Husband/wife duo Shawn O’Sullivan and Katie Rose bang it right on the nose with Disparate Elements for the steadily expanding Knekelhuis label, chasing the style of their LPs for Cititrax and Robert & Leopold into dank electro, EBM and fugged-up technopop realms.
The pairing appear to bring the best out of each other in all parts. Rose’s vocals and synths vitally offset O’Sullivan’s cranky grooves, most delectably in the slippery gynoid sex tune It’s Later Than You Think, then pitched and diffracted into the mazy jacker Disparate Elements, and haunting the upper echelons of their grim brummie acid banger Aural Equivalent, whilst Central System is a pure, ‘floor knacking instrumental electro weapon.
Proper rave mutations from X-Altera, the killer new alias coined by Tadd Mullinx (J.T.C./SK-1/Dabrye/Charles Manier/X2/TNT).
Striking hot and delirious, but with razor cut production packing stacks of ideas into every track, X-Altera is instantly shaping up to be one of our favourite of Tadd Mullinx’s myriad projects.
Taking inspiration from the ‘ardcore phenomenon of 1990-1993, the sound effectively works in the pocket of years before the jungle references of his Soundmurderer & SK-1 duo, hearkening back to that fertile period when everything was in flux, as shards of Detroit techno clash with Ragga Dancehall, US garage, Lowlands techno, electro and boogie-jazz style vibes in a delirious style meant to make you dance better, harder, nuttier - facking ‘ardcore, innit?
In recent years, it’s a style that many, many have tried, but more often than not become lost in translation, or simply without the actual ‘hardcore’-ness. Safe to say X-Altera has it down pat, though, taking cues from classic early 4Hero and their Reinforced label, plus the likes of Foul Play, Mark Pritchard and a plethora of unsung heroes, to put a class new spin on the classic sound and legendary era.
There are too many highlights to mention, but take it on trust this one’s a must-check if you’re into 4Hero/Dego, A Guy Called Gerald, Goldie, Lone, HATE, Global Communications.
Haunting, enlightening, spellbinding; ‘Bush Lady’ is the definitive musical opus by Alanis Obomsawin. A member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s most esteemed and decorated documentary filmmakers, Alanis recorded ‘Bush Lady’ for CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, in 1985, but was unhappy with the lead song, ‘Bush Lady’. She re-recorded the song and self-released it as part of new edition, which the marvellous Constellation have now picked up for this reissue, some 33 tours later
Combining her knowledge of traditional Abenaki songs, learnt in her home community of Odanak, with lyrics in french and english, and more modernist arrangements drawing from jazz and classical, Bush Lady paints an engrossing and unforgettable portrait of the venerable singer, songwriter, and storyteller which has somehow managed to evade the attentions of reissuers until now.
The 2-part, 13 minute long opener Bush Lady, Pt.1 + II make a transfixing introduction with Alanis’ mix of traditional and modern vocals dancing free over a tumpin’ drum and expanded with searching fiddle that beautifully tails off with her vocals in the 2nd part. Meanwhile, Theo, Pt. I + II find Alanis singing/speaking in french over a central, steady drum motif joined by the kind of lush woodwind you might expect from a mid ‘80s CBC release (think BoC feels), while Odana reserves the album’s lushest arrangement till last, with Alanis in chanson mode against a fittingly plush, almost filmic backdrop of strings and wind, and Of the Earth and of the Sea remains a timelessly universal message.
We wager some ears are about to fall madly in love with this album…
Photay’s jazzy jazz remixed for the floor in six different ways;
Hubie Davison fluffs up Screens with bustling latin flavour; Sam O.B. turns Aura into a plush soul number; Outré Lux becomes a quicksilver jungle remix in Phil Moffa’s mitts; Yonsei takes Storm on a mid-tempo dub-house glitch ride; and Tatiana Heuman unravels Off Piste with warped R&B swing.
LFI yield the aural equivalent of a queasy mushy trip with Garland’s maiden voyage, Preludes #1
An intoxicating journey, guided by sloshing percussion and probing bass plongs thru lysergically dubbed-out electro-acoustic dimensions and keening microtonal ‘tronics.
On her Thrill Jockey debut, acclaimed guitarist Marisa Anderson’s music is boundless. Anderson is undeniably a master of the North American traditions of country, folk and blues on guitar. On ‘Cloud Corner’, Anderson expands on those styles as well as instrumentation.
"The solo guitar work of Marisa Anderson owes its familiar tones to her awareness of history and her mastering of her instrument, yet it is completely new. Marisa Anderson filters musical history through her own personal experiences, as a traveller in life and in music. A curious and gifted player, Anderson has spent over 35 years of performing forging her singular, instantly recognizable voice. Marisa Anderson’s ‘Cloud Corner’ is hopeful in the face of any discord, a resplendent diverse sound sanctuary that shines, a mirror of the horizon it looks towards."
Hugo Massien plays deep into and out of Tectonic’s signature sound with four brooding, bass-heavy cuts on the cusp of dubstep, garage and electro
Proceeding his 12”s for XL, 17 Steps and E-Beamz, Advanced Aerial Threat starts out with the hollowed but threatening half step techno of the title cut, switching to plush keys and brittle 2-step in Ursa Minor, and needling yet soothing electro on Candy Flip, before Divisions From the Start steps out like Batu meets Jon Hopkins.
Salty minimal wave dirges from Laurène Exposito aka Eye, dialled in from her Alpine base to Amsterdam’s Knekelhuis, presumably via some archaic switchboard where digital technology is sniffed at.
Like her debut album, Sabine, Eye’s follow-up is defined by her palette and personalised melodic sensibility, coming out out four songs about “life changes and love’s stranges”, variously described in murky, subaquatic EBM with a sulphuric urgency on Yellow Density, or like Colleen’s sour twin on the bleeping dub noise fuss of Mucho Macho, whereas Cocktail Mexico catches a sweeter breeze sort of lo-fi electro, and the hazy weave of Go Forward.
Protomartyr return with the ‘Consolation EP’, which they recorded in part with friend Kelley Deal (The Breeders).
The release follows last year’s fan and critical favourite ‘Relatives In Descent’.
After an eventful year of touring throughout their native Australia - including runs with labelmates MONO and likeminded pioneers Tortoise - and featuring alongside the work of artist David Hockney at the National Gallery of Victoria, post-everything quintet Tangents return with another album, and another stylistic detour. RIYL: Can, Four Tet, Tortoise, The Necks.
"New Bodies continues Tangents' rummage through countless varieties of electronics, rock, dub, noise, and free improv jazz that defines the group's acclaimed aesthetic. The spacious dub of a plucked cello gives way to a minimalist breakbeat tableau resting over rhythmic prepared piano; a staid electronic groove is gradually absorbed into washes of frenzied improv; staccato synths are woven into tumbling avant-rock; and shimmering free drums phase over static loops of piano, guitar and cello."
John Parish, the twice Ensor-nominated composer and Mercury Prize-winning producer delivers a brand new collection of songs, including a duet with his longtime musical partner PJ Harvey.
"‘Bird Dog Dante’ was completed in a busy year for Parish. On top of being the musical director of the extended PJ Harvey band on their ‘Hope Six Demolition Project’ world tour, he produced acclaimed albums for Jenny Hval, This Is The Kit, Nadine Khouri and Aldous Harding. ‘Bird Dog Dante’ features duets with both PJ Harvey and Aldous Harding, as well as drumming from Harvey’s bandmate Jean-Marc Butty. In addition to touring with his own band in April, Parish is playing a commemorative show of Nick Drake’s music at St George’s, Bristol in what would have been Drake’s 70th year."
Bok Bok and L-Vis 1990’s label marks 10 years of dancefloor domination with ‘Night Allstars X’
Pulling together classics and exclusives from Cooly G, Fiedel, Girl Unit, Altered Natives, Uninamise and many more, the set firmly does what the label set out to do; replenish modern dancefloors with what they neeed.
Since kicking off in 2008 as a clubnight working in the space between myriad UK & US forms of grime, garage, house and R&B, it’s fair to say that the way Night Slugs has balanced and recombined those styles has fed into a proper, global bass music institution whose influence is much greater than the sum of its parts.
We fondly remember listening to Bok Bok Ustream's at a time when dubstep had calcified into a bit of a joke and grime was in a muddle, while the prevailing influence of Euro and US techno was just coming out of its squeaky clean ‘minimal’ phase into something ruder after years of decelerating rates of mutation.
Bok Bok’s mixes somehow navigated these currents with remarkable vision and precision, clashing all sides of the Black Atlantic in a mutant manner that avoided the pitfalls of ‘Fidget’ and, like a few other DJs and clubnights in London, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester, managed to recombine styles and patterns in a way that heavily tilted the following decade of music to the point we’re at now.
On Night Slugs Allstars X, Bok Bok and L-Vis maintain their taste for dance music with 14 aces from label fam old and new, tending to their OG roots in UKF thru diamonds from Cooly G, Lil Silva and Altered Natives, while looking to the US with cold Flex Dance Music from Uninamise and Helix’s redlining trap bite HMU Joe, while DJ J Heat and Neana do it transatlantic on the hyper Jersey scud of Love, and unusually but brilliantly enough, Fiedel of MMM makes a unexpected appearance with his signature Berghain girder, Door To Manual.
Big up Night Slugs! Here’s to another 10 years of Grade A bangers.
On a long awaited solo LP (his first in 13 years!), the man from Mountains wraps up listeners in a lyrically expressive but entirely instrumental suite of new age modular synth music elliptically contoured between burbling choral voices, hyaline quivers and sonorous subs leading to moments of timeless, sublime revelation. Synth-o-naut’s will be in their element here
“The music of Brendon Anderegg is a hall of mirrors, multilayered and self-obscuring. Largely filtered through Mountains, his pioneering electronic project with Koen Holtkamp, Anderegg emerged as a solo artist in the late ‘90s. In recent years, Anderegg has become sought after for his film scoring and audio work with his studio Telescope Audio, contributing to Emmy-nominated films 102 Minutes that Changed America and 9/11: The Days After for the History Channel, and working with clients from ESPN to Laura Poitras’ Praxis Films.
June represents Brendon limiting his tools and thereby departing from his previous approaches to creating music. Folding time, space, and ambience across June’s two sides, a shimmering expanse of synthesizer-fed structure and tone emerges: a singular sonic landscape with varied emotional triggers from melancholy to playful. The music on June is a complex network of layers, combining to create a congruous whole. Collapsing history into its own contemporary sonic movements, Anderegg’s methodically created work falls in the lineage of electronic pioneers like Bernard Parmegiani, early ambient projects like Tangerine Dream, Popul Vuh, and Cluster, and puts his solo work in the realm of New Age figures like Michael Sterns and JD Emmanuel.
A singularly beautiful and challenging work, June marks the long overdue reemergence of Brendon Anderegg as a solo voice. An immersive two-side realization made for contemplative, meditative listening, June is contemporary electronic synthesis in the most literal sense of the word.”
Joakim presents the varied results of his recording sessions in Xavier Veilhan’s Studio Venezia, a studio/sculpture installed at the 2017 Venice Biennale, which was also visited by Brian Eno and Sebastian Tellier
Using the studio’s rare instrumentation, including an Ondes Martinet, Buchla Music Easel and Baschet Cristal, plus some other synths, as well as aleatoric input from visitors to the Biennale, as source material for the final recordings, which take cues from Cluster’s kosmiche classics to rove between pastoral scenes such as Orange (Katie, USA), to clunky techno on Innuendo (Francisco, Spain), and bittersweet baroque themes in Dream (Roberta, Italy).
Cómeme revel in the face of adversity with four tracks to stoke the good times
Rise X gets off to a deep and trippy start with the swollen mass of distended bass, cantering dembow breaks and devilish voices in Dark Jungle triggering a heavy vibe that bubbles thru Argentinan Ana Helder’s fizzy acid jacker Pizza Delivery, to the killlllller acid New Beat/EBM stride of Ihr Euer by Colombia’s Gladkazuka, and an infectious minimal electro bumper called Ah! Ah! Ah! from Chilean artist, Vaskular.
Erstwhile Factory Floor member Richard Smith ploughs out three ruts of wonky acid noise as L/F/D/M, backed with a crafty remix by Nick Dunton ov 65D Mavericks.
L/F/D/M’s original range from the body-swilling EBM acid of Sixteen Snakes and the atonal roiler X-Enter-O to a sizzling and slippery 303 workout named Silver Grain, whilst Nick Dunton tidies up Silver Grain in an infectious remix featuring smoother acid contours and mutant blue vocal on the D-56M Poverty remix.
Sonic Pieces give life to one of the most unusual releases in their catalogue thus far; a collection of percussive pieces from Tatu Rönkkö - a long-time friend and collaborator with Efterklang with whom he also formed the band Liima. Rönkkö is regarded by some as one of the most diverse and inventive percussionists working on the contemporary field and ‘Spheres' offers a comprehensive introduction to his expansive style, having been compared to everyone from Konono No.1 to Photek and Can’s Jaki Liebezeit.
Spheres is Tatu's debut album and it arrives after close to a decade of notorious improvised performances in kitchens around Berlin and abroad, "using the room and everything in it as his instrument”. It includes self-made instruments from everyday objects, taking his performance style to the next level. As the label explain "The kitchen and the improvisations around it have been concentrated down to 6 standalone pieces of music, produced in incredible detail. The sound hovers in the darklands between tribal experimentations, 90’s jungle ambient textures and electro-acoustic endeavours. Pieces like Then remind of a more focused Aphex Twin performing with Konono No1 in the Finnish woods. While the title track Spheres even links the sound all the way back to early Photek with it's reduced cinematic textures and explosive repetitive beats.”
The opening 5 pieces are all instrumentals before the closing piece Tekoäly features much overlooked vocal pioneer and Fonal mainstay Islaja on vocals, taking the material into much more interesting terrain. Largely accessible but also making the most of those still-alien vocals, Rönkkö weaves in and around her voice with a slowly collapsing, stop-start feel that elevates proceedings into the realm of avant-pop, bringing to a close a fine, intriguing debut.
Coyote Records launch a class début from VIO_L3T into orbit of UK drill, grime and weightless styles, backed with a signature, playfully moody remix by E.M.M.A.
Hailing from not-so-grimy Somerset, VIO_L3T fidns a balance of inner city tension and more spacious, widescreen synth feels to his first release, scanning the expansive synth intro and cold drill drums of Cloud-Tech next to the teetering dembow break structures and spiralling arps of Sentinel and the clipped, airy bump of Fragment.
E.M.M.A. gives Cloud-Tech a more immediate appeal, curtailing the intro so she can get busy with slugging bass and a more psychedelic, less glum synth arrangement in signature style.
Loopy techno pressure from Gothenburg’s DJ Lily, whipping out the dry pound and murmuring vocals of Kärlek, the bucking hustle and deep pads of ///////// (Forward) and the Varg-like metallic tang of \\\\\\\\\ (Backward).
Icy electro pick ’n mix from Sähkö, rifling the archives for tracks made between 2007 and 2017
Turning out the piquant sidewinder Travel Naskh by Matti Turunen a.k.a. Morphology; a very tasty bit of bitter but creamy electro dancehall harmony by 20.05.1996; some Tomutonttu-esque ambient audnuss from Nasty Boy, Ni Ko; and the slow plunge of Waterfront by Jarno Valli ov Radiopuhelimet.
Severely warped computer music from Parsa on tuuun’s Copenhagen-based FLUF label...
No handrails here, just an expression of pure abstract dynamic rendered in a perpetually struggling flux of sharp and distorted textures and fidelities, discombobulated arrhythmia and atonality. But lets not get it twisted, there’s an impish playfulness in these hyper chromatic convolutions that definitely shouldn’t be blithely titled ”noise”, but rather exist according to their own logic of synaesthetic sensations and baffling calculations that makes everything else seem a bit prissy and stupidly uptight by comparison.
RIYL Florian Hecker, EVOL, NYZ, Justin C Meyers
West Coast synthesist M. Geddes Gengras yields a lushly meditative suite of ambient music inspired by his time on Hawaiki, the big island of Hawaii, paying particular attention to glistening high register tones and a sense of wide open Pacific space
“Recorded during a vacation on the big island, Hawaiki Tapes is somewhat of an anomaly in the M. Geddes Gengras music —A series of short, improvised sequences voiced by a small plastic digital synthesizer, minimally processed in real time & jacked straight into a handheld recorder. It was made at night, on a little hotel room desk. The internal sequencer of the volca greatly influenced the pieces, since it only goes so slow and is limited in it’s voicing.
It was windy and cold for most of the trip, and the sky was gigantic and filled with massive rippling clouds that flew between the horizons in minutes. The landscape was made of endless, black rock fields with little grassy spots where the lava hadn’t hit yet. In the process, Gengras had in mind some of the formative ambient music he had listened to in his early years: Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Aphex Twin, and his focus is in the interaction between the synth, the delay and reverb effects. A perfect album for sleepless nights —A new sound statement from M. Geddes Gengras.”
The surrealist scenes of ‘Bloody Sirens’ documents London-based choral ensemble Musarc performing three works by Neil Luck at Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp, Sunday 3rd October, 2015
Luck’s 4th work composed for Musarc, following from Misty (2010), Namesaying (2013), and Any’s Responses (2015), his new piece Bloody Sirens is presented as a report from an imaginary baseball match which conceives of the singers as individuals, rathe than a singing ‘mayuss’, who read from a score that includes a skull and plenty of errors and ellipses.
Yet another singular release on the boundary-oblivious Entr’acte, Bloody Sirens presents avant garde compositions for vocals which are simultaneously timeless, ancient, yet up-to-the-moment, both democratic in organisation and collectively keening towards a framework familiar to the Slip label’s excellent vocal works by Object Collection and Laurie Tompkins, as much as a wealth of historical works.
Trippy, rugged and mutant electro-dub slugs from Belp on Munich’s Jahmoni Music...
Fair to say that help have coined their own sound here, melding the kind of brute but agile drum machine rhythm found on a Prostitutues release, with a madcap palette of vibes that jumps from kosmiche synths to dub and jazz in a silty mix of ambient and noise textures.
Filigree detailed, vaporous sound designs carved from the Yamaha ex5r from XIII for Turin’s Gang Of Ducks. RIYl Visible Cloaks, Haruomi Hosono, Japanese electronics
“Eocity is the result of a study on technological failure and the imagination of a non-existent urban landscape. This project features the use of a Yamaha ex5r, one of the first synths to ever implement VL synthesis.
The Yamaha Virtual Acoustic Synthesis tone generation was born to try to accurately emulate the complex vibrations and other acoustic phenomena of real instruments and their sounds within space, but the dubious results of this technology gave birth to something more.
Its output sound happens to be cold and synthetic while being also organic and warm at the same time, welcoming the listeners into a feeling of an artificial world that is neither digital nor analog.
In this world man is not around anymore and the binary language survived him, communicating with the rest of the natural environment, in respect of its laws and dynamics, becoming one indistinct entity.
Eocity is a place that exists in between the imaginary and the real one, gently oating as a digital tactile experience.”
DJ Richard follows the ‘Path of Ruin’ to his discopocalytic sophomore LP, ‘Dies Irae Xerox’; a super robust collection of darkwave ambient, EBM and Memphis rap-style instrumentals inspired by “depictions and philosophies of the antichrist and end-times”
Picking up where he left us with the darker themes of Grind , the NYC/Berlin-stationed producer pretty much leaves the slinkier house and techno themes for dust in order to better explore mutant, classic hardcore strains of electronic music in his own way.
Opener Dies Irae Xerox could easily be mistaken for the work of Hospital Productions orderly, while the scowling 808 slap downs of Pitfall and Gate Of Roses explore rugged hip hop/electro somewhere between Pametex, SALEM and Tommy Wright III. They’re some of our favourites, along with the curdling sewer juice of Tunnel Stalker and the Cortini-esque Old Winter’s Way, but the rest of the album is strong, too; especially on its fanged dancefloor aces such as the needle-toothed EBM of Vanguard, and the doomcore slug of In Broad Daylight.