Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, controversial occultist and iconic founding member of COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, brings to a close a series of collaborations with Carl Abrahamsson which now spans three decades and which finds P-Orridge narrating over immaculate ambient tapestries, delivered at time-dilating pace.
Electing to use their own names, ’Loyalty Does Not End With Death’ is the final part of a spoken word trilogy initiated in 1990 with the Psychick TV & White Stains side ’At Stockholm’, and proceeded by their ‘Wordship’  album as Thee Majesty & Cotton Ferox, and is the first appearance the pair have had together on vinyl. It’s the sound of two cosmically-travelled minds crossing paths again after a long absence in which they’ve been able to chew over the bare essentials - love and magick - via vibrant poetry and beautifully charged forms of ambient music.
In nine parts they conjure a warmly meditative space, where Abrahamsson’s characteristic tones, cut-up electronics and gentle rhythms comfortably lay the bed for Genesis, who inhabits and enlivens the pristine scenes like an observant dark interpreter, translating the incomprehensible and revealing the divine through their psychedelic prism.
The spellbinding results were recorded in New York and Stockholm 2017/18 and could feasibly have occurred at any point between 1990 and now. They are blessed with a pacing, intuition and timelessness that pays testament to an enduring creative friendship, taking the form of writing, interviews, photographs and film for nearly 35 years, bringing to resolution an almost life-long arc.
Plaintive, eerily plangent pop dirges from Carla Dal Forno, making good on her newly minted Kallista label after her immaculate run for Blackest Ever Black.
On ‘So Much Better’ she saddles up a shuffling lament, poised like a lighter Nico with introspective lyrics about the romantic and the mundane laid over a spacewalk waltz groove.
The instrumental ’Fever Walk’ is more lugubrious, with leaden drums and burnt-out bass underlining ghostly synth notes and the faintest glimmers of her voice.
Proper peach, this one.
Lieven Martens (Dolphins Into The Future) proves an ideal candidate for Longform Editions with ‘Deo Gratias Triginta Sex’, a 30 minute work of processed choral polyphony, turning 18 singers into an orgy of harmonics and writhing, withering rhythms with stop-in-your-tracks effect
“Johannes Ockeghem (1410 – 1497), born in Saint Gislain - Hainaut, Belgium - and for a while living in Antwerp, wrote one of our nation’s greatest hits. Deo Gratias is a canon for 36 singers and apparently he wrote this particular song as kind of a joke or game; quickly “between the soup and the potatoes” as we would say in Dutch. Some say Ockeghem had in mind that a much larger number of people should perform this piece, but it was considered too complicated to find enough experienced singers, to make the piece correct measure-wise, et al.
Let’s open Logic X Pro and try and see if we could help Ockeghem to make this vision a (simulated…) reality.
Since this is a creation for deep and / or extended listening I selected a sligthly longer version of the song rendered by Paul Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble, and layered and sequenced this 36 times in row. Every new sequence starts more or less according to Ockeghem’s original transcript. Small detail… in the version of the Huelgas Ensemble no more than 18 voices are singing contemporarily. As soon as the first voice of the fourth (bass) chorus reaches its final note every voice "freezes" at its current line in melody…
The layering of these sounds in the computer let the overtones shine and the human breathing and whistling create pretty rhytmic parents. The project shows that Ockeghems original idea is kinda genious since however you layer this music, the final result, be it a bit dense and somewhat conjested drone, is still very harmonic. Inspiring.
At first i started cutting, trimming and pitch correcting parts, making the piece a more correct rendition of the original four canon idea. But then i realized that the best manner to execute this version is to keep it simple and short, between the forementioned “soup and potatoes”. So here goes with all the gentle flaws…
At certain points you hear 11 times the same part overlaid. Thus 11 x 18 singers = 198 singers! Here’s to making Ockeghem’s grand vision come to (a simulated…) life.”
Longform Editions coax out a magnificent, hour-long ambient banner from Robert Cox’s revitalised Rimarimba project. Ideal for taking a stroll and letting your head unravel
“I live on the coast. The inspiration came from daily walks by the sea. The background ever changing drone is the restless sea, the cellos are the breaking waves, their 'gritty' sound quality is the pebbles washing back down the beach and the higher pitched twiddly things are the circling sea gulls. Although 'real' waves have a frequency of 7–8 per minute and, yes, approximately the seventh one is often the biggest I have slowed mine down as they sounded too fast at 7–8/m. Think of these as long Pacific rollers breaking on a distant shore.
Unlike most of my compositions this one has no percussion.
The whole beast was made from acoustic and electric guitar parts recorded onto a Tascam DP32. Many had their initial attack removed and some were looped on an Electro-Harmonix 45000 looper. The 'strings' were produced by feeding some parts through an Electro-Harmonix Mellotron pedal. A Yamaha SPX 2000 processed many of the parts in various unspeakable ways until they 'felt' about right. A Lexicon Reverb worked its magic as only Lexicon can. About half of the parts play in reverse at various points. The guitars used were a Furch SJV 121 Lux acoustic 12 string, hand made in the Czech Republic in 1997, and a Gibson ES335 electric, made in Nashville, USA in 1987. Both were tuned in open C – CGCGCE.
This is an age of ever shortening attention spans driven by the constructs of our online world. News is delivered as headlines to skim across with little in the way of in depth explanation or examination. The so called 'long read' pieces in online news sites are no more than the first two columns of a four page article in the Sunday newspapers from a few years ago. Ebooks do not convey the same experience as print on paper. Without the physical presence and weight of a book digital information can feel as ephemeral as television advertising. Wikipedia, good though it is, does not allow for the chance discoveries that come from turning the page in a reference book or encyclopedia. Saving a link in order to return to an online article is not the same as remembering the piece about electrons is about one third of the way through the volume E–G a few pages after the picture of the Egyptian statue. Whilst static art is still, well, static and you can gaze upon and contemplate a painting or a sculpture for as long as time permits how many do so when we are conditioned by the predominance of moving images.
Slow cooking is a healthy reaction to fast, commercialised, food. Likewise both walking and cycling (slow travel) rather than driving make for a deeper experience of the journey.
A long piece of music be it a symphony, an ambient work or a jazz suite creates a mindscape in which the listener can lose and find themselves as their attention wanders and returns. It can trigger a memory in that moment at 37 minutes which is different the next time they hear it because they almost inevitably arrive at that moment having taken a different path through the piece. Today the bass line, tomorrow the percussion figures, the day after the unfolding harmonies. This takes time to achieve, time that is not available in a three minute pop song. The listener who allocates enough of their time will find an hour immersed in a piece of music is at least as beneficial as a long soak in a warm bath.”
Finnish psych sorceress Laura Naukkarinen aka Lau Nau weaves a cats cradle of crystalline electronics recorded at EMS Stockholm across her half hour-long work ‘Amphipoda’ for Longform Editions
“Lau Nau (Laura Naukkarinen) composes music for films, theatre and albums, makes workshops and sound installations and travels around the world performing. In her work she combines electroacoustic approaches, found objects, field recordings, folk instruments, classical instruments, analogue synthesisers and her own voice. Her music is imbued with a cinematic breadth of vision and her idiosyncratic, finely honed sound world builds on fragile, spectral otherness. She has been nominated for various prestigious prizes in her home country Finland and won the main Femma prize 2018 with her fifth album Poseidon, released in Europe, USA and Japan.
Lau Nau says: “The piece is recorded at Elektronmusikstudion EMS in Stockholm with their big Buchla 200 system in 2018. I was there for a short residency studying how to compose the changes in the Baltic Sea into music. This composition is inspired by how the biomass of plankton vary in the Baltic depending, for example, on the entering saline pulses from the North Sea, the oxygen levels and the temperature of the water. The work has been supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Taike.”
Experimental field recording artist Kate Carr joins the finely programmed Longform Editions with a minimalist, lower case 36 minute session...
Traversing hydrophonic sounds to filigree textured electronics, following a fine line between elemental, natural forms and more menacing, looming, aleatoric sources
Houston meets Bristol at the hands of Sam Binga...
...linking with Paul Wall on the brooding low rider ‘All Cap’, then with Bristol MC Redders again for the dutty dancehall of ‘Vandilero’, and Rider Shafique for the cold bogle of ‘Organic’, plus a Zomby-esque instrumental ‘I’m An Adult’ with Halogenix, and a canny beatless roller with Om Unit, ‘Find A Way’.
Astral Industries serve the equivalent of a warm cup of camomile while two thumbs gently massage your temples with Sonmi451’s ‘Nachtmuziek’ suite of drifting modern classical ambient.
“Belgian artist Bernard Zwijzen, aka Sonmi451, has for over a decade now been quietly making some of the most luscious ambient we’ve heard here at AI-HQ. We are delighted to announce him as part of the Astral family with this six-track EP - Nachtmuziek - sit back, tune in and drift away.”
Two of the great unsung protagonists binding Manchester’s DIY scene unite for this limited edition release taking in some of the many multidisciplinary interests the pair have been involved with as sound and visual artists.
John Powell-Jones is perhaps best known for his work in the creative arts and as a visual designer and printer for projects as diverse as Mogwai, Jamal Moss, Delroy Edwards, Raime, Moon Duo and Demdike Stare, as well as a technical demonstrator in printmaking and Risograph techniques at the University of Salford. Alongside his most recent work in sculpture, Powell-Jones has also had a number of music releases for the Sacred Tapes label since 2014.
Craig Tattersall needs little introduction round these parts, having been involved in numerous projects close to our orbit since the late 90’s as part of Hood, The Remote Viewer and The Boats, as well as running the much loved (and missed) Cotton Goods label.
This release emerged as the result of a sound art and print workshop the duo ran together at the University of Salford, based on a premise of capturing sounds during the process of printing. The resulting prints would act as both 'sketches' of the workshop, but also as gestural marks that would replicate those sounds, like a visual score.
Making use of contact mics, tape loops, manipulated radios/cassettes and an altered turntable to make the sound, the pair then used different mono printing and dry point etching techniques, as well as an old typewriter to make the images.
The A-side starts off baring the hallmarks of classic location recording; all clicks and whirrs, it slowly develops into a mesmerising, whirling drone piece. But it’s the b-side that envelopes in warmth, a sublime study in stillness and beauty that’s quite the contrast to the rattling, microscopic chaos of that opener. Over the space of almost 20 minutes, Tattersall and Powell-Jones bridge between celestial and personal dimensions with ease, creating a kind of barely-there rendering of the sublime that recalls everything from William Basinski to the quiet music of Jürg Frey, an effect heightened by the ferric quality of the recording...
Legendary British jazzman and soundtrack composer Basil Kirchin essentially scrapes the inside of his skull into ‘Worlds Within Worlds, Pts 1-2’, an absolutely bonkers collision of concrète, jazz and vivid imagination from 1971. Trades for silly money 2nd hand, so praise Trunk for bringing it back to light
Muggy mutant downstrokes from Apulati Bien ov Paris/Brussels crew Outreglot, doing lo-fi alien rap, juke and spannered, noisy audness in their own style for the excellent Promesses
Working shades away from styles also explored by Slikback and his Hakuna Kulala crew outta Central/East Africa or the PRR! PRR! lot in Belgium, Apulati Bien restlessly shifts patterns on ‘OO:NÉ’ from the insectoid scuttle and budge of ‘EPOC’ to munted rap on ‘HUMID’ with Zouccrashbaby, taking in the polytemporal G-Force of his killer ‘RIZ-VASTOS’ ft. Lord Cham, mutant Footwork in ’TARIF’ and ‘HARAMARA’, grimy cut-ups in ‘OPTON AÏZ’, and freaky gamelan in ‘LIL ALEX 2930’ ft. Santini.
A big look for anyone investigating mutant fringes of the modern dance.