Students of Decay follow up last year’s incredible 'All My Circles Run’ album by Sarah Davachi with this new album by French horn player, field recording and audio installation artist Anne Guthrie.
Guthrie takes auditory snapshots of an abandoned city; fragments of song drifting out of basements and across alleyways and muffled conversations, coalescing into an evocative soundsphere that’s gently arranged to give the feeling of a directed narrative unfolding before your ears.
There’s a real art to this kind of field recording and Guthrie manages to neither over-simplify nor colour her recordings too much. Through much of this album the sounds are so alien and beautiful it’s impossible to work out if what you’re listening to is real or artificial; neatly mimicking the way our memory works. When a voice appears towards the end of Serious Water, it jolts you back to the mundane world around you.
Including "posthumous contributions from the artist's grandfather, a jazz pianist; obsolete media palimpsests (some vanity, some necessity); tap dancing on a peeling floor…” there’s something almost disturbing about the personal narrative on display here, as the label describe it…”an unsettling and strangely beautiful album - akin to something on the tip of your tongue, which, before you can name it, slips away into forgetting”.
The flipside to his acclaimed 'Good Luck' album, Alessio Natalizia a.k.a. Not Waving provides an inverse sister album of sorts with Bad Luck; a cranky-70 minute selection of new and old unreleased gear.
If Good Luck was Not Waving’s most concerted pop record, then Bad Luck is the place to go for his more esoteric and wayward ideas, finding the London-based Italian artist combining occult electronics with voyeuristic location recordings and mad samples in a playfully endearing, half-cut and psychedelic style.
It’s all made in the freestyling spirit of those subterranean early ‘80s artists whose tapes dominate Alessio’s collection and continue to inform his output. Adapting their creative license to his own ends, he juices out the oddest little avant-pop hooks and synth gremlins in an unpredictable trip just as likely to jab you to dance as it is to leave you scratching your head and wondering: how the fxxk did I get here?
As far as we know, there’s no digital for this one, so think quick if you want Bad Luck!
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
This month’s edition features The Wire Tapper 46, including 21 tracks by artists from across the globe.
Improvising jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson is on the cover and in discussion on her challenging, innovative music. Also features on Pirate radio DJ sets, Richard Youngs does the Invisible Jukebox, a global ear on Murmansk, and articles on The Mover, Eva-Maria Houben, Coby Sey, plus all the usual news, reviews and listings.
Absolutely killer set of mutant futurism from the bassbins of Brittany, France featuring 8 slow Dancehall jammmmz from Low Jack.
Editions Gravats kick off the club-ready Les Disques de la Bretagne series with exclusive re-workings of tracks from Low Jack’s half of the Glacial Dancehall tape with Equiknoxx, all making their first appearance on vinyl.
Arriving 4 years since Philippe Hallais a.k.a. Low Jack started up the Gravats label with his îlot 7”, Hallais returns to his roots with these ruddy dancehall bangers, each nipped and tweaked from the OG tape for optimal, freaky impact inna dance.
Dubwise and direct but laced with strange details that light up on repeated listens, the plate turns up some massive highlights with the loping Linn drum cracks and digickal synth torque of Partei and the rogue bogle of Brass up top, then with some killer sino-flavour on the rugged ’90s rub ’n tug of Raid Leader and the Flex Dance Music-compatible knocks and horns of Light.
You can take it on trust: this one is properly top-loaded with the heaviest gear...
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, ambient maestro Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Making an apt statement against over-production in dance music that applies to society in the widest sense, the Royal Blue / Mustard instalment lands on Smalltown Supersound.
The A-side’s Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement, You Know?
Calendar Crowd was the duo of Alan Heaton and Terence Tiernan who met in their hometown of Widnes, Cheshire as schoolboys and played together in various bands in the '70s. In the '80s they formed a 6-piece band called Room For Humans and recorded one single "Telephone Telephone / Girlfriend".
"When the band split and Alan and Terence continued as Calendar Crowd in a more experimental direction. Their influences were wide reaching: Kraftwerk, Neu, Cabaret Voltaire, Eno, PIL, and Joy Division. In 1982 they released their debut single "Perfect Hideaway/Perfect Hideaway Dub" on 7". Guitarist David Knowles joined them as they toured the UK and recorded and released their follow up EP "Listen in to the Heart" in 1985.
A reviewer at the time called Calendar Crowd "A Moody Merseyside trio with strong atmospheric tunes and haunting lyrics." For this reissue we've compiled both singles on one EP featuring all four songs. Perfect Hideway is a evocative and dreamy, the music escorts you on a tour of icy landscapes, with Terrance's deep, rich vocals guiding the way accented by bright brass stabs. Meanwhile the Dub has stripped back the vocals, added delayed samples and heavy pounding drums. On the B-side "Listen in to the Heart" and "Questions Answers" are darker electronic rhythm tracks with layers of ethereal keyboards and guitar melodies."
Early ‘90s ambient techno gems resurface on the Nacht En Nevel label, featuring Mappa Mundi’s keenly sought-after 11-minute beauty Trance Fusion, and the rolling breakbeat suspension system of Quin².
Mappa Mundi’s Trance Fusion is a firm favourite of ours. Taken from the Musaics album which also includes the masterful Sexafari, this 11 minute roller is a prime example of the 2nd layers beyond dancefloors of 1990, plumbing a lushly meditative space somewhere between Detroit, Antwerp and Goan beaches. Fair to say you might want to get a hold of the CD or original (hard to find) LP version for louder cuts, but this one will do nicely until Going Good’s Brian Not Brian follows up on a reissue of the full album.
Quin²’s side is a more obscure find from slightly later in the ‘90s, working somewhere between FSOL Lifeforms vibes and Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra with crisp, rolling breaks and strings beautifully suspended in the mix.
Their third album, ‘Treasure’ also debuts Simon Raymonde on bass and finds the band scaling new heights in the most emotionally raw way imaginable. Impossible to overstate just how influential and well loved this album is - from the quietly anthemic Pandora (For Cindy) - probably played in every bedroom by every teenager in 1984, to the sublime 'Beatrix' and 'Otterley' - tracks that were played on Autechre’s Disengage Kiss FM show in the early 90’s and which gave us our first introduction to one of the most magical and timeless albums ever made.
"The band returned to being a trio in 1984 with guitarist Simon Raymonde joining their ranks in time for third album, Treasure. Produced by Robin Guthrie and featuring tracks ‘Lorelei’, ‘Ivo’ and ‘Persephone’, Treasure is often celebrated as one of the band’s finest works. As Pitchfork put it when including the album in their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, “Treasure was titled simply enough. An adjective for the endlessly inventive melodic lines you'd find buried in these songs, and a verb for what you'd do with them for years to come.”
First ever reissue of the wild duo jag between pioneering UK improvisor Bailey and his cello-playing Canadian foil...
“Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey.
Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow".
Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.”
Recorded in Liverpool back in 2003, this improvised performance unites two of the UK's foremost improv exponents (Tony Bevan and Paul Hession) with two pioneers of modern free music, the multi-talented guitarist, turntablist and noise artist Otomo Yoshihide and the late, great Derek Bailey.
The performance shuffles into first gear during the speculative, tentative first throes of 'No Hiding Place / Softly Softly', establishing a ruthlessly abstract sound world from the outset, only to tighten up slightly for 'Morse', which welcomes a far more full-blooded, often swing-influenced approach to percussion, accompanying Bailey's lightly overdriven, spidering guitar lines.
The remainder of the set introduces some charged-up, visceral reed work, sounding surly and untethered on 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' while Bailey playfully plots a more welcoming path.
Cute Heels is the project of Victor Lenis, a contemporary electronic artist living in Berlin, Germany. He grew up in Bogotá, Columbia during the 1990s, surrounded by the radial punk scene.
"Over the years, Victor's passion and fascination for synthesizers and drum machines to produce and compose resulted in his debut album "Spiritual"" for Dark Entries in 2014 as well as the "Third Skin" EP in 2016. Inspired by equal parts Liaisons Dangereuses, Drexciya and Black Devil Disco Club, Cute Heels connects the dots between Detroit techno, early Chicago house and Belgium electronic body music. "State of Mind" is a 4-track EP featuring the vocal talents of Berlin artist Aga Wilk, of electro-punk projects Walkman Music and 77TM, on the the title track. On the A-side are two fresh compositions recorded in New York and Bogota between 2016 and 2017.
Victor says, "State of Mind refers to the subconscious as dominated by real facts, natural, unnatural ,metaphysical or virtual and dynamism of the body as physical shield." The track is a slow building foray into techno, elegantly suited for intangible moments. "Golden Tears" kicks off with Cute Heels' signature metallic EBM funk played with punchy, percussive analog synths. On the flip we present two banging club remixes. The first is from LA-4A, techno DJ and producer Kevin McHugh aka Ambivalent, who adds a strong kick drum and lacerating hi-hats that build up to a mind melting breakdown with a full on acid squelch attack. The second remix comes from Noncompliant, Midwest US-based producer Lisa Smith aka DJ Shiva, who creates a raw, thumping exercise though off-kilter mechanics and punishing percussion."
Lullabies For Insomniacs pluck out another overlooked peach with Dino J.A. Deane’s For Leena - a survey of previously unreleased works for the choreography of Colleen Mulvihill; 10 tracks crossing paths between ambient electronics, 4th world new age atmospheres and theatrical soundtrack dimensions. Deane was a member of Indoor Life alongside Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras. RIYL K. Leimer, Rex Ilusivii, Angelo Badalamenti, Muslimgauze
“Beginning his professional career at the age of nineteen, as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, flutes, keyboards, percussion), Dino J. A. Deane worked in funk bands around Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco in the mid 1970’s, where he became involved, as an improvising artist, in the diverse communities of dramatic theater, modern dance, free jazz and punk rock.
In the early 1980's Mr. Deane pioneered the use of live-electronics, live-looping and live-sampling in three distinct genres that heavily informed his later compositions: As a member of art-punk band Indoor Life, touring and recording with fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell and as an electro-acoustic percussionist in the Conduction orchestras of Butch Morris.
During this period Mr. Deane also worked as a sound designer for theater, with directors Sam Shepard, Julie Hebert and Christoph Marthaler. He maintained a long-term relationship in the world of modern dance with former Olympic gymnast and choreographer Colleen Mulvihill, creating and performing numerous dance and music works for her. The couple met in San Francisco in 1979 through his good friend Bruce Ackley, whom was commissioned to compose a score for one of her solo pieces. Colleen, was a member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and was planning to move to New York City to set out on her own as a dancer and choreographer. Their paths crossed again in 1980 when Dino moved to NYC with Indoor Life, during this time they began a long term relationship both on and off the stage, which continues to this day.
“Mr. Deane adjusted his electronics with the glee of a villain in a science fiction epic and raised his trombone as if it were a weapon. He could have been a sorcerer and Ms. Mulvihill could have been someone lost in a realm of black magic.” The New York Times.”
Something special from DDS - the long awaited album debut of avant-Dancehall mutations from Jamaica’s Equiknoxx, already tipped by everyone from Jon K to Mark Ernestus, featuring productions dating between 2009-2016, mastered and cut by Matt Colton, all on vinyl for the first time ever...
Equiknoxx are one of the weirdest, most innovative dancehall squads from Jamaica right now; Bird Sound Power is their debut collective show of strength, packing 12 avant, crooked riddims by core members Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus Bobby Blackbird and Kofi Knoxx, with vocals by Kemikal, Shanique Marie and J.O.E. (R.I.P).
The set was parsed and pieced together by Jon K & Demdike Stare , and now thanks to link ups via Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai (a longtime livicated supporter), it’s issued on Demdike’s DDS imprint, replete with Jon K’s sleeve design.
Easily identified by the squawking bird idents peppering their cuts, Equiknoxx productions have been big in the dance since Gavin Blair a.k.a. Gavsborg produced Busy Signal’s billboard hit Step Out in 2005, followed by key instrumentals for Beenie Man, Aidonia, Masicka, and T.O.K.
Bird Sound Power is weighted with the potential to open up perceptions of current dancehall thanks to the mad character and broad reference points of its producers, encompassing King Jammy’s foundational digi-dub and Dave Kelly’s Mad House sound as much as rugged New York hip hop and the wigged-out, feminine pressure of Virginia Beach’s Timbaland or The Neptunes.
The oldest tune inside dates to 2009, but the rest are recent dancehall mutations, including a number of exclusives produced in the last 12 months. Each one reps for Equiknoxx’s unique aspects, such as Jordan Chung a.k.a. Time Cow’s brilliantly bizarre, layered arrangements of sawn-off hooks and digi-tight beats, also a result of their distinguished family vibe.
Bird Sound Power exists in a paradox, utterly fwd but classic, and with as much potential to turn new heads onto current JA sounds as Mowax’s Now Thing set back in 2001, which remains a key touchstone for so many contemporary producers. It’s one of the sharpest, most crucial DDS issues yet, check the clips and get sweaty...
"The hypnotic new single from Daphne & Celeste sees our heroes going for a night run, only to encounter a bizarre creature who alters their very existence. Alarms is backed with Hi-Fidelity, a vibrant reworking of The Kids From Fame dancing-around-the-musical-instrument-shop classic.
This record comes on premium quality turquoise vinyl with a unique “pop-out” centre like 7” singles of yesteryear that gave buyers the option of putting the record into their jukebox."
A notoriously jaw-dropping folk-funk classic, long treasured by the Balearic fraternity, the self-titled LP from the brothers Batteau nevertheless remains a criminally underheard gem. Appealing to fans stuck on Ned Doheny's scorching blue-eyed soul as well as Gene Clark's rich country-rock, it's an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of proto-Yacht-Rock.
"Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux's eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren't better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time - well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance - whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records.
Throughout, the beautifully penned tracks hold traces of Jimmie Spheeris, America and Seals & Crofts. The immaculately orchestrated percussion and additional instrumentation (electric piano and fiddle to name a few) are performed by perennially celebrated West-Coast cats including Tom Scott, John Guerin and Andy Newmark.
It's no surprise that the heavenly "High Tide" is such a Balearic touchstone. A free soul aqua-space groover, its sophisticated rhythms predict the swing of CSN's canonical "Dark Star" by a full four years. An alternative measure of its enduring magnificence can be gauged by MF Doom sampling Paul Horn's wonderful version, subsequently used by Ghostface Killah.
The highlights are many and memorable. Gorgeous opener "Tell Her She's Lovely" is the perfect example of the addictive, melody-driven songwriting which really should have earned them stardom. Moody ballad "Living's Worth Loving" is nothing short of heartbreaking whilst the chugging elegance of "Wake Me In The Morning" showcases their bewitching harmonies. The hypnotic yearning of "Lady Of The Lake" is an exquisitely string-drenched, piano-laced favourite that achieves a peculiar strutting-funk. It's that good.
This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket - their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design - and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored."
For their first multi-artist compilation, Music From Memory take us on a trip to the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1978-1992 is a double LP that explores the outer reaches of Brazilian music, where indigenous rhythms mix with synthesizers and where MPB mingles with drum computers.
"As Brazil faced the last years of its military dictatorship and transition to democracy, a generation of forward-thinking musicians developed an alternative vision of Brazilian music and culture. They embraced traditionally shunned electronic production methods and infused their music with elements of ambient, jazz-fusion, and minimalism. At the same time they referenced the musical forms and spirituality of indigenous tribes from the Amazon. The music they produced was a complex and mesmerising tapestry that vividly evoked Brazilian landscapes and simultaneously reached out to the world beyond its borders.
.The product of extensive research, this compilation is a unique introduction to this visionary music and features many fresh discoveries in a country well trodden by record diggers. It gathers tracks from obscure albums that have for too long been neglected by even the most avid collectors of Brazilian music. It includes now highly sought after music by Andréa Daltro, Maria Rita, and Fernando Falcão, as well as unknown gems like those of Cinema, Carlinhos Santos, and Anno Luz. This is an essential release that reveals a broader spectrum of Brazilian music, striking a unique sonic signature that is full of innovation, experimentation, and beauty.
Compiled by John Gómez and featuring extensive liner notes, Outro Tempo showcases this overlooked corner in Brazil’s rich music history for the first time."
"The golden record was a gift from humanity to the cosmos. But it is also a gift to humanity. It’s a reminder of what we can achieve when we are at our best-and that our future really is up to all of us..."
"In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Attached to each of these probes is a beautiful golden phonograph record containing a message for any extraterrestrial intelligence that might encounter it, perhaps billions of years from now. This enchanting artifact, known as the Voyager Golden Record, may be the last vestige of our civilization after we are gone forever. Curated by a visionary committee led by Carl Sagan, the golden record tells a story of our planet expressed in music, sounds, images, and science. Etched on the record’s gold-plated aluminum jacket is a diagram explaining where it came from and how to play it."
Reissue remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.
“Fantasy Life was a one-off Italo disco studio project that consisted of various producers, songwriters, and vocalists from Turin, Italy. The line-up included Lorenzo Avico, Maurizio Camoletto and Sergio Bergamin. They recorded their only single “Over and Over” at Minirec Studio in 1985 with mixing engineer Gigi Guerrieri. It was released that same year by Thick Record a sublabel of Il Discotto Productions and became one of the most coveted Italo Disco 12”s. “Over and Over” is a parable that describes the story of a girl growing up, comparing her life to the changes of the moon. Signature Linn drum and Simmons drums create the driving rhythm track that hauntingly sways back and forth.
The vocal version has a nearly two minute extended instrumental break in the middle of the song heightening the dramatic pace. On the B-side is a Dub Version with extended instrumental breaks, bass lines and occasional vocals.”
Very necessary reissue of Derek Bailey’s astonishing Guitar - Lot 74 Solo Improvisations, a completely captivating slab of improvisations recorded by Martin Davidson in 1976 for a single-sided pressing on Bailey and Evan Parker’s Incus Records. Now, more than 50 years later, Honest Jon’s have done a sterling reissue job, sending the tapes to Abbey Road for transfer and roping in Rashad Becker at D&M to get Bailey’s dynamic range, including those amazing tremulous highs and the biting point distortion of ’Together’, sitting just right on the record. This is the sh*t, this is!
"In 1974, when Derek Bailey was planning his second solo LP on Incus, he decided to include a side-long solo using his stereo electro-acoustic set-up. Unfortunately, he never seemed to have a 20-minute stretch of time free of interruptions in his home, so he asked if he could record it at my place. After a fairly lengthy drive across London on the arranged date, he discovered that he had brought all his gear except the actual guitar. So he had a cup of tea and a chat, then drove home again. He came again about a week later, on May 13th, this time with everything. I set the level too high for the first two takes, not quite allowing for his enormous dynamic range (which really was not suitable for analogue recording and reproduction equipment). The result was too much distortion for his liking. The level was corrected for the third take which was the one used as the title track on the LP, even though he preferred the music on the earlier takes.
All but one of the short pieces on the second side of the LP were recorded by Bob Woolford around the same time, probably at Derek's home. (The exception, 'Improvisation 104(b),' was recorded the previous year and originally released on one of the Incus TAPs -- mini reel-to-reel tapes that were an attempt to bypass the technical problems of going from tape to vinyl. They were reissued by Organ of Corti.) 'Pain In The Chest' and 'In Joke (Take 2)' feature the unamplified 19-string (approx) guitar, which was probably the only instrument that Derek modified -- he otherwise used standard guitars.
There was a shortage of good vinyl at the time, making it difficult to get decent pressings. (The original pressing of the solo Steve Lacy Emanem LP sounded as though it had been recorded in a hail-storm.) We were recommended to go to a pressing plant that specialized in 'classical' music. (At the same time that Derek was trying to get Lot 74 pressed, I was also working on his duo album with Anthony Braxton.) The first test pressing of Lot 74 was very muffled, and we discovered that the cutting engineer had played the tape up-side-down, so that the music had been filtered through the tape backing (used on professional tapes to reduce print-through). The cutting was subsequently redone correctly, resulting in an acceptable test pressing. However, the plant manager was completely incredulous and perplexed, as he was used to checking pressings using his library of scores of Beethoven sonatas and the like. How could he tell if the vocal and feedback howls at the start of side two ('Together') were correct?
Over thirty years later, advances in technology have eliminated most of the technical problems we had then, so that this magnificent music can be heard sounding better than ever. Every so often, I get someone asking me to issue things on vinyl -- my response is usually not very polite." Martin Davidson
Although often overshadowed by the more popular ‘Treasure’, 'Head Over Heels' is perhaps the most influential album in the Cocteau Twins catalogue and one that continues to confound 35 years later.
The band’s second album, it was recorded in 1983 mostly as a duo of Fraser and Guthrie, and was the first album to make a real feature of Liz Fraser’s made up, oddly intoned vocabulary. More hard-edged and loud than Treasure, Head Over Heels is also a marvel of production - the way the guitars stay submerged in the mix while the drums pound, those sudden key changes, small flourishes etched into eternity.
Coming not long after original bassist Will Heggie had departed the band, the chemistry between Fraser and Guthrie moved the band on from the starkness of their debut; they were now making the music that would help them define the decade ahead; her wordless, dreamlike vocals a powerful instrument over his lush, textured guitars.
They just don’t make them like this any more (although Demen tried).
Afrikan Sciences & Ari Robey-Lawrence present the first studio recordings of Old Shady Grady & The Neighbourhood Character on Jordan GCZ’s Off Minor label after a series of live showings at Freerotation and elsewhere since 2015.
The Tangle Transmogrifier EP catches Eric Porter Douglas (Afrikan Sciences) switching tack in the jazz-techno cosmos from his Les Graciés duo to a more far-out style thanks to the ruggedly rooted touch of Berlin’s Ari Robey-Lawrence a.k.a The Neighbourhood Character.
With effortlessly intuitive verve, the duo move in elegant formation thru four asymmetric grooves, firstly synching splintered broken beat bumps with bittersweet, keening string cadence in The Queen Of Bubbles, then with a more fluidly metallic diffraction in the melancholic dub grubber, Of Two Minds.
The flipside meanwhile brings the ‘floor firmly into play with a scratchy 3-step ace called Fig Jam, before they do some inimitable voodoo on ya with the darting rimshot punctuation, jazz chords and surging noise figures of Woman’s Heels, in a way recalling Howard Thomas ghosting jazz blues.
On the 3rd of 3 new 12”s, Will Long (Celer) nods to Richard Pryor and leading Black Panther Ericka Huggins in two of his signature, raw, extended deep house grooves for Smalltown Supersound.
Unlike the 2016 batch of Long Trax released on Comatose, there’s no Sprinkles dubs this time, but Long capably goes solo with the lean, longing jack of That’s The Way It Goes features a key sample from Richard Pryor stating “I just think it’s part of capitalism to promote racism”, whilst samples from Ericka Huggins are woven into the bittersweet chords and subtly treated groove of We Tend To Forget.
Master drummer Jaki Liebezeit was very pleased that the craft of drum making has not changed much over the course of time. Be it that a skin is stretched over a drum with cords or bolts or be it that the skin is out of plastic or animal hide - the principle remains the same: Either enclose a hollow space without which there would be no sound (just imagine a drum filled with clay!).
"The same applies to the perception of rhythm. Everything is reduced to the essential: the hollow space in the centre. It is the invisible that matters. All tracks on the second DRUMS OFF CHAOS EP revolve around this vacant space in the middle. A centre that is filled with - nothing.
The focus is on abstract, grooving drum music. Rhythms are reduced to their elementary nucleus to such an extent that they can be perceived as clearly singular but also as universal. And something emerges that follows universal laws such as gravity, ergonomics and acoustics.
Play what the drum demands, was one of Jaki's sayings. Together with him, DRUMS OFF CHAOS took this to heart. The album centres on rhythms that are based on simple numerical relationships allowing their richness to unfurl from within.”
Reissue remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.
“Dark Entries Editions is proud to reissue “Ghost Town” the 1984 debut 12” single by Mono Band from Italy. The project was conceived by producer Rene 'D'Herin and Massimo Fantinatiti aka Fantenax. They teamed up with songwriter and guitarist Luigi Venegoni aka Svengile who had previously worked with progressive and jazz-rock bands Arti & Mestieri and Venegoni & Co. as well as cosmic disco group Stratosferic Band. Treading the lines between Italo Disco and the darker side of New Wave, the trio crafted a mysterious sound. Melancholic arpeggiators, a throbbing baseline, stuttering samples, and the classic Linn drum machine run throughout the track.
Vocals were handled by an uncredited Carlo Rossi who raps about a ghost town filled with fear. When female vocalist Elena Sansonetti begins to softly whisper the chorus one might get goose bumps. The trio were joined in the studio by DJ Mike aka Michele Paolino of Make Up/Mike Up, DJ Moody, Fabrice Bellini of Art Fine and producer Miceli. The song was recorded in a few days at Dynamo Sound Studio in Turin and originally released on the popular Discomagic Records. This reissue includes the original vocal version, backed with a longer dubbed out instrumental “Ghost Version” on the B-side.”
Slow Sundown, Holy Motors’ debut full length release, finds the estonian dreamcatchers utilizing a sonic palette ranging from dark psychedelic pop to shoegaze-inflected western music.
"Thematically the album is comprised primarily of sad love songs centered around the idea of motion – the motion of a satellite orbiting a planet, the motion of a passenger riding shotgun in a car – as it relates to stellar-scale and existential isolation. produced by merchandise’s carson cox and recorded at brooklyn’s kutch1 studios when the band was visiting the us on tourist visas, slow sundown is a beautiful alien artifact that definitively delivers on everything we have been promised by holy motors’ work to date."
Angela Davis and Samuel Block feature on the 2nd of 3 new 12”s in his Long Trax deep house style for Smalltown Supersound following his widely acclaimed set of releases for DJ Sprinkles Comatose in 2016.
Sprinkles doesn’t appear on this new series, but Long is now firmly into the deep house swing, placing his own, sensitively raw and low key spin on the style with gauzy samples of Angela Davis laced into the 12 minutes of keening float in The Struggles, The Difficulties on the front, then doing something similar with the 10 minute, No More on the B-side.
Dark Entries keep plugging the gaps in our New Wave knowledge with reissue of Intense Molecular Activity’s obscure, belting 4-track single I.M.A. plus four tracks from the same era which have never appeared on vinyl, ’til now.
Caught in flux between proto-EBM and New Wave/NDW jerkiness, Andy Blinx and Don Hünerberg’s short-lived but vital unit effectively specialised in their own form of industrial disco under the name Intense Molecular Activity between 1979-1981.
Blinx sang and Hünerberg did the beats and noise on their sole release proper, an 8” flexi-disc which features as tracks 1-4, or side A on this new reissue. It’s perhaps best known, or recognised for the clattering, angular lead track Blurb, which provided core sample to Keep On Waiting from DJ Hell’s NY Muscle album, and also features some supreme porto-techno styles recalling Visage’s Frequency 7 int he likes of Points In Space and Just Testing, while the cavernous Blinxong comes off like a cut from Basquiat’s Gray EP beefed up by Kraftwerk - seriously!
The other tracks are bob-on, too. Beat Street is a proper dancefloor rocket - like some mad template for disco-metal alloys - while Battery Life unleashes a proper charge of percussion and processed vox shades away from Craig Leon’s Nommos, and The Look hits a wicked stride of militant snares and glancing, dissonant electronic stabs.
Lushly balanced ambient house and breaks trips from Adam Feingold’s Ex-Terrestrial alias
Making his first outing on Vancouver’s Pacific Rhythm with a warm and friendly sound teeing up hazy new age pads and breaks in Urth Man, slippery ambient acid on Everybody Dreams, and early Warp/SoYo breaks vibes in Water Walk, which also appears as a cannily percolated ambient rework by Priori (Jump Source, MSL), who also mixed the EP.
Midnight Shift draw cuts from Gramrcy & Hodge, Mark Forshaw, Harmonious Thelonious, INNSYTER, Terry Lamborghini, Amato, Thermocline and Knuttson-Berg for their latest label compilation.
It’s a mixed bag, chucking up some highlights via the Brazilian rufige of INNSYTER on A Last Time For and the pounding Gramrcy/Hodge number Barnohl, beside the giddy disco-tech of Mark Forshaw’s Power Grab and Knutsson-Berg’s bouncing acid-electro bomb.
Remastered (by Matt Colton) reissue of Juan Atkins' (and Marty Bonds') sought after ambient techno gem, originally released in 1992.
'The Passage' is a classic piece of Detroit breakbeat techno science flush with celestial synth arrangements and powerful electro/breakbeat techno torque buffed up for 2014 on the A-side. Flip it for the darker techno-pop drive of 'Mind Changes' and the midnight sci-fi mission, 'Vessels In Distress'.
Amorphous electronic producer Broshuda shapeshifts ambient styles for Milan’s Haunter Records with Jemi, perhaps the sweetest yet elusive iteration of his sound which has previously found its way onto the Videogamemusic, Phinery Tapes and Jheri Tracks labels.
Working shades away from the fractal structures of uon or Wanda Group, or like a more dazed and weightless Zomby, the Berlin-based artist pulls from myriad styles to form his own genteel ecosystems of coarsely grained but spaciously diffused electronics, each riddled with silvery hooks and tilted to the horizontal.
The enigma of Rex Ilusivii becomes deliciously mistier with this remarkable recording made at The Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, 1983. We’re going to get used to saying this; it’s yet another amazing record from the Offen Music label outta Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs…
This is a truly freakish slab of sounds, combining Suba’s background in classical composition (although he never finished his studies, becoming seduced by synthetic sounds and therefore not allowed to finish his degree under Rudolf Bruci), with a headlong taste for electronic music and a unique cache of ethnic and folk recordings made by his travel writer father, Radomir Subotic.
Factor in a fascination with emerging Latin-American sounds, and Suba was clearly out on his own at this time in what was then known as Yugoslavia, where he was employed at Radio Beograd’s state-of-the-art Sound Workshop as a freelance engineer and composer exploring the potential of their Synthi 100 and learning from the maestros of “radiophony”, Arsenije Jovanovic and Ivana Stefanovic.
Predating the sounds on his sought-after Disillusioned! LP and In The Moon Cage, the Koncert SNP 1983 performance renders Suba at his most liminal, unquantifiable, twisting and turning in seven parts between starkly minimal, primeval synth music to hypnotic, pulsating vocal arrangements and Ghedalia-esque worldly psychedelia, plus a number of shorter pieces of gristly knots and abstract whorls, which are almost concrète dub in effect and bear no small resemblance to current, deconstructed club musics.
We love this label, and much like everything we've heard from them thus far: this is a buy on sight kinda deal.
Feel the yacht torque on this! Proper, pendulous electro-jazz-funk from Spain, 1987, blessed with the power of a 50 footer tacking in a refreshing Mediterrean breeze. Keep your mojito loose but steady…
“Respuesta Alternativa or the Alternative Response was the project of Spanish musician Jesus Mª Catalan, created with the help of Julián C. Pérez.
As the title implies the music was generated in response to traditional music notions of the time, and reflects how Jesus Mª Catalan would challenge these traditional ideals using a fusion of styles and his unique vision. Jesus laid out his synths and drum machines, while other musicians played traditional instruments over the top. This unique approach worked to create atmospheric tracks capturing simple themes, with each influence being carefully thought of in the joint result. As he explains “each instrument weaves independently throughout a passage in a curious game where the listener’s attention goes from focusing on a keyboard, guitar to bass or percussion. Previously only released on a cassette album in Spain, Left Ear have polished 5 choice cuts for a 2018 12”.”
Debut album by the new creepy and romantic basement organ project of Romain Perrot.
“The other night I dreamt about a parallel universe in which Klaus Schulze had some sort of government-paid job installing contact mics and analog synths (which I suspect was mainly to annoy Tangerine Dream) in all the big European cathedrals to "modernize" the pipe organs. I told him how they used to make cobwebs in the early Dracula movies; you punch a small hole in a yogurt pot full of liquid latex attached to an electric drill, point roughly where you want the cobwebs to go, shut your eyes and hit the trigger.
This got ol' Klaus drooling, and pretty soon every church (not to mention cemetery) ceiling in France was dripping with stringy latex goo. He also decided to add more gargoyles (inside, on the altar) and impose a black metal warpaint dress code for Sunday mass. Roro worked part-time as the Hunchback (every church had their own, so as well as Notre Dame there was The Hunchback of The Sistine Chapel, The Hunchback of Unarius, and even, controversially, The Hunchback of Scientology) and also hung out in front of Pere Lachaise trying to get people to sign a petition to change the name of the cemetery to "The Dario Argento Museum".
Reclusiveness aside, Romain and I sometimes like to meet up near Notre Dame at a Japanese restaurant run by one of the members of Les Legions Noire, serving "necro-sushi" and so on... One sunny afternoon, sighing as he removed the fake Quasimodo teeth and the cushion stuffed into the back of his shirt, he handed me the new Trou Au Rats LP, cursing the backache which was the result of his job. "Give this to Klaus" he said, in a deep voice a few octaves lower than usual. Now, dear reader, let me assure you, I don't know and I don't want to know what kind of entities he'd done deals with in his basement catacomb, but a few days after Klaus heard that album, Roro got to lay down his hunch for the last time, and scored his dream job as full-time organist. Mind you, dream job or not, he does still have to wear the plastic vampire fangs, somehow managing to remain the perfect gentleman, even if they do make him talk funny. Now, if you are aware of his other projects (Vomir being one), chez Roro there's no such thing as a coincidence, and there's always a lot more going on that meets the eye... That might explain why, shortly after his promotion to organist, as if by majic(k), weird record shops called things like "Bimbo Tower 2" started opening up all over Europe in the tiny streets round the backs of cathedrals or near to old cemeteries (and even inside pyramids, or so I was told), right next to where the crazy old witches sell gory upside-down crucifixion dioramas and Free As Dead tshirts in the most happenin' European cities. Which must be why you are reading this right now”
Andy Bolus (Evil Moisture, Royal Sperm) Paris January 2018
T H I S album - jesus. Stunning collection of torch songs and electro-acoustic dramaturgy - hugely recommended if you’re into Scott Walker, Élg, Félicia Atkinson, Ghédalia Tazartès or Mica Levi. Easily one of the most striking, rewarding albums of the year so far.
The King is a remarkably absorbing collection of enchanted orchestrations and abstract torch songs by Cee Haines aka Chaines, a Manchester-based artist in possession of a starkly singular sonic language, who has collaborated extensively with the London Contemporary Orchestra and had their work performed at The Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Printworks and Tate Modern.
Leading a thematic expansion of Chaines’ OST debut from 2015, their 2nd solo release yields a phantasmic and richly evocative soundtrack-esque series of works written over the past three years, including exclusive versions of commissions by the LCO and Union Chapel, all serving to frame an intimate yet beautifully elusive portrait of a unique artist coming into their own.
In eight parts, Chaines draws a mercurial line that connects the almost bestial intimacy of purring strings and whispered vocals in For Your Own Good to something like Scott Walker-invoking-Fantasia in Eraserhead, conjuring a mutably surreal and mystic atmosphere that keeps listeners teetering between knife-edge suspense and sublime relief as they scale from delectably detailed avant-garde psychedelia in Knockturning to a bout of Grouper-as-spectral-Jazz diva styles of Population 5120, and all in a way that makes the exploded hyaline castles in the sky dimensions of Airship seem totally feasible next to the cavernous avant-techno impulses of Carpathia. Never following a linear path, Chaines are as likely to incorporate doom-laced chamber motifs and asymmetric techno rhythms as operatic vocals and microscopic sounds, always with a sensitivity to the metaphysics of space and spirit which coolly sets their work apart.
Chaines find themselves amid exemplary, boundary-morphing company on the Slip label, whose diversity finds a common strength in the will to express something of a pathos beyond easy comprehension, yet which can be felt and understood immediately and instinctively by anyone with an open mind and a thirst for the new.
Timeless drum-machine soul music from genius Brit-Funk pioneer John Rocca. Pink Rhythm were a mid-80s evolution of Rocca's London-based band Freeez, featuring the great Andy Stennett and Peter Maas.
"Melodies Of Love" was first released in 1985 yet, still sounding staggeringly fresh, it's no surprise that discerning DJs call on it now more than ever. As the title suggests, it's so melodically profound and so effortlessly funky, once you hear it, you never forget it. Accordingly, it has been growing in demand on 12" for the past decade.
Gliding serenely, its epic, melancholic synths appeal to fans of Italo, whilst its stabbing Moog bassline and wall-shaking drums retain an unmistakable boogie / electro-disco feel. Rocca himself delivers a memorably androgynous vocal that only adds to the majesty.
Backed with the strutting sax workout "Walking In The Rain", this officially licensed, remastered 12" - presented in a heavier sleeve than the original - is one not to miss."
Add one feral vocalist to salty rhythmic noise by a L.I.E.S. rogue, engineered by a Hospital Productions don, and you get Wetware. File next to: Factory Floor, Alberich, Group A
“New York City has had a long history of dance music fused with confrontational performance. Whether it came from within the late 70’s No Wave canon projected through venues like the Mudd Club or the downtown avant-garde galleries such as The Kitchen, the feeling that influences and infects Brooklyn-based duo Wetware’s overall being as a cohesive and confrontational unit is as much enigmatic as it is familiar.
Formed in 2015, Wetware eased into its performative role with their live shows around their home base of Brooklyn, NY. Vocalist Roxy Farman, whose familiar voice was last heard on Drew McDowall’s “Unnatural Channel” album, stole audience’s attention immediately, using her body in tandem with her voice as a weaponized vehicle for the band’s anxiety filled performance. Matthew Morandi cut his teeth in the electronic music world through his solo tech-industrial project Jahiliyya Fields and partner to Inhalants, the techno collaboration of Morandi and Max Ravitz (Patricia). The synergy that’s developed between Farman and Morandi has been explosive. Wetware’s live antics and behavior has caused alarm amongst their local audiences, making Wetware the group to “not be missed” on any particular bill that they are allowed to take part in.
Wetware stepped out from their live persona and self-recorded a selection of songs that viewers had grown accustomed to and were debuted on the flawlessly curated Primitive Languages imprint. Shortly following their recorded premier was an EP collection of demo recordings on the much praised Bank NYC label. Once the band reconciled with documenting their work, they set out, with the help of engineer Kris Lapke (Alberich / Hospital Productions) to formalize their most recent output in the context of their first full length album entitled “Automatic Drawing”.
Given Wetware’s penchant for endurance, as displayed by their 3 hour long production at Koenig & Clinton Gallery in NYC in the Summer of 2017, one would expect the usual restlessness on Wetware’s debut full length. All of the apprehension and unease in Wetware seems to have been channeled into a string of cohesive electronic statements found on songs “Frequent Dreamlands” and “Ode to Joe”. Industrial dance rhythms bounce around Farman’s poetic stance on “Where Ever You Were”, causing flashbacks of an early 80’s dystopia that jumps around a confusing, uncomfortable backdrop. Interspliced with modular electronic instrumentals like the album’s opener “Pantomime”, Wetware’s devastating portrait is that of a society in peril.”
Olivier Brisson lives in Lille and has been involved not only with sound experimentation but also with psychiatry. The latter is not just a detail but an important fact here: this is a work about frames and boundaries. But who (or what) are inside/outside those frames?
"That’s not easy to say. The sound collage brings us to a continuous flow where everything seems mixed: “professionals” cataloguing “mental illness”, voices of “patients”, tape failures, suggestive music passages, anomalous noises, field recordings from everywhere and several rivers of sounds sailing together along with the listener. The trip is intense and compelling. Beautiful and terrifying.
The horizon might be a cushion but it might be also something else. We’re culturally trained to believe that something is “normal” or not and we put a lot of effort in trying to make the world fit in those categories. But in the end who is “normal” enough to say what is “not normal”? This is what this record is about and Beware! Sound can easily brake barriers, even those you didn’t notice were present."
Anla Courtis Buenos Aires, Argentina December 2017
Collaboration piece between two major players in the contemporary Italian electro-acoustic music scene.
"Alberto Boccardi has studied composition and music theory at Milan's Music Civic Academy and has frequently collaborated with Lawrence English, Nicola Ratti, or Maurizio Abate among others while Stefano Pilia is a prolific guitarist and electro-acoustic theorist with a massive body of work and compositions. He has collaborated with Mike Watt, Nico Vascellari, David Tibet or Valerio Tricoli to name a few. I love this new album "bastet" by alberto boccardi and stefano pilia right from my first listen I decided I would go to the sea (my pedro town is in the harbor of los angeles) to write my thoughts about it cuz the sea is what I first thought of when I heard the first sounds of it coming - I figured it was the sea cuz I had feelings from the music I had these sensations cuz I felt I was in the ocean - on a boat... actually not just on a boat but in the bottom of it - down in the bilge. the musical interaction between alberto and stefano is seamless and whole, free of potentially encumbering static structures, I'm drawn into the pitch and yaw, the port and starboard, the heave and ho.
The piece is made of two parts ("bastet" and "dayira") w/each of those parts being made of likewise two parts. the longes of these bookend the shorter ones but still it is a journey. by the middle I feel lower in the bowels of the boat and in fact, this boat is now feeling like a submarine and so not only am I deep down up in the vessel itself, the world I feel around in is ALSO deep down in it, deep down beneath the waves and so I feel the pushing of currents, the pressure of the depths compressing the bulkheads. on the very bottom of the hull's inside, over the keel I place my head so the vibrations can pass right the bone of my skull. the last part of the voyage for me is a surprise cuz now the sub feels more like a train. we're still moving but everything is no longer wet and there are many gifts falling into my eyes and I survey the passing landscapes. the mechanized sounds throughout the piece by now only confirm my suspicion they were only coincidences of chance and not purpose-built reels of barbed-wire to enforce fake borders. maybe this "railroad" in my head actually was the sea becoming a river and I got confused. whatever, alberto and stefano created and preformed a whole and beautiful work that I feel we are very lucky to get to share w/them. music connected by imagination to let the spirit flow true. no wonder I read somewhere the cat-headed old egypt deity of bast was considered the guardian of the dream world. I am inspired. grazie, fratelli. mike watt san pedro, california january 2018 The sounding worlds of Boccardi and Pilia meet in quasi-narrative paths. Immediately, from the first glance at the tracklist, something seems to thematize the encounter in its two-faced nature: two dedications (Bastet and Dayira, the birth), each one in two parts, but also an encounter between electric guitar and percussions.
The guitar being itself already an encounter between acoustic and electric sounds. Yet again, organic and electronic soundscapes are coupled down into introspection and vision. While Bastet is set to follow an inner voyage along memories and ambiences where Popol Vuh and Robert Rich seem to faintly appear, it is Dayira that is given the mission of projecting the inner vision into vast emotional landscapes. And at the very end something new is birthed, a minor chord that apparently has nothing to do with the drones and patterns preceding it, along the sound of the entire album. An intriguing surprise that is driven by an electronic, floating aura to a quasi-interrupted ending. Functioning as a promise that this voyage has yet to be finished.
Striking début of pained indie vocals paired with lean wave grooves by Dormer, a duo comprising Australia’s Harry Maslen and Morgan Wright. Cop Envy and Leo James give sharper electro remixes.
Launched by Burning Rose x Pelvis Records, Dormir find their place with a fine grasp of pop romance for the ‘floor in their mix of louche vox with nervy electro-pop swing on In Pursuit, then with a quieter, low key sort of seduction in the reddit glow and languorous delivery of Rendezvous.
Both songs are further fired for the ‘floor on the B-side, Cop Envy giving a taut, recursive electro version of Cop Envy forgetting about the vocal and focussing on the rimshots with great effect, while Leo James follows an ace 12” on Berceuse Heroique to reinserts the vocals into a slick, rolling electro-pop chassis.
Ineffably stylish avant-punks Toresch pursue the shark-eyed swerve and bite of their Essen Für Alle debut - one of our most-played records of 2016 - with a 2nd batch of skulking aces for Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music outta Düsseldorf’s Salon Des Amateurs.
Again, Detlef Weinrich (Tolouse Low Trax) tills the groove for Viktoria Wehrmeister, a Mexican-born German sculptor and artist with previous form for Klaus Dinger’s La! NEU? troupe. However, this time the vibe is more concentrated, low-key, burning with dark blue hues for red lit basements to leave listeners in a purple twilight zone, hypnotised by Weinrich’s reticulated rhythms, commanded by Viktoria’s pidgin, made-up Spanish lyrics, and subconsciously tripping to the plasmic mix magick of Gordon Pohl, whose sleight-of-hand was crucial to the success of Toresch’s debut.
In EP opener Guayabame we hear echoes of their addictive Como Para Todos, but contracted and numbed to a tighter, frozen buzz with Viktoria stalking the stage front and centre, less raging, more snarling. On Las Locas they tuck the rhythm somewhere darker and more fetid with the kind of snake-hipped shuffle that unlocks the psyche in devilish ways, vocals reserved to a sort of druggy and wickedly illegible slur.
The highlight this time is their lip-bitingly strong, noirish beauty El Fuego, where Viktoria Jekyll & Hyde’s herself in whispers and curling, orientalist plumes amid a maze of slow, smoky electro-dub draped in midnight jazz keys, before rearing up like a mutant, melted New Beat or proto-techno zinger in the clenched, simmering pressure of Tocar, which subtly benefits from Gordon Pohl’s fathomless dub mix sphere.
Trust it’s a total beauty!
The continuation of the audio trilogy concerning the Darkness of Aegypt: the shadow stuff from whence dark dreams come. The Triad: dark, light and the animating serpent power are delineated by the Egyptian Gods Set, Horus and the Apep serpent.
"The second parting of the ways, lord of the crossroads, the double horizon, the xroads of day and night, the mauve zone, the death posture. We brought back: a twilight mechanism, and hymns to the charnel ground, ashes, jackals and the bulto hyaena, pacing the departure lounges of abandoned airports."
Finally available again - Second of two crucial Shackleton singles on Honest Jon's, weighted with dynamic remixes by T++ and Mordant Music.
In contrast to the coffin intensity of 'Deadman', 'Fireworks' is widescreen and viewed from above (perhaps best imagined from the perspective of the unfortunate soul in Gaspar Noé's 'Enter The Void'?), suspended in up-drafting columns of ghoulish synth voices, silvery hi-hats and convulsing kicks evaporated from viscous subs way below.
With 'Undeadman' his zombied cadaver arises again, divined like a worm from the ground by plunging subs to join the skull disco on consecrated ground. T++ is similarly averse to gravity, his agile rebuild feeling like it's being dragged upwards by the chest, limbs carving 'ardcore torque in mid-air, buffeted by sub-harmonic turbulence. There's a reference to his classic Dynamo 12" in the title 'Außen Vor', but we haven't the foggiest what it means. Kindred darkside shamen, Mordant Music plays the 'Undeadman' like a dread-dub marionette, trapped in halfstep inertia at the centre of a dizzying atmospheric pressure system. Essential!
A seminal, evergreen concrète classic, originally commissioned by the Shah of Iran to mark the 2500 year anniversary of Iran’s founding by Cyrus, Iannis Xenakis’ Persepolis masterpiece re-enters orbit ready to stun a whole new generation of keener listeners. We don’t want to over egg it, but this is one of the most incredible pieces of electronic music ever made! Now remastered by Rashad Becker
“After “La Légende d’Eer” in 2016, the PERIHEL series presents one of the milestones of electroacoustic music: IANNIS XENAKIS’ mindblowing 54-minutes oeuvre “Persepolis”, mixed from the original 8 track tapes by MARTIN WURMNEST and mastered / cut by RASHAD BECKER.
“Persepolis” is the longest electroacoustic composition by IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001) who ranks among the most influential 20th century avantgarde composers. Commissioned by the Persian Shah, the piece was part of a multimedia performance – XENAKIS’ so-called “polytopes” – which premiered in 1971 in Shiraz-Persepolis (Iran) as a performance including light-tracks, laser beams, groups of children walking around with torches and 59 loudspeakers to project the music in an open-air situation. XENAKIS had realized “Persepolis” on 8-track analogue tape in the Studio Acusti in Paris and released a stereo reduction on vinyl in the famous Philips series “Prospective 21e Siècle” in 1972, adding the new subtitle “We bear the light of the earth”, his most hymnal title ever.
Out of print for decades now, the LP became – especially the Japanese edition from 1974 – one of the most expensive collector’s item of electroacoustic music. There were some later CD versions with different durations – too long due to a wrong sample rate, others shortened by 3 minutes due to other reasons. The PERIHEL series now presents a new version: mixed from the original (!) master 8 track tapes by longtime zeitkratzer sound engineer MARTIN WURMNEST and mastered by RASHAD BECKER at D&M, Berlin – the same experts who had already taken care of the 2016 KARLRECORDS release of “La Légende d’Eer”, another milestone composition among the works of the Greek-French avant-garde composer.”
Pye Corner Audio brings his wood-fired analogue sound to Lapsus Records after touring the houses of Mondo Tees, Polytechnic Youth, Analogical Force and More Than Human already in a productive 2017 cycle.
In a smart play of contrasts, we hear much-loved and lesser-heard sides of PCA’s sound in Where Things Are Hollow. The supple, rolling arpeggios and acid tweaks of Resist, and his wobbly, chromatic cosmic chugger Northern Safety Route both bear the hallmarks of Martin Jenkins’ signature dancefloor romance.
However, fans should be very intrigued to hear him go beat-less and weightless in the other two parts. With Mainframe he conducts a stellar display of piquant bleep motifs and arcing choral pads converging into a gently distorted and dissonant harmonic smudge at the track’s peak, and Continental Drift seemingly operates on the opposite side of that wave with a sullen stir of low end swells and light pollution aurora reflecting the scale of the track title.
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
Helm’s away-day for The Trilogy Tapes comes under killer remix fire from Laurel Halo, Sky H1, Parris, Low Jack and Beneath on Luke Younger’s Alter label.
Thanks to smart A&R and sequencing, this is one of those rare remix packs that exceeds the sum of its parts, cannily opening up the material to new perspectives ranging from the oblique jungle chicanery of Parris, who redresses Blue Scene as a sort of blown-out DJ Scud workout, to Sky H1’s anxious ambient trance cradling of After Dark.
Low Jack likewise renders a bittersweet tang from Candy that remains faithful to Helm’s gritty aesthetic, and Laurel Halo puts a mean, side-winding spin on Blue Scene, working up a fierce friction shared in Beneath’s re-rolled, recoiling take on World In Action, holding the rudest line between abstraction and face-twysting nuttiness which, like everyone else, draws mutable common links between dance music and noise.