Kathryn Joseph releases her new album ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’, via Rock Action Records.
"The follow up to 2015’s acclaimed debut Bones ‘You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’, which was named the Scottish Album of the Year, this album is a captivating set that documents both life’s traumas and their resolutions. Produced by Marcus Mackay, who also worked on her debut album, ‘From When I Wake The Want Is’ mixes new songs with material gathered over the past ten years to create an intimate and often devastating portrait of Joseph’s world."
Matthew Herbert flexes his broken beat and discoid house chops on Accidental Jr with this reissue of a 1995 classic...
Taking a minute out from his soundtrack work, Herbert heads straight for the ‘floor with classic breaks percolated on a funk tip in ‘Rude’, along with the classic-sampling deep house blush of ‘Oo Licky’, and the warm, dusky house breeze of ‘See You On Monday’.
They don't makkkkkeum like this anymore!
Sunn 0)))’s entrancing, crushing doom metal totem ’White1’, entirely remastered by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, including the beastly rarity ‘Cut Wood(ed)’ from their rare-as-heck ‘White’ box
Notably featuring guest appearances from Julian Cope and Joe Preston, White1 is an exceptional highlight of Sunn 0)))’s near-sacred catalogue of doom metal drone recordings. Originally intended as an acoustic album, the recording session took a different route towards psychedelic electronic experimentation, with the results originally issued in 2003 on CD and as a now sought-after 3-sided LP packaged in a pillowcase and including a sleeping pill.
In the same year of its release, this reviewer popped their Sunn 0))) cherry at Autechre’s ATP, which was nothing short of a life-changing revelation, seeing Julian Cope prostrate, front of stage, surrounded by candles and dry ice, flanked by axe-wielding druids clawing the most monstrous riffs this teenaged bean had ever heard.
On disc, you might not get the full visual glory of O’Malley, Anderson, Ritter, and Cope on stage, but provided you crank it loud enough at home, you can now come closer than ever to the void of White1, from Cope’s foul mouthed induction in the 26 minutes of My Wall, to the brainfeezing blend of traditional Norse vocals and the super rare appearance of Joe Preston’s achingly tight drumming on The Gates of Ballard - one of scant few Sunn 0))) cuts to feature percussion, and which still makes us want to knock down skyscrapers - and right thru the subharmonic ritual of A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.
Always pushing it one step farther, this release also now includes the abyssal dimensions of Cut Wood(ed), their 2003 collaboration with Ulver which didn’t make the original LP, later found on the White box in 2006, and now retrospectively added to this definitive edition of a staggering masterpiece.
Ragged, off-centre techno sloggers from Bergsonist, following up Where To Now?’s ace Ben Vince LP
“Bergsonist is the moniker of Moroccon born and NYC based Selwa Abd. 'Solyaris' follows the self-released '' and a prolific slew of releases for labels such as Styles upon Styles, Borft, and Angoisse amongst others. For Selwa her uncompromising & otherworldly, hypno technoid creations aim to capture a given moment in time, contextualising her often direct, hugely affective, & unpolished approach to production.
'Conflict in Yeman' opens with a gambit of off-kilter percussive experiments & electronics, conveying a sense of determined urgency. Things grow more & more intricate & immediate as we progress - layers of disruption weave around a reoccurring 140BPM shuffle, anchoring Selwa's constant explorative concrete diversions.
'Former Alien who has been naturalized by a U.S Citizen' brings things down a notch - skittering drums linger below a truly haunting whispered melody, occasionally broken down by collapsed rewinds and thunderously raw in the red beat grit - to dizzying effect. Whereas previously 'Solyaris' had taken its cues from Drexciyan Detroit Electro 'Former Alien...' stands closer to a Fantastic Damage era EL-P instrumental rather than anything aimed at the floor.
The EP rolls out with 'Fidel Gastro', a structured & focused piece of Machine Funk & end of days drop cues, conjuring an effective mix of both euphoria & imminent dread.”
Dead solid breakbeat techno-house from Glasgow institution Wheelman, backed with an unmissable 313 electro-jit mix by D.I.E.
Following the angles of his 12”s for Studio Barnhus and Belters to tuff, deeper conclusions, Wheelman meshes rolling house heft with deep techno pads and ruder breakbeat chops on the wobbling bass axle of ‘Signal’, which D.I.E. refits as a percolated Detroit electro ace with funked up bassline and perfect 808 snare crack.
Chris Watson divines ghosts in The Moog Sound Lab’s System 55 machines, following in the footsteps of Jamal Moss, Mika Vainio and others on the Blue TB7 series
The eminent sound recordist and erstwhile member of Cabaret Voltaire here shifts his focus from capturing birdsong for David Attenborough to impressionistically document human animals in their natural, urban and industrial environments on ‘Locations, Processed’.
Attuned to the subtleties of everyday listening life, Watson intercepts and reframes sounds from undisclosed locations, almost imperceptibly processing and layering those isolated scenes into a sort of stealthily hypnotic dramaturgy of hyperreal, intra-dimensional scope.
Quite simply, it’s required listening for any and all field recording enthusiasts and industrial dreamers.
Silkie brings a dubstep drama to Deep Medi
One of the scene’s most singular artists, Silkie plays deep into and out of the now-classic mode with the brassy pomp and evil swagger of ‘Impervious’ leading to a very canny switch up into spy funk themes.
Flipside, ‘Reevea’ catches him updating the style with skittish trills and churning subs in a stunning sort of broken beat-electro-jungle twiss-up, and the pizzicato strings and 2-step tic of ‘Egyptian March’ come off like a stray instrumental grime bullet that’s just begging for a bolshy vocal.
Superb deep techno and ambient electronica from Yügen Disciple, a new name on Andy Lyster’s Youth following their blink-and-miss introduction to FUMU
Pretty flawless from any angle, the A-side features the systolic thrum and heavy-lidded pads of ‘IBEX 2 (MD-A02_XOX-101)’ and the spectral acid of ‘Luxury Flat’, while the B-side hearkens back to vintage Mille Plateaux daze in ‘Pattern Recognition’, and checks out with the sdancign dust mites of ’Shinkansen Blur’.
Big tip to fans of Shinichi Atobe, SND, Actress
Official reissue of the original soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 film noir classic Le Cercle Rouge composed by French soundtrack master Eric Demarsan, drawing from the orchestral spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet, abstraction and minimalism to create a hypnotizing audio landscape. The album boasts the participation of celebrated jazz players Guy Pedersen (bass), Daniel Humair (drums), Georges Arvanitas (piano), and Bernard Lubat (vibraphone).
"Starting as a collaborator of François de Roubaix and Michel Magne in the 60s, Eric Demarsan went on to become a mainstay of French cinema soundtracks, composing for directors such as Jean-Pierre Mocky, Costa-Gavras, and Patrice Leconte among others. He also recorded the cult album Pop Symphony (for Pierre Cardin in 1970) under the Jason Havelock pseudonym.
This is the original soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Melville's classic crime thriller Le Cercle Rouge, as scored by Eric Demarsan. Apparently, Melville requested that the music should give the feeling of being trapped by fate. Not the easiest notion to represent in music, I'm sure you'll agree, but the claustrophobic, complex jazz crescendos of 'Vogel S'Enfuit', and 'Sur Les Toits's pregnant tension certainly enforce an atmosphere of menace and impending peril. There are a few easier going jazz ensemble numbers littered throughout the disc ('Avenue Paul Doumer', 'Barrage Policier') but Demarsan's at his best when he's creating tension on pieces like 'Cercle Desincarne' or 'Le Parc'. This is one of those soundtracks that's eminently listenable as an album in its own right, divorced from its intended context, so comes highly recommended."
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Cotton Goods) channels paranormal music in a hypnotic eulogy to infinity and ephemerality on the Tape Loop Orchestra’s penultimate Instrumental Transcommunications volume, a sublime choral treatment that comes highly recommended if you’re into Ian William Craig, Jóhann Jóhannsson or Max Richter.
Return To The Light’ emulates a cumulative swell of Electronic Voice Pheneomena imaginatively intercepted from the ether and arranged into a hauntingly affective symphonic chorale. Sharing conceptual roots with his peer, Sam A McLoughlin’s ace Tongues of Light project, ‘Channelled Messages at The End of History’, TLO presents himself as a sort of conduit, a spiritual lightening rod or a dark interpreter, who absorbs the messages encoded in the frequencies of ancient light and the electromagnetic spectrum, in order to transduce and limn their meanings to our mortal, temporary vessels.
The results are wonderous, otherworldly, blessed with the aching vulnerability and fragility that many listeners have come to adore in Tape Loop Orchestra’s music.
Enchanting introduction to the exquisite, smoky melancholy of a Japanese jazz and blues singer/songwriter/composer who collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and penned some 30 solo albums, yet is scarcely known in the West.
Born in 1942 in a small, northern Japanese fishing village, Maki grew up during the era of American occupation and cultural imperialism, eventually moving to Tokyo and nurturing a passion for the records of Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson, which would lead her to perform on US military bases and cabarets and subsequently cover many US traditional folk and blues for the Japanese market.
With her distinctive voice she's seemingly possessed by the spirit of her heroes - Billie, Nina, Mahlia among them - and apparently had the mysterious countenance to match her unusual aesthetic.
We'll have to take that for granted from Hitoshi Jin Tamura's photos and Alan Cummings' enlightening liner notes, but Maki's music remains the best gauge of her character, taking in big band experiments along with an amazing, sitar-lead psych-out, plus runs into modal, spiritual jazz and the kind of lounge styles that prompt imagery of Bill Murray or some lonely salaryman clutching a single malt in the shadows of a Tokyo bar.
Continuing their ongoing mission to seek out old records and boldly go where no crate digger has gone before, Finders Keepers have excavated another essential piece of cinematic history.
"It has been exactly ten years since Finders Keepers Records rst liberated Luboš Fišer’s immaculate soundtrack music for Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (Valerie A Týden Divu) from the vaults of the Barrandov Studio in Prague. As the inaugural release of an ongoing discography of previously unreleased scores from the hugely creative “Film Miracle” that occurred during and after the Czech New Wave (CNW), this score will always retain a special place in the heart of the label as well as our listeners who consistently request an updated repress of this signi cant vinyl milestone. Having grown in status from an obscure and misunderstood socialist-era art house oddity, via the hands of risqué foreign uff merchants, to nally and its rightful audience as a bona de surrealist cinematic masterpiece of world class standards, this 1970 lm adaptation of Vítezslav Nezval’s 1935 avant-garde novella (a lm that literally cross-pollinated Max Ernst’s A Week Of Kindness and Lewis Carols Alice In Wonderland) has garnered widespread critical acclaim.
Inspiring ongoing generations of visual artists, musicians, writers and lmmakers - all of whom regard this truly individualistic and inimitable surrealist lm poem to be an indelible in uence - Valerie continues to impregnate their daily artistic referential fabric."
The seventeen songs collected here come from The Fall’s Brix Smith era, aka “the golden era of Fall releases.” This is a perfect introduction to the band, and as legendary critic Robert Christgau said, it’s “The only Fall record any normal person need own”.
"The band’s legendary and notorious frontman Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year at the age of 60. The band’s output since they formed at the height of the punk rock movement in Manchester in 1976 was prolific to say the least. It’s hard to be exact, but in their four decades, The Fall released 31 studio albums, 5 part-studio/part live albums, 32 live albums, 40 compilations, and Mark E. Smith also released two spoken word albums. Another high number is that of former members of The Fall. There were over 60 different band members over the years. Their high volume of quality work over the last 40+ years had an enormous influence which was extolled greatly after his death..."
Reissue of heavyweight boogie-disco produced by John Rocca in 1985, dished up on suitably heavy wax
On Be With Records’ 2nd Pink Rhythm reissue this year, make sure to listen up for the full fat disco of ‘More and More;.
Capitol K strikes an ever-beguiling mix of worldly influences and crafty, low-key grooves bridging the distance between Jon Hassell, Haruomi Hosono and K. Leimer’s imaginary 4th world projections with brilliantly idiosyncratic arrangements of bamboo flutes, nimble percussion, and subtle electronics...
“Goatherder is the seventh album from underground London producer Kristian Craig Robinson, AKA Capitol K. This ace manipulator of audio and punk warlord of groove has crossed a tapestry of styles and approaches with his own secret compass since 1998. This latest work was developed and recorded in his native Malta, where he built a studio in a cave (a former goat stable). K gathered bamboo instruments collected around the world, including an ancient Quecha reeded pipe (his new-found lead instrument), and various resonating vessels and percussive objects including dry fennel storks collected from Punic troglodyte sites, and atonal flutes built from fresh cut farmland reed.
Ritualistic improvisations took place over a series of seasonal visits, awakening genetic memory and plant communication. Back in London the tracks were interfaced and expanded with post-industrial machine beat and bass guitar lock down. Homage is paid to New Age synthscapes, while a Spirit Jazz overtone arrives from K's recent years as the sonic muscle behind a plethora of luminous albums born in his Total Refreshment Studio. Goatherder follows on from the 2016 collaborative incarnation LOOSE MEAT and sonically abridges 2012's Capitol K album Andean Dub.”
Some time around 20 years ago, Dub Surgeon made an absorbing album of beautiful dub infused with ambience, found sounds and horizontal rhythms. 'The Lost Future' was recorded at the former Amsterdam Film Academy, engineered and mastered by Ricardo Villalobos who put it through several vintage mixers and recorded it to 2 inch tape. Then, tragedy struck: a storm surged and ignited a fire that ravaged the studio. The master copy was thought to have been lost forever.
Dub Surgeon stopped making music and disappeared into the shadows after just two EPs on Future Dub in 2002/3. But one day, 15 years later, and totally out of the blue, he received a demo of The Lost Future. "Pay attention to this," it said.
Attached was a demo version of the long lost album which now, finally, has found a home on Dubai's Ark to Ashes imprint, so named in homage to the story of Lee "Scratch" Perry burning down his Black Ark studio to rid it of demons.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker, the album adopts its full form as a killer dub excursion which, with hindsight, can be marked up next to other electronic dub classics of its era, arguably right up there with the first two Pole albums, but also wickedly prescient of wilder, out-of-the-lines styles to come from Jay Glass Dubs to Seekersinternational, and even flashes of Hyperdub and Burial’s more abstract, introspective moments.
Toronto/Berlin’s Nathan Micay, a.k.a. Bwana, returns via Whities. Sleek, rolling and tremulously optimistic, on the A-side he works with the agility and grace of a ribbon twirling rhythmic gymnast on ‘First Casualty’, whereas the B-side’s ‘Beginning Ballads’ is a teasing display of deferred gratification, rolling to cusp-of-the-peak tech-trance styles.
"Nathan Micay (formerly Bwana) steps out under his own name for the first time with a pair of glistening panoramas well-primed for those exultant hours of the early morning. The 12” opens with 'First Casualty’, aka *that* track played by Avalon in her Printworks set last year, before heading into deeper territories with 'Beginning Ballads’ on the flip. In Nathan’s words: "These are without a doubt the most personal tracks I have written to date. I made them as a sort of exercise in self-therapy during my first few months in Berlin. As time has gone on, more meanings have unfolded with each listen. For me, these tracks are a rebuttal to the endless churn of negativity in the news and online. They have become my battle cry in the club, something to mobilize while also offering a chance to escape it all, even briefly."
"Maribou State combine ‘Feel Good’ - a collaboration born of their friendship with Houston-based trio Khruangbin and a shared love of breakbeats, vintage surf riffs and a common desire to explore worldwide music cultures - and ‘Turnmills’ - a stunning track dedicated to the legendary London nightclub of the same name that closed in 2008 - on one essential 12”."
Ramp Recordings’ Tom Kerridge a.k.a. Girls of the Internet on a low-key deep house tip, backed with an ace Finn remix
Check for Finn’s remix, one of the craftiest, teasing workouts in his small but growing armoury of aces.
Bristol bassbin buddies double down on a party sound for UTTU’s Dance Trax series
A-side they inflate the pumping ghetto jack of ‘D-Question’ and the slompy swang of ’Seven of Nine’.
B-side brings the deeper, dubwise garage schwang and strings of ‘Bashton Valed’, and a pranging sort of electro-funk in ’Tanga Toll’.
The soundtrack to the original motion picture directed by Steve De Jarnatt (1989) and twelfth film score from Tangerine Dream, the tension in `Miracle Mile', both the music and on the screen, make it one of their strongest.
ARP wraps up inspirations from Japanese ambient, 4th world electronics, jazz and kosmiche synth music into a luxurious suite of loungey psychedelia
“A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, unlikely convergences, unfixed constellations, ZEBRA, Alexis Georgopoulos’ – aka Arp – fifth full-length album, is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics, emphasizing points of connectivity between far-flung traditions. ZEBRA is as naturalistic as it is alien, disrupting outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Using forward-looking production techniques and an idiosyncratic instrumental palette — analog synthesizers, double bass, Fender Rhodes, electronic and acoustic drums, flute, vintage harmonizers and tape delay — Georgopoulos proposes a vast, shimmering prospect, floralizing an array of styles and smiles — Fourth World tremors, vibey Cosmic Jazz, 80s Japanese production, floating kosmische drum atmospherics.
Emphasizing ‘points of connectivity’ in a time when reactive and fractious isolationism threaten in divisive ways, ZEBRA is the sound of interaction. ZEBRA seeks something beyond definition of singularity perspective and division. It is constructive instead of flippant: ecstatic instead of wallowing; clear-eyed instead of opiated, romantic instead of cynical.
Like the zebra, Georgopoulos’ latest album revels in contrast / duality – Naturalistic + alien. Urban + rural. Calm + unsettling. Lucid + mysterious. Bold simplicity + fiendish complexity. The result is a portal to a more curious world that compels repeat visits.”
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Hugo Massien on a deep ’n rugged UK flex for E-Beamz following trips with XL, Tectonic and 17 Steps
Carving his own path thru the scorched ground of rave’s past, Massien keeps the pressure simmering and potent between the brooding breakbeat hardcore of ‘Where Your Body Begins’ and the beautiful weightless rave thizz of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ on the A-side, while the flip brings a sort of pendulous acid-electro style in ‘Alien Shapes’, along with the pirouetting arp vignette ‘Circles (Going In)’, and the floating acid stepper ‘Faith In Chaos’ with its perfectly poignant vocal for the negative ecstasy crew.’
The groundbreaking 1971 debut album by Meredith Monk reisuued on vinyl.
"Composer, singer, director/choreographer, creator of new opera, musical theater works, films and installations, Meredith Monk is one of the most unique and influential artists of our time. Awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2015, Monk has blazed her own influential trail through music and movement over the past 50 years. Pitchfork noted in a recent review of her latest ECM release, ‘On Behalf of Nature’: “Meredith Monk’s influence as a singer and composer extends through Björk, Joanna Newsom and beyond.”
‘Key’ contains Monk’s earliest compositions for voice, composed and performed from 1967-1970. In her words: “In ‘Key’ I wanted to create a constantly shifting ambience. Each song dealt with a different vocal character, landscape, technical concern or emotional quality. I was trying for a visceral, kinetic song form that had the abstract qualities of a painting or a dance. I knew that I didn’t want to set music to a text; for me, the voice itself was a language which seemed to speak more eloquently than words. I chose certain phonemes for their particular sound qualities. In a sense, each song became a world in itself with its own timbre, texture and impulse.”
Killer compilation from Honest Jon's focussing on the dancehall vocal and dubs that the Unity Sounds label and sound system dropped to mad effect in the mid eighties. Recorded by a cast of talented amateurs on a Casio keyboard and four-track recorder before being tested on the Unity soundsystem...
The album was recorded by the Unity Sound label workers after the introduction of the early digital sound system, later supplemented by vocals and overdubs in the studio.
Genius throughout with spot-on mastering from Moritz von Oswald at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. Informative liner notes, lush high quality sleeve makes this as essential a comp as 'Darker Than Blue'.
Legendary material, reissued with love.
Very necessary re-build of Experimental Products all-time synth-pop belter ‘Glowing In The Dark’ from EchoDroides on Traxx’s Kode, a sublabel of Nation
With the original pressing simply dead expensive, and the V-O-D reissue lacking in punch on big rigs, EchoDroide have helpfully stepped in to rebuild the synth-pop classic from scratch.
A-side is the all-new, shiny remake of the original - vocal and all! - delivering everything where it matters, while the B-side is a straight played instrumental, primed for the flounce.
Vital collection of vocal versions from three 12”s, plus three new and exclusive pieces, outlining the current, heavyweight Senegalese mbalax of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, who’re now five years into their unique streak of stripped down drum, vocal and guitar syncopation. The production on this one is just ridiculous...
Forming a totally logical next step in Mark Ernestus’ pursuit of outernational rhythm & dub sound dimensions, in Yermande he basically channels, edits and diffracts highly complex drum patterns by cracks hot Sabar drummers with floating, earthen vocals in six arrangements that bristle with a discipline and energy which has been deeply preserved and learnt thru the ages; in effect helping to knot the loop of influence between West African drum traditions, Caribbean synthesis and diffusion, and digitised Detroit futurism.
If you’ve kept up with the series so far, then you’ve probably worked out set moves to the remarkable, ricocheting depth charges of Walo Walo and tussling B-line and poised vox of Mbene Diatta Seck on wrestling anthem Lamb Ji, which are both included in their original mixes here along with the sprung tri-step hustle of Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix) whose bouncing dub chords perhaps betray Ernestus’ earliest work strongest.
But, whether you’re new to the project or not, the three new parts are previously unheard; convening a duskier respite in the beautifully breezy prowling space of Simb (which was paradoxically ‘the most difficult one to mix’ according to Mark Ernestus), before Jigeen (meaning ‘Woman’) unfurls the most limber, stepping’ and rollin’ groove that swinges into the filigree hi-hats and grubbing traditional guitar chops of Niguel, last spotted in its deadly Groove mix, now with the calligraphic vocal signature of Mbene Diatta Seck.
Beyond redundant dichotomies of world music as happy/dark or raw/polished, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force are making music that matters from myriad emotive and physical aspects, relatable to your own rituals and feelings.
Rave-guaranteed belters from Roza Terenzi & DJ Zozi on the eagerly anticipated 1st 12” from Vancouver, CA’s Planet Euphorique
Launched the same week Canada legalised the weeeeed, Planet Euphorique plays up to the vibe in four parts of crystal cut, shine-eyed rave goodness produced by PE’s proprietor, D. Tiffany a.k.a. Xophie Xweetland a.k.a. DJ Zozi together with her pal, Roza Terenzi.
A-side warms up on a slow garage tip, like some melted Bigshot Records obscurity, before Half Moon Bay steps up the emotional and physical energy with lush pads and mercurial freestyle electro inflections also carrying that ’89 into 2019 swagger.
B-side, the 12” really comes into its own with the triple deep Detroit and early UK AI styles of Strobe Fountain and the feminine jungle pressure of G Step.
Lip-smackingly good stuff. Don’t sleep!
Back in 2010 we said....
Ask us about Shangaan Electro a week ago and we'd ask you to speak slower. Ask us this week and we'll rave about one of the most astounding records we've heard this year.
The erstwhile and intrepid ears of Honest Jon's Mark Ainley and Hardwax/Basic Channel legend Mark Ernestus have been following this niche style from Soweto, SA, for a hot minute, long enough anyway to pick out twelve extraordinary examples of 180bpm, marimba-laden, afro-dance diamonds hewn from rickety drum machines and keyboards shaped into dazzling fillips of pure dance energy. We almost couldn't believe our ears on first listen, or the tenth. It was perhaps only when we witnessed the accompanying videos on youtube that it started to settle into place, watching liquid hipped Shangaan dancers scuttle and stomp like folk possessed by something untold but completely comprehendible.
It's not a large punt to draw distinctions between this and Chicago footwurk or Caribbean Soca styles, from the high tempo velocity to use of basic equipment all deployed with the intention of eliciting faster and more furious dance moves from the participants. Essentially this is a continuation of traditional styles, only plugged in at the studio of Nozinja Music Productions to become utterly electrified and electrifying. But these aren't simply instrumental rhythms, they're also songs with passionate, soul wrenching vocals and head-rushingly sweet synth melodies. Four exemplary contributions from the scene's lynchpin Zinja Hlungwani are worth the entry price alone; from the gripping hypertension of 'Ntombi Ya Mugaza' to the warbling duet of synthesized and human soul in 'Nwa Gezani My Love', or the alien harmonics of 'Nwa Gezani', you're paying to experience a mesmerizing sound that you simply can't hear anywhere outside of Limpopo or low-res youtube clips.
Nozinja is responsible for the breakneck speed of Shangaan Electro, responding to public demand for faster rhythms since opening his studio in 2005, even creating "boy bands" like the boiler-suited and clown mask-wearing Tshetsha Boys and producing for the rest of the artists included here. To be fair, this music is still a totally niche prospect, but initial reactions from friends we would never expect to like it have been as immediate as the music itself and there's no denying this will be one of the years most lauded albums among adventurous listeners.
This is genuinely some of the most exciting music you'll hear this year, and alongside the Footwork/Juke craze currently taking hold, you'll have heard little like it before.
Unsung West Coast maverick Carl Stone is subject of a necessary 2nd retrospective on Unseen Worlds following their Laurie Spiegel/Don Christensen and Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom releases.
As revelatory as the first volume Electronic Music From the Seventies and Eighties, the temporal shift into the ’80s/‘90s in this 2nd collection opens four hallucinatory new planes of ambient enquiry yielding some of the most interesting electronic music we’ve never heard before.
Progressing farther along Stone’s timeline we find him refining the flow of his practice in four prime examples of his work within the parameters of real-time electronic music performance and process. With computerised sleight of hand, all four works reveal a magick of metamorphosis, demonstrating how fixed elements can become im/perceptibly changed over time.
In Bantreay Srey we hear a lone vocal slowed down into evaporating helixes of floating tones, while the percolated glassy chain of Sonali appears to predate the playful brilliance of his glitching pop cut-ups in its keening, frothy drive leading to a secreted Mozart chorus.
Woo Lae Oak follows with a sublime play on tension between levitating flute lines and a backdrop of strobing, hyper electronics keeping us rapt for its 23 minute lifespan, before another extended number Mae Yao aligns the senses in a sort of digitally windswept segue from hyperventilating female vocals to shimmering shoegaze radiance hinting at gamelan music, but never quite resolving at either.
To be honest, we’re still nowhere near getting our heads around Carl Stone’s body of work, but this and the last volume are a great place to start probing, and likewise his Al-Noor CD if his more popwise aspects take your fancy.
DJ Sotofett plays out a pack of deepest house aces on his debut album, accompanied by Gilb'r and Phillip Lauer, plus some jazzy Finns and an angleic voice from The Ivory Coast.
As you might expect, there's no fuss and no fight to 'Drippin' For A Trip (Tripp-a-Dubb-mix)'; it's a laidback, party-friendly showcase of Sotofett's seductive charms and easy way with a collaboration, whether keeping the sun up with the tribalised drums and colourful bird calls of his 'Drippin' For '97' side with Gilb'r (a.k.a. Chateau Flight), getting his deepest New York smush on with the weightless beauty of the 'Space Dub' and Nimbus Mix' with Phillip Lauer (a.k.a. Tuff City Kids), or linking with Jaakko Eino Kalevi for the New Age-meets-Afrobeat sweetnuss of the 'Ibiza Dub' and 'Main Bar Mix' side.
Shocking 909 driven dancehall banger from Dug Out, the label run by Honest Jons and Hard Wax
Ruffest shot of 1988 ragga-techno from Tiger at his maddest. Nuthin' but a rattling 909 riddim topped by incendiary, unhinged vocal and that's all you need! Seriously, we've never heard anything quite like it, the groove sounds like some one-off bleep techno experiment from Sheffield gone AWOL and discovered by a manic Jamaican.
In addition to being one of America's most persistently interesting avant-garde percussionists, Jon Mueller has in recent years carved a niche for himself among more mainstream company, working with Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and perhaps most notably of all, Volcano Choir, the acclaimed Bon Iver-related side-project that features Justin Vernon.
One way or another, Type seems to have made a habit of capturing established experimental artists at a career-defining moment or a point of creative breakthrough (something that could be argued for the label's releases of Grouper, Yellow Swans and Clams Casino albums) and once again, they seem to have snapped up Mueller just as he's poised on the cusp of taking his music to a new peak.
Having released Metals and Physical Changes for the Table Of The Elements label, The Whole finds Mueller looking outward; delving into the culture of quilt making and the Shaker crafts in his pursuit of forming his work around a fresh sense of earthy simplicity. Mueller's palette is comprised of a relatively sparse set-up: a snare, low toms, hammered dulcimer and voice, yet with these constituent parts he forms a unique vision that's equally enriched by folk traditions as it is the contemporary experimental music scene.
'Hearts' is an epic of intricate, clockwork drumming that combines with tranced-out vocal mantras and interjections of harmonised dulcimer to great effect, culminating in a thrilling final sequence that finds Mueller putting his own uniquely skewed slant on the double-time kick sounds of thrash metal. 'Hands' is another captivatingly complex and powerful drumming exercise, punctuated by deep cymbal splashes and some beautiful tom work through which you can really hear the full, booming curve of the drum's vibration.
The album is bookended by 'Remembered As' and 'Remembered' two pieces that place emphasis on the melodic potential of percussion, coaxing haunting passages from the dulcimer that really spring into life - particularly during the latter piece which embraces gong-like chimes and swelling metallic resonances.
Overdue but well on-point, Kassem Mosse’s 2nd solo album proper - his debut with Honest Jon’s - is a time-and-space bending set of ancient yet modern-sounding techno deviations that makes the rest of his field seem like frustrated, gridlocked passengers.
Blending the drum machine of Jeff Mills with the hi-tech jazz chops of Mad Mike and a wondrous feel for plasmic radiophonics and dustily organic textures, Disclosure is patently KM’s definitive artistic statement, largely steering shy of any easy anthems in favour of pursuing a mystic, abstract muse deep into the wires.
No doubt at all it will piss off the bro’s fishing for big tuna, but for anyone else who can dance outside of the lines there’s stacks of crafty time-signatures, alien electronics and loose-limbed patterns to get with, from the bitter dissonance of Stepping on Salt to the frayed bustle of Drift Model and the sun-melted techno of Galaxy Series 7, whilst Monomer trades in Tevo Howard-style Chicago class and it’s hard to deny the Memphis-style percolations of Aluminosilicate Mirrors or the Molecular Memories’ Africans With Mainframes-esque projections.
Brooding mix of post-rock and electro-pop by Ricardo Donoso + childhood friend Thiago Kochenborgor, betraying mutual influence from Depeche Mode to NIN in eight parts
“"The sailor cannot see the north, but knows the needle can".
‘Human Resources’ marks the first official album by two friends playing together since the age of twelve, separated by oceans and time, attempting to reconnect with the same collaborative, exploratory and enthusiastic spirit that they felt fifteen years prior.
Under the alias RDTK, the roots of the collaboration were planted fifteen years ago in a small one-bedroom apartment in Rio de Janeiro as an outlet for two seventeen year olds to learn and abuse the intricacies of electronic production, composition and home recording. Its initial roots remain intact: combining a hybrid of traditional rock instrumentation and arrangements with electronic programming, sound design and an intricate and sophisticated production style.
Ricardo's musical vocabulary draws as much from contemporary composition, drone, to techno and noise. Songs like album opener ‘Affective Forecasting’ contain a mind blowing intensity which is often felt throughout ‘Human Resources’. Cinematic textures and progressive rhythms are the very essence of the record as we are invited in to the immersive sound world of RDTK.
‘There Is Still Time’ conjures up images of barren landscapes and dreamlike imagery, with a spine chilling tension that is a far-cry from the sounds of Samba and Bossa Nova, while the piercing strength of ‘Surface and Together’ set against a back-drop of melancholy keys and krautrock electro beats offers a depth and urgency that is strikingly emotive.”
Two of Constellation's acclaimed solo instrumental artists join forces on this tremendous album of original compositions for horn and violin.
"Stetson and Neufeld first began playing in duo formation while on tour together as soloists in 2012, joining each other on stage for one or two of their respective pieces. Duo compositions for their debut album emerged throughout 2014, and were road-tested that spring with performances at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (Canada) and Moers Festival (Germany). The album was recorded without overdubbing, looping, sampling, cutting or pasting at their farmhouse attic studio in rural Vermont by Hans Bernhard and mixed in Montreal by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire).
Never were the way she was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album's expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative. From the filigreed ostinato polyrhythms of “The sun roars into view” and “In the vespers” to the stately long tones of “And they still move”, the dark drone-inflected sea-saw waltz of “With the dark hug of time” to the growling, pulsing thrust of the album’s epic centerpiece “The rest of us”, Stetson and Neufeld offer up an incredible (and impressively diverse) integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture while holding their respective instruments in sparkling juxtaposition.
Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts."
Lårry debuts with a slick brace of sci-fi electro on Uncertainty Principle, following their ace first release by FFT in 2017
Reportedly the first in a series of 12”s from Lårry, ‘sys_001’ starts out furtive with shortwave transmissions infiltrating the icy bleep matrix of ‘Systems_Hyperthread’, before sicking the turgid robo-beast of ‘Systems_Obfuscate’, while ’Systems_Online’ shows off his sound designer skills in vast negative space, and he goes Monolake style with the pinsharp percussion and subbass surges of ’Systems_Encoder’.
DJ Apres Ski returns from jollies on the slopes with four low slung electro tunes as Melly for Dublin’s Major Problems
Uptown, he arrives with the fluttering arps and airborne glitter of ’Shrubbery’ for the weightless movers, then leans in heavier with pendulous syncopation in the electro groove and delayed dub chords of ‘Health Is Wealth’.
Downtown he tucks it in-the-pocket on ‘The Beds’ for a natty, angular sort of electro-dub strapped with iridescent arps, and the tight latinate shuffle of ‘Mineral Water’ sees to the runout and a very canny locked groove for the DJ hypnotists.
Smiling C gone done it again with this super sweet Euro-house peach from Karya, outta Czechoslovakia, 1991
A true cult collectors number, the original 7” is highly sought-after on the 2nd hand market, making this brand new, remastered 12” cut hugely desirable to people with ears and turntables.
Up top, the original ‘Muž Ze Skla’ works a slow and sexy sort of Euro-house with swanging groove, angelic synth chorales and breathy vocals inflected with a patina of classic early ‘90s spirituality.
On the B-side’s remix they drop the breathy vocal, letting the synths do all the work with mesmerising effect.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Droopy techno abstraction from Yard, making the maiden voyage on the meandyou.-affiliated Youth label.
In four parts the Portland-based producer coaxes out a greyscale spectrum of machine mumbles and squirmy 303 graffiti; testing your patience with the wobbly nothings of Void, then descending into the claggy dub-house and silty acid piece, White Fog, before giving you something to dance with in the effluent flow of Canopy, and finally ripping out a stripe of caustic 303 modulations in Marshall Acid.
The third volume of electronics-savvy saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare album series, and if you ask us, the most pungent and poignant of the lot - thanks in no small part to the dab hand of Ben Frost, who recorded its 11 tracks in single takes and has done a splendid job of capturing the molten intensity of a Stetson live performance.
Pre-release chatter has focussed on the presence of Justin Vernon, who handles lead vocals on four of the tracks: particularly noteworthy are the pulsating, cyclical opener ‘And In Truth’, which sounds like Philip Glass's 'Floe' sung by the Beach Boys, and a cover of Washington Phillip’s gospel song ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’, in which the Bon Iver mainman comes over like a spiritually wracked Randy Newman (i.e. you have to be in the right mood, to say the least). Vocals appear elsewhere throughout the record, but as more of a spectral, gaseous presence supplying texture above all else; but of course it’s Stetson’s extraordinary sax-playing that’s the star of the show, providing as it does rhythm, tonal colour and flights of aching, jazzy lyricism, often in the space of a single piece. It’s impossible to separate the instrument from the musician: Stetson’s sax feels like an extension of his soul,if you'll forgive the cliche, possessed of a fluency and fire that demands your full attention.
We’re particularly blown away by the aptly named ‘Brute’, a grinding, propulsive industrial blues that conveys more violence and viscerality than a hundred blown-out noise sides, but are getting just as much succour from the gothic melodrama of ‘To See More Light' and the more plaintive chamber-style pieces like ‘Among The Sef’, which summons 70s John Surman and even the Michael Nyman Band - though the tremulous calm of the harmonies contrasts with the sound of Stetson’s fingers furiously gunning the keys. It’s incidental details like this, not just Stetson’s profound virtuosity, that make this record such a worthy proposition.
Dry your eyes, mate; if you missed out on the aRSeD vinyl edition, Metalheadz have you covered with this digital delivery of Goldie’s Inner City 2017 and its hauntological redress from Burial.
The 2017 rebuild from Goldie and Ulterior Motive is a nice idea but unnecessary if you’ve got the original already, but at the very least it pays respect to Diane Charlemagne’s soaring vocal - which surely remains a definitive, enduring highlight of ‘90s UK pop culture, up there with Shara Nelson on Unfinished Sympathy.
However, the Burial version is a massive bonus. Pretty much evacuating all original elements bar the vocal, which itself is pitched and processed to get right on the nerves of the Dilberts anyway, the prodigious one perfectly captures that ‘90s music video aesthetic of running-thru-tunnels and dark warehouses quite literally with a rush of running man breaks and sharp-cornered scene cuts held with a near-breathless tension, kinda like those few minutes before the garys kick in and you’re about to be sick/fly around the club, which basically kicks in with the final minute’s head-spinning pivot on the cusp of happy/dark ‘ardcore.
“But you can’t play it in a club?!” oh fuck off and do your hot-nobbing clown step where we can’t see you.
A hauntingly spirited minimal/progressive/new age classic from 1978 with liner notes by the author and Kieran Hebden.
"Lino Capra Vaccina's immense 'Antico Adagio' was originally intended to be a double album, but was eventually scaled back to a single disc, self-released by the author in 1978; and thanks to the breadth and scope of Die Schachtel's excavations, the second unreleased album from the 1978 session is now available.
"Before an aberrant idea of progress and workaholic ethic ludicrously sped up our daily lives, even in the hectic city of Milan it was possible to "play slowly" – with no pressure, simply following the path your art was showing you. After a classic artistic journey and an experimental stint with Aktuala and other brilliant fellow musicians (like Franco Battiato, above all), Lino Capra Vaccina, near the end of the 70s, recorded Antico Adagio. It was an amazing album, anticipating countless future experiments in the field of new age and world music but also in avantgarde and electronic music.
Apart from a few violin parts and the extraordinary vocal lines (sung by Vaccina himself and Juri Camisasca), Antico Adagio is an album fully built on percussions. But, at the same time, it's the farthest thing from the typical idea of percussions. You won't find a single trace of African or primitive beats: instead, this is a collection of rather long, subtle and thoughtful compositions, crafted with vibraphones, marimbas and gong. Together they create a work which will remain unique – both in Capra Vaccina's discography as well as in a more general sense."
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.”
Holy mother of noise, what the devil have we here? Superior Viaduct cough up the 1st ever vinyl reissue of Basil Kirchin’s mind-blowing experimental masterpiece Worlds Within Worlds, which has bafflingly somehow escaped wider attention until now. While Trunk Records have done a fantastic job of returning Kirchin’s work to critical acclaim since their issue of Quantum in 2003, this very necessary reissue inarguably and surely reasserts the British jazz drummer and composer-cum-studio experimentalist among electronic music’s greatest pioneers. Trust, this is a record you’ve been looking for forever, but just didn’t know it existed!
Conceived as the follow-up to Kirchin’s Worlds Within Worlds parts 1 & 2, which were discernibly scored for a jazz sextet (including Evan Parker) and various bird, animal, and amplified insect sounds, and released on LP by Columbia in 1971, Kirchin’s 1974 follow-up of the same name contains parts 3 & 4 and finds him combining similar instrumentation with the sounds of a Gorilla, Hornbills, and Flamingoes in a heavily abstract, tape-processed style that’s just completely messing us up right now.
If any LP deserves the mantle “lost classic”, it’s this one. From the first seconds of distended, hellish moans and flanging analog artefacts in Emergence (Part 3) you know this is going to be a serious trip and it never once sells the listener short. For the next 20 minutes he unspools a fantasy tableaux of warped, grainy harmonics and warbling sonic oddity, smudging samples of autistic children in a Swiss community with the sounds of the docks in Hull, where he lived, to forge a practically unprecedented alternate dimension of atonal, arrhythmic immersion that genuinely feel like a transmission from the other side, much in the best way of music from Aphex Twin thru to Broadcast or NWW.
On the B-side Evolution (Part 4) follows suit into the void without the handrails of convention, effectively landing somewhere between the combustible, metallurgic experiments of Gottfried Michael König, Annea Lockwood’s Tiger Balm, and the vast, cosmic spectral music of Iancu Dumitrescu in terms of space and texture, with 18 minutes of dense, layered concrète chicanery that pulls the ear’s eye almost out of its socket in a seamless, keening traversal of metastable, decelerated sonics from Gorilla growls to submerged clangour and astral flange that uncannily parallels COUM Transmissions from the same era and city, although we’re pretty sure there was no crossover between the two.
Suffice it to say, this record is one of the best things to ever come out of Yorkshire or the British electronic music underbelly. Just fucking incredible, psychedelic music. Highly recommended!