Lowkey dreamy cloudhall club pressure from Franco-Belgian duo u o & tumy, chasing up Felix Hall’s reggaeton mixtape on hot Parisian label, Promesses
Full of effervescent, night-light melodies and trim array of trap, R&B and coupé decalé rhythms, ‘2Sparks’ extends a memorable introduction to French producer tumy and his Belgian vocal foil, u o that lands to our ears somewhere to the side of Palmistry, Bladee, and Simo Cell.
They emerge from the corner of ‘dent de lait’ with whispered vox and hushed chords that grow lush trance wings by the end, before the iridescent arps and tight upswing of the EP’s big highlight ‘fumée noire’ takes hold, with extra, autotuned vox by France based artist Prise de Risque, and they keep matters perfectly soft-touch with the feminine pressure of ‘Poubelles & Ordures’, and the sublime pads and floating cloudhall-into-paso doble vector of ’Seul’ featuring Belgian singer Johannes.
The “unreleased” project all Chi heads have been holding out for; Mr. Fingers opens up his archives in the first of a very promising new series on his legendary label, Alleviated Records.
The godfather and architect of deep house proper is in inimitable effect on all four cuts, taking in an outtake from his Fingers Inc. album ‘Another Side’ with the EP’s sultry jacker ‘Chains’, whereas ‘Electronic Debris’ cuts a ruder acid figure with rubbery 303 bass and hot organ vamps, while ‘Saspence’ heads off on a more mystic mission in an acid arab style, and the juicy tweaks of ’Nyte Light’ comes off like a strangely blunted acid version of ‘Sweet Dreams’ with a few notes missing.
Ivkovic & Smagghe are bang on the nose with a personal love note to ’90s-‘00s electronica rounding up cheap bin gems from I-F, Cylob, The Back Dog, Funckarma, Seefeel and many more from a hazy, inspirational era
Depending your age and location in the late ‘90s, the terms electronica and IDM probably have shifting meaning to every listener. Vladimir Ivkovic and Ivan Smagghe both worked in record shops during this phase and their proximity to the good stuff is evident across ‘A Future Of Nostalgia’, with 12 tracks that exemplify the cross-section of shoegaze/ambient/acid/electro/breaks which emerged from the more unconventional artists of that pivotal era. Trust it’s not intended as any sort of comprehensive survey, but more a personal mixtape style selection, highlighting classic and rarities they look back upon most fondly, surely turning up more than a few obscurities that will have bypassed even the most ardent connoisseurs and owners of moth eaten Warp t-shirts.
It’s been amusing to see a wave of insatiable all-night (and day) house types digging this sound in recent years, so the timing of ‘A Future of Nostalgia’ could hardly be more apt for anyone diversifying their bonds beyond the usual grooves, just as the original tunes would have appealed to a motley cross-section of, as they put it “pop kids getting through to the dancefloor via Aphex Twin and nerdy house heads dissolving their four to the floor into the futuristic world of Warp compilations” back in the day.
If you’re looking for highlights, tip-of-tongue obscurities such as Zugzwang’s lilting beauty ‘Euphonic’ and Marcia Blaine School For Girls’ folksy whirligig are right up there for the lip-smacking daytime dancers, while Move D and co’s I.F. turn for Fax is tipped for couch-inclined gouch-outs along with Replicant’s kosmiche arp trip ‘Analiz’, Abfahrt Hinwil’s ‘Tech 7’ is prime MDMA trigger material, and Marco Passarani’s ‘Ixora’ flings us right back to far more innocent, wide-eyed times.
Heat-seeking first international issue of a sought-after session from South Africa, 1986 by the legendary Condry Ziqubu ov Harari fame
One of the biggest names in South African disco, Condry’s career had already seen him play with seminal acts since the ‘60s including The Flaming Souls, The Anchors and The Flaming Ghettoes, plus a stint with the biggest band in the country in the mid ’80s, Harari - leading him to be listed on the apartheid government’s national security watch list - by the time he penned ‘Gorilla Man.’
The title track sets the scene with brilliant intro of the type you might find on a modern-day YouTube video, before rolling out the stickiest sort of SA disco boogie groove, and ‘Confusion Ma Africa’ follows with a more harrowing scenario of wails, choppers, and gunfire that gives way to a more brooding sort of SA groove, sealed with Condry’s killer vocal. ‘Kati’ is more in bubblegum flavour of SA dance music, and the slick, proto-deep house/boogie of ’She’s Impossible’ is the one for us (“She say my mother is the ugliest thing in town”, looool).
Made in just over a day, Ziúr's "Now Now" is overdriven, airlock pop that seemingly excavates the remains of a Walkman blasted into outer space. Mindboggling.
While the rest of us have been struggling to butter a piece of toast, Berlin's Ziúr has been churning out music at an alarming pace. "Now Now" is a brand new EP released on her own fledgling label and was put together in just over a day. It's far from throwaway too; while other Berlin producers might struggle for a week to find the perfect kick drum (fyi it's always the TR-909), Ziúr has managed to sculpt five jubilant pop vignettes that build on and surpass 2019's outstanding "ATØ".
Anyone who was lucky enough to catch last summer's ambitious full-length live collaboration with Juliana Huxtable will have an idea where Ziúr's head has been at recently. "Now Now" feels like a continuation of that mode as she layers her soaring vocals over rugged sci-fi backdrops that hint at forgotten pop forms without resorting to obvious references. It's like screwed 'n chopped dance pop or squashed, flickering emo rock, piped through a holographic bluetooth soundsystem on Deep Space 9.
Tearful ballad 'Crumble Bittersweet' anchors the record with womping subbasss that sits comfortably beneath Ziúr's voice and hopeful, glassy synths. It's the delicate remains of a culture that now only exists in memory, vocal earworms swirling into the distance and fragments of structure struggling to become whole. 'Reignproof' meanwhile should slake thirsty fans of Ziúr's earlier material, with its club-collapsing "Inception" formula and scorched trap rhythms. But our fave is 'Bleak', an unashamedly uplifting ballad that captures the feeling of sunlight cracking in through the dark.
This is it, the anticipated collaboration between legends MF Doom and Madlib.
The vibe is spread across 22 separate skits/tracks each produced by one or both heavyweights. Opening the Villainy is 'The Illest Villains' a very Doom styled sample skit, lots of TV voiceovers and a storyline about Madvillain which is cut and spliced to perfection, recalling King Geedorah's 'Monster Zero'.
'Accordion' starts the fray proper, an accordion loop drops an almost laxadazical vibe over the beat, while MF styles over the top, namedropping Dastardly and Mutley and Joe Tex, before 'America's Most Blunted' deploys a psyche break with some genius samples lifted from what must be a goldmine Marijuana awareness record.
A collab between 2 of the finest people in hip hop, with some fly guests, a classic for the ages? 100%
Hypnotic proto-Raï from Algeria circa 1979-1989 by Drissi El-Abbassi, a pioneer of the style who bridged its early roots with the era of multi-track digital recording during the sound’s rapid evolution, making for an insane set of microtonal synths, psych guitars and drum machines for fans of Cheb Khaled, Omar Khorshid or Omar Souleyman.
‘Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ plays deeply into one of the core influences of borderless Algerian/Egyptian label Nashazphone, highlighting a figure relatively unsung beyond the North African Arabic diaspora, introducing his unusually balmy, soft-voiced take on a genre that came to be known for its harder edges. Set to a mix of microtonal Roland synthesiser leads and swaying drum machines, El-Abbassi’s vocals emote with particular clarity and sensuality, carrying the jazz and psych rock-inspired early sound into a prototype of its current form across eight songs that chart his transition from working with principal group Les Freres Zergui, to selections from recordings by his own band’s influential releases during the mid-late ‘80s.
Drissi El-Abbassi was 17 in 1978, when he joined one of the main groups in Oran region, Les Aigles Noir, working as “stage animator” - a sort of hypeman, also responsible for relaying lyrics to the lead singer, at weddings and parties - and by 1979 he was a member of Les Freres Zergui, who pioneered the use of wah wah pedals and drums in the style of Rai; a new sound established by Messaoud Bellemou and his troupe, that incorporated trumpets and sax into a distinctive new Algerian genre. He cut his teeth playing two shows a night at the weekends with Les Freres Zergui, and his first solo tape came out that year with Zergui on guitar. Following Zergui’s passing in 1983, and the dissolution of the band, El-Abbassi set up his own group, embracing new technology and helping progress the style alongside legendary producer Meghni Mohamed for labels such as Editions Anwar, Editions Maghreb, and Editions Saint Crepain.
The eight songs on ‘Rai Sidi Bel Abbes’ cover a spectrum of El-Abassi’s work during 1979-1989, from the mouth watering microtonal psych licks and nagging machine grooves of ‘Zedti laadab aliya’ to the lissom guitars and accordions of ‘Khalouni neck’, showcasing his smoothly contoured vocal cadence in finest style on cuts that resemble melodic Lovers Rock vibes in ’Trig maaskar’ and intoxicatingly sensual highlights ‘Jat jat’, plus the passionate, psychedelic ache of ‘Manetzouedj manebni dar’, or ‘Djibek liyam’, which should appeal to fans of Omar Khorshid as much as Omar Souleyman.
Brutally anxious and sensitive noise techno tribute to underground comic artist Mark Beyer, shredding noise harmonics and ragged-out techno pulses for fans of Merzbow, Russell Haswell, Eva Justka, Astral Social Club...
Savage noise tekno psychosis from Valerie Smith, a hairy man from Paris who also makes music as Z.B. Aids, here paying dues to the bleak underground ‘80s comics of Mark Beyer for a fierce debut with vital Algerian/Egyptian label, Nashazphone
‘We're Depressed’ acknowledges a severely modern sense of anxiety in torrents of bilgy rhythmic noise that pumps in a vein of esoteric activity linking Pat Murano’s Decimus to Ewa Justka, to Masami Akita and Sun Ra. Burned out dance pulses rev into murky warehouse space, delivered with a hands-on style that feels as uncannily descriptive as Mark Beyer’s often wordless comic strips’ approach to a world of emotional bleakness and naive beauty.
The artist recorded all the material on 4-track in winter 2017/2018, following his nose and Beyer’s inspiration into mesmerisingly uncomfortable head spaces. The pulsating, obliterated mass of ‘Encastré ter’ sets the tone for a crushing session rounding from the harsh stress test sonics and surprising moments of lucidity in ‘Baroud d’honneur’, and the tonal degradation of ‘Vice de cercle’, saving up his druggiest sort of psychedelic rhythmic noise for the 12 minutes of ‘Fou de rage il mange sa mère’, and what sounds like Sun Ra doing flashcore in ‘Habitable.’
Abul Mogard makes an ever welcome return with a suite of starkly brooding shoegaze drone pieces mostly generated from an old Bechstein upright piano built in 1891. If yr into Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd's 'The Moon and the Melodies', Deathprod, Ryuichi Sakamoto or Jim O’Rourke, this one’s for you.
Inspired as much by the instrument’s rich harmonic textures as the Italo Calvino short story that lends the album’s track titles, ‘In Immobile Air’ collects five works written by Mogard during the ill-fated Spring of 2020. Thematically, the album dwells on Mogard’s typical concerns with memory and states of mind, and comes to feel like the musical rendering of a soul preoccupied by their mortality. As such, it can be read as a suite of instrumental hymns for a world coming to terms with its current condition and state of static unrest, evoking a stillness of air in its glacial movements while reflecting a gnawing sense of something impending. Yet, it’s simultaneously and quite profoundly soothing in its widescreen harmonic shifts along the knife-edge between bliss and dread.
The album arrives after a pause in Mogard’s prized oeuvre since 2019’s ‘And We Are Passing Through Silently’ with a humbly arresting presence that perfuses all of his best work and keeps his listeners rapt for more. The handful of pieces speak to both Mogard’s rich inner life, and the inner voice of his instrument. Using analog and digital equipment, he transforms the melancholic simplicity of his melodies into a quietly dreamlike space. The title track lays out this bare aesthetic with wilting, elegiac notes that vaporise into a timbral thizz, before its brooding course takes in the oblique beauty of ‘Clouds’ and tarry drones recalling recent Deathprod moves in ‘Black Dust.’ He finally emerges from the murk most poignantly with the clearer keys of ‘Sand’, only to shore up somewhere more contemplative and abstract, in the low key magisterial expanse of ‘On a Shattered Shell Beach.’
Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews finally inaugurate their long-in-the-making RR label with this deadly new Raime 12”, a precision-tooled exploration of negative space, sinogrime, found Youtube dialogue and colossal subs. The ghosts of grime, jungle, dub, and industrial musicks run deep with this one, here rendered with perhaps the most shockingly pristine, eye-catching production of their career to date.
Following on from ‘Am I Using Content Or Is Content Using Me?’, their 2nd EP of 2018 locates Raime in pursuit of challenging, non linear, and often beat-less structures ruptured by the shrapnel of online culture. The hardcore continuum still haunts their sound, but the concrète soundscapes they create make use of a spectra of techniques to camouflage its presence in any overt way. What remains is a skeletal render that implies delirious momentum. With every chime, sample, snare and sub honed to staggering effect, it becomes an exercise in hyperclarity and propulsion.
There’s no one really honing this sound in quite the same way, while there are parallels with weightless grime and the crystalline electronics of early Arca, Sophie, Rabit etc, Raime trigger a different kind of dynamic, one that fills acres of space with a more nervous, angsty energy directly connected to a lineage of UK club styles. It’s basically anything but background music and feels like a culmination, or perhaps a diversion from a path Raime have been following for almost a decade. If this new label allows them the space to untangle that carefully considered aesthetic, we’re f*cking there for it.
A colossal, trance-inducing, yet largely overlooked pillar of 20th century American minimalism.
Regarded as a "holy grail" by the likes of Keith Fullerton Whitman, it spans 100 minutes of atonal, amorphous string composition scored in four parts for a quintet, here performed by Linda Cummiskey (Violin), Malcolm Goldstein (Violin), Kathy Seplow (Violin), Stephen Reynolds (Viola), David Gibson (Violoncello).
By all accounts Harley Gaber was a colourful fella, a complex American artist, composer and filmmaker who dropped it all not long after release of this 1976 work to become a full time Tennis player and coach. He would return to the arts, and later music, writing soundtracks for his own films before sadly committing suicide in 2011.
'The Winds Rise in the North' is a frighteningly heavy and rewarding master-stroke, giving rise to dense, gripping harmonic overtones which prickle, seduce and get under the skin in a way that few others achieve. Lock the doors, turn off your phone and give yourself two hours with this. You won't regret it.
On this newly released work Jakob Ullmann combines his appreciation of Cageian principles with sacred composition in utterly riveting ways, resulting in two of the most extreme and uncompromising examples of his “quiet music” - that is, a music which is composed and realised to be played just above the volume of each listener’s ambient background.
And in case you’re not aware of what we mean by “extreme”, we’re talking seriously quiet - bordering on silent - instrumental gestures; the kind of creaks and klangs that, on the most glib level, recall a “ghost” in your house at midnight, while on a more serious, theological level, are intended to heighten the listener’s sense of the unknown, the metaphysical, the spiritual: the sacred.
In both works the ‘hallmarks’ of Jakob Ullmann’s intently defined yet unfathomably open style of composition come to light. On Müntzers stern, a pre-recorded performance of a hymnal text written by the German theologian is played back at barely perceptible volume into the same space where Dafne Vicente-Sandoval translates the graphic score for bassoon. The result is a totally sparse yet breathtakingly pensive piece where it’s beautifully uncertain what we’re hearing - is that the chance sound of a distant plane or Dafne’s bassoon? Are those voices in your head, outside the window, or on the recording? Either way, the barely-there but complex results are genuinely ambiguous, forming a total breakdown of conventions that leave the listener with far more questions than they answer.
On solo II, part of a group of works relating to the notion of disappearing musics completed in 1992 following Ullmann’s conversations with John Cage, the effect of Dafne’s bassoon, recorded in Kartäuserkirche (Bürgerliches Waisenhaus) is even more extreme. Holistically taking into account everything from the thermal fluctuation of the space and the way it affects Dafne’s reed, to its unique acoustic imprint, and by turns what lies outside its walls, the piece directly builds on Ullmann’s dialogue with Cage, and induces us into a sort of lucid dream state where time dissolves, outside becomes inside, and we feel physically sublimated into the piece and its projected timbral architecture.
As Ullmann’s music has come to light beyond the most rarified classical corridors over the last decade (with thanks to its champions such as Stephen O’Malley and Bill Kouligas, among others), the composer’s radical approach and uncompromising beliefs have given us some of the most memorable and perception-altering musical experiences imaginable. We can surely add these two new Ullmann works to that set of life-affirming and quietly challenging experiences.
Black Ark In Dub is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"Featuring a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded at the Black Ark just before its demise, Black Ark In Dub features bass heavy spooky dub deconstructions of ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’, ‘Ethiopia’, ‘Lion A De Winner’, ‘Open The Gate’, ‘Guideline,’ and ‘Mr Money Man’, along with an embellished dub version of Ras Keatus I ‘Dreadlocks I’ and the much sought after ‘Guidance’ a longime Jah Shaka killer exclusive to this set.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark In Dub remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another. This re-mastered release adds Lackley Castell ‘Jah Love Is Sweeter’ (vocal cut to the opening track ‘Jah’) plus Black Ark Vol. 2 the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release took a different path. More vocal oriented the album features extended dubwise cuts of Caol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid do-overs from Third World man Bunny Rugs."
Italian ambient maestro Gigi Masin wins our hearts again with this sublime, impressionistic soundtrack to Il Silenzio Dei Tuoi Passi (The Silence of your Steps), Stefano Gentile’s photo book focussed on Venice at night.
Venezia is certain to strike a chord with anyone lucky enough to have visited the city, and even if you haven’t, it’s a beautifully evocative package, marrying Masin’s balmy drift of solo keys and chiffon synth pads with absorbing imagery of the city’s narrow ginnels and, all softly lit by lone street lamps that mirror the music’s plays of light and shadow.
Unfortunately our Italian is beyond mediocre, so we can’t really tell you much about the liner notes, but the symbiotic images and music convey far more than we could ever spell out here.
’Trippin’ Musik’ is Nurse With Wound’s most significant new dose in a while, collecting 3 epic discs of steeply psychedelic sonics that may well alter your breathing and heart rates and mental state. No tracklisting provided, play however tf you like.
Following from the reissue of NWW’s ’Soliloquy For Lilith’ boxset, ‘Trippin’ Musik’ relays the most recent findings from Steven Stapleton and co’s ongoing psychedelic research / surrealist reconnaissance / occult practice in electro-acoustic and avant-garde spheres. As the title suggests, it’s one for the journey, taking up whole sides of vinyl with intensely and intently focussed recordings that often take over 20 minutes to say their psychedelic piece in a cryptic language of abstraction.
Whether you take drugs to listen to this music or not, the effect is likely to live up to the title, but we’re pretty certain it will be stronger with than without. One disc features a whole side of what sounds like a folk song fractalised and slowed down by Carl Stone, while another also sees them strung out in desert guitar scenes sort of like a digitized interpolation of Earth jamming with Soisong, and the side of rapidly panned gasps is practically guaranteed to send your head into a tailspin given the right conditions, before it all shores up in a deeply lysergic scene of strolling, head-squashing, liminal/laminal electronic timbres that feel like classic kosmische slowed down and exhaled by an AI.
Trust the efficacy of ’Trippin’ Musik’ for psychoactive potential is right up there with the most potent sonic substance. Approach with spare time and a well stocked freezer for best results.
Black Ark Vol. 2 is another piece of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s limitless musical puzzle.
"It’s a bedrock of deep and heavy rhythms recorded around Jamaica =just before the demise of Perry’s famed Black Ark Studio. Black Ark Vol. 2 is the follow up album to the acclaimed Black Ark In Dub that unsurprisingly for an Upsetter release, took a different path.
More vocal oriented, the album features extended dubwise cuts of (former wife and co-producer) Carol Cole’s ‘Ethiopia’, The Originals ‘Got To Be Irie’, Junior Byles ‘Mumbling & Grumbling and The Inamans remake of the Bee Gees hit ‘How Deep Is your Love’, along with an alternate take of the Silvertones roots classic ‘Give Thanks’ with flute overdub and a couple of solid covers from Third World lead vocalist Bunny Rugs.
Originally released in 1981 the hard to find Black Ark Vol. 2 remains a frozen sonic timepiece, captured at the beginning of the end of one era and poised at the start of another."
Richard Youngs and co’s experimental disco band meet Norwegian improvisors Lemur in a lissom quartet of ecstatic, hopeful jams following their album for Night School.
‘Amor/Lemur’ began life in Glasgow at the start of 2020 when the two sets of musicians played together for the first time and jumped straight in the studio the following day. Guided by groove, and sparingly layered with Youngs’ distinctive vocal, plus Luke Fowler’s synthlines, the results are broadly split between a decidedly live-sounding first side, and a second side subject to studio-as-instrument treatments rendered by mixing/engineer Paul Savage, and tape manipulations by Jason Lescalleet.
The lolling expanse of ‘Unravel’ sees the massed until open out with a folksy disco earthiness comparable to Arthur Russell circa ‘Springfield’, and leading into the pastoral glade-like opening strains of ‘Stars Burst’, which soon looks into a quick and pounding disco-not-disco motion. However we’re more partial to the other songs, with the devilish detail of the dubwise mixing coming into play on the mesmerising lilt and splashy drive of ‘Fear’, and to slippery effect in the slower, serpentine hustle of ‘For You’ with its nagging, lagging drums.
After helping shaping (hyper)pop music for the past decade, A.G. Cook presents their 2nd solo album in the slipstream of ‘7G’, their 2020 debut LP, proper
In case you’ve been snoozing under a rock for the past half decade (we wouldn’t blame you tbh), we’ll remind you that A.G. Cook has gained renown as the game-accelerating producer for Charli XCX. He’s also produced for Jónsi (Sigur Ros) and Kim Petras, as well as some of PC Music’s hottest property including GFTOY over the interim, leading him to be hailed as a pioneer of an emergent “hyper pop” style in the process. However, if you’re “of an age”, it’s maybe best to place his work in context stretching from Scritti Politti’s shiny pop to Max Martin (Britney, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys et al), but with additional strong influence from boy racer style Makina and Eurodance, to boot.
His 2nd album ‘Apple’ is an ideally marmite and aspartame flavoured example of Cook’s style, firing 10 shots of hyper-pert contemporary composition, taking in whiny autotuned country pish on ‘Oh Yeag’ and avant-terrace-ready anthems such as ‘Xxoplex’, next to craftier highlights of gurning chamber-pop experiments in ‘Animals’ and the flighty ‘Stargon’, plus the needling niceness in ‘Airhead’, breezy airport reggae pop in ‘The Darkness’, and stadium-sized bedroom pop in ‘Lifeline’ starring Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek.
Let’s be honest, it’s kind of disposable shite and we’ll probably never listen to it ever again, but ‘Apple’ remains an intriguing symptom of recent decades’ hypermodern culture.
Finally, Music From Memory carry us back over the Atlantic to survey Brazilian flirtations with electronic and contemporary music c. 1984-1996, covering a spectrum of new wave pop, ambient balm, and experimental grooves. Killer set!!!
It’s maybe fair to say that, during the golden era for ambient and electronic dance music - roughly the period covered in this comp - Brazil’s contributions have been largely overlooked in the Western world. ‘Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music From Brazil, 1984-1996’ seeks to remedy this with a cherry-picked overview of this epoch that highlights spellbinding works by Mitar Subotić (aka Serbian producer Sub/Rex Ilusivii, tipped off by Vladimir Ivkovic) alongside stacks of uniquely humid, sensuous, feverishly psychedelic visions from artists you’ve likely never heard before.
Mitar Subotić is credited on three highlights, including a gem in ‘Velvet’ from his psychedelic samba-rock project Angel’s Breath, and Faust Fawcett serves standouts with his Lena Platonos-like ‘Império Dos Sentidos’ and the slunky bump of ‘Shopping De Voodoos’, but if it’s straight-up dancefloor heat and percussion that you’re (understandably) looking for, then it’s best to check out peaches such as May East’s woozy batacuda ‘Maraka’, the spaced-out, psychy slosh of Akira S, the lithe but smudged jazz-fusion shimmy of ‘Ilha Grande’ by Jorge Degas & Marcelo Salazar, and what sounds like one of James Ferraro’s ‘Far Side Virtual’ workouts, but with fruity, squawking vocals in ‘Guero-Guero’ by Tetê Espíndola.
One of Prurient’s most captivating raids on the borderlands of power noise and symphonic doom rears its furious head for this epic gatefold edition on Hospital Productions, 10 years on from its original release on double tape and then as a single, shortened vinyl pressing for the legendary Load Records in 2007. This is the first time these tracks have been on vinyl in their full, original form.
Pleasure ground stands as a key part of Prurient’s most brutal quadrant alongside The History Of Aids (2002), Black Vase (2005) and Cocaine Death (2008), its immolating rage renders Fernow at an early crest of his energies, consolidating the hi-pitch intensity and bile of Whitehouse, with the majestic, meditative inspirations of Nordic Black Metal and a more personalised lust for synth tones and pulsating electronic undercurrents.
Its four long tracks are riven with the paradoxes that make Prurient’s music so compelling and practically a genre unto itself, meting out a sound in Earthworks / Buried in Secret that’s simultaneously nerve-gnawing yet bleakly tender, or weighing up caustic harshness with a melodic vulnerability in Apple Tree Victim that appeals far beyond the bombed-out no mans land of pure noise to intersect with the entrails of EBM in the raging but poised thunder of Military Road - one of his finest moments, bar none - and coldwave pop and fetishistic synth themes in Outdoorsman/Indestructible.
If you’re willing to bite down you will find a depth of bittersweet flavour submerged beneath the tidal waves of white noise, filled with nuance and vulnerability, slowly dragging you into the abyss.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker and making its first appearance on vinyl, 'inside means inside me' finds Ulla in an existential daze, conjuring a solitary phantasy woven around recorded telephone conversations and familiar // hard to place field recordings that are mazy, beautiful and unsettling, with an effect that feels like a flotation tank session inside someone else’s head. Followers of Ulla’s work, Sam Kidel’s ‘Disruptive Muzak’, DJ Lostboi’s ambient hymnals or Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction pearls should spend some time inside this one.
Pieced together from airspun recordings made in Philadelphia during spring 2020, ’inside means inside me’ holds a subtle mirror to the new world’s psychic ambiance of existential, slowburn dread. Prizing the sensitively insightful, lower case manner that made Ulla’s 'Tumbling Towards A Wall’ album so memorable, here the sound is more poignant, the dissociative flux used to perhaps more therapeutic effect for an ephemeral reading of the times.
In the first half, Ulla makes a subtly heartbreaking use of fragmented phone calls and shimmering pads, but embedded in the music’s weft they take on an unsettling resolution that’s hard to place. On the flip, more entwined conversations snag in the breeze with location recordings and scudding hypnagogic washes on a signature low key movement that will keep you feeling swaddled but uneasy until the end.
The master of the tape loop returns with "Lamentations", yet another collection of eroded drone for low-light dreamers, captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski’s archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.
Those familiar with Basinski's catalog won't find a lot new here - not a complaint - like the molasses-slow shots that made David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" so eerily affecting, Basinski's spine-chilling repetition drags u into a state of near-hypnosis, focusing on the tiny details as they crumble in and out of view.
"Lamentations" is the perfect title; we've been spinning this on repeat as the constant chatter of apocalyptic news bubbles thru social media and every newsreel across the planet. It's hard to tell exactly what Basinski is lamenting but it doesn't really matter - each track sounds like a fragment of our past slowly fading from view. As "The Disintegration Loops" mourned a New York City that had been lost, "Lamentations" feels like a memorial for something else huge and all-encompassing. Nostalgia's a hell of a drug.
1981 South African Soul-Funk-Jazz from the master tape vault of the As-Shams/The Sun label by the creator of the Black Disco albums.
"As underground jazz fermented in the social and political powder keg of early-80s South Africa, composer and bandleader Pops Mohamed retired the Black Disco moniker in favour of Movement in the City. Their second offering yielded one of the most treasured releases in the As-Shams catalogue by way of Black Teardrops (SRK 786150), a singular blend of down-tempo and atmospheric South African rare groove featuring Dollar Brand saxophonist Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee and bass wizard Sipho Gumede on stand-out cuts like "Lament" and "Camel Walk." This carefully restored Sharp-Flat reissue in an edition of 500 puts the album back in print for the first time in 40 years."
The final performance by legendary electronic music catalyst Mika Vainio depicts the Pan Sonic co-founder at his blistering best only months before he passed away in 2017
‘Last Live’ is demonstrative of the singular way in which Vainio harnessed elemental electronics to his will. Recorded at Cave12, Geneva, on 02.02.17, the set is presented here post-edited by Stephen O’Malley and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, at EMS, Stockholm, to unleash a definitive blast of raw electronic forces that speak unflinchingly to the unpredictable nature of his improvised noise. Quite simply, Vainio is unmatched in his field for this sort of work, and this session stands as testament to the inspirational conviction and devastating effect of his music.
While it may not be immediately apparent on first listen, Vainio’s music has long drawn influence from myriad, intense forms of music. Be it techno, delta blues, dub, black metal, or sheer isolationist minimalism, it was all there, collapsed into a black hole of sound that could be as bloody-minded as it was heart-rendingly sensitive, often in the space of one cut. ‘Last Live’ portrays these unapologetically human characteristics in Vainio’s typically frank yet oblique manner, with each section candidly expressing polarised extremes of sound, from the first part’s transition between jack-licking drones to skin-tearing distortion, while the 3rd and 4th capture him at his most rhythmically disaffected, strongly recalling the almighty, juddering forces of his ‘Kilo’ (2013) album.
Ana Roxanne follows up the short-and-sweet "~~~" with this devastatingly beautiful full-length for Kranky, joining the dots between the label's past and present with heartbreaking sounds that remind us of Labradford, Windy & Carl, Grouper and beyond.
The album was written over the last five years, when the LA-based, Oakland-raised artist released that debut EP. While that record was initially dropped quietly, it was eventually picked up and reissued by Matthewdavid's Leaving Records last year, bringing her almost spiritual vocal-led sounds to a much wider audience.
Ana Roxanne grew up obsessed with her mom's collection of 80s and 90s R&B CDs, singing along to them obsessively while simultaneously training her voice more rigorously as part of a church choir. Years later, she was introduced to Hindustani classical music and her connection to her voice and its potential shifted drastically. When she returned to Oakland, she began to refine her craft studying at the prestigious Mills College, learning to work with synthesizers and becoming obsessed with the deep devotional music of Alice Coltrane. And all of these sounds - these connecting threads - are present on "Because of a Flower".
The album is remarkable in its sublime coherence. Roxanne blends styles, influences and cultural reference points so seamlessly it's almost like reading a diary or a book of poems. From the beginning of the album, which opens on a spoken word piece snipped from a harmony textbook, we're transported to a different world. As billowing drones drift peacefully into view, Roxanne's voice echoes above like kisses from a distant reality. This is deeply personal music, and Roxanne is unafraid to bear her soul and assuredly reflect her identity as an intersex person, imbuing her sounds with a vulnerable sincerity that's impossible to fake.
From there, we're ushered lovingly through songs that unify different elements (muted guitar phrases, fragile drum machine loops, disintegrating film snippets) beneath Ana Roxanne's spine-tingling vocals but retain a rare cohesion. Each track is markedly different, but the album hangs together so perfectly it's almost impossible to separate a single moment from the sublime whole.
It is many things and one complete entity simultaneously. Anyone who's been enthralled by Kranky's classic sounds, from Labradford to Windy & Carl to Grouper, absolutely needs to grab this immediately; utterly unmissable music and one of the best records of its ilk we've heard this year.
Pure Bugandan thunder from core Nyege Nyege Tapes unit, Nilotika Drum Ensemble, demonstrating the sort of drum circle tempest that has charged up all of the label’s revered parties since day dot
Revolving around seven drummers around leader Jajja Kalanda, Nilotika Drum Ensemble play devilishly complex rhythms owing to traditions from across the country, from the Iteso of eastern Uganda, to the Bugandan styles that encompass the capital city Kampala and their tribal south central regions. They’ve been at it for over a decade now, but the rhythms predate them by manifold more years, stemming from ancient central African traditions.
‘Ejokawulida’ rolls out a cascade of swingeing polymetric rhythms from the Iteso tradition that mesh and swarm in ravishingly complex patterns, somehow hingeing around a precise, internal logic of a quantum clock that can’t be read but only understood by dancing limbs. ‘Kekusimbe’ follows on a variant of Ugandan traditional music called Bakisiimba, where, to our ears, it feels like time is moving forwards and backwards simultaneously as the patterns switch on the spot between slow swagger and slow/fast palpitation with turbulent dynamic and discipline.
Blinders, both of them.
Albarika Store is home to many rare recordings, from more traditional folkloric and Sato styles, to the funk, blues and psych inspired workouts of the All Mighty Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, as they referred to themselves.
"Many of the original records are sought after by DJs and collectors asprime examples of Afro-funk, Afro-Latin and Afropsych sounds. The next in the series of reissues by Acid Jazz presents a straight reproduction of the incredibly hard to find Poly-Rythmo ‘Vol. 4’ album, originally from 1978. For DJs and dancers this album has long been about the killer track ‘Aiha Ni Kpe We’, an incendiary Afrobeat recording which will activate any dancefloor anywhere. “Every time I listen to the Orchestre Poly Rythmo… Wow, I just discover something new in the music” - Gilles Peterson This is the first exhaustive trawl of the archive and will see the label presented in a way that ensures its historical importance is recognized. Trips to West Africa have secured original master tapes and the process of transferring is ongoing. Over the next few years a comprehensive reissue campaign is planned."
Editions RZ collects historical recordings of Italy's forward looking and influential Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza 1967-75, a collective featuring Egisto Macchi (percussion + celesta), Ennio Morricone (trumpet), Walter Branchi (bass), Franco Evangelisti (piano), John Heineman (trombone + cello), Roland Kayn (hammond organ + vibes + marimbaphon), Giovanni Piazza (horn), Frederic Rzewski (piano), and Jesus Villa Rojo (clarinet).
All skilled players and composers, the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza were formed in 1964 at the initiative of Franco Evangelisti with an aesthetic agenda looking beyond the boundaries of previous improvisational musics. They focussed on production and the qualities of sound itself, employing innovative recording and playing techniques at the limits of their capabilities as performers and composers in order to discover the "new consonance" inferred in their nomenclature.
These ten pieces spanning eight years are highly considered works of art, aware of the Neo-Dadaists attempts to disassemble the concept of a work of art, and instead attempting to expand its parameters as a transitory body of work in flux. We can hear traces of this work reflected in the more forward thinking Italian film soundtracks of the era and to a further extent, in Ennio Morricone's work for Hollywood, in turn casting an influence over much exploratory, non-academic contemporary music.
For new initiates and avant-garde fiends alike, this Xenakis collection renders a breathtaking survey of works by the radical composer, theorist, architect and engineer, spanning the period 1956-1974 and featuring some of the greatest works of the 20th century, including the awe-inspiring sonic architecture of ‘Persepolis’.
Inarguably one of the most important composers to blend electronic process and classical orchestration, Greek-French artist Iannis Xenakis made an indelible impression on the 20th century with his staggeringly complex feats of musical engineering. Regularly cited as an influence by composers ranging from Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker thru Autechre and Reinhold Friedl, Xenakis’s polymath pursuits in hybridising music, architecture and mathematics generated a bewildering array of sounds and structures which have rarely, if ever, been bettered in terms of their sheer scope, scale and technical ingenuity.
It’s possible to break down Xenakis’ approach to composition, and its results, as an extension of his experiences in armed combat, fighting for Greece’s left wing liberationists against the German army and later the British during WWII, with the latter leaving him blinded in one eye. He would eventually leave Greece in 1947 after graduating university with a degree in civil engineering, and before he could be conscripted into the Greek army, who didn’t look favourably on left wing sympathisers. Moving from Greece to Paris left him with a sense of guilt at betraying his friends, and a sense that “I had to do something important to regain the right to live. It wasn’t just a question of music - it was something much more significant.”
That significant something turned out to be a mind-blowing, multi-disciplinary oeuvre practically unprecedented in the history of music, architecture and art; a radical synthesis of ideas which embraced new technology and abstraction as a means to realise and create a new world in the aftermath of WWII. Like the Italian futurists before him, Xenakis would draw on the chaotic soundfield of war, and combined with a strong knowledge of experimental classical music and a special nous of maths, Xenakis’ subsequent studies with Olivier Messiaen and work with Parisian architect Le Corbusier would prompt him to composing groundbreaking new music during the 1950s.
This 2CD contains works from that era, stretching right back to the pranging clangour and jet-like eruptions of Achorripsis [1956-57], an early example of his stochastic style of composition, thru the dizzying, chronic dynamics of Syrmos , and to some of the earliest work composed by a computer, the 7090 IBM, in ST/48(St/48-1,240162).
But it’s Xenakis’ ’60s/‘70s work where his genius is mst evident, from the breathtaking scope of Polytope De Montréal  - written for four orchestras in the same space in the French Pavilion at Expo ’67 - to the gobsmacking dimensions of his seminal Persépolis , which was realised for the Shah of Iran, plus the frankly terrifying, computerised wormhole of Polytope De Cluny [1972-74].
We can’t reasonably describe this set as anything other than indispensable for fans of electronic music from its inception to the modern day.
Belgian synth whizz Milan W follows Hiele’s lead on Universal Exports Antwerp, a new label set-up by Allon Kaye (Entr’acte), with a curiously emotive iteration of generative music which crosses paths with the most charming Stroom digs as much as Coil’s cod-classical works
“Generative music seems to imply a systems approach to music, or a system that once created can utilise randomness in a creative way. The benevolence of nature’s creativity belies this musical term, and can flip the word ‘generative’ to mean to involve constantly flowing creativity with purpose. In Europe there was a time in the Pagan Renaissance when architecture would mirror nature’s generative quality. Sculptures and columns were to imply animation or movement. That’s where Milan W.’s album comes through in 2020. His music involves the night shadows of Europe’s architecture
and its growth.
In Bloom personifies itself by showing Antwerp’s influential ‘Night Play’: a term that can relate to many European cities such as Bologna, Vienna, and so on and so on. The leftovers of Renaissance and gothic architecture are everywhere in Europe still; layers of ruins that can generate
the impression of simultaneous time periods. Tracks like Spa and Helium Queen reveal and revel in the power of shadow movement that is generated by the night.
In Milan W.’s past works, the poignant and simple creative play of dark wave and synth beat music was his vehicle for expression, but now on In Bloom he departs to a touching sidereal impressionism allied with Coil’s instrumental pieces on Horse Rotorvator — an album whose cover portrays the potential powers of the pavilion just as Milan W. is portraying the generative soul and alienation of Europe’s ‘Night Play’. Because of In Bloom we can come to believe that there is a secretive energy in alienation, a playfulness that is alight at Night.
[Text: Spencer Clark] “
Wonderfully daft exotic synth adventures from a surely winking and besequined Elko B, frothing his organs like a long-forgotten bandmate to Señor Coconut who was chucked out of the band for smoking too much angel dust and getting his ruffles mucky. ‘Bingo Shuffle’ is the one for us
“Here we add a new classic chapter to tradition. A tradition known as the many exotic sounds of Maestro Elko B. The multi instrumentalist member of bands like ‘The Horse Head Bed’, ‘The Groovecats Deluxe’, ‘Dino And The Chicks’ and many more has once again composed a new solo album for Ekster. This fine and tasty selection of musical pieces vibrate colourful echoes ranging from blossoming fountains over casino-esque gambling. Space-cowboys play hide and seek with childlike innocence in an adult world.
Many of the songs on “Realm of Rides & Romance” have found its origin in Blijweert’s work as a composer of soundtracks for theatre, dance performance and artistic installations. Cinematic reflections providing EXO “Paradise Moods” by this multitrack one man band. Recorded from 2017 to 2020, Elko has expressed finding inspiration in chance, the Sphinx, the casino, the Decap organ, colonialism, bats and frogs.”
Analogue synth wizard Martin Jenkins returns to Ghost Box with a glorious vision of retro-futurist electronics in ‘Hollow Earth’, the sequel to ‘Stasis’ 
At just under 1 hour long, ‘Hollow Earth’ weighs in as one of PCA’s most significant, broadest artist albums (as opposed to compilations). It finds the widely beloved project reeling inwards after the extrospective exploits of his ‘Stasis’ LP to reflect on themes of “subterranean exploration and submerged psychologies.”
Gassed on the spirits of Berlin skool synth improvisation and the new age chuff-on that informed early ‘90s house music, the album unfurls as a nightflight over undulating internal topography, roaming from signature slow techno wonders to weightless, vocodered waltz in ‘Descent’ and furtive, ghostly shapes in ‘Claustrophobe’, before raising the energy level with strident dance tracks such as ‘Mindshaft’ and ‘Core sample’. But it’s int he later quarters that we find some of the most precious material, such as the deliciously moody atmosphere and sylvan slink of ‘Dancing Shadows’, the mind-bending noise sculpture of ‘Quad Tape Substrate’, and his Carpenter-on-quaaludes emulation, ‘Buried Memories’.
Mad strong set of panoramic electronics somewhere between Autechre, Cairo’s 1127, Helm and Porter Ricks, deploying two side-long isolationist dubs that sprawl from washed out low-end spasms to fractured triplets that ricochet and escalate into a brutal, beautiful wall of sound. Pretty special this one!
Unglee Izi, whoever he or she may be, follows the single-minded but expansive course of a handful of solo albums since 2016 with a glacial confluence of booming subs and shivering hi-hats with slow-burning textural attrition and sublime pads that develop into a heaving mass of synth noise. That dense bleakness is held in elemental balance with moments of astonishing beauty, like peaking up above the mist to catch a glimpse of vast panoramic vistas at night.
’Sécurité du Premier Monde Tracteur Directrice de LASMA’ on the A side treks from reverberating bass hits and gamelan-like shudders up steep ravines, joined by rising cold winds and biospheric bleeps into blizzard-like dynamics, eventually revealing a peak of string pads and basses recalling the crest of ELpH’s ‘pHILM #1.’
The B-side deploys relentress trills and hi-hat rhythms descending a sheer granite face of synth pads that open out with a staggering sense of foreboding scale, only to calve away in avalanches of digital noise in the most visceral sense possible.
TIPPED to anyone looking for a frequency thrill.
Cyber-punkish, freestyling industro-house pressure from Iueke on his maiden mission for L.I.E.S.
Never one to fit in a box, the Parisian producer churns up a pair of free-handed jakbeat oddities in the wayward model of Jamal Moss or Noleian Reusse, but added dub flux, letting his drum machine and sequencer patterns rove on and off the beat in waves of viscous bass and rhythm.
They both take over 10 minutes to say their piece, with ‘Les super des cendres’ hustling a hovering strings and flapping drums into a labyrinthine, psychedelic club cut that gets progressively psychedelic, and ‘Des fureurs héroïques’ follows thru with tangled square bass and frayed, Afro-centric rhythm suss.
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s darkly beguiling 3rd album, seeing Steven Stapleton go solo in a slowly spirit-gnawing side of collapsed concrète jazz cut-ups that recall pre-echoes of Mica Levi and Demdike Stare at their most zonked
‘Merzbild Schwet’ documents Stapleton left to his own devices in the studio later in 1980 after bandmates Heman Pathak and John Fothergill left due to dissatisfaction with their collaborative efforts on ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’. The results, in their own way, are perhaps more detectably coherent, in the sense that this is the sound of one man’s mentalism, and not the combination of three who can’t decade who’s weirdest. As such, it’s a real warper, with one side seemingly nodding to a classic Neu! B-sides from behind lysergic eyes, and the other striking deep into a vein of theatric avant-garde.
Recycled from hacked and spliced jazz samples, the A-side’s ‘Dada x’ slops over the front with knackered drums and smeared brass tones that recall the B-side to ‘Neu! 2’ (itself crafted last minute in the studio, using slowed down samples of the same record’s A-side) as much as Micachu & The Shapes’ & London Sinfonietta’s ‘Chopped & Screwed’ session, with additional stirrings from a French pop record adding to the oddness in a way that also recalls Ghédalia Tazartès and that amazing Joseph Hammer side for PAN.
‘Futurismo’ is a very different beast though, stretching out 24mins of pineal, searching-in-the-dark atmospheres that feel like they strayed from an avant garde theatre work or modern classical conservatory, with pealing woodwind and arcing spectral keys paving the way for mind-bending corridors of patchworked sci-fi vocals, shatterproof industrial clangour, and Stapleton's patented plasmic electro-acoustic audness.
Completely head-warping Persian progressive dub nuggets from LA's Maral. Where else are you gonna find Lee "Scratch" Perry, Crass's Penny Rimbaud, oversaturated beats and Iranian classical and folk samples mashed into a fuzz of echo and tape hiss?
Few genres have been as rinsed, but Maral's "Push" arrives to remind us that innovation is still possible within dub's expansive parameters. The LA DJ and producer impressed with last year's bizarre and brilliant "Mahur Club", but truly centers her own dynamic universe on "Push", finding the psychedelic sweet spot between trip-hop, dub, club music and Iranian folk and classical styles.
From the opening blast of 'Kerman Wobble' - all echoing Iranian vocals and lo-bitrate beatbox hits that sound as if they're about to snap whatever tape spool they're cycling on - it's clear that Maral is wielding her fusion with intent. The fingerprints of dub are everywhere, as vocals get trapped in delay vortexes and rhythms are fired thru disintegrated FX chains. When Lee "Scratch" Perry shows up on 'Protect U', it doesn't feel like just another feature, it feels like a blessing from one generation to another.
You should know by now that we're into sonic world building here, and with a collection of samples, loops and FX, Maral has built a four-dimensional soundscape we never want to leave. It's the connecting thread between Tricky, Sote, DJ Spooky, Demdike Stare and DJ Rupture and like-minded contemporaries Thoom, 8ULENTINA and Lara Sarkissian. "Push" is an astonishing debut and one of the stand-out albums of the year, miss at your peril.
Casey MQ hits square between the eyes of How To Dress Well, PC Music and SOPHIE with their debut album on Toronto’s Halocline Trance. Shatterproof but tremulous vocals examine a sense of identity against a pop-tart set of self-productions by the artist, and beats from the artist known as Egyptrixx
““Watching old tapes of myself, I realize much of my childhood world was a multi-faceted obsession with boybands. Before even knowing about sexuality, I was seduced by their guise of desirability: a 5 men crew with subtle homoerotic tendencies singing about wanting ‘the girl’ and basking in the surrounding fandom. These images pervaded my childhood and plagued me with confused desire. I was enriched and enchanted by that world - I wanted every piece of it, I wanted to be a part of it. When I watch videos of my childhood, I can sense the purity of a child living his dream in real time. babycasey is playing alone: filming the band, introducing the band, performing as the band; he is every member, and the host, and the crowd. I can see babycasey engrossed by these figures. I wanted them and I wanted to be them, but hetero-normative expecations designate these as mutually exclusive possibilities. And so I attempted to give up my desire and become the desirable. I became a singer as a child because I loved it, and yet still, praise from the outside world came coated with normative, traditional values: ‘Sing like this and you will get all the girls.’ Success meant extinguishing a woman’s agency. It meant that desirability could only be validated through a hetero-normative gaze. Performance became my vehicle for success and my path towards an aspirationalist dream: be a star and be valued for beauty, sex and power. ‘Make some noise’ - be a force so powerful as to command young minds. It’s a deceit, and yet a child can be entranced. The melodies, the dancing, the images - pain and pleasure permeating within babycasey’s imagination."
Overmono play around with bittersweet tunings in a set of trancey-tempered glyders marking their return to XL
The supple techno roll and twirling lead of the title tune, and the brooding flight of ‘Aero’, roll out like Kieran Hebden getting smudged on K - a bit Four Ketty, if you allow - while ‘Clipper (Another 5 Years)’ swangs out with bustling garage-techno breaks and warped bassline tunings recalling Thom Yorke strong solo works, and ‘Verbosa’ tilts off with intricately woven ambient electro-techno patterns not a million miles away from Call Super’s recent album.
Second in a series of three releases, a 45 Minute doublepack featuring some of the most engrossing House music you’ll likely hear this year or any other...
We’re still dazed from the 1st volume, but Will Long and DJ Sprinkles have already cued up their 2nd session, with Mint / Clay landing handsome on Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse.
The format and aesthetic remains the same as Vol.1, namely two raw pieces by Will Long, backed with extended overdubs by Sprinkles amounting to thee deepest house this side of Larry Heard’s nuclear love bunker, all subtly executed and held up as a comparison to the aesthetics and intentions (or, ironically, the excess and lack of) of that sound in relief of current, conceptually-detached takes on the original NYC deep house sound which Sprinkles was instrumental in shaping as a downtown DJ during that formative era.
Again, Will Long, who’s best known for his experimental ambient work as Celer, proves that it ain’t what you’ve got but what you know and can do with it that matters. Under-Currents places sparing samples of T.R.M. Howard - a mentor of Jesse Jackson - amidst a dream sequence of carbonated hi-hats and lingering chords urged by a plump bass drum, whilst Get In & Stay In nods to civil right activist and current Georgia congressional representative John Lewis in a lush haze of crepuscular chromatics and loping swing.
On the flipsides, DJ Sprinkles contributes another pair of incredible overdubs, lending Long’s minimal elements a richer, fleshlier feel, whether with additional breakbeats or nimbly lowering the bass and layering up spirited flutes and Rhodes. Suffice to say, they’re absolute mind-melters.
Quite crucially, the concept never gets in the way of the music, perfectly demonstrating the symbiotic nature of the music and politics in the way we imagine they intended; I mean it’s not like they want you to sit in a corner of the club pondering their ideas, but they’re definitely worth bearing in mind, especially for the DJs, dancers and promoters who act as gatekeepers for this music.
20th anniversary reissue of Graham Lambkin’s sought-after solo debut, sounding like DJ Screw getting waterboarded in a flooded cellar. Part of the upcoming ’Solos’ boxset of his first four albums, reissued for first time by Brooklyn’s amazing Blank Forms Editions
For 40 cranky minutes, Lambkin pitch-shifts the vocal of his bandmate Tim Goss (The Shadow Ring) to a deathly croak, set against what sounds like the chronic drip drip drip of an overflowing bath or a basement in the process of flooding, while a chamber ensemble strikes up from time to time. It’s the sort of record you could attempt to recreate at home with minimal effort, and perhaps some soggy trews, but the magick lies in the utter obstinate oddness of it all, pushing listeners to a state of discomfort with an almost psychopathic sense of purpose, only to offer glimpses of classical respite at points where it feels like we’re actually drowning in his world. As far as debut statements of intent go, it’s practically a fucking warning; approach with caution and know where the exits are located.
As both Lambkin’s solo debut in this vein, and the first release on his cultish label, Kye, ‘Poem (For Voice & Tape)’ is something of a pivotal release in the modern field, sustaining a sort of outsider art energy previously explored by likes of Lambkin’s hero Anton Heyboer in a way that somehow feels timeless and of its time. It’s arguably a landmark release that has provided a sort of lightning rod to other fringe radicals and lower case explorers such as Jason Lescalleet, Joe McPhee, Áine O’Dwyer, and most recently Bill Nace (ov Body/Head, w/ Kim Gordon), and therefore has a lot to answer for.
Another totally obscure diamond that we might never have found without Edition RZ’s prompting, and should be strongly recommended to fans of durational, minimal works by Stephen O’Malley, Eliane Radigue, or Jakob Ullmann.
Trauermusiken, or Music for Grief, offers two gravely intense compositions for strings written by contemporary Austrian composer and organist Klaus Lang.First released in 1995 by Lambeart, and reissued by Edition RZ in 2002 (this edition), it ranks among Lang’s earliest works and consists of one relatively short prelude followed by a quietly crushing 69 minute piece.
The five minutes of Der Wind und das Meer, Trauermusik für Bratsche solo (The Wind and the Sea, Music for Grief for Viola solo), performed by Barbara Konrad, foreshadow a glacially unfolding and technically demanding piece performed by the Amras Streichquartett.
In its slow, sustained and keening intensity we’re instantly reminded of Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In The North, which was also reissued via Edition RZ. However, Lang’s piece feels like the inverse of that record, trading teeth-chattering high-end for a solemn exploration of lower registers, operating at near-liminal levels of concentration and focus.
It’s yet another totally obscure diamond that we might never have found without Edition RZ’s prompt, and should be strongly recommended to fans of durational, minimal works by Stephen O’Malley, Eliane Radigue, or Jakob Ullmann.
Inside this issue: South Africa’s new jazz generation: Thandi Ntuli, Siyabonga Mthembu, Bokani Dyer, Siya Makuzeni and others are at the forefront of a vibrant and booming South African jazz scene, as illustrated by two new compilations. By Francis Gooding
Mamer: The Chinese multi-instrumentalist resists categorisation and canon via his continually evolving music. By Josh Feola
The Primer: Carla Bley: The ambitious and highly versatile pianist, composer and collaborator has been blowing minds for over 50 years. Daniel Spicer presents a user’s guide to her body of work
Invisible Jukebox: Mark Fell × Rian Treanor: UK electronic music’s esteemed father and son duo test each other with a mystery record selection
Hiele: Squiffy electronics and milky piss from the Belgian composer. By Louis Pattison
Altın Gün: Amsterdam based outfit bring Turkish tradition to the dance. By Daniel Spicer
Rob Noyes: Tokyo via Massachusetts, fingerpicking via punk for the guitarist/composer. By Tony Rettman
Kikimore: The non-hierarchical Ljubljana collective Do It With Others. By Abi Bliss
Unlimited Editions: Jazz In Britain
Unofficial Channels: Philly Hiphop Radio Freestyles
Global Ear: Our regular column continues to report on music in the time of pandemic. This month: broadcasting in Brazil and solidarity radio in Tblisi, Georgia
The Inner Sleeve: Elvin Brandhi on a Haunter Records album launch
Epiphanies: King Britt on the everlasting influence of Mwandishi
Print Run: New music books: Andrew Weatherall, Los Angeles noise, an obstinate clot, and more
On Screen: New films and DVDs: John McDermott’s Music, Money, Madness... Jimi Hendrix In Maui; David Bernabo’s Just For The Record: Conversations With And About “Blue” Gene Tyranny
On Site: Recent art shows: Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abbou-Rahme; I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now at Somerset House
On Location: Recent live events and streams: Infrequent Seams Streaming Festival, Nicole Mitchell, Radiophrenia 2020, Nyege Nyege Festival, and more
40th anniversary edition of NWW’s second album dating back to 1980, wickedly complicating their enigma with a perplexing surrealist collage of psychedelic freeness and communal industrial jams
Available on LP for first time in 30 years, ‘To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl’ is still as strange and twisted an album as its title and that artwork would suggest. It marks the group near the start of their bent curve, with Steven Stapleton joined by early members Herman Pathak and John Fothergill, and French avant-garde legend Jac Berrocal on Conch, for a decimated trip into sub- or pre-conscious sound arrangements that get under the skin and unpredictably writhe with a raw, unsettling sensuality dislocated somewhere between snuff film ambience and post-industrial organism.
Leading down their overgrown garden path from 1979’s legendary ‘Chance Meeting On A Dissecting Table Of A Sewing Machine And An Umbrella’, the band’s follow-up could have conceivably moved in any direction after that unprecedented start, and it bloody well does; tripping balls in a way that juices, un-stitches, and messes with then pre-existing frameworks of free jazz, industrial music, and avant-garde experimentalist expression: or simply what would become known as NWW musick.
In tortuously durational side-long works they morph amp hum into licks of fiery psych guitar and cut-up concrète, initially forging a sort of lysergic caveman rock fronted by clangers, that descends into bestial howls, pockets of squealing guitar abstractions and what sounds like a a flock of jazzy geese. And that’s only the first side. The second is equally un/hinged, with cut-up voices pranging from the ether against backdrops of machine elves unscrewing a cavernous workshop at midnight, then gelling into the sickliest music box mælodies and back to avian jazz frolics from another dimension. The band were apparently unhappy with the results of this album, and it remains a fucking weird piece of experimental history.
Mind-bending, phantastically dark and complex spectral music for 16 grand pianos, saxophone and electronics, from Romania’s Horatio Radelescu, originally issued on the crucial Edition RZ label in 1990 amidst their rather important early streak of releases. Includes bilingual (German/English) liner notes. RIYL Iancu Dumitrescu, Iannis Xenakis, Reinhold Friedl, Autechre
His solo debut LP upon issue in 1990, the two pieces on Clepsydra / Astray arguably amount to Radulescu’s definitive early works, following an impenetrably technical approach to achieve highly idiosyncratic and distinguished results which place him among the most important practitioners of the tricky-to-define spectral music - a form of computer-aided electro-acoustic composition that “foregrounds timbre as an important element of structure or language” and rooted in earlier ideas by Xanakis, Stockhausen, Varèse et al.
Like we say, by its nature, it’s as tricky to define the parameters of spectral music as it is to define the notion of timbre, but the composer himself has a very good stab at it in the sleeve notes, which are among the most literally technical and baffling we’ve encountered.
However, from what we can make out, the astonishing Clepsydra, written for 16 Sound Icons - or 16 grand pianos tilted on their side and played with bows - is conceptually based around the titular, ancient greek water clock mechanism, and explores a jaw-dropping, flowing spectra of glistening, garrotting and razor sharp strings creating a 22 minute experience akin to K-holing in a gyroscope around a hall of mirrors. Queasy as hell, but rewarding with it for those with a constitution for such stuff.
By contrast the dynamic of Astray, premiered in 1984 and written for identical duos of saxophonist playing six saxes (bass, baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino) and another on Sound Icon (grand piano turned on its side), but with each duo playing at different speeds, explores another set of timbral integers with seemingly more space in the mix, to more inquisitive, coolly probing effect.
A remarkable slab by any standards. Recommended!
Haunting chamber invocation by the Austrian organist, composer and academic; written for flute, voice, percussion and viola. The quietly minimal, single, 50-minute piece is intended for reflection and altered, heightened states of sonic perception. RIYL Jakob Ullmann.
“Through concentration on listening or concentration on what we are listening to we can enter a state of simplicity of mind which is a state of the highest inner clarity or inner silence. In other words:when concentrating on the flow of music we can reach an inner state: The inner silence which is the simultaneity of stasis and flow. This paradoxical situation poses the question: Is the flow of music passing us, is music flowing through us thus evoking this inner stasis or is it not a state at all what we experience: should we not most seriously take into consideration the possibility that it is us who are flowing through the sound?”
Hybrid uptempo club constructions from Montreal-based Slick Shoota. A gram of messy rave energy sprinkled into a wrap of footwork, trap and jungle sonics.
We might still be a few months from the function, but Slick Shoota has provided a soundtrack that has us gasping for a large speaker and baggie of whatever. The producer and DJ cut his teeth in Norway running the notorious Ball Em Up night and was inaugurated into the Teklife family back in 2015; now he's based in Montreal and this selection of sci-fi tinged bass exposition is a testament to his persistent globetrotting.
Influences here are easy to place, but are melted into a hybrid sound that's high-tempo but not strictly tied to one framework or another. The relentless thrust of footwork is omnipresent, but garnished with elements snatched from jungle and hardcore, bassline and trap. Standouts are the wobbly 'Delahaze', a cheeky bassline-cum-club stomper that sounds like it was engineered on the cursed space station in "Event Horizon" and 'MTL Hardcore', that accurately reflects the DIY energy of Slick Shoota's adopted home with 12-bit breaks, chopped vocals and rolling rave stabs. Oof.
'Kompositionen 1950-1972' collects 16 compositions by Christian Wolff. Most of the pieces collected for this portrait of Christian Wolff document the composer’s early activity and were mainly recorded around the time of their composition. Each recording exemplifies the sound gestures from their time.
"Finally I realized that the kind of sound made in an indeterminate situation includes what could result in no other way; for example, the sound of a player making up his mind, or having to change it. In fact, the indeterminate notation I've used is, as far as I know, the only possible one for the kind of sound I should like. And don't forget, we also like to be surprised. ...and the rhythm produced by that situation is like no other rhythm."
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
A mixture of social, cultural, musical and oral history, Join The Future reveals the untold stories of bleep’s Yorkshire pioneers and those that came in their wake, moving from electro all-dayers and dub soundsystem clashes of the mid-1980s to the birth of hardcore and jungle in London and the South East. Along the way, you’ll find first-hand accounts of key clubs and raves, biographies of forgotten and overlooked production pioneers, stories of bleep outposts in Canada and the United States, and the inside story of the early years of one of electronic music’s most iconic labels, Warp Records.
"Includes quotes drawn from hundreds of interviews with DJs, dancers, producers and record label owners, including Cabaret Voltaire, Nightmares On Wax, LFO, Altern8, 808 State, Fabio & Grooverider, 4 Hero and many more.
Matt Anniss is a journalist and author specializing in electronic music, DJing and club culture. He began his career on internet magazines in the late 1990s before joining the staff of IDJ Magazine as Music Editor in 2000, later becoming Editor. Since leaving the magazine in 2008, he’s become a regular contributor to Resident Advisor, Red Bull Music Academy Daily and DJ Magazine, specializing in historical aspects of dance music culture.
“This was a vital creative era in British electronic music that deserved deeper exploration, so Matt Anniss’ history of ‘bleep and bass’, which sets the sound in the socio-political environment of its time, is a significant addition to the literature of dance culture.” Matthew Collin, author of ‘Altered State’ and ‘Rave On’"
One of the most influential, insular and multi-layered albums of the last three decades, created through endless hours of improvisation - involving almost fifty musicians and recorded in complete darkness, 'Laughing Stock' is an album that has attained almost mythical status since its release in 1991.
Following the commercial success of their singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It” and album "The Colour of Spring”, Talk Talk retreated back into the shadows and produced two albums that defied categorisation. After the release of the first of these (Spirit of Eden) and a proolonged court case, the band parted ways with EMI and signed to iconic jazz imprint Verve who financed the long and complicated recording of Laughing Stock. Assembling almost 50 guest musicians, Mark Hollis is said to have demanded they record in almost complete darkness, improvising for hours to produce individual parts without hearing any backing tracks or surrounding material. Most of these recordings were discarded, but from what remained Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene pieced together a record that is essentially one long sequence of overdubs separated out into six long tracks.
Laughing Stock was to be their last album - on its release the NME described it as “horrible” and many listeners were left perplexed by its insular, unfathomable dynamics. But in the time since, Laughing Stock's legacy seems to have grown in stature with every year that has gone by. You can easily see the stylistic and conceptual markers left by Talk Talk in the way that bands like Radiohead went on to explore more open-ended, diverse sound sources and stylistic shifts - feeling able to experiment without fear of alienating a large fanbase as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a band with considerable chart success to do.
"Laughing Stock" is not only one of the most absorbing albums of the modern era, it’s also a masterclass of production and construction, a relic, perhaps, of an era when artists could completely disconnect from the pressures of their surroundings and dive deep into the wormhole...