Fizzing with nostalgic goodness, Ssiege’s follow-up to the cherished ‘Fading Summer’ album is kissed with a similar sort of brittly blissed serenity and melancholic appeal
Marking his debut with Knekelhuis, the five tracks on ‘Meteora’ join the dots between romantic ‘80s synth soundtracks, the kind of emotive post-industrial explored by Caroline K, and the eternally effective wooze of BoC or Bochum Welt, but articulated with a personalised melodic voice that really speaks to us, and maybe you, on this one.
Equally sharply poised between its precision tooled machine drum patterns and lissom arps, Siege injects a beautifully warm spirit to the album with a grasp of extended melody that wraps the record up in ribbons. On ‘Il Re Delle Mandorie’ he slips us into daydreamy reveries with searching arp leads and lilting guitar that sounds like Vini Reilly reworking BoC’s take on ‘Poppy Seed’ by Slag Boom Van Loom, and ‘Nebbia Spugnia’ shares a gorgeous sort of shoegaze-meets-sad rap air with the recent Sharp Veins album. ‘Il Peso’ follows to the EP’s slowest, brooding point recalling a desiccated adjunct to Pye Corner Audio, while the title tune shores up in witch house interzones like some Salem cut that could have feasibly appeared in 0PN’s soundtrack for ‘Uncut Gems’, or even one of the most aching moments on Made’s ‘Untitled’ album (which was crafted with vintage Æ synths.)
Timelessy effective, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Ultra-minimalist explorations of space, tone and the act of listening itself, from ever-perceptive Angeleño, Richard Chartier (Pinkcourtesyphone), who typically lurks at the threshold of the listening experience.
Appearing one year on from his digital album with longtime accomplice William Basinski, Chartier is left to his own devices here with signature, beguiling results that fascinate the ears as only tends to. The title ‘Interreferences’ succinctly defines his interest in music at its broadest and most specific, with what is perhaps the most enchanting definition of his intentions to “explore the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception, and the act of listening itself.” We’re sure that my of you are well aware and appreciative of Chartier’s role as a key modern minimalist, but if you’re new to his work, and/or perhaps growing tired of “ambient” music’s limits, you would do very well to check in here for a portal to other vital planes of atmospheric music.
The six part, hour long work arrives in the wake of the artist’s 50th birthday, and finds him pondering fundamental, even existentialist, questions about his work. “Why these sounds? What is the attraction to these sounds? How did I arrive at these compositions and their placements?” While we haven;t got the answers, we can comment that the purpose and meaning of Chartier’s music, to us at least, still beckons the mind to rarified headspaces, suggesting a slowing or calming of time and expansion of personal space that encourages thoughts to occur in a way so much other music doesn’t. It’s a music of presence and inference that will sound different to each user, and from day to day, and feels like a sort of sacred invisible mountain that one doesn’t climb but rather circles from the base.
This lot have released 5 x 12”s anonymously over the last 3 years via Hardwax and there’s no info about them anywhere, pretty sneaky.
They now land on Mana, a label so esoteric it has a flowchart on its website showing you how to get from Luc Ferrari to Nico Jaar in one short leap.
There are 4 long tracks, one per side, each clocking in at 15 mins and each taking time to expand into being. There is persistent water drumming, the a side is all exotic melodica, nature sounds and bells with Flanger-esque bass humps plus some water drumming, side 2 has a very burial mix sounding bassline sat low in the mix to give the water drumming more presence, side C is more reflective and serene tropical vibes, with side D giving it some classic dub pressure and location recordings which we think we once heard Bill Kouligas play on the radio a few years back and which is dope as fuck.
So yeah, it sounds a bit like a k-hole version of Burnt Friedman & Atom Heart’s early Flanger gear crossed with Burial Mix and that incredible water drumming vid dust to digital posted a while back on there tweeter.
Rattling, slinky house variations from Nervous Horizon co-founder Anunaku, with bizarrely effective choral vocals.
Anunaku returns to AD 93 with another plate of left-leaning house, this time adding whispered vocals and church music to the mix, you know, just because why not? It works too, with the wavering monastic tones adding a fresh texture to the driving 4/4 on opener 'Spirale'.
Elsewhere, Anunaku throws down the euphoric techno gauntlet on 'Ninfea', sounding like Berghain at 3am, and goes for a '90s downtempo/side room shuffle on 'Luminosa'. Good stuff.
Tranquil and crystalline beatless cello and synth transfusions for difficult times. Heady and personal but never self-serious; for fans of Richard Skelton, Arve Henriksen, Laurel Halo.
'Blutt' strikes a delicate balance, manipulating heady ideas and alchemical compositional formulas to fabricate distinctly personal, light-hearted and vulnerable tone clouds. Cellist and composer Patrick Belaga is no newcomer, having spent the last few years touring incessantly and collaborating with and impressive list of innovators, from Lafawndah (he played on her brilliant "Ancestor Boy" LP) and Asma Maroof to Wu Tsang and Ioanna Gika. "Blutt" follows his 2017 debut "Groundswell", and was conceptualized on an Italian adventure as he wandered around small towns hearing muffled jazz and classical music in the distance. The result is a disarming commingling of classical instrumentation and electronic manipulation, where the core elements - cello, vocals, synth, pan pipes, field recordings - dissolve into one another lysurgically, mirroring the confusing, alluring architecture of a dream.
Belaga has plenty of experience scoring for movies and television, but to pass "Blutt" off as simply cinematic would do it a disservice. The album isn't so much evocative of a particular narrative as it is a set of emotions or neurological triggers. As he allows cello scrapes to dematerialize into a blurred haze or vocals to disintegrate, Grouper-style, into dense reverb trails, it's moods that spring to mind rather than visuals. That feeling of walking around a new place, awed by its history and fascinated by the capacity for stories; the sense that people are dreaming, loving, scheming, living around you at an incomprehensible level. Belaga reflects this by never overcomplicating his productions, deceptively simple recipes of few ingredients expertly cooked to perfection. Fleeting cello melodies, faded pads, dissociated drones - each track is sparse but refuses to leave you wanting. Our brain fills in the gaps, allowing each of us to build our own unique relationship with the music.
An advanced masterclass in Berlin beat science, ‘Wireless’ is the final and arguably strongest solo release by T++; aka Torsten Pröfrock, an artist with a long lineage of important releases under numrous aliases - Dynamo, Erosion,Log, Resilent, Traktor, Various Artists and more - a true pillar of Berlin's Techno legacy.
First issued by Honest Jon’s in 2010, the 2x12” features samples of singer and ndingidi-player Ssekinomu (originally found on the EMI archival dive ‘Bellyachers, Listen - Songs From East Africa, 1938-46’) reworked by Pröfrock into a volley of rambunctious but rudely disciplined club workouts some 75 years later. In many other hands, this could have been just another passable cut ’n splice edit, but T++ treats the material with a balance of reverence and raving license, highlighting an instinctive understanding of the original music's intent and purpose, and their deep rooted connection to modern fast rap and hardcore dance musics.
The four tracks amount to a contemporary classic in their field and also exist in a strong tradition of German artists ranging from Stockhausen to Can and Basic Channel whose music has crucially incorporated the fluid, rolling nature and spectra of African drumming patterns. However, it’s vital to point out that T++’s take on African drumming is also filtered thru a love of UK music - Jungle, D&B, garage, dubstep - meaning that his rhythms are properly underlined with syncopated, technoid basslines owing as much to Kingston, Jamaica as Brixton and Sheffield in the UK.
For anyone who had been intently listening to Pröfrock's output since his Traktor gems, thru his Dynamo aces, to early work with Monolake and his string of seminal T++ 12”s in the 2000’s, on its release in 2010 ‘Wireless’ quickly came to epitomise his approach to broken techno production at its most open-ended and inexorable. Between the itchy, sprung step of ‘Cropped’, the puckish darkside torque of ‘Anyi’, a voodoo communal in ‘Voice No Bodies’, and the reanimated spirits of ‘Dig’ you have some of the finest mutant techno ever cut to vinyl.
An absolute must-have for dancers and DJs.
‘Send Me’ is the first new Tirzah material since 2018, following up one of the greatest albums of the past decade, 'Devotion'. With production from Mica and Coby, it's as wildly inventive, stripped and hard hitting as you'd imagine - equal parts hooks and weirdness, with a final 10 secs lifted sraight ouutta Mica's recent 'Ruff Dog' killer.
Aussie sound artist Jasmine Guffond impresses yet again with a woozy synthesized treat recorded live last fall.
'KM28 / 3rd September 2020' is the latest offering from Guffond, who sparkled last year with the Editions Mego-released "Microphone Permission" and Erik K. Skodvin collaboration "The Burrow". This 12 minute piece is similarly uncompromising and atmospheric, staggering from anxious synthetic drone into cinematic processed piano. Shadowy and inviting, it sounds like a Lynchian cocktail of Deaf Center and Florian Hecker. Can't argue with that!
Yao Bobby & Simon Grab return to LAVALAVA Records with a loud & cantankerous 7".
"Black Revolution is a track that could be passed as a reaction to recent events, with Black Lives Matter protests across the world and all the positive movement that comes with it, and of course sad realisations of still existing division and prejudice that come to prominence yet again, and need correction.
There’s a new much needed momentum for ‘Black Revolution’, i.e. equality and justice for all – a kind of rejuvenation of tackling overdue problems and wrongs of history that have been swept under the carpet for too long. With this in mind, Yao Bobby ignites the flames with his word sound, venting frustration and calling for further action, making himself heard as one of many black voices, creatively, with all the beauty and power of music, for everyone to sing along to, and – once again – when dancefloors open for us all again, for everyone to mosh out and get wild to.
Sparring partner Simon Grab delivers the backbone for Yao’s wildstyle, with the pairs most hard hitting beat to date, a heavyweight K.O. of drum, bass and rhythmic pulse, fizzing through Simon’s no-input feedback mixer like the embers that feed the flames from below.
Flipside, Senegal’s one and only Ibaaku steps forward for a remix, twisting the rhythm around it’s own axis, guided by a kind of kalimba-esque melody that recalls, to us at least, a certain ‘sound of Africa’ and places the track firmly on the map along with the huge amounts of great experimental dance music to come from the continent in recent years."
Finnish future jazz eccentric Jimi Tenor collects a bevy of unreleased tracks from his fertile Warp era on this fun, free and funky set.
Between 1993 and 2000, Jimi Tenor was composing and recording music at an alarming rate. His bundle of Warp albums was honored on last year's "NY, Hel, Barca" set, and "Deep Sound Learning" goes deeper, exploring the Finnish multi-instrumentalist's extensive vault of unfinished demos and unreleased material.
Anyone who hear Tenor's classic run with albums like "Organism" and "Out of Nowhere" should know what to expect. Brittle tropicalia, leftfield jazz, sweaty library music funque, eerie Italian giallo vibes and slippery acid house. Tenor inhabits his own universe completely, not lifting music styles but folding them into his peculiar, effervescent and unashamedly passionate celebration of sound.
First time Vinyl re-issue of Future Sound of London’s 'Dead Cities', marking 25 years since its original release in 1996.
“Herd Killing” and “We Have Explosive (Herd Killing mix)” both feature several samples from the Run DMC album Tougher Than Leather. Title track “Dead Cities” contains a vocal sample at the beginning of Laurence Fishburne from the film Deep Cover. Single “My Kingdom” features A vocal sample of “Rachael’s Song” (aka “Rachel’s Song”) by Vangelis, from the Blade Runner soundtrack."
Debut full-length from Bala Club co-founder Endgame, who twists abstrakt club shapes into gaseous forms - like Burial, Felix Lee and Chino Amobi masterminding a soundtrack to a new Spawn movie.
'Surrender' has been a long time coming. Endgame has made a name for himself over the last few years both as a DJ and as a producer, hosting the legendary NTS show (and more recently, label) Precious Metals and releasing a slew of influential records on PTP, Infinite Machine and Hyperdub. Now his particular vision, a blend of dust-stomping club rhythms, heavy metal attitude, pop sleaze and sci-fi dystopia, has materialized in long-form and it's a trip.
'Fathless' opens things with a blast of atmospheric rainfall, hydraulic kicks and laser snares, bringing us into a Todd McFarlane-esque crumbled cityscape that's one part Blade Runner and one part Hellraiser. It's not all doom(core) and gloom though - Endgame's regular collaborator Yayoyanoh pops up on 'Barbed Heart' to raise the temperature and cut through the mood with sickly, tongue-twisting vocals that drip between knife-sharp percussion.
Somehow, the album managed to cram in all of Endgame's stylistic leanings - from hardcore punk to slippery ambience - without sounding busy or chaotic. It's a dark album, that layers contemporary anxiety and unease into syfy club forms, but it's not suffocating or indulgent. Using his own vocals to play against angular shards of noise and rumbling bass, Endgame creates music that's rich with contrast - as vivid and emotional as it is bleak and overcast.
Equiknoxx hustle their 2020 run in a handy 16-track action pack for the jugglers and dancers, packing their recently reissued nod to ‘Elephant Man’ with stacks of bangers by the group’s producers Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus vocalists Shanique Marie, RTKal, and Kemikal
Still the baddest unit from JA, Equiknoxx patently had a fecund year in the studio while everyone else was a bit miserable and weirded out during 2020. Trust they unleash a singular brand of fire here, catapulting the dancehall between slow, humid sluggers, high-velocity soca styles, and inimitable mutations of JA-meets-UK styled pressure in every corner.
Opening with the newly reissued ‘Elephant Man’, they also give it up for the Hessle Audio CEO in the cranky, uptempo rudeness of ‘Ben UFO’ by Time Cow and SOSA, while Shanique Marie switches up styles between the rugged rub n tug of ‘Ring The Alarm’ and the jiggy weekend parry of ‘Freak’, and more spaced out vibes on ‘Did Not make This For Jah-9.’
There’s a proper Soca madness to be stopped in ‘Run’ featuring Exile Da Brave, who also serves up a total madness in the recursive ballistics of ‘Rolling Calf’ produced by Time Cow, the shattered digi-dubbing of ‘Blackheart Man’, and a breezy, psyched flow of ‘Can’t Be Found’, and Gavsborg exerts his inimitable sidespin on the asymmetric wonk of ‘Unexplainable Dog hair In My Hair Oil.’
'Mas Amable', our record of the year 2020.
Call it deep reggaeton, avant-dembow, whatever; Mas Amable was easily our most rinsed record of the year, a sidewinding trip through slippery, mutable 90/180bpm metrics for lovers of rhythm and sound of all shapes and colours.
Following the reticulated deep house-paced hybrids of his acclaimed 2017 debut, 'Mas Amable' displays a serpentine guile that surely lives up to Brian Piñeyro’s moniker. Through 50 minutes, he dangles the dance by a fine conceptual thread that ties a constant rhythmic skeleton to subtly shifting tonal and textural variables. We start from shoreside ambience and lush field recordings, into hip-gripping dembow permutations and tripped-out vocals, elegantly and rudely shifting the pressure gauge from a gentle propulsive sway to darker steppers and wavey, whistling melodies, before neuro D&B stabs light up the dance and it all fades out on a deep blue reggaeton tip.
Like a mutable organism imperceptibly transforming before our eyes, ‘Mas Amable’ is both effortless and unfathomable, a heady trip through liquid, morphing tressilo drums and junglist markers that, at their peak, provide ample space for LA Warman’s vocal narration, imbuing proceedings with an eerie prescience and an existentially weary message. It all makes for a unique and richly immersive experience that we said back in April would rank among the definitive records of 2020. And at the end of this brutal, relentless year... here we are.
Gigi Masin’s 'Plays Hazkara’ album alongside a book that collects introspective stories and intimate lyrics by Mirco Salvadori, choosen among released and unreleased material that he produced in last years.
"Salvadori is well-known for his work as music journalist, as well as active producer for new sonic experiences as co-owner and art director of the indipendent netlabel Laverna. The writings are accompanied by the presentation of his friens Fabrizio Loschi, artist from Modena, coupled with the intense pictures by Stefano Gentile and Monica Testa, and the music themes written and performed by Gigi Masin who, in the enclosed "Harzarà" CD, offers 8 new tracks in the unmistakable style of the Venetian ambient master musician, already coupled together with Mirco Salvadori in InfanToo art project... a sound path that starts from ambient atmospheres to gather rythms and sonorities perfectly lined and interpreted by them, as the images, the intese writing of written. Total music beyond each stylistic cataloguing... pure poetry."
After the exceptional first volume of ‘Rakka’, Vladislav Delay is taken by the wanderlust again for a ravishing 2nd album of elemental electronics inspired by the Finnish wilderness. RIYL Shackleton, Rian Treanor...
Where 2020’s ‘Rakka’ represented some of Sasu Ripatti aka Vladislav Delay’s most intensely noisy textures and rhythmic complexity, as inspired by walks in his native Finnish wilderness, his follow-up further draws on and refines that experience in a beautifully brutalist bouquet of brambling distortion and tempestuous pulses that speak to the chaotic power of nature’s ecological interdependence. In the process ‘Rakka II’ fulminates Delay’s reactive sound even closer to the styles of Shapednoise, but still distinguished by his signature, freehanded style of percussive tumult that reaches beyond techno and club music into an ecstatic, holistic hybrid of power ambient, black metal, avant-dub, free jazz, and extreme dance musicks.
While still breathlessly busy and densely overgrown, ‘Rakka II’ is intended as the romantic answer to the more hostile first volume. Its seven parts balance a sense of febrile passion with hyper-disciplined logic in more explicitly emotive, optimistic gestures that emerge from its atonal murk and convulsive structures. Boundaries of discord and harmony are smudged almost into the red, but rendered with the spatial definition that become a hallmark of Delay’s best work for over 20 years, but never heard quite so wild and lushly semi-conscious as on cuts such as the soaring and collapsing ‘Raato’, or the craggy might of ‘Raaha’, and the heart-in-mouth headiness of ‘Rapaa.’
Long-form workouts from the impossible to pin down Eiko Ishibashi. Sounds like the sort of thing that woulda appeared on the sorely-missed Vertical Form label.
Part soundscape, part joyful sonic exploration and part glitchy post-Autechre DSP blitz, "ORBIT" is one of Eiko Ishibashi's most unexpected releases. Her last release "Hyakki Yagyō" was a confounding and brilliant exploration of Japanese ghost stories, "ORBIT" meanwhile is a little less conceptual and a lot more bonkers.
Opening track 'LASER AND FLYING URN 1,2,3' reminds of the fractured, rolling electro-adjacent crack of Bitstream or EOG, with crumbling rhythms matched to Ishibashi's expertly-sculpted creeping drones. At almost 20-minutes in length, the track grows patiently like a cybernetic sapling, erupting from pinprick percussion and growing into a rattling, club-influenced beatscape.
'We Are Built' is shorter and more pointed, a collage of synth arpeggios and semi-audible field recordings that sounds like a Game Boy coughing out hauntological trance. Ishibashi saves the best for last though, referencing the album's opener with printer-on-the-fritz percussion that hovers in-and-out of subhuman drones and belches, space-age soundscapes and sacred, resonant tones. Somehow, it feels almost like jazz?
Effortlessly funked up, classic 1998 Detroit tekkers from the master, making us absolutely gag to get jacking under strobes and smoke
‘Black Man’s Word’ is pure 313 gospel, ticking up to a classic ‘90s pace and layered with signature strings and nagging organ code that can’t help but make us fling a limb. ’Sleep Is The Cousin Of Death’ centres the pressure with shark-eyed drive, offset with gasps of female vocal for proper, eyes-shut, heads-down body pumping, and ‘Hard To Kill’ holds that line with stereo-phasing chords wrapped around a clinically trim groove primed to be flicked in the 3-deck mix.
A real score for the sample library nuts and soundtrack lovers; Roger Webb’s previously unreleased music for a 1970 film adaptation of Herman Melville’s ‘Bartelby’ surfaces via Trunk
Ripe for ripping up in the MPC by hip hop types, Webb’s early work features proper neck-snap breaks set to pastoral string orchestration and funky jazz B-lines in the most classic way, setting out a style that he would later use on arrangements for likes of Bette Davis, Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey, Rex Harrison and more beside. Fans of everything from Madlib and Dilla to David Axelrod and International Anthem Recording Company will be in their element here.
A high water mark of ‘90s UK culture returns on its 25th anniversary, reminding older heads of the best times, and a history lesson for the critical mass of junglists developed during lockdown
Produced in 1995 by the gold-grilled hardcore/jungle/D&B pioneer, engineered by Rob Playford, Dillinja, and 4Hero’s Dego and Mark Mac, with vocals by the legendary Diane Charlemagne (R.I.P.), ’Timeless’ was and still is an ambitious and enduring example of British Afrofuturism. The album’s sense of discipline and crucial style was symptomatic of the scenius developed by a tight circle of mostly Black and mixed race British artists who drew on their African and Afro-Caribbean roots to develop a unique artform that expressed their identity, which would in course become adopted by a wider generation as their own.
A pinnacle of its artform, arguably never bettered, the album was practically ubiquitous during the mid-‘90s, with its introductory anthem ‘Inner City Life’ - part of the album’s opening three-part suite - a staple on MTV2 and mainstream radio, which helped transcend its urban roots and infect a whole generation beyond big cities and their clubs. It’s almost hard to imagine such a futuristic album quite like this appearing and exerting so much effect on the popular consciousness in 2021, but the ‘90s was a very different place and time, and we can only live in hope that the next decade will foster the next Goldie.
Oh, one last thing - AGCG's 'Black Secret Technology' came out almost exactly 5 months before 'Timeless', it didn't quite have the same promo budget behind it, but it's legacy seeps even further and deeper than 'Timeless' - and is perhaps, on the quiet, the most influential electronic album of the late 20th century. Just sayin.
Handbells are digitally re-formed through three custom synthesis methods on this time-dilating slab of experimental electro-acoustic sound from Horse Lords' Max Eilbacher.
Clocking in at 35 minutes, Eilbacher's "Telescope Casual" is a commitment, but a worthy one. The Baltimore-based artist uses an "abstract counting technique" to arrange the piece, which morphs from chiming figurative sound into complete abstraction and then back again. At times the source material is clear and audible, at others the bells are reduced to digital dust and fired into outer space. Fans of Mego's early, influential catalogue, classic electro-acoustic music or musique concréte will no doubt respect the flex.
Tin Man sheds the acid, and the moniker, to reveal a wide-eyed suite of deep kosmiche ambient works produced under his real world surname; Auvinen
Johannes Auvinen is regarded among the best to ever wield a 303, but here commits his love for classic European synth music in a convincing style that holds up to comparison with inspirations ranging from Ash Ra Temple’s Jenseits to the iciest contours of the Sähkö label.
Rather than his usual all-night-long vibes, ‘Akkosaari’ is patently intended for the hours after the party has finished, and thus smartly finds its place in the seemingly endless post-party era of the early 2020’s. To give some measure of the meter he’s working with, it takes until halfway thru the album on ‘Kyläläiset Tanssii’ before any rhythmic structure appears, and even then it’s stark as fuck, in a Vainio-esque school of thought.
It’s arguably all best received in downtime states, when the contemplative effect of ‘Mummon Tarina’ will absorb listeners into a deep blue state of mind that’s beautifully sustained throughout the album’s haunted choral pads and chamber-like sense of slow, elegant purpose up to the ice-cavern ambience of ‘Akkosari’ at its furthest perimeter.
Driving 2nd album of punkish EBM Industrial styles from Barcelona duo Dame Area, hard on the drums and synths, and with class vocals positing them like Liaisons Dangereuses meet N.M.O.
Smartly updating vintage styles with a modern reserve and swagger, they hinge around big bad snares in ‘Scopri Le Tue Passioni’ drawing canny lines between OG EBM and electro D&B, while lashing sick, sinking synthlines to tumping toms in ‘Linea Retta’, and slinkiest drum work recalling N.M.O. on ‘Corazon de Fuego, Corazon de Hielo’, and on a sort of gabber punkish tip with ‘La Danza Del Ferro.’ At their darkest ‘La Doble Luna’ lands shades away from their Spanish brethren Jasss, and rub up close to the slow pressure of Toresch, but with their own snotty snarl in ‘Triangolo Segreto.’
Brilliantly skewed deep house, wobbly acidic weirdness and free-floating rhythum tracks made on a bespoke sequencer by Tallinn, Estonia’s finest
Flitting away from their usual home at Estonian dance stronghold Porridge Bullet / Pudru Kuul, the duo cooked up these three during 2020, making fine use of a sequencer that looks a bit like a cash register and was custom built by local underground don Andrevski. It’s in best effect on the lead tune ‘Signal’ which sounds a bit like 808 State meets the Analord with its piquant, twirling top line and blushing pads really dancing not he nerve ends and sure to tweak out any club crowd. The others however are more low-key, trading in a gorgeous slice of trickling triplets and hazed strings in ‘Swim’, and jettisoning the kick drum for the loosey goosey glyde of ‘Lock.’
Skuzzy death rockers Cardinal & Nun return to L.I.E.S. with a full LP course of fossil-fuelled basslines, synths and morbid guitars following their entrée 12” in 2019.
Seemingly exhumed from the Parisian crypts some time in the wake of Joy Division, and spliced something Frankensteinian with essence of Suicide and Bauhaus, ‘Dancing In The Evil’ wears its gothic influences grimly. It’s a proper album in itself, but DJ’s should be looking out for witching hour goth dance bullets for the flouncers and jackers in the scowling swag of ‘Hear My Voice’ and ‘Danse macabre’, the leathered trewed strut of ‘Lost’, and the more swooning movement of ‘Pandemonium’ underpinned by a Sisters Of Mercy-esque bassline.
Shine-eyed deep acid rubs and iridescent Detroit vibes from the Amsterdam don, Jordan GCZ
It gets off to a melancholic start with the title tune melding a kind of new wave spirit with Chicago and Detroit-orbiting vibes - think Thomas Dolby meets Larry Heard at Convextion’s gaff - and gets incrementally optimistic thru the Rolando-esque Detroit percussion and vibrant leads of ‘Jaguar Dreaming’, before really pushing the pace and eccie levels in ‘Spring Has Sprung’ and the head high swanger ‘Wild Bounce’ on the backside. Pushes a lot of our buttons this.
A standout in Chris Abrahams’ (The Necks) catalogue from 2005 returns for a 16th anniversary reissue reminder of its supremely odd organ and DX7 whorls.
Sketched out on his trusty piano, plus a positive organ (small portable organ), and spattered with DX7 scree, ‘Thrown’ is Abrahams 5th solo LP since his landmark debut ‘Piano’ (1985) and sees him veer off at angles from his previous works. It’s far more succinct than its sprawling double disc predecessor ‘Streaming’, and also more explicitly electronic, creating a bewildering tension between physical haptics and digital synthesis that really prizes a strange and surreal sort of sensuality, at times OOBE-like and at others remarkably recalling the pure electronic oddness of another Aussie resident, NYZ (although afaik there’s no tangible links between the two.)
Future-proofed by its unusual combination of tones from archaic and contemporary machines, the tracks variously and brilliantly buckle any timeframe you may chuck at it. ‘Bellicose’ sounds out something like a medieval psychedelia that wouldn’t sound out of place i a scene from ‘A Field In England’, and he really gets us with the reeling keys and subtly keening dissonance of ‘Remembrancer’, while ‘Coins In Vinegar’ could almost be the result of a complex synth system set up and animated by Dave Burrston, and the wickedly zonked drone of ‘Car Park Land’ makes our eyes go funny.
Following last year's brilliant "Trinity" mixtape and LEYA collab "Angel Lust", Alexandra Drewchin returns with her most assertive record to date, a fiery collection of modern dream-folk that blurs the lines between ambient, shoegaze and experimental pop.
Following the dusty road traced by Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Björk and Grouper, Eartheater assuredly carves out a space for herself by fusing effortlessly haunting songs with bleak orchestral elements or the kind of disintegrating electronic detritus u would more readily expect to hear on a Total Freedom mix. It's a pop record that sits on the outskirts of the contemporary wyrd club zone, but avoids any of the trappings of "hyperpop", instead choosing to languish in a sensual melancholy: isolated and maudlin but never sexless.
Drewchin composed, produced and arranged "Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin" mostly while she was on a ten-week artist residency in Zaragoza, Spain. Alone in a small Spanish town, she was able to trap the artistically freeing feeling of solitude after incessant touring and recording, tipping boundless thoughts into a suite of songs that flower and grow with each subsequent listen. Her vocals and guitar sit at the center of the album, fleshed out by contributions from close friends and collaborators Marilu Donovan (harp) and Adam Markiewicz of LEYA (violin) and whisper-soft orchestral elements from Ensemble de Cámara.
Each song manages to fizz between familiarity and passionate, alien uniqueness as Drewchin's voice resonates through words that hum over themes of love, togetherness, absence and existence. These aren't merely empty syllables, but lived experiences tied into a dreamscape of sparse instrumentation and sparser rhythm. Honestly we haven't heard many more records this year that are so accurately aimed at our hyper-specific needs - "Phoenix" is an album that muses on loss but feels unsettlingly hopeful, convinced of humanity's latent goodness even in the midst of disaster. We can't recommend this one any fucking higher.
Quietly majestic, therapeutic synth plumes from Zaheer Gulamhusein’s Xvarr alias, returning to the fray on his Twin Womb label after a few fallow years since his still haunting turns for Good Morning Tapes
‘Posism’ takes its cue from Paschal Beverly Randolph, and turns that inspiration into a swirling suite of spirited synth music comparable to aspects of Coil, Abul Mogard and Kevin Drumm. As anyone who has encountered Xvarr’s music before will surely attest; he’s a low key, if overlooked, visionary of modern synth music whose music taps into rarer states of mind.
His latest is patently blessed with this appeal at its most elusive yet absorbing, and with a sense of strung out melancholy that’s very much attuned to the zeitgeist, perhaps understandably so as it was produced during 2020 “as a means of communication between two individuals grappling with reality.” The other ‘entity’ in this formulation is not disclosed to us - perhaps a physical being, or perhaps a sort of psychopomp or spirit akin to Coil’s ELpH - but either way they lend a depth of presence to the music that appears to speak from beyond, and pushes the work into increasingly perplexed, abstract and uncertain terrain by the journey’s end.
One for the deeper synth nauts.
With typically joyful, inventive alacrity, Angel Bat Dawid takes the reins for one of Longform Editions’ most compelling releases in their two year, 70 odd release run.
Blessed with a sense of spaced out electro-jazz-fusionism shared by that recent ace from Yvette Janine Jackson, but maybe lighter on the soul, Angel’s 18 minute ‘Harkening Etudes’ unfolds as a segmented suite study in “transmuting sound and breath into the ears.” In the process she very smartly explores one of music’s most fundamental elements with a creative adventurousness that’s previously lit up all her work, from 2019’s crucial ‘The Oracle’ slab, to joints with Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, and commissions for Yoko Ono at Art Institute of Chicago.
As the clarinet-wielding Angel knows, breath and breathing is a vital root of her music, and on a more intangible level, to most other forms of music - if your gear doesn’t breathe, as in with space between the beats, the notes, it’s probably just noise or poorly realised, and that’s a whole other matter. Her study is paced and spaced with plentiful air between her clarinet, piano keys, percussion and playfully vocodered vocals intoning her ‘3 Numerical Insufflating Sound Exercises’ metered in 4/4, 5/8, and 6/8.
Participating contributors and artists include Barbie Bertisch, Guarionex Rodriguez Jr, Jeff Mao, Kim Lightfoot, Luke Jenner, Miranda Levingston, Mike Bloom, Nathaniel Jay, Raz Mesinai, Toshi Moriguci (DJ Monchan), Turtle Bugg, Voluminous Arts, Yuki Noji. Designed by Paul Raffaele.
Issue 58 Features:
- Cedar Room Forever: Q&A with DJ Monchan & Yuki Noji by Barbie Bertisch and Paul Raffaele, an introduction by Jeff Mao and photos by Guarionex Jr at A1 Records
- Q&A with Kim Lightfoot by Paul Raffaele
- Q&A with Raz Mesinai by Mike Bloom
- "discotech" by Miranda Levingston for Donna Summer's "I Feel Love"
- A Morris Thang by Turtle Bugg
- Love Notes From A Displaced New Yorker by Nathaniel Jay
- Ask Luke Anything by Luke Jenner
- Bandcamp Charts September 2020
- "Spaces & Places: Updates" by Love Injection Staff
'Dreem Static' is the latest transmission from South London machine-funk android Quaid - a sludge-sleaze night ride into soulful neon electronix and VR beatbox experimentation. Like a malfunctioning AI trained on Drexciya, Prince and DJ Screw.
For his Apron debut, Quaid lands his spacecraft on earth, shrinking it down to microscopic size and traveling into the furthest reaches of the mind. "Every good story has a dream sequence," he explains. The music rattles through a nether-universe of purple haze and sonic surrealism, with overdriven techno-funk rhythms, plucked analog bass and the kind of echoing synth flourishes you'd expect to hear from Detroit royalty.
This is soundtrack-influenced music that avoids the trappings of our era: it doesn't sound like an Italian giallo flick or "Stranger Things". Rather Quaid hits his stride supping ideas from '80s video store oddities, sci-fi Blaxploitation flicks and mind-altering psychedelic excursions. It's a little like a full record of the interludes on Carl Craig's early run of classic records, but constructed with a Funkadelic-fwd beat scene mindset, like Madlib producing an Other People Place record on acid. And if that doesn't interest youwe don't know how we can help.
Blinding excavation of Urdu-language disco from Brummie-Pakistani siblings Nermin Niazi and Feisal Mosleh, recorded in 1984 and illuminating a proper, prototypical strain of club fusion on new, LA-based label, Discostan
Surely thee best disco link to the subcontinent since Charanjit Singh’s ragas for a 303 & 808, Nermin Niazi’s glorious naïf yet accomplished efforts stand as testament to the complex cultural riches of Birmingham and the ambitions of young immigrants who came to positively transform British cities over the course of generations. Yet despite the patently obvious, prism-pushing brilliance of the music, the album didn’t quite take off as they hoped, and the 14 year old singer Nermin, and her 19 year old producer brother Feisel, would quit music in favour of school, university, and “proper” jobs as policewoman and the financial sector in California. Thank chuff, then, for the attention of Arshia Fatima Haq of DJ collective/party series Discostan, who found a copy of ‘Disco Se Aagay’ in NYC’s A1 records, and hi discovery of the duo’s YouTube channel, for this life-affirming reissue reminder, offered as Discostan’s first release.
The duo’s confection of new wave inspiration from Pet Shops Boys to Japan with Hindustani scales would find some parallels in Bollywood and Lollywood soundtracks, and also in the music of one time Grange Hill star Sheila Chandra (Monsoon), and later on in Sophiya Haque’s discoid acid house turns as Akasa, but the sheer abundance of glittering, ohrwurming DX7 hooks and slinky 909 grooves in ‘Disco Se Aagay’ is just setting our tiny minds on fire, especially in the ultra-lush, Italo-esque burner ‘Sari Sari Raat’, and the sultry swivel of ‘Dil Mein Dil Mein’, or the floating bliss of ‘Chala Hai Akela.’ The samples should already have you in a lather, so don’t fight the feeling.
A 100% doozy!
Optimo don JD Twitch shifts his frame of reference to Japanese techno-pop and synth prototypes in an enchanted 2nd instalment of his highly collectible lockdown mixtape series.
Following a sterling session of goth and wave cuts, Twitch rifles his collection for an influential epoch of plugged-in Far Eastern styles, further illuminating a period which has long been an enduring source of inspiration for the Glasgow-based collector and DJ, and has seen a lot of attention via reissues and YouTube algorithms in recent years. Trust your man mostly eschews the more ubiquitous examples of this sound in favour of obscurities and percies, following a silvery thread of inspiration that ties up 90 minutes of cinematic glyde and unusual, puckered grooves.
Anyone quick enough to snag a copy will be supplied with a whole other world to inhabit, beautifully sequenced for beguiling, theatric effect. Expect a lusher A-side focus on the synthy cinematic matters, and a B-side trip into technoid city-pop, laden with dreamlike vocals and wayward disco grooves bound to peck to diggers’ heads. In other words; a real pleasure.
Judith’s work has previously been published by labels including Blank Forms, Black Truffle, Another Timbre, Marginal Frequency and caduc.
Artist notes: Composed by Judith Hamann 2020-21 Additional mix and mastering by Alan F. Jones, Laminal Audio, Tracyton WA
In July 2020, after several years without a home, I ended up moving into a small, one room apartment in Moabit, Berlin, a pandemic fallout accident/lucky break. The apartment is in the hinterhaus (back house) in the Mietskaserne configuration of Berlin apartments, where the street facing vorhaus (front house) is large and originally housed the bourgeoisie, while the smaller apartments behind it were for the working class. Historically, the further back you went, the darker and smaller the dwellings were, and the poorer the inhabitants. The idea behind this approach to urban design, was that despite the marking of social and class difference, building economic diversity into each overall ‘house’ would in some way insulate neighbourhoods against economic mono-cultures, and that despite not aiming to actually change economic disparity, that shared spaces would create a more integrated, harmonious society.
My apartment is at the very back of the back house, and looks onto a small configuration of (inaccessible) divided gardens shared by three buildings, a secret little hinterhof; a backyard if you will. It is leafy, and in summer oh-so-green in that northern European way, populated with sycamore and firs, slick leaved ivy advancing up the wall, european magpies with their brush of luminous cobalt green tail feathers, rare and magical visits from two shy woodpeckers, a pair of nesting pigeons, a charm of goldfinches, a ubiquity of sparrows, collective nouns for days.
I’ve never lived in Europe and I’ve also never really lived like this, in such dense stacking, with so many lives audible at once. I’ve always lived in sprawling lower density cities, Narrm (Melbourne), San Diego, always within easy reach of eucalyptus and visible horizons.
This hinterhof acts as a reverberant sound space, a constellation of reflective angular surfaces that mean that all sound that finds its way in, from its inhabitants and the surrounding streets, bounces around this shared basin. There are resonant frequencies to the hinterhof, a tiny glow of 100khz, an aura of 350-ish blooming around certain sonic events. Each conversation, bird call, fork against plate, gust of wind or sheet of rain, amateur music practice hour, home renovation activity, traffic snarl, party or quarrel, ends up part of my field of listening. Sometimes I feel a little like an eavesdropping version of Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, but listening for contour instead of content, a different kind of trace.
In the autumn, these sounds floated in through wide open windows, but as the weather changed, so did the kinds of sounds and the filters and bandwidths for how I heard/could hear this quasi-hive space I now inhabited. In the Berlin low skied winter, the voices of my neighbours seep in through the ceiling, my heating whistles, fridge clicks and hums, water pipes sing, the old bathroom window that doesn’t ever quite close letting in brittle breezes and rattling leaves, discussions between the birds.
I don’t really want to think about this piece as yet-another-lockdown-piece (which of course in many ways, it is), yet the limits of my space and resources, the horizons of my day to day listening have of course shaped it. The hinterhof is in many ways the only collective sounding I can respond to right now. I’ve been recording the porous space that is my apartment for months now, dangling a mic out the window while I’m reading, recording the drones of the heating, the snatches of neighbours practicing, construction workers next door drilling with the radio on, the snow. I had been thinking about the idea of collapse in relation to sound fields a lot in the work I was making last year, and that has also seeped into this project. I don’t mean that in any representational sense, but more that by collapsing temporal layers, days into days, different kind of spaces and weather and time into each other, whether that can create a new imaginary listening space, an impossible surface that still communicates something, generates some kind of new field of hearing, which in turn, for me, folds into other kinds of mingled, imaginary musics.
Sometimes I feel I may have become quite strange.
So, I started humming along with the heating and the contours of voices leaking from upstairs, playing cello along with the low-mid range resonances of the hinterhof, weaving in recordings of people’s voices who are far away and who I miss so much, fabricating a kind of imagined shared space. The pitched material is drawn out from the frequencies I hear in the hof recordings, via the mediation of listening to/with the apartment. From extending them outwards, through that process I uncover harmony, relational connections, gestures, interplay. In a way, I am mapping and then feeding back into the space the same territories, just through different filters: through voice, electronics, through the mediating bodies of the cello and my own body.
My friends and loves are often my dreams these days, and I appear in theirs. A friend’s dream about my death made its way into this piece, he sent me a video message about it, about crying dreams, about how it feels to touch that space in dreamed worlds. Listening with the hinterhof over several months has made me think about communal listening, shared listening, thinking about how we can connect through hearing the same space, how we might touch on a shared feeling through a shared hearing, in some kind of analogue to how we might touch in dreamed spaces.
I know that we don’t/can’t experience or hear the ‘same’ thing and that listening positionality plays a significant role in this, especially my own: that of a white, settler-colonial listener. The thing I’ve been thinking about as I worked on this piece is that while I don’t know my hinterhof neighbours, us back-of-the-back-house people who ended up sharing this yard, in some way we do form a community via this aural space. We hear each other, we somehow navigate by a communal composite sounding, albeit it, perhaps, mostly unconsciously.
What does it enact to share a quotidian sonic space, to hear the same reflections, frequencies, and contours, even if mediated by windows and floors, ceilings and walls? More specifically to this time perhaps, what does it do or comment on in relation to questions of isolation? Can you consider yourself part of a community that is framed only by a shared listening experience? Is it possible to feel a sense of solidarity or belonging despite our atomised apartment living, via what we hear?
I know that this space for listening has affected the shape and the weight of my own loneliness this winter lockdown, in the way one might bounce its heft on your palm like a stone, feeling its material loading, its density, contours, and textures. I also think about the kinds of poverty and density of living which this house would have once held. The listening space of this hinterhof was designed for a particular class and economic strata of people, so in some ways, we are all listening through an old instrument: a sonic space whose resonance is defined via a residual architecture of inequality, intended for a very different audience (although I doubt that ‘audience’ was ever really considered with sonic intentionality in this design at all).
Perhaps this piece is a kind of working through, a process of uncovering and responding to my own listening position in relation to where I am now.
Deep Listening, to me, speaks to a kind of porous listening space, a practice of allowing other beings, phenomena, into an embodied and responsive kind of hearing. There’s a section in Dylan Robinison’s (brilliant) book Hungry Listening, where there is a discussion between two settler listeners about deep listening as a movement towards an “ideal”, and thus a process, a practice, something in motion that troubles the world/self distinction in a specific way. I think perhaps its framing these days, often, is posed as some kind of interface between a nature/culture binary, but I think it’s more about a process/practice of undoing that opposition. I would also suggest that deep listening is not passive, it is a kind of action but it is also not about control or mastery. A lot of my work and research inhabits these process/performance based spaces specifically, living in-between concept and outcome, I’m interested in the navigation of the task of performance and the materiality of that practice, in the idea that the ephemeral is not immaterial (hi Muñoz), in how we might begin to consider ways to un-settle performer positionality. I suspect that folded into this, is a kind of relative, a cousin or thereabouts, to deep listening: that of an active, multi-perspectival listening/performer assemblage.
Deep listening is also, I feel, a way of entering into a queer listening frame or practice, not only because of its origins in queer femme community and of course, Pauline Oliveros’ work, but also through what it shifts, where it places us, its troubling of the listener as either a universal or a singular subject position.
Is there a relationship between deep listening and durational or long-form listening in this piece? In some way, perhaps. I think here about La Monte Young’s “tuning is a function of time” quote, which directs us towards the notion that compositional material asks something of us, that its relational properties enact a claim of desire, in a sense: that of determining the rate and scale of a temporal unfolding. I’m not sure that this piece is necessarily a very good example of deep or durational listening on my part… It’s much more active and episodic, it is blurry, far thicker with information than how I mostly work and make sounds, but I think for now, that this is merely part of my process of trying to be actively listening-with/within this space, with this yard, part of the new sonic community I have arrived in, some kind of dwelling space in between resonance and interruption, or perhaps, an embrace of the idea of interruption as, in itself, a kind of resonance."
r beny is an ambient electronics project from Northern California-based musician Austin Cairns. It is an outlet for the processing of the volatile conditions of emotion and nature, primarily expressed through the use of synthesisers, samplers, and other electronic instruments.
"Artist notes: This piece of music is a map. Tones, textures, and echoes representative of a geography and a time. (0:00) A river of reflection begins to emit a sparkling glow. I think of you in passing sometimes, sometimes often. A singer hums in duet with the light of the river. (5:16) The singer hums alone. (5:50) Alone in the pavilion. The corridors of memory are filled with static, its resolution degrading softly in time. (9:02) The buildings are long gone. A forest knoll, roots and soil woven. I’m sorry things didn’t end up the way we thought it would. (13:36) Every wave erodes the land (16:40) until there is nothing left, but seafoam and dust. (17:00) The singer hums along with the organ, somewhere in a meadow jutting out over the sea.
I consider deep listening as listening with entities other than your ears. With your mind, your body, and your soul. Resonating with recorded material on a deeper frequency. Written and recorded from December 2019 to December 2020, at home in Northern California. Composed with Novation Summit, Tasty Chips GR-1, Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoanuts, Oto Bam, Marantz PMD-420 tape recorder."
One of UK Bass music’s most poetic producers conjures a deft, lilting debut album exploring slower tempos and sultry vibes for Wisdom Teeth, the label he runs with K-Lone
As heard on his late 2020 lead-up single ‘Doves / MPH’, Facta’s music has gracefully grown more sensitive to touch and emotion with age, and ‘Blush’ finds him in possession of a timeless and spaciously fresh sound perhaps comparable only with likes of Parris in his field, so it should be no surprise that Parris lends his mutually low-key style to album highlight ‘Diving Birds.’
Perhaps cognisant of the fact the dance is dead right now, Facta keeps everything supple, sensuous, and at a strolling pace across the album in a way that’s primed for home use and your daily outdoors exercise allowance. Between the plinky melody and pastoral settings of ‘Sistine (Plucks)’ and the shimmering crystalline space of ‘Low Bridge (Lights)’, he suggests a sublime downtime soundtrack that takes in smudged beatdown (‘On Deck’) and beautifully buoyant broken beats (‘Verge’) along with the sleepwalker swing of ‘Diving Burds’ with Parris, and an exquisite slow jam ‘Blush’ to rudely burnish the album’s warm glow and appeal.
Direct Detroit/Berlin-style deep techno pressure from Laurel Halo and Hodge on Livity Sound...
Rolled out in the wake of Laurel’s ace ‘Raw Silk Uncut Wood’ EP with Eli Keszler, and leading on from Hodge’s classy ‘Beneath Two Moons’ EP, they make an ideal pairing on three tracks built for clued up ravers.
It’s maybe possible but pointless to identity who’s doing what and where, better to take them as exceeded the sum of their parts, from the beautifully balanced 313 drive and sleek float of ‘Tru’, thru the stereo-pinging dub chords, High-Tech Jazz pads and rugged rub ’n tug of ‘Opal’, and the unsettling fusion of blithe new age vocal mantra with squirming subbass and phosphorescing synth tones in ‘The Light Within You’.
Participating contributors and artists include Ari Robey-Lawrence, Anthony Nicholson, Ash Lauryn, Barbie Bertisch, DJ Swisha, Gavilán Rayna Russom, Hiromi Kiba, Jitwam, June Canedo, Justin Strauss, Ladin Awad, Lars Probert, Maddy Salvage, Michael Holman, Nathaniel Jay, Nick Boyd, Nina Posner, Robert Hood, Paul Raffaele, Salvatore Carlino, Sanna Almajedi, Selwa Abd, Sienna Fekete, Tottie, Turtle Bugg, Wyatt D. Stevens. Designed by Paul Raffaele. This issue is dedicated in loving memory to Francis Mirai Nishida.
Issue 60 Features:
- Q&A with Robert Hood by Turtle Bugg, Illustration by Glenford Nunez
- Chosen Family: A Halloquium Conversation feat. Ash Lauryn, Ari Robey-Lawrence and Gavilán Russom (Part I)
- "Carving Out A Space" Why D.I.Y. Compilations Proliferated During The Pandemic by Nina Posner
- Q&A with Anthony Nicholson by Jitwam
- Q&A with DJ Swisha by Nick Boyd, Photos by Chad Hilliard
- "My First Gig At Better Days" by Bruce Forest
- Q&A with Michael Holman by Justin Strauss (Part II)
- The inaugural "Mix Moments" ft Tony Yotzi by DJ Voices
- "Music & Spirituality #5" by Hiromi Kiba
- Q&A with P. Leone by Paul Raffaele
- Love Notes From A Displaced New Yorker by Nathaniel Jay
- "Spaces & Places: Updates" by Love Injection Staff
- "Editor's Letter" by Love Injection Staff
Participating contributors and artists include Cyrus Sarrafha, Barbie Bertisch, François Kevorkian, Justin Strauss, Kalim Shabazz, Lauren Flax, Michael Holman, Nathaniel Jay, Nick Boyd. Designed by Paul Raffaele.
Issue 59 Features:
- Q&A with Michael Holman (Gray) by Justin Strauss
- Q&A with Lauren Flax by Nick Boyd
- Q&A with Kalim Shabazz (Afterlife) by Paul Raffaele
- "A Posthumous Reply To Mark Kamins" by François Kevorkian
- An introduction to Mohammad-Reza Shajarian by Cyrus Sarrafha
- Love Notes From A Displaced New Yorker by Nathaniel Jay
- Bandcamp Charts Oct-Dec 2020 by Love Injection St
Les Disques du Crepuscule presents The Salt Garden (Landscaped), an album of extended pieces by acclaimed quiet music ensemble Fovea Hex, featuring longform remixes by British songwriter and producer Steven Wilson and Serbian soundscape artist Abul Mogard, as well as a previously unreleased mix by Peter Chilvers.
"Formed in 2005 by Irish musician Clodagh Simonds, Fovea Hex have since released 3 albums (Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent, Here Is Where We Used to Sing and The Salt Garden), drawing favourable comparisons with Nico, This Mortal Coil, Ligeti and even Schubert.
The Salt Garden (Landscaped) is pressed on crystal clear vinyl, and comes packaged with a CD version featuring 4 tracks in total. The outer sleeve is printed in white reverse board and features an image taken by Crepuscule designer Joel Van Audenhaege during a recent trip to Greenland. The inner bag offers detailed liner notes as well as an interview with Clodagh.
As well as Steven Wilson and Abul Mogard, other high-profile admirers include film director David Lynch, who invited the group to play at his Cartier Foundation exhibition in Paris in 2007, and Brian Eno, who has described Clodagh’s work as “some of the most extraordinary songs I’ve heard in years.”
The Salt Garden (Landscaped) gathers together 3 long ambient remixes of tracks from the Salt Garden EP trilogy, originally released between 2016 and 2019. The core album is pressed on crystal clear vinyl and showcases ‘Solace’ and ‘Is Lanza Light & Given’, both re-worked by musical polymath Steven Wilson. “I’ve long been a fan of Fovea Hex,” explains Steven, “which for me is some of the most sublimely beautiful music ever recorded. It’s a mix of electronic and acoustic sounds played on instruments ranging from state-of-the-art to ancient and arcane.”
As well as the two tracks reworked by Steven, the bonus CD enclosed with the vinyl album also finds room for ‘We Dream All the Dark Away’, the widely-acclaimed re-interpretation by Abul Mogard of ‘All Those Signs’ from the Salt Garden II EP. By turns haunting and sinister, but always beautiful, the piece features vocals by both Clodagh and Brian Eno, as well as cello by Kate Ellis, and modular synth and effects by mysterious soundscaper Mogard.
An additional special bonus track on the CD is an unreleased remix of lesser -known 2015 digital single ‘By the Glacial Lake’ made by musician Peter Chilvers, best known for his collaborations with Brian Eno, Karl Hyde, Chris Martin and Tim Bowness.
“I feel truly honoured!” says Clodagh Simons, who began her career in cult folk-psyche band Mellow Candle, and since then has guested on albums by Mike Oldfield, Thin Lizzy, Russell Mills, Matmos, Current 93 and Steven Wilson. “It’s been fascinating to witness how these pieces have been so imaginatively and skilfully revisioned in the hands of Steven, Abul and Peter. Each piece has emerged into a completely fresh new light, with a different vibrancy, yet remains grounded in what was there before.”
John FM makes a rare, killer outing beyond Omar-S’s FXHE with a standout EP forged in the contemporary Afro-American experience
Served with no additives or preservatives but bags of raw R&B soul, J.F.M.’s 4th solo 12” twists inspirations from Prince to Moodymann and his spar Omar-S across a handful of dare-to-be-different tunes formed over the past five years. For anyone outside Detroit, it supplies insight to how, as he puts it; “the world has been colonized by Americana.” On the most immediate levels we’re feeling the heavy swang of ‘February’, the blown-out bass and ansafone vox of ‘Lockjaw (7 Deadly Winnin’), and his rawly finessed hybrid of ’90s R&B and cloudrap in ‘Forever’, but we’ll hand over to him for disambiguation’s sake…
“the pieces themselves deal with common American themes that have been glamorized in the movie (our reality) the rest of the world watches as cinema - in horror and disbelief. Holster- a story about a shooting at a party from different perspectives. February- contextualizing a spiritual fight amidst the complexities of a relationship. Lockjaw- a celebration of the seven deadly sins, our inhumanities that sell ironically get people ahead. Forever- a want for overcoming setbacks, a cry to live in a place that isn’t built for us. Interim - a ‘meanwhile’ moment that never really ends- a battle of the people and their screams being the soundtrack for 400 years of oppression.”
Theodore Cale Schafer is a Detroit based musician. His work primarily consists of laptop manipulation of field recordings, digitally sourced audio, and instrumentation.
"Artist Notes: I usually try not to talk too much about my own music. I feel like it has a face value and everything else drawn from it is reflection. It has personal meanings, but in a way that is abstracted and singular. I don’t want to talk about it like it’s important.
The track is a handful of ideas I may or may not have developed over the past year. Spent a lot of time in Louisiana just looking around at the nature I was in. Drove from there to Kansas City, saw some friends. Then I was home and got to hang out with my parents. It happened in between all of that and trying to be social enough to feel okay about life during Covid. I have been thinking a lot about what I expect from music, for better or for worse.
I have never really considered doing any deep listening. I know I have done a version of it many times, mostly while driving on the freeway."
It’s been a decade since Andy Stott released ‘Passed Me By’, a radical re-imagining of dance music as an expression of “physical and spiritual exhaustion” (Pitchfork). What followed was a process of rapid remodelling: ‘We Stay Together’ (2011 / slow and f*cked, for the club), ‘Luxury Problems’ (2012 / greyscale romance), ‘Faith In Strangers’ (2014/ destroyed love songs), ’Too Many Voices’ (2016 / 4th world Triton shimmers) and ‘It Should Be Us’ (2019 / the club, collapsed) - a run of releases that gradually untangled complex ideas into a singular, chaotic body of work - somewhere between sound-art, techno and pop.
In early 2020 - with a new album almost done and an offer to produce for a mainstream artist on the table - personal upheaval and a pandemic brought everything to a sudden standstill. Months of withdrawal eventually triggered a different approach. recording hours of raw material; slow horns, sibilance, delayed drums, wondering flutes - whatever, whenever.
With vocals recorded by Alison Skidmore, the album was finally completed late last year- taking on a different shape. Its songs desolate, melancholy, defiant, beautiful - often all at once. The sounds echoed music around Stott during those months: Prince, Gavin Bryars, A.R. Kane, Bohren & der Club of Gore, Robert Turman, Cindy Lee, Leila, Catherine Christer Hennix, Junior Boys, László Hortobágyi, Nídia, Prefab Sprout - the unusual / the familiar.
Echoing that mix of new and old, each of the songs on ’Never The Right Time’ is woven from the same thread despite following different trajectories; from the lovelorn shimmer of opener ‘Away not gone’, to the clattering linndrum pop of ‘The beginning’, through ‘Answers’ angular club haze, and the city-at-night end-credits ‘Hard to Tell’. These are songs fuelled by nostalgia and soul searching, but all hold true to a vision of music making as a form of renewal and reinvention. A 10 year cycle, complete.
The cybersleaze anthem we've been waiting for, 'Sick Bitch' is a filthy ode to grinding, and we're here for it. It ain't ambient music.
As club entry prices have increased and the dominance of the European festival industrial complex has solidified, Techno's throbbing libido has been numbed like a fistful of Lexapro up the ass. Thankfully, LSDXOXO is here to remind us that techno is black, gay and horny as f*ck.
'Sick Bitch' is the Floorgasm founder's XL debut and lays out his M.O. in no uncertain terms. "I'm a sick bitch, I like freak sex," he repeats over a skeletal beatbox thump and the requisite orgasmic moan. In a few seconds, he does what so many Twitter-glued producers are unable to, successfully evoking the sweaty intensity of day four of an extended dirty weekend .
'Sick Bitch' is an anthem that's begging to be played painfully loud to a room full of writhing revelers = the first truly essential techno track of 2021. Go off.
Max Eilbacher sprouts wildly variegated blasts of intensive computer music process for Barcelona’s indomitable Anòmia
The sometime member of Horse Lords has been especially busy in the past 12 months, spraying his material between a GRM split with Lucy Railton, and the likes of Superpang and Ultraviolet Light, run from his native Baltimore, MD.
His eight helpings of digital scree and fractals in ‘Here A Peak, There An Abyss’ were recorded in 2017/18 using prebuilt VST synths, and pay homage to the paintings of French-Swiss architect, writer and deconstructivist Bernard Tschumi. Can’t say i’m familiar with Tschumi’s work, but a cursory look tells us that Eilbacher’s results sonically resemble the oblique masses and angularity of Tschumi’s architectural drawings to many extents, with some real hard nosed computer music fukkkery and frolics between the construction site drills and recursive blatz of ‘EAT’ and the lushly giddy dynamism of ‘CH003.’
Jamaican Recordings compile some tuff tracks from Scientist circa late 70's / early 80's - just before everything went digital.
"Some great dub versions to some killer tracks that rocked the dancehalls around this golden time.The mighty Tristan Palmer whose killer cuts 'BadBoys','Stop Spreading Rumours','Eveready' and 'The Greatest Lover’ alongside Michael Palmer's debut release 'Mr Landlord' and Robert Trench's 'Mr Babylon'. The songs stand back-to-back with Tony Tuff's timeless 'Never Trouble Trouble' and the biblical Rod Taylor's 'The Lord is My Light'. Sammy Dread's 'Wah Dah Wah' and the always respectful Dennis Brown's 'Time and Place' all benefited a touch of magic from The Scientist and his laboratory of effects."
Very canny, playfully meta studies in the history and practice of the vocoder from Jack Callahan’s die Reihe, replete with deep and hip-house remixes by DJ Swag and Morgan Jefferson, who may, or may not, be his aliases
“America’s lovable sonic provocateur returns with VOCODER, a 12” record on Anòmia which features a new piece on side A and two exciting dance remixes by up-and-coming producers on side B. Using only voice and a vocoder created in Max/MSP, the piece “VOCODER” is “an exercise in creating as self-contained a piece as possible, using as little material as possible while still maintaining a certain level of interest and coherence.” For fans of Alvin Lucier, John Baldessari and Bruce Haack.”
These tracks where once included on a CD-R that came with the first 100 S.M. Nurse 12" EP’s “30th Anniversary 1980-1983” (Domestica Records) - now remastered and better sounding, available for the first time on vinyl including an extra track!
Robby Horsfall († 2013): lyrics, vocals Menko Konings: compositions, instruments
* remix (2021) by Rude 66
** remake S.M. Nurse track