New from Sucata Tapes (Discrepant), comes a new project by Berlin-based artists Pedro Silva (turntable percussion) and Stefan Brunner (guitar and field recordings).
"The Hour of the Wolf is an improvisational piece based on an associative storyline, written by Stefan Brunner and divided into 8 chapters. We invite you to look at the score http://hourofthewolf.org while you play this tape."
Outernational fever dream psychedelia and free jazz from Portugal on Discrepant’s Sucata sublabel
"It could as well be an ethnographic soundtrack from another planet as the trio of Mestre André (saxophone, electronics), Bernardo Álvares (contrabass) and Raphael Soares (drums) dwelve deep into the outer realms of what jazz/electronics music can sound like.
Urban shamanism, magical practices and ancient/future world views collide in unsuspecting ways on this out there tape.
An unique sound from an unique trio, 'Alförjs has a very special place among what is out there of more intriguing and radical in this final stretch of the 21st century's second decade."
‘Mãe D’Água’ is a live recording of Lisbon’s Mestre André (laptop) and Carlos Godinho (objets) conducting research into aural alchemy, using an array of hand-played objects and the vast reverb of an old water tower in the centre of Lisbon to conjure this naturalistic but surreal 30 minute soundscape.
"Banha da Cobra is a project of Lisbon based artists Mestre André (laptop) and Carlos Godinho (objects). Stream of research and electroacoustic sound intervention, Banha da Cobra starts from the sonic imaginary of handcrafted, ritualistic and traditional activities and landscapes. The compositions are made as sound ruins, based on an ecology between the sustainability of the sound nature of the found - structures, places, objects, etc. - and their appropriation and transformation.
The collecting inherent in this project of archaeological character is complemented with processes of alchemical manipulation like musical creation in real time. On Mãe D'Água, Banha da Cobra present a live recording of their concert/performance on a 4x4 channels system at Mãe d’Água, 21st of September 2018 within the context of Lisboa Soa festival. Mãe D'Água (Mother of Water) is an old water reservoir located in the center of Lisbon. It used to be the main reservoir for Lisbon being fed by a massive 19th Century aqueduct."
Early 1930s ryukoka recordings from Japanese geisha Kouta Katsutaro.
"Emerging during the early stages of the recording industry in Japan, the ryukoka style adopted some western classical, blues & jazz elements into traditional Min'yo folk music. Kouta Katsutaro would become one of it's most popular proponents, and along with another popular geisha singer, Ichimaru, forms the basis of a period dubbed the "Katsu-Ichi Era”.”
Closing the unoficial New Weird Portugal tape batch on Sucata Tapes is Eosin aka Diana Combo with a mixtape of crackling and droney vinyl mixed with Field recordings recorded outdoors on a later summer afternoon in Alentejo. In Diana's own words:
''This piece was made during a residency in Elvas (Alentejo, Portugal), in the context of the first edition of the festival A Salto, in July 2016. Each one of the invited artists for this residency was given a specific place where to develop a work to be presented during the festival. I spent a week at Fábrica Frutas Doces, a small “factory" dedicated to the preparation and confection of prunes and plums in syrup. Some families have been linked to this sector of activity for several generations, as is the case of Luís Silveirinha family, the current owners at that time. Frutas Doces isn't the only factory of this kind but it is the only one operating exclusively in an artisan way. There, Luís and his only employee (back in the day the team of workers was larger) were cooking the plums, adding fire to the already high summer temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius. This has to be done when the plums are collected, preserving the fruits at their best, so there is no escape from hell.
I recorded bits of our exchange of words while they were doing their job. At home, I worked with a collection of vinyl records and made a composition using ones and the others. It was like I was creating the tone, a certain voice of the space, a construction that becomes a new reality of it. Like a register of its possible soundtrack, one which means from the space and is crystalized by the manipulation I make over my perceptions of that place during that period. At the same time, I joined Beniko, a visual artist, for the creation of her performance to be presented as the opening of A Salto, and one thing influenced and inspired the other. The piece I have made was presented as a live composition using the pre-recorded bits, at the terrace of the Fábrica in a late afternoon that was surprisingly mild. I decided to name the recording of this piece For Beniko, as she was an inspiration and remains as a beautiful memory of the time spent in Elvas.
Listening to the piece is a way to go back in time, relocate there and remember the period of its creation. Sounds can bring images, other sounds, feelings, smells and taste to memory in a way that is so acute and live, even when the material that documents that certain reality is a construction of it, quite afar from its figurative or realistic representation.''
Diana Combo, January 2018
Cult synthesist Novo Line re-imagines Philip Glass, Wang Chung and Jan Hammer’s ‘80s soundtrack work in a surreal, killer re-working of the musical atmosphere to the classic Qatsi trilogy and William Friedkin’s noir cop flick, ‘To Live and Die In LA’, made on era-specific Atari and Yamaha synths.
Adored for his mathematically insightful explorations of mid-late ‘80s digital synths, Atari computers and MIDI tools, Novo Line’s music can be heard as a form of Hauntological archaeology; a persistent hunt for the ghost in the machine which irrevocably altered pop, dance and soundtrack music and helped shape western cultural consciousness since the advent of affordable home computers and synthesisers.
On ‘To Qatsi and Die In LA’ he brilliantly delves into the soul of a Yamaha TX816 synthesiser which he acquired from American singer-songwriter Leon Russell shortly before his death in 2016. With the tone of Philip Glass and Wang Chung’s music and the inseparable imagery of Friedkin and Godfrey Reggio in mind, he coaxes out a sound that immediately connotes warmth and nostalgia, but, as ever with Novo Line’s music, there’s just something wickedly off in the music’s subtly curdled and ear-puckering tones, likely as a result of his favoured ancient tuning systems.
The music plays out a cinematic montage of imagery associated with ‘80s crime thrillers - palm trees, pink and purple sunsets, shadows of venetian blinds on beige walls - in a way that uncannily emphasises the dreamlike nature of ‘80s synth soundtracks, and by turn ‘80s FM synth sounds, smartly highlighting their hold over contemporary psyches in the same way that warbling ’60s and ‘70s analog synth sounds did to previous generations.
Armed with just a backpack sub-woofer and an around the neck mobile modular, Jeff Blank set off to the outer Mongolian reaches, seeking out his Parvita. His rippling sound vibrations resonated back and forth bringing love, fertility and devotion (all at the optimum level of 80db of course).
"Jeff's Landscapes are a collection of new and previously unreleased music, all of which was recorded originally for his own lantern-lit, incensed bong cavern. But here big Jeff shifts the emphasis from the bong to the gong, and you can hear a more experimental, electronic focussed sound that echoes that same early Eno intake that he would take in on a daily basis in THE shop, whilst then fitting elderly shoppers with their Clarks correction shoes."
The Death of Rave present the hypnotic first recorded evidence of Black Mecha performing a Black Mechanical DJ set of exclusive material, captured from the cockpit while he navigated The White Hotel’s tardis-like dimensions in Salford, mid December 2018
Black Mecha is an alias of Fortress Crookedjaw, also commander of arch black metal outsiders, Wold. The project was birthed in 2015 with ‘AA’ for The Death of Rave, and has since explored the void between extreme black metal, EBM and industrial techno for Metal bastion Profound Lore, as well as New Zealand’s Independent Woman Records, and their own vent; Internal Masonry Publications.
This tape renders a recording of Black Mecha’s first Black Mechanical DJ set captured direct to microphone with no edits. Performing with the crowd to his back, Black Mecha proceeded to charge the air with deadly-focussed intent, powerfully iterating what he terms “Mentation Electronics”; maybe best understood as a transcendence of noumenal energy into meta/physics - or what is also known as hyperstition.
Simultaneously eviscerating and yet life-affirming to attendees, the performance unleashed dark cosmic forces upon a crowd who were hypnotised into submission for the duration. You had to be there. But if you weren’t, this tape renders a tangible yet elusive document of that night - 60 minutes of pummelling bass ricocheting a Lower Broughton warehouse, interjected by shoooming smoke machine and cries of ecstasy/pain from those who crawled out of the woodwork to witness this rarely paralleled alignment of energies.
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.”
Rabit brings together all three volumes of his killer mixtape series tribute to DJ Screw in one set, duplicated to military grey tape. While volume 1 has previously been available, this is a first physical appearance for volumes 2 and 3. Syruppy, seriously fucked chopped & screwed edits of Sade, Araabmuzik, Tirzah, AFX, Lana, Enigma, Riri , Lil Boosie ++++
Like DJ Screw, Rabit also hails from Houston and has long named Screw’s radical style of slowed down and Codeine-infused rap and pop edits as a major influence on his own productions. On the first volume, ‘Cry Alone Die Alone’ he pulls back for a tarry hour of slurred rap and shoegazing electronic haze in keeping with that OG spirit.
Part 2, Bricks in a Drought features Sade, Aaliyah, Riri and Ciara slowed down into the mix along with Araabmuzik and more, nailing a proper, dusky, stoop-side sound in 11 parts underlined by the wooziest, gelatinous subs and smudged with glistening compression artefacts to hold listeners under its slow, heavily warped spell.
Part 3, The Dope Show, finds Lil Boosie, AFX, Tirzah, Enigma and Lana Del Rey slopped in-the-mix with a special measure of psychedelia and asphalt-grain ruffness. Where the first two instalments were strictly rap focused, this one’s a bit looser with the style, marrying some of the most notable, contemporary female voices with super rugged and bittersweet backdrops.
His compound of Lil Boosie and AFX makes us do that thing chefs do when they like da sauce, and he evens manages to make Lana Del Rey palatable in two crashing dollops, while the screwed downstroke of Tirzah’s ‘Gladly’ demands to be heard by anyone who fell for ‘Devotion’ (all a y’all, innit?!), and really, that Enigma track was aways begging to get screwed.
Vibes for eons.
Influential Texan producer Rabit rounds off his DJ Screw tribute mixes with a deadly 3rd volume staying true to the OG, slow and woozy Southern hip hop style
On the 3rd piece of the trilogy, Lil Boosie, AFX, Tirzah, Enigma and Lana Del Rey are slopped in-the-mix with a special measure of sizzurp styled psychedelia. Where previous instalments were strictly rap focused, this one’s a bit looser with the style, marrying some of the most notable, contemporary female voices with super rugged and bittersweet backdrops.
His compound of Lil Boosie and AFX makes us do that thing chefs do when they like da sauce, and he evens manages to make Lana Del Rey palatable in two crashing dollops, while the screwed downstroke of Tirzah’s ‘Gladly’ demands to be heard by anyone who fell for ‘Devotion’ (all a y’all, innit?!), and really, that Enigma track was aways begging to get screwed. Vibes for eons.
Rabit kneels at the altar of DJ Screw with ‘Bricks In A Drought’, the killer 2nd drop in a trilogy dedicated to the late, influential Texan pioneer of chopped ’n screwed hip hop.
Staying true to Screw’s OG aesthetic, Rabit continues to pursue that slow, viscous Texan sound across 50 minutes of slow down R&B, soul and rap steeped in codeine and sprite vibes.
Slackening Sade, Aaliyah, Riri and Ciara into the mix along with Araabmuzik and more, Rabit nails a proper, dusky, stoop-side sound in 11 parts underlined by the wooziest, gelatinous subs and smudged with glistening compression artefacts to hold listeners under its slow, heavily warped spell.
Right about now, there’s hardly a better, sweeter soundtrack to the world melting around us.
Smudged ambient electronica fuzz, revealing the tender side of the artist who also trades as DrumC*nt
“Acidliner, the London based producer, has captured the sounds of a primordial planet just emerging at the beginning of it's life. Rubbing it's eyes as light appears for the first time. The mist is clearing. It's arms are stretching out and reaching for it's first ever coffee. The sun is breaking through the fug, hitting the planet with the solid shafts of light you see depicted in Church stain glass windows. The type of light you see breaking through your dust riddled living room. The type of light that'll be shining down long after you've gone. There's optimism in the chimes, there's trepidation in the repetition, there's dreams buried in the rare beats. Anything feels possible.
The modern age human marching through it's life is gripped with the future, the current moment counts for nothing. Red-1 sits you down at the beginning and tells the story. Take a breath. In and out. Sit still for a minute. Remember how it all was. Think about the thing you're on, the thing that was here before you, the thing that'll be here for your future yous. The 12 tracks on this tale trawl the underwater depths of Drexciya's Neptune Lair, the thick foggy gloop of Gas' Königsforst and Stevie Wonder's long lost and forgotten classic The Secret Life Of Plants. Take some time and dig in, Acidliner is holding the steering wheel.”
Blissful, pastoral new age ambient chimes and angel sighs from Voyage Futur, a new project from Vienna, influenced by the natural world and gifted with a beautifully subtle, evocative way with classic synths. Think BoC, ’70s/‘80s nature programme soundtracks, Ghost Box
“‘Secret Earth’ is a hypnagogic journey through enchanted woods, endless dunes and majestic mountains, to a vibrant ocean shore and back. It embraces the raw and mystic beauty of nature - everything floats in waves, everything is strung together somehow.
Voyage Futur is a project from Vienna, influenced by the valley of the sun, the sounds of the dawn, the ever expanding universe and 80s reverberations. VF’s debut album was recorded over the course of 2 months, using a Logan String Synth, a DX7 and lots of field recordings from the Styrian countryside. One associated act is MMD (Mile Me Deaf).”
Sleaford Mods release their fifth studio album, ‘Eton Alive’
"The new album, which features 12 new tracks from the prolific artists, was recorded in Nottingham. The record will be the first release on Jason and Andrew’s newly formed label ‘Extreme Eating’ and their first album since parting ways with Rough Trade Records.
“Eton Alive speaks for itself really. Here we are once again in the middle of another elitist plan being digested slowly as we wait to be turned into faeces once more. Some already are, some are dead and the rest of us erode in the belly of prehistoric ideology which depending on our abilities and willingness, assigns to each of us varying levels of comfort that range from horrible to reasonably acceptable, based on contribution. "
Front & Follow present the fifth in a series of split releases bringing together some of their favourite artists. Volume 5 features Dunning & Underwood, aka Graham Dunning and Sam Underwood.
"Dunning and Underwood’s collaboration for The Blow focuses on recordings made using The Mammoth Beat Organ. They describe their machine as "a modular, mechanical music contraption" and that it is "designed as a two-player, semi-autonomous musical instrument, it plays unusual, sometimes erratic compositions drawing on drone music, minimalist repetition and fairground organ techniques." The organ made its live debut at Supersonic festival in Birmingham in summer 2018, with more live performances planned for 2019."
JV Lightbody (Deadboy) realigns your chakras on his mesmerising 2nd album of new age ambient taking strong influence from esoteric Tantra and Indian raga drones
Marking up the 6th addition to New Atlantis - the cult label/London ambient social he runs with India Jordan and pals - JV Lightbody here picks up his bass guitar to pursue the meditative appeal of his ‘Inner Work’  tape further into minimalist, smokily spacious designs intended to envelop their recipient.
Like the label’s previous releases, there’s a sincerity to JV Lightbody’s music that sets it apart from flimflam dilettantes and firmly reinforces its effect. It’s subtle but powerfully affective stuff, oscillating on the first side between pulsing modular synth raga and slow-breathing, richly atmospheric Tantra parts to bring our eyelids to half mast, before picking up his bass guitar on the B-side for the snake-charming ‘Bass-Raga’, and meting out into another tantra, with the Dylan Carlson-esque ‘Guitar-Raga’ to close.
Think incense, temples and Himalayan foothills. Don’t sleep - it’s a peach!
Devilishly strong Bugandan techno psychedelia from Uganda/UK's Nihiloxica on their 2nd release for Nyege Nyege Tapes. Huge tip if yr into Shackleton, Mark Ernestus Ndagga Rhythm Force, Konono No.1, Ninos Du Brasil...
Where Nihiloxica’s first tape saw the Nilotika Cultural Ensemble percussionists and UK’s Jacob Maskell-Key and Pete Jones tentatively find their feet in a nascent mix of Bugandan drumming and raw electronics, this follow-up throws down four muscular tracks recorded live in single takes, demonstrating their skills toughened up by countless shows on road over the past 12 months and more; from Nyege Nyege Tapes amazing annual festival and clubs in Kampala, thru to stacks of European venues.
In the four burningly intense tracks of ‘Biiri’, the group’s cross-cultural dialogue becomes more fluid, urgent as a direct effect of their increased intuition. The results vividly feel like a natural evolution of their first release, with their keener focus on the loping undulations of the Baksimba (bass drum) groove and the plasmic mutability of Pete Jones’ synths rendering the full force of ancient tradition in a vividly unprecedented style.
While many pay service to the idea of a cosmic African music, ‘Biiri’ delivers it with effortless verve, coming off like Can and Bruce Haack’s wildest dreams with ‘Diggi Dagga’, then like Autechre meeting Shackleton in the swingeing, asymmetric rug-cutter ‘Baksimba’, before the thumping ‘Dubugwanjuba’ recalls a cross-continental echo of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, and ‘Ding Ding’ utterly finishes off your dancing bones with raucous, red-lining distortion.
Hilja is the sublimely half-there debut of dream pop from Glasgow-based Finnish artist Maria Rossi a.k.a. Cucina Povera. Taking her name from the southern Italian method of making-do in the kitchen, Cucina Povera works just as well to describe Rossi’s unusual, off-kilter mix of avant-garde abstraction, medieval-sounding folk and synthesised nocturnal atmospheres, which sounds to our lugs like one of the Fonal label’s folk sprites gone rogue in a parallel 4th world.
Strung out somewhere between Julia Holter’s enigmatic early work, the possessed vibes of Ectoplasm Girls, and a deeply strange episode of the Moomins, Rossi’s first release finds a fine balance of naif imagination and modestly confident vision, shaping a quietly hallucinatory and often ephemeral sound world where it’s dead easy to lose yourself within its maze of alternating physical and mental states.
Glasgow’s Night School, behind the release, aptly compare Maria’s style with magic realism, which offers a hand catch-all explanation for wtf is going on between the sylvan synths and lullaby-like glossolalia of Demetra and the worm holing in-conclusion of Totean, with results that recall Phew’s esoteric Japanese songcrasf in the multi-tracked vox of Kuparirumpu, or like one of the enchanted cuts from Felicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand LP on Avainsana, whilst Huhuilu is a dance anthem from alternate, lushly inverse dimensions.
Gorgeous music - RIYL Phew, Julia Holter, Islaja, Tongues of Light, Félicia Atkinson
20 years ahead of their reunion documentary, techno’s Bros share a lovely live snapshot of them playing in Osaka, 2018, running thru 62 minutes of material exclusive to this recording.
Revolving both unreleased and never-to-be-released gear, the ‘Live Osaka 2018’ tape is a custom-built set for the Overmono siblings’ trip to Japan. As such, they’ve kept clear of more rave-nous styles in favour of a rolling session balancing driving, nimble grooves and breaks in a fluid soundsphere flush with tender electronic melodies and voices from the ether...
Playing ping-pong with wonderfully obscure sounds, ‘Secrets of Mana’ is a mixtape of magick conjured by The British Library’s Andrea Zarza Canova and Matthew Kent ov Blowing Up The Workshop who, together, run the Mana label.
Leading on from the moody mosaic of Kent’s 2018 mix for Good Morning Tapes, ‘Secrets of Mana’ sees him and Canova outdoing each other for obscurantism at each move, as the 90 minute mix steps off with ragga chat and ultimately lands in (what sounds like) some deep, South African soul pearl via reams of seemingly unrelated, yet compelling, selections from ambient to avant-garde sound poetry and raucous gamelan.
The mix’s zig-zagging logic and arrangement highlights contrasts and similarities between the far-flung regions, styles, rhythms and vibes of Mana’s label remit, which has already taken in a spectrum covering Pierre Mariétan’s ‘80s french sound art alongside concrète garage from Diptera, De Leon’s gamelan techno and the barely-hinged avant-garde folk of O Yama O.
All the above appear in some form or other inside the mix, stitched together at junctions which highlight their shared musical DNA and serving to limn a definition of Mana’s microcosmos at its most vast and nebulous.
Stripped down and plaintive desert blues from Northern Mail
“In exile from his city in Northern Mali, singer/songwriter Ahmed Ag Kaedy returns to the origins of Tuareg folk with sessions of stripped down solo acoustic guitar. Mellow pentatonic notes dance over plaintive vocals, intimate and close mic'd, endearing in their simplicity. Drifting from melancholic ballads and pleas for peace, “Akaline Kidal” is a politically charged and poignant recording for a community ripped apart by division and civil war.
While the Tuareg guitar genre is popularized by rock heavyweights like Tinariwen and Bombino, the origins of the genre are in simple acoustic arrangements. Created in the 1980s as political folk music, the first recordings were made on contraband cassette tapes. Distributed on underground networks, the music spread throughout the diaspora, planting the seeds of revolution and establishing the Tuareg guitar sound.
Recorded onto 8-track cassette tape in a basement studio in Portland, Oregon, “Akaline Kidal” is a call back to those early recordings. Captured in continuous single takes, the effect is unfiltered and raw. Like his predecessors, Ahmed Ag Kaedy imbues his songs with a pointed focus as he transmits a message home. Available on LP and cassette, accompanied by full song translations.”
Berlin’s Thomas Mahmoud takes a fair leap from the twee pop of Von Spar into proper, abstract sound design with absorbing results for The Tapeworm. RIYL Marcus Schmickler, Cam Deas, Kevin Drumm
“Born in 1977, Thomas Mahmoud is a Berlin based cross-disciplinary artist – musician, sound designer, performer, author and radioplay producer.
Since stepping down as the singer with Cologne based band Von Spar (L’age d’or, Tomlab), he has pursued his interests in deconstructing sounds, using analogue and digital tools to work with textures and field recordings. His installation and sound design work is renowned, not least his 48-hour opera with the Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop or his work with choreographer Kat Válastur at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens.
Many musicians erase mistakes – static produced by tangled wires between the instrument and the amplifier painstakingly filtered-out, the random recording mistakes deleted and corrected, until everything is pleasantly plain. Others work with the waste of these procedures, with the dispensable, the sonic trash. This is how Mahmoud works. He listens closely and grabs the hiss and the hum, not the tone, of a thick bass string. He samples the breathing, not the voice, of his favourite singers.
A collaborator by instinct, Mahmoud has worked with the likes of Can Khan Oral, Michael Wertmüller, Mouse on Mars, Birds Of Death, Jammin’ Unit, Dr Walker, Marcus Schmickler and many more. “Univorm” is his most recent multimedia project, in collaboration with visual artist Stefan Fähler.”
Sleazy, sludgy rock n roll, climbing the crab’s ladder out of London’s mucky underbelly
“Wild Daughter are the light and the dark, the push/pull, the tension, the release. On “Live at The Backstreet” – recorded on 13.ix.18 at infamous East London gentlemen’s club The Backstreet – they are captured live, in their element. Accompanied by newest members Jacob Shaw and Conrad Pack, founders James Jeanette and Stuart McKenzie conjure up sexual demons, inciting the audience almost into a ritualistic trance. Be warned…”
Ric Kaestner’s impossible-to-find, esoteric ambient gem surfaces on vinyl for first time, taken from one of only 2 known copies of the original tape. Happy endings for all collectors of obscure new age and under-the-radar ambient music! RIYL Dominique Lawalrée, Brian Eno, JD Emmanuel...
“Recorded and released in 1987, the original cassette bore a minimalist plum tree design on the cover and music soothing to match. There are only 2 confirmed copies of the original cassette, one of them was used in the restoration and revival of this classic new age album.
Five years after the New Age cult-classic album Music For Massage hit the shelves, it’s sequel was silently released. Never intended for consumer sale, Music For Massage II was only known to a select few masseuses and tape collectors. The very definition of esoteric. Musically, it’s both an homage to how far the genre had come in those five years and served as a predictor of what was to come. Comprising elements of Folk, Drone, Ambient, Ethereal, Minimal, Modern Classical, the recording is quintessential of all things New Age. These are sounds meant to induce healing, therapy, and relaxation. Hand crafted by Ric Kaestner and inspired in part by an encounter with one of the fathers of modern music, John Cage, for actual massage or for casual listening, it holds its own almost four decades later.”
New cassette by this cult industrial collective from the hospital roster dealing with the crisis at hand...
Geography Of Hell is a mysterious collective with an international cast of members. While their refusal to answer questions or make their identities known, the dedication to familiar subjects presented without explanation makes this band one of the more intriguing propositions on Hospital Production's sprawling roster.
Playing live, members of GOH are concealed behind homemade masks, whole their music fits into cinematic compositions as well as contemporary avant-garde electronics and even the nether regions of neoclassical punk.
111 angelic MIDI cascade' is Ralph Cumbers' exquisite Slip debut: a finely forged collection of joyous electronic music built to surge and heal.
"This is Cumbers' first deliberate Bass Clef album since 2012's 'Reeling Skullways' on Bristol institution Punch Drunk, and a forceful departure from the bubbling, rogue club 12"s since issued on The Trilogy Tapes, PAN, and Idle Hands.
Drums are almost entirely absent, making way for a braiding of soaring machine melodies, and taut harmonic threads. To be clear: this is no ambient record. No drifty clouds, no cocoons, no sonic platitudes. Recorded in Rotterdam in August 2018, amidst an immersion in the history of clairaudience, scrying, and natural philosophy, '111' is a leap into pinpoint mysticism, with Bass Clef as happy alchemist."
Cong Burn boss and northern english artist John Howes presents the spongiform, greyscale modular extractions of ’Cold Storage’ as the first full length album on his own label - home to releases by Lanark Artefax, Perfume Advert and Chekov, a.o.
Recorded at his Salford studio in 2018, ’Cold Storage’ finds Howes paring his music back to the barest essentials of small, textured sounds drifting in abstract dub space. Functionally titled A1 thru B4, the 8 pieces are smudged into an amorphous flow of weightless pressure systems and gently reactive atomic collisions with an immersively natural, mercurial quality.
The results are equally comparable to uon’s hypnagogic subtleties as the fluoro grey decay of Actress productions, dwelling on the liminal point between iterative process and haptic tactility, offering himself as the conduit or fleshy medium for the machines to speak thru. Quite luckily, the ghosts in his machines all have a charming, frothy story to regale in ‘Cold Storage’.
Baddest DJ, Beatrice Dillon re-assembles the entire RVNG Intl archive for her ‘Select/Dissect’ mixtape to mark the far-reaching label’s 15th anniversary
There’s hardly a better selector/dissector out there than Beatrice; since her emergence with the exquisite Folkways II mixtape for TTT, thru her ‘Studies For Samplers & Percussion’ with Rupert Clervaux, and a deadly Fact mix splicing computer music, avant garde classics and forward rave, she patently knows how to work fractious components into a cohesive whole.
On ‘Select/Dissect’ she puts those skills to use in a sort of narrative context, craftily spelling out a non-linear account of RVNG Intl’s adventures between new age reissues, Japanese electronics, kosmische psych and jazz-taught electronics. Sometimes she breaks tracks down to loops and stabs, at others she’ll let it roll, and often with imperceptible transitions between the material that leaves listeners gently bewildered, wondering how the fukc did we get here from there?!
There’s no tracklist, but we can spot numbers from K. Leimer, Visible Cloaks and Oliver Coates in there, as well as her Lifted bandmate Max D, if our ears aren’t mistaken. But what the chuff is that rootsy Nyabinghi bit, and what’s it layered with? Or that Oramics-y piece on the B-side? And top marks for including one of our faves from recent-isn Tashi Wada with yoshi Wada and Friends album.
L.I.E.S./ Gravats mainstay Krikor Kouchian presents his soundtrack to the ‘Building Arnold Schwarzenegger’ documentary by Jérôme Momcilovic & Camille Juza, pressed up on limited edition tape.
As with Kouchian’s previous string of soundtracks including ‘Pacific Alley’ and ‘Saudi’, he demonstrates a keen ability to subtly underline visual aspects with his restrained yet suggestive arrangements.
The Cali boogie spinners ‘Gold’s Gym’ and ‘Building Muscle’ surely evoke a West Coast U.S. swagger, and the grand strings of ‘The Running Senator’ are suitably stately, while the muscular bass arps of ’T-800’ could almost be an offcut from Brad Fiedel’s OG ‘Terminator’ scores, and ‘memories of Conan’ perfectly nails the schlocky camp of the big man’s fantasy classique.
Killer retro-futuristic wares, big recommendation if you're into John Carpenter, Terminator OST, YMO!
An hour of the deadliest club malfunctions from Portugal's peerless Príncipe crew taking in a proper haul of mostly unheard Batida heaters, knotted drums and deep, wavey house mutations for a frenetic and deep session of raving madness...
Príncipe continued to showcase their hyperlocal sound in 2018 with a handful of incredible releases that reached a peak with a session of fierce but soulful kuduro, R&B, trance-techno, drill and jump-up jungle hybrids from P.Adrix - in our view perhaps the most thrilling club LP we heard in 2018.
From that starting point, this hour-long session - the first ever tape released by the label - continues a rough and barely containable rhythmic push and pull that starts with deep house swagger and slowed down acid styles on the a-side, turning into proper rhythmic madness on the flipside - from tribal drums to the roughest syncopated dance music and nexx gennn anthems you’ll likely ever hear, compatible with tribal house, Afro-beats, UKF and Kwaito - to maddening, adrenalised effect.
A pure dose of blazing tropical heat from one of the best labels in the game...
The last tape in the four-part Stitch By Stitch series is an hour long descent into the darkest corners of demdike stare’s archive. This one runs super deep...
The A-side sits at the opposite end of the spectrum to demdike's productions for the club, an exposition of their abstracted drone, ambient and concrète recordings made over the last 18 months and now stitched together for one extended, hypnagogic session, mixed in with field recordings, meditation tape loops and found sounds.
The B-side gets more aggy, a spectral mix of percussive edits, filtered drums and bass treatments that slowly erode back to infinite black...
Elvin Brandhi (Yeah You) and Odie Ji Ghast are Bad@Maths for the indomitable Slip label. Fractured 2-step, refracted R&B and deconstructed pop shrapnel are reframed in the most beguiling, hypermodernist and psychotomimetic style. A big tip to fans of Sensational, V/Vm, Mica Levi, even recent Raime 12”s!
“'PROSEGUR' is the obliterating Slip debut of North-Eastern security force Bad@Maths: pulped voices scrawled on wasted digital clatter.
The voices of Elvin Brandhi and Odie Ji Ghast have stamped themselves inexorably on the Slip catalogue - Ghast's swoops and blabbers and Brandhi's doosmday swaggers all over pairings with bassist Otto Willberg and pop-garbler Mykl Jaxn (as Yeah You) respectively.
As Bad@Maths, the duo's inimitable speaking-in-tongues practice lurches through electronic daggers and gunge. Elvin and Odie's roaming productions are a smash-and-grab on the furthest reaches of contemporary trap and grime, their voices re-animating 'net-culled spirits amongst whipslap beats. Modern mores, nasty drift.”
The third tape in the Stitch by Stitch series dives into deeply weird avant-pop, R&B, rap and dancehall mutations, squashed inbetween edits made by demdike especially for the series.
It’s on a proper outsider tip, feeding white noise into bassline bumps, looped horns crashing into choral refrains…gamelan transitions, extreme timbo>>araabmuzik MPC craziness, loping strings, ancient harps, bubblegum pop, garage punk, artificial intelligence, rochdale, burnley, salford..angular 2-step and curled flutes - joyous, deep and properly mind expanding.
Part four - due soon - will feature exclusively unreleased dark, colossal, abstracted brilliance - 100% demdike.
‘Kwaidan’ is a spellbindingly curious study in the “lost" art of Japanese ghost story-telling and horror folklore, marking the sublime first release on Singapore’s bijou Evening Chants imprint.
Inspired by living in Kyoto for the past two years, ‘Kwaidan’ - a form of Japanese ghost story - is focussed on musically crafting a form of “Japanese Mood”, or Meitei. Taking this word as his moniker, Meitei becomes his subject in a pointed effort to revive or at least keep this artform alive, using a combination of frayed, enigmatic backdrops to tactfully limn a specific mood.
The delicate approach and febrile, shapeshifting results recall to our ears the subtly suggestive sound sets of Sugai Ken as much as Jan Jelinek at his dreamiest, conjuring winding passages of crackle and shimmering subaquatic chords, finding beauty lurking in the low key and peripheral, spectral and metaphysical realms...
Epic 32 Track comp of exclusive tracks curated and compiled by Mumdance (also available as a limited edition 5-track vinyl sampler, and a mixed cassette) featuring a colossal haul of tracks from Space Afrika, Caterina Barbieri, Chevel, JK Flesh, Abyss X, Sleeparchive, Mumdance & Logos, Peder Mannerfelt, Nkisi, ZULI and many others...
Shared Meanings comprises 32 exclusive tracks, drawn from a panorama of contemporary electronic music—pioneers, emerging talents, brand new producers—brought together by Adams’ curatorial ear. It’s the natural next step from Radio Mumdance, the far-reaching radio project that saw Adams play back-to-back with some of his favourite artists: Nina Kraviz, DJ Stingray, DJ Storm, Surgeon, Ben UFO, Josey Rebelle and many others. Across a 97-minute session, Shared Meanings draws from the ideas and inspirations Adams’ gained across those 40 weekly shows.
The sampler 12” includes Mumdance & Logos’ massive ‘Teachers’ alongside zingers from Nkisi, Peder Mannerfelt, Caterina Barbieri and Space Afrika. On a dance tip, Mumdance & Logos pay tribute to a Chicago convention on ‘Teachers’, listing a roll-call of influential UK artists, DJs, labels and clubs in a style most famously deployed by Daft Punk, while Nkisi comes fiercely correct with the swingeing Congolese techno rolige of ‘Kinega’, and Peder Mannerfelt does his inimitable, mutant rave thing on ‘Over My Face’. But they’re only one aspect of the mix, leaving the plonging modular navigation of ‘Molecular Illusion’ by Caterina Barbieri, and the golden ambient deliquescence of Space Afrika’s piece to speak to the contrasts and breath of Mumdance’s mix and his lushly dark vision of modern dance music.
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 proflific and unparalleled for an island of it's size."
Smart selectors Cera Khin & Ossia run their 3rd killer mixtape together following their ‘Blue Baboon Mix’ for JSMË and a shared side on 2017’s ‘Guided Meditation’ tape.
Dedicated to Skully the cat (RIP), the mix was recorded on a lazy summer night in Berlin, 2018, and features a far-flung haul of music ranging from Bristolian styles by Andy Mac, ASDA and Dubkasm thru to Japanese ambient vibes from Haruomi Hosono and Yasuaki Shimizu, and avant audits by Coil, Daphne Oram and Iannis Xenakis, all held together with dub from Tapes, Disrupt and 7Fo.
Though we're currently listening to it at close to zero, Skully Mix is really ideal midsummer music, conjuring a sense of hazy headiness through both the sections and the way they’re mixed: sometimes layered; sometimes dub smudged; and sometimes in jump cut edits - all serving to make a winding, outward-looking yet intimate, and psychedelically romantic narrative...
An impossible-to-find, ’95 Memphis rap tape surfaces on vinyl for 1st time via Gyptology, a new "Egyptian Archaology" styled re-issue label
Leading on from Shawty Pimp’s ‘Comin’ Real Wit It’  - which was dished up by Delroy Edwards’ L.A. Club Resource and sold out within days back in 2014 - its sequel, ‘Still Comin Real’ reprises that woozy slow drawl on 11 slurps of syrupy goodness.
As to be expected, noise artefacts carry over from the original, short-run tape edition, but it wouldn’t be a proper, OG Memphis rap session without that haze of tape grit. Safe to say that Gyptology know this, too, and see vinyl as the most faithful, sympathetic form of preservation.
Thus, you can trust the sound is raw as; a distinct adjunct to the prevailing NYC and LA hip hop styles of 1995’s golden era, working with rude, stripped down production values and vibes that have significantly withstood the test of time, and since laid the roots for a lot of contemporary southern rap, hip hop and R&B.
Ever since that incredible 'Au Revoir, Mogadishu' mixtape of Somalian obscurities was released back in 2015 we’ve been obsessed with Çaykh’s mixtapes, always offering a haul of impossible to categorise gems from who-knows-where, pulling us deep into the wormhole. This new one for Nina and Tobias' V I S label is predictably another doozy; a snaky knot of hypnotic, outernational gems slipping from amazing Arabic rhythms to etheric disco, intoxicating drone-pop, keening communal rituals and spiritual jazz. Honestly, there are few selectors that dig quite this deep.
Enviably crammed with rarified, heady and impossible-to-identify goodness, and regularly prone to take the unexpected path, ‘V I S C 09’ is a treat that keeps on giving, opening along multiple axes of exploration while maintaining the cool head of journeyman who knows it’s all about the trip and not the destination.
A star chart for armchair navigation; a late, late night party induction; or a vessel for vast mental transportation; however you use this mixtape, the effect will be wonderfully absorbing, disorienting and refresh your most neglected chakras. Wormholers - take note.
Aman!!! is a newly formed project by Tasos Stamou (Greek bouzouki & Turkish saz) and Thodoris Ziarkas (blues guitar).
"The duo explores the borders of improvisation in the context of traditional music, especially focused in the musical heritage of Greek Rebetiko and other styles of the South East Mediterranean. The project reflects reflects both musicians' interest about reinterpreting traditional music in a contemporary, non sterilized form whilst dealing with music tradition in their very own special way; abstract prepared-strings improvisations blend back-and-forth with original old songs of '30s and '40s phonography.”
A proper dub-house love-in from Remote_ and A New Line (Related), sharing previously unreleased material recorded between the late ‘90s and 2017.
We have no idea who did what or when, but that may be missing the point slightly, as the two artists make such comfortable bedfellows.
On the Remote_ side, Mike Oliver follows the woolly handle of his 12”s for the Meanwhile and Smallfish labels with 43 minutes of scudding chords and low sunk subbass shift smudged into a drowsy shimmer that holds dancers and reclined bodies in a cats cradle moire of ambient dub rolige, gradually nudging the energy levels until you’re in the grip of proper Detroit style tekkers.
Andrew Johnson (Hood, The Remote Viewer) also makes us feel like it’s 2005 eternal on the B-side, coaxing out 44 minutes of sublime, claggy chords and undulating dub house, holding the line into blunted tribal percussion, thrumming slow techno and touches of gentle ambient pop.
Following their recent 'Passion' doublepack, Demdike Stare unveil 'Stitch by Stitch', an epic four hour mixtape series recorded over summer 2018 and split into 4 distinctive parts in turn exploring UK-centric ‘nuum pearls, concrète, library music+noise and outsider pop - with the last tape reserved for unreleased material recorded especially for the series. It documents and re-shapes archival oddities, treasured finds and important influences that have inspired Demdike over the last decade since their first recordings; a vast, sprawling world of sound.
The first tape - Part 1: Stem is an hour long session made up of DDS edits of mostly UK-centric Techno, UKG, Grime and hardcore Jungle funnelled through unspooled pop, R&B and dancehall. It’s a spacious, frenzied builder that joins the dots between David Sylvian, the two G’s and Wiley in a way that you’re unlikely to have ever heard before - a proper headmelter that’s in turns deep and delirious.
Part 2 - Chain dives deep into an ocean of abstracted recordings; from site-specific art records to found noise tapes, unlabelled library records, lo fi 78’s, field recordings, garbled spoken word, slowed down free-jazz, gongs and bells - properly indefinable weirdness collected over the last two decades and deployed here to terrifying, engrossing effect.
The third and fourth parts will follow in the next few weeks - keep ‘em peeled.
Heart-on-sleeve dramatics from Seoul-born, Boston-based 24-y.o. artist MMPH - a classically-trained musician whose Cello studies at Berklee College of Music soon evolved into these grandiose, romantic and tragic electronic symphonies
In recent months MMPH has been credited with production on records by serpentwithfeet, David Byrne, and Lauren Auder, as well as a tender remix handling of ‘Braid’ by Perfume Genius. Followers of Nico Jaar, 0PN, Arca will likely get something out of MMPH’s angsty emotive gut load.
Ruff AF post-techno glitch and knotted rhythms from Japan’s Sofheso. RIYL NHK, Autechre, Richard Devine
“First Terrace Records are honoured to present a major retrospective of prolific yet unsung noise-maker Sofheso. Having been writing, performing and recording relentlessly throughout Japan for at least the last decade, the tracks that form this archival release have been selected from a huge quantity and variety of sessions, and arranged in a way that we hope serves as a fittingly monolithic (yet ultimately penetrable) introduction to Sofheso’s singular and thrilling creative vision.
The sound is the process, and the process is architectural, layering drums and short samples into a contorting mass of concrete and steel. In photography the camera lens enjoys a vast intricacy of scaffolding or the skeletal beginnings of a modern building much more than the glossy outer layer, and just so here. There is a deep satisfaction in hearing the construction, witnessing the casting of each new sculpture. Sofheso has created a sonic language entirely his own, with which he is able to articulate seemingly infinite rhythmic and textural possibilities.”
Death Is Not The End unearth Ercilia Costa’s haunting 1920’s and 1930’s Portuguese Fado recordings made in Madrid
As played in the label’s 20’s & 30’s Fado Special for NTS, Ercilia’s songs epitomise the melancholy elegance of Fado, a style of Portuguese folk music with roots in Moorish guitar music, and connections to old Portuguese trading routes and colonies.
Near the end of Reagan's first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. Through their existence, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis.
"A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me. Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J's songs to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star (2014) had all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool.
Like its predecessors, Elastic Days was recorded at J's own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star) plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly added voice of Zoë Randell (Luluc) among others. But the show is mostly J's and J's alone. He laughs when I tell him I'm surprised by how melodic his vocals seem to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again. The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums. I'd just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don't have too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than I'd originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I'd play the acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.”
There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days. But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr's live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy comparisons to Neil Young's binary approach to working solo versus working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man's shorthand, but it still rings true. Elastic Days brims with great moments. Epic hooks that snare you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to set many brains ablaze. J says he'll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He'll be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he'll be standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort around myself -- amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I'm so used to playing with stacks. So I'll stand this time.” I ask if it's not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he says. “But it's weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to be elastic. In all things. - Byron Coley
I suppose people shouldn't be too surprised that J. Mascis's latest solo outing is a peaceful, near-acoustic affair. He did after all help out his chum Thurston Moore on the gorgeous 'Trees Outside the Academy' LP, and here we find the Dinosaur Jr. feller pushing the rock and roll out into the cold and embracing something truly beautiful. He's not alone either, Mascis has enlisted some enviable names; Sophie Trudeau (A Silver Mount Zion), Kurt Vile, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Matt Valentine all pop up to lend their expertise. This level of skill transfers perfectly to the songs themselves and there is a quality that is impossible to replicate with studio trickery. The English folk-tinged title track is a clear standout - violin and guitar soar behind Mascis's well-worn rasping vocals and you wonder why he's never gone on this route before. His characteristic songwriting feels so appropriate in this context; the small, delicate melodies and riffs that we once heard shrouded in feedback, and blasted through knee-tremblingly huge Marshall stacks are now bare and subtle. 'Several Shades of Why' is a brave record, and a hugely enjoyable one - whatever the background of its brave creator.
J Mascis’ ‘Tied To A Star’, the follow up to his acclaimed Sub Pop debut ‘Several Shades Of Why’, is led by the songs ‘Every Morning’ and ‘Wide Awake’, was recorded and produced by Mascis and mixed by John Agnello at Bisquiteen in Amherst, MA. ‘Tied To A Star’ also features guest appearances from musicians Ken Maiuri, Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion) and Chan Marshall (Cat Power).
Captivating, lower case pop music from Newcastle-based Competition, coming off like Hype Williams meets Autre Ne Veut at Mica Levi’s art-pop research lab. One spin thru the pinched vocals and sample chicanery of ‘thisisfine.gif’ should alert any keener ears to Competition’s modest, naturally effortless, and comfortably fringe pop nous. Tunes you will return to...
“'You turned into a painting' is Competitions's Slip debut: laser-etched micro-songs of bruised vocals, sample grabs, and tenderised chamber MIDI.
Competition is Newcastle-based Craig Pollard, whose confessional productions also spill into curation and a wider visual art practice (much of it, recently, as one third of the 'Wild Pop' crew).
This mini-album sees Craig atomise songcraft, probing its remnants for signs of soul. Like the post-mushroom recall from which it takes its title, 'You turned into a painting' is a queasy scavenging of the mundane. Pollard's voice achingly wears as he circles through lilting observations; his arrangements squeeze something unctuous from innocuous browser snatches and lowly sample packs, eschewing tricksiness in favour of low-key, loving twists.”