Alex Izenberg’s new album I’m Not Here.
"Like his debut, 2016’s homespun Harlequin, and its ambitious 2020 follow-up Caravan Château, 'I’m Not Here' inhabits the shaggy, world-weary mode of artists like Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Randy Newman, and Lou Reed.
With the help of producer Greg Hartunian, and swelling string and woodwind arrangements courtesy of Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth, Alex manages a paradoxical and visionary trick: he disappears completely while simultaneously revealing more of himself than ever before."
Space-lounge-jazz supremo Jimi Tenor attends the keyboards, drum machines and syn-flutes for a choice retro-futurist jag with Hamburg’s Bureau B
‘Multiversum’ weighs in as the Finnish cat’s first album since 2020, and umpteenth since riddling the ‘90s with a free-spirited but classically stylized run of albums on Sähkö’s Puu and Warp Records. To be fair, he’s not really fucked with the formula since those classic sides , and nobody's complaining, as far as we can hear.
This time he continues to find new veins of energy in tried and tested aesthetics, variously balancing his cosmic exotic jazz chops with deep house and no wave NYC punk a la Suicide on the standout ‘Baby Free Spirit’, and giving us chuckles with lyrics about “hugging the trees / shooting the breeze / what are friends for” on the ‘60s pop rocket ‘Life Hugger’, whilst ‘Birthday Magic’ almost feels like Pekka Airaksinen gone pop, the lysergic sound craft of ‘Gare du Noir’ should surely seduce lovers of Stereolab and Broadcast, and there’s some impressive deep blue jazz fusion flex in ‘The Way to Kuusijärvi’.
Death is Not the End follow up their fab collection of London jazz with another well-researched collection of sounds, featuring tracks from Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott's Quintet, Dizzy Reece Quintet and more.
Made in partnership with the Barbican as part of their exhibition of postwar art between 1945 and 1965, "I Had the Craziest Dream: Modern Jazz and Hard-Bop in Post War London Vol.2" yet again shines a spotlight on jazz in London and its influx of players from the Caribbean and across Africa.
There are some important names featured here, from English modern jazz sax player Tubby Hayes and notorious bandleader and club owner Ronnie Scott to Jamaican-born tenor saxophonist Wilton Gaynair and Jamaican-born hard bop trumpeter Dizzy Reese. The compilation extends the world mapped out by its predecessor, and while it features plenty of the same names, it helps to illustrate a time period that's often lost in the ether. Post war London was a melting pot of sounds that ended up inspiring decades of innovative music - none of that would have been possible without these early pioneers.
First issued on the occasion of Anton Bruhin’s exhibition at the Centro Culturale Svizzero in Milano in 2015, these works are now presented with a new artwork for 2022.
"If the idea of recording birds could have come from his friend Hans Krusi (this was a common practice for Art-Brut master Krusi who layered into primitive multi-track sonic sculptures the recordings of the many birds sharing his living space), Anton Bruhin is able to create with the same material a cacophonic and distorted storm of unrecognizable nature… and all this in one single low-fidelity touch.
Anton Bruhin in the 1960s began organizing happenings and performances, creating sound works, designing and typesetting his own books (which he self-published with Hannes R. Bossert through April-Verlag), drawing and writing poetry. Anton Bruhin was a member of the first class to study at the F+F School with Serge Stauffer, famous art teacher and specialist in Marcel Duchamp, where he came into contact with concrete poetry, Fluxus and experimental music. Dieter Roth and André Thomkins are recognizable influences too.
In the mid-1970s Anton Bruhin was surely at the peak of his tape manipulation works. Always using poor techniques and equipment he sculpted everyday-life sonic objects turning them into very accomplished and yet totally experimental music artifacts. The works presented here surely belong to this same period of expanded creativity as Rotomotor and InOut, or a period combining themes of excess and chaos with a pragmatic interest in simple structural schemas."
Unexpected and lokey brilliant Elvis covers from french troubadour David Fenech and cult instrument builder and composer Pierre Bastien.
As you might expect from the names involved, their take on Elvis is radically oblique and serves to reset the coiffed rock ’n roll god’s legacy in a much smokier, Gallic light. As that implies, the songs are relatively straight-played - they’re not taking the piss - but completely drained of hip-thrust and Brylcreem and replaced in a starker, noirish mise-en-scene, limned by Pierre Bastien's unusual but excellent use of prepared trumpet, and given shape and texture by Fenech’s arrangements, which relate as much to his work with avant crooner Ghédalia Tazartès as they do to a sequin-clad Presley.
Trust that, beyond some avant working men’s club in Durham or David Lynch’s most fetid fantasies, you’ve never heard Elvis songs quite like this before. Drawing for the biggest hits, Fenech & Bastien exert singular spin on the originals, variously morphing ‘Fever’ into an experimental jazz club hush, and reducing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ to creepy vapours and bass thrum, while adapting the feel of ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ to something like a music box lullaby, and dialling down ‘Love Me Tender’ to its barest essence of heart-broken blues, while centrepiece ’Suspicious Minds’ is wholly transported Eastwards to recall a fantasy jam between CS + Kreme and Coil in a Bangkok jazz bar where daylight does not penetrate. Og and then there’s that water-boarded version of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’, with Bastien bleating his trumpet into a bucket of water.
Quiet simply it’s a hugely enjoyable and charming album, certain to strike with fans of everyone from Lewis to Suicide, Nurse With Wound to The Caretaker and beyond.
Mr Bongo presents sought-after album 'Le Tioko-Tioko' from Idrissa Soumaoro, L'Eclipse De L.I.J.A.
"Le Tioko-Tioko, is one of the rarest vinyl albums from the already scarce Malian vinyl discography, partly as the album was never released commercially, only independently distributed via the Malian Association for the Blind in Bamako. Though recorded at Radio Mali under the aegis of master engineer Boubacar Traoré; the album was originally released in East Germany. The tapes had been taken by some Malian students to East Berlin as part of a student exchange program. It was then manufactured and released on the East German state owned label Eterna with only a few boxes of records being shipped back to Bamako.
A true masterpiece, this legendary LP offers some devastating songs such as 'Djama' (society), 'Nissodia' (joy of optimism), and 'Fama Allah' (an ode to god). Hypnotic organ riffs and breakbeats convey an unknown funk quality in Malian music, it now stands as a loving tribute to an unsung Malian golden age. Sadly, like many of the other now desired and prized vinyl rarities, at the time of release, it almost immediately disappeared without a trace due to a lack of promotion, and distribution. So, it feels fitting to share this gem of a record again, and hopefully it with reach the wider audience it deserved over 45 years ago.
A funky masterpiece packed with organ-driven riffs and incredible drum breakbeats. A sought-after rarity from the Malian golden age."
Berlin's Annegret Perel Fiedler enlists deadpan Quebecois producer and vocalist Marie Davidson to assist on her second full-length.
Following releases on DFA, Perel looks to the electro house era (think Simian Mobile Disco) to inspire the awkwardly titled "Jesus Was an Alien". “Jesus Was An Alien is a discourse about whether Jesus was an actual alien,” she explains, “but also a social debate about what is and implies religion today.”
The music itself is pretty rudimentary electro pop, produced well enough and seemingly inspired by the Italians Do It Better crew. The Marie Davidson-featuring title track is probably the album's most successful moment, evoking a cocaine-fueled '70s (or early '80s?) where Erich von Däniken books sounded almost reasonable.
Alex Zhang Hungtai joins forces with Essaie Pas' Pierre Guerineau on a gorgeous, spirited soundtrack to Christopher Makoto Yogi's Hawaiian ghost story 'I Was a Simple Man'. Made up of Taiwanese Buddhist ritual recordings, minimalist piano, strobe drones and spine-tingling orchestral material, it's a singular soundtrack that effortlessly connects dots between Harold Budd, Miles Davis, Lynch and Chris Watson.
To accompany Yogi's surreal, dreamlike film, Zhang and Guerineau opted to skate through different cinematic conventions on a 13-part suite that never quite settles into one mode entirely, instead floating between quietly soaring and more insular soundscapes. It's a process that sees the duo draw on a considerable, combined repository of experimental production and emotional intelligence to reflect the film’s themes of mythology, dream logic and surrealism and - remarkably - manages to hang together as a standalone album in the process.
'Let It In’ sets the scene with a quietly orchestral strings x Gamelan movement, before the duo render monochromatic solo piano situated somewhere between the sustained minimalism of Morton Feldman and Harold Budd's dreamy emotionality. This interplay between abstraction and relative formalism is at the heart of the record, and while the duo's experimental instincts refuse to stick to a particular script - sweeping up ideas from basement noise, industrial, dark ambient and beyond - these two guiding poles remain.
While 'Eternal Return’ riffs on Miles Davis’ ‘Flamenco Sketches’, it sharply contrasts with 'The Hollow Tree’s', blood-curdling synth drone, or 'On The Run's horror signatures, piping white noise and feedback through a tremolo effect to create a spirit-rousing EMP-style chug. The same technique is revisited on the more substantial 'Sprit Calling', balanced with bowed metal and woodwind blasts - a sound that’s situated between ‘Eraserhead’ and an Aaron Dilloway tape. But Zhang and Guerineau always pull it back down to earth - 'There Was Once A Time When You Could See' is the album's most peaceful piano piece, providing a calmness that's struck through with fear. Fans of Zhang's phenomenal 2018 album 'Divine Weight’ or his “Love Theme” recordings will be pleased to know there's even some disembodied sax, on the stunning, pitch-black 'Eclipse’.
'I Was A Simple Man' is quite the achievement - a contemporary movie score that plays like a standalone piece. It’s neither overwrought nor dispassionate - leaving us struck, once again, by Zhang’s curious touch. We’ve always connected with the musical language he speaks; managing to evoke a world of emotional complexity through his most abstracted, as well as his simplest recordings. This one here, together with Pierre Guerineau, is one of his best.
NYC’s amazing Blank Forms Editions give a gripping introduction to Kazuki Tomokawa’s avant-folk vitality, documenting the early years of the “screaming philosopher” via his first three albums, all collected and reissued internationally for the first time - think Nick Drake meets Keiji Haino
Completely new to our ears, Kazuki Tomokawa’s reamarkable vocal range - from raging to soothing - makes no less than a memorable first impression in this comprehensive early years salvo. Spanning three foundational albums for Harvest Records, ‘Finally, His First Album’ (1975), ‘Straight from the Throat’ (1976), and ‘A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between my Teeth’ (1977), the set plunges us into a highly personalised blend of folk-rock and psychedelia, sung, hollered and crooned in the artist’s native Akita dialect, a highly regional vernacular of north Japan rarely heard beyond the prefecture, and even less often set to music.
From the frankly alarming impact of his white hot hollers set to swaying acoustic guitar on ‘The Flower of Youth’ in his debut album, to the possessed wails and almost punk-folk thrust of his 2nd set, and the lysergic shimmer of his 3rd album, Kabuki’s collected works chart a scorchingly singular mind at work, and clearly justify the description of his music as possessing the “personality of a hydrogen bomb” by ultraleft band the Brain Police. After immersing in his ability to erupt from lilting folk to brain-slap psych in ‘Souls’, or unleash streams of fiery psych blues on ‘A Fitting Adolescence’, and practically shred his fingers and throat in the likes of ‘Kill or Be Killed’, we also get a clear sense of why he’s also described as “A poet, soothsayer, bicycle race tipster, actor, prolific drinker”, as music of this sort of striking energy and variety usually comes from a proper character. One can only imagine that a drinking session with Kazuki would be top craic, possibly ending in a raging barney and a song, and it’s not hard to hear why he would be represented by Tokyo’s premier psych/freak label, P.S.F. Records for decades from the ‘90s.
Full sunken drone acousmagique from a lokey promising new Swedish artist, Incipientum, tipped for fans of Organum, NWW, Jeph Jerman, Litüus.
When iDEAL introduce a new artist to the fold it's always worth paying attention, and Incipientum is a real one. Hailing from the bowels of Gothenburg’s underground, he makes a virtue of harnessing stark negative space and energy to his will on ’Study in Still Life’, which appears as his 2nd release and debut album, proper, after an early, super-limited CDr. Trust it’s not some overbearing drone wallow, though, instead expect a fine play of dark/light that reveals itself with full immersion.
Settling on the mind somewhere between the original post-industrial spectralism of Organum or NWW, and the likes of Lambda Sond or Litüus’s eerie chamber-like styles in the contemporary era, Incipientum trades in a very uncanny language of resonant minimalism, all shadowy tone and vaporous timbral suggestion that appears to flicker before the ear’s eye and create the eeriest sense of depth perception from ostensibly static elements.
Opener ‘The Object Of’ plumbs unfathomable, abyssopelagic subharmonics, before appearing to rise toward the light over its 12 min duration, where ‘Conveyed Visions’ feels just below the surface, bathed in refracted moonlit timbres that play out a shimmering isolationist nocturne, shoring up somewhere like a BoC vignette. ‘Orientation’ is the suite’s succinct sort of palate cleanser, introducing hallucinatory voices, and logically leads to relative relief of ‘The Object Is Terrifying’, ascending from the depths to an immanent calm, yet fraught with aleatoric interference that keeps us rapt and anticipating his next moves.
After last year's 1971-74 box set release, containing the first four studio albums and for the first time ever this lost 'last' album recording, 'Punkt' gets a deserved and necessary stand alone release.
Known as the "Munich album" by fans, "Punkt" is Krautrock legends Faust's lost "last" album, and has finally been released as a stand-alone after inclusion in the 1971-74 box set. "Punkt" means period or full stop in German, so it's the perfect title for the final (before their 1994 rebirth) set from iconoclastic German pioneers Faust. The band recorded it in Munich after returning from a doomed UK tour - it was supposed to be released on Richard Branson's Virgin label, following their impressive 1973 "The Faust Tapes" full-length, but after ten days of recording Branson never paid the bill for the studio. The band were arrested until their family paid off the studio, and the master tapes were hidden in a secret location until they were dug up decades later.
It feels like a privilege to finally hear the album in all its glory, but its understandable why Faust were misunderstood at the time. "Punkt" is uncompromisingly strange, running through noise rock, jazz, avant electronics, blues and psychedelic skronk sounds with a recklessness that's peak Faust - it's not as cut-n-paste as "The Faust Tapes" or as droned-out as "Faust IV", but is equally as impressive. Hight points come from the long-form 'Knochentanz', that ties muted trumpet blasts to a slowly-escalating beat and layered waves of guitar noise, and the eerie piano-led 'Schön Rund'. Recommended.
Released on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records in 1979, "The Bridge" was the only album from Glaswegian innovators Thomas Wishart and Robert Donnachie (aka Thomas Leer & Robert Rental), but influenced everyone from John Foxx and Art of Noise to Mute founder Daniel Miller and ABC. Seriously next level day zero DIY electro pop made in a bedsit with hacked together synths and reel-to-reel recorders >> end-to-end killer.
When "The Bridge" was released, there was almost nothing else like it out there. Leer and Rental were true pioneers, experimenting with sounds that just hadn't been touched before and changing the course of British pop music in the process. They had spent most of the '70s surfing thru squats and communes, but headed to London in the mid-'70s to write music, inspired by the growing punk movement.
Their take on punk was a little different - they only had access to the cheapest equipment, so a guitar was twinned with a kids' Stylophone keyboard and mangled with a home-made effects unit. Interestingly, their eerie, fwd-thinking sound did get traction at the time, and after a few acclaimed singles they recorded "The Bridge" for Industrial Records in two weeks using hired gear.
Unlike the surge of electronic pop records that would follow, "The Bridge" still sounds haunted and original. The duo's lack of experience with their instruments and clear interest in texture and noise leads them in constantly odd directions, following spiky punk splatter with shimmering ambience or crunchy noise. 'Fade Away' is like John Foxx thru a distortion pedal, while the seven-minute 'Interferon' sounds more like early BoC or Emeralds.
It's a stunning record that's far more than a mere curiosity of the era; you could feel its influence reverberate across British pop music and beyond in the following decades. Time to discover another forgotten classic then...
Death is Not the End teams up with folklorist Derek Piotr once more for this bumper archive of North American folk music, this time focusing on every version they could find of the ballad 'Lamkin'. It's a fascinating study that displays how a standard was able to shift and evolve as it moved from person to person over the decades.
The first recording of 'Lamkin' Piotr discovered for this archive was dubbed in 1937 in New Jersey, and featured 93-year-old Lydia Gyderson. Her vocal performance is gloriously imperfect, enhanced by recording artifacts and the room itself, but it sets the pace for a set of versions that enshrines the lore of a song that passed through communities across the USA. Many of these renditions haven't been heard by anyone but the original recordists since they were taped, as they're an archival project rather than an exploration of aesthetic perfection. So on 'Beau Lamkins', we can hear a 1939 recording of 73-year-old Aunt Nancy Prather, who stops to chat and cough between pitchy, muffled verses.
The newest recording was made by Piotr himself last may, and having a contemporary version - sung by 69-year-old Bobby McMillon in North Carolina - gives us at least a reference for the rest of the material. It's a tough proposition to listen to from beginning to end, but an invaluable resource with a fascinating narrative.
Re-issue of The Staples Jr. Singers 1975 album "When Do We Get Paid" on Luaka Bop.
"The Staples Jr. Singers were part of a vanguard of soul gospel artists in the 1970s that broke from tradition to testify with the groove. They found their inspiration in the secular music they heard on the radio, and wrote songs that were nothing but stone cold soul.
Like many gospel groups at the time, they were a family band: The Browns from Aberdeen, Mississippi. Annie was 11, A.R.C was 12, and Edward was 13 when they got their start, building a reputation by playing school talent shows and front yards in tow.
“We were so strange and we were so young,” says Edward Brown, “and a lot of people didn’t understand that.
Every weekend, they would pile into their family van and travel across the Bible Belt, performing sometimes as many as three shows in a single day. Back then, the South was desegregated on paper but not always in practice, and the Staples Jr. Singers weren’t always sure what kind of welcome they would receive—whether a new audience would embrace them, whether local restaurants would serve them.
Forty years, three generations, and countless performances later, the original members of the Staples Jr. Singers are still on the circuit, performing almost every weekend at local churches as the Brown Singers and the Caldwell Singers. While they’ve written an entire catalog of gospel music since 1975’s When Do We Get Paid, for the Staples Jr. Singers, the incantatory funk of this music still holds the power to help make a way out of dark and troubled times. “I can be a witness,” Annie says, “Back then you could feel it. You were basing it on yourself. These are the songs that are really going to take us over.”"
Panamá-born and Chicago-based drummer and DJ Daniel Villarreal spins together psychedelic jazz, folk-funk and post-rock on his ambitious debut album for International Anthem. RIYL Tortoise, Alice Coltrane or Os Mutantes.
Although "Panamá 77" is his debut, Villarreal has been a reliable presence on Chicago's music scene for years, both as a DJ and a percussionist with bands like Dos Santos, Valebol, The Los Sundowns or Ida y Vuelta. Cutting his teeth playing in punk and hardcore bands when he was growing up in Central America, Villarreal learned to appreciate music's stylistic flexibility after learning from reggaeton pioneer and El General drummer Freddy Sobers, who drove him through prog, salsa, folk and psychedelia without so much as a pause for breath. Villarreal took this experience to the US when he migrated in the early 2000s, and after over a decade of group work, he began to experiment with solo material 2017. The finished idea for "Panamá 77" materialized in 2019 after a trip to Los Angeles, where Villarreal made a low-stress stereo recording of an improvisation with his friends, including iconic Chicago guitarist Geoff Parker, LA's Elliot Bergman, Kellen Harrison, and Bardo Martinez.
As he was editing the session, Villarreal realized it needed a little more work, so invited Dos Santos guitarist Nathan Karagianis to assist, who joined alongside bassist Gordan Walters and organist Cole DeGenova for a second go in Chicago. When he returned to LA, Villarreal did third set with Bardo Martinez and Geoff Parker, grabbing Anna Butterss and Kyle David to fill out the sound. The result is a freewheeling collection of tightly controlled virtuoso instrumentalism that skates through Villarreal's personal biography, coloring percussive experimentation with sounds that link Central European folk to vintage Chicago post-rock.
Opening track 'Bella Vista' is snipped from the album's first session, and captures Villarreal and his collaborators' loose energy and genre-free spirit - this is only accented on 'Ofelia', where jerky beats play a game of cat and mouse with haunted organ sounds and evocative flutes. The organ plays a lead role on the waltzy 'Patria', a tribute to composer Avelino Muñoz and Villarreal's organist father. Elsewhere, Jeff Parker collaboration 'In/On' captures the magic of Tortoise's "TNT", and the psychedelic, synth-led 'Parque En Seis' reminds fondly of Alice Coltrane. Recommended.
MORE D4TA, Moderat's fourth album, arrives more than six years after its predecessor (2016’s III).
"Created largely during a time when touring (and most traveling) was off the table, MORE D4TA is an album that wrestles with feelings of isolation and information overload—issues that have become particularly pronounced over the past two years. Many of its lyrics are rooted in Sascha Ring’s frequent trips to Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie museum (often with his infant daughter in tow), where he’d seek refuge in the great paintings of the past while worrying about the future.
MORE D4TA is very much a Moderat album. No matter how far the band ventures into music’s outer realms, they always wind up back in their own unique soundworld, a place where emotive pop and fluttering electronic soundscapes walk hand in hand. What they make isn’t necessarily dance music, but it is something that shines brightest in the dark of night, the group’s rich melodies and Ring’s ethereal vocals emitting a warm, almost bioluminescent glow.
Although the LP’s title is an anagram for “Moderat 4,” there’s more to it than cheeky wordplay. In a time where everyone is constantly bombarded with content, and taking part in the cultural conversation requires engaging with digital platforms more interested in harvesting data than celebrating art, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and disillusioned. MORE D4TA acknowledges that reality, but it also refuses to be cowed by it."
Dead Oceans presenets Toro y Moi’s seventh studio album, Mahal.
"The record spans genre and sound—encompassing the shaggy psychedelic rock of the 1960s and ‘70s, and the airy sounds of 1990s mod-post-rock—taking listeners on an auditory expedition, as if they’re riding in the back of Chaz Bear’s Filipino jeepney that adorns the album’s cover. But Mahal is also an unmistakably Toro y Moi experience, calling back to previous works while charting a new path forward in a way that only Bear can do.
The second the album begins we’re immediately transported into the passenger seat, jeep sounds and all, ready for the ride Chaz and company have concocted for us. Seeds of some of Mahal’s 13 songs date back to the more explicitly rock-oriented What For? from 2015. Mahalwas mostly completed last year in Bear’s Oakland studio with the involvement of a host of collaborators, Sofie Royer and Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson to Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo and the Mattson 2.
Lyrically, the album zooms in on generational concerns, picking up where the Outer Peace standout “Freelance” effectively left off. Bear seems to be surveying the ways in which we connect with technology, media, each other, and what disappears as a result. Cuts like the squishy “Postman” and “Magazine” take a deep dive into our relationship with media in a changing digital world. “It’s interesting to see how we adapt to this new age. We’re so connected, but we’re still missing out on things,” Bear ruminates while discussing the album’s themes.
It’s not all introspection. Bear cools things down near the album’s end with the Mattson 2-featuring “Millennium,” a laid-back jam with tricky guitar licks about ringing in new times even when everything else seems upside down. “It’s about enjoying the new year, even when it’s been shitty,” Bear explains. “There’s nothing else to do.” Finding a sense of joy in the face of adversity is embedded in MAHAL’s DNA, right down to the jeepney that literally and figuratively brings the music out into the community. “We know that touring is messed up for now, and large gatherings are a fluke,” he explains. “It’s about the notion of us going out to the people and bringing the record to them.” And with the wide-open atmosphere of MAHAL, Toro y Moi stands to connect with more listeners than ever before."
Diving deep into post-industrial scuzz and warehouse racket, FUMU racks up the deadliest, most skewed takes on dancehall rave noise and polluted ambient panoramas on his bristling new one for YOUTH, reflecting his roots in Teesside’s mix of Bladerunner-inspiring landscapes and natural lushness as much as his skooling in the rugged underbelly of Manny’s rave scene. If yr into owt from Gescom to Andy Stott to Mika Vainio - your time.
FUMU is a member of the Return to Zero production/DJ crew with Turinn and Sockethead and follows his 2018’s ‘Sinuate’ debut with an aggy album of percussive wreckers and abrasive x beautiful industrial soundscapes compiled from his archives (a new album proper will follow soonish) and originally recorded around 2015-2018 at 'the tube’, the studio he shared with Turinn. It revolves around a classic interplay of light x dark themes crafted thru panel-beaten rhythms and sore electronics that are brusque and brutalist by design but not without an attentive pathos, where decaying, weathered textures and restless rhythmic variations coalesce in uncomfortable harmony.
Cold, skull-scraping noise and voices from beyond introduce the LP on ‘Nu,’ before the brooding tribute ‘4 Mika’ lures us into the album’s instrumental narrative. Through jump-cuts, black-out fades and picnoleptic edits the album unfurls its secrets thru the bruised bumps of ‘Inna Tough’ and sci-fi electro scud of ‘Unlmtd Potential,’ twysting up mutant hardcore techno on ‘Its All Steel’ and belly-quaking power electronics on ‘Cloud Head,’ with ruthless yardcore noise in ’Skhs Pt 11’ giving way to a heart-swallowing closing sequence of ‘Bye’ via the gnawed new wave machine funk of ‘Recordingtapes’, and the shutdown masterstroke of curdled arps and plangent pads in ‘Extra 10.’
Get in pal.
"The Jutlandia Quartets offers immersive subversions of the classical music genre.
The new album from the Copenhagen-based instrumental ensemble boli group, presented by Haunter Records, is a collection of monochromatic uneasy pieces that manifests the negative emotions of a bad homecoming. A non-forced power play with the institutions of “classical music”."
A Bit of Previous is the tenth studio album by Belle and Sebastian and their first full-length in seven years.
"A Bit Of Previous is a classic Belle and Sebastian album preoccupied with songs and melodies that won’t leave your head and lyrics that can make you smile and ponder and sometimes be melancholic. The result is one the most diverse, hands-on and thrilling entries in the bands catalogue, self-produced and recorded (with contributions from Brian McNeill, Matt Wiggins, Kevin Burleigh and Shawn Everett). ‘Young And Stupid’ is a stuttering folk rock earworm that faces the passage of time with wry ennui, ‘Come On Home’ with its warm fireside piano evokes a handing over of the generational baton, while the deceptively feelgood, choir-backed ‘If They’re Shooting At You’ reads like a poignant ode to defiance and survival.
A Bit of Previous is also scattered with big, occasionally delirious pop moments. ‘Unnecessary Drama’ rips through a cacophony of overdriven riffs and a droning harmonica that borders on the unhinged and is one of the band’s heaviest outings since, well, ever. The 140+ bpm ’Talk To Me Talk To Me’ is ablaze with euro synths and keyboard horns as the voices of Murdoch and Martin intertwine on a breathless chorus. ‘Working Boy in New York City’ exists in a parallel universe where the band did in fact make it to California – such is the escapist bliss of its sloping flute and bittersweet funk. On the other side of the spectrum are some of Belle and Sebastian’s most moving ballads. Tender finger-picked paean to a lover ‘Do It For Your Country’ and doo-wop-inflicted ‘Sea Of Sorrow’ showcase Murdoch’s tenor at its most bare and affecting, while Stevie Jackson contributes lovelorn country waltz ‘Deathbed of My Dreams’.
So what is a A Bit of Previous? It’s a bit of everything, and a lot of what makes Belle and Sebastian so special and enduring. It’s a band tackling age and growing older with grace, irreverence, musical bravado and lyrical exactitude and emerging as an endless source of energy and reinvention."
The third album from Afro-Cuban French twins Lisa-Kainde and Naomi Diaz who together are Ibeyi.
"Inspired by the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, this is a record celebrating their multitudes are harnessing their power to heal others. Featuring collaborations with Pa Salieu, Jorja Smith, BERWYN, Dave Okumu, Ben Reed and Owen Pallett, with production by Richard Russell".
!!!'s ninth record, "Let it Be Blue".
"'Let it Be Blue' takes that feeling of constant, radical transformation to new, untapped zones. It’s a record of sparse dance music. The kind of stuff you want to put on loud, let loose, go to the bar to get a drink only to abandon your plans because the song that just came on was too good not to dance to. Let it Be Blue is a computer record, but it doesn’t feel like it. Featuring production from Patrick Ford, Let it Be Blue is the product of file sharing, trading stems, song particles, little ideas on their way to being fully realized dance tracks. It was conceived during the past two years, with dreams of future dancefloors very much on the brain. The resulting 11 songs are some of the band’s most production focused offerings to date. They’re crystalline, full of sub-bass and drums. It evokes visions of clubs where a concoction of Dembow and acid house play at volumes so loud your ears hurt and you forget what day of the week it is. In other words, it’s a !!! album. It makes you freak out a little bit."
JOYFULTALK returns with its third album for Constellation; another vibrantly divergent stylistic take on the analog materiality and sensibility of electronic composer-producer Jay Crocker.
"Familiar Science rallies contributions from a larger cast of musicians into a looser, cosmic recombinant combo still shot through with JOYFULTALK’s singular mixing desk kinetics, but this time deep-diving into gnarled and twisted, spliced and diced out-jazz. Crocker draws inspiration from 1980s M-Base music and Ornette Coleman’s harmolodic funk period, while his own prior history as an improv guitarist also resurfaces for the first time in many years.
Building outwards from roiling resampled acoustic drums, Crocker extracted additional sonic and rhythmic textures, then formed the head of each song using dusted-off archival recordings and his own bass, keys and midi sequencing. Albertan percussionists Eric Hamelin (Ghostkeeper, Chad Vangaalen) and Chris Dadge (Lab Coast, Alvvays) provided improvised drum tracks to be chopped and harvested; Nova Scotia-based Nicola Miller (Ryan Driver, Doug Tielli) laid down resplendent excursions on saxophone and flute; Crocker’s own dexterous guitar appears on several cuts. Familiar Science also poignantly features samples from live recordings by the late Calgary saxophonist iconoclast Dan Meichel, catalysing some of the album’s heaviest contortions.
Crocker weaves all these raw materials into exuberant compositions that blur the line between sizzling corporeal combo and sampledelic futurist jamz, variously conjuring (leftfield) Flying Lotus, (later) Tortoise, BADBADNOTGOOD and Squarepusher’s Music Is Rotted One Note.
Familiar Science is a rousing feast of noise-tinged polychrome electronic avant-jazz: richly harmolodic compositions teeming with intersecting textures and turbulences; exploratory, exhilarated and indeed joyful."
The remastered, repackaged set Music From Grizzly Man contains all of the out of print material Thompson recorded for the acclaimed documentary.
"Richard Thompson's score for “Grizzly Man” Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary film of real life and death in the Alaskan wilderness is one of the best-kept secrets in the British guitarist's epic canon: an instrumental masterpiece disguised as a movie soundtrack.
Recorded over two days as Thompson played live in the studio to Herzog's footage – mostly alone, at times in chamber settings with cello, piano and percussion – these tenderly detailed melodies and quietly visceral improvisations are cinema in their own right, rendered with pictorial instinct and the dazzling technique forged in Thompson's lifelong passage through traditional folk, psychedelia, North African modes and intensely personal songwriting.
Here is Thompson at his natural best – finger-picking dance; snake-curl twang and singing-wire harmonics – in a solo clarity that runs from jig-like joy to deep-note meditation, the "Main Title" blues march with its echoes of Fairport Convention's "Sloth" to the long night of "Treadwell No More," a harrowing darkness in slicing treble and tremolo shiver. Produced by guitarist Henry Kaiser, Grizzly Man is a record of powerful solitude as bold and majestic as the land in Herzog's film; as intimate as prayer and essential Richard Thompson."
Hotly tipped UK DJ and producer TSHA bolts together a fun and fluid mix for fabric, shifting thru deep grooves, bass-heavy techno and neo rave messiness.
TSHA's motivation for the mix was to recreate the feeling of an acid house party: "I love the idea of old skool rave culture, the ethos around peace and love as well as the aesthetic that comes with it, so that's what I wanted to bring with the mix," she explains. Thankfully, this ain't just a selection of tracks we've heard a million times either, TSHA uses her club literacy to pull together contemporary music that recreates the acid house philosophy rather than its overused aesthetic.
Early on, that's a 303 squelcher from LA's Stefan Seay and a peak time Mac & Ward remix of Posthuman's riotous 'You're Mine', but the mix goes deeper and darker in the middle section, with bass-heavy euphoria courtesy of WK7 and 'BOYZ', a standout exclusive cut from TSHA that highlights her smart fusion of slippery 2-step and Bergz-ready dungeon grooves. Good stuff.
Out of the blue, cult German new wave act Saåda Bonaire present a lost and rediscovered album of their second-wind recordings, made in a sex shop owned by their guitarist’s family - only in Germany, right?
Creators of one of the sexiest records of the decade with their Dennis Bovell-produced debut 12” in 1984, Saåda Bonaire famously fell foul of major label politics and by 1985 their singer Claudia Hossfeld had left the band, followed in 1985 by its other singer Stephanie Lange in the wake of her break-up with co-founder Ralph “von” Richthoven. However, time heals and the new wave of dance music from UK and US at the turn of the ‘90s prompted them back to the studio, with Richthoven rejoined by Lange, as well as many of the Turkish-Kurdish musicians from the original sessions, plus new vocalist Andrea Ebert, North Irish folk singer Paul Lindsay, and, perhaps most pivotally, jazz guitarist Mike Ellington, who gave the band a place to record at his family’s sex shop in Bremen. Long thought lost, those recordings recently surfaced on a tape marked ’Saåda Bonaire 1991’, and are now inches away from your grubby mitts.
Despite the lack of Dennis Bovell’s expert hand at the rudder, ‘1992’ sees the band capably adapt to the new wave of dance music, straddling contemporary house and soul, trip hop, new jack swing, Eastern influences and acid jazz with the same grown-up poise and charm that made their earlier work so vital. While it does bear thinking what they could have sounded like with Dennis Bovell back in the fold, the dozen songs still trade in equal measures of debonaire elegance and ‘90s sleaze comparable with Janet Jackson as much as Leslie Winer and Soul II Soul.
A couple of strong covers set out their stall with a sultry soul spin on James Brown’s ‘Woman’ beside the Arabic percussion-inflections and organismic whimpers in their flip of Stevie Wonder & Syreeta Wright’s ‘To Know You Is To Love You’, while fans of early ‘90s raunch will gets theirs everywhere between the hard-to-resist swang of ‘So Many Dreams’ with its Kurdish flutes, plus the strong Wild Bunch views on ‘That’s Right’, and echoes of NYC and South African deep house strut in ‘Lovelife’, while the upbeat bustle of ‘Your Prince’ sounds like a German M-People, and the deeper drive of ‘7th House’ slinks closer to dream house territory, while ‘Move From The Heart’ could almost be a Mousse-T prototype. Ultimately, if you were expecting a reprise of their eponymous 2013 comp, you may be left wanting, but anyone with an eye on ‘90s halcyon years will be in their element.
Roger Eno’s debut solo album 'The Turning Year', on Deutsche Grammophon.
"The Turning Year allows the listener to step through Roger Eno’s looking-glass, filled as it is with free-flowing, affecting compositions. A blend of recent compositions and live favourites from Eno’s concert repertoire, the album offers a comprehensive presentation of Roger’s solo work.
Roger Eno is a British composer and musician whose distinctive style as a recording artist has attracted a cult following. Last year he made his debut on Deutsche Grammophon with Mixing Colours, his first duo album with his brother, Brian, which was released to great acclaim."
Rock Action Records presents Gentle Sinners, a project by James Graham of The Twilight Sad and Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap.
""These Actions Cannot Be Undone" is the brilliant album from two pals who wanted to try something different musically.
The outcome being an epic explorative set of songs that stands quite apart from their esteemed work with Arab Strap and The Twilight Sad."
The Future Sounds of London's Rituals E7.1, out on Jumpin' & Pumpin'.
"Delicate melodies collide with deeply fragmented electronics - surfing atop muted rhythms and beats. Unique and unplaced the FSOL are unrivalled in art-electronic."
Mellow, sun-kissed hip hop with soul from NYC’s Spencer - a must check for fans of Roberto Carlos Lange, Becky and the Birds, Clairo, Cautious Clay. New on 4AD.
“Written, recorded and produced by Spencer. during the pandemic, its 11 songs blend R&B, hip-hop, funk, indie, pop, jazz and soul to create a sound that feels both analog and digital, honouring the past whilst staying firmly in the present. Spencer. has integrated neo-soul vocal fireworks, hip-hop flow and pop ambition into an album steeped in all the feels of a New York summer.
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, to chemist parents who presciently gifted him the middle name Miles (for Miles Davis), a career in music beckoned from an early age with 4-year-old Spencer. lobbying his Jamaican mother and British father for trumpet lessons in tribute to his namesake. Rochester’s rich and underappreciated creative scene nurtured his musical skills, and he won a place on a summer jazz program at the city’s prestigious Eastman School of Music in his teens. A self-taught producer who has always recorded in isolation, he started self-releasing home recordings in 2018, and eventually dropped out of college when his EP Want U Back became a word-of-mouth hit. Now transplanted to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed Stuy, Spencer. is a main player in a tight-knit and supportive creative community that also boasts Clairo, Snail Mail, Claud, Advisry, Binki, Cautious Clay and Triathlon amongst its burgeoning talent.”
Penguin Cafe return with a 10th anniversary reissue of their debut album, "A Matter of Life… 2021".
"Besides being completely remastered and pressed on vinyl for the very first time, the record also features a brand new 2021 recording of lead single Harry Piers, a song commemorating Arthur Jeffes’ late father and Penguin Cafe Orchestra founder Simon Jeffes.
A Matter of Life… 2021 is a chance for a classic example of the beauty that’s found in collaboration to reach fresh ears, and an opportunity to breathe new life into fan favourites. The album, performed by a mix of personalities — including Neil Codling of Suede and, on percussion, Cass Browne of Gorillaz — incorporates the aesthetics of the original PCO, seasoned into a confident and redefined style, maintaining that quintessentially English sound, but adding a fresh direction and a sense that they are evolving into something new and very much their own."
Manchester-based conductor-composer Jack Sheen pencils dark clouds on his debut album, shifting orchestral throbs into moody field recordings and bursts of white noise. Strong stuff, for fans of Lucy Railton, Deathprod, Maxwell Sterling, Apartment House, or Mica Levi.
As an in-demand conductor who's worked with the BBC Philharmonic and the London Sinfonietta, and a composer who's been commissioned by ensembles across the world, Sheen posseses the kind of experience necessary to push contemporary classical music into new places. On "Sub" he works with what he describes as a "lop-sided ensemble" using five alto flutes, two bass clarinets, two trombones, piano, percussion, four violas, and a backing track of white noise and field recordings. A keen and varied listener with experience in electronic and experimental music, Sheen wanted to bloat the mid-range as a nod to the dark ambient recordings of artists like Deathprod or Lustmord.
It's a trick that gives "Sub" a unique edge, and at times it's hard to believe you're listening to an ensemble recording. 'Sub One' is almost motionless, animation comes from hissing noise, lower-case instrumental drones and wavering resonance. Sheen draws us into his sonic space- instruments are suggested rather than signaled specifically, pulling away from cultural expectations rather than leaning into them. 'Sub Two' is even more disarming, and while the instruments are easier to place, the sound itself is overwhelmingly bizarre, almost surreal. Low midrange sounds unbalance the recording giving it a doomed, Lynchian pulse, and identifiable instruments like piano and viola sound like disquieted ghosts struggling to sing in recognizable tones. On 'Sub Four', viola sounds are matched with low-end rumbles, eventually subsiding into airy woodwind tones - providing the piece with a narrative of sorts, resonating with the unsettling oddness of an organic alien landscape.
"Sub" is a smart record, and it succeeds because Sheen defies the template. He's an adept classical composer with a deep knowledge of electronic music, and brings his understanding of orchestral music - as well as the spaces in which this music tends to be recorded - to his sound. So often, we hear electronic artists use orchestral elements as decoration- Sheen instead employs his sounds with an innate understanding of their history and sonic properties. It's gloomy at times, undoubtedly, but Sheen's passion permeates.
Woo mark 40 years of eternally charming releases with a typically lovely turn on their new home, Florentine label Quindi Records, following their ‘Celestial Railroads’ trip with Seahawks.
Brothers, Clive and Mark Ives aka Woo arrive at ‘Paradise In Pimlico’ via one of UK ambient/new age’s most singular catalogues, stretching between their 1982 debut LP ‘Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong’, dozens of compilations tracks, and armfuls of albums and self-releases spannign two distinct phases; their early run of delicacies 1981-1995, and a second wind since 2013 that brings them thus far. Now nestled on Florence, Italy’s Quindi, they follow-up 2018’s ‘Arcturian Corridor’ with a fresh batch of filigree delicacies, weaving Mark’s lissom, melodic guitar lines into Clive’s iridescent electronics in a deeply charming style that’s never failed them.
After 40 years of discrete practice, they sound more confident than ever in these 8 intricate arrangements. They’re still humble to a tee, but surely betray the siblings’ most layered and spirited efforts to date, pursuing their most sublime whims between tintinnabulous Recihain miniatures such as ‘Cadenza D’Innocenza’ and the rippling rhythmelodic lustre of ‘In Case Love Fails’ with exquisitely fine-tuning of their systems, winking at classic kosmiche inspirations on ‘The Motorik Mirror’, and tucking away their strongest grooves in the puckered double bass and brushed drums of ‘Gold Star’ and the lip-smacking latinate swinge of ‘Even More Notes’, while their title song and ‘Moment To Moment’ speak to their eternal knack for lullaby like lightness of being.
Another luminous compilation from London's Death is Not the End, this time examining the city's modern jazz and hard-bop scenes from the end of the 1940s until the early '60s.
After the surge of interest interest in British jazz over the last few years, DINTE take us back to the beginnings of the sound. This set was put together alongside the Barbican to coincide with their "Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965" exhibition, and shines a light on London's modern jazz and hard-bop sounds. Cuts from well-known players like East Enders Ronnie Scott and Harry Klein sit alongside Jamaican jazz musicians Joe Harriott and Dizzy Reece, with equally as important cuts from lesser-known proponents like Ginger Johnson and Eddie Thompson.
More than just a history lesson, the set offers us a fascinating and effortlessly enjoyable picture of the British jazz scene in the post-war period.
Hailing the sorely overlooked experimental charms of John McGuire, Unseen Worlds live up to their mantle with a hugely absorbing, 90 min showcase of his mesmerising Pulse Music series 1975-1979 - RIYL Paul DeMarinis, Maggi Payne, Aleksi Perälä, Oren Ambarchi
Escaping our attention before now, despite a release on the excellent Edition RZ; American composer John McGuire is firmly under the spotlight here with a survey of his hybrid post-serialist/minimalist glitter conceived and recorded following studies at Occidental College, LA, and UC Berkeley, then under Karlheinz Stockhausen, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Gottfried Michael Koenig in Europe. With the benefit of hindsight, the recordings are offered as a bridge between the ostensibly, mutually exclusive bedfellows of the mid-late US and EU avant gardes, with the label cannily comparing his variation in repetition to “the primary-colored grids of Le Corbusier’s L’Habitation apartment complex” where serialism is Montreal’s Habitat 67 modular housing complex - which a quick Google search will surely enlighten architecturally oblivious listeners.
Borne of an era when composers were quite literally creating new frontiers day by day, with thanks to the advent of more affordable and manageable electronic equipment, McGuire’s ‘Pulse Music’ sees him initially use his machines’ in-built precision to achieve progressions in tempo and time signatures that were too difficult for human performers. The results found on three of this release’s pieces are unfeasibly technically demanding but also engaging in their speed and accuracy of performance, and make for a main attraction in themselves. But the release really comes into its own with the contrast of ‘Pulse Music II (Live, 1978 Pro Musica Nova Festival)’, which was commissioned retrospectively in the years following his electronic ‘Pulse Music’, and adapts the method to a slower scheme for the Bremen orchestra and four pianists (Christoph Delz, Herbert Henck, Deborah Richards, Doris Thomsen) plus McGuire himself on organ, whose slower breathing version reveals a more sumptuous landscape of awning contours and breathlessly ascendent timbres.
Sylvain Chauveau trio, Ensemble 0 with Stéphane Garin & Joël Merah, revisit the repertoires of Pauline Oliveros and György Ligeti from compelling new angles, with tantalisingly sound sensitive results.
Also simply referred to as 0 (zero), the trio here follow up their 2021 readings of gamelan and jazz fusion with a more in-depth focus on the tone and innovations of two legendary figures who opened up new ways of listening and thinking about musical purpose and structure in the late C.20th.
The first half is given to their take on ‘Horse Sings From Cloud’ (1975), taken from Pauline Oliveros’ ‘Accordion & Voice’ album for Lovely Music, Inc.. For some 20 minutes they gently play within its meditative, organic, microtonal score, breathing as one to generate a richly layered but elusive cloud of vaporous harmonics and the kind of nuanced timbral shifts that coax one’s eyes shut to best revel in its subtle plays of luminosity and atmospherc density.
Turning their attention to Austro-Hungarian legend György Ligeti - another composer whose influence on the past century’s avant garde cannot be overstated - 0 effortlessly find a joy in the demanding, pointillist precision of their performance of ‘Musica Ricercata’, crisply articulating its miniature sections with careful and effervescent results that clearly reveal how Ligeti’s work would greatly inform contemporary minimalism and soundtrack music.
Norway’s young jazz trio energise classic forms with a lithe, effervescent lightness and depth of touch on a sterling 3rd side with Rune Grammofon
““Who Do You Love The Most?” is the young trio’s third album in just over four years, and continues in the tradition of their two previous efforts; beautiful and evocative melodies, rich on harmonies, often rhythmically complex textures and a typically folk-like Scandinavian character with the occasional gospel feel. The album’s 10 songs are all Mulelid originals, except for a gripping cover of Judee Sill’s The Archetypical Man. Two of the originals are the trio’s versions of songs that first appeared on the pianist’s much lauded solo piano album (“Piano”) from last year. Kjetil André Mulelid (31) comes across as an exceptionally mature pianist and composer.
The trio’s 2017 debut “Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House” received wide international acclaim, with writers most typically mentioning Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. The praise continued for 2019’s follow-up “What You Thought Was Home”, with the Jazz Journal giving it a 5/5 rating and calling it “some of the most captivating music I´ve heard in quite some while”. All About Jazz noted the maturity of the work, feeling like coming from three well-seasoned pros.”
New album on Duophonic Super 45s from Astrel K AKA Rhys Edwards of Ulrika Spacek.
"Astrel K's debut single ‘You Could If You Can’ was released via Duophonic Super 45s - a label which has a history of releasing limited edition abstract releases from Stereolab, Broadcast & Yo La Tengo. Following the loss of KEN, a shared house in which Ulrika Spacek band members lived and worked from, Edwards relocated to Stockholm, Sweden where he began making music on his own: “At this time, I didn’t really know anyone in Stockholm so kinda retreated into making music just by myself. The album title definitely reflects this period; I was on my own making music and sometimes nothing would be happening and sometimes there would be little sparks of ideas that could keep me going
Edwards would spend nights writing and recording in a shared rehearsal space producing music rich with layers and texture, synonymous with the work of Ulrika Spacek but with perhaps a greater focus on the art of ‘song writing’. Tracks with verse’s and chorus’s are surrounded by instrumental interludes; inspired by old library music and compositions for film as well as being reminiscent of bands such as Broadcast.
The album doesn’t sound like one made in either London or Stockholm, rather somewhere in the nether region. Written pre pandemic but mixed in the past year, the music led Edwards to finding like minded musicians from the Stockholm music scene: “Though I’m now glad I can say I wrote an album by myself, I was definitely confronted with my own musical strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes when you have an A/B decision you want some perspective and you’d be in the studio, turn around and no one is there. It really made me curious to bring in more people into the fold, not to compromise any original vision or anything, but to have other energy in the room, to exorcise out any lazy tricks I may fall into”."
After five studio albums in 12 years, the first live album from the Espen Eriksen Trio featuring Andy Sheppard, on Rune Grammofon.
"A popular concert attraction in Norway through Europe, Russia and South East Asia, the trio have constantly been asked when they will release a concert recording. Five of the seven tracks were recorded live in concert at Oslo´s Nasjonal Jazzscene in 2018 and 2020, one at a special one-off intimate concert at Propeller Music Division in Oslo in 2020 and one in Poznan, Poland, in 2021.
Six of the seven tracks are extended versions of Eriksen originals from four of the studio albums, adding instrumental vividness as well as dramatic and moving elements to the event. The seventh is a splendid cover of Krzysztof Komeda´s iconic Rosemary´s Baby.
Andy Sheppard is guesting on three of the tracks, and another welcome twist is that none of these are from the “Perfectly Unhappy” album he did with the trio, while the version of the title track from that album is featured here without Andy Sheppard.
Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and released their debut album in 2010, with 2020´s "End Of Summer" being their fifth. They have toured on four continents, becoming an increasingly popular live act with a wealth of rich material on their repertoire. The music relies on highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals and a “less is more” approach that is often credited for its unique voice within today’s jazz scene by the international press."
Market's debut for Western Vinyl, The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong.
"On The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong, recording engineer and multi-instrumentalist Nate Mendelsohn and his band use lyrical maximalism for the powers of good. Where Market’s previous home recorded releases shifted genre restlessly, on The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong Mendelsohn took a core band of longtime collaborators to a house in rural Massachusetts where they carved out space for his words to speak through with humor and intensity.
Though he comes from a background in experimental music, Mendelsohn’s ear for pop has prevailed. Certain moments on Bullshit Gong reveal his stranger side, as on the thundering bridge of “Scar,” which sounds like a more unhinged Parquet Courts, or the angular “I Would Do That,” which takes cues from Cate Le Bon. On the whole, though, this band of close friends insists on directness, their arrangements clear despite the intricacies. Guitars and synthesizers tangle fluidly atop the rhythm section’s tight bedrock, evoking the tenderness and backbeat-centric qualities of Elliott Smith or Big Thief."
Debut album from Ghost Power on Duophonic Super 45s.
"Ghost Power are Jeremy Novak [Dymaxion] and Timothy Gane [Stereolab, Cavern of Anti-Matter and Turn On] Duophonic Super 45s have previously released music by both artists - Novak via a Dymaxion compilation album and 7", Gane via various Stereolab, Cavern of Anti-Matter and Turn On releases.
Having previously released a limited edition 7" in 2020, Ghost Power by Ghost Power brings the two musicians together for a full length album."
Pioneers of noisy, conscious hip hop, Dälek launch a new album of rap bombast and main stage guitars on Mike Patton’s Ipecac
Making no attempt to keep in step with rap movements, Dälek have held their own in the late ‘90s-early ‘00s-style rap quarters for so long that backpacks have been, gone, and come back around again. MPC-jagged rounds of live drum breaks and overdriven 808s meet swelling post-rock and cinematic noise to underline Will Brooks aka MC Dälek’s stream-of-consciousness treatise on the politics of Black power and making art in the margins.
““Precipice was a completely different record pre-pandemic.” MC Dälek explains. “We had been working on the sketch of what the album was going to be at the end of 2019. I think me and (Mike) Manteca had narrowed it down to 17 joints out of the 46 or so that we had started with. Me and Joshua Booth had taken the 17 and really fleshed out the joints. The idea was to bounce them back to Mike and then arrange and write lyrics. 2020 obviously had different plans for everybody. We basically put everything on hold. I ended up doing the MEDITATIONS series that year on my own. I think the catharsis of that project, its rawness, the pandemic, all the death, the social upheaval, everything that went down… when I went back and listened to what we had down… it just wasn’t right anymore, it wasn’t strong enough, it wasn’t heavy enough, it wasn’t angry enough. It just didn’t say what I needed it to say.”
“Boycott” comes out swinging with its rugged, head nodding drum break. MC Dälek projects directly from the eye of the storm, his words taking a harrowing account of what could be the end of days. By the time the drums drop out and the noise swells around him, MC Dälek spits “I been tried telling you…society’s been failing you!”, delivering the line with breathtaking gravity. For “Incite”, Dälek stokes the polemical fire with a damning indictment of capitalism, the State and the whole damn system at large “Genocide! With a catchier name. Perhaps building empires has all been in vain.”
With cuts like the softly meditative “Devotion (when I cry the wind disappears)”, the brickyard boom-bap of “Decimation (Dis Nation)” and “A Heretic's Inheritance” (feat. Adam Jones of Tool on guitar), the album is as wide-ranging musically as it is philosophically potent, and its sound is the result of experimental and intentional collaboration.”
Master percussionist Will Guthrie slips into transcendent gamelan-jazz mode on this debut album from his nine-piece percussion group Nist-Nah. Traditional Indonesian instrumentation - with a breathtaking vocal performance from Jessica Kenney - are filtered thru free improv modalities to end up with a flutter of sound that lodges itself somewhere between Ornette Coleman and Autechre. Fully mindblowing this one.
Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle imprint continues a frankly insane banner run with this astounding debut from Ensemble Nist-Nah, a percussion group that uses drum kits, junk percussion and a complete set of Javanese gamelan instruments to produce sounds that absorb folk, jazz, noise and elements of contemporary composition. With Guthrie at the helm, it's not hard to see how the Nantes-based ensemble is able to traverse such precarious territory and emerge unscathed. He's long balanced these elements successfully, most impressively on 2020's Black Truffle released "Nist-Nah", where the seeds of "Elders" were sown. Here, those early sketches have been developed into maps and portraits, building in contributions from a diverse range of players who give the compositions weight and animation.
Eleven-minute opener 'Geni / Tirta' reflects on Guthrie's process and foreshadows its development, arcing from a modern-jazz-gone-gamelan opening (the infectious horn-gamelan licks are particularly inspired) into a ritualistic downtempo shuffle, and then transforming in the third act with a stunning vocal from Jessica Kenney. Kenney, who's collaborated with Sunn O))) and Eyvind Kang among others, is well known for her mastery of Indonesian vocal music, and gives the composition an emotional heft that's hard to forget.
Elsewhere, jazz modes overlap gamelan styles, on 'Planeker', familiar microtonal chimes are restructured into slippery neo-funk bumps, where knotty drums are offset by a gamelan set playing melodic droplets with an almost electronic sensibility - it sounds like "On the Corner"-era Miles Davis re-imagining latter-day Autechre via Antony Manning's foundational "Islets in Pink Polypropylene".
'Elders' is more restrained, and offsets bells and chimes with atmospheric waves of a-rhythmic percussion that rise like seismic shocks; closing track 'Swayer' continues in this vein but submerges the sounds in marine air, coming across like a sub-aquatic funeral rite.
Sote returns with a "harmonically maximalist" all-electronic album that burns traditional Persian elements into glassy electronic superstructures, joining the dots between avant-garde composition, vintage videogame music, DIY noise and soundtrack music. Seriously mind-expanding material >> RIYL Alessandro Cortini, Lorenzo Senni, Carl Stone, Pita, Mika Vainio.
For years, Ata "Sote" Ebtekar's music has been defined by its balance of harmony and dissonance, beauty and charred ugliness. On 2020's brilliant 'Moscels' he used a complicated modular synth setup to draw intricate sonic blueprints that linked Arca at her most melodramatic with Xenakis and Autechre, while its predecessor 'Parallel Persia' reimagined Iranian music to develop a "Meta-Persian" experience. As the title suggests, 'Majestic Noise Made in Beautiful Rotten Iran' is a more personal, self-reflective work that feels less conceptual than its predecessors and more emotional as a result. Ebtekar describes its writing process as a form of "self therapy" - it sounds angry and charged as he blazes through weighty compositions that mine his by-now easily identifiable sound palette, electrifying it with passion and vitriol.
'Forced Abscence' launches us into Ebtekar's brain cavity, matched in its ornate grandiosity with an ear-splitting core. Since his Warp days and 2002's stand-out 'Electric Deaf', Ebtekar has been known for his command of rhythm, and here his drums act as a death rattle: thick, distorted waves of neck-snapping snares and seismic kick drums, that accompany unusually tuned parallax synths, arranged into cascades of santur-like crystal. 'I'm trying but I can't reach you father' is even more bombastic, sounding trapped between arcade beat-em-up OST wind-up electronix and court brass fanfares. Ebtekar eases up on 'Life' - allowing the beats to subside he casually shifts the mood into contemplative, proggy harmony, without losing the guiding sonic signature. On 'Arcane Existence', he balances sickly FM synth spray with stargazing synth sounds and casual rhythms; there are moments that feel as if the track could burst into full-on EDM sleaze, but Ebtekar pulls back at just the right moment.
Many of the album's most memorable moments feel like blown-out, expropriated takes on mid-1980s sci-fi soundtracks, when previously all-analog composers shifted away from bulky expensive setups towards cheaper, space-saving digital sound modules. But Sote's use of these sounds doesn't glimpse into the past, instead the reimagining of a lost future - his vision is a parallel Iranian sci-fi universe that sounds as if it evolved separately from a singular point in history. It's unsettling music that bridges dimensions, states and histories; perhaps Ebtekar will begin to see some of the popularity that's been eluding him for far too long. At this point, he truly deserves it.
Long-awaited set of faded minimal piano compositions from ambient-experimental vanguards William Basinski and Janek Schaefer. Dedicated to Harold Budd, it's pristine, delicate and perfectly paced - sure to appeal to anyone who loved Basinski's classic "Melancholia" or Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon".
It was back in 2014 when Basinski and Schaefer decided to embark on a long-distance project swapping files between their respective bases of Los Angeles and London. The collaboration makes a lot of sense: both composers have shown an ability to balance technology with emotionality to provoke a sense of cultural nostalgia, Basinski most strikingly with his use of tape and Schaefer with vinyl. "...on reflection" developed over eight years as a slow back-and-forth, a selection of soft-focus, piano-led compositions that sidestep the expected growl of Basinski's "Disintegration Loops" or the hoarse crackle of Schaefer's "In the Last Hour".
Instead, these pieces hover around the horizontal dawnscape first explored by Harold Budd on 1978's "Pavilion of Dreams", sounding meditative and minimal without being overly repetitive. Each track sounds like a different perspective of the same frozen vista - it's described as an exploration of our collective perception of time, which is suggested carefully by archival piano recordings from both artists' vaults, that fade and blot into field recordings that offer a sense of space and place.
The album is best listened to in a single sitting to fully absorb its hypnotic charm; like Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon", the music flows like liquid glistening in the sun - there's not so much a beginning, middle or end, as there is a reflecting pool of sound and emotion. It's music that's intended to help us make sense of time - something that's come into sharp focus in the unmoored last few years - and allows us the emotional space to think without being bogged down by the contemporary chintz of the neo-new age set. There are echoes of Basinski's own flawless, piano-led "Melancholia" set, but "...on reflection" is more mature, more peaceful and icier even than that essential disc.
A fitting tribute to Harold Budd.
Amorphous Belgian mutant, Mauopa Mazzocchetti turns his hand to ambient reggaeton, alien R&B edits and experimental renders of hyper dembow with typical finesse for BFDM
Maybe best known for producing club aces by Clara!, Mazzocchetti’s binds run deep and wide between avant sound craft and dance-pop, as distilled in these brilliant oddities for Paris powerhouse, BFDM. Doubling down on the first volume of ’21, he’s joined by Vica Pacheco, Mika Oki, and Phillip Jondo for a rambunctious follow-up full of reticulated rhythm and buckled, lustrous electronics that prize sheer texture and dynamic, but sharply disciplined by prevailing club movements.
The two vocal cuts are clear standouts, with Vica Pacheco lighting up the all-too-short, weightless intro ‘Moonification’, while Mika Oki renders a severely warped take on Aaliyah in ‘Don’t Succeed’, while the rest of the canvas is spattered with Maoupa’s hyperstylized, instrumental graffiti. There’s a head-messing play of Kindohm or Rian Treanor-esque halfstep convolution in ‘True Story Imagined’ and its twisted 2-step reprise, while he shreds the fuck out of future dembow templates in ‘1,1 M Views from a Fishbowl’, and experiments with doble paso ballistics in ‘A Cat Crossed my Jetski’, and emergent Dutch artist Phillip Jondo helps harness the writhing slow rave energy of ‘1000 Tooth Smile’ in its its luridly gurned finale.
Bristol techno, noise and hardcore supremos SCALPING's debut album “Void”.
"SCALPING are heavy metal in 4D; the sound is moody, distorted and rhythmic, but the use of electronic techniques gives the finer details room to breathe, making more space for experimentation.
Tracks such as “Tether”, featuring Oakland rapper DÆMON, puts a modern, metal twist on Bristolian trip-hop, whereas album closer “Remain in Statis” features fast-rising artist Grove, a Bristol-based rapper and self-professed metalhead whose commanding presence sets the track alight.
In the heat and darkness, it’s a swarm of low-end frequencies and ripping guitars, somewhere between Black Sabbath-esque psychedelica and The Bug’s sub-bass headfuckery. Live, the effect is immense. SCALPING play continuously for the duration of their sets, generating a storm of metal-and-techno through a rising beats-per-minute count."
Like waking from a dream, only to return to its febrile clutches, ‘Musick To Play In The Dark²’ extends the etheric pleasures of Coil’s turn-of-millennium classic on a keenly coveted, first time vinyl reissue. Pinch yourselpH…
Reaped from the sessions that became Coil’s 1999 calling card, its sibling piece emerged one year later to explore further folds and aspects of the same physical studio space that begat the duo’s noumenal projections. Produced at their palatial seaside estate in Weston-Super-Mare - a sleepy retirement town where they must have stuck out like alien ambassadors - the results get more intimately acquainted with the fleshly and plasmic spaces first unveiled by ‘Musick To Play In The Dark’; taking a more languorous look inside/outside themselves under the glowing auspices of what Jhonn Balance termed “moon music” - a perfectly poetic summation of their late period style of melting parlour musick designed to soundtrack the partners’ notorious narcotic escapades.
Like its precedent, the album simply exists in a skin and league of its own, with Sleazy & Jhonn placing their exploratory studio tekkerz at the service of slippery songs that have patently endured due to the quality of their spell casting, carrying their legacy to soothe, bamboozle and perplex future generations. Embracing stellar kosmische as much as Italian renaissance chamber composition and the peculiar electronic glitches that emanated from their organismic studio, the duo took their role as psychopomps seriously and most playfully, bridging the depths of their imaginations and ours with an effect that only seeps deeper with every return to the album’s hallucinatory sensuality.
Also involving the clammy touch of Thighpaulsandra, and the presence of goth pin-up Rose McDowell, the album is as close as you'll likely get to the heart or solitary soul of Coil’s sound. Between the mantric invocation of ‘Something’, the astral carpet ride of ‘Tiny Golden Books’, and carmine harpsichord seep of ‘Paranoid Inlay’, thru the shivering soliloquy of ‘Where Are You?’, it feels like watching them watching themselves melt into the mirror after too much this and some of that, and we’re always here for it.
Kathryn Joseph's "for you who are the wronged" via Rock Action Records.
""for you who are the wronged" is the much anticipated follow-up to 2018’s "from when i wake the want is", and her 2014 debut "bones you have thrown me and blood i’ve spilled", which won 2015’s Scottish Album of the Year award. If "from when i wake…" was written for love to return, this is where she fights tooth and claw to protect it.
Written and co-produced by Kathryn Joseph, it was recorded at The Lengths Studio in Fort William, with producer Lomond Campbell (also a recording artist for Heavenly Records and has previously produced King Creosote).
Kathryn is signed to fellow Scottish musicians, Mogwai's Rock Action Records. It will appeal to those that have bought Kathryn's earlier albums plus fans of Lana Del Ray, Laura Marling, Kate Bush, Aidan Moffat, and Erland Cooper."
Stomu Yamash'ta's 1971 LP reissued for the first time.
"Recorded live at Yamaha Hall in Tokyo on April 18, 1971, the all-night concert was recorded in front of an invite-only audience consisting of friends and musicians. Yamash'ta had Satoh on keyboards along with Fluxus master and leader of the Taj Mahal Travellers Takehisa Kosugi on violin and Hideakira Sakurai on electric shamisen.
Edited down to fit two sides of an album that will become 'Sunrise From West Sea', the performance is both hypnotic and ethereal. It starts with Kosugi's distinctive electric violin and develops into a deep, spiritual free form conversation between the four musicians, giving them all the space, they need to freely improvise and interact with each other, mixing electronics, percussion, electric organ and shamizen without ever clashing. The interaction alternates between quiet, tranquil Eastern meditations and more paced parts, fuelled by Yamash'ta's extraordinary percussion playing."