No collaboration is unlikely when the end goals are the same. A meeting of two artists who illustrate different corners of the musical landscape, come together to create a new statement that takes their collective strengths to higher elevations and encompasses new terrains.
"So it is on the first collaborative journey of Canadian musicians Venetian Snares and Daniel Lanois. What started as mutual respect for one another’s work, led to several years of a creative germination resulting in an eight-track full-length exploration. The path began in 2014, after Lanois reached out to Venetian Snares (Aaron Funk) as a fan of his work. The project started to take root in Summer of 2016, after Funk hung around Toronto between shows. Taking his gear to Lanois’ studio, the two began to play for the first time together in what would prove to be a formative moment in their creative journey together. “I love making music with Dan, he has a real understanding of how to create a world and build what may exist within that world. Bassdrums are trombones and they are a colossal whale which floats on clouds of leaves speaking to the blast furnace feeding the mammoth.
A small painting of forest horses hangs in the cranium of the sea horse.” – Aaron Funk Recorded live in a former Buddhist temple-turned-studio in Toronto, 'Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois' travels to new zones in what Lanois describes as “a body of work driven by exploration”. Like all the best collaborations, it's brought something new out of both musicians. Equipped with their production acuity, they let their natural workflow guide them through uncharted waters. Funk laid the groundwork with drums while Lanois rode the pedal steel, weaving their sounds together in a new sonic tapestry."
Proper, shoulder-barging D&B rufige from Artilect
Following up last year’s UVB-76 split alongside Skitty with the sidewinding tekkers of Blurring The Line, then the canny spectral breakbeat dynamics of Concussion, before holding down the ravenous beats of Zero Time, and on a fierce tech-step flex with Blink.
Flute lovers will be in their element on the latest from Not Not Fun
“The welcome and wondrous return of Lyon musician Baptiste Martin’s aerial ambient identity Les Halles, following a year’s sabbatical from recording, Zephyr takes its name from a light westerly wind, which aptly evokes the warm, weightless, whispering spirit of these beguiling electro-acoustic designs. Working entirely with a computer for the first time, Martin’s sample bank swelled in both depth and detail, giving his compositions a crisper focus and finer grain. Slovakian fujara flutes shudder and shimmer, offset with rippling PVC panpipes, chimes, and gentle webs of delay.
The tracks are titled according to their sample source, designated with one of three words that are same in French and English: horizon, mirage, and distance. Martin speaks of these pieces as conjuring “landscapes with almost no human traces,” and his criterion for completion is simple: “When I feel like I’m losing the perception of time while listening.” Nine new divinations by one of today’s most attuned waking dreamers.”
Ahhhnd relax with this creamy instrumental suite of ambient cover versions of Arthur Russell, Brian Eno, Roedelius and Robert Wyatt. Heart melting music
"Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1 is a collection of ambient works - from the likes of Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, Roedelius and Robert Wyatt - arranged for clarinet and piano. Having met at music college, Black and Jones went separate ways creatively. Black delved into pop, recording albums and touring extensively under the guise of Sweet Baboo, as well as working with Cate Le Bon, H. Hawkline and others. Paul leaned into the piano and pursued a career as a jazz pianist and experimental musician. He played with Keith Tippett, formed The Jones O'Connor Group, performed with noise improv bands and composed orchestral and chamber music.
Reconnecting years later, the pair discovered that their musical tastes, bizarrely, met in the middle. They have a shared love of The Beach Boys, Ghost Box Records, Messiaen and Angela Morley. They both like ambient and new age music, bubblegum pop, Artie Shaw, Moondog and the Songs in the Key of Z.
Piano & Clarinet: Selected Works Vol. 1 is the spontaneous, beguiling culmination of this friendship. Cutting out the post production and keeping overdubs to a minimum, the clarinet and piano were passed through guitar stomp boxes and other analogue effects to enable processing and manipulation directly in performance. The result hums with the ghostly energy of sound pioneers Joe Meek and Martin Hannett, while mbira and drum machines are sparingly deployed amid enveloping folds of space echo.
Like Virginia Astley or Simon Jeffes, Group Listening tread the overlap betwen classical and experimental music. Perhaps most startling here is the breadth of material arranged as one atmospheric whole. The pieces range from the ever-spiralling, fractal phrases of German composer Roedelius to the haunting rasps of game and Hollywood soundtracker Disasterpiece and the pioneering sonics of early electronic inventor Raymond Scott. Somehow, shot together through Group Listening's electro-acoustic lens, these works evolve into something supremely calming, poignant and new.”
Daniel Blumberg announces his debut album release for Mute, ‘Minus’, the first release under his own name.
"An astonishing work, the record weds an improvisational, free-music ethos to the rawest emotional songwriting, rooted deep in the personal turmoil Blumberg experienced whilst making the record. The album was recorded live with legendary producer Peter Walsh (Scott Walker’s collaborator since ‘Climate Of Hunter’) in just five days during a remote residential stay in Wales, amidst a debilitating breakup with his partner of seven years along Blumberg's ongoing struggle with week before recording.
Still only 27 years old, Blumberg has written himself a richmusical history; from his teenage band who signed to XL whilst he was still at school, onto and through the projects of Yuck, Oupa and Hebronix, whilst solidifying close creative partnerships with the likes of David Berman (Silver Jews), Low, Lambchop and Royal Trux’s Neil Michael Hagerty (with whom Blumberg has performed as a member of the Howling Hex). With ‘Minus’, though, there is a sense that Daniel Blumberg has finally arrived at the place he has been searching for - an arresting and progressive work, one which is set to establish him as one of Britain’s most unique contemporary voices."
Craving off a slice of Leon Vynehall’s pleasant new album, Movements (Chapter III) captures a snapshot of classic NYC soul-jazz vibes filtered thru a lense of YouTube-like compression effect filters.
It’s a bit bland and passably loungey, but nice enough.
The surrealist ambient/avant-pop experiments of Anticlines form the most significant solo release to date by Lucretia Dalt. It follows her releases with Human Ear Music, Care Of Editions and Other People - all dispatched prior to 2015 - with her finest, poetic study on the relationships between time-based arts, a.k.a music, and the time scales of geology.
Thanks to the inclusion of her own vocals and a tendency towards simple, melodic leitmotifs, and despite its heavy conceptual roots, the results find a fine line between experimental savouriness and pop sweetness, knitting Latin rhythms with her poetic gestures in the first side, before the 2nd side cannily finds those ideas fragmented, stratified into finer graded layers.
"Anticlines is a volume of poetic theory and sound contemplating the bodies of self above and beneath the earth’s surface. On Anticlines, Dalt conjures a sonic space of speculative synthesis and spoken word where South American rhythms rattle contemporary composition recalling Laurie Anderson, Robert Ashley, and Annea Lockwood. A portion of the proceeds from your purchase will be charitably designated on behalf of Lucrecia Dalt to Tierra Digna, an organization dedicated to the defense of Colombian communities affected by economic policies that violate human rights and devastate the environment. tierradigna.org. Come! Mend!"
This debut album, by keys player, composer and producer Joe Armon-Jones, is buoyant, celebratory and welcoming. With a background in jazz, he draws from influences in dub, hip-hop and soul.
"Different traditions are infused and commingled together. Soulful brass arrangements are coloured with carefully-tuned atmospherics; individual flashes of brilliance are bound into the album’s bigger picture.
He’s part of London’s young, jazz-influenced music scene. Drawn from that same close-knit circle, the album features the likes of Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Oscar Jerome. It’s playing with those – along with Ezra Collective, which he co-founded, and touring with the likes of Ata Kak and Pharoahe Monch – which has honed his playing and grown his ideas.
It’s made for a record with an unmistakable depth. He draws on deep musical understanding, making music which is warm and has a feeling of joy. A document of his vision for bringing together his different influences, it’s also a testament to hard-earned, head-turning musical virtuosity."
A mixed bag of remixes for Carl Craig’s orchestral project Versus.
We’ll bite our tongue about the garbage and point you to Abul Mogard’s gauzily smeared and slow burning sci-fi synth remix of At Les and the stark Siavash Amini remix of Sandstorms for highlights.
Chicago sound-weaver Jessica Risker is nudging Psychedelic folk back into plain view.
"Comprised of eight aural vignettes, I See You Among the Stars is a wood-grained, amber-hued world respectfully orbiting influences like Nick Drake, Sibylle Baier, and the softest moments of Broadcast. Paisley fabrics fade beneath an uncovered window, while dust and smoke billow gently through the sunbeams that never fully reach the dark half of the room. I See You Among the Stars achieves what the best music in the genre does: pictures with tangible depth, color, and detail painted with only a few well-chosen pigments.
It’s apt that Risker, a musician and sound designer since her teens, embodies the dichotomous foundation that makes acid-folk so timelessly intriguing. “I tend to approach music from two different angles” she says of her process. “The first is just songwriting — melody, chord changes, lyrics — those basic elements. The second angle is more an exploration of sounds, with the idea that there are no constraints. I See You Among the Stars is an exemplar of spaced out psych-folk that seeks to convey the intimacy and introspection of a woman going about her simple matters at home, while creating an atmosphere to provide melancholy accompaniment to these very tasks.
But the final result is something much more: a polyhedral, exploratory, and mystifying peer into a detailed pop-up storybook that reflects the mind and heart of its luminous creator. "The extraordinary loving magic of Chicago’s DIY culture has produced another masterpiece of emotional clarity and songcraft. I’ve been awed watching Jessica shape these songs into perfect concise visions in basement show after coffeeshop show. It’s exciting for everyone else to finally get to see into her introspective world."
Rob Sevier, co-founder of Numero Group
A slippery one from KeitaroTamura on the low-key Lynn imprint outta Chicago, joining releases by D!ANA, Yma and Polido to keep the label’s aesthetic remit properly wide and elusive.
suuhaaa+chorororo, is, as far as we can tell, KeitaroTamura’s 2nd release after the Wind and Baby EP for California’s Memory No.36 Recordings. Unfolding in two longer form parts, the first reels off a hypnagogic smudge of glass rubbed harmonics and sloshing industrial swill with a deeply seductive appeal.
After 10 seconds or so you’ll be sucked into a sticky wormhole for the duration, with only minor variations in the loops to keep us interested. On the other hand, the 2nd part is initially far more scrambled, brownian, inducing an unstable yet meditative effect that reminds us of records by Wanda Group and uon, before almost resolving around a persistent bass pattern, but not quite.
This is kinda what we imagine doing K on a merry-go-round to feel like.
Vive la Void is the new solo project of Sanae Yamada, co-founder and keyboard player of Moon Duo. RIYL Stereolab, Broadcast, Fever Ray...
"Yamada wrote and recorded the self-titled debut album over roughly a two-year period, during windows of downtime in Moon Duo’s substantial touring and recording schedule. The dense, shape-shifting atmospheres of the seven songs grew out of late-night basement experiments in the layering of synthesizer tracks, a process that also led to meditations on the changeable nature of memory and perception. The result is an undulating blend of ethereal swirl, low end thrumming, and electric crackle, buoyed by Yamada’s understated but captivating vocal melodies and her striking lyrics.
“The lyrics were a way of reckoning with my own memories and also of trying to process my reactions to the human situation,” Yamada explains. “I wanted the voice to have a kind of ghostly quality, to emerge from and recede back into the song, or to pass over it like weather. It’s one of many layers of sound, which are meant to blend together in such a way that on one listen you might hear one thing, and on another listen you might hear something else, so the music seems to change even as it stays the same.”Yamada has spent the last decade as a working musician, moving between semipermanent home bases whenever she isn’t living in a tour van. In some ways, then, it feels inevitable that Vive la Void became a meditation on the strange rhythms of long-term touring, constant relocation, and the accompanying stream of brief but compelling encounters. It’s a testament to her empathy and creativity that these songs feel both specific and universal, familiar yet tantalizingly unknowable.
“I feel like the movement of life in the sphere of consciousness is this process of trace-leaving,” Yamada reflects. “Wherever we go, whomever we interact with, whatever we touch, we leave and absorb these invisible traces, this residue of memory that lingers. I wanted the sonic textures of this record to explore that state of being there and not there, of something being with you but not tangible.”
Copenhagen’s Iceage - Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (vocals, lyrics), Jakob Tvilling Pless (bass), Dan Kjær Nielsen (drums) and Johan Wieth (guitar) - release their fourth album, ‘Beyondless’.
"After returning with ‘Catch It’, their first new material since 2013’s ‘Plowing Into The Field Of Love’, Iceage have now shared ‘Beyondless’ lead track ‘Pain Killer’, featuring Sky Ferreira (the first guest vocalist to ever be featured on an Iceage song). Additionally, the band announced March residencies in New York and Los Angeles and dates in Japan in April, with their previously announced European ‘Beyondless’ radiates joy.
It’s an album that shows Iceage finally catching up with their ambition, all the while retaining the rich character of the band’s brash beginnings. It’s important to pay attention to the journey, from ‘New Brigade’ (2011), a juvenile delinquent take on post punk, full of cold, distant condemnation and onto the ecstasy of ‘You’re Nothing’ (2013), shedding the more aggressive hardcore influence and dragging in more light, a tendency followed on ‘Plowing Into The Field Of Love’ (2014).
Throughout their career, the band’s charm has rested in their running ahead of themselves with blind confidence; on ‘Beyondless’, they are treading with a disarming assurance but no loss of charm. The album was produced by the band with Nis Bysted and Göteborg, Sweden and mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast Studios in Seattle. The album was played entirely by Iceage with additional performances by Nils Gröndhal (violin), horns by Kasper Tranberg (trumpet), Lars Greve (saxophones) and Morten Jessen (trombone)."
Boli Group present their keenly anticipated début album, N.P.D.S. on Posh Isolation. A suite of classicist chamber arrangements for Piano, Cello, Violin, Alto Sax & E-Max infiltrated by sparingly used synths, this is the sound of rarified contemplation in breezy white rooms, hovering between stately solemnity, urbane spirituality and ornate ennui...
"Hartvig is perhaps best known for his work with the group Synd Og Skam. And though less known, Brynje 1&2 is just as exceptional. Taking both technology and classicism as allegories, each group charts routes in and out of pop music, somehow arriving at an observer's distance to the distinct stylistic choices in the process. The label Visage has published the best of this, and the logic has certainly been carried into 'Boli Group LP,' the latest offering from Hartvig and his distinguished ensemble of Nina Cristante, Holger Hartvig, Thea Thorborg, and Cæcilie Trier.
There is a nearly unendurable fragility to 'Boli Group LP.' It's as if Hartvig has let the complexities of his themes stand in mourning; his narrator taking a moment to themselves behind sunglasses, exhausted for the rose-tinted lens of the prepared script. The album is willingly dramatic, though it never plateaus into melancholia. Hartvig pirouettes at the edge with the sorrowful string arrangements and the pristine timbre of the piano, the immediacy of the acoustics always binding the listener tightly to the risk. Pastoral and meditative, the electronics don't tamper with the delicate fabric being woven. They always register as supportive and understated. The synthetic hum, occasionally yielding a doleful melody as it does, manages to imbue a naiveté to this contemporary and subtly idiosyncratic chamber music.
Though the track titles lead us on, in time the examination the album provokes is that of the tension in transparency. The album's secret, barely kept through the minimalism, is its distinct folk noir quality in holding it. "boli group creating new chamber folklore embracing the playing of instruments, not the played, but that which is playing for the sake of future focus and edit into the very minerals of instrument, intuition, emotion, fragility underlying, the warning, always pulsating acts of drama, wet leaves, asphalt, pan to right, agriculture and electricity poles a container ship, lonely in horizon hoping for a clear thought, but everything existing as conspiracy the sound of a search, uncertain and always asking, for certainty is false, showing sceneries changing permanently and forever narrating, like a panorama of grey clouds, keeping humidity levels high, heating up before the release of water and lightning investigation for folk instruments. What are their songs and where will they go, over time, woven together like a piece of fabric created to stand against the lethal winds”
Persistently at the edge of wave cycles for the past decade, Matthew Weiner brings his TWINS project to Mike Simonetti’s 2MR label with a ‘floor-ready and generally easier to grasp sound in That Which Is Not Said, which is to say the acronym of his name spelt out for those who don’t know.
Eight songs variously touch on yelpy, snappy EBM recalling DAF/Suicide (Glass Breaks Glass), the cold synth-pop smarts of Depeche Mode (Taset of Peppermint), The Cure (Stuck), along with side-spins into mutant disco (Before This Runs Out) and John Bender-esque styles (The Sky Remains The Same).
Blinding technoid fusions of flashcore and Techno at 130bpm on the surprise 7th release on Mumdance & Logos’ Different Circles label, RIYL Sleeparchive, La Peste, Shed, Chevel...
Different Circles round off two techno killers nearly 10 years since Szare’s coded conception as 126.96.36.199.5 for Horizontal Ground to reaffirm their unique position within experimental bass/techno dimensions.
Bringing a mongrel sense of Manchester dance music to the plate on both sides, Szare morph rolling big techno with deft traces of flashcore to scintillating impact on Kodiak with its searing paso doble breakdown and bleep coda best compared to Sleeparchive going in double hard with La Peste.
On the other side, Translocated figures a rugged calculation of staccato jacking UK warehouse dynamics rudely compatible with Mumdance & Logos’ FFS/BMT bangers and the wider Different Circles catalogue, but with a hypnotic, industrialized dance energy that is Szare to the core.
The aptly named "Perfectly Unhappy" features eight new songs written with this collaboration in mind. These are enchanting and lyrical tunes, often melancholic and uplifting at the same time and will surely speak to followers of both the trio and Sheppard and attract many new ones.
"I knew from the first time I heard the trio play that I would fit right in. I loved the melodic sense and vibe and was thrilled when I was invited to guest with the trio in London in 2016. Since then we've had a chance to grow the music with tours in Korea and Norway, before Espen wrote a set of fantastic tunes for the recording session in Oslo. They played themselves and we had a ball recording, everything clicked and in two days we had made a very special album". Andy Sheppard Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and released their first album in 2010.
4Since then they have released two more records on Rune Grammofon, and toured in 16 countries across four continents. The music relies on highly melodic and lyrical instrumentals and a “less is more” approach and is often credited for its unique voice within today’s jazz scene by the international press. To quote BBC in their review of the trio’s second album; “A wonderfully plaintive jazz record, abandoned to the lost art of melodic minimalism, stripped back and beautifully near bare. No smoke and mirrors, just the graceful chemistry of superb musicians at the top of their game”
With a career spanning over four decades, working together with the likes of George Russell and Gil Evans, Andy Sheppard is truly one of Europe’s leading saxophonists. Lately, his main focus has been with his own quartet and the trio with living legends Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, both acts recording for ECM. Eriksen´s background is ranging from jazz to pop music and the church organ, while Jenset lived and worked as a musician in Copenhagen for seven years before relocating to Norway. Andreas Bye is one of Norway´s most requested drummers in jazz and pop."
Sleazy psyche grind escaped from Green Door Studios’ exit/entrance to hell. RIYL DIV, Goldfrapp, Optimo Music
“Another fierce and unique act from the depths of the Glasgow underground appear on Optimo Music with their debut Green Door studios recorded four track EP.
Keyboard player Jim McKinven was previously in Altered Images, worked for many years in Martin Rushent's Genetic Studios, was in One Dove and previously appeared on Optimo Music as one half of Organs Of Love. He is however but one component of this transgenerational band.
They describe their music far better than we could - "Seedy Electronica, consisting of 2 Basses, Electronic Drums, Synths and Dark Vocals. Inspired by the avant-garde that influenced the electronic music scene of the late '70's and early '80's.”
V-Sor, X’s outstanding post-punk/cold-wave bullet Authors 2 bubbles back up on Peripheral Minimal.
Hailing from Lichfield in the English midlands, Morgan Bryan formed V-Sor, X in 1979. The classically skinny and drily emotive Authors 2  was his first single, and despite being admonished as lacking emotion and musicianship at the time, it clearly held its own with enough folks to be trading for over £100 on the 2nd hand market nowadays.
Thankfully that “something” isn’t just its rarity (there were only 300 copies of the original), as the A-side delivers a virulent blend of spiky arps and almost operatic, horror-film inspired gothic vox in Authors 2, whilst the B-side makes haunting turns towards what would become known as neo-folk with Station, and an unmissable mix of fluttering synths and cathartic vocals in Back Room Commentator that clearly reunite with fellow Midlanders Eyeless In Gaza.
Tillmans’ expressive, slightly Dada-ist vocal + synth work Source comes remixed as a fluffy, minimal tech house cut by Roman Flügel, in a way reminding of Wolfgang Voigt’s Profan gear, whilst the 909 Mix strips Tillmans down to gasps, chuckles and scats on haughtier house groove struck up with piano chords.
NYC’s Dasychira unmistakably apes Arca and Lotic in the best way on Haptics, the follow-up to his Immolation EP.
Featuring guest turns from Haleek Maul, Malibu, and Embaci, it’s one the most upfront and definitively contemporary releases on FaltyDL’s Blueberry Records, vacillating expressively detailed instrumental highlights such as the dembow-bumping weightless concerns of Swing with impressively theatrical vocal works such as Umbreon, feat. Malibu.
Chloe Freida’s Alien Jams compile 7 cuts from rkss, Rescund, Ondness and more cuts, each reflecting on the nature and effect of unease and anxiety, all mastered by Rupert Clervaux.
The most interesting responses to the theme come in the spiralling waves of distorted data from rkss on FX 128 F / CLAP 128 F / LEAD 2 F 128 / CLAP 128 F / FX 128 F, which seems to emulate the onset and onslaught of a panic attack, and also from multidisciplinary artist Clifford Sage a.k.a. Recsund, who follows the Intellectual Reject sets for Quantum Natives with an incisive, needling ambient techno work Sinetic that emulates the effect of feeling simultaneously lush but highly strung.
James Blake’s live drummer Ben Assiter a.k.a. Mr. Assister turns his hand to a pair of grittily fluid, dubbed-out slow rollers for his BEAM label.
Up top he spins out the swingeing slosh of Mambala, with focus on its interlocking wooden drums while the synthlines tug at the edges, precipitating a viscous bassline and more humid atmospheres as the cut move deeper into the overgrowth.
Down below, Bebny sounds like it just wandered, dazed and stumbling, from a Danielle Baldelli set c. ’81, with a more prominent acidic bassline synched to glancing drums and druggy synth sighs in a cosmic style.
Hot on the heels of Joker’s return, Bristol’s purple sound OG, Guido steps up with his first release since 2013
Dispatching the sharply contoured and colourful grime instrumental Onward and the wonky but regulated triplets of Blazing Trails via his State Of Joy label.
DJ Qu induces fancy footwork with a percolated, infectiously percussive rework of Willie Graff & Tuccillo’s To The Music, which eventually turns into a Moodymann-like party freak, and comes backed with Qu’s original, grinding bleep techno ace Figure 6 for the red-lit basement jackers.
Theo and pals stretch out at jazzy angles on Gentrified Love, Pt.4
Bubbling uptempo with the burning hustle of Leave The Funk To Us feat. Amp Fiddler & Ideeyah on a P-Funk house flex, whereas Be Like Me hits the downstroke on a well-tucked boogie jazz turn starring Paul Randolph and Kathy Kosins.
Necessary vinyl edition of Kaziwa, Porya Hatami & Arovane’s sublime 2nd release together. Preceding their more probing, abstract scientific approach o last year’s Organism, this delicate suite of processed piano phrases finds the pairing at their most sensitive and modest, trading poetic instrumental gestures in a mellow dialogue of wistfully melodic strokes and amorphous electronics.
The signature, filigree piano work of Iranian composer, Hatami’s earlier works takes centre stage, subtly contrasting with Uwe Zahn a.k.a. Arovane’s responses, made on Native Instruments’ new Una Corda virtual synth. Well trained ears should;d probably be abel to tell the difference between the “real” and the synthesised tones, but it’s better to let your ears drift between their fidelities and swelling gauze. Soon enough those golden shimmers and dusty figures will draw you right into a lushly somnambulant state, like falling half asleep to a vintage flick.