So the vault has finally been properly cracked open for this first collection of previously unreleased original version and guide tracks Prince put together for other artists. For us, the real draw here is Prince's own version of ‘Make Up’ - but there are pearls aplenty throughout.
Straight to the good stuff; Vanity 6’s ‘Sex Shooter’ and ‘Make Up’ - the former a classically lascivious purple funk number, the latter one of the most singular, hooky and weird productions in Prince’s entire catalogue; here imbued with extra androgynous brilliance with his own staccato delivery, Sheila E’s 'The Glamorous Life’ featuring those killer, incessant Linndrumm claps, and The Time’s ‘Jungle Love’. Basically, everything sounds better with Prince on it.
'Manic Monday' and ‘Nothing Compares To You’ are also here, as well as Martika’s 'Love… Thy Will Be Done’ and much much more - and while some of these tracks may not be the first thing you’d race to find in the Vault, they still offer a fascinating insight into Prince’s songwriting process, altering his vocal style to the brief, perfecting every note.
But yeah, even just for ‘Make Up’, this is essential gear.
An impossible-to-find, ’95 Memphis rap tape surfaces on vinyl for 1st time via Gyptology, a new "Egyptian Archaology" styled re-issue label
Leading on from Shawty Pimp’s ‘Comin’ Real Wit It’  - which was dished up by Delroy Edwards’ L.A. Club Resource and sold out within days back in 2014 - its sequel, ‘Still Comin Real’ reprises that woozy slow drawl on 11 slurps of syrupy goodness.
As to be expected, noise artefacts carry over from the original, short-run tape edition, but it wouldn’t be a proper, OG Memphis rap session without that haze of tape grit. Safe to say that Gyptology know this, too, and see vinyl as the most faithful, sympathetic form of preservation.
Thus, you can trust the sound is raw as; a distinct adjunct to the prevailing NYC and LA hip hop styles of 1995’s golden era, working with rude, stripped down production values and vibes that have significantly withstood the test of time, and since laid the roots for a lot of contemporary southern rap, hip hop and R&B.
A joint release between Natural Sciences and FTP...
"Texas Terrotech volume 1 is a combination of hyper-frentic futurism with the gritty global sound of the streets, wherever it comes from. It's the pop music on the radio, combining that with innately adaptable, yet eminently absorbable form which evolved in these different little things, all compatible , yet closely related. When they are decoded from the genome of our global musical collective, their inter-relatedness becomes even more clear, and a new perspective can be gained.
The internet made everything smaller. It turned the territory into the map, destroying the physical borders between geography and genres, reducing it into digital code, breaking it into bite-sized bits. This is the sound of the phuture digesting the people.
This is the sound of the global underground"
Grandiose hybrids of Iranian noise complexity and operatic vocals from 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini following from their tape for PTP
“9T Antiope have made a name for themselves in the vibrant experimental music scene of Iran over the past years. Now based in Paris, Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani are expanding their stylistic scope and team up with long-time friend Siavash Amini for their debut release on Hallow Ground. After 2017’s »TAR« and »FORAS« the year after 2018, »Harmistice« is Amini’s third LP for Hallow Ground and his first in collaboration with other artists. Recorded in Paris and Tehran, the four tracks are the result of »all the long hours of speaking online, being kilometres away, it is a love child of those short times we actually got to be physically in one place.« Vocalist and lyricist Shamloo enters a dialogue with Aghiani and Amini’s sound art, which is from restrained but interlocks voice and noise with striking subtlety. »Harmistice« seamlessly blends the visceral with the sublime, the abstract with the oh-too-real.
From the very first second of »Blue as in Bleeding«, »Harmistice« evokes a sense of suspended terror. Shrill frequencies and aleatoric bursts of feedback give way to a hard-hitting bass drum until Shamloo’s voice arises from the chaos with an uneasy clarity. It’s the perfect opening for a record that is built upon stark contrasts like this one. Amini and Aghiani bring together synthetic sounds with acoustic instruments, creating a tangible tension on which Shamloo’s sometimes sensitive, sometimes emotionally detached delivery thrives. »It’s all based on a dream, a nightmare about war,« she says in regards to her lyrics that move between poetic abstraction and first person prose, blurring the lines between lived experience and sinister premonition. »Harmistice« takes inventory after the oneiric damagehas been dealt in real life.
As a whole, »Harmistice« is thus as ambiguous as its title suggests. As an all-too-lucid dream about unspeakable things that are being lent a voice it overwhelms the senses with an unheard-of volume. Drawn from the depths of the subconscious, »Harmistice« may just be the most challenging album in either 9T Antiope or Amini’s discography.”
‘Eternal Children’ is the excellent, unexpected first vocal album by Equiknoxx; the hotly awaited follow-up to their pair of acclaimed instrumental albums issued by Demdike Stare’s DDS label over the last couple of years, featuring that signature and completely inimitable production style, but this time with added vocal contributions from the extended Equiknoxx crew.
Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica for their own Equiknoxx Music label, ‘Eternal Children’ is the first time all 5 members have appeared on record together, with all three producers - Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair, Nick “Bobby Blackbird” Deane, and Jordan “Time Cow” Chung - cooking up for their vocalist Shanique Marie, alongside the ruder styles of regular spars, MC’s Kemikal and Alozade. As such the album expresses the collective’s shared experience both at home in sunny JA, as well as on the road and their 2nd home in Manchester, home to DDS but where they’re also keenly supported by an extended family including Swing Ting’s Balraj Samrai and MC Fox, plus DJ Jon K, and their mastering engineer Nick Sinna.
The resulting 8-track album is a bounty of eclectic productions tweaked for good times. Cherry-picking from dancehall, hip hop and even pop ballads, they effortlessly balance experimental tendencies with classic forms in each song. Opener ’Solomon Is A Cup’ places Shanique Marie and Kemikal’s timeless, poetic storytelling in abstract sound design to absorbing effect, while two highlights ‘Brooklyn’, and the ear-worming hooks of ‘Manchester’, featuring Brent Bird and Swing Ting’s Fox, perfectly display the diversity of their bonds with the Caribbean diaspora.
Listeners snagged on the weirdness of Equiknoxx’s DDS albums will probably want to head to the album’s more wayward productions; namely their dark, scudding ‘Corner’ and the percolated pearl of ‘Good Sandra’, complemented by the witty pen of Kemikal and Gavsborg, while it all comes together most soulfully with Shanique’s blazing delivery on the rugged bounce of ‘Move Along’ and her balmy pop-soul duet with Bobby Blackbird, ‘Rescue Me.’
Total pearl from the enigmatic Altkat, apparently a 70-odd year old Turkish-Armenian who has been recording since the 1960’s with an Anatolian saz, a two track tape recorder, and a fluegelhorn. Naturally we’re getting strong Abul Mogard / Jürgen Müller sonic fiction vibes from this one, but, nonetheless, 'Lakerda' is a' highly satisfying listen somewhere between Burnt Friedman, Jon Hassell and the pan pipe CD selection at Shared Earth in 1996. That’s a complement btw.
"Today, the saz is still there, the bugle is gone and the tape recorder has turned into a computer. Altkat, who spends most of his time working as a percussionist for sephardic and balkanic bands, is above all interested in the transformation of noise into music and does not shy away from using synthesizers and drum machines, along with his saz, to create his music.
Lakerda exists somewhere beyond the “traditional” and “non traditional” realms. It is marked by hybridity and the encounter of seemingly opposite notions, such as tradition and modernity, East and West, past and future, but also acoustic and electronic and more abstractly, here and there. This album takes the listener beyond these oppositions and invites him or her to approach Altkat’s music not on ultimately fallacious “either/or” terms, but simply to receive it as it is, a fourth world record, with each track on the album a palimpsest that encapsulates previously mentioned oppositions and transcends them in the process.
Full of morphing textures, metallic resonance, layered arrangements, plucked saz strings, pitch-sliding winds, shimmering melodies, bleeps and blops, peculiar samples and other disorienting sounds, this album seems indebted to the aesthetics of private press albums from the late 20th century. While some of these have recently been reissued by labels such as Music From Memory, Into The Light and Stroom to name but a few, Lakerda also feels more contemporary, and it is certainly not out of place in Banlieue’s catalogue."
One of the year's most satisfying 12"s, featuring two killer, extended remixes of Equiknoxx by Mark Ernestus, containing perhaps the most Basic Channel-esque production from Ernestus in a decade.
Mark Ernestus dubs Equiknoxx to the moon and back for DDS with an irresistibly percolated take on Congo Get Slap backed with a jaw-dropping, Basic Channel style version of Flagged Up. We hardly need to stress that this one’s a doozy.
As a big fan of Equiknoxx’s teched-out take on up-to-the-second dancehall, it was perhaps inevitable that the venerable Ernestus, owner of Berlin’s Hardwax and one half of the legendary Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, as well as his most recent work with the brilliant Ndagga Rhythm Force, would eventually cross paths with Jamaica’s Gavsborg and Time Cow, two of the most exciting producers to emerge from JA this decade.
On both remixes the past informs the present in timeless fashion. The cloud-bursting chords and spaghetti western-esque tropes of Equiknoxx’s Congo Get Slap are deftly diffused in the echo chamber, giving the bass an elasticated recoil and sublimating the chords to scudding, skywards dabs with weightless effect for the dancers.
Flipside, Ernestus takes that aspect one step further, distilling the kinetic dub futurism of Someone Flagged It Up!! into a maze of diaphanous dub chords and rolling, sunken subs that inarguably measures up among his strongest post-Basic Channel works.
Like Shackleton’s dub of The Stopper by Cutty Ranks for DDS, the results here triangulate deep-rooted connections between Jamaica, Lancashire and Berlin, speaking to a mutual respect and reverence of style and pattern which has heavily resonated from sub-tropical Kingston into much colder, European climes over successive generations.
Delroy Edwards deploys deep, classic House vibes for his second release for Funkineven’s Apron, 6 years on from his untitled first appearance.
This is Delroy at his best, embracing higher fidelities for the good of the dance. He starts off with the gentle, feelgood vibes of opener "Live and Let Live” and ends with the halfspeed robot jacker "How High is the Moon”, with the squashed drum mechanics of “Funny Styles” and the robust bassline machinations of 'Dubonnet' lifting off in between.
Deadly, classic vibes from one of the best in the game.
The Numero Group’s dive into the deep end of America’s private press continues. Having battled the witches and wizards of Darkscorch, the outlaws of Cosmic Americana, and traveled alongside Ladies From the Canyon and their Lonesome Heroes, it’s time to take it easy.
"With pop music’s volume knob adjusted for deflation in the early ‘70s, softness begat smoothness. Crewmen arrived from the worlds of jazz, folk, rock, and soul, all peddling a product that was sincere, leisurely, and lofty. A sound that was buoyant, crisp, defined. Sometimes classified as West Coast—and, later, Yacht Rock—the compass points of our Private Yacht expedition are the blue-eyed harmonies of Hall and Oates, the cocaine-dusted Fender Rhodes of Michael McDonald, and the combover strums of James Taylor.
Here, at the glassy apex of rock’s softer side, 20 strong swimmers are gathered together. An album for both relaxation and reflection, where listeners can enjoy the present, a cool breeze, and a taste of the good life."
Following that killer Huerco S, Exael and uon hookup for the first release on uon and D. Tiffany’s XPQ? label, Exael returns solo with a followup to the Collex LP on West Mineral with deep, reverberating recordings from the echo chamber.
Recorded in Chicago, 2014-2016 by Naemi, Exael ventures into the more abstracted end of the electronic dub spehere with a set that starts with a kind of corrosive noise malfunction before heading into a deep and shadowy house vibe and mechanised electro, somewhere between Huerco S. and vintage Claro Intelecto. As the label put it, “degraded and corrupted club tools for the adventurous DJ…”
Classic King Tubby recordings from the vaults of Tamoki-Wambesi-Dove.
16 unreleased dub mixes from King Tubby. All the original songs were written and produced by Roy Cousins from the Royals. Featuring a virtual who's who from the classic era - Sly & Robbie, Lloyd Parkes, Pablo Black, Lloyd Charmers, Ansel Collins, Earl Lindo, Tony Chin, Geoffery Chung, Ernest Rangin, Earl 'Chinna' Smith,Bobby Ellis, Tommy McCook and many more. With the voices of Prince Farl, I Roy, The Royals, and Baba Dread. Recorded between 1966 and 1979 at Dynamic, Channel One and Randy's studios, mixed and voiced at King Tubby's.
Epic, brilliantly weird and heavyweight new double album from Oliver Ho’s Broken English Club for L.I.E.S, the second release in his White Rats Trilogy. This one’s on a rugged and acidic industrial tip that’s like the more aggy, isolated and widescreen cousin to Silent Servant’s ’Negative Fascination’. Tipped!
"Broken English Club presents the second part in the White Rats trilogy, a full-length double vinyl album that focuses heavily on the dancefloor with droning techno, head banging acid and cinematic synth noise. This album continues Oliver Ho’s musical journey, fusing techno with industrial post punk and textures of death metal producing a unique electronic vision. Ideas and influences that went into the writing of the album was the dark soul of Wormwood scrubs prison in west London and the obsessions in the JG Ballard book Crash. White Rats II stands as a relentless and personal portrait of techno and all the things that feed into the creation of it."
260 page, full colour, hardback book full of previously unseen photographs from Mika Vainio's archive and the Vainio family scrapbook, plus contributions from his musical associates, friends and family, unseen texts, a full discography of everything Vainio ever released on his own and in collaboration with others and much much more - including a CD of previously unreleased material.
The book contains a heart-wrenching collection of photographs from the Vainio family archive, a broad range of artistic contributions (text, photographic and visual remembrances) from Mika's artist friends and collaborators, an Updated and exhaustive Mika discography, Jennifer Lucy Allen’s unedited transcript for her The Wire magazine 2013 ”Invisible Jukebox' – one of Mika’s most animated media responses, a variety of Pansonic ephemera from Paul Smith’s own Blast First archives, and an album length exclusive CD of previously unreleased Pansonic performance recordings - ”Turku Moai - live on Rapa Nui”."
Christian Wolff was a close associate of John Cage and his artistic circle, which included fellow composers Earle Brown and Morton Feldman, the pianist David Tudor, and the dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. Cage relates several anecdotes about Wolff in his one-minute Indeterminacy pieces. These two discs reveal Wolff as a composer fully exploring, in different ways, the continuum between music which is highly fragmented, embracing extended silences [composed or indeterminate], to that which is more progressive and seemingly driven, albeit taking in disarming and unconventional routes.
"As a body of repertoire, these works are remarkable for their freshness of musical thought and energy (John Cage considered Wolff to be the most 'musical' of the experimental composers).
In all my performances of Wolff's music i aim for interpretations that both interest and surprise me, allowing the notations to lead me to new ways of playing and thinking about music, whilst at the same time trying to lead the notations toward the unexpected..."
Rare Japanese electronic gem released for the first time ever on vinyl.
"Originally released in 2003 and conceived by Sora aka Takeshi Kurosawa. Re.sort is a miracle of Japanese electronica. Widely unknown but very necessary. Fragments and textures playfully flirt with each other, bossa nova and jazz records float in the air, an old phonograph sits by the sea. Leftfield that feels like a home away, where joyful nothings are everything. Sweet minimalism and micro melodies. Sora means sky. Let's drift."
Delia Beatriz aka Debit gets down to rugged fundamentals on ‘System’, the bruising follow-up to her flashier ‘Animus’ album.
Asymmetric, astringent, aggy, ‘System’ finds Debit’s sound delacquered of gloss and delivered in gruff, textured tones in a wicked balance of gripping rhythmic sensuality and brutality, including a collaboration with footwork producer DJ Earl that stands up firmly next Jlin’s percussive ingenuity.
There’s barely any conventional melody throughout the album, but anyone with an ounce of bounce in their gruds will surely find lines to follow in the rhythmelodic cadence of Debit’s drum programming, where, in the classic style of computer-arranged reggaeton, she accentuates multiple snares and variants of other percussion that unfurl in reticulated tresillo rhythms.
In experimenting with these patterns, she often pushes her drums into pure, gravelly distortion, pointing to an effect that’s both atavistic and futurist between the primal growl and cold knocks of ‘The Alphabet’ featuring Javier Estrada and the outstanding churn of her ‘Numbering’ hook-up with DJ Earl, while giving up deadly strong highlights in the Slikback-compatible pressure of ‘My House’, and her knot of clenched rave stabs and sloshing groove in ‘Medicine.’
Levon on a roll.
This new one's on a slow and arpeggiated tip, from the bleary eyed opener to the classic House vibes of track two and the tempered trance motifs of track 3, closing with a spiritual square bass number bolstered by heavy kicks.
Contemporary genius James Ferraro pushes his hybrid style to beautiful effect with a 62 minute opus striking an elegiac nerve of brilliantly slippery soundtrack music that short circuits the difference between Philip Glass’ music for ‘Koyaanisqatsi’, the kind of schlocky tones you might expect on a Graham Hancock video about ancient civilisations and some Hans Zimmer score for a wide-eyed Spielberg epic, as if re-imagined by 0PN and Kara-Lis Coverdale.
The piece breaks down into 11 parts, conducting a spellbinding traverse from the primal, metallic noise and buoyant chorale of ‘Embryo’ to the bittersweet curdle of ’Xerces Blau’, taking in spectacular FM synthesis sound designs with the transitions between ‘Omega Generation’ and ‘Cyber Seed’ or the perceptive depth to ‘Recycled Sky that show off an enhanced grasp of production nous, all while still allowing for that Mona Lisa smirk to his sound with the title and EDM nods in ‘Malign Blossom’.
As ever with Ferraro, though, not all is quite what it seems. He somehow manages to highlight an ambiguity between the objective reality and its mediated, subjective reflection, with a music that speaks to the impending, heightening drama of the situation, but also the saccharine melodrama of weepy emoji-adorned social media statuses (#Attenborough) and the well-meaning but ultimately piecemeal measures taken to avoid the inevitable. 😢
A Certain Ratio - who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year - a lavish box set, ‘acr:box’, via Mute, with all material remastered by Martin Moscrop at Abbey Road studios and featuring over 20 unreleased tracks from the archive.
"Following on from 2018’s compilation, ‘acr:set’, the box showcases the diversity of the singles, B-sides and alternative versions of tracks that A Certain Ratio have released but without repeating tracks recently made available. ‘acr:box’ collates everything that fans had been missing from the recent reissue campaign and compliments that with a selection found after a deep delve into the archive to find all the hidden gems that had been talked about over the years but never heard - even a few releases the band had forgotten about.
Looking to make the box set as comprehensive as possible, even the original tapes from the session they recorded for a collaboration with Grace Jones were uncovered and reworked. This session includes the cover version of Talking Heads’ ‘Houses In Motion’, using Jez Kerr’s guide vocals (pre to him becoming the band’s singer). Grace Jones never completed her vocal take after attending one of the recording sessions with the band.
The box set, which marks the 40th anniversary of A Certain Ratio’s debut release, the Martin Hannett produced ‘All Night Party’ (Factory Records’ first single release) was described recently by Record Collector as “a statement of future intentions: to set funk off against nervous angst.” They went on to be hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as ‘punk funk’ thanks to the success of their second single, ‘Shack Up’, represented here via a radio edit from Electronic, featuring Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr."
Tense interplay of grandiose prog noise and ascetic, Mika Vainio-esque minimalism
“New full length album by France’s most singular contemporary composer. Reflecting on ancient culture’s use and reverence for emblematic monuments which most often represent myths and stories, the album’s narrative has been infused with such symbolic and depicts an envisioned mythology, unfolding through it’s 10 aural pieces. Franck Vigroux‘s music is unique and comprised of tectonic tension, pulsating rhythms and abrasive analog textures like few can produce. Applying his own calculated personal signature in his sonic explorations his distinctiveness comes not only by his unique approach to sound but also by his incorporation of new media practices and performing arts into his A/V work.”
Unthank thaws down from a small cryogenic suspension and delivers it’s first 12”, RIYL Dream 2 Science, Autechre, Unit Moebius, μ-Ziq etc
"Tracks from the vault from DJ Guy (Other World Music/Cejero/All Caps) who’s been busy since 1992. All tracks designed to be played loud and with the dance in mind whilst taking in all sorts of melancholy, euphoria and pastoral, acid soundscapes."
The first authorised reissue of this hugely sought-after 1976 album of moog music for plants...
"Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. In the mid-1970s, a force of nature swept across the continental United States, cutting across all strata of race and class, rooting in our minds, our homes, our culture. It wasn’t The Exorcist, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, or even bell-bottoms, but instead a book called The Secret Life of Plants. The work of occultist/former OSS agent Peter Tompkins and former CIA agent/dowsing enthusiast Christopher Bird, the books shot up the bestseller charts and spread like kudzu across the landscape, becoming a phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, the indoor plant business was in full bloom and photosynthetic eukaryotes of every genus were hanging off walls, lording over bookshelves, and basking on sunny window ledges. The science behind Secret Life was specious: plants can hear our prayers, they’re lie detectors, they’re telepathic, able to predict natural disasters and receive signals from distant galaxies. But that didn’t stop millions from buying and nurturing their new plants.
Perhaps the craziest claim of the book was that plants also dug music. And whether you purchased a snake plant, asparagus fern, peace lily, or what have you from Mother Earth on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (or bought a Simmons mattress from Sears), you also took home Plantasia, an album recorded especially for them. Subtitled “warm earth music for plants…and the people that love them,” it was full of bucolic, charming, stoner-friendly, decidedly unscientific tunes enacted on the new-fangled device called the Moog. Plants date back from the dawn of time, but apparently they loved the Moog, never mind that the synthesizer had been on the market for just a few years. Most of all, the plants loved the ditties made by composer Mort Garson.
Few characters in early electronic music can be both fearless pioneers and cheesy trend-chasers, but Garson embraced both extremes, and has been unheralded as a result. When one writer rhetorically asked: “How was Garson’s music so ubiquitous while the man remained so under the radar?” the answer was simple. Well before Brian Eno did it, Garson was making discreet music, both the man and his music as inconspicuous as a Chlorophytum comosum. Julliard-educated and active as a session player in the post-war era, Garson wrote lounge hits, scored plush arrangements for Doris Day, and garlanded weeping countrypolitan strings around Glen Campbell’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He could render the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel alike into easy listening and also dreamed up his own ditties. “An idear” as Garson himself would drawl it out. “I live with it, I walk it, I sing it.”
But as his daughter Day Darmet recalls: “When my dad found the synthesizer, he realized he didn’t want to do pop music anymore.” Garson encountered Robert Moog and his new device at the Audio Engineering Society’s West Coast convention in 1967 and immediately began tinkering with the device. With the Moog, those idears could be transformed. “He constantly had a song he was humming,” Darmet says. “At the table he was constantly tapping.” Which is to say that Mort pulled his melodies out of thin air, just like any household plant would.
The Plantae kingdom grew to its height by 1976, from DC Comics’ mossy superhero Swamp Thing to Stevie Wonder’s own herbal meditation, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. Nefarious manifestations of human-plant interaction also abounded, be it the grotesque pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers or the pothead paranoia of the US Government spraying Mexican marijuana fields with the herbicide paraquat (which led to the rise in homegrown pot by the 1980s). And then there’s the warm, leafy embrace of Plantasia itself.
“My mom had a lot of plants,” Darmet says. “She didn’t believe in organized religion, she believed the earth was the best thing in the whole world. Whatever created us was incredible.” And she also knew when her husband had a good song, shouting from another room when she heard him humming a good idear. Novel as it might seem, Plantasia is simply full of good tunes. Garson may have given the album away to new plant and bed owners, but a decade later a new generation could hear his music in another surreptitious way. Millions of kids bought The Legend of Zelda for their Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1986 and one distinct 8-bit tune bears more than a passing resemblance to album highlight “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos.” Garson was never properly credited for it, but he nevertheless subliminally slipped into a new generations’ head, helping kids and plants alike grow.
Hearing Plantasia in the 21st century, it seems less an ode to our photosynthesizing friends by Garson and more an homage to his wife, the one with the green thumb that made everything flower around him. “My dad would be totally pleased to know that people are really interested in this music that had no popularity at the time,” Darmet says of Plantasia’s new renaissance. “He would be fascinated by the fact that people are finally understanding and appreciating this part of his musical career that he got no admiration for back then.” Garson seems to be everywhere again, even if he’s not really noticed, just like a houseplant."
Suzanne Ciani sets text by Baudelaire to wondrous Buchla synth tones in 1969’s ‘Flowers of Evil.’ Better yet are her three studies in shatterproof rhythms and spooky abstract electronics, ‘Glass Houses’ and ‘Token Spokes’. All newly excavated and issued by Finders Keepers
“As a genuine vanguard of electronic music composition at the forefront of the modular synthesiser revolution in the late 1960s, Suzanne Ciani’s forward-thinking approach to new music would rarely look to the past for inspiration, which makes this unheard composition from 1969 a rare exception to the collective futurist vision of Ciani and synthesiser designer Don Buchla. In choosing to adapt the controversial prose of French poet Charles Baudelaire, Suzanne would join the ranks of ongoing generations of pioneering musicians like Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Serge Gainsbourg, Etron Fou Leloublan, Celtic Frost and Marc Almond (not forgetting Star Trek’s William Shatner!), all equally inspired by the 19th century writer’s works of “modernité” (modernity), a self-coined term dedicated to capturing the eeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, best exempli ed in his symbolic, erotic and macabre ode to Parisian industrialisation, Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers Of Evil).
In her varied career that would combine art gallery installations, major lm soundtrackings and commissions for Atari, Suzanne Ciani’s earliest experiments remain some of her most challenging, beguiling and timeless... Flowers Of Evil ticks all the above boxes and icks switches that would power-up a new uncharted universe of her own musical modernité. For the many enthusiasts that have already drawn the parallels between Baudelaire’s writings and experimental/ electronic music (a relationship rivalled only by the likes of J. G. Ballard and Aldous Huxley) some might instantly recognise an unconscious sistership between this recording and another 1969 electronic adaptation of Flowers Of Evil by celebrated female electronic composer Ruth White. An interesting distinction of White’s excellent version of Flowers Of Evil (released via Limelight records, home to the likes of Fifty Foot Hose and Paul Bley) is that its dark tone generation and vocal manipulation was created with a Moog synthesiser, the commercially triumphant rival to Suzanne and Don’s Buchla Systems (Buchla and Moog’s historic, simultaneous, neck-and-neck synth developments are well documented.)
The fact that Ciani’s version was never intended for commercial release (not unlike her 1975 Buchla concerts, which could easily have taken Morton Subotnick’s Bull by the horns!) is also poetically re ective of the nature of Ciani and Buchla’s alternative perspective. The choice to present this extract from Flowers Of Evil in its intended French language further distances Ciani’s faithful reaction from some of its better-known variations. Having attempted to voice the poem herself, the multilingual Italian-American composer’s French accent did not meet her own standards, resulting in the request for a fellow unnamed French student who lived on campus at Mills College in Oakland to accurately verbalise the section of Baudelaire’s collection entitled Élévation.”
Stunning reissue of this long lost piece of post punk / industrial history from Spain originally released in 1983 in an edition of 300 copies and now reissued for the first time after changing hands for $$$ over the last few years. Heavy support from Ossia, Ron Morelli & Demdike Stare, highly recommended to anyone on that noisy/wave tip.
T was the brainchild of Caballero T, a key figure in Spain’s underground/industrial scene, enlisting the the studio wizardry of Señor Nada and the vocals of Tres, whose psychotic vocals imbue proceedings with a demented, post-punk asymmetry. Although spread through 14 individual tracks, 'Dark Fields’ was recorded in one continuous session in 1982 and unfurls from tripped out synth motifs to full-on industrial attacks and skewed wavy numbers that recall everything from Brian Eno’s early solo output to Joy Division, Suicide and into more abstracted, noisy territory and drum machine experiments somewhere in the region of Muslimgauze’s early work as E.g Oblique Graph and John Bender’s material from the same period.
T disbanded soon after 'Dark Fields' was recorded, leaving this LP as the sole document of their work. Reissued by Equilibrio, the same label that gave us that brilliant Randomize album '¿Cómo Se Divertirán Los Insectos?’, it’s an intriguing look at the Spanish underground scene that’s still a bit of a blindspot for us, and is a unique artefact from an era that has already been completely over-mined, but which still, occasionally, throws out pearls like this one.
Reissue of rare UK ambient techno from ’93-‘94 - unearthing some of the finest ambient techno from the Artificial Intelligence era with essential cuts from the back catalog of J. M. Adkins’ and including 2 tracks available on vinyl for the first time.
"Aside from Descent, a previously unreleased track, the material was previously released on the short-lived Metatone Recordings which was founded by Adkins himself together with Damon D’Cruz known from his preceding Jack Trax label. Today the original releases are sought after rarities which demand high prices on the 2nd hand market.
Compiled from the original DAT tapes and remastered by Andreas “Lupo” Lubich at Calyx Mastering, “Electro Music Union, Sinoesin & Xonox Works 1993 - 1994” reintroduces Adkin’s work as some of the era-defining classics from the early years of techno. A must-have reissue for the fans of early B12, AFX, The Black Dog, Kirk Degiorgio, et al."
Fabio Orsi really takes flight with the pulsating, iridescent harmonics of ‘Sterminato Piano’ following his more grounded, brooding OP collaboration with Brian Pyle for Entr’acte.
Returning to the embrace of his mate’s Backwards label (run by same guy who managed A Silent Space circa Orsi’s ‘Osci’ LP), the formerly Berlin-based Italian artist follows his nose down two extended sides of saucer-eyed arps imperceptibly layered with field recordings and distinctively suffused with the sort of tempered, cosmic feels that Orsi has come to specialise in.
“The new work "Sterminato Piano" settles among the best things of Fabio Orsi, but also in some ways, among the most unexpected and original. After eight years in Berlin, his return to Puglia (south of Italy) is restoring new life and new creativity and new energy. In fact, the new album is full of energy and warmth, with patterns, sequences and dancefloor beats of our dreams.”
RIYL Konrad Sprenger, My Cat Is An Alien, Conrad Schnitzler
Serenely arriving in SFV acid’s slipstream for Ekster, ‘Immute’ sees Chinatown, NYC’s Georgia at their most spacious, calming and meditative following their recent, mind-bending ‘Time’ LP It's among the subtlest examples of the duo’s fusion of tech and tradition, stripping right back to precisely melodic percussion, woodwind, vocals and electronics in six sparingly minimal and spacious arrangements.
The first half is concerned with exquisitely tender and melodic motifs in a 4th World Japanese style, pull of gently pitch bent tones, rippling flute and glowing percussive harmonies that arrive at lovely junctures of jazz-fusion and Japanese minimalism in ‘Teccmonc’ and endlessly reverberant choral composition in ‘Bendires Trasher’. However, the 2nd half gradually grows denser with the transition from spiritual jazz gestures to rushing tribal tresillo rhythms n ‘Endocrync (Museo De La Revolution)’, and that percussive itch spills out in more unpredictable, almost theatrical/operatic ways in ‘High Light’, to resolve in the refined ambient inceptions of ‘Aoesdawas’.
Into The Light take a 2nd swan dive into Dimitris Petsetakis’ divine archive and come up with a further 8 pearls of new age ambient wisdom and cinematic synth music recorded between 1980s and early ’90s, but unreleased until now. RIYL Vangelis!
“Buoyed by the success of Endless, their 2015 primer on forgotten electronic explorer Dimitris Petsetakis, Into The Light Records has worked with the Greek composer to compile a follow-up album that takes an even deeper dive into his archive of previously unreleased material. Like its predecessor, On Shores draws on music recorded in the 1980s and early ‘90s. It contains just two previous released tracks, the humid “Clearance (Part 2)” and poignant “On Endless Shores”, both of which first featured on Petsetakis’s cult 1991 album Missing Links.
On Shores offers another unparalleled insight into the picturesque and atmospheric soundscapes created in the Piraeus-based composer’s basement studio using a mixture of electronic and acoustic instruments, a wide range of global influences and a keen interest in both minimalism and new age ambience. Listeners will encounter a range of stunningly beautiful and beguiling compositions, from the creepy, slow-burn exoticism of “Pythia’s Dance” and rhythmic, otherworldly escapism of “Violated Asylum”, to the gentle bliss of “Like a Knife” and sun-bright joy of “Nearxi (Minimal Marimba Edit)”.”
Dank acid and grey area pressure from tireless man-machine ASC
Check ‘The Siren’ for a prime piece of weightless acid guile no a millions miles from styles on Logos’ ‘Imperial Flood’, and hear the acid flood out into murky techno rolige with ‘Currents’, while ‘Pyrrhic’ churns up slower halfstep ground under noxious black/blue skies.
Morning Trip rescue Brent Snyder’s gossamer fine ambient meditation ‘Cumulus’ from ferric obscurity with a newly remastered vinyl pressing following their lush Laraaji & Lyghte side
The epitome of an intimate ambient private pressing, ‘Cumulus’ was recorded in a Toronto apartment in 1984 and self-released in a hand-assembled tape run in 1985. Recording with a Fender Stratocaster, a harmoniser pedal, and a four-track tape recorder, the results are clearly in thrall to Fripp & Eno’s guitar loop ambience, but stand on their own as a beautifully serene hour of music that lends itself to meditation or sound-bathing.
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
Sorely gripping turn from Luke Younger’s Helm for TTT, written in response to the blockbuster tragicomedy, Brexit, and bolstered by the searching percussion of Tomaga and Raime’s Valentina Magaletti.
Following the ambient-rhythmic-noise course of his Olympic Mess LP and his heat-warped Rawabet instalments, World In Action finds Helm farther downstream at a turbulent confluence of both those sides’ aesthetics, sifting out a panicked and anxious sound where it feels as though he’s practically treading water to keep his head above the chaos.
Incorporating the vital, free-roaming percussive suss of Valentina, who props up what is perhaps one of the rhythmic achilles heel of Helm’s music, World In Action makes a nod to the ‘80s/‘90s current affairs TV programme of the same title in its sleeve artwork and centre labels depicting their ident, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, perhaps amounting a sort of hauntological elegy for the British popular intellect and sense of proportionality.
An impressionistic distillation of the times, on World In Action Younger layers and interrogates a number of studio and field recordings made in East London, South-East Kent and at Snaresbrook Crown Court to form his own personal echo chamber of claggy clangour and worried sax scrabble, oscillating between impenetrable skronk and wistful spiritual jazz motifs in the opening Blue Scene, to dwell on a push-and-pull of vintage 8-bit sonics and deconstructed techno with Candy, whereas World In Action itself is a determined trudge through barbed and murderously noxious levels of polluted atmospheres, then effectively ripping the rug from under your feet and pirouetting in freefall with After Dark.
Geir Jenssen yields a most Biosphere of Biosphere recordings with this new album recorded on a Norwegian island within the arctic circle
Leading on from recent years’ ‘Departed Glories’ and ‘Petrified Forest’, the 66 minute long and 17-track wide suite of ‘The Senja Recordings’ arguably amounts to the most significant Biosphere outing of this decade. Taking its title from Norway’s 2nd largest island, where it was conceived, the album features outdoor sounds and improvisations made during Jenssen’s stays between 2015-2018 and finds the artist more porous than ever to distorted, granular textures along with his trademark palette of elemental electronics. It’s essentially the artist getting closer than ever to his surroundings and cutting down the space between there and your ears.
From the sounds of it, one can only imagine Jenssen had a quietly blissful time making this record. There’s the expected darkness for sure, but it always resolves with strong pangs of isolationist melody, cropping up Conet Project-like in ’Strandby’; glowing like a dawn aurora behind a granite cliff in ‘Berg’; or harmonising with the birds and air in ‘Fjølhøgget’ and the Aeolian harp-like tones of his ‘Bergsbotn’ trio, so named after the small village facing out to harsh North Atlantic. factor in the natural yet unearthly sounds picked up by his hydrophone in ’Skålbrekka’, and the gloaming solitude of his sublime closer ‘Hå’, and you have a top class Biosphere album, if you like this sort of thing.
'Versions' leaves out the vocal accompaniment and exposes the production as it drifts off into instrumental effervescence...
This second breathtaking CD leaves out the vocal accompaniment and exposes the terryfingly deep Basic Channel production as it drifts off into instrumental effervescance. The hallmarks are all there; Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald have already set the world ablaze once, twice, three, four times with their work as Basic Channel and the splintering into microscopic, heavyweight offshoots by way of the M series, Main Street, Chain Reaction, Rhythm and Sound and, of course, Burial Mix. It's hard to over-emphasise just how important their music has been to us over the last two decades and, for that matter, just how substantial their impact has had on everything that has taken place in electronic music since.
Following convention, each of these labels has offered a catalogue up on record (in this case 10" releases) before compiling the music. This is, in fact, the second Burial Mix compilation, the first "showcase" concentrating on the label's collaborations with Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, for its opening set of releases. This second installment divides itself into Vocal and Instrumental "Versions" (the Vocal tracks are collected seperately on a second release), displaying the last seven releases in their entirety, plus "Mash Down Babylon" (a new take on "March Down Babylon"), and features a by-now totally classic collection of tracks that in their time have all been singles of the week for us here.
Just thinking of the majestic exuberance of "King in My Empire", or the breathtaking space of "Making Histroy" makes it hard to fathom how this material hasn't really aged a day in all these years...
Melody As Truth’s Jonny Nash and Suzanne Kraft make time feel precious, sublime yet impending with the slow urgency of their 2nd outing as MATstudio.
Aside from the pair’s more polished productions, both solo and in collaboration, their MATstudio output reveals more steeply psychedelic and abstract space between the notes of Nash & Kraft’s respective, mutually admiring styles. Across the two pieces it feels as though we’re hovering somewhere in the studio during the session, or even pulled into the slipstream of their FX contrails and gently toyed with, like a cat with a piece of fluff in weightless space.
“MATstudio was born out of the working processes of our Amsterdam studio. Many hours are spent here experimenting with new methods, tools and ideas. This process allows us to continue developing our interests in merging multiple production techniques to create a personal language.
MATstudio works are collages of improvisations, experiments and accidents. Many of the fragments are the results of filtering our ideas through new production techniques and tools. Some feature friends and collaborators. MATstudio works are an ode to the infinite possibilities that result in keeping a curious mind and a desire to learn.”
One to watch, Amsterdam’s upsammy jumps back on Die Orakel with four writhing examples of her mutant electro style
The whirring mechanics and dreamy pads of ’A Walk In Twilight’ easily ranks among the most original new electro workouts we’ve heard from the recent wave; ‘Bronze Goddess’ feels outs a quasi-speed, subaquatic electro zones; ‘’Shaky Limbs’ slides into space between early Laurel Halo and Batu; and ‘Branches On Ice’ pushes the meter up to get freaky with acidic Dolphin squeals and splashy electro-techno hydraulics in a distinctive style upsammy can safely call her own.
Clay Rendering return with up a majestically gothic trip to the west with 2nd LP ‘California Black Vows’ channelling ‘90s grunge, shoegaze and stoner rock in their unique style...
"California Black Vows' chronicles the groups’ move away from the comfort zone straight into the dark heart of the west. Since their last album, the band relocated from the suburbs of the Midwest to the sinister shine of Los Angeles. The cover’s icicle is the last remnant of their time in familiar surroundings. More change was to follow. A duo for most of its existence, Clay Rendering’s core of Mike and Tara Connelly chose to invite two allies into their closed circle. The enlisted are Sera Timms of Black Mare on bass and Joe Potts of Sollilja on drums.
“California Black Vows” is the follow up to 2015’s “Snowthorn,” also on Hospital Productions. The warning bell sounded with their inclusion on Vatican Shadow’s Berghain mix, released this past March. A couple of EPs surfaced since the the last full length, but the band has spent most of that time molding the new 4 piece incarnation from the ground up and discovering the sounds and directions that new blood brings, while also acclimating to their new surreal setting. The result is a dimly lit journey into the wild nightside, where nothing is for sure. Where everything is tantalizing. Where Peg Entwistle appears thru a distant haze. Where the small hours creep by, never to return. Masks are off. A hypnotic trek into the center of Clay Rendering’s unique brand of gloom rock commences.
The album reveals itself slowly for the first minutes of “Blood Into Wine”, until the refrain opens wide and dives headlong into the deep. It’s a statement of intent. Whatever happens after this, we are in it together. From there, things rev up with uncertainty and a nervous edge. “Another Roll of the Iron Dice”...whose number is up? Tara takes on more vocals than previous records, haunting the nocturnal ocean with “Once in the Well,” “Black Vows” and “Take Hold.” Strangers come and go and dance and die in “We Wait.” Questions remain unanswered in “Don’t Understand You.”
With Dylan Neal (Thief) on production duties, Clay Rendering have delivered their fullest and most fleshed out album to date. The immediacy of the recording gives the feel that these songs are taking shape as you hear them. Guitars melt over the keyboards and synths throughout the proceedings. The record is filled with a noir life force that transitions back and forth from desperate wails to moonlit hymns. The vocals are clearer and more direct than ever, letting you know exactly where Clay Rendering stand. The bass provides the heartbeat of the mission. The drums ensure everything lands in its place. Insomnia, frantic flailing, body language, staring into the forced and artificial landscape, finding solace among the chaotic foliage...all these things play a role. The comfort has been shed. Foreboding stars in the western lands bring out the strangest parts in us all. “California Black Vows” is the howling cry to let those parts show their teeth and the soothing voice to let you know it will all be over in the morning.”
Air Max ’97 diversifies his bonds in collaboration with LOFT and TSVI on two tracks in the follow-up to his ‘Nacre’ album
Gwan dolo, the Aussie producer dives headlong into the sticky wormhole of ‘Turgor’ with its wild jazzy drum shrapnel and hyper-cubist bass shifts, while ‘Falling Not Walking’ reprises that jazziness within a sorta warped dubstep framework.
However, the best dancefloor tackle is in the collaborations. On ‘Paroxysm’ he teams with TSVI for a taut, swaggering spin on neuro D&B tropes, then on a reticulated, hyper jungle flex in tandem with LOFT on the fractious zinger ‘Xhrinicibles’ in a way recalling the needle-point programming of Rockwell’s ‘Reverse Engineering’.
Dark garage and dubstep skippers from Etch and north London MC, Nico Lindsay, also introducing Tranq Sinatra
Up top ’Don’t Wanna Know’ goes on dark and shadowy like an El-B rhythm with an early grime-style sing-song vocal, whereas ‘Predator vs Prey (Toxin)’ leans back on a gully sort of halfstep dubstep/grime lurch with Nico Lindsay’s delivery recalling Trim. On ‘Photosynthesis’ Zak Brashill aka Etch tags in Joe Naitsri aka Tranq Sinatra on a tight, triplet-metered garage/grime swing.
Knox-Om-Pax lets the light into his cavernous spaces with a light-footed album influenced by Berlin techno and L.A. sunshine and featuring cameos by Silvia Kastel and Nightwave
“On ‘Ways Of Seeing’ Konx-om-Pax has switched up the mood and hit gold. He has made an album that is filled with joy and sunshine, saturated with the classic feel of Berlin Techno. Tom Scholefield has moved on from the dark ambient and brittle rave of the first two Konx-om-Pax albums, which were a reflection of his hometown Glasgow's electronic music scenes. After a recent move to Berlin, the textures of Glasgow's musical strains have fused into an accessible and friendly mix of poppy melodic electronica built from a stricter 'less is more' sound pallete, closer in spirit to the music of his adopted city. It is also a record which was made in opposition to recent music he has been hearing, in particular the troubled, dark and noisy experimental music coming out of Berlin. Tom wanted to focus on more joyful qualities, making this a record imbued with warmth and happiness, a panacea to the darkness and disorientation all around in 2019.
Having a social scene full of producers has also influenced the album. The opening track 'LA Melody' came from staying with Ross Birchard (Hudson Mohawke) at his house in LA, hanging out in the glorious sunshine with him and Lunice working on tracks. "Initially Ross asked me to write some melodies to use in a project he was producing, but I ended up liking it so much I decided to keep the riff. I generally write music alone, but being around other producers gave me a certain excited energy that reminded me of after-parties back in Glasgow where Ross and myself spent our youth together. Spending time in Clark's studio also helped me improve my workflow and sequencing the album by seeing the way he does things". On 'Säule Acid' he collaborates with Silvia Kastel and in 'I’m For Real' the vocals of Glaswegian DJ/producer Nightwave filter around the track.
Stripped away to just the good bits, 'Ways Of Seeing' is a pleasure to listen to.”
Frank Timm’s 2016 collection of cut-up disco killers is now available to download officially
With his early 2019 debut album ‘Love Remedy’ still burning brightly, ‘Sound Sampler Vol.2’ is another fine reminder of Frank Timm’s dancefloor genius, jacking your body between the grungy acid disco of ‘Track 440’ in his Soundstudio guise, the staggered and filtered disco loops of ‘What You Feel’ under his Soundhack alias, and the percolated Chi-house doozy of ‘Relief (demo)’ under his Soundstore moniker.
Widely praised saxophonist/producer Ben Vince channels classic No wave, post-punk and jazz in the follow-up to his acclaimed ‘Assimilation’ album and hook-up with Joy O. Features guest input from Jacob Samuel, Kenta Sekine, Rupert Clevaux, Bianca Scout ++
“Following on from last year’s rapturously received Assimilation, London-based saxophonist, improviser and producer Ben Vince returns with Don't Give Your Life. Over the last few years, Vince’s solo saxophone and electronics performances, along with his work in the clattering post-punk troupe, Housewives, have helped him quickly establish a considerable reputation among those in the know.
Where his first releases under his name honed in on his meditatively layered and looped saxophone lines – placing him in a lineage beginning with the Time Lag Accumulator works of Terry Riley and stretching into the icy expanses of John Surman’s 1980s recordings and the hypnotic riffing of Gilbert Artman’s Urban Sax – Assimilation saw Vince branching out to work with high-profile collaborators such as Micachu and demonstrating his deep love of the outer reaches of club music (also evident on last year’s collaborative 12” with UK bass music bigwig Joy Orbison).
Don't Give Your Life is the strongest work yet from an artist whose work demonstrates a risk-taking, omnivorous appetite for the new while also digging deeper and deeper into a unique sonic sensibility.”
Errorsmith, Kyoka, Renick Bell, Nene H, Dylan Henner and more remix Eomac to bits
With the frantic original ‘Transmutation, Redemption, Forgiveness’, Errorsmith extracts and tightens up the groove with teetering, stilettoed kicks while emphasising the vowels of the vocal in wildly daft style. It’s one of the big highlights along with Renick Bell’s hyper-angular algorithmic decimation of ‘Lower Your Gaze’, Okkre’s gnashing hardcore techno ‘rush RISE’ remix, and Eomac’s own, pendulous VIP of ‘Being, Not Object’.
Youngsta’s dubstep stronghold displays heavy wares from across the scene, ranging from Drill-influenced styles to cold halfstep
If we’re playing favourites, Nomine is right up there with the tightly sprung ‘Judas’, and Taso smacks it with the icy drill hybrid of ‘Air’d Out’, and Youngsta brings a deadly swagger to ‘The Last Judgement.’
A Lovely Music touchstone, ‘Trust In Rock’ is what happened when the ‘70s West Coast experimental avant-garde made rock music. Now issued for the first time, this is a proper piece of history that would come to inform Lovely Music’s earliest releases...
“Trust in Rock documents the last evening of an epic concert series held at Berkeley’s University Art Museum in November 1976, featuring an all-star ensemble of the Bay Area’s most unclassifiable musicians performing works by “Blue” Gene Tyranny and Peter Gordon. Tyranny’s cycle “No Job, No Warm, No Nothing” contains songs “concerned with influence, trust, self-reliance, and having to re-do what is true for you;” three songs by Gordon, with lyrics by Kathy Acker, are complimented by two earlier instrumental works. Their combined band crossed styles and institutions and time, and was assembled from the effervescence of the Bay Area scene in the 1970s. It included Gordon on saxes and the RMI Synthesizer; Tyranny on the piano; local video-performance artist Patrice Manget on vocals; Carl Young on saxes; composer-performer-guitarist Paul Dresher, who played in Tyranny’s band Edge of the Road along with percussionist Gene Reffkin; Steve Bartek of the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo on bass; and Mills College student Janet Cuniberti on the funky Clavinet and RMI Synth. Though some of the works on Trust in Rock also appear on Gordon’s Star Jaws and Tyranny’s Out of the Blue, many others are available here for the first time. Trust in Rock contains nearly two hours of what Ear magazine called “NEW MUSIC FOR ROCK BAND.”
Except: by 1976, the idea of a capitalized “New Music” had increasingly lost its punch for Tyranny and Gordon. Rock and Roll, likewise, was nearing an apparent generational expiration. The way out of this impasse was trust in rock, which was both description and command. Rock, for this all-star cast of Bay Area heads, became a perpetual revolution that could be serious, playful, polemic, focused, technical, and lovely. And you can hear it in the music: Tyranny’s songs swing from intimate and profound to blissful and joyous, with solos on saxophone, piano, synthesizer, and electric guitar over interlocking rhythmic and melodic cells; an ecstatic performance of Gordon’s “Machomusic” gives a single pitch the real Rock’n’Roll treatment; and Acker’s lyrics on “God’s a Man,” “When Baby Gets Wet,” and “Cloves and Cinnamon” pulse with transgressive sexual energy. This is neither New Music nor Rock as anybody had previously understood those terms, but something else entirely—a kind of transcendent synthesis that audibly reveled in its newfound energy.
On Trust in Rock, Tyranny, Gordon, and their band played at, with, and through not only the generic boundaries of New Music and Rock, but also the stylistic boundaries of minimalism, jam bands, and punk. Tyranny had quit Iggy Pop’s band in 1973; Gordon had already moved to New York and began playing with Arthur Russell and Rhys Chatham. That night in the University Art Museum, playing saxophones and and synthesizers, they were not afraid to trust in rock to get them where they needed to be. This was a band that was not afraid to “listen to the interior state of something,” as Tyranny later put it: they put their trust in rock, and this album lets us hear what happened.”
It’s been 20 years since we heard Smog’s ’Spanish Moss’ for the first time and every Bill Callahan record since has f#cked us up. This is his first new one in years and is quite possibly his best. Supremely beautiful music...
"As you listen to ‘Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest’, a feeling of totality, of completeness, steals over you, like a thief in broad daylight. Of course it does - you’re listening to a new Bill Callahan record. The first one in almost six years. First, it’s a different kind of record. Bill’s now writing from somewhere beyond his ‘Eagle’-‘Apocalypse’-‘River’ headspace and ‘Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest’ is very much its own beast. The songs are, by and large, shorter and there are more of them. It took almost all of the previous three albums to add up to that many. Plus, twenty’s a lot of songs.
After ‘Dream River’, Bill’s life went through some changes. Good changes - marriage and a kid - but afterwards, it was suddenly harder for him to find the place where the songs came, to make him and these new experiences over again into something to sing. His songs have always been elusive, landing lightly between character study and autobiography, as the singer-songwriter often does. This felt different, though. After 20 years of putting music first, he wasn’t prepared to go away from it completely. Or was he? The lives of a newlywed, a new parent, they have so much in them - but writing and singing, it was his old friend that had helped him along to this place where he’d so happily arrived. Was there room for everybody? While sorting it all out, he worked on songs every day - which meant that for a while, there were lots of days simply confronting the void, as he measured this new life against the ones he’d previously known.
It informed the shape of the album. Moving gradually from reflections upon the old days in ‘Ballad Of The Hulk’ and ‘Young Icarus’ to the immediacy of the present moment in ‘Watching Me Get Married’ and ‘Son Of The Sea’, Bill traces the different life lines, casually unwinding knotty contradictions and ambiguities with an arresting stillness. The sense of a life thunderstruck by change infuses ‘Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest’ - the songs wander from expressions of newfound joy and great contentment to other snapshots, considerations of the not-joy that we all know. Unsettling dream-images and mythic recollections are patiently received; the undertow of the past is resisted, pulling against it instead into the present, accepting revolutions of time and the unconscious as a natural flow.
These transcendent expressions are wedded translucently to the music. Acknowledging the uncertainty in which the songs were assembled, Bill went to the studio alone, unsure if he could find what he was looking for with a band riding along - because who knew how long it would take? This allowed the fluidity of his song-thoughts to be laid down with the right feeling. Once there was guitar and vocals, the other parts came. Matt Kinsey’s guitar partnership is an essential relationship within the music, as is Brian Beattie’s acoustic bass - but also, Bill found himself overdubbing parts himself for the first time in many years, which lent the songs an episodic drift, as if he’s passing through rooms while singing.
In its final mix, ‘Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest’ glows incandescent - an entirely acoustic arrangement, sounds and stories shifting seamlessly, almost like one big song made of a bunch of new stories - the kind that only Bill Callahan thinks to sing. It’s a joy to hear from this old friend - informing all the lives that we’ve led in the hearing."
Endearingly naif Aussie art-school/post-punk pop from Melbournian J. Macfarlane’s Reality Guest, finding an ideal home on Glasgow’s Night School
““Ta Da” is the debut full length from J. McFarlane's Reality Guest - aka the solo music of Australian artist Julia McFarlane. As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. Ta Da is the first recorded unveiling of McFarlane’s affecting, oblique songwriting panache. Originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore, Ta Da will be released worldwide by Night School in June 2019.
Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a s of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It’s a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane’s vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane’s previous work in Twerps might reference 80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases a different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It’s a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun.”
Surprise new release on Low Jack’s much sought-after Les disques de la Bretagne series, a tropical spell from Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement on a lights-out dancehall voodoo tip - the first RSE release outside of Hospital Productions.
Dominick Fernow (Prurient) and Low Jack untie for this latest incarnation of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, after stumping one of 2018’s biggest surprises with their dread-filled collaboration ‘Red Ants Genesis’
On the A-side’s noxiously swampy ‘Bridgetown Dub’ they come to bury the dance with mesmerising chants and skeletal drums and powerful electro-dub subs - brought to life in-the-mix by Paul Corley - while lightning and thunder threaten collapsing skies. The synthetic vocal edits and drums take this deeper into steppers territory than any other RSE (or for that matter any of Fernow's many aliases) we can recall - proper vibe.
‘Price To Pay’ on the flip follows in bassy suit, starting off almost shorn of drums and licked with currents of tropical warm air chords that lull you into a state of a most welcome mental paralysis, before those kicks come in again for a delirious sense of momentum.
Powerful spells, strongly recommend to fans of Demdike Stare, Equiknoxx, Shackleton, Burial.