1991's Worlds in Collision was the eighth studio album from Pere Ubu (with the live recording One Man Drives While The Other Man Screams immediately preceeding it) and saw the inclusion of replacement synth player Eric Drew Feldman (whose credits include Captain Beefheart, The Residents and post-Ubu, The Pixies) following the departure of founding member, Allen Ravenstine.
Drummer Chris Cutler also departed around the same time, further compounding the notion that this waws a band in flux. Gil Norton (who by this point had himself already worked with The Pixies) took the production reins and helped concoct a veritable alt-rock epic that stands as the band's closest run-in with outright pop music. This reissue of Worlds In Collision comes expanded with new liner notes and four bonus tracks.
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
Wonderful suite of archival gamelan minimalism from Bay Area practitioner Daniel Schmidt.
Recital dip into the personal archives of Daniel Schmidt, an integral scholar in the development of American Gamelan. After studying Javanese gamelan at California Institute of the Arts in the early ‘70s, Schmidt set about creating a West Coast movement based around an aluminium version of the instrument – the Berkeley Gamelan - forged of his own design. He’s since gone on to build numerous gamelan instruments, theorise on it’s compositional qualities, collaborate with Lou Harrison, Jody Diamond, and Paul Dresher, and currently teaches at Mills College San Francisco.
‘In My Arms, Many Flowers’ captures the American Gamelan movement in its nascent state, the result of a personal invitation for Recital boss Sean McCann to rifle through three boxes of Schmidt’s studio and live recordings committed to cassette between the late ’70s and early ‘80s. What’s immediately striking here is how Schmidt deviates from the traditional Javanese style of gamelan composition, instead seeking out the minimalist movement of North America for guidance.
Making use of a primitive sampler borrowed from Pauline Oliveros (RIP), lead track And the Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn pairs a sumptuous looped string arrangement with Schmidt’s delicate caresses of the Berkeley Gamelan which build with quiet melodic complexity into something quite wonderful. The title track sees Schmidt augmenting the mysticism of his Berkeley with the bowed strings of a rebab, another traditional Indonesian instrument, deployed to signify a bird that “calls from far away.”
Ghosts is one of two compositions done solely with the gamelan, Schmidt leading a procession of players using traditional techniques on a detailed 14-minute recording of percussive dexterity and intricacy that highlights the spiritual powers of the instrument. Faint Impressions offers a sombre finale, the ringing melodicism of the Berkeley gamelan set to a backdrop of an understandably captivated audience.
Another long-since deleted entry into Pere Ubu's 1980s back-catalogue, this album featured the final appearance of Allen Ravenstine's incendiary synth playing.
After 1989's Cloudland, Ravenstine moved on to pursue a career as an airline pilot of all things. He left them as they entered the most mainstream-compatible phase of their career to date, with 'Waiting For Mary' winning the band some MTV airtime. The song sounds very much in keeping with the alt-rock revolution that was reshaping America the time. In fact the album in general sounds braced with a kind of spiky optimism that manifests itself in the inflated productions and grander, often downright jubilant choruses. As with the other Pere Ubu reissues listed this week, Cloudland features new liner notes and a number of bonus tracks (five in this case), including the Van Dyke Parks-inspired 'Wine Dark Sparks'.
Remastered first vinyl edition of This Heat’s seminal live LP, compiled from Euro gigs in Tilburg, Nijmegen, Ärhus, Apeldoorn, Vienna and Rheims between 1980-81, right between their classic debut LP and its follow-up ‘Deceit’
Officially sanctioned by original band members Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward, this is the vinyl edition of the CD release, ‘Live 80/81’ . It was all recorded on cassette using a stereo microphone placed near the sound desk, capturing the performance and incidental sounds with an unflinchingly raw quality.
For the shows, This Heat comprised Charles Bullen (guitar, clarinet, voice, tapes), Charles Hayward (drums, kazoo, melodica, voice, tapes), and Gareth Williams (organ, tapes, guitar, bass guitar, voice) running through the entire track-listing of their tour in the Netherlands.
Material from both ‘This Heat’ and ‘Deceit’ appears in the set, which opens with the twisted metal screech and stop-start drums of ‘Horizontal Hold’, and takes in a high tension rendition of ’S.P.Q.R.’, along with the throttled No Wave tribal jangle of ‘Makeshift Swahili’ and ‘Twilight Furniture’, plus a mighty parting shot with their raucous version of ‘Health and Efficiency’.
2nd pair of inch-perfect pop bewts from London’s Westerman, produced by the genius Bullion
Following the bluer feels of ‘Confirmation/I Turned Away’, this exceedingly cute plate finds Western upbeat and with a sunnier disposition in the gentle psych-soul-pop of ‘Edison’, and at a more laid-back angle with the hazy grained shimmers of ‘Easy Money’.
Proper ohrwurms, both of them.
Vital new electro and techno trax from the one and only Dopplereffekt, and Berlin's Objekt.
Once again, Leisure System bring out the best from Dopplereffekt, following the excellent 'Tetrahymena' 12" with some of their sharpest rhythms and inimitably romantic synth arrangements in 'Delta Wave' - the kind that only adventurous DJs will spin out, and the best crowds will appreciate. Objekt, meanwhile, keeps face with a strong effort called 'Ganzfeld' that sounds something like DJ Stingray in a step-off with Optical, all angular geometrics and moody blue pads...
Debut dread declarations from Nazamba, a fire and brimstone dub poet out of Kingston, JA, produced by G36 for The Bug’s Pressure label...
Heralding Nazamba’s forthcoming full album with France’s O.B.F. sound system, ‘Vex’ sounds the alarm with apocalyptically gruff vocals set to pulverising production from Nagasaki’s anarcho-dub collective, G36.
“The spirit of Prince Far I reincarnated, riding a sci-fi steppa that relentlessly aims to flatten all floors. Nazamba's angry rant against the global epidemic of morally bankrupt, indelibly corrupt politicians, is a straight shot to Babylon's head…”
Quator Bozzini perform two 30 minute string pieces by core Editions Wandelweiser's Jürg Frey. The latter work, ‘Unhörbare Zeit’ (Inaudible Times) is mighty; 35 minutes of brooding swells touching dread-like subharmonic depths yet somehow vaporous and light in movement
“The string quartet sounds sometimes like the silence of a square, a room, a wall or a landscape. The music is silent, but not absent. It is not speechless, and it also does not move with virtuosity bordering on silence. The music gets its vitality and its radiance, not from gesture and figuration, but in quiet presence – everything is there: colours, sensations, shadows, durations. The music is silent architecture.
The music has different emotional and architectural sonic spaces. Voluminous and fallow land, lightness and heaviness of materials, intimacy and being lost appear and disappear. And there are lines between which one crosses quietly. This music is created by simple and clear procedures; however, the requirement for the precision increases. Elemental materials and constructions are thereby perceived as a sensation, and mindfulness consists in hanging these sensations in balance before they have arrived at the limitations of expressiveness.
Unhörbare Zeiten (inaudible times) are empty volumes in the music. Durations without sounds define their own entity and develop their architectural presence. One should add nothing to these empty volumes, neither in composition nor while listening. They should remain open, light and serene. I am working with audible and inaudible durations that appear partly simultaneously and partly consecutively. They give the piece lucidity and transparency, as well as materiality and solidity. There are sometimes almost spatial or bodily deci- sions to achieve a balance of the material, of the feeling for the piece, and of the compositional technique, and to create, from an initial idea of something limitless - a music with energy and breath.”
Numerological mysticism from the LSD gang, slipping head-first down the rabbit hole into astral drone planes and Ur-technoid rhythmic noise from overlooked nooks of the vinyl frontier (and quite possibly YouTube)
Say what you will about the provenance, but these guys really know how to put together strange records. So far only one track from the set has been identified, a muffled cut of Mark Lane’s slunky synth-pop ‘Sojourn’ from ‘Who’s Really Listening?’, while the rest reaches out from dense microtonal drone and far-out kosmische, thru skeletal, lights-out dancers to smoky Gallic pop and an outstanding closing shot of hard-to-identify avant-pop with a wickedly acidic sting in the tail.
This is absolutely gorgeous! Michael Pisaro weds unedited field recordings of L.A. with almost imperceptible sine wave tones, offering a poetic, 2 hour portrait of his home city...
Opening an impressionistic window to the hills, streets and coast of greater Los Angeles, ‘Transparent City (Volumes 1 & 2)’ consists of 11 x 10 minute field recordings which were later blended with sine waves at Pisaro’s home studio in Santa Clarita, and broken up by two minutes silence at the end of each track. Their effect is enchanting, subliminally drawing us into a naturally relaxed state, but with a subtle awareness of the sine wave’s presence that creates a sublime tension - nothing disturbing, more like a charming poltergeist who wants to play with your private ether.
That presence and its effect, in conjunction with the patently sunny scenes of the recording, lend a heady quality that recalls the surreality limned in Nozomu Matsumoto’s recent ‘Climatotherapy’, but with a far more subtle appeal, while also reminding of the meditative states of Jakob Ullmann’s music, the ambience of Murakami novels, or what may be heard from Pinkcourtesyphone’s porch, if she somehow wandered outside in a dosed-up daze.
A big recommendation from this amazing label.
‘Branches’  is an absorbing extension of John Cage’s ‘Child Of Tree’ , a chance composition for amplified cactus, performed by the 7-piece daswirdas ensemble inside the echoic chambers of a huge Swiss dam
Yep you read that right - it’s an hour long work featuring the daswirdas ensemble using contact microphones to pick up and amplify strokes of the cactus body and its needles, resulting a mixture of perhaps expected, and also quite unexpected sounds, from scratchy to fluid and reverberating clangs.
The piece starts with a performance of ‘Child Of Tree’, followed by a random number of variations on that piece each lasting 8 minutes and separated by a period of silence. With Cage present as listener, the performance and the space generate a colourful variety of echo with reverberation times that vary from 1 to 6 seconds for different frequency ranges.
If we’ve got it right, the ‘Branches’ of the work relates to those naturally chaotic offshoots or limbs of sound that result from the treated space, as the players’ moves, each determined by the I-ching, result hard-to-predict prangs and decays as the sounds, once released into the space, take on brittle and fluid new lives of their own, yet are still connected to the main body.
The Salford collective return with an album length rebuke at the ever-growing shit-stain that is the current political regime.
With many modern day musicians content on stockpiling social media kudos or chasing sync money, leave it to Tesla Tapes antagonists Gnod to offer up a dissenting voice against the post-Brexit, alternative truth-heavy, fascist malaise 2017 is currently descending into. Never a band whose sound you should second guess, the clear anger and intentions of this album’s title is more than matched by the politicised fury and antagonism unleashed within.
“It seems like we are heading towards even more unsettling times in the near future than we are in at present.” reckons Gnodder Chris Haslam. “2016 was just the beginning of what I see as the establishment’s systematic destruction of liberalism and equality as a reaction to the general public’s loss of faith in their system.”
With this renewed creative focus driving the band, ‘Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine’ embellishes their hard-edged rock repetition and heavily-dubbed out underbelly with a darkly-satisfying new hue.
In addition to re-establishing links with regular co-conspirators like Attila Csihar and Earth's Dylan Carson, this seventh SunnO))) album finds Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson greatly expanding their sound with personnel from beyond their usual circle of doom-dealing metallurgists.
Julian Priester (a veteran of Sun Ra, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock recordings) joins composer Eyving Kang alongside brass, reed and string ensembles and a Viennese female choir in embellishing the usual idiom of low frequency drones and glacial guitar motions, adding a whole other dimension to the band's sonic vocabulary. On the introductory piece 'Aghartha' the baritone incantations of Csihar collide with grinding guitar pulsations and a maelstrom of orchestral discord that takes hold of the second half. It's an incredibly powerful sound, but one that SunnO))) are brave to embrace.
Metal purists might be put off somewhat by the modern classical approach, but in truth it integrates with the band's music completely fluidly. Even more ambitious is 'Big Church' which aims for a kind of subversion of Arvo Part-style sacred music, setting satanic Orff-like choral allusions against the usual bottom-heavy razor-edged riffing. The contrast between deathly guitar duels and the tightly organised choir is a powerful one, adding a dark, ceremonial feel to proceedings. Presenting a more solid and familiarly savage sound is 'Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia)', which although no less well-constructed or vast in scale avoids the orchestral dynamics for its ten minutes.
Final piece 'Alice' comes as the biggest surprise though, and you can actually hear a certain amount of light and clarity radiating from the mix: the guitars chime and twang with an uncommon freshness while string swells mark out austere, ambiguous chord changes - by the time the horns arrive you actually detect an implicit 'major key' feel to it all and the sixteen-minute piece plays out like a reluctant fanfare, subsiding into an incredibly light coda populated by harps, trumpet and glistening percussion but no guitars. Monoliths & Dimensions is undoubtedly a bold move for SunnO))) but the intensity and sonic adventurousness on show here are qualities that are very much in-keeping with the band's ceaselessly uncompromising music policy. Awesome.
The enigmatic Ash International imprint yields the willowing beauty of Jóhann Jóhannsson & BJ Nilsen's original score for 'I Am Here' (2014), written and directed by Anders Morgenthaler.
The score also features guest contributions from Hildur Guðnadóttir (cello), and the celestial voices of Elfa Margrét Ingvadóttir and Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson, it's a deeply effective synthesis of BJNilsen's intangible electro-acoustic atmospheres and Jóhannsson's celebrated string arrangements, creating an unfathomable world of noirish intrigue and tension which requires no prior knowledge of the film in order to understand its immersive appeal.
Prince Far I aka the Voice Of Thunder got his start in the burgeoning Jamaican music industry as a sound system DJ (for Sir Mike The Musical Dragon), working security at Joe Gibbs’ stuido and in a similar roll at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One.
"As fate would have it, King Stitt, the regular DJ at Studio One, failed to turn up to voice a track and the up and commer convinced Coxsone to give him a try on the mic. The resulting cut launched the career of one of Reggae’s most famous toasters – though he liked to describe his style as a chanter rather than the more popular term toaster. First releasing records using the moniker King Cry Cry, the same name he’d used working Sir Mike’s sound system, he soon changed his name to Prince Far I at the suggestion of producer Enos McLeod. On Voice Of Thunder, Prince Far I is supported by an extremely sparse yet heavy instrumental backing which perfectly compliments his growling voice. As is often the case with Prince Far I, much of the material is essentially Bible verse, “Ten Commandments” being a perfect example."
The shady Gescom collective's crackshot A1-D1, back on road for all CD fetishists and breakbeat/edit freaks
Originally dispatched on a pair of 12”s (hence the track titles A1-D1) in 2007, nearly a decade after their ‘MiniDisc’ album for Russell Haswell’s OR, it's a deadly demo of their ADD edit tendencies applied to classic acid, electro and disco breaks in properly wild style.
Personally, it’s most notable for the peerless ‘D1’, a nutty stop-start/reverse-edited cut-up of Adonis’ über classique acid melter ‘No Way Back’, which still sees a lot of play up our way. But those who keep their shell toes clean will also go mad for the sliced up breakbeat chicanery of ‘A1’, a take on the sci-fi B-boy disco ace ‘Space Dust’, and that twyst on ‘Downfall’ by Armando is pretty tasty, too.
It’s maybe fair to say ‘A1-D1’ is among the most sorely overlooked pieces in Gescom’s catalogue, yet by many measures, it’s also their most funked up.
Incredible collection of mid-late 80’s experimental works from the hugely influential Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono, including works for contrabass flute, clarinet, treated voices, strings and electronics.
Editions RZ present a necessary reissue of their 1990 LP release, now backed with three legendary recordings, 'La Terra E La Compagna', 'Caminantes', 'No Hay Caminos, Hay Que Caminar'. Collected, they form a great access point to Luigi Nono's unique, carefully realised, yet unfathomably vast world, one equally informed by avant-garde musical studies and his commitment to socialism.
In the best possible sense, it's very difficult to accurately sum up the sounds inside, other than in terms of a visceral, haptic approach and stunning spatial awareness. Highly recommended.
Sunn 0))) rise again with the arch doom metal of Kannon, their crushing follow-up to respective 2014 collaborations with Scott Walker and Ulver, and the first Sunn 0))) LP proper since Monoliths & Dimensions in 2009. Aye, crack out the ales, it’s worthy of a celebration.
By their own admissions, “It’s possibly the most figurative album Sunn 0))) has created” but, conversely, it’s also their “most outright “metal” in years”. Amassing a classic band line-up of core duo Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, shoulder-to-shoulder with long term allies and collaborators Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter, Steve Moore and more, it’s a glowering, physical testament to a band-as-organism achieving the peak of their powers.
Literally, Kannon is a polysemous representation of an aspect of Buddha as “goddess of mercy” or “Perceiving the Sounds (or Cries) of the World”, which ties farther back into the group’s readings of Asian belief systems, and is depicted in captivating artwork from Swiss designer/artist Angela LaFont Bollinger.
To experience Kannon is an overwhelming sensation, divided in three parts over 36-minutes, and one which we recommend wholeheartedly to anyone who has ever felt a shiver from the void, or is willing to submit themselves to one of 21st century music’s most elemental, powerful groups.
Electronica veteran Deru keeps abreast of the contemporary styles in timeless fashion
‘Torn In Two’ describes an immersive, abstract electro-acoustic narrative in a transition from cold, spacious minimalism thru shearing chromatic wormholes and into complex, vaulted, Xenakis-like structures.
Recorded in Philadelphia between late ’16 and early ’17, ‘Moor X Jewelry - Crime Waves’ is a captivating collaboration between arch punk rap MC, Moor Mother, and producer Steven Montenegro a.k.a. Mental Jewelry.
In a fine echo of late ‘90s illbient and emergent avant-rap styles, with traces of artful broken beats and dub to boot, ‘Crime Waves’ effectively bridges avant-classical electronics and modern broken beats with swaggering, stinging lyrics that necessarily deal with the state of systemic violence and racism in USA right now.
In that context it might come as little surprise that HPrizm ov Anti Pop Consortium is on the record’s credit list (mastering), and the sound is effectively lodged somewhere between Tricky, Spectre, The Bug, and even earliest strains of the Hyperdub virus from Kode 9 or Burial.
This one’s a straight heavyweight.
Limited new vinyl edition of Sunn 0)))’s immense Dømkirke darkening our doorstep with 64 minutes recorded live in Bergen Cathedral, Norway, on 18th March, 2007.
The roll call for this particular venture includes core trio))) Attila Csihar, Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley joined by regular collaborators Tos Nieuwenhuizen and Steve Moore, and augmented by Norse duo Lasse Marhaug and John Hegre, for a massively atmospheric and dramatic call to the spirits.
Taking the first side to erect a massive swell of synth, organ and vocals in Why Dost Thou Hide Thyself In Clouds, the guitars appear, proper, accompanied by viking horns and Attila’s possessed howl in Cannon. We can only imagine that the blackened squally blooms of Cymatics, and the sludgy subharmonic pressure of Masks The Ætmospheres which follow would have sounded close to a religious experience in Bergen Cathedral,
This was an expanded line-up of Sunn 0))) which these ears were lucky enough to witness a handful of times during that era, and the same band who i’ve seen deck fans thru sheer volume and sonic pressure - me included, head-first thru the doors and down both flights of stairs at Leeds Cockpit, no shit.
Like this record, it was thee heaviest trip.
First time on vinyl for a lost gem of the L.A. deep jazz underground, mostly recorded in 1985, with bonus side captured in 1979
“The saxophonist Jesse Sharps took over from Arthur Blythe as leader of Horace Tapscott’s Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra. ‘He became the Ark leader…he was hardcore,’ the pianist recalls. ‘They’d all be quiet and listen to him when he talked.’
This was the period of such classic PAPA recordings as Flight 17, Live At IUCC and The Call; lit up by the funky, deep spirituality of Sharps compositions like Desert Fairy Princess, Macramé and Peyote Song II.
His own Sharps And Flats album was recorded in 1985 for Tom Albach’s legendary Nimbus West imprint, adding a stunning sixteen-minute bonus cut by the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, featuring Horace Tapscott, recorded in 1979.
A lost classic of the Los Angeles jazz underground, on wax at last!”
Electronic music's most mysterious act briefly come in from the cold with their first new release since 2007.
Leisure System have the honour of presenting the latest lab results from Heinrich Mueller and Michaela To-Nhan Bertel aka Dopplereffekt: three tracks of selective electro engineering executed to exacting degrees. Their first new work since the incredible 'Calabi Yau Space' for Rephlex is typically iced-out and dazzling, scoping steppers' electro model, 'Tetrahymena' with its free-floating sci-fi pads and body-prod rhythms alongside the elegant arpeggiated helixes of 'Gene Splicing' and the wormholing pulses of 'Zygote'. It's as good as you'll get from the electro realm this year...
It's difficult to overstate the unique brilliance of Arthur Russell's posthumous release, 'Another Thought'.
Like many others, I wouldn't be ashamed to admit shedding a tear or two to the sheer life-affirming qualities of this record over the years. It's not sad, it's just heart-breakingly beautiful, stripped to the bare essentials of Arthur's voice and cello dappled with effects and backed with his own drum machine, plus congas, sax and keys from longtime collaborators such as Peter Zummo, Elodie Lauten, and Mustafa Ahmed, among others. In the most transcendent sense, it's music that occupies its very own genre, a magical soundworld all of its own, ready for you to visit when times are good, and perhaps even more so when they're bad and you really need a fillip.
Although it's already available on CD, first on a 1994 pressing for Point Music, and later in 2006 for his longtime ally Philip Glass's Orange Mountain Music, the magic is arguably enhanced by Arc Light Editions' genius gesture to press it on wax for the first time. It's like finding a new, secret entrance to your favourite place in the world. Even passing Russell fans will likely know a few of its charms such as 'This Is How We walk On The Moon', 'Another Thought' itself, or the alternate version of 'Keeping Up' from 'The World Of...', and we truly envy any of you who're about to encounter it for the first time...
Tim Hecker had proven himself to be one of the great survivors of 90s electronic music. While he might have only surfaced at the tail-end of the ailing IDM scene, Hecker’s distinctly original brand of rich, textured ambient music set him apart from his peers.
Many have tried to emulate his sound, but few have come close, and while he peaked with the punishingly noisy and effortlessly beautiful ‘Mirages’ a few years back, his subsequent flirtations with a quieter, more meditative sound have been similarly arresting.
Unusually, ‘Ravedeath, 1972’ sees Hecker moving away from his comfort zone and collaborating with one of the very people who attempted a second-wave of the Hecker grit, grind and harmony – Ben Frost. This is a move which saw Hecker up sticks and fly over to Iceland, where he proceeded to record the album over a handful of days using a pipe organ. Frost clearly adds some of his production expertise (he moonlights as an engineer) and with this there can be no doubt that ‘Ravedeath,1972’ is the most hi-fi album in Tim Hecker’s discography to date.
The sound that Hecker has made his own is now reproduced in High Definition, billowing with basses dribbling and treble firing with slick precision. The powerful pipe organ sound underpins everything; coughing, wheezing and stuttering beneath Hecker’s expertly crafted granular sounds like the ghost of the Catholic church itself.
At times it might simply appear in amongst a cloud of white noise, and at others there is only the familiar shadowy blast, shrouded in the trappings of morals and dogma. Pitting his knowledge and skill against that of Ben Frost has yielded an album’s worth of crushing, near-spiritual sound, making for a compelling, immersive listen. Highly Recommended.
For 'Black Telephone Of Matter' we hear the contrarily noisy and contemplative side of Mika, no beats, but plenty of completely devastating aural views surveying vast abstract landscapes.
'Roma A.D 2727' weaves sinewaves sculpted into brutally effective and nerve stimulating squalls. 'Silence Traverses Des Mondes Et Des Endes' opens with the horrific cackle of a murder of crows before sharply focussed bass blasts with ever encroaching proximity and unrelated shards of textured noise dynamically ascend before crashing to point zero. If you've ever experienced one of his frightening but life affirming live shows, the album's centre-piece 'Bury A Horse's Head' should help you relive the life-changing intensity of his powerful drones with 11 mins of austere oscillator experimentation, only you'll have to turn the volume up for the full body tactile effect.
Paralleling this is the set's other extended composition 'A Measurement Of Excess Antenna Temperature At 4080 Ml/s'. A reduction of excess to the bare minimum of electronic hum with brain massaging waves of subbass that'll make your eyeballs vibrate if you're paying attention on good headphones.
Editions Mego present an immersive live recording of Donato Dozzy and Neel's Voices From The Lake, captured in Rome's breathtaking MAXXI museum.
As chance would have it, this reviewer was lucky enough to walk in halfway thru the performance (word, LSWHR!), already dazed by the contours of Zaha Hadid's incredible architecture, to be pleasantly consumed by VFTL's free-floating topography of ambient techno. It was a perfect sound for such a grand container, both reflecting each others' seemingly impossible structures - precariously balanced staircases giving way to huge, sweeping passages and mezzanines in stark monotones - in a contrast and comparison of their respective, curvilinear grids and flowing geometries.
Now, several months later, the sense of scale and motion to this 50 minute piece has lost none of its ability to inspire transcendent states, swirling siren-like synth voices with complex rhythmic patterns that ostensibly stay ever the same, but, upon closer inspection, are found to be always morphing and in flux between dimensions - at once hazy yet lysergically lucid and melancholic as their proverbial lake itself. Book your slot in a floatation tank pronto, and then grab a copy of this.
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!
Listening to this latest album from Liz Harris’ Grouper project it’s easy to forget how much of a hard sell her music was back when 'Way Their Crept’ landed with us back in 2005.
Her eerie, layered mix of bare vocals, guitar and tape delay didn't quite fit in with what anyone else was really doing on the scene back then - and it completely knocked us out even if no one was buying it. By the time her breakthrough ‘Dragging a Dead Deer…’ arrived on Type three years later she was more or less playing to a baying mob hungry for any little morsel she cared to throw their way, her (by now) more fleshed out shoegaze variants marking her out as a natural outsider who had managed to tap into some kind of collective melancholy, her songs both hugely affecting and yet somehow emotionally opaque. Last year’s 'The Man Who Died In His Boat’ collected previously unreleased material from the ‘Dead Deer’ era and, despite it essentially being an assembly of offcuts, still managed to sound as coherent and bewitching as any of her ardent followers might have imagined. ‘Ruins’ is Harris' first new album proper in several years and - to no one’s surprise - is just utterly sublime.
The opening and closing tracks excepted, Harris’ instrument of choice here is the upright Piano, delivering a sequence of songs that feel utterly bereft and lonely, intended by Harris as “...a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love.” There are also found sounds (you can here a microwave switching itself back on after a powercut in the background), and the room recordings lend an effervescent quality to the recordings that somehow magnify the sense of timelessness. ‘Ruins' is book-ended by two instrumental pieces, the pulsating field recorded opener ‘Made of Metal’ and the 11 minute closer ‘Made of Air’, an instrumental, ambient piece recorded at her mother's house way back in 2004. Together, these tracks make for another sublime 40 minutes spent in Liz Harris’ company, a precious distraction from the clutter and noise of the outside world.
Cellular Automata is the first new Dopplereffekt album in a decade! Rudolf Klorzeiger and To-Nhan kept us waiting but the anticipation pays off with some of their most striking electro architecture to date, tangibly making good on the promise of their Tetrahymena  and Delta Wave  deliveries over the interim, which, like this one were also released by Berlin’s Leisure System.
The symbiotic duo’s last album, Calabi Yau Space  remains one of the most memorable, puristic electronic records of its decade and Cellular Automata is up there with the most distinctive of its ilk in the current sphere. To outline their intentions; “Cellular Automata approaches mathematical growth and decay as an iterative process, with each data input considered individually relative to the overall model”, which broadly translates as a lofty metaphor for refinement thru increasingly searching practice; both technical research and the fine-tuned discipline of their physical, melodic inputs.
Difficult to say really how that works out from initial listens, but in aesthetic terms at least their sound is shockingly sharp and dense yet incredibly spacious, executing that unique balance of sheer technological advance and heightened emotive response in way that’s long been key to the success of their sound, encouraging listeners to revel and marvel at both the pure sonification of their sounds and equally their near-baroque classical elegance.
If you need any prompts, check out the vast harmonic structures of Cellular Automata and the tempestuous kosmische momentum of Exponential Decay at the album’s bookends, or deeper in for the uncanny stere-imaging of Gestalt Intelligence and the nerve-biting noise of Pascal’s Reunion, or the abyssal morphosis of Mandelbrot Set for the strongest sensations, but, as you’ll understand it’s definitely best consumed as whole for the most lucid yet disorienting experience.
Oh my god this is good!!! Philip Jeck makes an always welcome reappearance with the sensational sampledelics of 'Cardinal' for Touch marking his first major solo release since 'An Ark For The Listener' (2010).
He's been just out of earshot for long enough for this set of ears to feel like they've just been reacquainted with an old friend, and you've both been thru some heavy times over the interim.
Thus ensues 63 minutes of heart-wrenching emotional catharsis, regaling riveting stories from live shows in Krems, New Jersey, Athens, St. Pancras Church and Barrow-in-Furness, alongside windswept, wistful collages realised at his home in Liverpool.
They may be abstract, atonal and impenetrably woven but, the venerable composer certainly knows how to hold a story, sucking us in head-first with the breathtaking symphonic synth noise of 'Fleeting' and depositing us at 'Saint Pancras (The One That Holds Everything)' by way of 'Reverse Jersey''s cascading chromatic pitches and the nine minutes of heavy-lidded atmospheres that swell, recede and engulf the senses with 'Called In'.
It's a heavenly reminder of something - quite honestly f**k knows what - that lies beyond, or within, yet takes someone like Jeck to firmly remind us of that fact, or at least bring it almost within reach.
In other words - a truly amazing album.
While the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of Grouper's signature sound remains, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill is far more resonant up front about the songs at the heart of her work.
Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue from the cloudy, amorphous Grouper output of old and this current strain of more easily deciphered writing: it's a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, with a voice cloaked in lo-fi haze somewhere at the back. Soon after, Harris' guitar and voice emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet comprehensible.
If previously you've struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, and wondered what's going on beneath that veneer of musty, degraded audio, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers you a way in. Those dense recording techniques have become a unique production signature and it's virtually impossible to separate Liz Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers, but now it feels like a conduit to her songs rather than a barrier. There are echoes of her earliest work on the album too, as on the wordless, partially acappella atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression left by this album is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that's previously been content to dwell in shadows and deflect attention with smoke and mirrors.
A real milestone release for Harris, and a definite high point for the rejuvenated Type label, we've been unable to stop listening to this incredible album for weeks - it's an absolute must.
Gescom’s ‘MiniDisc’ for Russell Haswell’s OR label was the first ever MiniDisc-only release back in 1998. This CD reissue edition contains all 45 tracks (in 88 pieces) from the original MD version, ready for listeners to use on random shuffle function just as the original MD was intended
Back in 1998, MiniDiscs were then the most advanced iteration of portable music players, but soon to be usurped by the mass emergence and use of portable media players. At a quick glance, Discogs only lists 1,668 total MiniDisc-only releases, however, ‘Gescom:MiniDisc’ remains a true oddity in its field; a proper novelty hated by some and loved by others, especially those with a taste for Russell Haswell or Autechre’s more extreme angles of inquiry.
So ‘Gescom:Minidisc’ is effectively a Haswell + Æ +++ release, only they’d probably never let us or you describe it as such. Inside you’ll find all sorts, from longer trips such as the 4 minute ambient float of ’Sheogazer’, to reverberating echo chamber pieces in ‘Cranusberg’ and the haunting dimensions of ‘Fully’, plus quite literally dozens of shorter cuts which turn the whole thing into a mosaic of a maze.
Paris-based Iranian, Nima Aghiani makes a welting mark on PTP with the clawing, atonal electronics of REM following his violin input on Siavash Amnini’s acclaimed ‘TAR’ LP
Helping to further shape our conception of modern electronic music rooted in Iran, after examples from the likes of SOTE, Opal Tapes, Siavash Amini and Sohrab in recent years, Nima’s REMS follows similar lines of enquiry into bold realms of microtonal rhythm and noise operation, giving voice to a complex sound and logic that feels somehow familiar if you’ve previously heard work by Xenakis or Haswell, yet still feels properly alien to many conventions we can think of.
A companion to his acclaimed Ravedeath 1972 set, Dropped Pianos collects sketches for that album recorded by Tim Hecker last year.
While on paper it might sound like something for completists only, trust us when we tell you that this LP is a beguiling listen in its own right: shorn of the disruptive electronic processing which defined Ravedeath, what you get instead is a series of exquisitely reverbed and layered piano instrumentals which showcase Hecker's gift for minimalist composition and mournful melody.
Richly evocative of rainy, post-war cityscapes, of mortality and of thwarted romance, it's another masterful offering from an artist at the top of his game.
Following a series of impossible-to-obtain releases for her own Yellowelectric imprint and a CD compilation of her gorgeous 'A I A' set, Liz Harris seems to have settled with Kranky who are re-releasing her classic Type album 'Dragging a Dead Deer..' and this new album of previously unreleased material drawn from the same period: 'The Man Who Died In His Boat'.
It's not so hard to believe but we'll say this straight away - the material on this new set is just jaw-dropping, a worthy companion piece to 'Dragging a Dead Deer' - once again finding Harris delivering material edging ever so slightly towards more traditional 'songs' but executed with so much introspection and mystery that she really sounds unlike anyone, or anything, you'll have ever heard before. The record has an interesting backstory, as Harris explains - "When I was a teenager the wreckage of a sailboat washed up on the shore of Agate Beach.
The remains of the vessel weren't removed for several days. I walked down with my father to peer inside the boat cabin. Maps, coffee cups and clothing were strewn around inside. "I remember looking only briefly, wilted by the feeling that I was violating some remnant of this man's presence by witnessing the evidence of its failure. Later I read a story about him in the paper. It was impossible to know what had happened. The boat had never crashed or capsized. He had simply slipped off somehow, and the boat, like a riderless horse, eventually came back home." The narrative somehow enhances the songs - an achingly beautiful combination of forlorn, reverb-drenched lullabies draped in a veil of isolation reminding us of a more damaged Mark Kozelek, and indeed the classic 4AD sound with which Grouper has been compared so many times in the past.
By the time you reach the closing track 'Living Room', however, you come to the realisation that despite her best efforts to obscure her songs, Harris might just be one of the most gifted songwriters of her generation. An incredible album - possibly her finest yet.
The cult Australian trio align with Stephen O’Malley’s label for a fine new album.
After delivering a trilogy of albums for their own Fish Of Milk label, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck resurface with a new long player as The Necks on Ideologic Organ. Few other bands can grapple three decades of genre-defying musical innovation and still sound fresh, but The Necks do it with supreme class on Unfold, a four-track album pressed up on double vinyl and gifted the mastering touch of Rashad Becker at D&M.
The label state these four tracks are not numbered deliberately, leaving the listener to navigate Unfold from whatever angle they choose. All four approaches are, as you would expect, a delight; be it the arresting musical symbiosis of Rise to the brushed percussive drama and crystalline piano motifs of Blue Mountain via the clockwork free-jazz skitters of Timepiece and Overheard, perhaps The Necks’ most accomplished slice of melancholia.
One⁹ is one of the trickier Cage compositions, yielding 2 hours of shrill, minimal accordion by Edwin Alexander Buchholz
““sounds brushed into existence as in oriental calligraphy" (Cage)
the sounds in one9 are single tones and chords, up to six part harmonies.
how do sounds come into existence, how do they gain focus, how do they resolve, how do they merge into one another, how can one quietly and attentively, in all modesty, follow their unfolding?
these are the questions that guided edwin alexander buchholz in his interpretation of the piece.
over the years he played one9 time and again - for himself and in concerts. gradually solutions manifested themselves which he never, at first, would have considered.
it is not simply the case, that this music, which was originally written for shô, the japanese mouth organ from gagaku music, may also be played on accordion.
much as the immemorial shô, originated about 4000 years ago, and the modern accordion are related, they are not interchangeable. one9 has been written specifically for shô and first has to find its way to the accordion, in order to become real accordion music.
the accordion is a wind instrument, but also a keyboard instrument, it has stops, its colours are eminently rich and its two sound sources, as long as they are sounding, are always moving: away from each other, towards each other.
for edwin alexander buchholz one9, in the course of time, grew into a music, that integrated all of this, a music entirely for his instrument: the accordion.
traditionally the sound of the shô is connected to the heavens' gleam. I have no trouble hearing this quality here, in the sound of the accordion.
The first Grouper album in 4 years finds Liz Harris stripped of FX, pairing her vocals with skeletal piano gestures in beautifully pregnant space. For anyone familiar with the miasmic fuzz of Grouper’s previous releases, the relative clarity is quietly shocking in effect, revealing her songs and sound at their most vulnerable, and, in the process, locating a newfound strength in fragility.
Grid Of Points was recorded in Wyoming shortly after Liz finished recording Grouper’s Ruins out in Aljezur, Portugal, and on the most immediate level it seems to describe the difference in recording locations between windswept Atlantic coastline and sparse, landlocked insularity. The seven songs were written over a week and a half, with the process curtailed by a bout of what she describes as “high fever”. What remains forms some of Grouper’s most legible lyrics and intimate instrumentation, with each piece framed by stark, unprocessed space working in the same role usually occupied by her billowing sheets of harmonic distortion.
Untreated and unfiltered, Grouper's voice rings plaintively clear, sometimes layered in ephemeral harmonies or curling off with jazz-soul wise inflections shadowed by modest piano phrasing in a crepuscular style that links back to all her previous work. Yet, in places the clarity is such that it almost feels like we the listeners have just been hearing her songs with clogged ears for the past decade and longer.
Ultimately, these results perhaps most acutely resonate with the etymology of Liz’s moniker - ‘Grouper’ as in member of a Fourth Way commune, The Group, which was inspired by the philosophy of George Gurdjieff, whose mystic meditations surely linger in the magick of Grid Of Points.
A study in friction and sublimity, transitioning from gritty airborne textures to droning, somnolent songcraft...
“Two Words is the debut release from the duo of Canadian sound artist crys cole and Australian songwriter Francis Plagne. Building on a series of experimental live performances in which the pair toyed with possible common languages for their seemingly unrelated approaches to music, the LP's two sides present a single piece that brings together abstract texture and slow-motion song in a sonic space where genre cedes to the logic of dreams. The piece begins with a long, nearly static sequence built primarily from rubbed surfaces, using movement in the stereo field and changing mic placements to create a unified but unstable sonic environment that mimics wind, water, and breath, opening an impossible space between nature and artifice. This artificial outdoors ultimately makes room for Plagne's electric organ, which sounds a series of melancholic chords to accompany a wandering Wyatt-esque keyboard line as cole's intimate contact mic textures sizzle and pop in the foreground. From here the piece makes a surprise detour into song, as the majority of the second side finds Plagne intoning a series of obtuse two-word phrases (from a text by Berlin-based poet Marty Hiatt) to an austere organ accompaniment.
Working closely with engineer and producer Joe Talia, cole and Plagne extend the studio-as-an-instrument tradition of Teo Macero and This Heat, introducing subtle yet unexpected production shifts that lead the listener from the initial austerity of the organ and voice to an oneiric space of asynchronized vocal doubles, creaking textures, and distant whistling, ultimately arriving at something like an imagined meeting of Organum and Arthur Russell. Packaged in a suitably mysterious sleeve featuring a lush work by Australian painter Anne Wallace on the front and text by Hiatt on the back, Two Words is both comforting and strange, a disorienting blend of seemingly discrepant elements.”
Iona Fortune’s Tao Of I came out a few weeks ago and was available in such limited supply that we had the vinyl edition up for sale for about an hour before it sold out. Now that it’s been re-pressed it’d be totally remiss of us not to bring it to the attention of anyone who missed out; it really is one of the year’s most striking debut albums.
Inspired by Eastern Philosophy and slated to be the first in an 8 album series exploring all the symbols of the I Ching, Fortune's music is described by the label as loosely fitting in with Fourth World concepts imagined by Jon Hassell, and indeed she meshes traditional guzheng and gamelan with lustrous tones from a Synthi AKS that provides an incredible sub-bass throb that runs through the record.
However, Fortune’s is an exercise in deep contemplation that isn’t afraid of baring it’s teeth. As opposed to so many Ambient albums riding revivalist waves right now, she seems aware of a basic truth that sound rarely works in one dimension. She aligns tradition and technology in a way that seems expansive and new, almost revolutionary; instead of creating soothing background sounds she makes use of grit and abrasion.
This makes Tao Of I a singular record, measured with a poise and patience that’s utterly arresting in its stoic elegance and sound sensitivity, drawing on a history of arcane, intramural Scots energies and channelling a mystic, ambiguous instrumental voice. It's completely enchanted, enchanting music.
A variegated expo for Dutch pianist Dante Boon, presenting interpretations of experimental works by John Cage, Jürg Frey, Samuel Vriezen, Richard Ayres, Tom Johnson and Michael Manion, sequenced to highlight their range of technical, melodic and expressive qualities. His take on Jürg Frey’s ‘Sam Lazaro Bros’ and the slow, stately procession of Michael Manion’s 34’ ‘Music For Solo Piano’ are particularly sublime
“Pianist and composer Dante Boon often programs his recitals as webs. He likes to put compositions of great diversity in style and technique side by side. However, myriad connections can always be found between pairs of pieces, and these give the whole a subtle coherence. This is also how his first CD is organized, presenting pieces by seven composers spanning almost a century of music. But the most important unifying element of this disc is Dante's own musical personality and approach to the piano.
Two poles are important for Dante's playing. On the one hand he is drawn towards the musical discipline of the Cageian tradition and its concern with objectivity in sound. On the other hand, early Romanticism, particularly German song repertoire, is important to him. For many listeners, these poles may seem like opposites. For Dante, however, there is no contradiction. In his playing, precision of technique and conceptual clarity are expressions of a passionate engagement with sounds and their progression as melody. Here, melodic thought reveals the sonic concept and it is the concept that is sung.
For example, Tom Johnson's Tilework for Piano, probably the most austere piece in this collection, is a systematic exploration of the ways in which a fifteen-beat phrase can be covered by a simple rhythmical three-note pattern that appears at five different speeds. Those five layers by themselves have a percussive quality. But in his performance, Dante is more interested in the surprising melodic figures that result from different combinations of the layers, and his articulation and phrasing stress the melodic aspect over the separation of layers.
Likewise, in a seemingly chaotic piece such as John Cage's Etude no. 2, Dante manages to let expressive melody surface suddenly, while giving the piece's complex, anarchic texture a sense of balance and composure. Similarly, the nervous inner motions of Richard Ayres' No. 8 are performed with a concentration that draws us into their expressive detail, and the sudden bursts of pure movement in my own series of Possible World pieces gain in brilliance through Dante's refined articulation. (No. 5, scored for 1 to 4 pianos and allowing for variety in form, is played twice in different versions.) Cage's early Two Pieces, works of great melodic invention, fit Dante's playing naturally.
The other pieces presented here are all based on chords and chord progressions. Here, too, there is much melodic interest, and Dante brings a clear balance to all sounds, making them sing. Jürg Frey's Sam Lazaro Bros turns out to have an almost Schubertian atmosphere, though listening to it I'm equally reminded of 16th-century choral progressions. In John Cage's One, a piece that requires the pianist to carefully organize his phrasing, even the chords themselves already seem to sing at times - particularly some of the louder ones. In Morton Feldman's Last Pieces, there is always a subtle local melodic logic to the progression of seemingly unconnected sounds, which allows Dante to bring great depth to his playing in the ultra soft range.
The program closes with Michael Manion's Music for Solo Piano, dedicated to Dante, which draws its chords out into long, sometimes subtly swinging pulsating moments. Over its extended duration, it goes through no more than about twenty chords that form one long melodic arch, taking over half an hour to get to its surprising and very beautiful final cadence.
Steve Hauschildt follows his eponymous 2013 compendium for Editions Mego with this romantic lush-out for Kranky.
Hauschildt's first proper solo release since the group disbanded in 2012, 'Where is Fled' charts an alchemical, emotional spectrum of synthetic and natural timbre/spirit within 14 tracks of symphonic swell and resolution infused with processed crowd noise, piano and animal noises. Wandering its sleek gradients in headphones whilst looking at the album sleeve's CGI artwork feels like taking a mooch in No Man's Sky accompanied by the perpetually shifty looking Enya, pointing out new plants on far-flung planets while she coyly glances away, only to morph into Vangelis before scuttling away after a giant pink squirrel and leaving us with that most intangible sensation - am I dreaming or is this a Steve Hauschildt album?
Tint is an intently focussed showcase of the sound sensitivities which have made Joe Talia a cult figure in contemporary electro-acoustic and avant garde circles. If you’ve ever been caught by the work of Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Andrew Chalk, John Duncan or Jean-Claude Éloy, you need to clasp ears on this album!
“Tint is the first new solo recording from Joe Talia in over a decade. Australian-born but now based in Tokyo, Talia is known to many listeners as a drummer (frequently collaborating both live and in the studio with artists such as Oren Ambarchi and Jim O’Rourke) and as a recording and mixing engineer responsible for dozens of releases across the fields of contemporary experimental music, wayward pop, and jazz. Alongside James Rushford, he is also responsible for one of the most legendary releases in the Kye records catalogue, the creaking electronic morass of Manhunter (2013). Lovingly crafted over many months in his tiny Tokyo studio, Tint is an album-length electroacoustic suite that brings together Talia’s expertise as percussionist, studio engineer, and performer on analogue electronic instruments (primarily modular synth and Revox tape machine).
Ranging from minimalist austerity to kosmische lushness, Tint refreshingly refuses the dark and moody sonic palette of much contemporary electroacoustic music in favour of an airy, at times almost weightless sound-world of gliding tones, skittering percussion, and burbling field recordings. Drawing inspiration from Jean-Claude Eloy’s epic concrète love letter to Tokyo, Gaku-No-Michi, Talia makes extensive use of his own recordings of his new home, but removes any sense of audio verite, abstracting them into transparent glosses of outdoor ambience or unidentifiable chimes and creaks. Flowing seamlessly between distinct episodes, Tint is compositionally controlled while retaining a sense of played spontaneity, eventually building to a maelstrom of analogue synth zaps and tape manipulated percussion that reflects Talia’s deep engagement with the relentless yet constantly shifting dynamics of free jazz.”
Following dissolution of the Yussef Kamaal project, Kamaal Williams a.k.a Henry Wu spreads his jazz charms solo on a debonaire début The Return, delivered via his newly minted Black Focus label. The spectres of ‘70s jazz fusion are felt strongly on this one, but updated with a rugged South London vibe that will bring feet to the ‘floor and see some heads get hot under the collar. RIYL Dego, Floating Points, Gilles Peterson
“The Return is a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project, mining the influence of visionary jazz but blended with all kinds of texture, sounds and signals from the over-saturated London streets.
Notable tracks for old and new listeners are ‘Salaam', 'Situations', 'Medina', 'LDN Shuffle' which features Mansur Brown (of Mansur's Message) and for those die hard Yussef Kamaal fans - they should hear the interpolated roots of 'Strings of Light' in the title track 'The Return’. And that signature Wu Funk can be heard on 'Broken Theme', and 'High Roller'.
The Return is the debut album released on Wu's new label Black Focus Records.”
Utterly charming Calypso Limonense from Costa Rica by the king of his style, Walter Gavitt Ferguson. Totally remarkable songs salvaged from home-recorded tapes made during the ‘70s and rediscovered in an attic, all awash with background sounds from roosters to road traffic. Folkways fans, this one’s for you!
“99-year-old Walter Gavitt Ferguson from Costa Rica is a humble soul and a living legend, a Calypsonian of mythical proportions. Rooted like an old tree on the caribbean shore, he has never left his home town to look for fame, instead fame did come to look for him. Throughout eight decades, rumours of his musical gifts have attracted people from near and far, contesting Calypsonians, fans, tourists, musicologists, musicians, pilgrims and the President of the Republic. They once even moved a recording studio to his house as he refused to go to the city.
But many years before that, Ferguson used to sell his legendary self recorded cassettes to travellers and music lovers from all around the globe. He never kept a copy for himself and with age started to forget many old compositions. A recently started, international "Tape Hunt" was able to locate 9 such tapes in Canada and rescued 50 of his forgotten songs. Vol.1 of this tropical treasure is now available, resurrected directly from original cassettes of the Calypso King.”
Naturally, Tresor 303 is a killer album of 8 driving acid studies by Italian maestro Donato Dozzy
On ‘Filo Loves The Acid’ Dozzy presents his first solo album since ‘The Loud Silence’ [Further Records, 2015]. But, where that album and his collaborations with Anna Caragnano, Bee Mask and Neel have tended to his experimental side, this is the first time that Dozzy has focussed on dance music for a long player, finally exploring the functions of his numerable 12”s in a broader, durational format, and with predictably immersive results..
It’s all supremely strong and slick gear, opening out with the panoramic pads and plangent tweaks of ‘Filo’ - named after his best bud, whom the album is dedicated to - before getting crafty with the slipping kicks of his ‘Vetta’ pounder and the overpronating drive of ‘Duetto’, to go hard for a late ‘90s skullhead style on ‘Nine ‘o Three’.
With ‘Back’ he brings a flavour of early ‘90s psycho-tribalist stompers, while ‘Vetta Reprise’ ramps the energy level to breakneck, and ‘TB Square’ settles its arse down to a more hypnotic swing jack, before ‘Rep’ rips out with a proper, brain-drilling riff and martial tattoo of the type you’d expect to hear in Tresor, cloaked in smoke and blinded by the strobes.