Umberto deserts the Italo disco themes to explore rustic, dusky, cinematic panoramas in his first side for Thrill Jockey. Features pedal steel guitar played by Joe Winslowand cello and bowed banjo by Aaron Martin
“Umberto is an artist whose work is distinctly cinematic. Composer Matt Hill’s performances and delicate compositions taken together have the cumulative ability to surprise. Hill, whose Umberto moniker is an homage to director Umberto Lenzi, is an experienced and active film composer, most recently scoring the film All That We Destroy. In addition to film and commercial work, Umberto has released a number of lauded solo recordings. Hill’s compositions stand apart as beautiful as they are impenetrable, with pulsing synths that hint at 80s slasher films while pensive string passages evoke emotions without being sentimental. On Umberto’s Thrill Jockey debut Helpless Spectator, his haunting music is otherworldly and affecting alike, leaving the listener with an unsettling and profound air of mystery.
Umberto’s early recordings harken back to classic synth-driven sci-fi and horror soundtracks. Helpless Spectator uses synthesizers in an entirely different manner. Cold, looming monolith tones are now warm, softer pads that envelope the listener while guitar, cello, banjo and pedal steel add movement and light. Still, Hill unsettles with his arrangements and melodic phrasing. As a composer, Hill has moved to more extensive use of live instrumentation. In addition to playing guitar, bass, and piano himself, Hill worked with fellow composer and recording artist Aaron Martin who played cello and bowed banjo on the majority of the album. “Idaho Joe” Winslow’s pedal steel guitar adds depth and subtle countermelodies to “The Higher Room” and “Leafless Tree.””
With incredible tactility and nuance Nicola Ratti (Bellows) evokes odd, bittersweet sensations and stimulates the proprioceptive senses in his definitive new solo opus for Students of Decay.
As usual Ratti gets the most out of minimal input on ‘Continental’, but where his previous string of LPs up to and including 2017’s ‘The Collection’ were defined by their austerity, his music now feels more expansive, sensuous, and subtly illuminated. It was conceived of by Ratti as a “series of big rooms or places to get lost in, full of small details and characterized each by a single flavor or perfume” and we can vouch the fact that he’s beautifully achieved his aim within.
The album’s eight tracks tease the listener’s sense of anticipation and orientation with an uncanny, calmly psychedelic potential perhaps equivalent to the effect of microdosing or jetlag. Entering the gates of ‘Palace’ he comes off like K. Leimer playing in the official residence of Rashad Becker’s Notional Species, and continues to work inside that imagined aesthetic between glassy geometries also recalling the quietest side of Sote in ’nº1’, while ’nº2’ suggests an electro-acoustic simulation of Japanese gaga or Korean classical court styles, and ’nº7’ comms off like Bellows at the beach. However the Lp’s trippiest highlight is reserved to ‘Cuarto’, where a quualude-loaded Dale Cornish drawls over non-Newtonian bass texture and tart harmonic fumes, before ’nº8’ melts and tootles like a semi-organic Pierre Bastien creation left to shrivel and curdle in the sun.
It’s the most satisfying stuff, a real eight course taster platter for the ear.
Julia Holter’s divine debut album proper appears here in an expanded 2LP revision of the OG Leaving Records edition includes an extra ‘Introduction’ and ‘Interlude’ parts and more headroom for its enchanted sonics. One of the strangest, most mermorable and quietly influential albums of the twenty tens.
In 2011 the album appeared like a dream that was difficult to shake. Traversing a haunting mixture of avant-garde scenery into sublime passages of plaintive songcraft and steepled organ refrains in only the first track, it knocked us for six and still does, becoming one of those records we don’t listen to everyday, but one which resurfaces like a rare, perennial bloom. Now at the opposite end of the decade in which it was released, we can safely say it’s among the strongest records of this strange decade.
Reentering its oneiric corridors feels like a flashback, especially in the exquisitely Lynchian dimensions of ‘The Falling Age’ where she channels Julee Cruise at her most ghostly, while the Laurie Anderson-esque pop of ‘Goddess Eyes’ still casts its spell with surreal effect, and the dream-pop fireworks of ‘Celebration’ has lost none of its capacity to freeze the spine with an ecstasy comparable to Alice Coltrane, and which, with hindsight, now recalls Teresa Winter’s intimate psychedelia.
The additional pieces are subtle cherries on top, with the scene setting fog horns and vintage Hollywood-like SFX of the introduction, and her etheric interlude of drifting baroque organ beautifully helping to expand the LP’s theatrical framework, based on the Ancient Greek play ‘Hippolytus’ (aka the ‘Tragedy’ of the title).
A classic of our age.
Ruddy minimal house and electro from Cong Burn’s Chekov and Howes, joined by newcomers Doppelate and Camin for the series 5th group excursion
Up top, Leeeds-based Chekov runs the bobbling subbassline and kinky cowbell winks of ‘Math (Squared Mix)’ with a camp wiggle, while London’s Doppelate plays it drier, tucked in-the-pocket with the bumpty groove and wibbly old skool scratches of ‘Rreal.’
Down town, Russia’s Camin recalls a late ‘90s / early ‘00s electro suss in the tight, pendulous pressure of ‘Duct’ (bringing fond memories of Manchester’s Sequence events), and label CEO Howes teases that electro style somewhere more frayed and blissed out in ‘B.E.D.’
Straight-up, double deep club pressure from Pépe Bradock, following up his superb recent LP with a return to the centre of the ‘floor
Built for long, immersive sessions and DJs who like to lather it up in the mix, both sides see the French producer really stretch his legs. Up top, he enacts deeply dubbed out house voodoo with the powerful, M5-like subbass ballast of ‘Peeped Booths’ supporting a swirling display of range-finding chords, windswept claps and psychedelic electronic glitches that could easily go on twice the length and we’d never get bored.
On the B-side, ‘Klezmorim Telepathique’ sees him tweak the filter envelopes on a strident sort of disco groove layered up with acid klezmer licks in a way reminding reminding of those Acid Arab grooves and vintage Turkish psychedelia.
Salty, playful jaxx from bassbin prancer Mickey Pearce, chasing up his ‘One Hundred Smiles’ LP
While it’s probably not a prerequisite for joining the Accidental family, Pearce does sound a lot like Matthew Herbert with the loopy drums of ‘Smelling Incense’, albeit more chaotic and nutty, whereas ‘Dig Me Up’ is more atypical of his style, lurking on the edge of UKF and garage and lit with dippy lead, and ‘Reflux Stance’ catches him swaggering with tresillo trills and chirruping avian synths in the EP’s slinky, rude highlight. Aces.
Legowelt dons his legendary Gladio robes for a back-to-basics Chi-house and electro session on L.I.E.S.
Last spotted in 2007 wandering near Hadrian’s Wall, Gladio eventually found his way back to his crypt in The Hague where he’s been been busy on these bangers, supplying strong and direct stripes of club gear between the sleepwalking techno slugger ‘Of Hyperborea’, heroic NRG disco themes on ‘Olympus Panspermia’, and class electro shifters in the pacy push of ‘De Astra Planeti’ and a scuzzy punch called ‘Fist Of Gladio.’
Lifted is a stellar new project sparked off by Matthew Papich (Co La) and Future Times overlord Max D for PAN.
Realised and rendered together with Jordan GCZ and Gigi Masin, among others, their debut LP '1' is an elegant exercise in breaking free of the grid, consolidating a spectrum of congruent ideas and idiosyncratic styles with a beautifully communal spirit putting a contemporary spin on the freedoms of '70s jazz fusion. From initial studio sessions recorded by Matthew and Max in their respective Baltimore and Washington DC studios, they incorporate synth and piano overdubs dialled in from Amsterdam and Venice, hashing out an inter-continental web of hyaline electronics, jazz ballistics and alien dance patterns that surprises and delights with every turn.
Stepping into vividly new territory with the fractious post-footwork spurts of '3D', their kaleidoscopic world twists between the sheer computer jazz fusions of 'Intoo' and visionary 4.1 World house in 'Total Care Zero', glyding on the digitally creamed quintessence of 'Bell Slide' to the intra-dimensional ambience of Gigi Masin's keys and Papich's 3D FX in 'Silver', and adroit Afro-futurist jazz in 'Mint' starring 1432R co-founder Dawit Eklund on bass + synth. On a lysergic level of production detail, '1' is up there with Pete Kember's work on the recent Panda Bear album, but the dextrous grooves and intoxicating jazz vibes place it over the horizon, just beyond Move D's classic Conjoint project or Detroit's Urban Tribe classics.
That's our summer listening sorted, then!
Rawest, illest hip hop/dub mixtape from '98 by Wordsound capo, Skiz Fernando Jr a.k.a. Spectre, feat contributions from sometime Madteo collaborator Sensational, Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin’s Techno Animal alias, Bill Laswell’s Dubadelic project, Godflesh’s Ted Parsons and more.
This is a fine history lesson for many yungers, and a red-eyed flashback for many heads who came thru in the '90s. Originally released on cassette in edition of only 100 copies, it documents late night sessions recorded in New York during the formative era of abstract and experimental beats - a natural progression from more gangsta and hardcore styles to someplace more esoteric, smoked-out, and featuring contributions by non-rhyming MC Sensational, the earliest iterations of Kevin Martin (The Bug) as Techno Animal, and The Jungle Brothers. I
n the parlance of the day; it's a trip, boy. Most of the tracks were produced or "reduced & jinxed" by Spectre, including a number of on-the-fly basslines and drum loops lending it a really frayed and lop-sided quality that producers have tried to recreate since, and definitely sounds leagues away from the last half decade or so of trap trills. But it's also weird for the inclusion of pitched-down, spoken word intros for each cut, framing it closer to a radio show than typical mixtape. Ultimately it's a heady shot-to-the-dome from late '90s New York, which sounds like a different world altogether from our 2015 perch. RIYL vintage Mo'wax, DJ Screw, Company Flow!
Rare-as-chuff Belgian modal jazz diamond from 1969, reissued for the first time by Finders Keepers. OG 2nd hand copies trade for the price of a month’s rent and bills. You know what to do
“The lesser-spotted jazz atoms that formed the fusion of Futurist Flanders! It might sound like an ambitious claim but having been a firm fixture at the top of many European jazz collector want lists over the past decade Finders Keepers wouldn’t be alone when proclaiming this extremely rare, lesser-known two-track 7″ from 1969 as one of the best jazz 45s of all time! Alongside Polish pianist Krzysztof Komeda’s soundtrack 7″ for the film Cul-De-Sac and ranking closely with François Tusques’ commemorative Le Corbusier exhibition 45 (featuring Don Cherry) this format-specific release known only as Brussels Art Quintet might well sit at the top of the podium while striking similarities and arguably combining the best stylistic traits of both aforementioned contenders.
This is all speculative and clearly a matter of individual opinion but it’s not often that one should find a recording from this era, comprising such high production qualities, keen compositional values and robust craftsmanship spread across two equally spellbinding individual tracks, all of which awards this record justified hyperbole albeit subject to a 50 year delay. It is safe to say that this unique release is “rare” on many levels. Like all privately pressed art projects this 45 comprises some serious outsider art trappings. However, on closer inspection it also stands as a pivotal record in the micro-genre of Belgian jazz, pin-pointing an early axis for some vital progressive jazz players who went on to become sturdy pillars of the central European happening.
Essentially as a five-piece, the short-lived Brussels Art Quintet neatly combines members of both the mythical Babs Robert Quartet (early exponents of Belgian spiritual jazz) and key players from the leading progressive jazz/rock/funk unit known as COS (formally Classroom) who would stand as close affiliates of the likes of Marc Moulin, Kiosk and Placebo through the 1970s. Reproduced in close collaboration with COS leader Daniel Schell, who, under the early guise of Daniel “Max” Schellekens, authored both tracks that make up this facsimile 45 single, this one-off single includes the only known output by the Brussels Art Quintet thus marking the essential in-road to instantly start and complete your entire BAQ collection not without reliving the early germination of the froward-thinking jazz fusion that came to shape Belgium’s truly unique movement.”
Lee Gamble knocks out two 'floor-ruling edits and exclusives on a surprise PAN white label drop.
Up top: his bucking, aerobic edit of 'Steelhouse Chaconne', reworked in honour of Brumland as 'B23 Steelhouse' with lush drops, screwed vox and slamming, modulated kicks at 130mph-thru-eccie fog momentum - at once pelting but floating.
Down below: 'Motor System' is extracted from the 'Koch' album and extended for your 'floor's satisfaction with tricksy, on-the-fly drum machine fills and filter f**kery.
Both sound much louder and dynamic than the album cuts - primed for the DJs, dancers and big soundsystems.
‘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.
One of Pan’s earliest and most memorable LPs, this collage by Joseph Hammer is the most beautiful headfuck of a record, inviting listeners to tune in and drop out into multiple dimensions at once.
An American artist born in Hollywood, CA, 1959, Joseph Hammer turned his fascinations with sci-fi and AM radio into psychedelic gold with the frayed loops and station strafing dynamics of ‘I Love You, Please Love Me Too.’ Following on from Pan’s wildly flung selections of pachinko parlour recordings by Ilios, early Schimpluch Gruppe works, and musique concrète by Sewer Election, Hammer’s offering kept the label’s remit blindingly wide open with a roiling flux of snagged voices, riffs and spectral electronic interference that perhaps most uncannily reflected the dense flux of pop cultural data and musical history that was being uploaded to the internet and ingested by algorithms in 2010.
In its para-dimensional effect, the two long pieces of collage will surely remind anyone old enough of dicing around with an old analogue radio dial during formative years, picking up the usual pop detritus along with voices from overseas (and maybe even phone calls from down the road - this used to happen!). That innocent charm is key to the appeal of ‘I Love You, Please Love Me Too’, but there’s a also a crafty logic that underpins the whole thing, steering it away from, say, the daftness of People Like Us, and placing it in that special category of WTF?! classics by Robert Ashley, Carl Stone and The Automatics Group.
Surely the most innovative dancefloor album you'll hear in 2017; complete joyful abandonment that's both utilitarian and absolutely daring in form. You dont need a PHD to get behind this one, though having one in quantum mechanics might help you unravel the seemingly endless energy levels woven into its fabric - having taken no less than 13 years to construct. It’s guaranteed all-killer, nay filler, pet.
At long fucking last Errorsmith relinquishes his long awaited new LP for the good of the dance, twysting Black Atlantic rhythm patterns with computer music in a way that pushes all of our buttons at once. The album’s key is cheekily embedded in the title, as the arch Berlin disco sound designer assuages Superlative Fatigue by properly drilling down to the truth of the matter - the purest, most effective grooves and scintillating sounds to flip wigs like nobody else.
As with Erik Weigand aka Errorsmith’s strongest club productions such as the legendary Donna  as part of MMM with Fiedel, thru to Protogravity  with Mark Fell, the dancefloor is squarely in focus on Superlative Fatigue. However, this is Errorsmith solo, and as such it serves to bridge a fair gap between the innovative, oblique constructs of his Errorsmith #1  EP, and the unflinching documentary of his avant practice in Near Disco Dawn - Live Recordings 2001-2003 , perfectly consolidating his avant-garde and populist tendencies with little concession to either side of the dichotomy.
To be clear; Superlative Fatigue is a proper party record. Entirely written using Weigand’s self-developed Razor software (as wickedly deployed by Mark Fell on the Manitutshu album), it inventively gives voice to the impish computer spirits that have been dancing around his head all those years since his last solo output; placing a keen knowledge of current macro trends and myriad, classic subgenres to utterly compelling service, then ratcheting the effect thru singular manipulation of their accents, tropes and structures with a necessarily scientific approach perhaps only comparable to Rashad Becker’s on the Traditional Music For Notional Species volumes.
No messing, the pinging dancehall of Internet of Screws is in our top 5 tracks of 2017, and the uncanny valley anthem of My Party is likewise among the year’s most ear-worming, while the likes of Centroid and the face-twysting sourness of I’m Interesting, Cheerful and Sociable place the freshest spin on UKF and electroid Afrobeats we could hope for, and the suspension-lowering Retired Low Level Server is possibly the baddest acid-hall riddim since Acid Rain Records’ year 2000 template.
For anyone into anything from Nídia, Equiknoxx, M.E.S.H., Marfox or Nigga Fox, this remarkable record is a real no brainer - one of the deadliest, freshest club records we've heard for years.
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.
Nexx-level club dynamixx from Berlin's M.E.S.H. for new music thunk tank, PAN.
As a co-founder and resident at the influential Janus club-night, M.E.S.H. is hard-wired to the core of Berlin's accelerated night scene and deeply connected to the global digital arts diaspora thru collaboration with contemporary artists, Aleksandra Domanovic, Fatima Al Qadiri, Arca and TCF, among others. Operating at the intersection of electronic hip hop, techno and chimeric sound design, the 'Scythians' EP motions a bracingly fresh sound modelling skeletal 808 patterns perfused with hyper-criss foley and thrillingly sheer synthetic textures.
From the tumbling gyroscopic vectors of its eponymous opener, the EP yields a series of proper future-shocks, streaming dazzling data bursts from the hyper-detailed, diffuse techno swing of 'Interdictor' thru the breathtaking fireworks and industrial-strength slowfast 808s of 'Captivated' to the ascendant choral arrangement of 'Imperial Sewers' and the chrome-plated ambient vortices of 'Glassel Finisher'. We'll make no bones about it: the 'Scythians' EP is one of our favourite releases of 2014 so far, and comes strongly recommended to fans of Visionist, Evian Christ, E+E, TCF, Sudanim, Total Freedom…
Restlessly shapeshifting composer Marc Richter turns out his 2nd album of the year already for Thrill Jockey with a further study in gurning dissonance following from the smeared brass and unearthly churn of ’Seven Horses For Seven Kings’
“Black To Comm masterfully manipulates sound, his alterations rendering sources unidentifiable and serving as a sort of portal to new realities. Composer Marc Richter collapses the past, present and future of recorded music into kaleidoscopic pieces that transcend genre, bristling with detail: an intense sensory sonic experience. Before After charts a hallucinogenic journey through polar extremes of emotion and to the outer reaches of sound, is a perfect companion to the darker Seven Horses For Seven Kings.
Richter’s technical approach to making music is deeply rooted in his philosophy of time. He points to a quote from early electronic pioneer Eliane Radigue: "everything is an interval, we are always in-between. And in this interval, between two states, there is a continual expression of invisible variations, imperceptible transitions." Before After exists in that fluid, liminal space, drawing on sounds and influences from disparate pasts and using these to synthesize new futures. “They Said Sleep” applies contemporary studio techniques to ancient material, creating a Chopped ‘n’ Screwed edit of an early medieval folk song. “The Seven Of Horses” expands on the language of Bulgarian Folk by adding abrasive new textures, processing piano sounds through analogue filters. Even Richter’s own material is ripe for reinvention, “Etas-Unis” and “Perfume Sample” both revisit elements of music from Seven Horses For Seven Kings with results that are entirely new and revelatory of the compositional and sound sculpting skills of Richter.
Before After was written during the same sessions that gave birth to Richter’s recent, highly acclaimed, Seven Horses For Seven Kings. The intentionally crafted companion pieces mine similar raw sonic materials to yield radically different results. Where Seven Horses was a dark work focused on anger and desperation, Before After finds faint glimmers of hope in the same sources. By reappraising the past Richter divines new futures, opening up parallel timelines and sonic universes. The album bookends the current phase of Richter’s output as Black To Comm, a decisive statement piece that leaves the future of the project tantalisingly open-ended.”
Scowling industrial bad vibes from Frederikke Hoffmeier’s Puce Mary, mounting her debut LP with PAN after dishing out dozens of albums and oddjobs for Posh Isolation, Ascetic House, iDEAL under her own name and also as Amphetamine Logic, JH1.FS3, and Body Sculptures during the preceding decade
“Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically acclaimed releases Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the penetrative viscerality offered on previous records, however The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth.
Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary’s compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatised body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centred on first person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience.
“To Possess Is To Be In Control” makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while “Red Desert,” named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic “The Size of Our Desires” acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world.
Rather than escape, The Drought dramatises a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a ‘corporeal architecture’ where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologises the artist’s transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert – to live without drying out.”
PAN's first ever CD release was also the first collaborative output by respected electroacoustic sound artists Thomas Ankersmit and Valerio Tricoli. Their five tracks on 'Forma II' were composed and recorded in Berlin from 2008 to 2010, and include four shorter electroacoustic pieces based on experiments with a Serge Modular Analogue synthesizer and one long-form tract of overdubbed saxophone exploring the timbral extremes of Ankersmit's instrument.
The four hyper-sensitively detailed electroacoustic pieces range from 6 to 13 minutes in length and move between ultra-vivid blizzards of textural detail to plangent drone and vast atmospheric diffusions. Through deft computer and tape processing coupled with almost tangibly "real" sound sources such as metal foil floating on ultrasonic soundbeams or the man made resonance of the radar domes at Teufelsberg outside Berlin, the pair create a kinetic space which challenges our perception of simulated, or virtual shapes and spatial settings, and non-virtual, acoustic tangibility.
In particular, the thirteen minute 'Plague #7' is an immersive passage of deep, thrumming bass tones and glassy hi-frequencies with the potently surreal effect, while the longer finale, 'Takht-e Tâvus' builds a swarm-like cluster of sumptuously discordant saxophone tones amassing a slow, gripping intensity and uncannily natural detailing. The CD is really brought to life by Rashad Becker's mastering at Clunk, and comes housed in one-tone silk screened pvc sleeve with interweaving geomteric designs, with artwork by Kathryn Politis and Bill Kouligas. Another exceptional transmission from PAN, a label that's fast attained buy-on-sight status.
Pacific Breeze documents Japan’s blast into the stratosphere. By the 1960s, the nation had achieved a postwar miracle, soaring to become the world’s second largest economy. Thriving tech exports sent The Rising Sun over the moon. Its pocket cassette players, bleeping video games, and gleaming cars boomed worldwide, wooing pleasure points and pumping Japanese pockets full of yen.
"Japan’s financial buoyancy also permeated its popular culture, birthing an audio analog called City Pop. This new sound arose in the mid ’70s and ruled through the ’80s, channeling the country’s contemporary psyche. It was sophisticated music mirroring Japan’s punch-drunk prosperity. City Pop epitomized the era, providing a soundtrack for emerging urbanites. An optimistic spirit buzzed through the music in neon-bathed, gauzy tableaus coated with groove-heavy strokes.
Pacific Breeze is an expertly compiled collection of choice cuts that range from silky smooth grooves to innovative techno pop bangers and everything in between. Long-revered by crate diggers and adventurous music heads, this music has never been released outside of Japan until now. Including key artists like Taeko Ohnuki and Minako Yoshida, as well as cult favorites Hitomi Tohyama and Hiroshi Sato, the long-awaited release also features newly commissioned cover painting by Tokyo-based artist Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have graced the covers of many classic City Pop albums of the 1980s.
Many of the key City Pop players evolved from the Japanese New Music scene of the early ’70s, as heard on Light In The Attic’s acclaimed Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973, the first release of the ongoing Japan Archival Series. In fact, you could say City Pop set sail with a champagne smash from Happy End, the freakishly talented subversives who included amongst their ranks Haruomi Hosono and Shigeru Suzuki, both featured on this compilation. As Michael K. Bourdaghs noted in his book, Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon, this music was, “Deconstructing the line between imitation and authenticity.” Some of the best City Pop teeters in this zone—easy listening with mutant exotica, tilted techno-pop, and steamy boogie bubbling beneath the gloss."
ASC plumbs the depths of the grey area in his latest album of D&B/techno/dark ambient mutations.
Seriously when does this guy come up for breath? Hope he has good ventilation in the studio. Anyway, ’Realm of The Infinite’ is up to par with anything else in his catalogue. Whether alloying classic Reese bass with IDM hyperstrcutures in ‘Nocturne’, rolling out serpentine acid techno in ‘Nautilus’, ‘90s trance in ‘Black Rooms’, or scuba diving into slow techno on ‘Arsenic Bite’, and endlessly reverberating, underwater dynamics on ‘Aphotic Zone’, the results are exactingly up to standards one would expect from ASC.
Gripping suite of free-metered, tormented vocals and sampledelic arrangements drawing from tradtional Iranian music and contemporary electronic noise, landing somewhere between Zoe McPherson, Ash Koosha, Ghédalià Tazartes and Moor Mother
“History of Heat is an experimental narrative and cinematic pastiche of all original and self recorded material. A chaotic mix of sounds both analog and digitally produced recalls a warlike interpersonal breakdown. The mood established by the lyrical content of the piece is meant to be demanding, enclosing the listener within a unique and compelling cocoon of otherworldly sound. the Album is framed within a discursive love story which reflects larger relational problematics and interpersonal traumas. looped vocals act as incantations woven in and out of lyrical singing and spoken word. The instrumentals embrace chaos and intensity. Improvised violin and broken down beats compliment and balance the melancholic overtones which flutter above off the grid rhythms in this charged ficto-personal account.”
Hardware badboy Krikor Kouchian follows a series of pearls for L.I.E.S. and that hugely sought-after 'Building Arnold Schwarzenegger’ score with another indispensable collection of free-hand ruggedness and squashed productions reminding us why he's one of the best in the game. Huge tip if yr into owt from the first pair of MMM 12”s to vintage Delroy Edwards - killer gear!
Harnessing a bucking bronco of a session, Krikor puts his machines thru their paces in 10 parts (plus 5 bonus tracks) ranging from kerb-crawling sleaze to scratchy ambient and some scorching hardcore techno and distorted electro over the course of ‘J.O.N.E.S.Y. Vol.2.’ Prone to bleed into the red, the tape follows a hunch for crazed rhythms and sour synths suited to striding or skulking around Paris late at night, living your crankiest life as protagonist in a noirish cyberpunk fantasy, off to score some power-ups or on some special psy-ops.
The track sequencing moderates its gait between the sizzling swag of ‘Walking Ghosts’ and the fetish club techno impulses of ‘Chainsaw Cut Rhythm’, or turning blind corners from the needling terror of ‘Phase Operator’ into the electro sludge of ‘Dunces Brain Food’, and the tighter prongs of ‘Mrs. 808 Screws U & Ur Crew Bass Mix’ in both versions, before leaving us on tenterhooks with the disco panic sequence of ‘Axe Murder Kill.’
In the 15+ years that have elapsed since 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' first shuffled out of his ambrosially dusty speakers, Jan Jelinek's most famous album has acquired an almost mythical status. Originally released via Pole's defunct Scape imprint, it now finds new life via Jelinek's own Faitiche label, for a new generation to marvel at one of the finest examples of loop-based electronic music typical of the early noughties.
Taking what reads like a pretty austere set of ingredients, Jelinek's technique revolves around a trio of elements which consist of second long cuts of 1960's-70's jazz recordings, the loop-finding modulation wheel (do your homework!) and the Moiré effect; albeit rendered in the acoustic as opposed to the image and spectral domains.
If all this sounds a bit academic, be assured that on record it is anything but; as crumbling edifices of mealy rhythms slowly pulse into life and swirl around your head like snow storms clashing with a dust devil. Taking sediments of fathom deep static then skimming the best stuff from the top, Jelinek opens through the dampened echoes of 'Moiré (piano & organ)' wherein a slow-motion thrum of spiraling clicks, rustles and analogue tones conspire to give the impression of recondite perspectives that extend well beyond the constituent elements.
Elsewhere, 'Rocky in the Video Age' instills a gratuitously optimistic blush to the aquatic micro-sound ebb, 'Moiré (Strings)' is a perfect companion to Basinski's disintegrating tape archive, whilst 'Them, Their' represents an aural crease so sleight you can only catch its distinctive gleam from the corner of your eye.
So what more can we add to the mountains of praise lavished on one of thee best loved and lived electronic rock albums of all time? Not a lot, really, but listen in and read on if you need reassurance that this is a truly pivotal, essential record...
The birthplace of and inspiration for so much that we hold dear, Suicide's self-titled album is the very definition of future-proof, and its perfectly articulated vision of electronic punk minimalism seems more potent and prophetic today than it ever has before.
Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized owe their entire careers to the soaring, deconstructed VU ascent of 'Cheree', the tough-guy technobilly dynamism of Sandra Electronics and Powell can be traced back to 'Ghost Rider', and the exquisite 'Che' is everything minimal wave promises but invariably falls short of delivering.
Martin Rev's emaciated but propulsive drum-machine rhythms and fiendishly deployed shards of synthetic noise are of course impeccable, but listening back to this album we're reminded how much Alan Vega's utterly unique, utterly committed vocals make Suicide what it is: whether shrieking like a Times Square vagrant possessed on 'Frankie Teardrop' or coming over like a post-nuclear Elvis on the mighty 'Rocket USA'.
Really words can't do justice to the purity and straight-up magnificence of this album: it isn't just a record that everyone should hear, it's a record that everyone should own, listen to often, and know inside out.
Potent cosmic drone rituals from Argentina’s vlubä, distilling atavistic visions of the future thru lower case electronics, free percussion and finely attuned mental energies
A paranormal art project conceived by Müriscia Divinorum and Aphra Cadabra in 2001, vlubä’s music has extensively travelled between dozens of underground psych and weirdo labels and appeared on countless compilations, splits with the likes of Uton, Futurians and Alan Courtis over the years. Their spiralling flight path now intersects with Egypt’s brilliant Nashazphone for this slab of contrasting sides, pairing one heavy hypnagogic induction with a more wigged-out side of free psych spatter and blatz.
The sidelong spiral of ‘A-Mu-Kia (Fur Future)’ projects a vast tract of slowly unfolding drone on the A-side recalling a smudged take on La Monte Young/Marian Zazeela’s ‘The Theatre of Eternal Music’ but imperceptibly keening into tribal drum patter and ultimately dead creepy, quivering microtones recalling the Decimus series. Their B-side however is more shapeshifting, one minute like Smegma with the sucked spittle and curdled tones of ‘Flower Vimanas’, then like an NWW aetherdream in ‘Grape Nation’, while ‘DlenQnnerv Ffwd!’ sounds like Teresa Winter trapped in a Noz loop, and ‘Mü Camel’ could almost be a waterlogged Spencer Clark piece. In other words it’s all trippy af.
The missing link between Afrofunk and early NYC rap = probably the first ever recorded Ghanaian hip hop track from 1985
Inspired by the prevailing winds of early ‘80s hip hop from USA, Free Youth’s Terry, Abed and Lenny (that’s them giving the Jacko poses on front cover) laid down the discoid fast rap of ‘We Can Move’ in 1985. 35 years later it still pays up on the promise of the title, and comms backed with a slightly relaxed ‘Drymbago 2019 Instrumental Version’ that leans more to the Afrofunk side, emphasising the horns, guitars and groove in turn.
OG copies are pretty much impossible to find or at least super expensive.
The patron saint of maudlin romantics, Liz Harris (Grouper) adopts the Nivhek alias for this suite of freeform, glossolalic elegies, featuring a brief guest turn by Kiwi rock legend Michael Morley (The Dead C, Gate), and jointly dispensed between her Yellow Electric label and Superior Viaduct’s W.25th
In two main movements comprising nine titled parts, Harris typically conjures a sense of stately calm underlined with menacing drones. However, the feeling is less bleeding heart and soporific, and perhaps better defined as floating and airily introspective. It’s a subtle but crucial distinction that resonates with her change of moniker and the widely reverberating dimensions and dynamics of the Nikhek sound.
While the aforementioned guest Michel Morley is notable in his own right, and joined by Gabie Strong and Christopher Reid Martin on the two minutes of ‘Crying Jar’, the work is primarily by Harris, who alternates between steepled choral harmonies and long, plangent sections of gristly synth drone, spindly guitar and instrumental, melodic percussion (maybe marimba or gamelan?) that colours the air with a beaten gold quality. In many ways it sounds like Liz was left to her own devices in an abandoned church and she captured the results, as is, Áine O’Dwyer style, replete with external sounds of birdsong, possible distant road traffic and her visiting friends all detectable in the meridian.
For anyone at this point overly familiar with Liz Harris’ style (hands up, obsessives), this album practically opens a new window to her world, letting fresh air and space diffuse her feels into a more elusive, ponderous way that’s as refreshing as it is uncannily familiar, especially when she drops the vocals for long periods, but one can still imagine their trace there, lingering in the air.
'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...
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”."
Troops, the wait is over for Ancient Methods’ debut album with ‘The Jerihco Records’, a 14-track set bristling with vocals by Prurient, Cindytalk, King Dude and Wahiba Khadri, and guest production from Regis and Orphx
For pretty much the first time we really hear Michael Wollenhaupt a.k.a the sole serving member of Ancient Methods really stretch his legs in all directions, with results ultimately ranking as perhaps the definitive industrial techno album of its generation.
Biblical in concept and scale, ‘The Jericho Records’ takes the world’s oldest, longest inhabited city as muse for a incredible showcase of futurist/primitive rhythm and sound, melding Michael’s trademark so-stiff-it’s-fuucking-funky-as-fuck drum patterns with a much broader range of instrumentation and voices than any previous AM release.
To get down to business, DJs and dancers need to clock the highlights in the cataclysmic shock of ‘Twelve Stones to Divide Jordan’s Sand’, as well as the bare-faced rage of ‘The House of Rahab’, the searing ‘Crack and Collapse In The Storm of Lights’, and the incendiary payload of ‘Omen’s Duty’ or the appearance of Prurient on the trampling thunder of ‘Walking on Cursed Soil’.
But we’d be remiss to overlook the moments of contrast in the Arabic EBM mutation of ‘Array The Troops’ featuring synths from Regis; the Muslimgauze-like meld of whirling percussion and horns in ‘The City Awakes’; or the clashing scimitars of ‘Swordplay’; while ‘The Seven Shofars’ and ‘In Silence’ impressively attest to AM’s unrepentant obsession with darkest, ritual ambient electronics.
Just hoof it all down and ask questions later.
Dozzy reworks a highlight of his ’Sintetizzatrice’ album alongside a remix previewing his forthcoming album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!?
On the rework of ‘Parola’ he turns Anna Caragnano’s vocal into a mesmerising rhythmic mantra syncopated with rolling drum machine groove in masterful style, while his floating prog-house/trance remix of ‘12H.5’ gives some taste of what to expect from his upcoming LP for Senni’s label.
Droll, killer bedroom pop and experimental beauties from Germany’s TRJJ collective and mainman Max Stocklosa on Belgium’s practically faultless Stroom label. RIYL Lolina, Mica Levi, Coby Sey!
As Stroom approaches 30 releases, a number of distinct strands have emerged from its impeccable tastes, and TRJJ’s ‘Music compilation “12 Dances”’ slots neatly into their most precious vein of slow, zoned, and loner obscurities somewhere between the minimal, rhythm-driven slink of Pablo’s Eye, the bedsit blues of Vanderschrick, and the other-place ambience of their Cybe collection.
Far as we can tell, TRjj stems from TRIIMusik, “a loose group based in Germany since 1998” and revolving active members ALEPHER, Francis PON, Wanda Hotl, E.P.I., ZOVV, V-complex, Kutschi Mane, and the aforementioned Max Stocklosa, whose name crops up more often than the others. Despite so many hands on board, though, the music is remarkably coherent, sounding to our ears like the work of a smaller and tighter group. It’s surely testament to the collective’s minimalist modesty and shared vision that this is the case, and duly highlighted in the poetically-sequenced track selection by Ziggy Devriendt aka Nosedrip.
Making sterling use of samples ranging from African and Americn folk to modern free improv, the album spreads out from ether-dream ambient in the introductory ‘Emulation of History (Disguised Drums)’ to crumpled trip hop recalling Hype Williams on ’Shadow Expert II’, constantly surprising at each turn with subtly mutating backdrops united by a recurring vocalist who we’ll presume for now is Max Stocklosa. We hardly need to stress it, but yep, this is another riddle wrapped up in a dream by Stroom. Hours of pleasure will be had while following its logic.
Ambient house don Anthony Naples rolls his soul out in ‘Fog FM’, the NYC producer’s 2nd album proper following 2015’s ‘Body Pill’ and last year’s ‘Take Me With You’ mixtape.
While Naples own releases have been thin on the ground in recent years, he’s kept his hand in behind the scenes for the Proibito and Incienso labels, and clearly devoted good times to this lush 10 track set swimming between bubbling strains of deep, electroid, and dubbed-out house and techno.
Over the course of 61 minutes Naples trades in his most hypnagogic styles in a stealthily deliquescent manner that melts from the fuller bodied silhouette of ‘A.I.R.’ into deliciously illusive, psychedelic swing by the end of the album with ‘Aftermath FM’. What happens in between is a sweetly dazed dream sequence taking in the Shinichi Atobe-esque dub-house thizz of ‘Fog FM’ and pulsating, sexy techno on ‘Purple Iris’, along with desiccated but sublime ambient pockets in ‘Channel 2’ and ‘Channel 3’, as the album begin to gently wilt into its final state with the serotonin-infused bath of ‘I’ll Follow You’.
File in your summer 2019 folder for hazy good times.
Sarah Davachi’s ‘Pale Bloom’ sees the preternaturally gifted composer return to her first instrument, the piano, with ineffably graceful results that incorporate vocals to spine-chilling effect.
Served in the wake of a series of albums where Sarah tested her improv mettle on everything from pipe and reed organs to analog synths - garnering a cult following in the process - her first album of 2019 confirms a versatile and bountifully prolific artist at work.
Recorded at the famed Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA, the first side is a three part suite ‘Perfumes I-III’, with the title a perfect allegory for the way her music diffuses and intoxicates with the quality of warm skin radiating gentle energy. She spends the first part coaxing keys into solemn figures and willowing overtones, seemingly in duet with her parallel, ghostly self or perhaps the spirit of Bach, setting the scene for one of most quietly devastating vocal appearances in recent memory when her (?) rich countertenor appears from nowhere in part II, channelling a richness and dreamy strangeness that transcends early choral music, torchlit blues-jazz and the kind of apparitions conjured by Akira Rabelais. The final part III of pealing drones and ultra sparse keys feels like a cats cradle to rest your head and reflect on the exquisite beauty of what just happened.
The B-side’s 21 minute piece ‘If It Pleased Me To Appear To You Wrapped In This Drapery’ provides a fine contrast and counterpoint to the sublime nature of the A-side. Here Sarah uses slowly descending and softly vibrating string pitches to conjure a more visceral, even dissonant sound that achieves something like the keening wow and flutter of a detuned analogue synth, gripping our attention like a master narrator regaling the saddest story of their life.
Don’t hesitate with this one. An essential for late night romanticists.
'Signals Bulletin' is the new album from Jan Jelinek, made in collaboration with Japanese organist Asuna aka Naoyuki Arashi. It’s vintage Jelinek; immersive scapes fizzing with colour, anchored by determined organ drones, primed for achieving bliissful, contemplative equilibrium.
"Watching the Japanese sound artist Asuna playing the organ, some people might be surprised. Asuna is no virtuoso flying over the keyboard in a rage. Instead, with the calm gestures of an office worker, he cuts strips of adhesive tape to the correct length before sticking them onto the keys of his instrument. In this way, large clusters of keys are held down, creating a dense and sustained range of frequencies, while the sound artist continually prepares further sets of keys or removes tape again. I have rarely seen a more convincing performance concept, with such a power to fascinate.
I first met Asuna when we both gave a concert at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, his home city. He performed the organ drones as described above and I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with him. Six years and five meetings later, we completed 'Signals Bulletin'. The album includes both joint improvisations and compositions, recorded in Berlin, Kanazawa and Kyoto.
Whether using prepared organ, Casio keyboards or mechanical plastic toys, Asuna creates rich textures of sound that barely change over long stretches of time. It is a music without breaks. For a while, I was unsure how my loops made using modular synthesizers and live sampling fitted here – until I realized the role I had to take in this duet: I would provide the rhythmically pulsating foundation over which his dense continuums could unfold.
The result is harmonically drifting superclusters that put us into a meditation-like state. It can perhaps be compared to Automatic Writing – a mode of creative expression floating somewhere between concentration and distraction. Both the structure of our pieces and our approach to our instruments allow a similar “absence”: we let the machines play and repeat themselves – while we, in a mild form of trance, adopt the role of observers, intervening only occasionally.
It is no coincidence that Asuna owns a collection of Doodle Art – drawings jotted down during conversations or while talking on the phone. It is said that works made like this point to the unconscious and reveal pet motifs – because a doodler always inadvertently returns to his or her favourite themes. The artwork for Signals Bulletin features pictures from the collection, in this case sheets of paper from the pads provided in stationery shops to test out pens. The special quality of such doodles is that the jumble of drawings is the work of a collective whose individual members do not know each other. Layer by layer is added, by someone different each time – until it becomes a dense cluster of lines and symbols ..."
Jan Jelinek, Berlin 2018
Fire! Orchestra, mnow a 14 piece group, still feature the core trio of Fire! (Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin) and the two singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg - between them the only constant members of Fire! Orchestra since their inception.
"Apart from this reduction, the main line-up difference is the introduction of a string quartet. This "cleanup" has worked wonders, keeping the rhythm and horn sections to their bare necessities, with the string quartet expanding the canvas and bringing a new, exciting dimension to the table. And on top of their game; the two powerful and sublime singers, quite different, but still blending perfectly.
We also have to mention drummer and producer Andreas Werliin for his work in the audio department; rarely have we heard such a detailed, warm, deep and dynamic mix from a relatively complex combination of instruments. While their three previous albums can be considered as uniform works, if not conceptual, Arrival is a collection of more individual compositions and songs, including two stunning cover versions. Blue Crystal Fire by visionary guitarist Robbie Basho was first heard on his 1978 album Visions of the Country. At Last I Am Free is today probably best known from Robert Wyatt´s version, but originally written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers of Chic.
Although the rest of the tracks are credited to Berthling, Gustafsson, Werliin and Wallentin, it´s important to stress that this time the orchestra members have had considerable creative input throughout the process. Arrival is light and shade, joy and despair, structure and improvisation, performed by an ensemble of excellent musicians."
Tresor reissue TV Victor’s 1989 ambient album ‘Moondance’ for its 30th anniversary of release on Big Sex Records, a now defunct subsidiary of Tresor’s parent label, Interfisch
“Udo Heitfeld's first solo productions started in 1990 under his TV Victor pseudonym, the first fruit of which was the "Moondance" album (Interfisch): experimental music with classic Pop structures but more an indicator of his move in more Ambient directions.”
Late-running UKF player KG links with Scratcha DVA on a lush redraw of the now classic late ‘00s style
In early 2018 KG made a scorching debut for Goon Club Allstars with ‘808’, a track she made during the original UKF era circa 2008-9. 18 months later she’s back with sets of bangers alongside Hyperdub don Scratcha DVA, cooking up the simmering deep Funk dish ‘Touch’ with nods to Cooly G’s R&G vocal touches, whereas ‘Strings Of Death’ draws from both grime and Gqom in Scratcha’s DRMTRX fashion, and ‘Baga Drmz’ wedges a snippet of KG’s ‘808’ zinger into a proper, bolshy hybrid of Zulu Gqom trample and rude UK flavours.
Perhaps best of all is the feminine pressure of ‘Touch (Reprise)’, where they strip out loads of the original to leave a thizzing, weightless, mid-air beauty.
New on Touch; a first vinyl edition of ’There Where The Avalanche Stops’, a compilation of indigenous folk styles recorded at the National Folk Festival of Albania in 1990 and originally issued on CD
Revealing a spectra of folk styles to the vast majority of us who have never visited the quinquennial folk festival, held in a castle overlooking the town of Gjirokastra in southern Albania, the set speaks to the remarkable breadth of unique instruments and styles native to the region since ancient Iliryrian times (pre-Roman).
It’s a truly enchanting collection presenting selections from six of the 26 participatign districts - Vlora, Gjirokastra and Lorca from the south, and Shkodra, Debra and Tropoja from the north - and covering a gamut from spine-freezing, elegiac, layered vocal harmonies to bouzouki-sounding strings and flutes, and pinch-yourself scenes of pastoral bliss in the ‘Untitled Melody’ piece that is worth the price of entry alone.
Can’t afford a holiday this year? This LP will surely suffice.
Pittsburg’s deep techno maestro Shawn Rudiman sets his sights on night skies with ‘Autonomic Pilot’ for Tresor
Bending cues from classic Detroit to Berlin with signature finesse, Rudiman covers all bases between the club ‘floor and your bedroom floor inside, sweeping from fine-grained but grand ambient electro structures in KNSR’ and the wide-open, pendulous motion of ‘Too Far Gone’ to a sleek but tuff acid-electro piece ‘Erotique Feedback’ on the front, before taking in the Schulzian synth licks of ‘Past The Edge’ along with the glistening, harmonised techno pressure of ‘Eyes Forward’ and a sublime nod to Derrick May & Carl Craig’s ‘Relics’ interludes in the synth pads of ‘Backwards Tomarrows.’
Raw and original house music from Mix Mup, leading on from his MM/KM link-ups with Kassem Mosse
Up top he herds the Detroit-modelled hustle of ‘Clear Drive’ with its wooden kicks and recursive FX opening out into lush synth pads and rude bassline, whereas ‘Flair’ is all about gritty, hypnotic motion in a Marcellus Pittmann or Howard Thomas style, and the B-side’s ‘Pa Toppen’ puts some strut in your pipe.
Highly sprung disco ballistics from Tilburg’s Ben Penn, serving up your RDA of synth-dripping funk on Young Marco’s Safe Trip label outta Amsterdam - home to those excellent compilations of Italian Dream House 89-93 .
Sounding for all intents and purposes like a long-lost gem dusted down from an attic in Suriname or Nigeria c.1983, both cuts demonstrate a reel mastery and sensitivity to analog machinery and recording techniques that will soon d amazing on proper sound systems, inside proper discos.
Spare Hobby catches him gliding at full wingspan with vocoders, bouncing bassline, organ vamps and fizzing disco drums like some newly discovered Francis Bebey beauty - party guaranteed, we tell ya - before Carrera really gears up with revving bass work balancing the fancy, Italianate plumage of his Siel Orchestra 2, Korg Micro-Preset, and Korg R3 synth bursts.
‘Dragon Wave’ is a slo-mo tribal tripper from Amsterdam’s Dazion, b/w the beautiful, aghivering figure of ‘VX LTD’, which sounds like it got separated from AFX’s SAW 85-92 sessions and somehow turned up in Holland 25 years later
“Urgent: it has come to our attention that the Safe Trip organisation has taken to the water in a bid to spread their coded musical messages far and wide. We understand that they have recruited young operative known as Dazion, a keen windsurfer, to develop a method of broadcasting their addictive and mind-altering musical missives wherever there is a suitable body of water.
Our operatives tracked Dazion to a remote spot on the dutch coast, where he was spotted trialling this new technology with his favoured F2 dragon board. As he rode the choppy waves, we were able to detect and record rhythmical electronic music emanating from the board itself. we enclose this recording, which features the kind of tribalistic, delay-laden drums, swelling electronics and exotic melodic refrains that are known to inspire frenzied dancing in members of the public. we have christened this recording “dragon wave”.
After exiting the water, Dazion packed up his top-secret windsurfing technology and drove to a backstreet address in a quiet area of Amsterdam. There, in a light industrial unit, he continued to tinker with the technology, testing it out by broadcasting another musical composition. this was more poignant and melancholic in tone, utilising spacey electronic melodies, gently bobbing chords, heart-aching guitar flourishes and a tough but broken rhythm track. the recording – code name “VX Ltd” – had a huge impact on us emotionally and even reduced one operative to tears.
It is our belief that the Safe Trip organisation will only increase in strength with Dazion’s involvement. We recommend watching the waves and winds intently for further developments.”
Quick on the heels of his last 12” with Young Marco’s Safe Trip, Darling blesses the label with two nimble electro beauties here
Loosely working around the groove with latinate suss in the lush swerve of Sim and locking off some superb, whirring electro syncopations and chirruping alien voices in Moon Fleet.
Young Marco and his pal edit a 1989 Dutch hip-house version of Harry Belafonte and co’s ‘Day-O’
As you might expect from that line above, it’s primed for the party in both the chunky ‘Past Fire Edit’ and a ‘Past Fire Dub’ if you’re trying to play it cool.
Darling coughs up the light-footed 1st of 2 new 12”s for Young Marco’s Safe Trip, chasing the vibes of his début for Voyage Direct and the JPS session into frothiest headspace.
When She Hates Me rolls out on a lissom, uptempo flex with nimble arps and spumes of cosmic melody fixed to an effortlessly cantering groove. On the other hand, Isle Of Red works out an adroit, percolated sort of Afro-techno chiming with avian thumb piano melodies and beautifully melancholic chord developments sure to get the ‘floor in a lush lather.
Selections from 100 Models of Hegikan Roku is the second in an ongoing series of archival records of the unheard music of Swedish composer, philosopher, poet, mathematician, and visual artist Catherine Christer Hennix, co-released by Blank Forms Editions and Empty Editions. It follows last year’s Selected Early Keyboard Works and coincides with Blank Forms’ publication of Poësy Matters and Other Matters, a two-volume collection of Hennix’s writing.
"Upon her return to Sweden from New York in 1971, Hennix sought to form a large ensemble inspired by her encounters with La Monte Young and recordings by the Theatre of Eternal Music. She enlisted her brother Peter Hennix, Hans Isgren, and a dozen Swedish jazz musicians she had previously worked with, naming the group and its pieces of music after the time and days of the week according to the Angus Maclise calendar (e.g. “The Pointed Time Bus”). Frustrated with the jazz musicians’ inability to comprehend and play the intervals of just intonation, she pared the group down to the trio of herself, her brother, and Isgren and christened the live-electronic ensemble The Deontic Miracle.
In 1976 The Deontic Miracle performed Hennix’s original compositions, alongside works by La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Terry Jennings, as part of Brouwer’s Lattice at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. With Hennix on amplified Renaissance oboe, live electronics, and sine wave generators, her brother on amplified Renaissance oboe, and Isgren on amplified sarangi, the recordings presented here of the group’s first and only public concert see them channeling late period John Coltrane and the sopranino and soprano saxophone playing of La Monte Young and Terry Jennings in the Theatre of Eternal Music. With titles taken from Japanese Gagaku, “Music of Auspi- cious Clouds” and “Waves of the Blue Sea” are expansive drone improvisations, breathing with the pulsating lull of cicadas’ organic sonic latticework. Now accessible for the first time, these recordings by what Hennix has called “the most rejected band ever formed in Sweden” continue to fill gaps of silence from a figure whose work has until re- cently remained flickering at the margins of some of the most enduring cultural developments of the 20th century.
Catherine Christer Hennix (b. 1948) started her creative career playing drums with her older brother Peter grow- ing up in Sweden where she saw jazz luminaries such as John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Dexter Gordon, Archie Shepp, and Cecil Taylor perform at the Golden Circle. Directly after high school, Hennix went to work at Stockholm’s pi- oneering Elektronmusikstudion (EMS), where she helped develop early synthesizer and tape music. After traveling to New York In 1968, she met Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles and developed fruitful collaborative relationships with many composers in the burgeoning American avant-garde, including, most significantly, Henry Flynt and La Monte Young. Young introduced Hennix to Hindustani raga master Pandit Pran Nath, and she would later study intensively under him. While Hennix continued to make music performing alongside Arthur Russell, Marc Johnson, Henry Flynt, and Arthur Rhames, she also served as a professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at SUNY New Paltz and as a visiting Professor of Logic (at Marvin Minsky’s invitation) at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In recent years Hennix has led the just-intonation ensemble the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany, where she is active as a composer and writer."