Regis’ Downwards label presents an album of heavy hearted industrial songs from Ora Iso, making a kind of windswept, slowed-down and gothic pop variant that's essential listening if yr into HTRK, Tropic of Cancer or Clay Rendering.
Ora Iso are an NYC-hailing band revolving around Indonesian-Australian, Kathleen Malay and New Yorker, Jason Kudo. Building on the rubbly ground of their Bathcat debut for Ba Da Bing!, the duo’s mutual sense of entropy and ennui results in a classically scorched sound in Image Certifies, one laced with scornful sarcasm and a general dissatisfaction with the world, and yet somehow bolstered by the slightest promise of hope.
Weighing in their heavy, bleeding hearts on 10 brittle dirges described by the band as “A love letter to a society dying of its own self-induced cancers”, Ora Iso play to Downwards’ most maudlin aspects with a sound that clearly resonates with their previous releases by Eyeless In Gaza or Tropic Of Cancer, but here blessed with a strung-out, unyielding and lugubrious quality they can surely call their own.
As will become patently obvious, Image Certifies is not a record that takes itself lightly, and when the mood is right, the blend of Kathleen Malay’s stark, cracked, gothic vocals with Jason’s Kudo’s cranky as hell Vainio-esque instrumental backdrops is a perfect accompaniment to moments of introspection and misanthropy.
From almost BM-styled beginnings on No Fish, their agenda becomes apparent as it grows into a slow rolling fog of distant, evocative vocals wailing worn-out nothings about “the future” and “the children” in an effortlessly sensuous and blank-eyed style that worms thru the record, peaking in highlights such as the jagged Dead Riot, and the folksier trudge of Pour It On Me, whilst the bollocked drums of From The Hallway To The Door and the exquisitely succinct Have I Gone Too Far packs a more gothic electronic crunch recalling NIN or Clay Rendering.
Incredible, transfixing expo of electrified Tambour, hypnotic vocals and lip-bitingly infectious rhythms bridging Arabic and Sudanese traditions. Unmissable for the drum freaks and lovers of East African dance music. Sing-a-long even if you don’t know the words...
“Abu Obaida Hassan and the wonders of his five-string tambour remained largely a mystery. In the early 2000s, a prominent Sudanese newspaper declared him dead. Internet forums confirmed his passing. Many in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, said he had indeed died. But rumors that he was still alive persisted.
What was always certain is Abu Obaida Hassan’s mercurial talent. His command of a modified tambour, backed by a chorus and two drummers, unleashed swirling melodies alongside complex Nubian rhythms and hypnotic Sudanese call and response. His bands roster constantly changed, but he remained at the helm, playing for sold out shows in cities across the country and capturing the dancefloors and youth of 1970s and ‘80s Sudan.
This is a rich, raw example of the human experience with sound from northern Sudan, an ancient part of the world, and the birthplace of civilization. Music like this isn't mastered overnight.
The Ostinato team first came across Abu Obaida’s recordings in 2011, finding scratchy bits and pieces along the years. We traveled to Sudan in 2016 to find the clues to piece together the Abu Obaida Hassan puzzle. Through some extensive detective work with our man in Khartoum, Ahmed Asyouti, and a generous dose of good fortune, we tracked Abu Obaida to the rural outskirts of Omdurman, the old capital just across the White Nile from Khartoum. Age has taken its toll, but he remains full of life and music, ready to jointly curate a selection of his eight best cuts. He has written over 100 songs, only 30 were recorded.
Abu Obaida comes from the Shaigiya people, whose culture is spread around the ancient city of Merowe, home of traditional Nubian culture, where pyramids older than those in Egypt still stand. They trace their entire lineage to one man, Shaig, who migrated from the Arabian peninsula in the 15th century. An endlessly rhythmic syncretism between Arab and Nubian styles, Abu Obaida’s Shaigiya music was an in demand party affair in an era when a vibrant nightlife and roving sound systems were staples of life in Sudan.
It was music for a modern era, and Abu Obaida, at just 19, rebelliously abandoned traditional Shaigiya music traditions, pioneering a new sound by adding an extra string to his tambour and electrifying an instrument adored across East Africa. The result was complexity in simplicity and a hyper-talented artist who mirrors the story of Sudan’s highs and lows, from the leading tambour maestro of the hour to such obscurity on the fringes that he was believed dead. “They killed me!”, he likes to joke.
Abu Obaida Hassan, his music and the musical traditions of the Shaigiya remain alive and kicking. A culmination of a 7-year journey — from first hearing Abu Obaida’s distinct sound, found only in Sudan, to finding the man — has produced the first global release of Shaigiya music and is the first chapter of Ostinato’s immersion into Sudan, with a full compilation of the lavish musical history of one the most diverse countries in Africa due later this year. All brought to you by the Grammy-nominated team behind last year’s “Sweet As Broken Dates.””
Oooh, this is a blast! Sun Ra’s 1986 soujourn to a pre-unification East Berlin comes back around on the release’s original format via Moscow’s Post-Materialization Music label.
Documenting a killer, wild and free session from Le Sun Ra And His Cosmo Discipline Arkestra, the 40 minute recording features Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and Pat Patrick among the Arkestra’s mass, all converging and diverging the definition of jazz as only they can.
From entrancing squall to skronky electric organ riffs to a charming take on Duke Ellington’s Prelude To A Kiss, and on thru bubbling versions of their evergreens We Travel The Spaceways and Rocket #9, it lands on a freaking amazing Second Stop Is Jupiter, ready for your to do it all again.
Proper lysergic melters from Bear Bones, Lay Low on No ‘Label’ - a sometime home to Jamal Moss, Torn Hawk, Morgan Buckley, among many others
Pushing the label’s boundaries for psychotomimetic behaviour, Atlantean Encrypted Message bubbles up from a place usually only visited in the throes of a full blown acid trip. On the A-side, the Belgian artist Ernesto González Rondón tilts in steeply with the warped wormhole of the EP’s title track perhaps meant as gateway as much as a test of the listener’s tolerance for altered states.
If you manage to come out the other end, frazzled but eager for more, you’ll find the swaying kosmische mystery of The Well’s Son to greet and soothe your sparking synapses, but again it’s all or nothing on the B-side’s viscous droner Dans Tes Limbes, which comes on like one of those dark, paranoid waves where you’re not sure if you’ll make it out alive, when the walls are melting and everyone’s gargoyling in your grill.
If this finished in a locked groove it may well send you over the edge. Just strap in tight and keep a snifter of something to bring you back to earth when it’s required. You’ll be reet reset.
Plucky, lo-fi takes on blue-eyed soul swerve from Toronto’s Young Guv for Glasgow’s Night School
“Nothing is ever as it seems with Young Guv, but it always feels good. At first glance cloaked in a bold, ready-made distance, 2 Sad 2 Funk reveals itself over time to be an emotional, perfectly crafted, detourned pop record. Young Guv is the creation of Toronto-based auteur Ben Cook, an artist with over a decade playing guitar and singing in hardcore punk groups and a long discography of Young Governing. On 2 Sad 2 Funk, Guv pushes the power pop motif to its natural, 21st post-structuralist conclusion: it’s an album ridden with the cultural noise that bleeds through human interaction, distorting relationships and eroding that great Luv you thought you had. Audibly referencing everything from classic guitar pop The Toms or Dwight Twilley through Prince-ian ecstacies to a buried, trancegressive House music, the attention deficit belies a modern age plagued by distraction and performance anxieties. These days, the heart can break in new ways.
Perhaps Young Guv isn’t trying to soundtrack this breakdown in our relationship to Luv, but there’s something unmistakably broken down underneath these songs’ palette of fuzzy synths, crisp snare cracks and emotionally synthesized vocals. Throughout 2 Sad 2 Funk, Cook’s approach is to contextualise these modern unlove songs within a bedrock of collaged sounds, TV and Radio adverts, studio out-takes and warped experiments. The effect is hallucinogenic and serves to blow up his pop songs to epic, life-affirming proportions. The title-track slides into your life like a precautious Luv-er, a romantically doomed, electro-funk ballad that strikes the perfect balance between melancholy and creepiness. It feels good as long as you don’t attempt to decode the anxiety beneath it. Stand-out Stand In The Way is one of the most ecstatic heartbreaks Cook has ever committed to tape, a chorus that puts the listener in an open-top sports car speeding down an ocean highway, the sun bleaching out the pain, but not completely. Instrumentals like St. Clair provide the bridges, like a club music thumping in the background to your latest drama, while a track like You’ve Been Acting Strange Lately invokes a pantomime response in the listener: over a slinky, ecstatic 90s house beat Guv is “only questioning your love, because you’ve been acting strange lately” – we want to shake Guv and say “they’re just not that into you” but also, the sadist in the listener wants to let him suffer and keep writing these transgressive pop songs. 2 Sad 2 Funk constructs a hyper-reality of commerce, pop references and ecstasies that reveal an addictive, hyperactive emotional underneath it. Young Guv seems removed from the picture but really he’s there a little too much for his own good. 2 Sad 2 Funk is not what you thought at first, but it feels good, whatever it is.”
The drum-funked alias of Andrew Field-Pickering (Beautiful Swimmers, Lifted) drops the drum, the whole drum, and nothing but the drum for The Trilogy Tapes on a 3rd session of Dolo Percussion.
Quite possibly our favourite output from Mr. AF-P, these are purest dancer and DJ specials built for tracky application and meant to be played in-the-mix with other equally infectious rhythms or tonal content for optimal effect.
Up top, he percolates a palette of Afro-Cuban drums in a recursive tizzy tying your limbs in fluid syncopation with Dolo 9, before rocking the bells under wickedly asymmetric cross-patterns on Dolo 10.
Down below, he goes on with the deadliest West London broken beat simmer in Dolo 12, then whips ‘em into a polymetric vortex on Dolo 12. This may well have outdone Dolo 2. We look forward to confirming this on the ‘floor next weekend!
Lovely session of floating synth tones and rolling, padded basslines interspersed with cudled new age gestures inna proto/Afro-house manner.
New on Young Marco’s Safe Trip, who provide the following ace text on the EP’s cryptographic provenance:
“THE SAFE TRIP ORGANISATION HAS BEEN BROADCASTING THEIR MUSICAL VERSION OF A TRADITIONAL "NUMBERS STATION" ON THE FREQUENCY 5079. HUMAN INTELLIGENCE SUGGESTS THE AGENT BEHIND FOUR REGULAR, EAR-PLEASING TRANSMISSIONS IS THE SAFE TRIP ASSOCIATE "ARTIS".
USING A SPECIALLY MODIFIED "ONE-TIME PAD", WE WERE ABLE TO DECIPHER THESE UNDERCOVER OPERATIVES. THE ETHEREAL, DREAMY, ARPEGGIO-DRIVEN THROB OF "PANTHERA PARDUS", WITH ITS POIGNANT TONE AND UNDULATING LEAD LINES, WAS CLEARLY MEANT AS A WARNING.. THE SAME COULD BE SAID OF "CETACEA", WHERE MELANCHOLIC SYNTHESIZER SOUNDS AND MEANDERING ELECTRONICS GENTLY WIND THEIR WAY AROUND HYBRID ELECTRONIC/ACOUSTIC PERCUSSION.
PANIC SET IN ONCE WE DECIPHERED "GIGANTHOPITHECUS", A COMPOSITION LITTERED WITH FREQUENT INCREASES IN PERCUSSIVE INTENSITY AND A MIND-ALTERING MELODIC REFRAIN. OUR HUNCH THAT ARTIS WAS ORDERING IMMEDIATE ACTION BY AGENTS WAS CONFIRMED BY "DELPHINAE", WHOSE COLOURFUL MELODIC FLUIDITY, FUTURIST NEW AGE CONSTRUCTION AND LAYERED WOODEN DRUM HITS DEEPLY AFFECTED OUR RESEARCHERS. WE ORDERED OUR OWN AGENTS TO RAID THE STATION, BUT ARTIS HAD LONG SINCE SCUTTLED OFF INTO THE HAZY MORNING SUNSHINE.”
Dark Entries link hands with Sacred Bones to present selections from Outer Himmilayan Records seminal, rare catalogue of synth punk and Deathrock circa 1979-1982.
This is the real deal grit, featuring five tracks of whiny synths, snotty vox and primitive beatings by Soft Drinks; deathly drones, noise and possessed vocals by The Magits; and diesel and cider-spitting swagger from S-Haters. Would cost you exponentially more to pick up the originals. Whadda bargain!?
“Dark Entries and Sacred Bones team up to release the early discography of UK synth-punk and Deathrock label Outer Himmilayan Records. Between 1979 and 1982, Nick Blinko and Martin Cooper’s Outer Himmilayan Records released 7-inches by three short-lived bands – The Magits, Soft Drinks, and S-Haters – who would nonetheless cast a massive shadow on the UK’s burgeoning post-punk/anarcho punk scene. Outer Himmilayan Presents collects all of the music found on those original records, along with rare and unreleased tracks by all three bands. It’s a snapshot of a period of frenzied creativity by some of the UK’s most thrilling experimental punks.”
Finally! A second part of the legendary African Scream Contest compilation which really put Analog Africa on the collector’s map back in 2008. Samy Ben Redjeb has done another sterling job in reviving these cuts from Benin & Togo for posterity and parties everywhere, not to mention officially licensing all the material on board; including heavy funk ’n soul fire in Les Sympathics de Porto Novo’s A Min We Vo Nou We, on the driving disco-funk bubble of Moulon Devia from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, some nerve-jangling funk from a clearly James Brown infatuated Super Borgou de Parakou, and the melting synths on Gnonnas Pedro and His Dadjes Band’s How Much Love Naturally Costs. Class is in session!
“A great compilation can open the gate to another world. Who knew that some of the most exciting Afro-funk records of all time were actually made in the small West African country of Benin? Once Analog Africa released the first African Scream Contest in 2008, the proof was there for all to hear; gut-busting yelps, lethally well- drilled horn sections and irresistibly insistent rhythms added up to a record that took you into its own space with the same electrifying sureness as any favourite blues or soul or funk or punk sampler you might care to mention.
Ten years on, intrepid crate-digger Samy Ben Redjeb unveils a new treasure- trove of Vodoun-inspired Afrobeat heavy funk crossover greatness. Right from the laceratingly raw guitar fanfare which kicks off Les Sympathics’ pile-driving opener, it’s clear that African Scream Contest II is going to be every bit as joyous a voyage of discovery as its predecessor. And just as you’re trying to get off the canvas after this one-punch knock out, an irresistible Afro-ska romp with a more than subliminal echo of the Batman theme puts you right back there. Ignace De Souza and the Melody Aces’ “Asaw Fofor" would’ve been a killer instrumental but once you’ve factored in the improbably-rich-to-the-point-of-being-Nat-King-Cole-influenced lead vocal, it’s a total revelation.
The screaming does not stop there, in fact it’s only just beginning. But the strange thing about African Scream Contest II’s celebration of unfettered Beninese creativity is that it would not have been possible without the assistance of a musician who had been trained by the Russian secret services to "search and destroy" enemies of the country’s (then) Marxist-Leninist president Mathieu Kerekou.
Already familiar to fans of the first African Scream Contest as a mainstay of ruthlessly disciplined military band Les Volcans de la Capitale, Lokonon André vanished in a cloud of dust at Ben Redjeb’s behest with a list of names and some petrol money, only to return a few days later having miraculously tracked down every single name he’d been given. The source of this Afrobeat bounty-hunter’s impressive people-finding skills - his training with the KGB - highlights the tension between encroaching authoritarian politics and fearless expressions of personal creative freedom which is the back-story of so much great African music of the 60s and 70s. Happily, in this instance, Lokonon was tracking the artists down to offer them licensing deals, rather than to arrest them.
Where some purveyors of vintage African sounds seem to be strip-mining the continent’s musical heritage with no less rapacious intent than the mining companies and colonial authorities who previously extracted its mineral wealth, Samy Ben Redjeb’s determination to track this amazing music to its human sources pays huge karmic dividends.”
Versatile follow the lead of Vladimir Ivkovic’s Offen Music to reissue these Selected Works by Serbian genius Mitar Subotić a.k.a. Suba a.k.a. Rex Ilusivii.
Since the 2015 issue of Rex Ilusivii’s In The Moon Cage and right up to the recent pressing of Suba’s Wayang, a whole wave of new listeners, us included, have been wowed by his imaginative electronic microcosm, and this new collection perfectly spills into ever more esoteric and experimental realms. Make sure to check for the kinky downstroke of Facedance and the 4th world dimensions of Niagara / Spomenici for something close to Conny Plank’s work on Les Vampyrettes, and definitely Fortirer et Reche for a killer sort of hardcore rave mutation. Big recommendation!
Versatile’s Gilbert adds: “It was Vladimir Ivkovic who introduced me to the world of Rex Ilusivii. A world where the spirit of a genius holds sway. I remember spending an entire night at Vladimir's house in Germany, listening to all those recovered pieces, and feeling like I had entered another space-time.
Mitar tragically left us, one November night in 1999 in Brazil, leaving behind an extensive body of work consisting of more than 500 pieces, for the most part never released. Being submerged in such a unique universe, so singular, brought me happiness. It also filled me with hope, because I tell myself that today there must be many other outstanding musicians who produce in the shadow of the traditional circuit, just for the pleasure of making music.
Listening to the music of Mitar Subotić makes you part of his world. He did not stop producing from 1983 to 1999, in different styles, but with an instantly recognizable touch.His music also marries the evolution of recording techniques with new instruments that have appeared over this time, from the TR808 to the digital samplers. It took me more than two years to select the music for this record, as each time I listened to the material it revealed other details and other possibilities.
I am extremely happy and honored to present this record to you, in which I try to do justice to the different, "versatile" facets of Suba.”
Ravishing, dramatic and rambunctious chops from sax virtuoso and Joy O collaborator Ben Vince accompanied by Micachu, Rupert Clervaux, Merlin Nova, Valentina Magaletti and Cam Deas. Definitely one of the strongest WTN? drops in memory. RIYL Diamanda Galas, Chaines, Karl D’Silva, Colin Stetson
“‘Assimilation’ dives right in with Vince assuming downtown skronk, perfectly complementing the commanding no-wave theatrical vocal prowess of Merlin Nova. ‘Alive & Ready’ serves as an avant-garde energy blast, launching us into orbit.
Ben’s next spatial movement glides towards ‘What I can see’, a collaboration with Mica Levi, here donning her Micachu moniker to deliver her signature downcast experimental pop dexterity across Vince’s beautifully treated sax scape. The results are a moving, considered, crafted piece which undeniably nods towards Arthur Russell’s ‘World of Echo’, encompassing that same timeless, ethereal beauty.
Mica and Ben’s moment of longing melancholy is short lived, as we’re shuffled along to ‘Sensory Crossing’, a collaboration with Rupert Clervaux in which he evidences his groundings in Jazz percussion, experimental electronics, and deep interest in ethnomusicology - further exploring and expanding on the basin navigated during his collaborative album with Beatrice Dillon ‘Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion’ to create a blanket of bubbling, wired, frenzied yet fluid motorik groove. Vince’s improvisation here remains restrained throughout, conversing with Rupert’s movements rather than attempting to shadow or overshadow them, an idea which perhaps is cemented in his exclamation that “Collaboration, and also the wider idea of 'communicating' in general, is, for me, assimilating the other, becoming the other, at least temporarily, to forge a point of connection. When we are able to let down our barriers, let ourselves affect and be affected, we can truly communicate.”
‘Tower of Cells’, another percussion led collaboration features drummer Valentina Magaletti (Editions Mego), and sonic explorer Cam Deas (Death of Rave). Magaletti’s immersive, hypnotic, & deep styling holds firm Deas’ synth transmissions & Vince’s wandering, brooding, layered sax drone across 10 minutes of truly refreshing alien Jazz – Think the Necks mixed by Scientist on this one.
‘Assimilation’ rolls us out in fine style with Vince riding solo. Fluttering tonal Sax lines build and build before become interspersed with layers of fourth world styled exotic flurries. Held together by a single perpetual hypnotic bass thud ‘Assimilation’ brings to mind the similarly exotic experimental works of Muslimgauze & Jon Hassell. This final track essentially serves as a space for some reflection, joyously winding down a journey which manages to truly make the ethereal and the intense run alongside each other in perfect harmony.”
Upfront dancefloor heat from Mexico via Athens: Siete Catorce spins a class vinyl debut for Hypermedium with a mesh of grimy garage, deep techno and dembow ballistics to follow up the label's boundary-probing releases by Audioboyz, Evol and N.M.O.’s Ruben Patiño.
Working four smartly variegated hybrids of hyperlocal Mexicali styles and outernational pressure systems, Marco Polo Gutierrez a.k.a. Siete Catorce speaks to contemporary ‘floors with a unique grasp of rhythmic grammar and spaced-out, melancholic atmospheres that mark a fine progression from his previous digital drops with NAAFI and Enchufada since 2012.
On the front face he whisks dembow bumps into a recursive froth with subtly psychedelic and humid atmospheres giving way to lush pads and delirious voices in Risa, before calving off into sort of deep, mutant garage techno terrain recalling Batu or J. Albert in the standout Canto. With the flipside he goes more abstract, spacious yet still dead rugged in the grimy flux of Susurro, while Dialogo keeps the vibe sharply defined but open-ended with fluidly knotted dembow drums and viscous rave bass.
It’s a proper solid sound for anyone checking Debit, Lotic, Xyn Cabal or Batu.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Brandon Hocura’s Séance centre dishes out Joanne Forman’s deliciously pastoral score for vocals, synths, flutes and guitar, ‘Cave Vaults of The Moon’, some 30 years after it was first imagined, realised, and then left in stasis. A truly magnificent find, exactly the kind one might expect from the likes of Hocura, and a perfect addition to this beautiful label venture. RIYL the gentler aspects of László Hortobágyi, Ursula K. Le Guin & Todd Barton’s’Music And Poetry Of the Kesh’, or the Wicker Man soundtrack
“We humans, the nascent beings that we are, still haven’t quite figured out the full potential of music. Dancing, meditating, emoting, protesting; these are all pretty basic. But what if we communicated more complex ideas with music? What if we codified all of our activities with music? This idea came to composer Joanne Forman when she was commissioned to create the soundscape for an environmental exhibition of sculpture called Artifacts from an Alien Civilization in 1987. The sculptures, elaborate ruins that had been found on the moon, begged the question: who created them and for what purpose?
Joanne Forman imagined that Earth’s moon was a vacation spot for advanced beings from another galaxy. Cave Vaults of the Moon became a collection of sonic texts describing the fun things that went on there; earth-viewing, collecting information, building and playing. In her mind the sculptures in the exhibit were the remnants of a deserted playground of moon castles.
Forman’s playful score for voice, Ensoniq Mirage, Juno 106, flute, guitar and effects, wafted through the exhibit every day for a month and then lay dormant for nearly 30 years. Unearthed here, Cave Vaults of the Moon sounds prescient and timeless, as if the Wicker Man had been scored by Pep Llopis, and we now have the opportunity to reimagine the messages contained within it. Restored and remastered and cut using DMM.”
First vinyl edition of Wave Field; Portuguese artist Rafael Toral’s sublime sophomore study in liquified, resonant, processed electric guitar harmonics. Taken from the definitive CD version issued by Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs’ Dexter’s Cigar sublabel of Drag City in 1998, which includes an expanded version of Wave Field 5, and now newly pre-mastered by the artist, with full remaster and vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at D&M, this is effectively the perfect jump-off point for the proceeding twenty-odd years (and counting) of his oeuvre.
Taking Alvin Lucier’s pivotal piece I Am Sitting In A Room, and the experience of acoustic infidelity at a Nirvana concert in 1994 as his cue points, Rafael uses his electric guitar to generate plangent, smeared overtones which keen and curdle in seemingly infinite space around an elusively shifting centre, locating a sound which is either ambient or noise, depending on the volume its played. The A-side’s 31 minute Wave Field 5 is arguably one of Rafel’s earliest, definitive masterworks, and shares this plate with the freer, shorter breadth of Wave Field 6, and the almost ambient-pop-noise of his lushly bitter, coruscating Wave Field radio edit.
Codename: Dustsucker, the 2nd and final Bark Psychosis album, is a gently kaleidoscopic follow-up to their seminal début, Hex. Originally dispatched 10 years after their first album, Codename: Dustsucker  factors in a more sprawling set of experimental coordinates alongside their dream pop and harmonious shoegaze roots, also exploring deftly woven strands of lilting folk, post-club acid, breezy jazz and a stylistic reverance to Talk Talk crossed with more distinctly British sensibilities.
It would be difficult for any band to follow up a début album of Hex’s magnitude, so Bark Psychosis, the group revolving sometime D&B producer Graham Sutton and experimental noise-rocker Colin Bradley (Splintered) understandably took another 10 years and a plethora of creative decisions to come up with a record which didn’t repeat the formulat, but instead rendered their early sound from new perspectives.
In the 14 years since it was released, Codename: Dustsucker has become a cult favourite, a fact based on its timelessly dusky appeal, and one reflected in the steep price for 2nd hand copies. This new edition, recut over two discs for optimal fidelity and immersion in their beautifully layered sound, is set to grip a whole new wave of sensitive souls searching for a near-perfect late night listen. Especially fans of The Remote Viewer/Hood, and Mark Hollis/Talk Talk.
Delroy Edwards puts his back into a 14 track jack pack for his bro’s at L.I.E.S., smartly reprising the styles that first garnered feverish acclaim to his 4 Club Use Only 12” back in 2012
Where the last few years seen him trading in fuzzed up and slowed down funk, these tracks coolly modulate the energy level between dreamy, gritty house grooves and infectious tracky business; first getting into gear with the warped Gherkin Jerk of Killer Charlie, to cycle thru highlights such as the deep blue stride of MMT8 Jam, the chiming head-high jack of Swingin’ The Bitch, and onto raw-ass early Chi knocks with Barefoot In The Park, a very cheeky edit of a Jamal Moss edit (if we’re not mistaken) in Beat, and some suave low slung sheeeet on Friday Night.
OK, there’s no ‘floor breaking gear, but for the lo-fi debonaires, this one’s shotting heat.
Anthology box set containing 7 hard-to-find and critically acclaimed albums, released on labels such as Cantil, Opal and All Saints.
Includes the albums The Serpent (In Quicksilver)' (1981) • 'Abandoned Cities' (1984) • 'The White Arcades' (1987) • 'By The Dawn's Early Light' (1991) • 'Music For 3 Pianos' (1992) • 'Through The Hill' (1994, with Andy Partridge of XTC) • 'Luxa' (1996).
Róisín Murphy heads up the 1st of 4 x 12”s produced by Maurice Fulton to be dispatched over summer 2018.
All My Dreams catches her low slung and brooding over a tribalist groove recalling a stripped down version of Savage Progress’ Heart Begins to Beat, whereas Innocence is ruder, swaggering, jacked up with clonky SoYo-mets-NYC Salsoul pressure.
10LP boxset featuring the albums: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959), Change Of The Century (1959), This Is Our Music (1960), Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960), Ornette!(1961), Ornette On Tenor (1961), The Art Of Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971), To Whom Who Keeps A Record (1975), and The Ornette Coleman Legacy (1993.)
"Probably the most influential avant-garde musician in the world, Ornette Coleman has been a leading force in jazz since his startling debut in the late ’50s, Coleman’s emotive alto saxophone style relies on melodic improvisation unbound by chord changes. This style (and philosophy) was dubbed by Ornette "harmelodics" and reached its peak in a small combo whose virtuoso playing had the power of the blues and the multi-rhythmic sophistication of Monk, Mingus, or Coltrane.
The landmark series of albums Coleman released in the late ’50s and early ’60s still define the shape of jazz to come. This 10-LP deluxe box set showcases the "free jazz" pioneer’s most seminal sides, featuring his entire recorded output for Atlantic Records from 1959 to 1962.
New essay by jazz writer Ben Ratliff."
A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late Seventies post punk explosion but sounded like nothing else around them and refused to fit in.
"Formed in 1978, the band had various members throughout their career and a core line-up of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson. Hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as ‘punk funk’ thanks to the success of ‘Shack Up’ on both sides of the Atlantic, their sound is not easily pigeon holed and their influence can never be understated. The band introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, wrapping it in a post punk aesthetic, adding great clothes and the coolest haircuts."
Great collection of hard-to-find and unreleased early synth works by Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel), all picked out and sequenced chronologically by the man hisself with Klaus D. Mueller
“Klaus Schulze is a German electronic music pioneer, composer and musician that needs very little introduction. In the late sixties & early seventies he was a member of several iconic bands such as ‘Tangerine Dream’, ‘The Cosmic Jokers’ & ‘Ash Ra Tempel’ before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades. Collaborations were numerous and highlights include working with Steve Winwood, Arthur Brown & Alphaville… just to name a few.
Klaus Schulze’s proto moog-synthesizer work is regarded as a milestone in electronic music & during the decades he released landmark albums in genres catalogued as ‘Ambient’, ‘Electronic’, ‘New Age’, ‘Berlin School’, ‘Experimental’, ‘Kosmische Musik’ & ‘Krautrock’. Mr. Schulze had a more organic sound than most electronic artists of the time, often he would throw in decidedly non-electronic sounds such as acoustic guitar and a male operatic voice. Schulze is also known for developing a Minimoog technique that sounds uncannily like an electric guitar, which is quite impressive in concert.
On occasions he would also compose film scores such as Body Love (1977), Barracuda (1978), Next of Kin (1982), & Angst (1983). His best known song ‘Freeze’ has been used in films like Manhunter (1986) and more recently in Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’ from 2013.
In 2009, producer Klaus D. Mueller and Schulze began releasing La Vie Electronique ("The Electronic Life"), a series of sets that collected rare sought-after early works & unreleased tracks put in chronological sequence. These sets contain some of the best music Klaus ever created and are early 70’s masterworks that will appeal to both fans and collectors.”
2018 repress of Visible Cloaks’ self-titled début, offering a timely opportunity for anyone enchanted by their sides for RVNG Intl a fine chance to catch up with the charms of Portland’s arch Japanophiles.
Originally issued in 2015, Visible Cloaks was Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran’s first attempt at recreating and paying homage to the sounds found in their utterly sublime, cultishly acclaimed Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes of early-mid ‘80s 4th world and ambient synth music from Japan.
Coming from a background in psychedelia as members of Eternal Tapestry and RV Paintings, Carlile and Doran brought their new project to fruition in gorgeous style, dealing in a style of light-bent and gently warped ambient structures which neatly consolidated their psych tastes with the structures, themes and tone of the Japanese sound which exerts so much influence over modern electronic styles.
The A-side revolves four deliquescent beauties between the hyaline rubs and iridescent scales of Wind Voice and the synthetic choral cadence of Vocal Study, while their B-side extends those those ideas over a totally enchanting side 15 minutes of flighty tones and bubbling rhythms emulating avian motion and chatter and leading to moments of sublime revelation.
Boy wonder Bryan Müller a.k.a. Skee Mask comes of age with Compro, a dreamily sensual 2nd album tessellating ambient techno, jungle, IDM/electronica and breakbeat science for his Munich-based crew at Ilian Tape.
Cadging cues from classic Aphex Twin as much as Basic Channel, the 12 tracks on Compro cycle thru a plethora of styles with the innocent agility and explorative freedom of the early-mid ‘90s wave of producers who arguably established the patterns that we all dance in and around today.
However, with the benefit of hindsight and the relative ease and tactility of modern production methods, Skee Mask feels to evaporate and render those patterns with a finer grasp of spatial dynamics and layered textures, ultimately manifest in the vaporous designs of album opener Cerroverb, and resulting unique highlights in the cloud dynamic ambient ‘ardcore of 50 Euro To Break Boost, which sounds like Fennesz doing breakbeats, or in the sublime weightless percolations of Vi Sub Mids, and particularly on the elusive rush of Soudnboy Ext. and the very Tom Jenkinson-esque closing couplet of Kozmic Flush and Calimance (Delay Mix).
Dry, rolling techno slugs from Anna, the latest conscript to NovaMute following their enlistment of rising stars Nicolas Bougaïeff and Charlotte De Witte.
A-side, Razor is a steady, tense roller pulled upwards by surging synths and nagging drum patter to a wild recursive breakdown that spits us out into the thick of it.
B-side delivers a pulsating, Detroit-inspired piece of Belgian trance on Dreamweaver, and a colder, proper trance-techno rush in Escapism.
Alek Lee treads a fine line between Chi house and acid jazz on this session for the grown-ups who’ll see it thru ‘till dawn
“Alek Lee’s second 12” on Antinote starts with an uptempo opening to a rather downtempo record. Playing with some of the genre (namely, deep house) codes like the use of a politically-aware speech or vibes, Alek Lee can’t resist to give Time his special treatment nonetheless: using some of his dubby tools and bringing in a warm trumpet he takes the song onto a rather windy road. Don’t fall for it though: Time is a red herring...
The next song is without doubt more immediately recognizable as an Alek Lee’s tune with its slightly Pink Floydian vibe and its overall jam feel. On Kesef, the musician whispers in a tunnel of sound effects, joined by his beloved melodica and a nonchalant electric guitar.
Those who dug his previous EP might want to check out Colors and its nemesis - Dark Colors - on the flip side. Borrowing some of the ingredients he put into Sfarot, Alek Lee cooks a set of two eerie dubs. On Colors, the dark and thumping instrumental backs the voice of an impossible child, a creature bred in Tel-Aviv musician’s most twisted fantasies. Meanwhile, Dark Colors paradoxically takes a much more sentimental path. No voice this time but an emotionally-drenched melodica-lead breaking through a foggy environment of ominous synths and enigmatic noises to round off Lee’s mistier record so far.”
Björk casts her butterfly net over Jlin, Lanark Artefax and Kelly Lee Owens for remixes of her and Arca’s Utopia album cut, Arisen My Senses.
Lanark Artefax does his hyper-tactile IDM thing, threading Björk thru a maze of unmetered, Autechrian fuss and decapitated rave whoops, nestling a gorgeous breakdown in the later stages.
Trust Jlin to push the prism though, as she dissects and resynchs the vocal into remarkable, body-knotting tumbles and nano-rhythmic plies, and KLO turns the same elements into one of her supremely sensuous ambient house specials underlined by plush subs. We can imagine these latter two spinning the dance beautifully.
Levon leaves the room breathless with an almighty warehouse session on NS 21.
A-side he deploys all his signature tricks in a stunning effort called War Phase Version, built around waltzing, dust-booting drums and spiralling arps whipped up, flanged out and phased into a bellicose but disciplined frenzy.
B-side, Falling Out Of Cars is Levon’s tribute to the night Brian Harvey ate too many baked potatoes and ran himself over while being sick. It takes the form of a booming, haughty, powerful house shunt peppered with the sound of Brian crying.
In a wee balearic coup, Claremont 56’s Paul Mudd becomes the first person granted access to Ned Doheny master tapes
Turning in an extended retweak of Doheny’s sun-blessed downstroke Think Like A Lover, replete with louche instrumental.
Repress of a jazzy jungle bewt from 1996, by Metalheadz and Basement Records regular Wax Doctor for R&S.
A-side Heat is one jazzy jungle’s finest strokes, finding the right balance of breeziness and rugged depth that many others tried, but failed to properly capture during that era of transition. The B-side’s Offshore Drift reprises the vibe with a lighter touch primed for the early and after-hours.
Further to Daniel Avery’s Song For Alpha album, Phantasy Sound roll out four more ‘floor-dedicated extensions of the LP’s vibes on the Projector 12”
Drifting dreamy from the vaporous organ riff and smudged groove of its title track to the dusty deep techno pressure of Shadow Mountain on the A-side, then over to the lush suspension system of Glass, and the beatless shimmer of REHBGBV4367.
First vinyl edition of sound mind sound body; the 1994 début release by Portuguese guitarist turned deep space explorer Rafael Toral. Previously issued on CD by AnAnAnA, this new edition has been pre-mastered by Rafael Toral to exacting specifications and newly mastered and cut to vinyl by Rashad Becker at D&M, Berlin.
Spread over two slabs, four sides of vinyl, Rafael’s first opus takes on a whole new life here, as the remaster and vinyl cut render his searching, somnolent, and arcing sound in a hospitable new context, with the awning glacial breeziness of A E R 4 shimmering next to the wilting phase of Loopability I, the patiently bittersweet discord of his 20 minute A E R 7 E, and the uniquely strung out bliss of his Textura vignettes in delectably fuzzy ways where you’d hardly guess it was generated by guitar.
Cracking EP of squashed, distended and fiercely mongrel club tracks from Cairo’s Zuli, pursuing the lines of his UIQ EPs down more twisted rabbit holes of enquiry. Make sure to clock the Lee Gamble-esque jungle blatz of ‘Trigger Finger’ and the wild-eyed Cut Hands-alike percussive pressure of ‘Your Tracks Are Too Short’. Mastered by Rashad Becker at D&M for optimal donk and bite.
“ZULI’s new offering Trigger Finger is a game of shadowy atmospheres and unquiet spirits. It functions as a spacial and temporal compactor, using sampling and field recordings to reconstruct reality’s dissonance, while at the same time reverse its own introspective character into bass weight and outworked tension. A kind of extremization of ZULI’s own roots as a beatmaker for the Cairo rap scene, tinged with the clandestine and delirious urbanism of grime and jungle, and fronted by the necessity to face its own dark side. But the dark and crusty sonic palette does not limit the possibility for the tracks to display various layers of emotional content.”
Outstanding debut album from Príncipe’s first lady, Nidia Minaj, following up the huge buzz around her debut 12”, Danger  with a 14 track portrait of a thrilling yung artist following her instincts for the good of dances everywhere.
Since that electrifying Danger 12” she really left us hanging, with only Pra Fachar and the raucous Festive delivered on compilations in the meantime to keep us sated. Now, after carving up clubs and festivals all over the shop, she’s followed her nose and fed that energy into a battery of unpretentious, hard-hitting and bittersweet aces; a full clip of short sharp shocks designed to be flung in and out of DJ sets and light up BBQs and parties with infectiously driven rhythms and stinging, hi-tension rhythmelodies.
You want highlights? Run come get ‘em in the maaaad synths of Biotheke and militant snares of Shane Noah; from the trampling force of Toma; in the hard but homesick melancholy of I Miss My Ghetto; and especially in those super succinct shots of wrapped vocals such as Indian and Mulher Profissional, and the lip-bitingly strong grind of Puro Tarraxho.
Biggest tip to fans of killer new dance music!!!
Supremely deft hypnorhythms and entrancing electronics from Riccardo Schiró, making strong moves on his Gravity Graffiti label, who have previously turned out goodies by Soichi Terada and Marcello Napoletano, a.o. RIYL Shackleton, Burnt Friedman, Don’t DJ or YPY.
As first introductions go, this is a strong one. Across Dunas, Italian producer Schiró shakes it up properly, firstly teasing in with the effervescent hi-hat spritz and spectral ‘tronics of Esoterico, which soon enough turns into a cascade of claves spun in fizzing polymeters, but still holding a jazzy cool, before cutting left with the levitating delirium of Algebra Des Nomades and ending up in the mirage like Trans-garde.
Turn over for a seriously wicked jungle/jazz/kosmiche fuss called Essoterica, pursued by the wobbly latin jozz fink ov Chiaroscuro Explora, and a final swan dive into dubbed out styles recalling Jay Glass Dubs on Lapis Lazuli.
The inarguable square root of so much post-, math-, and avant-rock to come, one of those records that makes history fall into place around it. R.I.P. Glenn Branca.
One of the most striking, singular débuts of its era, Ascension was and still is a stunning example of an artist pushing the boundaries of their chosen instrument. By this point Branca was already a staple of NYC’s No Wave movement with Theoretical Girls and The Static, two groups who strove to strip rock music back to its primitivist roots and rediscover its truth. After a small handful of records with those bands, he progressed to arrange his own group, the Ascension Band, revolving around Branca as one of four electric guitarists (also including a pre-Sonic Youth Lee Ranaldo), plus a bassist and drummer, who were gathered in order to explore the possibilities of massed, alternate tunings for multiple guitars, sowing the seeds for what would later fully come to fruition with the development of his symphonies for 100 guitars.
In five movements recorded at The Power Station, the Ascension Band explore the guitar’s then-lesser heard voices in a way which would directly feed forward into myriad strains of guitar music as we know it. Opening with Lesson No.2, a grindingly hypnotic motorik follow-up to his first EP Lesson No.1,the album takes in Branca’s 12 minute masterpiece The Spectacular Commodity a situationist-inspired piece full of complex tempo changes and thrilling discord, to variously investigate, gnashing, clashing harmonics Structure, and onto the monotone thrum of Light Field, and the nerve-jangling chaos of The Ascencion, which is the inarguable square root of so much post-, math-, and avant-rock to come, from Swans to Sonic Youth, and on thru GY!BE or even Raime.
The Ascension is one of those records that makes history fall into place around it, when given and heard in proper context. It’s just essential listening. R.I.P. Glenn Branca.
Glenn Branca’s ‘Lesson No.1’  is a foundational touchstone for late 20th C. electric guitar music: featuring both Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, it’s a core inspiration over Sonic Youth and also Swans, and is regularly hailed in lists of influential experimental music. In the wake of Branca’s recent passing, aged 69, Superior Viaduct present a repress of their reissue to the release’s 2004 CD edition, which packages the original ‘Lesson No.1’ with its B-side ‘Dissonance’, and the bonus C-side of ‘Bad Smells’ featuring Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, a.o. “Seminal” is an oft-misused word, but in this instance, it’s perfectly apt.
Originally released on pivotal No wave label 99 Records, Lesson No.1 has become one of the best loved and regarded highlights of NYC’s catalytic No wave scene. Its A-side masterpiece Lesson No.1 For Electric Guitar was inspired by Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart and the work of Steve Reich, which both shine thru in the piece’s nagging melodic phrasing and drifting harmonic swell. Play it on 33rpm for a much druggier sort of glory.
The original B-side Dissonance is perhaps more directly related to No wave primitivism, and the way that style reflected the reality of life in New York’s less salubrious quarters. It’s all about a heady, jarring clangour and inexorable momentum, the sort of piece that sucks you in and demand you keep your wits about you - or utterly let go - amid the dense madness of of a hot sunny day in NYC, or a sweaty throng at Max’s Kansas City. Again, this one sounds great on 33rpm as well as the intended 45rpm.
Bad Smells on the C-side was first titled Music For The dance Bad Smells and issued on Branca’s Who Are You Staring At? split LP with John Giorno. It notably features early appearances of Branca’s touring bandmate Lee Ranaldo, as well as Thurston Moore, who would become known in their own right. In the same way Dissonance gave a taste of the city, Bad Smells offers a synaesthetically incisive, 16-minute reflection of a decaying NYC thru noxious plumes of massed dissonance and wrankling distortion that eventually lead to its heady collapse.
Everything, as David Lynch would say, is never quite what it seems.
Bohren and Der Club of Gore's intense blend of heaving doom reductions and late night Badalemanti style midnight jazz has bought them a fanatical following in both the Avant-Metal and Jazz communities. Their sound really can be best visualised with reference to the 'Bang Bang' Bar in Twin Peaks, all sleaze, unease and glamour in the archetypal Lynchian sense.
The members of Bohren started out in various Hardcore outfits, but when the band formed in the early 90's they soon settled on a blend of Metal, Ambient and Jazz that confounded and confused most listeners. Almost two decades later and Bohren enjoy something akin to a secret members following, with the likes of Mike Patton being so into the band that they are now signed to his own Ipecac imprint in the states. 'Dolores' is their first album since 2005's 'Geisterfaust' and is their most beautifully realised album yet, oozing mystery and atmosphere with a more muted take on that super luxurious sound.
Opening track 'Staub' unfolds with a solitary mournful organ, eventually coupled with that unmistakable, spine-tingling Fender Rhodes played so ably by Christoph Clöser. The track continues with spacious, staggered percussion and Vibraharp, whirling through 8 minutes of mystery and wonder. At the other end of the album 'Welten' closes off proceedings with a monkish drone most suitable to a Sunn 0)) opening, before once again those shimmering keys create that kind of immeasurably addictive confusion between darkness and light that could be said to be Bohren's calling card.
'Dolores' is a stunning, mesmerising minute journey into that sh*t that lurks beneath the surface, confusing, confounding and oddly uplifting all at once. A wonderful album that comes to you with our highest possible recommendation.
London’s dankest relay palpably paranoid pressures from the capital on The Bug's newly minted Pressure label, hopefully the start of an ongoing collaboration between the pair.
Spying those hours of the dance when the smoke machines are puffing but there’s nobody there yet, Fog finds them melding charred bass hustle with billowing greyscale atmospheres in a time-honoured style shared by both artists.
On the flip, Shrine distills their meditative intensity to more suspenseful degrees with exceedingly brittle drums bearing the huge, brooding weight of a slowed down dread bass and glowering pads = minimal fuss for deadly, concentrated impact.
Erstwhile Grouper collaborator Ilyas Ahmed drifts back to MIE Music with a shimmering new side of country folk filtered thru a blue dream-pop lense in ‘Closer To Stranger’.
The follow-up to 2016’s Dreamboat collab with Golden Retriever finds that duo’s Jonathan Sielaff contributing Bass Clarinet on two songs, while the Pakistan-born, Minnesotan Ilyas Ahmed tends to vocals, guitar and synth, in parts coming as close as we’ve ever heard him to Mark Hollis levels of intimate singer-songwriter charm.
“Closer To Stranger is the new solo album by Pakistani-born dream-folk musician Ilyas Ahmed. Drawing on a wide range of influences, his songs incorporate classic singer-songwriter gestures alongside more experimental leanings. Recorded to tape in the studio by Justin Higgins in the fall of 2016 and finished in the spring of 2017, Ahmed’s instrumental palette includes: acoustic and electric 6 and 12-string guitars, Fender Rhodes, multiple keyboards, tanpura, and percussion. Closer To Stranger stands as a meditation on uneasy identity politics during times of unreason, seeking peace amidst chaos.
Jonathan Sielaff (of Thrill Jockey ambient duo Golden Retriever) cameos with guest saxophone on “Zero For Below” but otherwise the album is a solo affair, alternately feverish, tense, hazed, hypnotic, and narcotic. A slowly unfolding inward journey of late night lullabies and contemplative electric drift.”
Avanti is Alessandro Cortini’s sixth album and his hauntological magnum opus; a masterful embodiment of his nostalgia for analog synth recordings wrapped up in a pall of decaying futurism. After numerous Forse volumes, a pair of LPs for Hospital Productions, a live recording tape and a collaboration with Merzbow, we’d wager that Avanti is the most substantial Cortini album to date.
In a Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker-esque gesture, Avanti investigates notions of memory surrounding music. Taking a time-capsule of old home movies made by his grandfather as a “perfect fossil of his childhood”, the NIN synthesist turns those cues into signature, billowing structures generated from the EMS Synthi AKS, resulting a record that is sore with a certain ‘hiraeth’, ‘saudade’ or ‘sehnsucht’ for a past which he comes to terms with in viscerally romantic style.
Across all seven parts, Cortini reflects the porous fragility of memory and its decaying glow quite literally in the piece’s fuzzy gaze and the inclusion of almost imperceptible “errors and mistakes”, and also metaphorically in their nostalgia-triggering strokes and wavering harmonic swells, which speak to and stimulate the limbic system with the same sort of magick defined by BoC or indeed Leyland Kirby.
They’re optimistic pieces riddled with and anchored by a sense of sadness, not necessarily cry-your eyes or rip-your-heart-out, but more a sanguine, bittersweet meditation laced with reverence to elegiac effect. For the most they come on as weather-beaten sonic postcards or hand-written missives, each introduced by ghostly voices and saying its piece as though whispering graveside or in private, keeping their messages neatly concise but impassioned in their delivery, save one final section when the feeling almost becomes too much to bear.
His canniness lies in worming out an personalising those combinations of chords, hooks which trigger feelings of nostalgia mutual to most folk who’ve grown up with the same culture and cultural connotations, and then wringing them out to the point of heartache/numbness, and practically making those gestures fulminate on contact with air, skin, nerves and infect your own corrupted memory banks.
Gerald Donald (Heinrich Mueller, Arpanet, Dopplereffekt, Drexciya) initiates new alias Xor Gate with the 30 minute wormhole of Conic Sections.
Originally commissioned by ArtCenter South Florida in Miami, this release renders one of the longest works in Gerald Donald’s expansive microcosmos, giving enough time to explore his fascination with maths and geometry to the nth degree, but with that grasp of sweetly human pathos that sets his advanced sonic research leagues apart from the field. It’s highly recommended to immerse in this one as a solo mission, with lights dimmed and eyes shut, and its highly visual sonic stimulus work its magic on the back of your eyelids.
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
Strong survey of the current Italian crop, including highlights in Alessandro Adriani’s Drexciyan trip, the tentative ambient ephemera of Chevel, and the mercurial beauty of Catarina Barbieri
“Flowers from the Ashes is the latest multi-artist project to bear the acclaimed Stroposcopic Artefacts imprimatur. There is a sensibility of decadence and corroded grandeur etched within its four album sides, reminding us that historically "decadent" times have nonetheless resulted in some of the boldest acts of individual and collective creativity. Like the 'floral' theme that has remained a consistent feature of S.A.'s graphic presentation, the music here equally presents fragility and intensity in a way that really drives home this visual metaphor for good, while still holding out the promise that similar creations will be seeded in the near future, Though many of the artists involved have set of residence outside of their native Italy, all contribute here to make a captivating portrait of a shared spirit and cultural memory.
The album opens with “Errori,” deceptively fragile sonic ornaments crafted and suspended in space by Blackest Ever Black artist Silvia Kastel. This is followed closely by the mellifluous, warming glow of percussionist Andrea Belfi’s “Spitting & Skytouching,” and then by the resolute electric bass patterns and luminous fog of “Lux et Sonus,” from Eeri label head Marco Shuttle. Hospital Productions alumnus Ninos du Brasil open the B-side with a similarly dense, amorphous construction built from tribalistic chants and rhythmic patterns, to be followed by Mannequin label boss Alessandro Adriani’s “You Will Not Be There For The End,” showcasing his distinctive take on the ‘paranoiac breakdance’ aesthetic of classic EBM. S.A. veteran Chevel rounds out the first record in the program by interlacing several percolating synth lines together into a richly conversational piece.
The journey continues with “Starving The Mind,” an undulating mini-epic from S.A. founder Lucy that is animated by his signature balance of seductiveness and concentration. The bright, biting acid synth tones of “PRV-HH3-X”, by Lory D, then takes a sharp right turn into an invisible metropolis ruled by reflective high fashion and hidden intrigue. The imposing architecture of “Virgo Rebellion,” designed by modular synth futurist Caterina Barbieri, acts as an excellent companion piece, and sets up the closing “4G” from Spazio Disponibile co-founder Neel - a crepuscular serenade that accurately sums up much of the foregoing activity.”
Longtime pals DJ Sprinkles & Hardrock Striker mix up an excellent 2CD survey of Skylax’s deep house styles past, present and future, with label boss Hardrock Striker picking 13 label classics, and Terre Thaemlitz a.k.a. DJ Sprinkles a.k.a. K-S.H.E. selecting 16 upcoming treats by Lady Blacktronika, Octo Octa, Niko Marks and more.
On Hardrock Striker’s half, you’ll cop finest deep house pressures in Chez Damier’s Morning After Mix of Simoncino’s Inag’s Creme, as well as the burning soul of Bad You by Sameed, and the rugged sophistication of Public Enemy by F.T.G., Belfie & Alex Tea, but it’s best consumed in one go, preferably on the ‘floor, or rolling in the whip.
For her part, DJ Sprinkles runs the voodoo down from Lady Blacktronika and Sinan Kaya thru to Jason Gorves’ sub-fuelled shifter Streets, a Reese-based bewt by Rosenhaft, something special from Groove Riddim and Nathaniel X Project, and Peter Black & Hardrock Striker’s sublime Dreamtime.
Flavoursome collection of ersatz exotica from late ‘80s Germany, picked out and dusted down by Jan Schulte, and backed up with two Wolf Müller remix updates for Kenneth Bager’s Music For Dreams label, outta Copenhagen, Denmark
“Copenhagen’s Music For Dreams comes with yet another strong release - a double album of personal favourites compiled by Jan Schulte. According to all maps and witness accounts, Germany does not officially have any tropical forests. This is of no concern to Schulte however, who has unearthed many stunning examples of tropical drum music recorded there. Perhaps the number of botanical gardens and palm houses in Germany confused musicians into mistaking the climate, or maybe it was just a happy blend of escapism and multi-cultural integration within musical scenes that spawned such a curious output of undefinable tribal folk jazz.
Most of the tracks picked by Schulte were released on small labels in the late 80s. The musicians involved were mainly traditionally schooled, born and raised in Germany. At that time to be interested in foreign folk music might have seemed a gimmick to some, what with the emerging world music boom already snowballing into the mainstream. But these songs, while they may be based on musical traditions from foreign lands, deal much more with introspection than exploitation. Schulte himself points to his "general fascination for music that describes places where the artists have never been. Songs about the jungle or the rainforest made by people that know the rainforest only from television and books. Somehow I think you can hear their mythical imagination and fantasy in those tracks, he explains. We certainly hear it in the extensive use of wildlife samples on both "Tagtraum Eines Elefanten" by Argile and on "Wuhan Wuchang" by Total Art Of Percussion. Or on the repetitive and trace-inducing drum circle re-enactments of Ralf Nowys "Akili Mali" and Bob Moses's "Boat Song Part II”.”
This set contains the long out of print albums, “Sugar Fish Drink” and “Large Ladies With Cake in the Oven”. Both discs are remastered by Andrew Liles.
"You will never hear these better.“Sugar Fish Drink”: “Cod Surrealism A distinctly wet aberration on paranoid aesthetics occasionally coordinated by John Balance and Steven Stapleton”
The great Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot) returns with his first solo album in seven years, Applied Autonomy for Olaf Bender's Raster. A survey of what he’s been up to, as much as a statement of intent for here and now, Applied Autonomy reprises the fine balance of tuff-edged minimalism, spatial illusion and melodic delicacy that emerged with Redsuperstructure , but ratcheting its effect with a renewed vigour for a frankly epic impact.
As the title makes explicit, Robert’s 3rd solo album is concerned with autonomy, which feels like an apt subject for the age of automation, when humans are increasingly negotiating their role in context of the machine and AI, and vice-versa. The systems Robert set up for Redsuperstructure now come into deeper relief, as he applies a greater understanding of their workings in order to eke out, sculpt their possibilities in his own image.
Much of the material came from improvisation and sketches made in preparation for his live shows. This quickfire process amassed a range of material which was then more considerately cut to shapes and layerd not applied Autonomy, which ranges from almost Rian Treanor-esque stutter drums mixed with dense yet wide atmospheres in his title track, and twisted across the album, from frenetic acid dancehall mutations in Varieties of Impact, to the meter-messing trance of Scene 3 which sounds like something Vladimir Ivkovic might play, and thru to the necessary, hoped for dose of emotive lushness with brimming optimism of All Objects Are Moving.
But he really saves some of the best for last in Samtal, a 14 minute piece recorded in duo - but not together - with Klara Lewis at EMS Stockholm, where we effectively hear two autonomous minds at work, making for a smart contrast with the singularity of the preceding tracks.
Wolfgang Voigt commits one of GAS's most darkly sublime albums with 'Rausch', which arrives nearly one year on from Narkopop to remind us his position as the prince of ambient techno.
Meant to be listened to from end to end without interruption, but also included as seven discrete parts for those who need them, Rausch unfurls in diaphanous form along a depressed heartbeat march of padded kicks swept with distant horns and string swells in the faithful, time-honoured style of Wolfgang Voigt's finest recordings.
The difference lies in the feeling conjured by these swollen crests of abstracted instrumental textures and timbre. Rather than dreaminess or tranquilised melancholy, this one feels portent, impendingly stygian, as though summing up humankind’s incessant trudge toward a bleak unknown horizon, resulting in the emergence of sounds more akin to Sunn 0))), with his entrenched kicks struggling to break the gloom, and poetically losing out in the end.