Hatti Vatti is one of the Polish underground's most vital figures. He is known for his analogue focused interpretations of an array of sounds, from ambient to footwork.
"While working on SZUM (noise or hiss in Polish), his first longplay since 2014, he was invited by Polish National Audiovisual Institute to join RE:VIVE - a project curated by the Netherlands Institute of Sound & Vision that already resulted with a strikingly original LP from Lakker in 2016.
Having already been inspired by the pioneering work of artists from the Experimental Studio of the Polish Radio, founded in 1962, as well as by animated film scores of the 60s, 70s and 80s, RE:VIVE presented Hatti Vatti with the unmissable opportunity to delve with unprecedented access into the vast archives of the Polish National Audiovisual Institute in Warsaw.
Here, he took the original, sometimes fractured yet melodic compositions he had been working on, and injected with a haunting layer of Iron Curtain era psychedelia. Far beyond a typical 'sampledelic' excursion, SZUM is the sound of a cutting edge electronic craftsman, reimagining his forward thinking work alongside the pioneering ghosts of the past. Album offers a typically bold, retro futuristic exploration of Poland's rich history of sound experimentation, one that simultaneously corresponds closely with contemporary issues and events in the country.”
Hauntingly tender solo debut LP from London’s Kelly Lee Owens, delivering on the promise of her excellent Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery collaborations/remixes in a full album of sylvan tech house and synth-pop beauties.
Prefaced by the head-turning single, Oleic - which featured a smart rework of Jenny Hval’s Kingsize - Kelly Lee Owens’ eponymous album introduces a well rounded yet subtly detailed sound to the world at large, one brimming with the rare promise of an artist who wants to extract something more precious, personalised from the dance music and pop prisms which clearly enthral her music.
There’s probably always going to be something about ethereal, floating vocals and the sensual contours of European tech house, when at its best, which will eternally grab our attention. And this album delivers strongly on both counts - striking an impeccable balance of classic, timeless pop songwriting and purring, contemporary electronic grooves that places it in an exulted space on the shelves.
Collaborators Jenny Hval and Daniel Avery appear on the record’s highlights; Jenny lending her poised delivery and lyrics, framed by KLO’s breathy gilding, on the baroque pop-house dream sequence of Anxi., with Avery assisting on the Fever Ray-meets-Liz Fraser stylings of Keep On Walking; whilst the rest is subtly aided by the mixing and engineering treatments of James Greenwood, who’s best known as Ghost Culture on Erol Elkan’s Phantasy Sound.
That combination of KLO’s chamber-like arrangements and Greenwood’s rendering results a string of other pearls in the strung out balearia of S.O. at the front, thru the gorgeous Arthur - which is surely a play on that library record Aphex Twin sampled on Xtal?! - whereas Evolution flexes some properly toned dancefloor muscle, and Throwing Lines could very nearly be mistaken for a cut from Grimes’ Halfaxa period.
Tarquin on the track for Rinse, pursuing last year’s sorely overlooked remix of T_A_M’s Watty and the Aaliyah cut-up, Back In One Place, with four infectious cuts of pointillist, body-ready rhythms spliced from grime and Jersey club styles.
Most crucially, he does so with a rare sense of character and flavour found in his fake-out edits and ruggedly crisp production values, coming together perfectly in the slippery jab and parry of Jump Pack, and with a dead canny grasp of early grime’s daftness - which is all too often overlooked - in the loony grinning Brass Tax, the cartoonishly dramatic Dun Tarq, or the mongrel freak, C-Mine, which all recall Jameszoo, DJ Paypal or Foodman as much as OG Scratchy or even Dizzee produce.
Charming deep house dream sequences and experimental electronics from the gauzier side of life.
Leading on from the First Voyage [Honest Jon’s, 2015] 12”, SVN and Dynamo Dreesen seduce our frilly cotton socks off again with the Afro-Italianate drum percolations and simmering chords of A1, then charge up the crackle-box for the strangely detached and potently psychedelic momentum of B1 with their pal, Stefan Wust a.k.a. SW, coming to land in alien radiophonic terrain with B2.
Throughout their time together, the Baltimore-based Arbouretum have been praised for their ability to weave elaborate vocal lines and guitar solos that often unravel into extended improvisation but never with as much finesse as on the masterfully crafted ‘Song Of The Rose’.
"In less practiced hands, these ideas could easily fall into contrivance but on ‘Song of the Rose’ Arbouretum use these elements to perfect their craft of storytelling in song, both lyrically and sonically.
Arbouretum recorded ‘Song Of The Rose’ with Steve Wright at Wrightway Studios. While previous records were recorded in a matter of days, ‘Song Of The Rose’ took weeks. Attention to production details augment their time-tested emphasis on capturing the energy of performance. ‘Song Of The Rose’ is the first time the band has mixed with Kyle Spence (Kurt Vile, Luke Roberts, Harvey Milk) at his studios in Athens, GA."
The tireless Death Is Not The End returns with the first of two primers of Caucasus folk in conjunction with the Ored Recordings label.
Established in 2014, Ored Recordings is a free ethnographic net-label that has drawn together a truly enlightening collection of field recordings based on documenting the folk and experimental musicians living in villages and towns throughout the North Caucasus region.
Working together, the two labels draw together a 13-track collection that offers an illuminating introduction to some of the song-based folk music Ored Recordings has worked to profile across its 14 releases to date.
Lustrous, ambiguously sensual synth expressions from Denmark’s Internazionale.
“The Pale And The Colourful is Internazionale's first album on vinyl, released by Posh Isolation. It comes after a near flood of limited tape releases both through his remarkable Janus Hoved label and through Posh Isolation. It's a logical summary of Internazionale's work up to this point and is the prime example of the sensual synthetic meditations he has come to be known for.
The clear pop sensibility of his compositions are clouded with noises and ambiguous field recordings, and it is somehow hard to really figure out if the music intends to lift us up or hold us down. What is certain is that no Internazionale release up to this point reaches the level of The Pale And The Colourful.”
Arresting debut of melancholy vocals and deconstructed hard-dance tropes from Melbourne’s Australia’s Felix Idle, a.k.a WA?STE for his debut on Shanghai’s Genome 6.66Mbp label.
Operating somewhere between the Bala Club sound and Posh Isolation’s handsome misery, Hollow Vessel deals with the travails of long hours spent online in a series of succinct compositions fanning out needy vocals in aeriel formations over deconstructed backdrops - working at full wingspan in the weightless glyde of Last Forever and Done, whereas Thorns and My Illuminated Console factor in clipped, rugged drums that almost make his fragile vocals flinch and bruise.
Bristol's Wisdom Teeth rustle up a low key but hypnotic triple header traversing from the super spacious and sub-heavy minimalism of Simo Cell’s Symmetry to a lean, driving piece of recursive gamelan techno shuffle from Don’t DJ, and the lilting, rhythmelodic and AfrReichian harmonic cadence of K-Lone’s Woniso.
Move D and his partner in crime, Jonah Sharp, a.k.a. Reaganz stealthily expand Berlin’s Away Music after entries from Joe Claussell and Christian Vance.
In solo mode Move D plays down the effortlessly hypnotic swing and gently uplifting chords of Roll Split in timeless style before joining Jonah Sharp on the more wistful, expansive jazz dub house vibes of 460 Melrose Ave as Reaganz.
Marcel Dettmann grips the Museum duo for a deep and slippery slice of trippy Dutch techno.
Respectively known as Anton Pieete (District One) and Jeroen Liebregts (Audio Assault), Museum execute a sterling balance of mesmerising top lines and subtly kinky, rolling grooves throughout MDR21, with fine highlights in the dreamy throb of Pole whilst Septem F distinctly recalls early Psychic Warriors Of Gaia and CCC and DDD go deep on the tribal vibes.
Whereas Pontiak’s 2014 album ‘Innocence’ tore through rowdy riffs and melancholic balladry in a neat half hour, it’s immediately clear from the reverb-heavy trip of opener ‘Easy Does It’ that new album ‘Dialectic Of Ignorance’ is altogether a different beast.
Euphorically defying spatial constraint, brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney instead opt to guide each song along its own cosmic trajectory: confident in the outcome but even more excited to enjoy the ride.
Deep thumpin’ house, Detroit and Chicago style, from the new pick-up on Cos_Mos; a division of M>O>S Recordings.
Salomon Duncan is a new moniker to us, and may well be a pseudonym, we just do not know, but he’s clearly got a thing for classic acid, as displayed in the hefty slo-mo charge of Android (AdamantiumMix) whereas Tacci a Spill follows Legowelt-style lines of deep space house inquiry.
Reinhard Voigt and Terranova draw out the tuffer side of each other in classy remixes.
Voigt turns their Labrador into a heads-down techno buzz underlined with four square kicks and searing leads; Terranova go colder, tighter with an electro-tipped techno remix of Husky riding on distended bass and nagging monotone riffs bound to oscillate jaws and fists in the club.
Deep, soulful and broken house burners by the man, Matthew Chicoine a.k.a. Recloose: Spirit Knows gets loose with dreamy jazz chord cadence and slinky hustle; No I Don’t swings out on the dusty, heads-down pivot; and Geomancer brings some Amp Fiddler-style Detroit flavour to the table.
In which members of Caribou, Floating Points, Hot Chip, Junior Boys and Simian Mobile Disco team-up as a synth super-group to render two performances of Frank L McCarty’s 1973 graphic score to Tactus Tempus. The percussive side could find some traction on odder ‘floors
“Tactus Tempus is a, lost, graphics based, experimental score by prolific composer Frank McCarty. The piece was originally conceived and performed in 1973 by McCarty's group BIOME on 5 EMS Synthi synthesizers.
By following a set of simple, yet subjective instructions the piece begins as a sparse moire pattern of bursts and tones before evolving in density and intensity as the players symbiotically interact guided only by the illustrated curve found on the score.
This EP features two new performances of the score featuring members of Caribou, Floating Points, Hot Chip, Junior Boys, Simian Mobile Disco and friends. Gathering in a rare moment of collective down time in London in July 2016 the spontaneously formed group performed the piece at Joe Goddard's basement studio. Each participant used a separate synthesizer or modular synthesizer system and while the original slides were projected on the wall, the ensemble recorded two versions of the piece, each one recorded live in one take, lasting 15 minutes. One version is tonal the other on percussive timbre."
Following his recent credits on Frank Ocean's Blonde and Endless, Vegyn steps out of a two year hiatus with a new 12" single on his 'PLZ Make It Ruins' label.
"'Phone Phoneys', the title track, immediately delves into familiar and focused textures backed by woozy synths, dancing between glitzy euphonious melodies. The drums and rhythm section channel the energy of prior dance classics but still feel eager and original in their deployment.
On the flip side, 'PLZ XX' diverts listeners expectations by jumping between several frenetic moods, all whilst maintaining an energetic frivolity found throughout the record as a whole."
Amsterdam’s party-turned-label and festival of repute, Dekmantel mark their 10th anniversary with the 1st of 10 x 12”s from their friends and extended family.
10 Years 01 kicks off with a typically tender show of ambient keys from Gigi Masin in Maja underlined by a not-so-typical shuffling groove that carries the vibe smartly as a warm-up or warm-down number. Meanwhile Vakula’s Fuck The Robot finds him on a snappy, arpeggiated electro-funk flex, and Roman Flügel takes the vibe in outerspace like some stripped back cosmic Larry Heard meditation.
Daniel Brandt, co-founder of Germany’s electroacoustic ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick, joins Erased Tapes with his solo debut album.
"What started off as a more simplistic idea soon evolved into something a lot more complex as the London and Berlin based music producer travelled across the world, experimenting with various other artists and different instruments. From his father’s cabin based in the German countryside with access to nothing but cymbals, to being surrounded by guitars in Joshua Tree, his unexpected journey soon progressed into what became his first solo album.
Daniel played nearly all instruments himself with the only exception being fellow musicians Florian Juncker on trombone, Manu Delago on hang drum and Andreas Voss on cello. Using his Berlin studio as his main base for recording, Brandt created an album that encapsulates the idea that despite setting out with a particular creative vision, external influences and environments will always shift the process, and create an Eternal Something."
If Arthur Russell was into industrial not disco, then his World Of Echo might well have sounded something like John Roberts’ Body Four, a follow-up to the excellent Plum album on Roberts’ Brunette Editions.
Wrought with the innovative, plangent minimalism and simplicity of Russell’s cello, pedal and amp studies, Roberts’ efforts are perhaps more rugged and off kilter - also recalling certain aspects of James Ferraro and Spencer Clark in its lo-fi grain - but likewise manages to wrench a captivating sense of expressive pathos from his similar set-up of cello and sequencer in each of these relatively short, smeared windows onto his personalised practice.
Deep but up-for-it disco house bangers from Florence, Italy’s Marco D’Aquino a.k.a. Dukwa for the purposes of this 12” with the Glaswegian Italophiles at Numbers.
Well versed in Anthony Shakir style chops, the four cuts on Shattered In A Thousand Places cook up solid US styles with an extra hint of Italian gourmet, resulting the strobing chord delicacy of Thoughts feat. Mar G on all-night-long vox, plus the pumping sasturday night pressure of Fries Friends, a skipper slice of John Swing styles in Illusory Dreams, and a rugged Frictional downstroke on Lazy.
Ricardo Donoso dons his Scuba Death gear for a second exploration of mortality on the ever-excellent Further Records.
Scuba Death remains Ricardo Donoso’s creative self-therapy for dealing with the inevitable feelings of fear and anxiety after a brush with his maker whilst diving in the South Atlantic some time ago.
This second album finds the Kathexis man seeking out 19th Century American philosopher William James for further inspiration, whose 1902 book, ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature’ is responsible not only for the album title but also Donoso’s continued belief to channel his fears for creative means. We move from the sea to the earth on ‘The Worm At The Core,’ Donoso’s trademark field recordings culled from a series of thunderstorms rather than the scene of his brush with death.
These are expertly interspersed with chilling cello work by Rafa Selway into Donoso’s pulsing, tranced out arpeggios and low-bpm ripples for another reflective, intense collection of Scuba Death material.
Pete Swanson's Freedom To Spend label unearths and dusts off this total killer from Marc Barreca for this handsome, much needed reissue
With 4th world pioneer Marc Barreca’s ace solo debut Twilight now back in circulation thanks to K. Leimer’s Palace Of Lights, Jed Bindeman and Pete Swanson’s promising new label Freedom To Spend present Barreca’s stranger successor album Music Works For Industry (1983) on vinyl for the first time after a necessary issue of Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant oddity.
As opposed to Twilight, which found Barreca working solo with Eno-esque systems-based music, Music Works For Industry finds him taking contributions from members of Seattle’s close-knit community of electronic explorers, and working them - albeit as unrecognisable from the original source - into a series of playfully spiky creations as porous to influence from synth-pop, industrial as ambient music, and sounding much rawer, primitive, skronky and surreal than most else coming from the 4th world nodes at that time.
Rendering the original tape in its entirety - no edits or altered track list - the session slips and slides between cute, almost cartoonish pulses, hooks and voices in Community Life to rudimentary, swampy funk chops in the closer Church and State. What happens in between is akin to the soundtrack for some Canadian TV for schools programme or a series of calisthenic exercises for post-punk and new wave mutants; an assembly of off-grid rhythms and dislocated sounds kerned, smudged and processed to recall a very early iteration of the ‘dances’ from Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species or a colder, distant precedent to the kind of crooked creations coming from Luis Delgado and Eugenio Muñoz’s Mecanica Popular studio.
Full length solo album from Timothy Fife recommended for fans of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and early Brian Eno.
"Sydney At Night is a brooding dark synth monster as eerie as it is unsettling, Low Plain Landscape is a hauntingly beautiful 13 minute ambient workout and rounding out the LP is Black Carbon itself, an intense hard edged synth track that bubbles with intensity and heavily processed voices that sounds like an alien radio broadcast."
Craftily tempered artpop ecstasies underlined with post-techno pulses, from Berlin’s Golden Diskó Ship.
“Golden Diskó Ship is Theresa Stroetges, a Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist and video artist who performs live as a one-girl orchestra. Her imaginative soundscapes, shifting from delicate melodic lines steeped in nostalgia to the feedback arcs and textured distortion of machine abuse, evoke lucid dreams and have won critical praise for their fresh, eclectic collages of electronic and acoustic sound. Her debut solo album, Prehistoric Ghost Party, was produced at the legendary Faust Studio, home of the Klangbad label, and her tracks have also been released on Monika Enterprise’s City Splits # 1 and The Wire Tapper’s June 2012 compilation. (CTM concerts)
On her 3rd album Berlin’s Golden Diskó Ship enlargens her pop / experimental sound cosmos for a new component: Bass. In consequence, Imaginary Boys was mixed by Schneider TM and Rashad Becker took care of mastering and the vinyl cut. The album was conceived during her stay in Lisbon in the summer of 2015 where the multi-instrumentalist found plenty of inspiration in traditional and experimental music. These elements left their traces not only as field recordings but also led the classically trained musician to re-consider the use of her former main instrument viola which is more present than before. One dominant compositional element of Imaginary Boys is a deliberate use of time, influenced by the perception of electronic music and techno. (Karlrecords)”
Louche retro-vintage Balearic wings from Farbror Resande Mac, following the course of previous 12”s with Aficionado, Is It Balearic? Recordings, and Back To The Balearics with a balearic balearic of balearics for the balearic types at Horisontal Mambo.
Famed Labradfordians Mark Nelson and Robert Donne exhibit an even stronger desire for freeform synthetic experimentation on this second Anjou album for Kranky.
Picking up belatedly where their celebrated eponymous debut LP left off, Mark Nelson and Robert Donne’s Anjou project sounds as sublimated and spacious as ever on Epithymía. No longer in need of Kranky percussionist Steve Hess, Donne and Nelson distil the Anjou approach of framing their synthesis into a state of constant fluctuation down to a suite of six tracks. Largely favouring the long-form approach, this allows Donne and Nelson the freedom to truly express their creative intentions with Anjou
14-minute opener Culicinae is a fine example of this. Framed of five distinct movements, the track shifts between them with a subtle mastery that reveals itself with close attention. There are still whispers of Donne and Nelson’s post-rock inclinations from their Labradford days, evident in the percussive rainstorm that briefly filters through Culicinae, the abstracted bass that cuts through the gauzy, shapeless ambience of Greater Grand Crossing and the smartly deployed guitar drones towards the solemn closing moments of An Empty Bank.
The duo does find a semblance of rhythm on the swelling Soucouyant, choosing to toy with just a few refrains rather than let their fingers wander, whilst Glamr and Georgia combine for an eerie, intangible finale.