Captivating slab of cyborganic techno sensations by northern Italy’s Riccardo Mazza (from the Lettera 22 duo), making his full solo vinyl debut for iDEAL Recording on the heels of their outstanding John Duncan release. A huge recommendation if you're into the likes of Raime/Blackest Ever Black, Preserved Instincts etc.
Mazza is a veteran of the same, Treviso-based punk scene that spawned Ninos Du Brasil, and he’s made a probing transition from noisy rock music thru to more abstract, rhythm-based and electronic realms over the years, landing at the coruscating industrial tones of UNFIT via freeform, bad-vibing releases for the Second Sleep label, among other, prime Italian imprints such as Hundebiss and Holidays Records.
Operating on the liminal edge of minimal techno, post-industrial and concrète ambience, his productions are ripe for darker-minded dancefloors, sustaining a momentum and gloomy pallor that doesn’t shift from start to finish, coursing thru from the coiled title track, thru the Kenji Kawai-sampling, panic-inducing stepper Height, to the muddied trample of Come Back and the Raime-like Loss, to buckle and wretch with the bloody-nosed electro of Edge and a slow stygian punt entitled Unplaced.
Seriosuly, it’s a must-check if yr into Hospital Productions, Preserved Instincts, Blackest Ever Black…
Frighteningly fxcked-up and compelling slab from Schimpfluch-Gruppe participant Dave Phillips, whom with Rise arguably establishes a crucial bridge between the continuum of radical European outsider art and NON or Halcyon Veil’s politically-charged, hyperreal soundscapes.
Accompanied by some of the most fascinating sleeve notes we’ve read since, ooh, Pauline Oliveros’ Primordial/Lift, Dave Phillips’ Rise conveys a starkly impending warning about human greed and the tendency toward anthropocentric worldviews and “extractivism”, as opposed to stewardship, all rendered thru seven scenes scrolling from convulsive hyperviolence to detached, abyssal drone and clawing cacophony.
We really couldn’t say whether Phillips, a tireless “purveyor of radical sound since the mid ‘80s” has heard or is even aware of the NON phenomena or Halcyon Veil’s abrasive aesthetics, but the textural and political similarities between those vital new labels and Phillips’ cranky ass are just too striking to ignore.
Face first, he sucks us into the peristaltic paroxysms of We Know Enough To Know How Much We Will Never Know with a sense of arrhythmic chaos and trepidation that feels like Rabit and John Wiese imagining a world where feral populations fight over the last food and goods on the shelves, before Rise steps outside into a bombed out scape strafed with buzzing flies, and Culture Of Ethical Failure sinks into a fetid mire of soggy textures and deeply unpleasant torture chamber wretches dappled with minor key piano motifs.
The Construct farther gnaws at the simulacra’s shaky resolution with visceral, unsettling white noise distortion, and Solastalgia / Ohnmacht feels like the infinite intro to a Venetian Snares calamity which never manifests, instead serving up grindcore rage in Only The Cockroaches Shall Survive To Rule The Earth, and leaving us petrified at what may come with the primordial orgy, A Grain of Salt (Goes a Long Way).
OK, there’s definitely a distinction to be made between Phillips’ extreme angled weltanschauung and the hypermodern consciousness of NON and their affiliates, but it’s surely better to hear their relative similarities and, if you’re a DJ or listener who likes to mess around with their records, to crash and layer ‘em together in the mix where we’d imagine they’ll really come alive together.
Bitter Earth is the much anticipated, long-in-the-making new album from John Duncan joined by a broad cast of adroit collaborators; Oren Ambarchi, Jim O’Rourke, Smegma, Chris Abrahams, Joe Talia, CM Von Hausswolff, Eiko Ishibashi, France Jobin - all written in dedication to Mika Vainio (who, for avoidance of doubt, is not dead!). It's a remarkable suite of cover versions - from The Gun Club to Nina Simone and Iggy Pop - and original material by an arch experimenter who continues to explore unfamiliar territory...
We’re no experts on Duncan’s oeuvre, but this record flips our previous assumptions on their fleshy bonce, taking in a sweltering, almost cinematic psych version of The Gun Club’s The House On Highland Avenue along with his own original, gospel-like spiritual Red Sky and capped off with an achingly intimate solo piano twist on The Four Tops’ Reach Out.
The effect is most often shocking in the sweetest way, especially if you’re more familiar with his esoteric work mapping the Nazca Lines for Planam or the indescibable breadth of his First Recordings 1978-85 V.1.2 box set, for example.
Perhaps it’s an exercise in catharsis after so many years of heavy drones and outsider experimentation, or perhaps it’s intended to draw a perpendicular connection between that work and pop/folk/jazz idioms. But, either way, his cracked, naked voice is utterly captivating, whether accompanied by shivering tambourine in a take on Pere Ubu’s Dark or transporting Jefferson Airplane’s Comin’ Back To Me to a scene of cicadas and lilting, metallic drums and electronics somewhere between Tel Aviv and Bologna.
A timeless record we reckon you’ll return to over and again. Highly recommended!
Spangled techno misfits from the Power Vacuum
Dr. Skime slings the elasticated electro-techno madness of RX5 Jams 8, 9 & 7; Pan Daijang forces out the bruxist charge of Very Uncomfortable, Please;Beau Wanzer tees the boisterous Up Chuck’s; Bristol’s Inca Pax slugs home the messy electro of Transfer Function; and Bleaching Agent does his job with cutthroat effect.
Grippingly dense and roiling collaboration between improv god Keiji Haino and and a rupturing Belgian rhythm section. Flashes of curdled baroque, avant-jazz scuttle, rock rage and primitive electronics. Recorded, mastered and mixed in Tokyo by Joe Talia between 2015-2016.
“Japanese legend, Keiji Haino, meets two of Belgium's most active and valued musicians, keyboardist Jozef Dumoulin (Lilly Joel) and drummer Teun Verbruggen (Othin Spake). The Miracles Of Only One Thing is a deep and intense testimony of this meeting. Keiji Haino, without any doubt one of the most important musicians from the Japanese underground scene, is at his best, Teun Verbruggen and Jozef Dumoulin did a three-week tour in Japan in September of 2015, playing concerts as a duet, but also solo and with local musicians.
One of those musicians was hero Keiji Haino, whose work has spanned rock, free improvisation, noise, percussion, psychedelic music, minimalism and drones. Besides his legendary bands Fushitsusha and Lost Aaraaff, he has worked with artists and bands like Boris, The Melvins, Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann and Steve Noble. As for Dumoulin and Verbruggen, they are both known for their always refreshing and groundbreaking work that breaks the barriers between free improvisation, electro, jazz and more. Jozef Dumoulin is part of the duo Lilly Joel appearing recently on Sub Rosa with What Lies in the Sea (SR 416CD, 2015). The three teamed up for a studio recording and a recorded live-show.
Out of all the material, they distilled an album that reflects both the excitement of the new bond as well as the deep and vast sonic landscapes that their joined forces laid bare. Personnel: Keiji Haino - guitar, vocals, flute, gongs; Jozef Dumoulin - Fender Rhodes; Teun Verbruggen - drums, electronics.”
Master of Mannequin and darkroom specialist Alessandro Adriani unleashes the beast on four cuts for Pinkman, surfing the grottiest wave styles from the gnawing synths and EBM buck of You’ll Simply Never Understand The True Meaning of Sacrifice to the acid waterboarding of Will To Power and following his nose thru to the deeply druggy jag of Claustrophobia, just about keeping it up for a final 100bpm slug called Interdependence.
Subtly uplifting, dusty and driven deep house from Bruno B., a.k.a. Folamour with Shakkei for All City, and previously on 12”s for his Moonrise Hill Material and FHUO Records labels.
A-side he marries windswept flurries of jazz keys to a heavy swanging and stepping deep house groove like a rawer Henrik Schwarz piece. B-side, he simmers down to the shuffling percussive hustle and swooning harmonies of Maybe I Did Burn Ya Place, and then gets all disco plush with Each Day Is The First Day.
Israel Vines and Kit Geary reprise the murky techno drive of KGIV in two drily monotone ‘floor knockers, backed with an evil Jewff Pietro remix for the Eye Teeth sublabel of Interdimensional Transmissions.
Mockingbird trades in stylish, tunnelling dark techno rent with industrial dubbing, whereas From Fragments is more kinetic, swinging around offset clap and rolling square bass aimed at the gurny hours. Jeff Pietro’s remix intensifies the aethstics of Mockingbird.
Oblique, intense and spirit-gnawing electro-acoustic exercises from The Skull Defekts founder / Ideal head honcho Joachim Nordwall, presenting a brilliantly stark album of direct and gnarly Machine energy that comes highly recommended if you're into anything from Pan Sonic to Alessandro Cortini, Deathprod or Emptyset. So good.
Working with a bunch of tone generators fed thru a massive wall of amps at Elementstudion in Gothenburg, Nordwall isolates and fearlessly homes in on the recording space’s resonant frequencies until you can physically feel the room grinding, whining and shuddering in the kind of spasms that arch the spine and set your back teeth on edge. And he does it relentlessly for the whole record.
It’s what Nordwall in December, 2016 described as “…my ideal black. A place I enjoy to place myself in” and, by turns, appears to be a place we enjoy inhabiting, too. There’s really a lot to be said for the unadulterated pleasure of sustained atonal assaults, and feeling like you’re about to be asphyxiated from the sheer pressure of it all.
The only steady variable in this elemental organism is the sense of rhythm; a metric, pulsing heave that keeps each piece’s tangibly immense weight pushing forward from the crack’d slap of a drum that pins The Ideal Black into place, to the quasi-step lurch of Great Mind of Fire, thru the Alessandro Cortini-Like impulse of Extreme Solution for a Simple Problem to the palsied, cog-ground rattle of System For Psychic Expansion and Black Out at its nether limits.
In the rarest way, thanks to Joachim’s direct approach, the mixing of Linus Andersson, and Heba Kadry’s master at Timeless Mastering, Bushwick, The Ideal Black is about as close as you’ll hear to a 1-to-1 representation of pure, crushing tonal terror. A character-building exercise strongly tipped if you like the biting point sounds of: Kevin Drumm, Alessandro Cortini, Emptyset, Gottfried Michael Koenig