Perhaps the most significant new work from The Radiophonic Workshop in its 50 years of scoring radio and TV, the ‘Possum’ soundtrack is, remarkably, their first feature length score for film, and includes material from Delia Derbyshire's archive, heard here for the first time.
From the studio boffins and composers behind the influential, original Doctor Who and Quatermass soundtracks, the ‘Possum (OST)’ includes all cues from the film plus 9 bonus tracks, adding up to a bloodcurdling bevy of dread synth tones, pastoral flutes and bowed percussion notably laced with sound elements and drones from the archive of Delia Derbyshire, the legendary creator of the original Doctor Who theme tune.
It’s a seriously generous set, running to 38 cues that say their piece with haunting effect, along with a number of more meaty parts, and all primed to make you double check that the doors are locked on long, cold Autumn nights. In particular the eerie, evaporating flutes of ‘Possum Sting and Undercurrent’, and the likes of ‘The Barracks’ with its cold, empty tones, or the palpitating dread of ‘Pursuit’ really put the willies up us, and will likely do the same or worse when synched with the film.
While the personnel of The Radiophonic Workshop (as opposed to The BBC Radiophonic Workshop) is not disclosed, the sounds are unmistakably from that particular school of the eldritch uncanny and should be strongly recommended to fans of their classic BBC works or their Italian library/horror counterparts as much as Coil, Deathprod or Demdike Stare’s atmospheric moments.
Akira Rabelais has long been in our list of the most interesting, overlooked producers in electronic music. His early material for Mille Plateaux offshoot Ritornell was nothing short of revelatory, a mysterious, complex maze of elaborate layering that genuinely sounded unlike any of his contemporaries, or anything we've heard since. He was then picked up by David Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint and released an incredible, career-defining head-scratcher of an album in 2004 called "Spellewauerynsherde' - one of the most spectacularly odd and brilliant electronic records of any description you'll likely hear - seriously - seek it out.
Anyhow, that preamble is just to set out the extent to which we're all Rabelais fanboys here - so this new double album, the first disc in collaboration with Harold Budd no less, has arrived here with much excitement, offering his first new recordings in over five years.
The Little Glass breaks down clearly over two discs; the first containing four plaintive solo piano parts by Budd and Rabelais, followed by a 2nd disc presenting Rabelais’ hour long, inharmonic, electronic transformation of the preceding material.
Rabelais has collaborated with Budd before, he provided his own incredible side-long second CD to Budd's majestic Avalon Sutra album, and while the piano pieces that make up the first CD here are bloody lovely and all, pardon us if we do hurry on to the second disc, because, well, you know this is going to be special.
With a deliquescence touch perhaps best compared to William Basinski, the L.A.-based artist renders the original improvisations as a breathtaking hour of glistening tone clusters and mid-air melting partials growing in complexly yet naturally as fractals experienced under the lens of DMT, or a time-lapse image of ice crystals forming at the edge of moving water.
To be quite honest, we haven’t the foggiest as to what process that he’s using to achieve these results - it may well be his trusted Argeïphontes Lyre software but, we can’t confirm this - however that matter only ratchets the sensation’s enigmatic appeal - if ever there was a more acute application of the word.
It’s the sort of music that gives us involuntary rapid eye movements, as though we’re in sleep mode while awake, making time feel plasmic and space almost tangible in a sense that you could almost huff up his starlight and recline in his hyaline webs.
The Little Glass is evidently, achingly, beautiful but, don’t take our word for it; drink deeply and ye shall see, pal.
Harold Budd at his very best, coupled with an extra disc featuring a 70 minute re-working by Akira Rabelais. A timeless classic on David Sylvian's Samdhisound label.
It's hard to over-estimate the contribution Harold Budd has made to modern music, his seemingly effortless take on minimalism and ambience imbuing this often academic genre with all the warmth and humility so often missing from the work of his contemporaries. Best known for his collaborations with Brian Eno and the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie, Budd here delivers 14 immensely moving pieces, strewn with Piano cascades and panoramic soundscapes, drifting off into sublime, almost unbearable reflection.
It's a theme that's further developed with the second of the two cd's here, featuring a 70 minute re-working of Budd's work by the remarkable Akira Rabelais: a breathless, beautiful tapestry of midnight strings and echoes of lost piano taking time to unravel, eventually displaying all the warmth and intimacy Budd has spent a musical lifetime striving to perfect.
Redshape presents his 3rd and most-rounded dedication to ‘90s dance music with ‘A Sole Game’ for Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records. In a finely honed style he worked towards since 2006, Berlin’s Sebastian Kramer a.k.a. Redshape draws from classic Detroit house, UK rave and AI, Frankfurt techno, and the endless party spirit of his home city, to render a definitive, darkly-toned self-portrait sounding every bit as synthetic, romantic and classic as the CD’s cover art looks.
“In typical Redshape style, the eight tracks of A Sole Game take you on a journey through nighttime worlds and dusky industrial landscapes haunted by howls and other strange voices. It’s obvious that one of the most important goals was to craft a perfectly seamless whole of an electronic album that works without interludes or what others would consider “album material”. Each track is a universe of its own and ready to be played in a club. A limited amount of instruments made it possible for the songs to sound quite homogenous despite being constructed very diversely. Most of the melodic structures stem from a Prophet 12 synth, most of the drums from the duo of 808 and 909, providing a warm and analogue sound.
This kind of traditionalist techno setup allowed for a fast and immediate workflow while recording the foundations of each track. Later on, Kramer took these recordings and elaborately arranged and processed them, trying to maintain the sometimes naive and pure emotions of the initial recordings and establish an organic feel. By fusing this proper songwriter approach with the codes of techno, Redshape takes a big step forward in his musical evolution.”
Radical discovery by Amir Abdullah of 5 two-track master tapes of the Charles Mingus Quintet recorded live in Detroit at Strata Concert Gallery. These electrifying recordings took place during Mingus’ week-long residency in February 1973. They were broadcast live by drummer/producer and broadcaster Robert “Bud” Spangler for WDET FM – a public radio station dedicated to jazz – from Kenny and Barbara Cox’s multi-purpose home for Strata Records at 46 Selden. Entrance to the gig was $5 dollars in advance and $6 on the door.
"By the early Seventies Mingus’ militant musings, volatile character and hugely innovative musical offerings had already earned him global notoriety. He’d played with the Bird, Dizzy, Max Roach, Duke Ellington and had released universally acclaimed albums as a leader like ‘Blues & Roots’, Oh Yeah’ and ‘Black Saint & The Sinner Lady’. This gig – one of a Jazz In Detroit series that also included Keith Jarrett, Tribe and Herbie Hancock – took place a few months after the release of Mingus’ “third stream” masterpiece ‘Let My Children Hear Music’.
The music on these tapes is blazing. According to the late Roy Brooks, the band – which included himself and fellow Detroit trumpeter Joe Gardner - had not long returned from playing two tours in Europe. Fresh to the quintet was stellar pianist Don Pullen and listening to these recordings Pullen’s church-driven power, blues sensibility and harmonic sophistication perfectly complements the bassist’s own vision. On tenor saxophone we have the soulful and innovative John Stubblefield. Like Pullen he was a recent recruit. Unfortunately, the saxophonist’s time with Mingus lasted a mere 5 months: “I got in a fight with Mingus and I shouldn't have done that. After that, I couldn't get arrested in New York." Ironically, when Sue Mingus formed the Mingus Big Band in 1992, to perpetuate her husband's legacy, Stubblefield emerged as a talismanic presence in the ensemble until he passed in 2005.
Thanks to BBE, 180 Proof Records and Strata Records we can now tune in to WDET-FM and transport ourselves back to Detroit ’73, and get a taste of the furious energy and compositional sophistication of a unique and modern master at work in the most intimate of settings."
0PN live ensemble member, NYC’s Kelly Moran joins Warp to issue her new album of sync-ready electro-acoustic composition.
“The composer, producer, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist made an early name for herself in New York collaborating with dance performance and composing for long-term John Cage collaborator Margaret Leng Tan, and, most recently, performing around the world as part of Oneohtrix Point Never’s live ‘MYRIAD’ tour ensemble.
‘Ultraviolet’ plays to a wide, arresting array of stylistic influences, from jazz and dream pop, to classical composition and black metal.”
30th Anniversary Edition of Pixies’ debut releases, ‘Come On Pilgrim’ and ‘Surfer Rosa’, also includes bonus 1986 Radio Concert ‘Live From The Fallout Shelter’.
"It’s been thirty years since the release of ‘Surfer Rosa’ – a record made up of rage, religion, gore, incest and superheroes named Tony – a debut album so good that it’s now seen as a masterpiece. A year prior came ‘Come On Pilgrim’, an eight-track mini-album released in 1987 which contained cuts culled from their first ever studio session, where they famously recorded seventeen tracks in just three days.
These formative records showed the Pixies to be an alien breed; four oddball outsiders from Boston blending US underground thrash rock, indie surf pop and Spanish-language flamenco with the Biblical mythology of Frances’s childhood. They would go on to record another masterpiece in 1989’s ‘Doolittle’ but it’s the gruesome glory of ‘Surfer Rosa’, and the ruined sexuality of its cover image (a topless flamenco dancer in a crumbling Mexican bar) that set a fresh blueprint for an indie rock dynamism that not only planted the seeds of grunge (Kurt Cobain would admit that he was trying to imitate the record while writing ‘Nevermind’) but of much of the best rock music made since.
To celebrate this milestone, Pixies are playing five sold-out intimate shows at London’s Roundhouse starting this October and preceding them is the release of ‘Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa’, the thirtieth anniversary nedition which contains ‘Come On Pilgrim’, ‘Surfer Rosa’ and ‘Live From The Fallout Shelter’, a concert-cum-session that first aired in late-1986 on WJUL in Lowell, MA. Vaughan Oliver returns as designer – as with all other Pixies sleeves - to stunningly reinterpret his original artwork thirty years on, delivering a fresh take while retaining Simon Larbalestier’s iconic photographs as the centrepiece of his design."
Preeminent sound artists William Basinski and Lawrence English roll out the quietly breathtaking ’Selva Oscura’ as the first fruit of their collaborations spanning the past half decade and more.
Mantled in reference to Dante’s Inferno, ‘Selva Oscura’ literally translates to ‘Twilight Forest’, a title which serves as metaphorical device for the way Basinski and English’s lives in transit have serendipitously crossed paths over the years between Zagreb, L.A., and Hobart, in a variety of situations. On another level it also speaks to the nature of losing one’s way in place and time, which is beautifully reflected in the music’s disorienting, otherworldly ebb and flow flux.
Using a palette of sounds broken down, magnified and inverted from macro to micro scales and vice-versa, and mailed to each other between L.A. and Brisbane, the results map out vast tracts of psychic terrain that shift like the sands of time, with sounds perpetually rearranging themselves on the granular level to render a broader, slow moving tapestry of sublime, anaesthetic quality.
The A-side’s ‘Mono No Aware’ (Japanese for “the pathos things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”) is a captivatingly transient and hypnagogic work of sferic tones and sprawling wide bass, lulling listeners into a state of lushest melancholy with the allure of a time-lapse video of autumnal weather patterns. ‘Selva Oscura’ follows with a discernibly darker and submersed appeal, as though the clouds have come down to us (or us to them?) and we’re left wandering the firmament, initially swaddled in a creamy grey-pink expanse marbled with pealing partials, before crossing oceanic basses and gently touching down to pinch ourselves.
Steeply hypnotic and immensely powerful mix of possessed drone, doom metal and pounding motorik rhythms from Manchester’s Primitive Knot, who, being local and all, we’re ashamed to say we’ve never seen before, but will do on the strength of this evidence presented by Aurora Borealis (home to The Haxan Cloak, KTL, Burial Hex)
“Hailing from Manchester, UK, Primitive Knot have created a cult underground following with their prolific output and aura of arcane mystery. Primitive Knot cover a lot of musical ground, from motorik Krautrock to primitive thrashing doom metal, garage rock to the kind of industrial pop bombast associated with latter era Sisters of Mercy. Yet at all times, the sound is pure Primitive Knot. ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ sees Primitive Knot exploring the spiritual outer realms with drone, doom and dark ambient methodology, delivering over an hour of shamanic cosmic drift.
‘Thee Opener Of The Ways’ collects the sold out tape releases of ‘DOOM I’ and ‘DOOM II’, combining them with the tracks ‘Thee Opener Of The Way’ and ‘Devotion And Decay In Interstitial Space’ to bring this material to a wider audience in a cohesive album format.”
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
The Beta Band's hugely collectable‘The Three EPs’, available for the first time on a deluxe vinyl reissue.
"Arguably one of the most acclaimed and loved bands of the past 20 years, by both fans and their musical peers alike, The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
This is a deluxe vinyl edition gathering in a slipcase the EPs ‘Champion Versions’, ‘The Patty Patty Sound’ and ‘Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos’ with remastered tracks and coloured vinyl edition."
Following the fleeting reveal of instrumental passages in two trailers and the release of the track 'Suspirium' - Thom Yorke’s Suspiria (Music for the Luca Guadagnino Film) is finally here.
"Suspiria consists of 25 original compositions written by Thom specifically for Luca Guadagnino reimagining of the 1977 Dario Argento horror classic. The album is a mix of instrumental score work, interstitial pieces and interludes, and more traditional song structures featuring Thom’s vocals such as “Unmade”, “Has Ended” and “Suspirium,” the album's first single featuring the melodic theme that recurs throughout the film and its score.
As scoring a horror film presented Thom with altogether new challenges and opportunities, Suspiria stands apart from any of his other work. Piano/vocal ballads, Krautrock-esque modular synth work inspired by the film’s Berlin 1977 setting, multilayered vocals, and melodies that convey terror, longing and melancholy combine to create a chaotic yet cohesive musical spell.
Suspiria was written and arranged by Thom Yorke, recorded and produced by Thom and Sam Petts-Davies. The album also features the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir, Noah Yorke on drums on “Has Ended” and “Volk,” and Pasha Mansurov on solo flute on “Suspirium.”
Haunting, rustic works for strings, synths and voice by Jessica Moss, violinist for A Silver Mt. Zion
“Jessica Moss, the violinist, composer and singer best known for her fifteen-year tenure in political post-punk band Thee Silver Mt. Zion, is newly ascendant as a soloist, captivating audiences with gritty, warmly expressive electronic- and drone-inflected post-classical Minimalism (and sometimes Maximalism), accented by a distinctive melodic sensibility that channels Klezmer, Balkan and Middle Eastern tropes.
On Entanglement, her new and second album, Moss channels quantum theory as a metaphor for creating energetic connections through esoteric processes. Using violin (and occasionally, voice) as sound source, her compositions are set in motion like entangled particles – spinning, ricocheting, warping and stretching in extra-dimensional space.
Moss has played 80 shows in the past year and Entanglement is also profoundly informed by her experiences travelling alone, giving concerts in precarious spaces preserved by passionate subcultural communities, attempting fragile, intimate, abstract transmissions through sound and performance. This is long-attention-span music that wonderfully synthesizes form and substance, spit and polish, austerity and lushness, expansiveness and intimacy. Entanglement is a deeply felt and deeply rewarding work that testifies to the unique stylistic and textural space Moss is carving out in the contemporary/New Music continuum.”
"Where Moth and Rust Consume takes the multitude of influences always present in Sone Institute’s work to create a record he describes as his ‘pop album’, but very much one which build on the weird and disorienting approach present in all his work. Where Moth and Rust Consume is at once living and also decaying, uplifting and deeply unsettling. He says “I wanted to create electronic pop music, but from the only possible perspective I have”.
Where Moth and Rust Consume is the third Sone Institute album, following Curious Memories (2010) and A Model Life (2012). He is also responsible for contributions to the Long Division with Remainders projects ’14 Versions of the Same EP’ and ‘Collision/Detection’, and a collaborative EP with Dollboy (Oliver Cherer) – The Sum And The Difference.
This new release also marks the first volume of a new series on Front & Follow – Ex Post Facto – which seeks to celebrate experimental electronic music in all its forms, showcasing new work and old, exploring the relationship between the current and the past, how they influence and shape each other and our experiences of them.
For each volume in the series we ask artists to create a new project of their own choosing and present it alongside a retrospective of their past output. Volume sees Sone Institute create Where Moth and Rust Consume, which is presented alongside Past and Spared, a collection of tracks from the Sone Institute archive, including remixes and previously unreleased music (Past and Spared comes FREE with all physical orders of Where Moth and Rust Consume).”
‘Sonder Somatic’ is the debut Bruce album for Hessle Audio. If Monolake came thru in the UK during the post-dubstep phase, his music may have sounded a bit like this one.
“Bruce – AKA Larry McCarthy – is set to release his debut album Sonder Somatic this October on UK imprint Hessle Audio. The album packs 11 singular UK club tracks that evoke a distinctly emotive and dense energy, channelling detailed sound designs, tangled textures and club anthems for 2018 and beyond.
The record is deeply varied in styles, ideas and tempos; from the tight rhythmic groove of album opener 'Elo' to the weaponised onslaught of ominous club cuts 'What' and 'Cacao' - through drifting, meditative techno and the skeletal sound design of 'Ore' and 'Baychimo.' Each track shifts the tonal mood in subtle and distinct ways, whilst retaining a consistent icy sound palette infused with colour and human warmth.
The shapeshifting Hessle Audio imprint is run by Pearson Sound, Ben UFO and Pangaea. For over ten years, through their combined tastes they have continued to unravel and explore the edges of sounds and ideas from the wider dance music scene, across the boundaries of the functional and the experimental, with consistently innovative results. As a long time follower of the label, Bruce wanted to craft an album that continues their singular attitude and approach; incorporating vibes from UK soundsystem music as well as music from his home town of Bristol.
"From being a fan of their work from the very beginning, it's not only the music they have released that has informed my taste/work, but also the journey they have formed through the application of their attitude and approach." - Bruce
Much of Sonder Somatic was shaped by Bruce's own understanding of club culture as a whole, and predominantly his personal relationship with it both professionally and recreationally. The album was partly written as an attempt to capture that rare transformative feeling that can cause you to fully lose yourself in a club space, disconnecting from your immediate environment for a short time.
Sonder Somatic follows EPs for Timedance, Livity Sound, Idle Hands and Hemlock, and comes 4 years after his debut EP 'Not Stochastic' for Hessle Audio. The album pushes the boundaries of what club music can be whilst expertly refining his work as both a club producer and an experimental sound designer. With a unique sense of flair that sets him apart, Sonder Somatic is set to raise Bruce's profile across all corners of the dance world.”
After a series of increasingly inward-looking, conservative LPs since her stunning debut, Julia Holter finally unleashes her imagination in technicolour once again on ‘Aviary’, an expansive observation of the ratchet madness that makes up the world today.
“Aviary is an epic journey through what Julia Holter describes as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world.” Out on October 26th via Domino, it’s the Los Angeles composer’s most breathtakingly expansive album yet, full of startling turns and dazzling instrumental arrangements.
The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 record, Have You in My Wilderness, it takes as its starting point a line from a 2009 short story by writer Etel Adnan: "I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds." It’s a scenario that sounds straight out of a horror movie, but it’s also a pretty good metaphor for life in 2018, with its endless onslaught of political scandals, freakish natural disasters, and voices shouting their desires and resentments into the void
Aviary, executive produced by Cole MGN and produced by Holter and Kenny Gilmore, combines Holter's slyly theatrical vocals and Blade Runner-inspired synth work with an enveloping palette of strings and percussion that reveals itself, and the boundless scope of her vision, over the course of fifteen songs. Holter was joined by Corey Fogel (percussion), Devin Hoff (bass), Dina Maccabee (violin, viola, vocals), Sarah Belle Reid (trumpet), Andrew Tholl (violin), and Tashi Wada (synth, bagpipes).”
Jesus this album in incredible. Heather Leigh channels Kate Bush and Coil via lapsteel guitar and staggering vocals on a her new album for Editions Mego. Following her previous solo LP ‘I Abused Animal’ for Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ with a record that few beyond her inner circle could have predicted. Epic in scope, devastating on impact. Do not miss this one!
“Heather Leigh takes her Throne as queen of pedal steel with a suite of heartbleed ballads cauterised with burning riffs. After the rawness of its precursor I Abused Animal, Throne is a record of late night Americana and heavy femininity; intimate love songs smoked in sensuality. The songs on Throne are woozy, gorgeous and uncomfortable, smothered in thick layers of bass but lifted by multitracked vocals. These are rich song forms that stand in contrast to the stripped down steel in her duo with Peter Brotzmann.
Prelude To Goddess sashays in wearing leopard print jeans under the twinkling fluorescent illuminations of the British seaside, like Brighton Rock with extra bass. It is followed in by Lena – arguably Leigh's Jolene – a perverse love song soaked in a subversive sexuality, weighed down with a heavy pulse. Soft Seasons is anchored with sunken beats shrouded in wailing, growling steel and an earwormy melody. Gold Teeth, the longest track on the record, crests and breaks in waves; ecstatic peaks balanced and echoed by melancholic troughs. It soars on an updraft, and from cosmic heights dives seaward into a gnarly and riotous pedal steel breakdown, before catching the breeze again.
Days Without You and Scorpio & Androzani are shorter, intimate songs, in the latter the synths seethe and the steel bows and bends as Leigh's voice falters above a Greek chorus of shadows and reflections. But this isn't autobiography, and Throne departs on Days Without You, a confrontationally unfinished romantic song, anxious with half-thoughts and missed connections. It glides into the night on stilettos leaving unanswered questions, in a fug of psychic disturbance and lovesick sensuality.
Leigh's artwork (which she photographed and designed) is a visual mirror of the songs on Throne. It is an album of cosmic echoes, abstractions and introspection, of characters and stories that make up Leigh's first best pop record, its melodies and hooks set alight with the fiery core of her unique and distinctive pedal steel. - Jennifer Lucy Allen, 2018”
Sterling sophomore side of diaphanous dream-pop from Penelope Trappes (The Golden Filter), whose debut LP for Optimo was among 2017’s most haunting highlights...
On ‘Penelope Two’, Trappes takes us back to a misty space outta place and time, somewhere between the reveries of Julee Cruise and David Lynch, the shadowier side of Julia Holter, and Felicia Atkinson’s ambient chamber music.
“These distilled, rarefied creations take echoes as their starting point, with Trappes summoning swathes of tones, textures and emotions into something ethereal but also powerful, like an evocation of spirits. It’s also deeply melodic, with her intimate, maternally-tender voice floating in the middle of each three dimensional, womb-like sonic space.
Originally from the Northern Rivers of NSW, Australia before moving to New York and developing experimental electronic projects Locke and Priscilla Sharp, plus her best-known incarnation with partner Stephen –The Golden Filter.”
Portland, OR’s Saloli debuts on Kranky with a gorgeous suite of live analogue synth meditations...
Presented as they were performed, with no overdubs or edits, ‘The Deep End’ finds Saloli swimming in rich colours swept up in gentle currents, sometimes coagulating into poignant chromatic melodies, sometimes hovering on the biting point between harmony and bittersweet dissonance, and often prone to fleeting expressions of emotion, but with an ear for charming turns of phrase that will keep listeners coming back to this one.
"Mary Sutton’s solo debut materialized in the wake of a performance she gave at a clothing-optional soaking-pool sauna: “I had never composed for synth before but wanted to make something people sitting motionless and naked in hot bubbly water would want to hear.” It was while in this headspace that she reconnected with Satie’s entrancing cyclical motifs, particularly the way “he subtly spins melodic fragments, and pivots harmonies and phrases so the repetitions feel new and surprising yet soothingly familiar, as if casting a spell.”
The nine intuitive instrumentals comprising The Deep End accomplish exactly that, threading complementary shades of soft-hued hypnosis, dazed modal introspection, icy amusement park reverie, and lunar lullaby into a prismatic suite of contemplative melody and synthetic communion. Sutton’s songs are active rather than ambient yet their structure is more suggestive than scripted, full of lulls, asymmetries, and daydreams. Each track was written specifically to be played live on an analog synthesizer, with no overdubs or post-production wizardry. The sound of Saloli is one of warm-blooded wiring, turned on and tapped into, emotive and electric, storied machines speaking through all too human hands."
Barry Adamson announces ‘Memento Mori (Anthology 1978 - 2018)’, a 40th anniversary release charting the artist’s writing and recording career.
"Memento Mori’ charts Adamson’s career from 1978’s Magazine track, ‘Parade’ (co-written by Adamson, from their debut album ‘Real Life’) to his work as founding member, alongside Nick Cave, of the Bad Seeds (‘From Her To Eternity’, co-written by Adamson), through his nine solo albums, from 1988’s ‘Moss Side Story’ to the latest ‘Love Sick Dick’ EPs, bringing everything up to date with a brand new unreleased track, ‘The Hummingbird’."
Forged Prescriptions is a double album by Spacemen 3, containing alternative takes and demo versions of songs from their album The Perfect Prescription, plus some previously unreleased tracks.
"In his liner notes, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom says this release presents the album's songs in their "full guitar laden versions with all the layers of beautifully streamlined guitar — considered by us to be too hard to replicate live and therefore reduced for the original release." “For me, this is where Spacemen 3 song writing came to a head - many of these songs pre-dated "Sound Of Confusion", some were even recorded at both sessions, but I am still impressed mightily by Jason’s lyrical genius on originals like "Walking With Jesus" and re-writes like "Come Down Easy" and his fluid guitar playing across the whole sessions. To be sure "Playing With Fire" was soon to be our long and sultry Indian Summer but "Perfect Prescription" was the progeny of that hot, lazy (and occasionally rainy) summer.” - Sonic Boom.
Motohiko Hamase’s ‘Reminiscence’  is reissued for the first time in over 30 years by Tokyo’s Studio Mule. Wonderful, enchanted, ‘80s Japanese ambience/jazz fusing silky fretless bass, crystal clear electronics and effervescent mallet rhythms.
"In the 1970's Hamase was no stranger to Tokyo's vibrant jazz scene. together with jazz pianist tsuyoshi yamamoto and jazz-rock guitar-ist kazumi watanabe he played in the Isao Suzuki sextet and was part of their classic landmark jazz-funk album "ako's dream" from 1976.
In the following years he also participated on records like mikio masuda's latin-funk-jazz gem "moon stone" or japanese female jazz singer, actress, and essayist minami yasuda's last album "moritato". in the early 1980's his work shifted from pure jazz to electronic and ambient spheres and he started to compose his own music around his deeply emotional bass play. From 1985 to 1993, Hamase released five solo albums. just recently studio mule dropped his first one, "intaglio", in a new recording that sounds as stunning as the original release from 1986.
"Reminiscence" was his second work for the celebrated defunct japanese new age record label shi zen, featuring a rhizome of soundscapes that capture, settle and sound elusive."
Sepulchral, shoegazing goth-pop modelled in the classic image of Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, The Sundays
“SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew) is the solo project of Kennedy Ashlyn (vocalist/keyboardist of Them Are Us Too). Creative voids aren’t filled, but rather holes left that push the edges of the present into new realms of consciousness. SRSQ’s pulse began after the death of Kennedy’s closest friend and TAUT collaborator Cash Askew, a casualty in the sudden and tragic Oakland Ghost Ship Fire of 2016. Driven by loss, SRSQ became the vehicle for Kennedy’s transformative process, exploring nuance, nostalgia, reflection, and reconciliation, manifesting in the aural landscape of Unreality.
As a debut, Unreality is entrance into a new form of storytelling, traversing the present while pulling from a deep swath of experience, immersion, and sound. Like the impulse it pulls from, each song evokes the complex duality of meditation—where simple intersects with infinite. Ambient synthesizers that approach harshness, relentless arpeggiations act together with Kennedy’s vocals as a lush weapon, weaving cloudlike fables over orchestration that’s familiar and foreign. Trance-like at times, yet always rooted in cadence and structure, the synesthesia of sound and feeling takes cues from the delicate miasma of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, or Dead Can Dance, using their example as the ground floor for building a new temple of frequency. Kennedy proves an adept architect of rhythm, using sequenced electronics as a deep backbeat that allows the harrowing beauty of her vocals to lead the journey.
Produced by Matia Simovich of Inhalt, Unreality is simultaneously crisp and full, each tone and note occupying its own unique sonic world - grief butted against power, tracked to a heavy heartbeat.”
Lucy & Rrose merge as The Lotus Eaters for a dense and murky trip to the nether fields of abstract techno.
“Lucy and Rrose, now coming together as The Lotus Eaters, have established themselves separately as techno artists who are just as comfortable operating in the uncharted area of experimental music. Running their own labels (Stroboscopic Artefacts and Eaux, respectively), they have gained a cult following, both influencing and challenging the direction of techno.
Their first collaboration took the form of mutual remixes. Lucy remixed Rrose, taking on his modern classic “Waterfall” while Rrose remixed Dadub for Stroboscopic Artefacts, and shortly thereafter contributed an extended EP as part of SA’s Monad series.
Eventually, the idea of working together became inevitable. Several intense sessions in Lucy’s Berlin studio followed, using mainly analog hardware. These sessions gave birth to a new project, starting with two EPs signed Lucy and Rrose, called “The Lotus Eaters” (SA) and “The Lotus Eaters II” (Eaux). With the “Desatura” album, the first release signed under the project name The Lotus Eaters, their common work is refined further, also becoming a live act which will debut at ADE (Amsterdam) 2018.
With “Desatura,” Lucy and Rrose explore themes of physical density, emptiness, and space, creating sonic objects which can be rotated and viewed from multiple perspectives. Eschewing the typical instrumentation of techno, the duo use synthesized sound and feedback as fundamental sources to generate both textural and percussive elements. A sense of tension and weight emerge from sources that cannot be easily pinpointed. The resulting album forms a complex narrative from a paradoxically simple and restrained set of sound sources. A mysterious and profound accomplishment.”
"Los Angeles" started out as a commission work for the Vossajazz festival, and was performed in the scenic village of Voss in western Norway in March 2018.
"A far cry from Los Angeles, but to mastermind and founder HP Gundersen there are no boundaries in music and such differences are only sources of inspiration and natural parts of his vast musical universe. For the previous album "Mudflowers" HP Gundersen "found" and recruited the perfect singer in Maesa Pullman, daughter of famed actor Bill Pullman. Coming from a musical family, she performs frequently in different musical constellations in Southern Califonia, being a profiled presence in the local roots community. A songwriter in her own right, Maesa also handles guitar and piano as well as the drums. Since the release of "Mudflowers", bass player, recording engineer and co-producer Jason Hiller has come onboard as a permanent member of the trio that currently serves as the core of The Last Hurrah!!.
Originally seen as a one-off project, it soon became clear that the chemistry between the three went much deeper and far reaching than the Americana influences that dominated parts of "Mudflowers". HP Gundersen has been a central figure on Bergen´s vibrant music scene for more than three decades, as producer, composer and mentor for many of the city´s artists. As a producer he discovered and nurtured the career of a very young Sondre Lerche, one of Norway´s most successful international exports. As well as Madrugada´s mega-hit "Lift Me" with Ane Brun, he has produced over 50 albums - including Tim Rose´s final album "American Son". He names The Beatles, early Stones, Tin Pan Alley and cosmic American country as his life changing musical epiphanies."
The 5th solo album by Holger Czukay, ‘Rome Remains Rome’ bubbles up for its 30th anniversary reissue on Gronland - bastion of all things good and Krautrock
Arriving after a string of total classics such as ‘Movies’ and ‘Full Circle’’, and before his ambient outings with David Sylvian, 1987’s ‘Rome Remains Rome’ is a typically, lysegically playful and odd collection of songs tripping lines between pop, jazz and the avant-garde.
Make sure to check it for Holger’s possessed vocals on the psychedelic whirligig of ‘Sudetenland’, an appearance of then pope Karol Wojtyła on ‘Blessed Easter’, and the intoxicating drift of ‘Music in the Air’.
Plush UK neo-soul from Eglo queen, Fatima, produced by Theo Parrish, Knxwledge and Floating Points and following 4 years since her debut LP, which was subsequently reissued in 2016 on Blue Note
“It's been four years since Eglo Records' Fatima released 2014's Blue Note-approved, critically acclaimed debut Yellow Memories. This September, the London- via -Stockholm, Sweden songstress, returns with her second album, And Yet It's All Love — an emotional, yet entertaining trip through the full cycle of a romantic relationship, told in Fatima's now-familiar soulful style.
From first singles "Somebody Else” and "Caught In A Lie" to "Waltz" and "Just To Hold You" — listeners are transported from first meet, the blinding honeymoon period and struggle right through to the break-up and eventual fallout. Once again, she calls on a talented array of producers and instrumentalists to paint that picture; from Stones Throw's MNDSGN, J.D Reid (Mabel, D Double E), Purist (Daupe), Taz Arnold (Kendrick Lamar), Swarvy and regular collaborator, Natureboy Flako.
Early support has already come from the likes of Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music/Worldwide FM), Benji B (Radio 1 / 1Xtra), Toddla T, NTS Radio, Crack Magazine, Pitchfork and Resident Advisor. Up-and-coming San Francisco-based illustrator, sculptor and painter, Monica Kim Garza crafts the album artwork, placing one of her powerfully intimate nude paintings at its centre.
For the uninitiated, Fatima, has earned a reputation as one of the UK's most respected vocalists. Her debut LP Yellow Memories featured heavyweight collaborations with Floating Points, Theo Parrish and Anderson Paak producer Knxwledge. It was met with critical acclaim winning Gilles Peterson's 'Album Of The Year' at the 2014 Worldwide Awards as well as ranking No.10 in Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 20 R&B albums of the year before being re-released by the legendary Blue Note records.”
John Carpenter’s soundtrack for the new ‘Halloween’ movie. Spoiler: it sounds a lot like the previous ‘Halloween’ scores
“When the new Halloween movie hits theaters in October 2018, it will have the distinction of being the first film in the series with creator John Carpenter’s direct involvement since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Carpenter serves on the new David Gordon Green-directed installment as an executive producer, a creative consultant, and, thrillingly, as a soundtrack composer, alongside his collaborators from his three recent solo albums, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.
The new soundtrack pays homage to the classic Halloween score that Carpenter composed and recorded in 1978, when he forever changed the course of horror cinema and synthesizer music with his low-budget masterpiece. Several new versions of the iconic main theme serve as the pulse of Green’s film, its familiar 5/4 refrain stabbing through the soundtrack like the Shape’s knife. The rest of the soundtrack is just as enthralling, incorporating everything from atmospheric synth whooshes to eerie piano-driven pieces to skittering electronic percussion. While the new score was made with a few more resources than Carpenter’s famously shoestring original, its musical spirit was preserved.
“We wanted to honor the original Halloween soundtrack in terms of the sounds we used,” Davies explained. “We used a lot of the Dave Smith OB-6, bowed guitar, Roland Juno, Korg, Roli, Moog, Roland System 1, Roland System 8, different guitar pedals, mellotron, and piano.”
Unlike the Lost Themes albums, where the composers wrote the soundtracks for imaginary movies, Halloween saw the Carpenters and Davies collaborating on music set to images for the first time. Though it marked a significant change from their previous creative process, the trio thrived under the constraints and tight deadlines that film scoring work demands.”
Switched-On Eugene documents the Eugene Electronic Music Collective and some of the many synthed-out gures in and around Oregon’s iconic hippie stronghold during the 1980s.
"Whether connected by membership, geography, or the tape trading scene, the artists in and around the EEMC shared compelling visions of the future we now inhabit, vividly captured on home-recorded tapes and distributed via zines, classi eds, and local radio. Switched-On Eugene is a deep dive into a heretofore forgotten sonic microcosm unlike any other."
The songs of Will Oldham have been written most often for the aliases of Palace or Bonny. Their identities, kept necessarily separate from Will’s, the songs were written to create a singular encounter, to be shared among those who choose to listen.
"‘Songs Of Love And Horror’ is a rare entry in this oeuvre: a Will Oldham album, with the writer taking a turn as singer. As befits the nature of this project, the songs are sung and played by Will alone, in a setting enjoyed by fans of his music - that of one voice and one guitar, the better to savour the spare changes and starkly-cut lyrics, operating in quiet tension and ultimate collaboration.
Will brings to the songs all that he has learned from his stage-crafting fellows over the years, singing new versions that quiver like fresh young things in the air of today."
Swooning, melt-on-the-mind solo piano studies from Shida Shahabi, an Iranian-Swedish composer in possession of a sublime grasp of melody and airy meter, as revealed across eight pieces clearly inspired by Erik Satie and warmly recommended to fans of AFX’s prepared piano works, or the melancholy of Goldmund and Dustin O’Halloran.
“Shida Shahabi is a Swedish-Iranian pianist / composer, currently based in Stockholm. The beautiful, intimate and homespun piano of ‘Homes’ marks Shida’s debut release and the fourth in a row of new albums by female-fronted artists released on 130701 this year.
The entirety of the album was recorded at various home locations. During the writing process, Shida was renting a one bedroom appartment which she used as a studio space, before moving to a new house in the midst of the recording. So the music was actually written in one home studio and recorded in two different living rooms, hence the title, ‘Homes’. A sense of this homeliness and unpressured ease is clearly audible across the album – something utterly natural and unforced. There are no whistles and bells attached here, no big name guest performers or hired studio hands. Absolutely beautifully played and composed, it is a deeply charming record that exudes a confident warmth and an emotional depth and honesty in every note. Its production eschews the prioritising of cleanliness, with a warm, fuzzy noise floor audible from the very first track immediately immersing the listener into this sublime yet imperfect reality – as though the whole existed beneath a layer of dust. It posits comfort over obsessive cleanliness. Living comfortably with traces of wear and decay, the recording makes audible intimate acoustic details and imperfections – creaking and hissing; tiny distortions; the pressure exerted by fingers and feet against the piano’s pedals and keys.”
A new album from How To Dress Well, Co-produced by Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin, Airbird), this record plays as a single continuous piece of 21st Century psychedelic music.
"The stories Krell sings on this record - some biographical, many from the most knotted corners of human life - are deeply personal and human(e). ‘The Anteroom’ - with its blizzardous electronic noise, fragile melodies and poignant poetry - reclaims the experimental core of the How To Dress Well project."
Akio Suzuki : kikkukikiriki, stone flute, small stones, pan pipe, ireba, silent toy David Toop : flutes, bone whistle, dog whistles, stones, whistling pot, organic materials, feedback device Recorded at Sound 323, London on March 15, 2003 by Akinori Yamasaki.
"Breath-Taking is the result of one of Akio Suzuki's rare visits to England. Suzuki's music proceeds from meditation and transforms quotidian objects (a stone flute, small stones, a "silent toy") into fragile means of communication. David Toop makes a very compatible sound-mate. Here he uses an assortment of flutes and whistles, along with a whistling pot and "organic materials" (a vague enough description to allow the listener to imagine at will).
Upon first listen, one may think of two serious men making childlike music, but the level of contemplation found in this single, 37-minute piece dispels this first impression. The performance is not particularly striking, even from the point of view of such a quiet form of improvisation, but it is obvious that the music doesn't intend to strike or compel. It is born out of such simplicity that it simply exists -- it is there, discreetly inhabiting your listening space, and its sole presence is a marvel. One finds an interesting level of interaction between the artists and inventive, creative sound-making at play.” (François Couture, All Music Guide)
After returning to resounding acclaim with The Thing in 2012 and then solo on 2014’s ‘Blank Project’, Neneh Cherry channels her timeless soul into the Four Tet-produced ‘Broken Politics’, her 2nd solo album for Smalltown Supersound.
“Following the release of her first earth-quaking single in 4 years at the beginning of August, counter-culture pop icon Neneh Cherry announces her fifth solo album Broken Politics, produced in its entirety by Four Tet.
Continuing her blurring and conflation of the personal and the political, the second single Shot Gun Shack tackles the link between violence and deprivation using poetic logic. The track deals with the ever-present and always-global issue of gun violence in society. The track's name was the result of inspiration that sprung from a half-remembered conversation Cherry had at the funeral of late jazz great Ornette Coleman.
Broken Politics pointedly asks the question; how do we conduct ourselves in extraordinary times? In an era where the signal-to-noise ratio is more uneven than ever, what are the measures we must take to retain and remember our own personhood? It searches for answers, patiently and with great care, and with a fearlessness to acknowledge that sometimes the answers don't even exist. It’s a record that’s equal parts angry, thoughtful, melancholy, and emboldening, as Cherry and her collaborators continue to expand her ever-widening sonic palette to craft truly singular and potent music.”
New York-based percussionist and sound artist Eli Keszler dropped jaws last year with his unstoppable one-two punch of the ‘Red Horse’ LP on Type and ‘Cold Pin’ on PAN. Admittedly this was the first most listeners had heard from him, but new devotees were quick to fall over each other to grab anything else Keszler had put his name to, so it’s a fan service from PAN that they’ve put together this bumper double CD that collects up all the disparate pieces of the Cold Pin recordings.
The original installation was set up in Boston’s cavernous Cyclorama gallery, and finds Keszler stretching gigantic strings across the walls and letting small motorized hammers ‘play’ them at random intervals. Accompanied by a group of similarly outré minds (Geoff Mullen, Greg Kelley, Reuben Son and wife Ashley Paul) the musicians played to the randomized booming strings, and now, unlike the studio recordings we heard on the previously released LP we can hear the piece in full unedited form, together with the gigantic reverb of the room itself.
Probably the most stunning addition to the original pieces though is Keszler’s recordings of the Cold Pin exhibit he set up in Shriveport Louisiana, where the strings were stretched across two large empty water purification basins. You probably have an idea of how that might sound, but needless to say Thomas Koner’s peerless ‘Permafrost’ might be a good place to start. Elsewhere we’re treated to a full ensemble recording (with the Providence string quartet), which reframes the piece as a defiantly modern re-imagining of Ligeti – dissonant, disconcerting and gruesomely eerie. Even if you’ve already bagged the LP you won’t want to miss out on ‘Catching Net’, it’s yet more proof that at only 28 years old Eli Keszler is already one of the most important voices in the experimental music scene right now. Highly recommended.
Stunning exploration of traditional Arabic music and electronic processing by pivotal Montrealer Radwan Moumneh (boss of the legendary Hotel2Tango studio), including unmissable meshes of rolling rhythms with spectral ‘tronics in ‘Bein Ithnein’, and Coil-like digital vocal manipulation on ‘Thaha, Mish Roujou’, Thahab’, along with entrancing theatric orchestrations of trad vocals, buzuk and zurna with synths and tape FX. TIP!
“Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) is a project of contemporary Arabic and electronic music interwoven with 16mm film projections and light-based (de)constructions of space, exploring a relationship between music, visuals, projections and audience. With performances thus far occurring once or twice a year, no two JIMH events have ever been the same: configurations have ranged from solo to 35 participants, with varying degrees of stage theatrics alongside a film & visual component, using multiple projections to construct a space in constant flux. JIMH's vocals and purposefully blown-out sonic sensibility have been the consistent thread, but neither its music nor visual propositions have ever repeated themselves – one of the reasons why JIMH has resisted for eight years any official documentation or definitive recording of the project.
JIMH was formed in 2005 by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, a Lebanese national who has spent a large part of his adult life in Quebec and has been a fixture of the Montreal independent music community, from his early days in various notable 90s punk bands to his tireless activities over the last decade as a sound engineer, producer and co-owner of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango recording studio. Moumneh is also active in the Beirut experimental music scene, where he spends a few months every year. JIMH now consists of a core trio with French musician & producer Jérémie Regnier and Chilean visual artist & filmmaker Malena Szlam Salazar, whose two-year collaboration with Moumneh has resulted in the co-creation of JIMH’s debut album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.
JIMH forges a modern experimental Arabic music by wedding melismatic singing in classic Arabic styles and electronic compositions with contemporary electronic production. The album equally emphasizes the intimacy and narrative pace that focused, intentional studio recording allows. The result is a unique and profoundly emotive album of contemporary Arabic music, a stunningly subtle first record for a project that resisted documentation or any sort of fixity for so many years. Moumneh's voice has become a powerfully authentic instrument, and his production techniques applying distortion, tape echos and delays to varying degrees transmit a timeless intensity to the recording. Saturated synths and the overdriven signals of Moumneh's acoustic buzuk and zurna reinforce the reigning sensibility, providing a bracing counterpoint to the vocals and lovely, searching instrumental narratives in their own right. Szlam’s work was the source material for the album’s visual aesthetic. Szlam’s visual creation for the album derives from sequences that echo lunar notions and photographic intervals that reverberate and resonate, evoking the oscillation of time. Using frames from various hand-processed 16mm filmstrips, Szlam created a lunar sequence that consitutes the album cover artwork.
Inspired by the Lebanese educator Boutros Al-Bustani’s book Circumference of the Ocean, Mo7it Al-Mo7it signifies, in JIMH’s open and poetic interpretation, “Ocean of the Ocean.” The numeral 7 is pronounced like an h; all titles on the album are rendered in contemporary colloquial “mobile” Arabic (the transliterative characters used in Arabic phone texting). Thanks for listening.”
Todd honed his craft composing for acoustic instruments - string quartets, small ensembles and orchestras. In the 1970s he was drawn to emergent synthesiser technologies because of their abilities to access tones ‘between’ the standard 12 notes of the Western musical scale, and to have the power to craft music out of glitches and unique sonic gestures that are unplayable on acoustic instruments.
"Multum in Parvo is reflective of this approach - it has a definite and logical flow as a composition, but its content is abstract sound sculpted out of pure energy, something only analogue synthesis can offer. Sometimes sparse, sometimes bristling and jumping with detail, Multum... provides a genuinely multidimensional experience. Listen to it in the dark on your best headphones, you experience your brain moving slowly through a black space where an orchestra of strange, electro-microorganisms seem to swarm, murmurate and disperse, adding their distinct flutters, whispers and calls to an immersive electronic symphony.
Like the classic Forbidden Planet soundtrack, which Todd was inspired by, or indeed Music and Poetry of the Kesh - Multum in Parvo seems to function as part of some unique sonic ecology, according to its own rules, in its own universe and somewhere just beyond time. Multum in Parvo is available on CD with artwork by the artist Ursula Barton - Todd’s daughter, named after his great friend and collaborator."
Archival Scanner work recorded in mid ‘90s with involvement from Jim O’Rourke and Robert Hampson (Main, Loop)
“There were three performers and one witness. I can remember this day so well, even though it was some twenty-four years ago. Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk. Introducing sounds to the mix, unexpected, unpredictable, where the accident reigned supreme. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss. Mike Harding from the Touch label stood silently, listening intently. A couple of years earlier we had set up Ash International, an audio project which allowed to release unusual and exploratory music and sounds that we felt deserved a wider audience, from Runaway Train to the early Scanner releases.
Two mixes were captured directly onto DAT tape. One of which would be officially released as Ash 1.7 Mass Observation, an EP that featured a 25 min version of one of these sessions, but until today the second longer expansive mix has never been heard. Each quite different from the other. Dehumanised communications, beatless, radio signals drawn in live to tape, and accompanied by dial tone pulses and abstract textures, Mass Observation is a highly suggestive picture of a particular place in a city at a very specific time. A form of Sound Polaroid as I tended to call such recordings.
This early body of work of mine, in the early and mid-1990s was a study in surveillance. Long before our concerns about data leakage at Facebook, and Siri spying on our private moments, I used the scanner device itself - a modestly sophisticated radio receiver - to explore the relationship between the public and private spheres, lending a deep sense of drama to these found cellular conversations within a contextual electronic score. In many ways, this work pre-empted our reality culture, as it exists today, with our TVs now saturated by Love Island and Big Brother.
In the experimental techno uprising of Britain in the mid-1990s this work proved controversial and memorable. Bjork sampled Mass Observation controversially for her Possibly Maybe single, whilst Coil and Aphex Twin bought radio scanners and introduced these found voices into their recordings, whilst I continued to create work in this grey area of ambient sound. It’s work that still carries great meaning for me, opening up possibilities with sound and introducing the human voice back into experimental electronic music.”
The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
"Released in 1999, the album “The Beta Band” followed the critically acclaimed compilation “The Three E.P.'s” (1998). With high anticipation for The Beta Band, the band originally planned to record the album in four separate continents, but financial constraints slimmed the recording locations down; however, the album was still recorded in a variety of locations and pulling inspiration from sources as diverse as Jamaican reggae, Disney's movie “The Black Hole” and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
The band also originally intended the album to contain a bonus disc of two long form ambient pieces, ‘Happiness and Colour’ and ‘The Hut’, both of which lasted over 20 minutes and represented the band's desire to "make a record of sound as a description for something like happiness, where a distinct first part gives way to a distinct second part”. However, the band and label ultimately decided to remove these tracks from the album prior to release."
Yves Tumor lands on Warp with his debut album for the label; more popwise and polished than before, still pitched perfectly between the avant garde and the mass market...
Laced with guest vox and production from Croatian Amor, James Ferraro, Oxhy, Puce Mary and James K, on ‘Safe In The Hands of Love’ Sean Bowie a.k.a. Yves Tumor is the liminal, connecting spirit between a unique push ’n pull of samples and original instrumentation, acting like a porous transducer of style, tone and pattern that absorbs and amplifies lost (but not dead) light and energy and turns it into something wholly his own.
Where previous singles such as ‘Noid’, ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’ - the album’s core trio - distinctly nodded to Brit-pop and ‘90s ambient-pop pastoralism, the rest of the album curiously unfolds along those axes to take in nods to Warp’s earliest signings, N.O.W. on the introductory fanfare of ‘Faith In Nothing Except Salvation’, while ‘Economy Of Freedom’ opens out into futurist sci-fi soul, and ‘Honesty’ masterfully melds indie-pop and rugged electro-soul.
And it’s that polysemous definition of soul that continues to be the uniting ligature or filament to the rest of the album, from the raging black metal mutation of ‘Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’, to big beat-y psychedelia of ‘All The Love We Have Now’, and the white hot, foaming shoegaze distortion of ‘Let The Lioness In You Flow Freely’, all cannily highlighting a sense of emotive mutualism that transcends style, credo, and vibe.
The french EBM specialist spanks out a 6th album of the steely stuff, also making up his debut LP with Ostgut Ton after delivering them two 12”s in recent years
Skip the obligatory “drone” intro and you’re left with seven protein-fuelled dark dancers shifting weight from the tarry subs of ‘Shout In A Black Hole’ with its AFXian holler, to the slow and wide roll of ‘Mind Event Horizon’, the icy groove control of ‘Accelerate’, the sexy trance hypnosis of ‘A Halo Somewhere’, and the album’s most percussive banger, ‘Phase Shift’.
Mute bundle 17 highlights, including two bonus tracks, from Manc punk-funk troop A Certain Ratio
Throwing back to the heyday of Manchester multi-cultural groove explosion, there some proper evergreens inside, including the sleazy twist of ‘Wild Party (12” Version)’, the utopian dance-pop of ‘Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Mix)’, the 7” mix of their jazz-funk turn ’Shack Up’, and the gauzy groove of ‘Knife Slits Water (7” Version)’.
The KVB put another gallon in the tank with ‘Only Now Forever’, their 6th LP of motorik, melodic wave pop. RIYL Death In Vegas, Beak>, Spacemen 3
“After intense touring their 2016 release ‘Of Desire’, The KVB returned to their home to further immerse themselves in sonic experimentation. The resulting Only Now Forever heralds the next chapter in the adopted-Berliners dark, electronic pop development.
“On our new album we wanted to take everything we had learned in the studio recording our last album and apply it to self-producing this album,” explains the band. Recorded entirely in their Berlin apartment throughout 2017 the band decided they wanted to take a freer approach to writing and recording. “In the past, we had always tried to restrict ourselves productions wise, to what was possible to play live as a duo, but this time we wanted to expand our compositions and instrumentation, and let the atmosphere dictate the layers of sound.”
Whilst holding evident inspiration from previous times, the sound this London-founded duo present is progressive and distinctly new in every sense. Idyllic at times; gritty in others, each bar is as enchanting as the last, leaving you in a melancholic trance.
Offering poignant lyricism that explores modern anxieties that plague many, the duo manage to imbue feelings of empowerment, fighting such struggles with a deceivingly sanguine sound. This seamless juxtaposition is perhaps their best trait.”
A revelatory study of Philip Corner’s experimental compositions circa 1958 and 2016. Performed by Rhodri Davies, among others
“Extremes are extreme, extremely. For Philip Corner, a lifelong commitment to extremes - extreme expression, extreme beauty, extreme noise, extreme silence - developed a mastery of expression, any one extreme may result in all of the others. In gripping new recordings by the duo of Silvia Tarozzi, violin, and Deborah Walker, cello - with assistance from Rhodri Davies, harp, and Philip Corner, piano - Corner's early ensemble works from 1958 are paired with newer, late works from 2015-2016.
The works from 1958, "Two-part monologue" and "FINALE,” were composed while Corner was teaching at City College and still finishing his Masters at Columbia University under Henry Cowell and Otto Luening. Extremes being extreme, they were too extreme for Columbia. Yet, Corner completed his degree and continued to stretch on, creating works somewhere between the supercomputer-refined micro-tunings of James Tenney and the ecstatic enactments of Malcolm Goldstein, his Tone Roads bandmates. Now, with the world (somewhat) caught up, we can appreciate Philip Corner’s EXTREEMIZMS, early and late, together.”
Koichi Matsukaze's incredibly rare and much sought-after album Earth Mother sees a deluxe repress on BBE Music. This is the third highly anticipated release in the series.
"Regarded as one of the most sought-after yet elusive albums from a pivotal era in Japanese jazz, Earth Mother was originally issued in 1978 on ALM, a private label home to some of the most innovative jazz, contemporary classical and free improvisational music released in Japan during the late 70s and early 80s. It was here that Earth Mother found a natural home among the experimental and transgressive, destined to remain in obscurity for decades until the album’s muscular, bass-driven title track was included as the opening cut on BBE’s acclaimed compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1969-1984. It was a fitting way to start such a landmark collection and the track quickly became a favourite among DJs and jazz fans.
Earth Mother sees saxophonist Matsukaze team up once again with legendary drummer and band leader Furusawa Ryojiro; joined by Tamio Kawabata on bass to form the core trio which is augmented by Daitoku Toshiyuki on acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes.
This is a mythic album, seen and heard by very few; often among the top wants for even the most hardcore jazz collectors. The album ranges from heavyweight spiritual jazz and post-bop burners, to Dolphy-esque experimentation (Don't Worry About Tenor Saxophone) and a singular take on the classic, Round Midnight."
‘Bunny’ is Matthew Dear’s first new album since 2012, and lands nearly 20 years since his debut on Ghostly International
Trust he knows how to grow older gracefully, as ‘Bunny’ works to a steady mid-tempo with lots of processed croon, really focussing his work into a pop-wise framework, with dancing resulting as a possible side-effect.
Factory Floor unfold their full length live score to Fritz Lang’s seminal, silent 1920s sci-fi ‘Metropolis’, which they previously performed live at the Science Museum’s IMAX in April 2017, coinciding with the film’s 90th anniversary of release
With over 150 minutes of the film to soundtrack, Gabe Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void a.k.a. Factory Floor cover a lot of bases, from tense greyscale ambient to needling electro and pulsating techno and industrial minimalism, often in the same track, which scale from tense, 3 minutes themes, and up to a 20 minute-long tract of woozy slow electro.
Daniel Brandt, co-founder of German ensemble Brandt Brauer Frick, delivers his second solo album for London imprint Erased Tapes.
"Titled Channels, the new record follows the release of the London and Berlin based producer’s solo debut Eternal Something from 2017. The seven-track LP is Brandt’s biggest statement yet, with the album’s thrilling avant-garde framework interweaving chord-driven techno, orchestral flourishes, rich electronic textures and hints of dark cinematic pop.
Following on from Eternal Something, which captured a contemplative kind of isolationism, with Channels Brandt set out to create an album that captures the essence of minimalism whilst lending it to a more playful context. After performing and recording Steve Reich’s Six Pianos in a group of six, Brandt began regularly composing long meditations on the piano, something that permeates the sound of the new record. Its frenetic energy and shape-shifting identity was also born out of touring with his new band Eternal Something — comprised of Brandt on piano, drums and synthesisers, Pascal Bideau on guitar and bass, plus Florian Juncker on trombone — and a desire to translate both the sound and spiritual unity of their live shows in which musicians locked together to create an intriguing meld of expansive works.
Intricate floor-filler and lead track ‘Flamingo’ synthesises the measured pacing of Detroit techno with an orchestral background. As with all of the tracks on Channels, ‘Flamingo’ began life as a sketch with very basic instrumentation, before taking it into the studio to rehearse with his band members, giving the album a live and visceral sound that sets it apart from his debut; “It was a great experience to do it this way as I have always wanted to have the chance to try out something in a live setting before recording it in the studio and not the other way round,” explains Daniel. “The actual typical rock band recording style that I never had the chance to do before.” The album’s most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ is built with a vivid and pulsating bass line that takes inspiration from a Lichtenstein painting, as well as the UK bass scene and producers like Tessela and Lord Tusk. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint as well as Daniel and his band’s live improvisations with orchestral collective Stargaze, whose founder and conductor André de Ridder contributed violin on the album. Title track ‘Channels’ melds instrumental ambient with melodramatic embellishments, whilst the record’s closer ‘Twentynine Palms’ takes its name from the vast Californian desert, and was written while Daniel was travelling there, evoking the widescreen and rapturous sound of open space and nature.
With Brandt also being skilled as a filmmaker, directing and producing visuals for BBF and Eternal Something, much of the new album’s creative ideas reference a rich visual palette. He directed the video for ‘Flamingo’, a sideways glance at the art world that takes the concept behind John Cage’s 4’33” and turns it on its head. “The video for Flamingo is deliberately non performance — people sitting in a room and watching basically nothing, never really sure if anything is ever going to happen. It’s also a play on John Cage’s 4’33”, except in this instance there isn’t even a performer present.” — Daniel Brandt Daniel’s passion for film even prompted him to kick start his own online television channel Strrr.tv in 2017 that since attracted a lot of attention with guest moderators including BBC Radio DJ Gilles Peterson, modular synth legend Suzanne Ciani and Berghain bouncer Sven Marquardt counting amongst the most popular episodes. Recorded between Berlin and London, Channels is a deeply enthralling listening experience, which sees Daniel Brandt build upon his distinctive percussive sound whilst exploring new and expansive horizons."
Ryuichi Sakamoto presents his original soundtrack to Rage「怒り」, a Japanese murder mystery by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-Il, his second film adaptation of popular novels by Shûichi Yoshida.
Predating Sakamoto’s work on the immense, panoramic OST for The Revenant with Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner, his score to Rage is a far more intimate and finely melancholic affair, reflective of the film’s shifting themes exploring identity and the malaise of contemporary society.
The main title theme is a memorably symphonic swell of lustrous strings and keys riven with he heartbreaking emotion Sakamoto specialises in, while the rest of the suite is swept between grand instrumental gestures and subtler electronic gilding, feeling out a filigree spectrum of emotions from noirish paranoia to genteel, glitching romance themes.