Craig Clouse aka $+$ offers another dirty protest against dancefloor convention with his 18th album of gut rot grooves and noise, Some People Really Know How To Live, landing on the indomitable Editions Mego.
As you’d hope for, this is some severely messed up sh*t, but certainly not without its very own aerobic potential, forcing the funk from every clogged up pore and orifice between the keening torque of Behind You Back and the recursive knots of The Crocodile with a possessed grip that really doesn’t know when to let up.
Highlights are pebble-dashed across the thing like a busy W.C., especially in the gypsy-traveller call-out clash of Lil Wannabe Gangsta and the V/Vm-esque dance-pop offal of Girl Close Your Eyes, and coming on strong in the prolapsed techno of Raining Horses or South Padre Low Life and the Rubik’s Cube tessellations of Notified.
It’s proper bobby dazzler, this one.
Current artistic director of the inestimable GRM facility in Paris, François Bonnet aka Kassel Jaeger commits a moving, deeply introspective addition to the electro-acoustic canon with Aster; a collection of revisits and reworkings of material which marks both a consolidation of, and a departure from, some seventy years of research initiated by Pierres Schaeffer and Henry.
Ominous but romantic, and vast in scale yet microscopically grained, Aster yields a world of sound unto itself, tapping into parallel meta-dimensions of space and structure between and around the notes while taking the lessons of his predecessors into lusher new realms, where academic stoicism and process is infiltrated by a daring measure of sentiment and pathos which should immediately appeal to listeners in a way that electro-acoustic music’s more crenellated, obtuse offerings wilfully bypass.
We can point to his dissolution of classic melody and harmonic structures in Exposure Scale - Clair de Lune as a prime example of this approach and its beautifully melancholy effect which is spread throughout the album, lending a filigree sense of ambient-pop appeal to what are ostensibly oblique, abstract masses of sound. Effectively he’s realised a sort of sonic alchemy, rendering shimmering gold from cryptic inputs and process in the blistering swells of Un auto archival, and the curdling bittersweet dissonance of Set The Planet on Fire, You’ll Get a Star, or most plaintively in the ghostly seduction of Ner and the phosphorescent glow of L’étoile du matin.
New age pioneer Laraaji summons celestial energies thru radiant gong meditations alloyed with modular synth and vocals to immersive effect.
It’s really not as optimistic as you might expect, but does seem to follow a narrative arc from chaotic mystic darkness to a more positive, chiming conclusion in its 25 minute duration. An intriguing addition to his catalogue, which takes another smart turn with his upcoming album, Bring On The Sun.
E-Beam deliver that boom boom shit that makes the kids hype with Storage Media’s 001-4 EP; slugging stentorian kicks, thistly breaks and flash boogie chords on 001; percolating some jittery, caffeinated Maxwell House in 002; and coming with something a little subtler in the wavy chords of 003; and the airy swang of 004. If you like that boring Winona 12” you may like this one, too.
Deek’s finely-tuned pop radar in full effect here, pulling together superb cover versions from a sprawling milieu of friends and label family, following the precedent of their Extraordinary Renditions ace released over a year ago.
From Kero Kero Bonito’s remarkable 8-bit ghettobass rework of Rock ’N Roll Star - yep, that one - to Thool’s sublime lounge version of Joe Jackson and LXURY’s take on an early Drexciyan bewt, the pure pop kicks come delightfully light-headed and unexpected, pretty much all certain to garner fevered ID requests for the DJs, and even get the shyest wallflowers down on the ‘floor.
We’re talking proper ‘90s nostalgia in AlaskaAlaska’s take on Edwin Collins’ A Girl Like You, and of the acid house variety in Sultan Shakes arabicanised version of AGCG’s evergreen, Oud Ou Ray, and even The Beastie Boys Girls gets a look in courtesy of Eyedress.
But half the fun of Covered In Gloria is identifying those earworms that you know you know, but just can’t place a finger on, as with Bullion’s Friday and Suzanne Kraft’s krautish werk-aut, Nordsee. And while Minor Science’s Heatwave is actually a bit too sweet, we can hardly fault the rest; it’s pretty much a flawless and very worthwhile exercise in refreshing/undressing our collective pop cultural memory banks.
Lunice weighs in a tightly packed album of new hip hop and club mutations with CCCLX for LuckyMe landing in the wake of production for Lil Wayne, Le1f, Azealia Banks and Kanye West since the start of the decade, and even a slot as Madonna’s 2015 tour DJ.
Subtly framed like a sort of stage play or futurist hip hop opera, CCCLX follows a finely structured dramaturgy with titles such as CCCLX (Curtain) and CCCLX (Intermission) or CCCLX (Costume) and a revolving roll call of voices and production characters coming into play including Québécois MCs Speng and CJ Flemming, and Denzel Curry and Le1f appearing alongside contribution from SOPHIE.
Standout cuts come in the form of Drop Down, featuring ratchet production from SOPHIE and catty bars from Le1f, and also the fiercely icy but bugged-out O.N.O., but safe to say if you’ve followed Lunice since the start, you’ll be all over the whole thing.
Reissue of the classic debut album of punk jabs by Sydney, Australia’s Low Life. The sound of boredom in the ‘burbs
“There's an ordeal that underpins Low Life's 'Dogging,' and looking back at it, perhaps this was inevitable given the album's exceptionally derogatory attitude to its own scattered sense of time and debris. It's an attitude that's been hosed down in bore water-stained stupor, with all the anguished but forgivable hope and charm of plain packaged cigarettes.
'Dogging' crawled into the world desperately and painfully. Originally slated for release on Brisbane's singular Negative Guest List Records in 2012, the label's owner sadly passed away before it got there. It eventually emerged two years later as a split between two labels from the band's home turf of Sydney, Disinfect Records and R.I.P. Society. It's fitting that the latter had reissued Venom P. Stinger's Dugald McKenzie-era material the year prior—arguably the only other Australian band that compares to the tough, shit-kicking intensity found on 'Dogging.'
Comprised of Mitch Tolman, Cristian O'Sullivan, and Greg Alfaro at this point (the current 2017 line-up includes Dizzy from Oily Boys), the reckless ferocity and defeatist's humour is pointedly nihilistic. It's not kitsch nihilism either, it's the kind that enlivens. Indexing happiness, fear, lust, grief, and sorrow, the wry indulgences outlined in Tolman's coded and scheming lyrics amount to white-knuckle sincerity. It's disarming, but it's blunted by a weighty smirk. If all this weren't delivered through a sardonic curled lip, the violence at the edge of it all would perhaps come off a little less real. There's a bitterly angry confrontation with the contemporary Australian psyche once you enter Low Life's estate.
Thugged out and at pace, there's a genuine rush to 'Dogging.' The mindless logic of 'harder and faster' could never get you to where they were at this point. Even at the marginally calmer moments the guitars glance you like a headache revealing just how bad it is. There's no respite, but on the the whole it's a very functional arrangement between the three of them. Each song is belted out with a short, sharp fit, with some synthesisers occasionally glistening out at the edges. The restraint is all the more fierce as it amplifies everything that's fucked about them. Low Life pull you through it all on all their terms, and that impact feels as untimely and excessive now as it did then.”
The National return with their seventh studio album, ‘Sleep Well Beast’.
It was produced by member Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron Dessner’s Hudson Valley, New York studio, Long Pond, with additional sessions having taken place in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles.
Hard-bitten techno from Ersatz Olfolks on Austria’s legendary Cheap label, arriving after appearances on Knick Knack Yoda, Mélodies Souterraines and Singular Records with a mix of noisy barnstormers and grungy experiments.
For most upfront, no-nonsense gear get on the blank-eyed pound of Plasmatix Chambers or Second Regula, or for something a bit sloppier, unkempt check the recoiling sludge of Sàpmi and their abstract wormholer, Parallel Existenz.
New album from John Frusciante's Trickfinger projectm recorded 10 years ago with no intention of being released at the time, made purely for discovery and learning experience.
"In my opinion, making music with no intention of releasing it is the best thing a musician can do for his own development in this day and age. The Trickfinger LP was made in that mindset, and it was the beginning of a new musical life for me. When I hear it, it sounds like I am opening up doorways to new worlds, and I never have had that feeling listening to music I made for the purpose of releasing it and selling it.”
All the music was recorded live onto a CD burner, through a cheap mixer. John would sit on a chair, in his living room, surrounded by five to 15 machines, and just keep programming and jamming until the track was ready to be recorded. There were no overdubs – recorded all live.
Acid Test unearthed these recordings and John agreed to a release. Trickfinger II is the second part to the recordings made during the winter of 2007."
L-Vis 1990 upholsters a deep sprung trap beat for London MC’s Flohio and Cassive on Yeah Yeah for his home-brewed imprint.
Dropping low on the rims, Flohio and Cassive exchange bars on a clenched but casual UK road rap bounce, hopefully signalling more work from the trio.
Lush dream-pop meets sleek electro and synth-pop in diaphanous phorm, delivered with trust by Mike Simonetti’s 2MR label
“Moscow's Kedr Livanskiy (real name Yana Kedrina) confesses "Synthesizers help me maximally feel the present moment." Livanskiy was born into a shifting and critical time for Russia. The Soviet Union had exhausted and old values were anathematized because of reconstruction. A sense of displacement drove Kedr to find herself. She's escaped reality repeatedly in her explorations into the imagery and ideas of romanticism, mythical and fairytale themes which visibly bleed throughout her work and especially on her debut full-length 'Ariadna'. The title track which was named after the Greek goddess, Adriane, debuted via THUMP today who've described it "anchors its elegantly drifting shoegaze melodies with a knocking electro beat."
Kedr considers this album to be divided into a couple of different parts - like how one person can contain many different moods. The first half revolves around mythological thoughts and the second takes cues from the urban and suburban environments around her, all the while in the middle of everything is the hero who experiences real feelings and emotions.
Kedr also channels the places in her neighborhood on the outskirts of Moscow (affectionately dubbed by her as "BORDER MOSCOW"). There's a river there where identical Soviet high-rises stand on both sides, with a bridge and garbage processing plant adjacent. Where nature and industry meet. The whole scene looks very apocalyptic, but also mystical and mysterious, especially at twilight.
Her inspiration for this record comes from the Izhevsk (sometimes referred to as "the capital of Russian electronic music") sound of the 80s, including groups like Stuk Bambuka V XI Chasov (Bamboo Crash at 11AM) and Samtsy Dronta. The movement in Russian experimental music is especially inspiring, with acts likes Valery Chkalov, Sergey Kuryokhin and Pop Mechanica; in general, the late-Soviet period was very inspiring with all its figures in music, cinema, their energy and their approach towards life and art.
'Ariadna' marks a change in her recording approach: her critically acclaimed breakthrough EP 'January Sun' was written and recorded completely in Ableton, while 'Ariadna' was written using the Roland SH-101, Roland Juno 106 and Korg Minilogue synthesizers, then mixed down in Ableton. According to Kedr, "This way, one gets into a flow of live interaction, here and now, with the instrument."
To her, this interaction is more "raw and sacred" than actually mixing the track down, which seems like "mere formalism" in comparison. There is a definite leap in production values this time around, but Kedr manages to keep true to her sound despite the greater polish and depth.”
XL’s Richard Russell cooks up a hazy, stoop-ready hip-hop soul joint with lilting vocals from Sampha offset by vocals from the Ibeyi duo and raps by Wiki, plus instrumental and production input from Kamasi Washington.
Think early ‘90s Wild Bunch or Major Force West vibes updated for 2017.
On the heels of that superb debut EP from Arca-affilliate Jesse Kanda aka Doon Kanda, Hyperdub introduce new avatar Mana with the nerve-end pirouettes and teetering trap drums of the Creature EP.
Mana is Daniele Mana, fka Vaghe Stelle, a producer with a string of releases for Gang of Ducks, Aisha Devi's Danse Noire, Astro:Dynamics and most recently, Nicolas Jaar’s Other People records. He is also a member of One Circle with Lorenzo Senni and composer Francesco Fantini.
The first tatster for the EP, Crystaline deploys sheer hooks which writhe and flash in acres of negative space buoyed by plasmic subbass and traced with spidery trap drums. Strong debut this one, full review to follow...
The arch avant cuties rope in Juana Molina, Matana Roberts, and Lætitia Sadier a.o. for their most accessible album pretty much ever. The disco friendly ‘Come Down Here & Say That’ feat. Stereolab’s Lætitia Sadier is particularly choice and a great way in!
“Though Deerhoof have often made albums from start to finish with virtually no input from the outside world, now is not the time for artists to operate in isolation. Mountain Moves throws the doors wide open. Working quickly, the band invited myriad guests to participate, some of them dear friends, others practically strangers. They are of different ages, different nationalities, different disciplines. The only common thread was that each and every artist on Mountain Moves doesn't fit into a single, neatly-defined category – and doesn't wish to.
The results, as expected, were unexpected. Guide vocals and simple melodies were dispatched via email, only to be answered with an outpouring of alternate harmonies, suggestions for arrangements, additional instrumentation. Every file received triggered a new rush of jumbled emotions. Some guests crafted their contributions in the small hours of the dawn, toiling in hotel rooms before driving eight hours to the next tour date; others hopped on the subway and recorded with the band in-person.
Collisions and collusions abound on Mountain Moves. In addition to its bounty of originals, the program includes three covers that epitomize the album's assemblage of disparate ideas and personalities. Reducing Bob Marley's "Small Axe" to a beat-less fragment of hymn-like simplicity magnifies the song's rebellious spirit and undercurrent of violence. Deerhoof vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki, a Japanese immigrant, lifts the Staple Singers' "Freedom Highway" out of its original place and time, imbuing it with a new sense of alienation from one's own country. Snippets of the bass recitative "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth" from Handel's Messiah provide the foundation for a fresh take on Chilean folk hero Violeta Parra's bittersweet masterpiece "Gracias a la Vida."
Adventures outside the United States also informed the making of Mountain Moves. During a recent visit to Brazil, the band was astonished to see how enthusiastically audiences at concerts sang, danced, and reveled – a cultural response, they learned, to the scarcity of resources for all but the nation's wealthiest elites. Elsewhere, the experience of confronting unfamiliar audiences of fired-up Red Hot Chili Peppers fans taught them that one of their greatest skills – the ability to recalibrate their sound nightly to suit a particular venue – wasn't limited to basements or small clubs. The broader strokes of Mountain Moves sprang forth from lessons learned while trying to engage audiences of 20,000+ across the vast distances of Northern European sporting arenas.
If Mountain Moves were a movie, it would be a double feature, Journey to the Center of the Deerhoof and Escape from Planet Deerhoof, shown side-by-side simultaneously. The record epitomizes the band at its very best, exploring new realms between the poles of independence and invention. It also serves as a welcoming point of entry for new listeners outside Deerhoof's traditional orbit, an opportunity to bring even more voices into the communal conversation. We're all in this together.”
Necessary reissue of a sought-after, obscure example of French free jazz originally issued in 1965
“As Finders Keepers disobedient little-sister-label reaches her 20th (release) anniversaries Cacophonic Records are proud to present a record that will not only leave rare record collectors salivating but will open ambitious ears to a truly pioneering album from the seldom celebrated and individualistic micro-genre that is French free Jazz. Comprising some of the earliest uninhibited performances from key musicians behind records by Serge Gainsbourg, Jef Gilson, Triangle, Don Cherry, Barbara and countless other groundbreaking European jazz records and freakish films, this LP captures the birth of an exciting movement that would soon earn its Parisian birthplace as the go-to European spiritual home of improvised and avant-garde music.
Spearheaded by polymath pianist and composer François Tusques this 1965 French LP coined the phrase “free jazz” before the American genre of the same name had fully taken shape and packed its suitcase; laying the foundations (alongside Jef Gilson’s Enfin!) for a unique satellite brand of jazz that would later provide visiting afro American avant-gardeners with a vibrant Parisian platform. Having recorded a very rare single in celebration of the architect Le Corbusier in late 1964 Tusques was lucky enough to play live with Don Cherry (a key player on Ornette Coleman’s 1961 Free Jazz LP) thus planting a pedigreed seed for this vibrant cultivar.”
Aches Maerz gets right into his forth dub house thing for Don’t Be Afraid
Lathering up some lovely polka shuffle and almost country-style twang in III, before carrying us away on the square bass roll and mellow chords of IV and stalking his muse deep into the 4th world dub house echo chamber with VI.
Delirious concoctions of latinate, psychedelic tropicalia journeying inwards from Argentina to Mexico
“The boundary-pushing Colombian group returns to Soundway Records with another unique album: dreamy psych-folk, blending traditional Latin rock with tropicalia, and lush string and choral arrangements.
Meridian Brothers’ sound is a huge palette of influences and inspirations. Drawing from traditional Latin rock (including Colombian, Argentinian and Mexican) as well as Brazilian tropicalia, for this album Alvarez incorporates string instruments - in particular the cello, both bowed and plucked - a timbre rarely used in his previous works.”
Liturgy’s highly regarded drummer, Greg Fox beats out a levitating, freeform, rhythmelodic swirl connected as much to his math metal roots as ambient and jazz schools. If Bruce Ditmas got down with TCF and Alice Coltrane…
“The Gradual Progression is a transformative collection of new music by Greg Fox. The seven pieces of The Gradual Progression activate spiritual states through physical means, Fox’s rigorous inner rhythms the mandalic vessel for unbound expression and arrangement. TGP signals both a reconciliation of disparate musical ventures and a new nirvanic stage in the artist’s oeuvre.
Fox views TGP as an exploration of selfhood, and more specifically, the search for his true voice as an artist. Though such a journey is by nature ongoing, if not essentially elusive, the discoveries along the path are the musical riches of TGP. For his second solo album, Fox employs new methods of externalizing his polyrhythmic virtuosity into non-physical realms.
This transfer of energy is achieved through responsive environments tethered to various aspects of the performance. Sensors attached to Fox’s drum kit trigger tonal palettes, or virtual instruments invented for each piece, which Fox communes with in the post-Free Jazz manner. That is, locating and emphasizing states of universal resonance in solo and ensemble settings in place of demonstrating individual ability.
This is where the album’s canonic influences – and inventors – are most recognizable. Pharoah Sanders’ Elevation and Don Cherry’s Organic Music Society come to mind, though the guidance of master drummer and holistic healer Milford Graves ultimately made TGP possible. For Fox’s astonishing 2014 album Mitral Transmissions, Graves assisted Fox in adapting software that translated output signals from biological sources to virtual instruments. For TGP, Fox again used percussion to initiate passages whose intensity and vibrancy match Fox’s energetic presence and focus.”
Killlllah Durban taxi techno from scene pioneers, AudioBoyz: cut fresh off the block for the Athens-based Hypermedium following their 1st release by Evol and a sorely overlooked split between N.M.O.’s (Ruben) Patiño and No God Ritual - alias of the very talented Timos Alexandropoulos.
At the epicentre of the Durban, SA scene, AudioBoyz have been instrumental in developing Gqom from an offshoot of Kwaito into a dark dancefloor force to be reckoned with across the globe, their ruggedly stripped tackle turning up regularly in Kode 9 and Moleskin DJ sets and steadily infecting the underground thousands of miles beyond the home in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
With stacks of AudioBoyz tracks available on the kasimp3 hub, Rise of Gqom is their 2nd release for a European label after the Danger 12” with Blank Mind, and follows recent aces by DJ Lag and TLC Fam to keep everyone in the northern hemisphere up to date with the Gqom scene’s development.
Thanks to a firm mastering job by Thomas P. Heckmann, these four new cuts are some of the strongest Gqom we’ve heard - tilting in with the signature nag and hip-tocking lock of African Conga, subtly lit with layered pads and vocal idents, but still rude AF, before really going inside the rhythmic mechanics in the filigree percussions of Spotlight, then coming off like some PCP techno gone deep forward in the fiercely controlled cold rush of Monster, while properly tending to the bottom end in the sparsely deployed, gut-socking sub hits of Drifting Away.
No denying it. This is 10/10 darkside dancefloor material. U know what to do!
Etapp Kyle graduates from Klockworks and Unterton to the top table with his debut for Ostgut Ton.
Alpha is a slickly sensuous demonstration of Kyle’s techno hydraulics in full flow, starting gently with the elegant pads and electroid surface disturbance of the title track and an Ø or Colundi-style bleep techno beauty in Quantum, then raising a sublime tension with Source’s off-kilter kicks and floating chords, which condense into something more brooding and meaning with Ritual.
Sneaker Social Club reissue this batch of 'ardcore/jungle anachronisms from Etch.
Under the canny title 'Chemotaxis' - movement of an organism in response to a chemical stimulus - Etch hashes lines between Danny Breaks-style jungle and Toasty-esque breakstep with an elegant touch, cutting rug from the nimble chops and jazz-fusion vibes of the title track to the '06 breakstep rolige of 'What Lies Beyond', and darker dip of 'Green Park', before getting on the down stroke with a smart revision of his 'Prismatic' link-up with Third Person Lurkin.
Plush, jazz-licked dub house from the master of such stuff, Sven Weisemann
Testing out a filigree range of styles between the weighty but elegant half step of Lunation and the effervescent, square-bassed swing of Bilateral Relations on the A-side, and checking out more reverberant, subaquatic steppers motion with Monistic and the canny sound design dynamics of Decimation on the B-side.
Old skool grime/dubstep heroes Macabre Unit bifurcate in two guises for Nominee Sound with a slew of aggy 8-bar and dungeon-styled UK riddims.
As Macabre Unit, they pull up classic darkside Star Wars tropes on the heavy-breathing grime of Darth Vader, and with evil Jon E Cash effect in the pitbull-jawed Man Up.
MU member Raff Di Renzo aka Nurve goes next with colder, stone clad half step in Silentium, and icier tribal drums cold fused into the killer, unique torque of Best To Just Ride It.
Altered States Tapes and Creep Dreams proprietor Cooper Bowman unspools a greyscale thread of unsteady loops and fizzing synthesis on Resistance Restraint after self-releasing Six Loops [For Gregorian Sweepstakes] and Isle Of Isms with Berlin’s Portals Editions already in 2017.
In its free, keening structure, gritty plasmic texture and off-kilter feels, Maud Variations feels very much like a partner piece to Bowman’s Portals Editions release. Cleft in six, the pieces seem to expand, contract and dissolve with a combination of elastic and viscous qualities; thrumming rhythms ooze and slosh in tarry sequence, convecting vaporous harmonic and dissonant overtones as noxious/alluring as fresh bitumen infused with valerian.
With subtly curious effect, it all serves to convey s fine range of emotive sensation, from somnolent drowsiness to paralysingly pensive tension and melancholic enigma recalling Arca’s heartsore electronic hymns as much as Helm’s discomfiting concrète ambience.
Clunky remixes of SA’s DJ Spoko and Cómeme captain Matias Aguayo from fresh and veteran hands.
Matthew Herbert spins Dirty Dancing on a strange balance between grumbling, stodgy bass and effervescent bleeps ’n pads; Rroxymore re-percolates Esquina with a grubbing sort of electro-kwaito bounce; Deadbeat does a strident steppers techno remix of Something About The Dance; Violet rolls out Taxi rank on a big-boned tech-house pivot.
Officially available to download for the first time, including Napalm Death’s Mick Harris and Nick Bullen as Scorn, plus some hypnotic Seefeel oddities, but most worthwhile for the transfixing, rare recording of a Yanomami Group Healing ritual made by David Toop.
“Third record of a thematic series of 9, published from 1993 to 1998 called Utopian Diaries. Ancient Light and the Blackcore was released in 1995.
“It begins with Scorn at his best, Naked Sun with M.J. Harris (Lull, Painkiller) & N.J. Bullen. Followed 3 new tracks by Seefeel (As if, As track & As well) recorded during the sessions of Seccour. The first rhythm is made with scratches - at the end of the pieces we discover extraordinary recordings of an intoxicated and painful ceremony of some Amazonian Shamans - recorded by David Toop in the rainforest of Southern Venezuela (communauty of Yanomami) in november 1978. Noted in the booklet, an important text written by David Toop: 'Technicians of the Subworld', about his trip and more generally about the relation between music and intoxication (the shamans as a vivid exemple). Why are you there? the large track by Timothy Leary (voices) & DJ Cheb i Sabbah (production) is the last piece that ended this other film without image.”
Expanded (with 8 new tracks) version of Princess Nokia’s self-released debut mixtape, 1992 including the recently released single G.O.A.T. along with standouts such as the haunting, sharply pointed Brujas and the brassy bang of Kitana.
Assuming you’re cool af and already know the original mixtape, we’ll step right onto the new cuts, covering golden era hip hop in ABCs of New York and the backpacker beats of Goth Kid, plus a pure heat-seeking missile in the stuttering keys and drill bounce of Flava, and checking out on a deep south party flex with Chinese Slippers.
Heads will roll for this one!
Strapping EBM from NYC-via-Berlin producer Joey Gonzalez aka Blush Response, and Switzerland’s Alexey Volkov with Jerome Tcherneyan (Piano Magic) and Maja Petrovna aka Years of Denial.
Blush Response lunges for the jugular with a cold, hard, classically-styled EBM beating swarmed by needle-toothed synth distortion in You Will Cry Out In Grief, whereas Volkov and Years of Denial adopt a stealthier approach thru staggered baselines, swingeing drum machines and piercing electronics that hit right between they eyes of YoD’s ace Blood Debts Lp for Oliver Ho’s Death & Leisure, and Volkov’s 12” for Jealous God.
Feel the flesh.
Kenneth Kapstad’s June 2016 departure from Motorpsycho left the remaining psychos Hans Magnus Ryan and Bent Sæther fending for themselves. An almost ten-year ride was over, and things were again changing in the Psychoverse.
"After a fall busy at the Trøndelag teater, writing and performing the Begynnelser music live for 40 performances, the search for a replacement started, and by December 2016 Tomas Järmyr had become the new drummer in Motorpsycho. The fit was natural, and it didn’t take more than a couple of rehearsals for the old-timers Snah and Bent to figure this out: the chemistry was there from the get go, and by mid-January enough new material was ready for the band to start contemplating recording.
When the initial plan to work with Alain Johannes fell through due to conflicting schedules, the back-up plan - to self-produce with engineer Noah Shain and executive producer Dave Raphael at White Buffalo in Downtown L.A. - became reality, and in early March the band found themselves in Los Angeles, well-rehearsed and ready to record. The band and their cohorts hoped to get most of the work done over a three-week period, and tracking began on March 6. After about ten days of recording basic tracks for the more brutal stuff at White Buffalo, the gang decamped to Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree for three effective days to focus on a little more laid-back material. The final week was spent in L.A. tracking vocals and adding overdubs. After a few weeks of further work back in Norway, Noah Shain mixed the songs in L.A. in May.
As ever stretching the boundaries of their musical understanding and looking for new ways to express themselves, this is a pretty adventurous album even by Motorpsycho standards. It is easy to hear that both the new environment and the new co-conspirators influenced the band: this sounds nothing like any previous Motorpsycho album! Musically this is in parts the hardest album Motorpsycho has perpetrated in a while, and the material runs the gamut from short and sweet to lengthy and mean - even touching on heavy or stoner rock in places. It certainly is of a rather more explosive nature than most of their last album Here Be Monsters: the sounds are gnarlier and the riffs bigger, and where the last album to some perhaps was a tad too introvert, this album reflects the period it was written and is more concerned with us than me - with changes in society rather than personal issues.
These are strange days, and the lyrics reflect this. Surviving yet another change in personnel, Motorpsycho bounces back and shows yet again that the band is bigger than the individual players and that it intends to survive whatever challenges fate throws at it. The Tower, then, is a statement of intent from a band that is very much alive and kicking: this is the start of a new era in the Psychoverse, and the album stands as proof that there’s bite in the old dog yet!"
Dekmantel diversify their bonds again with four tracks from Ectomorph, Burnt Friedman, Juju & Jordash and Fatima Yamaha on the 5th instalment of their 10th anniversary series.
Burnt Freidman dials in a frenetic percussive piece from the nonplace; Ectomorph play it down and sleazy with a grungy acidic squeeze called Edge Of; Amsterdam locals and longtime fam Juju & Jordash bring the vibe up with lush hi-tech jazz suss in Neon Swing; Fatima Yamaha brings it down again with a reverberant solo keyboard meditation, Platforms (Empty Version) for serotonin-depleted post-festival wallowing.
Terrific vintage scoop from Rivet’s Kess Kill label, presenting highlights of Vitor Hublot’s 185 Millions De Francophones Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi…  on download format for the first time.
In wonky line with Kess Kill’s reissue of Xaõ Seffcheque work, this one looks at a lesser heard nook of the Belgian new wave prism thru six spunky, playful examples taking in the rubbery, acidic dancer Piron N’veut Nin Dinser and barnyard antics of One Gayole Dé Biès along with some uncannily fresh sounding digi-dub/synth-pop mutation On A Tué No Porcheau, manic DAF-style throbs in El Nût Du Mariach, and the bitter bubblegum chew of Comme Les Autres Font.
There was definitely something in the water in ‘80s Belgium…
Joker steps to Coki as the Dillinja of dubstep with nexx levels of crushing, distorted half step styles in Mad Night,
Then like Swindle with the squits in Melkweg Bass, and swivelling like a Borgore with jazz in his pants on Medium Core.
Comprised of Jenifer Gelineau on violin & electronics, Omeed Goodarzi on guitar, and Edward 'Ted' Lee on bowed cymbal, Donkey No No create the sort of instrumental hallucinations you'd expect to hear in the background of a film by Jodorowsky or Arrabal.
"It's very cool, because they use the very instruments you'd hear in some shitty Ken Burns documentary, in order to play music that would make Ken's sallow head explode if he tried to wrap his noggin around it. With sometimes scratchy violin as the ostensible lead instrument, theoretical comparisons to old timey music are inevitable. But Donkey No No's sound is old timey only in as much as its tendrils are as timeless as smoke. Every note they generate heads in such weirdly trippy directions you can immediately suss why these guys are such a favorite of Gary Panter (king of the hippies).
Much of their flow is an unstoppable lateral gush, reminiscent of mid-points in long sets by classic-if-lost Bay Area bands like Patrick Kilroy's New Age trio or Serpent Power. They create an aura that is filled with breath and light in a way that few other bands have ever mustered. It's crazy to think that because they're a new band, on a label not known for its psych releases, that it's gonna take heavy duty psych heads YEARS to find the damn thing. Only when it is no longer in print, and Feeding Tube is an empty brush warehouse once again that the big boys will figure this one out. Which gives you a chance to get a jump on these turds. So do it. If you appreciate the sound of sliding through golden portals, this record was made for you. Whether you like curry or not." --Byron Coley, 2017.
Following the much needed reissue of his classic Loop-finding-jazz-records earlier this year, Jan Jelinek returns to his Faitiche label to further develop the sonic fiction surrounding his occasional muse and potential alter ego Ursula Bogner.
Jan Jelinek put together a first album from Bogner’s tape archive a decade ago, followed in 2011 by a second volume compiled by Andrew Pekler. For Winkel Pong the tape archive was passed on to Lucrecia Dalt. The Berlin-based Colombian sound artist and musician chose three tracks from the 1980s (exact dates unknown), editing the tape recordings for their release on Winkel Pong.
Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Einstürzende Neubauten), an activist and reluctant chronicler of Berlin’s underground scene since the 1980s, has worked with Lucrecia Dalt. She is also familiar with Ursula Bogner’s work. Reason enough to ask her for an interview:
Jan Jelinek: Gudrun, how does it feel to be constantly obliged to talk about the 1980s Berlin underground as someone who was there at the time?
Gudrun Gut: I’ve learned to live with it as there are clearly too few people who witnessed it first-hand. Maybe it’s even important to do these interviews as a woman – so that someone actually says that women, too, have written music history. Men tend not to mention this. But it’s true, people do always ask the same questions.
JJ: Did you know about Ursula Bogner in the 1980s? Did you ever meet her?
GG: No, I never met Ursula Bogner in person and I only discovered her in 2008 thanks to Faitiche. But that’s no surprise: firstly, I don’t know every single woman artist, and secondly, far too many women artists never see the light of day. In the male-dominated art and music market, women are not considered important – or worse still, they are not understood. Look at artists like Sonia Delaunay, Eva Hesse, Bebe Baron, Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram. Some of them have now been discovered – but only recently. A lot has changed in the last few years: there is a growing awareness of art and music made by women.
JJ: But isn’t it annoying that the conventional distribution of roles still applies? One example: in many articles, Ursula Bogner has been presented as an “electronic housewife”.
GG: When Ursula Bogner is referred to as an electronic housewife, then sadly that reflects the situation of many women artists at the time. Women could only pursue artistic activities in private – transcendence was reserved for men. This has still not been overcome. But today, the home has become a site of professional production for all. I’m talking about bedroom producers: it is totally normal to make art and music at home. And that makes things interesting, because “working at home” is no longer associated solely with women.
JJ: For Winkel Pong, Lucrecia Dalt compiled and remixed three pieces from the Bogner archive. You know Lucrecia and you’ve already worked with her. How did you meet?
GG: I met Lucrecia through MySpace – I think it was 2007. Back then she was still living in Medellin, Colombia. Lucrecia’s father made loop machines for her that she still uses. The Sound of Lucrecia was part of my 4 Women no Cry compilation series on Monika Enterprise, each with four producers from different countries. She’s great fun to watch as a performer because she has a unique sense of rhythm and feel for music. Above all I’m impressed by her sustained approach as an artist, someone who can and does think around corners. I’m thinking specifically of her album Ou, for which she ploughed her way through post-war German cinema, using it as a source of inspiration for a soundtrack. This is proof that she thinks like an engineer – so it makes perfect sense that she would want to explore the work of Ursula Bogner.
The Berlin freak gets loose and fruity with a single edit of Comic, the lead track from his 4th album of the same name, backed with two exclusive, low slung burners.
Comic appears to make Bullion’s sea shanty funk a viable thing with playful riffs and sloshing skank that sound more appropriate to a ‘70s BBC kid’s TV show than dancefloor in 2017, yet it works, somehow.
Always Du takes that frothy vibe farther into the fairground for a sugary boogie behind the dodgems, overseen by Jools Holland, leaving us in the cascading cartoonish chaos of Where Was I? wondering if that guy in the queue for the teacups had slipped us a Mickey Finn.
One of those dark AF disco nuggs that Night School like to put out every so often, Stacian’s Person L kicks it right between cold minimal wave, EBM and trampling tribal electronics. Check for strongest feels in the gothic slammer, Spooky Action At A Glance, and the pitching EBM tilt of Headstand. RIYL Ian Hicks, Not Waving, Hypnobeat/Helena Hauff.
“STACIAN is Person L is Oakland resident, solo artist and academic Dania Luck. Beginning in the American Mid West, Stacian has been an ongoing Bay Area concern since 2008, deeply involved in the minimal wave and underground electronic music scene. A dystopian vision of alienated humanity, broken communications and technoid mal-forms, Person L is her most fully developed full length and a leap forward from 2012’s Songs For Cadets. Moving away from the primitive Cold Wave of previous work, Person L manages to create a bleak dystopia without relying on Ballardian cliche, though still invoking concrete prisons and urban disassociation. Person L is a throbbing, murky underworld that revels in imperfections, a submersive, digital swamp bleeding through the club.
Themes of humanoid alienation and identity confusion abound. Person L is the nominal (and sole) band member of STACIAN, a manifestation of Luck’s that re-creates a near-human face in the mirror. Album opener Volx is a massive stomper, 909 kicks bringing an almost electro-glam thump into the stereo field. Luck’s skill as Person L and as STACIAN is in maximilising minimalism. Volx is a simple composition, an arpeggiated analog synth and simple kick-snare but it creates the drama Luck’s vocal thrives on. Headstand is similarly huge sounding, though here the track unfolds gradually with synth strings eeking out a simple melody before the catastrophising kick ramps up the pressure. It’s a wonderful exercise in abstraction vs. body moving dynamics. Album single Telephonix is the closest thing to a conventional pop song on Person L, with murky electronics belying a thrilling Cold Wave dancer. We’re lost in the throes of miscommunication: in placing our trust in electronic communications we’ve divorced ourselves from human interaction.
On Side 2, Dirgent heralds a darker portion of the album. A slow burner with a blown-out low end anchoring the doom, it marks a dark wave of distortion that swells up and consumes the listener. The narrative turns in on itself Remote Cntl, ironically marking the most human of the tracks here. Though the album is devoid of any overt feminist sentiments, here Stacian covertly samples a male voice man-splaining electronic music before burying him in electronic sludge. It’s absurdly thrilling. Spooky Action At A Glance takes John Carpenter-esque atmospherics into Stacian’s Maximalist approach, the horror blow up to kitch, day-glo proportions. Album closer gNoMoN takes a dub rhythm and blasts it into the Cold Wave outerverse, a menacing doom to close Person L.”