UR’s seminal and breathtaking Detroit techno masterpiece resurfaces for a 2019 reissue
First emerging in 1992 as the 20th UR release, ‘World 2 World’ is deeply cherished for a number of very good reasons. The first is ‘Amazon’, a golden example of Mad Mike’s rousing synth play at work over infectious breaks-driven techno rhythms - a proper end of night classic - while the other lies firmly with ‘Jupiter Jazz’, a stellar piece of hi-tek soul that is gospel to any self-respecting classic techno and house fiend. That’s not to discount the lush ‘Cosmic Traveller’ and the AGCG/808 State-echoing hustle of ‘Greater Than Yourself’, but that A-side is likely to carry all the workload.
Soundtracks For The Blind was intended to be the final studio album by Swans, released as a double disc epic in 1996.
The album finds the band's sound taking various disparate forms, from the droning ambient tones of opener 'Red Velvet Corridor', to the odd pulsing techno of 'Volcano' via more conventional (if that's even a word that can be associated with Swans) song-based recordings.
This is an album that's all over the place in stylistic terms, but given the volume of material, it takes on something of an epic feel, somehow making sense as a single drawn out narrative. The spooky dulcimers of 'Secret Friends' match up with the atmospheric dissonances of 'I Was A Prisoner In Your Skull' and the nerve jangling, haunted house songwriting of 'Her Mouth Is Filed With Honey'.
Clap! Clap! (aka Cristiano Crisci) returns with his second album for Black Acre, following on from his colorful breakthrough debut LP 'Tayi Bebba'.
After contributions to Beating Heart’s Malawi compilation last year, Florence producer Cristiano Crisci returns to the Black Acre fold for a second Clap! Clap! album. Looking to expand on his vibrant 2014 debut album, Crisci retains the narrative-driven approach on A Thousand Skies whilst engaging with more guest artists on a series of collaborations. Planet Mu signees John Wizards feature alongside fellow South African folk singer Bongeziwe Mabandla, Crammed Discs duo OY and Italian beatmaker HDADD.
These collaborations add further colour to the Clap! Clap! world, the live instrumentation of John Wizards meshing perfectly with Crisci’s nimble-fingered sample manipulation on A Thousand Skies Under Cepheus’ Erudite Eyes. OY seem perfect studio partners for Crisci on the light hip hop flutter of Hope, whilst Ar-Raqis comes on like A Made Up Sound let loose on Ndagga Rhythm Force.
Its debatable how convincing the narrative thrust is, supposedly framed around a young girl’s journey skywards towards the stars, but Crisci’s colourful sonic vision is engaging enough.
Eternal charmers ISAN investigate the melancholy inner life of their machines with a typically tender touch in a very user-friendly, gorgeous album of burbling electronica.
Arriving just over 20 years since their now-classic debut LP, ISAN’s new side finds that not much has changed in their self-contained world of gilded and exquisitely melodic small sound composition, and nobody’s complaining. Future-proofed by their feel for low-key melancholic ambiguity, they maintain a line of music that’s sweetly primed for warmth.
As ever with ISAN’s music the devil lies in the detail of their recordings. Ostensibly simple and stripped down, there are extremely fine layers of plasmic resonance that inhabit the background and periphery of their elegantly fluid and ribboning arrangements. With the sleight of a master hypnotist they subtly draw the ears in one direction while subliminally illuminating the layers surrounding it, leading the ear’s roving eye to wander the soundfield in slow saccades between their pointillist motifs and strange harmonic remainders.
The effect is just gorgeous, prompting very cute highlights between the kosmische lullaby of ‘Perlon’, and the nimbly star-stepping gait of ‘Ichthyosaur’, along with the crystalline shimmer of ’Strix Aluco’ and the AFXian bliss of ‘Ephemeroptera’, before waltzing you to bed with ‘Calliscope’ and their sighing title song.
Kaspi & Stride supply an unexpected turn of dubbed-out, sidewinding, ambient dance music as the 2nd release on Soda Gong; the label set-up by Students of Decay owner Alex Cobb to explore “work culled from a wider range of genres”.
Moving on from Cobb’s inaugural outing as Etelin with the textured ambient of 2018’s ‘Hui Terra’ side, he brings Justin Tripp (Georgia) and Jimy SeiTang (formerly Psychic Ills) into the label fold with a skudgy batch of dancefloor future-primitivism mashing tribal rhythms with stellar ambient synth strokes and wormy electronics.
The sound is a few shades away from Tripp’s work with Georgia, but miles from what we’ve heard of SeiTang, divining a sweet spot of psychedelic dance music between their own aesthetics, at best in keening electro-jazz hustle of ‘Padonki’, along with nods to tenderly soulful deep house in ‘Dwell Time’, and submerged deep techno structures within ‘Variant.’
Shapednoise cold crushes it on his long-awaited ‘Asethesis’ album for Numbers, making up for a noticeable absence from release schedules since his 2018 turn with The Sprawl
The Sicilian artist returns at his most belligerent and destructive in ‘Aesthesis’ for a ferocious demonstration of brutalist sound design tekkers, as previously scattered between releases since 2010 for everyone from Hospital Productions to Type and Opal Tapes. Accompanied on this mission by Mhysa, Justin K Broadrick, and Drew McDowell & Rabit, the Berlin-based noise mutant plays to the full extent of his powers, absorbing aspects of ruggedest rap, caustic hardcore techno, charred metal into his sophisticated electronic sound sculptures.
Since emerging at the start of this decade, Shapednoise has come to represent a certain new wave of noise makers who are less bothered about improvising with amps in scuzzy basements and more intently focussed on fusing skilled sound design and elements of club music for optimal, physical effect inspired by club music. ‘Aesthesis’ is his most deliberate and distinguished example of this aesthetic urge, delivering nine excoriating works that will be appreciated not only by headstrong noise diehards, but also anyone with an interest in cutting edge sound design and radical dance music.
With a manacled grasp of tempered sensory overload, he delivers a thrilling volley of masochistic and masticated arrangements resulting standouts including the tempestuous churn of ‘Moby Dick’ with Coil’s Drew McDowell and Rabit, the whelming intensity of ‘CRx’, and two almighty, rhythm-driven pieces in the shudder of ‘Blasting Super Melt’ and the drill tics of ‘Elevation’, but they’re best swallowed in one whole album sitting, without sugar, as a noisy tonic for the soul.
“DeForrest Brown, Jr. is an outspoken theorist, journalist, curator, visual artist and musician. He often collaborates with his partner Ting Ding, a visual designer/statistical analyst who co-runs the sustainable gender-flexible apparel line HECHA / 做.
"Raised in the deep South, DeForrest moved to New York seven years ago and has been shaking things up IRL and online ever since. He asks difficult questions that make us reconsider how we think about race, class, historical events and social/economic structures in America. His work defies narrow definitions. He’s a unique cultural polygot who was the inaugural Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at ISSUE Project Room, booking artists like Felicia Atkinson and Quantum Natives. When he’s not presenting audiovisual works in esteemed art contexts, he’s in the streets representing the “Make Techno Black Again” hat and campaign.
His music project Speaker Music was inspired by Rhythmanalysis, a book of essays by urbanist philosopher Henri Lefebvre as well as considerations of vibe, momentum and the “chronopolitical” in Black music as defined by British cultural theorist Kodwo Eshun. Speaker Music mobilizes freely improvised electronic percussion and stereophonic audio recordings. Speaker Music yearns to caress, engineer and sculpt sentiment into a multi-textural rhythmic body, quivering moments into a collapsed “nonpulsed time.”
His debut for Planet Mu centers around gestural sonic portraitures of sonorous and cybernetic ensemble energy music. of desire, longing is a time-based release meant to fill both sides of the vinyl completely, working against the quick turnover rate of the current track-based standard of the streaming economy. Through his empathetic “touching of frequencies,” DeForrest unveils a romantic abstraction of sonic narratives that recalls previous innovations by electronic and jazz musicians such as Les McCann, Urban Tribe and James Stinson. of desire, longing encodes the listener with an encrypted heat, made “with empathy” and “without excess.””
Head straight to the 2nd piece here, where Zoë appears to channel Diamanda Galas...great stuff.
“Radically shapeshifting and surrealist, as spinning sonic prisms taunting the ears, ‘Cercle Vicieux’ and ‘Cercle Vertueux’ channel Fluxus artistry, straying past jazz-licked drones, avalanching low end and blood red scatting. Scenes both condescending and anxious — this release is carried by its interwoven conflicts, where strange attractors reveal knots at each listen.
The fifth Plafond is a special joint project tying the synchronicity of two contemporary minds. Both Zoë Mc Pherson and Rupert Clervaux are known to actively transgress art forms, reconstituting production methods through respective audiovisual and literary pursuits. The listener is relocated in their musical interzone, bordered by avant-garde experimentalism on one side, and bass-heavy club mutations on the other. This ambiguation lays out a gateway, one through which modern producers can re-adopt the revolutionary energy of those who unraveled conventions on music and sound in the first place — a ‘Cercle Vertueux’, indeed.”
Classically ‘90s-skooled IDM tekkers from Ukraine’s Andriy Vezdenko aka Noumen on the SoYo stronghold of CPU.
Like his ‘Apron’ 2LP and ‘White Silence’ 12”, Noumen’s 2nd album of electro intricacies and melancholy pads ‘Obscurium’ is clearly steeped in the styles of mid-late ‘90s Autechre, µ-Ziq, B12 and Arovane.
Harking back to a time when people weren’t so distracted by social media and that kind of fluff, ‘Obscurium’ is constructed with the kind of focussed meticulousness that requires heavy concentration in production, yet feels light and elegant on the user’s end, riddled with yearning melodies and keening harmonics that illuminate and contrast with his knottier rhythms, lighting them up like wire sculptures in a virtual gallery.
Digital reissue of Maaco’s in-demand D.I.E. volley of 2010, packing five hard-working electro zingers
Going on like a soundtrack to a deep episode of New Dance Show where the MDMA is really kicking in, the session dials the party in between the rude electro-funk of ‘Detroit Party Train’, some lip-smacking electro-soul in ‘Nothing’s Like Detroit’, smooth electro-house a la Other People Place in ‘Dutch Friends’, and the puckered slam of ‘FM Sucks (Give it to ‘Em)’.
Captivating, eerily disorienting collage of cut-up vocals and music recorded from Lebanese radio during the country’s civil war circa 1975-1990, broken down and re-arranged from over 300 hours of material
“’In this 24-minute composition, released here in its original name for the first time, Yassin encapsulates and condenses the aural and sonic landscapes experienced by those who bore witness to the war. In the 1980s, while the Lebanese Civil War, which ravaged the country between 1975 and 1990, was raging, television but particularly transistor radios were the only means through which people heard the news during interminable periods of power cuts or waiting in basement shelters.
The audio material was collected by Yassin on his regular trips to the dispersed and neglected archives of militias and political parties, radio and TV stations, and record shops across Lebanon. Built from over 300 hours of material, Yassin has woven together a composition using political speeches; radio and television commercials; news flashes and jingles; local 80s pop music; dubbed Japanese anime songs; propaganda, resistance, and revolutionary party songs; snippets from Ziad Rahbani plays and many more. The recordings in CW Tapes are the sonic equivalents of Proust’s madeleines to any individual who was old enough to remember the war and its immediate aftermath; they effortlessly conjure the collective memory of children, teenagers and adults alike. Commercials, songs and speeches collide and intertwine as if Yassin had plugged a radio tuner into his mind, sounding out a deeply personal sonic terrain that echoes the hidden sonic memories of his contemporaries in which sounds ebb and flow as if they were heard in a dream (or nightmare).
Beside the diversity of its sounds, what is most striking in this record is the minute attention to the musicality of the different recordings Yassin uses, whether they are propaganda pieces, vocal patterns or news jingles. What you hear in the beginning of the CW Tapes, for example, is Raed Yassin’s fascination for the different political and musical figures that populated the Lebanese media landscape across the 1980s. In this bewildering introduction, he highlights the absurdity of the war by lacing together a political speech given by Bachir Gemayel (a senior member of the right-wing Christian Phalange party and the founder and commander of the Lebanese Forces militia during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War who was killed in 1982 when he was elected president) with a frivolous and upbeat pop song by Lebanese pop singer Sammy Clark whose tunes are heard at different moments in the piece. The composition unfurls an array of overlapping tonalities and textures as well as a glossolalia made of processed voices that inhabited the archaic technologies of the time. Words become increasingly indecipherable as the piece progresses, with a beautiful passage in which Yassin isolates sighs and breaths — as if to mark moments of respite during the war— until another commercial or pop song is blasted at full volume again. We can also hear what has become a staple in Yassin’s other musical projects, which is the sporadic inclusion of him singing or whistling over songs. In his continuous efforts to mine and work through the sonic archives of Lebanon’s recent past, the CW Tapes is possibly Yassin’s most personal output to date.‘’
Rayya Badran, Beirut, January 2019”
Shelter Press cap 2019 with a steeply hypnotic, four hour long immersion into the liminal boundaries of Ben Vida’s digital and analog synthesis - one of the most immersive and moving releases we’ve heard this year and an unmissable trip for followers of Eliane Radigue, Dennis Johnson, La Monte Young, Morton Feldman or anyone who fell deep into Jim O’Rourke’s recent, similarly epic 'To Magnetize Money And Catch A Roving Eye’ set.
Ben Vida’s first solo release in three years finds him fully consumed by ideas on perceptions of time, grain and tone. In four glacial movements he commits a vast array of dematerialised drones which, while ostensibly minimalist, are rich with sonic phenomena and granular details that become apparent with focussed listening. The work is the result of Vida’s own daily practice involving deep, sustained listening processes, as he strives to achieve the rarified effects evoked by seminal minimalist works from the ‘60s to the ‘90s which, like this one, combine ideas from maths and non-Western tunings with the tireless capacities of electronics to highlight the most intimate and elemental sonic phenomena and manifest their transcendental nature with meditative effect.
Perhaps the best metaphor for this sound is the idea that still waters run deep. The oceanic scale of the album mirrors a rich sense of inner life to Ben Vida’s music, highlighting through its glacial developments the paradoxical relationships between perceptions of macroscopic density and granular, nanoscopic detail that draws the ear between the concrete, discrete and ephemeral nature of his sounds. While rich in detail, the piece gets really interesting in its transitions between the tidal swells of its many parts, when the diffracted flow results in strange, ear-probing junctures of sonic phenomena and arcing harmonic formations begin to reveal themselves in monumental events.
A challenging amount of endurance is required to follow the full shape of ‘Reducing The Tempo To Zero’, but once caught in its temporality the effect is remarkable, recalling to our minds the character in Ballard’s ‘Myths of The Near Future’ who suffers from delusions that he’s an astronaut, and who begins to perceive a loosening of the boundaries between past, present and future amid the shimmering golden light of Florida. Swap space for the ocean, and the ocean for inner space, and Vida’s sonorous 4 hours of swimming sound have the capacity to supply a overwhelming subjective experience for those with an open imagination and precious spare time on their hands to get better acquainted with their own grasp of time. One or the holidays then.
Music by Julian Warner, Markus Acher & Tobias Siegert.
"I remember the first time I read W.E.B. DuBois eclectic masterpiece The Souls of Black Folk. The way in which this Weberian scholar flowed from personal account to prose to sociological analysis to music and even political intervention has had a lasting impact on my own work as a cultural anthropologist. It made me understand that as scholars we must use different means in order to give expression to the totality of the lived experience: There is only so much in an academic text.
The experience of alienation has always been at the heart of my scholarly and artistic practice. I have used academic writing, lecturing, theatre performance and electronic improvisation to understand and represent it as a theoretical concept, postcolonial condition and lived experience. I believe, some issues need to be told like a story, some analyzed in most abstract terms and others need to be sung like a gospel. The medium changes the message.
In this sense, I guess, I’m a singing cultural anthropologist.
For some time now I have been engaged in the use of dystopian themes and sounds to paint a sonic picture of structural racism and whiteness of our present. But recently I have grown weary of this Ballardian idea of Future Now and the resulting phantasmagorian aesthetics myself and others have been invested in. The widespread availability of Digital Audio Workstations, sequencers, loopers and delay pedals has lead us into a futuristic cul de sac best described by Mark Fisher as the very absence of future.
Likewise, I am most skeptical of the “naturalist” countermovement, the return of folk. Especially in Germany, I am convinced there is no such thing as an innocent or progressive folk musical expression as it is always connected to the idea of the homeland (“Heimat”) which in turn produces the colony. It seems to me, the current zeitgeist is stuck between a “museum of a dystopian future” and a “museum of an idealized past”, but I wanted to sing about the present.
So, I involuntarily returned to pop music in its two-folded meaning of something popular and addressing not an essentialist notion of “Volk” or its woke cousin “communities”, but society as a whole.
I entered the studio just with a few lo-fi sounding melodies and rhythms from my circuit bent CASIO synthesizer. I had no clue what the finished product would sound like. But as soon as Markus started drumming, in a way strangely reminding me of CAN’s Ethnographic Forgery Series, my uptight sounds were suddenly embedded within a warmer global sound spectrum. The alien at home and abroad and the strange overlapped: We were seeing one and the same sound differently but were gently held together by Tobias’ producing.
Making music is about building coalitions. It’s about suggesting an articulation of styles, sounds and people, that hasn’t materialized, yet, but may help us in the current crisis: I wanted Amon Düül II to send their drug induced archangel thunderbird to rescue the refugees, that had tried to escape the police by climbing up a tree in Munich in 2016. I wanted Sun Ra to taunt far-right protesters in Chemnitz in 2018. And I wanted to mourn the loss of a former kebab shop cum discotheque that served as proof that there is such a thing as a minoritarian universalism.
SCHLAND IS THE PLACE FOR ME is a pop album featuring songs of alienation, not only as a tragic experience, but as a pop-cultural promise. Maybe Bill Callahan sung it best, “I am Star Wars today, I am no longer English grey”. I want those who suffer from alienation to stand in alliance with those who seek alienation, and vice-versa. A coalition, that tolerates the possibility that we are moved by the same groove for contrary reasons."
Fehler Kuti Munich, Autumn 2019
Badge Époque Ensemble are the suavest retro-prog-funk-lounge players on the corner and their ‘Nature, Man & Woman’ EP is bound to seduce your ears
“It’s been a few short months since Badge Époque Ensemble released their self titled debut, an ambiguous collection of woozy, narcotized funk. And yet already we have Nature, Man & Woman - a simmering new platter containing 3 songs, producing 26 minutes of dank flute-oriented atmosphere.
The A side contains 2 songs, which seem to hint at diverging future directions this eclectic combo might take moving forward. Opener “Zealous Child” comes as something of a sequel to the debut LP’s sole vocal featuring track “Undressed In Solitude”. This go round BÉE have teamed up with Toronto singer Dorothea Paas to ruminate on notions of spiritual wisdom overtop a progressive and climactically bombastic homebrew. Title track “Nature, Man & Woman” closes out the side with 6 ominous minutes of mysterious provenance.
On Badge Theme we find the group upping the ante of the sound of their debut, unspooling 14 minutes of sensual Ike Hayes indebted oomph, sure to thrill future generations of loop diggers (cut live off the floor no less!).”
Odyssey: The Sound Of Ivor Raymonde Vol II’ is Bella Union’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed ‘Paradise: The Sound Of Ivor Raymonde’.
"This new compilation is a further celebration of the great British arranger, musical director, producer and songwriter Ivor Raymonde, who died at age 63 in 1990. Bella Union, the label behind both releases, is run by Ivor’s son Simon Raymonde. Like ‘Paradise’, ‘Odyssey’ has been compiled by Simon with author, journalist and music historian Kieron Tyler. Simon explains that: “The research Kieron and I did for Paradise showed us that there was still an extremely rich seam of his music to be uncovered. A follow-up volume was increasingly inevitable.” ‘Paradise’ told the story of a British musical great for the first time. Classic Sixties hits like Billy Fury’s ‘Halfway To Paradise’, Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ (co-written by Ivor) and The Walker Brothers’ ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’ were collected. All were arranged or produced by Ivor and heard alongside just as fantastic tracks by David Bowie, Sonny Childe, Cindy Cole, Tom Jones, Los Bravos and Helen Shapiro. ‘Odyssey’ is additional confirmation of the scope of Ivor’s talents. More hits are featured: the Alan Price Set’s irresistible Top Five interpretation of Randy Newman’s ‘Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear’, Dusty Springfield’s kinetic ‘Little By Little’, Frankie Vaughan’s epic chart topper ‘Tower Of Strength’ and the aural drama of Marty Wilde And His Wildcats’ ‘Endless Sleep’.
There are also lesser-known tracks by best-sellers: Los Bravos’ Raymonde-composed soul stomper ‘Brand New Baby’, Cat Stevens’ moody ‘Blackness Of The Night’ and the extraordinary 1966 Walker Brothers’ album track ‘Where’s The Girl’, which pointed to where the solo Scott Walker would soon be heading.
Although Ivor Raymonde was a back-room figure, he made the Top 30 in early 1963 as the clandestine vocalist with The Chucks – a studio demo had been made with no intention of it ending up in record shops. Then, it was issued and a band name needed. Ivor plumped for The Chucks and ‘Loo-Be-Loo’ began rising up the charts. On Odyssey, it is at last given its context. Going into the reasons for a follow-up to ‘Paradise’, Simon adds “I knew there was more but even a serial curator, late-night trawler like me, at some point thinks ‘the best stuff must now surely be all discovered.’ But finding tracks like Christopher Colt’s ‘Girl In The Mirror’ is like unearthing a rare Donovan track produced by Ray Davies. Probably my favourite discovery was The Martells’ ‘Time To Say Goodnight’ which Ivor produced when he worked at Decca Records. They only released one seven-inch single which sells for over £200, so it’s quite a rarity and more importantly a banger of a track.”
RAMZi ushers in a new chapter of her fantasy dance and downbeat saga on her FATi Records. Marking up her only solo trip of 2019 following her role with Priori in Jumanjí and guest input for New World Science and SK U Kno, ‘Multiquest-Niveau 1: Camouflé’ sees the Canadian producer shapeshifting between chimeric blends of Balearic acid with Indian classicism and deep house in 11 vision quests destined for smudged-out after-hours and weekend mini-breaks sequestered in your bedroom.
Neatly rubbed of any sharp edges, the chapter gently unfolds along multiple axes at once, taking heads for a swim between heavy-lidded proto-Goan vibes in the easy sashay of ‘Muskin’, to spaces that recall a warmer adjunct to Moon Wiring Club’s phantasmic scene with the likes of her grubbing ‘Rubicon’, and the swirling space of ‘Balmi’, while following hunches into secret dancefloor styles on the milky flow of ‘Attack moussaillon’ or the Jamal Moss-like cubist jazz house of ‘La nuit l’été 1996’, and making spine-tracing use of fragrant vocal samples from UK bhangra star Billy Sagoo’s ‘O Saathi Re’ & ‘Qurbani’ in a style recalling Mappa Mundi’s east/west sampler chops on ‘O Saathi - for Aileen’, while Suzanne Kraft aka SK U Kno joins in the frolics on the dubbed-out radiance of ‘RAMZi’s Anthem’.
Jessica Pratt’s exceedingly strange, seemingly sped up but ultimately completely immersive vocals are in haunting/beguiling effect on her 3rd album following an eponymous 2012 debut and ‘On Your Own Love Again’ [Drag City, 2015]. You’re either going to think the engineer is taking the piss or you’ll fall heavy under her spell - count us firnly under the latter....
“For her third album Quiet Signs, Jessica Pratt offers up nine spare, beautiful & mysterious songs that feel like the culmination of her work to date. "Fare Thee Well" and "Poly Blue" retain glimmers of On Your Own Love Again's hazy day spells, but delicate arrangements for piano, flute, organ and strings instill a lush, chamber pop vim. The record's B-side, meanwhile, glows with an arresting late-night clarity; the first single, "This Time Around," pairs the Los Angeles artist's intimate vulnerability with a newfound resolve. Ultimately, this confidence is what sets Quiet Signs apart from Pratt's previous work, the journey of an artist stepping out of the darkened wings to take her place as one of this generation's preeminent songwriters.”
Inch-tight garage arrows from Sharda, the most up-for-it alias of Chris Pell aka Murlo
Doing it for his people at Local Action after shots via Swing Ting and Kiwi Rekords, Sharda pops the cork on six tip-toe bubblers buttoned up and polished for friday/saturday nights on the lash in your Louboutins/Air Max and matching Moschino playsuit.
The vibe rolls out from 127bpm warm-up mode in the wavy ‘Ravecity Riverfront’ to pizzicato strings and pitching vocals on the sizzling pivot of ‘Alpine’, and latinate, bubbling’ breaks tucked in ‘Tunnel Vision’, while ‘Replay’ pushes the tempo up to debonaire speed garage disco rufige, ‘memory’ ramps to happy hardcore levels of rave recklessness sure to get a lot of play ‘round our way along with the bullish, gibber-jawed peak of ‘Rowdy Boy Ringroad’.
Frighteningly beautiful, piercingly emotive strings, keys and vocals from the Glaswegian bard and his barcelona foil, revolving some of Youngs’ most direct songwriting since 1998’s ‘Sapphie’ classic.
At risk of repeating ourselves, these ears took a good few years to wrap around Richard Youngs for various reasons - be it age, “taste”, a formative aversion to folk music, whatever, I’m unsure - but when it clicked his music became a real treat that just made instinctive sense, ‘All Hands Around The Moment’ follows as the most instantly gratifying Youngs release in ages, and makes a perfect entry point for anyone else who may have sat on the fence about his work, or even not encountered it all, and likewise extends an ideal introduction to his playing partner; Spanish musician, composer and producer Raül Refree.
In all four parts Youngs exerts his canny potential to cure anyone who has grown sick or away from folk music and its naturally hoary conventions. By dint of his confident vocal clarity and the music’s lissom instrumental arrangements, inspired by jazz-wise torch songs as much as folk, Youngs and Refree cut to the core in a classic fashion that resonates equally with the timeless appeal of liturgical plainsong and Tim Buckley’s bleeding heart romance, supplying eons worth of immanent reflection between the wilting beauty of ‘Time Is An Avalanche’, the bruisingly broody turns of phrase in ‘Nil By Mouth’, and the somehow ancient-feeling but entirely modern expression of ‘Another Language’.
Jason Pierce of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 tackles a lengthy piece of music assembled from electronically treated guitar loops (as you no doubt guessed from the title) and a bit of lo-fi percussion.
The result is an enormously dynamic, often difficult venture into the avant-garde, far-removed from the trance-inducing pop Pierce built his name on. There's a great deal of sophisticated noise tinkering at work here, and the loops themselves aren't built from the customary drone tones but rather highly energetic guitar phrasings and full-on string assaults.
The sound materials that get thrown together on these recordings vary from near silent amp hiss textures to marauding distortion, and there's no linear build-up as is so often the case with these long-form experiments, instead there's an unpredictable stream-of-consciousness approach that makes the whole thing sound liberated.
Quirke’s ghostly take on IDM/electronica/ambient techno was always suited to long-formats and ‘Steal A Golden Hall’ proves it with nine diverse tracks spooling from rave-obliterated ambient noise to nervy electro, spring-loaded jungle, and haunted ambient headspace.
"Are you still there?" "Yeah so she said the body is the mind's measuring instrument or something - the mind renders information registered on its sensory surface, combines it with old info from the same source and keeps the whole accumulated stock poised to guide action" "Hence why it sounds like this?" "Yeah exactly"
All you need to know about Manchester’s Claro Intelecto is collected and spread out over two volumes of ‘In Vitro’
Headed up by the gorgeous and playful ‘Chicago’ off his 2004 follow-up to the ‘Peace Of Mind EP’, which still has the capacity to make grown men cry within its opening bars, ‘In Vitro - Volume Two’ is testament to the singular, classic sound of Mark Stewart aka Claro Intelecto - the Manchester-based producer who notably inspired Andy Stott to produce, and who dominated the mid-late ‘00s with his slew of warehouse-ready dance music for Ai and Modern Love.
The deeply rugged ‘Chicago’ aside, make sure to also check for another early nugget in the sublime drama of ‘Signifier’ and the rocking electro burner ‘Tone’, both off the ‘Peace Of Mind EP’, and also for the more streamlined, padded sound of ‘Patience’ from his Modern Love debut, and the heaving throb of ‘Remember’.
Blowing warm, melodic kisses from a balmier, synthetic, parallel dimension, Melanie Velarde reminds us that summer is months away but it’s OK 'cos her music is synthetic vitamin D
If you gathered Mike Cooper, Domenique Dumont and Moon Wheel for a midnight recording session in the tropics, the results may come out sounding like ‘Bez’, which may or may not be a tribute to the Mondays’ g.
One of Venetian Snares’ most prized early releases is finally available again, remastered and repacked with 3 rare bonus cuts from the same era of breakcore madness
Originally Snares first vinyl release back in 1999, ‘Greg Hates Car Culture’ captured the eminent genius at his rawest during a more playful phase before his better known run of albums for Planet Mu.
Snares now takes charge of this gear on his Timesig sublabel of Mu, adding bonus cuts in the hard-stepping ramraid ‘Milk’, the speedcore force of ‘Eating America With Pointed Dentures’, and the snotty blatz of ‘Punk Kids’ to a collection of breaker classics including The Big Lebowski-sampling ‘Fuck A Stranger In The Ass’ and ‘Personal Discourse’, which features samples of himself phoning in to a dominatrix live on cable TV, as you do.
Buchla synth repairman and artist Richard Smith aka Shasta Cults get right under the hood of a rare Buchla Touché model on an incredible follow-up to the ‘Configurations’ CD and participation alongside Sarah Davachi and Christina Vantzou as part of "open sourced” music project Daughter Produkt. Very highly recommended if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Sarah Davachi or ELEH.
As the go-to guy for repairs on rare and cranky old Buchla models owned by everyone from AFX to Suzanne Ciani and Morton Subotnick and Mills College, we’re really playing down Richard Smith’s behind-the-scenes importance to swathes of modern electronic music. Following his shift to centerstage on the recent ‘Configurations’, an exploration of the Buchla 700’s unique fidelities, Smith now meticulously investigates the sheer timbral properties of the only full-functional Buchla Touché; a model developed in the early ‘80s by Don Buchla with software programmed by David Rosenboom, which features waveforms generated internally by 24 digital oscillators and uses FM synthesis techniques along with sophisticated hybrid analog/digital signal processing to produce complex timbres.
'Shasta Cults' is a reference to Mt. Shasta and the UFO worshipping cults of the cascade mountains in Siskiyou County, northern California. Its 6 tracks find Smith coaxing out a series of glistening panoramic soundscapes that radiantly render the Buchla’s Touché potential for creating exquisitely fine grained tones. From intoxicatingly sonorous, almost olfactory sensations in ‘Prologue’, his ‘Console’ piece coruscates with a gripping dissonant edge, while ‘Incline’ surely emulates the sweeping contours of his home in Vancouver. In that sense it’s fair to say that the darker tone of ‘DA3’ connotes the feeling of nightfall picking out distant, jagged horizons, and ‘Fourgan’ recalls the more brooding organ invocations of the likes of Antony Pateras or Randall Dunn, before ‘Chinook’ (literally meaning 'a warm wind in winter') rises as the final peak in the landscape so beautifully limned by Shasta Cults.
All you need to know about Manchester’s Claro Intelecto is collected and spread out over two volumes of ‘In Vitro’
Headed up by the anthemic title tune of his 2003 debut ‘Peace Of Mind EP’, which still has the capacity to make grown men cry within its opening bars, ‘In Vitro - Volume One’ is testament to the singular, classic sound of Mark Stewart aka Claro Intelecto - the Manchester-based producer who notably inspired Andy Stott to produce, and who dominated the mid-late ‘00s with his slew of warehouse-ready dance music for Ai and Modern Love.
Aside from the obvious gem, make sure to look out for the square bass sleaze of ‘Contact’ from the same release, plus the deep rarity ‘Heart (Warehouse Mix)’ - previously only available on a bonus 10” with ‘Reform’, and the MDMA-glow aura of ‘It’s Getting Late’. Actually rthere's tonnes of good shit on here...
The old adage “You don’t know what’s missing until it’s gone” applies to the return of Ekoplekz with ‘Library Tool Kit’ - Nick Edwards first significant release of new material since 2015’s ‘Entropik’ EP for Planet Mu
“ABOUT THE “LIBRARY TOOL KIT” SERIES: The new sub-label from WNCL Recordings features 12 short “tools” per release, for use on discotheque sound systems and home stereos alike.
ABOUT THIS RECORD: EKOPLEKZ contributes to the Library Tool Kit series with 12 unique transmissions, live and direct from his radiochronic workshop.”
A wonderfully immersive suite of five stunning new tracks, ‘Shifts’ expands upon Swedish-Iranian pianist / composer Shida Shahabi’s debut album and confirms her as a new force in contemporary piano music.
"Stockholm-based Shida's 'Homes' LP was released on FatCat's pioneering 130701 imprint in October 2018, with its gentle yet deeply immersive, homespun piano drawing comparisons to the likes of Goldmund and Nils Frahm. It was championed by BBC’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Gilles Peterson, whilst MOJO marvelled at her “summoning music from the very bowels of the piano, the out-of-focus opacity; like her simple, affecting melodic figures, suggesting... a half-submerged music that rewards the attentive ear". Elsewhere, Future Music called the album “a masterclass in simplicity... allowing each note the space and time to become truly affecting... a confident debut of a new artist with their own vision". Released without huge fanfare or big industry / marketing machinery, ‘Homes’ nevertheless found a strong, organic connection with an audience, being picked up and shared across social media and through word of mouth, and viewed by many as one of last year’s finest piano albums.
Following the the rise of pianist / composers like Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran and Olafur Arnalds from the late ‘00s onwards, contemprary piano-based music has seen a huge surge in popularity. It has become an increasingly flooded field, and one largely dominated by white male artists drawing upon a fairly narrow spectrum of influence. What sets Shida apart from so many peers is both the genuine depth of detail and feeling as well as the greater breadth of influence she draws on. Hers is a visceral, lusciously sensitive music. Prepared with felt (to create a damped sense of closeness) and intimately captured via clever microphone placement and a subtle prism of tape delay treatments, the simple, gentle beauty of her compositions is striking. Uncluttered and unhurried, a deep sense of integrity and humble warmth seeps through every note.
A year on from her debut, ‘Shifts’ sees Shida continue to mine her beloved old JG Malmsjö upright piano as a source of warmth and character. She describes the new material as being “very much about continuing on exploring and pushing things to a direction sound-wise that makes me excited - trying out new things, learning and reflecting upon that.” Without radically departing from the ‘Homes’ blueprint, this time around her pallette is expanded, with the opening three tracks seeing the prominent addition of cello, intertwining with piano to provide a powerfully emotive sweep and drone. These parts were provided by Linnea Olsson, who Shida calls "an old musician friend of mine and without a doubt the best cellist I know in Sweden.” Having known each other since she invited Shida to play organ for her at a show at London’s Union Chapel in 2013, Olsson has some pedigree as a performer, playing with artists like Peter Gabriel, Sting and Ane Brun, as well as releasing a number of her own solo albums. Though engaged in more pop-oriented material in recent years, Shida refers to her “genius sensitivity as a musician for a wide range of sounds.” Indeed, the timbre and tone of Olsson’s cello perfectly complements and adds emotional resonance to Shida’s own playing, with the two interlocking beautifully.”
Howie Lee, Linn Da Quebrada, Pininga, Tayhana, Cõvco, Nídia, Crystallmess, and Ami Yerewolo exert heavy dance remixes on Lafawndah’s ‘Ancestor Boy’ album
The exacting original production and arrangements of Lafawndah with Aaron David Ross (Gatekeeper, ADR) and Nick Weiss (Teengirl Fantasy) provide rich source material for each reinterpretor, supplying club-teasing results in the slinky tarraxho parry of Nídia’s take on ‘Tourist’, and floating, ‘floor-flirting measures of ambient sound design and driving techno rhythms recalling Nkisi productions in Cõvco’s spin of ‘Blueprint’, while Crystallmess tees up a militant mutant dance-pop flip of ‘Waterworks’, Bamako’s star rapper Ami Yerewolo goes sick on the shark-eyed drums and noise of the ‘Oasis’ version, and Tayhana supplies a haunting, ruggedly slow and psychedelic reggaeton twist on ‘Parallel’.
Long-dawning long-player by Pacific Northwest producer Hunter P. Thompson aka Akasha System spins a suite of remote outpost rhythms and old-growth electronics variously inspired by “days and nights spent in the forests,” “long stretches of back road trails,” and “sitting alone under moss-covered trees.” It’s club music for misty mornings, towering redwood canopies, and overcast skies above uninhabited terrain: Echo Earth.
"Recorded across the fall of 2018 at Thompson’s lava-lit Portland home studio, the album’s eight tracks trace cyclical arcs and seasonal tides, churning and yearning, meditative motion patterns flickering like holograms projected in the rain. Following key appearances on Elestial Sound, Neo Violence, and New Information, Echo Earth embodies all Akasha’s most evocative and elusive sonic strategies in a nuanced naturalist landscape of rust and radar, information and isolation, wires woven like roots beneath ferns."
Donato Dozzy puts his EMS Synthi AKS thru its paces for One Instrument Sessions
Working exclusively with the legendary, 50 year old model famously and extensively used by everyone from Delia Derbyshire to Brian Eno, Dozzy follows the leads of his peer Neel, and Italian vibes player Allesandro di Puccio with a deep dive into the Synthi’s circuits, location 40 minutes of amorphous, iridescent electronic froth and alien tones that make us feel like we fell asleep and woke up in a ‘70s episode of Doctor Who.
Strong stuff as ever from Donato.
A bit of a missing link in Low’s discography, 'Bombscare' has been unavailable for almost two decades, originally released in late 2000 on Tugboat (Glen Johnson’s Rough Trade subsidiary), it’s now been reissued on vinyl by John Coxon and Ashley Wales’ remarkable Treader imprint and provides a bit of context for last year’s roundly acclaimed 'Double Negative’.
It’s mostly about the title track here really, Coxon and Wales’ (aka Spring Heel Jack) provide the sublime, electronic backdrop, offsetting Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk’s vocal harmonies and Ed Coxon's strings in a way that, 20 years on, feels woven from the same fabric that made 'Double Negative’ so striking, but which at the time felt disconnected from much of what we knew of the band. Listening to it two decades on - it’s a total revalation, and a testament to Spring Heel Jack’s prescience.
The other three tracks are more in line with classic Low - albeit f#cking good, vintage Low - especially the harp-adorned, morose 'So Easy (So Far)’ - a real heartstopper, in the vein of Low’s finest, most stoic tearjerkers.
An amazing and rare studio recording of 1990s Polisario music! The album is a standout example of the Sahrawi political folk style that mixes traditional modes with Western scales and instrumentation. response vocals, The repertoire of El Wali is fiery and inspirational, a call to arms - with national anthems, celebrations of political anniversaries, and religious pleas for peace, with call and response duets, backed with a synthesizer, programmed drums, and electric guitar.
"Nomadic inhabitants of Western Sahara, the Sahrawi movement for liberation began in the 1970s and has continued until today. Sahrawi political folk music dates back to the origins and has played an integral role in the struggle, with political anthems creating a national identity. One of the first Saharan music to incorporate the electric guitar, the style was hugely influential on the better know Tuareg guitar genre. The later addition of synthesizer and programmed rhythms further transformed the sound, becoming a foundation of Sahrawi music.
Recorded in Belgium in 1994 while on tour, this version of El Wali performed a style reflecting the popular music of the refugee camps. “Tiris” is a refreshing production with none of the typical World Music polish of the 90s. This evidently led to its unsuccessful release in the West. Originally released only in as a small run CD for OXFAM Belgium, the CD quickly disappeared and is impossible to find. In West Africa, however, it became a viral success and the defining representative Sahrawi music. In 2012 a track was released on “Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol 2” and only after an arduous search over 8 years (leading through Spain to the Canary Islands to Tindouf and eventually to Belgium) the artists, the studio, and the original recording were tracked down. A co-release with Badawi Archives, the first Sahrawi run record label led by dj/producer Bedouin Sahrawi.”
The ears behind the brilliant Sham Palace and some of Sublime Frequencies’ greatest, Mark Gergis cues up a totally absorbing travelogue from the Middle East to South East Asia for Discrepant, who previously hosted his very witty Porest album.
“Mark Gergis aka Porest returns with a collection of 20 years old locational recordings, radio and TV intercepts, cassette excerpts, environments and street music all expertly all expertly meshed up into a vivid sound journey from places that were (and might) never be again.
Mark Gergis is a producer, musician and audiovisual archivist known for his radio and video productions, recordings and performances. His work has focused on regional folk-pop music from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, including choubi and dabke from Iraq and Syria. As an archivist, Gergis is currently working on the project Syrian Cassette Archives, for which he aims to restore, preserve, catalogue and share his large collection of Syrian media from what can be called Syria’s ‘cassette era’ (1970s–2010). As an artist, under his name and others (Porest) he has released music on Sublime Frequencies, Discrepant and Nashazphone to name just a few. It’s a wonder that amongst this hectic schedule he still finds time to present us with a new (old) collection of early century recordings (1999-2013).”
Ellll keeps her style wide open with contrasting cuts of panoramic cyberpunk atmospheres and crawling slow dance music
After starting the year with her ‘Confectionary EP’ on Glacial Industries, and dropping 12”s for First Second Records and Parallax Editions, Ellll sees the year out on Glacial Inds. by revealing a canny suss for beatless sound design with the subtly absorbing drones and free-floating scope of ‘Polarbergs’, while ‘Hot Wheels’ comes with collapsed dembow rhythms and warped choral samples in a way that recalls DJ Python on quualudes.
The London based record label releases the fourth compilation of its limited edition 7” series.
"For Speedy Wunderground – 2019 has been a vital and pivotal year. As well as label boss Dan Carey having produced an array of critically-acclaimed albums including regular collaborator Kate Tempest’s ‘The Book Of Traps And Lessons’ (alongside Rick Rubin), as well as the two Mercury Prize nominated offerings from Black Midi (‘Schlagenheim’) and Fontaines D.C. (‘Dogrel’) – the 7” imprint he runs alongside Alexis Smith and Pierre Hall has been developing and growing – and is fast-becoming recognised as one of the most exciting new labels in the country, culminating in an AIM award nomination for ‘Best Small Label’, hitting their landmark 30th single release, and putting out their very first non 7”/compilation releases.
With the release of the hotly-tipped Squid’s ‘Town Centre’ EP and the digital release of the 9-minute opus ‘Sunglasses’ from Cambridge’s Black Country, New Road – the label is moving outside of its original parameters to put out some of the freshest and most exciting new music in the country. ‘It’s all happening very organically’ says Carey, ‘it feels natural. As always, it is leading us. Not the other way around.’
This is clearly exemplified in the labels ‘Year 4’ Compilation (they’ve been going for 6 years in total). Among those artists / tracks involved in this collection are: the kraut-rock assault-on-the-senses of Scottibrains (Speedy house band featuring Dan Carey, and Boxed In’s Oli Bayston + Liam Hutton) – this track was mixed by Orla Carey – the 13 year old daughter of the producer. ‘bmbmbm’ (7” single version)– the first ever official release from London’s enigmatic genre-defying black midi (who Carey recently performed this track with at The Mercury Prize show in which guitarist Matt Kelvin unleashed an awe-aspiring forward flip straight after running into a piano).
There’s also Squid’s LCD-meets-Television punk-disco workout ‘The Dial’; the twisting and turning art-rock of Black Country, New Road’s ‘Athen’s, France’ and in the labels strong tradition of new/unlikely collaborations the skittering post-punk jam of All We Are’s + Alex Karpranos’ ‘Heart Attack’ – Carey having worked with the former on their self-titled debut and the latter on their third long-player Tonight:Franz Ferdinand.
Also present is the blistering jangle-drenched pop of newcomers Tiña; the acerbic existential lyricism of Leeds’s Treeboy & Arc and the powerful post-punk poetry of Ireland’s Sinead O’Brien."
A collection of brand-new analogue recreations of songs from throughout Yann Tiersen’s career - 25 tracks including 3 new songs. Recorded in Yann’s home studio in Ushant with an array of collaborators: John Grant, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Blonde Redhead and Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O)))
"All vinyl editions are packaged with an exclusive 7” single including alternative versions of ‘Comptine d’Un Autre Été (L’ Après-Midi)’ from the Amelie From Montmartre soundtrack and the title track from his debut album, Waltz of the Monsters. These versions are exclusive to the vinyl and not available anywhere else."
Briefcase bangers from Jay Clarke, employee of the month at Ben Klock’s label
Locking on with the dry grind of ‘Visualize’, he puts the kicks down proper under crystalline arps with ‘In Dreams’, beside the caffeinated workhorse ‘The Cage’ and the smoother canter of ‘The Right Time’.
Steel erector by day, Braindancer by night, Jodey Kendrick goes on like its 2001 and ‘Drukqs’ is the best thing ever (it was, for a while) in the 2nd volume of his new batch for Clone’s Djak-Up-Bitch (DUB)
Sometimes it’s hard to shift formative inspirations and that could hardly be clearer across ‘EDM Vol.2’ as Kendrick works out his abiding thing for peak AFX thru 11 tracks of heda-twanging dissonant scales, hyper-funky-drummer breaks and elasticated electro, plus an unusual exploration of slower meter in the evil drip off tones of ‘Cass’.
Antal and Palms Trax supply edits of Daniel Dimbas’ 1980 Soca heaters
Dutch disco dynamo Antal keeps the vibe gauge ticking upwards with his edit of the radiant ‘Carnaval’ reminding us of hotter times, while Palms Trax works the EQs on his cut of the stutting groover ‘La Musique’.
Riffing on ubiquitous soft-rock classiques, Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In) redress Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ as a gothic torch song beside a folksier flip of Extreme’s ‘More Than Words’
In classic style Lee Scratch Perry chases his ‘Rainford’ album with its wigged-out, dubwise sibling ‘Heavy Rain’, again produced by Adrian Sherwood, but now starring guest turns from Brian Eno and Vin Gordon
Posited by On-U Sound as the ‘Super Ape’ to ‘Rainford’’s ‘Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread’, the Upsetter & Sherwood take the opportunity to fillet and re-version the original in radical, psychedelic fashion with strong results strewn between the flying steppers’ dub of ‘Here Come The Warm Dreads’, the scoops-testing skank of ‘Enlightened’, and the bong-bubble bogle of ‘Heavy Rainford’.
Fabric presents the past and future with 20 artists across 20 original tracks made especially for this release, for the 20th Anniversary celebration of the club.
"Fabric is widely acknowledged to have long supported the underground London house and techno scene. The breadth of talent here displays the far-reaching arms of the night that includes the the melodic techno of Nina Kraviz, the shuddering electro of Steffi and evolving experimental house of Margaret Dygas. New resident IMOGEN drives darko techno whilst Marcel Dettmann’s is a classic late-night sound. Houndstooth’s Call Super takes things down a deep melodic notch and Maya Jane Coles steps up with a playful slice of house. British dance music pioneer Sasha closes out on a euphoric high with layers of building vocal and melody.
FABRICLIVE represents the finest in dubstep, drum n bass, jungle, breaks and experimental beats. Houndstooth’s Special Request opens in trademark jungle style leading on to drum & bass luminaries Source Direct and J Majik. Shackleton and Pinch & Trim started playing the club during the birth of the UK dubstep scene and give a taste of the evolution of bass music. Daniel Avery and B.Traits show off their dancefloor versatility, while Rupture founder Mantra plants a flag for London’s vibrant musical future. Closing are two of the club’s longest associates Groove Armada and original resident James Lavelle as UNKLE."
Prints Thomas and Isolée remix the former’s ‘Ambitions’ album in extended, slow burning style
Lesser-spotted micro-house maverick Isolée makes a rare appearance with a subtly hypnotic reshuffle of ‘Ambitions’ riddled with flickering congas and tessellating 3D chords synched into a swingeing funk. Prints Thomas follows with a dubbed out 12” version of ‘Urmannen’ giving more room for his drums to sizzle and shimmer while he goes deeper on the track’s mix of Afrobeat and krautrock vibes
Prins Thomas plus DJ Nobu and Synth Sisters remix the Norse disco royalty’s ‘Ambitions’ LP
HRH Thomas tweaks the title tune with bugged-out electronics and kinky drums across the A-side’s extended 12” version, while DJ Nobu experts a trippy psychedelic spin on ‘Urmannen’ full of fluid arps and fluttering drums, and Osaka, Japan’s Mayuko and Rie Lambdoll aka Synth Sisters smudge ‘Ambitions’ into a slow disco microcosm of pulsing kosmiche arps and iridescent harmonies.
’American Flesh For Violence’ is the first major Vatican Shadow volley since 2016 (not including his one-off for Amazon) and comes steeled with exclusive remixes by Alessandro Cortini, Ancient Methods, JK Flesh, and CUB (Regis & Mønic)
Revolving all previously unreleased material, the set arrives in the midst of an ongoing reissue campaign for early, hard-to-find VS tape releases, with a range of prime, original material produced over the past decade. Of these, a handful really standout in the vein of classic VS material, namely the slow, opiated fatigue of ‘Inherit The Ruins’ and the bunkered tension of ‘They Always Fight The Last War’ on a beat-less tip, and the swivelling crunch of ‘Desert Father (Return To Desert Storm)’ and the Muslimgauze-like deep stepper ‘Peace Means Violence’.
The remixers also keep their end up with highlights in Ancient Methods’ martial techno trample over ‘Take Vows’ and the eviscerated, Dabke-like rhythms of CUB’s 14 minute take on ‘Jordanian Descent (Sharia Law)’, while JK Flesh brawls with ‘The House Of Followers’ in a slugging slow techno style and Cortini knuckles ‘Unknown To The Peacock The Serpent and Scorpion Conspire’ into bittersweet submission.
Epic BM savagery from Brendan Radigan ov Pagan Altar in Torture Chain mode, wielding cutthroat guitars, lozenge-ready vocals and slaved drum machines with fast and furious form
“morbid and baroque keyboard organ intros accompany a caustic and harsh hammering black death metal, complete with ripping guitar solos courtesy of arthur rizk with winding interactive single note leads set atop the crumbling temple of riffs.
highlights even hit the stressful agony of mayhem's chimera at its nastiest peaks or the angular dissonance of corpse vomit’s debut. this could easily have sat alongside some of the forgotten gems of the wild rags catalog - a moment when underground was a monstrous and uncomfortable mix of elements - and a journey that if one overcame the obstacles they were rewarded with knowledge.
new album from lone torturer - the influence of greek black metal is mutated alongside old american death metal.
in torturer’s own words:
Rot spewing forth.
Bleeding cracks in the walls.
Contamination of the enemy scourge.
Plague bound words.
Stabbing cancerous thought in the minds of the weak.”
Exquisitely subtle shadowplays of vintage guitar looped into spiralling webs of shimmering, warbly tone by a long-running, mysterious Italian project. Evocative as early morning or late afternoon mist on rolling midwinter landscapes. Music to really get lost within
“Dream Rooms, the new release from the shadowy Italian project Ambienti Coassiali, is an organic development rising out of the ashes of the surreal synthesised tone poems they released in the late 1980s, developing into cult favorites, spoken of with quiet reverence.
Spread out over two sides, Dream Rooms is a immersive listen, ambience that’s frigid but not dark; a cold morning in the valleys. Recorded with a vintage EKO Ranger guitar from the early 1970s, loops extend to infinity, echoing into the distance and melting into themselves, over and over again. There’s not much manipulation, sounds are left alone to slowly evolve and develop organically.
Over their 3 decades of creating music, Ambienti Coassiali show that, whether synthesised or organic, they are able to construct complex atmospheres out of the ether, all parts in their place; music for the conscious, and the subconscious.”