Debut LP of darkwave drills by Mathilde Mallen’s Dissemblance, the latest project by the Parisian DJ and producer with form as Electric Mistress and La Corda
Shapeshifting between gritty and sleek textures and fluid and rugged rhythms, ‘Over The Sand’ works as a great sort of sci-fi cyberpunk episode, sweepign between club ready dance tax and more atmospheric songs in a classic way.
“Over the ten tracks Dissemblance treads the fringes of a blurred dream world, using her bass guitar, voice, and drum machine as the backbone to create haunting yet soothing pop atmospheres in her songs.
The opener "Transfuge" maintains a focus on the bass guitar, while a sparse rhythm box and monotone vocal fuel unbreakable tension. "Rescue" continues centered around the bass playing, this time with more almost upbeat surf rock pop sensibility driving the track. The closer "A Ride" takes shape with Boss DR-55 clicks, solem, floating vocals and a subtle bassline reminding us of some of Lifetones finer moments.
A welcome new addition to the Mannequin catalog, "Over the Sand" will appeal to fans of gloom tinged electronic pop and even to optimistic goths around the globe.”
Jonny Trunk draws an astute link between ASMR and ‘Mechanical Keyboard Sounds’ in this perfectly peculiar side of recordings by bespoke luxury mechanical keyboard maker, Taeha Types, featuring Recordings of 12 bespoke mechanical keyboards.
Up there with the oddest and most brilliant Trunk sides, ‘Mechanical Keyboard Sounds’ takes a closer look and listen to the ubiquitous tool found on desktops everywhere, and may even make you develop a newfound appreciation for the humble keyboard. Prompted by a neighbour - Stuart London aka futurecrime - to check the growing online scene for bespoke and customised mechanical keyboards, Trunk was struck by how satisfying the sound of a well-tuned keyboard could be. A conversation was started with ‘tuber Taeha Types, who is recognised as the go-to guy for this sorta thing, and the result is this uniquely gratifying slab of 12 recordings of rapid taps made on some of the finest keyboards money can buy.
If one weren’t told otherwise, the recordings may well resemble close-miked documentation of insects, some esoteric ritual, or a game of backgammon sped up, but closer inspection reveals sequences of these flurries that are possibly identifiable as furious delete keying or hammering a return button. And this is where it gets interesting, as each recording reveals to the listener the idiosyncrasies of each keyboard and its custom parts which, like custom built cars, use a huge spectra of parts both vintage and bespoke to achieve the users’ dream build and preferred levels of tactility and clickiness.
The models all range from customised 1986 vintage to bespoke 2019 models made with milled aluminium and lubed with the same grease that NASA use. Stuart London highlights the Nixdorf switches on the ’TGR 910 RE’ as particularly satisfying to his ears, and they are to ours, too, but the ‘IBM P70’ with its tinny plate spring switches is also tickling our fancy, but christ that ‘Chicory KB5160AT would get on our tits if we had to use it all day. Like customised keyboards themselves, this record ain’t for everyone, but you don’t need to like them to enjoy this record, much in the same way we’ve previously enjoyed C Spencer Yeh’s recording of an unplugged RCA Mark II Synth.
Expanded reissue of Stereolab's Margarine Eclipse.
"Stereolab's music is so consistent, and so consistently pretty, that it has become nearly criticism-proof; the band do what they do so completely that it's almost a matter of accepting or rejecting their music whole instead of analyzing it. But while Stereolab's mix of '50s and '60s lounge, vintage electronic music, and Krautrock may have crossed over into easy listening indie pop a few albums ago, they still can't be dismissed easily. Margerine Eclipse, the band's tenth full-length, can sound a bit like a collage of pieces from their nine other albums, but the overall effect is more retrospective than repetitive. It's arguably the most direct work Stereolab have done since Emperor Tomato Ketchup (and at just under 54 minutes, it's one of the shortest of their later albums) and it continues Sound-Dust's trend of gathering the sounds the band explored on their previous work and tweaking them slightly. All of this is to say that Margerine Eclipse is a strong album, even if the nagging feeling that the band aimed a little low with their artistic goals takes a small amount of pleasure out of listening to it. The album trades in the bright yet somehow bittersweet pop at which the group have always excelled, albeit in a more streamlined form than it's taken over the course of their past few albums. The busy beats, whimsical noises, unconventional melodies, and, of course, lovely harmonies that define Stereolab are all present and accounted for, and they're all very pretty, even if many of them are pretty similar to each other. But Margerine Eclipse's best songs are good enough that they resemble a greatest-hits collection from an alternate universe: "...Sudden Stars" is as coolly lovely as it was on the Instant 0 in the Universe EP, with its delicate, measured synth and vocal lines rising and falling in graceful arcs of sound. "Vonal Déclosion"'s twangy guitars and lush strings nod to Sean O'Hagan's involvement, and the layers of Laetitia Sadier's vocals are seamless, but on songs like this, Mary Hansen's voice is missed more than ever ("Feel and Triple" is a sweet tribute to her). "Cosmic Country Noir" is another of Margerine Eclipse's standout tracks, and indeed one of the best Stereolab songs in a long time; on paper, its percolating percussion, chiming synths and guitars, and simple lyrics about the pleasures of the country might not seem all that special, but in practice it's exceptionally beautiful.
Perhaps Margerine Eclipse's greatest accomplishment is that it isn't nearly as overcooked as some of Stereolab's other recent work. None of the songs bring the album to a halt; the closest Margerine Eclipse comes to the band's previous noodly excursions is "La Demeure," a fascinating but somewhat formless track mixing Raymond Scott-like synth sparkles with brass and unpredictable rhythmic and melodic shifts. Just as importantly, the fizzy "Margerine Rock" and "Hillbilly Motorbike," which sounds like the theme to a very stylish game show, restore some of the effortless fun that informed all of Stereolab's work before Dots and Loops. Likewise, "Bop Scotch"'s mix of surf rock and synths -- as well as the sassiest vocals from Sadier in a long while -- suggests that there's still plenty of life in Stereolab. O'Hagan's presence on the album is used judiciously, adding some warmth to the production but not indulging his own noodly tendencies either. Margerine Eclipse's final track, "Dear Marge," is heavily influenced by O'Hagan's work, both with the High Llamas and his previous collaborations with Stereolab. Its languid guitars and silky vocals threaten to slide off into a blissful haze, but then the band reprises the surprisingly convincing disco interlude they introduced on Instant 0 in the Universe's "Mass Riff." It would've been nice to hear that part of the song developed into a full-fledged track, but it still makes the song one of the freshest on the album. Margerine Eclipse can't really be called a return to form since Stereolab didn't really deviate from the form to begin with, but it still offers a reinvigorated sound that rewards the patience of fans who have stuck with the band this long." - All Music
Superb side of itchy, economic rhythmic psychedelia from the Portuguese artist behind Serpente’s brilliant recent batteries on Sucata Tapes and Ecstatic. Making his vinyl debut as Ondness, Bruno Silva graces Discrepant’s Souk label with 10 tracks of pointillist, scratchy percussion and amorphous bass tessellated in patterns resembling footwork and current Afro-Latin dance movements, yet never quite landing in any fixed style apart from his own.
The vibe is generally a little less club-cut than his preceding works as Serpente, but, that being said, canny DJs will surely find ways of working of working the 10 spicy joints into sets along with similarly adventurous, futuristic rhythms from Beatrice Dillon to Foodman or Eliza B.C., for example.
““Meio Que Sumiu” can be translated as the “community that disappeared” and it alludes to the disappearance of outdoors communities and how it affects the music we listen (and how we listen to it). Ondness wanted to release an album less about himself and his inspirations and more about his aspirations about how dance music could be in an era of constant interactivity and information. But also, how it fails to be that aspiration.
Once again, like in “Not Really Now Not Any More”, Bruno works in the territory of science fiction. Investigating the present and future with nostalgia about how things could be and could evolve. It’s music in the realm of non-existing, instead of raving nostalgia about dance music from the 1990s, Bruno explores the idea of possible futures with different approaches to dance/electronic music in each song.
In “Meio Que Sumiu” it’s obvious his music has matured and found its listenes. Bruno is no longer a bedroom musician. (He never was, but he sure worked on that idea. And very well, we might say). The dancefloor is now his, with music that explores the deeper immersion of ourselves. Communities may be changing, but the principles of dance music are always the same. Even with motion sickness for future nostalgia, like the music in “Meio Que Sumiu”.”
Amazing tekno salvo from the guts of Berlin’s early rave scene, produced by a member of Gong for the Mutoid Waste Company = a missing link between psych-rock and techno!!!
Since the ‘70s Steffe Lewry has played guitar in psychedelic rock bands, but during the late ‘80s/early ‘90s he was member of Mutoid Waste Company - the legendary gaggle of mutants exiled from London’s rave scene after hassle from the dibble, who ended up in the midst of a transitory Berlin where they created large scale artwork from military detritus and made and played cranky ass psychedelic tekno. Recorded on Korg DDD1 drum machine, Fender Stratocaster, and 4-track for Jonathan Barnett’s film reel of Mutoid art “How The Mutoids Brought Down The Berlin Wall”, the 3 tracks on Steffe’s ‘Mutate’ 12” have been rescued from evidently worn tapes, but still kick their knowledge nearly 30 years later.
Mixing Chicago jack rhythms with psychy electronic noise, all 3 cuts speak to the wild nature of a post-wall Berlin, when ravers from East and West were occupying the large tracts of unused land at Berlin’s core to live-in, throw raves, and create art. The A-side’s two 8 minute ‘Mutate’ parts are prime testament to this scuzzy aesthetic and attitude - all loose limbed stomp and wigged-out, hypnotic electronics - while the B-side’s 9 minute 3rd part really conveys this sense of wide-eyed fervour with an epic cyberpunk intro that gives way to a faster, flanged out pelt that sounds like Tuning Circuits meets PWoG (on acid and Garys, in an old soviet tank).
This 12” is so hard up our straße. Massive tip!
Expanded edition of Stereolab's seventh album, produced by Jim O'Rourke and part of the Stereolab Reissue Series.
"While the two years between Dots and Loops and Cobra resulted in stagnation, the two years separating Cobra and Sound-Dust find Stereolab deliberately recharging their creative juices, delving deeper into avant-garde composition and '60s swing pop in equal measures. As the album opens with the minimal "Black Ants in Sound-Dust," it's evident that the group has restructured and pushed forward, even if it means that they're adhering to their time-honored tradition of expanding their trademark sound with new arrangements and influences. Frankly, after the stagnation of Cobra, any movement forward is welcome, and initially the record seems like a bold move forward -- a Stereolab instrumental album where the arrangements and production take the proper forefront, since every recording since Amorphous Body Center has illustrated that that's the group's real strength. Then, "Captain EasyChord" kicks in with a familiar, albeit catchy, mid-tempo lounge groove and Laetitia Sadier's singsong vocals, and the album is immediately anchored in overly familiar territory. And that's the biggest problem with Sound-Dust -- by this point the group's melodies, singalong choruses, and Marxist platitudes no longer sound fresh, they often sound like a straightjacket, preventing the group from pushing forward into new territory. After all, if it's taken on a pure sonic level, Sound-Dust can often be quite pleasing and intriguing, especially the sophisticated horn and flute arrangements, which producer Jim O'Rourke makes lushly alluring. It's hard not to wish that the entire record was constructed simply of instrumentals of this sort, since that's when Stereolab sounds fully recharged and gorgeous. As it stands, the album is held back by their insistence on simple songs and simple vocals that keep the record earthbound and solely the province of the already converted." - All Music
Renowned EVP expert and dark interpreter CMvH gets down to the nitty gritty of morality in art with a fascinating, newly augmented collection of sound installation recordings made 2001-2003 in response to Stockhausen’s controversial comments on 9/11 and now released by Sähko.
‘Addressing the Fallen Spirit’ employs an oblique collage of recordings from various installation works as the vehicle for Carl Michael Von Hausswolff’s thoughts on the intersection of art and morality. It’s obviously a dead sticky subject but one that CMvH tackles in the accompanying liner notes, which are crucial to understanding the LP, and take on a particular resonance in 2019 when discussions about political and moral responsibility are more urgent than ever.
The premise of the LP lies in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s 2001 assertions that Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in NYC, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania constituted a work of art. Stockhausen would later clarify his comments and condemn the attack as “Lucifer’s greatest work of art”, but CMvH finds fault with both assertions, essentially saying that a) the attack wasn’t a work of art because it caused death and tragedy, and b) that in qualifying his statement by invoking the mythological fabrication of Lucifer, and by extension Christianity, he was deferring responsibility to the big spirit in the sky.
As CMvH outlines in the liner notes, the argument is more complicated, and applies to a vast history of art in the last 50 years. This includes CMvH’s own highly controversial use of ashes from the victims of the Holocaust at Nazi concentration camp Majdanek in a painting at his 2012 gallery show, which was quickly cancelled.
Bookended by brief vocal snippets, concluding with the voice of Stockhausen, the piece’s collage of distressed radio signals, 666 Hz sine waves, guitar amp hum recorded at multiple CMvH installations between 2001-2003 thus act as a charred sponge or carbon sink for thoughts on the matter of “religious dogma and artistic pomp”, and society’s inability to properly grasp and take responsibility for its actions, or at least not even discuss the matter maturely. Taken in context of impending ecological disaster, too, he suggests that humans, even the ones we massively respect (CMvH is hugely inspired by Stockhausen), have difficulty coming to terms with objective reality and taking responsibility; now is the time to act.
Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance host a trio of Hypnobeat’s infectious ‘80s drum machine trips in the ‘Forbidden Plant’ EP
Originally engineered and newly mastered by band member Tobias Freund (Tobias./NSI), the EP is presented as “a musical touch of far away places.” This exotic mindset leads the EP between a previously unreleased 1986 workout ‘Polychrome Desert’ played on 3 x TR-808 machines, backed with the slouchy, furtive, psychedelic minimal wave of ‘Spies in Malaysia’, played on MC-202, sampler and syncussion, and the tracky chug of ‘Sumatra Railway’, a grubby and spindly 1985 recording that sounds like surf rock that got trapped in a rip current and shored up in Salford docks during the Factory Recs era.
Chuggy, trampling techno from Piezo on his Milan-based Ansia label
A-side revolves the scratchy rub-n-tug of ‘Art Attack Gone Wrong’, which notably featured in Laksa’s ‘Fact Mix 713’ this summer, while the B-side’s ‘perccssszzzz’ is locked to a soggy bass drum and gnawed with cranky percussion and electronics like a Matthew Herbert or Randomer track on the edge of a panic attack.
Choice reissue of Ende Shneafliet’s lesser known, electro-dubwise project, King Ende Shneafliet, on the long-running cult label Trumpett and Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance.
As heard on the reissues of Ende Shneafliet member Hanjo Erkamp’s Dr. Stein project, his ‘Dimension 1’ outing is packed with absorbing details and turns go phrase, but this time on a woozier bent inspired by King Tubby as much as the gremlins in his machines.
Beautifully mastered from original tapes for full bodied impact, the long overlooked results are a genuine oddity in their field, crossing lines between dark but dippy synth-pop in the ‘Introduction’, to recall a prototypical John Maus in the hissy thizz of ‘Champagne’ and hit a killer, juicy downstroke in the slow-mo, vocodered electro traction of ‘I Came To Dance With The Bride’.
There’s also peachy bits of free-floating synths in ‘Classical Reverb’ and ‘Drei Männer Im Shnea’ and an unmissable dark electro slug called ‘What’s Wrong?’, all makign this a bit of a must for synth wave diggers looking for classic new thrills.
Shed gets all misty-eyed for his heimat, ‘Oderbruch’ in a cannily textured and melancholy 5th album of signature spins on Detroit, UK, and Berlin rave and techno styles.
Reflecting on his roots in the now bucolic rural region on the German-Polish border which was once site of the 20th century’s most pivotal battles between the Nazis and Russian/Poliush forces, Shed renders a strong balance of romantic melancholy and rugged rhythmic impetus in a classic style that has served him well thus far since his ’Shedding The Past’ LP. One gets the impression that the issue is so personally sore and evocative that it’s really taken René Pawlowitz until now to properly reveal a background to his music, and it only emphasises a levity that perhaps was always there, but now has greater meaning.
Balancing hedonist escapism with ontological realism, the album arguably shapes up as Shed’s best since his pivotal debut. Highlights such as the sweeping breakbeat mini-symphonies ‘Menschen und Mauern’ and ‘Sterbende Alleen’ prove he’s still one of the best non-UK artists to dice with old skool breakbeat hardcore styles, while the mesh of textured string plucks and spacious, whirring percussion on ‘Die Oder’ point to a classily grown-up refinement of his style (not that it was ever childish, tbf) that brings the album’s theme to life in key with the sweetly atmospheric ambient couplet at the album’s core, and ‘Das Bruch’ neatly wraps it up with a mix of boisterous, experimental breakage and vintage synth voices that metaphorically sum up and cement the album’s Janus-faced aesthetic.
Rolling neo-disco heft and frothy house from Nathan Micay, doing his bit for Give Something Back to Berlin “an inclusive space that offers free workshops, courses and events to teach people new skills in music and beyond."
Clocking in with the mid-tempo Italo roller ‘Sponge Worthy’, he plays into an early prog-house style with ‘I Like My Nudeln Fried’ along with the fruity house shanty ‘Feed The Planetary Sharks’ and an uptempo trance flight destined for future bargain bins with ‘The Canadian Song (Loon Song)’.
Absorbingly variegated, abstract electronics and gentle free jazz from Italy’s Laura Agnusdei, back on The Wormhole with explorations of an organic “5th World” sound owing to Jon Hassell as much as Björk and Charles Mingus, and recalling everyone from Rashad Becker to John Tchicai
““Laurisilva” is the scientific name for a kind of subtropical forest, charactarised by the presence of laurophyll, broadleaf tree species and high humidity. Laura Agnusdei borrowed this scientific term, which contains also the same Latin roots of her first name, to describe the personal musical ecosystem of her debut album. Its six tracks invite the listener to explore an imaginary landscape made from sounds growing and layering like biological organisms within a forest.
“Laurisilva” is a hybrid habitat, where the acoustic dimension of wind instruments – explored both in their melodic and timbral possibilities – meshes with polymorphic electronic sounds. The high biodiversity of the record takes inspirations from Jon Hassell, Charles Mingus, Björk and Terry Riley as well as the “Fifth World Music” of Italian label Artetetra. It also reflects Laura’s eclectic experience as a saxophone player and composer, ranging from psych rock to marching bands, from acousmatic composition to free improvisation.
While her saxophone is often the leading voice of the work, it occasionally shares the stage with the trumpet of contemporary music player Elisabeth Lusche, the swinging reeds of Italian jazz musician Giacomo Bertocchi and the ancient flutes of early music expert Thomas Reyna.
The cover of the album features an illustration by Agnusdei herself, taken from her ongoing series of drawings “Organic Life Patterns”.”
Snappy, wonky, melodic electro and pendulous UK bass trixx from Facta on his spiritual home; Wisdom Teeth
Fresh from appearing in Laurel Halo’s ‘DJ-Kicks’ mix, Facta follows a woozy declension of vibes from the early Joy O electroid 2-step styles of ‘Rose Red’ thru to the slinky chromatic wormhole funk of ‘Scales + Measures’ on a UK bass/house flex, to the hushed and sultry slow swivel of ‘4C Loop’.
UK hiphop producer Sumgii steps to Loefah’s 81 with tight, crafty spins on grime and dubstep
Leaning on and off the halfstep, Sumgii comes with a neatly distinguished style between the skulking swag of ‘Absurd’, a tight 2-stepper ‘Chunks’, the hot/cold flushes of ‘Skanker’, and woozy jazz chords on the prickling electro patterns of ‘Wollop’.
S&M’s deep Bristol blues classic ‘Same’ bubbles up with new remixes by the duo, plus Kahn, Justin Reverb/Henry & Louis, and Onset
The original is a timeless example of hash-rich Bristol melancholy starring a soaring street soul vocal by Tammy Payne. The remixes update the tune in various ways, from an excellent, Burial-esque remix by Kahn hingeing on killer woodblock and slow/fast percolations, to Rob Smith’s weighty 2019 digi-dub flex, and more dubbed out styles, and a passable prog house remix by Onset.
Digital edition of a dead limited, tour-only 10” split between two stalwarts of Chicago’s post-rock, jazz and electronica scene: Tortoise’s John McEntire and Sam Prekop of The Sea and Cake; and TAL co-founder Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot)
Playing into TAL’s rhythm-driven aesthetics, Prekop & McEntire explore effortless, motorik pulses and illusively blended, airborne electronic textures that wind up settlign into a burnished sort of Afro-rhythmic groove in ‘Kreuzung’, while Schneider’s Mapstation trims the vibe back to rustling minimalism with the gunky budge and smeared brass motifs of ‘Mira’, along with the sputtering organ discord and fractured ‘tronics of ‘Hilarious’, both exclusive to this EP.
Rude soca/gqom/afrobeats mutations from London’s More Time Records, marking their first merger with R&S.
More Time Records captains Ahadadream and Snøw supply hard riddims alongside two new vocal cuts. Ghana’s Bryte kicks off with playful bars on a ruddy tarquin and Mina production that sounds like it escaped from the whole bloghouse era, while Ahadadream’s rambunctious, bucking ‘Melty’ riddim appears as instrumental charge, next to the reckless carnival energy of Congolese rappers Bala Bala Boyz on the bouncing bomb ‘Sieta’, and the Kuduro-esque ‘Bleep Test’ by Snøw.
Mutant Beat Dance’s Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers) tells a grimy EBM story under his Opposing Currents guise for Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance label
“Throughout, Letkiewicz smothers off-kilter drum machine rhythms and throbbing, body-jacking synthesizer basslines in untold layers of hazy audio detail, creating a dystopian sound soup out of which alien electronic melodies, psychedelic acid lines and barely audible vocals emerge. At times, such as on angry opener “Lying Awake”, the extra-terrestrial “Dissolve” and foreboding “Shallow Grave”, we’re invited to dance in the darkness in celebration of impending doom. On other occasions, such as the poignant and melancholic closing cut “It Awaits”, Letkiewicz simply seems exasperated at the chaos that is life in the 21st century. It makes for a genuinely arresting and thought-provoking listen.”
Frostbitten grime and trance pads from Shayu, making their first move on Coyote.
‘Floating’ gives an icy tense start that flows thru into the bullet-riddled, skeletal design of ‘Roti’, the minimalist dembow budge of ‘Relapsed Into’, and screwed drill styles on ‘Flinx’, whereas ‘Common gender’ folds in fragrant far-eastern sounding vocals on a crafty triplet meter.
Slikback’s Hakuna Kulala come with grimy heat by Ecko Bazz following up the Ugandan MC’s sorely overlooked 2018 debut
The cold bell strikes and snap-jawed grip of ’Kyushu Embela’ sounds like a twisted Terror Danjah joint in its original form, whereas the ‘Gunfinger Mix’ ramps the madness with seriously freaky electronics, before he goes on like Riko Dan having a panic attack over the bolshy inverted kicks and clamouring noise of ‘Nightmare Song’.
UG is on fire right now.
Tight but dirty electro pugilism from London’s Assembler Code & Alex Jann on UTTU’s Dance Trax series - including a smart Roza Terenzi remix
Returning after his spar with Jenson Interceptor on ‘Dance Trax Vol. 19’, Assembler Code teams up with squat acid specialist Alex Jann (Rhythm Logistics) for five direct club cuts ranging from the gurning, Radioactiveman-like electro needles of ‘HH Drive’ and the distorted pneumatics of ‘Outer Trace’ up top, and thru to the haughty thrust of ‘Humanoid Future’, plus its breakbeat electro remix by Roza Terenzi, and the drier punch and staccato bleep attack of ‘Electrodynamic’.
Príncipe’s experimental sibling, Holuzam, introduce Portuguese maestro Luís Fernandes with a suite of pulsating, raw but sophisticated electronic improvisations nodding to Keith Fullerton Whitman, Steve Hauschildt, 0PN
Leading on from Fernandes’ ‘Demora’ album for Room40 (and a 2018 collaboration with Joana Gama for the same label), he strikes out with a looser, more immediate and thrilling sound in ‘Seis Peças Sintetizadas’ that embraces electronic music for its dissonant, chaotic, and romantic qualities.
While we’re not entirely sure what equipment Fernandes is using, it’s discernibly and unapologetically all electronic. The first part transitions from sheer drones into a wide-eyed display of rapid, ribboning arps and belching low end with stunning agility, and track 3 swoops from pulsing avian flights to vertiginous, Vangelis-style brass flares for the ages, while track 5 dematerialises into lush, prickly ambient realm, and track 6 veers to the edges of an abyssal post-techno sound realign the might and biting-point electronic textures of Emptyset.
Donato Dozzy and Tommy Four Seven do D&B their way with remixes of Homemade Weapons’ ‘Gravity’ album
Maybe we slept on it, but far as we know this is Donato Dozzy’s first time messing with D&B. He applies typically meticulous and patient touch to the rolling heft of ’Svalsat’ suspenseful results not far from his studio partner Neel’s efforts in the same arena. Tommy Four Seven also proves a canny match for HW’s hard-ass 170bpm pressure with a clenched and aggressive take on ‘Red Tide’.
Nyege Nyege Tapes kick off a crucial mix series with The Modern Institute’s blinding, 20-track razz; pelting thru unreleased collabs and remixes with Jay Mitta, Sisso and Errorsmith, along with 9 cuts to download individually.
In the two weeks after the 2018 edition of Nyege Nyege Festival, Tanzanian Singeli stars Jay Mitta and Sisso spent a lot of time hanging out and recording with The Modern Institute, Errorsmith and the extended Nyege Nyege family at their Villa HQ in Kampala, Uganda. The Modern Institute’s mixtape celebrates this period of unbounded creative energy, selecting and weaving together 20 highlights from some 50+ hybrids of Singeli with Soca, Makina and hardcore electronic dance music.
Across their frenetic 56 minute mix The Modern Institute offer an experience as close as you’ll get to the festival’s energy without actually touching down on the Equator. Documenting a totally unprecedented period of creative fusion, they rattle thru 20 tracks with an appropriately sense of unsigned joy, careening thru myriad strains of quicksilver drums and and hotfooting rhythms in a way that will light up any party of open-minded and up for it dancers, especially those with a thing for new electronic dance music from Africa.
The nine individual tracks form additional tools for the DJs. Errorsmith and Jay Mitta supply a huge highlight with the barrelling momentum of ‘Jam For Sisso’, while The Modern Institute also turn out the radical helter skelter pelt of ‘200 edit’ alongside seven groundbreaking collaborations with Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s Jay Mita and Sisso, including stellar zingers in TMI & Mitta’s mental ‘Rave Remix Final’ and the lightspeed syncopation of ‘Drill Remix’, plus the percolated step and tight, funky vamps of their jam with Sisso, ‘Biti 5 Sisso buildup’.
Greek producer Pasiphae pushes a tense, furtive and killer electro-Italo-EBM sound on Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance
Recalling classic Murder Capital vibes as much as Helena Hauff’s contemporary scum budgers, but with an added air of ancient Hellenic intrigue, the Siphax EP is a strong testament to Fotini Kappa’s solo sound following her introduction on the Made Of Glass  hook-up with Intergalactic Gary for Bio Rhythm.
A-side, she bites down with steel-fanged jaws in the Giallo-esque scene-setter, Tachyons, then shifts down a gear for the aching sleaze and drama of Vertical Rotation, urged by evilly turgid subass and nerve-gnawing synths. B-side keeps up the pressure with Bladerunner-esque stacks of brassy synth flare in Quelque Chose De Mauvais recalling Afrodeutsche’s recent ace for Skam, logically pursued by the funereal Quelque Chose De Mal to an exceptional parting shot with the unharnessed, Italinate arps of header working just as usefully as an outro or dramatic set-starter in the right claws.
Nocow goes layers deeper for Gost Zvuk’s Instruments series with four tracks of icy, hypnotic house and techno minimalism
Rolling out like a vintage Sleeparchive meets early Andy Stott with ‘Elektromechanika’, the EP cycles thru hazy late night house trips in ‘Far Voices’, along with the superb section of drip-off dissonance and fizzing hi-hats on ‘Monothrone’, and ties off withe a sublime stripe of floating ambient voices and triplet groove in ‘Oasis’.
A killer 45 of pure, blunt, steppers dub-noise force from Joachim Nordwall aka The iDEALIST, big recommendation if yr into Muslimgauze, Pan Sonic, Alva Noto...
Faithfully brought to life with mastering by Jack Callahan ov Sunburned Hand Of The Man and Bánh Mì Verlag esteem, The iDEALIST’s 2nd 7” sees him knuckle out two minimalist, monotonic steppers that fall in the gulf between dub, noise and Pan Sonic-like techno purism.
The trudging swang of ’Deep Shit’ is mounted on an off-centre, bass-driven pivot punctuated with deep fried claps and hissing hi-hats in a tracky style like Ilpo Väisänen’s Kangaroo 10”s reworked by Omar-S. Its B-side then helms harder to a full sunken kick/sub-bass ballast,. but held in balance with stressed electronic distortion and vaporous tones that get right up the nose.
Deadly gear mastered for optimal, physical effect on big soundsystems.
Raime strain at the harness in four cuttingly sharp mutations of Afrobeats, Footwork, and Jungle with scintillating results on the 2nd release on their RR imprint. RIYL Leonce, Kode 9, Lee Gamble!!
Where the London duo’s 2018 EP and RR debut ‘We Can’t Be That Far From The Beginning’ evoked a meditative mood from the info overload of their home city that left acres of space to the imagination, the ‘Planted’ EP rejoins the dance with four tracks that icily acknowledge strong influence from Latin American and Chicago footwork styles in a classically skooled mutation of hardcore British dance music.
In four fleetingly ambiguous dancefloor workouts they carry on a conceptual theme exploring the digital subconscious with persistently invasive, alien ambient shrapnel - half-heard voices, aleatoric prangs, and tag-covered signposts - woven into and thru their tightly coiled and reflexive drum programming.
Uptown, ’Num’ flexes tendons and hips like a Leonce riddim that danced all the way from NOLA and ATL to the wintery dawn of a LDN warehouse, while the lip-biting tension of minimalist 160bpm jungle/ footwork patterns and jibber-jawed vocals in ‘Ripli’ suggests the Alien film’s protagonist lost in a mazy rave space, chased by H.R. Giger-designed face huggers (or gurning energy vampires). Downtown ‘Kella’ then catches them on a grimy dubtech bounce, cocked back and straining at the harness, before ‘Belly’ shuts down the dance with invasive, demonic motifs exploding over dark blue chords and palpitating jungle subs with impeccable darkside style.
‘Swarm’ is a piece of niggling, raw electronics, distant trance pads and burned-out trap hi-hats taken from Forest Swords’ first soundtrack, ‘The Machine Air’ - “a fever dream visual poem and the first film to be both about – and recorded by – flying drones”
Seemingly out of nowhere, Narcissi mesh Russian folksong with power electronics, ‘70s kosmiche tropes and ‘90s trance synths in a standout debut for the Danse Noire label. Tipped!!!
Strikingly dramatic in an austere-but-romantic Russian style, Narcissi’s eponymous debut sounds like fuck-all else in circulation right now. ‘В Путь-Дорожку Дальнюю’ is a hugely memorable introduction, with distorted, radioactive pulse and whining theremin-like tones buoying a Cyrillic sing-a-long for the end of days and saving a final coda for dancefloor victories. The piquant arps and lilting vox of ‘Скакал Казак через Долину’ follows in a style calling to mind Conrad Schnitzler teaming up with Vanligt Folk, and the soaring design of ‘Не для Меня’ is surely destined for your “beatless avant-gopnik trance rollers” folder, while the ambient ballideering of ‘Ах Ты, Ноченька’ proves the depth of their range with epic style.
Compellingly mazy and manic rap from Tokyo outlier MA, blending ritualistic ancient Japanese lyrics with experimental backdrops made of field recordings
Imagine a Japanese answer to Sensational taking cues from Lil B’s ‘Rain In England’ and replacing the new age pads with industrial gravel and you’re almost in the headspace of ‘Ama’, the first we’ve heard from MA, the newest artist signed to Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Doser.
As outlandish as the label’s Senyawa releases to our ears, ‘Ama’ is a totally unique oddity that may well put many off from the first bars, but if you’ve the head to stick with it the album offers an endlessly fascinating disarray of styles that can't help up but fire up the imagination.
Prins Thomas turns Darling’s ‘Tulipa’ into wobbly Nordic disco noodles for Amsterdam’s Safe Trip
Taking two tracks from Darling’s debut album, HRH Thomas returns ‘Kiss The Glass’ as a light-headed, strutting disco workout riddled with twinges of playful early AFX and Luke Vibert antics, while the B-side revolves his spongiform twist on ‘The M Song’ full of iridescent, lilting melody and pushed by purring bassline.
Contagious is the self-titled debut of Berlin avant-garde trio Andrea Neumann, Sabine Ercklentz, and Mieko Suzuki, produced by Rabih Beaini (Ra.H) and released via his newly active Morphine label.
Following from Beaini’s role in the more percussive, jazz-based experiments of Upperground Orchestra, he adapts his electronic palette to embrace esteemed improvisers, Andrea Neumann (Inside Piano), Sabine Ercklentz (Trumpet), and Mieko Suzuki (Turntables), as they probe fissures of electronic music, avant-garde noise, and free jazz on their debut volley.
Their dynamically massed sound harks back to the freeform styles of Italy’s legendary Gruppo d’Improvvisazzione Nuova Consonanza across 9 nine intrepid explorations that veer from aggressive yet spaced-out cosmic jazz in ‘Bearded Dragon’, to scratchy, insectoid rhythms and noisy abstraction in ‘Moon Wrasse’, and hollowed-out, creepy midnight styles in ‘Bluebanded Goby’, whereas ‘Peppermint Shrimp’ points to proper electro-jazz skronk, and and the collapsing drums of ‘Whiptail Lizard’ ultimately lead up to the gripping textures and lurking drones of ‘Banana Slug’ in a way recalling Emptyset’s recent, brilliant efforts in a similar, cranky headspace.
Hyperdub link with Adult Swim for ‘HyperSwim’, a class compilation studded with gems by Burial, Dean Blunt, Nazar, Laurel Halo, Lee Gamble, Mana, Mhysa, DJ Spinn, Angel Ho, Cooly G and all your fave label characters.
Predictably the Burial tune is a big highlight, with ‘Old Tape’ appearing to take cues from Trance and Depeche Mode via Luke Slater and his local high street pan pipe group in cockle-warming style. Bazaar also impresses with what sounds like Burial doing minimalist Kuduro on ‘Unruly’, and label boss Kode 9 drops a killer, mazy tessellation of grime strings and footwork intricacies on ‘Cell 3’.
Fatima Al Qadiri comes correct with the Gqom-liqe banger ‘Filth’, while Arca-affiliate Doon Kanda stimulates your oflactory/audotory sense with ‘Perfume’; DJ Haram sounds like vintage Timbaland on ‘Get It’; Lee Gamble slams out a twisted take on Brummie/Berlin techno with ‘Chain 9’; Dean Blunt offers the devilish invocation ‘Darcus’; Mhysa follows her brilliant ‘Fantasii’ LP with the dembow-driven R&B introspection of ‘Games’.
Stroom return to Latvia’s fertile ‘80s/‘90s avant-garde following their much-loved NSRD 12” + LP with a compilation of woozy, offbeat synth-pop and jazzy skronk partly made behind the Iron Curtain
Perhaps most covetable for the exquisite, futurist wave fancy of ‘Singapūras Vējš’, which appeared on 19 Gadi Pirms Sākuma’s debut tape in 1989 and more recently on the ‘Q/R’ compilation, the ’19 Years Before The Beginning’ compilation is peppered with slanted pop charms of a similar, etheric ilk and innocent urgency, such as the cubist electro-jazz scorn of ‘Nakts Ir Mana Zemapzina’, the YMO-esque glassy ‘tronics of ‘Die Wilde Frau’, and the swaggering, fruity electro of ‘Niknie Zvēri’.
““Sometimes our own creations surprised us,” says Inguna Rubene, flute player, guitarist, bassoonist and songwriter for 19 gadi pirms sākuma (19 Years Before the Beginning). Created with the idea of lasting for a single performance, 19 gadi pirms sākuma developed into one of the most delicate, intriguing groups in Latvia’s 1980s and early 1990s music scene. Formed in 1988, the band arrived at a time when the Soviet Union was showing the first signs of unravelling. Latvia remained an occupied country, but experimental audio and visual events organised by a generation of young artists started to challenge the boundaries of what could be allowed.
“We chose our instruments based on the emotions that we wanted to reflect and the instruments that were at hand. When recording a song, we usually borrowed the necessary ones from our colleagues. The general practice between the musicians was to share and help one another,” explains Rubene (Inguna Černova at the time). “19 gadi pirms sākuma started because we wanted to prepare a musical programme for an exhibition organised by Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko [both from the band/performance collective NSRD] and other avant-garde artists at the Aizrobezu Art Museum [now the Art Museum of Riga Bourse]. “It could have remained as a one-time musical project if it were not for two journalists from West Berlin who were at the exhibition,” Rubene reveals. “They asked for the band’s album, but there was none.”
From there the project quickly picked up momentum. The band: Inguna (vocal, flute, bassoon, rhythm guitar) Daiga Mazversite (Daiga Mazvērsīte) (synthesizer), Ilgvars Riskis (Ilgvars Rišķis) (percussion) and Viesturs Slava (keyboards, guitar, programming, vocal); improvised a studio in Riskis’ apartment and with the modest equipment available to them set about recording. They laid down four tracks, one of which, Singapūras Vējš, appears on this compilation. Listening to it now, the frantic synths, percussion and Rubene’s vocal reveal the urgency of the time. The momentum of youth enlivened by the possibilities of the future. Fragility exists in the music, especially in the vocals, yet it is swept up in the energy of the moment.”
Buttechno gets at it, hard and fast, for Gost Zvuk’s straight-up Instruments club trax series
Spanking them out like a Hague madman losing his marbles in 1995, the Muscovite producer leads the dance between his dry, chirruping ghetto banger ‘Project One’, the splashy acid-in-a-Soviet-bathroom bounce of ‘Boloto Acid’, and the melting jack of ‘2x Tech’, before the most extreme example, ’Subsonic II’ comes off like Unit Moebius jamming with early Pan(a)Sonic.
Grimacing industrial and dark ambient sound designs from Swiss noise makers Still Und Dunkel
“STILL UND DUNKEL is the project of musician and visual artist Christoph Brünggel, film maker Benny Jaberg and media artist Pascal Arnold. Their debut album »Abandoned« comprises ten compositions created for their audio-visual art live performances which draw on an ever-growing archive of moving images and sound recordings. The three artists started working together in 2011 and visited abandoned and hidden places at night or underground throughout the world to collect images and sounds. The trio documents and archives the transformative processes that these former symbols of civilisation have been undergoing since they had been deserted or forgotten – that is, if they had ever before been accessible to the public in the first place.
As the culmination point of eight years of archiving and performing the project, »Abandoned« is a monumental piece of art that over almost 80 minutes negotiates the historical implications of what it means when the achievements of the so called human progress are being left behind or remain hidden from the public consciousness.
While Brünggel’s musical approach at first may appear to favour abstraction over the naturalism that dominates most projects based on field recordings, the artwork already clearly hints at a more complicated relationship between nature and human interference. Drawing explicitly on field recordings from man-made environments, »Abandoned« queries our very notion of authenticity, naturalness and how they can be (re-)constructed in artistic practice: have those reservoirs, bunkers, infirmaries or clinics and other sites become part of the natural world that slowly conquers them again? And if so, how can those specific sonic environments – beyond their visual representation through moving pictures – be adequately documented, interpreted and turned into art?
The answers to these questions are not simple, and STILL UND DUNKEL accordingly does not provide easy listening. Already the 18-minute long opener »Lure« with its thundering swathes of noise that are punctuated by subtle bass thumps and nervously ticking sounds is an overwhelming piece of music. Its sheer loudness is far from the only thing that makes this piece as unnerving as it is. There also looms the uncertainty of where the surroundings – field recordings taken from inside the pillar of a bridge in Baden, Switzerland and from a subterranean, empty water reservoir in Zurich, Switzerland – can actually be heard in unmediated ways and where the artistic interpretation of the source sounds begins.”
Threads of Asclepius is the fifth album released through Umor Rex by composer M. Geddes Gengras, poet of the modular synth and master of analog sequences.
"Close in its nature to Two Variations (Umor Rex 2016), these two improvisations —with overdubs— were both recorded in two different single-day sessions, originally intended as part of a meditative practice for producing music simply for the listening pleasure of the composer, a practice conceptually close to the avant-garde habit of Conrad Schnitzler’s Zodiak Free Arts Lab.
M. Geddes Gengras always manages to achieve a high sense of drama in his works, freely sculpting sounds that are accompanied, transformed and completed by epic harmonies. A chilling beauty is the signature of his work, where a single thread of music is laid down and then elements built around it to accentuate its form. Simple ideas are inspired by the sounds of the machines that they are made with. “10 Voices” is dedicated to Meredith Monk and the pursuit of a more human music. “Untitled Improvisation in 3 takes” is a documentation of M. Geddes’ very first experiments with the music easel and is an attempt to pull as many interesting sounds and textures as possible out of a strange machine."
Dutch electro hardass Ekman chases up his trio of 12”s for Bedouin Records with a full length LP of sleazy gloom and restlessly roving, swung drum machines
Packing the sort of satisfyingly dirty electro and acidic swivel that requires a shower after doing it, ‘A Pastime for Semi God’ is Ekman’s impressively stylish 3rd LP, most convincingly so in the likes of his jaw-trembling acid-electro workout ‘To See You This Way’, the 11 minute psych drones of ‘Metamemory’, and pure devilish club zingers such as the shark-eyed ‘Margin Of Error’, and the prickling, dissonant sensuality of ‘If Than Else.’
Killer selection of boogie-disco and early electro templates from a golden, foundational era of Afro Futurist space exploration.
The Black and Latin American space programme of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s was born on dancefloors and took more bodies into orbit than NASA ever did. ‘Afro Futurist Electro Funk In Space 1976-84’ charts a major phase shift between boogie-disco and electro-funk that came about as African American and Latin American artists really embraced the potential of computers and synths to express their ideas about alienation and utopian escapism. Taking cues from science fiction comics and movies, and the sheer electric sensuality of funk and electronic music, they laid down the grid behind myriad forms of modern dance music - from hardcore, jungle and garage to EBM/electro and EDM - which still informs music now, nearly half a century later.
With cherry-picking digits, the Soul Jazz lot pluck out some real doozies here. We’re most partial to the more explicitly plugged-in joints such as Jamie Jupiter’s mighty ’84 electro staple ‘Computer Power’, the devilish strut of Osé’s ‘Computer Funk’, Robotron 4’s itchy minter ‘Electro-?’, and Rodney Stepp’s jagged vocoder zinger ‘Break-Out’ (coincidentally all from ’84, a truly vintage annum). But the rest is evidently prime material, too, especially if you’re into swanging disco drum breaks and the fruitiest synth vamps, most notably in the proper rarities like 7- Below - Zero Band’s ‘choppy, uptempo ‘“Seven” (We Are)’, and the kind of gear that you’d expect to hear on an Electrifying Mojo show, including Ramsey 2c-3d’s astro-boogie heater ‘Fly Guy And The Unemployed’, the booping disco raid of ’Supersonic Space Lady’, and L.E.O.’s super obscure ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’.
James Ruskin wears his crunchy IDM/breaks-driven techno hat for Tresor
Working in a similar, but speedier, vein to his work with Mark Broom in The Fear Ratio, Ruskin’s ‘Siklikal’ EP catches him working with frayed loops and frazzled electronics in four distended, mutant workouts that drive in zigzagging formation from the scratchy breaks and swarming choral pads of ‘Nepte’ to surging, suspenseful modular oscillations in the rolling tension of ‘Kn Te3’, with a spat of breakstep techno in ‘Nocke’, and the grim drag of ‘Kn Am3’ on the flip.
A hugely charming first vinyl edition of this tape obscurity (only 75 made!) from Beirut, 1978, mixing Arabic folk and jazz influences with psyche guitars and synth in unique and progressive style. The lead singer went on to work with Ziad Rahbani, son of Arabic music icon, Fairuz. Zia supplied the master tape for this release
“The completely unknown debut album of Issam Hajali (Ferkat Al Ard) fuses jazz and folk with Arabic and Iranian influences into unique beauty. Originally released in a limited run of 75 cassette tape copies.
Issam Hajali might be most known for being the singer and main composer of the Lebanese band Ferkat Al Ard. While they recorded 3 albums only their classic „Oghneya“ release saw a vinyl release and is probably the most in demand record in the Lebanese record collector scene (A copy changed hands in Beirut this year for 5000$). Before the band came together Issam recorded a debut album called "Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard" in 1977 in Paris, most likely in May or June. Issam Hajali had to leave Lebanon after the Syrian intervention for political reasons and spent one year in exile in France. At this time he could only afford one studio day to record the whole project together with a band compromised of some musicians from France, one from Algeria, one from Iran and a friend from Beirut called Roger Fahr, whom had left Lebanon around the same time.
While you can hear the musical roots of what later became Ferkat Al Ard in "Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard", the album also differs from Issam’s later recordings. "It’s more of just me, whereas the sound of the band was more of a group effort", he recalls. Melancholic stripped-down, guitar-based folk is followed by jazz-fused breaks and every here and there that unique sound of the santour glistening through. While the music is very accessible, some song structures are rather atypical neglecting the common patterns of verse, hook, verse, hook. The lyrics mostly trace back to the poetic work of Palestinian author Samih El Kasem with one song also written by Issam, who composed the music for all of them.
In late 1977 Issam could return to Beirut and took the not yet released album back with him. He could only afford to spend a short time in the studio, just to add little bits and pieces like percussion to finish an album that still felt unfinished to him. Even back in Beirut his economic situation was complicated, and it was impossible to find a label which was still operating under the circumstances of war. So, he started dubbing the tapes himself and producing black and white copies at the corner store. Most of the copies of the album were sold or given to friends. One record shop had them on the shelves on a commission basis. But as the shop owner was no fan of the music, she did little to sell them, hiding the tapes behind other releases.
Eventually one of those tapes fell into the hands of Ziad Rahbani, Fairuz's son and a Lebanese musical institution in his own right. Ziad liked the music a lot and used to play on most of Ferkat Al Ard’s releases. And Issam also played on some of Ziad’s recordings and sessions. Nevertheless, the album was never known outside a very small scene of like-minded individuals and musicians of late 1970s Beirut. Issam is fairly certain that less than 100 copies of the tape were made back then in total and he only managed to hang onto one copy himself, from which this recording was made.”
Wolfgang Voigt (Gas) wraps up the 20th edition of Kompakt’s perennial ‘Pop Ambient’ series, studded with wistful, seasonal gems from veterans Thomas Kehlmann and Klimek alongside newer spirits Yui Onodera, Thore Pfieffer, Andrew Thomas, ++
Perhaps another one-for-the-boys (women have rarely featured on the series), Pop Ambient’s 20th edition tends to a refined, woolly (cashmere?) blend of beatless drift and neo-classical flocking in 16 parts. “20 years of Pop Ambient. Already? One didn’t notice. It’s an anniversary which comes quietly. An anniversary with quiet tones. In the spirit of the special restraint of pop-elegance, it has no reason to drawn attention to itself with a big „Tam-Tam“. Or better: „Bum-Bum“. The bass drum stays outside. Nevertheless, in fast-paced, overstimulated times of moving forward, it’s a joyful occasion to look back. What strikes most by putting or listening to 20 years of pop ambient in a row is the central theme that holds together the dense aesthetic concept like the pearls of a necklace. Floral beauty for digital naturalists. Music like flowers, that don’t wilt. Timeless. Ageless. But with all of the conceptual unity and resolution, Pop Ambient would not be Kompakt without the break, the friction, the expansion of musical boundaries in between tradition and innovation, in between conspiracy and the openness of the discourse. Aestheticism, escapism, acting in the spirit of „nevertheless“. Swans drifting by, clouds pass over, everything is floating and: „Boredom is a stylistic device“ (Andy Warhol).
Pop Ambient Music is medicine against illnesses, that you don’t even suffer from. It’s giving everything, demanding nothing. Musical lotus leafs, off which the virtual wastewater of our time is rolling like the reality is dripping off the matrix. In this sense, we’re happy about the pop-ambient anniversary greetings from new and old companions like Thore Pfeiffer, Max Würden, Yui Onodera, Jörg Burger, Thomas Fehlmann, Morgen Wurde, Leandro Fresco aswell as contributions from T.Raumschmiere, Andrew Thomas and, after a long break, from friends from early days like Joachim Spieth, Markus Guentner und Klimek.”
‘Behold Killers’ sees Pakistan-born Portlander Ilyas Ahmed return with an engrossing new full-length for the Geographic North label after a series of standout releases for Root Strata, Digitalis, MIE and Immune, as well as his work as a member of Grails and collaborations with Liz Harris (Grouper), Matt Carlson & Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever, among others. Described by the label as "an aural yarn explicitly woven for the trodden…”, this beautiful new work extends from a somnolent flow of fingerpicking into more abstracted terrain, now and again offset by Ahmed’s quiet falsetto - highly recommended to followers of John Fahey, Sonic Youth’s extended b-sides, Talk Talk, Loren Connors and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma...
"Since embarking on an enchantingly forlorn run of musical activity, Ilyas Ahmed has remained incredibly active both as a visual artist and an incredibly versatile musician. 'Behold Killers’ is perhaps his most alluring and distantly seething work to date.
"Pass No Jazz" unfurls its tattered but tranquil tapestry over the entire A-side, tracing each step with unhurried care and curious composure. "Metal Freedom" leads the B-side in a synth-laden cloud of shimmering tragedy and seething hope. "Mad Love" dials things down for a modest symphony of gritted minimalism and soot-covered, negative space. Closing piece "Wild Violet" shimmers in a desolate dance of eerie weightlessness and wretched resolve. Best consumed in the dead of night or frosted isolation…”
One of PC Music’s OG avatars, Hannah Diamond does black mirror pop in her debut solo album; ‘Reflections’
Puckered with diamond-polished production by AG Cook (Charli XCX, GFOTY) and EASYFUN (Charli XCX, Rat Boy), ‘Reflections’ is an assuredly hook-riddled volley of pop “perfection” that arrives in time to offer a glossy kind of resolution to this decade and consolidate PC Music’s game-changing, or at least defining, aesthetic.
Enunciated in the primmest middle clarse vowels, syllable by syllable in nursery rhyme pop style, Hannah delivers “frank” thoughts on love and pop in the modern day, set to backdrops that variously draw on ‘90s trance and synth-pop as much as contemporary hardstyle, dancehall, and that sort of trash pop that Farrah Abraham built her name on and is guzzled up by tweeny types everywhere.
It’s difficult to say whether PC Music have reflected stylistic shifts or prompted them, but either way, and depending on your tolerance for upfront shininess, this album is either as welcome as a glitter bomb in your bed, or a U2 album in your iTunes. Are PC Music the new Stock, Aitken & Waterman? Is Hannah a wannabe Sonia?
In two slow, alternately milky and gritty movements ‘Footfalls’ renders a proggy ambient trip loosely inspired by desolate seaside settings limned by T.S. Elliot and Samuel Beckett
“The two collaborators, known separately for contemporary electronic music & free clarinet experimentations team up to create the delirious trip, Footfalls. Two scenes are presented here, seemingly taken from different sides of the same desolated seaside setting, loosly inspired by poet and novalist T.S Elliot and Samuel Becket. In Towards the Door, Gareth Davis´ bass clarinet breathes slow, wave-like tones that merge with the oft-rythmic electronic textures from his counterpart. A third of the way in, Robin Rimbaud´s synth erupts into a Blade Runner-esque epic harmonic section that disappears as suddenly as it arrives - leaving ripples of oscillation in its wake, slowly unfolding into the sound of waves, as it arrives back where it begun : as a full circle, drawn in echo´s of sound.
Smokefall begins with the words „Invisible choirs“, subtly spoken by a woman’s voice among a blurred distant conversation, as textural sound effects creep forwards to the point where a slow progressing but steady LFO rhythm enters. Water, metal & smoke are absorbed into a creeping tribal passage, acompanied by long clarinet tones. The piece expands further and further into a state of ecstatic harmonic noise that fulfills all parts of your body – if played loud. Both artists from here on move into full on crushing electronics, all while Rimbaud´s Kilpatrick Phenol synth drives the background with its pulses and repetative bassline. The piece has an ellipse like rotation that makes one feel a sort of blissful vertigo that reverberates in your mind after the piece has ended.”