Churning slabs of doom-laced rock, stoutly saluting Swans, Sun City Girls and Montreal’s esteemed avant-rock hordes while incorporating Mondkopf’s blistering electronic noise textures and a keening psychedelic wanderlust
“Edited and mixed between Montreal and Paris, 'From Somewhere Invisible' summons the fever of experimentation and the powerful sound of the game coming together in the service of a luxuriant and psychedelic drift. Synthetic brass meets hammered rhythms, string electrics with cracked electronics, saxophone cries and laughter at a pulsing and seminal bass.
The fourth studio album and seventh release on the Belgian avant-garde label Sub Rosa, 'From Somewhere Invisible' (2019) embraces the new. Leaving aside for a while the logbooks of long journeys and the field recordings of the previous albums, the music of OISEAUX-TEMPÊTE unfolds as a twilight and prophetic orchestra around G.W.Sok's punctuated voice. The poems of Mahmoud Darwish, Ghayath Almadhoun and Yu Jian question the modern man and his double, the strange and foreign, the fragmented real, the violence, society and its mirror. The eyes we hide behind, the ones we should open. These intimate compasses which can make us rise together in the midst of shrouded ruins; there is always a black raven to defy the horizon.
Created in 2012 by multi-instrumentalists Frédéric D. Oberland & Stéphane Pigneul, OISEAUX-TEMPÊTE [wazo-tɑ .p?ːt] - (Storm Petrels) is a constantly evolving collective that, embracing the freedom of improvisation, transcends borders and cultures, straddling the intersection where amplified music ( post / kraut / free-rock, jazz-punk, avant-garde, experimental electronics) collides and finds common ground - a refuge.
The consequence of several trips around the Mediterranean Sea - Greece ('S/T', 2013), Turkey and Sicily ('ÜTOPIYA?', 2015), Lebanon ('AL-'AN!', 2017 and 'TARAB', 2018) - the music of OISEAUX-TEMPÊTE is anchored in a tormented present. Sensitive to the beating of hearts, hypnotic beats and explosions of materials, they embrace the community of collaboration, regularly inviting to the studio and tour friends like the electronic producer Mondkopf, the Dutch performer G.W.Sok (The Ex), drummers Jean-Michel Pirès (Bruit Noir, The Married Monk), Sylvain Joasson (Mendelson), Ben McConnell (Beach House, Marissa Nadler), British bass clarinettist Gareth Davis, contemporary ondist Christine Ott and musicians Charbel Haber & The Bunny Tylers, Sharif Sehnaoui, Fadi Tabbal, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Youmna Saba, Two Or The Dragon …”
The unmissable, head-twisting debut LP by Cairo's 1127 returns on a special one-off clear vinyl pressing for those who missed its shockwaves for the first time back in summer 2019, now including a bonus tape of previously unreleased, utterly crushing material from his 2016-2019 archive. Huge recommendation if you're into Autechre, Arca, Crowww, Rabit.
Getting right under the skin with its hugely variegated palette of brutalist, rhythmic power electronics and evocative location recordings, ‘Tqaseem Mqamat El Haram 2016-2019’ resembles something like a soundtrack to a Neil Blomkamp flick set it Cario, Egypt, 2050 where stifling heat and pollution means everyone wears breathing apparatus and hover cars sputter about its dusty sprawl. It’s surely one of the most shocking and transfixing sides from North Africa this side of the debut LPs by 1127’s peers, Myslma and Zuli, and should be prized by anyone with an ear for futurist rhythms and microtonal synths of a modern, Afro-futurist order.
Comprising collaged chunks from 1127’s archive arranged in a seamless, diffracted flow that recalls Autechre as well as the mutant adjuncts in Arca’s &&&& or Croww’s ‘Prosthetics MechaMix’, the results feel as though scraped from the insides of 1127’s skull, capturing and rendering the sounds of Cairo street raves ricocheting with spasms of gristly noise, strafing into pockets of cutthroat flashcore and dropping out into smoky, intimate scenes of Arabic dialogue, all threaded together with a distinctive taste for metallic microtonal synthlines and coruscating noise.
The thrilling rinse-and-repeat appeal of the album is now expanded with 26 minutes of exclusive, related, material on a bonus tape, where 1127 doubles down with waves of reticulated rhythm and knotted chromatic colour dominated by destructive levels of distortion comparable to Prurient or Shapednoise at their nastiest. Combined, the LP + tape will surely upend, realign or even confirm conceptions of music from this region, and its relationship to the broader electronic dimension.
Sufjan Stevens releases his score for Justin Peck’s ballet The Decalogue, performed by the pianist Timo Andres. The recording is the first time the score, premiered during the New York City Ballet’s 2017 season, is available to the public.
"The Decalogue is the third collaboration between NYCB Resident Choreographer Peck and Stevens, following 2012’s Year of the Rabbit and 2014’s Everywhere We Go. The piece was widely praised upon its premiere; The New York Times lauded the “beauty and charm” of Peck’s choreography as well as Stevens’ “romantically modernist études.”
Brooklyn-based composer-pianist Timo Andres is a Nonesuch Records artist, who has written major works for the Boston Symphony, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican, the Takács Quartet, the Concertgebouw, and elsewhere. He performs regularly with Gabriel Kahane, and has frequently appeared with Philip Glass, Becca Stevens, Nadia Sirota, the Kronos Quartet, John Adams, Ted Hearne, and others. As a pianist, Timo has performed at Lincoln Center, for the New York Philharmonic, the LA Phil, at Wigmore Hall, for San Francisco Performances, and at (le) Poisson Rouge. Upcoming highlights include a curated program for the Cincinnati Symphony (featuring Dance Heginbotham and a performance of Andres’s cello concerto, Upstate Obscura), and a solo piano recital for Carnegie Hall. Previous work with Sufjan Stevens includes the orchestration of “Principia” for Justin Peck and the New York City Ballet.
A singer-songwriter currently living in New York, Sufjan Stevens’ preoccupation with epic concepts has motivated two state records (Michigan and Illinois), a collection of sacred and biblical songs (Seven Swans), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), an expansive EP in homage to the Apocalypse (All Delighted People), a full length partly inspired by the outsider artist Royal Robertson (The Age of Adz) and two Christmas box sets (Songs for Christmas, vol. 1-5 and Silver & Gold, vol. 6-10). BAM has commissioned two works from Stevens, a programmatic tone poem for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE) and an instrumental accompaniment to slow-motion rodeo footage (Round-Up). Stevens’ Planetarium, a collaborative album with Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner and James McAlister imbued with themes of the cosmos, was released in 2017 to widespread critical praise."
Fun guy Finn and his long-time DJ spar India Jordan hit bullseye in a pair of glyding hardcore beauties for Local Action
Rushing hard but sweet in purest weekender style, ‘H.U.R.L. / F.U.R.L.’ sees them deuce the dance with a filigree synthesis of classic UK rave vibes, taking what they need from hardcore rave, jungle tekno and speed garage and leaving the rest for the crows.
‘H.U.R.L.’ flings a body first, clocking in with lip-smacking pads, rolling Reese bass and urging diva stabs whipped up into a rudely disciplined frenzy that leave you hugging the next guy and dancing your Air Max off. ‘F.U.R.L.’ follows a similar formula but with a more sustained, pill-belly effect, glyding up on Detroit-style strings to a tempered breakdown of bluesy vocal an sloshing triplets, then rolling out with Jesus arms effect to the end.
Satisfaction (practically) guaranteed.
Reissued on Linkwood's new Night Theatre label - 'Expressions' is the lush 2nd album from Edinburgh's Linkwood on Firecracker.
This is the sort of album you can spend a whole evening, or equally a whole lifetime with, perfectly crafted and sequenced for immersed listening and also to be broken down into DJ components - of which there are some super strong moments in the hypnotic Detroit disco-tech of 'Object', the sophisticate house stride of 'Expressions', and a sublime dub chord lather in 'Love Lost' to close. From Firecracker's own malty sales notes: "Ah, yes! Finally some real flavours to sink our teeth into. The nose is truly a work of art. First the classic peaty smoke but so distinctly understated. Confident in it's maturity. The salty pineapple citrus is next coupled with a refined lemon- lime toffee tartness. And finally a whiff of fresh cucumber sprinkled with the loveliest of white pepper. Oh, yes. This is what we’ve been waiting for! The creamy mouthfeel is laced with intense black peppers but then mellows out to give you honey, lemon and chocolate with a dash of tobacco. The long peppery finish is fruity with a hint of limestone. These are the classic flavours that made Linkwood one of the top distilleries and Expressions should be on your list of malts to try before you die."
Gauzily impressionistic dream sequence tapestry from CPH resident Valdemar Kragelund aka Merdh Laleh, making his oneiric solo debut proper on local label Petrola 80
Sculpted in windswept electro-acoustic dimensions porous to instrumental ornamentation from his pals in in improv trio Køs - Maria Dybbroe (Sax) and Kristian Isholm (Drums) - ‘Water For Your Eyes’ bristles with a weatherbeaten quality that locates an organic sweet spot between cinematic and free jazz styles of composition.
It’s a sound that call to mind the radical expressiosn of artist on Subtext as much as the Posh Isolation crew closer to home, placing melodramatic flushes in often stark and haunting sound designs in a style that oscillates across the boundary of “darkside” and playful experimentation, bringing a tale about love, and the loss of it, to life in sore pangs of jazz sax, bouts of strained noise, and soothing chorale sweeps.
RIYL Gossiwor, Emptyset, Paul Jebansam.
Boy Harsher find a fine line thru EBM and darkwave synth-pop with ineffable élan on their debut for Ascetic House, neatly benefitting from mix and master by Maurizio Baggio (The Soft Moon, Merchandise). Deluxe reissue of the sought-after Ascetic House EP including 4 bonus, previously unreleased tracks.
Their Country Girl EP sounds like it was dialled in direct from 1986, with sleek, rolling bass arps, glass-eyed gynoid vocals and lusting synth pads seemingly construed for the dry-iced runway of the mind. It could just as easily soundtrack a hi-end fashion show as lure you into a redlit basement, feeling out immaculately realised vibes between the effortless flow and ache crooning of Motion thru the wickedly skizzy light/dark/light twist of Country Girl, to the early ‘90s synth-pop sensuality of Underwater, and with super infectious freestyle inflections that funk up and counter Jae Matthews’ perfectly aloof vocals in Westerners.
Packed with classic UK rave vibes, Nexus 21’s sole, debut album ’The Rhythm of Life’ receives a long overdue new edition on the influential and newly revived Network Records
Essentially Mark Archer and Chris Peat’s tribute to the Detroit techno templates of Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, ‘The Rhythm of Life’ yields 10 tracks of UK-made rave pressure from the peak of its first wave.
Hatched in that strange interzone between the Midlands and the Norf proper, aka Staffordshire, and thousands of miles from Detroit, Nexus 21 gave the kids what they needed with a slew of driving techno drums, wobbly acid lines, stabs and techno-soulful vocals spun with a rugged UK edge.
The chords and vocals of ‘(Still) Life Keeps Moving’, the chirpy ‘Techno City’ and ‘Logical Progression’ are practically, to one degree or another, remakes/rebuilds of Detroit trax that would have been massive and groundbreaking at the time, but they all stand on their own rave legs as examples of that double refraction of influence between US, UK and EU dance music that’s been going since the first jazz records, resulting unique mutations such as the acid breaks of ‘Detroit B Boy’, the psycho-sensual collaging of ‘Music’, and the electro-acid jelly of ‘Can You Feel The Beat’.
Sounds of liberation was a band – and a social movement – formed in 1970 out of the germantown & mt airy neighborhoods of philadelphia. the band consisted of seven members: khan jamal (vibraphone), byard lancaster (alto saxophone), billy mills (bass), dwight james (drums), monnette sudler (guitar), omar hill (percussion), william brister (percussionist, aka rashid salim).
"Originally conceived and formed by khan jamal, the arrival of byard lancaster in 1971 helped shift their focus and efforts into a higher gear. jamal and lancaster would work together in different configurations throughout the decade. Sounds of liberation were at the forefront of avant-garde black expression in the early 1970s, putting action behind their creative endeavors. they were as much of a community force as a band, and because of that there was a strong desire by the entire group to work with a range of different populations, from school children to inmates. they continued to do so throughout the mid-1970s.
The group issued one self-released album, new horizons – alternately titled the sounds of liberation in later pressings – in 1972, on their dogtown label. [it was reissued earlier this decade to a great deal of fanfare amongst jazz fans, by porter records.] In addition to club performances, the collective initiated happenings in elementary schools, prisons & community centers throughout philadelphia, to great success and impact in the city’s african-american and jazz community. by 1973 the band – along with their manager, george gilmore (father of r & b musician linc gilmore, of breakwater fame) – travelled to new york city for a recording session at columbia university.
This five-song session of original music (with compositions penned by jamal, lancaster and sudler) has never been released and has been prepared for this important and long-overdue lp package by group members, in collaboration with brewerytown beats records in philadelphia. This is stunning, deeply emotional free jazz – termed black liberation music by band members – created with passion and purpose by masters of the art form, and it sounds as powerful today as it did back upon its original commitment to tape."
James Holden’s Dan Ashcroft-channelling 2006 debut LP resurfaces, trimmed down and cut on a fancy new pressing.
Issued in the wake of label mate Nathan Fake’s classic ‘Drowning In A Sea of Love’ (and only a year after the original screening of Nathan Barley aka the birth of modern culture), Holden’s debut album helped to sweetly establish the Border Community aesthetic with its woozy blends of oil-colour synths and supple, minimalist tech-house and electronica rhythms.
For longterm fans of Holden, Border Communioty, or lovers of romantic, cosmic, modern dance music who haven’t heard it yet, ‘The Idiots Are Winning’ now feels like a fine throwback to an innocent era when it seemed like everyone had a floppy emo fringe, a Myspace page, and dangerously tight trews.
Deep house don Linkwood blesses his new label with a trimmed and re-shuffled pressing of much-loved debut album ’System’ following from the label’s opening gambit in 2018
Richly schooled in the classic funk, disco and house arts of Chicago, Detroit and NYC, Linkwood filters those influences thru a naturally Scottish wellspring of Gaelic soul and transmutes the results into a deepest dance music.
Now of a 10 year vintage, ’System’ is here stripped of ‘Fudge Boogie’ and ‘Chicago Pt. 2’, to be replaced with the iridescent shimmer and velvety bass of ‘Three Original Mix’ and the dub fried, crispy hustle of ‘Linkwood Lost Experiment’ to gently shake up the record, which still includes big highlights in the likes of his Carl Craig-esque jazz techno whim ’System’, the rude boogie pivot of ‘Falling’, and the Electrifying Mojo-ready flair of ‘Robot Parade’.
Batu’s Timedance gang up a first label showcase placing established artists such as Bruce, Ploy and rRoxymore alongside new names; Rae, Neinzer, Nico , Clerya.
It’s a full spectrum ting, taking in weightless tonal experiments with Bruce’s Let’s Make The Most Of Our Time Here, and gaseous ambient dimensions from Ploy, while newcomers make their presence subtly felt in the likes of Cleyra’s superb broken beat percolations and a grubbing Afro-dub winner from Nico called Soft Opening, with Simo Cell tending to more rugged ends on the gritty dancehall wine Consider The Internet, and Via Maris keening into a sort of Radiophonic techno on Side Effects.
Strong showing from some of the UK’s most crucial bass music innovators.
ASC in killer mode with 8 trax of pendulous, hydrodynamic techno torque and misty-eyed electronica sound design on his Auxiliary label
While it may be ASC’s 4th album in this mode of 2019, the producer continues to find new angles at the intersection of techno, D&B and advanced sound design in the eight hyperprisms of ‘Realm of the Void’, packing a deep dancefloor drama and rugged but classy angularity between the clipped 2-step torque of ‘Dyad’, the Mike Parker-like electro-techno dynamic of ‘Laminar Flow’, noisy underwater disturbances in ‘Ecdysis’, and properly concentrated, body-rolling bass heft in the fluid sensuality of ‘Tryst’.
SOPHIE lights up 2018 with ‘Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides’, an exhilarating début album of upfront dance-pop, epic ballads and shocking electronic production that grasps the modern zeitgeist with jaws and both fists
Landing some 6 years since her ironically titled debut Nothing More To Say, over which time the artist has produced records for Madonna, Charli XCX and Vince Staples (among others), Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-insides renders a full frontal experience that’s set to define the scene for years to come.
SOPHIE’s understanding of the links between avant-garde and pop cultures is dramatically in force across the album, matching the hyperreal pop stun of PC Music chop for chop, but also pushing the prism farther in favour of her own, equally hyperreal image. The results are comparable with Autechre and EVOL records as much as Taylor Swift or The Pet Shop Boys, veering from warped pop perfection to brutalist electronics and breathtaking rhythmic energy often in the space of a single track, brilliantly embracing contradiction as a tool of expression in a way that feels bang on the money right now.
Her trifecta of lead singles, It’s Okay to Cry, Ponyboy, and Faceshopping gild the album’s entrance with some of the strongest pop sensations felt in recent years, before matters take a dramatic turn with a plunge into the beatless trance ballad Is It Cold In The Water?, and the subsequent chest-bursting R&B gospel of Infatuation, which both appear to massage the senses in preparation for the album’s shock-out 2nd half.
In Not Okay, she pairs knock-out electronics with the sheerest rave mentasms in delirious 3D, before utterly gobbling your swede in the breathtaking, atonal wormhole of Pretending, and promptly spiralling into the vacuum-packed banger Immaterial, then embracing the Whole New World/Pretend World in a kill-‘em-all 9 minutes of endorphin-rushing dance-pop genius that’s effectively the 2018 anthem we were all waiting for.
Finally, Amnesia Scanner, Bill Kouligas and Harm Van Dorpel’s A/V project arrives in album form, taking in unspooled/unravelling mixtape fragments, generative avant-EDM and cyberdrone topographies inspired by NSFW imagery and extreme banality. If you were into Haswell & Hecker’s amazing ‘Blackest Ever Black (Electroacoustic UPIC Recordings), or generally fascinated by PAN's sprawling, multi-faceted interests, this incredible album really is a kind of encapsulation of that limitless world of sound...
Amnesia Scanner, Bill Kouligas and Harm Van Dorpel’s prism-collapsing, algorithmic A/V project ‘Lexachast’ becomes extruded polyvinyl flesh on their sickeningly strong debut for PAN. Conceived in 2015 as an improvised performance between Bill Kouligas and Amnesia Scanner at London’s ICA, ‘Lexachast’ was subsequently developed into an online A/V work with visual artist Harm Van Dorpel, and is here presented in its current, full-grown form - a flux of sonic references to the fallout of avant-EDM and cyberdrone, resembling a swan dive into the uncanny valley’s darkside.
In a bold synaesthetic dialogue, Kouligas and Amnesia Scanner sonically respond to a dense flux of NSFW and extremely banal images raked up from the Internet’s underbelly (Deviant Art and Flickr) and layered by Harm Van Dorpel’s ever-evolving, image-sourcing algorithm. Through this process, they effectively give voice to the images and their morphed meanings, mirroring their abstracted, warped content with a sonic vocabulary of hypermodern dance musick.
The results speak to humanity’s ever-changing relationship and un/familiarity with the Internet, and the way it mediates the self. Simultaneously drawing upon our darkest thoughts, our existential traumas and their prosaic settings, Lexachast is acutely symptomatic of our epoch - taking age old concerns about who we are and the limits of new technology. It’s not pretty, but it is utterly fascinating - like a car crash witnessed in slow motion.
‘Epiphanies VII-XIII’ catches Derek Bailey’s rotating assembly of improvisers in action over extensive, unreleased recordings of their 1982 week at London’s ICA
Documenting a time when the idea of improvised music was still thrillingly original, ‘Epiphanies VII-XIII’ sees Derek Bailey accompanied by a coterie of empathetic players during the 7th Company Week session - a seminal series of annual (1976-1994) gatherings of players who might not otherwise had an opportunity to play together. Striving to work beyond restrictive generic taxonomy, the results of each Company Week were endlessly inventive and pioneering toward new frontiers for unscripted, contemporary music.
The line-up for this session: Ursula Opens (Piano), Fred Frith (Electric Guitar, Live Electronics, Percussion); George Lewis (Trombone), Anne Le Baron (Harp), Akio Suzuki (Glass Harmonics, Analapos, Spring Gong, Kikkokikiriki), Julie Tippetts (Acoustic Guitar, Voice, Flute), Moto Yoshizawa (Bass), Keith Tippett (Piano), Phil Wachsmann (Violin, Electronics), Derek Bailey (Acoustic & Electric Guitars).
Boldly going where few had ventured before them, the players effectively render alien results from ultimately human endeavours. In efforts to bypass their collective roots strewn between myriad forms of instrumental folk, blues, jazz, rock and modern classical, they enact a form of sonic anarchy that treads the finest line between chaos and coherence, moving as one between fractured silences and swarming rucks of sound that arguably resemble nothing that came before them and offer a totally captivating experience to intrepid listeners exhausted by musical convention.
Ever imagined getting lean with free jazz legend Joe McPhee, lo-fi lord Graham Lambkin, and their families? ‘Live In The Batcave’ extends a very surreal chance to do just that via Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
McPhee and Lambkin have been pals for years after meeting in a Poughkeepsie shop in upstate New York, where McPhee lives, and they’ve crossed paths many times since, both in person and on record via Lambkin’s defunct Kye Records. In 2017 Lambkin brought his son, Oliver, down to the basement of Joe’s brother, Charlie and they recorded this typically candid document of the evening, capturing the sound of four guys getting increasingly half-cut, singing along to soul records, drumming on everything in sight, and generally having good craic in Charlie’s “Batcave.”
Edited into captivating windows by Lambkin the elder, it all feels just like we got an invite, given a half pint of whiskey, and told to shut up and sit quietly in the corner if we wanted to stay. Fine by us. Mind if we smoke? It’s worth sticking around for when it all comes together in the final part, various voices rising together with offbeat claps in sozzled, familial harmony.
"Our music was born from the sounds of jazz, funk, soul, noise -- sounds with no other reason so exist, except because they did, sounds which occurred like putting one step in front of the other to see if the way was clear to take the next step. The plan was, there is no plan, just start at the beginning, end at the end and party like it's 1999" --Joe McPhee.”
Unsettling experimental ambient from Pataphysical’s Andrés Saenz De Sicilia, recorded live above a 1st C. AD Roman Necropolis and issued as the first release on Villa Lontana Records
Leading on from De Sicilia’s role in the Pataphysical trio’s well-received side for 12th Isle, this record documents his performance on a quadrophonic sound system in Villa Lontana’s garage in Rome, which sits above a recently discovered necropolis (cemetery) containing more than 160 tombs dating to 2000 years old. Recorded in response to the garage’s physical environment, the record is prefaced by a text-sound collaboration between the artist and Adam Green, artist and editor of ‘The Public Domain Review’, which sets the record off at an inquisitive angle before committing to a its main body of smouldering drones and cosmic shrapnel interwoven with lush pads and environmental sounds.
The joint introduction by De Sicilia and Green - a curator of “incredible esoterica” in the digital public domain - with a recital of William Hooper’s text ‘Experiments in Optics, Chromatics and Acoustics’ (1774) that outlines the physical fundamentals of visual and auditory stimuli, before De Sicilia proceeds to transmute space into sound, and vice versa, through a stream-of-consciousness sequence of sounds ranging rom ringing highs and doomy background disturbance to much softer ambient tropes nodding to Berlin skool kosmiche and contemporary dub ambience as found in his Pataphysical outing. We can only imagine that the dead Romans interred below would be as beguiled as we are at the recording.
B.o.C chase up their hypnotic mix on the WXAXRXP NTS weekender with their a reissue of their 1998 ‘Peel Session’, augmented with the previously unavailable ‘XYZ’ off the same session
The OG EP’s trio of classic versions remain in place, revolving a beautifully reworked take on ‘Aquarius (Version 3)’, plus the neck-snap breaks and head kissing licks of ‘Happy Cycling’, and the bucolic air of ‘Olson (Version 3)’.
‘XYZ’ was recorded during the same session but never made it to the original release. It’s an eight minute beauty gently escalating from windswept, flyaway psych riffs to a fractious sort of folksy drill ’n bass onslaught.
Genius/bonkers computer edits of S.E. Asian folk, latin dance music, Afrobeat and pop from Carl Stone, leading on from his ear-opening volumes of ‘Electronic Music…’ for Unseen Worlds. Fans of everything from Smith N Hack to Matt Wand to Hrvatski to Matmos need a lug-full of this!
“I have always been searching for a way to articulate the intangible area between the recognizable and the unfathomable, a feeling perhaps informed by some long-abandoned experiments with psychedelics. This has been a continued pursuit starting with my tape experiments in the 1970’s until the present, with technological evolution driving new ways of expression.
With the exception of Xé May, which is performed on an Elektron Octatrack, these pieces were constructed for live performance using a laptop computer running programs I have built in the MAX programming language. Okajouki and Xé May were composed in 2011, all the rest are from 2018. The pieces use a technique of time slicing that I first started doing back in the 90's, notably with my piece MOM's, wherein sound files are metaphorically shattered in time like glass and then reorganized into mosaic patterns. The technique used to require laborious preparation outside of real-time before the files could be brought onstage. Now not only can it be done spontaneously while performing, but also with a degree of flexibility that I find quite liberating. They are a lot of fun to play and hopefully to listen. - CS”
‘Atlantics’ is Fatima Al Qadiri’s first feature film score, for Senegalese director Matti Diop’s Cannes Grand Prix-winning film about a love story set amidst an arranged marriage to another man
Technically Fatima’s 2nd film score following her work on Meqdad Al Kout’s 2009 short ‘Banana’, the mostly beat-less arrangements cannily link back to the vaporous nature of her standout debut as Ayshay at the start of this decade. Fair to say she’s been a pivotal figure over the interim via a string of template shaping LPs for UNO and Hyperdub, and ‘Atlantic’ serves to demonstrate just how far she’s travelled since then.
Fatima’s sound design skills and knack for emotive storytelling are clearly present across the soundtrack. Using a palette of sheer, synthetic string pads coupled with diegetic snippets from the film, the soundtrack unfolds with a discernable nocturnal atmosphere emphasised by her trademark use of wondrous reverb and subtle melodic gilding, while the sounds of Atlantic waves and Senegalese voices almost unmistakably signal where the action is taking place. Like the LP jacket itself, the dominant tonal colour is deep blue, casting an enigmatic shadow of melancholy and intrigue that manifests most beautifully in the LPs highlights such as ‘Alleil’, which is practically notes away from her Ayshay work, and the accusingly romantic cue ‘Body Double’.
Peak Oil co-founder Brian Foote aka Leech catches breeziest dub, jungle and acid vibes on a delicious debut for his own label.
Over the past decades Foote has had a hand in many pies, lending sounds to records by everyone from Pépé Bradock to Ensemble Economique and Maria Minerva, but most recently returning to his Leech alias, as minted 100% Silk in 2013.
On his 2nd Leech LP Foote really gets inside his sound in six hyperprisms constructed from his coveted collection of hardware boxes and synths. Taking strong influence from ‘90s rave, both UK and US (but maybe leaning more to the UK side), he comes with devilish breakbeat chops and virulent 303 lines at every angle, variously exploring lush hybrids of cosmic soul synths and rolling late ‘90s jungle in ‘Amethyst’, along with very Luke Vibert-esquye acid jungle licks in ‘Brace’, and burned-out jungle jazz on ‘Phoenix9V’, along with the air-stepping beat-less beauty ‘Nimble’, and the pineal puckering jungle tekno of ‘Bit Rot.’
Abul Mogard’s devastatingly bleak soundtrack for Duncan Whitley’s experimental short film offsets the barren, stony landscape of a small, isolated island against a backdrop of fizzing drone dynamics and indrawn shoegaze inversions. It's perhaps Mogard's most carefully constructed and engrossing set of recordings to date, highly recommended if you’re familiar with Mogard's unique synthesis, or work by Thomas Köner, My Bloody Valentine or William Basinski.
Mogard's darkly sublime soundtrack for ‘Kimberlin’ , an experimental film about the Isle of Portland on the English south coast, coincidentally doubles up as metaphor for the mood of an increasingly inward-looking UK and our often desolate mental states. Taking its name from the local word for an outsider or “foreigner”, ‘Kimberlin’ was filmed on location during the months following the referendum of 2016 which lead to the current, purgatory state we find ourselves in the UK right now.
Combining mostly wordless, lingering shots of the Isle of Portland’s bleak and rugged landscape with Mogard’s washed out but richly evocative music, made with manipulated field recordings, modular synth and layered Farfisa organ, the project came to reflect a sense of (be)longing, loneliness and outsiderness that also perhaps uncannily mirrors the putative collective feeling since that darkly historic vote, over three years ago. Taking cues from the evocative poetry of lifelong islander, stonemason and poet Cecil “Skylark” Durston (1910-1996), as well as a news report on the discovery of a mysterious cinema found interred by foliage in the Isle’s cave systems, the merging of image and sound speak to their subject in an organic, impressionistic manner that leaves billowing room for imagination.
Mogard’s soundtrack opens out with a slow-burning, greyscale iridescence, tenderly manipulating the sound of fog horns and bird calls in briny modular spray and gloaming Farfisa organ swells that, when combined with song titles such as ‘Flooding Tide’ and ‘Playing On The Stones’, serve to evocatively connote the film’s subject matter. The results can be heard as echoes in the digital future of an England that’s now difficult to grasp, most hauntingly transposing the meaning of Cecil “Skylark” Durston’s description of the Isle of Portland as a place where “quarry bells no longer ring, except in old men’s dreams” to the ever-present, never-ending riddle of Brexit and its generationally devastating bleakness.
أحمد [Ahmed] – the quartet of Pat Thomas, Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Seymour Wright – make music of heavy rhythm, repetition and syncopation set deep into an understanding of jazz and the obscure depths of its history. Across the 2 LPs which make up ‘Super Majnoon [East Meets West] ’the group work and rework the music of the late musician Ahmed Abdul-Malik to create a stamping, swinging, relentlessly propulsive record where profundity and physicality root right back to ecstatic feeling.
"Abdul-Malik was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator and philosopher who fused aspects of American, Arabic and East African thought, ethics, meanings and beliefs in open and experimental ways to make vital, forward leaning jazz. [Ahmed] reimagine the notes of Malik as they push for new ground. Melodies respirate, swell, escalate and combust in a driving jazz which yes is technical, yes is accomplished, but ultimately just foot-to-the-floor swings.
‘Super Majnoon [East Meets West]’ is a title fused from the leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka Bechir Attar’s description of [Ahmed] after hearing them in Switzerland last year (Majnoon is the arabic slang for ‘crazy’), and Abdul-Malik’s 1959 album East Meets West. Arriving as a double LP, the first comprises studio recordings of [Ahmed] at Hong Kong’s Empty Gallery in 2018 and the second a scorched live recording at OTO from August 2018. The record features photos by Bert Glinnand Taku Unamiand ‘in and out’ liner notes by James G. Spady – historian and journalist from Philadelphia, the author of books on Marcus Garvey and the trilogy of groundbreaking books on hip hop (Nation Conscious Rap, Street Conscious Rap, The Global Cypha)."
Well, somebody had to do it, and we could think of few better than Italy's Alga Marghen label. Punning on the title of Simon & Garfunkel's classic LP (even reproducing the front cover), Patrice Caillet, Adam David and Matthew Salladin have collected those infamous "silent" tracks from releases by Ciccone Youth, Crass, Andy Warhol, Whitehouse, Sly & The Family Stone, John Denver, John Lennon, Robert Wyatt, Orbital, and many more.
It's equal parts a provocative statement, as many of the pieces were intended, and also an aesthetic exercise if we take their instruction to "play loud" literally. All silences are presented as they were originally recorded, from the four minutes of Orbital's 4 minutes of silence for the death of rave, 'Are We Here? (Criminal Justice Bill?)' to John and Yoko's 'Two Minutes Of Silence' , right thru to the void of Yves Klein and Charels Wilp's interpretations of silence on 'Prince Of Space', with each keeping intact the infidelities of their recorded medium - Orbital's digital recording near silent apart from this disc's inherent crackle, to the rich patina of surface disturbance in Yves Klein and Charles Wilp's. The in-depth track descriptions and liner notes are a good read, but really, ultimately it's just all a bit of a p*sstake right?