Astral TV is a new project from Causa Sui synth- and electronics-wiz Rasmus Rasmussen and fellow inner-space traveller Keith Canisius.
"On ”Crystal Shores” they create fluctuating aural landscapes, ranging from subtle and earthy to celestial and downright paranormal. Inspired in part by classic synth-scores, vintage European ”kosmische” and modern drone, the duo has created the soundtrack for a heady, sonic trip. Like with the best new age music these sounds can provide solace and regenerative energies in the listener, but ultimately the moods the duo are creating are too open and ambiguous to be neatly categorized.
The bright analog synths and delicate Stratocaster notes occasionally conjures images of rushing water, slowly passing cumulus and weightless, orbiting satellites. But there are more mysterious undercurrents in this music as well – periodically pulling it into peculiar, hypnagogic realms, where ghostly digital presences awake. ”Crystal Shores” is awash in layers of tonal perfection, and while it constantly evolves, there's a unified feel to each of its gorgeous vinyl sides. The duo has that rare ability to create a sense of familiarity without feeling like a retread. Fans of minimalism, ambient and vintage synth scores will find much to delight in in these multicoloured, rich-sounding grooves."
Berlin’s Pan Daijing dispenses her personalised brand of raw industrial gunk blatz on Bedouin Records.
Laced-up for the ‘floor, A Satin Sight hurts in four ways - Tenderloin Tanz throws down nerve-biting, distorted machine jack somewhere between Bunker Records and mid-Western US techno signatures; Exile is proper sci-fi EBM for the freaks; A Season In Hell dispenses some of her sternest, bucking structures and dissonance; Nomenklatura polishes the ‘floor with most acrid tang.
A must-have for the hardest-working noise techno jocks.
Heavyweight classic Afro-Funk from Ghana - in fact, one of the heaviest of all time!
Recorded in 1976, 'This Is Marijata' is the standard by which all other Afro-Funk albums are measured - it's power, vitality and rawness have been emulated but never equalled.
One of our favourite projects from the Mordant Music cabal, Wayne Maxted’s Thanet returns with a 3rd ambient missive from the cleft heart of UKIP land in deepest Kent. Perfect sounds for touring lay-bys and trucker caffs, kicking shingle and stirring pale tea while reading your outdated horoscope in a well thumbed copy of the The Mirror.
“Thanet’s ohMgoing cosMic odyssey itches deep space sofa mores via back garden felt-recordings on this spanking new 2017 suite…the Roehampton hub continues to shuttle the MMind skywards, unsettling planetary dust via YouTube & traversing localised voltage with a dexterity straight from the vine…Wayne Maxted is still receiving bona fide calls from the system…fuck those ‘Planetarium’ pianos…IBM”
Optimo and friends’ Glasgow based EBM/wave clubnight turned label twist between vintage styles and their antecedents with Now And Then, placing vintage peaches next to contemporary beauties following 2016’s So-Low compilation.
It’s great to see Ian Hicks ov Soft Metals’ absolute girder False Awakening getting some shine here following a slightly under-the-radar delivery on the VIY tape for Clan Destine - Glasgow connex in effect - while Luxos’ very Lena Platonos-sounding Vihreä Ovi is a new one to us, originally appearing on a soundcloud-only compilation from Huntleys + Palmers in 2016 and now on vinyl for the first time.
Tending to the archives, they pull out Carl Matthews’ pulsating synth flight As Above, So Below [ICR, 1982] for your mental elevation and acceleration, and again their exquisite taste turns up another little known blinder with The Schmutz Sisters’ La Folle, which was first released on the obscure 150 BPM Records from Switzerland in 1988. It’s just a wee bit fxcking jaw-dropping, like.
The Bomber Jackets update their slyly twee suburban indie gripes with dashes of musty (double) garage and artisanally chopped and screwed grit. RIYL Micachu & The Shapes, Pheromoans, Ariel Pink...
“Kudos To The Bomber Jackets' is the horrifically wry new album from The Bomber Jackets. Following on from 'Lister,' their debut for Alter, 'Kudos To The Bomber Jackets' has a restlessness that takes broader strokes. It finds and holds a register of meandering hope by setting the perverted detail of domestic minutiae against an acutely self-conscious melancholy that cynically daydreams its way into an awkward middle-ground between profundity and platitude.
Following the stop-start formation that plagued the group's early days, the three-piece of Russell Walker, Daniel Bolger, and Sian Dorrer remain intact. Both Walker and Bolger will be familiar from the ticklish post-punk of The Pheromoans, whilst Dorrer has a varied CV with groups such as Plug, and Ravioli Me Away, and with involvement across London DIY nodes. At times they give it a bit of a desaturated garage bump, other times there's the throb of marching mono-synth wave.
'Deranged Sauce Mum' comes off as a chopped and screwed hardcore, though with Walker's vocals it's less gurning glee and more furrowed brow, it should be said. There are very many disparate elements across 'Kudos To The Bomber Jackets' that come to give the new album a kind of uneasy grace, which is perhaps the groups singular force, the unchaining of an ingenious familiarity that's dizzyingly bizarre and equally bleak.
Lyrically and musically their new album contains the traces of many surfaces both interior and exterior. Its dream-like qualities are formed through a kind of musical frottage, always preserving the trace of the hand, arriving at its surreal heights through fidgety non-sequiturs of an aesthetically acerbic persuasion. In this way it never quite replicates anything that you feel to be present in its parts.
'Kudos To The Bomber Jackets' indexes petty despondency for better days, imagining some unforeseen and unremarkable circumstance that makes up for it all. Welwyn Garden City's former shredded wheat factory is on the cover. Redevelopment plans for the site are in progress.”
The Total Freedom-endorsed Hitmakerchinx FDM package lands double heavy on Night Slugs X Fade To Mind’s first cooperative release since DAT Oven’s Icy Lake back in 2014, dispensing the Brooklyn-based producer’s mighty 17 track payload of FDM, or Flex Dance Music - the soundtrack to unfeasibly dextrous Flex dance-offs in New York and elsewhere - as demonstrated by Rafael Chinx Martin on the promo video for Andy Stott’s Butterflies!
“This material was created as a soundtrack for high energy dance battles. Hitmakerchinx explains:
“This is a collection of the music that started everything for me. It means a lot as we’re effectively releasing my past. Night Slugs and Fade to Mind are the reason that I DJ FDM, they perceived my sound in a new way and they’re responsible for bringing my music into a club environment. I’ve learnt to love my old material again, thanks to Bok Bok who has fuelled this project to completion.”
Brooklyn born, Los Angeles-based Hitmakerchinx is a producer, DJ and dancer and a pioneer of Flex Dance Music aka FDM. A sound rooted in performance, FDM is a genre born of a fierce dance battle community based in Brooklyn. Put simply, FDM is to dancehall as EDM is to pop - raw riddims with chopped up vocals, piercing laser bleeps and heavy, aggressive drums. The nature of the style - chopped up loops and samples – means FDM can remix anything. Hitmakerchinx got involved with flexing through a love of reggae and an aptitude for dancing back in 2004. Although he’d been producing since age 13, it was in 2009 when a fellow dancer inspired him to start making music tailored for flex battles. The following year, his track ‘Earthquake’ was featured in the fifth Step Up movie and caught the attention of Fade to Mind’s Total Freedom. Since then, Hitmakerchinx has been producing, soundtracking flex performances, and dancing on stage with Rihanna as part of her ANTI tour, often to his own official remixes.
Featuring productions from 2010 to 2017, ‘Shades & Monsters: FDM Classics’ showcases the depth and diversity of Hitmakerchinx. Rumbling dread basslines contrast with pitched up Desi vocals, disembodied acoustic guitars, trance synths and a decidedly emo sampling tendency. For Night Slugs and Fade To Mind, it adds up to club perfection.”
Optimo Trax pay dues to their roots with reissue of Robotiko Rejekto’s EBM/proto-techno hybrid Rejekto, now backed with a new, slower edit by Frenchbloke. It’s a special one for the label, so we’ll let them explain:
“Optimo Trax 30 celebrates a double 30 year anniversary; the original release date of “Rejekto” and 30 years since Twitch started dj’ing. In 1987, Twitch, who wasn’t known as Twitch yet, picked up a copy of “Rejekto” at Glasgow’s then numero uno import shop, 23rd Precinct. He was smitten.
Shortly after that he got his first ever dj gig and played “Rejekto” in his first ever dj set. Nobody danced to it. He kept playing it and still nobody danced to it. Eventually he gave up playing it, but never stopped loving it.
A few years ago he felt the time was right to try playing it again and this time people danced to it. In fact, people loved it and would ask about it and shriek in delight when they heard it. There is often a lot of false nostalgia talked about in dance music and how it “was better back in the day?”. Well, in some ways it was but in many it wasn’t and 30 years later it feels as if perhaps ears are more open, or perhaps “Rejekto” was just ahead of its time?
From Germany, written and produced by Ra-Hen and Talla 2XLC, Robotiko Rejecto’s “Rejekto” was the inaugural release on the Techno Drome International label. With a powerful and seductive vocal sung in Romanian it has latterly been categorised as EBM / Techno but at the time didn’t really fit into any convenient genre. Twitch called it Electrobeat.
To celebrate this 30th release on Optimo Trax, the 12” comes in a special sleeve designed by Katie Shambles and Andrew Beltran. As well as featuring the original classic “Perfekto” and “U.S. Dub” versions this reissue features a slo-mo cover version by long-time Twitch friend and ally, the mysterious Frenchbloke who was the only other person he knew back then who also loved this wonderful record. Robotiko!”
RIYL Amon Tobin
"The now 18 year old Dorset based Kai first got into production at the age of 12, teaching himself how to use digital production tools “with Google Chrome and 50 tabs open”. He started experimenting with remixing computer game soundtracks that he and his friends were playing at the time.
His first break came after encouragement from Brainfeeder’s IGLOOGHOST (they actually hail from the same small town) who inspired Kai to start getting his music out into the world, and subsequently put him in touch with LA based label TAR, run by PBDY of Brainfeeder and JP Moregun (with Jeremiah Jae). They went on to release his debut EP “Houndstooth” in 2016, garnering immediate support from Mary-Anne Hobbs and leading to his inclusion as a featured producer, alongside Grimes and Jam City, on Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes mixtape "Humans Become Machines” in 2017.
On his new material, Kai explains “This is an unveiling of some of the grim and humorous sounds I've been up to. More than anything, I wanted to portray a playful and juvenile sense of humour that I felt was missing in the music I was making and hearing, which ended up being a total blast to make. I was thoroughly intrigued in using aggressive sound as a mark-making tool and explore the malleability of sonics in a painterly & silly way. Actively running away from my direct influences & creating a universe around this sound was a really great process that had me laughing the whole time."
The artwork was created by Dallas-born NY-based artist Sam Rolfes. Sam has created his signature surreal digital work for artists as diverse as Kingdom, DAWN, Rihanna, Danny L Harle and Caroline Polachek. "Sam Rolfes was a heavy inspiration and perfect partner during the whole process. I can vouch that the visual stimuli, conversations and friendship we built were a big factor in making this project possible.” says Kai. The EP also features rising South London MC BUCHANAN, who released a collaborative EP with Brainfeeder’s PBDY earlier this year.”
Low key heat from Abra, on a sort of half-stepped garage house bubble sounding like something from the early years of Actress’ WerkDiscs, but with a full fledged R&B vocal like something from the sorely overlooked Various Production catalogue. Is UK 2005 coming back into vogue? Sick anyway.
Expanded 21st anniversary reissue of of Regis’ game-changing debut album, considered THE Brummie techno blueprint, re-built from original stems & including new studio versions and unreleased sequences, remastered and packaged with new artwork.
For this edition the Brum techno overlord has revisited the scene of the crime from original stems and salvaged 8-tracks tapes. The unyielding results effectively present a doctored version of his seminal - some may say game-changing - record, featuring new studio versions and unreleased sequences. It’s basically a stronger, fitter version of his most prized LP, loaded with sounds as brutally functional as the city which birthed them, but redrawn with sharper edges and elbows for 2017 dancers and DJs.
Originally recorded in September 1996 in Room 406, Digbeth, Birmingham aka Scorn’s studio - sandwiched between Tony De Vit and Broadcast’s recording spaces - Regis used 1 drum machine, 1 synth, and 1 FX unit to nail home a back-to-basics approach to techno; one inspired as much by the direct immediacy of Chicago house as the febrile DJ sets of Jeff Mills, but also drawing a crucial X factor from his background as a bit of hooligan, with form in a number of post-industrial, EBM and punk units.
When Gymnastics first hit the ‘floor it was considered shocking anathema to the swell of manicured, proggy arrangements which were by then dominating the spotlight of British dance in clubs and the media. It was loopy, stripped to the bone and shark-eyed, always moving forward and without the faintest recourse to melody or harmony - simply revelling in the gnashing tension and swerve of raw, clattering drum machines and monophonic synth jabs. Big Beat or trance it fxcking well wasn’t.
As a sound it was arguably responsible for a whole sub-genre’s worth of imitators who never quite reached its Kwik Save milk ailse levels of cold harsh reality, mainly thanks to Karl’s sly, kinky refusal of funk - doing it so dry that it actually came out so stiff it popped, just like Kraftwerk, but if they could only modulate one syllable in a Brummy accent.
21 years later its lip-biting force is now felt stronger than ever. From the grumbling refusal of We Said No and the austere wall-banger Allies that boot off the album, thru the 16th note nag of Translation to the rictus jag of Sand and The Black Freighter’s metallic bite, this is timeless, primal dance music that still causes friction wherever it’s deployed.
James Brown is dead. Long live Regis.
First new solo album by the Animal Collective founder since 2010’s ‘DownThere’. A firm return to writing songs, but pleasingly laced with jazzy, psychedelic wormholes...
“Eucalyptus is the new studio album written and produced by Animal Collective’s Avey Tare. Conceived on Hawaiian mornings, written on a sunlit bedroom afternoon in Los Angeles, practiced in the dark early hours of the California twilight, recommended listening for dawn or dusk.
Recorded by Animal Collective’s Deakin (Josh Dibb), featuring chamber orchestration arranged by Eyvind Kang, musicians Angel Deradoorian and Jessika Kenney, Eucalyptus is an immersive album length electroacoustic movement through leaves, rocks and dust.”
Roberto Carlos Lange aka Helado Negro brings the sun out with Come Be Me, a loping, dancefloor-friendly number which was written for the Adult Swim singles series and flanks the re-release of his luscious Private Energy album.
Gang Of Ducks wrest a wickedly messed-up grip of rock ’n rolled entrails from a particularly on-form $hit & $hine in the Hamburger EP, landing quick at the heels of his equally ace new one for Editions Mego, and following the Total $hit LP for Diagonal.
Seemingly tossed off in one febrile session, the eight tracks contains some of his most effluent material, in both texture, flow and stench. Jreemteem gets his Suicide reference in there with grubbily-fingered funk, and Angelforce99 starts out like a struggling trance piece that gives up and quickly goes ham for the new beta madness, while Hamburger finds his trigger-finger on the sampler chopping cartoon samples into a manic sort of avant-bassline garage warper, and Bitte offers his now customary piece of upside-down boogie with typically tart hooks.
Daphni (aka Caribou, aka Dan Snaith) provides 23 original, unreleased Daphni tracks and four new Daphni edits for his Fabriclive contribution.
In his own words: “There have been so many (excellent) FABRICLIVE and fabric mixes at this point that I knew I should only do one if I could think of a way of doing my own take on it. Villalobos is the primary artist I associate with fabric and so I immediately thought about making a mix of my own unreleased music - following on in the tradition of his, Omar-S and Shackleton’s fabric mixes”
Fresh in from Abra’s new label, Acid Palace Recordings, Bounty catches the Awful Records and True Panther star stalking her own path of darkest, wavey contemporary blues with a killer tristep strut and almost baroque-pinched melodic arrangement mixed with Coil-like plasmic vocal processing and proper subbass - none of this flimsy, watered down stuff that’s around.
Predictably unpredictable movements from NoCorner here featuring Japan Blues and Ossia on remix duties.
Sacreligious iconoclasts, Chester Giles and Seb Gainsborough (Vessel) aka ASDA genuflect at the greasy altar of Ronald and co with the succinct McDonald’s Prayer backed with a downcast Regrind by erstwhile Japan Blues resetting Giles’ ‘prayer’ to a coolly pendulous boom clap and church organ, before the EP ends in the puddled dub of Ossia’s queasy Milkshake Mix.
Fast food. Slow music. Very satisfying
4 hero’s Marc Mac reprises his Nu Era alias - first spotted on the Reflective label in ’94 - with four servings of signature hi-tech funk from the top drawer...
Taking in the hard-to-resist symphonic electro-jazz flow of Space Above Us, then a nimble stepper jazz-house swinger named ones Between Us, and saving room for the breakbeat hustler, Heartstrings and twanging DX7 funk in the cosmic geometries of Octahedron.
Faithfully sexy remixes of DJs Pareja’s latin techno burners
Getting into gear with Photonz’ slompy Tribal remix of Alto, an acid-nipped revision of Bwoo by Christian S, Jackie House’s subaquatic EBM twist on Club De La Locura, and Ana Helder’s deep, throaty rejack of Mad Box.
For those not following Bill Orcutt’s drift into increasingly ear-friendly orbits in his recent live sets, Bill Orcutt–his first solo electric studio LP—shocks with its space and sensitivity.
"On this eponymous record, Orcutt mines the expansiveness and sustain possible on the electric guitar, letting notes spin out and decay at the edge of feedback. His pachinko-parlor pacing, marked by unraveling clockspring accelerandos crashing into unexpectedly suspended tones, is still in evidence. But here, his developing melodicism maps a near-contemplative mental realm, orbiting St. Joan-era Loren Connors more than the cascading treble clatter of his duo LPs with Chris Corsano and others. From the first notes of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman,” there’s a lucidity and slow-burning lyricism that make Orcutt’s plunges into barbed-wire fingerpicking all the more striking. While no one’s about to mistake Orcutt for Jim Hall, you could probably play this for your jazzbo friends (should you be unlucky enough to have them) without raising any eyebrows.
Orcutt’s track selection mirrors his obsession with American popular song in its most banal manifestations, as radically reimagined via acoustic guitar on a variety of releases, including 2013’s exhaustive Twenty Five Songs 7” box set, and the Mego LP A History of Every One. Many of the songs from those two releases are here–but stretched into new arrangements that explore the upper regions of the guitar neck (hitherto unexplorable on his shakily-intonated acoustic Kay), and lighting up new corners of each arrangement with a sensitivity born from years of reinterpretation. The result is a languid, freeform drift through Orcutt’s internal cosmos into galaxies unknown to their original interpreters–and occasionally, Orcutt himself. Most striking is “White Christmas,” its careening low-register melodies crashing into complex chords that transcend Orcutt’s primitive four-string fretboard.
Orcutt’s original compositions are equally striking. One of them—“The World Without Me”—is unique to this LP, and notable for its trebly flurry of Clapton-esque 12th-fret drizzle. “O Platitudes!” by contrast, spins ever-faster in the cadence of a hand-cranked music box, before grinding to a near halt, its higher-key electricity standing in for the moaning vocalizations on Orcutt’s acoustic rendition as heard on his 2014 VDSQ LP.
With its deep-space beauty, harmonic complexity, and dark dissonance, Bill Orcutt is a stunning landmark in Orcutt’s form-destroying trajectory.”
This album is completely nuts and brilliant - Mhysa is in possession of a totally compelling voice and production style, feeding into a sound that’s prone to intuitively explore and reassert the limits of what we know as R&B, electronica or modern soul in 2017. One of the best things we've heard this year in any genre and a total no brainer if you're into anything from Klein to Abra to Grouper. So good...
West Philly’s avant-R&B up + comer Mhysa makes a big impression with fantasii, her first album proper following dispatches with NON and a lauded mixtape alongside chukwumaa as SCRAAATCH for The Fader. Think Klein’s freeform R&B structures riddled with Rabit-like production tics, and you’re in grasping distance of the fractious but idiosyncratically coherent styes inhabited by this highly intriguing addition to the vanguard of new music from the fertile margins of American music and society.
Against a refreshing general lack of broken glass or gunshot samples, the self-described ‘Black queer femme cultural producer, sound designer, womanist + Diva’ animates swirling, impossibly balanced structures with a tearaway imagination, keening from vaulted, pitch-shifting gospel in Special Needs Intro to a multi-dimensional, abstract grime cover of Prince in the course of 11 songs.
The Klein comparisons are apt, the pair share a unique perception of R&B and church musics as a gateway to other, dreamlike dimensions. From the way she appropriates the ecclesiastic psychedelia of physical church spaces in the reverbstorm of Glory be Black to the rugged ambient inversion of R&B’s usual warmth in the 6minute highlight Bb, or undermining the conventions of club music in the A-grade anti-bangers Strobe and You Not About That Lyfe, she offers a particular example of the contemporary, young, Black and queer experience.
No doubt, Fantasii is a vial addition to the canon of boundary pushing and resetting music and politics also espoused by Elysia Crampton, Rabit, ANGEL-HO or Chino Amobi - we urge you to check this one out if you wanna grasp one of 2017's most rewarding albums.