Great ambient dub techno abstraction from uon, the newest moniker of Ryan Fall aka Caveman LSD and DJ Paradise, following superb pair of releases in the same vein for Barcelona’s Anòmia with this, his debut vinyl release - massively tipped if yr into Rhythm & Sound.
Stalking terrain familiar to Wanda Group, Pole, Xth Réflexion, DeepChord, the zlo EP captures a wickedly paradoxical sense of movement within static sound in four parts: meshing cooling pads with mercurial kinetics in the title cut, and pushing off into opiated, subaquatic zones with kosm, and hypnotically stumbling up/down an endless Escher staircase with the gravity defying dynamics of suB1, and diffusing your bone into deep space on kissing.
Prime material, all 35 minutes of it. Don’t sleep on this beauty!
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
The master of enigma and virtuoso of vinyl ephemera, Philip Jeck presents Arcade, a follow-up recording to last year’s Iklectik, which was also recorded at the central London arts space of the same name. If you’re ever looking for a precedent to The Caretaker’s sound, check this out.
As ever, words generally fail us in properly capturing the fleeting beauty of Jeck’s work here, but fuck it we’ll have a stab, eh? For 32 minutes the multidisciplinary Liverpudlian artist coaxes an intoxicating, elusive cadence of crackle and harmonic swell from his modified turntable and treated vinyl loops. At a number of points within its windswept flux, we hear the BoC-like guitar streams rise to the surface, only to decay and deliquesce into the aether with a quality best described as mirage-like. Along with wizened traces of folk fiddles that blur distinctions between Celtic, Indian or Avant traditions, all infiltrated by the most gorgeous sylvan pads, this one is certain to leave a real lump in the throat and send shivers down the spine.
We’ve said it before about Jeck’s work, and it bears reiterating; we can’t help but feel his music is naturally informed by the play of light between the Irish Sea, the River Mersey and the roiling skies and topolography Merseyside. If you’ve ever visited, you’ll likely know what we mean, but if not then this sound is about the most acute, if impressionistic, allegory we can find. If you really want to understand it, we’d warmly suggest taking a folder of Jeck gear to the ‘pool for a headphone dérive.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith applies her delicate modular synth touch to Abstractions, a score for the Harry Smith animations of the same title, as the first volume in a new Electronic Series for Make Noise Records.
As with Kaitlyn’s collaboration with Suzanne Ciani, and handful of LPs on Western Vinyl, the mood is psychedelically pastoral, reflecting the artist’s roots in the wilds of Orcas Island, North West America, and her passion for the natural world as much as the collaged geometries, tons and textures of Smith’s short films.
Using the Make Noise System, a bespoke synth previously used by Keith Fullerton Whitman, Alessandro Cortini and Robert A.A. Lowe, as well as her favoured and rare Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 synth, Kaitlyn unfurls two extended pieces of sweetly tempered and subtly gilded transitions describing transcribing and complementing the visual aspect.
Over its 23 minutes breadth, the piece opens out from rudimentary lines into gradually more complex and layered structures with a rhythmic playfulness that reflects early electronic music which would have been created around the same time as the films. Cartoonish boings and blatz pepper the piece at angles, sprouting and wilting with the ephemerality of old celluloid, calving off into a placid bleep coda by the end of side one, and developing into more chaotic animalistic and alien voices in the second part, resembling an original BoC soundtrack or the band themselves at times, and the Radiophonic cuteness we’d also associate with Ghost Box.
A four track baroque masterpiece by Rian Murphy sharing vocals with his good friend Will Oldham.
Produced by Rian, with string arrangements by Jim O’Rouke and vocal harmonies by Archer Prewitt. Featuring a chorus of voices including BillCallahan, Laetitia Sadier, David Grubbs and Jim O’Rouke amongst many others.
La Contra Ola is the fascinating 1st ever survey of Spanish electronic music during the post-punk and synth wave phenomenon which swept subterranean US and European scenes circa 1980-1986.
By their own admission, Spain was late to electronic music, mostly due the restrictive dictatorship of General Franco. But when Franco fxcked off in 1975, it was open season for sounds made with boxes and plugged-in guitars. You’ll find many of the best examples from that period in this set, ranging from the funked EBM swerve of La Fura dels Baus and Diseño Corbusier thru to the orientalist pop jitters of Lavabos Iturriaga and warped disco brilliance of Oviforia Sci, along with loads of other names you’ve never heard before.
Nowadays, although not necessarily synonymous with electronic music, the likes of Madrid, Barcelona and bits of the Basque country have a reputable electronic music scene, mostly a result of artists in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s artists figuring it all out on their own terms and from a distance to the usual electronic power hubs, variously updating old styles, importing from parallel scenes, and essentially imagining their own. In the past decade’s groundswell of reissued classic and obscure material, the likes of Diseño Corbusier’s El Alma De La Estrella and various oddities from Esplendor Geométrico, Luis Delgado and the Grabaciones Accidentales archive have been reissued and reappraised by the likes of Dead Cert Home Ents and EM Records, but now it’s the turn of the others to share the spotlight.
They’re generally all dancefloor-themed, or at least rhythm-driven and pop-wise, as opposed to avant or explicitly experimental. Aside from the better known Diseño Corbusier ace Golpe De Amistad, you’ll also come across their much rarer Meta Metallic  ace nestled next to the hoppin’ punk hustle of Zombies’ La Rebelión de los Objetos, and tentative 4th world/post-punk mapping recalling 23 Skidoo in Derribos Arias’ A Flúor. The aforementioned bendy disco bewt, Mao’s Children by Oviformia Sci is a really big highlight for the DJs, as are the fresh cuts of Moscú está helado and the wiry funk of TodoTodo’s electro bubbler Autogas and the Liquid G-alike EBM force of Himno from El Humano Marrano, while natty surprises keep on coming in the form of Derribos Arias’ Suicide-like dream-bop ditty Aprenda Alemán en 7 dias, and in the melodic fructose of Línea Vienesa’s Cangrejos en la cocina.
So yeh, as you can see and hear, there was a lot of quality gear coming from Spain during that fecund, pre- home computer period, which makes this set rather tasty as both a historical education and a class set of tunes.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
Peggy Gou moves to Ninja Tune for Once, another precursor to her début album, following a brace of 12"s for Technicolkour, REKIDS and Phonica White in 2016.
Blending tender but rugged house memes from Detroit, Chicago and Berlin with Korean vocals, Peggy nails a winner with the debonaire bubble and swang of It Makes You Forget (Itgehane), while Hundres Times catches her in jazzy Chicagoan flow nodding to classic Gemini vibes, and Han Jan is a slinky stripe of electro-pop with wicked mix of half-rapped, half-sung Korean/English vox.
The 20th volume of Numero's Eccentric Soul series has all the boxes checked: Gun-toting, skip-tracing record producers, child stars, rip-offs, the “World’s Greatest Bail Bondsman,” swindles, soaring falsettos, and a dwindling rust-belt cityscape offering mere glimpses of hope before the record industry escaped for the coasts.
"Helmed by the O’Jays Bobby Massey, Saru was a creative vortex that pulled Cuyahoga County’s greatest talent in, making a strong case for Cleveland to contend with Detroit, Philly, and Memphis as America’s soul music’s capital. Includes obscure and unknown sides from the Out of Sights, the Elements, Pandella Kelly, David Peoples, Sir Stanley, the Ponderosa Twins + 1, Ba-Roz, Bobby Dukes, and of course, the O’Jays."
Steeply abstract, mesmerising regressions of future-primitivist electronics inspired by archaeological sites in Indonesia and produced by Matt Shoemaker. Posthumously issued on the persistently searching Helen Scarsdale Agency. RIYL Zoviet*France, NWW, Jim Haynes
“fosil sangiran is the pseudonym for seattle polymath matt shoemaker (1974-2017). the two recordings that have been uncovered from his archives under this moniker were recorded during a lengthy sabbatical in java, indonesia between 2012 and 2013. though these works both operate very clearly within shoemaker's aesthetic, he choose to operate under this moniker to provide a clarifying distance from what he believed to be his commonplace birth name. sangiran refers to the unesco world heritage site in indonesia where numerous archeological discoveries have been made providing insight into the understanding of early human development. it's an apt metaphor to his churning arrays of psychotropic sound design, which give the allusion of being distressed from aeons of jungle rot.
khayal kuno represents one of several detours that shoemaker undertook over his career. instead of the long-now drone mutations, shoemaker turns his attention to an interplay between warbling cassettes and primitive rhythm-box sequencing. the minimal, proto-techno explorations suitably evolve slowly out an initial dispersion bloom from swarms of cassette splutter and insect mimesis. cast within his slinkies-as-spring-reverb contraptions that provided a signature kirlian glow to his work, shoemaker's foray into the realm of the rhythmic are masterful declarations of his under-recognized talents. through his brilliant aptitude for cross-hatched filtering, spatialized modulation, and electro-magnetic tricknologies, his stark pulsations take on organic qualities through a surging fluidity and a varispeed vortex of blank hypnosis. his motorik pulsations recall a rich if elusive vein of taut, industrially minded electronica sculpted by monoton, nord, omit, and conrad schnitzler at his most laser focused. published with the approval of the shoemaker family. all profits will be donated to the jack straw cultural center.”
Steeply abstract, mesmerising regressions of future-primitivist electronics inspired by archaeological sites in Indonesia and produced by Matt Shoemaker. Posthumously issued on the persistently searching Helen Scarsdale Agency. RIYL Zoviet*France, NWW, Jim Haynes
“fosil sangiran is the pseudonym for seattle polymath matt shoemaker (1974-2017). the two recordings that have been uncovered from his archives under this moniker were recorded during a lengthy sabbatical in java, indonesia between 2012 and 2013. though these works both operate very clearly within shoemaker’s aesthetic, he choose to operate under this moniker to provide a clarifying distance from what he believed to be his commonplace birth name. sangiran refers to the unesco world heritage site in indonesia where numerous archeological discoveries have been made providing insight into the understanding of early human development. it’s an apt metaphor to his churning arrays of psychotropic sound design, which give the allusion of being distressed from aeons of jungle rot.
pasar fosil is classic shoemaker. at the core to this album is an ur-drone sculpted from electro-acoustics, analog synthesis, and most probably a radically altered field recording here or there. all of these accretions of sustained tone organize themselves with a rhizomatic logic of recombinant twists, folds, and mutations. elegant harmonics with golden, clarion hues set the stage to this album, but shoemaker would never allow for any his compositions to merely stand as polite ambient music. no. he deftly introduces sheared metallic timbres and rasping dissonance that tug with a gravitational heft. by the second half of the album, shoemaker plunges into aural thickets that are openly hostile to the listener, articulated through allusions to a humid claustrophobia and radioactive toxicity. even compared to the muscular minimalism of organum, pasar fosil is unsettling as it is exquisite. published with the approval of the shoemaker family. all profits will be donated to the jack straw cultural center.”
Cascading steppers from dubstep’s Turkish souljah, Emir Ogun a.k.a. Gantz
Running the trippy, Zomby-esque calculations of Elmo Rehab and the ruder, red-eyed lean of Spooky Action at a Distance for his 2nd outing with Innamind’s Blacklist.
Addendum makes 12 never-before-released Maus cuts available for the first time.
We’re sure you’re as excited as us, and the material doesn’t disappoint. Knowing he’s such a perfectionist, it’s maybe easy to understand why the material wasn’t just squeezed in or tacked on to previous works, but, like A Collection Of Rarities And Previously Unreleased Material , they add up to a smart album in their own right, sprouting big highlights in the hot-stepping dream boogie of Figured It All Out, on the exquisite Kraftwerk-meets-Suicide flex Middle Ages, and his driving death disco zinger 1987.
oOoOO ventures back from the mists of Witch House on this trip hop revival programme with Islamiq Grrrls, tapping right into the zeitgeists blue vein of ‘90s nostalgia with a mix of authentic coffee table ennui and up-to-the-moment emo rap tropes.
"The LP is a collaboration between oOoOO & Islamiq Grrrls. The album's title - "Faminine Mystique" - is an allusion to the Betty Friedan book 'Feminine Mystique' that inspired the 2nd wave feminist movement in the US. Freidan said that while society was providing (middle class) women with historically unparalleled material abundance, it failed to allow space for personal growth. A rigid apparatus was keeping women in a narrowly defined social role that all but excluded self-exploration.
Pronounced 'Famine in Mystique,' the LP's name reflects our feeling that, in a similar way, an increasingly powerful set of contemporary social forces are aligning to, on the one hand, provide people with more music & art than we've ever had access to before, yet rigidly limiting the types of music offered to people to sounds that favor a rigid economics first model of clicks & easy consumption over exploration & experimentation.
Faminine Mystique's 13 songs are framed by fragments of lost, forgotten, or discredited 20th century artists & genres: the well crafted guitar solos of 80s metal; jazz guitarist Barney Kessel; the Ashley's Roachclip drum break; Milli Vanilli; a Kool DJ Red Alert radio show barely audible on some bedside clock radio in some blue collar town on the outskirts of Manhattan; A freeform saxophone solo vocals of a France Gall or Astrud Gilberto. All blended into the compressed sounds of modern pop & RnB.over a 2 minute, feminist juke-punk anthem. The elusively simple but dreamy vocals of a France Gall or Astrud Gilberto. All blended into the compressed sounds of modern pop & RnB."
Guitarless Guitar Music. This is the self-imposed one-line description chosen by Auckland, New Zealand’s Wax Chattels.
"The keyboard, bass and drums trio don’t have a guitar player, but their overwhelming sound and energy create an atmosphere akin to a traditional power trio though their music is anything but traditional. They create darkly hypnotic and frenetic music that’s rhythmically complex and sinister; there’s heavily treated keyboards, unrestrained basslines and punishingly simple drums. And, it’s loud.
Peter (keyboards/vocals), Amanda (bass/vocals) and Tom (drums) met while studying Jazz Performance at the University of Auckland. After living abroad, completing Law School and/or performing in a myriad of other music-related projects, they started Wax Chattels, working up their material for a year prior to recording. “We tracked the songs as a live band to capture the energy of the live show, restricting ourselves to instruments which we play live and keeping all production to a minimum to focus on the band’s sound itself.”
Live, they are not to be missed. While they do come across as a “rock” band, it’s coming from so many places so quickly that you’re kind of left wondering where you’re going. The opening of the one-chord tour de force “Concrete” begins in a downright frightening and jarring place and ends up in a Krautrock-via-Suicide crescendo. It was after a particularly insane live performance that they were signed by both Captured Tracks and Flying Nun Records on the spot.
Wax Chattels recall the other side of Kiwi underground rock history that’s a bit less sunny and a bit less jangly. The small, yet constantly groundbreaking nation has put forth a new act and album that demands your attention."
180g release “Souvenir”, an album by a promising music maker from Japan's underground scene.
"Videotapemusic is a young music and video producer from Tokyo who uses old Japanese and Asian VHS tapes collected in dusty recycle shops and closed rental video stores as raw material for his sampling work and video production, creating a singular and highly unique musical world that has created waves on the Japanese scene since 2009. Starting out strong with three self-released albums, followed by two albums on Japanese label Kakubarhythm and a collaboration 12” on EM Records, “Souvenir” is now the first Videotapemusic album released outside of Japan.
The eight tracks in “Souvenir” also feature the cream of the crop from the current Japanese scene: Beipana on steel guitar, MC.sirafu on steel pan, saxophonists Satomi Endo, Satoru Takeshima and Kaoru Masuda, trumpetists Taichiro Kawasaki and Makoto Takahashi, DJ Eskimo, guitarist Yuichi Ushioda, percussionist and hand sonic player Hajime Matsushita, keyboardist Yu Arauchi, Videotapemusic on pianica and vocalists Sansuke Yamada, Toshihiko Ikeda and Ryu Tsuruoka. Dive into a world of musical delight and discover today’s best music from Japan!”
"Whether congregating in dimly lit halls or in forests, and whether mediated by e-mailed audiofiles or infiltrating darker realms of
consciousness, mysterious forces are being channelled by a shifting collective intent on psychic communion by any means necessary.
Bonnacons of Doom’s identities may be shrouded and hidden in the live arena, yet the force of their vibrations - as captured on the
unearthly vibrations and unholy revelations of their self-titled Rocket Recordings debut - is gloriously manifest.
“From the beginning, we’ve been really interested in the transformative possibilities of music” explains Rob, one such Bonnacon. “How it has the power to make us and the audience at that particular moment into something else. In particular, we’ve tried to work with repetition, volume and texture rather than traditional song structures. Anything that produces a stasis that people can get lost in rather than following something in a linear or obvious way” Whilst the line-up of Bonnacons of Doom has been known to morph with each undertaking, the prime movers in the principally Liverpoolbased collective endeavour have included members of Mugstar, Jarvis Cocker’s band and Youthmovies, donning robes and masks to sculpt altered states and subsume themselves to the ritual. Recording mostly in single-takes and in the band’s trademark improvisational method at Suburban Home studios by its owner and Hookworms frontman MJ, this recorded incarnation of Bonnacons’ arcane conjury operates stubbornly free of genre, sashaying alongside psych-rock, repetitive drone and electronic experimentation whilst consumed by a devotional intensity that’s multiplied by the transcendental echoing of vocalist Kate. “I guess our environment is another key influence” reckons Rob.
“We’re almost all from Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the landscape and mythology of the north is part of who we are. It’s darkness and beauty, the weirdness of its folk traditions, the independence of mind of its culture and the melancholy of its post-industrial grain. I think ultimately what we’re trying to achieve is a kind of Trans-Pennine hypnotic music.”
Deep house maverick Alan Abrahams follows his self-titled Portable album for Studio !K7 with these elegant cuts for Dial
Taking in the slinky hustle and sylvan keys of I Open My Eyes, along with the jazzier fuss of Wear Your Life Like A Loose Negligee on a very STL or Afrikan Sciences-compatible flex, while Sheltered Light finds him most beautifully crooning like Antony Hegarty.
Distant Animals is the artistic output of Daniel Alexander Hignell, a researcher and sound, video and performance artist from South East England.
"Hignell has developed a practice indebted to political and participatory resonance of creative acts, interrogating notions of autonomy, collaboration, and the tension between sense (what is perceived by the senses) and sense (what is made sensible by the community). He has recorded, written, performed and researched numerous socially-oriented sound works across Europe, often choosing to work with a diverse range of collaborators, including visual artists, choreographers, theologians, lawyers, and political activists.
Drawing upon the works of La Monte Young, Morton Feldman, Eleh, and Mauricio Kagel, the album employs a highly conceptual approach to its genre, incorporating the notion of the drone as both a compositional method, a spiritual approach, and a participatory tool for engaging its audience. The album contains a pack of 4 postcards, documenting a land-art intervention undertaken during the creation of the score. Included in each pack is an individually hand-stamped and numbered print, created by inclusive artist Layla Tully, and responding to the albums central theme - materiality, substance, emergence, and the process of 'line-making'"
8Ball’s rolling amen smasher Total Kontrolz goes thru the motions the front, but the one you need to check is Mr. G’s G10 Dub on the B-side
...where he yanks down the tempo to a rolling 125bpm for a rudely sub-fuelled breakbeat house killer, saving a synthy sting in the tail that keeps it burning up to the core.
In the golden, shimmering wake of his Ripple Effect album, Fluxion rolls out these effortlessly elegant dub house winners for Solar Phenomena.
Commencing with the gritty bottom end shift and fluid chords of Juxtaposed, the Greek producer tactfully tends to the ‘floor with hushed, jazzy swagger leading to velvet coated rooms in Versal, where Poise unfolds a sublime scene of bird calls and flute spritzed with hi-hats in the most seductive style, while Bound staggers along, dazed and wound up with woozy accordion.
A perfect complement to the sublime album, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Swaggering, jacking computer grooves and nothing but, from tuuun on Stockholm’s prism-tweaking Fluf label.
On 0014A it sounds like he’s splaying an 808, resulting a wickedly offset volley of spark-spitting hi-hats and bullwhip snare cracks that stagger and teeter in an agitated funk. Think Russell Haswell’s latin freestyle nods or Mark Fell’s Sensate Focus or a drier Rian Treanor.
However, 0014AA is straighter, jacked to the bone with booming, warped kicks and a lone vocaloid intoning ‘acid’ in stealthily evolving permutations for the duration. EVOL fiends, this one you!