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.
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.”
Yeah You’s Gustav Thomas & Elvin Brandhi wreak fresh havoc on Slip and Opal Tapes with KHOT<, where the improvising father/daughter duo steer their battered unit down the grimmest ginnels between Black Metal, freestyle rap and surrealist performance art. Making up their 3rd release of the year already, KHOT< follows the KRUTCH LP and VHOD tape with a typically obstinate and expressive new blast of avant guts sure to keep the dilettantes at bay and keep the pair’s cult following beguiled by their every move.
Refusing to lapse into anything that may be deemed conventional or commercial, Elvin sprays improvised verbal pebbledash against her dad’s cranky backdrops of piercing electronics and crippled beats in a way meant to keep everyone at arms length. And that’s where the “fun” lies, as any attempt to latch onto or follow Elvin’s exasperated yowls and pronged phrasing becomes even more difficult as her dad’s cheap infrastructure of inside-out Casio keyboard coupled with dictaphone both shields and distorts her wretched truths, fireproofing them against easy or half-arsed reception.
By their own admission; “This is the worst album Yeah You has ever made”, which conversely translates to a pleasingly foul experience for those already attuned to Yeah You’s dare-to-differ style, especially in the traverse from shrieking electronics to sourest BM gestures between Krutches and “Yeah You”, and again with the headlong plunge into rotted bleeps and techno squabble in Reap Your Defects and the burned out resistance of The Apologetic Extra Accidentally Invades Emblem?
Make no mistake, Yeah You are among the most vital, prickly and unmissable units in contemporary UK music, and KHOT< is yet another fiercely in/direct and cuttingly impulsive showcase .
Golden Ratio Frequencies, the private label from Alex Macarte (Gnod, Ahrkh), divulge a divine session of time-dilating, resonant drone meditations made by Salvaticus Selvatico on Gongs, Himalayan Bowls, and synths. Lovely, focussed music, full of presence and room recorded intimacy, that rewards focused, durational attention with transportive effect...
“Golden Ratio Frequencies is proud to realise the first physical release of ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS, a sprawling and expansive collection of sound explorations by Simone Salvatici AKA SALVATICUS SELVATICO.
For over a decade Salvatici has explored resonance and interaction between holistic, intuitive and sacred instruments, such as Gongs and Himalayan Bowls, in combination with Synthesisers, processed sound, and controlled feedback. With ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS, we see the Italian-born, London-based artist observing and disclosing the hidden connections of contrasting elements, such as movement and stillness, acoustic and processed sounds, as he draws melodies rising out of drones, returning to them, in activation and contemplation, weaving a fragile balance between two polarities continuously evolving.
A trained sound practitioner, Salvatici has studied under masters of the craft such as Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux, and at a number of prestigious academy programs, including The British Academy of Sound Therapy (BAST). He has released records and collaborated with projects such as Clorindine, Polbrone, and has worked with filmmakers, directors and visual artists performing in such venerable institutes as Tate Modern, Cafe Oto and Centre of Contemporary Art Glasgow. Salvaticus Selvatico illuminates for us but one shade of colour from Salvatici’s prism of talent, drawn from a source of pure and free commitment to sound in its elemental form.
Originally self-released by the artist digitally online in 2017, GRFRQ is honoured to bring this spell-bindingly beautiful and delicate work into the material realm, offering a wonderfully considered deluxe double-cassette release, with over two hours of sublime sounds professionally dubbed to magnetic tape.
ACTIVATIONS : CONTEMPLATIONS takes the listener on a journey in and out of deeper layers consciousness with gentle ebb and flow, rise and fall, and crescendo and plateau that melts away its mammoth two-hour duration into a mind state where neither time, space nor the self are of concern—a mental, physical and spiritual refuge in which we are gifted the experience of peace and contemplation.”
Drums, computer & electronics... Jon Wesseltoft is a Norwegian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer based in Oslo. Working equally with acoustic sources as with electronics. Performing in a wide variety of projects, and solo under his own name.
"Balázs Pándi - When the time predicated finally comes & human clones are reproduced enmasse': my vote for the first musician to be dub'ed is the almighty Balazs Pandi. Home base as Budapest Hungry: this looming drummer has all the corner chops covered from Repulsion-blast beasts to the futuristic urban free scree of the New York Art Ensemble. Starting out a metal thrash & hardcore skin pounder of local energy units: Balazs soon got hit headfirst into the avant jazz world and has since jammed with Wadada Leo Smith, Arthur Doyle, Trevor Dunn, Jamie Saft,Joe Morris & Roswell Rudd. If that wasnt threatening enough: Pandi has also branched into the PA-Mangling World of free electronics scattered with continued live and studio recordings with the master of noise Masami Akita aka Merzow, also with free-sludge rockers Porn, world consumer Bill Laswell and Mr. Godflesh himself Justin Broadrick- and jazz crossed-stream polluters Mats Gustafsson & Sonic Youths' almighty Thurston Moore.
Whoa! Enough sound-flesh-ink to make a library shake in fear but its Balaz's knowledge of the importance of local & global cultural as he is seen being a Hungarian Journalist of music and culture and mainlining the importance of maintaining a grassroots DIY hard work local esthetic that keeps him firmly planted to the drum stool to blow minds in both swagger and swing knowledge. If musical history is a bench press, B.P can rock 250 LBS + no probs. And find me another Hungarian that can flip OMEGMA sides while thumbing thru the pages of DJ Screw's "History Of Houston Rap" book and you can eat all my Eastern European Progressive rock Lps. In conclusion: a full artist & musician of the highest CLONE-ABLE character."
John Olson: Life Is a Rip-Off
Kostis Kilymis is a Bristol-based artist. He performs electronic and noise music based on live synthesis, rhythm and found sound. His work focuses on immersive environments, feedback systems and the notion of representation. He has been an improviser, performer and collaborator – his encounters including Lucio Capece, Nikos Veliotis, Greg Pope, Leif Elggren, Sarah Hughes, Stephen Cornford and Phil Julian amongst others. He has published work on labels such as Rekem, I Dischi del Barone, Strange Rules and Coherent States.
"Following up on Arctic Saturation, this is a "live" record of sorts, its mood and good chunk of material captured live at a gig in Stockholm brilliantly organised by Masskultur Stockholm – they brought in a quad PA, and after the gig I traded one of my 7"s for a drink. The rest is me in a little lonely room overlooking the garden in Haringey trying to do dub ambient field recordings on the B-side. It's all quite languid but slippery, vague tonal ebbs weave through the field recordings. Never really settles on anything obvious, rather pulls you into its own hole of spiralling echoes – did I already mention the word moody? It features some of my most cherished sound captures, the seagulls of Gothenburg and a young soprano practicing next door, not to mention a gratuitous amount of audible delay effects.
And anyway, just when you think it might stay in the zone forever, it all gets dry and matter-of-fact and checks out… I took the files and mixed them at the house of ORILA during the hottest week I've ever come across in in Athens, stuck indoors and treating the music as my lifeline. Properly sat on the results, almost forgetting about them in one of those aimless periods that you begin by thinking you'll have it all sorted by November, but two years down the line you're in a different town in another tiny room not sure where the plot is anymore, yet all of a sudden you realise there's nothing actually to achieve or realise, just you should let things go and move on. Panos Alexiadis was then kind enough to master it. Hope you enjoy this."
Kostis Kilymis, Bristol, 4.x.2018.
Zeno van den Broek is a Dutch-born, Copenhagen-based composer and artist. Van den Broek works in a multi-sensory way to research and express physical, social and acoustic notions. He utilises immaterial, digital and temporal means to create site- and concept-specific works. This trans-disciplinary method has a strong conceptual foundation, originating from his background in architecture, which enables him to comprehend and reveal the richness and complexity of spatial, visceral and physical perception.
"Typically in my work I deal with fixed concepts and defined parameters. With "Entrop" the concept was to not deal with such notions and instead to embrace chaos. I built a noisy little synth – a Ciat-Lonbarde Esoterica Spike Ring – which I modified with further feedback loops to intensify its unpredictable nature. The drum track is not programmed – instead the drum computer follows the pulses of the synth. The recordings on this tape are edited and layered from several sessions. I find it to be one of my most musical works – less rational, almost purely instinctive."
Zeno van den Broek, Berlin, 22.vi.2018
One of NAAFI’s strongest new players, Debit follows her killer debut LP ‘Animus’ with a keener focus on tonal composition in the steeply absorbing ‘Love Discipline’ for Quiet Time Tapes - blown away by this one.
After setting out her style on the edges on Latinx electronix and dark club music, ‘Love Discipline’ marks Debit’s shocking but welcome turn into sheer sound designer territory. Shaping up as five tracks of billowing, beat-less structures enriched with sci-fi cinematic appeal, the result are comparable to Leyland Kirby or BJNilsen as much as Rabit or The Sprawl, but with an iridescent spice of her own creation.
V Highly Recommended!
"Where Moth and Rust Consume takes the multitude of influences always present in Sone Institute’s work to create a record he describes as his ‘pop album’, but very much one which build on the weird and disorienting approach present in all his work. Where Moth and Rust Consume is at once living and also decaying, uplifting and deeply unsettling. He says “I wanted to create electronic pop music, but from the only possible perspective I have”.
Where Moth and Rust Consume is the third Sone Institute album, following Curious Memories (2010) and A Model Life (2012). He is also responsible for contributions to the Long Division with Remainders projects ’14 Versions of the Same EP’ and ‘Collision/Detection’, and a collaborative EP with Dollboy (Oliver Cherer) – The Sum And The Difference.
This new release also marks the first 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. Volume sees Sone Institute create Where Moth and Rust Consume, which is presented alongside Past and Spared, a collection of tracks from the Sone Institute archive, including remixes and previously unreleased music (Past and Spared comes FREE with all physical orders of Where Moth and Rust Consume).”
‘Disappearer’ is Ron Morelli’s 4th album of grot for Hospital Productions.
The L.I.E.S. boss (and fellow Parisian resident Krikor Kouchian as co-pilot on a handful of cuts) produces his tightest, most hard-hitting material to date, from the gothic slime of ‘Narco Frq’ to the slurried ’Squeeze’, vacillating between heavy techno, kerb-crawling electro and passages of tonal terror with a persistent stare-down mentality, giving up highlights in primitivist knocks and coenobite chatter of ‘Laugh Taker’, the Prurient-esque squall of ‘Golden Oldies’, a recursive missile named ‘Hole In The Head’, and the gloomy creeper, ’Snow On The Headstone’.
With the gauzy bliss-out, No More Dreams, Sweden’s Axel Backman a.k.a. 1991 reminds us that his run of sublime releases for Opal Tapes and Astro:Dynamics in 2012 weren’t simply a figment of our lushest reveries.
Issued on the new and tributarily-named, No More Dreams label, 1991's first release in four years courses with similar levels of intangibly gorgeous harmonies and ferric noise, although his rhythmic structures now feel smudged farther into the background, or even barely there at all, leaving behind a salty-teared water stain of synthetic shimmer.
We’re guessing it must just be incredibly beautiful where he lives, or he’s just one of those helplessly melancholy souls, but either way, there’s something unquantifiable lurking behind his sound that we can return to over and again, and look forward to doing so with No More Dreams.
Fred Welton Walmsley III (Lee Bannon) completes his esoteric ambient metamorphosis with Dedekind Cut’s melancholic Tahoe album for arch American electronic drifters, Kranky Records - home to some of the some of the finest atmospheric ambient works of recent decades by Stars of The Lid, Loscil, Tim Hecker.
In key with Kranky’s heritage, Dedekind Cut very neatly plays to the label aesthetic on Tahoe with a widescreen suite of slow, windswept synths layered into expansive harmonics evoking cinematic and psychedelic sensations. They range from pop-ambient pockets of bittersweetness to more brooding tracts of durational immersion, with each connected by an overarching feeling of sadness or unresolved strife.
It’s all very much what you’d expect from a Kranky release, until you start paying closer attention. Where Kranky’s chorus of ambient angels have often spent decades on their craft, developing personalised timbral sensitivities and sound identities, the shapeshifting Dedekind Cut’s newness to this particular field is betrayed by the more elusive reach of his soundsphere, but the artist makes up for a lack of tonal richness by conveying his intent more directly thru the arrangement and overall feeling, or soul connoted by his compositions.
Improv noise and sludge rock; a split tape featuring the return of the dungeon masters Angela Valid with broken rock splices by Sparrows Herne (from Hey Colossus).
"Angela Valid return from spawning —whoopy shit. Bob from Hey Colossus added the string plucking on this number and single-handedly churns up a two piece pong on the flip under the newly hatched Sparrows Herne moniker.”
Lisbon’s finest Bruno Silva aka Ondness aka Serpente aka a bunch of other monikers (google it) presents a schizophrenic split EP on Sucata Tapes, featuring different projects on each side.
“Ondness showcases what Bruno’s ‘main’ project has been elegantly and quietly doing for a while. Sound debris, chopped beats and rejected samples are intertwined to create two unique epic tracks that travel far and wide between the zones where you wished you would be.
Serpente delves deeper into Bruno’s repetitive mantra styles. Blasting sample based beats into a disparate whole, and coherently collaging it all through vivid sleep walking techniques.
In our (not so humble) opinion, an extremely welcome addition to the ever growing Sucata Tapes catalogue.”
Forever developing her ‘Music as Art’ aesthetic into a meeting point between technically brilliant Plunderphonic technique, and ludicrously funny Toilet Humour, Vicky Bennett’s ‘People Like Us’ project reaches another zenith with the release of this excellently titled ‘Recyclopaedia Britannica’,
It's a compilation of selected works recorded between 1992 and 2002, utilising an array of distinctly british quirks in the construction of mock-lounge music intercepted by gaffs, blips, and narrative absurdities. Vicky has become a master of malladjusted social commentary. Fans of John Oswald, Stock, Hausen and Walkman, Negativeland and Matmos will want to check.
Natsukashii's 'Driving East' is a foundational landmark in functional music intended to occupy a particular space.
"Their minimalist composition techniques prove that only a prophet of the quantum cycle may manifest this harmonising of intention. One could describe this previously unreleased cult album as ambient or new age, perhaps drawing similarities to minimalist contemporaries of the early 1980's, but if you look within and realise you have never experienced this rekindling on a cosmic scale, it can be difficult to believe. The stratosphere is calling to you via frequencies. Can you hear it?"
On ‘Salvaged Space’ UK-based sound designer Fermata layers and filters field recordings into emotive electronic narratives riddled with myriad voices and details
“Written and recorded between 2014-2018 in many different places, the sound collage // field recordings and noise improvisations on this tape were constructed entirely out of phone and handheld recordings of quiet moments, street performers, instrumental improvisations, and noise pollution; Salvaged Space is a document of the last few years that I've spent experimenting with different methods of arrangement and composition.
I aimed to prevent myself from overthinking the musical material, instead focusing on shaping and warping sound so that it shared the same alive/imperfect nature of the recorded soundscapes each piece is inspired by.
The captured moments that drive this record hold great value to me when remembering significant days and nights over my time at university (DMU). Including many social occasions, trips abroad, projects, performances, and mental states. I hope it can bring you some kind of respite during these interesting times.”
Brilliantly cut-up soundtrack to Lena Willikens & Sarah Szczesny’s audio-visual drama; ‘Phantom Kino Ballett’ smartly blurring the lines between soundtrack and mixtape in a way recalling the best Demdike Stare mixes, but taken to a more purposeful level of arrangement, with a whole side of original material by Willikens & Szczesny on the b side.
Salon Des Amateurs' Lena Willikens has already carved out a reputation as one of the most interesting and varied selectors around, fuelled by years of experience DJing on the radio and at her residency at Salon Des Amateurs, together with a rarified knowledge of outernational rhythms and weirdo techno. We’ve been waiting for a proper follow up to her Phantom Delia EP for Cómeme back in 2015 - a properly unique, brilliant EP of darkside dancefloor mystique heavily influenced by '80s wave heritage, and she now comes good on this collab with Sarah Szczesny (with whom she studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy) for this mixtape/score for audiovisual performance piece Phantom Kino Ballett, incorporating elements of video art and dance.
It would spoil the surprise to give away too much of the tracklist, but suffice to say this is the first tape we’ve ever heard that transitions between Bowie, Amanda Leer and Silvia Plath, or makes such brilliant use of Liz Taylor, one of many strong female presences telling a “story of domestic dissociation, public scrutiny and suffering”on the tape’s A-side.
The B-side, however, is the real prize here, unfurling a 40 minute soundscape called "Passage Transkript" created by Willikens & Szczesny inspired by their time in Kyoto, Japan during autumn 2017 and tapping into the most evocative turns of abstract soundscaping imaginable.
All Commend proceeds from this release will be donated to agisra e.V., a non-profit organization advocating on behalf of migrant women and against sexual and racist violence. agisra is based in Cologne, Germany, and was chosen by Lena and Sarah. — agisra.org.
Steeply hypnotic and immensely powerful mix of possessed drone, doom metal and pounding motorik rhythms from Manchester’s Primitive Knot, who, being local and all, we’re ashamed to say we’ve never seen before, but will do on the strength of this evidence presented by Aurora Borealis (home to The Haxan Cloak, KTL, Burial Hex)
“Hailing from Manchester, UK, Primitive Knot have created a cult underground following with their prolific output and aura of arcane mystery. Primitive Knot cover a lot of musical ground, from motorik Krautrock to primitive thrashing doom metal, garage rock to the kind of industrial pop bombast associated with latter era Sisters of Mercy. Yet at all times, the sound is pure Primitive Knot. ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ sees Primitive Knot exploring the spiritual outer realms with drone, doom and dark ambient methodology, delivering over an hour of shamanic cosmic drift.
‘Thee Opener Of The Ways’ collects the sold out tape releases of ‘DOOM I’ and ‘DOOM II’, combining them with the tracks ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ and ‘Devotion And Decay In Interstitial Space’ to bring this material to a wider audience in a cohesive album format.”
‘A New Mix In An Old Language’ reels out 45 minutes of prime Israeli new wave/post-punk/synth pop selected and mixed by reputed Entr’acte bossman Allon Kaye. A charming exercise in nostalgia as much as a treasure trove for researchers and diggers
The title ’A New Mix In An Old Language’ refers to the fact most songs inside are sung and titled in Hebrew, which is arguably a rarity in the swollen reissue market, yet offers no impediment to our enjoyment of the music; a slick blend of sugary pop and disco along with darker, sleazier, rugged strains that recall sounds from the UK, U.S., Germany and the Lowlands between the mid ‘80s and mid ‘90s.
We can point to the few English-titled cuts, DXM’s little known grim grinder ‘Down The Ground’ and the rollicking no wave of Rest/Unrest as highlights, but you’ll just have to check the rest and do a bit of research (like learning a bit of Hebrew) if you want to ID the others.
Legendary DIY synthesist Colin Potter finishes off a project started in ’82 with ‘Blacksound’, a tarry streak of dissociative drones originally conceived as an expansion of the track ‘Forest Of Galtres’ which lay unfinished for decades until he recently returned to it with the idea of slowing down and manipulating the material the old skool way. Recording on 4-track and only using the analogue instruments available to him back then - Korg synth and sequencer, a fuzz box, an E-bow guitar and primitive tape echo - Potter has now made the results available on this limited tape.
Perfectly self-described as “…like looking through the wrong end of a telescope’, the results form a kind of immersive regression to the Forest of Galtres’ medieval history, or to our mind they do at least. Actually, we’re probably thinking of regression in terms usually depicted on TV or in film - all swirly mists, verdant oaks and peasants in brown rags digging for turnips - and their accompanying soundtracks, which this session strongly recalls.
If you’re at all familiar with the area surrounding Potter’s IC studio, nestled in the Ridings south of the barren North Yorkshire Moors in the Forest of Galtres, it’s not difficult to place this album in context, where it really takes on a life its own.
Highly recommended for halloween, this.
Barrie, Dom, Noah, Sabine, and Spurge – collectively known as Barrie – began releasing music together in the early months of 2018. Their first single, “Canyons," arrived in February, quickly resonating with fans of ambient, dreamy pop.
"It wasn’t until June that the group shared their second single “Tal Uno," a shimmering tune that recalls 80s synth tones and haunting vocal melodies. The third and final single in the series, “Michigan,” also features a shift in production style, this time opting for the more traditional rock-band instrumentation of drums and guitar. Collected together for a 12" release with Winspear, the 3 singles make up side A. For the B-Side of the record, the group wanted to involve the work of some friends from the Brooklyn house and techno community. FaltyDL & Shura, who Barrie met through The Lot Radio, handled a downtempo remix of “Canyons," while Brother Michael, a long-time friend and engineer, remixed “Michigan."
Converging upon Brooklyn from all over the world, most of the band initially met via their involvement with The Lot Radio, a Brooklyn-based online radio station. A regular at The Lot found Barrie’s music online and approached Spurge and Noah (who both DJ at The Lot) about forming a band with Barrie. With the addition of the fresh-from-London- drummer, Dom, the band was nearly formed. The last hill to climb was finding a bassist. The answer… setting up a Tinder profile to track one down."
Classic horror soundtrack fresh from the depths of hell - Clive Barker's HELLRAISER with music by genre composer Christopher Young.
"You know how the story goes; you pick up a strange puzzle box, try and solve it, and get pulled into hell where you're subjected to infinite torture by a guy with pins in his head. Bad day, bad day. But HELLRAISER is a gothic horror masterpiece celebrating the transcendence of pleasure into pain and the question of what can come after death. One thing's for sure: there will be blood. And rats nailed to the wall.
Young's main theme mirrors the Lament Configuration, the Rubik's cube of the damned that is the centre of all this bloody mayhem, underlining the seductive nature with violins before opening up with the full orchestra to foretell the true nightmare contained within. The score features industrial elements reminiscent of the band Coil (who were originally due to score the film) intertwined with the sensual gothic overtones illustrating the next level of gratification the box offers, and it explodes in the final act as Pinhead and Co. come for their student of deviancy. Composer Christopher Young wen’t back to the original reels for this anniversary remaster celebrating 30 years of the coenobites and the twisted mind of Clive barker."
Geographic North present an expertly curated, horror-themed compilation of exclusive aces from Félicia Atkinson, Pinkcourtesyphone, Ka Baird, Suzanne Kraft, CV & JAB, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Eluvium, Clarice Jensen, Arp, Ilyas Ahmed, Algiers and many more, all right in time for Samhain 2018
Mantled in reference to the seminal Nicolas Roeg flick, ‘Don’t Look Now’ , Geographic North’s 2nd collection of Halloween music shares much in common with the titular film’s classical scenery and unsettling psychology, with each contributor preferring inference and shadowplay over anything explicitly gory or sh*t-the-bed scary.
Bookended by prologue and epilogue from Sweden’s Arp, the set runs to 21 pieces in total, amounting to induce a nervously furtive state of mind fleeting between clammy anxiety, pensive midnight romance, and unshakeable uncanniness. It’s testament to Geographic North’s fine-tuned ears that the whole thing works so well, holding our attention by a silk thread for its feature-length 90 minute duration.
Like a movie, it’s best consumed in one go, but it’s worth pointing to key scenes such as Ka Baird’s nest of shivering keys in ‘Clearing’, and the cool tension between spiralling rhythms and tranquil chords in Felicia Atkinson’s ‘Little Things’ as crucial to the sequence, especially when contrasted with the more dread-filled nooks such as Robert Donne’s crushing dedication to Mika Vainio in ‘Rakkauslaulu’, the carmine seep of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s viscous organ wooze in ‘O Virtus Sapiente’, and the starkly sepulchral dynamic of ’Stabbing’ by Suzanne Kraft.
For our money comps rarely work, but much like PAN's Mono No Aware, Geographic North prove that with the right curation you can sometimes end up with something much more weighty then the sum of its parts, in this case an engrossing narrative full of darkness and light.
Alejandro Morse is Edgar Medina’s latest ambient/drone project. Founding artist and collaborator at Umor Rex, he published his first full albums as Alejandro Morse – Landscape Memories (2006) and Obelisks (2007) – on the label. Medina is also known as Transistor – his dancefloor-oriented music.
"His album Liminal was developed through a 2-year process involving recordings from several disparate places in Mexico, USA and Switzerland. Field recordings are painstakingly processed to be used as layering, which in an emotionally and touching way are entangled among arrangements emanated by digital synthesis. He applies intricate sound processing to the interwoven elements adding complexity to the listener experience.
Liminal zones and their temporal dimensions are the creative input for this album, in which each zone is related to sudden events, since death has knocked in Edgar’s life lately. There is an ominous space between moving on and drowning in. In a liminal space, the individual experiences revelations of sacred knowledge, such as giving birth, ecstasy, enlightenment, orgasm, epiphanies and death. So, hopefully these works will have served as a digital monument and sonic exegesis for those going through a liminal zone. May these sound-wanderings let them move on into new and more complex dimensions and meaningful experiences.
Written, Produced and Processed by Edgar Medina aka Alejandro Morse. Artwork by Daniel Castrejón, Photos by Diego Berruecos."
Austrian composer Dino Spiluttini stares down the void on No Horizon. While tape loops have featured heavily on previous Spiluttini releases, they form the core of No Horizon’s claustrophobic sound world, representing Spiluttini’s own internal battles with the limbo that surrounds somebody switching medication. “No Horizon is basically the feeling that no antidepressants will ever work, and that I'm forever stuck in this hopeless mood,” says Spiluttini. “Don't worry I feel much better now,” he adds.
"Heavily distorted and processed, tape-loops of tumbling notes are at times indistinguishable, squashed into beautiful melting slabs of amorphous melodies. On ‘Healer’, Spiluttini moulds a meditative piano line into soaring ambience, constantly mutating throughout. Both ‘Permadeath’ and the title track have luminescent piano notes fighting their way out of a foggy noise bed. Closer ‘Endurance’ ushers the album out on an (almost) hopeful note, with criss-crossing piano loops cascading around the analogue warmth of Spiluttini’s sonic space. Structured like the emotionally fragile prison of a mind mired in hopelessness and depression, No Horizon is one of Spiluttini’s most delicate recordings to date. His keen sense for moody melody and dramatic sound design are working in total unison here, leaving behind a poignant musical experience that’s as cinematic as it is internal.
Produced by Dino Spiluttini in late 2017 and early 2018. Artwork by Daniel Castrejón, Photos by Diego Berruecos."
Best known for playing guitar for Britain’s post-punk trailblazers Wire since 2010, Matthew Simms assumes his nom de plume Slows to craft slow and serene instrumentals. Recorded throughout winter in his small studio space in the Kent countryside, Enormous Pause comprises passages of electric organ and modular synth, variously droning and rumbling across two gorgeous sidelength pieces. In addition to Slows and Wire, Simms is also a core member of dream poppers It Hugs Back and improv supergroup UUUU, while increasingly in demand as a producer and session musician, recently working with Chastity Belt and Bill Fay.
“This is the first time I’ve recorded music knowing it was going to released on cassette,” says Simms. “I was reminded of how I first started recording music when I was 12 on a four-track; of the fantastic effect it has on capturing overdriven sounds.” Improvisation is at the core of Slows’ music, Simms attempting to come up with at least one entirely original piece for every live show he plays under the name. Much of the music on Enormous Pause originated while preparing to play opening slots for two of his favourite bands: Chicago’s Tortoise and London’s Tomaga. The result is two ethereal sides of gossamer keyboard melodies, buoyed by analogue warmth as they slowly move through space echo chambers. This is easily some of Simms most impulsive and varied solo to date, flowing freely between cosmic synth ambience and the all manner of tape-distorted emotion without ever ceasing to engage deeply with the listener.
Matthew Simms: electric organ, modular synthesizer & effect pedals. Artwork by Daniel Castrejón, Photos by Diego Berruecos."
Shamos takes after his Youth label mate FUMU with a roving tape of cranky-assed, sawn-off beats and synthy mood music
Listen in for highlights in the distorted bass flatulence and tuff pivot of ‘Try This Vitamin’ for its biggest dance track, or to the Jay Glass Dubs-style echo chamber inversion ‘A V 2’, and the washed out vignette ‘Unite For Mortgages’ for more abstract expressions of melancholy and psychedelia reminding of Actress.
Champions of melancholy, Low return on Sub Pop with 'Ones and Sixes' - their 11th studio album. It was co-produced by the band and engineer BJ Burton at Justin Vernon ov Bon Iver's April Base Studios in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and features contributions from Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche.
’Tomb Machines’ is a survey of work by John Powell-Jones, a Manchester-based artist whose gruesome and psychedelic illustrations have stained the sleeves of tapes and records by Moon Duo and for the Reel Torque, Diagonal and Opal Tapes labels, as well as great posters for the Faktion club events
Documenting and expanding upon ’Tomb Machines’, a body of work exhibited in February 2018 at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Space: Great Northern, this boxset of the same name contains the first significant overview and analysis of John’s output to date, which covers a cross-section of multidisciplinary work in the fields of illustration, sculpture, screen-printing, video and music, and often simultaneously.
Without getting bogged down in art speak, John’s phantasmagoric imagination has long spoken to us on an intuitive level, consistently coming up with images that summon a sense of the eldritch, dreamlike and grotesque that’s hard to shake once encountered. In the book, Sara Jaspan’s essay provides a finer, informed grasp on the conditions and ideas that make up John’s warped weltanschauung, evidenced in the selection of physical curios to fondle and ogle over.
But perhaps of most interest to people on these pages is a red C40 containing some of the strongest music that John has put to tape. In its gurning, curdled drones and alchemical electro-acoustic atmospheres redolent of everything from Wolf Eyes and Aaron Dilloway to Gruppo at their most abstract, we possibly find the best way into his noumenal gooch between waking and dreamlike dimensions.
Temples of Jura roll out a synthy doozy with Fernando Pulichino’s cinematic debut as Filmico.
After releasing records for the past 10 years on modern disco labels including Bear Funk, Internasjonal and Gomma, Argentinian multi instrumentalist Flimico now commits to a classic late ‘70s/early ‘80s soundtrack style flush with warm analog synths owing much to the influence of Carpenter, Badalamenti and Johnny Jewel.
It's done with exacting amounts of emotive push and pull, coming riddled with evocative arps and bristling with bittersweet melodies that beckon eyes shut and a montage-like dream sequence to play out on the back of your ‘lids.
Ahhh yeahhh, this tape edition features the whole album on the b-side slowed down to half speed...
On the expanded tape edition of Bloodline, Steven Julien a.k.a. Funkineven explores a charmingly personalized sonic ontology under his own name for the 2nd time following 2016’s self-titled album, continuing to come into his own with a wickedly expressive meld of jazz-fusion and machine music inspired by his ancestry and written in tribute to Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi.
Bloodline is concerned with paying dues to Steven’s ancestral roots, but it’s also an acknowledgment of influence of new age synth styles, Japanese electronics and the history of East London raving, adding up to a sound that’s brilliantly timeless and distinctly his own.
It’s a sort of hauntological soundtrack, if you will, traversing in a range of jump-cuts and fades from the filmic synth atmosphere of Hunt to a killer 303 + Linn drum combo in Roll Of The Dice, and ruggedly debonaire electro-bass on Bloodline, before swerving hard into mutant jazz-funk with Apache. The vibe then takes a super sweet turn with the percolated electro-funk of Queen of Ungilsan, and wraps up with the classicist ‘80s boogie-meets-new age strokes of Temple Rd.
Jerman Gazz guys Max Graef and Julius Conrad on a super fruity fusion flex for Funkineven’s Apron Records.
Max Graef and Julius Conrad are Ratgrave. Electronic P-Fusion from earth. Recorded over a period of 3 years in different locations. One for fans of Tom Jenkinson, Kaidi Tatham, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Tenor.
Following on from that incredible ‘Coyotes' tape by Felicia Atkinson earlier this year, the Geographic North label return with a worthy follow up collection of pieces for electronics, piano, percussion and double bass (courtesy of Maxwell Sterling, no less) via L.A.’s Nick Malkin, highly recommended if you’re into The Necks, Talk Talk, Jon Hassel, To Rococo Rot.
Malkin is perhaps best known for his "noirish, backlit ambient dance music" as Afterhours for Not Not Fun, as well as a sometime collaborator with LA Vampires and Sun Araw, alongside his Post-Geography show for NTS. For this sophomore solo release (following a 10” for Non Projects a couple of years back) Malkin enlisted Maxwell Sterling and Jon-Kyle Mohr for a collaborative session, taking elements of loops created by the trio, embellishing and reworking them into 5 new pieces perfected over a number of years. For a collection of pieces borne out of improvisation, Slow Day on Brilliant Drive is a remarkably cohesive and engrossing affair; reminding us in turn of To Rococo Rot’s 1997 blinder Veiculo, Stewart Copeland’s under-appreciated but highly influential soundtrack for Rumble Fish, as well as Talk Talk’s hushed dynamics.
In stark contrast to the new gen Jazz championed by the likes of Kamaal Williams and Kamasi Washington, Geographic North are here mining a much more intimate variant; if you’ve found yourself immersed and bewildered by the music of The Necks in recent years. we urge you to give this brilliant album a listen.
'Elegant Universe' a full-length album by Matthew Hayes and Joel Trigg is a must listen for fans of the celestial jazz sound of ECM.
"Their soft, seductive duets are incredibly inviting, in a way that seems to encompass and enliven the space around you. Unsurprisingly, it’d be sure to add warmth to cold winter commutes, and dull the edge of even the fiercest hangovers.
The wintry “Downtime” is a tour de force of the duo’s sense of restraint and the importance placed on individual sounds that swell together and drift apart with organic ease. On “Light Through Edinburgh Leaves”, the sounds themselves seem so three-dimensional, ringing out like ripples on a lake. It’s hard not to be captivated by such beautifully formed music."
Klon Dump, an artist located in Berlin, known for his monthly Cashmere Radio interruptions and a collection of deft, pacey trax served on a double disc via A Colourful Storm last year, as well as recent excursions under a different alias, is now about to make his mark on NoCorner with a 32 minute and 19 second delivery of cold 'electro-acoustics...
Psychedelic batshit from Discrepant’s Sucata Tapes sublabel
“More (weird) South American tape freak out(!) sounds on the Super Triple Split "Odzer". Combining the sounds of Bardo Todol, M.M. Peres and Úgjü Sectas.
You will experience the distant sounds of the three different Argentinian projects melted together in one alzeimer night.
You are going to dance, you are going to have fear, you are going to explore the blue and white and purple oceans of inner voices that every little god has in nature and spirit. You are going to sit down into Bardo Todol’s quiet forest of field recordings, acoustic instruments and melted ice-cream.
You are going to dive into the deep ocean of M. M. Peres trance emissions when your compass strategies and methods are lost. You are going to meet the flash speed monk in Úgjü Sectas cave and enjoy his multiple octopus’ dance at dusk.”
Almost exactly a year since his first EP on Byrd Out (the Kiyadub EP), Andrew Weatherall returns with new material for a second release.
"Andrew invited a mate round to his studio to try out a Les Paul his friend was looking to buy. As it turns out, his mate was Ride's (and Oasis') guitarist Andy Bell. Anyway, Andrew suggested he test the guitar out over a track he was working on, and `Making Friends With The Invader' is the resulting track, which Andrew paired with the EP's title track `Blue Bullet'.
Both tracks plough the trippy, cosmic dub furrow, and come in at a weighty 8 and 9 minutes plus."
Mike Nigro runs Oxtail Recordings and performs in the group Aviary - he also has several releases under his own name. Andrew Osterhoudt has previously released music under the name Channeling, and works at RVNG Intl.
"Latitudes is spiritual / new age-ish / floaty / cosmic - referencing the interlacing common threads of all things, while dancing inside the stirring / moving spaces between those threads. A sort of micro/macro/micro observation of energy and movement. It finishes with a celebration of the impermanent / permanent."
Hardware info: Samplers / Processor: Elektron Octatrack Synthesizers: Sequential Circuits Prophet 6, Moog Sub 37, Roland Juno 60, Critter and Guitari Pocket Piano, Arturia Microbrute Guitars: Fender Jazzmaster, Fender Jaguar Bass Effect Units: Roland Chorus Echo Re-501, Eventide H9s, Moog MF-104MSD delay, Moog Phaser, Neunaber Wet Reverb.
Liai is the audio/visual project of Lo Bise, a Chicago-based experimental electronic musician and recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
"Working largely with digital platforms such as Ableton Live and Max MSP, they create pieces inspired by Minimalist composition, techno and ambient. Recorded 2016-2017 in Chicago, IL Art and music by Lo Bise"
Poemme is the ambient project of Angela Klimek, who first began creating music for fun in 2016 to supplement her husband’s sleep music radio station, Ambient Sleeping Pill. Since then, she hasn’t been able to stop recording tracks for sleep as well as brighter, more daytime-oriented drones from Cleveland, Ohio.
"Moments in Golden Light is a small collection of such daytime soundscapes, painting a forest scene during the magical hour after sunrise in which the earth is bathed in gold."
Concluding the "South America" batch from Sucata Taes comes this Andean mix from Tomás Tello, a Peruvian artist now residing in Tavira, Portugal. RIYL: Sublime Frequencies, Andean music, Chicha, Cumbia, Field Recordings...
"Using field recordings of the region, noise experiments and classic Latin songs, Tello creaties an absorbing and enigmanic soundscape of the continent’s Andean culture. The mix is named after the Ekeko, a Tiwanakan (pre Columbian civilization), a god of abundance and prosperity in the mythology and folklore of the people from the Andean Altiplano. Popular in Bolivia, Cochabamba, and neighboring regions, like southeast of Peru, northern Argentina and northern Chile."
A brand new South American tape batch on Sucata Tapes annonces itself with the premiere of Los Siquicos Litoraleños’ Radio Siquica (Psychic radio). RIYL: Sun City Girls, Sublime Frequencies...
"After their international debut ”Sonido Chipadelico" (Sham Palace/Annihaya) and their recent mind melting tape, Medianos Éxitos Subtropicales Vol.1 (Artetetra) the masters of rural homegrown psych cumbia/rock come to Discrepant (via Sucata Tapes) with an undefined tape of radio experiments done (not) some time ago. ‘’Their music is a unique triumph of homegrown rural psychedelia, standing alone on the edge of an unchartered vanguard. Here is the contemporary group you keep hoping exist, but can never find. Mind-melting tropical psych-rock, pitched-down cumbias soaked in dub brine, swirling solar instrumentals, and surrealist shamanic lyrics laid across guitars, drums, tapes and electronics – bringing together multi-fidelity electric and acoustic psychic sound-forms from the greater depths of sound and surprise.’’ (Mark Gergis)
Discrepant’s Sucata Tapes intercept cumbia dub signals from Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Panchasila. If SKRS Intl and Don’t DJ drank ayahuasca with Muslimgauze…
“Welcome Panchasila, the 3rd entry on our South American tape extravaganza for Sucata Tapes.Panchasila are the duo of Juan Jose Calarco and Guillermo M. Cerredo (M3Y, VLUBÄ) from Buenos Aires, Argentina. They started playing together with Panchasila around 2012 and define their sound as a mix of Dub music techniques applied to Cumbia and other South American rhythms. On this self titled debut tape they took inspiration from Bollywood, Thai films and Indonesian music to create an unique melting pot of genres and styles defying categorisation.”
OCA is a collaborative project by producer and musician Yo van Lenz (Through My Speakers, Monkeytown Records) and artist Florian T M Zeisig (Important Records/Cassauna, No Disk)
"At the intersection of music being presented in a certain framework, questions regarding musical quality, intentionality, virtuosity and purpose arise. The work 'Preset Music' engages with questions regarding compositional intentions. Notes, chords - and often times improvised snippets of music - are exclusively serving the purpose of showcasing the instrument itself. 'Preset Music' aims to display the juxtaposition of intentionality and non-intentionality in music and composition. With the gesture of intentionally sampling and composing, using non- intentional musical material - in the sense of purposive presentation regarding the instrument – the seven compositions stand in direct contrast to the presenters' original intentions.
'Preset Music' is the result of complex sampling strategies working with looped segments, automation, pitch, timbre, speed and mapping amongst other."