Epically narrative-driven IDM/electronica from Canada’s Antwood on his 3rd LP for Planet Mu
“Tristan has always used conceptual frameworks to facilitate the writing process and ‘Delphi’ is no exception. This time Tristan worked with his girlfriend Olivia Dreisinger to develop a fictional character: the young lovelorn Delphi. She is represented throughout by a recurring melody, with the album developing the story around her. Deeper than this however, ‘Delphi’ represents the hurdles faced by modern lovers, and those felt personally by Tristan, as the album encompasses a wide range of his emotions. The character ’Delphi’ finds solace in escaping to a place, her namesake, the ancient Greek city. She gets lost in her fantasy, realising it is not as she had idealised.
“Olivia and I started making the album cover as soon as I knew what direction ‘Delphi’ was headed in. I took objects that had significance to me at the time of production and physically recreated them as “Delphi world” objects, so that the album’s narrative and each track are represented in the cover photo. If you flip the album over, there is a computer rendering by Paulin Rogues of the two landmarks in the ancient city of Delphi - not quite ancient or modern Delphi, somehow real life but also fantastical.”
Delphi is an album where the real and the fantastic combine, where functional club music meets evocative piano miniatures. “I ended up working on ‘Delphi’ for over a year, where it developed and grew in parallel to my own life. It became story-like, and I embraced the story-like quality of it.” Perhaps the story of ‘Delphi’ is the story of our own lives.”
Tight R&G and hard skanking goodness from Terror Danjah accomplice D.O.K. for the excellent Oil Gang crew.
The vacuum-sealed ‘6’ hits a classic seam of Timbaland or The Neptune-styled freaky R&G with squirrelly motifs and sexy voice tessellated in-the-pocket and so-stiff-its-funky-af. ‘Look Uno’ follows with a hard slamming skank recalling Oil Gang’s earlier Spooky killer ‘Coolie Joyride.’
Reissue of mid ‘90s trance and ambient downstrokes by Vancouver’s Pilgrims of The Mind
Tessellating neatly with Echovolt’s dreamy dancefloor aesthetic, ‘Subtropiques: The Early Excursions (1993-1994)’ wraps up a trio of gems originally issued on a 12” and compilation CD.
’Subtropics’, the title track of their 1994 debut, is a full wingspan flight from Canada via Dutch techno to the promised lands of Goa beaches, while ‘Digital 4A Groove’ from the same 12” comes down gently into padded, puttering 100bpm ambient zones, and comp cut ‘Chase’ leans in deep with slow 808 bass and bubbling, pastoral melodies led with a fragrant coal intoning “it’s a way of life.”
Channelling the operatics of Diamanda Galas and Zola Jesus into metal styles proper, Lingua Franca arguably takes their thorny crowns for herself with the follow-up to ‘All Bitches Die’. Check for her extraordinary flip of the title theme from A Clockwork Orange in ‘Butcher Of The World’
“The new album from LINGUA IGNOTA takes the vision of Kristin Hayter’s vessel to a new level of grandeur, her purging and vengeful audial vision going beyond anything preceding it and reaching a new unparalleled sonic plane within her oeuvre.
Succeeding her self-released 2017 “All Bitches Die” opus (re-released by Profound Lore Records in 2018), “CALIGULA” sees Hayter design her most ambitious work to date, displaying the full force of her talent as a vocalist, composer, and storyteller. Vast in scope and multivalent in its influences, with delivery nothing short of demonic, “CALIGULA” is an outsider’s opera; magnificent, hideous, and raw. Eschewing and disavowing genre altogether, Hayter builds her own world. Here she fully embodies the moniker Lingua Ignota, from the German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, meaning “unknown language” — this music has no home, any precedent or comparison could only be uneasily given, and there is nothing else like it in our contemporary realm.
LINGUA IGNOTA has always taken a radical, unflinching approach to themes of violence and vengeance, and “CALIGULA” builds on the transformation of the survivor at the core of this narrative. “CALIGULA” embraces the darkness that closes in, sharpens itself with the cruelty it has been subjected to, betrays as it has been betrayed. It is wrath unleashed, scathing, a caustic blood-letting: “Let them hate me so long as they fear me,” Hayter snarls in a voice that ricochets from chilling raw power to agonizing vulnerability. Whilst “CALIGULA” is unapologetically personal and critically self-aware, there are broader themes explored; the decadence, corruption, depravity and senseless violence of emperor Caligula is well documented and yet still permeates today. Brimming with references and sly jabs, Hayter’s sardonic commentary on abuse of power and invalidation is deftly woven.
Working closely with Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hayter strips away much of the industrial and electronic elements of her previous work, approaching instead the corporeal intensity and intimate menace of her notorious live performances, achieved with unconventional recording techniques and sound sources, as well as a full arsenal of live instrumentation and collaborators including harsh noise master Sam McKinlay (THE RITA), visceral drummer Lee Buford (The Body) and frenetic percussionist Ted Byrnes (Cackle Car, Wood & Metal), with guest vocals from Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Mike Berdan (Uniform), and Noraa Kaplan (Visibilities). “CALIGULA” is a massive work, a multi-layered epic that gives voice and space to that which has been silenced and cut out.”
‘Count Zero’ is a fine album of Burial worship from Greek producer Spyridon Katagas aka SKRU
Not just another piece of apocryphal “future garage”, the 13 tracks of ‘Count Zero’ are clearly tattooed with the Burial’s influence, but classily so, finding the right balance of unquantised 2-step swing and parry with dramatic arrangements drawing from cinematic atmospheres as much as vintage ‘90s UK dance tropes.
Bella Vista was a one off project from Michel Esteban, founder of seminal New York Disco/Electro/New Wave imprint ZE Records. Originally released in 1982 ‘Mister Wong’ is a Pop oddity that sits between French Synth Pop and Leftfield Disco.
"The 12” includes the sought after Disco Dub version that lets the bassline work its magic alongside some heavy dub delays, on the flip Jura Soundsystem provide an extended version with added live percussion."
Itchy pants funk from Kaidi Tatham ov Bugz in Da Grudz fame
One for the debonaires and soul boys, ‘Serious Times’ lays it down thick between the plush jazz-fusion lift-off ‘Cost Of Living’, a blue Brazilian hustle in ‘Don’t Cry Now’, and the head-nod downstroke of ‘Zallom.’
Hypnotic remixes of Hebrew-sung dream-disco, Mediterranean house and trance from Tolouse Low Trax, Benedikt Frey, Die Orangen, and Borusiade
A ‘floor-ready addition to Tel Aviv’s Malka Tuti, the EP revolves two remixes of Xen & Yovav, with Tolouse Low Trax turning ’Shavit’ into a signature, slow sprung and spacious burner making great use of the languorous vox, and Die Orangen’s muggy slow house spin on ‘Hayom Etmol’, whilst Plazmot’s ‘Orot Levanim’ is taken in contrasting directions, first on a swanging, grungy electro flex by Frey, and a strapping EBM uptilt by Borusiade.
Honey Dijon, Dâm-Funk and DJ Fett Burger tweak out Jayda G’s house frolics
‘Stanley’s Get Down’ is treated to a bumptious ‘No Parking On The DF’ remix in vocal and instrumental mixes by NYC’s Honey Dijon; West Coast super-G Dâm-Funk swivels ‘Move To The Front’ on a sizzling disco tip; and you can trust DJ Fett Burger to bring it weird with a lysergic acid house rework of ‘Missy Knows What’s Up.’
Ultra-classique disco sophistication, heavily mined for samples and compiled for the good of the dance in 2019
“Strut present the first definitive retrospective of an icon of 1970s and ‘80s soul, jazz and disco, Patrice Rushen, covering her peerless 6-year career with Elektra / Asylum from 1978 to 1984.
Patrice Rushen joined the Elektra / Asylum roster in 1978 as they launched a pop / jazz division alongside visionaries like Donald Byrd and Grover Washington, Jr. “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio / R&B,” Patrice explains. “We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”
Early classics like ‘Music Of The Earth’ and ‘Let’s Sing A Song Of Love’ were among Patrice’s first as a lead vocalist before her ‘Pizzazz’ album landed in 1979, featuring the unique disco of ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and one of her greatest ballads, ‘Settle For My Love’. Slick dancefloor anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and the ‘Posh’ album in 1980 led to her landmark album ‘Straight From The Heart’ two years later.
Receiving little support from her label, Patrice and her production team personally funded a promo campaign for the first single from it, ‘Forget Me Nots’. It went on to peak at no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was later Grammy-nominated, while the track became a timeless anthem and popular sample.
Patrice’s final album for Elektra, ‘Now’ kept the bar high with sparse, synth-led songs including ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘To Each His Own’. It concluded a golden era creatively for Patrice which remains revered by soul and disco aficionados the world over.
‘Remind Me’ features all of Patrice Rushen’s chart singles, 12” versions and popular sample sources on one album for the first time.”
Full spectrum, grimy and super sweet reggaeton brilliance from Florentino, flanked by massive and rising star vocalists MC Bin Laden, MC Buzzz, Kaydy Cain, Albany, Isabella Lovestory
Setting another milestone for the Manchester/Colombia-based producer, ‘Limitado’ is Florentino’s first vocal EP proper and arguably his strongest yet. Aside from the tensile, upstepping fusion of UKG bass and tresillo rhythms in ‘Latigo’, there are big vocal on each cut, covering a range of flavours between the aggy Eski-Dembow revs of ‘Na Fuga’ featuring Baile Funk gob MC Bin Laden and MC Buzzz, thru to the rugged sweetboy swagger of ‘Tu Miranda’ featuring icy delivery by Kaydy Cain, while ‘Dime Que Tu Quieres’ lightens up with an autotuned Albany vocal and weightless Reese bass (allow the Diplo style bits, though), and ‘Catastrofe’ nails that feminine pressure with signature, ever more confident flair and a great use of FB’s inflating thumb ident.
Nicolas Bougaïeff presents a new four track EP, ‘On The Grid’, the final instalment in a series of EPs inspired by Greg Egan’s sci-fi novel ‘Permutation City’ (1994).
"Opening track ‘Eden Configuration’ combines a monolithic synth line with propulsive bass grooves. ‘Rip Tie Cut Toy Man’ introduces a furtive synth melody tucked beneath rhythmic rumbles. Bougaïeff’s voice is featured for the first time on the stripped back title track ‘On The Grid’, a playful alternative to dark dystopia. The result is a fast and upbeat cut, reminiscent of 90s minimal yet delivered with punchy modern production.
Closer ‘Skyscraper Model’ features a fluid acid line amidst reverberating warehouse beats, providing a sense of energetic resolution. The first EP in the triptych, ‘Dust’, was released in 2018 on Max Cooper’s Mesh label and was followed later that year by ‘Permutation Djinn’ on NovaMute. For fans of Max Cooper, Lucy, Terence Fixmer, Regis, Marcel Dettmann, Recondite, Ben Klock, Chris Liebing, Planetary Assault Systems."
Mechatok and Toxe give up good times party flavours for Why Be and Janus’ Yegorka label
Trading under the Emiranda alias, the ‘My Face’ EP is possibly the most straightforward gear from either artist, running a sort of mutant house style with choice picks to be scored between the breezy hip hop swag of ‘Real Life’; the tuff ’n sweet electro-house push of ‘Time To Go’; Finn-style filter funk in ‘Music (Time Out)’; deep dembow house compatible with DJ Python; and the deliciously fresh flow of tribal drums and pendulous dub chord slashed into ‘Ice Tea.’
On Why Be and Janus' label, Yegorka, Elysia Crampton supplies quasi-mystic poetry on a cranky Oxhy production. Sounds like a reggaeton alchemist experimenting in an aircon-fitted jungle workshop, summoning spirit beasts that manifest in the piece’s final quarters...
Digital reissue of ’Moskau’, one of three 7” bullets by short-lived Swiss wave heroes, Grauzone ov ‘Eisbær’ fame
Issued the same year as their ‘Eisbær’ classic and eponymous album, ‘Moskau’ packs a familiar combo of NDW drive and punkish vocals, whereas ‘Ein Tanz Mit Dem Tod’ is more on a death rock tip with ripping guitars and snarled vocals.
Manchester original Chunky speaks to two sides of his distinct style, slunky house and rap, on return to Loefah’s 81 ring
After a fallow solo year in 2018 when he was busy with Levelz and contributing to Kutmah’s ‘Sketchbook Radio Archives’ 2LP, Chunky doesn’t miss a beat on the bumptious red-eyed hunch of ‘Vibesman’, and then on a devilishly low-key and minimal rap tip with ‘Lyric Mi’, riding like some ‘90s don over a pencil-on-table beat and ghostly chords.
Moonbow make a gilded entrance with the shimmering ‘Band Wdth’ backed by an in-demand, breaks-driven remix by Ciel
First trotted out in Siren’s 2018 mix for Crack, ‘Bnnd Wdth’ is the first tangible signal from Moonbow, who has apparently been honing this sound underground for the past three years. It’s a fluid flow sprung kick/clap syncopation, with thicc subs buoying a slinky, shiny prog-house arrangement. On the flip, Ciel switches focus from melodic arrangement to a ruder groove sparked with rustling breaks under a canopy of twinkling starlight electronics and noctilucent pads.
Yaws chases up the hot stunts of his ‘NEW’ EP with a fresh batch of demented jackers and steppers for Alien Jams
Frolicking in space shared by Physical Therapy and SFV Acid, the UK-based Aussie artist simultaneously tightens up his sound but also lets it all hang out wickedly across ‘The Hollow Hum’, with strong moves felt in his warped 2-step ghetto-tech/D&B mutation ‘Experiments in the Room’, the G-force flashcore pelt of ‘Leftovers Cube’, and freakish patterning of ‘Definitely Not Clipping.’
The sublime results of Gigi Masin and Jonny Nash’s time in a recording studio/installation at the Venice Biennale now reach the wider world via Melody As Truth
Recorded in Xavier Veilhan’s “Studio Venezia” in the french pavilion, the six tracks are assembled from longer improvised takes on piano and guitar and feature Masin and Nash making great use of the pavilion’s unique acoustic environment. In a sense the recording feel to bridge a gap between “proper” studio recording and live performance. The rustling sounds of visiting audiences and creaking chairs are audible in-the-mix, lending a sort of surface noise like vinyl crackle that seeps into the immaculate strokes and strums of the players, at best in the plangent dialogue of ‘Interstellar’ and the genteel whims of ‘Girl With No Name.’
Penelope Trappes and Stephen Hindman’s duo commit the dark, lusting synth-pop of ’Autonomy’ as the debut LP on their 4GN3S label
Written and recorded by the Aussie/American pair in London, ‘Autonomy’ leads on from their string of sides for The Vinyl Factory and Optimo Music with a late night special for contemporary wave riders, elegantly building their energies thru a mix of stark torch songs nodding to HTRK and Suicide, as well as dry-iced ‘80s disco swagger, cranky drum machines treks comparable to Hypnobeat, with crafty dashes of futurism in the serpentine roll of ‘We Are The Prey’ sharing space with the sanguine classicism of ‘New Politik.’
‘Fireburn the Bloodlot’ commits crenellated walls of guitar noise by CM Von Hausswolff and Joachim Nordwall under their Sins For Beginners alias for avant-garde powerhouse, iDEAL
Mantled after a phrase Richard Kern graffitied on the bathroom wall of Hausswolff’s Lower East Side apartment in the late ‘80s, ‘Fireburn the Bloodlot’ dispatches a pair of unrelenting and incendiary exercises in amp worship and FX-mutilated electric guitars - which is perhaps not what one might expect from these masters of the oscillator.
Unflinchingly recorded by Linus Andersson (Goat, The Skull Defekts, The Leather Nun), the music surely warrants comparisons with Glenn Branca’s massed armies of strings, or Sunn 0))) at their crankiest, but it’s simply a swaggering swell of pure, white hot evil destined to get under the skin of fans of all kinds of extreme metal, drone and noise.
Hyperdub continue to blaze a trail around global ‘floors with a deadly Gqom EP from South Africa’s DJ Lag and OKZharp
Working with the more experienced studio hands of OKZharp, Gqom king DJ Lag’s signature style is buffed-up to optimal pressure while losing none of its raw, direct dancefloor traction.
In ‘Now What’ there’s a detectable extra space in-the-mix, and ’Steam One’ makes great use of sweet marimbas and sharp, pointillist drums, but it’s really all about the other two, namely the fiercely held stare-down pressure of ‘Nyusa’ with its viciously buzzing, distorted lead and speaker-worrying subs, and the pensile, unyielding dread of ‘Sambe’ which sounds like a super clenched, early Roska riddim.
Quietly spellbinding, poetic minimalism from Masaya Kato on Line, navigating the finest path between super sparse, ricocheting knocks, ephemeral jazz chords and asymmetric prangs. Sounds like Mark Fell and Reinhold Friedl playing a slow game of sonic battleships or creating an exquisite corpse on a reverberating sound stage at the depths of night
“'Wavefront Aberrations' is a new work in 2019 by Masaya Kato. This work is an album approaching material minimalism thorough embodiment represented by the act of playing instruments and also mainly composed of improvisation based on extended techniques of the piano and drone by playing of the Fender Rhodes in tonality and improvisation.
These two abstract but independent waves are expected to be weaved in each composition to continue to undergo changes into other ripples in attenuation all tones have.
Masaya Kato is a Japanese composer and sound artist. Influenced much by poetry, video or performing arts and based on perception and cutaneous senses in daily life, he sets it as a opportunity for his creation that how much he can be released from the premise through the interrelation between space and individual that "body = body" and "individual = individual". Besides, he has released works from labels such as Somehow Recordings (UK), Time Released Sound (US) and Whitelabrecs (UK).”
Rene Nuñez aka Horoscope plays in and out of the lines of noise, free-jazz, dream-pop and Latinx cultures on ‘Carne.’, his follow-up to the equally mutant push-and-pull of styles in 2017’s ‘Misogyny Stone’ side, also for Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records
Bristol’s secret weapons Rhythmic Theory drop the beats and go full-on imaginary sci-fi soundtrack in their 2nd album for Crème Organization
Can’t say we’re not a little bit disappointed that their killer drum programming isn’t on show, but the results still stand up in their immersive quality, absorbing traces of everything from Derrick May and Carl Craig’s classic ‘Relics’ interludes to classic Tangerine Dreams and the sound design of The Matrix in a style that clearly evokes their influences. RIYL Ballard, Synth Sense, Raime, The Sprawl.
“The mysterious Rhythmic Theory drops engorged electronics for imaginary landscapes, drawing influences from and providing a soundtrack to a vast range of S-F classics. From bubbling Richard Corbenesque polyps gone haywire to post-Delugian mainframe cities inhabited by floating creatures of light.”
Trippy electro-acid buggers from T.B. Arthur and Magda’s Blotter Trax duo
’Programmed Memories’ shuffles nice ’n tight on a revving Detroit electro-funk bassline layered with gynoid-like vox chatting about early tape machines (or did she just say sex machine?), and natty chicken scratch guitar chops. ‘Rhythm Device’ mostly jettisons the vocal and dials up the funk in oily bass lixx and curdled daubs of vocoder. Freaky deaky.
Dancehall refreshment from Swing Ting, vocalled by Devin Di Dakta & Gemma Dunleavy
Devin was previously spotted on the ‘Raw’ version of ‘Bubble’ by Equiknoxx, and plays the rough to the smooth of Murlo’s regular spar, Gemma Dunleavy, on a bright and charming riddim primed for the festive season.
Your heart is a bullseye for differently-abled Aussie synth/pop unit Tralala Blip, who cram their new album with a mix of hooky electro-disco, balmy pop and modern ballads gorgeously produced by Lawrence English for Room 40.
Included in the few acts one might see refer to themselves as differently abled - a matter they’re actively changing with relentless touring and music workshops across the world - Tralala Blip have overcome challenges imposed by their disabilities to create a range of approaches to instruments, performances and composition that allows them to seamlessly make music together.
Now five years after their acclaimed debut album, ‘Aussie Dream’ (2014), the Northern Rivers, New South Wales-based band returns from international shows at Unsound, ZKM Karlsruhe, and for TEDx, with an enchanting album of patently pastel-toned pop in a totally classic Aussie model that resonates with the downbeats of HTRK or CS + Kreme as much as the atmospheres of archival Antipodean gems coming from Left Ear Records.
The feel of heavy heat perfuses the record from the autotuned opener ‘Pub Talk’ (make sure to check its video on YT!) thru the cool breeze relief of ‘Star of Hope’ to dream-away closer ‘The Canyon’, which all bear the spacious, iridescent hallmarks of Lawrence English’s production. However those tunes only account for one aspect of the band’s style, sweetly contrasting with their knack for driving disco intensity and intimacy, comparable with the light touch of Roxann Clifford’s Patience in ‘Voodoo Pins’, while singers Phoebe Rose and Lydian Dunbar channel Sally Shapiro-meets-Hot Chip with poetically diaristic lyrics in the glistening opal of ‘Facing Monsters’ and the warm buzz of ‘Dear Formless’ could almost be a stray Johnny Jewel work.
Intensely dark and claustrophobia-inducing D&B pressures from Overlook on return session for Simon Shreeve aka Mønic’s Osiris Music UK label
'Séance’ starts up with the Karim Maas-like noir noise of ‘Belief System’ and follows thru with two loads of gut rumbling nastiness in ‘Loyal To The Unsung’ and the bitter, turgid push of ‘Séance’, before breaks finally make an appearance, but in a lurching ‘90s industry-hip hop style like MBM or Techno Animal.
Bristol Cando duo’s debut on Livity Sound’s Dnuos Ytivil series with a trio of tribal sidewinders
Slotting snugly into the label’s bassbin-testing remit, the duo work out a sort of hazy Andean techno psychedelia with a thizzing meld of panpipes and clip-clopping cumbia-like rhythms in ‘Bleak’, which really isn’t, whereas the desiccated ‘Bleak Dub’ is, while the swingeing syncopations of ’Sundown’ shows off a distinguished percussive suss comparable to Beatrice Dillon or the one like Peverelist.
After ace turns on Martyn’s 3024, Yak does it for Orson’s Version with a rudely percussive swang
Evidently a man of many tricks, Yak turns his hand to slower tempo with the same flair he applies to his uptempo, brukken beats; riding pendulous, live-sounding drums and cascading cosmic dub FX in ‘Umbra’, then clocking up the swingeing tribalist syncopation of ‘Kaepora’ on a frayed Tresillo pattern galvanised with technoid chord stabs.
The tender results of a dialogue between photographer Nieves Mingueza and musicians Craig Tattersall (The Humble Bee, The Boats) and Offthesky forms their gently bucolic debut album for France’s iikki label.
‘All Other Voices Gone, Only Yours Remains’ is every bit as low-key, hushed, and user-friendly as you might hope for from artist of this genteel calibre. Craig Tattersall brings his sweetly dilapidated palette of piano, guitar, vibes, synths and tape loops to Jason Corder’s vibes and mixing arrangement of sax, viola, cello, flute and voice by his regular instrumentalists, conjuring the feel of last of the organic summer wine drunk slowly by babbling brooks on a bright, sunny day turning into evening.
Melodies trickle and harmonies breeze in a heat hazy way, pollinating sounds that bloom and turn to honey in the space of each of the album’s seven songs. Wistfully poetic titles such as ‘For Her Breath Is On All That Hath Life’ and ‘Bee-Like, Death-Like’ surely signify the project’s themes and feel, conveying a fondness for the natural world that bleeds through the music’s overlapping textures and structures and speaks to its visual stimuli provided by Nieves Mingueza, and her aim to reflect the “foggy relationship between fiction and reality.”
Classic in its own genre of Hawaiian Futurism, Mike Cooper’s immersively dreamy ‘Rayon Hula’ is newly edited for its 15th anniversary edition with Lawrence English’s Room40.
Inspired by Cooper’s trips to Australia, S.E. Asia and eventually the Pacific and its islands since the mid ‘90s, ‘Rayon Hula’ is a definitive example of his intoxicating take on Hawaiian lap-steel guitar exotica, as invented in the ‘50s by the likes of Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. The original, Ars Electronica prize-acknowledged 2004 recordings were reissued by Room40 in 2010, and now return in a re-edited form that partly reflects the ongoing affect of sea-level rises on Kiribati, a set of 32 atolls and reef islands in Micronesia - at the farthest point of the international date line - in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which are likely to be submerged by the end of this century.
Using lap-steel guitar and looped recordings of Australia’s “scarily creative” native birds, coupled with a deep sense of instrumental, folk-wise story-telling gleaned from decades steeped in British folk music and the blues, Cooper freely improvises a series of melting, fragrant sonic postcards as colourful as his famous Hawaiian shirt collection. Regaling slow, drifting, impressionistically romantic and psychedelic tales from the very lushest and far flung ends of the earth, the lyrical quality of Cooper’s lap-steel strums and the natural ecology of his backdrops draw listeners into gently rapt states of reception as he beautifully convects the effect of taking in dusk by widescreen horizons and sipping coconuts under the trees they bloomed from.
It’s a sublime growth of the sound David Toop spoke about in his classic ambient study ‘Ocean of Sound’, but rather than the work of someone riffing on that idea from a detached mindstate, ‘Rayon Hula’ is a product of its environment, where Cooper incorporates vibes and visions he absorbed in the vast region, and reinforces them with a mix of studious historical nous, nodding to both Steve Feld’s concept of ‘Lift Up and Over Sounding’ from his study of the Kaluli People of Papua and their relationship with the aural environment, and a skillful poetic license that sees sees him dreamily refract these images thru prisms of iridescent, heat haze FX. It’s an unimaginably lush, transportive, and timelessly mind-expanding record that will reward many repeat visits over the years.
Tight tribal techno minimalism and freaky acid from stalwart UK producer James Ruskin on his Blueprint label
Attention is required pronto for the jibber-jawed funk of ‘Disaffection’, with manic, acidic lead and deadly 909 programming recalling Rob Hood’s killer ‘Analog Track (Ghost)’. The other two are proper wormholers, packing virulent arps up to an alarm sequence peak in ‘Reality Broadcast Off’ and doing the same with more swing in ‘We Are Everywhere.’
Hard ’n fast techno hammers from VTSS, Cadency (Hector Oaks), Bjarki, Kuldaboli, and Tekknotaefan
Polish envoy for the hard stuff VTSS boom booms for the big rooms with the attacking kicks and knarzy synths of ‘Sober Raving’; Cadency comms with a fine blend of Euro EBM and haughty Chicagoan pressure a la DJ Rush in ‘Eating Steel’; and Bjarki teams with fellow Icelander Kuldaboli on the gloomy hard trance styles of ‘Hrai Hotturinn’, before Kuldaboli goes in over the 150bpm barrier with Tekknotaefan on the pacy pelt of ‘Hefurdu einhvern timann hugsad um thad.’
Lyric Hood, daughter of Detroit techno god Robert Hood, makes her fully fledged solo debut on M-Plant
The apple clearly didn’t fall far from the Hood family tree as Lyric turns out the teasing, head high jack and parried chords of ‘Nineteen’ and the intensified pound of ’11:11’ with the same kinda in-the-pocket flair and soulful pedigree as her pops.