From grippingly jagged, edge-of-seat, to sun-stroked meditation and motorik jammers, The Dwarfs of East Gouza’s 2nd studio album catches Alan Bishop (Sun City Girls), Sam Shalabi and Maurice Louca expressing a driving, febrile sort of gnaw trance psychedelia in Cairo, Egypt, 2015. Practically worth it for the B-side’s 23 minute transition from quietly nerve jangling strings, organ to distorted electronic abstraction and skronky kosmiche
“Hailing from the Agouza district of Cairo, Egypt, this brilliant trio consists of Alan Bishop (Acoustic Bass & Alto Sax), Maurice Louca (Keyboards & Drum Machine) and Sam Shalabi (Electric Guitar).
Following their acclaimed first album “Bes “, this new long play is composed of two hypnotic journeys: “Rats Don’t Eat Synthesizers” and “Ringa Mask Koshary” which was recorded in Cairo in September of 2015.
Mesmerizing electric guitar parts, frenetic beats, both supported by the deep sound of Alan’s acoustic bass create a new magical Egyptian soundscape.”
Encores 1 is five track EP previously only available as an exclusive, limited release.
It was recorded in Nils Frahm's studio at the Funkhaus in Berlin, as part of the same sessions for the recently released All Melody album.
Maroon was the first Muslimgauze of 1995 and brought back the sound of confrontation. Musically Maroon continues Salaam Alekum Bastard (which was a break with the Blue Mosque and Zealot releases) and is dub inspired techno, laid back sounds with taped radio voices from the middle east that appear apparently random in the mix....
"Separated from both its reputation and its sleeve art, the music of Muslimgauze explores the relationship of visual sensations - space, colour, depth, illusion - to the listening experience. The music on 'Maroon' is dub-like inspired techno music, laid back with voices appearing randomly in the mix. The thick drums and rich found sounds that densely populate the soundscapes on Maroon give materiality to the warm presence of the synth washes.
The music is so layered and textured that it ceases to be aural and exists almost solely in the realm of sight and touch. Devoid of reference to any external reality, Muslimgauze's Ambience gets remoulded by subjective experience and moved around in the memory. By shifting the quality of perception with the producer's sleight of hand, Bryn Jones (the Mancunian behind Muslimgauze) makes explicit the interiority of the senses. Thus, the fact that our inner life determines our relationship to the world outside becomes the music's unspoken subject.
Divorcing Muslimgauze's music from its image is like listening to Take That without seeing Robbie's pelvis or Mark's pouting. This is precisely why the music is so effective. Relocating music's power within the listener instead of as an external force acting upon the listener forces reappraisal and reinterpretation. The muezzin's wailing call to prayer and the shrieks of women mourning the dead conjure up images of a fierce 'death-to-the-infidels' fervour in the Western imagination, and are recast as holy prayers for the ultimate, womb-like peace that most Ambient music aims to express. The usually easy exoticism of sampled tablas and ouds instead hint at the dread on the road to the water coloured bliss of run-of-the-mill Ambient and force the listener to internalise difference and confront the received images of Islam that Muslimgauze detour by such strong powers of suggestion."
Rare and brilliant music as used in the late 1960s Amazing animated series we are not allowed to mention for legal reasons.
"Way back in 1967, an animated superhero cartoon was released into the world. It was created by Grantray-Lawrence Animation and was based on a web-spinning, crime fighting blue and red dressed character that had originated in1962, in Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. This amazing series (that we’re not allowed to mention the name of for legal reasons) ran on ABC TV in the USA, then Canada, then a few years later started to spread its web further, running here in the UK throughout summer holidays, after school and possibly early mornings at weekends in the late 1970s. The series then got released on VHS video (and probably Betamax too) in the mid 1980s and still continues to spin its animated magic around the world through further broadcasts, YouTube and DVDs.
The series was notoriously low budget, with animated errors everywhere and numerous scenes, sequences and backgrounds being re-used all the time, often across the same episode. Even a certain spider logo on a costume would appear with six legs, then eight legs later on, then back to six again in the same show. Series One opened with a newly written spider theme, a classic, hooky song all about doing whatever spiders can, and had, as Big George (RIP) once pointed out to me, a set of session singers falling slightly out of time with the backing track after the first verse. Series One also featured background music by jobbing composers Bob Harris and Ray Ellis but these cues and master tapes are now believed to be lost.
After Series One the company Grantray-Lawrence went bankrupt, so the amazing spider series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons) was taken on by producer Steve Krantz. He brought in new talent, including animation director Ralph Bakshi who later went on to turn a Robert Crumb strip cartoon into the feature Fritz The Cat. Krantz also slashed the already cripplingly small spider budget, and brought in the idea of using economic library music. Here, thanks possibly to an independent sync agent (it has been suggested that a company called Music Sound Track Services may have been the one) production turned to the KPM catalogue. This was one of the few really established library catalogues around at the time with a modern edge; it was full of fabulous, modern dramatic music tracks – often all on the same LP. But more importantly all the tracks were far longer than the one minute musical cuts that many of the fledgling USA library companies were issuing at the time. Not only would this KPM music be efficient, affordable and very easy to use, it would also mean syndication worldwide would not be held up by any future musical issues. Krantz produced two amazing spider series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons), and both were smothered with KPM music. In fact barely a spider second goes by without music playing in either the background or foreground.
For many years I – and many nostalgic others - have been thinking about putting this vinyl album together. For many enthusiasts this really is formative music – a junior foray into hip swinging crime jazz and esoteric musical grooviness. I’ve also read on line accounts by DJs from WFMU on the trail of original spider master tapes, and there’s even a whole forum dedicated to “Spidey-Jazz”. Then recently I was looking at an old spider tracklist and realized that several of my favourite KPM cues were there including Syd Dale’s “Hell Raisers” and “Walk And Talk”, both from one of the most elusive and desirable KPM albums of all time (yes, you just try and find yourself a copy of KPM 1002 right now), so I decided to push on and get the album made.
So, what features on this Spider-Jazz Lp? Well it’s music from the amazing TV series we are not allowed to mention for legal reasons, BUT, not music from Series One. No, but it is all from Series Two and Series Three. From looking at archival cue sheets, over 50 tracks from various early KPM 1000 series albums were used across episodes. I’ve distilled this down into one exciting and enthralling LP, and if this works a further Spider Jazz album may well swing in to production. If you’re interested (and I’m sure you may well be) cues here came from KPM1001, KPM1002, KPM1015, KPM1017, KPM1018 and KPM1043 and were composed by master library composers of the era – Dale, Hawkshaw, Hawksworth, Mansfield etc.
And if you are listening over there in the USA, you may well recognize many of the cues here not just from the amazing TV series (that we’re not allowed to mention for legal reasons) but also from classic 1960s and 1970s NFL highlight shows that we are allowed to mention."
The World of Harry Partch is a seminal survey of the arch iconoclast’s efforts in consolidating the myriad voices which made up American 20th century music.
Collecting three of his famous shorter works, Daphne of The Dunes, Barstow, and Castor & Pollux, this LP is a perfect portal to Partch’s peculiar and radical fusions of Orientalist themes with African percussions and Hobo language. Most importantly it omits reference to the traditions of Western, European music which he believed constricted perceptions and definitions of a “true” American music.
It’s best described in his own terms, as ‘ritual’ or ‘corporeal’ music, which both refers directly to the original intentions of the music he drew from, and to its physical nature, which eschewed electronics in favour of his self-built instruments and their tactile capacity for unique tunings. Of course, you can listen to these recordings without any prior knowledge of their provenance and totally enjoy them for their alien familiarity, but when taken in context of Partch’s philosophy, they really take on a whole life of their own. Dive in!
“'Daphne of the Dunes' (1967) is a side-long update of 'Windsong' written for dance. The melodic segments are given more emphasis than usual for a Partch piece, and harmonically this is one of his best with arpeggiated glides/cries of the Harmonic Canons evoking our sympathies. Meter changes almost measure by measure, with one section in 31/16 meter; another (polymetric) section consists of 4/4-7/4 over 4/8-7/8! Needless to say, while being very physical, Partch's music isn't something you can easily tap your foot to. What's most important is that it works. Partch was not one to introduce musical complexity merely for its own sake, another factor that separated him from his contemporaries. Not only are the rhythms complex, but they are performed at a frantic pace unequaled by any music I've hard (save perhaps the inhumanly fast player piano pieces of Conlon Nancarrow!).
This is characteristic of most of Partch's works, though I think 'Daphne' is one of the most successful and exhilarating. 'Barstow -- Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California' was composed in 1941 as part of 'The Wayward.' It offers such statements as 'Go to 538 East Lemon Avenue for an easy handout' and 'Looking for millionaire wife...' This charismatic piece is successful due to the contrasting of Partch's intoning voice with others in the ensemble and to increased instrumental emphasis. Last is 'Castor and Pollux' in a more modern performance than From the Music of Harry Partch, with greater vigor and fidelity. The World of Harry Partch is an excellent introduction to his works that comes highly recommended." -- Surface Noise
Autechre's classic debut album from 1993, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Go on, blink; for the first time in fifteen years Autechre’s peerless debut album, Incunabula is reissued as a facsimile copy of the original, 1993 release, replete with silver-printed gatefold jacket.
We’re not going to bang on about this too much, but you should know by now that Incunabula is one of the cornerstones of modern electronic music, one of the pinnacles of the British rave epoch and among the most life-affirming records ever, bar none.
Aye, it’s 100% essential.
Following those wicked vintage mixtapes from Frankie Knuckles and Devastating Daryl, STILOVE4MUSIC share the first batch of The Lost Chicago Beat Traxx (1988) discovered in the same massive batch of some 160 reels purchased from a dedicated Chicago digger/archivist
Of murky provenance, there’s three raw aces on this plate, including a sick, raved-up edit of Ten City’s Devotion full of corkscrewing FX and mad bass grind, next to a febrile re-chop of the disco source sample in Foul Play’s Dubbing You, recast around another buzzing bassline, and backed with a wicked cut-up jackers tool for the DJs.
The cult Australian trio align with Stephen O’Malley’s label for a fine new album.
After delivering a trilogy of albums for their own Fish Of Milk label, Chris Abrahams, Lloyd Swanton and Tony Buck resurface with a new long player as The Necks on Ideologic Organ. Few other bands can grapple three decades of genre-defying musical innovation and still sound fresh, but The Necks do it with supreme class on Unfold, a four-track album pressed up on double vinyl and gifted the mastering touch of Rashad Becker at D&M.
The label state these four tracks are not numbered deliberately, leaving the listener to navigate Unfold from whatever angle they choose. All four approaches are, as you would expect, a delight; be it the arresting musical symbiosis of Rise to the brushed percussive drama and crystalline piano motifs of Blue Mountain via the clockwork free-jazz skitters of Timepiece and Overheard, perhaps The Necks’ most accomplished slice of melancholia.
London’s dankest relay palpably paranoid pressures from the capital on The Bug's newly minted Pressure label, hopefully the start of an ongoing collaboration between the pair.
Spying those hours of the dance when the smoke machines are puffing but there’s nobody there yet, Fog finds them melding charred bass hustle with billowing greyscale atmospheres in a time-honoured style shared by both artists.
On the flip, Shrine distills their meditative intensity to more suspenseful degrees with exceedingly brittle drums bearing the huge, brooding weight of a slowed down dread bass and glowering pads = minimal fuss for deadly, concentrated impact.
The Names' 1982 LP 'Swimming' is a bona fide cold wave classic.
Recorded at Strawberry Studios by Martin Hannett, the original album is now re-issued with their Peel session of the same year (the first ever recorded by a Belgian band) and the popular singles 'Calcutta' and 'Nightshift'. Their blend of coldly impassioned vocals, romantic synths, driving drums and sophisticated songwriting is an archetypal Factory/Les Disques Du Crépuscule sound, and strongly recommended to fans of that heart-aching Joy Division style aped by so, so many in recent times.
Following the reissue of his timeless Loop Finding Jazz Records last year, Jan Jelinek returns with a transitional new album ‘Zwischen’, which is made up of versions of pieces recorded for German public broadcaster SWR2. It includes twelve sound collages which make use of fragmented interviews provided by public figures including John Cage, Lady Gaga, Stockhausen, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Duchamp and others. Jelinek uses fragments of each voice to create highly evocative soundscapes, a conceit not unlike the use of Jazz loops on his much loved classic.
Jelinek focuses on intonation, umming and ahhing, silences, pauses for breath and hesitations which dictate the pace and mood, the resonance and tone of each interviewee providing the textural core of each piece. These same vocal fragments also control synthesized sound, creating overlays that merge with the voices to make twelve synthetic/acoustic structures.
As Jelinek explains "We all know the speaker’s fate: you falter, you mispronounce, there are breaks, silences and false starts. This results in delays, a language noise compared by Roland Barthes to the knocks made by a malfunctioning motor. Such gaps can be disconcerting, standing as they do for a failure of the speaker’s rhetorical skills. But what happens when they become a constitutive, poetic factor? Zwischen consists of twelve answers to twelve questions. The answers were all recorded in interview situations. From the speech of the interviewees – all eloquent public figures – the pauses are extracted and edited together. The result is a series of sound collages of silence.
But this silence is deceptive, as it is only meaning that falls silent. What remains audible is an archaic body language: modes of breathing, planning phases, seething word particles in search of sense that can break out into onomatopoeic tumult or drift off into sonorous noise. In a further step, each of the twelve collages controls a modular synthesizer via its amplitude and frequency. Supposedly defective speech acts conduct synthetic sounds and the speakers regain their composure – not via the spoken word, but through sound. The opening questions in the various interviews are answered by: Alice Schwarzer, John Cage, Hubert Fichte, Slavoj Žižek, Joseph Beuys, Lady Gaga, Ernst Jandl, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Marcel Duchamp, Friederike Mayröcker, Yoko Ono and Max Ernst.
Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
Yo La Tengo return with their first proper full-length since 2013’s ‘Fade’.
"There’s a Riot Going On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” Even if your mind is not unclouded - shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time - you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries and above the sound.
For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of ‘Shades of Blue’, will involuntarily hear ‘She May, She Might’ on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and ‘Let’s Do It Wrong’ late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork.
In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly And The Family Stone released ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair."
After a slew of acclaimed releases by Equiknoxx, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Shinichi Atobe and Mica Levi in 2017, Demdike Stare’s DDS start 2018 in typically unexpected style with a remastered reissue of the little known second album from Move D’s Conjoint ensemble. Late night listeners ’n lovers of Miles Davis, Tortoise or Jan Jelinek’s neon Jazz minimalism will love this - in our eyes a total classic.
Conjoint was the little-known but hugely regarded ensemble founded by David Moufang two decades ago, featuring techno pioneer Jamie Hodge, Deep Space Network’s Jonas Grossmann, acclaimed jazz guitarist Gunter Ruit Kraus and, most intriguingly - Karl Berger (Jazz Pianist and Vibraphone player for Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and George Clinton to name but three).
Earprints was recorded in 2000 and followed their acclaimed self-titled debut album from 1996 (a record hailed by The Wire magazine as worthy of comparison to Miles Davis’ ‘In A Silent Way’) - and this time round the ensemble were accompanied by Andrew Pekler, Anna-Lena Fiedler, Burkhard Höfler, and Kai Kroker, among many others.
Together, they flesh out a full-frequency spectrum of instrumental and electronic timbres, precisely yet louchely coalescing a timeless and cool blue sound that is entirely respectful to its roots, yet dares to imagine them in an altered context. In that respect it’s an influential, memorable precursor to Jan Jelinek’s acclaimed Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records that was released the following year.
Democratic in its construction and flush with pregnant, contemplative space between and around the notes, the lasting impression made by Earprints is indelibly classic, quietly awaiting immersion by a new wave of listeners who will no doubt marvel at its deep, layered charms. In other words - if you ain't familiar with this one - get acquainted.
Luke Slater gets back to his best as L.B. Dub Corp with a strong batch of spheric jackers and spaced out swingers for his Mote Evolver label
Where prevailing trends have tilted towards classic house, garage and trance, Slater is following his nose for a leaner sort of mix of classic early ‘90s house and the kinda minimal techno less heard since its early ‘00s heyday. To be fair that era’s due a 20 year revival, so maybe Slater’s just ahead of the curve?
Check for highlights in the hypnotic slow swagger of LBEES Jam, the rolling sound design of Reel One, the chunky pull of Edge 7, and the early/mid ‘00s minimal tekkers of Float When You Can and the ruggeder bleeper Forever In A Day.
Room40 pair two much-loved and out-of-print Tim Hecker pieces on vinyl to mark the label's 15th year of editions and events.
The A-side finds Tim bunkered in the mine shaft at Sweden's Norberg festival on July 30th, 2005, where he coaxes out some 20 minutes of pealing chimes and reverberant cacophony making intrinsic use of the space's natural acoustics. After 10 years, thankfully 'Norberg' makes its first appearance on vinyl here.
On the other side we find the succinctly emotive eight minutes of 'Apondalifa', presenting its frayed ribbon of oxidising strings and electronics in its entirety for the first time (it was previously broken in two parts over a 7" in 2010).
If you're only familiar with Tim's better known work, this is a perfect stopgap in lieu of a new LP. Highly recommended!
Adding vivid new colour to Jamal Moss’ complex harmonic spectrum, The Replicant Dream Sequence (Blue PA14 Series) documents the brilliant results of Hieroglyphic Being jamming on a Moog modular system 55 at the Moog Sound Lab in late 2016.
Oscillating between lush beatless plumes, pulsing Afro-Cubism and even two works starring a rare appearance of his own vocals - the mid-tempo swagger of Sequence 06 and the fluid techno flow of Sequence 08 - the results rank among Jamal’s most varied releases, almost encapsulating the breadth of his aesthetic in one album.
Some listeners may also like to know that the fidelity, relative to his other work, is trustfully high-end, thanks to the quality of the Moog kit and recording, meaning they feel a lot more spacious and layered than usual.
Hypnotic minimal techno from Tresque, who’s maybe better known as Geneva’s experimental improvisor D’Incise, who has changed tack to techno with heavy, physical effect in the Lensomni EP.
We haven’t really heard anyone go so hard in the pursuit of minimal techno like this since the ‘00s, with unrelenting, brain-bugging effect recalling Thomas Brinkmann or Wolfgang Voigt’s more abstract angles in the steely monotone grind and barely perceptible shifts of Terapung-Apung, and wickedly offset polka pump in the disciplined march of L’Esvelh.
Belgium’s Obsequies file in line with J.G. Biberkopf, d’Eon, v1984 and Jlin to present their captivating futurist visions on Kuedo’s Knives label.
Organn is Obsequies’ fully formed but suggestively sparse debut release. Taking cues from Isidore-Lucien Ducasse’s surrealist touchstone, Les Chants de Maldorer, the EP unfolds a sort of lucid dream infiltrated by noirish sci-fi voices and framed within extreme, morphing sound sphere that expands and contracts from vast, echoic space to visceral chromatic pinches in its 30 minute lifespan.
Grace lifts off with a freeform elegance, pirouetting between steepled chords, fragments of cafe conversation and glitching Raster-Noton electronics recalling Ryoji Ikeda, before swan-diving into the upended post-techno physics of Languish and something recalling TCF or Obsequies’ fellow belgian artist Hiele in the fast-fwd jungliest rushes of Cell.
Asthme is a proprioception-baffling display of dynamic sound design clashing minimalist classical keys and cyber-pop urges, while Consumed fulminates a kind of black metal candescence and noise intensity, leaving us spinning in air with the weightless majesty of But Beautiful, buffeted by emulated elements and glittering with starlight.
Jon Hassell’s entrancing Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) - the follow-up to his seminal Fourth World Vol.1 Possible Musics featuring Brian Eno - sees a much needed reissue, now expanded with a bonus track and available on any format for the first time since the early ‘90s.
Recorded at Bob and Daniel Lanois’s Toronto studio in 1981, Dream Theory In Malaya (Fourth World Volume Two) was titled after and inspired by a paper from visionary anthropologist Kilton Stewart, whose visits to a remote tribe, the Senoi of the Malay highlands, revealed a connection between their happiness and well-being and the tribe’s morning ritual practice of family dream-telling; sharing with each other and discussing the events of their previous night’s dreams, which they would also relay to other tribes in a process of mutual education and enlightenment.
Using this knowledge, plus samples of water-drumming by a tribe from the same region, the Semelai, and his patented, processed trumpet and electronics, Hassell created a definitively solo follow-up to his work with Eno, although as he points out in the liner notes, other personnel such as the Velvet Underground’s 1st drummer, Walter DeMaria also feature.
It all revolves around the central, 10 minute Malay, where a choir of his signature, warbling harmonics scat and flit over the sound of sloshing water drumming, cut-up and processed with soft gong hits in the kind of rhythms which Autechre would reprise algorithmically many years later. Either side of Malay is a series of lush postcards which come alive in your hands, ears, from the agitated fanfare of Chor Moiré to the lissom, plasmic regaling of Dream Theory’s bowl gongs and diffused hoots, thru mind-melting display of hypercoloured harmonic plumage in Datu Bintung At Jelong.
The only, beautiful, difference between the original pressing and this is the ending. Instead of passing out with the deftly genteel romance of Gift Of Fire, it’s now extended by inclusion of bonus track Ordinary Mind, relaying 3 minutes of windswept chants and glinting, liquid drumming that perfectly animates and articulates Hassell’s dream.
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
Italy’s Fabio Monesi a.k.a. Hissman gives it some welly on the Chi-style wallbangers of his Revenge EP for Glasgow’s DABJ
last found on Crème Organization and Dog In The Night Records, he’s saved some bangers for this platter, warming up with the zig-zagging triplets of Revenge, then hustling the boom for big rooms with his jerky boscher Forest Wave, and keeping it elastic, tangy with Fragment, to trample home with the cavernous warehouse tattoo and jaw-wobbling trance lines of Zulu Tribe.
Discrepant bossman Gonçalo F. Cardoso meets Alex Jones (Angela Valid) for a 5th tape of esoteric collage cryptography, their 2nd for the ace Sucata Tapes series
Forked Piss Blues is an unsettlign 70 minute session of textured synthetic ambience and field recordings mulched to a potently intoxicating brew and foreign a sort of abstract, hypnagogic dramaturgy primed for barely conscious listening.
“Larry and Luisa return to England. While his mother is reunited with her cousins, Larry return to London, where he falls in with a group of Bohemian artists - including writer Henry Miller. Back in Corfu, Leslie gets offered a job as a policeman, Gerry saves a donkey from an abusive farmer, and Spiro forbids Margo from seeing Zoltan.”
PAN’s butterfly net captures IRISIRI, the 3rd solo album by Alex Drewchin a.k.a. Eartheater, who provides the label’s first release of 2018, and one of its most sublime since Yves Tumor’s Serpent Music or the Mono No Aware set. Alexa’s first two Eartheater albums were released at either end of 2015 to critical acclaim - Metalepsis was Fact Mag’s album of the year, and RIP Chrysalis in its top 10 - and this follow-up is a majestic effort balancing a romantic, gothic sense of introspection with wide angled cosmic scope and intuition.
Where the first two Eartheater albums formed a tempered concision of her psychedelic improvisations as frontwoman of the Guardian Alien ensemble, IRISIRI offers a more shattered looking glass perspective on Alexa Drewchin’s personal sound, each track resolving richly colourful mosaics of strings, synths and electronics riddled with trance motifs and her own three octave-range voice, itself an instrument of myriad potential, morphing from xanny mumble to angelic ambient pop tropes and keening wails.
IRISIRI stealthily casts its spell in 13 succinct sections, seamlessly flowing in a deceptively freehanded style from the harp strokes and bubbling bong of Peripheral thru something like blunted rap on Inclined, then making canny use of a Robert Miles sample in the K-holed maze of MTTM, and meshing Harthouse pulses with harps in Curtains, before going full blown Clannad in Trespasses, and tagging in Moor Mother for the fractious MMXXX, and pulling out with the teeny American angst of C.L.I.T., and a computerised meditation on OS In Vitro.
The overall effect of IRISIRI is seductive and layered with enough detail to keep us heading back for further investigation.
Wicked one-off ‘Noise Tape Reggae’ drop from Strategy for Entr’acte, originally issued on 7” in 2008
Experimenting with dub’s extremities in a way that’s even more messed up than Kevin Martin’s efforts, and predated the surreally detached, disembodied structures of Jay Glass Dubs or SKRS Intl, the silty gauze of ‘Repurposed Dub’ plunges steppers into drowned world sonics with steeply psychedelic, elusive effect, chasing its own tail ever deeper into the dub matrix before Taper’s Dub Rock sounds like a recording of a multiple sound ystems heard on a breeze from hundreds of metres away, susceptible to changes in direction of the wind and barometric pressures.
Moog’s recording arm grips Dave Ball (Soft Cell, Psychic TV) & Richard Norris (Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve) for a turn on the rare Moog studio set-up at Surrey University. Expect lustrous psychedelic arps, pinging electro and ambient black holes
“Who do you go to for your very first session when you have just been gifted your very own top-flight ‘Stradivarius of synth based studios’? enter ‘The Grid’ …Mr David Ball: One man band of pioneering electro-pop distorters Soft Cell, part time Psychic TV personality, film soundtrack composer and all round synth afficionado & Richard Norris: eclectic beat-meister & ambient DJ, record producer, commited psychedelicist from ‘Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve’.
The 1990’s saw worldwide commercial success as The Grid Scored 10 uk chart hits, many a euro hit including 1994’s international mega-hit ‘Swamp Thing” featuring a twisted use of sampled banjos lifted from the 1970’s okie shocker movie ‘Providence. In 1996 The Grid went on a holiday and they didn't return till 2005. in the initial week of The Moog Sound-Lab in early 2015 as the studio was literally put together around them, our abiding memory was their absolutely delighted grins as each Moog unit was added to the lab.
Dave & Richard created this benchmark album of deluxe ‘tronic trax that showcased their prarie wide knowledge of electronica & their ocean deep skills as both technicians & original soundscapers - Kraftwerk-Ian werk-outs, space noise jams, and slinky grooves with subtle pop-tones.”
Miami’s best freq-freaker does his speaker-busting thing for Modeselektor’s label
Paradoxically daft, crude and rude on one hand, and precisely advanced, rendered in immaculate detail on the other, Draculo is definitive Otto Von Nik Nak gear, with solid highlights in the mix of Miami Bass cone-pump and horror score synth vamps on Draculo, and some crafty ass triplets compatible with your trap, drill and dembow rhythms on Triangle Bass.
A rhythmelodic whirligig of fourth world provenance, Spencer Clarke’s Monopoly Star Child Searchers tour-only CDr album MakeMine, Macaw now comes on a new pressing and digital release via Discrepant, where it sweetly falls in place with their peerlessly wide angled catalogue.
Part of an avian trilogy also including Bamboo For Two  and The Garnet Toucan , this is some of The Skaters member’s most hypnotic gear; five tracks, 39 minutes of curdling harmonies and drum loops which may induce listeners to dance, praise nature, and book a holiday to somewhere warmer
“A deep dive into this record makes it clear why it should be re-released. Spencer’s chaotic and mysterious approach to releases, made some really hard to find or listen to due to the nature of them and how they were made available. Despite his career not being very long and that the internet has made it easier to trace most of his back catalogue, in order to understand Spencer's work some archaeology needs to be done. To better understand his own “Fourth World”, or his alien language music, and to expand its vivid musical colours, records like Make Mine, Macaw need to have the special treatment and attention they deserve.
Let’s just say that in the field of experimental-tropical-cocktail music, no one does it like Spencer Clark, especially through his output Monopoly Child Star Searchers. Make Mine, Macaw explores the best cocktail recipes through five colourful pieces, using Clark's premium technique of blurry repetition and dreamy percussions. It's “Fourth World” is one fulfilled with many dimensions that needs the attention you give to a Rubik's Cube when you play with it for the first time. After that it gets better and better. A tropical fantasy that starts in your ears, feeds your brain and changes your life. You won’t know what a pacific city sound vision is until you see one. Make Mine, Macaw makes you see one clearly.”
Young Marco welcomes us to paradise again for the concluding 3rd volume of Italian Dream House 90-94, delivering 11 cuts of beckoning, eyes-shut-in-the-dance deep house goodness
Remarkably, he’s pulled out two contemporaneous, previously unreleased treats in the Balearic breeze of Resounding Seashell by Jacy, and the beaming garage swang of Neurostate’s Dance To The House, while the rest is all cherry picked with exquisite taste and feels in place.
From the high tog depth of Optik’s drifting Illusion, thru a necessary cut of Leo Anibaldi’s 808 State nod on Universal, thru to Deep Blue’s lush downstroke, Deep Blue (The Inner Part Of Me), the hair-kissing sweetness of Cosmic Galaxy’s Walkin’ On The Moon, and the champion dream steed of Don carlos Overture, this is 100% gary-worthy gear, hotly tipped as a history lesson to anyone following current retro house sounds from Vancouver to Manchester and Berlin.
Cult Swedish producer 1991 proves he wasn’t just a figment of our feverish imaginations with this expanded edition of his self-titled debut suite for Astro:Dynamics.
Now including three original bonus tracks plus IVVVO’s remix of Inside You, we can safely consider this the definitive, director’s cut edition of a modern classic.
The likes of his Cure edit, Open To The Dark and the smudged knew age psychedelia of Distortion of Time have lost none of their ferric attraction, and now its aching appeal is extended into complementary cuts such as the very KGB Man-esque soft boogie screw of Inside You, the snowy cladding of Calm Onyx, and a sublime isolation chamber soundtrack in 95 and Beyond, with IVVVO’s Inside You remix bringing it closer to the ‘floor, in case that suits ya.
Scotland’s brightest new addition to grime, Proc Fiscal takes influence from the emotional manipulation of social media, Aphex Twin, his IRL friends, and the playful, cartoonish innocence of original grime on his smart début album for Hyperdub.
Peppered with AFXian bleeps, samples of drunk pals and comically solemn TV voice overs, Proc Fiscal renders a sort of ambient grime that reflects both his personal sonic ecology in a way that should resonate with most other folk of his generation. The club isn’t necessarily in mind here, as Insula is seemingly more concerned with the way grime is received via tinny phone and laptop speakers, in yer mate’s car, or even the after-party, and thusly more attention is placed on bright and clean mid-high frequencies rather than loads of radgy bass.
It all makes for an absorbing listen more in the mould of albums from James Ferraro and even BoC than you might typically expect from a grime/club-related producer, with perhaps only the likes of Mr. Mitch doing something similarly colourful, detailed and personable within this dimension.
The itinerant boss of Discrepant, Gonçalo F. Cardoso evacuates his mind/hard drive onto C40 tape with a richly enigmatic mosaic of location recordings and original ambient music where it’s hard it tell where one ends and the other starts. With a little defocussing of the ear and some fragrant herbs, the effect is uniquely transportive and riddled with psychedelic potential.
“A new Gonzo collage, of sounds, of scraps, of things he might use (never) again. Picking up where Ark Eulogy left us, a journey through places and times you think you know but only HE knows about. Unfinished, unmastered, unadorned, unconcluded and unperfected.”
Eccentric Finnish funk freak Jimi Tenor reconnects with drummer Ekow Alabi Savage and drummer/vibes player Max Weissenfeldt for a fine nod to Ethiopiques, jazz fusion and P-funk traditions on Weissenfeldt’s X-berg-based Philophon
"Jimi Tenor's mind will travel where his body can't go. Living in isolation in east-Helsinki suburb he picks mushrooms and has exotic musical fantasiesin the calmness of the endless. He has made a quantum connection in Berlin with rhythm geniouses Ekow Alabi Savage and Max Weissenfeldt to create his latest tour de force "Order of Nothingness".
Mind travel is easy and music is a perfect way to illustate the possibilities. Using historical failed experimental keyboard Extravoice from Hammond organ company has opened the floodgates of Jimi's creative passages. Philophon studios in Berlin has a plethora of exotic instruments and they have been extensively used in making this album. JIMI likes to switch between wind instruments and keyboards to get a creative edge.
Is there any meaning in Mysteria? Did Salvador Dali design the Chupa Chups logo? Was Finland part of the Soviet Union? Order of Nothingness might not aswer these question, but instead will confuse you a little bit more.”
The Drowning Craze were an early band of Cocteau Twins' Simon Raymonde, guitarist Paul Cummins and drummer Simon Godfrey, now collected on this excellent set featuring recordings spanning 1981-1982.
"The history of post punk is full of curious footnotes and sudden dead ends. Fascinating bands that flared up, intoxicated with the rush of ideas and sense of creative freedom in that fertile period where there were no rules and boundaries to creativity for groups, leaving a vapour trail of a handful of singles and inevitable John Peel sessions before disappearing back into the ether.
The Drowning Craze are typical of those bands. Their legacy is three singles and a John Peel session, a glimmer of possibility and a hint of something quite wonderful and then gone. Fortunately for them their constituent members re-emerged years later in other projects leaving them flagged up on the history train with the band’s bassist Simon Raymonde going on to play in the Cocteau Twins before setting up his own label, Bella Union and original vocalist, Angela Jaeger, joining Pigbag whilst their next singer, Frankie ‘Fun’ Nardiello, joined the esoteric Chicago industrial disco band Thrill Kill Kult.
The Drowning Craze had formed in early eighties London with Simon Raymonde - the son of Ivor Raymonde who wrote hits for Dusty Springfield, such as ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ and ‘Stay Awhile’ and then string arranging for all the Walker Brothers hits. Simon played piano and violin at school but took his own tangent when punk rock arrived and bought his first bass in 1977 aged 15 and learnt the whole of ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, the Sex Pistols’ first album, in one afternoon. Inspired by punk rock / post punk and John Peel he was very much a child of those times. Glued to Peel’s lugubrious tones on the radio that were signposting a way out of the crashed car of punk rock and into new musical soundscapes he would also help to carve as a foot soldier with The Drowning Craze."
Jon Hassell, dreamer of possible musics and creator of the Fourth World, alchemises ‘Listening To Pictures’; his first album in nine years, and a gorgeous reminder of his prescient, visionary brilliance which has influenced everyone from 0PN to Jamal Moss
Clad in absorbing artwork by the legendary Mati Klarwein (the artist behind classic sleeves for Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and Hassell’s first three solo LPs), you instantly kinda know that Listening To Pictures is going to be special, and the music certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s effectively nine years worth of thoughts, feelings and memories since Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street [ECM, 2009] recollected and distilled into a sound that feels nostalgic but uncannily contemporary.
Fringed by a crack squad of mutual dreamers including the trio of Rick Cox, John von Seggern and Hugh Marsh on most tracks, and also the likes of Ralph Cumbers (Bass Clef) and Michel Redolfi (INA-GRM) - plus some uncredited, but hinted-at involvement by Brian Eno - the album takes shape as an exercise in ‘pentimento’, or “the reappearance in a painting of earlier images, forms, or strokes that have been changed or painted over.” In relation to the music, that term metaphorically applies to the process whereby early motifs, gestures and ideas continue to resurface in the sound image, if only fleetingly or warped in the music’s etheric weft, embroidering coolly delirious texturhythms and harmolodic patterns for the ear to get utterly wrapped up in.
For anyone new to Hassell’s music, the juxtapositions of scale, pattern and dreamlike spaces will surely recall the style of Oneohtrix Point Never. But with the benefit of hindsight and the sounds of Listening To Pictures, Hassell makes 0PN sound like he considers U.S.A. as a Fourth World unto itself, ripe with mongrel potential. From the inception of opener, Dreaming, with its digitally crinkled nods to jazz and Germanic kosmiche, thru the relatively shorter vignettes of polymetric percussion and balmy harmony in Slipstream, and the gently roiling tension of Al-Kongo Udu, and thru to the underwater jazz of Pastorale Vassant to the weightless, glitching stepper Ndeya, Hassell and his ensemble excel in catching a music in flux, perpetually in transition, yet without ever disclosing the location or final destination, keeping our attention (de)focussed to the parts of the journey others miss out, or choose not to focus on.
As the first volume of the Pentimento series for Ndeya, a sub-label of Warp, we can hardly imagine a more teasing introduction, and can’t wait to see where Hassell takes us in the future.
Operatic gospel R&B melodrama from one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter Serpentwithfeet, mounting their solo début LP with indie-pop stable Secretly Canadian after gathering attention via an EP for Tri Angle and a cameo on Björk’s ‘Blissing Me’ single
Flanked by production from avant-garde collagist Katie Gately, cult hip hop producer Clams Casino, and recent Tri Angle signing, mmph, plus Adele songwriter Paul Epworth for one big highlight, serpentwithfeet feels more confident than ever and totally in dramatic element on Soil.
serpentwithfeet is the real deal gesamtkunstwerk - a complete package where the look is inseparable from the songs, the music and the art; a total expression of self that’s as amorphous as it is singular. Amid shapeshifting backdrops of decimated R&B, cinematic synth chorales and rugged electronics, serpentwithfeet is the consistent presence, emoting in a range of styles from R Kelly-esque sung monologues to steepled octave-hopping acrobatics and heart-wrenching torch song simplicity.
It’s bound to be divisive - you’ll either fall madly in love with it or try to forget about it instantly - but we can’t deny its pull and can see ourselves returning to this one throughout summer ’18.
Bogdan Dražić drops a volley of salty machine workouts on TTT following blasts for Giallo Disco
Trampling in wigged-out terrain between Eric Copeland, Muscleworks era James Feraro and Lutto Lento, the Dangnabbit EP flexes sinewy muscle in four parts, starting with the Troma horror-core funk of Nag Nubia, then spitting the gob of hacked muscle and screws called Goa, Goa, Gone, before yoking up the wonky-wheeled ride of Jack Dat Wabbit, and the swaggering jakbeat, Trip This Joint with X amounta madness.
Afrodeutsche provides Skam’s best release this decade with Break Before Make; the British-born Ghanaian/Russian/German artist’s début album of Detroit-inspired hardware jams
For the better part of two decades in Manchester, Henrietta Rolla-Smith a.k.a. Afrodeutsche has been a fixture in the city’s underground currents, but this is the first time she’s properly revealed her solo music, making for a mesmerising addition to the legacy of Manchester’s most notorious electronic music label.
Clearly nodding to Detroit’s seminal electro-techno sound, both implied in her pseudonym’s reference to UR’s Afrogermanic; and explicitly in her moody, raw, machine-made style: Afrodeutsche exerts a a deadly and unique spin on classic styled with an effortlessness that’s not common to Skam’s typical taste for frenetic arrangements. However, on the other hand, the inherent hip hop leanings of her slower grooves, and a mutual passion for bittersweet electronics is patently self-evident across the 14 tracks of Break Before Make.
As with her ace live shows, the tracks are all built from a combination of improvisation and preparation, the result of so many years of honing her hardware intuition so she can fluidly speak and emote thru the keys and wires. In that sense, each cut unfolds with an off-the-dome linearity, with reticulated rhythms sidewinding under chromatic lixx that variously keen, layer and chatter with a sci-fi cinematic sort of encrypted abstract narration.
Essentially, it’s an unmissable album for anyone who’s been entranced by the myriad projects of Gerald Donald a.k.a. Heinrich Mueller, or anyone who enjoys interpreting machine music with proper funk and dark, yet playful soul.
Sweden’s Baba Stiltz turns on a soulful charm for XL with Showtime following a string of choice 12”s with TTT, Born Free Records, and Studio Barnhus in recent years.
Introducing himself with the hazy vibe Showtime, he gets down to earthy grooves and shimmering melodies coming of like a more palatable Jamie Lidell on Situation, before stepping up the pace to a glitching boogie disco burn with Serve, and stretching out in a lusher blend of autotuned R&B vox and rude electro bass arps on Maze.
The first instalment of a stunning self-released opus by a pivotal thinker of our age; James Ferraro, the start of a four-part dystopian saga about digital feudalism and the Internet of Things. RIYL Elysia Crampton, Haruomi Hosono, Wendy Carlos, Oneohtrix Point Never…
Four Pieces for Mirai is a stunning prelude to James Ferraro’s epic new work about civilisational decline, planned to span four releases this year. The initial transmission finds the preeminent bard and prescient se’er of the 21st Century establishing a dystopian present not dissimilar to our own, where society is in feudal bondage to digital networks, and the best resolution to the problem is a malware DDoS attack that disrupts the hold of the internet.
In keen pursuit of the hi-fi avant-pop themes central to Ferraro’s work since his critically acclaimed Far Side Virtual [Hippos In Tanks, 2011], Ferraro sets the scene for a timely and playfully foreboding vision of where humanity is headed, based on where we are now.
Integrating ideas from medieval music, Rensaissance music and ambient electronics with traces of hardstyle techno trance, metal, and indie-pop, the results broadly acknowledge and distill the modern sonic ecology to paint a dramatic realisation of humanity at a crisis of technological abundance and dysfunction, conceptually showcasing Ferraro’s uncanny ability to translate the peculiar character of our historical times into precise musical expression.
As the relationship between the scale of big data and socio-political structures becomes inarguably apparent in recent times, few artists are better equipped than James Ferraro - a pioneer of prevailing vaporware and lo-fi trends - to incisively meditate and imagine a future the world is anxiously anticipating.
Wonky, winking electro-breaks-acid from M_nus renegade Kevin McHugh for CPU
Up top he pumps out the silly, chattering IDM breaks of Slacken and the tuffer, distorted acid slugger, Punishment.
Down below he tucks away the recoiling Miami boom and cheesy AI trance pads of Creased, and a wriggly bugger named Vague Complaint.
Gantz on a bad wan, starting his 2016 with a duo of grimacing, cutthroat riddims for Blacklist after a string of shots for Deep Medi Musik.
The highly pressurised, roguish half step of Space Horror lurches and glitches on the front with a febrile, fractious tension framed by bolshy production right on the biting point.
Step On Lava hot-foots it on the flip, beat up with woodblock drums outta the murk and wound up with a searing mid-range synth that pitches into abyssal subs by the track’s close.
Witness and wince at a noise/metal bromance in the making between two persistent rock diehards
“In Spring 2017, Uniform was asked to support fellow noisy, boundary-pushing duo The Body for a European tour. Having been longtime fans of the band, Uniform vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist Ben Greenberg jumped at the opportunity. During the planning phase of the tour, Berdan and Lee Buford from The Body started corresponding regularly. Ultimately, Berdan asked Buford if he and The Body cofounder Chip King would be interested in making a collaborative record with Uniform. Buford enthusiastically assented, and the seed of Mental Wounds Not Healing was sown.
A few months after the genesis of the idea, Berdan and Greenberg went to the legendary underground Providence studio Machines With Magnets, where The Body were finishing up work on their latest LP. King and Buford had a ton of cool beats and music ready that Berdan played synth bass lines over. Greenberg then played guitar over Berdan’s bass lines, and the songs began to take shape.
After the Machine With Magnets session, engineer Seth Manchester sent Greenberg stems of the tracks to work on back in Brooklyn. Berdan recorded vocals in the hallway of Greenberg's tiny apartment, and the raw intensity of that makeshift session served as the perfect counterpoint for King’s unmistakable voice. Effectively, every song on Mental Wounds Not Healing is a duet between Berdan and King. The collaboration pushes both bands far beyond their roots in industrial music and metal, creating an immersive listening experience that truly transcends genre.
The title of the record is a line stolen from the chorus of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” Most of the titles are culled from horror literature and cinema, with specific nods to Shirley Jackson, Jack Ketchum, and Elem Klimov. Thematically, the songs have to do with feeling trapped in one’s own mind, projecting images over and over again of a future in shambles before it even gets a chance to happen. It is about hopelessness, anxiety, and depression so familiar that they seem like permanent fixtures of one’s psyche and identity.”
Lydspor One & Two is one of the last known studio recordings made by Mika Vainio before he died in a tragic accident in 2017. It was recorded at and commissioned by Moog Sound-Lab in April 2015, and comprises two extended excursions into the wires and golden filters of the lab’s rare prototype Moog Modular System 55.
Mika was so enamoured with the machine that he declared “I Could work with this machine for the rest of my life… I would need nothing else” which is probably the highest endorsement possible, and the results documented in these recordings clearly show that he got a lot out of his time in the lab.
Lydspor, meaning soundtrack in Danish, unfolds across 40 minutes into two parts. Pt.1 finds him taking a tentative minute to find his bearings before precipitating a swarming cluster buzz that engulfs the track, shelling down blunt force bass hits and torrential drones for the first 14 minutes or so, then panning out into eerie darkness in a manner so timelessly associated with Vainio as to send chills.
Pt.2 gradually picks up another head of dense drone steam to choking effect, calving away into black cloud dynamics of corrosive intensity keeping time with a metronomic, doom-laden bass pulse that edges us nearer to some abyss; full of dread and nervous energy.
These are growling, engrossing, important recordings that provide another reminder of Vainio's ability to create intense pieces of music from seemingly not very much. In his hands, elemental sounds take on a visceral, hard-hitting quality that are so full of life and energy as to genuinely defy explanation. It's an alchemy that many have tried but few have mastered; in Vainio's absence it now fees like there's a vast chasm where there was once an unstoppable force...
A more extreme companion to Kink Gong’s Dian Long LP, the haphazard, frenetic glitches of Music is Not a Copy sounds like Chinese radio transmitted via a rack array of faulty DAB radios, each tuned to a different station and algorithmically attempting to consolidate their fragmented data into each track.
It may require a firm disposition and attention span, but there’s some really wonderful material inside, especially the eroticised techno pulse of Baosha, the tonal subtleties of Shanghai Rain, and the fractured 2-step of his School Beat.
Super pitcher, Samo DJ, L.B. Dub Corp and Powder provide the obligatory remixes to Axel Boman and John Talabot’s debut Talaboman album. The Powder mix is the one...
Aksel Shaufler does a low-key and stealthy job on Dins El Lit, taking 11 minutes to bring it up from greyscale groove to cascading stellar outro; Samo DJ gets much ruder with an electro sidespin of The Ghosts Hood; Luke Slater takes Brutal Chugga Chugga to the warehouse for a nagging jackers drill; and hotly tipped Japanese artist Powder swangs some wildly sloshing subs under Loser’s Hymn with delirious and deliciously physical effect.
Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau’s Essaie Pas reworked for the ‘floor in multiple ways by Anthony Rother, Khidja, and Schwefelgelb
Budapest’s Khidja tweak the swagger of Complet Brouille to a Hidden Formula Mix primed for redlit darkrooms and such, and Schwefelgelb take Substance M for a prancing, uptempo EBM overhaul that prods in all the right places.
However, Teutonic electro legend Anthony Rother provides the lion’s share with four reworks of New Path ranging from a widescreen electro-trance to a soaring beatless remix, and a sharp edit.
BNJMN goes fathoms deeper for Berlin’s Bright Sounds with four tracks of hydrodynamic techno
Reticuli keeps a steady ballast on course thru widely reverberating dimensions and sublime choral pads; Neurocity follows the currents to somewhere between Lee Gamble and immersive Italian techno styles; Cloaked tends to spheric harmonics and rolling percussive pulses; and Final Network shores up somewhere close to Donato Dozzy and Neel in an epic, trance-tempered mode.
Hard on the heels of his 10th anniversary drop, Joker takes a joyride in his dinghy on the distorted/super smooth purple dubstep shanty Boat, then tramples on a moodier sort of dubstep rave style with Deploy.
Allow that lead line when it drops though, jeez.