A rare, beguiling solo outing from Swedish composer and electro-acoustic expert Mats Lindstrom, the current studio director of the revered Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) Stockholm, arriving some five years since release of МИГ, a collection of archival recordings released by Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ in 2012.
If you have any knowledge of the Scandinavian avant and electronic firmament, there’s every chance that you’ve intersected Lindstrom’s name or even his work on your auditory travels. For those unaware; he’s been integral to that region’s experimental scene since the ‘80s, applying his background as an industrial technician to the construction of unique instruments, and also in pivotal role as producer and directors Fylkingen society for new music and the Stockholm New Music festival. The EMS studio he hells has played hosts to reams of releases which pass thru these pages.
This 7” gives two captivating snapshots of his live electronic practice recorded at GRAD Belgrade in a One/Scratch Memory performance with Anna Koch. They result in two succinctly precise, air-slicing movements captured with the sort of clarity and stereo depth of field that sends eyes rolling around the head when consumed via headphones; eliciting an experience akin to hearing water falling upwards in an enclosed metal space, whilst one of the sentinel bots from the matrix scans for your presence. Funnily enough, that’s the sort of place and situation we dream about near nightly.
It’s only when listening to pieces such as this that you can properly appreciate the difference between composers who think and work in 3D, using every angle of the sound field available to them, and those who paint on 2D canvasses.
Japan’s Ena cuts loose into the grey area between noise, techno and D&B with four tracks taken from his Divided: Mind 12” on Horo.
As heard in the mulched dynamics of his Soil EP, the producer is now exploring more abstract, uncertain zones of inquiry, with what sounds like Wolf Eyes doing caveman techno on the front, plus a piece of Scanio-Style hypo-noise, and a head-swallowing cut of pure atonal abstraction.
Expertly-curated survey of Mali’s incredibly rich musical traditions. Includes gems from the region’s best known artist, Salif Keita along with plenty more nuggets such as The Rail Band’s AfroFunk zinger, Mouodilo; the mesmerising reverbs and distant drums of Worodara or the enchanting, reggae-tinged lilt of Bimoko Magnin by Super Djata Band; calypso from Le Ambassadors du Motel de Bamako.
“‘The Original Sound of Mali’ compiled by David ‘Mr Bongo’ Buttle, Vik Sohonie (Ostinato Records) and Florent Mazzoleni. As featured as 'Compilation of the Week' on Lauren Laverne's BBC 6Music show.
Malian music is arguably deeper, more sophisticated and lyrical than any other form of African music. Those of us deeply entranced by Malian culture, and, in particular, the immense hypnotic beauty of Malian music, have put together a selection of songs from across the country.”
Reinhold Friedl’s redoubtable Zeitkratzer Ensemble tackle Kraftwerk’s earliest, eponymous pair of LPs in the latest demonstration of their ability to revitalise and present new perspectives on important historical and contemporary compositions - mostly avant-garde; often originally electronic - in the context of a live, acoustic performance.
With takes on Stockhausen, Keiji Haino, Whitehouse and Lou Red under their belt in recent years, Zeitkratzer now turn to that strange early phase of Kraftwerk, shortly after they were called Organisation, when Ralf and Florian were exploring a fluid, early iteration of Krautrock that’s inarguably miles shy of the hook-laden pop discipline found in their later output. So yeah; basically there’s no vocoders or drum machines in earshot on this one. And we’d wager that anyone checking Zeitkratzer releases is probably geeky enough to know of the 1st two Kraftwerk albums, so it shouldn’t come as such a surprise.
Anyway, the band tuck into Rucksack with some relish at the top, traversing from proggy flute (thank fuck they dropped that) and motorik stomp to an aggressive breakdown that really flashes their teeth in a powerful take on Kraftwerk’s opener, Ruckzuck, and then an alternately frightening and lush take on that album’s Megaherz at the other end of the disc.
All the other material comes from Kraftwerk 2. That includes a great opportunity for the group to test their limits in the 17 minute+ Klingklang, which arches up from spatial clangour to a swaying pastoral lounge groove and proggy folk-rock stomp, but they’re most affective when connecting with the more mannered, chamber inspirations of Strom, and a near facsimile recreations of the extended breathing techniques deployed in Atem, which is surely a key to Kraftwerk’s kinkier side and cycling obsessions which would emerge later in their catalogue.
Nuel, Yves De Mey, Orphx and Shawn O’Sullivan tease Wata Igarashi’s Ciphers EP into altered shapes for Berlin’s Midgar.
Noel supplies the biggest highlight with the grittily fluid, pendulous hydraulics of his take on Ciphers; Yves De Mey gives something for your body to chew on with a crooked and bendy remix of Hailstones; Shawn O’Sullivan rolls out for the blackout moment of the night with a grumbling monotone version of Mantle; Orphx reduce Lucifero to a writhing acid lead and glumly persistent bass groove.
First new Letitia Sadier album since Something Shines . Crammed with glittering Gallic pop suss
“Another New Year, and new shapes are forming — if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us — familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.
From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding You locates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn’t a surprise — Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab)—but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind’s-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.
Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances — instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.
Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!”
Grade A headfloss from Phil Julian; processing, reworking and reducing multichannel pieces by Sandra Kazlauskaite and Tom Mudd into a stereoscopic string of dense and intensely dynamic noise salvos revealing the subtle infidelities of shifting patterns as grippingly violent and unstable structures, almost organic in their natural complexity and chaotic force.
All you really need to know about this one is that it rips like a f**ken goodun. The title cut is a blinding piece of hyper avian squabble that turns into a fight between two electricity pylons, whilst Coherence 1 seems to emulate the experience of evacuating your brain between your legs and the asphyxiating field recording of ventilation system in Aperture perhaps most clearly presents the album’s idea of repeating mechanical patterns as being prone to fluctuations in voltage. There’s also the totally luscious dissonance of Field, some very Hecker-esque invasive tones in Coherence II and ten minutes of escalating psychotomimetic madness in Tropic to contend with.
For reasons that will become lysergically clear once you’ve heard the samples, Midori Takada's sublime debut album Through The Looking Glass  is widely regarded the holy grail of ‘80s Japanese ambient & minimalist music. Perhaps it’s no wonder that 2nd hand copies are known to trade for over £600, and, therefore this deluxe reissue is welcomed by a whole new generation of listeners tracing this enchanted sound back to source.
Rooted in Midori Takada's fascination with Asian and African percussion traditions, Through The Looking Glass documents the Japanese musician navigating syncretic channels of practice between floating fantasy kingdoms and parallel ambient dimensions whilst guided by a deeply ethereal, oneiric spirit that’s utterly key to the album’s appeal. While it broadly falls under the ambient banner, the results are far too grand and ambitious to be considered sonic wallpaper - they’re more like widescreen tableaus that open out exponentially the deeper in you dive.
The image of a Lady Godiva-like character riding a hare-sheep-horse chimera on the cover symbolises the surreal confluence of ideas and gestures within; a Japanese musician translating Victorian psychedelic fantasies into a language of rippling rhythmelodies and softly pealing harmonics that nod to Pygmy music as much as gamelan traditions, the soundtracks of Cocteau films and precise marimba patter.
The rest, we’ll leave for your dilated discovery. Take it on trust that this is especially spellbinding and sui generis stuff without complete comparison. A dream.