of guises, referencing Portuguese Fado and Old Mexican Folk Songs, from the stripped back two-man skeleton to the full party of international collaborators including artists like Bombino, Gaby Moreno, Gisela João, Nick Urata (DeVotchKa) and Camilo Lara."
"Our lives are expendable under most governments, secondary under a system of monetary rule. We are stock if you like, parts on a shelf for the purposes of profit, discarded at any moment if fabricated or non-fabricated crisis threatens productivity. This is constant, obviously and notably in the current pandemic. The masses cannot be present in the minds of ill-fitting leaders, surely? Or else the realisation of their catastrophic management would cripple their minds. Much like the human body can still survive without a full set of ribs we are all 'spare ribs’, preservation for capitalism, through ignorance and remote rule, available for parts."
34-minute, 6-track mini album born out of and shaped by long hours working into the night.
"Some of London-based electronic songwriter Ryan Lee West’s most recognised work to date comes in the shape of spontaneous EP or so-called mini album releases— clocking in just under the 40-minute mark, keeping their contents urgent, immediate and to the point.
As with his 2013 EP Odyssey and 2014’s Sonne, which were later compiled to a full-length release titled Odyssey / Sonne in 2015, there is a similarly strong synergy between his 2016 mini album Night Melody and this year’s Articulation — made available on CD and digital formats under the title Night Melody / Articulation. It’s nocturnal in sound; mysterious in the way that the early hours so often are.
The opening statement Pattern Of The North starts off with a collage of spliced synth melodies, inspired by anxiety that accompanies going home for Christmas. It’s followed by Johannesburg, an early sketch gradually filled out during his tour in South Africa. The closing statement What Sorrow is a fitting end to the album, building from gentle melancholia to a joyous crescendo. It’s a sensibility that’s central to the record; joy and sorrow both find their counterpoints. July 31, 2020 saw the release of his highly anticipated new album Articulation with an equal running time of 34 minutes. Lead track and album centrepiece ‘Articulation’ links the record back to the analogue fluidity and colour of 2016’s Night Melody.
The division of varying time signatures, intertwined with a complex structure of notes, creates an expression of a moving structure and conjures a dreamy, motorik energy. Articulation was conceived with a very visual way of thinking, unusual for the London musician and producer. During the writing process Ryan drew structures, shapes and patterns by hand to try and find new ways of thinking about music, giving himself a way to problem-solve away from the computer. The album title references a piece by the avant-garde contemporary composer Györgi Ligeti, though not for its music, but for the non-traditional graphic score that accompanied it. The idea of using analogue drawings and tools to bolster digital creations can be heard in the structure of the pieces that make up Articulation from the broody techno opener ‘Vibrations on a String’ all the way to the album’s boundless closer ‘Sudden
Awareness of Now’. Rising out of birdsong heard from his studio window, it has a particular urgency about it and seems to perfectly capture a longing for escape. Built around a simple and repetitive melodic theme, expanding and retracting over the course of its seven-minute odyssey."
Raw deep house jams from Will Long (Celer), continuing a cherished series on his own label after a sterling run including DJ Sprinkles remixes on Comatonse
Adorned with Tsuji Aiko’s illustration of Stokely Carmichael, and samples of the civil rights activist inside, ‘Long Trax 3’ stretches out over an hour of blushing pads and stripped down rhythms in a style that’s ostensibly removed, but actually complementary, to Long’s more typical ambient work as Celer.
If anything, it’s an implicit show of solidarity for current BLM movements in Long’s original homeland, USA, offering time and space that suggests contemplation on the current, torrid state of affairs with a humble nod to the original vibes of Larry Heard et al, sparingly using samples of Stokely Carmichael in a series of lean drum trax layered with noctilucent pads.
Proggy concept album about influential 20th century philosopher Gilles Deleuze - RIYL Art Zoyd, Richard Pinhas, Heldon
“This new album (the tenth in their discography) was born from two ambitions: to pay tribute to Soft Machine's Third on form (4 sides / 4 titles) and to philosopher Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition is the title of his thesis) on the contents. The 4 long pieces of this double concept album were developed over 2 years and each has a different style and climate. Bold and kaleidoscopic, Difference and Repetition perfectly synthesizes the musical and literary obsessions of Palo Alto.
Formed in Paris in 1989, Palo Alto released his first album (a cassette) on the Italian label Old Europa Cafe in 1990. The year 2020 is therefore an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this first stone, the founder of a discography rich with 10 albums. The band is now composed of Jacques Barbéri (also a science fiction author), Laurent Pernice (ex-member of the French industrial band Nox) and Philippe Perreaudin (also coordinator of several compilations and reissues: Legendary Pink Dots, Un Département, Nino Ferrer Revisited, Ptôse, Hardy Fox…).
Literature, and particularly science fiction, is a leitmotiv in the band's work. Antoine Volodine, Thomas Pynchon, Philip K. Dick, Lewis Carroll or J. G. Ballard have been invoked many times. In recent years, Palo Alto has multiplied musical collaborations with, among others, The Residents, Ptôse, Klimperei, Tuxedomoon... From industrial music to inextricable electronic ramifications, by making a detour through improvisation, the musical universe of Palo Alto is multifaceted. Their new album is no exception to this rule…”
Gorgeous, sanguine ambient sound sculpture by Iranian composer Porya Hatami for iDEAL recordings, following blazing sides from The Gagmen, and Stephen O’Malley with Senyawa.
"35.256031, 47.013321, 27.081979" is an experimental sound art piece created by the Iranian composer Porya Hatami. Porya Hatami (b. 1981) is based in Sanandaj, Iran and he works with field recordings and puts these against electronic tones in different ways. He has released his music since 2012 and has released his works on a number of international labels and is collaborating with like minded artists."
Charming Broadcast-adjacent psych-pop from Portuguese band Beautify Junkyards. Acid folk has rarely sounded so jangly and pristine - perfect lockdown escapism, trust us on this one.
There's something magical about Brazilian psych-pop - it inhabits that ethereal space between the faeries-n-goblins prog of the Canterbury set and the melancholy brilliance of Brazilian vocal music. Somehow, Portuguese band Beautify Junkyards manage to touch that same mythical space on their fourth album "Cosmorama", an alchemical concoction that takes the heart of Broadcast and simmers it with the bones of Os Mutantes. The resulting psychedelic soup is just a joy to swim in as the band trade vocals and dip between acoustic and electronic instrumentation.
"Cosmorama" sounds at times like the soundtrack to a long-lost TV documentary series, but Beautify Junkyards aren't entirely wedged in the past - their particular brand of whimsical melancholy sounds strangely current. The kind of psychedelic pop that Broadcast made their calling card has been a touchstone for plenty of contemporary bands, and Beautify Junkyards have found a way to make that more gauzy somehow - a dream pop album for a psychedelic love-in.