Prague’s fama Q string quartet perform avant garde works by pivotal Eastern European Fluxus figure Milan Knížák, including compositions dating to 1973 and all written in his unique style of clashing colours
“Violin was Milan Knizak's first instrument. He has composed hundred of works of this ilk. The first
one DHK, 45 years ago. Next to his destroyed works, Milan took notations of different composers, cut them and put them together (with his own score) into a collage, expressing his feelings and his apprehension of music.
'I am aware that the majority of my compositions are technically challenging, since I employ uncommon intervals, so as to make the musicians think in a different, novel way and to produce different colours in the “classical” passages too. If the instruments were arrayed “beneath one another”, simple melodies may come across as boring. In the case of interval skips, whereby I count
with a certain fuzziness, even falseness of tones, music is far more colourful.
I don't care who would perform my pieces, as long as they are solid musicians. I think I have written them in such a manner that they should not forfeit energy even when someone is not familiar with the modern playing principles, only their effect would somewhat shift. And I really don't mind any shift. One of my friends said that this music of mine is not similar to anything. I would like to add that it is similar to everything. Perhaps both are true.' Milan Knizak, April 2018”
Jarra cedes control to his analog machines on a tape of absorbingly organic, coruscating drones that recall the work of Deathprod and Kevin Drumm.
Chasing up the recent first digital edition of his 2002 CDr releases for US avant stable, and/OAR, the three ‘IsoMonads’ effectively elaborate on the way Jarra transposed his abstract painting techniques into sound. In his paintings, Jarra worked towards a technique in which his role as painter was reduced only to the essentials, and in his music he attempts to do the same, leaving as much agency as possible with the machines.
The results found on ‘IsoMonad’ allow the sounds of his analog synths to breathe and speak their own language. Left unmastered and unaltered from the initial recording, the two sides resemble a dematerialisation into pure, Ur texturhythm swaddled in the inherent ferric vapour of the format. They’re the sort of sounds that occur where natural and manmade worlds elide, but when nobody is paying attention. On the surface they clearly have a connection to the abstract tonal wilds of Kevin Drumm or the hellish sonic ecosystems generated by Helge Sten a.k.a. Deathprod’s AudioVirus, and on another level they also render similarly alien sensation, if slightly more lo-fi parallel to the algorithmic composition of Roland Kayn and his peer Jaap Vink, likewise illuminating the way into frankly frightening zones of abstraction. Perhaps what the world sounded like before humans arrived, or even after we’re gone and the last one standing forgot to switch off the power.
With raw physicality and tone, veteran Swiss experimenters Luigi Archetti & Bo Wiget churn up compelling ground between modern classical, free improv, ambient and minimalism in their joint vinyl debut and first excursion for over a decade - Highly recommended if yr into Oren Ambarchi, Dylan Carlson, Tony Conrad.
Effortlessly taut but supple, often harsh but also lushly dissonant, ‘Weltformat’ pushes the duo’s practice found on their early trio of ‘Low Tide Digitals’ (2001-2009) albums to more ambitious levels for uncompromising Italian label, Die Schachtel. Clad in the explosive greyscale graphic score from which it was born, the piece wends thru a baker’s dozen parts riddled with surprising, quizzical turns and fascinatingly fluid transitions between moods, harmonic colours and quiet/loud dynamics that showcase the pair as uncannily deft masters of their craft.
Luigi Archetti brings decades of experience playing guitar with krautrock legends Guru Guru and their head Mani Neumeier, while Bo Wiget supplies signature cello and electronics, as heard in his work with Tetuzi Akiyama and Taku Sugimoto, to their refined yet intricate sound of ‘Weltformat’. Based on the score, which resembles a dual core of exploding stars, they flesh out a sound best described by the tracks’ transitory titles. For example, such as ‘London - Stavanger’, which lifts off from stately, spacious chords and buoyant bass strokes, but ends up, by turns, as a benign knot of garrotting discord. And at the opposite end of the LP ‘Villa Carcina - Wattwil’ makes the subtler passage from pooled post rock bass strums to aching cello coda via vaporous blips with the trippiest, fading in-and-out-of consciousness logic that’s testament to their tip-of-finger control and shared vision.
In the best sense of instrumental music, ‘Weltformat’ feels decisively intuitive and conversational, but in that special way which transcends words and harks back to atavistic systems of attuned, pre-verbal, empathic communication, when time moved slower and the divide between dreamtime and real worlds could be shortened or closed with sound and music.
In dreamy pursuit of last year’s ‘Loyalty Does Not End With Death’ beauty, Abrahamsson & P-Orridge reprise their spectral duo in an absorbing bonus excursion for iDEAL.
Throbbing Gristle’s erstwhile front-pandrogyne returns to play the role of voice-in-your-head while Abrahamsson coolly shapes the space around them in a style that’s informed their ongoing collaboration since the first meeting of his White Stains project and Psychick TV in 1990.
Cut to 45rpm vinyl with one side a piece, the EP optimally highlights two works not found on their 2019 LP. The A-side ’s Slowly’ is a quietly unsettling sort of ether-dream sequence featuring Gen drawling their poetry in a slightly croaky, Burroughsian fashion thru a series of hyaline chamber harmonics, with a titular focus on reducing your heart rate in order for the hypnotic delivery and illusive sound design to really take hold.
The B-side’s ’Third Minds Think Alike’ follows in empathic style, with exquisitely smooth, anaesthetising electronics framing a delayed conversation between Gen’s stream-of-consciousness preaching on pandrogyny, social media, self-agency, and the rage of new generations against the shackles of DNA. Lovely easy-listening stuff, then.
The first physical edition on iDEAL’s mixtape series comes from Aussie-in-Amsterdam DJ, Steele Bonus with a spellbinding follow-up to his split mix with Nosedrip, aside to his visual designs for Efficient Space, Safe Trip and many others.
Neatly patched from tip-of-tongue picks of tape art, film samples, lysergic psych folk, dubbed-out post punk and the kind of charms you’d expect to find on Music From Memory, we can assure you it’s a killer selection that will leave heads guessing at every turn. There’s no tracklist, but we reckon the internet will see to that in due course when the spotters get their notebooks out and get to work.
Northern UK-based artist Rian Treanor re-imagines the intersection of club culture, experimental art and computer music with a super smart debut for The Death of Rave.
Galvanising and accelerating garage and techno with cuttingly crisp tonal diction and pointillist percussive palette, ‘A Rational Tangle’ demonstrates Treanor’s adroit and finely-nurtured rhythmelodic instincts through a quicksilver syntax of kerned, polychromatic 2-step patterns and whipsmart, emotive jit music.
The EP’s four tracks vacillate ping-pong ballistics and recursive melodic motifs constructed in Max/MSP, dancing from pendulous, aerobic minimalism to taut, synthetic tabla grooves with grid melting nous, whilst also taking in gamelan-esque hypeR&B through wormholes of smeared and curdled harmonics, plus one dead lush section of Detroit-via-Yorkshire styled hi-tech funk.
The production is stainlessly dry and future-proof whilst Rian’s arrangements are considerately efficient, yet it’s all blessed with a pop or ’floor-ready turn of phrase that reveals new kinks, fills and twysts with each return listen.
Whichever angle you view it from ‘A Rational Tangle’ forms a rewarding introduction to the work of a very promising and distinct new voice in electronic music.
Haunting yet heavenly, widescreen and wintery deep ambient scapes from noted figures of the neo-classical/ambient interzone, making their 2nd joint excursion on A Strangely Isolated Place.
“Approached in a similar manner to their 2017 album ‘La Equidistancia’, the two producers have once again combined remotely between Buenos Aires and New York to form an expansive story of long-distance friendship and human connection. With Rafael taking the lead on engineering, culminating sketches, textures and isolated instruments, the warm, harmonic drones are once again apparent, albeit a lighter shine than their previous outing. With an emphasis on textures through voice manipulations, both Rafael’s and Leandro’s own personal stamp is interwoven throughout the six tracks, speaking to the close friendship that has developed between them both.
The album continues to explore this idea of human connection (in their case, thousands of miles away), our similarities, and how small everything really is in the grand scale of things. The pair speak about accidental connections in their hometowns, bringing to light a close bond despite never meeting in person. The remote situation ensured the music started without any predetermined concept yet installed a joyful and surprising experience each time a file was bounced back between them. This surprising and fluid process is evident through a myriad of instruments held in constant movement within the detail of the granular productions. Synths, effects units, pedals, the processing of their own vocals, pianos, guitars and a plethora of control voltage modulations represent the small details, the nodes of a relationship all coming together, amongst a greater, flowing mass of imperceptibility.”
Highly organic, kinetic concrete and reel-time ferric sculptures from Thomas Shrubsole, yielding almost 3 hours of lower case rustles resembling free jazz played by nature.
Working in a richly imaginative realm shared by everyone from Rashad Becker to Anne Guthrie, Ekoplekz to Decimus, ‘Tape Music’ is a significant batch of scrabbly abstraction from one of the North West’s most quietly unassuming and uncompromising operators. Working hands-on with his trusted reel-to-reel, found objects and 2nd-hand instrumentation, Shrubsole enacts a form of intimate animism that gives life to sounds lesser heard. Mixing skin with grit and machine, his improvised interventions coax out a plethora of almost anthropomorphic or bestial tones from things without a heart or brain, and effectively using his own body to better connect with the world around him and bring listeners to a granular, haptic level of musical perception.
Recorded in 2015 and left to mulch in the archive, the results are entirely analog from nose to tail, exploring a bio-organic feedback system that investigates, in his own words, “notions of the prosaic and the exotic, the personal as it pertains to the physically local and the distant, proximate and disembodied, the diaristic and the documentary: Kinetic performative physical improvisational concrete.”
Silent Servant - former Tropic Of Cancer and Sandwell District producer, Juan Mendez - made his stunning album debut with the poised fusion of epic techno, primitive post punk, and industrial electronics on 'Negative Fascination' for Hospital Productions in 2012.
Recorded just months after he stopped recording with Sandwell District, on Negative Fascination Mendez explored his divergent yet compatible tastes to their fullest, recognising and reconciling their congruent rhythms, atmospheres and intentions with alchemical ability. From the bellicose sci-fi romance of 'Process (Introduction)' to the full flight techno escapism of 'Utopian Disaster (End)'.
From the wave-scanning intro he spins a bleakly noirish narrative, slowly building tension with 'Invocation Of Lust''s acid hypnosis and the stoic deployment of drones and agitated drum machine slaves on 'Moral Divide (Endless)' that resolves with gritted techno determination on 'The Strange Attractor'. Yet perhaps our favourite moment is 'Temptation & Desire', sounding like the converged darkroom visions of Front 242 and Stephen Morris, but if any cut shocks us the most, it's 'A Path Eternal', revealing Silent Servant at his most unreservedly sublime and vulnerable without his usual, armour-plated chassis of beats.
It adds up to one of the most impressive examples of modern industrial techno of the decade, one that doesn't merely pay deference to its roots, but nourishes and augments them into something new.
Premiere Japanese selector, DJ Nobu plucks out a haul of deep electronic dance gems for the first Beyond Space and Time compilation
Prefaced by a 7” vinyl including Pan Sonic’s earth-shuddering ‘Lähetys/Transmission’ - also featured here - the compilation is the first release on Beyond Space and Time, a label arm of the Rainbow Disco Club (RDC) festival running in Japan for the past 10 years.
Opening with an effervescent Laurent Garner techno track ‘water Planet’, the set rolls thru some real nuggets ranging from Mono Junk’s aerial glyder ‘Beyond The Darkness’ to the hypnotic slink of Psychick Warriors of Gaia’s rare 1991 trip ‘The Valley’, and ultimately Burial’s heartbreaking ‘Arcangel’, via Thomas P. Heckmann’s brain-frying raver ‘Amphetamine’, the EBm raunch of ‘U-Men’ by Front 242, and NYC house shake-down of ‘E3 E6 Roll On’ by The Prince of Darkness aka Elbee Bad.
The 20 year net is in full effect as Soso Tharpa lifts from late ‘90s Eurodance and breaks for two gems on Future Times
On the A-side he weaves a sample of Floorfilla’s 1999 Euro dance ace ‘Anthem #2’ into the rolling square bass chassis and heavily swanging electro/house groove of ‘Decode’ with kinky effect, while the B-side betters the recent wave of late ‘90s nu skool-breaks nods in a slinky-toned workout licked with subaquatic pads and ruddy electro-dub bassline.
James Holden's second album of his career, some seven years after his accomplished debut 'The Idiots Are Winning'.
The Inheritors finds him showing off his newly developed mastery of MAX/MSP and modular synthesis, and across its whopping fifteen track duration there's space for him to indulge his love of far more than techno: witness the very British prog-jazz stomp of 'The Caterpillar's Intervention', the krautrock mannerisms of 'Rannoch Dawn' and 'Circle Of Fifths', the almost freeform noise of 'Sky Burial'. And while of course the album has a backbone of classic Holden, 'Sky Was Pink'-style art-trance ('Some Respite', 'Blackpool Late Eighties', 'Renata' - the latter couldn't sound more Border Community if it tried), it is, in the final analysis, an adventurous and risk-taking record, highly likely to blow the minds of BC fans and at the very least impress the less committed.
The Saturn Star is a properly immersive gesamtkunstwerk of music and art for an imagined film by Jorge Velez, who has strong previous form in this arena for L.I.E.S. and Rush Hour...
Now doing it for Alex Egan’s Utter label some five years after it started up with Jack Latham (Jam City)/Daniel Swan’s ‘Lux Laze’ score, Velez conjures an evocative, all-synthetic soundtrack for a fictitious flick, where “In a western European nation in the XVI Century, a physician-alchemist is accused of practising witchcraft by The Inquisition and is forced to live on the run. Pursued from all directions, he reluctantly resorts to a powerful and terrifying final act of self-preservation."
Taking cues from The Third Ear Band, late-period Coil, Carlos Peron's lurid soundtracks and European folk music, Velez applies his enigmatic sleight-of-hand to hardware in a mazily absorbing suite that variously calls to mind aspects of Bobby Krlic’s ‘Midsommer’ as much as the score of Ben Wheatley’s ‘A Field In England’ and the music to ‘Black Rainbow’ or ‘Building Arnold Schwarzenegger’, all very effectively evoking his subject in the most classic and timeless style.
Jorge Velez is also an illustrator and his accompanying A5 booklet plays a crucial part in the strength of ‘The Saturn Star’ with 8 pages of wordless images that work in step with the music and bring its pagan themes to life with sparse form that leaves lots to the imagination. It’s arguably among the most thoughtful and well-executed albums of its ilk in recent memory.
The gun tune to end all gun tune, ‘The Guncontrolla’ is a righteous pacifist dub statement from the Seekersinternational posse, who go about recording classic firearms being cocked and disassembled with results that land somewhere between Lee Perry's Black Ark, Parmegiani at the GRM and Mark & Moritz at the Rhythm & Sound controls...
Armed with a battery-operated 1987 Tascam Porta Two 4-track recorder and a Shure SM57 cardioid microphone, the Seekers capture the disassembly of a Colt British Service Pistol, a Glock 34, a Kalashnikov 1967 Soviet Rifle, and a Springfield M1 Garand, eventually all colliding and grating against one another via an elemental transfiguration coaxed out of the mythical SKRS echo chamber.
Drawing on ideas of metaphysics, metallurgy, and telekinetic mysticism, the SKRS treat their subject carefully to avoid any sort of romanticisation or fetishisation of guns or violence - in a temporal warp of dreamlike dread tension, where, crucially, not a single shot is fired. Instead they carefully but ruggedly use dub’s transfigurative techniques to turn the workshop recording into an absorbingly abstract warning shot.
The results are fascinating, conjuring some imaginative intersection of a back yard GRM and the Black Ark, and characters from ‘The Harder They Come’ spliced into scenes from ‘Falling Down’, fed thru that psychodelic echo chamber of dematerialised concrète that intends to defuse and diffuse the curse of gun violence with the black magick of dub music. Or, in other words, bullet-time dynamics re-configured as protest dubs.
IDIB present a well warranted, analogue remastered Deluxe Edition of Chromatics' now-classic 'Night Drive', now including five bonus tracks.
The original tracks sound as poignantly cinematic as ever, their cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill' still striking a tender nerve. The new tracks neatly expand the soundtrack-y feel, from the synth and Piano copulation of 'Shining Violence' to sleeve-rolling yacht disco in 'Circled Sun', through a memorably haunting duet for subtly effected bass guitar and vocals in 'Bell', to the Badalamenti-esque scoring of 'The Gemini' and a Drag Italo master stroke in 'Accelerator'. A must.
Anti-fascist dubs, spiritual electronics and unconscious house music from Joachim Nordwall as The Idealist for his native Swedish label, Malmö Inre.
Pursuing the rooted, heavy-lidded mystic vibes of his LP, 7”s and tape in this mode over the past 12 months - including an ace dub of Genesis P-Orridge - The Idealist’s ‘Anti-Fascist Dubs’ continue to find intriguing variation within a theme, with discernibly and crisply more psychedelic, acidic, and cranky results to boot.
Working under a pointed title and rhetoric that has also been adopted by Deathprod - another Scandinavian artist who clearly feels the need to identify his music in solidarity with the left, but ostensibly shares few aesthetic connection with this music - The Idealist’s take on dub is both respectful of the original format and keen to mutate it, rubbing it the right/wrong way with a manacled grasp of prickly noise dynamics and druggy hypnosis.
Up top he comes off like MWC gone dub with the meditation tape loops and playfully angular step of ‘Breath Deeply Dub’, whereas ‘Tune In, Turn On, Dub Out’ unbuckles and swims in deep dub-house next to the drowsy techno dub of ‘The Energy’. Down below it gets more crooked with the abstract black mass of ‘Silent Protest Piece’, before pinging the elastic stepper ‘Steady Stream of Hatred for the Haters’, and cutting loose with ragged and cosmically kaotic vibes to close.
Fine showcase of new artists from East Africa - specifically Nairobi, Kenya - repped by soul and broken beats from Sichangi, Hiribae, Ukweli, Nu Fvnk, and Jinku
Currently receiving attention in the West from Boiler Room, RBMA, 1Xtra and Worldwide FM, the EA Wave artists elegantly bridge styles between R&B, house, broken beats and ambient electronica with a broad appeal to listeners everywhere.
Highlights include the gingerly shuffled swang and heavy, dusky air of Ukweli’s ‘Maralal’s Groove’, the uptempo 2-step prang of ‘Different Strokes’ by Hiribae, and the lilting lope of ‘Happening In The Grey Area’ on a breezy, rAMZI-esque tip from Nu Fvnk.
DJ Sotofett and Finnish electro duo Jesse entwine pineal visions of psychedelic electronic dance music on Twotinos, their collaborative debut for Sähkö’s sister label, Keys Of Life.
Like the breezy DJ Sotofett mix of Jesse’s Pohja for Wania which preceded this LP, Twotinos unfolds a freestyling mix of loose percussion and synth fondlings swept up in seductively wide, wandering sound designs. However, with much more room to manoeuvre in here, they take the magic carpet much farther out from the blissed cosmic dunes of Fear Mix (Fearmix) and the intoxicating disco nightflight, Orga Fit to the mazy byzantine dub trip(tych) of Autiomaa and a hard-to-resist Indo-Afro-disco-psychedelic beauty called Kuume (Last Gitar), with the cradling dub tranquility of Puhallus (One Mo, Pad Conga Vocoder Mix) at its conclusion, likely to leave many hankering for another chapter of this saga.
Manchester’s Lack tweaks out a cranky, tucked funk and deep blue atmospheres for Blank Mind
Best associated with the Cong Burn label, who previously issued his tracks on tape and 12”, Lack carves to Blank Mind with a subtly distinctive sound trading in clipped and low key brokebeat hustle on ‘Elementary Means’, while ‘Satin’ meshes out pendulous, pinched drums and rugged subs under a coating of sensuous, slippery pads, and ‘Overground’ kicks that sound father out into coiled, syncopated 2-step in a style shared by Herron and Joy O.
Lebanese saxophonist Christine Abdelnour brings an impressive, extended instrumental vocabulary to Joachim Nordwall’s cryptic electronics in this live recording made at Ystad Konstmuseum for Sweden’s Firework Edition Recordings
Falling deeply within the label’s taste for sounds that exist on the liminal edge of perception, ‘A Higher State of Body and Mind’ sees Abdelnour coaxing spittle-inflected small sounds and bestial whimpers from her brass tool while Nordwall colours the negative space in elemental, greyscale drones and sheets of coruscating electronic texture.
Their results are organic and drily, soberly expressive in a transfixing style of sonic dialogue that covers all tiers of the frequency spectrum. As the release’s title implies, ‘A Higher State of Body and Mind’ is attuned to extremes of penetrative highs and rich, sonorous low end, but neither dominate the other, rather they buoy and balance each other in their quest to elevate listeners to experience, feel and perceive the recording on its purely sensual, synaesthetic terms.
A fetid Yorkshire noise classic resurfaces on Hospital Productions like something that died down your drainpipes in the ‘90s.
Smell & Quim curled out ‘Cosmic Bondage’ back in 1995 and it’s remained a firm favourite of Prurient’s domineering label since then. Helmed by Milovan Srdenovic and Jack Shit, Smell & Quim dwell in the gutter of culture and their music is suitably obsessed with themes of porn, fetishism, alcoholism, necrophilia and basically anything that gets the Daily Fail clutching their handbags. They’re notorious for mutilating and burning a pig’s head live on stage, before being promptly ejected from the venue (run check the clips on YouTube!), and have an abject, black sense of humour that’s totally germane to UK noise and freakish noise offshoots such as Goregrind. They’re fucking off it, basically.
‘Cosmic Bondage’ is one of S&Q’s earliest and most revered outings. Newly clad in cover photo of the hirsute Barbie doll trussed with rope that came with the original tape released by Stinky Horse Fuck, the music is just awful in the best way, ranging from blitzed anal hardcore to gut wrench soreness and a final work of freeform squall starring Hakim Tubitz and Ibrahim Ibrahim on North African lung pipes.
Manchester catalyst John Powell-Jones fulminates thistly noise pierced with sky-clawing melodies in these bittersweet recordings made at an abandoned Topshop unit in Stockport.
The 2nd release on Jack Lever’s Open Tapes, ‘Open Circuit’ is perhaps the most grotesquely transfixing recording yet by JPJ, a multi-disciplinary artist whose work has previously blessed Sacred Tapes and also appeared on stacks of great record sleeves and posters. Following from the more modest rustles of his ‘’print-sound | sound-print’ tape with The Boats’ Craig Tattersall, this new JPJ side sees him return to familiar, scorched ground with a thick maelstrom of harmonic distortion and marbled by iridescent glints of melodic colour.
For 23 minutes he offers absolutely no respite from a blizzarding squall of white-hot distortion. While it may start up relatively sparse and dubbed-out, once it hits critical mass the piece sustains a stare-down intensity which, in the knowingly ironic nature of so much noise, actually results in hypnotic appeal for the listener - provided you’re of a certain, steely constitution. But once you’re in there it’s achingly lush. We advise placing the smoking incense in front of your speakers while the music’s playing, and become hypnotised by the smoke reacting to the sound.
An enigma this one, the debut release - a decade in the making - from an artist about which we know very little. It’s a mysterious, confessional beauty - a diaristic mix of half-cut songs and textured, bittersweet electronic collage that we urge you to check if you’re into anything from Klein to Burial, Tricky to Mica Levi, Young Echo to RZA’s Ghost Dog OST.
soaring wayne phoenix story the earth is a fascinatingly intimate yet elusive record that was made by a trained pianist creating a kind of all-encompassing audio diary that subsequently spent a decade filed away in a drawer. After marinading in the archive while trends passed by, the fleeting stop/start collage of honest humility and ephemeral thoughts resembles a time capsule of a former, or parallel, self; one the artist is only now at ease to come terms with. Vacillating moments of profound lucidity and penetrative pangs of anxiety, Wayne lays his soul bare in that most vulnerable way that can sometimes lead to the greatest art, and finally finds himself in solid, empathetic company among Halcyon Veil’s sensitively intuitive spirits such as Myslma, Mhysa and of course, Rabit.
One of those debuts that feels uncannily familiar on first encounter, the album dredges a remarkable and unshakeable depth of feeling and human insight via its mazy tile of vignettes, drifting from softly textured, deep blue witching hour logic to more grizzled, Tricky-esque realisations and glossolalic expressions that practically, poetically say as much as his legible lyrics. In between, pockets of fractured music box melody and sorely textured beats flower and weed in the gaps, sounding something like RZA’s ‘Ghost Dog’ OST adapted from dilapidated NYC rooftops to the same drizzly London streets inhabited by Burial, Klein and Mica Levi.
Maybe best of all though, there’s very little pretence to this record. It simply sounds like the artist is working out their feelings thru music in an exposed, genuine way - you get the sense that it really didn't matter to them if nobody else ever heard it. But here we are, and Wayne Phoenix’s frayed, dreamlike tapestry of self reflections are set to become part of our contemporary consciousness in 2020.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, controversial occultist and iconic founding member of COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, brings to a close a series of collaborations with Carl Abrahamsson which now spans three decades and which finds P-Orridge narrating over immaculate ambient tapestries, delivered at time-dilating pace.
Electing to use their own names, ’Loyalty Does Not End With Death’ is the final part of a spoken word trilogy initiated in 1990 with the Psychick TV & White Stains side ’At Stockholm’, and proceeded by their ‘Wordship’  album as Thee Majesty & Cotton Ferox, and is the first appearance the pair have had together on vinyl. It’s the sound of two cosmically-travelled minds crossing paths again after a long absence in which they’ve been able to chew over the bare essentials - love and magick - via vibrant poetry and beautifully charged forms of ambient music.
In nine parts they conjure a warmly meditative space, where Abrahamsson’s characteristic tones, cut-up electronics and gentle rhythms comfortably lay the bed for Genesis, who inhabits and enlivens the pristine scenes like an observant dark interpreter, translating the incomprehensible and revealing the divine through their psychedelic prism.
The spellbinding results were recorded in New York and Stockholm 2017/18 and could feasibly have occurred at any point between 1990 and now. They are blessed with a pacing, intuition and timelessness that pays testament to an enduring creative friendship, taking the form of writing, interviews, photographs and film for nearly 35 years, bringing to resolution an almost life-long arc.
Cosmic explorer Rafael Toral yields “the most quintessentially Ambient record i have ever done” with the free-floating structures of his 72-minute piece ‘Constellation In Still Time’
Unfurling a microcosmos of near-static, pointillist notes and chiming chords that glint like distant starlight, Toral’s latest is his most significant LP since ‘Moon Field’, also for Room40, issued in 2017 surrounding further volumes of his long-running ‘Space’ series. However, the Portuguese guitarist views his new album as the start of a distinct, new, 3rd phase of his sound that loops back into his earliest work by expanding on the concepts of his seminal debut, 1994’s ‘Sound Mind Sound Body’ in a way that he wasn’t able to execute back then, thanks to a new set of players who are capable of interpreting his slow-burn compositional ideas.
Working around the barely-there temporal structure of Toral’s fine, computer generated sine waves, the ensemble of Angelica V. Salvi (Harp), Joana Bagulho (Clavinet), Joana Gama (Piano), Luís Bittencourt (Vibraphone), and Riccardo Dillon Wanke (Rhodes Piano) pick out the piece’s curves and harmonic aura in a shimmering moire of precise yet languorous gestures that slowly shift pattern to create unpredictable, probing junctures that split the difference between the smoky, almost jazz-wise qualities of Elodie, the proto-ambient ‘Free Improvisation’ of New Phonic Art, or the contemplative nature of Morton Feldman works.
Hospital Productions’ ‘90s noise scene trawl arrives at Slogun’s infamous 1997 blast for legendary NYC noise label Labyrinth, clad in a jacket listing “forgotten” murderers. True Crime Electronics, indeed.
“from the austere and frightening cover with the name of forgotten killers to the monolithic washes of analog synthesized grit and dust cloud vocals of the id, this legendary album first released as a limited cassette of 100 on the cult labyrinth recordings from nyc (one of the all time great nyc cassette imprints) and then famously reissued to wide distribution via cold meat industry sublabel death factory, 'the pleasures of death' came to prominence in the minds of the same era of release entertainment and descent magazine and alchemy records and bloodlust!. never has there been such an in-depth, caustic, intelligent and evil exploration of true crime violence. slogun has managed to take familiar stories, untangle them and create deep profiles that leave the listener with unsettling conclusions that do not provide the answers we are commonly forced to accept. set against the decline of america, the abstraction of the victim landscape is shattered with the brutal and disturbing lyrics faithfully reprinted. wide spine sleeve, large format booklet and poster are are taken from the original cassette version and restored on the tombstone-esque format of vinyl. truly a classic of nyc radical art and true crime electronics. f.t.w.!”