A pair of masterful, 16 minute cosmic dirges by a new Swiss trio, locking right between the eyes of Tony Conrad, Gnod, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, A Silver Mt. Zion with uncannily potent effect.
“La Tène's previous album 'Vouerca/Fahy', released at the end of April 2016, was rapidly out-of-print after a long series of concerts throughout France and neighboring countries. Thanks to this immediate success, they were invited to play the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival after appearances at the Sonic Protest Festival in Paris, Ring Ring in Serbia and at the Kilbi Festival in Düdingen.
Their second album, 'Tardive/Issime', was recorded in January 2017. It is to be released on September 22nd, 2017, as the first collaborative release between Les Disques Bongo Joe and three:four. If this second opus relies on the same method of composition, it employs a decidedly richer timbral palette, combining long heavy descending harmonium sweeps, relentless percussion, and the ever more precise patterns and drones of the hurdy-gurdy.
'Tardive/Issime', something of a mirror to its predecessor, nevertheless reveals a few phantoms in the course of listening, prefiguring a music still to come. La Tène is a tricephale beast discharging a singular energy in which one may detect echoes of traditional music, saturated repetition, ethereal harmonics or imaginary choreographies. All of these coexist in La Tène’s music and are freed from their origins in a unique framework.
The Franco-Swiss trio perform music wherein every influence, however profound, is distilled by patterns becoming themes. The goal is not to break models, but to make their existence solid, concrete, as fragments cleverly carved out of rock so as to be reassembled.
There are no starting points, no ending points, no standard form structures – these all disappear as the senses encounter the first shock waves. Obstacles are erected as familiarly unknown constructions of bits and pieces remembered as replicated gestures from multiple angles. La Tène’s goal is not to rearrange or reinvent living music, but rather to groove every furrow again and again until its total exhaustion.”
Perfectly twee ‘60s and ‘70s space pop adventures from the french trio, Fanny, Alice and Guillaume aka Odessey & Oracle
All crafted on classic, era-appropriate synths - Hohner Pianet N, Korg MS-20, Moog Micromoog, Korg Lambda, Farfisa Syntorchestra, Crumar Multiman S & Brassman, Korg PE-2000, Korg Stage Echo, Wem Copicat - and slung into orbit via Bongo Joe. Between the synth list and the colourfully naif artwork, you should have an accurate idea of what’s going on inside.
Bass Clef fully indulges his jazzy electronics whims in three extended cuts of kosmische synthlines and squirrel-chase polymetric rhythm
“OPEN HAND REAL FLAMES is a new digital label from Bass Clef. Born from his monthly show on NTS, it aims to release music that is multi-bpm, anti-genre and full of heart.
(minimum wage) (zero hours) (infinite forest) is an hour-long 3-track e.p. to kick things off at the label and for Bass Clef in 2018. It allows layers and loops in different time signatures to swirl, overlap and interlock around a central and almost kosmiche-krautrock house beat, of kick and tambourine, and a classic Bass Clef warm subby bassline. The three tracks zone in and out on separate elements, a small rainforest of sounds to explore and inhabit.
Bass Clef has a long and varied career, beginning in 2003 with releases for XL-offshoot label Rex records, tangling in the fringes of dubstep in the mid-200s via Actress' Werk imprint and remixing for Shackleton and Appleblim's Skull Disco label. In the 2010s he has released acclaimed LPs and singles for (deep breath!): PAN, Punch Drunk, Trilogy Tapes, Alter Stock, Public Information, We Can Elude Control, and Mordant Music to name a few. As well as a celebrated and BBC-Radio-3-broadcast live collaboration with CHarles Hayward of This Heat & laura Cannell & Oscilanz, touring with Arthur Russell collaborators as the Peter Zummo 6tet.”
Durban, S.A.’s Washa duo present a fresh AF haul of kilelr tracks from their 1st mixtape for the Gqom Oh! crew.
So much to choose from on this one, taking in aces from the series’ previous contributors, Citizen Boy, Formation Boyz, Emo Kid, Dominowe and Cruel Boyz, plus a ruck of new names (to us, at least) including Forgotten Souls, Newlines Finest, Griffit Vigo, DJ Mabheko, and Sbucardo Da DJ.
For instant highlights, run check the likes of Newlines Finest’s high-tension strutter Massive Jive (Broken Mix); the pure bass pressure and slicing stabs of Uginqi Gonqo (Broken Shandis) from Dominowe; the body-bouncing momentum of Rehab Soundz by Griffit Vigo; and Julz Da DeeJay’s wavey zinger The Chaser.
Swedish/UK techno duo Catharsis debut a bleak, ruggedly bass-heavy style on Kareem’s Zhark.
Stepping in line with Zhark’s sluggish brawlers from Casual Violence, Stärker and the overlord Kareem, A Purging of Demons is anchored in molasses subs at around the 120bpm mark and beaten into action with cracked, rusty percussion under sky-collapsing gothic synth atmospheres.
The vibe is obliterated and embittered, dragging dancers thru post-apocalyptic wastegrounds guided by voices from the ether in Perception Through The Circle, to trample more undulating terrain lit by background trance pollution in Summoning The Black Tongue, then raking your spine over hot coals in Bringing Forth The Hellchild, and stepping towards a sort of numbed, suspenseful mix of gothic ambition and half-stepped techno on Distress, The Mother.
RIYL Shxcxchcxsh, Huren, Shifted
Haunting, deeply mystic tribal folk disco dub from 1976, plucked out and dusted down by Isle Of Jura Records for necessary reissue. Exactly the kind of gear you’d expect to hear from the cosmic discos of Italy to the stylish discotheeks of Belgium and on balearic sets in the pre-house mid ‘80s, pre-echoing the styles of Burundi Black. Includes a previously unreleased Extended Version and the glorious Anambra River.
“For the next official reissue Isle Of Jura goes back to 1976 to resurrect ‘Anambra’, the jewel in the crown of Dub, Soul & Funk outfit Ozo. ‘Anambra’ is something of a classic, a unique song that’s slow, ritualistic and spiritual, mixing African & Nyabinghi drumming with a Buddhist Sanskrit mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’. An alternate version ‘Anambra River’ appears for the first time on the same 12”.”
A bit of a stunner, this, from mystic Hungarian composer László Hortobágyi, recorded in 1986 for Hungaropop, and just now resurfacing in its revised 2006 form thanks to the Australia-via-Amsterdam label, Lullabies For Melodies. Worldwide credentials in check, the record also follows a worldly path, consolidating far flung ideas from Hindusthani music, bioastronomy, polynesia polyrhythmia, ancient Bali gamelan, Shruti systems and cathedral design (we could go on, and on) in a manner that defies belief and practically does so in its own sonic language.
Looking on the back cover like a monk who can shoot lasers from his eyes if you disagree with him, Hortobágyi is clearly in possession of some other, supernatural knowledge or power, or at the least he’s definitely done some heavy reading and listening. But, speculation aside, his travels and musical skooling in India since the ‘60s are a concrete source of inspiration for this sound and aesthetic, which, in a classic double refraction of ideas between East-West, is filtered thru and played by the traditional music preservationists, Gáyan Uttejak Orchestra (named after the school of musicologist, V.N. Bhátkhánde) and comes out beautifully altered in translation on Transreplica Meccano.
Noted as a masterpiece of his extensive catalogue, Transreplica Meccano is Hortobágyi’s solo debut. As far as we know, this remastered 2006 revision - previously unissued on any format - is faithful to the 31 years old original; a flying carpet woven from incredibly intricate threads of archaic musical possibility, meshing processed samples with flute, bass, trombone, modular synth, voice and strings and Indian instrumentation such as been, tabla, sitar according to classical Indian instrumental techniques and advanced synthesis.
We can hear certain parallels between this sound and 4th world musics by Hassell, YMO and co, but it’s maybe better compared with the output of Rex Ilusivii, if anyone, who also shared a fascination with Indian music which came out sounding quite futuristic gothic from his Serbian base c. the late ‘80s. We don’t want to say any more for fear of dissolving Transreplica Meccano’s enigma, or cos there’s simply too much going on to properly grasp, but we hope you’ve checked the samples and are also spellbound by now.
Chicago OG’s Ron Trent and Harry Dennis (The It, Jungle Wonz) reprise their duo last heard on Ron Hardy (Dedication To You) with the deepest house treat of Breeze, backed by jazzier functions on the B-side.
Breeze is the big danefloor tune, featuring Dennis laying it down and dubbed out over one of Trent’s signature, wide basslines and rooted percussive hustle. Monterey (Album Version) catches them both strolling on a jazzier vibe, which Trent strips down to the bare essentials, leaving room for more instrumental expression on synth and keys in Aquatic Movement 1.
One of electronic music’s most curious properties, Nat Fowler aka Novo Line expands upon his Braille Satellite EP with two new cuts for this special release commemorating an impromptu tour van rave at Braille Festival in summer ’17, held deep in the dark woods of Lithuania.
Coming off the back off his mutable Dyad for Ecstatic - one of thee best records of this year, if you ask us - this session offers a broader survey of Novo Line’s Atari ST-borne style and displaced pattern with five tracks ranging from the Suicide-esque In A Fix featuring vocals by fellow van traveller Paul Arambula, to a superb consolidation of doom metal and computer music in the crushing bunny tracks.
In A Fix kicks the EP into action with Arizona’s Arambula singing a lullaby about the van over what sounds like a Suicide groove trapped in slowly solidifying amber, before Movement 3 (Last Pythagoras) picks up where Novo Line’s Movements (2016) left off in a skudgy of skewed synth tunings and squashed Boss jakbeats. The stomach-churning, atonal discord of bunny tracks takes pride of place at the centre of the EP, while sScalarr locates a gripping example of how Novo Line is effectively using the outmoded Atari ST like a guitar to generate highly personalized, distorted tunings - think of him as some Kevin Shields of the old beige box - and Finished World presents one of his very most demented sluggers, practically splitting at the seams with turgid, blow-out bass and riddled with wickedly gurning synthlines.
Back on the Something label, STL closes out 2017 with Sighted (The Drive of Life)
Giving up two parts in his signature, rugged blend of dusty drums, dub chords and atmospheric disturbance with 15 minutes of M-Series-on-Safari vibes in Monkey Island, and the grubbing hustle of Intergalactic Quantum Web, then reaching out into proper, spectral abstraction with the electro-acoustic plongs and small sound scree of LSS Recording -A-, plus a trio of loops.
Mor Elian cooks up four lean, subaquatic electro tools for Delta Funktionen’s Radio Matrix label.
Check it for the crisply punctuated hydraulic momentum of Gamma Gulch and the darkside scio-fi flow of Starlight Mesa.
The bastard offspring of Matthew Herbert’s label, Accidental Jnr comes with Master H’s debut
Lodging a bumpy, off-centre mix of tribalist drums, chants and acidic electronics somewhere between the label’s Bambooman release and Herbert hisself.
Forgemasters - Shards ov Light is the 21 minute soundtrack to late photographer Shaun Bloodworth’s (R.I.P.) documentary Forgemasters celebrating Sheffield’s history, “from small-scale handmade tools to large-scale forging.”