Epic 100 minute full-spectrum sprawl from Parisian label Promesses with an all-exclusive tracklisting featuring a broad range of talented weirdos including Slikback, Bearcat, Clara!, Oï les Ox, Brodinski, DJ Elmoe, Ronce and many many more, panning from screwed shoegaze wooze to dayglo dancefloor styles and flipped jungle - trust it’s a lot.
Squaring up longtime label fam beside a ruck of new names, Promesses Vol.2 casts its net over the space between contemporary club music and its experimental peripheries, checking for influence from mutations of prevailing Afro-Latin energies as much as screwball hyper footwork-jungle-IDM, and shapeshifting styles that don’t have a name yet.
Aye there’s a lot to get thru, ranging from the super crafty, diffracted arps and metric fucckery of Oï les Ox on ‘La Maj’ and the icy ricochet of Ronce in ‘My Anger has Roots’, thru to ace spots of shoegaze by eydn, Belgian reggaeton fiend Clara! links with tera Octe on the squirmy bump of ‘Monstrous’ and label regular Apulati Bien can be relied upon for the slippery dembow minimalism of ‘Uso Chulo’ beside more up-for-it variant by Sassyggirl produced by Plvybxy. Slikback slays in duo with Sebastian Forrester on a sweltering congo tekno dancehall tip, and Elmoe chips in a proper vintage-sounding footwork gem in ‘O Mey’.
All over the place, and really f good.
The Howling is a collaborative project started by writer Ken Hollings and sound artist Howlround devoted exclusively to their shared love of text, audiotape and trash aesthetics.
"An intense collision of spoken word and analogue tape effects, the Howling's first performance took place at the Iklectik in September 2019 as part of a special programme to celebrate The Tapeworm's 10th anniversary.
Despite the pandemic, they have managed to continue working and conferring together since then, sharing sound files, texts and mixes online, which has resulted in All Hail Mega Force, their first full-length release for The Tapeworm. The two extended tracks contained on this audiocassette reflect their shared interest in Fluxus and how informal rules and permutations can be set up to work themselves out through loops and repetitions. A straight line connects Terry Riley's tape experiments in Paris from the early 60s with their experimental recordings in the Wimpy Bar on Streatham High Road, one of their favourite meeting places. 'The idea of instant, disposable one-off creations appealed to us a lot at the time,' The Howling explain, 'particularly as both pieces were conceived and developed during different phases of Covid lockdown in the UK.'
The title and source material are derived from the kid's adventure movie MegaForce, starring Barry Bostwik and Michael Beck. Designed to sell a range of Mattel hi-tech action toys, MegaForce tanked at the box office but lives on in the collective consciousness of those who share with The Howling a special love for Trash and Trash Aesthetics.
The two tracks also share similarities in approach and realization.
'All Hail Mega Force' was created by reading combinations of the words 'All Hail Mega Force' into a voice memo recorder, transferring it to tape, cutting the whole thing as a single long loop and then stretching it across three reel-to-reel machines simultaneously, using two pencils and a pint glass full of loose change to try and maintain sufficient playback tension. Over time the loop started to degrade, which accounts for the increasingly slurry and unpredictable playback, plus frequent ruptures caused by the tape becoming jammed and having to be tugged through the machine workings by hand. Twenty-four minutes later and the result was a completed new work and a slight backache.
The text for 'Are You Man Enough For Mega Force?' was recorded live in the Wimpy Bar on Streatham High Road, 28 November 2021. It was cut to tape and looped on 3 December 2021 at Warrior Studios, Loughborough Junction. Dragged by motor and then by hand across two tape machines with copious amounts of closed input feedback provided by a third rushing in to fill the gaps. One take with no effects or overdubs, but one tiny edit in the middle when something fell over."
Midori Hirano embraces the EMS Synthi 100 at Radio Belgrade as her sole tool for generating complex, fractal, experimental ambient geometries in her latest Mimicof album
Like a synthetic chamber work viewed from the wrong end of a telescope, ‘Distant Symphony’ offers a richly peculiar and compelling vehicle for Mimicof’s experimental urges. Subtly contrasting the modern classical sound of her solo work as Midori Hirano, this album follows from her previous work, exclusively using the Buchla analogue modular synth at EMS Stockholm on ‘MNoon Synch’ (2017) with six parts that here delve deep into the classic EMS Synthi at Radio Belgrade, during a 2021 residency.
Arcing between the ripping gnarl that introduces ’Distant Symphony Ia’ to its sumptuous final ascent in ‘Distant Symphony III’ Hirano wrests a remarkable array of tones, timbres and imaginary spaces from her chosen instrument, cycling from the bittersweet and gently unpredictable bleep scree of the opener thru the shatterproof tension and quiescent goop of ‘Distant Symphony Ib’ and ‘Ic’ parts, to a relatively febrile display of pulsating arps with heart-in-mouth effect on ‘Distant Symphony IIa’, and the deep space roil of its part ‘IIb’. There’s a properly skilled hand at work here.
Clara! flashes her club grillz at the behest of Editions Gravats with a properly adroit mixtape diffracting the reggaeton spectrum, from cut-up DJ tools to sexy perreo, rap and raving madness, crammed with blends, edits and loads of her own productions. It’s a properly fluid Hype session - Tipped!
The ‘XXX Tape’ follows two volumes of Clara!’s ‘Reggaetoneras’ mixtapes with a set that speaks more directly to her club DJ tekkerz. The 40 minute session reflects her evolution as a solo artist and preps the way for an upcoming LP collab with Sky H1, produced by Low Jack. While rooted in Clara!’s formative love of reggaeton, stemming from teenage years spent on the beach in her native Spain, the mix shows she isn’t beholden to stylistic dogma, as she proceeds to dice with its DNA and parallels in wild style, running into swung breakcore, dancehall, cumbia, R&B and rap with inch-tight transitions and party-primed swagger.
Clara! reclaims a sense of play from more studious examples of dancehall/reggaeton fetishism, but the selection is also with one eye on the female-voiced and produced productions on the scene, putting her thoughts on “Woman as a subject of desire and not only as an object” into rude action.
If yr into Sangre Nueva (DJ Florentino, Kelman Duran, DJ Python) Arca, Rosa Pistola or Low Jack - this one’s on fire.
Berlin-based artist Alex the Fairy's debut for The Tapeworm.
"Alex The Fairy writes: "I had sent The Tapeworm tracks before, but I was being difficult so was asked to send a new bunch, with a deadline. I sent the new bunch, a fairly odd collection expecting perhaps some of them to be combined with the older stuff but not seeing any coherence in them. I figured The Tapeworm would find at least something. To my surprise the suggestion that came back was exclusively the tracks I had sent the second time, and, re-listening through the tracks in this new order after returning from a Christmas dinner lying on the floor of my nephews bedroom gave them a completely new context. Despite them being quite varied in terms of age (one had been flung together a few days earlier on the train while another was approaching Schulreife) they seemed to meld together in such a way that I hardly recognised them…
Last year my grandmother died. My last grandparent. I had put off seeing her during corona, as I thought it best not to put her at risk and had almost left to visit her days before her death but had delayed my departure because of a medical appointment. My failure to her weighs heavy on my mind - fates grimacing grin: too little, too late. The approaching march of death, one generation closer was a confrontation I wasn't prepared for.
While clearing out her flat in the following weeks I had kept some of my grandfathers cassettes, live recordings of jazz greats, Pink Floyd, Sade and some classical among them, none originals, several presumably from the radio e.g. a church organ rendition of Bach. At the time I wasn't sure why I was hanging on to them, other than the urge to hoard, and that it felt wrong not at least to keep some. Half a year later, half way through mixing this cassette, suffering from my first bout of COVID, I had the insatiable urge to hook up the cassette player I had received from my grandfather after his death around nineteen years earlier and had been dragging along with me since. I stuck a cassette in only to immediately return to the safety of my covers. I began to work my way into what I had saved, hearing the fruits of my grandfathers labour decades before. It felt like quite an intimate interaction with someone I had long lost contact to/was long gone. Quite a wonderful thing, these time traveling cassettes.
I returned to the tracks to mix them shortly before my corona/cassette experience, with a new mixing console at hand. I had been looking for one for several years, but nothing had ever clicked, until I found this old broadcast desk 30 minutes from my place (it also coincided with a payment from a job the sum of which matched the price identically… fates return). Installing became a massive hassle and I doubted my decision continuously, but the further it was implemented the more it made sense. The first track I recorded with the mixer is on this cassette. Shortly before the mixing I was introduced to an Effektgerät by a friend, Rapha. Another good friend Art lent me their one, and I ended up using copious amounts of it throughout mixing, alongside my usual space creators. All the tracks on this release were mixed again on this mixer and are in a sense all a bit of a dub of the originals. I wouldn't have worked this way without the mixer, and the effect gave me a dimension I hadn't had before, so, from a technical perspective, the mixer and this effect define this release, giving it a coherence, at least for me. Emotionally of course the chaos and turbulence of the preceding year and my newfound appreciation for the medium give it a meaning I will struggle to formulate." – Alex The Fairy, Berlin, 9 May 2022"
Spirited melange of kosmische psychedelia, ‘90s chill-out room downbeats, electro-dub and Eurasian folk from Novosibirsk, Siberia’s Misha Sultan, who has since left the country and will donate proceeds from this album to the Ukrainian cause.
“Misha Sultan is a multi-instrumentalist originally from Novosibirsk in the heart of Siberia. His hometown's location, in the hinterlands between Europe and Asia provides a deep well of inspiration for his music.
Hive Mind have been happy to work with Misha to bring you this stunning collection of recordings made between 2015 and 2022 which we hope will serve as a great introduction to Misha's unique sound which appropriates elements of Eurasian folk music, psychedelia, 90's chill-out, breakbeat, dub, and field recording to produce something stunning and singular.
Whilst we were working on this release P*t*n invaded Ukraine and Misha was forced to leave the country quite suddenly. All money from sales of the digital album will go straight to the artist in order to help through this difficult time.”
Cult/anonymous entity Remer Cier follows that super collectable debut for YOUTH with a new tape featuring almost two hours of absorbing, Eastern-facing and complexly interwoven collage pieces with London techno bod and painter Deepart, this time on a self-released tip.
A key figure in contemporary pop who shall remain incognito for now, Remer Cier served one of 2021’s most politicised curveballs with a collaged tapestry of original music and sampled vox from Mia Mottley and Trevor Noah. The follow-up ‘Échange 1-1’ only deepens the project's mystery with two sides of mindfully absorbing improvisation on subcontinental themes, subtly juxtaposed with samples of James Stinson's mother Helen Stinson, Fred Moten, YouTube summaries of Derrida, and Mantha Diawara preaching about Édouard Glissant on The Politics of Relation. Ayyye, it’s another unique proposition to say the least, and one surely destined for the most hard-to-file sections of your tape shelves.
The difference between the first Remer Cier tape and ‘Échange 1-1’ can be attributed to the presence of Deepart, a key London DJ/producer behind the first release on Rush Hour, and co-organiser of the seminal and hugely influential CDR events at Plastic People, where Remer Cier cut their teeth in the early ‘00s. After taking divergent paths over the decades since then, with Deepart graduating from RCA as a painter, and Remer Cier operating behind the curtain of contemporary pop and electronic music, their energies collided a few years ago during 3 days of spirited improv at Beaconsfield Gallery, Vauxhall, to produce this captivating swirl of just-intoned strings, dubbed tabla, and gauzy philosophies.
On the A-side we hear ‘Monolithe’, a single 50 minute improv for dubbed out, psychedelic raga tape loops and nehari-peppery pulses keening along their own timeline. Aesthetic comparisons with Alice Coltrane and Terry Riley are surely warranted as the piece proceeds, but its more fractal nature places it closer to an everywhere-all-at-once now with uncanny effect. It also feels like spiritual prep for the B-side’s series of more reflective, fractured vignettes of silver hazy and rhythmelodic music, underlining a procession of voices from US cultural theorist Moten to Malian polymath Diawara in the most beguiling manner - rewarding many repeat listens.
A genius play on dance music history and semiotics, Jack Callahan’s cult Die Reihe project lands on Demdike Stare’s DDS label with a mad deconstruction of site-specific House classics, backed with a side of properly uncanny distilled crowd noise from a 1996 revival of The Loft clubnight. Mindboggling, conceptual and thought-provoking gear thats highly recommended if yr into Terre Thaemlitz, The Automatics Group, Mark Leckey, Theo Parrish, Stockhausen, Sensate Focus, Sam Kidel, Klein.
Die Reihe has been used as an outlet for Callahan to explore his wildest ideas, examining and abstracting a different musical element on each release. 2019's "106 Kerri Chandler Chords" compiled chords from the house legend's extensive back catalog and arranged them to be replayed by the SEM Ensemble, mutating the concept into a brand new piece of minimalist modern composition; on 2016's "Housed" (released on NNA Tapes), Callahan chopped up 250 house tracks and rebuilt the chords into glitchy plunderphonic epics; before that, he put Lex Luger and Zaytoven drum fills under the microscope on 2015's all-timer "Trap Studies” - an album we’ve rinsed and sampled endlessly since it came out.
'Loft Classics Vol. 1' examines House music from two differing vantage points, zeroing in on the relationship between vocals, memory and crowd interaction. It follows directly from his 2020 release "Karaoke Darmstadt", a suite of "karaoke versions" of mid-20th Century German new music, where Callahan stripped away the vocals from pieces by Luciano Berio, Henri Pousseur and Pierre Boulez. This new tape adopts an inverted route, using the Spleeter source separation library to strip away the music from disco and house classics, leaving just the vocals in place, backed with a synthetic backbone of digital detritus.
The opening track is an interpolation of Bini & Martini's 2000-released Ibiza staple 'Happiness (My Vision is Clear)' that removes the powerful diva vocal from its slippery house backdrop and re-plants it in a juicy bed of filtered SuperCollider bleeps and whirrs. It sets the scene for the rest of the side, as Callahan extends his technique though Brainstorm's 1978 disco belter 'Journey to the Light', Andwella's 1970 single 'Hold On To Your Mind', Level 42's 'Starchild' and Trussel's Fred Wesley-produced 1979 hit 'Love Injection'. For each track, Callahan's process is broadly the same, but the mood of each piece is completely out on its own. According to the liner notes, it's Callahan's way to deconstruct the nature of the "classic" as it pertains to House music - the result reminding us of the way in which Mark Leckey’s 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’ documented a history of dance and rave culture disembodied from the experience itself.
Side B is where things get properly unsettling and thought provoking - a room recording of a short-lived iteration of The Loft on Avenue A in 1996, processed by David Kant in Santa Cruz to remove [almost] “everything but the ecstatic sound of the dancers with special care taken so as not to incriminate anyone.” What remains is the captivating, residual thizz of bacchanalian babble harvested from sweaty bodies and yielding a strangely voyeuristic, displaced PoV on the party, and the inherently hauntological nature of revival night simulacra that have since become ubiquitous. The most intriguing moments are when we can just about perceive the crowd singing along to something that isn't quite there, bringing the first side's experiments into deeper focus.
"Loft Classics Vol.1" isn't so much about the literal aesthetic sound of classic House music, it's about the feeling in the room, the sense of togetherness, the interaction between the DJ and the crowd and the expectation we bring to our own listening. It's a sobering examination of the contemporary nostalgia fetish - and how it's used to limit and diminish progress - and points fun at the concept of cultural churn while simultaneously doing something risky, radical and surprising. It's deconstructed club music for sure, but you won't find any broken bottle sounds inside.
Gabber Eleganza’s Never Sleep hosts this ace 1992 mixtape of acid, dub, ragga, and techno-house by Optimo’s JD Twitch, recorded live at his seminal clubnight, Pure,
Issued in aid of Ukraine, and now sold out at source, ‘Live at Spirits of Jamaica July 1992’ serves a prime slice of nightlife from Edinburgh’s legendary club - notably the first to book Jeff Mills in the UK, and formative to early attendee Kode 9.
The 94 minute mix showcases JD Twitch coming into his own with flawless transitions between dub-inspired deep house, early breakbeat hardcore, E-music and techno during the years of acid house’s nuclear fallout. It’s a pleasure to ride with too, following a fine line of uptempo pressure on the A-side spanning cuts from Bobby Konders thru The Ragga Twins, to melodica-streaked UK soundsystem steppers, while the B-side plays it slower and heavy on the bass, budging between hip hop, digi-dancehall and acid jazz with masterful pressure control.
LYL's Vanishing Points radio show launches their label with a mixtape from Andrea Benedetti which pays homage to the 90's Italian IDM / Techno sound that he helped create.
"Intervallo, selected and mixed by Andrea Benedetti (New Acid Generation) pays homage to the 90's Italian electronic spectrum. Covering from 1993 till the turn of the millennium, the mix covers IDM and electro, exploring obscurities and rarely heard tracks from a sprawling, unique scene.
A key player as a producer, DJ and label owner, Andrea Benedetti was at the helm of Final Frontier, actively involved in the creation of a mass of classic material."
Re-issue of 1987's Sister from Sonic Youth.
"There is no album in the entire corpus of indie rock—not Loveless, not Surfer Rosa, not Psychocandy— that reaches the heights of invention, joy, and magic of Sonic Youth’s sublime fifth album.... The haunted reveries of Sister remain with you for years, even if you only hear them once….
Sister is the sonic manifestation of refracted light. It’s a record that changes you.” Stereogum. One of Sonic Youth’s most beloved albums, 1987’s Sister incorporated the dissonance of their earlier releases into more traditional song structures. It’s an innovative and thrilling work assuredly delivered by a band at the peak of their powers.
Reissued on the band’s Goofin’ imprint."
Berlin-based Alie illustrates selections from the Ashtavakra Gita with a sprawling excursion of narration-infused ambient and pointed club music selections on a fine primer for Enmossed, highly recommended if yr into anything from Perila to Nozomu Matsumoto.
‘Whole’ is Alie’s considered effort in modelling the 2500 year old Ashtavakra Gita, or Song of Ashtavakra, with a signature, broad electronic palette. The 70 minute work sees Alie placing a sumptuous range of textured, spatialized electronics at the service of describing an ancient story for the times. Where the original book is structured around 20 chapters, ‘Whole’ feels to move in as many parts as its arrangement shapeshifts from meditative to gently ecstatic via a first side of sixth sense-guided tones and vocals recalling Nozomu Matsumoto’s text-to-speech works mixed with Perila’s warped sensuality, before the other side elegantly spirals from spongiform new age electro-dub to baggy ambient house swagger and deep space techno in effortlessly fluid form that speaks to their background as a consummate DJ
enmossed boss Glyn Maier blends field recordings and new age passages culled from 1970-1980 cassette tapes on this deep-as-fuck near two hour mix of meditative brilliance. This is how you do it!
Winding up the ENMX series of 19 long-form listening mixtapes, "Environments Mix" captures Maier's dedication to environmental recording as an art form. To assemble his tape, he went back to 1970s/80s field recording series' - like Irv Teibel's "Environments" or Dan Gibson's "Solitudes" - and snatched a bunch of his favorite moments straight from the tapes. Splicing them together, he re-contextualizes the sounds and makes them a little more dense - more listenable - for the mix format, merging choral drones and new age bells with crashing waves and forest ambience. It's a novel idea for a mix, and translates into a deeply engaging couple of hours of music, whether you've heard the source material or not.
"Environments Mix" captures a time period when ambient music and field recording was in its infancy, not only is the material incredibly well recorded (seriously these are some of the best environmental recordings ever made) but they aren't weighed down by expectation, concept or cultural baggage. Maier is presenting them in perhaps their most digestible form, and the mix is an ideal way to remove yerself from the digital world for an hour or two. Meditate if you like, but it's not mandatory.
The third volume in a survey of the modern jazz & hard-bop scenes that emerged in the new cultural melting pot of post war London, with recordings from the end of the 1940s through to the early 1960s.
"Featuring representations from players whose roots lay in the East-End's jewish community alongside a wealth of talent of Caribbean and African descent playing and recording in post war London during this period.
Made in partnership with the Barbican to coincide with the exhibition Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965."
The third studio album by Sonic Youth, originally released in May 1986 on SST Records, shows the first signs that the band was ready to transform their no wave past into a greater alternative rock sensibility.
“EVOL … mark[s] the true departure point of Sonic Youth’s musical evolution,” says Pitchfork, who place the album in the #31 slot of their Top 100 Albums of The 1980s. “In measured increments, Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo … bring form to the formless, tune to the tuneless, and with the help of Steve Shelley’s drums…, [impose] melody and composition on their trademark dissonance.” Stereogum likewise praises the album as one that is “full of suspense…, the cornerstone [of] the Sonic Youth sound…, ground zero for the combination of chiming guitars and atonal skronk… [and] muggy delirium…. The virile ‘Tom Violence’ sounds less written than coaxed from a cauldron, the sort of song that fogs windows. The offkilter [droning love song] ‘Starpower’ … is sung [by Kim Gordon] in a frosty [Nico-evoking] monotone. ‘In The Kingdom #19,’ featuring Mike Watt on bass and … vocals [by Ranaldo]…, is a harrowing story of a highway wreck over a suitably edgy instrumental backing punctuated by … live firecrackers into the vocal booth.”
Hakuna Kulala return with a bit of a curveball on this new wave African modular synth thriller made in Uganda - a groundbreaking debut album hotly tipped to acolytes of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Craig Leon, Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force or Shackleton.
A key node of the East African new skool first introduced via the epic comp, ‘L’Espirit De Nyege 2020’; Brian Bamanya aka Afrorack is the innovative G behind the homebuilt modular synth of the same name - a hand-made array of boxes designed according to schematics available online.
Solving the issue of sourcing expensive kit and giving his machine a singular sound in one stroke, Bamanya's set-up is a huge achievement in itself, but the music is worthy of close attention too, manifesting a restless creative energy in its serpentine polyrhythms and circuit-bent fractals that surely resonate the musical traditions of the region, while also taking them somewhere quite unprecedented.
No doubt the sounds and structures bear some resemblance to Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe's concepts for polyrhythmic modular performance, however they ultimately map a more personalised rhythmelodic topography and tonal palette that reveals and comes into its own sense of physics.
With a canny wink at the well known EuroRack modular synth range, Bamanya’s AfroRack speaks it and its maker’s mind in nine parts that prove an intimate familiarity with the kit’s range, stretching out from the wobbling tones and crisp logdrum-like lilt of ‘Osc’ to arid baromatrix of ‘Desert’ via standout runs of Euclidean polyrhythmic permutation in ‘African Drum Machine’, the electroid muscle of ‘bassPlus’ and ‘Inspired’, or purist tonal flights such as ‘Rev’ and ‘Why Serious’ that can't help but recall Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler via Shackleton and Francis Bebey.
A marvellous achievement of resourcefulness and ingenuity with exemplary, expressive results that will endure in the history books and on shelves for time to come, The Afrorack is another eye-opening moment from Nyege Nyege Tapes’ intriguing Hakuna Kulala flanker.
Sockethead mints his new Poetry label with a barrage of rude x propulsive bezzonked electronics deployed in a frenetic style somewhere on the dial between his spiritual bredren Rat Heart / Michael J Blood, and a sort of freeform ghettotech madness. Anyone on that DIY mcr scene from $hotta to YOUTH to BodyTronixxx needs this!
‘Angels & Snakes’ was captured at the renowned Galeria Zé dos Bois (ZDB) in December ’21, on a bill shared with the Príncipe label bosses. The 50 min set follows a more fractious example of his tekkerz found on Youth’s ‘Auma’ tape with a more rambunctious focus on Tanzanian singeli-styled 200bpm hurtle, before switching to trampling mutant acid and crazed footwork. Trust it’s white-hot crucial listening - and especially so if you’ve been following Sockethead’s trajectory from the wig-flipping ‘Harj-o-Marj’ album thru his ‘True’ collaborations with Michael J. Blood and Rat Heart.
Firing off a reckless volley of insectoid polyrhythms and brutal bass that re-draws the sort of frenetic funk coming from Dar Es Salaam with the added X variable of his unhinged vocal blatz channelling MES, it’s a unique, unhinged sound that’s pretty much impossible to define and perhaps a perfect example of his native Manchester acting as a sort of mad nexus of styles.
Loose and deadly gear from a true outlier - don’t miss it.
Cremation Lily is the project of Zen Zsigo, beginning in 2009 as sample-based ambient music, evolving to incorporate more rock-oriented guitar instrumentation and influence from a wide range of genres such industrial, shoegaze, tape loops, noise, and power electronics.
"Cremation Lily’s “Dreams Drenched in Static” exists at the horizon of consciousness and heavy experimental music. Through the use of frenetic vocal melodies, tape degradation, and guitar noise, the album documents the liminal moments at the edge of sleep, and the distressing thoughts that often accompany late-night R.E.M. disturbances. The lyrics were largely written at three in the morning and serve to evoke the depression and meditations on death that seem to haunt these early hours.
Although rooted in electronic music, Cremation Lily shares similarities with Flenser artists like Planning For Burial and Have a Nice Life, as well as black metal. "Dreams Drenched in Static" is the first Cremation Lily album to rely primarily on guitar and vocal-based contributions, and is the project’s most intentional and developed work to date."
Death is Not the End follow up their fab collection of London jazz with another well-researched collection of sounds, featuring tracks from Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott's Quintet, Dizzy Reece Quintet and more.
Made in partnership with the Barbican as part of their exhibition of postwar art between 1945 and 1965, "I Had the Craziest Dream: Modern Jazz and Hard-Bop in Post War London Vol.2" yet again shines a spotlight on jazz in London and its influx of players from the Caribbean and across Africa.
There are some important names featured here, from English modern jazz sax player Tubby Hayes and notorious bandleader and club owner Ronnie Scott to Jamaican-born tenor saxophonist Wilton Gaynair and Jamaican-born hard bop trumpeter Dizzy Reese. The compilation extends the world mapped out by its predecessor, and while it features plenty of the same names, it helps to illustrate a time period that's often lost in the ether. Post war London was a melting pot of sounds that ended up inspiring decades of innovative music - none of that would have been possible without these early pioneers.
A self-consciously epic, long-in-the-making new project that inexplicably fuses dub techno, grindcore, dreampop and psychedelic hard dance in a way that really shouldn’t work but which ends up completely upending the rulebook in the best way. Somewhere between Rhythm & Sound, Cocteau Twins, Napalm Death and DUMA? Bit special this one.
The Ephemeron Loop is the work of Gretchen Aury of acclaimed xenofeminist duo Guttersnipe, and comes to us as the debut release on a new label called Heat Crimes with deep connections to one of the sickest labels around atm. Gretchen wrote and produced the record over a tumultuous 14 year period, in an attempt to document the complex emotional upheavals she experienced as she began to acclimatise to life as a trans woman. Before transitioning, Aury had found herself gravitating towards dark, noisy music and found solace and community in Leeds' queer rave underground. Reconciling all her interests and emotions was going to be a mountain to climb: balancing shoegaze's shimmering beauty with the charge and aggression of noise metal and a gabber 4/4 pulse was the idea, it was just a case of figuring out how to do it.
It wasn't until 2018 that the finished songs began to take shape; Aury enlisted the help of producer Ross Halden - who she'd worked with on Guttersnipe projects before - and the two attempted to unravel years of Reason and Logic projects. Elevated by psychedelics, Aury wanted to curate a soundtrack that adequately captured her journey. The end result is one of the most unusual and daring records we've come across in a while - long-form songs that don't so much go from a to b as dance around locations like fireflies, flitting between poles as the mood inevitably shifts.
Title track 'Psychonautic Escapism (Cold Alienation)’ displays all this in microcosm, dissolving from screaming noise into throbbing dub techno chords and sweeter-than-sweet Liz Fraser-esque vocals. It's a narrative that parallels Aury's experience, flickering from doom into euphoria and landing in a dreamworld, assisted by MDMA-fuelled trance arpeggios. At the mid-way point (the track is 16-minutes long), Aury's breathy coos turn to screams, and hyperspeed hardstyle kicks roll thru the dub-gaze atmospheres with death-defying ease. 'Lattice Dysmorphism of Lysothymic Oneiroid' is bolder still, splaying cloudy vocals and haunted guitars over a labyrinth of overdriven kicks; Aury's rhythms rarely hover over the same spot for too long, they mimic her life with ADHD, morphing so frequently it's hard to keep up. On repeat listens, these mutations become the rhythm itself, signalling the club experience without fully leaning into dreary dancefloor functionality.
Aury's metal roots are fully bared on 'Trench Through Pink Death', smeared into digital effects and augmented with galvanized kicks. On some level, the guitars are still as harmonic as My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless", but the mood is fused with screeching gothic doom and, eventually, manic grindcore. It's to Aury's credit that she's able to stitch all these sounds together into a patchwork that's not only coherent but increasingly addictive. Her narrative is nakedly biographical, and her process of unpicking the story's consistent elements and re-assembling them into something brand new is as smart and sensual as it is complicated.
They say great art is always at risk of failure - Aury lives completely on the edge here, and her risk is our reward.
Swiss/German guitar duo An Moku & Schmidt wrest an impressive range of textured and resonant tones from their axes, as well as cello, field recordings and electronics, in a bleak one for Karlrecords.
Directly following from 2021’s ‘Raum’, the pair’s ‘Zwischenraum’ returns to a sort of liminal site of investigation for the 2nd of three instalments titled after a line from David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’. Drawing on longheld fascinations with improvisation and experimental soundscaping, Dominik Grenzler aka An Moku lives up to his Japanese moniker, meaning “tacit, unsaid, implicit”, bringing a shadowy, shapeshifting palette to Schmidt’s lifetime of experiments with punk and classical guitar which spill out on their hour of music inside.
Plumbing space somewhere between Fennesz and Rafael Toral, their music is sanguine, star-scanning by nature, focussing the vision from the viscous, cosmic raga whorls of ‘Yama’ to the granular shifts of ‘Sediment’ thru passages of reverberant atonalities and arcing harmonies in ‘Reflection’, to land on properly off world zones in the weightless roil of ‘Capgras Syndrome’, and sumptuous studies in subharmonic drone on ‘Tagundnachtgleiche’, gyring interstellar drama on ‘Rabennaas’, and a gorgeous sort of angelic guitar choral swaddled in softly pealing electronics in ‘Anywhere at the End of Time’.
Los Angeles-based post-beat scene improviser Sam Gendel teams up with 11-year-old vocalist Antonia Cytrynowicz on the quirky "LIVE A LITTLE". Somewhere between dusted electronic jazz and chipmunked showtunes? Very weird.
Gendel began collaborating with Cytrynowicz completely by accident - the younger sister of his partner Marcella, Cytrynowicz impressed Gendel when they were hanging out in her family's back yard and she improvised a song. He recorded it to his phone and later orchestrated it, building a song using his usual assembly of synthesizers, drum machine sounds, guitars, sax, and bass. The process felt so natural that Gendel suggested a session, and "LIVE A LITTLE" was recorded in one afternoon, with Cytrynowicz improvising the lyrics and melodies on the spot at Gendel played beside her.
It's quite impressive listening back that it was even possible, let alone done so quickly - the songs don't sound like sketches and the lyrical content sounds far more complicated than you'd think. Cytrynowicz has no formal training, but comes from a musical family, and while her vocals sound slightly alien - we're guessing there's an amount of processing from Gendel - there's no attempt to cover up her age. "LIVE A LITTLE" is an unusual album, but it fits comfortably into Gendel's catalogue - Cytrynowicz's vocals give his smokey e-jazz sounds a Lynch-via-Disney blur that's impossible to ignore. Worth a listen, for sure.
Corrosive concréte noise fug from Estonian alchemist Mihkel Kleis, who splays ugly close-mic'd vox, horror movie synths and white noise bursts over screwed 'n damaged drum machine malfunctions and hard-edited squeals. Properly spannered material and not for the faint of heart - RIYL John Wiese, Aaron Dilloway, Pharmakon or Lussuria.
It's almost a slur to refer to Ratkiller's music as simply noise, but "Leather Squeaking Softly" is noisy as fuck. The Estonian producer - who moonlights as a museum security guard - adopts the aesthetic of industrial noise music, but augments it with the surrealist blur of sound collage as he haphazardly chops together angular jazz drums, melting ice recordings and filtered analog synth wails. It's like hearing a particularly adept DJ crack their fingers and take some risks on four decks, or like pushing yer head into a room while a band soundchecks, a radio is left on, a fridge is wide open and a CRT TV is flickering in the corner playing VHS tapes endlessly. Kleis describes the tape as a "rare glimpse into visions of being stuck in a whirlpool of forgotten debris and plastic remains, discarded non-recyclable objects and broken hi-fi equipment,".
The first side lurches thru soundscapes with conviction, cut-and-pasting garbled moans over ritual rhythms, and electrified car-crash/glass smash sounds over looped electronic pops and doomed FM drones. This isn't anonymous noise tape meandering: there's a palpable signature to Kleis's dense collages, harnessing the binary crunch of Mego's early catalog and drainpipe groan of a 1980s industrial tape simultaneously. But it's his carnivalesque, mischievous sense of excitement that makes "Leather Squeaking Softly" stand head and shoulders over the litany of noise albums. There's no self-satisfied posturing here, Kleis appears to be having fun challenging our expectations, inserting unanticipated blasts of sound and then removing them just as quickly as they appear
The second side is noticeably more psychedelic than the first, descending deeper into Kleis's sonic volcano with synthesized factory clangs, throaty gurgles, baby screams and tormented music box jangles. If this sounds nightmarish, it definitely is - but Kleis's sense of humor prevents it from feeling self-consciously dark. It's moody music, but produced with an awareness (and unique skill) that ends up fitting more snugly alongside the most delirious Aaron Dilloway jams, or John Wiese's hardcore-influenced concréte inversions. If you listen close enough, there's even a faint air of Fonal records' mystical forest psychedelia. Exactly our kinda shit, basically.
Death is Not the End teams up with folklorist Derek Piotr once more for this bumper archive of North American folk music, this time focusing on every version they could find of the ballad 'Lamkin'. It's a fascinating study that displays how a standard was able to shift and evolve as it moved from person to person over the decades.
The first recording of 'Lamkin' Piotr discovered for this archive was dubbed in 1937 in New Jersey, and featured 93-year-old Lydia Gyderson. Her vocal performance is gloriously imperfect, enhanced by recording artifacts and the room itself, but it sets the pace for a set of versions that enshrines the lore of a song that passed through communities across the USA. Many of these renditions haven't been heard by anyone but the original recordists since they were taped, as they're an archival project rather than an exploration of aesthetic perfection. So on 'Beau Lamkins', we can hear a 1939 recording of 73-year-old Aunt Nancy Prather, who stops to chat and cough between pitchy, muffled verses.
The newest recording was made by Piotr himself last may, and having a contemporary version - sung by 69-year-old Bobby McMillon in North Carolina - gives us at least a reference for the rest of the material. It's a tough proposition to listen to from beginning to end, but an invaluable resource with a fascinating narrative.
Twin Peaks and Melrose Place fiends beware: Lynch protégé Dean Hurley meets the none-more-enigmatic Romance for a spellbinding, scanline-obscured examination of VHS-frazzled post-vapor euphoric melodrama on a feature-length episode resourced from YouTube’s shared memory banks, on a limited edition special.
Since joining forces with David Lynch on 2007’s 'Inland Empire’ as a sound supervisor, Dean Hurley has worked with the cult US director on the majority of his projects, mostr famously as a sound designer on 2017's unforgettable ‘Twin Peaks: The Return'. On his own, Hurley has carved out a niche for a unique brand of burned melancholia that joins the dots between crumbled NYC illbient and stonewashed ambience - as heard on 2020's ace "Concrete Feather". Meanwhile Romance, whoever they, he or she might be, has spent the last few years proving to us that high and low art can exist simultaneously in perfect harmony, most recently sweeping Celine Dion samples into gut-wrenching Tarkovsky-esque mistral forms on the incredible 'Once Upon A Time'.
Together, the duo divine a masterstroke of concept and execution, ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ celebrates the pulpy, melodramatic appeal of daytime soap opera, and its now nostalgic allure, thru a finely smudged lens of rearranged samples from YouTube. Embracing the genre’s curdled glamour and heart-rending tension from temporally displaced, hauntological perspectives, the duo draw on rich online archives as well as personal repositories for a contemporary classic that echoes the groggy air of The Caretaker and Pinkcourtesyphone’s valerian vapours via mistily soft-focussed nods to Angelo Badalamenti and Mark Snow.
Bathed in absorbing soft focus and the faint promise of menace in the air, the 13-part suite drifts scene to scene with a heart-in-mouth quality and flicker of intrigue that evokes the genre’s hyper-melodramatic examinations of moral conflicts, secret relationships, adultery, and familial turmoil amidst the mundane landscape of the domestic interior. Like the work of Hurley’s peer, David Lynch on the original Twin Peaks series, he and Romance wrest a poetry from banal conventions conceived to keep viewers hooked, dangling us by a silvery thread with their gripping yet ephemeral limning of life and death narratives and navigation of nostalgic chicanery.
A smudged masterpiece, no less.
Following instalments by Beatrice Dillon and the Nyege Nyege crew, the MBE series offers us a spectacular two hour set exploring the incredibly rich spectra of Greek folk music >> a joyous ethnomusicological salvo documented by Alyssa Moxley, Ramona Stout, and Stéphane Charpentier, replete with photozine booklet.
Spiritual successor to Beatrice Dillon’s Folkways deep dive, ‘Trance Mediterranea: Ecstatic Greece’ focuses on folk music, popular dances and rituals from Greece, spread over 2 hours of fascinating field and documentary recordings. Casting an observant ear over the Med, relatively close to MBE’s Naples base, the twin tapes offer a guided tour of ancient rituals that are thriving in the modern age, drawing links across aeons that help us understand and mark cultural distance travelled over the ages, identifying a familiar need for hypnotic rhythm and sound to aid humans transcend themselves. It's an unmistakably joyful and spirited celebration of rites rarely heard outside their island locations, and one that speaks to the composite nature of Greek music as a product of its mosaic-like make-up, absorbing traditions from proximal regions in Bulgaria (Thrace), and the Balkans.
Tape 1 features an audio documentary of the Pan-Cycladic Tsabouna Festival in Santorini (2011), alongside field recordings of panigiria / festivals held in honour of regional saints, especially in the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands. Side A features Ramona Stout narrating and in conversation with players of the tsabouna, a member of the bagpipe family that can only play 6 notes, explaining its role in evoking a state of ecstatic trance through sound, and its recent cultural renaissance in Greece, cut with field recordings of its mesmerising tone deployed in situ. Side B focusses on Santorini and the celebration of the pan-cycladic tsabouna festival in Ikaria, plunging listeners into the thick of the celebrations with ecstatic, febrile results that prove these customs are very much still alive this century.
Tape 2 takes listeners on a fire walk, offering documentation of an urban Anastenaria - or fire-walking ritual - in Akademia Platonos, Athens, Greece. Acknowledged as one the oldest rites in continental Europe, with roots in ancient Thrace (modern day Bulgaria), the Anastenaria is practiced by communities from northern Greece and descendants of refugees from the Balkan wars, usually over the course of a three day festival, presented here as an hour of blazing horns and excited chatter that soundtrack processions, icon blessings, animal sacrifices and ecstatic dancing, before culminating in the dancers trampling hot coals, somehow unscathed.
Anyone enchanted by Jay Glass Dubs’ solo gear or work with Wild Terrier Orchestra; Christos Chondropoulos’ AI-augmented revival of microtonal Greek musicks; or the feistiest Sublime Frequencies: will surely be in awe of these tapes. Highest recommendation.
L/F/D/M, aka Richard Smith, makes his debut on Osàre!.
"Gold Like Glass is razor-sharp and elemental, with each track cast from long passages of synth dissected into heavy edits.
According to Smith, this composition process is akin to printmaking, where the ink on a series of images deviates from the original stencil, becoming looser, softer and increasingly ghostly. ‘After Whitney’ is haunted by peak time rave energy; the drums are disembowelled, leaving a rolling climatic melody, utterly euphoric and disorientating. The track is followed by ‘Blood Byze Leech,’ a thunderously jagged affair, and ‘Delicate Push’ that fizzles like an electrified spinning-top, its frozen melodies accompanied by a lolloping beat.
Turning over to the B-side, ‘Plute’ winds its way into dark psychedelia while ‘m-two nine’ descends into the realm of mutant de-accelerated bleep techno.
Combing the ciphers of hardcore, its cruxes and suspense, with the serrated edge of minimal synth EBM, Gold Like Glass presents an alchemical fusion of deeply danceable and cerebral noise."
Another luminous compilation from London's Death is Not the End, this time examining the city's modern jazz and hard-bop scenes from the end of the 1940s until the early '60s.
After the surge of interest interest in British jazz over the last few years, DINTE take us back to the beginnings of the sound. This set was put together alongside the Barbican to coincide with their "Postwar Modern: New Art in Britain 1945-1965" exhibition, and shines a light on London's modern jazz and hard-bop sounds. Cuts from well-known players like East Enders Ronnie Scott and Harry Klein sit alongside Jamaican jazz musicians Joe Harriott and Dizzy Reece, with equally as important cuts from lesser-known proponents like Ginger Johnson and Eddie Thompson.
More than just a history lesson, the set offers us a fascinating and effortlessly enjoyable picture of the British jazz scene in the post-war period.
Strictly bashment and dembow murder from one of the UK’s leading dancehall DJs, throwing down a 90 minute mixtape on Tom Boogizm’s $hotta Tapes, after cultish razzes for The Trilogy Tapes and Cav Empt.
Nowadays also known as CEO of Chrome, the label behind that momentous ‘Now Thing 2’ retrospective, Felix Hall is regularly hailed as one of the key nodes between the UK and upfront sounds from the Caribbean and South America. Never one to blow his own horn, Felix has arrived at this point via obsessive attention to up-to-the-second club movements from Kingston to Medellín, and respect for the artforms therein - as opposed to social media posing - with a celebrated NTS show presenting the freshest rhythmic reportage to keen ears everywhere. However, it’s on his meticulous mixtapes where Felix’ tekkerz really come into focus, drawing for blue-rare cuts flawlessly stitched into a proper education.
Blow for blow, Felix’s $hotta Tapes 015 session is world class heavyweight. The A-side sees him go for the bashment jugular, juggling dancehall’s most upfront iterations in a pyroclastic flow of soundsystem melters, voiced by some of the dance’s biggest gobs and lathered with FX overdubs, and including some absolutely nutty, near-industrialised body music variants that go harder than your life.
Not letting up, on the B-side he fully embraces dancehall’s Caribbean cousin, dembow, bringing baga snares and fast chat to the table with equally on-point skills, only this time a little sexier and slinkier, with gnashing tresillo patterns helmed by hardcore, slamming bass direct from the source that has held heavy sway over club and pop paradigms since the turn of the millennium, and never more so than now.
what a fucking doozy‽‽‽
Sounds of Healing is a pairing of two Spirituals releases, For Those You Love Who Are Tormented or In Pain Pt. 2 and Sounds of Healing In Isolation.
"Both works offer a glimpse into the way Spirituals creates music therapeutically to confront and process tragedy, grief, and loss. While the work spans multiple distinct composition cycles, the combined collection is a captivating 90 minute journey into deeply intimate reflections– from the delicate acoustic harmonics in A New Kind Of Quiet to the ambient stretching electronic tones of Hospital Harpist."
Bristol techno, noise and hardcore supremos SCALPING's debut album “Void”.
"SCALPING are heavy metal in 4D; the sound is moody, distorted and rhythmic, but the use of electronic techniques gives the finer details room to breathe, making more space for experimentation.
Tracks such as “Tether”, featuring Oakland rapper DÆMON, puts a modern, metal twist on Bristolian trip-hop, whereas album closer “Remain in Statis” features fast-rising artist Grove, a Bristol-based rapper and self-professed metalhead whose commanding presence sets the track alight.
In the heat and darkness, it’s a swarm of low-end frequencies and ripping guitars, somewhere between Black Sabbath-esque psychedelica and The Bug’s sub-bass headfuckery. Live, the effect is immense. SCALPING play continuously for the duration of their sets, generating a storm of metal-and-techno through a rising beats-per-minute count."
Karen Dalton's 1971-released second album is given a deluxe 50th-anniversary reissue, freshly remastered with brand new liner notes and a grab-bag of extra material, including previously-unreleased live recordings and alternate takes. A masterpiece, with or without the trimmings.
Oklahoma-born icon Dalton is having a a moment, again. Last year, director Robert Yapkowitz released his documentary feature "Karen Dalton: In My Own Time", and now the the film's namesake is getting a deluxe reissue. Dalton straddled folk, blues, jazz and pop, and influenced so man musicians in our orbit it's hard to keep track. The documentary alone features contributions from Angel Olsen, Julia Holter and Nick Cave, and the reissue's liner notes includes an appearance from superfan Devendra Banhart. Dalton's power lied in her ability to blur genre lines - her distinctive gravelly voice able to embody country, R&B, blues and jazz simultaneously, without pandering to any stereotype.
Half Cherokee and half Irish, Dalton played twelve string guitar and long-neck banjo, and only recorded two albums in her lifetime, despite being a key figure in the 1960s Greenwish village scene and playing alongside luminaries like Tim Hardin and Bob Dylan. She was famously particular about her sound, hating industry involvement in music she felt was personal and important - her debut album "It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best" was only recorded after the producer tricked Dalton into playing, thinking the tape wasn't recording. "In My Own Time" was released two years later and Dalton pushed through her nerves by having her two children, dog and horse bussed in from Oklahoma.
The result was a heartfelt set of songs that, while familiar - 'When a Man Loves a Woman', 'Katie Cruel', 'How Sweet it Is' - sounds completely unique in Dalton's hands. She had a way of making songs her own, not just with that unforgettable vocal turn, but with the unusual arrangements. A traditional song like 'Katie Cruel' had been performed and recorded hundreds of times, but it's Dalton's version that feels like the standard at this point, taking on extra resonance with hindsight. When she sang of being unwelcome in town, wandering alone, it's hard not to think about her tragic death, following years struggling with homelessness, addiction and AIDS. And it was the failure of this album, now rightly regarded as a classic, that helped accelerate her depression and substance problems.
The album's additional material is solid: alternate takes of 'Katie Cruel', 'In My Own Dream' and 'Something on Your Mind' are interesting curios, and the bounty of live material, including a German recording of 'Take Me' and a slew of tracks recorded at the Montreaux Golden Rose Pop Festival in 1971, is engaging. But it's the remastered full album that will floor you. If you've never come across it before, do yerself a favor.
Đ.K. meets downbeat mystic Sabla for a devotional new offering on his fledgling Worship label; a smoky, moonlit, dubbed-out special, like some lost mid 90’s Mo Wax x Chain Reaction collab.
Offering an absorbing switch-up from the musclier ‘Gate of Enlightenment’, Sabla here pulls Đ.K. into a far more furtive parallel dimension where their familiar ingredients of tuned percussion and pads take on a more brooding character, one akin to Sabla’s ace debut LP ‘Music For Melted Floors’ as much as Đ.K.’s more reserved, yet richly atmospheric works for 12th Isle and Good Morning Tapes.
Call it trip hop, illbient, ambient beats, or whatever you like, ‘Totem Society’ is patently built for introspective times and not for club use. Across the six tracks we can isolate residual traces of experimental post punk from the likes of 23 Skidoo and O Yuki Conjugate feeding forward via the squashed beats of DJ Spooky and even Muslimgauze’s more opiated, somnambulant works to limn a place and time out of joint.
The stark gamelan dub of ‘Ocra Flat Lands’ sets shadowy parameters where the drums of ‘Dove’ bounce off the walls to contrast with ‘Bamboo Houses’ style synth progressions, and ‘Nubes Shepherd’ lightens it up a smidge with something like a quasi-speed atmospheric D&B production, before nastier neurotic acid line complicates the feel. The penultimate ‘O’ likewise dials up jazz-fusion influence via Source Direct-on-quaaludes sorta vibe, and ‘A Minute’ beautifully sees it off with more impish synth voices hinting at Coil-esque zones.
Christian Love Forum debut on The Death of Rave with an unmissable suite of microtonal, new jack swing jams and apocryphal synth prayers discovered in a Thessaloniki thrift shop - think Teddy Riley x James Ferraro meets Gurdjieff and Mark Snow during an eclipse.
Enriching the mystery of Christian Love Forum after their cult album ‘Naked Light’ surfaced on the amazing Live Adult Entertainment in late ’21, this bonus tape of 12 crudely mesmerising votives grant a compelling insight to the trio’s mystic working practice in-the-moment. During the months since it manifested, the tape has become our most played and cherished listen in recent memory, conjuring an holistically immersive vibe for the eons with minimalist ingredients of loops and live keyboards maximised with the spirit of God to enduring effect. Ancient-futurist, darkly romantic, and utterly hypnotic, it simply slays every time.
Revolving keybordists Nicolas, Kiro, and Scott, very little is known about the band aside to their Christian names, but their music says all you need to know. Between the pendulous swang and searing organ vamps of its opener, thru its astonishing centrepiece of face freezing microtonal improv ‘Extra 6' drawing parallels with Gurdjieff and Litüüs, to the pair of extended panoramic synth jams on the B-side, CLF blur the sacred and profane with a proper grasp of intrigue, and stuff, that’s all too rare in the contemporary sphere.
Spirit-tested at Manchester’s new book, booze and vinyl portal, Peste, to awed response every time, CLF’s syncretised blend of devotional music with nods to late ’80s/early ‘90s thriller soundtracks, and cybernoir game music, is just untouchable and ineffably effective. Saints, sinners, heathens and heretics will all find something to lock into and send eyes rolling in the back of their skull.
Good Morning Tapes celebrate their 50th release with a suite of rapturous to blissed and meditative new age temple-strokers from Finland’s Simo Hakalisto aka Shakali, highly recommended spiritual/innerzone healers for lovers of anything from Alice Coltrane to Tomoko Sauvage.
Previously found on a short-run tape with Ikuisuus in 2021, the music of Simo Hakalisto aka Shakali is rich with swirling textures and Eastern mysticism, with a smart pre-midi bent. On ‘Aurinkopari’ Simo nimbly deploys a mix of massaged sine waves, hydroponic recordings, and a Javanese gendèr (a type of metallophone used in gamelan ceremonies) at the service of a mesmerising, naturally fractal-not-fractional conception of experimental ambient practice.
Heady but heartfelt, the set proceeds within a remarkably well realised and self-contained system of sound from the lush bloom of the title tune to the pastoral rumination of ‘Rural Aural’. Where the Alice Coltrane-esque opener is reverberantly plush with thrumming bass, cascading plucks and its brooding wind motifs, the following parts dematerialise into a subtler play of the senses, trickling from the metallophonic iridescence of ‘Aja Udu’ to hypnagogic exotica in ‘Ad Astra’ and organic, airborne melody in ‘Aluilla’ with a marked care and empathy for your trip.
Well, fuck what you know about claire rousay & more eaze, as they probe saccharine hyper-pop on a mad but fascinating one, including cameos by How To Dress Well and bloodzboi, for the revered Orange Milk label.
After building a strong rep for messing with lower case ambient and avant-classical convention in recent years, the duo change tack almost entirely to find a sort of skewed honesty in pop music - we’re talking proper melodies and choruses, and lyrics about crushes and the like. Of course, we say they almost entirely switch it up, but there’s still traces of their puckered avant-classical tekkerz in play, placing this surprising new body of work in a light shared by the legendary efforts of Lovely Music Inc., with a style of composition that challenges perceptions of contemporary pop; fiddling with its tropes and finding a peculiar, gurned reflection in the process.
Where there was a groggy magick to their earlier works, these ones are soberly upfront and piquant with melody, offering a glaring focus on the alien weirdness of autotune that dials up comparisons with Rebecca Black via “Blue” Gene Tyranny and Arca. If we’re quite honest, it all makes us feel uncomfortable in the most perplexing way. We’re compelled/repelled in equal measure by the sunny pop-rock pomp of ‘hands’, and find ourselves snagged on the pop R&B ickiness of ‘iphone2’, while ‘camille’ and ‘floor pt2’ fruitily short-circuit naif dance/trap-pop tropes. There’s a clear standout, no matter which way you look at it, in the warped ambient-pop of ‘missed’ ft. relatively straight-played appearance of HTDW and bloodzboi, and it’s not hard to hear claire & more eaze’s classical chamber affectations eliding puckered pop structures in ‘art’.
2022’s earliest and biggest head-scratcher, right here.
Finn gives a full dose of loose-limbed house and UKG rave on his most substantial beat-tape to date.
Leading on from the stunning Iceboy Violet mixtape with his 2 B Real department of Local Action, Finn’s hope springs eternal across nine tracks that simmer, then bring the dance to boiling point, with his classic UKG tekkerz. Without wanting to blow smoke up his ass, few producers in this paradigm have stamped their character on classic UKG quite like Finn, who continues to infuse the template with his own sense of soul (albeit vicariously sampled), rather than so many colouring-book examples from the revival wave. The nine tracks of ‘Everything is Alright’ are a masterclass in how to do it properly, but your own way, with ample deep and up-for-it bangers for ravers of the smartest persuasion.
Joyful, with a side order of melancholy, the vibe is empathetic of the times, toggling his feels from the gentle pill belly lift of his flute loops, organ vamps and mantric vox on the title tune, thru the speed garage welly of ‘Big Raver’ to the woodcut drums and pastoral bliss of ‘Forever Blue’. There’s an ace slice of sub-contoured deep garage house in ‘A.Y.O.Y.O.’ and an electroid Detroit variant in ‘I Don’t Know’, plus deeper burn in the slinky skip of ‘Ere U Are’, and a soul-grabbing elision of Jersey club and northern soul horns in the woozy ace ‘Alright’, saving a very special treat for the chamber -garage elegance of ‘Never Leave’ with its nagging piano refrain and and end-of-night processional flex.
The keenly awaited debut full length from Joy O arrives as a proper friends and family affair, packed with guest co-production and vox by Herron, James Massiah, Bathe, Léa Sen, Goya Gumbani, and many more
Twelve years since his anthemic first single ‘Hyph Mngo’, ‘still slipping vol. 1’ shapes up as a definitive long-player/mixtape with 14 choice cuts that speak to breadth of his tastes and stylistic bonds. Also spirited with a number of voice notes sent from family during lockdown, it offers a vicarious glimpse into the personal world of an artist who has come to define a certain aspect of UK rave over the past decade, exerting a kinds spotless spin on mutations of UKG and sub-bass heavy techno, with shades of D&B-style production. Here he continues and expands that agenda with dips into woozy beatdown and drill alongside signature swangers, finely toggling the London pressure gauge to a modestly homely, home-listening and headphone vibe.
Personalised by the presence of family everywhere from the opener’s sample of his dad, to the cover photo of his aunt Leighann, who introduced Joy O to garage and jungle at a formative age, the results prefer a slow burn intimacy over any raving madness. He keeps everything in-the-pocket and dialled down from Air Max bounce to Hush Puppy hustle from the Reese bass dembow of ‘sparko’ with Herron, to the lissom 2-step of ‘born slipping’, craftily drifting into a D&B lane on ‘layer 6’ and testing out soulful drill style on ‘runnersz’ and the bloozier ‘’rraine.’ But the album is really defined by its vocals, with James Massiah (DJ Escrow ov Babyfather) nimbly dancing around ‘swag’ and Léa Sen lending some Morcheeba vibes to the tech house of ‘better’, with conscious bars by Goya Gumbani on ‘Playground’, each complemented by sprinkled samples of his family giggling and chatting.
Paradigm-shifting percussionist Valentina Magaletti stops time on 'La Tempesta Colorata', a long-form set that rolls thru tempos and time signatures with gymnastic flexibility, offering another spectacular entry to A Colourful Storm’s gravity-defying recent run of releases.
Magaletti is a regular and constant presence on these pages as a member of Moin, Vanishing Twin, Tomaga and CZN, as well as thru endless collabs with everyone from Floating Points to Nicolas Jaar, Jandek to Helm. For our money, though, she's at her most arresting when operating in solo mode. "La Tempesta Colorata" was recorded at Cafe Oto in October 2021and follows her astonishing 2020 solo set "A Queer Anthology of Drums” with a virtuoso performance that never drags for a moment, fluctuating from ASMR scraping to angular post-punk rhythmic pulsewerk.
With a full drum set, a handful of additional small instruments and a delay pedal, Magaletti somehow captures a full spectrum of sound, employing only minor additional elements to flesh out her sound. From the dewdrop swagger of the opening minutes, thru rolling tom-led seismic activity - complete with customary screams - and into echoing industrial dub-improv experimentation, she's able to assemble her rhythms with metronomic accuracy, but with enough space in the gaps to enhance inherent human qualities - a far cry from fully electronic studio productions.
It’s a spellbinding display of polymetric complexities where no two seconds repeat themselves, persistently pulling patterns apart and restitching them in diffractive slow-fast-slow temporalities that arc from showers of cascading hi-hats, to pugilistic breaks, to an unexpected trough of Twin Peaks-y drones around the mid-section, only to climb out of it via icicles of melodic chimes and into more humid areas of her imagination, ultimately shoring up in pitch black Amazonian zones.
If you're into anyone from Autechre to Eli Keszler, Milton Graves to Han Bennink, this one's a mindmelt.
Following essential tapes from DJ Nobu, Vladimir Ivkovic, Andy Mac and Time is Away, A Colourful Storm's mixtape series Fleetway Tapes returns with this undulating hourlong set of mirrored tech-house and dimlite dub atmospheres from Dutch-Turkish producer Konduku.
Leading on from a string of 12”s with Donato Dozzy & Neel’s Spazio Disponibile, Delsin and Nous’klaer Audio, Konduku puts his work into practice on an hour long session of sleek, rolling techno minimalism recalling countless hours of wiggle-jacking in red lit basements and house parties many moons ago (the naughties). Quite specifically it dials into that period before producers started getting weirder or “lo-fi”, prizing a sense of crisp, clean tones and space that made for a more hypnotic dancing experience as he coolly modulates the flow like a pro. The A-side plays it more reserved, subtly toggling between slouchy swang and slightly more offbeat sludge, before the B-side steps up the momentum by degrees with more nagging, trancier motifs and gritty astro-jack tracks.
Wet Leg's self titled debut album.
"After releasing two of the best singles of the year, Wet Leg’s Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers were catapulted from their confines on the Isle of Wight to sold out venues across the UK and packed-out tents at festivals causing giddy excitement wherever they went. Now, the duo are thrilled to unveil their debut album. The album is called ‘Wet Leg’ via Domino.
‘Wet Leg’ was recorded and produced in the main by Speedy Wunderground’s Dan Carey (‘Chaise Longue’ and ‘Angelica’ were produced by Jon McMullen and Josh Mobaraki respectively). The album was mostly recorded in London, in April 2021, meaning they had a finished album before the world had even heard debut single ‘Chaise Longue’ or played live. “I guess how it happened was unconventional,” admits Hester."
Manny’s deadliest soul squad cough up ‘True Volume 2’, unbuckling an hour of killer, spangled vox and greazy beatdown spliced with messed-up, mushied electronics, primed for heads down with anything from Madteo to Kemetrix to Actress to Firewire.
Staggering back out of the echo-chamber/hot box, three of Manchester’s rudest reel off a slanted and enchanted sequence of events with a totally bezonked charm. We can hear aspects of each artist mixed up in the murk - Michael J. Blood’s strange soul, Sockethead’s grubby blooz, Rat Heart’s tattered electronic tekkerz - but crudely harmonised in a wickedly unresolved flux of individual styles that variously firm up in gobs of mutant Memphis rap, wigged-out Detroit beatdown and private press avant-funk slump.
Like the first volume, and, to be fair, everything else that’s emerged from this cult and prolific Manc microcosm in the past few years, the pressure is perfectly modulated to the downstroke, setting a laid-back buoyancy that effortlessly primes the session for all-dayers with the curtains closed or late night smokers basking by moonlight. That’s not to say it hasn’t got rough edges and x amount of crankiness up in its bones, but we could happily imagine letting this one roll on repeat until we run out of Raws.
Metamorphic masterclass from one of the best in the game; Jon K arcing thru grime, dancehall, gqom, footwork, UKG and Afrobeats on a tight-as-fuck 90 min selectors special, one of those that toggles between a ruck of shit you’ll prob never ID alongside heaters you already know, framed out of all recognition.
Recorded for the Club Night Club, NYC crew at the Sugar Hill Supper Club, this one ranks among Jon K’s best, optimised for club consumption but with ample contextual sprawl, gaming the ‘floor with unpredictable transitions between genres, continents, and modes that make absolute zero sense in writing and nothing but sense in the flesh.
You can go whistle for a tracklist, but know that the vibe is euphoric, emotional and highly zonked - from a spiralling booty reconfiguration of moments in love to a sort of looped and screwed Reichian phase action without breaking a sweat.
Basically, if you’ve copped and relished any of Jon K’s mixes for The Trilogy Tapes, $hotta Tapes, Reel Torque or Cav Empt, you’ll already know this one’s going straight on the top of the fiyah pile.
One of Manchester and the UK’s most cherished, Iceboy Violet blazes thru on a debut album of killer, dare-to-differ grime and reeling stream-of-consciousness rap with production and contributions from Space Afrika, Emily Glass, Jennifer Walton, Slikback, Nick Leon, Mun Sing, Blackhaine, Daemon, Orlandor, Exploited Body and aya/LOFT - finally released via Finn’s label - BIG RIYL aya, Arca, Blackhaine, Eartheater, Mykki Blanco.
After rising to prominence over the past five years via arresting live performances, cult self-releases, and guest credits for peers including Eartheater, Loraine James, and Blackhaine, 2022 is set to be the year that Iceboy Violet properly breaks thru with ‘The Vanity Project’. As a pivotal figure in Manchester’s nightlife economy, Iceboy Violet has come to represent the city’s enviably open-minded approach to club music, swaggering across outmoded boundaries with a wickedly skewed balance of upfront and road-level aesthetics countered by more oblique, enigmatic urges to self-expression. They share much in common with longtime spar, aya, not least their roles in queer-dominated collective boygirl, but also credits on the world-taking ‘Im hole’ LP of 2021 and a mold-shattering take on UK club and electronics, however ‘The Vanity Project’ is where Iceboy Violet really knocks us out with an unabashed lyrical confidence wrapped to rudely brittle and noisily damaged grime productions.
The seven tracks bleed a pent, irradiating energy that feels like we’re properly in the c.21st. Warping and buckling the templates of grime - this century’s most vital UK innovation - they effectively mirror the difference between original rock and its punk antecedents, covering the distance travelled from the formative touchstone with a helplessly mutant spin on its fundamentals. From the gripping insight of ‘Urban Ambient’ to the valdo-melted brilliance of ‘Atone/Blankface’, it's really special, innovative stuff, messing with convention at every turn from the Enya-goes-drill bewt ‘Are U Connected’ thru the bittersweet pucker of IDMelody and gurned grime in ‘Lilith’ starring Blackhaine, to the unmistakably hungry and raw highlight of the title track, and a scudding sort of nod to soca/singeli/congo tekno styles on ‘Antiskeptic’, with Croww-adjunct, talons-out noise in ‘Deathdrive’.
Fucking gwarn then. Unmissable.
Singapore-raised, London-based cyborg Yeule toys with quiet/loud dynamics and neo-expressionist electronic pop idioms on a breakthru album of AI lullabies and post-human fever dreams - RIYL Lena Raine, Grimes, Eartheater
‘Glitch Princess’ is a sprawling yet exactingly stylised showcase of Yeule’s hypermodern pop, weaving aspects of computer game soundtracks, ‘90s grunge and shoegaze, with epic R&B balladeering, in a wholly 2022-ready record of the times. Fragile, whispered lyrics about self-love, lust and the emotions that came flooding back after the artist’s self-imposed sobriety are framed in world-building aesthetics, intended to express the artist’s unbound identity and the freedoms felts as a non-binary artist.
The dozen songs toe the finest line between sincere and corny, drawing upon all the conventions available to spunky young hyper pop sprites and magpie-picking the most luridly effective for an unabashed expo of Yeule’s style that attempts to find depth in its ornate surface detail and immediacy. We’re really drawn in by the icily naif, confessional opener ‘My Name Is Nat Cmiel’, and find ourselves simultaneously attracted/repelled by sashays between saccharine, saturated harmonies and syrupy torch songs, with curious cuts of screwed grunge-dreampop piquing our interests in ‘Perfect Blue’ and the curbed Avrilian enthusiasm of ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty’, or noise-pop of ‘Fragments’ and the crystalline seduction of ‘Friendly Machine’, which comes off like Fuck Buttons meets FKA Twigs.
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.
Been a while since PAN threw a curveball, but here’s a proper mad one - a new tape from Memphis rap legend DJ Spanish Fly, with an A-side bursting with new joints, and a flipside dubbed from baked vintage tapes. Strictly limited edition - you know it’s gonna fly.
There's no sense talking about Memphis rap without acknowledging the outsize influence of DJ Spanish Fly, the pioneering DJ, rapper and producer who paved the way for Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG, Tommy Wright III, and the later ascent of crunk and trap.'The Godfather Of Memphis Rap Mixtape Vol 1’ is more than just a history lesson, packaging a remastered suite of established classix with a selection of completely new material, refusing to let DJ Spanish Fly's legacy languish in nostalgia. It paints an illuminating picture of an artist who's always kept his ear to the ground, acting as a connecting node for his city, DJing regularly, and still laying down bars on any number of local mixtapes. There's no Denzel Curry, Spaceghostpurrp or Lil Ugly Mane without DJ Spanish Fly!
There are few officially sanctioned releases of his work either, despite well over a decade of rumors that something was coming. He cut his teeth DJing and rapping in South Memphis in the early 1980s, and quickly transitioned from winning events to hawking mixtapes to his local legion of fans. These cassettes swiftly became the stuff of legend, and while he recalls only selling "around 100" of each edition, bootlegs began turning up throughout the city - as his reputation grew, those mixtapes rolled through the South like snowballs, inspiring seemingly every young DJ, rapper or producer who heard them.
There was one song in particular that hoisted Fly's star skyward: a quirky "Dragnet"-inspired belter by Queens duo Showboys called 'Drag Rap', a track that gained notoriety in the South as 'Triggerman'. Fly bought the 12" before hearing it, but was stunned by the booming 808 sequence and made it a central point of his routine, using it again and again in his own productions. Soon, a dance craze had assembled around 'Triggerman': the gangsta walk. The track became so widely recognisable, and so popular, it was banned from local events for inciting violence; years later, 'Drag Rap' is one of the most sampled tracks in rap, having singlehandedly informed the direction of New Orleans' regional style, bounce.
Fly's ear for booming 808 sequences and looped movie samples gave his sets and productions a distinctive flavour that made Southern rap so particular in the '80s and through the '90s. Its influence can still be felt in the globally popular trap sound - even Drake has sung the praises of Memphis rap, sampling 'Drag Rap' on 2018's 'Nice For What'. Fly gives a firm nod to his part in this on 'Buckdance/G Walk Jukin' and 'Triggamanzz Revenge', allowing the brickwall 808 bass to marinate after a run of fresh material mapped out his contemporary flex. Hearing the Memphis God on slippery contemporary productions like 'Alarm' and 'Remember' just shows how ahead of his time Fly actually was - his rubbery drawl spreads across doomy, sparse synths and sub-heavy 808 kicks like butter. At 50+ DJ Spanish Fly has more swagger than rappers half his age.
Flexing attitude and raw low-end power from beginning to end, it's the tape's contextual uniqueness that pushes this one into the musical vortex. Each side helps draw out a story that's still being told, and being able to hear Fly's development through the decades in this way allows time to melt away into sub-bass, eerie riffs and gloopy rhymes.
Respect the godfather - it doesn't get heavier.
Third and final volume in the series, always mad limited.
“The Sound of Inevitability” we're told - and aye - whatever that means know that this one's another mad trip, from electrifying mojo sci-fi vibes to ESG space funk and low-slung laser-beam energy, mixed fast and sharp but with enough overdub shenanigans to keep u guessing all night long.
Completely fucking unhinged genius from perennial audballs Vanligt Folk with a beguiling patchworked 31-track suite of demented electronic wooze, unhinged vocals, sludgy cut-ups and off-piste techno blatz to file somewhere in between CS + Kreme, Autechre, Vainio, Dale Cornish x Fever Ray, mixed with classic Fonal madness, except considerably weirder than any of that sounds.
Fondly remembered around here for their killer ‘Palle Bondo’ 12”, Vanligt Folk’s David Sundqvist and Jessie Garon reprise that sort of madness with an extra dose of lysergic slipperiness on ‘Black Friday Hele Uka’. Sloshing their psyches over 31 tracks, they skewer and subvert yr expectations - whatever those might be - herding a big sack of screwed samples thru mutant wormholes that bend and buckle between splayed 2-step (‘Ett hjul av vatten oh eld’); scrunched up techno (‘En himmel att längta till’) and tripped-out acid (‘Sanger far barndomen’); plus freakish psych-folk (‘Kult af nada’ and ’Swedish dad’), and inexplicable acid-pop audness (‘(Af) kött’ and ‘’Arbæ’), all delivered with uncompromising sense of daring.
If u like yr shit fully screwed and unpredictable, this is it.
Death is Not the End follow up 'The Sun is Setting on the World' with another set of Greek rebetika from the 1930s to the late 1950s.
What we now know as Rebetika originally developed from Greek and Turkish folk music in the late 19th century, taking in aspects of Orthodox church music, and Ottoman cafe music and slowly developing into a sound that's now become recognisable enough to be certified by UNESCO. Death is Not the End's latest collection begins in the 1930s, as the bouzouki was becoming its main instrument, asserting a dominant Greekness after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
This was folk music, but with teeth - because it developed from cafe music, there's an edginess to rebetika that's often overlooked if you're missing the lyrical content. A deep dive will reveal songs about drugs, women, pain, loss, alcoholism, all that good stuff.