Dubkasm time-travel between early ‘90s and modern day Bristol in a wicked suite of steppers’ psycho-dub-geography and echo chamber science
“The accumulation of months of hard work down in the Dubkasm studio, Shady Grove is a homage to Bristol’s St. Paul’s, and the many places of inspiration, culturally and musically, that it offered to the likes of Stryda & Digi, especially during the 90’s….
“We dedicate this album to the community of St Pauls in Bristol, now being stifled by gentrification. We hope this LP is a musical window into a time when the neighbourhood, despite being plagued by poverty and constant racist intrusion from the authorities, had an energy, a rebellious spirit and nightlife that inspired the music which has made Bristol world famous.”
Musically speaking, this LP is purpose built for the Dub LP format – stick on the record and let it play from start to finish, with no interruption!
Shady Grove, whilst inimitably ‘Dubkasm’ all the way – nods to the benchmarks and signature styles of original dubwise production – wether that’s a vintage tape-delayed, spring reverb’d analog sound as we know it from the founders of dub during the 70s, or a wicked & wild chain of digital effects, as heard in the later 80’s and during the 90’s, by producers such as Sly & Robbie or Philip ‘Fattis’ Burrel, the name behind the Exterminator label.
Another proud factor is the inclusion of so many great recording artists – from Dub Judah to Blood Shanti, through to Tom Fenech (the Victory Hornsman) and Rider Shafique, who appears on the title track, a previously unreleased dubwise cut of ‘Enter The Gates’, the LP features a whole heap of singers and players of instruments, just like the best of the dub LPs.”
Obscure 1988 album from Doctor Umezu Diva, the work of japanese sax player Kazutoki Umezu on a one off project in which he invited legendary marimba player Midori Takada and Jazz vocalist/pianist Ichiko Hashimoto for an album of collaborative improvisations.
"This album was one of the best kept, secret jazz albums from Japan; it's really hard-to-find and very limited. Dubby from Ondas Tokyo -- who compiled Midnight In Tokyo Vol. 2 brought this record to Studio Mule's attention. This album is a unique mixture of modern classical sound and avant-garde jazz, which is kind of similar with Strata East or Nimbus."
With hopeless optimism, LMM continues the search for meaning and identity in his perpetual mystery, a self annihilating whodunit...
"The result here forms as an EP in 5 inward, lonely big room, stream of consciousness club tracks that are left asking more than answering anything."
Lawrence rolls out with a tangy lysergic flavour to his deep house strides this time.
A-side squares up the sleek tech-house chassis and burbling melodic textures of ‘Black Cats’, sweetly embellished with soft touch Detroit strings recalling classic E.R.P., while the B-side comes closer with the more intimate lather of ‘Nozomi’, and a slunky, sleepy-eyed beauty ‘Radiance’ sounding like early Claro Intellecto.
Gutter crust trashbeat from Kinlaw and Franco Franco, delivering the first wave of industrial trap and rancid punk rap for Avon Terror Corps. RIYL JPEGMAFIA, AGNARKEA, FUMU...
“‘Blunted church burner Kinlaw and bile spitting nomad Franco Franco savage through ten of their coldest cuts for ATC’s first sacrificial offering.
The LP opens with ‘Eric Draven’, an apocalyptic bombardment of mechanical disintegration and shouted nuclear alarm. Then follows with ’Cuore Molle Palle Mosce’, their alienated battle cry for the kingdom of Wessex, already weaponised in the dank chambers of Avon. ‘Cyborg Mc’ spouts the metalloid delusions of the dystopian preacher, arsenic utterings of the ego-centric android and ‘Fat Come’ is an ode to guttural subs of the Butter Gollem, birthed from Goram’s phlegm.’”
Deadbeat explores oneironautics in the heavy-lidded ‘Waking Life’ session for his BLKRTZ label
Leading on from the downbeat styles of ‘Wax Poetic For This Ourt Great Resolve’, Scott Monteith aka Deadbeat picks up the pace but keeps the vibe airy and mystic in ‘Waking Life’, stretching out from the Rhythm & Sound-like title track to his gently undulating dub-techno stepper ‘A New Sense Of Purpose’, a pulsing Mathew Jonson-esque disco-techno piece ‘Midnight In The Garden’, and the 14 minute deep techno trek ‘A Last Swim’.
Purveyors of ace obscurities and overlooked gems, Canada’s Telephone Explosion Records host the first reissue of Bob Bell’s schizzy 1978 free jazz private press, ‘Necropolis’
“Necropolis is a highly sought-after 35 min doom-laden trip for the connoisseurs of noise. Recorded in 1978, Bell splits the difference between his love of basement psych splatter/pummel and squalling free jazz ramble, the former occupying side A with a stunning four part suite of wasted guitar scuzz and churning Krautrock-like drama with an akin to German Oak, Roland Kirk, Albert Ayler, DNA, Melt Banana (minus the vocals) and Guru Guru. The latter represents Bell as a saxophonist on side B, and the music itself translates into a 15-minute free-jazz exploration.”
Warbling, melancholic ambient-pop, verging on lo-fi and flecked with traces of modern classical strings, but also prone to keen into half-cut, ghostly beats
“Straight from Limbo Tapes HQ, "01" has a signature label sound at it's heart, and marks a meaningful milestone in our history as a DIY imprint as our first vinyl release.
The album was crafted in the Dive Reflex Service production facility, somewhere in the depths of Bristol. Found here are bewitching and magical elements, anchored by deep melodic bass lines that propel the listener through 12 rhythmic scenes.
Using a combination of tape saturated improvisations, ritualistic samples and a beautifully chilling vocal appearance from Jamileh Lee, Dive Reflex Service has conjured a meditative, reflective and at times ominous ceremony.”
**180g heavyweight vinyl, with free download code. Original album artwork, remastered** 1979’s debut studio album “Unknown Pleasures” replicating the original artwork to painstaking detail and featuring audio from the 2007 remasters, available for the first time on vinyl.
Foundation ska from the cradle of Jamaican music…
Federal Recording Studios nurtured the talents of innumerable Jamaican artists in the early sixties… this set showcases seriously sought after rarities and previously un-released tracks from Don Drummond, The Maytals , Lynn Taitt and many more
Moscow’s OL and Flaty work up a generative funk for the 1st dispatch on OL’s Asynchro label
Touching down some 3 years after OL’s dusty house hustle for Fit Sound, he pulls away from his housey sound and in line with Flaty’s experimental tendencies, as recently heard on a sizzling 10” for Gost Zkuk.
As Serwed they combine to explore free form generated sounds, working with shaky, desiccated rhythms in acres of negative space coloured only with the slightest streaks of melodic filament in a way that recalls styles on the Aught label, nervously shapeshifting from fractured funk in ‘Angular’ to jagged swing rhythms and vaporous guitar motifs on ‘Radiant’, and over to styles reminding of SND in the warm forth of ‘Ground’, and the nipped shifter ‘Rrand’.
Uncredited edits of Jamal’s briny bangers on the low key R=A label
Following zingers from Tribe of Colin, Black Deer and Juzer, the A-side’s ‘Pickled Edit’ throws down a fizzing jack attack nipped and tucked for optimal bounce, while the B-side nods to Ron Hardy with effected disco loops dragged backwards thru the echoplex.
Tremulous, dusky, genteel adult pop and soul vibes from Spanish band Oso Leone, making up for a five year hiatus with their debut LP on Apollo. Immaculate strums, daubs of electronics and those gossamer vocals recall everything from Talk Talk to The Durutti Column and Zelionople
“Following their meditative self-titled debut and its captivatingly sparse follow-up ‘Mokragora,’ ‘Gallery Love’ achieves what it sets out to do and more, taking the listener on an auditory journey with lucid song structures that ebb and flow like the waves. A sublime musical experience, its hypnotic repetition is an ode to refinement, and the gentle forays into ambient electronica and jazz show impeccable restraint and sensitivity.
‘Gallery Love’s’ opening track and first single ‘Virtual U’ was born from very few elements. A beat on the MPC, a few chords on the Korg Trident and some gently lilting vocal jams create the structure, like a digital collage of feelings as vocalist Xavier Marin describes it. "I see this song as a hyperobject, an external entity moulding modern relationships, shadowing us. An anti-form creating distance in the closeness. A vast empty space between two islands.”
Recorded at his Mother’s house, ‘Best In You’ was the last song written on the record, whilst the mystically poetic ‘Agró Blanc’ is named after a type of heron that dwells in Mallorca. The band describe ‘River of Jasmines’ as the most mysterious track on the record, the lyrics coming to Xavier during a nap in the studio. “I recorded the vocals in one take with no set lyrics, just the lines that came to my mind. I tried a second go but it felt meaningless” he explains. ‘Vernal Pools’ is a funky existentialist piece, a reflection of a landscape in a pond, a contemplative loop, an iconic natural spot.
A dubby & aqueous bassline conducts the title album’s title track, it’s ambient sounds featuring traces of kalimba and a field recording of an owl who frequented the house during the night. ‘A Pale Blue Dot’ is a floaty, dream-like jam and ‘Samuel Sings’ is a “calling to a lost soulmate.” The dainty trance of ‘Fountain At the Entrance’ rounds things off in mesmerising fashion.”
From the top shelf of UK soundsystem culture, Soul Jazz pull up a cracking selection from the Fashion Records archive, running classic Dancehall, Jungle and Lovers Rock from Cutty Ranks to General Levy, Carlton Lewis, Top Cat and Janice Walker
Between the early ‘80s and late ‘90s Fashion Records were crucial players in the dialogue between Jamaican, Caribbean music and the sound of UK’s urban centres, and their influence would spill over to become a cornerstone of British dance music culture.
“While nearly all other UK reggae labels focused on releasing Jamaican music, from the early days of Island and Trojan in the 1960s, through Island and Virgin in the 1970s and Greensleeves that came up in the 1980s, Fashion’s focus was firmly on music produced in the UK. This unique British perspective shaped both lyrical content and musical fashion. And like all the great music labels, from Studio One to Blue Note, Fashion was able to create a significant roster of its own artists.
Amazingly for a small independent label, a number of Fashion artists achieved mainstream UK chart and crossover success, including Laurel & Hardy, Smiley Culture and General Levy. But although this success was welcomed, crossing over into the mainstream was never the main focus for label owners Chris Lane and John McGillivray (who also runs the successful Dub Vendor record shop), whose starting point was always primarily focused on producing quality music first.
In the early 1980s, Fashion Records captured the rise of the emerging British dancehall scene in its ascendency. The large roster of first generation British-born artists and MCs on the label, including General Levy, Papa Face, Smiley Culture, Bionic Rhona, Asher Senator, Laurel & Hardy, Top Cat and many more, often gave a unique and sometimes humorous British lyrical perspective to Fashion releases, discussing everyday subjects, from police harassment to road safety.
Throughout much of the 1980s and into the 1990s Fashion continued to release an almost relentless array of UK dancehall releases as well as continuing with lovers rock and the occasional dub releases. Then, in the mid-90s, with the dancehall and reggae releases still coming on strong, Fashion released a superb series of early jungle tracks linking Jamaican and British MCs and dancehall artists with young jungle mixers, remixers and producers. By this time dancehall artists General Levy and Cutty Ranks had become the staple vocal samples of literally hundreds of white label jungle records and Fashion took advantage of this, often getting young producers to work in exchange for sample clearances.
This album is a subjective and scatter-gun ride through some of the many unique and heavyweight tracks to come out of the Fashion stable - some classics, some lesser-known, all 100% killer.”
New music ensemble Eye Music interpret ‘Sapporo’, a seminal, minimalist, graphic score by Toshi Ichiyanagi - the elder statesman of Japanese avant-garde composition, who was famously married to Yoko Ono during the late ‘50s
‘Sapporo’ is considered a classic of the ‘60s trend towards graphic notation, which emerged in the wake of Webernian serialism, and from the intersection of west and eastern musical philosophies catalysed by John Cage, as a way of freeing up music in key with the social, sexual, economic and political revolutions of that important post-WWII era.
The piece requires each performer - in this case Eye Music’s 11-piece ensemble employing everything from analog synths to psaltery bow and umeboshi pit, and kitchen faucets - to play from one page of graphic notation, with each performer aleatorically synching at some point in the piece, but hardly ever at the same points in any two performances.
In effect it’s totally open-ended, with no fixed start or finish point, with this 2006 recording going to just over 50 minutes, whereas previous iterations have lasted only 15 minutes. According to the score’s long, straight lines denoting sustained tones, angular lines describing glissando, and dashes calling for short sounds, the piece if played at slower paces, naturally opens out to reveal long pauses amid its naturally gentle topography, where plateaus intersect sliding descents and elide with inclines and a range of punctuating ephemera, recalling the graceful logic of a Japanese garden turning from dusk to night.
Minimalist german vocalist Marianne Schuppe breaks down the definition of a “song” on ‘Nosongs’, her super sparse follow-up to 2015’s ‘Slow Songs’, further distilling/reducing that album’s themes for the estimable Edition Wandelweiser Records
Accompanying herself with lute and uber-bows in 11 ‘Nosongs’, Marianne vacillates english and german language in phrases that linger on the air, leaving lots of tenebrous silence and space to the imagination in a way that becomes just as crucial as the tangible sounds to the album’s hypnotic yet barely there pull.
Like probably at least a few others, we’re left wondering wtf are Uber Bows (Google’s providing no help), but that’s also the most trivial mystery about ‘Nosongs’, whose enigmatic appeal is genuinely timeless, bringing the age old craft of a bard or singer of myriad stripes, right down to their essence. Like any folky worth their Arran sweater collection, she has the transfixing quality of a singer who can silence a barn or room and draw the audience deep into her own world. But this really isn’t folk music, and what she’s doing appears to defuse more lofty avant-garde vocal music and bring it down to a plaintiveness that also implies some calm, religious, and devotional connotations, although they aren’t really there either.
What we’re left with feels like a cycle of songs seemingly shorn of sentimentality, yet remaining beautiful in a relatively popular sense, with only precisely chosen words and the subtlest of instrumental gestures that, through her precise enunciation and slow, careful cadence, maybe speak volumes more than artists who simply let it all out, which is nonetheless a valid approach. In other words, she’s doing for vocal music what Morton Feldman and Giacinto Scelsi have for instrumental piano music.
Fine-grained, acidic and cosmic dub electronics from Finland’s Vesa-Matti Kivioja aka Mineral Waves and the Ljudverket label - RIYL Andreas Tilliander, Vladislav Delay or Automatisme
“Ljudverket’s 11th release is a four-tracker from a man of many sounds and personas, Vesa-Matti Kivioja. Here, operating under his given name, he delivers four tracks of experimental dub and electronica, taking the listener from his/her living room all the way to a dimly lit dance floor in an alien planet, with a sound system capable of producing frequencies way below human hearing and a smoke machine filled with unknown substances.
”These are recycled patterns forming sounds which describe minerals and stones. The use of stone has had a huge impact on the cultural and technological development of the human race. Often composed of grains of minerals, in nature, more than one substitution may be found in the same mineral. It can be made of one element or more elements combined together. A hard, solid, non-metallic, naturally occurring inorganic substance. It is found in a wide variety of geological locations. It’s not made by humans.”
World of dub, universe of electronica, globe of experimentation. Written and produced by Vesa-Matti Kivioja at Seafront Mixing Room, Vaasa, Finland 2018. Mastered and cut at Scape Mastering, Berlin.”
When the fuck will techno artists realise we love their music because it’s techno and electronic, and not made with a fucking orchestra of people who probably never ever heard their tunes before they were noted and placed in front of them in a massive hall full of stuffy stuck up arseholes? Now would be a good time, unless they really need the $, to be fair.
In the era of a lying Potus, Flying Lotus warms up in advance of his ‘Flamagra’ album with two dashes of psyche soul...
...the stacked harmonies and lysergic deliquescence of ‘Spontaneous’, and the sweet switch-up from sticky ‘60s psych soul to frazzled funk and UR-like ghetto-tech in ‘Takashi’.
From behind your ear, PAN pluck a blink-and-miss exclusive: a 35 minute audio response by Mark Fell (Sensate Focus) to source material by Heatsick, somewhere between cover version, remix and deconstruction.
Along the A-side 'X' plane, tones are exploded, harmonies refracted with HD dissonance; time is extruded, made ductile yet intangible. On the B-side 'Y' axis hydraulic undulations and roiling tones expand and contract between kinetic kink and gyroscopic funk with the pointillist, freeform choreography of a Merce Cunningham piece. One for the dancers and the DJs that know!
The magicians at Düsseldorf’s Offen Music pluck a madly beguiling pearl of late night songcraft by Ukraine’s Ihor Tsymbrovsky to follow their vital releases by Toresch and Rex Ilusivii.
Come Angel was first recorded in Lviv, Ukraine, 1995, and issued on cassette by Poland’s Koka Records in 1996. There appears to be no prior mention of the release or artist on the internet and quite how it came into of Offen Music possession is not disclosed, and that only ratchets the record’s enigma to astonishing degrees once you’ve heard the music.
In a quivering, high register, androgynous trill, Ihor Tsymbrovsky beckons heavenly beings in the remarkable A-side Come, Angel against a swirling backdrop of phasing, subtly delayed organ. It was recorded in one take (this is the 2nd version), and, if we’re not mistaken, you can hear the keys being pressed rhythmically in the background, which seems to be the song’s only tangible connection to this mortal world as Ihor vaults octaves high and close-in-the-mix with the sort of alien, dreamlike vocal that require pinching oneself to make sure you’re awake. Spellbinding is definitely the word.
On the other side he (we’re assured it is a ‘he’ in the promo text) sets two poems by Mykola Vorobyov and Mykhal Semenko, respectively, to emphatic piano keys, this time more shy of FX save for some delay, placing that willowing, avian vocal at a dreamy arms reach in Roses for the Poet, and with a sort of liturgical dark jazz feel, sorta like Lewis repenting his sins as a castrato monk, in the spare atmosphere in By the Sea.
This is gold-seal business, we tell ya. Clock the clips and clear some swooning room.
Milan and Haunter Records’ Heith pushes into the abstract with mulchy brownian motion on the first dispatch from Saucers, a new label minted specifically for his gear.
The first saucer sees Heith shed further signifiers of his sound, ego, aesthetic, in pursuit of an illusive/elusive and vaporous muse that leaves much more to the imagination. Over its five tracks ‘Mud’ explores a multiplicity of possibility in each moment, masking more layers and intriguing sensation with each careful stroke, from the pensively pregnant ‘Eva2’ thru the arrhythmic and dissonant keen of ‘Extra Melma’, to the power ambient drag dynamics factored in ‘Yoga Of Stealth’, to the greased pig wriggle and calligraphic slashes of ‘?’, and the blossoming fractals of ‘Mud Queen’.
Yannick Franck (Orphan Swords, RAUM) presents his new project: Mt Gemini. A deconstruction of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
"Rather a passionate deconstruction of a genre than compositions or remixes per se, this incantatory tribute favors abstraction using loops, distortion, compression, variations of speed and height, and effects (delay, reverb, chorus). Recorded in different states of altered consciousness, MT Gemini is built of spontaneous and unexpected combinations. It is an attempt to generate inner spaces where the borders between reverie and reality blur. An hallucinatory shock, a journey made of distant echoes, an atmosphere imbued with joy and nostalgia.
Born in 1981 in Belgium. He is an electronic musician. During the last ten years, Franck has wallowed freely within diverse musical spheres. Whether cathartic or contemplative, Franck's projects serve an ever more ontological search: the creation of nsonic immersions that influence our states of consciousnessand contribute to its transformation. In addition to his solo works as Yannick Franck and Mt Gemini, he is the man behind projects RAUM and Outlaw Compound. He is part of the avant-techno duo Orphan Swords with Pierre De Mûelenaere and played in experimental combo Y.E.R.M.O. from 2005 to 2009."
Charmingly knackered, gas-huffin’ lower case rock ’n roll songs by Bobby Would for scruffy young folk with a lot on their mind, out now on Low Company.
“"IT’S HAPPENING TO YOU, AGAIN…" Lovelorn, tranq’d-out, majestically understated rok y roll lullabies and dub-pocked, acid-damaged, pain’-it-dark drone-punk from Robert P. of Heavy Metal and Muscle Barbie++, coming over like some celestial 4AM face-off between George Harrassment, The Great Unwashed and Can. Gulp. Yeah this is a record so patently, self-evidently brilliant that we have to stop ourselves from calling it an instant classic (oops). There are some affinities with the homesick jangle of Itchy Bugger’s Done One, an album which R. played on (and painted the cover for), and the songs sure are pretty (find me a more romantic refrain in 2019 than ‘Luna''s "You and me / shivering in the street"), but Baby feels like more of a TRIP, as if some 23rd century Martian moptop-pop combo crash-landed at a dosed up Kensington houseparty circa ’66, plugged in their gear and got stuck right in: hypnotic space-guitar ultra-reverberant and in a permanent state of comedown/dissolve, choppy death-surf riffs and gently weeping leads ringing into infinity, squeezed and smeared for every last trace of scorch and sting…wooiii!
There are some echoes too of banner UK DIY/squat-wave and the mildewed NZ psych of the Spies and the Renderers, but all shot through with a kinda Teutonic sensibility/rigour, loopy and ultra-repetitive - equal debts to the full-throttle drainpiped psycho-beat of 39 Clocks’ ‘Dom’ and the glacial ambient-glam sampledelia of Love Inc.’s ‘Life’s A Gas’ (!). Rare to encounter a record as simultaneously heart-rending, sonically intrepid and effortlessly SWINGING as this. Couldn't be more in love.”
Fresh from 1981... this is Leroy Burgess' grand boogie masterpiece and one of the greatest albums of the post-disco era...
Re mastered for 2015 and released in conjunction with Salsoul. 8 classic tracks including the Larry Levan remix of " I Know You Will”.”
Ambient pop brilliance from London’s scuzzy underbelly and the duo of Guy Gormley with Sam Bardsley, with sensitive co-production by Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion.
After appearing on Bullion’s Deek Recordings in 2015 with ‘Don’t Touch Me Now’, the Never duo remain coy to a T in their eponymous mini-album, luring us in with the heavy-lidded Bullion co-production ’Submission’, before sashaying a twilight world between the Robert Wyatt-like pop sweetness of ‘Up’ and the meditative MIDI pop of ‘The Park’, before keening sidelong into the creamy whorl of ‘Everybody Knows’, and then working out something like Gas meets HTRK at Burial’s gaff in the standout slow thrum of ‘The Street’, and rounding up with the strung-out, balmy CS + Kreme-like balearics of ‘Agnes’ in very satisfying style.