Shocking 909 driven dancehall banger from Dug Out, the label run by Honest Jons and Hard Wax
Ruffest shot of 1988 ragga-techno from Tiger at his maddest. Nuthin' but a rattling 909 riddim topped by incendiary, unhinged vocal and that's all you need! Seriously, we've never heard anything quite like it, the groove sounds like some one-off bleep techno experiment from Sheffield gone AWOL and discovered by a manic Jamaican.
In addition to being one of America's most persistently interesting avant-garde percussionists, Jon Mueller has in recent years carved a niche for himself among more mainstream company, working with Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and perhaps most notably of all, Volcano Choir, the acclaimed Bon Iver-related side-project that features Justin Vernon.
One way or another, Type seems to have made a habit of capturing established experimental artists at a career-defining moment or a point of creative breakthrough (something that could be argued for the label's releases of Grouper, Yellow Swans and Clams Casino albums) and once again, they seem to have snapped up Mueller just as he's poised on the cusp of taking his music to a new peak.
Having released Metals and Physical Changes for the Table Of The Elements label, The Whole finds Mueller looking outward; delving into the culture of quilt making and the Shaker crafts in his pursuit of forming his work around a fresh sense of earthy simplicity. Mueller's palette is comprised of a relatively sparse set-up: a snare, low toms, hammered dulcimer and voice, yet with these constituent parts he forms a unique vision that's equally enriched by folk traditions as it is the contemporary experimental music scene.
'Hearts' is an epic of intricate, clockwork drumming that combines with tranced-out vocal mantras and interjections of harmonised dulcimer to great effect, culminating in a thrilling final sequence that finds Mueller putting his own uniquely skewed slant on the double-time kick sounds of thrash metal. 'Hands' is another captivatingly complex and powerful drumming exercise, punctuated by deep cymbal splashes and some beautiful tom work through which you can really hear the full, booming curve of the drum's vibration.
The album is bookended by 'Remembered As' and 'Remembered' two pieces that place emphasis on the melodic potential of percussion, coaxing haunting passages from the dulcimer that really spring into life - particularly during the latter piece which embraces gong-like chimes and swelling metallic resonances.
Overdue but well on-point, Kassem Mosse’s 2nd solo album proper - his debut with Honest Jon’s - is a time-and-space bending set of ancient yet modern-sounding techno deviations that makes the rest of his field seem like frustrated, gridlocked passengers.
Blending the drum machine of Jeff Mills with the hi-tech jazz chops of Mad Mike and a wondrous feel for plasmic radiophonics and dustily organic textures, Disclosure is patently KM’s definitive artistic statement, largely steering shy of any easy anthems in favour of pursuing a mystic, abstract muse deep into the wires.
No doubt at all it will piss off the bro’s fishing for big tuna, but for anyone else who can dance outside of the lines there’s stacks of crafty time-signatures, alien electronics and loose-limbed patterns to get with, from the bitter dissonance of Stepping on Salt to the frayed bustle of Drift Model and the sun-melted techno of Galaxy Series 7, whilst Monomer trades in Tevo Howard-style Chicago class and it’s hard to deny the Memphis-style percolations of Aluminosilicate Mirrors or the Molecular Memories’ Africans With Mainframes-esque projections.
Strong Bass styles for all fans of Joy Orbison and Doc Daneeka! On the front Chesus X Diverse Concepts whip up a slick killer in 'Baduka' with frisky Garage/Funky drums, yearning vocals and deep house motifs that already caght the attentions of Gilles Peterson, MAH, Martyn, Seiji and the rest! On the other, C.R.S.T really impresses with the light-footed flex of 'Bump' winking to classic El-B styles. Killer!
Brooding mix of post-rock and electro-pop by Ricardo Donoso + childhood friend Thiago Kochenborgor, betraying mutual influence from Depeche Mode to NIN in eight parts
“"The sailor cannot see the north, but knows the needle can".
‘Human Resources’ marks the first official album by two friends playing together since the age of twelve, separated by oceans and time, attempting to reconnect with the same collaborative, exploratory and enthusiastic spirit that they felt fifteen years prior.
Under the alias RDTK, the roots of the collaboration were planted fifteen years ago in a small one-bedroom apartment in Rio de Janeiro as an outlet for two seventeen year olds to learn and abuse the intricacies of electronic production, composition and home recording. Its initial roots remain intact: combining a hybrid of traditional rock instrumentation and arrangements with electronic programming, sound design and an intricate and sophisticated production style.
Ricardo's musical vocabulary draws as much from contemporary composition, drone, to techno and noise. Songs like album opener ‘Affective Forecasting’ contain a mind blowing intensity which is often felt throughout ‘Human Resources’. Cinematic textures and progressive rhythms are the very essence of the record as we are invited in to the immersive sound world of RDTK.
‘There Is Still Time’ conjures up images of barren landscapes and dreamlike imagery, with a spine chilling tension that is a far-cry from the sounds of Samba and Bossa Nova, while the piercing strength of ‘Surface and Together’ set against a back-drop of melancholy keys and krautrock electro beats offers a depth and urgency that is strikingly emotive.”
Two of Constellation's acclaimed solo instrumental artists join forces on this tremendous album of original compositions for horn and violin.
"Stetson and Neufeld first began playing in duo formation while on tour together as soloists in 2012, joining each other on stage for one or two of their respective pieces. Duo compositions for their debut album emerged throughout 2014, and were road-tested that spring with performances at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (Canada) and Moers Festival (Germany). The album was recorded without overdubbing, looping, sampling, cutting or pasting at their farmhouse attic studio in rural Vermont by Hans Bernhard and mixed in Montreal by Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire).
Never were the way she was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album's expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative. From the filigreed ostinato polyrhythms of “The sun roars into view” and “In the vespers” to the stately long tones of “And they still move”, the dark drone-inflected sea-saw waltz of “With the dark hug of time” to the growling, pulsing thrust of the album’s epic centerpiece “The rest of us”, Stetson and Neufeld offer up an incredible (and impressively diverse) integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture while holding their respective instruments in sparkling juxtaposition.
Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts."
Lårry debuts with a slick brace of sci-fi electro on Uncertainty Principle, following their ace first release by FFT in 2017
Reportedly the first in a series of 12”s from Lårry, ‘sys_001’ starts out furtive with shortwave transmissions infiltrating the icy bleep matrix of ‘Systems_Hyperthread’, before sicking the turgid robo-beast of ‘Systems_Obfuscate’, while ’Systems_Online’ shows off his sound designer skills in vast negative space, and he goes Monolake style with the pinsharp percussion and subbass surges of ’Systems_Encoder’.
DJ Apres Ski returns from jollies on the slopes with four low slung electro tunes as Melly for Dublin’s Major Problems
Uptown, he arrives with the fluttering arps and airborne glitter of ’Shrubbery’ for the weightless movers, then leans in heavier with pendulous syncopation in the electro groove and delayed dub chords of ‘Health Is Wealth’.
Downtown he tucks it in-the-pocket on ‘The Beds’ for a natty, angular sort of electro-dub strapped with iridescent arps, and the tight latinate shuffle of ‘Mineral Water’ sees to the runout and a very canny locked groove for the DJ hypnotists.
DJ/Rupture and Matt Shadetek's Dutty Artz imprint continue a heavyweight run of form this year with 'New York Tropical', gathering eleven new tracks from the likes of Rita Indiana (remixed by Kingdom!), Lamin Fofana, Maga Bo, DJ Orien, Nguzunguzu, Chief Boima and more. It's essentially a brilliant overview of the label's aesthetic and the wealth of Tropical fusions occurring in the crucible of the Big Apple, covering the spectrum of international dancefloor rhythms Brooklyn style. Top of the pile is Kingdom's scorching rework of Caribbean megastar chanteuse Rita Indiana, cut with his usual blend of tranced-out R&B and big bwoy rhythms. Then there's La Ola Criminal, who take it uptempo Soca styles with 'Sin Gas'. Other highlights have gotta be the WTF fusions of Knight Magic's 'El Baile de la Cumbia', sounding like Bruce Haack meets El Hijo De la Cumbia. Or the Zomby-esque gallop of Nguzunguzu's 'El Bebe Ambiente'... but we gotta give it dues, the whole comp is just outstanding. Fans of Radioclit, the Shangaan Electro comp, or any of the Dutty Artz releases should consider this album a priority purchase.
Jürg Frey’s first work for string quartet, composed in 1988 and focussed on perceptions of audibility, here realised by Quator Bozzini in five parts recorded between 1988 and 2000, and originally issued in 2006.
It is worth the admission alone for ’Streichquartett II (1998-2000)’, a spectral 29 minute work with an uncanny presence that feels between worlds, inhabiting a gripping, liminal meta-space of timbral perception where the strings eventually appear to be singing, and we mean genuinely sounding like vocals, although there are none on the recording. It’s beautifully, deeply unsettling and spellbinding music
“"Material can be anonymous. Consider, for example, the middle voices in medieval hymn books: unadorned, not artful, a simple handiwork, a leisurely alternation of single notes. It might be a scale, or, beyond music, the stones of a wall, not artfully stacked, but simply and properly, the formal idea being nothing other than that of a wall.
When I was working on the String Quartet (1988), I encountered the painting of Agnes Martin. I saw clear-cut forms, not overgrown with rhetoric and figuration. Instead, sensuality, radiance and intensity gripped the entire space. There was a kind of visibility to her art, which I felt corresponded to the audibility in my music. Audibility: the moment when sound waves move in space and the air touches the body. The eardrum is the sensory connection between the outside and the inside world: we hear the sound and the composition.
Over the years it became more and more clear to me, that there is no anonymous material - each material has its shape, and as soon as it exists in space and time, it carries a distinct handwriting. Anonymous material is rather an idea that brings the work to a point where concentration on what is essential becomes possible, and allows one to feel that he is starting from zero."
Jürg Frey, translation: Michael Pisaro”
Smiling C gone done it again with this super sweet Euro-house peach from Karya, outta Czechoslovakia, 1991
A true cult collectors number, the original 7” is highly sought-after on the 2nd hand market, making this brand new, remastered 12” cut hugely desirable to people with ears and turntables.
Up top, the original ‘Muž Ze Skla’ works a slow and sexy sort of Euro-house with swanging groove, angelic synth chorales and breathy vocals inflected with a patina of classic early ‘90s spirituality.
On the B-side’s remix they drop the breathy vocal, letting the synths do all the work with mesmerising effect.
Rezzett own that fuzzy mid-fi electronic sound on a cracking eponymous début album, landing nearly 5 years on from their self-titled EP, also issued on Will Bankhead’s TTT label.
In possession of a sound that feels like exotic birds nesting a vintage studio inside your ear, Rezzett, along with the likes of Jamal Moss, Actress, Terekke and Huerco S., have been responsible for redressing the fidelity of dance music with fairly radical yet subtle incision and insight over the best part of this decade.
Thru various process of attrition, they've made a virtue of purposefully muddy and unclear resolution, embracing and fetishising the infidelities of analog hardware noise for a sort of shabby chic appeal that lends itself to closer attention in headphones as well as a sort of psychedelic friction on the ‘floor.
It’s perhaps fair to say that Rezzett have really come to define that sound at its murkiest, most romantic, and diverse, pulling from house, jungle, garage and ambient noise paradigms to forge something viscerally affective and memorably their own, as experienced between the mottled VHS memory-bank shakes of Hala, in the squirming, sore but lush Sexzzy Creep, and the salty angels tears of Yunus in Ekstasi, with the rusty grime and jungle shanks of Gremlinz and Worst Ever Contender lending a cranky, rinsed out finale.
Droopy techno abstraction from Yard, making the maiden voyage on the meandyou.-affiliated Youth label.
In four parts the Portland-based producer coaxes out a greyscale spectrum of machine mumbles and squirmy 303 graffiti; testing your patience with the wobbly nothings of Void, then descending into the claggy dub-house and silty acid piece, White Fog, before giving you something to dance with in the effluent flow of Canopy, and finally ripping out a stripe of caustic 303 modulations in Marshall Acid.
The third volume of electronics-savvy saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare album series, and if you ask us, the most pungent and poignant of the lot - thanks in no small part to the dab hand of Ben Frost, who recorded its 11 tracks in single takes and has done a splendid job of capturing the molten intensity of a Stetson live performance.
Pre-release chatter has focussed on the presence of Justin Vernon, who handles lead vocals on four of the tracks: particularly noteworthy are the pulsating, cyclical opener ‘And In Truth’, which sounds like Philip Glass's 'Floe' sung by the Beach Boys, and a cover of Washington Phillip’s gospel song ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’, in which the Bon Iver mainman comes over like a spiritually wracked Randy Newman (i.e. you have to be in the right mood, to say the least). Vocals appear elsewhere throughout the record, but as more of a spectral, gaseous presence supplying texture above all else; but of course it’s Stetson’s extraordinary sax-playing that’s the star of the show, providing as it does rhythm, tonal colour and flights of aching, jazzy lyricism, often in the space of a single piece. It’s impossible to separate the instrument from the musician: Stetson’s sax feels like an extension of his soul,if you'll forgive the cliche, possessed of a fluency and fire that demands your full attention.
We’re particularly blown away by the aptly named ‘Brute’, a grinding, propulsive industrial blues that conveys more violence and viscerality than a hundred blown-out noise sides, but are getting just as much succour from the gothic melodrama of ‘To See More Light' and the more plaintive chamber-style pieces like ‘Among The Sef’, which summons 70s John Surman and even the Michael Nyman Band - though the tremulous calm of the harmonies contrasts with the sound of Stetson’s fingers furiously gunning the keys. It’s incidental details like this, not just Stetson’s profound virtuosity, that make this record such a worthy proposition.
Dry your eyes, mate; if you missed out on the aRSeD vinyl edition, Metalheadz have you covered with this digital delivery of Goldie’s Inner City 2017 and its hauntological redress from Burial.
The 2017 rebuild from Goldie and Ulterior Motive is a nice idea but unnecessary if you’ve got the original already, but at the very least it pays respect to Diane Charlemagne’s soaring vocal - which surely remains a definitive, enduring highlight of ‘90s UK pop culture, up there with Shara Nelson on Unfinished Sympathy.
However, the Burial version is a massive bonus. Pretty much evacuating all original elements bar the vocal, which itself is pitched and processed to get right on the nerves of the Dilberts anyway, the prodigious one perfectly captures that ‘90s music video aesthetic of running-thru-tunnels and dark warehouses quite literally with a rush of running man breaks and sharp-cornered scene cuts held with a near-breathless tension, kinda like those few minutes before the garys kick in and you’re about to be sick/fly around the club, which basically kicks in with the final minute’s head-spinning pivot on the cusp of happy/dark ‘ardcore.
“But you can’t play it in a club?!” oh fuck off and do your hot-nobbing clown step where we can’t see you.
A hauntingly spirited minimal/progressive/new age classic from 1978 with liner notes by the author and Kieran Hebden.
"Lino Capra Vaccina's immense 'Antico Adagio' was originally intended to be a double album, but was eventually scaled back to a single disc, self-released by the author in 1978; and thanks to the breadth and scope of Die Schachtel's excavations, the second unreleased album from the 1978 session is now available.
"Before an aberrant idea of progress and workaholic ethic ludicrously sped up our daily lives, even in the hectic city of Milan it was possible to "play slowly" – with no pressure, simply following the path your art was showing you. After a classic artistic journey and an experimental stint with Aktuala and other brilliant fellow musicians (like Franco Battiato, above all), Lino Capra Vaccina, near the end of the 70s, recorded Antico Adagio. It was an amazing album, anticipating countless future experiments in the field of new age and world music but also in avantgarde and electronic music.
Apart from a few violin parts and the extraordinary vocal lines (sung by Vaccina himself and Juri Camisasca), Antico Adagio is an album fully built on percussions. But, at the same time, it's the farthest thing from the typical idea of percussions. You won't find a single trace of African or primitive beats: instead, this is a collection of rather long, subtle and thoughtful compositions, crafted with vibraphones, marimbas and gong. Together they create a work which will remain unique – both in Capra Vaccina's discography as well as in a more general sense."
A new label from the Sofrito family; classy new wave rumba hybrid from mid ‘80s Paris, compatible with early ‘80s Detroit styles. A very promising start for the Ambiance label
“4 tracks spanning rumba, disco, new wave and reggae experiments from Congolese singer Albert Siassia and his group Tokobina, including two previously unreleased tracks taken from original demo tapes.
Originally from Pointe Noire in Congo, Albert Siassia came to Paris in the early 80s as part of the Ballet Nationale du Congo and joined forces with a young French reggae group called Dread Lion – a band he re-christened “Tokobina” (Lingala for “let’s dance”). Keen to broaden their audience the group played a mixture of reggae, rumba, disco and new wave styles, often using drum machines and synths.
They released one 12” EP, further altering the spelling of the name – “Tokobina” was phonetically anglicised to “Talk-Hoby-Night” in an unsuccessful effort to increase international sales. The record failed to make much of an impact and soon after Albert Siassia moved back to Pointe Noire to become an evangelical preacher. He passed away in 1999.
Dancefloor sureshots Mama Africa and Pointe Noire are taken from the group’s only 12” release. In the world and Sangui are taken from demo cassettes from the archive of drummer Franck Benhamou. Sangui was originally scheduled for release on a 7” but the release was withdrawn due to a pressing fault.”
Holy mother of noise, what the devil have we here? Superior Viaduct cough up the 1st ever vinyl reissue of Basil Kirchin’s mind-blowing experimental masterpiece Worlds Within Worlds, which has bafflingly somehow escaped wider attention until now. While Trunk Records have done a fantastic job of returning Kirchin’s work to critical acclaim since their issue of Quantum in 2003, this very necessary reissue inarguably and surely reasserts the British jazz drummer and composer-cum-studio experimentalist among electronic music’s greatest pioneers. Trust, this is a record you’ve been looking for forever, but just didn’t know it existed!
Conceived as the follow-up to Kirchin’s Worlds Within Worlds parts 1 & 2, which were discernibly scored for a jazz sextet (including Evan Parker) and various bird, animal, and amplified insect sounds, and released on LP by Columbia in 1971, Kirchin’s 1974 follow-up of the same name contains parts 3 & 4 and finds him combining similar instrumentation with the sounds of a Gorilla, Hornbills, and Flamingoes in a heavily abstract, tape-processed style that’s just completely messing us up right now.
If any LP deserves the mantle “lost classic”, it’s this one. From the first seconds of distended, hellish moans and flanging analog artefacts in Emergence (Part 3) you know this is going to be a serious trip and it never once sells the listener short. For the next 20 minutes he unspools a fantasy tableaux of warped, grainy harmonics and warbling sonic oddity, smudging samples of autistic children in a Swiss community with the sounds of the docks in Hull, where he lived, to forge a practically unprecedented alternate dimension of atonal, arrhythmic immersion that genuinely feel like a transmission from the other side, much in the best way of music from Aphex Twin thru to Broadcast or NWW.
On the B-side Evolution (Part 4) follows suit into the void without the handrails of convention, effectively landing somewhere between the combustible, metallurgic experiments of Gottfried Michael König, Annea Lockwood’s Tiger Balm, and the vast, cosmic spectral music of Iancu Dumitrescu in terms of space and texture, with 18 minutes of dense, layered concrète chicanery that pulls the ear’s eye almost out of its socket in a seamless, keening traversal of metastable, decelerated sonics from Gorilla growls to submerged clangour and astral flange that uncannily parallels COUM Transmissions from the same era and city, although we’re pretty sure there was no crossover between the two.
Suffice it to say, this record is one of the best things to ever come out of Yorkshire or the British electronic music underbelly. Just fucking incredible, psychedelic music. Highly recommended!
Broken English Club flashes his industrial gnashers on the 1st part of a new LP trilogy for L.I.E.S.
Otherwise known as Oliver Ho, Broken English Club has become the bloodied ground for his most unrepentant, grotesque and personalised productions, a place where the bones of EBM/acid/techno rest in pieces beside the desiccated batteries of power electronics and the ghosts of late ‘70s/early ‘80s post-industrial styles.
Leading on from last year’s ‘The English Beach’ LP, Ho focuses his energies into 9 bitter cuts in ‘White Rats’, ranging from the coruscating noise guitar wizardry of the title cut and the clenched industrial strength force of ’Funny Games’ on the front, to thoughts about modern day Brexit Britain in ‘Animal Town’ - “barking nazi’s in plastic tracksuits” - along with the skudgy acid EBM burn of ‘Let’s Play’ and blown-out power electronics of ’Stab Boy’ on the other side.
RIYL Throbbing Gristle, Parrish Smith, Sandra Electronics...
"For this limited edition single, the songs were performed by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & The Cairo Gang with Ben Boye, Van Campbell, Danny Kiely and Angel Olsen, who toured in the latter half of 2010 with Bonny & Cairo. Special guest Rob Mazurek (whose work brought air and light to Bonny’s Beware) solos delicate on “Island Brothers,” which features stacked harmonies from Bonny, Cairo and Angel. The careful arrangement of dynamics that marked all the songs on The Wonder Show Of The World is present on both songs, with “New Wonder,” more indicative of the ballad style that was explored throughout that album."
Reissue of Charly Kingson’s hot disco platter, produced by Klaus Weiss in Germany, 1982, and shifting for triple figures on the 2nd hand market...
A-side is the horny Afrobeat funk fuss of ‘Born In Africa’ with its slithering bassline and call ’n response vocals, while B-side is juicy ace named ‘Nimele Bolo’, working a squirmign synth bass with chicken scratch guitar and horns for pure late night heat.
Ace 3rd group outing from John Howes’ Cong Burn clan, including deeper gems by Lack and Duckett...
Tending to intimate/introspective hours of the club and afters, Leeds-based Lack impresses with the grubbing undulation and dark blue pads of ‘Unttiled’ - imagine E.R.P. meets Batu - and Duckett also gets it right with the frayed groove and hyaline lead of ‘Lost In Israel’ recalling Actress and Morphosis gear.
Chekov plays it dead subtle and breezy with the dusty shuffle of ‘Spring’, and Haddon pushes the edges into out limits dub abstraction in ‘Anabiosis’.
"'There Is No God' / 'God Is Love' is the new single from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and features the musical talents of Emmett Kelly, Ben Hall, Pete Cummings, Peter Townsend, Billy Contreras, Cassie Berman and Rachel Korine."
Zora Jones & Sinjin Hawke make their first significant foray outside Fractal Fantasy with the glass-cut brilliance of ‘Vicious Circles’ for Planet Mu
After building a serious rep over the last few years with guest-crammed compilations, killer remixes and acclaimed solo opuses, Hawke & Jones mount a concerted attack on boring dance music and head-in-sand-types with seven tracks of agile accelerations bending dancehall, Jersey, footwork, grime and vaporous sonics to their will.
Vicious Circles is perhaps the most varied yet concise showcase of their sound to date, demonstrating stellar sound design chops in the TCF-like escalation of the titular opener, which tilts over into the rest of the set, from the Manga-referencing mix of folk song and bolshy, Equiknoxx-meets-Timbaland styles of God, to fast fwd dancefloro mutations in Lurk 101, and hauntingly sheer dynamics on BabyboySosa, and a lump-in-throat finale sure to polish off the rave in And You Were The One.
With his amazing 12” for BEB’s A14 series in the rearview, Pessimist cold-foots back to UVB-76 Music, the label he runs with Gremlinz and his Ruffhouse bandmates.
Left to his own devices, Pessimist conjures a dank, lights-out sound worthy of his moniker, pressing in with two D&B tempo rollers recalling the aforementioned Balaklava killer for BEB in the serpentine agenda of The Empty House and Aurora’s drily reverberating spatial settings.
However, if we’re not mistaken, the other two cuts are techno tempo in line with Shifted or Felix K’s recent forays into that zone, yielding the turgid bass rumble and empty stomach clank of Retrouville and Paian’s chokingly dense, subaquatic pressure system.
A must for fans of Rhythmic Theory, Ruffhouse, Felix K
Arrestingly wide-angled hybrids of tribal music and electronics from Zoë McPherson a.k.a. Empty Taxi for SVS Records, who previously charmed us with their Camila Fuchs releases...
‘String Figures’ managed to evade our radar upon release earlier in 2018, but was thankfully brought to our attention by Berceuse Heroique’s Gizmo, who hails it among his most listened-to LPs of the year.
Coming off like Aïsha Devi getting stoned with ÉLG at Don’t DJ’s gaff, it’s also likely to get a lot of play up this way, too, veering from clod-hopping techno to head-slapping noise and ecstatic folk strings with a mix of refreshing freeness and cool-handed discipline that warrants many returns to its hauntingly imaginative, magick realist soundscapes.
High impact, trancing EBM techno from French act I Hate Models, backed with a deeper pounding by DJ Varsovie
The A-side’s arcing drama, ‘It Will Last Forever’ emerges from lush intro to deliver a severe 4/4 beating with a twist of sexy Gallic masochism. ‘Walpurgis Night’ weaves an etheric vocal from Zoé Zanias into a driving sort of cybergoth trance sound, and DJ Varsovie seals the vibe with a more streamlined remix of the latter.
Includes the first new Universal Indicator (aka Aphex Twin) track in two decades as well as bangers from Bjarki, Nina Kraviz, Biogen, DEKA and more...
Nina Kraviz pulls together a heavyweight compilation of techno (and related) bangers revolving Bjarki, Universal Indicator and Marc Arcardipane among other on ‘Don’t Mess With Cupid, ‘Cause Cupid Ain’t Stupid’
In 10 parts the set delivers weapons grade gear in ‘Pitch-Hiker’ from the living legend Mark Arcardipane a.k.a. Pilldriver, and likewise with the highwire hardcore tenacity of Universal Indicator’s ’15 c7’, while Bjarki lives up to the label’s name with his mind-bending banger ‘3-1 Tap Lush’, and Kraviz keeps her end up with the high velocity pound of ‘OPA’, and Deka does the damage with the martial acid of ‘Pearl (Nikita Zibeline Edit)’.
Egoless weighs in wavy, stoned and skanking fit on their début with Youngsta’s Sentry Records
A.k.a Croat producer Ognjen Zečević, Egoless pairs succinct yet lush outernational instrumentation with spartan beats on the lurching halfstep of ‘Decolonize’, then opens out with the Balkan/Mid-Eastern strings and pipes over room shuddering subs on ‘Global’.
Arriving ahead of his mooted collaboration with Yves Tumor, the New Orleans-based artist and HBA runway star certainly oozes all the right attributes of “rock star” - bolshy confidence, rasping vocals and striking looks.
OK, there are some nice, subtle touches of electronics and rugged drum machines inside, but the unwieldy axe chops and some of his cheesier affectations leave us cold and put off. Check for the swagger of ‘In Your Eyes’ and the MTV unplugged styles of ’Superstar’ and make your own mind up, though.
The coiled techno steppers of Mark’s ‘Integrier Dich Du Yuppie’ forms the precursor to his recent killer 12” for Berghain’s Unterton label
First dispatched in early 2018, Mark’s 2nd volley for Melbourne’s A Colourful Storm label effectively hits square between the eyes of Raime and Demdike Stare with a mutant take on jungle, techno and concrète electronics executed with a smart play between minimalist, grooving tension and foreboding negative space.
It shouldn’t be hard to hear why techno label Unterton took the unusual detour into non-standard styles, likely based on the strength of this EP.
Overlook plays deep into UVB-76 Music’s stark, rolling D&B sound on ‘All of Them Witches’, including a mardy-ass slow techno remix by Positive Centre
In the same vein as Overlook’s well-received debut solo LP ‘Smoke Signals’, its follow-up is greyscale in tone and defined by a razor-edge minimalism, firstly showing off his sound designer skills int he cinematic intro of ‘Spirits Moving Through Walls’, before controlling your rolling like a puppet master with the shadowboxing tekkers of ‘Magick’, while ‘Ritual’ works a densely squashed half-step pressure and the clenched title cut glydes with weightless broomstick momentum.
For the slow techno thuggers Positive Centre reworks album cut ’Travelling Without Moving’ with a grungy, decelerated heave.
Serena Butler returns with an EP for Stroboscopic Artefacts.
“We Want Neither Clean Hands Nor Beautiful Souls” is a four track recording of Butler’s personal juncture with the Queerverse and his engagement in queer politics, an elaboration on the alternate freedoms and minimal politics of alienation introduced with her 2016 release on Eerie. By bringing her mission of inclusion and diversity to Lucy’s Berlin based imprint S>H/E has found a kindred spirit in the pursuit of, what SA describes as, “an incessant accretion of new ideas and new formal elements that must transcend any self-limiting expectations of genres or cliques”. This release embodies the shared revere that Butler and SA have for the subversive power of techno; or, as Butler says, “the explicit, organized effort to repurpose technologies for progressive gender political ends”.
The EP’s path begins with the opener “If Nature Is Unjust, Change Nature”, a shadowy crescendo of whispered rhythms and minimal-synth leitmotivs from alt-clones of Rrose and Second Woman grafted memories. “Globular Hymen” is the club supernova of the lot; an interstellar blizzard of layered arpeggios, which hit like the wrath of a pantheon of angry goddesses. “Science is not an expression but a suspension of gender” lays on the feel of afterlife, a dubbed-out lullaby between lo-fi drums and subtle interference patterns of noise. This is the sound of Butler getting between you and your ears; reminding you to step back from certainty and imperative judgments. Last but not least, “And with fire came disparity” unleashes a vocal swarm of declaration and rebellion. Despite the straight-forward title, this is a true Demdikesterian mutant-techno stepper, with neither clean words nor a beautiful soul.”
Divine D&B rolige from Overlook, a visionary new skool producer leaving his mark on Gremlinz and Ruffhouse’s UVB-76 Music.
A-side; Nights Into Dreams goes deep and hard for a mix of 1997-into-2017 tech-step, arriving with widescreen pads and testy, serpentine breaks before the subs and snares subtly push forward in the mix your body is his for the duration.
B-side; Scarlett makes that Prototype/Renegade Hardware aesthetic even more explicit with a rolling, reductionist revision of flinty 2-step breaks and guttural subsidence for the strongback steppers.
Elephant Micah offer an alternative definition of ‘Americana’, which ultimately sounds the same, but with some detours into noodly electronics on their homemade “mutant” synth, alongside the usual laments and hoary guitars...
““What?” Indeed, “what” is the mantra of our moment. And Genericana aspires to be that moment’s soundtrack.
“WHAT is happening to our culture?” Americans ask themselves, in the era that sees entertainment, politics, and community life consolidated in a digital communications ecosystem. Responding, Elephant Micah has tuned its music to an appropriately disorienting pitch. For songwriter and recordist Joe O’Connell, that means remixing his own cultural experience, and questioning how “where we live” affects “what we sound like”:
“To me, ‘country’ music could mean any of the music we listened to growing up. When my sister and I were teenagers, in the 1990s, we put a lot of effort into trying to access alternative music. You had to steal Rolling Stone issues from the public library to find out about artists. Or stay up late when you could get in some different radio stations than you could during the day. I think of that whole experience as a ‘country’ music experience.”
In the place of “Americana,” the band offers Genericana. Evoking genealogy, genre, generic brands (and perhaps a bottled genie), the album title points the way to a different theory of what binds our culture together.
“I think Genericana just means ‘the stuff from which stuff generates,’” O’Connell explains. “It's a short hand way of shouting out to the stock elements that I'm mashing up in this music. I wanted this project to be sort of like a lucky mutation, that could lead to a heartier version of Elephant Micah for the digital world.”
Mining the aesthetics of the average compact disc collection, Elephant Micah makes room on Genericana to play with sounds for their own sake. O’Connell and company follow in the footsteps of songwriter-producers like Arthur Russell and John Martyn—artists whose descent into effects made their voices all the more poignant and personal. Frequently, Genericana also pays tribute to laid back club sounds, from dub to ambient techno--and to the resourcefulness of the producers who invented these genres.
“To make this record, we assembled a bunch of gear that was devalued or discarded,” O’Connell explains. “A cheap FM synth, some Hindustani electronics, and an old three-head tape deck to use as a ‘poor man’s Space echo.’”
At the top of this heap of equipment was something new. And in fact, there had never been anything quite like it before. Working from a series of manic band meetings and napkin drawings, percussionist and keyboardist Matt O’Connell brought to fruition a one-of-a-kind digital synthesizer. Its inspiration comes from the possibility of alternative playing interfaces—ways of interacting with digital instruments that aren’t based on techniques for existing instruments. Matt and Joe named this synth The Mutant, a title that’s right in key with the themes of Genericana.”
Filth-smith Helena Hauff fires up a raw-to-the-bone barrage of bleached drum machines and needle-fanged arps on ‘Qualm’ - the Hamburg assassin’s 2nd album for Ninja Tune.
Arriving at a point where Helena is a hugely sought-after DJ - a time when other artists have often played up to a more commercial style - she pulls no punches with a severely thistly album of extreme pH levels placing her love of Bunker bombs and noisy industrial dance music front and centre, in a way perhaps designed to keep the dilettantes at arm’s length, while offering a sweaty embrace to all madder ravers, cyberpunks and misfits.
Under the title Qualm - one of those words you can chew like gristle - Helena deftly and brutally gets what she needs from her machines, slaving a battered analogue array to the front of the rave and rarely sparing the whip for any of them. However, when more romantic or melancholy emotions come thru, they’re direct and never self indulgent, lending a fine contrast to the album’s harshest aspects.
In transitional flux of alkali and acidic extremes, Helena charts a heavy trip between the salty ghetto lash of Barrow Boot Boys and the bittersweet synth-pop of It Was All Fields Around Here When I Was A Kid which both bookend the set. In the frazzled space between, she laces up some absolute welters with raging acid of Lifestyle Guru, the screwface charge of Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg, and the switch from ‘floor-swilling 303s to night-vision pads in The Smell Of Suds and Steel, while her electro instincts bubble up in warped ways on Fag Butts In The Fire Bucket and the furtive, slimy creep of Panegyric.
But none of those would be so effective in an album context without the contrasts provided by her more fanciful missives, such as the salty lullaby of Entropy Created You And Me, the blood-curdled horror themes of Primordial Sludge, or the struggling nEuro pomp of the titular Qualm itself, which can possibly be taken as a sort of requiem for a rotting Eurozone at the vinegar strokes of late capitalism.
Gabe Gurnsey, the drumming dynamo behind Factory Floor, explores proper song-writing and dancefloor sensuality on his solo début LP ‘Physical’, including additional production by Phantasy guy Erol Alkan
Effectively offering a more fleshly take on the skinny asceticism of Factory Floor, ‘Physical’ revolves 14 disco and pop-toned pieces that vacillate between home listening and club purposes depending the user.
For the ‘floor, there’s some strong highlights in the darkroom acid sleaze of ‘Harder Rhythm’, the moodier Chicago/New Beat burn of ‘I Get’, and the darkwave EBM-pop pressure of ‘Night Track’, which all works as dance songs in their own right, but if you want to hear a cleaner break with FF forms, check for the creamy synth-pop shuffle of the lead single, ‘Ultra Clear Sound’, the druggy, grinding gynoid-pop of ’Temazzy’, and the muggy bass oscillations and Muslimgauze-like vibes of ’Sweet Heat’.
Effervescent deep house grit from Am Kinem on the ever fertile Out To Lunch label
A prime pick for Workshop fiends, Am Kinem’s self-titled 12” yields a gauzy yet gripping mid-fi sound in the same vein as Actress, Huerco S or Anthony Naples, schwanging from burned-out but blissed Fairlight brass and strings to whacked breaks and melancholic jazz chords, then coming off like KassemMosse jamming with Omar-S, and finishing with a colourfully plumed and uptempo stepper.
The Chosen Brother’s utterly haunting roots reggae classic - as championed and versioned by Rhythm & Sound - comes back ‘round on this new 12” edition, packing Dub and a previously unreleased Version on 12” for the 1st time!
The Chosen Brothers’ original was first issued as ‘March Down Babylon’ on ‘Wackie’s Selective Showcase Volume One’  and subsequently appeared on their 1st album ‘Sing and Shout’  and the ‘Reggae Goodies Vol. 1 & 2’ compilation. However, it’s likely best known for Rhythm & Sound’s 1998 version, retitled ‘Mash Down Babylon’, that was a highlight of the Burial Mix 10” series and later as a jewel in the crown of Rhythm & Sound’s ‘w/ The Artists’ compilation.
Now cut to 12” for the first time by CGB at D&M, who have capably handled all of the Wackie’s reissues since 2000, the OG sounds spectrally massive on this platter, casting a spiders web of FX over the steep valley of dread bass, mournful vocal and melting brass. Madder yet, the ‘Dub’ opens out with a succession of class wheel-ups before omitting the vocal and leaving a dancing skeleton of spindly drums and picked guitar in its wake.
BUT, the big number for any reggae or Rhythm & Sound collector is the B-side’s languorous Version, leaving the vocal out for a lusher take than the stark Dub, and making very clear the links between Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark sound, the in-house style of Lloyd Barnes’ Wackie’s label, and ultimately the Berlin vikings of Mark Ernestus & Moritz Von Oswald (Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound).
‘hej!’ is the hauntingly hyperreal first album proper by Felicita, for PC Music.
Arriving 5 years since Felicita’s beguiling ‘(>’.’)>#’ and ‘Frenemies’ releases took us by surprise with their lacquered textures and uncannily poignant arrangements, ‘hej!’ claims their place in the same dimensions as Arca, Sophie and 0PN with a highly personalised expression of hyperreal modernity.
Polish folk, trance, trap and and classical chamber music are melded into the same mutant body of music with deceptively effortless appeal that’s both pop-wise and avant, charming and at times unsettling thru its juxtapositions of new and old.
Warbling keys haunt much of the album, but in a way that swerves the poshness of, say Nils Frahm and co, for a more surreal and unreal effect, especially when he adds in snatches of processed Polish folk song, and then sharply switches to needling electronics, as with the vacuum sealed hyper reggaeton of ‘coughing up amber’, while the melodic couplet of ‘soft power I + II’ feel paradoxically timeless yet right in the pregnant here-and-now, though their pastoral field recordings came from a computer game, rather than the real thing.
The salty blatz of ’shook’ is a tart palate cleanser at the centre of the album, bristling with an outright aggression that contrast the rest of the set, particularly the eerie highlight of Caroline Polachek’s take on ‘marzipan’, an old Polish folk song reinterpreted with lustrous Reese-like bass and synthetic strings, while the sickening rush of ‘night soil (fade out)’ recalls the devil in the detail noise of Croww, and the closing ‘Mosaic’ elicits a most curious synthesis of emotions - ecstasy, fear, and romance in it’s fleeting choral cadence.
Full schwing boogie, drowsy blue 4th world vibes and dream sequence ambience, dug up and remastered for DJ play and optimal home listening by the on-point Seance Center
“MJ Lallo sings to trees and distant planets, plays drum machines, synthesizers and processes her voice to sound like percussion, space ships, trumpets, birds and words from an unknown language. Lallo works in post-production music and SFX, and founded her own company MJ Productions in 1983. Although she has been creating music for films and other projects for over forty years, she only released one Hi-NRG 12” under a pseudonym, a small-run cassette in the late 80s and a CD in the early 2000s. Séance Centre is exploring Lallo’s unique and fascinating body of work with this maxi single and a forthcoming 2LP compilation.
Star Child focuses on Lallo’s love of movement in body and mind. Star Child Going Home is a late-night FM boogie transmission, a soaring wordless ode to an interstellar visitor departing. The song conveys a complex synthetic love beyond the realm of language, using voice, Juno 106 and deft LinnDrum programming. Aquarius Bluemoves languidly, a sun-soaked Californian cosmic cruiser. Lallo’s voice swims and plays in waves of synth and drum-current, like sun-rays across the sea at magic hour. Also Deep Dreams, an epic entrancing meditation for synth, drums and voice. A journey and transference of the mind from verbal consciousness to pre-lingual dream-state.”
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
Solo début Lp by Brandt Brauer Frick’s Paul. Features a guest vocal by Nina Kraviz
“Apollo welcome Paul Frick to the fold. Frick is a Berlin-born music composer primarily known as one part of the group Brandt Brauer Frick. Stunningly despite a 20+ year history of making music ‘Second Yard Botanicals’ is his debut album.
With BBF keeping Frick inspired and busy since 2009, other ideas had piled up until a temporary break allowed him to fully dive into them – “While it took so long until I made my first album, it took about two months once I started.”
Exploring a vast number of instruments, field recording and deconstructed breakbeats woven with undulating filters and gossamer melodies, the album sees Frick drawing on the world around him in a free associative style ; “A word I sometimes had in mind was „Alltagspoesie“, the poetry of everyday life,” he explains. “The thought that however small and unimportant things and people are, they – or we – all hint towards each other, if not to say towards the whole. The fact that half of the pieces on the record are short miniatures has to do with that. Throwing something in and hearing what it tells.“
‘Second Yard Botanicals‘ at its core is based on sonic collage, from a genre point of view it’s highly eclectic, remotely echoing Frick’s classical composition background as well as his hip hop / trip hop past – “which is how I first learned using sequencers about twenty years ago”.
While Frick is coy about direct influences on his music, non musical inspiration played a key role – such as the novel ‘Anniversaries‘ by Uwe Johnson, which is divided into the 365 days of a year and weaves a large nonlinear picture; „It’s among the things that showed me on how many levels a piece of fiction can be able to resonate without falling apart completely.”
Besides the actual recording of instruments like piano, guitar and percussion, Frick sampled heavily from his twenty year deep sonic archive of performances and field recordings. “Mostly they were from unused sessions, forgotten projects that I rediscovered or live recordings of my chamber music pieces, using them as samples to make something new,” he explains. „Also chance recordings on the phone like the boomy snares in ‚Church 5 Loop 2‘ which Daniel (Brandt) played during soundcheck for a BBF gig in a huge church, or rain drops in the gutter of our studio backyard, and more things like that.”
Recorded in the band’s shared studio space in Neukölln and mixed by bandmate Jan Brauer the whole project was kept in house.”
Trevor Jackson reveals hitherto unheard ambient aspects of his hip hop/breakbeat alias The Underdog with Y.O.U, his “lost” album as FROM, produced over 1994-1997 and initially intended for release between his production for UK hip hop crew The Brotherhood’s Elementalz  LP, and the debut Playgroup album in 2001.
R&G innovator Terror Danjah returns to the style with cinematic flair alongside writer/producer Nii-Teiko on ‘The Scene Vol.1’
Leaning in with a mix of richly atmospheric sound design and feminine G-funk pressure of ‘Scene 1’, they run a ruggeder mix of brassy stabs, speaker-worrying subs and splashing acid-dub madness in ‘Scene 2’, saving the trippiest and best for last with the wickedly dissonant synth lixx and swaggering march of ‘Scene 3’.
NYC’s Forma regroup around iridescent axes of minimalist kosmische, ambient and techno tropes on ‘Semblance’, their playfully absorbing 2nd album for Kranky after a pair of early sides with Spectrum Spools
Revolving around George Bennett and Mark Dwindle with John Also Bennett (a.k.a. JAB and member of Jon Gibson’s live band), Forma continue in pursuit of a coolly intuitive and suggestively psychedelic sound on ‘Semblance’, meshing polychromatic harmonics with rolling, curling rhythms in a way that owes as much to Steve Reich as Alice Coltrane, Laurie Anderson and Jon Hassell, but with a disjointed sense of anachronism that time-stamps Forma in the flux of the present.
“Brooklyn trio Forma's latest LP continues their mission to "broaden the idea of what an electronic music ensemble can sound like." Semblance emerged from exploratory sessions at The Schoolhouse, the Bushwick loft where members Mark Dwinell and John Also Bennett live, then was tracked at Gary's Electric studios, where their previous album Physicalist was also recorded.
Inspired by polyrhythmic composition, the human voice, and conceptual improvisation strategies, the songs are striking in their textural detail and emotional nuance, alternately synthetic and sentient, futuristic and intuitive. Incorporating flute, piano, guitar, saxophone, acoustic drums and cymbals alongside an array of synthesizers, the record persuasively demonstrates the group's unique playing abilities and fluid chemistry - attributes they credit to "techniques we've developed to trick our electronic machines into mimicking the spontaneous character of live instruments."
Members George and John Also Bennett also cite as an influence their recent stint in minimalist composer Jon Gibson's ensemble, performing his 1973 proto-ambient masterwork Visitations. The long-form modal piece requires restraint and deep listening to execute, qualities especially apparent in the more muted moments of Semblance, such as "Rebreather" and "New City."
The group states the intent of the new album as "to be more direct and exacting", which it is. Over half a decade spent writing and recording together has distilled Forma's hybrid electro-acoustic interplay into an attuned and astounding language, capable of articulating impossible symmetries and reflective states.”
Holuzam is a new label from Prícncipe Discos co-founders José Moura and Márcio Matos. The second release on the label is a sublime disco missive from Macau, China, recorded between 1989 and 1993, bubbling up from a blindspot to offer a stunning package of sounds lesser, or even never, heard beyond private archives or Portugal’s borders...
Dwart has been the vessel for journalist and musician António Duarte and his sometime musical partner, Manuela Duarte, since 1985. They played gigs at home in Portugal with Telectu in support, before moving to Macau - then a Portuguese territory in China - in search of new sources of inspiration. They would find it everywhere from Macau’s karaoke bars to the discos of Ghangzhou, over the border in the hot, humid megatropolis of South East China. The three tracks on ‘Taipei Disco’ are their best recordings made during this era, rendering a mouth-watering bounty of exotic late ‘80s dance music heavily inspired by Canton pop, and patently compatible with everything from kosmische disco and proto-Goa trance to the current swell of suave, retro-futurist styles from Pye Corner Audio and Legowelt to L.I.E.S.’ KWC releases.
The original ‘Taipei Disco’ is a 12 minute disco dream named after the only Guangzhou club which would play Anglo-Saxon pop and rock alongside the Canton pop standards.The club’s DJ would end up playing Dwart’s tune, and eventually invited him to play live keys over its backing track at the club. In 1993 Dwart recorded the exquisite ‘Taipei Disco (Live)’ track at the China Pop venue in Macau, replete with solos and extra strings, to a frontline of can-can dancers on the ‘floor.
Completing the story and this superb record is ‘Red Mambo (Impromptu)’, a balmier jam with members of legendary Cape Verdean group Os Tubarões, recorded in a packed studio on the 19th storey of a Macau tower block overlooking the water. A perfect ending to an exotic, coolly entrancing record spritzed with character and charm.
Mixmag presents a compilation of house and techno cuts selected by Peggy Gou
Following her recent Ninja Tune EP, the star of Mixmag’s current front cover gives a taste of her DJ sets, peppewred with cherry-picked pieces by friends and family.
Worth checking for the darkside heft of ‘Venom’ by Dorisburg, the snappy electro patter of Suzanne Kraft on ‘Moving’, and the subaquatic electro of ‘Harajuku’ by Pépe for Or:La’s Deep Sea Frequency.
Sharp Veins evacuates the contents of his HD with a massive 30-track, 2hr 24min album covering the wingspan of his styles, from bittersweet ambient to mutant R&B and grime, for UNO NYC...
In terms of both its variegated quality and expansive quantity, ‘Detritus Preterit Selections’ is inarguably Sharp Veins’ most significant release to date, and, like his colourful, prickly oddity ‘Bleeds Colours and Puddles’, it finds a perfect home amid UNO’s inventive roster, which already counts Arca, Chino Amobi and Aquarian in its number.
In his now distinctive style, SV moves freely in each track, often starting out one place only to end up somewhere quite different by the end of the cut, and with a grasp of off-kilter, bittersweet digital dissonance that watermarks these 30 tracks as his own.
DJs could do much worse than check for the strongly synaesthetic grime tang of ‘Televise Icarus V1’ for an ideal example of his electronica/grime hybrids, while lovers of stranger electronic pop should check out ‘Lets Wash Our Hands V3’ for something like a salty, technoid Panda Bear, and weightless seekers need to clock the curdled ambience of ‘I Care For What U Wish For V1’, and the pirouetting figures of ‘Drawing.’
Leathered-up EBM from the gimp-masked SΛRIN for Phase Fatale’s Bite label
Authentically skooled in the grease and spunk of classic EBM, SΛRIN takes what he needs from that style and leaves the rest to rot on his ‘Kuleshov Effect’ 12”, resulting four stripped-down and hungry killers aching for a dark room, smoke and strobes.
A-side spits out the clenched grind of ‘World Condition’ along with the dry, pulverizing drums and strapping 16th note arp of ‘Jigar’. B-side steps up the pressure with cold war samples setting the scene for a frozen, militant stomper that really sinks its teeth in, while the nihilistic ‘Nuke Me’ will put a rocket up the ‘floor’s collective ass.
Disco Vumbi jumps from ‘Boutiq Electroniq’ for Nyege Nyege Tapes to their Hakuna Kulala sublabel for alternately heavy and light-footed dancefloor styles
‘Jo-ducuroma roma’ generates an inexorable momentum from swingeing drums and bass, while call-and-response vox echoes out above in hypnotic effect. This one will dominate any situation it’s played!
On the other hand, ‘Wilobo Man’ is much more light hearted and twinkle-toed, working clipped soca-like drum patterns and mellifluous vocal harmonies into a frothy charm.
Trevor Jackson taps into his Underdog cabinet on ‘Of The Night’, a dark blue set of trip hop nocturnes produced c. 1994-1998
The Underdog has long been the place to go for Jackson’s ruder and deeper work, from remixes of UNKLE and dozens of others, to his coveted breakbeat volumes known as ‘The Attic Tapes.’
For the Of The Night selection he’s picked out some of The Underdog’s drowsiest nodders, with special highlights found in their most depressed moments, such as the heavily introspective slug of ‘Lapis’ and the desert-crawling country smudge of ‘Dawn Burn’, which should both appeal as much to DJ Screw as The Caretaker or Express Rising.
Isle of Jura’s new Temples of Jura offshoot pay dues to On-U Sound in fine style.
Melbourne’s Len Leise holds down he front with a balmy take on Mr. Sherwood’s signature flex in For Adrian, rolling and skanking around a hot-wired and humid sort of electro-acoustic mesh of dub, boogie and endearingly dippy ‘tronics.
B-side, Isle Of Jura take over with three mixes of Udaberri Blues, slyding from the boogie downstroke of the original to a more spaced out, bumping Dub Version lapped with ocean sounds, and a lushly suspended Space Version.
Upfront studies in abrasive computer music traction for tuuun’s Copenhagen-based FLUF from Bilbao, Spain’s Sarah Rasines
‘0016A’ is the gnarlier of the two, committing minutes of amorphous, gravelly grain before calving off into black hole sonics flecked with scurrying pointillist rhythms.
In stark contrast, ’0016AA’ is rhythm driven from the outset, with brittle dembow-like patterns chipping away over stereo-rolling concrète shapes in teetering meter for a wickedly abstracted dancefloor push ’n pull.
TTT cop a pair of sylvan downbeat beauties from Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel’s CS + Kreme
One of the most distinctive acts to emerge from the southern hemisphere in recent memory, CS + Kreme’s first self-tiled 12” marked them as ones to keep an ear on, and each subsequent rendering has only made us love their immaculate blend of ambient-pop and shoegaze even more.
Safe to say we’re feeling this one too. Where previous outings have been partly defined by Standish’s plaintive vocals, they contrarily don’t appear until the closing strokes on this one, as they roll out 9 minutes of horizontally-inclined vibes in ‘Eyes On Ceiling’ with its sonorous 808s and shallow plasmic dubbing recalling a long soak in the bath that’s starting to lose its heat, before ‘Husk’ emerges into balmier air streaked with filigree electronics, shimmering pads and a pleading sax that paves the way to a very Mark Hollis-esque denouement.
Renick Bell follows up the gloopy dynamics of his ‘Wary’ LP for Halcyon Veil with a more spacious and percussion-focussed sound in ‘Turning Points’ for the Seagrave label
Renick’s ’Turning Points’ are concerned with pushing structures to the point of breaking down. Ok there are some moments that could be compared with Autechre or Rian Treanor, but perhaps better compared to a modern antecedent of Funkstorung and Funkarma, or the complex explorations of Dalglish.
“Renick is a computer musician, programmer, and teacher living in Tokyo, Japan. He is a graduate of the doctoral program at Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan. His current research interests are live coding, improvisation, and algorithmic composition using open source software. He is the author of Conductive, a library for live coding in the Haskell programming language."
Killer jump-up jungle jams from anonymous, incognito sources
Infectious rave goodness on both sides, teeing off a ’95-into-’05-into-’18 sound with the A-side’s jungle and grime flex, then diving in with a lush re-fusion of bifurcated happy hardcore, deep and jump-up vibes on the B-side...
Ruffhouse follow-up one of the D&B tracks of ’15 - UVB-76 - with launch of a new label of the same name.
A-side loads up their classically styled hardstep remix of Aspect & Gremlinz’ Kilo, entering with smoky intro before fully rolling out dreadnaught breaks and murkiest dancehall subbass patterns.
On the other side, Overlook & Gremlinz sustain the darkness with a numb but nimble halfstep roller veiled in brooding grey atmospheres.
The Bug finally steps it up proper with his first full length player since his 'Pressure' set laid down the industro-dub gauntlet with a fair clanging smack some 5 years back.
In that time we've seen The Bug become a linchpin of the South London Bass scene with unruly rave smashers released on Hyperdub, Soul Jazz etc directing us to the future sound of bashment and proper heavy bass musics. 'London Zoo' corrals a guest vocalist lineup featuring some of the finest ragga soundsystem toasters London and JA has to offer, with everyone from longtime collaborator Warrior Queen, to the legendary Tippa Irie and Spaceape, helping Martin to define his abstract heavyweight riddims in fine style.
The big 'n bashy wreckers from the 12"s are all here from 'Poison Dart', 'Jah War' and the punishing 'Skeng' but the set doesn't rely on these tried and tested cuts for support, ramming in a ruck of fresh material from the robo-ragga of 'Fuck*z' to the shockout drum styles on 'warning' or the apocalyptic finisher 'Judgement' with Rinky Ranking truly saving the best til last.
The production levels really couldn't be any higher and needless to say the bass is unbelievably heavy, thoroughly primed for home hifi and dancehall soundsystem testing. Proper heavy!!!
Andy Lyster’s Youth label wrest four stripes of punky blooze from Shamos, who steers away from the rugged house knocks of his Apron 12”s to nervier, faded headpieces in YO2TH.
Acquainted thru London’s NTS studio, Lyster and Shamos have conspired to reveal alternate aspects of the latter’s aesthetic, sidewinding from what sounds like one of Delroy Edwards’ Teenage Tapes cuts in the grungy wave stepper Found Grace to Lukid-esque alien tribalism in 13213132, then with a gristly, blank-eyed slug of EBM in TMF, and desiccated Detroit boogie in Nuws.
Lush, reticulated reggaeton, deep house and breakbeat fusions from man o’ many monikers, Brian Piñeyro (Deejay Xanax, DJ Wey, Luis) as DJ Python, following the sterling example of his ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 for Antony Naples’ Proibito with an immersive expansion of that sound in Dulce Compañia.
Taking reggaeton along new, instrumental routes intersecting NYC’s rave history, DJ Python has pretty much cooked up his own style of deep reggaeton, a title which should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but serves well to identify his angle amidst an upswell of LatinX producers who are spinning dembow beats and tropes into all kinds of new spaces - from DJ/Rupture and co, to Florentino and Kelman Duran, for example.
Almost as close to the sound of Ben Cenac’s Dream II Science, new age experiments from Laraaji, or even Andy Stott as any of the above, Dulce Compaña finds Python alloying reggaeton’s nagging, signature bump with chiming electronic meditations in Las Palmas, and with squashed jungle breaks in the style of his Deejay Xanax alias on Cuál, both setting the innovative, deviant agenda for the rest of the set, recoiling from eyes-shut ambient rave infusions on Todo Era Azul (Version Afuera) and its cosmic Siempre Dub, to something like B12 on holiday in Caracas with q.e.p.d, but also making room for more rugged swerve in Acostados and the acidic tang of Yo Ran(Do).
But if any one track is going to melt your pants off, it’s the plasmic, aerial ambient shuffle of Esteban, which provides the sweetest window on Piñeyro’s unique Python sound, and everyone will know what to do next.
The impeccable 12th Isle return with 'Palta Og Ti På Den Tolvte Ø’, a balmy suite of downtempo bliss-outs gently coaxed along by burbling rhythms by Palta & Ti...
“Seemingly drawing from a slightly different well of influence from that seen across their prolific back catalogue, the Aarhus duo – going by the less common shroud of Palta & Ti – have hereby woven together a stylistically varied yet tonally concentric 3 track EP. Having produced a wealth of some of the most lovingly referential and consistent music of recent times, the tracks making up “Palta og Ti på den Tolvte Ø” are slightly harder to pin down to exact genre markers. Each song is busy yet never overcrowded with elements; building concise and playful grooves which if forced we would say positions them somewhere in the ambient space between jazzy-improv-house and dubby, hypnotic electronics. That’s as absolute in adjectives as we would ever care to be...
Expertly crafted both technically and musically, we are more than excited to be able to present this to you as our fifth instalment.”
Autechre's classic third album from 1995, reissued for the first time in 15 years...
Completing the triumvirate of early Autechre essentials, Tri Repetae was the duo’s cranky contribution to mid ‘90s electronic music, and, like its predecessors - Incunabula and Amber - a record that completely defines certain aspects of that era for many electronica nerds, us included.
It’s possibly best known for including the peerless electro-trance swerve of Eutow - which could literally kill someone prone to AMSR in the right situations (not a bad way to gan) - whilst the rest of the LP cements some of Autechre’s sharpest, neck-snapping hip hop beats.
If you’ve only heard this album via download or streaming, or are only aware of their later gear, you’re in for total treat.
London’s dankest relay palpably paranoid pressures from the capital on The Bug's newly minted Pressure label, hopefully the start of an ongoing collaboration between the pair.
Spying those hours of the dance when the smoke machines are puffing but there’s nobody there yet, Fog finds them melding charred bass hustle with billowing greyscale atmospheres in a time-honoured style shared by both artists.
On the flip, Shrine distills their meditative intensity to more suspenseful degrees with exceedingly brittle drums bearing the huge, brooding weight of a slowed down dread bass and glowering pads = minimal fuss for deadly, concentrated impact.
Age Of is OPN’s eighth studio album and the latest chapter of a definitive American hauntological saga for this transitory, phase-shifting decade. It features Anohni, James Blake, Prurient, Kelsey Lu, Eli Keszler and others in various capacities...
Strewn across the prog-R&B vape chamber fantasias in Age Of, vocals often take precedence in a mix of auto-tuned Future-style soul, sadboy elegies, black metal croaks and warped stadium pop choruses, all in duet with 0PN’s signature synthetic chorales. The nature of film editing and writing music to imagery - as with last year’s Good Time OST - also seems to exert an increasing hold over his music, as the variation from scene-to-scene and range of voices in Age Of feels like an ensemble cast rallying around a patently visionary composer/director/artist.
In key with his (not hard to pronounce) moniker - it’s One Oh Trix Point Never, a play on the radio station Magic 106.7 - Lopatin’s music feels ever more like dialling into a chimeric, algorithmic radio station where anachronistic MOR and adult contemporary modulates with modern R&B, trap soul and Afrobeats in a very contemporary sort of hyperjazz-fusion that absorbs and transmutes emotional signals from electromagnetic ether - perhaps imagining Paddy McAloon alchemising with Future, James Ferraro mutually dreaming with Laurie Anderson, or Thomas Dolby jamming the airwaves with The Game.
After now spending some quality time with the album, we can safely hail it as one of 0PN’s smartest. Its lead single Black Snow, remains a total standout, and Prurient’s appearances, whether erupting from the choral froth of Warning, harmonising with Lopatin’s auto-tune on the David Gray-puckered Babylon, or the pop epic Same are all peak points. But we can’t ignore the excoriating excellence of We’ll Take It, which uncannily sounds a bit like Croww’s Slipknot deconstructions, and Last Known Image of a Song beautifully sounds like 4Hero gone ambient.
Concision and variation are key here. There really aren’t a lot of records that manage to collide pop and avant-garde worlds quite like this one.
Massive, mutant dancehall album from Miss Red and Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug, launched as the first LP on the latter’s Pressure label following the Flame1 project featuring Burial.
Taking what he needs from ‘90s digi dancehall and the environmental atmospheres collected on his travels, The Bug furnishes Miss Red with a concrète-cracked batch of riddims that neatly juxtapose her float-like-a-butterfly, sting-like-a-bee bars.
For the biggest excitement check out their hammering fast chat killer Money Machine, the ruddy acidic wine of Big, and the bashy swag of Slay, but it’s definitely best consumed hot in one sitting, where the textures and space of The Bug’s fiercely unique, biting point production can really take a hold.
Stunning HD orchestral // text-to -speech début by Tokyo-based artist and curator, Nozomu Matsumoto, a huge recommendation if yr into the augmented realities of TCF, James Ferraro, Mark Leckey, Goodiepal and Elysia Crampton, or the layered, highly evocative narratives of Mica Levi, Sam Kidel and Terre Thaemlitz…
Climatotherapy is Nozomu’s remarkable first vinyl release and début for The Death of Rave, conceived as a soundtrack for a health forecast given by Amazon’s Text-to-Speech interface Polly. It sounds like little we’ve heard before; an augmented reality rendered with soaring Hollywood strings and pristine arrangements evoking the hyperreal tapestry / idyllic ambient of Alva Noto’s Xerrox series paired with R&B folk tropes and a non-linear narration conveying Nozomu’s ideas with clinically emotive clarity.
The text-to-speech narration finds Polly curating our mental and moral energy into health; her prognostications framed by those strings to startling, uncannily calculated effect, using additional vocals and music to limn in HD an up-to-the minute and personal perspective on themes of morality in Artificial Intelligence which could be called key to Japan’s hauntology, also intersecting with the artist’s own experience of meteoropathic sickness, and its symptoms related to barometric fluctuations and psychic-atmospheric disturbance.
A strikingly singular work, ‘Climathotherapy’ effectively resonates with the novel musical sci-fi of James Ferraro, Elysia Crampton and T C F, as well as The Death of Rave’s own editions such as Mark Leckey’s IoT study ‘GreenScreenRefrigerator’ and Sam Kidel’s ‘Disruptive Muzak’. It’s a properly unique record of its times...