Spencer Clark (The Skaters, Monopoly Child) brings his daemons to life on the 3rd, hyperstitious instalment of his Typhonian Highlife project inspired by the late ‘80s movies; Hellraiser II (Hellbound) and PIN (A Plastic Nightmare).
From the outset, this is clearly some of Clark’s most pellucid and detailed work, albeit utterly whacked out in a way that’s key to everything he does. On a basic level, the record has more than two tracks - as opposed to his usual side-long jams - but on another level, those eight, discrete parts are also rife with expressive information, allowing us to better make out the morphing, abstract silhouettes of the unearthly characters unleashed from his zzz’s.
However, unlike, say Coil’s The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser, the music isn’t necessarily dark, per se; it’s better located in the uncanny valley between dream and waking life, and perhaps more acutely, it’s an attempt to replicate the strangeness of memory recollection, and the curdled feelings associated with being an wide-eyed adolescent absorbing the mainstream occulture of the late ‘80s, but probably at a later date sometime later in the ‘90s.
In that sense, its hauntological aspects should properly resonate with anyone over the age of 30 who can still remember the musk of video rental shops and those titles your folks would never let you rent (fucksake mam, i’m not watching Home Alone again!). But, it should also resonate with anyone digging the roots of rave and ambient culture, as the films he references were ubiquitous to youngers back then; a bank of imagery, ideas and sounds which were constantly referenced, sampled and osmotically absorbed into the popular psyche.
And then again, if you factor in Clark’s nods to classical aquarium fusion and some possibly apocryphal pseudo-science/poetry (depending your perspective) and maybe it’s not all as clear as it seems. In fact, probably not.
Mono's much loved debut album available on vinyl for the first time ever. Remastered for vinyl by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service. Features all-new cover art .
"Under The Pipal Tree is the debut album by now-legendary Japanese experimental rock band, MONO. Released in 2001 on avant-garde icon John Zorn's Tzadik label, Under The Pipal Tree showcased a young Japanese quartet whose wide range of influences - most notably Sonic Youth, Mogwai, The Velvet Underground, and Neil Young's Crazy Horse - were on ferocious and ambitious display.
Though Mono would eventually become known for their expert marriage of metal and classical genres, Under The Pipal Tree highlights the band's psychedelic roots. Long stretches of hypnotic, melodic washes give way to scorching guitar freakouts that evaporate into haunting silence. It's remarkable not just for its earnest exploration, but for its startling execution. Fifteen years and eight albums later, Under The Pipal Tree stands as one of the great debut albums by a seminal underground band.
Finally released on vinyl for the first time ever, Under The Pipal Tree has been remastered for vinyl by longtime friend and tour mate, Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service."
Snake-charming recording of Hamburg/Berlin’s F#x and Çaykh, a.k.a. Circuit Diagram, vibing out on a hybrid of hypnotic Ethiopiques jazz, etheric dub and avant-electro at Golden Püdel.
If you’ve heard Çaykh’s remarkable mixes of outernational sounds for Nina’s V I S or Amateur Exorcist, or ever stepped into a particularly wigged-out Püdel wormhole, you’ll have some grasp of what to expect here; but, if not: it’s a plasmic melange of rolling drum hustle, duppied voices and fondled synth fronds seamslessly threaded with far flung folk and psych tropes.
Treat it as a bargain nano-break to a parallel dimension imagined by Can and Oren Ambarchi after an all night shebeen session. Wickedly zonked, heady stuff.
Raster-Noton bring the excellent, erratic Unun series to a close with some of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s most reactive and ‘floor-penetrating productions; bringing elements of EDM, trance and hooj room choons to the boil with a steadfast tolerance for dancefloor/electronic extremity and physicality.
Since 2010, the Berlin/Montreal-based musician has steadily carved a niche between the eyes of modern styles in an almost exponential exploration of styles, persistently short-circuiting dancefloor conventions with a combination of avant-garde strategy and extreme sonics which has lead to some of the most fascinating electronic music in recent years for the likes of Rabit’s Halcyon Veil and Shapednoise’s Cosmo Rhythmatic.
Make no mistake, though: Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night is Osborne-Lanthier’s most direct and up-for-it material; a masterful, off-the-cuff demonstration of how to mess with modern templates, using online production tutorials as the jump-off for a quartet of dancefloor mongrels riddled with EDM’s most virulent, effective tics.
At the front Blackwell Dynonetics’ tight, fractal knot of spasming dub chords and footwork spatter comes off like Second Woman linking with Rian Treanor, before The Zika Slam revs ups like some visceral Powell and EVOL collaboration, and the crushing swagger of Integrated Sensor Is Structure sounds like Lurka duelling with Byetone, leaving the dembow bounce and escalating hardstyle synths of Lick And A Promise to ramp like some fierce Kamixlo or Florentino winner.
This one is lands hard on all the right buttons. Can’t wait to hear them loud in the club.
Songs From The Other Side Of Emptiness is a necessary compendium of Life Garden’s multifarious, sui-generis aesthetics, exploring the space left behind after ‘80s post-industrial music ran out of conceptual steam.
Life Garden is the main preserve of David Oliphant and his partner Su Ling, who were previous members of Maybe Mental, a wicked, if overlooked part of the post-industrial milieu, who included Sir Richard Bishop in their number at one point - and with whom David more recently collaborated on the brobdingnagian disc, Beyond All Defects (2012).
Despite only being in operation between for the first five years of the ‘90s, the band released a dozen recordings on CD and cassette, headed up by their debut Caught Between The Tapestry Of Silence & Beauty, and ending on Ahitanaman (1995). Material from both releases appears here, along with further material off the impossible-to-find Worlds Whirl Beneath The Sun (1991) tape, plus the Pry Open My Mouth With The Red Knife of Heaven (1992) and Seed (1993) albums.
While Life Garden’s previous incarnation, Maybe Mental, was a sprawling affair, ranging from delirious post-industrial psychedelia to power electronics, you can hear the roots of their subsequent Life Garden sound in the far eastern fascinations and eerie tones of Lotuses On Fire (1987), especially in its more spectral, loosely improvised drones and ritual percussions.
I’m pretty sure that Su Ling Heydrich-Oliphant just sang uvavoo - Rick Veeves style- on Zhen, so it’s got our approval at the least.
An all time killer classic from Wackies.
This 12" features 3 cuts of Lee Perry's immortal Tight Spot Rhythm featuring searing vocals by Leroy Sibbles and the great Stranger Cole, together with an instrumental version by the Bullwackies Allstars. Yum.
Dial place last year’s Lawrence peach, Yoyogi Park in the hands of Giegling’s Kettenkarussell, Roman Flügel and Lake People for a suitably trim, involving suite of remixes.
Kettenkarussell’s sublimely pensile Yan Mirror rework of Illuminated takes us right back to the heyday of ‘00s minimalism and the taste of mandy on lips, while his Yan Mirror brings the dawning vibes on the flipside.
Roman Flügel also makes nice with a gently percolated take on Clouds & Arrows, and Lake People does a snappy Braindance electro thing with Simmer.
Ssaliva offers the tantalisingly ephemeral dynamics of We Never Happened on his follow-up to Be Me, also for Ekster. Operating almost exclusively in the higher registers, Saliva’s newest piece proceeds a string of lush releases for Vlek, Leaving Records and Bepotal to leave us light-headed and floating 3”s above our chair.
Bearing no small resemblance to the flawlessly cute motifs of Motion Graphics’ eponymous debut, as much as the sheer dynamics of Arca or 0comeups One Deep - which both share a fascination for hyperlucid Japanese ‘tronics - We Never Happened unfolds like a hyaline hyperprism of virtual chamber pieces for a sophisticated manga space-lord.
The atoms of its frozen tones and wide, plasmic basses are seemingly caught in transmutation between states of crystallisation and sublimation, contracting and expanding between the vertiginous pinch of Panel and the Autechreian dimensions of Scope at the front, to the chromatic freefall of Oxy and the alien jazz moods of Protection4 at the record’s core, before matters become detectably frayed, unsettled at the edges in I Appreciate Your Concern and the cold acidic blatz of Gone, whilst a turn toward Rashad Becker-esque tonal curdle in Surge and the sinking mini string symphony of Amo resolve the album at a more ambiguous angle.
This one really needs wider attention. Check!
Absolutely killer all-over-the place mixtape from Çaykh, the same dude who made that incredible 'Au Revoir, Mogadishu' mixtape of Somalian obscurities, as well as a much sought-after tape for Nina’s V I S label, now providing a new bounty of unidentified sounds for Basster Jazzster & Dima Rabik’s Russian radio show turned mixtape label, Amateur Exorcist.
As you’d hope from a selector of such renown, Çaykh’s latest mixtape is full of sounds from far beyond the putative mainstream, so far in fact that we could hardly even point to their countries of origin, nevermind the genre, artist or track titles.
However it’s dead easy to pinpoint the vibe; coursing myriad stripes of soul-nourishing folk and psychedelia, swinging back and forth from dusky, lysergic songcraft to flowing African rhythmelodic traditions and even what sounds like Steve Reich doing Cumbia, right thru to slow-motion, shoegazing house and meditative ambient pops.
It’s certifiably one of those mixes where the handrails or signposts are non existent, each juncture logically leading to another dimension of gentle atmospheres and surreal surprises, maybe best imagined as sort of shamanic narrative or trip. We can almost guarantee that you’ll be clamming for a tracklist by the end of the tape!
This one's incredible; bowed strings, double bass, synth, vibraphone, piano, percussion and field recordings reduced to a totally immersive durational study, huge recommendation if you're into Mohammad, The Necks or Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore...
It’s the Australian composer’s 6th solo album since his debut, Ink On Paper (2008) and possibly the strongest demonstration of his innovative extended technique, deployed in two subtly contrasting yet equally hypnotic sides. Using rapid bowing technique to paradoxically generate ostensibly static, sine wave-like tones, coupled with analogue synth, vibes, piano, percussion and field recordings, Majowski explores the perceptions of “stillness” and “movement” which give dynamic form to the content of musical composition.
Effectively, he makes his main instrument sound electronic, yet due to the acoustic harmonic richness it’s capable of, the results render a much lusher, immersive, and subtly chaotic spectrum of spectral sonics than one might typically expect from purely electronic sources. The B-side, Structure and Posture dissipates the tension into slow, swooning contours giving rise to a glowing aurora of consonant overtones, which, once you’ve settled into their shadows, begin to deeply recall the doom jazz introspection of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore or the exquisiteness of Elodie stretched into the horizon.
Plaid tighten up for 2017 with these brilliantly sharp turns for Warp; Bet rolls out on a taut groove pronating between half, double and triple-timed signatures to tie you in a centripetal knot, and Nat twysts at a more low key angle, dissipating the energy into a rubbery wobble out of the Errorsmith playbook.
In-depth 2LP compilation of Colombian folk and dance music, accompanied by the compiler, Sanjay Agarwal and Ivan Higa’s documentary, Colombian Gold - “400 Years of Music from the Soul”
“Huge Colombian Felito Records compilation! Includes bonus DVD of the Colombian Gold documentary, which digs deep into the heritage of Colombian music. . Tucked away deep in the heart of Barranquilla’s infamous city center stands the remains of one of the most important record labels of Colombia’s Musica Tropical scene: Felito Records. Selected and dug up and out by Sanjay Agarwal. TIP!
This best of compilation features a blistering set of heavy cuts with deep indigenous undertones expressed in a stellar array of hybrid tropical sounds…. Established in the late 1970s by Don Felix Butron, Felito records became a powerhouse for the recording and preservation of afro indigenous rhythms in Colombia’s Caribbean coast. From its conception to its heydays in the 1980s and ‘90s, Felito Records produced and recorded some of the most prolific music at the time, pioneering a new and innovative sound that captured the rich diversity existing in Colombia’s Caribbean region. “
Achingly strong Sugar Minott platter comes ‘round again on Wackie’s, packing the synth-buoyed roots reggae burn of Minott’s International Herb hustle on the top deck, and an exothermic International Dub on the B-side, bringing fwd the instrumental’s dazzling moire of psychedelic synth riffs and glimmering melodies on a tight but wide skank.
Dominic Thibault grapples with notions of *[SELF] in thorny, abstract and detached musique concrète terms for Entr’acte. Make sure to clock the pulsating, discordant mass of To *Believe and the cold, eviscerated dimensions of To *Negate. RIYL CoH, Pita, Florian Hecker.
“*[self] is a musique concrète composition based on the concept of ascetic ideals. Its eight movements are inspired by the desert journeys of those prophets in search of purity and simplicity through self-denial. It questions the pertinence of such voluntary pittance in order to obtain redemption.
Composed between July 2013 and February 2015. A string trio version of the piece also exists in which this electronic version is interpreted as an audio score coupled with a graphic score by Paul-Antoine Gauvreau. The string version was premiered in Manchester by Distractfold Ensemble. The electronic version was premiered at the Akousma Douze festival in Montréal.”
Marconi Union’s 2009 album hovers back into earshot as an expanded 2CD set with bonus disc of complementary pieces.
Despite neither artist having visited the city prior to this album, they take Tokyo’s representations in film, music and literature as the cue for an impressionistic suite of Eno-esque ambience that likely rings true with other, putative perceptions of the global megatropolis.
Run The Jewels hold down the cover and chat about their 3rd album inside. Also includes features on Lisbon’s new Jazz vanguard; Eduard Artemiev’s soundtracks for Tarkovsky; Rashad Becker tested by The Invisible Jukebox; all the usual news, reviews and listings.
Not Waving takes 2017 by the scruff with his Populist EP, consolidating the myriad stripes of last year's acclaimed Animals album for Diagonal in four extended peaktime hammers forged for darkrooms, basements and warehouses alike; flirting with sleazy New Beat, nEuro EBM, Acid n0!se and deep-raved Italo.
If last year’s LP saw you thru from day-into-night, or vice-versa, this one is aimed squarely at the gurny hours of abandon in between, with ferocious acid lines and jabbing drums stripped down and strapped up to prompt reckless behaviour on the ‘floor. The Populist EP is Alessio Natalizia's strongest dancefloor statement since the one-sided Get Serious (2015) bullet. It finds him taking the opportunity to make straight-up bangers, rather than ‘songs’, which were thoroughly tried and tested over successive tours of the USA and countless shows in Europe too in the last 9 months.
Too Many Freaks is an anthem in waiting, harnessing a barely-hinged sense of chaos between its careening synth lead, acid squabble and velvet-clad kicks, before the dry-rutting jag and plaintive vox of Vibe Killer takes a dog-grip like This Heat meeting Tuning Circuits.
Top marks go to the check-your-stylus intro for Control Myself on the B-side, which holds its fizzy line into a fetid crevice of what sounds like Russell Haswell ramping with Powell, whereas the crooked clampjaw groove of Ur Lucky Ur Still Alive pivots around a sample a lone raver at Atonal, Berlin “who had no idea how she got there and what she did the night before”. A ruddy good night all-round, then?
With the resurgence of interest in folk music it's hardly surprising to see countless compilations showing up week after week, but compilations this moving and this important are rarely chanced upon. This disc puts together the lesser heard folk tracks, songs recorded by artists who weren't sponsored by major label money, artists who simply made music because they were desperate to make music, artists free from poisonous delusions of grandeur.
You will likely not have come across one of the fourteen ladies on this disc, but each one has a distinct voice and will have you aching for more - that's the power of this unique compilation. Like last week's sequel to 'Folk is not a Four Letter Word' and the recent Finders Keepers releases, this is music you already love, you just don't know it yet. From heavenly strumming of Linda Rich's 'Sunlight Shadow' to Jennie Pearl's tear inducing piano-led 'Maybe in Another Year' these are tracks which simply make you wonder why you haven't heard them yet.
The voices are so distinct and the songs so powerful that at some point you have to think how odd it is that the records haven't had more publicity, but there we have the power of the major label, and when these gorgeous lullabies were pieced together the independent music scene had little or no power at all. We have to thank Numero for finding and repackaging such essential tracks and treating them with the respect they deserve.
In the surreal dream-house dimensions of Anxi. Kelly Lee Owens and Jenny Hval reprise the smart relationship that resulted an ace tech-house mix of Kingsize on last year’s Oleic EP
This time it’s original material, rather than a remix; succesfully gilding Hval’s low-key murmurs and gently ascending harmonics to a gauzy, rolling tech-house pop groove aided by production from Daniel Avery. Bodes very well for KLO’s incoming, eponymous debut album.
After spending the early ‘60s playing in groups with Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp, trumpeter Bill Dixon recorded his singular and visionary masterpiece in 1967.
"Intents And Purposes remains not only Dixon’s defining statement as a composer, but also one of the most luminous moments in the history of avant-garde jazz. Combining orchestral timbres with free jazz intensity, Dixon leads a ten-piece ensemble including such heavyweights as Byard Lancaster, Robin Kenyatta, Jimmy Garrison and Reggie Workman. Closing each side of the album, “Nightfall Pieces I” and “Nightfall Pieces II” are evocative duets featuring Dixon’s flugelhorn accompanied by flautist George Marge. With Intents And Purposes, Dixon creates a work focused as much on sculpting and defining space emphasizing moments of resonant stillness around which the compositions thrum and swell as on purity of expression. This first-time vinyl reissue is recommended for fans of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton and Henry Cow."