The first Turkish rap tape we’ve ever stocked charts the era before Turkey’s first ever rap crew, Cartel thru a mixtape collage of cuts circa 1986-1995, from sehtar-driven neck snappers to 808-powered electro, comedy raps and microtonal G-Funk licks.
“German/Turkish band Cartel’s self-titled debut album (1995), set the standards for Turkish rap, both in terms of production and lyrical content. This mixtape compiles rap music that came out before Cartel’s debut which are mostly studio projects. Lyrically this period is the era of covers & comedy rap. Topics include daily matters, politics, school, urban life and rapid changes in culture. Previously released as a short online mixtape, now finalised for Sucata Tapes as an hour long set with more tracks from the era.”
Manny dance dynamo Anz shells 20 of her in-demand grime/garage/jungle/juke dubs in a special tape edition for Finn’s 2 B Real
Cooked up circa the release of Anz’ wicked ‘Invitation 2 Dance’ EP in spring 2019, the session is testament to the pivotal DJ/producer’s rudegyal style snd energy, constantly switching up/down from bumping broken beats thru sparking 2-step electro, mutant ‘ardcore, bullish Bassline and nitro-injected Ghettotech. Properly primed for party season, the mix also serves as a warning shot for Anz’ upcoming manoeuvres with a Shaolin-level order of DJs set to dominate Manchester’s club life in 2020. More on that in due course.
End to end the mix is pure fire and pieced together with the skills that have earned Anz a deadly reputation over the past few years, as heard in her B2B sets with everyone from Finn and Tom Boogizm to DJ Q. The first side sees her limber up with a relatively slower slew of garage, broken beat and grime mutations with one foot in the ‘90s and the other in 2019, before she keeps toeing the gas to take in her special brand of R&G blends alongside Reese-powered proto-grime and a hot-footing Vince Staples edit, and eventually cutting the fuck loose with nutty mentasms, coiled jungle and an unmissable juke flip of Ella Mai.
Of course you trust us, but if not - 10K listens and 100 commenters on Anz’ soundcloud for ‘Spring/Summer Dubs 2019’ surely proves that this mix has got legs. It’s only her 2nd physical release, too, and thus a perfect stocking filler for your favourite raver (along with a few cinnamon-flavour Garys and a reusable Evian bottle).
Nyege Nyege Tapes kick off a crucial mix series with The Modern Institute’s blinding, 20-track razz; pelting thru unreleased collabs and remixes with Jay Mitta, Sisso and Errorsmith, along with 9 cuts to download individually.
In the two weeks after the 2018 edition of Nyege Nyege Festival, Tanzanian Singeli stars Jay Mitta and Sisso spent a lot of time hanging out and recording with The Modern Institute, Errorsmith and the extended Nyege Nyege family at their Villa HQ in Kampala, Uganda. The Modern Institute’s mixtape celebrates this period of unbounded creative energy, selecting and weaving together 20 highlights from some 50+ hybrids of Singeli with Soca, Makina and hardcore electronic dance music.
Across their frenetic 56 minute mix The Modern Institute offer an experience as close as you’ll get to the festival’s energy without actually touching down on the Equator. Documenting a totally unprecedented period of creative fusion, they rattle thru 20 tracks with an appropriately sense of unsigned joy, careening thru myriad strains of quicksilver drums and and hotfooting rhythms in a way that will light up any party of open-minded and up for it dancers, especially those with a thing for new electronic dance music from Africa.
The nine individual tracks form additional tools for the DJs. Errorsmith and Jay Mitta supply a huge highlight with the barrelling momentum of ‘Jam For Sisso’, while The Modern Institute also turn out the radical helter skelter pelt of ‘200 edit’ alongside seven groundbreaking collaborations with Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s Jay Mita and Sisso, including stellar zingers in TMI & Mitta’s mental ‘Rave Remix Final’ and the lightspeed syncopation of ‘Drill Remix’, plus the percolated step and tight, funky vamps of their jam with Sisso, ‘Biti 5 Sisso buildup’.
‘Early Works Pt. II’ lays out a hypnotic session of perceptive drone insights from our pal and erstwhile colleague Jo Montgomerie
Arriving not long after we watched her at The White Hotel in support of Sarah Davachi, Jo’s 2nd tape for nor’easterly english label Industrial Coast feels akin to being slowly immured in sand, gravel, and cement.
In five movements Jo patiently comes to dominate internal and external senses with finely graded layers of concrète viscera that settle and build with a natural, elemental logic only occasionally belied by evidence of human touch. It’s best to see Jo’s role in the music’s silty arrangement or de/composition as a liminal dark interpreter between the “real” world of field recordings and skin on plastic haptics, and the un- or lesser-known dimensions of negative energy and entropy.
Fans of Kevin Drumm need apply.
‘Behold Killers’ sees Pakistan-born Portlander Ilyas Ahmed return with an engrossing new full-length for the Geographic North label after a series of standout releases for Root Strata, Digitalis, MIE and Immune, as well as his work as a member of Grails and collaborations with Liz Harris (Grouper), Matt Carlson & Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever, among others. Described by the label as "an aural yarn explicitly woven for the trodden…”, this beautiful new work extends from a somnolent flow of fingerpicking into more abstracted terrain, now and again offset by Ahmed’s quiet falsetto - highly recommended to followers of John Fahey, Sonic Youth’s extended b-sides, Talk Talk, Loren Connors and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma...
"Since embarking on an enchantingly forlorn run of musical activity, Ilyas Ahmed has remained incredibly active both as a visual artist and an incredibly versatile musician. 'Behold Killers’ is perhaps his most alluring and distantly seething work to date.
"Pass No Jazz" unfurls its tattered but tranquil tapestry over the entire A-side, tracing each step with unhurried care and curious composure. "Metal Freedom" leads the B-side in a synth-laden cloud of shimmering tragedy and seething hope. "Mad Love" dials things down for a modest symphony of gritted minimalism and soot-covered, negative space. Closing piece "Wild Violet" shimmers in a desolate dance of eerie weightlessness and wretched resolve. Best consumed in the dead of night or frosted isolation…”
Like an update of Lovely Music Ltd.’s avant-pop, NYC/Baltimore’s Sunatirene scratches a restless ambient dance pop itch with ‘Queen Sound’, her sweetly trippy debut for Berlin’s She Rocks! label
Gently bugged-out electronics and glistening melodies meet charmingly straight-played, naturally folksy vocals in 12 songs written and produced by Sydney Spann aka Sunatirene. Breezy with the sort of prevailing, psychedelic shimmer of early Julia Holter or Ka Baird, but also as elegantly loose as Maria Minerva’s slinky dance-pop or Laurel Halo’s imaginary hyperprisms, ‘Queen Sound’ yields a highly visual collection of arrangements and surreal scenarios linked by the “whetted femininity” of Sunatirene’s vocals and her absorbing, theatrically-set palette of samples and original, synthetic touches.
Opening with the Coil-like baroque whimsy of ‘Welcome To The Amber Inside Me’, her touch for textured, colourful synthesis really becomes apparent with the poetic sashay of ‘Knock Knock’, while ’Stay Safer Sister’ casts a mystic spell that appears to update Lovely Music-style avant-pop for her generation. ‘Tucked away at its core, big highlight ‘Cecily’ supplies a clear indication of her dancefloor suss with clipped, swinging Latin rhythms rendered with chirruping, pointillist avian melody, while ‘A rare Sound’ shuffles that formula to slower tempo with highly lysergic results, and the unsettlingly bittersweet balm of ‘Muttering, Fairly Dare’ follows in that vein with a mix of bleepy froth offset by whinnies and gurgling babies that half bucolic, half trippy, and ‘What Do I Know’ wraps up with twanging, discordant strings recalling Teresa Winter’s febrile, psilocybic dreams.
Drawing parallels between present day Britain and that of the turn of the 80s, Ekoplekz looks back to that era's industrial and post-punk soundtrack for inspiration.
"In a land increasingly brutalized by austerity and divided by nationalism, the tensions that informed some of the post-punk era's most important works (Red Mecca, Unknown Pleasures, Metal Box) haunt this collection of bleak postcards from the present. Recorded quickly on cassette tape recorders, combining live instrumentation (guitar, bass, keyboards) with programmed drum machine and sequencer, the album has a raw, spontaneous edge, drawing on elements of dub, funk and primitive electronics for musical direction. The album is dedicated to the late Mark Fisher, who's brilliantly insightful writing is sorely missed while trying to make sense of these insane times."
Nahawa Doumbia is one of Mali's defining vocalists of the last four decades. Her work journeys through progressive stages of musical evolution and sonic vogues, making it hard to summarize or even comprehend. She's played a part in popular music since the late '70s, as her version of Wassoulou music developed from vocals-and-guitar duo into full-scale touring bands packing a bombastic, electrified punch.
"As Doumbia puts it, "My music has changed multiple times to this day…The more I progressed in my musical career, the more instruments I have had accompany my songs." Awesome Tapes From Africa will release Doumbia's debut recording La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 1 this August, building on the success of the label's first-ever reissue back in 2011, Doumbia's La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3. This seminal classic, which is still sought-after in Mali today, will finally be available for the first time internationally with remastered audio on LP, CD, Tape and Digital formats. The recording looks back to the beginning of Doumbia's long career, when she was performing in a simple voice and acoustic guitar format. This was before she added bass and drums, and finally the electric guitar and synths for which she became known more recently. Released in 1981 by the excellent Côte d’Ivoire-based AS Records, the singer was barely 20 years old when it was recorded.
She was accompanied by her future husband N'Gou Bagayoko on acoustic guitar, whose style echoes the nimble runs of traditional kamele n'goni players. The stark simplicity of this highly intimate recording-the audible room acoustics, the occasionally in-the-red vocals-do not obscure the mature strength of her voice. On Vol 1 Doumbia performs her songs with the tenacity and hunger of a young artist on the cusp."When I think about it, first, I am reminded of how long ago it was. It’s one of the albums that I love most because it reminds me of my youth. I was so young and my voice was light and joyful. I still listen to some of those songs today. I am really proud of that first album because that’s where it all began.
It shows me how far I’ve come in my personal and artistic life; it gives me the courage I need to keep going forward, and makes me appreciate all the years of dedication and hard work I put into my musical career."These early songs are rhythmically built around Bagayoko's sensitive guitar, as his fingers brush the fretboard and gently outline the melodies. Although this record predates the singer’s use of percussion, the driving skeletal didadi rhythm is apparent in the songs. Later albums like Vol 3 further prioritize her hometown didadi beat and the result made her famous."
Gauzy, low-key, organically textured dub and wizened folk explorations from Thomas Shrubsole, reviving his Sub Loam alias with two ‘Excavated Relics’ from the archive circa 2009-2010.
The A-side’s Soil Surface’ speaks to Shrubsole’s signature grasp of slow-moving sonic murk with nearly 10 minutes of endearingly weary dub chords perfused with acidic percolations that appear to mimic a sped-up (but still very slow) time-lapse image of soil dynamics, while the other side’s 11 minute piece ’Stone Fragment’ catches him picking out coruscating guitar strings and against peripheral percussion and distant vocal droens in a style murkily resonating with the mystic appeal of Zoviet France. Both are assuredly swaddled in layers of ferric tape hiss. Both humbly worth your time.
Mosca unbuckles the dancehall thru a wicked modular prism on his shockout debut for Fluf
One of the UK’s unique dancefloor experimenters since his tempo shifting debut for Nightslugs in 2010, Mosca really pushes the envelope of his sound in mad ways with ‘Touchie Riddim’, seemingly spinning the dance in a haywire gyroscope to the nuttiest ends.
If The Sprawl and Tapes hotbed the studio, the result may sound a bit like the decimated Pt.1, while Pt. 2 sound like Russell Haswell going in with Joachim Nordwall as The iDEALIST, Pt. 3 resonates like a Chernobyl bashment, and Pt. 4 attempts to scrape out both your bassbins and your skull.
‘Count Zero’ is a fine album of Burial worship from Greek producer Spyridon Katagas aka SKRU
Not just another piece of apocryphal “future garage”, the 13 tracks of ‘Count Zero’ are clearly tattooed with the Burial’s influence, but classily so, finding the right balance of unquantised 2-step swing and parry with dramatic arrangements drawing from cinematic atmospheres as much as vintage ‘90s UK dance tropes.
Best Available Technology's beloved style of degraded hardware craft inhabits the latest tape from Bristol’s Plaque label
Filtered from the past decade of hands-on hardware action, ‘Old Haunts’ speaks to the amorphous diversity of Portland, OR’s Kevin Palmer aka Best Available Technology’s style, finding his range between spats of murky dub diffraction, disembodied abstraction, and gutted brukbeats on this follow-up to his ‘Enginetics & Plasmalterations’ LP for Glasgow 12th Isle and previous outings with No Corner, Astro:Dynamics and Opal Tapes.
For those who like it loose and scrappy in the most charming way, BAT delivers with bubbling, low key dancefloor moments such as ‘Pstimulation’ and the claggy swang of ‘Heavy Velvet’ woven into a ruggedly textured body of vibes that flops and staggers like a handbuilt cyborg, variously taking in moments of perplexed contemplation in the ambient balm of ‘Zen Resonator’, and the burned-out ‘Crimson Dew’, plus his signature grasp of knackered, collapsing rhythms in ‘Exoskeleta’ and the sleepwalking ambient techno of ‘Bone 2 Brick.’
‘No Sleep ’Til Avon’ surveys Bristol’s rabid underbelly in 2019 with 21 tracks of puckishly expressive noise and harsh rhythms from veterans and new lambs alike.
Roughly rooted in strains of dub as much as industrial musick, the set is a bloodied representation of the wild energy contained between pub back-rooms, semi-legit venues and sweaty clubs in the capital of Avon.
Displaying strength in numbers and shared vision, the music is most often spoiling for a brawl, or at least gnashing with an abrasive quality that says comes test at your own risk. Trust there’s little time for trip hop wallowing or dubwise dogma as each unit delivers with a mutant, anarchistic aversion to rote style or trend.
If we’re playing favourites, the bombed-out EBM crank of Narcissist Holocaust is right up there with the churning swell of ‘Cult Leader’ by Fever 103º, a howling hardcore battering ram by Missterspoon, plus the razing gabber weaponry of Neurosyphilis Spasmodic Duo, or the Moor Mother-esque intensity of Harrga, in terms of properly upfront gear. But that would be to neglect it’s broader purpose, serving a wide-angled look at the scene that also take in oblique, harder-to-categorise aces in the likes of label commander Kinlaw’s industrial mutant ‘Marine Squad Deploy’, the dry convulsions of Ekoplekz, and incendiary blatz such as Salac’s ‘The Poison’, while Dead Space Chamber Music nod to heavy industrial psych, and Child touches on burned-out shoegaze.
‘Meme Booth’ is a 100% must-check volley of algorithmic dance trax from Kindohm, returning as Conditional’s secret weapon with a tape follow-up to his 2016 vinyl LP - both big looks for fans of Rian Treanor, Gábor Lázár, Mark Fell, Beatrice Dillon, Rennick Bell!
Bossing our reflexes right now, ‘Meme Booth’ is a keenly playful taste of the future from internet recluse and Minnesota, USA resident Mike Hodnick aka Kindohm. Bending up-to-the-second dembow and footwork patterns with live-coding techniques and the TidalCycles environment (Haskell) in ten short, sharp, shocks, he’s arrived at some of the most thrillingly angular electronic music we’ve heard in years.
Despite the fact that he’s got some dozen releases to his name since 2013, ‘Meme Booth’ will be a memorable first introduction to Kindohm for many. As with his tapes and digi drops such as ’16s ‘RISC Chip’ for Conditional and last year’s ‘Decera’ C40 with Always Human Tapes, his new volley proves at every angle a real knack for distilling and advancing dance music dynamics into urgent and absorbing arrangements.
Animating your body like a fleshy puppet, he shoots from the hip with taser-like prods that aim to keep you on the ‘floor, not send you fleeing. His balance of sheer drive in the pointillist electro stings of ‘Disconnecting is an Act of Rebellion’, the laser-whipsmart lash of ‘Articulator’, and the full frontal footwork missiles such as ‘Meme Booth’ are thrillingly upfront, but also held in check with more romantic sci-fi strands of futurism in the lushly user-friendly trance pads on ‘Flexbox’ and ‘This Can’t Be It’, or The Sprawl-esque tonal morph of ‘Unfollowed Silence’ which even the balance and make this such a brilliant little album.
For The Tapeworm’s 10th anniversary batch Jay Glass Dubs commits a lush suite of dubbed-out sampledelia in a totally enchanted style nodding to his heroes Spacemen 3 and others.
Across 40 minutes of tape Jay filters samples of himself (lol), plus everyone from Costis Drygiannakis to Steely Dan, Laurie Anderson, Suicide, Duran Duran, ELO, Arlo Guthrie and Robert Wyatt into a free floating flux of voices percolated in elegant polka dub rhythms.
It’s intoxicating stuff, with Laurie Anderson providing a hiccuping motif that carries the A-side’s Wolfgang Voigt and Spacemen 3-styled cosmic saunter, while the B-side steps on the gas slightly to ride a dusty, cantering drum machine rhythm with scuffed, psychoactive electronics and swaying choral vocals that unfold with a deeply druggy, raga-like quality. It’s heavily gratifying to hear Jay Glass Dubs really grasp the potential of the long format with both hands here.
The amniotic grit of ‘Tough Cunt’ is one of Louis Johnstone aka The Hers’ (aka Wanda Group) most curious early releases, originally transmitted back in 2012 on a small-run tape release and now given new life on the excellent Death Is Not The End label for the first time on vinyl. Committed during his golden early phase that also generated ‘Piss Fell Out Like Sunlight’ and ‘My Grandad Never Died On A Boat In Russia And His Brother Not On Land In North Africa’, the 13 tracks of ‘Tough Cunt’ convey an uneasy, solitary state of mind held in atmospheric suspense between layers of peeling, lo-fi field recordings, tape loops and live, playthru performance mulched in a hypnagogic flux.
Like a slippery cyborgian cousin to Graham Lambkin and The Caretaker, or even Gas and Jan Jelinek, Louis operates on the liminal edge of familiarity with a rough grasp of (de)composition applied to arrangements that appear to drift in and out of consciousness, connoting the effect of a memory blipping from daily sensory overload and struggling to fill in the cracks with warm flushes of skull-scraped endorphins.
It’s pretty hard to argue with Louis’ techniques of seduction. From the Gas-like swell and the crepuscular creep of the first parts, he gets right under the skin and stays there, pulling into the golden glow of ‘Super 32’, keening to the stately drift of ’92 Inside an Escort’ and getting it right on the nose with his transition from the olfactory synaesthesic timbre of ‘Everyone Gets Everything he Wants’ into heavy Lynchian clag on ‘You Will Not Remove Shit’ in a way that beggars the question; why the fuck has he not been commissioned for a film soundtrack by now?
Cascading, pointillist, and bittersweet 12 string finger picking. Served warm, intimate and lowlit thru Slip
'Dawning On' is Australian, Berlin-based guitarist Julia Reidy’s Slip debut: a razor-sharp précis of pent-up, blazing melancholy on a lone 12-string guitar. Reidy’s playing is lucid and poised, teasing out elegant inflections from half-melodies, rugged strums, and curious tunings. Her compositions are lingering streams: barely-shackled attacks give way to introspective arpeggiations before resurging again, all spurred on by a yearning, nervous energy.
With the album’s single-track A-side clocking in at just under half-an-hour, this is by some measure Julia’s most comprehensive solo statement to date, and a luxurious listen which revels in the 12-string’s generous resonance. For our money, it’s up there with the finest work of her fellow Aussies The Necks, Anthony Pateras, and Jon Rose.
‘Art of Magic’ is Paper Dollhouse’s commission for the Folklore Tapes and The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic present… Art Of Magic Exhibition at The Horse Hospital London, Saturday 28 July, 2018
Droning, washed-out H-pop tropes suffuse the A-side’s ‘Folklore Tapes Live in London’ with a hazy state of mind emphasised by detached, fuzzy vocals and the distant screams of applause or protest (we’re not sure which) that give way to Astrid Steehouder aka Paper Dollhouse’s more typical, ghostly urges and eventually a bout of choral pads layered into eerie harmonic cadence. The B-side is a studio-based version of the first piece. Really good stuff...
Y is the highly influential and innovative debut album by The Pop Group, released in 1979. In the same year The Pop Group released their single She is Beyond Good & Evil / 3:38.
"The band went on to release 2 further singles, We Are All Prostitutes and Where There Is A Will (Split single with the Slits) and 1 further studio album For How Much Do We Tolerate Mass Murder, before splitting up in 1981.
Frontman, Mark Stewart embarked on a solo career releasing his pioneering album Learning To Live With Cowardice in 1983. Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith went on to form Rip Rig & Panic alongside Neneh Cherry."
Crest-swelling, crepuscular synth-pop with a strong hint of IDIB-esque ‘80s nostalgia - great stuff once again from Geographic North.
“Sandy is a Brooklyn-based trio comprised of Samantha Pathe (synths/vocals), Stephen Pathe (drum machines/samples), and Jeff Carter (synths/vocals). The trio arose from the devastation wrecked by Hurricane Sandy throughout the Jersey Shore in 2012. After the storm destroyed the house Jeff was living in and left him stranded, Stephen offered Jeff a room in his Manasquan, NJ house. Under the same roof, under unfortunate circumstances, the pair naturally started playing music together. They soon brought in Stephen’s sister Samantha to play and write music with them and Sandy – the band – was born.
Traces – the group’s first release since its self-titled debut on Night People in 2014 – is a work of duality. The band’s layered synths and beats build a richly woven tapestry of seemingly disparate and opposing forces that forge new ground in electronic music. The songs are both ambient and anthemic. And yet, they are anthems with restraint, always pulling back just before entirely breaking through the carefully composed tension. The lyrics are both mournful and hopeful, a binary that is embodied in the music itself.
Dreamy, overlapping synth parts wash over you while the songs take twists and turns that command your attention and get your foot tapping, if not your body moving. Specters and spirits abound, as drums appear and later disappear out of nowhere like an apparition, and haunting synth lines sound like they’ve been ripped out of a score to an eerie sci-fi film of your imagination. By Traces’ end, you feel like you’ve experienced something – something cohesive and whole, carefully built within the fabric of these four songs, as if Sandy has told the story they wanted to tell in the amount of time it took to tell it.”
One of the most striking releases of the last couple of years, ‘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. It's now finally available on vinyl for the first time.
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.
Knockout side of ‘90s electronic Tuareg blues from Niger’s Abdallah Ag Oumbadougou, a pioneer of the Saharan sound predominantly played on guitars, here accompanied by bubbling drum machines and synth pads to hypnotic effect ranking among Sahel Sounds’ very best
Sounding like Balearic vibes caught on a prevailing wind from deepest Sahara via early ‘90s Ibiza, ‘Anou Malane’ is just brimming with balmy grooves and heat-hazy licks that make us want to shut eyes and travel to somewhere much warmer. It’s a real find from Christopher Kirkby’s roving label, locating longheld nomadic music traditions embracing new technology in order to amplify and channel their spirit in a manner that resonates with modern echoes of this style from the likes of Luka Productions or Hama’s elegant, lilting instrumentals.
Considered a classic in the region, but scarcely known internationally, ‘Anou Malane’ was recorded in Benin in 1995 and remains among the earliest studio recordings of Tuareg guitar music. While the music is ostensibly elegant and melodic, it was made while Abdullah was in exile, and thus it’s also politically charged as an address to fighters scattered in the desert during the ‘90s Tuareg rebellion spread across Niger and Mali - part of the nomadic Tuaregs’ traditional territory.
According to the label, Abdallah recorded it in Benin with Nel Oliver, a West African producer behind a number of seminal boogie and afro-funk sides, whose influence can clearly be heard in the early digital drum machine pulses and synthetic backdrops to the guitar, which is always upfront with the vocals in-the-mix. Riddled with hooks and seductively swinging, it ain’t hard to hear how ‘Anou Malane’ became a local classic and brought Saharan politics to the dancefloor. While its politics may not be understood by modern listeners, ‘Anou Malane’ is sure to resonate with dancefloor tastes across the world in 2019.
Touch Sensitive lean in for an ace group portrait ranging from spectral organ works to tumpin’ techno, IDM hyper-prisms, doom drone and sleazy psych grinders
Marking five years of the label’s non-linear diversions, ‘Wacker That’ is one of those rare compilations that transcends the sum of its parts and opens a window on microcosms you might not know exist. It also serves as a strong reminder of what they’ve been up to, and may turn a few heads back to their aces releases such as Cherrystones’ ‘Critical Mass’ compilation, Barry Lynn’s kosmiche escape pods or Autumns’ metamorphosis into nasty EBM band.
It’s puckered with myriad, off-road surprises that reveals the Northern Irish experimental and electronic music scene to be in rude health, ranging from the SND and Far Eastern-oriented electronics of Sonopy’s ‘Diamante Shithouse’ to a seriously rugged slug of crushed grime by Bloom with ‘Mystery Setting’, and a cap-tip to yer mam’s favourite in Elaine Howley’s BoC-like ‘Song For Mary Black’ racked up beside the Factory Floor-compatible EBM jab of Autumns’ ‘Loosen Up’, and mutant industrial death-bop from Fears, as remixed by Gross Net Blood, plus a gorgeous analog synth coda by Natalia Beylis.
Site specific recordings accompanying and responding to the ambience of central Düsseldorf in summer 2018. Trippy business. Perhaps trying to charm and dowse particles of ancient Kraftwerk from the city’s balmy air
“Jono Podmore writes… “After the release of our 7" single ‘Miss Slipper’ / ‘Lewes’ on Psychomat Records in 2017 it was time for another release in keeping with our spirit of adventure and interrogation of established forms. We'd played a few improvised shows which lead us to think of combining the anvil of the audience with the hammer of recording. A plan was hatched to create an event that would lead to an artefact – both an open recording session and a recorded event: a site-specific incident and a time-specific document. A number of venues between our homes and workplaces in London, Köln and Düsseldorf were mooted. Suddenly Swantje found herself in possession of the keys to the Hallraum...
10th August 2018 was a balmy night on Worringerplatz. The good, bad and the ugly of Düsseldorf were out in force; promenading their profusion of languages, habits, needs and grudges. The architect of the platz built benches (Bänke in German) into the design, so the homeless that gather on the Bänke to put their tired feet up and have a drink, have become known as the “Bankers”. Nestling under the trees on the northern corner of the platz is the Hallraum: a wee glasshouse that functions as a gallery, a venue and as a piece of public sculpture in its own right.
We set up our gear, a PA system and an array of microphones amidst an installation in the Hallraum, opened up the doors and windows, then played for the peoples of Worringerplatz, gathering an audience as we went along. Setting the panes of glass rattling, accompanying the trams, serenading the bankers and those hungry for Pizza und Kultur, we played karaoke to the sounds of the platz. As we busied ourselves in the Hallraum, fellow traveller Kai Winter, armed with a digital recorder and synchronized to the master clock, prowled Worringerplatz and beyond to capture the environment mingling with our sound writing and wave shaping. Later, all the sources were brought together and mixed exactly as they happened in time and place to produce these pieces.
The artwork takes a similar trajectory: photos from the event are mixed, printed, collaged, balanced, re-processed, enhanced and degraded to produce a unique and enigmatic image.” – Jono Podmore, London, 16 August 2019.”
Aaron Turner (ISIS, Mammifer) is stripped to guitar, effects pedals and amps in stark improvisations for indomitable label, The Tapeworm. Cranky grade head rubble styles.
“Interminable Conniption finds avant metallurgist Aaron Turner ruminating on the aberrant possibilities of solo electric guitar. Herein Turner focuses on psychoemotional atmospherics built from the sonic detritus of a full-stack and a few effects pedals. The resultant tracks are minimally-layered spontaneous performances interweaving quivering drones, distended melodies, and saturated dissonance into an immersive architecture of burbling turbulence and uneasy quietude.
Besides his solo works, Aaron Turner is renowned for his participation in the bands SUMAC and ISIS. His other projects include Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer and House of Low Culture, as well as collaborations with other artists such as Tashi Dorji, Daniel Menche, Keiji Haino, and Circle. He is the founder of Hydra Head Records and co-founder of SIGE Records.”
Hardcore spirit Nkisi yields a 30 minute tape on a doomcore tip in the vein of classic Joyrex-era Caustic Window, backed with an alternate version recorded during her Cafe Oto residency, released via the Paris’-based Collapsing Market label.
Under the mission statement ’Destruction of Power’, Nkisi goes in much rawer, noisier and looser than her string of records for UIQ and Arcola, reminding us in its intensity and underlying radiance of the Joyrex series of Caustic Window EP's from way back when. From the bouncing bomb kicks and shellshocked atmosphere of the opening bars, 'Destruction Of Power' introduces dungeon synth pads and demonic, red-lining levels of distortion that threaten to crumble those Congolese drum patterns while the bittersweet pads hold their line in the upper echelons.
The slightly shorter Oto mix is keener on the sharper kick drum patterns and is inhabited by a ghostly, dubbed-out vocal incanting the titular phrase, until a mid-way switch-up really lets fly with a drum palette like Konono No.1’s Congotronics on steds and reworked by No Name. Proper no brainers!
Shifted follows up his 'Under a Single Banner' LP for Bed Of Nails. Part 1 of a twin 12" set, 'Arrangements in Monochrome' yields four mechanically worn-down grooves seeping from the oily, emulsifying drones of 'You're a Replacement' to the thrumming grey techno missile 'Arrangement In Monochrome I' and over to the viscous momentum of '6ft of Silence' or the ventilation shaft extrusion, 'The Velvet Rope'.
Cherry-picked soul, funk, R&B and astral jazz joints wrapped up in cosmic electronics and mythology. An expertly sequenced mix by Swiss DJ Sassy J, following online sessions for RA and Dekmantel and a 2014 tape for TTT
“For the 13th mix in this series, Sassy J finds inspiration in the “Fruit of Life,” a system of information found in Sacred Geometry. It consists of a structure of 13 circles that is said to contain the blueprint of the universe. Its 13th circle is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the network and, more widely, the universe. It acts as a gateway to higher dimensions and a catalyst for healing.
The music in this mix exudes spirituality. As a constructed piece, it’s a tapestry that weaves together broadcasts, interludes, songs, and poems. Echoes of horns mingle with a distant message of the cosmos as Sassy J invites us into a world from which we do not want to leave. Indeed, it doubles up as a map that marks Sassy J’s place in a universe that is held together by her singular thread.
The overriding mantra of "You gotta have freedom, you gotta have peace and love” marks the end of the musical journey and corresponds to the principle contained in the 13th sphere. It rings with poetic meaning and speaks to the values she espouses so uncompromisingly. What I have always admired most about Sassy J is her unwavering commitment to a musical vision. The music she invokes belongs to a Space Age of astral jazz explorations and sonic paths that lead to a higher state of consciousness. It is music that is born out of pain but which offers redemption; both serious and supremely uplifting.
In the act of curation, Sassy J is proposing an alternative history, one where style isn't as important as leveraging meditative states and the spirit behind the sounds. Because Sassy J refuses to stay in one place and treats music as a set of recurring melodic shapes, the very texture of this mix is defined by transition, process, and flow. It seems to say that art is the only thing that exists beyond death. As a beam of sunshine floods through my window the music glistens out to the street beyond. Caught in a dance with the rays of sunlight, it reminds me of how music is a journey and a destination all of its own.”
Hakuna Kulala return with ‘Kubali’, revolving around MC Yallah’s fiercely controlled delivery matched by rugged riddims from Debmaster.
A prime showcase of east Africa’s incredibly fertile electronic dance music scene, ‘Kubali’ catches Uganda-born, Kenya-based MC Yallah step on and off 11 seriously ruffshod productions blessed with the best of both scuzzy industrial fetish styles and up-to-the-second global bass/trap movements.
The mode is slow but urgent, toggling the gauge between Debmaster’s pressurised instrumentals and Yallah’s hot gobs of fire in a manner that recalls The Bug’s workouts with warrior Queen as much as a nastier version of Equiknoxx and Shanique Marie or a colourful counter to Coucou Chloe’s work with Sega Bodega.
Bookended by fractious reflections of their sonic environment in the chopped vocals of ‘TT12’ and the distorted scenes of chants and percussion in ‘TT26’, the session flows thru big vocal highlights in the cold ragga slam of ‘Kubali’, the blown-out, shark-eyed killer ‘Teba Kuda Mabega’, their clash of sour sirens with demonic dembow bumps in ‘Malbanyoma’, and the grimy swagger of ‘Sifa Leero (Gangsta Edition)’. But that’s not to discount the smart placement of Debmaster’s succinct, scowling instrumentals, strung out between the bashy rogue ‘TT32v2’ and the psychoactive militancy of ‘TT145.’
100% bad as fuck.
20th Anniversary half-speed master vinyl edition of the Smog classic, ‘Knock Knock’
"Placing this LP on your turntable, you find yourself drawn ever-deeper into the sound - and it’s not just the eternally-stunning co-production from Callahan and Jim O’Rourke, it’s the incredible focus brought by the half-speed mastering work done at Abbey Road, bringing out the highs, lows and even mids that OG fans of this album have taken for granted for too many years. The fresh fullness of the sound now stands as a tribute to the ol’ familiar Smog sensation of being somehow completely unfamiliar.
Back in 1999, Bill was staking out new territory. Issued in the wake of the game-changing ‘Red Apple Falls’, ‘Knock Knock’ upped the ante of the game, pairing his naked portraiture with increasingly delicate nuances in song and arrangement. The people responded in kind, turning out in ever-increasing numbers to shops and venues alike. They weren’t quite singing along with ‘Cold-Blooded Old Times’ yet - that’s a happy post-millennial development - but there was a lot. ‘Knock Knock’ was enough of a tour de force that staging a re-look these twenty years later was a cool no-brainer. With production values at an all-time (for then) high and a team of Chicago-based studio rats (as well as a carefully vetted-and-compensated singing children’s choir) on the case, ‘Knock Knock’ was the most colourful of Smog albums; a record that played like a real-life opera, a story told in song.
Today, songs like ‘Held’, ‘River Guard’ and ‘Hit The Ground Running” are still called for at concerts. Meanwhile, the 20th Anniversary half-speed remaster of the LP allows us to perceive the expansive spaces in tunes like ‘Sweet Treat’ and ‘Left Only With Love’. It wouldn’t have been the 90s without a CD version and the label are re-releasing that in original, non-remastered form. Also, in tribute to where it all came from (but where it definitively wasn’t at the time), they have a cassette version of ‘Knock Knock’ for the neo-lo-fi heads to appreciate."
V I S unspool a killer tape of Herron’s recent studio output, veering between frayed rhythmic noise and cyberpunk grunge in the grim vein of the label's original production showcases by Christoph de Babalon, Felix Kubin, Basic House, SPR.
A pivotal figure in Manchester behind the Meandyou club night and events in Soup Kitchen’s basement, as well as an occasional collaborator with Joy Orbison and his Hinge Finger imprint, Herron here follows his nose into the maziest and murkiest ginnels of his style, practically leaving any semblance of gridlocked house in the rearview to instinctively pursue a more greyscale type of electro-acoustic dub flux.
Working shades away from Madteo’s rudely squashed rhythm ’n noise style, and in similar waters to Porter Ricks and his former collaborator J.S. Zeiter, Herron ekes out a low key but keenly burning hour of off the cuff blatz and gritty noise riddled with traces of iridescent melody and glancing samples that fizz thru the ferric clag.
Most crucially. his rhythms feel unlocked and now flow with a freer viscosity, oozing between knotted dembow and more relaxed, straighter grooves, but also prone to dissolve with an amphibian grasp of dry and wet textures and natural contours, leading to some writhing mutations of posthuman electro in the 2nd half.
No doubt it’s the most impressive release in Herron’s small but well formed catalogue, and a strong look for anyone feeling the like-minded releases on Youth, the label run by his Meandyou. co-founder, Andy Lyster.
Outstanding debut album by I Jahbar, nephew of Congo Ashanti Roy and Duppy Gun’s mainman in JA, with production by SKRS Intl, Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras aka Duppy Gun. Essential picks for anyone into fresh Jamaican mutations from Equiknoxx, Sikka Rhymes or STILL!
Rolling on from a pair of 12”s in 2013 and the ‘Lighter Thief’ EP in 2016, the longtime Duppy Gun MC delivers hoarse bars over production from Sun Araw’s Cameron Stallones and studio supremo M. Geddes Gengras (here known as Big Flite and Velkro) who go riddim for riddim with SKRS Intl in a mutant back and forth where dancehall dissolves in a grimy bath of swinging meters and frictional textures riddled with GRM-style shrapnel and heatsick romance in 10 scenes stepping from sticky, viscous lovers rock to fractal digi-dub and manic fast-chat mutations.
While comparisons with Equiknoxx, Sikka Rhymes or STILL are patently warranted, ‘Inna Duppy SKRS Soundclash’ is wildly distinguished by its intersection of operators, triangulating a madness between JA’s south coast, Vancouver and California’s West Coast. Where SKRS dematerialise the vibe in the bleepy froth of ‘DemNoBad’, Duppy Gun go sweet and treacly on ‘Turn It Up’ to test I-Jahbar’s versatility in fine style, whereas SKRS tees up something fizzier, freaky to best showcase RDL with ‘RichMiProud.’ One of the biggest highlights is the wonky- red-eyed ride of ‘Weed Patrol’, getting the best out of Stallones and Gengras’ modular digi-dub prisms, and we can almost promise the Nike vs Adidas tune ‘Ipy Ipy’ will burrow its way into a lot of faves folders, while SKRS Intl’s sizzling tilt for Buddy Don’s fast chat in ‘DuppyKilla’ makes a straight-up rabble rouser.
Swear this tape will dominate the rest of summer 2019.
Bat For Lashes grasps for a wistful ’80s aesthetic with her self-released fifth studio album ‘Lost Girls’
‘Lost Girls’ sees Natasha Khan’s BFL channel the soft focus FM synth glow of the ‘80s in a similar way to IDIB’s Johnny Jewel and co. while heavily referencing the dream-pop of Kate Bush, who has long been cited as an inspiration on her sound.
Following her ‘Sexwitch’ album of ‘70s inspirations, the choice to go all ‘80s just as everyone is nodding to the ‘90s and even the zero zeros feels a bit contrary, but also makes a natural fit to BFL’s sensibilities, which have long displayed an affection for the era’s emergence of dream-pop tropes and the digital language of modern pop music.
Working closely with co-producer Charles Scott IV, Khan makes her influences feel dreamily detached from the here and now, instantly separating her from the contemporary crowd and offering a fine framework for her tendency toward a sort of textural sensuality not often found in modern pop music.
Listen out for highlights between her 4AD-skooled shoegaze moment ‘Vampires’, embellished with extra synth and sax, along with a clear thing for Cyndi Lauper in ‘Safe Tonight’, plus super sultry vibes in Jasmine’, and a very Jai Paul-esque sound in ‘Feel For You.’
Artistic director of ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble) and prolific contributor to work by Johann Johannsson, Max Richter and Stars of the Lid, among many others, Clarice Jensen yields two arresting soundscapes for Geographic North following her 2018 debut album for Miasmah.
Arriving on the back of an airborne chorale compatible with Maja S. K. Ratkje’s breathtaking 'Crepuscular Hour’ set in ‘The Organ That Made You Bleed’, Jensen enacts a transition from lofty climbs into stygian, cavernous depths of subharmonic disturbance, with fleeting moments of sublime relief passing into disorienting abstraction recalling the raw overtone plays of Aine O’Dwyer one minute, before switching into a kind of heady riff on Ligeti’s 'Clocks And Clouds’ and Roland Kayn’s ‘Tektra’ - all in the course of 17 spellbinding minutes.
‘One Bee’, meanwhile, finds Clarice on her favoured cello, drawing out strands of strangely tuned electronics that wrap around her skeletal melody and then unfurl into more natural geometries to subliminal effect. The alignment of a cold, dissonant drone with Jensen’s pulsing cello is highly unusual, the tension finally letting up towards the final moments of this controlled, highly evocative set - chiming with recent explorations by Galya Bisengalieva and Leila Bordreuil, pushing the instrument into unfamiliar terrain.
Whirling microtonal synth dervishes, electro-chaabi-compatible rhythms, and cool breeze vibes from hot and dusty Mauritania, north west Africa - a must check for fans of Luka Productions or Islam Chipsy!
“Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla plays instrumental electronic keyboard in a style known in Mauritania as WZN, or in Arabic simply “music.” Born into a musical family tradition (his father is a renowned tidnit player from Traza), today Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla is one of Mauritania’s most premiere keyboard performers. Soundtracking lavish weddings in the countries capital, Ahmedou has earned a reputation for his evocative theatrics, accentuating notes with by playing with his elbows, or tapping the keyboard with his head.
Terrouzi presents a future vision of Mauritania WZN. Indulging the digital keyboard for all its plastic sounds, accompanied with the thump and clash of programmed electronic drums, Ahmedou’s style is difficult to place. Ancient classics are transformed into baroque freakouts, with a flurry of shredding over microtonal pitch bending notes in the signature WZN style. Not content to rest solely in tradition, Ahmedou leans heavily into outernational pop music, creating anachronistic pieces that veer from 90s slow jam R&B, to bass heavy boom bap and minimal trap. A standout entry in synth music from the Sahara.”
Sickest acid dancehall and crooked soukous vibes straight from Kampala on this killer new EP from Rey Sapienz, returning to Hakuna Kulala (sublabel of Nyege Nyege Tapes) on the label's first ever physical release.
‘Mushoro’ packs twice as much material as Sapienz’ 2018 debut ‘Hakuna Kulala’ for a start, but the production is also detectably slower, more detailed and layered to express a wider range of moods and killer drum patterns stemming from the Congo, while the vocals are also more diverse and speaking to current club tastes.
Pairing acidic stabs with low-slung vox in the dark sidewinder ‘Mushoro’, he finely toggles the vibe between playful technoid and Terminator cold throughout the EP, shifting his weight on an off the beat with icy control in ‘Ngando’, while ‘Dancehall Pigmé’ turns out a gripping take on acid-hall styles shades away from Equiknoxx. ‘Anti Machine’ then start out super brooding but buoyed by psyched-out bleep melodies like some early Warp cut, before ’Nzela Mabulu’ cuts the lights for a proper piece of voodoo almost compatible with Gqom, and ‘Entaintenment’ rounds back to a rugged flip of soukous styles.
Mad, essential vibes on this one, strong looks for the dancers and DJs!
A smoky, funky ghetto-tech and hip hop riddle wrapped in ferric tape, ‘An Introduction to Michael J. Blood’ finds DJ Tom Boogizm as conduit for one of Manny’s best kept secrets - think Didsbronx’ answer to Moodyman, Urban Tribe or Theo Parrish - for DJ/producer Finn’s 2 B Real bootyque.
Newly edited from a lauded 2017 NTS broadcast, this outstanding session follows on the label from DJ Finn’s classic ‘Accelerated Club’ mixtape and Anz’s ‘Invitation To Dance’ 12” to supply a rare glimpse into the mind of Michael J. Blood and his coven; a low-key character and his pals who specialise in off-the-cuff, killer vibes steeped in classic Detroit and Chicago soul, hip hop and ghetto-tech steez.
As much a showcase for Michael J. Blood’s production and his circle as the deadly deft DJ tekkers of Tom Boogizm, the mix was built live from Blood’s mostly <30 second loops and addictive, hard-to-place edits, all seamlessly filleted, juggled and sequenced for house party-ready function or settee slomping by Wigan’s funkiest son, Thomas Boogizm Esq.
Side A sees him toggle the vibe back ’n forth between red-eyed studio abstraction, slompy Dilla-esque beats, synth-funk vamps and mutant ghetto-tech/Jit/juke with a charming, jazzy loucheness, while The B-side follows suit, but keeps the gauge ticking up with a ruder feminine pressure recalling Finn’s own productions, and crucially includes some proper nifty, hands-on CDJ chops by the Boogizm that sounds like RP Boo or DJ Rashad’s footwork flips of classic funk or even Actress’ Thriller edits.
Trust it’s the lick. No download. Do not sleep on this!
Andy Votel expands on Finders Keepers’ reissue of the Moomins music by Graeme Miller & Steve Shill with his soundtrack for an exhibition of artwork inspired by Moomins illustrator and author Tove Janssen.
Commissioned by the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in October 2017, and recorded in situ at the exhibition by Jonathan Edwards and Felt Mistress, Votel’s instrumental soundtrack mixes elements of the original animation soundtrack and related sounds, blended in 13 sections. The nostalgia feels are clear and present, casting almost everyone over the age of 30-odd back to a world of fuzzy felt characters and their adventures in the bucolic Moominvalley. Aces, natch.
The first in a series of exclusive editions of releases we've loved in 2019 comes from Indonesian nutters and notorious live act Gabber Modus Operandi. Their debut album for Shanghai’s maverick Sbvkvlt kru despatched eight hooligan alloys of heavy metal, militant Dutch kick drums and native styles of gamelan and Dangdut Koplo - local folk-pop - for a totally unique proposition no matter what angle you’re coming from. It’s a seethingly up-for-it and puckishly immediate sound, lending a thrilling new spin to well-trampled tropes in a way symptomatic of the current wave of rave goods.
Working a sound bound to unite scallies from Sunderland to Rotterdam and Jakarta, ‘Hoxxya’ toggles the pressure between mixtures of industrial panel beating and BM atmospheres in ‘Genderuwo’ to the hypnotic meld of pealing horns and bonehead stamp in ‘Sangkakala III’, getting the heart rate up with the adrenalised stepper ‘Semeton 10 Ton’, along with the scudding swagger of ‘Kon’, nodding south to the Bloody Fist crew and their apocryphal Pyongyang Hardcore Resistance in ‘Tekyan’, while ‘Trance Adiluhunxxx’ gives a stinging shot of melodic energy, and the hyper percussion of ‘Calon Arang’ and ‘Padang Galaxxx’ get us gurning like a hellish tribal mask.
Exceptional debut album styles from Cy An - studio engineer/producer for FKA Twigs - fusing lush and prickling flesh to the mutable structures of his 2017 debut in a breathtaking bouquet of fractal electronics. RIYL TCF, Arca, Suzanne Kraft, László Hortobágyi, 0PN, FKA Twigs.
‘Earth Naval / Morrigan’ holds among the most impressive debut albums of this year. Mapping fluidly diverse, amorphous terrain at the horizon of rhythm-driven electronics, ambient-pop, folk and noise abstraction, London-based artist Cy An has divined a contemporary strain of psychedelia that distinctly prods the pineal. While his memorably skeletal, free-floating debut 12” was sorely underrated, in a just world this album should receive due attention from discerning bods.
Coming to life with goosepimple-inducing choral pads and curdled Reese bass in ‘ENTRYVIA(R)’, the album unfurls with the controlled, writhing sensuality of a contemporary dancer such as Cy An’s famous collaborator, Twigs. Moving thru weightless noise in ‘FINALFLIGHT(M)’ to the shuddering space station convulsions in ‘HOLLOWINSIDES(T)’, the album comes on waves of pineal revelation and contemplation to expresses a genuine, dilated wonder thru a detailed aesthetic and subtle emotive cues.
‘ONLYFATE(R)’ sees him vault into vast Berlin skool ambient only to come down with genteel, cinematic keys that billow across ‘NOWKNOWING(H)’, all priming the listener for the stunning sacrificial prostration of ‘YOURGOD(N)’ and subsequent runs between early electronics and new age arps locked to brittle trap in ‘OTHERSIDE’, with spellbinding Slint-meets-Cocteaus strums on ‘ISYOU(V)’ and the almost medieval mesh of chord drones and acoustic strums of ‘ALLAWAITS(N)’ leading into the fractal rhythmelodic resolution of ‘HIDDEN(L)’, and the album’ masterfully elegiac finale ‘YOUNEVERDIED.’
From the coolly diffracted flow of its construction to the obfuscated yet penetrative nature of its emotive tact, ‘Earth Naval / Morrigan’ is very necessary listening for lovers of romantic, modern electronic music of all stripes. Do not sleep on it!
Second in an occasional series of tape releases cataloguing site-specific, previously unreleased recordings by Demdike Stare, this time for the Church of Saint-Merri in Paris earlier this year. The result is a killer 50 minute session re-shaping strings, choral loops, ricocheting drums and sheets of metal into a gauzy fever dream referencing the musical heritage of Paris, from Edition Gravats to GRM, and the incredible space of Saint-Merri itself.
Rendez-Vous Contemporains de Saint-Merry is Demdike at their most contemplative and experimental, tempering quietly euphoric strings with field recorded mayhem and frayed percussion scattered across the stereo field. From there; raw materials disassembled and rewired, tape spools unwound, whispers amplified in the echo chamber, concrète and sacred music re-coded into a collision of disorientating menace and bliss.
There are also diversions; the arpeggiated coda towards the end of the first side, smudged bassdrums and vocal hooks appearing on side B like a mad apparition, and then brushed jazz cymbals unwinding into a fizzing tremor of collapsed sound, ending the tape off like the dust-settling aftermath of some unnatural calamity, re-played in slow motion.
“Influenced by everything from Khan Jamal to Egisto Macchi via Basic House and Konrad Kraft, Why So Mute, Fond Lover? builds new worlds of beats and rhythm, sound collage, ambience and noise using random borrowed equipment, broken gear and household appliances. The album was recorded in Mile End, London and Hamburg (with collaborator Ben Page of Rocketnumbernine and Elite Barbarian), and mastered by fellow Rothko member Mark Beazley.
Donnelly has previously released albums on Exotic Pylon, Hideous Replica and Foredoom Productions, and has been a long-term member of Rothko, performing on a number of their albums including A continual Search for Origins, Eleven Stages of Intervention and most recently 2018’s Blood Demands More Blood.
Why So Mute, Fond Lover? comes with a bonus album (to download with all physical copies, and available separately to download) featuring tracks from Michael’s previous releases plus new remixes by Pye Corner Audio, Polypores, Kemper Norton, Psychological Strategy Board, Basic House and Elite Barbarian.
This new release is the second volume of a new series on Front & Follow – Ex Post Facto – which seeks to celebrate experimental electronic music in all its forms, showcasing new work and old, exploring the relationship between the current and the past, how they influence and shape each other and our experiences of them.
For each volume in the series we ask artists to create a new project of their own choosing and present it alongside a retrospective of their past output. Ex Post Facto: There are always consequences in retrospect.”
Well this is a bit unexpected; house maverick Madteo returns from the wild with a crackshot tape for DDS, featuring 75 minutes of previously unreleased material recorded in Tokyo earlier this year and giving us mad gauzy vibes highly recommended if yr feeling owt from Moodymann to John T Gast, Huerco S. to Demdike.
Recorded at ‘Forest Limit’, an outsider art space tucked away in Shibuya, Tokyo, the 78-minute session epitomises the Italian-American’s ruggedly freestyle, tactile and heady as frig approach to knackered club movements and fever-dream samples. If we’re to drily break it down, it’s a result of highly attuned intuition, a singular palette, and a no-f*cks-given attitude. But on another level it’s simply cranky magick in the mold of Demdike’s own cut ’n splice mixtapes or their killer production reels by Iueke.
Trust Madteo's taking no prisoners inside; the session slips down a mental wormhole between head-wobbling subbass smudge, spongiform kicks and throttled tones that only occasionally allow us listeners to come up for air. It all feels digestive, intestinal and utterly grotty in the best way, connoting the murky afterglow from a satisfyingly mucky weekend of bassbin massages and hanging out with good rotters. You know the sort you can’t wash off for days.
"yeah, it's for the headz"
Hardware badboy Krikor Kouchian follows a series of pearls for L.I.E.S. and that hugely sought-after 'Building Arnold Schwarzenegger’ score with another indispensable collection of free-hand ruggedness and squashed productions reminding us why he's one of the best in the game. Huge tip if yr into owt from the first pair of MMM 12”s to vintage Delroy Edwards - killer gear!
Harnessing a bucking bronco of a session, Krikor puts his machines thru their paces in 10 parts (plus 5 bonus tracks) ranging from kerb-crawling sleaze to scratchy ambient and some scorching hardcore techno and distorted electro over the course of ‘J.O.N.E.S.Y. Vol.2.’ Prone to bleed into the red, the tape follows a hunch for crazed rhythms and sour synths suited to striding or skulking around Paris late at night, living your crankiest life as protagonist in a noirish cyberpunk fantasy, off to score some power-ups or on some special psy-ops.
The track sequencing moderates its gait between the sizzling swag of ‘Walking Ghosts’ and the fetish club techno impulses of ‘Chainsaw Cut Rhythm’, or turning blind corners from the needling terror of ‘Phase Operator’ into the electro sludge of ‘Dunces Brain Food’, and the tighter prongs of ‘Mrs. 808 Screws U & Ur Crew Bass Mix’ in both versions, before leaving us on tenterhooks with the disco panic sequence of ‘Axe Murder Kill.’
The first Neotantrik release in five years sees Suzanne Ciani, Andy Votel & Sean Canty group their esoteric energies into an incredible recording made by the trio at the Volksbühne, Berlin in 2014.
Pooling a vast knowledge of 2nd class sound and classic synths, they yield a typically amorphous arrangement of sawn-off, effected samples from records you’ll never find, combined with original electrical input, and mixed into mazy chicanes and ‘marish ginnels of impending doom that never comes to fruition but leaves listeners at the edge of their seats.
The sublime, dark tension of their sound arises from a heightened intuition and democracy of role, with each component selected for its otherworldliness and placed in-the-mix in a manner that creates a chronically disorienting shadowplay of sounds that make their presence felt in the most intangible yet intoxicating manner.
It feels as though we’ve been wandering the tape’s corridors for a whole sleep, ostensibly hunting for a light switch or door handle in the murk, but happy to be pulled into its ambiguous dream/nightmare logic.
Killer, hour-long session of grayscale drones and beating frequencies by The Stomach, channelling arcane eldritch noise in a tradition of UK tape culture for L.I.E.S.
Hailing from a small English town, The Stomach’s raw, pulsating music effectively belongs to a rhizome of parochial noise explorers that connects Broken Flag to Astral Social Club, Colin Potter and Mordant Music.
Its 10 tracks cogitate on the mind-numbing drudgery of life in less-than-exciting places where even bus routes avoid, using a rawly masticated mix of analog electronics to convey a chronic day-to-day smudge of the senses that conversely works as relief from the same thing, drawing a sort of double negative ecstasy from agrarian tedium.
They get top marks for (nearly) naming four tracks after Scottish demigod Kenny Da(l)glish, including the primal thrum of ‘Kenny’s RockNRoll’, but our favourites are the loner mantra of ‘Rocks That Look Like Meat’ and the pebbledashed sputter of ‘Bilko’ where he really nails the feeling of slowly combusting frustration/noisy gratification.
Slow burning and billowing ambient/kosmiche scapes in the vein of Abul Mogard or Alessandro Cortini, collected and released by Kit Grill on his PrimaryColours label
P’raps better known as a graphic visual artist, Jorge Antony Stride now presents his music for the first time, distilling and compiling a series of 2017 synth improvisations into a gauzily experimental self-portrait in sound.
Enriched with a similar sort of sehnsucht to Abul Mogard’s ambient factory meditations or the wandering soul of American synthscapers such as Barn Owl and even early 0PN, the music oozes at a stately pace, often slightly parched and delirious, as though reflecting a journey of discovery in the desert or on high plains short of oxygen.
Captivating, new, improvised takes on old Greek Rebetika, returning the style to it looser open ended form, rather than redoing the standards. Really, intoxicating, heady stuff when it hits...
“The duo of Tasos Stamou and Thodoris Ziarkas bring back the improvisational element to the old Greek rebetiko style and expand it towards other avant-garde musical genres.
AMAN!!! #2 Picking it up from their previous cassette album at Sucata Tapes, “AMAN!!!” duo delivers another series of live tracks, this time recorded in Athens and London. The duo of Tasos Stamou and Thodoris Ziarkas bring back the improvisational element to the old Greek rebetiko style and expand it towards other avant-garde musical genres.”