Aussie experimental titan David Brown originally released "apsomeophone" back in 2005, and now its back in spannered, splattery glory. The title's a reference to French musique concrète instigator Pierre Henry's Apsome studio, so that should tell you all you need to know...
This is a good 'un. Brown's been involved with Australia's avant garde and noise scene for years, and he manages, against the odds, to fuse unhinged guitar skronk with GRM concrète techniques that might seem to exist on the other end of the sonic spectrum. There are echoes of Derek Bailey, or even MAIN, in Brown's unusual amalgamation of ideas; the guitar becomes a source for sharp shards of sound, and echoes of genre - folk twangs, angular metal riffs - are corrupted into dissolved scrapes, loops and drones.
Occasionally, movie samples echo thru the riffage and cut-n-paste mayhem, suddenly grounding us in the real world. It's at those moments you remember exactly what you're listening to and the power of the hard splice. So good.
Footwork forefather RP Boo proudly cements his reputation with ‘Established!,’ his most diverse definition of the Chicago styles he grew up with and pioneered over the past 30 years, influencing everyone from DJ Rashad to Sherelle and Rian Treanor
Spanning house tempo jack tracks to his signature 160bpm cyclones and battle track skirmishes, RP Boo’s 4th album crowns the king of footwork with 14 inimitable examples of the mutant ghetto house template he set alongside DJ Slugo and more for Dance Mania in 2000 and has progressed over successive LPs since 2013’s seminal ‘Legacy.’ Where those LP’s have variously spelled out his sound thru a combination of archival and up-to-the-second productions, ‘Established!’ yields a brace of brand new gear that keeps it balling fwd, but also reminisces on his roots, back when he was in the same circles as Paul Johnson and other legends of Windy City stature.
A pivotal figure at home in the Chi and abroad, RP Boo’s productions, like myriad other strains of regional US club music, have remained sorely unsung by a US dance music scene that perplexingly never realises the brilliance under its nose. In that sense his influence on footwork is akin to Juan Atkins’ on techno, whose foundational Detroit techno records found more favour in Europe than anywhere else in the US, and have come to seriously resonate just as much with the UK’s love of accelerated funk and innovative Black music. But where Juan’s records feel very much c.20th, RP Boo has blazed a path for the 21st century whose influence cannot be overestimated.
Kicking off and rounding off with the swaggering jack traks ‘All My Life’ and ‘Beauty Speak of Sounds,’ both harking back to his days dancing in the ‘90s Chi house scene, he works up a proper dervish from the G-funk sampling ‘How 2 Get It Done!’ thru a standout bullet ‘Finally Here’ featuring Afiya, making time for a spot of Phil Collins worship on ‘All Over,’ and tumpin’ it on a juke tip with ‘Be Of It!,’ while reserving his most lip-biting tekkers for the tight energy of ‘Ivory Surface,’ and the gleeful propulsion of ‘Another Night To Party.’
German renaissance man Niklas Wandt digs his way thru psychedelic, jazz, world, funk and kraut moods on "Solar Musli", arriving on a hectic, borderless sound that refuses to stand still for a moment. Imagine Sun Ra jamming with "On the Corner"-era Miles, Florian Schneider and Felix Kubin.
A drummer, producer and DJ, Wandt has presented WDR 3's Jazz & World program for years, DJing in Düsseldorf's Salon des Amateurs and recording with bands such as Oracles and Stabil Elite and working on synth pop as Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge. "Solar Müsli" is his most chaotic solo record yet, an album that attempts to flatten his life of wild, diverse influences and unpick a musical puzzle.
It's a thrill ride, veering from quirky, psychedelic free poetry ('Der gläserne Tag') to sprawling, percussive funk ('Lo Spettro'), unhinged free-jazz kraut-pop ('Küsnacht') and quirky early electronic experimentation ('Solar Müsli'). It's best looked at as the work of a particularly limber DJ - Wandt writes and plays like he's mixing with four un-synced decks, wandering thru rhythm, structure and genre like an intrepid explorer.
Hi-pressure club futurism from Japanese dubstep/grime survivor Prettybwoy. Assembled during a stressful stretch for the producer, 'Tayutau' is anxious, metallic and sweaty airlock nu-dance pressure, cooled off by swirling videogame synths and emotional vocals from collaborator lIlI.
Another rapid-fire dancefloor burner from Shanghai's unreasonably reliable SVBKVLT stable, 'Tayutau' makes a bridge to Japan, curving Prettybwoy's well-worn bass-fwd raw materials into a pneumatic neon club structure. He put these tracks together during a time of upheaval; a selection were made before pandemic, then more were added during lockdown, when Prettybwoy was forced into unemployment and lost tracks in a series of hard drive accidents. The chaos is reflected in the album's writhing, anxious mood, that dips from mind-throbbing intensity to lithe, poppy delirium.
Machine-gun bursts of overdriven kicks and burnt outcroppings of heaving synths form the backbone of tracks like 'Island', 'Brontides' and 'Mikoshi', while 'Genetic Dance II' and 'SLT' drag the weightless bounce of Rabit and Mumdance into breathy, floral East-Asian landscapes. Prettybwoy's confident engineering carries the tracks, and whether he's exploring the limits of granular ambience ('ó‹ (Tear)'), weightlessly melting piano and distant Japanese voices into bouncing subs ('Isol') or forming teeth-chattering grime-flecked nu-club ('Rat's Talk') there's the sense that each sound is sculpted by a master craftsman.
The result falls somewhere between Foodman's wiped-clean eccentric wonkiness and the damaged 'n deranged club philosophy of contemporary prophets like Hyph11E, Yen Tech and Lee Gamble.
'Source Crossfire' collects the complete recordings of Montreal art-rock/post-punk troupe SOFA, who sound something like Slint in corpse paint rocking thru Joy Division covers.
SOFA were a short lived band, existing for just a few years in the mid-1990s, but their reputation in Montreal and beyond speaks volumes; they were the first band to be released on the city's still-explorative Constellation imprint, and truly set the tone for the era with a wide-ranging mix of styles, from US post-hardcore and slowcore to UK post-punk and art-rock.
This bumper set combines their 1997 album "Grey" with music from their preceding self-released cassettes "Town Unsafe" and "Record" in an attempt to map their musical evolution. The tracks have been re-sequenced, and remastered by Jace Lasek, Harris Newman and Ian Ilavsky, so the material has never sounded better.
For anyone that missed the band first time around, they sound surprisingly fresh; the echoes of Ian Curtis loom large around Brad Todd's distinctive voice, and David Pajo's angular guitar riffing is never far from Ian Ilavsky's fuzzbox freestyling, but SOFA's combination of sounds is smart, engaging and engrossingly raw - well worthy of this set.
Shine-eyed early ‘90s trance optimism, gritty acid electro and night-hunting downbeats by USA’s James Bernard aka Influx, compiled and reissued for the first time since the golden era
Reaping cuts from Bernard’s debut LP as Influx, ‘Unique’ (1993) plus one from his first single ‘Od’ of the same year, the four tracks offer a diverse overview of Bernard’s action during the early ‘90s, back when he was hanging with the holy trinity of NYC techno; Frankie Bones, Adam X and Lenny Dee. The original cuts found their way onto Sapho, sublabel of the legendary Rising High, and now have their second wind with the cherry-picking label, Hybride Sentimento.
Between them, he four tracks survey a spectrum of moods and grooves that were in their at the time, oscillating between eye-fluttering string arps and high heart rate techno trance in ‘2001’ to a killer slice of acid electro breaks recalling earlier Joey Beltram workouts in ‘VS128’, while also taking in cinematic acid breaks on ‘Love Song’ and the Carpenter-esque tone of ‘The Future’ for excellent measure.
Jan Jelinek shifts into sound college mode for 'The Raw and the Cooked', alchemically processing the sound of material as it changes form. Lifted concrete music that's like Luc Ferrari or Bernard Parmigiani thrown into an anti-gravity chamber...
An album version of a radio piece Jelinek composed for German state broadcaster SWR2, 'The Raw and the Cooked' explores the nature of sound, using its flexibility to illustrate the mutability of raw material. Using recordings of artists Thomas & Renée Rapedius working with paper and metal objects and Peter Granser ritually preparing Japanese tea, Jelinek reflects the processes we take for granted - a solid's transformation into liquid and gas, for example - in his complex compositions. So careful, microscopically accurate recordings are changed quite literally as we listen, or twinned with synthetic sounds that mirror the real-world processes taking place.
It's not exactly a play, but Jelinek's radio experiment has a narrative that expresses the work of the artist, the craftsperson and the human seeking to feed oneself in the same breath. These rituals have been obscured over the centuries, and Jelinek focuses them and dissolves them into meditative tonal poems, with scraping and buzzing reminders of casual daily life juxtaposed with sci-fi wails and harsh edits.
'The Raw and the Cooked' is an absorbing use of GRM/musique concrète concepts and ideas that builds on the foundations of early innovators like Iannis Xenakis (there's the flavor of 'Concret PH' in 'The Raw and The Cooked (II)'), Pierre Henri and Luc Ferrari, shuttling it firmly into the 21st century.
Unmissable first lick of Blackhaine’s bittersweet EP for HEAD II, a new wing of fabled Salford venue, The White Hotel. RIYL Burial, Autechre, Space Afrika, John Cooper Clarke
Preston's prodigious son sets upon Salford: Blackhaine hails his riveting 2nd EP with lead cut Hotel; a cathartic two- part story of redemption from drug-induced purgatory, produced by North West comrade Rainy Miller from a palette of efflorescent ambient noise and nerve wrecked grime.
In its transition from stomach knotted dread to exhaustive, prang-out negative ecstasy, Hotel bruisingly expounds on the drill blooz of Blackhaine's track Blackpool from 2020's breakthru debut; the Armour EP for Rainy's Fixed Abode. It epitomises his iconoclastic approach and deconstructed aesthetic, clashing the North West's longheld obsessions with rap, punk and dance musicks in a brutally poetic expression of working class heritage and purview.
Building on shocked acclaim for Blackhaine's choreography of Kayne's Donda album playback and videos for Mykki Blanco and Flohio; the November release of the full EP, And Salford Falls Apart, is primed to galvanise the urgency of Blackhaine's message and ricochet thru both the underground and popular consciousness.
Blackhaine performs at his spiritual home The White Hotel, on 25th September, 2021 for an EP launch on the venue's new label HEAD II, with support from Varg2TM, Croww, susu laroche, and Conor Thomas.
Wide-eyed and rapid trance techno slammers from Felix Benedikt’s Alpha Tracks
Working at the speed limit of trance, ‘Bye Bye Sky High’ finds a sublime tension between glyding synths and pelting 150bpm+ tempos for the keener raver, escalating from the fluttering arpeggios and ice cool female vox of ‘Mind over Mayhem’ thru the darker Goa toned and layered 303s of ‘Double Exposure’, to the jibber-jaw strobe of ‘Troubled Waters’ and a class stroke of darkside acid trance reminding of certain Live Adult Entertainment strains in ‘Grand Deception.’
Insistent rhythm trax from Kopy on Stefan Schneider’s TAL, reinforced with remixes by the boss’s Harmonious Thelonious, plus Elena Colombi, and Dynamo Dreesen with SJ Tequilla
Like her half of a 2019 split with Tentenko, Kopy’s solo debut proper trades in a purely rhythmic language of tuned percussive hits deftly dubbed and harnessed in wonky syncopation. ‘Fujiko’ is the kinkier of the two, with nuff cowbell action and grubby bass jabs, whereas ‘Lok’ holds down more restless sort of dembow slosh built from raw drums and acrid electronic noise that verges on Merzbow’s avian chatter.
Harmonious Thelonious drills those drums into a hobbled canter on his remix, and Colombi adds sirens and frazzled electronics to hers in a way recalling Tolouse Low Trax grooves, while one can trust Berlin’s Dynamo Dreesen & SJ Tequilla to come with the freakier funk on their overhaul full of jumping drums and stereo-rolling madness.
A surreal and carnivalesque lost French classique that's somewhere between Cocteau Twins, Nuno Canavarro and Leila, "Chaleur Humaine" originally emerged in 1992, the debut release of sibling duo Danielle and Didier Jean. Anyone into hypnagogic pop, fractured new age experiments or '80s FM synth soundtracks needs to hear this jaw-dislocating Rosetta stone.
UMAN's music spidered out thru various new age and global sounds compilations in the 1990s, but at this point the fwd-thinking duo are mostly forgotten, and in need of re-appraisal. After three decades, "Chaleur Humaine" sounds almost prophetic in its use of sounds, establishing a mood that's as dreamy and pristine as Enya's canonized run, as prismatically awkward as Portland MIDI fanatics Visible Cloaks and as chilling and evocative as Richard Band's schlock horror soundtracks.
UMAN teeter between identifiable pop forms ('UMAN Spirit', 'Entrelacs') and more challenging expressions that draw on experimental and new age concepts, like the lilting 'Mémoire Vive' and Badalamenti-esque 'Aubade'. It's an album that's jam-packed with gorgeous sounds, but seems to refresh itself with each track, skating close to plasticky exotica but never drifting into parody. Looking at it now, it feels as if it translates and pre-empts the shift from DIY rawk and folk sounds into hypnagogic pop and synth modes in the mid-'00s.
The recent obsession with neo-new age forms has resulted in some avoidable lost idols, but 'Chaleur Humaine' is a serious treasure trove of ideas and raw expression that bottles the chaotic analog-to-digital era with no small amount of panache. Anyone who's enjoyed Belgian node STROOM's extraordinary stretch of quirky electro-plated lounge-pop treasures won't wanna miss this.