Burial cements his busiest year on record with Pre Dawn/Indoors, forming a rare moonlight session away from Hyperdub for Boddika’s Nonplus.
This is Burial as warehouse shadow dancer, properly committed to the heavy hours of the rave. Pre Dawn rolls out at 140bpm with something like Tango & Ratty’s “lost” garage project, as heard under a corrugated roof beaten by acid rain. The first breakdown could have feasibly appeared on some Untrue cut, while the final passage of soul-smacking pads and distant gabber kicks delivers the classic Bevan shiver.
Indoors is perhaps meant to be what’s behind those booming kicks, on the other side of the door. Initially, furtively elegiac, it comes off as the more hardcore of the two thanks to a nagging vocal and marching, technoid rhythm, so vividly evocative of a steaming, classic rave in full rush that it’s no wonder Burial doesn’t bother with promo videos.
Rhythm and Sound freaks, take note - this album contains the original Chosen Brothers / Prince Douglas version of “March Down Babylon” - one of the heaveiest dubs ever made...
Engineer Douglas Levy was part of the original Wackies set up from 1974-75, alongside Lloyd Barnes and Jah Upton. For a while he would have his own label - Hamma - within the Bullwackies group; but besides Sugar’s International Herb, this 1980 dub album is his finest work. Wackies’ fans have been clamouring for its reissue ever since Rhythm & Sound began making the catalogue available again. Many of the rhythms are derived from a tape given to the studio by Sly and Robbie, containing their versions of recent Joe Gibbs hits. And there are brilliant treatments of Tribesman Dub - the rhythm for Tyrone Evans’ Black Like Me - and Wayne Jarrett’s definitive interpretation of Every Tongue Shall Tell.
Elsewhere Jah Batta takes deejay duties - likewise Prince Douglas himself. But the deadliest cut of all reworks another gift, Steel Pulse’s “Handsworth Revolution”, which arrived in a parcel of records from England the same weekend as the session: March Down Babylon Dub, with Bullwackie himself at the microphone in his Chosen Brothers guise, as steely and apocalyptic as Douglas Levy’s fabulous production.
Matt Cutler shows those lo-fi house goons how to do it on the first in a series of 4/4-focused Lone releases for R&S.
Experiencing something akin to creative refreshment from A&R duties with MagicWire, Matt Cutler once again reconfigures the Lone sound on ‘Ambivert Tools Vol. 1,’ packing a triplet of rugged house bullets.
Crush Mood chases that rush like never before, pairing blown out drums with vibrant, nip-stiffening chords and classic-haus vox, whilst the perma-bumping Chroma packs the ‘90s vibes in nice and tight. From a Past Life offers a slight change in mood, revealing a solemn side to the Ambivert project without letting go of any rhythmic punch.
Sharply contoured, inventive electro mutations from Maelstrom, a french producer with previous form for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax, BNR, and Zone.
Again, CPU get the best out of their guy here, turning up some strong highlights with his fresh spin on Braindance tunings and ghettofunk pneumatics in the exquisite Lost Echoes, some filigree acid pirouettes on ALPH4, and pure electro/techno pressure on VZNIETIT and Praxis.
DJs, dancers - it’s yours.
Anthony J Hart (Imaginary Forces, Basic Rhythm) adopts the Hi Tek moniker as producer for East Man’s Red, White & Zero; a grime/dancehall/ project inspired by London’s vital relationship between mixed, working class cultures, inspired by conversations with theorist and academic Paul Gilroy - alumni of the late, great Stuart Hall. Features bars by Saint P, Darkos Strife, Killa P, Eklipse, Lyrical Strally, Kwan. RIYL The Bug, Blackdown, Alex Deamonds.
“London’s young people have been seen as a problem by governments for many generations now. Their distinctive street cultures stretch back into the nineteenth century when, just like today, a stylish public presence signified danger to respectable people. At that time, Britain’s class conflicts were being re-made amidst all the glorious fruits of a global empire. Divisions like class and sex had different shapes and tempos that hardly resemble the machinery of our increasingly networked and unequal world. Religion, racism and nationalism were all important, but work, exploitation and poverty supplied the fiery core of politricks.
These days, Britain’s imperial wealth and prestige are long gone. Today’s young people are excluded and marginalized, confined and criminalized, yet they remain at the heart of the vital, energetic best of our city. Their energy and imagination drive London’s convivial culture. They duck and dive just like their predecessors. They hustle, they suffer and they survive. Even where knives are common, most of the problems that come up get resolved without murderous violence. The defining experience of their precarious situation is more likely to be fear or anxiety than warfare between gangs. Their violence is more likely to turn inwards on to their loved ones and family members. There are many forms of self harm and self medication.
Yet the space in which those youthful lives unfold has contracted. The scale on which life is lived has shrunk. Moving around can be expensive. Surveillance is constant. Dignity and certainty are difficult to find and hold on to. It can be hard to feel comfortable outside the spaces and places you know best. Those familiar circuits are marked out by the roadside shrines of dead flowers that show just how vulnerable you can quickly become.
We have been losing London to Babylon but we are busy making a new place. The edges of the city have become fertile. The weeds grow up explosively between palisaded concrete boxes and the litter-strewn greenery. This is not zones 1 and 2 where houses and flats are capital rather than buildings to live in. The music that comes out of that edgy world isn’t what it was a generation ago, but it’s still fundamental--necessary for life.
These shocking sounds can be a part of healing and repair while staying faithful to the pressures that forged them. Musicians can’t make a living from their creativity, but their listeners can’t understand this historical moment unless they get to grips with its local rules, meanings and poetry. This is not America. Even without words, this music speaks for itself and tells a story. It calls out to be understood while seeking ways to escape interpretation.
We are always more than either this or that. We are more than either black or white."
Paul Gilroy 2017.
Tetine’s Bruno Verner revives Slum Dunk with a set of Film Tapes 1991 - 1995, written in São Paulo a long time before he was making mutant baile funk for Soul Jazz. Shares something of a strange, other or 4th worldly nature with experimental material written by Mitar Subotić aka Rex Ilusivii and recently issued by Offen Music, or even playful elements of that ace ‘Jan Zonder Vrees’ OST on STROOM 〰
“Film Tapes [1991-1995] is a collection of eight experimental pieces composed for film and video works. Written by Bruno Verner of Brazilian duo Tetine as he lived in São Paulo in the early 1990, these pieces were produced in an old four-channel Tascan tape-recorder in an improvised home studio, set in the living room of flat-share in downtown São Paulo.
Extracted from cassete tapes, these tracks were inspired by the humid climate and the concrete dystopian architecture of São Paulo's city centre. They are mostly tense, discordant and melodic (ambient) soundscapes, developed around rhythm & repetition structures and building orchestral and epic sonorities in conjunction with impressionistic, chromatic and atonal motives.
These pieces were also autobiographical impressions of the city's social architecture and its space (and time). In other words, an attempt to sonically 'translate' its viaducts and overpasses, street vendors, register offices, sex saunas, bars and clubs, bus terminals, modernist buildings, parks and old departments stores. This is made by a combination of electronics, cello, trumpets, saxophones, piano, flute and organ.”
Four track EP made up of new songs ‘Keep It Surreal’, ‘Cold Water People’ and apocalyptic closer ‘Catch You Dreaming’.
"A defiantly reflective, blissed out, yet wistful six minute zero gravity swirl, the track showcases yet another side to the reborn and rejuvenated Ride, who last Summer returned with their first new music in twenty years.
Catch You Dreaming’ was originally written during the ‘Weather Diaries’ sessions in Autumn 2016, and sees the continuation of their working relationship with Moulder and Alkan, the same combination who helped shape their richly layered and multi-faceted comeback album."
Obscure, sought-after French free jazz session led by François Tusque. Make sure to check the brooding title track for a dark, blue and funk-dusted hustle
“10 December 1974. 200 conscripts exit the casern of Draguignan in order to demonstrate in the streets of the city. They make part of those clandestine soldier committees multiplying themselves all over France with a view to unite the young activists of the extreme left with the anti-militarists. This dispute is a backwash of the student manifestations in spring 1973 against the Debré law reforming the military service.
The "Collectif du Temps des Cerises" founded by François Tusques, one of the pioneers of the French free jazz, decides to support the insubordinates. Denis Levaillant, 22 years old at the time, becomes the driving force of this discographical project. It’s with another big name in jazz, Jef Gilson in his studio Palm, the group records the compositions of Levaillant, appearing under the pseudonym Serge Igor, as well as cover versions of traditional Spanish music, among others the mythic "El paso del Ebro".
The young French jazz avantgarde scene of the early 70s participates in that session which brings together musicians like Jean-Jacques Avenel, Pierre Rigaud, Jean Méreu, Antoine Cuvelier, Gérard Tamestit, Guy Oulchen, Christian Ville, Robert Lucien, Carlos Andréou et Kirjuhel. The graphic designer collective Atarpop 73 creates the sleeve of the album which was released in an edition of 3000 copies and sold during the student manifestations.
This radical report of a rebellious youth raising from the still glowing ashes of May 1968 brings to our ears a jazz as spiritual as revolutionary. Attention, disc is burning!”
Your eyes do not deceive you! Ten years since leaving us all hanging with Two/Three, Tadd Mullinx a.k.a. Dabrye gives up Three/Three, loaded with guest spots from Guilty Simpson, Doom, Ghostface Killah, Jon Wayne, Shigeto, and many mo.
As one of the original architects of the instrumental “beat scene” which emerged from late ‘90s hip hop and morphed into more electronic-based structures during the ’00s, Dabrye forged a rugged, warped new sound which would predate the lurch of half-time dubstep and influence a stack of producers such as Hud Mo and Machinedrum who’ve become key, influential producers in their own right in the years since.
After leaving the Dabrye alias c. Two/Three in 2006 to focus on his JTC and Charels Manier aliases - which, in their own way, also triggered or predated sea changes in the wider dance/electronic scenes - Tadd Mullinx picks up like he never left us with Three/Three, reprising a natty, wonky style that pretty much ignores contemporary trap/drill trends in favour of super bass-heavy and psychedelically detailed productions that match the classic steez of his vocalists.
From first listens we’re most impressed by the woozy nudge of Dr. Shroomen feat G&D, and it’s hard not to get snagged on Doom’s hooks in Lil Mufukuz, definitely Ghostface Killah’s delivery on Emancipated, which sounds like a sharp update of some Dilla/Raymond Scott flex, and easily The Appetite feat. Roc Marciano, Quelle Chris & Danny Brown on some Clipse meets Kraftwerk vibe.
Giuseppe Leonardi pursues the heat-stroked balearic vibes of his jack Of All Trades 12” into this one for Second Circle
Resulting some devilishly debonaire Afro-synth-boogie on Unsinn, an oily downstroke into Giallo-esque soundtrack music with Kannibalentanz, and two strokes of pure sensual synth élan with Every Tree And Creature and All Blue.
File in your adult contemporary after-hours section.
We’ve never come across a music fiend who doesn’t swoon hard for vintage Ethiopian music when at its best. Ernesto Chahoud’s ‘Taitu’ compilation of “soul-fuelled stompers” is all killer-no filler, an unmissable introduction this special sound, or a further education for anyone already snagged on Mulatu Astatke, Tilahun Gessesse or those classic Ethiopiques sets. Grooves to own your booty, and vocals that send shivers down the spine
“Ernesto Chahoud’s ‘Taitu’ is a collection of soul-fuelled stompers straight from the dancefloors of 1970s Addis Ababa. A breathless journey through the unique Ethio sound that bands were forging at the time, the 24-track compilation is the result of the Lebanese DJ and crate digger’s decade long love affair with the ‘golden age’ of Ethiopian music.
Among the musical gems featured are 7"s by some of the heavyweights of the scene including the godfather of Ethio jazz Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, the vocalist dubbed the ‘Ethiopian Elvis’, alongside tracks by more obscure artists such as Merawi Yohannis and Birkineh Wurga.
For ‘Taitu’, Chahoud has selected 24 of his essential Ethio-Soul 7"s, that never leave his DJ box, and together they capture this opportune moment in Ethiopian music history that saw bands experiment with an armful of influences: gliding through R&B, rock & roll, jazz, funk, soul and boogaloo. What came out was a distinctly Ethiopian interpretation: pentatonic scales, horn-driven melodies and soul-shattering vocals sung in Amharic.
The songs are difficult to box in to one genre but they share a simplicity and rawness, added to by their lo-fi quality – with many recordings made in rudimentary studios with only a couple of mics for the entire band.
From the R&B stomper ‘Honey Baby’ by Alemayehu Eshete to Astatke’s swaggering ethnic-jazz instrumental ‘Emnete’ and the bluesy melancholic vocals of Hirut Bekele on ‘Ewnetegna Feker’, ‘Taitu’ is a window in on the exciting records being made in Ethiopia in the 1970s.“
Fast becoming UK music’s most unique entity, Mykl Jaxn and Elvin Brandhi’s improvised father-daughter schtick as Yeah You only gets freakier with each new release. Following two cultishly appreciated sides for Slip, they skid onto Luke Younger’s Alter with VHOD - one of the maddest avant pop records you’ll hear this year or the next.
Where their previous releases were eviscerating from start to finish, this time they adapt that strategy to more diverse ends, allowing more space, variation and even melody into their rickety matrix, resulting leaner, pointed potential in highlights such as the swaggering Autoimmune and the sharp metallic grind of If (newDom), while the second half of the album unexpectedly shifts into off-kilter ambient tones recalling a more feral Klein production in the likes of Remove In Line and the glithcing loops of suppress not root warning, before totally slipping down the wormhole in W/N/A Return False.
These guys simply make everyone else seem like preening, over-earnest snobs by comparison to the loose, noisy construction and immediate impact of their music. It’s maybe not for everyone, but if the idea of a seething young British female answer to MC Sensational making atonal punk noise rap with her dad gets you going, VHOD is an unmissable listen.
He may be a bit young for a Greatest Hits set, but that ain’t stopping Night Slugs, who’ve pulled together a stack of previously unreleased club constructions by USA’s Beau Thigpen a.k.a. DJ Vague a.k.a. Helix.
Built with dark, sweaty spaces clearly in mind, Helix’s Greatest Hits distill cues from a spectrum of modern club pressures into a forward moving and mutable style of his own, one as likely to encompass an industro-Funky flip of Tainted Love as take in hair-kissing synths on Techno Trak, and put a Linn snare on, well, frankly anything from grime mutations to ghetto house bullets such as Dick Track.
Roving electronic curveballs from Quicksails, including a mad remix romp from $hit & $hine!
“For the second installation of the limited catalogue GODCUTS, we are happy to present 5 original Quicksails' tracks with 3 remixes by Brett Naucke, Khaki Blazer and Austin favourite Shit&Shine.
Ben Billington aka Quicksails is a polyedric musician very active in the Chicago scene, with a stringful of releases on different labels, among them the mighty Mayville Dream on Spectrum Spools.
On side A he explores the world existing between electronic and acoustic, with very unique and interesting results, not actually comparable to other stuff we've already heard. Check the clips to listen to what we're talking about.
On side B his Spectrum Spools colleague Brett Naucke transforms My Moon in a cybernetic dream, while Khaki Blazer goes on a different direction, moving toward a 4-legs transgenic footwork.
Closing the ep is the remix version of Craig Clouse, who puts the original version in his special washing machine for a heavy laundry that gives you back everything way more dirty.”
Giant Swan’s Robin Stewart goes dolo for No Corner with a longform greyscale drone piece plus one moist pocket of textured clag.
"Some lucky Bristolian listened to the whole thing and reported back: “Enter the room, the centre of everything, in the middle of nowhere.
Moving at an undistinguishable pace, it feels as though the master clockwork itself can be challenged by entering the perimeters of this sonic field, stretched out into the strangest of new worlds, one foot still here, the other pulling towards that alluring light beaming out behind the creaks of that heavy wooden door, which is moving in unexplained ways.
Those distant sirens enter through the cracks above the curtains, lighting up the room like a desperate flare shot from a boat that has not long departed. In fact, if you take a minute, you will realise that the whole room is shapeshifting increasingly with each cycle of sound, like a circus of mechanised organisms, or like a fairground at night, on standby with only the ghosts of human joy residing in this place.
Indistinguishable forms of reality and obscured imagination are forming a kind of play with the senses. It's hard to figure out what is creating this increasing, unstoppable momentum. Could it be the woozy, warm bass that is rumbling beneath the floorboards, whilst the open electric snakes it's way across the ceiling in blue & white shapes, leaving concise trails of dark, charcoal smoke falling weightlessly above us? And who is operating these mechanics that whir around us? Is it something to do with the voices from outside? It feels too late to leave, too soon to go.
Time and our judgement of the surroundings are becoming harder to track, who knows how many times this door has opened itself to us now, gradually exposing that blinding light which momentarily changes the shape of our space into something wholly new, unexplainable.
Just before the door falls back into the void, these sharp lights play a dance with the blackest of shadows, and all options present themselves with new vigour once more. This is the moment in which we realise that we needed this delirium all along, we had been searching for it… The sound of solitary bliss, the sound that only exists with you.”
An abso-fxcking-lutely killer UKF banger from the original days finally sees official release via Goon Club Allstars.
As the story goes, KG was a 19 year old student at Nottingham Uni working with Fruity Loops back in 2007, around the time she made 808, which, despite her relative detachment from the UKF locus, became a staple of Marcus Nasty’s DJ sets, among others, who were lucky enough to own a copy of that precious file. It could be a figment of our imagination, but we’re pretty sure we remember hearing it crop up as one of dozens of unnamed but amazing tunes on radio during that era.
Fast forward 10 years and the virulent, Timbaland-gone-Funky pressure of 808 is primed for widespread dancefloor destruction along with a harder, stripped down rework from Bronx-based litefeet producer BSNYEA, and KG’s slinkier bubbler Midnight (Flute Riddim), which shows off a more sultry side to her sound, and also comes remixed by FDM king Hitmakerchinx on a rugged downstroke.
Unmissable dance music. You’ll be going off to this for years to come.
Already marked as one to watch with The Tide That Moves Me EP for Gobstopper in 2017, New York-based Orlando pays up on that promise with the 1st song from his imminent début on Local Action.
Teasing in his Orlando album, the exquisite Friends or Lovers? features a naif, angelic vocal by Buscabulla - whose EP II is also worth a check! - set to a dreamy backdrop of sublimated flutes, fluid trance arpeggios and the slightest reggaeton bumps with weightless, skyward effect. This album could be so lush…
Death Is Not The End turn their attention to Kosta Dousas on Greek Blues In America Vol. 2, following their excellent George Katsaros’ compilation. Again, as with most things Rembetika and Greek Blues-related, we’re transfixed by the mournful vocals and lyrical guitar lilt. Time to crack out the worry beads…
“Death Is Not The End present a two-part collection centred on two emigrant Greek artists recorded in New York during the 1920s and 1930s.
'Greek Blues in America' explores the recordings of George Katsaros and Kostas Dousas, who mainly recorded solo, accompanying themselves on guitar in a unique finger-picking style. This, along with the sub-cultural subject matter of the rebetiko, reflects somewhat of a cross-continental echo of the American blues - captured in the USA following a wave of immigration from Greece and Asia Minor, just as the new demand for regional and ethnographic music in the recording industry was beginning.”
U.S. Girls is the protean musical enterprise of multi-disciplinary artist, Meg Remy, presenting her sixth studio album ‘In A Poem Unlimited’.
"Remy’s second release for 4AD, which also includes ‘Mad As Hell’ - a clarion call for pacifism - was tracked in collaboration with Toronto-based instrumental collective The Cosmic Range and features arrangements by long-time contributors Maxmilian Turnball and Louis Percival. The dizzying buffet of live grooves on ‘In A Poem Unlimited’ represents an inversion of the dusty, sample-based minimal textures of ‘Half Free’, Remy’s euphoric 4AD debut.
Steered into focus by Remy and mixer / co-producer Steve Chahley, ‘In A Poem Unlimited’ features disco employed as a protest vernacular (‘Mad As Hell’), as well as an unrelenting assault (‘Time’); moody, slow-burning funk (‘Velvet 4 Sale’ and ‘L-Over’) and earnest synth anthems ‘Rosebud’ and ‘Poem’, which form the album’s emotional core.
‘In A Poem Unlimited’ features dark meditations reflecting charged atmospheres that directly precede and follow acts of violence. Many of the songs are character studies of women grappling with power; how to gain and exert it spiritually, as well as desperate strategies to mitigate its infliction. Remy also rallies against the public lies told by political and religious leaders and, more crucially, questions the lies we tell ourselves in order to survive. While U.S. Girls, denoting the plural, is no longer a misnomer, ‘In A Poem Unlimited’ may be Remy’s most individually distilled protest to date.
‘In A Poem Unlimited’ album opener ‘Velvet 4 Sale’ concerns a female narrator imploring another to buy a gun for protection, impressing that the only way to change men is for women to use violence. Remy says, “Men are lucky women (and children) have yet to take up arms. And although I hope this never happens and I completely disagree that violence is ever effective, this very idea was ripe for a song."
Expanded, definitive, 1st ever vinyl reissue of classic early ‘90s EBM album; the 2nd LP by Dirk Ivens in solo mode as Dive after leaving legendary Belgian EBM supergroup, The Klinik.
On Concrete Jungle, Ivens’ signature growled and unheimlich vocals carry over from The Klinik into this project, but don’t quite dominate proceedings as strongly as before, which is all good with us. Here, the vocals are tempered and more diverse, sometimes coming on in his classic vein, but also diffused and mixed deeper into the matrix of his hard-edged yet stoically funked-up productions, and sharing space with Wendy Van Dusen ov Neither/Neither World.
Additionally, the 2nd disc contains Dive’s handful of cover versions of Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Wire, Martin Rev, and Fad Gadget taken from Extended Play , plus the cranky rarity Homeless from the Elektrauma compilation, and a grip of thistly winners that previously only appeared on the CD version of Dive’s First Album
RIYL. Silent Servant, Broken English Club, Helena Hauff
Dubstep strongarm Pinch undertakes a dark and deadly mission for Loefah’s 81.
Walking With Shadows is a stripped down greyscale hulk of half step techno patterns arced with synths dialled in from late ‘90s D&B.
Better yet, AHH FFF SSS is one of those UK rave bombs that Pinch has built his career on, streaking evil rave stabs on a tense, stumbling, and distended techno/bass groove.
The Bunker NYC celebrate 15 Years of The Bunker with this compilation of 26 exclusive tracks by many artists who’ve previously released on their label, plus a handful of new names to the family.
Make sure to listen out for Ectomorph’s glitchy 2-step electro ace Snake Charmer, a sleek, rolling deep techno winner in Neel’s Sima, and the proper NYC acid jack of Function’s Norfolk Street Acid.
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
Danny L Harle takes the donk off it with endearing success in Blue Angel
Following inks with Carly Rae Jepson and Tkay Maidza to find a new vocal muse in Clairo, who lights up his airy 808s and chiming hooks like fireproof electric candles on the statement xmas tree in a municipal meeting place.
Dragan Lakic tests out a snarling sort of industrial techno sound for Power Vacuum after a string of straighter bangers for the likes of Planet Rhythm records.
Like Limewax or Current Value trying out techno for size, Oleka lunges for the jugular in all four parts, resulting a proper filthy bollocking in Ostentiferous, the skull-cracking bezerker Thereoid, and the dry wretch/hump of Hamartia.
Two beautiful expressions placing his own, queer slant on classic, timeless soul
In the low-key acoustic meditation Christopher & 6th, and the collaged sequence of street dialogue, hazy downbeats, and contemplative, half-spoken half-rapped lyrics in June 12th, which wouldn’t sound outta place on a Babyfather or Dean Blunt record.
Full of cold, steely industrial techno riddled with machine spirits, the Protest EP from Berlin’s Kaltès & Nene H. is not for the casual techno observer, but rather offers a payload of stern girders for the club, reinforced by Christina Sealey (Orphx) and LAIR remixes.
In a push and pull of forces, Kaltès & Nene H.’s spine-stiffening bucker Resist contrasts with the more rolling, plangent and bittersweet appeal of Persist, but both share a blank-eyed and stomping purpose.
On the remixes, Christine Sealey ov Orphx pulverises Persist like a techno panel beater working on a dented tank, and LAIR guts and inverts the impact of Resist into numb drones and submerged rhythms.
Killer tag team grime styles from Boylan & Slimzee
Weighing in the dense, dark halfstep matter of No Cure for the dungeon dwellers, neck-chopping mentasms in the roll cage of Replicants, and a choice bit of variation with the lush intro and rave-eyed breakbeat dipper, Reinforced.
Boddika picks up a brace of hypnotic techno slugs from Ribé for their solo début on Nonplus.
Rolling into place somewhere between Nonplus’s Eduardo De Calle releases, PAS-liek cosmic dynamics or Mike Parker-style hydraulics, the Harmonic Rain EP is most effective in the spuming cosmic glitter and wallop of the title cut, and definitely in the boiling electrical soup of Trying To Unpatch.
With the quietly nimble ambient-cumbia-avant-pop of Tar, the all too seldom-heard but always-fucking-great Lucrecia Dalt preps the ground for Anticlines, her highly promising début album for RVNG Intl
It should finally afford her music the wider attention it deserves, cos without PR, yr invisible?
France’s Hard Beach Entertainment come off like a shabby chic take on Viewlexx/Murder Capital’s ‘90s electro aesthetics with the sound and look of Corporation Mindfuck’s Winds Of Corruption.
Expect five cuts of anaesthetised electro pressures working somewhere between Low Jack, Black Zone Myth Chant and BFDM, and a dead blunted I-F or Legowelt.
London/Milan’s Big Hands breaks thru with a deft collection of rave deconstructions backed by a grimy remix from Walton, all destined for the hands of canny DJs.
Big Hands takes cues from abstracted dancefloor emotions to generate six icy components ranging from Lorenzo Senni or TCF-liek flights in Prequel, to bumpy bass rolige in More Than Love, and Zomby-esque rave tesselations on the B-side’s Tensegrity, Kick Ballad and Blood, with Walton bringing up the rear on a tense, string slashed transfusion of Blood.
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.
An all time killer classic from Wackies.
This 12" features 3 cuts of Lee Perry's immortal Tight Spot Rhythm featuring searing vocals by Leroy Sibbles and the great Stranger Cole, together with an instrumental version by the Bullwackies Allstars. Yum.
Russian-Israeli singer/songwriter Mary Ocher saddles up a brooding and driving new collection including a stunning cover of Robbie Basho’s Blue Crystal Fire featuring Julia Kent (Antony and The Johnsons), and a live cut with instrument builder Hans Unsworn and band. RIYL Circuits Des Yeux, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey
“Mary Ocher closes 2017 with the release of a further trove of songs. The "Faust Studio Sessions and Other Recordings" is a collection of pieces whose vast majority was recorded during the sessions that gave birth to "The West Against The People", Ocher's full-length release that came out on Klangbad earlier this year to much praise, released alongside a sociopolitical essay and further collaborations (Felix Kubin, Die Toedliche Doris).
These two weeks of recordings were made with Hans Joachim Irmler at the Faust Studio, which is located in a small village by the Swiss border, in a big industrial space overlooking the Danube. Mary's two drummers, Your Government joined the sessions for a short while, the rest was recorded solo. The 10" also features a collaboration with cello player Julia Kent (Antony and The Johnsons) - in a rendition of Robbie Basho's phenomeal "Blue Crystal Fire", the second collaboration is a live recording with German experimental artist Hans Unstern and his band, known for their use of self built instruments.”
Charles Mingus' sharp and precise compositions rank among the greatest in jazz. While the composer / basisst / pianist's music lay rooted in the dominant-of-his-time genre of hard bop, it frequently ventured into realms of gospel, blues, free jazz, and classical music, all featuring innovative and pioneering double-bass techniques.
"He frequently encouraged collective improvisation, and unorthodox ensembles to compose his songs, which frequently included session legends like Pepper Adams, Jimmy Knepper, Booker Ervin, and other jazz musicians of note. Though infamous for having a firey temper on and off-stage, (Which led to the later nickname of "The Angry Man Of Jazz") Mingus is frequently paired with the likes of Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis as one of the greatest bandleaders and jazz composers of all time.
Among his many full-length releases, 1959's Mingus Ah Um is considered one of best, and the peak moment of his works with the collective of musicians dubbed the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop. Clocking in at over an hour in length, Mingus Ah Um is 9 tracks of his finest, running the gamut from aggressive post-bop, to joyous gospel fusion, to progressive shuffling ballads, many of which would go on to become standards of the genre. It even took moments to praise his contemporaries in tracks like "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", written for saxophonist Lester Young, and the closer "Jelly Roll", an affectionate tribute to one of the first great composers of jazz. Regarded as one of the greatest jazz albums of all time, and one of fifty recordings added to the National Recording Registry in 2003."
Rough Trade reissue this out of print classic from Sun Kil Moon.
'Glenn tipton' as opener is suffused with the plucked intricacies of prime nick drake, yolked to a vocal nuanced up there with the very best stuff from the great richard buckner recorded over the last 10 years. 'Salvador sanchez' wields convincing overdrive, a reverb-drenched shadow of neil young in flight, at his very peak, live with crazy horse on 'cortez the killer'.
If you're feeling a little spooked by these old man's music references then don't be - here there's a freshness, a lightness of touch which is all too lacking in the streams of plain old revivalism, masquerading as new music. Here, mark may well have been inspired by all the old geezers, but knows how to kick out fully on his own, rocking out on 'Lily and parrots' inna classic Big Star fashion, tempering it with the muted folksiness of 'Gentle Moon'. The entire third side is taken up with 'Duk koo kim', a piece which must surely take off in performance, one of those great holding-pattern riffs, building up to an ensemble jam which should definitely be experienced in one sitting. There's lightness too, in the shape of the mexican strings of 'Si, paloma' - subtle, shifting coda to a emotionally complex, genuinely wonderful album.
New album from Dominick Fernow’s most intriguing alias with "Sound on Sound” processing by Silent Servant and a remix from Substance (Chain Reaction). A huge recommendation if you're into Vainqueur, Huerco S, Talk Talk, Carl Craig, Rhythm & Sound...
Following a still-ongoing series of reissues of the earliest, previously tape-only releases from Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, this long-in-the-making new album proper is an epic 80 minute set featuring additional production from Silent Servant, a remix from Substance and some of the deadliest subs we've heard in an age.
It’s by far the most ambitious and far-reaching Rainforest dispatch, taking that artificial, tropical humidity as a starting point before heading deep into a kind of textured ambience, moving away from the extreme saturation of those early cassettes and the industrial environmentalism of his previous album Green Graves and instead creaiting a kind of 'Fear Dub’ - as the label call it - which is essentially the perfect encapsulation of the deep sense of paranoia contained within.
The opening Jungle Is A Shapeshifter is a gargantuan 35 minute head-melter that’s split across the first two sides of the vinyl pressing. Co-Produced with Silent Servant, it’s the most absorbing piece of "Ambient" music we’ve heard in a long while - slowly unfurling via chorus pedal guitars that gradually degrade, while a fathoms-deep bass pulse and tape-delay gives the piece its shape. It’s like an updated, tranquillised, fever-dream variant of the kind of ambient dub Vainqueur made his own back in the mid-90’s - we could listen to it on a loop for hours.
Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo, another Silent Servant co-production, clocks in at a relatively modest 17 minutes and heads off into more open terrain, this time with submerged percussion providing some propulsion, while shards of coloured synth pull you back into the swamp. It’s another humid, breathtaking session - bringing out the best in both Fernow and Silent Servant via perhaps the most important and satisfying work either artist has been involved with.
Praying Mantis Black Arts is another masterclass in sub-bass construction, while Chile’s Crimson Tide is the shortest track on the album, a kind of broken coda before Substance ends the set with a remix of Beyond The Yellow-Spotted Bamboo, deploying a tribal reduction that references classic Chain Reaction from a producer who was part of it first hand.
It’s a relatively upbeat conclusion to one of the most immersive listening experiences you’ll have in 2017; those of you looking for escape should dive in - you won’t want to re-engage with the world around you for a while.
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo. We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way.
"Mango Walk / Mango Drive" was the second release on the label and, for many, remains its finest moment. The a-side features an original production from the Wackies vaults by Azul & Bullwackie recorded in 1979, with an incredible 9 minute revision from Mark and Moritz on the flip. The version that appeared on the Rhythm & Sound 'Compilation' is over two minutes shorter.
Kiel/K1’s classic Manny grime instrumental Who You Hang With finally finds its audience on vinyl, now backed with the wavey swagger of his new one Range Road, and marking up the crucial 1st shot on his Prism label.
Back in the hazy days of 2004-2007, Kiel was a clockwork regular at our brick n mortar shop, Pelicanneck, which was the only place to pick up new grime and dubstep white labels in Manchester back then (another shop at the time called this stuff “gay rage”, as in garage, geddit? Nah, us neither), and he’d pretty much hoover up all the best plates week in, week out.
A few years after the shop shut, Kiel knocked out the instrumental Who You Hang With, which has since become a vital part of the Manc grime canon, most famously used as the riddim to a freestyle on Westwood by his Mayhem Crew MC, Shifty. Now with nearly a decade of hindsight, it’s safe to call Who You Hang With a patently and uncannily prescient fusion of trap and grime which has clearly withstood the test of time.
For bittersweet contrast with his current sound, the B-side’s Range Road - named after the UK road with greatest range of languages spoken, fact fans! - locates a hoods-up, low-rolling mix of see-sawing synths and sub-fuelled trap bite that’s only shades away from Who You Hang With, but equally fresh and up-to-the-second.
100% Manchester modern. Tip!
DJ Nobu meets Kouhei Matsunaga (NHK) on their début batch of techno trax as MTv for The Trilogy Tapes.
Their Hollywood #1 EP broadly falls in two categories: firstly working with hyaline timbres and slow, dull thuds in Snow Ball, and then with a viscous EBM momentum powered by tangy synth liens in Smooth Motion.
On the other hand you have two uptempo workouts; the tentative 127bpm stepper Smart Ball, and a squeaky bum jacker called Look Back Motion, where they jointly put some proper, jacked-up techno back into it.
Keith Hudson's key achievement in a career launched when as a fourteen-year-old he recorded members of The Skatalites on his Shades Of Hudson rhythm.
Originally released in 1974, after a series of solid-gold productions for Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, John Holt, U-Roy and the rest, it projects Hudson's removal from JA to London and New York studios and transatlantic audiences, and inaugurates a sequence of albums - classics like Pick A Dub, Brand, Playing It Cool - which show his troubled experimentalism better suited to the LP than the cardinal 7" reggae format.
Anchored here by Santa Davis and George Fullwood from the Soul Syndicate - alongside musicians like Augustus Pablo, Count Ossie and Leroy Sibbles - Hudson's mood is tormented and dazed, as on titles like Darkest Night, My Nocturne and Testing My Faith he struggles for Black senses of commitment - political, existential, religious - at its breaking point. Magnificently and deadly serious, hauntingly unique, unmissable and unforgettable.
LFI yield the aural equivalent of a queasy mushy trip with Garland’s maiden voyage, Preludes #1
An intoxicating journey, guided by sloshing percussion and probing bass plongs thru lysergically dubbed-out electro-acoustic dimensions and keening microtonal ‘tronics.
Robert Haigh, who is perhaps better known as D&B legend Omni Trio, reprises the solemn, autumnal contemporary classical styles heard on his V-O-D retrospective and early releases for NWW’s United Dairies, this time in the esteemed comapny of Laurie Spiegel, Carl Stone, Lubomyr Melnyk on Unseen Worlds
“A new album of piano driven ambient music from British composer Robert Haigh. Following in the path of his albums for the Japanese Siren label, Creatures of the Deep is an underground vantage of a meeting between the musical worlds of Harold Budd and Erik Satie. With a storied musical career that has ranged widely in style — from his industrial-avant-garde works on Nurse With Wound’s United Diaries label as SEMA to his legendary ambient drum and bass records as Omni Trio on Moving Shadow — Robert Haigh's work occupies a space between music and mystery.
With Creatures of the Deep, Haigh is at the peak of his powers. Among noir, minimal, neo-classical landscapes are robust scatterings of bright reflection and a musical expression that is subtle and elusive yet uniquely Haigh’s in its voice and masterful execution. The closer we examine, the more is revealed, and the less is defined.”
The legendary #2 on Fact mag’s “20 Best Minimal Wave records ever made” list sees 1st ever legit vinyl reissue thanks to the heavy souls at Dark Entries. Since the original tape release in 1982, Solid Space’s only studio album Space Museum has become a definitive, widely sought-after example of early ’80s minimal synth music, coveted for its cold but exquisitely endearing mix of sci-fi themes with synth-pop, electronic disco, funk and even jangly folk chops. A massive recommendation to anyone into Current 93, Depeche Mode, Officer!
“Dark Entries is honored to finally present the first ever official vinyl reissue of Space Museum by Solid Space. Solid Space was the British duo of Dan Goldstein (keyboards, vocals) and Matthew ‘Maf’ Vosburgh (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals) formed in 1980. Dan and Matthew met at the age of 11 while attending school in north London. In late 1978 at at the age of 14, they formed Exhibit ‘A’ with Paul “Platypus” and Andrew “Lunchbox” Bynghall. They recorded two EPs in 1979 and 1980, self-released on Irrelevant Wombat Records and appeared on ‘The Thing From The Crypt’ compilation. After the dissolution of the group, Mathew started taking his guitar over to Dan’s house where he’d play his Casio MT-30 and they would record songs. Eventually a second hand drum machine and Wasp synthesizer were acquired from classified ads in Melody Maker and the Solid Space sound was born. By this time they were just turning 18 and finally found the freedom to make the music they’d had in their heads.
Over the course of the next two years the band assembled eleven bedroom recordings that would become one of the most cherished DIY obscurities of its kind. Their debut album ‘Space Museum’ was released in 1982 on cassette by In Phaze Records. All of the songs were mixed by label boss Pat Bermingham on 8-track tape at The Shed, in Ilford, which was literally a garden shed. The band’s music and lyrics were heavily indebted to science fiction, in particular the 1960s television series Doctor Who. ‘Space Museum’ is an unveiling of atmospheric, minimalist post punk supported by bright melodies. The music combines drum machines and synths with acoustic guitar and toy drums whilst also experimenting with samples between tracks. Lyrics deal with space travel and a general sense of dejection. Representing a bubbling spirit within the underground, they foreshadowed an entire world of independent music which would emerge across the 80’s and well into the 90’s. For this reissue we’ve included two bonus tracks from the band’s archive, “Platform 6” originally released on the B-side of the second single by Exhibit ‘A’, this song features only Dan and Matthew and is the first Solid Space track ever recorded. “Tutti Lo Sanno” is a cover of In Phaze label mates Marine Girls, though the lyrics have been changed to suit the gender of the new singer.
Made in celebration of the 90th birthday of Musique concrète pioneer, Pierre Henry, this epic collection was personally selected and remastered by the composer himself just prior to his death last year; including nine works released for the first time ever on any format - all remastered by the man himself.
The 12 CD boxset Polyphonies is a mind-blowing summation of more than 50 years work by restlessly pioneering composer, Pierre Henry (9th December 1927 - 5 July 2017) - the undisputed godfather of musique concrète, who laid the groundwork for much of electronic music as we now know it. Counting 29 works, including no fewer than 9 premieres, Polyphonies serves both an historic education and an engrossing reminder of Henry’s influence over developments in 20th and 21st century music.
There’s nothing that we can add to the reams of writing on Pierre Henry. We can only reassert what’s been said in numerous articles, essays and academic texts, that, technically, Pierre Henry was among the most important and ardent manipulators of ‘concrète’ sound - that is, physical sounds extracted from their environment and abstracted through various process of effects, to re-sound or resonate in new, different ways and meanings.
He’s French, so philosophy was always integral to his practice, but the proof is in Henry’s pudding, as his persistent pursuit of sonic spectres and metaphysics brought a world of new sounds into tangible physicality. Whether through animation of inanimate objects, or a re-spatialization of whole scenes of reality, Henry heard a possibility for alteration in almost everything, and acted on his urges with remarkable insightful results.
Many of Henry’s compositions are broadly known to followers of early electronic music, while even casual observers will likely know his Psyche Rock piece as the influence behind Matt Groening’s Futurama theme tune. However, even the most hardcore Henry heads won’t have heard the 9 premieres in this boxset, including the hyperreal dynamics of Chronicles terriennes, the deconstructed piano clatter of Études transcend antes pour un piano imaginaire, his rhythmically seductive Pleins jeux and the atonal fuss of Kyldex, or the deep space radiation of Astrologie, and likewise the entire 12th disc of 2016 "Remixes" (re-masteres, really), completed by the artist before losing he lost his sight. Ears were definitely still working, though!
It’s fair to say that our perception of sound and electronic music may not be the same if it were not for Henry’s way of listening, dissembling and re-sequencing the sound sphere, parsing and re-parsing it for an ever elusive meaning. In the process he’s thrown up more questions than answers which will puzzle and trigger more ideas, most likely for the rest of time.
Basic Channel heads Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald keep the burial mix series going with its most ambitious release to date - a collection of one-rhythm tracks featuring vocal contributions from Basic Channel collaborators old and new.
"See Mi Yah" is a classic collection of one-rhythm tracks, typical format and production approach in Reggae, featuring ten vocal versions and one instrumental of the See Mi Yah rhythm (an additional 3 are only available on the 7" collection), strictly roots!
After Paul St. Hilaire (formerly known as Tikiman) had lent his voice to quite a few Rhythm & Sound releases over the years, the starting point for this project was to work with him once again and also with his brother Ras Perez, their fellow Berlin based Dominicans Koki and Ras Donovan (also known from his collaboration with Mapstation), the Berlin based Jamaicans Freddy Mellow, Walda Gabriel, Bobbo Shanti, Lance Clarke as Rod Of Iron and Joseph Cotton aka Jah Walton.
With a toasting style heavily influenced by the legendary U-Roy, Cotton was a central figure in the jamaican DJ scene of the 70s and 80s. To cap it all off, on a visit to Berlin, the great Sugar Minott and Willi Williams (famous for Studio 1 classic Armagideon Time) did their versions in the Rhythm & Sound studio!
For each tune the rhythm is arranged and mixed differently. The legacy and genius of Basic Channel and all its myriad offshoots seems more relevant and important now than ever before, they have a knack of creating music that lives on in the listener's head long after voices, rhythm and sound have long gone. Highly recommended!!
'Versions' leaves out the vocal accompaniment and exposes the production as it drifts off into instrumental effervescence...
This second breathtaking CD leaves out the vocal accompaniment and exposes the terryfingly deep Basic Channel production as it drifts off into instrumental effervescance. The hallmarks are all there; Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald have already set the world ablaze once, twice, three, four times with their work as Basic Channel and the splintering into microscopic, heavyweight offshoots by way of the M series, Main Street, Chain Reaction, Rhythm and Sound and, of course, Burial Mix. It's hard to over-emphasise just how important their music has been to us over the last two decades and, for that matter, just how substantial their impact has had on everything that has taken place in electronic music since.
Following convention, each of these labels has offered a catalogue up on record (in this case 10" releases) before compiling the music. This is, in fact, the second Burial Mix compilation, the first "showcase" concentrating on the label's collaborations with Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, for its opening set of releases. This second installment divides itself into Vocal and Instrumental "Versions" (the Vocal tracks are collected seperately on a second release), displaying the last seven releases in their entirety, plus "Mash Down Babylon" (a new take on "March Down Babylon"), and features a by-now totally classic collection of tracks that in their time have all been singles of the week for us here.
Just thinking of the majestic exuberance of "King in My Empire", or the breathtaking space of "Making Histroy" makes it hard to fathom how this material hasn't really aged a day in all these years...