Canny London label Laura Lies In pull together a class of 2020 portrait featuring screwballs from DJ Marcelle, James Marrs, Joe Beedles, Syncom Data, Tony Njoku and more
Spanning offset, earthy grooves and more abstract lines of thought, ‘LLI 008’speaks to the breadth of LLI’s activities since 2016, vacillating crafty oddities by previous label alumni with smart works by an expanded network of allies and new additions to the gang such as Manchester’s Joe Beedles and renowned DJ Marcelle in their producer role for one of the set’s strangest treats.
Introductions first; Simon Benjamin debuts with the grubbing slow techno sidewinder ‘Vera Boila’, and Africa 70 member Tony Njoku gets under the skin with his plaintive chamber soul piece ‘The Ghost That Escaped (Rework)’, where Vanessa follows in suit with the haunted ambient-pop drift of ‘Test’, and Copenhagen’s Astrid Sonne presents the folksy, Björk-like choral beauty ‘Strong, Calm, Slow’. Trust DJ Marcelle to follow their own nose for offbeat swing rhythms and drunken keys in ‘Of Course, Why Do You Ask’, and Joe Beedles tests out some dead slippery but razor sharp computer music tekkers.
Returning to the label’s embrace, Eben Bull follows action on the CVX side with the electro-dub ace ‘Geology’, contrasting neatly with Syncom Data’s scratchier styles in the same niche. James Marrs keeps it perplexing with some Hecker-esque vocal manipulations, and Tara Clerkin weaves flutes and tape into ribboning shapes on ‘The Reek’, all keeping the label’s remit wide open and serving a great entry point for anyone LLI curious listeners.
Self-generating composition ‘abtasten_halten’ finds Frank Bretschneider’s austere yet playful rhythmic minimalism at its most inventive, turning the sound of two VU meter needles into endlessly fascinating permutations via software and synth modules; an ideal candidate if we’ve ever heard one for Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label.
“Frank Bretschneider on abtasten_halten: "abtasten_halten (sample_hold) is a largely self-generating composition for a modular synthesizer system. Self-generating here means that as soon as a current flows, the various modules interact, but within limits set by the composer via the connections between the modules (patches): timing, tempo, timbres, dynamics. These conditions are kept variable to a certain extent or left to chance, so that the composition created is always similar but never the same. On the one hand, the use of random generators opens up possibilities that would not otherwise have been considered. On the other, it offers the fascination of the unfinished and the unique: totally unexpected musical events that you might hear only once. abtasten_halten combines my preferences for percussive music in general and electronic music in particular. Largely avoiding repetitive structures, the piece is more like a free improvisation, quiet and diffuse, but also extremely dense, in ever-changing contrasts and transformations.
The tone generators are two modified VU meters whose needles, driven by trigger impulses, create a simple one-bar pattern by hitting against a metal spring that is connected to a piezo element. The tempo is continuously varied over a period of about ten minutes by several mutually modulating LFOs, ranging from about 0.06 Hz up to the lower audio range of about 18Hz. The percussive sounds thus obtained are then passed through low-pass filters with moderate resonance and random frequency modulation to additionally color the sound. Further processing is then executed by an echo module whose tempo and repetitions are again determined by random parameters. Finally, the audio signal is occasionally enriched with reverb to add more spaciousness to the sound."
A companion piece of sorts to his recent, brilliant 'Field Recording and Fox Spirits’ tableaux of magic-realist location recordings, 'Apparition Paintings’ is an ambitious, sprawling new album from David Toop, at this point 50-years deep into a career that his seen him explore constantly shifting musical topographies, as well as work as a researcher, writer and critic. It’s an ambitious and restless work, featuring contributions from Áine O’Dwyer, Rie Nakajima, Paul Burwell and Elaine Mitchener among others, and shifts from a sort of skewed Fourth World ambient to atomised jazz-fusion and country-folk with curiously plasmic results.
"Don’t ask me about genre or consistency. Who cares?” says Toop - and of course we don’t, and you shouldn’t - especially at this precise moment in time. What you get here is a personal narrative mapped out on the back of Toop's eyelids, one moment reminding us of Eiko Ishibashi’s recent folklore masterpiece Hyakki Yagyo, before retreating down a mazy Gamelan wormhole, into shimmering chorus-pedal dreampop, Laswellian fusion and concrète abstractions - without flinching.
"Half the world is drowning; the other half is in flames. Each story is an animal, a plant, something you drink, a surface you touch, a faint line, some memory emanating from a cardboard box. “’Things’ in themselves are only events that for a while are monotonous,” wrote Carlo Rovelli in The Order of Time. Maybe sounds are melting ‘things’, tired of the monotonous real.”
Most of Lyon’s musical scene is composed of men originating from eastern Algeria, but since the 1950s, the Croix-Rousse and Guillotière cafés have counted musicians from all over Maghreb.
"These cafés were social hubs, where these individuals met up weekly, playing together and sharing their everyday life experience —but they also had a major role in the development of popular music of French-based North Africans. In Lyon, Le But Café in the 3rd arrondissement or the bars on Sébastien Gryphe Street in the 7th arrondissement were among these: one could conduct business there, getting booked for a wedding, a baptism, a gala, or a studio session... all took place there.
Playing together in Lyon. The practice of music was cross-regional with different North African influences, but also with local traditions. These versatile musicians also absorbed new local influences: music within the context of immigra- tion was a perfect school for musical cosmopolitanism. Chachacha or tango versions of some Cheikh El Hasnaoui tracks come to mind, or Mohamed Mazouni’s jerks and twists. Like their predecessors, the musicians in this compilation brilliantly integrate raï or staïfi tunes with disco aesthetics or funk guitar riffs as Nordine Staifi did. You could also think of Salah El Annabi who used the “ Oxygene ” theme (1976) by Jean-Michel Jarre, the Lyon-based composer and electronic music pioneer. “As we say around here, mixed weddings make good-looking lads!” said Abbès Hamou, a musician from Place du Pont. Following on from their musical traditions and unrestrained inventiveness, the musicians’ repertoire naturally assimilated their era’s aesthetics and technologies."
Hugely playful 2nd album of pop intricacies from Moscow’s Kate NV, chasing up her 2018 debut for RVNG Intl with a devilishly detailed batch touching on ‘80s Japanese pop, Kate Bush’s dream-pop, jazz-fusion and kosmiche ambient
Not wasting a second on bad energies, ‘Room for the Moon’ is brimming with utopian pop spunk and nanoscopic levels of production detail that add up to a delightful definitive portrait of an artist in her creative prime.
From the YMO-esque rhythmic froth and digitally-dubbed prism of ‘Not Not Not’, thru what sounds like Visible Cloaks jamming with Lifted in ‘Du Nu’, to the swirling raga-like arps of ‘Tea (Full Cup Version)’, its tangier partner ‘Lu Na’, and the Radiophonic-esque ambient pop baubles of ‘If Anyone’s Sleepy’, this alum deserves the ears of pop lovers as much as those who can see the link between pop music and the filigree crafted structures of Beatrice Dillon.
…And the earth crack'd to reveal Scott Walker & Sunn 0)))'s colossal offspring 'Soused' in its riveting, tragic glory.
Four years on from their intended collaboration in 'Monoliths & Dimensions', the arch avant-crooner meets the robed duo (and Tos Nieuwenhuizen) at the apex of their powers, presenting a peerless, operatic vision of doom metal informed as much by Native American history and the underground US psyche as experimental jazz and electronic dynamics. We can safely say it matches and surpasses our high expectations of the project, offering a complex, widescreen portal to a chiaroscuro world slashed in black by Anderson and O'Malley and illuminated by Walker's range of possessed vocal personas, from anguished despair to internal torment and shocking convulsions.
Embarking over the bull-whipped Moog bass momentum and banking riffs of 'Brando', Walker is a disturbing yet utterly compelling presence enticing us to cross thresholds into the arcane, uncanny worlds animated by Sunn 0))), whether projecting across the molasses drone trudge of 'Bull' or alternately wilting and lashing out from the percussive attacks and abyssal tar pits of 'Herod 2014'. By 4th song 'Fetish' their path has narrowed to a 'marish corridor of re-amped synth ghouls and spectral noise before distant drums abort the pregnant drones somewhere in the final third, for closing shot, 'Lullaby' to emulsify their unheimlich resolution at its most dramatic, synth-fired and intimate. It's a genuinely remarkable session, surely one of 2014's best.
Featuring a cover photo by the cult NYC street photographer, Richard Sandler - the first in a series.
"Straight from the depths of the burgeoning Austin, Texas weirdo scene, JT Whitfield delivers a six track mini-lp for L.I.E.S. after an impressive run of releases for Chondritic Sound. Whitfield follows suit where he left off on his cut from last years Eminent Domain comp. with absolutely punishing slow beatdriven industrial electronics. This is for true fans of metal on metal music as these tracks desperately plod and grind, ripping apart everything in sight. The appropriate soundtrack to endtimes."
THE game-changing mixtape of the 2010s is finally re-pressed on vinyl and - for the first time - available as individual digital tracks via PAN, who’ve just made a lot of heads very happy.
Originally issued by the pivotal Hippos In Tanks in 2013, and self-released on vinyl in 2014 via her own website, Arca’s &&&&& has cast a strong, if cultish, influence over contemporary dance, pop, and electronic experiments during its life to date. Tiled from what are now disclosed as 14 individual components, its mazy mosaic of fractured ideas and curdled hooks blew our minds at a time when so much dance music was either going retro-vintage or, ahem, “future” garage, and would provide anyone listening with oodles of inspiration for new directions influenced by the Latinx and club cultural shifts pioneered by likes of Elysia Crampton (then E+E), Total Freedom, and TCF.
7 years after its debut release, &&&&& is still one of our all time percies. That sticky, diffractive flow between her convulsive ‘Knot’, the sighing gobs of ‘Harness’ and the spine tracing chorals of ‘Fossil’, and thru the melodic late ‘90s Ae/AFXisms of ‘Obelisk’ still burn. With hindsight it’s easy to hear this mixtape as a crucial bridge between her earliest rudeez on the two ‘Stretch’ volumes (which shockingly slipped most people’s attention at the time) and the way she would bloom in the following years, from production for FKA Twigs, Kayne and Björk, to her none more beguiling solo albums and holistic embrace of a mutant futurist a e s t h e t i c.
The title of guitarist Barry Cleveland’s 1986 album - Stones of Precious Water - conjures images of incandescent gems, harvested from hallowed streams and held aloft to glimmer and catch the light in their many facets. And perhaps this is the truest analogue for the music contained therein. Recorded between 1981 and 1983, in mostly improvised recording sessions, the disparate nature of Stones’ creation is alluded to only by the breadth and variety of sounds it encompasses. Stones of Precious Water is a revelatory collection that maps its way through textural fourthworld ambience, shimmering New Age, gently propulsive kosmiche, and jazzinflected prog. These sounds are sewn together with a deftness of performance and sonic character which reveals them as branches of the same tree, or perhaps more appropriately, a handful of glittering stones.
"Six of the ten tracks contain contributions from Kat Epple and her late husband Bob Stohl (a.k.a the epoch-defining New Age duo, Emerald Web), adding flute, synthesizers, and bells. Between the years of 1981 and 1983, Cleveland worked with this duo and alone, allowing serendipity to play a significant creative role in their music. Many of the pieces began as improvisations, or simple structures that served as springboards for deeper exploration. Making his first forays into multi-track recording, Cleveland used a basic Teac 4-track cassette recorder, and this rudimentary piece of equipment proved to be a useful tool for compositional exploration. By flipping and reversing the tape, slowing the pitch, and altering and layering different performances, Cleveland stretched the sound of his guitar across the expanse of the tonal canvas.
Stones of Precious Water stands as a remarkable document of experimental selfrecording, improvisational collaboration, and restless creative expression. Morning Trip is exceedingly happy to release it on Vinyl LP for the first time."
‘Music From Memory’ sets sail with a compilation of lo-‐fi beach funk and lazy synth jams from the Rhode Island keyboardist and ocean loving Leon Lowman.
"As well as a devoted painter and surfer of the East Coast, the synthesizer loving Lowman privately released two albums “Syntheseas” (1980) and it’s follow up cassette only “Sound Horizon” (1982). Something of a homage to his love of the local seashore and the women he was trying to woo there, the albums also express Leon's pure love of the synthesizer sound and reflect his unique melodic wanderings. With Leon's albums meeting little commercial success at the time of there release, both albums have in recent years become highly sought after. Along with previously unreleased material from the time, “Liquid Diamonds‘ highlights Leon Lowman's unique blend of low fi synth funk and surf ambience."
Steeply absorbing solo debut of smoky free improvisation, reverberating between ECM-like jazz/classical and electro-acoustic dimensions for the ideal home of such enigmatic stuff; Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
‘Ashioto’ extends an immersive introduction to the solo work of Japanese drummer/percussionist/composer Tatsuhiro Yamamoto following a decade of collaborations with notables including Jim O’Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi, Phew, and Arve Henriksen. Fitting the rarified criteria of Black Truffle’s snuffling service, Yamamoto’s first dolo mission is riddled with the sort of oneiric magick we’ve come to expect from this label, dilating the mind’s eye from the pineal peal of gamelan to sweeping Jazz-fusion breaks and dead strung-out, end-of-rope jazz blues and ‘marish organ swells with a masterful narrative sleight of hand.
The devil lies in the detail of ‘Ashioto’, and in the way that Yamamoto transitions between distinct section via various strategies. In the first section his hypnotic and softly reverberant golden ripples of gamelan precipitate deeply sweeping but in-the-pocket breakbeat roil with subconscious stealth, almost comparable to a canny DJ transition. But the mood persistently shifts like a localised weather system, ultimately drawing in and overcast with a starkly autumnal appeal that he doubles down on the B-side, where the drums total recede to present a play of tonal ghosts slipping like laminal plasma with Daisuke Fujiwara’s oozing sax and coming to suggest a late night avant-garde sexiness that culminates into a beastly Lynchian nightmare with cataclysmic, feral noise recalling Gruppo via Jim O’Rourke. Magic.
In May 2018, Jaimie Branch took up a month-long residency in the shipping container-turned-recording studio at Pioneer Works, an arts center down the street from her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She called up Jason Nazary, and he rolled by the studio loaded with acoustic drums, electronic triggers, modular FX unit, synths, sequencers, and a myriad of processors. Branch engineered the sessions, and brought her rig to the table: trumpet, synths, delay/looper pedal, auxiliary percussion, and a Roland TR08 drum machine. They did what they always do — rolled tape and started from nothing.
"In the Fall of 2019, they set out for the “Ante-Myths Sonic Projections Tour” that took them across the US alongside DC duo Blacks’ Myths. For the journey, they self-produced a super limited-edition tour tape, Tour Beats Vol. 1, which features recordings from those Pioneer Works sessions.
For Summer 2020, International Anthem is proud to re-present Anteloper’s Tour Beats Vol. 1 on 45RPM 12” vinyl in a package featuring artwork by Branch, photos by Richard Ross, and liner notes as poem, again, by Rob Mazurek..."
DJ Plead’s hugely in-demand battery ‘Pleats Plead’ finally re-pressed.
Bringing the best Mahraganat drums to the table in a signature style lying between OG boingy dubstep, Electro Chaabi and brokebeat techno, Plead stuffs the EP with devilish dancefloor rhythms thru the darting, syncopated drums and flutes of ‘Baharat’, the gremlinoid chatter of ‘Salt and Pepper’, the deeper D&B-like touches of ’Shoulder Pop’, and her restless roller ‘Crush and Burn’. Drums for days!
Autechre's classic second album from 1994, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
At bleeding’ last, Warp reissue one of their rarest gems, which Autechre themselves have referred to as conceiving as their “Warp record” - written to complement the label’s early ‘90s ambient/AI catalogue.
Depending your perspective, Amber is quite possibly the most beautiful Autechre album. It’s much softer, atmospheric than the needling electro tones of Incunabula, and also much friendlier, almost innocent than the cold, rugged Tri Repetae; almost like a snapshot of the duo in post-club gouch-out mode, hugging the sofa and chewing their ears in the days before somebody might snap you doing so on their iPhone.
Basically it’s completely essential if you love electronic music.
This is f×cking amazing - a second volume of desolate, ambient themes from David Lynch’s sound designer and mixer of choice Dean Hurley, one of those behind-the-scenes guys whose work most subtly colours the popular imagination. If you’re into anything from Deathprod to Badalamenti to Mica Levi’s 'Under the Skin’, the more ascetic end of work from Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker, or Aphex Twin’s ’Selected Ambient Works Vol II” - this will rule your world.
Having operated and managed David Lynch’s Asymmetrical sound Studio for 13 years, Dean Hurley only appeared on our radar a couple of years ago with his sound design for the third season of Twin Peaks, and the first volume of his Anthology Resource which collected some of that work. During those 13 years - a period that began just before ‘Inland Empire’ - Hurley was basically there to create, mix and edit any sound artefacts Lynch required - a process that evidently allowed him the freedom to innovate through pretty much limitless experimentation. As a result, Hurley is now without question one of the most striking sound designers and supervisors working in film & television right now, steering well clear of overly emotive/manipulative cliche and instead focusing on the minutiae of sound in a way thay recalls the classic, pre-digital era.
His Anthology Resource is an ongoing series curated from his work for film and television in the library / production music tradition, as well as a series of albums in their own right, with this second volume 'Philosophy of Beyond’ collecting 12 pieces made in residency for Art Gallery of New South Wales’ event Masters of Modern Sound, and contributions to Eddie Alcazar's feature film ‘Perfect’ - mostly assembled from tape loops and field recordings.
While it’s fair enough to wheel out a usual list of ambient/atmospheric comparisons with ‘SAW II’, Brian Eno, Leyland Kirby, and indeed David Lynch’s own early work with Badalamenti, that’s really just to show what class Hurley is operating in - his music clearly possessing its own, menacing magick that stays with you long after the music has stopped, just like the imagery he is so highly adept at scoring.
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
Sofie is a musician and artist based in Vienna. Best known as a DJ, this is her self-produced debut album, Cult Survivor, a collection of leftfield pop songs inspired by chanson, heartbreak and life’s overwhelming decisions.
"Sofie was one of the original members of Boiler Room and its host. She is a resident DJ on NTS Radio, and worked at Stones Throw for four years, bringing several artists to the label including Knxwledge, Mndsgn and Stimulator Jones. As a DJ, she played on lineups with the likes of Teebs and Dam-Funk, and in 2016, she curated the compilation Sofie’s SOS Tape for Stones Throw, which includes the track “Abeja”, her collaboration with Mndsgn."
Mysterious “married outlaws” Low Budget Aliens firm up a killer sort of (I)DeMaterialised spin on drill, jungle, footwork and ruff bass sound for D. Tiffany and uon’s XPQ? label
‘Junk DNA’ spells out a dead crafty sound in orbit somewhere between early Actress, the ambient dance mutations of Ghostride The Drift and Skee Mask’s nervy rufige. It’s smudged regurgitations are pretty much bang on the pulse for contemporary music’s up-in-the-air flux of styles in a way that feels like it could go in any of ten directions at once.
‘CRASh LANDING’ kicks it off with a sort of radioactive rendering of drill, and ‘Hazardous Waste Pump’ turns up the gas on a slowfast jungle tip, teeing up a weightless flex shared wrth the centrifugal footworking dynamics of ’FE Ignot’ and what sounds like a vaporised 33EMYBW in ‘HOME SICK!’, while ‘BOWSERS HIGHT COURT’ leans into X-files breakcore, and the deadly one-two of ‘Service Mode 2’ and ‘LEVEL 1 2 3 4’ whip D&B and 150bpm beat science into wilder, experimental dancefloor thrills.
Next in Coil’s archival excavations is their soundtrack to a pre-internet, VHS-only sex ed documentary released in 1992. Released from masters with the blessing of Danny Hyde (Jhon and Sleazy’s right hand man and go-to engineer), this first proper edition of the soundtrack features a newly reworked “sexy” edit of the main theme along with bonus reworks of ‘Nasa-Arab’ and ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’ which appeared in the soundtrack to ‘Gay Man’s…’ as well as on 1992’s CD-only ‘Stolen And Contaminated Songs.’
In a way that Coil would shed with later recordings, ‘Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex’ sounds very much of its time, melding downtempo rhythms with smoky atmospheres in a way comparable to fellow ambient travellers such as The Orb and FSOL as contemporaneous material by Lynch & Badalamenti or even The Wildbunch, essentially nailing a sort of Balearic backroom or afterhours style.
The big highlights are the EP’s balmiest and jazziest bits, namely the dusky blue strut of ‘Alternative Theme From Gay Men’s Guide To Safer Sex’ that opens the EP, along with the iridescent shimmies of ‘Exploding Frogs’ and its rework ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’, which could almost be a fantasy collaboration between Japanese Electronics-era Heinrich Mueller and Angelo Badalamenti at his most snake-hipped and winking.
While we’re not certain of the soundtrack’s efficacy in its purpose - it remains a unique piece of the impossible jigsaw puzzle that is Coil’s catalogue, and a fine throwback to early ‘90s ambient/downtempo styles.
Some observations about this epic package - the biggest iteration of which is over 8 hours long (not including the bonus DVD) - it’s incredibly well executed, smart, thoughtful, insightful - a proper fucking masterclass in how to go about painstakingly assembling and reissuing archival material (without getting into a discussion about whether or not Prince would have wanted these vaulted tunes to see the light of day).
The good news is that even if you go for the most threadbare version here, you’ll be in possession of the best this set has to offer. Two things that shine out above everything else here; Prince was a really good editor of his own work, the version of Sign O The Times that saw the light of day is stronger than any of the proposed other iterations of it - better then the Camille album would have been, better than Crystal Ball, better than Dream Factory - although the Vault tracks included in the bumper edition allow you to assemble any one of those albums for the first time using official masters. The tunes themselves - as much as ’The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker (With Horns)' is just totally fucking incredible to hear - the version you know is infinitely superior, and being able to witness Prince's editing process is one of the great pleasures of this set. Same thing goes for ‘Forever In My Life’ - what was almost a country pop tune ended up as one of the greatest linndrumm ballads ever made - and now you can hear what could have been, and thankfully wasn't.
Secondly - the mastering - by Bernie Grundman - is properly astonishing, especially if you grew up with an original version. Grundman doesn’t just go for loudness here - although the master is significantly louder than the version you’ll know - the detail, space and lightness of touch is the thing that elevates this set to absolute greatness. Listening to the remastered version of ‘Forever In My Life’ - just as one example - will alter yr perspective on pretty much everything. Also - what a fucking tune.
The vault stuff - there is about 4 hours of it - a complete dream come true. The best of it - 'Emotional Pump' (a sort of 'Feel U Up' variant), 'Big Tall Wall' (fucking drums!), The Cocoa Boys (slow, syrup horn funk), 'Rebirth Of The Flesh Original Outro’ (Camille missing piece) - to be honest - it’s all pretty amazing, even ‘Wally’ is on this - surely the most elusive of all the vaulted tracks.
Anyway, if yr an obsessive - you'll need the bumper set, if yr a newb - start with the basic remaster - either way, after running through all 8 hours three times in 2 days, we feel v strongly once again that the original version of this album - benefitting massively from this new remaster - is really one of the greatest ever made - and what we thought could never be improved on, now somehow sounds better than ever before.
Prince forever <3
Nerve Deposit is the new EP from Identified Patient on Dekmantel’s sub-label UFO. The record is a lysergic stew of industrial, electro, breakbeat hardcore and synth-rock, with the purpose to get under your skin and set your nerves tingling. While extending his signature sound, the Dutch producer upgrades his process and marshals a new complexity from his machines. The result is five tracks which stalk shadowy hallways but never lean too far into the darkness, at once menacing and lively. With a laboratory’s worth of sleazy synths, bubbling effects, raking textures, plunging bass and rhythmic left-turns, Nerve Deposit suggests we are in the court of a Professor, not a Patient. Tantalisingly, the best feels yet to come.
Living legend Terrence Dixon and Jordan GCZ (of Juju & Jordash fame) team up for a killer 12” resulting from sessions recorded in September last year.
Dixon is still for our money one of the most influential and least acknowldeged Detroit producers of our time, you can hear his blueprint in a whole swathe of modern electronics from Actress to NWAQ and beyond, we honestly can’t remember if the guy has ever made a bad record - either under his own name or under his Population One tag.
This hookup here finds him in more exploratory and brooding form alongside fellow explorer Jordan GCZ, whose love of classic Source/Move D/Reagenz is on display here with what sounds like a modern adjunct to Moufang’s legendary KM 20 recordings - basically the best of that era.
In other words - this is the good shit.
Tempo Dischi is an italian label created on a mission to discover and repress classics and rare italian gems of the italo disco, afro and cosmic scene. With the support from all the main players who has made that era magic, we work to put back on records stores shelves a piece of art that may have been lost but it’s still timeless.
"The fourth release is a double A side release from the japanese electronic music pioneer Hideki Matsutake. Composer, arranger and programmer he is certainly known as member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto from 1978 to 1982. In 1981 he launched his own project Logic System, producing essential songs like ‘Unit’ and ‘Clash’ that are included in the seminal album ‘Logic’.
‘The first half of the 70s was an era of practices and challenges for me’ comments Hideki ‘I started at the studio of the legendary electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita where i touched a synthesizer for the first time. I explored the Moog modular learning how to create sounds that nobody had heard. It was a stimulating period for music. Loads of the Japanese pop of this era was an active mix of different genres like jazz, fusion, electronic music, enka and more, and there were many experimental sounds. The experience with Yellow Magic Orchestra has been wonderful, but I've always had the desire to produce my music based on my own experiences.
The first synthesizer I purchased was Moog IIIc and then an E-mu Modular System. The Roland MC-8 was also revolutionary in creating never-ending and precise rhythm patterns. I produced the first album ‘Logic’ together with my partner Ryo Kawakami. At the time I was working with him on different projects. Inspired by the principle of transformation, we were transported by thoughts, musical contexts and experimental elements that guided us to the production of this record’
The B side is a special italo disco version of ‘Unit’ produced by the Italian studio team Mito, formed by Natale Bellotti, Italo Portesani and Stefano Secchi. The idea of this remaking came from friend and colleague Stefano Secchi. I think it was 1982’ recalls Italo Portesani ‘I introduced the project to Natale Bellotti who agreed to participate as executive producer. The studio band of Mito was born. The sound of Unit was already electronic and minimal but we thought to make it more danceable and in the mood with the italo disco and electro pop sound’."
Two slices of pineal-gland tickling fyoocha club music here from Object Blue and TSVI, who combine their talents, Voltron-like, to emerge with music that's one part tricksy post-IDM and one part absolute club banger.
'Thought Experiment' is an exercise in forward motion, with stuttering kicks tumbling over off-world ambience and airlock blasts as if Autechre were making dance music again (in space). Flipside 'Turing Machine' brings breaks into the mix, allowing mind-bending modular bleeps and squiggles to undulate under complex-but-danceable percussion clouds that make us dream of clubs past. And it's not like we deserve it at all but there's a Loraine James mix of 'Thought Experiment' too that takes the "LP5"-ish kick stutters into near-footwork territory cuz why not? Well good.
Jungle deconstructionist Sophia Loizou materializes on planet Houndstooth for her third album "Untold", a multi-disciplinary project that includes an AV show, a lecture, special artwork and a book of poems.
Bristol-based academic, author and sound artist Sophia Loizou impressed with her first two albums, 2014's "Chrysalis" and 2016's acclaimed "Singulacra". Both records filtered a deep knowledge of dance music through opaque clouds of drone and ambient noise, re-contextualizing familiar sounds while reducing them to digital dust. "Singulacra" found its footing in jungle, exploring the genre's woozy euphoria in ways not a million miles from Lee Gamble's "Diversions", transforming driving rhythms into ghostly echoes and faint memories.
"Untold" is a further development of these ideas, taking the skeletal approach of "Singulacra" and building it into a many-headed multi-disciplinary project. Here, Loizou bills her tracks as "a series of speculative sonic landscapes" letting the natural world inform the sound in attempt to remove it from humanity. So the icy breaks, rolling subs and ethereal pads are now informed and shaped by natural dynamics: "a lion's roar or the rhythm of a dolphin's echolocation emissions," reads the press release.
This isn't something that's likely to be immediately discernible to most listeners but the concept def raises an eyebrow or three. No doubt the project is most enjoyable with its full AV presentation - as it stands though, "Untold" is an accurate representation of the progressive commodification of breaks and ambient music. The familiar sounds are omnipresent, but the driving force of jungle has been dislocated: breaks are left to fizz into muted impotence and melodies dance and tease, refusing to resolve comfortably. By attempting to remove the music's human element, Loizou has come eerily closer to the algorithmic uncanny valley of a Spotify playlist or a generative videogame soundtrack. Ambient jungle to relax/study to, maybe?
Reissue on vinyl of the first PJ Harvey studio album in the Island Records catalogue, and her second studio album.
"Produced by Steve Albini and originally released in May 1993, Rid Of Me features the singles ‘50ft Queenie’ and ‘Man-Size’. The album charted at number 3 in the UK. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering under the guidance of Steve Albini."
This is Thurston Moore’s seventh solo album, and features musicians Deb Googe (My Bloody Valentine) on bass and backing vocals, Jon Leidecker aka ‘Wobbly’ (of Negativland) on electronics, James Sedwards on guitar, and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, as well as Jem Doulton, alternating on drums.
"‘Hashish’ is the ﬁrst single from the album to be released and is described by Moore as “an ode to the narcotic of love in our shared responsibility to each other during isolation." The song includes a video with footage from The Thurston Moore Group’s tour in early 2020 in Europe, as well as footage of Thurston quarantined in his home during the past few months “with respect to the sacred healing truth of nature.” Prior to isolation during the COVID pandemic, Thurston worked in recording studios in North London until the third week of March 2020 to complete this album for release on September 5, 2020.
While the musicians may not immediately tour, Thurston was adamant to release BY THE FIRE in 2020, and with Daydream Library, has released this quote: BY THE FIRE is music in ﬂames. 2020 is our time for radical change and collective awareness and Thurston Moore has written nine songs of enlightenment, released to a world on ﬁre. Taking a cue from Albert Ayler's "music is the healing force of the universe", this recording offers songs as ﬂames of rainbow energy, where the power of love becomes our call. These are love songs in a time where creativity is our dignity, our demonstration against the forces of oppression. BY THE FIRE is a gathering, a party of peace—songs in the heat of the moment. Some of the songs feature all of the musicians whist a few are solo guitar and vocals. Thurston is working on the ﬁnal cover and sleeve art with London-based artist Radieux Radio who also scribed lyrics for a few of the tracks."
Astral Industries dilate their portal to reveal another gorgeous ambient vision from Rod Modell & Chris Troy’s long running Waveform Transmission project.
Extant since their 1996 CD, Waveform Transmission returned with a 2LP in 2017, and now allow further inspection of their alien ambient terraforming with the project’s immersive 3rd release.
For 70 minutes the duo synch minds as spirit guides for the lushest trip thru alien underwater zones, feeling out unfathomable gamelan reverberations and diaphanous synth pads with a real synasethetic colour-sound appeal for those susceptible to such sensations.
It’s patently some of Modell’s lushest, purest ambient work, with the romantic leanings of Chris Troy pulling the sound away from the dubbier obsessions of DeepChord.
New age ambient bubble-bathing vapours and BoC-like beats from Canada’s Khotin, making a mellow, warm hug of a debut on Ghostly International
Smushed with musical sentiment to match its title, ‘Find You Well’ draws a warmly analogue-sounding bubblebath of ambient electronica and slow moving beats that land somewhere between BoC and Deru on the wistful nostalgia scale. It’s music almost custom made for Autumn, rustling up a woozy and lowlit sound full of warbly charm and wobbly rhythms that will please the sweetest toothed fans of early ‘00s ambient melancholy in highlights such as ‘Heavyball’ and the Ulla-esque collage of cottony pads and answer phone messages in ‘Outside In The Light’ and the heavy-lidded drowse of ‘Your Favourite Building’.
Brooding fusions of darkwave pop and ‘80s movie synth moves from Not Not Fun veteran Profligate on Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records
“'Too Numb to Know' showcases Profligate continuing to shirk the heavy electronics of his early years for razor sharp pop. On 2018's 'Somewhere Else,' Noah Anthony delivered dark pop gems while adding live instrumentations, reinvigorating his songwriting and sonic palette. This new song-driven approach gained praise from Resident Advisor, Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily and The Wire, exposing Profligate to new listeners.
Too Numb to Know followed Anthony from coast to coast, as he recorded his first demos in Philadelphia and then moved to Los Angeles, a city he found creatively challenging and emotionally depleting. After the theft of his computer—and with it the work he'd done on 'TNTK' in L.A.—Anthony took a friend's suggestion and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he finished the album and added contributions from allies like Matchess, Lazy Magnet, Gel Set, and Missions, among other.”
After swapping hemispheres, Australian outfit Death Bells have found a new home in Los Angeles, emerging with a new album of fervent guitar-driven rock, stripped of gloom and punching through with a new sense of positivity. New Signs of Life, their debut for Dais Records, finds Death Bells using a DIY pedigree to plunder the conventions of “rock music” with a saxophone along for the mission. Rather than leaping genres or formats, New Signs of Life is refined and nuanced—a methodology built on process, craft, and perspective.
"Following their 2017 debut, Standing at the Edge of the World, and follow-up single “Echoes,” Death Bells left their hometown of Sydney for the United States. Energized by impulse, extensive touring and exploration led to the formation of an ambitious six-piece band that eventually coalesced as a collaboration between founding members Will Canning and Remy Veselis. With Canning and Veselis becoming the engine, Death Bells began to employ several underground mainstay musicians to complete their live presentation, including Cortland Gibson (Dock Hellis), Colin Knight (Object of Affection), and on occasion Brian Vega (Fearing). Revitalized and centered, Death Bells released the single “Around the Bend” in 2019, before workshopping material that would eventually comprise their second full-length effort. As much as Standing at the Edge of the World was an energized disclosure informed by fresh naivete, New Signs of Life harnesses those initial sparks, cloaking the threads of Death Bells with authority, allowing each of the nine tracks which embody New Signs of Life to become lush streamlined vehicles.
The eponymous lead single is a grandiose statement, influenced by the theme song of HBO’s classic television program Six Feet Under. The lyrics are a shopping list of personal neuroses butted against self-help clichés, dressed with jagged guitars, brass, and percussion providing a deliberate pace for Death Bell’s new chapter. As method gives way to melody, New Signs of Life exudes an urgent hope laced with drive and verve. The first track for New Signs of Life, “Heavenly Bodies,” signals Death Bells’ pointblank delivery of a laconic truth: “We all vanish, anyway.” Somber and cool, it eases into hushed staccato hypnosis while still finding the tenets of guitar-driven rock. ”A Different Kind of Happy” and “Alison” push the edge of convention, speaking to the power of love in a world gone mad. A nod to their homeland and new city’s surf heritage, “Shot Down (Falling)” pivots playful to a sun-soaked beach strum, layered with shimmer before the horizon fades. As a new statement of purpose, New Signs of Life subverts the band’s moniker, offering breath during suffocation; optimism in chaos with sound over sinking."
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s darkly beguiling 3rd album, seeing Steven Stapleton go solo in a slowly spirit-gnawing side of collapsed concrète jazz cut-ups that recall pre-echoes of Mica Levi and Demdike Stare at their most zonked
‘Merzbild Schwet’ documents Stapleton left to his own devices in the studio later in 1980 after bandmates Heman Pathak and John Fothergill left due to dissatisfaction with their collaborative efforts on ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’. The results, in their own way, are perhaps more detectably coherent, in the sense that this is the sound of one man’s mentalism, and not the combination of three who can’t decade who’s weirdest. As such, it’s a real warper, with one side seemingly nodding to a classic Neu! B-sides from behind lysergic eyes, and the other striking deep into a vein of theatric avant-garde.
Recycled from hacked and spliced jazz samples, the A-side’s ‘Dada x’ slops over the front with knackered drums and smeared brass tones that recall the B-side to ‘Neu! 2’ (itself crafted last minute in the studio, using slowed down samples of the same record’s A-side) as much as Micachu & The Shapes’ & London Sinfonietta’s ‘Chopped & Screwed’ session, with additional stirrings from a French pop record adding to the oddness in a way that also recalls Ghédalia Tazartès and that amazing Joseph Hammer side for PAN.
‘Futurismo’ is a very different beast though, stretching out 24mins of pineal, searching-in-the-dark atmospheres that feel like they strayed from an avant garde theatre work or modern classical conservatory, with pealing woodwind and arcing spectral keys paving the way for mind-bending corridors of patchworked sci-fi vocals, shatterproof industrial clangour, and Stapleton's patented plasmic electro-acoustic audness.
Customer’s Copy is the debut LP of contorted cosmic jazz and eccentric minimal electronics by Exotic Sin. The duo of Naima Karlsson and Kenichi Iwasa first came together for a performance celebrating the art and music of Karlsson’s grandparents, Moki and Don Cherry, before continuing as an independent unit that still incorporates some of the Cherrys’ instruments as well as their synergetic integration of music with artistic practice.
"Preferring the stark contrast of analog/digital, acoustic/electric, and natural/unnatural sounds, Karlsson contributes synthesizers in addition to piano, celesta, and bells, while Iwasa collides anachronistic 90s Yamaha keyboard and guitaret with contrabass recorder, drums, kalimba, and three of Don Cherry’s instruments: one of his trumpets as well as two of his “zen saxophones,” handmade woodwinds appending reed mouthpieces to plastic plumbing parts, also called Don’s kettles after their highpitched sound. With such timbral juxtapositions, the spirit of Exotic Sin is reminiscent of a number of leftfield jazz-meets-electronics ‘70s duos from Don Cherry’s maverick collaborations with Jon Appleton and Terry Riley to Anthony Braxton’s work with Richard Teitelbaum, İlhan Mimaroğlu and Freddie Hubbard’s Sing Me a Song of Songmy, and Muhal Richard Abrams’ electronic works.
On album opener “Dot 2 Dot,” Karlsson’s measured, monastic piano sets an elegiac stage for kettle bends and absurdist electropercussive filtering courtesy of Iwasa before a flourish of cascading ebonies and ivories together with restorative circular trumpet motifs bring the sidelong piece to a majestic resolution. Named after the character from Ridley Scott’s 1989 film Black Rain, the schizosphere of “Charlie Vincent” interfaces ominous, dystopian synthesizer with permuted organ swells before album closer “Canis Minor” sets gentle sail for a distant bed of lonesome stars. A visual artist as well as an archivist and coordinator for the Cherry estate, Karlsson continues to learn and study Don’s compositions and approach to piano with her uncles Eagle-Eye and David, who were taught by Don himself, and his use of short piano compositions as loose scaffoldings for improvisation is prevalent across the record’s three otherworldly unfurlings. Improvisor and multidisciplinary artist Kenichi Iwasa is also known for his legendary Krautrock Karaoke night, his contribution to Beatrice Dillon’s 2020 album Workaround, and collaborations with visual artists and musicians from Linder Sterling to members of Can, Neu!, Faust, Cluster, and Wire. Recorded and mixed, with additional alto flute, woodwinds, and contrabass recorder by Robbie Lee."
Coil’s gaping vaults give up their esoteric erotic massage parlour soundtrack supplemented by tracks from 1993’s ‘Themes For Derek Jarman’s Blue’. This is Coil at their most beautiful - in places best compared to Art Of Noise's 'Moments in Love'...
After recently cropping up on one of the Threshold Archive CDs, Coil’s seven tracks of creamy new age parlour music make a kinda incredible release on their own, with the culminating cuts for Derek Jarman making for a very happy ending in certain Coil fan’s fantasies. For the most, this is Coil doing sensual New Age music in a very early ‘90s style, all choral harmonies and blushing digital pads primed for your comedown or floatation tank session, but edged with that unfathomable sense of eeriness that’s practically made Coil a byword for all things queered and quasi-mystic.
It gets very weird when the masseuses’ hands turns to tentacle with the plasmic ooze of ‘Part 5’, and in the mix of raga drone and sleazy rhythmic creep in ‘Part 6’, with the set all arranged to lead up to a tantric disco noise climax as only these guys could in the pair of Jarman soundtrack parts recalling their work on the sort sibling soundtrack release, ‘Gay Man’s Guide…’.
Quietly coy and beautiful Belgian blooz from legendary coldwave units Smalts and Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh paired on vinyl for first time by Stroom.
Plucked from the shadows of 2006 and 1994, respectively, both songs share a vibe that may well resonate with modern woes. Whether you understand the Dutch lyrics or not, both songs surely deliver their emotive freight thru the slow, genteel music and lowkey captivating vocal styles that call to mind Bill Callahan strumming away with The Durutti Column.
The ponderous vibe of ‘Periodiciteit’ was recorded by Smalts (the later form of Minny Pops) in 2006, and sets Pieter Mulder’s backdrop of soft keys, synths and angelic string strums (sitar/harp?) to a 1966 text by Louis Lehmann in hauntingly melancholy form ideal for soundtracking scenes to the movie of your own life. ‘En De Stad’ by Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh may have been recorded 14 years earlier in 1994, but patently borrows from the same dark oak cabinet of feelings as Smalts’ side, with Trespassers W’s Cor Gout adapting original French text from 1971 into Dutch in a hazy chamber-like arabesque weft from Neffe’s chiming DX7 & SQ1 sampler textures, and spindly-feely guitar by Insane Music fellow Daniel Malempré.
Massive beams of choral light and and cavernous shoegaze-ambient introspection from sylph-like spirit Julianna Barwick. Her fourth solo LP in four years is riddled with more nuanced electronic dream-pop and peppered with notable input by Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Mary Lattimore and Nosaj Thing.
“A distinctive meditation on sound, reverb and the voice, “Healing Is A Miracle” is a record built on improvisation and a close affinity to a couple of trusted items of gear, from which she spins engrossing, expansive universes. Additionally, Barwick draws on the input of three collaborators with whom she has nurtured deep friendships with over the years: Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Nosaj Thing and Mary Lattimore; who each gently nudge out at the edges of her organically-evolved sound.
Recorded in the wake of a seismic shift in her life following a move from New York—where she had lived for 16 years—to Los Angeles where she is now based, the title of the record came to her after thinking about how the human body heals itself, of the miraculous processes we pay little attention to: “You cut your hand, it looks pretty bad, and two weeks later it looks like it never happened… That’s kind of amazing, you know?” It’s a sentiment that feels particularly apt for the moment. From there, she conceived of the record’s simple statement title, ran it past a couple of friends, and it was settled. Like with the record itself, and all of her work, it’s about following her gut, and seeing where it takes her.
“Healing Is A Miracle” began life in spring of last year, when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. “It had been so long since I had done that,” she recalls, “making something for myself, just for the love of it… it was emotional, because I was recording music that was just from the heart, that wasn't for an 'assignment' or project… it brought me to tears a little”.
Part of the joy also came from a small but significant switch up to her recording process: the addition of some studio monitors—a birthday gift from Jónsi and Alex (Somers)—having previously recorded all of her music on headphones. “The first song I remember making with those was the first song on the album, Inspirit.” she explains, “When I added the bass I really felt it in my body, you know, in a way you just wouldn’t with headphones… it was kind of euphoric and fun. I got really excited about making the record in that moment, and I think that really had an impact on the sounds I ended up making.”
In eleven years of deep digging, Dark Entries has uncovered many curiosities, lone exemplars of the scarsest breeds. They are lurking in Croatia, on the streets of New York, maybe in the back of your own dusty closet - these odd-ball Italo and synth-wave monsters are too rare to live, too divine to die. Once-lost creatures now have a home with Dark Entries’ new Endangered Species series. The inaugural edition features five specimens previously deemed extinct, only mentioned passingly in lore and speculation, but now safely preserved on vinyl.
"The first cut on Endangered Species Vol. 1 is the previously unreleased electro-New Wave gem “Munich” by John King, an artist best known for his work as one half of the Dust Brothers, lauded producers of the Beastie Boys’ legendary Paul’s Boutique. “Munich”, a Danceteria-ready cut produced in 1983, sheds some light on King’s earlier interests, bridging between freestyle and emotive synthpop. Next up is a rare demo version of The Actor’s “Picture 210”. The Dutch duo here channel both the minimalism of Kraftwerk and the Surrealism of Throbbing Gristle to create one of the finest teary-eyed Goth club anthems. Brazil is a synthpop band from Croatia, and they feature with their 1990 cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”, which is sure to turn some heads on the dancefloor. The eerily faithful production belies Brazil’s re-working of the song’s lyrics. “L'Étranger (Ana Gharib)” by Jamal Khe follows, a pearl originally only available on an impossibly rare French 7” from 1983. Khe is from the Ain Beida region of Algeria, and his Arabic vocal melodies perfectly complement the propulsive percussion and airy arpeggios from producer Jacky Bourgogne. Closing the record is the previously unreleased “Abemus Mind” from Marzio Benellil’s project Nightless. Recorded in 1983, this moody, low-tempo Italo groover features Gregorian chant-inspired vocoders and jazzy piano courtesy of Benelli’s collaborator Marco Falagiani.
All songs were mastered for vinyl by George Horn. The sleeve is the first in a series of endangered animal designs by Eloise Leigh, featuring the glam tiger in its natural, 1980’s habitat. Also included is an insert with lyrics, photos, and notes. Please assist us in our efforts to preserve this planet’s weirdest beasts."
But would you bat an eye waiting for war machines to pass you by? But aren’t we going out tonight? Aren’t we going out?
"Special Interest have returned with their sophomore LP. A dual release from Night School (EU) and Thrilling Living (US). The Passion Of... combines elements of glam rock and no wave pushed through a mangled filter of contemporary electronic forms. Special Interest present a precise and deranged vision of punk, an apocalyptic celebration, a step forward into a perverse and uncertain landscape."
Reissue of ear-flicking improv jazz lead by Japanese maestro Masayuki Takayanagi: frighteningly tight and brimming with shifty detail; a classic example of his “non section music” from 1975 brought to light by the amazing Blank Forms Editions
Another prism-challenging and head tweaking ace from the label that brought you stunners by CC Hennix and Graham Lambkin with Joe McPhee, not to mention the last Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit side ‘April is the Cruelest Month’ in 2019, this one packs recordings of his ‘Another Revolvable Thing’ concert in Shinuuku, Tokyo, 1970 in chronological sequence for the first time, spanning the spacious “gradually projection” part, a wild bit of stairs-falling-up-stairs solo drumming, and the utterly head-spinning brilliance of their “mass projection” throw-downs.
Just tip-of-the-tongue sizzling stuff full of confoundingly precise and never repeated movement, it’s sure to ping the pleasure centres of all free improv heads. They sound like a live band playing Parmegiani one minute, or a load of tropical birds let loose in Harry Bertoia’s shed the next, with the mutability of Matsuyuki’s guitar playing maybe best considered like a calligraphic Japanese adjunct to the harsher markings of Derek Bailey, for example. Surely all matched by a shockingly tight unit of Kenji Mori (reeds), Nobuyoshi Ino (bass, cello), and Hiroshi Yamazaki (percussion), whose atomised playing and edge-of-seat anticipation appears to cooperate at supernatural levels of live craft recalling everyone from Ornette Coleman to Kenji Haino.
Blows the cobwebs away we tell ya. Not to be missed!
Baudelaire’s ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ set to stark solo keys, with skeletal, unadorned production by Susanna and Deathprod giving crystal clear focus to the vocals that really brings the poetry’s timeless, dark realism/fantasy to life with perfectly tempered, immersively minimalist but opulent style of musical dramaturgy and staging...
“Like much of Baudelaire’s work, Susanna’s music probes the limits of desire, and confronts the simultaneous wonder and meaningless of existence. He is often considered one of the first modern poets, whose urban observations frequently dipped into fantasy, sensuality, fevered imagings and eerie horror. Susanna’s selection of ten texts from his masterwork The Flowers of Evil (translated by Anthony Mortimer) cover the full spectrum of Baudelaire’s conflicted expression.
Here you’ll find a creepy cast of witches, pagans, wolves, perverts, thugs, ghosts, vampires and demons. The songs struggle with lust and saintliness, angels and demons, tenderness and sadism, and the relentless march of time, the destroyer. Beauty with an edge of strangeness. Sin as a swallowing abyss. In Susanna’s haunting settings and performance, the poetry of Baudelaire has found its ideal transmitter.”
Cult imprint Ghost Phone summon four strong doses of their spectral club soul, taking Brandy, Angie Stone, SZA, and Summer Walker to the haunted dancehall.
Echoing classic strains of US R&B with a UK-tempered mood, the results cover a weightless take on Burial’s flex in ‘Brandy Tool’, while ‘Miss You Anymore’ feels like Joker after a hard breakup, and the way they draw a folksy eldritch elegance out of ‘Babylon’ heavy recalls Various Production, with a killer redraw of Summer Walker and Drake’s ‘Girls Need Love’ gives the ‘floor its hardest feels with trilling 808 and heart-smacking vox.
Jonathan Fitoussi’s awning kosmische epic ‘Plein Soleil’ sets the tone for Transversales Disques Obliques series with a maiden voyage into deep space cinematic ambient
A successor to 2019’s ‘Mirages’ collaboration with JB Dunckel (Air) and this year’s lush split with Ariel Kalma, the latest Fitoussi side scopes lushest panoramas schooled in ‘70s and ‘80s French synth music as much as their German counterparts, layering banks on analog synths (Buchla, EMS Synthi, Moog, Pro-One models) and the retro-futurist tones of a Cristal Baschet sculpture into creamiest kosmiche visions that link back thru JD Emmanuel, JMJ, Aphex Twin and 0PN.
You’d be silly to leave with checking for the SAW-style arps of ‘Corolles’, and once snagged there’s lots to accompany one on the way to bed, or perhaps off out for a spot of stargazing or bivvying on a wild camp with the likes of his tingly beauty ‘Dunes’, the wide-eyed ‘70s sci-fi terraforming of ‘Oceans’ and ‘Continent Blanc’ and his arcing arp dance ‘Soleil De Minuit’.
Hot debut album flex from Italy’s Piezo - highly recommended for the Rian Treanor, Beatrice Dillon, Batu and Kelman Duran heads / new on Hundebiss - label behind Kelman’s ace ‘1804 KIDS’
Making good on the promise of Piezo’s off-kilter and cruddy cuts for Version, 81 and Wisdom Teeth in recent years, ‘Perdu’ sees his rough-hewn style of FM synthesis shapeshifting into raggo jungle, shatterproof techno and rolling UK raver styles that rub up the right way alongside the label’s amazing Kelman Duran album and Lil Ugly Mane’s cult hip hop trips.
The 11 track see Piezo showing his teeth and diversifying his bonds between the sleepwalker swagger of ‘Ox’ and more bolshy technoid rolige like ‘Castrol’ and a standout number in the Rian Treanor-like Singeli-meets-D&B of ‘Rowina’, with the scuffed, hypnotic rhythms of ‘Blue Light Mama Magic’ hitting right between Batu and Don’t DJ. They all prang out at us from the thicket of textures and angular rhythms, and make best sense when absorbed in its wilds and you come across the lilting, glitching 4th World ambient simulacras ‘Amore Tossi’ and ‘QZak.
The first Mister Saturday Night Records release in a long while. It’s by Russell E.L. Butler, and it’s called “Blah Blah” - three tracks made in Prague at the Synthesizer Library and one track made in Russell’s pre-New York home in Oakland.
"What are my dreams when they are spoken into real space? Are they statements centering my desires? Are they indictments to hold myself accountable to my vision of life? My consciousness is meandering and at times I celebrate this drone of words. Stripped of meaning, to reveal what’s beneath. Not an answer, but further questions. The purpose of the mantra is to quiet the conscious mind until the spirit takes over. Place is important. It grounds the abstract in our humanity. These things came from somewhere. Many places. To culminate into one. Connecting them all. And creating something entirely new. Not an answer, but more questions."
It's always worth considering the route Scott Walker could have taken following his flirtation with the charts back in the sixties - an endless procession of 'farewell' tours, some dodgy dance collaborations and a slew of moribund chat-show appearances.
He might have even got rediscovered at Glastonbury. However, rather than set-off down the tried and tested slope of endless rehashing of the mythical glory years, Scott Walker has somehow installed himself as one of our most esoteric songwriters - fusing a love of European poetry and experimentation with the intense melodies of A-grade Americana.
Opening through the death-rattle and roll of 'Cossacks Are', Walker's new album 'Drift' is the dictionary definition of the word singular - taking the listener on a highly personal journey that veers from the baroque ('Cue') though to the flippantly paranoid ('The Escape'), without once breaking sweat. With a vocal style that can't help but draw comparisons with the somersaulting larynx of Antony, Walker seemingly delights in the grand gesture; making the likes of 'A Lover Loves', 'Jolson And Jones' and 'Buzzers' edicts on the power of bare-bone production when mixed with such raw talent.
As a new generation emerge in his vision (see London's The Irrepressibles), 'The Drift' proves that Walker still has the modernistic streak which makes his records so enduring. Drift away...
Minor Planets completes a trilogy of cosmically themed electro-acoustic albums by UK and Berlin based trio Twinkle3, 15 years in the making.
"This third installment is once again all about the unique synergies the group discover in combining free group improvisation with studio and musique-concrete techniques. The group's combined love of everything from Lee Perry to Noh Theatre via Karlheinz Stockhausen and King Sunny Ade lead them to respond musically to create a single universe where they all coexist and interact. Aleatoric analogue sequencing, chamber-like acoustic improvisation and dub treatments become distilled into a distinct and emotive narrative that takes us on an exhilarating hyperspace cruise to the outer reaches.
Clive Bell is a virtuoso of the Shakuhachi. His aesthetic takes us on a timbral journey between noise and pitch, expressed and phrased rhythmically by the contour of human breath. This creates a perfect context and focus for a music that moves seamlessly between rhythm, suspension, time modulated analogue states, dissonance and melody. Richard Scott and David Ross share a background in acoustic free improvisation and have pioneered new approaches to rhythm using self-designed analogue systems. On Minor Planets these seemingly paradoxical orthodoxies cross-pollinate in a spirit of wonder and optimism to produce original and experimental music that is both life affirming and uplifting."
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s second album dating back to 1980, wickedly complicating their enigma with a perplexing surrealist collage of psychedelic freeness and communal industrial jams
Available on LP for first time in 30 years, ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’ is still as strange and twisted an album as its title and that artwork would suggest. It marks the group near the start of their bent curve, with Steven Stapleton joined by early members Herman Pathak and John Fothergill, and French avant-garde legend Jac Berrocal on Conch, for a decimated trip into sub- or pre-conscious sound arrangements that get under the skin and unpredictably writhe with a raw, unsettling sensuality dislocated somewhere between snuff film ambience and post-industrial organism.
Leading down their overgrown garden path from 1979’s legendary ‘Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella’, the band’s follow-up could have conceivably moved in any direction after that unprecedented start, and it bloody well does; tripping balls in a way that juices, un-stitches, and messes with then pre-existing frameworks of free jazz, industrial music, and avant-garde experimentalist expression: or simply what would become known as NWW musick.
In tortuously durational side-long works they morph amp hum into licks of fiery psych guitar and cut-up concrète, initially forging a sort of lysergic caveman rock fronted by clangers, that descends into bestial howls, pockets of squealing guitar abstractions and what sounds like a a flock of jazzy geese. And that’s only the first side. The second is equally un/hinged, with cut-up voices pranging from the ether against backdrops of machine elves unscrewing a cavernous workshop at midnight, then gelling into the sickliest music box mælodies and back to avian jazz frolics from another dimension. The band were apparently unhappy with the results of this album, and it remains a fucking weird piece of experimental history.
This compilation opens with a bright and luminous sound exploring at first a narrative, musical dimension, with a moving energy. As a counterpoint, the second half takes us into an intimate and interior space, ending the album in the opposite sphere - calm and ethereal. Each track on the album is produced with a different process, resulting in a wide exploration of landscapes, tonalities and textures.
"POLE - FADING „Fading“ is taken from my forthcoming album and was composed in Spring 2019 while I was working on music inspired by "The Loss of Memory" (Dementia). Very old and long-forgotten details from the past slowly come back to our minds where they remain active, while we forget the most recent memories. We are „Fading“ back to our early days in childhood while we are losing present memory, cognitive skills and physical abilities we have learned during our lifetime.
DANIELA HUERTA (FEAT. CORNELIA THONHAUSER) - LEITMOTIV ‘Alluring black roses in a past dream’. Inspired by words and suspense of movie trailers from the 60’s & 70’s with a slight B movie touch
SAMUEL ROHRER - THE GRID ‘The Grid’ is a reflection on how we are dominated by a descending movement of materialistic desire, which undermines our full potential. Recorded in Berlin, this piece is part of an ongoing process to organically blend textures of percussive and melodic synths with acoustic percussion, singing drums and its overtones
VLADISLAV DELAY - SIX ’Beyond pattern, we are taken aback to the very beginning of development’. Created early 2014 before ”Visa” album. Music has been kept as it was originally made
JAKE MUIR - NILAS Nilas, a thin elastic crust of ice, was recorded at the Banff Centre for the Arts, having been inspired by the cold climate there. The piece is sourced from material given to me by Chris Herbert, plus two personal field recordings made in Banff and Iceland
HOTEL NEON - MONOLITH Written and recorded by Hotel Neon in Dayton, OH, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. "Monolith" is a reflection on vast landscape, and in particular the power that high mountains have on us: motionless, timeless, and monolithic forms that still manage to play very active roles in shaping our imagination. "I knew when I had looked for a long time that I had hardly begun to see.” - Nan Shepherd
International Anthem coax a chilly but lush new age ambient and spiritual jazz suite from a revered L.A. duo Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, taking their cues from Chicago’s legendary Lake Shore Drive in early winter and sounding out like Alice Coltrane on ice.
Finding a logical and natural home for two of North America’s most esteemed contemporary jazz players, ‘Chicago Waves’ sees the west coasters adapt their typically lush sound during a performance at the city’s iconic South Shore Cultural Centre, after rehearsals in Makaya Craven’s Universal Beings, with gently frosted and widescreen results surely ripe for one of USA’s most prominent, open-minded jazz labels.
Anyone familiar with the pair’s sprawling catalogue of solo and collaborative records and performances for others on Leaving Records, Stones Throw, and myriad other labels will recognise the duo shifting their usually warm and expansive style to a sound that clearly evokes colder places. However they can’t help but allow light to colour the scene with rich string movements and avian woodwinds that describe life in early winter with a exquisitely filigree mix of nods to wintry classical composition filtered in a subtly unusual way thru Latinate new age and spiritual jazz’s classic blend of African, Indian and Far eastern modes. We imagine this would all sound lush in the tropics at Christmas.