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."
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.
This is f×cking amazing - a second volume of desolate, ambient themes from David Lynch’s sound designer and mixer of choice Dean Hurley, one of those behind-the-scenes guys whose work most subtly colours the popular imagination. If you’re into anything from Deathprod to Badalamenti to Mica Levi’s 'Under the Skin’, the more ascetic end of work from Leyland Kirby / The Caretaker, or Aphex Twin’s ’Selected Ambient Works Vol II” - this will rule your world.
Having operated and managed David Lynch’s Asymmetrical sound Studio for 13 years, Dean Hurley only appeared on our radar a couple of years ago with his sound design for the third season of Twin Peaks, and the first volume of his Anthology Resource which collected some of that work. During those 13 years - a period that began just before ‘Inland Empire’ - Hurley was basically there to create, mix and edit any sound artefacts Lynch required - a process that evidently allowed him the freedom to innovate through pretty much limitless experimentation. As a result, Hurley is now without question one of the most striking sound designers and supervisors working in film & television right now, steering well clear of overly emotive/manipulative cliche and instead focusing on the minutiae of sound in a way thay recalls the classic, pre-digital era.
His Anthology Resource is an ongoing series curated from his work for film and television in the library / production music tradition, as well as a series of albums in their own right, with this second volume 'Philosophy of Beyond’ collecting 12 pieces made in residency for Art Gallery of New South Wales’ event Masters of Modern Sound, and contributions to Eddie Alcazar's feature film ‘Perfect’ - mostly assembled from tape loops and field recordings.
While it’s fair enough to wheel out a usual list of ambient/atmospheric comparisons with ‘SAW II’, Brian Eno, Leyland Kirby, and indeed David Lynch’s own early work with Badalamenti, that’s really just to show what class Hurley is operating in - his music clearly possessing its own, menacing magick that stays with you long after the music has stopped, just like the imagery he is so highly adept at scoring.
‘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."
Young Marco Sterk looks to his distant roots in Indonesia on 2nd LP ‘Bahasa’, a typically sweet-natured and breezy collection of ambient tradewinds and colourful rhythmic plumage, assisted by input from Mike Kivits (Aardvark) and Jonny Nash and The Desa Babakan Gamelan Ensemble
“In 2014 Young Marco travelled to the islands of Indonesia, visiting several islands within the archipelago including Bali. The voyage was on invitation by Island of the Gods Records; allowing Marco to immerse himself in the Indigenous culture that still exists in Indonesia. For Marco it was also a look back to his Indonesian roots, with his late grandfather born and raised in Indonesia. The brief was to capture the spirit, ambience and atmosphere of the islands as part of the labels ‘Island Explorer’ album series.
The project embodies the ‘east meets west’ approach the label has become known for in regards to cultures colliding. A respectful collaboration between local musicians who have played to their gods, unchanged in thousands of years alongside Marco’s contemporary expression. They are connected only through the universal language of sound and a mutual willingness to collaborate and experiment.”
Young Marco’s Safe Trip follow their dispatch of Japanese siblings Satoshi & Makoto’s CZ-5000 Sounds & Sequences with an unexpected pair of stepping, driving, melodic house tracks.
In a Corner of Asia unfurls a coiled stripe of firm 4/4 donks and wheezing organ melodies that sounds like it was put down live and direct to tape any time between 1990 and now.
Tous Les Jours is one for fans of Stinson/Donald’s more debonaire electro-house jaunts, authentically tending to their Japanese electronics setup with a clarity and melodic touch that originally inspired a lot of Detroit guys and can also be heard in the floating minimalist structures of Shinichi Atobe.
Virulent highlife-soukous party starters from the Congo via Nigeria - big on ‘70s Nigerian dancefloors and still big with the legendary Picos sound systems of Colombia’s Cartagena and Barranquilla carnivals
“Since the 60s, Congolese guitar combos and orchestras have always been popular across West and Central Africa. But the ‘natural fit’ element between East Nigerian Igbo highlife and Congolese rumba and soukous made for a unique beat: highlife-soukous.
Although eclipsed internationally by Lagos, Yoruba, Fela Kuti and Afrobeat, it was highlife- soukous that you’d hear at parties all over southern Nigeria in the late 70s and early 80s.
Outside Africa, the sound proved a special favourite with Colombia’s Carnival Champeta and Pico Sound system DJs – where, even today, you can hear super-rare Bota International original vinyls booming out over 20-foot-high speaker stacks along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, the records being ‘covered up’ in the style of British Northern Soul 45s, or reggae sound system dubplates, so that competitors can’t discover the name of the tune or band.
Welcome to the mysterious world of highlife-soukous – and Bota Tabansi International.”
Purple Mountains is the new nom-de-rock of David Berman, formerly of Silver Jews (whose classic run was made somehow finite in 2009, when the voice himself, David Berman, announced his retirement from music).
"‘Purple Mountains’ is also the name of what will be known as one of his greatest albums - full of double-jointed witand wisdom, up to the neck in his special recipe of handcrafted country-rock joys and sorrows that sing legendary in cracked and broken hearts. The songs areproduced impeccably by Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere and Jeremy Earle, buffed up like a hardwood floor ready to be well-trod upon for an evening of romance and dance.
The songs of Purple Mountains are a potent brew, stitched together from lifetimes, knitting the drift of the years with the tightest lyric construction Berman’s ever attempted. Honesty is archly in the air but lines of incredible bleakness somehow give way to playful distraction and the hiding of surprises for close listeners. Even still, as the songwriter once wrote, “every single thought is like a punch in the face.” It won’t take long after slapping the record on the platter for you to hear that this is one of those albums.
There are breakup records. There are apocalypse records. Then there’s ‘Purple Mountains’. Berman’s songwriter’s bone’s never been laid more bare - if redemption doesn’t come on the lyric sheet, the act of putting these songs into singing, dancing form allows them their finest end - to provide infotainment for others, embodying moments of life and truth via music that elevates with disarming warmth and a reassuring commonality, even as David himself stands outside the communal campfires."
The ‘Lineage’ EP is dBridge’s soundtrack for his photography book of the same name. Nostalgic and futuristic, the music ranges from absorbing ambient to experimental techniness, and fits the theme which emerges from the book; looking back on FWD-looking friends and family from the UK and international bass scene
“dBridge: "Photography has become the creative outlet I needed in my life, it has no expectations of me, as any hobby rightly should. I'm still in my infancy with it and I have a few different cameras but the one I'm drawn to the most is the instant photo format. Its permanence appeals to me, there's no going back, no adding unnecessary filters and repeating until you get it right. It captures a moment; warts and all.
"I'm lucky as I'm in a unique position to be able to get closer than most to my fellow music makers and listeners and point a lens into their world. Over the years I've amassed a fair amount of pictures and I often take a moment to enjoy the memories they conjure up. It dawned on me that what had started out as a photographic collection of the people I met whilst travelling through music was forming a unified image of the Bass music scene, images of the people around me who had helped shape it and are a part of its lineage. This book is a small collection of some of those people, friends and more importantly; family."
Gritty house throbs and flinty breakbeat steppers from Cop Envy, working deeper into styles found on their 12”s for Black Opal, Templar Sound and Cry Baby Records
‘Cotton’ lays thick bass hustle for lilting breaks seemingly lifted from Carl Craig’s edit of The Congos; ‘Rat Break’ leans into darker space lit with with sparking breaks and streaking rave duppies; ‘Low Air’ yokes back to a UKBass swivel a la Paleman or Pearson Sound; and ‘Junk Bass’ trades in deep robotic 2-step funk - think slowed down No U-Turn vibes.
Puce Mary, Haunter records label head Heith, producer Francesco Leali and cellist Alessandro Branca collude on two tumultuous pieces soaked up in cello-driven ambience, cavernous processing, haunting vocals and futuristic glitch sequences.
"For this first instalment we see the quartet delve deep into the study of dilated repetition counting largely on the use of a 1700’s cello built by Italian lutist Nadotti – breaking down, studying and reassembling it’s output into a meticulous yet unsettling approach.”
Two of the most radical deconstructionists of rave linguistics have teamed up! Roc Jiménez De Cisneros, half of the infamous “computer hoooligan” duo EVOL, and N.M.O. / Lag Os’ Rubén Patiño (himself a member of EVOL for one day), bring on their interest in stripping down and manipulating the basic, most functionalist elements of dance music, playing with their scale with an oddly heuristic approach.
"Hosted by Haunter Records, this collaboration gave birth to GNOMOS, an exercise in weird lattice arrangement. A trippy detour into shifting, unexpected rhythmic pattern alignments that pushes the listener's expectations and potential obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The relentless, skeletal 909 beats that composed these 5 tracks de-territorialize both the structural qualities and the cultural significance of rave tropes, making for a familiar yet totally bewildering listening experience."
Strong debut of new club musick by Tadleeh on Yegorka, the label run by Why Be and Berlin’s Janus incubator
Arriving after wayward work by Oxhy, bod, and Emiranda on Yegorka, Tadleeh plays into the label’s remit with 6 cuts full of meter-shifting rhythms and stark, reverberant atmospheres, with ace drum work in the tribal depression of ‘Kalix’, the Tarraxho slow crush of ‘Virgo?’, and the super wide, lip-bitingly strong bump of ‘Ego Will Collapse.’ We’re not too fussed when he goes big post-rock epic in ‘Believe Me I’m Lying’ and the cinematic finale, but there’s a lot of promise in the strobing, weightless forces of ‘Love Comes To Its Conclusion’ and that killer ‘Ego Will…’ cut.
Tight and tweaky 2-step garage minimalism from Crump, back for another round on Chris Farrell’s Idle Hands
Clocking in two years after the ‘Ice & Spheres’ 12”, the BCN-based Bristolian gets it dead right with the effortlessly curled subbass swing and sparing chord kisses of ‘Charcoal’, before tucking it deep= into a back room vibe with the sub-rolled dub house of ‘Bones’ in a perfectly balanced, endless ‘M5’ style ripe for the DJs and dancers.
The quietly rapturous sublime of ‘Tracing Back The Radiance’ forms Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s first new album since 2017 and a definitive entry to his golden catalogue,
Leading on from the pop-tight arrangements of ‘On The Echoing Green’, Root-Strata founder Cantu-Ledesma is accompanied on a return to glorious, smudged, widescreen canvasses by esteemed members of the U.S. experimental firmament including Mary Lattimore (Harp), John Also Bennett (Flute), Jonathan Sielaff (Bass Clarinet) and Roger Tellier Craig, among others. In two floating, durational pieces, separated by a pealing five minute ambient flute arrangement, Cantu-Ledesma and pals remind us exactly why we’ve followed his work so intently all these years.
Always a sign of good things is the fact that by 2 minutes into opener ‘Palace Of Time’, we’re fighting the urge to shut eyes and push off, which may look a bit suss at 3pm in an office full of people. However, that’s what we and many others are probably hoping for, and it’s surely delivers as the 20 minute opener flows its course of silvery piano streaks and softened metallic resonances with the warmest sentiment. The intermediary ‘Joy’ is slightly sharper focussed, as though rubbing the ears lense to allow Sielaff’s bass clarinet break the murk in slow, flitting saccades, before ‘Tracing Back The Radiance’ resumes a form of serene sonic therapy with melting sounds and ear-nuzzling timbral complexities which, in turn, relax and harmonise the world around us and make everything more manageable, even if only temporarily.
Karen Gwyer returns to DBA, reenergised and packing some of her tightest drum programming and absorbing, beatless synth arrangements
‘Man On Mountain’ is Karen’s first solo release proper since the ‘Rembo’ LP in 2017, which distilled her deeply rugged hybrid of Detroit techno and AI-style rave to widespread acclaim. Two years later, Karen bounds back with two entrancing examples of her mutant techno style flanked by two rarer excursions into black hole ambient and Carl Craig-like synth scapes that demand to be heard by her keen following.
The colourfully plumed ‘Faces on Ankles’ gets the EP into gear with a deft mix of 2-stepping drums, merry-go-round melody and LFO-style bleep riffs that carries its weight beautifully into a sort of pounding hi-tech folk dance and the cranky black hole ambience of ‘Ian On Fire’. The flipside is then given to ‘Cherries on Shoulders’, demonstrating her livewire hardware intuition at its most fluidly hypnotic, and leading into sleek synth synth churn on ‘Ribbon On Neck’ recalling C2 or Rob Lowe trips.
Schizoid decodance music from Gil on teh excellent Danse Noire, scaling from thunderous flashcore to cinematic sound design, and back.
Three years on from his debut, and following a recent remix of collaborator S S S S for Haunter, ‘Infolding’ places Gil in the immediate, pent and volatile present. ‘Swallow Ash’ sees him erupt into murderous flashcore like Croww on steds, and the mesh of tense tribal rhythms and vocal drones in ‘The Place Of Falling People’ feels like a cue from Akira.
‘Compact Renewal’ also follows in footsteps of Croww with white hot noise and deviated dembow rhythms, whereas ‘Dustgreen’ indulges a moment of loner romance, and ‘Thirty Birds’ brings the curtain down on tortuous, apocalyptic scenes.
The original nuttah meets Adrian Sherwood in a doublet style, fixing the stepping ‘Makumba Rock’ beside the spaced-out skank of ‘Heaven & Hell’
Up top is an extended dubplate version of ‘Makumba Rock’ from the ‘Rainford’ album, featuring Perry’s gargles, hoots and cries woven alongside the lyrics on a charmingly lazy, crazed rockers riddim. Down below, they skank 10 feet wide with the speaker-worrying subs and duppy FX of ‘Heaven & Hell.’
New Age conduit Ariel Kalma’s mid-late ‘70s GRM recordings are set to blow a lot of minds with this deep dive compiled by current GRM audio restoration engineer and Transversales proprietor, Jonathan Fitoussi. Properly unnerving, beautiful proto-Lynchian vibes on this one.
Sourced from a recently excavated box of tapes recorded during late night recording sessions in the GRM’s Studio 116 - the same concrète laboratory used in Bernard Parmegiani and Luc Ferrari masterpieces - this LP delves into some of Kalma’s earliest recordings to provide an enchanting listen and reveal the groundwork that came long before his relatively recent collaborations with mutual, explorative souls Sarah Davachi and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.
The set owes a great debt of gratitude to Kalma’s pal, Jacques Darnis, who was coincidentally the GRM’s recording engineer during the ‘70s. Jacques employed his mate as assistant recording engineer, and would give Kalma a heads-up if the likes of Parmegiani has cancelled their evening booking at the studio, giving him the opportunity to record afterhours in what was one of the greatest facilities in the world at the time. Armed with food, drink and his sax, Kalma would hop in his car, bez over to the studio, and evidently make sterling use of these night time sessions.
Opening with sustained sax looped into etheric infinity on ‘Paris Flight’, the album supplies five distinct but interrelated lines of Kalma’s subconscious thought transmuted into sound. ‘Le soleil au couchant’ finds him layering vocals recorded in the crypt of the Senanque monastery into a shimmering raga-like hymnal, while the LP’s central highlight ‘Voyage au centre de la tête sees Kalma’s companion Paule Salomon whispering, heavy-lidded, over burbling drum machine pulse that turns into a psychedelic wormhole, and the B-side’s couplet of ‘Ballade sure le lac’ and ‘Japanese Dream’ find him gently spiral into the low ends of a Bosendorfer grand piano, then layer the keys with sax in most sublime, effortless style, again making thorough use of the studio’s high end microphones and tape machines.
Ferocious, previously unreleased Masami Akita works produced circa 1994’s ‘Venereology’ and ‘Hole’, now issued by Room 40 to mark the 40th anniversary of Merzbow’s conception.
“In the late 1980s, Masami Akita’s Merzbow began to shift from being a studio project into a fully fledged performative undertaking. It was a decisive period that began opening up new possibilities for his very particular approach to sound.
Across the first half of the 1990s, Merzbow began touring extensively across Europe, the United States and also in his homeland. It was during this period that the dynamism of Merzbow exploded and the physicality of volume became a primary driver for the experiential capacity of the work.
Simultaneously, Merzbow began developing a range of self made instruments and techniques for exploiting found objects as sound sources, which he used in combination with amplifiers to create a unique spectra of noise and feedback both in the studio and live.
Noise Mass catalogues a critical period within the continuum of Merzbow. It typifies the radical approaches he developed not just through his music, but also through mastering, pushing the very medium of digital audio to its limit through extreme post-production approaches.
Of Noise Masami Akita remarks,
“This was around the time Venereology was released from Relapse and the work of Merzbow became more well known to the world. Far greater quantities of that Relapse release were pressed, and much more promotion along with it. In other words, the image of Merzbow's music as it is best known in the world today came from this time. The music of Merzbow has always been a continuum, the piece added this time to Noise Mass, the revised version of Hole, is a work utilising a voice similar in style to Venereology. Listening to both Hole and Venereology, one can appreciate how these works constitute a thread of continuity through this period.”
Noise Mass is just that, a ritual of intensity and ferocity that denotes the force that is Merzbow’s approach to noise in the absolute.”
Deep house standard bearer Simoncino returns to Creme Organization for a deep and slunky session
Listen up for highlights in the percolated pressure of ‘It Up (Original Dub)’, and the killer acidic bass wobbles underlining his pendulous workouts, ‘Una Notte Con Michelle’ and ‘Timezones.’
Genre and meter-bending funk ’n soul badness from Andre Gibson’s Universal Togetherness Band
Uptown, there’s an edit of the frickin’ wild ‘Dreamality’, which comes on in fits of cool, downtempo swagger and giddy uptempo eruptions with strange, pitching vocals and freaky FX. Make no mistake though, it’s a serious dancefloor tune, bound to work crowds to the bone. Downtown they spy ‘Lucky Stars’, a pendulous, tuff groove twisting elastic boogie-disco bassline under Gibson’s club-calling vocals and natty brass.
Bare bones electro-breaks by London’s Hugo Massien, including hook-ups with DJ Haus and backed with a cracking Jenson Interceptor remix
In solo mode, Massien applies his stripped down principles to the wicked NYC/Miami/Detroit-style electro of ‘Twist & Turn’, the bendy acid funk of ‘Lust & Sound’, and the electroid deep tech shuffle of ‘Touch & Go.’
In collaboration with DJ Haus he hits a murky, spaced-out groove of sawn-off breaks in ‘Hypnotic Rhythm Sequence’ and the ruddy acid prod of ‘Random Access Memory’, with Jenson Interceptor supplying a big highlight in his hydraulic refit of ‘Twist & Turn.’
Cranky, tangy industrial downstrokes from one of Beijing’s most distinctive units, chasing their Knekelhuis LP with a killer batch for Shanghai’s Sbvkvlt, b/w remixes by Dis Fig, Citizen Boy, Tayhana
Saliva D’s Li Chao takes the reins on four bandy-legged lurchers, clocking up slow, booming industrial drums and strained chorales in a manner recalling Threshold HouseBoys Choir rituals, whereas ‘Callign’ diffracts the groove between percolate slow/fast patterns and sludgy wade, and ‘Itself’ tilts the pace upward, while processed voices and dissonant synths trade places.
Dis Fig does her reverb heavy and noisy thing to ‘Flutter’, beside a rugged Gqom refit of ‘Groan’ by Durban’s Citizen Boy, and Naafi crew’s Tayhana takes ‘Calling’ from a rugged reggaeton angle.
First new Move D solo album since 2007, anyone? Guessing there’ll be a few takers for this
Packing four solo joints, plus a sweet number from his live act with Juju & Jordash, aka Magic Mountain High, as well as hook-ups with Fred P, rEAGANZ, D-Man, Benjamin Brunn, and Thomas Kehlmann, the album may be pushing the “solo” description to its limit, but it also gives the truest reflection of David Moufang’s fraternal, soulful style.
Bonus to those divine ‘Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House)’ volumes, Safe Trip turn out two more peaches from the golden daze of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Italo-House.
Franco F.’s ‘Ray Tracing Sauna’ glydes in on lush, cascading and jazzy synth strokes to go deep and a little quicker than usual with heart-rushing effect.
Marika Lenny’s ‘Beat Summer (Ambient)’ is pure chuftyness, brimming with positive piano chords and urged by a nagging bassline that goes all night long.
Killer EP from Interstellar Funk and Jeroen going it twos on the Drexciya-meets-Morgan Geist electro depths of Mirror Image, backed with the former’s nimbly weightless tightrope walking of Anasazi on the other side.
Charred electronic drone, field recordings and wrecking ball knocks for fans of Mick Harris/Scorn, Bedouin Records, Cut Hands.
“Following last year‘s “Şeb-i Yelda” EP under the R.A.N. moniker, HÜMA UTKU delivers her debut full-length album under her own name „Gnosis“: a blend of abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats with field recordings and ambience, available as LP and DL.
With “Şeb-i Yelda” (2018) HÜMA UTKU introduced her musical style to a broader audience - storytelling through elements of industrial, techno and abstract electronics, blending in field recordings and traditional instruments from the middle east. A sonic journey that now continues on „Gnosis“ that owns the signature sounds of the Istanbul born / Berlin based electronic artist and pushes them further. The Greek word „Gnosis“ meaning „knowledge reached through intuition and individual experience“ has been used throughout history by various schools of esotericism and thought, to signify gaining insight on workings of the universe. Coherently the album follows the hermit-like, truth-seeking traveller on a path through various times and geographies, through different forms of human experience. Merging field recordings that UTKU did in Greece, Egypt and Turkey with ambient soundscapes, abstract electronics and ritualistic throbbing beats, „Gnosis“ is an intense sonic travelogue where the storyline exceeds the borders any specific musical genre.”
L.I.E.S bossman Ron Morelli returns with his fourth solo album and a shift of emphasis away from greyscale industrial to more introspective landscapes investigating atavistic ambient themes - highly recommended if yr into Tod Dockstader, Laurie Spiegel, Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’ and Jeff Mills’ recent astral excursions.
For the first time on record, Morelli more or less completely mutes his drum channels and allows his sounds to freely float in imagined air. In the process he crisply reveals a latent, introspective side to his music that’s been occluded by noise in his clutch of grubby sores issued by Hospital Productions since 2013 - back when he changed his address from Brooklyn, NYC to the heart of the Parisian electronic music scene. As such the 8 bony diffusions of ‘Man Walks The Earth’ mark distance travelled from the gobs of 2013’s ‘Spit’, documenting a change of mindset from grizzled and paranoid to a more soberly contemplative and drily poetic expression of self.
Composed during 2015-2018, the 8 liminal zones of ‘Man Walks the Earth’ see Morelli switch out immediacy and brashness for a more considered longview of electronic music. In key with his previous work it’s a smart regression of sorts, but this time reaching back beyond industrial music to a primordial sound recalling Tod Dockstader dabbling at the GRM in ‘A Long Walk At Night’, or Laurie Spiegel glimpsing unseen worlds in ’Stone Tools’, while album opener ‘Fear Upon Seeing His Reflection In The Lake’ hearkens back to Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram’s etheric, Radiophonic abstractions, and the parting beauty ‘The Sun Beats Stronger As Each Day Passes’ recalls the enigmatic appeal of Chris Marker’s sci-fi soundtrack for ‘La Jetée’ as much as Jeff Mills’ recent astral excursions.
Following Collapsing Market’s archival issue of Iranian classical music, iridescent electronics by Ssaliva, and the amorphous environments of Metta World Peace’s ‘Zanclean’, Morelli’s new album presents a compelling perspective on the binds between socio-economics and cultural aesthetics that’s reflected in the LP’s sleeve art, Morelli’s own photo taken from the 86th floor of One World Trade Center, New York, detached and reframed by Ethan Assouline, characterising the basic human will to rebuild, only to destroy again.
Piquant mutations of grime, R&B, footwork and all things sweet ’n road from Banshee, marking up his solo debut proper after a self-released 12” and guest spot on Zomby’s ‘Ultra’ album in 2016
Revolving some of the freshest gear from the UK in years, the ‘Thought Bubbles’ EP comes with a wickedly freehand approach to meter, space and pitch that’s bound to cause some confused 33 or 45 toggling. It’s actually cut at 33rpm, but the way he uses footwork and R&G tropes is just brilliantly beguiling and readied to play over and again.
On the front he starts up like a vintage DJ Nate cut with the melting percolations and R&B dream sequence pads of ’Thought Bubble 1’, before settling into a Dancehall/reggaeton-compatible swang with the deliciously deferred, hair-kissing gratification of ‘Ecstasy Baby’ and its darkside denouement. Backside, the floating structure of ‘Heart Container’ conjures aching weightless sensations with the slightest brushstrokes, and ‘Thought Bubble 2’ boosts back into footwork with tilted dreams and ohrwurming R&B samples that will stick long after the record has stopped turning.
Totally infectious Gnawa funk and psych-edged rock from Morocco, 1973, legit licensed and issued for the first time on any format! Yet another fuzzy peach on Habibi Funk.
Leading on from the labels plates of Afro-Cuban Jazz and the Afrobeat of ‘Muslims & Christians’, this is the first pressing of gripping, heavily soulful recordings by three generations of the same family, headed up by the distinctive cry of Attarazat Addahabia. Addahabia was schooled between Casablanca and Paris in the ’60s and brings some serious calibre to the record, commanding the mic in Arabic against female call and response vocals and a crack backing band throwing down thick electric guitar fuzz and driving blend of rhythm from Western rock and Moroccan tradition.
Running in the same circles as Moroccan legend Fadoul (star of Habibi Funk’s ‘Al Zman Saib’ reissue and ‘An Eclectic Selection of Music From The Arab World’ compilation), Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah were one of the first rock bands in the Arab-speaking world and they patently knew how to rip a cool groove. Nearly half a century later their tunes will still light up clubs from Casablanca to Paris.
Addendum to Italo hero Fred Ventura’s ‘Future Unknown: The Lost House Trax 1988-1992’ album, packing Alessandro Adriani’s extended edit of ‘Technologies’ plus four exclusives edging on New Beat and acid house
Adriani’s sleek arps and lip-smacking pads in the edit make for a big highlight, while there’s also a spot of Kraftwerk-esque New Beat electro in ‘Afraid To Dance’, plus the chunky jack of ‘Looking For The Western Beat (Year Zero Mix)’, the smooth dream house purr of ‘The Endless Journey’, and the wistful electro wiggle of ‘Lost Memories.’
Skull Disco reaches it's final catalogue number with the final nail in the coffin on 'Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals', collating the final few 12" releases on the first CD, and a selection of accompanying remixes from the likes of T++, Rupture, Geiom, Brendon Moeller, and Bass Clef on an additional second CD.
Over the course of three years the label has come to define a very dark corner of the dubstep related universe, finding fans in unexpected places, from Ricardo Villalobos and Cassy at the housier end of the spectrum and T++ showing love from the techno end. The first CD opens with the dystopian classic 'The Rope Tightens' by the maverick Shackleton, with a horrific echo chamber lockdown featuring vocals from longtime Skull Disco affiliate Tenfold Vengeance, and moves onto later collaborations between Appleblim and Peverelist on their lauded 'Circling'.
Shackleton's smacky voodoo dancer 'Death Is Not Final' is included, alongside the undulating drum workout 'You Bring Me Down' as well as Appleblim's now classic 'Vansan' making it's first appearance on CD. The second set is about as fresh as it gets, starting with T++'s techno enhanced remix of 'Vansan' and further cementing the Berlin connection with Pole's spatialized dub-scape version of Shack's 'Shortwave'. Peverelist's remix of 'You Bring Me Down' is surely one of the finest dubstepXtechno tracks of the year and is also included alongside the stunning T++ revision of Shack's 'Death Is Not Final', surely one of the tracs of year full stop! The most surprising remix comes from badawi, with a previously unreleased rethink of 'The Rope Tightens'. Raz Mesinai sticks with the original's extended format, but rewires it with a technofied yet meditative version that sounds like 'Polaroid' or 'Cern' era Monolake mixed with sound design approaching Peter Rehberg's frosty scapes for the KTL project. The depth and scope on this one can only be fully appreciated at home on a good system with all the lights out, or equally in a dark warehouse setting, this is riddimic futurism at it's finest.
A final mention must be given to the terrific artwork from the mind of Zeke Clough beamed directly from a tower somewhere in deepest darkest Salford, applying the final but essential touch to a stunning package.
Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 is an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.
Holding dozens of rare gems from Japan, ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ feeds the ambient zeitgeist with a sublime survey of hard-to-find works by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono, Joe Hisaishi and many others, all compiled by Visible Cloaks’ Spencer Doran and released for the first time outside Japan - including two tracks on vinyl not found on the CD.
Extending an unprecedented overview of Japan’s intersecting minimal, avant-garde, and New Age music realms, Spencer Doran expertly sequences work by titans of the Japanese scene along with beautiful pieces by artists little known beyond the country’s borders. While many of us may be acquainted with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Joe Hisaishi via their major label releases and work on Anime and Hollywood film soundtracks, the rest have largely remained obscure partly due to the notorious difficulty of licensing Japanese music in the west. Now, thanks to the work of YouTube algorithms in generating great interest in this area, and thru the dedication of obsessives such as Spencer Doran, this compilation is a very welcome part of the groundswell in official reissues from this unique, dreamlike time and space in the history of electronic music.
Scanning the years after digital synths began to flood the market, and the ideas of ambient music (Eno), and furniture music (Satie) had taken hold in Tokyo, the music on ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ is design-driven to inhabit personal spaces, to meld into the background and subtly frame everyday life. Oozing connotations of sophistication and luxury, the music can be heard as a result of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s, when it become a common currency for corporations as much as record labels, ending up on vinyl and CD as well as public installations, adverts for Sanyo air-con unit, and in-store soundtracks for the likes of Muji - all of which are contained within this collection.
It’s all so lovely that’s it’s a real struggle to pick highlights from the rest, and it would also miss the point - all the music shares the same ideal and executes its function exactingly, to linger in the air. It’s pretty much flawless stuff, awaiting the embrace of romantic sophisticates and Japan-o-philes everywhere.
Out of print for 30 years, Airto Moreira’s Brazilian jazz-fusion masterpiece is now reissued for the first time. Moreira was key member of Miles Davis’ ‘electric’ group, notably playing on ‘Bitches Brew’
“The impact of Airto Moreira in both the world of American jazz and in Brazilian music is unparalleled. At the start of the 1970s Airto was invited to join Miles Davis’ groundbreaking ‘electric’ group, which with albums such as the seminal ‘Bitches Brew’ helping Davis regain his title from John Coltrane as the most important jazz artist of all time.
Two years later Airto helped establish two of the most important jazz fusion groups of all time: Weather Report, with Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vituous; and Return to Forever, with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Flora Purim. Airto Moreira also began his solo career in the USA in 1970, and alongside his wife, the singer Flora Purim, and Brazilian artists such as Hermeto Pascoal, Sivuca, Deodato, Raul de Souza, Azymuth, all played a major part in the Latinised sound of American jazz fusion throughout the 1970s.
By this time Airto established himself in the USA in the 1970s, he had already had a formidable career back in Brazil in the 1960s as an important figure in the Bossa Nova movement, which soon after spread throughout the world. Airto played in a number of important groups during this time – Quarteto Novo Sambalanco Trio and Sambrassa Trio (all of with Hermeto Pascoal) – which proved to be three of the most ground-breaking groups of this era.
The album ‘Samba de Flora’, including the seminal jazz dance title track, is a masterpiece of jazz and Brazilian fusion and features Airto Moreira alongside Flora Purim, fellow Brazilian artist Raul de Souza and heavyweight USA jazz musicians Alphonso Johnson, percussionist Don Alias (from Stone Alliance), Cuban conga player Cachete and Argentinian pianist Jorge Dalto.
The album was originally released on the small independent Montuno Record label (which was run out of the unassuming Record Mart record store situated in the Times Square underground subway station!) and has been unavailable for many, many years.”
Expanded reissue of one of the most fascinating Japanese ambient/environmental albums ever made, NOVA + 4 by Yutaka Hirose. The package includes the album known as Soundscape 2: Nova, sourced from its original masters, as well as 50 minutes of never-released-before recordings, yielding dreamiest synth tones swaddled in richly detailed environmental recordings that conjure a beautifully soporific non-place for drifting minds.
“Initially released in 1986 as part of the Soundscape series* commissioned by Misawa Home Corporation for use in their prefabricated houses, Yutaka Hirose’s NOVA has grown to become a mythical piece of the Japanese minimalist/ambient/environmental scene of the eighties. Initiated around the enchanting landscapes of the two first tracks recorded for the project, "Nova" and "Epilogue", Yutaka Hirose’s magnum opus serenely blends vintage synth with nature sounds, exploring soothing palettes and organic backdrops. For "Slow Sky", Hirose explains he "went for a pointillism-like sound, and tried to express a scenery of awakening, where the portal of a heart is opening up", while on "Humming The Sea", he "tried to compose a kind of music that expresses the daily, lazy life of child-like innocence in a summer vacation in some small town."
The bonus LP gathers four long unreleased pieces created around the same period of time for installations, described by Yutaka Hirose as "not music per se but rather sound sculptures", and including the haunting "Shadow Of A Water Droplet" which was recorded for an Ikebana exhibition.
All in all, NOVA + 4 is a transcendent experience of nature in the urban context, an oeuvre which, much like Midori Takada’s Through The Looking Glass or Satoshi Ashikawa’s Still Way, holds the power to appease the soul in turbulent times. As one inspired YouTube commenter once said when describing Yutaka Hirose’s masterstroke: "I can't tell if the birds are singing inside or outside! Thank you! "
Intravenously effective pop dirges from Kayla Guthrie, a strong look for fans of Ectoplasm Girls, Leslie Winer, HTRK, Lolina
Preceding her standout appearance with ’Erotic Death’ on the Wild Flesh Presents compilation a few months ago, Kayla’s 2018 sophomore EP ‘Falling Star’ finds her strengths in a style of melancholy, chamber-like modernism where plaintive vocals haunt stark arrangements of stygian drums and glum synths in ‘But I Am’ alongside the sleep-walking conviction of ‘Thrown’, while the side-long ‘Falling Star’ offers a more slow burning relief coming off like a psychedelic hymn by Lolina and Carla Dal Forno.
“A misty glow flows along the recumbent silhouette of Kayla Guthrie’s new ep, FALLING STAR. This is the body of the artist as aural ghost, her figure lit by shuddering rhythms and synthesized echoes, and she knows what she is doing when she stands in front of that light. Not only did she build it but she has written all about it, gathered the notes and transcribed the lyrics onto paper that is as sunshine. Guthrie is dazed and dazzling with so much light, yet the clouds roll in toward the light every time. Her translucent voice lifts your hem and so tender is her bite, so weird, so intense. This is new music spinning fast in a dance with archangels (Jarboe, Cocteau Twins, Lydia Tomkiw and Leslie Winer) and barreling straight through heaven’s gate.”