This is a reeeel bewt, featuring half an hour of previously unreleased, creamiest ambience from Huerco S. - if you loved his excellent 'For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)' album, think of this is an essential companion piece, dilating the timeframe and smudging our perception of momentum with an uncanny effect somewhere between the rolling smoke trails of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas and the anaesthetised harmonic diffusions of Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Distortion.
Where his For Those Of You Who Have Never found Huerco at his gauziest since the lush Untitled piece on his Opal Tapes debut, this tape is a sort of logical next step within those ambient parameters. For 31 minutes, he conjures an unfathomable valerian ambience, the equivalent of longing middle distance gaze frozen in time and thawed out with each new listen, making for an experience as dreamily suggestive as it is intangible.
Totally unmissable, for you and your lucky buddy.
**Includes a bonus DJ mix by Parris to download from your Boomkat account** Killer skool of 2014 survey from Dusk & Blackdown's Keysound Recordings. 14 heavyweights in the dance touching on all manner of new sounds from the weightless iMax flex of Logos' 'Metropolis' to the juicy tropical synthuality of Murlo and E.M.M.A or the gutted grime mutations of Wen and Parris. It also introduces a stack of new names to the label with bullets like Caski's dark garage grine 'Tunnel Music', Aphix's icy 'Sin King' and the nice/nasty grime shades of DLVRY's 'Guilt' or the queered buzz of Facta's 'Quince', whilst Epoch impresses with the pressurised reduction of 'Aerospace' and the blue inna city vision of Luke Benjamin's 'Asha'.
01. Logos - Metropolis
02. Parris - Pressure
03. Dusk + Blackdown - Wot Do You Mean?! (dub)
04. Aphix - Sin King
05. Caski - Tunnel Music
06. Etch - Champion Dancehall
07. Wen - It's Alot
08. Balistiq Beats- Rise The Machines (Yardman Riddim) (feat. Riko) (Sully remix)
09. Murlo - Broken Arrow
10. DLVRY - Guilt
11. E.m.m.a. - Light Years
12. Facta - Quince
13. Epoch - Aerospace
14. Luke Benjamin - Asha
Exceptional, mind-expanding liturgical opus from Áine O’Dwyer, presented as a kind of celebration of the pipe organ's acoustic capacity to tap into electronic pulses, making for one of the most facinating, absorbing records we've had the pleasure of hearing this year. Huge recommendation if you're into anything from Eliane Radigue to Maja Ratkje to Nikos Mamangakis, or generally for anyone interested in being transported to the sublime...
Sometimes, after guzzling tonnes of processed electronic music, one needs a reminder of acoustic music’s unique fidelities and metaphysical ability to bind and transcend space and time.
Áine O’Dwyer’s properly enchanting Locusts album, originally issued on tape by Fort Evil Fruit in 2016 and now given a necessary vinyl edition by Mark Harwood’s Penultimate Press, is exactly the reminder we all need; a sublime dispatch that was seemingly caught in a massive butterfly net during the Irish artist’s stints in 2015 at St. James’s church, Barrow-in-Furness, England, and the first unitarian congregational society church in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
Leading on from recent roles in experimental folk band United Bible Studies and MIE’s sought-after vinyl pressing of Áine’s modern avant classic, Music For Church Cleaners Vol. I And II (2011, 2015), her latest work serves as a breathtaking, etheric demonstration of why the multi-instrumentalist, singer and dancer is considered one of the most distinctive improvisors and performers of her generation by peers and critics alike.
Drawing on a practice influenced by an Irish catholic childhood - giving an awareness of religious music and church space’s unique acoustics - but equally aware of her pagan side, whilst also combining an instinctive approach to what is usually considered a difficult-to-master instrument, the Harp, with a love of keening, discordant folk laments and studies in fine art, Áine’s music can be heard as an attempt to occupy and consolidate contradictions, positing herself as a sort of conduit for ancient currents which lie at the edge of perception, waiting for someone like her to hyperstitiously bring to life.
Áine presents that idea literally and metaphorically in the LP’s incredible Psychopomp - from Greek, meaning “the guide of souls” - where she executes a transition from quivering, sylvan organ tones and siren-like vocals into abyssal, frightening bass drones, cannily using the church’s unique spatial settings - originally realised to put you in your place - to ironically remove us somewhere completely other and wonderfully introspective.
That sense of intangible yet intoxicating space and spirit is manifest in myriad other way’s, too; from the way the low rumble of distant traffic serves to underline and detach from the organ’s spectral voice in opener Sleigh Bells Descend, or the way in which the overtones of Alter Boy and Interruption become reinforced to a choking yet lush sensuality, or how she makes the church groan like cthulhu in a way that could hardly be recreated by modern electronic plugins on Machine Drum; persistently and playfully short-circuiting or inverting conventions to the ends of a heart-rending melancholy and feminine pressure resulting from her own unique energy translated thru huge metal pipes and imposing physical space.
It’s a completely enveloping record, we're still reeling from it's relentless grip.
Where a lot of labels that came up around the same time (no need to name names) have lost sight of their roots in pursuit of bigger sales and fees, Keysound has remained admirably pure-hearted and steadfast, keeping one eye firmly on road and the other deep underground; Martin Clark's track record for unearthing new talent has been, and continues to be, spotless. Even in its regular forays into new territories - house tempo, the album format, etc - the imprint has remained valiantly true to the UKG/grime/dubstep bloodline that birthed it in the first place. 'This Is How We Roll' is a timely and completely unf**kwithable compilation of lathe-fresh dubs from the label's new wave - in fact 'New Wave' is the name of the opening track, an exhilarating three-way between Visionist, Beneath and Wen. These producers represent a young sub-sect of the 'nuum that has watched producers just two or three years older dull their music's pirate edge as their profiles have grown, and they have absolutely no intention of making the same mistake themselves. Highlights? Visionist's 'Dangerous' is a punchy, percussive dark garage killer, coming over like stripped-down and souped-up Horsepower circa To The Rescue, and Wen's 'Commotion VIP' is a superior edit of the track from his recent name-making 12". Epoch's 'The Steppenwolf' is absolute class, shimmying effortlessly from jagged-stringed Eski abstraction to reinforced halfstep swagger, and Gremino's 'Monster 130 VIP' is, well, a monster. Rabit, Moleskin, E.m.m.a., Mumdance & Logos, Fresh Paul, Double Helix, Dusk, Blackdown and Farrah are the other contributors to this bracing, blistering comp - one that proves UK soundsystem music is in rude health, if you know where to look.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house from WIll Long and DJ Sprinkles spread across 14 sides of vinyl!!!
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll hear in 2016, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Legit reissue taken from analogue masters, Coil's sorely coveted Astral Disaster (1998) for Gary Ramon’s Prescription (UK) is returned to circulation on its original format. 2nd hand copies now trade for at least a K, just sayin’…
At the behest of Ramon - who is absorbed into a line-up revolving Jhon Balance, Peter Christopherson, Drew McDowall, and Thighpaulsandra - over two days at Samhain 1998, Coil descended into the bowels of his Sun Dial studios, surrounded by manacles and chains under the level of the River Thames in the Ancient Borough of Southwark, to commit what would become one of their most possessing sides.
Astral Disaster was the result: two correlating hemispheres channelling, meditative, eastern raga drone with sage-like poetry and electro-acoustic phantasmagorias, projecting a plasmic miasma of pharmaceutical shimmer and surreality that’s pretty much arch Coil.
If there’s any one big reason you need it, though, that would be the amazing B-side, The Mothership and The Fatherland, framing creaking wooden drums and the gibber-chin shivers of swarming, translucent studio duppies in a diaphanous soundfield of freefall ambient atmospheres - basically the sound of ketamine in the ‘90s.
Makes us want to melt. Massive recommendation!
An absorbing ambient abstraction from LA-via-NYC, Quiet Time With Baby unfurls serene simulacra in key with corresponding instalments of somnambulant and sci fi-styled sonics from Huerco S, MONEY and Aquarian also recently issued by New York’s Quiet Time.
BABY is a new name to us, at least, and one who appears to be in possession of a widely varied sound palette, one just as likely to take in chromatic new age wormholes as avant-garde pop flights.
Perhaps the nearest analogies for this sound, in terms of its waking dream surreality and freeform nature, range from the psilocybic aspects of Finland’s Islaja and Tomutonttu thru to Grimes’ warped pop refractions or the unsettling oneiric logic of Julia Holter and Jenny Hval, but the way in which BABY traverse all those reference points without missing a step is impressive and distinctive around its smudged edges.
Alejandro Ghersi a.k.a. Arca reveals another, morphing aspect of his unique sound for Mute following roles production for Björk, Kanye, Kelela and FKA Twigs. From initial listens it sounds like he's heading farther into widescreen TCF territory than the dancefloor here; swapping implosive bass punch and percussive dynamics for an elusively gyroscopic, mercurial sound sphere. Packaged in artwork by Jesse Kanda. Highly Recommended!
"Where Arca’s previous release Xen (2014) was introspective, Mutant is outwardly emboldened. Dedicated to and coloured by the important people in Arca’s life, Mutant illustrates the continuing mutations catalysed by loved ones: friends, family, acquaintances. Arca morphs for them and because of them. Both releases are contortionist shape-shifters, but where Xen asked us to meet her in her world, Mutant comes out to meet us in the light. Mutant is suggestively agape, embracing multiple sensualities with refreshing softness. Jesse Kanda’s organic cover art, luminous where Xen’s was shrouded, is a reflection of this.
In the artist’s words: ‘Mutant is about sensuality and impulsiveness as escape routes out of rigidity. Softness as a weapon when the mind attacks itself.’ Mutations in the records’ textures parallel the malleability of identity; tension is harmonised by openness and the inclusiveness of transformation. Pride is taken in deformity, innocence, distortion and vulnerability: traits often ostracised as undesirable. Themes that have animated Arca’s work – tension, polarities, playfulness, eroticism, mutability – have been refracted into newer, more nuanced shades. Fluctuation, in-betweenness, intimacy and chaos are celebrated.
The title track softens the space between abrasion and enlightenment, morphing from snarling aggression to elusive vapour, the atmosphere shifting at unexpected moments. Its impulsive video consists of an unchoreographed first and single take of Arca dancing. The attached self-portraits of Arca are comparably raw. ‘Anger’ is celebratory and carnival-esque, while ‘Faggot’ concludes with rhythmic allusions to the title track from Xen. The dripping sounds of ‘Umbilical’, fused with the title’s connotations of birth, clash with digital static. ‘Enveloped’ is a label suggestive of overwhelming but comforting containment, yet the track itself feels liberated, with warped strings crawling from the uniform rhythm in the piece’s latter moments. ‘Vanity’, ‘Snakes’ and ‘Soichiro’ are personal and intimate sweltering rainforests of sound. Buds open as tracks unfold, petals of the darkest reds and most vivid blues bloom. Deep roots of bass crawl through the earth beneath the record, anchoring each organism. The only essential consistency between the tracks is a refusal to sit still.
The constant liminality of Mutant is hard to pin down; something seen out of the corner of one’s eye that has moved elsewhere in the time it takes to bring it into focus."
Demolition 9 is a remarkable album mosaic of 34 concise, discrete tiles from the archive of Suicide legend Martin Rev, relinquished via his former producer Craig Leon’s newly revived Atlas Realisations label.
In Rev’s own words, Demolition 9 is informed by “a yearning for joy and the unattainable perfection of the artistic ideal”, and takes shape as a hugely variegated, almost schizoid suite of themeslasting between 30 seconds and just over 2 minutes in length. Never outstaying their welcome, and often leaving us craving more.
It boots off with the incendiary fulmination of Stickball and cycles wildly therein from choral work in Salve Dominus to distorted drugstore cowboy canter in My Street and bolshy Hollywood drama with Now, taking in the clammy ‘phet-clench grunge of In Our Name, airy MIDI chamber etudes such as Vision of Mari and Warning, thru to glam industrial stomp on Creation and reverb-laden percussive workouts with Back To Philly and She.
It’s pretty fxcking mental to be honest, and needs to be checked out by anyone who’s gotten into Powell or 0PN since start of this decade.
This 1971 album is a genuine piece of British folk history.
Anne Briggs’ first album collected largely unaccompanied traditional songs, but this, her second LP, features her debut ventures into the realm of songwriting, the title track being her first ever composition. An astoundingly accomplished piece of music, ‘The Time Has Come’ (later covered by Pentangle) gives a taster not only of Briggs’ writing skills but also manages to place that effortless, timeless vocal of hers within a very personal framework.
Singing self-penned material was a fairly unusual practice (in the folk community at least) back when Briggs first started writing alongside her then-partner Bert Jansch, in the ‘60s, so to hear such a remarkable folk voice bringing new music to life must have had quite some impact. Then there’s the guitar playing: Briggs has said herself that Bert Jansch’s fingerpicking was a revelation to her – a liberation from the Woody Guthrie-style chord strumming the folk scene was so used to. This album features Briggs’ own considerable picking skills, with the complexity of the guitar arrangements making for a perfect counterbalance to her uncommonly even voice. Utterly beautiful, breathtakingly pure British folk.
On her widely acclaimed debut album proper, Philadelphia’s Moor Mother protests and sounds out against the current state of race relations in USA, using a dense weave of field recordings, machinery, analog noise makers and, most prominently, her wildly processed vocals to punch her message in no uncertain terms.
Variously self-diagnosed as “Low fi/dark rap/chill step/ blk girl blues/witch rap/coffee shop riot gurl songs/southern girl dittys/black ghost songs”, her heaviness is only rivalled by the likes of Death Grips for its thorny Black Punk sensibilities, which she refers to in a wider sense as Black Quantum Futurism, which arguably better covers her rich bed of influences reaped from the musics of Sun Ra to Alice Coltrane, and the literature of Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez, for example.
Fetish Bones cropped up on many EOY lists in 2016 and it’s not hard to hear why. Pitting unflinching, documentarian lyrics about low income life in North Philly and the battle of Black bodies against the police state, with chokingly layered location recordings, palmed noise and turgid, rollicking rhythms, the results are a furnace blast of energy which, once witnessed, indelibly imprints the mind with her sound and politics much in the same way that, say, Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin chapters take us deep into those places, but far more violently and relevant to right now.
Lean and hungry dancefloor minimalism from Objekt.
For the forward steppers 'The Goose That Got Away' jams on a warped 808 rhythm and ascending chords vibe, sounding something like Pearson Sound sparring with Jam City.
Next, 'Tinderbox' turns out a more menacing vibe, building a forcefield of 808 bass to protect crunked-out triplet rolls and a rush of darkside adrenaline synths tapping into a deep reserve of UK rave essence. Support from Peverelist, Appleblim, Ben UFO and Pinch.
Following in the wake of the hotly tipped second Clap! Clap! LP on Black Acre, 'Remixes' is reloaded with 3 dancefloor targeted bullets.
"Peckham's disco provocateur, Medlar steps up first with a re-thinking of Ar-Raqis with clinical cut'n'pasting precision creating a thumping bongolian edit. Paleman takes a more stripped back approach, reducing Hope to its bare heart-racing essentials. Last up is Japan's Jun Kamoda, turning to his reliable SP1200 to create a galloping clockwork carnival smasher..."
Hugely impressive second album from Jasmine Guffond landing again via the collectable Sonic Pieces imprint and sounding something like a much more disturbed Holly Herndon or this years mind-altering new album from Felicia Atkinson. It’s a compellingly immersive study of digital surveillance technologies and the way they, along with myriad other machines, impinge upon and frame our waking life.
In Traced, Guffond takes the textural and spatially sensitive ambient aesthetics of her previous LP, the acclaimed Yellow Bell, into palpably more paranoid and unnerving headspaces, using her filigree appreciation of electro-acoustic dynamics to convey that feeling with a subtlety which will surely resonate with anyone aware of digital surveillance technology’s transition from peripheral creep to a near ubiquitous presence.
The key to the work really lies in the way Jasmine’s sleight of hand keeps listeners lulled or focussed on one of her hypnotic elements without fully realising that the atmospheric pressure has become almost unbearably tense, almost making us think; this sound is really dreamy but why am I feeling so anxious?!
Harder to detect or perceive, though, is the presence of actual human features which are imprinted quite literally thru her careful, cut-up and layered vocals, and more imperceptibly via the inclusion of data generated from facial recognition systems and translated into auditory shapes which infiltrate the soundfield - in a way recalling Aphex Twin’s face represented in the spectrographic image for Windowlicker, but in reverse, or even the glitching facial recognition code spotted by Lee Gamble.
In structure and tone, Traced recalls elements of Christina Kubisch’s electromagnetic sound walks as much as the semi-organic simulacra generated from Deathprod’s audiovirus, but it’s the sense of almost Ballardian dread within her narrative that really sets Traced in its own realm of sonic fiction, effectively, innovayvely transposing an underlying feeling or observation of everyday life into a sort deeply uncanny model or simulacra which we wager will ring true with many listeners.
Who’s your daddy? Thomas P. Heckmann, babes.
The Mainz man redresses his sägezahn techno style in remastered mixes of his Welt In Scherben classics, including the pelting acid nag Hexenjagd, a proper EBM techno blinder named Eisen Im Feuer, and the totally ruthless pounder, Herzschlag.
Another sterling instalment from NYC’s Quiet Time, looking close to home with MONEY’s nuanced, serpentine slide thru the undergrowth of lo-fi house, cyboogie and unheimlich ambient musics, helping to piece together the label’s elusive image alongside tape packs from Huerco S, BABY and Aquarian.
This one appears to be equal parts mixtape and original material, strafing moody blue electronics to hypnagogic filter house and Lorenzo Senni-esque pointilllisticT via poignant samples of rave classics, emphasising the importance of creating your own world and inhabiting it, as they do here.
In the best sense of a mixtape, Quiet Time With MONEY affords a perfectly obfuscated view on their warped perspective, scanning a scene of discrete cultures becoming mongrel and united by plasmic electronics, and punctuated by the infidelities of contemporary technology.
Not sure where this one has come from and the infosheet is a mostly impenetrable thing, but what we can tell you is that it's a pretty special double LP of slowly bubbling Ambient and spaced out electronic music that comes highly recommended if you were into Firecracker's excellent 'Mac-Talla Nan Creag' project or PAN's recent 'Mono No Aware' compilation.
A place-specific recording of distinct analogue bucolic techno, this one comes from somewhere in Scotland and is packaged in one of those typographically dominant sleeves that's almost always (although there are some notable exceptions!) the mark of some kind of eccentric brilliance. It fits in with a long line of Scottish electronic music that heads back to BoC, Christ, Marcia Blaine School For Girls and the Pub/Ampoule axis, which tells you that there is nothing overly complex or challenging here but that it’s a gateway to simpler, hazier, more innocent times.
As someone called “The Poacher” explains on those mostly opaque sales notes: "A rich tapestry from a strange and beautiful mind. This isn’t a vacuous collection of junk collected by some preening magpie but something real, something built with love, craft and tirelessly acquired skill. Referential yes, but only so as to pay respectful homage to tradition and culture. A precise execution on proper machines with big hands and pop-eye forearms, undeniably heartfelt."
We ain’t arguing with that <3.
Forest Swords’ decayed yet magisterial palette broadens with the scope of his canvas on a widely anticipated new album, Compassion; marking his shift in line from bedroom producer of note to recent collaborator with Massive Attack and composer for the Assassins Creed video game.
His first new solo material proper since the Engravings [2013, Tri Angle] album locates the Merseyside-hailing artist scaling up his compositions to a more layered, pinched and grandiose sound but still kept just out of reach, somewhere in the middle distance, like the outline of a sunlit mountain range in the distance occluded by a spring storm.
The R&B ruggedness that was key to his cherished earlier work belies Compassion, too. Echoing a beat-driven aesthetic that resonates with the rich history of his home region, a place cleft between sprawling, sea-sprayed wilds, concrete brutalism and mock classical architecture that makes for strong allegorical comparisons with his music.
Likewise we’re tempted to read a struggle between roots-preserving conservatism and tentative progress in Compassion, finding a balance of pop appeal and rustic authenticity that characterises the albums highlights such as the contrasting couplet of Exalter, with its choked-back choral swells and folk/R&B sensuality, and the sombre sepulchre of Border Margin Barrier, wreathed in gorse distortion, or especially in the dirtied brass gleam and haunted, stately poise of Vandalism and the blue supine elegy of Sjurvival.
For sure he’s going to lose no fans with this one, and will likely gain a swathe more.
RIYL Richard Skelton, Massive Attack, Arca, Phillip Jeck...
‘Son Of Three’ finds the band revisiting their popular album track and re-recording it at breakneck speed, matching their live show velocity. Recorded during rare days off snatched between the end of their European tour and the beginning of their current 30 date US tour. In true Breeders form, the b-sides are pretty special too featuring the band’s ode to popular TV character Buffy The Vampire Slayer and a fantastic live version of ‘Safari’, recorded at The Melkweg in Amsterdam earlier this year.
Rolling acid attacks, EBM tech and sino-toned electro tang from Stratton, on debut manoeuvres with Natural Sciences after a string of self-released titles and turns for aardKern and Of Paradise.
Acid fiends should run for the self-explanatory thrust of Warehouse Acid and the 303 laced breakbeat budge of Selecta, but our top marks got to the subtler sensations of Death In One Ear’s sublime electro-garage-house mutation and the Legowelt-like ‘80s chuff-on, White Punks On E.
Grime-smeared steel city clangs and ratchet club tension from Lloyd SB, building on the promise of his Boida Flare EP and cuts for Boxed and Sound Pellegrino with some more of that hyper chromatic and high-wire dancing structures for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper.
8ths, 16ths serves a pretty demented, schizoid swerve between messed up weightless grime zones taking in flattened Trap tics, bolshy brass and strobing electronics in a way that recalls BLOOM’s dizzying constructions as much as Mumdance and Logos’ rave suss and the playful twists of Tarquin. It’s a bit of a showstopper.
On the other hand, we could also apply all those analogies to Princess Anna, but again the appeal lies in the idiosyncrasies of his take on Eski tropes, full of slicing edits and chromatic vamps delivered with devilishly proprioceptive design.
The rhythm shaman returns to Berceuse Heroique with his most substantial sacrifice yet, Musique Acéphale; a variant of polymetric pointillism and rhythmelodic cadence with a dreamy humour and drivingly psychedelic lushness that lends itself equally well to the dancefloor and stoned home listening (sober too, to be fair).
Zig-zagging between scratchy hustle and bustle in Evocation to the snake-hipped slink of Pornoire and the gliding velocity of Evolove on the first plate, and juicing the odd acid gamelan of Highbreeds and the rushing, pineal prod of Syrian Rue on the second disc, he comes as close as anyone to mirroring the worldly proto-techno vibes that many of us hear in Steve Reich’s music, albeit with much more emphasis on the ‘floor.
Likewise, these tracks exist in a lineage of German reverence for African music and electronics stretching from Moebius and Can thru to Basic Channel and T++, riding the finest line between rolling looseness and hypnotic tension with deceptively meticulous finesse.
Jordan ‘GCZ’ Czamanski and Ilya Ziblat Shay scale sheer and free jazz, dub and electronica in their debut as Mei Tahat for Berceuse Heroique, sharply contrasted by I:Cube’s suave house remix.
Like a Healing Force Project piece trapped in a subterranean echo chamber below Bladerunner’s L.A. 2019, Dayworld bleats like a wounded angel with only a Yamaha CS-80 and a cello for comfort, before feeling out the dimensions of their chamber with the jazzy electro-acoustic rustle and hum of Untitled, and capturing their most flighty, abstract fancy in the hallucinatory dimensions of Shit Bird.
I:Cube doesn’t toe that line, though; favouring a simmering, dusky disco remix for Dayworld that retains some of the original’s brass motifs, but on a much greazier, ruder flex.
Perfectly stoic tribal techno tension and cathartic ambient release from Black Merlin, playing deep into the Berceuse Heroique agenda.
All killer, no filler here; the lead pipe whacks, possessed grunts and hi-line strings of Proto World seem to consolidate early Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and Carl Craig’s Demented Drums, whereas Spirit House is more concerned with invoking ancient gamelan ghosts, and Vision Animal brings the bang with a a more monotone, steamrolling momentum recalling early Zhark or Shifted output, leaving the sensitively constructed abyss of Hope to prove he’s definitely no one trick pony.
As previewed on Part 5 of Twin Peaks: The Return, this 7” features the nicotine and whiskey-fuelled swagger of Snake Eyes by Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches), Riley Lynch (sire of David), and Dean Hurley’s Trouble.
A-side they roll the dice on a killer noiR&B hustle lit up by blaring sax and chipping guitar from Hungtai and Lynch, driven by Hurley’s pendulous drums. It’s properly cocksure and sultry business for the Bang Bang Bar lizards.
Turn over and you’d be mistaken for thinking the trio were replaced by Bohren Under Der Club Of Gore on Mother’s Gone, plating to the flipside of the coin with a sense of sizzling menace comparable with that look in Agent Cooper’s eyes.
We can only cross our fingers in hope for a release of every track from the series…
Peckham’s yung YAM Recordings give up their first various artists set, exhibiting earthy grooves including Tom Esselle’s louche and crisp shuffler Lêlet; a muggy Afro-beatdown charm from MSSS; Sofatalk’s vintage-sounding, Afro-funky Truth Theme; the debonaire Theo-gone-acid styles of Shesha (Dub) from Leonidas; and Z Lovecraft’s hushed jazz boogie play, Oceanic.
The world’s direct line to Africa’s recent past dials in this bouquet of peaches from 1985 South Africa
...turning up what sounds like a fructose-injected, sun-baked take on Candi Staton’s You Got The Love with Say You Love me, plus the simmering charms of Make Me Your Lover, beside what sounds like a Paradise Garage classic in the debonaire boogie percoaltions and vocoders of Crosslines, plus the purest slow-motion melter vibes of Enjoy It.
Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed!
Primal motorik rhythms, the rush of white noise and post – punk angles; an aural onslaught played out on homemade log synths, electrified guitars and sticks beating hell on taut animal skin.
"Since their move to the city, the woodwose have gorged on cinema and left this gleaming carcass. The EP opens with motorik fuzz epic ‘Jonny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin’ , its title taken from Greta Garbo ’ s 1924 big screen debut The Saga of Gosta Berling . The track draws heavily on Jean - Luc Godard’ s nightmarish Weekend , in which an excursion to the countryside ends in revolution , the collapse of bourgeois society and cannibalism . The circle of life.
What follows is a kitchen sink post - punk one - two in ‘Fukushima Failure’ and ‘Director ’ s Nostalgia’ . Knotted and contagious . Snatched lyrics about nuclear disaster and barely coherent rants about art house cinema over clattering ramshackle rhythms that will lodge themselves deep in your brain long after the screen fades to black . Mark E Smith is lost in the forest and picking fights with the trees. As the credits roll we ’ re played out with the soundtrack to some forgotten 1970s Italian road movie in ‘Wendy’ s Road Rage."
Tightly coiled and skewed art school electronics from members of Glasgow’s experimental dance music fraternity.
“For The Modern Institute’s self-titled first vinyl document, the practices of audio technicians Richard McMaster, Laurie Pitt and James Stephen Wright are brought into sharp focus, the initial analyses of a project which examines the rituals of performance, the signifiers of bourgeois culture and the absurdities inherent in the middle class art gaze. While undoubtedly disturbing in execution, it’s a succinct reminder of the tension between lazy, electronic music tropes and the essential, quizzical attitude frequently lacking in the technoid culture yet abundant in Glasgow’s agent provocateurs. Seen through the frame of primary music generators McMaster and Pitt’s previous music projects – Golden Teacher, General Ludd – The Modern Institute’s recorded output is an oblique, strategic examination of rhythm and the spaces between. Rhythm is often re-defined and re-formed through out The Modern Institute, with the easy 4/4, communally cohesive beats of the Teacher and the Ludd some way off.
Opener Black Blood is a case in point, with a elusive pattern providing a warped, skeletal framework for Wright to smother. The atmosphere is austere, aggressive, clinical as a gallery wall after the exhibition has failed. The yawning, sub-bass of False Beards and Diamond Hooves hacks at the exhibition floor opening up punishingly alien chasms. The narrator’s deadpan poesy, battling against the brutalist backdrop, reminds the listener of early industrial pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, not least in the unmistakably northern accent. Side A closes out on the first attempt by The Modern Institute to break into a recognizable pattern, though rendered on Destroy Logic as a dry destruction of a Bashment rhythm. Arabic Eight is nightmarish, a Normal deconstruction of art music. A nonsensical, dadist mutation of electronic dance music, Intelligent Dance Music with no intelligence, dance or Music. Wright intones “when I was younger you used to say you weren’t in it for the money,” taking down conceptions of artistic integrity, inspiration and muse. On Springloaded, we’re still deep in an alien lifeform’s insides, viewing the tropes the art industry uses to sell itself, splashes of digital distortion and burps crossfiring across the stereofield. Shiver And Quiver ends The Modern Institute, sounding like all the cities’ alarms simultaneously set off to the beat of the LPs only 4/4 beat, here juddering and unnaturally fast. Ask questions, just don’t ask for answers.”
Berceuse Héroïque catch Young Echo’s Ossia on a dreamy/dread upstep with his weightiest injunction so far, hitting decks after some messed up DJ Oa$is gear with DJ Ape (Vessel) and a crushing slab for Blackest Ever Black.
All four sides here turn up some of the dankest, haunted dubs outta the UK in some time, placing a uniquely charred, radioactive and reverberant spin on classic dub foundations filtered thru technoid, blackened sensibilities.
Plate 1 dispenses the noxious electronic ethers and mutant On-U Sound styles of Control, wielding scything rave stabs on a crouched and crooked dub pulse that sounds like it’s got one leg shorter than the other. In the flipside dub he totally vanquishes the rave spirit, replacing it with dry duppy gasps and shivering, chained percussion.
Plate 2 allows a little light in the mix with the watery chords of Information, held in balance with viscous subs before recursive shockwaves bank up and spill over the top carrying its momentum inna staggering drunken master style followed thru in the starker Version.
Odion Livingstone present another essential reissue from the Nigerian archives, the first ever international release of The Apples’ essential Afro-funk LP rarity ‘Mind Twister’.
"As part of the St Gregory’s student band scene in Lagos during the late ‘70s alongside Ofege, Grotto and more, Apples were picked up and produced by legendary EMI Nigeria producer Odion Iruoje who added overdubs to the album at Abbey Road in London with Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman.
The band met and formed in Lagos. Bandleader Frank Ikpefuran teamed up with Georges Vieira from the American School and brothers Clifford and Gerard Nagi who were studying at “St Greg’s” in Lagos, and remembers, “I must have been 19 years old when I met Clifford. We used to hangout on Victoria Island, watching bands play and jamming with them. That’s how we met Georges. We all listened to Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Idris Muhammad and the Beatles.”
“We started jamming with Clifford on the guitar, his brother Gerard on the bass and Georges on the guitar. We chipped in with song ideas, with the group contributing arrangements and refining things until we were satisfied. The band had a natural sound, which stemmed from the chemistry we had. It was a strange chemistry, we were an odd combination from different backgrounds but when we played, something happened…”
After landing a residency at Tee Mac’s club in Surulere, Apples auditioned for Odion Iruoje who arranged recording dates and cut the record. For a young band, Iruoje was surprised by the quality of the band, adding in extra keyboard parts from Lemmy Udofia and Francis Monkman, founder of Curved Air and session man for Kate Bush, Sky and music libraries like BBC Music, Bruton and KPM. Iruoje remembers, “their playing added a layer of sophistication and sheen without encumbering proceedings.”
Embracing spontaneity on several vastly different songs (see: the intricate, slow-moving guitars of "Dreamwork" and the disjointed dance loops of "Blue Chip") and exploring the outer limits of experimental pop elsewhere.
"That goes for everything from the shimmering keys and steely percussion of "I Feel You" to the lush, melancholic melodies of "Set the Scene"-- tracks that take cues from King Tubby's dub-wise delays and murky synth-pop. Not to mention "Nowhere," a humid number that channels such richly woven reference points as the surreal '90s program Wild Palms and the artful duets of David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto..."
Ancient Monarchy crown Parris’ Skeletal 12” with a trio of superb remixes supplied by Sam Kidel, O$VM$M and Helm.
On the front Sam Kidel follows his stunning production for Rider Shafique’s I-Dentity, and our album of 2016, Disruptive Muzak, by baiting presumptions with a deft overhaul of South East Of The Mountain where he strokes the subs just off centre and perfuses the negative space with wilting darkside licks and a very canny application of watery timbral resonance. It’s perhaps not what you expect, and all the better for it.
O$VM$M follow suit to the ‘floor by slowing down Skeletal to a cranky dancehall budge rent with shivering gamelan tones but, if anyone’s getting a pat on the back here it’s Helm for his remix of Bloom on the Skeletor side, wrapping a vertical axis of plunging bass drum from the original with a fathomless, horizontal stereo swirl of avian electronic murmuration that has us rapt for the duration.
The revitalised Radiophonic Workshop follow up their well received Burials In Seven Earths with this 20 minute piece commissioned by Martyn Ware (The Human League/Heaven 17) to soundtrack an exhibition of work by Pablo Picasso.
Accompanied by a wigged-out and nimble remix from Ruper Clervaux (collaborator of Beatrice Dillon and Charles Hayward), Everything You Can Imagine Is Real is their response, collaged from recordings of the rehearsals and improvisations made in the two days running up the event, which was staged at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on 20th January 2017.
The Workshop’s original piece is finely structured around a movement in seven sections, each slightly shorter than the preceding, but increasing in tempo from 70bpm in 10bpm increments, while the key also shifts from Am to D and resolving at A flat minor, but also leaving lots of room for improvisation from the various members; Mark Ayres, Peter Howell, Paddy Kingsland, Roger Limb, Kieron Pepper.
The results reflect their subject matter with a surreal sort of ambient-electro-jazz chicanery, lending itself to Rupert Clervaux’s very Silver Apples-esque revision, full of clattering percussion and plasmic electronics scribbled down on samplers and CDJs.
RIYL: Clark, Colin Stetson, Pye Corner Audio, James Holden, Sarah Neufeld, Daniel Avery.
"We’ve All Been Swimming’ marks something of a shift for Fieldhead. Previous releases have seen Elam take a detached view from the hillsides of West Yorkshire and Western Canada, but with his latest full length release the subject matter is closer and more immediate. Tensely wound synths lead throughout the album, shifting from the breathless momentum of the opening track through to pulses reminiscent of Colin Stetson on ‘Ton’.
The unique violin playing of Elaine Reynolds glides sparingly across the record, tempering the constantly shifting arpeggios and accentuating the human elements within the record’s machine-like core. The haze found on previous releases still hangs, but now it’s the haze of a crowded street or the last train home. ‘We’ve All Been Swimming’ is a concise and inspired attempt to reduce electronica down to the things that matter, with a narrative and sense of longing pervading the album reminiscent of Clark or Boards of Canada. It’s the sort of work to be devoured in one sitting - that rarest of modern day beasts - where the tracks flow effortlessly into one another and finish leaving you wanting more.
Paul Elam returns with a suite of immersive, pulsating, electronic reductions. Shifting arpeggios and minimal beats generate the forward motion, whilst the captivating violin playing of Elaine Reynolds helps to provide the narrative thrust."
Amorce broaches Osiris Music UK with a bruised and bruising debut LP of noise-clad, bass-heavy rolige, placing him in good stead on the mutating label among the likes of Killawatt, Pessimist, and Mønic.
Urged by a cryptic sci-fi spirit, the Confounded LP is rendered in a greyscale palette of gaseous distortion and plasmic subs laced with samples of dialogue in a classic, darkside UK style, seeking to blunt the edges of techno, D&B with techniques adapted from noise and cinematic sound design and, in the process, echo the dankest edges of those styles with a more elusive, enigmatic sound more relevant to uncertain and unsettling times.
As a thing unto itself, the Confounded LP works as an immersive statement of intent from a new artist, defining his steeply abstract sound with a naturalistic flourish and send elf tension and release that’s his own entirely.
However, if you want to break it down for the dance out whatever, there’s some strong gear to be found in the rollicking, gravelly hydrolicks of Confounded and the mulched structural pressure of Strange Conversations, plus some dead shifty late night movements in The Brink.
Woodstock, New York’s Photay remixes neo-soul lad Jordan Rakei in shiny fluster of mid-tempo breakbeats and vaulted vocal dubbing for a more psychedelic effect closer to, say, Bullion productions.
Rescued from relative obscurity by DJ Amir’s 180 Proof Records, BBE present a gem from the tiny yet highly influential catalogue of Strata Records. Preceding New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s original Strata label issued only a handful of underground titles in the early 70’s, making it a ‘holy grail’ imprint among jazz lovers and record collectors the world over.
"Released by Strata in 1974, Bert Myrick’s ‘Live ‘n Well’ was originally recorded by Strata founder and former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox at a concert which took place almost a decade previously, at the student union of the University Of Michigan back in 1965. Led by drummer Bert Myrick, the album highlights a quintet of highly talented players at the height of their powers. Featuring Will Austin on bass, Kenny Cox on piano and Ronnie Fields on tenor sax, the performance also stars George Bohanon, a nowlegendary player who spent 7 years with Motown Records as lead trombonist before being named "Most Valuable Player". by the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Probably best known for the iconic 14 minute epic “Scorpio’s Child” (composed by Strata owner Kenny Cox), ‘Live ‘n Well’ captures tour de force performances from a collection of Detroit’s finest musicians, destined to go their separate ways soon after the recording was completed. Legend has it that Bert Myrick was inspired to pursue his passion for the drums by friend and mentor Elvin Jones (the drummer on John Coltrane’s classic ‘A Love Supreme’), who would open windows at his shows so that Bert and his friends could enter without paying. This kind of heavyweight tutelage would certainly explain Myrick’s impeccable, highly expressive playing on ‘Live ‘n Well’. Remembered fondly for his powerful hands and gentle demeanor, Bert Myrick passed away in 2010 at the age of 80."
Mysterious french outfit, The Dead Mauriacs, return to discrepant in full exotic wind force after their sell out cassette, ‘’Un Cocktail pour la fin des temps’’.
"Beauté des Mirages picks up on the same themes of frantic, abstract exotica and concrete cocktails the French act is known for. Running amok for two long 18min sides full of fake(?) vintage atmospheres and armchair jungle hallucinations.
An abstract journey into a beautiful (and sometimes scary) world of mirages.All perfectly illustrated by yet another mesmerizing artwork collage by US artists Evan Crankshaw..."
After class UK slingshots on Idle Hands, Tempa, Bloc and Soundman Chronicles, Bristol’s Facta churns up rugged new and old ground for Berceuse Heroique sublabel, Ancient Monarchy, with ace remix reinforcement by october.
Up top he comes with the burly yet tentative ‘step of Something’s Gonna Happen, marrying insectoid percussions with eldritch licks over gut-collapsing subs like some pagan set-dance for the solstice.
Downtown, with Sweet Sixteen he rails the hardest line of acidic EBM, racking up proper chugging bass and jagged 303s on the beat for a serious workout track (if we worked out), whilst pivotal Bristol player October brings up the rear with a dessicated, bluntly effective dub of Sweet Sixteen.
Straight in the box.
Electronic producer Max Cooper and ambient master Tim Hecker rework Ben Lukas Boysen on his new EP Golden Times 1
"Boysen’s Golden Times 1 forms the very heart of his new EP with the same name. Boysen entrusted none other than Max Cooper and Tim Hecker to meticulously shape and lure the title track plus second single Nocturne 4 into two entirely separate territories, yet never drifting too far awayfrom their original soundscapes. With Evensong the composer himself contributes a previously unreleased piece. It is yet another example that Boysen is still opening new and unexplored doors in a bid to challenge the existing realm of contemporary music he is very much a part of."
Beach House release ‘B-Sides And Rarities’ via Bella Union.
"From the band: “When we announced that we were releasing a B-sides and rarities album, someone on Twitter asked, ‘B-sides record? Why would Beach House put out a B-sides record? Their A-sides are like B-sides.’ This random person has a point.
Our goal has never been to make music that is explicitly commercial. Over the years, as we have worked on our 6 LPs, it wasn’t the ‘best’ or most catchy songs that made the records, just the ones that fit together to make a cohesive work. Accordingly, our B-sides are not songs that we didn’t like as much, just ones that didn’t have a place on the records we were making.
“The idea for a B-sides record came when we realized just how many non-album songs had been made over the years, and how hard it was to find and hear many of them. This compilation contains every song we have ever made that does not exist on one of our records. There are 14 songs in total.”
Soul Jazz Records' new Space, Energy and Light is a collection of music by early electronic and synthesizer pioneers (from the 1960s through the 1970s), mid-1970s proto-new age gurus and 1980s guerrilla D-I-Y cassette-era electronic artists, spanning in total over a near 30-year time frame.
"All of these artists used electronic advancements in music technology as a means of exploring not only space and the idea of the future, but also of looking inwards to the soul and of creating music in harmony with the natural world. From computer software and hardware experimentalists and sound pioneers such as Laurie Spiegel and Kevin Braheny, as well as Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company - the first synthesizer ensemble created in collaboration with Robert Moog - through to the earliest musique concrète experimentation of Tod Dockstader, the album shows how technological advancements and creative artistic expression went hand in hand.
In the mid-1970s artists Steven Halpern and Iaxos were instrumental in creating proto-new age music, experimenting in both the healing properties of sound and its relationship with the natural world. These artists also pioneered a new self-contained and underground D-I-Y approach to music, creating their own record labels, forming new distribution networks (with albums sold in meditation centres, health food stores and ashrams) far away from the commercialism of the mainstream music industry. In the early 1980s after the revolution of punk, these D-I-Y attitudes and ideas appeared once more in the growth of the distinctly anti-commercial and underground cassette-only careers of artists such as Germany's Stratis and Carl Matthews in Britain."
New short film and soundtrack, featuring entirely new and unheard compositions - Reflections - Mojave Desert. The film, in collaboration with director Anna Diaz Ortuño, finds the ensemble in a sonic exploration of environment under an endless desert sky.
“Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us - the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment.” - Sam Shepherd, Floating Points
The first in a planned series of environmental recordings by Floating Points to be filmed and recorded at different locations around the world; the recording was made last year, as Floating Points travelled to the Mojave to rehearse in between US touring. Immediately struck by the distinct sonic tapestry created by the rock formations and valleys, Sam and the band set up a recording operation and filmed this new work at the base of the natural sculptures they encountered. The music of Reflections - Mojave Desert mirrors the landscape: soaring and vast, dynamic and intimate, centred around two longer works and shorter pieces that create a singular and seamless experience.
Reflections - Mojave Desert begins with chords played on a Rhodes Chroma and recorded with a surround sound microphone. Throughout the filming, microphones were placed throughout the landscape to capture the natural sonic textures of the desert: the undulating sound of wind, a bird call, the rustling of bushes and more created a backdrop on which much of the record rests. The music softly shifts from the Fender Rhodes introduction to ‘Silurian Blue’, an expansive full band piece that balances refined restraint with explosiveness. In one scene, ‘Kites’, Sam Shepherd walks through a valley with a super directional microphone, swinging it back and forth as a synthesiser loop gets faster to showcase the natural reverb and shifting phase of sound waves. ‘Kelso Dunes’ signals the film’s final act: the sky grows dark, lasers flash, the band and rocks gleaming in the pitch black around them."
Henrik Schwarz and !Khave started a brand new label called Between Buttons, curated by Henrik and focused on acoustic sounds and contemporary compositions.
"Mixing up old and new technologies, experimental and more classical approaches, the label will see Schwarz forge new paths in his own work, as well as curating material from the peers he has worked with over the last 15 years. Mainly made up of acoustic sounds, piano, string quartets, self-built instruments, percussion and intriguing classicist elements with a modern twist, there will be EPs from piano virtuoso Bugge Wesseltoft, as well as other electronic producers wanting to show themselves in a different, more 'unplugged' light.
“In these times of constant turbo mode, likes and thumbs-up, we need to go back to basics,” says Henrik. “We want to move away from the idea that relentless hasty productivity is a must, and instead take time to create space, to let deas mature and to focus the mind on subtler sounds.”
Works Piano will be a four track mini album that uses a Yamaha Disklavier as the starting point and reimagines it, reworks it and alters it with various digital and recording technologies. One track is a created with a reactive algorithm and one is composed purely from altered and processed piano sounds."
The Golden Ravedays is an epic album of 24 tracks that was released in January 2017 and is stretching over 12 respective chapter albums during a one-year period.
"The sixth piece of The Golden Ravedays puzzle will be released on Hippie Dance in June 2017. Number 6 of the series introduces two further tracks of the sound adventure that Superpitcher is taking us on this year.
Side A features Protest Song. If music is a way of transporting us to other places, Protest Song takes us to a desolate, scary and loveless environment, a burnt-down, burnt-out place where the flesh of its former inhabitants is smouldering, void of goodwill and kindness in a cloud of toxic and greedy smoke. It’s all Kafka and Orwell and Suffering - the most twisted and eerie track so far in The Golden Ravedays saga. What is undeniably clear is an acute sense of regret and loss - a warning that it could have been avoided, had we only listened to our hearts and protested.
In the same vein on Side B we hear powerful Resistance. Produced after the Paris attacks of 2015 Superpitcher outdid himself with this strong message of Resistance. Where Protest Song paints a picture of under-worldly doom, Resistance’s techno beat and insistent refrain sweeps us to the surface of the muck of hatred and intolerance we’ve politically been dumped in."
Bruxas came together when the two were playing backing band for the 70s James Brown-meets-Black Sabbath act, Witch. Feeling inspired, they began their collaborative musical odyssey by writing new music together in Portugal.
"(Bruxas is Portuguese for witch by the way). "It was a combination of things that sparked the idea to start Bruxas," Gardner states, "our love of 70s soundtracks, library music, African disco, and Afrobreat." Mixing together their well-honed percussive rhythms, along with layered synths and the occasional vocal, Bruxas was born; a project less on the side of fuzz-rock, and more on the side of an occultist rhythmic, devil-dance.
"We both love exotica and electronic music. I was really getting into library music while working on my last album, stuff recorded in the 70s that is difficult to classify, where traces of psychedelia can be found in almost everything. We wanted to make our own mix, and see if we could mold it into a contemporary music project, that’s easy to bring to the stage." - Jacco Gardner
The Dekmantel EP is a kaleidoscope cabinet of curiosities, unearthed from the tropical wilderness. 'Más Profundo' is the deepest of all the treasures, while 'Tropicacovas', with its wistful island ambiance, conga beats and rolling bass, soundtracks the whole affair, before delving into the jungle with 'Selva Cosmica'. Animals gasp as the energy becomes more electric, while the Dutch duo play on, with 'Plantas Falsas'. A true carnival of wild assorts. Drinks are free. Fun, and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone. "Each track is a little journey, some through Africa, others just at a fancy Italian pool party," Gardner says about the EP, "there is definitely a worldly character about them, which ties into the exotica element that connects all the tracks."
Posh Isolation’s core duo - Loke Rahbek (Croatian Amor) and Christian Stadsgaard aka Damian Dubrovnik - arch up a volley of bittered power noise outbursts with Great Many Arrows, marking 200 releases for the label they started with Songs For Loviatar in 2009. Myriad solo and collaborative projects have followed over the interim, plotting out a sprawling constellation of ideas and gestures, and perhaps all preparing us for this, their most riveting vision of bloodied noise romance.
Taking its title from a historic archery competition in Kyoto, Japan, in which archers would shoot as many arrows as possible for a 24 hour period, Great Many Arrows hits its target with frightening accuracy, packing the spectacle and ferocious intensity of their ritualistic live performances into a studio context where they can utilise and manipulate a greater array of acoustic instrumentation - organs, cellos, wind and others - against more typical electronic backdrops and processing.
If their previous releases often took cues from Prurient releases, Great Many Arrows is again pretty much a conceptual re-working of Frozen Niagara Falls, where, like Dominick Fernow, they embrace an expanded palette of tonal colours to better realise their personal vision. The results are most bracing in the opening Arrow 1, which also recalls the blistered strings of Deathprod, but shot thru with fire-breathing exhortations, while making sterling use of lacunæ and piercing distortion in Arrow 2, and beautifully summing it all up in the cinematic elegance of Arrow 6 with its steepled pads and wistful accordion cadence.
One of Lobster Theremin’s earliest signings sidles onto berlin’s Workshop with a collection of deft, mostly beatdown house tracks interspersed with nicely meandering ambient bits.
Check for sweeter treats in the gauzy shimmy of Positronic Dreams and the wobbling groove, cracked textures of Whuffie, and the dank wormhole of Interlude.
Perfectly faded ambient nostalgia hailing from modern day Russia. A lush dream sequence of airy atmospheres and simmering krautrock pulses evoking hair in a gentle breeze, dry ice swirling over standard soviet issue trainers, and drifting along the River Neva in mid-winter. One of the best NNF instalments in ages...
"St. Petersburg seeker Vladimir Karpov coaxes hushed auras of keys, metronomes, fog, and feeling to evoke hazed and isolated realms, traced in altered states. His latest collection – and vinyl debut – maps the maze at “the bottom of self,” subterranean consciousness manifested from decaying synthesizer and shadowed pulse: music for fading torchlight. Labyrinth leads through six misty, mystic chambers of dreams, drones, delirium, and phasered percussion, spiraling in slow, sacred arcs, in quest of “the inner world.” Tosya Chaikina’s ghost vocals on “False Angel Lullaby” and “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors” bring a whispered hymnal mood but otherwise the LP is ambient and abandoned, obscure meditations along corridors of candlelit runes, “to find the right path, to find the true answer.”
Bristol’s Hodge chases up that ace Peder Mannerfelt collab with three loose-limbed tribal tricks playing deep into the Livity Sound aesthetic on No Single Thing. For our 2p, like the aforementioned 12”, it’s some of the best work in his arsenal, exchanging stodginess for something more agile and making us itch for the dance in the process.
The swingeing polyrhythms and screaming harpies of No Single Thing suggest a parallel dimensional link-up between Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and Shackleton c. 1990/2785 (do they even have linear time in this dimension?), whilst Light waves pinches between he eyes with pealing bleep patterns and fully pendulous drums accentuated with proper, bulbous bass (allow that Casualty-theme coda) and Joe Likes to Dance adds some salt to the dish with tart groove and dissonant nasal drip synth tang destined for smoke filled warehouses ‘round are (our) way.
Arttu Snellman lends his taut, funked up energies to Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Jr label with the strident, deep techno-house pressure of Walking On A Fine Line, backed with rawer, tracky reinforcements.
A regular character on Philpot, Clone’s Royal Oak and 4 Lux, and his own Cyblo label this decade, with work on stacks of mnml labels as Lump before that, Arttu nails a heavy infectious sound here, alloying Roberto Q Ingram’s lyrics with a steely, funked up Chicago undertow in Walking On A Fine Line and the scuffed, stripped down Bass Trakk banger, before heading into the strobes and smoke with a mesmerising dub techno momentum of Debris.
No messing. Party pressure guaranteed.
Classic ’90’ Dutch electro available to download officially for the first time!
No messing with this stuff, just straight up body work in four parts, especially raw in Een Drumcomputer & Een Synthesiser, with subtler flavours of Cybotron funk in Untitled (1), and a dank cinematic trip to be found in Untitled (3).
CPU slice off two slo-mo highlights from Nadia Struiwigh’s debut album, Lenticular onto 12”, including the brooding mass of the title cut and her swampy midnight trek, Trip In Fiction.
The Rotterdam-based artist’s follow-up to 12”s with Rosedale Records and ADRO Records pursues an atmospheric line of enquiry on Lenticular, with grumbling bass and spidery trills elegantly carrying a top heavy payload of keening, bittersweet pads and gauzy choral work into a smudged, impressionistic space between early B12 and Æ.
Flipped she rolls on a purring slo-mo engine into awning ambient realms recalling the vibes of Joey Beltram’s Aonox album or ambient early-mid ‘90s Plastikman, but with a smudged, gauzier resolution that time-stamps it to 2017.
Lenticular is the full length debut of Nadia Struiwigh, an electronics music producer from Rotterdam who work recalls the fluffy but melancholy styles of Warp’s AI series or the likes of BoC and Biosphere.
Two of the album’s highlights, Lenticular and Trip In Fiction are given a side per piece on the accompanying 12”, but there’s also seven more on this full version, gliding between the smooth harmonic developments of Intrope to alien pastoral tribal feels on Space Tribe, Extra Terrestrial, and 4Es, or The Orb in Genetically, while the 2nd half of the album takes turn towards moodier intervenes, culminating in the moon-booted PLCS and the album’s most insistent push with 010101.
Drily funked-up, low-key but lush minimal house swingers from Area, getting into a Matthew Herbert like moody groove with rlgl and heading somewhere more introspective in the gauzy atmospheres and hiccuping bump of Notice.
“Idle Hands strides towards the summer with a transmission from a kindred spirit across the pond. Area, sometimes known as m50, has been flying the flag for forward thinking electronic music in Chicago for a long time. His radio shows on WNUR have a distinctive quality one step to the side of the music his hometown is best known for, while his label Kimochi Sound has released incredible music from the likes of Benjamin Brunn, Strategy and many more besides.
As a producer Area has been equally prolific since first emerging in 2007. From Ethereal Sound and Steadfast to UntilMyHeartStops and Sequencias, his various approaches to rhythm and texture are all bound together by a meditative quality that feels like a perfect fit for Idle.
On this single, both sides of the 12 continue the theme of dusty, dusky 4/4 Area is most widely known for, locking on to a house groove while sporting the abstract atmosphere of techno. Rlgl is an understated, emotional heater that uses looped up fragments as a counterpoint to the more lilting strings and static that bed the track. Notice takes a more overtly melancholic approach with its lingering, heavily processed keys that drift in between a tough set of drums. There's a punch to the track that will translate beautifully to a big system, even as the melodics spell out a more intimate listening experience.”
Uniquely twysted ‘floor torque from Kush Arora aka Only Now, leaning in deft and heavy on Canada’s Infinite Machines.
We last heard the San Fran-based producer on his eponymous tape in 2015, and it’s fair to remark on both the contraction and expansion of his sound in since then in the Timeslave EP.
Basically the beats are tighter and the acres of noisy, negative space feel super wide, perfused by swarms of synthetic duppies and hallucinatory visions, turning up really solid highlights in the infectious blank and step of Liquid Eyes, with the hyper-tribalised pressure of Timeslave, and the fractious, bullying kuduro drums and intensely detailed sound designs projected by Remote Viewing.
Twwth & Desto’s Signal Life introduce Inner’s bolshy fusion of R&G and industrial-strength trap with his debut four-track black label.
From the front, it sounds like they’re trying to tune to a ghost pirate radio station with the fractious, noisy swerve and piquant vocal sampled in Pain, whilst Crystal Ember veers into high-strung trap-trance. Close ratchets the intensity with strobing edits applied to rusty ballroom stabs in cone-crumpling style, and Roll Out clocks off on a see-sawing grime tip with extra punchy drums.
Istanbul’s forlorn shoegaze spirit Ekin Fil returns to haunt our waking life with Ghosts Inside, the 2nd late night bloom in her fruitful relationship with San Francisco’s Helen Scarsdale Agency. A huge recommendation if you’re into Grouper.
It contains her most assured bedroom pop songwriting and most elusive, shadow-chasing productions, maintaining a crucial temporal and metaphysical bridge between the original ethereal craft of Cranes, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive and the modern day dronecraft and vocal layering Grouper has become so well loved for.
Her gauzy lilt conveys something practically, literally ineffable that transcends prosaic meaning and works with an osmotic effect that really gets in the pores, perfusing your system with an efficacy worthy of the album’s title. In Ekin’s hand, or at her feet, an array of guitar pedals become her scrying diffusion prism, sublimating her sylvan piano, guitar, and vocals into something that bypasses language and deals instead in pure emotion.
This heavily introspective sound stems from the current socio-political upheaval Ekin and people of her generation are experiencing in Turkey right now. It could therefore be heard as a numbing salve for “psychic distress, heartache and depression”, as the label puts it, perhaps offering a middle-distance focus that penetrates all the crap and finds a mutual, meditative point of audition and perception familiar to anyone sensitive to those issues, both within the region and far beyond.
It’s a sublime, moving listen from an intriguing spirit.