Standout début album of dream-like, avant garde pop and electronic variants that properly introduces Napoli-based Montreal artist Mélissa Gagné aka CECILIA after guesting on Rabit’s Les Fleurs Du Mal album last year and releasing an EP for Yves Tumor's Grooming label. Devastatingly restrained yet ravishing songs with haunting English, French and Italian vocals, huge recommendation if you're into Yves Tumor, Félicia Atkinson, Rabit, Teresa Winter, Portishead, Leila...
Cecilia wrote and produced Adoration, with accompaniment by mutual spirits such as her friend Jasmine Pisapia and the poet activist Griséldis Réal, who help to render a stark yet subtly gilded cross-section of her psyche, which places the listener as dark interpreter to a series of tumultuous inner dialogues - “One is summoned to whisper truth, beauty, tragedy to demon ears.”
Incubated for one and half years between Montreal, Toronto and New York, Adoration reads like intimately diaristic pages recalling an amorphous lucid dream. In that phantasmagoric headspace she meditates on loss and romanticism, using a shifting backdrop of highly visual stimuli to frame her thoughts and bring them to life with an uncannily immersive effect perhaps not felt so strongly since Félicia Atkinson’s Hand In Hand LP.
Electronic bass and percussion are shadowed with traces of synth and guitar improvisations, but the one consistent element is the female voice. Sometime detached, glossolalic, and at others uncannily familiar, plaintive, the voice’s presence is integral to the album's quietly absorbing atmosphere, and even if the listener can’t understand their direct meaning, they connote so much more through abstracted inference and ambiguity.
Following her early forays made with the Charity Whore EP for Yves Tumor’s Grooming label, and previous work as DJ/producer Babi Audi, along with her hybrid stage works, Cecilia ties all those strands into an illusive yet highly distinguished work set to resonate with listeners from myriad backgrounds and disciplines. It's no doubt one of 2018’s most haunting, beguiling LPs.
Following the reissue of his timeless Loop Finding Jazz Records last year, Jan Jelinek returns with a transitional new album ‘Zwischen’, which is made up of versions of pieces recorded for German public broadcaster SWR2. It includes twelve sound collages which make use of fragmented interviews provided by public figures including John Cage, Lady Gaga, Stockhausen, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Duchamp and others. Jelinek uses fragments of each voice to create highly evocative soundscapes, a conceit not unlike the use of Jazz loops on his much loved classic.
Jelinek focuses on intonation, umming and ahhing, silences, pauses for breath and hesitations which dictate the pace and mood, the resonance and tone of each interviewee providing the textural core of each piece. These same vocal fragments also control synthesized sound, creating overlays that merge with the voices to make twelve synthetic/acoustic structures.
As Jelinek explains "We all know the speaker’s fate: you falter, you mispronounce, there are breaks, silences and false starts. This results in delays, a language noise compared by Roland Barthes to the knocks made by a malfunctioning motor. Such gaps can be disconcerting, standing as they do for a failure of the speaker’s rhetorical skills. But what happens when they become a constitutive, poetic factor? Zwischen consists of twelve answers to twelve questions. The answers were all recorded in interview situations. From the speech of the interviewees – all eloquent public figures – the pauses are extracted and edited together. The result is a series of sound collages of silence.
But this silence is deceptive, as it is only meaning that falls silent. What remains audible is an archaic body language: modes of breathing, planning phases, seething word particles in search of sense that can break out into onomatopoeic tumult or drift off into sonorous noise. In a further step, each of the twelve collages controls a modular synthesizer via its amplitude and frequency. Supposedly defective speech acts conduct synthetic sounds and the speakers regain their composure – not via the spoken word, but through sound. The opening questions in the various interviews are answered by: Alice Schwarzer, John Cage, Hubert Fichte, Slavoj Žižek, Joseph Beuys, Lady Gaga, Ernst Jandl, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Marcel Duchamp, Friederike Mayröcker, Yoko Ono and Max Ernst.
Gábor Lázár mutates 2-step, grime and electro prisms with economic yet ravishing effect on Unfold, his solo début LP proper for The Death of Rave. Following an acclaimed split LP with Mark Fell ( which was deployed to stunning effect in Aphex Twin’s live/DJ sets of 2017), the Hungarian artist has harnessed the scything contours and mentasmic vamps of his earlier releases into 8 inexorably funked up frameworks set to brilliantly mess with modern ‘floors. Big recommendation if yr into Errorsmith, SOPHIE, Jlin, AFX, Lorenzo Senni...
Kerning classic styles with devious ballistics according to a mutant syntax reflected in the LP’s bespoke sleeve art, Gábor galvanises his signature flux of zinging mentasms and hyper rhythms with a cyber-mongrel gnash in Unfold. Drawing from the deeply affective and rude ends of South Yorkshire, Detroit and South London technous for inspiration, Gábor consolidates their mutual aspects by trimming the excess and stressing the funkiest points of syncopation with razor sharp, inventive edits. Whilst instantly recognisable as Gábor’s work, his grooves are more pronounced, and this time unusually riddled with melodic gestures that lead to moments of unexpected emotive relief.
In the contemporary field, Unfold firmly lives up to comparison with the sexy retro-futurism of Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus, the advanced playfulness of Errorsmith’s Superlative Fatigue, or the fluidly knotted syncopation of Jlin, but does so with a singular mesh of style and pattern that Gábor can patently declare his own. Heard in context of the album cover’s bespoke GL sigil designed by Dániel Kozma, Unfold becomes an ultimate gesamtkustwerk whose audio-visual play of sensual/cutting contours and elegant brutalism resonate as much with the work of his idol, Mark Fell (SND), as the ultramodernist vectors of SOPHIE, the lush technicality of Second Woman, or the ballistic proprioceptions of Jlin.
In other words, it’s one of the most forward dance music records you’ll hear in 2018.
Tony Allen and MCDE help wrap up Dekmantel’s year long celebration of their 10th Anniversary with a funky back-and-forth of Afrobeat and dubbed-out disco.
Afrobeat rhythmatician Tony Allen contributes Asiko, an absorbingly stark yet sumptuous workout of brittle drums and wide, sloshing bass funked up with chicken scratch guitar and featuring an almost ghostly, slightly tired or half-cut vocal dubbed out into the mix.
On the remix, MCDE evens the keel with more rolling bass heft to keep the crowd moving in the same direction, resulting something akin to something from Moritz Von Oswald or Mark Ernestus.
Jan Jelinek’s iconic album 'Improvisations And Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001’ is finally given a vinyl issue for the first time. It’s another deep blue mood piece full of fragmented Jazz loops which will be essential listening for those of you enamoured not only with 'Loop Finding Jazz Records’ but also his quiet masterpiece 'Personal Rock’, released under ther Gramm alias. If you’re as obsessed with that album as we are, this reissue is a must.
"For the original 2002 CD on Soup-Disk and Sub Rosa (Audiosphere), Jan Jelinek and the Japanese trio Computer Soup (Satoru Hori – trumpet, Osamu Okubo - toys & electronics, Kei Ikeda - toys & electronics) presented eight tracks all recorded one afternoon in the trio’s living room in Tokyo. They are excerpts from a joint group improvisation that subsequently underwent rudimentary editing, on which Jelinek and Computer Soup worked separately.
Jelinek met the three musicians at his first concert in Japan in 2001, at Tokyo’s Yellow club, where Computer Soup performed as the support act. Delighted by their free improvisation on pocket-sized electronic toys, trumpet and oscillators, he arranged to meet Hori, Okubo and Ikeda a few days later for a session at their apartment. The resulting three-hour recording, made on their living room floor, formed the basis for Improvisations and Edits. A few days later, Jelinek returned to Berlin. Over the following months, they separately chose passages from the recording that were then edited and assembled into an album.
Formed in Tokyo in 1996 as a quintet (including Shusaku Hariya and Daisuke Oishi), Computer Soup began by performing with acoustic instruments on the streets of Shibuya. Ikeda und Okubo soon switched instruments, and from then on the group’s minimalistic but densely woven sound was defined by electronic toys, oscillators and Satoru Hori’s trumpet. Their first album was released in 1997 on the Japanese label Soup Disk. Eight further releases followed."
Featuring new studio tracks and remixes of songs from Dead Cross’ self-titled album.
Dead Cross are Mike Patton (Faith No More, Fantomas, Mr. Bungle), Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Misfits, Suicidal Tendencies), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, Head Wound City), Michael Crain (Retox).
Giuseppe Ielasi (Inventing Masks, Bellows) & Giovanni Marco Civitenga’s Rain Text yield this lovely suite of willowing keys and hushed house rustles on Bedouin’s Bastikaya Tapes following the duo’s warmly received 2016 début with Skyapnea Records.
2 teases out Rain Text’s charmingly woolly and drizzly sound in four new tracks, quietly getting into gear with the icy piano notes and dust-mite dance of 2.1, before twisting off the bone into bendier, viscous electro-dub in a style only shades away from Ielasi’s Bellows gear, but with ruggeder appeal for the ‘floor,
Flipside, the vibe gets more inclement with the minor key chords and brittle wooden drum hits of 2.3 resembling an imagined groggy collab between Pole and Burial c. 2002, and 2.4 drifts off on a more wistful bent with sliding loops bringing a sense of sun coming after the rain.
Basic Channel's Main Street offshoot managed to put together 5 EP's in the space of 6 years, each one a masterpiece in its own right.
Starting with the Chicago House vibes of Round One produced by Ron Trent, and ending up with the whispered dub echoes of Rhythm and Sound w/Tikiman on Round Five.
Put together on one standout collection - perfection guaranteed - and one of the finest collections of music ever to have emerged from Berlin.
A result of the flowering links between Ugandan music and the UK, the début record by Kampala’s Mubashira Mataali Group showcases an hypnotic style of mataali drum music on Blip Discs.
Four tracks of rolling rhythmelody feature the captivating vocals of musician/filmstar Sulaiman Sulait against backing vocal harmonies, sung and almost rapped in devotion to Islam.
Emaali Ya Bamulekwa (Orphan’s Property) opens their account with a bounce that carries into the percolated patter of Kulika Hijja (Welcome Back From The Holy Pilgrimage), whereas Mutume Nabbi (Prophet Muhammad) holds to a slower, swanging groove with more urgent call-and-response vocals, and, best of all the swingeing Obufumbo Bwa Kati (Today’s Marriage) Pt.1 works out its syncopation hingeing around a tuff bass and entrancing vox.
Listen to it with your body: we’re sure you’ll agree Mubashira Mataali Group’s traction is inexorable.
Tony Allen and Ricardo Villalobos hold down the penultimate instalment of Dekmantel’s 10 Year Anniversary celebrations with two extended reworks of Asiko (In A Silent Way) nipped and tucked for the tech house wigglers and funky minimalists.
The chronic futurhythmelody of Allen’s Afrobeat is faithfully handled by Villalobos, turning in 29 minutes of elastic roil and parry split over two sides and designed to fluidly untangle your limbs in timeless, forwardly intuitive style.
Music From Memory mine more gold from Michal Turtle’s archive of idiosyncratic home recordings made in Croydon between 1983-85. Combining vocals like a pre-echo of Dale Cornish, together with the dreamiest electro-jazz, balmy ambient dub and languid 4th world grooves, this one has breezy summer days and long warms nights written all over its blissed out face.
“Delving further into the archives of British musician Michal Turtle, MFM 029 ‘Return To Jeka’ brings together eight previously unreleased works recorded between 1983 and 1985. Drawn from a larger archive of works the compilation highlights a fascinating period of material Michal recorded after the release of his only album.
Working as an accompanist musician at the Laban Centre in New Cross at the time, Michal there met Jonathan Smart who was currently studying Dance. After being invited to add spoken word vocals to a few of Michal’s tracks, Michal discovered Jonathan was also an accomplished guitarist; and Jonathan would add guitar to a number of recordings from this period. Vocalist Lucianne Lassalle who Michal was working with in locals bands ‘The Duplicates’ and ‘The Wicked Kitchen Staff’ and who had worked with Michal on recordings for his album, would also collaborate with Michal during this period.
While some tracks were produced with he idea in mind of a follow up to his album ‘Music From The Living Room which UK label Shout proposed but which would sadly not materialise, others were in fact demos written for student dance choreographies. Produced in the living room of his parents home in Croydon, South London and later in his apartment in Camden Town, Michal Turtle’s home recordings featured on’Return To Jeka’ continue his unique musical explorations; drawing extensively on the use of percussion and electronics they bring together elements which were not only in many aspects visionary but also sound like little else.”