Panorama Bar’s Steffi gives up the best Fabric mix CD since their Mumdance instalment with an expertly tempered selection of deep Detroit/Dutch/UK/Berlin electro showing everyone else how it’s done.
Deep, rugged and galvanised with a shark-eyed techno spirit Fabric 94: Steffi draws from a close pool of producers, including some big highlights in her collaborations with Shed and Martyn, to basically sidestep all the bullshit and get down to classically-skooled futurist fundamentals.
Where say, Helena Hauff for example goes for dark and severely stripped down strains of electro, Steffi’s picks are more full bodied and funked up with a finely ingrained Detroit funk, of the sort which has informed Dutch dance music since the ‘80s and continues to bubble up in new ways here, especially with the sublime depth and complex breakbeat intricacies of 1.5 in her STFSHD collab with Shed, the martian hi-tech funk of No Life On The Surface as Doms & Deykers, or the Mr. De-meetsCybotron flexer, Off The Beat with Virginia, but also on the devilish picks of World Gets Crazy from UAS, and Afik Naim’s crunchy electro-soul-warper, Saturniidae.
A subtly evolving 45 minute piece by Thomas Köner and Jana Widneren recorded live from the cloisters at Evreux Cathedral, Normandy, France by Franck Dubois, mastered by Köner. Bird calls, swelling organ resonance and the sound of passing voices unfold across a richly detailed sound-field that seems to morph like some metaphysical presence.
Feels like the listener is placed in the shadows surrounded by cold stone on a warm summer day.
For completists, archivists and newcomers alike, Can - The Singles affords a comprehensive overview of the legendary krautrock pioneers’ outings beyond their run of seminal classic albums, notably rounding up a lot of material which has been out of print on any format for decades.
All material is taken and remastered from original single versions, including a few newly nipped edits and featuring a strong handful of obscure, sought-after numbers such as Silent Night and Turtles Have Short Legs beside their better known turns, Mushroom, Hallelujah, Vitamin C and I Want More.
Joanne Pollock (Poemss) joins the ranks of Datach’i, John Frusciante, and Otto Von Schirach (sorta) on Venetian Snares’ Timesig label with her vaulted, operatic IDM pop anomaly, Stranger.
“‘Stranger’ is the debut solo album from Canadian artist Joanne Pollock. Released via Venetian Snares’ Timesig imprint, with whom Pollock previously collaborated as Poemss, ‘Stranger’ is a stunning collection of electronic pop songs that range from the unsettlingly calm and beautiful through to ferocious explosions of caustic noise, all held together by Joanne’s multi-octave ranging vocals.
“What happens when we push up against that which contains us?” asks Pollock. “By distorting the mirror, we may become plastic. When the comfort of familiarity is stripped away, it can feel as though we become a stranger in our own bodies. Is it through embracing the Stranger that we discover ourselves? Stranger explores the multiplicities of selfhood - what defines us, where the boundaries lie.”
On tracks like the album opener ‘Carnival’, ‘Myself Apart’ and ‘Expect Me’ Pollock’s vocals weave in and out of the bruised and bruising bass lines, glacial synths and stop-start beats almost becoming one with the music, before suddenly overpowering the synthetic elements to take centre stage in bursts of joyful exuberance.
Combining an intricate, detailed approach to music production with illusive almost dreamlike textures ‘Stranger’ sees Pollock further burnish her reputation as one of electronic music’s most exciting and idiosyncratic new artists. Throughout the album’s ten tracks she continually leads us down dark, surprising paths as she experiments with and twists song structures, resulting in an album that feels both eerily familiar and startlingly new and continues to reveal new secrets with every play.”
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma follows-up the hazy shimmer of his masterpiece ‘A Year with 13 Moons’ on his most overtly accessible album to date ‘On the Echoing Green’. This is Jefre’s unabashed Shoegaze album, enlisting the help of Evan Caminiti and Byron Westbrook on Guitar, while Maxwell August Croy, Honey Owens and Sobrenadar supply occasional vocals.
The album opens where ‘…13 Moons’ left us off on “In A Copse”; a short, slowed down vignette bleached out by the sun, before A Song of Summer provides the album’s most joyous, anthemic moment. Making few concessions to the classic Shoegaze template for its first 4 minutes, it sounds like it could have been lifted off Slowdive’s Souvlaki, while the section that follows gives away its provenance with an immersive line in bass distortion that slowly erodes and kicks back into the track’s main refrain before closing out.
As Ledesma explains: “I was interested in trying to bring out more overt pop elements, to let them come to the front and be present. I also have more trust now in letting things happen – trusting other people’s musicianship, and being open to people’s ideas. Eventually, things emerge.”
The rest of the album deftly balances those classic Shoegaze references with Ledesma’s by-now perfected drum machine and tape delay arrangements, gradually dipping into more experimental terrain as the album progresses, especially on the beautiful Autumn interlude, and the closing field recording treatment Door to Night, effectively taking us away from the abundance and glee of the first half and into the introspective tristesse as the seasons pass.
Grippingly dense and roiling collaboration between improv god Keiji Haino and and a rupturing Belgian rhythm section. Flashes of curdled baroque, avant-jazz scuttle, rock rage and primitive electronics. Recorded, mastered and mixed in Tokyo by Joe Talia between 2015-2016.
“Japanese legend, Keiji Haino, meets two of Belgium's most active and valued musicians, keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin (Lilly Joel) and drummer Teun Verbruggen (Othin Spake). The Miracles Of Only One Thing is a deep and intense testimony of this meeting. Keiji Haino, without any doubt one of the most important musicians from the Japanese underground scene, is at his best, Teun Verbruggen and Jozef Dumoulin did a three-week tour in Japan in September of 2015, playing concerts as a duet, but also solo and with local musicians.
One of those musicians was hero Keiji Haino, whose work has spanned rock, free improvisation, noise, percussion, psychedelic music, minimalism and drones. Besides his legendary bands Fushitsusha and Lost Aaraaff, he has worked with artists and bands like Boris, The Melvins, Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann and Steve Noble. As for Dumoulin and Verbruggen, they are both known for their always refreshing and groundbreaking work that breaks the barriers between free improvisation, electro, jazz and more. Jozef Dumoulin is part of the duo Lilly Joel appearing recently on Sub Rosa with What Lies in the Sea (SR 416CD, 2015). The three teamed up for a studio recording and a recorded live-show.
Out of all the material, they distilled an album that reflects both the excitement of the new bond as well as the deep and vast sonic landscapes that their joined forces laid bare. Personnel: Keiji Haino - guitar, vocals, flute, gongs; Jozef Dumoulin - Fender Rhodes; Teun Verbruggen - drums, electronics.”
Big Dada reissue the critically acclaimed debut and sophomore albums by Young Fathers, ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’. Both albums have been remastered for this reissue and are presented together as double CD, double LP and double cassette packages.
"‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’ are compellingly unique - the band make the sort of uncompromisingly leftfield, forward thinking hip hop that has nothing to do with artiness and everything to do with brilliance, all with grain silo production and genuine pop hooks.
‘Tape One’ was recorded within a week. It was first released in November 2011 as a limited edition cassette with individually spray-painted sleeves. ‘Tape Two’ was recorded almost immediately afterwards, in January 2012. Eventually LA based label Anticon picked up both albums and gave them a limited release in the USA."
Race To Zero’ is the new album by musician and composer John Matthias and producer, musician and composer Jay Auborn, via the Village Green label.
"The album’s starting point was a series of acoustic improvisations recorded in a variety of locations, from a 700-year-old chapel in the Devon countryside to a basement studio in Reykjavík, Iceland.
In an attempt to create a fractured sense of space reflective of the digital condition, the duo found themselves working within a place that could only exist in the digital landscape. By crushing the recordings through a hundred different virtual rooms of reverb and other chaotic digital processes they collided, soared and splintered into sweeping new rhythms, melodies and drones.
Pushing the computer’s processor beyond its limits threw up sonic ‘errors’ that wouldn’t be easily possible to create through standard methods. In response, these outcomes created new and unplanned inspiration for further composition. Elements of the album were then produced binaurally adding a three dimensional listening experience. The outcome is a unique landscape that blurs the line between the virtual and physical worlds."
Discwoman co-founder Emma Olsen aka Umfang makes strong moves with the raw, etheric techno fundamentalisms in Symbolic Use Of Light; the Brooklyn-based artist’s 3rd album and first for Technicolor, placing her in good company amidst the label’s roster of Peggy Gou, Jay Daniel, Hieroglyphic Being a.o.
Across Symbolic Use of Light she weaves and delineates her sound in two distinct strands, teasing oscillating piquant, weightless arpeggios in Full 1, the frothier pulse of Path, and the hazy, levitating organ tones of Full 2, whilst merging those strands with variously graded degrees of techno pressure elsewhere, at best in the pensile pulses of Weight, with the power dome slammer, Where Is She, and a light-headed touch in the spare dimensions of Pop and the shimmering Wingless Victory.
The Brötzmann / Leigh duo push a taut, distortion-oiled copulation of pedal steel guitar and tenor/alto-saxophones/tarogato and B-Flat clarinet in the cranky squeeze of Sex Music for Austria’s Trost, offering the 2nd officially recorded and released result of an ongoing touring/recording partnership following Ears Are Filled With Wonder [Not Two Records, 2016].
Candidly documenting the duo in their element at Music Unlimited in Wels, Austria late 2016, we can hear the pair’s fluidly exchanging dominant/submissive roles across the piece, with Leigh’s sheets of plangent, warbly dissonance alternately pierced and smoothed by bleating and melodic pressure from Brötzmann, naturally moving from clambering intensity to blissed serenity but also prone to punkish caterwaul and frankly, anything-goes bursts of incendiary emotion that are captivating to witness.
Portland, OR-based artist Daneil Menche return to the fold of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner’s Sige with a 12-track, 3 hour somnambulant induction, Sleeper.
Fuck knows we haven’t got the time to go through it all without taking a little nap under the desk, but scanning through we can hear the vibe is dead heavy lidded and definitely shouldn’t be consumed whilst operating heavy machinery. We recommend eating a pound of cheese and sprinkling gravel on your preferred sleeping surface before immersion…
“It is easy to forget that our eyes are constantly seeing even when they are shut. We can still sense the faint traceries of blood vessels until the dark dims our view. Strange sparkles of light flicker and swim across our eyelids as they are chased by darkness. Subtle abstract films play every night, even in our deepest slumber, projected on the movie screens found inside our eyes. "Sleeper" is a soundtrack to these internal films. Play it loud or quiet: our eyes are always seeing. And don't forget....... Ears wide shut.”
The Ostgut Ton staple yields a 2nd album of intricate house and electronica designs with Work for the Berlin-based powerhouse.
Urged by a restless, hypnotic dancefloor sensibility, but measured out in waves of alternating pressure, Work scales between a broad range of styles and tempos within Höppner’s house remit, stretching from Plaid-like IDM with opener All By Themselves (My Belle) to Suicide-al strokes of Three Is A Charm W/ Randweg at the close, glyding thru bassliebn-driven garage-house tribalism in Clean Living w/ Tram 78; West London broken beat suss in Hoel Head; a slow-motion dive with The Dark Segment; and even pulsating Italo-disco-pop with From Up And Down.
An Album Co-Composed By Four Musicians: Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James Mcalister...
"Flanked by a string quartet and a consort of seven trombones, this unique collaborative ensemble have assembled an expansive song cycle that explores the Sun, the Moon, the planets and other celestial bodies of our solar system (and beyond) through soundscape, song, science and myth.
The subject of the album is not just the wilderness of outer space, but also the interior space of human consciousness and how it engages with divinity, depravity, society and self - what does it mean to be human? A musical and aesthetic journey as far-reaching as its subject: from lush piano ballads to prog-rock political anthems, curious electronic backbeats to classical cadenzas, which occasionally give way to ambient interludes and majestic brass chorales, buttressed by a percussive drive that keeps the momentum skyward.
In spite of all the experimentation in sound and style, Sufjan’s vocals provide a clear and coherent centre of gravity, and includes some of his most diverse vocal performances to date (from soft hush to guttural scream); whether he’s singing through effects pedals, vocoders, auto-tune or not, his voice delivers an ambitious flight map through the cosmos..."
Philippe Hallais aka Low Jack returns to Modern Love with a debut album under his own name, this time round unfurling a deeply seductive and opaque mixture of squashed dream pop and ambient shimmers, sounding something like Badalamenti/Lynch doing Shoegaze except a lot more weird and beautiful...
It’s an album in the tradition of great records by Hype Williams, Leyland Kirby and, more recently, Yves Tumor; inhabiting a sonic world where not everything is quite what it seems. It offers familiarity and warmth one moment, dread and transformation the next, with an aesthetic that can basically be defined by that iconic image of the trophy cabinet in Twin Peaks, slowly zooming in on Laura Palmer’s framed face.
Divided into four sides (and eleven tracks) acting as parts in a greek tragedy, the album delves into the dislocations of the mythology of sports and its achievement in mass entertainment; whereby the hero becomes a dispensable and mimetic body. It delves into this unusual portrayal of triviality and disaster, naivety and cynicism that make the real life and ordeals of the hero indistinguishable from their scripted form on TV.
And so the narrative flows from the introspective ambient fizz of the opening Theme (Trophies) - sounding like the Cure’s All Cats are Grey as heard through the cracks, shrouded in several layers of auditory fog, through to the goosebump inducing Angela (Square), complete with punctuated snare/bassdrum crashes, to the Thriller-esque/Actress vibes on Fantasy (4U).
Feel (Storm) is like Jóhann Jóhannsson’s brass masterpiece Virðulegu Forsetar looped, phased and slowed down, before the album closes on the daytime tv vibes of Hero (Theme); a sound to get immersed in, mimicking life with its transition from the tragic to the sublime.
Life is short, seize the moment.
Mannequin dig into the ruined foundations of ‘90s industrial rhythmic noise with reissue of Orphx’s debut cassette couplet and previously unheard 4-track tapes.
Scrolling back to early ‘90s Ontario, Canada - the site of Orphx’s first doings - Archive 1993-1994 reveals the noisy, abstract genesis of a unit who are maybe best known nowadays for their steely techno productions and valued modular synths skills, has released on Adam X’s Sonic Groove and heard alongside synthy collaborators ranging from Junior Boys’s Jeremy Greenspan to dark techno overlord, Dave Foster aka Huren in recent years.
Taking their cues from then contemporary European and Japanese noise scenes, Orphx hatched a feral and fucking busted sound that stirred improvised elements of power noise, electro-acoustic process and the notion of ‘death industrial’ into a crushing cacophony at their erstwhile member, Aron T’s basement studio named The Pit, wresting a guttural and unheimlich sound that wouldn’t be out of place on the Harbinger Sound catalogue or even Hospital Productions, who are coincidentally behind an expanded CD version of this collection.
The first disc of this set corresponds to their debut tape, 01 [Excretia, 1993], which was originally issued in edition of only 100 copies. It’s severely dank and distended stuff, akin to being pulped by a slow blowing sandblaster, prone to buckle and collapse under its own weight and undergo fits of spasming death gargle, with the’ rhythmic’ component pretty much reserved to the percussive detonations and metal-shearing screech of Excruciate and the bombed out hulk of Monophilia, which both make a mockery of much modern noise techno.
Disc two contains the gear off tape 02 [Excretia, 1994] along with unheard material, bookending the systematic immolation of Exposure and the very Prurient-esque Reservoirs of Infection with a much broader sound in the dive-bombing drone formation, Veil Of Dream and finally spewing up the black bile of the Wolf Eyes-like Beautiful Wreckage and a palpitating, cloven beast of Live Fragment 21/10/94, which is uncannily close to fellow Canucks, Wold/Black Mecha, but twenty years earlier.
It’s all basically as rare as chalky white dog shit (which we’ve not seen since the ‘90s; coincidence?!?!) and totally aches for the attention of noise grotbags everywhere.
Rivers collects in album form the two recent 12" vinyl releases (Retina and Iris) from Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums.
For this new venture, Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums expand their singular, percussion-heavy sound with the recruitment of the Schola Cantorum Reykjavik Chamber Choir, who have previously worked with Bjork on her all-vocal album, Medulla. In fact the Icelandic connection doesn't end there: the EP features arrangement from Hildur Guðnadótir, recording by Ben Frost and production from the latter's Bedroom Community pal, Valgeir Sigurðsson. The outcome of all this is a brilliant five-song release that hopefully gives some indication of the direction this band might head in next. As ever, vocalist Mariam Wallentin leads the way with a bewitchingly charismatic performance, and Andreas Werliin imposes a structural backbone via his drums, but the choral elements really add to the duo's music. It might be said that the ordinarily very fulsome and versatile percussive elements are ever so slightly impoverished by this new direction, but it's a trade-off that works well, particularly on 'Fight For Me' which locks onto a memorably mighty thud.
While Retina was recorded in a Reykjavik church with the Schola Cantorum Chamber Choir, this release sees Wildbirds & Peacedrums reverting to their conventional duo line-up, with Andreas Werliin playing drums and percussion while Mariam Wallentin undertakes some fairly major multitasking: singing while playing steel drums and an organ bass pedal. Once again, Bedroom Community mainstays Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost are in charge of recording and mixing duties, but this time it all takes place within the facilities of Greenhouse Studios. Despite the more controlled production environment you really get a sense of this duo's stunning presence as a live act, and Wallentin's ability to carve out a strong, melodically coherent song using such minimal and often abstract accompaniment is truly something to behold. The strongest entries are the songs bookending the EP: 'The Wave' establishes a memorable chorus from the vantage point of a slow tempo and methodical bass intervals, while closing track 'The Well' has real urgency and kinetic energy about it, building to a climax full of thrashing cymbals and flurrying steel drum work.
Exquisite new recordings from preeminent avant-garde trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Arve Henriksen for his spiritual home, Rune Grammofon, arriving over three years since his Chron | Cosmic Creation  LP and a handful of collaborations with Supersilent, among others, over the interim.
By now you should know this guy is in possession of a genuinely wonderful sonic wanderlust, the sort of spirit that is instinctively guided by emotion and prone to lead him into the most enchanted and enchanting headspaces - and if you don’t know, we recommend you do a lot of catching up!
That said, you’d do well to start with Towards Language, one of his most accessible ports of call, rendering a ninth solo LP instalment of magickally wistful themes lead by his virtuosic lines of flight and underlined by an array of live-sampling, electronics, synths, guitars and vocals.
From first listens we’re most snagged by the gently pulsating, airborne elegance of Vivification with its sublime Reichian phasing and bubbling undertow, and likewise a little smitten with the deep blue tone of Demarcation Line, but we’re sure deeper listens will reveal even more alluring aspects.
Dive in and drink deeply.
Completing the haul of unreleased albums by the inventor of the motorik beat, drummer for Neu! and La Düsseldorf
"Previously unreleased Klaus Dinger Material. The upcoming millennium inspired Klaus Dinger, legendary co-founder of NEU! and La Düsseldorf, to look for new collaborative opportunities with other musicians. His ambition was to create new music, to “re-sound” the impending millennium and to find new forms of artistic production. Klaus Dinger had been joined by Kazuyuki Onouchi, Andreas Reihse (Kreidler) , Viktoria Wehrmeister (Toresch), Nakao Masaki , Thea Djordjadze. “Turning documentary into art” would indeed be the best way to describe this album."
‘Boombox 2’ is a new selection of early rap music from the period 1979 - 83, with barely a household name in sight. Featured here are some the earliest hip hop records that came out of New York City following the enormous commercial success of the first ever rap record, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugarhill Gang, in September 1979.
"Artists and producers alike tried to jump aboard the new commercial possibilities of hip hop. By the end of the year there were 30 hip hop singles, all released by independent New York labels. The following year there were over 100 more and so on.
‘Boombox 2’ tells the story of how hip hop went from its evolutionary roots in the Bronx through DJs Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa through to its second phase where veteran music producers - Paul Winley, Peter Brown, Joe Robinson and others - all based in Harlem, began to put rap on vinyl for the first time.
Harlem is also where the separate worlds of disco and hip hop met through the styles and influence of earlier ‘uptown’ DJs - DJ Hollywood and Eddie Cheba. In similar fashion these veteran Harlem-based producers instinctively tapped into a long lineage of African-American rhythm and blues, soul and disco."
The long-in-the-works Glitter In My Eyes is a work of quietly understated beauty from sound artist Janek Schaeffer, conceived to mark the 20th anniversary of his debut release. With the dopplereffekt of whizzing cars still lingering in the memory from his Lay-By Lullaby  CD for 12k, his latest effort offers a firm reminder of Schaeffer’s elusive, rarified compositional brilliance and knack for weaving unexpected and fascinating layers of detail into his work. If anything it’s arguably his master opus. Bravo!
“Glitter in my tears’ marks the 20th anniversary of Janek Schaefer’s career as a recording artist, having now released 30 albums. His music is best comprehended through examining his time as an architect, and how that forged his innate sense for constructing tactile atmospheres, that navigate through unknown structures and forgotten spaces, creating profound new places. Over his career he has placed focus on the relationship between body, medium, and sound, creating a field of work that defies easy definition. An architect of foundsoundscapes.
For Schaefer, the medium plays as great a role as the message itself. He creates music that exposes the marks and memories of a variety of media, as presented in the 26 tracks on ‘Glitter in my tears’, an eclectic album that celebrates the sense of overwhelming desolation held in the music. A subdued cathartic opus.
Each piece is a microcosm of haunted memory, that unites to create a record of melancholic vignettes, and is easily his most critical recorded work to date.
It’s a record that reflects Schaefer’s obsession with texture, atmosphere, and emotive acoustic states. Multiple interludes, like active memories, lace into one another. Their relation is temporal, and shaped very much by the settings in which they are encountered. Like the very best ambient music, ‘Glitter in my tears’ is an acoustic reflector of sorts, rebounding off the places and spaces within which it is experienced. This process means the record is never static, but in a constant state of discovery and rediscovery.
Schaefer comments, “The album was composed over the last decade, in moments when most people are asleep in the dark, while the lucky ones are still dancing in the lights. It’s a record of delightful dark emotions evolving from the evocative dreams we yearn for, with our feet firmly on the floor, always wanting more. An unfolding compendium of motifs and repetitive fragments, fading from the memories of our emotions. Sparkling lights glisten in the hidden shadows of our feelings, with outpourings of love falling through the depths of despair. It is based on a true story”.
Ikonika’s third album ‘Distractions’ builds on 2013’s ‘Aerotropolis’, and the title answers the question “Why has the album taken so long?” In the last few years she’s been building up a strong CV of remixes, from Chvrches to Dawn Richard, Austra and Junior Boys, as well as DJing and working on this album.
"‘Distractions’ distils the character of Ikonika’s music productions across a wider set of styles than previous albums, and she subtly fuses and switches elements from contrasting genres, giving the whole set a uniqueness and consistency that puts it in its own lane. Furthermore what sits at the centre of ‘Distractions’ more than ever is her love of R&B and hip hop, in all its forms, which has opened the door to bring in a selection of guests in a way she’s not fully explored before. From the full throttle blend of grime and 80s synth soul ‘Noblest’ with Andrea Galaxy, to the reflective ‘Sacrifice’ with up and coming MC Jammz, a slowjam that merges dubstep with hip house drums. The final vocal track is the languid ‘Hazefield’ co-produced with Sweyn J and featuring Jessy Lanza on vocals. Its mix of mechanic clunk and minimalist, lulling funk could only happen in 2017.
The LP artwork takes its inspiration from West London’s Golden Mile, a stretch of the Great West Road where the A4 meets the M4, and the road takes on the character of the arcade game Poll Position, with art deco factories and illuminated, hi-tech signage selling lifestyle products. It’s this kind of mix of futuristic and industrious with a touch of gentle glamour that the album exudes.”
Stockholm native Demen delivers a striking statement of intent on this Kranky debut, coming across like a lost artefact from 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil at the height of their powers, and without doubt heavily indected to Cocteau Twins' masterpiece Head Over Heels.
This latest Kranky offering comes wrapped in mystery and elaborate intrigue, the Chicago label apparently receiving ‘Nektyr’ out of the blue several years after the elusive Demen first made contact with some anonymously-submitted demos. Seemingly based out of Stockholm, this most talented if slow-working of musicians has crafted quite the debut album, sounding more like a hermetically sealed archival discovery from the glory years of 4AD rather than any modern-day counterpart.
Listening to this album, it is clear Kranky have stumbled upon quite the musical talent in Demen, or Irma Orm as she is apparently known. Each track here seems to be telling its own story, and Demen’s supple mastery of understated composition and instrumentation is evident throughout. The way she creates drama through sudden silence and unannounced sonic swerves suggests the work of a seasoned professional musician.
It’s the interplay between this ghostly musical backdrop and Demen’s shimmering voice that makes this such a powerful listen however. An otherworldly and evocative whisper, Demen doesn’t form words, but rather intones emotion through sheer yearning power.
A gothic opera of the highest ethereal order. RIYL Cocteau Twins, Tropic Of Cancer.
Tumultuous techno topography - from full throttle pelters to rugged electro and barely there ambient pieces - from a L.I.E.S. regular moonlighting on The Bunker NYC
“The latest transmission from the world of Gunnar Haslam, Kalaatsakia wildly sprawls across the intersections of techno and more abstract sounds to take us on a wide-ranging journey from the subterranean to the coastal, from blown-out dub tones through fractured rhythms. An incredible work that is not easy to pigeonhole, Kalaatsakia is a full length album that navigates and sketches landscapes where new languages are created from old, dead ones to emerge as the lingua franca of interconnected immersive zones.
Haslam is an avid home listener of dub, dancehall and calypso, and that influence is quickly felt as Kalaatsakia launches with a tight electro snap and dubwise crash. Kalaatsakia advances and retreats seasonally, tightening up for the floor with the chrome-plated “Broadcast” and “Kjolle” while splintering apart on “Kalapuyan” and “nxbound”. Its constituent parts are often left to collapse in on themselves, smearing themes into residual trails. As the narrative of the album disintegrates and unfolds into more deconstructed territory, it stretches out even further with a striking skittering mental tease, settling into burbling sub-audible vocals and resonant spaces that all form a part of Haslam's self-created subconscious language.”
Deluxe, expanded edition of Domo Arigato which followed on the heels of ambitious ‘modern classical’ album Without Mercy a year earlier, and saw composer/guitarist Vini Reilly and percussionist Bruce Mitchell augmented by John Metcalfe on viola and Tim Kellet on trumpet.
"Their show-cum-recital at the Kan’i Hoken Hall on 25 April was recorded digitally and filmed on two 35mm cameras. ‘Mixing down was fun,’ recalled Durutti manager/mentor Anthony H. Wilson. ‘We were on a flight out next morning so Nippon Columbia hired a mobile studio recording truck and we mixed from midnight to 6 a.m.’
In fact the group always considered this rather hurried mix imperfect, and therefore for this greatly expanded 2017 reissue Factory Benelux have returned to the original soundboard tapes and remastered the entire 90 minute performance, in the process restoring the original running order.
Disc 1 of the 4 CD set presents the original digital mix from 1985, while Discs 2 and 3 include the 2017 soundboard remaster plus a previously unreleased gig from Tokyo Loft Club on 29 April 1984. Disc 4 is an NTSC format DVD featuring a pristine transfer of the original Japanese laserdisc edition of Domo Arigato, which is the filmed version of the show with the 1985 digital mix.
A double disc vinyl edition is also available with a bonus 7" single, Dedications for Japan."
Warm and fuzzy house nodding to classic Detroit beatdown from a UK perspective for Technicolour. Check for excellent weightless ambient dimensions in Murmure and his best Theo P vibes on Analogische Memories
“These days, to leave even the briefest of imprints on the ever-increasingly saturated orbit of dance music can be considered a feat in itself. To make a lasting mark, however, one that manages to cut through the onslaught of new music and artist profiles on spotlight each day, is another accomplishment entirely. Cue Dauwd, the US-born, Wales-raised artist who’s been releasing music for nearly 6 years on such noted labels as Ghostly International and Kompakt, and whose debut album Theory of Colours is released via Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour Records.
An integral member of the Berlin night and radio show African Acid Is The Future, Dauwd Al Hilali’s releases have been met with as much expectation as they have intrigue. Spending the last few years out of the limelight and in his Berlin studio, Dauwd’s music has continued to ripple through clubs as his singular, sometimes thrillingly uncertain process of experimentation has continued. Pulling inspiration from electronic music legends like Terry Riley, Raymond Scott, and the seminal Radiophonic Workshop period in the late 50’s and 60’s, Dauwd’s 2017 LP draws a unique line between influences as disparate as hazy Detroit house and early German Krautrock.
A skilled musical engineer, Dauwd’s ability to balance between such sprawling genres is, paradoxically, an exercise in restriction, finding creative freedom in limiting his own gear. It’s clear he’s no stranger to focus; sonically, Theory of Colours runs tightly wound, its loops intentional and layers meticulously built. Spanning a succinct forty minutes across seven tracks, Dauwd’s fondness for delays and love for vintage synthesizers characterize much of the album, which was recorded over the course of a year primarily in the Utrecht based Sonar Traffic studio that houses one of the largest collections of vintage synths and other modular equipment in all of Europe. The result is an intricate, scintillating journey that hovers between familiar and strange. For many artists, that enigmatic gap is one that’s anxiously avoided-- the fear of misidentity as a musician more important than the music itself. Throughout Theory of Colours, it’s a space Dauwd comfortably renders as his own.”
Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
Conscientious retro-chic pop music steeped in ‘80s synths, balmy tropical influence and wrapped around pointed lyrics. RIYL endless Swedish reverb and diamond cut hooks.
“That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilsson has surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining a better world. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let others in, her 8th studio album Imaginations sees Nilsson directly engaging with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in. Imaginations dreams big, recasting storming, stadium-sized pop into the internal language of the solo auteur. Imaginations is not escapism, it’s a kaleidoscope and an alternative view, an agent of change.
Opener Tender Surrender encapsulates Imaginations, a tango on the ruins of the past, like many of Nilsson’s best songs a collision between the political and personal. Though potentially a love song, there’s a glowing anger in the lines “I want your ruin, I want destruction, I won’t be through until we mend this…” this is rapturous transformation, order and chaos. Molly has built an almost 10 year career on perfectly summing up how we feel and this is no different… Who else could write a song about privilege (Let’s Talk About Privileges) and make a heart-rending chorus of “It’s never being afraid of the police, it’s expecting every thank you, every please.” The artist’s vision on this album is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of previous album Zenith, at times exemplified on songs like Memory Foam, a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Molly alone can make us feel so welcome in loneliness. If there’s overt anger in songs like Money Never Sleeps, an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia if ever there was one, there’s also seams of optimism sewn into the album’s genetic code. Any revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing - Nilsson’s mission on Imaginations is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. Not Today Satan is a song about accepting love as the agent of change; “Don’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving in to love, that’s just how we’re winning the fight.” Love can be visceral, a weapon with which to fight the power.
On Imaginations Molly is recasting her interior monologue as a prism through which to see the world, a means to live differently and to reject the status quo. We can Think Pink, change our destiny together. This is an optimism about the future when we need it the most. “New boys, new girls.. give me your smile and I’ll give you mine” Clearly, we are living through a transformation but with alchemists like Molly Nilsson, we’re never alone in the process.”
The Skatalites brought the sound of Jamaica to the world. At the start of the 1960s, in the space of just a couple of years Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, Ernest Ranglin, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett and others defined the exciting beat of ‘Ska’ as the sound of newly independent Jamaica.
"As the house band at Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd’s newly launched Studio One Records at 13 Brentford Road, the group comprising the finest jazz musicians on the island played on literally 1000s of recordings – Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and many, many more.
During their existence (1963-65) The Skatalites also recorded 100s of their own songs, released either under their own name, or The Studio One Orchestra, or that of band members Drummond, McCook etc. This is the first collection on Soul Jazz Records to bring you some of their finest material – from classics such as ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘El Pussy Cat Ska’, ‘Christine Keeler’ through to some serious rarities such as Dizzy Johnny and The Studio One Orchestra’s ‘Sudden Destruction’ and Don Drummond’s ‘Coolie Boy’.
The Skatalites’ ska sound brought together aspects of jazz, latin, rhythm and blues, proto-Rastafarianism (tracks such as ‘Full Dread’, ‘Beardsman Ska’) and more. The intensity and energy of their sound was matched by the experimentation of the troubled genius of Don Drummond whose ‘far east’ modal trombone sound added a complex melancholy to the music of the Skatalites (the group split-up after Drummond was charged with murdering his wife, dancer Margarita Mahfood)."
IDM by a master of that style..
“Skam Records are very proud to announce the return of Bola. After 10 long years hidden away in the hills, huddled in the Bolamachine - at long last Bola awakens, delivering an album of power, elegance and beauty...
All tracks composed and performed by the Bolaman. Kappafects co-composed and performed by Dennis Bourne. No humans were harmed during the making of Evensong. While every care was taken, slight but unavoidable human abuse was endured in the making of Kappafects.
Art and design: Michael England”
New edition of this very rare deep spiritual jazz album first released as a private-press album in 1969 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Asha Record label in Washington, DC.
"Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C., in 1935. His multi-disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. ‘Asha’ was the debut album by the Lloyd McNeill Quartet released on his own private-press record label, echoing the Civil Rights and African-American themes of the era - black economic empowerment and self-sufficiency – as well as a beautiful spirituality to the music.
In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris.In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US. This album is released as a limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide LP (including download code), and limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide CD edition and also as a digital album on Soul Jazz Records. This album is released in conjunction with the album Lloyd McNeill – Washington Suite (1970) which was released last month also on Soul Jazz Records."
Preditah crams 32 tracks into his humid UK house, garage, grime and baseline-navigating FABRICLIVE 92 mix; swerving between prime, natty cuts from himself, DJ Q, C4, Swindle, AJ Tracey, Solo 45, Mr. Virgo, Joker and more.
Sophie Hutchings: Compared with the likes of Michael Nyman, Max Richter, Dustin O'Hallaron and Nils Frahm, Hutchings has garnered much critical praise worldwide.
"Sophie’s compositions move from the disarmingly spare and elegant to the romantic and epic, managing to be both unfussed and exquisite and in a constant state of creative evolution. Sophie has released four albums, with last year's Wide Asleep being listed in the top 30 for The Australian Music Prize. She was also nominated in the top five live instrumentalists of the year for the National Live Music Awards and is currently preparing for her European tour to promote what will soon be her fifth album Yonder.
Hutchings has proven a striking live presence in Australia and Japan either solo or accompanied. With her streaming audience stealthily growing and her work gaining attention at a rapid pace, she is finding new fans - most notably in the neo-classical and ambient genre abroad. Her popularity is growing exponentially in the UK and Europe, allowing Hutchings to reach further with her music than ever before."
Peverelist does Peverelist on his 3rd album of Bristolian bass techno prisms, Tessellations; his first for the Livity Sound label, forming a typically stripped, acute treatise on the flux of dub, techno, D&B and ambient electronics that make up his soundsystem DNA.
Rooted in the ‘90s but curved and toned for 2017, Pev’s sound is economically functional but not without a crucial sliver of emotive, sensual/textural pressure that bleeds thru in each cut. It’s hardly hands-in-the-air material, yet his slow-burning vibes are arguably more satisfying and subtly impressive in the immediacy of the dance and for the long run.
Across a neatly plotted 48 minutes he systematically investigates and consolidates all stripes of the Peverelist sound in a way that builds on the experiments of 12000 Seconds  whilst reprising and refining the heft of Jarvik Mindstate .
The roiling modular tones of opener Burning Seas offers a rare, beat-less iteration of his sound before the session properly gets under way, vacillating the pressure between Under Clearing Skies dense electro-bass pulses and strobing dub chords, and the wide open lushness of Still Early, then twisting into the latinate shimmy of Sheer Chance Matters and the spiralling trills of Wireframes, which sounds almost like Plastikman meets Unique 3.
Further Inland brings a lot of originality and feeling with a misty-eyed mesh of airy Detroit/Berlin arpeggios and serpentine house swang, cooling down into the tribalism patterns of Brinks and Limits and closing on another rare, beat-less vision, Plateau from which to survey his rolling topography and then dive back in again.
Demolition 9 is a remarkable album mosaic of 34 concise, discrete tiles from the archive of Suicide legend Martin Rev, relinquished via his former producer Craig Leon’s newly revived Atlas Realisations label.
In Rev’s own words, Demolition 9 is informed by “a yearning for joy and the unattainable perfection of the artistic ideal”, and takes shape as a hugely variegated, almost schizoid suite of themeslasting between 30 seconds and just over 2 minutes in length. Never outstaying their welcome, and often leaving us craving more.
It boots off with the incendiary fulmination of Stickball and cycles wildly therein from choral work in Salve Dominus to distorted drugstore cowboy canter in My Street and bolshy Hollywood drama with Now, taking in the clammy ‘phet-clench grunge of In Our Name, airy MIDI chamber etudes such as Vision of Mari and Warning, thru to glam industrial stomp on Creation and reverb-laden percussive workouts with Back To Philly and She.
It’s pretty fxcking mental to be honest, and needs to be checked out by anyone who’s gotten into Powell or 0PN since start of this decade.