Strong debut album by one of China’s most distinctive new industrial/dance music producers, Tzusing, for L.I.E.S.; portraying the Shanghai-based artist’s full breadth of kinky darkroom rhythms and sleazy cinematic arrangements.
Under the title 東方不敗, meaning Invincible East, the record wraps an armoury of powerful percussion and native instrumentation around a narrative locus based on a swordsman character in a Jin Yong novel “who must make the ultimate sacrifice to attain knowledge and transform”. Coupled with the artist’s own observations on living in, and travelling around, Asia, it’s an urgent and gripping listen with a versatility and varied topography lending itself to DJ use and soundtracking industrial subterfuge alike.
日出東方 唯我不敗 starts out like ’05 sino grime or dubstep from a parallel dimension; Digital Properties trades in secretive choral code at a killer New Beta momentum which decelerates into the the wind-tunnel chug and pealing cyber-tribal chant of Esther.
His signature triplets last heard on A Name Out Of Place wickedly come into play against sheer electric blue synth tone in King Of Hosts; we’re put thru an intense, Americanised club drill in Post-Soviet Models; and Torque Pulsations both literally and physically lives up to its name with a belly and spine-twysting EBM tattoo.
Nonesuch presents the début release of two major new Steve Reich works; Pulse , performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Quartet  played by the Colin Currie Group, who both, respectively, gave the world premiere performances of these pieces.
“Reich says, "Pulse, for winds, strings, piano and electric bass, was completed in 2015 and was, in part, a reaction to Quartet, in which I changed keys more frequently than in any previous work. In Pulse I felt the need to stay put harmonically and spin out smoother wind and string melodic lines in canon over a constant pulse in the electric bass and or piano. From time to time this constant pulse is accented differently through changing hand alternation patterns on the piano. All in all, a calmer more contemplative piece."
He continues, "Quartet, when mentioned in the context of concert music, is generally assumed to mean string quartet. In my case, the quartet that has played a central role in many of my pieces (besides the string quartet) is that of two pianos and two percussion. It appears like that or in expanded form with more pianos or more percussion in The Desert Music; Sextet; Three Movements; The Four Sections; The Cave; Dance Patterns; Three Tales; You Are (Variations); Variations For Vibes, Pianos and Strings; Daniel Variations; Double Sextet; and Radio Rewrite. In Quartet, there is just this group alone: two vibes and two pianos.
"The piece is one of the more complex I have composed. It frequently changes key and often breaks off continuity to pause or take up new material. Though the parts are not unduly difficult, it calls for a high level of ensemble virtuosity. The form is one familiar throughout history: fast, slow, fast, played without pause. The slow movement introduces harmonies not usually found in my music."
Mats Gustafsson: Tenor, baritone and bass saxophones, live electronics. Johan Berthling: Electric and double bass. Andreas Werliin: Drums, percussion and feedback.
"For 20 years Rune Grammofon have made a habit of releasing music that is beyond easy classification, in later years typified by Swedish trio Fire!, consisting of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin. All three are highly accomplished musicians, but Fire! music is not "difficult" in the sense that jazz and especially free jazz is often perceived.
Very much a tight knit unit with three equal players, Fire! has been likened to powerful guitar led trios such as Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but with Berthling´s heavy, doom laden basslines being such a typical identifier, we can´t help but thinking of Black Sabbath´s debut album when it comes to hypnotic impact. The Hands is the trio´s sixth album and once again displays a totally uncompromising and intriguing mix of (mostly) heavy, dark and intensely burning music whether one decide on calling it jazz or rock.
The album closes on a quiet and reflective note with the appropriately titled "I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence". And we say it´s easily their best so far. Gustafsson, Berthling and Werliin came together in 2008 with the idea of a fresh approach to improvised music, with a number of influences from free jazz, psychedelic rock and noise.
Their debut album, You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago, was released the following year to wide international acclaim. The trio is also their vehicle for rekindling their instrumental skills and playing outside their comfort zones, or collaborating with prestigious guests such as Jim O´Rourke (Unreleased? 2011) and Oren Ambarchi (In The Mouth A Hand 2012). A parallel but no less powerful project is their gargantuan Fire! Orchestra, previously a 30 piece behemoth. Now scaled down to a "mere" 13 piece, and for the first time including a string section, a new album is expected in autumn 2018."
Marking 20 years of Prurient and Hospital Productions’ concurrent paths, the epic 3 hr 20 minutes of Rainbow Mirror inarguably ranks among Prurient’s most compelling statements. While still the blood child of Dominick Fernow, the album’s massive scope demanded more hands on board, with Jim Mroz (Lussuria) and Matt Folden (Dual Action) lending their expertise before post-production by Shifted and mastering by Paul Corley cemented this towering work of Doom Electronics for the ages.
Offered up as ‘a portrait in perpetual tension’, and housed in cover art created as the first collage in the pre-recording era of Prurient, Rainbow Mirror draws on the project’s roots in order to locate itself in the modern day. What it finds in the process is that little has changed since Prurient and Hospital Productions’ conception in ’97 - the world is still a torrid, evil mess beyond control, and one that needs notions like Prurient to try and define its heaving mass more than ever.
Like Frozen Niagara Falls before it, echoes of the old world riddle the long, stark corridors of Rainbow Mirror, too. But here those echoes are more fragmented, distant and entropically obfuscated, emulating the effect of trying to find your own image in a hall of mirrors, or locating yourself drowning amid the clamour of more than 3 billion other people online, all saying the same, mundane shit at the same time.
With a length and intensity proportionately reflective of the world’s increasing socio-political tension and rate of homogeneity, Rainbow Mirror holds firm as a space to immolate the senses in preparation for the ever nearing eschaton.
AtomTM returns to raster to complete his series that has begun with Liedgut and continued with Winterreise.
"The 7 tracks, created in collaboration with russian singer lisokot, are subdivided into 3 pieces of 2 minutes each and 4 pieces of 3 minutes each, intentionally reflecting the 3/4 time of a classic waltz. throughout the release, lisokot’s delicate vocals are put into different relations to atomTM’s rather cool machine music, either complementing or contrasting each other. in the same line, the 3 shorter “leitmotifs” provide the main theme that is taken up repeatedly in the course of the release."
Mule Musiq push off a promising new reissue label, Studio Mule, with 13-tracks of Japanese disco, boogie and soul music collected on Midnight In Tokyo. Compiled by Toshiya Kawasaki. Mastered by Kuniyuki Takahashi.
"At mule musiq, we've focused on shining light on the many aspects of what electronic music can be, putting out house, techno and ambient releases on our main label, while releasing alternative-leaning dance music through our endless flight imprint. but with the launch of our new label, studio mule, we are stepping away from electronic club music for a bit. the label will not be tied to a specific genre, as we will instead focus on releasing any kind of music that we feel is a little bit different and interesting, but somehow make sense in this day and age. for our first batch of releases, we will be focusing on japanese music.
To be honest, i have been watching the recent rise of global interest in japanese musicwith a skeptical eye, not sure of how to feel about all these labels overseas licensing great albums that were birthed in our country. but then, i was told by somebody i greatly respect that i should do something similar with mule, and put our own spin on it, which sounded like a good idea to me. after a period of procrastination, i finally got around to doing it. we are starting things off with a compilation of japanese disco, boogie and soul music that we selected from a modern dance music perspective - the kind of songs that we feel would intrigue music fans across the world.
The compilation starts off with the Afro disco classic "Mi Mi Africa" by harmonica player Nobuo Yagi. "Silver Spot" is a jazzy fusion disco track taken from composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Nobuyuki Shimizu's first album (1980), released when he was 19. The track features singer Epo. "Samba Night" is by vocalist Keisuke Yamamoto and his band Piper, from their masterpiece second album Summer Breeze (1983) -- a delightful city pop number for fans of Tatsuro Yamashita. "Akogareno Sundown" is a Japanese soul classic, sung by singer Haruko Kuwana (sister of Masahiro Kuwana). Produced by Mackey Feary Band, known for the soulful classic "A Million Stars". "Koiwa Saiko (I'm In Love)" is a mellow and groovy track by singer Aru Takamura, the great-grandchild of sculptor Kouun Takamura. It can be thought of as Japan's answer to Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real". "What The Magic Is To Try" is a cult electropop track by Honma Express, a project helmed by producer Kanji Honma. Hailed as Japan's Trevor Horn, he is also known as the producer of legendary techno pop band TPO.
"Colored Music" is a song by Colored Music, a duo of pianist Ichiko Hashimoto and her partner Atsuo Fujimoto. Taken from their sole album (1981), the Japanese rare groove treasure is a mesh of new wave, synth pop, and jazz influences. The dubby electronic new wave disco "Electric City" is a B side of pop idol group Shohjo-Tai & Red Bus St Project's debut 12" single. "Love Is The Competition" is a breezy disco jam by Okinawa-born bilingual artist Hitomi Tohyama, originally featured on her album Next Door (1983). Taken from Mariah project's diva Yumi Murata's first album (1979), "Krishna" is a funky and soulful rockin' disco cut. Reminiscent of Chaka Khan's "I Know You, I Live You", "Live Hard, Live Free" is a song by jazz vocalist Eri Ohno who is known for her work with DJ Krush. "Rocket 88" is a melancholic disco number by singer Minnie originally released through Sapporo's independent label Paradise Records. Closing out the 13-track compilation is Japanese disco staple "Tokyo Melody", sung by Shoody and backed by Tetsuji Hayashi's disco band the Eastern Gang.”
Johnny Jewel ov Chromatics returns with the picture postcard-perfect scenes of Digital Rain, his first new album proper since Windswept , which included his work for the recent Twin Peaks: The Return soundtrack.
In the most classic sense, Johnny evokes his themes with beautiful subtlety and clarity throughout the entirely instrumental suite of Digital Rain, using filigree synthesis and a rarely paralleled feel for narrative to convey the sensation of rain on skin or hail on a roof, precisely evoking all the feelings of nostalgia you’d arguably associate with electronic music’s cinematic representations of rain, romance, and enigmatic intrigue.
It’s an ideal album for creating your own movie on the fly, acting as a sort of soundtrack to your life, likely to turn late night drives for a pint of milk into the most dramatic scenarios, or maybe turn your next commute into a Love on a Real Train (Risky Business) situation. Might want to be careful with that 2nd one, though.
One for the lovers.
Detroit dynamo Jeff Mills expands his soundtrack repertoire with the score for And Then There Was Light, a Japanese thriller based on Shion Miura’s novel, Hikari.
Perhaps an unexpected turn from the techno overlord, the results are arguably more palatable than his orchestral suites, and clearly demonstrate his composerly ability to match electronic music with a range of moods, emotions.
For us, the best parts play to his strengths, as with the dextrous rhythm programming and spatial detailing of The Bond of Death, the lilting rhythmelodic cadence of The Little Ones. But there are also some surprising moments in the noisy chaos of The Players Of Consequence and Lost Winners, which give way to a storming appearance of his techno classic Hypnotist in the final climax.
The crown prince of Japanese indie-prog-pop yields his Mellow Waves LP on vinyl, his first albumin over a decade, arriving some two years since his Ghost In The Shell Arise O.S.T.
"For the uninitiated, Cornelius is the brainchild of Japanese multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada. A performing musician since his teens, Oyamada created his creative alter-ego (the name is an homage to the Planet of the Apes), in the early 1990s from the ashes of his previous project, Flipper's Guitar.
With the 1997 release of Fantasma, Cornelius gained international recognition for his cut and paste style reminiscent of American counterparts Beck and The Beastie Boys and was released internationally by Matador Records. Being called a "modern day Brian Wilson" for his orchestral-style arrangements and production techniques, Cornelius subsequently became one of the most sought after producer/remixers in the world, working with a wide range of artists including Blur, Beck, Bloc Party, MGMT, and James Brown.
With 2002's Point, Cornelius' music took a quantum shift, going from sampling "found sounds" to looping organic elements and creating lush soundscapes. Using water drops as the rhythmic backbone of "Drop" on his vocoder-infused cover of "Brazil", the album dazed and amazed fans and set the path for the next phase of his career.
2007 brought this philosophy to an even higher level with the release of Sensuous. Cornelius' live shows are known around the world for spectacular visuals (all perfectly synchronized to the performance), custom lighting that doesn't simply augment the performance, but becomes another instrument within it, and a full band of equally talented and diverse players.
The companion piece to the album Sensurround + B Sides, earned the nomination for "Best Surround Sound Album" at the 2009 GRAMMY Awards.
The summer of 2016 saw the release of Fantasma Remastered, on Lefse Records. The package, a 2LP reissue of his classic album, also included 4 additional outtakes and earned Pitchfork's "Best New Reissue".
Cornelius has recorded music for Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, scored the anime mega-film Ghost in the Shell Arise, performed as the backbone of Yoko Ono's reformed Plastic Ono Band, played the Hollywood Bowl with Yellow Magic Orchestra, and co-wrote and produced the Japanese artist salyu x salyu."
‘Brasil’ was recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 1994 with a host of legendary Brazilian musicians including Sivuca, Raul de Souza and singer Joyce Moreno and has remained one of the key defining early releases from the Soul Jazz record label. Out-of-print for over 20 years, the album has now been fully digitally re-mastered for this new 2018 edition.
"The album was recorded at the height of the first wave of interest in Brazilian music in London in the 1990s. Joyce and a group led by husband, drummer Tutty Moreno, had just been Davis (and future head of Far Out Records) to perform in front f over 2,000 new young fans. Singer-songwriter Joyce had been a living legend in her native Brazil ever since the Bossa Nova movement of the 1960s and had made her first record when she was just 20 and she was described by Antonio Carlos Jobim as “one of the greatest singers of all time.”
Joyce Moreno agreed to be involved in the project to record an album in Brazil produced with a UK sensibility and Tutty Moreno’s group signed up as the house band for the project. Stuart Baker (founder of Soul Jazz Records) and Joe Davis then flew to Rio de Janeiro, searching out studios and rehearsal spaces.
During this time in Brazil more artists signed up for the project, including legendary figureheads of the Brazilian music Sivuca (who brought his own group) and trombonist Raul de Souza. Other key figures included singer / guitarist Celia Vaz, who worked extensively as arranger with the legendary Quarteto Em Cy and drummer Dom Um Romao; Wanda Sá, who played in Sergio Mendes’ original seminal bossa nova group Brasil 65 (during which time she married the artist Edu Lobo) and legendary saxophone / flautist Teco Cardoso, whose bio reads like a who’s who of Brazilian music and includes work with Edu Lobo, Dori Caymmi, Baden Powell, Joao Donato, Carlos Lyra and others.
The final piece to this Brazilian jigsaw was the addition of percussionist Pirulito, whose magically create the massive sound of Rio’s Samba Schools live inside the studio. The album was recorded over one hot summer, mixed in London and then released at the end of 1994.
Over 20 years on and Soul Jazz Records’ ‘Brasil’ album manages to capture both an important cross-cultural musical moment in time between Brazil and London while at the same time sounding as fresh as if it was recorded today. Following the original success of this album Soul Jazz Records’ continued its love affair with Brazil and went on to release a host of Brazilian albums including classics such as ‘Tropicalia’, ‘Brazil 70’, ‘Bossa Nova’, a Bossa Nova cover art deluxe book with Gilles Peterson and releases by Sergio Mendes, Baden Powell, Edu Lobo and more."
Warp original, George Evelyn aka Nightmares On Wax, brings up the label’s Yorkshire roots with his 8th LP Shape The Future. Currently stationed in Ibiza, the sunniest corner of Yorkshire, N.O.W. hells as close as ever to his roots in soul, hip hop and dub with a lush downbeat suite riddled by his subtle but delightful production tics and signature, “Eaze-y” vibe.
Again, N.O.W. proves himself something of a J Dilla or King Britt of UK downbeats - ok let’s just call it trip hop - with a timeless, gently offbeat style of his own, equally adept at bringing in live players as he is chopping out patterns on the sampler and blooming them to life the studio.
You can trust it’s all laid-back as usual on this one, but if you’re looking for highlights keep ‘em pealed for the deliciously slompy beat and soul aura on Tell My Vision featuring Andrew Ashong, or likewise for the dusky string orchestration and swaggering groove of Shape The Future at the LP’s core; an excellent a cappella aside, entitled and presumably starring Tenor Fly; and the Francis Bebey-like Afrobeat-electronic charms of Gotta Smile.
DAF’s Conny Plank-produced 5th LP, Für Immer is the darker, stripped down follow-up to their better known early sides, Alles Ist Gut and Gold Und Liebe.
Like those LPs, it probes a fine, ambiguous line along fascistic imagery and lyrics with tracks such Kebab Träume reflecting on Germany’s relationships with Turkish immigrants, and EBM obsessions with health and beauty manifest in the title of Die Götter Sind Weiß. It’s possibly hard to think of how an act could deal with these topics in the modern day without an avalanche of social media pain.
Things were different back then, though. Or were they? Either way, check out the likes of Im Dschungel der Liebe or Verlieb Dich in mich for some proper danefloor rockets.
Beats In Space pull together volumes I + II of Palmbomen II’s Memories of Cindy together with 11 new cuts from he 4LP boxset, completing a deeply dreamy session of knackered house and gauzy synth-pop among the most defibntivie this scene has turned out.
Operating inside a now-crowded prism, Palmbomen II’s sound still sticks out from the milieu by dint of his sensitivity to textured grooves and a hazy lense of mixing trickery which frames a deeply nostalgic and melodic new age soul at its core.
Palmbomen II’s sound is displayed in all its low-key glory here, bubbling up with subliminally effective grip in the metallic acid tweaks and haunting female vocal of pyrotechnomarco and the gorgeous ethereal hymn, Forever Afsluitdijk, before giving the ‘floor something to bump with in the raggedly dubbed proto-house chops of IAO Industries, and then turning to Troma-style romance themes with Transportzone Meer, and hugging the tape tightly with his frayed, synthy slow jam Dancing & Crying.
It only gets lusher, bittersweeter in the new-to-our-ears 2nd half, which was previously only available in a limited edition 4LP boxset. From the curdled acid dream house squirm of Ultimate Lovestrory Fantasy thru the exquisite choral percolations of Wilco’s Funeral to the rugged rub ’n tug of Disappointment Island and Teresa Winter-esque coos in Cyber Tears and John Hughes movie soundtrack cues of Can It Be this new batch only serve to cement Palmbomen II’s status, right up there with Hype Williams, 1991, lueke, BoC.
On his 7th studio LP, Nils Frahm shows off the results of recording in his new, bespoke studio, based in the legendary Funkhaus on the bank of the Spree in East Berlin. Frahm’s signature, melancholic solo piano works share space with runs into 4th World soundscaping, illusive rhythms played on organs-as-drum machines, and gingerly crafted posh tech house minimalism.
“Since the day Nils first encountered the impressive studio of a family friend, he had envisioned to create one of his own at such a large scale. Fast forward to the present day and Nils is now the proud host of Saal 3, part of the historical 1950s East German Funkhaus building beside the River Spree. It is here where he has spent most of his time deconstructing and reconstructing the entire space from the cabling and electricity to the woodwork, before moving on to the finer elements; building a pipe organ and creating a mixing desk all from scratch with the help of his friends. This is somewhere music can be nurtured and not neglected, and where he can somewhat fulfil his pursuit of presenting music to the world as close to his imagination as possible.
His previous albums have often been accompanied with a story, such as Felt (2011) where he placed felt upon the hammers of the piano out of courtesy to his neighbours when recording late at night in his old bedroom studio, and the following album Screws (2012) when injuring his thumb forced him to play with only nine fingers. His new album is born out of the freedom that his new environment provided, allowing Nils to explore without any restrictions and to keep it All about the Melody.
Despite being confined within the majestic four walls of the Funkhaus, buried deep in its reverb chambers, or in an old dry well in Mallorca, All Melody is, in fact, proof that music is limitless, timeless, and reflects that of Nils’ own capabilities. From a boy’s dream to resetting the parameters of music itself.
Words from Nils, October 2017:
“In the process of completion, any album not only reveals what it has become but, maybe more importantly, what it hasn’t become. All Melody was imagined to be so many things over time and it has been a whole lot, but never exactly what I planned it to be. I wanted to hear beautiful drums, drums I’ve never seen or heard before, accompanied by human voices, girls, and boys. They would sing a song from this very world and it would sound like it was from a different space. I heard a synthesiser which sounds like a harmonium playing the All Melody, melting together with a line of a harmonium sounding like a synthesiser. My pipe organ would turn into a drum machine, while my drum machine would sound like an orchestra of breathy flutes. I would turn my piano into my very voice, and any voice into a ringing string. The music I hear inside me will never end up on a record, as it seems I can only play it for myself. This record includes what I think sticks out and describes my recent musical discoveries in the best possible way I could imagine.”
Geir Jenssen offers a very handy scan of hard-to-find Biosphere cuts c. 1991-2004 on his Biophon label, the latest in a comprehensive reissue agenda which has turned up some real charms so far.
The set ranges from his earliest dalliances with bleep techno rave, superbly so in the sub-loaded killer Hypnophone  off an obscure Norwegian rave compilation, thru to the coruscating ambient loops of Reef  for the Gonzo Circus magazine, taking in gorgeous Lynchian ambience with The Third Planet  and floating ambient structures redolent of X-Files atmospheres in The Seal & The Hydrophone , while catching him at his most wistful and cinematic with Bird Watching , and his subsequent, post-2000 turn toward textured ambient neo-classicism, such as the spectral interceptions of Vi Kan Tenka Digitalt, Vi Kan Tala Digitalt , the stark but sensuous lushness of Valchirie , and his organ work, Visible & Invisible  for Touch.
Definitely not just for the fans, this is a discreet slice of ‘90s ambient history for lovers of icy electronic romance.
Necessary 1st vinyl edition of Laraaji’s 1984 new age devotional suite. Effectively gospel soul in the key of Om, written and performed on Casio keyboards, depending on your disposition it’s either worthy of comparison with Arthur Russell, or an extended Tim and Eric sketch. Take your pick…
“Vision Songs Vol. 1 (1984) is the LARAAJI album like no other, located at the intersection of new age and gospel, his outlier and magnum opus, the feel-good DIY tape of the century. Casio synth jams recorded at spiritual retreat guest rooms and a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side, lysergically-spectacular anthems for a continually arriving new moment. “Channeled from the sky,” humbly offered as digital download for the first time, this is where this is going on, this is where this is taking place, this is how this is going on. Is this very clear?”
Expansive new opus by one of the world’s leading film soundtrack composers...
“Cycles 7-16 is a natural progression from Matt Dunkley’s deubt solo album, Six Cycles, released on Village Green in 2016. Like the debut, it was recorded in Berlin with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. With this album, however, Matt pushed himself further, expanding his writing horizons.
As well as being almost double the length, this album boasts a broader sonic palette than its predecessor, such as the full symphony orchestra on ‘Cycle 12’ or the seven solo pianos used on ‘Cycle 14’. On others, Matt returns to his classical roots, using a string chamber orchestra on ‘Cycle 11’ and ‘Cycle 16’.
Touring and travelling over the last two years, influences arose from spending time in different cities and places. The wintry, tense ‘Cycle 7’ was inspired by an early morning in Berlin, while ‘Cycle 15’ was written whilst on a conducting trip to Norway.”
Gorgeous 2nd album from Glasgow’s Happy Meals, dispatched via the ever-tantalising Night School a few years on from the duo’s equally endearing debut, Apéro (2014). If you're into Young Marble Giants, Vazz, Antenna, Pram etc, you'll love this.
Fruit Juice can be broadly but cleanly divided in two parts; on the hand they effortlessly charm with slower, creamily kosmiche pop pieces such as Run Round, which sounds a little like Quarantine-era Laurel Halo gone minimal wave, and the woozy psychedelic spell-casting of Fruit Float, which could be imagined as Julia Holter meets Iasos; whilst on the other hand they excel at a smartly pop-wise late ‘80s house and synth-pop style, marking up delicious gallic acid pop in If You Want Me Now and the Deux-styled Suivez Moi, and a real standout portion of mind-bending metallic techno-dub-pop in Now That You Have Me.
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.
Factory Benelux highlight Vini Reilly’s acclaimed fusions of guitars and electronics circa 1987’s The Guitar and Other Machines Deluxe with remastered expansion of the original LP including his Live At The Bottom Line New York and a bonus disc of Related Works including the rare, Italy-only Greetings 3 EP.
The Guitar and Other Machines Deluxe was produced by Stephen Street, who’s maybe best known as a longtime producer/co-writer for Morrissey, and also features Reilly’s longtime associates Bruce Mitchell and viola player John Metcalfe.
It was written in response to a christmas present of “a load of electronic instruments” from Tony Wilson to Vini Reilly, who remarked at the time “I never dreamt of getting into this electronic thing, and I struggled and fought and stayed up til half seven in the morning and really worked on it. I know that Tony’s got this vision and I persevered. And I found a way of using a sequencer that isn’t like New Order – it’s my way, and it’s my music."
The results make one of Reilly’s most precious recordings, with highlights cascading from the front with Arpeggiator, thru the meditative hash haze of Jongleur Grey, to elegant wonder such as English Landscape Tradition and particularly the three bonus tracks from original CD release, notably the pulsating 28 Oldham Street (location of the now-boarded-up Dry Bar) and the delicate mingle of acoustic and electronic tones in Catos con Guantes.
As if proving his workings out for the album, you can also hear many of the album tracks played on Live in New York 10/1986 plus later recordings made at WOMAD 1988, while the Related Works disc holds some real gems in the spine-freezing styles of Vini’s Greetings 3 EP, especially his guitar and viola duet with John Metcalfe, All That Love And Maths Can Do.
IDIB serve a belated, expanded 10th anniversary reissue of Chromatics’ Nite, including the title cut and instrumental backed with three new cinematic themes and cues.
Yet another pearl in Johnny Jewel’s velvet lined cabinet, Nite is a buttoned-up, shine-eyed disco ace pairing Lena Okazaki’s droll vocal over stealthy disco bass, eventually turning into a proper piece of post-punk disco delirium, ditto the instrumental but sans vocal, while Glass Slipper catches a slick fusion of Arabian Prince-style vocoder and Moroder-like bass arp.
The new cuts are ace, too. Birds Of Prey is a darkly evoctive instrumental vignette, whereas the heavy-lidded vox and spindly synths ’n strings of Sleepwalker wouldn’t sound out of place in a classic ‘80s horror, and the melancholy dream-pop of City Beds comes off like the accompaniment to some tear jerking break-up scene or loveless bed-hopping montage - take your pick.
On its 10th anniversary, Italians Do It Better dial up Glass Candy’s I Always Say Yes for an expanded reissue, now packing no less than three new songs along with the original, dry-iced disco of the title cut and their cover of dark Day’s The Chameleon.
The extended original and chunkier Drumm Edit are chased by the crepuscular horror movie drill feels of Where Time Is Still on the front, backed with the Jean-Michel Jarre vibes of City Lights, their exquisite cover of Chameleon, and an unmissable cinematic synth panorama called Sanctuary.
Avant-garde Japanese vocalist Phew follows her sublime Light Sleep for Mesh Key with this album of purely vocal works combining extended vocal technique with Dadaist sound poetry and complex, alien electronic processing.
Voice Hardcore a deeply strange and surreal listening experience, which flits a fine line between real, natural recordings and their warped reflections, gauging a wide space for free expression and, by turns, interpretation, which requires no understanding of the Japanese language in order to grasp its otherworldly beauty.
RIYL Kurt Schwitters, Toru Takemitsu, Joan La Barbara.
Saccharine Japanese boogie funk with female vox. Would cost an arm and leg to to round up all he originals on vinyl. Cultures of Soul just saved you the effort!
“Following successful disco excavation from the Caribbean to South Africa, we booked a first class ticket to Narita to bring you the latest release, Tokyo Nights: Female J-Pop Boogie Funk: 1981 to 1988. This compilation presents 12 of the most memorable and sought-after songs of the era recorded by female artists. The music is a reflection of the unbridled optimism, technological achievement, excess and exuberance of Bubble-era Japan. More than catchy melodies and funky baselines, these are reflections of a time when Japan was the center - and future - of the world.
The Bubble can be characterized as an endless, extravagant party where personal and corporate wealth soared through the explosion of real estate and stock prices. Scores of young Japanese men and women moved to cities in search of affluence, transforming them into neon wonderlands. Changes in morals, values and gender roles followed suit. Prosperity leads to indulgence, and the taste for nightlife, from flashy restaurants to glitzy discotheques, was unquenchable. A soundtrack to this new, lavish lifestyle was necessary and the latest sound, City Pop (urban pop music for those with urban lifestyles), epitomized these attitudes.
While influenced by American R&B and boogie, elements of fusion, YMO style Technopop, and adult-oriented rock (AOR) are front and center. Sung primarily in Japanese (with a word or two of English sprinkled in), City Pop is Japanese music for Japanese people. Producers like Tatsuro Yamashita, Toshiki Kadomatsu, and Haruomi Hosono were quick to embrace the latest studio equipment and technology. Synthesizers like the Yamaha DX7, Roland Juno-60, ARP Quadra, Moog Polymoog and Oberheim OB-8, as well as drum machines like the Linndrum, were prevalent. Digital reverb was applied liberally.
Compiled by Eli Cohen (Alliance Upholstery) and Deano Sounds (Cultures of Soul), Tokyo Nights includes tracks by Hitomi Tohyama, Junko Ohashi, Mizuki Koyama, Kaoru Akimoto, Aru Takamura, Mariko Tone, Rie Murakami, RA MU, Kikuchi Momoko and Yumi Seino. Each selection celebrates the unique traits and meticulous production that define the sound. Think sandy beaches and metropolitan skylines; illumination and romance. Embrace the feeling of movement, from a coastal highway stretching towards the horizon or the city sprawling into the future."
Night blue instrumental post rock, jazz and electronica from old Berlin faves Dictaphone, recapturing the isolated vibes of their City Centre Offices releases on a 1st slab for Denovali - their first in five years, landing ahead of promised reissues of Dictaphone’s early EP and LP
“Finally a sign of life and a new full length of the German cult trio after five years of silence. Already formed in the late nineties in Berlin, Dictaphone was born by Brussels-bred multi-instrumentalist Oliver Doerell. In 2000 Oliver Doerell found a partner in Berlin’s Roger Döring, who shares Doerell’s love for the Brussels-based music of the eighties.
In the following years the duo and several guest musicians (e.g. Stephan Wöhrmann (SWOD), Malka Spigel (Minimal Compact) & more) released the critically highly acclaimed “m.= addiction” (2002), the “Nacht” EP (2004) and “Vertigo II” (2006) via the City Centres Offices label. In 2009 the violin player Alex Stolze joined the band. During their two decades of existence Dictaphone played shows in more than 20 countries with festival appearances at Mutek, Transmediale, Unsound, Benicassim & more. Their latest release “Poems from a rooftop” from 2012 came as a very limited edition through the Berlin-based boutique label Sonic Pieces. The new album “APR 70” is the first Denovali release of Dictaphone. The label will also reissue the past repertoire of the trio.
The new album features the three Dictaphone core members Oliver Doerell (electronics, bass, guitar), Roger Döring (saxophone, clarinet) and Alex Stolze (violins) and has been composed and produced over the course of three years. While the vibraphone and the more easily distinguishable guitar among other things gave a certain presence to the tracks on the previous album “Poems from a rooftop”, “APR 70” leaves the listener with a much more muffled impression. It feels as if each of the uncountable layers of which the intricate arrangements are made has just the right amount of contrast to be visible, but there are only very few moments where one of the elements noticeably dominates the others. The cool jazz bits, analogue flourishes, hypnotic rhythms and refined electronics feed a dark serpent-like creature meandering in ever-changing morphologies through shapeless landscapes. “APR 70" is the perfect cocoon for the hazy days and the serene nights. A new incarnation, maybe even definition, of purity.
Dictaphone never make music for the sake of it, they always want to create something which was missing before. And they did.”
Excellent second solo album from Thom Yorke, reissued.
He's joined by regular production foil Nigel Godrich, credited with production and editing, and his Radiohead bandmate Colin Greenwood chimes in with beat programming on 2nd song, 'Guess Again!'. It's a melancholy thing built from tenderly bruised bass and a filigree palette of "silver darkness" shot thru with fluoro tones reflected in the sleeve art's colour scheme.
Highlights include the feathered 2-step and phasing chords of 'The Mother Lode', the buoyant techno pulse of 'There Is No Ice (For My Drink)' and a future-fave closer, 'Nose Grows Some' are Thom Yorke at his most bruising, and, when coupled with the charms of Basinski-esque, decaying keys in 'Pink Section', or the lushly skewed harmonies of 'Interference' make for his most engrossing record yet.
Glass mastered CD packaged with custom silver/chrome sticker in resealable poly sleeve
59 minute of free-floating ambient dub techno bliss, threatening to be engulfed by the sheer size of it all, but keeping the listener dangled just above and at the centre of it all.
“A haunting of the spirit and soul, a near-hour long journey into some of Phase 90's most ominous territories yet. The darkest side of Dub. Field recordings extracted at The Detroit Masonic temple, an alleged location of supernatural and EVP Phenomena. Recorded live in the mix for an art installation exhibit held in Ann Arbor, MI. 2016.”
The Echospace plot thickens with DC Trax’s The Octal Years overview, collecting triple deep cuts from Rod Modell's archive, plus a few unreleased goodies, all dating to 2001-2006. We still return to the original Defragment: Parts 1 - 10 on 12” from time to time, so this new archival edition is very handy indeed. Prime picks for the dub techno connoisseur.
“In reflection of the many years of development of the DEMF/Movement festival since its inception coupled with the near 15-year anniversary of these releases (and the first live appearance of d e e p c h o r d @ DEMF w/Mike Schommer) we're pleased to announce the continuation of our archival edition. Many of these releases (originally appearing on Octal Records) took center stage on the walls of the dance room @ Record Time (circa 2001) canned by Detroit Legend, Mike Huckaby. This release will mark the fourth installment to the coveted series and returns to form with a stone cold classic from the DC vault. The first time ever released on CD (including unreleased material), lovingly remastered and assembled by Rod Modell.
Great measures, focus and time were spent to preserve the analog warmth and sonic integrity of the original masters. For those who don't know, these releases are considered by many some of the most inspired and influential sounds to emerge from Detroit well over 15 years ago -- a blueprint was set here for many artists to come, a step in the evolution. Expect gorgeous plumes of sound deeper than the ocean floor -- a rich analog tapestry made in the heart of Detroit, Techno City.”
Trevor Jackson flexes his wiry EBM muscle as PinkLunch, reviving his old moniker for a full LP of darkroom sleaze from the top drawer of his cabinet.
Douglas J McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb joins in on definitive album highlight, On The Floor, and Chloé Raunet ov C.A.R. lends gynoid vocals to the slow, ruddy jacker Inamorata, but Jckon is left to his diverse for the rest of the album, working out finely calculated variants of EBM and darker, electroid house music with highlights in the blank-eyed swagger of Other Side, in the haughty acidic thrust of Load Warrior, and with a doom core thirst recalling The Horrorist in A.N.T.I.
Epic 10 CD Box Set containing all of Maurizio Bianchi's early 90's LP's, plus 18 previously unreleased tracks, a 30 minute live set from 1983 and 35 inserts. Limited Edition of 200 numbered copies.
"Exclusive presentation of the complete M.B. / Maurizio Bianchi recordings from the early 1980s originally issued on LP. Starting from Sterile Records' "Symphony for a Genocide" to Broken Flag's "The Plain Truth", passing through DYS' "Mectpyo Bakterium" and all the records privately issued by M.B. on his Mectpyo Sound. A slipcase with 10 CDs reproducing the 10 LP issued between 1981 and 1984, plus all the tracks by M.B. from international LP compilations and a large selection of tracks from international K7 compilations. Each CD reproduces the original artwork and layout, with a new numbered inlay card. Also included is a 84 page booklet with original atworks and collages, M.B. playlists, interviews and reviews, as well as essays by M.B. on S.P.K., Whitehouse and Come, T.G., Monte Cazazza, Metabolists, Conrad Schnitzler and excerpts from the "Dictionary of the Ultra-Glaciality". Edition limited to 200 numbered copies, including the following CDs: Symphony for a Genocide (1981) Harsh waves of electronic pulsations overload the circuitry causing sensory breakdown. Maximum electronics! Also included are the 3 tracks from the 1980 "International Compilation 1" on Die Form's Bain Total. Menses (1981) The two long siutes "Yra" and "Scent" pessimistically excludes any possibility to survive. Suicidal album. Death is a pleasure after a side of this record. Also included are the two tracks from the Hater's "Nowhere to Play" compilation (1982), as well as the very early "Milan Bruits" from Der Plan's "Fix Planet" compilation (1981). Neuro Habitat / Moerter Unter Uns (1982) M.B.'s at his creative peak. There are actually melodies present, dense and dark that mutate into harsh electronic outbursts. Also included is "Plutoniumetrio" from the Come Organisation's "Fuer Ilse Koch" compilation (1982). Regel (1982) M.B. experimentation with noise syndrome has developed into a powerful stylistic electronic music, coherent and dynamic. Also includes "Acido Prussico" from Broken Flag's "Neuengamme" compilation (1982). Mectpyo Bakterium (1981) Two extended electronic pieces which may prove to be the best compositions M.B. has created. Also included are two tracks from "40 days/40 Nights" and "International Frienship" compilations (1983). Das Testament (1982) A pulsating and visionary work dedicated to those who will suffer in the future for our choice to irreparably spoil our natural and social ambient. Also included in 30 minutes of M.B. live in Milano on January 1st, 1983. Endometrio (1980-81) M.B. takes the distance from the movement of the industrial bruitists, presenting what he calls "biologic music", sounds synthetically produced by the manipulation and transformation of pre-recorded electronic sources. Also included are excerpts from various international compilations on cassette (1980/1983). Carcinosi (1979/1982) This record represents an injection of new, more open-minded and anti-conformist methodologies. A disquieting sound dilutes and coagulates. Also included are two tracks from Broken Flag's "Axis Sally" (1983) and "Frankenstein Juke Box" compilation tapes. The Plain Truth (1983) A very atmospheric records including two long suites titled "The Plain Truth" and "M.B. 55 T.D. 56". Also included is an exclusive interview recorded at Radio popolare, Milano, on January 1st, 1983. Armaghedon (1984) Soundtrack to the film with the same title. The most obscure and elusive M.B. output. The original LP was never distributed, most of the copies were destroyed by M.B. after its release.
Right in time to aid xmas (in)digestion, Chris Douglas (Dalglish, O.S.T., Scald Rougish) chews thru your grey matter as Aclds with the queasy algorithmic slosh and electronic permutation of Fuadain Liesmas - his first release for Antwerp’s exceptional Entr’acte label after decades of releases on probing imprints under myriad aliases.
Dispatched from his Berlin base, Fuadain Liesmas wriggles between the lines of convention in a way that has persistently served to reveal Douglas among electronic music’s most uncompromising operators. Following extreme abstract precedents set by the likes of Autechre, Roland Kayn and Bernard Parmegiani, Douglas doesn’t so much as pull the rug form under the listener’s feet as he systematically unthreads and reweaves it from the toes up, binding listeners into an inescapable matrix of perplexing intricacy that supposes and dangles us by a quantum thread.
For all its combustible, hellish nature and cerebral ferocity, there are moments of more meditative tranquility nestled amid Fuadain Liesmas, but it will take intrepid ears to reach and locate them in the maelstrom, as Douglas seems to set fire to all he touches, leaving a burning trail of logic in his wake.
Widely championed techno/electronica producer Objekt deposits his detailed and complex debut album on PAN.
Since 2011 at least, the Berlin resident known as TJ Hertz has been a vital cog in the European techno machine, self-releasing some of this decade's most vaunted white labels, plus 12"s with Hessle Audio and Leisure System - including this year's great split with Dopplereffekt - beside his role as software engineer for Native Instruments. With 'Flatland' he takes the opportunity to scud farther between electro and techno conventions with some proper production acrobatics, modelling a vivid 3D framework viewable from multiple perspectives, imagining "…a world in which any scene can be seen from any angle at once".
Entering via the ambient airlock chamber of 'Agnes Revenge', we're given access to a subtly evolving soundsphere of sheer, incremental gradients and whirring mechanisms interspersed with nods to radiophonic experimentation and the melodic charm of '90s Warp styles. The scuttling funk of 'One Fell Swoop' or 'Ratchet' and the keening harmonics of 'Agnes Apparatus' recall classic Plaid, whilst elsewhere the album ranges from knackered techno ('Dogma') to Powell-esque hardwave ('Strays') and Rrose-alike techno churn ('One Stitch Follows Another', 'First Witness') via augmented hip hop ('Second Witness'). It's all certain to spark the interests of the techiest bass heads and IDM fiends around.
Lavish 4CD box set includes the complete Ghedalia Tazartes recordings previously issued on cd by Alga Marghen, plus a new mini-cd titled "les danseurs de la pluie".
"Diasporas-Tazartes" is the cd edition of tazartes' first and fourth albums, "Transports" is the cd edition of Tazartes' second album complete with four bonus tracks. "Une Eclipse Totale De Soleil" is the CD edition of tazartes' third album with a long bonus track. "Les danseurs de la pluie" gives title to the complete anthology and is a 12 minutes mini-cd, presented on creative disc, including four previously unavailable tracks: two 1977 recordings from the Eclipse Totale sessions of a very wild and residential nature; and two colossal new pieces recorded in 2005."
NYC techno survivor and Synewave bossman Damon Wild delivers his 3rd album, only 13 years since his last
Expect 15 tracks of well skooled techno depth - gritty, pulsing 909 sequences, misty-eyed synths, salty bleeps - for the hard working DJ and demanding headphone listener.
Experience the punishing sonic origins of a punk icon. Collected here for the first time, and skillfully remastered from original board tapes, demos, and session masters, this collection is an authoritative chronicling of the wellspring and maturation of Grant Hart, Greg Norton and Bob Mould—three St. Paul teenagers who’d go on to become the most heralded trio of the American punk underground.
"Follow the Hüskers to their earliest gigs in 1979, through extensive road dog touring, and to the start of their partnership with West Coast tastemaker SST in 1983.
This primitive stage in the fabled career of Hüsker Dü is presented as a deluxe box set and packaged with a hardbound book crammed full of never before seen photos, flyers, and a sprawling essay with participation from the band. Spread across four LPs or three CDs, 47 of the 69 songs compiled here are previously unissued. Also included are Statues/Amusement, In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart, and an alternate recording of the Land Speed Record set."
Trevor Jackson coins the Pre- label with four diverse kosmische electronic experiments written under his Dark They Were and Golden Eyed and Design Your Dreams aliases c. 2010-2014, following the final parts in his Playgroup puzzle, and ahead of the launch of his Post- label.
Where the last few years since and including his Format album have been spent on or around the ‘floor, this session is for the road or your magic carpet, catching your man spinning out 13 minutes of frothy arpeggios and pulses on Design Your Dreams, which contrasts steeply with the darkside descent of Another Time, and likewise the 31 minute slow aciddub vortex Boundary Echoes, and the abstract tonal whorl of The Lesser Light.
A single composition clocking in at 60 minutes, 'Silent Night' is a work from the veteran American composer William Basinski, wherein he embarks on an indescribably tranquil and variegated mediation which will submerge you completely.
Allowing aural tendrils to rise slowly (like smoke), what at first seems indistinct and untethered soon begins to take on a greater significance as structures loom through the shrouded, ineluctable broadcasts. Slow-motion it may be, Basinski nonetheless gets you where you're going in no time at all. Incredible music.
This compilation spanning a period of 37 years features Burnt Friedman's releases and edits thereof from vinyl-only labels (Latency (FR), Marionette (CA), Dekmantel (NL) amongst others) plus 4 hitherto unreleased tracks, making them available on digital formats.
"Friedman's music from 1980 to 2017 covers a broad spectrum of played and programmed rhythmic styles that traverse not only club music from techno, electro and dub, but, above all, trace Friedman's own artistic development. A trajectory that owes a lot to his long-standing collaboration with Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who died at the age of 79 in 2017. Like Liebezeit, Friedman already explored even and uneven rhythms back in the late 1980s. This selection of 17 tracks documents this pursuit while bringing rough or discarded tracks to light, which did not fit onto any album or were intended for the Nonplace label.
The compilation runs the entire gamut of his work on percussion, keyboard, samplers and toys of all kinds using various production methods (tape, Atari, Midi, sampler, hard disk recording, digital audio tape). Studio work (instant-composition, programming and recording) underwent major technological changes and revolutions in the 1980s and 1990s, but Friedman's distinctive signature style prevails throughout. Surprisingly danceable tracks, interrupted by alien atmospheric periods, defy any genre.”
The blinding Habibi Funk survey of Eclectic Music from the Arabic World lights up a lesser known paradigm of artists from the Arabic world incorporating sounds from beyond their local traditions with often stunning, wild and bewildering results. After teasing the set in with a handful of tasty previews in recent months, the full collection includes 5 tunes completely unreleased on any other format, from blazing funk throw-downs to Caribbean-tinged soukous, disco and smoothly harmonised psych-soul.
“Habibi Funk is dedicated to re-releasing a style of music that historically never existed as a musical genre. We use the term to describe a certain sound that we like from the countries of the Arab world. The songs we chose were created in places quite far from another and under very different circumstances. Some were written and recorded during war times, others in exile. Despite the differences we think there is a musical connection between them. Essentially, we are interested in the musical endeavors, in which artists from the Arab world mixed local and regional influences with musical interests that came from outside of the region.
Even though the name suggests it’s all about funk music, our focus is more than just that. Often these influences might be inspired from Western popular music such as soul, pop and rock but it’s not limited to that either. Some of our favorite records are best described as Arabic zouk (a genre originating from the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe) like Mallek Mohamed’s music, Algerian coladera (a popular musical style from the Cape Verdean islands) or Lebanese AOR, which means the process of musical influences displayed on this compilation was much more versatile than just taking Western music as a blueprint and translating it with a local accent. The compilation features 15 different artists. Some you might already know thru Habibi Funk’s releases like Fadoul, Ahmed Malek, Dalton or Al Massrieen, while others are meant as an introduction to artists like Kamal Keila, Sharhabeel Ahmed, Attarazat Addahabia & Mallek Mohamed who will all release full length albums on Habibi Funk in 2018.”
Get closer to the resounding magic of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient sculptures with this revelatory film and a CD containing the last ever recordings made by Harry with his brother Oreste and their sister Ave. Whether you’ve encountered Bertoia’s work via his modern furniture design, his Sonambient scuptures, or their recordings, consider this necessary viewing and listening!
“The DVD, a film titled Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture of Harry Bertoia, by Jeffrey & Miriam Eger, was shot in 1971 and follows Harry Bertoia in performance and interview throughout his Sonambient barn deep in the Pennsylvania woods. This film offers a rare opportunity to follow the artist in practice, listening carefully as he moves contemplativelythrough his sculptures and gongs. Interview footage offers rare insight into Bertoia's inspiration and process.
A separate CD contains four exclusive, recently discovered audio recordings. Included are thetwo earliest known collaborative tapes from Harry and brother Oreste, morning and evening sessions dated October 12, 1969, as well as a collaboration between the Bertoia brothers and their sister Ave who sings in careful unison with the overtones being produced by the sculptures. With the passing of Oreste Bertoia in 1972, these recordings mark the last meeting of all three Bertoia siblings.”
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
A new album of exclusive, previously unreleased material from The Caretaker released in memory of and for Mark Fisher, the legendary writer, cultural theorist and pioneering blogger (k-punk) who passed away on the 13th January 2017. Copies of this release were given to all attendees of The Caretaker's Barbican performance for Unsound Disclocation last week. There are now 350 individually numbered copies signed by The Caretaker, available for sale. 100% of proceeds from this release will be donated to MIND, the mental health charity.
Ever since he wrote the extensive liner notes for The Caretaker’s Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia boxset in 2005, Mark Fisher was instrumental in contextualising the complex, abstract nature of The Caretaker’s music to beguiled listeners across the world. Along with the music of Burial and Broadcast, for example, The Caretaker’s output fell under what Fisher described as “Hauntology” - a portmanteau of haunting and ontology which is rooted in Derrida’s study of the failure of Marxism and the left - which Fisher applied to contemporary culture, distinguishing merely “nostalgic” and revivalist culture from hauntological art and culture which is typified by its “refusal to give up on the desire for the future.”
The Caretaker’s work, including this billowing new longform piece, has always resonated with and fed into Fisher’s ideas, so we could hardly think of a more fitting send off from Leyland Kirby’s cherished vessel. We wholeheartedly recommend this CD, and also reading all of Fisher’s work - from his collected writings for The Wire and other publications, to his daringly seminal Capitalist Realism: Is there no alternative?, which proposes a direct link between increased diagnoses of mental health problems and the incessant trudge of capitalism, and suggest a way beyond the assertion that “it is easier to imagine an end to the world than an end to capitalism”.
Entr’acte grip Icelandic electronic maverick Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson - bandmate of Jóhann Jóhansson in Evil Madness, and ov BJNilsen as Stilluppsteypa - for a total wormholer called Sun of Late Afternoon, which is the first we’ve heard from him since the excellent Avantgardegasse side for Ultra Eczema in 2015. Was originally a tape on Hanson Records, now available on digital format for 1st time.
On this outing he spends half of the first piece, The Ultimate Sunday Afternoon luring us into a steeply pitched whorl of metallic harmonics and process location noise that points to his studies under The Hafler Trio, before switching to what sounds like the croaking breaths of dying man who sees himself projected into the ceiling of a large shopping centre, which turns out to be some kind of sonic purgatory.
A Late-Night Programme follows in equally surreal style, morphing from plaintive, etheric glossolalia and ambient pads like some lost Lewis joint, to conduct a bewildering trip thru spectral electronic timbres, aleatoric location recordings, and the kind of grotty oddness that used to be found on James Ferraro albums, to an elegiac synth finale. It’s the kind of music that puts your faith back in electronic music as a window onto the strangest, other worlds.
Steven Hitchell rekindles his Phase90 alias with an absorbing reshuffle of its debut album, 'Infinitati' including unreleased and remastered material.
This is arguably some of the strongest material from any of his myriad pseudonyms, mostly thanks to an sort of frayed, agitated approach to his rhythms, preferring knotty, sparking shuffles and delicate dub bounce rather than his patented heavy trodders.
The atmospheres too are dealt with a nimble hand, full of organically diffused melody and dusty chain reactions occurring around the sound-sphere with dreamy, elusive quality.
If you've ever needed a place to dip your toes in Deepchord/Echospace's oceans of sound, this is it.
Glass mastered CD housed in 4-panel, letter-pressed Somerset cotton covers with 20 x Polaroid style prints by Nieves Mingueza printed on luxury 250gsm card, hand-numbered 35mm photo slides, and patchouli scent. All packaged inside sealed matt-black darkroom negative envelopes
Funereal levels of adult contemporary melancholy for fans of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore, Svarte Greiner, Julien Neto…
“The Epiphanies sees Bill Seaman in fine fettle, driving along phosphorescent-lit roads marked by the heavy dew of mystery and slow-to-develop intrigue. Delayed secrets are now only coming to light. The setting sun is the glorious backdrop as The Epiphanies coasts along a deserted road, its dark road-trip music glinting like the lightless, metallic chrome of the car’s body. A pack of coyotes come out to play, and further down the road some lusty, post-jazz musings at a local bar hint at dark dislocations. Nothing is right – the neon sign is too bright and things are a little off-kilter. Reality slips slowly away, like water through the fingers, drained as if from the last bottle of whiskey, until it can’t be grasped at any longer.
The sick, cloying perfume of cigarette smoke hangs in the air like a tired apparition. The lingering, too-wide smile of a cute bartender with a string of strange tattoos along her back and an old episode of Tiny Toon Adventures (circa 1990) rather than the latest game from the NHL graces the television’s pulpit, adding to the subtle sense of dislocation, and the music only gets darker, its dying light duelling with the fading sunset. The headlights are a lonely splash of colour at two in the morning, and as the music enters the long hours a velvet-smooth carpet of asphalt spreads out before the listener, the unfolding ambient textures helping to shape a smooth, virgin-pure road.
Dark wet trees and swaying branches are illuminated as the car drives through an eerie, sleeping town, with nothing but a slumping, somnambulant piano strolling up and down the dark, leaf-strewn sidewalk. Distant notes seem to croon into the space, somehow filtering in through the dead radio that needed replacing months ago, luring you into its monochromatic musical world.
You are the first visitor. You are also the last. There isn’t any other traffic…”
A long-awaited collection of Jon Wozencroft’s photography, accompanied by a 33-track CD of exclusive music from Mika Vainio, Wire, CM von Hausswolff, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, Claire M Singer, Hildur Gudnadottir, Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, ELEH, Russell Haswell, Heitor Alvelos, Johann Johannsson, Mark Van Hoen, Fennesz, Sohrab, Jim O'Rourke, BJ Nilsen, Peter Rehberg, Oren Ambarchi and more. After more than 35 years defining the intersection of sound, art and design in the modern avant-garde, Movements elegantly maintains Touch’s impeccable reputation.
“In a 24/7 world there is no greater challenge than “to be in command of one’s own time”. Is it true that the ability to download anything, at any moment, constitutes freedom? Has the ‘value’ of music, art and design been stripped bare? “I Google, therefore I am”...
Touch MOVEMENTS has been compiled over the course of 3 years. It is a response to many requests for Touch to publish a fuller account of Jon Wozencroft’s photography for the cover art of the project. The book follows the music, which was compiled step-by-step, like a jigsaw – there was not an “open call” to the artists, rather a sequential development which gives the CD a special narrative quality. And since our last Touch 30 compilation in 2012, the accuracy of the music has grown and rises to the challenge of what sound can do to transform perceptions about the immediate emotion of musical work and its more difficult, longer term evolution.
Following Touch Folio 001 in 2015, this series is a dedication to finding new ways of audiovisual publishing, somewhere between the twin peaks of a jewel-cased CD and a lavish box-set. The two elements of sound and the visual work in parallel to create the idea of an “Ear-book”, whose interdependency reveals itself over time, and allows the richest of listening and viewing experiences. The music and the photography is fully annotated, alongside a rarely-seen manifesto by the Surrealist film-maker Jan Švankmajer which celebrates the spirit of the creative act.”
Amazing collection of Disco Music released in the 80s (1980-84) on the Nigerian label Duomo Music Ltd. and reissued here for the first time.
"The late 70s, the thrust of mainstream music had changed from the indigenous highlife to a more international funky disco sound. Keyboards and drum machines were the key components of the new sound, and this shift in style saw Bunny Mack, Chris Okotie, Christy Essien and Jide Obi replace Osita Osadebe and the Oriental Brothers on the charts. It was in this effervescent climate that Duomo Sounds Ltd was established by Mr Humphrey Aniakor, a business man with no prior investment in the industry.
It was simply the in-thing for a young monied businessman at the time. The name suggested European sophistication, modernity and a little abstraction. D U O M O Sounds, the kids loved it. The first release was Bassey Black’s “Someone to love” (DSL 001) which sold over a 100,000 copies, a big hit at the time. The success of the album attracted several artists the most influential of which was Mike Umoh. He aimed for the pop market with accessible, funky arrangements, however his affinity for funk and disco has made him a reference for collectors worldwide. His LP entitled, “Honey, Honey” (DSL 002) was the label’s second release and his most successful album and he also produced the labels 19th release, Bindiga’s, “No More Starvation” (DSL 019), an afro-boogie funk masterpiece. The album in its original format is very sought after by collectors and djs and changes hands for huge sums. Its been described by many as cosmic funk at its finest. Christy Ogbah´s disco soul/highlife records on Duomo are also very highly sought after. This new Livingstone Studio release presents the best of Duomo Sounds Ltd. for the first time.”
Reissued just after the 30th anniversary of its cinema and LP release, Angelo Badalamenti’s classic soundtrack for David Lynch’s surreal small town crime thriller Blue Velvet is now placed back in circulation via Fire Records.
All the hallmarks of Badalamenti and Lynch’s soundtracks are here, from orchestral string arrangements such as the magisterial Mysteries of Love [Instrumental] and Julee Cruise’s sylvan synth version, thru to Isabella Rossellini’s smoky blues cover in Blue Velvet/Blue Star - Montage and ’50s/’60s influences from Roy Orbison and Bill Dogett, with a choice piece of surreal Lynch/Badalamenti collage in Lumberton U.S.A./Going Down To Lincoln - Sound Effects Suite to boot.
Jezus the Julee Cruise piece is just golden...