They say Tomaga, spellcheck insists Tomato. Whatever you call them, Tomaga’s Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti (Raime) tread their own path with Greetings From The Bitter End; a ruggedly churning session featuring one new track from the duo backed with A Perspective With No End and respective remixes from $hit & $hine and Cavern Of Antimatter (Holger Zapf & Steroelab’s Dilworth/Gane).
On Greetings From The Bitter End, Valentina knuckles out hard, rasping drums under a Tom’s coruscating electronics, loosely calving off into what sounds like an oncoming horde of hoofed toffs tooting bugles on the hunt for tiny foxes, then reeling fro Valentina’s ricocheting hits. On the $hit & $hine version Craig Clouse dials down the noise, jabbing the groove with cattle prod stings and slurred strings.
Flipside, Valentina’s drums swagger with devilish style around Tom’s free-jazz/psych elaborations in the exclusive Liberating Mania, and the Stereolab-related Cavern of Antimatter pelt for the middle-distance with an authentically ‘60s-sounding version of Gonda’s Dream.
Discrepant’s discerning label head Gonçalo F. Cardoso invites us to central Africa and the island of Zanzibar with an impressionistic, diaristic wash of field recordings and original music in Mulago Sound Studio. Mastered by Rashad Becker
“Visions Congo is yet another moniker from Discrepant’s head honcho, Gonçalo F Cardoso, taking Africa as a starting point to evoke the memories and re-imagined experiences of his 6-month stay in the region, back in 2015.Most of the recordings and compositions were done in the great lakes of Africa region of Uganda, Congo (DRC), Tanzania as well as the island of Zanzibar.
Meshing impromptu in situ compositions with old dusty samples and his own field recordings is the go to modus operandi of Gonçalo F Cardoso's various monikers (i.e. Gonzo, Papillon), creating deep layered 'exotic/alien' soundscapes of various moods and feels. Here’s another series of surreal and augmented field recordings that try to brace the listener with fresh alien authenticity before toying very pointedly with antiquated constructs by mixing avant-garde dustbin synth music with concrete field recordings and humorous, tongue in cheek intersections - not to ‘ever’ be taken too seriously.
Les Disques du Crepuscule present a new, remastered vinyl edition of East & West, the bittersweet debut album by American singer-songwriter Anna Domino, originally released by the label in 1984.
"East & West was recorded in Brussels in 1983 with guest contributions from Virginia Astley, Blaine L. Reininger (of Tuxedomoon) and altpop polymath Luc Van Acker. The five tracks on the original mini-album format include her first single Trust, In Love (an NME single of the week), and an exquisite cover of Land Of My Dreams, originally a hit for Aretha Franklin in 1965. Rare b-side track Repeating (from the same sessions) is also now added to the album.
Other bonus tracks include the popular singles Zanna, a 1984 collaboration with Luc Van Acker, and radio hit ‘Rythm’, produced a year later by legendary Telex founder and jazzmeister Marc Moulin. The expanded remaster closes with a previously unreleased demo song called Dream Back, recorded in New York City with her friend Stanton Miranda of Thick Pigeon in 1984.
The album retains the original cover art by Joel Van Audenhaege, and adds new liner notes written by Anna herself."
RSD exclusive release, now availed digitally. Animal Collective’s wistful, humid, layered nod to Tom Zé, in aid of saving the Rainforest
“Performance by Animal Collective's Avey Tare and Geologist recorded live in the Amazon rainforest outside Manaus, Brazil in early 2016. Excerpts of this music are to be featured in a forthcoming Vice/Viceland TV series set to air spring/summer 2017, focusing on artists and their environmental concerns. The EP is original tracks and field recordings, over 30 minutes in length.”
Endearingly head-spinning debut release of textured, pulsating plunderphonics from Jean Cousin aka Joni Void (and fka Johnny_Ripper); spanning elegant waltzes redolent of The Caretaker thru to slamming metal maelstroms and hiccuping, micro-edited avant-techno. While that may read like a mess, there’s a teasingly elusive logic underlying it all which lies in Void’s sleight-of-hand and hypnotic timing.
Under his newly minted Joni Void pseudonym, the Montréal-transplanted artist blends his Film Studies schooling with a sympathetic appreciation of DIY/lo-fi techniques to arrive at a very canny sense of freedom within his music. Now focussing ever deeper on the synaesthetic visual/sound and narrative qualities of editing, he’s arrived at a sort of concrete-pop that lives up to the enigma of his influences - Delia Derbyshire, Philip Glass, Burial - whilst smartly intersecting ground previously cut-up by the likes of Jan Jelinek or Matmos.
However, the biggest key to the record ids in its title, Selfless, which characterises his attempt to undermine egoist composer ideas of originality, or a sense of solipsism, and replace it with the voices of his friends - whether embedding the poetry of Natalie Reid into the fractured waltz of Observer (Natalie’s Song), or incorporating Ogun Afariogun’s rap, processed Moor Mother-style, into the fractious knock of Yung Wether (Ogun’s Song) - whilst the instrumental likes of the warbling Song Siènne fillets Erik Satie into something uncannily refreshing, and Doppler renders something new from familar sound sampled off free mp3s, and the intensely frayed loops of Cinema Without People quite literally nods to the important influence of Vicki Bennett’s People Like Us, twisting samples of her plunderphonic soundtrack to the film The Big Sleep into a miasmic fantasy that feels like the lister is keening through the silver screen.
It’s quite simply a wildly imaginative ride, one of the most intriguing things we’ve heard on Constellation since Sandro Perri and co’s Off World album, at least.
Dread gulps and nonsensical ramblings from the Hair & Treasure unit.
"Hot on the wheels of their gurgling split with Blood Stereo, Gonçalo F Cardoso and Alex Jones return to discrepant under the new Sucata Tapes banner. Joined by Kenny 'PL' Hosepipe on violin/effects - bringing the do-si-doe down your ramp.
High puking their way through the desolate western sky, cackling all night long on the little house in prairie’s back yard - there were no stars on this perimeter, everyone was happy. Except Michael LandonRecorded and performed over a late summer afternoon at discrepant HQ… "
Sprawling diversity from Matt Lyne’s pet project, touching on all stripes of contemporary grooves, and held together with his signature emotive pull
“Following on from last year's SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL presents the RaggaPreservationSociety EP, the first Diskotopia release of 2017 is the 3rd solo album from label co-founder Matt Lyne under his A Taut Line moniker.
More familiar to some as one half of Greeen Linez, Matt Lyne has also been producing very different sounds as A Taut Line for well over 10 years now. Distraction Provisions is his 3rd album release after 2013's Nitriding Portrait and 2015's Mutual Prints.
Initially not made to evolve into an album, the early workings of this collection were emotional reactions to the bleak social and political situation that unfolded throughout last year, and you can hear expansions of some of the more listenable of these sketches on tracks like Estado Encontrado, m15ntet and Arriving at the Lake. However, as desolate as some of the moods are on here, last year was one of intense mixed emotions as Lyne's first child was born, and there are also moments of sheer beauty, joy and redemption on this album too – the lush-yet-grainy pad-wash of A Perpetual Medium and the luminous tropicália syrup-tech of The Soft Touch being two examples that reflect that.
But how to characterise the album as a whole in one effective soundbite? As Philip Sherburne wrote in Spin Magazine in 2013 of Nitriding Portrait - "What kind of music is this, exactly? Half a dozen listens in, and I’m still not entirely sure." - although Distraction Provisions has amalgamated mutant remnants of house, jungle, jazz funk, industrial, and new age 4th world neo-classicisms, once again, we're still not entirely sure either.”
The third album from Philadelphia's Nightlands (War On Drugs’ Bassist Dave Hartley), is an exercise in synthetic nostalgia.
"Each of the nine songs use meticulous choral arrangements and bittersweet pop melodies to evoke a unique type of longing, not for the past, but for a future that once lay ahead but has drifted out of reach. For Dave Hartley, the artistic force behind Nightlands, the answer is found on an inward retreat, away from the cold static of modern life and into the warmth of love and protection.
I Can Feel the Night Around Me showcases Hartley's ¬nely tuned ability to layer his voice and conjure some of the most beautiful and elaborate virtual choirs in modern music. If his ¬first two records were vocal layering experiments, his third stands as Hartley's thesis statement: "I was determined to use vocal stacking to enable my songwriting, not shroud or obscure it." He recorded most of the album alone in a cold warehouse basement, which he affectionately calls The Space -- it's where The War on Drugs formerly rehearsed and stored their equipment. "The dissonance between the sound of the album and the atmosphere in which it was recorded is pretty striking," Hartley says.
Indeed the music seems more geographically inspired by the microclimates of the Lost Coast and the moonrises of Big Sur than the post-industrial cityscape of North Philadelphia. Perhaps his periodic westward sojourns and healthy obsessions with mid-career Beach Boys albums and Denis Johnson's Already Dead: A California Gothic were influencing him more than he was aware. Despite the warm astral vibes of opener “Lost Moon," the song was born in that unheated warehouse basement during a record-setting blizzard. "I wanted to write a song like Jimmy Webb's ‘Wichita Lineman’," he recalls. "But it didn't come out like that at all.
I ended up in a lonely and unexpected place, which was a really nice surprise." The massive "Only You Know”, a cover from Dion's Phil Spectorproduced masterpiece Born to Be With You, blends perfectly with the rest of the album's shades of psyched-out doo wop revivalism If there is an outlier on I Can Feel the Night Around Me, it's the exotica-tinged “Fear of Flying,” which Hartley composed with minimalist synth virtuoso Frank LoCrasto before the two had ever even met. Soft tangles of voice wash up on the shore of the song's warbling synth backbone, pushing the album briefly into the sunlight without sacri¬cing its melancholy, late-night vibe. It's the sound of the earth turning, night falling. Soon it will be dark, but there's still light seeping over the horizon. And that's a beautiful thing."
Low key, lower case ace from N.E./Manchester’s (John) Howes, yielding a suite of deliquescent electronic petals on the Share XL label (mind how you google that label, kids).
In between the eyes of IDM, micro-house and the kind of ersatz exotica espoused by Jan Jelinek on Faitiche, Howes’ Untitled suite is an ostensibly modest, hypnotic thing belied by subtle shifts in pattern that worm through the release, seeming to get progressively more off-kilter from the bleep thuds of the opening piece to the melting plong of the 6th, and with jazzy, Africanised phrasing in the 7th recalling Detroit Escalator Company or subtle highlights from the /\\Aught catalogue, before settling into the sub-aquatic decay of the 8th with the minimalist sound sensivity of a Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe bit.
Argentinean mystic Juana Molina conjures up new levels of rhythmic intrigue on a long overdue new album for Crammed.
Four years on from her Crammed Discs debut, ‘Wed 21’, the excellent Juana Molina returns to the Belgian experimental stronghold with her ninth LP, pocketing contributions from Deerhoof's John Dieterich, and regular colluders Odin Schwartz, Diego Lopez de Arcaute and Eduardo Bergallo.
The 12 tracks on ‘Halo’ expand on the rich instrumentation of Molina’s last album, peeling away in even more rewardingly odd rhythmic directions that make you forget she was ever daubed with that godawful folktronica tag.
As ever, Molina’s soothing vocal flexibility is the guiding force here, its warmth acting as conducting force for the instrumentation that surrounds and complements it. Dare we say Molina has deviated from the precision and tidiness of previous albums too, occasionally letting tracks spring to life unexpectedly as on the Can-style percussive freakout Cosoco and the creaking minimal dub reductions of Cara de espejo.
Other tracks, such as A00 B01, bring about the sort of wonderfully weird dissonance that endeared everyone to Juana Molina in the first place.
Given the otherworldly nature of her voice, it’s tempting to draw parallels between Juana Molina’s native tongue and the universal language of Anna Homler’s work as Breadwoman, uncovered and explored so superbly by RVNG last year.
You don’t necessarily need to understand what either are saying to form a real connection with the music.
2017 reissue of Brian Bennett's hugely sought after disco classic on Isle Of Jura.
"Bennett made this album in 1978 and it's been in demand with cosmic disco types ever since. The dancefloor tracks 'Voyage' , 'Chain Reaction' and 'Pendulum Force' are guaranteed party starters but there's also a couple of wicked beatless synth cuts that proves why original copies go for silly money.
You may also be interested to know that Brian was an original drummer with Cliff Richard and The Shadows and has been writing music for film and TV since the 70s."
The majestic, Lynchian mystery of Treetop Drive , Helge Sten aka Deathprod’s debut solo album, makes it one of the most astonishing ambient/drone anomalies of its era, and pretty much of all time where our ears are concerned. Initially issued on a tape containing all three parts of Treetop Drive, and subsequently completed with addition of the immense Towboat on a later CD edition (also found in the Deathprod box), this first ever vinyl edition brings a longtime dream for many of his followers to fruition.
The Deathprod concept arose in 1991 as a prism thru which Helge Sten could relay findings from the liminal electro-acoustic area generated by his complex array of homemade electronics, digital samplers, and analogue effects - an organismic network of circuits usually credited on his releases (and many more by Susanna, Motorpsycho, Jenny Hval, Arve Henriksen) as in the role of ‘Audio Virus’. Since the Audio Virus’ early outings on records by Norwegian hard rock unit Motorpsycho, Helge Sten’s music has gradually become a byword for a type of dark ambient music that transcends the genre’s usual cliches to divine a sound or space comparable with myriad others, yet completely unto itself.
Treetop Drive is the first release fully realised by the Audio Virus, incorporating the ‘esoteric tape-echo’ sound of Hans Magnus Ryan’s violin in a suite of glacial movements that call to mind the minimalism of Thomas Köner or Mika Vainio, but with the flickering neon mystery of the finest Lynch/Badalamenti collabs - a combination quite unlike anything else of the modern age, or as the label put it, “existing in a void between the arts, contemporary music and alternative culture.”
We’ve spent many, many nights listening to the death throes of Ryan’s violin screeching from Treetop Drive 1’s ungodly echo chamber, and likewise flinching at the plangent, coruscating peal of Treetop Drive 2’s mountaintop clarion, to then go into freefall with the jaw-dropping Treetop Drive 3, embedded with its deeply uncanny and (still) unidentified vocal sample. The 18 minute final track, Towboat, is, quite frankly, one of our favourite dark ambient pieces of all time, and pretty much sounds like a template for any of the genre’s highlights ever since.
If you don’t know Deathprod, we plainly implore you to spend some time with this record and touch the void for some of the most life-affirming, querying music that you’ll likely ever hear.
On a bit of a mission right now, Berlin-based New Yorker Phase Fatale crosses paths with Ostgut Ton’s Unterton for a pack of jagged, snarling EBM techno missiles after shots fired on Jealous God in 2016.
Strong stuff, this: hurting where it matters with the hunched slug of Hollow Flesh; the cattle-prod percussive patterns of Anubis; a claggy noise techno stepper called Wound; and off-the-bone rolige in The Size Of God.
Ace. RIYL Vatican Shadow/Prurient, Svengalisghost, muzzles.
Mac DeMarco has spent the better part of his time thus far writing, recording and releasing an album of his own music pretty much every calendar flip. ‘This Old Dog’ makes for his fifth in just over half a decade, bringing the total to three LPs and two EPs.
"It was a little space - in time, location and method - that inspired DeMarco while making the record. Moving from his isolated Queens home to a house in Los Angeles helped give the somewhat transient Canada-native a base and a few more months on his calendar to create did their job as well. Arriving in California with a grip of demos he’d written in New York, he realized after a few months of setting up his new shop, complete with a few new toys, that the gap was giving him perspective.
Right off the bat, from the pops and clicks of the CR-78 drum machine and acoustic strums on the album-opening ‘My Old Man’, the synth-drenched beauty of the second track, ‘This Old Dog’, it’s clear that DeMarco’s bag is filled with new tricks indeed. ‘This Old Dog’ is rooted more in a synth-base than any of his previous releases but he is careful not to let that tactic overshadow the other instruments and overall ‘unplugged’ mood of the work: “This is my acoustic album, but it’s not really an acoustic album at all. That’s just what it feels like, mostly,” says DeMarco."
Luar Domatrix aka Rodolfo Brito from Yong Yong presents his dystopian non visions to Sucata Tapes.
"Last seen meddling with Portuguese workers chants on Antologia de Música Atípica Portuguesa, the glasgow based portuguese artist sketches an eerie sci fi inspired tape for the ever evolving Sucata Tapes imprint.
Hesitant basslines conflict with lush distant drones and unsteady beats to present an alternate reality where anything IS indeed what it seems. Like an episode of X-files gone awry. Mulder’s dead and Scully’s drunk joy riding a space saucer"
San, Ripley and Jeffrey commit the Yang to Vol.1’s Yin with a fuzzy, psychedelic journey from darkness to light.
“Meaning all things magick and supernatural, the root of the word occult is that which is hidden, concealed, beyond the limits of our minds. If this is occult, then the Occult Architecture of Moon Duo’s fourth album - a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes released in 2017 - is an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.
Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang. Following the Yin (feminine, darkness, night, earth) represented on Occult Architecture Vol. 1, Vol. 2 presents the Yang.
Yang means “the bright side of the hill” and is associated with the male, sun, light and the spirit of heaven, and as such Vol. 2 explores the light and airy elements of Moon Duo’s complex psyche.
“In production we referred to Vol. 1 as the fuzz dungeon, and Vol. 2 as the crystal palace,” guitarist Ripley Johnson explains. “The darkness of Vol. 1 gave birth to the light of Vol. 2. We had to have both elements in order to complete the cycle. We’re releasing them separately to allow them their own space, and to ensure clarity of vision. To that end we also mixed Vol. 2 separately, in the height of Portland summer, focusing on its sonic qualities of lightness, air, and sun. Listeners can ultimately use the two volumes individually or together, depending on circumstance or the desired effect.”
Vol. 2 was mixed in Portland by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen.”
Now in 3D! Christopher Willits employs his spatial audio platform Envelop to subtly wistful effect with the shifting harmonic patina and pealing partials of Simplicity, taken from his first new long player in 3 years; Horizon.
In December 2016, after more than a year of touring the world behind her 2015 album ‘Over And Even’, Joan Shelley and Nathan Salsburg headed a few hours north to Chicago, where they joined Jeff Tweedy in Wilco’s Loft studio for five days.
"Spencer Tweedy, home from college, joined on drums, while James Elkington (a collaborator to both Tweedy and Salsburg) shifted between piano and resonator guitar. Jeff added electric accents and some bass but mostly he helped the band stay out of its own way. “He was protecting the songs. He was stopping us before we went too far,” says Shelley .
The Loft proved essential for that approach, as it was wired to capture every musical moment, so no take was lost. If, for instance, some magic happened while Spencer added drums to a tune he’d never heard, or while Elkington tinkered behind a piano, the tape was rolling. Indeed, half of these songs are first takes.
“The first time is always the best. That’s when everyone’s on the edge of their seats, listening to not mess it up,” Shelley says. “They’re depending on each other to get through it.
It’s fitting that the resulting set is self-titled. These are, after all, Shelley’s most assured and complete thoughts to date, with lyrics as subtle and sensitive as her peerless voice and a band that offers support through restraint and nuance. In eleven songs, this is the sound of Joan Shelley emerging as one of music’s most expressive emotional syndicates."
Nite Jewel ups her workrate with sublime results found in Real High, arriving only a year on from her Nite-Funk hook-up with Dâm-Funk and the lush Liquid Cool album, itself landing after a five year hiatus. The West Coast songwriter has definitely found her groove now, making for a perfect smoking partner or accompaniment to dusky evenings.
Teaming up with tentacled producer Cole M.G.N. (Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Julia Holter, Devonte Hynes) again, the artist aka Ramona Gonzales stirs up a subtly infectious suite of syrupy ’90s R&B and synth-pop gems across Real High, each one drenched in Cali sun and the classic vibes that percolate between all of her records since Good Evening and the outstanding What Did He Say 12” for Italians Do It Better back in 2008 (2008?!?!!).
So, ten years later she’s lost none of that louche but trim lushness, evident in the hazy slow disco gleam of I Don’t Know at the album’s core, and radiating out from the blissful downstrokes of Real High or the perfectly tucked Janet Jackson stylings of Who U R, with special mentions also going to the lip-biting sensuality of Part Of Me’s molasses shuffle and the underwater soul of R We Talking Long.
Uh huh; she’s still got it. Recommended.
A series of sun-kissed house tracks from Bibio, reworking vocals by Olivier St Louis that originally featured on 2016’s ‘Serious’ EP.
"This release precedes the next Bibio album, due to be released later in the year."
Pretty much every few years Terrence Dixon announces that he’s going to quit making music, and then comes back stronger, tauter than ever with a blinder like this for Rush Hour or the recent Detroit City At Night EP for Metroplex.
In pursuit of Dixon’s Theater Of A Confused Mind (2014) LP for Rush Hour, the sleek, horsepowered momentum of The Move is built around strapping double bass vamps and a feathered 909 groove with details picked out by searchlight-style synth sweeps for that perfectly paranoid, furtive 313 vibe.
On the flip, a staunch supporter of that aesthetic, Orlando Voorn remixes The Move by tightening the screws of Dixon’s double bass to a wood-creaking tension whilst knuckling the kicks firmer into place.
The follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed ‘High On Tulsa Heat’
"The new album from John Moreland is an honest, bruising experience. A beautiful record about love, faith and the human condition, ‘Big Bad Luv’ is John’s fourth album to date and also his debut for 4AD.
Hailing from Tulsa, OK, John composes both pointedly and prodigiously and has released largely self-produced albums every other year since 2011. Playing an equally pivotal role in his rise have been his mesmeric solo performances (including his TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last year), which coupled with his incredible records, has helped to create a real word-of-mouth about him.
‘Big Bad Luv’ was recorded in Little Rock, AK, mostly with a crew of Tulsa friends: John Calvin Abney (piano and guitar), Aaron Boehler (bass), Paddy Ryan (drums), Jared Tyler (dobro) and Lucero’s Rick Steff (piano). Coming together in three sessions over ten months, which were sandwiched between touring dates and life, the final album was then mixed by Grammy winning Tchad Blake, who has worked with iconic acts from Al Green to Tom Waits."
Curdled synth trance funk from 1977 Netherlands
“Bureau B present a reissue of Jurriaan Andriessen's The Awakening Dream, originally released in 1977. Jurriaan Andriessen (1925-1996) was a Dutch composer. Although he was actually at home in classical music, he recorded three synthesizer albums in the late 1970s, the first of which, The Awakening Dream, is an outstanding excursion into experimental ambient and minimal music.
Andriessen himself, 52 years of age at the time, called it a "trance symphony". The music - perhaps surprisingly for a contemporary classical composer - is less in the tradition of his peers such as Pierre Boulez or Karlheinz Stockhausen and more in tune with the electronic sounds of the '70s emanating from Berlin, Düsseldorf, or Forst, the likes of Cluster, early Kraftwerk, and Tangerine Dream, in places echoing Conrad Schnitzler. Andriessen was familiar with the work of these artists, but was probably more influenced by minimalist composers like Philip Glass or synthesizer pioneer Walter Carlos whom he admired. The entire album is played on a Minimoog Model D, a Fender Rhodes piano, a Hohner Clavinet, and a Philicorda organ. It was recorded sound on sound, before the 8-track machine entered the studio, using two Revox A77 tape recorders.
Andriessen studied in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and in the USA with Serge Koussevitsky and Aaron Copland. Back in Holland he worked for radio, television and theatre. His compositions for state ceremonies such as the coronation of Queen Beatrix and the annual "Opening of Parliament" won him acclaim and he also wrote the music for the Oscar winning film The Assault (1986). Andriessen started to experiment with synthesizers on new compositions in the early 1970s. In 1973, he wrote music for Georg Büchner's play Leonce And Lena and performed it on the ARP 2500 synthesizer. Andriessen was more interested in the challenge of creating new, previously unheard sounds than he was in imitating existing instruments.
He strived to invent a novel, unique musical universe. Later he worked mainly with a Minimoog Model D, experimenting and recording in the Dream Studio, the home studio he built with his sons Gijs and Nils in The Hague. As a composer, Jurriaan was always ahead of his time. He loved research and enjoyed using uncommon or newly invented instruments in his compositions, often in unconventional formations. His last work, Jeux Des Vents, appeared in 1996. He died later the same year in The Hague.”
Perfume Genius, nom de poster-wraith of musician Mike Hadreas, releases his fourth album, ‘No Shape’, on Matador Records. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, produced by Blake Mills and mixed by Shawn Everett.
"Perfume Genius’s 2014 breakout album ‘Too Bright’, featuring seismic anthem ‘Queen’, marked a musical and performative leap that sounds unlike anything before or since. With his new songs, Hadreas goes even further, merging church music, makeout music, R&B, art pop, Krautrock and queer soul into his take on stadium anthems, completing the journey from critically acclaimed underground hero to fully fledged pop auteur.
Lead song ‘Slip Away’ encapsulates this bold, expansive and sophisticated sound, marrying powerful and intimate songcraft with a newfound visceral and immersive sonic gusto.
Of the album, Hadreas says: “I pay my rent. I’m approaching health. The things that are bothering me personally now are less clear, more confusing. I don’t think I really figured them out with these songs. There’s something freeing about how I don’t have it figured out. Unpacking little morsels, magnifying my discomfort, wading through buried harm, laughing at or digging in to the embarrassing drama of it all. I may never come out the other side but it’s invigorating to try and hopefully, ultimately helpful. I think a lot of them are about trying to be happy in the face of whatever bullshit I created for myself or how horrible everything and everyone is.”
In a bio for the album, writer Choire Sicha says, “God is all around actually and some of these songs are about being equal and some are about the witchcraft of believing. This is church music the same way Prince’s ‘Black Album’ is - too dirty. It’s femme art pop the way Kate Bush’s ‘The Dreaming’ is - too scary.”
"A penguin stands in the middle of a scorching desert, far away from its natural habitat. This mirrors composer Arthur Jeffes’ journey and exploration into a new musical territory. Penguin Cafe have evolved into something of their own at the hands of Arthur who started the band in 2009 with the continuation and homage to his father’s legacy, to the late Simon Jeffes’ Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Now, their upcoming album echoes reminiscent sounds that embrace the new.
The album title refers to a saying by his father that “we wade in a sea of imperfections…”, reflecting upon the idea that beauty can be found amongst the chaos. “If there is a narrative to the album it’s coming to the acceptance of the imperfections in all aspects of life; moreover, the recognition that these imperfections and tiny randomnesses are in fact what make up the best parts”, Arthur explains. This has also been highlighted by the striking cover artwork designed by FELD under the art direction of label founder Robert Raths, resembling a lone figure adapting to and accepting its surrounding environment.
Predominantly self-composed, the new album also features covers of electronic works by Simian Mobile Disco and Kraftwerk, along with a re-working of Simon's 'Now Nothing'. Arthur has developed from the traditional folk and jazz heritage Penguin Cafe Orchestra is known for into another realm of blissful ambience and dance music, recreated using strictly acoustic elements.
“For this album I wanted to effect a departure from where we’d been up to now. The idea was to create a musical world that would feel familiar to an audience more used to dance records but stay true to our own values. So we replaced electronic layers with real instruments: pads with real string sections, synths with heavily-effected pianos, and atmospheric analogue drones with real feedback loops ringing through a stone and a piano soundboard.”
Punky noise, woozy hip-hop and oddball electronics are throwing a rager and it’s a colorful one. Such is the basis for new Ghostly signee Psymun’s Rainbow Party EP, a three-track foray into the far reaches of Hip-Hop from the Minnesotan music-maker.
"EP opener “Glitch Tundra” features frequent collabora-tor Chester Watson dropping in over a sweeping, ominous beat, all fog and chilly echo. Stretching out over seven minutes, an ominous vocal sweeps overhead while synths stagger upwards and dip beneath before a psychedelic, rowdy turn rips deep into the project’s heart.
The rest of Rainbow Party doubles-down on the project’s noise influence. Borne out of a prompt from Ryan Olson of fellow Minneapolis outfit Poliça, Psymun endeavored to make a set of music entirely at 55 bpm, and two of his experiments evolved into the finished tracks included here.
“I Need My Boy,” in a departure from some of his prior production work, relies almost entirely on an arsenal of hardware to thump and wail; a voltaic and warm sonic quality which Psymun says even he finds hard to emulate without his newly acquired synthesizers.
“Confetti” also makes use of analogue equipment, but works within a palette that may be more familiar to the producer’s fans: jangly percussion and aquatic melody intertwine for a slow-burning but dynamic exercise in leftfield beatmaking. As the track draws to a close, vocalist K.Raydiodrops in for a phantasmagoric few bars before the noisy cannon blows once more. It’s an aptly titled closer, streamers drifting from above as the festivities come to an end: a party to be remembered in technicolor."
Playful radio broadcast-cum-processed audio book from the guys behind NTS’ Skyapnea show
“A radio piece by Andrew Beccone, founder of the Reanimation Library. Originally created for our series of broadcasts on NTS Radio. Located in the Queens Museum, the Reanimation Library is a collection of books that simultaneously prosaic and peculiar are relics of the rapidly receding 20th century. Chosen mostly for the images they contain, their visual content is scanned and archived online to create a fascinating archive of images from the recent past.
This radio piece focuses instead on the words and sounds of the Library. Five different sound pieces, each assembled in a unique way using recordings of people reading passages of text, synthesized speech and sounds found on records that came with books in the Library.”
The classically-trained Canadian composer revisits his rather special ‘Centres’ album for this suite of radical reprises on Fat Cat offshoot 130701.
Recorded over the course of a week in Gothenburg, whilst William Craig was taking a break from his 2016 European tour, ‘Slow Vessels’ is a six-track addendum to the Vancouver artist’s last LP, ‘Centres’. Expertly shaving away the degraded textures and silty clusters of bust sound that made his ninth album, ‘Centres,’ so very unique, William Craig comes up with a collection that is no less memorable. A sort of post MTV-Unplugged affair that fully exposes the inner vulnerability of William Craig’s compositional approach.
The fuzzy hue of that album hasn’t disappeared however, it remains and operates as a comforting backdrop to IWC’s ever-captivating voice, recast here with a feeling of tiredness that comes in the middle of a tour. Added to this is a guitar and piano which were lying around his Airbnb, played with unerring expertise by William Craig. Recorded in one take, ‘Slow Vessels’ is a fine addition to a peerless discography
M.O.O.N.'s debut full-length 'Clinically Blase' creatively navigates a wide range of emotive synthesizer music deviating from dance in favor of freer arrangements and lush instrumentation.
"While the rhythms are rooted in variants of house, boogie, and synth-pop 'Clinically Blase' never tips it's hand stylistically in any particular direction resulting in a playful balance of retro sounds and futuristic ideas highlighting a deft melodic sensibility.
Separated by interludes, 'Clinically Blase' is split into three sections that explore variations on similar themes and shared sounds recording live percussion, guitar, piano, and bass in addition to software instruments and classic analog synth gear.
The album's beatless opener "Pilot" signals departure with a vocal loop rendered aquatic over bright, ringing piano chords - sounds which make appearances again on the album's arpeggiating centerpiece "Alicia" and on the closer "Finale". The smooth "Time" unwinds with unexpected jazzy chords and expressive treated trumpet lifting it skyward. There are plenty of moments made for movement with the ecstatic drumwork and stratospheric pads of "Jon F", the bouncing 303 of "Leaning In", or the funky slo-mo arpeggiated disco roll of "Medium Cool". The sequencing ties together 'Clinically Blase' into a compelling journey, ebbing and flowing in energy, timbre, and tempo much like a thoughtful, continuous DJ mix."
Welcome return from an overlooked architect of ‘90s Braindance, Bochum Welt, who has since become a Hollywood sound designer, but still finds time to make dreamy electronica like the lush gear in April.
There’s a detectably saltier, agitated feel to the drum programming and general grain of April, and held in fine balance with his patented grasp of bittersweet melodic arrangement. It’s less successful int he parts that remind us of late ‘90s hip hop beat breaking, but the more abstract and ethereal parts are lovely, from the gauzy bliss of opener Ghost thru Marylebone and the sashaying elegance of Laurel Canyon to the cinematic scope of Azure.
Luke Vibert splices US + UK garage with a shedload of cheeky stock samples for Hypercolour.
Lovers of the “real” thing may turn their noses up at this stuff, but there’s no denying that Vibert packs a lot of fun, not to mention some serious production values, into every cut; resulting some mad moments when The Future descends from swinging garage house into Current Value-style bassline sickness, or how Stop Gap somehow sounds like a massive weekender rave held on the Catchphrase TV set.
Cornish dub/house cap’n Andy Mac steers back to Idle Hands’ Diving Birds Series with the dry, weighty shuffling heave of Secret Shade and its arid Version, backed with the sublime but gritty digi-dub pressure of Stormy (Dubwise).
This one’s outright for the smokers, trading in vibes on vibes with the grubbing, melodica-led hustle of Secret Shade and the Version’s mellow, beat-less introspection, then stretching out for the horizon with a sloshing bewt called Stormy (Dubwise) in the mould of classic Main Street and Rhythm & Sound.
With a head-turning debut made on Glacial Industries, V1984 charges up the kinetic Pansori EP for Kuedo’s Knives label.
Colliding modern classical keys and synching, hyper-contemporary electronics with distinctive flair and emotive impact, he scales a more varied range of feels and rhythmic patterns on his 2nd EP, soaring from TCF-like tapestries of scrolling data and black MIDI intricacy in SPfiNAL TAP re-JUVENescence to rugged dembow sweep dem stacked with seesawing cyberfolk melodies in Too Much, then rinses us thru with the searing rave abstraction and freefall of Aria at Dawn to catches us millimetres from the ground and hold us there in the lush, noisy suspense of beauty __ IT5INYR-H3D.
Legit grime aces Spooky & J Beatz on the buttons for the latter’s Crown Jules label.
The Maggie EP finds Spooky extending his current golden streak into the hard metallic drip-off tone and orchestral strings of the title track thru the dank but bubbling London skank of Ponders End, before J Beatz jumps on a bullet-riddled backslash of Firing Range and Spooky goes in feet first on the Full Meckle Trackie styles of his Sargent remix.
Well, this is a lot.
With his 2nd LP proper, NON co-founder Chino Amobi mounts a visceral assault on the senses and sensibilities, contorting techno and noise thru his singular, complex industrial prism to sock 2017 with one of its most thrilling releases thus far.
Flanked by close collaborators Rabit and Elysia Crampton - with a horde of supporting players in tow - Parasdiso is the punkishly raw, bleedin’ edge and urgent sound that’s needed right now, and makes a lot of other stuff from this field sound wastefully solipstistic by comparison. Not that’s it’s more worthy, but it dares to tangle so many lines, characters and themes with a sense of dramaturgy, scale and vision few others can, or are willing, to do right now.