Coming off last year's acclaimed electronic soul release fleet.magic on Andrew Morgan's PPU Records, Baskets of Gold highlights producer fleet.dreams' percussive exchange into the world of dance.
"The nuanced artist now calls Detroit home, and the latest work evokes the spirit of the regions deep musical history. It's a little later in the night, still soulful, but the palette has shifted. After locating the errant poet àj magic wandering the high deserts of the southern US, the longtime collaborator arrived to narrate the journey."
Super rare deep spiritual jazz album with a heavy Brazilian influence featuring Nana Vasconceles, Dom Salvador, Portinho, Cecil McBee and more. Originally released privately by the artist and flautist Lloyd McNeill in 1980 and out of print for nearly 40 years.
"Lloyd McNeill is a cultural polymath – a multi- disciplinarian flautist, painter, academic, poet, and photographer – who has worked with everyone from Mulatu Astatke to Nina Simone, Eric Dolphy and Nana Vasconcelos (and as a painter was befriended by Picasso!). McNeill grew up during the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. All of his music was only ever released on his own private-press record label, echoing the Civil Rights and African-American themes of the era - black economic empowerment and self- sufficiency – and there is a beautiful spirituality in all his music."
Stars Are the Light, the luminous seventh album by the American psych explorers Moon Duo, marks a progression into significantly new territory. From a preoccupation with the transcendental and occult that informed Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s guitar-driven psych rock, and reached its apotheosis in the acclaimed Occult Architecture diptych, Stars Are the Light sees the band synthesize the abstract and metaphysical with the embodied and terrestrial.
"Branching out from Occult Architecture Vol. 2, the album has a sonic physicality that is at once propulsive and undulating; it puts dance at the heart of an expansive nexus that connects the body to the stars. These are songs about embodied human experience — love, change, misunderstanding, internal struggle, joy, misery, alienation, discord, harmony, celebration — rendered as a kind of dance of the self, both in relation to other selves and to the eternal dance of the cosmos.
Taking disco as its groove-oriented departure point, Stars Are the Light shimmers with elements of ’70s funk and ’90s rave. Johnson’s signature guitar sound is at its most languid and refined, while Yamada’s synths and oneiric vocals are foregrounded to create a spacious percussiveness that invites the body to move with its mesmeric rhythms. With Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) at the mixing desk in Portugal’s Serra de Sintra, (known to the Romans as “The Mountains of the Moon”) the area’s lush landscape and powerful lunar energies exerted a strong influence on the vibe and sonic texture of the album.
On embracing disco as an inspiration, Yamada says, “It’s something we hadn’t referenced in our music before, but its core concepts really align with what we were circling around as we made the album. Disco is dance music, first and foremost, and we were digging our way into the idea of this endless dance of bodies in nature. We were also very inspired by the space and community of a disco – a space of free self-expression through dance, fashion, and mode of being; where everyone was welcome, diversity was celebrated, and identity could be fluid; where the life force that animates each of us differently could flower.”
Kristin Hersh achieved a music and publishing first when her eighth solo album was initially released as a multi-media book in 2009. Hersh’s “poetic, provocative and puzzling songcraft” (The Washington Post) makes ‘Crooked’ a stunning record.
"The resplendent, melancholic ‘Flooding’ came to Hersh in the form of song but was also a premonition of the imminent death of close friend and musician Vic Chesnutt. Mainstay in her recent live shows, ‘Mississippi Kite’ is snarly and unsettling whilst the spectral psychedelic tones of ‘Rubidoux’ stem from a 50foot Wave car ride and a late-night recording session. The songs still lead the way hitting Hersh fully formed but it’s her beguiling raspy vocals paired with guitar, and any other instrument that she chose to play on this album, that has a beautiful intensity that’s jarring, unpredictable and inherent in her music. “She's still as powerful a presence as she ever was.” Pitchfork.
Amsterdam’s Konduku stretches out on a deep minimal bass excursion for Idle Hands following an album and 12”s with Nous’klaer Audio in 2018
Playing well into Idle Hands’ carefully patient, low key and intimate style, the 12” spins between beautifully suspended subbass and subaquatic pads, like a dank Villalobos, in the cavernous space of Lila’, alongside the serene patient of bird calls that flock over rolling minimalist electro patterns on ‘Kaş Merkez’, whereas ‘Bolu’ swings on a very well tucked 2-step in smoky, noir vibes, and ‘Caduta Di Massi’ simmers on a subtly distinguished sort of electro dub house flex with a delicacy comparable to Isolée productions, but moodier.
Paul Purgas (Emptyset) and Imran Perretta ruminate on a shared heritage and musical interests, sampling South Asian sound archives in post-dubstep and etheric electronic styles exploring diasporic echoes and addressing themes of mythology, futurity and the trauma of partition
Their A-side ‘Heema’ revolves around a lonely vocal phrase rendered in plangent space with massive subs to sound like a distant cousin to Ayshay’s ‘Warn U’ or a stripped down Aïsha Devi piece. On the B-side they weigh in a more dramatic contrast with lurching, scudding Bristolian bass styles of ’Shiva Dance.’
A Colourful Storm presents a mini-album by Kallista Kult, the newest and most shadowy members to join the label's eclectic roster.
"Rumoured to be comprised of a core group of modern Oz improv and DIY luminaries with ties to Brandenburg and Black Rock, the sprawling, deeply evocative tracks draw comparisons with the Ghost Box axis, that Michael O'Shea record, Inga Copeland and, dare we say, those rare-as-hen's-teeth Threshold Houseboys Choir CDR's."
Call Super and Parris craftily consolidate and explore each other’s style in a strong pair of collaborations
Striding at 133bpm in the dub-techno-stepper ‘Chiseler’s Rush’, Call Super is clearly in charge of the tempo, but the rhythm is typically offset with Parris’ deep rooted nous, resulting in a supple, Sheffield-style mid-ground between crystalline AI techno and rolling UK steppers vibes.
Dipping down to circa 120bpm on ‘Magenta’, Parris pulls Call Super into his temporality for a more spacious play on unresolved rhythms, dabbing deft bass patterns and flyaway chords with rippling marimba and organ motifs to sound out somewhere between recent Raime, Beatrice Dillon, and Peverelist.
Joanna Brouk’s golden new age/modern classical Moog & electric piano masterpiece is reissued on vinyl for the first time, following a resoundingly-praised 2016 compilation that revolved around its titular, 21 minute highlight.
Now replete with the original 1980 tape edition’s three B-side works for synth, saron (gamelan) and bells, ’The Space Between’ is a sublimely reclined and contemplative record for troubled minds and times that beautifully resonates with a clear and present need for the new age zeitgeist. It is among the loveliest examples of meditative music to emerge from a vital period of activity at Mills College Center For Contemporary Music, where Joanna studied under Robert Ashley and Terry Riley, and collaborated with notable peers such as Bill Maraldo (who also plays electric piano here) and Maggi Payne, whose contributions can be heard on the broader Brouk compilation ‘Hearing Music.’
Until relatively recently Joanna’s music was little known beyond new age crystal-clutching types and those with enviable tape collections, but the radiant upsurge in reissued new age obscurities has inevitably lead to her music, which was typically heard alongside the likes of Don Slepian in the legendary Hearts of Space radio broadcasts. However, like Slepian’s coveted classic Sea Of Bliss’, and many other new age charm that have resurfaced in recent times, the fact that Joanna’s music was issued on scarce tape editions has kept it reserved to blogs and YouTube until he mid part of this decade.
Understandably freckled with a bit of crackle (sorry purists, you’ll either have to make it yourself or get used to a bit of grime on the lens) from the original tape, the album takes on a new life on vinyl, with the lilting simplicity Joanna’s Moog pads and chimes fronding Bill Maraldo’s breezy electric piano in ’The Space Between’ and convecting a sound somewhere between Iasos’ dream sequences and Raul Lovisoni/Francesco Messina’s ‘Prati Del Monte Analogo’ classique, whereas the B-side trio yield a gently shimmering play of iridescent, golden tones that melt on the pineal with a digital clarity akin to Maggi Payne’s music, with unmissable moments in the gentle swell of ‘Winter Chimes’ and the spirit-healing glow of ‘Golden Cloud Layers.’
Once again, we highly recommend consuming this music with some special letters and numbers for optimal effect, but suffice it to say it’s beauty will strike you in any state of mind.
For anyone who knows these records already - you won't need much of a sermon from us about their stature and greatness. If you don't know them - you're in for a treat.
Rhythm & Sound was the project that Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald turned to after their seminal series of recordings as Basic Channel came to an end. From 1997 until 2002 the label released seven 12" EP's which pretty much defined the direction so much electronic music would turn to in its wake - and it still continues to exert a colossal influence, for better or worse. It's perhaps hard to remember over a decade later just how little these productions sounded like anything that preceded them - taking the essence of dub and breaking it down until all that was left was a vapour trail of melody and a colossal bass echo. We could spend an hour listing all the music that basically came along and copied this template in the intervening years but, the thing is, none of what followed comes anywhere near these productions in terms of substance, none of it has aged in the same way.
"Mango Walk / Mango Drive" was the second release on the label and, for many, remains its finest moment. The a-side features an original production from the Wackies vaults by Azul & Bullwackie recorded in 1979, with an incredible 9 minute revision from Mark and Moritz on the flip. The version that appeared on the Rhythm & Sound 'Compilation' is over two minutes shorter.
Turkish free jazzers Konstrukt continue their series of collaborations with Ken Vandermark, one of the key figures of Chicago's vivid jazz scene.
"After 2 critically acclaimed albums with the Japanese avantgarde / noise icon Keiji Haino, Konstrukt return with a new inspiring collaborative mind: Ken Vandermark, who for three decades now has been a highly prolific musician in contemporary jazz and free improvisation. With various groups like NRG Ensemble, Spaceways Inc., The Vandermark 5, Made To Break and his latest project Marker or the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and various spontaneous collaborations the saxophone / clarinet player has created an impressive catalogue and performed / recorded with the who-is-who of today's jazz / improv scene: Paal Nilssen-Love, Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson, Paul Lytton, Joe Morris The Ex, Axel Dörner, Mats Gustafsson, Joe Mcphee, Zu, Peter Brötzmann, Paul Lovens, Lasse Marhaug, Yakuza, Kevin Drumm, and many more.
Vandermark's enduring exploration and development of new paths in (free) jazz and improvisation not only made him a key figure of the vivid Chicago scene (since the days of AACM a hotspot for musical creativity), but also gained the him the reputated Mac Arthur Fellowship in 1999. In november 2018, Konstrukt (who themselves can look back on a long list of class A collaborators like Joe Mcphee, William Parker, Akira Sakata, Marshall Allen, Evan Parker, Thurston Moore Or Alexander Hawkins) met Vandermark in their homebase ISTANBUL for a recording session – a match made in heaven that all musicians involved are extremely happy with. The resulting album "Kozmik Bazaar" starts with a reference to Ornette Coleman before turning more and more into a psychedelic trip that gpes way beyond the "jazz idiom". But what else to expect from such a stellar constellation?"
Lebanese trumpet maverick Mazen Kerbaj generates a baffling array of bestial and possessed sounds, often coming off as electronic or synthesised, but all entirely the result of his extended improvisation. His ‘Unplugged Modular Synthesiser’ is freaking hilarious and spot-on - calling to mind Russell Haswell with a bad case of the runs.
“Comic book artist, graphic designer and free jazz improviser are only some of the many talents from Beirut born Mazen Kerbaj. After appearing as part of various ensembles on the label, Ariha Brass Quartet (CREP46) and Johnny Kafta Anti-Vegetarian Orchestra (CREP22), Kerbaj finally lands a solo outfit of his own onto the Discrepant dancefloor of insubordination.
14 years after his first (and only) solo album “Brt Vrt Zrt Krt” (Al Maslakh, 2005) Mazen returns with a series of subtle compositions of his own with not one but two(!) solo albums of prepared trumpet that further cement his international position as a serial trumpet botherer.
Whilst Vol. 2.1 showcases his (almost) (un)familiar arsenal of squawks, cackles, howls and squeals, Vol.2.2 goes deep into the nether regions of waltzing drones and bell tweaks so deep that would make most cetaceans loose their concentration. The notion of being transported to a luring mutant underwater alien community is still present on these long(er) trips with the added meditative pieces being occasionally pierced by noise creepers, nothing is what you want or expect and that’s the way it should be.
If Vol. 2.1 is the classic follow up LP, this one is the beast from the deep, it comes surging and screeching from a deep oceanic sink hole, only to hypnotize you with perverted dance moves before diving back into the sinking, wettest and darkest cave in the world. Vol. 2.2 is a summons album; it shatters any bar there was with its intentional use of everything Vol. 2.1 was denied. It grabs you by wherever available way and it only releases you when you’re ready to listen to it again. Listen to both albums back to back, in no particular order and you’ll know that there’s nothing you can do but come back to it like a doped up seal stranded in a phantom island – appearing and disappearing as the music dictates it to.”
Debut LP of big-boned, deep and tropical house trax from Italy’s Stump Valley, flush with melodic colour and vintage synth tones. RIYL Legowelt, Larry Heard, Max Graef
“Stylistic, enigmatic, and effortless. Stump Valley’s Dekmantel debut LP is a smooth melange of glossy soul, jazz, and serene house. Produced by the mysterious, and ultimately under-the-radar duo, the extended EP breezes through tropes of balearic analogue, warm Chicago sounds, yet remaining ultimately Italian. The duo, originally from Turin, prove their skills as true alchemists, as their forge hypnotic house and tropical flare through their array of drum machines, synths, and informed artistry derived from their deep stockpile of assorted records.
Debuting they may be, but the Italian duo are no strangers to Dekmantel, having played at Dekmantel Festival, Selectors, and Lente Kabinet. Having released groove tracks across a whole spectrum of lauded Dutch labels, Stump Valley’s reputation even precedes them. Throughout the EP, their sound echoes that of Prins Thomas, Larry Heard, and other select funk-driven Italian live producers that are making waves in the current scene. It’s a sound that’s permanently upbeat, radiant, and filled with joy.
Berlin based vocalist and Max Graef collaborator Wayne Snow collaborates on vocal opener 'Natural Race', creating a slow groove, and funk-driven tempo. The music then veers into equatorial territory, as the duos' uses of classic 707 and LinnDrum sounds evoke a sense of sunset grooves; the sound of Theo Parrish slowly winding through an Adriatic cocktail party. Further on and 'Proletarians In Space' reflects the producers' more Detroit-like influences, with oscillating machine music. 'Zoo Planet X' takes the sound further, with dubby pads, and old-school kicks and hats, that transport the Turin-based artists across the Atlantic with their out-of-time sonic aesthetic.”
Samba graduates to Mala’s Deep Medi with four tracks of supremely dark, twisted dubstep, just how it should be done
Stepping on from his 12”s with System, Encrypted, and Truth’s Deep, Dark And Dangerous label over the past 3 years, ‘Winona’ comes with earth-moving pressure in four tightly packed sections; balancing dream-like flutes with threatening subs in his title tune, while the subharmonic tremors of ‘Worms’ is intended to charm the buggers up thru concrete, ‘King Kan’ works out like a slower FiS zinger, and ’Snakes. Egos’ hinges around creepy horror score motifs in the skulkiest style riddled with insectoid trills and drill-like bass knocks. Definitely one of the strongest dubstep 12”s in recent memory!
Zinging, electroid dancehall mutations from Brooklyn’s Doctor Jeep - a strong look for fans of M.E.S.H., Equiknoxx, Low Jack!!!
Stripped to their cyborgian bones, the three trax of ‘Snake Eyes’ galvanise an armour-plated style of dancehall, working up an acidic sweat with the pump pump pressure of ‘Snake Eyes’, alongside the laser-tooled, lacquer-bubbling electronics and Air Maxed bounce of ‘Pax’, and a gully acidic drown madness in ‘The Hypnotist.’
Techno warriors SNTS, ZAMILSKA, and SØS Gunver Ryberg go sick on Paula Temple’s ‘Edge of Everything’
Masked producer SNTS pulls no punches with a runaway train-style take on ‘Open The Other Eye’; Poland’s ZAMILSKA diffracts ‘Cages’ thru a gauntlet of filters and FX in a transition from sloshing electronica to mutant hardstep D&B and noise; Copenhagen’s SØS Gunver Ryberg rejigs ‘Berlin’ as an agitated acid electro missile.
Yves De Mey’s 2013 EP for Athens’ Modal Analysis is a bristling beast of abstract techno backed with a steely, rolling remix by Shifted
‘Transfer#1’ is an abyssal portal of abrasive, needle-fanged noise, whereas ‘Transfer#2’ folds in gunky post-techno rhythms and acidic torque with an evil, calloused grip. Shifted duly straightens up the backbone of ‘Transfer#1’ with rolling pulses and viscous bass in his signature style.
The first album of the new duo G.A.M.S.with special appearances by Mick Harris and Yuko Matsuyama.
"Feedback leads a life of it's own. It is an uncontrollable sonic accident, usually ear-numbingly loud but sometimes also delicately ethereal. The essence of feedback is being released from bonds, its path is always one of intensification and escape. Its a physical phenomenon and hard to predict.
The duo G.A.M.S. makes music on the edge of losing control. A restless drummer works his way through waves of feedback, which span the full spectrum of frequencies from pumping bass to the highest tones. With the pulse of the feedback ANDI STECHER's drumming, at times feverish and driven, then distanced and abstract, creates polyrhythmic structures. What comes into being is a maelstrom of sound and rhythm - music beyond every style, the power of which lies in its rawness.
STECHER and MÖBIUS switch the roles of desired and undesired sound and thereby create pieces like archaic sculptures.Their music is raw and powerful, but can also be soft and etheric. Sometimes it feels like a delicate organic painting. But here's one thing that G.A.M.S. music certainly isn't - predictable. The duo uses freely improvised spaces and reacts to unplanned sonic events. And despite all it's seeming randomness, G.A.M.S. still manage to compose clearly structured pieces and to reconstruct these in their live program.
Through a cut-up technique patterns of feedback sound fragments are juxtaposed and interlocked in varied combinations. These hypnotic loops move between rhythm and melodies, a web that is carried along by a driving drum set, accents of sub-bass and layers of feedback drones. The playful drum style ofANDI STECHERis far from conventional rock drumming. Instead he experiments with various materials - for instance by preparing his cymbals with chains or putting different objects on the skin of his drums. He makes offbeat meters and complicated grooves sound easy and light. The same goes for changes in timing or dense textures comprising ghost notes. On the other hand he plays straight forward beats dynamically and with power.
STECHER's partner in G.A.M.S. is GUIDO MÖBIUS who (with the help of a guitar amp, a microphone and effects) creates live feedbacks which can be massive and noisy but also fragile and gentle. Fleeting and concrete sounds join into dense textures. Feedback is never static rather always in a process of change. Musical guests on the album are ex-NAPALM DEATHdrummer and eletronic producerMICK HARRIS(SCORN, FRET) contributing drones and field recordings and the versatile singerYUKO MATSUYAMA (HULA HUT & THE SEVEN SEAS)."