Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll likely ever hear, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
A lost standout of ‘90s industrial/experimental rock, Cindytalk’s 4th album takes a timely, newly expanded reissue bow with NYC’s Dais.
Conceived and framed as a “call to arms” for Scottish independence on release in 1994, ‘Wappinschaw’ is so named after the process of weapons inspection by Scottish chieftains when readying their clans for battle. From ancient times, to the ever present ‘90s, to current cries for Scottish independence, Cindytalk’s music continues to hold its ground as a vital part of the Scottish post-punk/industrial/experimental landscape, speaking to long held urges that feed into the tensions and expressions of a singular music scene. No doubt it’s a classic by one of its most fascinating artists, whose catalogue connects This Mortal Coil in the ‘80s to hardcore techno in the ‘90s, and a series of remarkable electronic albums for Editions Mego in the past decade.
It’s unmissable for its strikingly unadorned take on Ewan MacColl’s folk classic ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ (as famously covered by Roberta Flack) as its opening shot, and goes on to take in Cindytalk classic ‘A Song of Changes,’ alongside inclusion of legendary Glaswegian writer Alasdair Gray on ‘Wheesht,’ and stirring atmospheric designs in the likes of ‘Träumlose Nachte,’ and 11’ bagpipe soundscape of ‘Hush,’ while a trio of additional works lurk at the back, bringing some anthemic gaelic rock on ‘The Moon Above Me,’ and snarling, serpentine styles on ‘In Sunshine,’ plus the kind of gothic industrial rock that begat current Regis styles in ‘Old Jack Must Die.’
Official reissue of Hiroshi Suzuki’s glorious jazz-fusion-funk holy grail Cat (originally released in 1976), sourced from the original masters and available on limited edition 180 gram vinyl mastered at half speed for full audiophile sound, as well as on digipack CD. Both versions come with liner notes by Teruo Isono.
"Celebrated in jazz collectors circles, in the lofi beat scene, and among music diggers around the world, Cat has become one of the most sought-after Japanese jazz albums of all time and, much like Ryo Fukui’s Scenery, has fascinated old and young generations alike.
Cat was recorded in October 1975 at Nippon Columbia Studio, while Hiroshi Suzuki was visiting his home country of Japan after moving to Las Vegas in 1971 to play with Buddy Rich and perfect his craft. Back on his old stomping grounds, the man known as Neko (Cat) immediately reunited with his dear friends for an epic two day session of groove magic. The chemistry was still intact. The skills and style had grown.
The result, Cat, is a smooth masterpiece, a deep and soulful affair where stunning trombone solos by Hiroshi Suzuki flirt with Takeru Muraoka’s heavenly saxophone and the sensual rhythm section of Hiromasa Suzuki (keyboards), Kunimitsu Inaba (bass), and Akira Ishikawa (drums)."
Tony Oxley : percussion, electronics. Alan Davie : piano, percussion, ring modulator .Recorded at Gamels Studio, Rush Green, Hertford, United Kingdom 1977 and 1978.
"Featuring never previously released recordings made by Tony Oxley and Alan Davie at Davie’s home during 1977 and 1978, Elaboration of Particulars offers us a vital insight into the development of this intriguing duo and it’s place within the history of Great British Improvised Music. Formed in 1970, by the time these sessions were made, Oxley and Davie’s duo music had metamorphosied into something totally unique and exclusively their own.
Oxley’s amplified frame conjures up oscillating currents and surging electronic shards that, together with his percussive counterpoint, play a perfect partnership with Alan Davie’s enlightened piano modulations. Listen also to Davie playing keyboard and tuned percussion simultaneously. The music presented here by Oxley and Davie echoes the electro-acoustic works of Stockhausen, Berio and Varese but it is delivered with an altogether different intent by two experienced and musically sophisticated improvisers. Elaboration of Particulars is the second release from Tony Oxley on Confront Recordings. The first, Beaming, was released in April 2020."
Impeccable, hi-res electronic pop from British-Canadian pop deconstructionist BABii. Like a radio-ready, defanged PC Music with occasional lapses into noisy punk and breakcore.
On her second solo album, BABii tears through fractured electronic pop with the help of regular collaborator Iglooghost and umru. Detailing her feelings of abandonment as she was dragged from Yorkshire to Kent and to Canada by her nomadic father, BABii ties sad songs up in a glittery bow of glitchy percussion and wheezing synths. Influenced by SOPHIE and the hyperpop set, BABii curves the glass shattering foley IDM into pleasing R&B shapes, emerging with singalong plalist pop songs that sound decidedly current.
Like a cool breeze on a humid afternoon, Megan Alice Clune's "If You Do" is fresh, unexpected and welcome turn from Lawrence English's Room40 label. It's an operatic fusion of vocals and synthy electronics that's something like Grouper and Laurie Spiegel playing simultaneously.
In the summer of 2020, Aussie composer Megan Alice Clune had a dream that she wrote an opera. She'd been struggling to lift herself out of creative stasis after a long trip to Tokyo, but the dream offered her the push she needed. She began to sing melodies (quietly, so the neighbors wouldn't hear) and eventually an album began to take shape. Clune describes the record as "an album for solo voice and an ensemble of technologies" and that feels fitting. Her voice is the central instrument, but that's only part of the story; Clune's use of synths and effects gives the album a character that helps it shift thru genre, time and space.
It's a record that's intended to inspire through about our use of technology, and after well over a year of being tied to a computer screen, it's timely. The organic, fallible nature of Clune's voice is offset by the layers of electronics, and while the mood isn't combative, it's critical. Good stuff.
First official reissue of Alice Coltrane’s gorgeous and hard to find 1982 meditation tape in its previously unheard original, unadorned organ and vocal mix, issued according to the wishes of her son, Ravi Coltrane. If you're into anything from Alice's uber-classique 'Journey in Satchidananda' to Kara-Lis Coverdale's Minimalist masterpiece 'Grafts' - this one's just utterly unmissable for what ails ya.
Perhaps the purest iteration of Alice Coltrane’s devotional music, ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ captures the modal jazz innovator at a spiritual high water mark, chanting Sanskrit over free floating organ chords in a beautifully self-contained style. Originally issued on tape by Avatar Book Institute in 1982 in a fuller mix featuring synths and strings, this is the first time it’s appeared in its more stripped down, and arguably more affective, version with thanks to Alice’s son Ravi Coltrane, who’s helped bring it it to light via the legendary Impulse! label.
As name checked by a panoply of contemporary greats, from her nephew Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder comrade Kamasi Washington, to Solange or Shackleton; Alice Coltrane’s music is a microcosmos unto itself, and, like Sun Ra’s catalogue, it can be difficult to fully grasp her scope. The relative simplicity of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ thus exists as one of the most welcoming entry portals to her sound, and is quite literally titled after her Sanskrit name, “Turiya” as in short for Turiyasangitananda, and with “Kirtan” referring to the act of “narrating, reciting, telling, describing, of an idea of story.”
Working quieter shades away from the ecstatic ‘Ocean of Love’ devotionals by Alice’s collaborator, Panduranga John Henderson (issued by Luaka Bop in 2017), the eight songs of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ speak to a richly immanent sort of pan-soul for the ages, offering mesmerising, enamouring space for meditation, or, on a more secular level, a worldly sense of serenity and peace that’s totally needed right now.
The fourth release of the thru the cosmos series, Eta/Aquariids commemorates sensational astronomical events that occur in the summer night sky.
"A sonic travelogue for the ultimate immersive experience for all stargazers and imaginative persons alike. This project consists of newfound sounds and 7:1 field recordings specific to our observation locations. In echospace, we pride ourselves on the many years of unique experiences that culminate from our deep love of astronomy. We have special plans to watch these meteorites grace our atmosphere, and not just as mere observers on Earth, but of whom believe in connecting with those from the future and the ones before us.
It is known that ancients partook in this experience, dating back as far as the Egyptians. These space particles disintegrating from Haley's comet are stunning, and simply provide us all with an exceptional human experience. It is advised that anyone watching be placed in complete darkness. And in this darkness, we are surrounded by light. This epic sound world was created to score as a soundtrack for the multitude of otherworldly cosmic events and features what we would consider some of the most engaging sound designs to date. A sonic universe all its own."
This CD features 4 never-before-heard versions culled from the original recording sessions. All tracks have been remastered for CD and also includes STL's first ever remix.
"This CD is included with the purchase of the midnight blue 12" re-issue or separately on this limited Limited CD edition, packaged with silver/chrome sticker, housed in resealable poly sleeve and hand numbered. Only 100 of these will ever exist"
First vinyl edition of Scritti Politti’s hip hop-inspired 4th album, originally released in 1999 after a decade long hiatus, and to head-scratching reactions from longer term listeners.
After crafting some of the ‘80s most enduring classics, Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside ended that decade disillusioned with music, and retreated home to the Welsh Valleys where he spent years listening to US hip hop. By 1999 he returned with a hip hop-skooled album ‘Anomie & Bonhomie’ that boldly challenged the band’s legion fans, setting his unmistakably blue-eyed soul vocals to production that leaned almost into rap-metal and pop-punk, and even featured Mos Def guest spots, with one of its highlights ‘Tinseltown To The Boogietown’ being remixed by Pete Rock, Rob Swift and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
The 3rd album "The Wind is Strong..." by Cindytalk, an evolution of Scottish artist Cinder's early 1980's Edinburgh-based punk band The Freeze.
"Cindytalk is the mercurial, expressionist outlet of Cinder. She launched the project upon moving to London, inspired by the crossroads of exploratory UK post-punk and early European industrial. Her work thrives on chance and transformation, collaging elements of noise, balladry, soundtrack, catharsis, and improvisation. After a series of celebrated albums for the Midnight Music label as well as collaborations with This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins, Cinder migrated to the United States, becoming involved with various underground techno collectives around the Midwest and West Coast. Subsequent relocations to Hong Kong and Japan further expanded Cindytalk's horizons, resulting in a fruitful partnership with Viennese experimental institution Editions Mego, for whom she released five full-lengths of swooning, granular atmosphere. 2021 finds her as engaged as ever, at the precipice of long-awaited back catalog reissues alongside multiple new works, guided by her lasting love of discovery and deviation: “new pathways always being uncovered.”
'The Wind is Strong...' began life as the soundtrack to an experimental film by English director Ivan Unnwin entitled Eclipse (The Amateur Enthusiast's Guide To Virus Deployment), and was originally slated for release via Factory Records' video division, Ikon. Inspired heavily by Alan Splet's eerily disembodied sound design in David Lynch's Eraserhead, the collection's 15 pieces seethe between field recordings, wistful piano vignettes, and lurking metallic haze – a hybrid palette Cinder characterized at the time as “ambi-dustrial.” Unfortunately Ikon collapsed on the eve of the project's completion so the film was never distributed, but the Midnight Music imprint repackaged Cindytalk's score as an LP in 1990 under the name The Wind Is Strong... (full title: The Wind Is Strong - A Sparrow Dances, Piercing Holes in Our Sky).
Long out of print, the album remains one of the most elusive and adventurous in the Cindytalk discography, a mix of musique concréte, haunted reverie, and desolate beauty. Even unaccompanied by their intended visuals, this is overtly cinematic music, conjuring forests at dusk and shadowed corridors, equal parts remote and reflective. Cinder cites a belief that “all sound is music,” which fully manifests here, utilizing tape hiss, ticking clocks, flicking flames, and distant whispers as evocative accents in tapestries of luminous negative space.
Although Cinder included the subtitle “A Cindytalk diversion” in the sleeve notes, The Wind Is Strong... is crucial to the project's canon, demonstrating the depth and versatility of her unique ear and intuition. She describes each album as a direct response to the previous one, and in that sense The Wind marks a bold break from the coiled song-oriented post-punk of 1988's In This World, venturing into unknown, unnamed terrain, and finding foreboding new futures to call her own."
Stunning retrospective of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s devotional works collated from the private tape archive of the Avatar Book Institute. Seriously, this one's a proper head melter...
Luaka Bop commence a new series of releases themed around the global spiritual diaspora with this superb collection of rare devotional works from Alice Coltrane. Sure, everyone knows how great ‘Universal Consciousness’ (especially after that Superior Viaduct reissue from a few years back) but ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’ hones in on a period of her life that is less widely-known.
Undoubtedly moved by the passing of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice embarked on a spiritual reawakening that took her out of the public eye and culminated with the establishment of a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram in Malibu, California in 1983. This secluded ashram gave Coltrane the freedom to explore her spirituality through music unfettered, performing countless solo bhajans, and group kirtans and experimenting with them and synthesizers using the complex structures learnt from jazz.
These would soon form a series of cassette recordings that were privately distributed throughout the ashram community on Coltrane’s own Avatar Book Institute label. After some rather iffy, illicit vinyl editions of those tapes recorded off YouTube made the rounds, it’s good to hear this music in newly-remastered form from the original masters (by engineering legend Baker Bigsby, no less) on this Luaka Bop collection.
And how vibrant it sounds! There is clearly a vast intersection of styles at play throughout, interspersing the spiritual incantations of the Vedic devotional chants with some unique song structures and uplifting synthetic experiments. You can easily foresee the likes of Flo Po, Antal and Four Tet playing Oh Rama and Rama Guru, two of the more rhythmically-bound kirtans that act as spiritual jazz precursors to Detroit techno with illuminating synths that would make Carl Craig blush with envy. At other times, it is Coltrane’s voice which acts as the guiding force, orchestrating a wonderful harmonious call on Om Shanti.
Hopefully this is the prelude to a wider LB campaign of Alice Coltrane reissues from the Avatar Book Institute era.
Domino sign my bloody valentine, with the band’s seminal catalogue being made available digitally in full for the first time ever as of today. New physical editions for each release will follow on 21st May 2021 and are available to pre-order now.
"Isn’t Anything and loveless have been mastered fully from analog for deluxe LPs and also mastered from new hi-res uncompressed digital sources for standard LPs, with each being made available widely for the first time ever. Fully analog cuts of m b v will also be available on deluxe and standard LPs globally for the first time.
my bloody valentine, the quartet of Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Deb Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig, are widely revered as one of the most ground-breaking and influential groups of the past forty years. During an era in which guitar bands denoted, at best, a retro-classicism, not only did my bloody valentine sound unlike any of their contemporaries, the band achieved the rare feat of sounding like the future.
With their debut album, Isn’t Anything (originally released in 1988), my bloody valentine revolutionised alternative music and heralded a new approach to guitar music for generations to come. The album birthed a sound which became a template for thousands of new subgenres, heralding a new approach to guitar music and studio production. Not only was it a new type of music, it paved the way for a new type of journalism; inciting comparisons to elemental phenomenon, tapping into how the music affected the psyche. Shields and Butcher frequently sang in a similar vocal range that allowed their voices to blend together. This had the effect of making their gender indistinguishable, to the point where their voices could be used as another melodic layer to complement the vertigo-inducing sounds made by Shields’ guitars.
The second my bloody valentine album, loveless, was released in 1991. Musically, it took an unexpected leap forwards, standing ahead of anything released at the time. Shields and the band moved further towards a music of pure sensation, creating textures and tones that could be felt as much as heard; with loveless the band created an album that overwhelmed the senses. loveless is widely considered a flawless whole and rightly regarded as a masterpiece; a 1990s equivalent to Pet Sounds, In A Silent Way or Innervisions, a record constructed by exploring the edges of what a recording studio is capable of. It is a record best experienced as a whole, in one sitting - a listening experience like no other and unmatchable in its sonic brevity.
ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compiles the group’s four EPs, wherein many of their devoted fans’ favourite music lies. You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss both preceded the band’s debut album in 1988 in quick succession. In the gap between Isn’t Anything and loveless, the band released two further EPs; Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991).
Finally re-emerging in 2013 after two full decades in relative hiding, their third album m b v is by turns their most experimental record but also their most melodic and immediate; proof real of their unerring desire for re-invention. Continuing to push boundaries of both music and genre, m b v is an album of astonishing music, some of which could lay claim to being of a type never been made before. Otherworldly, intimate and a visceral listen, m b v is a startling and beautiful metamorphosis of what was known of the my bloody valentine sound, pushing the boundaries of genre unlike any other band. The album’s closer, “Wonder 2” is an example of this, seeing Shields meld hypnotic guitar with drum’n’bass to astonishing result."
Sultry, poised, gothic post-punk meets lilting dream-pop courtesy Anika, chasing up collabs with Shackleton and Tricky in a keenly awaited sophomore long player.
Officially the follow-up to her acclaimed, eponymous 2010 debut with Beak>, ‘Change’ arrives a decade later as a worthy counterpart brimming with the kind of melodramatic but droll delivery and classic-sounding chops that made her first LP so striking. On 'Change' Akina opts to work with Swedish producer Martin Thulin (Exploded View), who flew from Mexico to Germany during lockdown to enhance the album’s lustrous backdrops and shadowplay of styles, where Anika’s plaintive delivery variously reminds us of Nico, Trish Keenan, and Tropic of Cancer’s eerie drone-pop float.
Song to song Anika finds her shapeshifting style from the swaying post-punk stepper ‘Finger Pies’ to a meld of Julee Cruise and Nico on the mopey but positive title tune, while at the album’s apex ‘Sand Witches’ expresses her feelings as an immigrant in Germany in time honoured eldritch fashion, and ‘Freedom’ see her get down with scuzzy goth rock urges.
Utterly sublime R&B/Sade-licked late night slickness from Portuguese-Danish wunderkind Erika De Casier, deploying whisper-soft pop that's injected with the lurching club-adjacent snap of Timbaland, Neptunes, Teddy Riley, MJ Cole and Sunship > jaw on the floor, tear in the eye.
When Erika de Casier's debut album "Essentials" dropped in 2019, it felt like a hidden gem - it was only a matter of time before her silken bedroom soul was shuttled further into the mainstream. So it's hardly a surprise to see the followup on 4AD - and it's the best record the label's released in years. De Casier makes music that sounds private, lo-fi and intimate, but has the earworm-y bombast of Brandy, Destiny's Child or Amerie. Her influence comes from her early teens, submerged in MTV R&B to nourish her spirit - but as the label notes point out, she's as much influenced by Aaliyah and Janet Jackson as house, garage and techno.
This sensual escapism is the beating heart of "Sensational", as de Casier whispers over neo-retro production that sounds like early Sade instrumentals stripped to the bone and assembled into new forms by a supergroup comprised of MJ Cole, Timbaland and Sunship. There's a garage-flecked clubwise swing that speaks to de Casier's European roots, but the songs have more sugared hooks than a library of '90s MTV soul full-lengths. Trust us, leave this one on repeat for a few spins and you'll be humming songs like 'Drama', 'Someone to Chill With' and 'No Butterflies, No Nothing' for the rest of the week.
Ice cool summer special = awe-inspiring, honestly.
Soul Jazz Records reissue of this very rare album, first released as a private-press LP in 1978 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Baobab Record label in Washington, DC. The album has been out-of-print for 43 years and is lovingly remastered by Soul Jazz Records.
"Tori is a stunning album that blends Brazilian and Latin flavours with deep Spiritual Jazz. The album features a strong line up which includes legendary Brazilian figures such as Dom Um Romao, Nana Vasconcelos and Dom Salvador alongside jazz heavyweights such as Buster Williams, Howard Johnson, John La Barbera and more. These A-team musicians were all regulars in McNeill’s long-running and highly successful resident live group in New York, all set up to blend deep jazz, Brazilian and Latin music together.
Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C. in 1935. His multi- disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures.
Lloyd McNeill’s hypnotic ‘Washington Suite’ was originally commissioned as a piece of music for the Capital Ballet Company, in Washington DC. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris. In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US."
Compiled by longtime Groove editor, onetime Sonic Subjunkie and now Beatport A&R Heiko Hoffmann, 'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' traces the history of Berlin techno, with classic tracks from MMM, Alec Empire, Monolake, Sleeparchive, Basic Channel, Ellen Allien, Barker, and everyone else you can think of. If you've been paying attention, you'll have most of these, if not - check in.
'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' was an art exhibition at the end of 2019 that illustrated Berlin's techno history. With works from Wolfgang Tillmans, Romual Karmakar, Sven Marquardt and Camille Blake, it detailed Berlin's club culture since the fall of the wall. This compilation attempts to do the same with music, charting the most important moments in Berlin techno that impacted the evolution of the sound, from early '90s pioneers like Thomas Fehlmann, Moritz Von Oswald, Mark Ernestus and Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire, through minimal innovators like Sleeparchive and Marcel Dettmann to contemporary heroes Avalon Emerson and Barker.
While many of the tracks will be familiar - some are gems that never received anywhere near enough attention. Substance's crushing mix of Monolake's 'Alaska' for example, or Errorsmith and Fiedel's 1997 banger 'Donna'. A history lesson.
Big room tekkers from siblings Ed (Tessela) and Tom (Truss) Russell aka Overmono for the neverending Fabric mix series
The 22 track mix slickly spans their big room remit and tastes rooted in the last 25 years of UK raving, racking up a mix of classic garage, techno, and electronica to D&B with milimeter tight transitions and a few surprises strewn across the path. It’s very much built with pedantically neat southern bro’s cutting loose in mind, and primed to soundtrack weekend trade deals.
Expect some beaky Reese-driven garage-techno from them, plus Artwork, dubstep electronica from Milanese and Vex’d, ‘90s anthems by Antonio and Holy Ghost, with contemporary nods to Actress, Anz and Sockethead, plus a run of D&B.
Foodman spells out his adroit take on Chicago footwork mixed with Japanese environmental music in a curiously bass-less wonder for Hyperdub after establishing a nonpareil reputation over the past decade
Despite the lack of bass, ‘Yasuragi Land’ sweetly resonates with Hyperdub’s rhythm-driven fixations in each part, dispensing 17 bite-sized morsels that add up to a very satisfied belly. As one might be able to tell from the cover, if not his name, Foodman likes his grub and his music is deftly flavoured like a multi-course taster menu, keeping everything lightly fried and rhythmelodically harmonised for a sort of spirited musical nourishment.
While the rhythmic focus of his music can be attributed to the inspiration of late ‘00s, early ‘10s juke and footwork from Chicago, the atmospheres of his music specifically, metaphorically references eating at “Michinoeki”, the Japanese motorway service stations, and the ambience of local “Sento”, or Japanese bathhouses, places he goes to “enjoy the atmosphere” and which imbue the album a sense of peace and certainty in unsteady times.
Under lockdown like everyone else, Foodman also revived the spirit of his teenage days as a busker in ‘Yasuragi Land’ by effectively multi-tracking his guitar and drums to resemble the ping pong playfulness of band action. The results are charmingly breezy and light-footed, like a sort of midi jazz-fusion that echoes original footwork, but doesn’t demand your energy, rather it appears to dance off the walls and lend itself to be devoured in one sitting; it’s gently engaging, not engorging, stuff.
In 1996 Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig’s resoundingly influential debut Porter Ricks album arguably altered the shape of techno as we know it. Now on its 25th anniversary, Mille Plateaux serve a timely reminder of its oceanic might, nearly a decade since it was last reissued by Type
Arriving in the wake of early deep techno explorations by Basic Channel on that duo’s Chain Reaction label, ‘Biokinetics’ made techno’s grid even more fluid and elusive, and in the process brought techno as a concept closer to the unquantifiable clinamen of communal drumming as much as abstract early electronics. The all important, driving slosh of their sound would ripple thru myriad strains of experimental techno ever since, and can be heard echoed in the seasick structures and submerged ambient plangency of everyone from later Richie Hawtin and Rrose to Cam Deas or Helm.
Sluicing material from three 12”s issued between 1995-1996, the album was practically unprecedented in its scope. This can be attributed to the visionary sound design skills of its navigators, combining Thomas Köner’s arctic isolationist sensibilities with Andy Mellwig’s fine-tuned tech-nous, as applied to earlier Async Sense 12” with Gerhard Behles (co-founder of Monolake and Ableton Live) and in his 1995-1998 day job as mastering engineer at Berlin’s D&M. This confluence of hardware knowledge and wetware intuition lead them to a remarkable synthesis of styles defined as ‘Biokinetics’.
Bookended by a pair of pulsating, 12 minute ambient masterpieces in ‘Port Gentil’ and ‘Nautical Zone’, the set also touches on something like a form of gamelan noise with ‘Biokinetics 1’, and the purest systolic whale heart throbs in ‘Biokinetics 2’, while containing some of the heaviest dub techno for clubs in the hypnotic writhe of ‘Port Of Call’ and the salinated steppers special ‘Port of Nuba.’
In the age of rote business techno played by freshly inked, black clad bores, it’s records like ‘Biokinetics’ that remind us of what techno was and can be - music to make you shut your eyes and move.
Long-in-the-making sequel to 2005's unsurpassed "Superwolf" is more "Godfather 2" than "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties". Basically, way way better than it has any right to be.
At the beginning of lockdown last year, Matt Sweeney and Will Oldham shared a new song - their first since 2005 - promising a full-length in the works. They weren't kidding, after 15 years we're presented with "Superwolves", another collection of tangled jangle-rawk songs penned by Sweeney with lyrics from Oldham. Shockingly, it not only captures the rare, magical mood of the original album but surpasses it, adding a world-worn ease to everything without losing spark. Each song glistens and burns with an energy that's only really captured by artists confident enough in what they're doing that they no longer give a fuck what anyone thinks. Rather than just going through the motions, they play with form and expectation.
Songs are touching and melancholy ('Good to My Girls'), sugary sweet and unashamed ('My Popsicle), explosive ('Hall of Death') and stripped down to a whisper ('My Body Is My Own') and yet from beginning to end there's a coherence that allows you to read "Superwolves" like a good book. It's a timely reminder of the quality of Oldham's back catalogue, but he and Sweeney aren't looking back in time, they're offering us their own take on the state of the world right now, not just wallowing in doom and gloom.
Koreless returns with keenly awaited debut album ‘Agor,’ fine-tuning inspirations ranging from Benjamin Britton to UK rave within distinctive electro-acoustic sound designs.
Prizing the futureshock and enigma of electronic music as much as the immediacy of dance-pop and finesse of ambient classical composition, Koreless achieves a high watermarkwith ‘Agor.’ Arriving a decade since they debuted on Peckham’s Picture Music, which ultimately led to their appearance at Young Turk’s clubnight, and a small but promising clutch of singles for the label between 2012-2015; the album finally unveils a bold new sound at its fullest, calibrating instrumental flourishes with generative vocals and sheer computer music tekkers in plush, spacious designs that benefit from immaculate mixing and mastering.
The ten tracks of ‘Agor’ makes their 33’ run time feel even shorter thanks to the artist’s mercurial grasp of refractive harmonic colour and diffractive pacing. Synth-pop in effect, but soundtrack-like in scope, they cascade from the pendulous metric freedom of widescreen opener ‘Yonder’ to the valley sweeping choral majesty of ‘Strangers’ in measured turns that coalesce into a dramatic description of landscape, both external, hyperreal; and inner.
Previous single ‘Black Rainbow’ plucks the heartstrings with a piquant sort of hiraeth, bringing to light a remarkably precise, bespoke sound design that underlies its windswept highlights, from the Barker-esque weightless flight and choral dramaturgy of ‘White Picket Fence’ and digitized chamber music of ‘Act(s),’ thru to standout darkside bouts of droogy electro in ‘Joy Squad,’ crystalline AI R&B in ‘Frozen,’ and scalp-tingling elision of trance-pop arps and classical pastoral elegance in ‘Shellshock.’
Since their early singles, Koreless has been busy producing for FKA Twigs and Rita Ora, but ‘Agor’ sees them step from behind the scenes into the light of the uncanny valley.
Collection of unreleased demos written for the seventh PJ Harvey studio album White Chalk
"Including demos of ‘When Under Ether’, ‘The Piano’ and ‘The Devil’. Features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz. Artwork is overseen by Maria with Rob Crane. Mastering by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering, under the guidance of long time PJ Harvey producer John Parish."
Winding and mesmerizing vocal/guitar jams that fuse two of Niger's distinct regional musical traditions. Emotionally devastating and kinetic stuff.
'At Pioneer Works' documents a 2019 performance from Tuareg band Les Filles De Illighadad (the daughters of Illighadad). Their music is a smart blend of Tuareg's desert guitar sound that originated from young men in exile in Libya and Algeria in the 1970s, and tende, a form of folk music that was traditionally dominated by women.
The band was founded in Illighadad, a commune in Niger, by vocalist and performer Fatou Seidi Ghali, one of the only Tuareg women who plays guitar, and vocalist Alamnou Akrouni. A year later in 2017 they were joined by Agadez guitarist Amaria Hamadalher and Abdoulaye Madassane, a rhythm guitarist and also a son of Illighadad. They recorded "At Pioneer Works" after finishing a long tour of their debut album "Eghass Malan", celebrating with two sold-out Brooklyn sessions.
The recording captures the band's rare energy, as they bounce vocal call and response, mirroring this interplay with twisted thickets of electrified guitar. The blues-esque looping jangle of desert guitar sounds perfectly matched with Ghali and Akrouni's inviting vocal duets, and the music they create is original, hypnotic and packed with an unmatched groove.
Strut present the definitive edition of Patrice Rushen’s landmark album from 1982, ‘Straight From The Heart’.
"Recorded during Elektra’s drive for ‘sophisticated dance music’ as many jazz artists created their own arrangements of disco and boogie, the sessions marked a progression for Patrice as she began exploring sonics as much as songwriting. “I was looking at different ways to experiment with the sounds on my records. Synths widened the palette available to us.”
Singles from the album included ‘Breakout!’, ‘Number One’ and the global hit ‘Forget Me Nots’. “Bassist Freddie Washington played the bassline during a jam at my family’s house. I caught it, we kept messing around with the groove, then I developed the lyrics and chorus. It was just about recognising that moment when it came up.”
“When I delivered the album to the label, the A&R said, ‘we don’t like anything on here.’ I realised quickly that they would give us no support so producer Charles Mims, myself and Freddie decided to engage a promotion company ourselves to start working the single. Although it took a while to pick up support, it paid off.” The single hit no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1982 and the album became Patrice’s best seller globally from her time with Elektra / Asylum, securing a Grammy nomination. In more recent years, the album has become a regular source for samples in the world of hip hop and R&B. Most famously, Will Smith’s theme for the film ‘Men In Black’ and George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’ were both based, to varying degrees, on ‘Forget Me Nots’.
Strut’s new reissue of ‘Straight From The Heart’ is released on 9th April 2021. LP and CD are presented in their full original artwork and feature bonus 12” versions of the album’s singles including a previously unreleased extended mix of ‘Tired Of Being Alone’. Package includes rare photos by Bobby Holland and a new interview with Patrice Rushen."
Very canny french label, Dawn Records (Ronce, dodo) vertically integrate trap/rap with ambient, house, and dream-pop via 20 diverse cuts from frenz and fam including Bianca Scout, ZULI, Qoso and more.
Ahead of an ace new Ronce album following their release of her shocking debut 7”, Dawn’s Florent Hadjinazarian aka Hajj thematically arranges 20 cuts by the likes of Zuli, Xiao Quan & DJ Loser, Qoso, Bianca Scout and DivPro that demonstrate their slant on the trap/rap trends which are percolating thru the Parisian and wider french underground. From deadly crafty spins on the real thing to totally impressionistic takes, the artists explore the style at its most mutable, lending itself to headphone mooches as much as club play and hot-boxing car smoke outs.
The bossman Hajj turns up a big highlight on ‘Défonce Civile,’ a dank, drill-tipped ace with Jonquera, who also pushes the envelope weirder, EBM-like and spliced with jungle breaks on ‘Refluxus,’ while Brazil’s Xiao Quan & greek producer DJ Loser play it rude and rugged on ‘Trap Melee Rush,’ and Zuli skews it with an Arabic futurism in his remix of Haykal’s ‘Sot Ramallah,’ and Modern Collapse test out a killer mutant drill style in ‘Promesses Tenues (Ft. Jeune LXT),’ with Motherlurk hitting hard on the icy blast of ‘Broken Jaw.’ For the set’s deepest cuts, check for the deliciously brooding ‘Plafond’ from dodo and 737, the faded DJ Lostboi-esque atmosphere of ‘Siblings’ from Betty Hamerschlag.
The icon MF DOOM unleashes his wizardry and wordplay throughout the record, while CZARFACE (bolstered by the legendary Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and Esoteric) slash through each of the Czar-Keys' produced tracks as the team raises the bar on their previous LP, Czarface meets Metalface (2018).
"Featuring golden-age superhero DMC (of RUN-DMC) and Hieroglyphics' leader Del The Funky Homosapien, with art by longtime CZARFACE co-creator Lamour Supreme, this album will bring all the thrills of a cosmic summer blockbuster. Recorded and slated for an early 2020 release, and paused while COVID raged, this collaboration of masked men is finally finding its way to you on all formats."
Detroit visionary Terrence Dixon scans stellar new horizons on the awe-inspiring 3rd chapter of his most cherished, foundational and inspiring album series.
Roughly once a decade since 2000 the pioneering Afrofuturist has offered a new landmark of deep, electronic music, and ‘From the Far Future, Pt. 3’ stakes one of 2020’s - and probably the next decade’s - leading examples of Detroit techno at its furthest, most experimental limits. This series of albums has consistently been the place to go for Dixon, and by extension the 313’s, most unruly but truest works, dashing between broken drums, dissonant alien synth tones, and the deepest recesses of the warehouse mind in a rudely distinguished calibration of Motor City mechanics. For us he’s right up there with the city’s deepest heads like Jeff Mills, Drexciya, Mad Mike, or Howard Thomas for producing some of that sound’s most vital, uniquely expressive machine music.
Dixon’s latest landmark sees him double down on the proprioceptive depth with acres of abstract, spatialised synth work while fine-tuning and ruggedly fucking with rhythmic conventions. From the black hole sensations of the album opener to abandoned space station ambience of ‘Found In Space’ and ‘Remarkable Wanderer,’ and the uncharted planet atmospheres of ‘By Land’ or ‘Rotation (Delay Mix),’ he has that side absolutely on lock, and in a way that lends proper cinematic cadence to the album’s flow of raggo muscle car drive between ‘Don’t Panic,’ the warehouse donuts of ’Spectrum of Light,’ a strobing deep technohouse centrepiece ‘Unconditional Love,’ and the widescreen warehouse-in-space scope of ‘Out of Darkness.’
Soul-slapping deep jazz hearticals from a key player in the Chicago and IARC cosmos, joined by Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay who help make up his 11-part Black Monument Ensemble - So on-point, this one!!! RIYL KDJ, Theo Parrish, Prefuse 73
Revolving Damon Locks’ sampler chops and electronics at its core and periphery, it’s abundantly clear to hear the band are in-the-zone on ‘Now’, which is practically the epitome of how to do forward facing music jazz with a deep appreciation of tradition. In their seamless and jagged elision of electronic and organic sources a real magick bleeds thru that’s got us standing up to give it some proper appreciation, and we imagine it will have the same effect everywhere else.
The bookending works with clarinetist Angel Bat Dawit are, perhaps predictably, the highlights, with her spirited freeness lighting up Locks’ patchwork of samples and a sextet of vocalists driven by dual percussionists, Dana Hall and Arif Smith on the swingeing West African styled downstroke of ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ from start to the spine-chilling end and final exhortations of “Whew!”, and again in the rug-shredding wriggle of ‘The Body Is Electric.’ They’re both serious dancefloor cuts in the right hands, and perfectly characterise the album’s grooving nature that snakes thru the Theo-esque bustling metrics and hip-shot sampler stabs of ‘The People vs The Rest Of Us’ and lip-biting swing and parry of ‘Keep Your Mind Free.’
Use your ears, trust your body, you’ll know what to do next. No brainer!
Acclaimed UK shoegaze revivalists Sennen celebrate two decades of existence with an expanded reissue of their debut album "Widows".
Shoegaze really is the sound that can never die. A couple of decades ago, really not long after first wave shoegaze had petered out, Sennen jumped on the next wave train (pre Slowdive's reunion and MBV's return to center stage) and released 'Widows' in 2005. Now it's back with a few extra tracks, remastered by Slowdive's very own Simon Scott. It sounds decent too, and if you're into the Ride/MBV axis of dreamy shimmer you'll probably find plenty to hang onto here.
With three albums under their belts in less than five years, Hedvig Mollestad Trio return with a new album.
"Although there is enough riffing here to satisfy the headbangers, with "Black Stabat Mater" the trio are venturing into more free and open landscapes with Mollestad truly coming into her own as a solo guitarist as well as a riffmeister previously compared to the likes of Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page. It´s also notable that extensive touring has given them a confidence boost, and once again the tracks have been laid down live in the studio with only minor overdubs.The last few years have seen a thrilling new progessive wave of Norwegian avant jazz´n´rock or free metal energy combos like labelmates Elephant9, Grand General, Bushman´s Revenge and Krokofant, and not to forget the mighty Scorch Trio - led by Finnish guitarist Raoul Björkenheim - who can be said to have started it all some 15 years ago.
But it could very well be Hedvig Mollestad Trio that defines it all with their ability to turn the full force of heavy rock and electric jazz to demonic purposes.Hedvig first picked up her mother´s nylon-strung acoustic guitar at ten, before discovering a whole new world through her father´s jazz and rock record collection as a teenager. She translated a biography of Jimi Hendrix for a school project and was given her first electric guitar and amplifier as a confirmation present. The members of the trio are from the districts, but Hedvig met bass player Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad at the Music Academy in Oslo. Hedvig asked them to join her after she received the Jazz Talent Of The Year Award at Molde International Jazzfestival in 2009. They have stayed together since, and their previous three albums have all been released on Rune Grammofon."
Strut presents one of the most significant albums from the archives of Jimmy Gray’s Black Fire Records, ‘Bow To The People’ (1976) by theatre collective Theatre West, based out of Dayton, Ohio.
"Founder Clarence Young III was a US Air Force Vietnam Vet who had been part of a theatrical troupe entertaining soldiers in 15 countries during his tour. When he returned home in 1969, he started Theatre West in Dayton, Ohio as an outlet for inner city youth to come together and express themselves. At its height, the company involved around 27 members. “Everybody played everything and did everything,” recalls bassist Sigmond Dillard. “We all had to sing, dance and act all the time. If someone messed up, you came in. It was a tight unit and we were constantly helping each other out.”
“There were so many talented and gifted people in our troupe,” continues Dillard. “Rita Brown went on to New York, starring in the film Disco Godfather during the late ‘70s. Bruce Davis went on to work regularly on Broadway in Chicago, All That Jazz and more. Our Musical Director was Delbert Taylor and he also played with Gil Scott Heron’s Midnight Band and with Slave afterwards in the early ‘80s. Vibes player Ben Wilson and I also played regularly with Gil.”
Recorded at Arrest studios in Washington in ’76, ‘Bow To The People’ brought together songs from several of Theatre West’s best known plays including Bow To The People, The System and Black Love and unflinchingly explored serious issues around drug addiction, mental health and cultural awareness. “The whole idea of Bow To The People was to honour our black forefathers,” explains Dillard. “It was important to do that for the kids that didn’t know.” Shelved following the original recording, the Bow To The People album eventually surfaced on a limited CD on Black Fire in 1993. Now receiving its first full international release, the album features the previously unreleased tracks ‘Man Of Many Means’ and ‘I Don’t Know Much About Love’."
LA’s arch ambient producer Yann Novak supplies a solemn and immersively diaphanous elegy for environmental collapse upon return to Room 40 - RIYL Lawrence English, Dean Hurley, Biosphere
The usually prolific artist appears to have slowed the release schedule and gotten deeper into his sound in recent years, with ‘Lifeblood of Light and Rapture’ marking a new high water mark of his catalogue. Inspired by the formative teaching that 2020 would be a point of no return for the environment, Novak models his thoughts in noctilucent clouds of textured harmonies and glistening filaments, keeping everything just outta reach but with a deeply brooding presence.
“From Yann Novak: "When I began working on Lifeblood of Light and Rapture I was thinking a lot about both my personal and society's tendencies towards nihilism. When I was in grade school, I was taught that 2020 would be the turning point in our collective fight against climate change -- that if we did not change by then, there would be no turning back. After learning this at a young age, I watched helplessly as little was done to save the planet. It made me certain that I would not live to see past 2020 . . . Now that 2020 has come and gone, I have the luxury of hindsight. I can look back and see that so many of my decisions were made not to destroy myself, but in order to self-medicate. In my teens and twenties, the world was a difficult place to inhabit, but I could use chemicals and other distractions to cope. Similarly, as it turns out, this is also the story of the industrial, technological, and digital revolutions. Even though the intention of these eras was to make the world an easier place to live in, most of the progress attributed to them over the last two centuries has directly contributed to the climate crisis. On Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, I wanted to explore this parallel -- that so many of the things we do to try and make this world livable also contribute to its destruction. Formally, this album follows the path I set out on with Slowly Dismantling (RM 4112LP, 2019). I sought to express myself in a more immediate and honest way through the use of digital and analog synthesis. With Lifeblood of Light and Rapture, I built upon this same path; but I also tried to imagine the listening experience over the process of making it, focusing solely on the pure pleasure of listening..."
Essential reissue of dark ambient deity Thomas Köner's icy 1997 Arctic expedition 'Nuuk' - a stunningly detailed sonic picture of alien territory: gaseous, minimal, foreboding and enduringly evocative. There are plenty of imitators, but only one Thomas Köner.
By the sheer volume of gloomy ambient records being squirted into the world right now, you'd think it was easy music to produce. One listen to "Nuuk" though and it's immediately clear that this isn't the case. Köner is one of the genre's foremost innovators, and his music still sounds complex, remote and completely unique, decades later.
Like many of his albums, "Nuuk" is influenced by Köner's time spent traversing Arctic landscapes. It's named after the capital of Greenland, and evokes that frozen landscape using deep, creaking bass sounds, blustering pads and crumbling environmental recordings. The tracks are surprisingly widescreen at times, as subtle harmonies emerge peek through the fog like cracks of sunlight.
'Nuuk (Night)' is as sensually psychedelic as it is glacial, revealing the textural potential of the genre and showing Köner's intense attention to detail as the track heaves and dissipates like icy breath. There are few other artists that come even close to Köner here - Lustmord, Deathprod or Basinski maybe - and even then, Köner's output towers over a land of its own. So essential.
Utterly spellbinding survey of John Cage’s late works, mostly focussing on orchestral pieces performed and recorded circa his 1990 visit to East Berlin, and including a stunning rendition of Some of The Harmony of Maine  performed by Edition RZ’s Jakob Ullmann, who coincidentally write the box’s lucubrate liner notes. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Cage but can’t see a way into his crenelated catalogue, we strongly recommend checking this set for some of the late, great thinker and composer’s most accessible and gratifying work.
The three discs of Klang Der Wandlungen feature five full pieces written between 1948 and 1992, just before the composer’s death at 80 years of age. By this point in the early ‘90s, Cage was already long established among 20th century avant garde heavyweights, having studied under Arnold Schoenberg - the inventor of serialism - and an extensive background in writing for modern dance with his longterm partner Merce Cunningham, as well as pioneering the prepared piano and penning the seminal 4’ 33”, perhaps one of the most important works of the 20th century.
Following an interest in eastern philosophy and anarchy from the late ‘40s, his work became defined by aleatoric music, or chance-based composition from then on, which came to define the sphere of Amercian avant-garde in opposition to the ‘new music’ coming from Darmstadt in the ‘50s, or European traditions and their focus on technicality or artisanship. These Cageian ideas had seeped into East Germany before reunification, and, in 1990, Cage was invited to East Berlin in the newly reunified German state at the behest of the IGNM (International Society for Contemporary Music).
The recordings in Klang Der Wanderlung were part of the programme or related to this visit, and, with historical context, came to show how his ideas had, over the preceding decades, become absorbed into European practice. We can hear striking similarities with the tension of Giacinto Scelsi in the remarkable opener Seventy-Four, and with Luigi Nono’s use of intangible quietness in 103, whilst the breathtaking Postcards From Heaven - here performed on harp by Gabriel Emde - is comparable with the feather-touch minimalism of Morton Feldman. Really, not what you may expect if you’ve only heard Cage’s famous, atonal early pieces such as Cartridge Music , a prototypical piece for adapted vinyl turntables, for example.
Another of Cage’s famous, early Imaginary Landscape compositions, makes up one of this set’s two biggest highlights. Gabriel Emde performs harp on a utterly gorgeous rendition of In A Landscape , a Satie-esque piece for dance presented here for the first time, whilst Jakob Ullmann’s organ performance of Some of The Harmony of Maine, renders the pioneer of Quiet Music at his loudest, performing Cage’s work in bold, striking gasps shattered by passages of near-silence.
Jakob Ullmann’s liner notes offer a lot more to sink your teeth into, alongside the music, which as always, is up to Edition RZ’s uncompromisingly high standards. Together with the delectable packaging, it makes up a perfect entry point to one of the most fascinating wormholes ever opened by art or music.
After dropping our AOTY in 2018, extraordinary percussionist/producer Eli Keszler distills his feelings on Manhattan under lockdown in a killer new suite of noirish NYC jazz rent with electro-acoustic magick - RIYL 0PN, Kenji Kawai, Elodie, Rashad Becker, Aphex x Squarepusher
One of experimental music’s most dynamic figures of recent years, Keszler’s bevy of solo sides and collaborations with everyone from Skrillex, 0PN and Laurel Halo to Jandek and John Butcher have placed him at a captivating crossroads of electronic, soundtrack music, new jazz, and the avant garde. His first album in 3 years, ‘Icons’ is his most broadly appealing and subtly gradated, with a level of emotive nuance, diffracted pacing and vaulted spatialization that beautifully comes to reflect the slow/quick/slow flux of the city during lockdown. OK, ye ye we don’t need to hear anymore about lockdown, but we’ve gotta admit this is one of the coolest, collected musical thoughts on the subject that’s emerged over the whole blasted period, absorbingly transmuting and relating a classically inner city, avant jazz blues ambiance for a new generation in a way that really hits home.
During the past 18 months the usually itinerant artist and performer found himself staying in one place for the first time in a decade, and the sense of tension between stasis and an urge to travel is at the core of ‘Icons’ Replacing international dates with bike trips around Manhattan island, Keszler draws on the experience of carving around the city’s empty streets, as well as those moments when it erupted into activity with protests and ambulances, effectively oscillating across lanes, up the side of buildings, and even thru them, to present a gyring-eye’s view of Manhattan’s unstable reality. From the dawning clangour of ‘All The Mornings in the World’ to the album’s elegiac closure ‘We sang a dirge, and you did not mourn’ expect a completely absorbing day-in-the-life experience as Keszler cycles thru freewheeling gear changes and plays of light dancing between its sound architecture and vertiginous proprioceptions.
Prolific Los Angeles beat scene / jazz scene staple Carlos Niño calls up friends Sam Gendel, DNTEL, Laraaji and others for a many-headed celebration of spiritual jazz. Absolute zoners for fans of Alice Coltrane, Matthewdavid, Dilla or Kamasi Washington.
'More Energy Fields' is yet another full-length from Niño and friends, following last year's "Actual Presence". Yet again, Niño calls on regular contributors Jamael Dean, Randy Gloss, Devin Daniels, Sam Gendel and Nate Mercereau, making room for DNTEL on modular synthesizer and new age legend Laraaji on zither and voice.
If you've heard Niño's previous recordings you should know broadly what to expect. He's an expert bandleader, and his particular brand of heady beat scene-doused spiritual jazz is a well-worn, proven concept at this point. "More Energy Fields, Current" is Niño's most confident material to date, and its high points - the giddy 'Nightswimming', Laraaji-touched zoner 'Ripples Reflection Loop, or lifted beatbox jammer 'Now the background is the foreground' - are worth the asking price alone.
NYC drummer Kid Millions teams up with Mouse on Mars's Jan St. Werner here for an album of expertly tweaked surrealist electronics and blistering improvised rhythms.
John Colpitts aka Kid Millions has an impressive CV. He's worked with Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass and Boredoms, and played in bands like Oneida, Royal Trux and Spiritualized. Here, he's given space to really go balls to the wall, improvising wildly while St. Werner processes carefully, or adds bubbling oscillator squeal where necessary.
Kid Millions' drums play the central role here, no doubt, and St. Werner acts like a dub producer behind the mixing desk, fading Colpitts' virtuoso rolls into disorienting drones or melting them with mindbending fx. It's not easy listening by any means - it's a lot of drumming and occasional blips and squelches - but if you're into Han Bennink, Chris Corsano or Mouse on Mars's collaboration with reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry then check this without delay (cough).
Stuck at home for the first time in years, Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo's Ripley Johnson was inspired to form a "more mindful relationship with the natural world" and penned "Earth Trip" to express this feeling.
If it sounds a little hippy, then you're on the right track here. Johnson recorded "Earth Trip" at his home in Portland, Oregon, and wanted to infuse his psychedelic jangle with messages of interconnectedness and the environment. Honestly, he manages it better than most, building on well-worn alt country tropes with clear passion and positivity. At its best, "Earth Trip" sounds as elegiac as Mazzy Star - just peep 'Silver Roses' or 'Feel of Love'.
While it might dip into wheel-turnin' corniness from time to time, the mood is primarily almost Lynchian, offering a more complex taste of contemporary Americana.
Descendants of the original cold wave, such as Lena Willikens, Tolouse Low Trax, Job Sifre and many more tend to the sound’s branches in the modern day with stacks of grubby x scuzzy killers.
One of those rarer sets where Soul Jazz source from the recent, not distant, past, the featured artists all wear their influences clearly, offering a more streamlined answer to the late ‘70s / early ‘80s movement forged by the likes of Suicide, Patrick Cowley, The Normal, Martin Hannett, Laurie Anderson, or Public Image which has endured to inform the contemporary underground.
Where the original wavers used the machines at their disposal, all artists here make a conscious aesthetic decision to limit themselves to what is now lo-fi and ostensibly obsolete gear, location parks of invention and anachronistic energy between the hard nosed toil of Lena Willikens’ ‘Howling Lupus,’ the and tunnel drag force of ‘At Least We Try’ by Job Sifre, the humid tropical trek of Tolouse Lowe Trax’s ‘Rushing Into Water,’ Cosey-esque sleaze in ‘Hiding’ by Beta Evars, the slathering 16th note arp fangs of ‘Vacant Cars’ from Broken English Club, and a searing ‘Deserver Dub’ by Krikor Kouchian.
Bay Area artist Chrystia Cabral (aka SPELLLING) orchestrates her quirky synth compositions with 31 (!) additional musicians on her ambitious and vivacious new album "The Turning Wheel".
Cabral's acclaimed 2017 debut album "Pantheon of Me" was a dark selection of contemporary synth pop that made her move to Sacred Bones feel well forecast. This latest record however feels completely unexpected, somewhere between "Hounds of Love"-era Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom and Chromatics.
The neon lit synth music of her earlier material is still present on tracks like 'Emperor with an Egg' and 'Queen of Wands', but fused with the quirky folk instrumentation of Joanna Newsom's post "Ys" records and chunky Fairlight worlds that Kate Bush created on her best known material.
"The Turning Wheel" is an ambitious undertaking for a solo artist, but Cabral leads the album with the confidence of a master conductor, twisting her powerful voice around virtuoso instrumental performances from her throng of collaborators.
If yr looking for a way to penetrate Sun Ra's intimidating catalog, "Lanquidity" is a succinct, precious wormhole that gives a taste of the jazz pioneer's astral weirdness without letting it overwhelm. Transformative shit, really.
Released in a tiny edition back in 1978, "Lanquidity" is Sun Ra's attempt at cultural reconciliation. It's the ultimate flex, finding the Arkestra alien absorbing contemporary pop elements (disco, funk, soul) into his canon, before spitting them out as further cosmic strings in his pan-universal bow. The playability of "Lanquidity" has given it legs: before its reissue in 2000, the album had hardly been heard, but was spoken about in hushed tones. A couple of decades later, it's an established classic, putting Sun Ra's talent into full view and quieting some of the sprawling galaxy-brain oddness that alienates some listeners.
Recorded by Philly Jazz boss Tom Buchler (who penned enlightening liner notes about the recording experience), "Lanquidity" has Sun Ra fronting a band of over fourteen players, including Marshall Allen on alto sax and John Gilmore on tenor. Intriguingly, he also ropes in not one but two guitarists, giving the album its "Bitches Brew"-adjacent fusion fuzz, but it's the overdubbing of disembodied voices and layers of Arp and Minimoog that puts these tracks into a category all of their own. The mood Sun Ra creates is truly planetary (just flick to the album's terrifyingly tripped 'There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)' for proof) and while he certainly makes concessions with his stylistic choices, the pop shell is merely a Trojan horse for his vanguard forms.
An unmissable piece of techno history, combining the talents of Basic Channel's Moritz von Oswald, early Tresor resident and Orb mainstay Thomas Fehlmann and Detroit pioneer Juan Atkins. Stargazing techno futurism that's rarely been bettered in the three decades that followed, it cemented an important early bond between Detroit and Berlin.
In the early 1990s, von Oswald and Fehlmann began working together, constructing remixes as 2MB (or 2 Men in Berlin) and then bringing Detroit pioneers Eddie Fowlkes and Juan Atkins into the fold under the 3MB moniker. '3MB feat. Magic Juan Atkins' was released in 1992, and captures Techno as it was evolving from the early no-holds-barred electro-sci experimentation of The Belleville Three (Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May) to include innovation from across Europe.
Few European contributors covered as much ground as Moritz von Oswald, who paved the way for Berlin's minimalist sound with his early productions alongside Mark Ernestus. With this short, sharp collection of tracks however, Atkins, von Oswald and Fehlmann made a direct link between the sounds developing in the USA and those booming from clubs in Berlin.
Opening with a synth-heavy Atkins edit of 'Bassmental', the album starts as it means to go on with Atkins absorbing the tweaky austerity of the German set and filling it out with flashes of energetic Detroit euphoria. 'Die Kosmischen Kuriere' is another high point, building a lithe 4/4 throb over a classic Model 500-style synth bassline and post-Göttsching chords. The most memorable moment however is 'Jazz is the Teacher', that gets both a von Oswald and Fehlmann version as well as a rework from Atkins. This track is one of the era's finest moments, and Atkins' version with its neck-snapping bassline and acidic ascent of heavily-phased percussion still sounds undeniably fresh; the Berlin remix instead digs further into the jazz canon, expanding the rhythm with swung rides and adding vibraphone action that von Oswald would continue to explore on his more recent trio releases.
Next level material that's an early indicator of the breadth of exploration techno would offer. It's dancefloor material that never stops reaching for the stars.
Carnage is a new album by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, recorded over a period of weeks during lockdown.
"Although the pair have composed & recorded many soundtracks together, and Ellis is a long-term member of The Bad Seeds, this is the first time they have released an entire album of songs as a duo. Cave describes the album as "a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe."
"Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity," says Ellis, "the eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days."
Cave & Ellis' sonic and lyrical adventurism continues apace on Carnage, an album that emerged almost by accident out of the downtime created by the long, anxious, global emergency. Carnage is a record for these uncertain times - one shot through with moments of distilled beauty and that resonates with an almost defiant sense of hope."
A sentimental trip into the world of Don and Moki Cherry's Organic Music Theatre, a collaboration proposed as an alternative space for creative music and art. "Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972" is a recording of the group's historic debut performance marks a joyful period in the Cherrys' lives.
Accompanied by musicians Naná Vasconcelos, Christer Bothén and Doudou Gouirand and Danish puppeteers Det Lilla Cirkus, Don and Moki laid out their life philosophy to French festivalgoers on this extended set. The performed outdoors and were joined onstage by a handful of friends, both adults and children, who danced and sang as the band played. The duo's message was clear: they wanted to bring people together.
This was the period that Don Cherry had rejected his former status as a jazz titan, jettisoning his career in favor of a more mysterious existence in rural Sweden with his wife and family. But as "Organic Music Theatre" illustrates, it wasn't a rejection of music, but of the art world's oppressive hierarchy, that was central to his decision. The music here, a frolicking fusion of Indian, African, South American and Native American forms that feel charged with an almost spiritual energy, is intimate but universal.
There's little of the avant/free jazz that Cherry cut his teeth pioneering here, rather it's a performance that celebrates the very act of playing in public. The band play challenging pieces - including tracks that would eventually make their way to Cherry's "Organic Music Society" and "Home Boy" albums - but inject them with so much positive energy that their context is shifted completely. It's a privilege to hear this performance from beginning to end and bask in its hopeful energy.
Newly unearthed bonanza of Don Cherry action, capturing an extraordinary free jazz tempest thrown down live in ’68 at a summerhouse south of Stockholm amidst a fecund epoch. Proper, third-eye dilating stuff rife with spontaneous possibility by players from Sweden, Turkey, USA
Part of a tranche of Don Cherry recordings that resurfaced recently from the Swedish Jazz Archive, ‘The Summer House Sessions’ now takes pride of place on its first vinyl pressing, accompanied on the CD by other recordings made the same day. For the first time they reveal a day of incredible energies improvised by Cherry with members of his Swedish ensemble, plus a Turkish drummer, at saxophonist and recording engineer Göran Freese’s summer house in late July, 1968. As many jazz heads will know, this is circa some of Cherry’s most legendary works, spanning a period after he’d cut his teeth playing with Coltrane and setting the template for free jazz with Ornette Coleman’s classic quartet, at a time when his creativity was unbounded and truly definitive of a searching, modal democracy of jazz music that drew from myriad sources.
The two vinyl sides and bonus material bear witness to a remarkable murmuration of sorts, with a swingeing rhythmic drive from the dual drummers underpinning a deeply psychedelic play of colours and pan-ethnic expression derived from Cherry’s pocket sax and flutes, and free-handed air shredding by likes of Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone, flutes, clarinet) and Tommy Koverhult (tenor saxophone, flutes). In effect, the recordings prove that Cherry’s preceding lessons for the players in extended forms of improvisations including breathing, drones, Turkish rhythms, overtones, silence, natural voices, and Indian scales had really hit home, triggering the massed ensemble to play with a ruptured, shearing unpredictability, but equally with a rapturous coherence that’s simply everything at once and then some.
Vital primer on Merzbow’s transition from cut-up experiments to polychromatic noise beast, scanning revised and newly unearthed work dating 1992-1995, with post-production in 2019
Ever in flux, Merzbow’s music has come to define the art of noise at its most unpredictable and ravishing. On ‘Scandal’ we hear the legendary avatar for Japan’s Masami Akita at its most intriguing, drawing lines between local construction site noise and astral synth swelter recalling Sun Ra at their loosest, and right thru to patches of briered distortion and pulsating rhythmic noise, plus a piece modelled on a contemporaneous pop song, but with said pop song extinguished to leave the guts and klang behind.
“One critical aspect these recordings capture, in a very essential way, is the role that field recordings and tape manipulation play in his music. Throughout the 1980s, cassettes, tape editing and found sound played a significant role in the development of Merzbow’s sound.
On Tokyo Blue Sky, Merzbow collates a series of field recordings made around his home during a period of construction in his neighbourhood and merges these with sampled recordings from various ritual records. In these recordings are striking, hammered blasts that feel innately tied to the aggressive metal percussion work that was featured heavily on numerous live recordings during this time. They also maintain a sense of dynamic eruption that characterises the shifts between states of intense noise that are the core of Merzbow recording strategies.
The editions final piece Evening Scandal was originally released in 1992 on RRR as part of their recycled music project; a project that sought to reuse thrown away cassettes, re-recording over them with various recordings including some of those heard here. Scandal bares the marks of its medium, tape wow and flutter flicker across various sections of this piece, revealing a tactile relationship with the medium. The version collected here is different to that which was released in 1992, this version being uninterrupted by the pop song from which it borrows its name. This piece, in moments, maintains a decidedly minimalist compositional form, using repeated single strikes as a means of creating a deep sense of unease and recurrent tension. It’s a technique later deployed with devastating ferocity later in the 1990s.”
Anaesthetising dream-pop from Kobe, Japan’s Haco, gracing Room 40’s rarely seen sublabel Someone Good with a sound somewhere between Grouper and Julia Holter
Depending how your tweedar is calibrated, ‘Nova Naturo’ offers either a blessing or a saccharine wince. It’s too much for these ears, but we can see how many others will fall for its charms, especially those who love it wipe clean and no grit between the record and you; leading from whispered late night lounge styles on ‘Frozen In Time’ to feathered airborne strums on ’Spinning Lantern,’ and the anime dream sequence styles of ‘Teardrops of Aurora,’ and with more success in what sounds like a vaporised Junior Boys on ‘A Mind Resort (Shiokaze Version)’ and the supine drift of ‘Myths and Facts.’