An unlikely yet riveting union, Powell Tillmans present the intense feelings of ’Spoken By The Other’, their debut collaboration for XL
Fulminated over the course of the last year, ‘Spoken By The Other’ is the result of the pair meeting at Wolfgang’s Tate retrospective in 2017, and subsequently committing their nascent relationship with a key performance commissioned for Berlin’s Atonal 2017 edition. Described as a “traumatic experience” by Powell, the show patently wasn’t enough to put them off working together again, with their “messy” formative experiments now firmed up into something remarkably unexpected from either side on ‘Spoken By The Other’.
The EP finds them both at a turning point in their respective career arcs - Wolfgang Tillmans turning away from his role as a world-renowned photographer toward music; while Powell is beginning to loosen up and diversify his bonds beyond his early, innovative dance music mutations into warped tonal designs. Fair to say they both recognise this in the other, and catalyse something probing, new and emotionally penetrating in the process.
Between the breathtakingly anxious, gurned-up vulnerability of their piloerect trance nocturne, ‘Feel The Night’, and the Arca-esque vignette ‘445’, they convey a flux of physically affective and emotionally curious sensations ranging from the visceral, textural intensity of ‘Tone Me’ to the bittersweet love note ‘Doucement’ on the A-side, and over to the sustained anxiety of ‘Speak Out (Version)’, and the smeared, bleary contours of ‘Rebuilding The Future’, where their shared passion for the wonk and oddness of reality is dissected and rebuilt in their own image.
Ruff AF post-techno glitch and knotted rhythms from Japan’s Sofheso. RIYL NHK, Autechre, Richard Devine
“First Terrace Records are honoured to present a major retrospective of prolific yet unsung noise-maker Sofheso. Having been writing, performing and recording relentlessly throughout Japan for at least the last decade, the tracks that form this archival release have been selected from a huge quantity and variety of sessions, and arranged in a way that we hope serves as a fittingly monolithic (yet ultimately penetrable) introduction to Sofheso’s singular and thrilling creative vision.
The sound is the process, and the process is architectural, layering drums and short samples into a contorting mass of concrete and steel. In photography the camera lens enjoys a vast intricacy of scaffolding or the skeletal beginnings of a modern building much more than the glossy outer layer, and just so here. There is a deep satisfaction in hearing the construction, witnessing the casting of each new sculpture. Sofheso has created a sonic language entirely his own, with which he is able to articulate seemingly infinite rhythmic and textural possibilities.”
Serious grey area D&B pressure from db1, Forest Drive West, Entire and Nekiya on Ruffhouse’s killer label, UVB-76
Entire takes pole position with the lumbering yet deft halfstep rolige and sonorous sound design of ‘Two Spirits’ alongside the isolationist dancehall inception of ‘Dream Within A Dream’ by another newcomer, Nekyia.
Passing over to slightly more experienced hands, Forest Drive West insightfully toys with D&B schematics in the billowing negative space and pinched percussion of ‘Inverse’, beside the dread cold steppers drill of ‘Duppy Pulse’ by DB1.
Sote and Opal Tape present an astonishing abundance of electronic music by Iranian Sound Artists. Lovers of “unusual” (read: non-Western convention) rhythms, meters, scales and timbres will be in their element with the sheer volume and variegated quality of material inside - from Parsa’s abstract techno to blinding scapes by Leila, and a visionary astral projection by Pouya Pour-Amin. Dive in head first
“Wondering if, while untying a knot in a long rope, slowly untangling the rope from its own grip, the exact point where the knot ends and the rope begins can ever be determined, observing that the rope itself is a series of tangled strings that are a handful of woven cords of entwined strands of braided fibre of woven matter.
The same goes with the outward spiral of interlacing a series of "Girih" and putting together different pieces until eventually a pattern emerges. A pattern to which, one could keep on adding particles and details until it eventually becomes a complex, indecomposable system, a multi-layered design that has infinite detail yet is still a form that resembles the whole.
Experimental electronic musicians from Iran have marked their prints on the face of the universal experimental music scene for some time now, though the manner in which their status went from "non-existent" to "present" and from "silent" to "noisy" might somehow seem "unpredictable" to the naked eye. The way these small individual girihs have become conjoint in order to make a larger design, might at some point seem arbitrary and even accidental. Nevertheless, by following the patterns in which the branches of a river are spreading and by trailing all its curves and bends, we find a sense of order in chaos.
Now reaching the point where the scene transitions from symmetry to asymmetry -not only in relation with the outside world but also within itself- I wonder if we have been lucky enough to have reached our "Lyapunov Time". After all, isn't this transitional state of a chaotic system -this cryptic blend of order and disorder- the most productive path towards equilibrium?
This compilation is trying to transform the chapter from "individual" to "crowd", at the same time, still maintaining "independence". This inevitable spread of fractures, better not be tamed but explored, as us, musicians, are all exploring and experimenting while trying to keep our unique identities originated from our homeland, our experiences, our struggles and our principles.
In embracing the rain of "chaos" lies a power and a thrill no shelter of an umbrella can provide. However, somehow having a roof over one's head, under which, all can breathe the same air while still retaining all of their clashing ideas and their frictions, helps catalyse the emergence of -the so-crucial- "diversity" and in that sense, numerous more fruitful, well-tiled pathways towards experimentation and productivity; As extensive as geometry itself, as infinite as "fractals".
Sara Bigdeli Shamloo (SarrSew) June 2018.”
Flying Lotus’ label marks 10 years in the game with ‘X’, a 36 track compilation featuring 22 brand new, previously unreleased cuts by Thundercat, Martyn, Georgia Anne Muldrow, mr.oizo, Jameszoo, Dorian Concept, Iglooghost +++
Trust Jameszoo to make it freaky on ‘Flake’, while mr.oizo knocks out the searing disco bullet ‘Ham; DJ Paypal coughs up the hot footwork drums of ‘Slim Trak VIP’; FlyLo chips in his remix of Brandon Coleman’s ‘Walk Free’; Ross From Friends roll out the deep house of ‘Squaz’; and even George Clinton turns up on WOKE’s ‘The Lavishment of Light Looking’.
“For the last ten years, Brainfeeder has reminded the world that the future is only as far away as it needs to be. It’s less a label than an international conspiracy to conquer clichéd sounds, a glowing neon helix re-organizing the DNA of hip-hop and house, jazz and ambient, techno and soul, funk and footwork and every other strain of beat music that eludes compartmentalization. The Flying Lotus-founded label has become a sanctified refuge for those who believe that nothing is too weird, genre is largely obsolete, and the wildest style will always reign supreme.”
Khotin crosses Heart To Heart with with four analog house bubblebaths, Canadian style.
One year on from 1080p's debut LP introduction, 'Hello World', he coolly operates in orbit of that label's gauzy aesthetic and just in reach of Mood Hut's romantic ambience.
'For U To Feel' opens with a fluffy measure of marshmallow bass and creamy acid squiggles beside the dub-spilt deep house contours of 'XP Waste'.
Flipside takes flight with a feathered lick of the same Morricone track sampled in Pita's 'Get Out', but here applied to a simmering, mystic Chicago jack pattern in 'AT03', whilst 'AT04' meditates on modulated acid and serene deep house drones.
A killer blast of Linekraft’s Japanese junk metal cut-ups and noise cyclonic noise...
“Linekraft is the premier industrial performance unit arising from today's contemporary Japanese underworld. Although active in the industrial stratosphere for many years, Linekraft has quickly developed a reputation as the leading industrial act from Japan through a series of stark, violent, and nihilistic live actions. The roots of these activities surround the lost tradition of "metal junks", a succession of organized and disorganized physical strikes on various oil drums and canisters with long and short metal bars. This existential scrapyard is sped up, slowed down and stained through tape manipulation and layered, replayed, cut apart and reversed in psychic torment of old school analog processes.
From this Kafka-esque cage of uninhabitable obstacles an alien and dehumanized voice of pure oscillations cries out equally in anger and despair. Resembling moments of Pacific 231 live recordings from the early 80's. Engineering Analysis of Inner Death is the first full length for Linekraft and it shows he has arrived on record with the same atmosphere of his brilliant performances in the flesh. For fans of Esplendor Geometrico, Vivenza and White Hospital.”
Scowling throwdown from Overlook, making his 2nd lunge on UVB-76 this year with four tracks of petrifying sound design and squashed, grey area rolige
Working shades away from his recently minted Carrier duo with Positive Centre, the ‘Public Image EP’ finds Overlook moving away from D&B structures to a more smudged no-person’s-land at the juncture of techno, noise and darkside dance music.
‘Déjà Vu’ gets U in the mood with a bone marrow-freezing descent into cavernous space inhabited by swarming nanobots, before the session gets underway properly with the trampling flow and keening drones of ‘There Was Truth and There Was Untruth’ building to a fierce head of pressure that carries into the rip current techno of ‘The Totem That Guides Us’, before he attempts to drown the senses with water-boarded rhythms that withhold the restraint and flood forth like a stampede of metal-hooved stallions by the end of ‘Public Image’.
Pivotal, peerless DJ/selector and Minimal Wave overse’er Veronica Vasicka serves her solo debut on Downwards in ‘From Here’, a dank industrial-pop workout recorded in 2004 and now issued for the first time, backed with sick remixes by Regis, Paul Kendall (Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb) and Robert Hampson (Loop, Main) in his lesser-spotted Chasm alias.
Penned on analog synth and 4-track tape recorder in 2004, one year before Veronica established the Minimal Wave label, the ripped metal textures and spectral vox of ‘From Here’ forms a rare snapshot of her daily, diaristic working practice, putting sounds to tape as a personal form of expression that was never intended to be heard by other ears. Lucky for us then, that Downwards’ Karl O’Connor (Regis) has coaxed this dark, anxious beauty out for release, and teamed it with some very special remixes.
‘From Here’ renders Veronica in the dark, naturally working against the grain of 2004’s underground dance music trends to pursue her passion for classic and obscure strains of dance music, from New Wave to Italo and early house - all the kind that would turn up on her regular show for East Village Radio; the Manhattan, NYC station she co-founded in 2003. With hindsight, we hear Veronica as a displaced soul doing her thing in a way that would become inarguably more widespread over the coming decade and more, which was in no small part due to her focussed efforts working behind the scenes, overlapping and fomenting a nexus of musics that shared more in common than was usually acknowledged at that time.
Now appearing in 2018, ‘From Here’ perhaps finally feels at home in the skin of a scene obsessed with ghosts in the machine. And the remixes only emphasise the material’s timeless, out-of-joint nature: from a slickly arpeggiated Regis version which sounds like it could have been made any time between 1981 to 2018; thru to a pummelled and serrated industrial remix from Paul Kendall, who has previously worked on classics by Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb; to a killer and maybe surprising highlight from Robert Hampson as Chasm, stoking it with gnashing drum machines and keening dub FX for a sort of industrial-dub-dance-pop sidewinding outta time and place.
Knockout album of smoky jazz-pop, cinematic strings and filigree electronics from Eiko Ishibashi, who comes off like Japan’s answer to Julia Holter in the uneasy hauntology of her 6th album opus.
‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ finds Eiko delving into her family history, following the death of her father, coming to terms with the discovery that he came of age during Japan’s occupation of Manchurian China in the 1940s, when his father - Eiko’s Grandfather - worked as a railroad man in occupied territory. The album is about imagining a past she never knew, and about how that past can inform the future - in particular her own.
As a noted improvisor on percussion and piano, Eiko’s sense of intuition is key to her music, and ‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ would appear to be a study in locating or understanding the source of her core instincts. Over its 9 songs, she describes a journey of discovery and reflection in expansive, near-cinematic terms, loaning from her practice writing for theatre and cinema to shape an album enriched with subtle emotional cadence and tempered instrumental virtuosity.
From the anxious dawn of dissonant brass smear in ‘Prologue: Hands On The Mouth’, her journey wends from the rustling chug of ‘Agloe’ and its sweeping emotive arrangement, thru the inquisitive jazz chords of ‘Iron Veil’, to the reflective pool of hovering organ in ‘Silent Scrapbook’, and the fleeting feels of anger and sadness in ‘A Ghost in a Train, Thinking’, before her timelessly sumptuous title track comes off like the sonic denouement of a classic film, and the pulsating electronics of ‘Tunnels To Nowhere’ signify a rush to the future, and the melancholy resolution of ‘To The East’, and the ultimate uncertainty connoted by swirling, bittersweet strings and tentative double bass in her ‘Epilogue: Innisfree’.
R.I.Y.L. Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Laraaji, Robert Rich, Harold Budd.
"Anne, the second album By Toronto saxophonist and composer Joseph Shabason, is a tonal essay on degenerative illness. Delicately and compassionately woven with interviews of Shabason’s mother from whom the album takes its name, Anne finds its creator navigating a labyrinth of subtle and tragic emotions arising from his mother's struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Across the nine vivid postcards of jazz-laden ambience that comprise the album, Shabason unwraps these difficult themes with great care and focus revealing the unseen aspects of degenerative diseases that force us to re-examine common notions of self, identity, and mortality. Shabason’s uncanny ability to manoeuvre through such microscopic feelings is mirrored by his capacity to execute a similar tightrope-walk through musical genres. His music occupies a specific space that is as palpable as it is difficult to pin labels to.
On Anne’s second track “Deep Dark Divide” rays of effected saxophone shine behind clouds of digital synthesizer that echoes the sound of jazz in the late 80s, but with a Jon Hassell-esque depth of sensibility that consciously subverts the stylistic inoffensiveness of that era. There is detail and idiosyncrasy beneath Shabason’s dawn-of-the-CD-era sheen that elevates the album far beyond a mere aesthetic exercise. Still, the sounds on Anne are not so experimentally opaque as to stand in the way of the album’s through-line of sincerity and emotionality. When dissonance is employed it is punctual and meaningful, like on album-middler “Fred and Lil” where a six-minute cascade of breathy textures builds suddenly to an agitated growl, only to abruptly give way to Anne Shabason speaking intimately about her relationship to her own parents. Snippets of such conversations see her taking on something like a narrator role across Anne while the sound of her voice itself is sometimes effected to become a musical texture entwined into the fabric of the songs without always being present or audible. On “November” Shabason lays muted brass textures atop a wavepool of electric chords provided by none other than the ambient cult-hero Gigi Masin, one of Anne’s many integral collaborators.
The serene tragedy of the album distils itself gracefully into the ironically titled album closer “Treat it Like a Wine Bar” wherein flutters of piano and mournfully whispered woodwinds seem to evaporate particle by delicate particle, leaving the listener with a faint emotional afterglow like a dream upon waking. There is a corollary to be drawn here with what it must be like to feel one’s own mind and body drift away slowly until nothing remains, while the collection of memories and abilities that we use to denote the “self” softens into eternity. On Anne, it is precisely this fragile exchange of tranquillity and anguish that Joseph Shabason has proven his singular ability to articulate."
Another amazing entry from ‘70s Ethiopia, introducing krar player, singer and national icon Asnakech Worku to the world at large with a beautiful collection of songs made alongside Hailu Mergia at the height of her career, most notably on a haunting prototype of Mergia’s standard ‘Tche Belew’
“There is perhaps no woman more cherished in modern Ethiopian history than Asnakech Worku. As a musician, actress, dancer and cultural icon, Asnakech inspired and challenged society for decades, until her death in 2011. From her beginnings as Ethiopia’s first theater actress in 1952 to her acclaimed film appearances to her days as a club owner-turned-master musician, Asnakech’s inimitable confidence and charm made her a household name. She earned endless accolades across the artistic spectrum.
She made seminal recordings of unforgettable original compositions, as well as legendary renditions of traditional songs, that became national staples. With a singular sense of style, glamour and sex appeal that sometimes stunned mainstream society, Asnakech wore clothes no one else wore and said things no one else said. Staid notions of how women should dress and behave didn’t apply to her. Battling a mentality that until the early 1950s had men wearing dresses to play female roles in the theater, Asnakech became a national treasure on her own terms.
Her family wasn’t pleased with Asnakech becoming an azmari—an itinerant praise musician who sings, often in bars, for tips—and didn’t bother her, especially after Emperor Haile Selassie I began to emphasize theater and music in society, officially legitimizing her career. Asnakech became an internationally-celebrated performer of Ethiopia’s ancient harp, the krar, making her one of the most visible female musicians of the 20th century. All this while leaving controversy, broken hearts and a changed cultural landscape in her wake.
In 1975, keyboardist and bandleader Hailu Mergia got a call from the owner of Misratch Music Shop to do a recording with Asnakech and he went for it. This recording is a nearly-forgotten artifact of the remarkable icon’s singular legacy, remastered and available outside Ethiopia for the first time. It also provides a rare glimpse into Mergia’s work as a arranger-sideman in the Addis Ababa music scene.”
From the golden era of Warp, B12’s ‘Time Tourist’ is reissued for the first time, newly expanded with four bonus tracks previously found on their B12 Records archives volumes
Somewhere between a computer game soundtrack, pulpy sci-fi score, and an armchair accelerant, ‘Time Tourist’ holds a special place in the pantheon of mid-late ‘90s electronica/IDM. Some of it sounds pretty dated now, but the innocent sincerity of of B12’s retro-futurist aesthetics still glow from highlights such as ‘Infinite Lites (Primitives Mix)’ and ‘The Radiophonic Workshop’.
Burning disco/edit belters from DJ Qu, going deep into his Latino and New Jersey roots for the good of the dance
The EP is fronted by a straight-up essential heater in the raw, filtered disco loopers ‘May I Say’, and the mesmerising reversed groove of ‘Things Get Ordinary’ that will have dancers tying themselves in knots. On the back he lets fly with the masterful tribal polyrhythms and gaspin’ punctuation of ’Picazón’, and the lip-smacking deep trance workout, ‘Circumvent’.
Pearson Sound rolls out the 3rd 12” on his Pears label...
Inspired by the construction site outside his studio, ‘Rubble’ opens the session with strapping bass arp riveted in place by cold snare crack and needling hi-hats. ‘Earwig’ catches him testing out a sort of 95bpm acid dancehall style, and ‘Our Spirits Soar’ occupies the B-side at 45rpm for spot of late night biz, pairing wheezy G-funk synthlines with bashy, rolling techno for, in his own words, “smokey late-night dancefloors when the house lights creep up”.
Cosmic, new age techgnosis from Belfast’s Touch Sensitive - home to David Holmes, Barry Lynn (Boxcutter), Cherrystones.
“A soundtrack for gutted metropolises, virtual sanctuaries and utopian enclaves, 'Sentience & Sapience' is a seamless, psychedelic journey through possible near futures in the age of Artificial Intelligence.
Its overlapping arrangements alternately evoke glittering digital realms and bleak, decrepit landscapes populated by ghostly natives drifting in fractured and multiplying realities. Eastern drones, processed guitars and field recordings are warped, dubbed to cassette and re-sampled again. Meditative gongs and bells punctuate the mix, as human-sounding voices drift in and out intoning synthetic chants. Digital and analog textures dissolve into a continuum, suggestive of blurred and vanishing boundaries between the natural and the artificial; the real and the simulated; the evolved and the designed…
Inspired by the outlandish prophecies of Tech guru Ray Kurzweil, and the Transhumanist evangelism of 20th century psychonauts like Terence McKenna and Robert Anton Wilson, ‘Sentience & Sapience’ is an album for bewildered Homo sapiens contending with intelligent machines in the shadow of the singularity.”
New EP from Lagartijeando produced in collaboration with a choir from the Coro Qom Chelaalapi tribe, who have been declared a living cultural heritage by UNESCO.
"Since releasing his Caboclo EP on Big In Japan in May, Lagartijeando has now produced a very special EP with a choir from an indigenous tribe called Coro Qom Chelaalapi. The choir formed as a means of passing down their culture to future generations in the absence of any formal records. Blending traditional songs with brooding beats and big grooves, The Revisión EP is a unique and special collaboration exploring the tribe’s rich musical heritage with contemporary production.
The original songs have a mythology and their bespoke instruments have deep significances. The nivike is a single string violin (representing the sounds made by a jaguar sharpening its claws on a tree trunk) and was used as a form of communication to contact loved ones or to find love amongst the mountain dwellers."
‘City of Hope’ is the first single from Susanna’s new song cycle inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, commissioned for Norway’s Vossa Jazz 2017 festival
Recorded by Norway’s national broadcaster, NRK (meaning it’s one of her first songs not to be recorded by Helge Sten/Deathprod in recent memory), the broodingly optimistic ‘City of Hope’ features Susanna Wallumrød flanked for the first time by a new band, who frame her vocal with piano, guitar, tape recorder, accordion, synth and electronics.
DJ Loser runs a severely ragged batch of beat-up industrial, EBM and gloomy ambience, cyberpunk-style, from his base in Thessaloniki, Greece. A big look for fans of Delroy Edwards’ various, live and direct one-take styles
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.
A strangely haunting yet beautiful bouquet of nocturnal, electronic blooms ranging from poignant ambient vignettes to chamber-like pop, from Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan - a gifted musical story-teller
“Foxes is the third full-length album from Brooklyn-based artist Faten Kanaan.
The title is symbolic: an homage to the wild, untamed/unedited spirit. It's an album of uninhibited expression, a balance between playfulness and nuanced intentionality. Foxes is loosely inspired by early Surrealist automatism, made-up languages, Middle-Eastern Hakawati storytellers, and the minimalist poignancy of mimes. Here, Kanaan uses sound as an intuitive gesture to tell a wordless story.
As the narrative unfolds, each composition becomes a distinct chapter: from the uneasy turbulence of Naufragium to the swelling crescendo and gear mechanics of time passing in Pendulum, the intimate pastoralism of Wildflowers, and the mischievous meanderings of the title track.”
Very canny neo-soul steeped in vintage styles of Afrobeat, dub, calypso, broken beats
“Voiced by the band’s saxophonist Nick Richards, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ is an instant soul-jazz winner, with lyrics speaking about inner turmoil and a search for the truth. On the flip, ‘Sugar Cane’ features the unmistakeable vocals of Nubiya Brandon singing of harsh life lessons over an increasingly chaotic groove.
The tracks are taken from the band’s forthcoming album, ‘Jungle Run’ which effortlessly weaves together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music.
The single and album mark another important chapter for a band that has been consistently developing and evolving their sound since their formation in 2015 at Leeds College Of Music.”