Ruffhouse’s Karim Maas does worm-charming techno and abstract D’n’B night terrors on his killer 2nd 12” following the crooked trip hop of his recent collab with Pessimist.
Emerging as a new overlord of UK bass undercurrents with his ‘Old World Disorder’ EP in 2018, Karim Maas has come to represent a very fine strain of negative energy carried over from late ‘90s D&B, techno and dark ambient noise.
Under a title that nods to Panos Cosmatos’ modern sci-fi classic as much as his noirish club lust, the ‘Blakk Rainbow’ EP finds Karim edging ever closer to a consolidation of the crucial cinematic and dancefloor aspects of his style. The thousand yard stare drones and gut-rumble rolige of ‘Beyond The Blakk Rainbow’ perfectly resonates feel of the eponymous 2010 film, while ‘Trama Doll’ starts out sounding like a Source Direct intro but surpasses any bruk out urges in its slithering, viscous flow and mist of seething noise. ‘Saturn Return’ follows with a steeply enigmatic mix of Indian classical vocal perfusing pendulous bass and drums that resemble a desiccated Regis production, and ‘Know Your Enemy’ again highlights his keen sound design skills with a frighteningly immersive intro that gives way to a shuddering techno undertow that splits the difference between CUB and Fishermen.
’Trippin’ Musik’ is Nurse With Wound’s most significant new dose in a while, collecting 3 epic discs of steeply psychedelic sonics that may well alter your breathing and heart rates and mental state. No tracklisting provided, play however tf you like.
Following from the reissue of NWW’s ’Soliloquy For Lilith’ boxset, ‘Trippin’ Musik’ relays the most recent findings from Steven Stapleton and co’s ongoing psychedelic research / surrealist reconnaissance / occult practice in electro-acoustic and avant-garde spheres. As the title suggests, it’s one for the journey, taking up whole sides of vinyl with intensely and intently focussed recordings that often take over 20 minutes to say their psychedelic piece in a cryptic language of abstraction.
Whether you take drugs to listen to this music or not, the effect is likely to live up to the title, but we’re pretty certain it will be stronger with than without. One disc features a whole side of what sounds like a folk song fractalised and slowed down by Carl Stone, while another also sees them strung out in desert guitar scenes sort of like a digitized interpolation of Earth jamming with Soisong, and the side of rapidly panned gasps is practically guaranteed to send your head into a tailspin given the right conditions, before it all shores up in a deeply lysergic scene of strolling, head-squashing, liminal/laminal electronic timbres that feel like classic kosmische slowed down and exhaled by an AI.
Trust the efficacy of ’Trippin’ Musik’ for psychoactive potential is right up there with the most potent sonic substance. Approach with spare time and a well stocked freezer for best results.
Industrial man-machine Huren returns to the cold bosom of Kareem’s Zhark Berlin label for a powerful session of dark ambient and proper industrial techno traction
As one of Zhark’s most regular operators, Dave Foster aka Huren plays deep into the label’s signature style of deathly techno gloom like he means it, opening up with the preparatory drone ritual of ‘Chants for Magnetic Tape’ before unleashing the beast between the martial slog of ‘Children Without Worms (Sound Masses)’, a spot of pure tonal malevolence in ‘Timiskaming Square’, and the hardcore techno skullduggery of ‘Immemmory Motorik (Sound Masses)’.
Forest Swords makes a natural transition to composing for moving image with his evocative suite of aerial electronics and sweeping strings mixed with tart, dissonant themes that surely befit the themes of wonder and dread associated with flying drones. All exactingly mastered by Denis Blackham (Coil, Cabaret Voltaire, Eurhythmics)
“Part art film, part performance piece, ‘The Machine Air’ is a fever dream visual poem and the first film to be both about – and recorded by – flying drones. Created by speculative architect and director Liam Young, it jams together Youtube and Liveleak rips with specially filmed, astonishing aerial shots of Indian textile factories and Bolivian lithium mines – the first time ever captured on camera. Premiered in its original form at BFI London Film Festival, it’s since been screened at the likes of Sonar Festival and Eindhoven Bienniale.
Barnes’ score, presented here sculpted and edited into 14 individual tracks, echoes the film’s cyberpunk claustrophobia: smeared sci-fi synth and distorted melodies rattle alongside metronomic rhythms and stretched samples, rewiring the hums of flying vehicles into warped and contorted sound design. Intimate piano melody weaves with sub bass, while woozy electronics and strings mirror the fluttering of the machines as they hover skywards, powering up and down.
‘The Machine Air’s soundtrack navigates the tension of this tech in our lives: drones simultaneously used as autonomous killing machines or aid delivery vehicles; surveillance robots or Amazon shopping tools. While Barnes’ previous work has retooled organic and human sounds into modern electronic worlds, here he pushes and pulls the music into beautiful, more dystopian shapes, combining with Young’s visuals to give a chilly glimpse into the near future.”
Lorenz Lindner aka Mix Mup returns to Trilogy Tapes for a solo outing following on from that total peach of a collaboration with friend and cohort Kassem Mosse under the MM/KM moniker back in 2012.
This is music made of much cleaner, tidier stuff than most of what you'd usually associate with TTT, but "Sequoflec" pulls the kind of abstract shapes that make us imagine what Move D would sound like if he had a palette of hardcore snares and hi hats to work with - a tantalising prospect that really makes this EP pretty indispensable for our money.
Low-key, minimalist acoustic guitar soundtrack for a nocturnal Belgian film, full of wistful, spellbinding turns of phrase interspersed with haunting atmospheric tonal pieces
“Ghost Tropic is first and foremost the name of the third feature from acclaimed Belgian writer-director Bas Devos. The film tells the story of Khadija, a middle-aged cleaner who has no other option but to walk home through Brussels on a cold night after falling asleep on the last train. The journey is a reflection on motherhood and expectations, pride and unknown struggles, stories of the ghostly magic of a lonely night in a big city, of the kindness of strangers and the hurt felt seeing the vulnerability of someone you love.
Brecht Ameel, from the band Razen, uses his classical guitar training and his experience with various string instruments to craft a beautiful soundtrack of minimal ambient acoustic music. The Belgian musician’s intention was to create music that would be a warm blanket for the nocturnal odyssey of Khadija. A melody and rhythm to accompany her walk through the cold night, a sort of guiding light.”
An absolute winner from the SKRS INTL camp for Ancient Monarchy, the Paradise Magic Traxx Mobile Sound & Lighting EP arrives in the wake of their RunComeTest EP with a wicked, red-eyed smudge of digi-dub dancehall on a Lovers Rock and R&B slant.
Coagulating some 30 years of sound system styles from the Island in a seamless flow of sawn-off samples and plasmic FX on sloshing subs, the enigmatic Filipino/Canadian project gives up some of the most stickily seductive gear in their decade long catalogue.
Perhaps tricky for the DJs, but great for home listening and parties, the EP is sequenced in untrammelled transitions between its eight parts, but you probably wouldn’t even realise without looking at the track list online. Of course, DJs can use their ears and eyes to pick parts out, but it’s best consumed as a whole, preferably with a 21 minute long zoot and good company.
The video installation Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) is one of the best known and loved works by Turner Prize-winning artist and Northern English emigre, Mark Leckey. It's a hugely influential piece, and the soundtrack itself has been sampled endlessly, most notably by Jamie XX on “All Under One Roof Raving”. It was the first release on The Death of Rave label back in 2012 and is now finally back in print, this time on clear vinyl.
A phantasmic and transcendent collage of meticulously sourced and rearranged footage and sound samples spanning three decades of British subculture - from Northern Soul thru '80s Casuals and pre-CJB Rave - it may be considered an uncanny premonition of the Hauntological zeitgeist which has manifested in virulent sections of UK electronic dance and pop culture since the early '00s.
This record severs the sonic aspect from the moving image, offering a new perspective on what rave culture maven and esteemed author Simon Reynolds calls "a remarkable piece of sound art in its own right." Detached from its visual indicators, Leckey's amorphous, acephalic cues are reframed as an ethereal, Burroughsian mesh of VHS idents, terrace chants, fragmented field recordings and atrophied samples cut with his own half-heard drunken mumbles.
At once recalling and predating the eldritch esthetics of Burial or The Caretaker; it's an elegiac lament for an almost forgotten spirit; an abstracted obituary to the rituals, passions and utopian ideals of pre-internet, working class nightlife fantasias, now freeze-framed forever, suspended in vinyl.
It's backed with an edit of another soundtrack to a Mark Leckey video installation: 'GreenScreenRefrigeratorAction' (2010). In stark contrast, the original video features a black Samsung Bottom Freezer Refrigerator stood in front of a green screen infinity cyc, recounting its contents, thoughts and actions as narrated by the artist in a radically transformed cadence. Taken as a wry comment on cybernetics and the ambient ecology of household appliances which permeate our daily lives, it's an unsettling yet compelling piece of sound design whose subtly affective dynamics reflect the underlying dystopic rhetoric with visceral and evocative precision. The piece has since been used in a collaboration with Florian Hecker for the Push and Pull exhibition at Tate Modern in 2011.
After teasing us to bits with The Moomins Theme 7”, Finders Keepers pull out the full, UK-specific soundtrack to practically everyone’s favourite Finnish fuzzy felt fantasy, written in 1982 by a pair of politically driven post-punk theatre performers from a shared house in Leeeds. One of the trippiest bouts of nostalgia you’ll ever receive, especially those bubblegum electro bits…
“Like a tall tale from the heart of Moominpapa’s memoirs the story of the lost music of Moominvalley has remained a mystery for what seems like an eternity… Or perhaps 33 years to be more accurate. Since the first time the home made Wasp-synth and ocarina driven theme tube and eerie incidental themes first made their soft landings on the UK Children’s ITV, nostalgia nuts, acid-folk fans and electro acoustic aficionados have been united by a fruitless yearning for those misplaced melodies and that last comforting synth note that resolved each episode of what was perhaps the most freakish Fuzzy-Felt five minutes to flicker onto our small screens during the 80′s wonder years.
Born in Helsinki, made in Warsaw, by a German and Austrian co-operative, and finally soundtracked in Leeds in the North of England, the translated and reconstituted tales of Moomintroll, Snuffkin and The Hattifattners (amongst a handcrafted cast of many) first came to our screens as an early exploration of Anne Wood (later creator the equally freakish Teletubbies) who after stripping the Polish and German audio commissioned a new experimental soundtrack from the collective social circles of The Impact Theatre Co-Operative, Gang Of Four and The Commies From Mars. Finally retrieved from the outer limits of it’s cross continental breadcrumb trail Finders Keepers finally grant you an access all areas pass into the vault presenting a complete full formed soundtrack album that fills the gaps between the aforementioned micro-genres that flourished in light of domestic synth technology while providing a woozy hallucinogenic antidote to the disenfranchised political backdrop of 1980s Britain fuelled by a vibrant alternative and progressive pop culture.
Welcome to the ultimate escapist paradise and the exotic folkloric plains of Moominvalley where their anonymous sinfonietta layers synthesiser textures, sound poetry and a pocket orchestra of mechanical instruments with a miniature electronic drum-kit all of which can be heard to their fullest post-punk-potential throughout the grooves of this long anticipate 15 track instrumental adventure.
Via Midwinter rituals, woodland celebrations, astral laments and spectral effervescence, Miller and Shill follow the running-theme of the uber-classic title tune throughout the oblique narrative of the original 100 episodes conjuring nostalgia, awe, surprise, apprehension and unlikely wonderment harking back to our naive wonder years while also pre-empting a universe of electronic music which arguably still begs further intrepid exploration… Perhaps the time is right for this magnetic Moomins music to finally meet it’s modest masses. However long you plan to hibernate, Don’t sleep on this one.”