Norn Iron’s Touch Sensitive keep it close to holmes (sorry!) with label co-founder David’s quiet soundtrack of string arrangements for the new Liam Neeson flick set in Belfast
“Touch Sensitive is proud to present it's third release with Ivor Novello and Bafta Award-winning modern master of the soundtrack, David Holmes, working in collaboration with composer Brian Irvine. Set in Northern Ireland, directed by Holmes’ longtime friends Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa (Good Vibrations, Cherrybomb), and written by legendary Irish playwright Owen McCafferty (whom Holmes has known for forty years), the film tells the extraordinary story of Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville) - their life and love as they enter the uncertainty and upset of Joan’s cancer diagnosis.
In a career rich in highly personal work, Ordinary Love is up there with the most affecting in Holmes’ canon. Recorded between Abbey Road and Holmes’ own Drama Studio, the soundtrack features input from some of his most trusted collaborators. Holmes states: “I worked on the score with Brian Irvine. He is a longtime friend and the first person I ever had studio experience with 27 years ago. It felt important to work with Brian on this as his father (Ronnie), Owen’s father (Gerry) and my father (Jackie) - all now deceased - were great friends through a shared love of Point-to-Point horse racing and their work as bookmakers. For the three of us to work together on this was an opportunity I couldn’t ignore.” There is also contributions from Holmes’ bandmates, Jade Vincent and Keefus Ciancia, who comprise the trio Unloved. The group’s sound has been central to the much lauded Killing Eve soundtracks, which saw Holmes and Ciancia pick up a Bafta in 2019. Vincent provides a stand-out performance - lending her haunting and smoky vocals to the albums centrepiece and final track - ‘Isn’t It So’.
The score to Ordinary Love wasn’t inspired by any other soundtrack or even musical composition but by a mathematical theory called The Game of Life. Devised by mathematician John Conway in 1970, The Game of Life is not your typical computer game. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply as the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game. “Because of the nature of the story, this really spoke to Brian and I in a musical sense and we started to create the score with the notion that the notes in each cue resembled human cells, living and dying as Joan’s journey with cancer unfolded.” Much like the film's recurring motifs - such as the couple's regular hospital visits - the score uses gentle rhythms and repetition to underline the comfort and balance in Tom and Joan’s routine - even though a potentially life-changing event looms over them. The score grounds the listener whilst providing an almost dreamlike blank canvas in which to live and to love. “Creating the score to Ordinary Love was by far the most challenging I’ve ever worked on. The film is a very delicate piece and Tom and Joan’s everyday life is very normal so trying to create a soundtrack that not only felt like their world but had its own unique voice with real emotion wasn’t easy.”
Cherry-picking junglist DJ Persuasion shifts to 96-97 with killer results in the latest instalment of his studious mixtape series.
Chasing up volumes for Tape Echo and Id Mud in the last 12 months, the specialist DJ locks his crosshair on jungle’s transition into a colder, technoid form of hard-stepping D&B thru a ruck of classic and lesser known - but no less deadly - cuts from some of the scene’s vital architects and players.
The tracklist shall remain a mystery until you’ve got the tape in your machine, but we can confirm this is some prime top shelf business, caught in flux between gnashing amens, 2-step rollcages and darkside licks of jazz and sci-fi techno pads in a way that triggers our muscle memory like few other styles, casting these ears right back to early ‘00s warehouse raves in Manchester where this sound was still in effect.
The coldest rush. Highly recommended!
The Score to Netflix’s ‘Earthquake Bird’ by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross and Claudia Sarne.
"As well as the original score, the album features two new exclusive recordings by the multiplatinum- selling J Pop artist Crystal Kay, a cover of Yoko Ono’s ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ and the song ‘Shine On’.
Directed by Wash Westmoreland (Colette, Still Alice, The Last Of Robin Hood, Quinceañera), the thriller is based on Susanna Jones’ novel of the same title and tells the story of young female expat who is suspected of murder after her friend goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle with a local photographer."
Honest Jon’s vital, flagship series returns with a reminder of the cultural turning point when Caribbean migrants began to make their crucial contribution to UK life Arriving 6 years on from the previous volume, ‘London Is The Place For Me 7 & 8’ rustles a haul of Calypso, Palm-Wine, Mento, Joropo, Steel & Stringband gems that, like the previous volumes, owners will return to over and again, receiving a history lesson and an elegant call to the dance wrapped up in each listen.
“Still deeper forays into the musical landscape of the Windrush generation. A dazzling range of calypso, mento, joropo, steelband, palm-wine and r’n'b. Expert revivals of stringband music, from way back, alongside proto-Afro-funk. An uproarious selection of songs about the H-Bomb and modern phones, prostitution and Haile Selassie, mid-life crisis and the London Underground, racism and solidarity, the Highway Code and a 100% West Indian Royal Wedding.
For example some frantic British-Guianan joropo music-hall about Eatwell Brown from Clapham, who starts out biting off a piece of his mother-in-law’s face at a party, then devours everything in his path… a chunk of Brixton Prison, a Union Jack, a policeman’s uniform. Or Marie Bryant — collaborator of Lester Young and Duke Ellington — taking time off from skewering the South African PM Daniel Malan at her West End revue, to contribute some arch, swinging filth about uber-genitalia.
“The genius of Lord Kitchener has been the mainstay of our series. In this volume devoted to his post-war London recordings, Kitch plays his many roles with signature aplomb and poised subtlety. First there is the hooligan chantwell, up for anything in the hurly-burly of carnival proper; and then the casual reporter, firing off postcards to Trinidad about taxis, flashy booze, fast women and football in Manchester, with homesickness and grievance nestled just behind the optimism, pride and tentative senses of belonging.
There is the bearer of news from home, in detailed accounts of murders, tales of stupid local coppers, and reminiscences about food and particular mango trees; the political thinker, considering racism and Africa; and the diarist, with his vivid tales of infidelity, and disclosure of the break-up of his marriage, and his desire to get away. One foot in the UK, the other in Trinidad; but the man himself somewhere in-between. Kitch In The Jungle, nobody around. A ‘diasporic explorer’; a key twentieth-century witness, alongside such hallowed figures as Samuel Selvon and Edward Kamau Braithwaite. Though in frustration Kitch would sometimes take over double-bass duties himself, the musicianship of Rupert Nurse, Fitzroy Coleman and co is top-notch. The original glorious sound is down to Denys Preston, recording for Melodisc, often at Abbey Road Studios (where we transferred and restored the 78s compiled here).”
Mills’ seasonal Detroit ultra-classique is remastered and paired with a premier vinyl cut of its ‘Blue Potential Version’ and a previously, beatless beauty
The A-side extends an unmissable remastered re-cut of the all-time anthem ‘The Bells’, which, unless you are the snobbiest techno snark on the planet, still does the damage in any situation, while the B-side’s ‘Blue Potential Version’ offers a more “refined” symphonic version, alongside the free-floating synth flight of ‘The Homosapien Sapiens’. The fucking Bells, though!
Combined reissue of TG’s long out of print “come-back” album plus their sought-after ‘TG Now’ 12”, previously only available at their 2004 RE:TG show at London’s Astoria.
A bit of tasty package for TG diehards and industrial fiends of all stripes, this boxset coughs up a strong reminder of Throbbing Gristle’s sorely missed energies, back when they were still a four-piece, before the death of Peter Christopherson (1955-2010) and the acrimonious departure of Genesis P-Orridge. While Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter would continue as X-TG in 2010, these recordings are some of Throbbing Gristle’s last group efforts.
Notably making their hard-to-find 2004 side ‘TG Now’ available in a paper sleeve (as opposed to the plastic one which has caused owners some issues), along with a mesmerising example of their uniquely refined songwriting abilities in ‘Part Two - The Endless Knot’ - then their first album recording in 25 years - the boxset highlights the strange, ill-fated return by one of the world’s most influential bands, whose original innings between 1976-1981 generated a slew of material that altered the course of experimental music forever.
In chronological order, 2004’s ‘TG Now’ was recorded and released by the band’s legendary Industrial Records to coicide with the RE:TG show at London’s Astoria. The vinyl was sold exclusively at the show and has traded for way of rt. original price ever since, making this fresh pressing of aces such as the sputtering rock ’n drone of ‘How Do You Deal’ and the slithering groover ‘Splitting Sky’ newly available on wax to a whole new wave of freaks. Likewise, ‘Part Two - The Endless Knot’ has been long out-of-print on vinyl, but this one is more an album “proper”, with duties divided between group efforts and four individual tracks by Carter, Tutti, P-Orridge (and Bryin Dall) and Christopherson, who mark distance travelled since the likes of ‘D.o.A’ with a compelling concentration and expansion of what made their sound so vital in the first place.
Debut album time for one of the UK’s revered deep DJ/producers, making good on the reputation she’s earned since her 2013 debut and ensuing, globe-trotting DJ slots.
Following several 12”s issued on her Peach Discs label, Idle Hands, Future Times and others, ’Tangerine’ spells out Shanti’s tastes in clear, crisp strokes of hyaline ambience, tumpin’ house, subaquatic electro, and beatless rollers styles, all riddled with canny appearances of her own voice and a slinky, Latinate suss.
If you’re after big club trax, run check for her swanging, simmering jacker ‘Infinitas’, the breakbeat garage house roller ‘Want’, and the gorgeous techno glyde of ‘Sesame’ where her vocals come into play. Vocals also inform one of the album’s slinkier highlights, albeit synthetic this time, in the killer, Beatrice Dillon-like stepper ‘Voz (Instrumental)’, which sweetly represents the album’s lusher, romantic side shared with its balmy bookends ’Sun Notification’ and the crepuscular charms of ‘Moons’, and the FSOL-esque hyperoprism ‘Natura.’
The UK’s network of crumbling sound mirrors - an early form of radar - supply cues for blues experimenter Mike Cooper and pivotal improvisor Mark Wastell (Company) in an inquisitive collaboration on Wastell’s Confront Recordings
The strange, austere relics of WWI were erected between 1916 and the 1930s and are found dotted along the South East and North East coastline of England, sometimes in farmer’s fields who’ll let you in for a look if you ask nicely (out to my guy in Boulby). With Cooper manning lapsteel guitar and electronics, and Wastell on paiste 32” tam tam, percussion and shruti box, the pair conure a psychedelic, airborne sound that recalls a mixture of frayed, early electronics and messed-up recordings of the blues seemingly dialled in from another dimension, using their ears as concrete receptors for sferic and alien ephemeral sounds which, at their darkest in the final track ‘Boulby’ (they’re all named after locations of sound mirrors), which appears to be channelling sounds from the the super deep mines below where experimental research is conducted for space travel, somewhat echoing the use of the land above, some 100 years prior.
Worth it practically for the felt sleeve alone, FK share further, nostalgia-inducing findings from Graeme Miller & Steve Shill’s soundtrack for the UK version of The Moomins
“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 homemade Wasp synth and ocarina driven theme tune 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 invite you one step further into the vault with a bizarre Christmas release that fills the gaps between the aforementioned micro-genres and experimental subcultures that flourished in light of domestic synth technology, fuelled by alternative and progressive pop culture as an antidote to the disenfranchised political backdrop of 1980s Britain.”
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘Yellow Fever’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series. Previously only available as part of the Box Set series, the reissue features original album artwork designed by Lemi Ghariokwu, who created the cover art for around half of Fela’s albums.
"‘Yellow Fever’ was originally released in 1976, during Fela’s extraordinarily prolific 1975-77 purple period, when he released 24 albums in Nigeria alone. The title track is one of Fela’s defining masterpieces. Sung in Broken English, the language he adopted in order to make his words understood beyond Yoruba speakers, the lyrics rail against the fashion for skin-whitening creams."
Premiere vinyl reissue of riveting 1982 experiments on a long string instrument by Terry Fox, a pivotal 1st generation conceptual artist from San Francisco who worked extensively at the intersection of sound and performance
Out of print for nearly 4 decades, ‘Linkage’ sees Tery Fox yield remarkable range of sonorities from a very long piano string wires strung up to 33m in length and played with rosined fingers and a steel sardine can that acts as a resonator. In the history of avant garde ‘Linkage’ is held up alongside (perhaps better known) works by Alvin Lucier, Ellen Fullman and Alan Lamb/David Burraston/Robin Fox as among the finest recordings made on a long string instrument, and may well make listeners want to find the nearest railings or disused telephone wires in order to create their own range of deeply satisfying, reverberant twangs. For that matter, trams and their catenaries are usually a good place to find these sort of sounds, too (just don’t go attaching contact mics to live wires tho, eh?).
“Linkage, Fox's first album, was originally released in 1982 to accompany an installation at Kunstmuseum Luzern in Switzerland. The record would mark Fox's first attempt to realize his groundbreaking and visceral piece "Berlin Wall Scored for Sound."
Side one links five ways of playing the piano wires: drumming, pulling, bowing, beating and scraping. The room itself acts as a type of natural resonator as Fox moves the wires with padded mallet, his bare fingers, violin bow, wooden shish kebab stick and rusted metal rod. The effect of such plain arrangements can be utterly hypnotizing. The second half of Linkage was recorded in the attic of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, West Berlin, in May 1981. A thirty-three meter long wire was held in contact with a sardine tin. Over the course of 20 minutes, pulsating drones dissolve into rhythmic patterns that sound almost synthetic in origin. As noted in the original LP pamphlet, all these sounds were strictly acoustic; the only electronics involved was the recording equipment.
In an introduction for this edition, Marita Loosen-Fox and Ron Meyers write, "The desire to eliminate any barriers between the art and the viewer/audience connects all of Fox's situations/actions/performances. The ultimate goal is to communicate as directly as possible, which finds its most concentrated expression in the artist's works with sound."
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘No Agreement’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
"‘No Agreement’ is sometimes overlooked among Fela’s 1977 releases, eclipsed by albums such as ‘Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D.)’ and ‘Sorrow Tears and Blood’, yet it is among his best albums of the period. It includes an outstanding Afrika 70 instrumental, ‘Dog Eat Dog’. The track includes a solo by the American trumpeter Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who was then staying with Fela in Lagos."
One of the year’s more unexpected collaborations, legendary singer songwriter Mark Lanegan and Ecstatic maverick Alessio Natalizia, aka Not Waving, hook up for this timeless, modernist fusion of barrel-aged narratives and diverse, experimental backdrops that reminds us of everything from Scott Walker to Conny Plank & Moebius, from Christof Kurzmann to David Sylvian. It’s one of those rare link-ups that truly transcends the sum of its parts, with Natalizia's rolling range of nuanced electronics acting as a backdrop for Lanegan’s smoky barritone storytelling. Delivered in a husky but pliable voice, Lanegan inhabits the songs with a reserved presence that has served him so well for decades, but which has never been heard in quite this context.
Pairing music recorded by Natalizia between London, Italy, and Paris over the past five years, with vocals recorded by Lanegan in LA, the duo arrive at dreamy non-place that’s not defined by geography or time. Instead the album offers a timeless insight into human behaviour, as reflected in the sleeve art details from the ‘Lights of Canopus’, a Persian version of the ancient Indian book of animal fables, the ‘Panchatantra.’ Thanks to Lanegan’s classically dusty tone - famously described as being “scratchy as a three day beard yet as supple as moccasin leather” - and the breadth of Not Waving’s production, the results draw listeners deep into the artists’ shared plane of world-weary but quietly hopeful conception, emphasising the power of closeness and empathy.
Their songs come on like waves lapping a shore that’s ever-shifting, ever the same. This cycle is epitomised on the opener, ’Signifying The End’ with Lanegan’s raspy tone met by honeyed synths, before scaling the nocturnal heights of ‘City Of Sin’ and coolly channeling Suicide in ‘Burn Out Babylon.’ The waters calm again for ‘Persimmon Tree’ suitably set to harp-like arps, while the deathly croon and impending throb of ‘Murder In Fugue’ comes to rest in the serene resolution of ‘The Broken Man’ in a manner that’s entirely modernist but speaks to eons of human emotion.
Echoing everything from latter-days Scott Walker to David Sylvian at his most strung out, and even the odd energy of Moebius, Conny Plank & Mayo Thompson’s ‘Ludwig’s Law’ album, or the arcane creak of John Duncan’s ‘Bitter Earth’, Natalizia & Lanegan’s efforts will realign listeners presumptions of both artists and place them in a category all of their own.
Another wonder from the International Anthem label (Angel Bat Dawit) showcasing the refreshingly rude jazz experiments of Chicago’s Ben LaMar Gay. Bad-to-the-bone wig spinners well-fed on hip hop and electronica, but properly contemporary, cosmopolitan jazz at heart
“"Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun" is as much a 'greatest hits' as it is a 'debut album' for Ben LaMar Gay. It's a collection of music composed, performed & produced by the anomalous Southside Chicago-born, sometimes Brazil-residing artist, compiled from 7 albums he made over the last 7 years but never made the effort to actually release.
With its title taken from the mantra Ben repeats across several tracks on "Grapes" (1 of the 7 aforementioned albums), "Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun" is our effort to channel the rainbow of sonic expressions, art & poetry beaming from the ark of his unreleased catalogue into a cohesive & communicable compilation. It's as good of an introduction to Ben LaMar Gay as we could fit onto a single LP. To call it "eclectic" would only scratch the surface. This music is everything.”
Knitting Factory reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘Underground System’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
"The last album of newly recorded material to be released during Fela’s lifetime, 1992’s ‘Underground System’ is an outstanding swansong. While Fela’s recorded output slowed up as the 1980s progressed - largely as a result of ongoing arrests, beatings and jailings - his final years of recording produced some of his strongest work, notably ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’ (1986), ‘Beasts Of No Nation’ (1989), ‘Overtake Don Overtake Overtake’ (1990) and ‘Underground System’."
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘V.I.P.’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
"‘V.I.P.’ (Vagabonds In Power) was recorded live at the Berlin Jazz Festival in Autumn 1978 and released the following year. It is a ferocious and lyrically exalted attack on the abuse of state power. The festival straddled the cusp of the break-up of Afrika 70 and the formation of Egypt 80 in Spring 1979 and ‘V.I.P.’ was the last album Fela made with the drummer Tony Allen, who had been with him since 1964 and acted as Afrika 70’s bandleader."
A first tatse of Angolan producer Nazar's forthcoming 'Guerrilla' album, gonna be biggggg!
"Nazar coined the term “Rough Kuduro” as an interpretation of the Kuduro musical style, translating the upbeat sound to expose the uglier side of what he saw in Angola, heard first on 2019’s astonishing six track ‘Enclave’ EP. ‘Guerrilla’, Nazar’s debut album, examines his family’s collective memory and country's past, threading together oral histories, political realities, and artful re-imaginings of direct horrors, to document his personal story of the 25 year Angolan civil war and its aftermath in a detailed and episodic manner, particularly how his father's rank as a Rebel General led to a prolonged and continuing separation of his family across continents. Nazar tells his story both impressionistically, and at times with stark directness."
Tendon-testing broken beat torque from Flørist, finding his feet on TTT after leading the dance on All Caps, Pacific Rhythm and World Building in recent years
The EP featuires the first tracks that Flørist made after moving to Berlin from Canada, which exists in a permanent haze of chords and swinging house beats if Pacific Rhythm and the whole Canadian house wave are anything to judge by.
The vibe here is deep, but more stripped-down, restless and dubbed-out, resulting in the infectiously rude, bass-driven hustle and West London-style breaks of ‘4 Letter Word’ next to the fractious, desiccated dubbing of ‘Sail’ (engineered by C.Z. Wang), along with the more sultry, shuffling probe of ‘Horn’ and its bonus beats.
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D.)’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
"The reissue features original album artwork designed by Lemi Ghariokwu, who created the cover art for around half of Fela’s albums.
Originally released in 1977, ‘Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D.)’ features Fela lampooning Nigeria’s ‘been- tos’, people who had been to Europe or America to work or study and then returned (dropped) home with European social pretensions and an inferiority complex about African culture."
Fronted by alto maestro Byard Lancaster, this eponymous 1972 recording from the Philadelphian spiritual jazz/funk ensemble marks another wonderful release from Dogtown Records.
"Formed in the early 70s, the Sounds of Liberation was a group of Philadelphia musicians made up of Byard Lancaster, Khan Jamal, Monnette Sudler, Omar Hill, Dwight James, Rashid Salim and Billy Mills. The Sounds of Liberation mixed jazz, funk, free jazz and spiritual jazz into a harmonious celebration of sound. With their infectious music they even found themselves playing long side Kool and the Gang at the 6th Annual Miss Black America pageant. An incredibly rare record reissued for the first time."
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘Coffin For Head Of State’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
"The album is among Fela’s most courageous responses to the Nigerian army’s destruction of Kalakuta on 18 February 1977. During the attack, Fela’s mother, aged 78, a veteran of Nigeria’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule and an early campaigner for Nigerian women’s rights, was thrown out of an upstairs window, fracturing a leg. Fela believed that the assault led to his mother’s death 14 months later."
Four Tet brings in Avalon Emerson and Overmono for a trilling percussive dance
Four Tet offers the colourful, slow whirligig of ‘Teenage Birdsong’ and the quicker run of ‘Dreamer’ clad in mercurial arps, while Overmono supplies a jumpy sort of IDM/junglist remix, and Avalon reframes the same elements in a pendulous sort of dembow mutation.
Delroy Edwards’ L.A. Club Resource cue up unreleased heat by Ron Hardy, Armando, Sean Hardonson and Paul Johnson, all seemingly plucked outta thin air by Chicago’s Emanuel Pippin
With only a twitter account since 2014 to vouch for his existence, Emanuel Pippin may or may not be a figment of D.Edwards’ imagination, but whatever, ‘cos he’s coming with the rawest Chicago goods on this plate.
Uptown he turns out Sean Hardonson’s version of ‘Crash’, which purports to be the original version that inspired Lil’ Louis’ seminal ‘Video Clash’ track, alongside Armando’s sizzling use of Martin Luther King in ‘ML King Eulogy Track’, and Nick Non Stop’s original version of ‘House Nation’.
Downtown, he coughs up Ron Hardy’s grotty, sleazy jack track ‘Hardy Feet’, which clearly nods to ‘Video Clash’, and Pippin round up with his and Paul Johnson’s bugged-out take on Chip E’s ‘It’s House’ set to mek crowds slap the walls.
Knitting Factory Records reissue Fela Kuti’s ‘Army Arrangement’ on vinyl, previously only available as part of the Box Set series.
‘Army Arrangement’ is about Nigeria’s attempt at ‘democracy’ in 1979 after more than a decade of military rule.
Exquisite shadowplay of electro-acoustic, midnight jazz, and cinematic synth tropes from James Rushford, peer and collaborator of Oren Ambarchi, Klaus Lang and many more - RIYL Jakub Ullmann, Deathprod, Felicia Atkinson
“This LP is Rushford's first solo release in a decade and the very first he has composed, performed, and recorded entirely alone. Primarily recorded in Los Angeles in 2017, The Body's Night is a single electro-acoustic suite stretching over thirty minutes, utilizing field recordings, flutes, ocarina, microphones, organ, percussion, piano, tape, analog synthesizers, viola, and voice.
True to its title, the record immediately ushers into a nocturnal, intimate, claustrophobic space where the hyper-amplified rustle of clothing and vocal mumbles are shadowed by uneasy synth tones, fluttering white noise and distant filigrees of ultra-high-pitched tones at the edges of aural perception. While the influence of contemporary composers such as Klaus Lang and Jakob Ullmann (both of whose music Rushford has performed extensively) makes itself felt in the music's attention to the liminal space between sounds, Rushford also draws on the bedroom synth explorations of '80s acts like Déficit Des Années Antérieures (DDAA) and the harmonies and production values of black metal, drawing a common thread between these influences in terms of their shared interest in atmosphere and deliberate retreat from perspicuity.
Relief from this claustrophobic atmosphere comes through the episodic structure of the piece, where like an already dark shot fading to black, each sequence retreats from your ears before you can properly grasp it. Rushford uses classical electro-acoustic techniques and plays elegantly on the fundamental ambiguity of the acousmatic situation in which you can never be sure of the source of the sound you are hearing. But rather than a tribute to the masterworks of musique concrete, this is defiantly idiosyncratic and personal music. Meticulous in production values and exploratory in timbre, tonality and form, The Body's Night is a key work from one of the most singular young composers at work today. Stunning artwork by O.B. De Alessi. Design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered and cut at 45rpm for maximum fidelity by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.”
Carla dal Forno’s keenly anticipated 2nd album pays dividends on the promise of her debut, returning a gorgeous, stately suite of chamber pop that certifies her among the most vital songwriters in her field. Tipped to fans of Nico, HTRK, CS + Kreme, Dome, Julee Cruise...
Forming an exquisitely pruned bouquet of midnight wildflowers, ‘Look Up Sharp’ makes the shrugging pop of Carla’s debut LP ‘You Know What It’s Like’  feel almost naif by comparison. With her vocals cleanly poised high in the mix, as though throned in a wide, high-ceilinged room lofted above the city, Carla speaks to a sort of resigned state of mind, coolly coming to terms with a sense of impending doom that resonates with early post-punk concerns over nuclear war and how the old world informs the present.
It’s perhaps best seen as an exercise in snatching relief from the jaws of misery; an idea is conveyed in the plaintive reserve of her vocals and the urge of the album’s title, and arrestingly enunciated between the album’s most immediate standouts, from the driving gothic succour of opener ‘No Trace’, to the elegant self-realisation of ‘I’m Conscious’, leading her to similarly downbeat but not beat conclusions as HTRK in the smoky shuffle of ‘Took A Long Time’ and the quietly optimistic closer, ‘Push On.’
Keeling roots dub platter yielding Sheila Rickards and King Tubby’s super rare and amazing cut backed with dubs. Previously available on an obscure compilation from Toronto in the ‘70s, this edition follows a 10” pressing in 2013, omitting the acapella for King Tubby & Prince Philip’s ‘The Dub Station’ mix, plus dubs by The Aggrovators and Diggory Kendrick.
The knockout original features Sheila Rickards belting out a powerful story about Jamaicans’ journey from Africa and struggles during the era of slavery and colonialism, set to a deadly riddim brimming with organs and a full voiced wind section. Prince Philip (no, definitely not that twat), who worked in King Tubby’s studio during the ‘70s, jumps in with Tubby on a rocking dub, backed with the totally haunting ‘Roots Jamaica Dub’ giving room for the The Aggrovators’ crack squad to cut loose, while the Diggory Kendrick dub wraps up with a blinding psychedelic mix lending lots of room in the upper registers for his woozy flute.
Tapping a sublime vein of purely vocal improv inspired by local landscape, history and people, Norfolk’s Laura Cannell and Polly Wright quietly blow us away with their debut collaboration.
Remarkably conceived, recorded and released in 2019 - the same year they first met - ‘Sing as the Crow Flies’ is a super-natural meeting of mutual souls seeking to limn a sort of deep topographical reading of their home turf in a series of haunting, near-wordless hymns. Shockingly effortless in execution and spine-freezing in effect, the nine songs are Laura & Polly’s beautifully concerted effort to rectify the lack of historical female voices in text or music hailing from the Norfolk/Suffolk borders where they live and create. With little to go on, they decided there’s no better time than now to start adding their joint female voices and experiences to the rural sound ecology and culture of East Anglia, and we, at the least, are dead happy they did so.
Drawing on a shared formative background in classical music (and specialities in medieval composition), they nod to the sort of heterophonic improvisation found in Pslams from the Isles of Lewis (as on those Arc Light Editions volumes), as well as Hildegaard Von Bingen inspired call-and-response styles, while taking select words from the 18th C. text ‘Norfolk Garland, A Collection of the Superstitious Beliefs and Practices, Proverbs, Curious Customs, Ballads and Songs, of the People of Norfolk’ to provide structural underpinnings. But what happens in between is just a spellbinding sort of magick, using Raveningham Church as a sounding chamber for their finely controlled but naturally keening and graceful, unhurried expressions of tradition and folklore.
The piece also exists as an installation of five telephone receivers dangling from a tree, in the landscape it was informed by and created for, and may well draw us for a maiden voyage to Norfolk just to get the full experience of this beautiful album.
Carl Stone weaves his sampler magic on Danish jazz duo Bremer/McCoy’s debut album for Luaka Bop with thizzing results
In Stone’s deft hands Bremer/McCoy’s ‘Højder’ is spun into a lissom, vaporous moiré of loops by the singular American composer in a lustrous, swirling style that will be easily recognised by anyone who’s been captivated by his albums for Unseen Worlds and his ruck of unstitched and reweft pop and avant-garde missives since 1983.