Gorgeous solo harp recordings of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte and Lou Harrison from Gabriele Emde, who debuts with the most excellent Edition RZ label in the same week as their debut from Clara Iannotta. This is the sort of album you came here to look for… Warmest recommendation!
“Gabriele Emde-Hauffe was born in 1953 in Darmstadt, Germany. She received a humanistic education at a local grammar school in Darmstadt and started studying the harp after her A-levels, first in Darmstadt and finishing in Cologne. Conducted by Péter Eötvös, she worked out modern chamber music and modern improvisation by J. G. Fritsch and Vinko Globokar. Passing her exams in 1980 and 1981, she continued her studies of musical science at Cologne University, based on her thesis, "The Harp between Myth and Reality." From 1981 to 1983 she was a member of Die Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Ensemble Modern, and collaborated on productions of contemporary music with Ensemble-Köln and Ensemble 13, as well as the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. She has performed the solo harp at various international festivals, among them many premieres and international radio, TV, and record productions. At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, she toured North America in 1982, presenting Walter Zimmermann's works, and also performed in South Korea; her career as a performer has included performances of contemporary music by Berio, Boulez, Cage, Globokar, N. A. Huber, Schönberg, Stockhausen, Webern, I. Yun, B. A. Zimmermann, and W. Zimmermann. Until 1992 she taught harp classes in Cologne and Düsseldorf. Since 1991 she has been teaching her private harp class in Darmstadt. This CD contains recordings from 1985-'87 of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte, and Lou Harrison.”
This 1997 release by the great Edition RZ label documents a pair of site specific performances by Akio Suzuki, a Japanese musician, inventor, instrument builder and shaman, recorded on the volcanic northern coast of Takano, Kyoto.
They first part is a durational piece, 53 minutes in length, the other is 6 minutes long, and composed/performed 3 days later in late October, 1997. In both pieces the sound of wind “breathes” in and out by caves, accompanied by the distant chirrup of crickets from the meadows above and the sparse presence of shrill whistles, rubbed glass tones and softly blown bamboo pipes, really not a lot else.
In a sense it’s an exercise in listening to nature in its unprocessed, natural state, and zen-like, meditative in effect; providing rarified time and space for contemplation.
This is one of the few instances of Korean Classical Court music that we’ve stocked, and every time it stops us in our tracks. To our native western sensibilities the music is captivatingly slow and dissonant, and with a measured, stately quality of its own. These recordings of compositions made in the 15th century are totally fascinating, maybe an acquired taste, but arresting any way you hear them.
"Yŏmillak is the most extended piece of orchestral court music surviving in Korea and it has for many centuries been used for royal processions and at banquets. Yŏmillak is the piece notated in the oldest surviving Korean score - a score contained in the Annals of Sejong, written in 1454.
The piece originally consisted of ten movements, but three were discarded over time, leaving just the seven movements heard here, and different variants evolved, distinguished in terms of orchestration and size; two of the later (19th century) versions, Kyŏngnokmugang Chigok and T'aep Yŏngch'un Chigok are contained here. The final piece, Sŏilhwa Chigok, is an additional orchestral suite."
One of only two CDs to bear his name at the top, Edition RZ’s Michael Von Biel collection presents a hardcore haul from the nebulous 1960s avant garde, including one blinding, 13 minute piece of electronic composition commissioned from Von Biel by Karlheinz Stockhausen - his tutor at Darmstadt - which resulted in him repeatedly breaking the sliders on the desk during its creation! No messing, it’s worth it for that one alone - you won’t find it anywhere else! (just checked youtube and discogs) - but his patent taste for noisy dynamics and twist on convention elsewhere on the CD also make this a bit of a must, if you’re into that kind of thing.
“2004 release. Michael von Biel's musical production at the beginning of the 1960s was clearly marked by the expansion of the musical material. "Quartet No. 1" (1962) and even more, "Quartet No. 2" (1963) are noise compositions whose expressiveness rests essentially on the discovery of new sonic possibilities and performance techniques. Bowing with excessive pressure, playing behind the bridge, leading the bow in a diagonal direction, hitting the tip of the bow on the body of the instrument -- these are the techniques with which the sound of the strings enters into the realm of noise. Whereas in the first quartet, the areas of musical sound and instrumental noise are still largely set off against one another, in the second quartet, the concept of a music based solely on noise is realized without compromise. Both of the compositions Quartet with Accompaniment for string quartet and cello (1965) and "Jagdstück" ("Hunting Piece") for 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 horns, 2 tenor tubas, contrabass, tape, e-guitars and electronically amplified barbecue grills (1966) are based on the contrast of divergent sound worlds. Before attending the composition courses of Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt for three years in a row starting in 1961, von Biel studied one year with Morton Feldman in New York where he met David Tudor and John Cage. Earlier than for most European composers, approaches in aesthetic thinking which couldn't have been more different from one another collided in his consciousness, and this occurred at a point in time when their music-historical consequence could not yet be foreseen.”
Italian ambient maestro Gigi Masin wins our hearts again with this sublime, impressionistic soundtrack to Il Silenzio Dei Tuoi Passi (The Silence of your Steps), Stefano Gentile’s photo book focussed on Venice at night.
Venezia is certain to strike a chord with anyone lucky enough to have visited the city, and even if you haven’t, it’s a beautifully evocative package, marrying Masin’s balmy drift of solo keys and chiffon synth pads with absorbing imagery of the city’s narrow ginnels and, all softly lit by lone street lamps that mirror the music’s plays of light and shadow.
Unfortunately our Italian is beyond mediocre, so we can’t really tell you much about the liner notes, but the symbiotic images and music convey far more than we could ever spell out here.
Angular, difficult experiments in new composition, symbolically framed around subconscious repression and the flux of fantasy and reality. Yeah, it’s not easy listening, but there are some fantastic, clattering and delirious ideas contained within.
“Edition RZ presents a performance of French composer Clara Maïda's work In Corpore Vili. Performers (Studios): Ensemble Resonanz, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Arditti String Quartet, Heather O'Donnel (Elektronisches Studio der Technischen Universität Berlin; Studio für Elektroakustische Musik der Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
"During the first years of my compositional research, my goal was to mark out, in my music, the flux of the psychic energy at work in the unconscious and its underlying structure. At the time, I was going through an analytical process favoring access to this unconscious activity, and my readings in the field of psychoanalysis were helping me in the effort to elaborate a musical thinking likely to account for this psychic complexity, which only appears through unintentional acts and words, or in fantasies and dreams. A whole structural and formal model for a potential music was emerging then, since only the plasticity of the world of sound seemed to be able to suggest this mobility and instability, which endlessly alter the configurations of the components of the unconscious." --Clara Maïda”
Haunting chamber invocation by the Austrian organist, composer and academic; written for flute, voice, percussion and viola. The quietly minimal, single, 50-minute piece is intended for reflection and altered, heightened states of sonic perception. RIYL Jakob Ullmann.
“Through concentration on listening or concentration on what we are listening to we can enter a state of simplicity of mind which is a state of the highest inner clarity or inner silence. In other words:when concentrating on the flow of music we can reach an inner state: The inner silence which is the simultaneity of stasis and flow. This paradoxical situation poses the question: Is the flow of music passing us, is music flowing through us thus evoking this inner stasis or is it not a state at all what we experience: should we not most seriously take into consideration the possibility that it is us who are flowing through the sound?”
Editions RZ collect ten early works by the late Morton Feldman (1926 - 87).
They're largely his shorter pieces, spanning compositions made between 1952 and 1959 alongside esteemed peers including David Tudor, Cornelius Cardew, John Tilbury, and János Négyesy. ""In his compositions for piano, which make up a central part of his oeuvre and in which all of his experience is accumulated, it is the play of Feldman's hand whose touch is intended precisely for the 'untouchableness' of sound. The clear character of the 'attack' thus displays the paradox of such playing: it is just as much about concealing the idiosyncrasy of the piano sound, the precise point of attack while, at the same time, the structure and tension of those sounds are formed by the hand." --Stefan Schadler.
Typically nice RZ packaging. Includes the following works: "Piano Three Hands" (1957, performed by Feldman & Tilbury); "Intermission 5" (1952, performed by Feldman); "Vertical Thoughts 2" (1963, performed by Janos Negyesy: violin & Cardew: piano), "Extensions 3" (1952, performed by Feldman); "Four Instruments, 1975" (1979); "Intermission 5" (1952, performed by Tudor), "Piano Piece 1956 A" (1956, performed by Tudor); "Piano Piece 1956 B" (1959, performed by Tudor); "Intersection 3" (1953, performed by Tudor); "Instruments 1, 1974" (1975, 24 minute piece performed by Eberhard Blum: flute, Nora Post: oboe, Garrett List: Posaune, Joseph Kubera: celesta, Jan Williams: drums)."
"Giuliano d'Angiolini is a positively unique figure in contemporary music. His profound, well-conceived and stubborn take on music has led him to what he calls "impersonal" music -- music that has fully abandoned the idea of development or form. Through successive states of presentation, which aim to elucidate, d'Angiolini wanted to "leave place in sound so that music could become less voluntary." This led him to favor the surface and present an approach that was by no means superficial: the surface as the immediacy in the propositional content of sound and the present as the very surface of the criterion of time. In his work, musical process and material are but one and are completely laid bare. What we are to hear is non-discursive, deliberately lacking formal organization. We are even free to turn away and come back of our own will -- as if the composer wanted to make positive use of the negative metamorphosis of today's urban listeners, listeners who are constantly assailed with stimuli." --Gérard Pesson”
Debut solo release of intimately compelling avant-garde minimalism from Michael Reudenbach, collecting nigh on two decades of distinguished works which may well pique interest from fans of Jakob Ullmann, Morton Feldman or John Cage
Strings, keys, woodwind, vocals and small percussion sounds form the acoustic foundations of these 12 hugely spacious pieces, running to just over two hours between them and commonly bound by a rigorous exploration of the spaces between the notes, and their carefully placed, barely-there presence within the arrangement.
Signposts are fascinatingly few and far between here, leaving his soundfield wide open to exploration and resonant reflection.
“"it has become taken for granted that nothing concerned with art is self-evident any more, neither in it nor in its relationship with the whole - not even its right to exist." it is with these words that adorno begins his "aesthetic theory". "
Instrumental compositions by "post-minimalist" John McGuire who took classes with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, among others.
"Each of the compositions of American composer John McGuire describes, in its own way, a multi-dimensional sonic space which the listener can take in from various vantage points and, in so doing, experience the very same sound in different guises. Disc 1 - 1. Cadence Music for 21 instruments (1982-85, Ensemble Modern, Director: Ernest Bour) 2. Exchanges for string quartet and soprano (1998-2002, Julia Rempe, soprano; Pellegrini-Quartett); Disc 2 - 1. Decay for eight horns (1967-70, musikFabrik: Christine Chapman) 2. Frieze for four pianos (1969-74, musikFabrik)3. Music for horns, pianos and cymbals (1981, musikFabrik)"
The followup to Light In The Attic’s game-changing I Am The Center box set, "The Microcosm: Visionary Music Of Continental Europe 1970-1986" was 3 years in the making and is the first major overview of key works from cosmically-taped in artists needing little introduction — Vangelis, Ariel Kalma, Gigi Masin, Roedelius, Ash Ra Tempel, and Popol Vuh - plus unknown masterpieces by criminally overlooked heroes like Bernard Xolotl, Robert Julian Horky and Enno Velthuys...
"Whereas I Am The Center called for a reconsideration of an entire maligned genre, The Microcosm requests nothing more than an open mind to consider this ambient, new age, neuzeit, prog, krautrock, cosmic, holistic stuff, whatever one calls it — as a pulsating movement unto itself, a mirror refracting the American new age scene in unexpected, electrifying ways, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the universality of the timeless quest to express “the Ineffable” through music.
Drawing from major label budgets and homemade cassette distributed circumstances alike, The Microcosmdemonstrates a depth of peace profound to behold, and clearly expands the boundaries. Lovingly conceived and lavishly presented by producer Douglas Mcgowan (Yoga Records) and liner notes contributor Jason Patrick Woodbury (Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), The Microcosm features stunning cover paintings by Étienne Trouvelot, and labels by Finnish savant Aleksanda Ionowa."
The union between two august figureheads of UK electronic experimentation continues as Eno’s latest long player for Warp waves in the New Year.
Since singing to Warp back in 2010, Eno’s musical output has taken on many shades, from the highlife instigations of his work with Karl Hyde to the occasional deviations into dubstep and techno with Rick Holland. Reflection continues Eno’s return to focussing on ambient music, casting aside some of the conceptual aspirations (and the sea shanties) that featured on his last Warp long-player, The Ship, in favour of one near-hour generative composition.
In contrast to the rather murky self-portrait that adorns the cover art, there is a glistening clarity present throughout Reflection, a becalming exercise in classicist ambient exploration that feels wholly satisfying through its 54-minute duration
‘Satan’s Slave’ is the latest release from Moscovitch Music (Terror/Prey), the brainchild of producer/compiler Joel Martin (Quiet Village/Velvet Season & The Hearts of Gold/Maxxi & Zeus) whose ‘de Wolfe Music’ compilations ‘Bite Hard/Bite Harder’ are considered essential primers of the library genre.
"This Holy Grail Black-Magic British Jazz soundtrack from 1976 is the most requested movie score of cult film composer and top English Jazz saxophonist/flautist - John Scott (Symptoms/Wake in Fright/Craze). For aficionados of rare library music and obscure Horror soundtracks this is an essential album.
‘Satan’s Slave’ - The original soundtrack to Norman J Warren’s (Terror/Prey/Inseminoid) nihilistic tale of Witchcraft and occultism conjures an uneasy yet compelling experience for fans of exploitation OST’s, and a veritable smorgasboard of dark progressive samples for the producers. The ritualistic tribal beats of ‘Sacrifice’ could have been culled from the KPM library catalogue (John Scott was a regular session player for them) while ‘Drive to Alexander’s and crash’ is forgotten filmic UK Modal Jazz with a tropical flavour which harks back to Scott’s legendary Columbia Lansdowne LP from 1967 ‘Communication’, a firm Gilles Peterson favourite. ‘A walk in the grounds’ is pure mellow heat - fuel for the MPC 2000, with its crisp Fender Rhodes chords and ‘Dusty Fingers’ vibe, and ‘Unused Cue’ which is an additional recording we discovered on the reels is a fiery free-Jazz odyssey for explorers of the fifth dimension!
The complete ‘Satan’s Slave’ soundtrack, which is being presented here for the first time on any format, has been lovingly remastered from the original half-inch master tapes courtesy of Sean P(Z Records), and sounds as edgy, fresh and relevant as it did back in the swinging seventies.
Pour the Absinth, switch off the lights and say a little depraved prayer!"
Impossibly rare, recent NWW vinyl releases compiled on CD for first time. Housed in deluxe 6-panel digicase
“Available for the first time since being issued privately as a limited vinyl, United Dirter present the CD issue of this ultra-rare 2014 two track LP, The Great Ecstasy Of The Basic Corrupt. The additional track "Circles Of Confusion" comes from the equally rare Silver Bromide LP (2013). Indulge yourself in these three immersive, ocean deep and intensely powerful tracks of sinister whimsy for the wretched. Yet another classic from the timeless and ever evolving Nurse With Wound.”
Quite unbelievably, after nearly 40 years of silence and with the help of Important Records and the permission of his estate, Harry Bertoia's hugely collectable and inspiring Sonambient label has been resurrected in order to start releasing his unheard recordings from the recently preserved archive of 1/4" tapes.
Few boxsets have landed heavier on our listening lives than Harry Bertoia’s 11xCD Sonambient Complete Collection (now thankfully available again), which was issued earlier this year to resounding acclaim. For the uninformed, Bertoia was a world-renowned sculptor-cum-sound artist best known for his industrial design work, but also responsible for a series of elemental, near-sacred, long-form recordings of resonant metal rod sculptures and gongs and their incredibly lush harmonic overtones. Now, for the first time in 40 years, we’re offered a first glimpse at previously unheard Sonambient recordings, all direct analog transferred to vinyl just as the artist originally intended for us to hear them, resulting in a completely immersive experience.
The two pieces here were selected both for their minimal, meditative and lush harmonic qualities, displaying another approach to performance via slow washes of shimmering metallic rods with sublime harmonics hovering overhead, making audible measurements of the length and purity of Bertoia's metal sculptures. These new tracts of recursive billow and bat-baffling sonics are among the quietest and spacious examples of Sonambient aesthetics when compared with its more cacophonous iterations.
In the A-side’s Clear Sounds Harry Bertoia coaxes slow, elemental washes of lingering, hi-line zing and low, wide surges of abyssal darkness that threaten to consume all above it, leaving us rapt at the centre of it all as though in the middle of some computer generated cybernetic scape, when, in fact, it’s entirely, bewilderingly a completely acoustic recording.
Likewise Oreste Bertoia’s B-side, Perfetta, where Harry’s brother feels out a more nuanced, vertiginous side of keening spectral complexity that’s leaving us dangerously light-headed right now.
It may be their likeness to the everyday sounds of worksites, industry or trams, or conversely the way in which they recall some of our favourite ambient and drone records by Thomas Köner, Eliane Radigue, Dave Burraston or Mika Vainio, but either way, these recordings are nothing short of incredible, life-affirming messages from the echoplex.
Truly remarkable that Sonambient is a going concern again, much respect to Important and the Harry Bertoia Estate for making it happen.
Sterling, synth-heavy soca mutations from Trinidad & Tobago, 1984! A far ahead-of-its-time fusion of calypso/soca and disco rhythms with electronic instruments. Somewhere in orbit between Claude Rodap and Francis Bebey. Includes unmissable zingers in the irresistible bounce of Let’s Get Together and D’Hardest. Highly recommended!
“Shadow is a man of understated magnitude. A truly enigmatic artist, he first emerged in Trinidad and Tobago during the 1970s, becoming a part of the tapestry of Caribbean music and reinvigorating calypso at the time. Calypso, the indigenous folk music of Trinidad and Tobago, has roots in West African kaiso rhythms, French Creole influences, and the hardships endured by the African slaves brought to Trinbago, whose descendants still use it as a tool for satire, self-expression, and social commentary. Calypso has also given birth to several other music genres, including soca, with its uptempo beats and festival context. Shadow effortlessly moves between both.
Shadow came from a humble but musical family and started writing songs as a youth while tending cattle in the fields. To his family’s initial chagrin he chose calypso over church music but his talent and drive were undeniable. In the early days of his career Shadow’s style was cramped when working with some of the more conservative music arrangers who felt that calypso and soca should fit a mould. But after a while Shadow teamed up with more innovative arrangers, including Arthur “Art”de Coteau, who followed their and Shadow's intuitions resulting in a long line of hits.
Sweet Sweet Dreams was recorded at the legendary SHARC studios, located on a hill in Chaguaramas (near Port of Spain) and despite a fantastic sound and monster Soca-boogie tunes like “Lets get it together”, “Lets Make it Up” and “Way, Way Out” the album was a commercial flop, probably due to the fact that it didn’t sound like anything else coming out of Trinidad & Tobago at the time: It fused a range of different rhythms and new sounds, primarily heavy synth riffs.
Shadow took the album’s lack of success in his stride with usual aplomb:
“When I did Sweet Dreams I expect something could happen. But nothing big happen because I have no big market and no distribution and all this thing now. So I just cool myself and move on to another song. I wasn’t doing just one song. I used to always have plenty songs at the one time. And be writing music”.
What Shadow didn’t realise back then was that the proto-electronic cocktail he had mixed in 1984 would only find the recognition it deserved three decades later. Life has swung full circle: Sweet Sweet Dreams has come true and been elevated to holy grail status becoming one of the most sought-after Caribbean disco records in existence. Asked about this turn around Shadow mused “I’m trying to understand that part. A lot of people ask me for it over a few years now. But I never give anybody it. That music wasn’t for then. It’s for now”.”
Marking up five years in the game, White Peach throw down 28 original instrumentals from the grime new school, smartly given context in a scything mix by Score5 on the bonus disc.
It’s the first time for most of these cuts on CD, spanning the breadth of White Peach’s remit from bellicose to blunted, aggy to sweetlad, with highlights on Disc 1 including Lington’s fierce Bounty, the body-checking turbulence of Shudan by Arctic Garms, and a bullet-riddled bruxist spesh from Impey, running amok on Youngster’s Bongo; whilst highlights from the 2nd disc touch down from Sorrow’s highly-strung Skengman Tantrum, the razor-sharpened electro prod of Kahn & Neek’s Bongo remix, a mauling Trends mix of Zha’s Southampton Lengman, and a canny inclusion of Youngstar’s grime cornerstone, Pulse X.
All new, unheard material culled from a 3 hour live PA in Hawaii.
“An epic affair of gentle soundscapes and field recordings, all captured and recorded on the mystical, "Road To Hana" in the land of the low lying clouds, Maui, Hawaii. A near hour long transmission (culled from a near 3 hour live performance) of sonic immersion, sub-aquatic bass, spiralling atmospherics and dubbed out harmonics tugging right at the heart strings, leaving one in a state of acidic dreams... A true exploration of the most mystical of lands... We'll meet you there. “
Corking Volume 1 (where is Volume. 2?!?!) of obscure Khmer Folk and Pop Music dug out by the Cambodian Cassette Archives. Sounds range from Ariel Pink’s sweetest fantasies to Darkie’s ecstatic folk disco bangers and the heroic gamer themes of Golden Dragon Band’s Golden Draagon ST and jaw-dropping echo chamber experiments. Trust: you’ve never heard anything quite like it!
"Cambodian Cassette Archives is an unbelievable collection of dynamic Cambodian music recorded between the 1960s and the 1990s, both in Cambodia and in the United States. A truly Khmer blend of folk and pop stylings - cha-cha psychedelia, phase-shifting rock, sultry circle dance standards, pulsing Cambodian new wave, haunted ballads, musical comedy sketches, easy-listening numbers and raw instrumental grooves presented in an eclectic variety of production techniques. Male and female vocalists share the spotlight, embellished by roller rink organ solos, raunchy guitar leads and midi defying synthesizers. Culled from over 150 ageing cassettes found at the asian branch of the Oakland public library in California, these recordings showcase a pre and post holocaust Cambodian musical lineage that can't be ignored."
Just shy of two hours of chasmic ambience and opiated throb by Echospace’s Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. Variant. Two years in the making.
“Over 2 years in the making and 10 years of synth programming and development, Variant's "Aurora's Dream" is reawakened. The inspiration stems from a new method of seeing and hearing thru re-synthesized harmonic tables and new algorithmic structures creating an analogue ocean of unexplored sounds. In search of sonic slivers beneath the surface, variant taps into something that breaks the mold; where the culmination of light and sound can reveal a new panoramic world. Painstakingly developed sound design, paying close attention to every finite detail, the original is revisited in search of sonic existence within the mind, capturing the essence of brain waves thru sound -- vibrational healing.
With Light, apparitions appear and disappear. Just as sound can interrupt and influence a dream. One lamp can light a hundred thousand lamps in the darkness. These ideas combined are the reveries into the reawakening of aurora's dream. Epiphanies towards enlightenment. Foreboding, yet distorted. Ominous, but inviting.. not for the faint of heart."
Immersive hour-long drift by Echospace’s Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. Variant: meshing fire-pit field recordings and modular synths in a heady atmospheric pressure system.
“Variant's albums invoke various celestial phenomena ranging from comets, to stars, to the aurora borealis. The cosmic preoccupation plays out in the music too, which ranges from warm analog space ambient infused with field recordings to more rhythmically active synthesizer loops and drones.
Pyralis is a collaboration, inspired by coniferous Michigan, lost in the flames on a dreamy starlit night, it was quite majestic. Live recordings took place last fall for a small bonfire event on the night of the harvest moon, limited to a small amount of people to contact the spirits.”
For 60 minutes, Echospace’s Rod Modell and Stephen Hitchell a.k.a. CV313 tap into channels of haptic paranormal communications thru a vintage trident desk, all hands on board for a tactile diffusion of bass in unfathomable space.
6CD box set including the original three CDs included in the limited edition 1997 CD-box set version, a disc of rarities, B-sides, oddities and live material, and two discs containing the Deathprod and Motorpsycho gig from March 14, 1997 at the Rockefeller in Oslo in its entirety.
Project yourself floating over Shibuya like the departed spirit of the character in Enter The Void…
“Hypnagogia is a word that describes the experience of transitioning from wakefulness into deep sleep. Mental phenomena that occur during this "threshold consciousness phase” include lucid thought, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis.
“Shibuya Hypnagogia” is a 61-minute generative-music composition designed to induce the shift from full awareness into a state of deep delta. An alien transmission from the threshold of perception. A tool for introducing shifting gradients of consciousness. Trans-dimensional voices drift in and out over an ocean of gentle sonic-cascades. Sonic lifeforms hover weightlessly in your listening space. Sounds of ghosts in the wires. Nocturnal field recordings from Tokyo (Shibuya / Shinjuku) combine with prototype generative-music composition software to form this otherworldly audio landscape.
Mastering curves optimized for low-level playback. Tokyo recordings captured via Sound Devices 702 + Core Sound High End Binaural Microphones (DPA 4060 capsules). Mixed in real-time to a Tandberg TD20A recorder.”
Alchemy-remastered edition of an Echospace classic, newly available on CD with Lindsay Todd’s excellent artwork.
At long last, Echospace's CV313 project, 'Dimensional Space' finally sees the light of day on CD. So the story goes, the original masters recorded 1996-2010 were submerged underwater due to a flood in the duo's home studio, with many reels never recovered.
The ones they did manage to salvage have been painstakingly restored to form CV313's debut album proper. The original material comprises eight nebulous pieces of perfectly detached dub techno intended for healing, meditative purposes. The average length of each piece is 10 minutes, allowing the duo plenty time to feel out fathomless bottom end and vaulted reverb structures, bobbing on slow churning ocean of dub noise.
Welcome to the further adventures of Bohren and his crew of axe carrying jazz deconstructionalists.
Another Bohren & Der Club of Gore classic seeps up from below, seeing its first vinyl reissue since the original 2002 pressing! Like its predecessor, Sunset Mission, the tone and feel of Black Earth is steeped in a smoky history of noirish soundtracks, European minimalism and the intensity of avant metal, all perfectly weighted for head-plunging midnight immersion.
It still beggars belief how they manage to play so slow without at least one of them nodding off during the session, which tends to be as effective as a xanax at those times when required. In their world everything operates at an opiated pace, with silvery solo piano, resonant double bass dabs and spectral voices seemingly curling off the wax into acres of negative space and taking your thoughts with them.
In terms of a sonic experience, basically everyone needs to undergo a Bohren album at least once in their life, and if you’ve never squinted into the distance of Sunset Mission or stared into the abyss of Black Earth, you genuinely don’t know quite what you’re missing out on.
Unprecedented, 21-track survey of ‘80s dancefloor juice from the Nigerian capital; the latest in a long line of invaluable and expertly-curated Soundway compilations. Whilst Nigeria’s ‘70s music has been covered in some depth thru various reissues, compilations and the enduring legacy of Afrobeat, it’s fair to say that the focus of Doing It In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980’s Nigeria covers a much less well-known sound that’s no less effective on the right ‘floors.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that much of the set was American productions as there’s hardly a trace of the psychedelia or politics of the ‘70s to these 21 songs. It’s all super slick and trim, tucked and cut at sharp angles rather than sprawling out over 10 minute+ jams, and tending to sing about going out, getting laid and showing off your money rather than the afrocentric politics which had previously dominated.
In line with the influx of oil money and the phase shift from in-house disco bands to DJs playing at clubs, the sound of these tunes had to be up to par with American imports, and clearly sounds like they achieved it.
Quite honestly there’s far too many highlights to mention them all, but we insist you clock the lissom glyde of Steve Monte’s Only You, and submit yourself to the cosmic boogie sensuality of Too Hot by Rick Asikpo & Afro Fusion, or the debonaire touch of Toby Foyeh’s Ore Mi, and definitely get on the rugged electro budges of Lexy Mella and Nkono Teles!!!
Five years since she first broached the popular consciousness with the immaculate Tragedy, Julia Holter commits her first original score for Bleed For This, director Ben Younger’s boxing drama revolving “the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history”.
Julia contributes 10 original cues and themes plus her Maxim’s I from Loud City Song, which was the first track which alerted the film’s director to Julia’s genius, and also acts as the film’s closing credits.
The Willis Earl Beal parts are as raw, bluesy as you might hope for, with highlights in the smudged ragtime of Disintegrating and the hoarse holler of Too Dry To Cry, but the best parts belong to Julia, where we find the singer/composer/musician working to her strengths between the diaphanous nocturnal panorama of Home Movies and the plaintive, starkly emotive nudge of Not Gonna Fight Again and the timeless string orchestration of Vinny’s Triumph.
We’re not going to say it’s an instant classic or anything, but hopefully this is the cue for more directors (with better film ideas than Rocky) to solicit and give Julia’s soundtrack skills the chance to develop.
Crucially wicked box set of some of Adrian Sherwood's forward thinking and experimental productions of the early 80’s.
"Inside you’ll find four studio albums from Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound label, including the fourth instalment of the Singers & Players series, two Creation Rebel albums and the other planetary compilation of industrial reggae experiments, Wild Paarty Sounds Vol.1.
Released in 1984 “Leaps & Bounds” by the collective known as Singers & Players features vocal contributions from Prince Far I, Congo Ashanti Roy, Mikey Dread and Bim Sherman. 1981’s “Threat To Creation” is a Creation Rebel/New Age Steppers double billing. Probably the most daring dub album to emerge from the UK, this is the nexus where reggae and post punk collide. Coming out of 1982, Creation Rebel’s “Lows & Highs” featuring vocals from Crucial Tony and Lizard Logan is the most straight ahead reggae album in the box.
One for those less experimentally minded, Style Scott lays down the beats next to Eskimo Fox and Donald Campbell. Wild Paarty Sounds is where it all starts to get really weird. There must have been something in the water in 1981, this is Charles and Diana’s child the establishment didn’t want you to know about. An album for those who like reggae influenced by PiL’s Metal Box."
Room40 introduce Mirko Vogel with a captivating debut album of visceral-yet-tactful, densely detailed-but-dreamily spacious ambient/noise meditations that were first conceived whilst Mirko was on the road, touring as part of Aussie dance-pop group, Cut Copy.
Working somewhere between Room40’s textured scapes from Norman Westberg (Swans) and the amorphous, anaesthetising atmospheres of their Pinkcourtesyphone records, LP1 feels like we’re made privy to a highly personalised ambient dimension, like being invited thru an unsuspecting door in someone’s house, only to step into some of the lushest, pensile and free-falling spaces.
The tracks were initially felt out whilst Mirko was in between shows with Cut Copy, used to fill downtime and chime in with the ever-changing landscapes he was travelling thru. In that respect, he really captures the timeless ambient paradox of static movement, holding our attention with a range of naturally blooming, wistful gestures underlined by a firm emotional clarity.
Lee Hazlewood spent a good part of the late 1960s traveling the globe, cutting records and inking business deals. A string of hits with Nancy Sinatra enabled Lee to build a mini media empire Lee Hazlewood Industries and afforded him nearly unlimited resources…for a time. By the end of the decade LHI Records had burned piles of cash, gone through a half dozen distributors and failed to achieve the kind of chart success “Boots" had promised.
"Fortunately for Lee there was a land where he was still on the top of the charts, a place where women flowed like Brannvin...Sweden was calling.While on an LHI promotional tour in Stockholm, Lee crossed paths with Swedish director Torbjörn Axelman. “I met Lee through my script girl, in Stockholm in 1969,” remembers Axelman. "We noticed we had very many similarities, interests, and the same backgrounds. It led to many productions during our 38 years of close partnership and friendship.” The partnership showed Lee the way forward and allowed him an easy exit strategy from the LHI house of cards that was crumbling in Los Angeles.
Light In The Attic continue its Lee Hazlewood series with this expanded reissue of Cowboy in Sweden. Released as the last LHI LP, Cowboy in Sweden was a soundtrack to the 1970 cult classic film of the same name starring Lee Hazlewood. The film was a surreal psychedelic account of Lee’s journey to his new homeland, while the soundtrack was a perfect compilation of Hazlewood’s strongest songs recorded over a prolific globe trotting three year period. The production scope of the album was the most ambitious of his career, recorded in Paris, London, Los Angeles and Stockholm with a slew of talented session musicians, producers and arrangers.
Cowboy in Sweden is quite possibly the purest distillation of the Hazlewood sound; lush melancholy country pop with a pinch of humor ("Pray Them Bars Away"), a dash of bummer ("Cold Hard Times”), some beautiful ladies to sing with (“Leather & Lace” & “Hey Cowboy”) and even a couple anti-war protest songs to be topical ("No Train to Stockholm” & “For A Day Like Today”). The David “Bitter Sweet Symphony” Whitaker arranged orchestral pop of “What’s More I Don’t Need Her” and the stone cold Hazlewood classic “The Night Before” cement the album as Lee’s peak on LHI records and ironically the label's swan song."
In 1987, Michel Redolfi hit the California Desert road during the Fall, to catch those hypothetical poly-sensorial desert tones. He visited the Mojave Desert, Death Valley, Palm Canyon and came back with an extraordinary album of early electronic music, sparse and bright to express the crude light and the divine silences. Released in the Early Electronic series tracklisting 1 opening 5'49 2 mojave desert 7'11 3 death valley 11'26 4 palm canyon 10'20 5 too much sky / 10'00 extra track CD only
A particularly gusty piece of kosmiche contemplation conceived in Berlin, 1979
"Electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen’s debut and sophomore album were released just a year apart from each other. “Sternzeit” was followed by “Nordborg”, which featured only one track on each side. Again, von Deyen took his time crafting a meditative maelstrom of ambient sounds. The B-side, “Iceland”, is actually an acoustic interpretation of a snowstorm in Nordborg, Denmark, as remembered by von Deyen.
Von Deyens debut album “Sternzeit” had caused quite a stir in 1978 in his home town of Lübeck, where the unconventional young artist found himself inundated with fan mail and booked for autograph sessions. His contract with Sky Records obliged him to deliver a set number of albums to the label—one per year. Enjoying financial independence, he was able to give up his job and focus exclusively on his music.
“Nordborg” appeared in 1979 and featured just two tracks, one on each side. It was inspired by a short holiday in Nordborg on the Danish island of Alsen, which coincided with a violent blizzard. “Moonrise”, the A-side title, is a slow motion improvisation on the rising of the moon on Nordborg. Opening with synths evocative of seagull cries, meditative soundscapes mesh together massive lead sounds in unhurried harmony. Winds swirl, synths twist into electronic spheres of sound, drifting without any clear dramatic structure. Immersed in introspection, Adelbert von Deyen celebrates life in the moment.
“Iceland”, the B-side piece, depicts the snowstorm. Perfect for Adelbert von Deyen’s artistic expression: sustained organ tones deliver beat frequencies, an electric piano pattern is lost in reverie, winds build through the ARP Odyssey, finally sinking into icy melancholy and detached organ tones. Towards the end we are reconciled by an almost sacral organ part which Adelbert von Deyen brings full circle as he returns to the opening theme.
Adelbert von Deyen recorded the second album, like the first, on a Revox A77 tape machine in his little home studio. The instrument list echoes that of “Sternzeit”, with an ARP Odyssey performance synthesizer, a Farfisa VIP 233 organ, a Farfisa String-Orchestra, Hohner Clavinet D6 electric piano, rhythm computer and an electric guitar.”
Fabric call time on a tumultuous year in celebratory fashion as Nina Kraviz squeezes 41 tracks of ‘braindance’ into her mix for the Farringdon behemoth.
With the club’s culture seemingly saved from the collective iron grip of Islington council and The Met, fabric score one last headline mix CD for the year with this bulging effort from Nina Kraviz. Never far from the thoughts of editors hungry for some clickbait, Kraviz’s status as a premiere DJ has only been enhanced by her blossoming TRIP label. In the space of two years, TRIP has deftly cultivated the big room techno potential of Icelandic artist Bjarki, uncovered some rare AFX, and kept Terrence Dixon busy in his retirement years.
If there was ever a TRIP sound, you could say that Kraviz explores it within the space of this 41-track selection which tends to burrow down a tripped-out path, before repeatedly realigning itself for a similar journey from another angle. It’s cool to see Unit Moebius, Frak, Beverly Hills 808303, early Panasonic and that great, recent Leo Anibaldi reissue together on a fabric mix, whilst Kraviztas will be delighted at the wedge of her own unreleased material and tracks by TRIP artists also included here.
John Cale’s classic live album ‘Fragments Of A Rainy Season’, featuring his revered interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ amongst many solo versions from his enduring catalogue and previously unreleased outtakes.
"‘Fragments Of A Rainy Season’ was the first live John Cale album to feature him performing solo and ‘unplugged’ - before that term became a mid 1990 s buzzword. In contrast to the jaundiced punk truculence of ‘Sabotage/Live’ (1979) or ‘Even Cowgirls Get The Blues’ (1986), ‘Fragments Of A Rainy Season’ gives us Cale at his most melodic and moving, a mellowed and certainly a soberer man in a Yamamoto jacket and a lopsided haircut running through a selection of his prettiest songs.
It’s a Cale many love deeply, a man alone at a concert-hall Steinway revisiting the pop-rock of ‘Paris 1919’ and ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’, as wistful and whimsical as any 70s singer songwriter holding court at LA’s Troubadour club. It’s the Cale who disavowed the spiky nihilism and decadence of the Velvets, inspired instead by melodicism of Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson (to whom he’d paid haunting homage on ‘Slow Dazzle’s brilliant Beach Boys pastiche ‘Mr. Wilson’). It’s the Cale who improbably took a staff job at Warner-Reprise in LA and - for an all-too-brief moment - became part of the Burbank producers’ mafia alongside Lenny Waronker and his laidback chums. (Lest we forget, 1973’s ‘Paris 1919’ featured members of Little Feat and The Crusaders among the backing musicians.)
Cale being Cale, ‘Fragments Of A Rainy Season’ isn’t all rueful tenderness. The deceptively jaunty ‘Darling I Need You’ is flippantly introduced as a song about “religious awakening in the southern part of the United States,” while Elvis’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ is no less gothic in the solo version here than it is in the Grand Guignol horror show of the original on ‘Slow Dazzle’. ‘Guts’ is as close as Cale ever came to Lou Reed at his most withering. It’s easy to forget that - years before Jeff Buckley and The X-Factor - he was the first artist to recognize the hymnal majesty of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, or that it was his original 1991 reading of the song that popped up on the soundtrack of ‘Shrek’."
Not long after the release of Peter Broderick’s seventh solo album ‘Partners’, the composer closes 2016 with ‘Grunewald’.
"Born in just one night inside the four walls of the discrete yet majestic Grunewald Church, situated on the outskirts of Berlin, this five-track EP is an exploration of the alluring partnership between the acoustic space and Broderick's solo performance on piano and violin. Reflecting the grandeur of the room and the natural interaction between the instruments and their surrounding environment, 'Grunewald' pays homage to a very unusual space that's become a haven for an entire generation of contemporary composers.
Words from Peter, October 2016:
“In the few years between 2008 and 2011 or so, the Grunewald Church in Berlin was something of a hotspot for a group of us musicians. It started when Nils scouted it as a location in which to record The Bells . . . and then it seemed like we were in there every month or two for a while, either for recordings or for concerts.
There was a lady living just down the street from the church, and we’d just knock on her door, give her a couple hundred euros, and then she’d hand over the keys to the church! To be given unsupervised access in a space like that is really quite unheard of most of the time… For anyone who likes reverb, the Grunewald is a dream come true. That in combination with the beautiful old Bösendorfer piano made it the perfect place for both recording and performing.
When mixing the recordings that comprise this EP, simply titled Grunewald in homage to that old haven of ours, there were no artificial reverbs or delays used . . . only the natural sound of that epic space. Originally these piano recordings were released as part of a split album on a small Japanese label, and the violin piece was included on a compilation, also Japanese . . . but all these pieces were recorded on the same night, in the same space, and it is with great pleasure that I see them reunited for this release.”
Like one of those dreams where you’re in a headwind down a dark tunnel and the light at either end never comes closer, The Labyrinth Of The Straight Line is a typically petrifying yet compelling transmission from Gordon Sharp’s Cindytalk, presented as “a compilation of chimerical poetry” where “ambiguous haikus of agony, melancholy, obscurity and dissensus are unfolding over time”.
Almost needless to say but, it’s a markedly different sound to Cindytalk’s previous techno travails with Ancient Methods as In The Mouth Of The Wolf for Diagonal, largely leaving the beats on the floor in favour of absolute abstraction and icy-fingered ambient noise gestures laced with his own, sparingly used vocals that lend a really uncanny presence at times.
At its most succinct in the opener, Sea of Lost Hopes’ recursive metallic matrices, the album expands and contracts, freeze and cracks between the sustained intensity of Shifting Mirrors and the guttural 15 minute chasm of A Wolf At The Door, with traces of brittle rhythmic structures coruscating in the bombed out Sleight of Mind and sparking under the surface of the title track and the skeletal stepper In Search of New Realities.
But ultimately it’s not all dank AF; the aforementioned glimmers of light do become clearer in the shoegazing resolution of Who Will Choose My Dress and with the alien, hyaline harmonies illuminated by Filthy Sun in Diminished Light, yet they remain deliciously just of reach, always sending you back under in to the cycle to be chewed up and spat out again.
Ben Frost presents the soundtrack to his directorial debut, an operatic interpretation of Iain Banks novel The Wasp Factory, issued on his Bedroom Community label.
Two years on from his all-conquering ninth album, Aurora, Ben Frost returns to Bedroom Community with The Wasp Factory, the soundtrack to his own operatic adaptation of the cult debut novel by late Scottish writer Iain Banks. First debuting at Austria’s Bregenz Festival in August 2013 and running for a short period throughout select European venues, The Wasp Factory continued Frost’s flirtation with the world of theatre and performance art but represented his debut outing as a director.
In original form, Banks’ novel centres on the anti-hero and psychopathic teenager Frank living on a remote island in rural Scotland. Transferring this to the theatre, Frost chose to portray Frank’s narration through a series of female singers, backed with a live string ensemble. Presented outside of the stage for the first time, this album offers a different side to Frost, away from the harsh soundscapes of Aurora, and gravitating towards a warmer take on the modern classical sound. Shorn of the visual stimuli and context that comes with seeing The Wasp Factory performed live, this fifteen-track album will probably satisfy only the most fanatical of Frost followers. Of which there are plenty.
Remarkable discovery of what is believed to be the longest surviving work by Delia Derbyshire, available on vinyl for the first time ever; a beautifully crepuscular soundtrack of electronics and field recordings to the 32-minute film Circle of Light: The Photography of Pamela Bone, directed by Anthony Roland.
"Curated and released by the fabulous Jonny Trunk this is quite simply one of the best records I have ever heard..." Chris Watson.
We can only find fragments of the original film online, where Delia's signature, haunting radiophonics sit perfectly in key with the slow, washed-out imagery of trees, fields and seaside.
Without the need to provide any jingly themes or cues, Delia and Elsa really find the right tone to match Pamela’s imagery, resulting in two pieces that sound much closer to the deeply abstract elements of Delia’s BBC predecessor, Daphne Oram, than her cuter, more widely known commercial works.
As Jonny Trunk explains "As far as I'm Concerned this soundtrack is a recording unlike any other of the time - a sonic tapestry of taped drone, delicate shaped electronics and birdsong..."
A total find - Highly Recommended!
Beat-less modular improvisations made in the Hawaiian jungle
”Anthony Child AKA Surgeon presents the second volume of recordings of Buchla Music Easel recorded in the jungle of Maui.
Again we find Child's in a more ambient guise and setting as the calm breath of the jungle sets a real time back-drop for his electronic explorations. There is no additional layering and all environmental sounds simply 'occurred' throughout the improvisations. The range on display veers from melodic drones to sparkling arpeggios all revolving around a thick bed of (Buchla) electronic and (environmental) acoustic interplay.
Nine Personality Type Map hovers on a bed of syncopated rhythms whilst the nearby sonic mist of the forest seeths in and out of the frame whilst Nightfall Of Diamonds provides a sonic analogy for the darkness and light contradiction that occurs only in such rich natural environments. The simultaneous acts of improvising, listening and creating provide a rich setting for the curious listener. Another gem in a catalogue filled with gold.”
At 26 tracks wide and 2hr 22mins long, Playgroup’s Previously Unreleased collection forms one of the strongest portraits you’ll find for Trevor Jackson’s unique dancefloor style.
Issued over the course of summer ’16 in a series of 9 x 12”s, which are collected here in their entirety, Previously Unreleased rinses Jackson’s archive for still glowing, mongrel mutations of the boogie-disco, dub, hip hop, punk and electro that he grew up with as both a graff writer and nascent B-Boy. By the late ‘80s he’d turned his hand to designing classic record sleeves for the likes of S-Express and Eric B. & Rakim, and was subsequently producing rugged breaks records in the mid-late ‘90s as Underdog.
If you want track by track appraisals, check the individual vinyl release pages, but take it on trust that this is a hefty party load of tricks that sounds properly wide and heavy with amplification.
Orient Occident is a more recent recording of the great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's work, released in 2002, and might surprise those familiar with his better known, sparser works.
Performed by the mighty Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir the three pieces contained here are markedly busier, but no less spiritual than you would expect with two of the pieces set to Psalms. The opening piece 'Wallfahrtslied / Pilgrim's Song' was written in 1984 as a tribute to a composer friend, and is fittingly melancholic, taken from Psalm 121.
The rest of the record is markedly lighter however, with the final piece 'Como Cierva Sedienta' almost triumphant, jubilant heights and feeling almost cinematic in scope. There are mirrors here somewhat with the work of Philip Glass, and the piece has a similar quality to Glass's operas. It might not be the most obvious of Pärt's records to choose, but 'Orient Occident' is a hugely rewarding disc which will enthral as much as it will challenge listeners. Highly recommended.
Collecting six beautiful Arvo Pärt compositions performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, covering a breadth of styles over 25 years between 1989-2005
“The eagerly-awaited new Pärt: Released 25 years after the Estonian composer started ECM’s New Series (“Tabula Rasa”, 1984), “In Principio” offers six compositions of different scale and instrumentation written between 1989 and 2005 thus allowing for an impressive overview of Pärt’s recent stylistic development.
The dramatic 25-minute “In principio” for mixed choir and large orchestra sets the famous opening of the gospel of St. John, “In principio erat Verbum”. In its five movements, “tintinnabuli”-diatonicism is contrasted with sophisticated harmonic procedures, massive brass chords are juxtaposed with almost stoic calm in the choir.
With most of Pärt’s more recent works, the score (2003) was written in response to a major commission.
The purely orchestral “La Sindone” (The holy shroud), mirroring the textile’s symbolic shine-through effects in delicate string-textures, was premièred in Turin during the 2006 Winter Olympics whereas “Caecilia, vergine romana” for mixed choir and orchestra is a commission from the organisation for the celebration of the jubilee of Rome in 2000.
“Da pacem Domine”, one of Pärt’s most serenely beautiful pieces responded in a very subtle way to the 2004 terror attacks in Madrid’s Atocha station. The piece which could be heard a cappella on the 2005- release “Lamentate” appears here in a striking new version with choir and strings.
The programme is completed by two instrumental compositions, “Mein Weg” (1989 / 1999 / 2000) and “Für Lennart in memoriam” a very still piece for the late Estonian president Lennart Georg Meri.
The exemplary interpretations by some of the best and most faithful Pärt specialists were recorded in Estonia with the assistance of the composer and will surely make for one of the strongest 2009 releases on ECM.”
Marshalling orchestral and choral forces under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste, this new Arvo Pärt album, produced by Manfred Eicher and realized, like all Pärt's ECM discs, with the composer's participation, is a major event.
"Sacred music predominates, by turns monumentally powerful and tenderly fragile. Compositions featured, in premiere recordings made in Tallinn's Niguliste Church, are: "Adam's Lament" for choir and string orchestra; "Beatus Petronius" for two choirs, eight woodwind instruments, tubular bells and string orchestra; "Salve Regina" for choir, celesta and string orchestra; "Statuit ei Dominus" for two choirs, woodwinds and string orchestra; "Alleluia-Tropus" for choir and string orchestra; "L'Abbé Agathon" for soprano, baritone, female choir and string orchestra. The album concludes with two lullabies - "Estonian Lullaby" and "Christmas Lullaby" - for female choir and string orchestra.
In title piece "Adam's Lament" Pärt uses a poetic text by Silouan of Athos to emphasize our common heritage in the figure of Adam. "Adam is all of us who bear his legacy. This 'Total Adam' has been suffering and lamenting for thousands of years on Earth. Adam himself, our primal father, foresaw the human tragedy and experienced it as his personal guilt. He has suffered all human cataclysms, unto the depths of despair.""
“The message is very simple; think for yourself and question authority”, so says Timothy Leary in the looped intro to Joachim Nordwall’s follow-up to The Power of Repetition and two volumes of Soul Music for Entr’acte.
The iDEAL ringleader is at his quietest and most contemplative here, firstly offering Leary’s looped mantra before opening out into starkly minimal space ambient drone space where we’re implicitly encouraged to meditate on that message amid the rustle and hum of vintage oscillators and haptic scuffs.
Some half way into the piece those etheric drones begin to coagulate into a glowing aurora which glacially descends into rumbling lower registers and returning almost like a palindrome to Leary’s mantra, which reinforces the piece’s effect, and possibly implies a positive point of resolution on the horizon if only you hold your line.
As with pretty much everything Nordwall touches, this one comes highly recommended!
Epic 3CD set celebrating 10 years of Moon Wiring Club via 66 tracks of unreleased, archive and obscure tracks, all remastered splendidly to form something like an 'alternative best of'. It's chronological, so you get the first disc covering 2003-2009, the second 2010-2011, and the third 2012-2013. None of the tracks have been on CD before!
Moon Wiring Club breaks out the black pudding bunting to celebrate 10 years of quintessentially northern english surreality with When A New Trick Comes Out, I Do An Old One, collecting three discs of cherry-picked freaks and ill-conceived ideas sourced from the nether region of his steam-powered hard drive. Fair to say that after a decade of exploring this sound, MWC brilliantly and definitely sounds like nobody but himself.
If you’ve had the head to follow the MWC and Gecophonic saga over the years so far, you’ll no doubt be as a charmed and baffled as us by its darkly sophisticated sense of glamour and maze of Escher-esque looping arrangements which never seem to go anywhere, yet always make you feel like you’ve been somewhere else.
The first disc, A Field Full Of Sunken Horses hearkens back to MWC’s earliest phase c. 2003-2009, including a higher quality version of the titular fan fave which was issued as 128kbps MP3 only by The Wire in 2005, and now appears in higher quality along with the flanging, bubbling magick of Rotten Druid and the bandy-legged swagger of Owd Lads Night, each making canny, secretive use of samples procured from the fecund charity shops and second hand record stores of Clinksell.
His 2nd disc, Tripping In The Elizabethan Sense brings us up to the period surrounding Clutch It Like A Gonk, namely variations on a “dance” music theme. But that’s dance music from Clinksell, some time in a dimension that’s familiar yet parallel to our own, and the results spell out a slew of wrong-steps and mystic fogtrots which, if they came from this dimension, would have predated the ‘90s’ fixation with multiple CD mixes of the same songs. At 22 tracks long, it’s clear that MWC isn’t short on ideas, and that sometimes it’s his overlooked bits that can be the strangest components in Clinksell’s fractal mosaic.
The final disc is a descent into the bowels of MWC. Under the title We In This Hill Are Alive he relinquishes a farther 22 tracks of undulating soundscapes, taking inspiration from the rugged hills and valleys surrounding Clinksell to render a series of deep topographical studies mapping plasmic links between stone circles, hill mounds and ancient folk dressed in cutting edge couture, strongly recalling the feel of Mordant Music’s MisinforMation DVD soundtrack in parts, and leaning into the dreamiest corners of Coil-esque electronics with Midsummer Visitation.
This is a music and upside down world unto itself, one where clocks go backwards and anthropomorphic fancies are an everyday occurrence. It’s a world that will be familiar to many, and seductive to many more.
Texturally detailed ambient-electronic study on the relationships between man made and natural environments in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland. File somewhere between Cindytalk and Richard Skelton
“Mark Lyken is an Artist, Composer and Filmmaker based in rural Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. He creates musical and sound pieces, film, paintings and installations.
The Cromarty Firth is an inlet of the North Sea in the Highlands of Scotland. It is an important and protected natural habitat of seabirds and marine mammals, yet it is also an essential berth of the Oil and Tourism industries. Based in a field station ideally located at the Cromarty Lighthouse, Ecologists from the University of Aberdeen study how natural and man-made environmental changes influence the behaviour and populations of the Firth's protected species.
In 2012 Lyken was Artist in residence at the Lighthouse Field Station where he worked alongside the Ecologists and recorded The Terrestrial Sea album. He returned to Cromarty in 2014 to collaborate on a companion film with award-winning Filmmaker Emma Dove.
The Terrestrial Sea is the culmination of that work, highlighting the diverse and ever-changing environments that the Ecologists are studying through music and film.
The Terrestrial Sea is deeply imbued with a sense of place. Whilst sonically evoking the drama and beauty of the land and seascapes of the Cromarty Firth it also explores the tensions that exist surrounding the natural and industrial world. The music combines real world, electronic and processed sounds, creating a sometimes incongruous soundworld of corroded melodies, percussive clangs, drilling platform drones, pile driving booms, intensifying boat noise, local voices, the simulated sounds of weather and the ever-present sea itself.”
Demdike Stare return with their first album since 2012’s Elemental, a feral, loose-limbed and angular rave odyssey wrecking Dancehall and Jungle templates via found sounds, Ambient and exotic spaces.
Wonderland plays the full breadth of the duo’s wide open aesthetic, taking their Testpressing series of dancefloor lashes - issued on 12” between 2013-2015 - as the diving board for an innovative, reverie-like album forming a parallel dancefloor narrative where the spirits of mid ‘90s jungle and digital dancehall are made plasmic, malleable, and syncretised with industrial and ambient techno sound design.
Rooted in record collecting and the art of DJing, and in line with Demdike’s atypical style and pattern, Wonderland veers across styles and temporalities, forming wormholes between Hardstyle and submerged jungle in the curtain-raiser, Curzon, and going in like Slimzee slicing up grime dubs with jungle in the crackden atmosphere of Animal Style, whereas the eleven minute Hardnoise catches them at full stretch, tumbling from head-rinsing noise to a dank, sublow techno mission framed by unsettling ambience somewhere between Prurient’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement episodes and a mutant variant of classic Exotica, before coughing you up someplace else.
At the album’s epicentre, FullEdge (eMpty-40 Mix) obliterates distinctions between dancehall and techno as you’ve never heard, an edit that re-laces their formerly mutually exclusive ligature in a belly-tightening and brilliantly messed-up new mutation, before Sourcer prangs out like a cyborg calibrating itself to ragga jungle arrhythmia, and the psychoacoustic nose drip of Fridge Challenge dissipates into the ‘static thizz of Overstaying at the LP’s perimeter, like some DJ Sprinkles cut paused at mid-flow and delayed, re-shaped into a tense burner.
It’s probably the most enjoyable and loose-limbed hour of music in their catalogue, or that you’ll likely hear in these weird, angst-ridden times.