Debut release on 22a for Parisian producer Neue Grafik.
‘Soul Conspiracy’ explores broken beat, house and hip hop and grasps that distinctive 22a sound fusing classic house beats with a lo-fi boogie feel.
DJ support from Alexander Nut, Bradley Zero, Tenderlonious, Dennis Ayler, Lefto and more"
September's issue of The Wire features polymath Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe aka Lichens on the cover and in discussion, plus a long overdue and super interesting article about Peter King's legendary New Zeland based lathe cutting operation.
Also inside: Sparks' invisible Jukebox, Quarteira's Global Ear, plus features on Meridian Brothers, EMMA, David Burraston (aka NYZ), plus the usual extensive reviews and listings.
At the esoteric intersection of serialism, minimalism and new age, Die Schachtel present these exceptionally haunting, otherworldly recordings from late ‘70s Italy on vinyl for the very first time; rendering further details of the sessions which made up Lino Capra Vaccina’s seminal and cultishly adored Antico Adagio . As you should be now expect from all Die Schachtel, this is some pretty special stuff, forming a mesmerising adjunct to the eastern-facing vocal drones of Pandit Pran Nath disciple Terry Riley, for example.
In marked distinction to the concision of cuts on Antico Adagio and Frammenti Da Antico Adagio, this LP reveals two side-long meditations clocking in at 16:52 and 23:41, respectively, allowing far more room for Vaccina’s gentle gong, bells, cymbal and percussion to ripple and mesh with Dana Matus and Juri Camisasca’s floating vocals for the duration. Along with the charming appearance of yung Samuele Vaccina, plus some barely-there radiophonic spectres, the results of Echi Armonici Da Antico Adagio add up to a deeply enchanting listen, ranking right up there with he label’s sweetest treats such as Lovisoni / Messina’s Prati Bagnati Del Monte Analogo or the hallowed sacred drones of Prima Materia.
“For fans of the Italian avant-garde, few names inspire the loyalty and devotion offered to the percussionist and composer Lino Capra Vaccina, a perfect emblem of the country's extraordinary movement of musical minimalism. He first gained note as a member of Aktuala, creating a hybrid of rock, avant-garde, and ancient musics while incorporating a diverse number of sonic traditions from across the globe: African, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc. Vaccina's career as a composer has been marked by two distinct features: an incredibly high bar of quality and ambition, and a tragically slim recorded output. Following his departure from Aktuala, he worked extensively with others -- Juri Camisasca, Franco Battiato, etc. -- and within the short-lived super group Telaio Magnetico, but his astounding solo efforts have been slow to emerge. In 1978, he released the legendary LP Antico Adagio (DS 027CD/027-1LP), and wouldn't be heard from again until 1992's equally extraordinary L'Attesa.
Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio draws on the same body of recordings from which Vaccina's masterpiece Antico Adagio also grew, entering an already shimmering stage. The album is a revelation, a lost, towering artifact of the Italian avant-garde. It features two sidelong works of pulsing, hypnotic, ritualistic drone with Vaccina's percussion -- gongs, bells, and cymbals -- threaded by sustained tones, generated by the voices of Juri Camisasca and Dana Matus. Flirting with the outer-reaches charted by Buddhist and African music, it is a trance-inducing, meditative, cosmic world of sonic interplay. Sheets of resonance, stunning harmonic interplay, and intricate rhythms rise as one. Both performances -- immersive, beautiful, deeply moving, rewarding, and intellectually rigorous -- reveal themselves slowly at every return. Nearly forty years after its rhythms, tones, and ambiences imprinted themselves onto tape, Echi Armonici da Antico Adagio is unquestionably one of the most important albums to appear in 2017.”
Jef Gilson has produced some of the best albums of French free jazz and improvisation. But that’s not all: he also offered perfect recording conditions enabling some of the fresh young talent to emerge, including Daunik Lazro, André Jaume and Jean-François Pauvros, all three of whom released their first recordings on one or other of the labels, and what recordings they were!
"Recorded by Jean-François Pauvros (guitar, but not only…) alongside Gaby Bizien (drums, percussion, aquatic trombone, marimba, bird calls), and, of course, produced by the audacious Jef Gilson, the appropriately named No Man's Land had virtually no equivalent in France (nor worldwide) when it came out in 1976. Radical, free, primitive, timeless: in the image of the musicians, it is not for nothing that it appears in the famous Nurse With Wound list of major influences concocted in 1979. No label can be placed on this vertiginous sensory adventure: an explosive flow of shrapnel and tearing intensity, full of mystery and life.
Let’s be clear about it: No Man's Land is THE key recording of French improvisation. So much so that it is difficult to imagine it coming out of nowhere, the two musicians must surely have been listening to the latest forays of the British ‘Music Improvisation Company’ and decided to reply in their own way. But not at all! If we believe what the protagonists have to say, these experiments were carried out in secret isolation, and with a total lack of awareness of everything that was going on in the avant-garde of improvised music! Indeed, it was only after the album was published that Jean-François Pauvros and Gaby Bizien learned that there was a movement going on with similar ideas!
That tells us something about the level of invention of this album, which comfortably bears comparison to other similar duos such as Derek Bailey / Tony Oxley, Fred Frith / Chris Cutler, John Russell / Roger Turner or Gary Smith / John Stevens… The Frenchmen were well served by their unbridled variety and poly-instrumentalism!"
Trans Am are a band that have never compromised. Originally from North Bethesda, Maryland, Trans Am are considered fathers of the instrumental post rock sound of the 1990s. Since then the band - Phil Manley, Sebastian Thomson and Nathan Means - has added vocals and spanned genres from metal to house to progressive rock.
"They exploited Casio keyboards for cacophonous lo-fi sounds. They played fully electronic sets when most of their contemporaries were sticking exclusively to guitars. They pioneered early millennium fad electroclash. Today, they continue to set their own course.
Trans Am’s 1995 self-titled debut arrived under a flurry of speculation. With questions about their hometown, they found themselves the new young darlings of a burgeoning scene. They were three years in and had one 7” to their credit when this debut was released. The record was recorded partly in the basement of Seb’s parents’ house and during a two day marathon session at Idful Studio with John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake)."
After their acclaimed album 'Dis Side Ah Town' Roger Robinson and disrupt are returning with a reel full of new tales about survival in a Dog Heart City.
"These stories, delivered in Robinson’s full vocal spectrum between low-end dub poetry tremors and haunting falsetto, are trying to make the invisible lives visible: giving people affected by gentrification, racism, unemployment and low paid work a sense of authority and aesthetic nobility. Each song on this album became a story in that city, while the record itself is like the cityholding these stories.
“Nightshift” tells about the workers who clean the buildings where power is held, and the contrast between their lives and where they clean. “Flowers” comments on the rate of young black men getting killed, where another victim dies even before the last mourning flowers have dried. There are stories about tower block life, the claiming of a postcode or how the city wears a Swastika like a proud badge in Post-Brexit UK.
This beautiful LP collects a pile of special riddim cuts from the Jahtari vaults, from re-edited classics by Bo Marley, unreleased gems by John Frum to completely new experiments, all lovingly dubbed live and soaked in analogue goodness by disrupt."
When he published La Nuit est au courant, Jac Berrocal had already recorded his famous “Rock'n'Roll Station” and collaborated three times with Nurse With Wound, he figures on their 1979 list as an important avant-garde influence. In Situ, the French label which published this album, produced several other historically important albums in the same year by people like Steve Lacy, François Tusques, Un Drame Musical Instantané and Daunik Lazro in a duo with Joe McPhee: such were the times!
"Backed by two bassists (including the jazz critic Francis Marmande) and a drummer (Jacques Thollot, who recorded Jeter la girafe à la mer one of the highlights of the French underground), Jac Berrocal does here what he does best: defy labels and slalom between genres; constructing a strange kaleidoscope of enchanting mish-mash. “What is vulgar…”, he states, “…is to refuse what pleases you”. Jac Berrocal refuses nothing and tries everything he can imagine.
With the trumpet multiplied here and there by reverb', the nocturnal perambulations for insomniacs of La Nuit au courant make it an ambient album with Prague, Sartrouville, Ivry-sur-Seine or East Berlin amongst the backdrops… An album of what Fernando Arrabal called “panic music”, an elegant term for “no wave”… Listening to it over and again, it sounds for all the world like Don Cherry jamming with David Bowie and Brian Eno in Berlin.
There is one thing you should know: Jac Berrocal is an intrepid man. He stands exposed – and “sullies his soul”, on the edge of the precipice. The nights are all-knowing."
Formed by the improvised journeys of the formidable Bardo Pond and experimental ensemble Kohoutek, these compositions take you on a cosmic voyage through kosmische, drone, noise, prog and free jazz.
"Purveyors of psychedelic rock, Bardo Pond have the outward specifications of a rock band but the rivers that converge into the band’s oneiric flow have their headwaters in the outlands of ecstatic jazz, free noise and the avant-garde."
First vinyl edition to Simon Belmont's first 16-Bit adventure, the 1991 SNES classic SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV.
"SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV, technically a remake of the first CASTLEVANIA game, puts you back into boots of vampire hunter Simon Belmont. But if the first CASTLEVANIA soundtrack was like a band’s debut garage album, SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV is where they finally got into a major recording studio and fully fleshed out their sonic ambitions.
The Super Nintendo’s sound chip brought the franchise into the world of synth for the first time. It allowed Konami’s composers to use audio samples to achieve an instrumentation previously unattainable on earlier systems. From the moment SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV begins you can hear the difference, with synthesized samples of organs and chiming bells, that set a more cinematic tone for Simon’s quest to fell the devil’s castle.
But it's not all graveyards and fog; by the time you arrive at the fourth track on the album, "Simon Belmont's Theme," you reach the new gold standard for the music of CASTLEVANIA. And when you get to Track 8, "Mechanical Trick Castle," you are hearing Konami Kukeiha Club at its absolute finest, producing epic, bombastic score with prog rock elements that would remain the backbone of the franchise for years to come."
One Man’s Quest released Smiling Faces “95” on their own Vandal Records label in (you guessed it) 1995. It would end up being the only release on the label & never properly distributed. Produced by Bon Vega & Douglas Johnson, One Man’s Quest give the Motown classic a unique 90s spin w/ both house AND r&b versions. Kinda rough, kinda smooth & very essential!
"Excerpt from Dance Trax column in Billboard Magazine (Jun 10, 1995): "The single kicks a thick and spare house groove, coated with a simple organ line and a worldly lyrical reading that hangs onto the brain long beyond its moments on the dancefloor.” - Larry Flick (Dance Trax)
One Man’s Quest is a Brothers’ Vibe production. In memory of Bon Vega!"
Life is like a mirror ball! The first one in a hopefully long-lived series of disco and pop influenced Super Sound Singles on Running Back, comes courtesy of the unmistakeable Gibson Brothers.
"Leaving their biggest wedding hits "Cuba" and "Que Sera Mi Vida" to the side, the philanthropic and smile-forcing "Ooh, What A Life" gets an extended edit service by Shan & Gerd Janson, who cut away some of the fat and make it fit for fun on contemporary dance-floors.
The flip side sees them remixing and sandpapering "Heaven" into a disco-house interbred (filters and looping mandatory). To quote John Lyndon: "Disco sucks? You never heard that from me."
Pangaea reworks two 90s tracks in his own style.
Devotion is up first, injected with a mid 90's tumbling junglist vibe, a bit baby dee, nicely dusted, nostlagic and euphoric.
The flipside manhandles Loleatta Holloway's Stand Up with much attitude, those hefty bass kicks making it a certified peak-time banger, one of the hardest hitting and satisfying Pangaea productions we've heard yet.
On its 40th anniversary, Die Schachtel highlight Claudio Rocchi’s gorgeous but visceral psychedelic dream sequence, Suoni Di Frontiera - a collection of electronic sound ‘sketches’ by the Italian prog and folk pop hero - for its first vinyl reissue since 1976. Like so much of the Italian avant-garde’s output, Suoni Di Frontiera is nearly impossible to locate. from pulsing, rhythmic tones to sheets of pure abstraction, fragments of voice and environmental sound, captured and spun wild by tape loops and space age sounds.
Collecting the original LP, plus a bonus from the CD reissue released in 2009; Suoni Di Frontiera marks the sound of an artist following his instincts away from song structures to fully embrace the pleasures of tonal and rhythmic experimentation with concise, absorbing results that arguably parallel aspects of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Harmonia, and pre-date elements of Coil and reams of new age meditations to come.
As audiophiles and diggers have long known, Italy was a hotbed of experimental music during the mid ’70s era when Suoni Di Frontiera was conceived. Being a member of psych prog unit Stormy Six in the ‘60s, and later involved in Italy’s explorative pop scene, it was almost unavoidable that Rocchi would become seduced by the allure of oscillators, synths and electronic FX, and between 1974-76 he fully committed his time to this emerging paradigm. The layered, pastoral experiments of Rocchi manifested his first break with psych-folk-rock tradition towards electronic music, and thus laid the groundwork for a full transition into the tape-looping anomalies found on Suoni Di Frontiera.
Using the tactile soundboards of acoustic, electric and bass guitars, plus piano, keyboard, a load of FX and a Revox A77 (an earlier iteration of the B77 favoured nowadays by Valerio Tricoli), Rocchi conjured a sound free of the restraints usually found with song-writing and traditional instrumental arrangement. In the process he moved to a place between prog, pop and more academic skools of practice, intuitively throwing down taut, freeform sketches that range from recursive, head-pinching metallic moires thru to plasmic sound paintings and psychoacoustic vocal processing that uncannily recall Coil at their most enigmatic; taking in atemporal cosmic animations, beatless plunges and pulsating, proto-4th world pieces which clearly hinted at his increasing awareness of eastern philosophies, and lead him to spend 15 years as a Bhakti Hindu monk.
It’s fair to say that this scene has been extensively mined in recent years with swathes of Italian library records and the work of Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Di Nuova Consonanza or the likes of Franco Falsini seeing much closer inspection. Yet Rocchi’s enigmatic and prescient opus perhaps reappeared ahead of that curve and, with hindsight, is really due its time in the spotlight, where we find an album that neither falls into the frivolous charms of library music, nor gets tangled in academic concerns, instead hitting on a deeply satisfying pineal pop spot right between the eyes of tradition and uncharted territory.
Mathematics celebrates more than 20 years with previously unreleased Adonis gems
"After Midnight" & "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" feature the late great Daryl Pandy from 1987.The After Midnight EP is greatly appreciated in these times of oppression & anger."
Dark Fat is a celebration and documentation of 10 years of Nurse With Wound live shows, patched together from recordings made by fastidious archiver M.S. Waldron, and further embroidered by Colin Potter and Andrew Liles.
The suite seamlessly spills over 2 discs, coursing with a surreal, miasmic dream logic that’s entirely distinct to Nurse With Wound’s sprawling catalogue of 100s of releases since the early ‘80s. The ephemera of 20th century avant-garde experimentation ebbs and swells in a heaving mass with elements of blues, rock, soul, free jazz and noise, constantly searching for an elusive spirit in transition between spheres of influence and psychedelic dimensions.
It would take a much braver man than me to try and sum up NWW in any narrower terms. They’re stylistic pirates sailing a treacherous black sea without recourse to the stars, charts or maps, simply divining their own never-ending route to fuck knows where and thankfully allowing us to hang on to their heavily barnacled hull and gobble the exotic sweet meats they chuck overboard.