'Perfect Vision' is another defiant set from enduring D.C.-based blues-rock guitarist and songwriter Thalia Zedek. Her dissenting voice has never sounded clearer than right here, on an album finished only moments before the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Zedek has been challenging the system of control since 1980, and her latest doesn't break the tension for a second. Her last album "Fighting Season" was about resistance as tension grew across the USA; "Perfect Vision" is focused on the search for clarity as the world languishes in isolation.
It shouldn't surprise any regular listeners that the album is toothy, serrated and to-the-point. Zedek's overdriven blues rock is accurately in-key with current malaise, and her voice - booming and incisive - sounds poignant, sober and prophetic.
Digitalis/RVNG survivor Steve Gunn enlists help from Julianna Barwick, Mary Lattimore, Bridget St. John and others on his sunny, kosmische-influenced sixth solo album. Somewhere between Mercury Rev, later Popol Vuh and Nick Drake.
'Other You' illustrates coolly just how much Gunn has developed his songwriting since his early minimalist work that explored the intersection between Appalachian folk and Indian raga. Now all that DIY grit has disappeared almost entirely, and Gunn's music - recorded by Elliott smith producer Rob Schnapf - sounds as compositionally complex as The Beach Boys or Kurt Vile, who Gun performed with for a stretch. But that's no bad thing, "Other You" twinkles with much-needed sunshine and Gunn's take on Americana is effortless and enjoyable. His choice to swerve the somehow overly-folksiness of many of his contemporaries has led him down a more cosmic path that, on tracks like the eponymous opener and 'Good Wind' drags him closer to Florian Fricke's acidic fretwork than John Fahey's.
His choice of collaborators is also thoughtful and harmonious. Julianna Barwick's contribution on 'Good Wind' adds a flash of golden light from heaven as she harmonizes with Gunn's cracking voice, and Mary Lattimore's unmistakable looping harp phrases on 'Sugar Kiss' stand out on the album's singular instrumental. It's pop music, just about, but some of the more hopeful, more adventurous and more resonant you're likely to hear this year.
Yann Tiersen (Amélie, Goodbye Lenin) ushers a classy suite of keys, strings and electronics on his follow-up to 2019’s ‘Portrait’
Composed at his studio, The Eskal based on the sparsely populated island of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany in the Celtic Sea, ‘Kerber’ takes its melancholic shape over seven parts of ponderous, and occasionally rapturous, solo piano gnawed by tart electronics, and with parts written for Ondes Martenot, mellotron and harpsichord. At the risk of generalising, it’s all every bit as sentimental and romantic as one might be lead to expect from a french soundtrack composer, rife with emotive turns of phrase and textured for intimacy, with standout moments lodged in its rushy ‘Ker al Loch’ and his grand, titular 10 minute denoument.
Shades of Ariel Kalma’s bio-feedback systems meet Colin Stetson’s grandly cinematic North American landscapes on the 3rd album by Land of Kush saxophonist Jason Sharp.
“The Turning Centre Of A Still World is Sharp’s first purely solo record and his most lucid, poignant, integral work to date. Following two acclaimed albums composed around particular collaborators and guest players, Sharp conceived his third as an interplay strictly bounded by his own body, his acoustic instrument, and his evolving bespoke electronic system. The Turning Centre... is a singular sonic exploration of human-machine calibration, interaction, expression and biofeedback.
Using saxophones, foot-controlled bass pedals, and his own pulse – patched through a heart monitor routed to variegated signal paths that trigger modular synthesizers and samplers – Sharp paints with organic waves of glistening synthesis, pink noise and digitalia. Melodic strokes and harmonic shapes ripple and crest across ever-shifting seas, through an inclement cycle from dawn to dusk. The album’s six main movements navigate a world where placid surfaces are always roiled and disquieted by a deeper inexorable gyre: the gravitational pull and tidal perpetuity of our bodies made of water, buffeted by terrestrial atmospheric pressures, wrung out by emotions, coursing with blood, sustained by breath, inescapably yearning for and returning to ground again and again. Sharp’s heartbeat literally courses through these compositions – while only occasionally surfacing as a clearly audible pulse or rhythm, it physically feeds into a spectrum of generative synthetic processes that help constitute and conduct the music.
The immersive, intensive, widescreen electronic works on The Turning Centre… could sit comfortably as a masterful and stellar contribution to the space/sci-fi/synth soundtrack genre, owing to their overall sound palette and oceanic scope. But this is ultimately deeper, grittier, earthier stuff – pulsing with terrestrial granularity, charting subterranean geographies of the heart and soul.”
Portland-based folk guitarist Marisa Anderson teams up with "First Cow" composer William Tyler for this blurry set of guitar-led melancholia influenced by Anglo-pessimist in chief, Mark Fisher.
'Lost Futures' was conceived in Portland after Anderson and Tyler had connected at a tribute show for Silver Jews' David Berman. Tyler had played in Silver Jews, as well as in Lambchop, and while the two had an immediate connection, they wondered whether their busy schedules might allow time for collaboration. When COVID hit a few months later, it provided them with the time they needed to fire ideas back and forth, using Fisher's theories as a jumping-off point.
Hearing Fisher's theories untethered to British electronic music's obsession with dusty nostalgia and post-BoC/Burial hauntology is actually quite refreshing. Anderson and Tyler's music is rooted in a different - and more resolutely American - idea of the lost future; Tyler's background is in Nashville and Anderson's folk playing was shaped by her collaborations with Tuareg musicians like Mdou Moctar and Kildjate Moussa Albadé. So the music here feels as if it funnels well-worn American ideas into new places, challenging the listener by fusing the familiar and the unexpected.
The result is post-rock adjacent, with tracks like 'Something Will Come' building a chugging Kraut groove and 'Pray For Rain' sounding painfully epic. But the duo hit their stride in the moments of subtle, soulful Americana, like the utterly heartbreaking title track and the lengthy closer 'Haunted By Water', that sounds like a bleak, instrumental take on the lavish Nashville sound.
From Lawrence English
"I am ceaselessly fascinated by how memory operates and, I’m regularly struck by how individually subjective a collective experience can be when recalled by its participants. Lynch’s Lost Highway comes to mind here, specifically Bill Pullman’s character Fred Madison who says “I like to remember things my own way. How I remembered them, not necessarily the way they happened.” Like Madison, I can’t help but sense that memory takes shape through an accumulative process that reflects how each of us have lived (and maybe even wanted to live) up to that point in time.
Going back to listen again to these recordings of which I was a part with David and Akio, I was surprised by what elements had stayed with me and what others had slipped into the eternal greying of my mind. I have vivid recollections of listening to a Lyre bird before recording the pieces together at Witches Falls. I remember both Akio and David finding musicality in decaying palm fronds. I remember Akio’s voice, amplified through his Analpos, bouncing off the stones and trees. I remember David’s flute, so quiet in the pitch black of the night forest as to appear like a hushed tone of wind or a distant animal calling. I also remember trying to match my modest hand held electronics with the pulsing and pitching of the insects around me.
Reading David’s text, which is included in the book published alongside this edition, he recounts several things I had forgotten. Conversations about memory, ironically enough, had vanished from my mind until reading his words. I also didn’t really remember my role as tick surgeon, removing a living insect from David’s ear. I do remember his cooking though, as does Akio (captured aptly in his drawings), no doubt a testament to David’s improvisational culinary expertise.
Breathing Spirit Forms represents a distinctive exchange between friends and collaborators. Tamborine commands a special presence and encourages a deep patience from those who are willing to give time to its varied environments. For the three of us, we were fortunate to share these moments together, fleeting in our lives as they might be, to sense the mountain’s unique qualities, to respond to them through our exchanges and to form memories (as disparate as they might be) we carry forward with us in time."
Kristin Hayter's fourth album is a death-deifying combo of baroque folk, experimental drone and sacred music that almost effortlessly succeeds in walking a dangerous creative tightrope. RIYL Moor Mother, Kali Malone, The Body or Pharmakon - she's that good!
Following February's ace "Agnus Dei", Hayter has developed that album's mix of time-locked political church-baiting and sacred music reinterpretations into one of the most ambitious rock-adjacent albums we've heard this year. Her booming words command the tone of the album, which echoes like church music written in spite of, not because of the power of American organized religion.
Hayter is a critical force, and uses the voice of Jimmy Swaggart, an evangelist preacher who was defrocked after a series of sex scandals, on the powerful 'THE SACRED LINAMENT OF JUDGMENT'. But she refuses to leave the conversation one-sided, sampling an interview with Rosemary Garcia, the sex worker who Swaggart was caught with, on 'MAN IS LIKE A SPRING FLOWER'.
These songs punctuate an album that's dense and pointed. Hayter sings over piano, pipe organ ('I WHO BEND THE TALL GRASSES'), hurdy gurdy ('THE SACRED LINAMENT OF JUDGMENT') and booming analog synth ('THE ORDER OF SPIRITUAL VIRGINS'), and creates a sound that feels hooked into her history. It's folk music, sacred music and, in some ways, classical, but Hayter's assembly of these elements is dangerous and unmistakably experimental.
"SINNER GET READY" is as powerful and as impenetrable as the gnarliest black metal, but isn't afraid to show beauty in amongst the clouded, frozen expanses. Highly recommended.
From Will Long:
"It was months ago, but it could have been weeks, days, or even hours since then. I stopped wanting to hear loops, I wanted to stop it. I added brass; trumpets, trombones, and more horns. I cut it out like words from a book, and sewed it back together. Burroughs. These movements are merely to stay alive, to stay moving.
You wake up from a truck horn passing in the early morning hours on the nearby freeway, or from a dream that you can't tell was a nightmare or a loving memory.
Someone walks by on the street wearing the same perfume. I drew out each place, each scene, and put the story there. It might have been with you, or without you. All I know is that you were there somehow the whole time, even if you weren't.
I saw rainbows from under the bridge by the river, and the sun shot up through the clouds of the golden hour. It didn't help, and there was no one around. Your chest is even with your knees, and you're sitting in the dirt. The sun keeps going down, and eventually you make your way home. It's not very much the same as it was anymore. The horns are deafening, but after, the echoes let me see the way away.
The light keeps coming, and it keeps going. Songs of surroundings, the silent, the heartbeats, the tears. We've all had them, and we'll never be rid of them."
Manchester family Space Afrika's Dais debut is a sprawling, genre melted tapestry of charged diasporic innovation and unshakably Northern, British working class eccentricity >> Like Dean Blunt, DJ Spooky, Cocteau Twins, Klein, West Mineral, Tricky, Third Eye Foundation, Actress 'n Michael Nyman boiled into a waxy narrative epic, 'Honest Labour' is as smoky and mysterious as it is rewarding. Undoubtedly one of the most viscerally affecting records of 2021.
Since 2014's "Above The Concrete / Below The Concrete" Joshua Inyang and Joshua Tarelle have been drawing a complex blueprint, displaying their influences and re-drawing each element to fit their ambitious creative vision. Initially spurred on by nth wave dub techno, and Raster Noton 'n Mille Plateaux's glacial, arty minimalism, the duo dug deeper into their shared musical DNA on 2018's sferic-released "Somewhere Decent to Live". This time they anchored their productions in 'nuum history, liquefying garage, jungle and grime hallmarks into glistening trails of pulses, pads and gestures.
Spurred on by last summer's global anti-racist protests, the duo widened their sonic universe with "Hybtwibt?", a heady collage of political subterfuge, biography and raw emotion. It was a rap beat tape without beats or raps, or an ambient album that had shelved the ambience completely, leaving inverted space and covert cinematic storytelling. This year's short, sharp "Untitled (To Describe You) OST" offered similar brainfood, mulling over concepts of identity and class with traces of drill and musique concrete.
'Honest Labour' is the sum of these component parts, and Inyang and Tarelle's defining statement to date. It's a fully silver-lined patchwork of high and low cultural squares that dissolves class, race and state identifiers in searing washes of familiarity and anxious experimentation. The euphoric post-jungle sparkle of tracks like 'yyyyyy2222' and 'solemn' is cut with warbling vocal dream pop ('indigo grit' and 'rings'), post-SND beat fukkery ('ny interlude') and k-holed industrial fuzz ('ladybird drone', 'like orchids').
But it's the duo's use of trip-hop and illbient tropes that truly tips their sound into jaw-to-the-floor territory. Standout single 'B£E' welds a vivid rap from MCR's Blackhaine over eroding breaks that sound like they've fallen off the back of Tricky's misunderstood "Nearly God" album. As words spell out a rainy working class reality where hope cracks thru grey concrete, Tarelle and Inyang bleed orchestral strings into the mix until they drown the rhythm completely. It's Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy' completed finally, evolved in a battle-scarred south Manchester petri dish.
"Honest Labour" is a Black British story that painstakingly weaves theory and raw open wounds with a passion for discovery and obsessive ear for sound. It's an album that linx Goldie's euphoric melancholy with Tricky's gender-flexing working class poetics, Actress's fuzzed-out high-minded syfy storytelling and Klein's noizy theatrical experimentation. It's one of 2021's most essential albums so far >> no doubt.
A bearhug of chill-out room gouching gear from MFM spanning the golden era of ‘90s ambient dance music with gems from David Moufang, LFO, Global Communication, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Sun Electric and many more notables of that era.
Since the world turned into a big chill out room in early 2020, albeit with a heavy sense of anxiety, this set could hardly be better placed for downtime in the comfort of your own home, rolling out mystic highlights such as LFO’s MDMA-tingle arps and pads in ‘Helen’ and the sublime suspension systems of Global Communication’s remix of ‘Arcadian’, along with Move D’s early nugget ‘Sergio Leone’s Wet Dream’, and the lush pads of his close spar Jonah Sharp’s Spacetime Continuum, plus a strip of killer slow acid in Sideral’s ‘Mare Nostrum’, and the blissed romance of ‘Love 2 Love’ by Sun Electric.
One for the lovers and the ravers.
New one from Kevin Martin, back with his first new full-length album under The Bug moniker in seven years featuring the MCs Moor Mother, Flowdan, Daddy Freddy, Irah, Roger Robison, Nazamba, FFSYTHO, Manga and Logan.
Biding his time to soundtrack the onset of the eschaton, Kevin Martin is here weighted by a plethora of vocalists who really step up to the plate, going over easy on the war cry horns and galvanised with his signature, metal-plated percussion and bass distortion.
It’s all done at the service of the vocalists, who are placed front and centre of the mix, with longterm collaborators such as award-winning dub poet Roger Robinson (also of King Midas Sound) returning for his 4th LP with The Bug, alongside the comeback of Flowdan and Daddy Freddy, plus new voices such as Moor Mother lending her seething, disciplined aggression beside grimy bars by Manga St. Hilaire, Nazamba dialling in from JA, fast chat from Logan_olm, and roadwise UK barbs by FFSYTHO.
Seemingly ready made to be played off back of a truck at this summer’s riots, the vibe is utter gutter, ramping thru 14 cuts, as Roger Rbinon’s scene-setter ‘The Fourth Day’ sets it some Children of Men-like future that’s all too close for comfort, and Flowdan lights the fuse of ‘Pressure,’ triggering a chain reaction that takes in barrelling gruffness of Irah, concentrated rufige of ‘Vexed’ starring Moor Mother, and goat-stare badness of ‘Clash,’ with scudding madnesses caught in ‘Hammer’ and ‘High Rise,’ before Roger Robinson helps bring the lead curtains down in crushing fashion on ‘The Missing.’
Berlin's Sebastian Counts continues his German approximation of British hauntological eccentricity on his second album. "Vaganten" is as colourful as Plone or The Belbury Poly, but serves the nursery rhyme synths and Radiophonic beats with cold beer, bratwurst, and a side of dark rye bread.
On Counts' first ToiToiToi album, 2017's "Im Hag", the conceptual artist proposed that Ghost Box's home of Belbury was twinned with Germany's Ethernbach im Hag, and provided a dusty soundtrack as proof. 'Vaganten' is the next chapter in the story, and brings an air of continental Medieval whimsy into Belbury's charming psychedelic realm.
The album's title track expresses this best, sounding like a Medieval drinking song - flutes 'n all - recomposed using an Atari ST and a 1980s digi-dub synth setup. There's even an almost indecipherable vocal funneled through a vocoder so it warbles as if it's being drowned. Similarly, on 'The Inner Hobo' Counts' vintage monosynths are overshadowed by evocative archaic flutes and Medieval strings. It's these fairytale moments that work best on "Vaganten" and set Counts out on his own.
ANNA, Rrose, Jlin, The Exaltics, Kangding Ray, JakoJako, Barker and Chris Liebing diffract the recent solo album by Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore in a spectrum of technoid forms
Jlin impresses with the forward rhythmic gymnastics of her take on ‘Capuchin’ and Barker takes a chufty post-rock route with his rework of ‘Mandrill.’ Brazil’s Wehbba and German producer bring the big room techno bosh with their respective takes, and Rrose takes a grungier experimental route to pounding conclusions. Cult electro unit The Exaltics reset ‘Howler’ in a pendulous mid tempo electro roll cage, and Kangding Ray works around, in between the groove with gleaming steel tipped arps, for Italy’s MoReVox to round off with a stone cold highlight in their grinding, bruxist spin on ‘Mandrill.’
Tolouse Low Trax plucks out obscure slow-mo zingers across time and place for a class taste of the Salon Des Amateurs style he was instrumental in shaping alongside Vladimir Ivkovic and Lena Willikens
Commanding a perfectly groggy collection for the latest Bureau B compilation, Düsseldorf’s Detlef Weinrich aka Tolouse Low Trax (and catalyst of Toresch) joins the dots between 11 artists and groups who are all new to our ears, at the least, and all share a seuctive grasp of downtempo motion and elegance. It’s all the kind of sultry late night gear that one might hear at Salon Des Amateurs, the low-key bar tucked away in a Düsseldorf art museum, where he honed an inimitable style of slow, post-kraurock dance music before the joint shut in 2018 after 14 years in business.
Playing it close to home for local label Bureau B, Weinrich sums up the Salon spirit with a breezy selection that we’re sure will be ideal for a long night of drinking and unravelling conversation. From the kinky gloom of Macromassa’s ’92 Spanish gem ‘El Consecuente Aspecto de Geometría’ to the gorgeous synth ethers of Viola Renea’s ’85 Japanese obscurity ‘Chariot of Palace’, it’s all A++ material, extending necessary introductions to Techno Twins with the screwed synth-pop of ‘Donald and Julie Go Boating’ and US poet Lydia Tomkiw with the rippling marimbas and droll delivery of ‘Hot June Evening,’ with the creepy 11 minute ace ‘Basset’ by The Stupid Set recalling an extension of Conny Plank & Holger Czukay’s Les Vampyrettes, and an unmissable cut of parping 1990 midi fanfare by Italy’s DsorDNE.
No doubt this is a low-key masterclass in the art of thematic, but unblinkered, curation that both prompts and leaves lots to the imagination. An absolute must check!
This deeply immersive first solo album by EMS legend Peter Zinovieff since 1974’s brief "A Lollipop for Papa" arrives as a posthumous testament to his probing research and practice, one that has informed several generations of synth-worshipers around the world via his Electronic Music Studios (EMS) which he co-founded with Tristram Cary and David Cockerell. It arrives just weeks after his death on June 23 this year, and is an "extended computer work" based on hydrophone recordings of blue whales, a time-warping excursion into an underwater realm essential for fans of Roland Kayn, FUJI||||||||||TA's "Kōmori" or Jana Winderen's complex, detailed field recordings.
After founding London's EMS in 1969, Zinovieff spent the rest of his life quietly sculpting the curve of contemporary music, developing game-changing synthesisers like the VCS3 and the Synthi 100, and working alongside artists ranging from collaborator Delia Derbyshire (White Noise, BBC Radiophonic Workshop) to Pink Floyd, Bowie, J.M Jarre, Todd Rundgren and countless others, as well as presenting the first ever performance of unaccompanied computer music during pioneering concerts in London in 1968. Legendary status assured, it’s all the more remarkable that Zinovieff released very few of his own compositions, with this recording marking up as his first since 1974’s ‘A Lollipop for Papa’ and 2015’s unofficial ‘Electronic Calendar’ compilation, and his more recent 'RFG Inventions for Cello and Computer' collaboration with Lucy Railton which was issued by PAN last year,
The material here was assembled between 2013 and 2017, and derives from recordings oceanographer Susannah Buchan made off the coast of Chile. For 30 minutes, the piece plunges us into a nuanced, prototypical sort of hybrid analog-digital soundsphere, drawing on the eternally mysterious sound of blue whale communications as the basis for an unusual work thrumming with natural sounds woven thru the magick of computer music, effectively conveying its ability to induce the strangest otherworldly sensations. It's only the occasional washing of salt water that brings us down to earth; the rest is fluttering and communicative, filtered and distant.
Never one to shy away from big ideas, the piece unfolds in five parts that practically document Zinovieff in a one way dialogue with the largest mammals ever to have existed on earth, rendering their cryptic comms in richly reverberating electronics of the sort that dreams are made of. Sadly, Peter passed away only weeks before its intended release date, but leaves behind an inspirational legacy, with this recording framing his work at its most timeless and transcendent.
Konstantinos Soublis aka Fluxion follows Type's reissue of his classic 'Vibrant Forms' with this set of buoyant dub house riddims recorded in New York for Echocord and starring reggae vocalist, Teddy Selassie.
Taking clear inspiration from the seminal precedents of Main Street and Rhythm & Sound, Fluxion gives the Tikiman-alike Teddy Selassie a plush suite of stepping, skanking riddims rent with widescreen dub techno atmospheres, oscillating back and forth between lean, fluidly 4/4 instrumental steppers and dread-heavy future roots styles topped by the achingly mellifluous vocals. Arguably, it's one of the most accomplished long-players you'll hear in this niche and tightly defined sound. RIYL Rhythm & Sound, Deepchord.
And lo, it was reissued - Coil’s pivotal dose of post-industrial/acid bath-house psychedelia reappears, remastered and expanded with a bonus disc of mostly unheard alternate versions, marking 30 years of soundtracking dreams and party afterlives.
Borne from intensive studio sessions circa 1988-1990 and served hot and slippery in 1991, ‘LSD’ is widely recognised as a key entry point to Coil’s illustrious, but sometimes hard to grasp, catalogue. Their 3rd long player features Jhonn and Sleazy working with Danny Hyde (who was then fresh from remixing Seal’s ‘Killer’) to realise a richly layered and hallucinogenic masterpiece that would influence the visions of everyone from Æ to NIИ, irrevocably infecting electronic music’s water table for a whole generation and beyond.
Their significant studio successor to ‘Scatology’ (1984) and ‘Horse Rotorvator’ (1986) simply sounded like nowt else at the time, aligning their esoteric interests and pursuits in 13 kaleidoscopic forms on the original album, and now supplemented by 10 bonus tracks on the new 2nd disc. The body-gurning cut-up of ‘Disco Hospital’ is now held up for contrast with its loping ‘Unedited’ version, and the crepuscular groove of ‘The Snow’ is featured in multiple Apollonian mixes for the darkroom dwellers, and all time classics like ‘Dark River’ and ‘Chaostrophy’ appear shivering and naked in their alternate, stripped down mixes, giving vital glimpses into their cabalistic studio process.
Alongside untouchable classics such as ‘Things Happen’ starring Annie Anxiety and Charles Hayward, and the This Heat drummer’s sizzling percussion on the title tune, the effect of LSD endures with wide eyed, future-proofed effect that’s bound to infect listeners for another 30 years, at least.
Featuring old pals Lucy Railton on cello and Kit Downes playing the Skáholt Cathedral's massive pipe organ, 'Subaerial' sounds like a consecrated bridge to a higher realm = utterly transformative music that bends and braids the old and new together like hot iron and bronze.
Railton and Downes first met while studying in London, and have been playing together ever since. ECM alum Downes has a background in jazz, while Railton has moved from classical music into the experimental realm on her acclaimed recent run of recordings. On 'Subaerial' the duo improvise on organ and cello, capturing a sound that reimagines the familiar motifs of sacred music as complex contemporary drones and washes of eerie ecclesiastical resonance.
They picked Iceland's Skáholt Cathedral to record the album, dazzled by its warm acoustics and impressive pipe organ. Rather than compose specific pieces, they instead decided to record spontaneously, improvising together in the cathedral for three hours and then slicing out seven discrete moments for the album. Railton and Downes have been improvising together for fun since their school days, but this is the first time they'd used the process as the core for a release.
Their process lends a particular tone to the music. It's as if both musicians are receiving direction from some higher force, their performances weaving in and out of each other and the building's acoustics. In such austere and sacred surroundings, it makes sense that the music echoes Northern European tradition, but both artists succeed in elevating into more difficult places, infusing their unusual improvisations with meaning and relevance.
Railton's cello leads and as the album develops, Downes builds harmonic tones with magnificent restraint, allowing the organ to mimic the elasticity of a synthesizer. The sound they create is chilling and brave rather than "cinematic" - the two blazing a path skywards, cutting unique sonic sculptures from a space that was intended to link heaven and the earth. It's a remarkable achievement.
New York-based percussionist and sound artist Eli Keszler dropped jaws last year with his unstoppable one-two punch of the ‘Red Horse’ LP on Type and ‘Cold Pin’ on PAN. Admittedly this was the first most listeners had heard from him, but new devotees were quick to fall over each other to grab anything else Keszler had put his name to, so it’s a fan service from PAN that they’ve put together this bumper double CD that collects up all the disparate pieces of the Cold Pin recordings.
The original installation was set up in Boston’s cavernous Cyclorama gallery, and finds Keszler stretching gigantic strings across the walls and letting small motorized hammers ‘play’ them at random intervals. Accompanied by a group of similarly outré minds (Geoff Mullen, Greg Kelley, Reuben Son and wife Ashley Paul) the musicians played to the randomized booming strings, and now, unlike the studio recordings we heard on the previously released LP we can hear the piece in full unedited form, together with the gigantic reverb of the room itself.
Probably the most stunning addition to the original pieces though is Keszler’s recordings of the Cold Pin exhibit he set up in Shriveport Louisiana, where the strings were stretched across two large empty water purification basins. You probably have an idea of how that might sound, but needless to say Thomas Koner’s peerless ‘Permafrost’ might be a good place to start. Elsewhere we’re treated to a full ensemble recording (with the Providence string quartet), which reframes the piece as a defiantly modern re-imagining of Ligeti – dissonant, disconcerting and gruesomely eerie. Even if you’ve already bagged the LP you won’t want to miss out on ‘Catching Net’, it’s yet more proof that at only 28 years old Eli Keszler is already one of the most important voices in the experimental music scene right now. Highly recommended.
'Live Knots' presents two immersive live recordings of Oren Ambarchi playing the epic 'Knots' from 'Audience Of One' (Touch, 2012) in Tokyo and Krakow's Unsound Festival.
Captured with alternately intimate and widescreen fidelity, the original elements of cyclonic guitar harmony and quicksilver percussion are twisted different ways across the two performances, exploring and testing every nuance of the track's framework. 'Tokyo Knots' intimately documents their show at SuperDeluxe in March 2013, Ambarchi cautiously stalking Joe Talia's prickling, Dejohnette-esque percussion with viscose bass tone and heady harmonic incense, progressively whipping up a free form storm of buzz-saw guitar attacks and crashing drums, organically resolving to a lean motorik groove flecked with spring reverb.
By contrast, the twice-as-long performance of 'Krakow Knots', featuring Sinfonietta Cracovia led by Eyvind Kang on viola, presents a more expansive reading of the same structure, adding a prelude of sliding string dissonance before swelling against Talia's adroit patter with a burgeoning tension, ratcheting the mid-section squall to blistering barrage of buzz-saw flares and strobing fuzz, before burning out to reveal a captivating resolution of string glissandi swept against Joe Talia and Crys Cole's skittish percussion objects and retching spring reverb. The applause at the end is very well earned.
The keenly awaited debut full length from Joy O arrives as a proper friends and family affair, packed with guest co-production and vox by Herron, James Massiah, Bathe, Léa Sen, Goya Gumbani, and many more
Twelve years since his anthemic first single ‘Hyph Mngo’, ‘still slipping vol. 1’ shapes up as a definitive long-player/mixtape with 14 choice cuts that speak to breadth of his tastes and stylistic bonds. Also spirited with a number of voice notes sent from family during lockdown, it offers a vicarious glimpse into the personal world of an artist who has come to define a certain aspect of UK rave over the past decade, exerting a kinds spotless spin on mutations of UKG and sub-bass heavy techno, with shades of D&B-style production. Here he continues and expands that agenda with dips into woozy beatdown and drill alongside signature swangers, finely toggling the London pressure gauge to a modestly homely, home-listening and headphone vibe.
Personalised by the presence of family everywhere from the opener’s sample of his dad, to the cover photo of his aunt Leighann, who introduced Joy O to garage and jungle at a formative age, the results prefer a slow burn intimacy over any raving madness. He keeps everything in-the-pocket and dialled down from Air Max bounce to Hush Puppy hustle from the Reese bass dembow of ‘sparko’ with Herron, to the lissom 2-step of ‘born slipping’, craftily drifting into a D&B lane on ‘layer 6’ and testing out soulful drill style on ‘runnersz’ and the bloozier ‘’rraine.’ But the album is really defined by its vocals, with James Massiah (DJ Escrow ov Babyfather) nimbly dancing around ‘swag’ and Léa Sen lending some Morcheeba vibes to the tech house of ‘better’, with conscious bars by Goya Gumbani on ‘Playground’, each complemented by sprinkled samples of his family giggling and chatting.
Susanna plays to her strengths in transformed cover versions of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Lennon-Mccartney and more in collaboration with her cousin, David Wallumrød.
Recorded in Oslo and Asker during 2019-2020, right before the pandemic hit, ‘Live’ is a strong testament to Susanna’s durable skill in resetting classic songs to her lowlit, chamber style, as previously highlighted in her sublime take on Joy Division’s ‘Wilderness’ on ‘Go Dig My Grave’, for example. It’s also a revelation of David Wallumrød’s instrumental tactility, sensitively weaving backdrops of Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Arp Synth, MiniMoog bass, and vocals that perfectly support and complement his cousin’s timeless tone.
Perhaps no surprise coming from a pair of Norwegian artists, the mode of ‘Live’ is ripe for long evenings alone or with close company. Picking up with a shimmering take on Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel’, Susanna casts her romantic magic at each turn, distilling the salient elements of Joni Mitchell’s ‘This Flight Tonight’ with dusky finesse, and following a fine line of bluesy suss between her take on Tom Waits’ ‘Gin Soaked Boy’ to midnight jazz feels on a cover of Julie Miller’s ‘All My Tears’, with a killer piece of jazzy rudeness showcasing David’s chops on their take of Waits’ ‘Underground’, with sweeter salve saved for their lilting spin on ‘For No One’ from the Lennon-McCartney songbook.
Intriguing echoes of Arthur Russell, Mark Hollis and Richard Youngs from the debut of US guitar/synth explorer Matthew O’Connell aka Chorusing, naturally slanted with deep south lilt and shaded by off kilter synth wooze
“On his debut album Half Mirror, Matthew O’Connell superimposes warm analog synths onto self-described “confessional folk” with a simultaneously cosmic and earthly outcome. Tracked at home in the mountains of North Carolina using a vintage tape delay, electric guitar, and a self-designed synthesizer named ‘Balsam,’ Half Mirror is at once a lonesome push-pull of electronics humanized by folk elements, and folk music made alien by electronic adornments. O’Connell’s own story is just as captivatingly segmented. While growing up on a farm in Palmyra, Indiana, he became obsessed with metal drumming and spent most of his free time practicing in the garage, occasionally recording on four-track tape machines with his brothers Joe (Elephant Micah) and Greg. Reflecting on those formative years, O’Connell says, “I think that period instilled two things in me: a long attention span, and the ability to work obsessively on something in solitude.” It’s these monastic inclinations that helped form the spirit of Half Mirror.
The album opens with the spare meta-song “Cold,” on which O'Connell repeats, “I wade in,” referring to himself wading into his own memories. On “Midday Sun,” he sings, “Wide-eyed in the midday sun” over an eerily ascending and descending electric guitar and tightly layered instrumentation, inspired obliquely by the Louisville post-hardcore band Young Widows. “Sprawled out on the floor / Heavy from the nights before,” he continues, a chastened recalling of hungover anxiety. It’s tempered by tracks like “Whitewaterside,” which describes with meditative awareness the sensation of setting bare feet into a cold river. On Half Mirror standout “Watching the Beams,” he channels a panic attack he had on a stalled subway train while en route to a gig in Brooklyn: the relentless arpeggiator mirrors his rapid heartbeat as it becomes subsumed by the pulse of the city. On “Ohio,” O’Connell recounts evenings sitting by the Ohio River in Louisville, drinking bourbon with a friend as the barges floated by like memories drifting through the mind. The album’s closing track “Mirror” serves as an epilogue, like a rose-colored moon that drops below the horizon to be extinguished by distant sands.
O’Connell made a deliberate effort to keep the album's production sparse. His interest in restraint stems in part from his love of albums like Nearly God by Tricky and Ghost Tropic by Songs: Ohia, both of which feature uncomfortably bare vocals and uncanny production that commands the listener’s attention. Additional inspiration came from Mark Hollis' striking minimalism, and the freeform songwriting of Arthur Russell and John Martyn. This skillful incorporation of influences evokes the same sense of balance and natural grace O’Connell may have gleaned in his physics and math studies;in fact, Half Mirror’s cover bears a visual translation of its songs’ waveforms.”
Sonic ghost hunter CM Von Hausswolff and LA’s Chandra Shukla (Xambuca) disclose their sublime travelogue of Nepal with nearly an hour of subbass bathing and steeply hypnagogic magick
For the first in a series of global dispatches, following the Touch: Isolation series, ’Travelogue (Nepal)’ invites listeners to pay closer attention to the metaphysical presences of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Kirtipur, cities at the roof of the world, each with a deep history of Buddhism and mysticism that Von Hausswolff and Shukla tap into. Using a range of microphones/spooky action detectors, they document a spectra of sounds, from the infrasonic to birdsong, amplifying and layering the inaudible to become tangibly present but hauntingly elusive at the same time.
The results document seven days in September 2019 spent between the Bagh Bhairav Temple and Chilancho Stupa in Kirtipur, Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa and Shri Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, and Pokhara’s World Peace Pagoda, The Shiva Cave, Devi Falls and Phewa Tal Lake, reworking the locations’ mix of diesel-fuming traffic and sacred sites into intoxicating aural vapours and the kind of drones that make our eyes defocus and roll back in the head.
Gescom’s infamous ‘MiniDisc’ was the first ever MiniDisc-only release back in 1998. This CD reissue edition contains all 45 tracks (in 88 pieces) from the original MD version, ready for listeners to use on random shuffle function just as the original MD was intended, featuring a photograph of Alan Phillips of Sony showing off the minidisc in a Sony Conference. LOL.
Back in 1998, MiniDiscs were the most advanced iteration of portable music players, soon to be usurped by the mass emergence and use of portable media players. At a quick glance, Discogs only lists 1,668 total MiniDisc-only releases, however, ‘Gescom:MiniDisc’ remains a true oddity in its field; a proper novelty hated by some and loved by others, especially those with a taste for Russell Haswell or Autechre’s more extreme angles of inquiry.
So ‘Gescom:Minidisc’ is effectively a Haswell + Æ +++ release, only they’d probably never let us or you describe it as such. Inside you’ll find all sorts, from longer trips such as the 4 minute ambient float of ’Sheogazer’, to reverberating echo chamber pieces in ‘Cranusberg’ and the haunting dimensions of ‘Fully’, plus quite literally dozens of shorter cuts which turn the whole thing into a mosaic of a maze.
A sought-after pinnacle of Venetian Snares’s early catalogue returns for its 16th anniversary reissue, including his flip of Billie Holiday’s take on a banned Hungarian “suicide song”
Arriving in 2005 after Snares’ had established himself among the most thrilling artists of his time, ‘Rossz Csillag Alatt Született’ saw him sampling from stacks of classical records, as well as Billie Holiday, for a concept album that imagined him as a pigeon on Budapest’s Királyi Palota (Royal Palace). In one fell swoop the album tilted his sound from pure breakcore extremity to a more “grown up” elision of breakcore and classical music, including a number of compositions where he ditched the ballistics all together. It was kind of a watershed moment for us, an undeniably impressive feat of pointillist tracker programming and lush sample rearrangement, and also the point where we thought OK, he can’t really take this aesthetic any further.
Taking sampled cues from the metric freedom and complex structures of classical works by Bartók, Stravinsky, Mahler, Paganini, Prokofiev, Elgar and Telemann, the Funk draws extraordinary links between their diametrically opposed paradigms; lending classical music a raving fire in the belly, while pushing the dynamics of jungle/D&B/breakcore to the nth degree. Paralleled in its intricacy by scant few others such as Aphex’s ‘Druqks’ album a few years prior, Snares’ efforts are arguably the last word in the original jungle formula of fast, choppy beats and sampling, and now interestingly sits equidistant to the OG sound and now for anyone making historic comparisons.
Following the essential first volume in 2017, this is another bumper compilation of North African and Middle Eastern sounds: Libyan reggae, Moroccan disco, Egyptian organ funk, Algerian soundtrack music and much more!
In the few years that followed the release of the first compilation, the label has dug further into the Middle Eastern and North African funk world and unearthed plenty more oddities. They just released an album with James Brown-influenced Moroccan mystic Fadoul, who shows up here with the trippy 'Ahl Jedba', and bring back Algerian soundtrack composer Ahmed Malek for the blaxplotation-esque 'Casbah'.
But some of the label's choice point towards their future releases. Libyan musician Ibrahim Hesnawi introduced reggae to his country - a style that's still popular now - and he appears here with the bass-heavy 'Tendme'. Also spotlighted is Libyan Najib Alhoush's 'Stayin' Alive' interpolation 'Ya Aen Daly' is one of the comp's quirkiest moments.
Although it's probably now buried within the subterranean depths of his CV, Ryoji Ikeda was one of a number of 'sound artists' commissioned to provide aural installations for the Millennium Dome a few years back.
What's more, his piece 'Matrix' was actually used during the Dome's brief existence as the tabloid's public-enemy number one and possibly constitutes one of the oddest things many coach weary school-kids had ever heard. Just don't blame Ikeda for the travel-sickness!
Ikeda first released 'OºC' in 1998, combining his love of firm rhythmic frameworks, cut-ups and rolling fogs of pristine soundscapes. Opening through a tumbling set of brief vignettes, 'Check', 'Cacoepy', 'Circuit' and 'Contexture' splice clipped vocals with finely tuned machine malfunctions; resulting in a sound somewhere between alva noto and komet.
Ikeda feeds Morse code into the matrix on 'Continuum', while 'Coda' morphs from a soothing electronic bubble-bath into a metronome panic attack without you noticing, whilst 'Zero Degrees ' is a dubby, minimalist tundra.
‘Exiles’ is as close as you’ll get to a Max Richter remix album, presenting five expansive “reimaginings” of his contemporary classical anthems, plus the brand new, 33 minute title piece
As deployed everywhere from Hollywood blockbusters to a ballet about Virginia Woolf and a Fendi runway, Richter’s arrangements are prized for their capacity to swell hearts. On ‘Exiles’ he reworks some of his own highlights such as the instantly recognisable and frankly massively overused ‘On The Nature of Daylight’, and the Bowie favoured ’Sunlight’ (off ‘Songs From Before’) with renewed vigour and scope, while also expressing his feelings on the ongoing tragedy of the migrant crisis in ‘Exiles’, a hauntingly tense, widescreen and dramatic 33min work that places the record in the here and now.
The reimagined take of ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ reinforces its stately swell, while Bowie fave ’Sunlight’ lands in the shadows of his Berlin classics, and the reworked peak of ‘Infra 5’ is bound to get driving gloved hands slapping the walnut dash. But the real standout is ‘Exiles’, a compassionate elegy for migrant crisis, developed from a conversation with Dutch choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot into a soundtrack for Nederlands Dans Theater.
A rare window into Angolan musical culture. Guitarist Mário Rui Silva folds traditional Angolan and West African rhythms into European jazz forms, creating music that's subtle, beautiful and completely distinct.
'Stories from Another Time' compiles music from three of Silva's 1980s albums, "Sung’Ali", "Tunapenda Afrika" and "Koizas dum Outru Tempu". Silva was a researcher and intellectual who was motivated to find the roots of Angolan culture in spite of its centuries-long struggle with colonization. Spurred on by Angolan musical legend Liceu Vieira Dias of traditional band Ngola Ritmos, Silva wanted to understand the politics and spiritualism behind Angolan music. Dias took traditional semba and kazukuta rhythms and infused them into contemporary music in the '40s and '50s, helping Angola to find national pride as the country struggled to assert itself after years of colonial rule.
Luanda-born Silva attempted to do similar with his music - and while it sounds aesthetically similar to Brazilian music of the 1970s, this was almost accidental. Silva was in fact attempting to move away from Portugese-centered culture and its tropical fetishism, and develop a sound that was purely Angolan. The music is hard to place, it sounds almost out of time, both ancient and surprisingly contemporary, with soft pop hooks underpinned by complex polyrhythms and chiming mbira. The fusion feels fluid and considered - there's no cynicism here at all, rather Silva approaches his sounds with a deft, open-hearted charm that rings from every word and lightly-picked note. Huge recommendation.
An unusual release for Berlin minimal mainstay Stefan Goldmann. Here, the artist sidesteps the sequencing and layering of his usual output and works spontaneously to create some of his most unusual and experimental work to date.
Opening track '29.09.2019' was recorded at Nomart Gallery of Osaka in Japan, and after playing an individual set alongside improv duo .Es, the three musicians were told in front of an audience that they would be playing together. Goldmann thought on his feet and loaded up samples from his previous Tapeworm release "Haven't I Seen You Before", firing these sounds thru FX while Sara Dotes added piano and percussion and Takayuki Hashimoto played sax, shakuhachi, guitar and harmonica.
The result is surprising and unusual, an almost 20-minute improvisation that bubbles through squiggly electronics and screaming noise, stopping occasionally on angular drones and ending on ominous, rhythmic techno. 'Echoes of an Era' is more straightforward, a guitar improvisation from the "Haven't I Seen You Before" sessions, and closing track '12.07.2012' was recorded at the Tapeworm's 10th anniversary party at London's Cafe Oto.
A bumper three volume collection of 1950s/60s doo-wop and R&B that shines an important spotlight on Jamaica only moments before the rise of ska, rocksteady and reggae. It's a history lesson that's full of hope and optimism for a future we now take for granted.
London's Death Is Not The End label has done us a favor here, combing the archives to dig up and compile a huge collection of music that widens our understanding of Jamaica's influential 20th century output. The influence of the 1970s and beyond is set in stone at this stage, but before then the island was offering its own versions of American sounds and experimenting in ways that would quickly blossom into new forms.
This three disc set (complete with liner notes from the legendary David Katz) is pretty much all you need to get educated on the sounds, with music from local, obscure performers and some who would go on to have long careers, such as Alton Ellis, Derrick Morgan and Derrick Harriott. It's charming from beginning to end and seriously enlightening.
Originally self-released back in January, Desire Marea's outstanding debut solo album gets the deluxe reissue treatment courtesy of Mute. Operatic, experimental and exceptionally outward-looking, 'Desire' is an exuberant, no-holds-barred contemporary electronic classic. Fans of Mhsya, Dreamcrusher, FAKA, Lyra Pramuk or even DJ Lag do not sleep on this!
Even before its Mute co-sign, "Desire" was one of the chase underground deployments of 2021. Desire was a founding member of Johannesburg's FAKA so is no stranger to global acclaim, but now based in Durban, they have settled comfortably into a constellation-bending solo sound that's one part concert hall and one part catwalk. Disorienting operatic wails roll around urgent flurries of kicks on 'Zibuyile Izimakade'. It's a collision of styles that feels lashed to FAKA's vivid, genre-melting club music but also pushing into new territory. Desire makes widescreen soundscapes that draw from club ideas but exist in a different space completely.
'You Think I'm Horny' is almost gospel pop, but set to a backdrop of inverted gqom and tweaky expressionist electronics. Desire uses their voice to loop words, tones and phrases against themselves as beats toss and turns alongside - it's like a sci-fi choir sent from the future to ease contemporary anxiety. 'Thokozani' meanwhile welds an almost highlife guitar jangle with sandblasted hi-BPM drums and the kind of time-bending drones you'd expect to hear on a Black To Comm album. 'The Void' heads even further into the outerzone, with guttural roars and ping-pong synths creating a spine-chillingly humid soundscape, but Desire quiets things to allow space for the epic 10-minute finale "Studies in Black Trauma".
'Desire' is a brilliantly challenging album that rolls thru good ideas with a lavish fabulousness that's impossible to ignore. It's a bold, vivid statement from an artist who has already given us so much, and promises even more.
Over 2.5 hours of beautiful, affective deep house, collating all material from their now sold-out double packs and the newly issued triple LP 3rd volume. The first CD contains all of Will Long's original productions, the second CD all of Sprinkles' versions.
As promised, Tokyo, Japan-based American artists, Will Long (Celer) and DJ Sprinkles offer a CD edition of Long Trax, gathering all three vinyl volumes of their sublime, durational deep house studies examining the dancefloor in light of contemporary socio-political inequalities and failed illusions of ‘Revolution’ and ‘Progression’, for Terre Thaemlitz’ Comatonse label.
Revolving around some of the deepest house music you’ll likely ever hear, Long Trax collects beautifully modest, economical productions backed with corresponding, masterful overdubs by DJ Sprinkles that reassert the sound’s original intentions and aesthetics in a way that’s inarguably closer in structure, feel and intent to the original, queer and black-rooted dance music of late ‘80s/early ‘90s NYC, yet feels timelessly effective.
Collected, these tracks outline their point with tactile subtlety and clarity; using minimal, era-consistent means of rhythm composer percussion, polyphonic synth chords and rack-mounted samplers to reveal a humbling alternative to flashy, overproduced, modern deep house that effectively runs counter to its badly repackaged vibes and empty sloganeering and its position as the catalyst of social trends, rather than social transformation.
The beautifully absorbing results - which sound miles away from Long’s gentler ambient and experimental work - are testament to the democracy of early deep house and prove that it is possible to elicit subtle yet optimal responses with a well-selected palette of grooves and samples, faithfully taken from speeches by civil rights leaders including Jesse Jackson, H. Rap Brown, T.R.M. Howard, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver and Bayard Jackson, respectively.
To perfectly underline that point, DJ Sprinkles’ meticulous, pensile overdubs quite literally and psycho-acoustically resonate their intention by tactfully rending a farther, lush physicality and soulfulness from Long’s slinky bones. Whether adding a lick of rolling, era-consistent breaks to Under-Currents or nimbly toying the bassline of Daylight and Dark with frankly jaw-dropping results, her overdubs prove that there’s a whole world of new sounds to be drawn out from within, and with relatively simple, classic technique, provided you’re willing to look deep enough.
It is rare that a conceptually rooted project should occur within the realm of modern deep house, and perhaps even rarer that its conceptual thrust resonates so systematically and with such meticulous attention to detail and faith in the subject. But, considering the project’s inputs, we’d hardly expect any less from these two exceptional artists.
Please remember that we support Terre and Comatonse Recordings' efforts to keep projects offline, minor, and acting queerly. When purchasing this item, we ask you to refrain from uploading and indiscriminate sharing in any form. <3
A lost standout of ‘90s industrial/experimental rock, Cindytalk’s 4th album takes a timely, newly expanded reissue bow with NYC’s Dais.
Conceived and framed as a “call to arms” for Scottish independence on release in 1994, ‘Wappinschaw’ is so named after the process of weapons inspection by Scottish chieftains when readying their clans for battle. From ancient times, to the ever present ‘90s, to current cries for Scottish independence, Cindytalk’s music continues to hold its ground as a vital part of the Scottish post-punk/industrial/experimental landscape, speaking to long held urges that feed into the tensions and expressions of a singular music scene. No doubt it’s a classic by one of its most fascinating artists, whose catalogue connects This Mortal Coil in the ‘80s to hardcore techno in the ‘90s, and a series of remarkable electronic albums for Editions Mego in the past decade.
It’s unmissable for its strikingly unadorned take on Ewan MacColl’s folk classic ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ (as famously covered by Roberta Flack) as its opening shot, and goes on to take in Cindytalk classic ‘A Song of Changes,’ alongside inclusion of legendary Glaswegian writer Alasdair Gray on ‘Wheesht,’ and stirring atmospheric designs in the likes of ‘Träumlose Nachte,’ and 11’ bagpipe soundscape of ‘Hush,’ while a trio of additional works lurk at the back, bringing some anthemic gaelic rock on ‘The Moon Above Me,’ and snarling, serpentine styles on ‘In Sunshine,’ plus the kind of gothic industrial rock that begat current Regis styles in ‘Old Jack Must Die.’
Official reissue of Hiroshi Suzuki’s glorious jazz-fusion-funk holy grail Cat (originally released in 1976), sourced from the original masters and available on limited edition 180 gram vinyl mastered at half speed for full audiophile sound, as well as on digipack CD. Both versions come with liner notes by Teruo Isono.
"Celebrated in jazz collectors circles, in the lofi beat scene, and among music diggers around the world, Cat has become one of the most sought-after Japanese jazz albums of all time and, much like Ryo Fukui’s Scenery, has fascinated old and young generations alike.
Cat was recorded in October 1975 at Nippon Columbia Studio, while Hiroshi Suzuki was visiting his home country of Japan after moving to Las Vegas in 1971 to play with Buddy Rich and perfect his craft. Back on his old stomping grounds, the man known as Neko (Cat) immediately reunited with his dear friends for an epic two day session of groove magic. The chemistry was still intact. The skills and style had grown.
The result, Cat, is a smooth masterpiece, a deep and soulful affair where stunning trombone solos by Hiroshi Suzuki flirt with Takeru Muraoka’s heavenly saxophone and the sensual rhythm section of Hiromasa Suzuki (keyboards), Kunimitsu Inaba (bass), and Akira Ishikawa (drums)."
Tony Oxley : percussion, electronics. Alan Davie : piano, percussion, ring modulator .Recorded at Gamels Studio, Rush Green, Hertford, United Kingdom 1977 and 1978.
"Featuring never previously released recordings made by Tony Oxley and Alan Davie at Davie’s home during 1977 and 1978, Elaboration of Particulars offers us a vital insight into the development of this intriguing duo and it’s place within the history of Great British Improvised Music. Formed in 1970, by the time these sessions were made, Oxley and Davie’s duo music had metamorphosied into something totally unique and exclusively their own.
Oxley’s amplified frame conjures up oscillating currents and surging electronic shards that, together with his percussive counterpoint, play a perfect partnership with Alan Davie’s enlightened piano modulations. Listen also to Davie playing keyboard and tuned percussion simultaneously. The music presented here by Oxley and Davie echoes the electro-acoustic works of Stockhausen, Berio and Varese but it is delivered with an altogether different intent by two experienced and musically sophisticated improvisers. Elaboration of Particulars is the second release from Tony Oxley on Confront Recordings. The first, Beaming, was released in April 2020."
Impeccable, hi-res electronic pop from British-Canadian pop deconstructionist BABii. Like a radio-ready, defanged PC Music with occasional lapses into noisy punk and breakcore.
On her second solo album, BABii tears through fractured electronic pop with the help of regular collaborator Iglooghost and umru. Detailing her feelings of abandonment as she was dragged from Yorkshire to Kent and to Canada by her nomadic father, BABii ties sad songs up in a glittery bow of glitchy percussion and wheezing synths. Influenced by SOPHIE and the hyperpop set, BABii curves the glass shattering foley IDM into pleasing R&B shapes, emerging with singalong plalist pop songs that sound decidedly current.
Like a cool breeze on a humid afternoon, Megan Alice Clune's "If You Do" is fresh, unexpected and welcome turn from Lawrence English's Room40 label. It's an operatic fusion of vocals and synthy electronics that's something like Grouper and Laurie Spiegel playing simultaneously.
In the summer of 2020, Aussie composer Megan Alice Clune had a dream that she wrote an opera. She'd been struggling to lift herself out of creative stasis after a long trip to Tokyo, but the dream offered her the push she needed. She began to sing melodies (quietly, so the neighbors wouldn't hear) and eventually an album began to take shape. Clune describes the record as "an album for solo voice and an ensemble of technologies" and that feels fitting. Her voice is the central instrument, but that's only part of the story; Clune's use of synths and effects gives the album a character that helps it shift thru genre, time and space.
It's a record that's intended to inspire through about our use of technology, and after well over a year of being tied to a computer screen, it's timely. The organic, fallible nature of Clune's voice is offset by the layers of electronics, and while the mood isn't combative, it's critical. Good stuff.
First official reissue of Alice Coltrane’s gorgeous and hard to find 1982 meditation tape in its previously unheard original, unadorned organ and vocal mix, issued according to the wishes of her son, Ravi Coltrane. If you're into anything from Alice's uber-classique 'Journey in Satchidananda' to Kara-Lis Coverdale's Minimalist masterpiece 'Grafts' - this one's just utterly unmissable for what ails ya.
Perhaps the purest iteration of Alice Coltrane’s devotional music, ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ captures the modal jazz innovator at a spiritual high water mark, chanting Sanskrit over free floating organ chords in a beautifully self-contained style. Originally issued on tape by Avatar Book Institute in 1982 in a fuller mix featuring synths and strings, this is the first time it’s appeared in its more stripped down, and arguably more affective, version with thanks to Alice’s son Ravi Coltrane, who’s helped bring it it to light via the legendary Impulse! label.
As name checked by a panoply of contemporary greats, from her nephew Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder comrade Kamasi Washington, to Solange or Shackleton; Alice Coltrane’s music is a microcosmos unto itself, and, like Sun Ra’s catalogue, it can be difficult to fully grasp her scope. The relative simplicity of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ thus exists as one of the most welcoming entry portals to her sound, and is quite literally titled after her Sanskrit name, “Turiya” as in short for Turiyasangitananda, and with “Kirtan” referring to the act of “narrating, reciting, telling, describing, of an idea of story.”
Working quieter shades away from the ecstatic ‘Ocean of Love’ devotionals by Alice’s collaborator, Panduranga John Henderson (issued by Luaka Bop in 2017), the eight songs of ‘Kirtan: Turiya Sings’ speak to a richly immanent sort of pan-soul for the ages, offering mesmerising, enamouring space for meditation, or, on a more secular level, a worldly sense of serenity and peace that’s totally needed right now.
The fourth release of the thru the cosmos series, Eta/Aquariids commemorates sensational astronomical events that occur in the summer night sky.
"A sonic travelogue for the ultimate immersive experience for all stargazers and imaginative persons alike. This project consists of newfound sounds and 7:1 field recordings specific to our observation locations. In echospace, we pride ourselves on the many years of unique experiences that culminate from our deep love of astronomy. We have special plans to watch these meteorites grace our atmosphere, and not just as mere observers on Earth, but of whom believe in connecting with those from the future and the ones before us.
It is known that ancients partook in this experience, dating back as far as the Egyptians. These space particles disintegrating from Haley's comet are stunning, and simply provide us all with an exceptional human experience. It is advised that anyone watching be placed in complete darkness. And in this darkness, we are surrounded by light. This epic sound world was created to score as a soundtrack for the multitude of otherworldly cosmic events and features what we would consider some of the most engaging sound designs to date. A sonic universe all its own."
This CD features 4 never-before-heard versions culled from the original recording sessions. All tracks have been remastered for CD and also includes STL's first ever remix.
"This CD is included with the purchase of the midnight blue 12" re-issue or separately on this limited Limited CD edition, packaged with silver/chrome sticker, housed in resealable poly sleeve and hand numbered. Only 100 of these will ever exist"
The 3rd album "The Wind is Strong..." by Cindytalk, an evolution of Scottish artist Cinder's early 1980's Edinburgh-based punk band The Freeze.
"Cindytalk is the mercurial, expressionist outlet of Cinder. She launched the project upon moving to London, inspired by the crossroads of exploratory UK post-punk and early European industrial. Her work thrives on chance and transformation, collaging elements of noise, balladry, soundtrack, catharsis, and improvisation. After a series of celebrated albums for the Midnight Music label as well as collaborations with This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins, Cinder migrated to the United States, becoming involved with various underground techno collectives around the Midwest and West Coast. Subsequent relocations to Hong Kong and Japan further expanded Cindytalk's horizons, resulting in a fruitful partnership with Viennese experimental institution Editions Mego, for whom she released five full-lengths of swooning, granular atmosphere. 2021 finds her as engaged as ever, at the precipice of long-awaited back catalog reissues alongside multiple new works, guided by her lasting love of discovery and deviation: “new pathways always being uncovered.”
'The Wind is Strong...' began life as the soundtrack to an experimental film by English director Ivan Unnwin entitled Eclipse (The Amateur Enthusiast's Guide To Virus Deployment), and was originally slated for release via Factory Records' video division, Ikon. Inspired heavily by Alan Splet's eerily disembodied sound design in David Lynch's Eraserhead, the collection's 15 pieces seethe between field recordings, wistful piano vignettes, and lurking metallic haze – a hybrid palette Cinder characterized at the time as “ambi-dustrial.” Unfortunately Ikon collapsed on the eve of the project's completion so the film was never distributed, but the Midnight Music imprint repackaged Cindytalk's score as an LP in 1990 under the name The Wind Is Strong... (full title: The Wind Is Strong - A Sparrow Dances, Piercing Holes in Our Sky).
Long out of print, the album remains one of the most elusive and adventurous in the Cindytalk discography, a mix of musique concréte, haunted reverie, and desolate beauty. Even unaccompanied by their intended visuals, this is overtly cinematic music, conjuring forests at dusk and shadowed corridors, equal parts remote and reflective. Cinder cites a belief that “all sound is music,” which fully manifests here, utilizing tape hiss, ticking clocks, flicking flames, and distant whispers as evocative accents in tapestries of luminous negative space.
Although Cinder included the subtitle “A Cindytalk diversion” in the sleeve notes, The Wind Is Strong... is crucial to the project's canon, demonstrating the depth and versatility of her unique ear and intuition. She describes each album as a direct response to the previous one, and in that sense The Wind marks a bold break from the coiled song-oriented post-punk of 1988's In This World, venturing into unknown, unnamed terrain, and finding foreboding new futures to call her own."
Stunning retrospective of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s devotional works collated from the private tape archive of the Avatar Book Institute. Seriously, this one's a proper head melter...
Luaka Bop commence a new series of releases themed around the global spiritual diaspora with this superb collection of rare devotional works from Alice Coltrane. Sure, everyone knows how great ‘Universal Consciousness’ (especially after that Superior Viaduct reissue from a few years back) but ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’ hones in on a period of her life that is less widely-known.
Undoubtedly moved by the passing of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice embarked on a spiritual reawakening that took her out of the public eye and culminated with the establishment of a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram in Malibu, California in 1983. This secluded ashram gave Coltrane the freedom to explore her spirituality through music unfettered, performing countless solo bhajans, and group kirtans and experimenting with them and synthesizers using the complex structures learnt from jazz.
These would soon form a series of cassette recordings that were privately distributed throughout the ashram community on Coltrane’s own Avatar Book Institute label. After some rather iffy, illicit vinyl editions of those tapes recorded off YouTube made the rounds, it’s good to hear this music in newly-remastered form from the original masters (by engineering legend Baker Bigsby, no less) on this Luaka Bop collection.
And how vibrant it sounds! There is clearly a vast intersection of styles at play throughout, interspersing the spiritual incantations of the Vedic devotional chants with some unique song structures and uplifting synthetic experiments. You can easily foresee the likes of Flo Po, Antal and Four Tet playing Oh Rama and Rama Guru, two of the more rhythmically-bound kirtans that act as spiritual jazz precursors to Detroit techno with illuminating synths that would make Carl Craig blush with envy. At other times, it is Coltrane’s voice which acts as the guiding force, orchestrating a wonderful harmonious call on Om Shanti.
Hopefully this is the prelude to a wider LB campaign of Alice Coltrane reissues from the Avatar Book Institute era.
Domino sign my bloody valentine, with the band’s seminal catalogue being made available digitally in full for the first time ever as of today. New physical editions for each release will follow on 21st May 2021 and are available to pre-order now.
"Isn’t Anything and loveless have been mastered fully from analog for deluxe LPs and also mastered from new hi-res uncompressed digital sources for standard LPs, with each being made available widely for the first time ever. Fully analog cuts of m b v will also be available on deluxe and standard LPs globally for the first time.
my bloody valentine, the quartet of Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields, Deb Googe and Colm Ó Cíosóig, are widely revered as one of the most ground-breaking and influential groups of the past forty years. During an era in which guitar bands denoted, at best, a retro-classicism, not only did my bloody valentine sound unlike any of their contemporaries, the band achieved the rare feat of sounding like the future.
With their debut album, Isn’t Anything (originally released in 1988), my bloody valentine revolutionised alternative music and heralded a new approach to guitar music for generations to come. The album birthed a sound which became a template for thousands of new subgenres, heralding a new approach to guitar music and studio production. Not only was it a new type of music, it paved the way for a new type of journalism; inciting comparisons to elemental phenomenon, tapping into how the music affected the psyche. Shields and Butcher frequently sang in a similar vocal range that allowed their voices to blend together. This had the effect of making their gender indistinguishable, to the point where their voices could be used as another melodic layer to complement the vertigo-inducing sounds made by Shields’ guitars.
The second my bloody valentine album, loveless, was released in 1991. Musically, it took an unexpected leap forwards, standing ahead of anything released at the time. Shields and the band moved further towards a music of pure sensation, creating textures and tones that could be felt as much as heard; with loveless the band created an album that overwhelmed the senses. loveless is widely considered a flawless whole and rightly regarded as a masterpiece; a 1990s equivalent to Pet Sounds, In A Silent Way or Innervisions, a record constructed by exploring the edges of what a recording studio is capable of. It is a record best experienced as a whole, in one sitting - a listening experience like no other and unmatchable in its sonic brevity.
ep’s 1988-1991 and rare tracks compiles the group’s four EPs, wherein many of their devoted fans’ favourite music lies. You Made Me Realise and Feed Me With Your Kiss both preceded the band’s debut album in 1988 in quick succession. In the gap between Isn’t Anything and loveless, the band released two further EPs; Glider (1990) and Tremolo (1991).
Finally re-emerging in 2013 after two full decades in relative hiding, their third album m b v is by turns their most experimental record but also their most melodic and immediate; proof real of their unerring desire for re-invention. Continuing to push boundaries of both music and genre, m b v is an album of astonishing music, some of which could lay claim to being of a type never been made before. Otherworldly, intimate and a visceral listen, m b v is a startling and beautiful metamorphosis of what was known of the my bloody valentine sound, pushing the boundaries of genre unlike any other band. The album’s closer, “Wonder 2” is an example of this, seeing Shields meld hypnotic guitar with drum’n’bass to astonishing result."
Sultry, poised, gothic post-punk meets lilting dream-pop courtesy Anika, chasing up collabs with Shackleton and Tricky in a keenly awaited sophomore long player.
Officially the follow-up to her acclaimed, eponymous 2010 debut with Beak>, ‘Change’ arrives a decade later as a worthy counterpart brimming with the kind of melodramatic but droll delivery and classic-sounding chops that made her first LP so striking. On 'Change' Akina opts to work with Swedish producer Martin Thulin (Exploded View), who flew from Mexico to Germany during lockdown to enhance the album’s lustrous backdrops and shadowplay of styles, where Anika’s plaintive delivery variously reminds us of Nico, Trish Keenan, and Tropic of Cancer’s eerie drone-pop float.
Song to song Anika finds her shapeshifting style from the swaying post-punk stepper ‘Finger Pies’ to a meld of Julee Cruise and Nico on the mopey but positive title tune, while at the album’s apex ‘Sand Witches’ expresses her feelings as an immigrant in Germany in time honoured eldritch fashion, and ‘Freedom’ see her get down with scuzzy goth rock urges.
Utterly sublime R&B/Sade-licked late night slickness from Portuguese-Danish wunderkind Erika De Casier, deploying whisper-soft pop that's injected with the lurching club-adjacent snap of Timbaland, Neptunes, Teddy Riley, MJ Cole and Sunship > jaw on the floor, tear in the eye.
When Erika de Casier's debut album "Essentials" dropped in 2019, it felt like a hidden gem - it was only a matter of time before her silken bedroom soul was shuttled further into the mainstream. So it's hardly a surprise to see the followup on 4AD - and it's the best record the label's released in years. De Casier makes music that sounds private, lo-fi and intimate, but has the earworm-y bombast of Brandy, Destiny's Child or Amerie. Her influence comes from her early teens, submerged in MTV R&B to nourish her spirit - but as the label notes point out, she's as much influenced by Aaliyah and Janet Jackson as house, garage and techno.
This sensual escapism is the beating heart of "Sensational", as de Casier whispers over neo-retro production that sounds like early Sade instrumentals stripped to the bone and assembled into new forms by a supergroup comprised of MJ Cole, Timbaland and Sunship. There's a garage-flecked clubwise swing that speaks to de Casier's European roots, but the songs have more sugared hooks than a library of '90s MTV soul full-lengths. Trust us, leave this one on repeat for a few spins and you'll be humming songs like 'Drama', 'Someone to Chill With' and 'No Butterflies, No Nothing' for the rest of the week.
Ice cool summer special = awe-inspiring, honestly.
Soul Jazz Records reissue of this very rare album, first released as a private-press LP in 1978 on flautist Lloyd McNeill’s own Baobab Record label in Washington, DC. The album has been out-of-print for 43 years and is lovingly remastered by Soul Jazz Records.
"Tori is a stunning album that blends Brazilian and Latin flavours with deep Spiritual Jazz. The album features a strong line up which includes legendary Brazilian figures such as Dom Um Romao, Nana Vasconcelos and Dom Salvador alongside jazz heavyweights such as Buster Williams, Howard Johnson, John La Barbera and more. These A-team musicians were all regulars in McNeill’s long-running and highly successful resident live group in New York, all set up to blend deep jazz, Brazilian and Latin music together.
Lloyd McNeill is an African-American flautist, painter, poet, and photographer born in Washington, D.C. in 1935. His multi- disciplinary creative life led to encounters and friendships with Nina Simone, Picasso, Eric Dolphy, Nana Vasconceles and other legendary cultural figures.
Lloyd McNeill’s hypnotic ‘Washington Suite’ was originally commissioned as a piece of music for the Capital Ballet Company, in Washington DC. McNeill grew up through the era of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and his life and work is a reflection of those ideals. In the mid-1960s he moved to France where he became friends with Picasso, working with a number of émigré-jazz musicians whilst living in Paris. In the late 1960s he taught jazz and painting workshops at the New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Washington. In the 1970s he travelled throughout Brazil and West Africa studying music and taught music anthropology in the US."
Compiled by longtime Groove editor, onetime Sonic Subjunkie and now Beatport A&R Heiko Hoffmann, 'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' traces the history of Berlin techno, with classic tracks from MMM, Alec Empire, Monolake, Sleeparchive, Basic Channel, Ellen Allien, Barker, and everyone else you can think of. If you've been paying attention, you'll have most of these, if not - check in.
'No Photos on the Dance Floor!' was an art exhibition at the end of 2019 that illustrated Berlin's techno history. With works from Wolfgang Tillmans, Romual Karmakar, Sven Marquardt and Camille Blake, it detailed Berlin's club culture since the fall of the wall. This compilation attempts to do the same with music, charting the most important moments in Berlin techno that impacted the evolution of the sound, from early '90s pioneers like Thomas Fehlmann, Moritz Von Oswald, Mark Ernestus and Atari Teenage Riot's Alec Empire, through minimal innovators like Sleeparchive and Marcel Dettmann to contemporary heroes Avalon Emerson and Barker.
While many of the tracks will be familiar - some are gems that never received anywhere near enough attention. Substance's crushing mix of Monolake's 'Alaska' for example, or Errorsmith and Fiedel's 1997 banger 'Donna'. A history lesson.