Scandinavian isolationists Deaf Center draw a beautiful pall over this decade with ‘Low Distance’, their first album since 2011’s ‘Owl Splinter’, arriving nearly 15 years since their debut couplet of modern classical/ambient masterpieces; the ‘Neon City EP’ and ‘Pale Ravine’.
Low Distance’ returns Erik Skodvin and Otto A. Totland to the shadowy, wintry depths of their early sound, seemingly sequestered in a loft or creaking wooden house in a place where the sun doesn’t rise for 6 months of the year. Their signature palette of ghostly piano gestures, glacial but knife-edge strings and electronics is employed to expectedly beautiful effect, but it’s perhaps the final mixing treatment, uncannily rendered along vertical and horizontal axes at EMS Stockholm, that really brings this record to life, just as integrally as lighting is to a slow burn film noir.
Endearingly working on low batteries throughout the album, their sense of melancholy is patently apparent and deeply intoxicating with it, diffused through the synaesthetic connotations of rain in ‘A Scent’, and through the clammy skin stroking strings of ‘Entity Voice’ before sublimely relieving tension with ‘Undone’. They then broach more textured, abstract electro-acoustic space in the spectral flocking of ‘Gathering’, the album’s extended centrepiece, before touching on midnight jazz notes, sumptuous subs and extended techniques in ‘Red Glow’ like some meeting of Deathprod and Bohren Und Der Club of Gore, and the barely there yet heartbreaking strings of ‘Faded Earth’ attest to their preternatural skill in getting the most from the barest components.
The last section is just immensely powerful in its stark vulnerability and impending tension, holding its emotive line thru the needling hi-register keys and heavy-breathing strings of ‘Movements/The Ascent’, thru the lingering romance of ‘Far Between’, until the quietly jaw-dropping, beautiful solo piano resolution of ‘Yet To Come’, where the hallucinatory nature dissipates and we’re left with starkly vivid, waking realism implied by the track’s title.
Deaf Center's second album Owl Splinters from 2011 gets a lavish re-packaging as a gatefold 2LP. It includes a Svarte Greiner re-interpretation album ‘Twin' as well as new cover-art with photos by cinematographer Joshua Zucker-Pluda.
Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland quietly honed their art via the nightmarish catharsis of the Svarte Greiner and Nest projects respectively, arriving at their 2nd album together ‘Owl Splinters’ back in 2011 in deeply solemn and contemplative mood. For this chapter of their story, mysterious imagery was rendered even sharper, as though someone on the inside wiped a palm on the window of their cabin in the woods.
This is largely attributable to the fact it was recorded at Nils Frahms' Durton studio, where the lo-fi graininess and techniques of their early work was brought to life with hi-end engineering and analogue equipment, allowing the duo to articulate their supernatural stories with more evocative detailing and widescreen atmospherics.
Opening to the bowed strings and seismic bass shudder of 'Divided', we're ushered straight to a world where Totland's piano adorns centrepiece 'The Day I Would Never Have' with ethereal pensiveness and Skodvin's cello expands like a dense, blackened cloud of smoke. Through the smaller vingettes like 'Fiction Dawn', this forested gloom colours the album through to the slow, vacuous pressure system of 'Close Forever Watching', its surge of cold black air almost brutally resolving the atmospheric tension.
The accompanying LP ‘Twin' is a 40 minute interpretation of Owl Splinters by Erik K Skodvin under his Svarte Greiner alias. The record takes the long-form, ghostly sections of it's parent album and expands them into crushing drone epics. The two parts are cut into four sections, pieced together by used and unused material from the recording session. It first appeared in form of an accompaniement CD that came with the initial 100 LPs of Owl Splinters. This is the first time ‘Twin' appears on vinyl.
The last person we expected to mess about with electronics, Pavement’s overlord Stephen Malkmus has done just that with ‘Groove Denied’; the third album credited to Malkmus, and the first to not feature his backing band, The Jicks
‘Groove Denied’ was entirely performed, produced and engineered by Malkmus. It finds him dabbling with synths and drum machines to intriguing effect on a few numbers that pay homage to “Pete Shelley’s ‘Homospaien,’ the Human League, and DIY synth music circa 1982… but he soon enough sinks back into the indie-pop mire and with it my attention ends there. Remarkably, Malkmus worked on this album for 12-13 years, only for for the label to tell him in 2017 that it was’t the right time to release it. We would have trusted their first instinct.
Arch techno goth Vatican Shadow delivers Berghain’s annual mix, vacillating new and vintage selections with cherry-picked cuts from his unrivalled collection of industrial cassette rarities.
Vatican Shadow is a relatively late stage alias for Dominick Fernow, who unmistakably made his name as noise beast Prurient and boss of Hospital Productions since 1997. As the noise scene ran out of conceptual energy around 10 years ago, Dominick found his calling on the ‘floor, forming Vatican Shadow as a vent for his rhythm-focussed industrial music concerns. The project would coalesce around militant drum patterns that found their way into various DJ sets, and Vatican Shadow became a key part of the whole industrial/EBM/darkwave resurgence witnessed over the best part of this decade.
With ‘Berghain 09’ Fernow makes his influences and affiliations explicit across the mix and in two accompanying EPs of exclusive gear, collected here. Opening and closing with Genesis P-Orridge mantras ‘Ritual Music’ and ‘One Being, One Orientation, One Power’, he trawls rolling EBM/techno from Juan Mendez (Silent Servant) as Los Angeles Death Cult, the blitzkreig of ‘Venom Timetables’ with Ancient Methods and Regis’ Ugandan Methods, and the agitated pound of ‘Decontrol’ from JK Flesh, while Hospital Productions' Alberich slams out the thistly banger ‘Werkstatt’ along with ‘Colt Neck’ from Ron Morelli, and a handful of distended noise loops by Merzbow.
Reissue of The Fall’s ninth studio album, Bend Sinister, originally released in 1986. This edition is titled Bend Sinister/The 'Domesday' Pay-Off Triad-Plus!
"It was the last of three albums in a row produced by John Leckie and was named after a dystopian novel by Vladimir Nabokov.
After the universal acclaim for the previous year’s This Nation’s Saving Grace, Bend Sinister often stands in its predecessor’s shadow. It is a dark, brooding album made at the height of the group’s Beggars Banquet years and many people include this at the top of the list of favourite Fall albums."
3rd eye-poking psych treks from members of Sunburned Hand of the Man and Pharaoh Chromium; Paul Lebrecque and Ghazi Barakat. Killer Arabic drum breaks underpin extended, cosmic-minded synth and guitar explorations. RIYL Sun City Girls, Muslimgauze, Morphosis
“After excessive years in rock bands like THE GOLDEN SHOWERS or his solo project BOY FROM BRAZIL, time had come for the German-Palestinian artist GHAZI BARAKAT to develop a new aesthetic – the birth of his alias PHAROAH CHROMIUM where BARAKAT creates "meta-music for meta-people in a meta-world", or in other words:a mutoid blend of post-krautrock, psychedelism, free jazz, ancient rituals, science fiction and electronics. So far the Berlin based sonic performer released a couple of solo albums on labels like GRAUTAG or TAPEWORM and a triple LP with krautrock legend GÜNTER SCHICKERT. For his latest output he decided to simply use his civilian name BARAKAT, as does PAUL LaBRECQUE (SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN) who contributesguitar and synthesizer to the two side-long tracks. "Jajouka Pipe Dream" is a clear reference to the MASTER MUSICIANS OF JAJOUKA, with lots of flutes and percussion, a very rhythmical, ritualistic track, while "Planet R-101" turns out a spacey trip with elements of krautrock and Kosmische Musik / Berliner Schule.
What may sound contradictionary on paper functions perfectly on LP - freeform / free-floating music, absorbing and integrating a wide range of influences and inspirations, sounds and styles – and highly psychedelic!”
Debut solo album by Australian-born, Liverpool-based composer, saxophonist and founder of Immix Ensemble, Daniel Thorne.
"In Daniel’s own words, “Thematically, this music was inspired by birds-eye aerial images and the idea of perspective - how something incredibly complex like a river or the surface of the ocean is reduced to a simple line or shape when viewed from the heavens. The line between natural and man-made becomes increasingly blurred.”
Every strand is fresh, vital and purposeful. The description ‘seamless’ might suggest a smooth, bland fusion, but here elements overlap in intermittent, undulating layers of mesh. Avant-garde, noise, electronics, ecclesiastical, classical, a touch of jazz and traces of Wyatt-style contemporary folk come together, each occupying their own space while acquiescing with the whole.
“Several compositions are derived from ratios and processes, and are highly calculated, while others evolved in a much more organic way. I wanted to create music that blurred lines between acoustic and electronic, organic and synthetic, composition and improvisation.
I’ve long been a fan of studio-based composition, but have always found the infinite possibilities on offer daunting and, often, a stumbling block. To get around this I set myself a challenge of limiting myself to the physical instruments in my possession – a few different saxophones and a bass synth, with no more than four tracks to record them,” he adds.
Lines of Sight follows Thorne’s work as artistic director of the acclaimed, collaboration-focussed group Immix Ensemble. Together with experimental electronic artist Vessel, he co-wrote Transition released on Erased Tapes in 2016, described by BBC Radio 6’s Mary Anne Hobbs as “a remarkable new piece of music”. More recently, he worked with acclaimed modular synth wizard Luke Abbott, to create a four-part suite, which was premiered live in June 2017. Immix Ensemble have also performed special live commissions with Kelly Lee Owens, Dialect, Jane Weaver and Bill Ryder-Jones, among others.
Prior to leaving Australia, Daniel was fortunate to work with some of the country’s leading new music ensembles as both a composer and performer, receiving commissions from the TURA New Music Festival and the Australia Council, as well as being appointed as Composer in Residence at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. In the UK he was the recipient of the prestigious Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition, and also undertook a residency at Metal Liverpool, which provided him with the time and space to create Immix."
‘Moto Perpetuo’ is an absorbing study on impossible physics from drummer Michael Anklin and producer Kilchhofer for the carefully plotted Marionette label
Following the tangled paths of their previous releases, including Burnt Friedman’s roiling percussions, Soundwalk Collective’s textured field recordings, and Max Loderbauer’s abstract synthesis, Kilchhofer & Anklin combine all the above into the mazy energy transfers of ‘Moto Perpetuo’, where the duo strive to manifest the idea of ‘Moto Perpetuo’, or perpetual motion - where no energy is lost but also where energy is constantly being created - in a series of kinetic electro-acoustic environments informed by the natural world.
“A fluid concept of time where the Rhythmic Pulse constantly shifts is at the heart of the record.The idea was to create an instrument where acoustics and electronics are interconnected and dependent on each other. The smallest disturbance could sway the entire system out of order. This idea of a circular motion was at the center of the recording process and is also reflected in the artwork which resembles a topographical view of a closed natural habitat.
Kilchhofer and Anklin draw inspiration mainly from their rural surroundings, mountain landscapes where natural overtones and stumbling rhythms navigate through high plateaus and velds to stony ravines and wooden trails - on a never ending quest for an "ur-klang“; a primordial, ancestral music.”
The Cinematic Orchestra are back with a new album.
"Founding member Jason Swinscoe and longtime partner Dominic Smith have enlisted album contributions from collaborators old and new: Moses Sumney, Roots Manuva, Heidi Vogel, Grey Reverend (vocalist on Bonobo’s 'First Fires’), Dorian Concept and Tawiah (Mark Ronson, Kindness), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Flying Lotus, Anderson Paak, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote) features on strings and photographer and visual artist Brian “B+” Cross collaborated with Swinscoe and Smith on the album’s concept. The record was mixed by multiple Grammy winner Tom Elmhirst (David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Adele) in Jimi Hendrix’s legendary Electric Lady studios. The album artwork comes courtesy of The Designers Republic™ (Aphex Twin)."
Anthoney J. Hart (Imaginary Forces, East Man) remoulds jungle, garage and grime influences into his ‘New Style’ for Hypercolour’s rave-ready Sneaker Social Club sublabel
Leading on from his 2018 Arcola 12”, the London-based producer scavenges and galvanises classic tropes into fiercely mutant riddims, pranging out from the clipped, in-the-pocket swagger of ‘New Style’ to the rare groove vacuum styles of ’Too Nuff’ up top, then throwing down the whipsmart electro-grime pneumatics of ‘London Warehouse’ and the nipped ’n tucked SND 2-step styles of ‘Ready Again.’
Breezy breakbeat house and downtempo ambient from ANF, otherwise known as the producers behind Dust-E-1 and Priori
Playing deep into Pacific Rhythm’s romantic aesthetic, ‘Mauna Kea’ unfolds between the title tune’s rolling breaks and lip-smacking acid line, the chill-out room special ‘Chi-Motion’, and sweetly pie-eyed moments in the swinging hustle of ‘State/Fucntion’, while ‘Mary Lynne’ heads out into pastoral, Borealis/Balearic vibes.
Justin Broadrick and co’s pivotal Godflesh album is made available on vinyl for the first time in 30 years
Arguably the last word in ‘80s guitar-driven industrial rock, 1989’s ‘Streetcleaner’ is pure bonehead fuel, chock full of grinding, beastclaw riffs and with a funky drum machine in its sweaty gruds that really set it apart from the crowd.
Carrying the black country metal torch into a new decade, Broadrick, G.C. Green, Paul Neville and their trusty Alesis HR-16 drum computer coughed up 9 gristly, swaggering chunks that effectively bridged the gap between Black Sabbath’s original heavy metal and the more funked up ‘90s variants of Primus and Slipknot et al.
30 years later it would take a fool to say that this stuff doesn’t work any more. It’s patently still heavy as f*ck and deserving of it’s “classic” mantle.
Bonkers Japa-knees-up, surveying Techno Menses’ party-starting ‘Requiem In The Sun’ and his crankier solo output, all originally issued on tape by the legendary DD Records between 1983-8 and repackaged as the first instalment of Vinyl-On-Demand’s Japan series
Highly recommended for the Techno Menses side especially, it’s easy to hear why this 2LP kicked off Vinyl-On-Demand’s series of reissues from Japan’s ‘80s minimal/synth/wave and electronics tape scene. Sounding something like V/Vm and Bruce Haack playing a pie and pea super rave at Blackpool Ballroom, it’s a glorious, playful collection of organ and drum machine-driven jaunts that epitomise Japanese musicians’ sidespin on Western styles, while also locating a lesser-known root of what would become the infamous, virulent Japanese noise scene.
To be frank, we’ve developed a small addiction to the unbridled joy and raw grandiosity of Techno Menses. Formed by Kimihide Kusafuka alongside Kazuhiro and Tomoya Sakashita, Techno Menses’ sound ranges from mutant dirges that sound like Soviet anthems, to dark redlit kerb-crawlers right outta some early James Ferraro fantasy, and best of all, a pair of wild surf rock/proto-techno jags with sing-song vocals. It’s these two. ‘Requiem in the Sun’ and ‘Lovers in the Sun’ that are pretty much worth the admission alone, especially to any discerning DJs with an up-for-it crowd.
The other disc, meanwhile looks to Kimihide Kusafuka’s early solo work. Arguably similar to, but less boisterous than Techno Menses, the vibe of ‘Re-Musick/Demise Symphonika’ is more mannered but still riddled with flavour, coming like Klaus Wunderlich’s winking bastard offspring who plays cult Tokyo bars ’till late every night. Which should be all the more surprising when we consider that Kusafuka is arguably now best known as master of junk metal cut-ups, K2, subject of recent reissue on Hospital Productions.
The first three albums in the 'Everywhere At The End Of Time' series in one set - two and a half hours long, each album reveals new points of progression, loss and disintegration, progressively falling further and further towards the abyss of complete memory loss and nothingness...
Embarking on the Caretaker’s final journey with the familiar vernacular of abraded shellac 78s and their ghostly waltzes to emulate the entropic effect of a mind becoming detached from everyone else’s sense of reality and coming to terms with their own, altered, and ever more elusive sense of ontology.
The series aims to enlighten our understanding of dementia by breaking it down into a series of stages that provide a haunting guide to its progression, deterioration and disintegration and the way that people experience it according to a range of impending factors.
In other words, Everywhere At The End of Time probes some of the most important questions about modern music’s place in a world that’s increasingly haunted or even choked by the tightening noose of feedback loops of influence; perceptibly questioning the value of old memories as opposed to the creation of new ones, and, likewise the fidelity of those musical memories which remain, and whether we can properly recollect them from the mire of our faulty memory banks without the luxury of choice
Levon Vincent continues his fecund form with a diverse volley ranging from low-key, slunky house to nippy jit styles - the first time we’ve heard him go fast!
Opening with a signature piece of floating organs and pendulous, subharmonic bass work, he then takes off with a lush stripe of silky trance arps and synth-pop melodies driven by firm kicks done to lip-smacking effect.
Flipside he runs a few notches deeper with the below-the-belt bass heft and hypnotically elegant synth sashays, before pulling out a smart surprise with a 144bpm Drexciyan bubbler riddled with darting synth vamps and rude Detroit funk.
New age ambient cooperative Temple - aka Ramzi, Priori, Ex-terrestrial, and Emmanuel Thibau perceptively probe the space between electro and acoustic, improvised and produced sounds in their lush debut proper following an appearance on New Atlantis Volume 1.
Working at beautifully empathic levels of intuition in four extended movements clocking in at a total of 40 minutes, their multi-stream compositions are steeped in myriad modes of practice, ranging from nods to the ‘60s minimalism of Alvin Curran and the late ‘70s shimmers of Eno and Hassell in ‘Movement 1’, to lush emulations of off-planet tribal music in ‘Movement 2’, before incurring glassy ‘80s FM synth dreamspace perfused by adult contemporary sax bleats in ‘Movement 3’, and melting out into dusky lounge styles in ‘Movement 4.’
Forlorn, rustic studies for strings, roll-up piano, concertina, singing bowls and more from Aaron Martin for his spiritual home at Preserved Sound
“Aaron Martin’s album "A Room Now Empty" sees him returning to the memory-based recordings of previous albums such as "Almond", "River Water" and "Chautauqua", where layered meanings in the music and titles don’t allow a single clear-cut reading of the music.
“A Room Now Empty is similar to the concept of Day Has Ended where Christoph Berg and I created music to encompass the passing of a day, but stretched out for the passing of a lifetime or at least a portion of a lifetime,” says Aaron.
Using cello, electric guitar, bass, roll up piano, banjo, concertina, acoustic guitar, voice, ukulele, singing bowls and lap steel, "A Room Now Empty" keeps the same intimacy and directness of Aaron’s previous albums, with a slightly more processed sound creating distance within the music.”
TJ Hertz’s first original release since 2014’s Flatland LP comes in the form of Objekt #4, a continuation of his club-focused white label series and a tribute to the sadly now defunct Basement Q, a formative and beloved haunt in Berlin’s Schöneberg district which quietly but profoundly shaped the musical identities of Hertz and several of his contemporaries until its final closure in 2012.
New Order’s 3rd single, and first to feature a sequencer, repressed for first time since 1987!
The A-side’s naggingly driven title tune was originally the B-side to ‘Procession’ [Fac 53, 1981], while this B-side is given to the puckered push of ‘Cries and Whispers’ and the bittersweet kiss-off ‘Mesh’.
Sim Hutchins & Dale Cornish furnish OOH-sounds’ Decouple ][ Series with alternately spaced out and clenched, driving strains of techno / electronica.
Arriving in the footsteps of Georgia/Bellows’ first instalment, two of the UK’s most playfully crafty operators play in a remit exploring “topics of increasing complexitiy, dependencies and miscommunication in a media-saturated digital era.
Both tracks can be taken as examples of the artist parsing sense from the chaos, sniffing their humanity amid the dank odour of current clusterfucks. Sim Hutchins’ brilliant ‘Druk Pak’ sounds like dub techno on strong muscle relaxants, or the echo chamber talking to itself after a big line of K, syntax turned to fractal mush. On the surface, Dale Cornish’s drier, jabbing approach is much different, with overpronating drum machine rhythms and asymmetric vocal samples tilted headlong forward, but under the surface he’s also mirroring the dissolution of economic linearity into a rabid all at once-ness.
A spiritual and thematic companion of sorts to PAN’s breathtaking 'Mono No Aware', this excellent artefact from highly promising Berlin/London collective, C.A.N.V.A.S revolves around curious new musics by Object Blue, Ben Vince, Flora Yin-Wong, Ashley Paul, Ausschuss, Xao, Michael Speers and others, a hugely absorbing set that veers from new mutations of ambient-pop thru to electro-acoustic terraforming and expressive minimalism.
The performance collective-turned-label’s 4th release surveys a broad range of ideas running the gamut from electro-ambient abstraction to percussive studies and wave songs, all underlined by a mutual, coherent search for novel sounds that question ideas of authorship in a shared pool of codified ideas and techniques.
Where the label’s first two releases by project coordinators Olan Monk and Lugh O’Neill established sprawling vectors crossing ambient-pop, Actress-style greyscale iridescence, and dreamily disembodied voices, here they both play into a bigger, more complex picture, highlighting a wide spectrum of subterranean thought and composition within the context of electronic music.
Listeners are encouraged to draw their own links between the disparities; Xao’s opening gambit ‘Quintal’ unfolds a beguiling translation from ghostly mechanical gulls and aerial turbulence to lush ambient and back, while Flora Yin-Wong’s ‘Murmures’ describes an ethereal, chamber-like mutation of traditional Chinese tones, while Michael Speers’ wormholing abstraction gives way to Ashley Paul’s bittersweet asymmetric ambient pop masterpiece ‘Sleep Walker’.
Label cofounders Lugh and Olan Monk are next, respectively, with an Oval-esque glitch meltdown ‘Hot Mess’, and the curdled minimal wave dirge ‘Seph’, before Ben Vince’s sky-searching beauty ‘Fading in Panoramio’ holds your breath until the rawly expressive minimalism of object blue’s ‘Fourteen Boulders, Fifteen Stones.’ closes the set with a glassy, uncompromising take on prepared and disfigured percussion.
’Cipher’ is one of those rare compilations that exceeds the sum of its parts, focusing on how artists hold their voice within increasingly borderless and shared languages in new music. Those of you looking to discover some of the most interesting tributaries flowing into the contemporary scene right now would be well advised to dive deep into this one.
Sarah Davachi serves her 2nd album of 2018 with ‘Gave In Rest’, offering a studio developed follow-up to her mesmerising album ‘Let Night Come On Bells End The Day’, which has quietly dominated our listening lives for months already...
As her beatific blends of early church, medieval and Renaissance musics have patiently and patently revealed over the past five years, Sarah’s works for piano, organ, synth, and woodwind demonstrate a unique gift for extracting and reworking the most affective spirits of church music to a secular appeal, effectively voicing a sort of metaphysical minimalism that could be explained as a result of deeply focused technique, but is perhaps better regarded as a timeless form of sonic alchemy.
Where her previous records were documents of a shorter time spent with her instruments, Sarah dedicated herself on ‘Gave In Rest’, spending a summer giving deeper consideration to how Renaissance musicians experimented with new instruments, forms and texture, and “how the quietude… and the openness of physical space, the stillness of altars“ in churches would have affected how they wrote. Subsequently recording with Howard Bilerman at Montreal’s hotel2tango (home of myriad, seminal Constellation recordings), Sarah brought those instrumental ideas to life with the modern addition of tape delays and chorusing effects to infuse and render shimmering new layers of timbral depth to her plaintive melodic gestures, and with a subtle yet unmistakably visceral impact.
In album opener ‘Auster’ she uses tape to slow down a recorder and open up its vibrating innards, revealing a tremulous, transfixing soul in the most humble of instruments, while the LP’s closer ‘Waking’ finds her locating elusive echoes of Baroque harmonies in that most soulful machine, beautifully realigning its putative purpose. In between, her tracks’ moods and titles chart a slow passing of day and night, from he ghostly elegance of ‘Third Hour’ to her sylvan ‘Evensong’, thru to the stately yet lip-wobbling beauty of ‘Matins’ at the album’s core, and perhaps best of all in the achingly evocative coruscation of ‘Gloaming’, a song we already know we’ll be returning to for many, many years to come.
The loaded, polysemous word ‘soul’ springs to mind, on the one hand connoting lofty notions of transcendence, contemplation and reverence, while on the other also helping to define a gentle, slow-burning modesty and broad appeal to practically anybody with ears and a functioning sense of empathy. But most of all, ‘Gave In Rest’ will strike a chord with anyone who listens properly and attentively. To use another loaded phrase, the devil is beautifully apparent in its gilded detail.
An exquisite showcase for Andy Bey, one of John Coltrane’s favourite singers, available on vinyl for the first time - includes delectable takes on Nick Drake’s ‘The River Man’, and ‘Get It Straight (Straight No Chaser)’ by Thelonious Monk.
"'Allegedly Coltrane’s favourite singer, Andy Bey recorded as vocalist for Max Roach (“Members, Don’t Git Weary”), Horace Silver (“Won’t You Open Up Your Senses”), Gary Bartz (“Celestial Blues”) and Stanley Clarke in the late sixties / early seventies. He released one solo album and then disappeared from view for 20 years, resurfacing in the nineties.
This 1998 album showcases his four-octave range, the intimacy of love songs and raw power of the blues on a mixture of standards (“Pretty Girl”, “Some Other Time”), Latin (“O Cantador”, “Drume Negrita”), modern (Nick Drake’s “River Man”), and a couple of original tunes. Available for the first time on vinyl, cut at 45rpm, it features Andy on vocals and on piano, with appearances from Gary Bartz and Geri Allen.'"
You Know What It’s Like is the quietly breathtaking debut album from Carla Dal Forno ov Tarcar and F Ingers - an incredible debut which tip toes the finest line between contentment and aching vulnerability in head-turning fashion.
Her voice is exquisitely fragile but poised and confident with it; representing an unshowy resolve which, despite its gothic chic, actually feels fresh and necessary - operating counter to contemporary glitz and glamour with clear allusions to her heroes, such as Nico or Anna Domino.
Prefaced by two single tracks, the departing dream of Fast Moving Cars and the ghostly nerve pincher What You Gonna Do Now? the album also features six new songs clocking in at just under half an hour, following a bedsit slug trail from the mildew sprawl and nitrate bubble of opener Italian Cinema to the ‘floor-stalking sleep house thud of DB Rip and a deep drifting instrumental, Dry In The Rain, strewn with melodica-like pipes and cobwebbed in acoustic guitar strum like some dusty eldritch dub of A C Marias.
In the album’s twilight hours, Carla really comes into her own on the title song, flitting between Crepulscule-esque songcraft and slow-rocking traces of UK dub, her vocals urgent but nevertheless nonchalant, before Dragon Breath recedes back into the mists of chamber music and she proceeds to pour a potent, near paralysing nightcap and shuffle away from the screen down a long corridor, fading to black in The Same Reply.
We’re utterly smitten, this could turn into a proper addiction.
Knockout album of smoky jazz-pop, cinematic strings and filigree electronics from Eiko Ishibashi, who comes off like Japan’s answer to Julia Holter in the uneasy hauntology of her 6th album opus.
‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ finds Eiko delving into her family history, following the death of her father, coming to terms with the discovery that he came of age during Japan’s occupation of Manchurian China in the 1940s, when his father - Eiko’s Grandfather - worked as a railroad man in occupied territory. The album is about imagining a past she never knew, and about how that past can inform the future - in particular her own.
As a noted improvisor on percussion and piano, Eiko’s sense of intuition is key to her music, and ‘The Dream My Bones Dream’ would appear to be a study in locating or understanding the source of her core instincts. Over its 9 songs, she describes a journey of discovery and reflection in expansive, near-cinematic terms, loaning from her practice writing for theatre and cinema to shape an album enriched with subtle emotional cadence and tempered instrumental virtuosity.
From the anxious dawn of dissonant brass smear in ‘Prologue: Hands On The Mouth’, her journey wends from the rustling chug of ‘Agloe’ and its sweeping emotive arrangement, thru the inquisitive jazz chords of ‘Iron Veil’, to the reflective pool of hovering organ in ‘Silent Scrapbook’, and the fleeting feels of anger and sadness in ‘A Ghost in a Train, Thinking’, before her timelessly sumptuous title track comes off like the sonic denouement of a classic film, and the pulsating electronics of ‘Tunnels To Nowhere’ signify a rush to the future, and the melancholy resolution of ‘To The East’, and the ultimate uncertainty connoted by swirling, bittersweet strings and tentative double bass in her ‘Epilogue: Innisfree’.
Crooked electronica, twisting and flipping presets and samples into warped reflections and queasy arrangements, sometimes obliquely abstract, at other with a cinematic romance betraying Belp’s influence from classical music and film scores.
Balmy, slow disco pressure from South Africa, 1983, dishing up Kumasi’s charming and only album on its first reissue
Just like Smiling C’s previous treats from Morocco’s Shams Dinn and Czech act Karya, the label peer beyond the usual hotspots to find precious blooms in early ‘80s SA, which, to be totally fair, is hardly under-regarded for its contributions to dance music.
‘I Know You Feel It’ packs that South African zulu je ne sais quoi in each part, from the strolling bassline and natty drum fills of ‘Anomakoliwa’, thru the plush synth-funk chops and harmonised vox of ‘She’s A Queen’ and the soulful dip of ‘What’s On Your Mind’, to the warm embrace of the title cut and the winking, wobbly strut of ‘Picnic (Moger)’ with its pealing sax and saucy bassline.
The return of the Zanzibara series: first-time reissue of a Deep Taarab masterpiece from legendary Swahili singer Zuhura Swaleh, recorded in Nairobi in 1981.
"Zuhura Swaleh & Party initially rose to fame on the Mombasa scene in the early 1970s. Traditional taarab music – the Islamic music of Zanzibar and the East African coast – had for a long time been influenced by Bollywood soundtracks, but Zuhura & Party were instrumental in bringing the focus back onto classic Swahili styles, at the same time introducing a new fast-paced and electrically amplified style known as chakacha that revolutionized the scene.
Zuhura was not afraid of speaking out and her music - sometimes featuring risqué lyrics - dealt with contemporary issues from a female perspective, something of a rarity at the time and something that would pave the way for the new “modern taarab” sound that came to fore in the 1990s.
The group played across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania throughout the 70s, and while playing a wedding in Nairobi in 1981 they were approached by the local Polygram studio to record an album - one of the only full-length Taarab recordings of the period. The record did not catch on as the LP format was not suited to the tiny portable record players in use in Kenya back then, and the record industry as a whole collapsed in the wake of the 1982 coup d’état attempt and the resulting economic slump. Only a few records were pressed and have since become much sought-after collectors’ items. Locally the songs survived and remained popular as pirated dubs (first on cassette now on CDR)."
One of the year’s most crucial wave reissues, Stano’s debut LP ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is a seminal and sought-after Irish post-punk album starring two rare appearances by the near-mythical Michael O’Shea. Nothing less than an essential recommendation to anyone familiar with the Michael O’Shea LP, Finders Keeper’s ‘Strange Passion’ compilation, or early Dome experiments!
We can barely contain our buzz over this reissue. From its wild DIY drum machine programming to the appearance of O’Shea’s cymbeline-like home-built instrument and the cut ’n splice, layered song arrangements, ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ is one of those blue moon reissues that, in hindsight, seem to blow away so much other, better known material from the era whence it came.
As spotted with ‘Town’, a highlight of Finders Keepers’ great Cache Cache compilation, ‘Strange Passion’, Stano’s mix of hands-on drum machine rhythms and bittersweet songcraft remain among the strongest examples from Dublin’s punk/post-punk scene of the early ‘80s. And judging from the 2nd hand asking prices of ‘Content to write in I dine Weathercraft’ in 2018, quite a few other listeners are patently aware of his prowess, too.
A former member of The Threat (also found on ‘Strange Passion’), John Denver Stanley or Stano recorded his first album in Dublin’s Alto studio, in the basement of late C.18th Irish Nationalist leader Robert Emmet’s house, where he made sublime use of the studio’s natural reverbs, inviting around pals and peers to work in a musique concrete-like method of playing, processing and editing to achieve the wickedly unpredictable, flowing chicanery of his first album.
The two appearances of Michael O’Shea and his Mo Chara (a self-built, 17-string, zither or cymbeline-like instrument with pick-ups) are noteworthy not just for their haunting beauty, but also their rarity, amounting to the near-mythical busker’s only known recordings outside an eponymous classic for Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis’ Dome Records. Whether meshed with Stano’s drum machine and echoplex FX in ‘Seance of a Kondalike’ or layered with his Sitar and Stano’s tabla-esque tweaks in ‘A Dead Rose’, the effect leaves us a shivering mess, to be honest and still scratching our heads why there’s no recent, significant reissue of O’Shea’s own work.
The rest of the LP is no less brilliant in it’s own way, roundly speaking to the diversity Stano, a self-described “non-musician”, and his intuitive way with sound. From the almost lusting funk of ‘White Field (In Isis)’, to the wild-pitching drum machine of ‘Blue Glide’, thru the icy elegance of the grand piano in ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Dawn’, to the sheer concrete sound design of ‘Melting Grey’ and again with that deadly machine swagger on ‘Emma Wild’ and ‘Room’, we’re left in no doubt this LP is a true, overlooked classic of its time.
Fleet-footed and heady deep house and techno from Denmark’s Central, committing his 2nd solo LP with Aarhus-based Help Recordings
Playing into classic deep house and techno styles in ‘Om Dans’, he comes nimbly straight-laced and soulful with ‘Doing This’, then quick and spaced-out in the ambient techno of ‘Milo’, while ‘Mix A’ works with insistent subbass and feathered chords; ‘Be Your Lady’ gives its some gauzy ‘90s garage nostalgia; ‘Fresh+’ catches a beautifully warm Detroit breeze recalling Claude Young, as do the mercurial, jazzy flex of ’T.E.M’, and the lush, hyper-latinate dancer ‘Upward Motion’.
Julius Eastman’s breathtakingly powerful ‘Nigger Series’, recorded in 1980, available on vinyl for the first time, correcting an oversight that goes to the root of conversations about race and politics in contemporary music. Compiling ‘Crazy Nigger’, ‘Evil Nigger’ and ‘Gay Guerrilla’ together for the first time, they form a long overdue showcase of Eastman’s genius, an unmissable portal for anyone intrigued by this hugely compelling artist and his music.
Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was a prodigious voice within the influential American avant-classical movement of the 1970s. As a composer, pianist, Grammy-nominated vocalist and dancer, he brought unique qualities to the downtown minimalist movement most commonly associated with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. But where their music has received no shortage of accolades, by the early ‘80s Eastman’s staggering compositional contributions during the same era were practically unknown beyond tapes circulated between his peers. As Bradford Bailey explains “His place within the context of American classical music - an uncompromising artist of inconvenient identity, rising on the tide of an unavoidable talent, was a threat to the institution’s walls. It’s no surprise that his efforts were forced into the shadows…”
Thanks to Mary Jane Leach, however, a wider reappraisal of Eastman’s work began with release of his ‘Nigger Series’ as part of the 3CD ‘Unjust Malaise’ [New World Records, 2005], and the trio of works now appear on vinyl for the first time.
‘Crazy Nigger’ is the first and longest part of the series. Its provocative title was shocking then and is perhaps now more than ever. However, as the composer explains in an introduction given at Northwestern University found on ‘Unjust Malaise’, his use of the term references the fundamental role of “field niggers” in the foundation of the American economy, as “not superficial, but elegant… at the ground of things”. From this perceptive base, Eastman radically adapts the instrumental language of classical music to his own, expressive ends, to challenge the restrictions of romantic classical music with more fluid and organically open-ended musical structures.
Composed in 1978, it offers a muscular parallel to the more mannered minimalism of the era. His keys attack in powerful flurries right from the start, cascading complex harmonies that arguably feel more immediate, gloriously voluminous and, heck, “crazed” than work by almost any of his contemporaries. By the track’s hammering climax and lofted conclusion, first time listeners will be under little illusion as to the thrilling power of Eastman’s playing and vision.
‘Evil Nigger’ follows suit with heart-racing intensity and blistering pace, with its four pianists, including Eastman, urged into spiralling frenzies by Eastman’s cries of “two, three, four”, while the piece escalates from tonal to multi-tonal colour with imperceptibly naturalistic quality, then decays into ether. ‘Gay Guerilla’ follows, relaxing the tension to connote a sense of the sublime, attempting to model in his music an empathy or kinship between downtrodden Gay and Black folk, and the PLO or Afghan army; people who were prepared to shed blood for what they believe in. The piece finds a devastating power in its relative reserve to the other two parts, with a finer, slower narrative quality pivoting around a musical quote from the Martin Luther hymn ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’, dramatically, and perhaps subversively, implying a call to arms.
It is a tragic fact that Julius Eastman died aged 49, just over 10 years after these totemic pieces were written and premiered. In the time between, his work was neglected and his genius overlooked to the extent that he fell into substance addiction, eventually losing his accommodation and with it the vast majority of his scores and recordings. It would be at least 15 years before his music became known and available again, with Mary Jane Leach posting his remaining scores to the internet, leading to subsequent performances by ensembles across the world, and important reappraisals of his work by Black Music scholars such Jace Clayton and Kodwo Eshun. After the Frozen reeds label issued his Femenine set for chamber ensemble a couple of years ago, the world and the press at large finally stood to attention, with numerous features in too many publications and radio stations to mention following since.
And as for these titles, perhaps Bradford Bailey puts it best: “You have to wonder, when titling his works - often deploying the vile language of racism and homophobia, if Julius Eastman was consciously forcing white, leftist music fans like myself to choke out words which we actively despise - to recognise polarising truths which are bound to his sounds and the context in which they reside - to see our complicity with unforgivable sin."
Soul Jazz Records re-release the debut album from the legendary Steve Reid in a new edition.
"As a radical jazz artist, Steve Reid played with an extraordinary group of artists - Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Fela Kuti, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Lester Bowie and many more. He began his career as a teenager in the 1960s as a drummer at Motown. Reid was born in the South Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York, three blocks away from John Coltrane. In 1969, Reid refused to enlist to the Vietnam war and was arrested as a conscientious objector and given a four-year prison sentence.
On his release in 1974, he formed the Legendary Master Brotherhood and the independent record label, Mustevic Sound, to release his debut LP ‘Nova’. At the start of the 21st Century, Steve Reid began a successful collaboration with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet), who Reid referred to as his “musical soul mate,” resulting in a number of joint albums.
Steve Reid died in New York in 2010. Subsequently, the Steve Reid Foundation was set up in his name, to help aspiring musicians and artists."
Ot to not to is the experimental RnB recording project of Virginia natives Ian Mugerwa and Noah Smith. In 2016, Mugerwa released the first Ot to Not to LP Goshen through Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint.
"Goshen was a very deliberate effort to create an RnB concept album that explored aesthetics and recording methods usually more associated with European experimental electronic music. More specifically, it was an effort to subvert tropes in pop RnB, whether those be the stereotypical, sterile cleanliness of radio RnB or the safe themes and song structures. While Goshen was undertaken primarily as a solo effort while Ian was casually homeless in Richmond, Virginia, the contributions Noah did make (namely the last track) served as the basis for the aesthetic shift seen in their most recent 2nd LP It Loved to Happen.
After releasing Goshen in 2016, Mugerwa did a series of informal experiments in laptop recording that resulted in his These Movements I & II double EP. The EPs, released through European ambient label ACR, served as an outlet for Mugerwa to explore genres like ambient, modern classical, IDM, and lo-fi R'n'B without the added pressure of being bound to a strict concept or narrative. Furthermore, these EPs afforded Mugerwa some familiarity with the styles and techniques he would explore with Smith on the next Ot to not to LP.
In late 2016, Ian joined Noah at his family’s cabin in the Virginia Appalachian mountains to record a follow-up to Goshen. Prior to this, both artists had been suffering the isolating effects of untreated mental illness, and retreating to mountains to record seemed to offer a desperately needed cathartic outlet. This sylvan setting inspired a shift from the more cold, abstract, electronics of Goshen to the more naturalistic, analog-focused, and guitar-driven aesthetic of the new LP. Artists like Talk Talk, Baden Powell, Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Phil Elverum were playing constantly in the cabin when the duo weren’t actively tracking, influencing the sound of the LP. Just as on Goshen, tape processing was heavily utilized as a way to collage and manipulate samples.
All instruments - even the orchestral parts - were performed by Ian and Noah. Subtle, but detailed sample-based sound design was utilized throughout the album for texture and, unlike their debut, no synths were used. Instead there was an emphasis on manipulating samples the duo would amass from hours of field recording. Throughout the recording session the duo adopted a religious reverence for the woods and mountains that surrounded them, and as a result the album took on themes of spiritual yearning and exploration that flowed under allegorical lyrics about isolation and lost love. Additionally, elements of ambient electronic music were explored on It Loved to Happen, with some tracks abandoning any song structure in favour of raw sound exploration."
After decades in the making Finders Keepers present the first-ever pressing of Serge Gainsbourg’s most elusive and coveted soundtrack studio recordings – co-written, arranged and orchestrated by the genius Jean-Claude Vannier (Histoire De Melody Nelson) during what many consider to be the dynamic duo’s most definitive creative period.
Its the first time on vinyl for this previously unreleased Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtrack to a saucy, psychedelic gallic classic starring Jane Birkin and Gainsbourg in leading roles. Interesting for its forays into traditional sub-continental styles, and one track of heavy petting, alongside the usual Gainsbourgian string arrangements and smoky winks.
Believed to have been lost in a studio fire by Gainsbourg enthusiasts for over forty years (a myth that also shrouds Morricone’s lost Danger Diabolik soundtrack) the misplaced master-tapes for the drug-fuelled/Mai 68 cash-in/road-movie Les Chemins De Katmandou have been widely considered the final audio jigsaw piece in an immaculate discography/filmography thus earning this soundtrack bone-fide Holy Grail status amongst the most avid disc detectives.
Featuring the original crack team of Paris based players now recognised as French library music royalty, this LP epitomises the inimitable musical direction and expert psychedelic pop musicianship that graced classic Gainsbourg/Vannier soundtracks like La Horse, Cannabis and Sex Shop. Laying the stylistic, future-proof foundations for subsequent decades of forward-thinking Gallic funk mastery. Comprising Vannier’s signature recipe of thick plucked bass lines, close-micced drums, biting Clavinet and Eastern influenced strings and percussion (and a sprinkling of subtle traditional French instrumentation) the soundtrack to Les Chemins De Katmandou (aka The Road To Katmandu or The Pleasure Pit) captures Vannier and Gainsbourg in the first year of their creative partnership capturing their unique embryonic energy.”
In 1997 Orlando Voorn delivered two tracks for the Get Lost and Past-Present+Future compilations, as well as the idea of a full length album for his Ultra moniker. This was completed in 1998 shortly before the initial shutdown of Multiplex. Some tracks were scattered onto other releases, but this Planet Ultra EP is compiled of five previously unreleased compositions from the Multiplex album of the same name, plus the Barwork track - finally on vinyl after more than twenty years.
"DJing since at the age of 12, he won the Dutch DMC championships in ‘86. Going on to produce a multitude of club bangers since the early 90’s. Spanning many genres, his short lived Ultra alias was reserved for a deep electro vibe.
On ice for two decade these classic electro tracks reference the early UK breakbeat of the 90’s as well as the obvious sci-fi connection. To that effect we kick off with "Teflon" and "Plasma", followed by the funky "In The Galaxy" which adds a touch of Herbie Hancock. On the flip side "Ultra Light" evolves to an all-encompassing, atmospheric trip, before the deep "Barwork" and finally "Open"."
Unseen Worlds follow their amazing Laurie Spiegel reissue with a captivating album of avant, shaggy dog stories by Robert Ashley collaborator Sam Ashley and German instrument builder Werner Durand
“I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good is a new recording collaboration of Sam Ashley and Werner Durand. Sam Ashley’s mystic parables imbued with benevolent humor are drawn from a lifelong pursuit of a present-day shamanism. Werner Durand’s wind work on invented and traditional instruments stems from the minimalist tradition, routed through his own unique studies of obscure world musics.
The two artists first met in Berlin in 1984 while Sam was touring Atalanta with Robert Ashley’s opera company, with whom he was a principle vocalist for many years. Sam Ashley’s work has appeared on other Unseen Worlds releases (J. Jasmine: My New Music) and in solo and collaborative performances alongside “Blue” Gene Tyranny and other artists across the world.
Werner Durand, also active since the late Seventies, performs music for saxophones, Iranian ney, and self-made wind instruments. He is a linchpin figure in the experimental music scene in Germany and abroad following formative studies with Ariel Kalma and Gilbert Artman in Paris, Indian Classical Music with Kamalesh Maitra, and Iranian Ney with Ali Reza Asgharia. He has worked notably with David Behrman (Music With Memory), Arnold Dreyblatt (Animal Magnetism), Muslimgauze, Henning Christiansen, Catherine Christer Hennix (Born of Six), David Toop, and Amelia Cuni (Ashtayama, Diasporagas). He also was a longtime employee of Ursula Block’s gelbe MUSIK (Broken Music).”
Upcoming Amsterdam-based DJ, producer and new kid on the block Relmer International produces atmospheric house with a keen eye for the dancefloor.
"His self-titled 4-track debut EP on Magnetron Music sounds both flourishing and refreshing due to its warm, lush and deeply layered sound. All of these factors combined connect the dots between the contemporary Amsterdam club sound, the quietness of Relmer’s origins in the Dutch meadows, and the sun-kissed beaches of Brazil.
Relmer International’s productions prove to be just as diverse as his DJ-sets. On his self-titled debut EP, he creates floor-fillers and balearic beach openers. Inspired and mentored by veterans like Fatima Yamaha, Rimer London and Tako Reyenga, and as one of the instigators of Amsterdam-based rave party and DJ-collective Noclubs, Relmer International builds a bridge between producers and DJs from now and then."
Surprise drop from Shackleton, his first of 2018, following up ’Behind The Glass’ on this Woe To The Septic Heart! label
There’s a discernible Far Eastern bent to both tracks, nodding in the direction of Indonesian percussive styles from Uwalmassa or Senyawa, but still with that outernational nous that also lends it to comparison with Ekuka’s Ugandan thumb piano recordings or Psychic Warriors of Gaia style tribal techno.
‘Furnace of Guts’ is a mercurial, polychromatic flow of stuttering voices, glinting high register percussion and wriggling bottom end feathered into increasingly noisy, knotted formations, while ‘Wakefulness and Obsession’ is more potently hypnotic, droning and viscous.
New music from old hands, fine blends of rumba and soukous recorded between Lisbon and S. Tomé by icons of the island’s influential musical heritage...
"Mar & Sol presents the new album of the legendary band África Negra,"Alia cu Omali". New songs and some popular classics recorded between Lisbon and S.Tomé. This album Its a reflection of the old rumba and soukous music that this epic band of São Tomé e Príncipe got us used to. They are an icon and one of the main bands of this island, representing in their music the authenticity and culture of the former Portuguese colony on the equatorial meridian. It is our mission to expand this culture and here it is the testimony in our series of Luso Afro music which could best represent São Tomé."
"Jessica Pratt’s self-titled 2012 debut has been much-murmured about. People respond to the austere, pristine clarity of the performances, the gentle strength, marvelling at how much comes from so little: just a voice and a guitar or two. They remark on the timeless nature of the songs and the voice, scrupulously informed by the folk rock of ages past but sung without bags (none in hand, nor beneath eyes). They speculate on just who is the personality behind this Jessica Pratt? It is hard not to respond to the sound of her music, not to want more right away. Two years on and Jessica’s very new ‘On Your Own Love Again’ is here for us, playing her further adventures in different pastures. If they feel removed from the first songs, it may help to know that the recordings of the first album were made some years back with no expectation of making an album. They sat quiet on the shelf for a long time, appearing on the internet eventually. It all seemed harmless but when Birth Records honcho Tim Presley rolled up in his long white limousine and began to spin tales of folk rock glory, who was she to say no? The nice part about learning that people dig your sound is that it gives you the chance to think of what else you’d do. After deep consideration, Jessica found new songs within her and an urgency to make another record, marked with a strong sense for rendering it exactly the way she heard it in her head, spending time with her tunes and crafting the smallest details. In this way, she truly was able to inhabit her own skin as a singer of her songs - and make ‘On Your Own Love Again’ the first Jessica Pratt album constructed to be an album."
Properly seminal deep house dubs from Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus with Tikiman (Paul St. Hilaire), originally issued in 1996 and now repressed for 20th anniversary edition.
The strident but plasmic nine minute groove of Acting Crazy (Club Vocal) is just about the most perfect, immersive balance of NYC deep house, Jamaican roots reggae and Berlin minimalism that you’ll ever encounter - a rare slice of shut-your-eyes and dance magic that never fails in the right situations. There’s also a shorter Instrumental which is pretty much an alternate mix of Maurizio’s M6, and a nipped edit of the vocal mix, all demanding that DJs buy two copies to really get the most out of it.
Basically every home needs a copy of this and every other plate on Main Street Records, but depending on who you ask, this one more than any other.
Peverelist re-presses the mighty "Roll With The Punches" after Drake sampled it...
The track is essentially quite downcast, but the elongated synth that comes in, flailing and oscillating with no set agenda halfway through the track, elevates it into the company of the most treasured tunes in your box - tracks that don't entirely make sense on first listen but which eventually plaster themselves to your mind with stubborn determination.
"Die Brucke" clings to a 4/4 template straight out of Berlin and employing cushioned pads and lilting Sino melodies, it's a soft breeze of a track that once again achieves so much with the barest ingredients.
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 - 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. "Carrier" was the fifth release on the label and offers another 20 minute trip into the depths of fractured dub.
Weval return to Kompakt with their sophomore album, 'The Weight'
"Orbiting around that ever luminous yet wistful melodic halo that surrounds their music, this second full-length effort sweeps an extra-wide and languidly woven palette of emotions and moods, making for a uniquely ambitious and generously coloured mosaic of sound.
If the recording sessions "often started grumpy and emotionless" by Harm and Merijn's own admission, the pair was "surprised by the joy it gave us, which can be compared to the emotions we felt back in the first days of making music together"; subsequently reconnecting with that fresh, naïve feeling of "absolute creative freedom" they were after. The album is also the fruit of a whole new working process for them - more playful and unpredictable - which saw them switch from "guitars lying around to piano, onto our own synths and the most cheap quirky toys synths you can imagine", and involved "recording all of our own samples, voice and almost every instrument out of the box - which for us was a totally new way of working"
Soundboy supreme, Ossia sends us reeling with an immense debut album of technoid dub brutalism for his staunch allies at Blackest Ever Black. A massive RIYL Demdike Stare, Wasteland, Jay Glass Dubs, The Bug, Jon Hassel...
Long in the works and properly worth the wait, ‘Devil’s Dance’ is a deliriously strong summation of Ossia’s singular style. Dread-filled and fevered, it marks the Bristol/Berlin-hailing producer as a master at negotiating negative space and bending styles to his will, taking what he needs from grime & dubstep, jazz, techno and post-industrial music, and warping it all with an uncanny sleight of hand that only comes from proper dedication to dub craft.
Most brilliantly, nothing is square or regular in Ossia’s sound world. Edges are consistently smudged and slanted, sounds bleed into one another with organic form, but, like a backyard/spareroom ganja farmer, his skill lies in pruning punctuations, allowing his forms to grow wild, whilst knowing where and when to cut and splice. Now harvested, his crop is effectively a highly potent batch with a perfect balance of meditative and psychoactive content.
From the gauntleted noise sculpture of ‘Concrete’, to the weightless skank and skronk of ‘Radiation’, thru the heaving masses of his ‘Devil’s Dance’ and ‘Hell Version’, thru the spectral ephemera of ‘Inertia’ and the 23 minutes of perceptive chicanery in ‘Vertigo’, you have one of the strongest dub records you'll hear for time.
Prayers are answered with Vainqueur’s Reductions 1995-1997, a compilation of in-demand cuts from René Löwe’s seminal Chain Reaction 12”s and Elevations CD, including the vinyl premiere of Antistatic and first ever appearance of Antistatic II on any format, all available on wax for the first time in over 20 years!
For anyone who came thru during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Vainqueur records were required listening - beyond Maurizio’s M-Series and the Basic Channel catalogue, they’re some of the strongest dub techno trax in existence. Now, two decades later, they still appear regularly in the mixes of those in the know, but their 2nd hand prices have steadily crept up in parallel.
To newcomers and older fiends alike, this 3LP selection provides a perfect overview of Vainqueur’s most feted period (not withstanding his all-time banger Lyot , but that was a kinda one-off). The first disc revolves his banging Reduce 1 and the monotone brilliance of Reduce 2, whilst the 2nd disc renders the more tender gasps and dub chords of Solanus (Original) and the heady Elevation II - both masterclasses in German techno minimalism - while the 3rd disc significantly presents the flared chords of Antistatic, taken from the Elevations CD, on vinyl for the 1st time, backed with the exclusive-to-this-12” Antistatic II.
Richard D James' classic album from 1992, re-pressed countless times but still sounding as vital as it did way back when. Still probably the most uplifting and nostalgic thing in the AFX catalogue...
Best electronic music album of the late 20th century. A proper gateway drug to the myriad microcosms of Richard D. James a.k.a. Aphex Twin. 100% essential in any collection.
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?
The new album Pastoral, by Gazelle Twin, exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present.
"Told through a troupe of multi-gender voices, in vernaculars old and new; from the shrill echo of folksong to tabloid-tinged jaunts, the artist aka Elizabeth Bernholz, presents the notion that “there is horror in every idyll, and danger lurking beyond the “quaint” ”. The village square - once host to centuries of public torture - becomes a floral framed postcard, dolled-up for the Summer Fête. A sunny, afternoon walk over the hills unsettles a cloud of angry flies feeding from unidentifiable remains. Bigoted vitriol gently murmurs amidst tearoom chatter, as the neatly framed pastoral picture dissolves into a solemn ennui."