Nina Kraviz and friends ring in 2019 with eight blistered acid / techno bangers
Both Buttechno tracks, the cochlea-pinching ‘Rostokino Acid’ and his helter skelter ‘Dubstepping Progression Fast’ are well worth your time, as is The Mover’s gothic noir spike ‘Track One’, and the crazed warehouse pressure of ‘Soviet Film’ by label newcomer Vladimir Dubyshkin.
Schizoid jungle/juke tuffness from Germany’s Dispondant, exerting clinical/soulful Teutonic torque on OG Chicago and UK styles
Smartly dividing his energies between dancefloor dichotomies, one side shows off his whipsmart technoid chops in the palpitating subs and frozen drums of ‘Death’ and the zig-zagging 303 epic ‘Warehouse Acid’, while the flipside plays it cooler with the fluidly jazzy metrics of ‘Acid Jazz’ and the smoky late night Tokyo atmospheres of ‘Sanctum’.
Phillip Sollmann does his effortlessly rolling tech-house thing as Efdemin for Lucy’s Stroboscopic Artefacts
‘Wrong Movements (Circles)’ rolls on a fine line between hypnotic melancholy and something darker lurking below, while ‘Wrong Movements (Left)’ is more forcefully, melodically techno, and ‘Wrong Movement (Right)’ cuts the anchor and heads off on cosmic vectors along spiralling arps into acres of dusty, negative space.
Robin The Fog’s Howlround project takes a noisier, visceral direction in ‘The Debatable Lands’, his spikily psychoactive debut for Touch
Under a title referring to the historic tracts of land between northern England and southern Scotland, which includes his hometown of Carlisle, where the LP was recorded on his parents’ kitchen table, ‘The Debatable Lands’ also acts a metaphor for the abstract no-mans-land of noise he conjures with two 1/4” tape recorders and a microphone.
Allowing the tape recorders as much agency as possible, Robin acts as an improvising conduit or medium in the mode of a gonzo Tony Conrad or Eliane Radigue, with a modicum of Yvette Fielding and The Hafler Trio. He presents four durational pieces ranging from tremulous, plasmic immersion in ‘Threip’, to something like a pummelling, underwater Masami Akita workout in the rhythmic noise of ‘The Black Path’, while ‘Talking Tarn’ invokes imagery of animist pagans worshipping lone, lofty bodies of freezing water, and ‘Moat’ resembles some kind of EVP interception, perhaps from Roman times, or maybe the ancient spirits of Mu, located in the stone circle-littered realms to the north of Carlisle.
Synkro takes cues from the ancient Japanese tradition of Gagaku on his 2nd self-released 12”
A-side ‘Gagaku’ is a genteel dramaturgy of Synkro’s signature harmonic progressions, drizzly atmospheres and fragile 2-step beats executed with patience and elegant. B-side, German D&B producer Frederic Robinson offers an early James Blake sort Airhead-like remix of ‘Gagaku’, beside a floatation tank-ready ambient passage, ‘Cloud Musik’.
Techno producers Kwartz and Question merge as Body Unknown with a powerfully rolling grey area incursion for Horo
The kind of gear that will churn up a room properly, it contains serious highlights in the acidic hydrolixx of ‘Wound’ and the sloshing, dirty brownian motion of ‘Gestalt Perception’ with its squawking synth lead.
Ruddy EBM sleaze form Succhiamo, returning to Antinote with a 6-track dancefloor slap down
Leading on from their super rudimentary debut, there’s more glistening EBM flesh on show in ‘Mani In Fuoco’, firing off some strong dancefloor bullets in the scaly, serpentine writhe of their title track, and at a rapid tilt recalling Nitzer Ebb’s ‘Alarm’ in ‘Desiderio di violenza’, and what sounds like Marie Davidson meets Beau Wanzer in the clenched, metallic funk of ‘Vecchio’.
The Milanese vanguard cough up a bittersweet debut of blistering electronics and bombed out spaces from a promising newcomer, capping a banner year of Haunter releases by everyone from Ossia to Zuli, Evol’s Roc and bosslad Heith
“German newcomer Ausschus debuts on Haunter Records with a 6-track offering, throwing in elements from the whole spectrum of contemporary experimental music. The subtle yet intense melodic work, put in a place of dangerous acoustic creatures (bit-crushed drones, metallic clangs, slow hard beats), allows him to explore both negative and positive affections.
The main goal is dominance—or rather, positive acceptance—of melancholia, using harsh frequencies as a crucible for one’s psyche, teaching how to stand amidst the noise, breathing it, accepting it as nutrition. It’s not a matter of riffing against listeners, but of accompanying them through different rooms, different states, and molding them according to their will and sensibility. Ausschuss’ use of space, reverb and harmony gives solidity to the sound, creating a proper environment in which insight and growth can happen freely.”
Italian library disco business from the main man Alessandroni, dug out and dusted down by Rome’s Four Flies reissue label
Sure to grease the ‘floor for anyone with a kink for vintage Giallo soundtrack sleaze and funk, ‘Background Disco’ was composed by Alessandro Alessandroni in 1976 as the soundtrack to the movie ‘Frittata All’Italiana’, directed by Alfonso Brescia.
The strutting title cut comes in vocal and instrumental mixes, edited for dancefloor potential, as with the R&B-vibing slow dancer, ‘I Get You In My Mind’.
Canny braindance gymnastics from the Colundi pioneer on Clone’s DUB sublabel for IDM and related electronica
Landing one year on from ‘The Colundi Sequence Volume 2’ compilation, Perälä turns out some of his smartest drum programming and trippy tones in ‘Sunshine 1’, none more so than the steel drum band-goes-acid styles of the 5th track, his 2-stepping introductory number, and the Astrobotnia vibes of track 4.
ASC explores the depths of his sci-fi ambient imagination with part 2 of the steeply introspective ‘Trans-Neptunian Objects’ sessions
Trailing in the astral wake of his excellent 2x12” ‘The Outer Limits’, James Clements a.k.a. ASC returns to the farthest quadrants of his vast inner cosmos, where he takes as long as he needs (between 8-12 minutes) to fully scan his widescreen panoramas.
By jettisoning his percussive anchor, ASC frees himself up to explore heady, swirling scenes of shimmering tonal gradients and gaseous hues of colour. But, where so many artists working with these kind of palettes can tend to bore us to death, ASC imbues his scenes with a rich underlying sense of romance and sci-fi suspense, effectively exacting that classic idea of electronic music - a soundtrack for the mind’s eye, for mental travel. We’d wager it’s what NASA staff listen to on their days off.
Rude, swaggering dubstep infiltrated by US hip hop flavours
Leading on from his ‘Dyrge’ for Black Acre, Commodo bowls back to the bosom of Mala’s Deep Medi with sparking drums and offset subs synched to a crystallized sorta Reichian riff in ‘Rikers’, but the B-side leans heavier toward deep south styles, placing a canny UK style spin on woozy trap and Memphis pressure systems.
Lisbon’s Niagara revive their Ascender label with a wheezing, woozy session of salty Atlantic house music following their Ímpar 12” for Príncipe earlier in 2015.
Technically the label’s 2nd release after 2014’s 506 CDr, the Ascender EP breezes four cuts of bittersweet electronics yoked to fudgy, misshapen house grooves, zig-zagging from the heady wow-and-flutter of See with its fizzing kaotic harmonies, thru the chromatic disco psychedelia of Beto to the splashing, curdled jackers trip Hexe and free-blowing oscillators of Ara.
Very fair to say this 12” sounds like nowt else we’ve heard this year.
RIYL Jamal Moss, Noleian Reusse, Black Zone Myth Chant
Wickedly damaged acid jack traxx from Novo Mundo, the first act not called Niagara to release on Lisbon’s Ascender label.
In the sun-baked mode of previous Niagara 12”s, this soundalike session turns out two hypnotic blocks of natty acid, stepping up with the flying hi-hats, zig-zagging 303 lines and dubbed-out chords of Dezembro and then locking into a more bucking formation with the monotone jack tackle of Leviathan, and cooling off to the glassy chiefs of Arsenale.
Melodica-fuelled digi-dub fizz and cumbia-tinged house from those Portuguese freaks, Niagara.
You kinda never know what’s next from these guys and the Combos EP lives up to expectations, going off-road into rattlesnake cumbia-dub with a flighty melodica lead pushed high and forward in the mix on Ida, whilst Volta steers that vibe onto a loping 4/4 rubbed with wooden scrapers and then leaves us int he desert with Calor.
Raw and wincingly bittersweet, Niagara’s pendulous grooves blush like they were freshly bruised onto the vinyl in 37, the latest edition on the trio’s Ascender label.
In the wake of their São João Baptista EP for Príncipe, they carve out four parts of see-sawing hooks and crimped grooves doing the raw house thing quite unlike anyone else.
Their arrangements are practically disco in terms of live, lithe movement and lack of looping structure, leading the dance between the itchy boogie of Tó and the lushest grasp of deep fried dissonance in 12, before nodding to Jamal Moss’ cubist psychedelia with the lacquer bubbling scree and nerve-biting tone of Paradela, or the Birds Songs For Amelie vibes of Jordão.
Opal Tapes return to their roots in rock and metal with reissue of Sloth’s ‘Getting Ready for Christmas (It’s All About Malt Liquor)’
Bish speaks: “A true oddity, Sloth have worked peerlessly since 1994 covering a world of sludge rock, bizarro outsider pop and experimental noise musics.
"Getting Ready for Christmas" is a darkly comic collection of losercore in the vein of some of Twisted Village releases (Luxurious Bags, Major Stars) or maybe Sentridoh but charged with a painful pathos of lonliness and destitution and a dense heaviness. Released approximately in 1996 (Dom can't be sure exactly) these first four "Untitled" tracks are met on the flip with a pure wall, representative of Sloth's current output. A flipped switch and erasing of everything that precedes it.
Opal is very happy to reissue these recordings from an act who, along with their contemporaries and split partners, Floor, Fleshpress and Noothgrush, formed an important part in my early listening and introduction to the odd and extreme ends of music.”
Black Merlin gnashes at the ‘floor agin for Berceuse Heroique after sunning his ass in Indonesia
Tacking back to the dance via weirder outposts, the British artist stretches out between signature, oily EBM, hypnotic ambience and viscous modular roil on the ‘Void’ EP.
The first plate is smeared with the pendulous triplet rhythms and intoxicating reverb dynamics of ‘Void’, and the proper darkroom impulse of ‘Machine’, while the 2nd plate delivers the cranky industrial slug of ‘R24’ before dieting sidelong into the ritualistic modular synth styles, art best in the star-eyed kiss-off ‘Mod’.
Mesmerising peak time techno from the ancient Russian city of Tambov on Nina Kraviz’s label
Tracks from Vladimir Dubyshkin’s Trip debut ‘Cheerful Pessimist’ have turned up regularly in Nina K’s recent sets, and it ain’t hard to hear why.
Between the effortless acid missile ‘Bellissimo’, the skull-scraping vocal processing and pulsating bass of ‘Machines Behave Badly’, and the breakneck pelt of ‘Rooyggbiv’, one thing is certain - you won’t be sitting still.
The big-lugged punks at Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records yank out 工工工, or Gong Gong Gong’s 2nd album of jangly no wave honk and trample with ‘DÌXIÀ BEIJING 地下北京’, recorded at the Xinyuanli Underpass, Beijing on 05/05/2017
The mid-90s were a period of going as far out in all directions as possible – and Luke Slater’s The 7th Plain tracks were certainly about exploration of the deep space of the imagination.
"Cosmic, analogue, orchestrated, they still represent some of the most emotionally intense music ever to come out of the techno realm. Whether built on percussive frameworks or sweeping nebulas of dissipated sound, Slater’s synthesizers still sing space-travelers’ tales compellingly and beautifully.
For this reason, Ostgut Ton sublabel A-TON launched back in 2016 with The 7th Plain’s Chronicles I, establishing itself as a platform for archive, ambient and art-related releases. This first eight-track compilation was split between classics from the albums My Yellow Wise Rug and The 4 Cornered Room on the one hand and previously unreleased tracks on the other, with the goal of providing a different, remastered framework for Slater’s futuristic visions from the past.
In contrast, Chronicles III is made up solely of music from the General Production Recordings label catalogue and stylistically skews less toward percussive techno-funk and more toward free-form broken rhythms – though tracks such as “Lost”, “Time Melts” or “Millentum” stand strong as hybrid pillars of both.
Luke Slater pioneered the UK's electronic landscape as Translucent, 4 Slots For Bill, Planetary Assault Systems, The 7th Plain, Clementine, and later as L.B. Dub Corp, by partly focussing on, partly bypassing the traditional, puristic values of techno. Together with Dave Sumner (Function) and Steve Bicknell he also operates as LSD.
Ultimately, when listening to all three parts of Chronicles, it’s apparent that 7th Plain music is cut from the same emotional cloth, one related strongly to the backroom, the chillout, the after-party, the solo headphone voyage. These weren’t and never should be considered separate zones from the dancefloor.
In other words, as Luke Slater puts it, in the mid-90s, they were “part of the night, part of the experience... where ideas could be shared.” And like Global Communication, Mira Calix, The Future Sound of London, the Artificial Intelligence generation, Slater's 7th Plain was a response to those hallucinatory, spiritual, but still social spaces at the heart of underground communities – and the magic is still strong in it."
In-depth 24 track survey of Luke Slater’s deep space techno project, heavily inspired by classic Detroit techno, ‘70s Teutonic kosmiche and the psychedelic experience of UK rave
“In the afterglow of rave's white heat, the mid-'90s were a period of going as far out in all directions as possible; Luke Slater's The 7th Plain tracks were about exploration of the deep space of the imagination. Cosmic, analog, orchestrated, they still represent some of the most emotionally intense music ever to come out of the techno realm. Whether built on percussive frameworks or sweeping nebulas of dissipated sound, Slater's synthesizers still sing space-travelers' tales compellingly and beautifully. For this reason A-TON launched back in 2016 with The 7th Plain's Chronicles I (ATON 001CD/LP), establishing itself as a platform for archive, ambient and art-related releases. With the release of Chronicles II (ATON 006CD/LP, 2018) and Chronicles III (ATON 007CD/LP, 2018), the journey continued further into outer and inner space.
Now, Chronicles I-III complies all three volumes in a special-edition. Chronicles II and I are divided between previously-released material, and four unreleased future classics. Chronicles III is music from the General Production Recordings label catalog and skews less toward percussive techno-funk and more toward free-form broken rhythms. Slater pioneered the UK's electronic landscape as Translucent, 4 Slots For Bill, Planetary Assault Systems, The 7th Plain, Clementine, and later as L.B. Dub Corp, by partly focusing on, partly bypassing the traditional, puristic values of techno. Together with Dave Sumner (Function) and Steve Bicknell he also operates as LSD. Chronicles is a three-part series of Slater's The 7th Plain project, including both previously released and unreleased material. Ultimately, when listening to all three parts of Chronicles, it's apparent that 7th Plain's music is cut from the same emotional cloth, one related strongly to the backroom, the chillout, the after-party, the solo headphone voyage. These weren't and never should be considered separate zones from the dance floor. Slater's 7th Plain was a response to those hallucinatory, spiritual, but still social spaces at the heart of underground communities; and the magic is still strong in it.”
Zoe McPherson’s standout ‘String Figures’ album remixed by Ben Vince, N1L, Strahinja Arbutina and more in decimated dancefloor styles
In Ben Vince’s ‘Perculator Mix’, Zoe’s ‘Sabotage’ is agitated and torn up over sunken subbass, whereas Sukitoa o Namau give it a more sloshing, spacious rework focussing on pranging percussion and guttural vocal sounds.
UIQ’s N1L gives a cement mixer treatment to ‘Komusar’, resulting some sorta Afro-concrète churn, and Bartellow kneads the same elements into a squashed tribal grind.
The most impressive transformation comes from Hester-1 with the ruggedly balletic plies and hi-wire tension of their ‘Hardingfele’ remix, and Strahinja Arbutina follows recent 12”s for Vivod and Natural Sciences with the cold woodblock punctuation and offset techno roil of his take on ‘Deep’.
New on Posh Islation.
“The story of the passenger liner MS Scandinavian Star stays adrift. Tragic and complex, the details are out there in the electronic ozone, still yet to find closure. From sea port to Ethernet port, Malthe Fischer's project navigates the themes of the narrative that unfolds to this day.
His debut album 'SOLAS' makes this journey with a series of heart-wrenching affairs in crisp detail. Appearing on Posh Isolation's recent compilation 'I Could Go Anywhere But Again I Go With You', Fischer's Scandinavian Star project here marked a long-anticipated return. Since his self-titled and widely loved cassette for Ascetic House, Fischer has been most prominent in the band Lust For Youth.
His hand is also across much of Posh Isolation, having mixed and mastered a number of releases. 'SOLAS' shares some of the floaty, melodramatic electronics of Lust For Youth's most elegant moments, but it's a different flavour of heartbreak and intrigue being pushed by Fischer in his solo work.
A symphony of disembodied voices trail across 'SOLAS'. Gesturing toward longing and hope, and occasionally struggling to get out of the misty collage of stumbling rhythms, it's as if we are listening to a form of wonder being mechanized before us.
The surface of Fischer's work is dense in detail, but falling for and fixating on the smallest thing often blossoms the most treasured effects. Minor acoustic instrumentation is precariously balanced against thickets of cut-up recordings and samples, the hybrid charge of the synthesizers holds everything together without letting anything recede.
As soft as 'SOLAS' feels, it stays sharp and bites at times, even through four-to-the-floor whispers. There's a memory of something communal in it all, and this is what holds on.”
Empty raves. We’ve been to a few, and even hosted some, and now Paper Dollhouse take the feeling of dancing by yourself as cue for their follow-up to albums with Finders Keepers’ Bird, and their recent(ish) side, ‘The Sky Looks Different Here’
“Brand new eight track EP of shadowy techno and Deckard's apartment nightside ambience from Paper Dollhouse, following the sold out in 24 hours Plutonic Rainbows cassette for her MoonDome imprint. Recorded in North London and acting as another quickfire prelude to the new, as yet untitled, Paper Dollhouse full length currently being produced with Asher Levitas of Old Apparatus/Planet Mu. Empty- Rave features eight tracks (with a hidden extra track on the tape) of mind-bending serotonin reduced rave trax stripped of the smiley facsimile and transported to the outer reaches of the city. The sounds divert between chewy synth (emerald)web's calling to mind the most frosty outer reaches of Legowelt and Hieroglyphic Being whilst continuing to tread down the tow path of more club focused sounds as found on the Chain Reaction style Sparrow. Inspired by a meeting with fellow Finders Keepers label mate Suzanne Ciani, Pudding Rain came to life while Empty Rave and Lumin carry the weight of the world across the end of the weekend blues, the falling dusk slowly swallowing whole the atmosphere of a post-daytime party laid bare.”
‘1929 - Das Jahr Babylon’ is Thomas Fehlmann’s soundtrack to a documentary about Berlin in 1929, a time when the effects of the Wall Street Crash and the Young Plan for WWI reparations begin to crumble the Weimar Republic, hastening the conditions for Naziism to flourish
Employing his signatures of dubwise repetition, crackle, and woozy polka rhythms, Kehlmann’s soundtrack mirrors the good times of the 1920’s Weimar Republic, but also connotes something darker, lurking, foreboding, with both subtlety and tact.
“To compliment the internationally lauded TV series "Berlin Babylon", German director Volker Heise has created a documentary about 1929, the fateful year during Germany's "Weimarer Republik" in which "Berlin Babylon" is settled. Heise's stirring documentary portrays Germany's sizzling capital that is faced with radical changes by the dark forces whom are about to toss the world into the abyss we know as World War II. This marks the second time that Fehlmann is partnering up with Volker Heise after 2010's marathon documentary "24 Stunden Berlin" which was released as "Gute Luft" (KOM211, KOMCD81) in the same year.
Fehlmann's composition for "1929" consists of sample material taken from the era and thwarts the exaggerated lust for life with threatening undertones that anticipate the dawn of mankind's darkest chapter so far. Although all the sounds breathe yesterday's atmosphere this soundtrack bursts with modernity. Fehlmann accomplished the daring feat to musically render the unsettling resemblance between the political situation 90 years ago and our current time.”
After 10 years of releases, Synkro mints his eponymous label with ‘Luminous’, featuring two signature slices of Autonomic/Ambient D&B, backed with a killer Paradox remix
Produced at his studio in the Peak district, ‘Luminous’ is a fine example of Joe McBride a.k.a. Synkro’s heart-on-sleeve style, marrying ethereal synth voices with drizzly drums and sloshing Reese bass in the title cut, whilst ‘Weakness finds him vulnerably melodic i9n a way recalling BoC interludes or Bibio dream sequences.
Remixing ‘Luminous’ on the B-side, Paradox is on top form with freely fluid and sinuous drum programming underlining Synkro’s emotive synth arrangements with suspenseful, breathtaking impact.
Bergsonist wraps up clanking mantras, knackered techno and acid industrial bogle in a heavy debut for Optimo
Leading from her albums, tapes and 12”s with Börft, Where To Now? and Clan Destine, the Brooklynite producer intuitively feels her way thru three slow and cranky dancefloor manoeuvres.
On ’Heat’ she works pendulous arps and playful percussive cadence into a swagger offset by an almost whispered vocal mantra “feel the heat/heat in the dark” and seeping acid lines. ‘Affiliation’ meanwhile feels like a Suburban Knight track on 33-not-45, again with a fine layer of gloomy, munted vox, and ‘Planetary Systems’ digs a murky rut of grubbing acid and Detroit-style night vision pads.
Sprawling selections of avant-synthpop, abstract bass music, hooligan rave and wild drum workouts from the likes of EVOL, N.M.O., Heith, Vaghe Stelle and Dave Saved on Turin’s Gang of Ducks label/asylum
There’s an unusually high quality and diversity to this compilation, giving up belting pieces such as N.M.O.’s frenetic drum, vocal and electronics exercise ‘Nonobstant Mais Oblique’ in the same space as Aniello Maffettone’s dissonant drone-pop pearl ‘Vco 2’, plus splatter core techno form Dave Saved, captivating modular madness from Omar Chapati, and Sense Fracture’s thunderous future hardcore torque.
Juan Atkins’ deep and moody ‘Skynet’  LP as Infiniti resurfaces for its 20th anniversary reissue on Tresor
Alongside his part in the 3MB album and on Model 500’s ‘Deep Space’, Juan’s work on ’Skynet’ ranks among his 3 crucial LPs of that decade. But where 3MB was very much a joint effort, and Model 500 rolled far out into jazzier, cosmic breaks, ’Skynet’ trades in pure techno and house in Juan’s patented style.
The results make for a slickly coherent album as well as a strong batch for the DJs, stretching out from the supple swang and floating voices of its title track, to the dub techno lave of ‘Walking On water’, a slinky percy named ‘Thought Process’, the deep techno-pop of ‘Postcard From The Future’, and the wicked, experimental arrangement of ‘Body Oil’.
Spectral songwriter Ekin Fil lends her musical voice to Preservation’s expansive catalogue of drone dreamers
‘Windblown’ is a single, 20 minute work of airy greyscale detachment perfused with a sylvan play of dying light that’s become one strong half of Ekin Fil’s signature sound, while the other half, her gauzy vocals, are detectable throughout the piece, albeit heavily smudged and glossolalic until the closing strokes, when the mist clears to reveal a wordless solo piano hymn.
Giant Claw, Forest Drive West, Roly Porter and Object Blue remix mmph’s intricate ‘Serenade’ EP for Tri Angle
Columbus, OH collagist Keith Rankin a.k.a. Giant Claw whisks the title cut into a rapidly strobing drama verging on Venetian Snares-levels of programming intensity; London’s Forest Drive West tempers ‘Minuet’ into a spiralling peaks anchored in rolling techno bass; Roly Porter reworks ’Tragedy’ as a cataclysmic, cinematic epic; and hotly tipped newcomer Object Blue exerts a killer slow/fast spin on ‘Woodlawn’ in her “biochemical” remix.
Luke Slater rifles his archive of 7th Plain riches for a 2nd ambient-techno survey with Ostgut-Ton’s A-Ton sibling
Scanning a golden seam of mid ‘90s material, ‘Chronicles II’ parses cuts from Slater’s classic album ‘The 4 Cornered Room’ beside a handful of other gems off his General Production Recordings (GPR) label, and no fewer than four previously unreleased pieces.
Still phosphorescing from the rave explosion, Luke Slater was one of the key UK players to channel that energy into new forms, transmuting the initial impetus from Detroit, Chicago, Berlin and British fields into his own form of tactile, psychedelically sensitive ambient techno.
From ‘The 4 Cornered Room’ we find the soaring night flight of ‘Astra Naut-E’, and off the ’Shades Amaze Concept EP’ there’s the spangled beauty ‘Big Field’, while his 1993 EP ‘To Be Surreal’ supplies the floating suspension system of its title track and the UR-styled funk bent of ‘Convex’.
The others four cuts are exclusive to this 12” and made during the same era. They include the warm Martian winds of ‘Wand Star’; a lush kosmiche mission titled ’Silver Chinook’; and the unmissable ambient portal of ‘I Think Too Much’, which is bound to light up old raver’s pleasure centres like a vintage mitsi flashback.
Gnarled Midwest acid techno badness from Heckadecimal on Philly’s faithfully noisy Great Circles
“2018 played host to a bumper crop of sounds from some of Philly’s grittiest, including Great Circles mainstays M//R and Chaperone. To close out the year that was, we are pleased to present Heckadecimal’s ‘Murder Tape.’
A Minneapolis-based producer and acid auteur, Heckadecimal has been a fixture within the vibrant Midwestern electronic music community for nearly 20 years. Founder of the legendary ‘Anti-human’ events and co-curator of the ever-prolific Always Human Tapes imprint – alongside Ryan Wurst and Peter Lansky – Heckadecimal’s reputation is one of unrelenting creativity and tireless advocacy for sonic experimentation. His work has found its way to light via a slew of pseudonyms and stage monikers, including The Worm, noface and Wonder Sirens.
In short – Heckadecimal lives and breathes the sonic matter that he leaves pouring out of studio monitors, busted bar systems and finely tuned rave stacks, wherever his travels take him.
Live performance lies at the core of Heckadecimal’s practice. When he stormed through Inciting HQ in Philly earlier this summer, he took command over an arsenal of hardware that reminded us of how Octave One or Shawn Rudiman might show up. These were machines that he had lived with; touched with custom modifications, hand-drawn stickers and pockmarks incurred in battle, one got the sense that the gear was a personal extension of the artist.
Perhaps it’s a bit maudlin, but we feel a certain kinship with this project. Indeed, these tracks at times feel very much of a piece with the gnarled tonalities in which our stable typically traffics; all low-slung riddims that reach at equal lengths towards mutated IDM aesthetics and post-Packard Plant techno extrusions. These are future perfect grooves that glide along under the vast Midwestern sky, providing a fertile communication conduit with the City of Brotherly Love.”
Over 3.5 hours of sublime, milky ambience to bathe in, coaxed from classical records, found sounds, tape and hardware by Will Long a.k.a. Celer
“Part 1 of a series of pieces under the umbrella title "Oasis", created for an exhibit to re-create an unnatural atmosphere of an isolated area in a desert. Mixed and performed in real time February - June, 2017.
Found sounds, field recordings, Casio VZ-1, Yamaha DX7, EH Memory Man, Roland RE-501, Electronica LZ-01, reel flanger, turntable, classical records, H3000D/SX, Sony Tapecorder by Will Long.”
About time! Drexciya’s seminal Afrofuturist album finally sees reissue with Clone Classic Cuts, regaling the recordings of four young sons of an electrician from Flint, Michigan, USA, who pay dues to the endless inspiration of Kraftwerk
When it was originally released in 1995 with the prefacing info about four brothers, ‘Elektroworld’ became a crucial part of the Drexciyan mythology. Prefaced by a promo sheet with the suggestive info outlined above, the album was quite easily detectable as a Drexciyan production, but it wasn’t until 2008 when Warpmart spilt the beans, that ‘Elektroworld’ was officially identified as a James Stinson production. For many disciples of the the late great genius, the album includes some of Stinson’s definitive cuts in the spine-freezing ‘Japanese Electronics’ and the elegant funk of ‘Mystery World’ and ‘Midnight Drive’. But that’s not discount the rest of the set - there’s pure Drexciyan gold in the vocodered ace ‘Future Tone’ and the heart-fluttering chord changes of ’Silicon World’.
Stockholm LTD captain Pår Grindvik works out pendulous, brooding techno styles bordering on IDM/electronica
‘Trails’ is the bluer of the two, scorching around and off a beat cloaked in sweeping, melancholic pads and keening dissonance to a kind of post-rock-y climax.
‘The Right To Be Forgotten’ is shadowier, but more aggressive, laving the drums to a seething syncopation driven by low low bass and almost neuro-style D&B synths.
Hypnagogic, transportive collage and ambient composition from bod [包家巷], an L.A.-based A/V artist from the underbelly of “weird soundcloud”, here following up his tape debut for Knives with two durational works, plus remixes by Flora Yin-Wong and M.D. James
bod [包家巷], real name Nicholas Zhu, is part of a new wave of artists and labels including Nozomu Matsumoto and Quantum Natives who are shaping music and art from the virtual realm forward. In ‘The Recurrence of Infections’, Zhu terraforms layered electronics, melancholy chanson, Far eastern instrumentation and sci-fi cinematic tropes in the richly detailed, 38-minute title track, to offer something like the soundtrack to a scrolling tour of his Museum of Virtual Art, while the ‘Infection Supplement’ extends another 9 minutes of abstract, cinematic arrangement recalling the surreal, experiential feel of Kenji Yamamoto’s +you & space x album.
The remixers tactfully reduce ‘The Recurrence of Infections’ into equally strange but succinct knots of nonlinear, amorphous form, with Flora Yin-Wong suggestively limning a calm space at the edge of storm, whereas M.D. James homes in on certain aspects of the vocal and keys, rendering them in a milky ambient light.
Martyn grips YAK for a terrific trio of broken beat and D&B zingers following his standout cut on 3024’s recent V/A 12”
With the switch up from dry footwork-style toms and warm chords into drum funk D&B, ‘Rhodes Island’ brings 3024 right back to root in freshest style. The root-toms reappear as a sorta of leitmotif in ‘Ocean Floor’, but this time on a pendulous broken beat tip underlaid with ‘floor-engulfing subs, and ‘Don Gerno’ pushes that flex farther out for the brukkers, close to Martyn’s own sound, but with exacting edits and recoiling, ricocheting dynamic of his own.
Perdu does smart, rolling Italo-electro and broken house rolige for Optimo Music
Check for the punchy drums and entrancing arps of ‘Road To Yuzu’ for a killer Italo-electro style, and ‘Anxious World’ for a deep acid-Italo-breakbeat style, and ‘Phasing In’ for a stealthier, trippier, cosmic vibe.
Rude fusions of dry techno, hip hop swagger, and ‘floor-melting acid industrialism outta Kazan and Moscow, by the guys behind Opal Tapes’ ‘U S S R (Ur Social Staus Resistance) comp
Spearheading a new movement of icy, tuff dance music from Russia, Yung Acid lead the way with mutated takes on American and UK styles, generating strong moves in the ghetto banger ‘late’ for fans of White material, also with the head-swilling acid-electro flow of ‘Serpentine (Dirty master)’, and their NoLa 3-step electro twyster, ‘Jap’.
‘Wize Music’ is a jaw-dropping introduction to the new age electronic world of Dennis Wise - the missing link between Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rock-it’, Daevid Allen’s Gong and Bill Laswell’s Material, all of whom he contributed to in some form or other. Combine two rare as f**k LPs in one, including ‘Valhalla’ , which was pressed at Dynamic Sounds, Kingston, JA on the same day Big Youth were also cutting a record. If that backstory isn’t enough for ya, the music will send you reeling!
“Perhaps one of the most unique and unlikely exponents of the highly collectible genres of ambient electronics, experimental tape-music and PINA (Private Issue New Age) this English born Jamaican raised sound designer, artist and existentialist furrowed his own ublinkered path through lesser chartered electronic fields for many moons before eventually teaming up with Bill Laswell (with Material) and Daevid Allen in New York to bring self-taught synthesis to Gong during their most oblique periods. Creating two impossibly rare self pressed vinyl LPs of conceptual inner-visionary outer-galactic angular tonal-dronal alien-art soundscapes in the process, the man known under figure shifting guises such as Dennis Wise/Denis Weise/Dr. Wise etc, combined a culture of sound system circuitry and radiophonic trickery adding Tea-pot poetry and sci-fidelity future-folk to his magnetic mesh! Presented here as the first ever dedicated ize Music collection this record combines compositions spanning 1979-1984 in both a solo capacity as well as small-group projects featuring members of the Emerald Web band.
Imagine a comic book where a Funkenstein monster called “Laraaji-Scratch Perry” invaded your record shelf while Komendarek and Holger Czukay kept lookout… Dr. Dennis might be the only one Wise enough to outsmart all of them with his powerful amorphous anaesthetic.”
Hospital Productions' hook up with vaunted fashion designer Yang Li for this crazy one-off edition featuring material recorded by Justin Broadrick for Li's by now infamous funeral-themed AW18 Paris fashion week show, plus an alternate 12 minute version, and another 12 minute reworking by Prurient. The vinyl edition is adorned with what we can only describe as enamelled headstones on the sleeve, plus beautiful gloss leterpress design by Li himself.
Not your typical seasonal paean, ‘Christmas’ was inspired by, in Broadrick’s own words; “the onset of the Christmas period and the onset of emotions and feelings of nostalgia, joy and sadness that the period often evokes”.
Considered a classic in the Jesu songbook, it'ss now paired with ‘Life Mass’, a new version written for London-based Chinese fashion designer Yang Li’s Paris A/W ’18 runway soundtrack, as well as a killer, keeling, noisy overhaul by Prurient.
The dense, chest-bursting post-rock/shoegaze appeal of the original still stands, but, for our money, it’s now bettered by the new material. ‘Life Mass’ is effectively the inverse of ‘Christmas’, catching Broadrick at his most vulnerable and sublime with plangent vox framed by a slow, tear-jerking snowfall of guitars, whereas Prurient renders the title track from a whole other, frosty-window perspective primed for when xmas all gets a bit too much and you need to reset.
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.
Richard Youngs and co’s Amor mount a full debut album of disco-not-disco with ‘Sinking Into a Miracle’, arriving 18 months after a couple of charmingly sore thumb 12”s. Imagine ACR entering the studio after binging on avant-folk and Liquid Liquid records
““Our time has begun…” Sinking Into A Miracle is the debut album by Glasgow’s AMOR, a quartet of musical travellers exploring the sonic open-ended-ness of dance music. Following two critically acclaimed 12” Single releases, Sinking Into A Miracle is a fully developed treatise on ecstasy and transcendence. Here, Richard Youngs, Michael Francis Duch, Paul Thomson and Luke Fowler are more honed, razor sharp in focus and timing, testing their instrumental prowess on condensed song structures and new, enlightened feelings of expansive hope and bliss.
From the outset it’s an ambitious yet ultimately inclusive journey they are embarking on. Recorded to 24-track tape at Chem 19 and mixed by Paul Savage and Richard McMaster (Golden Teacher), Sinking Into A Miracle retains the elastic grooves of Paradise and Higher Moment, the group’s previous single releases, but relinquishes the classic Philadelphia International tinged sound in favour of more looser rhythmic patterns. There are new depths to the compositions ; a more free-flowing approach to percussion and deft experiments in hybridity, making for a full and rounded, emotionally tinged record. Indeed, there are times when AMOR sound like the lost house band from David Mancuso's Loft parties: Richard Youngs’ uplifting, gospel tinged lyrics talk about moving beyond, universal truths, sailing through the horizon. It’s a wide-eyed optimism Mancuso would perhaps have approved of and which is embroidered with spectral details that begs to be auditioned on large, tweaked out sound-systems.
On Glimpses Across Thunder, Youngs’ piano chords echo early Blue Nile atmospherics before the band take the song into a funked, minor chord territory that feels endlessly searching, never to resolve. Opener Phantoms Of The Sun relies on Duch’s sublime bass line to drive a dubbed out track complete with a utopian flute refrain. Full Fathom Future stomps relentlessly forward on the back of Thomson’s percussion-heavy groove before collapsing into a moving three chord epilogue played on droning string instruments. Heaven Among The Days introduces a more robotic groove to the album, with a short bass refrain bouncing off stripped drum triggers, its dark rhythms reminiscent of the proto-House tracks that were trademarked by Chicago DJ Ron Hardy.
Whilst Youngs contemplates the prospect of heaven in our daily lives Fowler's gliding synthesiers chords underline the more devotional potential of AMOR's music. Sinking Into A Miracle ends with the sublime, Truth Of Life the most expansive and transporting of these compositions. Here the studio as instrument is used to full effect, with the rhythm section in full flow as the melodic elements are twisted, delayed, swaddled in tape echo, delaying gratification before a full, thrilling drop into blissful pleasure.”
Sensuously modern soul beauties from Steve Spacek, one of the most distinctive artists combining Black Atlantic heritage with contemporary electronics and futurist vision
On his first Spacek album since 2005’s ‘Space Shift’, and expanding on the themes of his Beat Spacek LP ‘Modern Streets’ , Steve has us rapt from the opening nanosecs of ‘Natural Shift’ with his use of watery compression artefacts - the modern equivalent of tape hiss - which instantly acknowledges his sound as a product of its times. You might pardon our excitement at this sound when it soon comes into combination with his vocals and patented chord cadence, letting us all know that this isn’t some decadent attempt at reenacting old soul glories or slopping on the gloss to mask a formula - he’s speaking from here and now, seemingly singing a modern bluez down a Skype connection.
Most brilliantly, that fidelity also apples to the rest of the album, with Spacek’s trademark falsetto sweetly occluded in-the-mix, smudged with wickedly slouching, gunky bass funk and the “cheapest” sounding drums. As we said, the effect is felt best in his mesmerisingly unique opener ‘Natural Sci Fi’, but we’re also smitten with the album’s other standouts, such as the grubbing acid funk and in-the-pocket harmonies of ‘Carnival Nights’, and the combination of sloshing, off-key arps and languorous vox on ’Shout’.
There’s little mistaking that this is the finest UK soul record of 2018, and a subtly radical new look for the often conservative Eglo label.
Next on Wolf Eyes’ Warp subsidiary, Lower Floor, the group’s early incarnation face off their current guise
As Wolf Eyes, they anchor 16 minutes of brass and electronic graffiti and snotty vox with depth charge bass hits, nasty as you like for the trip metal fiends. In Universal Eyes mode, they pull back into regressive primitivism with shadowy, greyscale shapes looming out of the murk in ‘Civilised Two’, whereas ‘Civilised Three’ feels more like a surreptitious room recording of some early concrète master in his workshop.
Larry Heard ropes in Call Super and Duplex to remix a cut from his Mr. Fingers album, ‘Cerebral Hemispheres’
Mr. Fingers hisself chips in an floating alternate version of ‘Praise to the Vibes’, and a lounging extended version, leaving ‘Crying Over You’ in the hands of the remixers, with Call Super returning a hobbling groove and autotuned vox sealed with wet-eyed synth pads, and Duplex reworking the same elements as a sublime, deep blue acid house elegy to love lost.