Prepare to be floored again by the great Lonnie Holley, back with his 3rd album - his 1st in five years - serving a unique perspective on contemporary America as the result of some 68 years living at its fringes; from a whisky house, to numerous foster homes, and later as an eminent outsider artist.
It’s hard to forget a first encounter with Holley’s singular style - ‘Just Before Music’ back in 2012 stuck out like one of his massive “thumbs up for Mother Earth” from everything around it, and to be fair it still does. While we weren’t so immediately enamoured with its follow-up, ‘Keeping A Record of It’, there’s no denying that his 3rd LP ‘MITH’ is a stunning and welcome return, delivering a necessary dose of emotional punishment that’s bound to resonate just as strongly, if not more than his debut.
More layered and diaphanous than either of Holley’s first two records, ‘MITH’ is an astonishing development of Holley’s soul-hocking sound, effectively blossoming from his bluesy seeds into staggering psychedelic blooms almost comparable to the difference between original blues and the freedoms of spiritual jazz, with Holley’s utterly inimitable voice bridging the difference, along with extra musical contributions from fellow travellers such as new age maestro Laraaji, jazz duo Nelson Patton, and production by Pakistani/American artist Shahzad Ismaily.
We’ll keep it simple: this record hurts in the most powerful, extraordinary way. Unmissable.
Sobrenadar is the solo project of Buenos Aires-based Paula García and translates as supernatant – essentially floating on the surface of a liquid – the perfect description of the music she has been making since 2006.
"Inspired by “soundtracks, music of past times, ’70s, ’80s, ambient, downtempo, Air, Boards Of Canada, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Grouper”, her mix of reverby beats, electronica, guitars and vocals are like a deep-sea dreampop. Following her guest appearance on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s album On The Echoing Green, this is Sobrenadar’s first international release. It is called y (and) because it combines her two most recent self-released EPs, Dromer and Habita – and follows a succession of singles and remixes by Slowdive, Gwenno, XAM (Hookworms) and Mark Peters."
The master of slow-motion ambient/trance owns his style on ‘Infinite Moment’, his 6th album for Kompakt since the seminal ‘From Here We Go Sublime’ side won everyone’s hearts in 2007
Axel Wilner a.k.a. The Field has made his name with a smudged, looser take on Wolfgang Voigt’s grand billows as Gas, or the rolling Teutonic trance of Reinhardt Voigt.
On ‘Infinite Moment’ he once again hits the pleasure centres dead on with his blend of gauzily rugged grooves and hypnotic loops, but allows for some unexpected moments such as the junglist rush that crops up mid-way thru the slow, towering beauty of ‘Made of Steel. Made of Stone’, while the hazy drums of ‘Divide Now’ feel rawer, more affective than usual, and the slow, bobbing linearity of ‘Something Left, Something Right, Something Wrong’ feels as though it’s unravelling in myriad directions at once, while the title track simply plays deep into his classic formula of mesmerising, phasing slow trance.
Conor O’Brien has made another great leap forward with Villagers’ fourth studio album, ‘The Art Of Pretending To Swim’, released by Domino.
"The album was written, produced, mixed and primarily performed by Conor O’Brien in his Dublin studio. Conor won a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for his last studio album, ‘Darling Arithmatic’"
Surprise drop from Shackleton, his first of 2018, following up ’Behind The Glass’ on this Woe To The Septic Heart! label
There’s a discernible Far Eastern bent to both tracks, nodding in the direction of Indonesian percussive styles from Uwalmassa or Senyawa, but still with that outernational nous that also lends it to comparison with Ekuka’s Ugandan thumb piano recordings or Psychic Warriors of Gaia style tribal techno.
‘Furnace of Guts’ is a mercurial, polychromatic flow of stuttering voices, glinting high register percussion and wriggling bottom end feathered into increasingly noisy, knotted formations, while ‘Wakefulness and Obsession’ is more potently hypnotic, droning and viscous.
Recorded at the same Rainbow Studio sessions, and with the same top musicians and legendary engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug, this can only be seen as a rightful twin companion to "The Nature Of Connections" from 2014.
"One can easily understand how Arve must have found it difficult to select tracks for "The Nature Of Connections", leaving these on the shelf. "Composograph" is standing rock solid as a top notch Arve Henriksen album. Interestingly enough, the track "Gathering In Vågå" features Arve on rather brilliant, freeflowing saxophone (for the first time on record?).
There are the typical folk music ties, courtesy of fiddlers Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, contemporary chamber jazz, nods to avant free music and atmospheric tone poems. All in all, twelve exquisite originals from one of the world´s leading trumpet players."
Mats Erlandsson’s new collection of sound work, Hypodermic Letters, embodies a vast array of sonic multiplicities.
"Like light magically made audible, while in continuous disintegration, oscillating between the real and the illusory, the works contained in Hypodermic Letters insistently highlights the in-between only to forcefully push us to the beyond. By challenging our conventional ways of structuring the sensory into categories, e.g. the pure and the impure, the changing and the unchanging, or the unitary and the manifold, Erlandsson’s work provides an opportunity to let go and to dwell in unstructured phenomenality.
Hypodermic Letters is a shimmering interplay of the extremely remote and the radically proximate, the vast and the intimate. A sense of substantial materiality and referential stability is established momentarily only to face its immediate dissolution. Erlandsson’s use of ambiguity reveals a fundamental fragility at the core of certainty. But fear not, although elegantly masquerading as ambiguity, the dominating affective state of Erlandsson’s Hypodermic Letters is that of clarity.
The instrumentation of Hypodermic Letters is a careful combination of synthesized sounds, all of which were generated by analog means, recorded acoustic sounds of stringed instruments and the employment of algorithmic processing techniques. Erlandsson’s display of the molding of multistable textures with continuities of intervallically modulating modalities ultimately lends itself to a listening experience as intense as it is pure: a non-referential melancholia, a sorrow beyond sorrow.
With close attention to the most subtle facets of the sonic and a use of intonation and tuning as an integral part not only of harmony, but of the total field of sound itself, Erlandsson’s work makes us aware—that is, if we truly listen—of our capacity to enter worlds, or modes of being, and perhaps more importantly, of our capacity to leave our dysfunctional constructions behind. "
Vocal house sleaze from Amy Douglas and producer Tim Wagner of 33Hz
All three tracks work to the right of Roisin Murphy’s takes on soul-fired, mid-tempo dance music, with Amy Douglas putting her five octave vocal range to use on the acidic boogie of ‘Never Saw It Coming’, which Crooked Man reworks as a turgid electro-boogie on the remix and a wobbling dub that sounds like fidget house on 33-not-45.
Teutonic electro-tech-house from The Working Elite, making their debut with Tim Sweeney’s BIS
‘Rockman’ kicks off with a stealthily building piece of tech-house for international espionage, while ‘Born Again’ takes said spy to a disco scene in Bonn circa ’86 for a tense, exciting, strobelite chase scene.
Lauer & Saap remix ‘Rockman’ as a snappier electro swanger with nagging riffs and killed trills, then go all romantic with the kinky swagger of their ‘Lover’s Code’ remix.
Hard-edged sound designs on the cusp of EBM, ghetto-tech and vodka-flavoured electro. RIYL Gesloten Cirkel
“After an appearance on the U S S R compilation on Opal back in 2016, Monotronique leans out from the shadow again with a ten track tape of brutal, minimal body music, operating both as dance tools and as actual pitch forks.
The paired down palette fuses grimey stabbing synths against stoic, saturated drums. Rave lines pour into reverberated backgrounds of stark colour. The A side of the album is all tight, negi-funk and flex where the following side goes out into faster tempos and more ascetic compositions.
'Heat Absorber' collects only a few tracks of the massive arsenal at Monotroniques hand. Tracks which have laid waste to many dancefloors in his native Ukraine and will continue to render the fat of any floors subject to this glorious battery.”
The BPitch boss laces up a trio of stompers on Boddika’s Nonplus Records
‘Trigger’ delivers a stealthy dose of techno adrenalin and ‘Flying Objects’ carves away into hydroelectric pulses with a steely acidic minimalism recalling Dash Rush productions.
Canny split between veteran mechanical soundsmiths Pierre Bastien & Cabo San Roque on one side, and the none-more-enigmatic Breadwoman improvising with soprano saxophonist Adrian Northover and Dave Tucker on guitar.
“First Terrace deliver another instalment of their split series, following on from the meditative trip supplied by Chihei Hatakeyama and Vida Vojic on FTS002 & the blissful first edition from K. Leimer & Like A Villain.
On the ‘line’ side of FTS003 we hear the meeting of three veteran improvisors - Anna Homler (Breadwoman/Pharmacia Poetica), Adrian Northover (Remote Viewers) and Dave Tucker (The Fall). Born from the fertile creative friction of the London Improvisers Orchestra, they incantate together to deliver a clutch of winding, curious, mesmeric compositions.
On the ‘circle’ side we present a recording from Pierre Bastien - an artist of startling singularity and endless, joyful creativity. Recorded at Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona with Catalonian group Cabo San Roque, Pierre takes the helm of their monumental mechanical sound sculpture - the Orquestra Mecànica de la França Xica - and guides the vast array of cogs and pistons through three movements. The orchestra was made up of thirty or forty machines, all linked to Pierre’s casio keyboard.”
Troops, the wait is over for Ancient Methods’ debut album with ‘The Jerihco Records’, a 14-track set bristling with vocals by Prurient, Cindytalk, King Dude and Wahiba Khadri, and guest production from Regis and Orphx
For pretty much the first time we really hear Michael Wollenhaupt a.k.a the sole serving member of Ancient Methods really stretch his legs in all directions, with results ultimately ranking as perhaps the definitive industrial techno album of its generation.
Biblical in concept and scale, ‘The Jericho Records’ takes the world’s oldest, longest inhabited city as muse for a incredible showcase of futurist/primitive rhythm and sound, melding Michael’s trademark so-stiff-it’s-fuucking-funky-as-fuck drum patterns with a much broader range of instrumentation and voices than any previous AM release.
To get down to business, DJs and dancers need to clock the highlights in the cataclysmic shock of ‘Twelve Stones to Divide Jordan’s Sand’, as well as the bare-faced rage of ‘The House of Rahab’, the searing ‘Crack and Collapse In The Storm of Lights’, and the incendiary payload of ‘Omen’s Duty’ or the appearance of Prurient on the trampling thunder of ‘Walking on Cursed Soil’.
But we’d be remiss to overlook the moments of contrast in the Arabic EBM mutation of ‘Array The Troops’ featuring synths from Regis; the Muslimgauze-like meld of whirling percussion and horns in ‘The City Awakes’; or the clashing scimitars of ‘Swordplay’; while ‘The Seven Shofars’ and ‘In Silence’ impressively attest to AM’s unrepentant obsession with darkest, ritual ambient electronics.
Just hoof it all down and ask questions later.