Lechuga Zafiro makes a shocking solo debut proper with the harsh textures and infectious, abstracted latin rhythms of ‘Testigo’ for Mexico City’s ace NAAFI label.
Like Bernard Parmegiani doing latin rave music, ‘Testigo’ demonstrates Zafiro’s precisely rugged style in five killer parts, flowing in gritty roil from the beat-less designs of ‘Ita’ thru the pranging drums and stumbling rhythmelody of ‘Pájarocámara’, to knock on the doors of perception with lysergic effect and mind-bending torsion in ‘Agua Y Puerta’, while ‘Sapo Diablo’ sloshes his dembow all over the grid, and ‘Corazón Negro del Río de la Plata’ lunges a wildly synched 16th note EBM arp and pendulous trills.
This EP is making a lot of forward-facing modern dance music seem stilted and and boring by comparison. Don’t sleep!
Debut dread declarations from Nazamba, a fire and brimstone dub poet out of Kingston, JA, produced by G36 for The Bug’s Pressure label...
Heralding Nazamba’s forthcoming full album with France’s O.B.F. sound system, ‘Vex’ sounds the alarm with apocalyptically gruff vocals set to pulverising production from Nagasaki’s anarcho-dub collective, G36.
“The spirit of Prince Far I reincarnated, riding a sci-fi steppa that relentlessly aims to flatten all floors. Nazamba's angry rant against the global epidemic of morally bankrupt, indelibly corrupt politicians, is a straight shot to Babylon's head…”
Blazing début of hyper dance music from Tanzania by Bamba Pana, the first in a series of albums highlighting producers from the Sisso studio. Grimy hard dance from Dar Es Salaam deployed at 150bpm+, a huge recommendation if yr into Shangaan Electro, Príncipe, Nkisi - the most exhilirating dance music you’ll hear in 2018.
Jumanne Ramadhani Zegge a.k.a. Bamba Pana is one of the core producers, alongside Jay Mitta, of the Sisso studio - a central hub for MCs and producers in the Mburahati ghetto on the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam. Along with his peers, Bamba uses a laptop and software to update the local, usually acoustic and instrumental style of Singeli, computerizing its hyper rhythms and zinging melodies for the needs of younger crowds in an upfront, direct way that has translated far beyond its East African roots, as anyone who witnessed the Sounds of Sisso tour or heard the acclaimed compilation will surely attest.
As a début album statement, ’Poaa’ could hardly be more distinguished. Perhaps best compared with the urgent tempi and quicksilver syncopation of Shangaan Electro or Angolan Kuduro to outsiders, it’s effectively a form of Tanzanian grime or hard dance music, using rapid-fire, hypnotic rhythmelodies to drive crowds to dance in thrilling, new ways.
Bar one killer cut, ‘Linga Linga’ featuring the distinctive bark of Bamba Pana’s long-time vocal foil, MC Makavelli, the set is entirely instrumental with voices used only as strobing rhythmic filaments. The other eight tracks range from an “introduction to brand new dance from Africa” in ‘Agaba Kibati’, to what sounds like turbo speed Makina in ‘Biti Three’, whereas ‘Baria’ hops from shredding synths to hyper coloured percussion in wild style.
Meanwhile ‘Biti Six’ features some of the set’s giddiest harmonies, spiralling so fast they evoke weightlessness, while ‘Kusini’ is patently compatible with the ruffest P. Adrix riddims for Príncipe, and the incendiary ‘Pooa Bama Rmx’ provides a breathless 145bpm race to the finish that feels twice as fast, thanks to its inimitable, needlepoint percolations.
Compelling Ballardian descriptions of life in a seaside town, rendered in textured ambience, melancholic techno and warbling, degraded synth vignettes. RIYL Leyland Kirby, Bellows, Helm...
“Vast, expansive and introspective works utilising place-specific found sound on this second Cremation Lily LP for Alter. Contemplating mortality, illness and the perennial bleakness of British winter in a seaside town we find Zen Zsigo experimenting with piano, violin, synthesiser and walkman tape players. Layering field recordings of the Hastings shoreline atop druggy, stretched out 303 basslines and snippets of spoken word there seems to be an overarching thematic of memory and reflection at play.
From vignettes of crumbling glass and bittersweet drones through to sprawling, semi-rhythmical pieces (‘As a sea creature...’) it seems as if Zsigo is trawling the coast for fragments of its former glory. The end result of his study manages to echo the work of Yoran, Leyland Kirby and even Jacob Kirkegaard yet the rare moments where he lays bare his own vocal narrative seemingly transforms In England Now, Underwater into sonic diary territory. Mixing salt-water soaked cassette loops with haunting, minimalist piano motifs and warped recordings of crashing waves and bird noise an intense atmosphere of Ballard’s drowned world is evoked through sound.”
Antipop Consortium’s High Priest a.k.a. HPrizm drops a rugged batch of illbient hip hop instrumentals on New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records
Only recently we had been wondering where the heck he’d gotten to, and now here he is, nearly 20 years since we first emerging with the pivotal APC, and still pushing a uniquely flavoured and crooked style of beat craft.
Pretty much picking up where our last memory of his work - the ace Airborne Audio project - left off, the vibe on ‘Catching a Body’ is in heady flux between vaporous drone dubs styles in ‘Knitted Crown’, skulky street corner at dusk feels in ‘Clearbody’, and a proper killer in ‘Asiatic’ recalling Mutamassik’s ‘War Booty’ zinger.
‘Emotional Music’ is a beguiling suite of ambient electronica synpathy from L.A.’s Robert Girardin, marking up his début proper and first solo release with Palto Flats and Elon Katz’ Zero Grow. RIYL 0PN, Rene Hell, Visible Cloaks
“R. Girardin – Emotional Music is a collaborative release from Palto Flats and Zero Grow, a contemporary rendering of synthetic midi-fusion and DAW experimentalism. Drawing links between Rashad Becker’s textured compositional approach and the multicultural electro-fetishism of Benjamin Lew, Emotional Music uses known palettes in non-traditional methods.
In Emotional Music we are treated to Girardin’s tooling of the synthesizer as a spiritual instrument, one where the typical motifs of musicality and style degrade in favor of poetic modulation matrices and breath controlled hopefuls. Synthesizers occupy a special place in sonic energy, dependent on electricity for physical sound creation, void of voice without human intellect and touch. Emotional Music is a synthesis of both the human and synthesizer’s expressive logics; one of internal architectures capable only through external inlets and outlets.
R. Girardin is a Hollywood location scout living in Los Angeles. Recent work includes contributions to the score of Invernomuto’s film “Vers L’Europa Deserta, Terra Incognita,” and lectures on the aesthetics of decentered spatiality in Southern California at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland and UC Irvine. Girardin has previously released music on Italian label Hundebiss.
The artwork features a cover photo by Girardin and blind drawings by artist Roee Rosen.”
Slowdive’s Simon Scott unfurls a panoramic scene of widescreen strings and organ drone with a patina of autumnal crackle and drizzle in ‘Grace’ for Touch...
“Grace begins with a 12 string acoustic guitar fed into a modular synthesiser that spits out beautiful grains of sound that rise and fall like the sun. Textures build up and then slip away leaving a pipe organ playing and the church room recordings sonically revealing passing cyclists, rainfall and Cambridge bus station.
It shimmers like an oscillating river until the strings fade and the final third section slips in and a deep organ tone leads the tapestry of sound into field recordings, strings and processed instruments. The contact mics on the organ pipes are heard, floorboards and unidentified human sounds appear and the alarm call of a blackbird seeps into the piece.
Written recorded, mixed and mastered by Simon Scott at SPS in Cambridge. Strings performed and recorded at Green House Studios, Glendale, California by Charlie Campagna ('cello) and Zachary Paul (viola and violin). Pipe organ recorded at The Unitarian Church, Cambridge, UK.”
Mbulelo heads up a pair of killer, deep forward South African 12”s on Derrick May’s Transmat that recall everything from SND and Gábor Lázár to Anthony Shakir
On ‘The Robotic People’ EP, Mbulelo Mehlomakhulu effectively bridges Durban Gqom and Detroit house in killer style with the title cut’s brute low end offset by breezy but dark jazz chords, while ‘Orchestration’ sidewinds off between SND and Second Woman with breathtakingly fluid form, and ‘Panacea’ explores balmier, rhythmelodic percussion in sweetly charming style.
Killer fresh rap music from MC Yallah, backed with cavernous Jay Glass Dubs versions on Hakuna Kulala - the mean yung sibling of Nyege Nyege Tapes...
Kenyan, but Ugandan born and raised Yallah Gaudencia Mbidde a.k.a. MC Yallah oozes style inside the cold, sparse boom/crack and vaulted electronica atmospheres of ‘Ndi Mukazi’ - one of the most urgent yet deep, dark blue rap tracks we’ve heard in a minute - while Debmaster’s instrumental carries its weight beautifully well.
In a genius A&R move, Jay Glass Dubs is tagged in for two versions, vocal and instrumental, embedding Yallah in acres of spiralling psychedelic space ducking his ricocheting snares and sweltering electronics.
In the wake of ‘White1’, Sunn 0)))’s equally whelming ‘White2’ receives full remastering by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, re-awakening its ungodly spirits to utterly jaw-dropping effect
Building on the energies unleashed with White1, Sunn 0))) go deeper into the abyss of subharmonic distortion on White2 flanked by torch-carrier Attila Csihar ov Mayhem along with Dawn Smithson (from Rex Ritter’s former band, Jessamine), and fellow explorers Nate Carson and Joe Preston. Like White1, this set was originally intended to be acoustic, but fate worked its ways, leading the clan to a trance-inducing electronic conclusions.
Ask almost anyone who’s spent time with this one, they’ll might well tell you that Decay2 (nihilis’ Maw) is one of the most powerful Sunn 0))) tracks in their immense catalogue. Featuring seminal and hugely influential BM vocalist Attila Csihar reciting in Sanskrit from the ancient Indian Veda, and tied to their tarriest bass, together with Decay (The Symptoms of Kali Yuga), it towers over almost everything else imaginable, and still hasn’t been surpassed to this day.
Factor in the sky collapsing rifle of Hell-0))) - Ween, and the plasmic dubbing of Bassaliens, and you have one of this century’s first great Metal albums - a record by which to mark everything that came before it, and since. Now sounding closer to their original intentions than ever before, if you don’t know it, there’s never been a better time to go head-first into Sunn 0)))’s black hole.
Superb deep techno and ambient electronica from Yügen Disciple, a new name on Andy Lyster’s Youth following their blink-and-miss introduction to FUMU
Pretty flawless from any angle, the A-side features the systolic thrum and heavy-lidded pads of ‘IBEX 2 (MD-A02_XOX-101)’ and the spectral acid of ‘Luxury Flat’, while the B-side hearkens back to vintage Mille Plateaux daze in ‘Pattern Recognition’, and checks out with the sdancign dust mites of ’Shinkansen Blur’.
Big tip to fans of Shinichi Atobe, SND, Actress
The seminal eccentric maximalist composer uses a Moog to conjure something like a swarm of mechanical bees making a hive in your nasal cavity for the 50 minute entirety of Ttuunneesszz Duh Rruunneesszz.
The first of two sides by the venerable Charlemagne Palestine recorded using Surrey Uni’s extensive Moog Sound Lab System 55 set-up runs to over 50 minutes of swarming oscillators that ultimately sound like a grist of bees nesting in your noggin
“Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
These two releases come from our second ever UK lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings.”
It’s nowt less than avant garde honey for the mind.
Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
"But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
This release come from Moog's second ever uk lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings."
Kathryn Joseph releases her new album ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’, via Rock Action Records.
"The follow up to 2015’s acclaimed debut Bones ‘You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’, which was named the Scottish Album of the Year, this album is a captivating set that documents both life’s traumas and their resolutions. Produced by Marcus Mackay, who also worked on her debut album, ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’ mixes new songs with material gathered over the past ten years to create an intimate and often devastating portrait of Joseph’s world."
Matthew Herbert flexes his broken beat and discoid house chops on Accidental Jr with this reissue of a 1995 classic...
Taking a minute out from his soundtrack work, Herbert heads straight for the ‘floor with classic breaks percolated on a funk tip in ‘Rude’, along with the classic-sampling deep house blush of ‘Oo Licky’, and the warm, dusky house breeze of ‘See You On Monday’.
They don't makkkkkeum like this anymore!
Sunn 0)))’s entrancing, crushing doom metal totem ’White1’, entirely remastered by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, including the beastly rarity ‘Cut Wood(ed)’ from their rare-as-heck ‘White’ box
Notably featuring guest appearances from Julian Cope and Joe Preston, White1 is an exceptional highlight of Sunn 0)))’s near-sacred catalogue of doom metal drone recordings. Originally intended as an acoustic album, the recording session took a different route towards psychedelic electronic experimentation, with the results originally issued in 2003 on CD and as a now sought-after 3-sided LP packaged in a pillowcase and including a sleeping pill.
In the same year of its release, this reviewer popped their Sunn 0))) cherry at Autechre’s ATP, which was nothing short of a life-changing revelation, seeing Julian Cope prostrate, front of stage, surrounded by candles and dry ice, flanked by axe-wielding druids clawing the most monstrous riffs this teenaged bean had ever heard.
On disc, you might not get the full visual glory of O’Malley, Anderson, Ritter, and Cope on stage, but provided you crank it loud enough at home, you can now come closer than ever to the void of White1, from Cope’s foul mouthed induction in the 26 minutes of My Wall, to the brainfeezing blend of traditional Norse vocals and the super rare appearance of Joe Preston’s achingly tight drumming on The Gates of Ballard - one of scant few Sunn 0))) cuts to feature percussion, and which still makes us want to knock down skyscrapers - and right thru the subharmonic ritual of A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.
Always pushing it one step farther, this release also now includes the abyssal dimensions of Cut Wood(ed), their 2003 collaboration with Ulver which didn’t make the original LP, later found on the White box in 2006, and now retrospectively added to this definitive edition of a staggering masterpiece.
Soft-touch, lower case ambient compositions. Good stuff...
“H.Takahashi, Tokyo based Architect and sound designer. ‘Low Power’ draws strands of Minimalism from the Japanese Minimalist works from the likes of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa, to masters such as Erik Satie and John Cage, and Ambient leaders Brian Eno and Roedelius.
His sound sometimes seems to be drizzling like rain, but still the feeling of refreshing sounds sinks pleasantly inside the body like a shower bathed after running 100 meters with full power.
A genuine melody gives a feeling that drifts in the water. The philosophy of simple timbre composition and placement makes me feel the composition of the Japanese garden and the minimalism of Sen no Rikyu.”
Ragged, off-centre techno sloggers from Bergsonist, following up Where To Now?’s ace Ben Vince LP
“Bergsonist is the moniker of Moroccon born and NYC based Selwa Abd. 'Solyaris' follows the self-released '' and a prolific slew of releases for labels such as Styles upon Styles, Borft, and Angoisse amongst others. For Selwa her uncompromising & otherworldly, hypno technoid creations aim to capture a given moment in time, contextualising her often direct, hugely affective, & unpolished approach to production.
'Conflict in Yeman' opens with a gambit of off-kilter percussive experiments & electronics, conveying a sense of determined urgency. Things grow more & more intricate & immediate as we progress - layers of disruption weave around a reoccurring 140BPM shuffle, anchoring Selwa's constant explorative concrete diversions.
'Former Alien who has been naturalized by a U.S Citizen' brings things down a notch - skittering drums linger below a truly haunting whispered melody, occasionally broken down by collapsed rewinds and thunderously raw in the red beat grit - to dizzying effect. Whereas previously 'Solyaris' had taken its cues from Drexciyan Detroit Electro 'Former Alien...' stands closer to a Fantastic Damage era EL-P instrumental rather than anything aimed at the floor.
The EP rolls out with 'Fidel Gastro', a structured & focused piece of Machine Funk & end of days drop cues, conjuring an effective mix of both euphoria & imminent dread.”
Old skool and radgy-sounding house and breaks from Drummer B on Derrick May’s legendary Transmit label
‘In Case Yall Forgot’ reminds of Detroit house at its loosest and deepest with nods to Motown and Mad Mike, whereas ‘What That Jxxy Bout’ is built for the jits with fast-paced bass and sparking drum machines.
‘Again’ roots the sound back in Detroit jazz with a strong vocal by Jessica Care Moor, and the suspension-testing ‘Diamond’ rolls out on a wicked slow/fast flex compatible with the Autonomic sound.
Banging, funked-up Detroit techno on Derrick May’s Transmat label
‘Sunday on Saturday’ starts up with a killer organ-riding vibe for the Mad Mike / UR fiends, and ‘So B It’ follows with a loopy garage-house swing.
‘He’s Able’ brings the tempo and vibe up for a soulful burn, and ‘Here After’ settles back into a hard-working garage-house groove.
Split session of psychedelic excursions on Den Haag’s Bakk label
Bear Bones, Lay Low chase up their encrypted outing with the No ‘Label’ on ‘Dissolve Into The Night’, a 15 minute traverse of expansively widescreen desert psych with trundling caravan groove and a sort of ancient Aztec atmosphere.
Don’t DJ takes even longer on ‘Rag for Rudolph Rocker’, and again it’s not not about the destination but the journey, as he plays out myriad permutations of bustling, polymetric patter stealthily layered up with non-standardly tuned horns and woodwind in a way like Hassell and Reich emulating tropical breeze dynamics.
Dead solid breakbeat techno-house from Glasgow institution Wheelman, backed with an unmissable 313 electro-jit mix by D.I.E.
Following the angles of his 12”s for Studio Barnhus and Belters to tuff, deeper conclusions, Wheelman meshes rolling house heft with deep techno pads and ruder breakbeat chops on the wobbling bass axle of ‘Signal’, which D.I.E. refits as a percolated Detroit electro ace with funked up bassline and perfect 808 snare crack.
UKF pioneer and modern UK soul boy Lil Silva starts his Nowhere label with the bittersweet swing of ‘Making Sense’
Going further down the pop path following production input on Adele’s ’25’ and increasing use of his own vocals, ‘Making Sense’ is a logical progression into light and breezy dance-pop blues for a generation raised on dubstep, vaporwave and The xx.
Electronica veteran Deru keeps abreast of the contemporary styles in timeless fashion
‘Torn In Two’ describes an immersive, abstract electro-acoustic narrative in a transition from cold, spacious minimalism thru shearing chromatic wormholes and into complex, vaulted, Xenakis-like structures.
Khotin smushes your temples with soothing ambience in ‘New Tab’, newly availed on vinyl via Pacific Rhythm Music following self-released tape.
Drinking deeply from the cup of Vancouver’s new age spirit, Khotin presents a lovely suite of feathered ambient chords fringed by field recordings and laced with various voices - Japanese, Russian, English - in a milky sequence of sounds, mostly beatless but with a handful of dips into effervescent breakbeats and glassy balearic downstrokes.