The Acid Lands, created by the Prague-based Opening Performance Orchestra, was first heard in public in 2014 at the Movement-Sound-Space festival in Ostrava, to mark the centenary of William S. Burroughs's birth.
"The piece was performed live by Opening Performance Orchestra and their guests, the theremin player Martina Potucková, and the poet, musician and performer Pavel Z as the narrator. The studio version of The Acid Lands was made in late 2019/early 2020 in collaboration with Bill Laswell and Iggy Pop, who undertook the role of the narrator. The piece, which pays tribute to William S. Burroughs, features fragments from the novels The Western Lands and Junkie. In addition to the title composition, The Acid Lands, the record contains Bill Laswell's instrumental remix, as well as the collective piece Naming Seven Souls, featuring samples of William S. Burroughs reading his own work."
First new LP in 14 years by Kosmische pioneer Michael Rother (Neu!, Harmonia, Kraftwerk), painting elegant pastoral scenes and lolling synth-pop accompanied by a new vocal muse
Like the soundtrack to an air-conditioned bar at a Goan retirement village for krautrock kosmonauts, ‘Dreaming’ may well please the happiest old hippies but may taste a bit too like specialist German cheese to others, depending your tolerance for milky arps, motorik chug and breathy valium vox.
You may have heard of Gentle Fire, but could be forgiven for not knowing much about them. They were a 6, then 5 member group of composers/improvisers/performers based in London and Yorkshire. Most of the writings that cover the pioneers of experimental, electronic and improvised music have given them scant attention. In addition to this, their recorded output is slim, the main item being a long out of print LP (for EMI Electrola), featuring their interpretations of graphic scores by Cage, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff. Despite recordings for BBC Radio 3 and many German radio stations, it seems extraordinary that there were no other substantial releases of their repertoire, or any of the 6 Group Compositions they created.
Most of the existing Gentle Fire archive was kept privately by Hugh Davies, a member of the group. After Hugh died in 2005 it was shared between various institutions. This release owes much to Hugh’s meticulous record keeping as well as the archives at the British Library and Special Collections at Goldsmiths, University of London. Listening sessions at the British Library were a revelation, it was like discovering a missing link in the evolution of experimental music, but above all it sounded so undated and fresh.
The release is divided into 3 sections. The first CD, recorded between 1970 and 1971 contains 4 studio and 2 concert recordings of graphic and text scores: 2 parts of Stockhausen’s Aus den sieben Tagen, and one piece each by Earle Brown, John Cage, Toshi Ichiyanagi and Christian Wolff. Gentle Fire were active between 1968 and 1974 and were especially active during the early 70s, appearing at numerous European avant garde festivals, playing their own Group Compositions and a wide variety of experimental scores. They even ended up in Iran playing in Stockhausen’s Sternklang, and improvising at dawn at Hafez’s tomb. The text and graphic scores that they were innately drawn towards have large elements of interpretive freedom to them, where the composer provides a skeleton and steps back allowing the players to give it flesh. They were in regular communication with the composers of these piece, so it’s no surprise that their interpretations were sought after by concert organisers and composers alike. There are very few examples of groups working at this time with direct contact to the composers, which makes these recordings especially precious.
CD2 and 3 focus on their own works, CD2 dates from 1973 and was recorded during a 2 day residency at Radio Bremen. The 5 pieces on this disc cover a wide variety of styles and include a 23 minute version of Group Composition VI which is their only text based piece and uses processed and filtered speech.
CD3 is a recording of their appearance at ICES 72, a legendary festival that took place at the Roundhouse in London. Over the course of 2 chaotic weeks a vast number of the world’s experimental musicians took to the stage. Miraculously the whole of the Gentle Fire concert has been preserved. It consists of a performance of their Group Composition IV, centred around a large metal sculpture that all members of the group could play at the same time. The piece actually had its première the previous year on the original pyramid stage at the first Glastonbury Fair. There are several photos of the event included in the booklet that accompanies the CDs.
At last it is possible to assess the importance of this group’s work, both their own work and their interpretations of scores, and to give them their proper place in the history of live experimental/electronic music."
Brand new album from Colorado’s freewheelin’ melodist Josephine Foster. Revolving between her adopted Spain and her native American West, Josephine was stationed this spring in Nashville with maverick guitarist and comrade-in-arms Matthew Schneider. The result: ‘No Harm Done’, a spacious and enveloping love letter of an album.
"Eight new slow-burning songs branch forth from idiosyncratic country folk blues, sung with sibylline wit and a hint of the absurd, awash in sensually anachronic lyricism. “The Wheel of Fortune”, nearly a title track by virtue of its refrain: 'No harm will come/if there's no harm done', are words of a homebound wanderer finding refuge in healing stillness with her beloved, having 'time to kill' in the midst of 'hard times to feel at home'. All delivered with calm sagacity upon the pedestal of Mr. Schneider's pedal steel and underscored by a knowing trebled chorus in Foster's lower register. Going nowhere never felt like so righteous of a destination before.
Devotion in all its permutations, spiritual to carnal, are seamlessly explored. In 'Conjugal Bliss', overtones of the 12-string and autoharp gently interplay, sounding like some unearthed Carter family wedding hymn (it bears the subversive subtitle '69' ) while 'How come, Honeycomb?' bounces low in the hips like a sultry old music hall number à la Harry Nilsson. The obliquely sapphic 'Leonine', it's unquiet harp scaling right out of ancient Lesbos, dreams of a kingless land; in 'Sure Am Devilish', a stargazer humbly confesses to a lowercase lord. 'Old Saw', the mesmeric album closer, is a medium's petition to cross the threshold and merge with the holy spirit.
Josephine's enigmatic voice captured once more by frequent co-producer Andrija Tokic in his analog Bomb Shelter studio, where layers of her guitar, piano, organ entwine with Schneider's 12-string, pedal steel and electric bass to rouse a spectral yet full blooded band. The ensuing cycle of songs pulse and glow within the ruins and deep fundamental roots of American song."
London-based trio Quest Ensemble present a distinctive twist on the traditional piano trio format.
"A collaboration between three powerful performers/composers, ‘The Other Side’ sees musical styles woven together into a lyrical tapestry of sound, blending improvisation with co-created original compositions. A truly unique ensemble in compositional process and performance style.
With nods to influences as broad as the contemporary minimalism of John Adams and Steve Reich, the experimental melancholic textures of Radiohead to the progressive jazz precision of Brad Mehldau, ‘The Other Side’ inhabits its own soundworld somewhere in the gaps between chamber, jazz, folk and contemporary classical music. From the emotive ‘Moments’, the elasticated melodies of ‘Pendulum’, to the fluid lines and compelling urgency of ‘The Boatman’ and ‘Pedal Down’, Quest Ensemble’s compositions fuse layered melodies and rhythmic patterns to create contrapuntal webs of sound. The process involves sharing improvised ideas, building up layers of music on each instrument to create a patchwork of musical themes with a rich vein of surging Reichian rhythms underpinning each."
Ben Frost’s menacing soundscapes have provided a foreboding backdrop to the surreal German thriller for three seasons. In this third and final cycle, Frost’s score evolves beyond the sharp string orchestrations of the first and the percussive distortion of the second, towards a sea of disintegrated brass and woodwind arrangements and Eno-inspired ambience.
"In the third and final season, DARK reaches its mind-bending conclusion, moving beyond the concept of space and time. Upon arrival in a new world, Jonas tries to make sense of what this rendition of Winden means for his own fate, while the ones left behind in the other world are left on a quest to break the loop that now not only bends time but also space. Two worlds. Light and dark. And in the center a tragic love story of epic proportions.
Ben Frost is a Composer, Producer, Sound Artist and Director. Born in Melbourne Australia in 1980 and based since the early 2000’s in Reykjavík Iceland, Frost was mentored by Brian Eno in the Rolex Arts Initiative. His work includes the studio albums Theory of Machines (2007), By The Throat (2009), A U R O R A (2014) and The Centre Cannot Hold (2017) and spans an array of other forms including installations, live performance, scores for dance, theatre, and various studio collaborations. He has composed several scores for film including the Palme d’Or nominated Sleeping Beauty, the TV series Fortitude and Dark. Most recently he composed the score for Raised By Wolves with director Ridley Scott."
Deluxe editions of an iconic Crepuscule compilation, the labels very first release back in November 1980, now celebrating its 40th anniversary; one of the original and very best "anything goes" label comps - a timely reminder of brooding evergreens by Gavin Bryars, John Foxx, Martin Hannett, Michael Nyman and a cast of contemporary notables.
An early window into the Belgian-UK connection framed by Factory affiliates Les Disques du Crepuscule, ‘From Brussels With Love’ was introduced to these ears by a pretty girl in a back yard in Longsight many moons ago, and It’s stuck with us ever since, casting an infinitely nostalgic vision of romantic torment and existential wist for the ages that we’ll never tire of returning to.
It's one of the finest, most memorable sets of poor-but-sexy bedsit chamber music, crafted noise experiments and jangly art-pop of its era. From the gorgeous John Foxx jingles to a stray Dome ace in the janky groove of ‘Twist Up’, the set takes in all styles like some personal mixtape from your enviably stylish friends in Belgium, covering Martin Hannett’s motorik night slug ‘The Music Room’ thru to Neo-classical from Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman and Satie.
"Originally released as a cassette with a 16 page booklet packaged in a PVC wallet, From Brussels With Love featured 21 exclusive tracks from the international avant-garde and new wave, as well as contributions from the celebrated Factory Records roster. Then, as now, the featured artists include A Certain Ratio, Gavin Bryars, Harold Budd, Thomas Dolby, Dome, The Durutti Column, John Foxx, Martin Hannett, Richard Jobson, The Names, Bill Nelson, Kevin Hewick + New Order, Michael Nyman and Der Plan.
Running for 78 minutes, the cosmopolitan ‘cassette journal’ was curated by Michel Duval, Annik Honore and Wim Mertens, and also includes extended interviews with Brian Eno and legendary French film actress Jeanne Moreau. The cover art is by Jean-Francois Octave, with additional artwork in the booklet by Benoit Hennebert, Marc Borgers and Claude Stassart.
From Brussels With Love quickly sold 6000 copies around Europe, earning rapturous reviews in the UK music press. “This is a reminder – without really trying, without being obvious – that pop is modern poetry. Is the sharpest, shiniest collection of experiences. Is always something new” (Paul Morley, NME). More recently, Dan Fox of art magazine Frieze described TWI 007 as “a masterpiece of distinctly northern European post-punk eclecticism.”
To mark the 40th anniversary of From Brussels With Love, Crepuscule will issue 3 remastered editions. The most ambitious of these is a deluxe 2xCD earbook edition (TWI 007 CD) presented as a 10-inch square hardback book, with two full length audio CDs and a 60 page book including rare images, posters, sleeve designs and period ephemera, plus a detailed history of the Crepuscule label between 1979 and 1984, with contributions from Duval, Honore, Mertens, Octave, Hennebert and photographer Philippe Carly.
CD1 includes all 21 tracks from the original cassette. CD2 includes tracks omitted from TWI 007 for reasons of space, as well as related Crepuscule tracks by Michael Nyman, Bill Nelson, John Foxx, Richard Jobson, Durutti Column, Repetition and The Names, and contemporary songs by other Belgian artists including Digital Dance, Polyphonic Size, Aksak Maboul, Karel Goeyvaerts and Marine.
In addition, Crepuscule issue a facsimile edition cassette package (TWI 007), and a gatefold double vinyl edition (TWI 008) pressed on coloured vinyl (Disc 1 is black, and Disc 2 is white), with the booklet pages printed on the inner gatefold."
Loscil's dreamy 2011 ambient classic "coast/ range/ arc/" gets the deluxe reissue treatment with a fresh remaster and an additional track.
Originally released in 2011, "coast/ range/ arc/" is a dense, evocative ambient record - the kind of album that set the stage for plenty of music that now clogs up playlists, but has rarely been done more effectively. Stylistic touchstones might be Thomas Köner, Angelo Badalamenti and Stars of the Lid (to a degree), but Scott Morgan takes things to shadowier, yet picturesque places - fitting, considering he is based in the quite lovely Pacific Northwest.
It's music that evokes its setting perfectly - bubbling streams haunt 'Fromme' before sub bass hints at larger, mountainous structures looming in the distance. 'Brohm Ridge' meanwhile sounds like troubling winds rushing through trees, with a haunted melancholy that reminds of Deaf Center at their finest. Unheard track 'Black Tusk Descent' has been added to fill out this reissue and concludes the album in a fitting mist of low-end drone and glassy anxious synth.
Negativland’s mirror image sequel to last year’s True False, The World Will Decide turns the focus away from the very human inability to accurately define reality, and towards the technologies being built to do a better job at it.
"But if sorting true from false seemed like a full time job track of was one’s own mind, life alongside the machines built to connect everyone only seems to multiply the uncertainties. On The World Will Decide, those uncertainties are made almost deliriously danceable: a netweb of densely sampled voices melting speech back down into music and back again, into what everyone can agree are the real questions—did that firefly really land on your finger? Would you like to be arrested? Does this app connect you to people, or replace them? Is this post an example of inauthentic behavior? Do people have to die? Or, as one of the many sampled voices on this work assures the listener: we can really feel like we’rehere."
Composer, musician and producer Angèle David-Guillou’s third album, ‘A Question of Angles’, is her most ambitious project to date, its multi-ensemble compositions forming a dynamic cinematic counterpoint to her contemplative lockdown EP ‘Sans Mouvement’, recorded on the organ at the Union Chapel.
"‘A Question of Angles’ is an album of vivid instrumental music. Centred around two main ensembles, a saxophone octet and a string septet, which strut and glide in rhythmic dances, its textures are inspired by the interplay between illusion and reality, particularly the magic realism of Jean Cocteau’s films. “I was interested in translating this idea into music, that I could make something big and bold, but where you might also be unsure of what you’re hearing,” the composer explains. This concept was extended to the album cover, which includes a multi-portrait image that at first glance appears to be a faked composite but was in fact carefully shot for real. On title track ‘A Question of Angles’ a Theremin sings with an uncannily human-like keening voice in conversation with the bombast of rumbling bass trombone and staccato strings. The bold opener, ‘Valley of Detachment’ enters with effervescent saxophones in pulsating phrases, followed by ‘Akrotiri’, where a solo cello moves like a courtly dancer, time signatures switching in interlocking patterns. ‘Forgetting Trees’ also plays with rhythm but speaks in sentences that ebb and flow, with repeating phrases on bassoon and flute, before ‘Quid Pro Quo’, with its layer choir and bass trombones, soars to a rousing finale.
Saxophones and bass trombones are paramount to the album’s sound - David Guillou’s use of these instrument draws parallels with Michael Nyman’s most exuberant compositions as well as Moondog’s dynamic neo-baroque rhythmic patterns, while the handling of unconventional time signatures echoes soundtrack composer Giovanni Fusco’s unsettling atmospheres for Alain Resnais. ‘A Question of Angles’ is David-Guillou’s third album for Village Green, with whom she’s also released two much admired EPs of her unique instrumental music. Hers is a music that rejects the density of ambient mood music, with strikingly animated compositions that recall in sound the bright movement of Matisse’s La Danse, offering an audacious addition to the landscape of contemporary composition."
Sheffield’s industrial music legends returns with a first album in 25 years, shaking up a classic style that has come to influence countless others, from Regis and Powell, to NIN and Mark Fell, since the band first emerged in the late ’70s
Cabaret Voltaire now revolves sole surviving member, Richard H. Kirk, but mostly sound just like they did in their ’80s heyday, mixing agitprop samples with cranky mechanical grooves and sparky synths in a sulky SoYo style they have exported to record collections across the globe. You probably already know they’ve become a byword for this sort of music, and ’Shadow of Fear’ is definitive Cab’s, like.
RHK’s longheld latin kinks come out to play in the cyberpunk soirée opener, and ‘The Power (Of Their Knowledge)’ shows the hordes of drum machine/synth wielding scuzzers how to do it. With a level of sort of psycho-dub sorcery that’s become RHK’s signature, he properly get his hands in there and twists structures like an avant metalsmith or mad scientist, creating strange temporal distance in the ruptured breaks of ‘Microscopic Flesh Fragment’, and panel-beating out 10 mins of factory line disco in ‘Universal Energy’, plus some dodgy Goan techno in ‘Vasto’, and a throwback to Cab’s (and his own) influence over early acid house in the cuboid bass and chattering bleeps of ’Night of the Jackal.’
Glorious turns from ‘90s Chicago staple Rob Mazurek and the superstar Exploding Star Orchestra, revolving members of Tortoise in their stellar number.
For the stats fans, Mazurek has written more than 400 compositions and features on more than 70 recordings, including IARC’s first, and has co-lead or lead ensembles including Chicago Underground, Pharaoh and the Underground (feat. Pharoah Sanders) and São Paolo Underground; just in case you needed confirmation of his truly heavyweight status in the contemporary field. On ‘Dimensional Stardust’ he fronts the free spirited jazz murmurations of the Exploding Star Orchestra through swooning turns, fully making use of orchestral colour in the album’s 10 works, and allowing male room for improvisation which becomes integral to the set’s lush, maximalist tension and release.
“"Dimensional Stardust" showcases the intricacy and complexity of Mazurek’s compositions but in their most potent, most compacted forms. Opting to focus on tight ensemble orchestration over passages of open improvisation, Mazurek distills a maximal orchestra of explosive improvisers into a beautifully restrained, graceful group exercise in melodic minimalism. The album features almost no “soloist” moments, excepting Jeff Parker’s other-worldy guitar meltdown on “The Careening Prism Within,” and when Nicole Mitchell’s flute floats to the front of the barrage on “Sun Core Tet.” Mazurek himself is sparsely present as instrumentalist, only occasionally joining the ensemble with his piccolo trumpet (notably on “Parable 3000,” where he shares leads with Mitchell’s flute and Joel Ross’s vibraphone, and his trills and textures haunt ghostly around Jaimie Branch’s trumpet counterpoint). Even Damon Locks’s voice is employed more like an ensemble instrument than a lead vocalist. Locks’ distinctively dry, abstract narrative flow beams in intermittently – sounding almost like fragments of Deltron 3030 through an Orson Wells-style radio transmission – climaxing in the album-closing poetry of “Autumn Pleiades.” And all the way through, the electro-acoustic poly-rhythmic percussion section (Chad Taylor, Mikel Patrick Avery, and John Herndon) churns, thrusting the music forward as the harmonic instruments collectively bow between frenzied, futurist chromaticism and soaring, pan-humanist pentatonic anthems.”
The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams furnishes Room 40 with his quietly devastating first suite of solo keys for the label, some 35 years since his debut ‘Piano’.
Aside from duties in beloved trio, The Necks, Chris Abrahams has combined his skills as a consummate and versatile collaborator with everyone from Mike Cooper to Melanie Oxley and Lucio Capece over the decades, but his solo albums are of rarer, personalised substance, exploring a wide range of electro-acoustic, concrète, and free improv, as last heard in 2016’s ‘Fluid To The Influence.’ Here, however, he strips right back to just him and the piano for an album of palpably vulnerable, instrumental laments that loop back to the haunting atmosphere of his first record for Room 40, ‘Thrown’ (2005), but expressed via a more restrained palette with profound, even cathartic results.
Fair to say, for us at least, that instrumental and acoustic music has taken on a new significance or meaning during 2020’s lockdown, and thus we receive ‘Appearance’ in a slightly heightened state of sensitivity. That state could also be down to the fact I’m listening and writing this from my teenage bedroom (long story), but Chris is simply flooring us with every stroke of the keys, following hypnotically repetitive, grippingly melodic lines of thought that seem to spiral ever deeper into themselves, and us, with deeply transfixing effect that will surely bear up to many return listens. Trust there’s nothing “difficult” here, but also no frilly fromage; just the quintessence of modest, beautifully personal music.
First everl release of Richard Band’s full uncut soundtrack for cult horror comedy classic Ghoulies (1985).The limited edition pink-colored 180g vinyl LP is housed in a heavy gatefold sleeve with full movie gallery, obi strip, and video store stickers.The album is also available on CD house in a classic jewel case with cavalier and video store sticker. Both versions contain liner notes by Richard Band himself.
"One of the most sought-after soundtracks from horror/sci-fi/fantasy film scoring master Richard Band, Ghoulies is finally getting the full official release it deserves. Packed with 16 tracks, plus two bonuses by Fela Johnson (including the fan-favorite "Dancing with a Monster", a true disco…monster!), it beautifully flows, covering all aspects of 80s b-movie horror music, from eerie vibes to palpable tension, full on satanic darkness, epic momentums, and just the right amount of wackiness. Band has a true talent for subtle tones and precise moods, fully capable of taking you on an uninterrupted magical ride/listening experience - one that feels like a trip to a 1985 video store and a whole world of mysterious treasures to discover!
This is released in conjunction with the soundtracks of Empire Pictures’ TerrorVision and Troll, also out on WRWTFWW Records November 20th. Established by producer and director Charles Band in 1986, Empire Pictures quickly became notorious for the horror-comedy classics made during its brief but legendary lifespan. With wild special effects, outrageous humor and over-the-top horror action, Ghoulies, Troll and TerrorVision are three of Empire’s finest works, and each movie feature an unforgettable score by Charles’ award-winning composer brother Richard Band."
Darkside D&B reflux from the Christoph De Babalon vaults, snaring seven cuts produced 1993-1998 and absolutely essential for fans of late ‘90s/early’00s breakcore rufige a la DJ Scud, Venetian Snares, Karl-Marx-Stadt, Digital Hardcore
Cold-rushing back to the styles circa CDB’s classic album ‘If You’re Into It, I’m Out Of It’, A Colourful Storm follow their previous archival excursion ‘Exquisite Angst’ with another clutch of wraithlike darkside phantasms from Hamburg, which, while not quite the centre of D&B during the era, still produced one of the sound’s most prized bastard sons with De Babalon’s take on the UK-born genre. Away from the scene’s quick moving trends, De Babalon forged his own take equally inspired by bleak classical scores and black metal atmospheres, but retaining the rhythmic innovations - if with his own, bone-clacking and gutted DIY style - in a way that escaped many other producers outside the main hotspots.
It’s unmissable for the 9” masterwork of darkcore strings and skeletal hardcore breaks in ‘No Man’s Land’, while ‘Toteninsel’ and ‘Blkue Hours’ are deadly strong pieces of gloaming BM ambience, and the likes of the title track’s ravishing bladesaw breaks and the vintage Ambush-style pressure of ‘Combine’ are straightup essential checks for the hardcore doom ravers.
Stunning dream-pop/post-punk side from New Orleans’ MJ Guider, galvanising her shoegaze sound with industrial rhythms sounding out between Cocteau Twins, Tropic of Cancer and Seefeel in an amazing sophomore album for eternal dreamers at Kranky
Arriving four years after her ‘Precious Systems’, which benefitted beautifully from studio mixing rendered by Turk Dietrich and Josh Eustis ov NIN/Second Woman esteem, ’Sour Cherry Bell’ channels a more pronounced sense of southern Gothic mystique and late ‘80s industrial noir for Guider’s follow-up. We’re not certain who’s behind the mixing/mastering this time, but it certainly sounds like Second Woman’s spacious sensitivities come into play, perfectly suspending the vocals in endlessly diaphanous reverbs and giving special attention to the percussion and synths in an electronic/ambient-techno sense that’s seamlessly incorporated and feels like a subtle, but necessary update and mutation of its influences, rather than straightforward homage.
From the cavernous introduction of ‘Lowlight’ through to its supine closer ‘Petrechoria’, the album really comes alive with amplivication, tactfully enveloping the senses with sheets of processed guitar, or set against starkly booming drums in ‘The Steelyard’ and ‘FM Secure’ that conjure the steepest sense of dread, surely recalling Elizabeth Fraser and her amazing meeting with Seefeel’s Mark Clifford, while ‘Body Optics’ and ’Simulus’ feels like a gutted HTRK, and ‘Quiet Time’ could almost be mistaken for Tropic of Cancer, but that keening production is just something else.
Justin K Broadrick is best known as a founding member of Godflesh, one of the first bands to combine elements of extreme metal and industrial music, but has also maintained a parallel career as a producer, producing records and remixes for groups such as Pantera, Isis, Mogwai and Pelican. Since 2012, he has been releasing hard techno music under the solo moniker JK Flesh.
"He has also been creating slow, hazy, and deafening music under the moniker Jesu since 2005 and here he returns with 'Terminus', the first full length stand alone album from Jesu since 2013's 'Every Day I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came', and follows the experimental Jesu EP 'Never'.
Terminus thematically was inspired by the concepts of rejection, dependency, nostalgia, and ultimate loneliness. Musically exploring the entire gamut of the Jesu oeuvre since it's initial inception; dream pop, shoegaze, electronica and non aligned/non genre specific heaviness."
Official reissue of Richard Band’s soundtrack for horror fantasy classic Troll (1986).The limited edition yellow-colored 180g vinyl LP is housed in a heavy gatefold sleeve with full movie gallery, obi strip, and video store stickers.The album is also available on CD house in a classic jewel case with cavalier and video store sticker. Both versions contain liner notes by Richard Band himself.
"The infamous Troll score is its very own kind of monster: an extended five-movement symphony conducted by Richard Band in full sorcery mode, creating exhilarating moments of excitement and seat-gripping intensity. At the center of the magnum opus lies the incredible "Cantos Profanae" and its chorus sung in a mix of old English, Gaelic, and Latin - an irresistible magic rhythm, an anthem of fantasy, a true cult classic. Richard Band often cites Troll as one of his favorite works - no wonder, it’s absolutely amazing!
This is released in conjunction with the soundtracks of Empire Pictures’ Ghoulies and TerrorVision, also out on WRWTFWW Records November 20th. Established by producer and director Charles Band in 1983, Empire Pictures quickly became notorious for the horror-comedy classics made during its brief but legendary lifespan. With wild special effects, outrageous humor and over-the-top horror action, Ghoulies, Troll and TerrorVision were three of Empire’s finest works, and each movie featured an unforgettable score by Charles’ award-winning composer brother Richard Band."
‘Film Music 1976 – 2020’ is the first ever collection of music from Brian Eno’s film and TV soundtrack oeuvre.
"Spanning five decades, the album features celebrated Eno compositions, lesser-known gems and seven previously unreleased tracks. He has had hundreds of pieces of his music used in films with more than twenty original scores for some of the best-known directors in the world including Michaelangelo Antonioni, Danny Boyle, Peter Jackson, and Derek Jarman. He has also provided music for numerous television programmes and documentaries, winning a BAFTA for his soundtrack for the UK hit series 'Top Boy’ and also gaining a BAFTA nomination for his and his brother, Roger’s score for ‘Mr. Wroe’s Virgins’. The long-awaited ‘Film Music 1976 -2020’ finally brings together seventeen of the most recognisable film and television compositions, and is a perfect introduction to this enormous body of work."
'Translate' is the first solo artist album in six years from Norfolk synthesizer specialist Luke Abbott: a strikingly direct and assured return to the solo music-making game following a productive diversion into live improvisation with his experimental jazz trio Szun Waves.
"At times dark and ominous, others bright and welcoming, these eleven electronic vignettes form a dramatic and undeniably cinematic body of work which functions as a fitting widescreen soundtrack to our new now.
The lumbering rhythms, strident synths and distinctive touchstones of 'Translate' represent a musical reconciliation with the directness of the wave-making rolling synth-kraut of Abbott’s forthright debut 'Holkham Drones'.
Newly-reinvigorated and with a new sense of musical purpose, this is Luke Abbott’s sound fully realised and never so sure of itself."
‘Love’ is the quietly stunning debut album by John Bence, following his thrilling vocal works for Yves Tumor’s label with a penetratingly expressive solo piano suite for his new home, Thrill Jockey. RIYL Terre Thaemlitz, Morton Feldman, Sun Ra
After making a shocking entrance with the ‘Kill’ 12” in 2018, all bets were on Bristol-based composer John Bence turning in a singular debut album, and expectations have been met, flipped, smashed with this low key extraordinary album of instrumental works. Clearly steeped in the classical world, but unstuck by convention, Bence proves an uncanny knack for nailing fleeting, ephemeral emotions in ‘Love’ with 10 succinct works that speak at the speed of thought; diffracting the pace and mood from rushing flurries of arpeggios to ponderous, Feldman-esque downturns with a striking profundity and timelessness that makes it difficult to even accurately place where or when it was made, if we weren’t told as much.
Drawing upon personal struggles with alcoholism and addiction, Bence deftly transmutes his life’s experience into an achingly sombre but ultimately life-affirming set of arrangements, each performed with such natural effortlessness and directness that it’s almost unsettling to be placed so deep in someone else’s thoughts, and especially so when held against the cold hard light of clarity that comes with sobriety. Trust one needs only a passing interest in piano music to become snagged by Bence’s train of thought, so make sure to act on instincts if the samples appeal, and you’ll be rewarded with a richly quizzical, ephemerally existential articulation for these self-reflective times and far beyond. Unmissable stuff.
Autechre drop ‘Plus’, the ruder counterpart to their brooding ’Sign’ album, rinsing squashed drums and harsher textured tones in a newly aerated, noisier sort of sound design.
If you were left glowing but still hungry for some rufige after ’Sign’, this album’s for you. Their staunchest North Manc C++Boy attitude is in spine twisting, neck snapping effect on nine unusually raw cuts that bleed dank air and squeeze melody from scuffed and scaly surfaces. It’s definitely still AE, but allowing for more space and finer graded textures in the mix, from their juiciest sloshing basses, to the rusted drums and iridescent, aerosolised timbres in a subtle new mutation of their sound.
As we commented with ‘Sign’, it feels like they're haunted by their older forms on ‘Plus’, but still inexorably pulled toward a futuristic unknown. We can feel those opposing forces at action in the stunning hyperstep dynamics and almost nostalgic ken of ‘X4’, which is one of the album’s durational highlights along with the totally absorbing concrète setting and avian chirrups of ‘ecol4’, and the quicksilver techno slipperiness of ‘TM1’, while the likes of ‘7FM ic’ deliver sharper shocks of impossible limb movements, and ‘marhide’ epitomises a noisier approach with straight-jacketed electro extruded thru some kind of imaginary airlock, saving bittersweet touches for the extended melodic thoughts of ‘lux 106 mod’ and the aspartame flavour tang of their beatless roller ‘ii.pre esc’, which is bound to become a favourite.
Quietly gripping and unmissable solo debut from cellist Judith Hamann, following a side of oneiric collages with her strikingly definitive chamber opus, including pieces written for her by Sarah Hennies and Anthony Pateras. RIYL the patient music of Kali Malone or Sarah Davachi, the interworld insights of Pauline Oliveros, or Anna Homler’s glossolalia
‘Music for Cello and Humming’ truly marks the emergence of a vital solo talent, as Judith Hamann segues from behind the scenes as player of note with everyone from Alvin Lucier to Oren Ambarchi, Lori Goldstone and CS + Kreme, to limn her most intimate self-portrait through a suite of works for cello and wordless humming. It smartly includes two works written for her that subtly, and not so subtly, challenge her range, and thus present the Australian artist at her most vulnerable, and, likewise, quietly confident. And coming to you from Blank Forms Editions, home to some of our favourite avant-classical records of recent years (Catherine Christer Hennix, Maryanne Amacher) you can take it on trust this one’s equally worthy of attention.
On five original compositions, Hamann intuitively distills her interests in psychoacoustics, shaking, just intonation, and “the voice in relation to the femme presenting body in performance” with the hauntingly natural accompaniment of cello and voice, which are known to closest resemble each other’s range. These work, while clearly requiring concentrated skill to sustain the string notes, also work to a simpler physical pleasure of humming along to drones, creating a vibrating interference that’s felt s much as heard, and coolly controlled with a shatterproof fragility between the tremulous title piece and absorbingly smudged timbres of her Humming Suite centrepiece, ‘Harmonics étude for one cello and one voice.’
The two works written for Hamann provide complementary contrasts, with Pateras’ ‘Down to Dust’ calling for Hamann tp render her strings and voice more slanted, shimmering and dreamlike, while the album’s unsettling 28 minute final work ‘Loss’, written by Sarah Hennies, demands she hum outside her range, resulting an uncomfortable tension that resolves into near silence, but with a powerful sting in the tail that sends it over the edge and leaves us agog for her next.
A new entry into Thomas Fehlmann's lengthy catalogue, Gute Luft collects music from The Orb member's score to the 24-hour documentary film 24h Berlin.
The productions assembled here sound boldly modern and executed with Fehlmann's familiarly expert ear. This being a documentary about Berlin, it's inevitable that the depth charge low-frequencies of dub-techno play an important part in the soundtrack's narrative, but there's so much more to the tracks here: you'll encounter some Pop Ambient style material - as on the heavily compressed string sections of 'Falling Into Your Eyes' - and lots of textured melodic content, something you'll hear spiralling around within virtually every corner of this album.
'Wasser Im Fluss' is a highlight, at once bringing to mind Pole, Biosphere and Basic Channel, yet there's something about the way it's all put together that's specific to Fehlmann. The same could be said of 'Speeding', with its neon-lit deep bass convulsions and gaseous, swirling ambient details, or the heavily layered, spongy shuffle of 'Cityscape'. Gute Luft flows brilliantly as a fully fledged full-length, and despite being conceived as a soundtrack it probably ranks as one of Fehlmann's finest solo albums.
Ooooof, it's been a while since we last heard from Pole but the German reductionist dub innovator has found his mojo again and this is his finest slab in ages. Proper frazzled low-end treatments for blunted exotica darlings.
It's been five years since Stefan Betke dropped a full-length, but to be honest we haven't been too interested since 2000's "3", the third and final part of Betke's trilogy of albums that still sound like little else. Those records helped light the touchpaper for a generation of young producers to experiment with dub sounds in a freeform electronic context, and while it burned out quickly the traces can still be heard fizzing through. Betke reissued the trilogy earlier this year and has now followed it up with "Fading", recapturing the unsurpassed essence of those early jams without repeating himself.
Inspired by the idea of memory loss as he watched his mother suffer from dementia, Betke wanted to connect ideas of the early Pole albums to his contemporary practice. And that's exactly how "Fading" sounds: the skeletal, decomposing dub sound that was so idosyncratic in 1998 is still present, but Betke fleshes it out with a mature worldliness that brings in elements of exotica and the subtle whisper of distant, half-remembered pop. That's not to say there are riffs (there really aren't, it's pure vibes from beginning to end) but yr transported to a world where oddly familiar elements are wrapped up tightly in tape hiss and white noise.
Like on those first few albums, Betke's rhythms feel elastic and in constant flux. Drum machine sounds and sonic detritus become pretty much interchangeable, melting into each other to create a highly distinctive sound universe. There's an element of nostalgia for sure - the glassy, polished (im)perfection of the early 2000s Mille Plateaux set is very well represented here - but Betke brings it into contemporary dimensions, updating the frame without losing its soul. It's the sound of a dying supercomputer on a distant world, if that supercomputer had learned about Earth's pop culture solely by listening to Jamaican soundsystem music of the 1970s and 80s.
Cleared is the Chicago-based duo of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, formed in the latter part of 2009 as a project to focus on repetition and patience as central elements of composition. Hess and Vallera have previously worked in various contexts of improvisational, long form and experimental music (Hess contributed to Fennesz’s Seven Stars, released on Touch in 2011). Cleared is an effort to take the knowledge both have gained from these arenas in order to build hypnotic patterns of sound and rhythm.
"The Key was recorded in the spring of 2019 at Electrical Audio in Chicago Illinois with engineer Greg Norman. After a silence of several years, Cleared went into the studio with a set of drawings and notes describing the arcs of various systems for the creation of soundscapes and rhythmic patterns. There was no rehearsal, demo recordings or any other preparation besides theses diagrams which were designed by both Hess and Vallera in tandem. The logic behind this strategy was to erase the confines of previous releases and return to the origin of the project, which simply began as an open improvisation between the two musicians, centering a focus on slow, gradual changes and a meditative sensibility.
The recordings were made with a specific attention to sonic detail and fidelity, resulting in hours of material that was arranged and mixed over the next year by Michael Vallera in his home studio.
The resulting four tracks were further investigated and reimagined by Philip Jeck, Christian Fennesz, Bethan Kellough and Olivia Block, adding another form of The Key as a collection of discreet and weighted sonic explorations."
The sophomore release from Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) and Australian composer Anthony Pateras.
"‘Necroscape’ synthesizes a lot of territory: odd-time rock, musique concrète, otherworld grooves, soul, industrial noise, microtonal psychoacoustics… seemingly strange bedfellows on paper, yet in the ears they surprisingly coalesce into 13 songs which playfully challenge our notions of sonic logic and make you move at the same time.
Five years in the making, ‘necroscape’ mushroomed organically from Pateras’ production based on tape loops, analogue synthesis and rarified keyboard instruments in combination with Patton’s dense vocal arrangements, Erkki Veltheim’s exploratory violins and drummer Will Guthrie’s unique percussive strategies. The result is a handmade, kaleidoscopic tour-de-force which re-imagines songwriting as something other."
Funky arithmetics from NZ’s mhz, turning mathematical functions into crispy glitch techno with a severely ascetic but playful style of computer music RIYL Ryoji Ikeda, CoH, Powell, Rian Treanor, NYZ, Sote
Mo. H Zareei is an Iranian artist/reasearcher making electronic music in Wellington, New Zealand, where they use custom-built software and hardware to explore the limitations of their mediums in a range of compositions, kinetic sculptures, and audiovisual installations. On their debut for Important, mhz expresses the mathematical ‘Function’ of the album title in eight brittle tracks that thankfully don’t box our heads like a maths class.
Rather, for all their dryness and austerity, MHz’s rigorous tekkers results in hypnotic patterns and dancefloor traction that should light up fans of the purest electronics; from the insectoid pulses of ‘y = -1/x’, to CoH’s like cone-testing techno in ‘y = x’, the pinched electroid syncopation of ‘y = 1/x^2’, Ikeda-esque micro-shuffle in ‘y = sin(x)cos(x)’ and the pointillist jabs of ‘y = cos(x)’.
‘A Mythology of Circles’ is the new album from Brooklyn-based composer and musical artist Faten Kanaan, her first to be released on Fire Records. Cyclical patterns and 'variation through repetition' are central to Faten’s music. Harmony and counterpoint are composed intuitively and treated as narrative tools- with sound, silence, and the resulting mystical relationship between notes used as gestures to tell a wordless story. The album is separated into a ‘dusk to evening’ side, and an ‘underworld/dream-state’ side; highlighting the myths of Ishtar, Inanna, Orpheus, Persephone, and others.
"Inspired by cinematic forms and mythological story structures: from sweeping landscapes and quiet romances, to patterned tensions and dream sequences; Faten brings an earthy, visceral touch to electronic music. In symbiosis with technology is an appreciation for the vulnerability of human limitations and nuances. All the sections are played in real time, neither looped nor sequenced- allowing for subtle changes to unfold. The use of VST sampled choral voices in this album embodies the forlorn state of technological acceleration, and the desire to return to a vulnerable human sound. The album art also explores a complicated relationship with technology: the statue comes from a series of digital replicas, returning in its last stage to a more intimate and handmade feel.Composed, produced and mixed by Faten Kanaan, the album was mastered by Heba Kadry (Bjork, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Julianna Barwick)."
“Strangely haunting yet beautiful bouquet of nocturnal, electronic blooms ranging from poignant ambient vignettes to chamber-like pop, from Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan- a gifted musical story-teller” Boomkat
Strut present the 4CD edition of Sun Ra’s ‘Egypt 1971’, documenting Sun Ra’s first trip to Egypt with his Arkestra in December 1971.
"In the years leading up to 1971, Sun Ra wrote many compositions and poems specifically inspired by the ancient African Kingdoms and many others with associated mythological and heliocentric connotations. As such, a visit to Egypt and the opportunity for the Arkestra to play there was a matter of necessity. Ra’s first ever concerts outside of the US had occurred in late summer and autumn of 1970 with performances in France, Germany and the UK and a second European tour was arranged for late 1971. At the end of that second tour, Ra caught wind of cheap flights from Denmark to Cairo.
This release comprises recordings made by Arkestra member Thomas “Bugs” Hunter made in December 1971 in the streets around the Mena House Hotel, Giza, from a concert held at the house of Goethe Institute ex-pat Hartmut Geerken in Heliopolis, from a live Cairo TV channel broadcast and a concert at the Ballon Theatre in Cairo.
The impact and significance of these few weeks upon Sun Ra can be measured by the growth and development of his output over the next few years; the immediate post-Egypt period included new studio and live recordings on the Saturn, Blue Thumb, Atlantic and Impulse labels and the ‘Space Is The Place’ movie. Ra also edited the three LPs of the ‘Live In Egypt’ series which were subsequently released on his Saturn record label and its affiliated twin, Thoth Intergalactic: ‘Dark Myth Equation Visitation’, ‘Nidhamu’ and ‘Horizon’.
These three albums are now reissued as single LP editions in their original artwork. The 4CD set features these albums alongside previously unreleased material from the December 1971 recordings. All tracks are remastered from the original tapes and the CD set also features a 24-page booklet featuring new sleeve notes and rare photos by Hartmut Geerken and background information on the recordings by Paul Griffiths."
Room40 follow an absorbing 2018 introduction to L.A.’s Geneva Skeen with an enchanted suite of pulsing drone techno and ambient experiments laced with spectral vocal glossolalia.
Geneva has since released a tape for Crystalline Morphologies, ‘Dream State’ (2019), and a few digital tracks for Touch, but ‘Double Bind’ is her most significant release to date, collecting her thoughts over the last year into an elusive but strongly evocative 2nd album, proper. The interdisciplinary artist draws inspiration from a “bleak but transformative period of time” when the world radically changed to provide what she terms “an extra verbal expression of my interior experience,” supplying sympathetically etheric space for heads to wander and perhaps lose themselves for the duration.
Her 7 pieces unfurl with a certain sort of Lynchian L.A. noir, arriving with the clammy-palmed ambience and systolic drone techno thrum of ‘Mirror Glimpse’, and luring us into waking dream back-alleys between the textured concrete ambience and headless voices of ‘Leveled Ground Bottomless Pit’, reverberant drones recalling Delia Derbyshire’s dreamworks, and more physically powerful demonstrations of minimalism that recall Eleh via Marina Rosenfeld in the 11 minute centrepiece ‘Urstomtal’, thru to proper, post-apocalyptic panoramas ‘There Is A Universe Where Time Flows Backwards’ which calls to our mind what it must have felt like to experience California’s hellish wildfires.
Tom Boogizm chases his cranky debut album on Shotta Tapes with a rattling volley of grime and brukbeat mutations by Leo, recalling Werk’s Grim Dubs series or Filter Dread’s fractal bash-ups
Rolling with a scuzzy chassis similar to the styles on Boogizm’s recent album, Leo is a natural candidate to supply Shotta Tapes first solo debut by another artist, playing into the label’s aesthetic with traces of janky hardcore, grime, broken beats and dembow rhythms offset with sore, emosh electronics and bitter noise.
The cranky hip hop/grime swag of ‘Vigi’ recalls vintage ’05 wares on Actress’ Werk Discs, and ’Slipped’ works it like The Neptunes gone cyberpunk, alongside a class fusion of sub-heavy Dembow house and night vision Detroit electro pads in ’Short Crawl’, whereas ‘Integrity Failure’ and the busy arrangement of ‘Stanza’ recall the grimy drilly bits of Nammy Wams, and the gnashing, wilder-eyed breaks of ‘Beckoned’ are looking right in the direction of Concrete Cabin styles.
Sound Journeys: Switzerland is the culmination of a series of releases focusing on artists engaged in the Swiss experimental music scene, here presented as an 11-track compilation.
"It has been compiled by Nick Luscombe (BBC Radio, Late Junction) following a visit to the country and research into the current activities of Swiss academic music.
Nick Luscombe says: "The aim of this compilation is to highlight the depth of creative approaches by experimental music artists and communities across Switzerland - from solo percussion and vocal based pieces, to ensemble compositions and electronics, ambient metal and data driven work. This is just the tip of a very substantial iceberg of incredible and innovative music being made throughout Switzerland today."
Shadowy UK label ANA cough up a proper bedsitter special debut from Bearer full of damp towel ambience and bong-bubbling rhythms after smart work by Gamba, Beyaz, Rezka, and kru
Weighing up as the label’s most significant solo outing after 2019’s ‘Diktat’ compilation, ‘Precincts’ extends a dank invitation to Bearer’s twilight world where low-flying beats scud and ricochet below cobwebbed atmospheres stained with licks of nicotine jazz. Like the rest of the styles on ANA, Bearer achieves a quality of mood with minimalist means in a way beyond their young years, drawing on a latent, hypnagogic downbeat vibe that’s permeated the best UK trip hop, dub techno/dubstep and offbeat mutations since the late ’90s.
From the malfunctioning air vent of ’Sig Int’ to the blank eyed white-out of ’Sig Ext’, it’s the sound of urban decay and stoner paranoia creeping in and up the walls, settling heavy in the air. Spindly guitars pick out desert bluesy figures from the smoke in ‘Pinhul’, and ’Torpa’ beckons toward a mouldy pillow vibe, while sultry rhythms and hazed jazz chords creep across the scene in ’Sur’. He gets right under the skin like a Kevin Martin dub geist in ‘Blu’, with ’Sion’ beautifully recalling Raime at their most sylvan, jazz mag romantic, before passing out into Pessimistic voodoo on ‘Bone’ and the more fractured designs of ‘Rife’ prang off at more intriguing new sci-fi-industrial angles.
A strong look for isolated wintery times.
Neuzeitliche Bodenbeläge is the musical vehicle of Niklas Wandt and Joshua Gottmanns.
"They released asingle - Ich verliebe mich nie - in 2018 and an EP entitled Leben in 2019 on the Düsseldorf label ThemesFor Great Cities. Now the time has come for the Berlin duo’s long-awaited debut album. The 7 trackscomprising Der große Preis distil the inimitable NB sound which blends velvety synth-pop and crystallinedigi-dub, basslines like cubes of glass and whiplash snares. The album title certainly lives up to its name:The Grand Prize. This is adventure time, from wild romance to petty crime – it’s all waiting for you righthere."
Laura Cannell invites Stewart Lee, foghorn fetishist Jennifer Lucy Allen, Irish cellist Kate Ellis, and musician/writer Polly Wright to the table for a suite of haunting, real and imagined musical lanndscapes
Laura’s follow-up to her superb ‘Sing As The Crow Flies’ album with Polly Wright, and unexpected synth-pops as Hunteress for our Documenting Sound series, ‘These Feral Lands, Vol.1’ tells tales recorded in the respective isolation during lockdown. It notably features Lee finding his voice as a folk story teller and possessed scarecrow, nervily set to bleeding raw string dissonance and black country blues, and wickedly contrasting with the more dreamlike and lamenting works, all brought to life by Cannell, Ellis, and Wright’s remarkably descriptive instrumentals.
Writer and researcher Jennifer Lucy Allen recites a poem to Laura’s swirling fiddle on a highlight, ‘Vessel’, and we’re rapt by the two solo instrumental pieces, Kate Ellis’ keening elegy ‘Inhabited: The Last Wild Wolf In Ireland’, and the A Field In England-esque doom to Polly’s ‘Gather The Villagers’. But it’s really all held together by Stewart Lee’s turns with Cannell & Ellis, shapeshifting from Wyatt-like, to spoken word, and Worzel-ish across the album, reflecting on his roots in the Welsh marshes and the Norfolk/Suffolk borders, with equally were-like backing.
When Brexit kicks in and we’re down to 2 hours of leccie a day, we can only hope people start making more music like this.
Monument is a fitting title for the third album by Belarusian trio Molchat Doma.
"Monument sees them return as conquering heroes, expanding on the minimalist greatness of S Krysh Nashikh Domov and Etazhi to fully realize a more maximalist vision of their crystalline post-punk sound. Written and recorded while the band was quarantined in their hometown of Minsk during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monument is a conscious step up in songwriting and fidelity, and it reveals a band preternaturally comfortable in its own skin."
Welsh musician Gwenifer Raymond’s new album edges into unexplored experimental territory, drawing from her Welsh roots.
"In her own words : My new album, 'Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain', has eight songs in it. All were recorded in a basement flat in central Brighton, locked-down amidst a global pandemic. I recorded them myself and neither I, nor any of the songs saw said outbreak coming. Coronavirus may have dictated the circumstance under which the album was recorded but it did not otherwise inform any of the compositions that run through it; like I said, we didn't see it coming. Growing up in Wales was not a theme strongly present in my first record (perhaps not too surprising in an album of 'American Primitive'), but I feel as though my memories of that time have started to insinuate themselves in the tunes here.
In my opinion, landscape does a lot to shape a community's folk music; from my childhood I recall tall, spooky trees, black against the grey sky, breath misting in cold air, and I have tried to take something of Welsh folk horror to make my own 'Welsh Primitive'. Whilst this isn't the only theme present in the album, childhood memories do form the background for a couple of tracks: coal trains steaming along the foot of our garden, rattling the glasses on the kitchen table; and the titular 'Strange Lights...' dancing above the peak of the mountain which loomed over the house where I grew up. Dead men also feature prominently, as well as personal tragedies and the madness of touring. It's possible this album is leaning more into the left-field than the first - the songs are longer and more 'compositional' for lack of a better word, rather than deriving so heavily from the folk and blues traditions, though, they're still there - all of those dead men are hard to shake.
Some parts go fast and others go slow. Sometimes I play more aggressively than I intend to and other times I play exactly as aggressively as I intend to. I still say it's punk music and I have no idea what key the last tune is in.For Erik Satie, Master Wilburn Burchette, and Ruben the dog."
Spellbinding improvisations on a Prophet 5 synth by Toshihiko Mori, a former keys player for Ryuichi Sakamoto, capturing the spirit of ‘Jinen’ - Japanese for “Spontaneity’ - for Biosphere’s label
Putting the legendary Prophet 5 synth thru its paces, with some extra touches of Yamaha VSS-30 8-bit sampler, a few granular guitar pedals, and some field recordings from the artist’s forest-bathing walks, the results sound to these ears like a more spirited adjunct to Alessandro Cortini’s brooding synth improvs, as Tokyo's Toshihiko trusts his instincts along in-the-moment lines of thought between the radiant, widescreen chord flares of ‘Kibou’, to spiralling arps like something from Leyland Kirby’s ‘Intrigue & Stuff’ series, to aerial nightglyidng sensations in ‘Sou’, and a thizzing gem called ‘NBWRYM’ that might resonate with fans of Ayya’s modern classic ‘Second Mistake’.
People On Sunday is an original soundtrack to the 1930 silent film variously known as Menschen am Sonntag, Les Hommes le Dimanche and People On Sunday. The film is a key work of interwar German cinema, based on a screenplay by Billy Wilder.
"Like Domenique Dumont’s earlier albums, Comme Ça and Miniatures De Auto Rhythm, People On Sunday evokes a more innocent, carefree time conjured by wistful electronics full of warmth and melody. Touching on the hazy exotica that made those two records so alluring, here Dumont draws on his love of classical music, library music and early electronic experimentation to create a timeless, optimistic sound. If his past productions possessed a certain Mediterranean quality, across these 13 new pieces Dumont’s shimmering synth-pop has an enchanting simplicity.
Part documentary, part fiction, the film People On Sunday follows a group of characters going about their business in Weimar-era Berlin over one weekend and shows normal life in Germany before dictatorship.
“The film shows people and their surroundings shortly before all of it was destroyed,” says Dumont. “Ironically, watching this movie with the eyes of today, it looks more surreal than documentary. And I can’t help but think and reflect about the times we are living in now. We might have similar desires people had a hundred years ago, but we now have a completely different approach to life."
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.
Absolute killer new LP from The Trilogy Tapes / Kashual Plastik affiliate Waswaas.
"Following initial forays with The Trilogy Tapes and more recently Berlin’s Kashual Plastik, Waswaas wanders further down the path of analogue and modular darkness, casting out his first album, Memories of Perversion.
Self-released on the La Nihaya label and with nods to the depths of humankind’s primordial lurking, Waswaas presents music for the wormhole interior. The tracks traverse a range of electronic moods, tinged with moments of liturgical voicing, dissonant canonistic sequences and arcade-style sequencing.
Overall, this is a soundtrack for being trapped in your inner castle (how apt, some may say) and these 11 seminal outpourings become foundational vehicles for our attempted resurrection. Mastered by Amir Shoat with artwork from Ilaha Alize."
The expert selectors at Soul Jazz survey the golden years of German electronic music with hairy works by Can, Amon Duul II, Conrad Schnitzler and more obscure acts from 1971-1983
Conrad Schnitzler’s evergreen ‘Ballet Statique’ is always a strong look, and sequenced here along with the lip-sniff poise of Emak’s arpeggiated zinger ‘Tanz in Den Himmel’; looser funk from Can with ‘I’m So Green’; rolling and splashy krautrock from Agitation Free; Kalacakra’s impish flute fantasy; the pastoral breeze of Roedelius and his overripe work with Harmonia; and a scuzzy driver from Günther Schickert.
"This is the new instalment of Soul Jazz Records’ ground-breaking Deutsche Elektronische Musik series, ‘A near-definitive guide to some of the world's most extraordinary music’ (The Guardian).
This latest edition features many of the classic German electronic and Krautrock groups from the 1970s & 80s – including Can, Amon Duul II, Harmonia, Conrad Schnitzler, Agitiation Free, Roedelius – as well as a host of lesser known artists such as Dzyan, Klauss Weiss, Gruppe Between and many more.
Deutsche Elektronische rarities unearthed on the album include Kalacakra (whose fan-base included the great Moondog!) and their superb ‘Nearby Shiras,’ taken from their super-rare spiritual/psychedelic private press concept album Crawling to Lhasa, from 1972.
Deutsche Elektronische 4 includes a wealth of German electronic experimental artists – the seminal pioneering group Harmonia (Roedelius, Moebius and Michael Rother), avant-garde guru Conrad Schnitzler as well as lesser known synthetic artists such as Klauss Weiss, Deutsche Wertarbeit, E.M.A.K. (Electronische Musik Aus Koln), Gunter Schickert and others.
Finally, the album also features an array of heavy and progressive German cosmic rock groups – Dzyan, Virus and the amazing Turkish/German tripped out sound of Alex’s ‘Patella Black’, recorded at Can’s Inner Space in 1973, produced by Holger Czukay and Jackie Liebezeit.
Deutsche Elektronische 4 comes with extensive newly commissioned sleevenotes by David Stubbs, author of the seminal books ‘Future Days: Krautrock and the building of Modern Germany’, ‘Mars By 1980: The story of Electronic Music’, and ‘Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and its Legacy’.
This album comes as a heavyweight triple vinyl edition with full colour inner sleeves, as well as a deluxe double CD edition with outsize booklet and slipcase. Both formats include full liner notes and extensive rare photography."
‘Figures In Open Air’ is a supplement to the beautiful, studio based rumination of ‘Cantus, Descant’, marking the 2nd physical release of new music on Sarah Davachi’s Late Music.
For nigh on 3 hours, the set documents Sarah Davachi in mesmerising form in live settings between Berlin, Chicago, Vancouver, and L.A., imbuing a range of vintage pipe organs and synthesisers with her unique magick alongside some additional players on strings, wind and voice here and there. As anyone who has witnessed Sarah performing live will surely attest, her music has a bare power to hush a room full of people and bring them to eyes-shut serenity, chasing the most ephemeral lines of thought, and that subtle but deeply hypnotic, meditative energy is in full effect on this album.
It’s really dominated by two durational works recorded in Berlin and Chicago, with former channelling pastoral whims like a smudged time-lapse of Harmonia and Eno visions in its hour long arc at Rotes Salon, while the latter makes use of the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel’s 92 year old E.M. Skinner pipe organ elided with French horn in a slow exploration of monotone drone. ‘Canyon Walls’ sees Sarah at her mist ephemeral, ancient sounding on a Story & Clark reed organ at The Museum of Jurassic Technology, LA, and we’re rather partial to the keening, hypnagogic chamber sorcery of ‘Diaphonia Basilica’, captured in Montréal, Canada.
"Fragments was a completely new way of working for us. We’ve always worked with an internal brief, creating documents, pictures and videos, simply because keeping an idea on track with three individuals can be difficult. It's easy for someone to be edged out of the creative process when the focus is not clearly defined."
"It’s a formula we’ve used since the early 2000s, but things have changed a lot since then, particularly when we decided to dip our collective toes into supporter memberships with Patreon. It made us think about what we could do directly for our supporters rather than just the next album or project. At first, the whole thing felt odd and uncomfortable, but we decided that we’d try a few things and ask for feedback.
"Fragments" was initially a way for us to see how we could include others in an ongoing creative process. There was no over-arching concept, no defined characteristics or purpose, just the promise that there would be at least one new track for members to download every month. Consequently, we never knew what was coming next, so the old, very focused working method was irrelevant. It was difficult for us to let individual tracks go without knowing what was coming next, but this also made the project more interesting.
And then C19 hit and we were forced to continue the project remotely from our home studios. As difficult as the disruption was, it was during this period that we realised we could re-organise and remaster the individual tracks into a coherent album, capturing a specific moment in time and drawing a line under the first phase of the project."
When electronic artist Ben Chatwin plugged his Moog synthesiser into the mains at home one day, he was surprised to find the electrics of his home faintly singing. His house was built in the Nineteenth Century and what he was listening to was the building’s natural hum. He boosted the volume and in doing so found the inspiration for his next release, The Hum.
"‘The Hum’ is Chatwin's sixth solo album of experimental electronic music under his own name and his eleventh in total. It amplifies the hidden frequencies that swirl invisibly around us in the air all the time but which most of us never hear, including the 50Hz hum of the power grid that producers will know all too well from the studio but is almost undetectable to the human ear. “There are so many sounds around us that are lower and higher than we can hear,” Ben says. “I wanted to make it all audible.” Taking inspiration from Mika Vainio’s physical sound worlds and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s immersive soundtracks, ‘The Hum’’s emotive accumulations and caustic textures form dense stratas, with strings and analogue synths harnessed as melodic anchor points among electric storms of pulsating sound.
After discovering the drone of his home he began extracting and amplifying as many ghost frequencies as he could from other sources to make tracks for the album. ‘Interference’ includes aeroplane communications pulled from the sky; ‘War of the Ants’ resurrects long lost echoes from previously erased recordings on blank tape. At one point, he found what sounded like human chorus in the signals - nobody else could hear it so he also brought in singer Kirsten Norrie (MacGillivray) and buried her voice in the mix among the signals on ‘Creep Strain’ and ‘Snow Crash’. Strings are arranged and performed by Ben’s regular collaborator Pete Harvey (Modern Studies). Ben avoided using the computer as a sound source, and most of ‘The Hum’ is completely analogue - it was mixed live and mastered to tape. This record marks a technological and textural leap in his music, as an album that is both made with and is about the hidden sounds of tubes, tape and the air between us all."
Powerful new spiritual jazz from Chile on Soul Jazz Records. Enrique Rodríguez and the Negra Chiway Band group have an instantly powerful and unique sound that is reminiscent of the ensembles of Sun Ra and his Arkestra as well as Horace Tapscott and his Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, one that channels the righteous spirits of Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and McCoy Tyner together with a stunning Latin rhythmical and new consciousness and percussive energy.
"Added to this are elements of the Samurai film soundtracks of Akira Kurosawa, Popol Vuh’s musical spirituality (especially their work with film director Werner Herzog), Tibetan Buddhism and over-blowing chants, all combining to give a truly unique new sound. Enrique Rodríguez is a composer, percussionist, keyboardist and producer from Santiago, Chile, whose work shows many similarities with the music featured on Soul Jazz Records’ recent collection ‘Kaleidoscope - New Spirts Known and Unknown’, featuring new forward-looking jazz artists including Mathew Halsall, Theon Cross, Emma-Jean Thackray and Makaya McCraven.
Like all these artists, Rodríguez’s work is a progressive and experimental fusion of earlier influences that combine into a new and definitely 21st Century ground-breaking sound that, on account of its South American setting, give the group its truly unique feeling. Hypnotic modal piano riffs, powerful brass and flutes, an army of Latin percussion instruments and addictive vocal chants all combine in this powerful mix of radical 60s Afro-centric jazz, Eastern spirituality and cosmology and Latin American rhythmical movement."
In his first album since 2006, D&B pioneer Krust dials up the drama and tightens the screws on his swingeing step tekkers in a proper Afro-futurist epic
Weighing in at 1hr 30min long, and with tracks typically unafraid to run over 10 mins, ‘The Edge Of Reason’ is effectively a feature length, widescreen showcase for one of the UK’s pioneering Afro-futurists. Since the likes of 1997’s ‘Future Unknown’ and ‘Genetic Manipulation’, or his classic D&B album ‘Coded Language’ Krust has pushed the envelopes of D&B in his own image with typically longer track lengths allowing for deeper encrypted philosophy.
In 2020 he continues his mission with focussed, minimalist engineering and hypnotic traction, all layered with a more dramatic approach to string and synth arrangements, resulting uniquely tight spins on autonomic D&B torque and cinematic organ stabs in ‘Hegel Dialect’, the knife-edge tension of ’Negative Returns’, and a proper noirish Bristolian roller ‘Deep Fields Of Liars’.
Adulkt Life, made of Huggy Bear’s Chris Rowley, Male Bonding’s John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick and drummer Sonny Barrett, return with their debut album, ‘Book Of Curses’, on What’s Your Rupture?
"Huggy Bear led the UK’s answer to riot grrrl, inspired by the ‘seismic shock’ of witnessing a Nation Of Ulysses performance together and galvanized by Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail’s germinal riot grrrl zine ‘Jigsaw’. In the 25 years since Chris Rowley played with iconic Huggy Bear, starting a new band hasn’t felt right. But mafter John Arthur Webb (Male Bonding), who Rowley met while picking up records at a Rough Trade shop, asked if he wanted to play music together it “suddenly it felt super exciting.” Within a year, Webb and Rowley befriended drummer Sonny Barrett, who worked at a different Rough Trade location and later offered to drum in Adulkt life. The Adulkt Life line up was finalized when Webb enlisted his best friend and longtime collaborator Kevin Hendrick (Middex) on bass. For Rowley, Adulkt Life “felt like it could carry the weight of all the things I would want to culturally load into a band without having to compromise any of it.” That meant these songs - ecstatic buzzsaw guitars, blown-out poetry, the improvisatory energy of torrential art-punk drumming that reveals Sonny’s free-jazz interest - should reflect the conditions of his life as an older person. In 2020, Rowley is a 55- year-old father and longtime employee of a children’s charity. “You have to create a question and interrogate yourself,” he says, and so he poses inexhaustible ones: What is it to parent in a crumbling world? What does it mean to stay political as mEarth burns, to keep loving music? How best to communicate the excitement and charge of possibility from “a whole different set of paradigms?”
Adulkt Life inquires but offers no easy answers, instead instigating punk’s eternal invitation to see: “Wow, I should do something - make something, start a political party, just do something rather than not do something.” The cut-and-paste word collages Rowley once shouted in Huggy Bear are as cool and thrilling as ever on ‘Book Of Curses’ - with chiselled noise hooks expertly mixed by Webb and mastered by Total Control’s Mikey Young, fitting the “cold war bubblegum” aesthetic called out in the lyrics - but charged by the high-stakes of adulthood. ‘Taking Hits’ is a rallying cry for those unable to cry. The explosive ‘Stevie K’ is a “mythic hero/ine song” inspired by Nation of Ulysses guitarist Steve Kroner. In the 1990s, after Rowley and the other members of Huggy Bear saw Nation Of Ulysses, “You couldn’t be a band and want to be anything less than the impact that had on us [...] We wanted to shake everybody up.” Adulkt Life honour these impulses. On ‘Book Of Curses’, punk means never surrendering your creativity or your curiosity."