David Sheppard returns with his second Snow Palms album, Origin and Echo. Two years in the making, it builds on the foundations of its predecessor, 'Intervals' with a heavy quotient of metallophones, glockenspiels and marimbas at its core, but largely eschews the latter’s chamber arrangements in favour of soaring synth-scapes and a palette of spectral ambient and electronic textures.
"Despite that, 'Origin and Echo' is a more performative record than was Intervals, its eleven organic, kinetic pieces meticulously constructed by David Sheppard from initial percussive skeletons largely essayed instinctively, in free time, without click-tracks and with almost no guitar. The album is loosely predicated on themes of mirroring and rebounding, whether physical or metaphorical, inspired by everything from the gravity-defying parabolas of space flight to patterns of human migration and feelings of déjà vu summoned by nostalgic journeys.
While the album is mostly the work of David Sheppard working alone or in tandem with producer Giles Barrett, it also features cameos from previous Snow Palms collaborator Christopher Leary (synthesisers), alongside Emma Winston (Omnichord), Lauri Wuolio (cupola drum) and Village Green label-mate Angèle David-Guillou (keyboards)."
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Among the most distinctive artists working between classical and improvisational paradigms today, Vancouver’s Ian William Craig affords a rare, intimate glimpse of his live practice with Durbē, which arrives via Sean McCann’s Recital Program after some gentle arm-twisting.
Not originally intended for wider consumption, Durbē came into being as a a night’s worth of recordings made in a 14th century Latvian church, and as such is imbued with a stately, even religiose melancholy that plays frictionally at odds with the artist’s abstract leanings.
Thanks to Sean McCann, who has purportedly fallen asleep countless times whilst listening to this, day and night (and not ‘cos it’s boring, but ‘cos it’s so hypnotic), the private recording is relinquished to a wider audience - all of us earthly mortals - revealing what sounds like plainsong ripped from a shredded palimpsest of a songbook and recited by a chorus of tattered digital poltergeist.
Mannequin get a grip on Nigel Ayers and Caroline K’s massive body of Nocturnal Emissions work with this cherry-picked rifle thru their catalogue, containing 22 highlights - from industrial grinders to wonky disco and daft pops - alll spanning recordings made 1980-1989. RIYL TG, Chris & Cosey, Caroline K, Bourbonese Qualk, Foetus.
“Nocturnal Emissions has been one of the best kept secrets of the industrial genre since the 1970s. Led by Nigel Ayers, the band was one of the first to use tape cutting, avant-garde art, and underground video works to create a stage experience that was being cultivated by like-minded artists like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire.
The band moved on to using samplers and electronic noise in their early 80’s work, creating a twisted funk souncthat would go on to influence everyone from Foetus to Negativland. They still utilized their former tricks, upping the ante with extremist performance art and more professional video displays. The group avoided signing to a major label, instead focussing on releasing their own music more effectively.
They followed this path into the 90’s when they started earthlydelights.co.uk, an incredibly detailed website that promotes their various ideologies (they are strongly against the British monarchy and believe that citizens should have unlimited access to space travel) and constant release schedule. The band has released countless tapes and CDs of their material, and continues to unleash their noise through their website.”
Utterly spellbinding survey of John Cage’s late works, mostly focussing on orchestral pieces performed and recorded circa his 1990 visit to East Berlin, and including a stunning rendition of Some of The Harmony of Maine  performed by Edition RZ’s Jakob Ullmann, who coincidentally write the box’s lucubrate liner notes. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Cage but can’t see a way into his crenelated catalogue, we strongly recommend checking this set for some of the late, great thinker and composer’s most accessible and gratifying work.
The three discs of Klang Der Wandlungen feature five full pieces written between 1948 and 1992, just before the composer’s death at 80 years of age. By this point in the early ‘90s, Cage was already long established among 20th century avant garde heavyweights, having studied under Arnold Schoenberg - the inventor of serialism - and an extensive background in writing for modern dance with his longterm partner Merce Cunningham, as well as pioneering the prepared piano and penning the seminal 4’ 33”, perhaps one of the most important works of the 20th century.
Following an interest in eastern philosophy and anarchy from the late ‘40s, his work became defined by aleatoric music, or chance-based composition from then on, which came to define the sphere of Amercian avant-garde in opposition to the ‘new music’ coming from Darmstadt in the ‘50s, or European traditions and their focus on technicality or artisanship. These Cageian ideas had seeped into East Germany before reunification, and, in 1990, Cage was invited to East Berlin in the newly reunified German state at the behest of the IGNM (International Society for Contemporary Music).
The recordings in Klang Der Wanderlung were part of the programme or related to this visit, and, with historical context, came to show how his ideas had, over the preceding decades, become absorbed into European practice. We can hear striking similarities with the tension of Giacinto Scelsi in the remarkable opener Seventy-Four, and with Luigi Nono’s use of intangible quietness in 103, whilst the breathtaking Postcards From Heaven - here performed on harp by Gabriel Emde - is comparable with the feather-touch minimalism of Morton Feldman. Really, not what you may expect if you’ve only heard Cage’s famous, atonal early pieces such as Cartridge Music , a prototypical piece for adapted vinyl turntables, for example.
Another of Cage’s famous, early Imaginary Landscape compositions, makes up one of this set’s two biggest highlights. Gabriel Emde performs harp on a utterly gorgeous rendition of In A Landscape , a Satie-esque piece for dance presented here for the first time, whilst Jakob Ullmann’s organ performance of Some of The Harmony of Maine, renders the pioneer of Quiet Music at his loudest, performing Cage’s work in bold, striking gasps shattered by passages of near-silence.
Jakob Ullmann’s liner notes offer a lot more to sink your teeth into, alongside the music, which as always, is up to Edition RZ’s uncompromisingly high standards. Together with the delectable packaging, it makes up a perfect entry point to one of the most fascinating wormholes ever opened by art or music.
Riveting compendium of stark, raw blues by an erstwhile sparring partner of Loren Connors, recently salvaged from an old shoebox of tapes, restored by Taylor Deupree and mastered by Carl Saff.
"I would go as far as to say that the few recordings that exist of these Robert Crotty sessions are among the finest and most beautiful blues documents of all time." -- Loren Connors
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors’ doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness.
Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987) is the first anthology of the late bluesman’s work, as selected by his former playing partner. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the legendary Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.
Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region’s blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties — until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty’s brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty’s ultra rare sole LP Robert Crotty Blues and Prove It! 7-inch -- both released on Connors’ private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.”