Building on the fierce reputation of her early albums, ‘Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes’ is the brutally transfixing 4th LP by force of nature, Moor Mother, featuring contributions from Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Zonal), King Britt, Saul Williams, Giant Swan, and Bookworms...
Delivered with a booming, stentorian confidence, Moor Mother holds the listener’s gaze with frightening conviction of purpose, underlined by the ratchet strength of her Afro-punk-techno-blues-noise backdrops. Alongside guest input from poet/rapper Saul Williams and her fellow Philly native, MC Reef The Lost Cauze, Moor Mother holds darkness to light in a way that edifies and complicates the magick of her art.
In its detailed arrangements and penetrative focus, ‘ Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes’ resembles an immersive film sans the visuals, but the range of real and synthetic textures and timbres, coupled with Moor Mother’s central narration bring the music and her ideas to life in a way that visual languages may not fully be able to articulate so fully, while also leaving room for the listener to fill in their own gaps. She’s lost none of the rage that informed her first three albums, but here it feels more tempered and pointed than ever.
From the introductory portal/mental compression chamber of ancient sounding vocals, diaphanous synths and tightening, dissonant strings in ‘Repeater’, the album erupts across the first half, only to slow and crystallize into boulders and ash clouds. Warning flares come early with the bristling noise and wailing vocals of ‘Don’t Die’, and surges into gear with the exceptional Jk Flesh-like slam of ‘After Images’, the urgency of ‘Master’s Clock’ and the sooty rock and rolige of ‘Black Flight’ featuring arresting verse by Saul Williams. From here it runs slower, inward, pulled toward the black hole of ‘The Myth Holds Weight’ and the vice-like squeeze of ‘Sonic Black Holes’, resting the pace for her glaring vocals in ’Shadowgrams’ and the heaving slug of ‘Private Silence’, again recalling JK Flesh productions and making room for Reef the Lost Cauze, and a spirited resolution or recycling of they senses in ‘Passing Of Time.’
As we sit here writing in Manchester, which built its name as Cottonopolis, and thousands of miles from the US, there’s lots of food for thought when Moor Mother talks about her ancestors working cotton fields. We all share a history, but we only acknowledge a fraction of it. The visceral context and nature of Moor Mother’s music is vital in prizing opening ears and minds to history and the way it informs modernity.
Reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s seminal debut album, written in 1978 just as he embarked on a long and fruitful career, both solo and with YMO aka Japan’s answer to Kraftwerk.
In 1978 Sakamoto was a well versed session musician who had completed art school at the start of the decade. He would go on to become quite possibly Japan’s best known and most loved composer, penning all time classics with YMO and alongside the likes of David Sylvian, including his soundtrack for ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’, while his solo work on razor sharp grooves such as ‘Riot In Lagos’ have been hailed as foundational to hip hop and electro.
As far as debut releases go, ‘Thousand Knives Of’ could hardly be more classic. Taking cues from his interest in Chinese history, as well as his abundant collection of synths, and a will to create music that reflected his Japanese modernity, he forged this singular album of hugely diverse textures, rhythms and imaginary spaces.
From the opening vocoder recital of a poem by Mao Zedong, and its subsequent nods to Herbie Hancock’s worldly grooves, thru his use of synths to describe natural panoramas in ‘Island Of Woods’, to the exceedingly cute, Kraftwerkian proto-electro of ‘Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkleid’ and the funky finale of ‘End of Asia’ with its use of fanfare from ‘The East Is Red’, you can rest assured there’s no other album quite like it. 100% influential and all-time classic gear.
This is the definitive, 40th Anniversary Edition of The Pop Group’s highly influential and innovative debut album ‘Y’ released in 1979, remastered from the original tapes and (for the vinyl formats) cut half speed at Abbey Road.
"Includes the debut single ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil’ (also remastered), the 10-track album ‘Alien Blood’ and the album titled ‘Y Live’. ‘Alien Blood’ is the result of the band’s meticulous process of revisiting the original 2” tapes of their studio sessions and recordings, unearthing never-before-heard material, including the studio recording of ‘Kiss The Book’, gloves off version of ‘We Are Time (Ricochet)’ and ‘Words Disobey Me (Dennis The Menace Mix)’ whilst exposing the raw skeletons of iconic tracks such as the original velocity of ‘Thief of Fire (Bass Addict)’.
‘Alien Blood’ reveals the life of ‘Y’ before everything was finalized, exposing revelatory dimensions within these iconic works. The ‘Y Live’ album is an essential addendum to the original release, one that captures all the fierce urgency of The Pop Group’s live performances at the time. Comprised of ‘Y’-era recordings captured at a variety of locations including New York, Manchester & Brussels - the latter on a bill with William Burroughs and Joy Division - ‘Y Live’ exemplifies what had proved so thrilling about The Pop Group. A snapshot of a time when the group were sharing stages with future acolytes including Cabaret Voltaire, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Public Image Ltd, Mark Stewart describes the recordings as attempts to “paint the impossible.”
The Pop Group went on to release two further singles, ‘We Are All Prostitutes’ and ‘Where There Is A Will’ (split single with the Slits) and one further studio album, ‘For How Much Do We Tolerate Mass Murder’, before splitting up in 1981. Mark Stewart from the band embarked on a solo career releasing his pioneering album ‘Learning To Live With Cowardice’ in 1983. Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith went on to form Rip Rig & Panic alongside Neneh Cherry.|
Y is the highly influential and innovative debut album by The Pop Group, released in 1979. In the same year The Pop Group released their single She is Beyond Good & Evil / 3:38.
"The band went on to release 2 further singles, We Are All Prostitutes and Where There Is A Will (Split single with the Slits) and 1 further studio album For How Much Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, before splitting up in 1981.
Frontman, Mark Stewart embarked on a solo career releasing his pioneering album Learning To Live With Cowardice in 1983. Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith went on to form Rip Rig & Panic alongside Neneh Cherry."
‘Athena’ is the debut album from violinist, singer, songwriter and producer Sudan Archives - widely acclaimed for her thrilling combination of styles: powerful and anthemic R&B, electronic music, a violin style inspired by Northeast African fiddling and West African rhythms.
"For ‘Athena’ she collaborated with a wide cast of songwriters, producers and musicians for a sound that is her fullest and richest to date, while staying true to the unique blend of influences that has won her fans around the world."
Dallas Acid is a synth-heavy dreampop trio from Austin, Texas and the first new signing to All Saints Records in a number of years. Having previously collaborated with Laraaji on the acclaimed Arrive Without Leaving LP from 2018, their unique mix of minimalist electronic music with a big ballad sensibility creates gorgeous, utterly compelling soundworlds. “Majestically immersive sound spaces in which to float, wonder, move and trance” - Laraaji
"The sky-gazing wonder of Linda Beecroft’s vocals on the title track recall the breathy intimacy of Mazzy Star, yet draped with almost symphonic banks of synthesizers blinking into infinity, expertly operated by Christian Havins and Michael Gerner, redolent of the deepest end of classic kosmische music. Other tracks such as the instrumental “Circuit Jungle” touch upon the ‘Fourth World’ experiments of Jon Hassell with a mixture of moog abstractions and FX-drenched acoustic percussion. At other points they touch upon the rain-drenched soundtracks of Vangelis and other more mysterious, electronic arthouse film scores.
RIYL: Peaking Lights, Mercury Rev, Cocteau Twins, Laraaji, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Spiritualized, Moon Duo, Laurel Halo, Panda Bear..."
L.A.-based ambient auteur Yann Novak arrives at a personalised conception of ambient music that reflects his experience with queer culture. Recorded at EMS Stockholm, MESS Melbourne, and his home studio.
“The cover of Slowly Dismantling features the remnants of Hotel Washington, home to the LGBTQ+ community in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin from the 70s until 1996 when it burned down. It housed a restaurant, a barber shop, a cafe, and an assortment of gay bars that served as a gathering space for the community. I was 17 when the hotel burned down and had only gone to the cafe a handful of times. What I expected to be the formative site for exploring my newfound queer identity was suddenly lost to the past, and I was left wondering how such a space would have influenced me.
What remained in Madison after the fire was only the mainstream version of gay culture. The expressive camp of cinematic cult classics, drag shows, and quotes from pop culture was the language, and I didn’t speak it. Art and music are often identified as "queer” when they share these same core aesthetics, tropes, and character stereotypes. These signifiers have become acceptable ways to to express queerness within the larger heteronormative and capitalist gaze. This further taught me that, though I was queer, what I was making was not.
This led me to withdraw; the alienation that came with my introversion made it hard for me to take up space in the world. As my work as an artist and composer progressed, this lack of self confidence became part of my practice. I began using field recordings as a way for me to limit my decision making. I could shape and mold this source material to an extent, but there was always an external structure. While this allowed me to create work that was autobiographical, I was never totally in control of what I was making; thus, I was never fully visible in the work.
This all changed following a transformative experience at a queer music gathering in the spring of 2019. I was finally immersed in a queer community that existed outside all dominant cultures, finally allowing me to feel seen as queer without any of the shortcomings the mainstream culture would have me believe. The acceptance and community I found there showed me the importance of identifying my work as queer—even if it does not deploy any of the codified tropes mainstream culture would be comfortable with—in order to make another version of queer visible.
As I worked through Slowly Dismantling, it became a liberation from and a reinterpretation of myself. It allowed me to shed my insecurities and routines: grounding my work and process in something outside myself. Instead I choose to utilize digital and analog synthesis, recorded at my studio in Los Angeles and reprocessing recordings captured at MESS in Melbourne and EMS in Stockholm. Using pure synthesis allowed me to make decisions that were totally my own and present an album that is more personal and honest than any before it.
Slowly Dismantling stands as a reminder that nothing is static; the world is ever-changing, just like our identities. It is an invitation to explore other modes of consciousness and the self, and it is these perpetual changes that make liberation possible.”
Perfectly rustic, cinematic and Autumnal compositions for strings, wind and electronics from Adam Wiltzie (Stars of The Lid, Mercury Rev) and Dustin O’Halloran’s AWVFTS, minting their debut on Ninja Tune after much loved sides for Erased Tapes.
“Purveyors of contemporary ambient and electronic inspired music, A Winged Victory for the Sullen make a bold return on new album “The Undivided Five”. The pair, made up of Dustin O’Halloran and Adam Wiltzie, have created iconic film scores and forward-thinking ambient groups, releasing a series of game-changing records for Erased Tapes and Kranky. On “The Undivided Five” they rekindle their unique partnership for only their second piece of original music outside of film, TV and stage commissions, creating an album that channels ritual, higher powers and unspoken creative energies. Their fifth release (following their debut album, two scores and an EP), they embraced the serendipitous role of the number five, inspired by artist Hilma af Klint and the recurrence of the perfect fifth chord.
This album sees them create bold new work built on their foundations in ambient and neoclassical. Since their 2011 self-titled debut, the duo have emerged as part of a much-lauded scene alongside peers like Max Richter, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tim Hecker and Fennesz. Their 2014 album “Atomos” was the product of a commission to score a new performance by Royal Ballet choreographer Wayne McGregor, while 2016’s “Iris” was the score for director Jalil Lespert’s thriller, “In the Shadow of Iris”. They count the likes of Jon Hopkins among their fans, who included ‘Requiem For The Static King Part One’ on his 2015 Late Night Tales compilation. They composed the score for Invisible Cities, a specially-created performance to herald 2019’s Manchester International Festival, and have played some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including a sold out Boiler Room performance at London’s Barbican, and a 2015 BBC Proms show curated by Mary Anne Hobbs at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Mechanical Fantasy Box is Cowley’s homoerotic journal, or as he called it, “graphic accounts of one man’s sex life.”
"The journal begins in 1974 and ends in 1980 on his 30th birthday. It chronicles his slow rise to fame from lighting technician at The City Disco to crafting a ground-breaking 16-minute remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to performing with Sylvester at the SF Opera House. Vivid descriptions are told of cruising in ‘70s SoMA sex venues to primal highs in Buena Vista Park and composing pornophonics in his Castro apartment. The entries are introspective and show a very out-front, alive person going through the throes of gay liberation post-Stonewall.
Patrick Cowley was one of the most revolutionary and influential figures in the canon of electronic dance music. Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco in 1971 to study electronic music at the City College of San Francisco. By the late ‘70s, Patrick’s synthesizer techniques landed him a job composing and producing songs for disco diva Sylvester, including #1 hit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”. Cowley created his own brand of peak-time party music known as Hi-NRG, also dubbed “The San Francisco Sound.” By 1981 Patrick had released a string of his own dance 12″ singles, such as “Menergy” and “Megatron Man”. That year, he co-founded Megatone Records to release his debut album 'Megatron Man'. Meanwhile, Patrick was hospitalized and diagnosed with an unknown illness, which would later be named AIDS. Recovering for a spell, in 1982 he composed two more #1 hits, “Do You Wanna Funk” for Sylvester, and “Right On Target” for Paul Parker, as well as a second solo album 'Mind Warp'. His life was cut short on November 12, 1982, when he passed away two weeks after his 32nd birthday from AIDS-related illness.”
‘Mechanosphere’ is Cam Deas’ abstract yet poignant 2nd album exploring ideas of rhythmic dissonance and head-spinning proprioceptions for The Death of Rave. Following directly from his cultishly-acclaimed mini-LP ‘Time Exercises’, which was surprisingly deployed in Richie Hawtin’s recent ‘CLOSE COMBINED - LIVE’ mix and hailed as “Holy F#ck-What is This?!?” by Brainwashed, his new album applies rich polychromatic colour to his signature rhythmic constructions with a greatly heightened emotive traction and broader appeal while only going deeper on his radical ideas about the fundamentals of sound and composition. Big recommendation if you're into Autechre, Xenakis, Ligeti, Rashad Becker.
Using a computer-controlled modular synth, Cam takes the simple idea of layering pitches in multiple tempi to Nth degrees, resulting in a sensational and warped sense of temporality and gravity-defying physics. Effectively placing pitch on a scale in a similar way to Conlon Nancarrow’s player-piano programming or even Ligeti’s famous metronome experiment, Cam explores solutions to the problem of grid-locked linearity, or at least perceptions of it, by effectively ripping the rug from under electronic music convention to make his music appear as though in perpetual freefall, or a process of omnidirectional contraction/expansion that never quite resolves - always the same, ever different.
In ‘Mechanosphere’ listeners effectively navigate through the music by a loose means of pattern recognition, picking out accentuated kicks and hits that pierce thru Cam’s incredibly dense swells of endless metallic tone. But where his ‘Time Exercises’ LP was unreservedly abstract and emotive in an alien sense, his follow-up practically sounds as though aliens have developed a form of 3D midi folk-jazz or court music for bacchanals and spiritual reasons.
From the vertiginous scale of ‘Ascension’, thru the the jaw-dropping hyper stepper ’Slip’, to the controlled chaos of ‘Reflect, Deflect’, and ultimately the deeply solemn yet discordantly lush finale of shearing metallic pitches in ’Solitude’, Cam offers an often shocking and ever fascinating grasp of electronic music’s potential to relate hard-to-communicate but intuitively felt ideas to the body and emotions. It’s a sober but incredibly wondrous sound, and only confirms that Cam’s seismic stylistic transition this decade from preeminent, post-Takoma 12-string guitar player to visionary synthesist was certainly worthwhile.
The Heat Equation is a heavyweight 100 page book and CD set showcasing a new portfolio of photography work by Joséphine Michel alongside a live recording of Mika Vainio's final performance in the UK, featuring all new material intended for his latest solo CD for Touch.
"Following their previous collaboration on the 2015 release Halfway to White, Michel and Vainio had been planning a follow-up production, and in March 2017, Michel visited Vainio in Oslo to show him the first examples of the photographs she had been taking with this in mind. Shortly before Mika's untimely death in April 2017, the project took a turn.
The new Touch recordings were nearing completion but his hard disk had crashed and the project would need to be restarted. The collaboration turned into a parallel narrative between Michel's perusal of quasi-scientific imagery, captured from museum collections and locations in France, Japan and Peru, and the legacy of Vainio's musical vision, the tension between its heat and its icy precision. Included in the book is a postcard of Michel's tender portrait of Mika Vainio taken at this Oslo meeting. If 'Halfway to White' was an exploration of Michel's notion of sonic photography, this new book presents a vision of a world on the edge of discovery - whether it be born of science, medicine, space travel - with 'The Heat Equation' hinting at the transformation of feelings and matter.
In August 2016 Vainio performed a blinding set at the Contra Pop festival in Ramsgate, which was recorded off the desk for the purposes of the festival's annual compilation CD. With Contra Pop on hiatus in 2017, it wasn't until June 2018 that the festival organisers contacted Touch to introduce the idea of the compilation. At which point, as if miraculously, Vainio's counterpoint to Michel's work rematerialised in the form of this live festival recording. Remastered by Russell Haswell, Mika Vainio's new music is the equal of anything he released in his lifetime. Bound in a linen cover with foil blocking, Michel's photography is expertly printed on 200gsm Arctic Silk. Accompanied by an introductory text by artist Jeremy Millar, "The Devouring Drop", art directed by Jon Wozencroft and the latest development in Touch's new series of "ear books"."
A wonderfully icy but lush expression of synthy nordic soul flush with soaring dynamics and devilishly detailed arps from Lindstrøm
Comparable with the ‘Principe Del Norte’ trips by his regular spar Prins Thomas, the style of ‘On A Clear Day I Can See You Forever’ can also be heard as a nordic echo of Berlin School kosmiche or cinematic Vangelis styles.
The title track is suitably scaled in the image of vast snowy mountain ranges and unfathomably deep fjord gorges with swooping and soaring arps gymnastics beautifully enacted over moonlit backdrops, before ‘Really Deep Snow’ comes to land in scenes of richly padded, ribboning bass punctuated by an icicle-tapping pulse. Flipside he repeats the formula of beatless then pulsating in the transition from dawning, iridescent arp melodies on ‘Swing Low Sweet LFO’, to the sublime, slinky shuffle of ‘As If No One Is Here.’
Gutted that carnival is another year away? Get right on this unmissable compilation of digi Soca-Dub and plugged-in Calypso from the experts at Soundway Records, coming off like the missing link between South African bubblegum and Kwaito, Latin Freestyle, Surinamese bubblers, Italo-funk, Zouk, rare groove boogie, US/Euro-house, and digi-dub proper. Too many highlights to mention!!!
“Compiled by Soundway Records founder Miles Cleret, along with DJ and collector Jeremy Spellacey, Body Beat comprises 17 obscure Soca B-side versions, dubs, instrumentals and edits as well as vocal tracks influenced by disco, boogie, house-music, soul and the more conscious lyrics of roots reggae.
Owing as much to New York, Toronto and London as to the Caribbean cities of Port of Spain, Bridgetown and Kingstown, the compilation traces the genre from its explosion in the late 1970s right up to the period just before contemporary soca became established around the end of the 1990s.
Filled with up-tempo tracks from start to finish, the lead single of the compilation "I Want Your Love" by Peter Britto is a soca-house number which originally came out on NYC-based label Hometown Music. Soca was originally a re-invention of Calypso music; a genre that in the 1970s was fast becoming usurped around the Caribbean by Jamaican reggae and American soul, funk and later disco.
Lead single "I Want Your Love" is the most recent track on the compilation, being released in 1998, and features the recognisable soca synth beat, along with Caribbean steel drums and horns - but with the obvious influence of New York's booming house scene, making it an ultimate crossover track for club dancefloors and carnivals alike.”
Seahawks take Woo under their wing for a suite of washed and deeply cliched balearic chuff
“Emotional Response and Ocean Moon come together for a special collaborative release, where Seahawks take the music of WOO on a journey to the inner sanctum. Immersive, psychoactive and phased to perfection.
For those who know not the music of WOO, prepare to behold a rare and magical incarnation of transcendent beauty.
Perhaps Seahawks most spaced out voyage since Vision Quest One: Spaceships Over Topanga Canyon, ‘Celestial Railroads’ is a psychedelic odyssey that goes way beyond the norm. Like Spaceman 3 remixing the KLF’s Chill Out or Vangelis’ ‘Earth’ covered by Acid Mothers Temple.
The floor is of blue clay
The walls of rain falling
The doors are of cloud
Wind is the windows
You know there is no ceiling
(Ursula K. Le Guin)
Breathe deep and journey on.”
The Way Forth, a new folk opera from Rachel Grimes, encompasses lush layers of voices and orchestrations in an experiential, non-linear investigation highlighting perspectives of Kentucky women from 1775 to today.
"Inspired by a treasure-trove of family documents, photos, and letters spanning several generations, Grimes began in 2016 to research some of the more vexing questions that came to the surface about these people, places, and events. Fueled by intuition, travel to visit family, photographing, and filming present day rural Kentucky life, the research led to many more questions: What is missing? What is not being said here? What did she really think and feel? Primary historical accounts routinely glossed over people without titles or voting rights, and dehumanized most others by referring to them as objects of desire, savages, or slaves. Further examination formed a framework for trying to reconcile her state’s history and how it relates to the westward expansion and settlement of the United States and ultimately how an era of domination, denial, and pain is reflected in the complex culture of today.
The songs that make up The Way Forth weave back in time through a postcard, a personal account of a long life on a farm, traces of folk tunes, names, places, and rivers, all woven into an emotional fabric of yearning, nostalgia, grief, and the rich intimacies of everyday life. Initially solo voices are heard above vivid orchestrations, expanding with the choral voices of the community through fragments of traditional church music and popular tunes. The scope widens to include a modern male narrator’s reflections on a place battered by greed, civil war, bigotry, and the exploitation of natural resources. Through music, voice, and film, The Way Forth honors the emotional legacy of the silenced, the holistic, the beauty in quotidian life, and explores the eternal grace and redemption of time, as symbolized by the great Dix and Kentucky Rivers.
Instrumentation includes piano, harp, strings, choir, lead vocals and narrators. Special guest collaborators include Stephen Webber (SITI Company), Timbre Cierpke (SONUS), Joan Shelley, and Nathan Salsburg. Experimental film created in collaboration with Catharine Axley."
Commissioned in 2013 by La Rochelle International Film Festival. Ott is internationally known for her Ondes Martenot playing; instead she decided to work with acoustic instrumentation, of skin, of hammers, of breaths... playing piano, percussion, gong, with Torsten Böttcher adding hang, kalimba & didgeridoo.
"Nanook of the North tells the daily life of the Eskimo family living in Hudson Bay. Fights for life, constant shifts, fishing, seal hunting... The spectator shares the life of the family of the far north. "The magic of the film lies in the fact that they are themselves and that they are not comedy. They are." says Robert Flaherty. Christine Ott's sober compositions combined with unusual timbres by Torsten Böttcher marry these images together and bear witness to a great simplicity and humanity.
Ott met Böttcher in 2011. She was impressed by his hang drum playing. Torsten has collaborated with renowned world music players, jazz formations and also orchestras. They first collaborated for Ott's Tabu soundtrack, created in 2012 and released in 2016 on Gizeh, also as part of the labels Dark Peak Series. One year later, Ott and Böttcher co-composed this new live soundtrack - again on a Robert Flaherty movie, travelling from the south of Bora Bora to the far north of Nanook.
This very acoustic set is deeply linked to the rough life of Nanook and his family. The setlist is mainly balanced between Ott's piano pieces (the main theme Nanook, Kayak Fragile, Lights) and Böttcher's hang lead works (Family, Igloos, Tâches ménagères). We can feel in the compositions and in their playing the sincerity and the beauty of each gesture of Nanook's daily life. One of the highlights of this live recording is the haunting duet Première chasse / Walrus hunting, in which Ott's bouncing piano playing is perfectly responding to the groove of Böttcher’s hang, in an almost jazz influenced sequence.
Ott & Böttcher reworked this creation during 2018 in Strasbourg. This recording is a bit shorter than the stage version, but keeps the movie's frame. And at the end, the last piece ...Et le blizzard resonates as a magnificent repetitive track in this majestic but relentless North; Nanook died of hunger, two years after the shooting, during a particularly disastrous hunting expedition. But we are not about to forget his radiant face and his courage for eternity."
An album of new versions of classic tracks by a classic band – and yet so much more besides. Formed in Amsterdam in 1980, Minimal Compact were part of the original post-punk explosion. The band developed a unique mix of propulsive rhythms, spacious basslines, rich keyboard textures, mesmeric guitar lines, and vocal melodies with a Middle-Eastern inflection. They sounded like nothing that had gone before.
"Now they have reconvened, together with producer and long-time collaborator Colin Newman (Wire), to finally capture their music in its true brilliance. Several of the band’s signature songs have been re-recorded using a mix of live recordings and studio tooled performances. The result is an album that radiates vitality and class.
Highlights include live favourite ‘Statik Dancin’’ with its barbed hooks and irresistible groove. The bright, tender optimism of ‘My Will’ is especially moving, with Spigel’s vocal at the fore. Then there is ‘Take Me Away’, with its tightly coiled hypnotic guitar lines edging towards mania. The album climaxes with a brand new song, ‘Holy Roller’"
Top dogs Justin Broadrick & Kevin Martin meet Moor Mother to revive their Zonal alias some 20 years after the project’s CDr demo album first appeared on Avalanche.
Essentially conceived in 2000 as a follow-up to Techno Animal, the Zonal beast is now reawakened as a joint vessel for Broadrick & Martin’s grouchiest drones and bass with added vocals by an indomitable Moor Mother, who is right on the cusp of dropping her best work in the ferocious ‘Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes.’ In combination they amount to a proper force of nature, albeit a super slow and cantankerous one, creeping up from the peripheries to dominate the senses with their choking style of water-logged dub noise.
Broadrick & Martin’s scorched ground is now more dense and sodden, spreading out to uncertain ground which Moor Mother holds with glaring declarations of her signature blues and quantum futurism for the first half of the record. The 2nd half is then given to elemental instrumentals with heavy duty results, seeing Broadrick & Martin throw their full, combined weight in six speaker worrying trudgers laced with scathing levels of distortion.
We hardly need to stress that this is like manna for all red-eyed types who’ve never gotten over that late ‘90s illbient phase, as well as those who’ve picked up on its spirit thru contemporary echoes in Kevin Martin’s hybrids of industrial music, experimental dub, and cyberpunk dread as King Midas Sound and The Bug, or Broadrick’s JK Flesh and Jesu outings.
After 5 years on the downlow, Teebs returns with a 4th album of dusty ambient and dream-pop themes mixed with soulful hip hop for Brainfeeder
“The wait is finally over for new music by Teebs, aka Mtendere Mandowa. It’s been 5 years since his last body of work, but 25 October will mark the release of his next full length album “ Anicca”. With the help of a host of musical friends including Panda Bear (Animal Collective), Sudan Archives, Ringgo Ancheta aka MNDSGN, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Anna Wise, daydream Masi, Former Boy, Pink Siifu, Jimetta Rose and Thomas Stankiewicz, the 4 7 minute LP fuses Teebs’ signature bright and fluid productions with the grounded and colorful elements of his collaborators.”
Unexpected, and ace, electronic deconstruction and rearrangements of acoustic jazz recordings from Berlin’s Grischa Lichtenberger on the very unjazzy Raster label. Somehow sounds like everyone from Shit & Shine to Squarepusher, Carl Stone and Patten.
“Grischa Lichtenberger's music stands for broken rhythms, for high-density manipulations that emphasize the digital and fractal nature of its working process. A mindset that grew closer to contemporary jazz in recent years. Since free jazz, this genre also sought to overcome musical standards and looked for possibilities of an individual artistic expression. Within this context, the collaboration between Lichtenberger and jazz saxophonist Philipp Gropper as well as the resulting album are documents of this development. It also offers both musicians the opportunity to expand their familiar environment by breaking with expectations. The foundation for Re: phgrp were pieces from the album Consequences by Philipp Gropper's band PHILM which Lichtenberger reinterpreted without giving up their original character. He rather looked for figures, subjects, and reference points in the compositions to reflect and condense them. As Consequences was recorded with all the instruments in one room at the same time (like a classical jazz recording from the 1950s), the extraction of individual instruments was a challenge which Lichtenberger took up with shifts, distortions, and rearrangements of the original temporality of the material. Except for a few synthesizer sounds and an additional piano recording, he remained largely true to the source material, even though the tracks develop their own unique voice throughout the album. Re: phgrp (reworking consequences by philipp gropper's philm) will be released in cooperation with Whyplayjazz in a limited edition of 500 CDs. The cover was screen printed and shows a compositional notation by Grischa Lichtenberger. The album marks the beginning of an encounter between Lichtenberger and Gropper that promises to continue in joint improvisational concert situations and further recordings in the future.”
Michael Gira and an epic caravan of players (Ben Frost, The Necks, Baby Dee, Anna and Maria Von Hausswolff ++) head for the horizon in Swans’ 15th studio album. Gira’s vocals rasp with muzzled ennui, while the music keeps in tow, striking on widescreen themes of big country Americana with typically discerning production.
“SWANS Leaving Meaning is the band’s fifteenth studio album, the follow up to 2016’s The Glowing Man. Written and produced by Michael Gira, the album features contributions from recent and former Swans, members of Angels of Light as well as Anna and Maria von Hausswolff, Ben Frost, The Necks, Baby Dee and Jennifer Gira.
Michael Gira explains, "Leaving Meaning is the first Swans album to be released since I dissolved the lineup of musicians that constituted Swans from 2010 – 2017. Swans is now comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, selected for both their musical and personal character, chosen according to what I intuit best suits the atmosphere in which I’d like to see the songs I’ve written presented. In collaboration with me, the musicians, through their personality, skill and taste, contribute greatly to the arrangement of the material. They're all people whose work I admire and whose company I personally enjoy."
Larry Gus (real name Panagiotis Melidis) returns to DFA with ‘Subservient’, his fourth release for the label.
"‘Subservient’ sees more pop-oriented than his previous albums, a lush combination of “crisis funk pop and trad Mediterranean grooves.” Lyrics sung in Greek and English address Larry’s overwhelming struggles with being a father, husband, artist, and human in 2019. In the artist’s own words, this album is about “trying to understand empathy and act with it on everyday life,” as well as “the imperative of empathy above everything else.”
‘Subservient’ is sample-free, a first for Larry, who plays every instrument himself: a drum kit, an SM57 microphone, a guitar, a bass, a TE OP-1 synthesizer and a Roland JV-1010 synth module. This is fourth-world power pop, as if Alex Chilton was produced by Eno and Hassell. The thoughtful, upbeat arrangements and gentle vocals are spacious and warm, and tend to offset whatever darker tone the lyrics might imply. Larry confronts more acute tensions, such as being a father in Greece during the crisis, and the parallels of a child’s sicknesses and adult ailments, as well as larger, more existential pressures - the grasp of nostalgia, the weight and meaning of making decisions, and the desire to move from hermeticism towards sociability.
The record graciously explores the nuance that can be found within delineated lines: pop and folk music, rooted in Greek tradition; internal anxieties and empathy expressed outward; the tightrope struggle of living in the present and wallowing in the past."
Cut ’n paste japesters Negativland cock another snook at contemporary culture, speaking thru myriad, sampled-voices questioning the state of play over a selection of skronky, organically technoid grooves and semi-pop songs. Fans of Herbert, People Like Us, Porest or advanced daftness need apply
“What is True False? It's more than two things, and as of 2019 it's also a new album by the semi-legendary multimedia collective known as Negativland. True False is a full length return to all original music that you could almost mistake for actual songs -- albeit ones sung by dozens of sampled vocalists who have never met -- and is a prime example of what we used to call experimental music, but now just call social media. It's your own inescapable subjectivity made catchy as we witness the entrenched political beliefs of left and right cleanly switching sides in under one generation. It’s the first Negativland album to come with a lyric sheet, and a reminder that we need more than just one memory before we can safely tell anyone else that this is not normal.
Is this a concept album? The first of two interconnected double albums, True False musically tackles concerns that will be familiar to any surviving fans of the band: our nervous systems, our realities, and the evolving forms of media that inevitably insert themselves between the two. A series of seemingly random topics are slowly woven together: shootings, bees, the right's rules for radicals, climate control, dogs pretending to be children, the oil we eat, and the right of every American to believe whatever they want to believe -- your brain's ear lets nothing remain entirely random. It’s not the content, it's the edit that shows us what we all know to be true, and it's the things that one is most tempted to enjoy as harmless entertainment that often turn out to be living animals. Splicing together Occupy mic checks with US militia rallies, FOX news hosts with ecoterrorists, and your own sanity with the home viewing habits of Negativland's lead vocalist, the Weatherman, when you put the word True next to the word False, a broader reality reveals itself.”
New York based duo Tempers, comprised of Jasmine Golestaneh and Eddie Cooper, have been diligently carving out their own unique niche within dark indie, electronica and synth-pop circles since their formation.
"Tempers third full-length album, Private Life, successfully progresses their cinematic aesthetic into a moodier and more introspective landscape. Private Life opens with “Capital Pains”, a lonely incantation that echoes the human desire to envy other people’s lives and endlessly chase our own insecurities. Surreal, isolated atmosphere backed by upbeat rhythm and melancholy refrain projected from “Capital Pains” perfectly set the tone expectation for Private Life. “Peace of Mind” crawls along as a dramatic dirge with Golestaneh imparting matters of loneliness and solitude, always looking from the outside and complemented with Cooper’s haunting resonance.
The character behind songs such as “Sleep” and “Push/Pull” break from Tempers signature synth-laden post punk notoriety, instead switching to a more somber songwriting style that settles down between downtempo dream pop and despondent soundtracks. Behind the backdrop of driving electronics and magnetic verse, Private Life deconstructs and reimagines the ideas behind despair, love, loneliness, and hope. While most people would simply reflect on nostalgia, Tempers stands alone in their unique methods, fictionalizing their ideas through sound and vision to create soundtracks for everyday affliction."
“Daniel Pioro’s playing is the sound in my head when I write for the violin” Jonny Greenwood
"'Dust' is a collection of music for solo violin and electronics. Daniel describes the record as “a full exploration of the sound world a violin allows. The electronics meld with, lift, surpass and dance around the organic rawness of the strings. The piece is all my years of not conceding or diluting myself to the needs of others, compressed into one long musical expression. It is hope and birth and death and melancholy.”
A serial collaborator, album track Elsewhere was written for Pioro by renowned UK composer Edmund Finnis before its premiere at the Southbank Centre’s inaugural DEEP∞MINIMALISM Festival in 2015. Following a long period of close collaboration, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood wrote Horror vacui, a solo violin concerto for Pioro and 68 strings, to be performed for the first time at the BBC Proms in September 2019. Pioro’s repertoire also includes contemporary composer Thomas Adès’ cosmic violin concerto, Concentric Paths. And through his close work with Icelandic composer and producer (and founder / creative director of Bedroom Community), Valgeir Sigurðsson, a partnership of mutually fruitful creativity has taken his deep, learned musicality still further, both in the studio and onstage.
It’s from this deep, resonant understanding of contrasting sound and frequencies and the balancing of a broad palette of textures and style that Dust arises. The stunning “Particles” bears witness to a dramatic staccato battle with powerful electronic spasms, before “Rest” provides a breath of hope and abandon. This isn’t a record that tugs at heart strings, but music that sears into the soul, finding more complex emotional relationships. Daniel’s music finds solace in the inexplicable parts of us, the scar tissue left when conflicting emotions collide, and the willingness to explore what haunts and comforts us, deep within.
Daniel Pioro is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the most groundbreaking violinists of his generation. Based in London and Edinburgh, he has performed as soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, the London Contemporary Orchestra, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. His recording career has seen him collaborating with artists from different musical paths, and most recently he can be heard as soloist on Jonny Greenwood’s scores for Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Phantom Thread, and Jo Yeong-wook’s acclaimed soundtrack to the BBC’s adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl."
Formidable dark ambient se’er Deathprod returns like a rare comet with the keeling “anti-fascist ritual” of ‘Occulting Disk’ - his first solo album in over 15 years - offering a life-affirming warning to the power of negative energy.
Proceeding 2004’s canonical classic ‘Morals And Dogma’, the Norwegian sound design auteur here gathers his uniquely dematerialised productions made in Oslo, Cologne, and L.A. between 2012-2019 under the auspices of an “anti-fascist ritual.” While it’s tricky to identify how that admirable intent relates directly to the music, it’s safe to say that ‘Occulting Disk’ at the least suggests an ideally brooding headspace for reflection on that pressing topic, and, for that matter, whatever else is fuelling one’s existential angst.
Practically picking up where he left us at ‘Cloudchamber’, the incredible closing track on 2004’s ‘Morals And Dogma’, with ‘Occulting Disk’ Deathprod develops his mastery of elemental sonics with the vision of someone who has accessed an atavistic, arcane source of knowledge or energy. Working like an alchemist with his custom-built AudioVirus system, he divines and relays a deep sensorial clarity from a near-permanent state of occlusion, seemingly sharing the visions of a man who has spent the past decade growing his beard on an unforgiving mountaintop amid never-shifting clouds, but who can see clearer than anyone scurrying about, miles below.
Opening with the fog horn blasts of ‘Disappearance/Reappearance’ to continue a core Deathprod theme, the album’s seven ‘Occultation’ parts unfold in a series of dissonant aeolian synth howls that cast Helge Sten’s magick at its most elusive and yet present, tending as carefully to the music’s noisy pinnacles as to its deathly lacunæ, with the potential to turn your body into a massive resonating vessel until his incredible ‘Occultation 6’, and then dissolve your atoms into iridescence on ‘Occultation 7.’ And that all seems like preparation for the Copernican revelation of ‘Black Transit of Jupiter’s Third Satellite’, where he practically immanentizes the eschaton in a jaw-dropping display of electro-acoustic abstraction.
For both new lambs and long-time disciples alike, ‘Occulting Disk’ is an unmissable jump-off point into supernatural, metaphysical dimensions, and one of those rare records that really puts everything else into perspective in light of its radical nature.
Electro-acoustic explorer John Chantler expands his timbral horizons with a subtly dynamic suite recorded at INA-GRM, Paris; Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg; and 1703, Stockholm, in a commission for the GRM’s François Bonnet.
Chantler absorbingly pays attention to the nanoscopic and macro details of his sound here in a vast cosmic entanglement of subatomic chatter and arcing harmonic structures that describe a real head-fuck of awesome electronic abstraction. On the surface it can appear formidably alien, but those parts always lead somewhere sweeter and gratifyingly inquisitive.
“Australian born, Sweden based artist John Chantler returns to Room40 with his fifth solo edition. 'Tomorrow Is Too Late' was commissioned by INA GRM for their Présences Électronique festival in 2018 and sees Chantler significantly expand the horizons of his acoustic palette. Moving from subtle microtonal movements to passages of intense harmonic saturation, Tomorrow Is Too Late is his most dynamic work to date. A powerhouse of reductive intensity that bares witness to Chantler’s uncompromising sonic articulations.”
One opera singer teams with one experimental musician!
"La Diva Christina Van Peteghem on voices and Pierre-Jean Vranken everywhere. They are Quasi Una Fantasia! Noise, classical guitars, exquisite melodic songs, minimalism, neoclassical, avant-garde are the medium and the message. There is no need of more explanation, it's Quasi everything!"