Lifted is a stellar new project sparked off by Matthew Papich (Co La) and Future Times overlord Max D for PAN.
Realised and rendered together with Jordan GCZ and Gigi Masin, among others, their debut LP '1' is an elegant exercise in breaking free of the grid, consolidating a spectrum of congruent ideas and idiosyncratic styles with a beautifully communal spirit putting a contemporary spin on the freedoms of '70s jazz fusion. From initial studio sessions recorded by Matthew and Max in their respective Baltimore and Washington DC studios, they incorporate synth and piano overdubs dialled in from Amsterdam and Venice, hashing out an inter-continental web of hyaline electronics, jazz ballistics and alien dance patterns that surprises and delights with every turn.
Stepping into vividly new territory with the fractious post-footwork spurts of '3D', their kaleidoscopic world twists between the sheer computer jazz fusions of 'Intoo' and visionary 4.1 World house in 'Total Care Zero', glyding on the digitally creamed quintessence of 'Bell Slide' to the intra-dimensional ambience of Gigi Masin's keys and Papich's 3D FX in 'Silver', and adroit Afro-futurist jazz in 'Mint' starring 1432R co-founder Dawit Eklund on bass + synth. On a lysergic level of production detail, '1' is up there with Pete Kember's work on the recent Panda Bear album, but the dextrous grooves and intoxicating jazz vibes place it over the horizon, just beyond Move D's classic Conjoint project or Detroit's Urban Tribe classics.
That's our summer listening sorted, then!
Frankly, Lisbon’s Príncipe are just showing off with this fever-inducing 23-track showcase of their full crew in heaviest effect; including stacks of label debuts and strong showings from their core players.
Mambos Levis D’Outro Mundo is accompanied by a quote from Guinea-Bissauan and Cape Verdean liberationist Amílcar Cabral, which points to the label’s social-democratic ideals and is worth reposting here:
“As to strategy, we learned in the struggle; some people think that we adopted a foreign method, or something like this. Our principle is that each people have to create its own struggle. Naturally, we have something to learn from the experience that can be adapted to the real situation of the country. But we bettered our struggle in the culture of our people, in the realities of our country, historical, economical, cultural, etc, and we developed the struggle, supported by our people which is the first and main condition: the support of the people.”
Within that spirit of independence and celebrating the reality of cultural struggle, the set approaches the ‘floor - an unparalleled site for cataylsing cultural expression - from myriad angles, flipping from wild-eyed, raving futurism in DJ Lycox’s Dor Do Koto to the aerobic mysticism of Swaramgami from the scene’s pivotal producer DJ Marfox, to whacked-out techno by Niagara, whilst also making enchanting introductions to the breezed out roll of Dadifox or the Gqom-like darkside hustle of DJ Safari’s Tempo Do Xakazulu, and the romantic flex of DJ Ninoo & DJ Wayne.
Basically there’s loads of reasons you need this lot in your life. Highly recommended!
Vladimir Ivkovic’s excellent Offen Music present a superb, long-lost album by Mitar Subotić a.k.a Suba, a Serbian producer who moved to Brazil in the ‘90s after making amazing, cinematic records as Rex Ilusivii, and whom sadly died in 1999 when on the cusp of becoming one of Brazil’s most prominent producers. If you’ve been following Offen Music’s amazing records by Toresch and Rex Ilusivii, fell hard for that CultureClash LP on Lost Futures, love Muslimgauze, or hanker for lush ’90s vibes that you’ve never heard before, this one’s a total must-check!
Originally realised in 1995 at Suba’s Wah Wah Studio in São Paolo, Brazil, only shortly after the release of Subotić’s album as part of the Angel’s Breath duo with Milan Mladenović, Wayang discretely echoed that album’s esoteric pop themes and, at the time, was intended as Suba’s début release. For reasons undisclosed, the album was shelved in the archive, and he eventually released São Paolo Confessions in 1999 as the first Suba album, proper.
It may have taken over 20 years, but Wayang now finally finds its audience, and at a time when the scene has been perfectly massaged by waves of interim reissues and especially the DJs sets of Vladimir Ivkovic and Lena Willikens, whose shared rhythmic senses find a lot of common roots in this record. From the almost-junglist temporality of its opening cut, thru flashes of tribal rhythmic psychedelia, to passages of arcane incantation and some blindingly avant arrangement strategy, Suba proves he is a visionary artist and storyteller with tales for days.
After swirling our swedes for the last few months, we can assure you that Wayang is a distinctly psychotropic episode from a richly imaginative producer, with a proper play it again and again factor that hasn’t diminished since we first heard it.
Sub Rosa’s vital Early Electronic Series yields a fascinating and unprecedented collection of Indonesian Electronic Music 1979-1992 with the 1st survey of work by Otto Sidharta; a graduate of music composition at Jakarta Institute of Arts, electronic music composition at Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam, and recently a doctorate from Institute Seni Indonesia Surakarta.
A pioneering figure within Indonesian Electronic Music since his début composition Ngendau , Sidharta has operated amid a small network of prism pushers in relative seclusion from the power centres of electronic music for nigh on 40 years. Since the start of his oeuvre, Sidharta’s work has been concerned with environmental sounds, integrating natural and electronic sources in a way that could be said to reflect the sound ecology of his home land as much as his personal imagination.
As the first collection to reveal Sidharta’s work beyond his home country, this set serves an increasingly rare encounter by revealing a hitherto un or little-known, yet fully formed and genuinely new, perspective on electronic music ranging from deliquescent gong works to dense blocks of gamelan abstraction, computerised chimes and totally unearthly oddities.
Make no mistake though, this isn’t some sort of Hassell-esque 4th world simulation or recreation of traditional music with plugged-in means. Rather, it’s better regarded as a fine mix of academic rigour and methodical electronic music techniques realised at the service of romantic, esoteric notions of space and place; vividly conveying sensations of heat, psychedelia, violence - both natural and political - with an immersively dreamlike effect from both within and post Soeharto’s brutal dictatorship.
Simply, if 4th world music is too fluffy for ya, but you like its Eastern-oriented ideas of new tunings, rhythms, imaginary spaces, this one is strongly recommended, especially to fans of Coil, Rashad Becker, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Pauline Oliveros.
Cottam returns to FCR with a more fleshed-out release that takes his signature Deep-House into new territories. ‘Locked In The Groove’ is a three track EP with lashings of Disco, Funk, Dub and South-Asian influences, broadening the palette of Cottam’s already eclectic releases.
"The title track is a solid continuation on Cottam’s previous FCR release, ‘I Can’t Carry On’, while it’s just as progressive in structure and instrumentation, ‘Locked in the Groove’ feels lighter in tone and more playful with its slomo-disco drums, funk bass and waves of filtered samples. Impossible to fully unpack in one listen, Cottam once again boasts his skill of fleshing out a groove with plenty of intricacies that require repeat listens.
Both tracks on the B-Side flaunt the meditative side of Cottam’s productions. The aptly named ‘Sample Heavy Dub’ displays the producers tentative use of percussion amongst a whirring drone that feels more like the soundtrack to a tribal ritual than a club tune. Like most Cottam tracks, the lengthy duration of ‘Sample Heavy Dub’ flies by as if time had stood still. The EP finishes with ‘Dreaming of Another Place’, a brilliantly paced track that recalls ‘Pink’ Era Four Tet after too many painkillers. Underpinned by a wildly organic beat, the subdued dub brass and mystifying vocal sample constructs a haze in which the EP slowly fades away into the memory of the listener and stays there.”
Lone follows the more wayward trajectories of the Levitate  LP with his first EP in three years, coolly catering to the deeper house ‘floors in two parts, plus a lovely ambient bit.
From the front Mind’s Eye unfurls an effortlessly lush vision of early deep house styles, remaining the depth of Dream 2 Science’s sub-loaded NYC classics with a touch of early AGCG percussive nous and Larry Heard jazziness, but all withing a widely spacious swirling mix that’s sweetly 2017.
On the other hand, Looking Glass locates a smart balance of gruffer, Detroit-styled groove with cascading chromatic electronics and tangy synth jabs, straddling a finer line between debonaire and rudeness, whilst the whisked froth of Under Cherry Blossoms (Mind’s Eye Reprise) lets you know he’s definitely a sweet-lad at heart.
Following the much needed reissue of his classic Loop-finding-jazz-records earlier this year, Jan Jelinek returns to his Faitiche label to further develop the sonic fiction surrounding his occasional muse and potential alter ego Ursula Bogner.
Jan Jelinek put together a first album from Bogner’s tape archive a decade ago, followed in 2011 by a second volume compiled by Andrew Pekler. For Winkel Pong the tape archive was passed on to Lucrecia Dalt. The Berlin-based Colombian sound artist and musician chose three tracks from the 1980s (exact dates unknown), editing the tape recordings for their release on Winkel Pong.
Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Einstürzende Neubauten), an activist and reluctant chronicler of Berlin’s underground scene since the 1980s, has worked with Lucrecia Dalt. She is also familiar with Ursula Bogner’s work. Reason enough to ask her for an interview:
Jan Jelinek: Gudrun, how does it feel to be constantly obliged to talk about the 1980s Berlin underground as someone who was there at the time?
Gudrun Gut: I’ve learned to live with it as there are clearly too few people who witnessed it first-hand. Maybe it’s even important to do these interviews as a woman – so that someone actually says that women, too, have written music history. Men tend not to mention this. But it’s true, people do always ask the same questions.
JJ: Did you know about Ursula Bogner in the 1980s? Did you ever meet her?
GG: No, I never met Ursula Bogner in person and I only discovered her in 2008 thanks to Faitiche. But that’s no surprise: firstly, I don’t know every single woman artist, and secondly, far too many women artists never see the light of day. In the male-dominated art and music market, women are not considered important – or worse still, they are not understood. Look at artists like Sonia Delaunay, Eva Hesse, Bebe Baron, Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram. Some of them have now been discovered – but only recently. A lot has changed in the last few years: there is a growing awareness of art and music made by women.
JJ: But isn’t it annoying that the conventional distribution of roles still applies? One example: in many articles, Ursula Bogner has been presented as an “electronic housewife”.
GG: When Ursula Bogner is referred to as an electronic housewife, then sadly that reflects the situation of many women artists at the time. Women could only pursue artistic activities in private – transcendence was reserved for men. This has still not been overcome. But today, the home has become a site of professional production for all. I’m talking about bedroom producers: it is totally normal to make art and music at home. And that makes things interesting, because “working at home” is no longer associated solely with women.
JJ: For Winkel Pong, Lucrecia Dalt compiled and remixed three pieces from the Bogner archive. You know Lucrecia and you’ve already worked with her. How did you meet?
GG: I met Lucrecia through MySpace – I think it was 2007. Back then she was still living in Medellin, Colombia. Lucrecia’s father made loop machines for her that she still uses. The Sound of Lucrecia was part of my 4 Women no Cry compilation series on Monika Enterprise, each with four producers from different countries. She’s great fun to watch as a performer because she has a unique sense of rhythm and feel for music. Above all I’m impressed by her sustained approach as an artist, someone who can and does think around corners. I’m thinking specifically of her album Ou, for which she ploughed her way through post-war German cinema, using it as a source of inspiration for a soundtrack. This is proof that she thinks like an engineer – so it makes perfect sense that she would want to explore the work of Ursula Bogner.
Subtly rewarding, super minimalistic works for guitar and loop pedal, respectively touching on strung-out narcotic scapes and quivering timbral studies...
“Alessandra Novaga delivers a stunning LP, a compelling investigation of her resonantly spacious guitar playing that dismantles the instrument's unique properties through relentlessness. Movimenti Lunari speaks of the relentlessness of natural forces. Something that seems to have no development, but instead advances inexorably. A form developing out of a memory progressively coming into focus; never still, constantly pulsating and vibrating with new elements. Beyond any rational, analytic thought, a sound that belongs to remembrance. Sandro Mussida's "In Memoria" questions this relationship between movement and stillness in the form of a piece of music.
The piece is a meditation on memory, technology, and sound; the repeating theme recalls bells chiming over and over, drawn out into lines as long as the horizon. Francesco Gagliardi's "Untitled, January" speaks of a sound evoked by an image. A photograph. A foggy landscape seen from a train. Accompanied by a single instruction: "A drone, or drones. Any duration." Simultaneously timely and timeless, Movimenti Lunari has the feel of artistic invention, a canvas of delicacy melding into intense streams of sound.”
Amos & Sara’s wickedly twisted post-punk dub session, Invite To Endless Latino [War Boys, 1983] sees its first ever vinyl cut thanks to the efforts of Alga Marghen’s Emanuele Carcano, who deserves a pat of the back for effectively pressing up one of his favourite tapes to share with the rest of us...
Comprising all tracks from the cultishly coveted original cassette by The Homosexuals affiliates Jim Welton & Chris Gray, from the nutty nattiness of Mr. Sinister to the keening disco-not-disco of Insomnia Samba and the ragged hustle of Pain Mambo, it’s not hard to hear why this LP is such a cult classic.
It just drips with playful innovation and tongue-in-cheek ambiguity, putting together a mad mixture of authentically sensuous swerve and nagging pop hooks under relatively crude conditions that recalls some concoction of colourful pills in a wine-soaked barm bought from Brenda Naffi’s butty bar.