Reissue of a forgotten japanese electronic, jazz and new age classic from 1986...
"When the 66-year old artist started to be a professional musician in the 1970’s, he quickly gained success as a versed studio instrumentalist and started to be part of the great modern jazz isao suzuki sextett, where he played with legends like pianist tsuyoshi yamamoto or fusion guitar one-off-a-kind kazumi watanabe. He also was around in the studio when legendary japanese jazz records like “straight ahead” of takao uematsu, “moritato for osada” of jazz singer minami yasuda or “moon stone” of synthesizer, piano and organ wizard mikio masuda been recorded.
In the 1980’s hamase began to slowly drift away from jazz and drowned himself and his musical vision into new-age, ambient and experimental electronic spheres, in which he incorporated his funky meditative way of playing the bass above airy sounds and arrangements. his first solo album “intaglio” was not only a milestone of japanese new-age ambient, it was also fresh sonic journey in jazz that does not sound like jazz at all. now studio mule is happy to announce the re-recording of his gem from 1986, that opens new doors of perception while being not quite at all.
First issued by the japanese label shi zen, the record had a decent success in japan and by some overseas fans of music from the far east. with seven haunting, stylistically hard to pigeonhole compositions hamase drifts around new-age worlds with howling wind sounds, gently bass picking and discreet drums, that sometimes remind the listener on the power of japanese taiko percussions. also, propulsive fourth-world-grooves call the tune and all composition avoid a foreseeable structure. at large his albums seem to be improvised and yet all is deeply composed.
music that works like shuffling through an imaginary sound library full of spiritual deepness, that even spreads in its shaky moments some profound relaxing moods. a true discovery of old music that operates deeply contemporary due to his exploratory spirit and gently played tones. the release marks another highlight in studio mule’s fresh mission to excavate neglected japanese music, that somehow has more to offer in present age, than at the time of his original birth."
Previously only released on cassette in 1985 on Carl Weingarten's own Multiphase Records, ”Living In The Distant Present” is now available on Vinyl for the first time. The album is a rare treat for fans of guitar ambient, tape loops and experimental new age music. File next to: Daniel Lanois, Popol Vuh, Fripp & Eno...
"Carl Weingarten is one of the unsung heroes of American minimalism. Even though he's been active for close to four decades, his work is just now starting to receive the praise it deserves. On ”Living Ín The Distant Present” showly shifting synth patterns is joined with his signature guitar playing – a tranquil, stretched out sound that blur the lines between played and processed, occasionally sonically closer to violins or flutes than guitars. Incredibly sparse and evocative, there's a tasteful zen-quality to these 12 tracks. Weingarten's compositions appear both timeless and tranquil.
”Living In The Distant Present” bridges the gap between the most cosmic krautrock of the 1970s, the experimental American new age music from the 1980s and modern day minimalism such as Windy & Carl and Christopher Willits. In his concern for sonic texture Weingarten's music resembles Brian Eno's ambient records, especially his collaborative efforts with Robert Fripp, where guitars are gradually looped and processed into shimmering clouds of sound."
Cape Town's Kevin Murning steps up for Quit Safari's 10th release with his debut EP 'Mode's Arp'.
"3 tracks stretched across a hybrid landscape, Mode's Arp is grandiose, lush and evolving. Dense harmony and brimming percussion shine on Mode's Arp and Crimson Sphere while Sirenliight's polyrhythmic refrain makes for a complex yet beautiful slow-burner.
Kevin then doctors Mode's Arp with his '190 In The Polo Edit' and provides a snapping acid version of the original.
Zanasi Wifi caps off the release with a syncopated remix of Crimson Sphere. Revolving elements of the original bounce around an uptempo staggered beat that sees it equally ready for club and home bumps.
Support From:The Maghreban, Turbojazz, Severino, Laurent Garnier, Mystic Bill, Edmondson, Shaun J. Wright, Danny Tenaglia and more.”
Well, this is just lovely; Hiroshi Yoshimura’s soothing electro-acoustic ambient suite, Music For Nine Postcards  is made available outside the Japanese market for the 1st time, unfurling the Tokyo-based artist’s delicate, minimalist masterwork inspired by Satie, Schaefer and Eno to whole new generations in need of blissed sonic respite. Unless you’re a bit wadded or simply helpless to the charms of early ‘80s Japambient records and bought a dead expensive original, it’s maybe likely that you’ll only get to hear this one via YouTube otherwise, so the opportunity to hear this beauty in full fidelity, at a reasonable price, is not to be missed!
"Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs–a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy and Spencer Doran–is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues ofHiroshi’s works to follow in the future.
Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound.
His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture.
This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it.
Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly."
Released in the immediate aftermath of the runaway success of The Breeders’ platinum-selling second album ‘Last Splash’ and the Pixies calling it a day the first time round, The Amps are an important part of the Kim Deal canon.
"First intended as a solo project, The Amps instead grew into a fully-fledged band with Jim MacPherson from The Breeders joining on drums and Dayton, OH musicians Luis Lerma and Nate Farley on bass and guitar respectively. Releasing just one album, ‘Pacer’, in 1995 and after a whirlwind of touring with the likes of Foo Fighters, Guided By Voices and Sonic Youth, Kim returned them to the shelf, leaving behind one of her most intriguing chapters.
A glorious record whose charm has only grown since release, ‘Pacer’ captures Kim energised by a new band and no pressure, recording with purpose in seven studios with a different engineer each time. The resultant record is both raw and undeniable, with Kim’s songwriting arguably at its most cryptic and personal. Don’t be fooled by its casual lo-fi veneer too, underneath lies one serious record that never dips or lacks purpose."
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
For reasons that will become lysergically clear once you’ve heard the samples, Midori Takada's sublime debut album Through The Looking Glass  is widely regarded the holy grail of ‘80s Japanese ambient & minimalist music. Perhaps it’s no wonder that 2nd hand copies are known to trade for over £600, and, therefore this deluxe reissue is welcomed by a whole new generation of listeners tracing this enchanted sound back to source.
Rooted in Midori Takada's fascination with Asian and African percussion traditions, Through The Looking Glass documents the Japanese musician navigating syncretic channels of practice between floating fantasy kingdoms and parallel ambient dimensions whilst guided by a deeply ethereal, oneiric spirit that’s utterly key to the album’s appeal. While it broadly falls under the ambient banner, the results are far too grand and ambitious to be considered sonic wallpaper - they’re more like widescreen tableaus that open out exponentially the deeper in you dive.
The image of a Lady Godiva-like character riding a hare-sheep-horse chimera on the cover symbolises the surreal confluence of ideas and gestures within; a Japanese musician translating Victorian psychedelic fantasies into a language of rippling rhythmelodies and softly pealing harmonics that nod to Pygmy music as much as gamelan traditions, the soundtracks of Cocteau films and precise marimba patter.
The rest, we’ll leave for your dilated discovery. Take it on trust that this is especially spellbinding and sui generis stuff without complete comparison. A dream.
Eleh shares this masterfully entrancing split with Caterina Barbieri, following in the shimmering wake of her extraordinary new album, ‘Born Again In The Voltage’.
Both artists entice a remarkably naturalistic yet patently synthetic sound on their respective sides, with striking harmonic similarities and timbral differences emerging thru their patiently minimalist, austere practice.
Caterina Barbieri’s ‘Bestie Infinite’ is initially Vainio-esque in its doomy asceticism, but her synthlines tend to keenly overgrow, overlap and curdle where Vainio’s were clipped, sustaining a stately stasis that gradually induces a levitating and expansive effect, if you close your eyes and let her music execute its magick.
Eleh’s side, ‘Wear Patterns’ works in subtle contrast with a poetic exploration of low-lying timbral topography. Again, it’s stately slow, but with a much more genteel appeal than Barbieri’s stealthy majesty, as Eleh keeps everything lurking between the sub and middle registers before only tremulously ascending into glowing upper frequencies in later stages.
Young Marco tweaks out two South African house gems for his Safe Trip label
Uptown, he pays attention to the rolling, percolating breaks and piano house keys of Madlak’s ‘Dance Forever’, and downtown he reworks the funky mid-tempo budge of Hot Slot Machine’s ‘Rhythm’ .
‘NTS Session 1’ is the first of four Autechre albums broadcast by NTS radio station back in April in 2018
Developed during live shows over 2017 and in the studio following release of ‘Elseq’, these are the first two hours of the total eight hour broadcast, which was originally split over the course of four weeks.
Following the lead of ‘Elseq’, here they also favour longer track lengths, giving room for their ideas to fully play out in a durational, amorphous manner that echoes the generative scapes of Roland Kayn, but heard thru the prism of abstract rave music.
A few highlights stand out from the batch, most notably for the dancers in the plasmic electro hydraulics of ‘four of seven’ with its gloopy bass and piquant top line, and also the tumultuous hardcore rufige of ‘north spiral’, but if you’re after that Ae melancholy, run check the diffractive hyaline dimensions of ‘32a_reflected’.
Official reissue of the original soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 film noir classic Le Cercle Rouge composed by French soundtrack master Eric Demarsan, drawing from the orchestral spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet, abstraction and minimalism to create a hypnotizing audio landscape. The album boasts the participation of celebrated jazz players Guy Pedersen (bass), Daniel Humair (drums), Georges Arvanitas (piano), and Bernard Lubat (vibraphone).
"Starting as a collaborator of François de Roubaix and Michel Magne in the 60s, Eric Demarsan went on to become a mainstay of French cinema soundtracks, composing for directors such as Jean-Pierre Mocky, Costa-Gavras, and Patrice Leconte among others. He also recorded the cult album Pop Symphony (for Pierre Cardin in 1970) under the Jason Havelock pseudonym.
This is the original soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Melville's classic crime thriller Le Cercle Rouge, as scored by Eric Demarsan. Apparently, Melville requested that the music should give the feeling of being trapped by fate. Not the easiest notion to represent in music, I'm sure you'll agree, but the claustrophobic, complex jazz crescendos of 'Vogel S'Enfuit', and 'Sur Les Toits's pregnant tension certainly enforce an atmosphere of menace and impending peril. There are a few easier going jazz ensemble numbers littered throughout the disc ('Avenue Paul Doumer', 'Barrage Policier') but Demarsan's at his best when he's creating tension on pieces like 'Cercle Desincarne' or 'Le Parc'. This is one of those soundtracks that's eminently listenable as an album in its own right, divorced from its intended context, so comes highly recommended."
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Cotton Goods) channels paranormal music in a hypnotic eulogy to infinity and ephemerality on the Tape Loop Orchestra’s penultimate Instrumental Transcommunications volume, a sublime choral treatment that comes highly recommended if you’re into Ian William Craig, Jóhann Jóhannsson or Max Richter.
Return To The Light’ emulates a cumulative swell of Electronic Voice Pheneomena imaginatively intercepted from the ether and arranged into a hauntingly affective symphonic chorale. Sharing conceptual roots with his peer, Sam A McLoughlin’s ace Tongues of Light project, ‘Channelled Messages at The End of History’, TLO presents himself as a sort of conduit, a spiritual lightening rod or a dark interpreter, who absorbs the messages encoded in the frequencies of ancient light and the electromagnetic spectrum, in order to transduce and limn their meanings to our mortal, temporary vessels.
The results are wonderous, otherworldly, blessed with the aching vulnerability and fragility that many listeners have come to adore in Tape Loop Orchestra’s music.
Enchanting introduction to the exquisite, smoky melancholy of a Japanese jazz and blues singer/songwriter/composer who collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and penned some 30 solo albums, yet is scarcely known in the West.
Born in 1942 in a small, northern Japanese fishing village, Maki grew up during the era of American occupation and cultural imperialism, eventually moving to Tokyo and nurturing a passion for the records of Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson, which would lead her to perform on US military bases and cabarets and subsequently cover many US traditional folk and blues for the Japanese market.
With her distinctive voice she's seemingly possessed by the spirit of her heroes - Billie, Nina, Mahlia among them - and apparently had the mysterious countenance to match her unusual aesthetic.
We'll have to take that for granted from Hitoshi Jin Tamura's photos and Alan Cummings' enlightening liner notes, but Maki's music remains the best gauge of her character, taking in big band experiments along with an amazing, sitar-lead psych-out, plus runs into modal, spiritual jazz and the kind of lounge styles that prompt imagery of Bill Murray or some lonely salaryman clutching a single malt in the shadows of a Tokyo bar.
Electro-acoustic maestro and noted mastering engineer Stephen Mathieu commits a decade of spellbinding work to ‘Radiance’, collecting 12 album length discs (total: almost 13 hours!) revolving around the concept of stasis, the unfolding of time and sustained frequencies, deep listening, and immersive soundscapes. We've barely touched the sides with this one but, boy, it's a compelling, deeply immersive ride...
Completing Mathieu’s most significant cycle of work in his twenty year oeuvre, ‘Radiance’ operates in a push and pull of reflection and absorption, using heat and light as metaphors for the synaesthetic qualities of sound, and how it is perceived by the listener not just thru ears. The title itself ‘Radiance’ also connotes a vast scale of timelessness, but also one prone to fade away, decay, and its from these polysemous readings that Mathieu draws a remarkable spectrum of interrelated yet variegated compositions.
As ever, Mathieu is effectively dealing with the metaphysics of sound, using an array of electronics and electronic processes to divine new life in old instruments and samples, getting right down to their grain and accentuating their normally imperceptible peculiarities and latent spirits. In a sense he’s tactfully highlighting the lustre of his sounds, brining out their unique qualities for the ear to feel.That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all shiny and seductive. Rather, the pieces’ textures range from blingy to coruscating and every integer inbetween, sharing a feel for and fascination with the infidelity of acoustic, mechanical, and electronic sounds perhaps only comparable with the likes of previous collaborators, Akira Rabelais and the GRM’s Kassel Jaeger, or Leyland Kirby, for example, within the contemporary field.
All 12 albums in the set were individually a year or so in the making, and thusly require patient, committed listening for full comprehension The time we've spent with it so far is enlightening, rendering truly sublime passages and moments in the multi-timbral shimmer of ‘Sea Song I’, and likewise in the tantalising, prickly haze of ‘The Answer VII’’, while the longer pieces naturally give broader room for his ideas to grow, and beautifully so in the likes of his heavy-lidded and keening drone panorama ‘First Consort’, while ‘To Have Elements Exist In Space (GRM Version)’ patiently and exquisitely evokes a state of weightlessness, and, at its longest, the hour long breadth of ‘Feldman’ operates with deeply uncanny, surface level tonal reflections, which, as glib as it may read, recalls to us the magick of looking out a bus window at night, where the internal reflections and external street lights create refractive, illusory dimensions to get totally lost in.
The slow gaze is key to this amazing suite, as it purposefully pulls away from the time-constricted demands of contemporary music consumption to offer a wide, open space where time moves differently and perceptions are readjusted, becoming malleable in the process. It’s not quick fix music, but when applied properly, the results endure.
Caterina Barbieri binds cello, voice and Buchla 200 modular synth in sweeping electro-acoustic panoramas on ‘Born Again In The Voltage’, her 2nd solo LP with Important following the resoundingly captivating ‘Patterns Of Consciousness’ .
Recorded at EMS in Stockholm, ’Born Again In The Voltage’ is arguably the Berlin-based Italian’s most distinctive release yet, demonstrating a hard-nosed yet romantic approach to electro-acoustic music that stands out from her field in a way perhaps best compared with a more chaotic parallel to Alessandro Cortini or Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, while also echoing the probing, contemporary styles of her peers and collaborators such as Kali Malone and Ellen Arkbro.
Naturally tempestuous but coolly controlled, the astonishing designs of ‘Born Again In The Voltage’ are testament to Caterina’s unique grasp of meditative, minimalist maelstroms. Using elemental, primary waveforms, pattern based operations and subtractive counterpoints, her music blossoms along polyphonic and polyrhythmic axes with a complex unpredictability and timbral density that is a richly psychedelic pleasure to experience.
Picking us up in the arcing swells of Antonello Manzo’s cello and the radiant pulses of ‘Human Developers’, Barbieri takes 12 minutes to arrive in oxygen-depleted altitudes, before letting the cello sound out in a melting Renaissance hall of mirrors in ‘Rendering Intutions’. By the mid-way point, suitably dazed and malleable, she really pushes the envelope with uncanny tactility in the viscous subharmonics and contrail contours of ‘How To Decode An Illusion’ coming off like Stephen O’Malley deep in the matrix with Keith Fullerton Whitman, while her latent techno side, previously explored alongside Carlo Maria in the Punctum project for Berlin’s Σ, comes blazing thru in the mesmerising undulations of ‘We Access Only A Fraction’, which will make a serious DJ tool in the right mitts.
Belgian composer Ssaliva strips it all back to essentials with poignant ambient pop results
After a string of his filigree detailed works for Ekster, Bepotel and Collapsing Martket in recent years, he’s clearly saved some of his sweetest stuff for Jj funhouse, where he fits very snugly amid the likes of Mittland Och Leo and Milan W.
According to the label, all 11 pieces on ‘Unplugged Vol.1’ were written on a “fake nylon-stringed koto for an imaginary court of internet angels”, and the vibe is effectively a sort of modern ambient chamber music, a flawlessly elegant and refined sound full of fleeting emotive prompts and gently curious melodic gestures that cannily blur distinctions, to our ears at least, between African likembe, Japanese koto and baroque harpsichord within its glassy imaginary space.
Continuing their ongoing mission to seek out old records and boldly go where no crate digger has gone before, Finders Keepers have excavated another essential piece of cinematic history.
"It has been exactly ten years since Finders Keepers Records rst liberated Luboš Fišer’s immaculate soundtrack music for Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (Valerie A Týden Divu) from the vaults of the Barrandov Studio in Prague. As the inaugural release of an ongoing discography of previously unreleased scores from the hugely creative “Film Miracle” that occurred during and after the Czech New Wave (CNW), this score will always retain a special place in the heart of the label as well as our listeners who consistently request an updated repress of this signi cant vinyl milestone. Having grown in status from an obscure and misunderstood socialist-era art house oddity, via the hands of risqué foreign uff merchants, to nally and its rightful audience as a bona de surrealist cinematic masterpiece of world class standards, this 1970 lm adaptation of Vítezslav Nezval’s 1935 avant-garde novella (a lm that literally cross-pollinated Max Ernst’s A Week Of Kindness and Lewis Carols Alice In Wonderland) has garnered widespread critical acclaim.
Inspiring ongoing generations of visual artists, musicians, writers and lmmakers - all of whom regard this truly individualistic and inimitable surrealist lm poem to be an indelible in uence - Valerie continues to impregnate their daily artistic referential fabric."
The seventeen songs collected here come from The Fall’s Brix Smith era, aka “the golden era of Fall releases.” This is a perfect introduction to the band, and as legendary critic Robert Christgau said, it’s “The only Fall record any normal person need own”.
"The band’s legendary and notorious frontman Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year at the age of 60. The band’s output since they formed at the height of the punk rock movement in Manchester in 1976 was prolific to say the least. It’s hard to be exact, but in their four decades, The Fall released 31 studio albums, 5 part-studio/part live albums, 32 live albums, 40 compilations, and Mark E. Smith also released two spoken word albums. Another high number is that of former members of The Fall. There were over 60 different band members over the years. Their high volume of quality work over the last 40+ years had an enormous influence which was extolled greatly after his death..."
Reissue of heavyweight boogie-disco produced by John Rocca in 1985, dished up on suitably heavy wax
On Be With Records’ 2nd Pink Rhythm reissue this year, make sure to listen up for the full fat disco of ‘More and More;.
Capitol K strikes an ever-beguiling mix of worldly influences and crafty, low-key grooves bridging the distance between Jon Hassell, Haruomi Hosono and K. Leimer’s imaginary 4th world projections with brilliantly idiosyncratic arrangements of bamboo flutes, nimble percussion, and subtle electronics...
“Goatherder is the seventh album from underground London producer Kristian Craig Robinson, AKA Capitol K. This ace manipulator of audio and punk warlord of groove has crossed a tapestry of styles and approaches with his own secret compass since 1998. This latest work was developed and recorded in his native Malta, where he built a studio in a cave (a former goat stable). K gathered bamboo instruments collected around the world, including an ancient Quecha reeded pipe (his new-found lead instrument), and various resonating vessels and percussive objects including dry fennel storks collected from Punic troglodyte sites, and atonal flutes built from fresh cut farmland reed.
Ritualistic improvisations took place over a series of seasonal visits, awakening genetic memory and plant communication. Back in London the tracks were interfaced and expanded with post-industrial machine beat and bass guitar lock down. Homage is paid to New Age synthscapes, while a Spirit Jazz overtone arrives from K's recent years as the sonic muscle behind a plethora of luminous albums born in his Total Refreshment Studio. Goatherder follows on from the 2016 collaborative incarnation LOOSE MEAT and sonically abridges 2012's Capitol K album Andean Dub.”
Some time around 20 years ago, Dub Surgeon made an absorbing album of beautiful dub infused with ambience, found sounds and horizontal rhythms. 'The Lost Future' was recorded at the former Amsterdam Film Academy, engineered and mastered by Ricardo Villalobos who put it through several vintage mixers and recorded it to 2 inch tape. Then, tragedy struck: a storm surged and ignited a fire that ravaged the studio. The master copy was thought to have been lost forever.
Dub Surgeon stopped making music and disappeared into the shadows after just two EPs on Future Dub in 2002/3. But one day, 15 years later, and totally out of the blue, he received a demo of The Lost Future. "Pay attention to this," it said.
Attached was a demo version of the long lost album which now, finally, has found a home on Dubai's Ark to Ashes imprint, so named in homage to the story of Lee "Scratch" Perry burning down his Black Ark studio to rid it of demons.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker, the album adopts its full form as a killer dub excursion which, with hindsight, can be marked up next to other electronic dub classics of its era, arguably right up there with the first two Pole albums, but also wickedly prescient of wilder, out-of-the-lines styles to come from Jay Glass Dubs to Seekersinternational, and even flashes of Hyperdub and Burial’s more abstract, introspective moments.
Toronto/Berlin’s Nathan Micay, a.k.a. Bwana, returns via Whities. Sleek, rolling and tremulously optimistic, on the A-side he works with the agility and grace of a ribbon twirling rhythmic gymnast on ‘First Casualty’, whereas the B-side’s ‘Beginning Ballads’ is a teasing display of deferred gratification, rolling to cusp-of-the-peak tech-trance styles.
"Nathan Micay (formerly Bwana) steps out under his own name for the first time with a pair of glistening panoramas well-primed for those exultant hours of the early morning. The 12” opens with 'First Casualty’, aka *that* track played by Avalon in her Printworks set last year, before heading into deeper territories with 'Beginning Ballads’ on the flip. In Nathan’s words: "These are without a doubt the most personal tracks I have written to date. I made them as a sort of exercise in self-therapy during my first few months in Berlin. As time has gone on, more meanings have unfolded with each listen. For me, these tracks are a rebuttal to the endless churn of negativity in the news and online. They have become my battle cry in the club, something to mobilize while also offering a chance to escape it all, even briefly."
"Maribou State combine ‘Feel Good’ - a collaboration born of their friendship with Houston-based trio Khruangbin and a shared love of breakbeats, vintage surf riffs and a common desire to explore worldwide music cultures - and ‘Turnmills’ - a stunning track dedicated to the legendary London nightclub of the same name that closed in 2008 - on one essential 12”."
Ramp Recordings’ Tom Kerridge a.k.a. Girls of the Internet on a low-key deep house tip, backed with an ace Finn remix
Check for Finn’s remix, one of the craftiest, teasing workouts in his small but growing armoury of aces.
Bristol bassbin buddies double down on a party sound for UTTU’s Dance Trax series
A-side they inflate the pumping ghetto jack of ‘D-Question’ and the slompy swang of ’Seven of Nine’.
B-side brings the deeper, dubwise garage schwang and strings of ‘Bashton Valed’, and a pranging sort of electro-funk in ’Tanga Toll’.
The soundtrack to the original motion picture directed by Steve De Jarnatt (1989) and twelfth film score from Tangerine Dream, the tension in `Miracle Mile', both the music and on the screen, make it one of their strongest.
ARP wraps up inspirations from Japanese ambient, 4th world electronics, jazz and kosmiche synth music into a luxurious suite of loungey psychedelia
“A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, unlikely convergences, unfixed constellations, ZEBRA, Alexis Georgopoulos’ – aka Arp – fifth full-length album, is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics, emphasizing points of connectivity between far-flung traditions. ZEBRA is as naturalistic as it is alien, disrupting outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Using forward-looking production techniques and an idiosyncratic instrumental palette — analog synthesizers, double bass, Fender Rhodes, electronic and acoustic drums, flute, vintage harmonizers and tape delay — Georgopoulos proposes a vast, shimmering prospect, floralizing an array of styles and smiles — Fourth World tremors, vibey Cosmic Jazz, 80s Japanese production, floating kosmische drum atmospherics.
Emphasizing ‘points of connectivity’ in a time when reactive and fractious isolationism threaten in divisive ways, ZEBRA is the sound of interaction. ZEBRA seeks something beyond definition of singularity perspective and division. It is constructive instead of flippant: ecstatic instead of wallowing; clear-eyed instead of opiated, romantic instead of cynical.
Like the zebra, Georgopoulos’ latest album revels in contrast / duality – Naturalistic + alien. Urban + rural. Calm + unsettling. Lucid + mysterious. Bold simplicity + fiendish complexity. The result is a portal to a more curious world that compels repeat visits.”
Vital collection of vocal versions from three 12”s, plus three new and exclusive pieces, outlining the current, heavyweight Senegalese mbalax of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, who’re now five years into their unique streak of stripped down drum, vocal and guitar syncopation. The production on this one is just ridiculous...
Forming a totally logical next step in Mark Ernestus’ pursuit of outernational rhythm & dub sound dimensions, in Yermande he basically channels, edits and diffracts highly complex drum patterns by cracks hot Sabar drummers with floating, earthen vocals in six arrangements that bristle with a discipline and energy which has been deeply preserved and learnt thru the ages; in effect helping to knot the loop of influence between West African drum traditions, Caribbean synthesis and diffusion, and digitised Detroit futurism.
If you’ve kept up with the series so far, then you’ve probably worked out set moves to the remarkable, ricocheting depth charges of Walo Walo and tussling B-line and poised vox of Mbene Diatta Seck on wrestling anthem Lamb Ji, which are both included in their original mixes here along with the sprung tri-step hustle of Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix) whose bouncing dub chords perhaps betray Ernestus’ earliest work strongest.
But, whether you’re new to the project or not, the three new parts are previously unheard; convening a duskier respite in the beautifully breezy prowling space of Simb (which was paradoxically ‘the most difficult one to mix’ according to Mark Ernestus), before Jigeen (meaning ‘Woman’) unfurls the most limber, stepping’ and rollin’ groove that swinges into the filigree hi-hats and grubbing traditional guitar chops of Niguel, last spotted in its deadly Groove mix, now with the calligraphic vocal signature of Mbene Diatta Seck.
Beyond redundant dichotomies of world music as happy/dark or raw/polished, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force are making music that matters from myriad emotive and physical aspects, relatable to your own rituals and feelings.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Hugo Massien on a deep ’n rugged UK flex for E-Beamz following trips with XL, Tectonic and 17 Steps
Carving his own path thru the scorched ground of rave’s past, Massien keeps the pressure simmering and potent between the brooding breakbeat hardcore of ‘Where Your Body Begins’ and the beautiful weightless rave thizz of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ on the A-side, while the flip brings a sort of pendulous acid-electro style in ‘Alien Shapes’, along with the pirouetting arp vignette ‘Circles (Going In)’, and the floating acid stepper ‘Faith In Chaos’ with its perfectly poignant vocal for the negative ecstasy crew.’
The ginger loon is back with some prime if fairly unsurprising material in ‘T69 collapse’
A classic AFX workout riddled with nanoscopic edits, time-signature switches and wild key changes, but somehow not collapsing under the madness of it all. If you haven’t already, make sure to check the video, too.
The groundbreaking 1971 debut album by Meredith Monk reisuued on vinyl.
"Composer, singer, director/choreographer, creator of new opera, musical theater works, films and installations, Meredith Monk is one of the most unique and influential artists of our time. Awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2015, Monk has blazed her own influential trail through music and movement over the past 50 years. Pitchfork noted in a recent review of her latest ECM release, ‘On Behalf of Nature’: “Meredith Monk’s influence as a singer and composer extends through Björk, Joanna Newsom and beyond.”
‘Key’ contains Monk’s earliest compositions for voice, composed and performed from 1967-1970. In her words: “In ‘Key’ I wanted to create a constantly shifting ambience. Each song dealt with a different vocal character, landscape, technical concern or emotional quality. I was trying for a visceral, kinetic song form that had the abstract qualities of a painting or a dance. I knew that I didn’t want to set music to a text; for me, the voice itself was a language which seemed to speak more eloquently than words. I chose certain phonemes for their particular sound qualities. In a sense, each song became a world in itself with its own timbre, texture and impulse.”
Killer compilation from Honest Jon's focussing on the dancehall vocal and dubs that the Unity Sounds label and sound system dropped to mad effect in the mid eighties. Recorded by a cast of talented amateurs on a Casio keyboard and four-track recorder before being tested on the Unity soundsystem...
The album was recorded by the Unity Sound label workers after the introduction of the early digital sound system, later supplemented by vocals and overdubs in the studio.
Genius throughout with spot-on mastering from Moritz von Oswald at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Informative liner notes, lush high quality sleeve makes this as essential a comp as 'Darker Than Blue'.
Legendary material, reissued with love.
Very necessary re-build of Experimental Products all-time synth-pop belter ‘Glowing In The Dark’ from EchoDroides on Traxx’s Kode, a sublabel of Nation
With the original pressing simply dead expensive, and the V-O-D reissue lacking in punch on big rigs, EchoDroide have helpfully stepped in to rebuild the synth-pop classic from scratch.
A-side is the all-new, shiny remake of the original - vocal and all! - delivering everything where it matters, while the B-side is a straight played instrumental, primed for the flounce.