Darkstar’s synth-pop blues song ’Wolf’ appears to channel Robert Wyatt, The Dirty Projectors and Burial, with John Talabaot’s remixes firming up as slippery, mercurial polyrhythms in a warped UKF style, then into drug-chuggy krautrock zones in the ‘Materia’ remix.
Finn’s 2 B Real serve the debut batch of Mahraganat-inspired hard drum rhythms from Clemency.
Firming up a style explored on Clemency’s NTS show and in her DJ sets at the Mutualism events, she loosely explores minimalist permutations of the virulent Arabic street rave sound in three parts for more wayward ‘floors; shaking out a slow slunky, reticulated groove in ‘Testimony’, next to the DJ Plead or Beatrice Dillon-esque shimmy of ‘Biblical Names’, before really stretching out somewhere between DJ Haram and Shackleton in the devilish anthropomorphic possession ritual voodoo of ‘Mimic Animals That Are Easy To Love’.
If Manchester were daft enough to believe the hype of being centre of UK club music in 2020, as according to DJ Mag, then Clemency and Finn are prime examples of what makes it great. No swell heads, now.
Isabella Koen delivers her long-in-the-making debut album of raving body music, Trance riffs and industrial synth topographies forged with raw and brooding industrial sound design that marks her out among N. America’s most interesting new producers of electronic music. Big tip if yr into Jasss, Helena Hauff, Gesloten Cirkel, AFX...!!!
Spanning proper techno artillery, Trance riffs and noise excursions, ’Melody Depleted’ expands on the ruffcut but classy ideas put forth on her tapes and 12”s for the likes of Peder Mannerfelt Production, Börft and Jacktone over the past half decade. It serves a broad but singular showcase of her ability to generate club punishing rhythms, barely-tamed electronic noise and surprisingly sensitive ambient space probes that revel in electronic music’s capacity to evoke fine spectra of technoid feelings with a say it-without-saying-it instrumental finesse.
In an emotive arc that takes in crude, rushy rave futurism (‘Im Laughing’) thru to dark, bolshy industrial tekkers (‘The Harm That I Dream For You’) and an outstanding nine minute finale of deep distance ambient hypnagogia (‘Hypnic Jerk’), Isabella’s first album most deftly transposes a sense of pre-millenial late ‘90s techno warehouse dread into a world dealing with its own register of worries. And like the work of Jasss, Nkisi or Helena Hauff, Isabella proves highly adept at translating the most vital, if elusive, aspects of her reference points with a totally fearless, up-to-date but timeless swerve.
Big hitters like the Peder Mannerfelt-esque breakbeat techno ballistics of ‘Roll Doll’, the wide-eyed, doomy trample of ‘Organ’ and the Stingray-meets-Colin Stetson styles of ‘Take One And Two’ share space with full on EBM techno boosters in ‘Send’ and ‘Mind Tear’, while the roiling synth noise of ‘Mnesia’ and the Drexciyan organism of ‘Through The Kitchen’ diffract her vision into adjacent areas of experimentation that make for a murkily transfixing album experience rather than a collection of rave tools. It’s a dead gritty course for lovers of electronic dance music that gets direct to the feet and leaves bits between your teeth.
MICHELLE are a musical collective hailing from New York City.
"Weaving in and out of R&B, 80’s synth pop, jazz and indie, MICHELLE is refreshingly predominated by queer and POC members, showcasing a transformative era in pop music.
Written and recorded in a bedroom over the span of two weeks, their debut album “HEATWAVE” captures a compilation of sentimental moments – snapshots of youth in a New York summer, all immediately recognizable to those who’ve lived them (and those that have wished to)."
Mechatok, Palmistry, Yung Sherman and Dylan Brady polish up Hannah Diamond’s ‘Reflections’ album in their own image
Yung Lean producer, Sweden’s Yung Sherman supplies a sweet highlight in his christmassy trance tweak of ‘Make Believe’, and Palmistry and Meckatok give the neatest club cuts in a floating, dembow driven spin on ‘Love Goes On’ and the raving take of ‘Fade Away’, while umru goes hard with ’True’, with cheekier gear in Dylan Brady’s EDM spanked ballad ‘Invisible’.
Seattle’s Eye Music interpret the glacial transitions and keening dynamics of Stephen O’Malley’s ‘Géante’, appearing here in two spatialized mixes by the Sunn 0))) axe-wielder and darkside savant hisself.
Revolving the likes of trombone player Stuart Dempster (Deep Listening Band, The Joe McPhee Quintet) and Esther Sugai (assistant to Vladimir Ussachevsky) in their mass, the Eye Music ensemble specialise in reading and turning graphic and text scores into music. Working with O’Malley’s 2010 composition ‘Géante 4’, the ensemble allow for an X amount of openness within their interpretation. Using electric guitar, flute, bowed stringboard w/metal slide, cello, synth, trombone, field organ and harmonium they recall the tectonic and cosmic scale of seminal computer and spectralist works by Roland Kayn and Iancu Dumitrescu, powerfully brought to life in the mix by O’Malley’s reverberating rendering.
“Géante 4 (2010) by Stephen O’Malley for Stuart Dempster
"Géante 4" is a graphically scored piece that I’ve illustrated/written of about 10-12 minutes in length that I was hoping you could tackle as a solo piece. It involves between 3-7 voicings per section over 5 sections, in total around 10-12 minutes. I had the Japanese guitarist Michio Kurahara do a version of this last autumn when we were doing some basic tracking for this session in Tokyo.
We also did a 90-minute version in Norway last summer with 2 double bass players, a haldorophone, piano and sine wave/tape. I’d love for you to approach this very much as you like, based on the rough parameters of the score. I imagine that the common aspects to Kurahara's version would be the sustained tones and the transitions, as well as the modes you’re transitioning between.
I’m working with spatialization for playback on this material, in the theatres during the performances. This piece in particular I’ve envisioned/hoped could take advantage of the lateral movement possible with this sort of speaker diffusion setup, with each phrase sliding "forward" in space and settling with the full chord clusters before moving "forward" again.
Specific instructions for performance (given verbally to SD): The arrows up or down indicate a slow glissando from the end of one section to the beginning of the next. The squiggly lines indicate a fade out or in. Each “section” would be ca. 2 minutes plus, based upon an overall timing of 10-12 minutes
(Notes/info by Stephen O’Malley, condensed/expanded and edited by Stuart Dempster)”
Weaving an intricately detailed tapestry of meditative, spiritual jazz and dream electronics, Maxwell Sterling’s astonishing second album 'Laced With Rumour: Loud-Speaker Of Truth’ blooms in the cracks between Alice Coltrane, Talk Talk and Kara-Lis Coverdale, gently coaxing us into a trance-like reverie where the real and artificial morph into one pulsating organism.
Originating as a multi-channel installation commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary in 2018, the four extended pieces here were recorded at home in Morecambe Bay and then subsequently placed in a room alongside works by Moki Cherry (spouse of Don, mother of Neneh and Eagle-Eye Cherry), Penny Slinger, and a collection of static musical instruments the piece was intended to complement. As a follow-up to Sterling’s 2017 cult hit ‘Hollywood Medieval’ for The Death of Rave, ‘Laced With Rumour’ works with notably more fluid and gently psychoactive structuring that takes in seemingly disparate influences - from Roman mythology to Nottingham’s Lace industry - that result in a sprawling but intimate world of sound, characterised by aetheric arrangements that effectively elide the disciplines of spiritual jazz, chamber music, and art installation into something altogether new.
Much like Kara-Lis Coverdale’s converging interests in traditional vs hyper-modern, acoustic vs artificial and synthetic modes of sound, Sterling’s work here is fluid and unorthodox, but rooted in a deep understanding of convention which he proceeds to bend and shape at will. The album opens with a slowly contemplative and almost solemn drift between ‘Laced’, which features samples of Don Cherry weft into its tingling fray of electro-acoustic timbres, alongside the breezy chamber strokes of ‘With Rumour’, the hallucinogenic qualities of ‘Loud-Speaker’, and the darker revelation ‘Of Truth’, which concludes with a transition from mired murk to tones that channel Maxwell’s refined cinematic nous.
One of those albums that's impossible to fully absorb in one sitting, ‘Laced With Rumour...’ takes you from a swirl of brushed cymbals into harpsichord shimmers, passages of solo piano falling up against the deepest subs like a more bruised and flipped Sakamoto + Alva Noto collab, to Arthur Russell's 'World Of Echo’ slowly descending into synthesised madness. It's a rich and stunning meditation for our time.
Acid dub rerub of the remake for Cowboy Junkies’ ‘Trinity Session’ in a haunted dancehall style
’Working On A Building’ Margo Timmins vocal sound ideal in an acid dub house context, recalling the floating beauty of Moritz Von Oswald’s remix of 2Raumwohnung or classic Luomo, whereas Deadbeat turns ‘Mining For Gold’ into rolling acid EBM dub recalling Goldfrapp and Death In Vegas, and Camara hears the same elements in a more gothic post punk style of Cocteau Twins and Tropic Of Cancer.
Ahhh yeahhh, this tape edition features the whole album on the b-side slowed down to half speed...
On the expanded tape edition of Bloodline, Steven Julien a.k.a. Funkineven explores a charmingly personalized sonic ontology under his own name for the 2nd time following 2016’s self-titled album, continuing to come into his own with a wickedly expressive meld of jazz-fusion and machine music inspired by his ancestry and written in tribute to Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi.
Bloodline is concerned with paying dues to Steven’s ancestral roots, but it’s also an acknowledgment of influence of new age synth styles, Japanese electronics and the history of East London raving, adding up to a sound that’s brilliantly timeless and distinctly his own.
It’s a sort of hauntological soundtrack, if you will, traversing in a range of jump-cuts and fades from the filmic synth atmosphere of Hunt to a killer 303 + Linn drum combo in Roll Of The Dice, and ruggedly debonaire electro-bass on Bloodline, before swerving hard into mutant jazz-funk with Apache. The vibe then takes a super sweet turn with the percolated electro-funk of Queen of Ungilsan, and wraps up with the classicist ‘80s boogie-meets-new age strokes of Temple Rd.
Never-before released document of Pharoah Sanders blowing cool fire in Paris, 1975, including a joyous takes on ‘The Creator Has a Masterplan’ and ‘Love Is Everywhere’ spilling over with spiritual, free, soulful jazz goodness.
Catching Sanders in the years after his crucial work with John and Alice Coltrane, and following his departure from Impulse!, the home to much of his foundational solo work, ’Live In Paris (1975): Lost ORTF Recordings’ frames the tenor sax wielding jazz titan at a crest of his creative powers. Playing to a clearly appreciative audience in a city famed for its embrace of jazz, Sanders shows why he’s hailed the “Son” to Trane’s “God” and Ayler’s “Holy Spirit” with a coolly learned and sizzling suite of spiritual jazz laid down live at Studio 104, Maison de la Radio, Paris, and backed by Danny Mixon (Piano, Organ), Calvin Hill (Contrabass), and Greg Bandy (Percussion).
As one of the most direct influences on his bandmate John Coltrane, Sanders has always been recognised by jazz aficionados as a master of his craft, and in recent years his unconventional and omnidirectional work is finding ever wider audiences, with these Lost ORTF Recordings serving testament to the live prowess of a player who Ornette Coleman described as “probably the best tenor player in the world”.
It’s practically worth it for the gripping excerpt of’The Creator Has A Masterplan’, a shorter version of the 30 minute highlight from ‘Karma’ (1969), especially its Ra-like prang out into avant-garde jazz freedom with Sanders’dissonant blurts matched by steepled organ and thrashing drums, but the burning vocal and groove of ‘Love is Everywhere’ is also unmissable for anyone who needs a heavy dose of positivity in their life, and one that comes from a more difficult place than many of us will experience, but surely still endures and endears nearly 50 years later.
Raucous debut album of pointed, punkish lashes from Philly natives Moor Mother and Jewelry, piling forth a riot of gnashing guitars, drums and dominating vocals
Dropping three years since the duo’s ‘Crime Waves’ EP, their follow-up doubles down on that record’s sound with a fully charged battery of noisy, hardcore punk rock sanctified and scorched by the holler of Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother. Generally speaking, guitar-based rock records don’t get much of a look in around our ends, but Moor Jewelry’s tendency to keen between short, sharp jabs of psychy, free jazz-buzzed calamity and driving punk rock keeps us rapt for the duration.