Dungeon Acid spanks his boxes for Gothenburg’s Höga Nord Records on two dashes of doom metal techno trudge and rockabilly acid following his cranky split 12” with Russell Haswell for iDEAL.
Amp-burning guitar distortion arcs over monotone war march bass drum on A-side Dog Acid, coming off like a muted Gqom bumper hammered out by long haired orks.
On Sex Beat gives it some squelcher swagger with a clipped, booming drum break recalling early Powell productions anchoring a slippery 303 line that weaves in between the legs and up the bones, driving the ‘floor into a right tangle.
Some of the swerviest gear we’ve heard from The Maghreban
Getting it right in all three parts with the hypnotic, sloshing cadence and over-stepping lean of Pots & Pans, drily adroit drum machine calculations and jazz-funk suss in Martha, and grubbing funk redolent of Beatrice Dillon or Giuseppe Ielasi on Elka.
Andy Warhol superstar Nico (Christa Päffgen) starred on the first Velvet Underground record before a series of highly acclaimed albums for Elektra, Reprise and Island between 1967 - 74.
"This mini album is the first and rarest of two sessions (the other was in 1974) recorded live for John Peel’s ‘Top Gear’, a BBC Radio 1 show, on 2nd February 1971. Featuring tracks from all the albums mentioned above, it is a beautifully haunting session featuring Nico at the height of her creative powers.
Previously available only very briefly on vinyl in 1989, this release benefits from the full luxurious Gearbox Records treatment, featuring all-valve mastering and the highest quality pressing."
Over-funked german jazz-house, originally issued in 2001, reissued in abridged form with Walkin’ Thru Circles [Full Expansion] on A-side and the subtler swing of Walking Thru Circles [Thump Mix] on the B-side.
Nasty split 12” of EBM and techno from London’s Khemia Records
Finding Broken English Club clamping down with razor-toothed synthlines and steel-tipped drums in Thee Art ov Metals, before Claus Fuss hits hard on the 4 with his throbbing beast, Static Ace.
Domino Soundtracks are proud to present their first release, an original soundtrack recording from Dan Deacon of the provocative essay-film ‘Rat Film’.
"‘Rat Film’ marks Deacon’s first full record devoted to modern composition. In between his four ecstatic flexedthe 21st Century classical muscles he first developed studying at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory Of Music.
‘Rat Film’ offers the first recorded document of this parallel career - and both as a self-contained album and a companion piece to an equally potent film, it astounds."
Outstanding debut album from Príncipe’s first lady, Nidia Minaj, following up the huge buzz around her debut 12”, Danger  with a 14 track portrait of a thrilling yung artist following her instincts for the good of dances everywhere.
Since that electrifying Danger 12” she really left us hanging, with only Pra Fachar and the raucous Festive delivered on compilations in the meantime to keep us sated. Now, after carving up clubs and festivals all over the shop, she’s followed her nose and fed that energy into a battery of unpretentious, hard-hitting and bittersweet aces; a full clip of short sharp shocks designed to be flung in and out of DJ sets and light up BBQs and parties with infectiously driven rhythms and stinging, hi-tension rhythmelodies.
You want highlights? Run come get ‘em in the maaaad synths of Biotheke and militant snares of Shane Noah; from the trampling force of Toma; in the hard but homesick melancholy of I Miss My Ghetto; and especially in those super succinct shots of wrapped vocals such as Indian and Mulher Profissional, and the lip-bitingly strong grind of Puro Tarraxho.
Biggest tip to fans of killer new dance music!!!
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
From the workshop of Rochester Institute of Technology to your living room, Jeff Resnick’s private press 1978 suite of searching jazz fusion finds its way into wider circulation via DJ Harv’s Outernational Sounds.
From pre-echoes of jazzy D&B to sand-dust sambas and new age feels - everything you’d expect from a ’78 jazz session at a College of Fine and Applied Arts.
Startling side of pelting drum machines and psychedelic noise from Japanese synth/punk pioneer Hiromi Moritani a.k.a. Phew; an avant-garde vocalist who started out in art-punk unit Aunt Sally and has since collaborated with everyone from Ryuinchi Sakamoto to Can, DAF and Bill Laswell during an illustrious career.
Light Sleep packs the kind of febrile energy and thrust that you might expect from a young, new artist enthralled with the possibilities of vintage hardware. Which makes it all the more remarkable that it arrives well over 30 years into Phew’s far flung catalogue, at a time when you might expect them to be exploring lounge jazz or new age electronics. But scan back thru her oeuvre and you’ll hear that Phew’s already done all of that, mostly in her early years, and now it’s clearly her time to cut loose.
Succinctly and accurately summed by her label as “a more animated Nico singing (in Japanese) for early Suicide”, Phew’s home recordings - recorded and edited in Tokyo, 2014 - work right on the biting point with tungsten tipped drum machines piercing thru banking walls of bittersweet noise. Establishing its trajectory in New World, she unleashes a ruthless, breakneck rush of excoriating rhythm and urgent yelps in CQ Tokyo, calving away to reveal plangent horror score drones in Mata Aimasho.
She returns to jabbing drum machine pointillism pitted against her own random exclamations like starker John Bender in Usui Kuki, while the Suicide-meets-Nico analogy really comes into play on Echo and Antenna sprawls out in cosmic noise like some Astral Social Club or Ashtray Navigations invocation harnessed and kerned by Craig Leon.
Stonking stuff. Don’t sleep!
Kode9 and Toby Heys' sonic research unit delves into untold sonic histories in this custom triple gatefold containing 112-page book, 180g clear vinyl record, and six 12" x 12" Dead Record Archive cards. None of these components are available to buy separately and the Box Set has been made in a limited run of just 256 copies, never to be re-pressed. Artwork by Optigram.
'Martial Hauntology' is the groundbreaking first release on AUDiNT Records - the sonic research cell staffed by Toby Heys and Steve Goodman (Kode 9) engaged in 3rd Ear Research. The pair have both independently worked in this field - Goodman via Hyperdub, the autonomous CCRU unit and his 'Sonic Warfare' book; Heys thru his audio-visual praxis and as research fellow at Manchester Uni.
They were both recruited by AUDiNT in 2008 to investigate the properties of newly emergent super-directional speakers when coupled with infrasonic devices. Four years in the making, 'Martial Hauntology' collates that research for the first time, as well as outlining the history of AUDINT itself, offering a tortuous, hyperstitional account of frequency-based phenomenon in military and civilian spheres over the preceding 70 years. It explores the involvement of Alan Turing and The Ghost Army's pioneering use of 3 deck mixes in World War 2, thru the chopper-mounted loud-speaker terror of the US army's Wandering Soul campaign in Vietnam, to the deployment of High Frequencies as "teen repellants”, the military applications of muzak and the current use of hyper-directional LRAD speakers in Iraq.
Alongside the 112-page book you’ll find a vinyl record encoded with two 20 minute chapters sound-scaped and written by Goodman and Heys and narrated by Ms.Haptic, presenting a unique reading of the affects of sound on 20th and 21st century populations. The first side of the LP features a mid-20th century spectral research mission across the Atlantic assisted by an illicit truth serum, while Side 2 goes on a ghost hunt in the vinyl recycling plants of South China. We can trace echoes of the project in the cultural, socioeconomic and geopolitical studies of Sadie Plant's 'Writing On Drugs' book and Adam Curtis' far-reaching documentaries as much as the speculative sonic fiction of Kodwo Eshun's 'More Brilliant Than The Sun', Graham Hancock's unconventional theories on altered states of consciousness, metaphysics and civilisation, and even the emergent field of archaeoacoustics.
The project seems intended to galvanise and better help us understand the liminal realms of sonic perception where truth is often stranger than fiction, steeling us to a foreboding future of state-sponsored subliminal manipulation and psycho-acoustic warfare...
Special edition of one of the year’s standout releases (the limited edition new vinyl pressing comes with an Exclusive bonus CD featuring an additional 50 minutes of music - ‘for harpsichord’ and ‘for pipe organ and string trio’). Having lived with this amazing album for best part of a year, we can confidently say it’s among the strongest in its field, full of radiant joys - we urge you to make some time for it.
On her captivating 4th solo album, Montreal’s Sarah Davachi - highly regarded for her majestic, coruscating synth compositions - divides her attentions equally between a purely instrumental palette of strings, piano, voice and organ with an enveloping, often ecstatic and mystic effect recalling Áine O’Dwyer’s recent Locusts wonder as much as Ellen Fullman’s works for long stringed instruments. We're completely blown away by it.
Rather than mining ancient synth hardware for its unique tones, in All My Circles Run, Davachi applies the same exploratory approach to acoustic instruments with glacially tense results that quietly light up the liminal borderland between the spheres of electronic and acoustic practice when contrasted with her previous recordings. As the title suggests, you can consider these new pieces as discrete strands in a sort of diffracted spectral venn diagram of her sound.
The results will ring true with anyone who has heard her previous releases, while also offering another perspective on her tonal ontology, pin-pointing her acute feel for pealing, plangent overtones in For Strings, which opens out with a raw beauty and scale reaching heights vaguely reminiscent of Áine O’Dwyer’s recent LPs, or by Charlemagne Palestine for that matter, whereas For Voice is a deeply sober, sombre piece again precisely focussed on those fluttering points where consonance/dissonance are near indistinguishable.
The solo piano piece, Chanter follows that slope into lower tones, slowing the heart rate to the point where we can almost perceive the notes as gauzy, keening and candle-flickering blurs, before her sound starts to coalesce in lustrous, upward facing drone in For Organ, burning with a quiet optimism which is sublimated into the exceptional parting passage of For Piano, where the pensile strings, gently cascading keys, and floating organ ebb and flow with a magic intensity redolent of an imagined, smudged meditation by Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guèbru and Pauline Oliveros.
So this is basically one of those rare records that everyone is talking about which is actually pretty fucking good. It's the debut EP from Davy Kehoe shelling down all sorts of spiky, motorik punk and 4th world promises on his fist solo followup to a vocal appearance on OD / MB’s Shplittin’ The Stones  12”. If you were into Morgan Buckley's great 'Shout Out To All The Weirdos In Rathmines EP' that you now can't buy for love nor money, grab this one fast.
Arriving on the heels of Wah Wah Wino’s excellent trio of compilation 12”s, their 2nd release proper is an urgent yet loosely psychedelic session adaptable to open-minded dancefloors and afterparty mania alike, operating with a refreshing mix of recklessness and sozzled emotions that’s bound to trigger feverish reactions wherever it’s played.
Barrelling in like Neu! on a ‘phet bender with Joe Meek in the frantic jag of Short Passing Game, the rest of the EP maintains that madness to varying degrees, consistently turning up prime oddities in the percolated slow/fast sway and meandering post-punk bass mumble of Going Machine, and then with a proper, Wire-y mesh of mathy guitar jangle in Happy Highway.
On the B-side however he channels his energies into a more fragrant, coolly expressive style with the waltzing 4th worldisms of Storm Desmond, folding in Mbira, harmonica and Seán Mac Erlaine’s wistful clarinet lines to clearly nod in the direction of Hassell, Eno & Byrne, before building those energies up again with the Suicide-esque teeth-chatter rhythms and MS-20 drones of Slow Rock Harmonica, and then going eyes shut, heads down into the warped electro-folk-dub of Running Into Coverage like a more messed up John T. Gast piece.
12" of the year? could well be, aye.
Shinichi Atobe exists out of time, producing material that’s both inimitable and genuine. "From The Heart, It's A Start, A Work Of Art” was released in May and is perhaps the most unique and enduring of all of his output over the years - easily ranking among our favourite releases of the year. Curiously, it has origins going all the way back to early 2000, when three of the tracks here were originally produced and cut to acetate at D&M in Berlin (in an edition of 5!), presumably lined up as a follow-up of sorts to Atobe’s legendary "Ship Scope" 12” for Chain reaction from the same era. Alas, it wasn’t to be, and almost two decades later these tracks, re-mastered from that original acetate, make up the centrepiece of this amazing record alongside mesmerising newer productions.
The tracks here are effectively some of the Japanese producer’s earliest work, showcasing the sort of tender, feminine pressure that would bubble up on the Ship-Scope EP and later be revealed in his new productions, Butterfly Effect and World yet, for many reasons, would lay sunk in his archive for the next 17 years.
The tracks taken from that acetate are labelled First Plate 1-3 and are quite remarkable, having taken on so much added weight over the years that the incidental crackle of surface noise imbues proceedings with an added dimension that’s hard to fathom. it basically sounds like a lost transmission making its way from Paul-Lincke-Ufer at the turn of the millennium to a new, completely changed world all these years later.
The patina of crackle lends a mist-on-bare skin feeling akin to summer garden parties at Berghain in the stepping First Plate 1, and gives a foggier sort of depth perception to the hydraulic, Maurizian heft of First Plate 2, but it’s the submerged euphoria of First Plate 3 that hits the hardest; a heady, bittersweet reminder of days gone by.
The other four tracks are crisply transferred from master tapes, relinquishing a sublime, impossible to categorise House variant that recalls everything from DJ Sprinkles to Ron Trent, yet with that weird, timeless production style that by now has become something of a signature for this most distinctive and hard to categorise producer. For our money, it ranks among the finest and most distinctive in the Chain Reaction / Shinichi canon.
The Mecanocentric Worlds of Pierre Bastien documents a bewildering duet between the peerless, eccentric French instrument builder and one of his creations, ‘The Mecanium’, recorded live at Studio M - the historic studio-concert hall of Radio-Television of Vojvodina, Serbia.
Bastien plays kundi, rubber band, prepared trumpet, video loops, nail violin and râbab, while the Mecanium - an ensemble of musical automatons constructed from meccano parts and activated by electro-motors - ‘plays’ amplified meccano parts, drums, reeds, rubber bands, paper, nails and flutes.
The results sound like the future when machines have taken over and start getting all nostalgic for their human ancestors/programmers by imitating tribal rituals and free jazz performances while sipping battery fuel from reclaimed jam jars.
Phoebe Guillemot’s RAMZi wraps up 2017 with an exotic kiss of tribal rhythms and 4th world electronics in Pèze-Piton, her keenly anticipated first record for 12th Isle and a fine follow-up to a string of roundly acclaimed excursions for 1080p, RVNG Intl, Total Stasis and Mood Hut in recent years.
Sounding out a unique ecology of ethnic inference and armchair mystic swerve, RAMZi realises one of her most potent, absorbing parallel dimensions with Pèze-Piton, scrolling sideways into an impenetrably layered and humid no-man’s-land where she’s free to imagine and conduct Dr. Doolittle-meets-Black Zone Myth Chant style experiments encouraging a system of harmonious interspecies communication.
The trip contracts and expands with pineal-pinching magick, travelling from the cloven-hoofed arabesque of MWI Intro and the lilting flutes and tablas of Backin to what sounds like Equiknoxx after a dish of psilocybin on the dancehall enigma Safe, before twisting left and drifting thru the psychedelic cumbia of Fly Timoun.
Turn over and the trip spaces out with the cosmic breeze of congas and melting guitars lines on Brazili, then goes eyes-down in the dance like SKRS Intl on a dembow flex with In Shed, chasing the voodoo down ancient, folkwise gunnels of the mind in Nofo, to the swarming disco at the end of the rainbow in Ptitye Zelda.
Trevor Jackson heralds a 2nd mind-dump of vintage material on Previously Unreleased Volume 2 with this six-track sampler of swaggering dancefloor pressure.
The tracks all hearken back to the era of Jackson’s Playground album, trading in a satisfyingly smooth ’n gritty flow of vibes between the slow acid disco bounce of Memory Per Voice thru the haunted filter-funk and wooden drum knocks of Long System, to patch of grubby skronk on Work It, saving two highlights for the mutant post-punk dub stepper See Yourself, and the natty skank ov Stand Down (Dub).
Klein debuts on Hyperdub with an intuitively avant blinder, the Tommy EP, dropping a pin at the label’s farthest flung coordinates, somewhere between concrète R&B and soul-wrenching jazz noise. Very safe to say, if you were into Klein’s Only LP, this one’s a peach..
We pick up in Prologue with a candid glimpse of Klein in the studio riffing on Mariah Carey along with her pals - Atiena, Jacob Samuel, ThisisDA, Eric Sings and Pure Water - we’re dropped off 25 minutes later at the glitching jazz chord chops of Farewell Sorry feeling dazed and seriously wondering, wtf just happened?!
To offer some kind of description, the London/LA-based artist takes the cut-up, collaged themes and techniques of Only to beguiling new degrees, flinging the listener thru a maze of idiosyncratic gestures from clouds of diaphanous, operatic vocals in Act One to the tenebrous R&B of Cry Theme and the rainy parade of Tommy, then crushing ‘90s soul and jungle like you’ve never heard in the all-too-short Runs, and even some sorta grungy jungle trample in Everlong, while B2k is possibly best described as kitchen sink hypersoul.
It’s anarchic, unsettling and steeply unique stuff, largely thanks to her distinctive concrète palette - no recognisable plugins or owt here - but also thanks to a balance of daring, knowing, and playful boldness that makes it clear she couldn’t give a f*ck about trends or convention, which is evidently all too rare nowadays.
Wonderfully eccentric instrument builder Pierre Bastien meets electro-acoustic whiz Eddie Ladoire on Versatile with first fruits of their new duo, backed by ‘floor-ready remixes from Suzanne Kraft and Oceanic.
Phantom Dance features Bastien playing a trumpet underwater against see-sawing organ and drum machine patter with an effect recalling the horror disco vibes of Goblin meets DJ Bert & Eagle. Suzanne Kraft reworks it with a more viscous, acidic hustle for the darkroom, and Rotterdam’s Oceanic tilts between tucked minimal tech house swing and twanging Afro flavour in two respective mixes on the B-side.
Loft takes their mutant party to Wisdom Teeth with Three Settlements Four Ways. Landing in the wake of a vinyl pressing for his RA-praised Turbulent Dynamics EP, the vibes and production are, by turns, much lusher, layered and knotty than previous outings, bringing Loft’s sound closer to say, Arca or Lanark Artefax.
Up top, they emerge from tremulous beginnings to open out an optimistic, airborne club blessing with the percolated drums, hyaline chorales and virulent acid lines of Filton Recall, then squashing the pressure down low with bubbling subs generating effervescent ambient chords and a spire of giddy hardstyle trance motifs in Funemployed.
Flipside he commits to more chaotic themes with the ambiguous, pranging dynamics of Oh Well We’re All Fucked, chewing up and spitting out a rainbow coloured gob of sawn-off breaks and convulsive club deconstructions, then settles into a nervy swing with the lush but agitated bump of Pottlin.
First ever reissue of a seminal, ambitious fusion of Congolese vocals, likembe and rhythms with analog electronics and free jazz leanings, 'Noir Et Blanc' is justifiably hailed as one of the first and most influential records of its kind, or “in the same class s Byrne & Eno’s Bush of Ghosts… an imaginary collaboration between DAF and Fela Kuti” as the UK’s Melody Maker astutely put it in 1983.
Ever since its original release in 1983, Noir Et Blanc’s nine songs have informed countless DJs and dancers from the NYC new wave to Italy’s cosmic selectors and, pivotally, the swell of Belgian music that fed into New Beat and early techno. It’s no less than a stone cold classic and requires your attention pronto, if isn’t prized enough already.
In unprecedented form, Noir Et Blanc distills and renders the electric buzz of artists breaking new ground. It features Bony Bikaye, a Congolese musician obsessed with the possibilities of progressive German and American musics as much as his indigenous traditions, working with french synth nerds Claude Micheli and Guillaume Loizillon as CY1, and Algerian-born Pierre Job aka Hector Zazou, who all converge a radical attempt to mesh the mutual themes of disparate styles at the service of the ‘floor. Zazou himself has something of an eye-watering CV, having been involved with a huge number of influential projects, from ZNR to La Perversita and beyond; one of those producers with a crazy sprawling body of work you would do well to sink into.
Inarguably, the results have withstood the test of time thanks to the combination of Bikaye’s warm vocals with the minimalist tang and nudge of CY1’s metallic rhythms and Zazou’s wide scoped vision, songs such as the infectious modular dancehall prototype M’Pasi Ya M’Pampa and the roiling, alien plongs of Woa or the grubbing acid of Keba still sound utterly outlandish, out of space and time more than 30 years later, and notably feature some of the funkiest performance ever by Fred Frith.
Now ripened for rediscovery by a new generation of clued up selectors, the timeless qualities of Noir Et Blanc clearly resonate as strong as ever with the modern scene, sounding at times uncannily close to TV on the Radio clashing Congotronics, and just as likely to be played by Vladimir Ivkovic as Jon K or ATFA’s Brian Shimkovitz.
Basically one of those records that forms the square root of everything right now, and loved by those in the know.
Leading on from a highly memorable debut collaboration, Crys Cole and Oren Ambarchi invite us farther into their shared world with Hotel Record, a poetic four-part suite of touchingly intimate and romantic themes framed in a surreally unique, aleatoric sound world, just as you’d be warranted to expect from this pair of esteemed sonic alchemists.
Recorded between Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand; Oakland, USA; Melbourne, Australia, and at EMS, Stockholm, Sweden, the sense of heavy-lidded intimacy is similar to Sonja Henies Vei 31, but found in a multiplicity of recording spaces and situations, each with their own subtle identity and appeal, and all generated from a broader palette of instrumentation and electronic production techniques.
The chorus of cicadas, scooter engines and croaking frogs in Pad Phet Gob is clearly located to nighttime in Thailand, but the rest are anyone’s guess. It’s better to just let yourself melt into their exquisite designs, such as the silky web of vocoder whispers and languorous subbass contained in Burrata, or likewise become absorbed in the gentle harmonic cadence of breathing organs tones and mottled, glossolalic murmurs in Call Myself, which ambiguously could be a sort of ASMR exercise, an encrypted document of phone sex or pillow talk, or something entirely else, all depending your disposition.
It all adds up to a patently more accessible, dreamy follow-up to their first LP together, and quite easily one of the most quietly seductive records you’ll hear from the abstract, ambient, electro-acoustic sphere this year - strongly tipped to fans of Félicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand, Kassel Jaeger & Jim O’Rourke’s Wakes On Cerulean, or the new Teresa Winter side.
Blawan mounts what is arguably his master opus with Nutrition; a nuanced but proper banging six track session holding one of his strongest cuts to date in 993.
The 4th release on his Ternesc label finds him deep in the modular matrix getting firmly to grips with thistly noise textures and the rolling drag coefficient physics of techno at an atomic level.
For us, and we’ll wager many others, 933 is the big juicy steak at the middle of the pack. A massive kick drum piles thru the centre, mad sawtooth synth voices seem to drip off like the biggest slug of acetone-stinking ching, and then the moment of lush enlightenment, which hovers around long enough to appreciate the buzz, before it slips off as quickly as the gear and you’re looking for the next high.
The other tracks are dead solid, too; with some proper doom depth to Calcium Red and skull-scraping tones in the empty belly boot of Mayhem. However you really need it for that 933 ace!
The first release from Benjamin Damage in two years catches him on a Carl Craig-esque trance techno flight with Montreal
Then focussing strictly on the rhythm with the dry, writhing Drum Computer tool, and building up energy with a strong UK/Detroit techno play called Off World which is surely destined for some peak time, big room action.
La mala educación documents Spanish techno overlord Reeko dioversifying his bonds into more experimental realms whilst still keeping the ‘floor in reach, all in the vein of Avian’s hardworn aesthetic.
Vacillating rhythmic noise with proper pounder, the results are likely to offend or frighten the straighter-laced techno bods, and we can’t argue with that. From the front he comes from acres of negative space to build an elusive head of steam that never boils over in Engendrado, before grinding out a sort of latinate rhythmic nose with Carne Y Demonio and the irresistibly writhe of las Virgenes Tamnbien Juegan Con Cuchillos.
For this that need ‘em, there’s massive kicks in Habitación 877 and the hammering force of Desfile Funebre de Rosas, while El Libro Secreto de Guila catches him consolidating those driving and textural aspects in a powerfully absorbing, viscous roil.
Techno hypnotist, Rrose, returns to Eaux with the pocket watch attractions of 'For Aquantice'.
Made up like the unholy offspring of Papa Lazarou and Norman Bates in mummy's boy mode, Rrose peddles three patented and mindbending wormholes, subtly sucking us in with Eleh-esque purist sine tones to the rasping rhythmic skeleton of 'Levitate' and the recursive abyss of 'Vellum' on the A-side, whereas the sleek, pulsating throbs and spiralling oscillations of B-side's 'Signs' take hold with intra-venus strength and potency. They're proper deep brain and tissue stimulators.
Second helping from Silent Servant on Jealous God, backed with a cracking Powell remix.
Following his recent production assistance with the Vatican Shadow project and a handful of remixes in 2013, Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant plays ice cool with the low key swagger and noirish minimal wave atmosphere and voices of 'Lust Abandon' sounding like a prime offcut from his stunning 'Negative Fascination' LP.
In contrast, Powell's reconstruction incorporates slivers of the original into a completely new piece bearing only trace resemblance to the original, coming off like a modded-out muscle car groove welded together from some psychobilly's scrapyard in a Mad Max future - all pollutant bass revs, cranking drums and shuddering electronics angled with shark-eyed swerve, pure killer.
Superb curio from NYC-based Kathleen Baird, now Ka Baird for the purposes of this LP, sweeping from alien/avian electronics to Sun Ra-meets-Pekka Airaksinen electro-jazz freenuss, iridescent string and flute movements, and one a-m-a-z-i-n-g piece of flute, vox and pulsing bass that sounds like a winged sister of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - practically worth it for this one alone! Seriously - one of the most original and brilliant things we've heard this year...
"Sapropelic Pycnic is the world debut of music presented under the name of Ka Baird. While this record is a commencement of many sorts, it is in no way a mere beginning: Ka was one of the founding members of experimental psychlings Spires That In the Sunset Rise. Formed in 2001 out of the Chicago scene, and described by late guitar legend Jack Rose as a "female Sun City Girls," Spires' sisterhood of sound deepened the New Folk slant with an array of avant- and world-flavored directions drawing them ever-farther into the source.
Ka relocated to NYC in late 2014 and immediately embarked upon new directions - exploring piano improvisations, electroacoustic intervention, extended vocal technique, physical movement and the electronic processing of her flute playing.With the release of Sapropelic Pycnic, Ka manifests an evolving self-hood, expanding upon the essence of her first two albums' artist name, while replacing and thus becoming that name on her own. Reaching toward the ancient roots of music, Ka utilizes electronic manipulation on the single "Tok Tru" to take the ear past preconception, combining the linearity of the physical with the abstraction of the cerebral, crafting textural rhythmic noise with lush operatic passages.
Conceived live as a series of solo vignettes and played that way by Ka (featuring contributions from Max Eilbacher (electronics), Sandy Gordon (vibraphone) and Troy Schafer (violin), Sapropelic Pycnic draws from primordial ooze and raises high a sacrifice to the immemorial concept of the sacred. We are standing on the verge of a great chasm. Sapropelic Pycnic uses tools both ancient and modern to draw Ka Baird - and all who listen - upward, toward the eternal!"
Quite literally the definitive and perhaps most complex of all post-rock albums is given a remastered reissue 23 years since its original release back in 1994. If you’re into Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock / Spirit of Eden and you don’t know this album - welcome to your new obsession.
Back in 1994 Hex sounded like a new kind of music - albeit one guided by foundations laid by Talk Talk on that pair of albums half a decade earlier, as well as by so much of what was going on in the electronic scene at the time - and especially electronic music’s fascination with dub (the Kevin Martin compiled Macro Dub Infection that came out the following year provides a good measure of this intersection, featuring everyone from Coil to Tortoise and 4 Hero). In hindsight it’s easy to join the dots from what was happening in Chicago around the nebulous web of artists revolving around Thrill Jockey and the more esoteric end of UK’s electronic scene, but at the time it really did sound like something completely alien.
Bark Psychosis suffered from the derision with which Post Rock was ultimately treated by the British music media at the time, but Hex has grown in stature over the years, and it has aged beautifully - a perfect marriage of stoned ambition, innovative recording techniques and a refusal to settle on one stylistic trajectory.
It laid foundations for so much of what was to follow over the following decade to the extent that it’s bewildering that it hasn't been given the accolades it so obviously deserves. Perhaps this new, gorgeously remastered edition will put that right.
An absolute classic of the genre, this 2005 debut album from the Norwegian duo of Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland is a miraculous, hugely evocative blend and smoke-filled ambience and modern classical inversions that has more or less defined its own sub-genre in the decade since it was released. If you're into William Basinski, Lynch/Badalamenti, Eno or Harold Budd, this is as essential as it gets.
Over layers of fizzing aural sediment, Deaf Center build the kind of vista-expanding, piano tinged music that has you thinking you're in your own film. Manifesting itself in the stravaig and epic iciness of 'Thread', or the etiolated Nyman piano of 'White Lake', Deaf Center have a seemingly bottomless supply of pathos on which to draw.
For this new 2016 vinyl edition, Skodvin & Totland rappel deeper into the Pale Ravine to unearth a previously unreleased side D on occasion of the album’s 11th anniversary edition. All five pieces were made during the same 2003-2005 era as the rest of the album, yet didn’t make it onto the single, original LP edition. Now rejoined with their noumenal siblings, and, like the rest of the LP, they have more room to breathe and haunt, especially in the abyssal allure of Social Lucy Waltz, or the diaphanous, chiaroscuro pall of End Station at the album’s new final destination.
Just incredible music.
Avanti is Alessandro Cortini’s sixth album and his hauntological magnum opus; a masterful embodiment of his nostalgia for analog synth recordings wrapped up in a pall of decaying futurism. After numerous Forse volumes, a pair of LPs for Hospital Productions, a live recording tape and a collaboration with Merzbow, we’d wager that Avanti is the most substantial Cortini album to date.
In a Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker-esque gesture, Avanti investigates notions of memory surrounding music. Taking a time-capsule of old home movies made by his grandfather as a “perfect fossil of his childhood”, the NIN synthesist turns those cues into signature, billowing structures generated from the EMS Synthi AKS, resulting a record that is sore with a certain ‘hiraeth’, ‘saudade’ or ‘sehnsucht’ for a past which he comes to terms with in viscerally romantic style.
Across all seven parts, Cortini reflects the porous fragility of memory and its decaying glow quite literally in the piece’s fuzzy gaze and the inclusion of almost imperceptible “errors and mistakes”, and also metaphorically in their nostalgia-triggering strokes and wavering harmonic swells, which speak to and stimulate the limbic system with the same sort of magick defined by BoC or indeed Leyland Kirby.
They’re optimistic pieces riddled with and anchored by a sense of sadness, not necessarily cry-your eyes or rip-your-heart-out, but more a sanguine, bittersweet meditation laced with reverence to elegiac effect. For the most they come on as weather-beaten sonic postcards or hand-written missives, each introduced by ghostly voices and saying its piece as though whispering graveside or in private, keeping their messages neatly concise but impassioned in their delivery, save one final section when the feeling almost becomes too much to bear.
His canniness lies in worming out an personalising those combinations of chords, hooks which trigger feelings of nostalgia mutual to most folk who’ve grown up with the same culture and cultural connotations, and then wringing them out to the point of heartache/numbness, and practically making those gestures fulminate on contact with air, skin, nerves and infect your own corrupted memory banks.
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
22 years since Pygmalion and the band’s dissolution, Slowdive swoon back into earshot with Slowdive. With hearts bleeding all over their sleeves, Slowdive captures the sound of the band at their sunny best, with a renewed optimism and timeless dreaminess to fall right into.
““It felt like we were in a movie that had a totally implausible ending...”
Slowdive’s second act as a live blockbuster has already been rapturously received around the world. Highlights thus far include a festival-conquering, sea-of-devotees Primavera Sound performance, of which Pitchfork noted: “The beauty of their crystalline sound is almost hard to believe, every note in its perfect place.” “It was just nice to realise that there was a decent amount of interest in it,” says principal songwriter Neil Halstead. The UK shoegaze pioneers have now channelled such seemingly impossible belief into a fourth studio opus which belies his characteristic modesty. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.
Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane”, these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders’ most direct material to date. Birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt The Courtyard – “It felt like home,” enthuses guitarist Christian Savill – their diamantine melodies were mixed to a suitably hypnotic sheen at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound facility by Chris Coady (perhaps best known for his work with Beach House, one of countless contemporary acts to have followed in Slowdive’s wake). “It’s poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995‘s previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. “When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.”
Drummer and loop conductor Simon Scott enhanced the likes of ‘Slomo’ and ‘Falling Ashes’ with abstract textures conjured via his laptop’s signal processing software. A fecund period of experimentation with “40-minute iPhone jams” allowed the unit to then amplify the core of their chemistry. “Neil is such a gifted songwriter, so the songs won. He has these sparks of melodies, like ‘Sugar For The Pill’ and ‘Star Roving’, which are really special. But the new record still has a toe in that Pygmalion sound. In the future, things could get very interesting indeed.” This open-channel approach to creativity is reflected by Slowdive’s impressively wide field of influence, from indie-rock avatars to ambient voyagers – see the tribute album of cover versions released by Berlin electronic label Morr Music. As befits such evocative visionaries, you can also hear Slowdive through the silver screen: New Queer Cinema trailblazer Gregg Araki has featured them on the soundtracks to no less than four of his films.
“When I moved to America in 2008 I was working in an organic grocery store,” recalls Christian. “Kids started coming in and asking if it was true I had played in Slowdive. That’s when I started thinking, ‘OK, this is weird!’” Neil Halstead: “We were always ambitious. Not in terms of trying to sell records, but in terms of making interesting records. Maybe, if you try and make interesting records, they’re still interesting in a few years time. I don’t know where we’d have gone if we had carried straight on. Now we’ve picked up a different momentum. It’s intriguing to see where it goes next.” The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. This movie could run and run…”
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Presenting two compelling works composed by Danish sound artists Jacob Kirkegaard & Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard and performed by the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Descending is a powerful exposition of extended acoustic technique used to bend the ear in fascinating ways.
Revolving two pieces for room resonance, triangles, shakers and horns, the recorded results of Descending transcend the sum of their parts in gripping style. In Movement 1 they conduct a breathless transition from the polymetric interplay of triangles, sounding like a distant alarm bell, calving off into thinnest, cirrus timbres and reemerging as a mesmerising display of sustained, quivering, bittersweet horn dissonance culminating a stunning, keening finale. Movement 2 opens with those horns at a lower, sustained pitch, rolling across the stereo field with an uncanny precision that you would normally expect from electronic music, glacially growing in density to sound like an incoming Stuka formation, precipitating a nerve-biting swell of discord before returning, almost palindromic, to the polymetric rustle of shakers.
Of course, the magick of the piece is much harder to describe, though. It lies somewhere in the relationship between the knowledge of the composers, the players’ incredible skill, and their recording space, whose unique characteristics are crucial to its success in keeping us enthralled from start to finish. It lies in the way they slide the sound around the sphere of perception, purposefully generating and controlling the resonant feedback until it becomes a part of the work itself, generating a lingering harmonic aura to the sounds which gels them in smoothly contoured transitions between each tightly disciplined cluster of pitches with a near-enough metaphysical structure.
Stunning work. A rare treat for the lugs, especially if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Eleh, Harley Gaber, Harry Bertoia.
Sugai Ken follows in the vein of RVNG Intl’s Visible Cloaks release with an exquisite meditation on traditional Japanese percussion and 4th world electronics ruptured by unpredictable runs into more abstract terrain. RIYL YMO/Haruomi Hosono, Visible Cloaks, Foodman...
UkabazUmorezU works like a stage set or a variegated series of sonic scenarios, at once smartly demonstrating his compositional versatility as well as a dilated vision of the connections between Japanese tradition and western-rooted electro-acoustic practice. In a way it resonates with Visible Cloaks’ perspective on Japanese electronics as much as Foodman’s dextrous mutations of Chicago footwork, but still it’s weirder and more enigmatic than either of them.
In his own words, UkabazUmorezU is intended to reflect a “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” Arguably, for someone who has never visited or experienced night in Japan (us), it does so as richly as a Murakami novel, sensitively using electronic instruments and process to emulate and evoke an intimate sense of the spiritual, supernatural recalling the effect of, say, Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST, but again, with a more elusive, amorphous and playful quality of his own.
Ultimately it’s a beautifully and subtly suggestive album, skillfully making use of pregnant lacnuæ and negative space, but also riddled with flighty melodic figures, and prone to wonderfully disorienting jump-cuts that ping us from serene garden and temple scenes to stranger, bestial ginnels of the Japanese mindset with an effortless sleight-of-hand.
Available officially for the 1st time this decade, Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s dramatic Symphonic Suite Akira arrives just ahead of the seminal sci-fi animation’s 30th anniversary. This is a facsimile reissue of the original Symphonic Suite Akira album, featuring original unremixed and complete versions mastered from same files as the 1988 release. This is not the version with dialogue and all the madness!
The ten track Symphonic Suite Akira essentially documents the film’s sonic architecture - a magisterial blend of musics from around the world, meshing the disparate systems of Bulgarian choral music, Buddhist Temple chants and Balinese gamelan in a lushly complex alliteration of sounds which framed the film’s post-apocalyptic Tokyo backdrops and cyberpunk themes.
It took Shouji Yamashiro and the 200 musicians, engineers, scientists who comprise Geinoh Yamashirogumi over six months to make Symphonic Suite Akira, apparently recording with an effectively limitless budget, and it shows. At the time of release this was an ambitiously proggy effort in consolidating various harmonic systems, building on the technologically enhanced examples of YMO and early ‘80s 4th World styles in the grandest style.
It may not contain anything quite so immediate as, say, Kenji Kawai’s OST for Ghost In The Shell, but it’s a different thing really, with a different story to tell, and it does so beautifully.
Laurel Halo focusses and diffracts her energies into the hi-tech jazz-fusion advancement of Dust; her stellar 3rd album with Hyperdub following the modern classic Quarantine  and the harder-to-grasp Chance Of Rain .
Whilst fully formed in their own rights, those records now appear to be a playground or warm-up for the stunningly loose yet instinctively coherent geometries and ideas that crystallise, slosh and flit all over this one, and which should surely place Halo among the most enigmatic artists in her astral field.
While swarmed with a daring roll call of collaborators such as Klein, Eli Keszler, Julia Holter, $hit & $hine and Max D, Laurel’s myriad ideas both anchor and form a glowing lattice which beautifully perfuses the whole record, tying together her roots in Detroit techno’s makeup - sci-fi, jazz, electro, japanese electronics, dub and nEuropean concrète - and seamlessly incorporating up-to-the-minute gestures from pop, R&B and 4.1 world dimensions in the most elusive yet insoluble style of her own.
If pushed to reduce that concoction to any one common factor, it’s got to be the sense of keening electronic soul that lights up the whole album, lending a cybernetic sensuality and pathos that’s entirely of its time yet totally transcendent for anyone with ears open wide enough to accept the interrelated nature of all the above references.
It would take a braver scribe than us to properly dissect each track, but the exercise would also be a a little pointless or, at least like like describing architecture thru dance, which funnily enough is perhaps the best analogy; a prism thru which to view the deliquescent R&B physics of Solar To Sun and Jelly at the album’s front, to the 3D weft of tribal percussion and Kraftwerkian bleeps wrapped into the avant-pop structure of Moontalk and the insectoid perspective of Nicht Ohne Risiko, or drifting out of 10th storey windows in the dusk of a hot summer day in Who Won? at the album’s core, whilst Syzygy sounds like an ancient construction site visited by a choir of swooping R&B angels from the future.
There’s little doubt that Dust will be one of our favourite albums for the (hopefully) long hot summer of 2017 and beyond; it’s just a brilliant, imaginative and inspiring piece of work.
Best known as one half of Deaf Center, Erik K. Skodvin's work as Svarte Greiner has been described as "acoustic doom" by those with a genre-delineated filing system, and his best known work 'Knive' is now made available on vinyl for the first time since its original release over a decade ago.
"11 years since it´s inception, the surreal and darkly romantic Knive still sounds like a mystery and something that´s hard to pin down. Svarte Greiner´s debut album feels like a trip into the forest at midnight, with all the sounds and impressions that comes with it. Spiritual, horrific and fragile in essence, it´s melancholic core is hard to shake off, and feels as present today as it did back then.
While starting off the sub genre of “Accoustic doom” back in 2006, it´s difficult to say what else to name it now, with it´s inspiration and elements from countless genres. The record flows through the dissonant cello´s and washed out vocals of “Ocean out of Wood” past the introverted church organs of “The Black Dress”, distorted guitars and wooden beats of “The Dining Table” to the operatic finalé of “Final Sleep”. Everything scattered with field recordings from crows, branches, walking, sleeping, rain, wind and who knows what. Knive stands on many feet, wherever they may be.
Erik K Skodvin´s path as Svarte Greiner have since been dwelling more and more into this world, picking each element apart to focus on them, stretching them out or cutting them down, looping, experimenting and flooding with reverb - trying to make time stop and night fall. But for now a re-visit to where it all started seems appropriate.
'Knive' sees Skodvin plundering a record collection evidently stacked with the likes of Earth, Badalamenti and Volcano The Bear - coming out the other side with a record that is inky black without becoming oppressive or claustrophobic. Opening with the melted-wax drones of 'The Boat Was My Friend', Svarte Greiner presents an inky arena to experience his music - as crepuscular cello and detached vocals coalesce to forge an ethereal and otherworldly aesthetic. Flecked with pathos and a genuine sense of foreboding, 'The Boat Was My Friend' signals the coming record in a dipping style which evokes images of a late night radio signals heard through a haunted woodland. Moving on from here, 'Ocean Out Of Wood' is a mealy and waterlogged affair, wherein Skodvin allows creaking percussion and pregnant chords to seep into the conscious with just the right balance of light and dark to ensure the textures never become too abrasive or oppressive. Bringing to mind a tarnished copper-rub, the likes of 'My Feet Over There', 'An Ordinary Hike' and 'The Black Dress' all inhabit a musical sphere where shadows are encouraged and light is shunned to piquant effect. Elsewhere, the stunning finale of 'Final Sleep' is heaving with operatics that scar the conscious through cavernous organs straight from Badalamenti's secret chest, 'The Dining Table' lays on a spread of syrupy percussion, whilst 'Ullsokk' allows haunting vocals to chide at the skittering rhythms beneath."
Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran traverse the outer reaches on this killer Visible Cloaks document for RVNG.
We just knew last year's debut Visible Cloaks offering for RVNG, the Miyako Koda-featuring Visible Cloaks single Valve, would be the prelude to something greater from Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran. Reassemblage marks the Portland pair's second album and further expands upon the Visible Cloaks 'verse, calling on Motion Graphics and Root Strata alum Matt Carlson for assistance.
Inspiration for the album stems from a video essay of the same name by Trin T Minha-ha, which explored the impossibility of ascribing meaning to ethnographic images. With this in mind, Visible Cloaks set about transposing the inherent futurism of acts discovered on their inspirational Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes well into the 21st Century through modern sound design.
This results in an album whose eleven tracks possess a startlingly lucid and vibrant vision, forming new structures and ideas in the process. The aforementioned Valve features early in Reassemblage, Miyako Koda's presence gaining even more meaning within the context of Carlile and Doran's intentions for the album.
Elsewhere, vocals are deployed with a more abstract bent, VC playfully skewering Matt Carlson's voice through digital manipulation on Neume for one of the album's forays through musique plastique. Circles offers a genuinely spine-tingling moment of modern classical, whilst Motion Graphics follows his avant-jazz Future Times gripper with some illuminating assistance on the digital tranquility of Bloodstream.
Wonderful stuff all round.
Pauline Oliveros surrounded by Belgian ensemble Musiques Nouvelles, performing 2 long pieces for orchestra.
"Sound Geometries for Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System and 5.1 Surround Sound System by Pauline Oliveros was premiered in Brussels. The 3 sections metaphors of the piece are intended to guide the players in their feelings and approaches to conducted, guided and improvisational music making to create differing atmospheres for each of the three sections. Players sounds are picked up during the performance by microphones, processed in one of ten geometrical patterns by the Oliveros designed Expanded Instrument System (EIS). to transform and move the player's sounds in space in the 5.1 surround sound system.
Meditation for Orchestra asks the performers to listen then sound. Listen means to include all that is sounding and to find a space for each sound that is made. Pauline Oliveros and Ione are guests of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelle in this studio performance of Meditation.”
Carl Craig casually whips out one of the best remixes you’ll hear in 2017 with his deeply dynamic rework of Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald present Borderland / Transport.
On the A-side the master sets to work on a delirious, psychoacoustic diffusion of Transport (12” Edit) where he spends the first few minutes reducing the original to a stereo-strafing helix of intersecting vortices, before dispensing a super wide, swanging bassline that carries the cut to giddy heights without a single daft trick, just oodles of precision-tooled suss.
Flipside, DJ Deep and Roman Poncet join the party, but the results are much straighter and pale in comparison to the hi-tek studio jazz of Carl Craig’s A-side.
Terry Riley’s Sri Moonshine label gives an unmissable opportunity to fall under the spell of Pandit Pran Nath. Truly life-affirming music.
““The raga cycle given by Pandit Pran Nath at the Palace Theater in Paris 1972 was the first time a Master Indian Classical Vocalist had presented three consecutive days of ragas sung at the appropriate times of day, giving the Western audience insight into the characteristics that inform the moods and atmospheres of evening, afternoon, and morning ragas.
“The recording here is from the Saturday, May 27, 1972 afternoon concert and features Raagini Bheempalasi and Raag Puriya Dhanaashree. This is the Maestro at the very summit of his creative and vocal powers. His inspiration merged with his excitement of being in Paris and added to the uniqueness of these performances. As he guided his ragas at an unhurried pace with a surety and command of the musical language, details emerge in the music so profound that new delights continue to surface.
“Pandit Pran Nath was born in 1918 in Lahore, India which was to become Pakistan. He was one of the foremost disciples of the legendary singer, Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan, Sahib of Kirana. Khan Sahib was known for his long extended renditions of ragas in the melodic Kirana style, often lasting hours. His knowledge of raga science was unparalleled, allowing him to unveil endless permutations and combinations of phrases. Pandit Pran Nath absorbed this knowledge of raga from his Guru, building on these majestic forms in a unique and inimitable way. Pran Nath’s rich vocal quality and imaginative renditions of well-known ragas singled him out as one of the greatest masters in the history of Indian Classical Music.
“Pan Nath’s music is ancient and modern, full of fresh flights of imagination. It is no wonder that his numerous performances in the West attracted devotees and students. Besides La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, he instructed musicians of the American avant garde, including Jon Hassell, Lee Konitz, Allaudin Mathieu, Charlemagne Palsestine, Sufi Pir, Shabda Kahn and many others. His impact on contemporary music continues to grow.” —Terry Riley”
Giorgio Luceri aka 6D22 strikes three soaring electro-trance missions for Singapore’s Midnight Shift Records, coupled with an excellent remix by co-pilot Heinrich Mueller aka Gerald Donald (Dopplereffekt, Der Zyklus).
Mueller’s dissection of 龍王 - Longwang is star of the show, featuring elements of the original frozen and zoomed in to microscopic degrees, revealing a crystalline electro structure formed from tightly packed but slippery lattice of pads and brittle pulses. Th other three originals by Luceri are strong, densely woven pieces of electro-trance, but none comes close to the pristine angularity and timbral tang of Mueller’s remix.
Goon Club Allstars follow Gqom king DJ Lag’s eponymous EP with a taut 2nd volley by Rudeboyz, the label’s 1st and only release of 2017.
We advise checking out the recoiling torque of Bounce Back, where they strip back the percussion in favour of a massive, shifty subbass, and then checking As’Jableni for a proper piece of stepping Zulu pressure, replete with panting vocals by T_D Snaxx.
Shelter Press’ remarkable run of 2017 releases ends in deep contemplation with this beautiful exploration of traditional Northern Indian classical music recorded with an experimental emphasis, carrying out the aural equivalent of zooms and close-ups, weaving between the minute details of sound and the more expansive effect on the listener. Recorded by artist Darren Almond, each of the pieces here corresponds to imagery from his eponymous video installation, shot in Rajasthan, 2012.
Revolving around recordings of Fateh Ali (Santoor, Manjira), Ghulam Gouse (Tabla), Roop Singh (Manjira), and Zakir Hussain (Bansari), All Things Pass seeks to connect the ancient Indian artform of the raga, whose time-based structures link the movement of the stars to earthly events, with the individual player’s emotions.
In this complex feedback loop of cosmic information and terrestrial expression, Almond operates as a sensory relay or transducer, using a shotgun microphone to document the instruments and synaesthetically offering a sort of sensory lens that regulates the liminal link between the macrocosmic, or universal, and the molecular, more human level of existence.
From its meter-melting Tabla drum pulses, to the refractive metallic shimmer of dulcimer-like Santoor and the Maniira hand cymbals, threaded with airborne stripes of flute-like Bansuri, the naturally fluid but closely disciplined results can be heard as a prism for realigning our Western-based and shaped perceptions of time. It’s really only when you fully comprehend how closely these things are linked in Indian classical culture that you may realise how restrictive and naive so much Western instrumental music, with its minor and major modes, and reliance on fixed time signatures, can be.
By that token, it’s not difficult to hear why the plasmic, meter and scale-dissolving possibilities of electronic music - when applied inventively - appeal to listeners who’ve become bored with the arrogance of Western convention. Effectively, All Things Pass ties all these ideas in a way that is self-evident, requiring the listener to simply allow themselves to interpret its expressive mathematics in their own way, and real unto themselves maths as the universal language.
It offers a soothing, thought provoking end to a tumultuous year, and marks Shelter Press as one of the most rewarding and diverse labels on the contemporary scene.
Sometimes you need to step away from everything that’s familiar to really grow and challenge yourself as an artist. Or in Anja Schneider’s case, hit the reset button entirely. A new album. A new label.
"The Berlin-based artist has never felt more out of her comfort zone. Or inspired. The musical manifestation of this bold new era is ‘SoMe’, a nine-track calling card that not only represents Schneider’s own creative apex and the freedom that accompanies it, but the freewheeling nature of new imprint Sous on which it finds its home.As is the case with all Schneider’s productions, this is a deeply personal work. But what makes it shine above everything else that has come before it, is how expressive and free it is, while remaining entirely authentic to her own musical history, passions and personal story. The project begun in November 2016, in Anja’s basement to be precise.
Getting back to her music digging roots she whiled away the hours among the dusty boxes of her vinyl collection – re-immersing herself in old jungle and D&B records, classic house and the Berlin-bred techno of the ‘90s that she fell in love with when she first moved to the German capital in 1993. If she was to look forward to her new musical vision, it had to pay due respect to her past. Alongside her co-producer and partner Jan-Eric Scholz, set studio dates turned into lost afternoons, then weekends. If Anja wasn’t touring or spending time with her son, she was engrossed in free-flowing cemented a love for ragga and crafting outstanding vocal works that rate among the finest of her career.
The album begins with the dusty panoramic tones of ‘The Sun’: “I wanted this track to turn out like a big electronic band with attitude – but I failed,” she laughs. “Instead it’s more Chicago and Detroit, but I love it anyway!”. Other highlights include the catchy ragga tones of ‘All I See’, inspired by her trip to Cape Town for CTEMF in 2015 and exemplifies Schneider’s knack for creating music that feels at once fresh yet familiar. “Overall I’m really interested in these ragga vibes coming into house and techno – I love how these kids are combining their roots with electronic music.”. Elsewhere she flexes her song-crafting muscle linking up with the Stereo MCs after a chance meeting with vocalist Rob Birch in the apartment of Terranova’s Fetish, in a situation that could have only happened in Berlin.
A big fan of the group’s ‘Connected’ LP, the normally shy Schneider floated the idea of a vocal contribution to her fledgling album project and the irresistible earworm ‘Sanctuary’ was born. A raver first and foremost, long nights at influential Berlin clubbing institution WMF characterized the late 90s for Schneider, of particular impression the Friday night D&B residency at the club. With a deep love for this sound till this day, she eponymous track pays dues to this heady period. An artist with tried and true roots in techno, ‘SoMe’ of course reflects an Anja Schneider DJ experience, with cuts such as ‘Got Me With A Bang’ and even ‘Night Out’, that mines the spirit of her own debut album ‘Beyond The Valley’: “I’m still getting requests for tracks from that album almost 10 years later, so wanted to put something on there that pays homage to this period as I still love this Berlin techno sound and I wanted something on the album that connects with it."
The divine 2nd LP from PJ Dorsey’s Tarotplane, 358 Oblique follows in the mindful cosmic vein of his First [2015, Aguirre records] album with a seamlessly absorbing session of shimmering guitars and richly layered electronics. Fans of Coil, Richard Pinhas, Biosphere or Steve Hauschildt need to give this one some attention.
Following on from Lullabies For Insomniacs’ László Hortobágyi’s vintage Transreplica Meccano ace, Tarotplane keeps the label’s mystic qualities stratospheric with two sides of steeply hypnotic vibes that draw on a lifetime spent exploring psychoactive music, and clearly fascinated by the way it can affect one’s consciousness.
With that in mind, 358 Oblique treads the finest line between lysergic caress and distress, cradling the listener on a sublime trip fringed with perilous darkness, as harmonised loops uncoil across the five part A-side, Tab in The Ozone leading us thru familiar yet alien zones of deep blue, phosphorescing timbres scattered with the distant calls of strange animalculæ and swept with emulated environmental sounds into ever more curious wormholes. By the B-side, like the mid-way of a heavy psychedelic journey where the entrance and exit are equal distances apart (yet you can actually escape this one if you want), he really gets under the skin, revealing vast inner worlds of keening harmonics that take us right to the shoreline of the soul.
Of course, as with any psychoactive substance, the results will differ for every user, but it’s perhaps fair to say that this one is fine tuned for the broadest appeal and effect with all who encounter its otherworldly dimensions.
First ever reissue of a zinger-packed disco album from 1980. Check ‘Disco Thing’. If you’re aren’t dancing by the end of the clip, go see a doctor.
“Killer private modern soul / disco funk LP from San Diego released in 1980 on Aidqueen Records.
No fillers on this one! It contains dancefloor winner “Disco Thing”, the crazed ode to debauchery “Get Down Party “, mellow soul ballad “Oooh, Your Love”, the wicked instrumental with magic flute “Seaquence” and the brilliant jazz-funk flavored modern soul tracks “Loving” and “Life”.
The rest of the record is made up of high-level soulful funk movers.
Amazing LP from the beginning to end, no wonder it became hard to find and so highly sought after.
Finally available again, fully licensed and remastered, with original artwork.”
Funkineven opens a window on London’s Molinaro with his sterling 1st release, revolving around five tracks of soul-jazz-infused electro, acid and house for the more discerning DJ and dancer.
As a DJ and producer, Molinaro has cut his teeth in the capital for ten years now, most recently landing a slot on NTS which acts as a playground for new ideas and classic vibes.
He distills that sound into five subtly shaded parts here, zig-zagging from raw yet debonaire Detroit-meets-West Coast vibes on Gio, thru the rare grooving boogie bustle of JTL ion the A-side, to more low-key but sweetly messed up jazz-house dancing on Ty, and the deep, ricocheting funk of Molow, before the poignant vignette Sofar closes out side B.