Well-studied contemporary takes on ‘80s EBM
“Since the inception of Gregory Vand and Susan Subtract’s electro-punk outfit High-Functioning Flesh in 2012, the band has proven to be one of the most singular acts in years, defying the genre tag of “classic” EBM, as the creativity and fresh perspective they bring to the stage and studio has been instrumental in carving out a modern audience for the genre – elevating HFF into a category all their own.
Produced and mixed solely by the band in their personal studio during the Fall of 2016, Vand and Subtract felt the need to start the recording process on fresh footing, and composed “Culture Cut” using a variety of newly acquired vintage Roland and Oberheim equipment, creating entirely new percussion and synth samples to break out of familiar writing habits.
The result was an album written in the face of a world unraveling – with several tracks addressing the dynamics of life in our current political climate. Songs such as “Drawn Out” discuss the observation of projected failure in our daily lives while “Provoke the Wound” projects a vision of dystopian collapse. “Hands at Play” reveal the band’s more melodic sound, previously debuted on “Heightened State”, the b-side to last year’s “Human Remains” single. Regardless of this pliant approach, lyrically the band holds firm to its abstract doubt and disinclined sense of compromise. “Invoking Phantoms” was written as a dedicatory ritual in remembrance of friends lost to the Ghostship Fire in Oakland, CA during the Winter of 2016.”
For those not following Bill Orcutt’s drift into increasingly ear-friendly orbits in his recent live sets, Bill Orcutt–his first solo electric studio LP—shocks with its space and sensitivity.
"On this eponymous record, Orcutt mines the expansiveness and sustain possible on the electric guitar, letting notes spin out and decay at the edge of feedback. His pachinko-parlor pacing, marked by unraveling clockspring accelerandos crashing into unexpectedly suspended tones, is still in evidence. But here, his developing melodicism maps a near-contemplative mental realm, orbiting St. Joan-era Loren Connors more than the cascading treble clatter of his duo LPs with Chris Corsano and others. From the first notes of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” there’s a lucidity and slow-burning lyricism that make Orcutt’s plunges into barbed-wire fingerpicking all the more striking. While no one’s about to mistake Orcutt for Jim Hall, you could probably play this for your jazzbo friends (should you be unlucky enough to have them) without raising any eyebrows.
Orcutt’s track selection mirrors his obsession with American popular song in its most banal manifestations, as radically reimagined via acoustic guitar on a variety of releases, including 2013’s exhaustive Twenty Five Songs 7” box set, and the Mego LP A History of Every One. Many of the songs from those two releases are here–but stretched into new arrangements that explore the upper regions of the guitar neck (hitherto unexplorable on his shakily-intonated acoustic Kay), and lighting up new corners of each arrangement with a sensitivity born from years of reinterpretation. The result is a languid, freeform drift through Orcutt’s internal cosmos into galaxies unknown to their original interpreters–and occasionally, Orcutt himself. Most striking is “White Christmas,” its careening low-register melodies crashing into complex chords that transcend Orcutt’s primitive four-string fretboard.
Orcutt’s original compositions are equally striking. One of them—“The World Without Me”—is unique to this LP, and notable for its trebly flurry of Clapton-esque 12th-fret drizzle. “O Platitudes!” by contrast, spins ever-faster in the cadence of a hand-cranked music box, before grinding to a near halt, its higher-key electricity standing in for the moaning vocalizations on Orcutt’s acoustic rendition as heard on his 2014 VDSQ LP.
With its deep-space beauty, harmonic complexity, and dark dissonance, Bill Orcutt is a stunning landmark in Orcutt’s form-destroying trajectory.”
Remastered reissue of the classic hyperdelic record Legendary conceptual audiovisual group formed by Throbbing Gristle co-founder Genesis P-Orridge and Alternative TV’s Alex Fergusson with guest appearances by Dave Ball (Soft Cell), Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade), Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, and Monte Cazazza...
"Beginning in 1982, the conceptual audiovisual troupe labeled Psychic TV set out on a multimedia journey filled with subversion, liberation, and rebellion. Materialized between Throbbing Gristle co-founder Genesis P-Orridge and Alternative TV songwriter Alex Fergusson, Psychic TV started pulling in familiar faces with the likes of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, Paula P-Orridge, Jhonn Balance, David Tibet, John Gosling and countless others. While the members’ previous works took root in the counterculture zeitgeist of late ’70s UK punk and conceptual art, it was no longer a question of how to rebel against authority, but rather how to carefully subvert it through collective infiltration. Parallel to Psychic TV, its members formed the anti-cult faction The Temple of Psychick Youth, further propagating the Psychic TV message and vision.
While the ensuing years saw Psychic TV’s major label infection and record breaking live album release binge, it wasn’t until 1988 that the band started to ready itself for a chart-friendly pop endeavor in the form of Allegory and Self. This would be the band’s most notable and successful endeavor, but tragically, it would be the final songwriting collaboration between P-Orridge and Fergusson. Allegory and Self was a perfect storm of catchy pop melody along with subversive counter-culture reference and occult leanings, packaged in a perfect bundle of underground hits.
The record’s opening track “Godstar,” a song gushing obsessive praise upon the fallen Rolling Stones member Brian Jones, would give the album its most notable identity. “Godstar’s” melodic hooks and haunting, Phil Spector-era lyrical chant gives into to all the hallmarks of a chart-topping hit. “Just Like Arcadia” and “Being Lost” follows in similar footsteps, charging along with a somewhat whimsical Beach Boys-esque pop quality. The album also contained a sneak-peak into what direction Psychic TV was heading into going forward, apparent in the acid house number “She Was Surprised.” Tracks like “Starlit Mire” and “Thee Dweller” reflect more of what the Psychic TV live experience was akin to in the ’80s, aggressive and hypnotic. All together, Allegory and Self would stand alone as the band’s signature apex from the original ’80s line-up."
SQÜRL is: Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback.
"Although SQÜRL’s music is anti-mathematic, SQÜRL loves mathematics. We love the Fibonacci numbers. And magic numbers. Perfect numbers. Bell numbers. Catalan numbers. 260 is none of these. It isn’t a perfect number, and not factional of any number. It’s not even a regular number. 260, though, is the number of days in all Mesoamerican calendars. The Mayan calendar. The Tolkien calendar. 260 is also the number of days of human gestation. (Orangutans also). 260 also has an elliptical connection to the dark rift; a series of molecular dust clouds located between our solar system and the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way. And although not a magic number, 260 is the magic constant of the magic square investigated by Benjamin Franklin, and part of the solution to a famous chess problem; the n-queens problem for n=8. 260 is also the country code for Zambia. And the US area code for Fort Wayne, Indiana. Therefore, SQÜRL has labeled this recording EP #260.” -Jim Jarmusch, March 1, 2017An enthusiastically marginal rock band from New York City who like big drums & distorted guitars, cassette recorders, loops, feedback, sad country songs, molten stoner core, chopped & screwed hip-hop, and imaginary movie scores.
SQÜRL began in 2009 when Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan teamed with producer Shane Stoneback to record some original music for the film The Limits of Control. Echoing the varied Spanish landscapes captured in the film, the three emerged with a set of slow-motion psychedelic rock instrumentals (releasing them as Bad Rabbit). Following these scoring sessions Jim, Shane, and Carter continued to record new originals while also exploring the back-alleys of American country, noise, and psychedelia. SQÜRL released a series of 3 EPs, recorded over a 3 year period by Shane at Treefort Recording in Brooklyn, NY. Jarmusch and Logan’s collaboration continued as a duo with SQÜRL’s acclaimed score for Paterson, and a trio with Stoneback for EP #260."
Marcel Dettmann indulges some youth club nostalgia for your kinky benefit with some killer EBM, New Wave and New Beat-era joints for Dekmantel’s Selectors series.
He already touched on this area in his ace DJ-Kicks mix but this one goes fully in with prime picks such as The Force Dimension’s Algorithm (Manipulating Mix), Fad Gadget’s sleazy grinder Back To Nature, the EBM gem So Mote It Be, and Twice A Man’s wavy power move Happy Life.
Factor in a quickened chop of Dirk Desaever aka A Thunder Orchestra’s Diabolical Gesture and the deadly monotone jag of Low Cool by Cabaret Voltaire, plus some weirder revelations in Rise Up Helicopter, Like A Bird from Kaa Antelope and Martin Dupont’s blinding body worker, The Light Goes Through My Mouth, and you’ve got a serious package that shows the roots of contemporary big room techno which may not be well known to the legion disciples of the Dettmann/Klock cult.
Cruise Control is a sublime sampler for the myriad projects currently stoked by Johnny Jewel and co over at Italians Do It Better, pulling together 12” cuts, excerpts from LPs and archival reissues in a heavily satisfying bounty of anachronistic pop, boogie, and soundtrack cues.
Counting 20 songs in just under 80 minutes it’s got stacks of value for your rapidly devaluing £, if that’s applicable, lassoing absolute pearls ranging from Nite Jewel’s Real High drifter to Farah’s now-classic plead, Gay Boy, and taking in obscure material such as the haunting sylvan synths and keys of Worshipping The Myth Of Betrayed Talent from Andrew Douglas Rothbard’s “magnetic tape recycling and analogue memorial data depository”, and the analog bubblebath of Glimpse from Ballad 5, the debut release by Montreal’s Tess Roby - who’s clearly one to keep a beady eye on.
Since 'Night Drive' triggered an avalanche of copy-cats and even a film - Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Drive' - and although we were all blessed with Johnny Jewel's sumptuous 'Symmetry, Themes for an Imaginary Film', the Chromatics proper have been noticeably absent save for 2010's fan-appeasing 'In The City' EP.
So yeah, it's great to have 'em back. 'Kill For Love' was worth the wait, greeting us with 16 songs pushing Ruth Radelet and Adam Miller's vocals front and centre over slipperiest synths and purposeful arpeggios gleaming with a lustful, cinematic electro-noir backdrop painstakingly assembled by Johnny Jewel. The whole thing just oozes class and confidence, from the opening cover of Neil Young's Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)' to the teasing synth flutters of 'Lady', via visionary instrumental interludes to 'The River''s heartbreaking sentiment, some seventy minutes later, leaving any witnesses rapt and deeply gratified.
Babes, here it is: the first batch of Johnny Jewel’s soundtrack work for the new series of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks; comprising 14 original themes, cues and songs under his own name and with his bands, Chromatics and Desire.
If you’ve been keeping up with he series, the above is surely all you need to know, but for everyone else, Windswept is the stuff dreams be made of, draped in lustrous synths evoking all the immaculate ambiguity and American Dream-like nature of the new episodes’ interweaving stories, from he romance of Heaven and The Crimson Kiss or the shimmering Americana of Slow Dreams, to the feverish horror cue of Insomnia’s tense strings and the air-conditioned jazz cool of Motel, with a massive highlight in the all-too-short synth strokes of Between Worlds and Stardust’s sexed up mystery.
Psychic TV’s somnambulant 1984 album available to officially download for the first time. Includes the shockingly straight but beautiful folk-pop song, ’Cold Steel’
“Shortly before Christmas 1984, the core songwriters, Genesis P-Orridge and Alex Fergusson, of underground arts collective Psychic TV quietly released a limited edition record containing sketches and ideas for songs. Some songs would become later fully-realized arrangements, some abandoned and others were just covered in praise of their creator. The record, in recognition of its seasonal release, was simply titled A Pagan Day and would capture the intimate songwriting sessions that were prevalent during crucial time in the band’s career.
In classic Psychic TV fashion, rumors and myths surround the album’s creation. Most have suggested that it was recorded in a single session over a cup of coffee on a lone 4-track cassette recorder above an old YMCA building in London, though later revealed that the recordings were from various sessions over the course of a couple years prior to the record’s release. After quickly pressing the songs to vinyl, the record was originally only available through Rough Trade for a few hours on December 23, 1984 and pressed on picture discs, which adorned a photo of P-Orridge’s first born, Caresse, in exactly 999 copies.”
The score to ‘San Junipero’ is a melancholic and nostalgic synth-orchestral ambience, which transcends the 1980s setting of the show, interweaving forlorn strings, static-tinged electronica and beautifully washing orchestral pieces alike. Enticing and repeating melodies feature against a captivating backdrop of graceful strings, encapsulating the on-screen mood perfectly.
"Clint Mansell is well known for his previous work on ‘PI’, ‘Requiem For A Dream’, ‘Moon’ and ‘The Fountain’, for which he received a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Original Score, alongside many others.
The score is released on picture disc and turquoise coloured vinyl, housed in a deluxe spined sleeve with beautiful lithograph art print included. The CD is packaged in a digipack. The art was lovingly designed by legendary Brazilian artist Billy The Butcher, known for his art pieces and illustrations based on the contemporary Pop Art movement."
First new solo album by the Animal Collective founder since 2010’s ‘DownThere’. A firm return to writing songs, but pleasingly laced with jazzy, psychedelic wormholes...
“Eucalyptus is the new studio album written and produced by Animal Collective’s Avey Tare. Conceived on Hawaiian mornings, written on a sunlit bedroom afternoon in Los Angeles, practiced in the dark early hours of the California twilight, recommended listening for dawn or dusk.
Recorded by Animal Collective’s Deakin (Josh Dibb), featuring chamber orchestration arranged by Eyvind Kang, musicians Angel Deradoorian and Jessika Kenney, Eucalyptus is an immersive album length electroacoustic movement through leaves, rocks and dust.”
Daphni (aka Caribou, aka Dan Snaith) provides 23 original, unreleased Daphni tracks and four new Daphni edits for his Fabriclive contribution.
In his own words: “There have been so many (excellent) FABRICLIVE and fabric mixes at this point that I knew I should only do one if I could think of a way of doing my own take on it. Villalobos is the primary artist I associate with fabric and so I immediately thought about making a mix of my own unreleased music - following on in the tradition of his, Omar-S and Shackleton’s fabric mixes”
Chicago Ghetto House staple Jana Rush delivers a properly rugged debut album of footwork on Lara-Rix Martin’s Objects Limited.
Notably entering the world of DJing at age 10, and making her first productions only 3 years later - some of which ended up on Dance Mania alongside DJ Deeon - Jana’s recent tilt into footwork, documented on the warped, febrile designs of her MPC 7635 EP as JARu in 2016, places her not only as one of the scene’s few female operators, but also one of its rudest and most idiosyncratic.
Pariah is Jana’s first longform statement and it bangs from every angle. percolating stammering vocals on lip-bitingly tight typewriter beats, Midline Shift gets it going with a style comparable to the headier oddness of Jlin and the stripped fundamentals of RP Boo in a mutable aesthetic which informs each part of the album, variously flipping from hardass pressure in the slicing tessellations of Beat Maze to floating, chords-driven lushness in Divine and the levitating structure of Chill Mode, but also tending to Chicago’s jazz and spiritual music roots with the hyperventilating flute chops of ??? ??? and the soul-infused belter Old Skool.
However, the big highlights for us appear in the super tuff clench of Break It and Rapid Fire, where she’s not afraid to strip it right to the bone, and likewise the two freaky af 303 turns, namely No Fuks Given and Acid Tek 2, before it all comes together in staggering, lush form with the jungle/juke throw down Frenetic Snare at the LP’s close.
Retina-searingly cinematic onslaught from Claude Speeed (American Men), stacking his synths sky high in a chromatic starburst of colour and energy that feels like it’s been pent up for a while, or at least since his Sun Czar Temple  EP.
Best check for the biggest highlights in his new meeting with longterm collaborator, Kuedo in the recursive folds of Alternate Histories, or in blinding solo form in the picnoleptic insight of Windows 95 and the Lorenzo Senni-like Ambient Rave…
Expansive mix of electronica, ambient, contemporary classical and techno from Manfredi Romano aka DJ Tennis, the guy behind the Life & Death label.
Includes four exclusive cuts; DJ Tennis feat. Fink Certain Angles; remixes of Pole and Frank Bretschneider, and a new Red Axes bit, Paratrooper.
Stellar 2nd part of an Afro-futurist concept album cycle from Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire’s Seattle-based Shabazz Palaces, propagating the sonic fiction of ‘Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star’ through a poetic and elaborately psychedelic of suite of sci-fi Hip Hop. You’ll do well to try and penetrate the accompanying sleeve notes, but if you’ve ever read ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun’, and can follow the lines between Sun Ra - George Clinton - Rammellzee - Drexciya - Flying Lotus, this is the next chapter you’ve been waiting for… From the mind-bending typography and production to Butler’s psychopomp delivery, this one’s quite special/spatial. Chekkit!
“[Continued from Quazarz vs The Jealous Machines]…speaking of air and darkness, "Born on a Gangster Star" came into the world in a big damn hurry, like nightfall on an island. You can see it happening, but then again it’s so gradual that the next thing you know—it’s dark.
Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the rubble.
Herein the Palaceer continues the tale of Quazars, a sentient being from somewhere else, an observer sent here to Amurderca to chronicle and explore as a musical emissary. What he finds in our world is a cutthroat place, a landscape where someone like him could never quite feel comfortable amidst all the brutality and alternative facts and death masquerading as connectivity.
Inspired by days on end spent in the waves—water and light, both—of Southern California, the work came to the Palaceer in a flash, like being picked up by something and carried. Always dribbling with his head up, he can see what’s going on around him and react to it, rather than starting in a certain direction and hoping to achieve something upon arrival.
What’s good?—the kids ask. What does it even mean, and what does it even matter? Who is behind these choices? We are all of us sitting under a waterfall of all. this. shit. But it’s the excess that is casting us into ruts.
The Palaceer stays away from the fleeting and the superficial nonessential. Stay away from your device—your phantom limb—and stay away from your image—your phantom self; that is his decree. Considering the motions behind the things you like to consume artistically, rather than just the way something looks or sounds, and thinking in layers, and trying to be more considerate and not so self-oriented—this is his medicine for combat.
"Born on a Gangster Star" flirts with a pop sensibility, but through the prism of Shabazz Palaces’s fire and fury. For the Palaceer, that sense is all about how the groove is moving, and the supernatural telepathy that occurs amongst his cohort. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine, and Blood. The story belongs to Quazarz, but the air and darkness belong to us.
And so we shine a light on the fake."
Stellar first part of an Afro-futurist concept album cycle from Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire’s Seattle-based Shabazz Palaces, propagating the sonic fiction of Quazarz vs The Jealous Machines through a poetic and elaborately psychedelic of suite of sci-fi Hip Hop. You’ll do well to try and penetrate the accompanying sleeve notes, but if you’ve ever read ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun’, and can follow the lines between Sun Ra - George Clinton - Rammellzee - Drexciya - Flying Lotus, this is the next chapter you’ve been waiting for… From the mind-bending typography and production to Butler’s psychopomp delivery, this one’s quite special/spatial. Chekkit!
“Quazarz came to the Earth from somewhere else, a musical ambassador from his place to ours. Somehow, through fire or through fury, the Palaceer of Shabazz Palaces caught wind of the tale, and it is through his prism that we hear the story.
The beach was there, and Atlaantiis, and chemical alterations and cell memories and Andre Norton, Richard K. Morgan, and always Octavia Butler. There were killings and there were votes, and brutality in both. There was sound and there were other worlds, and there was a vastness so participation sometimes came only at the edges. And the Palaceer coasted down with the alien notion, like Quazarz, and so became.
On Quazarz when they look at this place they see the inhabitants, the humans, but they don’t assess as we do. And so Quazarz was sent to meet a cat with vibration, a creative and courageous, caring, compassionate dude that stood out. The dude was a drug dealer, but that was neither here nor there, until his dealings squashed the rendezvous, leaving our alien alone to figure out what this place is really all about.
Coming from a simpler, more essential, innocent place, the hero could not make heads nor tails of most advancements. From an aerial view, he saw that a good percentage of earthly vibrations were on very small squares and it became his belief that this world was very disposable and the spans short. His opinion was not of anything good nor bad but simply the truth. The machines—he noted—though at the behest of their master’s voice, are scorned, and jealous as all hell.
And so the tale is told while surfing on the board of Shabazz Palaces, with its sturdy base angled for takeoff on a new trajectory. There is new blood and space and room to be different and have different assets and different art and different ways to talk and also open up some space inside to do something new. There are pages and there are drawings, and color and faces and inked dialogues written in ancient futuristic hieroglyph. There are scales and there is melody and there are Sunny days and there is Darkness, but that—it should be noted—to the Palaceer is not a lack of illumination or brightness. Maybe it is dark, but in it is always optimism and joy, a bright darkness and a full, hopeful one as well.
It comes in gold, and it comes for the night. And so Quazarz sang the Jealous Machines. And so too did the Jealous Machines sing the Gangster Star.”
RAC returns with his new album ‘EGO’, Recorded between Anjos’ home studio in Portland and sessions in Los Angeles, inc collaborations with Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Rostam (formerly of Vampire Weekend), MNDR, St. Lucia, KNA, Joywave and Chaos Chaos among others.
"‘EGO’ is Anjos’ most ambitious, cohesive and personal work to date and chronicles his organic progression as an artist."
If Conrad Schnitzler and Lorenzo Senni soundtracked a new version of Jodorowsky’s thwarted Dune, it may well sound something like JG Thirlwell aka Xordox’s mind-bending Neospection.
In coining his Xordox alias, the legendary sound designer/producer embarks a thrilling new trajectory, aided here on his first mission by the glittering processed guitar of Sarah Lipstate (Noveller) and stunningly animated in-the-mix at Lazer Studios by Al Carlson (who works extensively with 0PN).
Adding yet another string to Thirlwell’s cosmic bow, the results feels like he’s trapped in a mad time-warp connecting Schnitzler’s early pulsers with the mutant noise-techno dimensions of Carlos Giffoni and the Lorenzo Senni’s PointillisticT aesthetics, yielding a trip that maybe never reaches its unknown destination, yet flings up some extraordinary sights and sensations along the way.
It’s all probably best described in terms of arithmetic calculations and quantum physics, but my burner phone’s calculator is bust so you’ll just have to use your ears or take it on trust that there’s some really effing wild things going on inside - especially with the curdled cosmic EBM of Corridor in the final stages of descent, whilst Alto Velocidad steps on the acid booster with epic, cheek-pulling G-force and the final couplet of Destination: Infinity and Asteroid Dust’s decimated diamond contours should be checked by fans of S U R V I V E’s Stranger Things score.
An intimate investigation of the japanese Shakuhachi flute performed by virtuoso player Clive Bell, a regular contributor to the Wire Magazine.
“Asakusa Follies is a luminous scene of interplay between melody, breath, and the shakuhachi flute.
Following on from the initial triptych of electro-acoustic releases on the Cuspeditions imprint, Clive Bell’s Asakusa Follies shifts the listener away from the studio and toward the player himself. Breath is a central theme in the album where a punctuation of purring, spitting, flicking and gasping intersects the tones, overtones and noise of the shakuhachi.
The opening composition Ultramodern Variety makes it immediately apparent that this is no traditional exploration of the Japanese bamboo flute but something altogether unique. Bell’s personal shakuhachi technique is highlighted in the four solo pieces of the album, and reveals a revisionist approach to the instrument which still honours it’s traditional elements. The distant low of the album opener flutters with multiphonics, deep in tone and subdued. Golden Bat Cigarettes celebrates the meeting of breath and bamboo where the mouth and hands on wood buzz then snaps in exhale before drifting toward eerie overtones hanging amidst silence.
The two closing pieces, Five Story Pagoda and Idle Reminiscence, explore the shrill upper registers of the flute that keen in and out of silence, melody and breath-noise shifting the ears from inside Clive Bell’s mouth, to hearing from somewhere afar. A trio of shakuhachi flutes interweave to create Silk Factories, which float gently in and out of unison. Pi-Saw is double tracked on The Red Sash Society where chords abruptly drop into one another, wavering in modulation.
The Scarlet Gang is a resting point and site of contemplation. Hmong Khene is here warm and melancholic and gives the listener a moment to bask in a sensitive cycling sequence of chords. Erotic Grotesque weaves more overdubbed shakuhachi, overblown and textural with two distinct melodies intertwining as lovers in dark and empty space.
The album takes inspiration from Yasunari Kawabata’s 1930 novel The Scarlet Gang of
Asakusa. In Kawabata’s novel, the reader is lead through the vibrant and hedonistic Tokyo district by a wandering narrator, and this sense of wandering is captured in Bell’s improvisations :the shakuhachi is a restless and shifting path to follow toward contemplative calm in the bulbous swelling of reeds.”
Bogus Order return with their second album, ‘Zen Brakes Vol. 2’, released on Ahead Of Our Time.
"The album follows their recent ‘Bullnose Step EP’ and debut ‘Zen Brakes Vol. 1’, which was released 27 years ago.
The album features co-production from Ital Tek (Planet Mu)."
Julian House aka The Focus Group twists the kaleidoscope to reveal a fractious mosaic of some 25 vignette-like parts in just over 37 minutes with Stop-Motion Happening, the ‘Groop’’s - as it’s spelt on the cover - most delirious and mid-summery dosage to date.
Referring to that title again, ‘Groop’ as it’s purposefully spelt on the sleeve art, but not the metadata, quite possibly makes a nod to Stereolab’s The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music” and certainly suggests a temporal connection between the two records, if nothing else, as the music itself is perhaps better described as more Space Age Suburban Micro Dosing in its fractal nature and gentility.
The tracks weigh in between 15 seconds at their shortest to nearly 7 minutes at longest, acting like the hazily fragmented recollections of an ageing psychonaut or the sonic sketchbook of a romantic ’60s dreamer who was in the throes of the psychedelic age, with mind opened to Far Eastern thought in the pause-buttoned tabla and sitar chops of Stop Motion Happening and New Toytown Walk and the mystic bliss of Rendering The Forests, whereas other parts tie that in with nods to The Beatles’ psychy phase in Sir John Pepper and The Gone Outside. You can trust the other twenty tracks are of a similarly anachronistic and delightful style.
The lysergic/psilocybic whimsy is strong on this one. Do check.
Outstanding debut album from Príncipe’s first lady, Nidia Minaj, following up the huge buzz around her debut 12”, Danger  with a 14 track portrait of a thrilling yung artist following her instincts for the good of dances everywhere.
Since that electrifying Danger 12” she really left us hanging, with only Pra Fachar and the raucous Festive delivered on compilations in the meantime to keep us sated. Now, after carving up clubs and festivals all over the shop, she’s followed her nose and fed that energy into a battery of unpretentious, hard-hitting and bittersweet aces; a full clip of short sharp shocks designed to be flung in and out of DJ sets and light up BBQs and parties with infectiously driven rhythms and stinging, hi-tension rhythmelodies.
You want highlights? Run come get ‘em in the maaaad synths of Biotheke and militant snares of Shane Noah; from the trampling force of Toma; in the hard but homesick melancholy of I Miss My Ghetto; and especially in those super succinct shots of wrapped vocals such as Indian and Mulher Profissional, and the lip-bitingly strong grind of Puro Tarraxho.
Biggest tip to fans of killer new dance music!!!
With this ambitious project partly recorded in Beirut with local musicians and featuring Mondkopf, Charbel Haber, Sharif Sehnaoui, G.W. Sok, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Oiseaux-Tempête have achieved a far more complex work, richer in texture, the intertwining of acoustic elements with electronica, roaming and shaking the foundations of this almost labyrinthian personal opus of an album.
"As ever, the group realising both the immersive and also the total physicality on the record.
Ethiopian Urban and Tribal Music is a fascinating field trip to a region rich in musical culture, offering dual perspectives on the sound of its capital, Addis Ababa, and farther afield on the borderlands with the Sudan and Kenya, all recorded in 1971 by Ragnar Johnson and Ralph Harrisson.
Amharic poetry and chants shoulder-to-shoulder with ritual dances and some remarkable, virtuosic instrumental performances such as the buzzing ‘Harp of David’ and the hypnotic, syncopated helixes of Fila Flute Dance
“Mindanoo Mistiru means 'What is the Unknown?' Gold from Wax refers to the layers of meaning in Amharic poetry.
Ethiopia has many languages and styles of music. These recordings were made in the Empire of Ethiopia in 1971. The music recorded in Addis Ababa uses masenko fiddles, craar and bagana lyres, washint flutes and kabaro drums. There is folk music played in Addis Ababa tej beit bars with vocals, craar, masenko, washint and kabaro, Ethiopian Christian songs accompanied by the bagana large 'Harp of David' and Mary Armeede's craar accompanied Amharic sung poetry. There are Afar chants and flutes from the Danakil Desert, Anuak thumb piano, Nuer harp, laments and drumming, a Konso dance and a Gidole flute dance from the Sudan and Kenya borderlands.”
Antifrost overse’er Dimitris Kariofillis (Ilios, Mohammad) and Ensemble Phoenix Basel pay tribute to the memory of Daniel Buess, an esteemed percussionist and experimental musician born in Basel, Switzerland, who was found dead in the Rhine after going missing in early 2016.
Written and conducted by the composer, Ilios, and performed by him with an 11-piece ensemble live in Geneva at Cave12 on June 12th 2016, the album plots a perhaps predictably, and suitably, doom-laced affair that finds a mutual sore point between Ilios and Buess’ bodies of work, arriving at an expansive conclusion of spectral strings, wind and haunted, hadean electronics that get right under the skin for the duration.
Lifetime of Love is the debut album by Moon Diagrams, the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta.
"Gradually pieced together over a ten-year period, it finds Archuleta processing various stages of love, loss and regeneration via forlorn outsider pop, minimal techno and warm, weightless experimentation. Hymnal opener “Playground” has echoes of Eno and Grouper; lengthy workouts such as “The Ghost and the Host” recall long-lost Harmonia outtakes, or something from one of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence compilations; the bitter pill pop of “End of Heartache” has the scratchy guitar of New Order circa Brotherhood and the square pegness of Dazzle Ships-era OMD.
Several songs are instrumental, while “Bodymaker” features Sian Ahern (Eaux, Sian Alice Group). Subtly grandiose and quietly epic, Lifetime of Love really does live up to its title: a hopeful and curious beginning makes way for a morose middle, before a bittersweet, optimistic end."
After a session together in a Bergen studio 20 years ago which sadly only resulted in a distorted tape, Bjørn Torske and Prins Thomas finally get back together to make music.
"Bjørn Torske is a figurehead and grand old man of the electronic music scene in Norway, inspiring and laying the foundation for producers like Prins Thomas, Lindstrom and Todd Terje.
Bjørn and Thomas' relationship goes back to the mid 90's when they first bonded over a shared passion for oddball disco, dub and detroit techno. This album is in many ways full circle with Bjorn and Thomas making music together for the first time.
Square One is a collection of loose, abstract and freeform avant-disco jams, parallel world-disco maybe? Whatever you call it, this album is a labour of love. A sound they both have traveled towards for all these years. And here they finally are, at square one.
The album was recorded live in Taakeheimen Studio, Oslo, in the spring of 2015 with both guys manning an instrument each in each overdub, piling the layers of sounds on top of each other. A year later they took the now edited tracks and mixed them down in live takes with all hands on the desk in Malabar, another Oslo studio. After a couple of rounds with some very blunt scissors the tracks became what are now included on this album.
Square One is a meeting of two minds. Probably as close to their musical soul as you can get."
Toro Y Moi returns with a new album for Carpark...
“After 7 years of touring and recording, I found myself becoming self conscious about my position in life as a “famous” person, or at least my version of whatever that is. My dreams had become my reality, yet I was somehow unable to accept this new environment. I couldn’t help but fall into what might be described as an identity crisis. A feedback loop of fearful thoughts left me feeling confused. I felt as though I no longer knew what it was that I actually wanted and needed in and out of life, and at times I felt unable to even tell what was real.
During this time of personal turmoil, I turned to music as a form of therapy, and it helped me cope with the pain that I was feeling. I’d listen to the same ambient song over and over again, trying to insulate myself from reality. I fell in love with space again.
By the time I felt ready to begin working on a new record, I knew that this idea of space within music would be something that propelled my new work forward. The artists that were influencing what I was making included everyone from Travis Scott to Daft Punk, Frank Ocean to Oneohtrix Point Never, Kashif and Gigi Masin. I recognized that the common thread between these artists was their attention to a feeling of space, or lack thereof. I decided that I wanted to make a Pop record with these ideas in mind.”
After hinting at this sound for years, Stefan Schneider and Sven Kacirek turn out as uniquely beguiling mesh of textured rhythmelodic electronics and Sofia Jernberg’s pinched, puckered vocals shaped into wistful, sorta-ambient pop songs. RIYL Kriedler, To Rococo Rot, Harmonia
“Another dose of whirring rhythms and dark drones courtesy of Stefan Schneider and Sven Kacirek. This time around they have introduced the beguiling tones of Swedish singer Sofia Jernberg on three pieces. The Düsseldorf/Hamburg duo Schneider Kacirek released their debut album Shadows Documents some three years ago (BB 175CD/LP). A coarse energy ran through Shadows Documents, drawing on the pair's various excursions to Kenya as producers. Shadows Documents was a somnambulistic interpretation of Kenyan music using drums and percussion (Kacirek) and analog synthesizers (Schneider) -- no samples. The two of them took their time working on Radius Walk. Since their debut release, they have toured extensively with the likes of John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake). The experience of playing together in live situations has influenced how they interact as musicians, a process which has helped to shape the new record. The acoustics of Sven Kacirek's studio were set up perfectly to capture the forceful sound of the drums and analog synthesizers as they melt into a compact whole. The result is a sonically more concentrated and more transparent album in comparison to its predecessor.
Dark bass drones and whirring percussion sounds figure prominently in the music. A fascination with repetitive rhythm is the common thread which runs through the musical development of both musicians: listen to Stefan Schneider in his other projects, the bands Kreidler and To Rococo Rot, and his albums with Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Further evidence can be heard on Kacirek's solo albums, in particular on his much-lauded Kenya Sessions (PING 020CD, 2011). By introducing the Swedish singer Sofia Jernberg, Schneider and Kacirek have added a new dimension to their music. They first met Jernberg in Berlin, where she performed with Kenyan singer Ogoya Nengo for whom Schneider and Kacirek had done production work in the past. As one of the most sought after vocalists on the improvised music circuit, Jernberg made an immediate impression on Schneider and Kacirek, who were quick to suggest that they work together. The splendid fruits of their labors can be savored on three tracks on the album. "Dust", "i Atlanten", and "Smiling" express both Jernberg's love of Scandinavian folk music and her mastery of improvisation. Her voice neither dominates the songs in the manner of a singer-songwriter, nor does it lean towards crossover experimentation. It feels more like a brand new genre of music.”
The dual albums find the trio of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald showcasing two distinct sides to the band’s music: ‘Death’ is a ‘proper’ Melvins’ release and ‘Love’ is the score to the Jesse Nieminen-directed, self-produced short also titled ‘A Walk With Love & Death’.
"“This was a huge undertaking,” explained band ringleader Buzz Osborne. “All three things: the album, the soundtrack and the film are benchmarks for us.” Drummer Dale Crover added, “‘A Walk With Love & Death’ is one giant, dark, moody, psychotic head trip! Not for the faint of heart. You’ll sleep with the lights on after listening.”
The albums, which include guests Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes / Crystal Fairy) and Anna Waronker (That Dog), were co-produced with engineer Toshi Kosai."
The Numero Group’s dive into the deep end of America’s private press continues. Having battled the witches and wizards of Darkscorch, the outlaws of Cosmic Americana, and traveled alongside Ladies From the Canyon and their Lonesome Heroes, it’s time to take it easy.
"With pop music’s volume knob adjusted for deflation in the early ‘70s, softness begat smoothness. Crewmen arrived from the worlds of jazz, folk, rock, and soul, all peddling a product that was sincere, leisurely, and lofty. A sound that was buoyant, crisp, defined. Sometimes classified as West Coast—and, later, Yacht Rock—the compass points of our Private Yacht expedition are the blue-eyed harmonies of Hall and Oates, the cocaine-dusted Fender Rhodes of Michael McDonald, and the combover strums of James Taylor.
Here, at the glassy apex of rock’s softer side, 20 strong swimmers are gathered together. An album for both relaxation and reflection, where listeners can enjoy the present, a cool breeze, and a taste of the good life."
Deluxe edition of Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza’s Azioni collection, comprehensively highlighting the early years of one of the most important, widely influential musical explorers at their late 1960's best. All the material here was salvaged from the archives of Gruppo member Walter Branchi, and serves to illustrate his work in the collective - along with Franco Evangelisti, Ennio Morricone, Ivan Vandor, Roland Kayn, Egisto Macchi, Mario Bertoncini and John Heineman - like some kind of document to the “big bang” of their unique electro-acoustic microcosmos.
Covering the period between their seminal, eponymous debut Gruppo Di Improvvisazione ‘Nuova Consonanza’ and the Improvisationen LP for Deutsche Grammophon - the same period during which Morricone was composing the OST for A Fistful Of Dollars and Roland Kayn was starting to realise the first strains of a sonic AI - the set documents in-depth the exhilarating friction and outlandish wonder of this unique unit of multi-disciplined and unblinkered musical thinkers and performers who smashed convention and effectively opened the doors for thousands of artists in their wake.
Funny thing is, to look at old pictures of the squad, all suited, bespectacled and with neat-ass fades, you’d hardly think that they would out-do Wolf Eyes or Smegma when it comes to creating the maddest racket you’ve never heard; but thats just what these guys did. Drawing from all corners of the compositional sphere, from free-jazz to serialism and concrète, they practically trampled on conventions with a fine-tuned experimental thrust that spun the lead of Russolo and the futurists with the live fire of Ornate Coleman and John Coltrane and the synthetic otherworldliness of Oskar Sala.
Gruppo fiends will no doubt know and love the original Azioni set, issued on 2CD+DVD in 2006 and found here cut across 2.5 sides of vinyl. However, hardly anyone in the world has heard the 100 minutes of Reazioni material, forming a major part of the attraction here; manifest in a masterly and near-telepathic system of tonal and percussive communication rent with head-spinning spatial dynamics, generating structures and sounds which arguably never existed before these recordings, which really come into their own in the quiet moments of extended technique, and a totally dilated 20 minute finale or détournement on the 5th disc.
OK, there are historic precedents in Russolo’s Intonarumori, the clatter of early Henry or Schaeffer, and the sonic architextures of Varèse and Xenakis, but nobody else had knitted sheets of plasmic electronic drones (thanks to Roland Kayn and Walter Branchi) with the sublime tensions and cues of music for film (ta to Macchi and Morricone), and the in-the-moment wit of jazz quite like these guys. And with praise due to the restoration of original tapes and remastering by Giuseppe Ielasi, the recordings still sound wildly ahead of the curve, effectively in a parallel dimension of their own.
Chamber Music is an ongoing series of site-specific sound works made entirely from a single recording of the empty space in which they are presented.
"An hour of “silent” roomtone is recorded when no people are in the building; this is heavily filtered to extract drones derived from the room’s resonant frequencies. This is the only sonic material used, and there is minimal electronic processing involved. Airforms was made in 2013 as a birthday gift for Steve Roden, who provided two hours of empty room tone recorded in his bubble-shaped “Airform” house designed and built by architect Wallace Neff in 1946. The first hour was used to make the drones, and the second hour to makethe bell-like tones, and the two are here superimposed. Certain Roden-inspired compositional strategies weredevised to generate indeterminate structures.
“This is literally chamber music – sound artist Steve Peters records the ambient resonances of empty rooms, which he then turns into site-specific installations exhibited in the same locations. The latent acoustic potential of the space is brought out into a more tangible form. For the most part,
stony sonorities are all that can be heard: long, looming tones that unfold incredibly slowly...these are broken by moments of vivid detail: sounds like dropping water, or the soft report of a sonar, gather and disperse, apparently randomly – though after a while they almost recall Morse code.” - The Wire
Field Characteristics derives from the Marc Barreca | K. Leimer performance produced by Steve Peters for the Wayward Music series, presented 14 November 2014, at the from hundreds of independently recorded digital, electric, acoustic and found sounds.
"These fragments were edited, layered and reprocessed with Pro Tools and Ableton Live. The performance consisted of manipulating and mixing both live and prepared audio. Utilizing the same sources as well as recordings of the performance, Field Characteristics represents a further extrapolation of the material. CD includes an 8-page booklet of images used in the performance. Field Characteristics followed the first Barreca | Leimer album, Premap, released in 2014."
Arvo Pärt has become something of a yardstick by which all modern classical should be measured, and 'Alina' is arguably his most beautiful piece of work. If you're into Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Nils Frahm etc - this is perhaps the single most influential piece of music on any of those artists and has come to define the contemporary genre. When you realise this music was composed between 1976 and 1978, it's evident just how ahead of the game Pärt has really been.
'Spiegel Im Spiegel' and 'Fur Alina' have both been used in countless films, the former being perhaps one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary classical music compoised in the last half-century, rendered with nothing more than piano and violin, captured on this definitive ECM version from 1999 featuring Vladimir Spivakov, Sergej Bezrodny, Dietmar Schwalke and Alexander Malter providing alternate versions.
Pärt's ability to distil so much emotion and spirituality into his work really is quite hard to fathom, regardless of how many times you've heard these magical pieces. If you're new to Pärt, this is really the best place to start.
In which Mexico’s Rebolledo invites reworkings of his dust-kicking Mondo Alterado LP from a broad gang of like-minded disco deviants; Red Axes, Maceo Plex, Superpitcher, DJ Tennis, Danny Daze, Mike Simonetti.
Everyone gets to test their best cowboy swagger inside, yielding some unexpected away days such as Maceo Plex taking the tech-house crowd deep into a desert fantasy on a remix of Discótico Pléxico, and Red Axes recalling some Monte Cazzazza or Fred Giannelli piece in Life Is Strange, with particular highlights in Danny Daze & Shakh’s dry cantering take on WANT, and the prickly, wavy edits of Discótico from Simonetti.
Crucial one-stop compendium of crack cuts from the catalogue of the apparently now defunct BRAiNMATH imprint.
The Ramp sub-label helped break some serious talent in its time, including Sbtrkt, James Blake, Untold and Zomby, all of whom are represented here. Zomby’s ‘Rumours & Revelations’ sounds as fresh as the day as it was cut, skittish rudeboy techno that will doubtless continue to wreck headspaces and club spaces for many years to come. ‘Flexible’ finds Untold at his best, offering a supple, precision-engineered revision of classic instrumental grime, and SBTRKT’s ‘Laika’ anticipates the soulful blue lines of his crossover debut album. With contributions too from Bakongo, Brackles, Airhead and SPiDERS, this album documents an explosion of creativity among British bedroom producers the likes of which we might not see again for some time.
Luminous electro-contempo collaboration between New York master DJ Gregor Asch (aka DJ Olive) vs Jean-Paul Dessy (and his Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble) + David Nunez at violin.
"A new musical travelogue mixing sensitive strings with the records and sounds subtly sculptured by Gregor Asch taking audience into their whirling love. Some magical moments vanish after the fact, but the thrill of listening to this untouched recording a few years later confirms that its delights are constantly renewed.
DJ Olive is an American disc jockey and turntablist. He is known for producing music generally in the electronic genre, with strong influences of dub, and free improvisation styles. He is widely credited with coining of the term 'Illbient' in 1994. He was a founding member of the immersionist
group Lalalandia Entertainment Research Corporation in 1991.
DJ Olive was a member of We, Lunchbox and Liminal. He has also collaborated with Kim Gordon, Ikue Mori, William Hooker, Zeena Parkins, Uri Caine, Medeski Martin and Wood, Dave Douglas, and various others."
Der Plan’s first new album in 13 years. Every bit as zany as you’d imagine
“The defiant title of the new album translates as "Uncapitulable!" and signalizes both continuity and unbrokenness. That's hardly a given when three musicians have gone their own separate ways for a quarter of a century. As is often the case, an external occasion provided the spark for the idea of a comeback: as the birthday band at Andreas Dorau's 50th, the band discovered that they could still have fun playing music together – and so did the audience, with audible results. So the band collected sketches, fragments and ideas that had accumulated over the years and produced
"Unkapitulierbar" in three weeks at Pyrolator's Ata Tak Studio Berlin. Moritz R: "It worked incredibly well". "This time the music was created on the basis of ideas and lyrics. Earlier, we often played improvised sessions and later added lyrics to it. One could say that in the meantime we have become something like songwriters," explains Reichelt. And "Der Plan 2017 is no longer so angular and swings better." But the music still sounds psychedelic: mild and sunny, as in "Es heisst die Sonne", "Come Fly with Me" or "Was kostet der Austritt?" or dark and eerie on "Ich kann die Stille hören" and "Gesicht ohne Buch". There is a kind of electronic shanty – "Wie der Wind weht" – and a pop song with "Lass die Katze stehn". On "Man leidet herrlich" – and not for the first time – reggae and dub references are apparent.
When writing a press release like this one, one often tries to draw comparisons to other bands. Any such attempt is impossible with DER PLAN because DER PLAN is DER PLAN! And "Unkapitulierbar" is a melodic, electronic, brightly colored kaleidoscope of an album. DER PLAN in 2017 sounds as timeless and modern as you might have hoped for. Buy this album and don't forget: "Wear the sun in your heart – and a funny hat!"
One more question to Moritz R.: "Is there any special situation in which you would like your audience to listen to your new album?" - Reichelt: "YES!!!”.
New Deutsche Grammophon Edition of Max Richter's collaboration with choreographer Wayne McGregor for the Royal Ballet.
Premiered at the Royal Opera House in November 2008, the piece was put in the spotlight by a BBC documentary around the same time before resuming its run at Covent Garden. Richter's soundtrack is an absorbing blend of shortwave-style droning transmissions, beautiful string ensemble pieces and piano compositions.
Compared with his solo studio albums, the format of the score seems to permit Richter to shift into a more abstract mode at regular points over the course of the album, dissolving orchestration into airwave-cruising static for introductory piece 'Infra 1' or exploring a dulcet ether-dwelling hum on 'Journey 2', but over the course of the album you'll hear plenty of this composer's more conventional neo-classical writing too: 'Infra 5' is vintage Max Richter, developing a sumptuous, yet repetitive melodic theme and laying a shifting chord sequence beneath it.
The results are typically emotive and by the conclusion ascend to a kind of urgent crescendo while blistering radio noise begins to swell in the mix. A quick glance at Richter's IMDB page suggests that we can expect more collaborations and soundtrack-style projects from Richter in the months and years to come; already he's scored a slew of TV projects, along with notable films such as Waltz With Bashir, and recently the Blue Notebooks piece, 'On The Nature Of Daylight' played a prominent role in Scorcese's gothic schlock-fest, Shutter Island.
Infra proves Richter's versatility and searchingly experimental drive as a composer, pitching that ideal balance between ear-bending soundscapes and all-out heartbreak. Highly Recommended.
Vereker's Endangered Species label rallies an unswerving stare-down of a compilation featuring Vereker in disguise alongside Skander, Die Kombination and 2NF, all fully committed to the heaviest stuff in Death Always Follows.
A grim survey of the label so far, Death Always Follows combines select material from four previous releases with five unreleased fouls including some deadly, incognito Vereker gear. It’s worth noting up front that there’s very little of what you might call “noise-techno” inside; rather it’s all of a peculiar, sullen and full sunk pallor that resonates with OG west coast nastiness from The Haters and NON as much as TG or even Whitehosue from our side of the cess pit.
It revolves no less than three numbers from Skander’s sorely overlooked Ruins LP, impressing itself in the gravelly mastication of Death Watcher’s Shroud, the heart-aching highlight of Barbed Chains, and the Intrigue & Stuff-like ambience of Mend, beside hurts from his Renoir duo with Vereker, namely the eviscerated choral piece Concrete, the muscle-wasting atrophy of Broken Tongue, and eye-wobbling terror of Stigmata.
Cologne, Germany’s Die Kombination also feature, giving a taste of their Leibermuster  tape in the deliciously depressive atmospheres of Vollkommenheit and the cranky slugger, Territion, whereas Seele reveals a slightly more sensual aspect. However, the most compelling material comes from 2NF and Ferro Mortem; the former with two tape-buckling demonstrations of caustic power noise, whilst the latter finally relinquishes his ear-worming rhythmic noise bug, New Traumas and the never-before-heard trepanation of Blood Organ. Take a guess at the who’s behind those two, and you’re probably right…? You may also be very wrong, which is why you’re reading all this pony.
Killer compilation ocumenting the groundbreaking maloya scene on Réunion Island from the mid-‘70s, as Western instrumentation joined traditional Malagasy, African and Indian acoustic instruments to spark a whole era of new fusions and creativity. Compiled by Réunionese DJ duo La Basse Tropicale, ‘Oté Maloya’ follows up last year’s acclaimed ‘Soul Sok Séga’ release on Strut.
"Traditional maloya, originally called “séga”, described the songs, music and dances of slaves on the sugar plantations of Réunion Island in the 17th Century – maloya ceremonies paid tribute to ancestors and mediated between the living and the dead. The music and culture began to be more widely accepted by Réunionese society from the 1930s as folklorist Georges Fourcade began to play maloya songs. By the ‘50s, maloya tracks were appearing on 78rpm releases and, in the ‘60s, it was used as a form of cultural protest music.
In the mid-‘70s, a new generation began exploring new directions in the music, using Créole language; many were self-taught and learned their craft in 1960s dance band “orchestres”. André Chan-Kam-Shu’s Studio Royal in the south of the island became the main hub for experimentation and collaboration. Most notably, the band Caméléon honed their sound here – with maloya legends Alain Peters and vocalist Hervé Imare involved, Caméléon became the leading collective on the scene, using poetic lyrics and creating their own potent fusion of maloya, jazz and psychedelia.
‘Oté Maloya’ tells the story of this fertile period in Réunion Island music for the first time and features the full spectrum of maloya styles. From Caméléon’s genius to the teenage Michou’s classic ‘Maloya Ton Tisane’, Daniel Sandié’s breakbeat sleeper ‘Défoule 3e Age’ and more traditional styles from Maxime Lahope and Pierrot Vidot, this is an essential trip through a lost era of Indian Ocean blues and soul."
Pure Berlin-school bliss from synthmeisters Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss.
"Synthwaves pays homage to the masters of the past, yet feels fresh and enchanting. Crisp, interlocking patterns are modulated and mutated with mathematical precision into eight pieces of pristine, post-kosmische sounds to float away to. During two intense weeks in Berlin, Quaeschning and Schnauss – both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese – locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analog sequencers and drum machines, and the result is a gorgeous set of purely electronic music.
As the title suggests, a bit of tongue-in-cheek playfullness was allowed during the process – however, all of these pieces sparkle with real emotion and warmth. As with the finest Tangerine Dream soundtracks it's the kind of music that paints vivid pictures on the canvas of the listeners mind: synth plucks hang in the air like glaring neon in metropolitan dusk, and zero-gravity pads hover like ghostly morning mist travelling over empty coastlines. Poly-rhythmic patterns are allowed to build - slowly but steadily - bar after bar, until synth-Satori is reached. By the time the last track on this
album runs out, it's obvious these two producers have themselves become masters of their craft."
The world’s direct line to Africa’s recent past dials in this bouquet of peaches from 1985 South Africa
...turning up what sounds like a fructose-injected, sun-baked take on Candi Staton’s You Got The Love with Say You Love me, plus the simmering charms of Make Me Your Lover, beside what sounds like a Paradise Garage classic in the debonaire boogie percoaltions and vocoders of Crosslines, plus the purest slow-motion melter vibes of Enjoy It.
Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed!
Soul Jazz Records' new Space, Energy and Light is a collection of music by early electronic and synthesizer pioneers (from the 1960s through the 1970s), mid-1970s proto-new age gurus and 1980s guerrilla D-I-Y cassette-era electronic artists, spanning in total over a near 30-year time frame.
"All of these artists used electronic advancements in music technology as a means of exploring not only space and the idea of the future, but also of looking inwards to the soul and of creating music in harmony with the natural world. From computer software and hardware experimentalists and sound pioneers such as Laurie Spiegel and Kevin Braheny, as well as Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company - the first synthesizer ensemble created in collaboration with Robert Moog - through to the earliest musique concrète experimentation of Tod Dockstader, the album shows how technological advancements and creative artistic expression went hand in hand.
In the mid-1970s artists Steven Halpern and Iaxos were instrumental in creating proto-new age music, experimenting in both the healing properties of sound and its relationship with the natural world. These artists also pioneered a new self-contained and underground D-I-Y approach to music, creating their own record labels, forming new distribution networks (with albums sold in meditation centres, health food stores and ashrams) far away from the commercialism of the mainstream music industry. In the early 1980s after the revolution of punk, these D-I-Y attitudes and ideas appeared once more in the growth of the distinctly anti-commercial and underground cassette-only careers of artists such as Germany's Stratis and Carl Matthews in Britain."
New short film and soundtrack, featuring entirely new and unheard compositions - Reflections - Mojave Desert. The film, in collaboration with director Anna Diaz Ortuño, finds the ensemble in a sonic exploration of environment under an endless desert sky.
“Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us - the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment.” - Sam Shepherd, Floating Points
The first in a planned series of environmental recordings by Floating Points to be filmed and recorded at different locations around the world; the recording was made last year, as Floating Points travelled to the Mojave to rehearse in between US touring. Immediately struck by the distinct sonic tapestry created by the rock formations and valleys, Sam and the band set up a recording operation and filmed this new work at the base of the natural sculptures they encountered. The music of Reflections - Mojave Desert mirrors the landscape: soaring and vast, dynamic and intimate, centred around two longer works and shorter pieces that create a singular and seamless experience.
Reflections - Mojave Desert begins with chords played on a Rhodes Chroma and recorded with a surround sound microphone. Throughout the filming, microphones were placed throughout the landscape to capture the natural sonic textures of the desert: the undulating sound of wind, a bird call, the rustling of bushes and more created a backdrop on which much of the record rests. The music softly shifts from the Fender Rhodes introduction to ‘Silurian Blue’, an expansive full band piece that balances refined restraint with explosiveness. In one scene, ‘Kites’, Sam Shepherd walks through a valley with a super directional microphone, swinging it back and forth as a synthesiser loop gets faster to showcase the natural reverb and shifting phase of sound waves. ‘Kelso Dunes’ signals the film’s final act: the sky grows dark, lasers flash, the band and rocks gleaming in the pitch black around them."
Raster-Noton step into a post rock-tinged ambient sound with Island People’s debut album.
“Island People is a new band project consisting of mastering engineer Conor Dalton, Grammy award winning producer David Donaldson, musician and DJ Graeme Reedie, and guitarist Ian "Chippy" Maciennan. On their first self-titled record, they present their collaborative work that evolved over the past three years. Being based in different cities, namely Berlin and Glasgow, files had to be exchanged back and forth between the band members in order to create tracks.
Their delicate sound structures, field recordings, and other sound sources were heavily processed and rendered unrecognizable. Layer after layer, the tracks came into being quite naturally, not only reflecting their continuous way of working, but also incorporating their different and individual backgrounds: "During the whole creation of the album, we never realized our actions were quickly leading us into forming Island People, we were too busy having fun, making music and sharing ideas." The result of their collaboration is a timeless music that is as open as a natural phenomenon, developing a certain feeling of euphoria over time. All in all, Island People is a pure listening record in the best tradition of ambient.”
James Clements aka ASC navigates deep space ambient projections on rare beat-less away day entitled Trans-Neptunian Objects for his Auxiliary label. If you like your space music cinematic and with no space junk or stray dust particles, this is the cream you’ve been looking for
“This is the first ambient release from ASC on Auxiliary, since 2011's collaborative album with Sam KDC - Decayed Society. As with the majority of ASC's recent work, this release continues the theme of his fascination with space. The term 'Trans-Neptunian Objects' refers to dwarf planets and asteroids that lay beyond Neptune, and are usually found in the Kuiper Belt. With that being said, you can fathom a guess that this album is seriously deep space ambient, and you wouldn't be wrong. A total of eight tracks spanning 73 minutes, which take you to the deepest regions of our solar system.”