Lean and hungry dancefloor minimalism from Objekt.
For the forward steppers 'The Goose That Got Away' jams on a warped 808 rhythm and ascending chords vibe, sounding something like Pearson Sound sparring with Jam City.
Next, 'Tinderbox' turns out a more menacing vibe, building a forcefield of 808 bass to protect crunked-out triplet rolls and a rush of darkside adrenaline synths tapping into a deep reserve of UK rave essence. Support from Peverelist, Appleblim, Ben UFO and Pinch.
Following in the wake of the hotly tipped second Clap! Clap! LP on Black Acre, 'Remixes' is reloaded with 3 dancefloor targeted bullets.
"Peckham's disco provocateur, Medlar steps up first with a re-thinking of Ar-Raqis with clinical cut'n'pasting precision creating a thumping bongolian edit. Paleman takes a more stripped back approach, reducing Hope to its bare heart-racing essentials. Last up is Japan's Jun Kamoda, turning to his reliable SP1200 to create a galloping clockwork carnival smasher..."
Hugely impressive second album from Jasmine Guffond landing again via the collectable Sonic Pieces imprint and sounding something like a much more disturbed Holly Herndon or this years mind-altering new album from Felicia Atkinson. It’s a compellingly immersive study of digital surveillance technologies and the way they, along with myriad other machines, impinge upon and frame our waking life.
In Traced, Guffond takes the textural and spatially sensitive ambient aesthetics of her previous LP, the acclaimed Yellow Bell, into palpably more paranoid and unnerving headspaces, using her filigree appreciation of electro-acoustic dynamics to convey that feeling with a subtlety which will surely resonate with anyone aware of digital surveillance technology’s transition from peripheral creep to a near ubiquitous presence.
The key to the work really lies in the way Jasmine’s sleight of hand keeps listeners lulled or focussed on one of her hypnotic elements without fully realising that the atmospheric pressure has become almost unbearably tense, almost making us think; this sound is really dreamy but why am I feeling so anxious?!
Harder to detect or perceive, though, is the presence of actual human features which are imprinted quite literally thru her careful, cut-up and layered vocals, and more imperceptibly via the inclusion of data generated from facial recognition systems and translated into auditory shapes which infiltrate the soundfield - in a way recalling Aphex Twin’s face represented in the spectrographic image for Windowlicker, but in reverse, or even the glitching facial recognition code spotted by Lee Gamble.
In structure and tone, Traced recalls elements of Christina Kubisch’s electromagnetic sound walks as much as the semi-organic simulacra generated from Deathprod’s audiovirus, but it’s the sense of almost Ballardian dread within her narrative that really sets Traced in its own realm of sonic fiction, effectively, innovayvely transposing an underlying feeling or observation of everyday life into a sort deeply uncanny model or simulacra which we wager will ring true with many listeners.
Who’s your daddy? Thomas P. Heckmann, babes.
The Mainz man redresses his sägezahn techno style in remastered mixes of his Welt In Scherben classics, including the pelting acid nag Hexenjagd, a proper EBM techno blinder named Eisen Im Feuer, and the totally ruthless pounder, Herzschlag.
Another sterling instalment from NYC’s Quiet Time, looking close to home with MONEY’s nuanced, serpentine slide thru the undergrowth of lo-fi house, cyboogie and unheimlich ambient musics, helping to piece together the label’s elusive image alongside tape packs from Huerco S, BABY and Aquarian.
This one appears to be equal parts mixtape and original material, strafing moody blue electronics to hypnagogic filter house and Lorenzo Senni-esque pointilllisticT via poignant samples of rave classics, emphasising the importance of creating your own world and inhabiting it, as they do here.
In the best sense of a mixtape, Quiet Time With MONEY affords a perfectly obfuscated view on their warped perspective, scanning a scene of discrete cultures becoming mongrel and united by plasmic electronics, and punctuated by the infidelities of contemporary technology.
Not sure where this one has come from and the infosheet is a mostly impenetrable thing, but what we can tell you is that it's a pretty special double LP of slowly bubbling Ambient and spaced out electronic music that comes highly recommended if you were into Firecracker's excellent 'Mac-Talla Nan Creag' project or PAN's recent 'Mono No Aware' compilation.
A place-specific recording of distinct analogue bucolic techno, this one comes from somewhere in Scotland and is packaged in one of those typographically dominant sleeves that's almost always (although there are some notable exceptions!) the mark of some kind of eccentric brilliance. It fits in with a long line of Scottish electronic music that heads back to BoC, Christ, Marcia Blaine School For Girls and the Pub/Ampoule axis, which tells you that there is nothing overly complex or challenging here but that it’s a gateway to simpler, hazier, more innocent times.
As someone called “The Poacher” explains on those mostly opaque sales notes: "A rich tapestry from a strange and beautiful mind. This isn’t a vacuous collection of junk collected by some preening magpie but something real, something built with love, craft and tirelessly acquired skill. Referential yes, but only so as to pay respectful homage to tradition and culture. A precise execution on proper machines with big hands and pop-eye forearms, undeniably heartfelt."
We ain’t arguing with that <3.
Forest Swords’ decayed yet magisterial palette broadens with the scope of his canvas on a widely anticipated new album, Compassion; marking his shift in line from bedroom producer of note to recent collaborator with Massive Attack and composer for the Assassins Creed video game.
His first new solo material proper since the Engravings [2013, Tri Angle] album locates the Merseyside-hailing artist scaling up his compositions to a more layered, pinched and grandiose sound but still kept just out of reach, somewhere in the middle distance, like the outline of a sunlit mountain range in the distance occluded by a spring storm.
The R&B ruggedness that was key to his cherished earlier work belies Compassion, too. Echoing a beat-driven aesthetic that resonates with the rich history of his home region, a place cleft between sprawling, sea-sprayed wilds, concrete brutalism and mock classical architecture that makes for strong allegorical comparisons with his music.
Likewise we’re tempted to read a struggle between roots-preserving conservatism and tentative progress in Compassion, finding a balance of pop appeal and rustic authenticity that characterises the albums highlights such as the contrasting couplet of Exalter, with its choked-back choral swells and folk/R&B sensuality, and the sombre sepulchre of Border Margin Barrier, wreathed in gorse distortion, or especially in the dirtied brass gleam and haunted, stately poise of Vandalism and the blue supine elegy of Sjurvival.
For sure he’s going to lose no fans with this one, and will likely gain a swathe more.
RIYL Richard Skelton, Massive Attack, Arca, Phillip Jeck...
‘Son Of Three’ finds the band revisiting their popular album track and re-recording it at breakneck speed, matching their live show velocity. Recorded during rare days off snatched between the end of their European tour and the beginning of their current 30 date US tour. In true Breeders form, the b-sides are pretty special too featuring the band’s ode to popular TV character Buffy The Vampire Slayer and a fantastic live version of ‘Safari’, recorded at The Melkweg in Amsterdam earlier this year.
Rolling acid attacks, EBM tech and sino-toned electro tang from Stratton, on debut manoeuvres with Natural Sciences after a string of self-released titles and turns for aardKern and Of Paradise.
Acid fiends should run for the self-explanatory thrust of Warehouse Acid and the 303 laced breakbeat budge of Selecta, but our top marks got to the subtler sensations of Death In One Ear’s sublime electro-garage-house mutation and the Legowelt-like ‘80s chuff-on, White Punks On E.
Grime-smeared steel city clangs and ratchet club tension from Lloyd SB, building on the promise of his Boida Flare EP and cuts for Boxed and Sound Pellegrino with some more of that hyper chromatic and high-wire dancing structures for Mr. Mitch’s Gobstopper.
8ths, 16ths serves a pretty demented, schizoid swerve between messed up weightless grime zones taking in flattened Trap tics, bolshy brass and strobing electronics in a way that recalls BLOOM’s dizzying constructions as much as Mumdance and Logos’ rave suss and the playful twists of Tarquin. It’s a bit of a showstopper.
On the other hand, we could also apply all those analogies to Princess Anna, but again the appeal lies in the idiosyncrasies of his take on Eski tropes, full of slicing edits and chromatic vamps delivered with devilishly proprioceptive design.
The rhythm shaman returns to Berceuse Heroique with his most substantial sacrifice yet, Musique Acéphale; a variant of polymetric pointillism and rhythmelodic cadence with a dreamy humour and drivingly psychedelic lushness that lends itself equally well to the dancefloor and stoned home listening (sober too, to be fair).
Zig-zagging between scratchy hustle and bustle in Evocation to the snake-hipped slink of Pornoire and the gliding velocity of Evolove on the first plate, and juicing the odd acid gamelan of Highbreeds and the rushing, pineal prod of Syrian Rue on the second disc, he comes as close as anyone to mirroring the worldly proto-techno vibes that many of us hear in Steve Reich’s music, albeit with much more emphasis on the ‘floor.
Likewise, these tracks exist in a lineage of German reverence for African music and electronics stretching from Moebius and Can thru to Basic Channel and T++, riding the finest line between rolling looseness and hypnotic tension with deceptively meticulous finesse.
Jordan ‘GCZ’ Czamanski and Ilya Ziblat Shay scale sheer and free jazz, dub and electronica in their debut as Mei Tahat for Berceuse Heroique, sharply contrasted by I:Cube’s suave house remix.
Like a Healing Force Project piece trapped in a subterranean echo chamber below Bladerunner’s L.A. 2019, Dayworld bleats like a wounded angel with only a Yamaha CS-80 and a cello for comfort, before feeling out the dimensions of their chamber with the jazzy electro-acoustic rustle and hum of Untitled, and capturing their most flighty, abstract fancy in the hallucinatory dimensions of Shit Bird.
I:Cube doesn’t toe that line, though; favouring a simmering, dusky disco remix for Dayworld that retains some of the original’s brass motifs, but on a much greazier, ruder flex.
Perfectly stoic tribal techno tension and cathartic ambient release from Black Merlin, playing deep into the Berceuse Heroique agenda.
All killer, no filler here; the lead pipe whacks, possessed grunts and hi-line strings of Proto World seem to consolidate early Psychick Warriors Of Gaia and Carl Craig’s Demented Drums, whereas Spirit House is more concerned with invoking ancient gamelan ghosts, and Vision Animal brings the bang with a a more monotone, steamrolling momentum recalling early Zhark or Shifted output, leaving the sensitively constructed abyss of Hope to prove he’s definitely no one trick pony.
As previewed on Part 5 of Twin Peaks: The Return, this 7” features the nicotine and whiskey-fuelled swagger of Snake Eyes by Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches), Riley Lynch (sire of David), and Dean Hurley’s Trouble.
A-side they roll the dice on a killer noiR&B hustle lit up by blaring sax and chipping guitar from Hungtai and Lynch, driven by Hurley’s pendulous drums. It’s properly cocksure and sultry business for the Bang Bang Bar lizards.
Turn over and you’d be mistaken for thinking the trio were replaced by Bohren Under Der Club Of Gore on Mother’s Gone, plating to the flipside of the coin with a sense of sizzling menace comparable with that look in Agent Cooper’s eyes.
We can only cross our fingers in hope for a release of every track from the series…
Peckham’s yung YAM Recordings give up their first various artists set, exhibiting earthy grooves including Tom Esselle’s louche and crisp shuffler Lêlet; a muggy Afro-beatdown charm from MSSS; Sofatalk’s vintage-sounding, Afro-funky Truth Theme; the debonaire Theo-gone-acid styles of Shesha (Dub) from Leonidas; and Z Lovecraft’s hushed jazz boogie play, Oceanic.
The world’s direct line to Africa’s recent past dials in this bouquet of peaches from 1985 South Africa
...turning up what sounds like a fructose-injected, sun-baked take on Candi Staton’s You Got The Love with Say You Love me, plus the simmering charms of Make Me Your Lover, beside what sounds like a Paradise Garage classic in the debonaire boogie percoaltions and vocoders of Crosslines, plus the purest slow-motion melter vibes of Enjoy It.
Satisfaction pretty much guaranteed!
Primal motorik rhythms, the rush of white noise and post – punk angles; an aural onslaught played out on homemade log synths, electrified guitars and sticks beating hell on taut animal skin.
"Since their move to the city, the woodwose have gorged on cinema and left this gleaming carcass. The EP opens with motorik fuzz epic ‘Jonny Guitar Calling Gosta Berlin’ , its title taken from Greta Garbo ’ s 1924 big screen debut The Saga of Gosta Berling . The track draws heavily on Jean - Luc Godard’ s nightmarish Weekend , in which an excursion to the countryside ends in revolution , the collapse of bourgeois society and cannibalism . The circle of life.
What follows is a kitchen sink post - punk one - two in ‘Fukushima Failure’ and ‘Director ’ s Nostalgia’ . Knotted and contagious . Snatched lyrics about nuclear disaster and barely coherent rants about art house cinema over clattering ramshackle rhythms that will lodge themselves deep in your brain long after the screen fades to black . Mark E Smith is lost in the forest and picking fights with the trees. As the credits roll we ’ re played out with the soundtrack to some forgotten 1970s Italian road movie in ‘Wendy’ s Road Rage."
Tightly coiled and skewed art school electronics from members of Glasgow’s experimental dance music fraternity.
“For The Modern Institute’s self-titled first vinyl document, the practices of audio technicians Richard McMaster, Laurie Pitt and James Stephen Wright are brought into sharp focus, the initial analyses of a project which examines the rituals of performance, the signifiers of bourgeois culture and the absurdities inherent in the middle class art gaze. While undoubtedly disturbing in execution, it’s a succinct reminder of the tension between lazy, electronic music tropes and the essential, quizzical attitude frequently lacking in the technoid culture yet abundant in Glasgow’s agent provocateurs. Seen through the frame of primary music generators McMaster and Pitt’s previous music projects – Golden Teacher, General Ludd – The Modern Institute’s recorded output is an oblique, strategic examination of rhythm and the spaces between. Rhythm is often re-defined and re-formed through out The Modern Institute, with the easy 4/4, communally cohesive beats of the Teacher and the Ludd some way off.
Opener Black Blood is a case in point, with a elusive pattern providing a warped, skeletal framework for Wright to smother. The atmosphere is austere, aggressive, clinical as a gallery wall after the exhibition has failed. The yawning, sub-bass of False Beards and Diamond Hooves hacks at the exhibition floor opening up punishingly alien chasms. The narrator’s deadpan poesy, battling against the brutalist backdrop, reminds the listener of early industrial pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, not least in the unmistakably northern accent. Side A closes out on the first attempt by The Modern Institute to break into a recognizable pattern, though rendered on Destroy Logic as a dry destruction of a Bashment rhythm. Arabic Eight is nightmarish, a Normal deconstruction of art music. A nonsensical, dadist mutation of electronic dance music, Intelligent Dance Music with no intelligence, dance or Music. Wright intones “when I was younger you used to say you weren’t in it for the money,” taking down conceptions of artistic integrity, inspiration and muse. On Springloaded, we’re still deep in an alien lifeform’s insides, viewing the tropes the art industry uses to sell itself, splashes of digital distortion and burps crossfiring across the stereofield. Shiver And Quiver ends The Modern Institute, sounding like all the cities’ alarms simultaneously set off to the beat of the LPs only 4/4 beat, here juddering and unnaturally fast. Ask questions, just don’t ask for answers.”
Berceuse Héroïque catch Young Echo’s Ossia on a dreamy/dread upstep with his weightiest injunction so far, hitting decks after some messed up DJ Oa$is gear with DJ Ape (Vessel) and a crushing slab for Blackest Ever Black.
All four sides here turn up some of the dankest, haunted dubs outta the UK in some time, placing a uniquely charred, radioactive and reverberant spin on classic dub foundations filtered thru technoid, blackened sensibilities.
Plate 1 dispenses the noxious electronic ethers and mutant On-U Sound styles of Control, wielding scything rave stabs on a crouched and crooked dub pulse that sounds like it’s got one leg shorter than the other. In the flipside dub he totally vanquishes the rave spirit, replacing it with dry duppy gasps and shivering, chained percussion.
Plate 2 allows a little light in the mix with the watery chords of Information, held in balance with viscous subs before recursive shockwaves bank up and spill over the top carrying its momentum inna staggering drunken master style followed thru in the starker Version.
Odion Livingstone present another essential reissue from the Nigerian archives, the first ever international release of The Apples’ essential Afro-funk LP rarity ‘Mind Twister’.
"As part of the St Gregory’s student band scene in Lagos during the late ‘70s alongside Ofege, Grotto and more, Apples were picked up and produced by legendary EMI Nigeria producer Odion Iruoje who added overdubs to the album at Abbey Road in London with Curved Air keyboardist Francis Monkman.
The band met and formed in Lagos. Bandleader Frank Ikpefuran teamed up with Georges Vieira from the American School and brothers Clifford and Gerard Nagi who were studying at “St Greg’s” in Lagos, and remembers, “I must have been 19 years old when I met Clifford. We used to hangout on Victoria Island, watching bands play and jamming with them. That’s how we met Georges. We all listened to Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Idris Muhammad and the Beatles.”
“We started jamming with Clifford on the guitar, his brother Gerard on the bass and Georges on the guitar. We chipped in with song ideas, with the group contributing arrangements and refining things until we were satisfied. The band had a natural sound, which stemmed from the chemistry we had. It was a strange chemistry, we were an odd combination from different backgrounds but when we played, something happened…”
After landing a residency at Tee Mac’s club in Surulere, Apples auditioned for Odion Iruoje who arranged recording dates and cut the record. For a young band, Iruoje was surprised by the quality of the band, adding in extra keyboard parts from Lemmy Udofia and Francis Monkman, founder of Curved Air and session man for Kate Bush, Sky and music libraries like BBC Music, Bruton and KPM. Iruoje remembers, “their playing added a layer of sophistication and sheen without encumbering proceedings.”
Istanbul’s forlorn shoegaze spirit Ekin Fil returns to haunt our waking life with Ghosts Inside, the 2nd late night bloom in her fruitful relationship with San Francisco’s Helen Scarsdale Agency. A huge recommendation if you’re into Grouper.
It contains her most assured bedroom pop songwriting and most elusive, shadow-chasing productions, maintaining a crucial temporal and metaphysical bridge between the original ethereal craft of Cranes, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive and the modern day dronecraft and vocal layering Grouper has become so well loved for.
Her gauzy lilt conveys something practically, literally ineffable that transcends prosaic meaning and works with an osmotic effect that really gets in the pores, perfusing your system with an efficacy worthy of the album’s title. In Ekin’s hand, or at her feet, an array of guitar pedals become her scrying diffusion prism, sublimating her sylvan piano, guitar, and vocals into something that bypasses language and deals instead in pure emotion.
This heavily introspective sound stems from the current socio-political upheaval Ekin and people of her generation are experiencing in Turkey right now. It could therefore be heard as a numbing salve for “psychic distress, heartache and depression”, as the label puts it, perhaps offering a middle-distance focus that penetrates all the crap and finds a mutual, meditative point of audition and perception familiar to anyone sensitive to those issues, both within the region and far beyond.
It’s a sublime, moving listen from an intriguing spirit.