Bonus to those divine ‘Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House)’ volumes, Safe Trip turn out two more peaches from the golden daze of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Italo-House.
Franco F.’s ‘Ray Tracing Sauna’ glydes in on lush, cascading and jazzy synth strokes to go deep and a little quicker than usual with heart-rushing effect.
Marika Lenny’s ‘Beat Summer (Ambient)’ is pure chuftyness, brimming with positive piano chords and urged by a nagging bassline that goes all night long.
Clenched EBM from northern English artist Black Merlin on Berlin/Naples co-op, She’s Lost Kontrol
Serving the best yet on the label, Black Merlin exerts exemplary groove control in all four ‘Noi’ parts, firstly yoking a gnashing arp to dry, sizzling drum machine at 110bpm in ‘Noi 1’, and then toning down to the bruising percussive battery of ‘Noi 2’ in collaboration with Gordon Pohl (Toresch, 3rd Wave), before flipping over to a zig-zagging sidewinder in ‘Noi 3’, and finally razing the room with his militant ‘Noi 4’.
Just shy of their 40th anniversary, NYC post-punks Ike Yard emerge into another dark age with ‘Rejoy’, their 3rd album of shadowy vox, eerie inner city atmospheres and serpentine rhythms following classic material despatched on Factory, Les Disques Du Crépuscule and Blackest Ever Black since 1979.
Despite the cumulative years amassed by Stuart Argabright, Kenneth Compton and Michael Diekmann since their foundational works, they’ve lost none of their early records’ stare-down power in ‘Rejoy’. Across nine tracks they exquisitely limn sci-fi cinematic scenes of midnight bleakness adding up to a pulpy, traumatic account of lives spent dwelling in the shadows of skyscrapers and whilst immersed in films, comics, news, and the crankiest underground movements.
After their LPs “Ike Yard” (also known as “A Fact A Second” Factory America, 1982) and Nord (Phisteria and Desire, 2010) Ike Yard delivers their last album “Rejoy” on Noiztank, 2018 as the culmination of their recent years reinvented sound. As the perpetual flag bearers of the cutting-edge post-punk spirit, the NYC-based band shows muscle in a LP fully loaded with abrasive synth pads, scrap metal percussions, and whispered vocals. Following the previous criteria of “Sacred Machine” 2017, it is worth to remark the inclusion of external vocals in the pieces “Sister M” and “Beyondersay”, which feature Yuki Osaki and MAYa. The nine tracks move through different atmospheres, tensions and moods that would perfectly represent a new contemporary soundtrack of the S. Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”, a major influence and source of inspiration for the group this time around.”
Jan Jelinek offers a classic, remastered and extended selection of material by Ursula Bogner, presenting a possibly apocryphal, definitely charming batch of early electronics purportedly made at home by Ursula between 1969-1988. It's either Jelinek himself offering up an enticing slice of sonic fiction, or a genuine archival oddity - either way, great to have it back again.
Back in 2008, Ursula’s ‘Recordings 1969-1988’ formed the maiden release on Jelinek’s Faitiche label. Chins were stroked, heads-scratched at where it all came from - the promo notes suggested a chance encounter with Ursula’s son led to the discovery of her home-made recordings on reel-to-reel and HiFi cassettes - however, more sceptical listeners, us included, weren’t entirely convinced. Short of taking a time machine back to the classes Ursula supposedly attended at the Studio for elektronische Musik in Kiln at the WDR with Herbert Eimert, we’ll never really know, but the music loses none of its appeal either way. Quite simply if you’ve ever found yourself wrapped up in works by Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, F.C. Judd or Malcolm Pointon, you’re almost sure to love this playful collection.
“Jelinek on the music's initial discovery: "It seems incredible that Bogner's musical talents should have remained undiscovered, but in view of her biography, this might have been inevitable. I met Sebastian Bogner, Ursula's son, on a flight, and the usual small talk led to the topic of his mother, who 'liked to play around with synthesizers', albeit purely on an amateur level. Among her acquaintances, it was considered an eccentric hobby and not paid a great deal of interest. Bogner's life seemed simple and bourgeois to the core: she was a pharmacist, wife and mother. This situation made her obsession with electronic music all the more bizarre - an obsession that saw her build her own home studio. Throughout her early twenties, she followed the activities of Studio für elektronische Musik, attended seminars by Studio founder Herbert Eimert, exhibited enthusiasm for Musique Concrète and later shared her children's enthusiasm for new wave. Nevertheless, Bogner never involved herself in any scene, never made her music public. Her compositions, betray few signs of esotericism; they are closer to studies and sketches, humorous and almost silly, rather than tied to any particular school. Nevertheless, it is remarkably hard to grasp or classify her work as a whole.
Over the course of 20 years, she dabbled in many different styles, leading to a bewildering variety of titles. In the late 1960s, Bogner started to record her own music on reel-to-reel tapes. Covering a fairly short period of her creative career, this music conveys a peculiar coherence in both form and content, a coherence that reflects her accessible, rhythmic and sometimes even poppy side. My own preference played a part in the selection process, but a further compilation is already in the works. I hope that listeners will enjoy the same exhilaration I experienced on discovery of Ursula Bogner's music"
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
What were the clouds like when Huerco S was young? The Kansas-raised, New York-based producer’s absorbing ambient album For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have) goes some way to answering The Orb’s fluffy little proposition…
Brian Leeds a.k.a. Huerco S’s 2nd album, following Colonial Patterns (2013) finds him working between the cracks and fissures of what we’ve previously heard from him, drawing out nine pieces of mineral ambient textures and non-percussive rhythms marking his best work since the 20 minute Untitled track off his debut for Opal Tapes in 2012.
Defined throughout by a low lit, low-lying sense of intimacy, rather than oceanic or celestial tropes, Leeds’ appreciation of lower case nuance is in warm, crackling effect with a hazy hummus like grain and bonfire glow that recalls Wanda Group’s earlier outing as The Hers, or the sweeter touches of Bellows.
Like a well timed gary, once it really begins to sink in, the warbly electronic pitches and subtly chaotic ferric details really get to work in hypnotising and making you forget where you started, suspending disbelief for a 50 minute window of time just long enough to let your mind wander over the horizon.
Time will tell, but this is surely a future ambient classic.
Jesus this album in incredible. Heather Leigh channels Kate Bush and Coil via lapsteel guitar and staggering vocals on a her new album for Editions Mego. Following her previous solo LP ‘I Abused Animal’ for Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ with a record that few beyond her inner circle could have predicted. Epic in scope, devastating on impact. Do not miss this one!
“Heather Leigh takes her Throne as queen of pedal steel with a suite of heartbleed ballads cauterised with burning riffs. After the rawness of its precursor I Abused Animal, Throne is a record of late night Americana and heavy femininity; intimate love songs smoked in sensuality. The songs on Throne are woozy, gorgeous and uncomfortable, smothered in thick layers of bass but lifted by multitracked vocals. These are rich song forms that stand in contrast to the stripped down steel in her duo with Peter Brotzmann.
Prelude To Goddess sashays in wearing leopard print jeans under the twinkling fluorescent illuminations of the British seaside, like Brighton Rock with extra bass. It is followed in by Lena – arguably Leigh's Jolene – a perverse love song soaked in a subversive sexuality, weighed down with a heavy pulse. Soft Seasons is anchored with sunken beats shrouded in wailing, growling steel and an earwormy melody. Gold Teeth, the longest track on the record, crests and breaks in waves; ecstatic peaks balanced and echoed by melancholic troughs. It soars on an updraft, and from cosmic heights dives seaward into a gnarly and riotous pedal steel breakdown, before catching the breeze again.
Days Without You and Scorpio & Androzani are shorter, intimate songs, in the latter the synths seethe and the steel bows and bends as Leigh's voice falters above a Greek chorus of shadows and reflections. But this isn't autobiography, and Throne departs on Days Without You, a confrontationally unfinished romantic song, anxious with half-thoughts and missed connections. It glides into the night on stilettos leaving unanswered questions, in a fug of psychic disturbance and lovesick sensuality.
Leigh's artwork (which she photographed and designed) is a visual mirror of the songs on Throne. It is an album of cosmic echoes, abstractions and introspection, of characters and stories that make up Leigh's first best pop record, its melodies and hooks set alight with the fiery core of her unique and distinctive pedal steel. - Jennifer Lucy Allen, 2018”
‘Mandy’ is the exceptional final soundtrack realised by dearly departed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for the film directed by Panos Cosmatos. A supporting cast of Stephen O’Malley, Kreng and Yair Elazar Glotman, plus production from Randall Dunn ensure a majestic final missive and one of the most rich and varied releases in Jóhannsson's canon, taking in elements of metal, drone and doom ambient, even retro-futuristic synth work...
With a crack squad including O’Malley on guitar and additional production from gifted sound designers Randall Dunn, Pepijn Caudron (Kreng) and Berlin’s Yair Elazar Glotman (Ketev), the results lurk like blinking red eyes in a dense nocturnal forest, swarming in formation from widescreen romance to petrifying, plangent cues and pockets of heart-sinking gloom, saving the gnashing guitars for when their bite is felt strongest, but equally knowing how to send shivers shooting down the spine in moments of sublime, contrasting relief on the ‘Memories’ theme.
Jóhannsson's deft approach to sonic extremities is the real eye opener here; far removed from the emotionally driven demands of his more mainstream work for hollywood, here we're taken through grinding, industrial metal scrapes one minute and insanely rich ambient textures the next - with no concession to soaring emotional cues. Not that Jóhannsson ever really succumbed to much of that; but nonetheless - it’s a total pleasure to hear him reach into those darker recesses on Mandy - a soundtrack that’s likely to be remembered as one of his best.
R.I.P to a true master.
Oake really find their gothic muse in debut album, 'Auferstehung' for Downwards.
Firmly building on the foundations of two shadowy 12"s released in 2013, the duo distill and transcend their influences across eleven stations of unrepentant gothic histrionics and industrial techno prostration. The production is now right up there with the detailed, excoriating levels of The Haxan Cloak, and also matching the rhythmic heft of label-mate Samuel Kerridge (with whom they recently formed the UF collusion), but with a kohl-eyed romanticism all of their own creation.
From the swooning black metal/shoegaze signatures and blast beats of entrance, 'Vorwort: Umiha Sien' we're manipulated with the near-religiose levels of mysticism, vacillating between shorter, doomy 'Kapital' invocations and the blasted sound of bellicose/ecstatic congregation in 'Erstes Buch: Desterieh l'Remm' to the eulogistic sludge metal drones of 'Fuenftes buch: Dreloi Wechd' and the stygian trudge of 'Sechstes Buch: Rehmin Sicht', departing with the widescreen epic, 'Siebstes Buch: Drestan Sened'. RIYL Scott Walker & Sunn 0))), Sam Kerridge, Swans.
Sterling 8th album by contemporary cold wave queen Molly Nilsson, baiting an apocalyptic near-future with some of the sweetest hooks and nagging lyrics you’ll hear before the world implodes. Lovers of John Maus, Courtney Love, and pop songs that won’t leave your head, need to give it a whirl
‘"After a cancelled flight I found myself stranded at the Tokyo airport overnight. Between my interrupted bench naps the surroundings found their way into my dreams, particularly the big banners in the departure hall stating: 2020. Not aware that they were announcing upcoming Olympic games, my imagination wandered. 2020, a leap year. The year of the rat, the election. Perfect vision. The year of hindsight. The repetition, the ritual of the superstitious. A spell cast on the approaching future; not yet there, but close enough to be seen with full clarity. The year itself seems to draw a circle around its followers, as to protect anyone who dares enter. And it all begins on a late-Capitalist night…"
Twenty-Twenty is Molly Nilsson’s 8th album; the latest opus of an artist in a constant state of development and strength. Twenty-Twenty is about emerging from the husk of your old self, about binning the chrysalis and daring to stand up both to power, and also to your own limits. In 2018, we see the climate changing, democracy crumbling, inequality and injustice erupting. 2020 examines the near future, seeking out clarity, reflection, renewal and opportunity. It contains anthems so tall as to induce vertigo, leaving the taste of Euro Dance in your mouth, albeit without a four on the floor beat. Here, the pop auteur is haunted by the late Prince, channelling Courtney Love and Lou Reed, anger and love.”
Party-time at DBA with General Ludd, Herva, Nene H and Altered Natives
Glasgow’s Ludd goes in with crooked, sputtering electro on ‘Owl; Italy’s Herva percolates ruff drum machines and blunted vox in ‘Constructive Pessimism’; Berlin/Istanbul’s Nene H works put he strident techno of ‘гетто’; and UKF hero Altered Natives cuts loose with gnashing breaks, hyperkinetic synth leads and turbulent bass in ‘Dancing Girl’.
‘Thresholder’ is another magisterial offering from Ian William Craig on FatCat’s 130701 sub-label, leading on from the ‘Centres’  album and a pair of 2017 singles with the Canadian artist’s signature sense of tempered ecstasy.
Now established as a significant figure in the cross-over fields between modern classical, ambient, and the avant-garde, Craig’s music speaks to the spaces between matter, and the gulf between waking and dreaming life, so we could hardly imagine a more apt title than ‘Thresholder’ for this, his most captivating and perhaps definitive album since he emerged as an elemental force in 2012 with ‘Cloudmarks’.
Most strikingly, ‘Thresholder’ shares an uncanny amount in common with the processed classical arrangements, rough grained textures and disjointed timelines of Akira Rabelais’ ‘eisoptrophobia’. But, where Rabelais’ music is fascinated with finding the new in old music, Craig makes new music sound timelessly old and out of place through his own, patented application of FX and field recordings onto original instrumentation.
With ‘Thresholder’ he pushes this aesthetic to a logical new extent to realise some of his most extreme, beautiful recordings to date. Operating right on the liminal biting point, he brings our hairs stand on end across 10 poignant pieces that make central use of wandering, operatic vocals that flicker like marbled beacons diffused into the dense, rolling haar of his arrangements. One will struggle more than ever to pick out individual tones from his smudged masses, but that’s maybe the point, to induce the listener to perceive his music from the middle distance, rather than focussed in or zoomed out.
In effect he subliminally encourages the listener to totally inhabit his ecologies of mulched flora and inclement conditions, allowing his uniquely stressed, warbling, surreal world to gloriously paint itself in mud, leaves, branches and drizzle on the back of your eyelids.
Shady UK bass/techno aces from Gramrcy and Gaunt, dividing duties equally for the yung Glass Talk Records.
Following heavy rotation with the likes of Ben UFO, Shanti Celeste, and Object Blue, the EP finally comes to us proles on the ‘floor, with Gaunt providing a big highlight in the skittish swerve and unexpectedly buckling dynamics of ’Neeueee’, and Gramrcy doing the same with the bolshy tribal swagger of ‘Off Beam’. The others are good, too: Gramrcy’s teasingly paced ‘Settlement’ is a strong look for opening sets; and Gaunt’s ‘Burnt Toast’ is funked up like one of Artworks tribalist Grain aces.
Atlantan electro contortionist Richard Devine presents his first significant body of work since ‘Risp’  with the complex designs and computerized soul of ‘Sort\Lave’ for Venetian Snares’ Timesig .
Recorded between 2016 and 2017 on Devine’s custom Eurorack modular rig and a couple of Nord G2 units, ’Sort\Lave’ is a hi-tech rinse-out best compared with the work of Autechre or indeed, Timesig boss, Venetian Snares’ recent modular output. And we don’t use either comparison lightly.
Where Devine has been releasing music on a computer for more than 20 years now, this is the first time he’s made tracks nose-to-tail on a modular set-up and the results are just staggering, and certainly worthy of those five years - pretty much since the completion of ‘Risp’ - spent just establishing the systems that would be used on the album.
Within this complex modular playground/framework he goes thru his exercises like a double-jointed gymnast with a mind & body-bending disarray of polymetrics thru insectoid swarms of percussion and diffracted chromatic madness.
If we’re playing favourites, the most dancefloor-ready pieces are in that list, including the tense, pendulous electro of ‘Opaque Ke’, the outstanding tech-step rolige of ‘Sentik Pin’, and the slow-fast teeter of ‘Revsic’, if you’ve got the legs for it, but if you’re in it for the next level sound design, the dizzying designs of ‘Microscopic Recurse’, the plonging torque of ‘k-0’ and the viscous roil of ‘Brux’ are waiting your dropped jaw.
Radical discovery by Amir Abdullah of 5 two-track master tapes of the Charles Mingus Quintet recorded live in Detroit at Strata Concert Gallery. These electrifying recordings took place during Mingus’ week-long residency in February 1973. They were broadcast live by drummer/producer and broadcaster Robert “Bud” Spangler for WDET FM – a public radio station dedicated to jazz – from Kenny and Barbara Cox’s multi-purpose home for Strata Records at 46 Selden. Entrance to the gig was $5 dollars in advance and $6 on the door.
"By the early Seventies Mingus’ militant musings, volatile character and hugely innovative musical offerings had already earned him global notoriety. He’d played with the Bird, Dizzy, Max Roach, Duke Ellington and had released universally acclaimed albums as a leader like ‘Blues & Roots’, Oh Yeah’ and ‘Black Saint & The Sinner Lady’. This gig – one of a Jazz In Detroit series that also included Keith Jarrett, Tribe and Herbie Hancock – took place a few months after the release of Mingus’ “third stream” masterpiece ‘Let My Children Hear Music’.
The music on these tapes is blazing. According to the late Roy Brooks, the band – which included himself and fellow Detroit trumpeter Joe Gardner - had not long returned from playing two tours in Europe. Fresh to the quintet was stellar pianist Don Pullen and listening to these recordings Pullen’s church-driven power, blues sensibility and harmonic sophistication perfectly complements the bassist’s own vision. On tenor saxophone we have the soulful and innovative John Stubblefield. Like Pullen he was a recent recruit. Unfortunately, the saxophonist’s time with Mingus lasted a mere 5 months: “I got in a fight with Mingus and I shouldn't have done that. After that, I couldn't get arrested in New York." Ironically, when Sue Mingus formed the Mingus Big Band in 1992, to perpetuate her husband's legacy, Stubblefield emerged as a talismanic presence in the ensemble until he passed in 2005.
Thanks to BBE, 180 Proof Records and Strata Records we can now tune in to WDET-FM and transport ourselves back to Detroit ’73, and get a taste of the furious energy and compositional sophistication of a unique and modern master at work in the most intimate of settings."
0PN live ensemble member, NYC’s Kelly Moran joins Warp to issue her new album of sync-ready electro-acoustic composition.
“The composer, producer, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist made an early name for herself in New York collaborating with dance performance and composing for long-term John Cage collaborator Margaret Leng Tan, and, most recently, performing around the world as part of Oneohtrix Point Never’s live ‘MYRIAD’ tour ensemble.
‘Ultraviolet’ plays to a wide, arresting array of stylistic influences, from jazz and dream pop, to classical composition and black metal.”
Electronic prism-pusher Zuli explores themes of identity, both hyperlocal and global, in ‘Terminal’; his singular and definitive artistic statement for Lee Gamble’s UIQ.
Expanding his sound to encompass melancholic ambient composition and grimy rap from prominent MC, Abyusif, as well as newcomers Abanoub, Mado $am and R-Rhyme, and mysterious Mecca-based vocalist MSYLMA, ‘Terminal’ finds Zuli drawing upon a multiplicity of personal experiences in a concerted effort to upend preconceptions of what an Egyptian artist “should” sound like.
In Zuli’s own words: “In a world that feels like it’s regressing into tribalism, many of us who don’t fit into any one specific group identity feel sidelined at best. When people talk to me, whether it be the press or peers in the scene I operate in, I am often approached with a preconceived notion of pretty much everything from my influences to and tastes to my politics and lifestyle, solely based on my nationality. It is a caricature that has proven very marketable, one that makes for a more interesting read/conversation/booking, apparently, than a multi-faceted (hence unique) human personality just like each and every one of us.”
Across the 14 tracks of ‘Terminal’, he smartly unpackages and dissolves those lazy pre- or misconceptions by forming his own, syncretic musical language. Meshing the rhythmic grammar of hip hop and club styles with the Arabic dialects of his MCs and vocalist and the free syntax of ambient music, he dissolves and undermines outmoded ideas of exotification, presenting an image of himself that’s more akin to the reality of Cairo and the sci-fi idea of P.K.D’s scramble suits than any cliche conjured by music media.
With controlled aggression and a grasp of chaos, Zuli serves big highlights in vocal pieces such as the opener ‘Nari’, featuring all the MCs entangled in a noxious noise rap clash, which smartly contrasts the haunting plangency of MSYLMA’s lament on ‘Kollu I-Joloud’. But the vocal only account for half of the album, and Zuli really comes into his own on cuts such as the sparring grime instrumental ‘Bump’ and the sawn-off junglism ‘Wreck’, as well as the album’s more delirious moments, like the poly-chromatic designs of ‘He’s Hearing Voices’ and the heat-warped geolocators diffused into the ambient keen and astral jazz flourishes of ‘Follow Your Breath’.
Soul queen Georgia Anne Muldrow blesses her new home, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder, with a deeply rooted but properly fresh album ‘Overload’ after taking a minute out since ‘A Thoughtiverse Unmarred’ . Watch out for the dripping late night vibes of ‘Canadian Hillbilly’ and the ruggeder knocks of ‘Play It Up’ and you’ll know which side your bread’s buttered...
““Music is my discipline. It’s my way of meditating, it’s my way of thanking God, it’s my way of communicating… It’s my way of life,” Georgia explains. Typically working alone, her new album flips that dynamic and takes Georgia out of her comfort zone for the first time since “Seeds” (2003) which was entirely produced by Madlib. “Overload” bears the fruits of numerous collaborations, most notably with duo Mike & Keys (50 Cent, Nipsey Hussle, Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy) who contribute production to four tracks including the sleek, anthemic title track - Pitchfork ‘Best New Track’ on 25 June 2018 - alongside Khalil (Dr Dre).
“Overload [the album] is an experiment in restraint,” she explains. I pack myself into something as clear as possible with the help of gifted artists from all over the world. The live show is an experiment in interpretation. That's when [my band] The Righteous and I unpack into a joyful noise. Both of these dynamics have been striving to balance themselves within me since birth… since wanting to record anything. And by the grace of Patience, Discipline and Devotion, a sweet spot has started to appear.”
Elsewhere Dutchman Moods and Manila’s Lustbass bring the slo-mo funk heat on ‘Aerosol’ and ‘Vital Transformation’ respectively, and Shana Jenson (Muldrow) and Georgia’s partner Dudley Perkins crop up on ‘You Can Always Count On Me’ (a cover of the Gap Band classic) and ‘These Are The Things I Like About You’. Flying Lotus, Aloe Blacc and Dudley Perkins share Executive Production credits on the album.
Themes of Love, Spirituality, Self-Actualisation are woven into Georgia’s music, but she also does not shy away from politics and has been loudly and vigorously critical of the persistent state of inequality between Black and White in the US. Nowhere more directly than on ‘Blam’ - a song about self-defence. “I believe that it has the bones of spiritual song,” says Georgia. “It’s an updated negro spiritual in aesthetic”.”
Outstanding free jazz session recorded in 1973 in Paris by Chicago outfit BAG.
"It was Lester Bowie, trumpeter with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who suggested that the Black Artists’ Group (BAG) should head for Paris. In 1972 several members of BAG took his advice and flew to France for an extended stay. The following year a concert featuring saxophonist Oliver Lake, trumpeters Baikida Carroll and Floyd LeFlore, drummer Charles Bobo Shaw and trombonist Joseph Bowie (Lester’s younger brother) was recorded and subsequently issued as In Paris, Aries 1973, a strictly limited edition LP on the group’s own label.
The adventure of collective improvisation resonated with the Parisian zeitgeist. Enthusiastic audiences attended their concerts and coverage in the media. In Paris, Aries 1973 offers an isolated and fascinating glimpse into that phase of the group’s existence. The album is dedicated to the memory of Kada Kayan, a bassist who had hoped to make the trip from St Louis to France but, tragically, had grown ill and died. His absence adds special poignancy to the sound of the bass when it appears on this recording, played by Baikida Carroll. Listeners keen to hear Kayan himself in the company of Lake, Bowie, Shaw, LeFlore and Carroll should seek out Red, Black and Green by the 10-piece Solidarity Unit, Inc. That album, recorded on 18th September 1970 and dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, who died on that day, features an earlier version of Shaw’s composition “Something to Play On.”
In Paris, Aries 1973 reveals BAG’s musical affinities with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Both groups preserved an independently minded approach to the notion of free jazz and a carefully filtered awareness of pan-African musical practices, while their creative interest in space, mobile structure, chance occurrences and simultaneity also suggests parallels with the concerns of leading experimental composers working at that time. These performances in Paris of Shaw’s “Something to Play On” and Lake’s “Re-Cre-A-Tion,” plus two collective compositions/improvisations, display the dedication to structural fluency and sensitivity to coloration that accompanied BAG’s unorthodox group dynamics and their unconventional instrumental combinations. In this case the musicians embrace congas, log drums, marimbas, woodblocks, cowbells and gongs. This is not a showcase for solos, but a shape-shifting and multi-centred statement of togetherness, quest and discovery. Removed from BAG’s original multidisciplinary context the music still exudes an exhilarating spirit of collaborative exploration and shared excitement."
- Julian Cowley”
Midday Moon is a survey of ambient and experimental music that emerged from Australia and New Zealand between 1980 and 1995. These recordings are sourced from a rich variety of micro-labels, private pressings, theatre soundtracks and artists’ personal archives.
Arriving in the wake of Left Ear’s ‘Antipodean Anomalies’, the Efficient Space reissue of Waak Waak Djungi’s ambient Aboriginal fusions, and even the reissue of Steve Roach’s ‘Dreamtime Return’, ‘Midday Moon’ beautifully expands non-native conceptions of music from this region with 19 works that emerged from Oz and NZ between 1980 and 1995 on myriad micro-labels, private pressings, and theatre soundtracks, along with a number drawn from artist’s personal archives.
Crafted with synths, field recordings, and traditional - if obscure - instruments, the results gently plunge us into a warm and woozy world of impressionistic sound riddled with synaesthetic triggers. Blair Greenberg’s three pieces are prime examples of this effect, especially on his mixture of breezy synth pads and location recordings in ‘Beach’, the dense, shady, green rhythms of ’Rainforest’, and the chiming cadence of ‘Gleaming’.
The rest of the set comes from 14 other artists, nearly one track each, with expansive beauties such as the 13 minute ‘Starzones’ by Ros Bandt and Mark Pollard’s ‘Quinque II’ sharing space with a constellation of cherry-picked vignettes like the new age peal of John Elder’s synflute on ‘Wayayisma Petra’, Robert Bleeker’s milky pads and soft brass flares in ‘Glowing Trombones’, and the low-key, jazzy lather of Helen Ripley-Marshall’s keys and undulating percussion in ‘Under The Sun’.
So as the Soho based crew gradually make their way around all the singers and players in Coxsone's stable, its about time we requested they begin sticking out the original output by The African Brothers.
For this is where Lincoln Sugar Minott started in 1969, alongside Tony Tuff and Derrick Howard, and anyone who ever heard their 'Righteous Kingdom' will know what I'm talking about. From the beginning then it seemed Lincoln was destined to run with Studio One, and after just one single there with the Brothers, Minott remained as in-house guitarist, backing vocalist and percussionist, all the while carrying his experience growing up next to a dancehall where Sir Coxsone a played, and then as teenage selector for Gathering of Youth and Sound of Silence Keystone systems.
Deep ingrained love of the classics, Ken Booth, Alton Ellis and The Heptones 'On Top' not only deeply influences Sugar's sound, many of his best songs ride the orginal rhythms to these tunes. Minott's effortless revoicing of all time tunes like 'I'm just a guy', 'Pretty looks' and so much more. 'Live loving' the original Studio One long player pretty well inaugurates the dancehall era, yet remains rooted in the very foundations of everything that's been great about Studio One all along. Spanning work from 1978 to 1982, this is lovely music by anyone's standards, and Sugar remains our favourite Son of Studio One. How appropriate that his legacy should now transmit its positivity, roots and culture to the frankly unmissable 'See Mi Yah' one rhythm set from Burial Mix heading up this week.
Who better to inter Fabric’s long-running series than the demon DJ Kode 9 and his accomplice, Burial? Yeh, nobody’s shouting Craig Richards, so this will have to do.
So it’s basically NOT a new Burial album, or even a Kode 9 & Burial album, but it is one of the strongest mixes in Fabric’s near 20 year history, cataloguing and webbing 37 tracks from the ‘ardcore ‘nuum, following its breakbeat and techno roots thru to its branches into US footwork, the distant echoes of South African Gqom, the avant R&B of Klein and Dean Blunt, and latinate and sino futurisms, with precisely no dubstep in-between.
The result is a mix as fragmented yet fluid as the London roadmap or those aerial shots used on the ‘Burial’ album cover, forming a mosaic of interrelated ‘ardcore styles grouted with the trademark fuzz and patter of drizzle heard on Kode 9 & Burial’s two preceding mixes for Mary-Anne Hobbs. In the first third, they probe a line from Klein and Cooly G thru outright Gqom killers by Julz Da Deejay, Roman Rodney and TLC Fam, and introduce Hyperdub newcomer Nazar along the way.
In the 2nd third, the breakbeat hardcore badness of Jungle Buddha’s ‘Drug Me’  and Intense’s classic ‘The Quickening’ bookend a rush of raving footwork aces such as DJ Spinn’s ‘Make Me Hot’ and DJ Tre’s lethal ‘House Hybrid’, before the final third slips from trancing ‘90s techno and acid thru to freakier footwork, an overlooked Sino-Detroit breakbeat ace by Claude Young, and the breeziness chops of Proc Fiskal.
Ultimately it’s a lesson in keeping your ears wide open to all styles in the present, while also keeping an eye in back of your head for vintage freshness, and pulling up records from well trodden areas - keeping the polystylistic and hyperstylized spirit of hardcore burning into 2018.
Nick Klein puts his back into five densely-packed and stressed EBM/industrial mutations for the cats at BANK Records NYC, following their recent aces by E-Saggila and Drew McDowell X Hiro Kone.
“Nick Klein is an artist making electronic music born in southern Florida and based in Brooklyn, New York since 2012. Upon moving to New York the concentration of his works output has been to mine and investigate the troped qualities in various forms of electronic music, and then to realize singular directions in how to communicate these ideas himself. Alongside Miguel Alvariño he runs the music imprint Primitive Languages.
His latest offering since the January 2018 EP "Lowered Flaming Coffin" (Alter) is a continuation of his burnt dance music explorations with "The Bathroom Wall" on Bank Records. As a totem to reflect onto with text, to rest ones eyes in blur, or to physically hold ones self up in the throes of intoxication, the bathroom wall takes and gives numerous gestures of use. Klein uses the symbology of the bathroom wall to construct five disparate wall scrawlings and hazed meditations into the compositional grounds for four meaner mid-tempo, rhythmic purges. Tracks "The Worst Band In The World" and "American Gut" take on the pulsing build of an intoxicated night out. The record divides in on and itself in tone with "Rather Be Your Enemy", an homage in title to the legendary Lee Hazelwood song, wherein the synthesizer convulses slowly conjuring the bleaker qualities of tinnitus taking the lead over your senses. Side B of the record throbs quickly with the blown bass drums and hissing rhythms of "Pushing Your Luck" and comes to a drawn conclusion with the ten minute come-down at sun rise burner of "Poor Me Another".
The record was recorded using a modular synthesizer to tape by Nick Klein and mastered by Josh Bonati.”
Akira Rabelais’ supremely moving eisoptrophobia album issued on vinyl for the first time, 17 years after it was first released on CD. Harnessing Akira’s own smudged recollections of childhood brought to life via treated solo piano pieces by Erik Satie and Bartok, it’s a haunting mutation of sound that comes hugely recommended if you grabbed his peerless Spellewauerynsherde reissue last year, or indeed any of his releases for David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label. Followers of The Caretaker’s work or Stephan Mathieu’s classic 'Radioland' album should also dive deep into these exquisite, bittersweet memories of secret histories lost in time.
First released in 2001 on CD by Ritornell, a sub-label of Mille Plateaux, ‘eisoptrophobia’ was an early iteration of Akira applying his Argeïphontes Lyre software to classical music, opening a fascinating schism between the original object and his modern, subjective perspective in the process. Made up of spellbinding, uniquely decayed renderings of solo piano pieces, it forms a poetic farewell to the 20th century and a reluctant embrace of new technological possibilities.
The original piano recordings of Satie and Bartók pieces were made at Wave Equation Studios in Hollywood, California, and subsequently transformed by Argeïphontes Lyre with beautifully elusive results. The recognisable melodies here ring out in myriad new ways, sometimes fractured and indented by patinas of crackle that echo the original contours, while, at othere, smudged into mind-bending obfuscation or spectral, timbral thizz. They have the uncanny capacity to resemble exhumed artefacts, dug up after decades of decay, and riddled with potently psychedelic mycelium ready to spore on the listener’s mind. But they also capture that elusive yearning for early life; the distant crackle of AM radio playing in another room, scratched records, a piano playing, somehere.
The title eisoptrophobia itself means ”fear of mirrors“, in an interview with L.A. weekly back in 2002, Rabelais explained that he picked it as a way of articulating his dread of limitation. ”I exist in a much larger space than what I am physically. But if I were to look into the mirror, I would suddenly pull back into my body.” A feeling not unlike the experience of sitting through this remarkable album before suddenly being snapped back to your surroundings.
Rolling down from the heavens with a total shockout intro, Basic Replay dig deep into the vaults for another selection guaranteed entry into the front of your dancehall pile.
Legendary keyboard whizz Jackie Mittoo is on fine tinkling form, riding the Ayatollah riddim with some hazy synthetic electronical embellishments atop a heavy heavy digital subbass rhythm. Mittoo version's the alltime classic 'Mash down Babylon' on the flip, installing a lush lick of African guitars and working the rhythm up with some driving organ chords in his inimitable style.
2 hours worth of prime Johnny Jewel music inspired by European cinema noir and avant-classical composition and concepts by Cage, Ligeti, Satie, Feldman.
Its' *not* his rumoured unused soundtrack to Nicolas Refn's 'Drive', but could well be used for your next intercounty mission or autobahn cruise** "Three years in the making, Symmetry - the project that began as a conceptual tangent between Glass Candy, Chromatics, Mirage, & Desire's more abstract sides - finally sees its release... Themes For An Imaginary Film is two hours of claustrophobic cinematic bliss compiled for Painters, Writers, Photographers, Designers, Cruisers, Night walkers, & Dreamers.
Adrenaline drips thick liek syrup across a horizon where memories become blurred scenes behind the windshield & yersterday's faces fade as the road strobes to aggressive rhythms. Romantic melodies linger in the rearview mirror as chimera bells saturate the electric fog that's slowly rolling in...
IDIB serve a belated, expanded 10th anniversary reissue of Chromatics’ Nite, including the title cut and instrumental backed with three new cinematic themes and cues.
Yet another pearl in Johnny Jewel’s velvet lined cabinet, Nite is a buttoned-up, shine-eyed disco ace pairing Lena Okazaki’s droll vocal over stealthy disco bass, eventually turning into a proper piece of post-punk disco delirium, ditto the instrumental but sans vocal, while Glass Slipper catches a slick fusion of Arabian Prince-style vocoder and Moroder-like bass arp.
The new cuts are ace, too. Birds Of Prey is a darkly evoctive instrumental vignette, whereas the heavy-lidded vox and spindly synths ’n strings of Sleepwalker wouldn’t sound out of place in a classic ‘80s horror, and the melancholy dream-pop of City Beds comes off like the accompaniment to some tear jerking break-up scene or loveless bed-hopping montage - take your pick.
Blawan mounts what is arguably his master opus with Nutrition; a nuanced but proper banging six track session holding one of his strongest cuts to date in 993.
The 4th release on his Ternesc label finds him deep in the modular matrix getting firmly to grips with thistly noise textures and the rolling drag coefficient physics of techno at an atomic level.
For us, and we’ll wager many others, 933 is the big juicy steak at the middle of the pack. A massive kick drum piles thru the centre, mad sawtooth synth voices seem to drip off like the biggest slug of acetone-stinking ching, and then the moment of lush enlightenment, which hovers around long enough to appreciate the buzz, before it slips off as quickly as the gear and you’re looking for the next high.
The other tracks are dead solid, too; with some proper doom depth to Calcium Red and skull-scraping tones in the empty belly boot of Mayhem. However you really need it for that 933 ace!
A Late 80’s slow digital dancehall killer; malevolent, sick and paranoid - prob the most essential and sought-after selection of dubs you'll ever have the pleasure of copping.
Replay Version is basically like a JA variant of Ramelzee & K Rob's Beat Bop, Once Bitten is a deadly variant featuring more detuned-synths on top of a pure skank, while "Senci Pipe" on the flip is just out and out minimal digital sorcery.
"Sides like these announced a new era in reggae... Replay Version sets the mood - malevolent, sick and paranoid, but haunting, and funky like a train, with cruelly brilliant effects..."
The Unwound album that ended all Unwound Albums.
"Recorded in a moudering farmhouose basement at the crest of the new century, Leaves Turn Inside You is the no-wave response to Spector’s wall of noise call. Infinite layers of choppy guitar stabs and bridge scrapes, guttural bass thronk, thrift store synths, and monotone chanting wash over suffocating rhythms to deliver the wrld’s only choral grung LP. Remastered from the original analogye tapes and pressed on heavy weight vinyl for the discerning noise-nik."
Redshape presents his 3rd and most-rounded dedication to ‘90s dance music with ‘A Sole Game’ for Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records. In a finely honed style he worked towards since 2006, Berlin’s Sebastian Kramer a.k.a. Redshape draws from classic Detroit house, UK rave and AI, Frankfurt techno, and the endless party spirit of his home city, to render a definitive, darkly-toned self-portrait sounding every bit as synthetic, romantic and classic as the CD’s cover art looks.
“In typical Redshape style, the eight tracks of A Sole Game take you on a journey through nighttime worlds and dusky industrial landscapes haunted by howls and other strange voices. It’s obvious that one of the most important goals was to craft a perfectly seamless whole of an electronic album that works without interludes or what others would consider “album material”. Each track is a universe of its own and ready to be played in a club. A limited amount of instruments made it possible for the songs to sound quite homogenous despite being constructed very diversely. Most of the melodic structures stem from a Prophet 12 synth, most of the drums from the duo of 808 and 909, providing a warm and analogue sound.
This kind of traditionalist techno setup allowed for a fast and immediate workflow while recording the foundations of each track. Later on, Kramer took these recordings and elaborately arranged and processed them, trying to maintain the sometimes naive and pure emotions of the initial recordings and establish an organic feel. By fusing this proper songwriter approach with the codes of techno, Redshape takes a big step forward in his musical evolution.”
Christoph de Babalon places his revered sound design skills at the service of dread-filled dramaturgy in ‘Teyas’, an abstract opera written in collaboration with Warsaw sisters Antonina Nowacka and Bogumila Piotrowska, a.k.a. WIDT.
Reframing De Babalon’s patented palette of diaphanous atmospheres and blood-dripping jungle breaks with a more theatrical purpose, ‘Teyas’ is a logical extension of his interests in macabre and gothic themes. Working in the shadows of rave, dark ambient and classical theatrical scores, the possessed presence of WIDT really sets this side apart, out there with de Bablon’s most memorable releases such as his recently reissued ‘If You're Into It, I’m Out of It’ classic.
Both WIDT and De Babalon bring a strong visual sensibility to ‘Teyas’ that vividly speaks to sound-to-image synaesthesia, with vocals detached and processed into an ungodly array of shapes and set against some of de Babalon’s most precise stage mise-en-scene, adding up ot the kind of sound that doesn’t struggle to suspend the listeners disbelief.
The result is 5 stunning parts of fathomless electro-acoustic space and sparingly-used percussive rushes shaded and kerned into a captivating narrative that's highly recommended to fans of everything from Jani Christou to Maja Ratkje, Sophia Loizou to Kreng.
Deep, driving techno-jazz and spaced-out lounge funk from the inimitable Pépé Bradock on his spiritual home, Atavisme
Taking his 2nd flight of 2018 following ‘Exodus 8’, Monsieur Bradock is clearly bang up for it on ‘ATA 019’. With the exception of some spaced out respite in ‘Furious Yogi’, the energy and psychedelia levels are sky high on the other three, as he gears up with the burning dub-techno chords, padded bass and arcing, sampledelic textures of ‘Panique Manucure’ on the front, before really striding out with the hypnotically infectious pound and warbling notes of ‘Romantic DNA’,and cutting loose on a Chicago-style tribal pound in his own, special way with ‘Ave Psychic’.
Swedish producer Toxe's sharp ascent through club-cursed climes has elicited the highest praise from the start. In just a few years she has linked up with Staycore and Halcyon Veil, presented an A/V project with The Vinyl Factory, and scored KENZO's FW 2016 prints presentation with close collaborator Mechatok. Her new EP 'Blinks' is a fractal bloom of candied melodies and minor laments set in a sweep of frenetic rhythmic scenes.
On Blinks she puts that experience to good use in a bright and playful collection of phthalocyanine hooks and frenetic rhythms, sashaying from what sounds like an airborne Plaid in Honey Island thru to the slippery lead and big beats of Big Age, and over into what sounds like a late ‘90s AFX on Perfect 2, or some LP5-era Æ inspiration on Blue Warm Up.
The second instalment from Basic Channel's offshoot, Basic Replay, a reissue label convened to showcase prime influences and lesser known inspirations, the men from Berlin have selected and remastered a truly shocking follow up to Keith Hudson's 'Playing It Cool..' album reissued last year.
'Call me rambo' was originally recorded in 1986 and released on the Heavyweight label, an imprint formed by the Heavyweight soundsystem, based in the Wood Green and Tottenham areas of north London. Featuring Chester Roots at the controls and his nephew Ackie at the microphone, this is raw and dangerous english dancehall. Hailing from that blissful period in the middle eighties, when clubs could play Marley Marl next to Super Cat, or Half Pint next to early Trax records, 'Call Me Rambo' opens with a bang, racked with strafing machine gun fire and the helicopter sounds free with a Commodore 64, natty dread a go scientific an' ballistic.
Stylistically speaking, Ackie's voice is reminiscent of the great Barrington Levy, and the simply enormous, rampant rhythm sends shockwaves through any musical system - all b-boys and hardcore addicts would do well to sweep a copy of this and ask questions later. Flip the script, and Chesse retains Ackie's winning 'Don't push me' refrain, and much of the sonic elements but works the board hard, 'Rambo Gun Salute' as a part two is simply perfection, dubwise and anywise. 'Rambo Salute' takes the dub even further out, as Ackie drifts further into the mix, and Chester works it on out in true ragamuffin style. "Ramming dancehall is the priority", so the man say. This has shattered the office record for rewinds this week and is utterly essential for ALL self-respecting music fans.
Pivotal, peerless DJ/selector and Minimal Wave overse’er Veronica Vasicka serves her solo debut on Downwards in ‘From Here’, a dank industrial-pop workout recorded in 2004 and now issued for the first time, backed with sick remixes by Regis, Paul Kendall (Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb) and Robert Hampson (Loop, Main) in his lesser-spotted Chasm alias.
Penned on analog synth and 4-track tape recorder in 2004, one year before Veronica established the Minimal Wave label, the ripped metal textures and spectral vox of ‘From Here’ forms a rare snapshot of her daily, diaristic working practice, putting sounds to tape as a personal form of expression that was never intended to be heard by other ears. Lucky for us then, that Downwards’ Karl O’Connor (Regis) has coaxed this dark, anxious beauty out for release, and teamed it with some very special remixes.
‘From Here’ renders Veronica in the dark, naturally working against the grain of 2004’s underground dance music trends to pursue her passion for classic and obscure strains of dance music, from New Wave to Italo and early house - all the kind that would turn up on her regular show for East Village Radio; the Manhattan, NYC station she co-founded in 2003. With hindsight, we hear Veronica as a displaced soul doing her thing in a way that would become inarguably more widespread over the coming decade and more, which was in no small part due to her focussed efforts working behind the scenes, overlapping and fomenting a nexus of musics that shared more in common than was usually acknowledged at that time.
Now appearing in 2018, ‘From Here’ perhaps finally feels at home in the skin of a scene obsessed with ghosts in the machine. And the remixes only emphasise the material’s timeless, out-of-joint nature: from a slickly arpeggiated Regis version which sounds like it could have been made any time between 1981 to 2018; thru to a pummelled and serrated industrial remix from Paul Kendall, who has previously worked on classics by Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb; to a killer and maybe surprising highlight from Robert Hampson as Chasm, stoking it with gnashing drum machines and keening dub FX for a sort of industrial-dub-dance-pop sidewinding outta time and place.
A Croatian masterpiece originally released in 1977
"Rich textural pieces constructed from an unnotatable, intricate interplay of percussive squeals, scrapes and rattles, parched and pitchless woodwinds, and dislocated keyboards On the evidence here, Acezantez founded by the versatile Croatian composer and instrumentalist Dubravko Detoni merit wider recognition. Contemporary . Here are supposedly stylistic affinities between early Nurse With Wound and Detoni's music.
This Detoni (born February 22, 1937) release was the first since his LP on the Phillips Prospective series, which in the '70s was the most credible house for innovative compositional names such as Xenakis and Pierre Henry, who opened the doors to such avant-garde musical invention. Where atonality is to the fore in much avant-garde music, Deoni's sense of abrasion is met with bouts of melodic intervention. Elsewhere, heavy industrial sounds are used as percussive texture; mixed with forceful electronics and dramatic instrumental passages, they create a complex and textured series of compositions."
Thurston Moore (guitar) and Tom Surgal (drums) rinse out a heady tangle of shreds and splayed rhythms. Originally released by Bruce Russell’s Corpus Hermeticum in 1995, now edited by Bruce and reissued on vinyl for first time by London’s Glass Modern
“In 1990 I heard Thurston in a trio with Sauter and Dietrich of Borbetomagus on Forced Exposure’s Barefoot In The Head album. two free men meeting a slave, as Byron put it. I had studied The Wasteland in high school, and understood the literary allusion immediately. Then he did the solo single on Table Of The Elements in 1993. I heard the B-side - Earth/Amp (once again, the mystique of the B-side, it fucking rules) - and wrote him immediately proposing an album. ‘Make it just like Earth/Amp’ I think I said. Luckily he paid me no mind and delivered this monolithic slab of ‘Righteous Boo’. It had all the burning snake riffology I wanted, plus the Promethean poly-rhythms of the last of the original hipsters, Tom Surgal. Talk about Le Tombeau De Rudolph Grey… - Monsieur Mallarme. As we say in the record business: calm block, obscure disaster. And, as they say in the history business, the rest is… gravy.
- Bruce Russell, Lyttelton, NZ July 2018”
Raw, trippy house excursions from Montreal’s DJ Spence and Sentena a.k.a. SnP 500
Built for long sessions, SnP 500 test out three mutant patterns and vibes between the off-centre, subaquatic wriggle of ‘Eart’ and the skudgy glam swagger of ‘Rock Song’ on the A-side, before projecting into languid dream house space with the 12 minute extension of ’44’ that rolls out a super lush lather on the B-side.
E-Unity rides oblique, fresh electro/bass vectors on a smart debut for London/Bristol’s Oscilla Sound.
Perihelion works on a weightless electro flex with bubbling 808s anchoring a glittering lightshow of diffracted, hyaline tones and laser beam lixx. Morty is more emo, thanks to its creamy swirl of harmonised pads, but still with kinda dancehall/dembow grit in the pants, and A Wormhole In The 4th Wall percolates those vibes with more delirious pressure recalling cuts from the killer DJ Python album.
Smartly contrasting cuts of deep, psychedelic disco-house and brooding electro abstraction from this Amsterdam-affiliated artist and label
Still playing the incognito game as it should be done, this white label series 4th 12” keeps the levels high with the effortless, 113bpm disco swagger and pumping bass recoil of the A-side, whereas the flip gets well weird on a slanted and enchanted sort of darkroom electro sleaze, all stalking basslines, hallucinatory string sweeps and over-the-shoulder vocals that could really work a room at the right point of the night/morning.
A total must-have for sound-oriented cinephiles! This is the first ever pressing of David Shire’s OST for ‘The Conversation’, a Francis Ford Coppola classic about a wire-tapper in 1970’s NYC, brilliantly played by Gene Hackman, and featuring sound design by the living legend Walter Murch. Trust Jonny Trunk to execute the job with typically covetable results.
Like Jonny Trunk, we distinctly remember seeing this flick for the first time in the ‘90s (probably late on a schoolnight on Channel 4 in my case) and becoming utterly sucked into the film’s innovative shots and sound design, which uniquely told the story of a wire-tapper, brusquely portrayed as a Mac-wearing and neurotic loner by Gene Hackman, who memorably unravels when, on his latest job, he uncovers a murder.
Even to our naif ‘90s ears, the by-then-vintage movie soundtrack and its subtly innovative sound design felt uncannily sparse and refreshing, especially for a major studio production, and it’s not hard to understand how it’s been referenced as a genre classic countless times since then. With hindsight, we can hear how it dovetails very neatly with the minimalist and avant-garde movements of the ‘70s, arguably in the process becoming a sterling example of the way avant-garde and mainstream ideas fluidly informed each other in that decade.
The music is mostly played on piano by David Shire, who was enlisted for his first ever soundtrack job by his brother-in-law, Francis Ford Coppola. The main theme is a sort of slow ragtime jazz piece which filters thru the whole soundtrack, returning in increasingly tense and prangingly dissonant avant-garde situations that mirror the narrative’s flow of intrigue and tension. It’s not until the 5th track, ‘To The Office/The Elevator’ when this element arrives in the soundtrack, and it only really happens again in a small handful of other instances, but the contrast is so stealthy and subtle that it gets us every time, and works beautifully in balance with the airy, pensive, isolated economy of David Shire’s other pieces in the soundtrack.
Portugal/London’s Padre Himalaya turns out an ace, multiplexed EP of pop edits, hip hop breaks, and ghetto house from Silvestre
Making his 2nd run on Padre Himalaya after a pair of 12”s with Tokyo’s Diskotopia, Silvestre diversifies his bonds in unexpected ways, swaggering from sawn-off hip hop to a rude and woozy early ‘90s breakbeat edit of t.A.T.u, and breezy Skam-style hip hop on the A-side, before switching up to a banging, rugged ghetto house swang and sped-up, NYC-style ‘90s reggaeton-hip hop for good measure.
Full flight space rock from Canada, 1980, featuring Del Dettmar of Hawkwind
“Melodic Energy Commission is a Canadian gem and an interesting branch of the Hawkwind family tree (featuring Del Delmar on electronics.) Hailing from British Columbia, their unique blend of space rock, progressive and hippie psychedelia began in 1977 as a recording-only project titled "The Melodic Energy Commission of Collected Artists."
MEC quickly released two albums: 1979's "Stranger in Mystery" & 1980's "Migration Of The Snails." The music is raw and heavily exploratory, often shifting styles radically within a single track, moving from from quiet chamber orchestras to dissonant guitar freak outs with smears of analog electronics filling in gaps along the way.
RIYL: Amon Düüll II, Tangerine Dream, Hawkwind, Sun City Girls and Syd Barret.”
China’s Shao follows a 12” and opening credit on the ‘Dreamy Harbour’ compilation for Tresor with ‘Doppler Shift’, 6 tracks of greyscale techno and Alva Noto-esque minimalism taken from the 9-track digital release.
Picking up where his ‘Sensi (Edit)’ left us in the ‘Dreamy Harbour’, Shao heads in pursuit of a immersively textured and effortlessly rolling structures across ‘Doppler Shift’, keening from the vapourised metallic tang and shadowy bass strokes of the intro cut and into the clipped swagger of ‘Reflection Pt.1’, which recalls Carsten Nicolai & Olaf Bender’s Diamond Version gear, and then dissolving into the filigree moire of keys and swivelling bass on ‘Bubble’.
The tougher ‘Bubble (Version)’ follows fathoms deeper, l;eating to the steeply vaulted, hallucinatory sound design of ‘Atmospheric Refraction In The Desert’, which sounds something like Dylan Carlson meets Donato Dozzy, and the sublime ambience of ‘Winter 2012’ recalls Shinichi Atobe at his sylvan, ghostly best.
Introducing In Mirrors From Vancouver, B.C. Their Debut LP "Escape From Berlin" was recorded in deep isolation on location at Nite Prison in Vancouver. Produced & mixed by Johnny Jewel, the album plays as a dizzying massive singular collage.
"Acutely focused on texture & the negative space between moments, composer & poet Jesse Taylor is the core member in a revolving cast of collaborators. For this LP, his partners in crime are Suzanne, Hiromi Inada (Japan), & Andrew Grosvenor on clarinet. As enigmatic & fleeting as reflections in a hall of mirrors, these themes are fractured & textural. Taylor ambitiously asks us to look beyond the mirror...through to the other side where we imagine Phillip Glass playing chess with William Burroughs while Klaus Schulze slaves over a droning synthesizer in the corner. Sonically, we hear vapor trails from Coltrane, Carpenter, & Amon Duul.
This debut is a glance at one of the most varied artists on Italians Do It Better's roster. Johnny & Jesse have been collaborating behind the scenes since 2003. Distilled in a process strengthened by time from Portland to Montreal...Los Angeles to B.C. In Mirrors blurs the imaginary lines between genres opening with a sultry Stevie Nicks cover & closing with 14 minutes of expansive aural fusion. Perhaps Taylor's good friend, Joey Casio said it best..."Change the channel, this one is the mirror”.”
Cold blue wavey melancholy from Vanderschrick, a new earthling discovered by celebrated reissue specialists, STROOM 〰
On the A-side ‘Ochtendgrijs’ gazes into middle distance with unaffected vocals and a plaintive, minimalist backdrop of wide bass and shivering chime trees that beckon listeners to rest and reflect in its Antwerp attic air.
By contrast, the B-side may well provide the urge to dance, striking the finest balance of sexy slunkiness and introverted pop coyness that’s really pushing our buttons right now.
Very welcome reissue of Juju & Jordash’s debut EP, originally dispensed by Reggie Dokes’ Psychostasia Recordings in 2004
Dovetailing with the label’s early vibes, Amsterdam’s J&J unfurl an eternally charming and admirable spin on Detroit beatdown at its jazziest and loosest, nudged with unmistakeable nods to Dokes, Theo Parrish and KDJ, but with a certain Israeli/Amsterdam suss of their own.
Finding its feet in the deep space jazz strokes, alien synth voices and wickedly stumbling groove of ‘Hush’ starring live sax by Chris Corstens, the J&J magick flows into the properly rude KDJ-style twyst of ‘Husheesh (Acid Dub Mix)’ on the A-side, before Reggie Dokes and Ferrispark’s Scott Ferguson smooth out the kinks as Koomba Project with an effortlessly deep remix on the B-side.
Johnny Jewel reunites with Farah for the first time since their golden ’Gay Boy’ and ‘Dancing Girls’ classixxx
Farah delivers her best Cali drawl on the gently dub-fluffed disco groove ‘The Only Ones’, and with a far more sultry, latinate tug against the lilting congas and tight bass lixx of ‘Baby Girl’, while the B-side provides a very necessary instrumental mix of the ohrwurming ‘Dancing Girls’ from the pivotal ‘After Dark’ compilation, as well as the uncredited appearance of her weightless ace, ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’ tucked away at the end.
A delicious warm bath of deep house music from NYC’s Bryce Hackford, mastered by Rashad Becker for Spring Theory.
Remove all clothing before slipping into the A-side’s lip-smackingly lush ‘Closing’ for best effect, and then dry off with the natty acid rub of ‘EST’, and find yourself in freefall with the slow motion elegance of ‘Landing’.