The Portland lunar explorers embrace the dark side of Moon Duo for the first of a two-part opus on Sacred Bones.
Two years after disappearing into The Shadow Of The Sun, Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada re-emerge as Moon Duo for another journey deep into the mystical psyche. Despite sounding like a Legowelt concept album about 4th world pagan skyscrapers, Occult Architecture instead sees Johnson and Yamada exploring 'invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.' This loose thematic arc is spread over two volumes by Moon Duo, with darkness the pervading subtext across the seven tracks on this inaugural edition.
Don't expect a drastic departure from Moon Duo's ouevre however; the strident motorik drums, spectral harmonies, spiraling organs and squalling guitar feedback remain a constant as escape the yin in search of yang.
Thanks to the support of 500 Kickstarter backers who invested in this recording, Emika has enlisted soprano Michaela Srumova and the Prague Metropolitan Orchestra, conducted by Paul Batson, to realise Melanfonie.
Techno virtuoso Aybee follows a similar recent trajectory as his fellow Deepblak traveller, Afrikan Sciences, to present some of his strongest material, bar none, on his latest opus The Odyssey.
His follow-up to the Sketches Of Space collaboration with Afrikan Sciences pursues 10 lines of cosmic techno enquiry intersecting the ‘floor, the head and farthest flung star systems in a journey of discovery and subtle experimentation.
There’s no radical change to his sound, more a firm consolidation of the classically-rooted but forward-looking ideas that were previously there in his sound; resulting highlights in the hydro-electric techno charge of Down The Rabbit Hoel, and an inimitably crimped Afrobeat dip in Ank and Asteroid Lust, or with superbly fluid electro-trance synth leads in The Professor and the Kassem Mosse-like Build Them.
After teasing us to bits with The Moomins Theme 7”, Finders Keepers pull out the full, UK-specific soundtrack to practically everyone’s favourite Finnish fuzzy felt fantasy, written in 1982 by a pair of politically driven post-punk theatre performers from a shared house in Leeeds. One of the trippiest bouts of nostalgia you’ll ever receive, especially those bubblegum electro bits…
“Like a tall tale from the heart of Moominpapa’s memoirs the story of the lost music of Moominvalley has remained a mystery for what seems like an eternity… Or perhaps 33 years to be more accurate. Since the first time the home made Wasp-synth and ocarina driven theme tube and eerie incidental themes first made their soft landings on the UK Children’s ITV, nostalgia nuts, acid-folk fans and electro acoustic aficionados have been united by a fruitless yearning for those misplaced melodies and that last comforting synth note that resolved each episode of what was perhaps the most freakish Fuzzy-Felt five minutes to flicker onto our small screens during the 80′s wonder years.
Born in Helsinki, made in Warsaw, by a German and Austrian co-operative, and finally soundtracked in Leeds in the North of England, the translated and reconstituted tales of Moomintroll, Snuffkin and The Hattifattners (amongst a handcrafted cast of many) first came to our screens as an early exploration of Anne Wood (later creator the equally freakish Teletubbies) who after stripping the Polish and German audio commissioned a new experimental soundtrack from the collective social circles of The Impact Theatre Co-Operative, Gang Of Four and The Commies From Mars. Finally retrieved from the outer limits of it’s cross continental breadcrumb trail Finders Keepers finally grant you an access all areas pass into the vault presenting a complete full formed soundtrack album that fills the gaps between the aforementioned micro-genres that flourished in light of domestic synth technology while providing a woozy hallucinogenic antidote to the disenfranchised political backdrop of 1980s Britain fuelled by a vibrant alternative and progressive pop culture.
Welcome to the ultimate escapist paradise and the exotic folkloric plains of Moominvalley where their anonymous sinfonietta layers synthesiser textures, sound poetry and a pocket orchestra of mechanical instruments with a miniature electronic drum-kit all of which can be heard to their fullest post-punk-potential throughout the grooves of this long anticipate 15 track instrumental adventure.
Via Midwinter rituals, woodland celebrations, astral laments and spectral effervescence, Miller and Shill follow the running-theme of the uber-classic title tune throughout the oblique narrative of the original 100 episodes conjuring nostalgia, awe, surprise, apprehension and unlikely wonderment harking back to our naive wonder years while also pre-empting a universe of electronic music which arguably still begs further intrepid exploration… Perhaps the time is right for this magnetic Moomins music to finally meet it’s modest masses. However long you plan to hibernate, Don’t sleep on this one.”
Few contemporary artists have so seeped into the underground pop psyche than the Stockholm-born songwriter. After releasing her debut These Things Take Time on hand-made CDrs, Nilsson’s follow up was a leap in scope and ambition.
"Of course, the personal takes on a tumultuous life in Berlin and the journeys to and from it inform the songs as before, but there’s a growing maturity in the songwriting in evidence. From the diary pages of These Things Take Time to a growing stature as a songwriter in touch with the universal, Follow The Light contains many of Nilsson’s now firm fan-favourites. The Closest We’ll Ever Get To Heaven is classic Molly Nilsson. Over plaintive piano chords and little else, Nilsson narrates a story of doomed friends lost, the onset of an East German winter reminding the singer of a time lost, nostalgia frosting the windows to the past.
Meanwhile In Berlin, perhaps a passing nod to Leonard Cohen in the melodic refrain, opens up the sonic palette, with synth strings fitting Nilsson’s delivery perfectly. Never O’Clock is a pure pop moment, with a lilting funk and percussion adding a carpe diem immediacy to the album’s flow. Last Forever, which remains a staple to live encores now, seven years later, is fist-pumping melancholy that only Molly Nilsson knows how to do. It’s
over before it begins and begs eternal repeat. Truth, a synth pop song that sees Nilsson exploring the upper and lower registers of her voice, feels like a lost chart hit from the mid 80s.
I Hope You Sleep At Night, a vitriolic lover’s admonishment gives way to one of Nilsson’s most popular songs: I’m Still Wearing His Jacket. It’s a sentiment that needs no real explanation: the mementos of a completed love affair remain in our wardrobes waiting to hurt us all over again. Hello Loneliness could also be an updated Leonard Cohen song, a peon to melancholy which reminds us that Nilsson has a knack for distilling the complex into sharp epithets. We end on one of Nilsson’s greatest songs. A Song They Won’t Be Playing On The Radio is so finely loaded with emotion that it’s the singer’s reserved delivery that makes it so powerful."
Aahhh yes, another classic Bohren album reissued.
Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s vital reissue scheme looks to Geisterfaust (2005) after giving Sunset Mission and Black Earth much needed vinyl lives. Very safe to say that if you fell for either of those, this one will keep you right down there.
Nerds will need to know that the tracklisting has been reshuffled for the purposes of this vinyl edition, now still kicking off with the 20 minute sorrow, Zeigefinger but deviating the sequence in favour of Ringfinger, Mittelfinger, Daumen, and Kleiner Finger, for your information.
The effect remains the same, though; sublime, pensile, deeply evocative of Lynch & Badalamenti as much as doom metal and the most poignant, lonely moments of your life.
Brilliant album from Marcus Fjellstrom returning after a 5 year absence with an oneiric masterpiece that strongly recalls the low key brilliance of his strings of pearls released by Lampse and Miasmah between 2005-2011. It's a tense, highly atmospheric take on modern classical, highly recommended if you're into Kreng, Nate Young or Deaf Center.
Fjellstrom's natural abilities in narrative detailing and layered sound design seem to have grown exponentially, but with no sacrifice to his music’s ghostly, intangible appeal. He’s spent the last several years working intently on an A/V opera, Boris Christ whose necessary dramaturgical elements and sense of direction are central to the rich array of sound imagery conjured up across Skelektikon - impish funny-bones characters, mythical fauna, backdrops of dark green velvet, grasping forests and carmine lighting.
It’s the sort of music you play late at night, in solitary mouse-catcher mode, to encourage those moments of what the fxck was that over in the corner? whilst you drift off into reveries about pagan things until the hypnic jerks kick in, or don’t, and you’re either petrified, awake, or unconscious and on the other side.
If you’ve ever been seduced by the eyrie worlds of Nurse With Wound, or like the idea of melting into your favourite noir score, Skelektikon is shivering with expectation for you.
Moss Garden is a stunning dark ambient opus from Erik Skodvin (Deaf Center) aka Svarte Greiner: collecting his soundtracks for two installation pieces commissioned by Marit Følstad, perfectly distilling the space between waking life and nightmare as uncannily as anything else you’ll hear this side of a David Lynch flick, or that recurring dream where you’re trapped going the wrong way down an escalator into an icy fjord. If you're into Mica Levi's unique string arrangements, this one's a must.
The album marks the return of Skodvin’s most prized solo alias, trailing in the smoky wake of a recent reissue of his Deaf Center classic, Pale Ravine (2005) to effectively resolve the three year wait since he left us dangling with Black Tie, which was also released thru his label; Miasmah.
As any avowed follower of dark ambient music will likely acknowledge, there’s a fine line between numbing tonal drift and genuinely enchanted sound, and it’s one which Skodvin is patently aware of both as a listener/consumer and producer/alchemist operating within those parameters, allowing him to skilfully navigate the sound’s most subtle aspects without ever being accused of being one-dimensional, as could be applied to many others in that field.
Crucially, like the best of Greiner’s work, Moss Garden strikes a balance of almost academic stoicism and expressive pathos, using rarified technique at the service of an instinctually guided tension. He commits something more akin to one of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient recordings, revealing a widescreen, mazy field of convulsive, recursive metallic shockwaves that open out at unfathomable, horizontal angles whilst the centre ground gains a mass of blackened drone energy, as though we’re moving ever deeper into a space as long as it is wide until we’re greeted by a frost of sylvan timbres that seem to mimic the vocal tone of its translucent inhabitants.
Emptyset really bare their teeth on Borders, the concrète power duo’s most vicious, uncompromisingly genuine, and coincidentally highest profile release to date, landing on far-reaching independent stronghold, Thrill Jockey.
Whilst James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas’ initial, shocking burst of energy, deployed thru a series of crushing releases between 2009-2015, seemed to tail off a a bit at Signal (2015), they return frighteningly charged and combustible on Borders with a baker’s dozen batch of distended, aggressive, and foundation-rocking pieces that sound like Steve Albini evacuating his bowels on a stone-clad bog in the parallel dimension below his studio. And we mean that in the best way.
Working with their favoured, home-made instruments - a six-stringed zither-like thing, and a drum - they enact a series of inimitably visceral gestures, played and effected with analogue electronics and compression techniques in real time in pursuit of an acoustic truth which, it’s fair to say, they locate and grasp with fearless form across the album, pushing headlong for a biting-point atonality and knotted meter which is unmistakably their own.
It serves an inverted contrast to their previous method of playing sound into unique architectural spaces and processing the results, instead placing more focus on the interaction of skin on skin, skin on string, and the way their intentions spiral from subtle haptic infidelities into a sort of raging, harnessed chaos that transcends electro-acoustic dimensions as much as it blurs the distinctions between performative noise, techno, rock and all that zzaj.
In one felt swoop Borders returns experimental electronic and avant-garde techniques to a sort of No Wave ground zero which, only time will tell, but should surely be hailed as the benchmark for noisy new music in 2017. Don’t sleep!!!
Spellbinding recordings of new Baudouin De Jaer compositions from the “impeccable” and award-winning contemporary string quartet, Quatuor Tana; also including their take on Igor Stravinsky’s Elegie, composed for the 100th anniversary of the Pro Arte Quartet.
Baudouin De Jaer is the Belgian composer and violinist who notably cracked the idiosyncratic music system of Swiss outsider artist Adolf Wöfli - as heard on Analysis Of The Musical Cryptograms / The Heavenly Ladder (2010) - and who has previously appeared on these pages with his striking original Compositions For Geomungo And Gayageum modelled on Korean folk and Classical Court music - which, for reference, is also a strong influence on the work of Rashad Becker.
The Tana String Quartet are a multi-award winning ensemble recognised for their willingness to push the conventions of contemporary composition, notably using iPads instead of the usual paper-printed scores, which they also use for educational work, and also for incorporating hybrid instruments and electronics into their classical and contemporary music vocabulary.
Quatuor Tana prove a fine match for the technical intricacies and demands of Eclerectic Attracta, whose complex dynamic range is beautifully captured and rendered by Jarek Frankowski’s Acoustic Recordings mixing and mastering solutions using high-end, boutique grade equipment to capture everything from the finest spectral essence to shock-out passages of white hot string flashes.
They’re not necessarily “difficult” to listen pieces, though: taking inspiration from the mountainous province of South Korea which lends its title, Kangwondo (2011) mirrors the stately, pointillist elegance of De Jaer’s favoured Korean Classical Court music to beautiful effect, while NV (2009) written for 4 violins and four non-violinists instrumentalists, is a thrillingly dramatic and compact demonstration of the Quatuor’s ability to translate the highly demanding instructions of De Jaer’s composition, and likewise the durational, dramaturgical turns and tension of Eclerctic Attracta (1987) which requires a lot of directed movement from the players on stage.
If you’ve found yourself rapt by Mica Levi’s incredible soundtracks or solo work, or beguiled by the narrative dynamics of Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species and ever asked yourself; where to next? This album requires your attention forthwith.
At last, all three Britxotica! LPs now available as a three CD box set! That’s 48 super rare and extraordinary exotic British masterpieces over three genre-defining albums...
"Britxotica! (pronounced “Britzotica”) neatly describes an odd and yet undocumented pre-Beatles British musical scene where famed UK composers as well as unknown singers and bandleaders threw convention on holiday and went wild wild wild! For this very special box set we have gathered the first three groundbreaking and sold out Britxotica! albums…
…thought up and put together by legendary “Smashing” DJ and co creator of The Sound Gallery Martin Green and maverick collector Jonny Trunk, here are 48 incredible, unusual, inspiring and super rare British tracks set across these three magical and very different albums:
Album 1: Britxotica! Primitive Pop And Savage Jazz
Album 2: Britxotica! Goes East! Persian Pop And Casbah Jazz
Album 3: Tropical Britxotica! Polynesian Pop And Placid jazz
Each CD is in a slipcase – a mini replica of the original vinyl LPs. And as well as these three genre-defining albums, you will find an eight page booklet with comprehensive notes about the artists, bandleaders and all our forgotten Britxotica! stars.
So sit back, relax and let Britxotica! take you to musical places you have only ever dreamed of."
One can only imagine what the original crowds who saw George Méliès classic, prototypical sci-fi film adaptation of Jules Vernes’ A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) in 1902 would have thought of Jeff Mills new, all electronic score.
“When Georges Méliès created A Trip To The Moon in 1902, the world was just beginning to feel the tightening, yet exciting effects of another giant leap in modern civilisation with the Industrial Age. It was a place in time that was transformable and in all dimensions of an evolutionary process: social, economic and political revolutions were buzzing. And man worked hard under the Sun, exposing his efforts and determination, it was the Moon that hatched his dreams. It was a time of realisation and a time of romance.” Jeff Mills
Conceived and produced by Mills in order to soundtrack the newly discovered and restored hand-coloured print of the film, his score fits the film’s fantastical nature with a blend of hi-line, weightless electronic tones and immersive, abstract gestures directly inspired by its imagery but taking license to jetpack off along new techno trajectories.
If you were into Mills OSTs for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Woman In The Moon, or Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage, this one will take you there, too.
Newly availed as a download, Permissions was written and recorded by ambient innovator K. Leimer in 2012, with crucial input in the edit, mix and post-production by 12k’s Taylor Dupree.
Compared with what we know of Leimer’s explorative early work, Permissions feels like a sublimated expansion of his electro-acoustic textures, rendering 16 tracks, 71 minutes of shimmering tonal mingle and diffusion best consumed in low lit and laid-back conditions, especially if you like 12K or Home Normal releases.
The much-cherished Boats/Cotton Goods affiliated Tape Loop Orchestra make a blissful start to the year with an hour long excursion into string-laden ambience suffused with field recordings, traces of ghostly sound and phenomenological overlays in keeping with the Electronic Voice Phenomenon theme. It's soaring, beautiful stuff - highly recommended if you're into Stars Of The Lid, Tim Hecker, Grouper.
For some, EVP is nothing more than a relic of the analogue age, a pseudoscience built on pareidolia or apophenia and “disturbed” people tuning into the voices in one’s head. For others, it presents a richly syncretic field of study combining psychology, parapsychology, metaphysics and the chuff-knows-what, forming potential communication bridges to other dimensions. In any event, it makes for a useful subject matter for this kind of music; you're never quite sure what you're listening to or how it was made, but become increasingly aware of its disorientating effect the more you listen.
In TLO’s hands, Instrumental Transcommunications provides a deep well of inspiration behind this seriously heady album, which unfurls as a gauzy tapestry of original samples from Raymond Cass, among others, woven with signature synthetic diffusions, sorely emotive cues and Beth Roberts’ cirrus pop wisps in the most magical, elusive convections.
This project just gets better with every release; if you’re a fan of genuinely moving orchestral reductions and tempered Ambient music free of heavy-handed/manipulative emotive signatures - this one’s for you.
The Grey Catalog departs from Leimer’s typical obsessions with understatement and homogeneity to range freely across rhythmic, melodic, and disassembled forms.
"Incorporating percussion, electric guitar and bass as well as found sound, digital and analog synthesis and sampled instruments, The Grey Catalog spins off multiple intimations of some earlier works; particularly Closed System Potentials, The Neo-Realist (at Risk) and The Useless Lesson. Compiled over a two-year period, as diverse as the pieces are, they are also related by a shared generative technique and a shared library of voices and processing. The result is an album of highly personal music, restless and shifting forms, with melodic passages drawn over sets of self-regulating sources and shaped by approaches refined over decades of occasionally stumbling across something that might work."
With Beneath the Mirrored Surface, Marc Barreca continues his quest to create deep and shifting aural spaces by merging the abstract rhythmic warmth of early analog synthesis with the complexity and timbral beauty of acoustic instruments and natural sound.
"For this release, Barreca extracted and reshaped rhythms and textures from field recordings, decades-old world folk recordings and acoustic instrument loops. These sources were first converted into MIDI data using Ableton Live and then transformed and manipulated with Max/ MSP. Hundreds of these source clips were then blended and arranged with layered and looped digital synthesizer and sampler tracks. The result is a dense, rich world of refracted light and shifting shadow. Mastered by Taylor Dupree.”
Kazakh violinist Aisha Orazbayeva presents her latest album Telemann Fantasias, works by German composer G.P. Telemann published in 1735.
"Orazbayeva's performance of these pieces range from personal and stylistic interpretations to versions marked by the distortion and fragmentation of the material through the use of contemporary violin techniques.
The variety of extreme colours, sounds and tones illuminates the polyphonic character and phrasing of the music, while also adding unfamiliar and distant qualities. This approach to interpreting old repertoire reflects her work in improvisation and as a performer of new and experimental music.”
One-off Japanaese pressing of this limited CD compiling both of Burial's 'Steet Halo' and 'Kindred' EPs, originally produced exclusively for the Japanese domestic market.
All six tracks in their full length versions, totalling 50 minutes of music not previously available on CD, packaged in full size jewel case with Japanese obi-strip overlay.
Breathtaking new album from Max Richter, presenting Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works, his score to Wayne McGregor’s award-winning Royal Ballet production Woolf Works, inspired by the eponymous author and, quite remarkably, featuring a snippet of the only known surviving recording of her voice.
Richter plays right on the heart-strings here, offering a score worthy of both the author’s literary significance and the prestigious Royal Ballet, that extracts and weaves the themes, character personalities and atmospheres of her three works; Mrs Dalloway - which opens with the sound of Big Ben and Virginia reading from her essay Craftsmanship for the BBC in 1937; Orlando featuring the same text read in the modern day by Sarah Sutcliffe: and The Waves, which rather crushingly features Gillian Anderson reciting Virginia’s suicide note to her husband.
Some two years in the works, it’s a staggering feat of emotive triggers and dynamic, innovative movement that puts Richter’s (nearly) 30 odd years experience into practice over 16 parts broken down to three movements, almost seamlessly switching back and forth between acoustic and electronic sources, recorded in orchestral, chamber and studio settings, and beautifully used to illuminate and drive the dancers as much as stimulate your own thoughts in far removed different settings.
If the virtue or skill of a composer lies in their ability to convert or alchemise text, feelings and imagery into a format interpretable by instruments, then Richter surely proves his innately humane sensitivity and distinguished breadth of vision with this recording.
The flagship mix series from !K7 ropes in the Ghostly techno troubadour for a 25-track selection that includes Pearson Sound, SMD, Randomer and some Dear/Audion exclusives.
Dear follows his first Audion LP in yonks for !K7 with this edition of the German label’s DJ-Kicks, which features the regulation exclusive material from the artist himself. Kicking off with a mawkish slab of modern classical from poster boy Nils Frahm proves to be something of a false start as the subsequent 47 minutes veer closer to the funk-addled house, skippy oddball minimal and spinal techno reductions you’d expect from Dear.
New album from Richard who seven influential albums as the leader of French space-rock pioneers Heldon in the 70s, with a further five solo records before his six-year break from music in 1982.
Since returning to the form in the 90s he has been prolific, collaborating with such luminaries as Merzbow, Yoshida Tatsuya, Oren Ambarchi, Barry Cleveland, and Wolf Eyes.
Soul Jazz’ new journey into the mighty vaults of Clement Dodd’s Studio One steps once more into the fertile musical environment of Jamaican music in the late 1960s and early 1970s, from the sweet harmony vocals of seminal 1960s Rocksteady right up to the nascent birth of Reggae and Roots music at the start of the 1970s. Sleevenotes to this album are by Steve Barrow, author of ‘Rough Guide to Reggae’ as well as Soul Jazz Records’ own ‘Reggae Soundsystem Cover Art’ books.
"While Ska at the start of the 1960s had taken American rhythm and blues as its main influence, Rocksteady focused on the emergence of American Soul music – with Jamaican vocal harmony groups such as The Gaylads, John Holt & The Paragons, Carlton & The Shoes showing a particular fascination with the close harmonies of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions and other US soul acts. Here The Heptones even feature with a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’.
The influence of Soul music on Jamaican rock steady and reggae is almost palpable, so much so that one wonders how much more successful singers like Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, Slim Smith and John Holt would have been had they been born in Chicago, Detroit or Memphis
Artists such as Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson and Owen Gray defined the era – a slowed down beat as Jamaican political and social heat slowly increased as the 1960s progressed into the start of the 1970s – and the music evolved further from rock steady into roots reggae.
Complementary to D∆WN’s Redemption album, Fade to Mind proffer the expansion pack for her Infrared EP, exclusively produced by Kingdom and bolstered with remixes from the full label roster.
The four originals sit pretty with highlights locked in on How I Get It and the free-floating R&B-jungle hybrid, Baptize, and all provide prime source material for the remixers: Leonce absolutely wins out with his rugged re-bounce of How I Get It and likewise Byrell The Great, following his killer RiRi rework with a sticky, raving ballroom reboot, whilst Divoli S’vere goes in on a junglist/ballroom mutation of Honest, Ikonika alloys scooping subs to Paint It Blue, and Kingdom skilfully turns his own work inside out with his Honest VTX take on Baptize.
This summer, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James came together to release their debut album as Minor Victories. Currently in the midst of a run of live shows throughout Europe, the band are pleased to announce their utterly stunning instrumental interpretation of the self-titled record, entitled Orchestral Variations.
Reissue of DJ Sprinkles' classic Midtown 120 Blues, self-released by Terre Thaemlitz through his own Comatonse imprint
Bringing deep house back into contact with its club culture roots, Terre Thaemlitz has created one of the most essential house albums of the last few years with 'Midtown 120 Blues'. Terre was originally working as a DJ under her Sprinkles alias in the gay clubs of midtown Manhattan and New Jersey in the late 80's when deep house began to blossom. It's this early period of House history which Terre has beautifully recreated over 10 tracks, making a pointed comment with the intro track taking shots at Strictly Rhythm for becoming 'Strictly Vocal' and pulling no punches towards "Most Europeans who think deep house means shitty hi-NRG vocal house".
With the intentions made clear, Terre develops a masterpiece of serene melancholy and sublime deep house crafted with the skill and dedication of someone who you can truly believe lived this music at that time. From the rich subbass driven tones of 'Midtown 120 Blues' with plaintive pianos slowly encircling one another, to samples of drag queen monologues over the deepest ambient brushed rhythms on 'Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)' or head-meltingly warm chords and caressed percussion of 'Brenda's $20 dilemna' - this will suck in and swallow any deep house lovers in one go.
A total pleasure.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
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.
'Live Knots' presents two immersive live recordings of Oren Ambarchi playing the epic 'Knots' from 'Audience Of One' (Touch, 2012) in Tokyo and Krakow's Unsound Festival.
Captured with alternately intimate and widescreen fidelity, the original elements of cyclonic guitar harmony and quicksilver percussion are twisted different ways across the two performances, exploring and testing every nuance of the track's framework. 'Tokyo Knots' intimately documents their show at SuperDeluxe in March 2013, Ambarchi cautiously stalking Joe Talia's prickling, Dejohnette-esque percussion with viscose bass tone and heady harmonic incense, progressively whipping up a free form storm of buzz-saw guitar attacks and crashing drums, organically resolving to a lean motorik groove flecked with spring reverb.
By contrast, the twice-as-long performance of 'Krakow Knots', featuring Sinfonietta Cracovia led by Eyvind Kang on viola, presents a more expansive reading of the same structure, adding a prelude of sliding string dissonance before swelling against Talia's adroit patter with a burgeoning tension, ratcheting the mid-section squall to blistering barrage of buzz-saw flares and strobing fuzz, before burning out to reveal a captivating resolution of string glissandi swept against Joe Talia and Crys Cole's skittish percussion objects and retching spring reverb. The applause at the end is very well earned.
Groove-driven psych-rock from the Montreal stronghold of Constellation Records.
“Psychedelic rock, krautrock, desert rock, punk rock, noise rock, afrobeat, experimental pop, post-rock, electronic; all are touchstones for Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Their multi-movement durational music arguably combines trance rock and audio collage above all - a diced and spliced approach to longform multi-movement groove music played by a stripped down quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, synched to pre-recorded electronics and musique concrete.
The band's unique restlessness and inventiveness seduces with shifts, turns and dovetails, consistently destabilizing its own inexorable musical logic in highly satisfying fashion. Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche deploys a panoply of buoyant musical ideas, subtly sumptuous sonic treatments, and joyous stylistic nods - while remaining fundamentally devoted to working the groove from a kaleidoscope of angles. Their sound always seems to be escaping overt homage or retro tendencies; neither freighted with reverence nor weightless with irreverence, the music of Avec le soleil routes and uproots itself along its own refreshingly untrodden path.
Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop that sounds like no other. Quite literally: the needle drops on “Trans-pop express” with Avec le soleil in full swing, playing a musical theme that had been submerged at the end of Zubberdust’s closing track, now developed in the full kaleidoscopic light of day. Unfurling over 10 minutes of sinuous bass, chiming guitars and wordless vocals, “Alizé et Margaret D…” opens with naive melody lines played on dry staccato guitars, peppered with ragged vocal calls, before transitioning through some unison riffing into one of the band’s signatures: clean, methodical, exuberantly layered grooves perhaps most reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads.
Nothing the band has recorded to date quite drives home the fascinating sonic identity they’ve forged from their overflowing toolbox of techniques and influences more than “Tourner incessamment dans l’éclatement euphorique…”, the 20-minute tour de force that comprises Side Two of Pas pire pop.This is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop the likes of which we can honestly say we’ve not heard before.”
Manchester’s legendary, pivotal post-punk unit comprising Linder Sterling and Ian Devine, a.k.a Ludus, are subject of this long overdue anthology from Les Disques Du Crepuscule, collecting all tracks from their early compilation, Nue Au Soleil (Complètement) plus stacks more single, album, Peel Sessions and rare live cuts in the same place, for the first time.
The undoubted locus of Ludus is Linder Sterling; originally an art school student from Wigan who came to study in Manchester, Linder was there at The Sex Pistols 2nd show at The Free Trade Hall where she met Pete Shelley and subsequently became a main muse for Manchester’s punk scene, becoming instrumental to the inception of New Hormones for her definitive collage cover art on the Orgasm Addict 7”, later contributing to Factory with her Menstrual Abacus (Fac 8) and a part in Factory Flick (Fac 9), before her notorious meat-dress made from discarded chicken meat debuted at the Haçienda in 1982 - at the end of the period under review here - decades before Lady Gaga copied her.
But that’s not to discount Ian Devine input to Ludus, too. Moving from Cardiff to Manchester in 1979, he quickly expanded the Ludus remit from punk via the improvised musics of Evan Parker and Derek Bailey, and played foil to Linder’s remarkable vocal range, which variably referenced Meredith Monk, Annette Peacock, Yoko Ono, Urzula Dudziak.
So it may well come as a happy surprise that Ludus don’t really sound like any of the above, at all. As you’ll cop across these 29 songs, they excelled in making a loose yet compact form of avant-pop equally open to punk’s melodic spikiness and the freeform clatter of improvisation, and wherever the feeling takes them - for example, from the mesh of rolling tribal drums and Linder’s soaring operatics in How High Does The Sky Go? or frolicking no wave jazz skronk in Howling Comique, thru to svelte, lilting palm wine guitar and Antenna-like bossa pop in The Escape Artist, to pieces which recall a prototypical Mr. Bungle in Mother’s Hour, or e subversive disco-pop on Little Girls - perhaps most definitely in the Peel Session recording of Vagina Gratitude - with Linder’s always pointed lyrics exhorted and puckered in styles ranging from yelps and shrieks to piercing extended technique and animalistic or orgiastic glossolalia.
It’s maybe baffling that Linder isn’t better known by the generation who followed her, but thanks to the fact her son, Maxwell Sterling, is now making brilliant music of his own, including collaboration between the pair, this anthology will serve a necessary introduction, where needed, to this pioneering, challenging and important artist and her band.
It has taken 20 years for Mick Harvey to resume his project of translating Serge Gainsbourg’s songs into English and following the release of Volume 3 - ‘Delirium Tremens’ in June, Mick Harvey now delivers the final in the series, Volume 4 - ‘Intoxicated Women’.
‘Intoxicated Women’ contains many duets and songs written by Gainsbourg, mostly during the 1960s, in a period where he was focusing his songwriting on singers such as France Galle, Juliette Greco and most famously, Brigitte Bardot. Here Harvey has enlisted the talents of guest singers Channthy Kak (Cambodian Space Project), Australian singers Xanthe Waite (Terry, Primo), Sophia Brous, Lyndelle-Jayne Spruyt and Jess Ribeiro and the German chanteuse Andrea Schroeder plus a special appearance by Harvey’s son, Solomon.
On his long-awaited 2nd LP for Houndstooth, Ross Tones a.k.a. Throwing Snow takes influence from the cyclical nature of life itself as the diving board into a dreamy album of elusive and emotive electronica themes and razor-sharp drum programming.
Divining complexity from simplicity, across Embers Throwing Snow uses a variety of production techniques - electronic, acoustic, aleatoric - to grow relatively elemental sounds into more intricate structures, which he neatly proposes as a model, or allegory, for the processes of pattern evolution and cycles of birth and decay fundamental to the laws of nature.
In effect he’s produced Throwing Snow’s defining opus; a lushly colourful batch steeped in eldritch whirligig melodies and curdling harmonics, grounded in earthly rugged rhythms, but with billions of years of starlight twinkling in its eyes.
Streamlined big room pumpers from Fjaak.
After introductions made five years ago on Baalsaal Records, Fjaak have refined their sound to the slickest big room templates here, aided by Rødhåd on Offline and teaming with their Monkeytown label bosses, Modeselektor, on Fjkslktr.
Wake in Fright, the second full-length by the New York City duo Uniform, is a harrowing exploration of self-medication, painted in the colors of war.
"Following the Ghosthouse 12", whose A-side Pitchfork called “their most relentless track yet,” vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist/producer Ben Greenberg return with a new batch of even more punishing songs that incorporate elements of industrial music, thrash metal, harsh noise, and power electronics.
“This record is primarily about psychic transition,” Berdan explained. “The distress that these songs attempt to illustrate comes from a place of stagnation and monotony. This is what happens when old ways of thinking become exhausted and old ways of coping prove ineffective. Something must change or it will break.”
The characters Berdan brings to life in his lyrics quit using but have ruinous relapses (“Habit”) or struggle as their resolve crumbles (“Bootlicker”); they use alcohol to ease their insomnia but and are helpless when they get sober and stop sleeping again (“Night of Fear”); they’re existential misanthropes trapped in dead-end lives (“The Lost”).
Greenberg sets these stories to menacing guitar and samples of literal sounds of war — the kick drums are bombs going off, the snares are gunshots. He drew the record’s immense sample library from action movies, Foley sound packs, field recordings, and more, and the result is devastating. The guitar is also as crucial as ever, and now as indebted Slayeras it is to Big Black. Greenberg conjures up massive riffs and shredding solos, pushing the band deeper into the metal world whose borderlands they’ve long stalked.
“We are surrounded by war and the whole world is burning and it doesn’t seem like there are any appropriate reactions or responses left anymore,” Greenberg elaborated. “This music is our response to and our reflection of the overwhelming violence, chaos, hate, and destruction that confronts us and everyone else in the world every day of our lives. When we play, I don’t feel powerless anymore. I hope this record can help others transcend their anger and frustration.”
NYC's foremost tape loop digger is back with a gorgeous album based around his highly-acclaimed show of the same name.
After a run of much-need archival issues based around Basinski’s seminal The Disintegration Loops series, the New Yorker finally delivers some fresh material for Temporary Residence in the shape of A Shadow Of Time. Formed of two extended compositions, the album has origins in the performances of the same name Basinski gave throughout 2016 and finds him exploring themes of fatality through the decaying medium of his trusty reel to reel players.
The title track finds Basinski again working with his unwieldy Voyetra 8 - a synth he last used on his 2001 LP Watermusic - on a composition dedicated to a friend who took their own life. A year in making before debuting at London’s Union Chapel in February last year, the 23-minute A Shadow Of Time recalls the best moments of The Disintegration Loops, as Basinski wrings out a captivating assemblage of plaintive drones and exquisite melodies.
Face down, For David Robert Jones is obviously a eulogy to the Thin White Duke and was originally commissioned for a performance at LA gallery Volume in the weeks following Bowie’s passing. Here Basinski cannily incorporates some ancient tapes loops chewed up by his “roommate’s cat in New York, this big fat motherfxcker,” with elements of Bowie’s work including his saxophone playing from Low closer Subterraneans.
”Passage” is the second collaborative album from London-based Ulrich Schnauss and Danish producer Jonas Munk. 11 tracks of breezy, blissed-out electronica and colourful ambient.
"As the album title denotes, there's a sense of movement in the music these two producers create together: a Schnauss & Munk composition starts one place and ends up someplace very different – something that can only rarely be said about electronic music, which traditionally has focused it's energy on texture rather than composition. Sometimes their vivid, expansive soundscapes feels like the sonic equivalent of gliding towards the horizon through a panoramic landscape on a train.
One's perspective changes slightly when in motion from one place to another – continously Approaching new things and leaving others behind. There's a prismatic, multi-dimensional quality to these 11 tracks, likely stemming from the fact that these two producers each have worked with a wide range of styles and musicians throughout their 15+ year careers: Ulrich cut his teeth as a drum and bass producer in Berlin, before releasing a string of highly influential neo-shoegazy records on labels such as Domino and City Centre Offices. Since moving to London in 2006 he's been a member of bands such as Engineers and Longview and remixed artists ranging from Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys to Mojave 3, and since 2013 he's been a member of legendary band Tangerine Dream.
While Jonas Munk initially became known to the post-rock and electronica communities via his Manual albums on Morr Music, he's also had his hands in psychedelic rock (he's a noted producer in the European psych scene) as well as film soundtracks and experimental minimalism. Both Ulrich and Jonas, however, have the skills of seasoned producers to weave the multitude of influences together in a well-defined sonic aesthetic. The result is a compelling set of melodic electronic music that echoes the past, yet feels fresh."
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.
Bright, flighty folk-pop from modern day Mali, dispensed by Awesome Tapes from Africa, ‘cos they are
“Awa Poulo is a singer of Peulh origin from Dilly commune, Mali, near the border with Mauritania. Largely pastoral and often nomadic, Peulh- (or Fula-)speaking peoples are found from Senegal to Ethiopia but predominate in the Sahel region of West Africa. Awesome Tapes From Africa is proud to release Poulo’s newest recording of highly virtuosic folk-pop, fresh from the studio, broadcasting her vision of Peulh music beyond the grazing grounds and central markets of her remote home region in southwestern Mali.
It’s not very common to find a female singer performing publicly among the Peulh. But Poulo’s mother’s co-wife is Inna Baba Coulibaly, who is a celebrated singer most Malian music fans know. Coulibaly herself was brought into music by forces outside her control when a regional music contest required an entry from her village and she was chosen to be a singer. So, set in motion by a surprising series of events, young Poulo’s entree into the music world was auspicious as she gained popularity across the region. After several locally released tapes and CDs, this record is Poulo’s first internationally-distributed record.
On Poulo Warali, she and her band combine the hallmarks of Peulh music—warm flute floating over cross-rhythmic n’goni (lute) riffs and resonant calabash gourd hand percussion—with broader Malian sounds like lightly-distorted guitar and a heavier, rollicking inertia. Shape-shifting layers of rhythm and woody overtones match Poulo’s commanding voice in a jocular yet deliberate dance.
This is a relatively rare example of Malian Peulh music played in a modern, cosmopolitan context, reflecting the mixed society of Dilly, where Bambara, Soninke and Peulh-speaking people live among each other.
Poulo’s conscious lyrics about community concerns speak to the distinctive identity of her broadly-flung people. While Peulh represents less than 10% of Mali’s melting pot of languages, the dynamic music here powerfully resonates well beyond the linguistic borders.”
Epoch is the final album in the trilogy beginning with 2011’s Dive, 2014’s Awake and culminating with this year’s Epoch.
"Epoch hones the sonic aesthetic of Dive while drawing on the kinetic energy of Awake, it explores darker themes and new musical territory. Earlier this summer Tycho released their first single “Division” and just last week released their second single and title track, “Epoch.” The surprise album is available digitally today and for physical pre-order now.
When discussing the surprise element of this release Hansen said, “I've never been fond of the ‘hand in the album then wait 4 months for it to come out’ release schedule and with the prevalence of streaming and digital distribution it felt like the right time to step outside that way of doing things.” He continued, “I wanted to be more connected to the people consuming the music. There is a kind of visceral fulfillment you get from sharing something that you've just created with other people. We just finished mastering the album in late august so it will barely be a month old when people hear it. That's a very satisfying feeling as an artist.“
Epoch was produced and recorded by Hansen predominantly in his home studio in Berkeley, California. The album was arranged alongside long time collaborator and partner in the project, Zac Brown. Brown contributed bass and guitar parts to the songwriting process. Rory O’Connor performed drums on the album. Hansen sees Epoch as a multi-dimensional artistic vision at the confluence of his graphic design work via ISO50 and music with Tycho. The graphic presentation of album artwork is as important as the music itself. The keystone is the central image of Epoch and the colors scheme red and black. This is a stark contrast to the almost rainbow palette of Awake."
Definitive performance of an 88-minute piece for trio written in 1983, recorded in 2000.
"In 2000, Eberhard Blum (flute, alto flute, bass flute), Nils Vigeland (glockenspiel, vibraphone) and Jan Williams (piano, celesta), Morton Feldman’s close friends and collaborators, came together once more as “The Feldman Soloists” to perform Crippled Symmetry, the trio Feldman composed for them, on the 25th anniversary celebration of June in Buffalo, the festival he founded.
The recording of this concert is now finally available on CD, and is destined to become the reference recording of this work. It is required listening for all fans of Feldman's rich, hypnotic world of enigmatic harmony and mnemonic echo. Mastered by Denis Blackham, and presented in a card package which unfolds to reveal the musicians' "butterfly-like" arrangement on stage. "This turned out to be one of the best performances that we had ever given together. The rare and indescribable ‘magic moment’ of occasion and ambience seems to have inspired us. T
he recording of the concert belongs to my most valued sound documents. When I listened to it for the first time, my immediate reaction was: this performance ought to be available on CD. Now, ten years later, it is.” - Eberhard Blum"
Trust Wiley the Godfather to set grime’s levels in 2017 with his most intense, bruising album for years, even ever?
It’s an unmissable return to root, with a frankly starving Wiley flanked by practically everyone - Frisco, Devlin, Jamakabi, Manga, Footsie, Flowdan, Pres T, Ghetts, Ice Kid, a.o. - all demanding your attention over fierce AF production from a mix of veteran producers - JME, Scratchy, Rude Kid, Maniac, Dot Rotten - and a sharp-shooting yung squad; Darq E Freaker, Predate, Swifta Beater, Morfius, Teeza +++.
At seventeen tracks and just under an hour long, Godfather is quantitatively substantial. And the quality? It’s got that in buckets; a firmest balance of OG grime aggression, gyal tunes and bubbling club trax that lends itself to earbuds, German whips and raves alike.
We’re alllll over the rabid Bang, featuring a barking Ghetts over cutthroat production by Maniac, and likewise the blazing future-shock of Bait Face, crafted by Roll Deep lynchpin, Scratchy, whilst the ‘round-the-block baroque of Like It Or Not sets killer new levels for UK grime/trap, and then you’ve got the dizzy highlight of Laptop, produced by Morfius, and utter gutter business from Wiley, Flowdan and Jamakrabi on Pattern Up Properly, plus foundational business in Birds N Bars, and straight up killers for club and radio in Back With A Banger and the soul flow of U Were Always, Pt.2.
This is the CD that every grime fiend needs - from the freshest cadets to time-served roadmen and lapsed, Volvo-toting elders - if just to prove an argument in years to come that Wiley made and shaped grime like nobody else. And if this actually is his last album (who the fxck knows with him?), then he’s effectively shut down the game, ‘cos the new generation really have to step up to this one.
Essential UK music.
New music from Simon Green aka Bonobo.
"A contemporary of artists such as Four Tet, Jon Hopkins and Caribou, Bonobo also counts among his famous fans the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Disclosure, Diplo and Warpaint. His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green runs played 175 shows worldwide, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.
It might be difficult to imagine it, but “Migration” will take his beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.”
Arch minimalist Thomas Brinkmann presents A Certain Degree of Stasis in two parts of variably “fierce digital textures” and “sustained crystalline calm” in counterpoint audio response to Agnes Lux’s starkly monochrome visual work, which is reproduced on the cover artwork. The work is intended to be played individually, in conjunction, or together with previous releases on the Frozen Reeds label.
Disc 1 tends to the “fierce digital textures” quota with 40 minutes of sustained guitar feedback heard in an ether dream, dissolving into acres of free-floating space like Oren Ambarchi or Keiji Haino caressing a wounded axe in the dying moments of its existence, its life coruscating and calving away before its eyes.
On the other disc he subtly inverts that aesthetic, reducing the lead to a discordant ember flickering below layered drone harmonics pregnant with anticipation for a haunting sound image that only reveals itself through duration.
Its mesmerising, uncompromising stuff.
Two years after the release of his debut album ‘Tremors’, SOHN is back with ‘Rennen’.
"In between records, the London-born artist has traded Vienna for the warmth of Los Angeles but the influence of his former home still lingers (Rennen is a German verb meaning ‘to run’). Resuming a nocturnal schedule - as he did with ‘Tremors’ - SOHN spent a month writing alone in northern California, recording until the morning most days.
Including singles ‘Signal’ and ‘Conrad’, the ten songs of ‘Rennen’ are confidently direct and focused. Consciously exercising restraint, SOHN has used only a handful of musical elements on each track, eager to allow the spotlight to shine onthe vocals, melodies and rhythms. An ambitious exhibition of both his personal and artistic growth, ‘Rennen’ confidently displays the evolution SOHN has undergone in just two short years.
It’s also a starter’s pistol ringing out loud and clear with an unmistakable message: it’s time to run again and he’s ready."
Debut album of melancholy electronica. Recorded at Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse studio in Reykjavik, Iceland (home to his Bedroom Community).
“A ‘soft error’ is computer language for a faulty occurrence in a digital memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. When associated with music making, it’s a name that inevitably suggest the notion, or even celebration, of happenstance and serendipity, and that’s certainly part of the spirit evoked by Mechanism. A largely electronic pairing, Soft Error are otherwise known as Tim and Rupert, both of whom have musical backgrounds in dance music / DJ culture and composition for film, theatre and TV respectively. Soft Error, however, represents a thrilling new artistic beginning rather than being simply another musical ‘project’.
Mechanism offers a fresh and singular brand of musical intrigue by reaching back and forward simultaneously – drawing from the innovative, propulsive thrum of 1970s Krautrock and the grainy textures and tonalities of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on one hand, the symphonic, futuristic soundscapes of composers like Cliff Martinez, John Carpenter and Jon Hopkins on the other.That said, there is also something wonderfully timeless about the nine, finely wrought essays on Mechanism, across which synthesisers, keyboards and drum machines are deployed for their sonic and emotive possibilities, rather than as a nod to any particular niche or trend. Indeed, Soft Error demonstrate a facility for fashioning both intimate textural detail and strong melody, often in the same song.”
At last, a chance to hear the debut album of motorik jags from Stereolab’s Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth, together with Holger Zapf as the Cavern of Anti-Matter power trio - originally issued on Berlin’s Grautag Records, now reissued on Duophonic.
Revolves a heady rush of references to Bowie’s Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family, Mahogany Brain’s Bloody Hide and Seek in The Rain and Hot Elbow, and the front cover to Heldon 6 shaped into 16 high velocity, high sheen rockets bound to ignite the tastes of classic kosmiche and psych fiends.
Deliciously uncompromising sound design from Gábor Lázár, performing a sort of virtuosic hyper-rave bondage on your ears with Crisis Of Representation; his first release for Shelter Press after a pair of releases with The Death of Rave - including his acclaimed collaboration with Mark Fell, The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making - and the ILS album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? before them. If you're into mad sound design, this one comes highly recommended.
Mostly pieced together in 2015, but utilising material made as early as 2011, Crisis Of Representation forms a direct continuation of Lázár’s increasingly incisive composition techniques, offering 7 pieces (+1 bonus on CD) which unknot the same nasal drip motif in myriad permutations of possibility. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to draw an economically short line from his to Mark Fell’s music, but where Fell’s Linn grammar and SoYo accentuation tends to clip itself, Lázár’s compositions ribbon off into unnaturally fluid flights of mercurial, polychromatic acrobatics.
We could imagine that this deeply abstract yet soberly conceived techno sound is antithesis to casual listening. But, if you’re game enough to follow Gábor into the wormhole, and have the head for intense, elusive sonics, then you’ll be embraced by a unquantifiably psychedelic experience quite unlike any other, where notions of “proper” musical convention are upended and rhythm, pitch and tone become fused by your head into scintillating psychoacoustic formations of perpetual tension and amorphous resolution.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the otherworldly collaboration between Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, commence the New Year with their third full-length.
"Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran first met the director Jalil Lespert after he had discovered A Winged Victory For The Sullen on a music search online. After listening to their music, he immediately knew: "it was the sound of my new film". With an excellent cast of France’s finest actors Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, and the director himself, plus a script filled with tension, sexuality and darkness, they knew there was a lot of musical territory to mine. It was agreed that they wanted to explore more analogue electronique experiments as well as working with a large string ensemble, to create something that felt very modern and still cinematic.
“Despite A Winged Victory For The Sullen being associated with film score type music, trying to survive the process of creating the modern film score is not for people with fragile egos. It requires those who arethe most responsive to change. The director and the film presented a new set of challenges, so we decided to stop thinking about cinema as an object, and moved closer to using the film’s images as triggers for experiences. The more we were able to let go, and see the music as something that happens, like a process – not a quality, the more we were able to reach a place that sounded like us. It was as if we were making our first record all over again, except being filtered through another language littered with dead metaphors”, the duo elaborate.
The recording sessions began with their long time sound collaborator Francesco Donadello in the form of some modular synth sessions in Berlin. Dustin and Adam began working from the script in their own studios, and after filming commenced they continued to create music that could be used for first edits of the film – each day getting new scenes that triggered ideas that would become the base of the film score. Over the course of the next few months the two slowly crafted the music with weekly discussion from their studio to the editing room.
The final sessions to what is now the score of Iris were recorded with a 40-piece string orchestra at Magyar Radio in Budapest.Upon label founder Robert Raths' request the over sixty minutes of material were then edited down to a concise album listen at forty-one minutes with a physical release set for January 13, 2017. The digital bonus track edition includes two solo pieces by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie entitled The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 2 and The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 3, as well as tracks by Petite Noir, dOP, DJ Pone and The Shoes which feature in the film. The artwork was created by Berlin based illustrator Stephanie F. Scholz who also created the iconic cover for Nils Frahm's Music for
The Motion Picture Victoria."