Dave Huismans (A Made Up Sound) returns under his 2562 codename with the oneiric ambient/concrète dancefloor states of 'The New Today', his 4th solo album in this guise.
Where its predecessor, 'Air Jordan', also for his When In Doubt label, took inspiration from the arid landscapes of the Middle East, 'The New Today' draws upon ideas sketched out whilst 2562 was in New York, late summer 2013, and was later finished at his home studio in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Rather than disco samples, as with his last LP 'Fever', he sources from and splices together an enviable library of European synth experiments, new age tapes, avant-garde, post punk, pop and long forgotten aces, offering an entirely different palette of textures and tones.
Ambient is a keyword here, taking inspiration from the feeling of drift of utopian/dystopian novels, as much as the sublimation of electro-acoustic processes. Between the humid concrète drone sphere of 'Arrival' and the sweeping celestial space of closer 'New Life', there's a keen sense of momentum through dreamy time and space, taking in the airborne melodies and syncopation of 'Vibedoctor' and 'Utopia' along with killer Afro-centric gyrations in 'Terraforming'. Inarguably, it's the the most diffuse yet cohesive and involving album in his celebrated cache.
Fred P finds his jazziest techno-house headspace in a sequential partner piece for Mule Musiq.
As night follows day, 6 follows 5 (2015) with an expansion of its conscientious aims - “6 represents the number of man and his or limitations, weakness and imperfections. This body of work examines and looks towards one awakening. Adapting to a new way of being creating an alternative and raping a higher state of mind and being. Enhanced by love and serenity, satisfaction and joy. 5 presented the possibility of manifestation 6 is the manifestation taking place. The journey continues…”
Take that breeze with a pinch of salt, but take these tunes to ‘floor for some proper vibes, from the frictional minimalism of Awakening Co Creator to what sound like Mike Parker gone jazzy in Learning Process, to the sublime deep garage hustle of Reap Love and the broken, free-floating swing structures of Alternate Reality.
Archie Marshall aka King Krule oscillates between channeling strung out jazz crooners and mucky denim wearing rockabillies on a long-come follow-up to his 2013 debut.
“One of the most celebrated figureheads on the independent British scene, Archy Marshall returns with the dense, sprawling “The OOZ”, the much anticipated follow up to his debut “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”. Drifting and seeping through the cracks of South London like the album title, King Krule casts an unflinching eye over his kingdom, transforming his observations of all the disorientation and heartbreak of his youth into piercing narratives and poetry that are both startlingly honest and brutally beautiful. With “The OOZ”, Marshall finally takes the crown as poet laureate for the dazed and confused generation, painting a bleak and sometimes harrowing picture of a rapidly splintering city.
“The OOZ” is released October 13th on XL Recordings, preceded by the raucous new single “Dum Surfer” as well as a brilliant Brother Willis directed video. This autumn also sees Marshall hitting the road for a worldwide tour this autumn
Where “Six Feet Beneath the Moon”, released in 2013, was a rigorous, rambling excavation of Marshall’s expansive body of work to date, “The OOZ” snaps into focus quickly and sharply, his modus operandi coming into view almost immediately. Over jazzy curlicues and guitars, the opener “Biscuit Town” sets out its stall irresistibly as Marshall sings about rapidly disintegrating romance and personal dissolution with acute, almost painful detail. These wrenching themes of self-annihilation and fraying relationships seem inextricably linked in Marshall’s eyes – once you lose yourself to someone else, you inevitably wind up losing yourself completely when they leave – and recur in other tracks. “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? You used to complete me but I guess I learnt a lesson” he spits on the roiling “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver)”, and, even layered with the warm vocals of Okay Kaya, “Slush Puppy” is an unsparing dissection of a couple with nothing left to give, like a Gainsbourg and Birkin ballad gone toxic. Elsewhere, things only get darker, as Marshall desperately tries to find safe harbor in the city he knows and loves, only to be thwarted constantly, as on “The Cadet Leaps” and first single “Czech One”. Not even the synthetic high of chemicals, as shown in “Emergency Blimp” and “A Slide In (New Drugs)”, can stanch the suffering.
Although seeming at first abstract, “The OOZ” as a title proves oddly fitting. There are references littered throughout about its physical manifestation, or as Marshall himself says, “about earwax and snot and bodily fluids and skin and stuff that just comes out of you on a day to day basis”. But it works on a more figurative level too, with the OOZ also representing the unknown depths or horizons the solitary mind can travel to, whether it’s sinking into the deep sea or soaring through the night sky. It may be messy, unwieldy, even unsightly, Marshall seems to say - but we need The OOZ in order to exist.”
Paul Woolford presents the definitive Special Request opus with Belief System, a brobdingnagian reflection upon his early years raving in Leeds, using samples from tapes dating back to 1993, diffracted thru the prism of up-to-date production aesthetics to visceral effect.
It’s pretty much the last word in Special Request’s coming-to-terms with nostalgia for the golden days of hardcore, jungle, rave, looking back to a time of rapid stylistic mutation and innovation from the relative safety of rose-tinted 2017 filters.
Rather than reviving the rabid energy and naive invention of rave proper, however, Woolford spends the first half of the album turning his sample pack into a UK Breaks and wonky techno set full of line-dancing grooves and electronica, before sparking off some breaks on pretty much the same base rhythm with the big room styles of Make It Real and the Amen Andrews-esque Brainstorm.
To be fair, the ruffneck Leviathan fares better with its boisterous tech-step barrage, and Replicant (Nexus 7 VIP) nearly grasps the nuttiness of hardcore proper, but the finale of Light In The Darkest Hour is a hybrid of Chicane and DJ Trace that never needed to happen, and people probably would have laughed off in the late ‘90s.
Frankfurt’s minimal house and electronica statesman steers Fabric 95 on slinky trip
Starting with a blend of Psychic TV with his and Ricardo Villalobos’ RiRom track, RoRic, thru the Metalheadz-esque breaks and synths of Koehler’s Oblivious Pool (Invisible Dub), to the Italo-house dream of Come Home by Pale Blue, foundational Chicago house from two of a Kind, the aerial breaks of Lanark Artefax, and even Sam Kidel’s Kachinja under his El Kid alias for Left Blank.
This the first CD released by drøne, after two vinyl albums on Anna von Hausswolff's label, Pomperipossa.
"Workers toil in smithies, call signs and chants-at-prayer reveal attempts to order the chaos, which always remains one step ahead. Post-lapsarian for sure, but smoke signals and drums have morphed into the 'bing bong' of the attention-grabbing, mind-polluting PA system. The coded simplicity of the whistle ("Start!") has evolved into a more deliberate attempt to control rather than inform by explicit, structured language. Announcements have become commands; signs bark orders. Thus 'no' becomes a powerful rejection, rather than merely an inclination; and no-ers are more easily to spot… "You're going the wrong way"! (To which the only sensitive and mature response is: "Indeed!")
Organic and man-made call signs, IDs, audio sigils and signatures all combine to describe a polluted, confusing atmosphere which threatens to leave us powerless and bewildered. "Decipher the sounds and you win the game! First prize is, guess what? You get to take the audio poison! Congratulations! You've lost!". A dynamic and involving result ensures a challenging but no less enjoyable listen.
The first album, 'reversing into the future' drew this response from Lend Me Your Ears: "This thrilling piece – surely the most kinetic non-dancefloor record in an age". Anna herself wrote of the follow up record, 'a perfect blind': "I love everything about this release. Such a great presentation and exciting project! And most important: the music is sublime."
The Quietus wrote: "Last year's distinctive debut from drøne was likened to a hurtling journey. It's combination of field recordings, shortwave radio and modular synths possessed an excited, driving energy whose route was hitherto unexplored and destination unknowable. But with an expanded sound pool boasting instruments across the ages - from guitar, through pipe organ and strings to dulcimer and psaltery – its follow-up takes a sideways step into more cognizant, reflective pastures."
Mule Musiq’s master selector Kuniyuki Takahashi (Koss) distills the Soundofspeed vibe for house connoisseurs everywhere with A Mix Out Session
Drawing on fresh versions of label gear from DJ Sprinkles, DJ Nature, Vakula, and himself. Almost goes without saying but Sprinkles Deeperama mix of Kuniyuki & Jimpster’s Kalima’s Dance is a big highlight.
After leaving us hanging for too long, the enigmatic R&B starlet pays up on the promise of her Cut 4 Me mixtape and Hallucinogen EP with an impeccable album of proper, star-dusted songs about love and life as “…a black woman, a 2nd generation Ethiopian-American, who grew up in the ‘burbs listening to R&B, Jazz and Björk”. Yh yh, count us in!
Sweeping us up in the heart-in-mouth dream sequence of Frontline’s sylvan soul and gently fading with the deliquescent sensuality of Altadena at its curtain close, Take Me Apart is arguably a modern classic blessed with widely resonating appeal. Marking a sublime demonstration of Kelela’s personal development over the years since literally everyone jumped on Cut 4 Me, her first opus is a more mature, layered and more coherent set which defines the difference between a mixtape and album thanks to its fluid logic and and intimately involving narrative structure.
Jupiter allows a moment to catch your breath in its bittersweet pirouettes before the rugged LMK - the album’s lead single - takes hold, triggering an amazing 2nd half loaded with Arca’s tell-tale pitch bends in the boogie knuck of Truth Or Dare and the almost industrially-toned drums and maaaad wide bass on S.O.S., but we’re not sure who’s responsible for the radioactive lead line of Blue Light, or the Burial-esque 2-step of Onanon, and it doesn’t really matter anyway, cos Kelela’s really the star of the show in every part.
It’s All True is an opera-in-suspension from New York ensemble Object Collection based on the complete live archives of iconic underground band Fugazi.
"Grounded upon the DC post-hardcore outfit’s 1987-2002 Live Archive series, composer Travis Just and writer/director Kara Feely’s work uses only the incidental music, text and sounds, none of Fugazi’s actual songs. An obsessive leap into 1500 hours of gig detritus – random feedback, aimless drum noodling, pre-show activist speeches, audience hecklers, police breaking up gigs – is the foundation of an ear-body-and-mind-flossing 100 minutes for 4 voices/performers, 4 electric guitars/basses and 2 drummers. It’s All True is overloaded, maddening, mundane, properly funny, and a radical incitement to action.”
The Collection is an intimate survey of Italian minimalist Nicola Ratti (Bellows) in his element, conducting dusty knocks and electro-acoustic effervescence in a play of greyscale tones and rhythmic irregularities at his Milan studio. Featuring material recorded over a number of years, it’s best considered as summary of Ratti’s personal favourite, unreleased highlights of the past few years, focussing on stray, ostensibly unconnected pieces which, when collected, represent a mosaic of his artistic development and the underlying aesthetics of his identity.
Hand-picked by Ratti, The Collection peers into every nook and niche of his elusive style, from fidgeting small sounds redolent of Bellows, to booming slow techno and rolling, reactive dub mutations primed for the ‘floor, each giving a canny insight to the personalised intricacies and underlying inputs of his texturhythmic sound.
It’s the kind of music that the machines may make behind our backs or once we’re all gone. But, as it stands, it’s all the work of one man sequestered in his studio with his worries, facing banks of gear and often wondering what the f**k am I going to do today? That may not be instantly detectable to the listener, but as Ratti stresses in the promo text, this is an unspoken aspect of the recording process which belies each of these recordings, if only to him.
These outside pressures of artistic endeavour vs capitalist realism thus serve to inform the material’s agitated nature and emotional ambiguity, there in the itchy yet sanguine feel of L2, laced into the quizzical probe of L6, diffused thru the recursive dub-tech system of L1, or rendered in perfectly elusive, gaseous fashion with R401, which arguably defines his sound as uniquely suggestive not prescriptive.
Moon Field is a brilliant suite of electro-acoustic jazz abstraction by eminent Portuguese guitarist and electronic composer Rafael Toral.
A relatively rare solo release - his 2nd of 2017, following a five year hiatus - Moon Field looks beyond Toral’s Space Elements series to a stranger sonic state of hovering stasis, with carefully nipped guitar gestures framed against a shapeshifting mass of modular synth crackle, eliciting the sensation of music beamed in from another star system. Followers of Oren Ambarchi or Jim O’Rourke need apply right away.
“On Moon Field, Rafael Toral breaks new ground, it is his first edition that moves outward, beyond the Space Program series. This collection of three extended and interlocking works, marks the beginning of a transitional period into a new phase.
Building on the explorations of his almost decade and a half of work with the Space Program, Mood Field seeks a more open sensibility and integrates a range of new elements and new directions. These elements reposition the potential interplays of his chosen musical elements.
“Moon Field was originally written for live performance by a configuration of the Space Collective 3,” Toral explains, “It was with Ricardo Webbens on modular synths, Riccardo Dillon Wanke on electric piano and myself on electronic instruments. While working on it, the piece revealed a strange hovering quality, a kind of stasis. It's alive and awake, like all the recent Space Program music, but doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. The music wanted to be something very peculiar and I changed it a lot in response to that. It also revealed what I find a kind of nocturnal mood, as if we were listening to alien signals with satellites crossing the sky under the moonlight.”
Moon Field’s middle section, The Horizon, sees Toral entering a broader acoustic field. The piece weaves a fresh examination of the ambient music he worked on between 1987 and 2003 with the fabric of post-free jazz-inspired phrasing with electronic instruments. The results extend the free roaming aspects of the Space Program and mark out a distinctive and deeply personal approach to sonic atmospherics. This is the first step into a much larger, richer universe.”
Blasting outta Berlin, Ziúr reps a new wave of artists claiming the ‘floor as a space for freedom and experimentation. It’s a sound that would broadly fall in with an ‘anti-banger’ aesthetic, meshing cues from brooding post-rock electronica, snarky punk and J-pop with spare, deconstructed, spasmodic rhythms nodding to the ghetto styles of Lisbon as much as club music’s avant grade. In effect it’s more like a smart drug than traditional dancefloor/drug analogs; alert and focussed, assuaging ‘easy’ rhythmic gratification or the psychedelic sensuality of rooted dance music which preceeded it.
“Ziúr is one of the most exciting producers to come out of the fringes of Berlin club music in the last few years. A new generation is breaking out of the techno mould and creating in a spirit of freedom and experimentation, taking seemingly incompatible influences and balancing them into a new and exciting sound. Ziúr is also the founder and resident DJ of 'Boo-Hoo', a night championing diverse lineups, reflecting it's creative audience, bringing through the cream of the experimental dance underground. Planet Mu are proud to release Ziúr's debut album 'U Feel Anything?' in collaboration with Objects Limited, a label run by Lara Rix-Martin which releases music by women and non-binary people.
For someone who has previously released just two EPs, the vision of Ziúr's music is advanced and precise. It's music which beckons you into an alternate world; wonderfully alien pop music that eschews conventions. She creates eldrich atmospheres that balance gentle melody and warm pop, in which strange elfin voices sing from other worlds and spiralling rhythms feel like entire structures moving. In the latter half of the record these harden into a pounding, martial symphony of steel, and introduce the kind of rough electronic riffs and guitar samples that betray her background in punk.
'U Feel Anything?' was written as a way to think about music as a tool of enlightenment, a de-conditioning force and the kind of yin and yang that can be summed up in the title of one of the songs 'Laughing and Crying are The Same Things', a track which features Swedish pop singer Zhala, whose vocals straddle twisting beats, space and staccato strings. The album also features a collaboration with Aïsha Devi on the epic 'Body of Light', in which Aïsha's vocals are pitched up and down, manipulated and distorted into wispy angelic tones, setting the tone for the first half of the album. There's a process to Ziúr's music that's informed by this wish to get beyond the small things. She says Putting a relation on what's big and small and certainly meaningless behind our existence; how nothing is everything at the same time etc... it's something that I try to explore again and again by putting myself into a thought process, rather than having everything already formulated.
It's a record of powerful, emotional twists and turns and mind-flipping contrasts that resonate with depth. As Ziúr says I believe you can only tell that something is harsh when you have a soft side to compare it to. If everything is amazing then nothing is, right?”
Under his guises Blessed Initiative and Ketev, as well as his own name, composer and sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman has explored extended techniques and processes to forge new sonic textures and musical forms. Compound picks up where the previous solo work under Glotman’s own name - 2015’s Études - left off. The acoustic sound palette has now expanded from solo contrabass into a trio including pianist Rieko Okuda and percussionist Marcello Silvio Busato.
"Glotman guides the trio into utilising sounds from the edges of their instruments’ abilities - arguably mere byproducts of harmony - and through improvisation, repetition, and post-production, conjures new sonic bodies over two sidelong pieces. His guidelines for each improvisation gave the players autonomy to emphasise the microscopic details of certain sounds: the shudder of a piano key, the hum of a cymbal, the incidental click of a plucked contrabass string. The recordings were then layered and reformulated by Glotman into two separate structures to complete the composition process. Both ‘Veil’ and ‘Revelate’ utilize the full spectral potential of each instrument, revealing new rhythmic patterns and harmonic content in the process.
Taking Glotman’s microscopic focus on instrument noises he put began on Études as a starting point, the trio on Compound ultimately bring into question both density and contrast, rhythm itself losing its stricter structures and becoming a purely pattern-based driving force in the music. The resultant unit contradicts and opposes itself, all sorts of clashing rhythms and melodies coexisting within the body of the two compositions of evolving sonic architecture.
Based in Berlin, Yair Elazar Glotman is a classically-trained musician and sound artist. Besides previous works on Subtext including Études, a collaborative score with James Ginzburg experimental film Nimbes, and the eponymous debut of his Blessed Initiative project, Glotman has released music via Opal Tapes and others under the nom de plume Ketev."
Retro-futurist prog-pop made on modular synths.
“In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still-blooming discography that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself. The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough EARS, chronicles four defining cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP.
The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself, existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,” which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness here, but it's elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but underreported moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up another highlight in the form of “In The World But Not Of The World” which serves its subject well with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near-Bollywood low end pulse.
Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU-based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On “To Feel Your Best” this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles-oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.”
Ninos Du Brasil’s excellent third album and second for Hospital Productions is their deadliest yet; offsetting tribal drum rituals laced with bestial electronics and possessed vocals, including a guest appearance by No Wave legend Arto Lindsay. Highly recommended if you’re into Psychedelic Warriors Of Gaia, Female or Vatican Shadow.
Nico Vascellari and Nicolò Fortuni come out to play in the dark, taking their fascinations with ritual musics - from Brazilian Afro-Latin tribal rhythms to library music and freezing Scandinavian BM - deep into the festering undergrowth of their shared, exotic aesthetic.
Where the cover of their last LP for Hospital Productions Novos Mistérios  depicted a naked man covered by a leopard pelt, Marvin Gaye Chatwynd’s oil painting of a screeching Chiroptera in flight on the Vida Eterna jacket makes a strong visual allegory for NDB’s finer tuned spatial sensitivities inside, with their churning rhythms now embedded in fathoms of dread space and shaded in layers of processed vocal chants, both punk, metal, and tribalistic.
The big highlight is no doubt the closing cut, Vagalumes Piralampos, where Arto Lindsay, the legendary founder of DNA, chimes in on a stygian, moonlit jag between the eyes of bossa nova, batucada and the sort of esoteric electronics also charted by Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement or Cienfuegos.
But it only really makes sense after you’ve expended your energies along with the band thru monstrous techno shakedowns such as O veto Chama Seu Nome, the soca-like rush of Condenado Por Un Idioma Desconhecido, or found yourself lost, without coordinates, in the pitch black breakdown of No Meio Da Noite and have been hypnotised by the stalking rhythms and atmospheres of Em Que O Rio Do Mar Se Toma with an explosive percussive charge that mimics sharp blades scything through a nocturnal jungle...
Julian House aka The Focus Group twists the kaleidoscope to reveal a fractious mosaic of some 25 vignette-like parts in just over 37 minutes with Stop-Motion Happening, the ‘Groop’’s - as it’s spelt on the cover - most delirious and mid-summery dosage to date.
Referring to that title again, ‘Groop’ as it’s purposefully spelt on the sleeve art, but not the metadata, quite possibly makes a nod to Stereolab’s The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music” and certainly suggests a temporal connection between the two records, if nothing else, as the music itself is perhaps better described as more Space Age Suburban Micro Dosing in its fractal nature and gentility.
The tracks weigh in between 15 seconds at their shortest to nearly 7 minutes at longest, acting like the hazily fragmented recollections of an ageing psychonaut or the sonic sketchbook of a romantic ’60s dreamer who was in the throes of the psychedelic age, with mind opened to Far Eastern thought in the pause-buttoned tabla and sitar chops of Stop Motion Happening and New Toytown Walk and the mystic bliss of Rendering The Forests, whereas other parts tie that in with nods to The Beatles’ psychy phase in Sir John Pepper and The Gone Outside. You can trust the other twenty tracks are of a similarly anachronistic and delightful style.
The lysergic/psilocybic whimsy is strong on this one. Do check.
Gird your loins, people, for 51 tracks, 2 hrs 35 minutes of prime, classic DAF. Think you can handle it?
As the legendary duo of Gabi Delgado and Robert Görl approach their 40th anniversary of formation, Grönland present the exhaustive, definitive Das ist DAF retrospective, including brand spanking new remixes from Giorgio Moroder and Boys Noize demonstrating the timeless resonance of their EBM/NDW classics with the modern disco.
From the razor-dancing Der Mussolini to the playful hooks and clenched twang of Im Dschungel der Liebe and the blend of daftness and steely electro-punk thrust in Kebap Träume, you’ll find the blueprints for masses of dance music to come, but more importantly these cuts still kill it cold on the ‘floor. If you’re into Powell, Ancient Methods, Not Waving or even LCD Soundsystem and don’t know DAF, sort it out with this set right now!
“Many things have been said about this band: they were called the “godfathers of techno,” the pioneers of EBM and the forefathers of electropunk. Yet they only laugh coolly and remain tight-lipped in the face of any attempt to historicize them. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft – better known as DAF – is a myth.
What we know is that they released four albums in a short time span between 1980 and 1982, and that those albums changed the history of music worldwide. Yet DAF’s international renown certainly was not based in the name: Gabi Delgado-López and Robert Görl were never looking for friendship; their expressions were invariably ones of steely, piercing stares, and they presented themselves with a precisely staged iciness that belied the ardor burning inside them.
DAF initially formed as a quintet in the confines of Ratinger Hof in Düsseldorf, alongside bands like Fehlfarben, Der Plan, Mittagspause and others, but later adopted a conceptual approach that left no space for other “young lords.” From that point on they worked as a duo. With precision percussive elements mastered in classical jazz training, a legendary Korg MS-20 and a highly fetishistic militaristic spoken-word style, they produced four albums in quick succession – records that could be construed as substitutes for sex, drugs and violence. While the first album, Die kleinen und die Bösen – on which half the tracks were recorded in Conny Plank’s studio while the B-side contained live recordings – still hinted at roots in original punk music, they then created a triptych of leathery, sweat-soaked hedonism on Alles ist Gut, Gold und Liebe and Für immer. In the early 1980s the records in the DAF box set Groenland Records is now releasing quickly made this duo the international figurehead of the music everyone now associates with the Rhine region: DAF, along with Kraftwerk and Can, were the pioneers of German electronic music. They were always in vogue. Sequencers, synthesizers, commanding drum beats and the most cutting staccato spoken-word vocals – an alliteration only disrupted by the notion of the uniform. Very few bands have managed to contrive their own look in such masterly fashion, and to even make it a subject of their work: “Was ziehst du an heut nacht?,” “Verehrt euren Haarschnitt” and – oh yes – “Tanz den Mussolini.”
DAF’s militaristic aspect is only broken by their attitude of denial, which invites us to dance in the dark with them and to follow Delgado-López’s rhythmic movements – even if he seems to be dancing entirely for himself. Perhaps it is that contradiction itself that renders this duo so eternal.
This compilation will allow you to experience the music of DAF; the darkest and hardest driving musical imperative ever to come out of Germany.”
Kamasi Washington continues to nurture jazz in its classical form with Harmony of Difference, a six-song sort of addendum to his roundly acclaimed master opus, The Epic  for Brainfeeder.
Premiered as part of this year’s Whitney Biennial in NYC, Harmony of Difference is a study on the musical theory of “counterpoint”, which Washington defines as “the art of balancing similarity and difference to create harmony between separate melodies”, and does so with in the hope that “witnessing the beautiful harmony created by merging different musical melodies will help people realise the beauty in our difference”.
We’re inclined to add at this point, the putative advantages of dissonance and discord, which could also help us understand the place of friction and anarchy in humanity, and another aspect of beauty derived from difference, but Washington has decided to forget a huge other chunk of jazz exploration in this case, leading to five pieces of smooth jazz on the front deftly infusing soul and latin influences, which are all re-combined in the B-side’s sweeping sixth movement.
Braindance IDM electronica. Apparently AFX is a fan, or alternatively, it's just AFX himself...
“The anonymous producer, whose work has has already received online approval from legendary british IDM auteur Aphex Twin, offers up his debut album. Brainwaltzera’s debut LP “Poly-ana" follows quickly on the heels of the producer’s Aescoba EP - also released this year via FILM (Steve Reich/Terry Riley/Grandbrothers) Across thirteen tracks of both previously released material and fresh excursions into the artist’s world, Brainwaltzera explores sounds ranging from luscious, downtempo grooves and expertly reduced braindance cuts with nods to early 90’s experimental IDM to harder, more caustic outings - all bound together by a recurring theme of otherworldly ambience.
Taking its name from a variety of sources dear to the artist, including polyphonic analogue synthesizers and the Pollyanna Principle itself - a theory that suggests individuals recall pleasurable experience more acutely than displeasing ones - the title represents a meeting point in the artistic process between creative method and conceptual choices. Production techniques range from more traditional hardware synthesis to the incorporation of a modified dot matrix printer acting as a modulation source for MIDI parameters.
Sample sources include VHS material from the producer’s own childhood and ambient Bullet Train samples from an on-the-fly production session traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto. According to the enigmatic producer, memory and its fundamental role in the human experience is one of the central themes of the record. While the artist's own experiences shaped the sound of the record, there is no attempt to impose them on the listener through blatant exposition. This is also evident in the artwork, which provides an identity and bold referential outline but, much like a coloring book, leaves the colors, tones and shades to others. In the same vein, the concept suggests that particular stimuli such as sound or scent, can transport an individual back to a particular point in their life. Scent has long been identified as the most efficient agent for this phenomenon, providing perhaps the most visceral form of "braintravel". “
DJ Harvey chucks his keys in the Pikes Records pot with this 16 track compilation of tracks from his pals and special nooks on his record shelves.
A simultaneous celebration of his recent residency at Pikes, and the first release on their label, The Sound of Mercury Rising works up a cool heat thru gems such as Eighth Wonder’s Pet Shop Boys-produced I’m Not Scared (Disco Mix), the sublime propulsion system of Mustat Varjot by Roberto Rodriguez, and the sultry italo of Golden War by Blue Camera, along with a lot more typical balearic bits that help reprise the original, decadent ‘80s vibe, as opposed to meathead house or megadome trance anthems.
The Centre Cannot Hold is Ben Frost’s 5th studio album. It was recorded over ten days by Steve Albini in Chicago and represents a pinched, subtler refinement of the billowing structures heard on its predecessor, A U R O R A , as well as a more personalised statement from Frost, who has more commonly been found working to someone film scores for someone else’s storyline with Music From Fortitude and The Wasp Factory.
Accompanied by players Skuli Sverrisson, Nico Muhly, Daniel Lea, and Shahzad Ismaily, and aided by production from Lawrence English, Paul Corley, Daniel Rejmer and Valgeir Sigurðsson; Ben Frost is effectively the triple threat actor/writer/director of his own particular album-cum-movie, rendering a typically melancholic vision of modern ambient and neo-classical storytelling that keens heavy with textural and emotive inspiration from industrial, post-rock and noise paradigms.
The record’s two side openers, Threshold Of Faith and Ionia were issued as single previews of the album, and both offer fair measure of what to expect from the other eight songs, which contract and expand between the scything post dubstep dynamics of A Sharp Blow In Passing and shuddering storm systems of Trauma Theory and the very NIN/Cortini-esque sprawl of Eurydices Heel, to the crystalline ice caves of All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated and the heavy-handed troll-bait epic, Entropy In Blue.
In emotional terms, Frost sums up feelings of apoploptic rage and despair usually only felt when you’ve gone to an outside toilet in Iceland in middle of winter, but forgot the tissue, while the production remains as trustingly tourist friendly as the northern lights. Put this on after GoT while you reflect on another great episode of tits and CGI dragons for optimal effect.
Hyperactive anime soundtrack styles - think Squarepusher meets Foodman
“Iglooghost presents his debut album “Neō Wax Bloom”, almost two years to the day since he made his debut as a teenager on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint with the “Chinese Nü Year” EP - four tracks documenting the time-traveling adventures of a gelatinous worm-shaped creature called Xiangjiao. Expanding on this story, “Neō Wax Bloom” follows the events surrounding two giant eyeballs crashing into the mysterious world of Mamu. Across its 11 tracks, Iglooghost builds a typically intense, hysterical, borderline batshit crazy soundtrack, introducing new characters to his fantastical world and inviting back old friends Mr. Yote and Cuushe for the ride.
In the words of Iglooghost:
“When a pair of giant eyeballs crash into the strange, misty world of Mamu, the mysterious forces that govern nature itself are disrupted. A life cycle of transforming creatures is thrown off balance, and the odd looking inhabitants of Mamu are forced to adapt to this calamity. These inhabitants include Yomi - a multicoloured pom-pom monk; Lummo - a wise blind witch training a band of melon coloured babies; and Uso - a sneaky bug thief hidden in a green cloak - as well as many others. As their respective stories begin to interlock, the mysteries surrounding the giant eyeballs are slowly revealed.”
Lone spells out his influences for the DJ-Kicks series
A winding session taking in shoegazey electronica, wonky hip hop, jazzy Detroit house and blue indie rock along with two exclusive numbers, the dusty NYC deep house of Arc and Saturday Night.
Jon Hassell’s entrancing Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) - the follow-up to his seminal Fourth World Vol.1 Possible Musics featuring Brian Eno - sees a much needed reissue, now expanded with a bonus track and available on any format for the first time since the early ‘90s.
Recorded at Bob and Daniel Lanois’s Toronto studio in 1981, Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) was titled after and inspired by a paper from visionary anthropologist Kilton Stewart, whose visits to a remote tribe, the Senoi of the Malay highlands, revealed a connection between their happiness and well-being and the tribe’s morning ritual practice of family dream-telling; sharing with each other and discussing the events of their previous night’s dreams, which they would also relay to other tribes in a process of mutual education and enlightenment.
Using this knowledge, plus samples of water-drumming by a tribe from the same region, the Semelai, and his patented, processed trumpet and electronics, Hassell created a definitively solo follow-up to his work with Eno, although as he points out in the liner notes, other personnel such as the Velvet Underground’s 1st drummer, Walter DeMaria also feature.
It all revolves around the central, 10 minute Malay, where a choir of his signature, warbling harmonics scat and flit over the sound of sloshing water drumming, cut-up and processed with soft gong hits in the kind of rhythms which Autechre would reprise algorithmically many years later. Either side of Malay is a series of lush postcards which come alive in your hands, ears, from the agitated fanfare of Chor Moiré to the lissom, plasmic regaling of Dream Theory’s bowl gongs and diffused hoots, thru mind-melting display of hypercoloured harmonic plumage in Datu Bintung At Jelong.
The only, beautiful, difference between the original pressing and this is the ending. Instead of passing out with the deftly genteel romance of Gift Of Fire, it’s now extended by inclusion of bonus track Ordinary Mind, relaying 3 minutes of windswept chants and glinting, liquid drumming that perfectly animates and articulates Hassell’s dream.