Slowdive’s Simon Scott unfurls a panoramic scene of widescreen strings and organ drone with a patina of autumnal crackle and drizzle in ‘Grace’ for Touch...
“Grace begins with a 12 string acoustic guitar fed into a modular synthesiser that spits out beautiful grains of sound that rise and fall like the sun. Textures build up and then slip away leaving a pipe organ playing and the church room recordings sonically revealing passing cyclists, rainfall and Cambridge bus station.
It shimmers like an oscillating river until the strings fade and the final third section slips in and a deep organ tone leads the tapestry of sound into field recordings, strings and processed instruments. The contact mics on the organ pipes are heard, floorboards and unidentified human sounds appear and the alarm call of a blackbird seeps into the piece.
Written recorded, mixed and mastered by Simon Scott at SPS in Cambridge. Strings performed and recorded at Green House Studios, Glendale, California by Charlie Campagna ('cello) and Zachary Paul (viola and violin). Pipe organ recorded at The Unitarian Church, Cambridge, UK.”
Mbulelo heads up a pair of killer, deep forward South African 12”s on Derrick May’s Transmat that recall everything from SND and Gábor Lázár to Anthony Shakir
On ‘The Robotic People’ EP, Mbulelo Mehlomakhulu effectively bridges Durban Gqom and Detroit house in killer style with the title cut’s brute low end offset by breezy but dark jazz chords, while ‘Orchestration’ sidewinds off between SND and Second Woman with breathtakingly fluid form, and ‘Panacea’ explores balmier, rhythmelodic percussion in sweetly charming style.
Killer fresh rap music from MC Yallah, backed with cavernous Jay Glass Dubs versions on Hakuna Kulala - the mean yung sibling of Nyege Nyege Tapes...
Kenyan, but Ugandan born and raised Yallah Gaudencia Mbidde a.k.a. MC Yallah oozes style inside the cold, sparse boom/crack and vaulted electronica atmospheres of ‘Ndi Mukazi’ - one of the most urgent yet deep, dark blue rap tracks we’ve heard in a minute - while Debmaster’s instrumental carries its weight beautifully well.
In a genius A&R move, Jay Glass Dubs is tagged in for two versions, vocal and instrumental, embedding Yallah in acres of spiralling psychedelic space ducking his ricocheting snares and sweltering electronics.
In the wake of ‘White1’, Sunn 0)))’s equally whelming ‘White2’ receives full remastering by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, re-awakening its ungodly spirits to utterly jaw-dropping effect
Building on the energies unleashed with White1, Sunn 0))) go deeper into the abyss of subharmonic distortion on White2 flanked by torch-carrier Attila Csihar ov Mayhem along with Dawn Smithson (from Rex Ritter’s former band, Jessamine), and fellow explorers Nate Carson and Joe Preston. Like White1, this set was originally intended to be acoustic, but fate worked its ways, leading the clan to a trance-inducing electronic conclusions.
Ask almost anyone who’s spent time with this one, they’ll might well tell you that Decay2 (nihilis’ Maw) is one of the most powerful Sunn 0))) tracks in their immense catalogue. Featuring seminal and hugely influential BM vocalist Attila Csihar reciting in Sanskrit from the ancient Indian Veda, and tied to their tarriest bass, together with Decay (The Symptoms of Kali Yuga), it towers over almost everything else imaginable, and still hasn’t been surpassed to this day.
Factor in the sky collapsing rifle of Hell-0))) - Ween, and the plasmic dubbing of Bassaliens, and you have one of this century’s first great Metal albums - a record by which to mark everything that came before it, and since. Now sounding closer to their original intentions than ever before, if you don’t know it, there’s never been a better time to go head-first into Sunn 0)))’s black hole.
Superb deep techno and ambient electronica from Yügen Disciple, a new name on Andy Lyster’s Youth following their blink-and-miss introduction to FUMU
Pretty flawless from any angle, the A-side features the systolic thrum and heavy-lidded pads of ‘IBEX 2 (MD-A02_XOX-101)’ and the spectral acid of ‘Luxury Flat’, while the B-side hearkens back to vintage Mille Plateaux daze in ‘Pattern Recognition’, and checks out with the sdancign dust mites of ’Shinkansen Blur’.
Big tip to fans of Shinichi Atobe, SND, Actress
The seminal eccentric maximalist composer uses a Moog to conjure something like a swarm of mechanical bees making a hive in your nasal cavity for the 50 minute entirety of Ttuunneesszz Duh Rruunneesszz.
The first of two sides by the venerable Charlemagne Palestine recorded using Surrey Uni’s extensive Moog Sound Lab System 55 set-up runs to over 50 minutes of swarming oscillators that ultimately sound like a grist of bees nesting in your noggin
“Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
These two releases come from our second ever UK lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings.”
It’s nowt less than avant garde honey for the mind.
Charlemagne Palestine first started using electronic instruments in his music in the late 1960’s when he bought two prototype ‘Buchla’ tone generators. “Electronic instruments were very rare & exotic in the 1960’s.There were Moog’s around New York state.
"But they were only in universities who preciously guarded them from us young composers. so after all this time visiting The Moog Sound Lab is like a dream come true for me…..to have so many oscillators all singing together is a truly beautiful experience. I am so glad i am still around and able to be making musics i first dreamt of 50 years ago”.
This release come from Moog's second ever uk lab session & is the first Charlemagne Palestine Moog Sound Lab. All electronic long form drone works from an archive of six recordings."
Sunn 0)))’s entrancing, crushing doom metal totem ’White1’, entirely remastered by Matt “The Alchemist” Colton for its 15th anniversary edition, including the beastly rarity ‘Cut Wood(ed)’ from their rare-as-heck ‘White’ box
Notably featuring guest appearances from Julian Cope and Joe Preston, White1 is an exceptional highlight of Sunn 0)))’s near-sacred catalogue of doom metal drone recordings. Originally intended as an acoustic album, the recording session took a different route towards psychedelic electronic experimentation, with the results originally issued in 2003 on CD and as a now sought-after 3-sided LP packaged in a pillowcase and including a sleeping pill.
In the same year of its release, this reviewer popped their Sunn 0))) cherry at Autechre’s ATP, which was nothing short of a life-changing revelation, seeing Julian Cope prostrate, front of stage, surrounded by candles and dry ice, flanked by axe-wielding druids clawing the most monstrous riffs this teenaged bean had ever heard.
On disc, you might not get the full visual glory of O’Malley, Anderson, Ritter, and Cope on stage, but provided you crank it loud enough at home, you can now come closer than ever to the void of White1, from Cope’s foul mouthed induction in the 26 minutes of My Wall, to the brainfeezing blend of traditional Norse vocals and the super rare appearance of Joe Preston’s achingly tight drumming on The Gates of Ballard - one of scant few Sunn 0))) cuts to feature percussion, and which still makes us want to knock down skyscrapers - and right thru the subharmonic ritual of A Shaving of the Horn That Speared You.
Always pushing it one step farther, this release also now includes the abyssal dimensions of Cut Wood(ed), their 2003 collaboration with Ulver which didn’t make the original LP, later found on the White box in 2006, and now retrospectively added to this definitive edition of a staggering masterpiece.
Matthew Herbert flexes his broken beat and discoid house chops on Accidental Jr with this reissue of a 1995 classic...
Taking a minute out from his soundtrack work, Herbert heads straight for the ‘floor with classic breaks percolated on a funk tip in ‘Rude’, along with the classic-sampling deep house blush of ‘Oo Licky’, and the warm, dusky house breeze of ‘See You On Monday’.
They don't makkkkkeum like this anymore!
Soft-touch, lower case ambient compositions. Good stuff...
“H.Takahashi, Tokyo based Architect and sound designer. ‘Low Power’ draws strands of Minimalism from the Japanese Minimalist works from the likes of Hiroshi Yoshimura and Satoshi Ashikawa, to masters such as Erik Satie and John Cage, and Ambient leaders Brian Eno and Roedelius.
His sound sometimes seems to be drizzling like rain, but still the feeling of refreshing sounds sinks pleasantly inside the body like a shower bathed after running 100 meters with full power.
A genuine melody gives a feeling that drifts in the water. The philosophy of simple timbre composition and placement makes me feel the composition of the Japanese garden and the minimalism of Sen no Rikyu.”
Ragged, off-centre techno sloggers from Bergsonist, following up Where To Now?’s ace Ben Vince LP
“Bergsonist is the moniker of Moroccon born and NYC based Selwa Abd. 'Solyaris' follows the self-released '' and a prolific slew of releases for labels such as Styles upon Styles, Borft, and Angoisse amongst others. For Selwa her uncompromising & otherworldly, hypno technoid creations aim to capture a given moment in time, contextualising her often direct, hugely affective, & unpolished approach to production.
'Conflict in Yeman' opens with a gambit of off-kilter percussive experiments & electronics, conveying a sense of determined urgency. Things grow more & more intricate & immediate as we progress - layers of disruption weave around a reoccurring 140BPM shuffle, anchoring Selwa's constant explorative concrete diversions.
'Former Alien who has been naturalized by a U.S Citizen' brings things down a notch - skittering drums linger below a truly haunting whispered melody, occasionally broken down by collapsed rewinds and thunderously raw in the red beat grit - to dizzying effect. Whereas previously 'Solyaris' had taken its cues from Drexciyan Detroit Electro 'Former Alien...' stands closer to a Fantastic Damage era EL-P instrumental rather than anything aimed at the floor.
The EP rolls out with 'Fidel Gastro', a structured & focused piece of Machine Funk & end of days drop cues, conjuring an effective mix of both euphoria & imminent dread.”
Tirzah pursues the slowest-burning soul feels on Devotion, the London-based singer-songwriter’s humbly singular début album, produced by Mica Levi and providing us with total life affirming summer listening - most probably the record we've listened to most this year so far, and one that lingers on and on...
Since her first solo 12”s and thru frequent collaborations with Mica Levi - including the Taz And May Vids  for DDS - Tirzah has quietly blossomed into one of the UK’s most precious and peculiar artists working at the fringes of experimental pop, post-grime and R&B, and Devotion is set to bring her love to a wider audience.
Plaintive and low key, Devotion presents Tirzah’s vocal in the most evocative light, framed by backdrops of bleary-eyed and bent vibes and the kind of half-finished, permanently work-in-progress production style that's become a calling card of her music and her tight knit crew including Coby Sey, Mica Levi and Brother May.
Album of the year? Aye, quite possibly.
Old skool and radgy-sounding house and breaks from Drummer B on Derrick May’s legendary Transmit label
‘In Case Yall Forgot’ reminds of Detroit house at its loosest and deepest with nods to Motown and Mad Mike, whereas ‘What That Jxxy Bout’ is built for the jits with fast-paced bass and sparking drum machines.
‘Again’ roots the sound back in Detroit jazz with a strong vocal by Jessica Care Moor, and the suspension-testing ‘Diamond’ rolls out on a wicked slow/fast flex compatible with the Autonomic sound.
Banging, funked-up Detroit techno on Derrick May’s Transmat label
‘Sunday on Saturday’ starts up with a killer organ-riding vibe for the Mad Mike / UR fiends, and ‘So B It’ follows with a loopy garage-house swing.
‘He’s Able’ brings the tempo and vibe up for a soulful burn, and ‘Here After’ settles back into a hard-working garage-house groove.
Split session of psychedelic excursions on Den Haag’s Bakk label
Bear Bones, Lay Low chase up their encrypted outing with the No ‘Label’ on ‘Dissolve Into The Night’, a 15 minute traverse of expansively widescreen desert psych with trundling caravan groove and a sort of ancient Aztec atmosphere.
Don’t DJ takes even longer on ‘Rag for Rudolph Rocker’, and again it’s not not about the destination but the journey, as he plays out myriad permutations of bustling, polymetric patter stealthily layered up with non-standardly tuned horns and woodwind in a way like Hassell and Reich emulating tropical breeze dynamics.
Dead solid breakbeat techno-house from Glasgow institution Wheelman, backed with an unmissable 313 electro-jit mix by D.I.E.
Following the angles of his 12”s for Studio Barnhus and Belters to tuff, deeper conclusions, Wheelman meshes rolling house heft with deep techno pads and ruder breakbeat chops on the wobbling bass axle of ‘Signal’, which D.I.E. refits as a percolated Detroit electro ace with funked up bassline and perfect 808 snare crack.
Wife and Mumdance wed Black Metal and power electronics as Bliss Signal with a whelming debut for True Panther Sounds
No half-stepping here, as both artists go all-in with the bludgeoning force and apocalyptic guitar noise of ‘Bliss Signal’, and again with ‘Swarm’, whereas ‘4AM Drift’ tends to a needling BM guitars and desiccated ambience with a knife-edge tension.
The first in a trilogy of vibraphone solo albums by Berlin-based composer Masayoshi Fujita.
"This quietly exquisite album is like a book of illustrations, evoking scenes of natural beauty and poetic poignancy that combines climactic crescendos laced with electronic detail and luxurious melody. Stories is the beginning of Masayoshi’s mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight.
Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound. Focussing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often under appreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one."
Chris Watson divines ghosts in The Moog Sound Lab’s System 55 machines, following in the footsteps of Jamal Moss, Mika Vainio and others on the Blue TB7 series
The eminent sound recordist and erstwhile member of Cabaret Voltaire here shifts his focus from capturing birdsong for David Attenborough to impressionistically document human animals in their natural, urban and industrial environments on ‘Locations, Processed’.
Attuned to the subtleties of everyday listening life, Watson intercepts and reframes sounds from undisclosed locations, almost imperceptibly processing and layering those isolated scenes into a sort of stealthily hypnotic dramaturgy of hyperreal, intra-dimensional scope.
Quite simply, it’s required listening for any and all field recording enthusiasts and industrial dreamers.
Silkie brings a dubstep drama to Deep Medi
One of the scene’s most singular artists, Silkie plays deep into and out of the now-classic mode with the brassy pomp and evil swagger of ‘Impervious’ leading to a very canny switch up into spy funk themes.
Flipside, ‘Reevea’ catches him updating the style with skittish trills and churning subs in a stunning sort of broken beat-electro-jungle twiss-up, and the pizzicato strings and 2-step tic of ‘Egyptian March’ come off like a stray instrumental grime bullet that’s just begging for a bolshy vocal.
Reissue of a forgotten japanese electronic, jazz and new age classic from 1986...
"When the 66-year old artist started to be a professional musician in the 1970’s, he quickly gained success as a versed studio instrumentalist and started to be part of the great modern jazz isao suzuki sextett, where he played with legends like pianist tsuyoshi yamamoto or fusion guitar one-off-a-kind kazumi watanabe. He also was around in the studio when legendary japanese jazz records like “straight ahead” of takao uematsu, “moritato for osada” of jazz singer minami yasuda or “moon stone” of synthesizer, piano and organ wizard mikio masuda been recorded.
In the 1980’s hamase began to slowly drift away from jazz and drowned himself and his musical vision into new-age, ambient and experimental electronic spheres, in which he incorporated his funky meditative way of playing the bass above airy sounds and arrangements. his first solo album “intaglio” was not only a milestone of japanese new-age ambient, it was also fresh sonic journey in jazz that does not sound like jazz at all. now studio mule is happy to announce the re-recording of his gem from 1986, that opens new doors of perception while being not quite at all.
First issued by the japanese label shi zen, the record had a decent success in japan and by some overseas fans of music from the far east. with seven haunting, stylistically hard to pigeonhole compositions hamase drifts around new-age worlds with howling wind sounds, gently bass picking and discreet drums, that sometimes remind the listener on the power of japanese taiko percussions. also, propulsive fourth-world-grooves call the tune and all composition avoid a foreseeable structure. at large his albums seem to be improvised and yet all is deeply composed.
music that works like shuffling through an imaginary sound library full of spiritual deepness, that even spreads in its shaky moments some profound relaxing moods. a true discovery of old music that operates deeply contemporary due to his exploratory spirit and gently played tones. the release marks another highlight in studio mule’s fresh mission to excavate neglected japanese music, that somehow has more to offer in present age, than at the time of his original birth."
Previously only released on cassette in 1985 on Carl Weingarten's own Multiphase Records, ”Living In The Distant Present” is now available on Vinyl for the first time. The album is a rare treat for fans of guitar ambient, tape loops and experimental new age music. File next to: Daniel Lanois, Popol Vuh, Fripp & Eno...
"Carl Weingarten is one of the unsung heroes of American minimalism. Even though he's been active for close to four decades, his work is just now starting to receive the praise it deserves. On ”Living Ín The Distant Present” showly shifting synth patterns is joined with his signature guitar playing – a tranquil, stretched out sound that blur the lines between played and processed, occasionally sonically closer to violins or flutes than guitars. Incredibly sparse and evocative, there's a tasteful zen-quality to these 12 tracks. Weingarten's compositions appear both timeless and tranquil.
”Living In The Distant Present” bridges the gap between the most cosmic krautrock of the 1970s, the experimental American new age music from the 1980s and modern day minimalism such as Windy & Carl and Christopher Willits. In his concern for sonic texture Weingarten's music resembles Brian Eno's ambient records, especially his collaborative efforts with Robert Fripp, where guitars are gradually looped and processed into shimmering clouds of sound."
Well, this is just lovely; Hiroshi Yoshimura’s soothing electro-acoustic ambient suite, Music For Nine Postcards  is made available outside the Japanese market for the 1st time, unfurling the Tokyo-based artist’s delicate, minimalist masterwork inspired by Satie, Schaefer and Eno to whole new generations in need of blissed sonic respite. Unless you’re a bit wadded or simply helpless to the charms of early ‘80s Japambient records and bought a dead expensive original, it’s maybe likely that you’ll only get to hear this one via YouTube otherwise, so the opportunity to hear this beauty in full fidelity, at a reasonable price, is not to be missed!
"Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs–a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy and Spencer Doran–is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues ofHiroshi’s works to follow in the future.
Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound.
His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture.
This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it.
Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly."
Released in the immediate aftermath of the runaway success of The Breeders’ platinum-selling second album ‘Last Splash’ and the Pixies calling it a day the first time round, The Amps are an important part of the Kim Deal canon.
"First intended as a solo project, The Amps instead grew into a fully-fledged band with Jim MacPherson from The Breeders joining on drums and Dayton, OH musicians Luis Lerma and Nate Farley on bass and guitar respectively. Releasing just one album, ‘Pacer’, in 1995 and after a whirlwind of touring with the likes of Foo Fighters, Guided By Voices and Sonic Youth, Kim returned them to the shelf, leaving behind one of her most intriguing chapters.
A glorious record whose charm has only grown since release, ‘Pacer’ captures Kim energised by a new band and no pressure, recording with purpose in seven studios with a different engineer each time. The resultant record is both raw and undeniable, with Kim’s songwriting arguably at its most cryptic and personal. Don’t be fooled by its casual lo-fi veneer too, underneath lies one serious record that never dips or lacks purpose."
Two years since 'Splazsh' topped a stack of annual polls, Actress presents his 3rd, and most coherent album, 'R.I.P' - his 2nd for Honest Jon's.
Despite being a vital cog in the machinery of underground UK dance and electronics since at least 2004 (when he released his 'No Tricks' debut), it's fair to say that it's only in the last few years he's made the shift from cult concern to acknowledged auteur of some repute. His work with Damon Albarn's DRC Music, beside a legendary DJ set at Sonar and killer remixes of Shangaan Electro, Panda Bear and Radiohead all certify the fact; so expectations are no doubt set high for 'R.I.P'.
Produced exclusively on hardware and inspired by Milton's classic poem 'Paradise Lost', he's arranged his most labyrinthine, esoteric release to date; a timeless set of 15 tracks traversing crystallized radiophonics and subterranean Techno with a psychedelic sideswipe that leaves us dazed and beguiled. By assimilating machine-like characteristics - his notions of "seeping yourself liquid into the machinery" and "I'm just an instrument, I'm completely dead when I write" - he's become an interpreter, a symbiotic conduit of semi-lucid visions into the interzone whose revelations contain the potential to manipulate your consciousness in magical ways compared to the prosaic intentions of so much bland and overwrought electronic music out there.
The newfound clarity and fluid narration of 'R.I.P.' makes this the most intriguing chapter in the Actress saga so far - an unmissable experience.
For reasons that will become lysergically clear once you’ve heard the samples, Midori Takada's sublime debut album Through The Looking Glass  is widely regarded the holy grail of ‘80s Japanese ambient & minimalist music. Perhaps it’s no wonder that 2nd hand copies are known to trade for over £600, and, therefore this deluxe reissue is welcomed by a whole new generation of listeners tracing this enchanted sound back to source.
Rooted in Midori Takada's fascination with Asian and African percussion traditions, Through The Looking Glass documents the Japanese musician navigating syncretic channels of practice between floating fantasy kingdoms and parallel ambient dimensions whilst guided by a deeply ethereal, oneiric spirit that’s utterly key to the album’s appeal. While it broadly falls under the ambient banner, the results are far too grand and ambitious to be considered sonic wallpaper - they’re more like widescreen tableaus that open out exponentially the deeper in you dive.
The image of a Lady Godiva-like character riding a hare-sheep-horse chimera on the cover symbolises the surreal confluence of ideas and gestures within; a Japanese musician translating Victorian psychedelic fantasies into a language of rippling rhythmelodies and softly pealing harmonics that nod to Pygmy music as much as gamelan traditions, the soundtracks of Cocteau films and precise marimba patter.
The rest, we’ll leave for your dilated discovery. Take it on trust that this is especially spellbinding and sui generis stuff without complete comparison. A dream.
Eleh shares this masterfully entrancing split with Caterina Barbieri, following in the shimmering wake of her extraordinary new album, ‘Born Again In The Voltage’.
Both artists entice a remarkably naturalistic yet patently synthetic sound on their respective sides, with striking harmonic similarities and timbral differences emerging thru their patiently minimalist, austere practice.
Caterina Barbieri’s ‘Bestie Infinite’ is initially Vainio-esque in its doomy asceticism, but her synthlines tend to keenly overgrow, overlap and curdle where Vainio’s were clipped, sustaining a stately stasis that gradually induces a levitating and expansive effect, if you close your eyes and let her music execute its magick.
Eleh’s side, ‘Wear Patterns’ works in subtle contrast with a poetic exploration of low-lying timbral topography. Again, it’s stately slow, but with a much more genteel appeal than Barbieri’s stealthy majesty, as Eleh keeps everything lurking between the sub and middle registers before only tremulously ascending into glowing upper frequencies in later stages.
Young Marco tweaks out two South African house gems for his Safe Trip label
Uptown, he pays attention to the rolling, percolating breaks and piano house keys of Madlak’s ‘Dance Forever’, and downtown he reworks the funky mid-tempo budge of Hot Slot Machine’s ‘Rhythm’ .
‘NTS Session 1’ is the first of four Autechre albums broadcast by NTS radio station back in April in 2018
Developed during live shows over 2017 and in the studio following release of ‘Elseq’, these are the first two hours of the total eight hour broadcast, which was originally split over the course of four weeks.
Following the lead of ‘Elseq’, here they also favour longer track lengths, giving room for their ideas to fully play out in a durational, amorphous manner that echoes the generative scapes of Roland Kayn, but heard thru the prism of abstract rave music.
A few highlights stand out from the batch, most notably for the dancers in the plasmic electro hydraulics of ‘four of seven’ with its gloopy bass and piquant top line, and also the tumultuous hardcore rufige of ‘north spiral’, but if you’re after that Ae melancholy, run check the diffractive hyaline dimensions of ‘32a_reflected’.
Official reissue of the original soundtrack of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1970 film noir classic Le Cercle Rouge composed by French soundtrack master Eric Demarsan, drawing from the orchestral spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet, abstraction and minimalism to create a hypnotizing audio landscape. The album boasts the participation of celebrated jazz players Guy Pedersen (bass), Daniel Humair (drums), Georges Arvanitas (piano), and Bernard Lubat (vibraphone).
"Starting as a collaborator of François de Roubaix and Michel Magne in the 60s, Eric Demarsan went on to become a mainstay of French cinema soundtracks, composing for directors such as Jean-Pierre Mocky, Costa-Gavras, and Patrice Leconte among others. He also recorded the cult album Pop Symphony (for Pierre Cardin in 1970) under the Jason Havelock pseudonym.
This is the original soundtrack to Jean-Pierre Melville's classic crime thriller Le Cercle Rouge, as scored by Eric Demarsan. Apparently, Melville requested that the music should give the feeling of being trapped by fate. Not the easiest notion to represent in music, I'm sure you'll agree, but the claustrophobic, complex jazz crescendos of 'Vogel S'Enfuit', and 'Sur Les Toits's pregnant tension certainly enforce an atmosphere of menace and impending peril. There are a few easier going jazz ensemble numbers littered throughout the disc ('Avenue Paul Doumer', 'Barrage Policier') but Demarsan's at his best when he's creating tension on pieces like 'Cercle Desincarne' or 'Le Parc'. This is one of those soundtracks that's eminently listenable as an album in its own right, divorced from its intended context, so comes highly recommended."
Andrew Hargreaves (The Boats, Cotton Goods) channels paranormal music in a hypnotic eulogy to infinity and ephemerality on the Tape Loop Orchestra’s penultimate Instrumental Transcommunications volume, a sublime choral treatment that comes highly recommended if you’re into Ian William Craig, Jóhann Jóhannsson or Max Richter.
Return To The Light’ emulates a cumulative swell of Electronic Voice Pheneomena imaginatively intercepted from the ether and arranged into a hauntingly affective symphonic chorale. Sharing conceptual roots with his peer, Sam A McLoughlin’s ace Tongues of Light project, ‘Channelled Messages at The End of History’, TLO presents himself as a sort of conduit, a spiritual lightening rod or a dark interpreter, who absorbs the messages encoded in the frequencies of ancient light and the electromagnetic spectrum, in order to transduce and limn their meanings to our mortal, temporary vessels.
The results are wonderous, otherworldly, blessed with the aching vulnerability and fragility that many listeners have come to adore in Tape Loop Orchestra’s music.
Enchanting introduction to the exquisite, smoky melancholy of a Japanese jazz and blues singer/songwriter/composer who collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and penned some 30 solo albums, yet is scarcely known in the West.
Born in 1942 in a small, northern Japanese fishing village, Maki grew up during the era of American occupation and cultural imperialism, eventually moving to Tokyo and nurturing a passion for the records of Billie Holliday and Mahalia Jackson, which would lead her to perform on US military bases and cabarets and subsequently cover many US traditional folk and blues for the Japanese market.
With her distinctive voice she's seemingly possessed by the spirit of her heroes - Billie, Nina, Mahlia among them - and apparently had the mysterious countenance to match her unusual aesthetic.
We'll have to take that for granted from Hitoshi Jin Tamura's photos and Alan Cummings' enlightening liner notes, but Maki's music remains the best gauge of her character, taking in big band experiments along with an amazing, sitar-lead psych-out, plus runs into modal, spiritual jazz and the kind of lounge styles that prompt imagery of Bill Murray or some lonely salaryman clutching a single malt in the shadows of a Tokyo bar.
Electro-acoustic maestro and noted mastering engineer Stephen Mathieu commits a decade of spellbinding work to ‘Radiance’, collecting 12 album length discs (total: almost 13 hours!) revolving around the concept of stasis, the unfolding of time and sustained frequencies, deep listening, and immersive soundscapes. We've barely touched the sides with this one but, boy, it's a compelling, deeply immersive ride...
Completing Mathieu’s most significant cycle of work in his twenty year oeuvre, ‘Radiance’ operates in a push and pull of reflection and absorption, using heat and light as metaphors for the synaesthetic qualities of sound, and how it is perceived by the listener not just thru ears. The title itself ‘Radiance’ also connotes a vast scale of timelessness, but also one prone to fade away, decay, and its from these polysemous readings that Mathieu draws a remarkable spectrum of interrelated yet variegated compositions.
As ever, Mathieu is effectively dealing with the metaphysics of sound, using an array of electronics and electronic processes to divine new life in old instruments and samples, getting right down to their grain and accentuating their normally imperceptible peculiarities and latent spirits. In a sense he’s tactfully highlighting the lustre of his sounds, brining out their unique qualities for the ear to feel.That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all shiny and seductive. Rather, the pieces’ textures range from blingy to coruscating and every integer inbetween, sharing a feel for and fascination with the infidelity of acoustic, mechanical, and electronic sounds perhaps only comparable with the likes of previous collaborators, Akira Rabelais and the GRM’s Kassel Jaeger, or Leyland Kirby, for example, within the contemporary field.
All 12 albums in the set were individually a year or so in the making, and thusly require patient, committed listening for full comprehension The time we've spent with it so far is enlightening, rendering truly sublime passages and moments in the multi-timbral shimmer of ‘Sea Song I’, and likewise in the tantalising, prickly haze of ‘The Answer VII’’, while the longer pieces naturally give broader room for his ideas to grow, and beautifully so in the likes of his heavy-lidded and keening drone panorama ‘First Consort’, while ‘To Have Elements Exist In Space (GRM Version)’ patiently and exquisitely evokes a state of weightlessness, and, at its longest, the hour long breadth of ‘Feldman’ operates with deeply uncanny, surface level tonal reflections, which, as glib as it may read, recalls to us the magick of looking out a bus window at night, where the internal reflections and external street lights create refractive, illusory dimensions to get totally lost in.
The slow gaze is key to this amazing suite, as it purposefully pulls away from the time-constricted demands of contemporary music consumption to offer a wide, open space where time moves differently and perceptions are readjusted, becoming malleable in the process. It’s not quick fix music, but when applied properly, the results endure.
Caterina Barbieri binds cello, voice and Buchla 200 modular synth in sweeping electro-acoustic panoramas on ‘Born Again In The Voltage’, her 2nd solo LP with Important following the resoundingly captivating ‘Patterns Of Consciousness’ .
Recorded at EMS in Stockholm, ’Born Again In The Voltage’ is arguably the Berlin-based Italian’s most distinctive release yet, demonstrating a hard-nosed yet romantic approach to electro-acoustic music that stands out from her field in a way perhaps best compared with a more chaotic parallel to Alessandro Cortini or Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, while also echoing the probing, contemporary styles of her peers and collaborators such as Kali Malone and Ellen Arkbro.
Naturally tempestuous but coolly controlled, the astonishing designs of ‘Born Again In The Voltage’ are testament to Caterina’s unique grasp of meditative, minimalist maelstroms. Using elemental, primary waveforms, pattern based operations and subtractive counterpoints, her music blossoms along polyphonic and polyrhythmic axes with a complex unpredictability and timbral density that is a richly psychedelic pleasure to experience.
Picking us up in the arcing swells of Antonello Manzo’s cello and the radiant pulses of ‘Human Developers’, Barbieri takes 12 minutes to arrive in oxygen-depleted altitudes, before letting the cello sound out in a melting Renaissance hall of mirrors in ‘Rendering Intutions’. By the mid-way point, suitably dazed and malleable, she really pushes the envelope with uncanny tactility in the viscous subharmonics and contrail contours of ‘How To Decode An Illusion’ coming off like Stephen O’Malley deep in the matrix with Keith Fullerton Whitman, while her latent techno side, previously explored alongside Carlo Maria in the Punctum project for Berlin’s Σ, comes blazing thru in the mesmerising undulations of ‘We Access Only A Fraction’, which will make a serious DJ tool in the right mitts.
Belgian composer Ssaliva strips it all back to essentials with poignant ambient pop results
After a string of his filigree detailed works for Ekster, Bepotel and Collapsing Martket in recent years, he’s clearly saved some of his sweetest stuff for Jj funhouse, where he fits very snugly amid the likes of Mittland Och Leo and Milan W.
According to the label, all 11 pieces on ‘Unplugged Vol.1’ were written on a “fake nylon-stringed koto for an imaginary court of internet angels”, and the vibe is effectively a sort of modern ambient chamber music, a flawlessly elegant and refined sound full of fleeting emotive prompts and gently curious melodic gestures that cannily blur distinctions, to our ears at least, between African likembe, Japanese koto and baroque harpsichord within its glassy imaginary space.
Continuing their ongoing mission to seek out old records and boldly go where no crate digger has gone before, Finders Keepers have excavated another essential piece of cinematic history.
"It has been exactly ten years since Finders Keepers Records rst liberated Luboš Fišer’s immaculate soundtrack music for Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders (Valerie A Týden Divu) from the vaults of the Barrandov Studio in Prague. As the inaugural release of an ongoing discography of previously unreleased scores from the hugely creative “Film Miracle” that occurred during and after the Czech New Wave (CNW), this score will always retain a special place in the heart of the label as well as our listeners who consistently request an updated repress of this signi cant vinyl milestone. Having grown in status from an obscure and misunderstood socialist-era art house oddity, via the hands of risqué foreign uff merchants, to nally and its rightful audience as a bona de surrealist cinematic masterpiece of world class standards, this 1970 lm adaptation of Vítezslav Nezval’s 1935 avant-garde novella (a lm that literally cross-pollinated Max Ernst’s A Week Of Kindness and Lewis Carols Alice In Wonderland) has garnered widespread critical acclaim.
Inspiring ongoing generations of visual artists, musicians, writers and lmmakers - all of whom regard this truly individualistic and inimitable surrealist lm poem to be an indelible in uence - Valerie continues to impregnate their daily artistic referential fabric."
The seventeen songs collected here come from The Fall’s Brix Smith era, aka “the golden era of Fall releases.” This is a perfect introduction to the band, and as legendary critic Robert Christgau said, it’s “The only Fall record any normal person need own”.
"The band’s legendary and notorious frontman Mark E. Smith passed away earlier this year at the age of 60. The band’s output since they formed at the height of the punk rock movement in Manchester in 1976 was prolific to say the least. It’s hard to be exact, but in their four decades, The Fall released 31 studio albums, 5 part-studio/part live albums, 32 live albums, 40 compilations, and Mark E. Smith also released two spoken word albums. Another high number is that of former members of The Fall. There were over 60 different band members over the years. Their high volume of quality work over the last 40+ years had an enormous influence which was extolled greatly after his death..."
Reissue of heavyweight boogie-disco produced by John Rocca in 1985, dished up on suitably heavy wax
On Be With Records’ 2nd Pink Rhythm reissue this year, make sure to listen up for the full fat disco of ‘More and More;.
Toronto/Berlin’s Nathan Micay, a.k.a. Bwana, returns via Whities. Sleek, rolling and tremulously optimistic, on the A-side he works with the agility and grace of a ribbon twirling rhythmic gymnast on ‘First Casualty’, whereas the B-side’s ‘Beginning Ballads’ is a teasing display of deferred gratification, rolling to cusp-of-the-peak tech-trance styles.
"Nathan Micay (formerly Bwana) steps out under his own name for the first time with a pair of glistening panoramas well-primed for those exultant hours of the early morning. The 12” opens with 'First Casualty’, aka *that* track played by Avalon in her Printworks set last year, before heading into deeper territories with 'Beginning Ballads’ on the flip. In Nathan’s words: "These are without a doubt the most personal tracks I have written to date. I made them as a sort of exercise in self-therapy during my first few months in Berlin. As time has gone on, more meanings have unfolded with each listen. For me, these tracks are a rebuttal to the endless churn of negativity in the news and online. They have become my battle cry in the club, something to mobilize while also offering a chance to escape it all, even briefly."
Some time around 20 years ago, Dub Surgeon made an absorbing album of beautiful dub infused with ambience, found sounds and horizontal rhythms. 'The Lost Future' was recorded at the former Amsterdam Film Academy, engineered and mastered by Ricardo Villalobos who put it through several vintage mixers and recorded it to 2 inch tape. Then, tragedy struck: a storm surged and ignited a fire that ravaged the studio. The master copy was thought to have been lost forever.
Dub Surgeon stopped making music and disappeared into the shadows after just two EPs on Future Dub in 2002/3. But one day, 15 years later, and totally out of the blue, he received a demo of The Lost Future. "Pay attention to this," it said.
Attached was a demo version of the long lost album which now, finally, has found a home on Dubai's Ark to Ashes imprint, so named in homage to the story of Lee "Scratch" Perry burning down his Black Ark studio to rid it of demons.
Newly mastered by Rashad Becker, the album adopts its full form as a killer dub excursion which, with hindsight, can be marked up next to other electronic dub classics of its era, arguably right up there with the first two Pole albums, but also wickedly prescient of wilder, out-of-the-lines styles to come from Jay Glass Dubs to Seekersinternational, and even flashes of Hyperdub and Burial’s more abstract, introspective moments.
Ramp Recordings’ Tom Kerridge a.k.a. Girls of the Internet on a low-key deep house tip, backed with an ace Finn remix
Check for Finn’s remix, one of the craftiest, teasing workouts in his small but growing armoury of aces.
ARP wraps up inspirations from Japanese ambient, 4th world electronics, jazz and kosmiche synth music into a luxurious suite of loungey psychedelia
“A mutant offspring of diverse stylings, unlikely convergences, unfixed constellations, ZEBRA, Alexis Georgopoulos’ – aka Arp – fifth full-length album, is a post-everything symbiosis of ancient to future psychotropics, emphasizing points of connectivity between far-flung traditions. ZEBRA is as naturalistic as it is alien, disrupting outdated boundaries between musical traditions, hierarchies and genre politics.
Using forward-looking production techniques and an idiosyncratic instrumental palette — analog synthesizers, double bass, Fender Rhodes, electronic and acoustic drums, flute, vintage harmonizers and tape delay — Georgopoulos proposes a vast, shimmering prospect, floralizing an array of styles and smiles — Fourth World tremors, vibey Cosmic Jazz, 80s Japanese production, floating kosmische drum atmospherics.
Emphasizing ‘points of connectivity’ in a time when reactive and fractious isolationism threaten in divisive ways, ZEBRA is the sound of interaction. ZEBRA seeks something beyond definition of singularity perspective and division. It is constructive instead of flippant: ecstatic instead of wallowing; clear-eyed instead of opiated, romantic instead of cynical.
Like the zebra, Georgopoulos’ latest album revels in contrast / duality – Naturalistic + alien. Urban + rural. Calm + unsettling. Lucid + mysterious. Bold simplicity + fiendish complexity. The result is a portal to a more curious world that compels repeat visits.”
Vital collection of vocal versions from three 12”s, plus three new and exclusive pieces, outlining the current, heavyweight Senegalese mbalax of Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, who’re now five years into their unique streak of stripped down drum, vocal and guitar syncopation. The production on this one is just ridiculous...
Forming a totally logical next step in Mark Ernestus’ pursuit of outernational rhythm & dub sound dimensions, in Yermande he basically channels, edits and diffracts highly complex drum patterns by cracks hot Sabar drummers with floating, earthen vocals in six arrangements that bristle with a discipline and energy which has been deeply preserved and learnt thru the ages; in effect helping to knot the loop of influence between West African drum traditions, Caribbean synthesis and diffusion, and digitised Detroit futurism.
If you’ve kept up with the series so far, then you’ve probably worked out set moves to the remarkable, ricocheting depth charges of Walo Walo and tussling B-line and poised vox of Mbene Diatta Seck on wrestling anthem Lamb Ji, which are both included in their original mixes here along with the sprung tri-step hustle of Yermande (Kick and Bass Mix) whose bouncing dub chords perhaps betray Ernestus’ earliest work strongest.
But, whether you’re new to the project or not, the three new parts are previously unheard; convening a duskier respite in the beautifully breezy prowling space of Simb (which was paradoxically ‘the most difficult one to mix’ according to Mark Ernestus), before Jigeen (meaning ‘Woman’) unfurls the most limber, stepping’ and rollin’ groove that swinges into the filigree hi-hats and grubbing traditional guitar chops of Niguel, last spotted in its deadly Groove mix, now with the calligraphic vocal signature of Mbene Diatta Seck.
Beyond redundant dichotomies of world music as happy/dark or raw/polished, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force are making music that matters from myriad emotive and physical aspects, relatable to your own rituals and feelings.
After crafting one of the most enduring albums of the last few years with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress sets his sights on the future with a crucial debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many, many years, this album was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between these shapeshifting tracks that's as loose as it is detached from the rest of the modern herd. Of the 14 tracks he's selected, we've previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us how good his most overlooked cuts can be.
From here in it's all about that next-level longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down the robo-boogie with 'Always Human'. Showing a teflon resistance towards easy categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by cyborgs sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every f*cking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress is only suffering from a surfeit of ideas and expanded technical expertise. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
Hugo Massien on a deep ’n rugged UK flex for E-Beamz following trips with XL, Tectonic and 17 Steps
Carving his own path thru the scorched ground of rave’s past, Massien keeps the pressure simmering and potent between the brooding breakbeat hardcore of ‘Where Your Body Begins’ and the beautiful weightless rave thizz of ‘The Only Constant Is Change’ on the A-side, while the flip brings a sort of pendulous acid-electro style in ‘Alien Shapes’, along with the pirouetting arp vignette ‘Circles (Going In)’, and the floating acid stepper ‘Faith In Chaos’ with its perfectly poignant vocal for the negative ecstasy crew.’
The ginger loon is back with some prime if fairly unsurprising material in ‘T69 collapse’
A classic AFX workout riddled with nanoscopic edits, time-signature switches and wild key changes, but somehow not collapsing under the madness of it all. If you haven’t already, make sure to check the video, too.