Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
The long awaited Remix album, featuring reworks from Andy Stott, Oneohtrix Point Never, Electric Youth, Alva Noto, Arca, Motion Graphics, Fennesz, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Yves Tumor, S U R V I V E and Cornelius...
We shouldn’t have to be writing this, but naturally the Jóhann Jóhannsson remix of Solari takes on a much darker shade of blue in light of his recent, untimely passing, yet it equally stands out as the LP’s most uncannily suggestive highlight. R.I.P..
Elsewhere, Yves Tumor can be trusted to handle Zure with a sensitively suspenseful sort of R&B/quasi-ambient breakbeat flip, while Andy Stott feathers Life, Life into an elegiac airborne waltz, Alva Noto catches Disintegration in a sublime, quiescent state, and Arca lends his own, original, tortured torch song vocal and windswept beat to a rework of Async with utterly heart-breaking impact. Yelp, this one really gets us.
Terekke herds his wooliest flock of ambient Improvisational Loops for Music From Memory following the cultishly-acclaimed Plant Age album for L.I.E.S.. This time he evaporates any trace of percussion to leave listeners wrapped up in billowing harmonic structures with a deeply meditative, almost anaesthetising effect set to resonate with a raft of new ears.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Matt Gardner a.k.a. Terekke conceived his second LP as an aid for yoga in the esoteric-functional style of those late ‘70s/early ’80s new age pioneers whose work is having such a strong effect on contemporary styles. As the original new age gear was crafted in response to emerging thoughts of AI consciousness, secular spirituality and as a means detach oneself from the capitalist reality of Reaganomics, in 2017, at the dog-end of capitalism, perhaps the need for this stuff is as great or greater than ever?
Unless you exclusively fxck with harsh noise or are a bit of a bastard, Improvisational Loops is almost guaranteed to melt your worries and soothe your mind, running the equivalent of a hot bath while simultaneously massaging your temples and holding a zoot to your lips so you don’t get the roach wet. Just bliss. It’s that good!
Yasuaki Shimizu’s Music For Commercials  is here given a much needed first ever reissue some 30 years since it appeared on Crammed's Made To Measure library music series, which also included editions by Tuxedomoon and Hctor Zazou. Very safe to say that if you were enchanted by Visible Cloaks’ Reassemblage LP or their Fairlights, Mallets & Bamboo mixes, this one is a must!
In 24 parts Shimizu unfolds a tightly packed lattice of crystalline gems and vignettes crafted for TV commercials, plus the 15 minute Ka-Cho-Fu-Getsu piece for a Computer Animation Video which is practically worth the price of entry alone.
Presumably titled after the corporations who employed him, you’ll find stacks of super sweet, pastoral 4th world emulations patched from keys, sax, gamelan, drum machines and electronics for the likes of Seiko, Ricoh, Sharp, Honda, Knorr and Bridgestone, each as exactingly cute and piquant as the last.
Known for his numerous albums, soundtracks, and collaborations including with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bjork, this is perhaps Shimizu's most sought-after and influential work and one that perfectly encapsulates our collective yearning for peace and quiet in an increasingly commercialised, chaotic world.
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
How can a modulated dub chord, fathomless fuzz and a monotone baseline played out for 20 minutes nearly bring you to tears? Listen to these versions of Main Street’s I’m Your Brother and find out.
As ever; mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, pressed at Pallas. Infinitely ESSENTIAL.
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - fuck you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo.
We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way.
Deaf Center and Svarte Greiner’s Erik K Skodvin has long been perfecting the kind of music that's tailor made for cinema, and here he does just that - providing a score for Danish film "Darling" (2017), alongside a collection of outtakes from it.
Made in collaboration with Raúl Pastor Medall (Rauelsson), the pair were commissioned by director Birgitte Stærmose to score her film about life as a dancer. The resulting material is remarkably cohesive, especially so considering it’s made up of pieces Skodvin and Rauelsson made in collaboration, as well as individually. You can imagine the sort of sounds the pair create - if you’re into the work of Jóhann Jóhannsson you’re in the right ballpark - but what differentiates A Score for Darling is the unique use of low end rumbles and pulses that anchor these recordings and imbue proceedings here with a cohesive, album-like feel.
Generally, the material here is brimming with dynamics and diversity, featuring violin by Christoph Berg, cello by Anne Müller as well as a mass of other sounds like church organs, synths, guitar amp violation, electro-acoustics, piano and more, all layered together into 15 beautiful mood pieces. The final piece of the album Breathe - featuring Otto A Totland on piano and Katinka Fogh Vindelev on voice - can be seen as their own lamenting end-title to a longer period of work with this album, finally finished. It’s also, hopefully, a glimpse of what new material from Deaf Center might sound like, if we’re ever lucky enough to get to see that happen.
Coil’s unearthly garden continues to bloom posthumously with the Astral Disaster Sessions - including a whole bunch of previously unreleased and rare cuts from the Un/finished Musics recordings finally seeing the light of day, transferred from analogue tapes onto Gary Ramon’s Prescription label a year after the remastered original sessions crept out on vinyl reissue.
Notoriously recorded in the former debtors prison-turned-Iron Maiden studio beneath the River Thames, on Samhain, 1998, the Astral Disaster Sessions - Un/finished musics serves a haul of previously unreleased or hard-to-find versions of tracks from the original Astral Disaster [1999/2016] LPs, which are widely regarded a seminal highlight of Peter Christopherson, Johnn Balance, Drew McDowell, Thighpaulsandra and Gary Ramon’s time together as Coil.
On the A-side you’ll now find swirling raga-noise meditation The Sea Priestess (Early Mix) next to a sublime, previously omitted Part 2 tract of The Mothership and the Fatherland, and a skinnier, plasmic Alternative mix of The Avatars, but we imagine the big attractions for Coil fiends will be the Instrumental mix of I Don’t Want To be the One, which was previously only found on a rare 1999 promo-only Prescription sampler, and most particularly the ghostly and invasively psychedelic 14 minutes of Cosmic Disaster, which was the original working title for Astral Disaster, and has never been released on any format.
Excellent album of plasmic ambient dub pop, neatly balanced between weightless yearn and meatier industrial leanings, perhaps best grasped as some dream meeting between Suzanne Ciani, Teresa Winter and CoH?
“Air Lows is the debut solo album by Silvia Kastel. The Italian artist has been a fixture of the underground since her precocious teens, clocking up many miles in Control Unit with Ninni Morgia (“It’s like Catherine Deneuve dumped two cases of post-Repulsion psychiatric notes over Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing, lit the fuse and, ahem, stood well back" – Julian Cope), including collaborations with the likes of Smegma, Factrix, Gary Smith, Aki Onda and Gate (Michael Morley of The Dead C).
Both solo and in her work with others, Kastel has explored the outer limits and inner workings of no wave, industrial, dub, extreme electronics, free rock and improvisation. Air Lows is both her fullest and most refined offering to date, a work of vivid, isolationist electronics which draws deeply on her past experience but assuredly breaks new ground. Prompted by a late-flowering interest in techno and club music, Kastel sought to create something which combines a steady rhythmic pulse with the otherworldly sonorities of musique concrete, and avant-garde synth sounds inspired by Japanese minimalism and techno-pop (Haruomi Hosono’s Philharmony being a particular favourite).
The formal artifice of muzak / elevator music, the intros and outros of generic popular songs, the extreme light-heavy contrasts of jungle, the creative sampling of hardcore, and the very “human” synths in the jazz of Herbie Hancock’s Sextant and Sun Ra: all were touchstones for Air Lows’ conception and composition, and all strains of music addressing - or complicating - the relationship between the human and the technological.
By extension, visual inspirations also proved important: anime, and the avant-garde fashion of Rei Kawakubo. What does that shirt or dress sound like? Though used sparingly, Kastel’s voice remains her key instrument, whether subject to dissociative digital manipulations as on ‘Bruell’, delivering matter-of-fact spoken monologues, or providing splashes of pure tonal colour.
Recorded between her expansive Italy studio and a more compact, ersatz set-up in Berlin, Air Lows gradually takes on some of the character of the German capital: you can hear the wide streets and uninhabited spaces, the seepage of never-ending nightlife, the loneliness.
Air Lows is The Wizard of Oz in reverse: the glorious technicolour J-pop deconstructions of its first half leading inexorably to the icy noir of ‘Spiderwebs’ and ‘Concrete Void’. These later tracks are reminiscent of 2015’s magnificent 39 12”, Kastel in the role of numbed, nihilistic chanteuse stalking dank, murky tunnels of reverb and sub-bass. But in fact there is contradiction and emotional ambiguity to Air Lows from the outset, and throughout - a sense of both infinite space and acute claustrophobia; energy and inertia; fluency and restraint.”
Hyperdub reveal a spine tingling ambient episode in the Burial saga, finding the enigmatic protagonist pursuing the atmospheric themes of Nightmarket - the B-side to his previous 12” - into a liminal grey area of esoteric, sino-futurist techgnosis in Subtemple / Beachfires.
Implanted in the subterranean consciousness in the wake of Burial’s distinguished remix for Goldie’s Inner City Life, the reclusive artist’s latest episode frames some of the most enigmatic material in his era-defining catalogue, effectively removing the beats entirely and leaving us wandering acres of negative space lit up by cryptic sonic signposts and paranormal disturbances.
On both sides he uncannily echoes aspects of the Ghost In The Shell soundtrack as much as Nguyen Van Phong’s spectral Yin Yang gong loops and experimental funerary rites, as divined by the 3rd Ear/IREX project and archived on Reel Torque in 2016; dialling in encrypted patterns of crackle, cinematic dark ambient strokes and snatches of dialogue seemingly intercepted from the ether.
With Subtemple he appears like a safecracker or furtive agent tapping clandestine discussions from Shanghai; in headphones it feels like listening into important but impenetrable messages left by a time jumper in an evacuated mollusc. Beachfires follows with the equally illusive/elusive shimmer of wind chimes and fallen angel cries calcifying around the pineal gland, again with totally beguiling electro-acoustic depth of field and prompting all kinds of fevered speculation.
A pattern or narrative seems to be forming, or perhaps revealing itself in an inverted entropic schematic. Either way we’ve just got that Burial feeling again, and there’s scant few artists who can keep us rapt so consistently.
Following on from that impressive Leon Lowman retrospective last year, the fledgling 'Music From Memory' label returns to impress with this genuinely sublime set from little known Italian musician Gigi Masin, bringing together archival pieces with more recent recordings.
Masin was part of a small underground scene in Venice, releasing two modestly pressed LP's 'Wind' (1986) and 'Wind Collector' (1991) and appearing alongside Charles Hayward for the Sub Rosa compilation LP "Les Nouvelles Musiques De Chambre Volume 2" (1988). Having met with little commercial success in Italy at the time, Masin's solo albums remained for the most part totally unknown, but his music has grown in stature by pure word of mouth, gaining something of a cult following in recent years. Listening to the tracks on offer here is revelatory - tapping into a kind of blissed-out yet brilliantly produced kind of electronic ambience that reminds us in turns of everything from Detroit Escalator Company to Shuttle 358's much overlooked 'Frame'.
Beautifully presented in a gatefold sleeve complete with liner notes and additional artwork, it's safe to say that Music From Memory is fast becoming a label to watch.
A dead faithful go-to for vintage wave compilations in recent years, Color Tapes’ Cold Waves Of Color Volume 5 extends the cherry-picked selections of minimal and new wave with 11 more aces from the likes of Beserk In A Hayfield, Modern Art (Gary Ramon), Lives of Angels and Silicon Valley, and including a natty rarity by The Good Missionaries, post Alternative TV. All material this time spans 1981-1985 and all makes first appearance on vinyl.
As with previous instalments, Volume 5 impresses with its depth and quality of variety, sequencing crisp electronic dance tracks on the same page as grainy, melodic synth-pop and hard-working dubs in a way that makes total sense as both a historic education as well as a heavily satisfying, play-it-again record.
On the front they add up Void’s punchy, bittersweet minimal wave jabber Isotope beside the soaring, romantic ‘tronics of Silent Sky by Echophase and the supple swang of Beserk In A Hayfield, leading up to some real gems in The Lord’s warped chromatic wormhole Production Line, and especially The Good Missionaries brooding beauty Bending A Border  which is pretty unmissable for fans of PiL or Officer!.
Flip over for more treats in the fluidly Chris Carter-esque electro dynamics of Continental Shift by Echophase, a New Order-y turn from Lives of Angels, and the dubbed-out NRG-disco deviation of Gary Ramon’s own Modern Art ace, Colliding World.
The myzterious Rezzett applies salty digits on two sore, nervy pieces for TTT further to their string of widely praised 12”s, 7” and tape over the last coupla years.
Doyce feels particularly damaged, approaching the ‘floor from the back door with bristling breaks knotted and frayed in undulating, tabla like whorls and scuttling patterns whilst a cold sweat sheen of electronics evaporates in in noxious harmonics from its thizzing skin.
For a neat contrast, Doyce (Yavas) burns off the twitching rhythm to leave those ambient soul gases floating across the flipside like dawn mist from a burned-out rave.
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
Rhythm and Sound freaks, take note - this album contains the original Chosen Brothers / Prince Douglas version of “March Down Babylon” - one of the heaveiest dubs ever made...
Engineer Douglas Levy was part of the original Wackies set up from 1974-75, alongside Lloyd Barnes and Jah Upton. For a while he would have his own label - Hamma - within the Bullwackies group; but besides Sugar’s International Herb, this 1980 dub album is his finest work. Wackies’ fans have been clamouring for its reissue ever since Rhythm & Sound began making the catalogue available again. Many of the rhythms are derived from a tape given to the studio by Sly and Robbie, containing their versions of recent Joe Gibbs hits. And there are brilliant treatments of Tribesman Dub - the rhythm for Tyrone Evans’ Black Like Me - and Wayne Jarrett’s definitive interpretation of Every Tongue Shall Tell.
Elsewhere Jah Batta takes deejay duties - likewise Prince Douglas himself. But the deadliest cut of all reworks another gift, Steel Pulse’s “Handsworth Revolution”, which arrived in a parcel of records from England the same weekend as the session: March Down Babylon Dub, with Bullwackie himself at the microphone in his Chosen Brothers guise, as steely and apocalyptic as Douglas Levy’s fabulous production.
Basic Channel present a full 14 minute version of 'Q-Loop' backed with first ever vinyl cuts of 'Q 1.2' and 'Mutism' - previously found on the 'BCD' (1995) and Scion's 'Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks' releases.
Need we say any more?
After indulging us with the magnificent Burial Mix perfections of 'King In My Empire' and 'Jah Rule', Moritz and Mark return with a new golliath 12" on the Rhythm and Sound imprint.
Instrumentals on both sides, the most noticeable element as soon as the space echoes of the opening 'Imprint' rumble in is that the formula that has been conceived and perfected by M+M will never cease to amaze. Reverberating pops and emmited static fold themselves around the incredibly deep, rumbling bassline. Shards of dub delay infiltrate the mix, but the cathartic drift of the track is, simply put, mesmerising. 'Trace' is another choice cut, the hiss thrown deep to the fore, almost like a straight cut that was mangled by interference.
Hospital Productions return with Dual Action's Industrial mutations of Techno, D&B and electronic variants smudged with clammy ambience, compiling the hard-to-find 'Babe Beer Bar Car' tapes released between 2014-2016. If you’re into John T. Gast, Christoph De Babalon, The Haters or Frak, this one’s for you.
Compiling some of Matthew Folden, aka Dual Action’s most sought-after material, this set of forays into distorted Ambient, mutant House and Jungle - even weird sorta Grime and Footwork variants - was originally released on his hard-to-find Babe Beer Bar Car tapes, issued between 2014-2016 - and compiled here onto vinyl for the first time.
A core figure on Prurient’s label, affectionately described by Fernow as an “uninvited guest sort of figure who travels around fxcking shit up on the lonely”, Folden has appeared on numerous and seminal Prurient recordings including the demo version of the groundbreaking Bermuda Drain album, the final tape recordings made at the original hospital productions brick and mortar store as Prurient’s ‘Oxidation’ and the new released 7LP of doom electronics Rainbow Mirror which arrived in 2017 to commemorate the 20 years of the project.
Babe Beer Bar Car takes in signature sluggers that sound like The Haters gone house, thru to rolling D&B and footwork rhythms fringing on the grey area, each half-lit by patented atmospheric pollutants.
The set builds a murky picture of a character who spends long nights with his drum machine - it’s hard to shift the feeling that this is the kind of music - numbly expressive, rudimentary and bluntly driven by urges - that someone befitting of the great American lounge-lizard/drifter stereotype might make, or at least listen to, after dark.
Its a quintessentially Hospital Productions sound - deeply satisfying in its mix of black humour laced with flashes of demonic genius.
Having recently contributed to Goner's "Yogascum" LP, reissued in late 2017, Mark Godwin now returns to the Swiss label together with his musical partner Gareth Ormerod as zK.
"Formed in 1999 as a live project, zK first released on the legendary Mancunian Skam label in 2003, toured throughout Europe and were invited by Autechre to play the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. In the following years, Godwin and Ormerod produced a slew of records that at once paid tribute to their roots in the emerging British rave scene while pushing the envelope of experimental electronica. Combining their interest for visual art and psychology with their spiritual connection to bands like Coil, some of whose records Godwin has worked on as a mastering engineer, zK have carved out a niche for themselves with a multi-disciplinary approach to music. "Last Night", their first proper studio album in five years, was recorded in Godwin's new home Bangkok.
Drawing heavily on musique concrète techniques, synthesizers, and sampling to create an immersive experience bordering on the synaesthetic, the six tracks capture the nervous energy of Thailand's capital after dark. Moving from the opener "Ouside Broadcast" with its collage-like juxtaposition of every-day sounds and squelching noise to the aptly titled "Cognitive Dissonance" and the aleatoric modular excursions of "Feral Confection" towards the more sombre, lysergic undertones of the B-side, ending in the both elegiac and haunting final track "Fleshpotting", Godwin and Ormerod explore the sharp contrasts which characterise the city. zK navigate through the weird, the eerie and sometimes even the grotesque and occult, they provide a thorough exploration of a metropolis marked by tradition and progress alike."
Natty jack attacks, wonky ghetto bass and mutant hi-tek jazz from Secret State on CPU.
Like music from some parallel, skewed 313 dimension, Zero Zero One locates a familiar yet subtly altered reflection of Detroit styles between the tweaky jacker CIA UFO Google Search, some percolated Jit business in De-Pattern and the spheric harmonics of The Sleep Room, both recalling an Urban Tribe from different mothers, while Weep For Joy leans on a sort of off-Red Planet vibe.
Yo La Tengo return with their first proper full-length since 2013’s ‘Fade’.
"There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” Even if your mind is not unclouded - shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time - you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries and above the sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of ‘Shades of Blue’, will involuntarily hear ‘She May, She Might’ on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and ‘Let’s Do It Wrong’ late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly And The Family Stone released ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair."
Space Dimension Controller, a.k.a. Jack Hamill, may be landing his debut release on Dekmantel, but he’s definitely no stranger to their shores.
"With the three-track EP ‘Gaining Time’ clocking in at over 35-minutes, phasing between cosmic kaleidoscopic house, and serene, epic ambient, — a sonic atmosphere reminiscent of the background resonance the galaxy permeates on a daily basis — Hamill’s Dekmantel debut is closer to that of an album, than your average set of club tracks."
No Fool Like An Old Fool is the new album from Austin via Alabama musician, Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says.
"Moving beyond the surf-folk foundations of her debut, on No Fool... Sallee loosens her earthly tether, allowing her songs to float to ever higher altitudes on clouds of loops, immaculate melodies, and hypnotic harmonies, as she sings about aging, the daily grind, and hometown stymie. Moving to Austin in 2013 gave her a new perspective on her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, which informed the overall vibe of the album. "I think leaving my fairly small hometown and then going back to visit it inspired the feeling I went for on this album. I observed that so many people I knew were content doing basically nothing. Or that they were scared to try to do anything or leave town, like they felt stuck there."
The first few notes of the Daniel Rossen-esque opener "First Song" dutifully establish the surreal and slightly tragic tone of longing maintained throughout the album. The curiously upturning melodies ride out on a rich ambient texture before "Sweet Home Alabama" cuts the fog with a crackling 60's soul loop that's charming and catchy enough to induce a cathartic laugh from the listener. The brightness fades with the frosty and propulsive "A Good Thief Steals Clean," which features lyrics inspired by the 1971 lm Panic in Needle Park, and the idea of being in love with a heroin addict. "I tend to write from the perspectives of characters in dark situations, even though my songs may sound bright," Sallee notes of her alluring juxtaposition of sunny production and grim lyrics.
She employs this dynamic again on "Rip O ," a frenetically percussive song with lyrics inspired by an NPR story about a young Iraqi man who was killed in an ISIS bombing just before moving to NYC to become a professional dancer. Inspired by Terrence Malick's Badlands and Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska," the song "Black Hole" features multi-voice harmonies sung from the perspective of 50's spree killer Charles Starkweather. The hurdles she navigated to record naturally led to ad hoc recording techniques, and endless sonic experimentation, often leading to her use of the computer as an instrument. A tireless worker, and a wellspring of creativity, whatever Caroline Says, we will be listening."
Brainfeeder present a special ‘chopped not slopped’ mix of Thundercat’s ‘Drunk’ album (2017) by DJ Candlestick and OG Ron C of Houston DJ collective The Chopstars. Slowed down and chopped up , the mix has been appropriately re-titled ‘Drank’. “If you got ‘Drunk’ it’s only right that you get ‘Drank’. I feel like they go together,” declares Thundercat.
For fans of Flying Lotus, BADBADNOTGOOD, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Screw.
Four cracking Sun Ra pieces, roving from the possessed tongues and earthy hustle of Island In The Sun, thru more astral, free vectors in New Dawn, to the wonky big band vibes and growled vox on Unmask The Batman, and amazing Afro-Astro hustle in I’ll Wait For You.
"Strut and Art Yard present another exclusive from the vast catalogue of cosmic jazz pioneer Sun Ra: a previously unreleased radio session most likely recorded at the WXPN FM radio studios in Philadelphia, 1974-5.
This newly discovered session features a new version of Ra’s earlier ‘Island In The Sun’, a romping, raucous rendition of ‘Unmask The Batman’ and the first studio recording of ‘I’ll Wait For You’ There is no bass player on the sessions and Ra’s left hand beats out a rhythmic bass pattern on the piano. All tracks are remastered directly from the original tapes. The album package features a newly commissioned painting by legendary Bristol urban artist Guy Denning and new sleeve notes by Paul Griffiths.
Recently discovered in the Sun Ra archive, the recording forms part of a series of sessions that Ra and the Arkestra recorded for WXPN-FM between 1974 and 1980. The ‘Antique Blacks’ album was recorded there in ’74. Based on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania, WXPN’s station manager Jules Epstein and music director Russ Woessner were instrumental in the exposure and recording of The Arkestra in their broadcast production studios. Geno Barnhart, founder of The Empty Foxhole concert collective, Jules and Russ broadcast an on-going series of jazz concerts covering a wide spectrum. The Arkestra performed at The Foxhole in Philly many times from 1974.
Personnel: Sun Ra: Piano John Gilmore: Tenor Saxophone Marshall Allen: Flute, Alto Saxophone Danny Ray Thompson: Baritone Saxophone, Percussion Atakatune: Oboe, Congas Eddie Thomas: Drums Elo Omoe: Bass Clarinet, Hand Claps Akh Tal Ebah: Trumpet, Vocal James Jacson: Congas, Vocal"
Geir Jenssen a.k.a. Biosphere yields the results of a field recording project on a Dutch farm, commissioned by Incubate festival.
Imperceptibly melded with Biosphere’s signature synthetic palette, the field recordings are effectively reanimated as dreamlike sequences, variously incorporating the sounds of a distant helicopter with shepherd’s calls and windswept choral synth voices in t’Schop, focussing in on insectoid minutiae with Pipistrellus, or indivisibly meshing the real and the unreal in lush pieces such as Audax and the pastoral bliss of Icoon.
Adroit, UK-compatible bass and breaks pressure from Brooklynite Kellen303, working in a smart double refraction of influence, vibes and intent between transatlantic ‘floors for London’s Keysound.
These are dark, broodingly gothic works, stained with an innercity anxiety and trimmed for hard-working club economy, yielding highlights in the ballroom bruk of Planet X and its weightless, devilish remix Planet X (Interstellar), and in the harshly textured and rugged budge of Big Shot! with its machine gun snares and clawed surfaces.
Equiknoxx’s debut album proper, following the hugely acclaimed 'Bird Sound Power' (Number 2 in both RA and FACT albums of the year 2016), featuring 13 brand new nuggets recorded over the last 12 months and featuring darker, more psychedelic, starkly dubbed perspectives on up-to-the-second dancehall. Well worth checking out if you’re into anything from Lenky to Haruomi Hosono, RZA to Errorsmith...!
Colón Man is the exceptional debut album proper by visionary Jamaican dancehall artists Gavin Blair (Gavsborg) and Jordan Chung (Time Cow) plus their extended crew, aka Equiknoxx - once again for Demdike Stare’s DDS label. Where their widely acclaimed Bird Sound Power primer compilation, issued on DDS in 2016, brought the rest of the world up to speed with the music produced between late ‘00s and 2015, their first album now brings a 2020 sound into sharp, technoid focus thru a baker’s dozen steely, heat-seeking riddims galvanised with clinical electronics and a Midas Touch approach to sampling.
The record’s title, Cólon Man refers to a Jamaican tale (and song) about a mysterious character, whom, like Marcus Garvey, was one of over 100,000 Jamaicans who returned from working in Cólon on completion of the Panama Canal - regarded among the greatest feats of engineering known to humankind, physically connecting the greatest bodies of water on the planet. In context of the album, Gavsborg and Timecow take the story as a metaphorical foundational for a roots and future sound, acknowledging the vital groundwork of previous generations of producers, whilst soundly contextualising their mutant new advancements of Jamaican Dancehall.
Recorded between December 2016 and June 2017, Colón Man forms a stark, stripped down and conceptually blinding record. In tone and texture, the duo favour far colder, more abstract sounds, crucially lit up with sparingly used samples that lend the record its dissonant, harmonic colour and bittersweet hooks, stylishly feeding forward their playfully weird sense of humour into a rugged, nutty and even noisily imagineered set.
Bookended by the gauzy, Detroit-compatible synth looks and acid hall grind of Kareece Put Some Some Thread In A Zip Lock, and the mesh of Motor City sleekness with Far Eastern strings on Waterfalls In Ocho Rios, they distill and diversify their bonds in myriad ways across the album. There’s a killer dancehall/trap hybrid in the percolate chorales and man trills of Plantain Porridge, along with the secretive dub-into-dancehall transfusion of Addis Pablo’s melodica in the belly rolling Melodica Badness, while Ceremonial Eating Dog and the hyaline designs of We Miss You Little Joe - a tribute to their pal Alty Nunes - are arguably the most fwd Jamaican riddims you’ll hear in 2017, and Enter A Raffle… Win A Falafel uncannily recalls the clockwork mechanics of Haruomi Hosono’s Alternative 3, from his S-F-X  LP.
No matter what electronic box or boxes you subscribe to, Colón Man is a hugely inventive, compelling album for the ages, a remarkable iteration of Black Secret Technology for 2017 and far beyond.
New on Feeding Tube.
"Recently we touched base with the New Zealand ex-pat guitarist Dean Roberts. He's living in Berlin these days, teaching, playing and staying out late. When asked if there were any interesting, unheralded players we should know about he immediately mentioned Julia Reidy. Julia is also a guitarist currently based in Berlin, but the city from which she's apart is Sydney, NSW. While there she was embroiled in the Australian improv scene, and played with the likes of Jon Rose et al. She was focused exclusively on electric guitar back in those days.
Since relocating to Europe she has split her concentrations between electric and acoustic, playing in two duos -- Tennis of All Kinds (with bassist Adam Pultz Melbye) and PALES (with percussionist Samuel Hall) -- among other settings. On All Is Ablaze Ms. Reidy plays both an acoustic 12 string and an electric, both of which sound unusually raw and exciting in her hands. Each side of the record consists of a single piece, the A is 'All Is Ablaze,' the flip, 'Thatched Steel & Rain.' In his notes, Dean writes about the beautiful contrasts of the music's textures, drawing apt comparisons to everyone from Robbie Basho to Tom Cora. As these namechecks might suggest, Julia's first LP embraces a nearly unknowable field of sonic detailing. Her technique can sound precise and smudgy at almost the same moment. The intent of her journey seeming to shift with her breathing patterns. There is an organic depth and weight to the music here, displaying an exceptionally wide breadth of influence, knowledge, chops and imagination. We would like to thank Mr. Roberts for introducing us to the music of Julia Reidy. You will soon be doing the same."
Byron Coley, 2017 Edition of 300.
Le Frère debuts with a smudge of ambient and slow electro works on the Slow Glass 12” for Zürich’s Light of Other Days label.
Inspired by travelling the world for the past two years, Slow Glass forms a gauzily nostalgic trip into Le Frère’s mind, encapsulating snapshots or moments of memory in four parts ranging from the wistfully pastoral tones of Nice to more slanted strokes nodding at jazz and post-rock and even Lena Platonos in Candid, before the B-side gently coaxes in some rhythm with the drizzle on a warm day feelings of V1b1n’, and a sort of salty electro chugger called N8ttt that begs comparison with Low Jack or Krikor Kouchian workouts.
One of the most unique, ambitious and experimental game soundtracks ever made. Now on vinyl for the very first time.
"Similar to the task of condensing Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima’s abundance of ideas into a Mega Drive cartridge in 1994, it feels impossible to convey the influences, technical achievements and sheer ambition of their masterpiece into a single paragraph today. By combining automatic composition methods, custom programming languages and a complete sense of artistic freedom, Koshiro and Kawashima transcended their medium and created something so incomparable that it’s hard to believe it came from any games console, let alone a 16bit one. Streets of Rage 3 is urgent, demanding and a complete rejection of the notion that video game music is either pedestrian or predictable. We are honoured to be releasing it."
Describing his first solo record for nine years as “the most free I’ve felt making a record since my debut Small Moments”, David Kitt’s sense of freedom is bound up in themes of renewal, movement, and a constant reshaping of his musical preoccupations.
"The last number of years have seen him touring and recording as a member of Tindersticks, producing other musicians’ work, exploring techno, disco, and house under his New Jackson moniker, remixing everyone from Shit Robot to The XX, and producing intriguing, eclectic DJ sets and radio shows.
All of these experiences have been brought to bear on his latest record Yous, which mingles a sense of freedom, and calm reflection, with an independent impulse, “There was no pressure whatsoever with this record,” he says. “No label or manager, or anyone breathing down my neck. I was happy to wait as long as it took to have the right 10 songs”.
Yous is a finely wrought and elemental piece of work, folding in electronic hisses and beats that ground carefully finger-picked guitars (inspired by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and John Fahey) and stirring violin, weaving between glorious pop-kissed melodies and stark, immersive, poignant compositions – something Kitt does so well."
Recently voted one of the Top 100 British Albums of all time...
So why should you want this 1969 album in your collection? Well in addition to featuring the likes of Robert Kirby (of Nick Drake fame), Robin Williamson (Incredible String Band) and the Fairport Convention's Simon Nicol and Dave Swarbrick, it is also regularly cited as inspiration by Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Scout Nibblet...
Possibly sounding a bit naïve in retrospect, much of 'Just Another Diamond Day' seems to exist somewhere between the Wickerman and Bagpuss, with lyrics like "the rainbow river is a laughing stream, down in a valley by a mountain that is pine tree tall...".
Necessary reissue of Yasuaki Shimizu’s highly regarded ambient-jazz-pop oddity Kakashi from NYC’s Palto Flats and Geneva’s WRWTFWWR, who were jointly behind that prized reissue of Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass. Off the wall and enchanting in equal measure, Kakashi is a riddling and enchanted recording from the fertile hotbed of early ‘80s Japan, compatible with the fecund, widely scoped genius of Arthur Russell and Roland P Young from that same era. In other words, a real gem.
“A wonderful, rare record wrapped in a mysterious yet playful ambiance. Or maybe it’s just the impression that the Japanese language often gives me. ‘Suiren’ is an odd jazz-fusion-wave tune that sounds like its boiling, waiting to burst but somehow manages to stay in control. Like the nervous tick of a leg fidgeting under the table of a restaurant on a first date.
Yasuaki Shimizu is a Japanese composer, producer and saxophone player. He worked with Ryuchi Sakimoto on certain arrangements, with the South Korean artist Nam June Paik on art+sound installation pieces and even DJ Towa Tei (of Deee-Lite fame). “Suiren” was released in 1981 and is the opening title on the sought-after “Kakashi” album and is my personal favorite on this overall brilliant record. It weaves behind new wave, jazz, fusion, ambient and experimental music.
Repetitive and hypnotizing, punctuated by exclamation marks on most first mesures, the muted triangle percussion hits me straight in the heart. About 90 seconds into the song, the saxophone makes its appearance and the song goes from “this is cute” to “oh, this is some serious shit!”. Shimizu’s saxophone frees the song from the rest of the elements which are more calculated and repetitive.
A joyful, mysterious slow-moving train ride led by the artist’s mellow voice that rocks us with this calming but funky lullaby. Every phrase is punctuated by the xylophone there to energize the piece, albeit very subtely.”
“When I wrote these songs, the sunshine of my mind was beginning to set in a dark place. I found myself developing almost a surrogate relationship with my telephone. I would fall asleep at night clutching it, waiting for a call. When we parted, I would become attached to my phone as a conduit to this person I had lost.”
“Black boys have a whole world of complexity that society makes us stomp out of ourselves." Language, Bryndon Cook's full-length debut as Starchild & The New Romantic, communicates his refusal to do so. Describing himself early-on as a “young romantic boy from Maryland," Cook has long been a dreamer, a student of black music’s rich lineage and its intersection with pop. He's drawn to landmark moments where artists have found truth in darkness; the diverse language of music living in their core. This record is his; lifting o¬ from the monochrome world of Crucial, his 2016 EP on Ghostly International, up towards a dazzling crimson blood-rush of sky-high defiance and autonomy. On Language, Cook refines his phonics for funk, electro, and R&B, and arrives at a revelation, best summarized by a single motto: "my sensitivity is my strength."
Even if the valleys of their relationship were debilitating — a "black goth realm" to his soul, as Cook puts it — he often overlooks them in hopes of more peaks, more light, resulting in his most earnest, warm-hearted material to date. Take the tender single, "Hangin On." Cook beams above a prismatic soul-tinged shu¬le and luminescent keys, still visited by the past yet at peace with the present.
The pitch is far more pointed on the album's title track, a vibrant, funk-fueled opener that wastes little time making its purpose heard. "Should have stuck with me kid," Cook begins, as nasty as he is rapturous. By its end, he's in full control. "Can I get a witness?" He screams, invoking the power of an affirmation ushered from church aisles into the lexicon by Kirk Franklin.
Sonically and spiritually, Cook finds guidance in grand standards: looking up to producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, studying their contributions to the New Jack Swing era and pop music at large. Touchstone statements like Janet Jackson's Control, Michael Jackson's Bad, and Prince's 1999; singular breakout LPs from Terence Trent D'Arby and Bobby Brown; the honesty of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Carole King's Tapestry; the ingenuity of Laurie Anderson.
Cook also reflects on recent years with Solange, as part of her touring band, and collaborations with Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange, as reminders of artistic individuality. "Being around them now urges me to find my own way of delivering my own messages."Cook expands his message and its impact by arranging talents. For the first time, sessions included members of his band, The New Romantic, allowing for keyboard/synth parts to be recorded straight-through, with no punch-ins, and a more dynamic atmosphere overall. Further, Cook recruits The Newark Boys Chorus to underscore the most poignant lines of "Boys Choir," giving them the entire stage for the coda: "Be it understood. / This love is mine."
Moves like this get to the root of the record: a contemplation of the boyhood that never truly leaves us. "In the black community, any sign of femininity or childlike wonder is often misconstrued as weakness, because society has always expected us to be strong. They prey on us as kids and take us to prison like adults. They kill us on the street. They take everything from us and never say thank you."
Language is the sound of Bryndon Cook eloquently occupying his space without apology, envisioning a world where the crimson qualities of sensitivity and softness aren’t shamed, they are celebrated as magic."
Following his sterling run of raw, politically-charged deep house releases for DJ Sprinkles’ Comatonse, ambient maestro Will Long (Celer) pairs samples of Afro-American figureheads with sublime, rolling grooves in a beautiful extension of the Long Trax series.
Making an apt statement against over-production in dance music that applies to society in the widest sense, the Royal Blue / Mustard instalment lands on Smalltown Supersound.
The A-side’s Nothing’s Changed features sparingly used snippets of Barack Obama on a lean, simple, and deliciously smooth 11 minute groove gilded with signature chord cadence, while B-side he treats Jean-Michel Basquiat to a swim in deepest house water on the hazy 10 minute movement, You Know?
Calendar Crowd was the duo of Alan Heaton and Terence Tiernan who met in their hometown of Widnes, Cheshire as schoolboys and played together in various bands in the '70s. In the '80s they formed a 6-piece band called Room For Humans and recorded one single "Telephone Telephone / Girlfriend".
"When the band split and Alan and Terence continued as Calendar Crowd in a more experimental direction. Their influences were wide reaching: Kraftwerk, Neu, Cabaret Voltaire, Eno, PIL, and Joy Division. In 1982 they released their debut single "Perfect Hideaway/Perfect Hideaway Dub" on 7". Guitarist David Knowles joined them as they toured the UK and recorded and released their follow up EP "Listen in to the Heart" in 1985.
A reviewer at the time called Calendar Crowd "A Moody Merseyside trio with strong atmospheric tunes and haunting lyrics." For this reissue we've compiled both singles on one EP featuring all four songs. Perfect Hideway is a evocative and dreamy, the music escorts you on a tour of icy landscapes, with Terrance's deep, rich vocals guiding the way accented by bright brass stabs. Meanwhile the Dub has stripped back the vocals, added delayed samples and heavy pounding drums. On the B-side "Listen in to the Heart" and "Questions Answers" are darker electronic rhythm tracks with layers of ethereal keyboards and guitar melodies."
The first slab in a possible new split series titled 'In Search Of Highs'
"Both the bands here are instrumental trio's, BLOWN OUT (UK) & COMACOZER (Australia) are interlinked by history and their shared love of sonic psych explorations and both are here for Phase 1 of this cosmic experience. You will no doubt already know the two bands gracing this first slab of wax. They're from worlds apart, geographically that is, but musically are very much on the same plain.
Blown Out deliver three relatively short (for them) blasts, channelling their inner Stooges / Marble Sheep coming on like grand funk space lords. Three tracks of groove sonics and head changes. Comacozer go the opposite route and slide in with another of their trademark epic trips, that sucks everything around it into it's own cosmic gloop."
Early ‘90s ambient techno gems resurface on the Nacht En Nevel label, featuring Mappa Mundi’s keenly sought-after 11-minute beauty Trance Fusion, and the rolling breakbeat suspension system of Quin².
Mappa Mundi’s Trance Fusion is a firm favourite of ours. Taken from the Musaics album which also includes the masterful Sexafari, this 11 minute roller is a prime example of the 2nd layers beyond dancefloors of 1990, plumbing a lushly meditative space somewhere between Detroit, Antwerp and Goan beaches. Fair to say you might want to get a hold of the CD or original (hard to find) LP version for louder cuts, but this one will do nicely until Going Good’s Brian Not Brian follows up on a reissue of the full album.
Quin²’s side is a more obscure find from slightly later in the ‘90s, working somewhere between FSOL Lifeforms vibes and Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra with crisp, rolling breaks and strings beautifully suspended in the mix.
First ever reissue of the wild duo jag between pioneering UK improvisor Bailey and his cello-playing Canadian foil...
“Honest Jon's Records present a reissue of Derek Bailey and Tristan Honsinger Duo, originally released by Incus in 1976. Born in Burlington, Vermont, and conservatory-trained in the US, the cellist Tristan Honsinger moved from Montreal to Amsterdam in 1974, quickly linking with Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg and opening a long and fruitful musical relationship with Derek Bailey.
Recorded in 1976, Duo displays a performative musical approach already characterized by the lack of inhibition which would later endear him to The Pop Group: he is knockabout, exclamatory, explosively rhythmic; burping Bach and folk melodies with spasmodic lyricism, in amongst the garrulous textures and accents of his scraping, bowing, and plucking, and gibbering like a monkey; throwing out his arms and stamping the floor, grappling with his instrument like an expert clown, always tripping himself up. You can hear Bailey reveling in the company, as he ranges between scrabbling solidarity and an askance skewering of his partner's antics, on prepared (nineteen-string) and standard electric guitars -- and a Waisvisz Crackle-box, for the garbled, quizzical, cross-species natter which closes "The Shadow".
Throughout, the spirited interplay between laconic, analytic wit, and guttural, sometimes slapstick physicality is consistently droll, often laugh-out-loud funny; vigorously alert, alive, and gripping.”
Their third album, ‘Treasure’ also debuts Simon Raymonde on bass and finds the band scaling new heights in the most emotionally raw way imaginable. Impossible to overstate just how influential and well loved this album is - from the quietly anthemic Pandora (For Cindy) - probably played in every bedroom by every teenager in 1984, to the sublime 'Beatrix' and 'Otterley' - tracks that were played on Autechre’s Disengage Kiss FM show in the early 90’s and which gave us our first introduction to one of the most magical and timeless albums ever made.
"The band returned to being a trio in 1984 with guitarist Simon Raymonde joining their ranks in time for third album, Treasure. Produced by Robin Guthrie and featuring tracks ‘Lorelei’, ‘Ivo’ and ‘Persephone’, Treasure is often celebrated as one of the band’s finest works. As Pitchfork put it when including the album in their Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, “Treasure was titled simply enough. An adjective for the endlessly inventive melodic lines you'd find buried in these songs, and a verb for what you'd do with them for years to come.”
Cute Heels is the project of Victor Lenis, a contemporary electronic artist living in Berlin, Germany. He grew up in Bogotá, Columbia during the 1990s, surrounded by the radial punk scene.
"Over the years, Victor's passion and fascination for synthesizers and drum machines to produce and compose resulted in his debut album "Spiritual"" for Dark Entries in 2014 as well as the "Third Skin" EP in 2016. Inspired by equal parts Liaisons Dangereuses, Drexciya and Black Devil Disco Club, Cute Heels connects the dots between Detroit techno, early Chicago house and Belgium electronic body music. "State of Mind" is a 4-track EP featuring the vocal talents of Berlin artist Aga Wilk, of electro-punk projects Walkman Music and 77TM, on the the title track. On the A-side are two fresh compositions recorded in New York and Bogota between 2016 and 2017.
Victor says, "State of Mind refers to the subconscious as dominated by real facts, natural, unnatural ,metaphysical or virtual and dynamism of the body as physical shield." The track is a slow building foray into techno, elegantly suited for intangible moments. "Golden Tears" kicks off with Cute Heels' signature metallic EBM funk played with punchy, percussive analog synths. On the flip we present two banging club remixes. The first is from LA-4A, techno DJ and producer Kevin McHugh aka Ambivalent, who adds a strong kick drum and lacerating hi-hats that build up to a mind melting breakdown with a full on acid squelch attack. The second remix comes from Noncompliant, Midwest US-based producer Lisa Smith aka DJ Shiva, who creates a raw, thumping exercise though off-kilter mechanics and punishing percussion."
Kiev’s Bichkraft return with ‘800’ - another entry in their unique take on the shoegaze and post-punk traditions.
"After two LPs for Wharf Cat spent refining their approach, this one stands out thanks to the overwhelming confidence exuded in each track. And while the band’s penchant for devolving into noisy experimentation remains throughout, it doesn’t take many listens to recognize the album’s strong execution.
It’s the songs, coupled with the nervous energy behind them, that propel ‘800’ forward more than anything else. With Carson Cox of Merchandise handling production duties, Bichkraft’s dense riffage and thumping drum machines are brought to the forefront with greater clarity than ever before.
Featuring appearances from Elizabeth Skadden (WALL / Finally Punk) and Sam York (WALL)."
Lullabies For Insomniacs pluck out another overlooked peach with Dino J.A. Deane’s For Leena - a survey of previously unreleased works for the choreography of Colleen Mulvihill; 10 tracks crossing paths between ambient electronics, 4th world new age atmospheres and theatrical soundtrack dimensions. Deane was a member of Indoor Life alongside Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras. RIYL K. Leimer, Rex Ilusivii, Angelo Badalamenti, Muslimgauze
“Beginning his professional career at the age of nineteen, as a musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, flutes, keyboards, percussion), Dino J. A. Deane worked in funk bands around Los Angeles before moving to San Francisco in the mid 1970’s, where he became involved, as an improvising artist, in the diverse communities of dramatic theater, modern dance, free jazz and punk rock.
In the early 1980's Mr. Deane pioneered the use of live-electronics, live-looping and live-sampling in three distinct genres that heavily informed his later compositions: As a member of art-punk band Indoor Life, touring and recording with fourth world pioneer Jon Hassell and as an electro-acoustic percussionist in the Conduction orchestras of Butch Morris.
During this period Mr. Deane also worked as a sound designer for theater, with directors Sam Shepard, Julie Hebert and Christoph Marthaler. He maintained a long-term relationship in the world of modern dance with former Olympic gymnast and choreographer Colleen Mulvihill, creating and performing numerous dance and music works for her. The couple met in San Francisco in 1979 through his good friend Bruce Ackley, whom was commissioned to compose a score for one of her solo pieces. Colleen, was a member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and was planning to move to New York City to set out on her own as a dancer and choreographer. Their paths crossed again in 1980 when Dino moved to NYC with Indoor Life, during this time they began a long term relationship both on and off the stage, which continues to this day.
“Mr. Deane adjusted his electronics with the glee of a villain in a science fiction epic and raised his trombone as if it were a weapon. He could have been a sorcerer and Ms. Mulvihill could have been someone lost in a realm of black magic.” The New York Times.”
Something special from DDS - the long awaited album debut of avant-Dancehall mutations from Jamaica’s Equiknoxx, already tipped by everyone from Jon K to Mark Ernestus, featuring productions dating between 2009-2016, mastered and cut by Matt Colton, all on vinyl for the first time ever...
Equiknoxx are one of the weirdest, most innovative dancehall squads from Jamaica right now; Bird Sound Power is their debut collective show of strength, packing 12 avant, crooked riddims by core members Gavsborg and Time Cow, plus Bobby Blackbird and Kofi Knoxx, with vocals by Kemikal, Shanique Marie and J.O.E. (R.I.P).
The set was parsed and pieced together by Jon K & Demdike Stare , and now thanks to link ups via Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai (a longtime livicated supporter), it’s issued on Demdike’s DDS imprint, replete with Jon K’s sleeve design.
Easily identified by the squawking bird idents peppering their cuts, Equiknoxx productions have been big in the dance since Gavin Blair a.k.a. Gavsborg produced Busy Signal’s billboard hit Step Out in 2005, followed by key instrumentals for Beenie Man, Aidonia, Masicka, and T.O.K.
Bird Sound Power is weighted with the potential to open up perceptions of current dancehall thanks to the mad character and broad reference points of its producers, encompassing King Jammy’s foundational digi-dub and Dave Kelly’s Mad House sound as much as rugged New York hip hop and the wigged-out, feminine pressure of Virginia Beach’s Timbaland or The Neptunes.
The oldest tune inside dates to 2009, but the rest are recent dancehall mutations, including a number of exclusives produced in the last 12 months. Each one reps for Equiknoxx’s unique aspects, such as Jordan Chung a.k.a. Time Cow’s brilliantly bizarre, layered arrangements of sawn-off hooks and digi-tight beats, also a result of their distinguished family vibe.
Bird Sound Power exists in a paradox, utterly fwd but classic, and with as much potential to turn new heads onto current JA sounds as Mowax’s Now Thing set back in 2001, which remains a key touchstone for so many contemporary producers. It’s one of the sharpest, most crucial DDS issues yet, check the clips and get sweaty...
"The hypnotic new single from Daphne & Celeste sees our heroes going for a night run, only to encounter a bizarre creature who alters their very existence. Alarms is backed with Hi-Fidelity, a vibrant reworking of The Kids From Fame dancing-around-the-musical-instrument-shop classic.
This record comes on premium quality turquoise vinyl with a unique “pop-out” centre like 7” singles of yesteryear that gave buyers the option of putting the record into their jukebox."
Students of Decay follow up last year’s incredible 'All My Circles Run’ album by Sarah Davachi with this new album by French horn player, field recording and audio installation artist Anne Guthrie.
Guthrie takes auditory snapshots of an abandoned city; fragments of song drifting out of basements and across alleyways and muffled conversations, coalescing into an evocative soundsphere that’s gently arranged to give the feeling of a directed narrative unfolding before your ears.
There’s a real art to this kind of field recording and Guthrie manages to neither over-simplify nor colour her recordings too much. Through much of this album the sounds are so alien and beautiful it’s impossible to work out if what you’re listening to is real or artificial; neatly mimicking the way our memory works. When a voice appears towards the end of Serious Water, it jolts you back to the mundane world around you.
Including "posthumous contributions from the artist's grandfather, a jazz pianist; obsolete media palimpsests (some vanity, some necessity); tap dancing on a peeling floor…” there’s something almost disturbing about the personal narrative on display here, as the label describe it…”an unsettling and strangely beautiful album - akin to something on the tip of your tongue, which, before you can name it, slips away into forgetting”.