After some 13 singles, 24 remixes, 49 mix appearances, 2 DJ mixes and setting up a 16-piece ensemble under his own name, Floating Points strokes off the jazz-tronic frippery of 'Elaenia', his debut album on his new label, Pluto.
For the majority of people Floating Points debut album might as well be called "The Token Electronic Jazz Record You Might Buy In 2015 (Or in early 2016 when it tops The Guardian's end-of-year list, but probably only after it wins the Mercury Prize '16)"...
The sequel… Check for highlights in the furtive Persia Rising and the heroic Utopian Facade
“On Halloween 2014, the director and composer John Carpenter introduced the world to the next phase of his career with “Vortex,” the first single from Lost Themes, his first-ever solo record. In the months that followed, Lost Themes rightfully returned Carpenter to the forefront of the discussion of music and film’s crucial intersection. Carpenter’s foundational primacy and lasting influence on genre score work was both rediscovered and reaffirmed. So widespread was the acclaim for Lost Themes, that the composer was moved to embark on something he had never before entertained – playing his music live in front of an audience."
Dreamy mixtape made in response to Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970) drama.
side / A
1. Wanda Intro 2. Epiphany Now - 16-01-27-01-00-37-25 4. Odie Ji Ghast / Bad@maths - Aquatic Frolics 5. Shriekback - Hapax Legomena 6. Rachel Margetts & Dice Miller - Double exposure 7. Büchler & Wand - á la Cage 8. Ecka Rose Mordecai - Fog 9. Michael Holland - Sunday Morning 10. Belarisk - Ruined Rig (Contaminated) 11. Yr Lovely Dead Moon - God's Land 12. S/Z - Feeling And Must 13. Enir Da - Desert (Cowboy's Chase)
side / B
14. Fith - L' Echappée Belle 15. Michael Holland & Anna Berkenhoff - Pendolino 16. Crude - Best Man 17. The Polyopia of Purple - A radio play with words by Nissa Nishikawa & sound from Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple) 18. Param - Atman 19. Brigitte Fontaine - L' Auberge 20. Negra Branca - Importa 21. Sister Body - Cadillac (On The Way To The Hospital) 22. Dice Miller, Andreas Reihse, Rene Schohe - 'Brixton X Roads'
Joachim Nordwall grinds it down to quintessentials, demonstrating The Power of Repetition for Entr’acte with riveting documentation of a studio recording made at Elementstudion, Gothenburg, in May/June 2016.
Having been a member of a whole bunch of projects we've followed closely - from The Skull Defekts to Fire! Orchestra and Saturn And The Sun, not to mention his involvement as a founder of the Börft and Ideal labels, Joachim Nordwall is surely one of the most active and coinsistently fascinating producers operating at the finges of electronic music.
For this limited-run tape he exemplifies the all-consuming might of his sound in two contrasting ways over 30 minutes. In the first part he’s brutally intent on dissolving your atoms in a boiling acid bath of torrid churn and stressed metal tang leaving us with nowhere to hide, before the second part opens out and traverses into plangent, pealing wails anchored in some kind of chain-dragging bass trudge that sounds like some native american death chant, or equally a passage of black metal sung by sami yoikers and smeared like tar down a glacier.
As Nordwall explains: “Repetition is key to most of my music. This is what interests me. Drawing inspiration from minimalism through noise and electro-acoustics to techno and acid, my sound carries these influences (hopefully) respectfully but I always strive for a personal take, one which creates heightened tension and unease. The Power of Repetition emerged from the shadows. It was recorded live with analogue synths in a Gothenburg studio through a bunch of amps, moving objects on an amplified table, creating what I was looking for — a pure, static power.”
It's a powerful and successful statement, sure-handedly living up to Nordwall's focussed, noisy intentions.
Fresh off that incredible Equiknoxx album, Demdike Stare’s DDS label takes another sharp swerve and welcomes Antinote’s label founder and longtime producer Iueke to their limited mix series for a sprawling, whacked-out session of electronic dub noise, drum machine workouts and intense sample re-alignment recorded at the Rinse FM France studios earlier this year.
It’s a fucking amazing, sprawling thing, slowly slowly lulling you into a solipsistic soundworld that doesn't give anything away; most of it sounds like it could have been recorded at any point in the last 35 years, all of it drained and rendered in deepest black.
Over the span of an hour there are very few signposts for direction; using a stack of sawn-off of samples and hardware to short-circuit and blur the lines between early electro-acoustic abstraction, techno and noise tropes.
Surreal folk recordings, sonorous metal klang and pulsating oscillators dissolve and resolve in a freaky analog bubblebath, packing a rude, blunt batch of edits unafraid to really let fly with the noise textures. It’s a chewy, sticky thing, sure to get lodged in the back of your teeth, displace a few fillings and lull you into a wickedly zonked state.
This one’s a keeper.
Gorgeous, sky-gazing ambient projections from Ananas Pyramidalis and Street Thunder, presenting their only known recording, made one afternoon in early 2010, on the wonderful Reckno label - home to equally seductive tapes by Teresa Winter, Joane Styler, Goodiepal…
“Turtledoves use the conventional instrumentation of guitar and keyboards to channel infinite slabs of sound that convey distant longing and massive sadness. The music appears forever out of reach yet also incomprehensibly huge and triumphant.
'Spirit Glow / Youth Eternal' takes place half asleep, surfing through space, parallel to a comet, becoming something other, you have an overwhelming sense of calm before exploding in blue light : your earthly body a distant memory.
'Dream Interruption' takes place half awake, on a crystal raft, at the summit of a frozen tidal wave, where the great lakes fell from the tear ducts of celestial beings, you become one with a waveless sea which glows purple under a super moon : your earthly body a distant memory.”
Adroitly tantalising techno-pop dream sequencing by 21st Century Wolf; an enigmatic new avatar on the Reckno label, who’s evidently in possession of the lushest electronic soul.
Built from tightly enveloped, glossolalic sighs and aaaahs pilfered from pop records and turned into percussion or harmonic pads, Pagan Technology is a fine lesson in listening between the lines, paying attention to the sweetest bits of expression, and using them as windows or wormholes to etheric, subtly ecstatic dimensions.
It’s satisfyingly long enough to detach yourself from the chaos around you and sink into without coming up for air. Just let its glassy bubbles was over the senses for thee tenderest ambient techno therapy.
Shifted follows up his 'Under a Single Banner' LP for Bed Of Nails. Part 1 of a twin 12" set, 'Arrangements in Monochrome' yields four mechanically worn-down grooves seeping from the oily, emulsifying drones of 'You're a Replacement' to the thrumming grey techno missile 'Arrangement In Monochrome I' and over to the viscous momentum of '6ft of Silence' or the ventilation shaft extrusion, 'The Velvet Rope'.
Quietly levitating, rustic folk drone and windswept Wolfgang Voigt-like ambient strings, making up the time-dilating debut from Brighton’s Michael Tanner (United Bible Studies) and Alison Cotton (Saloon, The Left Outsides). There’s a fine line with modern classical/ambient expressions of this nature, but thankfully it’s one that this duo know how to navigate gently and without much recourse to cliche.
“Beyond the field that is watered with tears, in the forest where the fog never clears, past the tree that grew like a broken finger, behind the waterfall, to the side of the natural alter, there is a room. In that room, behind the bookcase, on the middle shelf, standing alone, is an unnamed book that contains no words but the key to the door to hell.
Reckno is extremely proud to present the first tape by Michael Tanner and Alison Cotton, musically these recordings sit somewhere between the levitational glow of Michael's 'Witch Elder' and the stately neo-gothic duskiness of the Left Outsides yet there is a more sombre mood present here: these pieces drip with dark magic, old time religion and anti light.”
The Swedish duo return with their 2nd album in as many years for Avian.
'Linear S Decoded' feels more toned, tensile and moody than the caustic attacks of their debut 'Strgths', and at 13 tracks long it's quantitatively more substantial, giving the pair more room to generate a broader spectrum of melodic emotion and crushed drum patterns. That said, it still operates mostly at the submerged, midnight end of the spectrum, ready for immersion in the club, or equally in headphones.
There's some ripe dancefloor gear in the hydraulic pump of 'Drain This Lord', the roiling synthline flux of 'Elocution' and the darkside elevation 'This Hmming Raverie', plus gnarled post-industrial and breakbeat techno structures in the busted flex of 'The Under Shore' and the T++-alike 'Sub Mission - The Atlantic Vision', balanced with atmospheric narrative sinew in the noirish swirl of 'Wadin Guise' and 'Helical Dialog', amounting to a coherently bleak and cryptically detached long player.
Clinical techno hypnosis conducted by Sweden's Peder Mannerfelt and Simon Haydo for Shifted's Avian label.
This is some of the purest, most visceral Techno we've heard in a while, grappling with sheer frequencies and shifty patterns with a proper, bloody-minded focus. It more or less blends the best of both their worlds - Mannerfelt's uncanny studio skill and Haydo's sleek, purified dance tracks found on DEM. There's five cuts of finer wave functions oscillating between monotone jacks, rumbling rhythmic noise and EBM-tainted throbbers for the hardest-to-please experimental techno heads.
Shifted & Ventress' Avian Records make space for a full solo debut from Sigha, following his anonymous drop as A Vision Of Love and a handful of previous remixes for the label.
Six tracks capture Sigha at his most stripped down and crafty, working a palette of desiccated drums and fibrillating bass into driving, serpentine rhythms. As DJ tools they're tricky but highly useful little buggers...
Austere techno from Sigha on Shifted's Avian imprint. A tense and bitter product of its times, 'Techno Derivatives' reduces the style to its most skeletal form with visionary, precision tooled engineering.
The A-side cuts are sick, with the tantric '02' teasing the kick drum around shuddering mass of metallic synths and '04' economically rolling with reversed kicks and match-strike percussion sparking in the darkness. Likewise, B-side, '09' holds steadfast to a muted palette with eerie success, and '12' delivers venomous, pounding kicks.
Shifted's Avian imprint merges the experimental tendencies of its demised Mira offshoot into the fold with a sequence of modular sketches by Chicago-based Connor Camburn a.k.a. Litüus.
In the hands of able DJs these are pliable, pulsating tools for dancefloor use, rolling between spherical 150 bpm rolige thru cantering radiophonic fizz, nimbly tweaked EBM oscillations and psychoacoustic penetrations.
Armed with a dusty piano, a dictaphone, and his hands and gob, Louis Johnstone (Wanda Group) inhabits the Henry Caravan alias for a totally unforeseen but perfectly understandable turn as a tortured avant lounge soloist in Tongue Order for the good folk at Reckno.
It could almost be Dudley Moore channelling Satie, or Morton Feldman slowly losing it in duet with a possessed recorder; laying out long, slowly ribboning passages of bittersweet discord punctuated by shocking outbursts of his own, wickedly off-key baritone and tourettes-like interjections from the dictaphone. Or, as Louis describes:
“'I WROTE THIS IN ONE EVENING. NOT WROTE BUT PERFORMED IT. I HAD THE HOUSE TO MYSELF.
I HAD A BOTTLE OF VODKA, A PIANO, TAPE RECORDER AND A DIGITAL RECORDER.
BY MY SIDE WAS A LARGE INDOOR PLANT AND YOU CAN HEAR ME BRUSH UP AGAINST IT AT CERTAIN POINTS.
I STARTED LATE. IT IS ALL ONE TAKE. SO 15 MINUTES ON THE SPOT.
THEN I WENT AND DRANK MORE VODKA FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS. THEN I DID THE SECOND PIECE.
ANOTHER 15 MINUTES.
THEN I FINISHED AND DRANK SOME MORE VODKA.'
We first heard this in the dead of night, no cars outside or babies crying next door, and had little idea what to expect. We were subsequently floored (metaphorically speaking, ‘cos I was already sitting on it) to hear Louis’ half-cut vocals rise from the creaky miasma of keys and scratchy tape samples. We reckon it will have the same effect on many others, and urge you to check it without delay; whether you’ve heard Wanda Group or not.
It’s not too early to say this is one of the most surprising and arresting new releases of 2016 so far.
Steadily shaping up as one of the most vital, go-to labels for British weirdness, Slip lash out the debut of snotty punk holler, n0!se and hot-stepping electronics by the best father/daughter duo since Serge and Charlotte. C50 tape and A3 poster in sticker-sealed poly wallet
“'Id Vendor' is Newcastle outfit Yeah You’s Slip debut: a stack of crackpot situationist pop forged in the fire of free improvisation.
Mykl Jaxn and Elvin Brandhi are relentlessly producing instinctive, chewed-up tunes on the fly. Culled from sessions crammed into weekly drives to yoga, idle moments in the trolley park of Bridgend Tesco, and a late-night wander in Brussels, 'Id Vendor' captures the father/daughter duo in superlative form off the back of knockout 2016 shows at Kraak, Borealis, and Counterflows.
A wicked onslaught of blunted beats, rudimentary synth contortions, and haphazard vocals as relentless as it is unpredictable as it is bloody wild.”
Sweden's SHXCXCHCXSH are set to catch a lot of heads off guard with this killer debut album.
After a handful of noisy techno lashes for HEM and Avian, they render an unforeseen dilation of their sound alloying elements of trance and chamber-like vocals with their oxidised industrial churn. 'Strgths' is crafted as an album, rather than a bunch of DJ tools, using the first plate to experiment with styls beyond their previous remit, as on the etheric folk vocal and trancey ambient motifs on 'SLVRBBL' and the stunning pitched percussion of 'LTLWLF' on the first side, before unleashing a torrent of techno proper, from the Zhark-like train rhythms of 'RSRRCTN' to the intense, airborne modulations of 'LDWGWTT'.
The 2nd plate continues to take no prisoners, piling forth with the subs-powered thrum and buzz of 'PCTSTSS' and the tunnelling persistence of 'WHYLGHT', whilst 'LLDDTMPS' holds fast across the last side with hypnotic reverse/forward motion on a downward spiral to Hadean depths. Recommended.
Part of a superb new batch from Mexico City’s Umor Rex label; Siavash Amini & Matt Finney’s Familial Rot renders four incredibly vast and vertiginous ambient noise scapes and symphonic escalations blessed with a real sense of wide-eyed wonder and almost out-of-body detachment. A must check for fans of Roly Porter and the Subtext set!
“Siavash Amini (Tehran-based musician) returns to Umor Rex with a collaboration with Matt Finney. Like in Till human voices wake us (Umor Rex 2014), where poems by T.S. Eliot were the starting point for the compositions, in Familial Rot each track tries to capture the emotion inside the words of Matt, and to score the images created with those vocal elements. With spontaneous words springing from an improvisational exercise. Siavash Amini expands the scope of the words with refined ambient and drone introspection. Even if the opulent sonic textures and the neo-classic suggestions signature of Amini’s work are here, it is all rather different this time around. There is a larger focus on catharsis, and greater doses of distortion, than in his previous works. Familial Rot is intense and affective. The sounds are made with electric double bass, electric guitar, piano and digital process.”
Chicago’s Brett Naucke pursues the organically evolving modular synthesis themes of Seed (Spectrum Spools, 2014) with a suite of beautifully trippy modular mutations in Executable Dreamtime, making up another exquisite entry to Mexico City’s Umor Rex label after sterling examples by Kara-Lis Coverdale and Driftmachine.
Each track is a lush modular ecology unto itself, generating and evolving singular patches of polyphonic auto-melody according to an oneiric logic of random note orders. The result is a glistening, absorbing array of mineral-like, crystalline tonal arrangements structured into strikingly gorgeous melodies and radiant ambient auras, each piece as lovely as the next and seemingly uncovering details of a wider panorama that’s never quite fully revealed, sorta like attempting to remember a dream and never quite grasping it, but leaving us more than happy to keep to trying.
File next to TCF, Matt Carlson, Kara-Lis Coverdale and LXV.
Totally gorgeous tape compilation introducing a swathe of new artists from the nether fields of ambient electronics and new age balearia.
This is really, really lush stuff, and appears to form the debut physical release for a number, if not all, of the artists involved. In the most gauzy, elusive sense of ambient music, it’s hard to place a finger on what it is you’re listening to, other than woolly chords and murmuring rhythms, but allow yourself to defocus and simply drink it in and you’ll know the feeling instantly when it seeps, opiate-like, into the bloodstream.
Of course, this set and sound is operating in a hugely crowded field, but we can tell the good stuff from a mile off and this is it.
Don’t sleep! Or at least hold off until you can bed down with this… Zzzzzzz
Smithsonian Folkways classic, made available on vinyl for the first time in half a century.
“Death Is Not The End come with a much needed reissue of Mushroom Ceremony of the Mazatec Indians of Mexico. Recorded on the night of July 21/22, 1956 by V.P. & R. Gordon Wasson, these are rough and ready field recordings featuring the voice of Maria Sabina (1894-1985) a Mexican curandera who would perform healing vigils known as veladas in Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca where all participants would ingest psilocybin mushrooms (Maria's holy children), as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind and communicate with the sacred.
María Sabina (July 22, 1894, Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca, Mexico - November 23, 1985) was a Mexican-Mazatec shaman and curandera (healer) who lived her entire life in a modest dwelling in the Sierra Mazateca of Southern Mexico. Her practice was based on the use of the various species of native psilocybe mushrooms and she performed long, trance-induced incantations.”
Dave Burraston a.k.a. Dave Noyze a.k.a. NYZ pays his subs and joins CPU’s Computer Club with the hilarious samples and unique fidelities of ALG 118B to provide a cheeky poke in the eye to more po-faced experimental electronics.
To date, Dave’s practice has persistently smeared the boundaries between sound art, braindance and eldritch electronica. Whether recording telephone cables in the outback, mechin' n0!ze with Russell Haswell, or pissing around with his peer and fellow electronic obsessive Richard D James, his approach to electronic music is clearly informed by a search for sounds that tickle his bone, and happily, yours and ours too.
ALG 118B is one of those rare, eldritch beauties that could only come from someone linked to the erstwhile Rephlex label; full of creamy dissonance, charming snatches of archaic accents from B&W films, and revelling in the quirks of hardware and the infinite realms of FX modules.
Simply, NYZ really speaks to his machines, and they speak back to him in the best way. Highly recommended if you’re into owt from AFX to Moon Wiring Club or Novo Line.
Captivatingly abstract ambient convolutions and shifty, textured rhythm studies from Michael Vallera (Cleared, COiN) and Joseph Clayton Mills (Haptic), remerging their Maar duo for an excellent 2nd release with Mexico City’s Umor Rex label. Totally immersive post-techno environments and weightless, diaphanous dub dimensions to get really lost in!
“The title, defined as the interval between transmission and reception of a signal, encapsulates their aesthetic of fissures, broken patterns, and spatial dislocation. Expanding on the palette that characterized their debut Ceto (Umor Rex 2014), Maar draws even more deeply on their influences—in particular, the warped atmospherics of dub and the severity of minimalist composition—to create something that defies easy classification. Translucent drones and traces of field recordings are deployed to create shifting degrees of focus, while flickering electronics are pieced together in a disorienting mosaic. The end result is impossible to locate, an exploration of a landscape that is alternately claustrophobic and mesmerizing.”
Cranky, slanted no wave electronics and ethereal electro-acoustic folk - think Ekin Fil recording in austerity-era lo-fi radiophonic workshop - from half of Glass Isle, new on Mordant Music.
“Leyden Jars curdled sound palette is the product of shredding time-lapse ones, twos & in some cases threes out of a Hackney penthouse basement...ground flaw...a wall of Havana circuitry as a foil to voltage-controlled Oyster cards...half-Glass Isle, half-unknown quantity...the sound of untended vessels spewing o’er in coils of electro-acoustic froth...IBM”
The impeccable pickers at Mexico City’s Umor Rex pluck out a real gem of expressive, almost pop-wise and cinematic synth music by a member of Paris’s esteemed GRM. Think Pye Corner Audio meets François De Roubaix and you’ve got a grip on Bazin’s sublime synthetic sound.
“Alexandre Bazin is a Paris-based composer. Full Moon combines his perpetual musical influences —film music and experimentalism— as the departure point for his Umor Rex debut. Eleven stunning compositions with a neo-classical signature, an obsessive focus on structure and a refined sense of melody. Emotional compositions serve as interludes to relaxing, post-new age moments, with plenty of space for intuitive beat journeys. An independent-minded composer attuned to the society that surrounds him, he channels the fury of the world into exceptional music marked with poetry. With a free-thinking approach to writing, Alexandre transcends context and genres. Full Moon is the meeting point of early electronic analog exploration and classical minimalism.
Alexandre Bazin won the Premier Prix du Conservatoire and he earned his Diplôme d’Etudes Musicales. Is Graduate of the Conservatoire National system in Lyon and Bordeaux, and is member of the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales).”
When it rains it fucking pours in AFX land: after a gush of vintage soundcloud goodies, Syro, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt.2 and the Orphaned Deejay Selek 2006-08 set, Warp’s auburn deity presents a beatdown study on a notoriously difficult-to-programme polyphonic synth built by British company, Cheetah.
Arriving with a cheeky press release encouraging users to make their own sounds from the EP and ping ‘em to Warp, Cheetah is atypically funky Aphex Twin, revolving four main cuts and a couple of cute bites featuring some of his more stoned, woozy chops and classic harmonic arrangements.
As a friend recently commented, we do kinda miss hearing a new Aphex Twin record and not knowing what it will sound like from the run in, as most of these tracks do sound like they could have appeared on the Analord series or elsewhere, but, let’s face it there’s still few others who can assimilate so well with their chosen machine and draw out its quirks and soul so well as this feller.
Still, we crave that proper, forward stuff he was promising in interviews last year…
Wistful, eldritch synth etudes from opposite ends of southern England, volleying back and forth a series of bittersweet and psilocybic feels for the Front & Follow label.
Suffolk’s Hoofus shares his thoughts on the A-side, rending an intricate sequence of 10 beautifully off-kilter oscillations and organically overgrowing analogue strokes for his part, eventually melting into crooked collaboration with his west country “philosopher-philanthropist” counterpart, Saxon Roach a.k.a. IX Tab by the end of that side, taking the baton in some sort of slow-motion, psychedelic relay with The Early Owl, before their elliptical lines cross again in twinkling, reflective formation with the type-speak of The Ministry of Ontological Insecurity, and giving way to a blissed but overcast series of pastoral synth visions.
RIYL Moon Wiring Club, Mordant Music, James Ferraro
Sacred Tapes commit a head-flossing debut from Manchester-based agitant and co-curator of the Gesamtkunstwerk events; Simon McCluskey a.k.a. Vulj.
The piece is basically “a recording of a door and a voice mashed through an MPC app” for 95 minutes, improvised in-the-moment and reflecting an abrasive/meditative state of mind.
It has been noted by another Gesamtkunstwerk resident, Hess, that the piece bears a striking conceptual similarity with Pierre Henry’s Variations for a Door and a Sign (1968), but aesthetically Vulj’s work differs broadly in his more chaotic, freeform disarrangement, which sounds more akin to Chino Amobi and Maurizio Bianchi attempting to clamber out of a K-hole maze, and failing hard.
Inna Babalon is perhaps the strongest indictment of John T. Gast’s eldritch, even medieval-tinged take on UK-bassed dub themes, ‘fessed up for the natty, mystic 5 Gate Temple label.
Firmly pushing a personalised furrow of rolling, stepping drum machines and near-baroque choral arrangements, the follow-up album to Excerpts for Planet Mu is more defined by a consistent, tangible thread of logic than its predecessor, working like the soundtrack to a lo-fi, time-travelling Brit-flick set between modern day Brixton and some stone circle in Cornwall circa the 17th century.
It’s very fair to say he’s in his own world here, working away at a cauldron of bubbling drum machines and oxidised synths to reveal a sort of nostalgic regression for parallel dimensions in eight parts.
We’re totally smitten with this guy’s work, it’s kinda hard to put into words how much he’s nailing a sound we hold so dearly. And if you’re on the same tip, we urge you to check his amazing Blowing Up the Workshop mix-turned-LP if you haven’t already.
“Magenta Line” is the debut recorded offering from the Fox/Soper Duo, consisting of New York City musicians Greg Fox on drums, and Ryan Soper on modular synthesizer.
"Soper, an inventive sculptor, video artist, and modular synthesist makes up one half of the NYC-based performance project Non-Native, and is also a member of the A/V trio Brat Pit. Fox is a prolific drummer known for his work in experimental metal outfit Liturgy, as well as bands such as Guardian Alien and Zs, not to mention countless collaborations ranging from Colin Stetson to Dan Deacon to Hieroglyphic Being.
On “Magenta Line”, the duo takes on a form that is unexpected for an acoustic-meetselectronic style collaboration. Fox’s drums are slightly filtered and engineered to take on an alien, electronic quality that compliments Soper’s organic, expressive execution of his synth, to the point where the two styles meet in the middle to produce fierce and otherworldly results. For an instrument that manipulates purely electronic impulses, Soper manages to play it in an incredibly physical manner, buzzing, squealing, and roaring in all it’s distorted glory like an electric guitar.
Fox’s ability to react and interact naturally with Soper’s synth is remarkable, and a rare feat that few drummers can effectively accomplish. The outcome of this fusion is a style that leans more towards industrial, punk, or metal than it does to jazz or modern improvisation. Unrelenting in it’s exploration, “Magenta Line” gives way to a new style altogether, yielding nearly 45 minutes of uninterrupted gritty and grinding cyborg thrash. Both artists demonstrate a very high level of skill and versatility with their chosen instrument. Fox and Soper each speak their own alien musical language to each other, meeting head-to-head in terms of the range of expression they can achieve with their expansive arsenal of mastered techniques.
At times, Soper’s distorted sequences lock into place, providing the rhythmic backdrop for Fox to drum circles around, while at other times Fox lays down heavy, direct beats for Soper to explore the full range of free electronic shredding his synth is capable of. Musical form is firmly established, while extreme sonic and textural freedom is still allowed. “Magenta Line” is a marathon session where new ground is constantly being broken with powerful, crushing physicality. Although the instrumentation is unorthodox for an improvisational duo, the results are incredibly dynamic and exploratory when left in the hands of masterful musicians."
Latest full length album from Baltimore, Maryland electronic artist Nerftoss, aka John Jones (also of the group Dope Body).
"Fans of Nerftoss’s previous output can expect the same lush, nuanced sound environments that Jones so expertly crafts, but this time in a more dance-driven, club-friendly setting that pays homage to, while also creatively advancing, the essence of house music. On “Crushed”, Jones creates a colorful and driving set of house-inspired vignettes that flow together effortlessly, providing respites along the way in the form of warped ambient electronic segues that allow the listener to recalibrate before the ecstatic four-on-the-floor rhythms transport you back to the dancefloor.
Nerftoss utilizes a healthy dose of dreamy yet off-kilter plunderphonic sampling techniques that align with fellow Baltimore-based electronic music contemporaries (and NNA alumni) such as Co La and PHORK, but integrated into the jazzy melodic chords and metronomic rhythms that are classically associated with house. What makes these tracks especially unique, however, is the sampling of live acoustic percussion (drum kits, maracas, congas, bells, and so on) in conjunction with the traditional electronic drum machines of techno to comprise the dynamic beats. When these hybrid breakbeats are combined with the thick, deep melodic bass lines, the results are extremely powerful, intricate rhythms that create an auditory all-city block party, commanding the human body to move with the music.
Cascading drum rolls, Latin rhythms, and funky shakers all dance in unison with the swirling, psychedelic textures and pounding bass kicks, creating a parade of global thump between your ears. The steamy ambient passages are used to alter the mood, but the lack of silence between tracks gives the album a continuous “megamix” tempo, as if you’re listening to the artist DJ-ing his own tracks live in the club. All of these elements together make “Crushed” not only a refreshing and progressive listen, but also a blissful bouquet of melody, texture, dynamics, layering, and fidelity that is the definitive signature of a talented producer’s chops."
Man ‘o many monikers, Joe Deal is Megatraveller vs Endboss for his 2nd LP of fizzing lo-fi electronics with CPU after Return of the Megatraveller (2014).
The wonky, scrabbly, glyphic nature of his music in Megatraveller vs Endboss seems perfectly suited to the chaotic fidelity of tape, each cloaking the other in magnetically charged particles of electroid dissonance and melting rhythmic flux drawn from chattering modular systems and self-perplexing acid machines.
Dominick Fernow laces up his Vatican Shadow boots for the project’s first set of drills since 2014 and one of its finest ever transmissions, trampling in the wake of his fierce new Prurient record Unknown Rains, for Hospital Productions.
Reflecting on a world much unchanged, even intensified since his last dispatch, Media In The Service of Terror works classic VS signatures measured with increased momentum and propulsive energy, divided into seven parts and imbued with that dramatic melodic arrangements that works beyond the club.
Stepping farther away from the ‘floor, he’s in scowling, contemplative form with Ziad Jarrah Studied Mathematics and at his best when working between spheres, as with the industrial reggaeton roil of Take Vows in both its versions, and particularly the pensile atmosphere of Interrogation Mosaic.
One of the best Vatican Shadow drops - bar none.
2nd trip out for J M S Khosah and Brassfoot on the NCA tape series, stuffed with cranky house moods and vibes.
Japan-based J M S Khosah takes the front for a night jag around swinging deep house and sci-fi jazz zones, deftly swerving via radioactive beach scenes and moonlit freeway boogie styles to blown-out industrial area rave.
Your boy Brassfoot hogs the other side into more twisted hours, allowing the noise to creep in over evil acid modulations and lurching zombie horror grooves strewn with stereo-pinging vocal samples and ruinous electro klang.
SLip debut for Klaas Hübner, the Berlin-based sound sculptor, improviser, and instrument-builder whose installations coax out uncanny chants from whirly tubes, ceiling fans, styrofoam, and cassette tapes.
"Recorded live in Germany and New Orleans from 2013 to 2016, 'SOG'’s six works mold elemental acoustic forces through elegant constructions ranging from the domestic to the gargantuan. On ‘single tube’, a lone Hübner swings a whirly tube above his head; on ‘château poulet’ - a collaborative work with Andrew Schrock - the artist’s body becomes a 10 metre tower, whose belt and clutch system whirls jumbo tubes attached to the blades of multiple ceiling fans.
'SOG'’s works play out time and time again in the interstitial zone between automation and spontaneity, machine and body. ‘schwarzwald’ submits ten tape loops of the artist’s voice to a mechanised dance which visually and sonically echoes an eerie forest; in ‘music for ceiling fan and tubes’, Hübner and regular collaborator Lysandre Coutu-Sauvé sing seductively through whirlies as a ceiling fan chops above their heads.
Perhaps most astonishing is the psychedelic, otherworldly pleasures 'SOG'’s cyclic architectures illicit. An instinct for hypnotic, primal rhythm powers Hübner’s work as much as lyricism. ‘sswsw’ and ‘extended pickup #1’ - a pair of poignant motorised elegies for metronomes and a funnelled airstream - recall melancholic cuts from Actress or De Leon as much as canonic works from Ligeti, Cage, or Chris Watson.”
Reel Torque returns for 2016 with NPLGNN’s raw, sore AF debut album written over the last 3 years in dedication to the Paesaggi Periferici, or Suburban Landscapes, of his home city, Naples in southern Italy. Big recommendation if you're into Basic House, Sand Circles, Andy Stott etc.
After a pair of hoofing 12”s for Where To Now? and OKNO, this album stakes out NPLGNN’s widest parameters between severely knackered techno, hip-shot breakbeats and sun-cracked noise panoramas, and all paradoxically generated or drawn-out from from one small piece of relatively outmoded, untrendy gear; the Korg Electribe EMX1.
Each track was recorded live in one take, wringing out a series of slamming, broken rhythms and thistly textures; each drum hit and pad modelled with an in-built noise applied from the machine’s tactile on-board FX, resulting a rudimentary but gripping development of 10 bittersweet, discordant grooves with a perhaps surprising amount of emotive payload and turn of phrase.
In a sense it could be said to follow Mark Fell’s minimalist mantra of getting the most out of one bit of kit, or working within self-imposed limitations, as opposed to accumulating more and more gear and losing yourself in illusory process and exercise. And funnily enough, it also sounds like a personal cassette compilation of experiments from the early daze of Sheffield rave, albeit one left to marinate in a derelict tower block thru the seasons for the last 25 years.
The tape format definitely suits the album’s fidelity best for a thorough listen - we imagine jamming it your car or while cooking spicy grub - but, for the first time on Reel Torque, the tracks are also available to download as a set of individual tracks for club rinse outs.
Intimately captivating collages from Sam McLoughlin (Samandtheplants, N. Racker) and David Chatton Barker (David Orphan) on the Hood Faire label they run with Dean McPhee.
A basket of tangled, imaginary yarns, rustic rap, Yorkshire-accented poetry and wavering accordion reveries, Show Your Sketches Vol.1 reveals the musical fissures and fault lines that don’t usually make it onto finished releases, but collected together form a quietly vital other side of musical practice that’s richly alluring in its own right.
With a faded midday/midnight, midweek, mid-distance quality, Sam McLoughlin’s side feels out the spaces between folk ditty and percussive ritual with a rusty tape blade and confessional lyrics from himself and other, as yet unnamed contributors, strafing from what sounds like Yorkshire’s answer to Lil Kim, to some wicked, doomy accordion wheezers, shuffling pop and seemingly wind-powered drum pieces.
By contrast David Orphan’s side is more wayward, lysergic, distilling fragments from 23 cassettes recorded between 2004 - 2015 into a sensitively layered yet unpredictable sequence of half-heard memories, moments of wistful folk motifs and buckling tape FX. If Cosmic Dennis Greenidge and Wanda Group hung out and listened to lots of wyrd folk and Sahel Sounds, it may sound a bit like this ace side.
Sour, uncompromisingly obtuse ear-bender from Slip’s new pick-up.
“’SK√-1' is the debut Slip missive from British composer Matt Rogers: a suite of solo scorchers belched straight out of the jack of a GravesEnd Casio SK1. Veering between fissured arabesques and apocalyptic anthems, SK√-1 is pumped with a singularly psychotic optimism. Keener ears might detect a manic relation of Oneohtrix Point Never or Heatsick; an eccentric prophet à la Nancarrow or Robert Ashley; a Gameshow Outpatient.
Matt has won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers; held residencies at London’s Southbank Centre and at Tokyo’s Wonder Site; and produced large scale works for the Royal Opera House, Aldeburgh Music, and the New York Metropolitan Museum Of Art.”
Brilliant, challenging solo debut by one of the Slip masters - employing objets, electronics and vocals; channelling Keiji Haino, Trevor Wishart and OPN via Martyn Ware.
“'Heat, War, Sweat, Law' [SLP029] is British composer Laurie Tompkins’ debut solo recording: a desperate stomp on the bones of Heaven 17’s ‘The Height Of The Fighting’, replete with rabid voices, cracked pots, faltering pipes, spent IKEA bags and egg shakers, and spasmodic ghosts of Martyn Ware synths.
Part foaming rant, part exercise routine, 'HWSL'’s incessant shaking, hammering and yelling wear down soloist, tools, and the tolerance of an audience put upon by a dispersed mob seeking to recruit them in their inane howling and clapping.
Laurie has been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, the LSO Soundhub Scheme, and the ddmmyy series; performed HWSL in London, Aarhus, and Berlin; made radio programs for Resonance and NTS; and collaborated with Oliver Coates, Otto Willberg, Suze Whaites, and Dori Deng. He co-directs Slip with Tom Rose and Suze Whaites.”
Andy Votel, Sean Canty and Doug Shipton don their overalls for a 2nd volume of Popular Mechanics, rendering a Haynes-worth of synaesthetically-diagrammatic, diffused obscurities, and arriving one year on from the first instalment.
They get right under the bonnet this time, traversing myriad zones of far-flung and esoteric influence recognisable only to the demons/angels on their shoulders overlooking their digging quests. Eerie church bells, early vocoder voices, squealing psych guitars and horror synth vamps writhe over and thru each other for 60 minutes of combustible and unidentifiable sonics; convulsing, arcing and looping into one another with a logic that treads the fine line between unhinged and supernatural.
It’s all spannered in the best way imaginable, and a rare treat for any insatiable heads who require their annual psychedeliconcrètelectrocoustic MOT.
Free Pirelli calendar packed with sexy pics of the trio to anyone who can send us a full tracklist.
Stuart Chalmers (DJ Crackle) and Michael Holland (DJ Skip) make melodic friction from broken and stanley-knifed wax in Broken Records Phantasy for the JCDecaux wing of Ono, dropping hot on the heels of Tom Boogizm’s excellent Posh People Make Me Ill slab.
Plunderphonic frolics to scratch a sampledelic itch; shards of easy listening, R&B, classical music, and whatever-the-chuff-else they could find are screwd, slopped and spliced into place as fractious sequences owing as much to Burroughs and Gysin’s cut-up techniques as much as early Severed Heads’ unorthodox sampling techniques.
The Brandy Song For Supercat cut-up is particularly cheeky.
C42 cassette in polythene bag, stapled to screen-printed board. Housed in white 7” sleeve with A5 colour lino print. Hand-numbered edition of 20. Mastered by Stephen Bishop.
With the arresting drone vistas and fleshly ritual percussions of Sedentary Pigs, Manchester-based illustrator, screen-printer and musician, John Powell-Jones commits the first in his very covetable new Abyss Series.
Conceptually proceeding the bleakly abstract drones and noise of Abyss, and Into the Abyss - both issued by Sacred Tapes in 2015 - here he really begins to adjust to the absence of light; picking out the silhouetted aura of phosphorescing synths and toiling, sparking drum machines with much greater definition than we’ve previously heard from his work.
Where he might previously tend to billow and rage without parameter, these tracks mine a depleted energy reserve of glowing, crystallised condensation, locating a fathomlessly layered and spacious sort of psychedelia that lulls and hypnotises rather than abrades.
But these six cuts aren’t numbed: they’re just more stoically emotive; economical and organised; steeled for bleak futures yet belied by a certain sense of optimism that comes from a lesser known, and often overlooked place.
RIYL Raime, Demdike Stare, Basic House, Conrad Schnitzler, Coil
Gnod’s Paddy Shine burps an intently-focussed album vacillating Phurpa-like throat music with airy cosmic ambience and folk drones in the 1st part, and segueing from languid raga-blues back to stereo-panned vocal meditations and calving cosmic noise in the 2nd part.
“Paddy’s manipulated and looped vocals are the main sonic source throughout the hour long tape. Split into two half an hour sides, the AYN SØF debut is designed for total immersion. Going through a blow by blow account of what is discovered in these long form pieces would ruin the journey for the listener. What I will say is that it is incredibly deep, dark, slow moving and mysterious. An alien coma imagining primitive people and their esoteric folk music. Huge caverns of rock, lit dimly by ominous voices and flares of artificial light. There are echoes of fractural dub, sufi music and other forms of indigenous ritual song which to me certainly invoke Native American music, especially on Side A where Paddy’s vocals are especially keening and beatific, as if calling to the sky in admiration and wonder. All these elements coexist in a tombed world both ancient and astral. Speaking to Paddy about the album, I know the materials creation has come about in a very intuitive and hands on way. It sounds conjured; a type of automatic song craft. And song is very much at the heart of AYN SØF; these aren’t just academic experiments exploring texture or minimal music making. You can really hear Shine slowly morphing the bank of samples and recordings with a variety of panning techniques and looping to amass an incredible density that swallows you up as well as lulls; all with a purposeful destination. And if you fully submit yourself to this music, you will arrive somewhere pretty spectacular. - David McLean, November 2015”
Joseph Quimby Jr ekes out his own space between the realms of ambient, drone, and modern classical with the sorrowfully lush impressions of Court, his 3rd full length for Tombed Visions - recent subjects of The Wire’s focus on Manchester’s underground improv scene. Definitely one for fans of Max Richter’s more sombre, sanguine sides.
“There are so many elements at work in Quimby’s 5 perfectly constructed songs. The whole record is defined by a kind of prolonged intertwining of ache and ecstasy, of redemption and melancholy, nostalgia and reinvention. Pianos lilt and refract in the distance like Celtic fiddles and flutes, hazed synths curdle and grow with an uncanny naturalism that I cannot help but feel mirror not just my own emotional response, but something bigger than me, something close to human existence at its best. One of Tombed Visions primary aims is to nurture and support its talent, to allow the musicians to grow and reach a potential they can be proud of with their own music. Quimby has far exceeded that tenet with ‘Court’, giving birth to vital new and complete vision of his already stellar music that is so resolutely life affirming. It is music that makes me want to better myself and the world I inhabit. And I am proud to call him my friend. Bless you, Mr Quimby. - David McLean, January 2016”
Currently featured in this month’s Wire primer on the Manchester improv underground, Tombed Visions give a 2nd lease of life to the quietly-involving, shakuhachi-like flute and courtly concrète rustles of Aulos’ Second Reel (2014) by Kelly Jayne Jones & Pascal Nichols’ highly esteemed Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides.
Tombed Visions say: “For me, Aulo’s Second Reed is an album that truly characterises the duo’s name, taken from an abstract Tai Chi manoeuvre. Like their name sake, this recording, originally issued by Bennifer Editions, is focused, fluid and graceful in its intent. Kelly and Pascal music is sometimes described as ritualistic, a statement I can agree because it ascribes a functionality. Aulo’s Second Reed is highly conducive to meditative states and internal examination. The core instrumentation of flute and percussion is purposely privileged on these two lengthy sound poems, fluttering between ancestral invocations and great yawns of drama riddled silence. The interplay between Nichols and Jones ebbs and flows like a mythic narrative, toms and gongs thundering amid soaring flute lines. The foundsounds that are strategically scattered across both sides of the tape are incredible detailed and only embellish the overall mystique of the record; cricket and birdsong, curdling river streams and the hum of forest colouring the atmosphere. Of course, parallels can be drawn between the duos music and that of the traditional Kabuki Theatre, it is certainly just as dramatic. But I’m specifically reminded of Toru Takemitsu score for Kwaidan (1964 dir. Masaki Kobayashi) with this album, charged by a similar some sort of supernatural beauty and disquiet, which is really driven home on the closing seconds of the recording as Kelly flutes spirals amongst ominous bell chimes like something risen from the grave. Their melding of traditional acoustic instrumentation and electro-acoustic sources births something wholly new, yet known. This is some seriously heavy Temple shit.” David McLean, January 2016.”
Edition of 100 housed in clear soft polybox
Slathering at the heels of their wicked Editions Gravats tape, Belgium’s DJ Coquelin + MC Cloarec go ham for the gabber and makina and whatever the f**k else takes their fancy in the Je M’en Tape.
52 minutes of party-ready madness ensues, pulling few punches and keeping the heart rate UP for those who like it fast, hard and a bit funny round the edges.
Includes music from: M. bass, Rioteer, 696, Skyrock, Evil Grimace, Kid Kosmoe, Gopro, Blue Boy Joints, Low Jack, National Geographic, Renato, Ideal J, Liaisons dangereuses, La Foudre, DJ Pinnacle, Iueke, Maoupa Mazzocchetti, Clara!, Jean Bach, Scoop, Hitoshi Kojima, Aids-3D, Mystery Knights, Erwan Tarek...