The cult compilation primer on Dungeon Rap is mercifully available again via the underground ruff riders at Manchester’s Natural Sciences after the 2nd hand prices just went silly - will fly out, quick hands!
“Making moves out of Ukraine, DJ Sacred is the project of Alex Yatsun. An ex Doomshop Records affiliate whose debut release "Introduction to Dungeon Rap" on Natural Sciences ushers in a new movement in underground hip-hop with a sound pulled from war time machinery, rituals and ancient runes.
Split across three different aliases, and a host of collaborations (including MC Holocaust, Rita Keen & Devilish Trio), the record draws on the sounds of Norwegian black ambient, DJ Sound, Immortal Lowlifes and old school dungeon synth. Anti-establishment campaigns which are morphed and screwed into a sixteen track record that spans lo-slung hip hop, doom electronics and nightmare breaks. It's the sound of a new tormented world. A guttural vision of social media decay, celebrity status and virtual simulations. An introduction to the new wave of darkness.”
Kali Malone shares the rehearsal tapes for what became ‘The Sacrificial Code’ - our AOTY 2019 - with her quiet brainstorm of elemental expression in ’Studies for Organ’ .
Self-released earlier in 2020 and now impossible to find, this new edition of the ’Studies for Organ’ tape should sate fiends and provide a captivating glimpse behind the curtain of Kali’s lowkey//weighty pipe organ music. In Kali’s own words, the six works were recorded as “a form of note taking during the compositional process, not thinking of the recording as a final form but as a documentation of an evolving practice” and as such they feel looser than the precisely chiselled body of work they informed, tending to float in lolling transitions between notes with a slow burning, real time, stream-of-consciousness brilliance.
Kali explains she was “Fascinated by the transmutability of the musical material” that was captured during these formative sessions, whose richness of minimalist ornamentation and introspective expression would lend itself to be scored for other organs and instruments. But here it’s left uncut and wide open, overlapping in elegant mid-air geometries and with the sounds of buttons and keys gently punctuating the radiant stillness of her style in a way that was absent from the subsequent album’s more austere results. Trust Kali’s work here will turn whatever space it’s received in, into a resonant chamber for reflection.
One for lovers of the Conet project, Jim Haynes with a set of often bizarre shortwave recordings including Soviet-era Buzzer signals, a Romanian language lesson, Morse code transmission, a WWCR / Alex Jones broadcast, Radio Damascus and a conspiracy theorist speaking about fluoride and water fluorination. Totally our kinda shit.
"I acquired my first shortwave radio back in 1998 or 1999. Living in San Francisco at that time, I found a wealth of signals being broadcast from across the Pacific towards the US. This was before cellphones became ubiquitous, so the radio spectrum was relatively free of interference, even living in a city. I quickly found that when I got out of any urban environment, I could receive more signals and with better clarity. So with every opportunity for travel, I took a shortwave. By 2000, I had upgraded by then to a smaller Grundig portable with a wind-up antenna and a MiniDisc recorder in tow. I held out acquiring a flash-drive digital recorded until the summer of 2012, with the technology of the MiniDisc already obsolete by then. This collection represents some of the more interesting finds from that collection of MiniDisc recordings." –
Jim Haynes, Northern California, 19 August 2020.
Many hours were spent surfing the airwaves, with often surprising results...
"No synths were used during the making of this album. The mysteries of the ether continue to enthral and provide. venoztks is one of the original founders of The Tapeworm."
To Rococo Rot’s Robert Lippok delivers an album of new material recorded over a 10 day period for our Documenting Sound series in Berlin this spring, a sprawling 70 minute/13 track excursion into some of the most wildly affecting and uncontrolled brilliance we’ve heard from him in years.
On ‘Zehn Tage Im April’ the revered producer, composer and visual artist reflects the surreality of 10 days during the first lockdown, when he observed that the city was “empty like back in the 90s”, but nature continued its perennial cycle unabated. We’ve long been fascinated by the melancholic nuance and meditative space of Lippok's music, and his work here duly pays testament to his almost peerless, dreamlike feel for musical dramaturgy, intuitively incorporating talents as a set designer and visual artist to arrange an immersively descriptive but elusive suite that reflects the magic of Berlin as the seasons change, but with an added frisson of intangible oddness.
For quite a controlled musician, Lippok for once didn’t force the creative process here, instead preferring to amass a kind of sketch book of ideas that mirrored his wandering ear and mind. The results were then ripped and shaped into these 13 tracks, spanning over an hour of lucid-dreaming field recording manipulations such as the hyperreal 9 mins of ‘Nordbahnhof Havel Lyra Cycle’, angular prang outs like the benched but lush ‘Kick2test’, and gritty chromatic techno pulsers such as ‘Nacht’, before really sprawling out in two durational works that feel like he’s mapping a deep topographical trip between the city’s U-Bahn stations and patchwork of blossoming parks surrounded by construction sites and a sferic maze of psychic energies.
Washed & screwed ambient lushness by someone going under the name Romance, distilling reference points ranging from Tarkovsky soundtracks to the emotional grandiosity of Whitney Houston & Celine Dion smudged into something like Burial and The Caretaker’s hauntological ephemera for a session of pillow-kissing nostalgia. If yr into 0PN’s Eccojams, The Caretaker, Pinkcourtesyphone or The Disintegration Loops, don’t miss this.
We can tell you absolutely nada about the artist - whoever he or she may be - but what we can tell you is that ‘You Must remember This’ offers a slow-burning session smearing traces of new age pop ballads and amorous Hollywood nuggets into half an hour of faded glamour. The style is patently redolent of Pinkcourtesyphone’s L.A. noir sensuality or the elusive good times elegance of The Caretaker, evoking atmospheres and altered states of consciousness with a soothing, emotive tactility carefully minded of our wyrd new world.
The set is split into two languorous dream sequences that slip time from its moorings; windswept strings signal a cineaste’s ear at work from the outset, luring listeners into a balmy twilight world aglow with ‘80s fantasy FM synth pads and given to bouts of syrupy screwed soul like one of 0PN’s Eccojams.
At its gauziest point in the 2nd half, the music’s silvery iridescence can’t help but remind us of Basinski’s decayed tape ambience, but the vibe is more palpably pulpy, like one of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s 500% slower edits of pop classics crafted as personal sleep aids; a purpose for which this tape is surely destined.
Tape Loop Orchestra’s live set at The Talleyrand, Levenshulme, becomes the 3rd release on Stockport’s Open Tapes following examples by label head Jack Lever and artist John Powell-Jones
As it happens, we were lucky enough to be in attendance for this show - one of the last we witnessed before lockdown - but it feels like a lifetime ago. That’s partly due to the brain foggy quality of TLO’s music, which reveals itself in slow strokes of whistling moorland ambience, feathered guitar tones and sparse daubs of classical soprano across the 44 minute course of ‘Liminal Live.’
Tape Loop Orchestra’s subtle power totally shushed the room for the duration, with only background chatter noise from the bar, and perhaps a few cars trundling down the A6, to distract from TLO’s trance-inducing nuance and skinprickle textures. Listening to it now it reminds us the all too rare effect of being one in a crowd, but totally in your own space, allowing the figure at the front to coax out and suggest slowly fleeting trains of thought. It still works on that level in your own space, though, with Andrew Hargreaves’ balance of pre-prepared material and improvisational wits allowing for the random factor of warbling tape fidelities in a way that may reveal extra layers and spirits in the mix to anyone willing to pay closer attention and not get distracted by the need to top up your glass. Heck you can even smoke a jazz-fag while doing so in your own space and not feel like a low-key criminal, if the mood takes you.
Proper doomed "Brexit gush" sonic detritus from Discrepant boss Gonçalo F Cardoso and Alex Jones (not that one). Sound collage, drones and industrial waste - what more do you want?
Gonçalo F Cardoso might be prolific, but the Discrepant and Sucata Tapes figurehead is so reliable it's actually hard to keep up. This latest jammer finds him again teaming up with Alex Jones to splice together bizarre news recordings, piano loops, field recordings and radio static, overlaying the sort of pitch-black synth drones you'd expect to hear on a Hospital Productions tape (5 copies only).
It's somehow just anxious enough to make perfect sense in these isolated times. Described by the label as "Brexit gush", we're not 100% sure what that means but we agree wholeheartedly. Fans of decaying ferric noise and industrial private press bizzniss should pay attention.
Multidisciplinary NYC artist Gavilán Rayna Russom launches her own label Voluminous Arts, dedicated to highlight electronic and experimental artists whose work challenges fixed categories of genre and categorization.
"Her aim is to create a platform for multidisciplinary work and events. The inaugural release being her second solo album as Gavilán Rayna Russom 'Secret Passage', following up last years 'The Envoy, an homage to the East Side Rail Tunnel in Providence, Rhode Island, and the friendships she made there."
After releasing one of the year’s most remarkable records with ‘iki', Japanese pipe-organ builder and sound artist Yosuke Fujita returns with this remarkable 40 minute contribution to our Documenting Sound series, recorded in a cave at the foot of Mt. Fuji and featuring his custom-built pipe organ in duet with a colony of bats indigenous to the area. It’s a beautiful, quietly extraordinary trip.
Traditional Japanese gagaku, the slow and elegant form of classical court music extant since the 7th century, is once again at the heart of this material, but this time in a modulated, interwoven tapestry with what Fujita calls the "inaudible sounds” of nature around him. ‘KŌMORI.’ Named after the Japanese word for bats, revolves around three long pieces, including one for organ and bats, an organ solo, and one created solely from bat calls, all neatly captured using a Sunken CO-100K microphone capable of recording up to 100kHz, and therefore able to net the bats’ ultrasonic echolocation tekkers.
Furthering Fujiiiiiiiiiiita’s fascinations with sounds on the threshold of perception, in the first piece he presents a duet for organ and bats, tones turn to near silence, and then a strobing attack on the senses, while the 2nd part features organ solo around plaintively enchanting motifs, and the third, perhaps most moving part, commits 15 mins of totally otherworldly bat sounds ready to be deciphered by the keenest ears.
For anyone who copped ‘Iki,’ this will no doubt be a buy-on-sight item, and for everyone else, welcome to a world of utterly enthralling, surprising new sounds.
"I'm always looking for new sounds. That desire is at the heart of my life, so it remained the same in the turbulence of the coronavirus. And, I’m also looking for inaudible sounds, so it's natural for me to focus on the bat's echolocation.
Bats were the source of the viruses causing Ebola, rabies, Nipah and Hendra virus infections, Marburg virus disease, and strains of Influenza A virus. Interestingly, coronaviruses and bats are locked in an evolutionary arms race in which the viruses are constantly evolving to evade the bat immune system and bats are evolving to withstand infections from coronaviruses. My music also has to evolve."
CS + Kreme follow their incredible ’Snoopy’ for TTT with this epic 3-hour double-mixtape of myriad folk, ambient and deep techno - a joyous, spirited, heart-grabbing mix covering everything we wanna hear right now. But u already know it’s gonna be ridiculous…right?
If you don’t know by now, the Melbourne duo’s debut album ’Snoopy’ is a clear contender for AOTY 2020 - one of the most sublime, affective LPs we’ve heard in years - so their Reel Torque session is required listening for anyone seeking to learn more about the influences and tastes that make up the CS+Kreme microcosm.
They previously supplied their patrons at TTT with a mixtape in 2018, and this one doubles down on the length and vibes, taking an extended walkabout between Indonesian folk, lysergic techno visions, a face-freezing cover of Yazoo, Japanese tabla music, ambient dembow, seminal AI and totally otherworldly gems that will have keener heads scrambling for the IDs.
Take it on trust this one is a real no brainer, plotting escape routes into the life-affirming wilds of ancient and modern traditions in a way that allows for myriad voices to harmoniously coexist, and with a real knack for unpredictable but cogent turns of phrase that keep us rapt from start to finish.
Unreal début from French musician, artist, writer and dramaturge, Oï les Ox; basically one of the craftiest albums we’ve heard all of this damned 2020 - riddled with melodic ohrwurms - a massive RIYL Trevor Duncan’s La Jetée soundtrack to the most enigmatic oddities from Broadcast to Julia Holter, Teresa Winter to Nozomu Matsumoto and Rian Treanor’s disruptive rhythms.
Oï les Ox is the stage name of Aude Van Wyller, and ‘Crooner qui coole sous les clous’ (translation: A crooner that sinks under nails) is a sci-fi opera about an anonymous civilian consumer and a totalitarian governor who forces people to dance to broadcasts of strange pop ballads and mutant electronics. The hour-long, four part album revolves a libretto written by the Brussels-based artist in her native French, and performed in shapeshifting guises, all set to incredibly crystalline yet mercurial synth arrangements and truly devilish drum programming. It encompasses nods to everything from coldwave to chamber music, æther folk, chanson and synth-pop in thee most beguiling style, all woven together by a spellbinding vocal presence and needlepoint arps that patently place her music in a déjà entendu-familiar, but exceedingly rare, other dimension.
Across its four parts, field recordings elide with original synthesis and multiple vocal personas to spell out a flux of fleeting emotions with breathtaking subtlety and sensuality. Each part contains an album’s worth of ideas, persistently altering the scenery, lighting and style with inimitable deftness between passages of puckered songcraft, sound collage, and dance music abstraction that betrays a shockingly keen reading and transmutation of classic and contemporary vernacular into a singular, cinematic/operatic whole.
Just as the rave gods commanded exeunt the dance at the start of 2020, ’Crooner qui coole sous les clous’ arrived to us like a dream demo, quickly becoming a go-to album that totally absorbed and distracted from the needling ambient anxieties outside. By the time summer came around, though, the album weirdly recalled the trauma of first lockdown too palpably, and we genuinely couldn’t listen to it any more. However with autumn’s 2nd lockdown, and a renewed optimism, we had better come to terms with isolation, and the hypnotic, inquisitive nature and elusive beauty of Oï les Ox’s music, and her captivating story-telling now finds its place in the world as a life-affirming expression of modern eeriness that’s dead hard to shake once experienced.
The final volume of Jamaican 1950s/60s doo-wop and R&B excavated by London's Death is not the End imprint to shine a light an an often overlooked period of the island's rich musical history.
Back in the 1950s and 60s, before the rise of ska, rocksteady and reggae, Jamaican soundsystems were desperate for home-grown records to challenge the rising popularity of US R&B and soul that was taking the island by storm. London's Death is not the End label has assembled an impressive selection of records from this era, as local performers (some, like Alton Ellis, Derrick Morgan and Derrick Harriott who would go on to have long careers) cut doo-wop and R&B tracks to rival those coming from across the water.
This third selection of tracks is another porthole into an era that's often skipped. It provides historical context for what would come next, but it's also a charming, dusty selection of lilting romance that's almost impossible not to love. It highlights a time when Jamaica's independent industry - one whose global influence is still impressively outsized - was in its infancy, and while the sounds are familiar near-pastiches of American songs of the era, there's plenty to enjoy here.
Killer tape from YPY, group A, Kohhei Matsuda(Bo Ningen), Kenichi Iwasa + Tot Onyx(group A).
"Group A's charity compilation series "NO Recording" spotlights on over 1000 unreleased tracks, improv sessions and random recordings from our past. In order to act fast to emergency campaigns, fundraisings and people who are in need of help, the strict "no additional recordings" rule is set and instead we challenge ourselves to cook with what we have in our fridge. Rough edges and unfinishedness are left partially unintentionally; most of the demos and jam sessions were recorded direct to stereo, hence the mixing is limited, and partially intentionally as a part of the process of chance operations (we also just like it rough). This method allows us to break our own preconceptions and discover new comprehensions.
Vol.2 features YPY(goat), Kohhei Matsuda(Bo Ningen), Kenichi Iwasa, Tot Onyx(group A) and group A. This time all of us naturally took a more bricolage way of composing, which gave us a lot of new inspirations and comprehensions. It's going to be limited to 150 cassettes with hand-made covers (incl. digital DL code). This release celebrates 75years anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing and we will donate all the proceeds to ICAN, The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
About "NO Recording"
We started this charity compilation series this year in order to keep donating to communities in need of help, while we ourselves are having a financially difficult time due to the cancelation of tours and shows. We don't have money to spare but instead plenty of time. Vol.1 was self-released digitally on our Bandcamp page on Juneteenth, all the proceeds were/are donated to NAACP. Vol.1"
Lo-fi gabber-pop from Glasgow/London’s Moe Moede - think PC Music’s rambunctous wee sister
“New Gorbals Gabber is monstrous and glorious. Informed by goblinzed cave dwelling nu metal aesthetics, cheap ‘n’ nasty instrumentation but above all, peeking like an elvin proboscis around the corner of your mind, is an unstoppable knack for hooks that elevates these compositions to channels for new planes of ecstasy.
Mostly performed live using an Electribe sampler/sequencer with synths, New Gorbals Gabber feels like a live recording at the rave in the final circle of Dante’s Inferno. How much fun does that sound? We’re talking Lucifer’s Manumission, Hanger 666. Meade-as-Neptune is an impish presence, Jekyll and Hyding from dirt-eating goblin to glacial pop supernova Number 1 Angel. Revolution’s bass riff and obscure crowd samples build with a arpeggiated bass synth that swirls around the Hardcore beat, threatening a Bloody Fist-style production yet staying within a dub sound world, heavy delays fading out into the first Pop moment. Twizt introduces Lady Neptune’s vocal processing technique and an unashamed, massive trance synth riff that reeks of foam parties and festivals no one pays into. It falls into Number 1, which borrows from PC Music tropes for a breakneck treatise on self-confidence. It feels deceptively simple, but the music is so intuitive and perfectly executed – mostly honed by playing parties and raves around Glasgow, the drops tease and fall off, it’s just so relentless. Relentlessly, unstoppably, powerfully fun.”
Sheffield’s industrial music legends returns with a first album in 25 years, shaking up a classic style that has come to influence countless others, from Regis and Powell, to NIN and Mark Fell, since the band first emerged in the late ’70s
Cabaret Voltaire now revolves sole surviving member, Richard H. Kirk, but mostly sound just like they did in their ’80s heyday, mixing agitprop samples with cranky mechanical grooves and sparky synths in a sulky SoYo style they have exported to record collections across the globe. You probably already know they’ve become a byword for this sort of music, and ’Shadow of Fear’ is definitive Cab’s, like.
RHK’s longheld latin kinks come out to play in the cyberpunk soirée opener, and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge)’ shows the hordes of drum machine/synth wielding scuzzers how to do it. With a level of sort of psycho-dub sorcery that’s become RHK’s signature, he properly get his hands in there and twists structures like an avant metalsmith or mad scientist, creating strange temporal distance in the ruptured breaks of ‘Microscopic Flesh Fragment’, and panel-beating out 10 mins of factory line disco in ‘Universal Energy’, plus some dodgy Goan techno in ‘Vasto’, and a throwback to Cab’s (and his own) influence over early acid house in the cuboid bass and chattering bleeps of ’Night of the Jackal.’
Pivotal computer musician Calum Gunn cogitates on information overload with patently expressive and diverse results scraped from his HD and parsed into hyper techno screwballs and playful aeorganisms
“By intervening on different strands of work—mostly small experiments that were filling up his hard disks in considerable amount—Berlin based computer musician Calum Gunn experiments here with what psychologist Barry Schwartz coined as the ‘Paradox of Choice’ effect: the dramatic explosion in choice and information have become so increasingly extended, biased and complex—from the mundane to the profound—to paradoxically turn into a problem rather then a solution, and lead to greater anxiety, indecision and dissatisfaction.
Instead of the "blank slate" problem, Gunn’s challenging take is quite the opposite: how to fit a large amount of pieces together to form a cohesive whole and keep many different combinations of sounds and textures in focus, avoiding decision-making paralysis. Whether it’s algoritmic destruction (LOCUS, TWELVES), synthesis techniques (ASSUMPTION, WALL OF FULL-STACKS) or awkward electro rhythms and future-dark-ambient-dub-ish sounds (INVARIANT, OFFSHOOT, SOLVED PROBLES XII) Gunn manages to glue his big-data-archive via a ‘sympathetic filter’. He works on common elements and physical properties of sounds, coagulating and enhancing unnatural timbres and weird architectures into an enthusing organic whole by playing with sound processing, effects and his signature coding steroids—techno-angel’s share for the ‘big picture’…”
Formed in Chicago in 2009, Apiary brought together four of that city's most versatile and prolific musicians: David Daniell (guitar), Steven Hess (drums), Joseph Clayton Mills (electronics), and Jason Stein (bass clarinet). Together, Apiary interwove disparate strands of Chicago's improvised music community, seamlessly incorporating their influences—ranging from jazz to minimalism to noise—into a whole that was dense and hypnotic.
"Having developed a reputation for the intensity of their live performances, Apiary entered the studio in the spring of 2010 in an attempt to document their unique sound. These recordings, uncovered and revisited a decade later, have lost none of their power or immediacy. If anything, the intervening years provide a sense of perspective and insight into how vital Apiary's music—grounded in collaboration and possibility—remains. Apiary was reworked and brought to completion in 2020; it provides a fascinating window into a crucial moment in Chicago's musical history, one that still vibrates with startling urgency."
Recorded earlier this year in Kingston, Jamaica by Jordan “Time Cow” Chung of Equiknoxx fame, "Live Prog Dancehall From Home” features two heavyweight, long-haul sessions totalling 45 minutes of deep and tripped-out psychedelic dancehall science. It’s properly heady and forward gear from a producer who usually deploys his wares in short, sharp bursts, here essentially making the most of time standing still with a long-form study of continuous forward motion and abstracted, slow motion gyrations. aye.
Jordan is a part of the engine/makeup of Equiknoxx’s weirdest, tightest productions so is already well versed in throwing the wildest shapes in the dance, but here he takes an inward turn with an opening that could just about work as a fractal/sunrise trance arp intro, before glyding into a steppers formation. Trust that from here on in it develops into whirling gear of the highest calibre, something like an extended Villalobos-does-dembow session.
On the flip; a more upfront and angular energy - an 18 minute trip into clipped jacking body movements, like the most engrossing Equiknoxx heater stretched into oblivion, with slowly eviscerated, simmering pads fading to nothing...
“The last few months have been a blur. My headphones are broken, my earphones have a short, i’m in just my underpants on the couch pretty much all the time and it’s very hot. I do however occasionally visit construction sites, livestock farms and the hills. Mr. Kat asked me to document my sound from this time period. Since I’ve been doing next to nothing music related, and uncertain about what live performances might look like in the near future I decided to create two of my own. The higher tempo track I used Maschine for the backbone and the lower tempo Track I used TRK-01. Both tracks also use Komplete. Hope that was insightful, nerds. Play them loud and have sex to them.” Time Cow, 2020
Trinovantes is a new collaboration between old friends Franz Kirmann and Stuart Bowditch, who originally met in 2007 at the Multivitamins events in Shoreditch.
"The body of work on Hidden Codes employs a new approach. Songs by metal bands were interpreted by algorithmic functions into MIDI. The extracted data was then edited and played through a variety of software and synthesisers to generate warm, ambient layers that, whilst removed from the original songs, retains a sentiment of the original ideas. The layers were then arranged and further processed to form new pieces."
Intriguing suite of 1920-30s recordings sung in Finnglish - Finnish/English - by an émigré to America, playing up to his fellow workers when he was secretly a republican…
“Hiski Salomaa began his life in 1891 in Kangasniemi in the Southern Savonia region of Finland, emigrating to the USA after the death of his mother in 1909 - travelling via Hanko, to Hull, Liverpool, Ellis Island, Manhattan, and finally to a Finnish American community in the South Range of Michigan.
After taking to writing and performing songs as a young boy, Salomaa saw a demand amongst the growing Finnish immigrant set for music performed in their own language, and indeed in the Finnglish dialect common at the time. With his unique vocal, he told stories of immigrant life and society which resonated with his intended audience, particularly in the shadow of the labour movement that had strong support in immigrant worker communities. Through the mid 1920s through to early part of the 1930s Salomaa became a popular attraction at the Finnish Worker's House in Manhattan, and would cut these 18 sides for Columbia during this period, though his recording career seems to have been stymied by the great recession. By the end of the 1930s he had moved to New York, where he ran a bar, where he enjoyed the company of Finnish-American carpenters and railway men, and entertained them with a song once in a while. He died in New York in 1957.
The recordings Salomaa made for Columbia found favour in Finland toward the end of World War II after being picked up by left-wing athlete (and later singer and actor) Tapio Rautavaara for airplay on Maaselä Front Radio, and later gained attention on Finland's national radio YLE. This enigmatic Finnish American performer would come to be adopted into some hearts as the country's answer to Woody Guthrie, and became somewhat of a talisman for the Finnish left.
However, it has been uncovered in Markku Salomaa's recent book on the life of Hiski that this ideal is somewhat far from the real truth. Despite having once apparently been an IWW member (indeed the IWW commissioned the title-track of this collection, Vapauden Kaiho), a picture emerges of Salomaa having merely been playing to the views of his crowd - and taking the corresponding cheque - without holding those views himself. Worse still, it's alleged that he was a card-carrying republican.
Still, hopefully you will enjoy these recordings nevertheless!”
Birmingham’s legendary master of darkness Justin K Broadrick unleashes a tranche of demonic techno doom from his JK Flesh archive
Hospital Productions are being coy with the dates, simply calling them “older tracks”, but the material is grained with a detectably old skool vintage in that cold, brittle, but shatterproof style of Brum’s best, from Regis, Surgeon and Female to Mick Harris and that.
Conjuring the illest tension between dissociated drone atmospheres, skin-crawling textures, and primitivist urgency, they’re all strapped up and ready to boot off in a dark room with your mates, or by yourself for that matter, delivering some right brain rotting bludgeonry in ‘Two Dimensional’ and ‘Dissociation’, plus proper rictus coffin-door-jackers gear with ‘Is This Me’, and the doomcore skullduggery of ‘The Body Is Not Real’.
Dark and heavy nutters; you know what to do.
Magnum opus-weight album from organist and electro-acoustic composer Anna von Hausswolff, the entire record consists of just one instrument - the pipe organ, and represents absolute liberation of the imagination. It's a masterwork of gothic classical beauty - a must check for fans of Kali Malone, Kara-Lis Coverdale.
‘All Thoughts Fly’ was recorded at Gothenburg’s Örgryte New Church and is heavily infused with the space’s atmospheric nuance, which renders the theatric richness of Anna’s compositions at their most billowing and melodramatic. As her 6th album, it’s also her most confident and strikingly original, following the slow steady procession of her sides for Kning Disk, Touch and City Slang with her most sepulchral and steepled refinement of black metal atmospheres and sacred dirges pronounced with an apocalyptic classical grandeur and iconoclastic experimental daring.
“Notes on the recording process: The organ on All Thoughts Fly is situated in Gothenburg and is a Swedish replica of the Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. It is the largest organ tuned in Quarter-comma meantone temperament in the world. With it’s four manuals, one pedal and 54 stops, it was built as part of a ten-year research project reconstructing 17th Century North German organ building craft. The tuning temperament is an important detail to note here, as it deeply affects the sound and tuning, and thus radically changed the process of creating this album. Anna speaks of a pleasant surprise during recording, the organ's ability to create beautiful "pitching" notes through its stops and air supply system. She remarks “We took advantage of this so most of the pitching sounds and notes that you hear on the album comes from the mechanics of this organ, effects made entirely acoustically." The organ was recorded with two room mics for atmosphere and two pairs of close mics placed inside the organ to capture nuances and detail for further organ sound processing by Filip Leyman in his studio.”
DJ Plead switches gears for a more infectious, slow and deadly percussive whirl on this killer 40 minute session for our Documenting Sound series, mostly recorded on a Yamaha ‘Oriental’ keyboard and inspired by the likes of CS + Kreme’s ’Snoopy’ album and Felix Hall’s dancehall mixtapes. Proper spacious, all-tension-no-release gear from one of the best in the game.
Recorded and sent from his home in Sydney, ‘Relentless Trills’ sees Jarred Beeler aka DJ Plead dismantling his much-loved hard drum club style. Dropping the tempo and conserving energy levels across a suite of smoky, tense works, he matches the waviest microtonal vamps with the signature, rhythmelodic lilt of his drums in a properly hypnotic style.
Equally influenced by vintage dancehall riddims and the inspirational glow of CS + Kreme's psycho-ambient heartmelters, the results sound to our ears like an offshoot of Mutamassik releases for DJ/Rupture’s Soot, or Shackleton slowed to a hash-smoking drift and heading on a Mahraganat tip. A hazy introductory piece of autotuned vocals and digital bass prodding seduces from the front, with the vibe spilling out into deep, spaced-out dancehall pressure with deliriously strong works almost nodding to Timbaland and The Neptunes in ‘RT5’, closing on a mesmerising beatless highlight in ‘RT6’ to seal the deal.
Parisian nutter, Emma DJ knuckles out 13 gristly chunks of mutant dance and gurning industrial electronics somewhere between DJ David Goblin and Low Jack on a cranky batch for Brother From Different Mothers
Like their tapes for L.I.E.S. and Collapsing Market, and collabs with VTSS in recent months, expect flavours for all ogreish ravers without a floor to call home right now, trampling around the no-mans-land between frenchtek, rap and dembow beats, and grimy warehouse steppers welding barbed digital glitches and teeth-grinding noise.
Brilliant, baroque midi trippers from Bass Clef on this new one for Slip, highly recommended if yr into owt from Theo Burt to Kara-Lis Coverdale, best we've heard from him yet we reckon!
Ralph Cumbers makes a welcome return to Slip with the sweet drive and unguarded lyricism of 'Orezero': a smiling-through-the tears chaser to 2019's majestic '111 angelic MIDI cascade'. Says Clef:
"'Orezero' is both the prequel and sequel to '111 Angelic MIDI Casacde' in that I'm not sure which ones is Wonderland and which one is through the Looking Glass. So it can stay unresolved as both and neither?
Feels like a strange time to be releasing what might be the most joyous Bass Clef record. Certainly 'One Tree Island' and 'Heavy Lifting Light Wave' are two cuts of happiness, but the kind of happiness that acknowledges and incorporates all the unhappiness that came along the way. Other tracks are a more rarefied kind of joy I guess, I find myself stripping back layers on these tracks to an extent I never would have dreamed was possible for me.
These tracks were recorded in 2019 over quite some time, although each track itself takes no more than 3-4 hours and are recorded live. Editing clears the clutter to reveal the intent, not always obvious at the time of recording. I was pushing myself, again, to focus on harmony, and melody, the two things I think I am worst at, rather than returning to rhythm and texture, the playgrounds I always felt most comfortable in.
Instrument restrictions helped as always – most of the sounds heard are from two ROMplers, much-loathed relics of pre-computer music, loaded with largely un-tweakable samples of acoustic instruments, samples you have heard on a billion records, but hopefully stacked in new combinations this time around. Backed up with Microkorg, a resolutely and extremely popular, yet deeply uncool, digital synthesizer.
The tracks here were originally intended for two different records (maybe that's why the prequel/sequel feeling persists) but thanks to excellent old school A&R in the form of an evolving conversation with Laurie from Slip, together we eventually uncovered one record that I think manages to weave all these threads together. I hope it will bring some smiles to some people.”
Mor Elian dives into ambient techno waters under her new Alloy Sea alias, with a gorgeous 50 minute session constructed over a year and finalised during lockdown. Strong recommendation if yr into owt from classic Chain Reaction/Din vibes to Shackleton’s sprawling knew age bass experiments.
The first release on Syn Syn, a sublabel of Fever AM, ‘Petrichor’ sees Elian read the room’s need for more sensual pads and looser rhythms across a sumptuous suite of submerged depth-charge basses, systolic thrums and sky-limning synth dynamics that bring her sound design skills to the fore, and out to the peripheries.
In four parts split between two tape sides, ‘Petrichor’ flows seamlessly in long sections like a mixtape, radiating from the start like some meeting of Hallucinator and Jay Glass Dubs, and spinning out into nimble but woozy ambient steppers rhythms a la Vladislav Delay, before puckering into more crystalline new age electronics reminiscent of Selten Erdene, and sprawling out into imaginative ambient techno interzones strewn with alien, Arca-esque choral pads in acres of synthesised room.
File under knew-age dance simulacra.
Dreamy doo-wop and swaying R&B from Jamaica, scanning the roots of what would become ska and rocksteady with early appearances from Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, and Alton Ellis
“A collection of Jamaican doo wop & R&B records taken from the late 50s and early 60s. These records represent a period in which soundsystems were just starting to dominate the island, with Duke Reid and Sir Coxsone stepping up their rivalry by beginning to make and release their own records rather than rely on US imports for use in their dances. Many of these records are definitely more-or-less imitations of the American records, as the uniquely Jamaican ska sound was yet to take hold - however many of the future stars of ska, rocksteady and reggae were beginning to cut their teeth in the industry on these records, incl. Jimmy Cliff, Derrick Harriott, Alton Ellis and more, and they provide a unique view into the fledgling independent record industry culture in Jamaica that would prove to be unbelievably prolific and unparalleled for an island of it's size.”
A 12 track album, an hour in length, recorded in the space of a week and - for our money - one of the most inspiring things we've heard this year, an intimate fever dream made real, a summoning of rich and complex spirits that reminds us of Dean Blunt x Hype Williams, Paris Texas, Ulla (who plays saxophone on two tracks under the Foamy alias), Grouper, Laurel Halo...
Beloved for her tapes and LPs with everyone from sferic to TTT and Motion Ward, as well as her role running Radio.syg.ma, Perila's productions and curatorial work have been central to the emergence of a new ambient rhizome in Berlin in recent years. The hushed but fractious patchwork of 12 cuts 'Everything Is Already There' speaks to the lowkey breadth and sensuous subtleties of her style, embracing opiated shoegaze, queasy concréte, and blushing ambient soul in a waking-daydream of a session that revels in the pleasures of locating and nourishing one's inner life.
'Everything Is Already There' arrives not long since Perila's action in Critical Amnesia's 'ambient supergroup' with her pals, Exael, Huerco S., Ol, VTGNike, and uon, and contains some of the most developed, free and textured work in her small but precious catalogue. She emerges like a ragged spirit from the viscous tronics of 'Time Swamp', and shapeshifts from urgent street-corner poetry in 'Pocket Full Of Nothing' to take in damaged ambient blues recalling Loren Connors on 'Riot In A Cornfield', with her descriptive sensitivities in lushest, illusive effect on the likes of 'On A Roof' and the gauzy aerial drift of 'Reality Scan'
Stunning, stunning album.
Marc Richter turns Twitter’s infinite scroll of lockdown horrors and mindfarts into a sort of concrète mixtape collage mixed up with reworked materials and unauthorised edits.
Ahead of his next LP, entitled ‘Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens’, this 44’ suite captures the uncanniness of 2020 lockdown, when Black To Comm was metaphorically “paralyzed just like everyone else”, and would often turn to Twitter for a source of info and other people attempting to assuage their miseries.
Captured snippets of “people playing their instruments at home (in *their* kitchens), anti-vaxxer car demos, people shouting & swearing at each other in streets & supermarkets” thus become raw materials for Richter to pebbledash his noumenal canvas, colliding fragments of unfinished projects and older recordings in convulsive gobs cranked out quickly and unfussily, veering from bouts of sore jazz discord to fleeting new age synth promise and scenes of aggy, needling frustration and even Arca-esque alien hymns.
Yeah, proper good this.
Motorik, kosmiche bleeps and alien dissonance from Shapes, the solo project of Phantom Horse’s Niklas Dommaschk, landing somewhere in orbit of Felix Kubin and Harmonious Thelonious
“As one half of Phantom Horse, his long-serving electronic duo with Ulf Schütte, Niklas Dommaschk co-produces beautifully muted, Kraut-inspired jams that seem to soundtrack fictitious TV ads for wondrous imaginary household appliances, e.g. a calmly efficient, if slightly unsettling kitchen robot with an integrated lava lamp feature.
In contrast, Shapes cuts tracks down to size – nothing here is longer than five-and-a-half minutes. Also, Dommaschk has turned up the treble, the prominence of the higher frequency spectrum adding bite and menace to these deceptively simple synth polyrhythms.
Whereas opening track “Benzin” (German for “Petrol”) manages to conjure the paradoxical image of something or someone meandering with urgency, “Einzeller” (German for “single-celled organism”) channels a John-Carpenter-style pulse, complete with horror sound effects. “Interference” is a truly effective representation of the term, with piercing, but quiet tinnitus frequencies set above a beat as sparse as it is crunchy. “Two Stones”, by contrast, offers a kind of robotic wistfulness whereas closing piece “Energies of the mind” fizzes out like a jumble of toy keyboards attempting to score a science programme - and failing, but instead revealing some much grander emotional truth.
This is the sound of breaking some kind of inner lockdown, of turning inwards and then projecting parts of murky inner shadows outward, as well-defined and sometimes lurid shapes, individually clear, but still in the process of becoming organized into a complete whole. The unfinished is what excites us the most. May the shapes never find their slot in the jigsaw puzzle.”
Key neo-ambient label Motion Ward invite Russia’s Air Krew for an absorbingly gauzy, dreamy album bound with bittersweet new age and experimental electronic energies - think The Durutti Column, Jefre Cantu-Ledsma, Emeralds, early 0PN and Soviet cinema music...
Air Crew is a collaboration between St.Petersburg/Moscow’s Sergey Podluzhniy, Lena Tsibizova and Piper Spray, who make their fully fledged debut here after tape comp turns with wannamarchi.club and Athens’ Radio.syg.ma. While couched in shoegazy terms, there’s also clear influence from classical chamber music and cold kosmiche synth to their romantically sore style on ‘Discuss and come back’, which oscillates between styles, often subliminally so in the course of a single track.
Soused in tape fuzz and swirling harmonic richness from front to back, you can really feel the touch of multiple, familiar hands coming together in a way that feels absent from solo recordings and nourishes other needs, like when they vibe out on the opiated dream-pop of ‘Second Heart Failure’ and the bleached lushness of ‘Without Pastoral’, while the cold DMT blast of ‘Dictionary’ and chilly chamber strokes of ‘Thank you for a fish’ burble with a human quality, and they prove crafty off-dancefloor smarts like a zonked Andy Stott in the gyring stepper ‘Types of crickets’, and floppy brittle bones swoon to ‘Sorry but I still love this track’.
Lakker run their ‘Época’ album thru a barrage of filters and studio sorcery for a dank, chopped and screwed dub version.
Vulturing on their bones and gristle of their last album, the duo worked at Chris “Kamkaze Space Programme” Jarman’s Soundcraft Spirit ‘Studio’ 24-8-6 mixing console to reclaim and regurgitate ‘Época’ and the carrion of their extensive catalogue in a slower style nodding to DJ Screw via Mica Levi and Demdike Stare with grungey, cinematic results.
The hour long mixtape tape renders a lesser-heard side of Lakker, going hands-on-the-desk for an immersive testament to their live remixing and manacled sound design chops. Original elements are torn apart, restructured and rearranged into a maze of classic delays and FX, forking from darkside synth pressure to gutted electro-acoustic spaces and concrete rhythm that sets into petrified feedback by journey's end.
Unmissable introduction to Portmore, Jamaica’s G Sudden, riding hard and sweet on warped dancehall and soca rhythms supplied by Seekersinternational, sent in cooperation between the reliably rooted-but-fwd Duppy Gun Productions and London’s Bokeh Versions
The latest in DGP’s series of recordings pairing vocalists from the island with under-cover and far flung producers is a sterling example of their hybrid experiments and strongly tipped to fans of the crackshot Sikka Rhymes set or ‘I Jahbar & Friends’ soundclash from 2019, and anything blessed by Seekersinternational for that matter.
With vocals recorded at DPG’s studio in Spanish town, G Sudden is ideally placed in production settings by Manila/Canada’s Seekersinternational, who temper their more cut-up tendencies to roll out a mix of vibrant, deep fwd rhythms unafraid to switch up the dance, running a deftly heavy sound between the Equiknoxx-meets-Prince styles of ’Skin Get Bun’, a jukin’ soca killer in ‘Gran a Day’, and what sounds like a psychedelic Digital Mystikz on ‘Tings Hard Dub’.
Includes one solo track by each artist and one collaboration track, as well as two new collaborative edits of salford electronics 'deconstruction' track.
NYC >> Salford connections back in effect on this half hour collaborative session. Head straight for "We Have Come To Bring Rain (Summer Solstice Terror)” a stylistic swerve which is basically the closest Dominick Fernow has come to channelling T++, all tumbling, staccato rhythms that remind us of those killer Dynamo 12”s on Din - properly strong gear.
"Armed Police Guard Revellers At Stonehenge” is more downbeat and moody - a sort of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement via John Carpenter night terror vibe, while the closing two versions of ‘Deconstruction’ are peak time rollers, classic Vatican Shadow style.
Pete Swanson and Gabe Saloman prize Duh Yellow Swans druggily zonked 2003 release from the YS archive for a spit and polish remastering job revealing its itchy mix of drone, BM vocals, and needling drum machines.
Originally dished up on CDr by Collective Jyrk, the 17 year old material of ‘Duh Yellow Swans’ is future-proofed by its amorphous, outlandish nature which stood out from the milieu back then as it does now. The first side is a must-check for any listeners who've been snagged on the solo works of Wolf Eyes’ Nate Young or Aaron Dillowway over the years, offering a grotty development of washed-out drone wheeze and jangling guitars that increasingly bristle and growl, until the addition of sizzling drum machine and throaty BM vocals take it somewhere else entirely, like some grizzled pre-echo of mad screamo-rap fusions to come. The other cut is given more to weathered noise and clattering railroad rhythms, with sleeting shards of white hot distortion and skeletal percussive clacks building in intensity before locking into a nad-crunching swagger.
The Yellow Swans reissue drive continues apace with their throttled 2003 throwndown as Detestifi Yellow Swans given the remastered treatment for 2020 and posterity
Landing in the wake of vital reissues for ‘Going Places’ and its ‘Being There’ bonus disc, this one drags up their 2003 Collective Jyrk session for the hairiest heads, dispensing severely warped alloys of psych-noise, wild American hardcore, and pummelling rhythms with a pineal squeezing force.
The first side is some of the most zonked and turbulent cosmic chaos this side of Pat Murano’s Decimus jags, letting it all hang out in glorious gangly and frazzled form hingeing around nagging machine pulses for the first half, before slipping into more zonked, eyes-in-back-of-head psych modes. Flipside they attack with a filthy squelch, doing a sort of mad scuzz with a genuinely mind-unravelling quality and infectiously grotty motion, then splintering off perpendicular into shattering hi-end squeal and caustic licks that take the skin off it, we tell ya..
“Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” says guitarist / vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about ‘Atlas Vending’, the fourth full length album by Toronto’s Metz. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”
"The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early ‘90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat and the noisy riffing of AmRep’s quintessential guitar manglers but there was never a moment where Metz sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth. If anything, the sonic trajectory of their albums captured the journey of a band shedding influences and digging deeper into their fundamental core - steady propulsive drums, chest-thumping basslines, bloodyfingered guitar riffs, the howling angst of our fading innocence.
With ‘Atlas Vending’, Metz not only continues to push their music into new territories of dynamics, crooked melodies and sweat-drenched rhythms, they explore the theme of growing up and maturing within a format typically suspended in youth. Covering seemingly disparate themes such as paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to leave everything behind, each of Atlas Vending’s ten songs offer a snapshot of today’s modern condition and together form a musical and narrative whole. The song sequencing follows a cradleto- grave trajectory, spanning from primitive origins through increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys all the way to the climactic closer, ‘A Boat to Drown In’. The lyrics speak to this arc as well, with the songs addressing life’s struggles all the way through to death, as Edkins snarls “crashed through the pearly gates and opened up my eyes, I can see it now” before the band launches into the album’s cascading outro.
While past Metz albums thrived on an abrasive relentlessness, the trio embarked on ‘Atlas Vending’ with the goal to make a more patient and honest record - something that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating bludgeonings. It’s as if the band realized they were in it for the long haul and their music could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. The result is a record that sounds massive, articulate and earnest. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Metz deliver the most dynamic, dimensional and compelling work of their career."
A crushing testament to the might of Yellow Swans resurfaces in their 2020 reissue campaign, newly remastered and ready to hug your head like a xenomorph. RIYL Wolf Eyes, Astral Social Club, Decimus.
Straccato drum machines and whelming walls of noise define the six tracks, each drawn from releases with Scratch and Sniff, Hung Like A Horse?!, and Collective Jyrk, and tiled together into a crushing portrait of Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman’s legendary noise duo. Expect swampy swells of noise driven by brittle percussion and muscular bass, prone to morph into jagged post-techno steppers and pounding tramples.
"Titles and artwork always had a lot of work to do: they had to both be open enough and specific enough to matter. With titles we decided early on to just leave it blank or “untitled” if we didn’t have a name for the track. Why force it? I tended towards the melodramatic, while Pete preferred subtle poetics. I could usually persuade Pete to go with a more over-the-top title if it was an interesting enough reference to music or literature. In the case of this record, a reference to the Talking Heads cleared this hurtle, but it also felt like the right title for a “Live” album recorded in the same moment as the revelations around Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre, the devastation of Fallujah. How do you make art or perform when this shit is happening? I wanted this record to be remembered as a document of trying to make art about freedom while breaking from the patriotic hegemony and general complacency of that moment. “
A crushing testament to the refusnik noise might of Yellow Swans resurfaces in their 2020 reissue campaign, newly remastered and ready to hug your head like a xenomorph. RIYL Wolf Eyes, Decimus, Prurient
Slowly banking, whelming walls of noise define the six tracks, framing a crushing portrait of Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman’s legendary noise duo at their claw-handed best. Expect dense thickets of distortion pitted with distant vocals for a heavily body-gurning and phosphorus-burn impact that brilliantly doesn’t know when to let up. Ideal for beckoning the neighbours over for a brew/barney.
"Recorded during our second EU tour, our first one was between Neon War and Psychic and this is between psychic and At All Ends, embracing the murk, moving away from beats and towards density. I remember this tour being soundtracked by Sade’s Love Deluxe and just wanting to embrace that slowness and beauty. Which I think gets touched on here, so does some more metal and no-wave tendencies in the guitar playing.”
Pivotal ambient metamorph, Special Guest DJ aka uon distills previously unheard works by his coven of atmospheric imagineers, lending a duvet-diving episode to our Documenting Sound series.
‘Spring / Summer 2020’ was sequenced and recorded at the Berlin apartment of Shy (Special Guest DJ, uon, Ghostride The Drift, Caveman LSD), who, in recent years, has emerged as a crucial catalyst of new ambient music with a string of cherished and influential releases via their Experiences Ltd. label and its xpq? and bblisss offshoots. Their tape draws specifically from this cluster of labels and affiliates, pooling previously unreleased pieces by Perila, Ulla, Ben Bondy, OL, EL2, Nikolay Kozlov, Huerco S., Pontiac Streator, Ophelia xz, Jason Graf, Pascäal, JJ and JS in a bittersweet tape primed to soundtrack depression naps for its duration.
There’s no tracklist to go from, but you can trust that all artists share a mutually meditative vibe throughout. Shy elides their respective gestures into a vaporous dream sequence of drifting harmonic hues, ASMR whispers and temple-rubbing pads, occasionally bumped with offbeat ephemera, and faithfully unfurling with a time-slipping, illusive, and deeply heavy-lidded quality that underlines the scenius of the new Berlin ambient movement. Needless to say you probably know the style, but unless you’ve got access to Special Guest DJ’s HD, this is a must check tape for the growing number of ambient fiends in need of atmospheric therapy.
Class debut batch of warped algorithmic IDM from WEȽ∝KER (Wet Locker), aka Manchester’s Dujat and Joe Beedles, sprouting strange new computerised forms for fans of Æ, Lee Gamble, Kindohm, Sote
Presented by Berlin’s intrepid Conditional as “a voyage into the warm heart of computer music”, following the label’s sympathetically skewed turns from Kindohm and William Fields, WEȽ∝KER’s ‘GULP’ marks a leap forward from what we last heard of Joe Beedles, who appears here to spark off new Manchester artist Dujat in a prism pushing style that wickedly tesseracts with their adventurous labelmates while lending a vital streak of strange, computerised “soul” to their flux.
The 9 tracks make a perfectly oddly proportioned body of work that feels like a semi-artificial organism coming to life over the course of the album. From a polychromatic tonal soup ‘velarized’ is laced with pangs of stringy synth emotion and a bodygurning muscular-skeletal structure, replete with with ligaments and glowing flesh. Crucially a throaty voice emerges that comes to haunt the album as a feral variant in ‘razzi’ and the Autechrian techno of ‘(self titled)Chugg’, while their organism seems to grow in emotional intelligence and complexity with the lusher surges of ‘hinterhioj’, and the schizzy switches between alien BM atmosfear and grizzled rhythms in ‘ATLAMS’, and the IDM-as-hyper jazz fusion bursts that close the album, and surely leave us looking out for their next instalment.
One to watch for all IDM electronica dreamers and earnest futurists, then.
Haunting-but-soothing ambient metaphysics from Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Tape Loop Orchestra), blessing AD93’s Syon series with his barely-there presence on tape - RIYL Stephan Mathieu, William Basinski, The Caretaker/The Stranger
Leading on from a pair of ‘Returning’ volumes as Tape Loop Orchestra, Andrew makes a relatively rarer outing under his own name here, rummaging around his cabinet of curios to patch together acephalic chorales, distant street noise, and thee clammiest layers of spectral drone in his signature style, as he outlines below:
“[Pouring Salt into the Sea is] A reconstructed assembly of sounds that never existed together in actuality. Sounds pulled from the air and placed in juxtaposition - new meanings for old sounds brought together from the air of temporality. Sound is a presence that remains unseen. Recordings built from reproductions of reproductions, to become an object for reproduction, a way to move/envelope time and carry forth an essence of an event (that perhaps never existed).”
The results make a fine follow-up to AD93’s previous ambient suite by Dylan Henner, sharing something of Henner’s dreaminess, but with a more washed out, brooding and crepuscular sort of Moorland atmosphere native to both his music and the likes of Demdike Stare’s recent collab with Jon Collins. If you’re a veteran of these pages you’ll no doubt be familiar with Andrew’s work, and should have no doubts what to do next. But if you’re an ambient noob dipping your tootsies and feeling your way out there, welcome to a whole parallel world unto itself in Andrew Hargreaves music.
Immersive sleepwalker dance trax to work you like a ghostly marionette, drifting off the desk of cult NYC figure J. Albert via Illinois’ Forgot Imprint
Albert’s patented style of spectral, serpentine breakbeat chicanery is in superb effect right here, pursuing the tail-chasing breaks and heavily blunted atmosphere of his ‘Pre Formal Audio’ 12” into four elusive new flexes. His syncopation of cascading subs, starscream stabs and scything 2-step breaks in ’Starship Bibble Kush’ is right up there with his best, while the frothed greyscale soul of ‘Bubbly’ could easily be mistaken for an early Actress joint, and ‘Grip’ shows off a lush mastery of gutted dub dynamics he shares with likes of Jay Glass Dubs or Topdown Dialectic.
From their lockdown ‘hood to yours, Bookworms, Félicia Atkinson, Space Afrika, CV & JAB, JD Emmanuel, Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, Roberto Carlos Lange, Sugai Ken, Ka Baird and many more offer room for reflection with a highly empathetic set indebted to Ernest Hood’s spellbinding 1970’s proto-ambient album ‘Neighbourhoods’.
The curatorial antenna of Freedom To Spend’s Pete Swanson & Jed Bindeman glow bright on this set, which takes Ernest Hood’s early mesh of drowsy, everyday field recordings and gauzy synths as the jump-off for a project spanning continents and which comes to highlight a mutuality between far-flung spirits that transcends time, space and place. Looking in every direction for contributors, the collected results most beautifully resonate with the everyday but dreamy qualities of Hood’s original work and make a damn fine set for the times in their own right.
It’s crammed with notable inclusions so we’ll get right into it. Fresh from issuing a standout mixtape Space Afrika yield a superb, Burial-esque collage of pads and fractal crackles woven with traces of the duo’s current homes in Europe, while new age synth pioneer JD Emmanuel gifts a rare archival excursion with the richly evocative scenes of ’Shenandoah, Texas’, and you can trust Dolphins Into The Future guy Lievens Martens to relay the uncanniness of his home in Belgium via ‘Five Elements, Five Repetitions’.
Félicia Atkinson can be counted on for theee most sanguine scenario of keys and hushed street noise in ‘The Willow’, and Bookworms supply an absolute killer with some of the strangest, most detuned AFXian keys and under-the-porch feels with ‘Fluctuations In Temperature’, while Todd Barton tends to the subtlest transitions between spaces in the David Toop-esque enigma of ‘Ashland Ambience’.
All proceeds from the first edition of this collection will benefit the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, a coalition of community groups across New York City using research, advocacy, and grassroots to build equity and justice in their neighborhoods and citywide. ANHD’s mission supports lower income and working-class communities by developing affordable housing, an essential effort during the COVID-19 pandemic, where low-income, BIPOC communities have been hit the hardest. Member organizations of ANHD have provided 80,000 units to this date, and homes for almost 100,000 people.
Formed by Swiss post-metal veterans from Knut and Abraham, strom|morts' goal is to compose music inspired by their Alpine environment and its weather, which glides over impassive mountains, evolving with the seasons. Such a landscape encourages deep listening – minimalist musics whose subtle evolutions reveal themselves over several minutes, disturbing the perception of time passing or even provoking, through deep and sustained concentration, a meditative state.
"strom|morts write: "Clock Resistance is all about time and chaos, reflecting the behaviour of nature around us, embodying the cycles of life and death. The sinister yin yang of strom|morts symbolising the source and the end of everything we have known so far. Two drones were composed as an embodiment of this concept. This record was mainly made with modular synths for their flexibility, but you can hear here and there the ghost of a Moog Voyager. One drone is totally synced, the other one is free. One side's got a guitar, the other one is synths only. Achieving symmetry, the two drones have the same timing." –strom|morts, Conthey, Switzerland, 19 May 2020.
Lucy Railton renders a sublimely haunting impression of Berlin made in early Spring 2020 for our Documenting Sound series of sonic postcards from all corners of the globe.
Essentially a recording of a world-renowned cellist duetting with the S-Bahn outside her apartment in Prenzlauer Berg, ‘5 S-Bahn’ utterly steals our hearts in the simplest, most evocative way. Playing with, thru, and against the atmosphere of Berlin in spring during lockdown, Railton captures scenes that feel timelessly nostalgic but also uncannily eerie, taking a reading of the city’s pulse that may feel at once familiar yet surreal and latent, pregnant with an unresolved and restless quietude.
Across the 41 minute work Railton describes the slow daily arc of life under lockdown in a usually bustling Berlin slowed to stasis. Quite brilliantly, her voice and her musical gestures become fleeting ephemeral presences as much as the birdsong, passing trains, planes overheard, and the gorgeous church bells of P’Berg, which all unfold and recede in languorous turns. It reminds us of the exquisite, seemingly effortless location recordings used in Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ - ambient sound in the truest sense of the word; suggestive of life just outside our field of view; close - and out of reach.
Lucy’s esteemed ear for ghostly haptics serves to search out an underlying poetry in the ubiquitous and everyday, highlighting the serene yet dread-filled uncanniness of a usually bustling Berlin awakening from winter into the torpor of lockdown.
Original isolationist Lasse Marhaug assumes his natural disposition in an incredible, dread-filled snapshot of life recorded April 1st and dialled in from Oslo for our Documenting Sound series.
A behemoth in the Norwegian Metal, noise, jazz, electronic and experimental scenes for nearly 30 years, Marhaug is something of a polymath - appearing and collaborating with countless artists (Sunn O))), Carlos Giffoni, Merzbow, Maja Ratkje, John Wiese and many, many others), he’s a highly sought-after producer with credits on records by Jenny Hval, Hilary Woods and Okkyung Lee, as well as a photographer, visual artist, writer, magazine publisher - basically he’s done - and is doing - it all.
Lasse was born and raised above the Arctic Circle and made his name up there via the international mail-order scene before moving to Oslo, so he clearly knows a thing or two about life communicating from under virtual lockdown or isolation. His tape here documents an hour of music recorded on April 1st 2020 (and later deftly edited) that provides a glimpse of just how deep his talent runs, using a stripped down set-up of guitar, turntable and synths in much the same grizzled and intuitive way that’s practically unchanged from his formative, teen-aged days in the cold, cold north.
Lasse’s free-ranging taste for raw, crumbling noise textures and scowling drone scuzz is in strong effect on four skull scraping and apocalypse-baiting works. Whether describing huge glacial events and a lack of Vitamin D in the noisy transition of ‘Exiles’, or more sensitively evoking a sense of ambient sehsucht recalling Kevin Drumm’s classic ‘Imperial Distortion’ on ‘Family', or plainly baiting the apocalypse with the magisterial string drones of ‘Perfect Places’, Lasse’s music conjures scowling moods that enact a solidarity for outsiders as much as a frank admission that life’s always been a bit crushing, and we just have to get on with it.
Gabie Strong is the founder of Crystalline Morphologies community imprint, dedicated to releasing experimental sound works by historically underserved Los Angeles women, queer and non-binary artists. She has been working in experimental music since the early 90s.
"The recordings on this cassette document a series of live performances from 2017-2019 in which the Los Angeles artist Gabie Strong asks, "What does the body sound like when it is making its own music?" A hard-of-hearing interdisciplinary artist, Strong asks us to consider that hearing is subjective, based on how the brain translates the reception of sound. Each track documents a performative questioning in which Strong suggests that being deaf is not living in silence, but rather it is navigating a highly complex and nuanced soundscape of noise that is audible only to the deaf body.
For Strong, deafness comes from her own skull working against her, closing off external sounds and sending scrambled messages back to her consciousness. Captured at Ende Tymes 9 Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation, Land and Sea Oakland, Volume at Coaxial and the Sagehen Creek Field Station Experimental Forest, Strong layers the kinetic sound of contact mics running over her body and through her hair, ambiguous vocal utterances and amplified guitar feedback to create a visceral soundscape of her body."
New on Kassem Mosse's Ominira label.
“Hadj Sameer gifts us with sonorous collages that scale up to another dimension while our humble surroundings sprout under the influence of a select array of new-music jazz composition tings. Science & growth, baby. 80 minutes of contemporary & vintage accoustronic selections on pro-dubbed tapes.This project is about the duality in between wild natural jungle (side 1) & and urban jungle or life of a modern human being (side 2)."