Wickedly funked-up techno-house minimalism from the Japanese pioneer, depositing a long-awaited debut album with his stalwart supporters at Perlon.
Over 20 years after he ignited Japan’s passion for techno by booking pivotal figures from Detroit and Germany to play out there, along with his own revered DJ sets, Tanaka has developed a finely honed style of wriggling, nuanced, yet powerfully driven style of techno and house music that’s in full force over eight tracks here.
New 2016 Edition.
What does a band do when its frontman and figurehead walks out before they've finished their sophomore album? Most would crumble, but Battles ain't no normal band, and while the abrupt departure of Tyondai Braxton must've bruised them, it hasn't stopped them putting together a record every bit as vital as their universally lauded debut; arguably more so. Certainly, the sound here is heavier and fuller than before - they sound less like they've shed a member and more like they've gained one. Admittedly there’s not an immediate stand-out like ‘Atlas’ from the first LP, but thrills and spills abound: the kinetic prog of ‘Africastle’, the jagged post-punk minimalism of Futura, and the furious ‘Wall Street’ which hits as hard and fast as a stockmarket crash. Our favourites are ‘Dominican Fade’ and ‘Rolls Bayce’: they sound like Paul Simon’s Graceland might’ve done if Liquid Liquid were his back-up band.
In the absence of Braxton, Battles have enlisted the services of three guest vocalists: most WTF of the lot is Gary Numan, who doesn’t sound quite at home amid the math-rock grind of ‘My Machines’; more convincing is the turn from Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino on ‘Sweetie & Shag’, which positions Battles as a kind of cubist pop band, and a scene-stealing appearance from Matias Aguayo on laconic-yet-chaotic party cut ‘Ice Cream’. All solid, but it’s the instrumentals where Battles continue to most impress, stretching the boundaries of what rock can be, without losing sight of its central tenets. Heady, heavy stuff.
The Body wrench out an angry new solo album in advance of upcoming duties with The Haxan Cloak, The Bug, and Full of Hell and after sharing their energies in a string of well-received collaborations ‘longside Thou, Vampillia, Krieg, and Sandworm.
Terror and pain reign supreme in No One Deserves Happiness, teetering on a knife edge between genuinely visceral, frightening production and some overblown, operatic dramaturgy that may well appeal to metal diehards, but could also turn off anyone who can’t be arsed with candle wax on their twiglet.
Their abuse of the classic 808 palette is phenomenal in parts, sounding like Russell Haswell wrecking Beyoncé on the rhythm section whilst Ben Eberle drinks bleach and Alex Barton hacks up god-forsaken guitar riffs of Two Snakes.
However, practically every other track is spoiled at some point by “delicate and ethereal” female vocals. They’re such an obvious counterpoint to the rest that it’s just cheesy and formulaic, diluting the hard-worked effect of the rest of the music at the most blatant or inopportune moments.
Maybe we’re not metal enough, but don’t call it the grossest pop album of all time; there’s plenty worse, this is just a bit cheesy, albeit fxcking incredible in parts.
Ambitious set from Bristol's foremost avant-techno operators Emptyset, for which they wrenched themselves out of their urban studio bunker and into Woodchester Mansion in Gloucestershire.
This imposing, rurally-set building is an incomplete remnant of the Gothic revival, and there can be no doubt that it brings a grand, ghostly resonance to Emptyset's rumbling sonic investigations. Setting up their analogue gear on-site, the duo proceeded to subject the mansion's irregular spaces to extremes of bass and feedback, treating it not just as an immense echo chamber, but almost a third member, one capable of inscribing its unique architecture onto the foreign sine waves sent its way. The resulting work is an inspired communion of sound and architecture; it feels like an exploration of both physical and psychic space, possessed of energies and implications that defy easy explanation and so take on an occult charge.
The project was supported by the Woodchester Mansion Trust, and renowned Bristol engineer Mat Sampson managed the vast array of vintage microphones and preamps distributed about the building, as well as the central monophonic sound system. The finished release is comprised of five long pieces, presented on both CD and limited vinyl 12". Meditations on bass weight rarely come this, er, weighty, and we'd call it essential listening for fans of Pan Sonic, Roly Porter, Raime, Sunn 0))) and Monolake.
Brooding, tripped-out juncture of ambient, classical, house and dub from Unclear label owner Elia Perrone and Gigi Masin ov Wind fame, backed with Juju & Jordash and Niro remixes.
Bit awkward this. The A-side is clearly trading on Gigi Masin’s good name but the results are really featherweight, despite the heavy-handed bass tones.
Juju & Jordash’s hypnotic, Hieroglyphic Being-styled remix fares better with a much defter mix suspending the groove in mid air and allowing nuff psychedelic room to breathe and dream, whilst Niro drifts off into the house ether with a slompy, spacious redraw of Garden Blues.
Glenn Jones is a master of American Primitive guitar, a style invented by the influential John Fahey, whose traditional finger-picking techniques and wide-ranging influences were used to create modern original compositions. What elevates Jones beyond the mere technically gifted is his uncanny ability to convey emotion in his fluid performance and compositions.
"After releasing the critically acclaimed ‘My Garden State’ album in 2013, Jones is set to return with his new studio record, ‘Fleeting’, recorded in a house on the banks of the Rancocas Creek in Mount Holly, New Jersey, where Jones and his recording engineer Laura Baird made no attempts to soundproof their environment, instead incorporating the sounds of crickets and birds into the recordings. Jones, who led the experimental ensemble Cul de Sac, records in unique spaces to ground each of his albums in a very specific, distinctive time and place.
Jones shies away from standard tunings on his guitar and his banjo in order to challenge himself and his listeners. These unconventional tunings and his selection of recording spaces guide his songwriting, directing the way he makes his music. The resulting album is one that only Jones, with his unparalleled skills as a storyteller and as a musician, could have created."
Multifarious producer Elon Katz (White Car, Streetwalker) explores tripper angles of hardware-driven no wave techno, or new beta, with Concupiscence, which was self-released in 2015 and now issued by Franco-Japanese label, Mind Records.
Ahead of a killer, incoming 12” for Diagonal, he stretches out here between the pacy techno pulse and K-hole voices of of Oral Oscillator to an odd, dusty pocket of breakbeat crunch and squirm with Choked on Moan before veering to spattered, psychedelic house in Polyflesh and the EP’s highlight, a chiming bit of Analord-style dream house called The Quantity Control.
Music of Morocco - From the Library of Congress is a treasure chest containing field recordings made by American author, composer and translator Paul Bowles during 1959; originally partly issued on 2LP in 1972, and now presented in typically exquisite style by Dust-To-Digital. For anyone with an interest in Arabic, North African musical traditions, or curious to the origins of the guitar or hypnotic Berber music, this is a total must have! Four CDs + streaming code. 120-page leatherette book with introduction by Lee Ranaldo, field notes by Paul Bowles, annotations by Philip Schuyler. Housed in deluxe, cloth-bound, silkscreened and foil stamped box.
“From July to December 1959, Paul Bowles crisscrossed Morocco making recordings of traditional music under the auspices of the Library of Congress. Although the trip occupied less than six months in a long and busy career, it was the culmination of Bowles’s longstanding interest in North African music. The resulting collection remained a musical touchstone for the rest of his life and an important part of his mythology.
“The pieces with the greatest, and those with the smallest amount, of Arabic influence, are both to be found, strangely enough, in the same country: Morocco. This region’s contact with Europe has been that of conqueror: in its decline it has been comparatively unmolested by industrial Europe. By virtue of this, also because it once had colonies in Mauritania and Senegal, and thus has a fair amount of admixture of Negro culture, it is richer in musical variety and interest than Algeria and Tunisia. In the latter countries there is plenty of music, but in Morocco music is inescapable.” — Paul Bowles”
Dark Entries hook up two new Frak productions alongside a pair of in-demand joints from their out-of-print Börft EP, plus an unreleased beat from 2001.
Raw to the bone but lush in its minimalism, Sudden Haircut sets a chewy acid tone which informs the kinky, filigree 303 tweaks of Synthfrilla and Synthgök which are taken from their Börft EP (2012) for Sex Tags Mania.
First Glimt | Ögat completes the set on a bonky disco or new beat-style strut with their patented, wood-fired drum sounds and eccentric Swedish outsider dance flair.
Mastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.
A dreamily celestial and charming tease for the return of Gold Panda, offering the 2nd glimpse of what to expect from his 4th album, Good Luck And Do Your Best.
With Dilla and Alice Coltrane in his spotlights, In My Car is a smoked out, Detroit-style jeep beat gilded with chimes, harps and keys, and knocked with rugged drums and bass.
Erstwhile Wu Lyf bro, Ellery James Roberts, and his new sparring partner Ebony Hoorn, aim for indie stadiums and arenas with the vaulted, bellicose poptimism of Beneath the Concrete as LUH, produced by Haxan Cloak.
An acronym standing for Lost Under Heaven, LUH bring down the moon with the kind of poise and stomp you’d expect from Kings of Leon. A future festival favourite for sure. taken from their upcoming LP, Spiritual Songs for Lovers to Sing.
2015's hottest footwork property drops and rollllls her first single for Planet Mu following in the wake of her world-beating Dark Energy album, which was co-released between µ and the Knives label.
On the Free Fall EP, the Gary, Indiana native puts a keener dancefloor spin on four tracks; trimming back on the madder moments of the album in favour of linear structures for the DJs and dancers.
Eu4ria starts on some Adult Swim juke flex with ludicrously compelling samples, sparse arrangement and maddening stabs whilst I Am The Queen shots laser guided hoovers from the hip.
BuZilla is a fibrillating, hyper flip of her mentor RP Boo's Heavy Heat classic, and, best of all, Nandi ricochets in cavernous space - drums flying at oblique vectors against recursive vocals and hyper-tribal sub pulses.
Batsh*t in the best way possible. A big recommendation!
Re-press of the third single from Bristol's Punch Drunk imprint.
Heading away from the 4/4 crossover of "Erstwhile Rhythm", RSD comes to us from Bristol luminary Rob Smith (Smith & Mighty) here operating under the suitably abridged RSD moniker. The Rootsy vibe has been retained, with A-Side cut "Corner Dub" shuffling into a steppas vibe with traditional stabs and echo-chamber vocals, although the bass and snare have definately been borrowed from the dubstep template circa 2007. "Pretty Bright Light" on the flip is much more robust and menacing, there's a breakbeat somewhere in the mix but it's obscured by enough bassweight and wobblestep to make it more or less unoticeable.
Berlin’s Positive Centre pulls out four slow and crooked mutations with patented, gripping force for A’dam’s Leyla Records.
Blank Hand opens a jagged abyss with seismic detonations and shearing metallic noise redolent of Emptyset’s elemental designs, chased by the cantering darkroom charge of Body Molecule and the effluent industrial flow of Angular Beautifault and peaking out with the steely monotone pressure of The Burin.
A welcome reissue of a major Strut Records release, Nigeria 70 Vol.1 took in two discs of music spanning the various musical strands and subgenres that took hold of Nigeria during the 1970s. The country's different regional influences are observed, from the Lagos-bound Yoruba sounds to the Arabic influx from the North. "Originally released riding a wave of global interest in Afrobeat at the turn of the decade, Strut's original Nigeria 70 set broke the mould for African compilations when it first surfaced in September 2001. Digging deep into Nigeria's archives, the collection showcased for the first time on CD the stunning variety of fusions recorded across the country during the '70s, from national icons like Fela Kuti and Sunny Ade to lesser known young bands like Monomono and Ofo The Black Company."
Berlin’s Contort yield a brace of brutal but cerebral industrial techno designs in the meticulously realised and cutthroat debut from SØS Gunver Ryberg, who was last spotted in an excellent collaboration with Cristian Vogel as SGR ^ CAV for The Tapeworm.
Established as a performance and sound artist with a wealth of installations, commissions for dance and video games, and multi-channel performances to her credit, SØS Gunver Ryberg arrives fully formed and raring to go with four expansive, free-moving pieces veering from bludgeoning techno thru splintered, radgy breaks and high velocity speedcore vectors.
Up top, she explores a spectral mesh of field recordings and raw synthesis wrapped to barrelling techno kicks and banking noise dynamics in Skolezit, before the sputtering, revving industrial chaos of Pantodont (Touching Thulitheripus Svalbardii) grips like a flock of raving cenobites.
Down below, she operates at the threshold of speedcore/flashcore tempos with two cuts approaching the breakneck momentum of Hangars Liquides classics. The shuddering pelt of 1170 Siva (Bare Bones) could almost be the bastard offspring of La Peste and Ueno Masaaki, whilst 1170 Siva shrouds that skeletal structure in sepulchral synth swells.