‘Another Life’ is Amnesia Scanner’s hyperreal début album for PAN. The Finnish production/design duo’s most significant release locates their EDM/pop voice proper after a string of prism-pushing singles, EPs and mixtapes issued since 2015 by Young Turks and Gum Artefacts
Bending EDM pop with warped sound designer sensibilities and a sci-fi visionary’s lust for post-human possibility, Amnesia Scanner’s music has come to define its era with unflinching form. They embrace the most compelling, even grotesque aspects of hyper-commercial dance-pop with an accelerationist alacrity that’s also shared by the boundary-realigning styles of fellow artists such as Arca and Sophie, who, like AS, started out in the sound designer’s playground of mid-’00s electro and tech-house minimalism, but have evolved into something mutant, transcending and redefining conceptions of humanity in their music.
Informed by a singular perspective on technology and the way it mediates contemporary experience, ’Another Life’ is ostensibly binary in the extreme - you’ll probably either love or hate the upfront garishness and unapologetically cybernetic nature of their music. But on another level, the character of AS’ synthesised voice, known as Oracle, and their warped pop conventions, both inherently play with ultra contemporary ideas of ambiguity in a way that’s symptomatic of a socio-political climate dominated by notions of gender fluidity and fake news. In effect ‘Another Life’ can be heard as an attempt to locate the analog nature of human sensation within computerised systems.
The results are effectively an exaggerated, syncretic synthesis of current Caribbean dance-pop, nu-metal, and trashy electro-punk with all elements turned up to 11 on their virtual amp, presenting a shockingly surface level reflection of contemporary culture that’s revealed a line in the sands of time between listeners of differing generations, and how they read meaning into their music. In other words, AS are the ‘ugly’ sneakers of modern music.
Remastered reissue of the haunting score for a Belgian theatre production of the Greek myth, ‘Daedelus’. The operatic, choral vocals are excellent, and the music somehow has that playful yet melancholy Belgian what-do-you-call-it familiar to classics by Benjamin Lew and Steven Brown, or John Avery’s ‘Jessica In the Room of Lights’. Practically worth it for the drum machine driven closing cut alone!
“Like the wings Daedalus crafted for his son Icarus, John Gilbert Colman’s score for sampler, voice and chamber orchestra almost melted away completely, disappearing into the tides of time. The album originally served as the score to an avant-garde production of the Greek myth that toured the Belgian theatre circuit in 1986. Director Guy Cassiers cast the play with 45 developmentally disabled actors enrolled at the Krauwelenhof school in Antwerp, working for six months with the young actors (aged 12-17) to discover and develop their talents, creating (by all accounts) a deeply moving piece of visual theatre. Rather than using dialogue, Cassier used movement, costumes and music tell the fable, words were only present as text fragments within the score, spoken by members of the chorus or sung by Rolande van Der Paal.
Colman’s compositions elevate the experimental narrative with broad shifts in mood, utilizing a pop-concrète style by incorporating sampled squeaking balloons, environmental recordings, tuned percussion, drum computer, and voice to accompany the traditional small chamber instrumentation. The music is reminiscent of other avant-theatrical pieces from that era by Nuno Canavarro, Milesi & Bacalov, Todd Barton, Vito Ricci and Roberto Musci, while standing on its own as a unique and moving piece of minimal music.”
The king of Gqom and Wiley’s favourite DJ, Lwazi Asanda Gwala a.k.a. DJ Lag turns out another four bangers for Goon Club Allstars
Hypnotically minimal and built to demand, the ’Stampit’ EP follows from Lag’s eponymous 2016 debut and a recent, killer remix of Kelela to reassert his claim to the crown of Durban’s virulent rave sound.
It’s perhaps most useful for the super stripped down ‘Drumming’, a ruggedly sturdy drum trak that can be taken as an answer to Griffit Vigo’s ‘Ree’s Vibe’ - a big tune in Lag sets - but the rest of the set is prime, too, just in case you’re wondering.
From the lead-drop drums and skyward flute of ‘3step Culo’ to the plastic UKF-like horns of ‘Let’s Do This’ and the crisp conga rolls on ‘Switz’ this platter is rated 100% deadly.
Ryuichi Sakamoto expands on ‘Async’ album track ‘FF’ , along with a brand new piece ‘School in Paris’ on this audiophile quality 12”, cut at 45rpm for optimal sound representation (and time-slowing 33rpm options)
Picking up where the tremulous hyaline harmonics of ‘FF’ left off, ‘FF2’ coaxes trembling timbres from woodwind and synths into an intoxicating high register drift recalling shadowy moments of ‘SAW II’ or even the ghostly melancholy of David Lynch’s Eraserhead score.
‘School in Paris’, is, as you may infer from the title, a field recording of kids at play, albeit processed to lend a starkly detached quality, as though the kids are off out of sight somewhere while Sakamoto performs alchemical experiments or bumps into things in his kitchen and a synth piece plays from another room.
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono is the auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world, putting his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as an artist, session player, songwriter and producer.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield.
The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums. After the band’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono began his solo career with Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded inside a rented house with recording gear squeezed into its tiny bedroom. Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
Released in September 1978, a mere two months before YMO’s debut, Cochin Moon is a clear precursor to the groundbreaking synth and sequencer-dominated sounds that would come to define the iconic trio. Credited to Hosono and Pop Art legend Tadanori Yokoo (who created the cover art), Cochin Moon is a fictional soundtrack to a journey into unknown worlds, inspired by Hosono and Yokoo’s trip to India. Initially the album was to be a kind of ethnographic musical document, using found sounds and field recordings made by Hosono himself. Instead, after Yokoo introduced Hosono to the sounds of Kraftwerk and krautrock during the trip, Cochin Moon became something much stranger.
Created almost entirely on synthesizers and sequencers with the help of future YMO collaborators Ryuichi Sakamoto and Hideki Matsutake, the music on the album is the perfect encapsulation of Hosono’s concept of “sightseeing music,” transporting the listener to an exotic place that may or may not exist. This highly sought-after album sees its first-ever official release outside of Japan. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
The unbelievably prolific Haruomi Hosono is one of the major architects of modern Japanese pop music. With his encyclopedic knowledge of music and boundless curiosity for new sounds, Hosono has put his unmistakable stamp on hundreds of recordings as a session player, producer, and auteur of his own idiosyncratic musical world.
"Born and raised in central Tokyo, his adolescent obsession with American pop culture informed his early forays into country music, which he would revisit later in his career. Hosono made his professional debut in 1969 as a member of Apryl Fool, whose heavy psychedelia was somewhat at odds with his influences, which leaned towards the rootsy sounds of Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield. The latter was one of the main inspirations for his next group, Happy End, whose unique blend of West Coast sounds with Japanese lyrics proved to be highly influential over the course of three albums.
After Happy End’s amicable break up in 1973, Hosono released Hosono House, an intimate slice of Japanese Americana recorded at home with a back-to-basics approach akin to Music from Big Pink or McCartney. While his former band helped pave the way for the rise of “city pop” that reflected upon urban themes and city life, Hosono took a 180 degree turn towards the countryside for his highly-regarded first solo album. Located an hour from Tokyo in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, the actual Hosono House was one of several American-style houses originally built for the families of troops stationed at the nearby Johnson Air Base, active during the post-war occupation years. By the early ‘70s this small community had become a hub for creative types looking for a break from Tokyo’s hustle and bustle – and cheaper rent.
For Hosono, this was as close as he could get to living in America without leaving his home country. With rooms filled to the edges with recording gear, the house became a live-in studio for Hosono and his crack band – soon to become known as the in-demand session group Tin Pan Alley. The songs on Hosono House display the breadth of Hosono’s talents, from the hushed acoustic folk of “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” and the country twang of “Boku Wa Chotto” to the New Orleans funk of “Fuyu Koe” and the unexpected breakbeats in “Bara To Yajuu.” Lauded by artists such as Jim O’Rourke and Devendra Banhart, Hosono House remains a touchstone of the early phase of Hosono’s career.
Hosono’s solo career would take many twists and turns from this point forward, with forays into exotica, electronic, ambient, and techno, culminating in the massive success of techno pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO), who made their debut in 1978. Admired by artists ranging from Van Dyke Parks to Mac DeMarco, Hosono continues to forge ahead as he heads into his fifth decade as a musician. With the re-release of his key albums for the first time outside of Japan, his genius will be discovered by a whole new generation of fans around the world."
Raw yet sophisticated deep house, acid and electro clearly schooled in the classics, from Glasgow’s Stephen Lopkin
Continuing a run of Gaelic-located or themed titles for M>O>S, Clyde Built is perhaps the definitive batch of Lopkin's emotive and puristic style following ‘The Haggis Trap’  and ‘Meall a’ Bhùiridh’ .
Nodding to Glasgow’s heritage as the entry point for so much imported American dance music as well as its industrial past, Lopkin forges 10 aces over two plates, with divine results inspired by Detroit classics in ‘Fragments of Yesteryear’ and ’Stupid Humans’, along with the lush house traction of ‘White Corries’, some B12-esque electro in ‘Decades’, and a heavily seductive stripe of Reese-bassed techno in ‘Fridays at Pure’, at Carl Craig-goes-Italo flavour in ‘Welcome To Nowhere’.
First ever pressing of a 1975 psych throw-down by soon-to-become important members of the Belgian wave underground; Alain Neffe, Guy Marc Hinant, and friends
“Something undoubtedly cosmic but with a DIY, home-made edge: a cosmos for sure, but dirtier than clean, noisier than technology-based. All songs are unreleased. Recorded and mixed in March 1975. After some years rather cosmic and raga-esque music, Kosmose slowly began to explore some more experimental and noisy sonic expression. At the time, the band only owned a few instruments and sound effects and, no drummer. They used to play long tracks in order to follow the trend of the alternative music of the period -- remember, this was 1975. The event was a total spectacle with an inventive light-show including a stroboscope and a frantic projection of strange abstract slides on a giant screen by Freddy Pourcel. Some incense was burnt time-to-time. Personnel: Alain Neffe - monophonic synthesizer, flute, primitive rhythm box, bell, clumsy voice, tarang; Francis Pourcel - bass, bass with violin bow, electric guitar; Daniel Malempré (aka MAL) - electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar.”
A double LP set from Manchester electronic music pioneer Eric Random. Best known for his early recordings for New Hormones and Les Disques du Crépuscule and collaborations with Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Cabaret Voltaire and Nico.
"As an original member of The Tiller Boys with Shelley, Random injected a healthy dose of Krautrock into the dour Manchester post-punk scene in 1978/79 before going solo the following year. Random’s first 7” “Subliminal”/“23 Skidoo” was released in 1981 via Les Disques du Crépuscule and explored ominous sonic surrounds. That same year also saw the release of a second 7" single on New Hormones, “Dow Chemical Company”/ “Skin Deep”. Both tracks offered bubbling, rhythmic sound patterns, and were the first to feature other musicians that would become know as The Bedlamites.
Consisting of Lynn Walton on vocals, Ian Runacres and Andy Diagram of Dislocation Dance, and bassist Wayne Worm, aka Wayne Sedgeman. Their debut 12” single “Subliminal Seduction”/“Bedlam-a-Go-Go” was released in 1982 through Plurex, mixing arid funk textures and sparse melodies. That same year the group contributed proto chill-out track “6.55” to Plurex compilation ‘Hours’ and the highly filmic track “In Cassette Conference” to the Touch cassette package ‘Feature Mist’. In 1983, Random spent several months in the Himalayas with a group of musicians from the Kulu Valley and studied non-Western instruments such as tabla. On returning to Manchester, Random convened a new group of Belamites including Walton, Sedgeman and drummer Graham Dowdall aka Dids of Ludus. They released the 12” single “Mad As Mankind”/“Dream Web Of Maya” in 1984 on Cabaret Voltaire’s Doublevision, embracing electronic, industrial and dub styles. In 1985 they contributed the soothing “Pure Power” to Food Records’ “Imminent Episode One” compilation. Our reissue also includes 4 unreleased bonus tracks from Eric’s archives recorded between 1981-1984. The whole set adds up to 115 minutes of sinister, somnambulant Random music. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios."
Swedish producer Toxe's sharp ascent through club-cursed climes has elicited the highest praise from the start. In just a few years she has linked up with Staycore and Halcyon Veil, presented an A/V project with The Vinyl Factory, and scored KENZO's FW 2016 prints presentation with close collaborator Mechatok. Her new EP 'Blinks' is a fractal bloom of candied melodies and minor laments set in a sweep of frenetic rhythmic scenes.
On Blinks she puts that experience to good use in a bright and playful collection of phthalocyanine hooks and frenetic rhythms, sashaying from what sounds like an airborne Plaid in Honey Island thru to the slippery lead and big beats of Big Age, and over into what sounds like a late ‘90s AFX on Perfect 2, or some LP5-era Æ inspiration on Blue Warm Up.
Gunning for most concise artist/album title of the year, SW’s 2nd ‘LP’ plumbs the depths of analog electronics in pursuit of a mercurial techno muse
Stefan Wust a.k.a. SW’s sophomore album follows the lines of his widely appreciated 2016 debut into characteristically off-centre and heady spaces that don’t necessarily fit any paradigm other than his own, and the sound he shares with SUED label mates SVN and Dynamo Dreesen.
In six parts he carries his weight elegantly between the ghost-in-the-machine voices of the opener, thru a spot of pendulous Hi-Tech Jazz IDM, to land in explore diffuse sci-fi bleep ’n bass coordinates before mellowing on the B-side with a lovely run from B12-esque electronica to acidic dream house and a steeply opiated, subbass-heavy ambient melter.
Co-produced with Robert Witschakowski of The Exaltics, and continuing her collaboration with guitarist Chris Lockington (as heard on Drei and Dva).
"Given its years of manifestation behind the scenes of other projects, Falling In Love With Sadness reflects a renewed understanding of Emika’s own genealogy, kindred lineage and its connection to modernity. Marking a drastic departure from the menacing, stripped-down qualities of albums past, Dva and Drei, Emika has surfaced with a new upwelling of sound gracing the bittersweet, melancholic and sanguine.
With the interplay of myriad genres both rhythmically and melodically intertwining between spacey, dub tinged Promises, lush synth pop hooks on Escape and the title track's soulful electro, a full spectrum of musicology remains primary to the ever-evolving chroma of Emika’s umbrous sound.
Further characterised by the breathy sibilance and sultry tones of Emika’s noirish, vocal aesthetic, the album navigates through the morose and trappings of misanthropy by illuminating a narrative of emotional resilience and recovery."
Archival Scanner work recorded in mid ‘90s with involvement from Jim O’Rourke and Robert Hampson (Main, Loop)
“There were three performers and one witness. I can remember this day so well, even though it was some twenty-four years ago. Standing up before a mixing desk in a dark room in an apartment in South London, Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and myself, literally all hands-on deck as we each took responsibility for the faders on the desk. Introducing sounds to the mix, unexpected, unpredictable, where the accident reigned supreme. Sometimes the high frequency of cellular noise would pervade the atmosphere, at other junctures it would erupt into words and melt down to radio hiss. Mike Harding from the Touch label stood silently, listening intently. A couple of years earlier we had set up Ash International, an audio project which allowed to release unusual and exploratory music and sounds that we felt deserved a wider audience, from Runaway Train to the early Scanner releases.
Two mixes were captured directly onto DAT tape. One of which would be officially released as Ash 1.7 Mass Observation, an EP that featured a 25 min version of one of these sessions, but until today the second longer expansive mix has never been heard. Each quite different from the other. Dehumanised communications, beatless, radio signals drawn in live to tape, and accompanied by dial tone pulses and abstract textures, Mass Observation is a highly suggestive picture of a particular place in a city at a very specific time. A form of Sound Polaroid as I tended to call such recordings.
This early body of work of mine, in the early and mid-1990s was a study in surveillance. Long before our concerns about data leakage at Facebook, and Siri spying on our private moments, I used the scanner device itself - a modestly sophisticated radio receiver - to explore the relationship between the public and private spheres, lending a deep sense of drama to these found cellular conversations within a contextual electronic score. In many ways, this work pre-empted our reality culture, as it exists today, with our TVs now saturated by Love Island and Big Brother.
In the experimental techno uprising of Britain in the mid-1990s this work proved controversial and memorable. Bjork sampled Mass Observation controversially for her Possibly Maybe single, whilst Coil and Aphex Twin bought radio scanners and introduced these found voices into their recordings, whilst I continued to create work in this grey area of ambient sound. It’s work that still carries great meaning for me, opening up possibilities with sound and introducing the human voice back into experimental electronic music.”
The long-awaited return of Regis’ killer, slower CUB alias, featuring guest input by Simon Shreeve aka Mønic / Kryptic Minds. Tough, elastic hybrids of industrial techno and D&B rolige...
Where O’Connor’s original pair of CUB 12”s worked at an unusual 113bpm flow, and included killer remixes with Ancient Methods under their Ugandan Speed Trials (UST) alias, the project’s 3rd outing feature a reshuffled personnel and a broader range of tempos while remaining true to the original, grungy CUB aesthetic.
A-side, with D&B-turned-techno producer Simon Shreeve on board, the pair push the gauge to 125bpm on Seeing From Above for a proper, roguish shoulder barger activating reinforced drums and syncopated bass into a nightmarish space ripe for the dancers.
B-side, they return to the project’s slower tempos with the grumbling subsidence of Informal Beauty exploring a sagging rut of prolapsed bass below aching blue drones, and Primitive Sleep finds them all hands on deck for a dry, scaly, and stony-faced drill that sounds like the Regis remix of Ike Yard’s Loss that just found itself in a Berlin or NYC darkroom and doesn’t quite know how it got there.
Hyperdub make their first ever reissue foray with Diggin In The Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (Original Game Soundtrack), presenting the premiere release of all the material beyond their original cartridge homes.
The collection is a partner piece to the RBMA documentary series of the same name, researched, written and co-directed by Nick Dwyer and Kode9, the latter of whom is well known as a total fiend for vintage computer games and sino-futurism.
For anyone with a sweet, 8-bit tooth, this is a goldmine of goodies; packing in 34 brief bursts of hyper-coloured energy with not a millisecond or bit spared from future baroque complexity or funk between the cascading arpeggios of Konami Kukeiha Club’s BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs), the darkside Carpenter style grind of An-Un ‘Ominous Clouds’ (Xak II) or the squirming techno-phonk of Hiroyuki Kawada’s King Erekiman, and what sounds like an uncanny, early precedent of Kode 9’s own sound in Tadahiro Nitta’s Metal Area.
For anyone intrigued by the roots of modern dance and electronics music, particularly the ‘ardcore continuum and the relationship between Anime, new age electronics and western musics, this one’s a must check!
Dolls have spent the summer working with Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds / Grinderman drummer Jim Sclavunos on their new “Pop The Bubble EP".
"The 2-piece, comprising Jade (guitar and vocals) and Bel (drums and vocals), can today reveal lead single “Sugar Free”. A riotous example of their infectious grunge-punk, it’s a song on the bands views about “the use-and-throwaway society around us today, how superficial people's lives can be, and how rapidly people's values and what's on-trend can change”
Drummer Bel goes on to further explain, “It was a spontaneous song that came out of Jade's improvised guitar riff. When we were writing lyrics I had a sugar free drink and started thinking how people can get so pissed off when they ask for diet coke and get regular. So it represents those kind of first world problems & concerns about how our worst nightmare could be something so shallow that it's just ridiculous”.
The “Pop The Bubble EP”, set for release in September 2018, marked the first time the band have worked with producer Jim Sclavunos whose production credits include The Horrors, The Wytches and Fat White Family. The result is 4 garage-pop anthems with as much sass as they have bite. Duel vocals bounce off each other effortlessly; capturing some of the awesome chemistry these two bring to their raucous live performances."
Another sterling collection of Parmegiani’s “lost tapes” spanning 1966-1990, ‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ circles 17 poetic and versatile works from the legendary GRM and ORTF artist/technician’s sidelines into work for TV, film and theatre choreography, expanding the themes of his recent ‘Rock (Bande Original Du Film)’ and ‘La Soleils’ reissues
Whilst deeply appreciated for his pioneering efforts in shaping electro-acoustic music at the GRM (with best results found in his priceless ‘L'Œuvre Musicale En 12 CD’ set), Parmegiani first cut his teeth at ORTF, France’s national broadcaster, and also wrote a lot of sound for theatre and contemporary dance choreography.
‘Mémoire Magnétique Vol.1’ offers a vital bridge between Parmegiani’s more academic, concert-based works for the Acousmonium system at GRM, and his artistic/commercial endeavours, documenting a body of work where his razor sharp skill in editing and illusive spatialization meet more melodic gestures and brilliantly proto-technoid rhythms.
There were clear hints of this style in the ‘Bande…’ OST, but they most captivatingly come to the fore in this follow-up, most notably on the pulsating brilliance of ‘Versailles… Peut-Être II’ , one of the sharpest pre-echoes of the ‘80s we’ve ever heard, along with the inimitable clarity of his pranging percussion and highly visual editing on ‘Image De Marque I+II’, and the Black MIDI-esque spirals of La Guerre Des Insectes I’ , for example.
Forged Prescriptions is a double album by Spacemen 3, containing alternative takes and demo versions of songs from their album The Perfect Prescription, plus some previously unreleased tracks.
"In his liner notes, Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom says this release presents the album's songs in their "full guitar laden versions with all the layers of beautifully streamlined guitar — considered by us to be too hard to replicate live and therefore reduced for the original release." “For me, this is where Spacemen 3 song writing came to a head - many of these songs pre-dated "Sound Of Confusion", some were even recorded at both sessions, but I am still impressed mightily by Jason’s lyrical genius on originals like "Walking With Jesus" and re-writes like "Come Down Easy" and his fluid guitar playing across the whole sessions. To be sure "Playing With Fire" was soon to be our long and sultry Indian Summer but "Perfect Prescription" was the progeny of that hot, lazy (and occasionally rainy) summer.” - Sonic Boom.
Wickedly bugged-out, noisy and pulsating minimal wave experiments from 1982 Canada, originally issued on tape and now dished up on vinyl for first time thanks to Dark Entries
“Jon is from Winnipeg, Canada and got his start as half of the synth noise duo Dialog. In 1981-82, while studying for a BA in Film Studies, he would go to the studio and practice. No writing or patch memories, composing on the fly. His set up consisted of a Minimoog, Oberheim Two Voice, Roland RS-202, Roland Space Echo, EML 400, Roland DR 55, Roland System 100 mixer.
After playing some of the songs to Impulse Records store owner Roman Panchyshsyn, he agreed release the album on cassette on Contagious Records. Primarily influenced by the German school typified by artists such as Conrad Schnitzler and Kraftwerk, Jon's music exhibits the cold machine ethic of the neumusik. The 12 instrumental tracks are stark and minimal, at times anxious but overall space orientated and flexible. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley.”
‘Solipsism’ writes a line under Mike Simonetti’s tenure at IDIB, the label he co-founded with Johnny Jewel in 2006 and brought to worldwide acclaim, before leaving in 2013 to pursue solo work and the Pale Blue project at his 2MR label (Two Mikes Records) with Mike Sniper of Captured Tracks
As one of those characters who naturally shapes the wider world, before humbly moving on the next project, Simonetti has lead an illustrious career arc from his days at punk label Troubleman Unlimited to his crucial role in establishing the resurgence of disco/synth/soundtrack styles which strongly prevail in 2018.
The 12-track ’Solipsism’ clears Simonetti’s archive of unreleased goodies conceived for TV commercials, runway soundtracks and film scores during his tenure of IDIB, where he released his debut album ‘Capricorn Rising’ in 2011. The set spans entirely unreleased business, including a stack of tracks made for a thwarted Hollywood movie project and one outtake from ‘The Magician’ sessions.
DJs and dancers should listen up for the sublime slow disco pulse of his ‘Through The Clouds’ ace and the ambient techno suspension of ‘Los Angeles’, while lovers of the cinematic IDIB aesthetic will get their kicks everywhere from the slowed-down Gqom-like sci-fi pressure of ‘A Prayer For War’, and the drizzly introspection of ‘Requiem’ and the soaring Tangerine Dream-esque ‘Acceptance 2’.
‘Electrucs’ is a previously unpublished LP of works by former INA-GRM chief François Bayle, recorded 1974-1995, and now finally issued on the 60th anniversary of the world-renowned facility he managed between 1966-1997.
Comprising four distinct sections of acousmatic study ranging from playful AKS Synthi “hand games” to the blooming ‘Rosaces’, a test-piece for the Acousmonium, and a dedication to his peer, Bernard Parmegiani; ‘Electrucs’ follows Recollection GRM’s series of Bayle reissues to offer a diverse and spellbinding survey of his pioneering work spanning the past half century.
The A-side is taken by 10 oozing, viscously shapeshifting ‘Electrucs’ that give the LP its title, rendering a series of highly dynamic pieces made on the Synthi AKS between 1974-2018, and veering from chaotic polymetrics to pulsating, almost melodic vignettes, and many moments of tense, atonal abstraction that wouldn’t sound out of place on a good hour or thriller soundtrack.
The other side breaks down to three distinct sections. ‘Cinq dessins en rosace’  is a five part study of increasingly complex geometries, transiting from sharp, simple oscillations to filigree, spatialized arrangements of electronics and keys. ‘Foliphonie’ [1974-2011] follows with a beautifully alien scene of chirruping voices and whirled woodwind originally hatched for use on the GRM’s Acousmonium speaker/diffusion system, and ’Marpège’ [1995-2007] finds him dissolving a trace of Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘Sonare’ into sonic delirium.
The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
"Released in 1999, the album “The Beta Band” followed the critically acclaimed compilation “The Three E.P.'s” (1998). With high anticipation for The Beta Band, the band originally planned to record the album in four separate continents, but financial constraints slimmed the recording locations down; however, the album was still recorded in a variety of locations and pulling inspiration from sources as diverse as Jamaican reggae, Disney's movie “The Black Hole” and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
The band also originally intended the album to contain a bonus disc of two long form ambient pieces, ‘Happiness and Colour’ and ‘The Hut’, both of which lasted over 20 minutes and represented the band's desire to "make a record of sound as a description for something like happiness, where a distinct first part gives way to a distinct second part”. However, the band and label ultimately decided to remove these tracks from the album prior to release."
Frank Tovey's debut album emerged upon an unsuspecting world in 1980.
An urgent, forward thinking and spikily melodic attack on pop music, it's often hailed as groundbreaking and would gift the quickly established and evolving Mute roster with one of its most demented and compelling voices.
'Fireside Favourites' notably features Mute mainman Daniel Miller assisting on sequencer and Electronic Percussion, but the real star has to be Frank's indomitable vocals, careening between sardonic sneers, deadpan monotone and unheimlich exhortations.
A reissue of the 4th full-length from Carolyn Fok / CYRNAI, an Asian-American female solo artist from the Bay Area.
"Carolyn’s adventures in sound began with recording stories on a tape recorder at age 9 in 1976. A short time later, exploring the scattering of musical instruments and effects units her father left lying around the family home. She became especially fascinated by his TEAC reel-to-reel recorder that set off a lifelong fascination with sound design. By the age of 16 Carolyn had become inspired by industrial electronic act Cabaret Voltaire, as well as anarcho-punks Crass. Creating the stage name CYRNAI, a rearranging alphabet of Carolyn Fok, she played in several Bay Area bands including Treason, A State Of Mind, Trial and Rhythm & Noise between 1983 and 1991. By 1988 Carolyn’s recording gear had many changes and upgrades, from cassette 4-tracks, 8-track reel-to-reel 1/2 inch, a TASCAM 388 to DAT, to floppy disk sampling. She spent three to four nights a week developing sequences for 14 hours from 10pm onwards. Samples would sometimes begin on a Synclavier keyboard with its sophisticated sequencing capabilities.
Her fourth album, ‘To Subtle-Drive’, was self-released in 1988 as 8 untitled songs spread across a 30-minute cassette. Then in 1989 Carolyn discovered the first Digidesign digital recording software and changed the project to have more ethnic sounds and samples stemming from tapes collected during a trip to Egypt. In 1990 ‘To Subtle-Drive’ was re-released with 2 songs from the 1988 release and 4 new compositions. This reissue adds 5 bonus tracks recorded during the same period spread across a double LP set."
Canada’s modern day answer to Arthur Russell and Paul Simon; Sandro Perri unfurls a wonderful new album of syncretic disco, country, and ambient-pop in his ever-charming style following recent avant escapades with his Off World group
The teasing edit of lead single ‘In Another Life’ is rolled out to a full and immersive 25 minutes of giddily uplifting electronics and softest blue eyed soul vocals inside, firmly set to soundtrack balmy evenings everywhere, while ‘Everybody’s France’ is a gently psychedelic three-part tapestry lilting from folk-soul sung by Sandro in the first part, to bring the huskier tone of Andre Ethier on board for the Leonard Cohen-like kitchen sink observations and shimmering meld of lap steel guitar and lapping congas in Part II, with Dan Bejar of Destroyer joining in for the 3rd part of woozy psychedelic country.
“Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” (Boomkat) and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.”
Earthy, grubbing, latin house styles from a new duo on Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery’s Incienso label
“People Plus are CZ Wang and Joli B., signalling from a studio and or Hut in some remote location. Their debut EP consists of three trips into time in just as many styles.
Side A belongs to “Olympus Mons”, a song as big as the mountain its named from. Snake charmer synth lines and vocal roars backed by the baddest rhythm section in a while… wait for the solo! The B side holds “Work It Out”, with broken 4-off-the-floor drumz and revving echo effects. Taking the coveted B1 spot is the always dancefloor smashing “Second Cycle” - A verified banger that opens up with ground shaking acidish filter bubbles, and closes somewhere way up above the clouds.”
The soundtrack to Arkangel from the hit TV series Black Mirror (series four, episode two, directed by Jodie Foster).
"An epic score for a disturbing tale of child tagging and exposure to graphic violence and pornography. A brooding, malevolent, claustrophobic, unnerving episode brought to life by Grammy and Emmy award winning composer Mark Isham (Point Break, The Crash, The Hitcher, etc). “Isham is firmly entrenched in the A-list of film composers…” Josef Woodard, JazzTimes. // Part of the cult Black Mirror legacy which Charlie Brooker claimed offers “more hope”. Really?!? // Prickly, moody, melancholy, too close for comfort, dark, dangerous, haunting, a gem of modern composing that perfectly captures Brooker’s warped vision of the future."
Batu’s Timedance gang up a first label showcase placing established artists such as Bruce, Ploy and rRoxymore alongside new names; Rae, Neinzer, Nico , Clerya.
It’s a full spectrum ting, taking in weightless tonal experiments with Bruce’s Let’s Make The Most Of Our Time Here, and gaseous ambient dimensions from Ploy, while newcomers make their presence subtly felt in the likes of Cleyra’s superb broken beat percolations and a grubbing Afro-dub winner from Nico called Soft Opening, with Simo Cell tending to more rugged ends on the gritty dancehall wine Consider The Internet, and Via Maris keening into a sort of Radiophonic techno on Side Effects.
Strong showing from some of the UK’s most crucial bass music innovators.
Second ever vinyl reissue of ACR’s first record
A collection of early demos and live recordings from 1979 gig also starring Joy Division and The Distractions. Produced by Martin Hannett, mixed by Tony Wilson.
Reissue of the debut 12” single ‘Courage’ from Scottish band Talking Drums.
"Formed in Glasgow in 1981 when Charlie and Dot lived above a pub and discovered their downstairs neighbor, Carol, was a sensational singer. They quickly recruited Stewart on bass and Derek on drums and started gigging. Scotland in the early 80s had a live music scene where unsigned bands could gather a serious following and the band played every major city, helped by catchy, indie-pop tunes and Carol's explosive performances. The recorded their debut album 'Fighting To The Finish' all in a week in March 1982 and released it on cassette.
'Courage' was their first vinyl outing in the independent, cottage-industry spirit of the times, originally released on Sticky Music in late 1982. The group added a horn section and congas extending the song to 8 sprawling minutes of dubby disco funk in the vein of ESG and William Onyeabor. The studio owner, Ian, had just bought a new piece of equipment called an Aphex Aural Exciter and put the whole mix through it - maybe one reason why “Courage” sounds strangely ahead of its time. For this first time vinyl reissue we’ve added bonus track “Lost in the 20th Century” from 1982, previously available only on their debut cassette album. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley."
Brian Eno and Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) conjured the cosmic torch song of ‘The Weight of History’ and the epic bluster of ‘Only Once Away My Son’, available to download for the first time since that RSD 12".
Now all non-turntable owners get a piece of the action on digital formats, spying Shields channelling David Sylvian in the rich baritone vocals that float over folksy string whines and spirit-engulfing drones carrying ‘The Weight of History’, before he shuts up and lets the instruments and electronics do the talking in a widescreen scene of solar flare distortion and signature inharmonic bliss called ‘Only Once Away My Son’.
‘Love is the Key’ is a mellifluous sampler for Smith & Mighty’s ‘Ashley Road Sessions 88-94’ compilation, forthcoming as a collaborative release from Tectonic & Punch Drunk
The title tune comes in a very nice ’n easy original mix pairing S&M’s signature bass weight and warmth with Dan Ratchet’s soulful vocal, whilst the B-side’s version feels as though the ground and walls are melting away when S&M get busy with the FX.
The KVB present their 2nd LP with Geoff Barrow’s Invada, making extensive use of the producer’s enviable collection of classic synthesisers.
They’re still gauntly minimal, but robed in deeper layers of lustrous analog electronics, whilst the guitars and machine drums rasp thru with a controlled aggression and swagger.
Their glam fan favourite Never Enough makes an appearance at the album’s core, flanked by the gothic charge of In Deep and the pulsating, diesel-fuming highlights of Awake and V11393, and the duo’s cinematic influences and potential becomes clear with the night-vision gaze of Mirrors.
Pessimist comes in from the dark with two dreadnoughts on his freshly-minted, self-titled label
The first proper follow-up to his ‘Pessimist’ album follows down dank alleys of crushing breakbeats and fetid drones in both parts. Think Rob D meets The Underdog in an abandoned warehouse kinda vibes.
A-side, he rolls out rugged and scowling drones for a proper into-the-‘00s feel on ’SPRTLZM’, before the B-side reinforces that aesthetic with a more gutted sound design, leaving ghostly traces of breaks mired in treacly subbass pressure, waiting for a DJ to blend in on the offbeat...
In this age of constant connectivity, switching off has become one of the great luxuries of modern life and it’s one of the reasons Jaakko Eino Kalevi has called his new album ‘Out Of Touch’.
"He explores what he calls this “essential, blissed out” state on his second album for Weird World as he meditates, in classic Jaakko fashion, on the merrygo- round of the daily grind."
The Beta Band's hugely collectable‘The Three EPs’, available for the first time on a deluxe vinyl reissue.
"Arguably one of the most acclaimed and loved bands of the past 20 years, by both fans and their musical peers alike, The Beta Band formed in St. Andrews, Scotland, in 1996. Innovative and singular, their unique musical and aesthetic approach to everything they did set them far apart from their musical contemporaries. Together for a relatively short period of time, the three albums and three EPs they released between 1996 and 2004 would nonetheless help define them as one of the most exciting and cherished bands of their generation.
This is a deluxe vinyl edition gathering in a slipcase the EPs ‘Champion Versions’, ‘The Patty Patty Sound’ and ‘Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos’ with remastered tracks and coloured vinyl edition."
Ryuichi Sakamoto presents his original soundtrack to Rage「怒り」, a Japanese murder mystery by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-Il, his second film adaptation of popular novels by Shûichi Yoshida.
Predating Sakamoto’s work on the immense, panoramic OST for The Revenant with Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner, his score to Rage is a far more intimate and finely melancholic affair, reflective of the film’s shifting themes exploring identity and the malaise of contemporary society.
The main title theme is a memorably symphonic swell of lustrous strings and keys riven with he heartbreaking emotion Sakamoto specialises in, while the rest of the suite is swept between grand instrumental gestures and subtler electronic gilding, feeling out a filigree spectrum of emotions from noirish paranoia to genteel, glitching romance themes.
Hype Williams instigator and now solo raconteur, Dean Blunt, sidesteps preconceptions with a quietly psychedelic, sparse and sensual third album.
In 'The Redeemer' he tends to a wipe-clean soundworld of lite jazz fusion motifs, bluesy guitar wisps and new age synth gelled together with dreamy sound FX and distressed ansafone messages whilst nonchalant, confessional vocals dictate a drowsy internal narrative. It's a sort of surreal soul scape simulacra, an adult contemporary fantasy as seen and heard from a detached perspective, a fact accentuated by the intangible, voice-in-your-head mixing and Blunt's lounging-about-the-flat delivery, together with occasional female partners and synthetic chorales.
With 19 tracks in just under 45 minutes he's constructed an intricacy of ideas that's going to take more time and insight than we've got to fully unravel its cypher, to unweave what we may perceive to be ambiguity, or equally, a sort of provocative sincerity, but either way we're left totally beguiled and enchanted after a few listens. As glib as it may seem, the closest aesthetic comparisons we could make lie with 'R.I.P'-zoned Actress, Laurel Halo at her sparsest, or the slight sickliness of TV On The Radio's indie-soul-pop, yet ultimately it sounds quite like nowt out there.
Prayers are answered with this damn fine pressing of two late ‘80s, Belgian-produced beauties, including a prime new cut of Teknokrat’s’ rare AF New Beat heater ‘What Did She Say’ - suffice to say we've been waiting for this one for years.
Pairing the original Congolese soukous version of ‘Nakombe Nga’ by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, with its remixed instrumental, Teknokrat’s’ ‘What Did She Say’, Rush Hour have just blown our minds by revealing a whole other side to a song that’s utterly dear to our hearts and feet.
As it turns out, both songs share the same producer, Tony Baron, who uncannily shares a name and look with a Reeves & Mortimer character from The Club sketches, and who was behind some of New Beat’s high water marks and its hardest to find records. For years we’ve been obsessed with his ‘Tekno’ LP as The Teknokrat’s (mind that apostrophe), and in particular its last track, an addictive spin on Inner City’s Detroit house sound, titled ‘What Did She Say’.
One can possibly imagine our astonishment, then, to find out that track is actually a remix of a Congolese Soukous song by Ben Nyambo’s Les Choc Stars Du Zaire, swapping out the Anglophone vocals for harmonised Swahili lyrics and extra spicy guitar licks. Even better yet, as the original Teknokrat’s LP is pressed 5 tracks per side, this is the first time either song has seen a proper 12” cut, and we’re happy to report they both sound bright and punchy as one could hope for.
In our books this is a 100% essential plate, guaranteed to light up ‘floors anywhere. Here’s to hoping for a full reissue of the ’Tekno’ LP!
Pert dance-pop from Little Dragon, taken from their debut EP for Ninja Tune
The sun-kissed vibes of ‘Lover Chanting’ features signature, soulful vocal from Yukimi Nagano in duet with the band’s Erik over plump bassline and natty guitar chops from the skool of neo Scando-disko.
Hyper-stepping outta nowhere, Steffi Grafs Innere Ruhe fire off three flash-forward and clinically Teutonic takes on Footwork++ on mysterious white label
Coolly resetting the game 10 years into the future, the playfully titled but seriously considered Steffi Grafs Innere Ruhe toss their hat in the ring with three cuts splicing footwork torsion with the kind of rhythmic nous displayed by Xth Réflexion on the /\\Aught label or in Joe Coghill’s ‘Transit Valley’ 12”.
The A-side’s ‘Gute Freizeit’ sets the bar breathlessly high with racing hi-hats and writhing acid bass synched in a rapid-fire yet somehow sublime effect. Dancers will have to think on their feet in real time here, reprogramming on the hoof.
Flipside, ‘Prima Freizeit’ keeps the tempo breakneck, with skittish toms percolated around the soundsphere with needling synth attacks, while the so-fast-it’s-slow ‘Freizeit Spezial’ keeps it anaerobic, mystic, like an Autechrian organism transmogrifying before your ears.
Staffordshire’s purveyors of pastoral pop, epic 45, return after a seven-year hiatus with new album, their first release since 2011’s acclaimed album ‘Weathering’, which explored the lingering death of rural communities.
"Much of what has always driven epic45 still remains; the British landscape, hazy childhood memories and a sense of loss. However, as tensions across Britain have increased, epic45 have been forced to re-examine their relationship with the country in which they live. “The album is about, in part, returning to the place where we grew up from birth to our early twenties.
From a personal perspective, it’s sad to see the place changing; new houses, the disappearance of old landmarks etc and the sadness of our childhood homes, strangely quiet now. But on a wider scale, it’s the palpable sense of cultural and political stagnation too. It’s a very insular place now, the community more fragmented than ever before”. Atmospheric soundscapes combined with subtle electronics permeate throughout ‘Through Broken Summer’. ‘Outside’ and ‘From Quiet Houses’ are written with a sense of grandeur and astral beauty but darker moments are witnessed on tracks like ‘Other Rooms’, a glitchy, static affair.
There is a calming and addictively measured beauty to ‘Through Broken Summer. ‘Hillside ‘86’, which includes a guest appearance by Antony Harding of July Skies, shimmers against a backdrop of broken beats and heavenly sonics. If you’re looking for musical references, you might be able to hear the ghosts of Sarah Records, Disco Inferno, Slowdive and New Order in epic45’s ever evolving sound. It comes as no surprise to find that epic45's Ben Holton and Rob Glover grew up in a small rural village in the English Midlands. Since their debut 7" single in 1999 (which received immediate support from John Peel on Radio 1) they have released a series of widely celebrated EPs and albums, inspired by their surroundings; blissful childhood summers and the ever-changing landscape of the English countryside."
One of the most influential, insular and multi-layered albums of the last three decades, created through endless hours of improvisation - involving almost fifty musicians and recorded in complete darkness, 'Laughing Stock' is an album that has attained almost mythical status since its release in 1991.
Following the commercial success of their singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It” and album "The Colour of Spring”, Talk Talk retreated back into the shadows and produced two albums that defied categorisation. After the release of the first of these (Spirit of Eden) and a proolonged court case, the band parted ways with EMI and signed to iconic jazz imprint Verve who financed the long and complicated recording of Laughing Stock. Assembling almost 50 guest musicians, Mark Hollis is said to have demanded they record in almost complete darkness, improvising for hours to produce individual parts without hearing any backing tracks or surrounding material. Most of these recordings were discarded, but from what remained Hollis and producer Tim Friese-Greene pieced together a record that is essentially one long sequence of overdubs separated out into six long tracks.
Laughing Stock was to be their last album - on its release the NME described it as “horrible” and many listeners were left perplexed by its insular, unfathomable dynamics. But in the time since, Laughing Stock's legacy seems to have grown in stature with every year that has gone by. You can easily see the stylistic and conceptual markers left by Talk Talk in the way that bands like Radiohead went on to explore more open-ended, diverse sound sources and stylistic shifts - feeling able to experiment without fear of alienating a large fanbase as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a band with considerable chart success to do.
"Laughing Stock" is not only one of the most absorbing albums of the modern era, it’s also a masterclass of production and construction, a relic, perhaps, of an era when artists could completely disconnect from the pressures of their surroundings and dive deep into the wormhole...
Dean Blunt & Delroy Edwards knuckle down 19 raw-to-the-bone instrumentals from their time spent together in LA.
If played this gear in a blind test, 9 out of 10 neeks would no doubt recognise ‘Desert Sessions’ as the work of Edwards & Blunt. Simply titled in sequence, Audio Tracks 01 - 19, it all feels totally off-the-cuff and cloaked in red-eyed vibes in a very familiar way, with each artist’s input smartly masked by clouds of ferric hiss as dense as the tree smoke in their studio.
Working the heck out of their keyboards’ presets, they hustle a barrage of sawn-off boogie, hip hop and stanky outhouse styles, with a chorus of synthetic fallen angels playing a narrative role around their oblique, often atonal jabs of electronics and half-cut guitar riffs.
It’s maybe best regarded as a mutual, Hypnagogic regression and ode to Blunt and Edwards shared roots in late ‘80s and ‘90s transatlantic culture - from hip hop and R&B to slacker indie-pop and ambient music - allowing for all the fog and fallibility of memory recollection, but bittersweetly evoking their subject in fine style.
Pivotal Parisian producer, Krikor Kouchian dubs out his widely acclaimed ‘Pacific Alley’ suite for L.I.E.S.
Practically running everything thru an echo box and emphasising their rhythmic potential, Kouchian provides a smart new angle on ‘Pacific Alley’ between the overprinting dub roil of ‘Slow Riddim’ and the cracked Jay Glass Dubs styles of ‘Snow Dub’ up top, and over to the swollen steppers’ momentum of ‘Hermano Dub’ and the dusky shuffle of ‘Plomo Riddim’.
Collin Strange puts his back into a batch of Mid-West US acid techno for L.I.E.S.
Unrelenting and unrepentant, the EP bristles with seething energy between the stressed squeal and cloven hoof of ‘Don’t Belong’ and the needle-fanged EBM bite of ‘Cruising’ up top, before rinsing out the skull-swilling 142bpm acid of ‘IQ 303’ and ‘Enemies’ to make us feel like we’re 17 again, on our first gary, and chewing the speaker stacks at a small town rave.
Simo Cell hits the 90bpm groove with grinding torque and double-time tricks for Brothers From Different Mothers
Nailing a sound highly compatible with discs on Low Jack’s Le Disques De La Bretagnes, Simo Cell shifts his weight from signature c.120-140bpm styles with ease, giving the dancehall something to chew on with the slow/fass dancehall of ‘Uranium’ and the druggy clonk of ‘Balandbeat’ up top, and the bashy reggaeton class of ‘La Pulga’ and the full sunk dread of ‘The Terrible Effect of Purple Drank’ on the back.
Beneath tramples out two soundsystem damagers for Blackest Ever Black’s A14 sublabel
Transmuting the stress of life in London into solid nine-bars of squidge and potency, Beneath coughs up some of his strongest gear in recent memory. On top ‘Cloudy’ ambulates red-eyed and pendulous with thick, warm haar of dank rolling off massaged wagyu beef subs and gremlin gargle acid lines with hypnotic, puppeteering effect.
Down below, ‘Outsource’ is trimmed to a strong back rolige with keeling subs spread out under granite cut drums in a taut moire of ricocheting FX and acid set to soak the dance.
Vital reissue of Chris & Cosey's fourth album proper, 'Exotica', fully remastered by Chris Carter. Originally released in 1987 and pretty much unavailable on vinyl ever since, 'Exotica' sees a slight shift into more club-friendly EBM/Electro, especially with the definitively anthemic title track which has since become the duo's calling card as much as anything else they've released.
In the likes of 'Dancing On Your Grave' or the flashy machine funk of 'Beatbeatbeat' we can also hear clear precedents for the likes of Autre Ne Veut and Twins, but we should remember that all the technology that went into these tracks was totally cutting edge at the time, from samplers to new digital synths and drum machines, lending this LP a timely sense of dedicated futurism. The exotika of the title can be felt in the cyber-sensuous Latin percussion and haunting synths of 'Dr. John (Sleeping Stephen)' and equally the simulated fourth world ambience of 'Irama', firmly enhancing its milestone status for dark and unexplained 80s electronics and dance music in general.
Lock up your pets; Blackest Ever Black let Regis off the leash in two seek and destroy missions - his first new 12” in three years - coming quick on the heels of the unarchived Live In N.Y.C. 12” for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax.
A-side’s Version 1 is the greedier of the two, roving with that look in its eye from the first mauling bar of grumbling bass and incendiary distortion, thru a serpentine groove dissolving EBM, industrial noise techno with slow-burning, venomous effect until the final passage of paralysing strings by Asylum Ensemble.
B-side’s Version 2 appears to start on the dissecting table with the SAW-like sound of knives sharpening and talons clicking in the background, before untangling one of his fiercest lemon endeavours; a bitterly gleeful tussle of strapping EBM bassline and whipcrack snares with an over-the-shoulder vocal in the breakdown, before calving off into the abyss.
We can think of few artists who can come out of hiding so occasionally, yet remain at the front of their game, as Karl O’Connor does with The Master Side in both versions.
Take note, the master is in session.
From the Faroe Islands via Deptford, south-east London, Rólant av Reyni a.k.a. Hús presents a warm hug of instrumental folktronica on Iceland’s Kervið label.
Lodged perfectly between Bibio’s takes on BoC, the melancholy wist of Mount Kimbie, and Burial’s ruggeder inner city blues, ’November’ is achingly precise in its pursuit of airy instrumental introspection, delivering the kind of goodness that you know will end up soundtracking schmaltz on the BBC at some point. But, until then, it’s a fine look for brown and grey autumn days.
On Disrupt’s first new album in 8 years, ‘Omega Station’ the dubmaster sees himself as a Maelcum-like character piloting his studio into outer space. Expect turbulence, 8-bit asteroid fields and heavy weightless sensations
“Highly immersive SciFi adventure album about the oscillating wonder and terror of unknown space, as you follow the drama of doomed outpost Omega Station to it’s heart stopping conclusion.
With his first full length broadcast from Deep Space in eight (light)years veteran cosmonaut disrupt is setting out towards a new era of space exploration for the Jahtari label:
A mind-boggling journey through 23rd century library music, imaginary soundtrack as much as hommage to worn-out SciFi paperback novels, this beautifully textured interstellar experience comes highly recommended for all space cadets.”
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Emerging from the rubble, few expected Palaceer Lazaro (aka Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler formerly of Digable Planets) to gain such notoriety with Shabazz Palaces.
"Shabazz Palaces constantly pushes the limits of funk, hip-hop, jazz, and world music, straying away from typical song structures in favor of more creative endeavors. In 2010, Seattle publication, ‘The Stranger,’ honored the group with the first ever Music Genius Award. “Shabazz Palaces don’t have to tear up the block; they energize the scene without breaking a sweat,” states Larry Mizell, Jr. of ‘The Stranger.’ This revolutionary debut is now available for the first time ever on limited edition clear vinyl"
Fascinating turn of incredible, private electro-acoustic designs by Italy’s Massimo Toniutti - brother of Giancarlo, of ‘Broken Flag’ LP fame - originally self-released in 1991 and now sniffed out, expanded with a bonus album’s worth of gear, and reissued by Oren Ambarchi’s faultless Black Truffle. To our ears, this little known masterpiece bridges a gap between Gruppo and Giuseppe Ielasi, rendering freely disciplined and brilliantly unpredictable arrangements of detailed field recordings and mechanical sounds that happen and unfold with a naturalistic quality that’s totally key to its immersive allure. Big RIYL Nurse With Wound, Roland Kayn, Giuseppe Ielasi, Gruppo D’improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza.
"Massimo Toniutti was active in the vibrant underground industrial/noise scene of the 1980s, contributing to releases on legendary labels such as Broken Flag and RRR and self-releasing a series of cassettes between 1984 and 1988. Existing in a private world apart from the noise and dark industrial tropes of many of his contemporaries, Toniutti’s Il Museo Selvatico is an entirely singular work of domestic electro-acoustic exploration. Made up primarily of what Toniutti calls “small and rare noises” or sonic “knick-knacks” recorded between 1987 and 1990, the five pieces that make up the original LP usher us into a crepuscular space populated by mysterious traces of everyday life.
Toniutti weaves a loose net of distant clanks, dull thuds, metallic resonance, and skittering percussive sounds, allowing the sounds to breathe against a backdrop of near-silent atmosphere. Although the haunted ambience recalls the work of contemporaries like Organum, Toniutti generally steers clear of long tones and drones, preferring to arrange brief, sometimes staccato sonic objects into patterns of repeating figures and isolated events whose overall compositional shape remains somehow ungraspable. Although glimpses of recognizable location recordings and instrumental sounds can occasionally be made out, for most of the record the sources of the sounds you hear remain teasingly mysterious, an abstracted memory of everyday actions and atmospheres.
Il Museo Selvatico is accompanied here by an additional LP of material recorded at the same time, arranged especially for this reissue into two side-long suites that inhabit the same haunted space as the original LP while occasionally making use of more maximal compositional strategies. Essential listening for fans of Organum, Nurse With Wound, Christoph Heemann, and the tradition of outsider musique concrete.”
Class survey of downbeat industrial, techno and acid electronics from the ‘90s and ‘modern UK and EU undergrowth, spanning shadowy strains by Daz Quayle as part of Holloware Squad, as well as gems from Bourbonese Qualk’s Simon Crab and Thomas P. Heckmann
Collated by Late-Night Rec/Mélodie Souterraines’ Saulk Regurk, the compilation offers a personalised and knowledgable selection of non-standard obscurities and off-road aces that might not be canon, but certainly work a treat on their own terms.
On disc one there’s a killer tract of slow but driving techno trance doom in Thomas P. Heckmann’s Age joint ‘Lancet’ - the kinda gear you might expect Vladimir Ivkovic to play - along with a surprisingly tender moment from BQ’s Crab in ‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire’, and the crucial appearance of Daz Quayle, Carl Finlow & Co’s Holloware Squad classic ‘Surface Intention’, a beat-less acid glyder originally issued on Andrew Weatherall’s Emissions Static label.
Disc two ups the energy levels with Bigeneric’s subs-heavy minimal techno pulser ‘Deltoid’ , before Andrea Desidera’s krautrocky ‘All Blue’ triggers a kosmiche vibe that courses into Derek car’s balmy ‘Station To Station’, and Protocol’s airy, emotive electronica piece ‘Waiting’ takes on a 2nd life from its original 1999 issue by US electro/IDM stronghold, Isophlux.
Recorded in 1982 - first ever issue on any format! This is a missing piece of GRM legend Bernard Parmegiani’s geometric puzzle, a long-lost, little known soundtrack to a french sci fi movie of the same title, directed by Michel Treguer, and now available for the first time.
It locates Parmegiani working at his home studio concocting a richly atmospheric sound that places his fastidious appreciation of spatial dynamic and tonal detail at the service of cinematic styles perhaps closer to the output of John Carpenter or François Roubaix, rather than his GRM works, as recently heard on a pair of Recollection GRM reissues of L'Œil Écoute / Dedans-Dehors [1970/1977] and his breathtaking De Natura Sonorum .
As one of a number of film and TV soundtracks Parmegiani produced since 1962’s La poupée, his work here reveals a much lesser appreciated aspect of his important canon, which itself was formatively influenced by his roots as a sound engineer for RTF, the french national TV station. In a flux of 19 pieces we hear the grand master of technoid abstraction skilfully fitting sound to image in a wholly original, evocative and innovative manner.
In many ways, Paremgiani’s sounds here place him as a sort of gallic answer to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, conjuring myriad inventive sounds from a TR-808 drum machine, Synthi AKS, Farfisa organ and D6 clavinet which are properly alien and ostensibly challenging in character, yet make perfect sense in context. They form a strange microcosm unto themselves, taking in the nerve-jangling prangs and keening tone cluster of Générique alongside the deep space arpeggio vector of Depart, and killer, pulsating electro in Recontre Brisson, whilst the skeletal step of Pursuit has rhythmic passages that recall Drexciyan electro, and the likes of Serge Assommé, the album’s longest piece, takes Carpenter at his own game.
Rock is necessary listening for anyone who knows the classic Parmegiani releases, and a potent gateway drug for anyone new to his work.
Minimalist hypnotists Ambarchi, Sprenger and Sollmann manipulate the dance with deeply trippy results for Ostgut's A-Ton sublabel
In two extended, kraut-y flights the trio place a wealth of multi-disciplinary, avant-garde experience at the service of dancefloor enlightenment, conjuring a lysergically timeless sound that richly exceeds the sum of its inputs.
With the 15 minute ‘Panama’ they hinge a lone clave around chipping guitar and synthlines in a sublimely tempered ascent thru microtonal increments and eye-fluttering arps, working out something like Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe channelling ancient spirits.
On ’Suez (Version)’ they loosen up the groove with a rolling swing that accumulates strange, pitch-bent synth twang and grubbing electronics until we’re lost in a lush chromatic maelstrom by the half way mark, from which point they really take off, leaving the dancefloor hundreds of miles below, showered in electronic perseids.
Really feeling this!
Cuts distills the world’s troubles into a starkly percussive and brooding new EP for Village Green
Following in cinematic suit from the ‘Exist’ EP, Cuts’ new EP opens with the coruscating greyscale drones, pealing synths and dry pounding crack of ‘A Gradual Decline’ in a way recalling Jóhann Jóhannsson’s more aggressive moments, whereas the B-side tends to more introspective needs with the low register 808 bumps and chapped melody of ‘Carbon’, which recalls Alva Noto’s ‘Xerox’ before the breaks splinter thru, and ‘Drowning’ pushes out into precipitous, beatless drone terrain calling to mind Ian William Craig’s cracked panoramas.
The Mutant Beat Dance supergroup of Melvin Oliphant (Traxx), Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers) and Beau Wanzer meet LCD Soundsystem’s Tyler Pope and Pat Mahoney
Combined, all five run an oil-spattered punk-disco style on ‘Feed The Enemy’, the EP’s weakest cut, before the OG trio get down to business in the murky grind of ‘Revival 80s’, a filthy detahrock groove called ‘Crete’, the slompy P-Funk of ‘Funk Groove’, and the demented bassline cubism of ‘Touy Story’.
Jealous God call for EBM reinforcements with three new tracks from Pye Corner Audio, and a collab between Marcel Dettmann & Silent Servant.
Pye Corner Audio does it slow, grubby and inquisitive on Delay Gratification, teasing in a sort of industrial zombie cumbia, while Meet Me In The Void follows a muggier hunch into Carpenter-esque synth alleys, and The Future is a bleak as f^ck black knot of acid rolling with stygian function.
Dettmann subtly indulges his longheld passion and fascination for EBM in collaboration with Juan Mendez aka Silent Servant on The Bond, where they marry a strapping lead arp with floating, over-the-shoulder voices and booming kicks, all pinned into place by a reverberating snare that’s sure to ricochet around Berghain’s main hall like stay shrapnel.
Alvin Curran’s outstanding mesh of soaring vocals, swooping subbass and glancing percussion in ‘Cante E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico’  arrives as part of Superior Viaduct’s indispensable, educational reissue series for its first vinyl reissue since 1981. Bravo, SP. This is blowing our minds right now!
“American composer and multi-instrumentalist Alvin Curran has remained one of the great emblems of experimental music for the last half-century. In 1966, along with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum, Curran co-founded Musica Elettronica Viva, a seminal gesture in collective free improvisation. In the early '70s, his solo work would become a crucial bridge between minimalist traditions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Canti E Vedute Del Giardino Magnetico, Curran's solo debut, was recorded by the artist himself and issued on Ananda, the small Italian imprint started by Curran and fellow composers Giacinto Scelsi and Roberto Laneri. The piece itself was put together in the winter of 1973 and presented for the first time at Teatro Beat 72 (Rome's The Kitchen).
Encouraged by the work of Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine and Simone Forti, Curran binds the listener to aberrant notions of place and time: blending field recordings (wind, high-tension wires, beach waves, etc.) with simple and often primitive instruments. Across two sidelong tracks, Giardino Magnetico forms a lyrical collage of synthesizer, glass and metal chimes, plastic tubes, brass and the composer's alluring voice – converging in an immersive realm of Curran’s inner / outer experiences.
This first-time vinyl reissue is recommended for fans of Harry Bertoia, Michel Redolfi and Lino Capra Vaccina.”