Only Now and Orogen depart terra firma in pursuit of habitable new zones, realising a stark, inhospitable sound that, in a Planet Of The Apes twist, turns out to be transmission from Urth, a parallel plane of existence practically indistinguishable from our own...
“"Unearth I and II" carves tunnels of resonance which mimic the cosmic proportions and monolithic movements of exoplanet existence. Slow, but unpredictable howls, lurks, and .00001 BPM rhythms visualize the life between the dust and atoms. Symphonies and loading docks echo a million miles away: slowed beyond belief, compressed into rhythmic ambience and flattened to unearthly oblivion. As the compositions grow on into side B of the cassette, the zero BPM landscape slowly transforms into cycles, distinctly organic and tribal, slipping out the very last, or the very first primitive signs of life on a planet, not of our own.
Only Now (Kush Arora) and Orogen (Lucas Patzek) grew up together in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have been collaborating on ambient and experimental sound projects for 19 years. In high school they began manipulating and arranging audio from minidisc field recordings, first-generation software synths, hardware samplers and FX pedals, and homemade contact mics. The sonic innovators that inspired their early work include Zoviet France, Brume, Lustmord, Alio Die, Haujobb, and Hafler Trio. They were drawn to the occult music scenes of California and beyond, and performed together from their teenage years through their 20’s at a variety of venues, from outdoor music festivals to artsy fashion shows.
Fast forward to 2015: the duo returned to the studio intending to craft some rhythmic compositions. They laid down some pummeling metallic drum work using physical modeling VST's and synths to create what can be described as WAX TRAX records meets Pole. They then decided to shatter and reform these on-time compositions, and the journey began into the aural nature of outer being, power music; drawing textures from the deep earth and subconscious.”
Fresh from opening Berlin Atonal 2018 and delivering the latest XLR8R mix, Barcelona’s Gemma Planell a.k.a. Tutu yields a recording of her warped and knotted DJ set at Atonal 2017
A peer of Diagonal pals EVOL and Lag OS in her home city, Tutu has risen thru word of mouth to become a fêted DJ, beloved for 3 deck sets that traverse the gamut of contemporary electronica, rave and harder-to-pigeonhole styles.
On ‘Senzu Beans’ Gemma pushes deep into abstract tonal scapes and arrhythmic patterning with an abstract, alien appeal, convulsing in jagged asymmetric structures between ecstatic trance rushes and pranging, sawn-off dance musics with masterful sleight-of-hand.
If you’ve never heard of Tutu before, or even if you’ve heard murmurs of appreciation for her sets, we’re sure this tape will convince listeners of her prowess and chess-playing DJ style.
Pivotal Golden Püdel düde and Helena hauff collaborator F#X yields an hour long live-set recorded at +4Bar/Tresor on 16th December 2016 for Nina’s roving V I S label
Known as Kris to his pals, and as both C (with Nika Son), and Black Sites (with Helena Hauff) on discographies, F#X is his solo vehicle for hot-wired, raw and off-kilter electronic grooves, previously found on two tapes sparring with his other alias, E.K.G on his private imprint, 999USD.
‘9.12+4’ is effectively the first F#X release proper and a strong example of his mostly improvised praxis. Over the course of an hour long set, brittle electro drums fray and spray over hypnotic, gibbering synths and plasmic drones, spooling into piquant, chromatic Braindance melodies and sputtering IDM that sounds like a raw echo of the D’Arcangelo brothers’ productions or indeed, a not-so distant relation to Helena Hauff’s scuzzy rinsers.
Kuedo’s Knives present a scintillating ‘mixtape’ of sorts by L.A.’s Nicholas Zhu a.k.a. bod...
With Limpid Fear bod invites listeners to swan dive into his mind and see/hear/touch the sights, unfurling as 30-odd-minutes of electronic filigree laced with traditional Chinese instrumentation subtly framed in classical chorus and composition.
It’s a style already familiar to Knives releases, from the expansive visions of Kuedo to the precision of J.G. Biberkopf or v1984’s melodramas, but bod distinguish themselves by the inclusion of sylvan sadlad bleats and Chinese instrumentation, which cannily loops back into Vex’d roots in sino-obsessed grime and dubstep as much as his fascination with classic anime soundtracks, which is possibly the best prism thru which to view this release - as an action-packed and emotive rush of sound images in flux between rapid motion, desolation, panic and ecstasy with an accelerated intensity of sensation.
Late 2016’s ‘Highway Songs’ brought Papa M back to us, after many years of silence and several harrowing dances with death for his Id-ego/host body, David Pajo. Now, two years on down the road, we’re all here again to witness ‘A Broke Moon Rises’.
"‘Highway Songs’ was a necessarily cathartic experience in all phases. Afterwards, with no tour dates forthcoming (partially due to lousy clubs and their lack of wheelchair-accessible stage doors), it felt good just to play for fun again, like being in the practice space instead of the psych ward - a much healthier change of pace than some might guess. David blew it out; all the different styles he’s played in over the years, from folk-blues to metal, electronic, pop, Bollywood... all of it. When the spasms subsided, however, a back-to-roots sediment remained in the bottom of the bowl, which he read as a motive for a new Papa M album done with all acoustic instruments.
That’s how there’s nothing electric about ‘A Broke Moon Rises’. Even the drums are acoustic. The five songs of ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ find David focusing his technique in unknown directions, to find out what he can do with them. When that happens, he finds himself on the very spot where Papa M music becomes alive. As the quietly funereal march of the opening track resonates with a spare drum beat, we are completely transfixed into the open spaces around the guitars. David’s been engineering and mixing his records for years, so the sensation of his sound-thoughts doesn’t entirely surprise us, even in their latest, acoustic anointment. Layers of guitars curl and unfurl, falling away from the centre with feathery softness. Slide figures cut through the progressions with a rusty glide. Arpeggiations flicker with light, leading into a change that’ll break on ones ear like a small revelation. Even the sound of Papa M playing in the room, leaning forward or untouching the strings, provides textural byplay in created space. ‘A Broke Moon Rises’ is meditative in the most active sense, with the unquiet mind leaping from place to place in a static, spartan theatre. All of which action makes hypnotic music, perfect for listening.
The album’s title is based upon his son’s observation of a half-moon one evening (when his son was 29) and it helped infuse the record with an essential feeling, which draws to a decidedly tasty conclusion with David taking on an Arvo Pärt piece. After years of fascination with the music, listening in passivity, he finally decided to do something about understanding it by playing it himself. If you’re wondering, that’s the key to ‘A Broke Moon Rises’."
Paris-based Iranian, Nima Aghiani makes a welting mark on PTP with the clawing, atonal electronics of REM following his violin input on Siavash Amnini’s acclaimed ‘TAR’ LP
Helping to further shape our conception of modern electronic music rooted in Iran, after examples from the likes of SOTE, Opal Tapes, Siavash Amini and Sohrab in recent years, Nima’s REMS follows similar lines of enquiry into bold realms of microtonal rhythm and noise operation, giving voice to a complex sound and logic that feels somehow familiar if you’ve previously heard work by Xenakis or Haswell, yet still feels properly alien to many conventions we can think of.
Summing up a palpable zeitgeist, J M S Khosah & JR Chaparro limn the feeling of ‘Global Paranoia’ on NCA’s latest killer tape...
For 60 minutes, the pair mulch a wealth of salvaged samples and original material into a groggy trip that keeps on keeping on, but with an ever looming sensation of impending fu**ry around the corner.
Smudged drum machines, electronics, hip hop instrumentals and fizzing deep house cuts are punctuated with sawn off samples likely culled from TV, radio and net Tubes, resulting a frayed patchwork of anachronisms that suggest a time out of joint, haunted by its past, and realising itself in a world of Orwellian surveillance and double speak. And that would all be really bloody depressing and reduce us to torpor if cats like Khosah and Chaparro couldn’t make us dance and chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all.
Joanna Newsom's new triple-album, defies the notion of fast-turnaround appraisals. Apart from sheer abundance of music here, it's also very dense and scrupulously laboured over, not only by Newsom herself but a select band of fellow musicians and arrangers - not to mention ace mixing engineers Jim O'Rourke, and Noah Georgeson (best known for his work with Devendra Banhart).
The end result is like a classic, old-fashioned album in the finest, richest sense. And in triplicate. After the ornate majesty of Ys (a mere double-album), you might expect a record of even larger proportions to pursue similarly baroque themes and concerns, and yet for much of the time 'Have One On Me' is a more approachable work, featuring shorter, more pared down pieces in addition to complex orchestral concoctions like the resplendent 'In California'. Georgeson's recordings of Newsom's harp are preposterously lovely, capturing her art at its most intimate on '81' and 'Jackrabbits', during which she performs solo to heart-rending effect, her voice sounding stronger and far more mature than on anything she's done previously.
The untamed, childlike quality that ran through The Milk Eyed Mender has transformed into something far wiser and more collected for this album - a factor that only heightens the authority and intelligence of the 28 year-old Californian's songwriting. In musical terms, the level of her accomplishment as a composer and instrumentalist is strikingly evident throughout her discography, but lyrically, Newsom's hugely impressive on this album. Ys charted the ascent of a truly great writer in-the-making but was, perhaps, occasionally excessive in its various whimsies and flirtations with fanciful anachronisms. Here Newsom is on startling form, lacing her achingly lovely narrative pieces with various lines that invite the inference of allusion to her break-up with fellow songwriter Bill Callahan. More intriguing still is the possibility of a furtive Will Oldham reference during 'Go Long': "There's a man/Who only will speak in code/Backing slowly, slowly down the road/May he master everything/That such men may know/About Loving, and then letting go" - a verse that seems to paraphrase three separate Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album titles.
Incidentally, 'Go Long' is a fairly special piece all-round, uniting Newsom's harp with kora and Bulgarian tambura for an otherworldly confluence of strings from various musical cultures. Regardless of its magnitude, and despite all of its complexities, this epic three-part undertaking shouldn't be thought of as unwieldy or intimidating prospect for a listener - far from it: scarcely has such an expansive record felt so welcoming and conducive to repeat listens. With this album Newsom sheds genre concerns (no more talk of 'freak-folk', please) and becomes a truly stellar writer of songs, continuing to forge a path that's very much of her own making whilst occasionally still acknowledging a debt to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Judee Sill (whose work springs to mind during the remarkable 'Good Intentions Paving Company'). A magnificent record that really shouldn't be missed.
Having long operated in orbit of the Cotton Goods label and it's constellation of related artists and labels, Thomas Shrubsole dilates definitions of his music with a sprawling solo debut of improvisations under his own name after years trading under various guises and in groups with Craig Tattersall (The Boats), and Jonny Russell (The Dissolving Orchestra). Highly Recommended if yr into Vincent Gallo, Moondog, Derek Bailey...
Coining his Parenthetical Activities label with ‘Themes and Variations’, Shrubsole reveals a series of acoustic snapshots recorded between 2011-2013. They range from Moondog to Sun Ra-esque jazz strains and Derek Bailey-ish free expressions, perpetually daring to intuitively head off on tangents and unafraid to challenge the listener to follow him, but only ever with a curious sense of playfulness, and not experimental obnoxiousness for the sake of it.
The majority of the set is given to works over 10 minutes in length (the album runs over 2hrs total), with each presented as-is and effectively capturing his mind in quiet flight from the charmingly glassy tinkle of ‘Instant Ellipsis’ to most barely-there, lower case gestures in ‘Jewels Of Obliquity’, remaining porous to all manner of freeness in ’Spectral Interior’ and the nerve-tickling dissonance of ‘Prismatic Obscurity’ in a softly uncompromising manner that’s going to win him new followers on top of anyone into his earlier, mostly field recording efforts.
RIYL Henry Caravan, Moondog, Sun Ra
Utilising the virtuoso talents of string arranger Van Dyke Parks (best known for arranging and co-writing Brian Wilson's 'Smile') for an album that's timeless and totally unique.
"The peculiar title, pronounced 'Ees' gives us some insight into the musician's mindset - apparently the title comes from a mythical French city built below sea level. The legend goes that the city was one of the most beautiful in the world, and due to the people's decadence the city was flooded and lost forever confining it to Chinese whispers, folk songs and poems. What better way to herald in an album dipped in fantasy and mysticism, and I'm not trying to say the album is jokingly old-world, rather her oblique and sometimes absurd lyrical content has never sounded so fitting when framed in this way. From the gold leaf coated pages on the cd booklet to the medieval-style cover painting which seems full of hidden signs and ambiguity, every part of the record is there for a reason.
The journey begins with 'Emily', a song dedicated to Newsom's sister (who guests on vocal harmonies) and we're already in simply heartbreaking territory with Van Dyke Parks' string arrangements making their first grandiose appearance. I'm in no doubt that this overblown, sometimes musical-like quality will polarise listeners but for me it makes perfect use of Newsom's ethereal vocal quality and her assured touch on the harp. The songs are now fully three dimensional and go through distinct movements using strange hooks which grab hold of you with both hands, refusing to let go. For me, the album's focal point comes on the earth-shatteringly good 'Only Skin'; a sixteen minute blockbuster containing more emotion and bravery than most artists will manage in a lifetime.
As Newsom takes us through happiness, sadness, sweetness and darkness the track begins again mid-way through helped along by current squeeze Bill Callaghan (of Smog) who lends his distinctive and masculine tones to the piece. It is one of those moments when you think a song couldn't get any better - and then, shockingly it does. Albums like this come along only so very rarely, give it time and space and trust me, you won't be able to leave it far from earshot for long."
Following a couple of sought-after EP's and repeated biggups from the Prince Billy himself Will Oldham, Joanna Newsom finally delivers her debut album for the Drag City imprint.
The lyrics are of much interest here, eccentric, playful and charming, weaving a sort of childrens story complete with a folk-infused childish vocal delivery that doesn't quite reflect the wisdom of the stories hidden within. Nice to come across a record that looks at the more deranged possibilities of Americana without seeming pretentious or contrived.
Panatype’s 4th physical release is an absorbing suite of electronica uniquely gelling ideas from 4th world ambience, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality in four lushly detailed scenes
Conceived in pursuit of an aesthetic that seeks to “blur the line between field recordings and synthesis in order to render invented and impossible landscapes”, Puech’s first release for Panatype extends an immersive invitation to his singular, simulated dimensions.
Using mostly modular synth, coupled with self-built devices, Puech plots out his imaginary world in electronic filigree. Blended with inspiration from the overgrowing chaos and mathematic logic of nature in a similar way to the Transflora project, his works are self-contained environments that could be considered different aspects of the same, alternate world.
As with nature, Puech’s music can veer from modest beauty to barely controlled attacks on the senses, with his favoured, extended palette of machines enabling him to emulate the complex sounds of animals, albeit mutant ones that you may expect to be limned by Ballard or Google dream, especially when it all comes together in the side-long title track.
After some lovely turns for 12th Isle, NNF and Constellation Tatsu, X.Y.R. commits a fragrant and humid tract of new age synths, kosmiche pulses and rustling field recordings to the charming Quiet Time Tapes series.
"X.Y.R. is Cherepovets musician Vladimir Karpov, who now resides in St. Petersburg. Standing for Xram Yedinennogo Razmuwlenuja, the name is a reference to Nikolai Gogol's 1842 "Dead Souls," in which one of the characters is pretentious enough to build his own "Temple of Solitary Contemplation."
Inspired by a mix of ambient, classical and film score music heard throughout his life, and especially the music he heard in Soviet children’s sci-fi videos - X.Y.R. uses Soviet synths and drum machines coupled with field recordings to produce rhythmicyet contemplative music with a mystic and natural feel. The accompanying Zine contains original photos taken by the artist."
L.A.’s enigmatic Baby takes a 2nd bow on Quiet Time Tapes with a not so quiet QTT9 session spanning one part Björk-like avant-pop expression, a tract of subaquatic electronic collage, and a febrile traverse thru fractious, iridescent indie-dance-pop deconstruction.
"Adrienne, Marty, and Phoenix of Baby met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying Film/Animation/Video. Drawn together by their mutual love of music, they started playing spontaneous, unrehearsed shows at DIY shows and parties around Providence.
Baby is more of a collective than a band, relying more on the individual creations of its members which are then combined into coherent works. This is Baby’s second release on Quiet Time, after QTT2. Each of the three tracks was led by an individual member of Baby. What results is two freaky, jazzy and digital pop songs - sandwiching a long, evolving ambient piece with long breaths of noise and beautiful shimmering guitars and synth. Zine contains Baby’s original artwork."
Following an uncredited appearance of his ‘Fr3sh’ gem (off PAN’s Mono No Aware comp) on the new Kayne album, Cairo’s Kareem Lotfy gives a broader account of himself in a lush addition to the Quiet Time Tapes series
On QTT10 Kareem reprises and expands on the billowing aesthetics and melancholy feel of Fr3sh across a 33 minute set that reveals hitherto unheard aspects of his sound, from windswept rhythms to textured field recordings and vaporous dub influences.
In opener Asmar he pursues a sound somewhere between the mutating abstractions of Wanda Group and Xth Réflexion, while the layered field recordings and FM interceptions of Sundial Radio hint at an ancient futurism that come to light in sublime style, and Chromosome sounds out into vast ambient space between Global Communications and AFX’s SAW II - and we don’t use either of those comparisons lightly.
With GTO he inverts that epicness to a charming, lower case intimacy that effortlessly flows into the pastoral simulacra of Equilibrium, and Second Seed seems to bifurcate between a push and pull of sheer, alert high end tones and the secuctively hypnagogic attraction of the murky mid-ground, with Kwkab resolving the album at an gently upward ambient slant.
Quiet Time Tapes début Bas Relief on ’QTT8’, following lovely editions by Huerco S and Phil Struck with a new addition of breezy ambient dream pop full of swaying harmonies, wind-picked strings and post rock swells, with detours into clipped beats...
"Bas Relief is the Montreal-based project of David Mitchell from emo act Gulfer and Will Osiecki, featuring other voices of the Canadian indie music scene such as Valeda and Fog Lake. This project brings their emo sensibilities and songwriting to an electronic sound palette, combining with influences of bass music, IDM and ambient.
This tape unfolds like an album, interweaving structured songs with short interludes and bringing guitar, piano, synths, and rhythmic static together with complex, mathy rhythms. David and Will are joined with the voices of Valeda and Naomi Soares for a set of melancholic songs."
Blinding new batch of synth and computer music chaos from Dave Burraston’s cultishly regarded NYZ. With such a wild variation to his purist approach it’s perhaps silly to draw comparisons or contrasts, but these are patently some of NYZ’s sweeter treats, such as the curdled harmonics of ‘ARTOFNYZbitcompander’ and the funky lil’ vamps of ‘RLD syncs’ for more insatiable and curious listeners. In other words it’s fucking ace!
“When John Chowning discovered FM synthesis it was seen as the promised land. Anything and everything could be synthesized, it was said, by use of this brilliant, simple idea: sine waves modulating other sine waves in any number of patch matrices, producing complex combinations of sidebands. And as such; almost infinite spectral potentiality for composers and performers alike! In other words - spectrum splitting potential, which is exactly how NYZ approaches it in this collection of mad and utterly unpredictable pieces.
Seemingly held together by the determination (or lack thereof) of a chaotic system in a clinical, synthetic sound environment, these pieces are raw and made up of ploddy notes strolling through timbral in-between places from infamous synthesizer presets. Imitating organs, bass guitars and percussive instruments mutating seamlessly into alien non-referential sounds, some notes intensely are sustained and some strung together in vibrant and organic, breathing sequences by Burraston’s MANIAC Cellular Automata Sequencer.
‘NTE GDN’ is a thoroughly eccentric and expressive musical experience containing melodic interval jumps of what seems to be an algorithm impersonating Schönberg, only stopping to descend into a dronal stasis.”
A strong breeze of Cajun twang from 1920’s Louisiana, delivered by the excellent Death Is Not The End
Taking its title from the first in a series of Cajun recordings made in New Orleans and released by Columbia Records, namely the Segura Brothers’ Bury Me In The Corner Of The Yard, the rest of the set follows suit with infectious stompers, rattlers and wheezers about whiskey-running, unrequited love and turtle stew, by excellent names such as Artelus Mistric and Blind Uncle Gaspard, all with equally charming tunes to boot.
Spellbinding mix of cherry-picked Japanese gems, vintage and modern, from Dommune selector Yousuke Yukimatsu. From exquisite synth-pop to skronky no wave, traditional music to ecstatic noise and techno, this one’s packing some obscure heat and makes a great right run from the previous MBE tapes by Beatrice Dillon and Conor Thomas
“Founder of Zone Uknown, Dommune selector and recent affiliate of Asian Dope Boys, Yousuke Yukimatsu (Osaka, 1979) is a key figure in the Japanese electronic culture.
If you see him playing it’s impossible to not get caught by his unique and somehow visceral style of DJing.
For MBE series he recorded 90 minutes of music made strictly by Japanese artists offering us an extraordinary wide-eyed perspective on the far east electronic culture.
Imagine to be in Osaka or in Tokyo in an overcrowded obscure underground small cave listening to some sweating freaks playing distorted noise, or sitting on a bamboo mat in a machiya while Shigeo Tanaka is playing the yumi, or being in the Hozen Ji temple reaching the ascension with the chants of the priests, or getting lost into a cyberpunk scenario with DJs spinning dark techno into a foggy warehouse with just s low strobe light on.. well you can just get a glimpse of what this tape is.”
Jodie Lowther is a musician, illustrator & video artist from the UK who mostly records minimal and ethereal songs. In all of her art, she says she is mostly inspired by dreams, surrealism, psychedelia and horror.
"A.R.C. Soundtracks is the audio/visual project of K Craig and David Armes1 based in the north of England. Marrying bleak drones, echoed-out percussion and FX-heavy spoken-word to disorientating, ritualistic visuals, they make for an unsettling encounter."
Lock two men in a room with some shrooms and ‘No Beggin’’ is the kinda madness you might expect to go down, especially if those guys are Brassfoot and his m8...
Brassfoot kills ‘em with kindness in a mix of ragga chat and London Posse-like aggy hip hop swagger, interspersed with canny samples of gnostic pop prophets chatting about psilocybin’s use throughout myriad cultures, and arranged with some of the most frazzled, wicked beats on NCA thus far.
The two sides are entitled Tuesday and Wednesday - presumably the bandwidth of the trip embarked at their Black Void Studio in London - charting the results as a progressively munted, fractal transition from legible soberness to legit psychotomimetics, but smartly just about keeping their head together thru it all, as opposed to breaking down in a puddle of tears from laughter, or climbing the walls in fright when the mushy imps come out to rave with you.
Hospital Productions yield a tape recording of Regis DJing the label’s 20 Anniversary session at Warsaw, Brooklyn, on November 5th, 2017
Covering the gamut of North African guitars thru the sludge funk of World Domination Enterprises and Sun Ra’s Nuclear War, this tape catches Karl O’Connor perfectly not playing to presumptions of blistering techno, and instead exploring the post-punk tributaries and lesser trotted outsider ginnels of his sprawling record collection in a way we haven’t heard him do before.
Suffice it to say listeners should expect the unexpected in a class meeting of Hospital Productions and Downwards styles.
Princess Nokia - aka New York rapper Destiny Frasqueri - has been releasing music via YouTube and Soundcloud since she was in High School and catapulted herself to the next level with last year’s critically acclaimed rap opus 1992 ‘Deluxe’ - selling out venues across the globe and steadily gaining tens of millions of streams.
"Now, this shapeshifting emcee returns with a brand new collection of songs titled ‘A Girl Cried Red’, a self-described “emo mixtape” which will undoubtedly cement her place in the alternative underground as well as the hip hop world. “Black people created punk - the band Death was way before The Ramones,” she stated in a recent interview, “If you think about it, the wool has been pulled over our eyes. This is our shit. Very naturally, that’s why we return to it.” Drawing on influences as varied as the introverted acoustic sounds of Elliott Smith to the bombastic pop-punk energy of Paramore, ‘A Girl Cried Red’ showcases another fully formed side of Destiny that still taps into the uncompromising feminist ideology of Princess Nokia."
Seekersinternational deliver 26 tracks of VIP soundsystem psychedelia on Amsterdam’s Liquorish Records
Spliced and blended in the manner of their Gunman Cult Clasixx, LoversDedicationStation and Inna Dancehall Showdown selections, the Black Mazda Soundclash runs amok in the dance with mutant tessellations of classic ragga mixed with lilting Afro percussions and red hot soundsystem shrapnel for the maddest sound of summer 2018.
Astringent to the bashment, Seekersintenational keep the levels simmering on the cusp of absolute madness with MC chat chopped into machine gun chatter and swept up in a wild flow of sawn-off riddims and puffchest bravado that wickedly becomes scrambled and practically nonsensical thru the process.
Plonk this on in the middle of cattle-packed public transport for optimal madness. Actually try a BBQ with this on public transport for best laughs.
Playfully enigmatic, encrypted electronics from Celular Feel, making their recorded début (under this alias, at least) with seven tracks of ‘Soft Grunge’ for Ascetic House
Possibly generative, perhaps apocryphal, probably one of the weirdest things you’ll hear this week, the sounds herein are pretty mad in a similar vein to Dave Burraston’s NYZ output or the para-dimensional computer music of Justin Meyers. We’re most feeling the curdled chromatic tanggg of Canon Key 2 and the rugged jabs of 95.
West Coast synthesist M. Geddes Gengras yields a lushly meditative suite of ambient music inspired by his time on Hawaiki, the big island of Hawaii, paying particular attention to glistening high register tones and a sense of wide open Pacific space
“Recorded during a vacation on the big island, Hawaiki Tapes is somewhat of an anomaly in the M. Geddes Gengras music —A series of short, improvised sequences voiced by a small plastic digital synthesizer, minimally processed in real time & jacked straight into a handheld recorder. It was made at night, on a little hotel room desk. The internal sequencer of the volca greatly influenced the pieces, since it only goes so slow and is limited in it’s voicing.
It was windy and cold for most of the trip, and the sky was gigantic and filled with massive rippling clouds that flew between the horizons in minutes. The landscape was made of endless, black rock fields with little grassy spots where the lava hadn’t hit yet. In the process, Gengras had in mind some of the formative ambient music he had listened to in his early years: Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Aphex Twin, and his focus is in the interaction between the synth, the delay and reverb effects. A perfect album for sleepless nights —A new sound statement from M. Geddes Gengras.”
Destruction Unit drummer Andrew Flores presents his electronic music on Ascetic House
A mixture of live improvisation drawing on his talents as a percussionist, along with phasing ambient minimalism and spats of distorted noise.
Invada present the soundtrack to Stranger Things 2, produced by S U R V I V E’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.
Expect plenty shlocky ‘80s FM synth cues and themes bound to yank your nostalgia nozzle.
KILLER 3rd volume of DJ Clara's 100% female MC-focussed Reggaeton mixtape series for Low Jack's Editions Gravatz label. Hyperactive megamix with loads of Clara!’s blends and re-edits, pure fire...
Hailing from Northern Spain but based in Brussels, Clara!’s previous tapes for Editions Gravats’ affiliates at PRR! PRR! are guaranteed party starters, serving to highlight stacks of female reggaeton MC from the ‘90s thru to the modern day.
Clara!’s 3rd mixtape is also her baddest by many measures, masterfully sweeping thru dozens of tracks in just under 30 minutes, and including a healthy handful of her own blends and edits (the dembow versions of Darude and the Outhere Brothers stand out) along with reams of Kalimotxo-soaked, beach-ready anthems from Demphra, Ivy Queen, La Sexy Rose, La Bori, La Goony Chonga, Sexy Vaguita, Las Culisueltas and many more.
Two years in the making, Ahwar (Arabic for marshlands) is an otherworldly record, not unlike an abstract mythological story-tale.
"Opening with the mangled and filtered vocals of the album's lead track Afqid Adh-Dhakira (I Lose Memory) like an alien dream, the drones of a bowed double bass lead us into a drum groove that lays the groundwork for El Shazly's sultry and captivating presence, singing: "(I am) coming, from a time far away. Going, escaping. Alone in the wilderness".The Arabic prose lingers over interjections of slap-back delayed guitar twangs and an avant-garde arrangement of dissonant winds, horns and seemingly random drum fills, ending with an eerie soundscape that wouldn't feel out of place in a Giallo classic.
A daring and potent statement that sets the foundations over which the rest of the album can unravel. Composed, written and produced by El Shazly herself in collaboration with The Dwarfs of East Agouza's Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi on co-composition and arrangement duties, the album was crafted across two continents, between Canada and Egypt, and features the crème of Montreal's contemporary-classical and improvised music scene, most of whom aremembers of Shalabi's own Land of Kush ensemble. In between El Shazly's five original tracks, we are treated to an abstract coverversion of Sayyid Darwish's classic Ana 'Ishiqt (I Once Loved). El Shazly's haunting vocal floats over broken Kalimba and Harp arpeggios which slowly intertwine with a free, bowed double bass improv to nestle within the breaks between Younes Al-Qadhi's early 20th century verses of love and betrayal.
More than that, it is difficult to really describe, but imagine the worlds of Nico, Björk and Annette Peacock with the Arabic language as their mother tongue, re-approached through acoustic avant-jazz harmony and re-constructed with a dash of Kamilya Jubran's modern styling of Arabic maqam and you may be somewhere close. Recorded and delicately mixed through miles of analogue cabling by Thierry Amar at Hotel2Tango and mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering in Montreal, the album is adorned with the surrealist artwork of Egyptian artist Marwan El-Gamal and designed with custom typography by Egyptian designer Valerie Arif . All editions come with dual-language booklets featuring the lyrics in Arabic with English translation by Nariman Youssef."
Dominick Fernow meets Patrick O’Neal (Skin Crime) in Hanged Mans Orgasm mode for a vocal companion to the epic 7LP Prurient opus, Rainbow Mirror. Fernow shares vocal narration with DC Comics story-writer Scott Bryan Wilson (who’s also credited with writing on Frozen Niagara Falls) set to bleak backdrops of atomic radiation textures and field recordings of Hanged Man’s Orgasm, the début ‘90s project of Patrick O’Neal from cult death electronics unit Skin Crime.
The label compare Unknowns with “the american counterpart to Nurse With Wound set in the decaying rural fields of new england” and, for us, the combination of low key vocals and textural attrition could also be compared with John Duncan’s efforts in that arena, as the density of atmospheric pressure inside better recalls Duncan’s esoteric experiments with shortwave radio on Riot, but, in the case of this A-side, mixed with the kind of vocal delivery heard on Duncan’s surreal Bitter Earth songbook.
The notorious Kris Lapke a.k.a. Alberich lends his haggard touch in production to bring both sides to life with unflinchingly stoic and visceral force, most powerfully in the B-side’s burial by rubble in a shallow grave.
Noisy bugger Jesse Sanes helms the first release from Free The Land; a collaborative multimedia project focussed on the binds between nature and technology, which also involves contributions by Puce Mary, his partner in the JH1.FS3 duo, as well as Nial Morgan of the Presh label.
Previously manifest in print, as installations, and via “guerrilla internet performance”, Free The Land’s first physical musical release is the soundtrack to their immersive installation at Fylkingen New Music and Intermedia Art in Stockholm. Originally a 4-channel situation, it has been translated to stereo for this immersive release, conjuring a headspace that recalls the ambient environmental sensitivities of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement as much as the variegated mutations of Portuguese project, Transflora.
Weaving location recordings from the project’s colleagues in Israel, Vietnam, France and Mexico, along with original “ecophonic-electronic” pieces by Puce Mary and Nial Morgan, the results documented and described as Ecophony frame and bring to life a delicate yet rugged sonic ecology that’s arguably much greater than the sum of its parts.
While ultimately everything comes thru Jesse for the final mix, the variety of voices and inputting hands becomes apparent as the session scrolls thru its persistently moprphing scenes of dense undergrowth, shoreside breezes, sunlit canopies and industrial farming sounds.
The NY-based producer returns to Umor Rex with a new album, in which the musical discourse and the physical form of the release have an equal, crucial importance.
"Sirimiri is made of four long and mid-length pieces, each composed of different perspectives, processes and identities. However, Rafael seeks to blend subjective time with the listening experience. A sort of loop and repetition, sub-sequence-based sound. Following Eno, nothing happens in the same way twice, perception is constantly shifting, nothing stays in one place for long. The sum of the four pieces is 36 minutes; the cassette edition lasts 72 minutes in total, since both sides have the same four songs joined together.
Physically, the format allows us at least two automatic repetitions. In the digital version the songs are independent, but we also include a bonus track made of the 36-minute loop. The desolation and despair (in a sort of positive way) that we got to hear in The Shameless Years (Umor Rex 2017) is present in Sirimiri, but the impression is concrete, with cruder, less rhetorical landscapes. If The Shameless Years was located between beauty and active tragedy, Sirimiri travels inside the beauty and melancholy of an observing eye, a quiet rebel insurrection. Another substantial difference is the distance from general and globalized concepts; in these unfortunate times, Sirimiri looks for personal sorrows, and places its focus on the particular.
Even the names of the songs evoke this in small ways, like in "Sonder", the feeling of realizing that everyone, even a complete stranger, has a life as complex as one's own. Rafael has two guests in this album; Taylor Jordan in "Mountain Strem", and Rafael's hero Carl Hultgren (from Windy & Carl) in "Sonder". Sirimiri means 'drizzle' in Basque, and we cannot find a better word to describe its content."
Demdike Stare’s DDS label render a f*cking KILLER 2nd mix of original material and unidentified objects from Iueke, the Antinote’s label co-founder and longtime producer regarded for his psychedelic singularity and fiercely unconventional selection skills. It sounds like Autechre filtered through a severely fuggy state of mind, unnerving and wildly inspiring.
Following Iueke’s Mix 1 tape (released a couple of years ago), Mix 2 is another exclusive commission for DDS. It’s crammed with a treasure trove of oddness overlayed with original material by the veteran Parisian DJ, digger and producer, some which may never see the light of day.
Heavy on the FX and pure abstraction, Mix 2 gets right under the skin with uncanny effect from the off, starting out with fizzing industrial prangs, then flooding the senses with something like an underwater dub clash at the GRM until the end of side A.
Side B is just as salty, wild and immersive, strafing from ferric atonalities in the initial stage, to take in what could arguably be a gamelan session over gaelic folk pipes, and morphing into febrile acidic noise recursion that’s simultaneously playful, gurning, and properly menacing.
Mad as f*ck, this one.
Discrepant bossman Gonçalo F. Cardoso meets Alex Jones (Angela Valid) for a 5th tape of esoteric collage cryptography, their 2nd for the ace Sucata Tapes series
Forked Piss Blues is an unsettlign 70 minute session of textured synthetic ambience and field recordings mulched to a potently intoxicating brew and foreign a sort of abstract, hypnagogic dramaturgy primed for barely conscious listening.
“Larry and Luisa return to England. While his mother is reunited with her cousins, Larry return to London, where he falls in with a group of Bohemian artists - including writer Henry Miller. Back in Corfu, Leslie gets offered a job as a policeman, Gerry saves a donkey from an abusive farmer, and Spiro forbids Margo from seeing Zoltan.”
The itinerant boss of Discrepant, Gonçalo F. Cardoso evacuates his mind/hard drive onto C40 tape with a richly enigmatic mosaic of location recordings and original ambient music where it’s hard it tell where one ends and the other starts. With a little defocussing of the ear and some fragrant herbs, the effect is uniquely transportive and riddled with psychedelic potential.
“A new Gonzo collage, of sounds, of scraps, of things he might use (never) again. Picking up where Ark Eulogy left us, a journey through places and times you think you know but only HE knows about. Unfinished, unmastered, unadorned, unconcluded and unperfected.”
A more extreme companion to Kink Gong’s Dian Long LP, the haphazard, frenetic glitches of Music is Not a Copy sounds like Chinese radio transmitted via a rack array of faulty DAB radios, each tuned to a different station and algorithmically attempting to consolidate their fragmented data into each track.
It may require a firm disposition and attention span, but there’s some really wonderful material inside, especially the eroticised techno pulse of Baosha, the tonal subtleties of Shanghai Rain, and the fractured 2-step of his School Beat.
A mixtape of turkish new age, experimental music, film and theatre scores from cassette tapes released between 1983-1994. Mixed and compiled by Grup Ses. Comes in two different covers by Rob Baanks.
Grup Ses crafts a spellbinding story of a mixtape from Turkish new age, experimental music, film and theatre scores, all originally issued on tape between 1983-1994. A year in the works, it’s a superb opener for Discrepant’s Sucata Tapes, certain to light up the ears of anyone also into Ennio Morricone’s vintage Italian library music, Dariush Dolat-Shahi’s Electronic Music, Tar And Sehtar, Vangelis’ Midnight Express OST, or those who can’t afford a holiday this year. Some reel treasure inside.
Joachim Nordwall and Henrik Rylander created Saturn and the Sun to further their mutual passion in mindchanging sound experiments.
"Since 2005, they have created music together in ritual rock band The Skull Defekts, but since the death of the Skulls in April 2018 their common focus now is Saturn and the Sun. Deep, often monotonous and harsh electronic music inspired by 60s minimalism, early techno and tribal music. This is what you get when the two comes together.
Rylander is working as a forensic photographer and makes extreme sound art. Nordwall runs the iDEAL Recordings label and records experimental music on his own and with artists like Mats Gustafsson, Mika Vainio (RIP), Ryan Martin and Leif Elggren. They both share the legendary studio space Gothenburg Sound Experiment.
"Be careful with frequent listening."
Written, performed and produced by Kumo in SE23.
"Kumo aka Jono Podmore – Professor of the Practice of Popular music at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, Germany – is best known latterly for his tireless work curating and managing the archives of Krautrock pioneers Can. In this respect, his masterstroke to date has been assembling the essential "The Lost Tapes" boxset.
Work under his Kumo alias across multiple releases, performances, DJ sets and installations has included collaborations with the likes of Irmin Schmidt, B.J. Cole, Jaki Liebezeit, Mr. C and Jose Padilla. His ongoing Horrorshow multimedia venture brings together live soundtracks and short films, and his established group Metamono finds new life in vintage analogue and hand made electronics, releasing two albums, and Secrets of Nature - Sounds Unseen: live electronic music for silent British film.
His label Psychomat was brought back to life in 2017 with two new single releases and more are planned. Jono is currently working on the score for feature film The Giaour, a book about Jaki Liebezeit's life and theories, and teaches Tai Chi in London.
"From a starting point of two field recordings taken from the balcony of my flat in South East London, one was taken during the day the other at night, the rest of the music was built up in response: synths and theremin played as karaoke to the sounds of the estate. Accompanying, mimicking, occupying the spaces between the deliveries, planes, dogs, birds and the kids next door writing grime tunes. 'Day' was written, performed, recorded and mixed in the flat during daytime with only natural light, 'Night' under cover of darkness."
Jono Podmore, London, 16.xii.2017
Cult Swedish producer 1991 proves he wasn’t just a figment of our feverish imaginations with this expanded edition of his self-titled debut suite for Astro:Dynamics.
Now including three original bonus tracks plus IVVVO’s remix of Inside You, we can safely consider this the definitive, director’s cut edition of a modern classic.
The likes of his Cure edit, Open To The Dark and the smudged knew age psychedelia of Distortion of Time have lost none of their ferric attraction, and now its aching appeal is extended into complementary cuts such as the very KGB Man-esque soft boogie screw of Inside You, the snowy cladding of Calm Onyx, and a sublime isolation chamber soundtrack in 95 and Beyond, with IVVVO’s Inside You remix bringing it closer to the ‘floor, in case that suits ya.
Ascetic House spotlight Barcelona’s Titan Arch and their brooding ambient ‘soundtrack to a soundless memory’ in their latest batch
In a succinct 20 minutes Sergi Alejandre a.k.a. Titan Arch conjures a darkly meditative mood that at times turns properly threatening as the EP transitions from the gaseous sci-fi loom of New Century Transformation to an immense, head-engulfing work worthy of comparison with Alessandro Cortini or Ensemble Economique at his cinematic best in Look At Me Now. The airy syn-flutes and sibilant ambience of Delusion Tour brings the darkness to light, and Sigil For Shedding almost broaches new age terrain, but at a gauzy arms length.
Oooh, this is a blast! Sun Ra’s 1986 soujourn to a pre-unification East Berlin comes back around on the release’s original format via Moscow’s Post-Materialization Music label.
Documenting a killer, wild and free session from Le Sun Ra And His Cosmo Discipline Arkestra, the 40 minute recording features Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and Pat Patrick among the Arkestra’s mass, all converging and diverging the definition of jazz as only they can.
From entrancing squall to skronky electric organ riffs to a charming take on Duke Ellington’s Prelude To A Kiss, and on thru bubbling versions of their evergreens We Travel The Spaceways and Rocket #9, it lands on a freaking amazing Second Stop Is Jupiter, ready for your to do it all again.
Geoff Barrow's Invada imprint presents the stunning soundtrack to Nicolas Refn Windings' heist-movie 'Drive' - Rolling Stone magazine's #1 film of 2011.
The sublime Cliff Martinez score is accompanied by five songs featured in the film - Kavinsky & Lovefoxx's 'Nightcall'; Desire's 'Under Your Spell'; College feat. Electric Youth 'A Real Hero'; Riz Ortolani feat. Katyna Ranieri 'Oh My Love'; The Chromatics 'Tick Of The Clock'. With his original score, Martinez - a former collaborator with Lydia Lunch, Jim Thirlwell, Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band and RHCP - perfectly matches the mood of Winding Refn's '80s-referencing electro-pop selections with an impeccable array of brooding synth themes.
Ascetic House whip out another smart début...
This time from UBK, whose Victoria pursues a murky post-club spirit thru 10 tracks of fanged, fleet-footed industrial ructions, environmental sounds, and buckled traces of grime, techno and dancehall painting scene of urban chaos pie for cruising city streets in your car at night.
One for fans of Rabit, German Army, Croww.
Extra murky hip hop mixtape from NYC underground royalty, Geng a.k.a. King Ultra Vision, literally sampling from the streets around him and folding snatches of dialogue into proper sludgy beats and fluoro-glowing atmospheres. Distilling the mental state of NYC
“Pain Of Mind is an audio book about mental illness and a broken system.
Written/recorded/mastered Oct. 1 - Nov. 9, 2017 in Queens - 1 block away from a "RIP Prodigy" tag. Mastered the same day Wu's Enter The 36 dropped, 24 years ago.
All dialogue was captured directly onto cassette. All samples collected via SP 202, SP 303, SP 404 and/or MPC1000. All mixing/mastering via cassette.
"This is how I heard the music that shaped my sensibilities - drenched in analog imperfection and waves of hiss."
“King Vision Ultra is a fresh sonic narrative from Geng. An elemental alphabet constructed from personal histories, reflections and trauma, its block letters are etched into New York City's glass and daubed on its brickwork, impounded in the minds of a transient population.”
Dirgey, gothic post-punk winners from the apocalypse-baiting Jon Edifice.
The label describe it as “Methodical yet disfigured outlaw compositions straight from the bowels of Jon's world.”, and we’d add some lashings of scuzz and a peculiarly brittle Britishness to that equation, as Jon could almost just as well come from early ‘80s Manchester as his actual home, Grand Rivers, Kentucky in 2018.
Arriving in the shadow of Ori Ofir’s killer Sterile Hand duo with Juan Mendez (Silent Servant), this is Lower Tar’s self-titled 2017 volley of dark blue EBM bruisers, reissued by Ascetic House.
Make sure to check for the grotty churn of Lacquer and Dust and irresistibly wriggly EBM ruckus funk of Existence Preceeds Essence for something to really bite down on
“In his self titled release, Lower Tar explores the intense hive mind that revolves around being an Israeli American and what it means to be critical of a society while still maintaining his identity. Using techno as a cathartic backbone enables him to cope and understand the multiplicitous relationship he has with Israel as an idea and a real place.”
Gloryland is Plyxy’s steeply enigmatic and intoxicating début tape of ambient darkness for Ascetic House. Following introductions made on the digital only release Eat Your Gods [Anti/Anti, 2017], the NYC-based Russian artist stealthily unfolds his sound as one of the strongest, most focussed suites of atmospheric mood music this side of Tarkovsky scores or Drew McDowell’s modular gremlins
“Gloryland is the seminal EP from PLYXY, the ambient/noise project of NYC-based polymath Ros Knopov. A refugee from the Soviet Union, he hails from Dnepropetrovsk, the rocket-making capital of the former Communist state. Driven by a desire for improvisation, and obsessed with process, PLYXY weaves manipulated field recordings and Soviet-era film samples through an array of analog Eurorack modules and samplers, creating cinematic environments of despair and nostalgia.”
The link between Demdike Stare and Italy’s legendary Il Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza should be obvious to anyone familiar with their output over the years, especially the ‘Tryptych' and ‘Elemental' sets. Having been asked to perform in front of (and by) its surviving members (including Ennio Morricone no less), Demdike mined the Il Grupo archive for pieces to disassemble for this incredible hour-long collage, which takes the source material somewhere new.
Over the years Il Grupo has included the likes of Egisto Macchi, Roland Kayn, Walter Branchi, Franco Evangelisti, John Heineman, Giovanni Piazza, Frederic Rzewski and Jesus Villa Rojo alongside Morricone, its most famous member. All exceptionally skilled players and composers, Gruppo were formed in 1964 at the initiative of Franco Evangelisti with an aesthetic agenda looking beyond the boundaries of previous improvisational musics. They focussed on production and the qualities of sound itself, employing innovative recording and playing techniques at the limits of their capabilities as performers and composers in order to discover the "new consonance" inferred in their nomenclature.
Their influence on film soundtrack work is, of course, already well documented and acknowledged, but you can also hear traces of their work reflected in so much exploratory, non-academic contemporary music, with Demdike being an obvious example. Referencing one of Gruppo’s most well known and sought-after recordings, The Feed-back (1970), the Feed-Back Loop captures Demdike making perhaps the most interesting use of this source material yet, a restrained and delicate weaving of textural and percussive elements that manage to both revere the source material, as well as re-contextualise it for new ears.
As Demdike explain
"Tasked by the Festival Nuova Consonanza for a live performance at their 53rd Edition, with the remaining gruppo members in attendance, (Ennio Morricone, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Giovanni Piazza, Alessandro Sbordoni) we apprehensively dived into our collections for pieces by Gruppo and it's members in order to create this homage. Using samplers, synths and effects we looped and layered chosen sections to create new pieces which we had to then play in front of the mighty Il Gruppo, captured here for posterity."