Upsammy tinkers with iridescent electronica styles recalling Plaid, Cylob and Kettel on her follow-up to 2020’s ‘Zoom’ album with Dekmantel
Nimbly working around intricate patterns that chime with Indonesian gamelan traditions as much as ‘90s AI and experimental techno styles, the Amsterdam resident follows her instincts to crafty places between the crystalline carillon of ‘Flutter’, the needlepoint step and off world scales of ‘Spat’, and deep blue electronica reminding us of Astrobotnia’s seminal, overlooked early trio in ‘Worm’, with Plaid-like trills and pads in ‘Metallic.’
"Richard Youngs is a British musician with a prolific and diverse output, including many collaborations. Based in Glasgow since the early 1990s, his extensive back catalogue of solo and collaborative work formally begins with Advent, first issued in 1990.
He plays many instruments, most commonly choosing the guitar, but he has been known to use a wide variety of other instruments including the shakuhachi, accordion, theremin, dulcimer, a home-made synthesizer (common on early recordings) and even a motorway bridge. He also released an album which was entirely a cappella. For many years, live performances were very occasional and almost always in Glasgow; he has stated publicly that he finds live performance "incredibly nerve-racking: stomach cramps, tension headaches...".
However, in recent years, he has performed more regularly (including a tour of New Zealand in 2010 and a UK tour in support of Damon and Naomi in 2011) and many of his recent shows have been predominantly vocal. 'Inside the Future' is a collection of ten, short acoustic songs heavy on overdubbed voice, and the textures of acoustic and classical guitars. Experimental, yet firmly rooted in traditional song form, it is both heartfelt and determined by chance, improvised and carefully structured."
Of all the Sakamoto/YMO reissues, this is the one we’ve waited for the most. Hidari Ude No Yume (Left Handed Dream) was released in 1981 and is here reissued for the first time in decades in its rare Japanese edition - beautifully remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman and sounding better than we’ve ever heard it before, including a 2LP version with a bonus album of instrumental versions pressed on vinyl for the first time ever.
Recorded during a pivotal period for Sakamoto - around the same time as his stunning ‘Bamboo Houses’ with David Sylvian, and in between two classic YMO albums, 'Hidari Ude No Yume basically sounds quite unlike anything he made before or since its release, a sort of anthology of pop interiors made with hi-gloss synths and unexpected edits, from farm animals to simmering, percolated drum machines.
‘Hidari Ude No Yume’ was Sakamoto’s follow-up to the seminal ‘B-2 Unit’, and sees him smudge that album’s angularities into weirder shapes that are somehow both more experimental and oddly accessible. The newly available instrumental versions offer previously unheard perspectives on the remarkably detailed production; including an amazing tweaked-out and extended mix of ‘Relâché’, plus a beautifully slippery mix of the album’s best known highlight, ‘Kacha Kucha Nee’.
It’s a sound that has had countless imitators and acolytes; using the newest Japanese synths, traditional percussion, and his own vocals to create a sort of infectiously rhythmic future-primitivism recalling his work with David Sylvian in the Eastern electro orientation and new wave vocal affectations of ‘Living In The Dark’ and 'Saru To Yuki Gomi No Kodomo’, which also sound incredible in their brighter instrumentals, along with more avant jags into collaged 4th world electro-steppers on ‘Sarunoie,’ and a psychedelic masterwork in the strutting ace ‘The Garden Of Poppies.’
What a record.
Vladislav Delay’s Chain Reaction masterpiece resurfaces for a remastered 20th anniversary edition. Answering the prayers of dub and electronic fiends everywhere, this long overdue vinyl edition of ‘Multila’ acts both as a reminder of Sasu Ripatti’s pioneering work and a primer on his early practice.
Technically the Finnish artist’s 3rd album, 2000’s ‘Multila’ offered a looser limbed, sensuous take on dub techno as much informed by the Finnish climate and landscape as the templates of Basic Channel, SND, and the deep house styles established between the late ‘80s and during the ‘90s.
It’s an immensely immersive work that prizes the qualities and infidelities of analogue production nose to tail from hardware to tape and D&M’s revered all-analogue mastering facilities, which up until this reissue has only previously been available on vinyl spread across the 'Ranta' and 'Huone' 12"s. Anyway, the Keplar label remedy that issue right here with Rashad Becker’s remaster which faithfully combines to present the album as it was perhaps always meant to be heard.
Between the submerged, coruscating crackle of ‘Ranta’, the soothing tone of ‘Raamat’, and the 22 minutes of semi-organic, lissom swing and ambient smudge in ‘Huone’ on the first disc, to the water-logged tumescence of ‘Karrha’ and the 16 minutes of head-swilling textural abstraction and saline buoyancy in ‘Pietola’ on the 2nd disc, you’re in the presence of pivotal, peerless material that effectively splits the difference between the GRM, King Tubby, and Huerco S.
THE game-changing mixtape of the 2010s is finally re-pressed on vinyl and - for the first time - available as individual digital tracks via PAN, who’ve just made a lot of heads very happy.
Originally issued by the pivotal Hippos In Tanks in 2013, and self-released on vinyl in 2014 via her own website, Arca’s &&&&& has cast a strong, if cultish, influence over contemporary dance, pop, and electronic experiments during its life to date. Tiled from what are now disclosed as 14 individual components, its mazy mosaic of fractured ideas and curdled hooks blew our minds at a time when so much dance music was either going retro-vintage or, ahem, “future” garage, and would provide anyone listening with oodles of inspiration for new directions influenced by the Latinx and club cultural shifts pioneered by likes of Elysia Crampton (then E+E), Total Freedom, and TCF.
7 years after its debut release, &&&&& is still one of our all time percies. That sticky, diffractive flow between her convulsive ‘Knot’, the sighing gobs of ‘Harness’ and the spine tracing chorals of ‘Fossil’, and thru the melodic late ‘90s Ae/AFXisms of ‘Obelisk’ still burn. With hindsight it’s easy to hear this mixtape as a crucial bridge between her earliest rudeez on the two ‘Stretch’ volumes (which shockingly slipped most people’s attention at the time) and the way she would bloom in the following years, from production for FKA Twigs, Kayne and Björk, to her none more beguiling solo albums and holistic embrace of a mutant futurist a e s t h e t i c.
Reliably unpredictable innovators Mouse on Mars are back with an album of bizarre AI-led club/Kraut deconstructions.
Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma's haphazard electronic experiments have been a refreshing constant over the last 25 years. Always different and often essential, the duo's productions inevitably reflect the era's shifting contemporary forms but inject them with a mischievous DIY spirit and innovative, exploratory sense of wonder. "AAI" is no different, and finds MoM exploring concepts of artificial intelligence without resorting to clapped posturing or empty-headed theorizing.
The title stands for "Anarchic Artificial Intelligence" and to assemble the record, Toma and Werner got together an intriguing team of collaborators: writer and scholar Louis Chude-Sokei, DJ and producer Yağmur Uçkunkaya, percussionist and longtime MoM collaborator Dodo NKishi, AI tech collective Birds on Mars and former Soundcloud programmers Ranny Keddo and Derrek Kindle. The team worked together to create a piece of software that could model speech, feeding it text and voice from Chude-Sokei and Uçkunkaya and allowing the software to learn from that. The resulting voice sounds that guide "AAI" are completely computer generated, despite sounding like narration or samples. Mouse on Mars were able to use the voices like an instrument and play the software like a synthesizer, using the artificial intelligence elements less like an app to write its own music, but like a tool they could manipulate to inspire their musical methodology.
"Machines can open up new concepts of life, and expand our definitions of being human," says Werner. Certainly the line between human and computer is seriously blurred here, with voices melting into percussion and drums rattling and fluffing between words and syllables like bees in honeycomb. "AAI" is a deeply unusual album, utilizing familiar elements - rhythmic flutters from footwork or emerging club forms are brought together in harmony with pulsing motorik sounds - and corrupting or disrupting them with sci-fi-tinged philosophical elements. It's not a record that you can acceptably play in the background, by any means, it takes attention and concentration, and it deserves it.
Four delirious uptempo bangers intended to complicate the dancefloor from Rotherham's finest. An algorithmic acid bath of SND, Jay Mitta, Errorsmith - for the dancers.
2020's "File Under UK Metaplasm" was a stand-out records of the year, and Rian Treanor follows it up quickly with this short, sharp collection of "complications for adventurous ravers". If Treanor's full-length was a more conceptually-angled slop of high-BPM experiments, these four obstacles are aimed squarely at the dancefloor. Treanor put these tracks together for his own DJ sets, so the physicality is instant. 'Obstacle 1' takes a liberal helping of influence from SND, jacking up the tempo and pushing into singeli territory with lush chords dancing between ticking percussion. Even wilder is 'Obstacle 2', that rolls belching glitches into machine-gun kicks for peak 6AM-in-the-back-room perfection.
This isn't dance music for a 48-hour Berghain sesh, it's a psychically disorientating sonic neurotoxin, designed to make you feel something - anything. Rian even throws us a bone for good behavior with 'Obstacle 3', his attempt at bouncy 4x4. Tangled through circular synth sequences and shifting claps, that kick drum is almost regular - almost.
Just mindblowing, again.
Harry Bertoia's Glowing Sounds LP contains three versions of the same composition, each transferred at different tape speeds in accordance with the artist's instructions. This is the third LP to be released from Bertoia's extensive tape archive and it's the first, of many, to be released using instructions left behind by the artist himself.
"Bertoia wrote the concept for this Glowing Sounds LP on a note in 1975 and slipped it into the master tape case where it sat unread for 45 years. The idea was simple, transfer the original recording at its original speed and two slower speeds. Bertoia noticed that the results, however, were profound. Recorded on January 20, 1975 using two large gongs, Glowing Sounds is one of the most powerfully minimal recordings yet discovered in Bertoia's collection. The artist's note left with the tape indicated that it was recorded at a speed of 15 IPS (inches per second) but slowing it down to speeds of 7.5 IPS and 3.25 IPS were quite effective for enhanced playback. Side A features the original 15 IPS recording and the 50% slower 7.5 IPS recording. Side B features a 20 minute, ultra-slow version at 3.25 IPS. Long, deep drones and powerful overtones define the sound of this recording. Comparison of the three speeds provides a revealing magnification of Bertoia's gongs, overtones and the artist's inventive approach to performance, composition and recording."
Richard Skelton's latest transmission finds the reclusive artist ditching the mournful string drones of his last run of releases and embracing chilly, distorted electronics that should appeal to anyone into Yellow Swans, Alessandro Cortini, Johann Johannsson or Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Async".
It's hard to believe it's been almost a decade since Skelton's last vinyl release. "These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" follows a slew of regular drops on Skelton's own Aeolian imprint and moves in a decidedly fresh direction, ditching the acoustic instrumentation that has grounded the majority of his catalog. His last few releases (notably "LASTGLACIALMAXIMUM" and "The Oracle Bone") have explored darker sonic spaces, but have continued his obsession with bowed string drones, muddying them with eerie distortion and field recordings. Here though, Skelton has both feet fully in the electronic realm, layering overdriven synth tones to offer a sensitive, evocative foil to Lawrence English or Ben Frost's grandstanding "power ambient".
The ambience is powerful, certainly, but that strength emerges from the emotional content and the mere suggestion of gravitas. Without acoustic instrumentation, his familiar signature is a ghost that materializes in amongst analog sizzles and thick, oscillating bass tones. Waves of white noise and the occasional doomed hit of a kick drum echoes Yellow Swans' towering masterpiece "Going Places", but Skelton's vision is sparser and more anxious, distant and heavy.
Based in the valleys of the Scottish borders, Skelton translates his relative isolation from contemporary society into soundscapes that are almost futuristic, but lack the clutter of deconstructed club or awkward posturing of concept-heavy festival drone. His idea of the future sounds closer to Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky's visionary "Stalker" - seemingly out of time and out of place, with an eerie sense that the rapidly-shifting realty of the present is even more precarious than we care to realize.
"These Charms May Be Sung Over A Wound" feels like a potent reflection on a time of global isolation, societal collapse and the confusion of many potential futures, but chooses not to weigh us down with any kind of assertion. Rather, we are invited to project our own anxieties onto the album's groaning dreamworld.
Acoustic improviser Shaul Kohn traverses ASMR zones with atonal, whisper-quiet string scrapes.
Jerusalem's Shaul Kohn has managed to spend his time developing a way of playing acoustic guitar that almost completely removes it from the context you'd expect when you see an acoustic guitar. Bowing the strings with a careful pressure, he creates tones that are so delicate that they sit beneath the sound of the scrapes themselves, creating an almost ASMR listening experience, where it feels almost like it's your eardrums that are being bowed.
Over time, Kohn's pieces develop into resonant tones - not unlike a singing bowl - and the brushy bow strokes create near-rhythms. The result is hypnotic as metallic clangs and microtonal hums convince you of rhythms and harmonies that exist completely on the astral plane. Deep, difficult listening, and worth every ounce of effort.
Digitally overcast "Caretakered" ambient edit of Eartheater's phenomenal recent full-length. Proper late-night business.
We never imagined we'd want a suite of fully blurred-out, granulated-to-fuck reworks of every track on Eartheater's "Phoenix", but now they're here we're not sure how we survived without 'em. There's nothing particularly complicated on show - the same process is applied to each song: a granulated timestretching effect that should be familiar to anyone who's spent a considerable amount of time in the ambient zone over the last decade or two. But "Pheonix: La Petite Mort Edition" isn't about technical grandstanding. Like The Caretaker's reverberating vignettes, Eartheater's edits conduct an alluringly haunting mood that adds an eerie, erotic post-script to the original album.
If "Phoenix" was a deft exercise in spare songwriting and elegiac dream-pop soundscaping, "La Petite Mort Edition" morphs the experience into a mystifying, druggy delayed orgasm, dragging every crescendo into an edged squeal. Bonus points for providing a long-form mixed version for the tantra demons. Who said ambient music couldn't be sexy?
Prolific D&B dynamo ASC swandives back into deep mid-‘90s jungle zones on a lush drop with the Veil subsidiary of his Auxiliary label
There’s no mistaking the cues from that point when jungle emerged as a genuine neologism from the rush of hardcore rave, but rather than imitation, ASC emulates the style at its finest while injecting warm doses of his own heart-on-sleeve emotion.
‘After Dark’ is built plush and smooth for the LTJ Bukem fiends, and ‘Artificial Life cuts a more brooding silhouette remind of classic Peshay, with ‘Voyager’ coming harder, suspenseful in an artful Foul Play style, while ‘Forever’ conjures pure weightless motion in a way reminding of Alpha Omega bits for Reinforced or Omni Trio on Moving Shadow, but with an extra layer of synthetic space that’s all his own.
Enchanting griot tales from West Africa; recorded in traditional settings and spanning nearly half a century, and each accompanied by lilting guitar and koni lutes in a way that you’d never guess when they were recorded
“About a hundred kilometers south-west of Bamako, on the left bank of the Niger River, the Malian village of Kela is known to be home to a large community of griot musicians (jeliw) mostly belonging to the Diabaté family. Their art is recognized throughout West Africa and many griots come from all over the world to stay there, sometimes for several years, in the hope of becoming immersed in it. The six pieces for voice accompanied by guitar or traditional koni lutes were recorded in 1978 (tracks 3 to 6) and in 2019 (tracks 1 to 3), in the same traditional dwelling, which still serves as a "studio". The accompanying booklet contains the testimonies of several important musicians who took part in the recording, and evoke key elements of their universe. Recordings by Bernard Mondet (1978) and Vincent Zanetti (2019).”
Cheval Sombre releases his third album, Time Waits for No One, his first solo release for more than eight years, following 2018’s critically acclaimed collaboration with Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman Dean Wareham, and the first of two new albums scheduled for 2021, both of which have been produced by Sonic Boom.
"Cheval Sombre is the nome d’arte of Chris Porpora, a poet from upstate New York whose otherworldly psychedelic lullabies on his self-titled album from 2009 and its follow-up, Mad Love (2012), won him a cult following. Time Waits for No One ushers in his most prolific period, and serendipitously the world has finally slowed down to his pace. This is no lockdown record, but Cheval Sombre’s reclusive, reflective music is its perfect soundtrack.
“I’ve always said that what I really want to do with music is to give people sanctuary,” he explains. “Pandemic or not, the world has always felt as though it were spinning out of control to me, and so if folks have slowed down, I do see it all as an opportunity to discover vital realms which have always been there, but we’ve been too rushed and distracted to encounter.” Time Waits for No One is also his finest and most fully realised body of work to date and, appropriately enough for a record that has taken so many years to come to fruition, across eight original songs, an instrumental and a closing cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘No Place to Fall’, its overarching theme is time itself; what it is and what role it inevitably plays in all of our lives. But the record is also timeless, contrasting the musical simplicity of Cheval Sombre’s open-tuned acoustic guitar curlicues with the beautiful, sweeping and ornate arrangements of Sonic Boom’s keyboards and Gillian Rivers’ and Yuiko Kamakari’s strings. The end result is something akin to Daniel Johnston backed by the Mercury Rev of Deserter’s Songs. Elemental and earthbound, but simultaneously and very subtly shooting for the stratosphere."
Completely future ice-cold pinprick dub from severely underrated glitch pioneer Frank Bretschneider. If yr into Alva Noto, Vladislav Delay, Pole or SND, you absolutely need this one.
When "Curve" appeared in 2001, it felt completely new. A wave of laptop music focused on the glitch had begun to wash over the world in the wake of Oval's visionary "Systemische" and "94diskont." and had been highlighted on Mille Plateaux's "Clicks & Cuts" compilation a year earlier. "Curve" built on this foundation, showing the utility of the sound and its proving its long-form potential. Bretschneider constructed the record from a tiny set of tinier sounds, often allowing tracks to develop over ten minutes with only minor shifts. But by infusing his productions with dub processes and rhythmic funk, transcended the scene's aesthetic fireworks reaching a sound that put soul back into the machine.
Two decades later, "Curve" still sounds unique and still stands in a league of its own alongside Carsten Nicolai's early Alva Noto records, Pole's debut trilogy and SND's brilliant early run. Few other artists managed to create such inviting minimalist sound worlds and "Curve" sounds like an empty space mall, an off-world spa, a Polar weather station and a subterranean crystal cave all at once. There's little more than scratchy percussion, deeper-than-deep sub bass and the occasional wavering pad warble, but that's all Bretschneider needs to tell his sonic narrative. Deep as fuck - take us back.
Norwegian duo Smerz release ‘Believer’, the debut album that pushes Smerz far beyond their previous EP releases, 2017’s ‘Okey’ and 2018’s ‘Have Fun’.
"Since releasing the ‘Believer’ trailer back in October 2020, followed by a video for the tracks ‘I don’t talk about that much/Hva hvis’, the duo of Catharina Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt have slowly revealed a new auditory world. The duo meld sonic touchstones from their youth, like musicals and classical music, with swirling, tranceindebted synth lines and hip-hop plus R&B vocals that is distinctly Smerz. The duo performed recently at Oslo’s Ultima festival; in early 2020 they scored a performance by Carte Blanche, the Norwegian national company of contemporary dance, as well as performed at Mira festival in collaboration with legendary visual maverick Weirdcore."
Almost four hours of wispy, submerged jazz x crate digger modes from LA horn player Sam Gendel. Seriously sublime - float away on this one.
This might be the most Leaving Records album we've come across. Sax scientist Sam Gendel has found a fertile mid-point between the outerzone fourth world experimentation of nu-nu age pioneer Jon Hassell and LA's beat scene, infusing his woozy instrumental compositions with the sparkling essence of the Leaving canon. Gendel initially dropped "Fresh Bread" on Bandcamp during the pandemic, but quickly deleted it pending a wider release; now the 52-track epic of home recordings and performances spanning an eight year (!) period is available once again, with selected cuts making it to a 2LP vinyl edition. Our recommendation is the full set though, which includes charming collabs with Carlos Niño, Jamire Williams, Daniel Aged, Gabe Noel, and Philippe Melanson and holds a consistent groove without falling into repetition.
These are funky, widescreen, sensual and often narcotic mood makers, scraping liberal amounts of influence from Ennio Morricone, Chick Corea, Carlos Santana, Madlib and David Axelrod. Even Stereolab's fizzed Kraut-cum-lounge permeates Gendel's personable wyrd jazz bubble. It's refreshing to hear an artist working in this mode, using crate digger techniques to assemble spiritual, life-affirming compositions that remind you fondly of the impossibly wide-reaching tendrils of jazz. You might not expect to have the patience for a four-hour set but trust us, once you start this one it's hard to stop. You'll find yourself reaching for the play button again just to spend another few moments in Gendel's absorbing, colorful musical landscape. It's basically like listening to someone perform a cross-genre megamix in real time. Really.
Floating Points collaborator Destiny71z collects up last year's EPs with a handful of new material: housey modular electronica for the afters.
Last year, a trio of EPs emerged on Eglo credited to unknown artist Destiny71z. These tracks, created using the Buchla Music Easel and a beatboxes and other bits of modular kit, sounded like Floating Points doing "Analord" covers - slick and groovy, but undeniably spannered. "Six" combines the material on these records, adds a few more tracks and reveals the identity of Destiny71z as Matthew Kirkis from the Floating Points live band. So the Floating Points comparison makes perfect sense then.
It's the modular focus that gives "Six" its own character though, blessing each track with a hands-on immediacy and brittle squelch that feels a few paces from most contemporary DAWtronica. Just like AFX's "Analord" series celebrated the breathy, funk-fwd feeling of playing wyrd dance music on a room full of machines, "Six" follows suit, basking in analog goodness and the freewheeling sound you get when attempting to force your boxes to do as they're told. Cosmic.
The sound of digital ice cracking endlessly. That's a good thing, btw.
'Frankille' is a twysted record in all the best ways. It's basically a showcase of Helsinki-based Atte Elias Kantonen's sound design skills, as he successfully highlights how capable he is at making synthetic, resonating scratches and blips that remind of stretching metal strings, splintering glass, fracturing ice or insects burrowing into your skull. Bonus points for calling a track 'Marmite Love Pool' - no idea what that might look like, but we're willing to try it.
This second solo long-player from Jarvis finds the ex-Pulp frontman straying further than ever from his Britpop origins. The recruitment of Steve Albini as producer surely has a lot to do with the raw, unvarnished sound of Further Complications, lending a sense of grit and thump that manifests a classic-rock feel through the title track, the sludgy 'Fuckingsong' and the tongue-in-cheek rabble-rousing of 'Homewrecker!' The more sedate tracks suit Cocker's voice best though, better accommodating his astute lyrical observations and bawdy wit. Speaking of which, you'd be hard-pressed to read a review of this album that doesn't make reference to the opening lines of 'Leftovers' - perhaps alluding to 'Common People', Jarvis wryly intones: "I met you in the Museum Of Paleontology/And I'll make no bones about it/If you wish to study dinosaurs/I know a specimen whose interest is undoubted". It's a song in which Cocker attempts to seduce whilst acknowledging the shortcomings of his aging corporeal frame, and this turns out to be a bit of a theme cast over the whole album, and it has to be said, as midlife crisis albums go, this is up there with the similarly dirty-old-man themed Grinderman opus from a couple of years ago. Previous single and all-round glam rock fuzzfest 'Angela' is another song in which a considerably younger woman becomes the target of Jarvis' comically predatory affections, but there is a certain amount of redemption at hand in the form of the wholly more poetic 'You're In My Eyes', whose beautiful, vintage disco production houses a wistful song that mourns for failing senses and lost lovers.
Tehran graffiti writers, Kahkli Cru helm a surreal waking dream of a session on Parsa’s highly watchable young label from Iran, Active Listeners Club - Æ/Gescom/Skam nuts should be all over this one!
Even the thought of Iranian graff writers channelling Persian geometry into their work makes us salivate a wee bit, and with ‘Hollows’ it’s not hard to follow that line into sound, with deliriously contoured results. As with Autechre and their pals, who started out as graffiti writers and pursued those aesthetics into their peerless sound designs, here Kahkli Cru appear to short circuit the links between visual and auditory senses with four hallucinatory, polychromatic sound images full of melting angles, aerosolised textures and dripping dissonance, complemented by a remix from label heads Parsa and Ramtin Niazi in their Ben & Jerry guise.
Yet for all our references to Æ, Kahkli Cru’s work doesn’t hinge around old skool hip hop, but does feel more like instrumentals for some alien MC, effectively ripping the snare hackled spine out of Æ styles and sparking the ligaments and musculature with electrodes to make it dance impossibly like some AI generated avatar. In case you’re wondering, that’s a bit of fantasy of ours, so it’s a good thing, and at best in their polymetric head wobbler ’Shaded 3rd Duct’, and the pitching, curiously emotive traction of ‘Onomatope’, with Ben & Jerry sealing the deal on a fractalised remix of ‘Scala’s Typany.’
Purported Jaws Harp virtuoso, pantea, renders a microcosm of beguiling madness from her computer for the transfixing 2nd release on Tehran’s Active Listeners Club, the young label run by Parsa and Ramtin Niazi
OK, to be fair we’re not sure if the Jaws Harp thing is a red herring or not as we get deeper into the release, but for at least the first two tracks it certainly could be a source for the plucked twangs of ‘Combs’ and the wildly pitching, goopy tones of ‘Keys’, albeit processed lost out of all semblance. For that matter we’re really not sure what’s happening in ‘Cicadas’ either, which sounds like the titular insects have strangely relocated somewhere far wintrier than usual, and the same level of persistent, amorphous dynamic informs the gyring proprioception of ‘Patu (blanket)’, and comes to pool in simply jaw-dropping abstraction of ‘Jar & nuPg.’ Computer music connoisseurs are set to be beside themselves on this one.
“What's happened here is an adaptation of speculative worry, observed but not felt. Empty vessels filled to the brim, and emptied again. Content™ triggers refactorization of Eternity into eternity[n-1] and everything which was real is now ceramic. Magic happens in the space between Listening and the listener, where there is only verbs. And just outside that there is eternity manifest upside down, combing its hair.”
FWD-thinking melting pot club inversions from the always-on-point Mexican producer here welding Latin American club forms with UK funky, post dubstep and even SND's dusty glitch experiments.
Marco Gutierrez has carved out a niche completely for himself over the last few years, surfing fluidly between jagged club styles and refusing to stop in one place too long. This latest four tracker is no different, jumping between dance formula from beat to beat, not just track to track. Opener 'Todo' is like T++'s rolling post-dubstep explorations crossed with Crazy Cousinz's xylophone-led snare-heavy UK funky then thrown through the sonic mangle; Gutierrez spikes this with noisy amens and a reggaeton-esque shuffle, flipping thru rhythmic modes like he's searching for a station on a car radio.
'Derretido' sets its sights on techno, with gloomy rolling kicks that eventually build into flutes 'n thumb piano clang, sounding like Konono No.1 on a messy night out at the rave. Our pick though is closer 'Tu', where Guttierez strips things down to a whisper, with hollow, glitchy beats that sound almost like SND's seminal "sndio", before adding distorted breaks and tinpot percussion that ratchets the humidity to eleven. Fans of Amazondotcom, DEBIT or DJ Plead don't you dare sleep.
‘Working With God’ is the new studio album from Melvins, featuring the 1983 line-up of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Mike Dillard. This is the first time the trio have recorded together since ‘Tres Cabrones’.
"‘Working With God’ is Melvins’ 28th (yes, 28th) full-length studio release and their first since 2018’s ‘Pinkus Abortion Technician’. The band have been one of the most lauded hard rock bands to have helped develop the Grunge and Sludge scenes. The new album is one of their most melodic and playful records - not just another ‘metal’ record, this will translate easily to hard rock and even mainstream rock fans as well. The songs on the album are originals except for their take on Harry Nilsson’s classic ‘Fuck You’ and the well-known ‘Good Night Sweetheart’ that finishes off the album."
Completely mindbending, fluxed, glitch-heavy DSP dubscapes from Tehran - like a Raster Noton comp stuck in a broken CD player and piped through an empty storage factory. Love.
This one's brilliantly bonkers. We don't know a lot about 1000PA except that they're described as "two insectologists based out of Tehran", but "Vaccum Dub" is a bonafide head-melter. It's basically a sequence of brain-alteringly squelchy FM synth sounds bashed through reverb and manipulated in a way that enhances the lead synth's scratchy ASMR qualities, combing thru the grey matter like copper wire. The "dub" referenced in the title is accurate, but only just: the duo certainly utilize dub elements, but the music is barely recognizable as anything so formulaic.
"Vacuum Dub" is next-level sci fi sound design, but with added echo and the occasional pause for low-end; there's dub there, but it's a cough, hiss or wobble. To put it bluntly, it makes Basic Channel sound like Ocean Colour Scene. If you like TCF, Mark Fell at his most challenging or the deeper end of the Autechre catalog (think the later "elseq" sides), you're gonna find plenty to whet yer appetite here. Proper far-out mirror universe business, and all the better for it.
Operatic ambient-pop meets contemporary classical in strikingly distinguished form - imagine Julianna Barwick duetting with Antony Hegarty at Holly Herndon’s lab and you’re not far off this singular bouquet.
“Lyra Pramuk’s debut Fountain explores a post-human, non-binary understanding of life. Lyra Pramuk fuses classical training, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture in what may best be described as futurist folk music. While the American operatically-trained vocalist and electronic musician is perhaps previously best known for her work with musical collaborators such as Holly Herndon and Colin Self, she is set to release her debut album, Fountain, via Iceland’s Bedroom Community label in March 2020.
Created entirely from her own voice, although often shaped and structured by electronics, Fountain is an emotional, sensual, and devotional journey. The title is derived from her family name, Pramuk, which translates from Czech as ‘well spring’ or ‘fountain.’ Often wordless, these songs evoke a new wholeness sustained by the ritual force of drowning, immersion, cleansing, and bathing – also referred to in the album artwork by acclaimed visual artist Donna Huanca. Fountain plays with the perception of music, rhythms, speech, body, and the relation between technology and humanity, exploring a post-human, non-binary understanding of life and the fragile ecosystems it depends on. The work documents a healing that is still in process, and a full circle-moment that reunited Lyra with her sound engineer twin brother, Ben, for the final mix, which they completed in tandem.”