After putting his yung sons to work, Mr. Mitch puts a strong dancehall shift in on his Gobstopper Records with four warped and grimy mutations of dembow and industrial strength ragga-tek
‘I’ll Be 20 when I’m 40’ is a proper bit of weirdo dancehall artillery, and likewise he can’t help but do the OG Jamaican sound with a warped UK spin in ’Stinky Leg’, shaking it out a way also reminding off STILL’s offbeat bangers. The tumbling toms and cold steel pan drum hook of ‘Raggatron’ sounds like a buckled take on DJ Python’s notion of dembow deep house, and ‘Flacon Paradise’ traces that idea one step further, like Ben Cenac doing cumbia, with its mystic flutes and bellytightening bass torque.
Neana back on the trak, dolo, with six shiny club trax following the ‘Steam Room’ EP with Leonce
Doing hard drum and grimy club in his vacuum-sealed, wipe-clean and spunky style, Manchester’s Neana teases out a weirder line of sloshing fluoro synth juice in ‘Trace’ that may well ruin your creps, but you’ll have fun doing it.
A big one is ‘Indigo’, presumably a tribute to the Withington rave basement, packing wonky gurn synth leads and jump-up hard drum pressure in the EP’s waviest highlight, up there with the grimy-meets-gqom style barks and parry of ‘Take A Step Back’, the drunkenly bullish ballroom antics of ’Stormy Maywether’, and a freakish, crunching dembow-trance sidewinder, ‘Dead Technik’.
The first new Magik Markers album in six years is a great reminder why we always loved the psychedelic blues-sludge trio: this is mind-altering clatter-rock of the highest order that hangs out bumming rolling papers at the intersection of Neil Young, Popol Vuh and early Sabbath.
Elisa Ambrogio, John Shaw and Pete Nolan have always been a formidable trio, with a startling slew of material emerging in the mid-00s on labels like Ecstatic Peace!, Textile and even Dominic Fernow's Hospital Productions. But since 2009, they slowed down considerably; the trio's last full-length "Surrender To the Fantasy" appeared in 2013. "2020" is a blistering return to the spotlight, following July's short "Isolated From Exterior Time" EP, and finds the band stepping right back into their alluring, endless psychedelic groove.
Ambrogio's characteristic vocals and fuzzy riffs yet again anchor the tracks, fleshed out with Spectre Folk's Pete Nolan's assured drumming and additional elements (memorably Mellotron on chirpy album highpoint 'Born Dead') from John Shaw. There's something unshakeably American about this music - rooted in blues and then shaped by riot grrl punk, 70s psychedelia and basement noise. The title is almost a joke - the music never feels rooted in the present, and that might make it more 2020 than anything else.
Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
"Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, ‘songs and instrumentals’, out on 4AD. ‘songs and instrumentals’ are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. After returning to the States from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts."
Warehouse D&B ruination from Karim Maas, tagging in Outer Heaven on the massive lead tune, plus some Scorn or DJ Scud-style levels of hard pressure.
Shotting us right back to the dankest Manc warehouses and free parties circa early ’00s, Karim Maas generates serious darkside biz calling in reinforcements from Outer Heaven on the demonic strongback tech-step rollige of ‘The Force’, before letting the leash off on a gnashing beast ‘Mosquito’ for a cold rush of clattering breakbeat pressure and tormented distortion recalling Scorn, and Charlene lends possessed vocals to the reverberating noise of ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’ like a female echo across the empty warehouse from Karim’s ‘Cassette A’ classic. What we would give for a night of this gear in a warehouse this weekend isn’t right.
For the second round in the series, the idea remains the same - Nina Kraviz announces the stream date and sends out a call to artists for their unreleased music to [email protected], all genres are welcome.
"After the stream takes place, the favourite tracks are signed and a few weeks later a digital only 'hot steel' compilation is released. The second hot steel stream took place in Mykonos' Cavo Paradiso and results into another multitalented, high octane and unique 21 track compilation."
Beggars Arkive reissue of The Fall’s 10th studio album, 1988’s THE FRENZ EXPERIMENT.
"The reissue contains the original album, plus singles and B-Sides. The CD version also includes a previously unreleased 4-track BBC session and “A Day In The Life”, a Beatles cover recorded exclusively for the NME charity compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988, plus a 24-page booklet with new interviews. The LP version contains extensive sleeve notes with new interviews. The notes included with both formats contain brand new interviews conducted by Daryl Easley in May 2020."
Exclusive tracks from Hinako Omori, rRoxymore, Nightwave, Umfang, Maddy Maia, Violet, LCY, Minimal Violence and Maral.
"Birthed from a radio show and event series with iconic Los Angeles radio station DUBLAB, SOS MUSIC’s goal is to provide a platform for diverse and forward-thinking electronic music, with a keen emphasis on womxn talent from around the world. In conjunction with Berlin-based !K7, the label’s debut release, SOS MUSIC Vol. 1 is a 14-track eclectic compilation showcasing dance music from some of the best producers working at the moment including rRoxymore, Violet, Nightwave, Umfang, LCY & Minimal Violence - lovingly curated to uplift and celebrate the global electronic community in a time of deep uncertainty in the music industry. SOS MUSIC Vol. 1 is international to its core, drawing on inﬂuences from the artists’ respective backgrounds including the UK, US, Serbia, Spain, Japan, Slovenia, Portugal, Germany & Canada.
SOS MUSIC was founded in Los Angeles by Maddy Maia (UK) and Tottie (Spain via the UK). Maddy has a long history in independent music, and is currently VP A&R in the US for famed British indie label Ninja Tune. Tottie is director of events and special projects at DUBLAB, and curates music, art and cultural programming that reﬂects the diverse landscape of the city and beyond.
A shared love of underground music and culture, Maia and Tottie’s bond started strong via throwing events and later with hosting a monthly radio show; The SOS Music imprint is a natural next step in the pair’s progression as curators and its goal will continue early principles the duo stuck to- to seek out diverse underground talent and amplify their voice or community, whilst championing diversity on all sides of the industry. Maddy and Tottie’s music inﬂuences and styles span wide across the spectrum of experimental dance music, ranging from leftﬁeld house, orchestral ambient sounds, not forgetting a nod to their youth growing up in the UK rave scene."
Shed scrapes your serotonin receptors for residual rave energies with rounds of bolshy breakstep, clipped wing IDM, and more thunderous tekkers for Tectonic
The Berlin producer’s first release proper for the Bristol bastion follows a tight rework of Peverelist’s ‘Junction’ 10 years ago with a see-sawing session taking in the proggy build of ‘Try’, beside a shoulder-rolling industrial breakstep killer ‘Box’, and a wooden techno slammer ‘Sweep’ landing somewhere between Blawan and some giddy DJ Rush tonker.
Outstanding introduction to Amapiano, the hypnotic house sound of Guateng, SA with feet in Kwaito and deep house styles. Proper dancers’ gear, dead compatible the deeper ends of Gqom, and new London sounds on Housupa. Tipped by Tom Booigzm, Black Mecha, and us, at the least.
“The past five years have seen amapiano, South Africa’s electronic music movement born in the townships of the country’s Gauteng province, evolve from an underground sound to a nationwide mainstream staple. Even with its commercial success though, amapiano’s DIY ethos has continued to disrupt music creation and distribution in the country. Most amapiano commercial successes today began their careers on cracked versions of production software like FL Studio, distributed their work through file sharing platforms like datafilehost and marketed it using social media pages they controlled and influenced.
Amapiano is partly a tasting menu of South Africa’s musical history, a lineage that has been as much a backdrop to the times as it has been a catalyst for change in the country. South African jazz has thrived pre and post-democracy, contributing international stalwarts of the genre, notably Miriam Makeba, Abdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela. Kwaito music—which itself borrowed from other genres like marabi, kwela, mbaqanga, maskandi, bubblegum and others—was created and proliferated in the 90s partly because of the newly accessible House music imported into the country. In the early 2000s, Deep and Afro House dominated, to be followed by the rise of diBacardi, a percussion—heavy electronic music genre most popular in the city of Pretoria and its surrounding townships.
Amapiano Selections, the debut album by DJ and producer Teno Afrika, gives listeners outside the movement’s online release economy an insight into the high-burn nature of amapiano that has spawned a distinct typology under its larger umbrella. Nineteen-year-old Lutendo Raduvha has spent the bulk of his life moving between different townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria in the Gauteng province. The palette of amapiano styles on the album reflect these influences.
But at first, South Africa’s youngest electronic music movement lived underground with a small, loyal following. “Amapiano is a genre that I chose because I have a passion for it,” says Teno “I started following amapiano in 2016 because I wanted to explore how it’s produced. It was not taken seriously in our country. By: Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi”
Æthenor's Daniel O'Sullivan reclaims the library music genre with a deliciously spooky set of soundtrack-esque drones and tones that will stick in yer head far longer than you'd expect. One for Radiophonic Workshop fans and Death Waltz devotees.
The first in a series of three albums of "library music miniatures", "Electric Maya: Dream Flotsam And Astral Hinterlands" finds multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan grappling with the concept of library music. For a while now, the genre has come to mean a certain type of breaks record - one for the crate diggers to obsess over before sticking on discogs for ridiculous sums. So legendary library imprint KPM Music is working with an assembly of modern composers to breathe some life - and more importantly some variety - into the genre.
Daniel O'Sullivan's first entry does exactly what you'd expect, but does it so damn well it's hard to complain at all. There are dusty, giallo-esque sounds aplenty, but O'Sullivan's distant drones and evocative, exquisite near-orchestral compositions are so inviting we've been going back again and again for more. Tracks like 'Eagle Ears' will have u wondering exactly which Criterion-approved indie masterpiece it was snipped from, while 'Feathered Earth' sounds as if it was swept up from the cutting room floor after Brian Eno's 'On Land' sessions.
Hearing any artist rise to the challenge of working in short-form is a pleasure, and Daniel O'Sullivan appears to relish the limitations of the form. Each vignette is perfectly formed, whether it's plaintive solo piano, bizarre outerzone electronics, pastoral ambience, high-minded prog or spiritual drone. It's an odd mix but utterly enjoyable from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
Jan Jelinek takes on six great pop "standards" by the likes of Kraftwerk and Marcel Duchamp, dissected by sampler, stretched, compressed, and re-collaged with a rarely paralleled craftsmanship and playfulness.
‘Anthology of American Pop Music’ is the technically the 2nd full length statement from the semi-fictitious project’s HQ, the Federal Court of Justice, Karlsruhe, Germany. It is an arch example of Jan Jelinek’s fakelore approach to composition, demonstrating his deeply enigmatic style of sample dissection and reassembly in six collaged vignettes threaded with elusive ohwurms and “flashes of déjà vu and remote echoes that evoke the original”, all blessed with the cool curiosity of his most intoxicating, dreamiest work.
With a beguiling sleight-of-hand on the sampler perhaps matched only by the likes of Carl Stone, but much more delicate with it, Jelinek’s latest GES sees him tease uncredited, unrecognisable pop hits into spidery webs of thought that loop and fray in totally absorbing ambient geometries and rustling, jazzy fabrications. We advise shutting off all comms, closing the curtains, and allowing only a hypnic jerk or two get in between you and GES mesmerising, lissom suspension systems and blissed smirk state of mind.
Reflective shoegaze ambient bliss bath from Lebanon’s Fadi Tabbal, following work with likes of Praed and Rizan Sa’id with a wintry elegy for 2020
Fadi subtly deals with widescreen themes on ‘Subject To Potential Errors And Distortions’ in a way that has informed the best of his work in ‘Museum of Disappearing Buildings’ and ‘Music For The Lonely Vol.1’ in recent years, and sees him more often engineering and mixing for the best of the Middle Eastern experimental scene. That engineers finesse elevates this album beautifully, rendering his timeless ideas in acres of pillowy space and with richly expressive tone comparable to Alessandro Cortini as much as Stars of The Lid. We advise checking for the developments of gorgeous choral swell in ‘The New and Improved Guide to Birdwatching’ Vols, and the 10 minutes of smoky, romantic woodwind call and response in ‘The Sidewalk at Night’ and you’ll know what to do next.
Galdre Visions is a Leaving Records supergroup comprised of Olive Ardizoni (Green-House); South Asian-American sitarist, vocalist, and composer/producer Ami Dang; Diva Dompé (Yialmelic Frequencies, Diva & The Pearly Gates); and harpist/composer Nailah Hunter.
"These four artists were drawn together during 2020’s pandemic to remotely create collaborative music reflecting this unique and uncertain moment in history. Hunter describes the group’s dynamic: “Each member of the group provides a unique sonic lens with which to view the realms beyond this world. Each member’s music recalls the sound of organic life in a different way.” Collectively inspired by Celtic mysticism, outer space, and New Age both classical and modern, Galdre Visions have crafted a powerful and timely document of the exploratory, healing power of music.
Ardizoni states, “Well, we are going through some extremely difficult times so there is no way that this project has not been influenced by that. I find that with writing music during difficult times you don’t really become aware, sonically, of the impact of that time until you listen to it way down the road. Writing this kind of music has always been a means of transmuting my pain into joy so that the listener can experience that by proxy.” Album-opener “Living Space Station (Bad Dream)” conjures an ominous atmosphere of strife, its lyrics alluding to unusual, unsettling, and nightmare-like events unfolding seemingly every day. Dang reflects, “Even though we’re all stuck at home, the world is ripping itself apart right now, and all of this chaotic activity makes me feel like I’m slowly making my way through a thorny thicket, but I’m only moving in circles. The trees and animals look more menacing at every turn. But the music keeps me going, and it reminds me that there will be a clearing, that the darkness will turn to light, that a crystalline waterfall lies somewhere beyond this cycle of madness. We will only reach this place through continuous movement, change, and protection.”
Stunning album-closer “The Sun Will Rise Again” ends on a positively ebullient note of optimism, a transcendent vision of hope and things to come. According to Ardizoni, “It acknowledges and validates this feeling of melancholy that comes from experiencing this seemingly never ending suffering while being able to maintain the awareness that it will be better again some day. We will be together again, building the communities that we need to build with a new sense of purpose.”
Flaming Tunes was recorded by Gareth Williams (ex of This Heat) and his childhood friend Mary Currie and released on cassette in 1985. A hodgepodge of lo-fi pop songs, experiments and location recordings that sound like they were never intended for public consumption, it’s by chance or design one of the most moving, personal, memorable DIY/experimental pop albums of the 20th century, you better believe it.
As Mary Currie describes it: "Flaming Tunes was a collaboration that came out of a friendship. Gareth and I would meet at 'Danger de Mort' Gareth's house in Balham usually during the daytime when my son was at nursery. Sometimes we'd be joined by others. A room full of instruments and things that could make noise. We made some of our own too and used available objects for percussion. Later on we had more sophisticated equipment - full size keyboard and 12 track recording facility. Sometimes things happened and sometimes we just indulged ourselves in making a bit of a racket. I can't begin to describe how Gareth put things together and this was often done well into the early hours of the morning. I'd go away and come back and what had started out as a fragment had become another flaming tune."
After a bootlegged version came out in the late 90's, Life & Living Records - an independent label operated by Williams' close circle of friends (Williams himself passed away in 2001 at the age of 48) - went back to the original master tapes and painstakingly restored and remastered the audio. As for the music itself - oh gosh, where to start? On one level - it's a hodgepodge of lo-fi pop songs, experiments and location recordings that sound like they were never intended for public consumption. And yet - these tunes just don't let go of you once you've spent any amount of time with them. Take "Breast Stroke" for instance - just the most unforgettable, life-affirming three and a half minutes you'll ever spend with a piece of music. The fact that the percussion was made on a casio keyboard and what sounds like a peculiarly British variant of a human beatbox, well, it's just the icing on the cake.
Really, words just do no justice.
An unmissable introduction to the waking dream-like music of Charlie Morrow, drawn from 50 years of archival material from all angles - classical, folk, jazz, tape music - with an abundance of colour and extended melodic thought of the rarest kind, following cameos and work on ace reissues/retrospectives of R.I.P. Hayman, New Audio Wilderness Audiographics, and Company in recent times.
“America Lament is a panoramic musical survey of legendary experimental composer/event-maker Charlie Morrow’s eclectic works. At just over 40-minutes, America Lament is mysterious, beguiling, and jubilant, comprised of pieces employing everything from hand-made electronics to Irish lap pipes, ecstatic jazz to Schubert recompositions, ambient flutes, and a string quartet. Charlie Morrow and Recital’s Sean McCann excavated 50 years of Morrow’s bottomless archive, from 1970 to 2020, to present this follow-up to 2018’s Recital release Toot! Too.
Charlie Morrow (b. 1942 in Newark, NJ) is a composer, sound artist, performer, and innovator. With concert performances and ad jingles (including Hefty trash bags – “Hefty, Hefty, Hefty! Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy!”), city-wide events and film soundtracks, museum sound installations and hospital sound environments, Morrow’s work has been experienced by a wider audience than most creative artists can claim.
Charlie’s music has a melody and depth to it that I feel is absent from a lot of avant-garde music. His keen interest in all musical styles seem to inform this harmony. Charlie’s drive to interconnect people and ideas is contagious and affirming, and working with him has been one of the pleasures of my life. We have forthcoming releases in 2021 by Alison Knowles, Jerome Rothenberg, and a box set of the 1980 International Sound Poetry Festival.
-Sean McCann, Sept. 2020”
Off-radar for a minute, Greek deep house producer XDB returns with a plush debut album for Hamburg’s Dial
For a decade between the mid ‘00s and ‘10s XDB was a leading name on the European deep and dubby house scene, before taking a 5 year hiatus after his 12” for Ferox Records. In 2020 he shapes up his first album of effortlessly supple, rolling and swinging house trax, spanning nine cuts of signature, stripped down and organically electroid grooves with highlights in the acidic wooze of ‘Moveya’, the smudged early Chicago styles of ‘Lopak Robot Ocean’ and the percolated’ Dial Fonk’, plus a mesmerising square bass roller recalling classic Claro Intelecto, ‘Desert Night’.
Plush first signs of new material from the legendary Detroit-Berlin axis; Carl Craig taking off on a cosmic hi-tek jazz mission, and Moritz von Oswald cutting fathoms deeper with a dubbier, swinging take letting the sax sing bittersweet
“Collaborators and close friends since the foundational years of Berlin and Detroit's spiritual and musical partnership, two undisputed pioneers of electronic music, Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, continue to expand on a shared musical vision. "Attenuator" is the first production to emerge from a series of studio sessions in Berlin and Detroit over the past two years, with more material to come in the near future. Although originally produced in unison, this two-sided single sees both Craig and von Oswald deliver their own distinct take on the material, each fluidly expanding on their uniquely intertwined heritage.
For his take on "Attenuator", Carl Craig leans further into the fluid blend of track-led techno and warm musicianship that remain central to his work, building stifling tension as a prelude to a fervent brew of warm pads and celestial sax. Headstrong and deep, Craig embraces his dancefloor nous without sacrificing a moment of beatitude In response, Moritz Von Oswald bathes the brass and the bliss of "Attenuator" in the accomplished dub texture he's long been known for, unspooling layers of musicianship to roll forward a loose, fresh and equally fulfilling atmosphere, one that still maintains the arresting pulse established at the heart of the duo's sophisticated, futurist philosophy.”
Crackshot partner-piece to 2019’s ‘There Existed An Addiction to Blood’ by LA’s rap screwballs Clipping, one of the most intriguing acts on the current Sub Pop roster alongside Shabazz Palaces
Galvanised by experiences of the past year, and riddled with a sort of nervy ‘90s horror anxiety, ‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned.’ sees the trio moving from strength to strength with a hefty payload of noisy, grizzled hip hop abstractions and hyperrealism, framed by some of their crunchiest and most starkly dramatic productions.
There’s a certain LA Lynchian-noir/‘90s teen slasher/body horror atmosphere that percolates the album from its intro to Dungeon rap flex of ‘Say The Name’ or ‘’96 Neve Campbell’ and the cracked, needling trap drama of ‘Enlacing’, holding together a ruggedly fractious set that’s prone to bouts of darkside paranoiac panic on ‘Something Underneath’ and lunges into clashy industrial D&Breakcore on ‘Pain everyday’, and even some kind industrial-rap-jazz fusion with Chicago staple Jeff Parker on ‘Eaten Alive.’
Seasonal synth-pop and shoegaze from Penelope Trappes on a new EP with Houndstooth.
The London-based Australian songwriter’s icy vox are wrapped in high tog new age synth arps in the wintry panorama, ‘Eel Drip’, whereas they turn into cottony clouds of reverb against the backdrop of slow, plangent shoegaze strums in ‘Break’ with sanguine effect that seeps into her Julia Holter-esque torch song ‘Afraid’, and the washed out choral vox and strings of ‘Berceuse’ surely recalls Tape Loop Orchestra’s paranormal ambient investigations.
Minimal house producer Mathias Kaden steers to deep, strolling dub house in a plush full length for Echocord
Across an immersive hour long album Kaden firms up the styles of his 12”s in this mode for Raum…music, Mule Musiq, and Ornaments in a sprawling album format, elegantly weaving between Tomomi Ukumori’s hushed Japanese vocals and perfectly poised dub house motion in the likes of ‘Kioku’, thru to offbeat underwater steppers recalling T++ on Shao’, a splashy roller from the Substance playbook in ‘Asaka’, and the solemn dub chord reflection of ’Soso’. Very nicely done.
Canny debut album of quizzical, noirish pop with nods to drill, R&B, dubstep, and a crafty electronica and folk bent - think a gallic CS & Kreme, Laila Sakini, Coil. Strong stuff
“An extraordinary twilight world opens while listening to Organizatisya. Adventurous yet humble, they push the limits towards the unknown. One thing’s for sure, it’s fresher than the juiciest peach on a perfect summer day.
Organizatsiya hail from Lyon, France. Leo and Zoe clearly have strong roots in folk and acoustic music. These ‘old worlds’ blend in surprisingly well with more contemporary digital, futuristic sounds. Soothing analog recordings meet hyperdigital compositions reminiscent of IDM creations and peppered with spoken words that dance around in unexpected ways.
Seductive, intelligent and deeply hypnotic, this esoteric material delivers a dreamlike experience.
Like finishing a game and celebrating victory with cheap champagne in a neon light lit bubble bath with the end tune of The Legend of Zelda in the air.”
Scuzzy no wave punk-rap blatz on Brooklyn’s emergent No Truce label, introducing Nora On Tape with 14 ratty gobs of brittle, broken drums and unmetered flows like a scrappier adjunct to dungeon rap styles, Black Haine, Sensational, Nappy Nappa, Carl Crack - tipped!
As far as we can tell, Nora On Tape also hail from NYC and they have some serious grievances with life, as they spell out across the bile-spattered bars and shattered swagger of ‘Dream About The Poison’. They certainly know how to hold your attention, and when to shut up, with 14 tracks that rarely go over the 2min mark while shapeshifting between patterns primed fractious, anxious listening.
The charred road punk of ‘Rotten Tress’ triggers a stream-of-consciousness taking in the fuggish-ruggish knocks and snarling vox on ‘Dent’, and unhinged drum loops on ‘White Flag’ and lashed to straightjacketed 2-step and phantasmic electronics in the title tune. ‘Running 1’ marks the album’s sorest down point with sickly production and a hauntingly pitched vocal sample recalling to our ears Carl Crack & Din-ST’s Firewire, and we can’t argue with the bitter sentiments of ‘I Hate Small Talk’.
XL’s Norwegian rave-pop curveballs Smerz tilt to jukin’ trancey synth-pop and wheezing folk strings on their follow-up to their sought-after 2018 collection
‘I don’t talk about that much’ is a scudding bomb gassed on searing trance arps and needlepoint footwork-techno rhythms, gilded with coldest Scandi pop vocal perfection. ‘Hva his’ is quite the contrasting comedown, leaving vocals aside for an instrumental folk drone-pop vignette that sounds like they’re using traditional Norwegian fiddles in the middle of a forest at dawn.
The untouchable Nyege Nyege Tapes turn up drivingly psychedelic visions of AfroLatin techno-meets-traditional-drumming by Portuguese/Uganda band HHY & The Kampala Unit, rendered in immersive widescreen dub and featuring special appearance of the Kampala Prison Brass Band for one of the wildest, heart-in-mouth rhythm trips of 2020
Helmed by Jonathan Saldanha of HHY & The Macumbas, and revolving ghetto activist Florence Lugemwa (trumpet) and percussionist Omutaba, ‘Lithium Blast’ is the latest, unprecedented collision of energies from the cultural fusion-accelerator of Nyege Nyege Tapes Kampala-based HQ. It follows the edits of HHY & The Macumbas’ ‘Camouflage Vector’ set, and the inventive examples of recent works by Metal Preyers, Villaelvin and Rian Treanor, with a cinematically scoped and body-conscious suite of 11 militant yet lush songs that surely prove Uganda’s capital city Kampala is a true epicentre of innovative new music in the modern day.
Committing a sort of futuristic, off-grid trance music for the ages, HHY & The Kampala Unit set out a penetrating vision of street-level cosmogony, intuitively mapping out zones between native drumming styles, techno, and astral electronics in a stunning suite of dubwise 4D starcharts. Guided by ancient, encrypted rhythms and a gripping sensuality, the album flows from its bolshy introduction to the Kampala Prison Brass Band in the fanfare of ‘Bursting Thru The Gates’, to thunder try the rocky rapids of ’Mesh Intensifier’ and chase sequence of ‘Fissure Core Fluid’ with a powerful sense of drama and magnetic dancefloor traction.
Shards of shatterproof ‘80s FM synth lace with swingeing polymetric percussion in the twin tub rinse-out ‘Catastrophism’, and Gazelle-legged rhythms synch with sweeping subs and soaring pads in the title track, but it’s possibly the ravishing electronic lushness of ‘Science of Dust’ and the familiar yet otherworldly hybrid of Florence Lugemwa’s trumpet with supple ambient dancehall backdrops in ‘Shining Star’ that will leave listeners most wide-eyed and mesmerised by HHY & The Kampala Unit’s strikingly natural but hyperreal sound.
A total doozy.
The sferic label add to a strong run of releases from Space Afrika, Perila, Echium and Roméo Poirier with a stunning new LP from Jake Muir; a fabrication of impressionistic cityscapes describing L.A. at dusk, and Berlin dawning, highly recommended if you’re into Pinkcourtesyphone, Gas, Philip Jeck, Jan Jelinek.
’The hum of your veiled voice’ was written by Muir in the wake of his transition from a life in Los Angeles to a new start in Berlin. It sees him transpose field recordings of his former home city into a hazier sort of mid-ground that subtly diffracts the difference with Berlin in summer, refining the shimmering production tekkers of his West Coast surf-pop tribute ‘Lady’s Mantle’ (2018) with a nuanced, lower case emotive tactility intended to arouse heady states of atmospheric tension between nostalgic sehnsucht and romantic promise.
Muir readily acknowledges influence from the more washed out, elusive textures, timbres, and spatial awareness of artists such as Philip Jeck, Richard Chartier, and Marina Rosenfeld, as opposed to the usual touchstones of AFX or Eno. But more implicitly he references a sense of queered ambience shared with Chartier’s Pinkcourtesyphone, and as such his music is seduced by the allure of “gay bathhouses and spas, club back rooms and decadent boudoirs” in a way that suffuses the whole record with an, intoxicating, aphrodisiac quality.
Supine and seductive in its illustration of an “endless night”, the devil lies in the album’s evocative intricacies, using a signature light touch and Akira Rabelais’ Argeïphontes Lyre software to ruffle locked grooves and dusty jazz loops into ASMR-triggering texturhythms and dematerialised, hea(r)tsick blurs between the ear-stroking ephemera of ‘fleeting touches’ and the way his music appears to waltz out of an open window over Berlin at night in ‘the dimness of the sealed eye’, and land on the pillow next to you ‘like sweet thoughts in a dream’.
Glorious third album by Call Super; his first for Anthony Naples’ and Jenny Slattery's Incienso, following the label’s amazing DJ Python side with an immersive suite of shapeshifting sound design and needlepoint rhythm programming that occupies a sweetspot somewhere between Beatrice Dillon’s knockout ‘Workaround’ album, Mark Fell’s pointilistic signatures, or Sylvian & Sakamoto’s ‘Bamboo Houses’.
In the works for three years, or roughly since ‘Arpo’, Call Super’s third album moves his production tekkers to the next level. It incorporates stronger influence than ever from prevailing outernational rhythm currents, as well as stark modern classical and post-rock styles, to feel out a lushly organic and emotionally personalised sort of ambient dance ecosystem, one teeming with detailed and bedevilling production which gives voice to his most curious and inventive musical urges.
The level of nanometer-tight, obsessively filigree detail to his work here is just dead impressive, leaving no second sparing for movement in 10 succinct parts that add up to an ingenious, fractal mosaic of all his previous ideas, and then some. This new approach can be summed in the title and aesthetic of album opener ‘An Unstable Music’, where shards of metal guitar, icy piano droplets and bursts of concète texture set scattered coordinates for what’s to follow; taking in crystalline 2-step in ‘Pleasure For Pleasure’, and a tight dembow mutation of shine-eyed ‘90s AI in ‘Opperton Swim’, before it turns deep with his murky collage of chamber-like strings and strung-out vox in the ‘Mouth Bank Bed’, and the likes of ‘Sleep All Night With Open Eye’ push into a gloomy but humid sort of phantasia that sweetly contrasts his radiant webs of insectoid patterns recalling Beatrice Dillon’s amazing ‘Workaround’ album in ‘Ekkles’, and the switch between deliquescent arps and frayed vocals that wrap up the album in a wickedly puzzling knot.
A 12 track album, an hour in length, recorded in the space of a week and - for our money - one of the most inspiring things we've heard this year, an intimate fever dream made real, a summoning of rich and complex spirits that reminds us of Dean Blunt x Hype Williams, Paris Texas, Ulla (who plays saxophone on two tracks under the Foamy alias), Grouper, Laurel Halo...
Beloved for her tapes and LPs with everyone from sferic to TTT and Motion Ward, as well as her role running Radio.syg.ma, Perila's productions and curatorial work have been central to the emergence of a new ambient rhizome in Berlin in recent years. The hushed but fractious patchwork of 12 cuts 'Everything Is Already There' speaks to the lowkey breadth and sensuous subtleties of her style, embracing opiated shoegaze, queasy concréte, and blushing ambient soul in a waking-daydream of a session that revels in the pleasures of locating and nourishing one's inner life.
'Everything Is Already There' arrives not long since Perila's action in Critical Amnesia's 'ambient supergroup' with her pals, Exael, Huerco S., Ol, VTGNike, and uon, and contains some of the most developed, free and textured work in her small but precious catalogue. She emerges like a ragged spirit from the viscous tronics of 'Time Swamp', and shapeshifts from urgent street-corner poetry in 'Pocket Full Of Nothing' to take in damaged ambient blues recalling Loren Connors on 'Riot In A Cornfield', with her descriptive sensitivities in lushest, illusive effect on the likes of 'On A Roof' and the gauzy aerial drift of 'Reality Scan'
Stunning, stunning album.
Crucial shots of dancefloor suss from original UKF don Apple on London’s Housupa Records - Supa D’s new stronghold for UK garage and Funky producers making up-to-the-minute new bangers
Apple’s early 12”s circa 2007-2009 were the epitome of percussive UKF, hitting right on the cusp of garage, grime and house with a proper UK style that’s properly updated and in effect on the ‘Bongoclart EP’.
The tempo is noticeably slower than his early joints, and the vibe is less grimy, more deep-tech, but still with the hardest, swingeing rhythms in the roto-bongo-led syncopation of ‘Inna Your Bongoclart’, while ‘Picky Head’ possibly betrays some slinkier influence from Nuyorican and Yoruban house styles in the boinging square bass and skidding cowbells.
It’s top to have Apple back in circulation! No napping.
DJ Mellowbone SA and Supa D finesse the sort of SA Gqom-meets-UKF styles rudely explored by Scratcha in a dead tight trio for Supa D’s Housupa Records
The confluence of deeper South African house pressure and current UK styles from UKF pioneer and Rinse resident Supa D comes to natural, ongoing conclusion in three killer cuts, tucking away militant trills and hypnotic cut-up vocal lead in the darker Gqom-like ace ‘Chifta’, along with breezier hustle in the wide-skied pads and percolated vocals and drums of ’Sghubu Somedantso’ leading to brooding bleeps in a way that recall another SA producer, Transmat’s Mbulelo, while ‘Cheese’ locks off a slower, shark-eyed swerve and droning, jabbing lead with results reminding of Geeneus’ Volume 1 set.
New UKF mutations from new players sourced by Rinse FM don and Housupa Records boss, Supa D
Last spotted by us on Cooly G’s Dub Organizer compilation in 2012, DJ IC returns with a sleek, tensile killer nagged with harpsichord riff, cold drums and shower bassline in his dub edit, while the original featuring Native Tribe is strapped with nastier neuro synthlines and recalls Addictive’s ‘Domino Effect’ classic, next to a bolshier, Dutch sounding rework from Hardihood.
Naggingly infectious UKF-meets-Gqom dancers from Truce on Housupa Records, run by UKF OG, Supa D
Truce follows super strong Black Atlantic and Caribbean links with the inch-tight shuffle, brooding square bass torque and ohrwurming flute riff on ’Sugar Cane Rum’, before ramping it with martial Kuduro-style canter and mean as fuck Gqom drones in ‘Capoiera’ to recall Nazar or DJ Chengz’ St. Lucien styles spun via São Paolo.
Top shelf tackle. Do not sleep!