For the impeccable MAT label, Denamrk’s Central tends hitherto little known ambient aspects of his sound as Palta with a fine selection of feathered rhythms and gauzy, painterly sounds.
Nesting amid good company for this kind of thing, Universel quietly unfolds scuttling, jazz-wise geometries and keening subaquatic chords in the title track, then drifts with scratchy tribal drums and tropical greenhouse sounds in Tabt Optagelse into frayed, frothy new age feels in På Gensyn.
It would appear he indulges those experimental urges in order to prepare listeners for full immersion in the B-side, where At Ville takes hold with subliminal effect, buoying ears on a bed of viscous bleeps and synth fronds with the lushest, entrancing intent, before Optagelse 16A smudges aut into purest balearic atmospheres.
A highlight of Laraaji’s Vision Songs, Vol.1, the burbling drum machine, gospel organ haze and plaintively soulful vocal of I Can Only Bliss Out (F’Days) is a definitive cut from the new age pioneer’s 1984 master opus.
Memory In Vivo Exposure presents maverick percussionist Valentina Magaletti (Raime, UUUU) and her bandmate Tom Relleen at their most dextrous in four pieces ranging from a superb meld of Afro-Reichian phrasing and location recordings in the 2-part title cut, thru to busted post-punk knocks on The Inexorable Sadness of Pencils, and back to rhythmelodic hypnotism with Il Fiume Di Ferro.
“London band Tomaga are back with their fourth release under the Hands in the Dark banner: Memory in Vivo Exposure.
The EP consists of four original tracks and yet another new musical evolution for the duo. Whilst they still use complex layering and harmonic polyrhythms in developing their original approach, this time the sonic tales they have shared are much more cinematic and dreamlike. These visions are locked up into emotionally charged loops to convey the sensation of a dream in which half remembered things become new zones of feeling.”
Killer album of glowering drone and clanking percussion from Martin Maischen aka Goner.
Flanked by noise-cellist Unter Lala and Mark Godwin (a musician/sound engineer whose discography includes work with Coil), Yogascum feels like a ghosted, atrophied and entropic versioning of hard-edged dancefloor sounds chanelled through the darkest recesses of your mind.
Over the first extended side he explores peripheral deep and complex drone works, plumbing a space somewhere between Mohammad’s deathly invocations and the dense dankness of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement with a combination of greazy, slyding pitches, peripheral tones and dense electronic oscillations roiled in vast electro-acoustic space.
The other side, however, is given to beat driven structures, with YS 2 involving Mark Godwin on a clanking, ritualistic rhythm that sounds like it managed to escape from Coil’s latter-day archive, whilst also recalling his work as ZK for Skam, whereas Endtitle catches Goner solo on a dense rhythmic tip.
Lucerne, Switzerland’s Hallow Ground follow that COH plays Everall zinger with Martina Lussi’s claggy mix of queasy ambient, field recordings and lop-sided minimal techno
“On the LP Selected Ambient, Martina Lussi brings together a collection of sound material from her practice to date. The material oscillates between electroacoustic composition, sound art, and live performance. The pieces are named after precious gemstones, all of which are traditionally ascribed with special powers. In using these names, the artist seems to refer to the esoteric roots of the genre invoked by the LP’s title. The compositions, however, resist the genre’s characteristically naïve re-enchantment of the world and distrust holistic esotericism’s promise of healing and restoration. Instead, they are defined much more by an interest in affective uncertainties. The gemstones don’t speak, and they don’t convey the mythical forces ascribed to them—rather, they rest in their own materiality. They don’t want to affect or influence—they simply want to exist as witnesses of/to the ultimately incommensurable reality that lives beyond our own horizon.
“Sodalith” is characterized by a melancholy sensibility; the piece is carried by a boundless synthetic surface over which a guitar melody swirls. At first, “Citrin” seems to want to unravel into orbiting, meditative qualities, but in the second part, the mood collects in the peculiarity somewhere between sustained calm and frequently disrupted rave euphoria. “Achat,” which borrows most clearly from the electroacoustic tradition, develops relatively late and unexpectedly into a subtle techno track that then repeatedly interrupts the very momentum it has engendered. Lastly, “Opal,” which was originally written for Lussi’s installation “Composition for a Circle,” writhes in seemingly stochastic contortions that lightly shake the centripetal dynamic of the piece.
In these four compositions as in other works, Lussi creates a sound world in which circling correlations raise more questions than they answer—in contrast to esotericism, which insists on imbuing its material with meaning. Lussi therefore facilitates a listening experience that refers to ambient at its best and most radical: her music represents neither a dissolution of the self in complete uncertainty nor a contemplative internal landscape, but rather a tremulous hovering over the border between the two.
Martina Lussi lives and works in Lucerne. She holds a Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice. In 2014, Lussi’s debut EP, “Komposition O08”, was released on Präsens Editionen. Lussi has performed work between the disciplines of sound art and music performance at places like LUFF (Lausanne Underground Filmfestival) or the festival Oto Nove Swiss at London’s Cafe Oto.”
Terry Riley’s Sri Moonshine label gives an unmissable opportunity to fall under the spell of Pandit Pran Nath. Truly life-affirming music.
““The raga cycle given by Pandit Pran Nath at the Palace Theater in Paris 1972 was the first time a Master Indian Classical Vocalist had presented three consecutive days of ragas sung at the appropriate times of day, giving the Western audience insight into the characteristics that inform the moods and atmospheres of evening, afternoon, and morning ragas.
“The recording here is from the Saturday, May 27, 1972 afternoon concert and features Raagini Bheempalasi and Raag Puriya Dhanaashree. This is the Maestro at the very summit of his creative and vocal powers. His inspiration merged with his excitement of being in Paris and added to the uniqueness of these performances. As he guided his ragas at an unhurried pace with a surety and command of the musical language, details emerge in the music so profound that new delights continue to surface.
“Pandit Pran Nath was born in 1918 in Lahore, India which was to become Pakistan. He was one of the foremost disciples of the legendary singer, Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan, Sahib of Kirana. Khan Sahib was known for his long extended renditions of ragas in the melodic Kirana style, often lasting hours. His knowledge of raga science was unparalleled, allowing him to unveil endless permutations and combinations of phrases. Pandit Pran Nath absorbed this knowledge of raga from his Guru, building on these majestic forms in a unique and inimitable way. Pran Nath’s rich vocal quality and imaginative renditions of well-known ragas singled him out as one of the greatest masters in the history of Indian Classical Music.
“Pan Nath’s music is ancient and modern, full of fresh flights of imagination. It is no wonder that his numerous performances in the West attracted devotees and students. Besides La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, he instructed musicians of the American avant garde, including Jon Hassell, Lee Konitz, Allaudin Mathieu, Charlemagne Palsestine, Sufi Pir, Shabda Kahn and many others. His impact on contemporary music continues to grow.” —Terry Riley”
CoH Plays Everall is a remarkable turn by singular synthesist Ivan Pavlov, who pays tribute to the late UK electronica/industrial pioneer John Everall (Tactile/Sentrax) with six transmutations of analog material originally meant for a collaboration between the two artists, plus CoH’s Hunger collab with Jhonn Balance ov Coil.
Working somewhere between Powell’s recent New Beta jaunts, Lorenzo Senni’s circumvented trance arpeggios, and the rapid ear movements of Gábor Lázár, it’s by far some of the most colourful, kinkily swung gear we’ve ever heard from Pavlov aka CoH, but trustingly articulated with a cold northern melancholy.
Proceeding from Hallow Ground’s reissue of CoH’s Soisong and their recent issues of Dedekind Cut and Siavash Amini records, CoH Plays Everall is a real credit to their catalogue, not least as a great tribute to Everall, but also as one of the rarest glimpses of CoH in kinetic action, gambolling between electric blue nEuro-trance pulses in 2016 to the TCF black MIDI styles of Wavetrap and the hyper, head-pinching strobes of Overbeat with an energy bordering on gleeful that we’ve hardly heard from CoH before.
Seriously, any lovers of razor-sharp, forward electronics from Errorsmith to Lorenzo Senni need to check this, pronto!
First in an EP trilogy that will culminate with a compilation CD and a limited edition vinyl box set containing all three EPs
"Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane, and 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light), Belle and Sebastian will release three new EPs under the umbrella title How To Solve Our Human Problems, with the first EP coming out on December 8th, the second on January 19th, and the third on February 16th
To celebrate this announcement, Belle and Sebastian has revealed a new song titled ‘I’ll Be Your Pilot’, which can be found on EP2 and heard HERE. The single encapsulates the essence of the groups gentle attention to melody, and takes as its subject Stuart Murdoch’s young son: “Having your first kid is a huge event, so I wrapped a lot of things I felt about Denny into the song. Being a dad made me feel a little like the pilot in The Little Prince, hence all the references to the Sahara!”
Just as those three early EPs are at the very heart of the Belle and Sebastian canon, so these three new releases deserve to be treated not as a stopgap, but as definitive releases in their own right. How To Solve Our Human Problems is both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. How To Solve Our Human Problems is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux."
Virtually clad in the best artwork of 2017, Sometimes The Going Gets a Little Tough is Finn’s unmissable volley of bittersweet dance music for “trying times”. As one of the sickest DJs in operation in Manchester, and a key member of its burgeoning new wave of producers, Finn’s rep has spread far and wide in recent years, bringing him to this, his definitive release to date.
Landing six months after the Late At Night pearl on his 2B Real label, Finn gives the dance a much needed dose of raw, rude and emosh dance trax, fully indulging his fetish for regional US club styles and classic UK ‘80s and ’90s vibes with devilish swerve and stacks of ear-worming hooks.
There’s flavours for all ravers inside, flexing from a potential Xmas No.1 in the soul-buzzing title banger, then filtering the funk from your toes to ya nose in the Roulé-esque chops of Who This Is (It’s P), while Rider (Some Rules Mix) allows a trace of melancholy into the mix with wickedly contrasting and very Manchester-styled effect. Give Me A Hand brings the vibe gauge right back up with an irresistible blend of filter house, speed garage and Jersey Club funk, while Trying Your Best gives it up for the strugglers, initially blue and downcast but getting there with a strong 2nd wind of ghetto house rudeness, leaving the creamed R&B lixx of So Confused to speak for all of us.
Game. Set. Match. This is a proper Bobby Dazzler.
Scorching Afro-psych-funk fuzz ’n grub from outta Cameroon, c. mid ‘70s, picked and dusted down by Samy Ben Redjeb’s ever-dependable Analog Africa label. Those drums, that vocal - liable to take yer eyebrows off, or at least set your ass on fire.
“I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face, carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country.
The record contained two songs – ‘Gandjal Kessoum’ and ‘Touflé’ – by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba. Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon’s mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal. The shop owner - who noticed that I was listening to the same record over and over again - mentioned that ‘There is another single with a green cover of the same artist’.
Over the next six years I searched for that ‘green cover’ and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin. While most of the records had been beaten and worn by a life spent in the jukebox, this one had been sitting in its paper sleeve for forty years, untouched and unplayed, seemingly waiting for us to pick it up and rip the two soulful Gandjal tunes from it, the masterpieces ‘Fouh Sei Allah’ and ‘Tchakoulaté’.
These two records, plus a third simply named ‘Nord Cameroon Rythms’ constitute the entire discography of Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, Hamad Kalkaba and the Golden Sounds at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon’s forgotten geniuses.
But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn’t disappeared. Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon, and a former member of Cameroon’s Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the Confederation of African Athletics. And Although Kalkaba’s job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he’d made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project. He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaoundé in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes.
During the interview Kalkaba explained how the songs recorded in the mid 1970s were part of a movement, a movement initiated by musicians from all around Cameroon who, with the help of keyboards, drum kits and electric guitars, had started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions. For Kalkaba it was no different and backed by his band the Golden Sounds, devoted himself to the promotion of the sounds of northern Cameroon.
One of the aims of Analog Africa is to showcase the colourful diversity of styles that exist in Africa and its diaspora and today we are very proud to be able to give these Gandjal tunes their first worldwide release.”
Classically-skooled deep house excellence from Italy’s Rhythm Of Paradise
Showing the new waves of leaden line-dancers how to do it with swing and sexiness in three sterling cuts: the lush Detroit/NYC lift of Dreams; an NYC garage-taught dancer named Into Your Eyes; and the spiritual Nu Groove sophistication of U; and a square-bass tied rework of Dreams from fellow Italian producer, Cosmic Garden.
Carl Michael von Hauswolff sonifies the invisible, the unheard in Still Life - Requiem, presenting the sounds emitted by physical matter, as extracted and revealed through emission spectroscopy executed at Linköping University, Sweden. Its a direct continuation of CMvH’s role as chief ghost hunter or Egon Spengler of the contemporary avant garde, and an eerily fascinating listen.
In the true sense of a psychopomp, CMvH acts as a bridge between dimensions and perceptions of life and inanimate matter, analysing its frequencies or entropic aura, then pitching up, amplifying the results until comprehensible by the human ear (between 15 and 14000Hz).
So far, so scientific, but the art creeps in where CMvH farther manipulates that material by stretching, looping and equalising it into something else. When heard in context of his intentions, those sounds form a requiem - a sort of comforting dedication to lost souls, which are usually human or animal, but in this case not necessarily so.
If you like listening at the threshold of perception and drawing your own conclusions from freaky sonics, your lugs deserve this one.
Shenzhou is next up in Biosphere’s album reissue schedule.
Original issued in 2000, it finds the Norwegian artist following the wistful loops of Cirque farther down the rabbit hole, leaving behind the purely electronic contours and beat-driven elements of his early work for a subtler, textured electro-acoustic style comparable with The Caretaker and Leyland Kirby or William Basinski’s faded tape loops. Your attention is required to the mesmerising string swells of Houses On The Hill, the cinematic midnight jazz gesture of Path Leading to the High Grass, and the Deathprod-alike gloam of Lorry Shuttle Shaft.
Killer, massive collection of Redman’s ’80s + ‘90s digidub productions, sourced from rare 7”s. This one’s a lot! Check for Tony Tuff’s ‘Careless People’, Admiral Tibet on the ruddy ride of ‘New Tactics’, and particularly the handful of dub versions!
“Two years after the release of Sleng Teng, a young vigorous producer, who was originally a sound system operator, was maturing his tactics to rule over Jammy’s position. His name was Hugh ‘Redman’ James. Soon the producer was in the limelight during the late 80’s to the early 90’s for releasing a number of hits from his own Redman International label.
The sound system operator turned producer employed Steely & Clevie for his rhythm section like other major producers including King Jammy, King Tubby and Winston Riley. But the rhythms he created were literally new when compared to the works of other 80’s labels. Many would still say that Redman’s style is very similar to King Jammys. But at the same time, he identified his music by dripping the essence of Jamaican roots music, which inevitably distinguished his sound and originality.
Themes that Redman accompanied were very obvious in titles, which he produced. Titles such as ‘Weh Dem Fah’ and ‘Danger’ by Carl Meeks, ‘Dangerous’ by Conroy Smith, ‘New Tactics’ by Admiral Tibett, ‘Careless People’ by Tony Tuff and ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Runnings’ by Dave Bailey are considerably some of his best productions that featured those clear themes and conscious messages from those artists.
A major breakthrough came to Redman when he versioned a Studio One classic ‘Run Run’ by Delroy Wilson to create a massive hit ‘Koloko’ by Clement Irie. On the same rhythm, Johnny P, Daddy Lilly, Rappa Robert & Tippa Lee have also recorded other striving songs. In addition, he produced many talented artists like Red Dragon, Frankie Paul, Courtney Melody and released other quality productions.
Throughout the Redman’s catalogue, all of the songs and rhythms were basically created to target patrons at various dancehall venues as he was originally a sound system man. Also dub versions to his rhythms were very remarkable productions. For these reasons, his music is still highly demanded and respected from the day that Redman founded his label over twenty years ago.”
Available to download for the 1st time
Jon Hassell’s 1978 debut studio album for Lovely Music - released years before his seminal and hugely influential ‘Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics’ album with Brian Eno. Definitely worth checking if you fancied the recent Bjørk album, of which Hassell was a key influence
Given the leaking nature of modern society, it's a genuine wonder that news of Thom Yorke's solo LP was kept under wraps for so long - with its four year gestation shrouded from the limelight by little more than some lexically spannered blog entries and a vocal opposition to Live 8... Ever since the electronica-indie of 'Kid A' gave Mojo readers something to think about, Thom Yorke has been straining at the bit to indulge his digital side - with 'The Eraser' the first fruits of this labour. By no means as avant-bollocks as swathes of the mainstream press would have you believe, 'The Eraser' is actually a beautifully lilting collection of studio-finessed tracks that could readily have appeared on the aforementioned 'Kid A'. Just as that album buffeted Yorke's cracked vocals against a rainfall of creamy electronics, so the opening (and title) track from 'The Eraser' plumbs similar territory - taking a beacon-pulse of synth then glazing it through a spindly cowl of beats that hoist Yorke's initially muted vocals to dizzying emotional heights. Unreasonably good, it's a proper bobby dazzler that sees Yorke's confused question "are you just being nice because you want something?" rendered into the kind of emotionally charged missive that reminds you just how great Radiohead are when firing on all cylinders. Doggedly insisting that this doesn't represent a solo album, Yorke has been quick to point to the contribution of long time producer Nigel Godrich as well as the fact that many of the sonic elements included are processed samples taken from full-fat Radiohead sessions - something that is fairly obvious on second track 'Analyse'. Blessed with the kind of dipping melody that lodges itself deep within the cranial tectonics, 'Analyse' stirs a fragile piano into a fog of jack-knife beats, cold-water synths and Yorke's undulating vocals to create a song which wouldn't have looked out of place on either 'Hail To The Thief' or 'Kid A'. From here 'The Eraser' continues to deliver, with an obvious highlight coming in the form of 'Black Swan' - sounding like 'National Anthem' put through a digital rainbow, Yorke whispers "cause this is fucked up, fucked up" atop a revolving set of guitar 'n' tronics to dizzying effect. Elsewhere, 'The Clock' is a banjo-speckled showstopper, 'Harrowdown Hill' delivers its political indictment through crystalline beats, whilst 'And It Rained All Night' is feedback catharsis for the almost drowned larynx of Yorke. Delete as applicable...
One of 2017’s most hotly anticipated mixtapes delivers in style, as Clara La San’s bedroom-crafted Good Mourning is finally ready to take pride of place in iTunes folders the world over. Clara writes, sings and produces all her own material - save for some assists from Jam City - and her significant debut is set to catapult her into pop consciousness.
As a member of South Manchester’s Gang Fatale, and with prior convictions for DVA (Pink22) and Mssingno (Fone), as well as soundcloud posts racking up over 200k listens, Clara arrives fully formed into the world with a pitch-perfect, yet sweetly damaged style of R&B emotional punishment whose one-two of razor-sharp, upfront production and frankly confessional lyrics have won her comparisons with everyone from contemporary stars such as Kelela and Tinashe, thru classic ‘90s/‘00s feels from Monica and Aaliyah.
However, all those comparisons stop short of the fact that Clara is the boss of her show, and while her hooks and arrangements are R&B/pop in the purest sense, there’s also a ethereal thizz and lush weightlessness to her sound that beckons comparison with Laurel Halo or 0PN as much as The Dream, thanks to her songs’ achingly careful blend of futurist soul with timeless, romantic appeal.
If we’re playing favourites, the widescreen, dry-iced ‘80s glyder Strangers is right up there with our favourite Sally Shapiro bits, cleanly pointing to influence from US movie OSTs, while the glitching intro and combustible dynamics of opener Rivers leaves us heart-in-mouth, also recalling 0PN in its experimental pop turns-of-phrase, and the rugged combo of Reese bass, frighteningly confident vocals and fierce drill drums in Alright is just lip-bitingly strong and memorable songcraft.
Unless you’re a diehard harsh noise fan or a genuine techno curmudgeon, you’d be daft to not check this one out.
With the Reassemblage album still glistening in the background, Visible Cloaks unpackage the filigree designs of their Lex mini-album for RVNG Intl., framing six lucid peeks into their hyperprism of ‘80s Japanese electronic music and noumenal new age inspirations.
Offering a sublime, absorbing survey of the uncanny perceptive valley between nature and electronic emulation, speech - both human and synthesised - is the central focus of VC’s 4th release. Used as legible chunks and also diffracted in myriad harmonic shimmers and psychoacoustic tones, human and synth voices lend melody, structure and weightless soul to Lex, blended with flurries of keys and punctuated in a way that feels we’re eavesdropping on a sweetly effortless dialogue between two or more AI, describing their feelings and opinions to each other in a language of gaseous harmonics, abstract acidic gestures and almost avian digital chatter.
The first five parts are all neatly succinct, arranged with an adroit, natural dynamism that recalls moments from Sugai Ken’s Japanese nightscapes in Transient, for example, as much as The Dirty Projectors’ wistful R&B chamber music on Frame, or James Ferraro’s Human Story or Burning Prius pieces in Keys or Lex. However, the most impressive part is World, where Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile push the ambient envelope to 14 minutes of floating hyaline structures and anaesthetising pads so effective that you’ll forget what you were listening to and just drift away within the first few minutes for the duration, we promise.
4th world pioneer Jon Hassell’s 1995 album of deeply psychedelic wormholes inspired by Cameroonian ceremonial music, available to download for the first time. Definitely worth checking if you fancied the recent Bjørk album, of which Hassell was a key influence
“The style of music which I call "Fourth World" is a continual exploration of ways in which exotic musics from the tribal cultures of the Southern hemisphere might be fused with the technological possibilities of the Western World (primitive/future). It is an attempt to create music which dissolves the dichotomy between the structural and the sensual (classical and popular in western terms).
The music for Sulla Strada is partially inspired by ceremonial music of the Beti and Bemileke of Cameroon. This is blended with other compositional and less geographically-specific elements in an attempt to create a kind of musical scenery which is not entirely "primitive", not entirely "future" but someplace impossible to locate either chronologically or geographically. In the stage production one musical section gradually evolves into another over long stretches of time.
The aim is to create a dense, ritualized sound atmosphere in which the stage action might take place and be formed within, in the same way that the density of water can be said to form the movements of a swimmer. jon hassell, April 1992, Florence”
Excellent second solo album from Thom Yorke, reissued.
He's joined by regular production foil Nigel Godrich, credited with production and editing, and his Radiohead bandmate Colin Greenwood chimes in with beat programming on 2nd song, 'Guess Again!'. It's a melancholy thing built from tenderly bruised bass and a filigree palette of "silver darkness" shot thru with fluoro tones reflected in the sleeve art's colour scheme.
Highlights include the feathered 2-step and phasing chords of 'The Mother Lode', the buoyant techno pulse of 'There Is No Ice (For My Drink)' and a future-fave closer, 'Nose Grows Some' are Thom Yorke at his most bruising, and, when coupled with the charms of Basinski-esque, decaying keys in 'Pink Section', or the lushly skewed harmonies of 'Interference' make for his most engrossing record yet.
Playful neo-classical works for piano and electronics, recorded by Brian Eno.
“Finding Shore is the sound of Tom distilling the essence of what he does after a protracted musical journey from childhood until now. He took the traditional route of music lessons and learning notation before starting composing “properly”. As a 17-year-old he had the odd contrast of being taught by the composer Harrison Birtwistle but also working as lounge pianist in a dilapidated hotel in Peterborough. He spent some time in New York playing jazz, recording with Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus, and had a successful career with post-rock group Three Trapped Tigers, yet however enjoyable that experience was, he admits it was “definitely a diversionary tactic”. Everything seemed to be an escape from the classical world or, as Rogerson himself puts it, “falling out of my ivory tower very slowly”.
Masquerading under aliases for the last few years, Luke Blair coughs up gritty techno mutations on the Twisted Blood EP for his Glum label.
Each cut sounds like it was captured mid-mutation or formed from reactive substance that burn on contact, convecting the oxidising garage-techno torque of Twisted Blood and the submerged techno stress-test of Another Victory for Furniture for more adventurous dancefloors, along with more knackered, impish alien folk dance with crooked budge of The Yips, and something like a corrupted pastoral ambient scene with Doom.
Over the last twenty five years Robin Rimbaud – Scanner has traversed the experimental terrain between sound, space and image, connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres – a partial list would include sound design, film scores, computer music, avant garde, contemporary composition, large-scale multimedia performances, product design, architecture, fashion design, rock music and jazz.
"Fibolae is his first studio album since 2009, released via the independent label run by Anna von Hausswolff, Pomperipossa Records. With a catalogue busy with commissions, soundtracks and strange projects this is the first studio album since 2009’s Rockets, ‘Unto the Edge of Rockets’ (Bine Music). In this time much has changed – he lost his entire family and left the comfort of a familiar city, London, to live in a former textile factory in the UK to re-invent his life.
‘Fibolae’ offers up a world that splinters between melancholia and penetrating energy. Combining digital technologies, software and live instrumentation it is both a rhetoric of mourning and a celebration of music to empower. Warm, organic, sensual, passionate and frequently angry, it’s an album that radiates with possibilities.
As to the meaning of the title, ‘Fibolae’? There is none. It was a word that appeared to Scanner in a dream, at a time of great challenges in his life. The fact that his unconscious mind could conjure up such inventions that offer no history and context was appealing and yet it was suggestive, playful and open."
However you might try to find the words for it, Total Control's caustic charm is stunning and oblique. A sensible account of the band typically focuses on its parts—the associated groups, the touring configurations, etc.—as if finding ways by which Total Control is divisible gleans critical information for breaking through their cryptic sheen.
"With tonic, wry twists, and forever employing aphoristic brevity for the comic/cosmic dynamite that it is best reserved for, the band seems to indulge this with each new release, or tour, or whatever's put on the counter. The bands European tour tape from 2015 was a sure reminder of this. Their new 12", 'Laughing At The System,' is a succinct statement, but it feels like the sharpest thing they've ever assembled. Written and recorded over the past couple of years in various lounge rooms, bedrooms, and rehearsal studios, across Melbourne, regional Victoria, and Western Australia, Al Montfort, Daniel Stewart, James Vinciguerra, Mikey Young, and Zephyr Pavey are—for the record—all accounted for in the process. 'Laughing At The System' is bookended by a title track in two parts. The scattered mania of the opener is an unsettling beginning, with cascading madhouse-riffs somehow finding a ricocheting unison.
The closing part has the familiar head-charge of Total Control's most gnashing moments, with the guitars balancing the equation between running-too-fast and drinking-too-fast in one queasy commitment. With a brilliantly acerbic wit, we're implored to gather that there's some equivalences here. And it's this kind of impulse that's kept up throughout the 12". Drizzled with Vinciguerra's fraught fills, which have the rare quality of being unmistakably his in both electronic and acoustic form, this punctuation comes in and out of focus between elegiac moments and breezy experimentation, the latter including the elated instrumental 'Cathie and Marg.' Throughout, Stewart scripts a tumultuous wake for a flatlining reality, forever nudging the listener to second-guess themselves about the sincerity and intent. Far from cynical, but earnestly neurotic, the potency of the atmosphere that Total Control has mustered across 'Laughing At The System' registers as a deeply commanding, though bleak, psychedelicism for the future."