Scratcha DVA’s killer ‘DRMTRK’ series continues with guest vocals by Jessy Lanza and Lady Lykez lending a potent feminine pressure
‘DRMTRK 3’ finds Jessy Lanza eazing off DVA’s tuff percussive battery with feathered R&B delicacy, and ‘DRMTRK 4 (Who Want Smoke?)’ collapses into a plangent plead for green.
Lady Lykez jumps on the militant bashment of ‘Muhammad Ali’ with ferocious, focussed style, and ‘Fatherboard’ sidewinds off into Bassline-style antics with typically mental voracity.
‘Disappearer’ is Ron Morelli’s 4th album of grot for Hospital Productions.
The L.I.E.S. boss (and fellow Parisian resident Krikor Kouchian as co-pilot on a handful of cuts) produces his tightest, most hard-hitting material to date, from the gothic slime of ‘Narco Frq’ to the slurried ’Squeeze’, vacillating between heavy techno, kerb-crawling electro and passages of tonal terror with a persistent stare-down mentality, giving up highlights in primitivist knocks and coenobite chatter of ‘Laugh Taker’, the Prurient-esque squall of ‘Golden Oldies’, a recursive missile named ‘Hole In The Head’, and the gloomy creeper, ’Snow On The Headstone’.
‘Der Osten Ist Rot’ is a wigged-out 1984 treat helmed by Can’s Holger Czukay, with drums by his legendary bandmate Jaki Liebzeit and vital synth input from Conny Plank.
Now making its first official digital release, the 1984 album was Czukay’s 3rd solo side, proper, following from ‘Movies’ , and ‘On The Way To The Peak Of Normal’  in pursuit of an elusive, avant and pop-wise spirit that would also be explored on its follow-up ‘Rome Remains Rome’, before Czukay set off on two seminal ambient trips with David Sylvian in 1988-’89 (recently reissued and very much worth a look-see!).
‘Der Osten Ist Rot’ is perhaps most notorious for both its balmy, mis-leading opener, the strolling new wave pop bop of ‘The Photo Song’, and its title track, an exotica-tinged cover of the 1960’s Chinese national anthem, ‘The East Is Red’, which is likely a nod to his former tutor Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ‘Hymnal’ suite of mutated anthems.
However, the fun doesn’t stop with those two - the rest of the album is a madcap ride, coolly swerving from grooving, brassy avant-disco in ‘Bänkel Rap’, to a haunting organ and vocal piece by Michy (who also turns up on Czukay’s ‘Flux & Mutability’ LP with David Sylvian), and taking in the wild studio cut-up of ‘Collage’, along with the supremely crafty, weightless gait of ‘Das Massenmedium’ which, like album closer ‘Traum Mal Wieder’ strongly recalls his work on the cult ‘Las Vampyrettes’ outing with Conny Plank, while the uncannily prescient rhythmic concrète of ‘Schaue Vertrauensvoll In Die Zukunft’ also deserves a mention.
Four pieces for flute and voice composed between 1985-2018 by Mary Jane Leach, a pivotal part of NYC’s pioneering avant-garde community since the 1970s and an active member of the legendary DownTown Ensemble, working alongside peers including Arthur Russell, Ellen Fullman, Peter Zummo, Philip Corner and Arnold Dreyblatt, as well as devoting years to the preservation of Julius Eastman’s legacy since his death in 1990. Mary Jane's vinyl debut 'Pipe Dreams' arrived last year via the Blume imprint and completely blew us away, and '(f)lute songs’ is only her second vinyl release in over five decades, feeding and expanding our obsession with her work.
In the late 1970’s Mary Jane Leach was triggered by an interview she heard with Steve Reich in which he implored artists to figure out ways of becoming more self sufficient when it came to performance rather than relying on traditional group structures. At the time Leach had already began to experiment with recordings she had made of herself performing long sustained tones made on instruments she could play; mostly voice and bass clarinet, and gradually became fascinated by the sound phenomena resulting from layering tones on her multi-track tape machine. Reich’s thoughts, however, made Leach realise that she didn't have to restrict herself to instruments she could play and, in an indirect way, were the foundation for this album.
Trio for Duo (1985), was Mary Jane's first attempt at creating work for instruments she couldn't play; revolving around alto flute and voice. She explains "I had noticed that my voice matched the sound of the bottom fifth of the alto flute, and so the voice in this piece is sung to sound as much like an alto flute as possible. There are four parts, but only three play at the same time, one part passing off its last note to the next entering part, weaving a tapestry of matching and contrasting timbres. By using glissandos, more “extra-notated” sounds are created than appear on the page. I originally conceived of it with each part coming from four separate speakers placed in the four corners of a hall, but I realised that it sounds best on tape with a stereo mix.” The result is an incredible, highly engrossing study in phasing, the voice sung to sound as much like an alto flute as possible to the the extent that it becomes almost impossible to discern which parts are which.
Bruckstück (1989) was originally written for eight sopranos, but is played on flutes on this recording - using the same pitches, but sounding very different. It was commissioned by the Kulturamt in Köln to coincide with the opening of an exhibition of paintings by Jack Ox that were organised using an analysis of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. Mary Jane explains "The lowest parts (relatively speaking) represent the string section, using the same basic rhythm as Bruckner’s to set up the tonality throughout the piece. The rest of the voices represent the wind instruments. The piece is polyphonic, with a lot of closely resolving intervals - primarily major and minor seconds. Rather than writing linear melodies for one voice, I wrote melodies that are passed from one voice to another.” Dowland’s Tears (2011) was written for for nine flutes, thinking of it as a recording project and not a concert piece (it now has a “solo” tenth part added), while Semper Dolens (2018) is for solo and six taped flutes, with sustained harmony and dissonance in mind.
These recordings feature noted Roman flutist Manuel Zurria, who has worked with some of the most important composers around the world. In 1990 he founded Alter Ego, a leading group for contemporary music in Italy. Numerous composers have written pieces for him, and he has expanded the repertoire even further by re-orchestrating compositions into pieces for multiple flutes, as heard on almost forty albums.
If you're interested in sound phenomena or just looking for some of the most beautiful, avant garde music you'll hear this year; we reckon (f)lute songs is a bit of a masterpiece.
Stunning exploration of traditional Arabic music and electronic processing by pivotal Montrealer Radwan Moumneh (boss of the legendary Hotel2Tango studio), including unmissable meshes of rolling rhythms with spectral ‘tronics in ‘Bein Ithnein’, and Coil-like digital vocal manipulation on ‘Thaha, Mish Roujou’, Thahab’, along with entrancing theatric orchestrations of trad vocals, buzuk and zurna with synths and tape FX. TIP!
“Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH) is a project of contemporary Arabic and electronic music interwoven with 16mm film projections and light-based (de)constructions of space, exploring a relationship between music, visuals, projections and audience. With performances thus far occurring once or twice a year, no two JIMH events have ever been the same: configurations have ranged from solo to 35 participants, with varying degrees of stage theatrics alongside a film & visual component, using multiple projections to construct a space in constant flux. JIMH's vocals and purposefully blown-out sonic sensibility have been the consistent thread, but neither its music nor visual propositions have ever repeated themselves – one of the reasons why JIMH has resisted for eight years any official documentation or definitive recording of the project.
JIMH was formed in 2005 by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, a Lebanese national who has spent a large part of his adult life in Quebec and has been a fixture of the Montreal independent music community, from his early days in various notable 90s punk bands to his tireless activities over the last decade as a sound engineer, producer and co-owner of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango recording studio. Moumneh is also active in the Beirut experimental music scene, where he spends a few months every year. JIMH now consists of a core trio with French musician & producer Jérémie Regnier and Chilean visual artist & filmmaker Malena Szlam Salazar, whose two-year collaboration with Moumneh has resulted in the co-creation of JIMH’s debut album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.
JIMH forges a modern experimental Arabic music by wedding melismatic singing in classic Arabic styles and electronic compositions with contemporary electronic production. The album equally emphasizes the intimacy and narrative pace that focused, intentional studio recording allows. The result is a unique and profoundly emotive album of contemporary Arabic music, a stunningly subtle first record for a project that resisted documentation or any sort of fixity for so many years. Moumneh's voice has become a powerfully authentic instrument, and his production techniques applying distortion, tape echos and delays to varying degrees transmit a timeless intensity to the recording. Saturated synths and the overdriven signals of Moumneh's acoustic buzuk and zurna reinforce the reigning sensibility, providing a bracing counterpoint to the vocals and lovely, searching instrumental narratives in their own right. Szlam’s work was the source material for the album’s visual aesthetic. Szlam’s visual creation for the album derives from sequences that echo lunar notions and photographic intervals that reverberate and resonate, evoking the oscillation of time. Using frames from various hand-processed 16mm filmstrips, Szlam created a lunar sequence that consitutes the album cover artwork.
Inspired by the Lebanese educator Boutros Al-Bustani’s book Circumference of the Ocean, Mo7it Al-Mo7it signifies, in JIMH’s open and poetic interpretation, “Ocean of the Ocean.” The numeral 7 is pronounced like an h; all titles on the album are rendered in contemporary colloquial “mobile” Arabic (the transliterative characters used in Arabic phone texting). Thanks for listening.”
Melbourne’s Left Ear keep up a stellar run with ‘Antipodean Anomalies’, digging out 9 exceptional bits of mutant dub, plugged-in Estonian folk and Maori reggae from Australia and New Zealand c. 1979-1989
The A-side is focussed on vocals and rhythms, with outstanding moments in Olev Muska’s mad fusion of percolated drum machines and Estonian folk song in ‘Karjapoisi Lugu (A Shepherd’s Tale)’ and the gobsmacking blend of bullroarers (?), whistles and vox with stark drums in Ngahiwi Apanul’s remarkable Maori reggae mutation, ‘He Whakapapa’. The B-side is more synthed-out, with impressive pieces including the lilting ‘Green Chaos’ of Helen Ripley-Marshall and the rustic psychedelia of Rainbow Generator’s ‘City Of The Sun’.
“For musicians inhabiting the Antipodean countries of Australia and New Zealand during the 70’s and 80’s, it was a geographically and culturally isolating environment. Boutique shops, community radio and mail order exchanges championed independent and contemporary music from across the globe. It was, however, this isolation that caused a number of small community-focused scenes to evolve, creating their own unique interpretation and reappropriation of outside influences. Through both these scenes and government initiatives, a vast amount of music emerged on self-released and independent labels.
Yet, even among small scenes that were creating unique sounds, a number of artists seemed to be making music that was neither here nor there, often meshing together numerous genres and influences to create anomalous sounds. Artists like Olev Muska along with Ingrid Slamer meshed traditional folk songs of their Estonian heritage with cutting edge computer technology. Ngahiwi Apanui used his native language of Te Reo and a “cheap drum machine” to create a pulsating tale that highlights the creation of Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand); while the Free Radicals would sing through PVC pipes to construct their vision of post-apocalyptic tribal music. Sydney’s Nic Lyon used his classical training to craft a distinctive gem which matched eastern and African influenced instruments with syncopated drum machines, while artists like Delaney Venn and Toy Division managed to challenge their post-punk sensibilities by blending both dub and atmospheric sounds respectively.”
Yves Tumor lands on Warp with his debut album for the label; more popwise and polished than before, still pitched perfectly between the avant garde and the mass market...
Laced with guest vox and production from Croatian Amor, James Ferraro, Oxhy, Puce Mary and James K, on ‘Safe In The Hands of Love’ Sean Bowie a.k.a. Yves Tumor is the liminal, connecting spirit between a unique push ’n pull of samples and original instrumentation, acting like a porous transducer of style, tone and pattern that absorbs and amplifies lost (but not dead) light and energy and turns it into something wholly his own.
Where previous singles such as ‘Noid’, ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Licking An Orchid’ - the album’s core trio - distinctly nodded to Brit-pop and ‘90s ambient-pop pastoralism, the rest of the album curiously unfolds along those axes to take in nods to Warp’s earliest signings, N.O.W. on the introductory fanfare of ‘Faith In Nothing Except Salvation’, while ‘Economy Of Freedom’ opens out into futurist sci-fi soul, and ‘Honesty’ masterfully melds indie-pop and rugged electro-soul.
And it’s that polysemous definition of soul that continues to be the uniting ligature or filament to the rest of the album, from the raging black metal mutation of ‘Hope In Suffering (Escaping Oblivion & Overcoming Powerlessness)’, to big beat-y psychedelia of ‘All The Love We Have Now’, and the white hot, foaming shoegaze distortion of ‘Let The Lioness In You Flow Freely’, all cannily highlighting a sense of emotive mutualism that transcends style, credo, and vibe.
First ever vinyl reissue for landmark 1984 private press folk-psych album by Connecticut duo. Kath has been covered by Bill Callahan, Mark Kozelek, Devendra Banhart and others. Loren Connors has played with Sonic Youth and others. Includes digital bonus track.
"The extraordinary creative partnership of Kath Bloom and Loren Connors has haunted psych-folk fans ever since the early 80s. Kath taught herself guitar during shifts as a janitor at a New Haven cemetery, while Loren's free-form idiosyncratic style had been developing since the late 60s. Between 1981 and 1984, the duo recorded two live and four studio albums, mostly self-released in tiny quantities.
Early on, their music mixed folk and blues traditionals with a handful of Kath's vulnerable, moving originals. By the later albums the songs were all Kath's - her fragile voice and subdued finger-picking set against Loren's abstract but always supportive playing. Together the duo created a sound almost impossibly emotional and haunting.
Restless Faithful Desperate emerged in 1984, in an edition of 200-300 copies. As her creativity accelerated, Kath's songs became looser and more intuitive, but Restless contains one of her most gorgeously realised composition s Look at Me. Loren's long-term collaborator Robert Crotty contributes extra guitar on a couple of tracks. After reissuing four of Kath & Loren's albums on CD in the late 2000s, Chapter now embarks on the first ever vinyl reissues for these remarkable records."
The unceasingly ace Light Sounds Dark label looks to the dark side of the trip with an expert selection of drone and avant, vocal-based obscurities
By now as much an exercise in winding up scoggers as a genuine treasure trove of lysergic brilliance, whatever your standpoint, these guys are digging beyond the core into furthest deep space with every new release.
Aside from from the identification of Lidija Bajuk’s ‘Paun I Kolo’ on side D (at which point you’ll realise the rest of the LP also plays at 45rpm), all other material on ‘Configuration / Deployment’ remains to be named by you or your mates. We’d bloody love to know what that black hole on side C is called. Answers on a blotter sheet addressed to us, please.
30th Anniversary of The Fall’s 11th album ‘I Am Kurious Oranj’ Released by Beggars Banquet in 1988, it contains some of The Fall's most loved songs including ‘Cab It Up!’, ‘New Big Prinz’ and ‘Jerusalem’, which takes its lyrics from a poem by William Blake.
"The album was written as the soundtrack to an avant garde ballet titled ‘I Am Curious, Orange’, produced by the experimental Michael Clark Company and performed in London with The Fall playing live. As stated in the original ballet program, replicated inside this reissue, “Mark E. Smith is a history buff and admirer of Michael Clark, and ‘I Am Curious, Orange’ spawned the idea of a thematic delving into the foibles and little-known psyche of William of Orange.”
According to Mark E. Smith in his book ‘Renegade’, “We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film - ‘I Am Curious, Yellow’. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that’s within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some
people call it a gene pool. It’s as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don’t have to have been taught it. It’s in-built. At the time I wanted to put this across, basically as a loose explanation of what was happening in Belfast: it’s in the head and bones and there’s nothing you can do about it. I was on a roll at the time. I’m rarely short of ideas, and I’m not into preserving them much, either. If it’s in your head and you’ve got the right people around you them there’s no better time to tell the story.”
After 23 years out of print, FSOL’s definitive early ‘90s ambient-epic Lifeforms now returns to its natural habitat. Serving near-dangerous levels of nostalgia for almost anyone who came thru in the ‘90s, Lifeforms is set to soundtrack myriad afterparties and claim its place on a whole new generation of record shelves.
Originally released in 1994, a few years after FSOL had become a household name thanks to their debut LP Accelerator and its standout rave anthem, Papua New Guinea (and not forgetting Humanoid’s Stakker before it), Brian Dougans and Garry Cobain’s project really blossomed into something else with Lifeforms, where they consolidated a wealth of esoteric ideas and philosophies into what was effectively a new manifesto for psychedelic electronic music.
Whether unconsciously and osmotically absorbed, or dutifully studied and cherished by those cognisant of its brilliance, Lifeforms was almost unavoidably ubiquitous at the time, and inarguably worked its way into the popular consciousness in a way that electronic records rarely do nowadays. It was definitely a product of its time, and now, 23 years later, we can safely say it’s kept its charms intact.
Riffing on then-emergent themes of cybernetics, amorphous androgyny and artificial intelligence, together with nods to classic ‘70s psychedelia and kosmische - it features guest spots from Ozric Tentacles and Robert Fripp, and sampled Klaus Schulze - the results tapped into the era’s undercurrent of aerobic mysticism and eldritch new age spirituality to locate an unprecedented confluence of those styles which has influenced swathes of electronic dreamers ever since.
It’s techno-romantic and tech-gnostic in the lushest sense, a utopian beauty flush with the thrill of unknown futures, yet fringed with an MDMA come-down melancholy that’s totally crucial to understanding that era’s play and juxtaposition of energies. Quite simply, though: Lifeforms is an incredibly enigmatic and life-affirming album awaiting your (re)discovery.
Classic horror soundtrack fresh from the depths of hell - Clive Barker's HELLRAISER with music by genre composer Christopher Young.
"You know how the story goes; you pick up a strange puzzle box, try and solve it, and get pulled into hell where you're subjected to infinite torture by a guy with pins in his head. Bad day, bad day. But HELLRAISER is a gothic horror masterpiece celebrating the transcendence of pleasure into pain and the question of what can come after death. One thing's for sure: there will be blood. And rats nailed to the wall.
Young's main theme mirrors the Lament Configuration, the Rubik's cube of the damned that is the centre of all this bloody mayhem, underlining the seductive nature with violins before opening up with the full orchestra to foretell the true nightmare contained within. The score features industrial elements reminiscent of the band Coil (who were originally due to score the film) intertwined with the sensual gothic overtones illustrating the next level of gratification the box offers, and it explodes in the final act as Pinhead and Co. come for their student of deviancy. Composer Christopher Young wen’t back to the original reels for this anniversary remaster celebrating 30 years of the coenobites and the twisted mind of Clive barker."
‘Another Life’ is Amnesia Scanner’s hyperreal début album for PAN. The Finnish production/design duo’s most significant release locates their EDM/pop voice proper after a string of prism-pushing singles, EPs and mixtapes issued since 2015 by Young Turks and Gum Artefacts
Bending EDM pop with warped sound designer sensibilities and a sci-fi visionary’s lust for post-human possibility, Amnesia Scanner’s music has come to define its era with unflinching form. They embrace the most compelling, even grotesque aspects of hyper-commercial dance-pop with an accelerationist alacrity that’s also shared by the boundary-realigning styles of fellow artists such as Arca and Sophie, who, like AS, started out in the sound designer’s playground of mid-’00s electro and tech-house minimalism, but have evolved into something mutant, transcending and redefining conceptions of humanity in their music.
Informed by a singular perspective on technology and the way it mediates contemporary experience, ’Another Life’ is ostensibly binary in the extreme - you’ll probably either love or hate the upfront garishness and unapologetically cybernetic nature of their music. But on another level, the character of AS’ synthesised voice, known as Oracle, and their warped pop conventions, both inherently play with ultra contemporary ideas of ambiguity in a way that’s symptomatic of a socio-political climate dominated by notions of gender fluidity and fake news. In effect ‘Another Life’ can be heard as an attempt to locate the analog nature of human sensation within computerised systems.
The results are effectively an exaggerated, syncretic synthesis of current Caribbean dance-pop, nu-metal, and trashy electro-punk with all elements turned up to 11 on their virtual amp, presenting a shockingly surface level reflection of contemporary culture that’s revealed a line in the sands of time between listeners of differing generations, and how they read meaning into their music. In other words, AS are the ‘ugly’ sneakers of modern music.
Remastered reissue of the haunting score for a Belgian theatre production of the Greek myth, ‘Daedelus’. The operatic, choral vocals are excellent, and the music somehow has that playful yet melancholy Belgian what-do-you-call-it familiar to classics by Benjamin Lew and Steven Brown, or John Avery’s ‘Jessica In the Room of Lights’. Practically worth it for the drum machine driven closing cut alone!
“Like the wings Daedalus crafted for his son Icarus, John Gilbert Colman’s score for sampler, voice and chamber orchestra almost melted away completely, disappearing into the tides of time. The album originally served as the score to an avant-garde production of the Greek myth that toured the Belgian theatre circuit in 1986. Director Guy Cassiers cast the play with 45 developmentally disabled actors enrolled at the Krauwelenhof school in Antwerp, working for six months with the young actors (aged 12-17) to discover and develop their talents, creating (by all accounts) a deeply moving piece of visual theatre. Rather than using dialogue, Cassier used movement, costumes and music tell the fable, words were only present as text fragments within the score, spoken by members of the chorus or sung by Rolande van Der Paal.
Colman’s compositions elevate the experimental narrative with broad shifts in mood, utilizing a pop-concrète style by incorporating sampled squeaking balloons, environmental recordings, tuned percussion, drum computer, and voice to accompany the traditional small chamber instrumentation. The music is reminiscent of other avant-theatrical pieces from that era by Nuno Canavarro, Milesi & Bacalov, Todd Barton, Vito Ricci and Roberto Musci, while standing on its own as a unique and moving piece of minimal music.”
The king of Gqom and Wiley’s favourite DJ, Lwazi Asanda Gwala a.k.a. DJ Lag turns out another four bangers for Goon Club Allstars
Hypnotically minimal and built to demand, the ’Stampit’ EP follows from Lag’s eponymous 2016 debut and a recent, killer remix of Kelela to reassert his claim to the crown of Durban’s virulent rave sound.
It’s perhaps most useful for the super stripped down ‘Drumming’, a ruggedly sturdy drum trak that can be taken as an answer to Griffit Vigo’s ‘Ree’s Vibe’ - a big tune in Lag sets - but the rest of the set is prime, too, just in case you’re wondering.
From the lead-drop drums and skyward flute of ‘3step Culo’ to the plastic UKF-like horns of ‘Let’s Do This’ and the crisp conga rolls on ‘Switz’ this platter is rated 100% deadly.
Ryuichi Sakamoto expands on ‘Async’ album track ‘FF’ , along with a brand new piece ‘School in Paris’ on this audiophile quality 12”, cut at 45rpm for optimal sound representation (and time-slowing 33rpm options)
Picking up where the tremulous hyaline harmonics of ‘FF’ left off, ‘FF2’ coaxes trembling timbres from woodwind and synths into an intoxicating high register drift recalling shadowy moments of ‘SAW II’ or even the ghostly melancholy of David Lynch’s Eraserhead score.
‘School in Paris’, is, as you may infer from the title, a field recording of kids at play, albeit processed to lend a starkly detached quality, as though the kids are off out of sight somewhere while Sakamoto performs alchemical experiments or bumps into things in his kitchen and a synth piece plays from another room.
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield.
The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
Released in September 1978, a mere two months before YMO’s debut, Cochin Moon is a clear precursor to the groundbreaking synth and sequencer-dominated sounds that would come to define the iconic trio. Credited to Hosono and Pop Art legend Tadanori Yokoo (who created the cover art), Cochin Moon is a fictional soundtrack to a journey into unknown worlds, inspired by Hosono and Yokoo’s trip to India. Initially the album was to be a kind of ethnographic musical document, using found sounds and field recordings made by Hosono himself. Instead, after Yokoo introduced Hosono to the sounds of Kraftwerk and krautrock during the trip, Cochin Moon became something much stranger.
Created almost entirely on synthesizers and sequencers with the help of future YMO collaborators Ryuichi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake, the music on the album is the perfect encapsulation of Hosono’s concept of “sightseeing music,” transporting the listener to an exotic place that may or may not exist. This highly sought-after album sees its first-ever official release outside of Japan. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums.
After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent.
For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career.
Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), who made their debut in 1978. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
Raw yet sophisticated deep house, acid and electro clearly schooled in the classics, from Glasgow’s Stephen Lopkin
Continuing a run of Gaelic-located or themed titles for M>O>S, Clyde Built is perhaps the definitive batch of Lopkin's emotive and puristic style following ‘The Haggis Trap’  and ‘Meall a’ Bhùiridh’ .
Nodding to Glasgow’s heritage as the entry point for so much imported American dance music as well as its industrial past, Lopkin forges 10 aces over two plates, with divine results inspired by Detroit classics in ‘Fragments of Yesteryear’ and ’Stupid Humans’, along with the lush house traction of ‘White Corries’, some B12-esque electro in ‘Decades’, and a heavily seductive stripe of Reese-bassed techno in ‘Fridays at Pure’, at Carl Craig-goes-Italo flavour in ‘Welcome To Nowhere’.
First ever pressing of a 1975 psych throw-down by soon-to-become important members of the Belgian wave underground; Alain Neffe, Guy Marc Hinant, and friends
“Something undoubtedly cosmic but with a DIY, home-made edge: a cosmos for sure, but dirtier than clean, noisier than technology-based. All songs are unreleased. Recorded and mixed in March 1975. After some years rather cosmic and raga-esque music, Kosmose slowly began to explore some more experimental and noisy sonic expression. At the time, the band only owned a few instruments and sound effects and, no drummer. They used to play long tracks in order to follow the trend of the alternative music of the period -- remember, this was 1975. The event was a total spectacle with an inventive light-show including a stroboscope and a frantic projection of strange abstract slides on a giant screen by Freddy Pourcel. Some incense was burnt time-to-time. Personnel: Alain Neffe - monophonic synthesizer, flute, primitive rhythm box, bell, clumsy voice, tarang; Francis Pourcel - bass, bass with violin bow, electric guitar; Daniel Malempré (aka MAL) - electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar.”
A double LP set from Manchester electronic music pioneer Eric Random. Best known for his early recordings for New Hormones and Les Disques du Crépuscule and collaborations with Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Cabaret Voltaire and Nico.
"As an original member of The Tiller Boys with Shelley, Random injected a healthy dose of Krautrock into the dour Manchester post-punk scene in 1978/79 before going solo the following year. Random’s first 7” “Subliminal”/“23 Skidoo” was released in 1981 via Les Disques du Crépuscule and explored ominous sonic surrounds. That same year also saw the release of a second 7" single on New Hormones, “Dow Chemical Company”/ “Skin Deep”. Both tracks offered bubbling, rhythmic sound patterns, and were the first to feature other musicians that would become know as The Bedlamites.
Consisting of Lynn Walton on vocals, Ian Runacres and Andy Diagram of Dislocation Dance, and bassist Wayne Worm, aka Wayne Sedgeman. Their debut 12” single “Subliminal Seduction”/“Bedlam-a-Go-Go” was released in 1982 through Plurex, mixing arid funk textures and sparse melodies. That same year the group contributed proto chill-out track “6.55” to Plurex compilation ‘Hours’ and the highly filmic track “In Cassette Conference” to the Touch cassette package ‘Feature Mist’. In 1983, Random spent several months in the Himalayas with a group of musicians from the Kulu Valley and studied non-Western instruments such as tabla. On returning to Manchester, Random convened a new group of Belamites including Walton, Sedgeman and drummer Graham Dowdall aka Dids of Ludus. They released the 12” single “Mad As Mankind”/“Dream Web Of Maya” in 1984 on Cabaret Voltaire’s Doublevision, embracing electronic, industrial and dub styles. In 1985 they contributed the soothing “Pure Power” to Food Records’ “Imminent Episode One” compilation. Our reissue also includes 4 unreleased bonus tracks from Eric’s archives recorded between 1981-1984. The whole set adds up to 115 minutes of sinister, somnambulant Random music. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
Gunning for most concise artist/album title of the year, SW’s 2nd ‘LP’ plumbs the depths of analog electronics in pursuit of a mercurial techno muse
Stefan Wust a.k.a. SW’s sophomore album follows the lines of his widely appreciated 2016 debut into characteristically off-centre and heady spaces that don’t necessarily fit any paradigm other than his own, and the sound he shares with SUED label mates SVN and Dynamo Dreesen.
In six parts he carries his weight elegantly between the ghost-in-the-machine voices of the opener, thru a spot of pendulous Hi-Tech Jazz IDM, to land in explore diffuse sci-fi bleep ’n bass coordinates before mellowing on the B-side with a lovely run from B12-esque electronica to acidic dream house and a steeply opiated, subbass-heavy ambient melter.
Archival Scanner work recorded in mid ‘90s with involvement from Jim O’Rourke and Robert Hampson (Main, Loop)
“There were three performers and one witness. I can remember this day so well, even though it was some twenty-four years ago. Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk. Introducing sounds to the mix, unexpected, unpredictable, where the accident reigned supreme. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss. Mike Harding from the Touch label stood silently, listening intently. A couple of years earlier we had set up Ash International, an audio project which allowed to release unusual and exploratory music and sounds that we felt deserved a wider audience, from Runaway Train to the early Scanner releases.
Two mixes were captured directly onto DAT tape. One of which would be officially released as Ash 1.7 Mass Observation, an EP that featured a 25 min version of one of these sessions, but until today the second longer expansive mix has never been heard. Each quite different from the other. Dehumanised communications, beatless, radio signals drawn in live to tape, and accompanied by dial tone pulses and abstract textures, Mass Observation is a highly suggestive picture of a particular place in a city at a very specific time. A form of Sound Polaroid as I tended to call such recordings.
This early body of work of mine, in the early and mid-1990s was a study in surveillance. Long before our concerns about data leakage at Facebook, and Siri spying on our private moments, I used the scanner device itself - a modestly sophisticated radio receiver - to explore the relationship between the public and private spheres, lending a deep sense of drama to these found cellular conversations within a contextual electronic score. In many ways, this work pre-empted our reality culture, as it exists today, with our TVs now saturated by Love Island and Big Brother.
In the experimental techno uprising of Britain in the mid-1990s this work proved controversial and memorable. Bjork sampled Mass Observation controversially for her Possibly Maybe single, whilst Coil and Aphex Twin bought radio scanners and introduced these found voices into their recordings, whilst I continued to create work in this grey area of ambient sound. It’s work that still carries great meaning for me, opening up possibilities with sound and introducing the human voice back into experimental electronic music.”
The long-awaited return of Regis’ killer, slower CUB alias, featuring guest input by Simon Shreeve aka Mønic / Kryptic Minds. Tough, elastic hybrids of industrial techno and D&B rolige...
Where O’Connor’s original pair of CUB 12”s worked at an unusual 113bpm flow, and included killer remixes with Ancient Methods under their Ugandan Speed Trials (UST) alias, the project’s 3rd outing feature a reshuffled personnel and a broader range of tempos while remaining true to the original, grungy CUB aesthetic.
A-side, with D&B-turned-techno producer Simon Shreeve on board, the pair push the gauge to 125bpm on Seeing From Above for a proper, roguish shoulder barger activating reinforced drums and syncopated bass into a nightmarish space ripe for the dancers.
B-side, they return to the project’s slower tempos with the grumbling subsidence of Informal Beauty exploring a sagging rut of prolapsed bass below aching blue drones, and Primitive Sleep finds them all hands on deck for a dry, scaly, and stony-faced drill that sounds like the Regis remix of Ike Yard’s Loss that just found itself in a Berlin or NYC darkroom and doesn’t quite know how it got there.
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Another sterling collection of Parmegiani’s “lost tapes” spanning 1966-1990, ‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ circles 17 poetic and versatile works from the legendary GRM and ORTF artist/technician’s sidelines into work for TV, film and theatre choreography, expanding the themes of his recent ‘Rock (Bande Original Du Film)’ and ‘La Soleils’ reissues
Whilst deeply appreciated for his pioneering efforts in shaping electro-acoustic music at the GRM (with best results found in his priceless ‘L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD’ set), Parmegiani first cut his teeth at ORTF, France’s national broadcaster, and also wrote a lot of sound for theatre and contemporary dance choreography.
‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ offers a vital bridge between Parmegiani’s more academic, concert-based works for the Acousmonium system at GRM, and his artistic/commercial endeavours, documenting a body of work where his razor sharp skill in editing and illusive spatialization meet more melodic gestures and brilliantly proto-technoid rhythms.
There were clear hints of this style in the ‘Bande…’ OST, but they most captivatingly come to the fore in this follow-up, most notably on the pulsating brilliance of ‘Versailles… Peut-Être II’ , one of the sharpest pre-echoes of the ‘80s we’ve ever heard, along with the inimitable clarity of his pranging percussion and highly visual editing on ‘Image De Marque I+II’, and the Black MIDI-esque spirals of La Guerre Des Insectes I’ , for example.
Forged Prescriptions is a double album by Spacemen 3, containing alternative takes and demo versions of songs from their album The Perfect Prescription, plus some previously unreleased tracks.
"In his liner notes, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom says this release presents the album's songs in their "full guitar laden versions with all the layers of beautifully streamlined guitar — considered by us to be too hard to replicate live and therefore reduced for the original release." “For me, this is where Spacemen 3 song writing came to a head - many of these songs pre-dated "Sound Of Confusion", some were even recorded at both sessions, but I am still impressed mightily by Jason’s lyrical genius on originals like "Walking With Jesus" and re-writes like "Come Down Easy" and his fluid guitar playing across the whole sessions. To be sure "Playing With Fire" was soon to be our long and sultry Indian Summer but "Perfect Prescription" was the progeny of that hot, lazy (and occasionally rainy) summer.” - Sonic Boom.
Wickedly bugged-out, noisy and pulsating minimal wave experiments from 1982 Canada, originally issued on tape and now dished up on vinyl for first time thanks to Dark Entries
“Jon is from Winnipeg, Canada and got his start as half of the synth noise duo Dialog. In 1981-82, while studying for a BA in Film Studies, he would go to the studio and practice. No writing or patch memories, composing on the fly. His set up consisted of a Minimoog, Oberheim Two Voice, Roland RS-202, Roland Space Echo, EML 400, Roland DR 55, Roland System 100 mixer.
After playing some of the songs to Impulse Records store owner Roman Panchyshsyn, he agreed release the album on cassette on Contagious Records. Primarily influenced by the German school typified by artists such as Conrad Schnitzler and Kraftwerk, Jon's music exhibits the cold machine ethic of the neumusik. The 12 instrumental tracks are stark and minimal, at times anxious but overall space orientated and flexible. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.”
‘Solipsism’ writes a line under Mike Simonetti’s tenure at IDIB, the label he co-founded with Johnny Jewel in 2006 and brought to worldwide acclaim, before leaving in 2013 to pursue solo work and the Pale Blue project at his 2MR label (Two Mikes Records) with Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks
As one of those characters who naturally shapes the wider world, before humbly moving on the next project, Simonetti has lead an illustrious career arc from his days at punk label Troubleman Unlimited to his crucial role in establishing the resurgence of disco/synth/soundtrack styles which strongly prevail in 2018.
The 12-track ’Solipsism’ clears Simonetti’s archive of unreleased goodies conceived for TV commercials, runway soundtracks and film scores during his tenure of IDIB, where he released his debut album ‘Capricorn Rising’ in 2011. The set spans entirely unreleased business, including a stack of tracks made for a thwarted Hollywood movie project and one outtake from ‘The Magician’ sessions.
DJs and dancers should listen up for the sublime slow disco pulse of his ‘Through The Clouds’ ace and the ambient techno suspension of ‘Los Angeles’, while lovers of the cinematic IDIB aesthetic will get their kicks everywhere from the slowed-down Gqom-like sci-fi pressure of ‘A Prayer For War’, and the drizzly introspection of ‘Requiem’ and the soaring Tangerine Dream-esque ‘Acceptance 2’.
‘Electrucs’ is a previously unpublished LP of works by former INA-GRM chief François Bayle, recorded 1974-1995, and now finally issued on the 60th anniversary of the world-renowned facility he managed between 1966-1997.
Comprising four distinct sections of acousmatic study ranging from playful AKS Synthi “hand games” to the blooming ‘Rosaces’, a test-piece for the Acousmonium, and a dedication to his peer, Bernard Parmegiani; ‘Electrucs’ follows Recollection GRM’s series of Bayle reissues to offer a diverse and spellbinding survey of his pioneering work spanning the past half century.
The A-side is taken by 10 oozing, viscously shapeshifting ‘Electrucs’ that give the LP its title, rendering a series of highly dynamic pieces made on the Synthi AKS between 1974-2018, and veering from chaotic polymetrics to pulsating, almost melodic vignettes, and many moments of tense, atonal abstraction that wouldn’t sound out of place on a good hour or thriller soundtrack.
The other side breaks down to three distinct sections. ‘Cinq dessins en rosace’  is a five part study of increasingly complex geometries, transiting from sharp, simple oscillations to filigree, spatialized arrangements of electronics and keys. ‘Foliphonie’ [1974-2011] follows with a beautifully alien scene of chirruping voices and whirled woodwind originally hatched for use on the GRM’s Acousmonium speaker/diffusion system, and ’Marpège’ [1995-2007] finds him dissolving a trace of Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘Sonare’ into sonic delirium.
The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
"Released in 1999, the album “The Beta Band” followed the critically acclaimed compilation “The Three E.P.'s” (1998). With high anticipation for The Beta Band, the band originally planned to record the album in four separate continents, but financial constraints slimmed the recording locations down; however, the album was still recorded in a variety of locations and pulling inspiration from sources as diverse as Jamaican reggae, Disney's movie “The Black Hole” and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
The band also originally intended the album to contain a bonus disc of two long form ambient pieces, ‘Happiness and Colour’ and ‘The Hut’, both of which lasted over 20 minutes and represented the band's desire to "make a record of sound as a description for something like happiness, where a distinct first part gives way to a distinct second part”. However, the band and label ultimately decided to remove these tracks from the album prior to release."
Frank Tovey's debut album emerged upon an unsuspecting world in 1980.
An urgent, forward thinking and spikily melodic attack on pop music, it's often hailed as groundbreaking and would gift the quickly established and evolving Mute roster with one of its most demented and compelling voices.
'Fireside Favourites' notably features Mute mainman Daniel Miller assisting on sequencer and Electronic Percussion, but the real star has to be Frank's indomitable vocals, careening between sardonic sneers, deadpan monotone and unheimlich exhortations.
A reissue of the 4th full-length from Carolyn Fok / CYRNAI, an Asian-American female solo artist from the Bay Area.
"Carolyn’s adventures in sound began with recording stories on a tape recorder at age 9 in 1976. A short time later, exploring the scattering of musical instruments and effects units her father left lying around the family home. She became especially fascinated by his TEAC reel-to-reel recorder that set off a lifelong fascination with sound design. By the age of 16 Carolyn had become inspired by industrial electronic act Cabaret Voltaire, as well as anarcho-punks Crass. Creating the stage name CYRNAI, a rearranging alphabet of Carolyn Fok, she played in several Bay Area bands including Treason, A State Of Mind, Trial and Rhythm & Noise between 1983 and 1991. By 1988 Carolyn’s recording gear had many changes and upgrades, from cassette 4-tracks, 8-track reel-to-reel 1/2 inch, a TASCAM 388 to DAT, to floppy disk sampling. She spent three to four nights a week developing sequences for 14 hours from 10pm onwards. Samples would sometimes begin on a Synclavier keyboard with its sophisticated sequencing capabilities.
Her fourth album, ‘To Subtle-Drive’, was self-released in 1988 as 8 untitled songs spread across a 30-minute cassette. Then in 1989 Carolyn discovered the first Digidesign digital recording software and changed the project to have more ethnic sounds and samples stemming from tapes collected during a trip to Egypt. In 1990 ‘To Subtle-Drive’ was re-released with 2 songs from the 1988 release and 4 new compositions. This reissue adds 5 bonus tracks recorded during the same period spread across a double LP set."
Canada’s modern day answer to Arthur Russell and Paul Simon; Sandro Perri unfurls a wonderful new album of syncretic disco, country, and ambient-pop in his ever-charming style following recent avant escapades with his Off World group
The teasing edit of lead single ‘In Another Life’ is rolled out to a full and immersive 25 minutes of giddily uplifting electronics and softest blue eyed soul vocals inside, firmly set to soundtrack balmy evenings everywhere, while ‘Everybody’s France’ is a gently psychedelic three-part tapestry lilting from folk-soul sung by Sandro in the first part, to bring the huskier tone of Andre Ethier on board for the Leonard Cohen-like kitchen sink observations and shimmering meld of lap steel guitar and lapping congas in Part II, with Dan Bejar of Destroyer joining in for the 3rd part of woozy psychedelic country.
“Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” (Boomkat) and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.”
Earthy, grubbing, latin house styles from a new duo on Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery’s Incienso label
“People Plus are CZ Wang and Joli B., signalling from a studio and or Hut in some remote location. Their debut EP consists of three trips into time in just as many styles.
Side A belongs to “Olympus Mons”, a song as big as the mountain its named from. Snake charmer synth lines and vocal roars backed by the baddest rhythm section in a while… wait for the solo! The B side holds “Work It Out”, with broken 4-off-the-floor drumz and revving echo effects. Taking the coveted B1 spot is the always dancefloor smashing “Second Cycle” - A verified banger that opens up with ground shaking acidish filter bubbles, and closes somewhere way up above the clouds.”
Batu’s Timedance gang up a first label showcase placing established artists such as Bruce, Ploy and rRoxymore alongside new names; Rae, Neinzer, Nico , Clerya.
It’s a full spectrum ting, taking in weightless tonal experiments with Bruce’s Let’s Make The Most Of Our Time Here, and gaseous ambient dimensions from Ploy, while newcomers make their presence subtly felt in the likes of Cleyra’s superb broken beat percolations and a grubbing Afro-dub winner from Nico called Soft Opening, with Simo Cell tending to more rugged ends on the gritty dancehall wine Consider The Internet, and Via Maris keening into a sort of Radiophonic techno on Side Effects.
Strong showing from some of the UK’s most crucial bass music innovators.
Second ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s first record
A collection of early demos and live recordings from 1979 gig also starring Joy Division and The Distractions. Produced by Martin Hannett, mixed by Tony Wilson.
Brian Eno and Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) conjured the cosmic torch song of ‘The Weight of History’ and the epic bluster of ‘Only Once Away My Son’, available to download for the first time since that RSD 12".
Now all non-turntable owners get a piece of the action on digital formats, spying Shields channelling David Sylvian in the rich baritone vocals that float over folksy string whines and spirit-engulfing drones carrying ‘The Weight of History’, before he shuts up and lets the instruments and electronics do the talking in a widescreen scene of solar flare distortion and signature inharmonic bliss called ‘Only Once Away My Son’.
The KVB present their 2nd LP with Geoff Barrow’s Invada, making extensive use of the producer’s enviable collection of classic synthesisers.
They’re still gauntly minimal, but robed in deeper layers of lustrous analog electronics, whilst the guitars and machine drums rasp thru with a controlled aggression and swagger.
Their glam fan favourite Never Enough makes an appearance at the album’s core, flanked by the gothic charge of In Deep and the pulsating, diesel-fuming highlights of Awake and V11393, and the duo’s cinematic influences and potential becomes clear with the night-vision gaze of Mirrors.
Pessimist comes in from the dark with two dreadnoughts on his freshly-minted, self-titled label
The first proper follow-up to his ‘Pessimist’ album follows down dank alleys of crushing breakbeats and fetid drones in both parts. Think Rob D meets The Underdog in an abandoned warehouse kinda vibes.
A-side, he rolls out rugged and scowling drones for a proper into-the-‘00s feel on ’SPRTLZM’, before the B-side reinforces that aesthetic with a more gutted sound design, leaving ghostly traces of breaks mired in treacly subbass pressure, waiting for a DJ to blend in on the offbeat...
Ryuichi Sakamoto presents his original soundtrack to Rage「怒り」, a Japanese murder mystery by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-Il, his second film adaptation of popular novels by Shûichi Yoshida.
Predating Sakamoto’s work on the immense, panoramic OST for The Revenant with Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner, his score to Rage is a far more intimate and finely melancholic affair, reflective of the film’s shifting themes exploring identity and the malaise of contemporary society.
The main title theme is a memorably symphonic swell of lustrous strings and keys riven with he heartbreaking emotion Sakamoto specialises in, while the rest of the suite is swept between grand instrumental gestures and subtler electronic gilding, feeling out a filigree spectrum of emotions from noirish paranoia to genteel, glitching romance themes.
Hype Williams instigator and now solo raconteur, Dean Blunt, sidesteps preconceptions with a quietly psychedelic, sparse and sensual third album.
In 'The Redeemer' he tends to a wipe-clean soundworld of lite jazz fusion motifs, bluesy guitar wisps and new age synth gelled together with dreamy sound FX and distressed ansafone messages whilst nonchalant, confessional vocals dictate a drowsy internal narrative. It's a sort of surreal soul scape simulacra, an adult contemporary fantasy as seen and heard from a detached perspective, a fact accentuated by the intangible, voice-in-your-head mixing and Blunt's lounging-about-the-flat delivery, together with occasional female partners and synthetic chorales.
With 19 tracks in just under 45 minutes he's constructed an intricacy of ideas that's going to take more time and insight than we've got to fully unravel its cypher, to unweave what we may perceive to be ambiguity, or equally, a sort of provocative sincerity, but either way we're left totally beguiled and enchanted after a few listens. As glib as it may seem, the closest aesthetic comparisons we could make lie with 'R.I.P'-zoned Actress, Laurel Halo at her sparsest, or the slight sickliness of TV On The Radio's indie-soul-pop, yet ultimately it sounds quite like nowt out there.
Prayers are answered with this damn fine pressing of two late ‘80s, Belgian-produced beauties, including a prime new cut of Teknokrat’s’ rare AF New Beat heater ‘What Did She Say’ - suffice to say we've been waiting for this one for years.
Pairing the original Congolese soukous version of ‘Nakombe Nga’ by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, with its remixed instrumental, Teknokrat’s’ ‘What Did She Say’, Rush Hour have just blown our minds by revealing a whole other side to a song that’s utterly dear to our hearts and feet.
As it turns out, both songs share the same producer, Tony Baron, who uncannily shares a name and look with a Reeves & Mortimer character from The Club sketches, and who was behind some of New Beat’s high water marks and its hardest to find records. For years we’ve been obsessed with his ‘Tekno’ LP as The Teknokrat’s (mind that apostrophe), and in particular its last track, an addictive spin on Inner City’s Detroit house sound, titled ‘What Did She Say’.
One can possibly imagine our astonishment, then, to find out that track is actually a remix of a Congolese Soukous song by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, swapping out the Anglophone vocals for harmonised Swahili lyrics and extra spicy guitar licks. Even better yet, as the original Teknokrat’s LP is pressed 5 tracks per side, this is the first time either song has seen a proper 12” cut, and we’re happy to report they both sound bright and punchy as one could hope for.
In our books this is a 100% essential plate, guaranteed to light up ‘floors anywhere. Here’s to hoping for a full reissue of the ’Tekno’ LP!
Hyper-stepping outta nowhere, Steffi Grafs Innere Ruhe fire off three flash-forward and clinically Teutonic takes on Footwork++ on mysterious white label
Coolly resetting the game 10 years into the future, the playfully titled but seriously considered Steffi Grafs Innere Ruhe toss their hat in the ring with three cuts splicing footwork torsion with the kind of rhythmic nous displayed by Xth Réflexion on the /\\Aught label or in Joe Coghill’s ‘Transit Valley’ 12”.
The A-side’s ‘Gute Freizeit’ sets the bar breathlessly high with racing hi-hats and writhing acid bass synched in a rapid-fire yet somehow sublime effect. Dancers will have to think on their feet in real time here, reprogramming on the hoof.
Flipside, ‘Prima Freizeit’ keeps the tempo breakneck, with skittish toms percolated around the soundsphere with needling synth attacks, while the so-fast-it’s-slow ‘Freizeit Spezial’ keeps it anaerobic, mystic, like an Autechrian organism transmogrifying before your ears.
One of the most influential, insular and multi-layered albums of the last three decades, created through endless hours of improvisation - involving almost fifty musicians and recorded in complete darkness, 'Laughing Stock' is an album that has attained almost mythical status since its release in 1991.
Following the commercial success of their singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It” and album "The Colour of Spring”, Talk Talk retreated back into the shadows and produced two albums that defied categorisation. After the release of the first of these (Spirit of Eden) and a proolonged court case, the band parted ways with EMI and signed to iconic jazz imprint Verve who financed the long and complicated recording of Laughing Stock. Assembling almost 50 guest musicians, Mark Hollis is said to have demanded they record in almost complete darkness, improvising for hours to produce individual parts without hearing any backing tracks or surrounding material. Most of these recordings were discarded, but from what remained Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene pieced together a record that is essentially one long sequence of overdubs separated out into six long tracks.
Laughing Stock was to be their last album - on its release the NME described it as “horrible” and many listeners were left perplexed by its insular, unfathomable dynamics. But in the time since, Laughing Stock's legacy seems to have grown in stature with every year that has gone by. You can easily see the stylistic and conceptual markers left by Talk Talk in the way that bands like Radiohead went on to explore more open-ended, diverse sound sources and stylistic shifts - feeling able to experiment without fear of alienating a large fanbase as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a band with considerable chart success to do.
"Laughing Stock" is not only one of the most absorbing albums of the modern era, it’s also a masterclass of production and construction, a relic, perhaps, of an era when artists could completely disconnect from the pressures of their surroundings and dive deep into the wormhole...
Dean Blunt & Delroy Edwards knuckle down 19 raw-to-the-bone instrumentals from their time spent together in LA.
If played this gear in a blind test, 9 out of 10 neeks would no doubt recognise ‘Desert Sessions’ as the work of Edwards & Blunt. Simply titled in sequence, Audio Tracks 01 - 19, it all feels totally off-the-cuff and cloaked in red-eyed vibes in a very familiar way, with each artist’s input smartly masked by clouds of ferric hiss as dense as the tree smoke in their studio.
Working the heck out of their keyboards’ presets, they hustle a barrage of sawn-off boogie, hip hop and stanky outhouse styles, with a chorus of synthetic fallen angels playing a narrative role around their oblique, often atonal jabs of electronics and half-cut guitar riffs.
It’s maybe best regarded as a mutual, Hypnagogic regression and ode to Blunt and Edwards shared roots in late ‘80s and ‘90s transatlantic culture - from hip hop and R&B to slacker indie-pop and ambient music - allowing for all the fog and fallibility of memory recollection, but bittersweetly evoking their subject in fine style.
Pivotal Parisian producer, Krikor Kouchian dubs out his widely acclaimed ‘Pacific Alley’ suite for L.I.E.S.
Practically running everything thru an echo box and emphasising their rhythmic potential, Kouchian provides a smart new angle on ‘Pacific Alley’ between the overprinting dub roil of ‘Slow Riddim’ and the cracked Jay Glass Dubs styles of ‘Snow Dub’ up top, and over to the swollen steppers’ momentum of ‘Hermano Dub’ and the dusky shuffle of ‘Plomo Riddim’.
Collin Strange puts his back into a batch of Mid-West US acid techno for L.I.E.S.
Unrelenting and unrepentant, the EP bristles with seething energy between the stressed squeal and cloven hoof of ‘Don’t Belong’ and the needle-fanged EBM bite of ‘Cruising’ up top, before rinsing out the skull-swilling 142bpm acid of ‘IQ 303’ and ‘Enemies’ to make us feel like we’re 17 again, on our first gary, and chewing the speaker stacks at a small town rave.
Simo Cell hits the 90bpm groove with grinding torque and double-time tricks for Brothers From Different Mothers
Nailing a sound highly compatible with discs on Low Jack’s Le Disques De La Bretagnes, Simo Cell shifts his weight from signature c.120-140bpm styles with ease, giving the dancehall something to chew on with the slow/fass dancehall of ‘Uranium’ and the druggy clonk of ‘Balandbeat’ up top, and the bashy reggaeton class of ‘La Pulga’ and the full sunk dread of ‘The Terrible Effect of Purple Drank’ on the back.
Beneath tramples out two soundsystem damagers for Blackest Ever Black’s A14 sublabel
Transmuting the stress of life in London into solid nine-bars of squidge and potency, Beneath coughs up some of his strongest gear in recent memory. On top ‘Cloudy’ ambulates red-eyed and pendulous with thick, warm haar of dank rolling off massaged wagyu beef subs and gremlin gargle acid lines with hypnotic, puppeteering effect.
Down below, ‘Outsource’ is trimmed to a strong back rolige with keeling subs spread out under granite cut drums in a taut moire of ricocheting FX and acid set to soak the dance.