Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
Inimitable percussionist Eli Keszler takes time out from 0PN’s ensemble to unfurl the incredible, dextrous rhythms and electro-acoustic jazz keen of his masterpiece, ‘Stadium’ - a spellbinding follow-up to his cherished ‘Last Signs of Speed’ LP and recent duties working on 0PN’s ‘Age Of’ and Laurel Halo’s ‘Raw Silk Uncut Wood’ sides. For us this is one of the defining albums of the year - an isolationist avant-jazz masterpiece that is a total must-hear for late-night listeners and, we reckon, anyone with a pulse and especially recommended if yr into Milford Graves, Max Roach, Han Bennink, Conjoint, Jan Jelinek, Miles Davis...
With both his close collaborators Daniel ‘0PN’ Lopatin and Laurel Halo smoking in the back seat of ’Stadium’, Keszler is the dynamic battery behind a shadow-strafing suite of spidery rhythms and inquisitive jazz gestures, effortlessly binding avant instrumental dexterity with cool blue harmolodic sentiment in a timeless style that could feasibly be dated to any point between the mid ‘70s heyday of jazz-fusion and right now, except for those spectacuarly subtle production flourishes that render this album pretty much indefinable. It’s both highly complex and entirely accessible - in the most thought provoking, evocative way.
Painted in diffuse strokes, darting flurries, and intoxicatingly rich tones, ’Stadium’ shows off Keszler’s expressive grasp of meter, texture and proprioception from myriad angles. Combined with floating Rhodes chords, sighing woodwind and field recordings, the results also demonstrate his uncanny capacity to transmute sound to limn landscapes, architecture and the sensation of being lost in a crowd. In the case of ’Stadium’ he uses this ability to specifically reflect his recent house move from the semi-industrial scape of South Brooklyn to the high rise vistas and street level bustle of Manhattan, beautifully connoting multi-storeyed perspectives and a sense of scale that zooms from the atomic to the panoramic via a gauzy, morphing middle-distance.
Within this space, Keszler navigates webs of sound as structurally fascinating as a spider’s web or a deep space image of a distant constellation, seemingly moving on eight legs along steep vertical and fast-flowing horizontal axes with a shocking grasp of precision and pointillism that will leave new listeners to his work scratching their heads, wondering how to programme such chicanery electronically. But as longer term followers of Keszler’s work know, the magick is all acoustic and haptic; physically converting impressions of images and emotions into overlapping geometries of geography and psychology - and in this case effectively projecting a singular, inverted form of sonic deep topography, if you will.
Perhaps the most wondrous thing about ‘Stadium’ is the way it describes the paradoxical quality of keeping your head amid the chaos - a notion that will surely resonate with inner city dwellers as much as fans of the finest noise, jazz, avant-garde music of all stripes, and is firmly at the heart of ’Stadium’ and its amorphous milieu of sound.
Simply an incredible album.
‘Der Osten Ist Rot’ is a wigged-out 1984 treat helmed by Can’s Holger Czukay, with drums by his legendary bandmate Jaki Liebzeit and vital synth input from Conny Plank.
Now making its first official digital release, the 1984 album was Czukay’s 3rd solo side, proper, following from ‘Movies’ , and ‘On The Way To The Peak Of Normal’  in pursuit of an elusive, avant and pop-wise spirit that would also be explored on its follow-up ‘Rome Remains Rome’, before Czukay set off on two seminal ambient trips with David Sylvian in 1988-’89 (recently reissued and very much worth a look-see!).
‘Der Osten Ist Rot’ is perhaps most notorious for both its balmy, mis-leading opener, the strolling new wave pop bop of ‘The Photo Song’, and its title track, an exotica-tinged cover of the 1960’s Chinese national anthem, ‘The East Is Red’, which is likely a nod to his former tutor Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ‘Hymnal’ suite of mutated anthems.
However, the fun doesn’t stop with those two - the rest of the album is a madcap ride, coolly swerving from grooving, brassy avant-disco in ‘Bänkel Rap’, to a haunting organ and vocal piece by Michy (who also turns up on Czukay’s ‘Flux & Mutability’ LP with David Sylvian), and taking in the wild studio cut-up of ‘Collage’, along with the supremely crafty, weightless gait of ‘Das Massenmedium’ which, like album closer ‘Traum Mal Wieder’ strongly recalls his work on the cult ‘Las Vampyrettes’ outing with Conny Plank, while the uncannily prescient rhythmic concrète of ‘Schaue Vertrauensvoll In Die Zukunft’ also deserves a mention.
Preeminent sound artists William Basinski and Lawrence English roll out the quietly breathtaking ’Selva Oscura’ as the first fruit of their collaborations spanning the past half decade and more.
Mantled in reference to Dante’s Inferno, ‘Selva Oscura’ literally translates to ‘Twilight Forest’, a title which serves as metaphorical device for the way Basinski and English’s lives in transit have serendipitously crossed paths over the years between Zagreb, L.A., and Hobart, in a variety of situations. On another level it also speaks to the nature of losing one’s way in place and time, which is beautifully reflected in the music’s disorienting, otherworldly ebb and flow flux.
Using a palette of sounds broken down, magnified and inverted from macro to micro scales and vice-versa, and mailed to each other between L.A. and Brisbane, the results map out vast tracts of psychic terrain that shift like the sands of time, with sounds perpetually rearranging themselves on the granular level to render a broader, slow moving tapestry of sublime, anaesthetic quality.
The A-side’s ‘Mono No Aware’ (Japanese for “the pathos things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”) is a captivatingly transient and hypnagogic work of sferic tones and sprawling wide bass, lulling listeners into a state of lushest melancholy with the allure of a time-lapse video of autumnal weather patterns. ‘Selva Oscura’ follows with a discernibly darker and submersed appeal, as though the clouds have come down to us (or us to them?) and we’re left wandering the firmament, initially swaddled in a creamy grey-pink expanse marbled with pealing partials, before crossing oceanic basses and gently touching down to pinch ourselves.
‘Apparitions’ is the superlative debut album by Forest Drive West, steadily scaling from fast, mutant footwork/D&B to beatless ambient via rolling techno variations, and back up to sidewinding 150bpm styles. Dead solid, full spectrum bass business.
“This is the debut long player from Forest Drive West. 'Apparitions' is a fascinating further development of the producer's intricate fusions of techno, dub and jungle. The acclaimed UK artist has released two EPs on the label before now, as well as on its sister label dnuoS ytiviL and the likes of Hidden Hawaii, Appian Sound, and London drum & bass outlet Rupture. Little is known about the London based producer but in just a couple of years he has established his own unique blend of complex rhythms and tactile sound design, distilling a rich history of UK musical influences into fresh new forms.
This record continues in that tradition with a mix of sparse rhythm tracks that contrast heavy weight drum programming with rich and deft sound design. From menacing and mysterious, to cinematic and hypnotic, it makes for a compelling and immersive experience. 'Apparitions' is a landmark release for one of the UK's most exciting new producers.”
Cromby kicks off the Silver Service wing of Denis’ Sulta Selects label with three big-boned house swangers
The Berlin-based Irish producer plays it stealthy and moody with the subtle build and tangy synths of ’Futurola’ leading to a well placed, belting diva sample, before ‘Barneymania’ lends a kinkier touch to the swing with teasing chords and fully greased up bassline, leaving ‘Fandango’ to get your clem twitching with 7 minutes of arp-lead EBM house.
The debut album by Goatman, a new solo project by one of the mysterious members from the Swedish collective GOAT.
"Recorded in GOAT’s northern Swedish home town of Korpilombolo In late 2017 - the 6 tracks on Rhythms reveal a true collision of African Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Gospel and Psych, but all put through the famous GOAT filters. Rhythms is a very apt title for the album as each track is an exploration of the ‘groove’. From the Fela Kuti‘esqe drums and horns jam of Jaam Ak Salam, to the frantic gospel-jazz of Carry the Load. From the fuzzed Can via the ‘Bristol sound’ track of Hum Bebass Nahin, to the cinematic, Spacemen 3‘esqe drones of the album closer Baaneexu.
The end result is quite an astonishing and very unique album, like what you would expect from an album made by a member of GOAT – an album that is hard to put your finger on, but one that you will keep revisiting, the more it’s sounds reveals itself. Goatman plays all the instruments on the album bar some additional drums by Hanna Östergren from fellow Swedish bands Hills and Träd, Gräs & Stenar, and an added horn section courtesy of Johan Asplund, David Byström. One of the standout highlights of the album though is the collection of great guest vocalists Goatman has enlisted. Tracks Jaam Ak Salam and Aduna feature the very special voice of Senegalese singer Seydi Mandoza.
You will also hear the vocals of Swedish based singers Amanda Werne on Carry the Load and Amerykhan on Hum Bebass Nahin. Goatman’s passion for traditional and contemporary music from around the world can be clearly heard when listening to Rhythms. The level of authenticity and willingness for exploration that Goatman has captured truly shows a fanatical respect for the music he is greatly influenced by. But at the end of the day, Rhythms is an album that has a sole purpose, and that is for to you to enjoy, dance and have fun too!"
Pleasantly queered and blue-eyed soul from Stones Throw’s young new signing, including guest vocal by Weyes Blood.
“Jerry Paper is the creative persona of Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Lucas Nathan. Like A Baby is his first album for Stones Throw. Nathan cites a vast pool of influences on his music, from fellow pop outliers Prefab Sprout, Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan — “a deep source of inspiration for me” — to classic R&B, Stereolab, avant-garde Brazilian artists, and Japanese electronica. Inspired by a move from NYC back to Nathan’s hometown of LA, Like A Baby explores existential themes tied to “the endless human cycle of desire and satisfaction.””
Tim Jones, also known as Preacherman and recorded under Midi Man, Ironing Board Band and T.J. Hustler made one very rare lp, and two even rarer CD’s. These tracks are from the CD’s.
"He was a salesman for IBM in Las Vegas, where he sold Selectric Typewriters and then word processors during the day and at night he would perform in the Las Vegas lounges. He was somewhat of an engineer and adapted a Hammond B3 organ to play a moog synth with some of the organ keys, (some still played the organ), and he adapted the organ’s foot controlled bass levers to play two Moog synth bass pedals (a failed item Moog made for a few years.) Thinking he wasn’t much of a live performer he had a wooden puppet made that he named T.J Hustler, and together with the puppet, he would engage in long philosophical soliloquies, (some of which are featured on this album).
If you meet Tim, he is not someone who stops talking. In fact he even created a little book called Universal Philosophy. He has a lot to say about everything. Currently he lives with his 103 year old mother in Oakland. There he infrequently plays shows on his Casio where he fashions himself a live Karaoke performer, who comes complete with 5 wireless mics and P.A. and a list of about a 100 songs he can play. His invented organ contraption and puppet are in storage in Las Vegas, and he seems intensely uninterested in getting them out, as “The kids these days want to hear the sounds the Casio makes.”
Mute bundle 17 highlights, including two bonus tracks, from Manc punk-funk troop A Certain Ratio
Throwing back to the heyday of Manchester multi-cultural groove explosion, there some proper evergreens inside, including the sleazy twist of ‘Wild Party (12” Version)’, the utopian dance-pop of ‘Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Mix)’, the 7” mix of their jazz-funk turn ’Shack Up’, and the gauzy groove of ‘Knife Slits Water (7” Version)’.
The KVB put another gallon in the tank with ‘Only Now Forever’, their 6th LP of motorik, melodic wave pop. RIYL Death In Vegas, Beak>, Spacemen 3
“After intense touring their 2016 release ‘Of Desire’, The KVB returned to their home to further immerse themselves in sonic experimentation. The resulting Only Now Forever heralds the next chapter in the adopted-Berliners dark, electronic pop development.
“On our new album we wanted to take everything we had learned in the studio recording our last album and apply it to self-producing this album,” explains the band. Recorded entirely in their Berlin apartment throughout 2017 the band decided they wanted to take a freer approach to writing and recording. “In the past, we had always tried to restrict ourselves productions wise, to what was possible to play live as a duo, but this time we wanted to expand our compositions and instrumentation, and let the atmosphere dictate the layers of sound.”
Whilst holding evident inspiration from previous times, the sound this London-founded duo present is progressive and distinctly new in every sense. Idyllic at times; gritty in others, each bar is as enchanting as the last, leaving you in a melancholic trance.
Offering poignant lyricism that explores modern anxieties that plague many, the duo manage to imbue feelings of empowerment, fighting such struggles with a deceivingly sanguine sound. This seamless juxtaposition is perhaps their best trait.”
Auntie Flo mosaic worldly rhythms and balmy synths with fragrant field recordings on their 3rd LP and debut with Brownwood Recordings. Listen up for highlights in the moody blue and string out ‘Cape Town Jam’, and the 808-heavy, Afrobeats-compatibility of ‘Western Princes’
“Auntie Flo joins the Brownswood roster to deliver his third and most ambitious album to date. The Glasgow-raised producer, of Goan-Kenyan heritage, has often featured collaborators from different spots he’s visited, and this new record takes that approach to another level. Contributions come from a globetrotting cast of friends, including Laurie Pitt, of Glasgow’s Golden Teacher, Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Mame ndiack, UK producer and singer Andrew Ashong and Cuban percussionist Yissy Garcia.
It arrives as the natural companion piece to his Radio Highlife show on Worldwide FM, the online station run by Brownswood boss, Gilles Peterson. Regularly touring to DJ in various cities around the world, it’s a pursuit that’s gone hand-in-hand with the global slant of his music – with the local radio often being his first introduction to new cities. It follows in the path of Glasgow’s Highlife club night which he co-founded, playing music from West Africa and Latin America which broke out of the city’s house and techno mould. Likewise, his own music has always been laced with percussion, ideas and inspirations that reflect a far-reaching perspective.”
Koichi Matsukaze's incredibly rare and much sought-after album Earth Mother sees a deluxe repress on BBE Music. This is the third highly anticipated release in the series.
"Regarded as one of the most sought-after yet elusive albums from a pivotal era in Japanese jazz, Earth Mother was originally issued in 1978 on ALM, a private label home to some of the most innovative jazz, contemporary classical and free improvisational music released in Japan during the late 70s and early 80s. It was here that Earth Mother found a natural home among the experimental and transgressive, destined to remain in obscurity for decades until the album’s muscular, bass-driven title track was included as the opening cut on BBE’s acclaimed compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1969-1984. It was a fitting way to start such a landmark collection and the track quickly became a favourite among DJs and jazz fans.
Earth Mother sees saxophonist Matsukaze team up once again with legendary drummer and band leader Furusawa Ryojiro; joined by Tamio Kawabata on bass to form the core trio which is augmented by Daitoku Toshiyuki on acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes.
This is a mythic album, seen and heard by very few; often among the top wants for even the most hardcore jazz collectors. The album ranges from heavyweight spiritual jazz and post-bop burners, to Dolphy-esque experimentation (Don't Worry About Tenor Saxophone) and a singular take on the classic, Round Midnight."
Cinematic transition from country inflected widescreen styles to kosmiche synths, executed by the David Holmes-affiliated Documenta for Touch Sensitive...
“Following on from their sold-out LP for Touch Sensitive and a digital reissue of it’s predecessor, Documenta take a break from their Drone Pop trilogy to introduce the Lady With The Ring - Margorie McCall - “lived once, buried twice”.
McCall lived in rural Ireland in the early 18th century. She succumbed to a fever and was hastily buried in Lurgan’s Shankill cemetery. Her grave was visited by “a tramp of disreputable character with a reckless and thieving disposition” who drew blood as he tried to prise the ring from her finger, awakening the dead woman who subsequently lived for many years after.
The Lady With The Ring EP sees Documenta’s regular seven-piece lineup temporarily swell with narration from author and musician Will Carruthers (Playing The Bass With Three Left-Hands, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized) providing counterpoint to Roisin Stewart’s hazed vocals as she tells the story from the dead woman’s lips.
Self recorded in one weekend a stones-throw from McCall’s grave and subsequently re-worked and shaped by the group, Lady With The Ring introduces sparkling synthesized passages and an organic ‘cosmic-blues’ to Documenta’s already lush sonic expanse.”
‘Bunny’ is Matthew Dear’s first new album since 2012, and lands nearly 20 years since his debut on Ghostly International
Trust he knows how to grow older gracefully, as ‘Bunny’ works to a steady mid-tempo with lots of processed croon, really focussing his work into a pop-wise framework, with dancing resulting as a possible side-effect.
Man like Brassfoot on a cranky skank for Don’t Be Afraid, turning out his first 12” since a banner year in 2016
Under the pronged title ‘Indentured Servitude’, the NTS radio regular and London type firmly plays into the DBA dancefloor aesthetic on six skewed grooves leaning towards the most wrecked and boisterous ends of the day/night.
As ever, Brassfoot articulates his rhythms with curt diction and X-amounta noise to properly rugged effect, resulting heavyweight tackle in the jacking EBM recursions of ‘Followers Fate’ and the filthy bleep techno grind of ‘Psycho-Spiritual Parasites’ on the A-side, and likewise with the rolling jungle-tekno mutation of ‘Surfing On Haemoglobin’ and a messed up jacker named ‘Blame it on the Tame’ on the B-side.
Four pieces for flute and voice composed between 1985-2018 by Mary Jane Leach, a pivotal part of NYC’s pioneering avant-garde community since the 1970s and an active member of the legendary DownTown Ensemble, working alongside peers including Arthur Russell, Ellen Fullman, Peter Zummo, Philip Corner and Arnold Dreyblatt, as well as devoting years to the preservation of Julius Eastman’s legacy since his death in 1990. Mary Jane's vinyl debut 'Pipe Dreams' arrived last year via the Blume imprint and completely blew us away, and '(f)lute songs’ is only her second vinyl release in over five decades, feeding and expanding our obsession with her work.
In the late 1970’s Mary Jane Leach was triggered by an interview she heard with Steve Reich in which he implored artists to figure out ways of becoming more self sufficient when it came to performance rather than relying on traditional group structures. At the time Leach had already began to experiment with recordings she had made of herself performing long sustained tones made on instruments she could play; mostly voice and bass clarinet, and gradually became fascinated by the sound phenomena resulting from layering tones on her multi-track tape machine. Reich’s thoughts, however, made Leach realise that she didn't have to restrict herself to instruments she could play and, in an indirect way, were the foundation for this album.
Trio for Duo (1985), was Mary Jane's first attempt at creating work for instruments she couldn't play; revolving around alto flute and voice. She explains "I had noticed that my voice matched the sound of the bottom fifth of the alto flute, and so the voice in this piece is sung to sound as much like an alto flute as possible. There are four parts, but only three play at the same time, one part passing off its last note to the next entering part, weaving a tapestry of matching and contrasting timbres. By using glissandos, more “extra-notated” sounds are created than appear on the page. I originally conceived of it with each part coming from four separate speakers placed in the four corners of a hall, but I realised that it sounds best on tape with a stereo mix.” The result is an incredible, highly engrossing study in phasing, the voice sung to sound as much like an alto flute as possible to the the extent that it becomes almost impossible to discern which parts are which.
Bruckstück (1989) was originally written for eight sopranos, but is played on flutes on this recording - using the same pitches, but sounding very different. It was commissioned by the Kulturamt in Köln to coincide with the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Jack Ox that were organised using an analysis of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. Mary Jane explains "The lowest parts (relatively speaking) represent the string section, using the same basic rhythm as Bruckner’s to set up the tonality throughout the piece. The rest of the voices represent the wind instruments. The piece is polyphonic, with a lot of closely resolving intervals - primarily major and minor seconds. Rather than writing linear melodies for one voice, I wrote melodies that are passed from one voice to another.” Dowland’s Tears (2011) was written for for nine flutes, thinking of it as a recording project and not a concert piece (it now has a “solo” tenth part added), while Semper Dolens (2018) is for solo and six taped flutes, with sustained harmony and dissonance in mind.
These recordings feature noted Roman flutist Manuel Zurria, who has worked with some of the most important composers around the world. In 1990 he founded Alter Ego, a leading group for contemporary music in Italy. Numerous composers have written pieces for him, and he has expanded the repertoire even further by re-orchestrating compositions into pieces for multiple flutes, as heard on almost forty albums.
If you're interested in sound phenomena or just looking for some of the most beautiful, avant garde music you'll hear this year; we reckon (f)lute songs is a bit of a masterpiece.
Stunning exploration of traditional Arabic music and electronic processing by pivotal Montrealer Radwan Moumneh (boss of the legendary Hotel2Tango studio), including unmissable meshes of rolling rhythms with spectral ‘tronics in ‘Bein Ithnein’, and Coil-like digital vocal manipulation on ‘Thaha, Mish Roujou’, Thahab’, along with entrancing theatric orchestrations of trad vocals, buzuk and zurna with synths and tape FX. TIP!
“Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) is a project of contemporary Arabic and electronic music interwoven with 16mm film projections and light-based (de)constructions of space, exploring a relationship between music, visuals, projections and audience. With performances thus far occurring once or twice a year, no two JIMH events have ever been the same: configurations have ranged from solo to 35 participants, with varying degrees of stage theatrics alongside a film & visual component, using multiple projections to construct a space in constant flux. JIMH's vocals and purposefully blown-out sonic sensibility have been the consistent thread, but neither its music nor visual propositions have ever repeated themselves – one of the reasons why JIMH has resisted for eight years any official documentation or definitive recording of the project.
JIMH was formed in 2005 by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, a Lebanese national who has spent a large part of his adult life in Quebec and has been a fixture of the Montreal independent music community, from his early days in various notable 90s punk bands to his tireless activities over the last decade as a sound engineer, producer and co-owner of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango recording studio. Moumneh is also active in the Beirut experimental music scene, where he spends a few months every year. JIMH now consists of a core trio with French musician & producer Jérémie Regnier and Chilean visual artist & filmmaker Malena Szlam Salazar, whose two-year collaboration with Moumneh has resulted in the co-creation of JIMH’s debut album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.
JIMH forges a modern experimental Arabic music by wedding melismatic singing in classic Arabic styles and electronic compositions with contemporary electronic production. The album equally emphasizes the intimacy and narrative pace that focused, intentional studio recording allows. The result is a unique and profoundly emotive album of contemporary Arabic music, a stunningly subtle first record for a project that resisted documentation or any sort of fixity for so many years. Moumneh's voice has become a powerfully authentic instrument, and his production techniques applying distortion, tape echos and delays to varying degrees transmit a timeless intensity to the recording. Saturated synths and the overdriven signals of Moumneh's acoustic buzuk and zurna reinforce the reigning sensibility, providing a bracing counterpoint to the vocals and lovely, searching instrumental narratives in their own right. Szlam’s work was the source material for the album’s visual aesthetic. Szlam’s visual creation for the album derives from sequences that echo lunar notions and photographic intervals that reverberate and resonate, evoking the oscillation of time. Using frames from various hand-processed 16mm filmstrips, Szlam created a lunar sequence that consitutes the album cover artwork.
Inspired by the Lebanese educator Boutros Al-Bustani’s book Circumference of the Ocean, Mo7it Al-Mo7it signifies, in JIMH’s open and poetic interpretation, “Ocean of the Ocean.” The numeral 7 is pronounced like an h; all titles on the album are rendered in contemporary colloquial “mobile” Arabic (the transliterative characters used in Arabic phone texting). Thanks for listening.”
Melbourne’s Left Ear keep up a stellar run with ‘Antipodean Anomalies’, digging out 9 exceptional bits of mutant dub, plugged-in Estonian folk and Maori reggae from Australia and New Zealand c. 1979-1989
The A-side is focussed on vocals and rhythms, with outstanding moments in Olev Muska’s mad fusion of percolated drum machines and Estonian folk song in ‘Karjapoisi Lugu (A Shepherd’s Tale)’ and the gobsmacking blend of bullroarers (?), whistles and vox with stark drums in Ngahiwi Apanul’s remarkable Maori reggae mutation, ‘He Whakapapa’. The B-side is more synthed-out, with impressive pieces including the lilting ‘Green Chaos’ of Helen Ripley-Marshall and the rustic psychedelia of Rainbow Generator’s ‘City Of The Sun’.
“For musicians inhabiting the Antipodean countries of Australia and New Zealand during the 70’s and 80’s, it was a geographically and culturally isolating environment. Boutique shops, community radio and mail order exchanges championed independent and contemporary music from across the globe. It was, however, this isolation that caused a number of small community-focused scenes to evolve, creating their own unique interpretation and reappropriation of outside influences. Through both these scenes and government initiatives, a vast amount of music emerged on self-released and independent labels.
Yet, even among small scenes that were creating unique sounds, a number of artists seemed to be making music that was neither here nor there, often meshing together numerous genres and influences to create anomalous sounds. Artists like Olev Muska along with Ingrid Slamer meshed traditional folk songs of their Estonian heritage with cutting edge computer technology. Ngahiwi Apanui used his native language of Te Reo and a “cheap drum machine” to create a pulsating tale that highlights the creation of Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand); while the Free Radicals would sing through PVC pipes to construct their vision of post-apocalyptic tribal music. Sydney’s Nic Lyon used his classical training to craft a distinctive gem which matched eastern and African influenced instruments with syncopated drum machines, while artists like Delaney Venn and Toy Division managed to challenge their post-punk sensibilities by blending both dub and atmospheric sounds respectively.”
Yves Tumor lands on Warp with his debut album for the label; more popwise and polished than before, still pitched perfectly between the avant garde and the mass market...
Laced with guest vox and production from Croatian Amor, James Ferraro, Oxhy, Puce Mary and James K, on ‘Safe In The Hands of Love’ Sean Bowie a.k.a. Yves Tumor is the liminal, connecting spirit between a unique push ’n pull of samples and original instrumentation, acting like a porous transducer of style, tone and pattern that absorbs and amplifies lost (but not dead) light and energy and turns it into something wholly his own.
Where previous singles such as ‘Noid’, ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’ - the album’s core trio - distinctly nodded to Brit-pop and ‘90s ambient-pop pastoralism, the rest of the album curiously unfolds along those axes to take in nods to Warp’s earliest signings, N.O.W. on the introductory fanfare of ‘Faith In Nothing Except Salvation’, while ‘Economy Of Freedom’ opens out into futurist sci-fi soul, and ‘Honesty’ masterfully melds indie-pop and rugged electro-soul.
And it’s that polysemous definition of soul that continues to be the uniting ligature or filament to the rest of the album, from the raging black metal mutation of ‘Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’, to big beat-y psychedelia of ‘All The Love We Have Now’, and the white hot, foaming shoegaze distortion of ‘Let The Lioness In You Flow Freely’, all cannily highlighting a sense of emotive mutualism that transcends style, credo, and vibe.
Survivors of Hawkwind and Killing Joke invoke ancient African and Berlin-skool spirits with little help from Adamski
“Pharaohs From Outer Space is the new collaborative album from legendary saxophonist Nik Turner and the ever-exploring producer known as Youth. This latest effort brings together the chilled out, ambient electronics carefully crafted by Youth, with the the wild and eccentric free jazz stylisations of Nik Turner’s saxophone and flute. The album twists and turns through layers of deep pulsing synths and soaring instrumentation that takes you on a journey through the depths of space, down tunnels of experimentation, and out the other side into another dimension of enticing sonic soundscapes. Featuring collaborations from a whole variety of great musicians, Raja Ram, Jah Wobble, and Adamski. Each one of these musicians bringing something different, and exceptional, helping to heighten the album above and beyond any restrictions that genres might impose.
Nik Turner was one of the founding members of Space Rock pioneers Hawkwind, writing seminal anthems such as 'Master of the Universe', 'Brainstorm', and 'D-rider' as the driving force in the creation of the legend and mythology that created that band's success, to 60's ska 'Skastars'. Nik and Youth met at a Lee Harris (counterculture activist) album launch in portobello road, where they hit it off, and have continued to perform and work together in a myriad of projects, including an all star jam at Youth’s ambient festival, Space Mountain: International Cosmic Arts Lab.
Youth is a multi award winning, legendary music producer, fine artist, poet, songwriter, remixer and bass player of the seminal post-punk band Killing Joke. With a staggering 20 million records sold worldwide, Youth’s career spans over three decades and shows no sign of slowing down. The music he makes has inspired not only the legendary artists he works with, but the next generation of acts who have grown up hearing Youth’s production. He has produced and remixed for a staggeringly large and diverse array of artists including Sir Paul McCartney (The Fireman), Pink Floyd, Yazz, James, Primal Scream, Guns N’ Roses, Blue Pearl, Art of Noise, P.M. Dawn, De La Soul, and U2.”
First ever vinyl reissue for landmark 1984 private press folk-psych album by Connecticut duo. Kath has been covered by Bill Callahan, Mark Kozelek, Devendra Banhart and others. Loren Connors has played with Sonic Youth and others. Includes digital bonus track.
"The extraordinary creative partnership of Kath Bloom and Loren Connors has haunted psych-folk fans ever since the early 80s. Kath taught herself guitar during shifts as a janitor at a New Haven cemetery, while Loren's free-form idiosyncratic style had been developing since the late 60s. Between 1981 and 1984, the duo recorded two live and four studio albums, mostly self-released in tiny quantities.
Early on, their music mixed folk and blues traditionals with a handful of Kath's vulnerable, moving originals. By the later albums the songs were all Kath's - her fragile voice and subdued finger-picking set against Loren's abstract but always supportive playing. Together the duo created a sound almost impossibly emotional and haunting.
Restless Faithful Desperate emerged in 1984, in an edition of 200-300 copies. As her creativity accelerated, Kath's songs became looser and more intuitive, but Restless contains one of her most gorgeously realised composition s Look at Me. Loren's long-term collaborator Robert Crotty contributes extra guitar on a couple of tracks. After reissuing four of Kath & Loren's albums on CD in the late 2000s, Chapter now embarks on the first ever vinyl reissues for these remarkable records."
Digging deep into the Chicago Rave vaults to re-issue the debut EP from Billy Nightmare aka “Mystic Bill” Torres.
"Growing up in Miami, Bill was involved in various parts of the music industry, from working at Flamingo Record Pool, to playing guitar for the band Life In Sodom (80’s Synth/Goth band). His interest in both House & Industrial music inspired him to make his move to the Windy City. Bill quickly became involved in the night scene with residencies at clubs like Shelter, Crobar, & Smart Bar. His studio work began with a remix of Kay Ladrae's “Lack Of Love” with Vince Lawrence, followed by a string of releases, including an LP on Trax Records. He has recently relaunched two record labels and several releases and remixes out each year. ‘Reality Check’ was released in 1996 on Woody McBride’s label Sounds.
Originally the project was to be titled "" Billy's Nightmare"", but to avoid being jinxed for life, Torres decided to switch it to Billy Nightmare. He put the Mystic Bill alias aside, got a hair cut, changed his sound and became this new persona. ‘Reality Check’ consists of 4 tracks, recorded at Mirage Studios in Chicago in 1996. Two tracks on the A-side are dark thumpers and will haunt your head for days. Side B has 2 versions of the same song, lighter and funkier in mood both show the diversity Mystic Bill is capable of producing. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
The unceasingly ace Light Sounds Dark label looks to the dark side of the trip with an expert selection of drone and avant, vocal-based obscurities
By now as much an exercise in winding up scoggers as a genuine treasure trove of lysergic brilliance, whatever your standpoint, these guys are digging beyond the core into furthest deep space with every new release.
Aside from from the identification of Lidija Bajuk’s ‘Paun I Kolo’ on side D (at which point you’ll realise the rest of the LP also plays at 45rpm), all other material on ‘Configuration / Deployment’ remains to be named by you or your mates. We’d bloody love to know what that black hole on side C is called. Answers on a blotter sheet addressed to us, please.
Heart-swelling and matured electronic pop from one of Germany's most endearing modern songsmiths. Four years since his acclaimed 'Walls' LP and the widely loved Moderat album with his MDSLKTR pals, Sascha Ring comfortably fulfils his status as a foremost composer of majestic electronic pop with 'The Devil's Walk', consolidating myriad electronic styles under the Apparat moniker with an unshakable emotive sincerity and elegantly classical yet fresh production style. We can largely attribute that sense of classicism to the prevalence of strings on many tracks, from the opening flush of mandolin on 'Sweet Unrest' to the pomping orchestrations of the Göteborg/Berlin String Theory on 'Escape', or the tensely rising crests of 'A Bang In The Void', but they're always considerately balanced against exquisite electronic backdrops, or vice versa, keeping the vibe timeless yet modern. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you're in the midst of a Radiohead side-project, especially with the quivering restraint of his vocals on 'Your House Is My World', or again at the towering highlight of 'A Bang In The Void'. But then again, he's somewhere between David Sylvian and Morten Harket on the stirring 'Song Of Los' and 'Ash/Black Veil', so essentially he's just got that sense of grand pop melancholy down to a fine art, and the collaboration with gothic Austrian songwriter Soap & Skin is little short of inspired. Recommended.
30th Anniversary of The Fall’s 11th album ‘I Am Kurious Oranj’ Released by Beggars Banquet in 1988, it contains some of The Fall's most loved songs including ‘Cab It Up!’, ‘New Big Prinz’ and ‘Jerusalem’, which takes its lyrics from a poem by William Blake.
"The album was written as the soundtrack to an avant garde ballet titled ‘I Am Curious, Orange’, produced by the experimental Michael Clark Company and performed in London with The Fall playing live. As stated in the original ballet program, replicated inside this reissue, “Mark E. Smith is a history buff and admirer of Michael Clark, and ‘I Am Curious, Orange’ spawned the idea of a thematic delving into the foibles and little-known psyche of William of Orange.”
According to Mark E. Smith in his book ‘Renegade’, “We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film - ‘I Am Curious, Yellow’. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that’s within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some
people call it a gene pool. It’s as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don’t have to have been taught it. It’s in-built. At the time I wanted to put this across, basically as a loose explanation of what was happening in Belfast: it’s in the head and bones and there’s nothing you can do about it. I was on a roll at the time. I’m rarely short of ideas, and I’m not into preserving them much, either. If it’s in your head and you’ve got the right people around you them there’s no better time to tell the story.”
After 23 years out of print, FSOL’s definitive early ‘90s ambient-epic Lifeforms now returns to its natural habitat. Serving near-dangerous levels of nostalgia for almost anyone who came thru in the ‘90s, Lifeforms is set to soundtrack myriad afterparties and claim its place on a whole new generation of record shelves.
Originally released in 1994, a few years after FSOL had become a household name thanks to their debut LP Accelerator and its standout rave anthem, Papua New Guinea (and not forgetting Humanoid’s Stakker before it), Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s project really blossomed into something else with Lifeforms, where they consolidated a wealth of esoteric ideas and philosophies into what was effectively a new manifesto for psychedelic electronic music.
Whether unconsciously and osmotically absorbed, or dutifully studied and cherished by those cognisant of its brilliance, Lifeforms was almost unavoidably ubiquitous at the time, and inarguably worked its way into the popular consciousness in a way that electronic records rarely do nowadays. It was definitely a product of its time, and now, 23 years later, we can safely say it’s kept its charms intact.
Riffing on then-emergent themes of cybernetics, amorphous androgyny and artificial intelligence, together with nods to classic ‘70s psychedelia and kosmische - it features guest spots from Ozric Tentacles and Robert Fripp, and sampled Klaus Schulze - the results tapped into the era’s undercurrent of aerobic mysticism and eldritch new age spirituality to locate an unprecedented confluence of those styles which has influenced swathes of electronic dreamers ever since.
It’s techno-romantic and tech-gnostic in the lushest sense, a utopian beauty flush with the thrill of unknown futures, yet fringed with an MDMA come-down melancholy that’s totally crucial to understanding that era’s play and juxtaposition of energies. Quite simply, though: Lifeforms is an incredibly enigmatic and life-affirming album awaiting your (re)discovery.
Death Waltz present Alan Howarth's expanded and retuned follow-up to John Carpenter's most notorious synth score, namely 'Halloween II'.
"John Carpenter and Alan Howarth managed to do something not many people have been able to do with their score to Halloween II. They managed to take the blueprint of the first films score and make it bigger, darker and nerve shreddingly intense. Synths wail and stutter as the score progresses to the point where you feel your head might implode from the oncoming onslaught. This score really should be played late at night with all of the lights out."
4-track EP from Austin, Texas analogue hardware enthusiast Bill Converse.
"Immersed in the early days of the 90s midwest rave scene, Bill began DJing at a young age in Lansing, Michigan. Luminaries such as Claude Young, Traxx, and Derrick May were key early influences. Techno, noise, ambient and tape processing are all part of his uncanny sound palette. His debut album Meditations/Industry was released on cassette in 2013 and edited for a vinyl release on Dark Entries in 2016 followed by two 12” singles Warehouse Invocation and 7 of 9 the same year. In 2017 Converse released his second album The Shape Of Things To Come followed by the double EP Salt Of Mars. Hulled is a 25-minute journey spread across 4 tracks of glacial abandon.
All tracks were recorded directly to tape with no overdubs, made at Converse's home studio. Bill says these tracks represent “ocean waves in stormy conditions, dark grey blue water, or more generally speaking something ominous and beautiful.” The songs on this album reveal a sublime influence from Detroit techno, IDM, and Acid. Built around vintage synthesizer lines and gritty drum machine percussion, the tracks ebb and flow like the effect of sun shimmering on water, woozy, gauzy and ephemeral. All songs were mastered for vinyl by GEORGE HORN at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley."
‘Another Life’ is Amnesia Scanner’s hyperreal début album for PAN. The Finnish production/design duo’s most significant release locates their EDM/pop voice proper after a string of prism-pushing singles, EPs and mixtapes issued since 2015 by Young Turks and Gum Artefacts
Bending EDM pop with warped sound designer sensibilities and a sci-fi visionary’s lust for post-human possibility, Amnesia Scanner’s music has come to define its era with unflinching form. They embrace the most compelling, even grotesque aspects of hyper-commercial dance-pop with an accelerationist alacrity that’s also shared by the boundary-realigning styles of fellow artists such as Arca and Sophie, who, like AS, started out in the sound designer’s playground of mid-’00s electro and tech-house minimalism, but have evolved into something mutant, transcending and redefining conceptions of humanity in their music.
Informed by a singular perspective on technology and the way it mediates contemporary experience, ’Another Life’ is ostensibly binary in the extreme - you’ll probably either love or hate the upfront garishness and unapologetically cybernetic nature of their music. But on another level, the character of AS’ synthesised voice, known as Oracle, and their warped pop conventions, both inherently play with ultra contemporary ideas of ambiguity in a way that’s symptomatic of a socio-political climate dominated by notions of gender fluidity and fake news. In effect ‘Another Life’ can be heard as an attempt to locate the analog nature of human sensation within computerised systems.
The results are effectively an exaggerated, syncretic synthesis of current Caribbean dance-pop, nu-metal, and trashy electro-punk with all elements turned up to 11 on their virtual amp, presenting a shockingly surface level reflection of contemporary culture that’s revealed a line in the sands of time between listeners of differing generations, and how they read meaning into their music. In other words, AS are the ‘ugly’ sneakers of modern music.
Remastered reissue of the haunting score for a Belgian theatre production of the Greek myth, ‘Daedelus’. The operatic, choral vocals are excellent, and the music somehow has that playful yet melancholy Belgian what-do-you-call-it familiar to classics by Benjamin Lew and Steven Brown, or John Avery’s ‘Jessica In the Room of Lights’. Practically worth it for the drum machine driven closing cut alone!
“Like the wings Daedalus crafted for his son Icarus, John Gilbert Colman’s score for sampler, voice and chamber orchestra almost melted away completely, disappearing into the tides of time. The album originally served as the score to an avant-garde production of the Greek myth that toured the Belgian theatre circuit in 1986. Director Guy Cassiers cast the play with 45 developmentally disabled actors enrolled at the Krauwelenhof school in Antwerp, working for six months with the young actors (aged 12-17) to discover and develop their talents, creating (by all accounts) a deeply moving piece of visual theatre. Rather than using dialogue, Cassier used movement, costumes and music tell the fable, words were only present as text fragments within the score, spoken by members of the chorus or sung by Rolande van Der Paal.
Colman’s compositions elevate the experimental narrative with broad shifts in mood, utilizing a pop-concrète style by incorporating sampled squeaking balloons, environmental recordings, tuned percussion, drum computer, and voice to accompany the traditional small chamber instrumentation. The music is reminiscent of other avant-theatrical pieces from that era by Nuno Canavarro, Milesi & Bacalov, Todd Barton, Vito Ricci and Roberto Musci, while standing on its own as a unique and moving piece of minimal music.”
The king of Gqom and Wiley’s favourite DJ, Lwazi Asanda Gwala a.k.a. DJ Lag turns out another four bangers for Goon Club Allstars
Hypnotically minimal and built to demand, the ’Stampit’ EP follows from Lag’s eponymous 2016 debut and a recent, killer remix of Kelela to reassert his claim to the crown of Durban’s virulent rave sound.
It’s perhaps most useful for the super stripped down ‘Drumming’, a ruggedly sturdy drum trak that can be taken as an answer to Griffit Vigo’s ‘Ree’s Vibe’ - a big tune in Lag sets - but the rest of the set is prime, too, just in case you’re wondering.
From the lead-drop drums and skyward flute of ‘3step Culo’ to the plastic UKF-like horns of ‘Let’s Do This’ and the crisp conga rolls on ‘Switz’ this platter is rated 100% deadly.
Ryuichi Sakamoto expands on ‘Async’ album track ‘FF’ , along with a brand new piece ‘School in Paris’ on this audiophile quality 12”, cut at 45rpm for optimal sound representation (and time-slowing 33rpm options)
Picking up where the tremulous hyaline harmonics of ‘FF’ left off, ‘FF2’ coaxes trembling timbres from woodwind and synths into an intoxicating high register drift recalling shadowy moments of ‘SAW II’ or even the ghostly melancholy of David Lynch’s Eraserhead score.
‘School in Paris’, is, as you may infer from the title, a field recording of kids at play, albeit processed to lend a starkly detached quality, as though the kids are off out of sight somewhere while Sakamoto performs alchemical experiments or bumps into things in his kitchen and a synth piece plays from another room.
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield.
The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
Released in September 1978, a mere two months before YMO’s debut, Cochin Moon is a clear precursor to the groundbreaking synth and sequencer-dominated sounds that would come to define the iconic trio. Credited to Hosono and Pop Art legend Tadanori Yokoo (who created the cover art), Cochin Moon is a fictional soundtrack to a journey into unknown worlds, inspired by Hosono and Yokoo’s trip to India. Initially the album was to be a kind of ethnographic musical document, using found sounds and field recordings made by Hosono himself. Instead, after Yokoo introduced Hosono to the sounds of Kraftwerk and krautrock during the trip, Cochin Moon became something much stranger.
Created almost entirely on synthesizers and sequencers with the help of future YMO collaborators Ryuichi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake, the music on the album is the perfect encapsulation of Hosono’s concept of “sightseeing music,” transporting the listener to an exotic place that may or may not exist. This highly sought-after album sees its first-ever official release outside of Japan. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums.
After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent.
For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career.
Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), who made their debut in 1978. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
Raw yet sophisticated deep house, acid and electro clearly schooled in the classics, from Glasgow’s Stephen Lopkin
Continuing a run of Gaelic-located or themed titles for M>O>S, Clyde Built is perhaps the definitive batch of Lopkin's emotive and puristic style following ‘The Haggis Trap’  and ‘Meall a’ Bhùiridh’ .
Nodding to Glasgow’s heritage as the entry point for so much imported American dance music as well as its industrial past, Lopkin forges 10 aces over two plates, with divine results inspired by Detroit classics in ‘Fragments of Yesteryear’ and ’Stupid Humans’, along with the lush house traction of ‘White Corries’, some B12-esque electro in ‘Decades’, and a heavily seductive stripe of Reese-bassed techno in ‘Fridays at Pure’, at Carl Craig-goes-Italo flavour in ‘Welcome To Nowhere’.
First ever pressing of a 1975 psych throw-down by soon-to-become important members of the Belgian wave underground; Alain Neffe, Guy Marc Hinant, and friends
“Something undoubtedly cosmic but with a DIY, home-made edge: a cosmos for sure, but dirtier than clean, noisier than technology-based. All songs are unreleased. Recorded and mixed in March 1975. After some years rather cosmic and raga-esque music, Kosmose slowly began to explore some more experimental and noisy sonic expression. At the time, the band only owned a few instruments and sound effects and, no drummer. They used to play long tracks in order to follow the trend of the alternative music of the period -- remember, this was 1975. The event was a total spectacle with an inventive light-show including a stroboscope and a frantic projection of strange abstract slides on a giant screen by Freddy Pourcel. Some incense was burnt time-to-time. Personnel: Alain Neffe - monophonic synthesizer, flute, primitive rhythm box, bell, clumsy voice, tarang; Francis Pourcel - bass, bass with violin bow, electric guitar; Daniel Malempré (aka MAL) - electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar.”
A double LP set from Manchester electronic music pioneer Eric Random. Best known for his early recordings for New Hormones and Les Disques du Crépuscule and collaborations with Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Cabaret Voltaire and Nico.
"As an original member of The Tiller Boys with Shelley, Random injected a healthy dose of Krautrock into the dour Manchester post-punk scene in 1978/79 before going solo the following year. Random’s first 7” “Subliminal”/“23 Skidoo” was released in 1981 via Les Disques du Crépuscule and explored ominous sonic surrounds. That same year also saw the release of a second 7" single on New Hormones, “Dow Chemical Company”/ “Skin Deep”. Both tracks offered bubbling, rhythmic sound patterns, and were the first to feature other musicians that would become know as The Bedlamites.
Consisting of Lynn Walton on vocals, Ian Runacres and Andy Diagram of Dislocation Dance, and bassist Wayne Worm, aka Wayne Sedgeman. Their debut 12” single “Subliminal Seduction”/“Bedlam-a-Go-Go” was released in 1982 through Plurex, mixing arid funk textures and sparse melodies. That same year the group contributed proto chill-out track “6.55” to Plurex compilation ‘Hours’ and the highly filmic track “In Cassette Conference” to the Touch cassette package ‘Feature Mist’. In 1983, Random spent several months in the Himalayas with a group of musicians from the Kulu Valley and studied non-Western instruments such as tabla. On returning to Manchester, Random convened a new group of Belamites including Walton, Sedgeman and drummer Graham Dowdall aka Dids of Ludus. They released the 12” single “Mad As Mankind”/“Dream Web Of Maya” in 1984 on Cabaret Voltaire’s Doublevision, embracing electronic, industrial and dub styles. In 1985 they contributed the soothing “Pure Power” to Food Records’ “Imminent Episode One” compilation. Our reissue also includes 4 unreleased bonus tracks from Eric’s archives recorded between 1981-1984. The whole set adds up to 115 minutes of sinister, somnambulant Random music. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
Swedish producer Toxe's sharp ascent through club-cursed climes has elicited the highest praise from the start. In just a few years she has linked up with Staycore and Halcyon Veil, presented an A/V project with The Vinyl Factory, and scored KENZO's FW 2016 prints presentation with close collaborator Mechatok. Her new EP 'Blinks' is a fractal bloom of candied melodies and minor laments set in a sweep of frenetic rhythmic scenes.
On Blinks she puts that experience to good use in a bright and playful collection of phthalocyanine hooks and frenetic rhythms, sashaying from what sounds like an airborne Plaid in Honey Island thru to the slippery lead and big beats of Big Age, and over into what sounds like a late ‘90s AFX on Perfect 2, or some LP5-era Æ inspiration on Blue Warm Up.
Gunning for most concise artist/album title of the year, SW’s 2nd ‘LP’ plumbs the depths of analog electronics in pursuit of a mercurial techno muse
Stefan Wust a.k.a. SW’s sophomore album follows the lines of his widely appreciated 2016 debut into characteristically off-centre and heady spaces that don’t necessarily fit any paradigm other than his own, and the sound he shares with SUED label mates SVN and Dynamo Dreesen.
In six parts he carries his weight elegantly between the ghost-in-the-machine voices of the opener, thru a spot of pendulous Hi-Tech Jazz IDM, to land in explore diffuse sci-fi bleep ’n bass coordinates before mellowing on the B-side with a lovely run from B12-esque electronica to acidic dream house and a steeply opiated, subbass-heavy ambient melter.
Co-produced with Robert Witschakowski of The Exaltics, and continuing her collaboration with guitarist Chris Lockington (as heard on Drei and Dva).
"Given its years of manifestation behind the scenes of other projects, Falling In Love With Sadness reflects a renewed understanding of Emika’s own genealogy, kindred lineage and its connection to modernity. Marking a drastic departure from the menacing, stripped-down qualities of albums past, Dva and Drei, Emika has surfaced with a new upwelling of sound gracing the bittersweet, melancholic and sanguine.
With the interplay of myriad genres both rhythmically and melodically intertwining between spacey, dub tinged Promises, lush synth pop hooks on Escape and the title track's soulful electro, a full spectrum of musicology remains primary to the ever-evolving chroma of Emika’s umbrous sound.
Further characterised by the breathy sibilance and sultry tones of Emika’s noirish, vocal aesthetic, the album navigates through the morose and trappings of misanthropy by illuminating a narrative of emotional resilience and recovery."
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Dolls have spent the summer working with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds / Grinderman drummer Jim Sclavunos on their new “Pop The Bubble EP".
"The 2-piece, comprising Jade (guitar and vocals) and Bel (drums and vocals), can today reveal lead single “Sugar Free”. A riotous example of their infectious grunge-punk, it’s a song on the bands views about “the use-and-throwaway society around us today, how superficial people's lives can be, and how rapidly people's values and what's on-trend can change”
Drummer Bel goes on to further explain, “It was a spontaneous song that came out of Jade's improvised guitar riff. When we were writing lyrics I had a sugar free drink and started thinking how people can get so pissed off when they ask for diet coke and get regular. So it represents those kind of first world problems & concerns about how our worst nightmare could be something so shallow that it's just ridiculous”.
The “Pop The Bubble EP”, set for release in September 2018, marked the first time the band have worked with producer Jim Sclavunos whose production credits include The Horrors, The Wytches and Fat White Family. The result is 4 garage-pop anthems with as much sass as they have bite. Duel vocals bounce off each other effortlessly; capturing some of the awesome chemistry these two bring to their raucous live performances."
Another sterling collection of Parmegiani’s “lost tapes” spanning 1966-1990, ‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ circles 17 poetic and versatile works from the legendary GRM and ORTF artist/technician’s sidelines into work for TV, film and theatre choreography, expanding the themes of his recent ‘Rock (Bande Original Du Film)’ and ‘La Soleils’ reissues
Whilst deeply appreciated for his pioneering efforts in shaping electro-acoustic music at the GRM (with best results found in his priceless ‘L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD’ set), Parmegiani first cut his teeth at ORTF, France’s national broadcaster, and also wrote a lot of sound for theatre and contemporary dance choreography.
‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ offers a vital bridge between Parmegiani’s more academic, concert-based works for the Acousmonium system at GRM, and his artistic/commercial endeavours, documenting a body of work where his razor sharp skill in editing and illusive spatialization meet more melodic gestures and brilliantly proto-technoid rhythms.
There were clear hints of this style in the ‘Bande…’ OST, but they most captivatingly come to the fore in this follow-up, most notably on the pulsating brilliance of ‘Versailles… Peut-Être II’ , one of the sharpest pre-echoes of the ‘80s we’ve ever heard, along with the inimitable clarity of his pranging percussion and highly visual editing on ‘Image De Marque I+II’, and the Black MIDI-esque spirals of La Guerre Des Insectes I’ , for example.
Wickedly bugged-out, noisy and pulsating minimal wave experiments from 1982 Canada, originally issued on tape and now dished up on vinyl for first time thanks to Dark Entries
“Jon is from Winnipeg, Canada and got his start as half of the synth noise duo Dialog. In 1981-82, while studying for a BA in Film Studies, he would go to the studio and practice. No writing or patch memories, composing on the fly. His set up consisted of a Minimoog, Oberheim Two Voice, Roland RS-202, Roland Space Echo, EML 400, Roland DR 55, Roland System 100 mixer.
After playing some of the songs to Impulse Records store owner Roman Panchyshsyn, he agreed release the album on cassette on Contagious Records. Primarily influenced by the German school typified by artists such as Conrad Schnitzler and Kraftwerk, Jon's music exhibits the cold machine ethic of the neumusik. The 12 instrumental tracks are stark and minimal, at times anxious but overall space orientated and flexible. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.”
‘Solipsism’ writes a line under Mike Simonetti’s tenure at IDIB, the label he co-founded with Johnny Jewel in 2006 and brought to worldwide acclaim, before leaving in 2013 to pursue solo work and the Pale Blue project at his 2MR label (Two Mikes Records) with Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks
As one of those characters who naturally shapes the wider world, before humbly moving on the next project, Simonetti has lead an illustrious career arc from his days at punk label Troubleman Unlimited to his crucial role in establishing the resurgence of disco/synth/soundtrack styles which strongly prevail in 2018.
The 12-track ’Solipsism’ clears Simonetti’s archive of unreleased goodies conceived for TV commercials, runway soundtracks and film scores during his tenure of IDIB, where he released his debut album ‘Capricorn Rising’ in 2011. The set spans entirely unreleased business, including a stack of tracks made for a thwarted Hollywood movie project and one outtake from ‘The Magician’ sessions.
DJs and dancers should listen up for the sublime slow disco pulse of his ‘Through The Clouds’ ace and the ambient techno suspension of ‘Los Angeles’, while lovers of the cinematic IDIB aesthetic will get their kicks everywhere from the slowed-down Gqom-like sci-fi pressure of ‘A Prayer For War’, and the drizzly introspection of ‘Requiem’ and the soaring Tangerine Dream-esque ‘Acceptance 2’.
‘Electrucs’ is a previously unpublished LP of works by former INA-GRM chief François Bayle, recorded 1974-1995, and now finally issued on the 60th anniversary of the world-renowned facility he managed between 1966-1997.
Comprising four distinct sections of acousmatic study ranging from playful AKS Synthi “hand games” to the blooming ‘Rosaces’, a test-piece for the Acousmonium, and a dedication to his peer, Bernard Parmegiani; ‘Electrucs’ follows Recollection GRM’s series of Bayle reissues to offer a diverse and spellbinding survey of his pioneering work spanning the past half century.
The A-side is taken by 10 oozing, viscously shapeshifting ‘Electrucs’ that give the LP its title, rendering a series of highly dynamic pieces made on the Synthi AKS between 1974-2018, and veering from chaotic polymetrics to pulsating, almost melodic vignettes, and many moments of tense, atonal abstraction that wouldn’t sound out of place on a good hour or thriller soundtrack.
The other side breaks down to three distinct sections. ‘Cinq dessins en rosace’  is a five part study of increasingly complex geometries, transiting from sharp, simple oscillations to filigree, spatialized arrangements of electronics and keys. ‘Foliphonie’ [1974-2011] follows with a beautifully alien scene of chirruping voices and whirled woodwind originally hatched for use on the GRM’s Acousmonium speaker/diffusion system, and ’Marpège’ [1995-2007] finds him dissolving a trace of Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘Sonare’ into sonic delirium.
Frank Tovey's debut album emerged upon an unsuspecting world in 1980.
An urgent, forward thinking and spikily melodic attack on pop music, it's often hailed as groundbreaking and would gift the quickly established and evolving Mute roster with one of its most demented and compelling voices.
'Fireside Favourites' notably features Mute mainman Daniel Miller assisting on sequencer and Electronic Percussion, but the real star has to be Frank's indomitable vocals, careening between sardonic sneers, deadpan monotone and unheimlich exhortations.
A reissue of the 4th full-length from Carolyn Fok / CYRNAI, an Asian-American female solo artist from the Bay Area.
"Carolyn’s adventures in sound began with recording stories on a tape recorder at age 9 in 1976. A short time later, exploring the scattering of musical instruments and effects units her father left lying around the family home. She became especially fascinated by his TEAC reel-to-reel recorder that set off a lifelong fascination with sound design. By the age of 16 Carolyn had become inspired by industrial electronic act Cabaret Voltaire, as well as anarcho-punks Crass. Creating the stage name CYRNAI, a rearranging alphabet of Carolyn Fok, she played in several Bay Area bands including Treason, A State Of Mind, Trial and Rhythm & Noise between 1983 and 1991. By 1988 Carolyn’s recording gear had many changes and upgrades, from cassette 4-tracks, 8-track reel-to-reel 1/2 inch, a TASCAM 388 to DAT, to floppy disk sampling. She spent three to four nights a week developing sequences for 14 hours from 10pm onwards. Samples would sometimes begin on a Synclavier keyboard with its sophisticated sequencing capabilities.
Her fourth album, ‘To Subtle-Drive’, was self-released in 1988 as 8 untitled songs spread across a 30-minute cassette. Then in 1989 Carolyn discovered the first Digidesign digital recording software and changed the project to have more ethnic sounds and samples stemming from tapes collected during a trip to Egypt. In 1990 ‘To Subtle-Drive’ was re-released with 2 songs from the 1988 release and 4 new compositions. This reissue adds 5 bonus tracks recorded during the same period spread across a double LP set."