For the first time, Warp make B12’s seminal Electro-Soma - one of thee blueprints for ‘90s electronic and UK techno - available to download; packing the original LP - itself drawn from their earlier EPs - together with a stellar haul of rarities and early cuts.
A staple of ‘back to ours’ sessions and psychonaut’s playlists since the turn of the ‘90s, Electro-Soma I, as it’s now titled, was compiled by Warp’s Rob Mitchell from Michael Golding and Steve Rutter’s early EPs as Musicology, Redcell and 2001, all self-released by the duo between 1991-1992 on their B12 label.
It’s some of the lushest, visionary electronic music of its era, unfortunately titled IDM - as opposed to what?! - when it actually, faithfully, and patently ripped from the early styles of Detroit’s 2nd wave. But absolutely nobody is holding that against them, as the music they recorded offered a uniquely lush, even sentimental, and technically adroit spin on the 313 sounds they had clearly fallen in love with.
To this day, the emo electro of Hall Of Mirrors, the kaotic harmonix of Metropolis, and the AI bleep ’n bass of Telephone 529 still sound beautifully misty-eyed and have the capacity to freeze a spine on contact. And unless you were a bit of an super fan, the tracks forming Electro-Soma II are likely to generate a few surprises for those familiar with the original LP or EPs, especially in the mystic electro-stepper, Transient Pathways and the head-first ambient immersion Go With The Hiss.
Hype Williams get a pretty headstone with the Rainbow Edition, hustling ’20 joints strictly for the whip …& ppl 2 fat for fedoras’. Trust it’s a suitably smoked out final missive from the duo behind some of the most beguiling records, downloads and mixtapes of the last decade.
According to the duo, Hype Williams officially gave up the ghost in 2011 with their One Nation LP for the sadly defunct Hippos In Tanks (R.I.P. Barron Machat), with any subsequent live shows as HW done to fulfil contractual obligations. The pair went their own ways with solo projects from 2012 onwards, again resulting some of this decade’s most celebrated releases in the likes of Babyfather’s BBF Hosted By DJ Escrow and Lolina’s Live In Paris.
Now seemingly scraped from some lonely iTunes folder and reduced to the lowest bitrates, the 20 tracks of Rainbow Edition hold tight to the hard-bitten, tarmac level, shit camera-phone grain and fidelity which has framed their work since the self-issued High Beams download and their Han Dynasty I 7” for De Stijl back in 2009, all effectively, metaphorically finding virtue in the tension between soulful resilience and worn down daily grind in a way that hyper glossy, bloated studio productions can never grasp.
Whether the rough diamonds of Rainbow Edition form an archival release, a false restart, or even the work of others, is a moot point. What is easy to grasp, though, is the fact it physically exists, and features some real nuggs inside such as the airborne drill blowouts, Ask Yee and Cocksucker Blues or the very John T. Gast-like 6 minute meditation, Spinderella’s Dream.
So for (possibly) one last time, HW’s simulacra presents a severely compressed and bittersweet perspective on waking life that’s as sur/real as it gets right now.
Fiercely dynamic, meter-mashing and speaker-buckling electronics by the Mouse On Mars man. Mastered for digital by Rashad Becker, who said the intense nature of the album meant that to master for LP would “mutilate the spectrum and phase of the material”.
“Jan St. Werner summons flux and fragmentation on Spectric Acid, building up the record's blistering, locomotive beat structures around the correlation of musical spectra. Their movements triggered in part by peaks in frequency envelopes, rhythms buckle and fracture according to a complex logic that slides past aural perception and harmonic resolution; a “phenomenological alchemy” (Rădulescu) takes shape among unsteady synthesizer whirls and stammering percussive phrases. The effect is deadly, paralytic; but listeners willing to surrender to Spectric Acid’s movement might find themselves taken to wider horizons of trance. Crucially, Werner turned also to the ceremonial rhythms of West Africa in his shaping of Spectric Acid’s bending timescales, and one can hear a clear impress of Vodoo drumming in the way rhythmic patterns cross converse, teeter off-beat, and rapidly redouble.
Though it shares with 2016’s Felder (Fiepblatter Catalogue #4) a desire to spill beyond metric linearity and notated time, Spectric Acid strays from that record’s breathy spatiality towards more pointed concerns with motion and the liberation of rhythm. In pursuit of this new direction, Werner borrows, on the one hand, from the structural techniques championed by the Spectralist school of the 1970s; breaking free of the tempered system through a focus on frequency and timbre, spectral composers like Gérard Grisey and Horațiu Rădulescu introduced sweeping, tectonic temporalities untroubled by notes and intervals, refining what Edgard Varèse before them had evangelized as a fragmentary, atomistic approach to form given to a “[constant] changing in shape, directions, and speed.”
A record both brute in force and exacting in its sensitivity to perception’s effective limits, Spectric Acid offers fresh glimpses of the deft compositional grasp Werner has developed across over two decades of practice, whether in Mouse on Mars and Microstoria or on his growing log of solo records. Treat it less as a document than a potent sonic distillate, to be taken on an empty stomach for full effect. - Walker Peterson Downey”
Lucid Locations is Second Storey’s 2nd album for Houndstooth after Double Divide . Increasingly filigree modular designs filleted into electro-techno-IDM styles with a melancholy keen akin to Rephlex or Detroit Underground releases.
“Second Storey returns to Houndstooth with a sublime presentation of bass driven, meticulously crafted tracks that again deftly display a balancing act between the delicate and the riotous. Alec Storey’s new LP is informed not only by his own movements between the Suffolk countryside and London, but by the recurring patterns of displacement taking place in the larger world, the dizzying effects of disorientation and recalibration.
These songs are sonically and emotionally complex experiences laden with reflections on exodus and homecoming. While Storey was negotiating his sense of home on a personal level, the U.K. was critically reconsidering its own identity and its rules of hospitality at the same time. And notably, London was in the midst of a purge of the institutions that helped cement its important status as a forerunner of nightlife culture.
Inevitably, such disruption was put to use by the artist. In his words “Towards the end of my time in Suffolk there was the terrible news of Britain leaving the EU and also fabric was heinously closed down. This on top of me feeling somewhat isolated affected the music i was writing…I wrote 3 very angry tracks in the 3 days after the closing.” It can be heard in the electro backbone and industrial tooth grind of “Ajunlei”, in the Drexciyan stomp of “No Such Location”, and on tracks like “Off Beat World” a monster of a jam that has jazzy angular percussion jerking in every which way.
It is not all fisticuffs though. Significantly, Storey also has a true penchant for creating music deeply rooted in bass and rhythm that immediately asks the body to respond, all the while subtly working away on the listener with an ulterior motive to coax them into contemplation. “Covehithe” -named for a cliff adorned beach Storey escaped to as a teen in Suffolk is a perfect example of this, with all of its misty falling synths and murkiness. Similarly, using field recordings of spoken word and street drumming sourced from the respective locales named in its title, “Manhattan to Moscow” has a low slung feeling even though it percolates at a handsome 155 bpm.
Disruptive yet somehow settling- it is a sublime achievement to evoke such disparate sensations from a listener.”
Dirter offer a strong taste of the rekindled Avant Garde Festival in Schiphorst, Germany with this exclusive compilation of cuts by Qluster, Asmus Tietchens, faUSt, Nurse With Wound and many more artists who are affiliated with or performed at the three day festival in Northern Germany.
One of our favourite artists in the world right now, David Burraston aka NYZ presents the second of two CDs for Entr’acte, each revealing particular aspects of a sprawling practice knitting algorithms, sound installation and self-built synthesisers in some of the strangest recordings imaginable.
As you might have guessed from the title, MCRNTL - a contraction of micro- and macrotonal - catches Burraston divining new ways between the waves, stepping away from systems of 12-tone equal temperament into curdled smears of harmonic mulch and convolution that hold genuinely new and compelling sensations for the listener.
Without, as the promo says, “getting bogged down in any deep, confusing theories about anything whatsoever”, Burraston/NYZ presents nine pieces, some forty minutes of music, all selected for the pure and frankly fucking weird, pleasure of it. Of course, if you need to look at it that way, there is a wealth of complex chain reactions and semi-organic systems at play in MCRTNL, but the glacial pace and somnolent atmospheres serve to reveal those processes in a manageably intuitive, enjoyable manner with broad appeal to listeners who’ve grown bored of so much harmonic convention in electronic and avant-garde music.
Forming a spellbinding exploration of NYZ’s infamous banks of FM synthesisers, each controlled thru his patented Cellular Automata hardware system for generating note and control data, the results range from succinct, rhythmic arabesques to gaseous drones and chattering machine voices that feel at once familiar yet deeply unheimlich at the same time, mostly thanks to the level of detail with which Dave Noyze can control the tuning of individual notes or “generate complete tuning tables in some cases”.
In the cases of MTNAM_2::FM60PP3 and MCRTEO, it sounds like he’s zoomed in and expanded on mercurial moments of AFX or Autechre tracks, focussing in on their nasal drip tang and melted string zing with a delightfully perverse quality, whilst LM_8101MT sounds like a band of brass-touting mice conducted by David Lynch, and MTNAM_7_SRi::station=>MONO feels as though it’s performing otoacoustic origami on yer inner ear, whereas MTNAM_3:: XNOTNL and GRAYMATTA feel as though he’s alternately emulating a lonely ship at sea in your ear canal, and then slowly sealing it in with concrete.
Ultimately, this process allows NYZ to explore a finer range of sounds, and with it a finer spectrum of emotional analogues and the less distinct, more ambiguous spaces between the notes. It can be taken like a kinda counterintuitive form of jazz played by machines, or oblique abstract sketches rendered in colours imperceptible to the eye, but either way they’re some of the oddest, unsettling works in circulation.
If you’ve ever wondered what Google streetcar’s dreams sound like, we implore you to check David Burraston’s beguiling FLD RCRD, the first of two remarkable new NYZ albums for Entr’acte.
As Dave Noyze, Noyzelab or just NYZ, the award-winning sound artist/scientist is regarded among the most inquisitive minds working with algorithmic music and electronics right now. He’s perhaps best known for the remarkably in-depth Syrobonkers! interview with Aphex Twin, whilst in recent years a brilliant glut of his material has turned up on tapes and download for Computer Club, Meds and Gamma Mine that rank among the strangest releases we’ve heard this decade. To put it plainly, if you’ve ever been wowed by music from Roland Kayn to Autechre, AFX or Lee Gamble, you really need to hear FLD RCRD!
Collated over five years, the research documented on FLD RCRD is typically varied, combining many strands of Burraston’s praxis - sound installations, self-built synthesisers, and interests in chaos/complexity theory - in four varying degrees of flux. Blending real location recordings with studio recordings of his Cellular Automata - an algorithmic system used to trigger and modulate FX - Burraston subconsciously breaks down distinctions between artificial and actual, hypothetical and hyperstitional with a genuine sort of electro-acoustic alchemy in three algorithmic parts, plus a fourth cut of hyperreal, yet untreated, field recordings making for comparably stark contrast.
On two parts, FLD RCRDST::On Walden Snow and the 20 minute FLD RCRDST::FM80PcellorgNSW he mixes location recordings with studio recordings of Cellular Automata playing and sequencing his synths and FX, whereas CPM DRNL is a completely artificial simulation of imaginary space brought to life by his Cellular Automata, and for a strong, if subtle contrast, Lindisfarne Refuge Hut presents real, untreated recordings containing no additives - just the uncannily hyperreal sound of birds, vehicles and the North Sea.
In concept, the recordings live somewhere between Burraston’s unprocessed telephone wire recordings, made with Alan Lamb in his native NSW region for Taiga Records, and the sort of playfully curdled algorithmic results found on his ALG 118B tape; effectively activating his panoramic screen grabs with a sort of rudimentary artificial intelligence so they end up crawling with strange, plasmic figures and fractals in a way that recalls a synaesthetic allegory to Google’s deep dream images. Especially when held up against the vividly textured audness of the untreated third track, it all makes for some of the most compelling, beguiling music we’ve heard this decade.
These are sounds much lesser heard or seen, vividly describing and bringing to life a series of spaces and places with the sense of wonder that we’d imagine was experienced by, and drove, important tonal explorers such as Stockhausen, Gottfried Michael Koenig or Roland Kayn in their respective days, right thru to their modern antecedents in Chris Watson, Autechre or Russell Haswell.
Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds reissues and revives his debut album in form of a special remastered 10th Anniversary edition titled Eulogy For Evolution 2017.
|Following its initial release in 2007 and coinciding with Ólafur’s 30th birthday, label founder Robert Raths gifted the chance for this record to shine a second time.
Eulogy For Evolution is a journey from birth to death, transporting the listener through life itself. Originally written as a teenager, the record has now been restored with the help of his friends, remixed by Ólafur himself and remastered by Nils Frahm. The cover art was redesigned and enhanced by Torsten Posselt at FELD using the original photographs taken by Stuart Bailes during a trip to Ólafur’s home in Iceland in 2007.
To experience the record in the present day is not only to experience the past, but also the sheer timelessness and relevance of these compositions, and the ambition Ólafur has had from the very beginning. “Fast forward 10 years, our relationships and knowledge in sound have matured, but you can still hear this urgency in Óli’s songs that caught my ears to begin with”, states Robert Raths."