Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Tape Loop Orchestra) presents his striking first works for dance with Pose Plastique; an unrequited musique concrète score to choreography by Belgian dancer Anaïs Ureel. Hugely recommended if you’re into anything from Tony Conrad to Demdike Stare, GRM or Emptyset.
Pushing himself beyond his usual comfort zones, and using a kinetograph score of movements which was effectively illegible to him, the results of Pose Plastique reveal a keen sensitivity towards supple and super spacious sound design, eschewing any sort of ‘incessant pounding’, as he initially feared he was supposed to, in favour of a series of diffused rhythmic triggers and physical gestures that mirror elements of Ostgut Ton’s Masse works for dance as much as Jeff Mills’ most abstract techno navigations and the plonging, weightless meters of Bernard Parmegiani’s seminal GRM works.
As these things go, the commission never fully manifested. Anaïs ended up disenchanted by dance (not due to Andrew’s music, we might add!) and eventually moved to New Zealand. Fast forward a few years and Andrew made the decision to edit the recordings for this extended release, simultaneously offering encrypted instructions for movement to any willing bodies, while its free-floating sequence of rhythmic and tonal structures act as a hugely absorbing listen in their own right.
It’s perhaps testament to Andrew’s gifted, mutable compositional skills and musical vision that Pose Plastique works in its own right, he’s clearly attuned to the integral connection between living bodies and machines, and the way they’ve become conditioned by electronics ever since the explosion of avant-garde electronic music in the ‘60s, to the impulses of disco and new wave, and its contemporary application.
Gorgeous, absorbing music.
Further to Terror Danjah and Olivia Louise’s Telepathy and recent R&G debut, I’ll Follow You, they strap up the ear worming original with a ruggeder, bashment-ready refit from S.P.K. and a lean but big-bootied UKG Vocal Mix and decadent, swanging dub from Zed Bias.
Diverse dish from Esa Williams, fronted by the Gqom-Inspired killer, Blast in collab with Narch Beats and Pendo Zawose, and backed with more sultry, swinging house treats.
It’s really about Blast - a 105bpm beast introduced by a head-turning wail from Zawose and reared on a searing, unrelenting lead line bound for havoc in the dance wherever it’s played.
Barcelona’s Modern Obscure Music send slow waves of heat your way with remixes of Pedro Vian’s 2016 album.
Back Dice’s Eric Copeland squeezes Maia into a squirming piece of lo-fi, rickety acid; Peder Mannerfelt extracts a ghostly strain of garage-techno from Pandora; Escapismo brings a touch of ‘80s romance to Nine Is Nine; and Tevo Howards re-sparks Le Fou in a nimbly arpeggiated electro-house/freestyle remix and slickly chromatic acid version.
Lutto Lento realises his Dark Secret World with a playfully trippy collage of frayed styles, textures and themes in his debut album for Where To Now?, exchanging the more frivolous, party-ready palette of earlier releases for a crankier set of sawn off but deftly arranged drums and patchworked samples.
At the risk of sounding UK-centric, we’re definitely picking up an eldritch aesthetic from Dark Secret World that recalls the work of Shackleton and Moon Wiring Club in its strange mosaic of gurning and kerned rhythms and suggestive gestures, but then again, maybe they all share some roots in a pan-Euorpean subterranean syncretism?
“Where To Now cordially invite you into Lutto Lento's 'Dark Secret World'. After a string of releases on labels such as FTD, Proto Sites, DUNNO Recordings and ourselves, we now find Polish artist Lubomir Grzelak ready to present a fully realised, full-length distillation of his distinctly exuberant and unique electronic narratives.
'Dark Secret World' takes it's cues from a ridiculously diverse palette of influences... from Dancehall, Jungle, and American Sacred Hymns to more abstract influences such as Goosebumps, Caribbean magic beliefs, Rudolf Steiner, and Disney's 'The Godess of Spring'. Upon initial digestion of these influences your initial reaction is probably that this is an amalgamation of voices which appear too diverse to entwine, but for those who know Lutto's work will also know that it's exactly this psychedelic and wild stirring pot of source material partnered with Lubomir's precise percussive and improvised sample led persuasions that make him stand out as a unique and flourishing figure in electronic music.
'Dark Secret World' is certainly a mystical trip, with Lubomir conversing with and pooling from a sampled palette that is ultimately a deep, personal, dark and twisted tale of horror and intrigue, melding this gambit with his signature air of light & wildly percussive beat led playfulness has allowed him to create something wholly other. 'Dark Secret World' stands as an expertly and clearly painstakingly crafted 43 minute movement through ethereal & fantastical unfamiliar realms to sudden sweeps of the totally familiar where rewinds, heavy breaks, bass waves, whistles, airhorns, sirens, etc weave together to form an album which is both extremely odd yet totally cohesive and absorbing.”
Peder Mannerfelt and soundtrack composer Malcolm Pardon reprise their acclaimed cinematic duo, Roll The Dice for a 4th album of moving, widescreen electro-acoustic sound design, ambient and rhythmic noise themes. Huge recommendation if you're into Peder's solo material or indeed Colin Stetson, The Haxan Cloak, John Carpenter, Deathprod, Willie Burns...
It's an intensely physical yet starkly spacious suite of stone cut electronics and frozen instrumental timbres that in the space of ten sensually riveting and often punishing tracks wrest a poignant, timely sense of emotion from oblique, shadowy structures and burning tonal textures.
Issued on the duo’s newly minted label, The New Black, and incorporating the vital input of Per ‘Ruskträsk’ Johansson’s beastly saxophone animations, the results pursue Roll The Dice’s two soundtrack contributions - for the Blanck Mass-curated score to Belgian horror movie The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears , and their score/end credits for The Last Panthers - into more visceral psychoacoustic space where there’s scant chance of escaping their gloaming tonal apparitions and tensile, bony percussions.
The set is less a mannered symphony, like Until Silence, and more an urgent, angry clash of duelling jazz noise cyborgs, rendering their sound in sharply angular, convulsive spasms of vacuum-packed wind, wood-on-skin, and black cloud palls whose semi-organic nature is belied by the dry punch of air-tight studio production. The results are more pummelling and angered than anyone has previously heard in their music, forging a much harder nosed, anxious aesthetic whose intent resonates with contemporary political pressures.
In between the muzzled grind and bark of album opener The Derailed and the depressive grip of it’s closing statement, Broken In Time, Mannerfelt and Pardon’s dissected instrumentation is tweaked to aching levels of tension, sometimes a sublime tension as with the wilting keys and weightless bass jabs that support Under The Arches and The Kronos Quartet-like pits of Coffin & Nails, or equally with a death-drive fury in the condensed Faust-meets-Tony Conrad impact of Cannonball, the nerve-biting burnout of Bright Lights, Dark Hearts, and yoked tight into Locked Hands’ breathless escalation of arid white noise and thorny pulse.
By straying from the lighter sensual relief conveyed in their earlier releases, Born To Ruin manifests Roll The Dice’s riskiest but arguably most successful move in ten years of producing together, one which pays off with deeply bittersweet appeal though intimate investment and focussed reception.
With introductions made on DABJ Allstars Vol.2 earlier in 2016, Glasgow’s Fear-E fires up four bleep, EBM and rave-tinged house rockets in the Santini’s Ghost EP.
Level 84 swangs into orbit with smooth house momentum lifted along Carl Craig-style pads and vintage UK bleep vectors, then changing tack to a killer acid-EBM jack in The Dam.
Rumble In The Bronx is a badboy bit of house rufige, riding killer rimshots and chock with reverse edits, spring-loaded synthlines, but if any will leave you begging for more it’s the full frontal techno bosh, Raveform.
London Modular Alliance member Pip Williams squeezes off a volley of squelch acid-electro aces on Sheffield’s CPU.
You’ll find some seriously stylish, latinate swerve recalling B12 at their slinkiest on Outer Limits, and more bitter, acrid acid tang in the Skam-like tweaks of I Was All Alone, whereas Cutty Told Me heads uptempo for a Stingray-compatible rinser, and the unstable Bitty Ends unknots itself in loose freeform fashion held together with gorgeous pads.
French Minimal Wave survivor Philippe Laurent flies high on the Bristol-based Peripheral Minimal with a pair of handsome synth-pop and EBM tunes, plus an unreleased 13-minute goodie from 1982!
Dead smart from whatever angle you view it, the EP turns from sweetly haunting synth-pop sung in languorous Chason style on Phoenix, then with funkier, Kraftwerkian sort of drama elaborated in Agapao.
Doubtless the highlight is his formerly unreleased B-side, Exposition 4, a wiry 13 minute workout dancing on spiky drum machines and unfolding thru myriad permutations of sequencer patterns to sound quite unlike, and longer, than most other gear from this period. The length and arrangement is really closer to a much later psychedelic techno track or something.
Robert Hood yields a powerful, sleek brace of Detroit techno bangers on Dekmantel following two 12” EPs in 2016.
Paradygm Shift documents the celebrated producer at his most direct and devilishly detailed, exploring the idea that “we can become so complacent; we are so comfortable with our surroundings, I think this is the time for electronic music to find a new mindset.”
To be fair that statement reeks of time-honoured techno rhetoric, but no matter whether you buy into it or not, there’s some serious dancefloor pressure inside; pursuing a classic Detroit techno spirit from the hypnotic M-Plant style minimalism of Idea to the nimbler statement of I Am, to the suspension device of Solid Thought and the spiralling gospel organs that spin off Pneuma to perfectly slippery chromatics gear shifts in Pattern 8 and an extended album version of the cantering bleep mission, Lockers.
The prolific Sacred Phrases label (Kara-Lis Coverdale, Germany Army, Samantha Glass) add Japan’s Cemetery to their fold with his creamy suite of lucent sound pictures, ‘Vessels’
“Active since 2016, Cemetery is a Japanese musician, producer, and composer based in Tokyo. Cemetery has quickly carved out his own sonic niche, marked by his debut EP Denial, released June 2016 on CONDOMINIMUM, a Japanese imprint and self-defined “collective for all the brash boys and girls.” Now, we welcome Cemetery to the Sacred Phrases family with Vessels, a six-song suite of lo-fi ambient electronica.
Opener “Turdus Philomelos” feels like a calm confusion of waking up in the pre-dawn hours of an urban park. Neon textures and distant bustling slowly take shape while birds and other metropolitan wildlife begin their calls. The narrative bleeds over into “Tillmans,” an airy meander down city streets and slowly stirring scenes. Shuffling rhythms and a pleasant drum loop juggle the fervently optimistic melody down the road. “House Of Angels Healing Their Wounds” is a modest but powerful electro-pop opus that closes out the A-side in resolved space.
The B-side carries a more nocturnal aura, with “ICY Palace” laying a sublime blanket of pulsing, lullabye-like tones and effervescent noise. “Riffs” is welcome segue to witching hour dance music, nodding toward Pan American or White Visitation but with a much more personal, hand-made feel. “2017” closes things out in an uplifting reverie, pitting sardonic cold wave with emotionally empowered synths.
In the end, Vessels‘ prime virtue is that of haphazard cohesion, wherein each track lends a unique facet to the bigger picture. All you can do is wander in and get lost.”
The Skatalites brought the sound of Jamaica to the world. At the start of the 1960s, in the space of just a couple of years Don Drummond, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, Ernest Ranglin, Johnny ‘Dizzy’ Moore, Lloyd Knibbs, Lloyd Brevett and others defined the exciting beat of ‘Ska’ as the sound of newly independent Jamaica.
"As the house band at Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd’s newly launched Studio One Records at 13 Brentford Road, the group comprising the finest jazz musicians on the island played on literally 1000s of recordings – Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe, Alton Ellis and many, many more.
During their existence (1963-65) The Skatalites also recorded 100s of their own songs, released either under their own name, or The Studio One Orchestra, or that of band members Drummond, McCook etc. This is the first collection on Soul Jazz Records to bring you some of their finest material – from classics such as ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘El Pussy Cat Ska’, ‘Christine Keeler’ through to some serious rarities such as Dizzy Johnny and The Studio One Orchestra’s ‘Sudden Destruction’ and Don Drummond’s ‘Coolie Boy’.
The Skatalites’ ska sound brought together aspects of jazz, latin, rhythm and blues, proto-Rastafarianism (tracks such as ‘Full Dread’, ‘Beardsman Ska’) and more. The intensity and energy of their sound was matched by the experimentation of the troubled genius of Don Drummond whose ‘far east’ modal trombone sound added a complex melancholy to the music of the Skatalites (the group split-up after Drummond was charged with murdering his wife, dancer Margarita Mahfood)."
Big tracks from the Brooklyn based proprietor of Exotic Dance Records, unloading proper heat in the pendulous breakbeat house syncopation and nagging vocal of Don’t Hide It, and holdi9ng down some mighty impressive subbass weight in the recoiling dub techno pivot of Xtra Sauce, and bumps AF Mood II Swing pressure in Vista.
His best yet, no doubt. Tip!
Intently focussed and organically complex analog synth music by a promising new composer, Caterina Barbieri, demonstrating a heightened sensitivity to the rhythmelodic patterning potential of an Indexed Quad Sequencer and Harmonic Oscillator with Patterns of Consciouness in a way that intersects aspects of Lorenzo Senni’s pointillisticTrance as much as the disciplined meditations of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe or Alessandro Cortini’s plaintive waves. Spellbinding in both its adroit intricacy and pop appeal, ‘Patterns of Consciouness’ is strongly recommended to followers of all the above.
“Barbieri's latest work Patterns of Consciousness consists of a series of compositions originated by ideally infinite permutation of patterns through a disciplined and exclusive use of machinery (an Indexed Quad Sequencer and an Harmonic Oscillator).
By means of subtraction, addition and jitter operations, Barbieri derives a myriad of interlocking patterns extracted from an original matrix of just few harmonic archetypes, gradually developing the potential of the reduced constellation of pitches and durations determined in advance. Pushing the limits of her monophonic instrument, Barbieri seeks out counterpoint from a single oscillator by only using additive synthesis, fast progressions, extreme melodic jumps and intricate delay lines. Note against note, gate against gate, she develops an illusory counterpoint style influenced by her passion for baroque lute music, where fast arpeggios are employed to get effects of sustained chords and overcome the limits of fast decay timbres.
Every piece in POC is conceived as a generative entity, a dynamic and living being able to develop its own organic laws, whose inner potential of growth and change is embedded in the initial instructions of the sequencer. These instructions translate into slow yet persistent, relentless variations in pitch and velocity: sharp interval resizing, pristine melodic transpositions, severe shifts in the metric structure of pulses and stresses. At the core of this process is the massive use of the gate, one of the fundamental concepts of voltage-controlled synthesis, here employed as the main creative tool to compose in a subtractive way and develop a negative counterpoint style. In this perspective, composing becomes an act of tuning to an ongoing sound field and making it selective, a subtractive practice rather than a demiurgic act of creation from scratch. The ongoing sound field is the rich sound spectrum offered by the harmonic oscillator - a monolith decomposed into its partials, a complex signal made selective to derive melodic information, a continuous field of electricity "gated" and discretized in points of condensed abstraction and emotion.
Emerging machine intelligence, human desire of pattern detection and the understanding of music as a cognitive feedback between humans and technology are primary sources of inspiration for this work. All the compositions share a common fatalistic tension, an impossible running, a restless rush - somewhat nervous somewhat ecstatic - to grasp a meaning out of fragments: in a present of spinning scenarios and volatile qualities where the decoding of complex and chaotic surfaces becomes harder and harder, human desire of pattern detection and recognition is what is left. But the highly formulaic and germinative style of the pieces is also influenced by Indian classical music's vision of sound as an agent of change and recreation: sound causing processes rather than objects, verbs rather than nouns. Patterns are understood as the cells of an organism or the units of a language: a limited set of signs that can be recombined to always generate new possibilities. Thus, this recordingis only one of the many possible incarnations of this re-combinatory practice. Can sound synthesize new patterns of consciousness?
In POC, repetition and permutation of patterns are explored as tools to reconfigure perceptions and bend emotions, approaching sound as a medium to develop and master our own perceptual art.”
Matt Jones’ Crescent release ‘Resin Pockets’, their first album in ten years, on Geographic Music.
"‘Resin Pockets’ is an album that nestles beautifully into a long history of visionary outsider English pop craft, in the same vein as the isle’s solitary voices, all singing against the grain - the playfulness of Kevin Ayers; the grace of Vashti Bunyan; the rhapsody of Robert Wyatt; the melancholy of Epic Soundtracks; the revelations of Bill Fay. It’s an album of joyous melody and evocative poetry, of community and intimacy.
Matt predominantly performed the album, in collaboration with his brother Sam on drums, tambourine and ‘lookout’, though some other familiar faces appear, too: Kate Wright of Movietone as well as Lisa Brook and Michal William of Headfall feature too."
IDM by a master of that style..
“Skam Records are very proud to announce the return of Bola. After 10 long years hidden away in the hills, huddled in the Bolamachine - at long last Bola awakens, delivering an album of power, elegance and beauty...
All tracks composed and performed by the Bolaman. Kappafects co-composed and performed by Dennis Bourne. No humans were harmed during the making of Evensong. While every care was taken, slight but unavoidable human abuse was endured in the making of Kappafects.
Art and design: Michael England”
New edition of this very rare deep spiritual jazz album first released as a private-press album in 1969 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Asha Record label in Washington, DC.
"Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C., in 1935. His multi-disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. ‘Asha’ was the debut album by the Lloyd McNeill Quartet released on his own private-press record label, echoing the Civil Rights and African-American themes of the era - black economic empowerment and self-sufficiency – as well as a beautiful spirituality to the music.
In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris.In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US. This album is released as a limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide LP (including download code), and limited-edition 1000-copies worldwide CD edition and also as a digital album on Soul Jazz Records. This album is released in conjunction with the album Lloyd McNeill – Washington Suite (1970) which was released last month also on Soul Jazz Records."
Idiosyncratic dub inception from Austria’s hotbed of underground dub ‘eads - ghostly room recordings of hand-played percussion, smoke-curl melodica and plasmic subs perfused with a weird spectral detachment
“BKV 010 finds Rer Repeter dubbing in his own style, in mighty fine style with a tight palette of melodica, close-mic'd back-street percussion and dub fx swell; coming across like those parallel-dimensional Augustus Pablo mixes of Swordfishtrombones.
While the focus is heavy on classic dub techniques, the approach is free-form - without resorting to common reggae cliches. In true troubadour style, most of the album is played by hand on instruments ranging from self-build shakers, finger-cymbals and found objects to melodica and prepared turntables.
Rer Repeter aka Martin Werner operates out of Graz, Austria. He's released on leftfield dub outposts including rohs! and Pdxindubting as well as running the cult electronics label Offseason (RIP).”
Epic trance-techno-house drills for all the one-night superheroes: hitting peak levels of chuff-on with the soaring, Vangelis-like top line and tight, punching kicks of Push; then tempering his roll to a more widescreen, proggy vision with the expansive and tortuously emotive Goodbye.
Doom-laden techno from London’s Rommek
Rolling heavy with thundering bass and classy string drones processed from Aimee Mullen’s violin on Arcane, whereas Forbidden Planet rolls off the bone into a mongrel sort of BMB-meets-Sleeparchive style, and Archetype keeps up the innovation with wickedly messed up hydraulics, and Aimee Mullen’s processed strings reappear to haunt the distorted dimensions of Doldrums.
DAF remixed by Giorgio Moroder & Denis Naidanow.
It’s great for the first minute, a bit slower and slicker than the original, but then comes in with some naughty live bass guitar which turns it into a bit of a joke. Somebody, please do an edit?
Road rap and R&B from Giggs, sorry, Joe Grind. Soundalike accusation aside, this is strong stuff, especially in the stygian roll of Pon Di Riddim 2.0, and his very Timbaland/Timberlake-styled What I’m Looking For.
With 12”s for Optimo Trax and Curle Recordings under his belt, Italy’s Michele Mininni draws a line between decadent Baldelli styles and the modern day, churning up the cosmic tribal disco house of Rave Oscillations and the more rocking Vortex Stasi for his debut with R&S.
Preditah crams 32 tracks into his humid UK house, garage, grime and baseline-navigating FABRICLIVE 92 mix; swerving between prime, natty cuts from himself, DJ Q, C4, Swindle, AJ Tracey, Solo 45, Mr. Virgo, Joker and more.
Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge introduce promising new artist Margeri’s Kid with the Spanish producer’s debut vinyl round of emotionally-explicit and bass-fuelled slow/fast rollers.
Lodged somewhere betwixt the eyes of Burial and dBridge, the Init 1 EP explores the crossover point between deepest halfstep dubstep and taut, minimalist D&B, painted in lustrous strokes of Reese bass and trance vamps on the canvas of Halt; with a nervy balance of flickering trap and D&B in Pwd; and deep on the downstroke in the abyssal bassbin descent of Lost Brightness; to close on the melancholic upstroke of Init 1 at the Eps’s boundary.
Time for tears on the dancefloor, lads and lasses.
5th in Superpitcher’s series of nostalgic reminiscence
Unfurling 13 minute balearic stroller, Bluefin on the A-side, backed with the lithe polyrhythmic entrancer Burkina, landing deep in that particular vein of ersatz exotica from Germany.
D’Marc Cantu faces off with himself on a pair of brooding dancefloor aces; turning up the killer cyberpunk EBM temperament of Omega Red with its martian melodies and gorgeous, flaring darkside bass, then slipping into Rival mode for a darkroom canter called Sustain.
Gang Fatale’s TD_Nasty makes strong moves on his debut solo shot, Hate That Feeling; glyding from cascading keys and trance flares to an in-the-pocket hustle compatible with that recent Leonce minter on Fade To Mind.