For the impeccable MAT label, Denamrk’s Central tends hitherto little known ambient aspects of his sound as Palta with a fine selection of feathered rhythms and gauzy, painterly sounds.
Nesting amid good company for this kind of thing, Universel quietly unfolds scuttling, jazz-wise geometries and keening subaquatic chords in the title track, then drifts with scratchy tribal drums and tropical greenhouse sounds in Tabt Optagelse into frayed, frothy new age feels in På Gensyn.
It would appear he indulges those experimental urges in order to prepare listeners for full immersion in the B-side, where At Ville takes hold with subliminal effect, buoying ears on a bed of viscous bleeps and synth fronds with the lushest, entrancing intent, before Optagelse 16A smudges aut into purest balearic atmospheres.
Techno hypnotist, Rrose, returns to Eaux with the pocket watch attractions of 'For Aquantice'.
Made up like the unholy offspring of Papa Lazarou and Norman Bates in mummy's boy mode, Rrose peddles three patented and mindbending wormholes, subtly sucking us in with Eleh-esque purist sine tones to the rasping rhythmic skeleton of 'Levitate' and the recursive abyss of 'Vellum' on the A-side, whereas the sleek, pulsating throbs and spiralling oscillations of B-side's 'Signs' take hold with intra-venus strength and potency. They're proper deep brain and tissue stimulators.
Second helping from Silent Servant on Jealous God, backed with a cracking Powell remix.
Following his recent production assistance with the Vatican Shadow project and a handful of remixes in 2013, Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant plays ice cool with the low key swagger and noirish minimal wave atmosphere and voices of 'Lust Abandon' sounding like a prime offcut from his stunning 'Negative Fascination' LP.
In contrast, Powell's reconstruction incorporates slivers of the original into a completely new piece bearing only trace resemblance to the original, coming off like a modded-out muscle car groove welded together from some psychobilly's scrapyard in a Mad Max future - all pollutant bass revs, cranking drums and shuddering electronics angled with shark-eyed swerve, pure killer.
Superb curio from NYC-based Kathleen Baird, now Ka Baird for the purposes of this LP, sweeping from alien/avian electronics to Sun Ra-meets-Pekka Airaksinen electro-jazz freenuss, iridescent string and flute movements, and one a-m-a-z-i-n-g piece of flute, vox and pulsing bass that sounds like a winged sister of Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - practically worth it for this one alone! Seriously - one of the most original and brilliant things we've heard this year...
"Sapropelic Pycnic is the world debut of music presented under the name of Ka Baird. While this record is a commencement of many sorts, it is in no way a mere beginning: Ka was one of the founding members of experimental psychlings Spires That In the Sunset Rise. Formed in 2001 out of the Chicago scene, and described by late guitar legend Jack Rose as a "female Sun City Girls," Spires' sisterhood of sound deepened the New Folk slant with an array of avant- and world-flavored directions drawing them ever-farther into the source.
Ka relocated to NYC in late 2014 and immediately embarked upon new directions - exploring piano improvisations, electroacoustic intervention, extended vocal technique, physical movement and the electronic processing of her flute playing.With the release of Sapropelic Pycnic, Ka manifests an evolving self-hood, expanding upon the essence of her first two albums' artist name, while replacing and thus becoming that name on her own. Reaching toward the ancient roots of music, Ka utilizes electronic manipulation on the single "Tok Tru" to take the ear past preconception, combining the linearity of the physical with the abstraction of the cerebral, crafting textural rhythmic noise with lush operatic passages.
Conceived live as a series of solo vignettes and played that way by Ka (featuring contributions from Max Eilbacher (electronics), Sandy Gordon (vibraphone) and Troy Schafer (violin), Sapropelic Pycnic draws from primordial ooze and raises high a sacrifice to the immemorial concept of the sacred. We are standing on the verge of a great chasm. Sapropelic Pycnic uses tools both ancient and modern to draw Ka Baird - and all who listen - upward, toward the eternal!"
Quite literally the definitive and perhaps most complex of all post-rock albums is given a remastered reissue 23 years since its original release back in 1994. If you’re into Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock / Spirit of Eden and you don’t know this album - welcome to your new obsession.
Back in 1994 Hex sounded like a new kind of music - albeit one guided by foundations laid by Talk Talk on that pair of albums half a decade earlier, as well as by so much of what was going on in the electronic scene at the time - and especially electronic music’s fascination with dub (the Kevin Martin compiled Macro Dub Infection that came out the following year provides a good measure of this intersection, featuring everyone from Coil to Tortoise and 4 Hero). In hindsight it’s easy to join the dots from what was happening in Chicago around the nebulous web of artists revolving around Thrill Jockey and the more esoteric end of UK’s electronic scene, but at the time it really did sound like something completely alien.
Bark Psychosis suffered from the derision with which Post Rock was ultimately treated by the British music media at the time, but Hex has grown in stature over the years, and it has aged beautifully - a perfect marriage of stoned ambition, innovative recording techniques and a refusal to settle on one stylistic trajectory.
It laid foundations for so much of what was to follow over the following decade to the extent that it’s bewildering that it hasn't been given the accolades it so obviously deserves. Perhaps this new, gorgeously remastered edition will put that right.
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.
An absolute classic of the genre, this 2005 debut album from the Norwegian duo of Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland is a miraculous, hugely evocative blend and smoke-filled ambience and modern classical inversions that has more or less defined its own sub-genre in the decade since it was released. If you're into William Basinski, Lynch/Badalamenti, Eno or Harold Budd, this is as essential as it gets.
Over layers of fizzing aural sediment, Deaf Center build the kind of vista-expanding, piano tinged music that has you thinking you're in your own film. Manifesting itself in the stravaig and epic iciness of 'Thread', or the etiolated Nyman piano of 'White Lake', Deaf Center have a seemingly bottomless supply of pathos on which to draw.
For this new 2016 vinyl edition, Skodvin & Totland rappel deeper into the Pale Ravine to unearth a previously unreleased side D on occasion of the album’s 11th anniversary edition. All five pieces were made during the same 2003-2005 era as the rest of the album, yet didn’t make it onto the single, original LP edition. Now rejoined with their noumenal siblings, and, like the rest of the LP, they have more room to breathe and haunt, especially in the abyssal allure of Social Lucy Waltz, or the diaphanous, chiaroscuro pall of End Station at the album’s new final destination.
Just incredible music.
Avanti is Alessandro Cortini’s sixth album and his hauntological magnum opus; a masterful embodiment of his nostalgia for analog synth recordings wrapped up in a pall of decaying futurism. After numerous Forse volumes, a pair of LPs for Hospital Productions, a live recording tape and a collaboration with Merzbow, we’d wager that Avanti is the most substantial Cortini album to date.
In a Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker-esque gesture, Avanti investigates notions of memory surrounding music. Taking a time-capsule of old home movies made by his grandfather as a “perfect fossil of his childhood”, the NIN synthesist turns those cues into signature, billowing structures generated from the EMS Synthi AKS, resulting a record that is sore with a certain ‘hiraeth’, ‘saudade’ or ‘sehnsucht’ for a past which he comes to terms with in viscerally romantic style.
Across all seven parts, Cortini reflects the porous fragility of memory and its decaying glow quite literally in the piece’s fuzzy gaze and the inclusion of almost imperceptible “errors and mistakes”, and also metaphorically in their nostalgia-triggering strokes and wavering harmonic swells, which speak to and stimulate the limbic system with the same sort of magick defined by BoC or indeed Leyland Kirby.
They’re optimistic pieces riddled with and anchored by a sense of sadness, not necessarily cry-your eyes or rip-your-heart-out, but more a sanguine, bittersweet meditation laced with reverence to elegiac effect. For the most they come on as weather-beaten sonic postcards or hand-written missives, each introduced by ghostly voices and saying its piece as though whispering graveside or in private, keeping their messages neatly concise but impassioned in their delivery, save one final section when the feeling almost becomes too much to bear.
His canniness lies in worming out an personalising those combinations of chords, hooks which trigger feelings of nostalgia mutual to most folk who’ve grown up with the same culture and cultural connotations, and then wringing them out to the point of heartache/numbness, and practically making those gestures fulminate on contact with air, skin, nerves and infect your own corrupted memory banks.
22 years since Pygmalion and the band’s dissolution, Slowdive swoon back into earshot with Slowdive. With hearts bleeding all over their sleeves, Slowdive captures the sound of the band at their sunny best, with a renewed optimism and timeless dreaminess to fall right into.
““It felt like we were in a movie that had a totally implausible ending...”
Slowdive’s second act as a live blockbuster has already been rapturously received around the world. Highlights thus far include a festival-conquering, sea-of-devotees Primavera Sound performance, of which Pitchfork noted: “The beauty of their crystalline sound is almost hard to believe, every note in its perfect place.” “It was just nice to realise that there was a decent amount of interest in it,” says principal songwriter Neil Halstead. The UK shoegaze pioneers have now channelled such seemingly impossible belief into a fourth studio opus which belies his characteristic modesty. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive’s stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.
Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms “a trip down memory lane”, these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders’ most direct material to date. Birthed at the band’s talismanic Oxfordshire haunt The Courtyard – “It felt like home,” enthuses guitarist Christian Savill – their diamantine melodies were mixed to a suitably hypnotic sheen at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound facility by Chris Coady (perhaps best known for his work with Beach House, one of countless contemporary acts to have followed in Slowdive’s wake). “It’s poppier than I thought it was going to be,” notes Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995‘s previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. “When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record.”
Drummer and loop conductor Simon Scott enhanced the likes of ‘Slomo’ and ‘Falling Ashes’ with abstract textures conjured via his laptop’s signal processing software. A fecund period of experimentation with “40-minute iPhone jams” allowed the unit to then amplify the core of their chemistry. “Neil is such a gifted songwriter, so the songs won. He has these sparks of melodies, like ‘Sugar For The Pill’ and ‘Star Roving’, which are really special. But the new record still has a toe in that Pygmalion sound. In the future, things could get very interesting indeed.” This open-channel approach to creativity is reflected by Slowdive’s impressively wide field of influence, from indie-rock avatars to ambient voyagers – see the tribute album of cover versions released by Berlin electronic label Morr Music. As befits such evocative visionaries, you can also hear Slowdive through the silver screen: New Queer Cinema trailblazer Gregg Araki has featured them on the soundtracks to no less than four of his films.
“When I moved to America in 2008 I was working in an organic grocery store,” recalls Christian. “Kids started coming in and asking if it was true I had played in Slowdive. That’s when I started thinking, ‘OK, this is weird!’” Neil Halstead: “We were always ambitious. Not in terms of trying to sell records, but in terms of making interesting records. Maybe, if you try and make interesting records, they’re still interesting in a few years time. I don’t know where we’d have gone if we had carried straight on. Now we’ve picked up a different momentum. It’s intriguing to see where it goes next.” The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. This movie could run and run…”
Umor Rex saddle up a session of dusty modular kosmische from Phantom Horse, paying homage to the original templates of Cluster/Harmonia and the rhythmelodic patterning of Moondog in five horizon-scanning variations. Best checked for the alien tone of Always Too Late (Reprise) or the wickedly curdled, keening synth discord of Skeptical Island, and its giddy resolution.
“Packed in their distinct homelike, warm sound, Phantom Horse effortlessly follow their path to find a melancholic playfulness in the heart of ancient machines. Conjuring the picture of transmogrified humanoid characters, modular and analogue synthesizers, antique drum machines, e-pianos, guitar, tape effects and various percussion devices create a comforting condition that involves the listener in some analogue computer game for a lost jazz world. Their approach on widespread compositions shows an elaborated vigor, an earnest love for slowly evolving melodies. Phantom Horse yet never fail to step on bridges that link the different subspecies of non-academic minimal music – from kraut to Mr. Eno and retour on detour. With “Different Forces”, Ulf Schütte and Niklas Dommaschk, whose names might be familiar to those in the know, provide their fast motion picture soundtrack for the genesis of a desert or whatever – if you listen carefully, different worlds will come into being.”
Presenting two compelling works composed by Danish sound artists Jacob Kirkegaard & Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard and performed by the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Descending is a powerful exposition of extended acoustic technique used to bend the ear in fascinating ways.
Revolving two pieces for room resonance, triangles, shakers and horns, the recorded results of Descending transcend the sum of their parts in gripping style. In Movement 1 they conduct a breathless transition from the polymetric interplay of triangles, sounding like a distant alarm bell, calving off into thinnest, cirrus timbres and reemerging as a mesmerising display of sustained, quivering, bittersweet horn dissonance culminating a stunning, keening finale. Movement 2 opens with those horns at a lower, sustained pitch, rolling across the stereo field with an uncanny precision that you would normally expect from electronic music, glacially growing in density to sound like an incoming Stuka formation, precipitating a nerve-biting swell of discord before returning, almost palindromic, to the polymetric rustle of shakers.
Of course, the magick of the piece is much harder to describe, though. It lies somewhere in the relationship between the knowledge of the composers, the players’ incredible skill, and their recording space, whose unique characteristics are crucial to its success in keeping us enthralled from start to finish. It lies in the way they slide the sound around the sphere of perception, purposefully generating and controlling the resonant feedback until it becomes a part of the work itself, generating a lingering harmonic aura to the sounds which gels them in smoothly contoured transitions between each tightly disciplined cluster of pitches with a near-enough metaphysical structure.
Stunning work. A rare treat for the lugs, especially if you’re into Eliane Radigue, Eleh, Harley Gaber, Harry Bertoia.
Sugai Ken follows in the vein of RVNG Intl’s Visible Cloaks release with an exquisite meditation on traditional Japanese percussion and 4th world electronics ruptured by unpredictable runs into more abstract terrain. RIYL YMO/Haruomi Hosono, Visible Cloaks, Foodman...
UkabazUmorezU works like a stage set or a variegated series of sonic scenarios, at once smartly demonstrating his compositional versatility as well as a dilated vision of the connections between Japanese tradition and western-rooted electro-acoustic practice. In a way it resonates with Visible Cloaks’ perspective on Japanese electronics as much as Foodman’s dextrous mutations of Chicago footwork, but still it’s weirder and more enigmatic than either of them.
In his own words, UkabazUmorezU is intended to reflect a “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” Arguably, for someone who has never visited or experienced night in Japan (us), it does so as richly as a Murakami novel, sensitively using electronic instruments and process to emulate and evoke an intimate sense of the spiritual, supernatural recalling the effect of, say, Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST, but again, with a more elusive, amorphous and playful quality of his own.
Ultimately it’s a beautifully and subtly suggestive album, skillfully making use of pregnant lacnuæ and negative space, but also riddled with flighty melodic figures, and prone to wonderfully disorienting jump-cuts that ping us from serene garden and temple scenes to stranger, bestial ginnels of the Japanese mindset with an effortless sleight-of-hand.
Available officially for the 1st time this decade, Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s dramatic Symphonic Suite Akira arrives just ahead of the seminal sci-fi animation’s 30th anniversary. This is a facsimile reissue of the original Symphonic Suite Akira album, featuring original unremixed and complete versions mastered from same files as the 1988 release. This is not the version with dialogue and all the madness!
The ten track Symphonic Suite Akira essentially documents the film’s sonic architecture - a magisterial blend of musics from around the world, meshing the disparate systems of Bulgarian choral music, Buddhist Temple chants and Balinese gamelan in a lushly complex alliteration of sounds which framed the film’s post-apocalyptic Tokyo backdrops and cyberpunk themes.
It took Shouji Yamashiro and the 200 musicians, engineers, scientists who comprise Geinoh Yamashirogumi over six months to make Symphonic Suite Akira, apparently recording with an effectively limitless budget, and it shows. At the time of release this was an ambitiously proggy effort in consolidating various harmonic systems, building on the technologically enhanced examples of YMO and early ‘80s 4th World styles in the grandest style.
It may not contain anything quite so immediate as, say, Kenji Kawai’s OST for Ghost In The Shell, but it’s a different thing really, with a different story to tell, and it does so beautifully.
Laurel Halo focusses and diffracts her energies into the hi-tech jazz-fusion advancement of Dust; her stellar 3rd album with Hyperdub following the modern classic Quarantine  and the harder-to-grasp Chance Of Rain .
Whilst fully formed in their own rights, those records now appear to be a playground or warm-up for the stunningly loose yet instinctively coherent geometries and ideas that crystallise, slosh and flit all over this one, and which should surely place Halo among the most enigmatic artists in her astral field.
While swarmed with a daring roll call of collaborators such as Klein, Eli Keszler, Julia Holter, $hit & $hine and Max D, Laurel’s myriad ideas both anchor and form a glowing lattice which beautifully perfuses the whole record, tying together her roots in Detroit techno’s makeup - sci-fi, jazz, electro, japanese electronics, dub and nEuropean concrète - and seamlessly incorporating up-to-the-minute gestures from pop, R&B and 4.1 world dimensions in the most elusive yet insoluble style of her own.
If pushed to reduce that concoction to any one common factor, it’s got to be the sense of keening electronic soul that lights up the whole album, lending a cybernetic sensuality and pathos that’s entirely of its time yet totally transcendent for anyone with ears open wide enough to accept the interrelated nature of all the above references.
It would take a braver scribe than us to properly dissect each track, but the exercise would also be a a little pointless or, at least like like describing architecture thru dance, which funnily enough is perhaps the best analogy; a prism thru which to view the deliquescent R&B physics of Solar To Sun and Jelly at the album’s front, to the 3D weft of tribal percussion and Kraftwerkian bleeps wrapped into the avant-pop structure of Moontalk and the insectoid perspective of Nicht Ohne Risiko, or drifting out of 10th storey windows in the dusk of a hot summer day in Who Won? at the album’s core, whilst Syzygy sounds like an ancient construction site visited by a choir of swooping R&B angels from the future.
There’s little doubt that Dust will be one of our favourite albums for the (hopefully) long hot summer of 2017 and beyond; it’s just a brilliant, imaginative and inspiring piece of work.
New Energy is Four Tet’s first album in two years
Leading on from the Morning / Evening set to a new age-inflected sound encompassing hang drum pieces with Tom Baker thru to modular synth input from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, all produced on a laptop computer using Ableton Live software to control and mix VST plugins as well as manipulations of audio recordings.
Best known as one half of Deaf Center, Erik K. Skodvin's work as Svarte Greiner has been described as "acoustic doom" by those with a genre-delineated filing system, and his best known work 'Knive' is now made available on vinyl for the first time since its original release over a decade ago.
"11 years since it´s inception, the surreal and darkly romantic Knive still sounds like a mystery and something that´s hard to pin down. Svarte Greiner´s debut album feels like a trip into the forest at midnight, with all the sounds and impressions that comes with it. Spiritual, horrific and fragile in essence, it´s melancholic core is hard to shake off, and feels as present today as it did back then.
While starting off the sub genre of “Accoustic doom” back in 2006, it´s difficult to say what else to name it now, with it´s inspiration and elements from countless genres. The record flows through the dissonant cello´s and washed out vocals of “Ocean out of Wood” past the introverted church organs of “The Black Dress”, distorted guitars and wooden beats of “The Dining Table” to the operatic finalé of “Final Sleep”. Everything scattered with field recordings from crows, branches, walking, sleeping, rain, wind and who knows what. Knive stands on many feet, wherever they may be.
Erik K Skodvin´s path as Svarte Greiner have since been dwelling more and more into this world, picking each element apart to focus on them, stretching them out or cutting them down, looping, experimenting and flooding with reverb - trying to make time stop and night fall. But for now a re-visit to where it all started seems appropriate.
'Knive' sees Skodvin plundering a record collection evidently stacked with the likes of Earth, Badalamenti and Volcano The Bear - coming out the other side with a record that is inky black without becoming oppressive or claustrophobic. Opening with the melted-wax drones of 'The Boat Was My Friend', Svarte Greiner presents an inky arena to experience his music - as crepuscular cello and detached vocals coalesce to forge an ethereal and otherworldly aesthetic. Flecked with pathos and a genuine sense of foreboding, 'The Boat Was My Friend' signals the coming record in a dipping style which evokes images of a late night radio signals heard through a haunted woodland. Moving on from here, 'Ocean Out Of Wood' is a mealy and waterlogged affair, wherein Skodvin allows creaking percussion and pregnant chords to seep into the conscious with just the right balance of light and dark to ensure the textures never become too abrasive or oppressive. Bringing to mind a tarnished copper-rub, the likes of 'My Feet Over There', 'An Ordinary Hike' and 'The Black Dress' all inhabit a musical sphere where shadows are encouraged and light is shunned to piquant effect. Elsewhere, the stunning finale of 'Final Sleep' is heaving with operatics that scar the conscious through cavernous organs straight from Badalamenti's secret chest, 'The Dining Table' lays on a spread of syrupy percussion, whilst 'Ullsokk' allows haunting vocals to chide at the skittering rhythms beneath."
Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran traverse the outer reaches on this killer Visible Cloaks document for RVNG.
We just knew last year's debut Visible Cloaks offering for RVNG, the Miyako Koda-featuring Visible Cloaks single Valve, would be the prelude to something greater from Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran. Reassemblage marks the Portland pair's second album and further expands upon the Visible Cloaks 'verse, calling on Motion Graphics and Root Strata alum Matt Carlson for assistance.
Inspiration for the album stems from a video essay of the same name by Trin T Minha-ha, which explored the impossibility of ascribing meaning to ethnographic images. With this in mind, Visible Cloaks set about transposing the inherent futurism of acts discovered on their inspirational Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes well into the 21st Century through modern sound design.
This results in an album whose eleven tracks possess a startlingly lucid and vibrant vision, forming new structures and ideas in the process. The aforementioned Valve features early in Reassemblage, Miyako Koda's presence gaining even more meaning within the context of Carlile and Doran's intentions for the album.
Elsewhere, vocals are deployed with a more abstract bent, VC playfully skewering Matt Carlson's voice through digital manipulation on Neume for one of the album's forays through musique plastique. Circles offers a genuinely spine-tingling moment of modern classical, whilst Motion Graphics follows his avant-jazz Future Times gripper with some illuminating assistance on the digital tranquility of Bloodstream.
Wonderful stuff all round.
Tokyo’s Kouhei Matsunaga with a lucidly crisp set of breakbeat techno an electro tricks for DFA Records continuing his world tour of labels after 12”S with PAN, Important, Raster-Noton, Diagonal, L.I.E.S.
The prolific multi-monikered artist covers a usual breath of nuance across the 8 tracks of Exit Entrance, weaving between Rian Treanor-esque, avian electronic mixed with crunchy garage in Meeting to fiercer, grungy pressure recalling Diamond Version in Dignity, taking in a glassy beatless apex with Notice and a killer lash of bendy acid techno with Dented.
Pauline Oliveros surrounded by Belgian ensemble Musiques Nouvelles, performing 2 long pieces for orchestra.
"Sound Geometries for Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System and 5.1 Surround Sound System by Pauline Oliveros was premiered in Brussels. The 3 sections metaphors of the piece are intended to guide the players in their feelings and approaches to conducted, guided and improvisational music making to create differing atmospheres for each of the three sections. Players sounds are picked up during the performance by microphones, processed in one of ten geometrical patterns by the Oliveros designed Expanded Instrument System (EIS). to transform and move the player's sounds in space in the 5.1 surround sound system.
Meditation for Orchestra asks the performers to listen then sound. Listen means to include all that is sounding and to find a space for each sound that is made. Pauline Oliveros and Ione are guests of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelle in this studio performance of Meditation.”
Memory In Vivo Exposure presents maverick percussionist Valentina Magaletti (Raime, UUUU) and her bandmate Tom Relleen at their most dextrous in four pieces ranging from a superb meld of Afro-Reichian phrasing and location recordings in the 2-part title cut, thru to busted post-punk knocks on The Inexorable Sadness of Pencils, and back to rhythmelodic hypnotism with Il Fiume Di Ferro.
“London band Tomaga are back with their fourth release under the Hands in the Dark banner: Memory in Vivo Exposure.
The EP consists of four original tracks and yet another new musical evolution for the duo. Whilst they still use complex layering and harmonic polyrhythms in developing their original approach, this time the sonic tales they have shared are much more cinematic and dreamlike. These visions are locked up into emotionally charged loops to convey the sensation of a dream in which half remembered things become new zones of feeling.”
Killer album of glowering drone and clanking percussion from Martin Maischen aka Goner.
Flanked by noise-cellist Unter Lala and Mark Godwin (a musician/sound engineer whose discography includes work with Coil), Yogascum feels like a ghosted, atrophied and entropic versioning of hard-edged dancefloor sounds chanelled through the darkest recesses of your mind.
Over the first extended side he explores peripheral deep and complex drone works, plumbing a space somewhere between Mohammad’s deathly invocations and the dense dankness of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement with a combination of greazy, slyding pitches, peripheral tones and dense electronic oscillations roiled in vast electro-acoustic space.
The other side, however, is given to beat driven structures, with YS 2 involving Mark Godwin on a clanking, ritualistic rhythm that sounds like it managed to escape from Coil’s latter-day archive, whilst also recalling his work as ZK for Skam, whereas Endtitle catches Goner solo on a dense rhythmic tip.
Lucerne, Switzerland’s Hallow Ground follow that COH plays Everall zinger with Martina Lussi’s claggy mix of queasy ambient, field recordings and lop-sided minimal techno
“On the LP Selected Ambient, Martina Lussi brings together a collection of sound material from her practice to date. The material oscillates between electroacoustic composition, sound art, and live performance. The pieces are named after precious gemstones, all of which are traditionally ascribed with special powers. In using these names, the artist seems to refer to the esoteric roots of the genre invoked by the LP’s title. The compositions, however, resist the genre’s characteristically naïve re-enchantment of the world and distrust holistic esotericism’s promise of healing and restoration. Instead, they are defined much more by an interest in affective uncertainties. The gemstones don’t speak, and they don’t convey the mythical forces ascribed to them—rather, they rest in their own materiality. They don’t want to affect or influence—they simply want to exist as witnesses of/to the ultimately incommensurable reality that lives beyond our own horizon.
“Sodalith” is characterized by a melancholy sensibility; the piece is carried by a boundless synthetic surface over which a guitar melody swirls. At first, “Citrin” seems to want to unravel into orbiting, meditative qualities, but in the second part, the mood collects in the peculiarity somewhere between sustained calm and frequently disrupted rave euphoria. “Achat,” which borrows most clearly from the electroacoustic tradition, develops relatively late and unexpectedly into a subtle techno track that then repeatedly interrupts the very momentum it has engendered. Lastly, “Opal,” which was originally written for Lussi’s installation “Composition for a Circle,” writhes in seemingly stochastic contortions that lightly shake the centripetal dynamic of the piece.
In these four compositions as in other works, Lussi creates a sound world in which circling correlations raise more questions than they answer—in contrast to esotericism, which insists on imbuing its material with meaning. Lussi therefore facilitates a listening experience that refers to ambient at its best and most radical: her music represents neither a dissolution of the self in complete uncertainty nor a contemplative internal landscape, but rather a tremulous hovering over the border between the two.
Martina Lussi lives and works in Lucerne. She holds a Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice. In 2014, Lussi’s debut EP, “Komposition O08”, was released on Präsens Editionen. Lussi has performed work between the disciplines of sound art and music performance at places like LUFF (Lausanne Underground Filmfestival) or the festival Oto Nove Swiss at London’s Cafe Oto.”
Terry Riley’s Sri Moonshine label gives an unmissable opportunity to fall under the spell of Pandit Pran Nath. Truly life-affirming music.
““The raga cycle given by Pandit Pran Nath at the Palace Theater in Paris 1972 was the first time a Master Indian Classical Vocalist had presented three consecutive days of ragas sung at the appropriate times of day, giving the Western audience insight into the characteristics that inform the moods and atmospheres of evening, afternoon, and morning ragas.
“The recording here is from the Saturday, May 27, 1972 afternoon concert and features Raagini Bheempalasi and Raag Puriya Dhanaashree. This is the Maestro at the very summit of his creative and vocal powers. His inspiration merged with his excitement of being in Paris and added to the uniqueness of these performances. As he guided his ragas at an unhurried pace with a surety and command of the musical language, details emerge in the music so profound that new delights continue to surface.
“Pandit Pran Nath was born in 1918 in Lahore, India which was to become Pakistan. He was one of the foremost disciples of the legendary singer, Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan, Sahib of Kirana. Khan Sahib was known for his long extended renditions of ragas in the melodic Kirana style, often lasting hours. His knowledge of raga science was unparalleled, allowing him to unveil endless permutations and combinations of phrases. Pandit Pran Nath absorbed this knowledge of raga from his Guru, building on these majestic forms in a unique and inimitable way. Pran Nath’s rich vocal quality and imaginative renditions of well-known ragas singled him out as one of the greatest masters in the history of Indian Classical Music.
“Pan Nath’s music is ancient and modern, full of fresh flights of imagination. It is no wonder that his numerous performances in the West attracted devotees and students. Besides La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, he instructed musicians of the American avant garde, including Jon Hassell, Lee Konitz, Allaudin Mathieu, Charlemagne Palsestine, Sufi Pir, Shabda Kahn and many others. His impact on contemporary music continues to grow.” —Terry Riley”
CoH Plays Everall is a remarkable turn by singular synthesist Ivan Pavlov, who pays tribute to the late UK electronica/industrial pioneer John Everall (Tactile/Sentrax) with six transmutations of analog material originally meant for a collaboration between the two artists, plus CoH’s Hunger collab with Jhonn Balance ov Coil.
Working somewhere between Powell’s recent New Beta jaunts, Lorenzo Senni’s circumvented trance arpeggios, and the rapid ear movements of Gábor Lázár, it’s by far some of the most colourful, kinkily swung gear we’ve ever heard from Pavlov aka CoH, but trustingly articulated with a cold northern melancholy.
Proceeding from Hallow Ground’s reissue of CoH’s Soisong and their recent issues of Dedekind Cut and Siavash Amini records, CoH Plays Everall is a real credit to their catalogue, not least as a great tribute to Everall, but also as one of the rarest glimpses of CoH in kinetic action, gambolling between electric blue nEuro-trance pulses in 2016 to the TCF black MIDI styles of Wavetrap and the hyper, head-pinching strobes of Overbeat with an energy bordering on gleeful that we’ve hardly heard from CoH before.
Seriously, any lovers of razor-sharp, forward electronics from Errorsmith to Lorenzo Senni need to check this, pronto!
Scorching Afro-psych-funk fuzz ’n grub from outta Cameroon, c. mid ‘70s, picked and dusted down by Samy Ben Redjeb’s ever-dependable Analog Africa label. Those drums, that vocal - liable to take yer eyebrows off, or at least set your ass on fire.
“I remember the day clearly. I was searching for treasures in a record shop in Yaoundé, the Capital city of Cameroon, when suddenly I came across a 7-inch record with a picture of a young man wearing a traditional hat and bearing the marks of several imposing vertical scars on the side of his face, carved when he was just a boy as a reminder of his heritage in the Musgum tribe of the northern part of the country.
The record contained two songs – ‘Gandjal Kessoum’ and ‘Touflé’ – by an artist I had never heard of before named Hamad Kalkaba. Both cuts were raw classics of fuzzed-out bass, pin-sharp horns, built upon the unshakable foundation of Northern Cameroon’s mightiest rhythm: the Gandjal. The shop owner - who noticed that I was listening to the same record over and over again - mentioned that ‘There is another single with a green cover of the same artist’.
Over the next six years I searched for that ‘green cover’ and finally found it in a record collection belonging to an old bar in Parakou in northern Benin. While most of the records had been beaten and worn by a life spent in the jukebox, this one had been sitting in its paper sleeve for forty years, untouched and unplayed, seemingly waiting for us to pick it up and rip the two soulful Gandjal tunes from it, the masterpieces ‘Fouh Sei Allah’ and ‘Tchakoulaté’.
These two records, plus a third simply named ‘Nord Cameroon Rythms’ constitute the entire discography of Hamad Kalkaba. Neglected for decades by all but the most devoted collectors of Afro music, Hamad Kalkaba and the Golden Sounds at long last gathers together the body of work of one of Cameroon’s forgotten geniuses.
But unlike many musicians who emerged from nowhere, recorded a few singles and vanished again, Kalkaba hadn’t disappeared. Far from it. He was a distinguished public figure, a retired Colonel in the army of Cameroon, and a former member of Cameroon’s Olympic Selection Committee. When we tracked him down he was serving as president of the Confederation of African Athletics. And Although Kalkaba’s job kept him busy, and he seemed initially dismissive of the music he’d made as a young man, he turned out to be an enthusiastic ally in this project. He arranged interviews, helped fill in the blanks and, when we finally met him in Yaoundé in 2016, provided us with photographs, lyric sheets and notes.
During the interview Kalkaba explained how the songs recorded in the mid 1970s were part of a movement, a movement initiated by musicians from all around Cameroon who, with the help of keyboards, drum kits and electric guitars, had started to modernise the traditional rhythms of their regions. For Kalkaba it was no different and backed by his band the Golden Sounds, devoted himself to the promotion of the sounds of northern Cameroon.
One of the aims of Analog Africa is to showcase the colourful diversity of styles that exist in Africa and its diaspora and today we are very proud to be able to give these Gandjal tunes their first worldwide release.”
Classically-skooled deep house excellence from Italy’s Rhythm Of Paradise
Showing the new waves of leaden line-dancers how to do it with swing and sexiness in three sterling cuts: the lush Detroit/NYC lift of Dreams; an NYC garage-taught dancer named Into Your Eyes; and the spiritual Nu Groove sophistication of U; and a square-bass tied rework of Dreams from fellow Italian producer, Cosmic Garden.
Carl Michael von Hauswolff sonifies the invisible, the unheard in Still Life - Requiem, presenting the sounds emitted by physical matter, as extracted and revealed through emission spectroscopy executed at Linköping University, Sweden. Its a direct continuation of CMvH’s role as chief ghost hunter or Egon Spengler of the contemporary avant garde, and an eerily fascinating listen.
In the true sense of a psychopomp, CMvH acts as a bridge between dimensions and perceptions of life and inanimate matter, analysing its frequencies or entropic aura, then pitching up, amplifying the results until comprehensible by the human ear (between 15 and 14000Hz).
So far, so scientific, but the art creeps in where CMvH farther manipulates that material by stretching, looping and equalising it into something else. When heard in context of his intentions, those sounds form a requiem - a sort of comforting dedication to lost souls, which are usually human or animal, but in this case not necessarily so.
If you like listening at the threshold of perception and drawing your own conclusions from freaky sonics, your lugs deserve this one.
Shenzhou is next up in Biosphere’s album reissue schedule.
Original issued in 2000, it finds the Norwegian artist following the wistful loops of Cirque farther down the rabbit hole, leaving behind the purely electronic contours and beat-driven elements of his early work for a subtler, textured electro-acoustic style comparable with The Caretaker and Leyland Kirby or William Basinski’s faded tape loops. Your attention is required to the mesmerising string swells of Houses On The Hill, the cinematic midnight jazz gesture of Path Leading to the High Grass, and the Deathprod-alike gloam of Lorry Shuttle Shaft.
Killer, massive collection of Redman’s ’80s + ‘90s digidub productions, sourced from rare 7”s. This one’s a lot! Check for Tony Tuff’s ‘Careless People’, Admiral Tibet on the ruddy ride of ‘New Tactics’, and particularly the handful of dub versions!
“Two years after the release of Sleng Teng, a young vigorous producer, who was originally a sound system operator, was maturing his tactics to rule over Jammy’s position. His name was Hugh ‘Redman’ James. Soon the producer was in the limelight during the late 80’s to the early 90’s for releasing a number of hits from his own Redman International label.
The sound system operator turned producer employed Steely & Clevie for his rhythm section like other major producers including King Jammy, King Tubby and Winston Riley. But the rhythms he created were literally new when compared to the works of other 80’s labels. Many would still say that Redman’s style is very similar to King Jammys. But at the same time, he identified his music by dripping the essence of Jamaican roots music, which inevitably distinguished his sound and originality.
Themes that Redman accompanied were very obvious in titles, which he produced. Titles such as ‘Weh Dem Fah’ and ‘Danger’ by Carl Meeks, ‘Dangerous’ by Conroy Smith, ‘New Tactics’ by Admiral Tibett, ‘Careless People’ by Tony Tuff and ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Runnings’ by Dave Bailey are considerably some of his best productions that featured those clear themes and conscious messages from those artists.
A major breakthrough came to Redman when he versioned a Studio One classic ‘Run Run’ by Delroy Wilson to create a massive hit ‘Koloko’ by Clement Irie. On the same rhythm, Johnny P, Daddy Lilly, Rappa Robert & Tippa Lee have also recorded other striving songs. In addition, he produced many talented artists like Red Dragon, Frankie Paul, Courtney Melody and released other quality productions.
Throughout the Redman’s catalogue, all of the songs and rhythms were basically created to target patrons at various dancehall venues as he was originally a sound system man. Also dub versions to his rhythms were very remarkable productions. For these reasons, his music is still highly demanded and respected from the day that Redman founded his label over twenty years ago.”
Available to download for the 1st time
Jon Hassell’s 1978 debut studio album for Lovely Music - released years before his seminal and hugely influential ‘Fourth World Vol. 1 - Possible Musics’ album with Brian Eno. Definitely worth checking if you fancied the recent Bjørk album, of which Hassell was a key influence
Carl Craig casually whips out one of the best remixes you’ll hear in 2017 with his deeply dynamic rework of Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald present Borderland / Transport.
On the A-side the master sets to work on a delirious, psychoacoustic diffusion of Transport (12” Edit) where he spends the first few minutes reducing the original to a stereo-strafing helix of intersecting vortices, before dispensing a super wide, swanging bassline that carries the cut to giddy heights without a single daft trick, just oodles of precision-tooled suss.
Flipside, DJ Deep and Roman Poncet join the party, but the results are much straighter and pale in comparison to the hi-tek studio jazz of Carl Craig’s A-side.
One of 2017’s most hotly anticipated mixtapes delivers in style, as Clara La San’s bedroom-crafted Good Mourning is finally ready to take pride of place in iTunes folders the world over. Clara writes, sings and produces all her own material - save for some assists from Jam City - and her significant debut is set to catapult her into pop consciousness.
As a member of South Manchester’s Gang Fatale, and with prior convictions for DVA (Pink22) and Mssingno (Fone), as well as soundcloud posts racking up over 200k listens, Clara arrives fully formed into the world with a pitch-perfect, yet sweetly damaged style of R&B emotional punishment whose one-two of razor-sharp, upfront production and frankly confessional lyrics have won her comparisons with everyone from contemporary stars such as Kelela and Tinashe, thru classic ‘90s/‘00s feels from Monica and Aaliyah.
However, all those comparisons stop short of the fact that Clara is the boss of her show, and while her hooks and arrangements are R&B/pop in the purest sense, there’s also a ethereal thizz and lush weightlessness to her sound that beckons comparison with Laurel Halo or 0PN as much as The Dream, thanks to her songs’ achingly careful blend of futurist soul with timeless, romantic appeal.
If we’re playing favourites, the widescreen, dry-iced ‘80s glyder Strangers is right up there with our favourite Sally Shapiro bits, cleanly pointing to influence from US movie OSTs, while the glitching intro and combustible dynamics of opener Rivers leaves us heart-in-mouth, also recalling 0PN in its experimental pop turns-of-phrase, and the rugged combo of Reese bass, frighteningly confident vocals and fierce drill drums in Alright is just lip-bitingly strong and memorable songcraft.
Unless you’re a diehard harsh noise fan or a genuine techno curmudgeon, you’d be daft to not check this one out.
With the Reassemblage album still glistening in the background, Visible Cloaks unpackage the filigree designs of their Lex mini-album for RVNG Intl., framing six lucid peeks into their hyperprism of ‘80s Japanese electronic music and noumenal new age inspirations.
Offering a sublime, absorbing survey of the uncanny perceptive valley between nature and electronic emulation, speech - both human and synthesised - is the central focus of VC’s 4th release. Used as legible chunks and also diffracted in myriad harmonic shimmers and psychoacoustic tones, human and synth voices lend melody, structure and weightless soul to Lex, blended with flurries of keys and punctuated in a way that feels we’re eavesdropping on a sweetly effortless dialogue between two or more AI, describing their feelings and opinions to each other in a language of gaseous harmonics, abstract acidic gestures and almost avian digital chatter.
The first five parts are all neatly succinct, arranged with an adroit, natural dynamism that recalls moments from Sugai Ken’s Japanese nightscapes in Transient, for example, as much as The Dirty Projectors’ wistful R&B chamber music on Frame, or James Ferraro’s Human Story or Burning Prius pieces in Keys or Lex. However, the most impressive part is World, where Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile push the ambient envelope to 14 minutes of floating hyaline structures and anaesthetising pads so effective that you’ll forget what you were listening to and just drift away within the first few minutes for the duration, we promise.
4th world pioneer Jon Hassell’s 1995 album of deeply psychedelic wormholes inspired by Cameroonian ceremonial music, available to download for the first time. Definitely worth checking if you fancied the recent Bjørk album, of which Hassell was a key influence
“The style of music which I call "Fourth World" is a continual exploration of ways in which exotic musics from the tribal cultures of the Southern hemisphere might be fused with the technological possibilities of the Western World (primitive/future). It is an attempt to create music which dissolves the dichotomy between the structural and the sensual (classical and popular in western terms).
The music for Sulla Strada is partially inspired by ceremonial music of the Beti and Bemileke of Cameroon. This is blended with other compositional and less geographically-specific elements in an attempt to create a kind of musical scenery which is not entirely "primitive", not entirely "future" but someplace impossible to locate either chronologically or geographically. In the stage production one musical section gradually evolves into another over long stretches of time.
The aim is to create a dense, ritualized sound atmosphere in which the stage action might take place and be formed within, in the same way that the density of water can be said to form the movements of a swimmer. jon hassell, April 1992, Florence”
Excellent second solo album from Thom Yorke, reissued.
He's joined by regular production foil Nigel Godrich, credited with production and editing, and his Radiohead bandmate Colin Greenwood chimes in with beat programming on 2nd song, 'Guess Again!'. It's a melancholy thing built from tenderly bruised bass and a filigree palette of "silver darkness" shot thru with fluoro tones reflected in the sleeve art's colour scheme.
Highlights include the feathered 2-step and phasing chords of 'The Mother Lode', the buoyant techno pulse of 'There Is No Ice (For My Drink)' and a future-fave closer, 'Nose Grows Some' are Thom Yorke at his most bruising, and, when coupled with the charms of Basinski-esque, decaying keys in 'Pink Section', or the lushly skewed harmonies of 'Interference' make for his most engrossing record yet.
Playful neo-classical works for piano and electronics, recorded by Brian Eno.
“Finding Shore is the sound of Tom distilling the essence of what he does after a protracted musical journey from childhood until now. He took the traditional route of music lessons and learning notation before starting composing “properly”. As a 17-year-old he had the odd contrast of being taught by the composer Harrison Birtwistle but also working as lounge pianist in a dilapidated hotel in Peterborough. He spent some time in New York playing jazz, recording with Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus, and had a successful career with post-rock group Three Trapped Tigers, yet however enjoyable that experience was, he admits it was “definitely a diversionary tactic”. Everything seemed to be an escape from the classical world or, as Rogerson himself puts it, “falling out of my ivory tower very slowly”.
Masquerading under aliases for the last few years, Luke Blair coughs up gritty techno mutations on the Twisted Blood EP for his Glum label.
Each cut sounds like it was captured mid-mutation or formed from reactive substance that burn on contact, convecting the oxidising garage-techno torque of Twisted Blood and the submerged techno stress-test of Another Victory for Furniture for more adventurous dancefloors, along with more knackered, impish alien folk dance with crooked budge of The Yips, and something like a corrupted pastoral ambient scene with Doom.
Riveting compendium of stark, raw blues by an erstwhile sparring partner of Loren Connors, recently salvaged from an old shoebox of tapes, restored by Taylor Deupree and mastered by Carl Saff.
"I would go as far as to say that the few recordings that exist of these Robert Crotty sessions are among the finest and most beautiful blues documents of all time." -- Loren Connors
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors’ doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness.
Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987) is the first anthology of the late bluesman’s work, as selected by his former playing partner. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the legendary Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.
Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region’s blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties — until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty’s brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty’s ultra rare sole LP Robert Crotty Blues and Prove It! 7-inch -- both released on Connors’ private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.”
C Spencer Yeh presents an album of electro-acoustic music made on the legendary but defunct RCA Mark II modular synth - nicknamed ‘Victor’ - at Columbia Uni. An ingenious concept, captivatingly executed.
“The RCA Mark II is a follow-up to Yeh’s recent vocal work and is focused solely on the non-musical operation of the famed RCA Mark II synthesizer. Built and installed in 1959 at Columbia University, it was the first programmable synthesizer and became the bedrock upon which the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center was founded. The machine has not worked since 1997.
While visiting a friend at the university, Yeh discovered the synthesizer and began to make regular trips to work with it acoustically: flipping switches, rubbing surfaces, turning knobs, and plugging/unplugging cables. Using contact and room microphones, Yeh recorded these operations over the course of several sessions, and the recordings became the basis from which he composed this 12-track LP. The artist then further manipulated and processed the material through a series of live performances, which were recorded and edited to complete the album.
The finished tracks are jagged, sparse, and hypnotically rhythmic. In listening to the record, one does not so much hear the original synthesizer, but rather an artist dismantling the historical weight of the source through a composition of its transformation from a legendary machine to a one-ton hunk of scrap metal no longer operational. It is here perhaps that Yeh finds virtuosity and spectacle in the most basic acts of instrumentation, the movement and clank of mechanical parts.”
Khotin crosses Heart To Heart with with four analog house bubblebaths, Canadian style.
One year on from 1080p's debut LP introduction, 'Hello World', he coolly operates in orbit of that label's gauzy aesthetic and just in reach of Mood Hut's romantic ambience.
'For U To Feel' opens with a fluffy measure of marshmallow bass and creamy acid squiggles beside the dub-spilt deep house contours of 'XP Waste'.
Flipside takes flight with a feathered lick of the same Morricone track sampled in Pita's 'Get Out', but here applied to a simmering, mystic Chicago jack pattern in 'AT03', whilst 'AT04' meditates on modulated acid and serene deep house drones.
Adroit sound designer/producer J.G. Biberkopf makes a fine addition to Aïsha Devi and co’s Danse Noire label with Fountain Of Meaning, offering a far more mannered and dreamlike follow-up to the deadly fwd cyber-punk-techno of his two LPs for Kuedo’s Knives. Make sure to check ‘Dance of Relating’!
“Fountain of Meaning is a new sonic fiction from sound artist J.G. Biberkopf following last year’s Ecologies II: Ecosystems of Excess released on Knives. Emerging out of a situation of overflow, the record burrows deeper into his practice of palpable audio theater with a study of object and relations across space-time specific sounds.
The Fountain as a theme reflects a spouting and spilling of information, an erotic gushing of imagined aural history. “The Fountain was the source of water in the public space in cities,” J.G. Biberkopf explains. “Now it’s pretty much a sexualised architectural gesture of both beautification and the spectacle of dominant ideologies.”
The western classical musical canon, much like the perpetual coming of the fountain, flush the headphone space with stimuli. Reflex and memory guides the listener through a semiotic architecture of processed recordings of masses in Catholic churches and contemporary performances of pre-medieval music. A liquidity of structure has an anxious influence and is a closed system approach to form and imagination. When water flows, it fills every space, then spills over to claim more. History is equally abundant and alive. We have never had as much history as we have now. We have never been able to see ourselves as we can now.
A knowledge of a grander architecture of knowing and recalling oppress the ecologies of human decision-making.The nature of the archive has transformed into a total and panoptic intelligence. A life is a gamble as the inventory of the world overflows into the production of a spectral third, an other, a confrontation. Fountain of Meaning offers a dynamic tension and release. A molecular tragedy, our abject recovery into a collaborative reimagining of a trauma long forgotten. “
NYC techno survivor and Synewave bossman Damon Wild delivers his 3rd album, only 13 years since his last
Expect 15 tracks of well skooled techno depth - gritty, pulsing 909 sequences, misty-eyed synths, salty bleeps - for the hard working DJ and demanding headphone listener.
This compilation spanning a period of 37 years features Burnt Friedman's releases and edits thereof from vinyl-only labels (Latency (FR), Marionette (CA), Dekmantel (NL) amongst others) plus 4 hitherto unreleased tracks, making them available on digital formats.
"Friedman's music from 1980 to 2017 covers a broad spectrum of played and programmed rhythmic styles that traverse not only club music from techno, electro and dub, but, above all, trace Friedman's own artistic development. A trajectory that owes a lot to his long-standing collaboration with Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit, who died at the age of 79 in 2017. Like Liebezeit, Friedman already explored even and uneven rhythms back in the late 1980s. This selection of 17 tracks documents this pursuit while bringing rough or discarded tracks to light, which did not fit onto any album or were intended for the Nonplace label.
The compilation runs the entire gamut of his work on percussion, keyboard, samplers and toys of all kinds using various production methods (tape, Atari, Midi, sampler, hard disk recording, digital audio tape). Studio work (instant-composition, programming and recording) underwent major technological changes and revolutions in the 1980s and 1990s, but Friedman's distinctive signature style prevails throughout. Surprisingly danceable tracks, interrupted by alien atmospheric periods, defy any genre.”
Following last year's ‘Previously Unreleased’ album and its run of nine weekly 12” vinyl EPs, Trevor Jackson has compiled a second volume of 20 tracks (11 unheard and 9 previously vinyl only).
"The music featured is a collection of reworked demos and unreleased recordings. A hedonistic mix of raw Disco, Dub, Funk, Dancehall. Electro, New Wave & Post Punk that all still sound as relevant today as they did when initially recorded for the debut PLAYGROUP album during 1997 - 2001."
IVVVO conveys intense emotions in Prince of Grunge, leading on from Good, Bad, Baby, Horny with Rabit’s Halcyon Veil with a visceral suite that “explores conflicting truths and accounts of depression, social anxiety and fear in the name of progress” for NYX Unchained, a new label and event series based in London.
The Portuguese producer has picked a thorny and ubiquitously topical subject for examination, effectively tending to the psychological flipside of his favourite subject; Rave culture, its unfulfilled dreams, and the possible after-effects of toxic excess.
Where grunge emerged as dissatisfaction with the cheesiness and mainstream role of ‘80s stadium rock, we can take his Prince of Grunge mantle as metaphor for a unhappiness with modern rave culture and its rote rituals, and the perceived distance between the original object and subjective, contemporary iterations.
in six succinct pieces he trawls subcultural ephemera from black metal to hardstyle and mutant electronica, framing a blistering reverie or elegy for unity and self-expression in a crowd that takes in the unheimlich entry of Born, with its wailing baby and acid rain tones, alongside the screeching chorales and hardstyle peaks of Until I Die. With Prince of Grunge he inverts trance breakdowns somewhere closer to a black metal intro, and V convulses classical piano arpeggios in a techno panic, before the thought broadcasting intimations of I Don’t Know, and finishing on something like a Xyn Cabal track, or Lorenzo Senni reworked by Naked in the bittersweet trance blooz ov Fantasy.
Torn Hawk hitches his wagon to UTTU for a tightly packed EBM session called Worm Quest, taking the examples of his Men With No Memory 2x7” down wilder back alleys of industrial dance music.
The four tracks fall somewhere between Gatekeeper’s EBM maulings on their Giza 12”, and the hi-energy Swedish EBM of Cats Rapes Dog, packing as much hi-tech funk torque into every second between the robocop dancer Wormquest and the new beat-nodding promo sample stabbed into Drain The Club on the A-side, then strangely recalling early ‘90s AFX in the taut clatter and martian melodies of Homeschooled Weirdo, saving something like a VHS Head sound with angular DX7 twang and tense techno ructions in The Paramus Achievement.
Hodge puts some much needed air and swing in Randomer’s drums on their smart, driving rave techno collaboration If I Could Stop, while Slipping catches them working on the offbeat with a nimble rhythmelodic hustle.
Alden Tyrell & Clone boss Serge give If I Could Stop a killer remix punctuated with achingly tight electro suss and riddled by virulent acid lines. Kowton sees to Slipping with his ghostly, gritty dub style, re-licking its envelopes to make the drums slide around a slippier sound sphere against keening, forward leaning electronics, right on the cusp of groove control and psychedelic looseness..
CPU boss and electro-obsessive Chris Smith has meticulously notated and recreated classic electro-bass drum tracks on the Roland TR-808 for DJ Tools, Vol. 1: 808 Tracks
Ranging from the bare bones of Hashim in The Soul, thru Mantronix’s Needle To the Groove, Herbie Hancock’s Don’t Stop, and, best of all, Juan Atkins’ Clear. It’s pretty mad to hear them all shorn of synth flesh and muscle, but they’re evidently all primed for DJs who wanna extend or cut-up any of the originals. Good work.
Jon Hassell’s downbeat, jazzy slice from 2005, now available to download
“BEGINNING with three live concerts, each recorded in four instrumental layers, some performances (notably, trumpet) were kept intact, other layers were either re-performed or invented anew while some layers migrated from one performance to another. Some completely new tracks were made by cannibalizing parts from previous works and reshaping them. My hope is that, by weaving together the spontaneity and "imperfections" of a live concert with the "detailing" of a studio recording, something distinctive results.
I almost subtitled this record "Improved Concerts", after Mati Klarwein's "Improved Paintings" series in which ordinary flea market paintings were miraculously transformed by painting into and out of the original. But one track—which exists only as a stereo recording—has been left untouched: the "encore" at the end, 'Open Secret (Milano)'. - Jon Hassell”