Funky Belgy, Fabrice Lig gets his swerve on, UR style, for Belgium’s premier house stable, We Play House Recordings.
The clipped, guitar-like lead synth and nipped swing of Border To Border strongly lends itself to comparison with Seldom Seen’s Bringing Slide Back sound, whereas Ocean Rising indulges trancier arpeggios smartly balanced with sultry but rude Detroit house groove.
Remixes by 80s punk-funk icons A Certain Ratio and Jonny Sender (Konk).
"Unstoppable heat-beat pioneers NO ZU unleash a remix 12” of tracks from 2016 album Afterlife, reworked by 80s punk-funk icons A Certain Ratio and Jonny Sender of Konk, as well as the band themselves.
The Body2Body2Body EP sees NO ZU’s dark, mutant punk-funk reworked by two of the masters of the genre. Manchester heroes A Certain Ratio, who are about to have their entire back catalogue reissued by Mute Records, ventured into the studio for the first time in eight years to record a wholly reconfigured version of NO ZU track Body2Body, incorporating elements of their own Do The Du to create the Do The Du ZU Mix. Jonny Sender from New York 80s legends Konk did his own club-centric take on key Afterlife single Spirit Beat. NO ZU themselves have remixed both Body2Body and Spirit Beat to complete the four track EP. In 2015 NO ZU had the lead track on Cut Copy’s compilation of Australian dance music, Oceans Apart."
Exquisite new recordings from preeminent avant-garde trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Arve Henriksen for his spiritual home, Rune Grammofon, arriving over three years since his Chron | Cosmic Creation  LP and a handful of collaborations with Supersilent, among others, over the interim.
By now you should know this guy is in possession of a genuinely wonderful sonic wanderlust, the sort of spirit that is instinctively guided by emotion and prone to lead him into the most enchanted and enchanting headspaces - and if you don’t know, we recommend you do a lot of catching up!
That said, you’d do well to start with Towards Language, one of his most accessible ports of call, rendering a ninth solo LP instalment of magickally wistful themes lead by his virtuosic lines of flight and underlined by an array of live-sampling, electronics, synths, guitars and vocals.
From first listens we’re most snagged by the gently pulsating, airborne elegance of Vivification with its sublime Reichian phasing and bubbling undertow, and likewise a little smitten with the deep blue tone of Demarcation Line, but we’re sure deeper listens will reveal even more alluring aspects.
Dive in and drink deeply.
Totally incredible collection of previously unreleased, visionary electronic scapes by a member of the pioneering Institute of Sonology in Utrecht. Unfathomably deep, wide and abstract sounds strongly recommended to fans of Roland Kayn or quieter Kevin Drumm works
The fantastic Recollection GRM series reveals a stunning suite of mostly unheard recordings by pioneering Dutch electronic composer, Jaap Vink; an important member of the Institute For Sonology, Utrecht, where he worked as a teacher and composer from 1967 until retiring in 1993. At the well-stocked and advanced institute (which made early, critical use of innovations from the Phillips laboratories), Vink’s work can be considered as following in the algorithmic and digital sound synthesis wormholes opened up by Gottfried Michael Koenig and Barry Truax et al, and also contributed to some of Roland Kayn’s incredible cybernetic recordings. This first ever retrospective of his work, however places Vink as a true visionary in his own right, unfurling some seven mid-to-longform works of a deeply absorbing sci-fi quality and unfathomably widescreen stereo scope.
Spanning selected Vink output 1968-1985, the collection reveals a composer in focussed pursuit of an electronic purity, on a quest to chart the microcosmos of micro-tonalities inherent within stochastic electronic tones and, through networks of recursive feedback processing, render them tangible as a body of almost orchestral textures. But we stress the almost, as Vink is patently in thrall to the abstract, transportive values of electronic music - rather than attempting to imitate instruments - and he remains a discreet but connective human presence who subtly coaxes the studio to reveal its secrets, constantly ‘rehearsing’ and extending his patches in an ongoing process. And in that sense he can be heard as a forerunner to reams of modern no-input mixer and modular synthesists on the hunt for the rarest electronic spice. Based on the evidence of this set, he’s something of a prescient Muad’Dib character when it comes to locating and controlling that spice.
Between the time-travel sickness-indicing keen of Screen  and the head-engulfing scale of Tide 85, which was completed just prior to the Institute’s incorporation with the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in 1986, you’ll encounter a music for vast astral travel; a diaphanous sound suggestive of unimaginable ether dimensions and states of beings, sublimating pathos to a zen-like suspension of the senses and encouraging swirling mental geometries beyond the simple colouring book lines that tend to be prompted by works of lesser genius.
We thoroughly recommend getting supplies in, zipping up your stillsuit desert fashion and embarking with Vink on this genuinely immersive journey.
One of Constellation’s most pivotal contributors, Canadian violinist Jessica Moss, takes the solo spotlight to afford a stunning glimpse of her personal sonic weltanschauung in a rare, captivating away day from the GY!BE, Vic Chesnutt, Black Ox Orkestar, A Silver Mt. Zion and Carl Bozulich ensembles that she frequents.
It wasn’t until 2014, when Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra went on hiatus after years of touring, that Jessica began to tend to her solo work properly; resulting a self-released album, Under Plastic Island recorded by Guy Piccolo (Fugazi) and released in 2015. Maybe understandably that one flew under many folks’ radars, but the febrile dreams of Pools Of Light warrants and deserves much wider attention to its glorious swells of dissonant, coruscating strings and plangent, effected and multi-tracked vocals, all blossoming from a finely honed matrix of distorting and harmonising pedals, loopers and samplers - with no software plugins used whatsoever, we’re promised.
In the two longform pieces of Pools Of Light we hear Jessica channel years of live performance service on stage with an almost ineffably masterful control and vision, presenting a sound clearly anchored with the patience of someone used to holding their own in the eye of a storm, and instinctively operating at the intersection of myriad styles - neo-classical, improvisational, avant-folk and electronic - with a sure-footed sense of navigation that’s decidedly non-academic, but surely guided by emotion and the impression of the world around her, as she puts it in the liner notes: “Feeling love in a melting world”.
Dive in. Roll around and soak it up.
Tarquin is mounting quite an assault on 2017 with these dainty zingers for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper landing along with recent/upcoming shots for Rinse and Local Action to keep his sound warped and freeform, but rudely functional in the dance.
Grease (Chord Mix) slips around on wild chromatic folk-grime licks and a porous rhythm in flux between bassline, grime and something mutant, unidentified with a fresh sense of direction of freaky funk.
On the other hand, Foxtown cuts the lights for a more schizoid ride skating on trap trills, stoned flutes and buckled, acidic electronics sounding Jammer, Wiley and Scratchy’s Noh theatre sideline.
Berlin’s Kareem shields the light of dark techno proper within four masterfully dank and spacious creations for his legendary Zhark Recordings, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016 with typically minimal fanfare (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, though!).
With the label’s first release of 2017 - its follow-up to aces from Casual Violence and Stärker - Kareem takes the reins with Your Markets Are Volatile for a superb session helming to the tenets of production that have served him beautifully well thus far, effectively divining a proper sort of frequency pressure that translates brilliantly over sound systems which are worth their weight, as opposed to the saturated waveforms and in-your-grill intensity favoured by too many other producers to mention.
With only a corner of tongue-in-cheek, his opening statement My Degree Is A Black Belt demonstrates his unique approach in bleakest, suspenseful style with a palette of bone-dry drums, viscous subs and tense strings elegantly arranged with nuff space for bony bodies to move within, whilst There Is No End In The Light Of The Tunnel coolly defines a core idea of dark techno - it’s about the journey not destination - in pure blank-eyed, slogging and haunting terms.
Turn over and Your Markets Are Volatile offers one of his signature steppers, stripped down to grubbing acid grind, whipcrack snares and swirling darkroom voices with loads of fetid air between he grooves, seemingly prepping you for the Vainio-esque halfstep killllller, Holy Alliance.
Bonus to the digital, you’ll find the hulking trudge of Approaching Dying Planet At 65,702qms, and the ‘floor-caving subs of El Pato hearkening back to his nastiest gear c. 1999-2000, but with choking under fathoms of subbass weight.
Faust's new album Fresh Air differs in several respects from its predecessor, Just Us. The recordings were made at Jean-Hervé Péron's rehearsal studio in Schiphorst in northern Germany, hypnotic pieces with the kind of noisemaking the band is known for.
"For the new album, Péron and Werner "Zappi" Diermaier were looking for communication with musician friends and the audience. The tracks were recorded in changing ensembles at changing locations in the USA (during a tour in 2016). In these community recordings, with friendly support from Péron's database of field recordings, a strongly shaded noise music emerged which extends its feelers to the remotest corners of the here and now. Droning, swinging, lusting for freedom, here and there holding out quite stoically as machine-room blues.
On board are the freely fabulous Barbara Manning in a live lecture, Jürgen Engler (Die Krupps) in overdub, and Ysanne Spevack as a wonderful wave-maker on the viola. The seven and a half minute title track begins with the poem by a French school friend of Péron (translated and recited in Polish) and ends in an industrial sound inferno. The singer cries for "Fresh Air" as if it is being taken away from him. Jean-Hervé Péron offers a political reading: "Can you breathe calmly here, or are we being poisoned?" "Engajouez Vous!" Péron presents this franco-Faustian artificial word to the audience and rewrites the Marseillaise for the here and now in the track "Chlorophyl". And finally, Zappi has his mini-dada performance with "Schnobs" and "Bia": a small dialect-based text piece, which starts with chlorophyl, goes over the meadow past the cow and lands with the farmer who drinks a beer and schnapps and suddenly sees two cows.
The story of the band can tell that tale nicely. As Krautrockers, Faust had a worldwide career. On their first three albums in the early 1970s, they inhabited the vast field from improvisation to bricolage to rock'n'roll with the ease of rogues and the determination of declared sonic renegades. One can still feel the breathing of this music in current Faust pieces, in the stone-age thudding of "Fish", which Faust anticipated in 1972 on "Mamie Is Blue". "We let the music play through us," says Jean-Hervé Péron. Jean-Hervé Péron has a little tip for us: Listen to the fish.”
They say Tomaga, spellcheck insists Tomato. Whatever you call them, Tomaga’s Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti (Raime) tread their own path with Greetings From The Bitter End; a ruggedly churning session featuring one new track from the duo backed with A Perspective With No End and respective remixes from $hit & $hine and Cavern Of Antimatter (Holger Zapf & Steroelab’s Dilworth/Gane).
On Greetings From The Bitter End, Valentina knuckles out hard, rasping drums under a Tom’s coruscating electronics, loosely calving off into what sounds like an oncoming horde of hoofed toffs tooting bugles on the hunt for tiny foxes, then reeling fro Valentina’s ricocheting hits. On the $hit & $hine version Craig Clouse dials down the noise, jabbing the groove with cattle prod stings and slurred strings.
Flipside, Valentina’s drums swagger with devilish style around Tom’s free-jazz/psych elaborations in the exclusive Liberating Mania, and the Stereolab-related Cavern of Antimatter pelt for the middle-distance with an authentically ‘60s-sounding version of Gonda’s Dream.
Discrepant’s discerning label head Gonçalo F. Cardoso invites us to central Africa and the island of Zanzibar with an impressionistic, diaristic wash of field recordings and original music in Mulago Sound Studio. Mastered by Rashad Becker
“Visions Congo is yet another moniker from Discrepant’s head honcho, Gonçalo F Cardoso, taking Africa as a starting point to evoke the memories and re-imagined experiences of his 6-month stay in the region, back in 2015.Most of the recordings and compositions were done in the great lakes of Africa region of Uganda, Congo (DRC), Tanzania as well as the island of Zanzibar.
Meshing impromptu in situ compositions with old dusty samples and his own field recordings is the go to modus operandi of Gonçalo F Cardoso's various monikers (i.e. Gonzo, Papillon), creating deep layered 'exotic/alien' soundscapes of various moods and feels. Here’s another series of surreal and augmented field recordings that try to brace the listener with fresh alien authenticity before toying very pointedly with antiquated constructs by mixing avant-garde dustbin synth music with concrete field recordings and humorous, tongue in cheek intersections - not to ‘ever’ be taken too seriously.
Les Disques du Crepuscule present a new, remastered vinyl edition of East & West, the bittersweet debut album by American singer-songwriter Anna Domino, originally released by the label in 1984.
"East & West was recorded in Brussels in 1983 with guest contributions from Virginia Astley, Blaine L. Reininger (of Tuxedomoon) and altpop polymath Luc Van Acker. The five tracks on the original mini-album format include her first single Trust, In Love (an NME single of the week), and an exquisite cover of Land Of My Dreams, originally a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1965. Rare b-side track Repeating (from the same sessions) is also now added to the album.
Other bonus tracks include the popular singles Zanna, a 1984 collaboration with Luc Van Acker, and radio hit ‘Rythm’, produced a year later by legendary Telex founder and jazzmeister Marc Moulin. The expanded remaster closes with a previously unreleased demo song called Dream Back, recorded in New York City with her friend Stanton Miranda of Thick Pigeon in 1984.
The album retains the original cover art by Joel Van Audenhaege, and adds new liner notes written by Anna herself."
RSD exclusive release, now availed digitally. Animal Collective’s wistful, humid, layered nod to Tom Zé, in aid of saving the Rainforest
“Performance by Animal Collective's Avey Tare and Geologist recorded live in the Amazon rainforest outside Manaus, Brazil in early 2016. Excerpts of this music are to be featured in a forthcoming Vice/Viceland TV series set to air spring/summer 2017, focusing on artists and their environmental concerns. The EP is original tracks and field recordings, over 30 minutes in length.”
Endearingly head-spinning debut release of textured, pulsating plunderphonics from Jean Cousin aka Joni Void (and fka Johnny_Ripper); spanning elegant waltzes redolent of The Caretaker thru to slamming metal maelstroms and hiccuping, micro-edited avant-techno. While that may read like a mess, there’s a teasingly elusive logic underlying it all which lies in Void’s sleight-of-hand and hypnotic timing.
Under his newly minted Joni Void pseudonym, the Montréal-transplanted artist blends his Film Studies schooling with a sympathetic appreciation of DIY/lo-fi techniques to arrive at a very canny sense of freedom within his music. Now focussing ever deeper on the synaesthetic visual/sound and narrative qualities of editing, he’s arrived at a sort of concrete-pop that lives up to the enigma of his influences - Delia Derbyshire, Philip Glass, Burial - whilst smartly intersecting ground previously cut-up by the likes of Jan Jelinek or Matmos.
However, the biggest key to the record ids in its title, Selfless, which characterises his attempt to undermine egoist composer ideas of originality, or a sense of solipsism, and replace it with the voices of his friends - whether embedding the poetry of Natalie Reid into the fractured waltz of Observer (Natalie’s Song), or incorporating Ogun Afariogun’s rap, processed Moor Mother-style, into the fractious knock of Yung Wether (Ogun’s Song) - whilst the instrumental likes of the warbling Song Siènne fillets Erik Satie into something uncannily refreshing, and Doppler renders something new from familar sound sampled off free mp3s, and the intensely frayed loops of Cinema Without People quite literally nods to the important influence of Vicki Bennett’s People Like Us, twisting samples of her plunderphonic soundtrack to the film The Big Sleep into a miasmic fantasy that feels like the lister is keening through the silver screen.
It’s quite simply a wildly imaginative ride, one of the most intriguing things we’ve heard on Constellation since Sandro Perri and co’s Off World album, at least.
Dread gulps and nonsensical ramblings from the Hair & Treasure unit.
"Hot on the wheels of their gurgling split with Blood Stereo, Gonçalo F Cardoso and Alex Jones return to discrepant under the new Sucata Tapes banner. Joined by Kenny 'PL' Hosepipe on violin/effects - bringing the do-si-doe down your ramp.
High puking their way through the desolate western sky, cackling all night long on the little house in prairie’s back yard - there were no stars on this perimeter, everyone was happy. Except Michael LandonRecorded and performed over a late summer afternoon at discrepant HQ… "
Sprawling diversity from Matt Lyne’s pet project, touching on all stripes of contemporary grooves, and held together with his signature emotive pull
“Following on from last year's SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL presents the RaggaPreservationSociety EP, the first Diskotopia release of 2017 is the 3rd solo album from label co-founder Matt Lyne under his A Taut Line moniker.
More familiar to some as one half of Greeen Linez, Matt Lyne has also been producing very different sounds as A Taut Line for well over 10 years now. Distraction Provisions is his 3rd album release after 2013's Nitriding Portrait and 2015's Mutual Prints.
Initially not made to evolve into an album, the early workings of this collection were emotional reactions to the bleak social and political situation that unfolded throughout last year, and you can hear expansions of some of the more listenable of these sketches on tracks like Estado Encontrado, m15ntet and Arriving at the Lake. However, as desolate as some of the moods are on here, last year was one of intense mixed emotions as Lyne's first child was born, and there are also moments of sheer beauty, joy and redemption on this album too – the lush-yet-grainy pad-wash of A Perpetual Medium and the luminous tropicália syrup-tech of The Soft Touch being two examples that reflect that.
But how to characterise the album as a whole in one effective soundbite? As Philip Sherburne wrote in Spin Magazine in 2013 of Nitriding Portrait - "What kind of music is this, exactly? Half a dozen listens in, and I’m still not entirely sure." - although Distraction Provisions has amalgamated mutant remnants of house, jungle, jazz funk, industrial, and new age 4th world neo-classicisms, once again, we're still not entirely sure either.”
The third album from Philadelphia's Nightlands (War On Drugs’ Bassist Dave Hartley), is an exercise in synthetic nostalgia.
"Each of the nine songs use meticulous choral arrangements and bittersweet pop melodies to evoke a unique type of longing, not for the past, but for a future that once lay ahead but has drifted out of reach. For Dave Hartley, the artistic force behind Nightlands, the answer is found on an inward retreat, away from the cold static of modern life and into the warmth of love and protection.
I Can Feel the Night Around Me showcases Hartley's ¬nely tuned ability to layer his voice and conjure some of the most beautiful and elaborate virtual choirs in modern music. If his ¬first two records were vocal layering experiments, his third stands as Hartley's thesis statement: "I was determined to use vocal stacking to enable my songwriting, not shroud or obscure it." He recorded most of the album alone in a cold warehouse basement, which he affectionately calls The Space -- it's where The War on Drugs formerly rehearsed and stored their equipment. "The dissonance between the sound of the album and the atmosphere in which it was recorded is pretty striking," Hartley says.
Indeed the music seems more geographically inspired by the microclimates of the Lost Coast and the moonrises of Big Sur than the post-industrial cityscape of North Philadelphia. Perhaps his periodic westward sojourns and healthy obsessions with mid-career Beach Boys albums and Denis Johnson's Already Dead: A California Gothic were influencing him more than he was aware. Despite the warm astral vibes of opener “Lost Moon," the song was born in that unheated warehouse basement during a record-setting blizzard. "I wanted to write a song like Jimmy Webb's ‘Wichita Lineman’," he recalls. "But it didn't come out like that at all.
I ended up in a lonely and unexpected place, which was a really nice surprise." The massive "Only You Know”, a cover from Dion's Phil Spectorproduced masterpiece Born to Be With You, blends perfectly with the rest of the album's shades of psyched-out doo wop revivalism If there is an outlier on I Can Feel the Night Around Me, it's the exotica-tinged “Fear of Flying,” which Hartley composed with minimalist synth virtuoso Frank LoCrasto before the two had ever even met. Soft tangles of voice wash up on the shore of the song's warbling synth backbone, pushing the album briefly into the sunlight without sacri¬cing its melancholy, late-night vibe. It's the sound of the earth turning, night falling. Soon it will be dark, but there's still light seeping over the horizon. And that's a beautiful thing."
Low key, lower case ace from N.E./Manchester’s (John) Howes, yielding a suite of deliquescent electronic petals on the Share XL label (mind how you google that label, kids).
In between the eyes of IDM, micro-house and the kind of ersatz exotica espoused by Jan Jelinek on Faitiche, Howes’ Untitled suite is an ostensibly modest, hypnotic thing belied by subtle shifts in pattern that worm through the release, seeming to get progressively more off-kilter from the bleep thuds of the opening piece to the melting plong of the 6th, and with jazzy, Africanised phrasing in the 7th recalling Detroit Escalator Company or subtle highlights from the /\\Aught catalogue, before settling into the sub-aquatic decay of the 8th with the minimalist sound sensivity of a Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe bit.
Argentinean mystic Juana Molina conjures up new levels of rhythmic intrigue on a long overdue new album for Crammed.
Four years on from her Crammed Discs debut, ‘Wed 21’, the excellent Juana Molina returns to the Belgian experimental stronghold with her ninth LP, pocketing contributions from Deerhoof's John Dieterich, and regular colluders Odin Schwartz, Diego Lopez de Arcaute and Eduardo Bergallo.
The 12 tracks on ‘Halo’ expand on the rich instrumentation of Molina’s last album, peeling away in even more rewardingly odd rhythmic directions that make you forget she was ever daubed with that godawful folktronica tag.
As ever, Molina’s soothing vocal flexibility is the guiding force here, its warmth acting as conducting force for the instrumentation that surrounds and complements it. Dare we say Molina has deviated from the precision and tidiness of previous albums too, occasionally letting tracks spring to life unexpectedly as on the Can-style percussive freakout Cosoco and the creaking minimal dub reductions of Cara de espejo.
Other tracks, such as A00 B01, bring about the sort of wonderfully weird dissonance that endeared everyone to Juana Molina in the first place.
Given the otherworldly nature of her voice, it’s tempting to draw parallels between Juana Molina’s native tongue and the universal language of Anna Homler’s work as Breadwoman, uncovered and explored so superbly by RVNG last year.
You don’t necessarily need to understand what either are saying to form a real connection with the music.
The majestic, Lynchian mystery of Treetop Drive , Helge Sten aka Deathprod’s debut solo album, makes it one of the most astonishing ambient/drone anomalies of its era, and pretty much of all time where our ears are concerned. Initially issued on a tape containing all three parts of Treetop Drive, and subsequently completed with addition of the immense Towboat on a later CD edition (also found in the Deathprod box), this first ever vinyl edition brings a longtime dream for many of his followers to fruition.
The Deathprod concept arose in 1991 as a prism thru which Helge Sten could relay findings from the liminal electro-acoustic area generated by his complex array of homemade electronics, digital samplers, and analogue effects - an organismic network of circuits usually credited on his releases (and many more by Susanna, Motorpsycho, Jenny Hval, Arve Henriksen) as in the role of ‘Audio Virus’. Since the Audio Virus’ early outings on records by Norwegian hard rock unit Motorpsycho, Helge Sten’s music has gradually become a byword for a type of dark ambient music that transcends the genre’s usual cliches to divine a sound or space comparable with myriad others, yet completely unto itself.
Treetop Drive is the first release fully realised by the Audio Virus, incorporating the ‘esoteric tape-echo’ sound of Hans Magnus Ryan’s violin in a suite of glacial movements that call to mind the minimalism of Thomas Köner or Mika Vainio, but with the flickering neon mystery of the finest Lynch/Badalamenti collabs - a combination quite unlike anything else of the modern age, or as the label put it, “existing in a void between the arts, contemporary music and alternative culture.”
We’ve spent many, many nights listening to the death throes of Ryan’s violin screeching from Treetop Drive 1’s ungodly echo chamber, and likewise flinching at the plangent, coruscating peal of Treetop Drive 2’s mountaintop clarion, to then go into freefall with the jaw-dropping Treetop Drive 3, embedded with its deeply uncanny and (still) unidentified vocal sample. The 18 minute final track, Towboat, is, quite frankly, one of our favourite dark ambient pieces of all time, and pretty much sounds like a template for any of the genre’s highlights ever since.
If you don’t know Deathprod, we plainly implore you to spend some time with this record and touch the void for some of the most life-affirming, querying music that you’ll likely ever hear.
On a bit of a mission right now, Berlin-based New Yorker Phase Fatale crosses paths with Ostgut Ton’s Unterton for a pack of jagged, snarling EBM techno missiles after shots fired on Jealous God in 2016.
Strong stuff, this: hurting where it matters with the hunched slug of Hollow Flesh; the cattle-prod percussive patterns of Anubis; a claggy noise techno stepper called Wound; and off-the-bone rolige in The Size Of God.
Ace. RIYL Vatican Shadow/Prurient, Svengalisghost, muzzles.
Mac DeMarco has spent the better part of his time thus far writing, recording and releasing an album of his own music pretty much every calendar flip. ‘This Old Dog’ makes for his fifth in just over half a decade, bringing the total to three LPs and two EPs.
"It was a little space - in time, location and method - that inspired DeMarco while making the record. Moving from his isolated Queens home to a house in Los Angeles helped give the somewhat transient Canada-native a base and a few more months on his calendar to create did their job as well. Arriving in California with a grip of demos he’d written in New York, he realized after a few months of setting up his new shop, complete with a few new toys, that the gap was giving him perspective.
Right off the bat, from the pops and clicks of the CR-78 drum machine and acoustic strums on the album-opening ‘My Old Man’, the synth-drenched beauty of the second track, ‘This Old Dog’, it’s clear that DeMarco’s bag is filled with new tricks indeed. ‘This Old Dog’ is rooted more in a synth-base than any of his previous releases but he is careful not to let that tactic overshadow the other instruments and overall ‘unplugged’ mood of the work: “This is my acoustic album, but it’s not really an acoustic album at all. That’s just what it feels like, mostly,” says DeMarco."
Luar Domatrix aka Rodolfo Brito from Yong Yong presents his dystopian non visions to Sucata Tapes.
"Last seen meddling with Portuguese workers chants on Antologia de Música Atípica Portuguesa, the glasgow based portuguese artist sketches an eerie sci fi inspired tape for the ever evolving Sucata Tapes imprint.
Hesitant basslines conflict with lush distant drones and unsteady beats to present an alternate reality where anything IS indeed what it seems. Like an episode of X-files gone awry. Mulder’s dead and Scully’s drunk joy riding a space saucer"
San, Ripley and Jeffrey commit the Yang to Vol.1’s Yin with a fuzzy, psychedelic journey from darkness to light.
“Meaning all things magick and supernatural, the root of the word occult is that which is hidden, concealed, beyond the limits of our minds. If this is occult, then the Occult Architecture of Moon Duo’s fourth album - a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes released in 2017 - is an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.
Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang. Following the Yin (feminine, darkness, night, earth) represented on Occult Architecture Vol. 1, Vol. 2 presents the Yang.
Yang means “the bright side of the hill” and is associated with the male, sun, light and the spirit of heaven, and as such Vol. 2 explores the light and airy elements of Moon Duo’s complex psyche.
“In production we referred to Vol. 1 as the fuzz dungeon, and Vol. 2 as the crystal palace,” guitarist Ripley Johnson explains. “The darkness of Vol. 1 gave birth to the light of Vol. 2. We had to have both elements in order to complete the cycle. We’re releasing them separately to allow them their own space, and to ensure clarity of vision. To that end we also mixed Vol. 2 separately, in the height of Portland summer, focusing on its sonic qualities of lightness, air, and sun. Listeners can ultimately use the two volumes individually or together, depending on circumstance or the desired effect.”
Vol. 2 was mixed in Portland by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen.”
Now in 3D! Christopher Willits employs his spatial audio platform Envelop to subtly wistful effect with the shifting harmonic patina and pealing partials of Simplicity, taken from his first new long player in 3 years; Horizon.
In December 2016, after more than a year of touring the world behind her 2015 album ‘Over And Even’, Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg headed a few hours north to Chicago, where they joined Jeff Tweedy in Wilco’s Loft studio for five days.
"Spencer Tweedy, home from college, joined on drums, while James Elkington (a collaborator to both Tweedy and Salsburg) shifted between piano and resonator guitar. Jeff added electric accents and some bass but mostly he helped the band stay out of its own way. “He was protecting the songs. He was stopping us before we went too far,” says Shelley .
The Loft proved essential for that approach, as it was wired to capture every musical moment, so no take was lost. If, for instance, some magic happened while Spencer added drums to a tune he’d never heard, or while Elkington tinkered behind a piano, the tape was rolling. Indeed, half of these songs are first takes.
“The first time is always the best. That’s when everyone’s on the edge of their seats, listening to not mess it up,” Shelley says. “They’re depending on each other to get through it.
It’s fitting that the resulting set is self-titled. These are, after all, Shelley’s most assured and complete thoughts to date, with lyrics as subtle and sensitive as her peerless voice and a band that offers support through restraint and nuance. In eleven songs, this is the sound of Joan Shelley emerging as one of music’s most expressive emotional syndicates."
Nite Jewel ups her workrate with sublime results found in Real High, arriving only a year on from her Nite-Funk hook-up with Dâm-Funk and the lush Liquid Cool album, itself landing after a five year hiatus. The West Coast songwriter has definitely found her groove now, making for a perfect smoking partner or accompaniment to dusky evenings.
Teaming up with tentacled producer Cole M.G.N. (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Julia Holter, Devonte Hynes) again, the artist aka Ramona Gonzales stirs up a subtly infectious suite of syrupy ’90s R&B and synth-pop gems across Real High, each one drenched in Cali sun and the classic vibes that percolate between all of her records since Good Evening and the outstanding What Did He Say 12” for Italians Do It Better back in 2008 (2008?!?!!).
So, ten years later she’s lost none of that louche but trim lushness, evident in the hazy slow disco gleam of I Don’t Know at the album’s core, and radiating out from the blissful downstrokes of Real High or the perfectly tucked Janet Jackson stylings of Who U R, with special mentions also going to the lip-biting sensuality of Part Of Me’s molasses shuffle and the underwater soul of R We Talking Long.
Uh huh; she’s still got it. Recommended.
A series of sun-kissed house tracks from Bibio, reworking vocals by Olivier St Louis that originally featured on 2016’s ‘Serious’ EP.
"This release precedes the next Bibio album, due to be released later in the year."
Pretty much every few years Terrence Dixon announces that he’s going to quit making music, and then comes back stronger, tauter than ever with a blinder like this for Rush Hour or the recent Detroit City At Night EP for Metroplex.
In pursuit of Dixon’s Theater Of A Confused Mind (2014) LP for Rush Hour, the sleek, horsepowered momentum of The Move is built around strapping double bass vamps and a feathered 909 groove with details picked out by searchlight-style synth sweeps for that perfectly paranoid, furtive 313 vibe.
On the flip, a staunch supporter of that aesthetic, Orlando Voorn remixes The Move by tightening the screws of Dixon’s double bass to a wood-creaking tension whilst knuckling the kicks firmer into place.
Infamous Kangaroo hater and R&G/Club dynamo, Finn pings off the first zinger from his massively promising 2B Real label, locking off the ear-worming club hooks of Late At Night and balancing the feminine pressure of Lightworks with a rude vocal from Manny’s one ’n only Fox. Not going to lie; these tracks have been going round-and-round in our head - almost annoyingly so - for months now, so we’re only happy that others can begin to empathise with our addiction.
As with Finn’s Keep Calling (2014) anthem and his Knock Knock (2015) calling card, his first new tracks for years are also built around bugging hooks and carefully stripped, bumping grooves. Like those 12”s, his special blend of UK and US club styles in in full swang here, finding the perfect sweetspot between Jersey club, grime and jungle vibes with a killer, light-but-heavy sleight of hand.
Late At Night (Keypad Mix) is a straight pearler, juggling kicks/claps/chords/vocals in proper, rug-cutting geometries you can play over and again, whereas the the Do Not Disturb Mix is equally addictive, but on a rattier, bucking flex - don’t fxxking ring him after-hours, ya heard? Back to the lighter (pun intended) side, it’s clippers-up, heads down on the bumping glyde of Lightwork feat. some of Fox’s best woiiiii’s, also included as an Instrumental in case you’re wrong and don’t like Fox.
The best club sh*t you’ll hear this week or the nexx.
Awesome Tapes From Africa return from the far southern extremes with another SA belter; Umoja’s politicised, vocoded, electroid late ‘80s ace, 707. Lovers of synth-dripping, bubblegum-flavoured dance music are going to melt for this one! The sound is immediate, but read the promo notes for important context which belies the buzzing music.
“A monumental career in pop music isn’t easy when the system is built against you. But South African songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist “Om” Alec Khaoli managed to do just that. As apartheid reached its violent peak, Khaoli pursued an escapist form of dance music that resonated across his complicated country, influencing countless legends and releasing recordings across the world.
Khaoli first made his name as bass player in the Beaters and later Harari—both legendary, scene-defining Afro-rock and soul outfits. The Beaters played a very late-60s blend of worldly pop and folk, building a scene for creative and experimental rock made by blacks. Their affect on South African popular music cannot be exaggerated. The Beaters evolved into Harari, which played big shows across Africa in the late 1970s, from Namibia to Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe. They had a deal with A&M Records in the States and their records were available in Europe and elsewhere. But it wasn’t until that group eventually birthed Umoja that Khaoli met with multi-platinum success, growing into his own as a creative production powerhouse in the synth-drenched South African pop music of the 1980s and 90s.
Starting in 1982, Umoja recorded a succession of hugely successful recordings that reached a crescendo with 1988’s 707. Every song on the short album reached #1 on the South African pop charts and the record went double-platinum. The band changed personnel over the years but Khaoli remained producer, bass player and chief songwriter. Whereas Harari was an all-star group, Umoja was an evolving manifestation of Khaoli’s creative ideas with band members working more as sidemen than collaborators.
A white South African woman named Di Burkin was their manager. “It was very helpful having a white manager and she was a very dedicated person. She was very young and really believed in our music. Di made us popular to the white people, to everyone, to all the people who were not black. But it was very difficult for her. She saw herself as one of us and she didn’t look at herself as a white person in South Africa. And we would forget that she was white too and we would be traveling with her in the black townships and when the police would see us they'd say, ‘Where are you going!?’ And she would say to the police, ‘These are my bosses.’ And the police would go crazy! ‘We are escorting you out right now!’ And so on.”
“There was apartheid in the studios as well. We used to record our albums during lunchtime at Gallo recording studios. 30 minutes or one hour was all we got. Our first album I think we did in 30 minutes. We couldn’t even do overdubs. Some of the songs were unfinished but they were released anyway, that’s what they used to do. Recording under pressure was hard. You couldn’t fix bad notes. If you wanted to go back and do overdubs, they would say, ‘Oh, you’re not a good musician, it’s your fault.’ So before a session, we would really sit down and work out how we were gonna do it. Once our albums were selling, Gallo decided to actually respect us, they started to give us more time.”
Just one recording in a career of myriad hits, 707 is a brief but compelling window into Khaoli’s significant contribution to the sound of 80s South Africa.”
Unexpected turn-up from Current Value on Doc Scott’s 31 Records, harnessing his mentalist tendencies in two powerfully reduced and vacuum sealed 2-step D&B drills engineered with teutonic suss.
We’ll admit not checking Current Value’s output for some years now, and it’s now clear that he’s dropped the syncopation in favour of rolling rigidity which works well into the 31 Records sound, still triggering jaws and tendons in the tightly packed torque of Scalar with its flinty snares and dry surging bass distortion, while Bigger Picture plays deeper into that aesthetic with something approaching the Critical sound of Ivy Lab , Enei and co.
Stunning retrospective of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s devotional works collated from the private tape archive of the Avatar Book Institute. Seriously, this one's a proper head melter...
Luaka Bop commence a new series of releases themed around the global spiritual diaspora with this superb collection of rare devotional works from Alice Coltrane. Sure, everyone knows how great ‘Universal Consciousness’ (especially after that Superior Viaduct reissue from a few years back) but ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’ hones in on a period of her life that is less widely-known.
Undoubtedly moved by the passing of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice embarked on a spiritual reawakening that took her out of the public eye and culminated with the establishment of a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram in Malibu, California in 1983. This secluded ashram gave Coltrane the freedom to explore her spirituality through music unfettered, performing countless solo bhajans, and group kirtans and experimenting with them and synthesizers using the complex structures learnt from jazz.
These would soon form a series of cassette recordings that were privately distributed throughout the ashram community on Coltrane’s own Avatar Book Institute label. After some rather iffy, illicit vinyl editions of those tapes recorded off YouTube made the rounds, it’s good to hear this music in newly-remastered form from the original masters (by engineering legend Baker Bigsby, no less) on this Luaka Bop collection.
And how vibrant it sounds! There is clearly a vast intersection of styles at play throughout, interspersing the spiritual incantations of the Vedic devotional chants with some unique song structures and uplifting synthetic experiments. You can easily foresee the likes of Flo Po, Antal and Four Tet playing Oh Rama and Rama Guru, two of the more rhythmically-bound kirtans that act as spiritual jazz precursors to Detroit techno with illuminating synths that would make Carl Craig blush with envy. At other times, it is Coltrane’s voice which acts as the guiding force, orchestrating a wonderful harmonious call on Om Shanti.
Hopefully this is the prelude to a wider LB campaign of Alice Coltrane reissues from the Avatar Book Institute era.
The dark interpreter, Helge Sten aka Deathprod finally relinquishes another standout part of his official canon to vinyl with a first ever pressing of Imaginary Songs From Tristan De Cunha . Out of print on both the original CD edition of 500 and the legendary Deathprod  boxset, Sten’s early masterpiece takes the world’s most remote inhabited island - 37° 4′ 0″ S, 12° 19′ 0″ W - as his far flung muse for a vast yet claustrophobia-inducing masterwork of dark ambient music. Trust it’s nothing less than an essential purchase along with the new vinyl editions of Treetop Drive  and Morals And Dogma .
Visited by a ship carrying mail and supplies only once a year, Tristan De Cunha in the South Atlantic offers a none-more-evocative place from which to meditate on the themes of loneliness and detachment integral to Helge Sten’s music. Dispatching from this noumenal blind-spot in the consciousness of pop and literary culture, Sten emulates a sort of SOS call from he island that never reaches its intended destination and is instead left to roam the airwaves for eternity (or until a helpful alien with a great music collection passes overhead).
The album was first inspired by Ole Henrik Moe, who introduced Sten to the writings of a Norwegian expedition to Tristan De Cunha made in the 1930s, and whose violin appears as a crucial element across the recordings, most specifically the first section of four parts; each recorded in the forest outside Oslo, then manipulated and transferred to phonographic wax cylinders to lend an added, suspenseful layer of decay.
That first section can possibly be heard as diary entries on arrival to the island; short and wistfully descriptive notes lilting with dissonant folk melody and spare percussive cadence until the 4th part, Boatharbour Bay, which makes use of the new vinyl cut to insert a locked groove at the end of the track that perhaps cannily emulates the sinking feeling of watching the yearly supplies boat drifting back to Cape Town from Tristan’s shore, and slowly realising that you’re stuck with the same 300 people and livestock for at least the next annum.
The two parts of The Contraceptive Breifcase II follow, adding five vocalists playing musical glasses recorded live by NRK at Rockefeller Oslo, plus a saw, theremin and electronics from the Audio Virus to sound something like an ensemble of Aeolian harps or primitive fog horns calling to Cthulhu. This 30 minutes, cleft in two for optimal sound quality on the vinyl, is where Sten’s time-dilating magick really comes into play, incurring an hallucinatory phantasmagoria of sound-images which, once heard or unboxed, can’t be forgotten easily. It’s perhaps a noumenal sail for the islanders to take them away, or likewise to take us there, and with a particularly ambiguous fanfare finale upon your ultimate arrival.
22 years since Pygmalion and the band’s dissolution, Slowdive swoon back into earshot with Slowdive. With hearts bleeding all over their sleeves, Slowdive captures the sound of the band at their sunny best, with a renewed optimism and timeless dreaminess to fall right into.
““It felt like we were in a movie that had a totally implausible ending...”
Slowdive’s second act as a live blockbuster has already been rapturously received around the world. Highlights thus far include a festival-conquering, sea-of-devotees Primavera Sound performance, of which Pitchfork noted: “The beauty of their crystalline sound is almost hard to believe, every note in its perfect place.” “It was just nice to realise that there was a decent amount of interest in it,” says principal songwriter Neil Halstead. The UK shoegaze pioneers have now channelled such seemingly impossible belief into a fourth studio opus which belies his characteristic modesty. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.
Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane”, these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders’ most direct material to date. Birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt The Courtyard – “It felt like home,” enthuses guitarist Christian Savill – their diamantine melodies were mixed to a suitably hypnotic sheen at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound facility by Chris Coady (perhaps best known for his work with Beach House, one of countless contemporary acts to have followed in Slowdive’s wake). “It’s poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995‘s previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. “When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.”
Drummer and loop conductor Simon Scott enhanced the likes of ‘Slomo’ and ‘Falling Ashes’ with abstract textures conjured via his laptop’s signal processing software. A fecund period of experimentation with “40-minute iPhone jams” allowed the unit to then amplify the core of their chemistry. “Neil is such a gifted songwriter, so the songs won. He has these sparks of melodies, like ‘Sugar For The Pill’ and ‘Star Roving’, which are really special. But the new record still has a toe in that Pygmalion sound. In the future, things could get very interesting indeed.” This open-channel approach to creativity is reflected by Slowdive’s impressively wide field of influence, from indie-rock avatars to ambient voyagers – see the tribute album of cover versions released by Berlin electronic label Morr Music. As befits such evocative visionaries, you can also hear Slowdive through the silver screen: New Queer Cinema trailblazer Gregg Araki has featured them on the soundtracks to no less than four of his films.
“When I moved to America in 2008 I was working in an organic grocery store,” recalls Christian. “Kids started coming in and asking if it was true I had played in Slowdive. That’s when I started thinking, ‘OK, this is weird!’” Neil Halstead: “We were always ambitious. Not in terms of trying to sell records, but in terms of making interesting records. Maybe, if you try and make interesting records, they’re still interesting in a few years time. I don’t know where we’d have gone if we had carried straight on. Now we’ve picked up a different momentum. It’s intriguing to see where it goes next.” The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. This movie could run and run…”
Move D, Jonah Sharp, Juju & Jordash build the new supergroup The Mulholland Free Clinic. Their self-titled debut LP release is the recording of their second ever improvised, all hardware live set which emphasizes the ongoing paradigm shift in live electronic music.
"Even though they've only played together on three occasions since 2013, The Mulholland Free Clinic has already been praised as one of the ultimate collaborations when it comes to underground and improvised electronic live music. Move D, Jonah Sharp, and Juju & Jordash build this so-called super-supergroup by combining their individual and mutual projects rEAGENZ and Magic Mountain High. Using an armada of analog hardware, The Mulholland Free Clinic’s self-titled debut album is the product of a live set recorded at Berlin’s emerging party series AWAY at ://about blank in August 2016. Consequently, the connected vinyl label Away Music is set to release its first long player following four 12-inches with appearances by Joe Claussell, Mr. Ties, Move D, Discrete Circuit, and its very own AWAY Soundsystem.
Their three-hour long, totally improvised jam session was edited down to a little over 80 minutes with seven tracks internalizing the motto that you won’t benefit from diverse perspectives if you aren’t open to utilizing differences. Like a well-coordinated ensemble, The Mulholland Free Clinic develops a common language by acknowledging their multi-variant range of influences and dynamics while constantly shifting, rearranging, and finally communicating ideas without beholden to any genre. Whether it’s the rich and beat-less ambiance or the synth-dominated excursions, the cosmic futurism or the overall melodic playfulness: the quartet knows its crafts mastering the off-the-cuff approach to illuminate all corners on and off the dance floor.
Using an impressive hardware-only setup (including Korg Minilogue, Roland SH-101, Roland TR 909, Roland TR 606, Yamaha DX-7, electric guitars, FX units, Akai MPC 1000, an analog mixer, and much more), the live performance isn’t just another declaration of love for classic synthesizers. By creating an environment that promotes communication, learning, and innovation the quartet also underpins the ongoing paradigm shift in live electronic music. The Mulholland Free Clinic is the artistic synthesis of improvisation and togetherness, risk and trust, consciousness and abandon . Their teamwork is an inside-out mindset. And with all collaborations, it has to start on the inside, with the heart."
A towering, shivering totem in the foggy fields of contemporary ambient and drone music, Deathprod’s Morals And Dogma  makes its long awaited first appearance on vinyl as part of a trio beside respective editions of Treetop Drive  and Imaginary Songs From Tristan De Cunha , together presenting the Norwegian demi-god’s complete official canon on wax. It’s simply an essential purchase for anyone who’s ever felt the allure of dark ambient music, but also resonates deeply with followers of early electro-acoustic, concrète, noirish soundtracks and black metal atmospheres alike.
At risk of writing a hagiography for Helge Sten here, it’s impossible to avoid the long shadow his music has cast over our listening lives for the past few decades. Like the work of the late, great Mika Vainio, Sten’s recordings under the Deathprod moniker have practically become an adjective or key allegory on these pages for the most intangible and intoxicating strains of electronic abstraction; a bar from which we measure all other modern dark ambient music.
Originally issued in 2004, but making use of four recordings realised between 1994 and 1997, Morals And Dogma is perhaps the purest example of Deathprod’s texturally diffused minimalism, which is generated by a complex array of homemade electronics, almost obsolete samplers and playback devices and analogue effects usually credited as the ‘Audio Virus’ - arguably a perfect nomenclature for the way his studio set-up allows for and breeds a complex, organically sound sort of ‘cellular composition’.
We can safely say that Morals And Dogma ranks among the ‘purest’ of Sten’s Deathprod recordings,conveying a sense of total tonal detachment and disembodied feelings as ancient as they are infinite, and as evocative of the atmosphere to grainy black and white films as memories of grand, rain-soaked landscapes and the loneliest bedsit mindsets.
However, within this bleak sepia murk it’s possible to detect a human spirit riddling its mazy corridors and vast inky blacknuss, occasionally in the form of occasional collaborators, such as Henrik Magnus Ryan and Ole Henrik Moe’s barely-there violin and harmonium in the quietly funereal case of Dead People’s Things on Morals And Dogma, and with an arcane ecclesiastic air in the faint light of Organ Donor, which appears like a sort of sublime purgatorial state for the spine freezing final reckoning of Cloudchamber - which takes its title from one of Harry Partch’s self-built instruments and pursues that composer’s exploratory impetus deep into echoplex’s unknown dimensions.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of these recordings in light of modern electronic music, but in case you forgot (or lent out the boxset’s CDs to pals years ago, like us), you couldn’t hope for a firmer reminder than these vinyl pressings, as remastered to the exacting specifications of Helge Sten - the producer, engineer, mastering genius behind this, and records by Susanna, Motorpsycho, Jenny Hval, Arve Henriksen and Supersilent, himself.
Hyper-grime lengs from Edinburgh-based knife artist Proc Fiskal for Hyperdub.
Breathlessly high register and ruthless in intent, The Highland Mob EP operates at playful yet anxiety-inducing levels of footwork meets grime pressure, keeping the meter ticking around 160bpm on seven fast-fwd riddims ranging from the cha-cha quickstep of Milk and Biscuits to the jabbing pointillism of Lamentation and a massive highlight in the tessellating mutations of Acidic Hoes.
Forest Swords’ decayed yet magisterial palette broadens with the scope of his canvas on a widely anticipated new album, Compassion; marking his shift in line from bedroom producer of note to recent collaborator with Massive Attack and composer for the Assassins Creed video game.
His first new solo material proper since the Engravings [2013, Tri Angle] album locates the Merseyside-hailing artist scaling up his compositions to a more layered, pinched and grandiose sound but still kept just out of reach, somewhere in the middle distance, like the outline of a sunlit mountain range in the distance occluded by a spring storm.
The R&B ruggedness that was key to his cherished earlier work belies Compassion, too. Echoing a beat-driven aesthetic that resonates with the rich history of his home region, a place cleft between sprawling, sea-sprayed wilds, concrete brutalism and mock classical architecture that makes for strong allegorical comparisons with his music.
Likewise we’re tempted to read a struggle between roots-preserving conservatism and tentative progress in Compassion, finding a balance of pop appeal and rustic authenticity that characterises the albums highlights such as the contrasting couplet of Exalter, with its choked-back choral swells and folk/R&B sensuality, and the sombre sepulchre of Border Margin Barrier, wreathed in gorse distortion, or especially in the dirtied brass gleam and haunted, stately poise of Vandalism and the blue supine elegy of Sjurvival.
For sure he’s going to lose no fans with this one, and will likely gain a swathe more.
RIYL Richard Skelton, Massive Attack, Arca, Phillip Jeck...
Concept suite meshing folksy neo-classical strings and electronics animated on a Buchla synth at Stockholm’s EMS.
“MimiCof's latest album, Moon Synch, is an experimental sonic link between human and celestial bodies, mind and machine, gravitational ripples and rotations. Moon Synch is the result of an intricate search for converging frequencies, a wordless account of well-modulated speeds and interlocking spheres.
Kyoto-born, Berlin-based MimiCof, who's also been releasing music under her actual name Midori Hirano since 2006, quite literally breaks new ground and ventures into uncharted territory on this album because she's chosen a whole new musical vehicle: "This LP is based on the recordings I made with a Buchla synthesizer during my residency at Stockholm's EMS Elektronmusikstudion," says the composer, sound artist and producer from Japan who grew up playing the piano, an instrument she eventually studied as well. "It was the first time I worked with an analog synthesizer - and a whole new experience."
The results of her initial Buchla explorations are utterly hypnotic, cinematic layers of samples and loops, an unfolding narrative that's based on an eclectic spectrum of recorded material: "There were no fixed references, no preconceived ideas," she says. More like "looking for the missing piece of a puzzle," MimiCof ventures further and further into a realm of electrified oscillations and sonic tides with each new track. There's a whole range of different frequencies interlacing, contracting, copulating and thus forming larger sculptures and higher crests ("Rising", "Dropping"), until the first hints of melody flare up in the outer regions of space ("Burning Lights"). Moving on and past the outer orbits, the pressure increases - bass lines cut through thick layers ("Parallel Roads"), there's an ominous vibe ("Yellow Town"), but the spirit of discovery still sets the tone, pushes things forward.
Slowly adjusting different velocities and frequencies - think of those hypnotic rotating scenes in Kubrick's 2001 (1968) - the beat fully drops with "Dropping", a single note and swathes of bass washing pulsating sine waves away. It's towards the end of "Opal" that suddenly all frequencies are truly in synch and congruent: This is the foundation for slow-moving, shimmering rays of light that finally fill up the entire space on the title track.”