Philippe Hallais aka Low Jack returns to Modern Love with a debut album under his own name, this time round unfurling a deeply seductive and opaque mixture of squashed dream pop and ambient shimmers, sounding something like Badalamenti/Lynch doing Shoegaze except a lot more weird and beautiful...
It’s an album in the tradition of great records by Hype Williams, Leyland Kirby and, more recently, Yves Tumor; inhabiting a sonic world where not everything is quite what it seems. It offers familiarity and warmth one moment, dread and transformation the next, with an aesthetic that can basically be defined by that iconic image of the trophy cabinet in Twin Peaks, slowly zooming in on Laura Palmer’s framed face.
Divided into four sides (and eleven tracks) acting as parts in a greek tragedy, the album delves into the dislocations of the mythology of sports and its achievement in mass entertainment; whereby the hero becomes a dispensable and mimetic body. It delves into this unusual portrayal of triviality and disaster, naivety and cynicism that make the real life and ordeals of the hero indistinguishable from their scripted form on TV.
And so the narrative flows from the introspective ambient fizz of the opening Theme (Trophies) - sounding like the Cure’s All Cats are Grey as heard through the cracks, shrouded in several layers of auditory fog, through to the goosebump inducing Angela (Square), complete with punctuated snare/bassdrum crashes, to the Thriller-esque/Actress vibes on Fantasy (4U).
Feel (Storm) is like Jóhann Jóhannsson’s brass masterpiece Virðulegu Forsetar looped, phased and slowed down, before the album closes on the daytime tv vibes of Hero (Theme); a sound to get immersed in, mimicking life with its transition from the tragic to the sublime.
Life is short, seize the moment.
For its 15th edition, zweikommasieben magazine again encompasses a broad spectrum of interviews, columns and more that speak for unbroken, critical, and aesthetic potential of a global electronic music featuring: Brain Case, DJ Stingray, Jackie and Gil, Pan Daijing, Sleaford Mods, Tomasa Del Real, Tolouse Low Trax and more...
Includes interviews with DJ Stingray, J.G. Bieberkopf, Interstellar Funk, Grebenstein, Brain Case, Pan Daijing and one of the curators of Wiener Festwochen portraits on Tolouse Low Trax and Sleaford Mods essay “Entropy as Exit” by DeForrest Brown Jr. on the Album Cellular Automata and Capital Dub Chapter 1 columns on the development of Dancehall (“Basslines”), the CJD-2000 (“Track Down Fiction”), pictures from the Johannesburg scene (“We Are Time”), Vinyl on Demand (“From Here Till Now”) as well as “Sound Texts” and “Gegen:stand” contributions by Jackie and Gil, Tomasa Del Real, Pure Mania and Bruno W.
Berlin/Barcelona battery, N.M.O. bifurcate their sound in a killer ‘split’ EP between the duo and their alter ego, D.A.F., arriving as the fourth instalment of CTM x VF’s Fear Anger Love series sprung from the festival’s 2017 edition.
The A-side takes shape as an “excursion of possible Caribbean YouTube islands”, resulting one part of pickled dancehall that sounds something like a live drums and computer interpretation of Equiknoxx’s avant-bashment, whilst the 2nd part juggles restless snares and pinging bleeps like Altered Natives attempting to soundtrack a new kind of UKF-meets-Kuduro bootcamp workout; Nu-Military Zumba, anyone?
A quick costume change later and the B-side presents their D.A.F. duo in excitable effect, going thru sweaty paces in a frenetic charge of of Chicago-meets-West German aerobics with the staccato claps, pointillist jabs and bugged-out vocals of the first section, and then clenching tight on the groove with Morten J. Olsen’s rictus drums and Rubén Patiño’s psychotomimetic electronics in the latter.
DMX Krew works a strong wink to YMO into the A-side’s percolated electro-house bimmer My Work, then goes on a freaky electro-acid jag with Hilbert’s Tenth Problem, before rubbing out one for the wall-bangers with the distinctly Analord-style tang of I’ll Make You Jack, and a stripped down 303 zig zinger, Flap Clanger.
That A-side’s a peach, just saying…
Long out of print, this album documents a professionally recorded live show at Krakow's Loch Ness Club.
"As anybody who has seen Faust live, in their countless different yet always wonderful forms, can testify, they're already such a musical high all other stimulants aren't necessary. Nothing against stimulants in all their weird 'n' wonderful forms, either.
Whatever, this remastered reissue once again illuminates the residual experience of a Faust concert in all its expectation-scrunching glory. Comprising the thirteen songs that constituted the original show, this set was produced by founders Jean-herve Peron and Zappi Diermaier, plus Amaury Cambuzat. Together they dovetail perfectly with one of Jhp's mantras during the occasion, "Od serca do duszy".
This translates from Polish to, "From heart to soul", which just about covers one of the many facets to Faust's incredible music, torn as it is itself into many shapes yet always at its core firmly defiant and celebratory."
Partner piece to Molly Nilsson’s upcoming ‘Imaginations’ album. Two parts of ‘80s pop belied by modern, snarky lyrics
“About Somebody seems to be about somebody, or maybe even somebody’s body, about desire too, perhaps. How else to interpret the line “Babe I want to party with you every night, and have a hard-on for the rest of my life?” But this is a Molly Nilsson song, and this is Empowering Content. Over a rousing, even anthemic, verse/chorus one-two, a soaring synth-string hook that rides the handclaps beautifully, we‘re soon left wondering whether our beloved narrator is really focusing on the “other” at all. Love lets you down: treat it mean, keep it keen, and remember if you can’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love any body else?
On the flip, Quit (In Time), is a classic minor-key Nilsson elegy to obsession and addiction, sounding almost close to an early 80s Springsteen love-story. Here we imagine Nilsson at the piano, her heart a resounding bell for all longing. If About Somebody is the tumultuous onset of an affair, here we’re hopelessly drawn to the flame, unable to leave alone that which causes the sweetest pain. It’s a universal theme, the longing for something we shouldn’t have, and Nilsson seems to elucidate the feeling with a precise, razor-sharp lyrical nous that fans will instantly recognise.
“Single” is about the self and the other; about navigating the love of others that tries to trip us up. But it’s also about you. “Single” is because you’re worth it.”
Rocksteady peach plucked from 1968 Jamaica and reissued on Studio One for the good of your soul.
The mellow rocksteady soul of Love Me Forever drifts across the front, backed with the more bubbling and haunting dancefloor pressure of Never Let Go on the other side. Those keening vocal harmonies are just devastating.
The clanky boom is strong one this one
Dublin techno captains Faetch & Sunil Sharpe put the kicks down four square and in your face in four parts, from he gnashing top line and bumpty jag of Pueblo Stomp to classic Downwards styles in Wriggleee and over to what sounds like a mad Pom Pom weapon in Trainer Books and its mental Hackapella.
July’s edition of the Wire magazine features Afrofuturist American flautist Nicole Mitchell on the cover and in conversation inside.
GRM director Kassel Jaeger is subject of a key feature, alongside a primer on improv legend Evan Parker, an Invisible Jukebox with Shabazz Palaces and a Global Ear cocked to Dali, S.W. China. Includes all the usual news, reviews and listings that you need to know, too.
Astounding cosmic techno mission by a trio of genuine heads, finally dug from their archive c. 2008, and licked up with remixes from Gilb’r (Chateau Flight, Versatile) and Gordon Pohl (Toresch, 3rd Wave, Kunstkopf).
The A-side is a straight-up blinder meshing kosmiche krautrock-style drum patterns with glittering, cascading arpeggios and synth washes in a futuristic but totally timeless original mix of Metaclaw. We can’t be arsed getting the stopwatch out but it must clock in at least 10 minutes long, following sweeping contours from the initial flight to an abyssal breakdown featuring vocal drones by Emanuelle Parrenin, then gearing up with a second wind of sparkling gamelan style percussion and a super wide, body engulfing bassline. Dispatched at the right time, this track will send a club into orbit.
There’s not much you add to the original without messing it up, so the remixers wisely head in opposite directions; Gordon Pohl, a noted slow-motion specialist, drags the groove down to a clammy 75bpm, subtly nudging his oscillators in and out of synch with 3rd eye-bending suss, before Gilbert Cohen strips it right down to the pulsating bassline and rebuilds a febrile battery of tribal drummers on top.
Arguably one of Aaron Turner’s most formidable post-Isis projects, Sumac’s The Deal  rears its leaden head again on Turner’s SIGE Records. If metal is meant to be heavy as fuck and leave you feeling as though you were mauled by a hangry bear under a full mooning the middle of a storm, this one’s a must see.
“ SUMAC is a new band who’s main core consists of Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer) and drummer Nick Yacyshyn from Baptists. Bass player Brian Cook (Russian Circles, Botch, These Arms Are Snakes) also joins the duo (as an auxiliary member) and did all the bass tracking on the band’s debut album entitled “The Deal”. An album consisting of steamroller crushing heaviness and methodical free-range technicality.
SUMAC came to form when Aaron Turner had the urge to create music that’s heavy and colossal once again, wanting to bring back the heaviness aspect that he incorporated in Isis, and what he currently does in the OLD MAN GLOOM collective, into a wholly new and different band unlike anything he has previously done before. With one of the goals for SUMAC was for Turner to write some of the heaviest music he has ever written, he found the ideal partner with Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn, one of the best drummers in heavy music today. With SUMAC, Yacyshyn allows himself to showcase and expand his drumming talents even further as it is with SUMAC where we will really witness the true talent of this drummer.
The duo would enter the studio in Seattle late summer to track “The Deal” with Mell Dettmer (Wolves In The Throne Room, Sunn 0)) etc.) where they would be joined by Russian Circles/Botch/These Arms Are Snakes bassist Brian Cook who would ultimately lay the pulse down for the album (which would be mixed by Kurt Ballou of Converge at Godcity Studios and mastered by Mikka Jusslla at Finvoxx Studios in Finland).
Overall, “The Deal” is an absolutely crushing album that stands its own ground which will bring some familiarity with Turner’s repertoire and bring back that classic Hydra Head Records forward-thinking sound and vibe.”
Jad Fair has been one of the premiere artists of the American Music scene since the late 1970’s. He has recorded with many of the best musicians and bands in the history of the world, including Half Japanese, Yo La Tengo, Daniel Johnston, R. Stevie Moore, Teenage Fanclub, Moe Tucker, The Pastels, Danielson, and Kramer.
"He's released over 50 albums. Not content with being a pretty boy rock & roll legend, Jad is also an accomplished artist, and has had 16 books of his art published in Europe, Japan and America. He and Kramer have worked together since Kramer produced two seminal LP’s from Half Japanese in the 1980’s; MUSIC TO STRIP BY, and THE BAND WHO WOULD BE KING.
They first collaborated as a duo in 1988 when they released ROLL OUT THE BARREL, and then again ten years later with THE SOUND OF MUSIC. KRAMER is a world unto himself. After paying his dues for 5 years with Eugene Chadbourne in both The Cadbourne’s and Shockabilly, Kramer joined the BUTTHOLE SURFERS in 1985 but only remained with the band through their first European tour before departing and establishing NOISE NEW YORK, his own 16-track recording studio in NYC. It was there that he founded his notorious SHIMMY-DISC record label, producing and releasing music by artists as diverse as DANIEL JOHNSTON, KING MISSILE, GWAR, GALAXIE 500, PUSSY GALORE, and his own bands, B.A.L.L. and BONGWATER. He then moved to a state-of-the-art 24track recording studio, Noise New Jersey, where he produced some of the greatest recordings by WILL OLDHAM, URGE OVERKILL (“Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” - for the Pulp Fiction Soundtrack), DANIELSON, and the first two LP’s by LOW.
THE HISTORY OF CRYING is JAD FAIR & KRAMER’s third collaboration, and their first in almost 20 years; 12 brand new songs produced by Kramer at his Florida studio, Noise Miami. Longtime fans of Jad Fair will be stunned by how he SINGS on this LP. No other LP in Jad’s storied career features him singing complex melodies in the manner he does here. From a life in music spanning over 40 years, It is unlike anything he has ever done before, and it is a wondrous thing to behold. Jad SINGS! This LP also features guitar solos by PAUL LEARY (BUTTHOLE SURFERS), whose contributions to this LP cannot be overestimated. BS fans will go hog wild."
Ismael debuts on Nous with a cranky, cracked batch of industrially-rooted, grimily forward club music.
Patently aware of contemporary club music’s roots and branches, Ismael weaves them together in a smart but grotty flux of styles that could really only have emerged in the swampy, temporal flatlands of 2017.
His Low Contrast kicks off with what sounds like Andy Stott heard thru a ceramic mug, before a sharp scene cut flings us into Stingray styled ghetto pneumatics with As She Walks By and DT100 rides that electro line like a clapped out Detroit muscle car that still runs if you stuff enough gas and prod her right.
The tangled modular plong and roil of Cross System opens the B-side into more abstract terrain, sorta like a lower fidelity answer to The Sprawl’s cybernetic recollections, before Shiel returns to the electro like a proper grouchy I-f joint, and the noxious streaks of Aftertalk scud off into some unknown future.
Wicked Dutch/Detroit hi-tech funk drills from Orlando Voorn and his Black Atlantic brother, Juan Atkins, reprising a vital relationship they first started way back in the early ‘90s.
Following Juan Atkins’ more mannered collaborations with Moritz Von Oswald, the Mind-Merge album is chock with jazz wise and techgnostic detail and blessed with a proper, direct drive engine, best heard in strong highlights such as the booming subaquatic electro pressure of Back To The Future and the lip-bitingly tight electro-techno disturbance of Revolve, and to more rugged degrees with the wild chromatics and sloshing groove of Spacewalkers, whilst Entourage is just high class Detroit at its hypnotic, yet woke, best.
Fingers Inc’s classic deep house template, Another Side  available to *officially* download for the first time, pulling together stacks of classic single cuts with exclusive album tracks.
A definitive document of the syncretised soul sound which emerged from mid-late ‘80s Chicago, Another Side draws on jazz, new age, boogie and electro-soul to set the framework for a legendary, heavily influential Afro-Futurist sound.
Now nigh on 30 years old, its soul still glows strongly and resonates for the ages.
Honestly, D&B fans haven’t had it this good for 20 years; again Dom & Roland keeps up the release pressure with vintage badness from the dungeons, Invasion and Revenge, both hearkening back to the legendary Metalheadz Blue Note sessions.
Invasion aka the Mothership remix clasps the A-side, recently discovered on DAT and now making its first ever appearance beyond Dom’s record box. The drum work is particularly rugged here, not strictly fierce but more loose, rolling and screw-faced with darkside stabs and tense atmospheres.
On the other hand, Revenge - another percy that was played only by Dom and a few others, Peeshay and Doc Scott included - gets into 2-step mode with a long, breezy intro precipitating gut wrench subs and a nasty af mid-range presence that lurks and threatens from the shadows.
Brighton-based Elizabeth Walling’s Gazelle Twin contributes to CTM x VF’s Fear Anger Love series with a trio of gaunt, bombed-out pieces inspired by J.G. Ballard’s final novel, Kingdom Come to follow up her widely appreciated 3rd LP, Fleshed Out .
We can hear a certain gothic dancefloor appeal woven into the slouchy jack and melting acid patinas of Metro, and she impresses with the marriage of strange overtone singing with Derrick May-like chaotic harmonies and stark rhythms in I Consume Only, before Hallowed limps off into a halflit distance.
Perhaps more than the other parts in the Fear Anger Love series, this one may require the piece’s original visual component - actors on treadmills set against a backdrop by Jonathan Barnbrook, aka the designer behind Bowie’s Backstair LP - or a reading of the original Ballard text before it, in order to fully grasp the work. But regardless, the 12” has still got a strange allure of its own making.
Reissue of the Abyssinians’ debut 7”, Declaration of Rights 
...which was actually written and recorded after their legendary Satta Massagana  - replete with a Version stripped down to leroy Sibbles and Sound Dimension’s heavy, heavy groove but keeping traces of the beautiful vocal harmony.
1981 debut album by new age pioneer JD Emmanuel.
"In 1980, with his newly acquired Crumar Traveler-1 organ, analog synths, guitar and various effects, he began building a body of warm, melodic, usually stripped-back ambient trance with a certain mystical vibe that's difficult to put into words.
On Rain Forest Music he builds gentle, short cycles of notes into floating clouds of sound, mostly improvising around single chords. The "minimalism" in his music lies not in repetitive patterns that barely change - the extreme end of classical minimalism - but more in the spare arrangements. There's also an open, loving optimism to the melodies that has obvious appeal to new age listeners.
Originally designed to enhance relaxation and meditation, as a background for massage or for counselling to help a person relax and open up faster.
Bandshell winds up some of his most pressurised material with he Part-Time Gunslinger EP on Charles Drakeford’s F T D following shots fired on Hessle Audio, Liberation Technologies and his own label, b.s. hell.
Reentering a scene which he arguably helped bring around with his patented, dry and kinetic sound circa 2012, he sticks to his guns here own all four parts, from the flinty Horsepower Production-style breakstep of Credit Fangs and the moody 2-step roil of Gruberfund backed with devilish concrète garage techno dynamics in Polarising Haircut and even a pause for introspection with the vacuum-sealed ambient interlude, Snow Directives.
Top artwork too.
Wicked little dub treat from Salons Des Amateurs patron Stefan Schwander (Harmonious Thelonious) and his pal, introducing Johenson on the head-pinching, oxygen depleted steppers’ dub high of Carry On, then tagging in Leroy Versions on the B-side’s sozzled digi-dub skank, Sweeter Than Brandy.
Cute and deadly.
Brilliant, super limited vinyl only LP from Powell breaking down and recombining styles in a way that hearkens back to the syncretic clusterf*ck of musics - house, industrial EBM, early electro, glam and synth-pop - which made up original, late ‘80s Belgian New Beat, and which fed into the emergence of an early rave techno sound.
New Beta Vol.1 finds Powell also hacking and splicing formative influence from late ’90s UK D&B, noise and cantankerous No wave electro into a breathlessly taut, mercurial alternative to modern day familiarity, briskly refreshing his sound while making no bones about its roots or compromise to its fractious nature.
The seven tracks of New Beta Vol.1 find smarter, looser points of connection and juxtaposition between their mutual and exclusive binds, better consolidating his dancefloor impetus with an emotive thrust that he’s previously preferred to dance around or assuage in favour of outright madness.
Whether its the bittersweet bubble of opener Teddy, the cascading synth harmonies of Freezer, or in the brain-frothing ambient strokes of Electric Sheep, the shocking flashes of pathos which began to emerge from certain angles of Sport are now rendered with more space to move and cause affect, tempering his pinched, nipped and ripping grooves with a vacillating ambiguity and tempestuous quality that bears up to closer listens at home or on headphones.
Ultimately New Beta Vol.1 is definitely still Powell, but perhaps reveals a truer reflection of the artist’s musical make-up, one sure to lasso new fans as well as pique the interests of those who’ve intently watched his development since 2011.
Scorching reggae-soul minter resisted on its original format for first time! Original copies are known to trade 2nd hand for nearly £700, and it’s not hard to hear why!
It’s really all about that kinked 16th note shuffle and bluesy cadence on the mondo charming Soulful Strut, but sure the gangsters and suedeheads will find something to skank with on the B-side’s Time Is Tight.
Second of two DjRum 12"s features the concluding parts of 'Mountains'
Ramping the tempo to an almost uncomfortably quick Juke momentum, but still with the warm flush of jazz chords and swirling atmospheres, kinda like Blue Daisy jacked on meth. Flipside is 'Turiya', swinging to a 2-step flex branded with well deployed classic Garage Rave samples and a scuffed but deceptively crisp finish for the club.
Freddie McGregor’s classic roots reggae lick, Bobby Babylon bubbles up for reissue on Studio One, with the well-known original backed by its lean Hi Fashion Dub from Studio One bossman Clement Dodd.
DjRum reappears on the radar after that ace remix of LV and Message To Bears with two hi-tech, and highly organised post-'step rollers.
A-side 'Undercoat' sets the tone with low-lit pads and a vocal snippet giving way to sleek, stepping rhythm, a fluid and highly detailed composition equally apt for home or club play. Flipside 'Mountains Pt.1' drops the tempo to go on a classy Dubstep/Techno vibe, hitting the mark with swinging Techno rhythms embellished by sweeping strings and a folksy vocal.
Ruggedly foolproof house and funked-up electro from Glasgow’s Fake Left on Rubadub’s in-house label.
A-side; Borders Night Train is a proper deep acid trip stretching out with thee creamiest 303 licks and pendulous, rolling groove - the sort of tackle that will melt gurns and raise arms at 3am in a forest, basement or warehouse anywhere.
B-side; Depth Contours flanges into view with a head and body compressing turn of deep electro-house funk primed for fans of the Italian experts; Leonardo Martelli, Raiders Of The Lost Arp, Marco Passarani.
Icy hot proto-house/electro sweetness right here from Elias Mazian, cutting off an intoxicating taste of Amsterdam in three parts for Tom Trago’s Voyage Direct.
A-side heats up with the Larry Heard-Meets-James Mason at Paradise Garage vibes of Duplicate and its low key, deeper garage versioning in a sublime Dream Mix, replete with longing vocals recalling that amazing 12” from The System on Music From Memory.
B-side is inhabited by SHH…, a deep tribal house burner rolling on sweetly building synth energies to a supoib boogie breakdown and Other People Place-like electro-house 2nd half.
Dead classy, like.
The 2nd of 4 parts to Palmbomen II’s Memories Of Cindy recollects five parts of ambient acid and boogie melancholy from the dustiest, nostalgic recesses of his LA-shaped mind.
Standing out from a crowded scene by dint of his carefully loose and intoxicating arrangements, Palmbomen II’s sound is displayed in all its low-key glory here, bubbling up with subliminally effective grip in the metallic acid tweaks and haunting female vocal of pyrotechnomarco and the gorgeous ethereal hymn, Forever Afsluitdijk, before giving the ‘floor something to bump with in the raggedly dubbed proto-house chops of IAO Industries, and then turning to Troma-style romance themes with Transportzone Meer, and hugging the tape tightly with his frayed, synthy slow jam Dancing & Crying.
Stepping’ reggae soul gem from 1971 Jamaica, reissued for first time in decades by Studio One.
Lord Tango’s aching croon keeps us rapt over laid-back groove on the front, with Jackie Mittoo taking centre stage on his throne as the keyboard king flipside.