Welsh musician Gwenifer Raymond’s new album edges into unexplored experimental territory, drawing from her Welsh roots.
"In her own words : My new album, 'Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain', has eight songs in it. All were recorded in a basement flat in central Brighton, locked-down amidst a global pandemic. I recorded them myself and neither I, nor any of the songs saw said outbreak coming. Coronavirus may have dictated the circumstance under which the album was recorded but it did not otherwise inform any of the compositions that run through it; like I said, we didn't see it coming. Growing up in Wales was not a theme strongly present in my first record (perhaps not too surprising in an album of 'American Primitive'), but I feel as though my memories of that time have started to insinuate themselves in the tunes here.
In my opinion, landscape does a lot to shape a community's folk music; from my childhood I recall tall, spooky trees, black against the grey sky, breath misting in cold air, and I have tried to take something of Welsh folk horror to make my own 'Welsh Primitive'. Whilst this isn't the only theme present in the album, childhood memories do form the background for a couple of tracks: coal trains steaming along the foot of our garden, rattling the glasses on the kitchen table; and the titular 'Strange Lights...' dancing above the peak of the mountain which loomed over the house where I grew up. Dead men also feature prominently, as well as personal tragedies and the madness of touring. It's possible this album is leaning more into the left-field than the first - the songs are longer and more 'compositional' for lack of a better word, rather than deriving so heavily from the folk and blues traditions, though, they're still there - all of those dead men are hard to shake.
Some parts go fast and others go slow. Sometimes I play more aggressively than I intend to and other times I play exactly as aggressively as I intend to. I still say it's punk music and I have no idea what key the last tune is in.For Erik Satie, Master Wilburn Burchette, and Ruben the dog."
Spellbinding improvisations on a Prophet 5 synth by Toshihiko Mori, a former keys player for Ryuichi Sakamoto, capturing the spirit of ‘Jinen’ - Japanese for “Spontaneity’ - for Biosphere’s label
Putting the legendary Prophet 5 synth thru its paces, with some extra touches of Yamaha VSS-30 8-bit sampler, a few granular guitar pedals, and some field recordings from the artist’s forest-bathing walks, the results sound to these ears like a more spirited adjunct to Alessandro Cortini’s brooding synth improvs, as Tokyo's Toshihiko trusts his instincts along in-the-moment lines of thought between the radiant, widescreen chord flares of ‘Kibou’, to spiralling arps like something from Leyland Kirby’s ‘Intrigue & Stuff’ series, to aerial nightglyidng sensations in ‘Sou’, and a thizzing gem called ‘NBWRYM’ that might resonate with fans of Ayya’s modern classic ‘Second Mistake’.
Ooooof, it's been a while since we last heard from Pole but the German reductionist dub innovator has found his mojo again and this is his finest slab in ages. Proper frazzled low-end treatments for blunted exotica darlings.
It's been five years since Stefan Betke dropped a full-length, but to be honest we haven't been too interested since 2000's "3", the third and final part of Betke's trilogy of albums that still sound like little else. Those records helped light the touchpaper for a generation of young producers to experiment with dub sounds in a freeform electronic context, and while it burned out quickly the traces can still be heard fizzing through. Betke reissued the trilogy earlier this year and has now followed it up with "Fading", recapturing the unsurpassed essence of those early jams without repeating himself.
Inspired by the idea of memory loss as he watched his mother suffer from dementia, Betke wanted to connect ideas of the early Pole albums to his contemporary practice. And that's exactly how "Fading" sounds: the skeletal, decomposing dub sound that was so idosyncratic in 1998 is still present, but Betke fleshes it out with a mature worldliness that brings in elements of exotica and the subtle whisper of distant, half-remembered pop. That's not to say there are riffs (there really aren't, it's pure vibes from beginning to end) but yr transported to a world where oddly familiar elements are wrapped up tightly in tape hiss and white noise.
Like on those first few albums, Betke's rhythms feel elastic and in constant flux. Drum machine sounds and sonic detritus become pretty much interchangeable, melting into each other to create a highly distinctive sound universe. There's an element of nostalgia for sure - the glassy, polished (im)perfection of the early 2000s Mille Plateaux set is very well represented here - but Betke brings it into contemporary dimensions, updating the frame without losing its soul. It's the sound of a dying supercomputer on a distant world, if that supercomputer had learned about Earth's pop culture solely by listening to Jamaican soundsystem music of the 1970s and 80s.
Absolute killer new LP from The Trilogy Tapes / Kashual Plastik affiliate Waswaas.
"Following initial forays with The Trilogy Tapes and more recently Berlin’s Kashual Plastik, Waswaas wanders further down the path of analogue and modular darkness, casting out his first album, Memories of Perversion.
Self-released on the La Nihaya label and with nods to the depths of humankind’s primordial lurking, Waswaas presents music for the wormhole interior. The tracks traverse a range of electronic moods, tinged with moments of liturgical voicing, dissonant canonistic sequences and arcade-style sequencing.
Overall, this is a soundtrack for being trapped in your inner castle (how apt, some may say) and these 11 seminal outpourings become foundational vehicles for our attempted resurrection. Mastered by Amir Shoat with artwork from Ilaha Alize."
The expert selectors at Soul Jazz survey the golden years of German electronic music with hairy works by Can, Amon Duul II, Conrad Schnitzler and more obscure acts from 1971-1983
Conrad Schnitzler’s evergreen ‘Ballet Statique’ is always a strong look, and sequenced here along with the lip-sniff poise of Emak’s arpeggiated zinger ‘Tanz in Den Himmel’; looser funk from Can with ‘I’m So Green’; rolling and splashy krautrock from Agitation Free; Kalacakra’s impish flute fantasy; the pastoral breeze of Roedelius and his overripe work with Harmonia; and a scuzzy driver from Günther Schickert.
"This is the new instalment of Soul Jazz Records’ ground-breaking Deutsche Elektronische Musik series, ‘A near-definitive guide to some of the world's most extraordinary music’ (The Guardian).
This latest edition features many of the classic German electronic and Krautrock groups from the 1970s & 80s – including Can, Amon Duul II, Harmonia, Conrad Schnitzler, Agitiation Free, Roedelius – as well as a host of lesser known artists such as Dzyan, Klauss Weiss, Gruppe Between and many more.
Deutsche Elektronische rarities unearthed on the album include Kalacakra (whose fan-base included the great Moondog!) and their superb ‘Nearby Shiras,’ taken from their super-rare spiritual/psychedelic private press concept album Crawling to Lhasa, from 1972.
Deutsche Elektronische 4 includes a wealth of German electronic experimental artists – the seminal pioneering group Harmonia (Roedelius, Moebius and Michael Rother), avant-garde guru Conrad Schnitzler as well as lesser known synthetic artists such as Klauss Weiss, Deutsche Wertarbeit, E.M.A.K. (Electronische Musik Aus Koln), Gunter Schickert and others.
Finally, the album also features an array of heavy and progressive German cosmic rock groups – Dzyan, Virus and the amazing Turkish/German tripped out sound of Alex’s ‘Patella Black’, recorded at Can’s Inner Space in 1973, produced by Holger Czukay and Jackie Liebezeit.
Deutsche Elektronische 4 comes with extensive newly commissioned sleevenotes by David Stubbs, author of the seminal books ‘Future Days: Krautrock and the building of Modern Germany’, ‘Mars By 1980: The story of Electronic Music’, and ‘Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and its Legacy’.
This album comes as a heavyweight triple vinyl edition with full colour inner sleeves, as well as a deluxe double CD edition with outsize booklet and slipcase. Both formats include full liner notes and extensive rare photography."
Ólafur Arnalds latest album, ‘some kind of peace’ has the feel of a brand new chapter for Ólafur.
"‘some kind of peace’ is further previewed today by brand new track ‘We Contain Multitudes’ (and a video directed by Blair Alexander). In Ólafur’s own words, ‘We Contain Multitudes’ “was written at a friend's cabin in a jungle, late at night, on a tiny electric keyboard. At the time I had spent so much time away from what I had considered home, almost setting up a separate life on the other side of the planet. My mind was going through a process of learning to live in two vastly different cultures, of recognising that within one body there are multitudes of different and often contradictory facets of personality. The song remains a reminder that our minds are not constants, the self is ever evolving."
More than anything he's ever made, 'some kind of peace' is the story of Ólafur Arnalds' life - and there is quite the life-story to tell. Arnalds started out writing compositions for a German metal band, before supporting Sigur Rós and forging an oeuvre full of innovations. His 2007 debut album documented life’s journey from birth to death, with projects ever since ranging from 2016’s ‘Island Songs’ (seven songs made in seven different Icelandic towns, in seven days) to forming one-half of the experimental techno duo, Kiasmos. Having collaborated extensively with German pianist/composer Nils Frahm, Ólafur’s last album - ‘re:member’ – proved a technological triumph (it featured his ground-breaking, self-playing and semi-generative Stratus Pianos). A 140+ date world tour followed, which saw Arnalds sell-out venues ranging from the Royal Albert Hall and his own suitably genre-bending music festival OPIA at Southbank Centre. Few contemporary acts, after all, would be as at home covering Iggy Pop’s show on 6Music as they are composing dance scores for Wayne MacGregor at Sadler’s Wells, winning an BAFTA for his work on ‘Broadchurch’, or landing an Emmy nomination earlier this month for his title theme to ‘Defending Jacob’.
Released this November, 'some kind of peace' is a journey of Ólafur Arnalds’ personal and creative growth, set against the backdrop of a chaotic world. Within, you’ll hear hints of those private experiences - sometimes even samples of the significant events themselves – woven into an album that is remarkable in its openness, and its beauty. “It's so personal that I'm still trying to find the words to talk about it,” Arnalds says today. “I felt it was important that the album would tell my story in a very honest way.” Throughout Ólafur urges you to embrace all that life throws at you, and above all to react, and contemplate, to find your kind of peace. His stunning new album would definitely be the place to start."
Horse finds Tallinn, Estonia’s Holy Motors acknowledging the Americana and rockabilly strands of their musical DNA without sacrificing any of the other-worldly mystique that keeps them from neatly conforming to the shoegaze and dreampop labels often applied to their music.
"From the album’s opening moments, songs like “Country Church,” with its major key and classic rhythm and blues guitarline, and “Midnight Cowboy,” which sounds like a lost Buddy Holly 45 played at 33 rpm, make it clear that Horse — even if it may not accomplish the impossible task of demystifying this band of ex-Soviet cowboys — will at least show you that there’s more to them than the near-impenetrable darkness of their work to date may suggest. While tracks like “Trouble” and “Endless Night” gravitate towards the ethereal production and existential subject matter of prior releases, repeat listens will reveal the same complex compositions and humanity that are much more a hallmark of Horse’s eight songs.
As a whole, Horse stands as a warmer, more human counterpoint to 2018’s celestial Slow Sundown. As to which of the two entries better approximates Holy Motors’ natural set point, only time will tell."
“My Echo is my 11th solo album. It’s my ‘my songs knew I was getting divorced before I did’ album. My conscious mind was trying as hard as I could to keep my family together but my subconscious mind was working on the difficult struggles in my marital life. I was part of a “Secret Poetry Group” that met and wrote poems monthly for a year during the writing of this record. Many of my poems turned into songs for this album. By the time the album was being mixed last fall, my ex-husband/producer Tucker Martine and I had decided to go our separate ways. We were a great musical team for many years but we struggled to be compatible in our marriage and family life and that struggle is reflected in this album.
In this new batch of songs I imagine escaping from some sort of prison or cage. Advancing age, the confines of domesticity, our oppressive government and the threat of the apocalypse permeate these songs. In these songs my heart craves certainty and permanence but none is to be found. It’s an album about disintegration. It reveals my artist’s intuition at work.
Although these songs were written before quarantine they are strangely relevant to times in which we find ourselves currently. You will find me staring at the walls (Turquoise Walls). You will find me feeling grateful to be alive (Memaloose Island). You will find me accepting the ephemeral nature of life (Vapor Trails and All the Things). You will find me searching for personal freedom while feeling trapped (Freedom Feeling). You will find me trying to accept that sometimes the best thing to do is to sit still and do nothing at all (Another Space and Time)." - Laura Veirs
Blackberry is Peter Broderick's first vocal album in five years, since 2015’s Colours of the Night. The entire album was recorded in Peter’s bedroom in London during the summer of 2019, hence Peter’s description of it as “Experimental-Bedroom-Folk-Pop”. All instrumentation is by Peter with additional vocals on the last track by his wife, singer Brigid Mae Power, and his stepson, Seán Power.
"The subject matter of Blackberry is wide-ranging. He touches on family and on the connection we all need as social animals. He writes about technology and whether it will save or doom us. And of course, he writes about nature, about foraging, about the importance of engaging with the outside world in cities and in the country. Peter and his family recently returned to Co. Galway as they have a great love for the Irish countryside, having lived there before their move to London in 2019."
Across eight tracks of subverted, expansive pop, Jake Luppen’s solo debut is all sharp edges, a fractured self-portrait pieced together through left-ofcentre pop maximalism.
"Although Luppen rose to prominence as a vocalist and guitarist in St. Paul’s beloved indie outfit Hippo Campus, the songs on ‘Lupin’ feel like meeting him for the first time. He puts it succinctly: “With this record I wanted to get to the point, and say how things were, as opposed to dancing around them.” Written mainly in breaks during a sprawl of 112 shows for Hippo Campus’ ‘Bambi’ from 2018-2019, Lupin was an unexpected path to confidence. It also offered an escape from the grind of endless touring and a way for Luppen to process major and stressful life events directly through songwriting.
Inspired as much by Charli XCX’s ‘Pop 2’ as it is Tears for Fears, 80s new wave and Prince, the genre-bending record holds true to a desire to make 1980s music filtered through modern technology. Featuring synth and programming contributions from Jim-E Stack and Buddy Ross, Lupin weaves together fragmented drum loops, swooning falsetto, tangles of synths and sharp guitar lines, the final product is an off-kilter popsheen, one Luppen said was guided more by intuition and feeling than anything else. Working alongside producer BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Charli XCX, Banks), the two spent intensive sessions collecting material, coalescing as many layers felt true to serve the songs."
Deluxe editions of an iconic Crepuscule compilation, the labels very first release back in November 1980, now celebrating its 40th anniversary; one of the original and very best "anything goes" label comps - a timely reminder of brooding evergreens by Gavin Bryars, John Foxx, Martin Hannett, Michael Nyman and a cast of contemporary notables.
An early window into the Belgian-UK connection framed by Factory affiliates Les Disques du Crepuscule, ‘From Brussels With Love’ was introduced to these ears by a pretty girl in a back yard in Longsight many moons ago, and It’s stuck with us ever since, casting an infinitely nostalgic vision of romantic torment and existential wist for the ages that we’ll never tire of returning to.
It's one of the finest, most memorable sets of poor-but-sexy bedsit chamber music, crafted noise experiments and jangly art-pop of its era. From the gorgeous John Foxx jingles to a stray Dome ace in the janky groove of ‘Twist Up’, the set takes in all styles like some personal mixtape from your enviably stylish friends in Belgium, covering Martin Hannett’s motorik night slug ‘The Music Room’ thru to Neo-classical from Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman and Satie.
"Originally released as a cassette with a 16 page booklet packaged in a PVC wallet, From Brussels With Love featured 21 exclusive tracks from the international avant-garde and new wave, as well as contributions from the celebrated Factory Records roster. Then, as now, the featured artists include A Certain Ratio, Gavin Bryars, Harold Budd, Thomas Dolby, Dome, The Durutti Column, John Foxx, Martin Hannett, Richard Jobson, The Names, Bill Nelson, Kevin Hewick + New Order, Michael Nyman and Der Plan.
Running for 78 minutes, the cosmopolitan ‘cassette journal’ was curated by Michel Duval, Annik Honore and Wim Mertens, and also includes extended interviews with Brian Eno and legendary French film actress Jeanne Moreau. The cover art is by Jean-Francois Octave, with additional artwork in the booklet by Benoit Hennebert, Marc Borgers and Claude Stassart.
From Brussels With Love quickly sold 6000 copies around Europe, earning rapturous reviews in the UK music press. “This is a reminder – without really trying, without being obvious – that pop is modern poetry. Is the sharpest, shiniest collection of experiences. Is always something new” (Paul Morley, NME). More recently, Dan Fox of art magazine Frieze described TWI 007 as “a masterpiece of distinctly northern European post-punk eclecticism.”
To mark the 40th anniversary of From Brussels With Love, Crepuscule will issue 3 remastered editions. The most ambitious of these is a deluxe 2xCD earbook edition (TWI 007 CD) presented as a 10-inch square hardback book, with two full length audio CDs and a 60 page book including rare images, posters, sleeve designs and period ephemera, plus a detailed history of the Crepuscule label between 1979 and 1984, with contributions from Duval, Honore, Mertens, Octave, Hennebert and photographer Philippe Carly.
CD1 includes all 21 tracks from the original cassette. CD2 includes tracks omitted from TWI 007 for reasons of space, as well as related Crepuscule tracks by Michael Nyman, Bill Nelson, John Foxx, Richard Jobson, Durutti Column, Repetition and The Names, and contemporary songs by other Belgian artists including Digital Dance, Polyphonic Size, Aksak Maboul, Karel Goeyvaerts and Marine.
In addition, Crepuscule issue a facsimile edition cassette package (TWI 007), and a gatefold double vinyl edition (TWI 008) pressed on coloured vinyl (Disc 1 is black, and Disc 2 is white), with the booklet pages printed on the inner gatefold."
Loscil's dreamy 2011 ambient classic "coast/ range/ arc/" gets the deluxe reissue treatment with a fresh remaster and an additional track.
Originally released in 2011, "coast/ range/ arc/" is a dense, evocative ambient record - the kind of album that set the stage for plenty of music that now clogs up playlists, but has rarely been done more effectively. Stylistic touchstones might be Thomas Köner, Angelo Badalamenti and Stars of the Lid (to a degree), but Scott Morgan takes things to shadowier, yet picturesque places - fitting, considering he is based in the quite lovely Pacific Northwest.
It's music that evokes its setting perfectly - bubbling streams haunt 'Fromme' before sub bass hints at larger, mountainous structures looming in the distance. 'Brohm Ridge' meanwhile sounds like troubling winds rushing through trees, with a haunted melancholy that reminds of Deaf Center at their finest. Unheard track 'Black Tusk Descent' has been added to fill out this reissue and concludes the album in a fitting mist of low-end drone and glassy anxious synth.
‘Figures In Open Air’ is a supplement to the beautiful, studio based rumination of ‘Cantus, Descant’, marking the 2nd physical release of new music on Sarah Davachi’s Late Music.
For nigh on 3 hours, the set documents Sarah Davachi in mesmerising form in live settings between Berlin, Chicago, Vancouver, and L.A., imbuing a range of vintage pipe organs and synthesisers with her unique magick alongside some additional players on strings, wind and voice here and there. As anyone who has witnessed Sarah performing live will surely attest, her music has a bare power to hush a room full of people and bring them to eyes-shut serenity, chasing the most ephemeral lines of thought, and that subtle but deeply hypnotic, meditative energy is in full effect on this album.
It’s really dominated by two durational works recorded in Berlin and Chicago, with former channelling pastoral whims like a smudged time-lapse of Harmonia and Eno visions in its hour long arc at Rotes Salon, while the latter makes use of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel’s 92 year old E.M. Skinner pipe organ elided with French horn in a slow exploration of monotone drone. ‘Canyon Walls’ sees Sarah at her mist ephemeral, ancient sounding on a Story & Clark reed organ at The Museum of Jurassic Technology, LA, and we’re rather partial to the keening, hypnagogic chamber sorcery of ‘Diaphonia Basilica’, captured in Montréal, Canada.
"Fragments was a completely new way of working for us. We’ve always worked with an internal brief, creating documents, pictures and videos, simply because keeping an idea on track with three individuals can be difficult. It's easy for someone to be edged out of the creative process when the focus is not clearly defined."
"It’s a formula we’ve used since the early 2000s, but things have changed a lot since then, particularly when we decided to dip our collective toes into supporter memberships with Patreon. It made us think about what we could do directly for our supporters rather than just the next album or project. At first, the whole thing felt odd and uncomfortable, but we decided that we’d try a few things and ask for feedback.
"Fragments" was initially a way for us to see how we could include others in an ongoing creative process. There was no over-arching concept, no defined characteristics or purpose, just the promise that there would be at least one new track for members to download every month. Consequently, we never knew what was coming next, so the old, very focused working method was irrelevant. It was difficult for us to let individual tracks go without knowing what was coming next, but this also made the project more interesting.
And then C19 hit and we were forced to continue the project remotely from our home studios. As difficult as the disruption was, it was during this period that we realised we could re-organise and remaster the individual tracks into a coherent album, capturing a specific moment in time and drawing a line under the first phase of the project."
When electronic artist Ben Chatwin plugged his Moog synthesiser into the mains at home one day, he was surprised to find the electrics of his home faintly singing. His house was built in the Nineteenth Century and what he was listening to was the building’s natural hum. He boosted the volume and in doing so found the inspiration for his next release, The Hum.
"‘The Hum’ is Chatwin's sixth solo album of experimental electronic music under his own name and his eleventh in total. It amplifies the hidden frequencies that swirl invisibly around us in the air all the time but which most of us never hear, including the 50Hz hum of the power grid that producers will know all too well from the studio but is almost undetectable to the human ear. “There are so many sounds around us that are lower and higher than we can hear,” Ben says. “I wanted to make it all audible.” Taking inspiration from Mika Vainio’s physical sound worlds and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s immersive soundtracks, ‘The Hum’’s emotive accumulations and caustic textures form dense stratas, with strings and analogue synths harnessed as melodic anchor points among electric storms of pulsating sound.
After discovering the drone of his home he began extracting and amplifying as many ghost frequencies as he could from other sources to make tracks for the album. ‘Interference’ includes aeroplane communications pulled from the sky; ‘War of the Ants’ resurrects long lost echoes from previously erased recordings on blank tape. At one point, he found what sounded like human chorus in the signals - nobody else could hear it so he also brought in singer Kirsten Norrie (MacGillivray) and buried her voice in the mix among the signals on ‘Creep Strain’ and ‘Snow Crash’. Strings are arranged and performed by Ben’s regular collaborator Pete Harvey (Modern Studies). Ben avoided using the computer as a sound source, and most of ‘The Hum’ is completely analogue - it was mixed live and mastered to tape. This record marks a technological and textural leap in his music, as an album that is both made with and is about the hidden sounds of tubes, tape and the air between us all."
Powerful new spiritual jazz from Chile on Soul Jazz Records. Enrique Rodríguez and the Negra Chiway Band group have an instantly powerful and unique sound that is reminiscent of the ensembles of Sun Ra and his Arkestra as well as Horace Tapscott and his Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, one that channels the righteous spirits of Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and McCoy Tyner together with a stunning Latin rhythmical and new consciousness and percussive energy.
"Added to this are elements of the Samurai film soundtracks of Akira Kurosawa, Popol Vuh’s musical spirituality (especially their work with film director Werner Herzog), Tibetan Buddhism and over-blowing chants, all combining to give a truly unique new sound. Enrique Rodríguez is a composer, percussionist, keyboardist and producer from Santiago, Chile, whose work shows many similarities with the music featured on Soul Jazz Records’ recent collection ‘Kaleidoscope - New Spirts Known and Unknown’, featuring new forward-looking jazz artists including Mathew Halsall, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and Makaya McCraven.
Like all these artists, Rodríguez’s work is a progressive and experimental fusion of earlier influences that combine into a new and definitely 21st Century ground-breaking sound that, on account of its South American setting, give the group its truly unique feeling. Hypnotic modal piano riffs, powerful brass and flutes, an army of Latin percussion instruments and addictive vocal chants all combine in this powerful mix of radical 60s Afro-centric jazz, Eastern spirituality and cosmology and Latin American rhythmical movement."
In his first album since 2006, D&B pioneer Krust dials up the drama and tightens the screws on his swingeing step tekkers in a proper Afro-futurist epic
Weighing in at 1hr 30min long, and with tracks typically unafraid to run over 10 mins, ‘The Edge Of Reason’ is effectively a feature length, widescreen showcase for one of the UK’s pioneering Afro-futurists. Since the likes of 1997’s ‘Future Unknown’ and ‘Genetic Manipulation’, or his classic D&B album ‘Coded Language’ Krust has pushed the envelopes of D&B in his own image with typically longer track lengths allowing for deeper encrypted philosophy.
In 2020 he continues his mission with focussed, minimalist engineering and hypnotic traction, all layered with a more dramatic approach to string and synth arrangements, resulting uniquely tight spins on autonomic D&B torque and cinematic organ stabs in ‘Hegel Dialect’, the knife-edge tension of ’Negative Returns’, and a proper noirish Bristolian roller ‘Deep Fields Of Liars’.
Adulkt Life, made of Huggy Bear’s Chris Rowley, Male Bonding’s John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick and drummer Sonny Barrett, return with their debut album, ‘Book Of Curses’, on What’s Your Rupture?
"Huggy Bear led the UK’s answer to riot grrrl, inspired by the ‘seismic shock’ of witnessing a Nation Of Ulysses performance together and galvanized by Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail’s germinal riot grrrl zine ‘Jigsaw’. In the 25 years since Chris Rowley played with iconic Huggy Bear, starting a new band hasn’t felt right. But mafter John Arthur Webb (Male Bonding), who Rowley met while picking up records at a Rough Trade shop, asked if he wanted to play music together it “suddenly it felt super exciting.” Within a year, Webb and Rowley befriended drummer Sonny Barrett, who worked at a different Rough Trade location and later offered to drum in Adulkt life. The Adulkt Life line up was finalized when Webb enlisted his best friend and longtime collaborator Kevin Hendrick (Middex) on bass. For Rowley, Adulkt Life “felt like it could carry the weight of all the things I would want to culturally load into a band without having to compromise any of it.” That meant these songs - ecstatic buzzsaw guitars, blown-out poetry, the improvisatory energy of torrential art-punk drumming that reveals Sonny’s free-jazz interest - should reflect the conditions of his life as an older person. In 2020, Rowley is a 55- year-old father and longtime employee of a children’s charity. “You have to create a question and interrogate yourself,” he says, and so he poses inexhaustible ones: What is it to parent in a crumbling world? What does it mean to stay political as mEarth burns, to keep loving music? How best to communicate the excitement and charge of possibility from “a whole different set of paradigms?”
Adulkt Life inquires but offers no easy answers, instead instigating punk’s eternal invitation to see: “Wow, I should do something - make something, start a political party, just do something rather than not do something.” The cut-and-paste word collages Rowley once shouted in Huggy Bear are as cool and thrilling as ever on ‘Book Of Curses’ - with chiselled noise hooks expertly mixed by Webb and mastered by Total Control’s Mikey Young, fitting the “cold war bubblegum” aesthetic called out in the lyrics - but charged by the high-stakes of adulthood. ‘Taking Hits’ is a rallying cry for those unable to cry. The explosive ‘Stevie K’ is a “mythic hero/ine song” inspired by Nation of Ulysses guitarist Steve Kroner. In the 1990s, after Rowley and the other members of Huggy Bear saw Nation Of Ulysses, “You couldn’t be a band and want to be anything less than the impact that had on us [...] We wanted to shake everybody up.” Adulkt Life honour these impulses. On ‘Book Of Curses’, punk means never surrendering your creativity or your curiosity."
Downwards and Sandwell District co-founder and key Brummie techno figurehead Peter Sutton is finally subject to this long-in-the-making 5CD retrospective spanning both solo albums and stacks of 12” cuts, plus a bonus unreleased 2000 session with sparring partner Regis - an important tome for all UK techno fiends and archivists. RIYL Regis, Surgeon, Jeff Mills, Fret, Justin K Broadrick, Sandwell District...
Since the mid ‘90s Peter Sutton aka Female has been a key underground figure in UK techno, setting up the Downwards label and pumping out a cultishly prized catalogue of driving dancefloor productions that define the “Birmingham” sound at its brute and infectious best. Female’s coldly atonal, drily percussive sound holds a lot in common with his peers, Regis and Surgeon, sharing strong influence from early ‘90s Jeff Mills and hard, tracky Chicago techno as much as post punk and Industrial musicks. However, Female’s emphasis on extra slinky patterns and subtly trippy filtering, articulated with a dry and cutting Black Country wit, has indelibly personalised his productions with a swingeing shuffle and mesmerising monotone atmosphere that’s entirely his own, as perfectly exhibited across this definitive survey.
Collecting the albums ‘Into The Exotic’ (1997) and ‘Angel Plague’ (1999), plus a clutch of vital 12”s including some of the earliest for Sandwell District (‘Serverlan’), and a never-before-released 2000 recording of his duo with Karl O’Connor (Regis) circa their Hostage and ‘Againstnature’ recording; the set covers one of the most vital and unique strains of UK techno, brutally demonstrating how the hard, diverse, inner city rave sounds of US cities like Detroit, Chicago and NYC came to resonate with residents of post-industrial UK cities such as Birmingham (as much as Glasgow, Manchester or Sheffield), while subtly but punkishly contrasting with their Euro counterparts.
In recent years Female’s ascetically future-proofed music has arguably become a sort of secretive knowledge or preserve due to his absence from release schedules, but this newly mastered brick of a set - meticulously re-mastered by Brummie demigod Justin Broadrick - should serve a suitably punishing reminder and introduction to one of techno’s most single-minded, and most distinctive artists.
Franck Vigroux pays heavy tribute to Mika Vainio, his late collaborator and major inspiration, with a powerful album of blacksmith electronic brutality finding a logical home on Raster.
Vainio’s influence inspires Vigroux to some of his most striking work on ‘Ballades sur lac gelé’, clearly using a similar palette and style to the late great pioneer, but patenting the sound with his own sense of dramaturgy and a more direct dancefloor approach that’s got us doing the office chair bounce right now.
The surging drama of opening cut ‘Drive’ dates back to when Vigroux was working with Vainio, and when corona lockdown kicked in, he was prompted to finish it off and expand on the results in a proper tribute to his late peer. The Finnish legend’s spirit is lurking over the rest of the album, from the scowling, icy stepper ‘Cygnus X-1’, to the effortlessly whirring mechanics of ’Styx’, isolationist ambience in ‘Acqua Alta’, and his manacled manipulation of raw electric noise in ‘Atotal’.
Euan Dalgarno follows up his debut on Modern Obscure Music with Nfutures, an album inspired by modern day classical and electronic music.
"Nfutures builds on Dalgarno’s previous release on the label, but also enters previously uncharted waters. It is an eleven track album of mainly probing strings and piano led compositions. Hel is a real standout with its calming keys and taut strings. Earhorns (for 3 Pianos) is an exciting composition, where the stars really are thosepianos. The title track, Nfutures, ends proceedings beautifully with an epic piece that features levitating strings, bright eyed keys and synthetic waves. With this release, the Amsterdam based Modern Obscure Music label shows that their focus is not only on club music."
The original score to ‘Devs’ by Ben Salisbury, The Insects and Geoff Barrow.
"Ben Salisbury says, “As with all of Alex’s projects, we started working on ideas for the music after reading the scripts, and as well as being blown away by the material, we knew the music would need to reflect the strong religious thread that runs through story, and that we would need a number of developing themes that had a warped devotional vibe to them. But the music also needed to work with the thriller and tension side of things and the moments of outright horror, as well as sitting alongside the sheer beauty and scale of the amazing cinematography and set design. Crucially, the score also had to reflect and emphasise the human and emotional aspects of a story that is ultimately about grief and love.”
Ben Salisbury is an Emmy-nominated and Ivor Novello Award-winning composer with over 100 film and television composing credits, including ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Annihilation’, ‘Hanna’, ‘Luce’, ‘Free Fire’ and Beyoncé Knowles’ self-directed documentary feature ‘Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream’. Barrow, known for his extensive body of work as a music producer and founding member of the band Portishead, began his film and music career as the music supervisor and original score writer for graffiti artist Banksy’s Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’. The Insects are Emmy-winning composers Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk. In addition to their most recent collaboration with Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow for FX’s ‘Devs’, they have written scores for numerous feature films and televisions dramas while also writing and producing for Massive Attack, Tricky, Alison Moyet and Goldfrapp. The also contributed to Kanye West’s album ‘The Life of Pablo’"
Low Jack riffs on love in the age of AI with a head-twisting collage of vaporous ambient, gamelan and candid vocal sampling for his longtime crew at In Paradisum, home to some of his most beguiling experiments.
‘Awesome’ was originally made to accompany a series of events in 2016 surrounding an exhibition by Swiss hacker/rave squad !Mediengruppe Bitnik. On its standalone release, ‘Awesome’ represents some of Philippe Hallais' most curious work; 30 minutes of queasy music reflecting a perplexing, hypermodern state of mind and a dystopian outlook at the future of AI-driven flirting, sexting, and politicking.
As with everything he touches, Hallais injects a strong, if elusive, sense of personality and sensuality that comes to resonate with the original project by Bitnik’s Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, and the immersive nature of their ongoing Cryptoraves; a series of events accessed by participating in multi-day cryptocurrency mining sessions. The effect of the music is more immediate and visceral in a way perhaps recognisable to anyone simultaneously seduced/repelled by the disorienting, detached but euphoric and wistful experience of finding and negotiating love online.
The results recall the curdled Lynchian vibes of his ‘An American Hero’ for Modern Love, as well as his screwed mixes of Black Zone Myth Chant, the soundtracks to Ryan Trecartin’s deeply uncanny art videos or David Cronenburg’s Videodrome, or the heaving viscosity of Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas’ Lexachast - effectively leaving his usual, warped dancefloor urges aside to present a captivating and insightful reading of techgnostic mysticism and eroticism in modern life.
Under the name Holy Sons, as well as with bands Om, Grails and Lilacs and Champagne, Amos harnesses boundless sonic textures to embellish delicately crafted songs, he plays the bulk of the instruments and sings the majority of the vocals throughout the album and is joined on a few pieces by drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth).
"His music balances cues from classic and indie rock traditions with tenderness and sense of foreboding through unparalleled artistry. Holy Sons’ ‘Raw and Disfigured’ showcases Amos’ mastery of songcraft through a seemingly impossible combination of subtle yet potent gestures, bold arrangements and resolute vulnerability. Recorded at Sonic Youth’s studio Echo Canyon West, ‘Raw and Disfigured’ stands as Amos’ most ambitious and comprehensive album yet, a panoramic gallery of songs as beautiful as they are crushing."
East London-born music legend and all round boundary-breaking innovator, Dizzee Rascal, today announces the release of his 7th studio album, entitled ‘E3 AF’ and new single ‘L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large)’, out via Island Records.
"This new release marks the genesis of a new era for Dizzee and is the first album wholly written, recorded and produced in the UK in over a decade. ‘E3 AF’ is a 10-track layered, purposeful statement of intent, rooted in Dizzee’s inedible ties to both east London and Black British music’s legacy. He sound is sharper, stronger and more self-assured than ever, and it is obvious that he has poured the creative energy of the past few years into ‘E3 AF’ as a body of work. First single, L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large), features Tottenham born MC Chip and kicks open the door with the force of a steel toe capped boot. Chip, adds another thwack of bravado to the rumbling, Dizzee-produced beat.
‘E3 AF’ confirms Dizzee’s status as an artist still very much in his prime, sonically it draws on the infectious pace of grime and resolutely forward-thinking UK rap. From one song to the next, you are taken on a journey through Black British musical excellence. Ice-cold UK drill drips on Smoke Boys-featuring ‘Act Like You Know’ (produced by MK the Plug) and Eastside pulses with pure grime courtesy of Chubby Dreadz and Platinum 45. Self-produced opener ‘God Knows’ (featuring P Money) and high-octane ‘You Don’t Know’ pull from dubstep, grime and drum ‘n’ bass while threatening to wreak havoc with your speakers. By the time Alicai Harley’s warm up vocals float over sunny syths on the deeply personal ‘Energies + Powers’ (produced by Steel Banglez), the album practically radiates heat. Dizzee Rascal is a unique artist that has inspired many for multiple generations. From his 2003 debut album release, the Mercury Prize-winning ‘Boy In The Corner’ to date, Dizzee has continued to push expectations and boundaries. He is British musical royalty. Every album that followed stacked up another marker of success. Between 2004 and 2017 all album releases blasted firmly into the Top 10 Official album chart, won awards, critical acclaim and amassed Dizzee a huge following of devoted fans. ‘E3 AF’ is set to confirm Dizzee Rascal’s status as the master at the top of his game."
From the psychic fissures of 2020 bursts Mr. Bungle’s first album in 20 years - a re-recorded 1986 high school demo full of gnarly thrash metal riffs and nads out swagger, performed with Mike Patton and co’s inch-tight technicality
Now a supergroup counting Patton and original members, Trey Spruce and Trevor Dunn, plus Scott Ian of Anthrax and Dave Lombardo of Slayer/Dead Cross, Mr.Bungle let rip on 11 songs - including covers of classics by S.O.D. and Corrosion of Conformity - certain to get you scissor kicking like Nick Cage in Wild At Heart and knocking over your mam’s crockery, especially to that spat of ‘La Cucaracha’ in ‘Hypocrites / Habla Espanol O Muere’.
You’ll either be all over this like a freaking hot mess or not at all. We fall heavily in the former category and, if you’re still reading, can thoroughly recommend the gear-shifting velocity of ‘Bungle Grind’, the hot-blooded rage of ‘Eracist’, and the horsemen of the apocalypse thunder of ’Sudden Death’ for instant and lasting raging gratification, and possibly the most exercise you’ll get in this entire torrid year.
Whew, this is a LOT.
Jacszek uses the landscape of Limpopo Province, SA to conjure slow moving, crepuscular scenes, transforming field recordings of its environment and contact mic traces of the earth into hauntingly sparse, elemental works for Touch
“GARDENIA is an existing land located at the Limpopo province of South Africa, right at the border with Botswana. The place’s real name is Mmabolela and it’s a private nature reserve covering 6500ha of subtropical savanna and part of Limpopo River. In November 2019 I had a chance to visit the location and participate in an annual residency for composers and sound artists called ‘Sonic Mmabolela’, initiated and curated by Francisco López. We lived in an isolated property in the middle of savanna having a unique opportunity to exist in undisturbed touch with the African wilderness. All the natural sounds later used to create Gardenia were captured there — during longtime recording sessions over the virgin interior of Mmabolela Reserve.
The album’s field recording content was selected from several hours of birdsong, calls of frogs, insect noises, sounds of trees, bushes, grass as well as non-living natural elements like stones or shells.
These field recordings were later digitally processed and used as part of 9 musical arrangements.
However the recording sources and the location of Gardenia is defined, it was not my intention to document a South African natural soundscape nor create any other kind of strict concept album.
All I do in my work is an affirmation of beauty hidden in various aspects of the Creation. (MJ)”
The gorgeous first Sun Ra Arkestra album in 20 years is lead by Marshall Allen and solidifies their place among the most prized, and singular, jazz bands of this constellation.
‘Swirling’ by name and by nature, Sun Ra Arkestra’s glorious return sees them touch down from near perpetual tours orbiting the globe, sounding out cosmic and earthly concerns in a spirited continuation of Ra’s original directions, more than capably steered by 90 year old living legend Marshall Allen, who has manned the big band since Sonny Blount stepped off this mortal coil in 1993.
With a resurgent interest in new jazz music surrounding Chicago’s International Anthem label, and the likes of a rich London scene, Sun Ra Arkestra come to take their crown, wear it upside down, and show errrrrryone how to do it like they haven’t missed a beat, or at least all the wrong ones, for more than half a century. Long-standing members Danny Ray Thompson (RIP), Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune (RIP), Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchell all appear beside Marshall on his Alto Sax and AVI, and come infused by new blood in the form of Tara Middleton’s powerful vocals, and the drum muscle of Wayne Anthony Smith, bolstering their Latinate rhythms where needed.
The wobbling cosmic synth noise and belting vocals of ‘Astro Black’ make a big highlight, and again it’s brilliant when the music drops out to leave stark power of their harmonised vocals in ‘Sea of Darkness / Darkness’, but if you’re after that unmistakable cosmic chaos, it’s there in the glorious clatter of ‘Infinity / I’ll Wait For You’, and right on the dissonant nose with the slinky swag of ‘Queer Notions’, while their spin on classic ‘Rocket No. 9’ will be destined for the ‘floor.
Anam is the first collection of recordings by Selah Broderick (b. 1959, Washington, D.C.).
"Having grown up in a strict Catholic setting, the alternative movements of the late 60's and 70's could not come soon enough for Selah, who's love for art and music eventually sent her traveling around the country, running from a rather chaotic upbringing, in search of quieter ground. She eventually wound up in the Pacific Northwest, where she picked up a gig playing her guitar and singing at a local bar a few nights a week, and it was there in the audience that she met the man who would soon become the father of her children. First pregnant at the tender age of 19, Selah would have to put her musical dreams on hold while she attended to the demands of motherhood. It's no wonder she was so supportive when her three kids all gravitated towards music.
While her devoted husband supported the family as a woodworker, Selah carved out her own path as a yoga instructor, in a time when non-western spiritual practices were not so welcomed in the western world. Her devotion to spiritual development would be the guiding force in her life, leading to a formative trip to Tibet alongside Roshi Joan Halifax in the early 2000's. Her passion for music entwined itself with her work when she created the soundtrack to her own instructional yoga CD, featuring synthesizers, gentle field recordings, wind chimes, and most notably, her enchanted flute playing. Her interest in more meditative sounds infused itself with her background in folk music, and it is somewhere between these two worlds that Anam exists. Consisting of recordings as old as 1979 and as new as 2018, the wide range in fidelity has been embraced for this collection.
The recordings were collected by her son Peter Broderick, who carefully wove them together over the years with occasional contributions from himself and sister Heather Woods Broderick. When asked about a potential title for her first album, Selah referenced the book Anam Cara by John O'Donohue, the modern-day Celtic mystic whose work helped her to reconcile her Catholic upbringing with her love for Eastern spiritual disciplines. The title "Anam Cara", meaning "Soul Friend" in Irish Gaelic, was given to a track originally created for meditation, while the album is simply called Anam, or "Soul." You are invited to explore the soul of this beautiful woman."
0PN mounts a definitive opus with his rapturous 9th studio album, entirely produced during lockdown, with “executive production” by The Weeknd, who also supplies vocals alongside Arca and Caroline Polachek.
‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ is titled after the mispronunciation of Magic 106.7, a local radio station in Boston, Massachusetts; the state where Daniel Lopatin aka 0PN grew up, and where the album was created. The radio station’s adult contemporary programming is a formative and enduring influence on 0PN’s music, and it’s clear that he’s saved this album title for some of his most accomplished tributes to his influences, but refracted thru his prismatic styles to illustrate the distance between that era, and this, with some of his most elusive, illusive and beguiling sound design wrapped up in a mix of stunningly mazy and pop-toned arrangements.
0PN is one of those artists we’d imagine took to lockdown quite naturally, sequestering themselves away to immerse in their art for the good of everyone outside. Written between March and July, the results of ‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ speak for themselves as 0PN’s most broadly appealing record, typically placing avant-inventiveness and curiosity at the service of a tumultuous narrative that really needs some kind of road-trip simulation game to go along with its possessed dial-strafing.
You’re probably familiar with the album’s opening sequence, which appeared on a lead single, and includes the lushest FM synthesis of 2020 in ‘Long Road Home’, and the rest of the album follows suit with a profligate approach to genre, cutting from phased dream-pop grunge in ’I Don’t Love Me Anymore’, to hypnagogic ident collage in ‘The Whether Channel’, and The Weeknd’s romantic ‘80s power pop turn on ‘Lost But Never Again’, crucially fractured with cut-scenes and mutant jingling of the ‘Cross Talk’ parts that tie the album’s story together with something approaching a sonic-visual analog of Safdie Brothers’ choppy editing gone lysergic.
Barely known outside of his home country during his lifetime, the late Japanese ambient music pioneer Hiroshi Yoshimura has seen his global stature rise steadily in the past few years.
"The 2017 reissue of his lauded debut, Music For Nine Post Cards, along with a slow building cult internet following has helped ignite a renaissance in his acclaimed body of work, much of which has never been released outside of Japan. Known for his sound design and environmental music, Yoshimura worked on a number of commissions following the 1982 release of Music For Nine Post Cards, including works for museums, galleries, public spaces, TV shows, video art, fashion shows, and even a cosmetics company.
Originally released in 1986, GREEN is one of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s most well-loved recordings and a favorite of the artist himself. Recorded over the winter of 1985-86 at Yoshimura’s home studio, the compositions unfold at an unhurried pace, a stark contrast to the busy city life of Tokyo. As Yoshimura explained in the original liner notes, the album title in the context of this body of work is not meant to be seen as a color, but is rather used to convey “the comfortable scenery of the natural cycle known as GREEN”—which perfectly encapsulates the soothing and warm sounds contained on the album, although it was created utilizing Yamaha FM synthesizers, known for their crisp digital tones.
This edition marks the first reissue of the highly sought-after and impossible to find album. It features the original mix preferred by Yoshimura himself, previously available only on the initial Japanese vinyl release (a limited edition remixed version of the album, with added sound effects, was released on CD in the US)."
Arizonan kosmiche/wave duo Trees Speak are bound to light up retro-vintage synth heads with their 3rd album in a year for Soul Jazz. RIYL Can, Neu!, Goblin, Suicide
Pushing all the right buttons for fans of faithful ’70s homage, ’Shadow Forms’ packs X amount of driving motorik rhythm, hypnotic minimalist fretwork, pulsating arps and cinematic panoramas in its 11-track run. Nods to a litany of inspirations are all clear and present, but what sets the duo aside is their concision, mostly keeping their instrumental tracks around a popwise 3 minutes, rather than the sprawling track lengths one might associate with krautrock, and thus closer to the horror film and no wave cues that are also key to their sound, and which keep the album fleeting from track to track in a filmic, absorbingly wordless narrative that culminates in one long blow out on the escalating 8’ finale.
This box-set collects all the available recordings by seminal japanese group tolerance.
It includes both their albums released released between 1979 and 1981 on japanese cult diy label vanity records, along with never before released tracks recently discovered in agi yuzuru's archives.
Swingeing, daring, deep Afro-Latin jazz finesse from Irreversible Entanglement’s Aquiles Navarro & Tscheser Holmes on Chicago’s amazing International Anthem label - another gem that may well refresh and reaffirm views on modern jazz, and its place in contemporary music
"Heritage of the Invisible II" follows Navarro and Holmes’s rise to prominence as members of free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements. In March of 2020 in "The Nation" writer Marcus J. Moore said "Irreversible Entanglements’ fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism." The revolutionary ethos that drives Irreversible Entanglements is no less present in Navarro and Holmes’s duo work, though their duo finds them much more wholeheartedly and jubilantly embracing their Latin and Afro-Caribbean foundations.
The tracks flash by in a rapturous onslaught, crystalizing in incantations by Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente (an apocalyptic fever dream on “Initial Meditation”), vocalist Brigitte Zozula (the bliss of bustling nightlife on “A Night in NY”), Navarro’s mentor and collaborator Carlos Garnett (the banality of economics on “$$$ /// billete”) and their own musings on friendship and community (the stoned soul picnic of “Plantains”). Of the album’s de facto anthem “Pueblo,” Navarro says “it’s a celebration of life, the coming together of the people, el pueblo, a celebration of who we are, where we come from, it’s our pueblo, our people, a feeling of openness, hope, and a future of unity from el pueblo, the people.” Identifying as active listeners and audience members as well, Navarro and Holmes step back on “M.O.N.K (Most Only Never Knew)” to shine a light on the solo improvisation of pianist/composer Nick Sanders. On the 8-minute duet “NAVARROHOLMES,” the two players reach a summit as they face off in spirited alliance, conjuring visions of legendary free jazz telepathics – Braxton and Roach, Coltrane and Ali, Cherry and Blackwell.
Navarro and Holmes never idle on "Heritage of the Invisible II," choosing instead to ponder their origins in a devout charge of ecstatic cooperation. Meditating on the unseen constructive forces of culture and rhythm as a cadence encoded in one’s heritage, with "Heritage of the Invisible II" they share a volume of their story in rich color – a brilliantly imagined testament to generations of memory, creation and existential joy.”
It’s been four years since Sweatbox Dynasty, the fourth solo LP from Pennsylvanian experimentalist TOBACCO. In that time, Tom Fec’s project has toured with Nine Inch Nails, provided the theme song to HBO series Silicon Valley, and teamed with Aesop Rock for a collaborative album as Malibu Ken. He now returns to Ghostly International for Hot Wet & Sassy, a full-length album, oozing...?
"Pop impulses have always surged beneath the surface of his sound — blown-out bass, analog synths, drum machines, and Fec’s unmistakable analog gurgle and hiss — here they’ve bubbled to the top. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”And what would Trent Reznor do? Fec found his answer straight from the source. Their collaborative track, “Babysitter,” fuses their voices into one deranged presence: “I’m the new babysitter,” they alert, before pivoting into a menacingly saccharine bridge. The track tumbles on a tom fill, then a punishing synth line rips into a cacophony of drums and feedback like a lawnmower gnawing through the living room carpet. “This was new for me, but I wanted to write a song that was everything I am and have been, and then like one notch further. Trent was the notch further,” adds Fec. The collaboration is a work of alchemy seamlessly blending TOBACCO’s trademarks with Reznor’s industrial rust and sonic gore.
Downcast, sincere, woozy, “Jinmenken” might be the closest Fec has come to a ballad. “Maybe you can find me down the line,” his vocoded delivery bounces along the beat. “It’s me trying to write a Jets song,” says Fec. Album opener “Centaur Skin” presents the stylistic concoction that has been the TOBACCO MO from the beginning, crossing dreamy me-lodic shimmer with the sinister tones and slime. This has become easier to digest, but also far more potent. A motorik beat steadies the track’s galloping arpeggio, acting as a springboard for Fec’s dark ruminations as well as an uncharacteristically crystalline synth solo. “It’s my feel good self hate anthem. Don’t worry, I’m good. It was fun to write.”TOBACCO hasn’t been reinvented, but it has been refined and distilled. Brighter, sharper, and far more dangerous because of it. Hot Wet & Sassyis practically staring at the sun without shades and feeling those corneas roast. Everything looks good as your vision fades. The pop-forward struc-tures exert their undeniable hooks with baneful precision, pulling listeners into their clutches; once there, sugary melody rewards submission."
Nico Jaar chases up his production for FKA Twigs with his 4th solo album, landing nearly a decade since his head-turning debut ‘Space Is Only Noise’
The result is a typically slow moving batch of nocturnes enhanced with very sensitively detailed atmospheric touches, entwining nods to his Chiléan heritage with nods to ’70 spiritual jazz, psychedelic rock, classical music, and the kind of timeless but futuristic ambient pop balladeering also explored by the likes of Elysia Crampton and Arca.
Omnivorous sampler alchemy from Marc Richter’s Black To Comm, unfurling a captivating side-long tapestry recalling Coil and Goodiepal, plus a side of surreal enigmas resembling Eastern European folk, 4.1 world phantasies, and cubist computer jazz
“The music of Black To Comm is as powerfully intoxicating as it is subtly unnerving. Shapeshifting producer and sound artist Marc Richter has established himself as one of the most inventive and ambitious voices in contemporary music. Richter’s mastery of sonic manipulation is matched only by his astounding clarity of vision. Working heavily with sampling and electronic processing, each of his phantasmagoric works is meticulously constructed from a truly omnivorous array of smudged samples, found sounds, and other sonic detritus, collected by Richter from across the history of recorded music and altered into beguiling new shapes.
Sound sources seem tantalizingly familiar and yet forever just out of reach, flickering at the edges of memory and perception or submerged in a bristling sea of static. A single piece might strafe elements of Eastern European folk, medieval plainsong, sky-clawing metal and shimmering ambient music, all ingested by Richter into his singular sound-world. Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens sees Richter’s turn his wild imagination to an exploration of the human voice, compiling some of his most immediate and affecting music to date.”