Purple Mountains is the new nom-de-rock of David Berman, formerly of Silver Jews (whose classic run was made somehow finite in 2009, when the voice himself, David Berman, announced his retirement from music).
"‘Purple Mountains’ is also the name of what will be known as one of his greatest albums - full of double-jointed witand wisdom, up to the neck in his special recipe of handcrafted country-rock joys and sorrows that sing legendary in cracked and broken hearts. The songs areproduced impeccably by Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earle, buffed up like a hardwood floor ready to be well-trod upon for an evening of romance and dance.
The songs of Purple Mountains are a potent brew, stitched together from lifetimes, knitting the drift of the years with the tightest lyric construction Berman’s ever attempted. Honesty is archly in the air but lines of incredible bleakness somehow give way to playful distraction and the hiding of surprises for close listeners. Even still, as the songwriter once wrote, “every single thought is like a punch in the face.” It won’t take long after slapping the record on the platter for you to hear that this is one of those albums.
There are breakup records. There are apocalypse records. Then there’s ‘Purple Mountains’. Berman’s songwriter’s bone’s never been laid more bare - if redemption doesn’t come on the lyric sheet, the act of putting these songs into singing, dancing form allows them their finest end - to provide infotainment for others, embodying moments of life and truth via music that elevates with disarming warmth and a reassuring commonality, even as David himself stands outside the communal campfires."
The ‘Lineage’ EP is dBridge’s soundtrack for his photography book of the same name. Nostalgic and futuristic, the music ranges from absorbing ambient to experimental techniness, and fits the theme which emerges from the book; looking back on FWD-looking friends and family from the UK and international bass scene
“dBridge: "Photography has become the creative outlet I needed in my life, it has no expectations of me, as any hobby rightly should. I'm still in my infancy with it and I have a few different cameras but the one I'm drawn to the most is the instant photo format. Its permanence appeals to me, there's no going back, no adding unnecessary filters and repeating until you get it right. It captures a moment; warts and all.
"I'm lucky as I'm in a unique position to be able to get closer than most to my fellow music makers and listeners and point a lens into their world. Over the years I've amassed a fair amount of pictures and I often take a moment to enjoy the memories they conjure up. It dawned on me that what had started out as a photographic collection of the people I met whilst travelling through music was forming a unified image of the Bass music scene, images of the people around me who had helped shape it and are a part of its lineage. This book is a small collection of some of those people, friends and more importantly; family."
Gritty house throbs and flinty breakbeat steppers from Cop Envy, working deeper into styles found on their 12”s for Black Opal, Templar Sound and Cry Baby Records
‘Cotton’ lays thick bass hustle for lilting breaks seemingly lifted from Carl Craig’s edit of The Congos; ‘Rat Break’ leans into darker space lit with with sparking breaks and streaking rave duppies; ‘Low Air’ yokes back to a UKBass swivel a la Paleman or Pearson Sound; and ‘Junk Bass’ trades in deep robotic 2-step funk - think slowed down No U-Turn vibes.
Restlessly shapeshifting composer Marc Richter turns out his 2nd album of the year already for Thrill Jockey with a further study in gurning dissonance following from the smeared brass and unearthly churn of ’Seven Horses For Seven Kings’
“Black To Comm masterfully manipulates sound, his alterations rendering sources unidentifiable and serving as a sort of portal to new realities. Composer Marc Richter collapses the past, present and future of recorded music into kaleidoscopic pieces that transcend genre, bristling with detail: an intense sensory sonic experience. Before After charts a hallucinogenic journey through polar extremes of emotion and to the outer reaches of sound, is a perfect companion to the darker Seven Horses For Seven Kings.
Richter’s technical approach to making music is deeply rooted in his philosophy of time. He points to a quote from early electronic pioneer Eliane Radigue: "everything is an interval, we are always in-between. And in this interval, between two states, there is a continual expression of invisible variations, imperceptible transitions." Before After exists in that fluid, liminal space, drawing on sounds and influences from disparate pasts and using these to synthesize new futures. “They Said Sleep” applies contemporary studio techniques to ancient material, creating a Chopped ‘n’ Screwed edit of an early medieval folk song. “The Seven Of Horses” expands on the language of Bulgarian Folk by adding abrasive new textures, processing piano sounds through analogue filters. Even Richter’s own material is ripe for reinvention, “Etas-Unis” and “Perfume Sample” both revisit elements of music from Seven Horses For Seven Kings with results that are entirely new and revelatory of the compositional and sound sculpting skills of Richter.
Before After was written during the same sessions that gave birth to Richter’s recent, highly acclaimed, Seven Horses For Seven Kings. The intentionally crafted companion pieces mine similar raw sonic materials to yield radically different results. Where Seven Horses was a dark work focused on anger and desperation, Before After finds faint glimmers of hope in the same sources. By reappraising the past Richter divines new futures, opening up parallel timelines and sonic universes. The album bookends the current phase of Richter’s output as Black To Comm, a decisive statement piece that leaves the future of the project tantalisingly open-ended.”
Puce Mary, Haunter records label head Heith, producer Francesco Leali and cellist Alessandro Branca collude on two tumultuous pieces soaked up in cello-driven ambience, cavernous processing, haunting vocals and futuristic glitch sequences.
"For this first instalment we see the quartet delve deep into the study of dilated repetition counting largely on the use of a 1700’s cello built by Italian lutist Nadotti – breaking down, studying and reassembling it’s output into a meticulous yet unsettling approach.”
Two of the most radical deconstructionists of rave linguistics have teamed up! Roc Jiménez De Cisneros, half of the infamous “computer hoooligan” duo EVOL, and N.M.O. / Lag Os’ Rubén Patiño (himself a member of EVOL for one day), bring on their interest in stripping down and manipulating the basic, most functionalist elements of dance music, playing with their scale with an oddly heuristic approach.
"Hosted by Haunter Records, this collaboration gave birth to GNOMOS, an exercise in weird lattice arrangement. A trippy detour into shifting, unexpected rhythmic pattern alignments that pushes the listener's expectations and potential obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The relentless, skeletal 909 beats that composed these 5 tracks de-territorialize both the structural qualities and the cultural significance of rave tropes, making for a familiar yet totally bewildering listening experience."
Strong debut of new club musick by Tadleeh on Yegorka, the label run by Why Be and Berlin’s Janus incubator
Arriving after wayward work by Oxhy, bod, and Emiranda on Yegorka, Tadleeh plays into the label’s remit with 6 cuts full of meter-shifting rhythms and stark, reverberant atmospheres, with ace drum work in the tribal depression of ‘Kalix’, the Tarraxho slow crush of ‘Virgo?’, and the super wide, lip-bitingly strong bump of ‘Ego Will Collapse.’ We’re not too fussed when he goes big post-rock epic in ‘Believe Me I’m Lying’ and the cinematic finale, but there’s a lot of promise in the strobing, weightless forces of ‘Love Comes To Its Conclusion’ and that killer ‘Ego Will…’ cut.
Tight and tweaky 2-step garage minimalism from Crump, back for another round on Chris Farrell’s Idle Hands
Clocking in two years after the ‘Ice & Spheres’ 12”, the BCN-based Bristolian gets it dead right with the effortlessly curled subbass swing and sparing chord kisses of ‘Charcoal’, before tucking it deep= into a back room vibe with the sub-rolled dub house of ‘Bones’ in a perfectly balanced, endless ‘M5’ style ripe for the DJs and dancers.
The quietly rapturous sublime of ‘Tracing Back The Radiance’ forms Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s first new album since 2017 and a definitive entry to his golden catalogue,
Leading on from the pop-tight arrangements of ‘On The Echoing Green’, Root-Strata founder Cantu-Ledesma is accompanied on a return to glorious, smudged, widescreen canvasses by esteemed members of the U.S. experimental firmament including Mary Lattimore (Harp), John Also Bennett (Flute), Jonathan Sielaff (Bass Clarinet) and Roger Tellier Craig, among others. In two floating, durational pieces, separated by a pealing five minute ambient flute arrangement, Cantu-Ledesma and pals remind us exactly why we’ve followed his work so intently all these years.
Always a sign of good things is the fact that by 2 minutes into opener ‘Palace Of Time’, we’re fighting the urge to shut eyes and push off, which may look a bit suss at 3pm in an office full of people. However, that’s what we and many others are probably hoping for, and it’s surely delivers as the 20 minute opener flows its course of silvery piano streaks and softened metallic resonances with the warmest sentiment. The intermediary ‘Joy’ is slightly sharper focussed, as though rubbing the ears lense to allow Sielaff’s bass clarinet break the murk in slow, flitting saccades, before ‘Tracing Back The Radiance’ resumes a form of serene sonic therapy with melting sounds and ear-nuzzling timbral complexities which, in turn, relax and harmonise the world around us and make everything more manageable, even if only temporarily.
Karen Gwyer returns to DBA, reenergised and packing some of her tightest drum programming and absorbing, beatless synth arrangements
‘Man On Mountain’ is Karen’s first solo release proper since the ‘Rembo’ LP in 2017, which distilled her deeply rugged hybrid of Detroit techno and AI-style rave to widespread acclaim. Two years later, Karen bounds back with two entrancing examples of her mutant techno style flanked by two rarer excursions into black hole ambient and Carl Craig-like synth scapes that demand to be heard by her keen following.
The colourfully plumed ‘Faces on Ankles’ gets the EP into gear with a deft mix of 2-stepping drums, merry-go-round melody and LFO-style bleep riffs that carries its weight beautifully into a sort of pounding hi-tech folk dance and the cranky black hole ambience of ‘Ian On Fire’. The flipside is then given to ‘Cherries on Shoulders’, demonstrating her livewire hardware intuition at its most fluidly hypnotic, and leading into sleek synth synth churn on ‘Ribbon On Neck’ recalling C2 or Rob Lowe trips.
Schizoid decodance music from Gil on teh excellent Danse Noire, scaling from thunderous flashcore to cinematic sound design, and back.
Three years on from his debut, and following a recent remix of collaborator S S S S for Haunter, ‘Infolding’ places Gil in the immediate, pent and volatile present. ‘Swallow Ash’ sees him erupt into murderous flashcore like Croww on steds, and the mesh of tense tribal rhythms and vocal drones in ‘The Place Of Falling People’ feels like a cue from Akira.
‘Compact Renewal’ also follows in footsteps of Croww with white hot noise and deviated dembow rhythms, whereas ‘Dustgreen’ indulges a moment of loner romance, and ‘Thirty Birds’ brings the curtain down on tortuous, apocalyptic scenes.
The original nuttah meets Adrian Sherwood in a doublet style, fixing the stepping ‘Makumba Rock’ beside the spaced-out skank of ‘Heaven & Hell’
Up top is an extended dubplate version of ‘Makumba Rock’ from the ‘Rainford’ album, featuring Perry’s gargles, hoots and cries woven alongside the lyrics on a charmingly lazy, crazed rockers riddim. Down below, they skank 10 feet wide with the speaker-worrying subs and duppy FX of ‘Heaven & Hell.’
New Age conduit Ariel Kalma’s mid-late ‘70s GRM recordings are set to blow a lot of minds with this deep dive compiled by current GRM audio restoration engineer and Transversales proprietor, Jonathan Fitoussi. Properly unnerving, beautiful proto-Lynchian vibes on this one.
Sourced from a recently excavated box of tapes recorded during late night recording sessions in the GRM’s Studio 116 - the same concrète laboratory used in Bernard Parmegiani and Luc Ferrari masterpieces - this LP delves into some of Kalma’s earliest recordings to provide an enchanting listen and reveal the groundwork that came long before his relatively recent collaborations with mutual, explorative souls Sarah Davachi and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
The set owes a great debt of gratitude to Kalma’s pal, Jacques Darnis, who was coincidentally the GRM’s recording engineer during the ‘70s. Jacques employed his mate as assistant recording engineer, and would give Kalma a heads-up if the likes of Parmegiani has cancelled their evening booking at the studio, giving him the opportunity to record afterhours in what was one of the greatest facilities in the world at the time. Armed with food, drink and his sax, Kalma would hop in his car, bez over to the studio, and evidently make sterling use of these night time sessions.
Opening with sustained sax looped into etheric infinity on ‘Paris Flight’, the album supplies five distinct but interrelated lines of Kalma’s subconscious thought transmuted into sound. ‘Le soleil au couchant’ finds him layering vocals recorded in the crypt of the Senanque monastery into a shimmering raga-like hymnal, while the LP’s central highlight ‘Voyage au centre de la tête sees Kalma’s companion Paule Salomon whispering, heavy-lidded, over burbling drum machine pulse that turns into a psychedelic wormhole, and the B-side’s couplet of ‘Ballade sure le lac’ and ‘Japanese Dream’ find him gently spiral into the low ends of a Bosendorfer grand piano, then layer the keys with sax in most sublime, effortless style, again making thorough use of the studio’s high end microphones and tape machines.
Ferocious, previously unreleased Masami Akita works produced circa 1994’s ‘Venereology’ and ‘Hole’, now issued by Room 40 to mark the 40th anniversary of Merzbow’s conception.
“In the late 1980s, Masami Akita’s Merzbow began to shift from being a studio project into a fully fledged performative undertaking. It was a decisive period that began opening up new possibilities for his very particular approach to sound.
Across the first half of the 1990s, Merzbow began touring extensively across Europe, the United States and also in his homeland. It was during this period that the dynamism of Merzbow exploded and the physicality of volume became a primary driver for the experiential capacity of the work.
Simultaneously, Merzbow began developing a range of self made instruments and techniques for exploiting found objects as sound sources, which he used in combination with amplifiers to create a unique spectra of noise and feedback both in the studio and live.
Noise Mass catalogues a critical period within the continuum of Merzbow. It typifies the radical approaches he developed not just through his music, but also through mastering, pushing the very medium of digital audio to its limit through extreme post-production approaches.
Of Noise Masami Akita remarks,
“This was around the time Venereology was released from Relapse and the work of Merzbow became more well known to the world. Far greater quantities of that Relapse release were pressed, and much more promotion along with it. In other words, the image of Merzbow's music as it is best known in the world today came from this time. The music of Merzbow has always been a continuum, the piece added this time to Noise Mass, the revised version of Hole, is a work utilising a voice similar in style to Venereology. Listening to both Hole and Venereology, one can appreciate how these works constitute a thread of continuity through this period.”
Noise Mass is just that, a ritual of intensity and ferocity that denotes the force that is Merzbow’s approach to noise in the absolute.”
Deep house standard bearer Simoncino returns to Creme Organization for a deep and slunky session
Listen up for highlights in the percolated pressure of ‘It Up (Original Dub)’, and the killer acidic bass wobbles underlining his pendulous workouts, ‘Una Notte Con Michelle’ and ‘Timezones.’
Genre and meter-bending funk ’n soul badness from Andre Gibson’s Universal Togetherness Band
Uptown, there’s an edit of the frickin’ wild ‘Dreamality’, which comes on in fits of cool, downtempo swagger and giddy uptempo eruptions with strange, pitching vocals and freaky FX. Make no mistake though, it’s a serious dancefloor tune, bound to work crowds to the bone. Downtown they spy ‘Lucky Stars’, a pendulous, tuff groove twisting elastic boogie-disco bassline under Gibson’s club-calling vocals and natty brass.
Bare bones electro-breaks by London’s Hugo Massien, including hook-ups with DJ Haus and backed with a cracking Jenson Interceptor remix
In solo mode, Massien applies his stripped down principles to the wicked NYC/Miami/Detroit-style electro of ‘Twist & Turn’, the bendy acid funk of ‘Lust & Sound’, and the electroid deep tech shuffle of ‘Touch & Go.’
In collaboration with DJ Haus he hits a murky, spaced-out groove of sawn-off breaks in ‘Hypnotic Rhythm Sequence’ and the ruddy acid prod of ‘Random Access Memory’, with Jenson Interceptor supplying a big highlight in his hydraulic refit of ‘Twist & Turn.’
Cranky, tangy industrial downstrokes from one of Beijing’s most distinctive units, chasing their Knekelhuis LP with a killer batch for Shanghai’s Sbvkvlt, b/w remixes by Dis Fig, Citizen Boy, Tayhana
Saliva D’s Li Chao takes the reins on four bandy-legged lurchers, clocking up slow, booming industrial drums and strained chorales in a manner recalling Threshold HouseBoys Choir rituals, whereas ‘Callign’ diffracts the groove between percolate slow/fast patterns and sludgy wade, and ‘Itself’ tilts the pace upward, while processed voices and dissonant synths trade places.
Dis Fig does her reverb heavy and noisy thing to ‘Flutter’, beside a rugged Gqom refit of ‘Groan’ by Durban’s Citizen Boy, and Naafi crew’s Tayhana takes ‘Calling’ from a rugged reggaeton angle.
First new Move D solo album since 2007, anyone? Guessing there’ll be a few takers for this
Packing four solo joints, plus a sweet number from his live act with Juju & Jordash, aka Magic Mountain High, as well as hook-ups with Fred P, rEAGANZ, D-Man, Benjamin Brunn, and Thomas Kehlmann, the album may be pushing the “solo” description to its limit, but it also gives the truest reflection of David Moufang’s fraternal, soulful style.
Bonus to those divine ‘Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House)’ volumes, Safe Trip turn out two more peaches from the golden daze of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Italo-House.
Franco F.’s ‘Ray Tracing Sauna’ glydes in on lush, cascading and jazzy synth strokes to go deep and a little quicker than usual with heart-rushing effect.
Marika Lenny’s ‘Beat Summer (Ambient)’ is pure chuftyness, brimming with positive piano chords and urged by a nagging bassline that goes all night long.
Killer EP from Interstellar Funk and Jeroen going it twos on the Drexciya-meets-Morgan Geist electro depths of Mirror Image, backed with the former’s nimbly weightless tightrope walking of Anasazi on the other side.
Charred electronic drone, field recordings and wrecking ball knocks for fans of Mick Harris/Scorn, Bedouin Records, Cut Hands.
“Following last year‘s “Şeb-i Yelda” EP under the R.A.N. moniker, HÜMA UTKU delivers her debut full-length album under her own name „Gnosis“: a blend of abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats with field recordings and ambience, available as LP and DL.
With “Şeb-i Yelda” (2018) HÜMA UTKU introduced her musical style to a broader audience - storytelling through elements of industrial, techno and abstract electronics, blending in field recordings and traditional instruments from the middle east. A sonic journey that now continues on „Gnosis“ that owns the signature sounds of the Istanbul born / Berlin based electronic artist and pushes them further. The Greek word „Gnosis“ meaning „knowledge reached through intuition and individual experience“ has been used throughout history by various schools of esotericism and thought, to signify gaining insight on workings of the universe. Coherently the album follows the hermit-like, truth-seeking traveller on a path through various times and geographies, through different forms of human experience. Merging field recordings that UTKU did in Greece, Egypt and Turkey with ambient soundscapes, abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats, „Gnosis“ is an intense sonic travelogue where the storyline exceeds the borders any specific musical genre.”
L.I.E.S bossman Ron Morelli returns with his fourth solo album and a shift of emphasis away from greyscale industrial to more introspective landscapes investigating atavistic ambient themes - highly recommended if yr into Tod Dockstader, Laurie Spiegel, Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’ and Jeff Mills’ recent astral excursions.
For the first time on record, Morelli more or less completely mutes his drum channels and allows his sounds to freely float in imagined air. In the process he crisply reveals a latent, introspective side to his music that’s been occluded by noise in his clutch of grubby sores issued by Hospital Productions since 2013 - back when he changed his address from Brooklyn, NYC to the heart of the Parisian electronic music scene. As such the 8 bony diffusions of ‘Man Walks The Earth’ mark distance travelled from the gobs of 2013’s ‘Spit’, documenting a change of mindset from grizzled and paranoid to a more soberly contemplative and drily poetic expression of self.
Composed during 2015-2018, the 8 liminal zones of ‘Man Walks the Earth’ see Morelli switch out immediacy and brashness for a more considered longview of electronic music. In key with his previous work it’s a smart regression of sorts, but this time reaching back beyond industrial music to a primordial sound recalling Tod Dockstader dabbling at the GRM in ‘A Long Walk At Night’, or Laurie Spiegel glimpsing unseen worlds in ’Stone Tools’, while album opener ‘Fear Upon Seeing His Reflection In The Lake’ hearkens back to Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram’s etheric, Radiophonic abstractions, and the parting beauty ‘The Sun Beats Stronger As Each Day Passes’ recalls the enigmatic appeal of Chris Marker’s sci-fi soundtrack for ‘La Jetée’ as much as Jeff Mills’ recent astral excursions.
Following Collapsing Market’s archival issue of Iranian classical music, iridescent electronics by Ssaliva, and the amorphous environments of Metta World Peace’s ‘Zanclean’, Morelli’s new album presents a compelling perspective on the binds between socio-economics and cultural aesthetics that’s reflected in the LP’s sleeve art, Morelli’s own photo taken from the 86th floor of One World Trade Center, New York, detached and reframed by Ethan Assouline, characterising the basic human will to rebuild, only to destroy again.
Piquant mutations of grime, R&B, footwork and all things sweet ’n road from Banshee, marking up his solo debut proper after a self-released 12” and guest spot on Zomby’s ‘Ultra’ album in 2016
Revolving some of the freshest gear from the UK in years, the ‘Thought Bubbles’ EP comes with a wickedly freehand approach to meter, space and pitch that’s bound to cause some confused 33 or 45 toggling. It’s actually cut at 33rpm, but the way he uses footwork and R&G tropes is just brilliantly beguiling and readied to play over and again.
On the front he starts up like a vintage DJ Nate cut with the melting percolations and R&B dream sequence pads of ’Thought Bubble 1’, before settling into a Dancehall/reggaeton-compatible swang with the deliciously deferred, hair-kissing gratification of ‘Ecstasy Baby’ and its darkside denouement. Backside, the floating structure of ‘Heart Container’ conjures aching weightless sensations with the slightest brushstrokes, and ‘Thought Bubble 2’ boosts back into footwork with tilted dreams and ohrwurming R&B samples that will stick long after the record has stopped turning.
Totally infectious Gnawa funk and psych-edged rock from Morocco, 1973, legit licensed and issued for the first time on any format! Yet another fuzzy peach on Habibi Funk.
Leading on from the labels plates of Afro-Cuban Jazz and the Afrobeat of ‘Muslims & Christians’, this is the first pressing of gripping, heavily soulful recordings by three generations of the same family, headed up by the distinctive cry of Attarazat Addahabia. Addahabia was schooled between Casablanca and Paris in the ’60s and brings some serious calibre to the record, commanding the mic in Arabic against female call and response vocals and a crack backing band throwing down thick electric guitar fuzz and driving blend of rhythm from Western rock and Moroccan tradition.
Running in the same circles as Moroccan legend Fadoul (star of Habibi Funk’s ‘Al Zman Saib’ reissue and ‘An Eclectic Selection of Music From The Arab World’ compilation), Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah were one of the first rock bands in the Arab-speaking world and they patently knew how to rip a cool groove. Nearly half a century later their tunes will still light up clubs from Casablanca to Paris.
Addendum to Italo hero Fred Ventura’s ‘Future Unknown: The Lost House Trax 1988-1992’ album, packing Alessandro Adriani’s extended edit of ‘Technologies’ plus four exclusives edging on New Beat and acid house
Adriani’s sleek arps and lip-smacking pads in the edit make for a big highlight, while there’s also a spot of Kraftwerk-esque New Beat electro in ‘Afraid To Dance’, plus the chunky jack of ‘Looking For The Western Beat (Year Zero Mix)’, the smooth dream house purr of ‘The Endless Journey’, and the wistful electro wiggle of ‘Lost Memories.’
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 is an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.
Holding dozens of rare gems from Japan, ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ feeds the ambient zeitgeist with a sublime survey of hard-to-find works by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono, Joe Hisaishi and many others, all compiled by Visible Cloaks’ Spencer Doran and released for the first time outside Japan - including two tracks on vinyl not found on the CD.
Extending an unprecedented overview of Japan’s intersecting minimal, avant-garde, and New Age music realms, Spencer Doran expertly sequences work by titans of the Japanese scene along with beautiful pieces by artists little known beyond the country’s borders. While many of us may be acquainted with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Joe Hisaishi via their major label releases and work on Anime and Hollywood film soundtracks, the rest have largely remained obscure partly due to the notorious difficulty of licensing Japanese music in the west. Now, thanks to the work of YouTube algorithms in generating great interest in this area, and thru the dedication of obsessives such as Spencer Doran, this compilation is a very welcome part of the groundswell in official reissues from this unique, dreamlike time and space in the history of electronic music.
Scanning the years after digital synths began to flood the market, and the ideas of ambient music (Eno), and furniture music (Satie) had taken hold in Tokyo, the music on ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ is design-driven to inhabit personal spaces, to meld into the background and subtly frame everyday life. Oozing connotations of sophistication and luxury, the music can be heard as a result of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s, when it become a common currency for corporations as much as record labels, ending up on vinyl and CD as well as public installations, adverts for Sanyo air-con unit, and in-store soundtracks for the likes of Muji - all of which are contained within this collection.
It’s all so lovely that’s it’s a real struggle to pick highlights from the rest, and it would also miss the point - all the music shares the same ideal and executes its function exactingly, to linger in the air. It’s pretty much flawless stuff, awaiting the embrace of romantic sophisticates and Japan-o-philes everywhere.
Out of print for 30 years, Airto Moreira’s Brazilian jazz-fusion masterpiece is now reissued for the first time. Moreira was key member of Miles Davis’ ‘electric’ group, notably playing on ‘Bitches Brew’
“The impact of Airto Moreira in both the world of American jazz and in Brazilian music is unparalleled. At the start of the 1970s Airto was invited to join Miles Davis’ groundbreaking ‘electric’ group, which with albums such as the seminal ‘Bitches Brew’ helping Davis regain his title from John Coltrane as the most important jazz artist of all time.
Two years later Airto helped establish two of the most important jazz fusion groups of all time: Weather Report, with Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vituous; and Return to Forever, with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Flora Purim. Airto Moreira also began his solo career in the USA in 1970, and alongside his wife, the singer Flora Purim, and Brazilian artists such as Hermeto Pascoal, Sivuca, Deodato, Raul de Souza, Azymuth, all played a major part in the Latinised sound of American jazz fusion throughout the 1970s.
By this time Airto established himself in the USA in the 1970s, he had already had a formidable career back in Brazil in the 1960s as an important figure in the Bossa Nova movement, which soon after spread throughout the world. Airto played in a number of important groups during this time – Quarteto Novo Sambalanco Trio and Sambrassa Trio (all of with Hermeto Pascoal) – which proved to be three of the most ground-breaking groups of this era.
The album ‘Samba de Flora’, including the seminal jazz dance title track, is a masterpiece of jazz and Brazilian fusion and features Airto Moreira alongside Flora Purim, fellow Brazilian artist Raul de Souza and heavyweight USA jazz musicians Alphonso Johnson, percussionist Don Alias (from Stone Alliance), Cuban conga player Cachete and Argentinian pianist Jorge Dalto.
The album was originally released on the small independent Montuno Record label (which was run out of the unassuming Record Mart record store situated in the Times Square underground subway station!) and has been unavailable for many, many years.”
Expanded reissue of one of the most fascinating Japanese ambient/environmental albums ever made, NOVA + 4 by Yutaka Hirose. The package includes the album known as Soundscape 2: Nova, sourced from its original masters, as well as 50 minutes of never-released-before recordings, yielding dreamiest synth tones swaddled in richly detailed environmental recordings that conjure a beautifully soporific non-place for drifting minds.
“Initially released in 1986 as part of the Soundscape series* commissioned by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses, Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA has grown to become a mythical piece of the Japanese minimalist/ambient/environmental scene of the eighties. Initiated around the enchanting landscapes of the two first tracks recorded for the project, "Nova" and "Epilogue", Yutaka Hirose’s magnum opus serenely blends vintage synth with nature sounds, exploring soothing palettes and organic backdrops. For "Slow Sky", Hirose explains he "went for a pointillism-like sound, and tried to express a scenery of awakening, where the portal of a heart is opening up", while on "Humming The Sea", he "tried to compose a kind of music that expresses the daily, lazy life of child-like innocence in a summer vacation in some small town."
The bonus LP gathers four long unreleased pieces created around the same period of time for installations, described by Yutaka Hirose as "not music per se but rather sound sculptures", and including the haunting "Shadow Of A Water Droplet" which was recorded for an Ikebana exhibition.
All in all, NOVA + 4 is a transcendent experience of nature in the urban context, an oeuvre which, much like Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass or Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way, holds the power to appease the soul in turbulent times. As one inspired YouTube commenter once said when describing Yutaka Hirose’s masterstroke: "I can't tell if the birds are singing inside or outside! Thank you! "
Intravenously effective pop dirges from Kayla Guthrie, a strong look for fans of Ectoplasm Girls, Leslie Winer, HTRK, Lolina
Preceding her standout appearance with ’Erotic Death’ on the Wild Flesh Presents compilation a few months ago, Kayla’s 2018 sophomore EP ‘Falling Star’ finds her strengths in a style of melancholy, chamber-like modernism where plaintive vocals haunt stark arrangements of stygian drums and glum synths in ‘But I Am’ alongside the sleep-walking conviction of ‘Thrown’, while the side-long ‘Falling Star’ offers a more slow burning relief coming off like a psychedelic hymn by Lolina and Carla Dal Forno.
“A misty glow flows along the recumbent silhouette of Kayla Guthrie’s new ep, FALLING STAR. This is the body of the artist as aural ghost, her figure lit by shuddering rhythms and synthesized echoes, and she knows what she is doing when she stands in front of that light. Not only did she build it but she has written all about it, gathered the notes and transcribed the lyrics onto paper that is as sunshine. Guthrie is dazed and dazzling with so much light, yet the clouds roll in toward the light every time. Her translucent voice lifts your hem and so tender is her bite, so weird, so intense. This is new music spinning fast in a dance with archangels (Jarboe, Cocteau Twins, Lydia Tomkiw and Leslie Winer) and barreling straight through heaven’s gate.”
First time vinyl (2LP) pressing of Atom Heart’s 1994 ambient album as Dots, originally released by his mighty Rather Interesting label and now newly prepped by Uwe Schmidt himself and cut by Noel Summerville for Astral Industries.
Modestly self-described by Schmidt aka Dots as “elevator music”, the project’s only release is defined by its spacious parameters and paucity of palette, using icy arps and plangent bleeps to connote a wide, free-floating sense of vastness and airy detachment. If it is “elevator music”, then it’s surely made for a glass-bottomed lift to the moon and beyond.
Trailing in the shimmering wake of Astral Industries' reissues by Sonmi451, Chi Factory and Heavenly Music Corporation, ‘Dots’ sweetly follows suit with an assurance of no sharp edges or snagging tones for the ardent psychonaut or ambient explorer, working in a very ‘90s way where a utopian trust was implied between artist and listener that says, “we’ve got you” in the come-down session, or when used as an aid for sleeping or for simply escaping your own mind.
To be fair, there was a long period (that only ended during this decade) when ambient music of this ilk was viewed as a bit lukewarm or toothless. But there’s certainly been a sea change in tastes that have lead to folk prizing the potential for this kind of background or environmental music to induce visions of lost halcyons, or perhaps even subliminally gird themselves and become familiar with an early form of cybernetic intelligence, before it becomes overly familiar with us. If, like many sets of ears, you’re exhausted with reissued new age and kosmiche records, but still favour a pre or early-internet electronic soul, this album will push all the right buttons.
First ever official vinyl reissue of Neil Young’s beyond-classic 1996 soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's 'Dead Man' - a mesmerising exercise in tightly controlled improvisation mostly made up of solo electric guitar interspersed with organ, piano, field recordings and excerpts of Johnny Depp reciting William Blake. Sounds awful - we know - but actually a uniquely gripping, inspired piece of work - one of the great soundtracks of the late 20th century.
Vague recollections of the film and its fever-dream topographies are most likely responsible for the almost mystical aura that surrounds ‘Dead Man', but Young does much to heighten its bizarre sense of place with a process of recording that was both off the cuff and bursting with inspiration - taking things to almost transcendental dimensions. Young improvised on his electric guitar Old Black in real time as he watched the film in his studio, throwing in bits of dialogue between tracks and - most bizarrely - lots of weird ambient sounds that aren't in the film - including a prominent car engine running in the background - something that makes no sense for a film set in the 19th century.
It all adds to a sense of physical and metaphysical displacement that's connected to but not reliant on any knowledge of the film, running its own sense of fuzzy logic. Musically, it reminds us of everything from John Fahey’s ‘Red Cross’ to the more introspective end of Goran Bregović’s soundtrack work for Emir Kusturica, or even Ry Cooder’s iconic Paris Texas, Bruce Langhorne’s 'The Hired Hand’ and classic Earth playing at the same time as some weird field recordings open on another tab. In other words; just the sort of precious shit we spend our lives digging for.
RAP find hazy, mystic ground somewhere between John T. Gast-like steppers and Alexander Tucker’s psychedelic folk-pop in their hugely enigmatic 2nd LP, out via the excellent Jolly Discs.
Enacting a musical ideal of being simultaneously within yet outside of the music, ‘Export’ sees RAP’s Guy Gormley (Enchante, Never) and Thomas Bush hover above musical timelines like puppeteers pulling the strings with an elegantly detached sense of control. In a smart way it’s a sound symptomatic of its times, economically efficient with its rhythms and melodies, and in the way they parse the most effective parts from techno, pop, and dub of the past generation while still sounding like the music was made circa 2019.
On side A the tracks flow in unbroken sequence at the same tempo from the dub technoid ‘Baptism’ thru pastoral AFXian techno in ‘Ruin’ to the enlightened steppers meditation of ‘Young Persuasion’ making sparing but crucial use of Gormley’s plaintive vocal. The other side is then beautifully counterbalanced with the timeless, loner piano meditation ’Twisted Fix, before avian cacophony gives way to a sort of pulsing techno chamber music in ‘Mad Friday’, and a perfect transition into their deft pounder ‘No Mixer’ and an anthem in waiting with the marriage of fey, ear-worming vox and filtered thizz in ’NSEW Ravers.’
The first Neotantrik release in five years sees Suzanne Ciani, Andy Votel & Sean Canty group their esoteric energies into an incredible recording made by the trio at the Volksbühne, Berlin in 2014.
Pooling a vast knowledge of 2nd class sound and classic synths, they yield a typically amorphous arrangement of sawn-off, effected samples from records you’ll never find, combined with original electrical input, and mixed into mazy chicanes and ‘marish ginnels of impending doom that never comes to fruition but leaves listeners at the edge of their seats.
The sublime, dark tension of their sound arises from a heightened intuition and democracy of role, with each component selected for its otherworldliness and placed in-the-mix in a manner that creates a chronically disorienting shadowplay of sounds that make their presence felt in the most intangible yet intoxicating manner.
It feels as though we’ve been wandering the tape’s corridors for a whole sleep, ostensibly hunting for a light switch or door handle in the murk, but happy to be pulled into its ambiguous dream/nightmare logic.
Muslimgauze Archive Series #49 is an essential pressing of 4 electro-dub cuts from Bryn Jones’ unreleased 1996 album of reworks for Kiwi dubbers, Unitone HiFi
This is peak period Muslimgauze from a time when he must have been in the studio constantly. The A-side is given to a blend of poised vocals and bitterly strained electro-dub in ‘Kaliskinazure - Momada’ and the smoky arabesque detail of ‘Kaliskinazure’, replete with the sound of hawks circling overheard and those darkside signatures. Better yet is the raw, buzzing distortion and prickling pulses that subside into dark ambient and ultimately acid noise with the mighty one-two of ‘Babylon Iz Iraq’ and ‘Momada’ on the B-side.
Sterling examples of Muslimgauze at his singular best.
Brooding tech-house swag from Tom Trago, treading a fine line between heads-down melancholy and posh trance feels
returning to the fray after trimming down his output in recent years, Trago teams up with Jean Pierre Enfant, Darling and Christiaan Macdonald for a stripe of Four Tet-styled posh trance house backed with a starry-eyed beatless version.
Reissue of ‘MZUI’, the audio document of an A/V installation by (then ex-) Wire and (current) Dome members Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis, and artist Russell Mills, whose illustration and designs adorned records by Eno, Japan, Yazoo ++
‘MZUI’ the installation was held at Waterloo Gallery in central London between 8-31st August, 1981. This was one year after Wire disbanded for the first time, and Gilbert and Lewis had spent the interim constructing the Dome studio at the legendary Blackwing facilities. They had met Russell Mills during the Wire days and invited him into their Kupol performances, leading to his participation on ‘MZUI’, where the trio made use of a 5000 sq. feet former meat-packing warehouse space, turning its detritus into artworks including a meadow of smashed glass, and also installed a PA and recording equipment to capture and use any public interaction. It was all in near pitch darkness and so risky that visitors had to sign a disclaimer before entry.
The music contained on ‘MZUI’ the release is not intended as a direct representation of the installation, rather it’s presented “as a landscape, as articulating a sense of place” according to Kevin S. Eden’s liner notes. In that respect, the album’s two 20 minute+ pieces offer a spectral tour of the warehouse, its contents and the installation’s attendees, with spare, aleatoric clangs, muffled voices, distant percussion and industrial eruptions occurring in acres of billowing negative space. It’s not hard to hear the vast dimensions of the space in the recordings in the first piece, which is compelling enough, but it really gets interesting in the 2nd part where they hold to longer, coherent section of curdled carnival music and noise, or particularly the mid-section of sepulchral choral drones and its transition into a looped quote of Marcel Duchamp intoning “in spite of myself, I’m a meticulous man.”
More than a curio, this is a fascinating example of the Dome guys at their loosest and most intuitively experimental.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Delicate, fizzing and emotive ambient & drone washes from Pop Ambient contributor Max Würden for A Strangely Isolated Place, falling somewhere between Marsen Jules and Rafael Anton Irisarri rendered in widescreen dimensions.
"Format draws from its Latin origin: “formatus”, meaning “to be formed”. Over two years, Germany’s Max Würden produced a variety of tracks using completely different approaches. It wasn’t until they were placed together in unison that the strengths from the variety of productions came together.
Max’s studio recordings lined up alongside live performances; field recordings of foot-steps and sounds from deep forests amongst broken leaves and custom synthesizers; processed guitar-loops weave amongst soaring ambient pads and energetic driving analog pulses segue classic 90’s ambient depicting the very furthest reaches of space. Max's abstract impressions were weaved together and Format was born.
The result captures the very best of Max’s multi-disciplinary techniques we’ve come to admire throughout his many productions and collaborations over the years with the likes of Thore Pfeiffer and his releases on Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series."
Playfully witted, dancefloor-curious styles from River Yarra, back on Antinote a year on from the resoundingly well received ‘Lucky Boy’ 12”
Shifting his weight elegantly from 88-140bpm across four tunes, ‘Frog Mania’ has something to do with amphibians but it’s all french to us, to be honest. We can however deduce that trax are primed for dancing in altered states, hopping from the Acid-Arab creep of ‘Toad Charmer’ with its microtonal vamps and synthetic croaks, to what sounds like late ‘90s-era Chris & Cosey on a frivolous flex with ‘Amfybyonzz’ on the front, before picking up the pace with a pendulous electro-stepper ‘Frogz ov Gondwana’ and the rolling breakbeat raver ‘Prog Frog.’
Fluffy derp house and Italo smarm from Regular Fantasy and Void Mirror for Vancouver B.C.’s Mood Hut
A-side is inscribed with the blend of Italo disco optimism and blushing Detroit techno harmonies in ‘Gemini Month’, and B-side is taken by the woozy groove of ‘Trance Breaks (Dub Mix)’ and the rolling, floating square bass tug of ‘Hits From The Bongo’ (although we suspect those track titles are the wrong way around!).
Experimental ambient pioneer K. Leimer probes fuzzy, hypnagogic and inter-dimensional sounds on a rare solo session away from his Palace Of Lights label
“First Terrace Records have the honour to present an album of new work by influential and idiosyncratic artist K. Leimer. His second outing for First Terrace, following his part on FTS001, the album finds the composer working in a solemn & focused mode, rendering deep sonic landscapes that shimmer, sink into themselves and play host to a slowly emerging carousel of auditory apparitions - dynamics delivered through his mastery of textural manipulation.
Emerging in opposition to the sunless days & countless distresses of current US politics, each track is imbued with a refreshing sense of equanimity - in Kerry’s own words, he “does not profess that music - especially an experimental, lyric-free music - can change or influence such circumstances. But this is the context in which we now live, and this has shaped the music of Irrational Overcast — a coping mechanism for living under clouds of baseless beliefs and simplistic ideologies that disfigure and stifle what is an admittedly difficult though really quite lovely world.”
Akiko Haruna draws on backgrounds in Dance and A/V performance and sound design for her smartly off kilter debut with Where To Now?
An electronic expression of emotion through motion, ‘Delusion’ follows from Akiko’s previous work in promo videos for John Newman and AlunaGeorge to present a warped definition of rhythm-driven styles inspired as much by forward-thinking conceptions of club music as ideas from contemporary dance choreography.
In ‘A Mother’s Love’ she finds a fine tension between chattering, swarming vocal cut-ups and lunky, offbeat kicks in a style comparable to Don’t DJ as much as object blue, before the interlocking tresillo rhythms of ‘Husband Established’ work a stumbling, thunderous groove recalling the pressure and purpose of Jlin’s soundtrack for Wayne McGregor’s ‘Autobiography’, and she pushes that crookedly balletic flow into more abstract, spaced-out dimensions on ‘Hetero’ and with heightened, gyroscopic proprioception in ‘Ripheus Alley’.
Deffo one for the dancers!
Kate Carr renders a vividly sensurreal snapshot of nature coexisting with industry in a mix of microphone and hydrophone recordings made on the banks of the river Seine, next to a Nuclear power plant. This record is a one strong reason why Kate is among the most intriguing artists working with field recordings right now - make sure to check it.
“I was one of the only people to hop off the train from Paris at the tiny Nogent-sur-Seine station. Looking around for someone who looked like they might be meeting me, I spotted a very unexpected sight – a large nuclear power complex not far off in the distance. I had arrived in this part of France, about two hours by the fast train to the west of Paris, to undertake recordings of the Seine, in a tiny town called Marnay. Unknown to me the river, which at this time is icy cold, had just started to recede after bursting its banks.
Marnay is a town of just over 200 people. It is small, and its population appears to have dwindled dramatically. During the month I was there I often found myself cycling along empty streets, and the town's pub and hotel were shuttered and abandoned. There were no shops, and even the church was shut up and unused, although its electrified bell still tolled the hours. Elections took place that month, and the National Front took over the mayoralty from the sitting French Socialist Party candidate who told me on the night she lost about her memories of taking to the streets in May of '68.
I have loved the Seine since I was a child and read a book about an artist trying to paint the river, and when I arrived it was certainly doing justice to my memories of that book, swollen and mighty, perilously cold and formidable. In some places it was so flooded it was impassable. The river, and its series of tributaries and canals, some of which appeared to have been created to serve the nearby nuclear complex, had established vast marshes of bog, particularly in the area which approached the rear of the reactors, and water birds had arrived in their hundreds to enjoy this vast increase in habitat.
It was in these areas that I focused my recording.”
Killer, hour-long session of grayscale drones and beating frequencies by The Stomach, channelling arcane eldritch noise in a tradition of UK tape culture for L.I.E.S.
Hailing from a small English town, The Stomach’s raw, pulsating music effectively belongs to a rhizome of parochial noise explorers that connects Broken Flag to Astral Social Club, Colin Potter and Mordant Music.
Its 10 tracks cogitate on the mind-numbing drudgery of life in less-than-exciting places where even bus routes avoid, using a rawly masticated mix of analog electronics to convey a chronic day-to-day smudge of the senses that conversely works as relief from the same thing, drawing a sort of double negative ecstasy from agrarian tedium.
They get top marks for (nearly) naming four tracks after Scottish demigod Kenny Da(l)glish, including the primal thrum of ‘Kenny’s RockNRoll’, but our favourites are the loner mantra of ‘Rocks That Look Like Meat’ and the pebbledashed sputter of ‘Bilko’ where he really nails the feeling of slowly combusting frustration/noisy gratification.
Silent Servant injects Alessandro Adriani’s ‘Fuoco’ with potent EBM Funk
Mannequin boss Adriani unfurls an extended mix of his murky EBM trek across the front, riddled with virulent, searching arps and pinned into place by hard working snares.
But the real gear is in the remix by EBM expert Silent Servant, who adds cracking snare reinforcements, retuned arps and shearing metallic noise to the mix with a more strapping, stroppy effect for the muscle Marys and pencil-necked geeks with slick-down side partings.