Act!’s soundtrack to a series of Snapchat filters by artist Karen Vanderborght; scrolling sequences of GIF-like melodic vignettes and thizzy timbral warble, very much in a prism of neo-ambient, handheld and desktop music from Eno and Hosono to James Ferraro or Visible Cloaks
“GREY MATTER AR is a series of Snapchat filters created by artist Karen Vanderborght that explores the poetic and existential potential of AR (Augmented Reality) and social media - suggesting selfies as self-reflective mirrors informed by the wisdom of our elders.
Beginning in 2018 – Karen filmed and interviewed 10 seniors who brought diverse and universal wisdom to some of life’s biggest questions. Andrew; an Ojibwe leader who lived through the residential school program, Alf; a church organist who publicly came out as gay at 80, Anne; the first black Senator in Canada – all the seniors provide unique and profound perspectives on life and aging. See their words, thoughts, and appearances transpose and intersect with your selfhood in an edifying engagement on themes of age, memory, oppression, regret, and resilience. These filters, soundtracked by ACT!, were released exclusively to Snapchat in 2019 and are available now.”
Black Ark Vol. 2 is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"It’s a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded around Jamaica =just before the demise of Perry’s famed Black Ark Studio. Black Ark Vol. 2 is the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release, took a different path.
More vocal oriented, the album features extended dubwise cuts of (former wife and co-producer) Carol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans remake of the Bee Gees hit ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid covers from Third World lead vocalist Bunny Rugs.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark Vol. 2 remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another."
Richard Youngs and co’s experimental disco band meet Norwegian improvisors Lemur in a lissom quartet of ecstatic, hopeful jams following their album for Night School.
‘Amor/Lemur’ began life in Glasgow at the start of 2020 when the two sets of musicians played together for the first time and jumped straight in the studio the following day. Guided by groove, and sparingly layered with Youngs’ distinctive vocal, plus Luke Fowler’s synthlines, the results are broadly split between a decidedly live-sounding first side, and a second side subject to studio-as-instrument treatments rendered by mixing/engineer Paul Savage, and tape manipulations by Jason Lescalleet.
The lolling expanse of ‘Unravel’ sees the massed until open out with a folksy disco earthiness comparable to Arthur Russell circa ‘Springfield’, and leading into the pastoral glade-like opening strains of ‘Stars Burst’, which soon looks into a quick and pounding disco-not-disco motion. However we’re more partial to the other songs, with the devilish detail of the dubwise mixing coming into play on the mesmerising lilt and splashy drive of ‘Fear’, and to slippery effect in the slower, serpentine hustle of ‘For You’ with its nagging, lagging drums.
Mellow, mellifluous jazz-funk from Toronto’s Badge Époque on the wandering Telephone Explosion label
The band’s seven players (Jay Anderson - Drum kit / Chris Bezant - Guitar / Karen Ng - Saxophone / Alia O'Brien - Flute / Ed Squires - Percussion / Giosuè Rosati - Bass / Maximilian 'Twig' Turnbull - Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, synthesizers, piano) and four vocalists (Meg Remy, Dorothea Paas, James Baley, and Jennifer Castle) hustle a warm and bright sound richly schooled in ‘70s jazz fusioneering; weaving in elements of desert blues rock with a Morricone/Badalamenti vibe in the ten minutes of ‘Birds Fly Through Ancient Ruins’, alongside slicker spots of Fender Rhodes soulfulness in ‘Unity (It’s Up To You)’, and atmospheric downstrokes in ‘Just Space For Light.’
After helping shaping (hyper)pop music for the past decade, A.G. Cook presents their 2nd solo album in the slipstream of ‘7G’, their 2020 debut LP, proper
In case you’ve been snoozing under a rock for the past half decade (we wouldn’t blame you tbh), we’ll remind you that A.G. Cook has gained renown as the game-accelerating producer for Charli XCX. He’s also produced for Jónsi (Sigur Ros) and Kim Petras, as well as some of PC Music’s hottest property including GFTOY over the interim, leading him to be hailed as a pioneer of an emergent “hyper pop” style in the process. However, if you’re “of an age”, it’s maybe best to place his work in context stretching from Scritti Politti’s shiny pop to Max Martin (Britney, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys et al), but with additional strong influence from boy racer style Makina and Eurodance, to boot.
His 2nd album ‘Apple’ is an ideally marmite and aspartame flavoured example of Cook’s style, firing 10 shots of hyper-pert contemporary composition, taking in whiny autotuned country pish on ‘Oh Yeag’ and avant-terrace-ready anthems such as ‘Xxoplex’, next to craftier highlights of gurning chamber-pop experiments in ‘Animals’ and the flighty ‘Stargon’, plus the needling niceness in ‘Airhead’, breezy airport reggae pop in ‘The Darkness’, and stadium-sized bedroom pop in ‘Lifeline’ starring Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek.
Let’s be honest, it’s kind of disposable shite and we’ll probably never listen to it ever again, but ‘Apple’ remains an intriguing symptom of recent decades’ hypermodern culture.
One of Prurient’s most captivating raids on the borderlands of power noise and symphonic doom rears its furious head for this epic gatefold edition on Hospital Productions, 10 years on from its original release on double tape and then as a single, shortened vinyl pressing for the legendary Load Records in 2007. This is the first time these tracks have been on vinyl in their full, original form.
Pleasure ground stands as a key part of Prurient’s most brutal quadrant alongside The History Of Aids (2002), Black Vase (2005) and Cocaine Death (2008), its immolating rage renders Fernow at an early crest of his energies, consolidating the hi-pitch intensity and bile of Whitehouse, with the majestic, meditative inspirations of Nordic Black Metal and a more personalised lust for synth tones and pulsating electronic undercurrents.
Its four long tracks are riven with the paradoxes that make Prurient’s music so compelling and practically a genre unto itself, meting out a sound in Earthworks / Buried in Secret that’s simultaneously nerve-gnawing yet bleakly tender, or weighing up caustic harshness with a melodic vulnerability in Apple Tree Victim that appeals far beyond the bombed-out no mans land of pure noise to intersect with the entrails of EBM in the raging but poised thunder of Military Road - one of his finest moments, bar none - and coldwave pop and fetishistic synth themes in Outdoorsman/Indestructible.
If you’re willing to bite down you will find a depth of bittersweet flavour submerged beneath the tidal waves of white noise, filled with nuance and vulnerability, slowly dragging you into the abyss.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker and making its first appearance on vinyl, 'inside means inside me' finds Ulla in an existential daze, conjuring a solitary phantasy woven around recorded telephone conversations and familiar // hard to place field recordings that are mazy, beautiful and unsettling, with an effect that feels like a flotation tank session inside someone else’s head. Followers of Ulla’s work, Sam Kidel’s ‘Disruptive Muzak’, DJ Lostboi’s ambient hymnals or Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction pearls should spend some time inside this one.
Pieced together from airspun recordings made in Philadelphia during spring 2020, ’inside means inside me’ holds a subtle mirror to the new world’s psychic ambiance of existential, slowburn dread. Prizing the sensitively insightful, lower case manner that made Ulla’s 'Tumbling Towards A Wall’ album so memorable, here the sound is more poignant, the dissociative flux used to perhaps more therapeutic effect for an ephemeral reading of the times.
In the first half, Ulla makes a subtly heartbreaking use of fragmented phone calls and shimmering pads, but embedded in the music’s weft they take on an unsettling resolution that’s hard to place. On the flip, more entwined conversations snag in the breeze with location recordings and scudding hypnagogic washes on a signature low key movement that will keep you feeling swaddled but uneasy until the end.
The master of the tape loop returns with "Lamentations", yet another collection of eroded drone for low-light dreamers, captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski’s archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.
Those familiar with Basinski's catalog won't find a lot new here - not a complaint - like the molasses-slow shots that made David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" so eerily affecting, Basinski's spine-chilling repetition drags u into a state of near-hypnosis, focusing on the tiny details as they crumble in and out of view.
"Lamentations" is the perfect title; we've been spinning this on repeat as the constant chatter of apocalyptic news bubbles thru social media and every newsreel across the planet. It's hard to tell exactly what Basinski is lamenting but it doesn't really matter - each track sounds like a fragment of our past slowly fading from view. As "The Disintegration Loops" mourned a New York City that had been lost, "Lamentations" feels like a memorial for something else huge and all-encompassing. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug.
1981 South African Soul-Funk-Jazz from the master tape vault of the As-Shams/The Sun label by the creator of the Black Disco albums.
"As underground jazz fermented in the social and political powder keg of early-80s South Africa, composer and bandleader Pops Mohamed retired the Black Disco moniker in favour of Movement in the City. Their second offering yielded one of the most treasured releases in the As-Shams catalogue by way of Black Teardrops (SRK 786150), a singular blend of down-tempo and atmospheric South African rare groove featuring Dollar Brand saxophonist Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee and bass wizard Sipho Gumede on stand-out cuts like "Lament" and "Camel Walk." This carefully restored Sharp-Flat reissue in an edition of 500 puts the album back in print for the first time in 40 years."
The final performance by legendary electronic music catalyst Mika Vainio depicts the Pan Sonic co-founder at his blistering best only months before he passed away in 2017
‘Last Live’ is demonstrative of the singular way in which Vainio harnessed elemental electronics to his will. Recorded at Cave12, Geneva, on 02.02.17, the set is presented here post-edited by Stephen O’Malley and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, at EMS, Stockholm, to unleash a definitive blast of raw electronic forces that speak unflinchingly to the unpredictable nature of his improvised noise. Quite simply, Vainio is unmatched in his field for this sort of work, and this session stands as testament to the inspirational conviction and devastating effect of his music.
While it may not be immediately apparent on first listen, Vainio’s music has long drawn influence from myriad, intense forms of music. Be it techno, delta blues, dub, black metal, or sheer isolationist minimalism, it was all there, collapsed into a black hole of sound that could be as bloody-minded as it was heart-rendingly sensitive, often in the space of one cut. ‘Last Live’ portrays these unapologetically human characteristics in Vainio’s typically frank yet oblique manner, with each section candidly expressing polarised extremes of sound, from the first part’s transition between jack-licking drones to skin-tearing distortion, while the 3rd and 4th capture him at his most rhythmically disaffected, strongly recalling the almighty, juddering forces of his ‘Kilo’ (2013) album.
Ana Roxanne follows up the short-and-sweet "~~~" with this devastatingly beautiful full-length for Kranky, joining the dots between the label's past and present with heartbreaking sounds that remind us of Labradford, Windy & Carl, Grouper and beyond.
The album was written over the last five years, when the LA-based, Oakland-raised artist released that debut EP. While that record was initially dropped quietly, it was eventually picked up and reissued by Matthewdavid's Leaving Records last year, bringing her almost spiritual vocal-led sounds to a much wider audience.
Ana Roxanne grew up obsessed with her mom's collection of 80s and 90s R&B CDs, singing along to them obsessively while simultaneously training her voice more rigorously as part of a church choir. Years later, she was introduced to Hindustani classical music and her connection to her voice and its potential shifted drastically. When she returned to Oakland, she began to refine her craft studying at the prestigious Mills College, learning to work with synthesizers and becoming obsessed with the deep devotional music of Alice Coltrane. And all of these sounds - these connecting threads - are present on "Because of a Flower".
The album is remarkable in its sublime coherence. Roxanne blends styles, influences and cultural reference points so seamlessly it's almost like reading a diary or a book of poems. From the beginning of the album, which opens on a spoken word piece snipped from a harmony textbook, we're transported to a different world. As billowing drones drift peacefully into view, Roxanne's voice echoes above like kisses from a distant reality. This is deeply personal music, and Roxanne is unafraid to bear her soul and assuredly reflect her identity as an intersex person, imbuing her sounds with a vulnerable sincerity that's impossible to fake.
From there, we're ushered lovingly through songs that unify different elements (muted guitar phrases, fragile drum machine loops, disintegrating film snippets) beneath Ana Roxanne's spine-tingling vocals but retain a rare cohesion. Each track is markedly different, but the album hangs together so perfectly it's almost impossible to separate a single moment from the sublime whole.
It is many things and one complete entity simultaneously. Anyone who's been enthralled by Kranky's classic sounds, from Labradford to Windy & Carl to Grouper, absolutely needs to grab this immediately; utterly unmissable music and one of the best records of its ilk we've heard this year.
Pure Bugandan thunder from core Nyege Nyege Tapes unit, Nilotika Drum Ensemble, demonstrating the sort of drum circle tempest that has charged up all of the label’s revered parties since day dot
Revolving around seven drummers around leader Jajja Kalanda, Nilotika Drum Ensemble play devilishly complex rhythms owing to traditions from across the country, from the Iteso of eastern Uganda, to the Bugandan styles that encompass the capital city Kampala and their tribal south central regions. They’ve been at it for over a decade now, but the rhythms predate them by manifold more years, stemming from ancient central African traditions.
‘Ejokawulida’ rolls out a cascade of swingeing polymetric rhythms from the Iteso tradition that mesh and swarm in ravishingly complex patterns, somehow hingeing around a precise, internal logic of a quantum clock that can’t be read but only understood by dancing limbs. ‘Kekusimbe’ follows on a variant of Ugandan traditional music called Bakisiimba, where, to our ears, it feels like time is moving forwards and backwards simultaneously as the patterns switch on the spot between slow swagger and slow/fast palpitation with turbulent dynamic and discipline.
Blinders, both of them.
Albarika Store is home to many rare recordings, from more traditional folkloric and Sato styles, to the funk, blues and psych inspired workouts of the All Mighty Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, as they referred to themselves.
"Many of the original records are sought after by DJs and collectors asprime examples of Afro-funk, Afro-Latin and Afropsych sounds. The next in the series of reissues by Acid Jazz presents a straight reproduction of the incredibly hard to find Poly-Rythmo ‘Vol. 4’ album, originally from 1978. For DJs and dancers this album has long been about the killer track ‘Aiha Ni Kpe We’, an incendiary Afrobeat recording which will activate any dancefloor anywhere. “Every time I listen to the Orchestre Poly Rythmo… Wow, I just discover something new in the music” - Gilles Peterson This is the first exhaustive trawl of the archive and will see the label presented in a way that ensures its historical importance is recognized. Trips to West Africa have secured original master tapes and the process of transferring is ongoing. Over the next few years a comprehensive reissue campaign is planned."
Cuba: Music and Revolution: Culture Clash in Havana: Experiments in Latin Music 1975-85 Vol. 1 is a new album compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records) that explores the many new styles that emerged in Cuba in the 1970s as Jazz, Funk, Brazilian Tropicalia and even Disco mixed together with Latin and Salsa on the island as Cuban artists experimented with new musical forms created in the unique socialist state of Cuba.
"The album comes as a heavyweight triple vinyl and deluxe double CD, complete with extensive sleeve notes, and is jam-packed with heavy bass lines, synth and Wah-Wah guitar funk combined with the heavyweight percussion, powerful brass lines and the all-encompassing Latin rhythms of Cuban music known throughout the world.
The album is released to coincide with the massive new deluxe large format book Cuba: Music and Revolution: Original Cover Art of Cuban Music: Record Sleeve Designs of Revolutionary Cuba 1959-90, published in November, which is also compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker (Soul Jazz Records), and which features the music and record designs of Cuba, made in the 30-year period following the Cuban Revolution.The music on this album features legendary Cuban groups such as Irakere, Los Van Van and Pablo Milanés as well as a host of lesser known artists such as the radical Grupo De Experimentación, Juan Pablo Torres and Algo Nuevo, Grupo Monumental and Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, groups whose names remain largely unknown outside of Cuba owing to the now 60-year old US trade embargo which remains in place today and which prevents trade with Cuba – and thus most Cuban records were only ever available in Cuba or in ex-Soviet Union states.
The music on this album reflects the most cutting-edge of Cuban groups that were recording in Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s – who were all searching for a new Cuban identity and new musical forms that reflected both the Afro-Cuban cultural heritage of a nation that gave birth to Latin music – and its new position as a socialist state. Most of the music featured on this album has never been heard outside of Cuba. Cuba: Music and Revolution is the third book that Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker have collaborated on together and follows on from their two earlier critically acclaimed books, Freedom, Rhythm and Sound (Revolutionary Jazz Music in the 1960s and 1970s) and Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s, both of which also had related album releases on Soul Jazz Records. Both Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker have been involved in Cuban music for more than two decades – Gilles Peterson with his many Havana Cultura projects for his Brownswood label and Stuart Baker with a number of Soul Jazz Records albums recorded in Cuba. This Soul Jazz Records album is released in conjunction with Egrem, the Cuban state record company, and has been put together after the many crate-digging trips that both compilers have made on the streets of Havana and beyond in Cuba stretching over a 20-year period, searching out rare and elusive original Cuban vinyl records."
Wrily melodic punk jangle from Canada’s Teenanger gang, sticking with a blend of garage-punk, art-pop, and new wave aesthetics that have seen them thus far
“Good Time is Teenanger boiled down to its very essence. A lean and muscular eight-song album that is the sound of a band who simultaneously has everything and nothing to prove. It’s what happens when seasoned songwriters flex their chops in an environment that fosters boundless creativity. It is also Teenanger’s most fun album. Choruses soar to previously unattained heights, descending to a rhythmically fertile ground to pull earworms that will stick inside listeners’ heads for days. If its songs were citizens, they would reside in a diplomatically neutral city-state, melting pots of art rock, pop, dub, post-punk and new wave.
The music of Good Time certainly elicits pleasure, but lyrically things are more weighty. The band does not shy away from its commentary on contemporary issues. There are calls to reject societal norms, ruminations on humanity’s obsession with technology and warnings about our impact on the environment. Teenanger never gets too earnest, delivering everything with an irreverence that has been there since day one.”
Belgian synth whizz Milan W follows Hiele’s lead on Universal Exports Antwerp, a new label set-up by Allon Kaye (Entr’acte), with a curiously emotive iteration of generative music which crosses paths with the most charming Stroom digs as much as Coil’s cod-classical works
“Generative music seems to imply a systems approach to music, or a system that once created can utilise randomness in a creative way. The benevolence of nature’s creativity belies this musical term, and can flip the word ‘generative’ to mean to involve constantly flowing creativity with purpose. In Europe there was a time in the Pagan Renaissance when architecture would mirror nature’s generative quality. Sculptures and columns were to imply animation or movement. That’s where Milan W.’s album comes through in 2020. His music involves the night shadows of Europe’s architecture
and its growth.
In Bloom personifies itself by showing Antwerp’s influential ‘Night Play’: a term that can relate to many European cities such as Bologna, Vienna, and so on and so on. The leftovers of Renaissance and gothic architecture are everywhere in Europe still; layers of ruins that can generate
the impression of simultaneous time periods. Tracks like Spa and Helium Queen reveal and revel in the power of shadow movement that is generated by the night.
In Milan W.’s past works, the poignant and simple creative play of dark wave and synth beat music was his vehicle for expression, but now on In Bloom he departs to a touching sidereal impressionism allied with Coil’s instrumental pieces on Horse Rotorvator — an album whose cover portrays the potential powers of the pavilion just as Milan W. is portraying the generative soul and alienation of Europe’s ‘Night Play’. Because of In Bloom we can come to believe that there is a secretive energy in alienation, a playfulness that is alight at Night.
[Text: Spencer Clark] “
Wonderfully daft exotic synth adventures from a surely winking and besequined Elko B, frothing his organs like a long-forgotten bandmate to Señor Coconut who was chucked out of the band for smoking too much angel dust and getting his ruffles mucky. ‘Bingo Shuffle’ is the one for us
“Here we add a new classic chapter to tradition. A tradition known as the many exotic sounds of Maestro Elko B. The multi instrumentalist member of bands like ‘The Horse Head Bed’, ‘The Groovecats Deluxe’, ‘Dino And The Chicks’ and many more has once again composed a new solo album for Ekster. This fine and tasty selection of musical pieces vibrate colourful echoes ranging from blossoming fountains over casino-esque gambling. Space-cowboys play hide and seek with childlike innocence in an adult world.
Many of the songs on “Realm of Rides & Romance” have found its origin in Blijweert’s work as a composer of soundtracks for theatre, dance performance and artistic installations. Cinematic reflections providing EXO “Paradise Moods” by this multitrack one man band. Recorded from 2017 to 2020, Elko has expressed finding inspiration in chance, the Sphinx, the casino, the Decap organ, colonialism, bats and frogs.”
Analogue synth wizard Martin Jenkins returns to Ghost Box with a glorious vision of retro-futurist electronics in ‘Hollow Earth’, the sequel to ‘Stasis’ 
At just under 1 hour long, ‘Hollow Earth’ weighs in as one of PCA’s most significant, broadest artist albums (as opposed to compilations). It finds the widely beloved project reeling inwards after the extrospective exploits of his ‘Stasis’ LP to reflect on themes of “subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies.”
Gassed on the spirits of Berlin skool synth improvisation and the new age chuff-on that informed early ‘90s house music, the album unfurls as a nightflight over undulating internal topography, roaming from signature slow techno wonders to weightless, vocodered waltz in ‘Descent’ and furtive, ghostly shapes in ‘Claustrophobe’, before raising the energy level with strident dance tracks such as ‘Mindshaft’ and ‘Core sample’. But it’s int he later quarters that we find some of the most precious material, such as the deliciously moody atmosphere and sylvan slink of ‘Dancing Shadows’, the mind-bending noise sculpture of ‘Quad Tape Substrate’, and his Carpenter-on-quaaludes emulation, ‘Buried Memories’.
Parisian artist Shcaa comes off like Jamie Lidell or Jimi Tenor for 2021 with a toned mix of late night electronica and wistful jazz notes for his debut full length with Apollo
Over the course of 11 cuts he nimbly oscillates between puckered songcraft and limber tech-house minimalism, with his vocals sparingly used as connective ligature between the likes of his moonlit opener ‘Faroh’s Birds’ and the slow hustle of ‘Auguries’, and the elegantly loping Villalobos styles of ‘Moralia’, while ‘Fantasia’ recalls classic Luomo, and trades in a fine piece of bedsitter blues in ‘When Eternity.’
Mad strong set of panoramic electronics somewhere between Autechre, Cairo’s 1127, Helm and Porter Ricks, deploying two side-long isolationist dubs that sprawl from washed out low-end spasms to fractured triplets that ricochet and escalate into a brutal, beautiful wall of sound. Pretty special this one!
Unglee Izi, whoever he or she may be, follows the single-minded but expansive course of a handful of solo albums since 2016 with a glacial confluence of booming subs and shivering hi-hats with slow-burning textural attrition and sublime pads that develop into a heaving mass of synth noise. That dense bleakness is held in elemental balance with moments of astonishing beauty, like peaking up above the mist to catch a glimpse of vast panoramic vistas at night.
’Sécurité du Premier Monde Tracteur Directrice de LASMA’ on the A side treks from reverberating bass hits and gamelan-like shudders up steep ravines, joined by rising cold winds and biospheric bleeps into blizzard-like dynamics, eventually revealing a peak of string pads and basses recalling the crest of ELpH’s ‘pHILM #1.’
The B-side deploys relentress trills and hi-hat rhythms descending a sheer granite face of synth pads that open out with a staggering sense of foreboding scale, only to calve away in avalanches of digital noise in the most visceral sense possible.
TIPPED to anyone looking for a frequency thrill.
Cyber-punkish, freestyling industro-house pressure from Iueke on his maiden mission for L.I.E.S.
Never one to fit in a box, the Parisian producer churns up a pair of free-handed jakbeat oddities in the wayward model of Jamal Moss or Noleian Reusse, but added dub flux, letting his drum machine and sequencer patterns rove on and off the beat in waves of viscous bass and rhythm.
They both take over 10 minutes to say their piece, with ‘Les super des cendres’ hustling a hovering strings and flapping drums into a labyrinthine, psychedelic club cut that gets progressively psychedelic, and ‘Des fureurs héroïques’ follows thru with tangled square bass and frayed, Afro-centric rhythm suss.
James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra came to be after the blossoming of a long-term friendship between James Yorkston and Karl- Jonas Winqvist, the Swedish music producer, leader and conductor of The Second Hand Orchestra.
"That communal feeling is apparent across the entire album. Recorded and mixed in Sweden over the course of three days, with a selection of musicians Winqvist had brought together, including Peter Morén (Peter, Bjorn & John), Cecilia Österholm (one of Sweden’s best-known nyckelharpa players), Emma Nordenstam (piano & cello) and Ulrika Gyllenberg (violin). The studio approach with The Second Hand Orchestra was entirely improvised around Yorkston’s songs and the only song they heard in advance was ‘Ella Mary Leather’; Yorkston didn’t want to direct anyone too much but instead allowed for a welcoming, instinctive, free-spirited and joyful atmosphere. ‘The Wide, Wide River’ is a soothing, warm and sublime listen whilst also highlighting Yorkston’s skills for songwriting, collaboration and as a musical conductor. The record takes in past loves, advancing age and friends now gone, whilst also containing some of the most sanguine songs Yorkston has ever made."
Classy debut album of horizon-scanning but intimate chamber compositions by Elori Saxl, seamlessly weaving a range of classical orchestration with field recordings and electronics
‘The Blue of Distance’ sees Elori draw listeners between the Adirondack Mountains in summer, and the middle of Lake Superior at the depths of winter, for a cinematic album that expresses a palpable sense of nostalgia and hope. Its title is inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s observation that faraway mountains appear blue due to light particles getting lost over distance, as outlined in ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, and Elori uses that phenomena as metaphor for the music’s curious sense of physical detachment/immersion and elusive familiarity, meshing recordings of a 6 piece ensemble (Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Flue, Oboe, Bassoon) made in summer, with their re-sampled images, re-recorded thru the foot of ice beneath her on Lake Superior, to create an absorbing blur between place and space, and between physical gesture and artificial resonance. A quiet-minded one for fans of Ian William Craig, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, or the evocative, descriptive powers of Goldmund.
Completely head-warping Persian progressive dub nuggets from LA's Maral. Where else are you gonna find Lee "Scratch" Perry, Crass's Penny Rimbaud, oversaturated beats and Iranian classical and folk samples mashed into a fuzz of echo and tape hiss?
Few genres have been as rinsed, but Maral's "Push" arrives to remind us that innovation is still possible within dub's expansive parameters. The LA DJ and producer impressed with last year's bizarre and brilliant "Mahur Club", but truly centers her own dynamic universe on "Push", finding the psychedelic sweet spot between trip-hop, dub, club music and Iranian folk and classical styles.
From the opening blast of 'Kerman Wobble' - all echoing Iranian vocals and lo-bitrate beatbox hits that sound as if they're about to snap whatever tape spool they're cycling on - it's clear that Maral is wielding her fusion with intent. The fingerprints of dub are everywhere, as vocals get trapped in delay vortexes and rhythms are fired thru disintegrated FX chains. When Lee "Scratch" Perry shows up on 'Protect U', it doesn't feel like just another feature, it feels like a blessing from one generation to another.
You should know by now that we're into sonic world building here, and with a collection of samples, loops and FX, Maral has built a four-dimensional soundscape we never want to leave. It's the connecting thread between Tricky, Sote, DJ Spooky, Demdike Stare and DJ Rupture and like-minded contemporaries Thoom, 8ULENTINA and Lara Sarkissian. "Push" is an astonishing debut and one of the stand-out albums of the year, miss at your peril.
Casey MQ hits square between the eyes of How To Dress Well, PC Music and SOPHIE with their debut album on Toronto’s Halocline Trance. Shatterproof but tremulous vocals examine a sense of identity against a pop-tart set of self-productions by the artist, and beats from the artist known as Egyptrixx
““Watching old tapes of myself, I realize much of my childhood world was a multi-faceted obsession with boybands. Before even knowing about sexuality, I was seduced by their guise of desirability: a 5 men crew with subtle homoerotic tendencies singing about wanting ‘the girl’ and basking in the surrounding fandom. These images pervaded my childhood and plagued me with confused desire. I was enriched and enchanted by that world - I wanted every piece of it, I wanted to be a part of it. When I watch videos of my childhood, I can sense the purity of a child living his dream in real time. babycasey is playing alone: filming the band, introducing the band, performing as the band; he is every member, and the host, and the crowd. I can see babycasey engrossed by these figures. I wanted them and I wanted to be them, but hetero-normative expecations designate these as mutually exclusive possibilities. And so I attempted to give up my desire and become the desirable. I became a singer as a child because I loved it, and yet still, praise from the outside world came coated with normative, traditional values: ‘Sing like this and you will get all the girls.’ Success meant extinguishing a woman’s agency. It meant that desirability could only be validated through a hetero-normative gaze. Performance became my vehicle for success and my path towards an aspirationalist dream: be a star and be valued for beauty, sex and power. ‘Make some noise’ - be a force so powerful as to command young minds. It’s a deceit, and yet a child can be entranced. The melodies, the dancing, the images - pain and pleasure permeating within babycasey’s imagination."
Overmono play around with bittersweet tunings in a set of trancey-tempered glyders marking their return to XL
The supple techno roll and twirling lead of the title tune, and the brooding flight of ‘Aero’, roll out like Kieran Hebden getting smudged on K - a bit Four Ketty, if you allow - while ‘Clipper (Another 5 Years)’ swangs out with bustling garage-techno breaks and warped bassline tunings recalling Thom Yorke strong solo works, and ‘Verbosa’ tilts off with intricately woven ambient electro-techno patterns not a million miles away from Call Super’s recent album.
Second in a series of three releases, a 45 Minute doublepack featuring some of the most engrossing House music you’ll likely hear this year or any other...
We’re still dazed from the 1st volume, but Will Long and DJ Sprinkles have already cued up their 2nd session, with Mint / Clay landing handsome on Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse.
The format and aesthetic remains the same as Vol.1, namely two raw pieces by Will Long, backed with extended overdubs by Sprinkles amounting to thee deepest house this side of Larry Heard’s nuclear love bunker, all subtly executed and held up as a comparison to the aesthetics and intentions (or, ironically, the excess and lack of) of that sound in relief of current, conceptually-detached takes on the original NYC deep house sound which Sprinkles was instrumental in shaping as a downtown DJ during that formative era.
Again, Will Long, who’s best known for his experimental ambient work as Celer, proves that it ain’t what you’ve got but what you know and can do with it that matters. Under-Currents places sparing samples of T.R.M. Howard - a mentor of Jesse Jackson - amidst a dream sequence of carbonated hi-hats and lingering chords urged by a plump bass drum, whilst Get In & Stay In nods to civil right activist and current Georgia congressional representative John Lewis in a lush haze of crepuscular chromatics and loping swing.
On the flipsides, DJ Sprinkles contributes another pair of incredible overdubs, lending Long’s minimal elements a richer, fleshlier feel, whether with additional breakbeats or nimbly lowering the bass and layering up spirited flutes and Rhodes. Suffice to say, they’re absolute mind-melters.
Quite crucially, the concept never gets in the way of the music, perfectly demonstrating the symbiotic nature of the music and politics in the way we imagine they intended; I mean it’s not like they want you to sit in a corner of the club pondering their ideas, but they’re definitely worth bearing in mind, especially for the DJs, dancers and promoters who act as gatekeepers for this music.
Mind-bending, phantastically dark and complex spectral music for 16 grand pianos, saxophone and electronics, from Romania’s Horatio Radelescu, originally issued on the crucial Edition RZ label in 1990 amidst their rather important early streak of releases. Includes bilingual (German/English) liner notes. RIYL Iancu Dumitrescu, Iannis Xenakis, Reinhold Friedl, Autechre
His solo debut LP upon issue in 1990, the two pieces on Clepsydra / Astray arguably amount to Radulescu’s definitive early works, following an impenetrably technical approach to achieve highly idiosyncratic and distinguished results which place him among the most important practitioners of the tricky-to-define spectral music - a form of computer-aided electro-acoustic composition that “foregrounds timbre as an important element of structure or language” and rooted in earlier ideas by Xanakis, Stockhausen, Varèse et al.
Like we say, by its nature, it’s as tricky to define the parameters of spectral music as it is to define the notion of timbre, but the composer himself has a very good stab at it in the sleeve notes, which are among the most literally technical and baffling we’ve encountered.
However, from what we can make out, the astonishing Clepsydra, written for 16 Sound Icons - or 16 grand pianos tilted on their side and played with bows - is conceptually based around the titular, ancient greek water clock mechanism, and explores a jaw-dropping, flowing spectra of glistening, garrotting and razor sharp strings creating a 22 minute experience akin to K-holing in a gyroscope around a hall of mirrors. Queasy as hell, but rewarding with it for those with a constitution for such stuff.
By contrast the dynamic of Astray, premiered in 1984 and written for identical duos of saxophonist playing six saxes (bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino) and another on Sound Icon (grand piano turned on its side), but with each duo playing at different speeds, explores another set of timbral integers with seemingly more space in the mix, to more inquisitive, coolly probing effect.
A remarkable slab by any standards. Recommended!
Hybrid uptempo club constructions from Montreal-based Slick Shoota. A gram of messy rave energy sprinkled into a wrap of footwork, trap and jungle sonics.
We might still be a few months from the function, but Slick Shoota has provided a soundtrack that has us gasping for a large speaker and baggie of whatever. The producer and DJ cut his teeth in Norway running the notorious Ball Em Up night and was inaugurated into the Teklife family back in 2015; now he's based in Montreal and this selection of sci-fi tinged bass exposition is a testament to his persistent globetrotting.
Influences here are easy to place, but are melted into a hybrid sound that's high-tempo but not strictly tied to one framework or another. The relentless thrust of footwork is omnipresent, but garnished with elements snatched from jungle and hardcore, bassline and trap. Standouts are the wobbly 'Delahaze', a cheeky bassline-cum-club stomper that sounds like it was engineered on the cursed space station in "Event Horizon" and 'MTL Hardcore', that accurately reflects the DIY energy of Slick Shoota's adopted home with 12-bit breaks, chopped vocals and rolling rave stabs. Oof.
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
One of the most influential, insular and multi-layered albums of the last three decades, created through endless hours of improvisation - involving almost fifty musicians and recorded in complete darkness, 'Laughing Stock' is an album that has attained almost mythical status since its release in 1991.
Following the commercial success of their singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It” and album "The Colour of Spring”, Talk Talk retreated back into the shadows and produced two albums that defied categorisation. After the release of the first of these (Spirit of Eden) and a proolonged court case, the band parted ways with EMI and signed to iconic jazz imprint Verve who financed the long and complicated recording of Laughing Stock. Assembling almost 50 guest musicians, Mark Hollis is said to have demanded they record in almost complete darkness, improvising for hours to produce individual parts without hearing any backing tracks or surrounding material. Most of these recordings were discarded, but from what remained Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene pieced together a record that is essentially one long sequence of overdubs separated out into six long tracks.
Laughing Stock was to be their last album - on its release the NME described it as “horrible” and many listeners were left perplexed by its insular, unfathomable dynamics. But in the time since, Laughing Stock's legacy seems to have grown in stature with every year that has gone by. You can easily see the stylistic and conceptual markers left by Talk Talk in the way that bands like Radiohead went on to explore more open-ended, diverse sound sources and stylistic shifts - feeling able to experiment without fear of alienating a large fanbase as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a band with considerable chart success to do.
"Laughing Stock" is not only one of the most absorbing albums of the modern era, it’s also a masterclass of production and construction, a relic, perhaps, of an era when artists could completely disconnect from the pressures of their surroundings and dive deep into the wormhole...
Flaming Tunes was recorded by Gareth Williams (ex of This Heat) and his childhood friend Mary Currie and released on cassette in 1985. A hodgepodge of lo-fi pop songs, experiments and location recordings that sound like they were never intended for public consumption, it’s by chance or design one of the most moving, personal, memorable DIY/experimental pop albums of the 20th century, you better believe it.
As Mary Currie describes it: "Flaming Tunes was a collaboration that came out of a friendship. Gareth and I would meet at 'Danger de Mort' Gareth's house in Balham usually during the daytime when my son was at nursery. Sometimes we'd be joined by others. A room full of instruments and things that could make noise. We made some of our own too and used available objects for percussion. Later on we had more sophisticated equipment - full size keyboard and 12 track recording facility. Sometimes things happened and sometimes we just indulged ourselves in making a bit of a racket. I can't begin to describe how Gareth put things together and this was often done well into the early hours of the morning. I'd go away and come back and what had started out as a fragment had become another flaming tune."
After a bootlegged version came out in the late 90's, Life & Living Records - an independent label operated by Williams' close circle of friends (Williams himself passed away in 2001 at the age of 48) - went back to the original master tapes and painstakingly restored and remastered the audio. As for the music itself - oh gosh, where to start? On one level - it's a hodgepodge of lo-fi pop songs, experiments and location recordings that sound like they were never intended for public consumption. And yet - these tunes just don't let go of you once you've spent any amount of time with them. Take "Breast Stroke" for instance - just the most unforgettable, life-affirming three and a half minutes you'll ever spend with a piece of music. The fact that the percussion was made on a casio keyboard and what sounds like a peculiarly British variant of a human beatbox, well, it's just the icing on the cake.
Really, words just do no justice.
This lot have released 5 x 12”s anonymously over the last 3 years via Hardwax and there’s no info about them anywhere, pretty sneaky.
They now land on Mana, a label so esoteric it has a flowchart on its website showing you how to get from Luc Ferrari to Nico Jaar in one short leap.
There are 4 long tracks, one per side, each clocking in at 15 mins and each taking time to expand into being. There is persistent water drumming, the a side is all exotic melodica, nature sounds and bells with Flanger-esque bass humps plus some water drumming, side 2 has a very burial mix sounding bassline sat low in the mix to give the water drumming more presence, side C is more reflective and serene tropical vibes, with side D giving it some classic dub pressure and location recordings which we think we once heard Bill Kouligas play on the radio a few years back and which is dope as fuck.
So yeah, it sounds a bit like a k-hole version of Burnt Friedman & Atom Heart’s early Flanger gear crossed with Burial Mix and that incredible water drumming vid dust to digital posted a while back on there tweeter.
An advanced masterclass in Berlin beat science, ‘Wireless’ is the final and arguably strongest solo release by T++; aka Torsten Pröfrock, an artist with a long lineage of important releases under numrous aliases - Dynamo, Erosion,Log, Resilent, Traktor, Various Artists and more - a true pillar of Berlin's Techno legacy.
First issued by Honest Jon’s in 2010, the 2x12” features samples of singer and ndingidi-player Ssekinomu (originally found on the EMI archival dive ‘Bellyachers, Listen - Songs From East Africa, 1938-46’) reworked by Pröfrock into a volley of rambunctious but rudely disciplined club workouts some 75 years later. In many other hands, this could have been just another passable cut ’n splice edit, but T++ treats the material with a balance of reverence and raving license, highlighting an instinctive understanding of the original music's intent and purpose, and their deep rooted connection to modern fast rap and hardcore dance musics.
The four tracks amount to a contemporary classic in their field and also exist in a strong tradition of German artists ranging from Stockhausen to Can and Basic Channel whose music has crucially incorporated the fluid, rolling nature and spectra of African drumming patterns. However, it’s vital to point out that T++’s take on African drumming is also filtered thru a love of UK music - Jungle, D&B, garage, dubstep - meaning that his rhythms are properly underlined with syncopated, technoid basslines owing as much to Kingston, Jamaica as Brixton and Sheffield in the UK.
For anyone who had been intently listening to Pröfrock's output since his Traktor gems, thru his Dynamo aces, to early work with Monolake and his string of seminal T++ 12”s in the 2000’s, on its release in 2010 ‘Wireless’ quickly came to epitomise his approach to broken techno production at its most open-ended and inexorable. Between the itchy, sprung step of ‘Cropped’, the puckish darkside torque of ‘Anyi’, a voodoo communal in ‘Voice No Bodies’, and the reanimated spirits of ‘Dig’ you have some of the finest mutant techno ever cut to vinyl.
An absolute must-have for dancers and DJs.
7 years after the release of "Laughing Stock" and the end of Talk Talk, Mark Hollis recorded what has since gone on to be described as "quite possibly the most quiet and intimate record ever made".
In many respects it's an album no-less influential than "Laughing Stock", once again extending the parameters and smudging the boundaries between many disparate musical styles and influences, taking elements of jazz, classical and devotional music without ever really sounding like anyone or anything else you'll have heard before.
Much like "Spirit of Eden" and "Laughing Stock", it's an album that's really attained an almost mythical status - leaving so many desperately waiting to see if Hollis would ever return to making music again. Either way - his influence appears to be stronger today than ever before, and this gorgeous vinyl pressing has sent us off once again into a place we'd almost forgotten about but which has accompanied and enriched our lives for many years...
Sargent House re-issue Chelsea Wolfe’s first album The Grime and The Glow for the first time.
"Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk—a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within.
Originally hailing from Northern California, Wolfe's formative years were spent tinkering in her country musician father's home studio, however, she long lacked the confidence to share her work. Then, in 2009, an overseas excursion as part of a nomadic performance troupe ignited her passion for performing and initiated a renewed interest in writing and recording. After performing in cathedrals, basements and old nuclear plants to whoever would listen, she returned home with a new drive.
She began toting around an 8-track and recording as the mood hit, eventually editing her findings into a breathtaking debut album, 2010's The Grime & the Glow. Marrying the gentle intimacy of folk, the atmospheric voodoo of death rock, and the bleak, sullen nihilism of black metal, Wolfe's sound effectively cast a genre all her own: a cavernous rumble, marked by stuttering drums, ethereal synths, and a wash of guitar, all very much in the service of one of the most hypnotic, celestial voices in modern music. Described as both healing and harrowing, enchanting and narcotic, the album established Wolfe as a force on the rise"
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...
‘Arc 1’ is the first posthumous release of Mika Vainio’s solo material, taken from a large collection of his unreleased music. The archive series will present pieces which can be considered as completed works rather than unfinished fragments, and ‘ARC 1’ is a fittingly contemplative artefact - preserving Mika’s patient, sensuous minimalism released under his solo moniker, Ø.
Made up of two selections from an untitled recording Vainio did as Ø for the radio project Ambient City at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki in 1994, the 34 minute work can be considered a complete, singular work, and one of the purest in Vainio's catalogue.
Working at the threshold of perception in a way comparable with fellow minimalist masters such as Eliane Radigue or Kevin Drumm, ‘ARC 1’ follows a glacial transition from elemental subbass pulses through sustained, hovering drone before almost imperceptibly changing state half way, when a field of static disruption re-organises the piece’s atoms, only for the noise to recede and reveal a more complex timbral aurora, and a final tract of isolationist ambience flickering like northern lights.
We all know that Cluster man Hans Joachim Roedelius is pretty nifty on the old ivories, but ‘Plays Piano’ is really something special to behold.
Recorded in 1985 at an exclusive concert at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, ‘Plays Piano’ was a reaction to the grand pianos he came across while staying with his good friend Brian Eno. He organized a series of concerts to introduce listeners to this musical direction and this recording documents it perfectly. Apparently Roedelius was stunned by the quality of the Steinway grand piano at the venue, and this absolutely informed the music that emerged.
In attendance were Brian Eno and The Edge (among many other esteemed guests I’m sure), and there is a feeling of almost religious transcendence in these pieces. It’s hardly surprising that by the end of the show people were apparently kneeling down in front of the musician in gratitude! This is the first time this music has been released, and it feels like a gift to dedicated Roedelius fans and solo piano aficionados alike.
Punkish EBM from another new recruit to L.I.E.S.’ legion of dancefloor mercenaries, tipped by I-F!
Manisdron is known as Takafumi Okada to the taxman and also as drummer for Goat, and his S/T debut positions him like some cyberpunk answer to Liaisons Dangereuses, DAF, or DRP, firing off nagging arps and horsepower EBM in ‘LFAD’, along with the strobe and smoke mission ‘Crossing’, plus the spiky synths and steaming velocity of ‘Alphabet of Spring’, and recalling those fierce An-I 12”s in ‘Sacrifice MP.’
The Bug darkens Hyperdub’s doorstep proper for first time since ’Skeng’ with a dead strong new album of mutant dancehall and dread trip hop voiced by Dis Fig.
Currently in fecund form after a series of superb solo albums, Zonal with JK Broadrick, and his modern classic with King Midas Sound, Kevin Martin aka The Bug now finds another ideal foil in Felicia Chen aka Dis Fig, who appears to leave her production hat aside in favour of intimately hushed, almost opiated vox that provide the perfectly possessed counterweight to the musick’s low frequencies and noctilucent timbres.
For the majority of the album Dis Fig is a central, if elusive, presence strongly channelling a certain sort of late ‘90s trip hop and pop ennui that can’t help but remind us the tone to classic Massive Attack, Depeche Mode or Sneaker Pimps from that era, while The Bug’s production subtly elides the aching poetic, liminal nocturnal space of KMS into his more typical dancehall-mowing rhythms with irresistible effect.
The 12 tracks play out like a hymn book for the deserted, haunted dance floors of 2020, tempering the subs and drums to a ghostly, just-outta-reach middle distance, rather than in-your-face, and leaving acres of room for Dis Fig’s vocals to haunt, variously radiating from the core into infinity as on ‘End In Blue’, or hidden in a psychedelic stereo haze of ‘Forever’, while the ohrwurming cadence of ‘Destroy Me’ will likely be echoing in your head for days, weeks after, and you can find K. Martin at his instrumental best on the nerve-gnawing grine of ‘Blood’.
Call us fanboys, but the whole album is just fucking outstanding, really. Bravo.
Apifera are the latest signing to Stones Throw’s growing roster of jazz innovators. The four musicians have come together for their debut album Overstand.
The group consists of Yuval Havkin aka Rejoicer (keys), Nitai Hershkovits (keys), Amir Bresler (drums) and Yonatan Albalak (bass). Rejoicer has released two albums on Stones Throw. Hershkovits has played in a trio with ECM Records musician Avishai Cohen. Apifera create organic-sounding structures, harmonies and arrangements intended to reflect the rich variety and equilibrium of the natural world.
Working intuitively, the quartet wrote and recorded Overstand mostly live in just three days, and the final album includes minimal overdubbing. Drawing on real-life spiritual and psychedelic experiences, often intertwined with nature, as a springboard for their music, Apifera showcases a sound that is free, improvisatory, and live.
Debut release by new band from Sweden, Gås.
"The Swedish word ‘Gås’ has two known meanings - one is ‘goose’, the Mythical mighty animal and the other is street slang for ‘smoking weed’. Though there may now be a third new meaning, and that would be ‘heavy and loud’.
The 7”starts with Epitaph, a 4 minute + track, rammed full of incredible ‘Rocket trademark’ fuzz-wah immersions from twin lead guitars. The early 70s rock inspired vibe is reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer but also has a ‘commune-dwelling’ sound of the German bands from that same era. Acts like Amon Duul ll and Agitation Free spring to mind – as well as their Swedish contemporaries Arbete & Fritids, International Harvester and Rävjunk.
The B-side ‘The North Wind Blew South’ is, in fact, a cover version, originally by the British band Philamore Lincoln, who made one album in 1970. Gås move the intimate, string driven pop song into a fuzz filled sing-along anthem with its feet firmly set in the Swedish psych scene.
Gås are a perfect addition to the list of mind altering Swedish bands that are already on the Rocket roster. So if you have GOAT, Hills, Flowers Must Die, Och, Centrum and Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation records in your collection, then this 7” is a worthy addition."
Sam Amidon considers his new self-titled album the fullest realization to date of his artistic vision.
"It comprises his radical reworkings of nine mostly traditional folk songs, performed with his band of longtime friends and collaborators. Amidon produced the record, applying the sonic universe of his 2017 The Following Mountain to these beloved tunes, many of which he first learned as a child. ‘Pretty Polly,’ for example, was one of the first traditional tunes he learned to play, and ‘Time Has Made A Change’ is a song that his parents – singers who were on the 1977 Nonesuch recording Rivers of Delight with the Word of Mouth Chorus – sang around the house when he was young."
‘Sign’ is Autechre’s first new album-album proper since ‘Elseq’ and contains some of their most emosh compositions in eons, perhaps since ‘Tri Repetae’.
Practically pocket-sized in comparison to their sprawling torrent of live material and radio recordings in recent years, ’Sign’ is a return to the sort of concision found circa ‘Exai’ and their earlier albums. Effectively they’ve gotten better to grips with their live set-up, and the hyper ideas found in their work-in-progress demonstrations on the five volume ‘Elseq’ and 8hrs of ‘NTS Sessions’ have been refined into moments of crystalline ambient baroque beauty and liquid-limbed swag on ’Sign’.
After their music has undergone what could be called a growth spurt in recent years, the acrid plasma of their complex, hyper-inorganic systems feels to congeal, create more intricate snaps across the album, from the lush cosmic collisions of ‘M4 Lema’, to the rhizomic arp weaving on ‘F7’, while refining their tendons and muscle in the gyrostep of ‘au14’ and ‘such.mefd2’. The anthropomorphisation of their synthesis accelerates with the album’s 2nd half with the elegiac catharsis of ‘Metaz form8’ displaying a greater emotional intelligence, while their shapeshifting synthesis grows semblances of glowing hair and teeth and skin in ’th red a’, and even a plaintive human heartache in the systolic thud and bloo pads of ‘psin AM’ that rawly bleeds out in the album’s future classic closer ‘r cazt’.
This LP was hinted at by Autechre as one of two albums ready for 2020, so we’ll take it this is their “U Ok Hun?” one to some possibly more hardcore turns in the future. Have it.
L.I.E.S. keep it close to their Parisian home with a crunchy volley of breakbeat belligerence by Collapsing Market’s Eszaid
‘Meet The Top Boys’ knuckles out grimacing bass hits into a hardcore ruckus, while ‘Whatever Happened To The Knockers’ keeps it bleeding raw like a Muslimgauze jungle cut. ’Shot Down At The Prince Of Whales’ slugs on a slower flex with extra salty distortion, before he turns onto a D&B footing with the flinty step of ‘First Class Dub’, and the nervy, skeletal shape of ’Members Stand’ on a super stripped down, Digital-esque tip.
Chasing up an ace 12” of crooked EBM dub for BFDM, Jonquera blesses Lyon’s Bamboo Shows with a full debut album in this dank, expressively weirdo synth mode
Also known as half of Pilotwings, Jonquera’s solo work is a dark, grubbier proposition taking cues from dungeon synth music and doomy, mutant industrial styles redolent of ‘90s horror and RPG computer scores, but steering to the right side of cheesy. The album was produced over the course of one week and is said to narrate a “feudal struggle between a heretic woman and a priest in the small town of Charlieu, France” which is always going to be a strong, if at least curious, basis for a record.
In 14 succinct steps, the tracks reveal an absorbingly personalised and playful sort of sound design that crosses paths with the kind of possessed creations by Black Zone Myth Chant or Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, helming to sluggish rhythms and superbly layered for heady immersion in his pulpily esoetric illbience.
"Our lives are expendable under most governments, secondary under a system of monetary rule. We are stock if you like, parts on a shelf for the purposes of profit, discarded at any moment if fabricated or non-fabricated crisis threatens productivity. This is constant, obviously and notably in the current pandemic. The masses cannot be present in the minds of ill-fitting leaders, surely? Or else the realisation of their catastrophic management would cripple their minds. Much like the human body can still survive without a full set of ribs we are all 'spare ribs’, preservation for capitalism, through ignorance and remote rule, available for parts."
Proggy concept album about influential 20th century philosopher Gilles Deleuze - RIYL Art Zoyd, Richard Pinhas, Heldon
“This new album (the tenth in their discography) was born from two ambitions: to pay tribute to Soft Machine's Third on form (4 sides / 4 titles) and to philosopher Gilles Deleuze (Difference and Repetition is the title of his thesis) on the contents. The 4 long pieces of this double concept album were developed over 2 years and each has a different style and climate. Bold and kaleidoscopic, Difference and Repetition perfectly synthesizes the musical and literary obsessions of Palo Alto.
Formed in Paris in 1989, Palo Alto released his first album (a cassette) on the Italian label Old Europa Cafe in 1990. The year 2020 is therefore an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this first stone, the founder of a discography rich with 10 albums. The band is now composed of Jacques Barbéri (also a science fiction author), Laurent Pernice (ex-member of the French industrial band Nox) and Philippe Perreaudin (also coordinator of several compilations and reissues: Legendary Pink Dots, Un Département, Nino Ferrer Revisited, Ptôse, Hardy Fox…).
Literature, and particularly science fiction, is a leitmotiv in the band's work. Antoine Volodine, Thomas Pynchon, Philip K. Dick, Lewis Carroll or J. G. Ballard have been invoked many times. In recent years, Palo Alto has multiplied musical collaborations with, among others, The Residents, Ptôse, Klimperei, Tuxedomoon... From industrial music to inextricable electronic ramifications, by making a detour through improvisation, the musical universe of Palo Alto is multifaceted. Their new album is no exception to this rule…”
Growing up in deindustrialized Providence, Rhode Island of the 1970s and 1980s provided NYC-based composer and interdisciplinary artist Gavilán Rayna Russom access to derelict subterranean spaces including the mile-long East Side Rail Tunnel.
"The tunnel's reverberant darkness would produce distinctive sensory effects and host Russom's formative experiences of interpersonal connectedness, liminality, transgender identity, anti-capitalist desire and state repression. Secret Passage -- an absorbing, memoiristic work by Russom, whose synthesis-based practice fuses information and expression into organic wholes -- draws on memories of 'unsupervised autonomous zones where I tasted the possibilities of a world without surveillance,' as she writes in the liner notes. Inspired by 'this beautifully neglected place,' the music resounds with ghostlike echoes and raw pulsations.
Russom utilizes synthesizers, field recordings and voice to illustrate hallucinatory revelations of the city's lightless undercarriage. Each track of Secret Passage, originally released as a limited cassette on Voluminous Arts, is dedicated to a friend -- entwining personal liberation with collective discovery. The East Side Rail Tunnel has been inaccessible since the 1990s, the result of urban development and gentrification."