The Breeders' biggest selling and probably most-loved album, larely due to the massive success of Canonball.
It's a more easy-going, sometimes humorous and without question hooky set, and although for us it never quite hit the same visceral spot as Pod or Safari, you just cant argue with an album that's at once so singular and life affirming...
The Breeders finally return with a comeback record worthy of the marvellous Pod, a record that’s stripped down to bare guitars, drums and bass, allowing the magnificent song-writing to rise to the fore.
The mesmerising single track ‘off you’ still shines as the most moving moment across these 12 tracks, but from start to finish ‘Title TK’ is a highly enjoyable listen.
Typically lush ambient, neo-classical, chamber pop and film-score music from Berlin's Sonic Pieces label, this time from Spain's Rauelsson, highy recoomended if you're into Max Richter, Badalamenti, Harold Budd etc.
The album was recorded by the sea and it really comes across in the music's self-consciously grand scale, oscillating between the calm and the tempestuous.
Piano is Rauelsson's main weapon of expression, and like so many artists in this sphere, he looks to Harold Budd and Philip Glass for inspiration, his playing ranging from the digressive and heavy-reverbed to the driving and cyclical. It's hard not to feel like you've heard it all before - 'Fluvial' barely even bothers to disguise the fact that it has the same instrumental palette, harmonic progression and mood as half of Max Richter's Blue Notebooks.
But when he loosens up, there are some highly enjoyable moments: the string-laden 'Hourglass I' is a particular highlight, channeling the high sentimentality of Badalamenti's love themes with aplomb.
Four decades after its release (1975), Inventions for Electric Guitar, the solo debut by Ash Ra Temple guitarist Manuel Göttsching, is now a classic, an undisputed worldwide reference.
"This album was made using only an electric guitar and a simple 4-track tape recorder. So was the challenge, and so was its impact. Göttsching recorded it in July-August 1974 in Berlin, after a sudden technical revelation. The original LP sleeve had the following printed on its back: Manuel Göttsching (guitars only). Manuel played his guitar and used a 4 track TEAC A3340, Revox A77 for echoes, WahWah pedal, volume pedal, Sola Sound Fuzz, Schaller Rotosound and Hawaiian steel bar.
The reaction was unanimous: this was a significant innovation, in terms of both technique and creativity. However, there are little-known facts to this case. In early 1974, Göttsching's label received a tape sent by M.A.L. - same design, same configuration, almost the same tracks. This is known by only a handful of experimental musicians from the Charleroi area. M.A.L. aka Daniel Malempré is the actual inventor of this technique, which Göttsching reproduced a few months later. Given the above, I suggest that we listen to both albums. As doubts are removed, the truth sets in, forty years later. Here's hoping that this will ease the deep disgust that made M.A.L. leave his guitar untouched for so long.
Athenian electro-punk Morah does his grim wriggle for London’s brokntoys with swerving style and panache.
As with Morah’s turns for Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder, the Berceuse Heroique empire, and local Athens label Vanila over the last 3 years, this one finds him smearing the funk with drugily narcotic effect.
Uptown he swings between fanged electro dankness and end-of-rope vocals in Coma Verenices, to the nervy balance of jagged and romantic electro pressure in Lucifer’s Fight(Final Discussion), and the lithe EBM of Aphrodite Wants Me To See Her Light Tonight.
Downtown he really gets it right with the salinated hydrolicks of Cassiopeia’s Daughter’s Nebular Gate, before eazing off into the slouchy electro rogue Rings Of Saturn, and the beatless string suspense of Venus Delta.
Nicolas Jaar relinquishes some 5 years of dancefloor output c. 2012 - 2017 as A.A.L. (Against All Logic) on his Other People label.
Charting a return to the styles of his early releases on Wolf + Lamb, a blend of chugging slow disco and soul with ruggeder electronics and disco-house filter trickery, the set gives up 11 ‘floor heaters with highlights to be found in the dembow-driven disco jag Cityfade, on the bruised, Muslimgauze-gone-electro disco bumps of Flash in the Pan, and the unusually uptempo filtered disco loops of Some Kind of Game.
The Brothers Burden gear up a typically powerful new batch of Detroit techno trax under their Random Noise Generator alias for the first time in 13 years.
Nearly all material was written in hotel rooms while the brothers were on the road playing their notoriously heavy live hardware show. On disc 1 that results the EBM-esque sawtooth synths on (Age Of) Industry, plus the square bass roller Refraction, and a jacking sound hearkening back to early Detroit styles in Soul Tchang. Disc 2 brings with it the slinkier tribal styles of Thee Arrival, some bendier electro-techno tackle in Alkalyze, and the heads-down drive of Crank.
‘Bodysong’ is an album by Radiohead member Jonny Greenwood as well as a soundtrack to a film of the same name.
"On the album, Greenwood fuses elements of jazz, electronic, classical and experimental music. he soundtrack was originally released in 2003. Now remastered by Christian Wright."
The first and only album composed by Lorad group; a collection of Jazz-feathered but minimalist rhythmelodic workouts recorded in Rome, 1988.
Sul Tempo was originally released on CD and now its gamelan-esque and loungey themes finally arrive on vinyl, including some real pearls of Library-style industrial-electro-boogie along with chiming resonances and choppy synth voices nodding to Japanese electronics.
Suave section for the connoisseurs and debonaires.
One of the greatest, released in 1990, produced by Steve Albini, featuring the iconic Vaughan Oliver artwork and the original lineup of Kim Deal, Tanya Donelly, Carrie Bradley, Josephine Wiggs and Britt Walford of Slint.
Perhaps it's the economy of form and production but Pod has aged so well - that original lineup including Slint's Britt Walford on drums imbues proceedings with a fraught edginess that counterbalances that essentially disposable feel.
Ultimately, Pod is anything but disposable - in the grand old debate about who was the better songwriter, we reckon Kim wins out every time in comparison to anything The Pixies came up with, and The Breeders' aesthetic judgement at this time was basically peerless.
All time classic.
Dub whizz Paul Dickow takes his trade to dBridge’s Exit for an off-centre pack of dancehall and D&B riddims.
No matter what style he touches on, Strategy does it his own way, as with Lanterns, where he steps off with the robotic rolige of Kings of Kochi, and takes in wayward spins of stick ’n move D&B in Lanterns, the dubstep rinser Chlorine, and with lashings of distorted synths and aggy MCs on the dancehall tick of Put God First.
'Screw The Roses' is immense, kicking off with 'The Prowler' a Surgeon classic
There's a searing ambient number, 'Another Body' which has a cold and bleak feel, but head for the storming 'Exhibit (Send The Dogs)' which deploys relentless clanging synth and drums, while 'Shaper Of The Unknown' offers harrowing Ligeti style vocal strings for a serious and dark excursion from the outer reaches...
Mark Broom and Kong rework their classic remixes of Morgan Geist and CH Connection’s ‘90s gear for Denmark’s Multiplex.
For its 20th anniversary, Mark Broom re-touches his already superb remix of Pushed, emphasising its deep techno nous with lusher choral pads and and a drippin’ lead to perfectly moisten the ‘floor.
Kong keeps the vibe fruitier not he fl;ip with a Chi-style re-touch of CH-Connection’s Push Me especially tweaked for extra bounce and swing.
Emma-Jean Thackray is the tising star of the UK jazz scene, repped by Gilles Peterson and Theo Parrish among others.
"The trumpet player and multi-instrumentalist recorded the entire mini album single-handedly in her home studio. Inspired by Madlib, Art Ensemble Of Chicago and Fela Kuti."
Sublime, spiralling Harp and FX works from Mary Lattimore, collecting her first solo LP proper with Ghostly International, following a string of tapes, collaborations, and collections of older material issued since 2012. Ranging from the Enya-esque to West Coast new age flights of fancy and cinematic gestures flooded in unfalteringly positive light, ‘Hundreds of Day’ is one that some listeners will fall head over heels for
“"It was the most beautiful summer of my life." Memories — places, vacancies, allusions — are fundamental characters in Mary Lattimore's evocative craft. Inside her music, wordless narratives, indefinite travelogues, and braided events skew into something enchantingly new. The Los Angeles-based harpist recorded her breakout 2016 album, At The Dam, during stops along a road trip across America, letting the serene landscapes of Joshua Tree and Marfa, Texas color her compositions. In 2017, she presented Collected Pieces, a tape compiling sounds from her past life in Philadelphia: odes to the east coast, burning motels, and beach town convenience stores. In 2018, from a restorative station — a redwood barn, nestled in the hills above San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge — emanates Hundreds of Days, her second full-length LP with Ghostly International. The record sojourns between silences and speech, between microcosmic daily scenes and macrocosmic universal understandings, between being alien in promising new places and feeling torn from old native havens. It's an expansive new chapter in Lattimore's story, and an expression of mystified gratitude. A study in how ordinary components helix together to create an extraordinary world.
Lattimore's voice sweeps beneath the plucks and washes of opener “It Feels Like Floating,” enraptured by the winding current, and reappearing in the second minute of the immense "Never Saw Him Again." The track elevates towards a shimmering apex of static and percussion before organ drone yields to signature halcyon flutters. As with much of Lattimore's work, the track titles are telling; "Baltic Birch" is a somber windswept march that sways gracefully out of step, a remembrance of a recent trip to Latvia where she was struck by the abandoned resort towns along the Baltic Sea. “Hello From The Edge of The Earth” is an earnest reflection of Lattimore’s love of the natural world, recognizing the thresholds of varying terrains.
The album's fifth track borrows its name from Lattimore’s favorite line in Denis Johnson’s short story “Emergency” from Jesus’ Son. A character, lost in a blizzard, reassesses a disjointed universe, a clash between curtains of snow and angels descending out of a brilliant blue summer: it isn’t an apocalypse, it is a drive-in movie, with stars hovering above the lot, off the screen, in the throes of the Midwestern storm. This mix-up is disorienting and existentially tragic; Lattimore's darkly strummed piece is a melancholic parallel, mimicking Johnson’s elegant suture attaching two remarkably discontinuous spaces.
Micro-revelations, not quite as bright as torn skies but nonetheless enlightening, were everyday occurrences during Lattimore's residency. Living small days with small tasks — feeling little dramas within the arcadian universe of a national park — rendered her the sense that disjointed spaces can be interconnected no matter the enormity that divides them. It's in this elastic scale of perception that something as simultaneously simple and intricate as Hundreds of Days can flourish.”
CPU keep it close to home with Steel City son Evan Majumdar-Swift’s first release as 96 Back.
As the offspring of Matt Swift, promoter of Sheffield’s legendary Live Turkey events, Evan takes the city’s bleep and bass bloodline into 2018 with slickly updated but classic sounding production, while Warp co-founder Rob Gordon seals the SoYo deal with a dynamic mastering job.
A-side he hearkens back to Xon Network classic Dissonance in the stripped back, sub-heavy boom and recoil of 000 and a niggling, scaly concatenation called 050 on a more militant, shadowy dancefloor mission, repleted with coded voices.
B-side, he allows for some romance with the coy, slippery swing of 085, and brings back the boom with an acidic, Atkins-esque tang and crisply nagging snares in 100.
Playful, daft, sleazy boogie house and funk styles from Oslo via Glasgow
“It’s the return of the sexual vigilante Sex Judas and his trusted sidekick Ricky. This time in full album mode. Norwegian producer Tore Gjedrem of Ost & Kjex fame, channels his love of comix, bohemia and fascination with human vice, the unspoken, the Red Light districts, the alleys of the mind into his alter ego.
Sex Judas is no bad character but certainly says what it’s author cannot. “I wanted to create a world where any musical idea is possible, wound together by the world and word of Judas, the ultimate sinner, reborn as a child of Venus.”
Inspiration ranges from Africa to 80’s NYC, from Bohannon to Quasimoto, from Norwegian New Wave to Acid House. With contributions by friends in the Oslo scene as hometown legend Dj Pål Strangefruit Nyhus, composer Ole-Henrik Moe, jazzpianist Bugge Wesseltoft, Sidiki Camara from Mali playing that beautiful Ngoni, and multi instrumentalist Ivar Snuten Winther, the album touches anything from blues, funk, disco and post-punk to IDM, acid house and electronic explorer music.”
Superb selections and sequencing from Forest Swords on his DJ-Kicks instalment
Cutting across the board from The London Bulgarian Choir’s Pilentsee Pee (as referenced in the Ghost In The Shell OST), thru Rhythm & Sound’s Best Friend evergreen; rude post punk from Anna Domino and Neneh Cherry; skulking D&B by FIS & Tokyo Prose; goth steppers from Dead Can Dance; a elusive beauty by Kara-Lis Coverdale; spidery jazz techno rhythms from Laurel Halo, Rupert Clervaux & Beatrice Dillon; and esoteric charms by Demdike Stare, Orbital, David Toop and Baka Forest People of Southeast Cameroon.
Distant Animals is the artistic output of Daniel Alexander Hignell, a researcher and sound, video and performance artist from South East England.
"Hignell has developed a practice indebted to political and participatory resonance of creative acts, interrogating notions of autonomy, collaboration, and the tension between sense (what is perceived by the senses) and sense (what is made sensible by the community). He has recorded, written, performed and researched numerous socially-oriented sound works across Europe, often choosing to work with a diverse range of collaborators, including visual artists, choreographers, theologians, lawyers, and political activists.
Drawing upon the works of La Monte Young, Morton Feldman, Eleh, and Mauricio Kagel, the album employs a highly conceptual approach to its genre, incorporating the notion of the drone as both a compositional method, a spiritual approach, and a participatory tool for engaging its audience. The album contains a pack of 4 postcards, documenting a land-art intervention undertaken during the creation of the score. Included in each pack is an individually hand-stamped and numbered print, created by inclusive artist Layla Tully, and responding to the albums central theme - materiality, substance, emergence, and the process of 'line-making'"
Gently textured and crackling ambient pop embers and cinematic downbeats from Rauelsson for Berlin’s Sonic Pieces. Following the intimate but epic Vora from 2013, his second full-length album for Sonic Pieces continues the lush landscapes of earlier times while moving his sound into a feast of organic beats and textural dynamism.
"Among the novel elements there's a great sense of joy and upbeat moments scattered throughout the album, mirroring its melancholic base. This combination feels very natural and merges perfectly with the overall majestic sound. Raúl also blends an impressive array of instruments and genres while still reflecting his personal and somewhat secretive presence. The producer lives on the Spanish coast in a rather detached way from any online presence, focusing on family life and the real sense of humanity. This feeling vibrates through the sound of Mirall making for a very emotional venture.
Expect to hear organs, synths, tape-loops, clarinet, strings, piano and percussion, just to name a few key sounds present on this record, all compiled and produced with a passionate taste for acoustic experimentation. This sense of sonic open-mindedness was skillfully amplified by Nils Frahm's studio work, who mixed and mastered Mirall. The album finishes off with a surprising unaccompanied lullaby, interpreted by Heather Woods Broderick. Rauelsson delivers another timeless album we already can't wait to re-visit again and again."
Gorgeous and essential archive material from master of ‘The Tokyo Sound’ and environmental music pioneer, Hiroshi Yoshimura, the latest unearthing on Chee Shimizu's 17853 - previously only available on a very limited Japanese cassette back early 80s.
Conceived for the eponymous exhibition of new wave, international fashion held by the Seibu department store at the Suzue corporation’s loft on Takeshita Pier, Tokyo on 18th September, 1983, the perfectly mannered 7-song instrumental suite of Pier & Loft was subsequently issued on cassette thru Fukusei Gijutsu Kohboh later that year.
The record sweetly captures a debonaire, technologically-enhanced style that we’d perceive as specific to the Japanese capital in early ‘80s: an economical and precise synthetic sound, with brightly cute motifs rendered to the rafters in soft reverbs and layered with an elegant simplicity that masks the measured intricacy of construction.
And while the insert notes ask us allow for some slight background noise and distortion form the original master tapes, it’s barely perceptible, and probably would have gone unnoticed if, like the music itself, it weren’t so fastidious in its precision and construction.
Six of the seven tracks are feather light and beatless, ranging from heart-melting romantic themes such as Horizon I’ve Ever Seen Before to the moon beam of Tokyo Bay Area - which are both long enough to let you really float away - whereas Wavy Patterned Icecream gives it a deft dab of beatless synth funk that melts into air, and Kamome Dayori continues that rhythmic theme on the downstroke into the album’s sole appearance of drum machines in the gently swinging budge of The Sea In My Palm, which warmly recalls something from Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack.
Reissue of seminal UK techno pressure right here from Surgeon & Regis in their cult BMB guise.
Originally issued in 2005, All The Saints Have Been Hung was arguably a swansong for rhythmic creativity in UK techno styles, proper.
The A-side is a limb-slicing turn of Afro-Latinate syncopation, growling digital distortion and drilling drones that draw the best moves from you - not just a dead eyed trample, imitating the next zombie.
B-side opens with a speech by Jim Jones, leader of the People’s Temple cult, primed to incite the rave with wide-eyed, shivering force, before the highly stylized mauling of Anti Inferno.
Kicking off with Nine Circles’ all-time evergreen, What’s There Left is always a sign of great things, and Dutch Wave - A History of Minimal Synth & Wave In The Netherlands mercifully does not disappoint.
Beyond Nine Circles, the set offers an expert survey in the seminal European sound of the early ‘80s, variously sweeping us the languorous synth-pop groove of Share My Heart’s Blood by Beatnik Love Affair, along with the The Acto’s art school sensibilities in Unreal Personality, and Störung’s stoned, sleazy punk slackness in Dimensie 4.
Van Kaye & Ignit’s sought-after proto-techno/EBM enigma Picassos On The Wall  is another huge highlight, lodged on the B-side with the unmissable, psyched-out jag of S.M. Nurse’s Hot Day In Istanbul, Ende Shneafliet’s tear jerking stunner Session Zeitgeist, and the cranky klangs of A dark Place (Vocal Version) by Dutch minimal wave legends Das Ding.
One of the nastiest UK techno records of the new millennium, BMB’s Learn Your Lesson is a stentorian command from the top shelf of British techno.
Surgeon & Regis really marked their collusion with his one, entering with the tentative rolige and Karl’s psychotomimetic snarl in the title track, which soon enough turns into a mazy knot of digital recursion and deep techno dub chords, before they mete out the back breaking punishment of Rule By Law on the B-side.
Turin’s Giuseppe Magistro a.k.a. A Hand works a killer cosmic disco-tech style recalling Silent Servant and Not Waving gear on his 2nd dispatch for Details Sound.
Tucking the vibe somewhere dark and sweaty for the dancers and DJs, the Slow Injection EP is properly puckered and super stylish compared with the rhythmic and tonal brutalism of his first 12”.
A-side he rolls out the sleek bass arps and looming pads of Breakline for an hypnotic warm-up, then shifts up a gear for the flanging disco-tech mission of For A Better End. Love those sizzling rimshots and claps and the burning 2nd half!
B-side, he slows down with the pulsating arps and celestial synth spumes of Slow Injection EP offering a pensive slo-mo payload, and Your Lost Dreams dissolves to close in a lush shimmer of industrial balearic vibes.
More goodness from the Basic Channel affiliated Wackies Crew Re-Pressed. Further adventures with Lloyd Bullwackie Barnes - the man who worked formatively in Lee Perry's Black Ark, then relocated to New York, with a crucial take on classic period Scratch production techniques and part of his equipment.
So it is no coincidence that the drifting analogue detail in the rhythm tracks owes much to Mr. Perry's classic period. Providing a bridge from the well documented seventies heyday of roots reggae into the less well covered mid eighties - all Barnes work is worth checking and this is no exception.
Delahaye has a wonderful high register falsetto styled vocal, even on the couple of lovers' cuts here sounding rootsy and deep. Featuring a great recut of The Chantell's classic Sitting in the park, and five other top quality cuts, find out why this label is held in such high regard.
Scott Douglas Gordon (f.k.a Loops Haunt) keens to the darkside on this heavily textured and spaced out follow up to his input on the Oto Hiax LP with Seefeel’s Mark Clifford
“A composition of treatments for adapted piano harp and electric guitar.
In 2016, I managed to salvage a piano that belonged to my brother and had spent four years sitting in a garage. Getting it home nearly killed my van. The first objective was to strip the harp and mount surface transducers to it with the hope of being able to excite the strings and ultimately explore a tuneable sympathetic reverb. After a lot of trial and error, workable results were produced which became the foundations for Relief Tours.
The album was recorded over six months or so with tracks typically centering around one or two objects, some kind of treatment for the piano and improvisations on electric guitar. Experimenting with the objects is never something I’ve been particularly scientific about by any means, nothing more than the basic sequence of continuing to develop the best results that had emerged from the previous experiment. Concepts were typically very simple e.g. getting percussive overtones from the piano strings. My usual approach is to sketch some possible methods then just begin, so in this case it was tugging winds of horse hair and then settling on an angle of about 30°. This produced the deep bell like sound that can be heard on Benthic Salvage.
Certain sounds would often dictate the course of things. For example, the juddering of a rubber ball being dragged down a smooth surface would, in turn, result in trying to recreate the same percussive movement on the piano harp with a car spring and some big magnets, which then went on to provoke something else and so on. The results would influence the next decision and eventually a track would begin to take shape. Each track hosts a small group of related ideas like this with the tonal work often being the last stage; improvised reactions to the textural parts.
The physicality and movement of the sounds, and the instrument-like properties that came from experimenting with objects, both sonically and tangibly, were really the driving force behind the record.”
Singular Swiss-Nepalese-Tibetan artist Aïsha Devi emotes DNA Feelings on the 2nd album for Rob Booth’s Houndstooth.
Coming into her own in a similar way to how Arca and Lotic did on their respective solo opuses, Aïsha’s holistic approach incorporating meditation techniques, metaphysical research and ritual practice, results in a hyper-natural helix of ideas binding avant-pop nous into almost theatric backdrops where her ideas play out in transfixing, abstract form.
Aïsha moves freely between her myriad voices - from seraphic anguish to helium rave diva, thru Tibetan throat singing and autotuned R&B vamps - in a richly embroidered soundscape of sawn-off rave stabs, field recordings and weightless sensations synthesised to suggest the infinite metaphysics and feel of a place out of time and space.
In the process she metaphorically externalises the internal and eternal across an archipelago of ante-chambers leading deeper into her sonic ontology, from the rush of raved emotions in DNA ☤ ∞, to the starkly statuesque Dislocation of Alpha, melting out into diaphanous cosmic dimensions on Aetherave before the bass of Hyperlands pulls her back to earth and the primal chaos of Inner State of Alchemy, before Light Luxury veers between hardstyle and traditional instrumentals, leading to the premonitory ambient projection of Cell Stems Spa.
CV & JAB is Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett, two artists that might already be familiar to many of you from their individual work over the years for the Kranky and Spectrum Spools labels. Together they have made this slowly engrossing album for Shelter Press - who else - perhaps one of the most elusive, uncanny and multi-layered “Ambient” albums we’ve heard in what feels like a long time, a worthy follow-up to a frankly astonishing sequence of releases on the label that started with Felicia Atkinson’s modern classic 'Hand In Hand'. If you’re into anything from Chris Watson’s field recordings to Vangelis and Badalamenti at their most romantic and evocative, or even Boards of Canada’s early forays into wildlife documentary pastiche, this one will sooth your mind like nothing else.
The album is a musical interpretation of Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface, a 90m panoramic wall drawing by Zin Taylor (a reproduction of which is included as a fold-out poster that comes with the vinyl edition). Through 10 tracks they render beautiful electro-acoustic meditations on the passage of time, which follows-on from their co-work on Vantzou's No. 3 album.
Vantzou brings a wealth of experience working between auditory and visual mediums to John Also Bennett’s synthesized and acoustic sound sensitivities, which have recently applied to his action in the Forma trio and a compilation of Pauline Anna Strom’s amazing Trans-Millenia Music for RVNG Intl, with a purposefully slow and immersive flow of acoustic piano and flute wrapped up in remarkably plasmic, spatially detailed synth contours.
In 10 parts, through a combination of literal track titles and abstracted allegorical inference, they describe the movement and feelings evinced by Zin Taylor’s massive tableaux, variously transposing his imagery of Cactus with Vent into webs of crystalline harmonics that acquiesce to brownian motion, or, as with the transition of Alfred Hitchcock Haze to Rock House With Door, a vividly synaesthetic transcription of figurative drawing to brooding, doomily Lynchian sound that brings to mind a wealth of captivatingly dank and alien imagery.
The vinyl package includes a miniaturised print of Zin Taylor’s Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface to peruse while you listen, so that you, like Christina and Bennett, can also make your own interpretation, and see how far their sonic translation differs with your own. Or then again, you could ignore it entirely and let yourself drift inside their free-formed dimensions without the cues. Either way, you’re in for a beautiful, open-ended and unpredictable trip.
As the title suggests, Rejuvenate marks a rebirth for South London musician Paul White. Abandoning sampling altogether, White wrote, played and produced all of Rejuvenate's music himself, and the result is an album of playful, psychedelic pop.
"It would have been far easier for White - previously described as a 21st century DJ Shadow, often compared to Madlib and best known as Danny Brown’s go-to producer - to construct an album of loop-based, hip-hop-orientated beats. Instead, taking an ambitious left turn, he worked on honing his songwriting and instrument playing abilities and embarked on creating a totally original record worthy of sitting alongside those he’d usually sample.
Rejuvenate’s broad sonic palette includes cosmic rock, ambient, electronic, jazz, folk and more. Retaining a groove-heavy, psychedelic aesthetic throughout, White successfully melds these various influences in to his most cohesive, fully-realised offering yet.
Paul White is joined on this sonic trip by a trio of likeminded souls; British-Jamaican singer Denai Moore adds heartwarming, crystalline vocals to the aptly named Set The Tone and See Through, Zimbabwean musician and poet Shungudzo (aka Shun) shares nuggets of wisdom on Spare Gold and dreamy, melting vocals for Ice Cream Man. White reunites with his sister, Sarah Williams White, and the pair draw on childhood memories for Laugh With Me and All Around.
Paul White’s previous output includes a treasure trove of mostly instrumental solo records, plus collaborations with Charli XCX, Jehst, Homeboy Sandman, Guilty Simpson, Jamie Woon, Obongjayar, Eric Biddines (as Golden Rules) and Open Mike Eagle. More recently, White reconnected with frequent collaborator Danny Brown, producing most of the Detroit rap maverick’s mind-blowing Atrocity Exhibition album."
Deliciously uncompromising sound design from Gábor Lázár, performing a sort of virtuosic hyper-rave bondage on your ears with Crisis Of Representation; his first release for Shelter Press after a pair of releases with The Death of Rave - including his acclaimed collaboration with Mark Fell, The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making - and the ILS album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? before them. If you're into mad sound design, this one comes highly recommended.
Mostly pieced together in 2015, but utilising material made as early as 2011, Crisis Of Representation forms a direct continuation of Lázár’s increasingly incisive composition techniques, offering 7 pieces (+1 bonus on CD) which unknot the same nasal drip motif in myriad permutations of possibility. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to draw an economically short line from his to Mark Fell’s music, but where Fell’s Linn grammar and SoYo accentuation tends to clip itself, Lázár’s compositions ribbon off into unnaturally fluid flights of mercurial, polychromatic acrobatics.
We could imagine that this deeply abstract yet soberly conceived techno sound is antithesis to casual listening. But, if you’re game enough to follow Gábor into the wormhole, and have the head for intense, elusive sonics, then you’ll be embraced by a unquantifiably psychedelic experience quite unlike any other, where notions of “proper” musical convention are upended and rhythm, pitch and tone become fused by your head into scintillating psychoacoustic formations of perpetual tension and amorphous resolution.
Sound artist Tomoko Sauvage adds the gorgeous, elemental waterbowl recordings of Musique Hydromantique to a wonderful run of 2017 releases on Félicia Atkinson & Bartolomé Sanson's Shelter Press. Quite possibly the most soothing hour of music you'll experience all year
It will become hard to believe once you’ve heard it, but all sounds on the LP were improvised with acoustic technique and recording - meaning no electronics, edits or overdubs - whilst they effectively sound like the microtonal output of some unique, natural synthesiser affected by subtle variables such as temperature, architecture, humidity and human presence. If Philip Corner and Eliane Radigue ever made a record together, it may well sound like Musique Hydromantique.
Using a set-up of hydrophones (underwater mics) and porcelain bowls filled with varying amounts of water, developed by the artist over the better part of this decade, Musique Hydromantique forms a meditative, experimental study in rhythm and pitch which resonates with gamelan and ancient divination techniques as much as it does with minimalist modern electronics. The results are utterly captivating in their fluid timbres and plaintively plangent structure, rendering the elusive, ever-changing and hypnotic phenomena of moving water in three diverse states or sonic sculptures that patently demonstrate a deep, underlying and innate connection between the performer, her medium, and the listener.
Clepsydra - meaning ‘water clock’ - most closely resembles a form of gamelan practice, or, even some form of minimal electronic music. For ten minutes she renders a series of exquisitely variegated sonic glyphs gestured from her struck bowls and hands changing the quantities of water, and by extension, the pitch of each bowl. Tomoko makes a real virtue of everyday sounds, resulting in a time-dilating passage of smooth glissandi, elegantly unshackling our internal clocks from the anticipation of quantised convention.
Fortune Biscuit follows in a very different style. Here, the brownian flow yields a remarkable micro-ecology of sounds that almost mimic animals, cyborganic mechanisms and insect choruses, yet they were entirely generated by a piece of porous terra cotta (biscuit) dipped into water. The scuttling patterns are perhaps understandable in that context, but we’re utterly baffled how they also make those pealing, arcing harmonic partials. In the final, 20 minute piece, Calligraphy those techniques serve to gel and diffuse her water-based sounds in even more bewildering fashion, as she employs the 10 second reverbs of an old textile factory to render her delicate, subaquatic sounds in a play of fractious drips, haptic rubs and their resonant feedback, feeling to melt time entirely and open a tranquil space for divination of your own senses in between those perceptions of time and tone.
This is a record that seems to have been designed to promote ultimate well being, it will completely engulf and subsume your senses and keep your attention rapt from start to finish. And we'd echo Tomoko's request that you listen to it at the start or end of the day for optimal results - far healthier than a spliff or night cap and will set your mood like some kind of ancient tuning fork.
Mark Fell and Mat Steel’s second EP as SND was released in 1999, a year after their debut ‘Tplay’. It continued to explore their distinct, highly individual take on electronic minimalism, House and UK Garage stripped to its bare bones.
This extended reissue features the original 6 tracks of ’newtables’, plus 6 previously unheard recordings from the same sessions - all fully remastered by Rashad Becker from the original DAT tapes. The tracks more or less split themselves into three distinct categories: the first detailing the brilliant swing and shuffle of their reduced UKG mutations, with ’22’ in particular perfecting the balance between academic reduction and kinetic, feminine motion.
The second outlines a more linear approach utilising reduced House and Techno templates, while the last includes more experimental works such as the proper fwd bass-pulse arrangements on the previously unheard B2 and the frequency fxxckery of closing track D3. This excellent reissue and the series as a whole really is a massive eye-opener for anyone unfamiliar with this incredible, important early material.
Electrifyingly atmospheric live recording of the melodic maverick. A bit on the lo-fi side, but properly captures the vibe
“Greek Theater, Berkeley 1984 captures Pablo and his band in a particularly fiery live date. The recording quality is raw even when presented here in a cleaned-up form, but the bootleg sound adds character to the album, lo fidelity standing in for the rough-hewn graininess that dubwise production often offers.
Over the course of the 11 selections, the band is rock-solid, offering a live, instrumental reggae set that captivates and commands attention on the merit of the band's airtight performances.”
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
Soundway dip back into a treasure trove of South African dance music with four edits of cuts from the prototype Bubblegum label, Heads Records, by NYC’s JKriv and Frankie Francis.
As previously covered on the killer Gumba Fire compilation, ‘Bubblegum’ was a South African pop sound that emerged from disco, and would eventually morph into Kwaito, and ultimately even Gqom in the modern day.
These edits neatly buff up the vintage gear for today’s dancefloors, swaggering in with Jkriv’s tuff edit of William & The Young Five’s soulful vocal disco burner You Turn Me On, before Frankie Francis hints at the link between this gear and Gqom in the intro of his edit to Maryanne’s Thabong, before it unfolds as a slickly arppegiated Afro-Italo killer - you really need to check this one!
Flipped Frankie Francis then draws lines between Jo’burg and Paradise Garage in a great 3AM retweak of Adaye’s party anthem Turn It Up, and for good measure, you’ll also find the uncut mix of Starlight’s Picnic, the B-side to a Gumba Fire bewt; Picnicing.
An eye-opening set of experimental electronic recordings made in the early 1970's by Italy's Teresa Rampazzi (1914-2001) - only the second collection of her work made available for public consumption - and an indispensible, crucial artefact if you're interested in the recordings of Daphne Oram, Tod Dockstader, Eliane Radigue or Delia Derbyshire.
As with the spellbinding Musica Endoscopica, this issue of Immagini Per Diana Baylon - one of her three known soundtracks for art installations - helps to place Teresa as Italy’s answer to Daphne Oram; that is, a pioneering female experimenter operating in a male dominated field since the ’50s, and an artist/musician/technician who was magnetically drawn to the emerging possibilities of analogue electronics (although she would also expand into computer composition as soon as the opportunity arose).
The 31’ 50” piece is cleft in two parts but was apparently intended to be looped for 180 minutes. Using analogue electronics as a malleable form or presence, like light itself, to subtly illuminate the pieces, and in turn create rich imagery in negative relief of the mind’s eye. The first side flows with an alien yet folksy, almost sing-song cadence, whereas the 2nd part really seems to conjure a more intense, head-long sort of e/motion from static sources, leading up to one remarkably sweet, harmonic passage that feels almost like a premonition of new age minimalism, before closing with a tract of needling, rapidly fluctuating timbres.
The coruscating, mirage-like sounds in Immagini Per Diana Baylon reflect a close understanding between both artist’s disciplines. As Teresa remarked in her notes; “The work is made of a series of sound events, with informal and aleatory features, in a continuous flux, and there is no planned predetermination in any of the various sections. This choice has been made for the sound space to adjust to the sculptor’s plastic and loose images.”
Diana’s anodised aluminium and iron on stone pieces, depicted in the accompanying insert, look to us like alien glyphs, aztec runes or debris from a space station that somehow managed to survive reentry to earth’s atmosphere, as Teresa agrees and expanded upon in 1974: “In her later artworks the objects of Diana Baylon are definitely taking flight - as if they has just gone through dense layers of atmosphere, as though they did so with the same intent… there are secret numerical ratios, symmetries not symmetrical, geometric shapes which escape the definitions of perception…”. That could arguably be a description of Teresa’s soundtrack, too.
This is definitely sound, or music, for art’s sake, as opposed to say the commercially-minded experiments of Suzanne Ciani over in America during the same era. Yet we can draw a line between the two via the balance of sleek sensitivity to timbre and austere geometry in Diana’s sculptures and Daphne Oram’s image-into-sound Oramics; a willingness and proclivity to explore synaesthetic relationships in a way which is nigh on impossible to articulate but which has provided this listener with goosebumps several times over.
Either way, it's is a recording of historical, experimental significance and a thing of great beauty - we urge you to investigate.
Room40 pair two much-loved and out-of-print Tim Hecker pieces on vinyl to mark the label's 15th year of editions and events.
The A-side finds Tim bunkered in the mine shaft at Sweden's Norberg festival on July 30th, 2005, where he coaxes out some 20 minutes of pealing chimes and reverberant cacophony making intrinsic use of the space's natural acoustics. After 10 years, thankfully 'Norberg' makes its first appearance on vinyl here.
On the other side we find the succinctly emotive eight minutes of 'Apondalifa', presenting its frayed ribbon of oxidising strings and electronics in its entirety for the first time (it was previously broken in two parts over a 7" in 2010).
If you're only familiar with Tim's better known work, this is a perfect stopgap in lieu of a new LP. Highly recommended!
Foundational techno business from 1993, documenting Mark and Moritz pelting ‘em out live at 145bpm at Waschhaus, Potsdam and setting the template for a whole genre.
Phylyps Trak is the one for the DJs.
We're more than a bit gassed to pop the cork on Lorenzo Senni's thrilling, incisive new LP, the 10th release for Boomkat Editions.
The conceptual sibling to his blinding 'Quantum Jelly' side for Editions Mego in 2012, 'Superimpositions' finds the Milan-based multi-disciplinary artist and owner of the brilliant Presto!? Records accelerating and evolving his idea of "Pointillistic Trance" - an ascetic, extreme approach to the aesthetics of '90s-style trance/hard-trance - in a broader range of song structures, hyper-lucid moiré patterns, and tantric dancefloor arrangements. Again, he "plays" a computer-controlled JP8000 Roland Digital-Analog Modelled S-Source Synthesiser to juice the most potent, searing saw wave arpeggios and spiralling melodies, finding the biting point between real-time, hands-on, emotive human input, and the sleek tension of synthesis.
From the serotonin-flooding rush of opener 'Happic' to the beautiful come down of 'PointillistiC', the album plays out a sisyphean struggle for deferred gratification, challenging limbic systems and our sense of equilibrioception thru the spine-tingling aerobic coefficients of 'Elegant, And Never Tiring' and the scything, strobing rhythmelody of the title track, to peak with the palpitating surge of 'Forever Headline' at its white hot core. It's all more effective than a triple-barelled mitsi in the jacksy, and hasn't been off our turntable all summer...
Karen Gwyer returns with 'Rembo', her first full LP for Don't Be Afraid - a propulsive, functional affair dotted with colour and narrative, a record that calls firmly to the night...
"Live performance is where Gwyer's ideas come into gradual but vivid fruition, with tracks often evolving over "five or six shows" before reaching the studio. Throughout 'Rembo', dozens of shows and endless stolen studio hours have informed 38 minutes of uncompromising body music.
"What I'm doing is trying to challenge a certain way of thinking", she explains. "I feel like, without it being said, I get treated as a warm up act for DJs. And I also feel like when I go and play, I want to disprove that notion. I'm standing there for an hour, and I don't necessarily know what's going to happen. I have a loose idea, but I'm definitely working the crowd. I'd like people to shift their thinking in regards to what producers are doing, and to acknowledge the fact that there's a lot of decision making happening on a second-by-second basis, and a lot of it is improvisational."
Throughout her youth in Michigan, with Detroit on the nearby horizon, the city's time-honoured musical heritage slowly sank under Gwyer's skin. First through public radio, late night transmissions and endless cassette recordings, then on the life-changing local rave scene.
"Before the internet came along, you were listening to the radio, and you knew who the DJ was, but you had no earthly idea who the records were by", recalls Gwyer. "You just listened to the music, and you didn't listen to the people. And because you didn't ponder their personalities, you weren't engaged in the process. And I loved it, it was pivotal to me. I still have records on tape, and I have no idea who made them. I lie awake at night thinking about how am I ever going to find out what that track is? I have a snippet of it in my mind, but how will I ever know?"
'Rembo' then, is in some way a tribute to those transformative moments caught on tape. And while the pressures of raising a young family means that Gwyer has fresh pairs of young ears to potentially inspire, instead, this is a record that calls firmly to the night; an album to transport both artist and listener to dark, sweaty rooms, to shared escapism and unexpected moments of electronic transcendence..."
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
Ecstatic finally issue Abul Mogard's modular landscape paintings on 'Circular Forms'.
Unfolding through a 40 minute synthesiser suite in four parts, 'Circular Forms' is one of the most captivating examples of Mogard's deeply evocative music, drawing out a sort of direct emotional quality from his limited set-up of Farfisa organs and a self-built modular system.
At this point his backstory bears repeating: Mogard worked in a Serbian factory for most of his life, and upon retirement began making synth music to remind him the harmonic buzz and drone of heavy machinery. Between 2012 - 2013 he issued his first works on tape thru Steve Moore's VCO Records, followed most recently by a gorgeous split vinyl for Emotional Response.
But this one for Ecstatic is our favourite yet, framing three misty-eyed visions with perfectly suited titles such as 'Slate-Coloured Storm' and 'Half Light of Dawn' on the front, backed with the 16 minutes of slow and tortuous valerian bliss of 'House of the River' on the back.
Seriously, don't sleep on this one until you've got it home.
‘Exit Future Heart’ is the gently psychedelic and beautifully optimistic collaboration between Tokyo’s Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa and Chicago’s free music trio, Good Willsmith.
Its flight path takes in myriad strains of kosmische krautrock, jazz abstraction, IDM and all their intersections across six tracks improvised during one night on tour when Wong and Minekawa hit Chicago. As with the best Umor Rex releases, there’s a palpable but elusive soul to this record that keener ears will pick up on and trace from the jump...
“Takako Minekawa and Natalie Chami chase each other through the mix with layered angelic vocalizations that flit from operatic highs to close-mic whispers. Minekawa’s flute-like Casio tones, prominently featured in her catalog of seminal shibuya-kei pop albums starting in the mid 90s, cut through in moments of colorful melody and hover in clouds of restrained pointillist harmony.
As in her solo recordings under the name TALsounds, Chami’s signature Juno organ chords and cascading monophonic Moog blips compound through live looping and processing into the undulating bedrock of each session. Dustin Wong’s guitar shines in passages of crystalline clean tone picking and rockets into bursts of effect-soaked abstraction, capturing the glowing precision of his solo albums on Thrill Jockey and the optimistic energy of his his former noise/rock band Ponytail.
When he’s not painting the mix with smeared arpeggios and quivering synth textures, Doug Kaplan (AKA MrDougDoug, one half of Chicago label Hausu Mountain) locks with Wong into tiered guitar riffs that conjure some image, however skewed, of a rock band’s twin six-string leads. In step with the frantic, style-mashing electronic arrangements of his solo project Mukqs, Maxwell Allison (the other half of Hausu Mountain) steers a rig of synths and drum machines through shifting IDM-esque bass and drum patterns, steady krautrock-inspired beats, and bleeping 8-bit square wave patches.
Channeling a varied palette of sounds at their disposal, the Dustin Wong + Takako Minekawa + Good Willsmith quintet’s extended improvisations segue through contrasting atmospheres and emotional zones. Rock backbeats pulse behind dense clouds of guitar and voice before fading into clattering arrhythmia. Empty passages embodying the Japanese notion of “ma” (or intervals of negative space) erupt for short moments with individual interjections before sinking back into near nothingness. The album ends with the quintet’s most frankly affecting session, whose title Setsunai evokes a sense of melancholic ennui or a moment of twilit reflection.
The voices of Minekawa and Chami fold together and crest over brooding chords into wailed climaxes of wordless melody, building into a holy meadow of harmonies that thicken with slow-drip synth and guitar embellishments. Taken as a whole, the quintet’s recordings pluck tones and strategies from a wide axis of seemingly opposed traditions: sentimental pop/rock-informed songcraft vs. no-holds-barred improv; self-nullifying drone and ambient stasis vs. constantly shifting electro-acoustic activity. Exit Future Heart stands as a singular document of five friends having fun, piecing together a hybridized strain of live performance that seems to gel almost too perfectly to be improvised, but that proudly displays too many idiosyncrasies and happy accidents to be composed.”
The Chisa Years: 1965–1975 (Rare and Unreleased) is a compilation album by South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela.
"The album consists of 14 rare or forgotten tracks recorded by Stewart Levine and Hugh Masekela from 1965 to 1975 when they ran their own Chisa Records label. Thom Jurek of Allmusic wrote “In sum, there isn’t a weak moment on this entire collection. It’s appeal is wide and deep and one can only hope this is the first of many volumes of this material to appear.
BBE Records has done a stellar job in making this slab available.” Dan Nishimoto of the Prefix Magazine stated “The compilation focuses on Masekela’s original idea of “African American Music.” From the early experiments of the Zulus (a group featuring M’Bulu) in mixing doo-wop, rhythm & blues and South African gospel and the mbaqanga/”Grazing in the Grass”-style work of the generically named Johannesburg Street Band to the clearly Fela-influenced Ojah (Masekela’s band in the mid-’70s, consisting of players from Ghana and Nigeria) and the readyfor-primetime belting of M’Bulu, each track reveals a multi-pronged effort to find and challenge the notion(s) of how African and American cultural forms could interact.”
Delroy Edwards extends his now-yearly invite to dance with Rio Grande, following the format of his Hangin’ At The Beach album with a mazy run thru funked-up, lo-fi cuts. Please note that the download version is 22 tracks long, while the vinyl sampler contains 5 tracks.
Short-circuiting questions of quantity over quantity by presenting everything at the lowest possible grain grade and with lots of it to choose from, he lets his mind, and by turns ours, wander freely from hazy cable access TV funk in El Bandito Pt.1, to the vintage porno soundtrack vibes of Rio Grande and the swaggering charms of The Hawaii Guys with ineffably louche and idealised style; kinda like the sonic equivalent of a freestyling skateboarder who can’t help but knock out natty trick after trick with sloppy but deadly style.
If you’re after club jams, run check the sorts of his budget Larry Heard vibes on Rumba or Knock Em Out, and the bristling jack attacks of his Raw Beats, but to be honest it’s best consumed in one hazy sitting, preferably with a henny in one hand and zoot in the other.
The wonderful STROOM 〰 label expand their precious archive of Lowlands-based synth music with a flowering compilation of Siebe Baarda aka Cybe’s ersatz exotic electronics; Tropisch Verlangen, or Tropical Desire, recorded in the 80's and cast aside to languish in obscurity more or less ever since. Brilliant find this, tipped if yr into early Coil, YMO, Kode 9, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
One of three cassettes issued by the then yung and nascent artist after travelling around India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali and Java in the early ‘80s, Tropisch Verlangen channels the richness of the sights, smells and feelings Cybe experienced during those trips into an impressionistic moire of shimmering gamelan and nimble electro pieces that resonate with the vibes of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s B-2 Unit classic as much as K. Leimer’s Eastern-facing works or the new age psychedelia of Holland’s Chi Factory.
Using authentically indigenous instruments - Tinklik, Sarong Barong, Genggong, Ching and Suling - as well as a wealth of other synthesisers, samplers, vocoder, gongs, computer and other percussive-melodic pieces like the xylophone and glockenspiel, the results are at once innocently searching and intricately realised. And while his sister, Betty Baarda contributes guitar on one song, The Moon Is Shining Above The Richfield, it’s rather impressively all the work of one man solo in his bedroom/studio.
In that sense, it’s inarguably an ambitious effort, and one that was evidently, beautifully realised at that time. However a lack of recognition beyond a group cult in Amsterdam and a handful of gigs and concerts (especially difficult to play live with tape) meant that he would soon enough sell all his gear and forget about making music, but still listened to it a lot.
The results thankfully live on thru STROOM 〰, reprising the feeling we last felt towards their reissue of Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack, but with a more piquant tang of unique scales and tingling percussions, including some utterly heart-melting moments in the sublime vignettes of Chinatown and the Sublime Frequencies radio series vibes of Loi Krathong, or the Bamboo Houses styles of Zen Tai.