With "Smells Funny" being their sixth album in seven years, this explosive and expansive trio have gone from strength to strength, gathering respect from both rock and jazz camps.
"Although there is enough riffing here to satisfy the headbangers, with "Smells Funny" the trio are venturing into the more free and open landscapes explored on their previous album, "Black Stabat Mater". This new album also sees Mollestad truly coming into her own as an amazing lead guitarist as well as a dependable riffmeister. But let´s not forget how important the rhythm section is to make it all work so well. Ellen Brekken is an accomplished bassist, equally comfortabel holding down a groove and taking off on technically complex runs.
Then there´s Ivar Loe Bjørnstad, not your typical rock drummer, not your typical jazz drummer, but very comfortable in both areas and in possession of that loose swagger Nate Chinen mentions in his writing about "Black Stabat Mater in JazzTimes, and thus in many ways defining their common ethos: Her trio, which has Ellen Brekken on bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad on drums, caught my ear then with its audacious style references: the loose swagger of early Black Sabbath; the density and prowl of peak Led Zeppelin; the expeditionary urge of Jimi Hendrix; the incantatory fervor of John McLaughlin."
Wolfgang Voigt’s ambient techno evergreen mercifully reissued as a standalone release for the first time since 1997, and its inclusion in the sumptuous Gas ‘Box’ set, now remastered.
Right up there with ambient techno’s greatest slabs, ‘Zauberberg’ is a classic balm for overworked minds and stressed bodies. As the 2nd Gas album, following the project’s eponymous debut, it pressed deeper into a uniquely dense yet diaphanous mixture of ambient and modern classical themes, exploring a breathtakingly lush, Black Forested adjunct to the sort of ambient/dub/techno austerities explored by other contemporary German producers such as Basic Channel, Monolake and the rest of the Berlin cabal surrounding Chain Reaction/Hardwax.
As with all GAS releases, It’s possibly difficult to provide any definitive description of ‘Zauberburg’, as we’ve usually fallen under its spell and towards the pillow, or at least drift off into a half-lidded reverie before it finishes. In that sense, we can only limn it from sub- or unconscious recollections, but the two effectively merge into one, as Voigt’s patented, distanced kicks mirror the soft throb of arteries heard muffled in a pillow, and the strings feel to descend with the inevitability of nightfall, all leading to the same conclusion - your head caressed by the sandman.
For obsessives fiending a fresh copy, or those lucky noobs about to pop their Gas cherry, this album is 100% essential.
A cocktail of sultry disco from late night ‘80s Tokyo, compiled by Toshiya Kawasaki for Mule Musiq
“Midnight In Tokyo is a compilation series that aims to be the perfect companion to nights in Tokyo, collecting tracks by Japanese artists that sound best at night. Vol. 2 (STUDIOMUL 006CD/LP, 2018) focused more on '80s jazz fusion, but the latest installment, Vol. 3, picks up where Vol. 1 (STUDIOMUL 001CD/LP, 2018) left off, bringing together forgotten soul, disco, and new wave gems.
The compilation opens with Japanese rare groove classic "More Sexy," a provocative song by Yoko Hatanaka. "Kimi No Yume," from the album Yume No Yonbai (1984) by Masumi Hara, is one of the best Balearic acid folk songs to come from Japan. "Silhouette Call" is an electric bossanova track in the vein of Antena, from a rare album called Octopussy (1982) by Yuki Nakayamate, a singer-songwriter who worked with Motoharu Sano. "Theme Of High School Student" is a dubby cut featured in the Japanese film Kougen Ni Ressha Ga Hashitta (1984), written by Atsuo Fujimoto (Colored Music), one of the key artists in the recent wave of global interest in Japanese music.
"Get To Paradise" is a stone-cold funk jam by Mari Kaneko, who was known as the Janis Joplin of Shimokitazawa. Following that is one of Japan's greatest new wave disco tracks, "Hannya", taken from Tomoko Aran's popular third album Fuyu-Kukan (1983) produced by Masatoshi Nishimura, who was part of Friends Of Earth with Haruomi Hosono. Masako Miyazaki, whose rendition of Seawind's "He Loves You" is a fan favorite, puts her own spin on Earth, Wind & Fire's "Fantasy," singing in her accent-heavy English, giving the song an undeniable character.
"Watashi No Koukoku" is a certified disco-boogie classic by Junko Sakurada. The Brazilian-esque jazz fusion, "Sunshine Bright On Me" is by fusion group Kangaroo, who were often billed as "the japanese Shakatak". "Stranger's Night" is a synth-pop number by Maiko Okamoto, which bears a suspicious resemblance to Rah Band's "The Shadow Of Your Love". Electro-pop disco "Singing Lady", off the sole album by The Fad sounds like something Giorgio Moroder could've cooked up.
"Magic Eyes" is a disco anthem recorded by Tetsuji Hayashi's disco project, The Eastern Gang. Following that is Japanese soul gem "Crazy Baby," found on a rare 7" entitled Minato No Soul by Rinda Yamamoto also composed and arranged by Tetsuji Hayashi. Closing out this collection of 14 Japanese rare groove goodies is "I'm In Love", a bittersweet mellow dance number by Tomoko Aran.”
We’re all stardust, innit? Jeff Mills acknowledges this matter with ‘Str Mrkd’, his banging first chapter in the Star Marked odyssey
Taking the project’s cues from ‘Abali’, which first appeared on ‘Confidentials 5-8’ [AX-009b, 2006] and now opens this 12”, Mills spins his concept out into three new cuts; opening out into the slow, sylvan Detroit ride of ‘Patterns In Nature’, then locking into mind-bending, phasing minimal techno rhythmelodies and drones with ‘Helix Nebula’, and drifting off course into potently hallucinogenic electro with ‘Aquarius’.
Mills fans - miss this at your peril!
We might be drowning in a sea of re-issues right now (not least ones from long-forgotten synthesizer pioneers) but ever so often something comes along that’s really very special indeed.
Laurie Spiegel’s ‘The Expanding Universe’ is hardly a forgotten or lost gem, but this new re-issue is without a doubt one of the finest things we’ve heard (and no doubt will hear) this year. The album managed to supplant itself in the subconscious of electronic music ever since its release in 1980, and in recent years it has gone from strength to strength forming the building blocks that gave us Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never, Rene Hell and so much more. Spiegel’s use of the interactive compositional software GROOVE formed the backbone of her works, and little did she know at the time that the fusion of live and software would become the norm in 2012.
That’s enough history though, the extensive liner notes should be able to reveal plenty to satiate that appetite, the fact of the matter is that it’s Spiegel’s music itself that has stood the test of time. Not quite as reckless and ominious as the blippy sci-fi of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop pioneers and far more exact and economical than the oft-compared Terry Riley, Spiegel produced electronic music that was both fun to listen to and incredibly deep. It’s no surprise that Bach is mentioned on the record cover as an influence, as while the tracks are electronically composed and performed there is a clear backbone of traditional classical composition that gives her music the power to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.
On top of the original tracks that formed the 1980 release, Unseen Worlds have done an incredible job of scouring the archives to provide a veritable treasure trove of additional material. So often the bundled tracks with reissues are simply a collection of crap demos and live performances, but not so here – there’s almost too much to go through and every single little bit is worthy of as much praise as the original record itself.
Highly promising newcomer Nazar gets down to bassbin business on Hyperdub after introductions made on Kode 9 & Burial’s ‘Fabriclive 100’ mix.
From phthalocyanine grime to blown out techno and distorted drill, the ‘Enclave EP’ is one of the freshest/crankiest sessions you’ll hear from London in 2018. It’s unmistakably Hyperdub, repping fractious madness that’s compatible with Gqom, Príncipe styles and loads of deconstructed club musics, yet patently distinguished as UK rave.
Opening with the virulent weightless synths and cold bass knocks of ‘South Border’, the EP delivers a deadly payload of non-standard club pressure with the mutant Gqom of ‘Warning Shots’, and a severely blunted sort of Burial-does-drill sound in ‘Airstrike’ featuring Hyperdub’s secret weapon Shannen SP on vocals, along with the swerving murder of ‘Enclave’ on a killer Angel Ho-styled sci-fi flex, plus the Dutch Bubblers’ troubles of ‘Konvoy’ and a very smart cinematic closer with ‘Ceasefire’.
This may well be the strongest Hyperdub debut since Burial’s seminal ‘South London Boroughs’, or at least since Doon Kanda’s first entry. A must check!
As part of Finders Keepers’ ongoing dedicated Jodorowsky soundtrack series the label presents the original film edits from the 1979 studio sessions featuring Steve Hillage (Gong) and members of Cossi Anatz.
"From Guy Skornik, the composer and arranger behind Popera Cosmic and Pour Pauwels, comes the enigmatic instrumental cues that provided fellow existentialist and notorious auteur director Alejandro Jodorowsky (‘The Holy Mountain’) with the soundtrack music to what is now considered his rarest and most overlooked feature film, ‘Tusk’.
Following his mind melting masterpieces ‘Fando & Lis’, ‘El Topo’ and ‘The Holy Mountain’, Jodorowsky’s ‘disowned’ attempt at a family film retains the director’s ongoing demand for intense, experimental film music, resulting in what is undeniably one the best kept sonic secrets from the darker corners of this coveted filmography. Cherrypicked from pre-recorded synthesiser-fuelled cosmic pop sessions by Skornik, these compositions provided ‘Tusk’ with arabesque new age synthesis alongside fullblown ambitious electro rock, as well as classic French Fender Rhodes-driven romanticism during some of this lesser-spotted movie’s most memorable moments.
Presented here in isolation, Guy Skornik’s multifarious futurist-pop evokes worthy comparisons to Ash Ra Tempel, Eno’s Bowie and Suzanne Ciani, mapping an unlikely journey between Magma and 10cc in the process. Don’t ignore Jodorowsky’s ‘elephant in the room’ - you never know what’s hidden in the trunk."
The score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans is tense, brooding and a genuinely scary listen...
"It’s pitch perfect in creating mood and atmosphere one minute and letting loose into complete madness the next. The package was designed by Jay Shaw and we wanted to really give you a sense of the movie when you open it."
It's been nearly five decades since Joe McPhee assembled a group of musicians to perform the weekend concerts that would become Nation Time, his debut LP.
"It was December 1970, thirty-one-year-old McPhee was inspired by Amiri Baraka's poem 'It's Nation Time,' and the students at Vassar College didn't know what hit them. 'What time is it?' shouted the bandleader. 'C'mon, you can do better than that. What time is it?!'
"The music on Nation Time came out of the fertile, but little-known creative jazz scene in Poughkeepsie, New York, McPhee's home base. Two bands were deployed, one with a funky free foundation featuring guitar and organ, the other consisting of a more standard jazz formation with two drummers and the brilliant Mike Kull at the piano. Across the concert and the next afternoon's audience-less recording session, the band was ignited by McPhee's passion and his gorgeous post-Coltrane / post-Pharoah tenor. On 'Shakey Jake,' they hit a James Brown groove filtered through Archie Shepp, while the sidelong title track is as searching and poignant today as it was during its heyday.
"Originally released in 1971 on CjR, an imprint started expressly to document McPhee's music, Nation Time has a sense of urgency and inspiration. Additional material from those December days would later appear on Black Magic Man, Hat Hut's first release. In fact, the first four records on this seminal Swiss label all featured McPhee.
"Nation Time was largely unknown a quarter century or so later, when it was first issued on CD through Atavistic's Unheard Music Series. On Corbett vs. Dempsey, we reissued the album along with all known tapes leading up to and around it as a deluxe box set, but the standalone LP has long remained incredibly rare. Now is the time for a new generation of freaks to lose their shit when settling into the cushy beat of 'Shakey Jake' and answer McPhee's call with the only appropriate response: It's NATION TIME."
– John Corbett
‘Love Hates What You Become’ follows Lost Under Heaven’s 2016 debut, ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’.
"The band wrote the album in Manchester before traveling to Los Angeles to record with producer John Congleton, known for his Grammy-winning work with St. Vincent, Swans, Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Rós. Congleton also introduced the band to Swans drummer Thor Harris, who plays on the record. “We were without a drummer or a real band,” explains Ellery. “I just concentrated on writing the songs rather than making a sound. We turned up in LA with that as our starting point, this collection of Guitar & Piano demos that I’d sent through.”
Those demos included some of the most accomplished songwriting of his career to date, such as momentous album closer ‘For The Wild’. “I started writing that song years ago almost as a pastiche of trying to write real this rock ’n’ roll saviour,” he reminisces. “The rock ’n’ roll revolutionary feels such a culturally irrelevant cliché now, we’re living in a mechanised world seemingly indifferent to the longings of the human soul.”
Merzbow, Nyantora and Duenn’s 3 Rensa trio churn up Grade A+ improvisations for Entr’acte with the first vinyl edition of their ‘Redrum’ recordings.
Leading on from Nyantora & Duenn’s collaboration on the ‘086-087 Area’ CD for Entr’acte in 2017, on ‘Redrum’ introduces Merzbow as a vital, variable catalyst in their next venture for Antwerp’s finest. Recorded at Red BullStudios in Tokyo on 3rd August 2017 over the course of three hours, the results are edited for length in six parts to reveal a deeply uncanny intuition and amorphous nature to the trio’s music.
It’s maybe not what you might come to expect from a record involving Merzbow. Tempered by his collaborators’ leanings towards sound art and electronics, they triangulate a steady but swirling mid ground where free jazz notions collapse into noise and industrial musicks. We’re not entirely sure why each track bears one of their names after the title, i.e. ‘Redrum Session 1.1 Merzbow’ or ‘Redrum Session 2.1 Duenn’, as we were under the impression each track is a collaboration. But never mind, as the results each smudge space-time in fascinating new ways, from the oxidised electro-acoustic fulminations of the first, thru the spheric ceramic roil of the 2nd, to arcing space rock-outs in the 3rd and 4th, thru to abyssal black hole sonics in the 5th, and an exhilarating transition from pummelling percussion and noise squall to vaporised conclusions of the 6th.
Baddest DJ, Beatrice Dillon re-assembles the entire RVNG Intl archive for her ‘Select/Dissect’ mixtape to mark the far-reaching label’s 15th anniversary
There’s hardly a better selector/dissector out there than Beatrice; since her emergence with the exquisite Folkways II mixtape for TTT, thru her ‘Studies For Samplers & Percussion’ with Rupert Clervaux, and a deadly Fact mix splicing computer music, avant garde classics and forward rave, she patently knows how to work fractious components into a cohesive whole.
On ‘Select/Dissect’ she puts those skills to use in a sort of narrative context, craftily spelling out a non-linear account of RVNG Intl’s adventures between new age reissues, Japanese electronics, kosmische psych and jazz-taught electronics. Sometimes she breaks tracks down to loops and stabs, at others she’ll let it roll, and often with imperceptible transitions between the material that leaves listeners gently bewildered, wondering how the fukc did we get here from there?!
There’s no tracklist, but we can spot numbers from K. Leimer, Visible Cloaks and Oliver Coates in there, as well as her Lifted bandmate Max D, if our ears aren’t mistaken. But what the chuff is that rootsy Nyabinghi bit, and what’s it layered with? Or that Oramics-y piece on the B-side? And top marks for including one of our faves from recent-isn Tashi Wada with yoshi Wada and Friends album.
The brothers Overmono rave between tribalist and ambient jungle-tekno and stepping IDM on return to Whiities
‘Lil’s From’ works out natty, rolling breakbeat edits in a way recalling Peder Mannerfelt’s broken styles, whereas ‘Quadraluv’ rolls out on a flighty mix of ambient techno and rude jungle swerve, and ‘Yell0W_Tail’ swings out into breezy IDM dimensions.
Vinyl edition of Clint Mansell’s soundtrack to Ben Wheatley’s black comedy ‘Happy New Year, Mr Burstead
One of, if not the only decent bits of telly from the xmas gone, ‘Happy New Year, Colin Burstead’ features a browbeaten ben Whetaley regular, Neil Maskell, attempting to hold a NYE party for his family in a posh pile. A cutting study in the dynamics of British families and society (that probably applies elsewhere, too), the storyline gets more intense as the characters inevitably get pissed, leading to some kind of Helena Hauff-type german techno DJ character turning it into a rave as the family she was invited to meet breaks down into a feud, with the eponymous Co0lin trying to hold it together.
Clint Mansell’s original soundtrack is a mix of baroque and folksy themes common to Wheatley flicks, favouring lots of bittersweet strings and keys, and even includes an original song sung by the character played by Sam Riley (Ian Curtis’ doppelgänger).
Ric Kaestner’s impossible-to-find, esoteric ambient gem surfaces on vinyl for first time, taken from one of only 2 known copies of the original tape. Happy endings for all collectors of obscure new age and under-the-radar ambient music! RIYL Dominique Lawalrée, Brian Eno, JD Emmanuel...
“Recorded and released in 1987, the original cassette bore a minimalist plum tree design on the cover and music soothing to match. There are only 2 confirmed copies of the original cassette, one of them was used in the restoration and revival of this classic new age album.
Five years after the New Age cult-classic album Music For Massage hit the shelves, it’s sequel was silently released. Never intended for consumer sale, Music For Massage II was only known to a select few masseuses and tape collectors. The very definition of esoteric. Musically, it’s both an homage to how far the genre had come in those five years and served as a predictor of what was to come. Comprising elements of Folk, Drone, Ambient, Ethereal, Minimal, Modern Classical, the recording is quintessential of all things New Age. These are sounds meant to induce healing, therapy, and relaxation. Hand crafted by Ric Kaestner and inspired in part by an encounter with one of the fathers of modern music, John Cage, for actual massage or for casual listening, it holds its own almost four decades later.”
Up until the release of his debut album in 2014, Shinichi Atobe managed to stay off grid since his release on Basic Channel’s Chain Reaction imprint back in 2001. He delivered the second-to-last 12” on the label and then disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a solitary 12” and a trail of speculation that led some people to wonder whether the project was in fact the work of someone on the Basic Channel payroll.
That killer Chain Reaction 12” was also a long time favourite of Demdike Stare, who had been trying to follow the trail and make contact with Atobe for many years before a lead from the Basic Channel office turned up an address in japan and - unbelievably - an album full of archival and new material. That material was compiled and released back in 2014 as Butterfly Effect.
And what a weird and brilliant album it is - deployed with a slow-churn opener that sounds like a syruppy Actress track, before working through a brilliantly sharp and tactile 9 minute Piano House roller that sounds like DJ Sprinkles at his most bittersweet, before diving headlong into a heady, Vainqueur inspired droneworld. It’s full of odd little signatures that gives the whole thing a timeless feel - like a sound bubble from another era.
Crackshot 12” of electro-dub jazz-fusion from London’s Lunch Money siblings, backed with an almighty Equiknoxx remix - one of their very best!
Doing it the right way, under their own steam and laying down proper roots, Lunch Money’s 1st 12” is a beguiling introduction to their style of future jazz first mooted on the ‘Flashing Neon Signs’ 7” in 2016.
On the A-side they cook up a wild brew of strings, double bass and perpendicular brass parts spun out in roiling dub with ‘Living 3000’, before going all ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ with ‘Informant’, and leaving us wondering wtf just happened.
Equiknoxx’s remix of ‘Living 3000’ caps another banner year for JA’s most fwd squad, with Time Cow and Bobby Blackbird turning out the bolshiest, most psychedelic, and powerful turns in their whole discography. They aren’t messing yano!
After no-wave legends Liquid Liquid broke up in 1984, singer Salvatore Principato took some much need to time to revaluate his musical direction. Renting a studio on the Lower East Side with Ken Man Caldiera. It was there that they started their next musical project, Fist of Facts.
"In 1985 Ken Man showed up in the studio with this IBM AT computer. It had a 1/2 MB of RAM and some Voyetra software that could sequence music, becoming the duo’s backing band. Fist Of Facts contributors included Mark Cunningham from Mars, Felice Rosser, Genevieve De Monvel Boutet, Carlos Vivanco, Scott Hartley from the Liquids and a whole host of others.
Fist of Facts expand the natural groove that Liquid Liquid established over their quick career, with a strong political message combined with abstract dub soundscapes."
Two masters of very different string instruments, Ellen Fullman and Okkyung Lee, colour in ‘The Air Around Her’ with beguiling microtonal timbres at a time-melting pace for John Chantler’s 1703 Skivbolaget, Stunning, highly absorbing recordings.
Setting up her famous long string instrument in the 26 metre length of Stockholm’s Kronobageriet - Sweden’s former royal bakery - Ellen Fullman brings a lifetime of dedication to her unwieldy and uniquely resonant instrument, while preeminent improvising cellist Okkyung Lee acts as a more agile counterpoint, subtly contrasting Ellen’s glacial cadence with a broader range of quicker strokes and pointed extended technique.
Produced by John Chantler and recorded by Maria Horn during the First Edition Festival for Other Music, Stockholm on 20th February 2016, ‘The Air Around Her’ takes its title from a quote in ‘Vermeer Interiors’, a poem by Margaret Rabb, from her book ‘Granite Dives’. In both parts, Ellen and Okkyung play with sound as light, conducting a tonal shadowplay of inherently vast scope and ambition that comes with any recordings of Ellen’s long string instrument, as it always requires a good deal of time and space to properly tune and set up.
The results are swept around the space of the old bakery, captivating in their keening swoons and nimble plies, and also the smoothness and friction of their flux of overtones, seeming to coruscate and bend in mid-air in tingling ecstasies, always pulling the ear to the full extent of the room’s parameters.
Uniquely fruitful duo, John Wall and Alex Rodgers beguile again with a brilliant batch of oily glitch-hop and processed vocals in ’Soar’, a book and CD from Antwerp’s finest publishing house, Entr’acte
Just as we were caught out by their ‘Rafia Longer’ 7” in 2015, ’Soar’ finds pivotal London-based artist Wall recalling everyone from Lorenzo Senni to Vladislav Delay and Jay Glass Dubs in the piece’s viscous contours and pinched percussion, while Alex Rodgers supplies the pointed text, delivered in gruff processed tons to sound uncannily like he’s inside the listener’s head, riffing on observations of self-obsessed society.
Following on from ‘Dimensional Space’ on Echospace [Detroit], CV313, aka Stephen Hitchell offers up his second album, ‘Glass City Sessions’ on Minimood, featuring five profoundly immersive tracks that come as a double vinyl release only.
"CV313's signature dub techno sound has been a blueprint for the genre and is created on vintage hardware; all sounds, static, tones and paranormal occurrences are left in to render it as atmospheric as it is. The five expansive recordings that make up the abum are actually based on live recordings from a DEMF aftershow night back in 2000 in Detroit.
“The music is a bit creepy and so was the experience of this live show” says Stephen Hitchell, “It was an old dingy warehouse about 10 miles out of downtown Detroit, right next to the now abandoned Eloise asylum, but there are many stories of it still being haunted”. Indeed, that theme of haunted locations around Detroit echoes through the five tracks and makes them a truly cinematic experience."
Joe McPhee is subject of this month’s cover image and feature interview.
Also, a preview of upcoming exhibition by A/V polymath Michael Snow; a primer on Tuareg Guitar music from the Sahara; finger-picker Steve Gunn tested by The Invisible Jukebox; and all the usual news, reviews and listings.
Raw and original house music from Mix Mup, leading on from his MM/KM link-ups with Kassem Mosse
Up top he herds the Detroit-modelled hustle of ‘Clear Drive’ with its wooden kicks and recursive FX opening out into lush synth pads and rude bassline, whereas ‘Flair’ is all about gritty, hypnotic motion in a Marcellus Pittmann or Howard Thomas style, and the B-side’s ‘Pa Toppen’ puts some strut in your pipe.
Capturing The Space Lady in her natural habitat - the streets of late '70s San Francisco - beaming messages of peace and harmony via cover versions of pop classics
The collection includes an ohrwurming 'Major Tom', the haunting 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' and a hypnotic version of 'Fly Like An Eagle' among others - and original material played on a then-new Casio keyboard (bought after her accordion was robbed) whilst typically dressed like some flamboyant character from a Greek play.
They're all taken from the only known recording of her legendary street performances (documented in the physical release's liner notes and archival photos), which has since become an outsider music classic feted by everyone from Erol Alkan (he included her take on 'Major Tom' in his 'Bugged In' mix for !K7) to Kutmah and John Maus.
Thanks to the fantastic Night School label for bringing this album to wider attention, it's easy to hear her music's influence on like-minded avant-pop music, from John Maus to Julia Holter and Group Rhoda, Pram, Laika, and far beyond. If you've got even the slightest interest in that sound, this record is just so damn good.
Premiere release of a plangently sore synth work inspired by the Yom Kippur war in ‘70s Israel
“’The soundtrack of my mind. Sounds derived from the war which still and always live in my mind'
“This record is a previously unheard masterpiece of Israeli multimedia artist Ami Shavit. As a professor of both philosophy and art and established kinetic artist in the 1970s Shavit was fascinated with new and interactive technologies. While mostly focusing on visual art and mixed-media installations, a trip to New York in 1972 introduced him to synthesizers and triggered his curiosity to do some explorations into the world of music or "sound" as he preferred to call it. Ami's research was focused on the concept of meditative music that would help people to relax and create a cosy mood associated to the alpha brain waves and biofeedback.
Before starting his artistic career, like all Israeli citizens, he had to serve in the army to his personal regret. Shavit had an operational position, which meant a high probability to get involved in a so called 'hot situation'. When in 1973 the Yom Kippur war broke out, Ami was enlisted again and got the unfortunate opportunity to encounter, in Hanoch Levin's words 'the dead'. Being an operation officer he was in charge of evacuating Israeli wounded officers from battlefields to hospitals. Some 6000 injured men passed through us during that war, he recalled one year later in a newspaper interview.'I witnessed some sights that I can hardly forget. On the one hand I felt that as an artist I had to express the war events, on the other hand I felt that this is an almost impossible mission. Only Goya and Picasso, in his Guernica, addressed this topic successfully.'
Yom Kippur is the final and seminal of Shavit's sound experiments ever recorded and now finally available to the world. We believe that this is an extraordinary strong piece in which the hectic moods and terrific experiences of war are deeply transmitted to the listener. May all soldiers, who are often forced to go through traumatic experiences beyond their own will, find ways to artistically digest and process the unwanted memories.”
For their second release, NBN Records select Walter Mecca, the enigmatic character out of Paris' suburbs, who built an extensive catalogue over the last decade under various aliases on his own imprint Weirdata.
"He steps up here to deliver his first vocal opus "Lose Control" under the moniker of Waltaa as we discover another side of the multi-faceted artist. The result is a truly unique hybrid R&B project spiced up with touches of Jazz fusion.
Blending contemporary vibes and early Timbaland productions on the hit single "Ready Or Not" , his song writing and arrangements are further illustrated on the smoothed-out low funk of the two-part title track - "Lose Control" .
An alien in the music industry, Waltaa reaffirms his eccentric character, staying out of step with current trends while maintaining a timeless quality, rooted one foot in the next.”
Potent midnight melancholy from Brussels, featuring Victor De Roo debuting under his own name after introductions made as Vanderschrick on a delectable 7” for Stroom
Picking up where his 7” left off, and with more room to play with on ‘Nachtdichter’, De Roo unfolds his sound along more lonesome, lofty lines with the chirruping tape nose and hushed downbeat delivery of ‘Gewoon’, before penning the kind of red-lit synth-pop we could imagine cropping up in a Gaspar Noé flick with the slick but brooding dungeon boogie of ‘Voorbenachte Rade’. On the other side, the artist’s Belgian synth heritage bleeds thru in the floating spectral figures of ‘Beland In Bed’, and the EP’s title cut regresses to a sort of smacked-out drone rock dirge recalling Clay Rendering as much as Pseudo Code.
Quietly unmissable, this.
Carla Dal Forno yields her self-released cover versions tape, ‘Top Of The Pops’, which was previously only available on her 2018 US tour
Recorded on the cusp of winter/spring, it features Dal Forno placing a gently haunted spin on personal pop & wave favourites by The B-52’s, Rénee, The Kiwi Animal, Liliput, Lana Del Rey, and The Fates.
Stripped down to their essence, the songs provide a fine showcase for Carla’s strong yet plaintive vocals and skill in painting and framing her subtle instrumental backdrops. The results are most alluring in her skeletal reduction of the B-52’s ‘Give Me Back My Man’, with its seaside town-in-winter ambience, and in the dark blue stripe of her take on Lana Del Rey’s ’Summertime Sadness’, but we’re sure you’ll all have your own favourites.
Sold out at source. Think quick if you’d like one.
Séance Center survey the ghostly soundtrack work of Storm Bugs’ Philip Sanderson in the ‘80s, after leaving the cult industrial group to pursue solo interests...
“By 1981, after four years of DIY electronics, it was time for a change. For Philip Sanderson that change came in the form of film. At first, requests came from friends for soundtrack work, and by the end of the decade he was making short experimental 8mm films himself. On One of These Bends is a collection of unreleased songs, soundtrack work and obscure cassette-only pieces from the 80’s which reflect Philip’s shift in focus. It was a departure from the industrial music he had been making with his group Storm Bugs, having more in common with Nino Rota and Henry Mancini, albeit as seen through a DIY lens, and with a reel-to-reel orchestra comprised of an EMS VCS3, vibraphone, DX7, Roland SH-101, Roland TR-606, tape delay, acoustic guitar, fretless bass and Yamaha FB-01
On two numbers, Philip jokingly asked an American chanteuse to “sing it like a cross between
Streisand and The Shangri-Las”, and to his surprise she did, the results sounding like a loungey AC Marias, or a lost early Crépuscule recording by Anna Domino. Counterpointing this are tracks such as E For Echo made with just an acoustic guitar, and the very first piece Bright Waves which combines the choral vocal talents of Nancy Slessenger with a Revox tape delay system, originally released on his own label Snatch Tapes, under the pseudonymous duo Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey.
These tracks are presented with the ‘picture turned down’ so to speak, and as such the music acts as a kind of memento mori for the absent moving images, and maybe even for the decade itself.”