This first ever American LP issue of Fetus , the seminal debut album by Franco Battiato - a venerable grand maestro of Italian prog - kicks off a comprehensive reissue series looking at his formative 1971-1978 period. An unparalleled pop star and famed experimentalist in his homeland, Battiato is beloved by everyone from Nico Vascellari (Ninos Du Brasil) to Lorenzo Senni and prog fans worldwide. These reissues should spread that love farther.
One of the first ever electronic records released in Italy, Fetus is widely considered one of his finest moments, capturing a playful frisson of folk, analog electronics and kosmiche leanings with a blend of pop appeal and conceptual, experimental urges that would unfold in myriad variations across his lengthy catalogue ever since.
Superior Viaduct rightly paint him as Italy’s answer to Brian Eno for his role in bringing Italian pop music up to par with explorative, psychedelic American and British analogs during that era. We’re be inclined to add Tom Zé for his warmer, colourful, auteur-like sound, too.
With Fetus, Battiato riffs on themes of genetic engineering in eight succinct (especially for prog!) songs inspired by Aldous Huxley, following a fine, dreamy line between traditional rock instrumentation and the kosmiche freedom afforded by his VCS3 synthesiser, stretching his imagination from delirious sound collage to rousing folk-rock and operatic chorales with an enchanting sense of naif wonder balanced by a cool curiousity and virtuosic songwriting vision.
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.
Russia’s Paval Milyakov, aka Buttechno, tends to his screwier, inquisitive side for TTT with a gauzy batch of ambient, folk and house experiments, swerving between the lines of his records for Japan’s City-2 St. Giga, Collapsing Market and his Gosha Rubchinskiy AW16 soundtrack, to the dankest parts of his bedroom-baked club sound.
This is music for hanging out on cold, concrete corners in your most flammable trackies, taking in pastoral electro-folk meditation Gosha Medvedeva, his Pole-esque Slow Dub, and the skinny, bone-pinching swing of K4 on the one hand, before decorating those skeletal structures with more fleshly samples of Russia pop in the low key seduction of Poleva, and something like a roadside house rave played on empty vodka bottles, oil drums and cardboard boxes in the Brinkmann-like Metallo, and a nervily grubbing, spooked-out house ace named Super Siziy King.
MFM whip out this natty cod-reggae synth-funk blast from Cali ’83. Imagine K. Leimer and co getting loose yet droll, and you’ve got the measure of Skin ’n’ Bones, while Millions Of Sensations is a superb piece of sino-facing post punk funk recalling Sakamoto & Sylvian, but with an off kilter urgency of its own, with drums like some early, staccato grime prototype.
“Pioneers in the Post Punk Industrial and New Wave scene in 1980’s San Francisco, Gary Miles (Voice Farm) and Blaise Smith (Minimal Man), met at San Francisco’s notorious 181 Club in December of 1982. This straight/same sex/swing-both-ways late night dive bar was tucked away in one of the city's most risky, drug riddled neighbourhoods. Stationed near the SF Museum of modern Art it attracted a wild audience of local patrons, aspiring young artists and music heads. In the thick of all this the duo felt impartial to a lot what was going on musically and set out to produce electronic music that could break through the "somewhat exhausted post disco sound that was then competing in the local San Francisco clubs". Enlisting soul vocalist Celeste Miller, the duo were also inspired by Lee 'Scratch' Perry / Upsetters dub tracks being produced in Jamaica and created a unique breed of avant guard hybrid New Wave/Electronic Funk.
With it's influences seemingly as much rooted in the past and the present as it was focused on the future; Dub Oven formed a distinct, mystical approach to music intended for the dance floor. All three tracks on this 12" embody a signature groove and an inventive synthesized abstraction to express a languishing urban unsettledness and spiritual awareness. Recorded at L7 Studios in San Francisco with the assistance of the the studio’s in house producer Marco Perry (who currently now works with Bjork) the record was unfortunately overlooked by A&R at several major and even local labels and was finally self-released in very limited quantities. Utilising analog electronics and instrumentation, the record draws on elements of dub, new wave, soul and funk to create a sound that is uncategorizable and one that was perhaps simply too forward thinking for it’s time.”
A new label from the Sofrito family; classy new wave rumba hybrid from mid ‘80s Paris, compatible with early ‘80s Detroit styles. A very promising start for the Ambiance label
“4 tracks spanning rumba, disco, new wave and reggae experiments from Congolese singer Albert Siassia and his group Tokobina, including two previously unreleased tracks taken from original demo tapes.
Originally from Pointe Noire in Congo, Albert Siassia came to Paris in the early 80s as part of the Ballet Nationale du Congo and joined forces with a young French reggae group called Dread Lion – a band he re-christened “Tokobina” (Lingala for “let’s dance”). Keen to broaden their audience the group played a mixture of reggae, rumba, disco and new wave styles, often using drum machines and synths.
They released one 12” EP, further altering the spelling of the name – “Tokobina” was phonetically anglicised to “Talk-Hoby-Night” in an unsuccessful effort to increase international sales. The record failed to make much of an impact and soon after Albert Siassia moved back to Pointe Noire to become an evangelical preacher. He passed away in 1999.
Dancefloor sureshots Mama Africa and Pointe Noire are taken from the group’s only 12” release. In the world and Sangui are taken from demo cassettes from the archive of drummer Franck Benhamou. Sangui was originally scheduled for release on a 7” but the release was withdrawn due to a pressing fault.”
Italy’s answer to Brian Eno is subject of Superior Viaduct’s current key reissue scheme, making Franco Battiato’s classic early works c. 1971-1978 available in USA and elsewhere for the first time beyond his home country.
Sulle Corde Di Aries  is Battiato’s 3rd solo album, refining his masterful mix of folk-rock and pop with kosmiche synths to a lushly transcendent sound which, if you ask us, is more fascinating and worldly than the baroque prog conventions explored on his previous two albums. We can hear pre-echoes of brave new 4th worlds in its sweeping harmonic structures and supple, driving rhythms, all calling for strong parallels with everyone from Terry Riley to Can,
“1973's Sulle Corde Di Aries is the third chapter in Battiato’s foray into esoteric pop. While the artist would venture further out into avant-garde terrain on subsequent releases, his early records enjoy a lyrical and playful spirit – eschewing traditional, song-based composition in favor of kosmische voyages.
On Sulle Corde Di Aries, Battiato guides the labyrinthine structural changes and majestic tones to evolve gradually over four electroacoustic suites. "Sequenze e Frequenze," the album's centerpiece, blooms in a polyphony of organic pulses reminiscent of the vibrant keyboard minimalism of Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air and the rhythmic interconnectedness of Can's Ege Bamyasi.
While Fetus and Pollution are often considered his masterpieces, Sulle Corde Di Aries remains a hidden gem in Battiato's catalogue. With more of a cohesive album-feel than the previous records, Sulle Corde Di Aries slows the pace to take in the sweeping scope of otherworldly sounds and soulful harmonies.”
While Fetus and Pollution are often considered his masterpieces, Sulle Corde Di Aries remains a hidden gem in Battiato's catalogue. With more of a cohesive album-feel than the previous records, Sulle Corde Di Aries slows the pace to take in the sweeping scope of otherworldly sounds and soulful harmonies.”
Superior Viaduct supply an all-too-rare glimpse of Suicide in rehearsal room mode, making their First Rehearsal Tapes side available as a single slab away from Blast First’s expanded 1999 reissue of The Second Album. Henry Rollins sums this one up best below, but suffice it to say this is neccessary listening for anyone snagged on rock and electronic music of the late 20th century.
“"On Suicide's First Rehearsal Tapes, recorded in 1975, Alan Vega and Martin Rev create minimalist aural structures, traces of which would surface on their eponymous debut album, released on the Red Star label in late 1977.
"These songs are not a sketchpad of semi-formed ideas. The First Rehearsal Tapes comprise an audio diary of two men out in the ether, measuring themselves as evolving individual artists and as a unit who would rely on inseparability to realize their unique and often confrontational mass in the decades to come. What the tapes also reveal is that Vega and Rev were compositionally ambitious, capable of melody and form, while resisting definition as they headed further into uncharted territory.
"The First Rehearsal Tapes afford the listener a glimpse into the creative process of two groundbreaking, true art warriors with their swords and shields leaning against the practice room wall. To understand the absolute brilliance of Suicide's first album as well as their sonic adventures that followed, you have to start here with their earliest recordings."
This customarily smooth set from 1981 is perhaps most famous for featuring three unforgettable tracks made with Marcos Valle. Rio's pop-soul wunderkind was exploring soul textures at the same time as Leon was absorbing the rich flavour of Brazilian harmonics. Together, they crafted rhythmically sophisticated and melodically adventurous soul.
"The centrepiece of the album is the lush, creeping title track - a hypnotically arranged stepper's groove and an enduring classic. A perfect slice of orchestral soul, it features Leon's patented unusual chord progressions, Valle on Rhodes and restrained string arrangements from Gene Page.
The nimble funk groove of "Baby Don't Stop Me" is another collaborative delight and one of Leon's rare uptempo tunes. "Got To Be Loved" is a timeless ballad, a sublime quiet storm version of Valle's loping jazz-funk favourite "Bicho No Cio".
As with all Leon records, the lyrical themes are deeply eternal throughout, whilst the music is elegant, soulful and sensual. Beyond the Valle co-writes, the soaring instrumental "Don't Stay Away" is a real highlight, possessing an intricate melody and another heavenly string arrangement from the incredible Page. On the pleading sultry soul of "Sure Do Want You Now," Ware's uniquely expressive vocals are especially impassioned and polished.
This officially licensed reissue enables a wider audience to now discover its undoubted genius. The sumptuous artwork of the original jacket and inner sleeve have been faithfully restored; the latter featuring Leon's memorable lyrics. Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.
"When we started to write, we found how easy it was, and at the same time how new it was, combining the feeling I had and the feeling he had", Valle explained to Wax Poetics on the subject of his fruitful partnership with Leon. The magic conjured up by fusing R&B with Brazilian rhythms and touches of jazz, funk, and pop resulted in a modern-soul/boogie essential."
Benjamin John Power explores the inner beast in us all through the typically brash sound design of this Blanck Mass album.
Forever to be known as half of a duo who just don’t f*cking like buttons, Benjamin John Power’s solo body of work as Blanck Mass has continued to gain tractions since his first album back in 2011.
‘World Eater’ continues the Blanck Mass dalliance with Brooklyn outpost Sacred Bones and offers up a screwballed exposition investigating the primal urges of humanity with everything naturally dialled up well past 11. Given the conceptual thrust, it’s no surprise there is a sonic brutality to much of ‘World Eater,’ apparent in the sucker punch that hits you from the first two tracks.
An intricate mesh of clockwork toy melodies and vocal harmonies on John Doe's Carnival of Error proves a falsely sweet opener as it gets consumed by the swirling, violent maelstrom of operatic techno gabber that follows on Rhesus Negative.
Respite comes in the form of Please, which sees Power veering off into sample-heavy MPC beat down reminiscent of early Gold Panda, but he’s soon back into head crunching territory with the 23rd Century glam rock flaunt of The Rat. This very British style of modern sound design applied to electronic music continues as uber-processed vocals crash over vertebrae snapping beats on Silent Treatment, whilst Minnesota / Eas Fors / Naked discards with rhythm to engage in a rainstorm of kinetic energy and searing synth work.
Babes, here it is: the first batch of Johnny Jewel’s soundtrack work for the new series of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks; comprising 14 original themes, cues and songs under his own name and with his bands, Chromatics and Desire.
If you’ve been keeping up with he series, the above is surely all you need to know, but for everyone else, Windswept is the stuff dreams be made of, draped in lustrous synths evoking all the immaculate ambiguity and American Dream-like nature of the new episodes’ interweaving stories, from he romance of Heaven and The Crimson Kiss or the shimmering Americana of Slow Dreams, to the feverish horror cue of Insomnia’s tense strings and the air-conditioned jazz cool of Motel, with a massive highlight in the all-too-short synth strokes of Between Worlds and Stardust’s sexed up mystery.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Improv hypnotist Aaron Dilloway induces a mind-bending session for Copenhagen’s Cejero label with a steeply mesmerising suite of mechanical loops unspooling from an elusive axis. Where 'The Gag File', issued earlier this year on NYC’s Dais, incorporated sickly pop elements, there’s less of that frivolity here as he grinds down to a seasick and interminably funky sort of rhythmic noise.
In case you’re new to Dilloway’s oeuvre, he’s essentially one of the North American noise scene’s most distinguished operators. His track record of over 100 releases for almost as many labels connects everyone from his old band, Wolf Eyes, to Kevin Drumm and Robert Turman, defiantly going with and against the grain of American counterculture with a stomach for the most nauseating yet compelling sounds.
Switches is a strong demonstration of Dilloway at his most uncompromising and discomfiting. Like a swim thru the bubbling belly acid of American culture, he pursues the original extremities of NON and Turman along his own parallel narrative, using subtly morphing repetition and abrasive attrition as tactics to seduce and beguile even the most hard-headed listeners.
The A-side yields a full spectrum of his style ranging from palpitating, palsied loops and tonal abrasion in Switch 2, to something like an American take on The Caretaker’s current descent into oblivion with the wilting, elusive phrases buried in Switch 17, while Switch 15 resembles some kind of burnt-out doom dub.
Meanwhile the B-side catches Dilloway at his most obtuse/playful with the snagged loops of Switch 11/12, which, once you get over the urge to nudge the needle out of its rut, seeps in with a viscerally psychedelic effect for its cranky, lurching duration, before Switch 1 locks off something like DJ Screw or Indignant Senility, with half a bar of f*ck-knows-what loping into a brambly haze around its progressively melting axis...
Paean to Wilson is arguably Vini Reilly and the Durutti Columns most important and consistent piece of work since the demise of the original and seminal Factory Records in the early 1990’s.
"It was commissioned MIF (Manchester International Festival of Music), July 2009. Vini had already composed pieces for Tony to listen to whilst he was ill in hospital and it was from here that the project developed. The opening night of the three sell-out festival shows formed part of the BBC2 ‘Culture Show’ coverage on the event.
Dave Simpson – MIF Review – The Guardian 20/7/09 4 out of 5 ‘ Near the beginning of the final night of the Durutti Column's 70-minute international festival tribute to Tony Wilson, A Paean to Wilson, guitarist Vini Reilly announced that he wouldn't be singing: "So you won't have to put up with my awful voice and schoolboy lyrics." If Wilson was with us, he would have chuckled. The Granada presenter-turned-Factory Records boss spent years urging his first signing to stop singing, and concentrate on the virtuosity that led Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante to call Reilly "the greatest guitarist in the world". Two years after his death, Wilson got his way, one of many lovely touches in a very personal, emotional and often warmly funny musical tribute. Wilson signed Joy Division and Happy Mondays, yet never gave up on this cult band he adored, working with them even after his legendary label went bankrupt."
Rome’s La Beauté Du Négatif crack out a trashy trio of battered ravers from Penelope’s Fiance, SSIEGE, and DJ Guy, following up the latter’s 1993/1994 Unreleased Tracks session.
Specially mastered via WetSoq technology for assured shabbiness, each track feels like it was scraped from the dopamine-depleted skull of a mid ’90s hive mind, twysting from the cranky industrial ‘ardcore of If You Want More, You’ll Get Less by Penelope’s Fiance, and the charred chill-out room vibes of SSIEGE’s Arborea on the front, to an immense jungle lash by DJ Guy, who hasn’t really impressed us thus far, but surely does the business with his hotstepping edits and ghost-in-the-filter flex of CDIIF Quad Side B Trk 7.
Presenting two compelling works composed by Danish sound artists Jacob Kirkegaard & Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard and performed by the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Descending is a powerful exposition of extended acoustic technique used to bend the ear in fascinating ways.
Revolving two pieces for room resonance, triangles, shakers and horns, the recorded results of Descending transcend the sum of their parts in gripping style. In Movement 1 they conduct a breathless transition from the polymetric interplay of triangles, sounding like a distant alarm bell, calving off into thinnest, cirrus timbres and reemerging as a mesmerising display of sustained, quivering, bittersweet horn dissonance culminating a stunning, keening finale. Movement 2 opens with those horns at a lower, sustained pitch, rolling across the stereo field with an uncanny precision that you would normally expect from electronic music, glacially growing in density to sound like an incoming Stuka formation, precipitating a nerve-biting swell of discord before returning, almost palindromic, to the polymetric rustle of shakers.
Of course, the magick of the piece is much harder to describe, though. It lies somewhere in the relationship between the knowledge of the composers, the players’ incredible skill, and their recording space, whose unique characteristics are crucial to its success in keeping us enthralled from start to finish. It lies in the way they slide the sound around the sphere of perception, purposefully generating and controlling the resonant feedback until it becomes a part of the work itself, generating a lingering harmonic aura to the sounds which gels them in smoothly contoured transitions between each tightly disciplined cluster of pitches with a near-enough metaphysical structure.
Stunning work. A rare treat for the lugs, especially if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Eleh, Harley Gaber, Harry Bertoia.
Taken from the same sessions as the recent Vida Eterna for Hospital Productions
Ninos Du Brasil present the churning, clambering, bestial momentum of Animals Soar O Alarme backed with a swinging, subaquatic techno rework by Patrick Russell for The Bunker New York.
Gorgeous and thought provoking split LP from these two notable synthesists. Kubisch contemplates Nicolai Tesla and his concept of electrical remoteness as it applies to the modern world, making use of electromagnetic field recordings from tramways, analog machines, light systems, power stations, airports, banks, secrity systems, advertising and the sounds of discharges and activities of Tesla's own devices - recorded all over the world. Eleh's composition makes use of a new kind of spaciousness and was composed for piano & Serge STS modular synthesizers. Though Tesla was not a consideration when the piece was recorded, it takes on a new meaning and is well paired with Kubisch's.
From Christina Kubisch:
"The fgure of Nikola Tesla has fascinated me since a long time. He was the person who imagined wireless communication in an era when there was hardly electricity. He was the one who invented radio controlled devices and other new technologies beyond the generally known limits of technology. Tesla had been picking up radio signals in New York since 1895 receiving them as far as thirty miles away. He wasnot only an inventor whose work was the basis for the development of many electrical inventions and communication techniques of today but was as well a very special person, a visionary who was inable to realize many of his ideas because of money problems and as well his “diffcult” character.
I discovered his work during my studies of electronics in Milan at the end of the seventies. In that period I started to use the system of electromagnetic induction for my sound installations. Tesla had invented and patented the frst telephone amplifer in 1882 in Budapest and, without knowing about its origin I used a simple telephone amplifer with incorporated small coils to listen to the sounds in my installations.Later on my work with electromagnetic induction had developed into the series “Electrical Walks”, city walks with special headphones which make audible the usually hidden electromagnetic felds around us. In 2012 I visited the small museum of science in the city of Kosice in Slovakia. The museum had many Tesla devices in their showroom and I got a special permission to test tem. I listened with my special induction headphones to the Tesla machines and was fascinated: a thunderstorm of electromagnetic noise. It was the moment when I got inspired to make a piece aboutelectrical remoteness. Tesla grew up in a remote small village in Austria (now Croatia) where electricity, radio, cars, telephones, movies etc. were unknown. As a boy he loved nature more than everything else. But already at the age of 36, in 1893, his inventions made it possible that the world expo in the city of Chicago was illuminated by one hundred thousand electrical lamps.
The new technologies concerning light, radio, radar etc. were developing with such an incredible speed since then like today the components of the digital world. I always asked myself what Tesla would have thought about the internet, google, twitter, facebook, apps etc. Was this the vision he had in mind when he invented his system of wireless transmission of electrical signals? His working places were full of big heavy coils, oscillators, metal towers etc. by which he tried to transfer energy without wires. Today we almost forget that digital communication and storage is not based only on invisible remote waves in the ether but that it needs server rooms which are much bigger and heavier than Teslas equipment. “Teslas Dream” opens with the magnetic felds recorded in an old Austrian train station followed by the electrical melodies of old Tatra tramways in Bratislava (now almost disappeared). The sounds of discharges and activities of Teslas devices gradually come in. During the piece the electromagnetic signals change gradually from the sounds of analog machines to the more actual felds of light systems, security systems, power lines, banks, subways, airports, power stations etc. Various electrical signals of digital communication slowly merge in and change again the sound structure. The composition ends with the sounds of a luminous advertising, recorded recently in a shopping centre in Las Vegas, accompanied by the faint vibrations of other signals from the ether. Tesla wanted to reach the most remote places of the earth with electrical energy. Nothing today is remote anymore.
The glass armonica (an original instrument from the 19th century) was recorded at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum in Berlin. All other recordings were made with electromagnetic headphones and other custom made devices developed by Christina Kubisch. The original electrical feld recordings were made in Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Britain, Czech republic, New York, Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam."
Cooper Crain, Dan Quinlivan, and Rob Frye head for the horizon on their newest Bitchin Bajas buggy, leading on from a 2016 tour and series of collaborative live releases with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Olivia Wyatt.
Sharing its title with a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in the USA, Bajas Fresh catches the trio at their earthiest and lushly psychedelic, naturally sprawling their classically-schooled, dilated vision of krautrock, kosmiche and North American drone and space jazz traditions across seven tracks.
Notably, they embed a beautifully sanguine cover of Sun Ra’s Angels and Demons at Play in the album’s sequence, sweat-lodged among the astral coordinates of Circles On Circles and the windswept jazz of Yonaguni featuring Ghost’s Masaki Batoh, before syncing with a rich history of transcendental drone exploration in the magnificent, side-long and sidereal scope of 2303, where they consolidate contributions from Nick Broste (Trombone), and Ben LaMar Gay (Cornet) into its deeply anaesthetising harmonic smudge.
One of the boldest new producers to broach the dub sphere in recent times, Jay Glass Dubs is subject of 'Dubs', a prime “early years” survey of his work, with a range of nods to shoegaze, darkwave synth styles and weightless dynamics. All the material compiled here is available on vinyl for the first time plus one track never released before on any format. Think of it is a set of productions sitting somewhere between Basic Channel, Equiknoxx and HTRK - a proper doozy this one.
Written during what Dimitris Papadatos, aka Jay Glass Dubs, describes as “an adventurous and bold period”, and holding material issued on tape by various labels between 2015-2016, the Dubs compilation frames a singular, stripped down take on classic dub forms, wherein Jay Glass Dubs perceptibly retains the sound’s heavy function and mystic qualities, but subtly updates its palette with a range of nods to a myriad of unexpected, angular styles.
The results form a sort of ghostly, filleted subtraction of classic dub architecture, all plasmic tones and diaphanous, boneless structures buoyed by an often overwhelming, yet somehow intangible bass presence. Beyond the obvious, thematic ligature that connects the material, which was all recorded within a very short period of time, the artist also suggests there is an underlying, encrypted similarity to the material which is “merely apparent to me”, and awaits much closer investigation from keen ears.
From Jay’s eponymous 2015 debut for Hylé tapes, listeners will encounter the heaving smudge of Definition Dub, the serpentine, Coil-like digital delays of Grumpy Dub, and a grime drone drill Depression Dub. Off the II tape for THRHNDRDSVNTNN comes the darkwave synths and militant step of Magazine Dub recalling a gauzier Equiknoxx production, next to the bass-less scudder, Detrimental Dub and the shoegazing bloom of Daria Dub, while his III tape tees up some abyssal highlights in the vertiginous Hilton Dub, the melancholy, Basic Channel-scoped scale of Sieben Dub, and the HTRK-esque starkness of Everlasting Dub.
Exclusive to the set is Perfumed Dub, recorded in 2017 and pointing to vast, layered, atmospheric directions for a timeless project which is only just hitting its stride.
After decades in the making Finders Keepers present the first-ever pressing of Serge Gainsbourg’s most elusive and coveted soundtrack studio recordings – co-written, arranged and orchestrated by the genius Jean-Claude Vannier (Histoire De Melody Nelson) during what many consider to be the dynamic duo’s most definitive creative period.
Its the first time on vinyl for this previously unreleased Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtrack to a saucy, psychedelic gallic classic starring Jane Birkin and Gainsbourg in leading roles. Interesting for its forays into traditional sub-continental styles, and one track of heavy petting, alongside the usual Gainsbourgian string arrangements and smoky winks.
Believed to have been lost in a studio fire by Gainsbourg enthusiasts for over forty years (a myth that also shrouds Morricone’s lost Danger Diabolik soundtrack) the misplaced master-tapes for the drug-fuelled/Mai 68 cash-in/road-movie Les Chemins De Katmandou have been widely considered the final audio jigsaw piece in an immaculate discography/filmography thus earning this soundtrack bone-fide Holy Grail status amongst the most avid disc detectives.
Featuring the original crack team of Paris based players now recognised as French library music royalty, this LP epitomises the inimitable musical direction and expert psychedelic pop musicianship that graced classic Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtracks like La Horse, Cannabis and Sex Shop. Laying the stylistic, future-proof foundations for subsequent decades of forward-thinking Gallic funk mastery. Comprising Vannier’s signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-micced drums, biting Clavinet and Eastern influenced strings and percussion (and a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation) the soundtrack to Les Chemins De Katmandou (aka The Road To Katmandu or The Pleasure Pit) captures Vannier and Gainsbourg in the first year of their creative partnership capturing their unique embryonic energy.”
Fifty Foot Hose formed in San Francisco in 1967. Like few other acts of their time they consciously tried to combine the contemporary sounds of rock with electronic instruments and avant-garde compositional ideas. They were one of the most radical groups of the psychedelic era, and their experimentalism still has the power to shock and surprise even now.
"What set them apart were the pioneering experiments in electronic music, like the band they are often compared to, The United States of America. Incorporating theremin, siren, audio generators, and other various electronic effects as Cork Marcheschi, the band's original bass player had developed an acute interest in the dadaist/futurist experiments of composers like John Cage and Edgar Varese. David and Nancy Blossom brought both psychedelic and jazz influences to the band. Cauldron, their only album, was released in December 1967, including "Fantasy”, “Red the Sign Post” and “God Bless the Child”, a Billie Holiday cover. An intriguing mix of jazzy psychedelic rock tunes with fierce and advanced electronic sound effects. These sound experiments differentiated them from their contemporaries and most audiences didn't quite know what to make of them.
So fans of flowery, psychedelic 60's music must beware of this odd gem, Fifty Foot Hose’s music leans more towards White Noise, Silver Apples and specially United States of America than to the whole flower power movement. After only one album, the proto-cyber psych outfit passed as quickly as they came. Their only mention would be a name-check in Ralph J. Gleason’s 1969 book, “The Jefferson Airplane And The San Francisco Sound” published over a year after their demise. Ralph J. Gleason wrote: “I don’t know if they’re immature or premature.” History has proven them to be the latter. Today the original album is very collectable and considered a touchstone of avant garde rock music.
"The concept was to expand what contemporary popular music was. I thought the avant-garde could have had a home with this new group of listeners but they turned out to be pretty conservative - intellectually . Drugs were fine - sex was fine - stop the wars was good but when challenged with abstract art., they reacted like conservative people look at a Jackson Pollock painting." (Cork Marcheschi)."
A sublime addition to Sean McCann’s Recital Program, This Floating World is Roger Eno’s first solo LP in a decade, following on from Anatomy  and a split LP with Plumbline in 2013. Mostly solo piano expressions, but with a few intriguing embellishments of electronics in Garden, vocals on Empty Room, and sonorous chimes in Riddle, saving the detuned pearl of Out of Tune, Out of Time, Out of Here for dessert.
“This Floating World holds rustic and melancholic piano works, as grey and mossy as a country cottage. I hear the LP chiming from the dark corners of a pub, soaking in the damp wood like spilled ale.
I first fell in love with Roger’s music through his 1985 debut album Voices, which cradled many rainy and caffeinated mornings when I was living in San Francisco years back. He played on the infamous Apollo, Music for Films vol. 3, and recorded a theme for the Dune soundtrack. String pads and veils of reverb pour through those processed tracks.
I later rediscovered Roger Eno in a different light with his 1997 album The Music of Neglected English Composers. A playful and beautiful album of chamber pieces guised as the works of forgotten (and fabricated) composers from the past century. His compositional sensibilities remind me of my favorite recent English composers… Hobbs, White, Bryars, Skempton, etc.
This Floating World feels like a hybrid of these two styles, a melding of both his ambient and ‘prelude’-esque compositions. Warm and feathered furniture music.
In our communication Roger has been a real charmer, ending every email with “Roger and out.” A curious fellow, with a knack for tracing the understated beauties of this world.
'Forse 1' is the unmissable solo debut by Alessandro Cortini ov Nine Inch Nails.
Alessandro has this to say: "All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity. Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions.
Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music making the most. After that record I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment."
D.K. keeps his workrate and quality ticking high with Distant Images, the latest addition to his radially expanding catalogue of releases with Melody As Truth, Antinote, L.I.E.S., PRR! PRR! in recent years.
Compared with D.K.’s earliest work, Distant Images bears a pellucid clarity shared with his recent D.K. / S.K. collaboration with Suzanne Kraft for Melody As Truth, bringing his melodic ideas into sharper relief, as with the Reichian/Gamelan rhythmelodies which perfuse the whole set, while also allowing greater room for subtle background sounds, such as the seagulls on Distant Images.
Necessary repress of a slept-on Dan Curtin classic, hitting deep and tuff from 1993 as Apogee on Peacefrog Records.
From the masterfull;y adroit acid lines and rolling breaks of Sunrise On The 2nd Moon, thru the incredibly elaborate, Mayday-esque programming of Horizons Forgotten, to the Hi-Tek Jazz of Inside Above and the slippery mechanics of Sunset On The 2nd Moon, this is the kind of gear that makes older heads justifiably wistful about the early ‘90s, lost futures and all.
Mannequin get a grip on Nigel Ayers and Caroline K’s massive body of Nocturnal Emissions work with this cherry-picked rifle thru their catalogue, containing 22 highlights - from industrial grinders to wonky disco and daft pops - alll spanning recordings made 1980-1989. RIYL TG, Chris & Cosey, Caroline K, Bourbonese Qualk, Foetus.
“Nocturnal Emissions has been one of the best kept secrets of the industrial genre since the 1970s. Led by Nigel Ayers, the band was one of the first to use tape cutting, avant-garde art, and underground video works to create a stage experience that was being cultivated by like-minded artists like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire.
The band moved on to using samplers and electronic noise in their early 80’s work, creating a twisted funk souncthat would go on to influence everyone from Foetus to Negativland. They still utilized their former tricks, upping the ante with extremist performance art and more professional video displays. The group avoided signing to a major label, instead focussing on releasing their own music more effectively.
They followed this path into the 90’s when they started earthlydelights.co.uk, an incredibly detailed website that promotes their various ideologies (they are strongly against the British monarchy and believe that citizens should have unlimited access to space travel) and constant release schedule. The band has released countless tapes and CDs of their material, and continues to unleash their noise through their website.”
The County Liners started in Mary Jane Dunphe (Vexx, CC Dust, CCFX) and Chris McDonnell (CC Dust, CCFX, Trans FX)’s country home in Olympia, WA in the winter of 2016.
"Longtime friends and collaborators, Chris and Mary Jane began writing 80s / 90s inspired country tunes when Mary Jane found herself bedridden with a debilitating ankle injury. Riley Kendig, also living with Dunphe and McDonnell, and Mirce Popovic (Trans FX) joined the band to help arrange and perform these deeply personal songs."
Precision-tooled rolige from el mysterioso, Forest Drive West
Following his D&B outbreak for Hidden Hawaii with two slinky wrigglers for Livity Sound; a swinging deep techno piece recalling vintage Convextion circa Ebullience, and the crankier, UK style lag of Escape with its hip-slipping swang and cold, dank clammy atmosphere.
Strong one for followers of Kowton, Peverelist, Simo Cell
The 1969 follow up to Silver Apple’s debut found the duo digging into the far reaches of their songwriting psyches for a darker and more emotionally charged set of songs.
"While the debut set the stage for a sound the world had never heard before, Contact is where the Silver Apples began inhabiting that sound with more urgency and experimentation. Sourced from the original master tapes plus inner sleeve with unseen master tape box photos. Featuring the original controversial artwork with the Silver Apples in the cockpit of a Pan Am jet on the front, and a plane crash with the duo superimposed over it, on the back.
The airline sued both Kapp Records & the band, forcing the band to break up. Their highly influential sound has influenced countless bands from Stereolab, Beastie Boys, Blur and more."
Home Age is the first proper Eleh full length since 2012's Homage To The Pointed Waveforms.
These new pieces seek to expose the inherent musicality of pure electrical currents via high resolution Serge STS synthesizers. Like early Eleh work, Home Age is inward looking, domestic and deliberate but also slowly emotional and revealing as if peering blurry eyed through a window. Melody, harmony and counterpoint are suggested but not revealed.
Third Man cough up a killer document of Adult. recorded in live performance at Jack White and co’s Nashville, TN facility in spring ’17. With the duo’s latest studio album, Detroit House Guests recently dispatched on Mute, Live At Third Man proves they’ve still got the live chops, and back catalogue, to claim their place among America’s eminent synth-pop acts.
Framed by audience applause/laughter and the sound of their fog machine blowing strong, Nicola Kuperus (vocals) and Adam Miller (electronics, bass guitar) deliver their set with military precision and deadly, punkish style, rinsing thru versions of Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed from their debut album, Anxiety Always, and a mean, sparking take on Pressure Suit off the Entertainment 12”, along with a searing rendition of their classic Hand To Phone, plus no less than two previously unreleased cuts in the cantering sino-electro-pop jags Misshaped, and Does The Body Know?
DJs may struggle to get away with playing these with proper amplification, but for home use the LP serves its purpose damn well.
Mellifluous, rootsy stepper from Sister Rasheda, backed with Counter Action Warriors’s heady dub.
Schooled by Jah Shaka, Rasheda plays deep into the UK sound system style on the front, while the dub brings the tune forward in lushly effected fashion.
Lorenzo Feliciati's career is split between his role as one of Italy's greatest studio and live professional musicians and his evolving career as one of the contemporary electric bass greats - but what sets him truly apart are his talents as composer, arranger and producer.
"For his sixth recording for RareNoiseRecords, following his 2011 solo album Frequent Flyer and subsequent collaborations with vocalist-multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (Berserk!) and Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin (Twinscapes) as well as two albums with the adventurous jazz-rock band Naked Truth (Shizaru, Ouroboros), the restlessly creative bassist-composer-producer Lorenzo Feliciati followed up by realising his vision in the ambitious and deeply original KOI.
A concept album based on the life of the renowned fish, Koi features former Japan drummer Steve Jansen and current King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto along with pianist Alessandro Gwis, trumpeter Angelo Olivieri, saxophonist Nicola Alesini and a horn section consisting of tenor saxophonist Stan Adams, baritone saxophonist Duilio Ingrosso and bass trombonist Pierluigi Bastioli. A suite-like offering that intersperses mesmerizing ambient interludes with full-blown prog-rock type anthems, Koi brilliantly showcases Feliciati’s composerly vision while highlighting his considerable chops on fretted and fretless electric basses.
Now, at the end of 2017, Feliciati has upped the ante again on his latest project, ELEVATOR MAN. A powerhouse recording with echoes of King Crimson, Allan Holdsworth and other Prog Rock icons in its ten tracks, this latest outing by the prolific bassist-composer-arranger features a rotating cast of stellar musicians, including King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, former Holdsworth drummer Chad Wackerman, Swedish guitar shredder Mattias IA Eklundh (of the Jonas Hellborg Trio and Art Metal), Italian progressive metal guitarist Marco Sfogli (currently of the legendary Italian Prog Rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi, aka PFM), trumpeter Cuong Vu and his Naked Truth and Mumpbeak bandmate Roy Powell on distortion-laced clavinet. As well as composing and arranging all the material, Feliciati plays fretted and fretless basses, electric guitar and keyboards on his seventh and most potent recording as a leader to date."
A fascinating immersion in the heart of a funeral ceremony live recorded in Bali, where gongs, cymbals, and drums give rhythm to the bewitching atmosphere of this mortuary procession.
"The international audience’s interest into Balinese music and its gamelan orchestras dates back to the edition of large ethnographic series in the 1950s, 60s and 70s which largely encouraged the discovery of this music beyond Indonesia’s borders. Taking advantage of a more advanced technology compared to the vinyl golden era, the present field recordings produced in 2011 render at the closest the power of gamelans. They are presented here in two forms. The first one offers a display of Beleganjur music out of the ritual context, which can be differentiated by a more melodic form and a more dramatic and hypnotic aspect of the compositions.
The second one presents the Beleganjur style in the ceremonial context of the Ngaben funerary rite in the village of Peliatan. The utmost vitality of these orchestras springs out throughout the different stages of these funerals, and the sound environment surrounding the musicians immerse the listener in the very heart of the procession following the corpse. With The Gamelan of The Walking Warriors, Akuphone carries on its exploration of ritual and ceremonial music with those materials of rare intensity. These recordings were collected by Vincenzo Della Ratta, PhD in Ethnomusicology from the Sapienza University (Rome). As a specialist of the gongs music from the Austronesian cultures of Southeast Asia, Della Ratta is the author of numerous articles on the subject. His field researches have already been edited as a vinyl entitled Kwangkay: Funerary Music Of The Dayak Benuaq Of Borneo (Sublime Frequencies, 2016)."
What Mortazavi and Friedman have in common is their shared expertise in uneven, cyclical rhythms – the foundation of their trance-like art music, which is both subtle and ecstatic.
"Through repetition and improvisation in the studio they create “numbers” – groove-based pieces played on a variety of drums (Mortazavi mainly plays the Tombak) mixed with electronics. Natural, i.e. given, motion patterns provide the musical backbone. This results in a precisely timed harmony between the electronic sounds and live grooves.
Thanks to the extreme acoustic range of the Tombak and his extravagant technique, Mortazavi merges perfectly with Burnt Friedman’s signature sound and repertoire, which seems to belong to no specific place or time.”
Contradictory sides of fuzzy ambient and noisy techno from Thomas9000, debuting as the 1st release from London’s Premature Records.
Arriving with pats on the back from Nic Tasker and Jane Fitz, Obscule gives up a playful, beatless vignette in the A-side’s title cut, landing somewhere between Anthony Manning and Nicola Ratti, where the B-side’s Droid drill down to a turbulent sort of noise techno stress test with chaotic synth squall and jagged, old skool Regis style bite and swerve.
The Monika Werkstatt project opens its doors to friends and artistic peers
Rounding up fine remixes such as Nite Jewel’s disco-ready re-shuffle of Grow by Barbara Morgenstern + Werkstatt; a ghostly-dubbed and motorik take on Lucretia Dalt’s Blindholes from Cómeme and Cititrax’s Borusiade; deals’ reverb-bathed remix of Sonae; and a very Berlin-ready re-canter of Islaja by Charlotte Bendiks.
Hemlock follow a strong 2017 run, getting the best out of Ploy in Unruly with three cuts of agitated digital funk and more abstract structures than his preceding 12”s for Hessle Audio and Timedance.
Unruly sparks off with something like Ueno Masaaki’s Raster-Noton missile redressed with a UK swing, while Garys comes up with escalating synthlines on a swaggering, offset techno mission with belly-twisting impact, and Lost Hours finds him at the other side of that wave with sweeter, duvet-diving ambient dynamics that emulate the effect of going MIA in your own bedroom.
The new album from Peter Broderick.
"They say music takes you on a journey, and this collection of commissioned work by Peter quite literally does that. From a ferry boat ride in Istanbul, to walking down the aisle at a wedding, these songs were created for particular situations, yet Peter found a way to work without any sort of limitations and on his own terms. The result is an assortment of works from the past ten years, coming together as one: Peter’s new album.
Words from Peter, October 2017:
Ever since I started releasing records in 2007 (10 years ago now!), people have contacted me periodically to ask if I’d be interested in making music to accompany their projects. Most of these projects have been things like films, dance pieces and theatre plays . . . but every so often I get the odd request for something a little different. Peter, would you write a song for my wedding? My one year anniversary? A ferry boat ride?
In early 2015 I was asked to perform 12 minutes of music during a runway show as part of New York Fashion Week. I agreed and began composing a 12-minute piece which I could perform on my own with a few different instruments and some looping pedals. I made a recording of the piece and sent it over to my contacts at the fashion show . . . but a few days before I was to fly out to New York, they wrote back and told me they actually just wanted me to play a few older songs that they were already familiar with. Feeling slightly disappointed, I shelved the other piece, giving it the title If I Were A Runway Model.
It is with great pleasure that I now present this piece in a collection of commissioned works spanning the last decade . . . it’s All Together Again. This group of oddball works does indeed include a couple pieces written for weddings (Our Future In Wedlock and The Walk), and a song someone asked me to write as a gift for his wife on their first year wedding anniversary (Emily). And indeed, there’s a 17-minute piece written to accompany a ferry boat ride in Istanbul (A Ride On The Bosphorus). A few of the pieces were written for films (Robbie’s Song, Atlantic and Seeing Things), and one for a kind of interactive installation (Unsung Heroes).
In my early days of recording, I took pride in playing all the different instruments myself and doing the recording myself as well. And then at some point I started branching out, working with other musicians and recording engineers. But this record is very dear to me in that it’s a return to that original approach . . . playing all the different instruments myself, working with my limits on each one, and my own limits in recording and mixing. I’ve always held a broad curiosity for all different instruments and all different styles of music, and if nothing else I hope this record will portray that curiosity, and my pure love for this thing we call music. Can you dig it?
The cover art was made by Peter himself in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, by cutting and sticking different coloured paper fragments to depict the individuality of each track. ".
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Big-eared, subversive collagists Vicki Bennett (People Like Us) and Mark Gergis (Porest) ov Sublime Frequencies and Sham Palace share the latest, brilliant split slab on Discrepant; presenting two extended pieces originally aired as part of WMFU’s OPTIMIZED!, a week-long selection of shows programmed by Bennett DURING JUNE, 2016.
Both artists turn in sterling material, but Mark Gergis’ turn as Porest is a seriously big attraction. Recorded “on-location” between 1988 and Jan-Feb 2016, and incorporating contributions by Paul Staufenbiel and Michael Darr, Porest “unveils recordings from the covert sector of his archives”, culling material intercepted via “prepared radio” fine-tuned to received what he terms “parallel broadcasting”. We’d take that with a pinch of whatever you use to digest “fake news”, as Gergis and co turn in a frankly hilarious prod at Anglo-American cultural imperialism consisting of pointed cut-ups that show up Cassetteboy as infantile dunces by comparison. The radio jingle recruiting Brooklyn hipsters for ISIS is particularly tangy!
For her part, Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us plays to her much-loved, archaic english eccentric side with All On A Beautiful Day, trawling/trolling dippy soundtrack music, classic pop and sonic cultural ephemera in her gently disorienting, merry-go-round way.
Editions Mego present Ivan Pavlov’s highly personalised songbook, CoHgs (pronounced songs, like his name in cyrillic is said; Son) raiding more than 20 years of work prism-pushing work with everyone from Coil to Ann Demeulemeester and Little Annie. As a showcase of his collaborative work, it’s maybe a bit weird that there’s nowt from one of our personal faves, CoH Plays Cosey, but we’re sure there’s some reason for that. And ironically enough the best track, Fffetish - from his Love Uncut for Coil’s Eskaton label - is actually a collaboration with his own alter-ego, Frankie Gothard, on vocals.
“The ongoing relationship between Editions Mego and COH continues with this special collection of works made by COH over a number of years released on a variety of labels. What brings these works together is the incorporation of vocalists and lyrics. Neatly compiled here, a diverse pool of vocalists elevate the otherwise instrumental works of COH ( Ivan Pavlov) into worlds of narrative, the human and the haunted.
Little Annie brings her sly subversive cabaret style to one of the works whilst delivering an intense lkist of daily activities on another whereas Peter ,Sleazy' Christopherson conjures a world beyond our own with his cracked spectral delivery interpreting Pavlov's disembodied electronics. I wrap my last kiss in a bandage… I send you this message.
Frankie Gothard provides classic distorted industrial swagger to the proto-disco FFFETISH where LOVE'S SEPTIC DOMAIN (feat. John Balance & Louise Weasel) screams from the abyss of dirty hospitals; As starlit and damaged as any of the classic Balance deliveries. A previously unreleased work featuring the renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester skips along a metronomic beat whilst the voice lays out dry settings and instruction. Elsewhere Noriko Taguchi embeds a fragile sensibility to a music box melody whilst Anna Yamada's collaboration results in an exquisite blend of disorientating pop.
The versatility of Pavlov's practice is on display as proto disco, industrial simulation and pop all come together with the vocalists presenting a wide range of human function, from the absurd to the mundane to world's unknown.”
Another gem from the small yet significant Strata catalogue. A precursor to New York’s Strata East, Detroit’s Strata Records was founded in the late 1960s by former Blue Note artist Kenny Cox. Starting life as a music-led community organisation, coffee shop studio and venue, Strata released only a few titles as a record label, gaining the imprint a cult following among record collectors and jazz lovers across the globe.
"Possibly the best known of Strata’s releases, The Lyman Woodard Organization’s ‘Saturday Night Special’ is rightly heralded as a jazz fusion classic. Recorded in 1975, ‘Saturday Night Special’ features organ, electric piano and Mellotron by bandleader Lyman Woodard alongside guitar and bass by Ron English, with drums and percussion by Leonard King, Bud Spangler & Lorenzo "Mr. Rhythm" Brown respectively. Despite the fairly sparse instrumentation, ‘Saturday Night Special’ lays down an impressive wall of sound, powerfully atmospheric in its almost low-fi aesthetic. Hinting at more traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, afrocuban styles and more, the uniqueness of this album is surely in its feel: summoning up images of a vast industrial landscape, assembly lines and urban decay. In other words, this record sounds like Detroit.
No great album artwork is complete without a good story to match, and ‘Saturday Night Special’ does not disappoint. Snapped by photographer and political activist Leni Sinclair (responsible for seminal pictures of Miles Davis, Fela Kuti and John Coltrane and many others), the cover image shows the contents of Lyman Woodard’s pockets placed on the hotel bed after a show: cigarette papers, cash and a pistol.
Following Woodard’s death in 2009, this incredible album was reissued in highly limited numbers by Wax Poetics; now just as hard to come by as the original pressings. It’s our pleasure to make this important and influential chapter in the story of contemporary jazz available on vinyl once again."
The Body and Full of Hell are both unique and influential forces in heavy music.
"Both artists welcome challenges and eschew self-promotion. Each artist seems driven to take risks and push boundaries of what is considered heavy. A clear example being that on recent tours The Body have performed without any live guitar or drums. Both artists enjoy the creative growth and music and good times that come out of collaborations. Each has collaborated often with other unique but like-minded musicians such as Thou, The Haxan Cloak, Krieg, Merzbow, The Bug and the list goes on. Despite their obvious differences in songwriting, The Body and Full of Hell are unified by their shared aesthetic, catharsis through the manipulation of emotions transformed by visceral noise and fueled by an inescapable sense of dread. They have returned to collaborate again not because of their commonalities but because of their differences and what those differences yield in performance. With Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light, The Body & Full of Hell have integrated a love for electronic noisescapes with abrasive, precise sonic assaults into a sound unlike anything either has produced before.
Written and recorded in one week at Machines with Magnets in Providence, the music of Ascending draws from unexpected sources such as reggaetón and jungle (“Master’s Story”). There are some familiar guests to The Body fans, namely vocalist Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir) and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), as well as first-time collaborator drummer Brian Chippendale (Lightning Bolt, Black Pus), whom both bands share a strong aesthetic of individualism. Samples, synth, saxophone, and a drum orchestra all throb, and sputter, coagulating under the weight of the two bands. Programmed drum patterns and loops taking cues from hip hop are bent and twisted throughout, flawlessly emboldening the distortion drenched guitars and howling vocals. Each element, though meticulously crafted, is visceral, as the exhilaration of improvisation has not been curtailed by editing.
Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light casts aside the dogmas of heavy music. Extremity in The Body & Full of Hell’s music is not based on macho musings or competitive trendiness, but rather is an integral tool to exploring the anxieties of modern life and the bridges between personal and political strife. As leading voices in DIY and underground music communities, The Body & Full of Hell, along with peers such as Thou, are expanding the possibilities of extreme music by shaping worlds of sound with a palette of diverse influences seldom seen in “heavy music” today.”
David Sheppard returns with his second Snow Palms album, Origin and Echo. Two years in the making, it builds on the foundations of its predecessor, 'Intervals' with a heavy quotient of metallophones, glockenspiels and marimbas at its core, but largely eschews the latter’s chamber arrangements in favour of soaring synth-scapes and a palette of spectral ambient and electronic textures.
"Despite that, 'Origin and Echo' is a more performative record than was Intervals, its eleven organic, kinetic pieces meticulously constructed by David Sheppard from initial percussive skeletons largely essayed instinctively, in free time, without click-tracks and with almost no guitar. The album is loosely predicated on themes of mirroring and rebounding, whether physical or metaphorical, inspired by everything from the gravity-defying parabolas of space flight to patterns of human migration and feelings of déjà vu summoned by nostalgic journeys.
While the album is mostly the work of David Sheppard working alone or in tandem with producer Giles Barrett, it also features cameos from previous Snow Palms collaborator Christopher Leary (synthesisers), alongside Emma Winston (Omnichord), Lauri Wuolio (cupola drum) and Village Green label-mate Angèle David-Guillou (keyboards)."
Speaker-worrying UK bass ructions from Ikonika, making a devilish foray on DBA Dubs after dispatching Distractions, her 3rd album with Hyperdub, last summer. Features Detroit’s Big Strick on deep, rolling Detroit house remix detail.
Laser-guided to the ‘floor, Ikonika’s OG Oral Suspension sounds out a London-centric house hybrid, pulling together shards of ballroom, grime, and techno into a short of futurist rare groove balancing bolshy rudeness with a freshly buffed, in-the-pocket swagger.
On the remix, Omar-S’ cousin, Big Strick refits the original, soulful chord sequence to a sleek, rolling Motor City chassis underlined with skudgy acid line and puppeteered with pendulous drums that work a treat.
Searing, panic-on-the-space-station techno from Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and David Sumner (Function) aka LSD for the purposes of their Ostgut-Ton debut.
They kick us head-first down the wormhole with Process 1, then blind with the needling harmonic geometries of Process 2, and really push out into psychedelic terrain on the extended Process 3 with a subtle segue from panic stations to pensive tranquility and out into fathomless, colder dimensions.
Belgium’s Obsequies file in line with J.G. Biberkopf, d’Eon, v1984 and Jlin to present their captivating futurist visions on Kuedo’s Knives label.
Organn is Obsequies’ fully formed but suggestively sparse debut release. Taking cues from Isidore-Lucien Ducasse’s surrealist touchstone, Les Chants de Maldorer, the EP unfolds a sort of lucid dream infiltrated by noirish sci-fi voices and framed within extreme, morphing sound sphere that expands and contracts from vast, echoic space to visceral chromatic pinches in its 30 minute lifespan.
Grace lifts off with a freeform elegance, pirouetting between steepled chords, fragments of cafe conversation and glitching Raster-Noton electronics recalling Ryoji Ikeda, before swan-diving into the upended post-techno physics of Languish and something recalling TCF or Obsequies’ fellow belgian artist Hiele in the fast-fwd jungliest rushes of Cell.
Asthme is a proprioception-baffling display of dynamic sound design clashing minimalist classical keys and cyber-pop urges, while Consumed fulminates a kind of black metal candescence and noise intensity, leaving us spinning in air with the weightless majesty of But Beautiful, buffeted by emulated elements and glittering with starlight.
Joy Orbison steps into the Selectors role for Dekmantel, rustling up a mixed bag of vibes covering OG ‘80s street soul, its contemporary antecedents, and all stripes of house, jungle and techno variations between.
Toyin Agbetu’s bubbling, rubbery soul bomb Heartbreaker is a big highlight, whose vibes inform the rest of the set, from Mustafa Ali’s (NAD) early techno ace Strive (Survive Mix) and R Solution’s rugged and rare proto-hardcore tug, Skinny Long Git, thru to Source Direct aka Oblivion’s self-explanatory jungle missive, Lush, forward thru to late ‘90s garage and techno variants such as Stylistic’s People and Artwork’s turn as Santos Rodriguez, a rare Bitstream number, JP Buckle’s Rephlexian duty One For Da Laydeez, and an up-to-the-second brief by Klein.
Pinch pulls out three special rave weapons for the upside-down steppers at Aquaticlab Records.
The follow-up to his Control/Strobe Light session with Mumdance locates a meaner, rawer Pinch in the A-side’s hybrid of crunching dancehall impulses, shockwave synths and supple 4/4 flows, while the B-side leans in darker, more stripped down with the impending, weightless pressure and paso-doble parries of Street Light, then on a classic smokers’ half step with Abducted.