On vinyl for the first time, a full battery of fucked drums and textured edits from Bryn Jones’ Muslimgauze, roughly to the span of the ‘90s, shortly before he passed long before his time in 1999.
‘Jackal The Invizible’ premieres 14 tracks from his endless tranche of DATs, typically including alternate versions of previously issued material alongside tracks exclusive to this set. With each new Muslimgauze archival delivery we feel for the crew at Staalplaat who have to try and make sense of his practically non-existent cataloguing system, which mostly consisted of DAT tapes with a track-listing and no further information. But that’s also become part of the puzzle of working a way thru his body of work, which always leaves more questions than answers, with countless more tapes yet to be unarchived, heard and catalogued.
On this one we direct straight to the title track for one of his rudely house oriented swangers, and also to the alternate version of ‘Fedayeen Bharboo of Pakistan Railways’ for a salty slap of mutant dancehall, while the spare drums of ‘Degage’ are a possible nod to Gescom’s Disengage shows (some of these do date to the early-mid ‘90s?) and ‘Kabul is free under a veil’ remnds us that time is a loop.
Epic 30th Anniversary Limited Boxset
"Since 1991, Tresor has provided a home for artists to germinate their ideas for advanced new sounds and broadcast them to the world. The pioneers that first traversed the Detroit-Berlin connection and were at the forefront of a new cultural movement gave to Tresor its original and continuing mission: community, resistance and reshaping the world to come.
The Tresor 30 compilation represents a major landmark in this continuing history of electronic music. This unique collection of music profiles some of the artists that gave the previous three decades of Tresor its sound and foundation, but it also casts its gaze forward. Writing new postcards from the future, this collection brings new artists who main- tain a connection to that original mission to the fore, charting ways in which this ethos can contin- ue to build bridges and break walls in the next 30 years.
Bringing together 52 essential tracks - both clas- sics and exclusive commissions - each of the 12 records in this box-set charts a unique line of flight from those artists that helped define the shape of this new music to those who continue to pattern its landscape further."
Back in circulation.
Come to Daddy is alright really, but the real treasure is inside with 'Flim's brittle piano motif x skittering rhythms, 'Bucephalus Bouncing Ball's DSP ricochet and into the beautifully unhinged 'Come to Daddy (Little Lord Faulteroy Mix)' with its dirty little boy hook.
Used to be in awe of this shit, still sounds pretty good, can confirm.
Gabber Modus Operandi, Vessel, KMRU, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Caterina Barbieri, Tygapaw and plenty more offer their own interpretations of Lyra Pramuk's exceptional debut "Fountain" on this bumper remix album. Made up of both new compositions and direct remixes.
While Pramuk's meditative and reflective "Fountain" didn't need any additional assistance, this global collaborative effort is a reminder of its sparkling positivity. The Berlin-based auteur has typically opted for a left-field take on the remix album, offering artists the opportunity to create new work from the roots of "Fountain" or simply sink their teeth into a single track.
Kenyan-born KMRU, who's also currently stationed in Berlin, offers an early highlight with a cross-"Fountain" soundscape that glues Pramuk's elegiac vocals to his own tactile synth fizz and organ-esque low-end bump. And while Hudson Mohawke's expectedly beat-focused rework of 'Tendril' is an avoidable mood-breaker, Kara-Lis Coverdale's fresh composition 'Returnless' is long, lavish and unashamedly glorious, following Pramuk's lead with a trail of purple silk.
Caterina Barbieri also impresses, adding her cascading synth to 'Tendril', while Vessel builds new track 'Fountain (ars amatoria)' out of fragments. Ever the overachiever, Eris Drew contributes not one but two new tracks, the psychedelic, ambient 'Sugarcube Revelations' and dusty house banger 'Everything is Beautiful & Alive'. But it's Indonesian party-starters Gabber Modus Operandi who shuttle Pramuk's music into the most unexpected places on 'Kaca Bulan Baru', a disorientating hi-nrg ritual grounded in Pramuk's sprit-rousing screams.
Always a salve for the soul, Death is Not the End’s latest turns to folklorist Derek Piotr for a set of hauntingly raw folk, blues and country songs saved from obscurity in the annals of The Library of Congress
“Folklorist Derek Piotr pulls together mountain songs from North Carolina crossing nearly a century. Child ballads and local murder songs sit alongside dulcimer & close harmony singing. The star of the compilation, Mrs. Lena Bare Turbyfill, could have been another Texas Gladden in her own right, but dozens of recordings of herself and her family made in 1939 remained on a shelf in The Library of Congress, until they were unearthed by Derek and presented on this collection. Mrs. Turbyfill's daughter Nicky also makes a notable appearance here.”
Jim O’Rourke pushes Apartment House to test their limits via an open-ended score for string trio requiring the players to whistle and sing wordlessly, with absorbing, minimalist results.
Commissioned by Anton Lukoszevieze of Apartment House, who also perform the work with exacting patience and nuance, ‘Best that you do this for me’ is a 50 minute work for string trio (featuring Lukoszevieze alongside Mira Benjamin and Bridget Carey) that also requires the performers to work out of their comfort zones, with additional instructions for them to whistle and sing, as well as play their instruments (violin, viola, cello.) The piece was originally performed in a 15 minute iteration for the BBC, but in this new expanded version its wider scope leads the players to unpredictable harmonic junctures as they work their way around its cyclical indications, overlapping into achingly mournful and sighing cadences with a glacially time-slipping quality.
O’Rourke was inspired to incorporate whistling and singing into the piece after re-listening to a few choral works by Martin Smolka, and was struck by how this relatively simple and always “on hand” instrument is rarely used. In the context of highly skilled instrumentalists such as Apartment House, the simple gesture of whistling and singing becomes a radical one, encouraging the trio to offset and balance their skills and intuition in a sometimes unnerving way that lends the work a beautifully uncertain character, unfurling like an archipelago of islands illuminated by moonlight and punctuated with gulfs of dark, pregnant silence.
Trevor Duncan’s soundtrack to Chris Marker’s cinematic masterpiece - a direct inspiration on 1995’s ’12 Monkeys’ - is back in circulation on a limited edition clear vinyl pressing.
‘La Jetée’ (The Jetty) is an award-winning 1962 sci-fi directed by Chris Marker, almost entirely constructed from haunting still images, with accompanying narration and Trevor Duncan’s uncanny sound design moving between whispers, systolic pulses, orchestral strings and sweeping choral leitmotifs that forms its remarkable soundtrack. It's been noted as a direct inspiration on Terry Gilliam’s now-classic 1995 US sci-fi (and premonition of the pandemic), ’12 Monkeys’, with which it shares themes of post-apocalyptic dystopia, time travel, and the evocative oddness of memory recall. The soundtrack remained unreleased on any format until Superior Viaduct stepped in with a 2016 pressing - one of those records that never fails to elicit a strong response from anyone who encounters its dreamlike atmosphere.
The film is available to watch (for free) on YouTube and is highly recommended, but the soundtrack has taken on a life of its own. This vinyl edition features the english and french narrations a side apiece, unfurling the soundtrack’s spare air with a poetic magic that resembles an immersive radio play, carried by the narrator’s voice low in the mix, and with a precious grasp of negative space that leaves so much to the imagination. More than half a century since its theatrical release, ‘La Jetée’ still occupies a strange, liminal position in the collective cultural consciousness, and with many of us practically enforced into solitary reflection - it’s effect resonates perhaps more strongly than ever.
Essential listening, no less.
Chock full of humid, resonant soundscapes that bend time and emphasize texture, tone and timbre, Sarah Davachi's latest is her most defining and rewarding full-length to date. We're floored, again - there's nobody else doing it quite like this.
Composed using a Mellotron, electric organ, piano and synthesizers, "Antiphonals" takes all the elements we know and love from Davachi's impressive catalogue to date and refines them into eight tracks of expertly-sculpted deep listening stickiness. If you're familiar with her work, the content won't be surprising, but Davachi's dedication to her craft has resulted in music that feels more and more revelatory each time.
Here, she brings her obsession with the tonal and textural character of early music to the fore, playing confidently with sounds that exist two or three steps from the contemporary sonic spectrum. Her favored outpost is a cocoon of soft-focus resonance, where sounds graze lightly and hypnotize rather than scrape or bruise. It's not background music - this is art that requires attention and understanding to appreciate its layered beauty and subtle complexity.
There are no real standouts or big moments, rather "Antiphonals" is a single long-running excerpt of Davachi's sonic thesis that plays continuously without a defined beginning or a defined end. It's a privilege to spend time in her world, listening to sacred music melt into prog rock and sensual, experimental drone into blurry neoclassical ambience. There are plenty of musicians who attempt to reach this jewelled nirvana, and precious few who get close - Davachi is currently sitting near the center. Breathtaking.
Another Timbre finally realise their long-held ambition of putting together new recordings of John Cage’s Number Pieces, here performed by Apartment House who shine a light on Cage’s late period “reconciliation with harmony” on a staggering set of recordings that span over 5 hours in length and which will likely upend everything you thought you knew about the late, great composer's legacy. In other words; it’s a highly immersive, quiet and meditative entry-point to his vast catalogue that comes very highly recommended to old guard and complete newcomers alike - a mind/soul expanding session awaits you.
The Number Pieces were written by Cage during the final five years of his life, 1987-1992, and are widely regarded the most broadly appealing of his vast oeuvre - despite few of them having been performed over the past couple of decades. The starting point for the pieces is typical of Cage’s chance procedures - they don’t have a set time signature, bar lines or a conductor, and the musicians performing can decide when and how loud or soft to play each note, making each and every performance of a number piece unique. As the recordings took place during lockdown between August 2020 and May 2021, many of the individual parts were recorded separately and edited in in post-production, presenting a far from ideal, yet intriguing additional dimension to these performances.
Titled for the number of players (i.e. Five) and their position in the series of compositions (i.e. Five²), each piece accords to a score composed using Cage’s time bracket technique; short fragments which indicate performers play what is often just a single note, and for a mix of fixed and flexible durations. Some were composed for non-Western instruments, but this set focusses on works for traditional instruments, deploying a range from Accordion to Xylophone in myriad configurations.
The set is broadly centred around variations to one of Cage’s earliest number pieces ‘Five’, variations of which account for half of the set, and range from relatively succinct, gorgeous interpretations to a 40 minute rendering of its trombone and string quartet version ‘Five³’. Most striking to us, however, is the remarkably cavernous, abstract space explored in their take on ‘Fourteen’ and also ‘Seven²’, both demanding percussionists use “any very resonant instruments”, while the brief, Gamelan-esque ’Six’ also points to Cage’s fascinations with Far eastern traditions. The hour long ‘Eight’ for wind is also striking for the way Apartment House slowly comprehend its complexities (more than 80 time brackets per part) across its considerable arcing breath.
In effect, the Number Pieces reveal Cage’s return to ideas of harmony after ostensibly finding ways around it ever since his studies under serialist Arnold Schoenberg in the ‘30s. They are perhaps the most beautifully ponderous manifestation of his work with chance operations, or use of the I-Ching as compositional tool, and the soundest reflection of his notion that a harmony exists in everything, if one’s to acknowledge the possibilities that lie beyond the restrictions of classical convention - the rest of the world, the un/known cosmos, and everything between. For the Cage curious and acolytes alike, Apartment House and Another Timbre have here managed to frame Cage in an unexpected light, presenting us with an unmissable entry portal to his most rarified realisation of cosmic chaos.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen, the collaboration between Stars of the Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O'Halloran, return with ‘Invisible Cities’, the score to the acclaimed theatre production directed by London Olympics ceremony video designer Leo Warner and produced by Manchester International Festival, Rambert, 59 Productions and Karl Sydow.
"Premiering at Manchester International Festival in July 2019, Wiltzie and O'Halloran were commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Rambert, Brisbane Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, Sadler’s Wells, SMG Live, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Cultural Centre (JACC) and Karl Sydowto to compose the music for the 90-minute multimedia stage show adapted from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel. Centered on the tense relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo, ‘Invisible Cities’ brings to life a series of fantastical places and disparate worlds through the medium of theatre, music, dance, design and visuals. Described by The Sunday Times as “a beautiful frenzy of movement”, ‘Invisible Cities’ was originally conceived as a touring project with its last performance in Brisbane, Australia before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it.
Transformed into 45 minutes of breathtaking beauty, ‘Invisible Cities’ opens with the numinous ‘So That the City Can Begin to Exist’, as Wiltzie and O'Halloran draw breath from distinctively enthralling and vastly expansive worlds. The ominous soundscapes of ‘The Dead Outnumber the Living’ contrast with the new beginnings that are presented in ‘Every Solstice & Equinox’, while the jagged and uneasy ‘Thirteenth Century Travelogue’ is one of tension and dread. Elsewhere, ‘The Divided City’ captivates and intrigues while ‘Only Strings and Their Supports Remain’ and ‘There Is One of Which You Never Speak’ are bold roars for survival before the choral ambience of ‘Desires Are Already Memories’ and piercing drones of ‘Total Perspective Vortex’ bring down the curtain on a spectacular and incredibly emotive body of work. Released on their own Artificial Pinearch Manufacturing label, ‘Invisible Cities’ comes as part of an agreement with A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s current label, Ninja Tune.
Releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011 (Erased Tapes), A Winged Victory for the Sullen has developed something of a cult status over the past decade and alongside artists such as Max Richter, Hauschka, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Tim Hecker, are the vanguard of the neoclassical and ambient world and can count the likes of Jon Hopkins as fans.
The duo has gone on to release two further studio albums; ‘Atomos’ (Erased Tapes, 2014) and most recently ‘The Undivided Five’ (Ninja Tune, 2019) and were asked to perform at the BBC proms in 2015 by 6 Music presenter Mary Anne Hobbs. A Winged Victory for the Sullen also scored the music for the independent film ‘Iris’ (2016), directed by Jalil Lespert.
Wiltzie is best known as founding member of drone legends Stars of the Lid, The Dead Texan and Aix Em Klemm and has scored multiple film projects including ‘American Woman’ (2019) starring Sienna Miller, ‘Salero’ (2016¬) and The Yellow Birds (2017). In 2018, he also scored ‘Whitney’ (2018), the estate-approved documentary about the life of the late Whitney Houston, directed by Kevin Macdonald. Elsewhere, his original music has featured in Hollywood films including ‘Transformers: Dark of The Moon’ (2011), ‘Godzilla’ (2014), ‘Like Crazy’ (2011) and acclaimed TV shows including ‘House M.D’, ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Top Boy’. He also collaborated with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson on his scores for ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014) and ‘Arrival’ (2016).
O'Halloran, a self-taught pianist from the age of 7, began his musical life as a guitarist and formed the much-loved indie rock outfit Dévics with Sara Lov, releasing four albums on Bella Union. As a solo artist, he has composed music for numerous film and television projects including Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006) and Drake Doremus’ ‘Like Crazy' (2011) starring Felicity Jones. Demand for his film scores is high and in 2015, he won an Emmy for theme music for the Golden Globe-winning Amazon series ‘Transparent’, starring Jeffrey Tambor. He has also collaborated with film composer Hauschka on numerous films, including ‘Lion’ (2016), with the score nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe. Most recently, he co-composed the music for the film ‘Ammonite’ (2020) with Volker Bertelmann, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan."
Tirzah's second album is a fuzz'd-aut, narcotic dreamscape, all screwed trip-pop soulfulness and buzzing, chaotic layers of harmonic noize and hazy ambience. An even slower burn than her cult debut, "Colourgrade" is subtly surprising and calmly mindblowing - co-produced again with Mica Levi and Coby Sey plus an additional stealth production job from Kwake Bass & Dean Blunt. Yeah, Next level.
There's something about the way "Colourgrade" was recorded that makes each song sound like a memory, or a blast of familiar warmth from another room. But Tirzah hasn't doused her "Devotion" follow-up in cheap nostalgia or genre signalling. She uses memory as a creative tool, to sketch the outlines of songs and emotions in charcoal before she inks her evolving narrative. This time the songs are broadly structured around motherhood, being written after the birth of her first child and right before the arrival of her second. In her own words, they detail the process of "recovery, gratitude and new beginnings."
Since "Devotion" was released in 2018, we've witnessed a resurgence of interest in lo-glo trip-hop flutter, and since lockdown the home listening mood has been amplified. But Tirzah smartly swerves this obvious route, retaining the soulful downtempo loveliness of her debut but pepping it up with dissociated abstraction, pensive glaciality and smoove, slippery romanticism. In contemplating motherhood and the bond between parent and child, she creates musical swaddling that feels soothing but doesn't resort to cheap thrills.
The title track cracks open the record with timestretched words and rubbery synths melted over brassy bass sounds in arhythmic cacophony. Whistles take over completely and the expected beat never arrives; it's like a soulful acapella injected into a mercifully short psychedelic voyage. Advance single 'Tectonic' offers us the decelerated groove we may have been expecting, with icey cold vocals over downsampled funk that's half '96 Tricky and half '21 Taz & Meeks.
At its best, "Colourgrade" is unsettlingly simple. On its surface the Dean Blunt co-produced 'Recipe' is a stark vocal over a squashed half-speed beat, but repeat listens tear the seal off the tub, letting the prismatic warmth of complex emotionality haze into the atmosphere - it's just so good. The album's longest piece, 'Crepuscular Rays' is also its most uncompromisingly strange, with Tirzah's disembodied, mutated voice dripping like strawberry syrup over creamy phased waves of strummed electric guitar.
One of the most satisfying and consistently surprising records we've heard in 2021 so far, "Colourgrade" feels as sentient and unpredictable as the new lives that inspired it. It's gonna keep on growing.
Second release in Nonclassical's 'Fieldwave' compilation series, featuring Sugai Ken, Midori Hirano, Ken Nishikawa, Tomoko Hoj, Max Reinhardt and more.
"Fieldwave, Vol. 2 is the second release in the label's compilation series created by broadcaster Nick Luscombe, bringing together artists with field recording at the heart of their work. This second volume focuses on the sounds of Japan, with tracks from Japanese musicians and from British artists who have gathered recordings via trips to Japan.
"I created the Fieldwave compilation series in 2020 as a window to the world of field recordings and wider acoustic ecology, via the work of recordists, sound artists and musicians from around the world", says Nick Luscombe, who compiles the series of releases. "For this, the second volume of Fieldwave, I decided to look to Japan as inspiration – surely one of the most sonically rich places on earth.""
The new release from Ultramarine, "Interiors".
Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond, who had become friends while growing up together in the Essex countryside, formed Ultramarine in 1989. Throughout the 90s their distinctive music, an enticing blending of acoustic with electronic instruments, secured a loyal following and won critical acclaim. Then, throughout the whole of the next decade, Ultramarine lay dormant. Interiors documents their reawakening, with Cooper and Hammond exploring approaches to music-making made possible by recently developed software, designed specifically with live performance in mind.
On Interiors, the roots of that slinky single are laid bare on the purely instrumental track "Find A Way Back." Its two distinct parts stretch out the beats and flaunt those tropical flourishes, shuffling and flexing, vibrant and heady, languid and sultry. This is techno filtered through the fabric of magic realism, an exotically spiced concoction, chilled and ready to be savoured at home.
With the diagrammatic clarity of its punchy thrust and spooling loops "Even When" distils the essence of Cooper and Hammond's way of working with their musical material: layering and shaping, nurturing textures, plaiting rhythms and juggling accents. The cumulative impact is almost sculptural in its physical immediacy and looming presence. In contrast, on "By Return" the duo skew the outcome, projecting a selection of limber figures into dub's auditory hall of mirrors. They are clearly revelling in the reverb, relishing the recoil and decay."
40th anniversary reissue of top shelf new wave/synth-pop power chops from John Foxx, remastered with a bonus disc of B-sides, obscurities, and alternate versions
‘The Garden’ is John Foxx’s classic 2nd album, following from his synth-pop/new wave template-setting ‘Metamatics’ earlier in 1981. Where his debut was a one man and his synth affair which proved a bloke from Chorley could emulate an orchestra worth of ideas with machines, this sophomore side saw Foxx draw on his travels around England in that album’s wake, transcribing observations on the decay of an old world into a more full bodied recording stacked with real players on guitars and drums, etc. Despite attempts to mask it, the beautiful decay which he describes has not gone away - the efflorescent piss stains still blossom blighty’s flammable cladded façade. While it’s brand of poetic license and dramatic pomp does feel from another era, ‘The Garden’ is still as inviting and immersive 40 years later, ripe for cruising the country at night and glyding between the crumbling sprawl of concrete, wires, pebbledash, brownfield and tattered union jack-offs that we’re all too familiar with.
Opening with a titular nod to the Max Ernst painting ‘Europe After The Rain’, Foxx almost portrays himself as the work’s Lop Lop figure, observing a humbled England at the turn of the ‘80s, crooning in inspirationally romantic tones over a formula of sleek machine grooves and Robin Simon’s textured guitars that set the tone for the next decade. The album continues to express his Catholic upbringing with a throbbing take on the Lord’s Prayer sung in Latin on ‘Pater Noster’, while ‘Night Suit’ speaks to the English nightlife experience, and ‘The Garden’ offers perhaps the album’s finest evocation of the dark side of english pastoralism that this country weirdly thrives on, meshing Gregorian chant inspired vox with gothic synths and a sense of tragic, dramatic elegance and doom. Factor in B-side zingers such as the proto-darkwave ace ‘Swimmer II’, the lush fanfare of ‘Swimmer III’ and the queasy glam strut of ‘Miles Away’ and you have a really classic expression of english identity for the ages.
Haunting Lithuanian folk songs and choral works from Merope, latest lambs to the Stroom flock shepherded by Ziggy Devriendt aka Nosedrip, a big big tip to fans of Kara-Lis Coverdale.
Immediately calling to mind strains of the Fonal label circa the mid ‘00s (Islaja, Paavoharju, et al), and likewise lilting, worldly traces of the label’s NSRD/Hardijs Lediņš releases; ’Salos’ is a very non-Sadian suite of pastoralism from the top shelf of Lithuanian music. It’s an effortlessly enchanting listen that never tests the listeners’s patience, carrying us through seven immaculate scenes centred on the lead voice of Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė, and harmonised with the Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika, known for their performances of Arvo Pärt’s music.
Perhaps most intriguing is the inclusion of American Pakistani multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily lending electric piano to the fractal bliss of ‘El Dvipa’ and wistful dreaminess of ‘Luliomoj’ that bookend the set, but if any one song should make you fall for them, try the melt-on-mind delicacy of ‘Vilnia’ and go from there.
Unmatched vanguard pop 'n freeform folk fire here from two regular collaborators at the height of their creative powers. North African folk styles rub against French chanson and minimalist electronic drones sit alongside rapid hand-drum experiments and acid-washed vocal improvisations. Thirty-three tracks of explorative, intimate back-and-forth from two visionary artists who inspired everyone from Jim O'Rourke and Sonic Youth to Stereolab and Björk.
'Vous Et Nous' was misunderstood when it emerged back in 1977. Fontaine and her creative partner Areski had already worked together exhaustively by the time it was released, but this bumper collection experiments was a startlingly unique proposition. The album began as a solo proposition from Areski, who worked at Jean-Pierre Chambard's studio improvising direct to tape and recording poems, percussive ideas and brief folk songs. Fontaine began adding her contributions covertly, dubbing vocals while Areski was sleeping - over time, these additions became bolder, and 'Vous Et Nous' began to materialize from the ether.
The album's sketchiness is part of its appeal; each track feels like an attempt to explore a different avenue: opener 'Vous et nous' pairs sufi-like vocal chants with burbling analog electronix, 'Patriarcat' is p-funk influenced low-slung electro pop, 'Je suis venu te voir' is acidic North African folk, 'Le ciel' drifts from Berber percussion into chintzy chanson. Heard together, it's like listening to a free flowing mixtape, you know - the best kind.
KID A MNESIA is coming, a triple-album release marking the 21st anniversary of Kid A and Amnesiac, collecting both albums alongside a newly compiled third disc titled 'Kid Amnesiae' which is exclusive to this release and features unearthed material culled from the Kid A / Amnesiac sessions plus alternate versions and elements of Kid A and Amnesiac album tracks and B-Sides, Kid Amnesiae features the never-before-heard "If You Say the Word” and a previously unreleased studio recording of "Follow Me Around.”
These are the formats:
3LP: Three 12" half-speed cut black vinyl pressings of KID A (A/B), Amnesiac (C/D) + KID AMNESIAE (E/F) bonus volume containing unreleased material, in artwork sleeves - available on limited edition Red or Black vinyl.
3CD: Three compact discs containing KID A, Amnesiac + KID AMNESIAE bonus disc containing unreleased material, in artwork sleeves.
Liz Harris's 12th album is a heart-melting anthology of songs written over the last 15 years. A mixture of 'Dragging A Dead Deer...' emotional rawness and 'AIA' -style tape-dubbed sonic fog, it's a timely reminder of why she's one of the crucial underground voices of the era.
When Harris's early Grouper material began to emerge thru the cracks in the wall of wyrd folk CDRs and hand-made cassette tapes, we could already sense it was something different. There was a bare quality to it that set it out of time: this was music that sounded as harmonious with Slowdive's melancholy shimmer as it did with the Olympia and Washington DIY set. 'Shade' is a career-spanning set that accurately charts her evolution thru the years, running a course that broaches ambient music, Laurel Canyon folk, grunge, dream pop, and everything in-between.
Her music is unified by its unique spirit and personified by Harris's voice - a ubiquitous element that's sometimes an elasticated, ghostly whisper and at others a spiraling coo. On opening track 'Followed the ocean', it's an assured driving force, but her powerful tones are reduced to glowing cinder beneath the burn of overdriven, tape-distorted noise. Words are present, but indecipherable - it's like hearing a song taped from radio and endlessly re-duplicated for heightened ghosting. The fog dissipates on 'Unclean mind', harking back to 'Heavy Water' with a grunge-y strum and angelic moans.
'Shade' is a good title, because the interplay between openness and insularity lies at the heart of the album. From track to track is sounds as if Harris is revealing herself and then retreating under a blanket of tape hiss. 'The way her hair falls' is so clean you could hear a pin drop, making out every nuance in Harris's voice. The biggest surprise is the album's closing track 'Kelso (Blue sky)', where her vocals are finally given a grand treatment, drenched in reverb but completely tangible. The result is a glimmering slice of lingering acid folk that sounds divorced from time and space.
Autechre, aye, casually flip SOPHIE’s ‘BIPP' heater into a sort of freestyle pop diamond to get 2021 off on the right foot. We’re massively feeling this...
Way back in 2013, the addictive electro-pop additives of ‘BIPP’ helped position SOPHIE among the decade’s thrilling new talents after introductions made on the ‘Nothing More To Say’ 12”. SOPHIE has since admitted to a formative love of Autechre in interviews, so a certain circle is closed with Æ’s mix of ‘Bipp’, 5 years in the works and emphasising the original’s latin freestyle pop essence with sizzling hi-hat trills and that ultra vocal hook, but here deployed slower and with a rugged assymetry - more goretex than latex? Quite honestly it’s the best thing we’ve heard from Autechre in ages - properly forward, blunted business with a squashed Gescom vibe that pushes a lot of our buttons all at once.
"In 2015 when potential remixes of BIPP were first floated the unequivocal response from SOPHIE was “No remixes..” a long pause followed “..unless it’s Autechre”. We asked, and five years later an email from Autechre arrived “sorry this is so late, hope it's still of some use”. An Autechre live show recording from a Numbers show in 2005 had first inspired SOPHIE to source the equipment used to craft new music including BIPP, LEMONADE & more. The BIPP Autechre mx is 3 minutes 33 seconds long, stripped back and loose. Sounding like Autechre paying tribute to some serious late 80’s influences. The duo's interpretation channels an imagined transition point between NY electro and UK street soul, that pitched down SOPHIE vocal reconfigured into a wanna-be Latin Freestyle Natasha King, jiving over a deep slice of TR-606 funk technology.”
So, wow. This is the first ever compendium of Martin Hannett's work with Steve Hopkins as The Invisible Girls. Comprising rare and largely unheard gems from 1976 - 1987.
As the story goes, Hannett & Hopkins met at a Soft Machine show at UMIST in 1976, where the former had graduated with a chemistry degree, and was advised to tap up the latter for some weed. The smoke must have been decent ‘cos a week later they were jamming in Hannett’s Chorlton flat with Dave Tomlinson of Magazine and Visage, who would lend them his ARP 2600 synth. One month later they were creating the soundtrack for a bizarre stop motion animation, ‘All Sorts of Heroes’, which makes up much of the second half of the compilation with its fuzzy psych-funk and more atmospheric strokes of piano and synth.
The set frames a remarkable and ambitious relationship between the pair, ranging from Hannett's amazing solo gear ranging from shuddering rhythmic noise to windswept ambience and the jaw-dropping proto techno-disco sophistication of 'Space Music', plugging a fair old gap in Manchester music history, especially for fans of Factory, post punk and electronic music.