Angel-Ho takes to Hyperdub with her killer debut album proper, ‘Death Becomes Her’
Metamorphosing from the bullet-riddled chrysalis of her ‘Red Devil’ mixtape into a melodically colourful and vital voice in new electronic club music, the South African artist is accompanied by guest vox from K Rizz, Queezy and K-$, plus production by Gaika, Nunu, Bon and Asmara Maroof, who all play their role in “killing the old self, and expressing a poetic way of assuming a new identity.”
The album is thus about “emancipation and trans identity”, and reveals Angel-Ho as a gifted lyricist/vocalist as well as a master of curious, probing arrangements of tone, texture and rhythm. But, for anyone familiar (or even slightly obsessed) with her fractious ‘Red Devil’ mixtape, her advance into far more tempered and filigree sound organisation may come as a shock. Her music now more closely resembles the hard-won styles of Arca and Lotic, with stronger binds to mutant R&B and Rap, as well as core influence from SA musics such as Gqom and Kwaito.
Where her previous releases were effectively dizzying, abstract descriptions of South Africa and the trans-global Black and queer experience, ‘Death Becomes Her’ merges the figurative and brutalist with more literal, and poetic expressions, for a varied and full frontal definition of Angel-Ho as an artist. Songs such as the Kwaito-esque dance-pop of ‘Like A Girl’, and ‘Muse To You’ are just that, proper dance songs with verse/chorus structures and stunningly animated/animating rhythms, while ‘Baby Tee’ offers a smart sidespin on R&B conventions, and others naturally push the prism toward the avant, as with the use of Bee-Gees choruses in the blinding, off-key and jagged ‘Live’ or the Coil-ed poise of ‘Pose’, or the keening, oblique shape of ‘Bussy’.
Add Sleaford Mods to The Fall in a small bowl, stir half-heartedly while scrolling thru memes, remove mulch from bowl, lick it, spit it out, and you have something like ’Stunning Luxury’.
“Snapped Ankles have taken on the guise of the very agents of their community’s demise – the property developers and brokers who heat the market on the promise of Stunning Luxury. With their adopted warehouse habitat under constant threat, the woodwose have taken this sharp-suited incarnation in order to infiltrate. The resistance starts here.
From humble forest beginnings via bohemian East London on debut album Come Play The Trees, Snapped Ankles are moving on. The log synths have been transformed into gaudy “To Let” and “For Sale” signs, which have become the new instrument of choice for the discerning woodwose. The sounds they eke out of the housing bubble are as frenzied and unstable as you’d expect. Dystopian bangers. Illicit thrills. Stunning Luxury moves quickly through life in the capital: microdosing mindfulness in the morning, a poisoned nod to the marketing department, investment portfolios and death by same day delivery.
Snapped Ankles may appear to have further integrated with the city, but they never lose their outsider eye. Not content to take modern life at face value, they’re here to innovate. ‘Three Steps to a Development’ reveals the secrets of successful and aggressive gentrification learnt from an old bee-keeping manual. ‘Rechargeable’ seeks to harness the kinetic energy of dance to power the city. We need a pulse! ‘Letter from Hampi Mountain’ gives a nod to those that laid the groundwork for Snapped Ankles and invites like-minded individuals to suit up and join in.
The primal rhythms and forest chants are all present and correct. On the surface it’s hedonistic business as usual – a communal dance for the ages. But there’s a sense of discomfort too. There’s subversion, but it’s not clear who’s subverting who. There’s a message, but it’s often fragmented. Keep dancing. Keep foraging. Perhaps the woodwose are human after all…”
The debut album that never was from cult 4AD band Rema- Rema, featuring former members of The Models and Siouxsie and The Banshees, they were among the first bands to be released on 4AD. Their only contribution to the label’s storied history, they split-up before their EP's release, going on to form or join bands as diverse as Renegade Soundwave, The Wolfgang Press, Mass and Adam and the Ants.
"Rema-Rema featured former members of The Models and Siouxsie and The Banshees, and their much-loved Wheel in the Roses EP (1980) was among the first records to be released on 4AD. Their only contribution to the label’s storied history, they split-up before its release, going on to form or join bands as diverse as Renegade Soundwave, The Wolfgang Press, Mass, and Adam and the Ants.
The debut album that never was, Fond Reflections, comes almost forty years after their debut EP and has been culled from the band’s rich archive of reel-to-reel and cassette recordings, with member Gary Asquith and mixing engineer Takatsuna Mukai painstakingly working on them to make this collection as cohesive as possible. The ten tracks pretty much reflect the band’s live set and is the closest to what their debut album could have sounded like. Worth noting too that although all their 1980 EP tracks are present on this album, they are different recordings.”
Erstwhile Coil member Thighpaulsandra strip right down to voice and electronics with gurning, cabarat-ready results
“As audacious as the sleeve it comes housed in, the UK’s most eccentric audio malefactor returns with his eighth studio album, Practical Electronics with Thighpaulsandra. Unique in the Thighpaulsandra oeuvre, this one eschews the usual group based recordings, consisting of electronics and vocals only.
Hovering between haunted narratives and extended instrumental sequences Practical Electronics is an eccentric excursion into playful pop and fearless electronic experimentation. Simultaneously intimidating and accessible, the energy of this untamed mind unleashes an artefact where high art unfolds as an oblique electronic cabaret.
Having cut is teeth amongst such legendary outfits such as Coil and Spiritualized Thighpaulsandra has constantly catapulted himself further and further into a musical landscape utterly of his own devising. Practical Electronics is the latest exemplary installment of a voice that is uncompromising as it is outlandish.”
Nurse With Wound and Current 93 ring masters, Steven Stapleton & David Tibet fence a comprehensive collection of their duo collaborations in ‘The Threat of Memory’, spread over 4CDs with a bonus CD of outtakes from the ‘Musical Pumpkin Cottage’ recording sessions
Preceded by a 2LP which contains material not found in this boxset, ‘The Threat of Memory’ is an unmissable portal into the minds of two of electronic and occult musick’s most feted se’ers. Spanning material recorded between 1991-1998, it finds Stapleton and Tibet as dark interpreters of a parallel sonic universe, acting as mediums for unheimlich energies and phenomena that short circuit perceptions of the difference between soundtrack music, dark ambient, and arcane ritual.
On the journey they’re joined by various nefarious characters of England’s hidden reverse, with NWW member Colin Potter contributing to the maudlin atmospheres of 1991’s ‘The Sadness of Things’ and ‘The Grave And Beautiful Name of Sadness’ on the first disc, whilst the krautrock concerns of 1996’s ‘Musical Pumpkin Cottage’ and ‘’Bubblehead’ pay druggy tribute to Can et al with amazing avant-techno results in the latter, which they also explore under its German title iteration ‘Musicalischer Kürbs=Hütte’ in much greater, psychedelic “primitive vocative” depth.
The previously CD only 1998 release ‘Octopus’ follows with a guest appearance by Penny Rimbaud ov Crass in the rapid flux of ‘Left Her For A Cartoon Octopus’, alongside the shimmering projection of ‘The Fire of the Mind’, and St. Tiny Tim’s opining on the devil in the psych-rock eruption of ‘Just What Do You Mean By “Antichrist”?’, before the final disc ‘BubbleBreath’ commits odds and ends of previously unreleased versions and mixes from ‘Musical Pumpkin Cottage’, revolving driving draughts of ‘The Dead Side of the Moon Part 1’, the very Craig Leon-esque ‘BubbleHead = DreamBreath’ pulser, and a gorgeous, unreleased ether-dream version of ‘The Fire of the Mind’.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ravishing and rare solo piano suite ‘BTTB’ is finally issued on vinyl - expanded, reshuffled, and newly replete with liner notes by none other than Haruki Murakami. Trust it’s swoon-worthy stuff.
Originally released in 1998 and hard to get hold of outside of Japan, ‘BTTB’, or ‘Back To The Basics’ is now reissued on 2LP to mark its 20th anniversary. It’s effectively a definitive edition of ‘BTTB’, reshuffled from the original 2LP pressing to also include ‘Energy Flow’ from the BTTB’ maxi-single, (which peaked at No.4 in the Japanese singles charts), as well as the slippery elegance of ‘Reversing’, both on the vinyl album for the first time.
Tech specs aside, this new edition is a sumptuous testament to Sakamoto’s effortlessly natural, poetic evocations of emotion, by then channelling some 30 years work as an arranger of classic synthpop (YMO, collabs with David Sylvian), and seminal soundtracks (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence; The Last Emperor) into some of his most stripped down yet affective music, hovering on the line between precise, mindful composition and intuitively fluid improvisation.
While the majority of the material here features Sakamoto playing conventionally beautiful solo piano with magnificent highlights on the likes of ‘Opus’, he also extends into experimental, prepared piano on a handful of pieces, both serene and frantic, such as ‘Prelude’, ‘Sonata’ and ‘Uetax’, cannily resonating with Aphex Twin’s prepared piano pieces on ‘Drukqs’, which were released just two years later.
‘Seven Horses For Seven Kings’ is the staggering new Black To Comm album by Marc Richter, who applies a whole new rhythmic force to his avant-garde sound designs with results landing in a wildly imaginative space between Rashad Becker, Cam Deas, and Nurse With Wound...
The project’s first new album since ‘Black To Comm’ for Type in 2014 marks a radical new phase for the german artist. Drawing on recent years’ work, ranging from writing for theatre and film to composing for art installations, apps and sleep music, Richter has realised a phantasmagoria of limitless sound in ‘Seven Horses For Seven Kings’ that plays to the full extent of his powers, and then some, then a bit more. It fulminates dense, emotive energy and intense sensation at every angle, piling in battalions of swarming horns, sky-clawing metal axe riffs and batteries of arcane techno-primitivist percussion in a way that will leave followers of his earlier work astonished at the switch-up, while newcomers will no doubt be shocked into exploring his other work after coming thru and down form this immense album.
“Seven Horses For Seven Kings was completed during a particularly prolific period for Richter. Working on a broad range of commissions since his last album - from writing for film and theatre works to composing for art installations, apps and sleep music - generated a flurry of new ideas and influences. Site-specific residencies in particular let Richter shift his focus from melody and song architecture to more abstract sound art. Extensive touring would equally come to inform a key shift in Richter’s music, simulating the raw, unpredictable energy of live performances on record. Rather than ironing out mistakes in samples or his own playing, he exploits or even forces such imperfections. While rhythm has been largely absent from previous Black To Comm releases, here the music seems totally bound to it, from the fractured techno breaks of ”Fly on You”, to the pounding war drums of “Rameses II” and pulsing Mellotron sounds of “Angel Investor”. The album’s breath-taking pace drives Richter’s music to new levels of intensity.
Richter’s creative practice is informed as much by careful, attentive listening as it is studio experimentation. Pieces often begin life as a single sound that catches his ear, be it a record from his extensive collection, or something in the natural environment. Samples and instrumentation are sometimes presented authentically, a deliberate reference to an era, place or player, and at other times are twisted beyond recognition. Samples from contemporary artists like Nils Frahm are bent and compounded with fragments of early recorded music and medieval song. Richter blurs the lines between organic instrumentation and digital production to the extent that the two become inseparable. Being able to separate sound from context gives Richter complete command of the emotional impact of his music, imbuing pieces with meaning or stripping it back as he sees fit.
While Richter questions whether instrumental music needs to have deeper meaning beyond its sonic qualities, he accepts that the wider world inevitably bleeds into his art. Reflecting the violence and unreality of modern life, Seven Horses For Seven Kings is unashamedly dark, undeniably angry. But rather than be consumed by such emotions, Richter employs them as ecstatic release. Through his mastery of sound, he achieves transcendence through noise, beauty through intensity.”
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.
’Sileen II’ is a gently radiant, minimalist drone work for electronics and bass clarinet, performed by Gareth Davis and written by Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) - marking his first release with Edition Wandelweiser after scores of releases over the past 15 years.
Originally commissioned as a work for 50 members of a local music school in Belgium, 2016, early performances of ‘Sileen’ were chaotic and challenging to the extent that one of the horn players fainted during rehearsals. Zuydervelt later decided to return to the piece in the studio, and came out with ’Sileen II’, a much reduced and more intimate version using Gareth’s clarinet and some electronics for colour. This was subsequently slowed by 50%, in the process revealing a wash of gently overlapping tones and their glacial, airborne harmonic relationships.
Through the relatively simple gesture of slowing down the music, Zuydervelt in effect opens it out, providing more time and space to be absorbed by its floating tone clusters and beating frequencies, revealing hitherto unheard worlds within worlds in a way that could be taken as metaphor for the everyday - if our lives didn’t demand it, wouldn’t it be great if we could all slow down and take life at half pace, just imagine what you would notice and how much objective perceptions may change. In effect, Zuydervelt’s offering the chance to do just that with ’Sileen II’.
Erik Satie’s masterpiece ‘Socrate’ is here performed by Olalla Alemán (soprano) and Guy Vandromme (piano) for Edition Wandelweiser, one century after it was first published.
Commissioned by Princess Edmond de Polignac in October 1916, heiress of the Singer sewing machine fortune and a notable patron of the arts, “Socrate’ is written for voice and piano, and consists of excerpts of Victor Cousin’s translation of Plato’s dialogues, all texts referring to Socrates. The Princess, who was openly gay, specified that female voices should be used for texts that were originally written and supposed to have been spoken by men.
Satie presents ’Socrate’ as a symphonic drama in three parts, with his signature sense of refined minimalism serving to place attention on the emotion contained within the text. As such, the music is beautifully future-proofed, with its simple repetitive rhythms, parallel cadences and long ostinat still sounding uncannily fresh, modestly uncluttered, 100 years later.
Buried Treasure pull John Baker's electro-jazz radiophonics into focus with a sterling selection of his cues and incidentals for Mafia drama series, 'Vendetta', circa 1966-68.
Compiled by Alan Gubby, who also selected two volumes of 'The John Baker Tapes' for Trunk Records back in 2008, it includes a few choice bits of material from those editions re-mastered along with stacks of unreleased gems framing Baker as the Radiophonic Workshop's in-house cool guy, equally adept at the tape-splicing concrète stuff as much as swinging grooves - and at best when he marries the two.
There are 26 pieces total, ranging from flighty flutes to a mental electronic mix of the Barnacle Bill theme, and, most notably, a wealth of abstract electro-jazz bombs that kinda preconfigure Pekka Airaksinen's later exploits, whilst mirroring elements of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza and sounding sorta like haywire sections from a Sun Ra gathering.
‘Solo’ collects the first four solo projects by Krautrock battery Michael Rother (Neu!/Harmonia, including his albums: ‘Flammende Herzen’, ‘Sterntaler’, ‘Katzenmusik’ and ‘Fernwärme’. It also features a selection of soundtrack work, as well as previously unreleased remixes and live recordings, featuring reworks and remixes.
Travelling the astral highway between 1977’s ‘Flammende Herzen’ and 1982’s ‘Fernwärme’, the set charts Rother’s contributions to Krautrock’s latter days and its transition into what could be called ambient style with ‘Katzenmusik’ .
Naturally, it’s all driven by Rother’s trademark, insistent/incessant 4/4 pulse, which became one of the defining elements of Krautrock, and fundamentally distinguishing the style from glam rock, American funk, and other popular modes of that ‘70s era, when German artists were fervently establishing their own style of music and identity, one distinct from what had come before them and what was pushed upon them both directly via American cultural imperialism, and indirectly via its pop proxies in the UK, France and other western nations.
This hugely influential, definitive collection from electronic music pioneer and founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram, has been out of print on vinyl since 2013 and is now thankfully available again via Modern Love sidelabel, Young Americans.
Throughout her life, Oram was a wildly original musician, inventor and theorist who refused to bow to convention. While Delia Derbyshire had more or less become a household name, it was only when Clive Graham compiled ‘Oramics' for a CD release in 2007 that Daphne's legacy started to extend beyond the fringes. In the intervening years (aided by the work of the Daphne Oram Trust and Oram’s archive at Goldsmith’s in London) there have been countless articles, features, a play, an exhibition at the science museum and even a creative arts building and several record labels and arts awards named in Daphne’s honour - going some way to restore her place as a recognised pioneer of electronic music.
To recap, Oram was the founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a department she more or less single-handedly created in 1958 camping out at the BBC studios for nights on end splicing tapes and working with various modified machines to carefully arrange her abstract soundscapes. Eventually the BBC bent under her pressure and, in studio 13, created the soon-to-be-legendary Radiophonic Workshop - with Oram its first director.
Among her countless other achievements, Oram is also cited as the first woman to design and build an electronic musical instrument, one that worked around the 'drawn-sound' technique whereby strips of 35mm film would be manipulated before being fed into her home-made 'Oramics' machine which would convert and 'read' the film into sound. She was also a prolific writer and lecturer on electronic music and studio techniques, developing concepts of spatial sound years before terms like "spatial sound” were even used.
Despite her considerable and historic list of achievements, Oram's life and work remained largely unknown by the wider public for many years until Clive Graham compiled this set. Spanning 44 tracks, it demonstrates Oram's work as some of the most varied and groundbreaking electronic music ever made. As opposed to so much of the Radiophonic-era material that has surfaced over the last few decades, Oram's work is often characterised by a much more layered and introspective quality, offsetting playful interludes and commercial recordings with beautiful, immersive pieces like the breathtaking "Pulse Persephone" and "Bird of Parallax” - highly atmospheric and experimental variants of musique concrète and tape music that still take our breath away 45 years later.
It's impossible to over-emphasise the importance and influence of the material compiled on ‘Oramics’, a set that should be considered compulsory listening for anyone with even just a passing interest in electronic music.
Slowdive's Simon Scott gathers recordings made during downtime from touring with his band, hashing out a wonderfully gauzy mesh of field recordings made across continents and woven with original strings and electronic arrangements...
“Soundings, his debut studio album for Touch (he previously released the live album ‘Floodlines’ in 2016 and re-issued “Below Sea Level” in 2017), finds Simon Scott, the composer and sound ecologist, using field recordings from various cities around the globe; modular synthesizer treatments; live strings and laptop electronics to create an album of transition and shifting time zones. The recordings were edited and composed in hotels rooms across the world as Scott was constantly on tour as the drummer for Slowdive, who successfully reformed in 2014.
Hodos, the album opener, begins with 85 mph Storm Barney recordings, ending with the fading sounds of bellbirds and cicadas recorded in Brisbane 2018. “I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing”. This album was created from the US to Asia, South America to Europe and the Arctic Circle back to the UK via California. “Working in hotel rooms and on flights, listening to and editing the recordings I’d made from all of these distant cities formed the basis of the album. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling”.”
The new album from Brock Van Wey's bvdub project.
"Van Wey's previous n5MD album Heart- less found him harnessing the turmoil around him to create something vast, emotive, and brooding, yet somehow comforting, allowing you to cradle in its weight. Months after Heartless' release Van Wey moved from turbulent times of his native California home to the chilling winter of Warsaw Poland. A divergence. Alone against the icy cold, confined to the indoors in search of protection against the world outside, Van Wey channeled, as he always does, his surroundings as they coalesced with his self-imposed aberration. The outcome of this move, and period of near total isolation, is Explosions in Slow Motion.
Featuring four long-form songs accompanied by four “ember” vignettes, Explosions in Slow Motion is quite possibly Van Wey's most mournfully isolated work in his massive discography to date. Filled with swelling arcs of spectres from the past appearing then slowly drift away. Foggy memories of friends, loved ones, and even adversaries seem to achingly sweep across Explosions in Slow Motion's eighty-minute runtime. There is a forlorn thread of shrouded nostalgia throughout the album which by album's end leads to catharsis, acceptance and the finality of progression."
Berlin’s fonkiest blighters return with Flohio, Tommy Cash and OVS in tow on ‘Who Else’, their 4th studio album, following from 2011’s ‘Monkeytown’ and their Modeselektion mix volumes
Again proving that Berlin isn’t just all monochrome clothing and rote techno, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary chuck hip hop, electronica, house, jungle and dembow rhythms into their rave hotpot on ‘Who Else’, with signature, playful and emosh dance-pop results ripe for the biggest stages.
“This is the new album by Modeselektor. It has been in the works for two years and was made within a month. It’s a record offering essential Modeselektor, a record formed by experience, self confidence and the usual madness. It raises a question and answers it straight away. “Who Else” is yet another counteraction to boredom and formulaic approaches. Hear Modeselektor casually kicking against the pricks. Somebody’s gotta do it. Who else?
Technical knowledge and craftsmanship have improved their creative process, but in the studio they are driven by the same old things. It’s the quest for the beat they haven’t made yet, the eternal hunt for the perfect mix. No bass drum sounds like the other on this record, no snare repeats itself in a different track. Each hi-hat is tailor-made, no synth sound recycled on another occasion. This isn’t one of those predictable techno records, and that’s what makes it such an effort: the endless search for new sounds while always bearing in mind that less is more.
“Who Else” represents the sound of Berlin in all its ambivalence. It is a record freed from outside pressure, only driven by a personal ambition to once more put out a great album.”
Eleh's Home Age series was composed and recorded over a period of 5 years and it reflects a search for color, form, connection and growth
For this release Eleh plays modular & analog synthesizers, piano, organ, bass and symphonic chimes.
Bonobo opens the ‘fabric presents’ series that pledges CD, digital and vinyl releases on a quarterly basis.
"His highly textural aesthetic translates into an ethos that looks to introduce a more open musical palette without losing sight of its past.
The 2LP package features 15 of the 22 tracks from Bonobo’s opening mix for the new fabric presents series. They are the full unmixed versions, including both Bonobo’s exclusive tracks, ‘Ibrik’ and ‘Flicker’, plus his ‘Boston Common’ cut, previously limited to vinyl only."
Sleaford Mods release their fifth studio album, ‘Eton Alive’
"The new album, which features 12 new tracks from the prolific artists, was recorded in Nottingham. The record will be the first release on Jason and Andrew’s newly formed label ‘Extreme Eating’ and their first album since parting ways with Rough Trade Records.
“Eton Alive speaks for itself really. Here we are once again in the middle of another elitist plan being digested slowly as we wait to be turned into faeces once more. Some already are, some are dead and the rest of us erode in the belly of prehistoric ideology which depending on our abilities and willingness, assigns to each of us varying levels of comfort that range from horrible to reasonably acceptable, based on contribution. "
One of those rare artists who gets better with each release, Susanna is joined again by partner and producer Helge Sten (Deathprod), and a new band of Norse whippersnappers - The Brotherhood of Our Lady - for a soaring suite inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. While Susanna’s vocals and song-writing channel Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Tori Amos and Diamond Galas, the musical palette is wonderfully singular, with sophisticated piano and string arrangements riddled with unconventional details. In the loveliest sense this is an album both my folk-loving mother and I could enthuse about.
"The incredible, ahead-of-its-time art of medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch bears strong comparison with the music of Norwegian artist Susanna. Visionary, disturbing, spiritual; vivid images of darkness and light, good and evil, heaven and hell and the folly of mankind. Like her songs, Bosch’s iconic images range from the panoramic to the intimate, and express bliss, torment and tortuous inner conflicts.
On Garden of Earthly Delights, her 13th album, Susanna takes a selection of Bosch’s paintings as starting points for a fervent, poetic rosary of fantastical songs and stories. Tracks like ‘Gluttony and Lust’, ‘Death and the Miser’ and ‘Ship of Fools’, reflect Bosch’s depictions of sin and human weakness, while ‘Wayfarer’, ‘Ecstasy’ and ‘Beautiful Life’ suggest the transcendent search for spiritual rewards.
Originally a commissioned work for the Vossajazz Festival 2017, Garden of Earthly Delights ranges from soul searching balladry to sonorous electronic expanses. Some listeners might catch echoes of the melodic range of Joni Mitchell, the confessional darkness of Nina Simone and the traumatised intensity of Diamanda Galas, filtered through a medieval folk and modern experimental sensibility. But there’s no mistaking the powerful, questing clarity of Susanna’s distinctive voice, and the core of symbolic imagery she draws on from ancient mythology via medieval mysticism to present-day consumer society.
Accompanying her own wanderings on vocals, piano and electronics, Susanna assembled The Brotherhood of Our Lady, a new group (named after the religious organisation that sponsored Bosch) drawn from Norway’s current dynamic, young and open minded music scene, with members of bands like Skadedyr, Stina Stjern, Listen to Girl and Propan. The album was recorded in the extraordinary Ocean Sound Studio on the Northwest coast of Norway, a fully equipped wooden hut that sits on a rocky outcrop at the edge of the sea. All programming and production was done by Susanna and regular partner Helge Sten (Supersilent, Deathprod), with mixing by Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Lana Del Rey, First Aid Kit, etc). The team and the wild location extract some of Susanna’s spookiest and richest sonic performances to date, with a vivid range of colours to match Bosch’s extravagant imagery.”
The Books’ Nick Zammuto serves a hauntingly evocative soundtrack to Jeremiah Zagar’s Sundance Award-Winning flick ‘We The Animals’. If you remember and/or love The Books’ intricately embroidered collage pop, the colourful dimensions of James Holden, or have a fondness for blissed out American indie film scores, your attention is required
“We The Animals is the award-winning new film from Jeremiah Zagar (In A Dream). Based on the best-selling novel by Justin Torres, We The Animals is Zagar’s first narrative feature. It reunites Zagar with Nick Zammuto, the renowned composer and co-founder of beloved collage-pop pioneers, the Books. Inspired by the film’s setting in rural upstate New York – and influenced by the early ambient electronic music that galvanized the Books two decades ago – Zammuto pairs that earthen, wooded isolation with dynamic pulses of customized electronics and sparse, crystalline layers of melodic soft synths. The juxtaposition is arresting, and gives the soundtrack a unique heft befitting of its subject matter – and betraying of its minimal instrumentation. Beautifully edited and sequenced to act as both a companion to the film and a standalone album, We The Animals: An Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is as subtle as it is startling, and succeeds in making even the heaviest emotions feel momentarily weightless.”
A swarm of Radiophonic spirits and disciples descend upon ‘The Delaware Road’ soundtrack CD, accompanying the occult thriller stage-play written by Delia Derbyshire and John Baker compiler, Alan Gubby, and voiced by retro renegade Dolly Dolly. Includes music from Ian Helliwell, Howlround, The Dandelion Set, Alan Gubby and many more
“London. 1968. Two pioneering electronic musicians discover a set of unusual recordings which leads to a revelation about their employer. Fascinated by the seemingly occult nature of the tapes they conduct a ritual that will alter their lives forever.
The Delaware Road is an occult conspiracy thriller & an audio-visual treat for fans of archived electronica, far out jazz & haunted folk grooves chronicling the musician's obsession with sound, sex & magic.
Conceived & written by Alan Gubby (producer of “John Baker: The Vendetta Tapes” & ‘The John Baker Tapes’ , co-producer of Delia Derbyshire's Moogies Bloogies + Circle Of Light releases on Trunk Records). With additional dialogue by spoken word artist Dolly Dolly and musical contributions from an array of artists working within the British electronic, tape, jazz, folk & prog world.
“highly recommended” Richard Littler, Scarfolk”
Arch mutant Joachim Nordwall gets it on with Kevin Drumm and friends on a collaborative album dedicated to Mika Vainio for Antwerp’s Entr’acte.
A consummate collaborator, Nordwall patently knows where, when and how to subsume the ego and merge with other, like-minded artists, more often working with others than not. In the 8 parts of ‘Communication is the Key’ he sequences a diaristic account of his meetings with other, fellow underground lynchpins, in the process covering a broad disarray of styles within a brutalist, greyscale framework littered with strange signs of life.
Acting as the constant in a variegated sprawl, Nordwall supplies insistently heavy subbass pulses and flinty rhythms that betray his presence in both the tense, palpitating abstraction of ‘Orientation of Senses’ recorded with Coppice in Chicago, and again in two works with Gabi Losoncy recorded on the train and in Philadelphia’s Jefferson Station, each distinguished by Gabi’s favoured field recorded textures, before also underlining the hypnagogic, naturalistic haptic of Tim Barnes & Jeph Jerman’s scuffed haptic in ‘Hashimotor’.
The results become much more ambiguous and metamorphic when they shift focus from rhythm to tone on two interconnected, untitled collaborations with Kevin Drumm, the first making use of a creaky, disfigured husk that sounds like a post punk drum track slowed and pitched down 1000%, while on the second Drumm’s glowering drone takes on an almost radioactive glow, exuding lonely, existential dread.
To end the album, Nordwall's collaborations with John Duncan provide the album’s uncanniest moments with two works recorded at various Gothenburg studios, where the pairing invoke a genuinely chilling dance of boneless spectres, shrieking winds and metallic resonances.
From four individual parts, with distinct musical pasts but also overlapping histories, a new unified chapter begins with Piroshka and the quartet’s thrilling debut album ‘Brickbat’.
"The album is named after the word for a missile, which nails the record’s heavyweight lyrics if not the music’s gorgeous, bittersweet and euphoric pop. Think of ‘Brickbat’ as a wolf in sheep’s clothing - which suits the name Piroshka, the Hungarian take on the wolfterrorised fairytale hero Little Red Riding Hood - a subtle nod, too, to a certain red hairdo that stood out in the 1990s Brit-guitar-pop scene…
The four band members are former Lush vocalist / guitarist (and former redhead) Miki Berenyi, former Moose guitarist KJ ‘Moose’ McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. The connections between them are a veritably tangled family tree. Before they lived together and raised a family, Miki and Moose were notable figures on the so-called shoegaze scene, while Elastica were Britpop peers. After post-punk pioneers Modern English split for a second time, Mick became a latterday member of Moose, while Justin joined the reformed Lush in 2015. And when Lush required a bassist for what proved to be their final show (in Manchester) in November 2016, Mick stepped in.
It was the rehearsals for that Manchester show that laid the foundations for Piroshka. “We sounded great!” says Justin. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought, this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Mick agreed. “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed it was good fun too. And with Moose available, we thought, let’s all have a bash, see what happens.”
Though ‘Brickbat’ kicks off with a squeal of feedback, the album is far from a proper punk record, with as much sublime delicacy as physical force, with guitars to the fore but also electronic flourishes in all manner of spaces. Combined, they drive the nuggety melodic bombs long associated with Miki’s songwriting"
Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 is an unprecedented overview of the country’s vital minimal, ambient, avant-garde, and New Age music – what can collectively be described as kankyō ongaku, or environmental music. The collection features internationally acclaimed artists such as Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Joe Hisaishi, as well as other pioneers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoshio Ojima and Satoshi Ashikawa, who deserve a place alongside the indisputable giants of these genres.
Holding dozens of rare gems from Japan, ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ feeds the ambient zeitgeist with a sublime survey of hard-to-find works by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono, Joe Hisaishi and many others, all compiled by Visible Cloaks’ Spencer Doran and released for the first time outside Japan - including two tracks on vinyl not found on the CD.
Extending an unprecedented overview of Japan’s intersecting minimal, avant-garde, and New Age music realms, Spencer Doran expertly sequences work by titans of the Japanese scene along with beautiful pieces by artists little known beyond the country’s borders. While many of us may be acquainted with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Joe Hisaishi via their major label releases and work on Anime and Hollywood film soundtracks, the rest have largely remained obscure partly due to the notorious difficulty of licensing Japanese music in the west. Now, thanks to the work of YouTube algorithms in generating great interest in this area, and thru the dedication of obsessives such as Spencer Doran, this compilation is a very welcome part of the groundswell in official reissues from this unique, dreamlike time and space in the history of electronic music.
Scanning the years after digital synths began to flood the market, and the ideas of ambient music (Eno), and furniture music (Satie) had taken hold in Tokyo, the music on ‘Kankyō Ongaku’ is design-driven to inhabit personal spaces, to meld into the background and subtly frame everyday life. Oozing connotations of sophistication and luxury, the music can be heard as a result of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1980s, when it become a common currency for corporations as much as record labels, ending up on vinyl and CD as well as public installations, adverts for Sanyo air-con unit, and in-store soundtracks for the likes of Muji - all of which are contained within this collection.
It’s all so lovely that’s it’s a real struggle to pick highlights from the rest, and it would also miss the point - all the music shares the same ideal and executes its function exactingly, to linger in the air. It’s pretty much flawless stuff, awaiting the embrace of romantic sophisticates and Japan-o-philes everywhere.
Bjarki showcases the full spectrum of his sound in ‘Happy Earthday’, touching on everything from ambient, downbeat styles to proper Braindance in his hyper, melodic style for a fine away day from Nina K’s Trip and bbbbbb
Robert Hood’s minimal techno blueprint back in circulation for first time since 2010.
Originally despatched in 1994, Robert Hood’s debut album ‘Internal Empire’, along with his ‘Minimal Nation’ 2x12” for Axis in the same year, found Detroit techno stripped down to sleek, whirring mechanics in a way that would irrevocably influence the next generation of producers.
The album is perhaps most highly regarded for the clinical, bleeping cadence of ‘Minus’, which, along with the slippery subaquatic motion and synth washes of ‘Home’, the skudgy grind of ‘Chase’, and the pace-setting ace ’Spirit Levels’, marked a pivotal turn from the distorted, macho styles of European and Midwest techno toward a supremely classy, precision-tooled and more elegant form borne in the home of techno.
Unmissable gear for anyone watching techno looping back to its formative, accelerated phase!
King Midas Sound (Kevin Martin / The Bug & Roger Robinson) deliver an exceptionally stark new album; an hour-long study of unravelling love rendered via desolate, beautiful ambient/shoegaze/concrète textures. It’s an unusual album; the vocals sitting high in the mix, the instrumentation recalling Kevin Martin’s work on Experimental Audio Research’s 'The Köner Experiment’, the atmosphere often suffocating. We’ve sunk deep into it and reckon it’s nothing short of a modern day classic, something like Tricky’s dread-filled Pre-Millennium Tension if it had been produced by Thomas Köner.
Auspiciously cued for a Valentine’s Day release, ‘Solitude’ is a meditation on loss, an elegy to extinguished romance and love in the endtimes. Combining the confessional vulnerability of Robinson’s lyrics and dreader-than-dread delivery with the most stripped back arrangements in Kevin Martin’s entire catalogue, the duo drill deep into emotional sufferation with simultaneously airless, deeply moving results, glacially limning a coming-to-terms with loss.
It pushes King Midas Sound’s pessimism to heart-rinsing degrees, staging Robinson in a series of vantablack scenes veiled by smoky, minimal synth-lighting, the poet processes irrational and incessant feelings of rejection and loneliness. From the aching desolation of ‘You Disappear’ to the unflinching realisations of ‘X’, the ache imparted by Robinson’s lyrics is only amplified by his quiet stoicism, something that reaches an apex on the emotionally brutal Zeros, recalling Tricky's incredible side project with Terry Hall 'Nearly God', while Kevin Martin finds power in a sense of deferred gratification and his embrace of negative space.
The effect is nothing less than transfixing in the physicality of Robinson’s descriptions and the detached nature of Martin’s sferic electronics on ‘In The Night’, while pangs of lush optimism lend an exquisite contrast to the desiccated riddim and gloom of ‘Alone’, and the sylvan keys in their sensuous reverie, ’Her Body’.
‘Solitude’ is a worthy follow-up to King Midas Sound’s two albums for Hyperdub, in some senses eclipsing both in terms of distinctive, emotional impact. But more than that, it’s an album made for the times we find ourselves in; a meditation on love and loss in the age of info overload.
R&B enigma Dawn Richard, better known by mononym DAWN, tends to her roots in New Orleans, Louisiana, on her earthier follow-up to ‘Redemption’ for Local Action
Co-produced with Derek Bergheimer (also behind ‘Redemption’), and featuring notable guest beats by Hudson Mohawke & Cole M.G.N. (Nite Jewel, Ariel Pink), ’New Breed’ bends sunny mid ‘90s R&B feels with disco and wavey slow synth pressure in Dawn’s most broadly appealing and direct recordings to date.
Yorkshire journeyman Chapman returns with tales to tell about the ‘True North’ - “…they think we write about the truth ‘cos we’re not clever enough to lie…”
“The masterful follow-up to his universally celebrated 2017 album 50, Michael Chapman’s True North finds the elder statesman of British songwriting and guitar plumbing an even deeper deep and honing an ever keener edge to his iconic writing. This authoritative set of predominantly new, and completely devastating, songs hews to a more intimate sonic signature—more atmospheric, textural, and minimalist than 50, stately and melancholy in equal measure. Recorded in rural West Wales, True North unflinchingly surveys home and horizon, traveling from the Bahamas to Texas to the Leeds of Chapman’s childhood, haunted by the mirages of memory and intimations of mortality. Joining him on this introspective journey is a cast of old friends and new disciples: once again Steve Gunn produces and plays guitar, and fellow UK songwriting hero Bridget St John sings, collaborating with cellist Sarah Smout and legendary pedal steel player BJ Cole, who has accompanied everyone from John Cale to Scott Walker to Terry Allen to Björk.”
10 years on from Panda Bear’s modern classic ‘Person Pitch’, Noah Lennox meets that album’s engineer Rusty Santos for a singular new album of experimental pop music embracing new technology while staying true to classic pop feels. It’s almost like a Jamaican riddim album, with most songs making foundational use of deep subbass beds and processed acoustic guitar in subtle variations - always the same, always different. Warning - you’ll be missing half the fun with his one if you have shit speakers!
“The first song to be released from Buoys is “Dolphin”: Lennox’s bright, sincere voice front and center, with miles of space surrounding it, a guitar and some textured samples fleshing out the dubby sparseness and undercurrent of speaker-limit-pushing sub-bass low-end.
Buoys was co-produced and co-mixed by collaborator Rusty Santos in Lennox’s adopted home of Lisbon, Portugal. Lennox and Santos last collaborated on the landmark Panda Bear album Person Pitch, which had its 10-year anniversary last year.
Animated by their ongoing interest in contemporary music production techniques, Lennox and Santos envisioned something that would “feel familiar to a young person’s ears.” However, Buoys retains a deep layer of experimentation coursing through the hyper-modern production – a hallmark of Panda Bear releases that will feel intimately familiar to fans of Lennox’s decade-plus body of work.
Alongside Santos, Buoys also features collaborators in Chilean DJ/vocalist Lizz and Portuguese musician Dino D'Santiago, both artists who came to Lennox via Santos’ recent trap and reggaeton production work; the former contributes arrangements throughout the album including “Dolphin,” and both lend their vocals to “Inner Monologue."
Buoys is the first Panda Bear release since 2018's vinyl-only EP A Day With the Homies, and the
follow-up to 2015's kaleidoscopic full-length Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. "The last three records felt like a chapter to me, and this feels like the beginning of something new," says Lennox whilst surveying how Buoys relates to the estimable Panda Bear catalogue. Indeed, the forthcoming Buoys is full of fresh ideas from one of modern music's most fascinating, innovative, and emotionally generous artists.”
Hacked up blatz of improv guitar and pebble-dashed drum machines from poet/producer and Diagonal renegade Blood Music, including a Christoph De Babalon-esque jungle onslaught in ‘Ipomoea Violacea’
““Hit record and mixed tracks from 2017-2018. Turns out I made an album, by mistake. old school BM guitar-&-drum machine, a Linn-Drum & a Fred Moten sample, Serge drone, FM synth kicks & a YMO interview & a robot, ‘shut up and listen to him play’, 808 acid funk, 280bpm Gescom memories, a taiko ramen break rounded & a just intonation poem - abc, the whole alphabet: performance from within fugitive study. I like to enjoy myself.” – Simon Pomery, London, 28 December 2018.
Blood Music is Simon Pomery: London-based, Irish-born producer, musician and maker of the “infinity-poem”. The name Blood Music is one English translation of the Japanese word “Kodo”: “mind-before-thought”, “children of the drum”, “music heard in the womb”, or rather, “blood music”. He has two 12”s on Diagonal Records – “Blood Music EP” (2013), and “Chicks/Badgering” (2015) – digis on dingn\dents and self-released works.
“GPS Poetics” is influenced by Pomery’s research into poetics and ethics: Fred Moten’s writings on poetry and improvisation from “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition”, Joan Retallack on Gertrude Stein, John Cage and aleatoric composition in “The Poethical Wager”, and Édouard Glissant’s “Poetics of Relation”. The notion of “the centre” is exploded in favour of fugitive research into the relational. The result here is a live mix of cross-genre blood musics, given to that most freely proliferating, streamable, downloadable, capitalist communication of consumer taste: the DJ mixtape. Pomery’s use of text and voice in Blood Music continues his investigation of text-sound compositions of the 60s and 70s. His “infinity poems”, which are algorithmically produced for print as well as for his a/v show “SPEED READING WITH BLOOD MUSIC”, provide the visual art and language for his relational poetics.”
Sci-fi-styled, synthy grime & drill mutations from Tom E Vercetti, Chemist and Lovedr0id a.k.a. Silk Road Assassins, with guest spots from Kuedo and WWWINGS (a.k.a. Ars Was Taken).
Since their debut LP ‘Reflections’, SRA have really refined their sound with razor sharp chops and exacting poignancy, making ‘State of Ruin’ their defitnsve calling card.
With a manacled grasp of cutting edge UK drill and grime rhythms, and a sublime feel for melancholy yet adrenal sensation, their 2nd significant group showing plays out like the soundtrack to a noir thriller set in mazy London bits and ends, with all the road level romance and violence, and ariel, multi-storey/storied nocturnal connotations that comes with the territory.
The indomitable Xiu Xiu is driven to ecstatic, noisy new heights by a battery of Haitian voodoo drummers and co-production by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier in ‘Girl With Basket of Fruit’
Coming off like Muslimgauze and Cut Hands gone no wave in NYC, 1980, the vibe of Xiu Xiu’s 11th studio album references rituals, mythology and divergent belief systems to realise a bleeding raw, tense and agitated record that mirrors the mood of the times.
Co-produced by the band’s Angela Seo with Deerhoof’s Grege Saunier, and incorporating a big cast including Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) and Haitian percussionists Emmanuel Obi and Ayo Okafor, alongside regulars such as Jamie Stewart doing his tortured avant-cabaret thing and Devin Hoff on all manner of basses, the result is arguably the fiercest and most psychoactive episode in Xiu Xiu’s endlessly amorphous oeuvre, but not without its calmer moments of poignancy.
Living artwork Cosey Fanni Tutti (TG/Chris & Cosey/X-TG) actions a definitive self-portrait in sound with ‘Tutti’ - a stark, throbbing mesh of darkroom impulses and hallucinogenic soundscapes arriving a generation on from her cult solo debut, ‘Time To Tell’ 
Stemming from Cosey’s soundtrack contribution to the COUM Transmissions retrospective conceived for Hull’s UK City of Culture 2017 opening, and produced during the same period she wrote her none-more-fascinating autobiography ‘Art Sex Music’, the eight soundscapes of ‘Tutti’ comprise of manipulated archival material that represents her ongoing artistic process of self-analysis, acknowledging her past and the way it informs her present. In her words; ; “It’s the only album I’ve made that is an all-encompassing statement expressing the totality of my being. A sense of the past in relation to the presents and everything in between.”
Rather than explicitly referencing any one period of her oeuvre, which stretches back to the early ‘70s and covers everything from performance art to video works and numerous stylistic shifts in contemporary music, Cosey limns a more elusive silhouette of her stunning body of work in ’Tutti’, rendering an amorphous mass that conveys the absorbingly sensual nature and breadth of her scope. It’s strong testament to her holistic approach, or even her influence over successive generations, that the music on ‘Tutti’ sounds like it could have been made at any point between her debut album and right now.
Kicking off with the mechanical jazz fonk of ‘Tutti’, with her sky-high signature cornet scudding over primeval techno rhythms, the set twists from writhing electrosex in ‘Drone’ and the mantric hypnosis of ‘Sophic Ripple’, to investigate accreted layers of ghostly psychic plasma in the psychoactive sound design of ‘Split’, before finding her traumas voice in the sexy AF synth-pop abstraction ‘Heliy’, while the depths of ‘Orenda’ could be said to hearken as much to the blue/black churn of the North Sea next to her native Hull as much as the noise ideologies of TG and a shared sense of solidarity with marginalised people (the title is an Iroquois word for a spiritual power inherent in people and their environment).
’Scaffold Eyes’ is a slow moving and intimately evocative audioplay written and recorded by Berlin-based sound artist Armin Lorenz Gerold, with additional vocals by art/architecture historian Miriam Stoney and Irish filmmaker Doireann O’Malley
“Produced in November 2017 for KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s Compound series, Armin Lorenz Gerold’s ‘Scaffold Eyes’ is a 45 minute audioplay, first presented as a multi-channel installation and a live reading performance. It is narrated by Gerold alongside London-based art and architecture historian Miriam Stoney and Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Doireann O’Malley.
‘It is a Tuesday evening in late August. She wanders through various streets linked to a canal that divides the district in two halves. Her thoughts are diffuse and further interrupted by looking at her phone relentlessly.’
‘Scaffold Eyes’ traces the paths of four characters as they wander through the urban landscape of Berlin. We listen in to their meandering thoughts. The lines they walk are never straight, their narrated memories and observations oscillating between the diffuse and the precise. Berlin’s cityscape echoes their psychological space, its dimensions distorted. The city’s sounds blend into each other. Scaffold is everywhere. In juxtaposing the constant reshaping of this metropole with the transient lives of his characters, Gerold places us into a world seemingly in flux.
‘It is early September. I enter Kreuzberg 61’s town hall through the main entrance passing by a porters’ lodge A man is barely visible behind glass. Gently lit from the side by a small table lamp, half his shape disappears…’
The compositions seem algorithmic, yet mood-driven and fluid. Gerold combines spoken word with a collage of field recordings, ambient compositions and song sketches. For example, the faux-jazz of ‘Love Theme of Scaffold Eyes’ suggests a film noir theme while resonating with a characters’ depiction of construction sites by night. As we follow a character into an uninhabited highway construction site, we listen to his voice shifting gradually into vocoder, glancing a the autobahn superstructures around us, cars streaming by. “
Trance-inducing Chaabi psychedelia from Lebanon’s Praed duo for Paris’ ever intriguing Akuphone label. In four parts, including two treks over the 15 minute mark, Paed Conca and Raed Yassin conjure a unique mixture of street-level Chaabi dance music and far flung influence from jazz and psychedelia. Killer, frenzied microtonal dervishes and lysergic horns at play inside...
“This is the ultimate kit to prepare calmly for the sixth extinction! The Lebanese duo delivers a raging interpretation of the chaabi – popular Arabic music – using synthesizers, drum Machines, samples and other devices. The result is hypnotic and psychedelic, on the verge of trance. The clarinet of Paed Conca and the soaring lyricism of Raed Yassin sound like distant calls for help emerging from a world that is falling apart and slipping away.
The record itself is enhanced by its sleeve – designed by the Lebanese artist Raphaëlle Macaron – printed in 5 Pantone colors making it as explosive as the music.”
Field recordist/collagist Kate Carr investigates the relationship between the sea and its shoreline in her compelling new recordings for Glistening Examples.
Using a synchronised swimming speaker and hydrophones, Kate takes acoustic readings of the natural and manmade properties of the sea and its liminal zones of transition everywhere from the north-east coast of Scotland to the most westerly point in Ireland and a fjord in Iceland. The results are parsed, manipulated and layered to poetically limn a series of psychogeographic studies inmparted with a curiously compelling narrative quality.
Taking a poem by Adrienne Rich, ‘Diving Into There Wreck’ as inspiration for the track titles of ‘The Thing Itself and not the Myth,’ Carr spellbindingly uses her own poetic license to shape a uniquely immersive experience, vacillating feelings of dread and isolationism with pangs of tranquility and elemental lushness that hypnotically connote her subject’s vast spectrum of spaces, textures, and their endless flux.
Oblique, then vivid, abstract and hyperreal, Kate’s intersection of morse code, honking geese, clanking hulls and dark green-brownian slosh can be heard as an attempt to grasp the logic, or the clinamen of the sea and its incessant tussle with land. The level of detail and natural effortlessness to Kate’s compositions most beautifully acknowledges the infinite complexity of the thing itself, and our metaphysical, emotive connections to it.
One of the most potent new acts in the EBM/synth-pop/darkwave resurgence deliver an achingly well-sculpted, goth-veiled sophomore side
Moving in line with the music industry’s 30 year frame-of-reference phase shift, Boy Harsher turn cues from mid-late ‘80s styles to their acutely emotive, aerobic purpose in ‘Careful’.
If you’re looking for instant gratification, the strapping EBM arps and gynoid vox of ‘Come Closer’ gives a strong indication of what to expect, while the likes of ‘fate’ and ‘LA’ wickedly tap into a stream of Wax Trax!-styled industrial sauce, and ‘Tears’ serves deliciously discordant synth tanggggg along with the Italo-esque elan of ‘Lost’.
Properly satisfying charms for dance-pop goths, then.
New version with updated packaging / digipack format.
The 1986 debut album by Spacemen 3 (the band formed by Jason Pierce, later of Spiritualized and Peter Kember of Sonic Boom fame), gets a reissue at a time when there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the space-rock of the eighties and nineties. Of late the Loop discography has been expanded and fully revisited, prompting inevitable parallels with the Spacemen 3 output from around the era. Sound Of Confusion was released in the same year of Loop's formation, and surely represents the spearhead of a particular movement in British music of the time, calling upon the influence of the Velvet Underground, the Silver Apples and classic krautrock bands to inform their highly original brand of minimalist psychedelia.
New version with updated packaging / digipack format.
Fire Records presents the band's second long-player (released in 1987), which surely has to contend as one of the ultimate drug records, echoing the ups and downs of japing around with controlled substances, producing career highlights such as 'Walking With Jesus', 'Ecstasy Symphony' and 'Take Me To The Other Side'. A bold, mood-swinging album that relishes the melancholy come-down tracks as much as the soaring '60s psych euphoria, The Perfect Prescription is a bonafide space-rock classic.
Gallipoli, Beirut’s fifth album, started life when Zach Condon returned to his old Farfisa organ, the same one he used to write his first two albums, Gulag Orkestar (2006) and The Flying Club Cup (2007). After stints writing and recording in both New York and Berlin, with time for Zach to recover from a broken arm factored in, band plus producer Gabe Wax (Speedy Ortiz, Soccer Mommy, Adrianne Lenker / Big Thief) headed to Puglia in Italy to finish the album.
"With the remote rural setting “the right amount of isolated”, an intense month of 12 to 16-hour days in the studio with day trips around the coastline followed. Inspired by the surroundings, Gallipoli is unintentionally more visceral than Beirut’s more recent albums, alive with an energy that is further enhanced by every creak and groan of their instruments, every detuned note, and all amp buzz and technical malfunction being left in the cracks of the songs."
Ghost and The Silence's Masaki Batoh weaves a delicate, yet heavy web, winding acoustic patterns around undulating psychedelic choruses while charting an existential trip through life after death.
"Spiritual and tranquil, suggesting laid-back modes of Swedish neo-classicists Dungen and Goat, projecting golden hued, old-school melodic structures..."
Roaming DJ-Kicks mix from Leon Vynehall, loosely focussed on the raw, soulful, and off-centre links between house, industrial, broken beat, dub and electronica
The vibe simmers with a mellow feel flush with melodic charm across 20 tracks including choice highlights in the likes of Dave Ball and Genesis P-Orridge’s ‘Sex & the Married Frog’, a cranky Bourbons Qualk strutter ‘Moving Forward’, a rare Source Direct gem ‘Deep Rage’ as Mirage, and AFX’s drill ’n bass classic ‘Children Talking’. Also includes two exclusive Leon Vynehall productions; ‘Who Loved Before’ and ‘Ducee’s Drawbar’.
'Live Knots' presents two immersive live recordings of Oren Ambarchi playing the epic 'Knots' from 'Audience Of One' (Touch, 2012) in Tokyo and Krakow's Unsound Festival.
Captured with alternately intimate and widescreen fidelity, the original elements of cyclonic guitar harmony and quicksilver percussion are twisted different ways across the two performances, exploring and testing every nuance of the track's framework. 'Tokyo Knots' intimately documents their show at SuperDeluxe in March 2013, Ambarchi cautiously stalking Joe Talia's prickling, Dejohnette-esque percussion with viscose bass tone and heady harmonic incense, progressively whipping up a free form storm of buzz-saw guitar attacks and crashing drums, organically resolving to a lean motorik groove flecked with spring reverb.
By contrast, the twice-as-long performance of 'Krakow Knots', featuring Sinfonietta Cracovia led by Eyvind Kang on viola, presents a more expansive reading of the same structure, adding a prelude of sliding string dissonance before swelling against Talia's adroit patter with a burgeoning tension, ratcheting the mid-section squall to blistering barrage of buzz-saw flares and strobing fuzz, before burning out to reveal a captivating resolution of string glissandi swept against Joe Talia and Crys Cole's skittish percussion objects and retching spring reverb. The applause at the end is very well earned.