Glasgow’s Alex Menzies (Alex Smoke) keens the experimental techno leanings of Love Over Will  and his Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams  to logically investigate new forms and modes of composition in Other World Music Vol.1.
Pulling from his research into psycho-acoustic and electro-acoustic dimensions and modal forms, OWM Vol.1 sounds distinctly like an Alex Menzies record, but with stranger things happening to the tunings and spectral dynamics on highlights including reverberant blue twang of Greek Mode and the melting drone of Ghazali, or the plasmic electro-folk audness of Balm.
Created from field recordings collected at various low islands in and around the Baltic Sea from 2012-2015. Processed via cassette and Nagra 4.2 in Manhattan and Ithaca winter 2016. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.
"This tape, a map of sorts, resituates recordings of five disparate islands into an archipelago built up from layers of sound fragments. A study in accretion and the sedimentary parallels of geological formations and sound design; islands imagined as repositories for environmental memory, above and below.
Joshua Bonnetta is an interdisciplinary artist working with film, video and sound in various modes of theatrical exhibition, performance and installation. His work has shown at The Berlinale, The Toronto International Film Festival, The Images Festival, Mutek International Festival of Electronic Music, Exis Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival and at festivals and venues through out Europe, U.K., Russia, North & South America. He was the 2009 recipient of the National Film Board of Canada award to 'Best emerging/mid-career Canadian filmmaker' and the winner of the Deluxe Cinematic Vision Award in 2010 and 2012 from The Images Festival. He has released albums with Senufo Editions, Experimedia and Shelter Press. He is an Associate Professor in the department of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts at Ithaca College in New York state."
Raw house freak Arvid Wretman (Your Planet Is Next) lets his mojo flow on a grubby session of jacked-off acid pop that comes up and off like Tin Man recording with PTV circa ’89...
“Sexazoid keep using his pheromones to triggers social response in members of his species. So follow the dog walker in to the metal chamber now dripping with zoid sweat. Ace, dusky, metallic house sleaze!”
This tape is basically as weird and hard to place as its cover suggests. It’s an impressionistic ‘radio tale’ describing private listening life conducted in Albania under the totalitarian communist rule of Enver Hoxha (1944-1985), whose restrictive regime meant that radio become the sole source of connection to the world beyond Albania’s borders. It was made by Jonida Prifti, documenting her own experience living and documenting under that regime.
You don’t need to have experienced the same repression to understand the pathos and raw, alien wonder of her hauntoligcally-related recording, which lands somewhere between the haunting electro-acoustic documentations of Áine O’Dwyer, alien radio transmissions, and the kind of spectral enigmas released by Venetian label Von Archive.
Part of the latest batch from Canti Magnetici - the esoteric young label operated by Gaspare Sammartano, Andrea Penso and Loopy’s Donato Epiro from an area in South Italy across the Adriatic from Albania - Acchiappashpirt Tola is a steeply abstract incursion to Jonida’s formative years, sharing, in her own words, “the tale of a girl who discovers freedom through the frequencies of a radio” - a medium which was forbidden, and only legitimately accessible to those who supported the regime. Tuning into indecipherable ‘“foreign” frequencies’ was therefore both a form of resistance and exploration which, although ostensibly simple and passive, clearly had a powerful impact on the young woman who “felt sucked in by the radio waves until I disappeared into the frequencies”, calling it “a kind of metamorphosis from human being to a free pure wave without boundaries”.
Starkly greyscale and billowing with negative space, the 23 minute piece opens with a dramaturgy of primitive electronics and voice, with bleeps and distant Italian vocals establishing widely reverberant, hard-to-grasp dimensions perfused by acousmatic disturbances and thrilling in their pranging, unpredictable and operatic nature. At around the half way mark percussion joins the mix in a way recalling the early electronic poems of Edgar Varèse, tumbling into stilted syncopations and sharing dusty space with wistful, prodding organ notes in a way just like Áine O’Dwyer’s Music For Cleaners.
It’s rare and quite shocking to find music so astute and bold in its primitiveness, at once reminding us of similarities between our own formative fiddling with tuning dials and the rawness of early electronic recordings. And that’s where the blank B-side comes into play, intended for listeners to fill up the space with their own recordings, in a way getting back in touch with what made music and sound at the rawest level so seductive, alien and key to all of our listening lives.
Elisha Morningstar produces abstract sound pieces through manipulation of different kind of sources. Recent releases were out on Strange Rules, Total Black, Ascetic House.
MTS is made of audio materials collected during the summer of 2016; the two tracks combine and try to reproduce the muteness of documents and various misperceptions.
iDEAL pay dues to formative influences with expanded reissue of cult early work by Thee Temple of Psychick Youth Scandinavia act, The White Stains. Expect fugue state rhythms and lacquer-bubbling noise from mental spaces lesser travelled. Properly zonked and ritualistic sonics RIYL The Hafler Trio, Russell Haswell, John Duncan, Joachim Nordwall over even that new Agnes 12” on Chained Library
“In the process of exploration of ritual, a multitude of musical sources were listened to, tried out and evaluated. Ethnic, traditional, old, contemporary, electronic, acoustic, percussive, drone-based, noisy, still, violent, peaceful. I experienced, took notes and felt what could bring out an optimal sonic atmosphere for my own “intellectual decompression chamber”.
Patterns began to emerge. Depending on the ritual in question – physically excited, calmly meditative, intellectually probing – distinct sounds and combinations seemed better fitted than others to optimise the highly important sound aspects. 25 years later, I can very vividly remember those sounds, the light, the emotions, the work and the outcome(s). Perhaps not all instances, as they were many. But certainly on an overall level: a phase of intense experimentation with body, soul and will. It looked in certain ways (dark colours, fire, shadows), it smelled in certain ways (heat, dust and sweat, added to by Tibetan incense mostly) and it definitely sounded in certain ways (psychically soaring, surging and searching).
With this in mind, I discussed a series of soundscapes and rhythms with my musical partner in the project White Stains, Thomas Tibert, who then masterfully programmed, evoked and filtered different combinations. Over the weeks that followed, I tried them all in a temple setting and rearranged/suggested alterations. Eventually we had four pieces of literally workable music that made the transition from normal intellectual state to the meta-programmatic inner zones smooth and highly pleasurable.
These soundscapes were integrated in my own meditative and meta-programmatic work for personal life issues, music, photography, business, writing & publishing and for general success. They worked excellently as creativity enhancers then and I suspect they still do. There’s only one way to find out though, and that’s to… Work!
I wish you the best of luck with your own explorations.
Carl Abrahamsson, Stockholm 2015”
Opal Tapes' Basic House cracks out a trans-North Sea dialogue with Nina and Good News’ Hamburg-based V I S label, taking their carte blanche remit to commit an imposing selection of concrète chicanery, broken games consoles, electric razors and shortwave interceptions into six animalistic spells.
Starting out as a mixtape, Stephen Bishop aka Basic House’s natural predilection for textural complexity and encryption lead the project off on its own path into something much more difficult to define, perhaps best grasped as a bouquet of thistly representations of his North Eastern english psyche and the blurred boundaries of rolling moorland, sawn-off coastlines and stark, post-industrial landscapes that can’t help but influence his work.
The album’s last track, an inversion of the shipping forecast translated into MIDI and used to trigger samples of fog horns and ships horns, forms the most literal and immersive manifestation of that impressionist or even situationist aesthetic. For 9 minutes we’re bathed in a sound recalling the Souter Lighthouse Requiem as much as Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes or Jim Haynes’ “rusted” soundscapes, only much more somnolent and echoing the atmospheric haar of BM from the opposite side of the North Sea.
Using that as the key, the decayed grain and deathly rumble of the rest of the album’s collapsing contours and convolutions may be easier to get a dog grip on, as the spectral greyscale mass of Double XP calves scree into the deepwater harbour pressure of Season Pass 4 D-Nest, and the visceral gargle of A Cat With A Throat gives way to the lushly vicious attrition of Calc and Towers Of Simple with little recourse to conventional narration or syntax.
But then again, if you’re reading this and know Basic House’s music, you’re probably not looking for ease of use.
‘Black Up’ was the new sonic move in 2011 from Shabazz Palaces.
"Like rich velvet hijabs or gold threaded abayas. Luxury as understood by the modest. If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this would be their album. Forward thinkers but nostalgic for a sparer time when ancient astronomers only recognized five planets. Hip hop.
Black light uses electromagnetic radiation to eradicate microorganisms but Shabazz didn’t come to kill a sound, just to shine their own incandescent lamp on this. Hear. Hard and clear. Fifty thousand years in the making. Honorable. Produced by Knife Knights.plcrs at Gunbeat Serenade Studio in Outplace Palacelands. It was recorded and mixed in Lixx-alog by Blood."
Super smart 2nd album from Seattle's foremost hip hop accelerationists. Fronted by Ishmael Butler, formerly of the brilliant Digable Planets, Shabazz Palaces have cornered a unique take on contemporary hip hop melding traces of electronica, cyberactive dub and jazz inna cerebral but instantly gratifying style that swerves self-conscious oddness in favour of genuinely psychedelic lushness and off-the-dome freedom. Borrowing its title 'Lese Majesty' from a French term for offending about offending the dignity of a royal, the album is framed as a "…sort of sonic attack on the "me-mania" that's sweeping our culture of late" according to Ishmael Butler, taking umbrage with the narrow-minded, self-referential themes of so much materialist hip hop against deft beats buried beneath a shape-shifting patina of electro-dub-wise textures that mark the project miles away from stodgy, regressive "indie" hip hop, syrupy styles or darkside drill and EDM trap. It's crammed with surprises and convention bucking-arrangements destined to become one of 2014's finest hip hop LPs.
Stellar first part of an Afro-futurist concept album cycle from Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets) and Tendai Maraire’s Seattle-based Shabazz Palaces, propagating the sonic fiction of Quazarz vs The Jealous Machines through a poetic and elaborately psychedelic of suite of sci-fi Hip Hop. You’ll do well to try and penetrate the accompanying sleeve notes, but if you’ve ever read ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun’, and can follow the lines between Sun Ra - George Clinton - Rammellzee - Drexciya - Flying Lotus, this is the next chapter you’ve been waiting for… From the mind-bending typography and production to Butler’s psychopomp delivery, this one’s quite special/spatial. Chekkit!
“Quazarz came to the Earth from somewhere else, a musical ambassador from his place to ours. Somehow, through fire or through fury, the Palaceer of Shabazz Palaces caught wind of the tale, and it is through his prism that we hear the story.
The beach was there, and Atlaantiis, and chemical alterations and cell memories and Andre Norton, Richard K. Morgan, and always Octavia Butler. There were killings and there were votes, and brutality in both. There was sound and there were other worlds, and there was a vastness so participation sometimes came only at the edges. And the Palaceer coasted down with the alien notion, like Quazarz, and so became.
On Quazarz when they look at this place they see the inhabitants, the humans, but they don’t assess as we do. And so Quazarz was sent to meet a cat with vibration, a creative and courageous, caring, compassionate dude that stood out. The dude was a drug dealer, but that was neither here nor there, until his dealings squashed the rendezvous, leaving our alien alone to figure out what this place is really all about.
Coming from a simpler, more essential, innocent place, the hero could not make heads nor tails of most advancements. From an aerial view, he saw that a good percentage of earthly vibrations were on very small squares and it became his belief that this world was very disposable and the spans short. His opinion was not of anything good nor bad but simply the truth. The machines—he noted—though at the behest of their master’s voice, are scorned, and jealous as all hell.
And so the tale is told while surfing on the board of Shabazz Palaces, with its sturdy base angled for takeoff on a new trajectory. There is new blood and space and room to be different and have different assets and different art and different ways to talk and also open up some space inside to do something new. There are pages and there are drawings, and color and faces and inked dialogues written in ancient futuristic hieroglyph. There are scales and there is melody and there are Sunny days and there is Darkness, but that—it should be noted—to the Palaceer is not a lack of illumination or brightness. Maybe it is dark, but in it is always optimism and joy, a bright darkness and a full, hopeful one as well.
It comes in gold, and it comes for the night. And so Quazarz sang the Jealous Machines. And so too did the Jealous Machines sing the Gangster Star.”
The perfectly unpredictable Tapeworm gently approaches it’s 100th release with #96 coming from Lightning In A Twilight Hour, following in serene suit to TTW’s lush dispatch from Pinkcourtesyphone.
Bobby Wratten (Northern Picture Library, The Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars) makes the music and Anne Mari Barker-Davies (Northern Picture Library, The Field Mice) sings. Production/engineering is handled by Ian Catt, who has produced several Saint Etienne records.
On the A-side, Abandoned Islands they stroke up a cloud of melancholy shoegaze harmonies hobbling along a close-mic’d drum pulse recorded off a portable cassette player. It’s a fine example of the melancholy we’d associate with that region, which comes to life in a more literal way via subtle field recordings in the B-side’s Suspended Animation, threaded into a shimmering moire of plasmic guitars and levitating electronics where Barker-Davies plaintive coos eventually percolate thru the mix leaving us all fluffy, like.
Kreidler’s Andreas Reihse underlines and processes texts read by Dice Miller (Dalia Neis) and Mohammad A. Gawad with a bed of concrète electronics and head-bending, illusive effects on the 5th release by Berlin/Salford’s highly curious Wanda project, proceeding from their ace Fith LP and the imaginary OST Wanda is not here, which featured a strong roll cal of characters from Islington Mill.
The texts to Timehelix and Sermon are included on the inlay for anyone who struggles to follow the readings, which appear to cross sonic/literary leylines between critical film theory, psychogeography and sound poetry with a synaesthetic short-circuiting of the senses and experimental convention.
Predictably unpredictable movements from NoCorner here featuring Japan Blues and Ossia on remix duties.
Sacreligious iconoclasts, Chester Giles and Seb Gainsborough (Vessel) aka ASDA genuflect at the greasy altar of Ronald and co with the succinct McDonald’s Prayer backed with a downcast Regrind by erstwhile Japan Blues resetting Giles’ ‘prayer’ to a coolly pendulous boom clap and church organ, before the EP ends in the puddled dub of Ossia’s queasy Milkshake Mix.
Fast food. Slow music. Very satisfying
This is a reeeel bewt, featuring half an hour of previously unreleased, creamiest ambience from Huerco S. - if you loved his excellent 'For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have)' album, think of this is an essential companion piece, dilating the timeframe and smudging our perception of momentum with an uncanny effect somewhere between the rolling smoke trails of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas and the anaesthetised harmonic diffusions of Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Distortion.
Where his For Those Of You Who Have Never found Huerco at his gauziest since the lush Untitled piece on his Opal Tapes debut, this tape is a sort of logical next step within those ambient parameters. For 31 minutes, he conjures an unfathomable valerian ambience, the equivalent of longing middle distance gaze frozen in time and thawed out with each new listen, making for an experience as dreamily suggestive as it is intangible.
Totally unmissable, for you and your lucky buddy.
An absorbing ambient abstraction from LA-via-NYC, Quiet Time With Baby unfurls serene simulacra in key with corresponding instalments of somnambulant and sci fi-styled sonics from Huerco S, MONEY and Aquarian also recently issued by New York’s Quiet Time.
BABY is a new name to us, at least, and one who appears to be in possession of a widely varied sound palette, one just as likely to take in chromatic new age wormholes as avant-garde pop flights.
Perhaps the nearest analogies for this sound, in terms of its waking dream surreality and freeform nature, range from the psilocybic aspects of Finland’s Islaja and Tomutonttu thru to Grimes’ warped pop refractions or the unsettling oneiric logic of Julia Holter and Jenny Hval, but the way in which BABY traverse all those reference points without missing a step is impressive and distinctive around its smudged edges.
Legit reissue taken from analogue masters, Coil's sorely coveted Astral Disaster (1998) for Gary Ramon’s Prescription (UK) is returned to circulation on its original format. 2nd hand copies now trade for at least a K, just sayin’…
At the behest of Ramon - who is absorbed into a line-up revolving Jhon Balance, Peter Christopherson, Drew McDowall, and Thighpaulsandra - over two days at Samhain 1998, Coil descended into the bowels of his Sun Dial studios, surrounded by manacles and chains under the level of the River Thames in the Ancient Borough of Southwark, to commit what would become one of their most possessing sides.
Astral Disaster was the result: two correlating hemispheres channelling, meditative, eastern raga drone with sage-like poetry and electro-acoustic phantasmagorias, projecting a plasmic miasma of pharmaceutical shimmer and surreality that’s pretty much arch Coil.
If there’s any one big reason you need it, though, that would be the amazing B-side, The Mothership and The Fatherland, framing creaking wooden drums and the gibber-chin shivers of swarming, translucent studio duppies in a diaphanous soundfield of freefall ambient atmospheres - basically the sound of ketamine in the ‘90s.
Makes us want to melt. Massive recommendation!
London’s premier new age and ambient music social, New Atlantis, have put together a 14 track compilation as the first release of their new label inc exclusives from Yamaneko, Talbot Fade, Throwing Shade & Deadboy, Webstarr, India Jordan and more...
New Atlantis - Vol.1 is a sublime survey of London’s premier, eponymous new age and ambient social, hosted by India Jordan and Deadboy out of the Rye Wax basement and on air at Radar Radio since 2015. Revolving 14 crystalline pieces from the hosts and their pals, and including Sign Libra’s amazing choral cover version of R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly among its mirage-like treats, their squad portrait-come-compilation arguably offers one of the sweetest new ambient suites that we’ve heard this side of Pan’s Mono No Aware set in 2017 thus far.
Clasping properly lovely pieces from Yamaneko, Throwing Shade, Coral Riff and many more, it’s the kind of gear you’d imagine Graham Hancock to check in downtime between excavations and doing Indiana Jones impersonations, offering a beautiful, optimistically spirited collection of (mostly) beatless structures and hyaline harmonics as perfect for accompanying a snooze in the shade as browsing the latest edition of Alternative Archaeology journal.
Between the chromatic DMT exhalations of Coral Riff’s New World Science and Pyramid Scheme’s sweetly pickled Life Sequence, each contributor embraces the vibe with a refreshing lack of ironic distance or gauziness, rendering a pellucid and transportive set that’s mercifully free of lactose queasiness and high on wistfully imaginative, weightless suspension, cradling particular highlights in the diaphanous choral contours of See Four by India Jordan, or the deliquescent cadence of Gran’s Orgasm from Falling On Deaf Ears, and with special mentions also to Eye Measure’s soothing True Aloe; a very Leyland Kirby-like turn from Talbot Fade; and the Vangelis-like mystic synth vision of Dianetics Over MIDI from L’Ron.
For BBQ’s, commutes and long journeys alike, you can simply trust your head is in very safe hands with this one.
Another sterling instalment from NYC’s Quiet Time, looking close to home with MONEY’s nuanced, serpentine slide thru the undergrowth of lo-fi house, cyboogie and unheimlich ambient musics, helping to piece together the label’s elusive image alongside tape packs from Huerco S, BABY and Aquarian.
This one appears to be equal parts mixtape and original material, strafing moody blue electronics to hypnagogic filter house and Lorenzo Senni-esque pointilllisticT via poignant samples of rave classics, emphasising the importance of creating your own world and inhabiting it, as they do here.
In the best sense of a mixtape, Quiet Time With MONEY affords a perfectly obfuscated view on their warped perspective, scanning a scene of discrete cultures becoming mongrel and united by plasmic electronics, and punctuated by the infidelities of contemporary technology.
Practically in the shadow of the Vatican, offering respite from souvenir shops and murderous moped drivers, Rome’s pocket of burger and techno heaven, Knick Knack Yoda show what they’re about on this weird chocolate box confection of styles drawn from their inner circle.
The vibe is arguably perfect for soundtracking a late night dérive amid the storied city, traversing Invader 300’s exotic beat experiment, Brasy’s Chilly to the acid-dipped Jersey breaks of 9.3Breako (Version Haram 303 x 2) from Drew C. Mance, taking in the ambient sights of Valerio Moscatelli’s furtive electrical noise sculpture, Gork and cosmic chuggers from Cosimo Damiano alongside the acid braindance and ambient tang of O. Xander’s parts, plus nose-drip electro from Zina Tina, and the charred hip hop techno swang ov Banging Ex Dogana from Rawmance, who’s previously appeared a few times on the label.
Ono’s brilliant lil’ secret, Dispilio makes a fully fledged solo debut with this heady tape filled with low key concrete acrobatics and scrabbly electronics. Your guess is as good as ours as to Dispilio’s provenance, but suffice it to say that if you were into their remix of Tom Boogizm’s ECM, you’ll definitely need a piece of this one, too.
In gauzy form the album unfurls a fizzing microcosm of haptic, lower case sounds diffused into ambient ether according to a playful, elusive logic known only to the artist. In the best sense they make a real experimental meal of it, dicing sounds like ingredients and cooking them together in various odd ways to probe your palette with bugged-out flavour combinations.
Their seven course taster menu convenes a selection of strange small plates on the A-side, serving up a dish of worming electronics dissolved in sea salt with The Spleen and Humors Blood, then a sort of lime and coriander modular tart with Affinity Incorpz and the haunted goat’s eye juice of Zebrida.
It’s time for two mains on the flipside, opening with the curried modular twang and tongue-dancing herbal hyperprisms of the highly impressive Linear 2B, which warrants strong comparison with quieter, abstract moments of TCF or Arca productions, and then the weightless ambient dessert of Randy Savage Klip, which feels to emulate the effect of eating a celestial body and single-handedly makes the majority of vaporwave out there sound like the low grade Second Life massage parlour music that it actually is.
Gary Myles ov Notts DIY unit Spoils & Relics glumly unspools his woes for Entr’acte with something akin to an inverted, knackered Sleaford Mods on Extended Technique, which is framed by the label as “Last-orders mumblings in an empty pub where the jukebox plays your thoughts.” - basically a typical night out in the British midlands.
Forming Myles’ first solo effort outside Spoils & Relics, who’ve previously released on local label Harbinger Sound, among others, he hunches drawled spoken word with collapsed drums loops and moldy drones in a manner that feels like you’re a voyeuristic mindreader tapping into the thoughts of the guy who’s about to slip off his seat next to you on the night bus.
Aesthetically, it’s a sound that recalls the more grumbling, fetid nooks of Luke Younger’s early catalogue as much as the greyscale grind of Thought Broadcast or DJ Yo-Yo Dieting’s slopped and screwed sessions, but the heavily accented lyrics serve to set Extended Technique on its own B-road to the bedsit, lending it a drily sozzled and apathetic sort of shrug that’s certainly going to entice some mardy buggers.
Recommended to be consumed with the last of your baccy and an episode of Love Island playing on mute.
Lenticular is the full length debut of Nadia Struiwigh, an electronics music producer from Rotterdam who work recalls the fluffy but melancholy styles of Warp’s AI series or the likes of BoC and Biosphere.
Two of the album’s highlights, Lenticular and Trip In Fiction are given a side per piece on the accompanying 12”, but there’s also seven more on this full version, gliding between the smooth harmonic developments of Intrope to alien pastoral tribal feels on Space Tribe, Extra Terrestrial, and 4Es, or The Orb in Genetically, while the 2nd half of the album takes turn towards moodier intervenes, culminating in the moon-booted PLCS and the album’s most insistent push with 010101.
Amorce broaches Osiris Music UK with a bruised and bruising debut LP of noise-clad, bass-heavy rolige, placing him in good stead on the mutating label among the likes of Killawatt, Pessimist, and Mønic.
Urged by a cryptic sci-fi spirit, the Confounded LP is rendered in a greyscale palette of gaseous distortion and plasmic subs laced with samples of dialogue in a classic, darkside UK style, seeking to blunt the edges of techno, D&B with techniques adapted from noise and cinematic sound design and, in the process, echo the dankest edges of those styles with a more elusive, enigmatic sound more relevant to uncertain and unsettling times.
As a thing unto itself, the Confounded LP works as an immersive statement of intent from a new artist, defining his steeply abstract sound with a naturalistic flourish and send elf tension and release that’s his own entirely.
However, if you want to break it down for the dance out whatever, there’s some strong gear to be found in the rollicking, gravelly hydrolicks of Confounded and the mulched structural pressure of Strange Conversations, plus some dead shifty late night movements in The Brink.
Porest aka Mark Gergis returns with a 'trapped in the box' experiment, featuring his non-nonsense radio collages, blurring the lines of reality with hard facts and proof...
''When you’re allowed to walk away from captivity, there’s a fairly good chance you’ll return on your own accord. A mini-album created from Porest’s Hanoi, Vietnam base for Dr Klangendum. Framed by a claustrophobic radio drama, and featuring a wide range of sound and music from the Porest archives as well as material recorded exclusively for this program.
Big and small songs, tape collage, on-location radio recordings, horror and humor – tightly sunk into a 30-minute tomb.''
On their 4th release, Kampala, Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes thicken the plot with a rudimentary cinematic synth suite recorded as “a soundtrack to an imaginary film” by Mysterians in Athens, Greece between 2009-2013.
Performed and recorded on Roland Juno 6, a Novation Bass station, a Roland TR-505, a Korg Z1 and a KorgMS2000, as well as several noisemakers and drone machines, the spirit of Vangelis clearly inhabits this one...
Bokeh Versions transmit a stony cold ace from the dub void with Japanese producer, Mars89’s icy extractions of gqom, grime, drill and dancehall in the Lucid Dream EP. To be fair it should probably be called the ‘lucid nightmare’ EP, but if this is their idea of a dream we’re not going to argue.
Hailing from Tokyo’s Chopstick Killahz crew, Mars89 trades in a brusque vernacular of hollow bass hits, needling hi-hats and raw claps embedded in cranky,weather-worn atmospheres, variously nodding to road-ready UK, US and SA styles, whilst making allegorical connections with sparse, minimalist Japanese percussive traditions thanks to a clipped turn of phrase of his own.
Rather than a straight up dancefloor set, the Lucid Dream EP is arranged with an immersive narrative that runs from dense intro to diffused outro via the haunted trap house shudder of Poltergeist thru the bullet-riddled gqom burial, Sensory Deprivation to bring in the Japanese element in a way recalling SP:MC’s Taiko ace rubble by Aaron Dilloway in Shaman’s House.
At the EP’s apex, we find the rude highlight of chest -knocking drums and grunts in Bandersnatch, and again with the warped DX7 bassline and ragga chat of Biological Tides tilting off into a grim, baroque dirge called OOBE.
This is a baaad. Recommended.
Sublime debut of ambient/house mulch from a promising new artist hailing from the island-minded English north-east, dispatched as the first release on the Paris/Peckham-based Panatype label.
Home casts the listener adrift in tranquil but murky, nocturnal waters, navigating a course from the gorgeous, slow-bubbling textures and puce hued pads of Meed Trope to what sounds like a Burial sample opening Probe (One Full Rotation), which soon morphs into a perfectly low key, swinging house hustle aching with a bruised brass motif and ghostly pall that sends shivers down the spine, before entering dark ambient freefall with the Deathprod-like Springbok.
Flipside, a lethargic throb carries PSR into a foggy echo chamber, layers peeling away like of lo-fi analog to the grafts of Kara-Lis Coverdale’s eponymous piece, and the Burial tones return in crackly formation on Probe (EYB Reductions), returning us to plangent, glass rubbed tones recalling K-LC in the closing sanctuary of Home.
Some heads are going to fall in love with this one…
Marking their 20th anniversary year, Hospital Productions mete out a brutal package of “violent riot brut noise” by Quebecois artist Pierre-Marc Tremblay, aka Âmes Sanglantes and the mighty Contrepoison, among other titles. A regular fixture on the label this decade, Âmes effectively tops all of his previous work with the sore and and often overwhelming tract of new, previously unreleased material contained in Crackdown.
For those brave souls willing to submit to this grimoir of spellbinding noise expression, you will be rewarded in spades of of material, enough to sully a full working day or night spent in its company and effectively gird yourself for a potential summer of civil unrest.
Quite patently this set is not meant for the Hospital Productions dilettante or noise hypochondriac; Crackdown is uncompromising in its vision and remorseless after contact - an unflinching body of material awaiting undivided attention.
Big Dada reissue the critically acclaimed debut and sophomore albums by Young Fathers, ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’. Both albums have been remastered for this reissue and are presented together as double CD, double LP and double cassette packages.
"‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’ are compellingly unique - the band make the sort of uncompromisingly leftfield, forward thinking hip hop that has nothing to do with artiness and everything to do with brilliance, all with grain silo production and genuine pop hooks.
‘Tape One’ was recorded within a week. It was first released in November 2011 as a limited edition cassette with individually spray-painted sleeves. ‘Tape Two’ was recorded almost immediately afterwards, in January 2012. Eventually LA based label Anticon picked up both albums and gave them a limited release in the USA."
Songs of Love, Songs of Decay is a mixtape of (sort of) songs raging from 1998 to 2016, with various projects, solo or not.
"Songs of Love, Songs of Decay is a mixtape of (sort of) songs raging from 1998 to 2016, with various projects, solo or not, including Scrambled Eggs or The Bunny Tylers (Charbel's bands) or guest appearances like in Oiseaux-Tempête.
The tracks give us an aperçu of Charbel's approach to composition over the years, a sampler of sorts, effortlessly switching from 90's alternative rock to electronic prepared guitar experiments whilst always keeping his middle eastern background in check! 60mins to get lost into!"
Arnau Sala aka Exoteric Continent moves in the grey/blue space between modern, latinate dance architecture and ghostly ambient sound noumena with La Perspectiva Racional - presented as his first album proper and his 6th release with Hospital Productions, sounding something like a more fractured take on the classic dub variants which typified Pole’s Scape label at the turn of the century via artists such as Jan Jelinek, Kit Clayton, Deadbeat and Stefan Betke himself.
A product of searching musical and personal introspection conducted and realised over the period 2015-2016, La Perspectiva Racional pushes an intense, probing sound in the awkward spaces and styles around dub, techno and noise's shifting, jagged borders, using drums, percussion, magnetic tape and synthesisers to outline atonal and enigmatic silhouettes.
On Contingut he drops in on an electronic variant that's more in keeping with the warm, bubbling sounds you might have found on a Jan Jelinek album at the turn of the century, while Contagi develops the fractured dub aesthetic further still, before album closer Col.lapse harks back to Stefan Betke's classic, earliest Pole productions.
Elsewhere, the tone is more fractured and unsettling, most notably on the excellent title track, providing an obliterated sense of propulsion through multi-layered drums and restless arpeggios, while Humanització unfurls a heightened sense of unease recalling Brad Fiedel's iconic score work for The Terminator, with added dread.
Quietly amazing, melt-on-the-mind ambient dreamwork from Kate Carr - proprietor of the prolific Flaming Pines label - who returns to the Helen Scarsdale Agency for a 2nd release of hushed tones and layered field recordings following from 2016’s It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphors.
Her 11th or so album, The Story Surrounds Us is a waking dream of incidental, acousmatic sound gently infiltrated by her barely-there presence via guitar and hushed vox. It’s the kind of stuff where you’ll have to remind yourself to breathe every now and again, as you attempt to hear all the details of her near-static and pensile arrangements which burble to life at the most unexpected but somehow logical junctures - at those points when you’ve possibly held your breath for so long that you’re tripping off a lack of oxygen anyway, and can’t discern what is and isn't real around you.
The Story Surrounds Us is deeply redolent of the absorbing atmospheres which made Julia Holter’s Tragedy album so memorable. But, Kate Carr takes that feeling a step further by using broad strokes of near-silent lacunæ and allowing sounds to evaporate as breezily as they appeared, all lending itself to connotations of the natural world and serves to beautifully blur the perceptive distinctions of unease, internalised ecstasy and those odder/auditive integers of waking and dream life.
It will slowly and subtly dawn upon the listener that this is some really special music, collage, composition - whatever you want to call it - in a way that you don’t come across often, even though it ironically reflects the sounds of everyday life, if you pay close/detached attention.
Imagine an out of body experience, in a dream, where you’re watching Carla Dal Forno jam with Áine O’Dwyer in the back of a tardis-like van, all the sounds of the streets outside infiltrating a dark cavern on wheels, and you may have some gist of what’s going on. To be fair we only have the slightest grip on it, but instincts are telling us this is a reel, rare beauty.
Hospital Productions weigh out 8 hours of incredible, eerie industrial electronics from Max Gudmunson’s Dust Belt, one of the more nuanced, atmospherically charged projects to emerge from under the label’s vast wings. Sitting through a good chunk of this late at night was an experience not too dissimilar to watching the first two episodes of new Twin Peaks in an isolated room - highly unsettling but tinged with nocturnal beauty.
Gudmonson has formerly appeared in a number of guises on Hospital as part of Virgin Spring, Virile Games, and K.P., the latter of whom also issued an 8-tape boxset in 2010. Committed to and For The Species Refusing To Consume, Dust Belt’s steeply immersive collection offers a working day’s worth of dark ambient flocking that will make the walls seem to melt and grow towards the listener when experienced under durational absorption.
There’s an other energy guiding Gudmunson’s hand here, offering him up as a cadaverous vessel channelling sensations from a next dimension, which he diffuses into a spectral tableaux of intermeshed field recordings and synth strokes revealed with a slow, keen sense of noirish mystery and visceral body-horror intrigue.
If you're into anything from Deathprod to Lynch to SAWII, this one comes hugely recommended.
Laurie Tompkins’ 45th Generation Roman & European Bob offers beguiling answers to questions of authenticity, cultural provenance/appropriation and the ever pertinent ‘where to now?’ within modern composition.
The follow-up to his debut album, Heat, War, Sweat, Law  for Slip reprises that recording’s communal madness and literal pots ’n pans make-up in a suite of 8 seemingly unhinged and practically incomparable, sui generis parts.
Idiosyncratic dub inception from Austria’s hotbed of underground dub ‘eads - ghostly room recordings of hand-played percussion, smoke-curl melodica and plasmic subs perfused with a weird spectral detachment
“BKV 010 finds Rer Repeter dubbing in his own style, in mighty fine style with a tight palette of melodica, close-mic'd back-street percussion and dub fx swell; coming across like those parallel-dimensional Augustus Pablo mixes of Swordfishtrombones.
While the focus is heavy on classic dub techniques, the approach is free-form - without resorting to common reggae cliches. In true troubadour style, most of the album is played by hand on instruments ranging from self-build shakers, finger-cymbals and found objects to melodica and prepared turntables.
Rer Repeter aka Martin Werner operates out of Graz, Austria. He's released on leftfield dub outposts including rohs! and Pdxindubting as well as running the cult electronics label Offseason (RIP).”
Norwegian noise miscreants Lasse Marhaug and Alexander Rishaug remerge their exploratory duo for the first time in 13 years, or since Feel Free At Home , with a narcotically affective episode of electro-acoustic fumes and tense but free string composition within Corneal Clouds. The results stem from recordings made in Oslo, 2012, which underwent a five year fermentation process before it was sealed for dankness by Stephan Mathieu and now dispatched by The Tapeworm.
In four parts they offer the decayed and tumultuous results of that extended process, plunging us into a thistly, overgrown soundfield that recalls the marvellous abstraction of early electronic instigators such as Gottfried Michael Koenig as much as the mottled textures and reactively organic micro-kinetic structures of Kevin Drumm or Jason Lesscalleet, for example.
But where those comparisons stop short, Rishaug Marhaug infuse their creations with a gloomy Nordic shadowing individual to their sound, drawing parallels with black metal atmospheres and even aspects of Deathprod’s deceptively static stoicism, holding the ear’s gaze like a steeply pitted, placid fjord viewed from the mountain side during the prelude to a storm, sweeping in cold waves of chaotically textured drizzle and face-biting scree. But don’t worry, just wear some goretex in the comfort of your home and the experience will be bracingly pleasurable.
Richard Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone pores vent another absorbing example of pharmaceutically affective ambient music from his louche, and now quite regular avatar. It’s the kinda music you might expect the ladies of Deux Filles to make once they had married into old Californian money and are now living out their autumn years gracefully, sequestered in the hills of LA in a dosed-up Lynchian fantasy. Intoxicating stuff.
“Formed from plastics and particulars by Richard Chartier, 2015 – I am lonely, yet I feel wonderful…
Pinkcourtesyphone is a continuing project by Los Angeles-based sound artist Richard Chartier. He is considered one of the key figures in the current of reductionist sound art which has been termed both microsound and Neo-Modernist. Chartier's minimalist digital work explores the inter-relationships between the spatial nature of sound, silence, focus, perception and the act of listening itself.
Pinkcourtesyphone is a more emotional, dare one say musical side of his work. Pinkcourtesyphone is dark but not arch, with a slight hint of humor. Pinkcourtesyphone is amorphous, changing, and slipping in and out of consciousness. Pinkcourtesyphone operates like a syrup-y dream and strives to be both elegant and detached.”
Bradley and Cooper approached creating their submission to ‘The Blow’ series with the cassette format very much in mind, collaborating fully on each track throughout the album by means of file sharing.
"The duo had the concept of weaving pieces together both in the sense of musically flowing the tracks into one another and by reintroducing motifs and imagery throughout the entire album. As such, the recordings are intended to be played as two distinct sides of a tape, rather than hearing the tracks individually on the digital version. Julian Bradley is a founder member of Vibracathedral Orchestra, solo as The Piss Superstition, in Never Rad with Luke Poot, and a past member of The Negative Kite.
His sound has been described as music that's eroded and smeared until its original content is obliquely hinted at or lost. In collaboration with Sophie Cooper, a musician interested in reimagining the conventions of song writing through incorporation of drones, weird noises and alternative vocal approaches (and collaborator with Delphine Dora and United Bible Studies), the duo have created a series of pieces where fuzztone and feedback patterns pulsate, sweet vocal lines play with repetition and a sense of maximalism is achieved.
In 2016 Supernormal Festival commissioned Sophie Cooper to create a new duo work for performance and her first choice for collaborator was Julian Bradley. The commission was successful and Bradley / Cooper choose to continue the duo beyond this live performance, and are now a permanent collaboration under the name ‘The Slowest Lift’."
From Italy’s restless post-rave pill-belly, Dave Saved and NPLGNN wretch up one side-a-piece of accreted and aggravated feels in the Eternal Flame tape on their new label; Forever Now. Imagine Mark Leckey’s Fiorucci… reminiscence smeared with The Automatics Group’s spectral trance and dance-pop processes, then filtered by KGB Man with a malfunctioning cassette deck, and you’ve almost got a grasp of this tape’s elusive, K-holing insight.
Facing off two of the new Italian weird’s canniest operators, Eternal Flame finds Naples’ Dave Saved, known for his exploratory editions with Gang of Ducks, sharing a particularly wrecked headspace with NPLGNN - who was last spotted on his debut album Paesaggi Periferici for Reel Torque - in two side-long, mentalist tapestries approximating a fractal mosaic of warped, impressionistic experience that’s perhaps more relevant now than the real, original thing in itself.
Parsing excavated samples and uploaded memories for glimpses of eyes-in-back-of-head escapism and club culture ephemera through differing approaches, they both present a series of picnoleptic flashbacks as an impressionistic mosaic of scrambled memories riddled with spiritual potential and framed by the moldy grout of existential dread - effectively revealing rave culture’s excesses and metaphysics in a sort of sickening negative relief.
On the A-side Dave Saved digitally warps fragments of frothy dance-pop culture into a slow-fast flux of gurning, eyelid-flickering sound imagery straddling the line between lush and grotesque, stretching or condensing each fragment to the point of inevitable collapse or implosion; intensifying the sensation of euphoria until it makes you sick across 16 minutes of detached, OOBEy ephemera belied by a kind of “critical aggression”, as they put it.
In the B-side, NPLGNN takes a different route to similar conclusions, noting an autographical, hauntological basis to the method of transforming his own material into a surreal fantazia of watery vocal residues and isolated moments of stunned-frozen, recursive rave stabs allowed to evaporate, along with your mind, out into the ether (infinite smoke machines, eternally dilated strobes) with a proper nightmare/dream quality.
If you ask us, it’s the best material in either artist’s expanding oeuvre, and comes highly recommended to any listeners empathetic with Lee Gamble, Dale Cornish’s Ulex, The Automatics Group, Lorenzo Senni, or Teresa Winter’s most extreme, thizzed-out aspects.
JSMË Records tally up a curious mix of creamy ambient synth and acousmatic electro-acoustics from Cera Khin & Ossia to follow up Nina’s excellent first instalment on the Strange Birds mix series.
Where Nina’s Uvijek smothered the senses in oily drone and intoxicating atmospheres, the Bristol/Berlin pairing of Cera Khin & Ossia adopt a mixture of oblique and cinematic strategies to project into and penetrate the space between your eyes, pensively keening from weightless synth flights thru to elusive concrète and what sounds like John T. Gast doing dubstep on 33-not-45, and all orchestrated with a sense of noirish dramaturgy comparable with a classic Ridley Scott sci-fi.
We’re left no clues as to the track-list, and aside from a few moments we’d like to ID, the whole thing’s effectively feels like privileged entry to a parallel world or even Cera Khin & Ossia’s shared dreamspace; a place where everything feels familiar, yet dead uncanny, like we’re almost waiting for a hypnic jerk to snap us back to reality...
Heavily narcotic ambient soundscapes from the industrial ambient pioneer Robert Turman, realised for one of Zweikommaseiben's Surreal Sleep events in Zurich, 2016, and now melted to tape for home or headphone anaesthetisation
Simple in its gesture and wholly effective with it, Veiling Reflections convects some 60 minutes of curdling, plangent guitar strokes curling like smoke off a warbling bed of tarry bass, practically beating Dylan Carlson at his own slow game in the process.
By the mid-way point the lead instrumental voice almost imperceptibly pitch blends from guitar to a wistful cornet or brassier timbre (there’s no instrument credits to seen, though), marking a point of transition or sort of denouement like Lynch with his screen-piercing analogies, leading into deeper, murkier layers of introspection with an instinctively visual/sonic synaesthetic quality.
What we’re trying to say is this is some really seductive and expertly executed material, right up there with Norman Westberg’s recently relinquished solo meditations or a well timed xanax drop.
Dread gulps and nonsensical ramblings from the Hair & Treasure unit.
"Hot on the wheels of their gurgling split with Blood Stereo, Gonçalo F Cardoso and Alex Jones return to discrepant under the new Sucata Tapes banner. Joined by Kenny 'PL' Hosepipe on violin/effects - bringing the do-si-doe down your ramp.
High puking their way through the desolate western sky, cackling all night long on the little house in prairie’s back yard - there were no stars on this perimeter, everyone was happy. Except Michael LandonRecorded and performed over a late summer afternoon at discrepant HQ… "
Luar Domatrix aka Rodolfo Brito from Yong Yong presents his dystopian non visions to Sucata Tapes.
"Last seen meddling with Portuguese workers chants on Antologia de Música Atípica Portuguesa, the glasgow based portuguese artist sketches an eerie sci fi inspired tape for the ever evolving Sucata Tapes imprint.
Hesitant basslines conflict with lush distant drones and unsteady beats to present an alternate reality where anything IS indeed what it seems. Like an episode of X-files gone awry. Mulder’s dead and Scully’s drunk joy riding a space saucer"
Playful radio broadcast-cum-processed audio book from the guys behind NTS’ Skyapnea show
“A radio piece by Andrew Beccone, founder of the Reanimation Library. Originally created for our series of broadcasts on NTS Radio. Located in the Queens Museum, the Reanimation Library is a collection of books that simultaneously prosaic and peculiar are relics of the rapidly receding 20th century. Chosen mostly for the images they contain, their visual content is scanned and archived online to create a fascinating archive of images from the recent past.
This radio piece focuses instead on the words and sounds of the Library. Five different sound pieces, each assembled in a unique way using recordings of people reading passages of text, synthesized speech and sounds found on records that came with books in the Library.”
Berlin’s Stefan Paul Goetsch imagines a gorgeous, free-floating sort of chamber music with Cello Pattern on Alessandro Cortini and Ted James Butler’s Limited Interest label.
The label's 3rd release firmer grasps the light that broke thru the clouds in previous instalments by Karl Fousek and Delible, locating a quietly unhurried and centred space to play out 11 pieces framed around wistful melodies and elusive structures, all recorded in the Black Forest, 2015.
There’s a deeply sylvan quality to Cello Pattern which almost unmistakably recalls a passing time of fading light in the midst of nature, when ferns phosphoresce and the first murmurs of avian chorusses begin to colour the air, celebrating the day and warning of night to come.
In this liminal cusp-like zone, he crosses paths between the coruscating string like tones of Anne Guthrie and the quivering etudes of Six Swords’ Feireenesse, or even elements of NYZ’s inimitable acousmata and AFX’s SAW II - in essence a deeply narcotic, oneiric and transportive sound that soothes as well as haunts the listener.
Alessandro Cortini and Ted James Butler’s Limited Interest label introduce Montréal’s Karl Fousek to their fold with a mesmerising solo follow-up to his clutch of tapes for Denmark’s Phinery Tapes and, more recently, a collaboration with Roger Tellier-Craig and Devon Hansen for LA’s Spring Break Tapes.
One Another reveals itself in slowly unfolding, melting waves of golden synth tone indented with the scrabbling wriggle of spannered modular synth scree, sounding something like the alchemical experiments of a garden shed chemist who is systematically feeling out every integer of curling combinations along a strange cosmic scale previously charted by the likes of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe or Pat Murano’s Decimus.
The almost palindromic structure of One Another plays out the same on both sides, and if allowed to run for a long enough duration, it is liable to twist and reconnect your hemispheres into an eternal figure of eight.
Alessandro Cortini and Ted James Butler’s Limited Interest label present a heady session of modular synth expressions by Eric Avery, the co-founder and original bass player for LA rock band, Jane’s Addiction. Safe to say you won’t hear this one on VH1 any time ever.
Veering sharply away from his early work with Jane’s Addiction and more recent solo exploits such as Life.Time , Avery’s latest picks up where he left off on a remix of Cortini’s Scientist as Sonoio in 2011, channelling himself thru the wires of a modular synth setup and samplers and into vast recursive spaces and spooling synth noise scapes more akin to fellow west coaster Jefre Cantu-Ledesma than anything else you’dnaturally associate him with.
Whilst belied by a title that hints at fragility and ephemerality, Delible’s widescreen panoramas are painted in broad, confident strokes and shot thru with a rich melodic pathos, helping it to stake a fine balance of grounded modesty and star-clawing ambition from the windswept Gas-like spell of German Requiem to the bittersweetness of his Aldeburgh Sea (Sunset) and Aldeburgh Sea (Sunrise) numbers which engulf the B-side, and ‘fessing up a sort of nerve-shot but determined new age and kosmiche spirit in the spaces between.
Alessandro Cortini and Ted James Butler’s Limited Interest label pull out a reel bewt with Shasta Cults’ bittersweet ambient extraction, Arguments For Trivialism; joining the likes of former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery (Delible) and Karl Fousek on one of the most intriguing cassette series in circulation right now.
The work of one Richard Smith, who’s previously collaborated with Sarah Davachi and played in Von Bingen, Arguments For Trivialism sounds like a proper, heat-warped LA fever dream, traversing sweeping symphonic strokes thru to Terminator II flashback drones and abattoir chiller pads, delivering his sound in thick lustrous density, but with plenty of attention to timbral detail and gripping texture.
It starts out kind of positive with Augur, like the smog’s not too bad today, but soon enough descends into apocalyptic heaviness with The Shape, while Chroma offers some light-headed new age respite, and we’re again exposed to strong outside forces with the glacially impending new age/horror trajectory of CMOS and the epic fantasy drone of Dropship, which could feasibly soundtrack the arrival of an alien craft over Hollywood.
Tranquillising pastoral ambient visions from the artist aka Boxcutter. RIYL Emeralds, 0PN, The Durutti Column
“After 2015's Esalen Lectures LP as The Host, Barry Lynn returns to Touch Sensitive under his given name with a twin set of ambient cassettes. The majority of the music on the Taurus Tapes results from live looping experiments using an electric guitar as the sound source, although a few tracks on Volume 1 were also created using synthesisers, and embellished with loughshore birdsong and fretless bass guitar.
The result is an intimate and evolving sound, sculpted live in the moment. Moving away from over-arching concepts, the tracks are mostly titled after the constituent stars in the constellation of Taurus, Barry's star sign, and a common sight in the northern winter sky. Shades of Fripp's experiments with Eno can be detected in the Gibson fuzz tone and drifting loops, as well as more Gottsching-styled exercises in tight repetition. “