Self-generating composition ‘abtasten_halten’ finds Frank Bretschneider’s austere yet playful rhythmic minimalism at its most inventive, turning the sound of two VU meter needles into endlessly fascinating permutations via software and synth modules; an ideal candidate if we’ve ever heard one for Jan Jelinek’s Faitiche label.
“Frank Bretschneider on abtasten_halten: "abtasten_halten (sample_hold) is a largely self-generating composition for a modular synthesizer system. Self-generating here means that as soon as a current flows, the various modules interact, but within limits set by the composer via the connections between the modules (patches): timing, tempo, timbres, dynamics. These conditions are kept variable to a certain extent or left to chance, so that the composition created is always similar but never the same. On the one hand, the use of random generators opens up possibilities that would not otherwise have been considered. On the other, it offers the fascination of the unfinished and the unique: totally unexpected musical events that you might hear only once. abtasten_halten combines my preferences for percussive music in general and electronic music in particular. Largely avoiding repetitive structures, the piece is more like a free improvisation, quiet and diffuse, but also extremely dense, in ever-changing contrasts and transformations.
The tone generators are two modified VU meters whose needles, driven by trigger impulses, create a simple one-bar pattern by hitting against a metal spring that is connected to a piezo element. The tempo is continuously varied over a period of about ten minutes by several mutually modulating LFOs, ranging from about 0.06 Hz up to the lower audio range of about 18Hz. The percussive sounds thus obtained are then passed through low-pass filters with moderate resonance and random frequency modulation to additionally color the sound. Further processing is then executed by an echo module whose tempo and repetitions are again determined by random parameters. Finally, the audio signal is occasionally enriched with reverb to add more spaciousness to the sound."
A companion piece of sorts to his recent, brilliant 'Field Recording and Fox Spirits’ tableaux of magic-realist location recordings, 'Apparition Paintings’ is an ambitious, sprawling new album from David Toop, at this point 50-years deep into a career that his seen him explore constantly shifting musical topographies, as well as work as a researcher, writer and critic. It’s an ambitious and restless work, featuring contributions from Áine O’Dwyer, Rie Nakajima, Paul Burwell and Elaine Mitchener among others, and shifts from a sort of skewed Fourth World ambient to atomised jazz-fusion and country-folk with curiously plasmic results.
"Don’t ask me about genre or consistency. Who cares?” says Toop - and of course we don’t, and you shouldn’t - especially at this precise moment in time. What you get here is a personal narrative mapped out on the back of Toop's eyelids, one moment reminding us of Eiko Ishibashi’s recent folklore masterpiece Hyakki Yagyo, before retreating down a mazy Gamelan wormhole, into shimmering chorus-pedal dreampop, Laswellian fusion and concrète abstractions - without flinching.
"Half the world is drowning; the other half is in flames. Each story is an animal, a plant, something you drink, a surface you touch, a faint line, some memory emanating from a cardboard box. “’Things’ in themselves are only events that for a while are monotonous,” wrote Carlo Rovelli in The Order of Time. Maybe sounds are melting ‘things’, tired of the monotonous real.”
Most of Lyon’s musical scene is composed of men originating from eastern Algeria, but since the 1950s, the Croix-Rousse and Guillotière cafés have counted musicians from all over Maghreb.
"These cafés were social hubs, where these individuals met up weekly, playing together and sharing their everyday life experience —but they also had a major role in the development of popular music of French-based North Africans. In Lyon, Le But Café in the 3rd arrondissement or the bars on Sébastien Gryphe Street in the 7th arrondissement were among these: one could conduct business there, getting booked for a wedding, a baptism, a gala, or a studio session... all took place there.
Playing together in Lyon. The practice of music was cross-regional with different North African influences, but also with local traditions. These versatile musicians also absorbed new local influences: music within the context of immigra- tion was a perfect school for musical cosmopolitanism. Chachacha or tango versions of some Cheikh El Hasnaoui tracks come to mind, or Mohamed Mazouni’s jerks and twists. Like their predecessors, the musicians in this compilation brilliantly integrate raï or staïfi tunes with disco aesthetics or funk guitar riffs as Nordine Staifi did. You could also think of Salah El Annabi who used the “ Oxygene ” theme (1976) by Jean-Michel Jarre, the Lyon-based composer and electronic music pioneer. “As we say around here, mixed weddings make good-looking lads!” said Abbès Hamou, a musician from Place du Pont. Following on from their musical traditions and unrestrained inventiveness, the musicians’ repertoire naturally assimilated their era’s aesthetics and technologies."
Hugely playful 2nd album of pop intricacies from Moscow’s Kate NV, chasing up her 2018 debut for RVNG Intl with a devilishly detailed batch touching on ‘80s Japanese pop, Kate Bush’s dream-pop, jazz-fusion and kosmiche ambient
Not wasting a second on bad energies, ‘Room for the Moon’ is brimming with utopian pop spunk and nanoscopic levels of production detail that add up to a delightful definitive portrait of an artist in her creative prime.
From the YMO-esque rhythmic froth and digitally-dubbed prism of ‘Not Not Not’, thru what sounds like Visible Cloaks jamming with Lifted in ‘Du Nu’, to the swirling raga-like arps of ‘Tea (Full Cup Version)’, its tangier partner ‘Lu Na’, and the Radiophonic-esque ambient pop baubles of ‘If Anyone’s Sleepy’, this alum deserves the ears of pop lovers as much as those who can see the link between pop music and the filigree crafted structures of Beatrice Dillon.
…And the earth crack'd to reveal Scott Walker & Sunn 0)))'s colossal offspring 'Soused' in its riveting, tragic glory.
Four years on from their intended collaboration in 'Monoliths & Dimensions', the arch avant-crooner meets the robed duo (and Tos Nieuwenhuizen) at the apex of their powers, presenting a peerless, operatic vision of doom metal informed as much by Native American history and the underground US psyche as experimental jazz and electronic dynamics. We can safely say it matches and surpasses our high expectations of the project, offering a complex, widescreen portal to a chiaroscuro world slashed in black by Anderson and O'Malley and illuminated by Walker's range of possessed vocal personas, from anguished despair to internal torment and shocking convulsions.
Embarking over the bull-whipped Moog bass momentum and banking riffs of 'Brando', Walker is a disturbing yet utterly compelling presence enticing us to cross thresholds into the arcane, uncanny worlds animated by Sunn 0))), whether projecting across the molasses drone trudge of 'Bull' or alternately wilting and lashing out from the percussive attacks and abyssal tar pits of 'Herod 2014'. By 4th song 'Fetish' their path has narrowed to a 'marish corridor of re-amped synth ghouls and spectral noise before distant drums abort the pregnant drones somewhere in the final third, for closing shot, 'Lullaby' to emulsify their unheimlich resolution at its most dramatic, synth-fired and intimate. It's a genuinely remarkable session, surely one of 2014's best.
A manifesto for possible future music from François J. Bonnet, aka Kassel Jaeger, director of the GRM.
"This is not a study. It is a manifesto for a peculiar conviction: that music remains to be discovered, that it is still hidden. That, nonetheless, it does sometimes appear, but most often incompletely and unevenly. And that what we have hitherto referred to as “music” is in fact only a preliminary, a prodrome.
That all musics produced up until now have been nothing but simulacra, rituals to call music forth. This may sound crazy, and indeed unwelcome. But the sole concern of the following text will be to make this statement legible, understandable, and perhaps even to some extent acceptable. Its hope is that, setting out from a few intuitions, the possibility of a music to come can be formulated. That this obscure becoming will emerge, one trait at a time; that the shape of this music to come will reveal itself, gradually, by way of a cluster of assumptions, the reading of a multiple history, and the examination of damaging paradigms that have taken music far from itself.
That the subjectivity of a writing, with all of its beliefs, its errors, its biases, its injustices and its shaky certainties, may yet manage to cast a singular and inspiring light upon the idea of music—this, ultimately, is the ambition of the lines to come."
Richard Skelton's latest transmission finds the reclusive artist ditching the mournful string drones of his last run of releases and embracing chilly, distorted electronics that should appeal to anyone into Yellow Swans, Alessandro Cortini, Johann Johannsson or Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Async".
It's hard to believe it's been almost a decade since Skelton's last vinyl release. "These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" follows a slew of regular drops on Skelton's own Aeolian imprint and moves in a decidedly fresh direction, ditching the acoustic instrumentation that has grounded the majority of his catalog. His last few releases (notably "LASTGLACIALMAXIMUM" and "The Oracle Bone") have explored darker sonic spaces, but have continued his obsession with bowed string drones, muddying them with eerie distortion and field recordings. Here though, Skelton has both feet fully in the electronic realm, layering overdriven synth tones to offer a sensitive, evocative foil to Lawrence English or Ben Frost's grandstanding "power ambient".
The ambience is powerful, certainly, but that strength emerges from the emotional content and the mere suggestion of gravitas. Without acoustic instrumentation, his familiar signature is a ghost that materializes in amongst analog sizzles and thick, oscillating bass tones. Waves of white noise and the occasional doomed hit of a kick drum echoes Yellow Swans' towering masterpiece "Going Places", but Skelton's vision is sparser and more anxious, distant and heavy.
Based in the valleys of the Scottish borders, Skelton translates his relative isolation from contemporary society into soundscapes that are almost futuristic, but lack the clutter of deconstructed club or awkward posturing of concept-heavy festival drone. His idea of the future sounds closer to Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's visionary "Stalker" - seemingly out of time and out of place, with an eerie sense that the rapidly-shifting realty of the present is even more precarious than we care to realize.
"These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" feels like a potent reflection on a time of global isolation, societal collapse and the confusion of many potential futures, but chooses not to weigh us down with any kind of assertion. Rather, we are invited to project our own anxieties onto the album's groaning dreamworld.
Featuring a cover photo by the cult NYC street photographer, Richard Sandler - the first in a series.
"Straight from the depths of the burgeoning Austin, Texas weirdo scene, JT Whitfield delivers a six track mini-lp for L.I.E.S. after an impressive run of releases for Chondritic Sound. Whitfield follows suit where he left off on his cut from last years Eminent Domain comp. with absolutely punishing slow beatdriven industrial electronics. This is for true fans of metal on metal music as these tracks desperately plod and grind, ripping apart everything in sight. The appropriate soundtrack to endtimes."
THE game-changing mixtape of the 2010s is finally re-pressed on vinyl and - for the first time - available as individual digital tracks via PAN, who’ve just made a lot of heads very happy.
Originally issued by the pivotal Hippos In Tanks in 2013, and self-released on vinyl in 2014 via her own website, Arca’s &&&&& has cast a strong, if cultish, influence over contemporary dance, pop, and electronic experiments during its life to date. Tiled from what are now disclosed as 14 individual components, its mazy mosaic of fractured ideas and curdled hooks blew our minds at a time when so much dance music was either going retro-vintage or, ahem, “future” garage, and would provide anyone listening with oodles of inspiration for new directions influenced by the Latinx and club cultural shifts pioneered by likes of Elysia Crampton (then E+E), Total Freedom, and TCF.
7 years after its debut release, &&&&& is still one of our all time percies. That sticky, diffractive flow between her convulsive ‘Knot’, the sighing gobs of ‘Harness’ and the spine tracing chorals of ‘Fossil’, and thru the melodic late ‘90s Ae/AFXisms of ‘Obelisk’ still burn. With hindsight it’s easy to hear this mixtape as a crucial bridge between her earliest rudeez on the two ‘Stretch’ volumes (which shockingly slipped most people’s attention at the time) and the way she would bloom in the following years, from production for FKA Twigs, Kayne and Björk, to her none more beguiling solo albums and holistic embrace of a mutant futurist a e s t h e t i c.
‘Music From Memory’ sets sail with a compilation of lo-‐fi beach funk and lazy synth jams from the Rhode Island keyboardist and ocean loving Leon Lowman.
"As well as a devoted painter and surfer of the East Coast, the synthesizer loving Lowman privately released two albums “Syntheseas” (1980) and it’s follow up cassette only “Sound Horizon” (1982). Something of a homage to his love of the local seashore and the women he was trying to woo there, the albums also express Leon's pure love of the synthesizer sound and reflect his unique melodic wanderings. With Leon's albums meeting little commercial success at the time of there release, both albums have in recent years become highly sought after. Along with previously unreleased material from the time, “Liquid Diamonds‘ highlights Leon Lowman's unique blend of low fi synth funk and surf ambience."
Steeply absorbing solo debut of smoky free improvisation, reverberating between ECM-like jazz/classical and electro-acoustic dimensions for the ideal home of such enigmatic stuff; Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
‘Ashioto’ extends an immersive introduction to the solo work of Japanese drummer/percussionist/composer Tatsuhiro Yamamoto following a decade of collaborations with notables including Jim O’Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi, Phew, and Arve Henriksen. Fitting the rarified criteria of Black Truffle’s snuffling service, Yamamoto’s first dolo mission is riddled with the sort of oneiric magick we’ve come to expect from this label, dilating the mind’s eye from the pineal peal of gamelan to sweeping Jazz-fusion breaks and dead strung-out, end-of-rope jazz blues and ‘marish organ swells with a masterful narrative sleight of hand.
The devil lies in the detail of ‘Ashioto’, and in the way that Yamamoto transitions between distinct section via various strategies. In the first section his hypnotic and softly reverberant golden ripples of gamelan precipitate deeply sweeping but in-the-pocket breakbeat roil with subconscious stealth, almost comparable to a canny DJ transition. But the mood persistently shifts like a localised weather system, ultimately drawing in and overcast with a starkly autumnal appeal that he doubles down on the B-side, where the drums total recede to present a play of tonal ghosts slipping like laminal plasma with Daisuke Fujiwara’s oozing sax and coming to suggest a late night avant-garde sexiness that culminates into a beastly Lynchian nightmare with cataclysmic, feral noise recalling Gruppo via Jim O’Rourke. Magic.
In May 2018, Jaimie Branch took up a month-long residency in the shipping container-turned-recording studio at Pioneer Works, an arts center down the street from her home in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She called up Jason Nazary, and he rolled by the studio loaded with acoustic drums, electronic triggers, modular FX unit, synths, sequencers, and a myriad of processors. Branch engineered the sessions, and brought her rig to the table: trumpet, synths, delay/looper pedal, auxiliary percussion, and a Roland TR08 drum machine. They did what they always do — rolled tape and started from nothing.
"In the Fall of 2019, they set out for the “Ante-Myths Sonic Projections Tour” that took them across the US alongside DC duo Blacks’ Myths. For the journey, they self-produced a super limited-edition tour tape, Tour Beats Vol. 1, which features recordings from those Pioneer Works sessions.
For Summer 2020, International Anthem is proud to re-present Anteloper’s Tour Beats Vol. 1 on 45RPM 12” vinyl in a package featuring artwork by Branch, photos by Richard Ross, and liner notes as poem, again, by Rob Mazurek..."
DJ Plead’s hugely in-demand battery ‘Pleats Plead’ finally re-pressed.
Bringing the best Mahraganat drums to the table in a signature style lying between OG boingy dubstep, Electro Chaabi and brokebeat techno, Plead stuffs the EP with devilish dancefloor rhythms thru the darting, syncopated drums and flutes of ‘Baharat’, the gremlinoid chatter of ‘Salt and Pepper’, the deeper D&B-like touches of ’Shoulder Pop’, and her restless roller ‘Crush and Burn’. Drums for days!
Autechre's classic second album from 1994, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
At bleeding’ last, Warp reissue one of their rarest gems, which Autechre themselves have referred to as conceiving as their “Warp record” - written to complement the label’s early ‘90s ambient/AI catalogue.
Depending your perspective, Amber is quite possibly the most beautiful Autechre album. It’s much softer, atmospheric than the needling electro tones of Incunabula, and also much friendlier, almost innocent than the cold, rugged Tri Repetae; almost like a snapshot of the duo in post-club gouch-out mode, hugging the sofa and chewing their ears in the days before somebody might snap you doing so on their iPhone.
Basically it’s completely essential if you love electronic music.
This is f×cking amazing - a second volume of desolate, ambient themes from David Lynch’s sound designer and mixer of choice Dean Hurley, one of those behind-the-scenes guys whose work most subtly colours the popular imagination. If you’re into anything from Deathprod to Badalamenti to Mica Levi’s 'Under the Skin’, the more ascetic end of work from Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker, or Aphex Twin’s ’Selected Ambient Works Vol II” - this will rule your world.
Having operated and managed David Lynch’s Asymmetrical sound Studio for 13 years, Dean Hurley only appeared on our radar a couple of years ago with his sound design for the third season of Twin Peaks, and the first volume of his Anthology Resource which collected some of that work. During those 13 years - a period that began just before ‘Inland Empire’ - Hurley was basically there to create, mix and edit any sound artefacts Lynch required - a process that evidently allowed him the freedom to innovate through pretty much limitless experimentation. As a result, Hurley is now without question one of the most striking sound designers and supervisors working in film & television right now, steering well clear of overly emotive/manipulative cliche and instead focusing on the minutiae of sound in a way thay recalls the classic, pre-digital era.
His Anthology Resource is an ongoing series curated from his work for film and television in the library / production music tradition, as well as a series of albums in their own right, with this second volume 'Philosophy of Beyond’ collecting 12 pieces made in residency for Art Gallery of New South Wales’ event Masters of Modern Sound, and contributions to Eddie Alcazar's feature film ‘Perfect’ - mostly assembled from tape loops and field recordings.
While it’s fair enough to wheel out a usual list of ambient/atmospheric comparisons with ‘SAW II’, Brian Eno, Leyland Kirby, and indeed David Lynch’s own early work with Badalamenti, that’s really just to show what class Hurley is operating in - his music clearly possessing its own, menacing magick that stays with you long after the music has stopped, just like the imagery he is so highly adept at scoring.
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
Mysterious “married outlaws” Low Budget Aliens firm up a killer sort of (I)DeMaterialised spin on drill, jungle, footwork and ruff bass sound for D. Tiffany and uon’s XPQ? label
‘Junk DNA’ spells out a dead crafty sound in orbit somewhere between early Actress, the ambient dance mutations of Ghostride The Drift and Skee Mask’s nervy rufige. It’s smudged regurgitations are pretty much bang on the pulse for contemporary music’s up-in-the-air flux of styles in a way that feels like it could go in any of ten directions at once.
‘CRASh LANDING’ kicks it off with a sort of radioactive rendering of drill, and ‘Hazardous Waste Pump’ turns up the gas on a slowfast jungle tip, teeing up a weightless flex shared wrth the centrifugal footworking dynamics of ’FE Ignot’ and what sounds like a vaporised 33EMYBW in ‘HOME SICK!’, while ‘BOWSERS HIGHT COURT’ leans into X-files breakcore, and the deadly one-two of ‘Service Mode 2’ and ‘LEVEL 1 2 3 4’ whip D&B and 150bpm beat science into wilder, experimental dancefloor thrills.
Next in Coil’s archival excavations is their soundtrack to a pre-internet, VHS-only sex ed documentary released in 1992. Released from masters with the blessing of Danny Hyde (Jhon and Sleazy’s right hand man and go-to engineer), this first proper edition of the soundtrack features a newly reworked “sexy” edit of the main theme along with bonus reworks of ‘Nasa-Arab’ and ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’ which appeared in the soundtrack to ‘Gay Man’s…’ as well as on 1992’s CD-only ‘Stolen And Contaminated Songs.’
In a way that Coil would shed with later recordings, ‘Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex’ sounds very much of its time, melding downtempo rhythms with smoky atmospheres in a way comparable to fellow ambient travellers such as The Orb and FSOL as contemporaneous material by Lynch & Badalamenti or even The Wildbunch, essentially nailing a sort of Balearic backroom or afterhours style.
The big highlights are the EP’s balmiest and jazziest bits, namely the dusky blue strut of ‘Alternative Theme From Gay Men’s Guide To Safer Sex’ that opens the EP, along with the iridescent shimmies of ‘Exploding Frogs’ and its rework ‘Omlagus Garfungiloops’, which could almost be a fantasy collaboration between Japanese Electronics-era Heinrich Mueller and Angelo Badalamenti at his most snake-hipped and winking.
While we’re not certain of the soundtrack’s efficacy in its purpose - it remains a unique piece of the impossible jigsaw puzzle that is Coil’s catalogue, and a fine throwback to early ‘90s ambient/downtempo styles.
Moscow’s OL doubles the output on his Asyncro label with an asymmetric, beats-driven definition of modern Russian ambient featuring Sensational and his Serwed collaborator Flaty along for the ride
‘Wildlife Processing’ weighs in as OL’s 2nd solo album proper, sharing a batch of 2017-2020 recordings after last year’s ‘Dismeteo’ debut with Motion Ward. The sound I atypical of current Russian electronics; cold but shatterproof, doing odd things with pliable mutations of hip hop, techno, electronica in a way shared by his collaborator Flaty, as much as Buttechno, or the buckled techno on Gost Zvuk.
A feel for hyperreal sensuality is key to the appeal of Ol’s music and in strong effect here. Taking the natural world in and out of the box until its no longer identifiable as either results in crafty Autechrian organisms such as the slithering ‘Sim Career’ and the Gescom like boom crack of ‘Bercy Station’, or his iridescent stepper ‘Low Enforcement’, whereas ‘Senor22’ works like a washed out Bellows oddity surfaced from the neo abstract deep ends. Micxail aids in the sealing the album’s elusive, fractal qualities with class collaboration on its hypnagogic, gauzy closer ‘Inasan’, and Flaty evens its off-keel style in a smart techno stepper for the ‘floor ‘A4’ that feels like a weightless Ossia tune.
Astral Industries dilate their portal to reveal another gorgeous ambient vision from Rod Modell & Chris Troy’s long running Waveform Transmission project.
Extant since their 1996 CD, Waveform Transmission returned with a 2LP in 2017, and now allow further inspection of their alien ambient terraforming with the project’s immersive 3rd release.
For 70 minutes the duo synch minds as spirit guides for the lushest trip thru alien underwater zones, feeling out unfathomable gamelan reverberations and diaphanous synth pads with a real synasethetic colour-sound appeal for those susceptible to such sensations.
It’s patently some of Modell’s lushest, purest ambient work, with the romantic leanings of Chris Troy pulling the sound away from the dubbier obsessions of DeepChord.
Some observations about this epic package - the biggest iteration of which is over 8 hours long (not including the bonus DVD) - it’s incredibly well executed, smart, thoughtful, insightful - a proper fucking masterclass in how to go about painstakingly assembling and reissuing archival material (without getting into a discussion about whether or not Prince would have wanted these vaulted tunes to see the light of day).
The good news is that even if you go for the most threadbare version here, you’ll be in possession of the best this set has to offer. Two things that shine out above everything else here; Prince was a really good editor of his own work, the version of Sign O The Times that saw the light of day is stronger than any of the proposed other iterations of it - better then the Camille album would have been, better than Crystal Ball, better than Dream Factory - although the Vault tracks included in the bumper edition allow you to assemble any one of those albums for the first time using official masters. The tunes themselves - as much as ’The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker (With Horns)' is just totally fucking incredible to hear - the version you know is infinitely superior, and being able to witness Prince's editing process is one of the great pleasures of this set. Same thing goes for ‘Forever In My Life’ - what was almost a country pop tune ended up as one of the greatest linndrumm ballads ever made - and now you can hear what could have been, and thankfully wasn't.
Secondly - the mastering - by Bernie Grundman - is properly astonishing, especially if you grew up with an original version. Grundman doesn’t just go for loudness here - although the master is significantly louder than the version you’ll know - the detail, space and lightness of touch is the thing that elevates this set to absolute greatness. Listening to the remastered version of ‘Forever In My Life’ - just as one example - will alter yr perspective on pretty much everything. Also - what a fucking tune.
The vault stuff - there is about 4 hours of it - a complete dream come true. The best of it - 'Emotional Pump' (a sort of 'Feel U Up' variant), 'Big Tall Wall' (fucking drums!), The Cocoa Boys (slow, syrup horn funk), 'Rebirth Of The Flesh Original Outro’ (Camille missing piece) - to be honest - it’s all pretty amazing, even ‘Wally’ is on this - surely the most elusive of all the vaulted tracks.
Anyway, if yr an obsessive - you'll need the bumper set, if yr a newb - start with the basic remaster - either way, after running through all 8 hours three times in 2 days, we feel v strongly once again that the original version of this album - benefitting massively from this new remaster - is really one of the greatest ever made - and what we thought could never be improved on, now somehow sounds better than ever before.
Prince forever <3
New age ambient bubble-bathing vapours and BoC-like beats from Canada’s Khotin, making a mellow, warm hug of a debut on Ghostly International
Smushed with musical sentiment to match its title, ‘Find You Well’ draws a warmly analogue-sounding bubblebath of ambient electronica and slow moving beats that land somewhere between BoC and Deru on the wistful nostalgia scale. It’s music almost custom made for Autumn, rustling up a woozy and lowlit sound full of warbly charm and wobbly rhythms that will please the sweetest toothed fans of early ‘00s ambient melancholy in highlights such as ‘Heavyball’ and the Ulla-esque collage of cottony pads and answer phone messages in ‘Outside In The Light’ and the heavy-lidded drowse of ‘Your Favourite Building’.
Half of Deaf Center, all of Svarte Greiner, and boss of the Miasmah label, Erik K Skodvin has long flirted with cinematic sounds and now he's turned in his first solo film score - a chilling, drone-heavy accompaniment to Mo Scarpelli's Ethiopa-set "Anbessa".
Erik K Skodvin was probably always meant to make film scores. Since Deaf Center's 2004 debut EP "Neon City", the Norwegian producer has been taking influence from composers like Angelo Badalementi, Clint Mansell and Cliff Martinez and juxtaposing these cinematic elements with the kind of low-end drones fellow Norseman Deathprod made his calling card. Skodvin's solo material as Svarte Greiner was doomier still, hinting at noise and metal but never losing the magical glow of the silver screen.
Now, Skodvin has turned in his first solo score for American director Mo Scarpelli's "Anbessa", a documentary feature set in Ethiopia, about a young boy whose family are displaced from their agricultural community as Addis Ababa becomes quickly urbanized - and gentrified. Skodvin's treatment won't initially surprise fans of his Svarte Greiner or Deaf Center material - those calling-card shadowy, wavering guitar drones and melancholy strings are all present - but the scope, sound and additional elements in the material make this a very different kind of record.
Recordings from the movie are folded into Skodvin's music, like distant animal sounds or children talking, giving the record a narrative quality even without the visuals. Eventually percussive elements are introduced: sparse, clattering sounds on the terrifying 'Dream of Becoming an Animal' and bass-heavy East African percussion on the title track. It's not a fusion we expected, but it works. Brilliant stuff.
A gorgeous, properly influential ambient drift classic resurfaces for a 20 year reissue complete with a new extended piece evoking gauzy nostalgia for late ‘90s/early ‘00s styles.
The glimmering iridescent dub electronics of’Summer’ bobs up from 2000 in the wake of a reissue for the reclusive Scottish artist’s lush debut album ‘Do You Ever Regret Pantomime?’ (2001). There’s a legion of people out there for whom this was really one of the most definitive and influential records of the era, originally surfacing via Vertical Form and creating a sort of bridge between the foundational Chain Reaction template and the wave of atmospheric, Detroit-indebted UK Techno typified by the Likemind label, Stasis, Irdial etc.
Newly remastered to taste, the original stretches out to the horizon with a groove and lilt that feels something like a re-wired take on ‘E2-E4’ overseen by Mark Fell and Terre Thaemlitz. It’s just inarguably lush, uplifting gear.
‘Fragile Root’ is exclusive to this release, and, although we’re not sure if it’s new-new, or old-new; either way it’s a perfect example of Ambient sculpting at its slinky and melancholic best, strongly recalling Plaid’s ‘Anything’ (the best ever Plaid track, right?) as well as the new wave of UK based producers at the time orbiting around labels like DeFocus, Headspace etc. A throwback - but weirdly a strongly comforting one.
Magnum opus-weight album from organist and electro-acoustic composer Anna von Hausswolff, debuting on Southern Lord with a masterwork of gothic classical beauty - a must check for fans of Alessandro Cortini, Kali Malone, Kara-Lis Coverdale
‘All Thoughts Fly’ was recorded at Gothenburg’s Örgryte New Church, Gothenburg and is heavily infused with the space’s atmospheric nuance, which only renders the theatric richness of Anna’s compositions at their most sumptuous, billowing and melodramatic. As her 6th album, it’s also her most confident and strikingly original, following the slow steady procession of her sides for Kning Disk, Touch and City Slang with her most sepulchral and steepled refinement of black metal atmospheres and sacred dirges pronounced with an apocalyptic classical grandeur and iconoclastic experimental daring.
“Notes on the recording process: The organ on All Thoughts Fly is situated in Gothenburg and is a Swedish replica of the Arp Schnitger organ in Germany. It is the largest organ tuned in Quarter-comma meantone temperament in the world. With it’s four manuals, one pedal and 54 stops, it was built as part of a ten-year research project reconstructing 17th Century North German organ building craft. The tuning temperament is an important detail to note here, as it deeply affects the sound and tuning, and thus radically changed the process of creating this album. Anna speaks of a pleasant surprise during recording, the organ's ability to create beautiful "pitching" notes through its stops and air supply system. She remarks “We took advantage of this so most of the pitching sounds and notes that you hear on the album comes from the mechanics of this organ, effects made entirely acoustically." The organ was recorded with two room mics for atmosphere and two pairs of close mics placed inside the organ to capture nuances and detail for further organ sound processing by Filip Leyman in his studio.”
Living legend Terrence Dixon and Jordan GCZ (of Juju & Jordash fame) team up for a killer 12” resulting from sessions recorded in September last year.
Dixon is still for our money one of the most influential and least acknowldeged Detroit producers of our time, you can hear his blueprint in a whole swathe of modern electronics from Actress to NWAQ and beyond, we honestly can’t remember if the guy has ever made a bad record - either under his own name or under his Population One tag.
This hookup here finds him in more exploratory and brooding form alongside fellow explorer Jordan GCZ, whose love of classic Source/Move D/Reagenz is on display here with what sounds like a modern adjunct to Moufang’s legendary KM 20 recordings - basically the best of that era.
In other words - this is the good shit.
Maestro of the sampler Carl Stone goes on a mad joyride with his most hooligan-friendly decimations skidding wildly into drill ’n bass territory
Ever unpredictable, but predictably brilliant, Carl Stone has evidently had something of a second wind in recent years with a rush of amazing new works and retrospectives that set him out as a truly overlooked avant-garde innovator of a singular calibre with a bold catalogue stretching back to the early ‘80s. From beguiling pop cut-ups to glitching transformations of South East Asian folk, his music knows few bounds beyond what is possible with his sampler and software, resulting some of the most spellbinding contributions to the glitch/electronic/avant garde world out there, and this new one is flipping outstanding.
Booting off with something like a $hit & $hine hoe-down in the smashed Bonham break ballistics of ’Pasjoli’, he cuts loose between something like Squarepusher-meets-Coil in ‘Huancho’, and one of his masterfully twisted pop chop-ups in ‘Au Jus’, and does the same with folk music in ‘The Jugged Hare’, while drawing out something deeply uncanny from whatever pop tune he’s razzing out in ‘Ganci’, and pretty much emulating the effect of listening to the Panda Bear after a balloon and big slug of K in the mind-bending ‘Saaris’. It’s all more than our RDA of psychoactive sonic substance and we love it.
The perfect introduction to Beverly Glenn-Copeland's charming and idiosyncratic sonic universe: a career-spanning collection that includes his first new song in 16 years.
When he began releasing music in the early 1970s, Beverly Glenn-Copeland struggled to find an audience for his earnest, emotionally rich folk pop. A career in television as a regular actor on Canadian children's TV show Mr. Dressup gave Glenn-Copeland a paycheck but didn't shine too bright a light on his musical abilities. In 1986, he put together a record using a Yamaha DX7 synth and Roland TR-707 drum machine called "Keyboard Fantasies". At the time it was a short-run cassette-only release, reaching only a limited audience, but online diggers eventually discovered the album and began to investigate Glenn-Copeland's career further.
"Transmissions" compiles songs from "Keyboard Fantasies" and Glenn-Copeland's debut "Beverly Copeland", bundling them with tracks from the lesser-known "At Last!" EP and 2004's "Primal Prayer". There are two recent live recordings too, as the surge of interest in his work allowed him to perform these songs internationally for the first time. Most interesting though is the inclusion of a brand new track (Glenn-Copeland's first in 16 years) 'River Dreams', a devotional-sounding haze of woozy new-age pop that continues the themes of "Keyboard Fantasies" while transporting them into a new era.
Anyone who needs a primer into Glenn-Copeland's unique musical world couldn't find a much better collection than this. The remaster sounds incredible and the choice of tracks highlights Glenn-Copeland's versatility and originality without sacrificing any charm. There's been a glut of crate-digger adjacent reissue material recently, we know, and it's not always worthy of the hype - this one most definately is
Brooding fusions of darkwave pop and ‘80s movie synth moves from Not Not Fun veteran Profligate on Brooklyn’s Wharf Cat Records
“'Too Numb to Know' showcases Profligate continuing to shirk the heavy electronics of his early years for razor sharp pop. On 2018's 'Somewhere Else,' Noah Anthony delivered dark pop gems while adding live instrumentations, reinvigorating his songwriting and sonic palette. This new song-driven approach gained praise from Resident Advisor, Pitchfork, Bandcamp Daily and The Wire, exposing Profligate to new listeners.
Too Numb to Know followed Anthony from coast to coast, as he recorded his first demos in Philadelphia and then moved to Los Angeles, a city he found creatively challenging and emotionally depleting. After the theft of his computer—and with it the work he'd done on 'TNTK' in L.A.—Anthony took a friend's suggestion and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he finished the album and added contributions from allies like Matchess, Lazy Magnet, Gel Set, and Missions, among other.”
Bolshy, first thought/best thought throw downs from Angel-Ho, bolstered with production from Bon for their return to Hyperdub
Moving on from the club cabaret of Angel-Ho’s debut album proper ‘Death Becomes Her’ in 2019, they take inspiration from the Italian method of painting wet on wet oil - essentially allowing for unpredictability - with a catty volley of five cuts pairing one-take freestyles with warped queer club rhythms and murkily amorphous atmospheres.
Since finding their tongue on last year’s album, Angel-Ho unleashes a fiery, disciplined barrage speaking for queer Black voices between the industrial swagger of ‘Juice’, and in more twisted form smeared into the scowling trap futurism of ‘Never Ever’, while channelling an celestial runway vibe in ‘I Want U Too’, and winding up in parallel darkroom R&B dimensions on the monstrously large ’Fantasy Ride’.
Can anyone have enough Bullion in their life? Nope! The master of pop-not-slop works his patent magic like some holy offspring of Fad Gadget, Kraftwerk and Robert Wyatt on a classy debut for US indie Jagjaguwar
While it may appear from the title that Bullion has changed his mind since 2016’s ‘Heaven Is A Wonderful Place’, his new EP still brims with a classic ‘80s poptimism that’s hard to shake and needed now more than ever.
Between the strolling synth-pop and shrugging lyrics of ‘Heaven Is Over’ to the dusky yacht bop of ’Strike a Light’, thru the blue-eyed soul balm of ‘Thirty Two’, to those subtle Linndrums and full sail arps and guitars in ‘Yawn’, or the fantasy AM dial cruise of ‘Loving Furlong’, Bullion’s crystal-cut songwriting and studio finesse is in full effect here, hopefully heralding a new album on the horizon.
A Perfect Punctual Paradise Under My Own Name is a two part audio drama that charts the life of a middle-aged Australian man in the throes of an existential crisis, brought about through a series of unforeseen circumstances that collectively threaten to undermine the fundamentals of his existence.
"It’s a work that explores the sound of a mind collapsing under pressure, where lucidity is traded for mania, and eloquence reduced to a scattershot of primal rambling and abstract self-reflection. It’s man-as-animal, cowering in a cage, teeth exposed, as vulnerable as it is unpredictable. It’s the sad musings of a failed musician turned stand-up comic, left alone in his squalid flat to reflect on life’s undelivered promise with only the constant playback of his odd routines for distraction. It’s a palimpsest of derelict ideas and unloved skits, etched onto the tattered skin of Salmon Run and worn before an audience of no one. It’s a series of wrong turns and dead ends, a puzzle, a game, a confession, but above all else, A Perfect Punctual Paradise Under My Own Name is the greatest record Astor never made. – Graham Lambkin"
Heralding the promising, upcoming ‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ album, 0PN presents ‘Drive Time Suite’ and his first new material since the celebrated soundtrack for ‘Uncut Gems’
From a cut-up intro channelling V/Vm, to nods to Queen and 10cc via Disney soundtracks and Enya in the fleeting beauty of ‘Auto & Allo’, and ‘Long Road Home’, 0PN scans the dial and horizon in some of his most spellbinding sound design and chiselled pop-tight songwriting, all primed for some Steve Wright of the future to introduce during their weekly hour of vaporwave classics.
All too often what passes for "ambient" music is pulled towards one of two poles: nihilistic darkness or cloying lightness - manbient or cutebient. We're fucking sick of it. Thankfully, mischievous scene veteran Richard Chartier has unleashed a much-needed corrective here with his latest Pinkcourtesyphone full-length, allowing his darkness to languish in sensuality and the softer edges to present tenderly, flamboyantly and joyfully.
"Leaving Everything To Be Desired" is a dense collection of post-Wolfgang Voigt fog and Badalamenti-inspired Lynchian mystery, spritzed with a cherry-scented mist of queer kitsch. Its cinematic and grand, but never takes itself too seriously, underpinning its woozy, shimmering orchestral blasts with a sense of poised, poignant longing.
There's no posturing here, Chartier has a catalogue that would put most producers to shame, instead this album is here to represent mood, moment and memory. It's not hauntology; there's nostalgia, sure, but detoxed, removed from the churning context of bad cultural tropes and white, cishet self-loathing. "Leaving Everything To Be Desired" is as decadent as a new set of silk sheets so treat urself and slide in.
Further on from his last lp of abstract electronics ‘man walks the earth’, morelli continues with patient, long form, oppressive analog synth and digital concrete apocalyptic large scale isolation breathing units filled with delivery trucks and long queues.
"‘betting on death’ deals with the world of day trading flip stocks and profiteering from impending financial psychosis. as doors continue to close to the cadence of the ticker tape as the money keeps being printed… adapt for economic survival with this hi-risk ambient-electronics epic for profiteers foreshadowing inflation."
Two slices of pineal-gland tickling fyoocha club music here from Object Blue and TSVI, who combine their talents, Voltron-like, to emerge with music that's one part tricksy post-IDM and one part absolute club banger.
'Thought Experiment' is an exercise in forward motion, with stuttering kicks tumbling over off-world ambience and airlock blasts as if Autechre were making dance music again (in space). Flipside 'Turing Machine' brings breaks into the mix, allowing mind-bending modular bleeps and squiggles to undulate under complex-but-danceable percussion clouds that make us dream of clubs past. And it's not like we deserve it at all but there's a Loraine James mix of 'Thought Experiment' too that takes the "LP5"-ish kick stutters into near-footwork territory cuz why not? Well good.
Jungle deconstructionist Sophia Loizou materializes on planet Houndstooth for her third album "Untold", a multi-disciplinary project that includes an AV show, a lecture, special artwork and a book of poems.
Bristol-based academic, author and sound artist Sophia Loizou impressed with her first two albums, 2014's "Chrysalis" and 2016's acclaimed "Singulacra". Both records filtered a deep knowledge of dance music through opaque clouds of drone and ambient noise, re-contextualizing familiar sounds while reducing them to digital dust. "Singulacra" found its footing in jungle, exploring the genre's woozy euphoria in ways not a million miles from Lee Gamble's "Diversions", transforming driving rhythms into ghostly echoes and faint memories.
"Untold" is a further development of these ideas, taking the skeletal approach of "Singulacra" and building it into a many-headed multi-disciplinary project. Here, Loizou bills her tracks as "a series of speculative sonic landscapes" letting the natural world inform the sound in attempt to remove it from humanity. So the icy breaks, rolling subs and ethereal pads are now informed and shaped by natural dynamics: "a lion's roar or the rhythm of a dolphin's echolocation emissions," reads the press release.
This isn't something that's likely to be immediately discernible to most listeners but the concept def raises an eyebrow or three. No doubt the project is most enjoyable with its full AV presentation - as it stands though, "Untold" is an accurate representation of the progressive commodification of breaks and ambient music. The familiar sounds are omnipresent, but the driving force of jungle has been dislocated: breaks are left to fizz into muted impotence and melodies dance and tease, refusing to resolve comfortably. By attempting to remove the music's human element, Loizou has come eerily closer to the algorithmic uncanny valley of a Spotify playlist or a generative videogame soundtrack. Ambient jungle to relax/study to, maybe?
Richard Dawson and co’s unique troupe Hen Ogledd brim with timeless indie-disco-pop pep and folksy whim in the follow-up to ‘Magic’ and their killer ’Bronze’ slab.
Notably also counting Dawn Bothwell, Rhodri Davies, and Sally Pilkington (Bulbils) in their number, Hen Ogledd tap back into a strong vein of classic and experimental indie songwriting, fusing ideas from late ‘70s and early ‘80s post-punk and disco-not-disco with more arcane influence from British folk and psychedelia in a sorta familiar but pretty much unprecedented way.
Unmistakeably and pleasingly accented by the sort of Geordie falsetto found on Dawson’s prized solo works, as well as Bothwell and Pilkingotn’s harmonised lilt and snarls, the songs are sometime a bit too much brio for more furrowed heads, but anyone open to a bit of daft pop charm will find something to cling to in ‘Free Humans’.
The results are generally less rabbly than our fave of theirs ‘Bronze’, and more prone to colour and lushness from the uplifting processing of ‘farewell’ to the Wire-like indie-disco drive of ‘Earworm’, and and the acid house disco plushness of ‘Time Party’ or the cantering pomp of ‘Crimson Star’, where Dawson’s vocals genuinely got us chuckling. However it doers get freakier and twisted with ’Skinny Dippers’, a curiously gothic-meets-Italo ode to the thrill of wild swimming, and the impishly possessed hot-step of ‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’ for rugged good balance to the effortless elided contradictions of their music.
Demo recordings documenting the rehearsal for the noise band jumping tiger consisting of richard ramirez (vocals and feedback) and dominick fernow (electronics and metals) mixing sado-masochism with swordplay warrior fetishism.
"adults will be confronted with the unusual feeling of deja vu as variation after variation is rehearsed without conclusion. “passing through the mossy columns in the halls of erotic architecture, burdened with punishment stones on the s&m edifice, bdsm subordinates are forced to form the position of the jumping tiger.”
Unmissable introduction to Portmore, Jamaica’s G Sudden, riding hard and sweet on warped dancehall and soca rhythms supplied by Seekersinternational, sent in cooperation between the reliably rooted-but-fwd Duppy Gun Productions and London’s Bokeh Versions
The latest in DGP’s series of recordings pairing vocalists from the island with under-cover and far flung producers is a sterling example of their hybrid experiments and strongly tipped to fans of the crackshot Sikka Rhymes set or ‘I Jahbar & Friends’ soundclash from 2019, and anything blessed by Seekersinternational for that matter.
With vocals recorded at DPG’s studio in Spanish town, G Sudden is ideally placed in production settings by Manila/Canada’s Seekersinternational, who temper their more cut-up tendencies to roll out a mix of vibrant, deep fwd rhythms unafraid to switch up the dance, running a deftly heavy sound between the Equiknoxx-meets-Prince styles of ’Skin Get Bun’, a jukin’ soca killer in ‘Gran a Day’, and what sounds like a psychedelic Digital Mystikz on ‘Tings Hard Dub’.
Night-goggled weightless grime and sci-fi synth atmospheres from Urte, the German emissary of London’s Coyote Records (E.M.M.A., Last Japan)
Freiburg, Germany’s Urte makes a fine debut with ‘Permafrost’, five tracks that spell out her definition of deep, rolling club music and brooding moods with nods to Bladerunner in the the Burial-esque ‘Tannhäuser Gate’ accompanied by her chilly, E.M.M.A.-esque cosmic stepper ‘Permafrost’, and a sleek sort of neuro-D&B-trance fusion on ’Shielding’, while Tusk treats ‘Permafrost’ to an icy drill type remix.
Rugged, spaced-out London bass pressure from Otik, carving back to Keysound with a double dose of deeper hardcore ‘nuum pressure
‘Amor’ sounds like early hours in the club, all booming offset bass and radiant pads tentatively coaxing dancers into rolling motion on the ‘floor, with a slamming 4/4 red herring that gets juices going for rest of the night. On the other hand ‘Seasonal FX’ is given to lusher jungle hardcore styles with Burial-esque vocal chops and harmonised pads lighting up and cushioning the harder breaks to sound out somewghere between early Doc Scott and FSOL.
"New crumbling lo-fi fast noise project from tara connelly and mike. this noise has been ‘totaled’ on the auto surreal road to summer demise and forgotten orgasms. traditional but hard to describe. so just stockpile, then indulge!"
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s darkly beguiling 3rd album, seeing Steven Stapleton go solo in a slowly spirit-gnawing side of collapsed concrète jazz cut-ups that recall pre-echoes of Mica Levi and Demdike Stare at their most zonked
‘Merzbild Schwet’ documents Stapleton left to his own devices in the studio later in 1980 after bandmates Heman Pathak and John Fothergill left due to dissatisfaction with their collaborative efforts on ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’. The results, in their own way, are perhaps more detectably coherent, in the sense that this is the sound of one man’s mentalism, and not the combination of three who can’t decade who’s weirdest. As such, it’s a real warper, with one side seemingly nodding to a classic Neu! B-sides from behind lysergic eyes, and the other striking deep into a vein of theatric avant-garde.
Recycled from hacked and spliced jazz samples, the A-side’s ‘Dada x’ slops over the front with knackered drums and smeared brass tones that recall the B-side to ‘Neu! 2’ (itself crafted last minute in the studio, using slowed down samples of the same record’s A-side) as much as Micachu & The Shapes’ & London Sinfonietta’s ‘Chopped & Screwed’ session, with additional stirrings from a French pop record adding to the oddness in a way that also recalls Ghédalia Tazartès and that amazing Joseph Hammer side for PAN.
‘Futurismo’ is a very different beast though, stretching out 24mins of pineal, searching-in-the-dark atmospheres that feel like they strayed from an avant garde theatre work or modern classical conservatory, with pealing woodwind and arcing spectral keys paving the way for mind-bending corridors of patchworked sci-fi vocals, shatterproof industrial clangour, and Stapleton's patented plasmic electro-acoustic audness.
Issue 8 of Lasse Marhaug’s Personal Best, featuring interviews with Rachel Shearer, Peter Rehberg, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Benjamin Nelson, Peter Brötzmann, Jana Winderen, Otomo Yoshihide and Ghédalia Tazartès.
Three years on from the last issue, Marhaug and editor Vivian Wang are on top form here, Marhaug himself conducting long-form interviews with each contributor, a Q&A format that lends itself very well to the exploration of motivation, working environments, art, creation, commerce and life itself. Edited and produced in the peak of lockdown, but featuring interviews spanning the last few years, there’s a comfort reading about people’s internal processes and seeing their inner sanctums at a time we're all so removed from one another.
The interview with Ghédalia Tazartès, in particular, is a total joy - featuring photographs of his incredible home/workspace (“like being inside an artwork”) and leading from a discussion about his creative rituals, to his disdain for the GRM ("François Bayle can fuck off”) and what it's like making a living from music for 40 years when you don't consider yourself a musician.
If you’ve not read it before, ‘Personal Best’ will be a revelation, a sort of highly personalised and in depth cross between Frieze and Apartamento, but burning with a fanzine spirit specific to this tiny end of the art world we’re in. In an era of almost complete cultural annihilation, Marhuag’s more or less solo endeavours in print are not only to be commended, but also supported - if yr gonna buy one thing this week, make it this.
Coil’s gaping vaults give up their esoteric erotic massage parlour soundtrack supplemented by tracks from 1993’s ‘Themes For Derek Jarman’s Blue’. This is Coil at their most beautiful - in places best compared to Art Of Noise's 'Moments in Love'...
After recently cropping up on one of the Threshold Archive CDs, Coil’s seven tracks of creamy new age parlour music make a kinda incredible release on their own, with the culminating cuts for Derek Jarman making for a very happy ending in certain Coil fan’s fantasies. For the most, this is Coil doing sensual New Age music in a very early ‘90s style, all choral harmonies and blushing digital pads primed for your comedown or floatation tank session, but edged with that unfathomable sense of eeriness that’s practically made Coil a byword for all things queered and quasi-mystic.
It gets very weird when the masseuses’ hands turns to tentacle with the plasmic ooze of ‘Part 5’, and in the mix of raga drone and sleazy rhythmic creep in ‘Part 6’, with the set all arranged to lead up to a tantric disco noise climax as only these guys could in the pair of Jarman soundtrack parts recalling their work on the sort sibling soundtrack release, ‘Gay Man’s Guide…’.
Quietly coy and beautiful Belgian blooz from legendary coldwave units Smalts and Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh paired on vinyl for first time by Stroom.
Plucked from the shadows of 2006 and 1994, respectively, both songs share a vibe that may well resonate with modern woes. Whether you understand the Dutch lyrics or not, both songs surely deliver their emotive freight thru the slow, genteel music and lowkey captivating vocal styles that call to mind Bill Callahan strumming away with The Durutti Column.
The ponderous vibe of ‘Periodiciteit’ was recorded by Smalts (the later form of Minny Pops) in 2006, and sets Pieter Mulder’s backdrop of soft keys, synths and angelic string strums (sitar/harp?) to a 1966 text by Louis Lehmann in hauntingly melancholy form ideal for soundtracking scenes to the movie of your own life. ‘En De Stad’ by Alain Neffe’s Human Flesh may have been recorded 14 years earlier in 1994, but patently borrows from the same dark oak cabinet of feelings as Smalts’ side, with Trespassers W’s Cor Gout adapting original French text from 1971 into Dutch in a hazy chamber-like arabesque weft from Neffe’s chiming DX7 & SQ1 sampler textures, and spindly-feely guitar by Insane Music fellow Daniel Malempré.
Massive beams of choral light and and cavernous shoegaze-ambient introspection from sylph-like spirit Julianna Barwick. Her fourth solo LP in four years is riddled with more nuanced electronic dream-pop and peppered with notable input by Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Mary Lattimore and Nosaj Thing.
“A distinctive meditation on sound, reverb and the voice, “Healing Is A Miracle” is a record built on improvisation and a close affinity to a couple of trusted items of gear, from which she spins engrossing, expansive universes. Additionally, Barwick draws on the input of three collaborators with whom she has nurtured deep friendships with over the years: Jónsi (Sigur Rós), Nosaj Thing and Mary Lattimore; who each gently nudge out at the edges of her organically-evolved sound.
Recorded in the wake of a seismic shift in her life following a move from New York—where she had lived for 16 years—to Los Angeles where she is now based, the title of the record came to her after thinking about how the human body heals itself, of the miraculous processes we pay little attention to: “You cut your hand, it looks pretty bad, and two weeks later it looks like it never happened… That’s kind of amazing, you know?” It’s a sentiment that feels particularly apt for the moment. From there, she conceived of the record’s simple statement title, ran it past a couple of friends, and it was settled. Like with the record itself, and all of her work, it’s about following her gut, and seeing where it takes her.
“Healing Is A Miracle” began life in spring of last year, when Barwick sat down with her vocal looping set-up and began sketching out some ideas for new solo material. “It had been so long since I had done that,” she recalls, “making something for myself, just for the love of it… it was emotional, because I was recording music that was just from the heart, that wasn't for an 'assignment' or project… it brought me to tears a little”.
Part of the joy also came from a small but significant switch up to her recording process: the addition of some studio monitors—a birthday gift from Jónsi and Alex (Somers)—having previously recorded all of her music on headphones. “The first song I remember making with those was the first song on the album, Inspirit.” she explains, “When I added the bass I really felt it in my body, you know, in a way you just wouldn’t with headphones… it was kind of euphoric and fun. I got really excited about making the record in that moment, and I think that really had an impact on the sounds I ended up making.”
In eleven years of deep digging, Dark Entries has uncovered many curiosities, lone exemplars of the scarsest breeds. They are lurking in Croatia, on the streets of New York, maybe in the back of your own dusty closet - these odd-ball Italo and synth-wave monsters are too rare to live, too divine to die. Once-lost creatures now have a home with Dark Entries’ new Endangered Species series. The inaugural edition features five specimens previously deemed extinct, only mentioned passingly in lore and speculation, but now safely preserved on vinyl.
"The first cut on Endangered Species Vol. 1 is the previously unreleased electro-New Wave gem “Munich” by John King, an artist best known for his work as one half of the Dust Brothers, lauded producers of the Beastie Boys’ legendary Paul’s Boutique. “Munich”, a Danceteria-ready cut produced in 1983, sheds some light on King’s earlier interests, bridging between freestyle and emotive synthpop. Next up is a rare demo version of The Actor’s “Picture 210”. The Dutch duo here channel both the minimalism of Kraftwerk and the Surrealism of Throbbing Gristle to create one of the finest teary-eyed Goth club anthems. Brazil is a synthpop band from Croatia, and they feature with their 1990 cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”, which is sure to turn some heads on the dancefloor. The eerily faithful production belies Brazil’s re-working of the song’s lyrics. “L'Étranger (Ana Gharib)” by Jamal Khe follows, a pearl originally only available on an impossibly rare French 7” from 1983. Khe is from the Ain Beida region of Algeria, and his Arabic vocal melodies perfectly complement the propulsive percussion and airy arpeggios from producer Jacky Bourgogne. Closing the record is the previously unreleased “Abemus Mind” from Marzio Benellil’s project Nightless. Recorded in 1983, this moody, low-tempo Italo groover features Gregorian chant-inspired vocoders and jazzy piano courtesy of Benelli’s collaborator Marco Falagiani.
All songs were mastered for vinyl by George Horn. The sleeve is the first in a series of endangered animal designs by Eloise Leigh, featuring the glam tiger in its natural, 1980’s habitat. Also included is an insert with lyrics, photos, and notes. Please assist us in our efforts to preserve this planet’s weirdest beasts."