Ólafur Arnalds latest album, ‘some kind of peace’ has the feel of a brand new chapter for Ólafur.
"‘some kind of peace’ is further previewed today by brand new track ‘We Contain Multitudes’ (and a video directed by Blair Alexander). In Ólafur’s own words, ‘We Contain Multitudes’ “was written at a friend's cabin in a jungle, late at night, on a tiny electric keyboard. At the time I had spent so much time away from what I had considered home, almost setting up a separate life on the other side of the planet. My mind was going through a process of learning to live in two vastly different cultures, of recognising that within one body there are multitudes of different and often contradictory facets of personality. The song remains a reminder that our minds are not constants, the self is ever evolving."
More than anything he's ever made, 'some kind of peace' is the story of Ólafur Arnalds' life - and there is quite the life-story to tell. Arnalds started out writing compositions for a German metal band, before supporting Sigur Rós and forging an oeuvre full of innovations. His 2007 debut album documented life’s journey from birth to death, with projects ever since ranging from 2016’s ‘Island Songs’ (seven songs made in seven different Icelandic towns, in seven days) to forming one-half of the experimental techno duo, Kiasmos. Having collaborated extensively with German pianist/composer Nils Frahm, Ólafur’s last album - ‘re:member’ – proved a technological triumph (it featured his ground-breaking, self-playing and semi-generative Stratus Pianos). A 140+ date world tour followed, which saw Arnalds sell-out venues ranging from the Royal Albert Hall and his own suitably genre-bending music festival OPIA at Southbank Centre. Few contemporary acts, after all, would be as at home covering Iggy Pop’s show on 6Music as they are composing dance scores for Wayne MacGregor at Sadler’s Wells, winning an BAFTA for his work on ‘Broadchurch’, or landing an Emmy nomination earlier this month for his title theme to ‘Defending Jacob’.
Released this November, 'some kind of peace' is a journey of Ólafur Arnalds’ personal and creative growth, set against the backdrop of a chaotic world. Within, you’ll hear hints of those private experiences - sometimes even samples of the significant events themselves – woven into an album that is remarkable in its openness, and its beauty. “It's so personal that I'm still trying to find the words to talk about it,” Arnalds says today. “I felt it was important that the album would tell my story in a very honest way.” Throughout Ólafur urges you to embrace all that life throws at you, and above all to react, and contemplate, to find your kind of peace. His stunning new album would definitely be the place to start."
Horse finds Tallinn, Estonia’s Holy Motors acknowledging the Americana and rockabilly strands of their musical DNA without sacrificing any of the other-worldly mystique that keeps them from neatly conforming to the shoegaze and dreampop labels often applied to their music.
"From the album’s opening moments, songs like “Country Church,” with its major key and classic rhythm and blues guitarline, and “Midnight Cowboy,” which sounds like a lost Buddy Holly 45 played at 33 rpm, make it clear that Horse — even if it may not accomplish the impossible task of demystifying this band of ex-Soviet cowboys — will at least show you that there’s more to them than the near-impenetrable darkness of their work to date may suggest. While tracks like “Trouble” and “Endless Night” gravitate towards the ethereal production and existential subject matter of prior releases, repeat listens will reveal the same complex compositions and humanity that are much more a hallmark of Horse’s eight songs.
As a whole, Horse stands as a warmer, more human counterpoint to 2018’s celestial Slow Sundown. As to which of the two entries better approximates Holy Motors’ natural set point, only time will tell."
“My Echo is my 11th solo album. It’s my ‘my songs knew I was getting divorced before I did’ album. My conscious mind was trying as hard as I could to keep my family together but my subconscious mind was working on the difficult struggles in my marital life. I was part of a “Secret Poetry Group” that met and wrote poems monthly for a year during the writing of this record. Many of my poems turned into songs for this album. By the time the album was being mixed last fall, my ex-husband/producer Tucker Martine and I had decided to go our separate ways. We were a great musical team for many years but we struggled to be compatible in our marriage and family life and that struggle is reflected in this album.
In this new batch of songs I imagine escaping from some sort of prison or cage. Advancing age, the confines of domesticity, our oppressive government and the threat of the apocalypse permeate these songs. In these songs my heart craves certainty and permanence but none is to be found. It’s an album about disintegration. It reveals my artist’s intuition at work.
Although these songs were written before quarantine they are strangely relevant to times in which we find ourselves currently. You will find me staring at the walls (Turquoise Walls). You will find me feeling grateful to be alive (Memaloose Island). You will find me accepting the ephemeral nature of life (Vapor Trails and All the Things). You will find me searching for personal freedom while feeling trapped (Freedom Feeling). You will find me trying to accept that sometimes the best thing to do is to sit still and do nothing at all (Another Space and Time)." - Laura Veirs
Blackberry is Peter Broderick's first vocal album in five years, since 2015’s Colours of the Night. The entire album was recorded in Peter’s bedroom in London during the summer of 2019, hence Peter’s description of it as “Experimental-Bedroom-Folk-Pop”. All instrumentation is by Peter with additional vocals on the last track by his wife, singer Brigid Mae Power, and his stepson, Seán Power.
"The subject matter of Blackberry is wide-ranging. He touches on family and on the connection we all need as social animals. He writes about technology and whether it will save or doom us. And of course, he writes about nature, about foraging, about the importance of engaging with the outside world in cities and in the country. Peter and his family recently returned to Co. Galway as they have a great love for the Irish countryside, having lived there before their move to London in 2019."
Across eight tracks of subverted, expansive pop, Jake Luppen’s solo debut is all sharp edges, a fractured self-portrait pieced together through left-ofcentre pop maximalism.
"Although Luppen rose to prominence as a vocalist and guitarist in St. Paul’s beloved indie outfit Hippo Campus, the songs on ‘Lupin’ feel like meeting him for the first time. He puts it succinctly: “With this record I wanted to get to the point, and say how things were, as opposed to dancing around them.” Written mainly in breaks during a sprawl of 112 shows for Hippo Campus’ ‘Bambi’ from 2018-2019, Lupin was an unexpected path to confidence. It also offered an escape from the grind of endless touring and a way for Luppen to process major and stressful life events directly through songwriting.
Inspired as much by Charli XCX’s ‘Pop 2’ as it is Tears for Fears, 80s new wave and Prince, the genre-bending record holds true to a desire to make 1980s music filtered through modern technology. Featuring synth and programming contributions from Jim-E Stack and Buddy Ross, Lupin weaves together fragmented drum loops, swooning falsetto, tangles of synths and sharp guitar lines, the final product is an off-kilter popsheen, one Luppen said was guided more by intuition and feeling than anything else. Working alongside producer BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Charli XCX, Banks), the two spent intensive sessions collecting material, coalescing as many layers felt true to serve the songs."
Downwards and Sandwell District co-founder and key Brummie techno figurehead Peter Sutton is finally subject to this long-in-the-making 5CD retrospective spanning both solo albums and stacks of 12” cuts, plus a bonus unreleased 2000 session with sparring partner Regis - an important tome for all UK techno fiends and archivists. RIYL Regis, Surgeon, Jeff Mills, Fret, Justin K Broadrick, Sandwell District...
Since the mid ‘90s Peter Sutton aka Female has been a key underground figure in UK techno, setting up the Downwards label and pumping out a cultishly prized catalogue of driving dancefloor productions that define the “Birmingham” sound at its brute and infectious best. Female’s coldly atonal, drily percussive sound holds a lot in common with his peers, Regis and Surgeon, sharing strong influence from early ‘90s Jeff Mills and hard, tracky Chicago techno as much as post punk and Industrial musicks. However, Female’s emphasis on extra slinky patterns and subtly trippy filtering, articulated with a dry and cutting Black Country wit, has indelibly personalised his productions with a swingeing shuffle and mesmerising monotone atmosphere that’s entirely his own, as perfectly exhibited across this definitive survey.
Collecting the albums ‘Into The Exotic’ (1997) and ‘Angel Plague’ (1999), plus a clutch of vital 12”s including some of the earliest for Sandwell District (‘Serverlan’), and a never-before-released 2000 recording of his duo with Karl O’Connor (Regis) circa their Hostage and ‘Againstnature’ recording; the set covers one of the most vital and unique strains of UK techno, brutally demonstrating how the hard, diverse, inner city rave sounds of US cities like Detroit, Chicago and NYC came to resonate with residents of post-industrial UK cities such as Birmingham (as much as Glasgow, Manchester or Sheffield), while subtly but punkishly contrasting with their Euro counterparts.
In recent years Female’s ascetically future-proofed music has arguably become a sort of secretive knowledge or preserve due to his absence from release schedules, but this newly mastered brick of a set - meticulously re-mastered by Brummie demigod Justin Broadrick - should serve a suitably punishing reminder and introduction to one of techno’s most single-minded, and most distinctive artists.
Franck Vigroux pays heavy tribute to Mika Vainio, his late collaborator and major inspiration, with a powerful album of blacksmith electronic brutality finding a logical home on Raster.
Vainio’s influence inspires Vigroux to some of his most striking work on ‘Ballades sur lac gelé’, clearly using a similar palette and style to the late great pioneer, but patenting the sound with his own sense of dramaturgy and a more direct dancefloor approach that’s got us doing the office chair bounce right now.
The surging drama of opening cut ‘Drive’ dates back to when Vigroux was working with Vainio, and when corona lockdown kicked in, he was prompted to finish it off and expand on the results in a proper tribute to his late peer. The Finnish legend’s spirit is lurking over the rest of the album, from the scowling, icy stepper ‘Cygnus X-1’, to the effortlessly whirring mechanics of ’Styx’, isolationist ambience in ‘Acqua Alta’, and his manacled manipulation of raw electric noise in ‘Atotal’.
Euan Dalgarno follows up his debut on Modern Obscure Music with Nfutures, an album inspired by modern day classical and electronic music.
"Nfutures builds on Dalgarno’s previous release on the label, but also enters previously uncharted waters. It is an eleven track album of mainly probing strings and piano led compositions. Hel is a real standout with its calming keys and taut strings. Earhorns (for 3 Pianos) is an exciting composition, where the stars really are thosepianos. The title track, Nfutures, ends proceedings beautifully with an epic piece that features levitating strings, bright eyed keys and synthetic waves. With this release, the Amsterdam based Modern Obscure Music label shows that their focus is not only on club music."
Bad belly, end-of-earth, avant rock clangour and surprisingly sparse, shimmering passages from the Kiwi kings of this style, still holding their ground out there in Dunedin, NZ. The blunted mumble of ‘Glitterness’ and ‘The Sky Above’ are the ones for us, recalling John Duncan’s wizened covers LP heard thru a haze of eternal teenage rock angst and melancholy
“Some bands struggle to transcend their initial mythos, those stories that introduce them to the public eye. But The Dead C is a notable exception. They appeared in 1986 under a cloud of mystery, their unconventional location (South Island, New Zealand) helping to fuel their erratic sound. Name-dropped through the nineties by groups like Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, they gained influence and acclaim but never strayed from their original mainlined performing technique, which can sound like chaos to the casual listener.
What kind of a world greets them and their new album Unknowns in 2020? New Zealand culture is better known throughout the world, not to mention a low-virus paradise. Yes, isolated as in the past, but this time for being a nation of efficacy in tackling a public health crisis. But what about the rest of us? The music of Mssrs. Robbie Yates, Bruce Russell and Michael Morley endures, partially because their errant sounds, once so alienating, now feel like they’ve been made flesh in a large part of the modern day world.
Continuing to delve inwards for inspiration with tin ears towards trends, styles and technique, The Dead C forge onward. Unpolished, dusty and gritty, these three have again taken two guitars and drums, a combo which has less to say than ever, and leave us stunned. Unknowns has Morley slurring over spiraling dissemblance, with tracks ricocheting from intense to assaultive to drained, yet consistently magnificent.
As reliable as ever, The Dead C are firmly grounded as an unassailable Truth.”
The original score to ‘Devs’ by Ben Salisbury, The Insects and Geoff Barrow.
"Ben Salisbury says, “As with all of Alex’s projects, we started working on ideas for the music after reading the scripts, and as well as being blown away by the material, we knew the music would need to reflect the strong religious thread that runs through story, and that we would need a number of developing themes that had a warped devotional vibe to them. But the music also needed to work with the thriller and tension side of things and the moments of outright horror, as well as sitting alongside the sheer beauty and scale of the amazing cinematography and set design. Crucially, the score also had to reflect and emphasise the human and emotional aspects of a story that is ultimately about grief and love.”
Ben Salisbury is an Emmy-nominated and Ivor Novello Award-winning composer with over 100 film and television composing credits, including ‘Ex Machina’, ‘Annihilation’, ‘Hanna’, ‘Luce’, ‘Free Fire’ and Beyoncé Knowles’ self-directed documentary feature ‘Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream’. Barrow, known for his extensive body of work as a music producer and founding member of the band Portishead, began his film and music career as the music supervisor and original score writer for graffiti artist Banksy’s Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’. The Insects are Emmy-winning composers Bob Locke and Tim Norfolk. In addition to their most recent collaboration with Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow for FX’s ‘Devs’, they have written scores for numerous feature films and televisions dramas while also writing and producing for Massive Attack, Tricky, Alison Moyet and Goldfrapp. The also contributed to Kanye West’s album ‘The Life of Pablo’"
Under the name Holy Sons, as well as with bands Om, Grails and Lilacs and Champagne, Amos harnesses boundless sonic textures to embellish delicately crafted songs, he plays the bulk of the instruments and sings the majority of the vocals throughout the album and is joined on a few pieces by drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth).
"His music balances cues from classic and indie rock traditions with tenderness and sense of foreboding through unparalleled artistry. Holy Sons’ ‘Raw and Disfigured’ showcases Amos’ mastery of songcraft through a seemingly impossible combination of subtle yet potent gestures, bold arrangements and resolute vulnerability. Recorded at Sonic Youth’s studio Echo Canyon West, ‘Raw and Disfigured’ stands as Amos’ most ambitious and comprehensive album yet, a panoramic gallery of songs as beautiful as they are crushing."
East London-born music legend and all round boundary-breaking innovator, Dizzee Rascal, today announces the release of his 7th studio album, entitled ‘E3 AF’ and new single ‘L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large)’, out via Island Records.
"This new release marks the genesis of a new era for Dizzee and is the first album wholly written, recorded and produced in the UK in over a decade. ‘E3 AF’ is a 10-track layered, purposeful statement of intent, rooted in Dizzee’s inedible ties to both east London and Black British music’s legacy. He sound is sharper, stronger and more self-assured than ever, and it is obvious that he has poured the creative energy of the past few years into ‘E3 AF’ as a body of work. First single, L.L.L.L (Love Life Live Large), features Tottenham born MC Chip and kicks open the door with the force of a steel toe capped boot. Chip, adds another thwack of bravado to the rumbling, Dizzee-produced beat.
‘E3 AF’ confirms Dizzee’s status as an artist still very much in his prime, sonically it draws on the infectious pace of grime and resolutely forward-thinking UK rap. From one song to the next, you are taken on a journey through Black British musical excellence. Ice-cold UK drill drips on Smoke Boys-featuring ‘Act Like You Know’ (produced by MK the Plug) and Eastside pulses with pure grime courtesy of Chubby Dreadz and Platinum 45. Self-produced opener ‘God Knows’ (featuring P Money) and high-octane ‘You Don’t Know’ pull from dubstep, grime and drum ‘n’ bass while threatening to wreak havoc with your speakers. By the time Alicai Harley’s warm up vocals float over sunny syths on the deeply personal ‘Energies + Powers’ (produced by Steel Banglez), the album practically radiates heat. Dizzee Rascal is a unique artist that has inspired many for multiple generations. From his 2003 debut album release, the Mercury Prize-winning ‘Boy In The Corner’ to date, Dizzee has continued to push expectations and boundaries. He is British musical royalty. Every album that followed stacked up another marker of success. Between 2004 and 2017 all album releases blasted firmly into the Top 10 Official album chart, won awards, critical acclaim and amassed Dizzee a huge following of devoted fans. ‘E3 AF’ is set to confirm Dizzee Rascal’s status as the master at the top of his game."
From the psychic fissures of 2020 bursts Mr. Bungle’s first album in 20 years - a re-recorded 1986 high school demo full of gnarly thrash metal riffs and nads out swagger, performed with Mike Patton and co’s inch-tight technicality
Now a supergroup counting Patton and original members, Trey Spruce and Trevor Dunn, plus Scott Ian of Anthrax and Dave Lombardo of Slayer/Dead Cross, Mr.Bungle let rip on 11 songs - including covers of classics by S.O.D. and Corrosion of Conformity - certain to get you scissor kicking like Nick Cage in Wild At Heart and knocking over your mam’s crockery, especially to that spat of ‘La Cucaracha’ in ‘Hypocrites / Habla Espanol O Muere’.
You’ll either be all over this like a freaking hot mess or not at all. We fall heavily in the former category and, if you’re still reading, can thoroughly recommend the gear-shifting velocity of ‘Bungle Grind’, the hot-blooded rage of ‘Eracist’, and the horsemen of the apocalypse thunder of ’Sudden Death’ for instant and lasting raging gratification, and possibly the most exercise you’ll get in this entire torrid year.
Whew, this is a LOT.
Second album from Trees Speak, new on Soul Jazz Records.
"Trees Speak’s new album ‘Shadow Forms’ is a blend of 1970s German electronic and ‘motorik’ Krautrock instrumentals (think Harmonia, Can, Cluster, Popul Vuh, Neu!), haunting and powerful 1960s and 1970s soundtracks (think Italian prog rock Goblin and John Carpenter horror movies, Morricone and existential John Barry spy movies), together with a New York no wave electronic synth and guitar analogue DIY-ness (think Suicide, anything on Soul Jazz’s ‘New York Noise’ series or Eno’s ‘No New York’).
Trees Speak segue together all these elements into ‘Shadow Forms’, which follows on from their criticallyacclaimed debut album ‘Ohms,’ released on Soul Jazz Records less than six months ago. Trees Speak are Daniel Martin Diaz and Damian Diaz from Tucson, Arizona and their music often draws on the cosmic night-time magic of Arizona’s natural desert landscapes. ‘Trees Speak’ relates to the idea of future technologies storing information and data in trees and plants - using mthem as hard drives - and the idea that Trees communicate collectively."
Jacszek uses the landscape of Limpopo Province, SA to conjure slow moving, crepuscular scenes, transforming field recordings of its environment and contact mic traces of the earth into hauntingly sparse, elemental works for Touch
“GARDENIA is an existing land located at the Limpopo province of South Africa, right at the border with Botswana. The place’s real name is Mmabolela and it’s a private nature reserve covering 6500ha of subtropical savanna and part of Limpopo River. In November 2019 I had a chance to visit the location and participate in an annual residency for composers and sound artists called ‘Sonic Mmabolela’, initiated and curated by Francisco López. We lived in an isolated property in the middle of savanna having a unique opportunity to exist in undisturbed touch with the African wilderness. All the natural sounds later used to create Gardenia were captured there — during longtime recording sessions over the virgin interior of Mmabolela Reserve.
The album’s field recording content was selected from several hours of birdsong, calls of frogs, insect noises, sounds of trees, bushes, grass as well as non-living natural elements like stones or shells.
These field recordings were later digitally processed and used as part of 9 musical arrangements.
However the recording sources and the location of Gardenia is defined, it was not my intention to document a South African natural soundscape nor create any other kind of strict concept album.
All I do in my work is an affirmation of beauty hidden in various aspects of the Creation. (MJ)”
The gorgeous first Sun Ra Arkestra album in 20 years is lead by Marshall Allen and solidifies their place among the most prized, and singular, jazz bands of this constellation.
‘Swirling’ by name and by nature, Sun Ra Arkestra’s glorious return sees them touch down from near perpetual tours orbiting the globe, sounding out cosmic and earthly concerns in a spirited continuation of Ra’s original directions, more than capably steered by 90 year old living legend Marshall Allen, who has manned the big band since Sonny Blount stepped off this mortal coil in 1993.
With a resurgent interest in new jazz music surrounding Chicago’s International Anthem label, and the likes of a rich London scene, Sun Ra Arkestra come to take their crown, wear it upside down, and show errrrrryone how to do it like they haven’t missed a beat, or at least all the wrong ones, for more than half a century. Long-standing members Danny Ray Thompson (RIP), Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune (RIP), Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchell all appear beside Marshall on his Alto Sax and AVI, and come infused by new blood in the form of Tara Middleton’s powerful vocals, and the drum muscle of Wayne Anthony Smith, bolstering their Latinate rhythms where needed.
The wobbling cosmic synth noise and belting vocals of ‘Astro Black’ make a big highlight, and again it’s brilliant when the music drops out to leave stark power of their harmonised vocals in ‘Sea of Darkness / Darkness’, but if you’re after that unmistakable cosmic chaos, it’s there in the glorious clatter of ‘Infinity / I’ll Wait For You’, and right on the dissonant nose with the slinky swag of ‘Queer Notions’, while their spin on classic ‘Rocket No. 9’ will be destined for the ‘floor.
Anam is the first collection of recordings by Selah Broderick (b. 1959, Washington, D.C.).
"Having grown up in a strict Catholic setting, the alternative movements of the late 60's and 70's could not come soon enough for Selah, who's love for art and music eventually sent her traveling around the country, running from a rather chaotic upbringing, in search of quieter ground. She eventually wound up in the Pacific Northwest, where she picked up a gig playing her guitar and singing at a local bar a few nights a week, and it was there in the audience that she met the man who would soon become the father of her children. First pregnant at the tender age of 19, Selah would have to put her musical dreams on hold while she attended to the demands of motherhood. It's no wonder she was so supportive when her three kids all gravitated towards music.
While her devoted husband supported the family as a woodworker, Selah carved out her own path as a yoga instructor, in a time when non-western spiritual practices were not so welcomed in the western world. Her devotion to spiritual development would be the guiding force in her life, leading to a formative trip to Tibet alongside Roshi Joan Halifax in the early 2000's. Her passion for music entwined itself with her work when she created the soundtrack to her own instructional yoga CD, featuring synthesizers, gentle field recordings, wind chimes, and most notably, her enchanted flute playing. Her interest in more meditative sounds infused itself with her background in folk music, and it is somewhere between these two worlds that Anam exists. Consisting of recordings as old as 1979 and as new as 2018, the wide range in fidelity has been embraced for this collection.
The recordings were collected by her son Peter Broderick, who carefully wove them together over the years with occasional contributions from himself and sister Heather Woods Broderick. When asked about a potential title for her first album, Selah referenced the book Anam Cara by John O'Donohue, the modern-day Celtic mystic whose work helped her to reconcile her Catholic upbringing with her love for Eastern spiritual disciplines. The title "Anam Cara", meaning "Soul Friend" in Irish Gaelic, was given to a track originally created for meditation, while the album is simply called Anam, or "Soul." You are invited to explore the soul of this beautiful woman."
Crackshot partner-piece to 2019’s ‘There Existed An Addiction to Blood’ by LA’s rap screwballs Clipping, one of the most intriguing acts on the current Sub Pop roster alongside Shabazz Palaces
Galvanised by experiences of the past year, and riddled with a sort of nervy ‘90s horror anxiety, ‘Visions of Bodies Being Burned.’ sees the trio moving from strength to strength with a hefty payload of noisy, grizzled hip hop abstractions and hyperrealism, framed by some of their crunchiest and most starkly dramatic productions.
There’s a certain LA Lynchian-noir/‘90s teen slasher/body horror atmosphere that percolates the album from its intro to Dungeon rap flex of ‘Say The Name’ or ‘’96 Neve Campbell’ and the cracked, needling trap drama of ‘Enlacing’, holding together a ruggedly fractious set that’s prone to bouts of darkside paranoiac panic on ‘Something Underneath’ and lunges into clashy industrial D&Breakcore on ‘Pain everyday’, and even some kind industrial-rap-jazz fusion with Chicago staple Jeff Parker on ‘Eaten Alive.’
Low Jack riffs on love in the age of AI with a head-twisting collage of vaporous ambient, gamelan and candid vocal sampling for his longtime crew at In Paradisum, home to some of his most beguiling experiments.
‘Awesome’ was originally made to accompany a series of events in 2016 surrounding an exhibition by Swiss hacker/rave squad !Mediengruppe Bitnik. On its standalone release, ‘Awesome’ represents some of Philippe Hallais' most curious work; 30 minutes of queasy music reflecting a perplexing, hypermodern state of mind and a dystopian outlook at the future of AI-driven flirting, sexting, and politicking.
As with everything he touches, Hallais injects a strong, if elusive, sense of personality and sensuality that comes to resonate with the original project by Bitnik’s Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, and the immersive nature of their ongoing Cryptoraves; a series of events accessed by participating in multi-day cryptocurrency mining sessions. The effect of the music is more immediate and visceral in a way perhaps recognisable to anyone simultaneously seduced/repelled by the disorienting, detached but euphoric and wistful experience of finding and negotiating love online.
The results recall the curdled Lynchian vibes of his ‘An American Hero’ for Modern Love, as well as his screwed mixes of Black Zone Myth Chant, the soundtracks to Ryan Trecartin’s deeply uncanny art videos or David Cronenburg’s Videodrome, or the heaving viscosity of Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas’ Lexachast - effectively leaving his usual, warped dancefloor urges aside to present a captivating and insightful reading of techgnostic mysticism and eroticism in modern life.
First LP in five years from Mica Levi & co's newly renamed scuzzy garage-pop band with Raisa Khan, CJ Calderood and Marc Pell, for a new bag of jangly, guitar + vocal-centred charms.
The band’s first LP in half a decade arrives via Parisian label Textile Records, and by design or coincidence, it has something of a puckered Gallic insouciance to its mix of sweet and bitter, beret-wearing vocals, and no-no wavey skronk that sits very well next to the label’s works from Joanne Robertson & Dean Blunt and Jackie O Motherfucker.
If we’re playing favourites, then the driving riffs and Mica’s grungy vocals on ‘Reaching’ are a must check, but they equally prove adept at sweeter dream-pop with sun-blistered guitar optimism in ‘Do It’, and the dubbed-out garage-pop vim of ‘Blessed’, while ‘Star’ is the one for Sterolab and Broadcast fans with hooks that won’t leave your head for days, and we can easily imagine ‘Honey’ beaming off a radio in a Glasgow (shared) kitchen circa 1985.
0PN mounts a definitive opus with his rapturous 9th studio album, entirely produced during lockdown, with “executive production” by The Weeknd, who also supplies vocals alongside Arca and Caroline Polachek.
‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ is titled after the mispronunciation of Magic 106.7, a local radio station in Boston, Massachusetts; the state where Daniel Lopatin aka 0PN grew up, and where the album was created. The radio station’s adult contemporary programming is a formative and enduring influence on 0PN’s music, and it’s clear that he’s saved this album title for some of his most accomplished tributes to his influences, but refracted thru his prismatic styles to illustrate the distance between that era, and this, with some of his most elusive, illusive and beguiling sound design wrapped up in a mix of stunningly mazy and pop-toned arrangements.
0PN is one of those artists we’d imagine took to lockdown quite naturally, sequestering themselves away to immerse in their art for the good of everyone outside. Written between March and July, the results of ‘Magic Oneohtrix Point Never’ speak for themselves as 0PN’s most broadly appealing record, typically placing avant-inventiveness and curiosity at the service of a tumultuous narrative that really needs some kind of road-trip simulation game to go along with its possessed dial-strafing.
You’re probably familiar with the album’s opening sequence, which appeared on a lead single, and includes the lushest FM synthesis of 2020 in ‘Long Road Home’, and the rest of the album follows suit with a profligate approach to genre, cutting from phased dream-pop grunge in ’I Don’t Love Me Anymore’, to hypnagogic ident collage in ‘The Whether Channel’, and The Weeknd’s romantic ‘80s power pop turn on ‘Lost But Never Again’, crucially fractured with cut-scenes and mutant jingling of the ‘Cross Talk’ parts that tie the album’s story together with something approaching a sonic-visual analog of Safdie Brothers’ choppy editing gone lysergic.
Barely known outside of his home country during his lifetime, the late Japanese ambient music pioneer Hiroshi Yoshimura has seen his global stature rise steadily in the past few years.
"The 2017 reissue of his lauded debut, Music For Nine Post Cards, along with a slow building cult internet following has helped ignite a renaissance in his acclaimed body of work, much of which has never been released outside of Japan. Known for his sound design and environmental music, Yoshimura worked on a number of commissions following the 1982 release of Music For Nine Post Cards, including works for museums, galleries, public spaces, TV shows, video art, fashion shows, and even a cosmetics company.
Originally released in 1986, GREEN is one of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s most well-loved recordings and a favorite of the artist himself. Recorded over the winter of 1985-86 at Yoshimura’s home studio, the compositions unfold at an unhurried pace, a stark contrast to the busy city life of Tokyo. As Yoshimura explained in the original liner notes, the album title in the context of this body of work is not meant to be seen as a color, but is rather used to convey “the comfortable scenery of the natural cycle known as GREEN”—which perfectly encapsulates the soothing and warm sounds contained on the album, although it was created utilizing Yamaha FM synthesizers, known for their crisp digital tones.
This edition marks the first reissue of the highly sought-after and impossible to find album. It features the original mix preferred by Yoshimura himself, previously available only on the initial Japanese vinyl release (a limited edition remixed version of the album, with added sound effects, was released on CD in the US)."
This box-set collects all the available recordings by seminal japanese group tolerance.
It includes both their albums released released between 1979 and 1981 on japanese cult diy label vanity records, along with never before released tracks recently discovered in agi yuzuru's archives.
Swingeing, daring, deep Afro-Latin jazz finesse from Irreversible Entanglement’s Aquiles Navarro & Tscheser Holmes on Chicago’s amazing International Anthem label - another gem that may well refresh and reaffirm views on modern jazz, and its place in contemporary music
"Heritage of the Invisible II" follows Navarro and Holmes’s rise to prominence as members of free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements. In March of 2020 in "The Nation" writer Marcus J. Moore said "Irreversible Entanglements’ fearless music takes to task the police, American politics, capitalism, and racism." The revolutionary ethos that drives Irreversible Entanglements is no less present in Navarro and Holmes’s duo work, though their duo finds them much more wholeheartedly and jubilantly embracing their Latin and Afro-Caribbean foundations.
The tracks flash by in a rapturous onslaught, crystalizing in incantations by Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente (an apocalyptic fever dream on “Initial Meditation”), vocalist Brigitte Zozula (the bliss of bustling nightlife on “A Night in NY”), Navarro’s mentor and collaborator Carlos Garnett (the banality of economics on “$$$ /// billete”) and their own musings on friendship and community (the stoned soul picnic of “Plantains”). Of the album’s de facto anthem “Pueblo,” Navarro says “it’s a celebration of life, the coming together of the people, el pueblo, a celebration of who we are, where we come from, it’s our pueblo, our people, a feeling of openness, hope, and a future of unity from el pueblo, the people.” Identifying as active listeners and audience members as well, Navarro and Holmes step back on “M.O.N.K (Most Only Never Knew)” to shine a light on the solo improvisation of pianist/composer Nick Sanders. On the 8-minute duet “NAVARROHOLMES,” the two players reach a summit as they face off in spirited alliance, conjuring visions of legendary free jazz telepathics – Braxton and Roach, Coltrane and Ali, Cherry and Blackwell.
Navarro and Holmes never idle on "Heritage of the Invisible II," choosing instead to ponder their origins in a devout charge of ecstatic cooperation. Meditating on the unseen constructive forces of culture and rhythm as a cadence encoded in one’s heritage, with "Heritage of the Invisible II" they share a volume of their story in rich color – a brilliantly imagined testament to generations of memory, creation and existential joy.”
It’s been four years since Sweatbox Dynasty, the fourth solo LP from Pennsylvanian experimentalist TOBACCO. In that time, Tom Fec’s project has toured with Nine Inch Nails, provided the theme song to HBO series Silicon Valley, and teamed with Aesop Rock for a collaborative album as Malibu Ken. He now returns to Ghostly International for Hot Wet & Sassy, a full-length album, oozing...?
"Pop impulses have always surged beneath the surface of his sound — blown-out bass, analog synths, drum machines, and Fec’s unmistakable analog gurgle and hiss — here they’ve bubbled to the top. “I feel like it’s the most I’ve been able to refine what I’m doing,” says Fec. “For the past decade I’ve had this motherfxcker on my shoulder that makes me pick away at structure and melody. Purposely covering up moments because I can. That really came to a peak on Sweatbox. So I wanted the opposite this time. Write the songs without ripping them in half. I went from ‘what would the Butthole Surfers do?’ to ‘what would Cyndi Lauper do?’”And what would Trent Reznor do? Fec found his answer straight from the source. Their collaborative track, “Babysitter,” fuses their voices into one deranged presence: “I’m the new babysitter,” they alert, before pivoting into a menacingly saccharine bridge. The track tumbles on a tom fill, then a punishing synth line rips into a cacophony of drums and feedback like a lawnmower gnawing through the living room carpet. “This was new for me, but I wanted to write a song that was everything I am and have been, and then like one notch further. Trent was the notch further,” adds Fec. The collaboration is a work of alchemy seamlessly blending TOBACCO’s trademarks with Reznor’s industrial rust and sonic gore.
Downcast, sincere, woozy, “Jinmenken” might be the closest Fec has come to a ballad. “Maybe you can find me down the line,” his vocoded delivery bounces along the beat. “It’s me trying to write a Jets song,” says Fec. Album opener “Centaur Skin” presents the stylistic concoction that has been the TOBACCO MO from the beginning, crossing dreamy me-lodic shimmer with the sinister tones and slime. This has become easier to digest, but also far more potent. A motorik beat steadies the track’s galloping arpeggio, acting as a springboard for Fec’s dark ruminations as well as an uncharacteristically crystalline synth solo. “It’s my feel good self hate anthem. Don’t worry, I’m good. It was fun to write.”TOBACCO hasn’t been reinvented, but it has been refined and distilled. Brighter, sharper, and far more dangerous because of it. Hot Wet & Sassyis practically staring at the sun without shades and feeling those corneas roast. Everything looks good as your vision fades. The pop-forward struc-tures exert their undeniable hooks with baneful precision, pulling listeners into their clutches; once there, sugary melody rewards submission."
Nico Jaar chases up his production for FKA Twigs with his 4th solo album, landing nearly a decade since his head-turning debut ‘Space Is Only Noise’
The result is a typically slow moving batch of nocturnes enhanced with very sensitively detailed atmospheric touches, entwining nods to his Chiléan heritage with nods to ’70 spiritual jazz, psychedelic rock, classical music, and the kind of timeless but futuristic ambient pop balladeering also explored by the likes of Elysia Crampton and Arca.
Omnivorous sampler alchemy from Marc Richter’s Black To Comm, unfurling a captivating side-long tapestry recalling Coil and Goodiepal, plus a side of surreal enigmas resembling Eastern European folk, 4.1 world phantasies, and cubist computer jazz
“The music of Black To Comm is as powerfully intoxicating as it is subtly unnerving. Shapeshifting producer and sound artist Marc Richter has established himself as one of the most inventive and ambitious voices in contemporary music. Richter’s mastery of sonic manipulation is matched only by his astounding clarity of vision. Working heavily with sampling and electronic processing, each of his phantasmagoric works is meticulously constructed from a truly omnivorous array of smudged samples, found sounds, and other sonic detritus, collected by Richter from across the history of recorded music and altered into beguiling new shapes.
Sound sources seem tantalizingly familiar and yet forever just out of reach, flickering at the edges of memory and perception or submerged in a bristling sea of static. A single piece might strafe elements of Eastern European folk, medieval plainsong, sky-clawing metal and shimmering ambient music, all ingested by Richter into his singular sound-world. Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens sees Richter’s turn his wild imagination to an exploration of the human voice, compiling some of his most immediate and affecting music to date.”
On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising ‘Black Willow’ from Loma’s self-titled debut. He said he’d had it on repeat.
"At the time, a second Loma album seemed unlikely. The band began as a serendipitous collaboration between Cross, the multi-talented musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg, who wanted to play a supporting role after years at the microphone. They’d capped a gruelling tour with a standout performance on a packed beach at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 festival, in which Cross leapt into the crowd and then into the sea, while the band carried on from the stage - an emotional peak that also felt like a natural ending. “It was the biggest audience we’d ever had,” she says. “We thought, why not stop here?”
Following the tour, Cross went to rural Mexico to work on visual art and a solo record, while Meiburg began a new Shearwater effort. But after a few months apart (and Eno’s encouraging words), the trio changed their minds and reconvened at Duszynski’s home in rural Texas, where they began to develop songs that would become ‘Don’t Shy Away’. Loma writes by consensus and, though Cross is always the singer, she, Duszynski and Meiburg often trade instruments. Meiburg compares their process to using an Ouija Board and says the songs revealed themselves slowly, over many months. “Each of us is a very strong flavor,” he says, “but in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other - and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own. I think we all wanted to experience that again.” The album that emerged is gently spectacular - a vivid work whose light touch belies its timely themes of solitude, impermanence and finding light in deep darkness. “Stuck / beneath / a rock,” Cross begins, as if noticing her predicament for the first time. Then she adds: “I begin to see / the beauty in it.”
A series of guests contributed to the absorbing soundscapes of ‘Don’t Shy Away’, including touring members Emily Lee (piano, violin) and Matt Schuessler (bass), Flock of Dimes/Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and a surprisingly bass-heavy horn section. And then there’s Brian Eno. Loma invited him to participate in the mantra-like ‘Homing’, which concludes the album and sent him stems to interact with in any way he liked. He never spoke directly with the band but his completed mix arrived via email late one night, without warning and they gathered to listen in the converted bedroom Duszynski uses as a control room. “I was a little worried,” says Cross. “What if we didn’t like it?” But it was all they’d hoped for: minimal but enveloping, friendly but enigmatic, as much Loma as Eno - a perfect ending to an album about finding a new home inside an old one. “I am somewhere that you know,” Cross sings, above a chorus of her bandmates’ blended voices. “I am right behind your eyes.”
Actress returns with singers in tow for an ambitious but very real 7th album of greyscale and chromatic electronics - his first since the Ai project with Young Paint and 2017’s ‘AZD’.
On his definitive new opus Actress ushers in vocalists for the first time, allowing Sampha, Zsela, Aura T-09, and Rebekah Cristel to voice his music alongside additional keys from Italian pianist/composer Vanessa Benelli Mosell. The result is layered and spaced out to accommodate other souls in a hazy matrix of tenderised melodies and amorphous rhythms. If you’ve followed Actress' work thus far - since his cult beginnings in the mid ‘00s, or since the acclaim for his subtly game-changing run of LPs from ’Hazyville’ to ‘Ghettoville’ circa 2008-2014 - the crystalline intricacies of ‘Karma & Desire’ feel like a natural progression of his music into a form of dematerialised dancefloor/bedroom metaphysics that many others have tried to imitate, yet never quite executed with this sort of deeply enigmatic, dreamlike appeal.
Recent years have seen Actress incorporate classical and Ai inspirations thru his work on ‘Lageos’ with the LCO, and his Ai Jade Soulform on ‘AZD’ and the ‘Young Paint’ album. Now ‘Karma & Desire’ feels like the consolidation of all his work in this direction, achieving a unique sense of timeless, soul-burning immanence and detached, OOBE-like qualities that can safely be called Actress music. Sampha proves an ideal foil for his ideas on three of the albums’s quietest highlights; inhabiting ‘Many Seas, Many Rivers’ with the tenderest warbles, and almost channelling a tremulous Linda Sharrock in ‘VVY’, while found at his most vulnerable in the drizzly swing of ‘Walking Flames’, featuring Kara-Lis Coverdale on fliute. And likewise he finds the perfect sort of club music muses from Zsela in the deep blue house of ‘Angels Pharmacy’, Aura T-09 on the slackened garage of ’Loveless’, and Rebekah Christel on the LP’s jitty highlight ‘Loose’.
The instrumental arrangements here still ooze amorphous expression in every hiss, lop-sided drum and smudged chord, from the the scuzzy electro-soul swerve of ‘Diamond X’ to the air-stepping keys and bass wamp of ‘Leaves Against The Sky’, to what sounds like Coil’s studio ELpH’s emerging in the great matter probe ‘Reverend’, and a jaw-dropping masterstroke in the panoramic strings and funereal thuds of ‘Save’.
More than 15 years after we first heard his music, Actress still works our hearts, feet and minds like no other, we can’t wait to spend time entangled in this one.
The first new Magik Markers album in six years is a great reminder why we always loved the psychedelic blues-sludge trio: this is mind-altering clatter-rock of the highest order that hangs out bumming rolling papers at the intersection of Neil Young, Popol Vuh and early Sabbath.
Elisa Ambrogio, John Shaw and Pete Nolan have always been a formidable trio, with a startling slew of material emerging in the mid-00s on labels like Ecstatic Peace!, Textile and even Dominic Fernow's Hospital Productions. But since 2009, they slowed down considerably; the trio's last full-length "Surrender To the Fantasy" appeared in 2013. "2020" is a blistering return to the spotlight, following July's short "Isolated From Exterior Time" EP, and finds the band stepping right back into their alluring, endless psychedelic groove.
Ambrogio's characteristic vocals and fuzzy riffs yet again anchor the tracks, fleshed out with Spectre Folk's Pete Nolan's assured drumming and additional elements (memorably Mellotron on chirpy album highpoint 'Born Dead') from John Shaw. There's something unshakeably American about this music - rooted in blues and then shaped by riot grrl punk, 70s psychedelia and basement noise. The title is almost a joke - the music never feels rooted in the present, and that might make it more 2020 than anything else.
Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
"Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, ‘songs and instrumentals’, out on 4AD. ‘songs and instrumentals’ are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. After returning to the States from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts."
Beggars Arkive reissue of The Fall’s 10th studio album, 1988’s THE FRENZ EXPERIMENT.
"The reissue contains the original album, plus singles and B-Sides. The CD version also includes a previously unreleased 4-track BBC session and “A Day In The Life”, a Beatles cover recorded exclusively for the NME charity compilation Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father in 1988, plus a 24-page booklet with new interviews. The LP version contains extensive sleeve notes with new interviews. The notes included with both formats contain brand new interviews conducted by Daryl Easley in May 2020."
Colombia-born and raised musician Ela Minus wrote, performed and produced the collection entirely alone. Self-made and punk in spirit - Ela puts her own spin on traditional electronic music.
"She designs and builds hardware synthesizers and, as a self- imposed rule, no sound in her work is generated inside a computer. Creating complex, technical electronic music that exudes a vibrant warmth and a stark, celebratory affirmation that our breaths aren’t infinite. A collection of songs about the personal as political and an embracing of the beauty of tiny acts of revolution in our everyday lives. Throughout, a sense of urgency and a call to arms is mixed with this love and appreciation for reality - because even revolutionaries need to leave space for simple human interaction."
Roger and Brian Eno’s acclaimed creative collaboration continues with seven additional tracks.
"Roger and Brian Eno explore the nature of sound in their first ever duo album, Mixing Colours. The album’s eighteen soundscapes invite listeners to immerse themselves in the infinite space that lies below their surface. Coming out on Deutsche Grammophon. Mixing Colours grew over a number of years, with both artists drawing on their long experience as composers, performers and producers. The creative process began with Roger Eno playing individual pieces and recording them using a MIDI keyboard. He then sent digital MIDI files of these recordings to his older brother, who set each piece in its own particular sound world, by revising and manipulating its content. Their exchange developed an effortless dynamic as the project unfolded.
The earliest pieces on Mixing Colours began life around 2005, but were not originally thought about as part of a larger body of work. “We weren’t directing this towards an end result – it was like a back-and-forth conversation we were having over a 15-year period,” says Roger. “I’d wake up, go straight upstairs, put my equipment on and improvise, then I sent things to Brian that I thought he might be interested in. The idea for a full album emerged as the number of pieces kept increasing and the results kept being interesting. It’s something that neither of us could have arrived at alone”.
Mixing Colours creates bridges between the music’s past and future. Roger’s compositions evoke the yearning melodic style of late Schubert while Brian’s sound design draws from his ground-breaking conceptual work with electronic music and lifelong fascination with the creative potential of new media. Over the past half century, he notes, the pop world has developed electronic music’s enormous possibilities to create previously unimagined sound colours and instrumental timbres.
Brian observes: “With classical instruments the clarinet represents a little island of sound, the viola another, and the grand piano yet another. Each instrument is a finite set of sonic possibilities, one island in the limitless ocean of all the possible sounds that you could make. What’s happened with electronics is that all the spaces in between those islands are being explored, yielding new sounds that have never previously existed. It has been a huge pleasure for me to explore that ocean with Roger’s unique compositions.”
All but one of the recording’s eighteen tracks have colour-related titles – “Burnt Umber”, “Obsidian” and “Verdigris” among them – comparable to those often attached to abstract paintings. Together they create a deep meditation on shifting tonal shades and contrasts in timbre. The final track, the haunting “Slow Movement: Sand”, strips music back to its bare essentials of tone colour, timbre and pulse.
Mixing Colours, adds Roger, stemmed from their shared artistic, musical and literary interests to become a work of genuine collaboration. “The more you listen to this album, particularly with the fabulous worlds that Brian has created, you can really walk into its enormous landscape and stay.”
The album artwork features abstract paintings by artist Dom Theobald, including a striking piece given as a gift by Roger to Brian.”
Triple CD presenting the music of the three double LPs in all their glory. Sixty-one gems of stomping, rollicking, desolate, ravishing gospel music, intermingling with soul, blues, doo-wop, jazz, r&b, disco and boogie.
"Disc one: stomping, rollicking gospel music, intermingling with raw soul, searing blues, hard-rocking doo-wop and jazz, and storming r&b. Infused and incandescent with the hurting, surging indignation of the Civil Rights movement, here are twenty-four precious scorchers by giants like the Staple Singers and Jimmy Scott, alongside devastating sides by less celebrated names like the Harmonising Five of Burlington, North Carolina, and teen-group the North Philadelphia Juniors, culminating triumphantly with slamming, sanctified versions of Hit The Road Jack and Wade In The Water.
Disc two brings sublime crossings of gospel with the soul, funk and jazz of the Black Power era. Twenty rapturous cuts dot dazzlingly between Muscle Shoals soul, screwed breakbeat, Mizells-style fusion, disco and proto-house. Triumphant re-workings of Sly Stone, Donny Hathaway and Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters will have listeners throwing their pew cushions into the air.
Disc three: seventeen gems of fierce funk, rapturous soul and transcendent disco and boogie, super-charged with celebration and affirmativeness, loaded with roaring choirs, rocking horns and popping bass guitars, from the years leading up to Savoy’s acquisition by Malaco. Some seriously rare cuts here; for instance, the stupendous opener by Edith Moreno only appeared as a blank-label promo, in a tiny run."
KRAFFT for orchestra was composed in 2016 as a commission of the French State, and was premiered in Paris and Marseille, France.
"The composition has a similar kind of metric structure as String Quartet No.3: all instruments play in rhythmic unison throughout. KRAFFT is an ironic-onomatopoetic wrong spelling of the German term Kraft, meaning power or force. The listener should feel exposed to a sonic undertow. The notion of huge power and force is often connected to the existence of clandestine and unknown rules controlling the world around us; something is happening, but we do not know exactly what, when or how."
Blaine L. Reininger needs no introduction. He is an American post-punk, new-wave and alternative pop singer, songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist (particularly violin), writer and performer. He is known for being a member of the group Tuxedomoon since 1977 after co-founding it with Steven Brown and, latterly, for a notable music and theatre career, both as a soloist and contributor to other artists' recordings, including The Durutti Column, Snakefinger, Anna Domino, Savage Republic or Paul Haig.
"After learning the violin and guitar during childhood and studying music theory in San Francisco, Reininger formed the band Tuxedomoon with composer, singer, musician and college-mate Steven Brown and appeared on early albums such as Half Mute, Desire and Suite En Sous-Sol before departing early in 1983 to pursue a solo career.
He permanently rejoined Tuxedomoon in 1988 and has subsequently appeared on more recent recordings such as Vapour Trails, issued in 2007 by independent label Crammed Discs. Songs From The Rain Palace was released in 1990 by Les Disques Du Crepuscule in Belgium on CD and cassette. It features amongst other guests Tuxedomoon's Peter Principle. For this re-issue, the album was remastered by Martin Bowes and features 5 bonus tracks - two off compilations that came out at the time and three from Blaine's archive."
This album is the first collaboration between two noted musicians.
"Michael Begg is a Scottish composer, sound artist, and musician. In 2000, making use of new affordable computer technologies, he began to experiment in computer mediated composition. Along with long time collaborator Deryk Thomas, he produced a series of recordings intended for use in theatre which became the first Human Greed album, Consolation. Michael began contributing to Clodagh Simonds' Fovea Hex project in 2007 with an appearance on the track "Long Distance" on the EP Allure. He has since appeared on every subsequent Fovea Hex recording, and is a core member of the performing iteration of the ensemble.
Begg has released a number of recordings in his own name, working more progressively towards a territory comprising site specific thematic work, contemporary classical music, and studio experimenting. Hans-Joachim Roedelius is a German electronic musician and composer. He is best known as a co-founder of the influential krautrock groups Cluster and Harmonia. Roedelius' solo career began with Durch die Wüste in 1978 and then Jardin Au Fou in 1979. The first of the lengthy Selbstportrait series was released in 1979, being material done beside his work with Cluster and Harmonia, without the input of his collaborators. Mostly recorded on simple two-track equipment, the Selbstportraits make up the backbone of Roedelius' early solo recordings."
William Basinski’s Sparkle Division drop this sexy bomb of an album for optimum distraction from the world outside, properly surprising this one.
Working closely with his studio guy, Preston Wendel, Basinski reveals a whole other side to his vibe, cracking out his sax in sultry and free-jazzing style over killer rhythm tracks tilting between footwork, disco and lounge lizard swerve. And you can trust that coming from a guy who can rock a snakeskin shirt, he’s packing nuff swagger in every cut, proving Wendel’s input as the ideal foil and catalyst for the sexiest record in his 20 year wide catalogue of exquisite washed out classics.
As Basinski so eloquently puts it, “Lotta babies gonna be born from this one” to the ravishing footwork jazz of ‘Oh Henry!’, the feel of the whole album is just smoky and full of moxie, from that ridiculous cover art, to Basinski’s lowdown sax shredding on ‘You Ain’t Takin’ My Man’, thru lushest ambient loop jobs reminding of Co La and 0PN in ‘To The Stars Major Tom’, purest duvet diving ambience with Basinki’s sumptuous touch in ’To Feel’, and an unmissable outro sounding like Tender Love SND jamming with Angel Bat Dawit in ‘No Exit’. Whew. Time for a cig.
John Frusciante releases the first instrumental electronic album under his own name on Aaron Funk's Timesig label. The record is dedicated to his cat Maya who recently passed away, a fellow traveller in his otherwise solitary music making sessions.
"He says "Maya was with me as I made music for 15 years, so I wanted to name it after her. She loved music, and with such a personal title, it didn't seem right to call myself Trickfinger, somehow, so it's by John Frusciante."
'Maya' is inspired by his favourite music: '91 to'96 UK breakbeat hardcore and jungle. It’s a varied and personal take with sophisticated, authentic production balanced against John’s acute sense of melody, an inspired blending of machines and samples infused with a joyful energy.
After discovering early UK rave music, John started dancing at drum & bass club nights in Los Angeles. He then got into Venetian Snares' music at the Autechre curated ATP in 2003, eventually becoming friends with Aaron resulting in the Speed Dealer Moms collaboration which boosted his confidence in making electronic music.
The process of making his tracks changed over time as John explains; “For a full year before I started this record, I worked within self-imposed limitations and rules that made the music-making process as difficult as possible, programming for programming's sake. After a full year of that, I decided to make things easier, to the degree that I could regularly finish tracks I enjoyed listening to, while continuing many of the practices I‘d developed. Throughout the recording of Maya, I would prepare to make each track very slowly, but would finish tracks very quickly. I'd spend weeks making breakbeats, souping up a drum machine, making DX7 patches, and so on. By the time an idea came up that seemed like the beginning of a tune, I had a lot of fresh elements ready to go."
John says his solo music has changed; "I don't have that interest in singing or writing lyrics like I used to. The natural thing when I'm by myself now, is to just make music like the stuff being released this year. I really love the back and forth with machines and the computer." The fun he’s having on 'Maya' is infectious."
dunno, just dunno how to feel about a label called 'a strangely isolated place' releasing a christian kleine record. it's like a meta timebubble.
"When you’re young, you’re heavily inspired by what you love and will do anything to be a part of it. The more you create, the more familiar you become as the years move on, and your ambition to perfect it becomes even stronger.
This natural evolution is something Christian Kleine is well versed in and since his first releases in the early 00’s, Christian has been synonymous with perfecting a particular sound that draws from early IDM, breaks and influences as far reaching as Punk music.
Touch & Fuse continues the melodic, drum-driven finesse he has become known for, but instead of trying to perfect anything new, different or conceptual two decades later, we’re treated to an album unconsciously inspired simply, by the wide variety of music he likes.
The slow waltz of album opener Return of The Underground; the nostalgic synthesizers in Nearfield to Nowhere; the electro-punk undercurrent of Number 6; the acid-tinged Val 2, or the Shoegaze-lulls in album closer Room In The Mirror; Touch & Fuse plays like a trip through Christian’s musical upbringing - snapshots in time, told in a timeless manner.
“Touch & Fuse is my way of reflecting where I am and what interests me, in the hope that other people find something for themselves in there as well. For me, music has the power to change my perspectives on time - it can act like a drug pretending I have seen and experienced things I never would have otherwise” - CK.
With everything shut by nine, Ben Holton and Rob Glover were trapped in bedrooms; too young to escape the watchful eye of parents. They were contemplating starting a band. New sounds emerge from across the hallway. A sticker covered door, entry denied by an older brother sat behind blasting out pirate radio; not suitable for young ears. Perhaps a familiar scene from the 90s...
"And so, drawing on a musical palette of those heard sounds, coupled with ruminations on ageing and a dose of epic45 shimmer; Cropping The Aftermath makes its way into the world.
“The 90s were our adolescent years, in which we grasped around for an identity and set of ideologies to live by. Of course, guitars won through in the end but these sounds were always on our periphery and an indirect influence." agree, Ben Holton & Rob Glover.
Cropping the Aftermath is the second release by epic45 in 2020; the ‘We Were Never Here’ photobook project came out in May. It was an instrumental release featuring large scale photography taken during 2018-2019, of ‘nowhere places’ eerily devoid of human life.
The current line-up consists of founder members Ben Holton and Rob Glover, with James Yates, a long term collaborator whose role within the band has grown organically over time. epic45 will be rescheduling all cancelled UK and Japanese live dates when appropriate."
Martin Rev's fourth solo album See Me Ridin' was released on the New York label Reachout International Records (ROIR) in 1996.
"Received by the critics with amazement, it proved to be a watershed moment in his career. Martin Rev's vocals are as minimal as they are sentimental, wonderfully poetic like a latter-day Chet Baker perhaps, or Jonathan Richman. This solo album not only blindsided Rev's critics and fans alike, but also painted a personal, nostalgic portrait of his home, New York; fading out the noise and contradictions of the city to channel the romantic energy of the metropolis."
The origins of Three Point Circle go back to 1980, when K. Leimer, Marc Barreca, and Steve Peters met for two sparsely-attended shows in Olympia, WA. Some forty years later, they have regrouped as Three Point Circle.
"Perhaps better described as a process than as a musical group, Three Point Circle has developed a collaborative system that replaces standards of improvisation and authorship with a new, independent, compositional identity removed from the individual habits and traits of the members. Layered Contingencies presents the first results in this quest for uncertainty -- five long form pieces of sharp and smooth contrasts taking place in a soundstage of rest, unrest, shallows, and depths that manage to maintain an unpredictable coherence."
France chamber duo Snowdrops, formed in 2015 by Mathieu Gabry and Christine Ott, release their debut album Volutes, an eloquent miniature symphony of strings, piano and the notoriously challenging Ondes Martenot instrument.
"Christine Ott has performed alongside celebrated film composer Yann Tiersen, longstanding UK alternative band (and reputable soundtrack composers) Tindersticks, and French post-rock experimentalists Oiseaux-Tempête, resulting in the breadth of musical knowledge and the acute, skillful sensitivity to compositional subtleties and sympathies evident in Volutes.
Alongside their contribution of piano, strings, mellotron, electronics and the Ondes Martenot, for Volutes Gabry and Ott are joined by virtuosic viola player Anne Irène-Kempf. From a classical and baroque background, Kempf’s extremely lively and spontaneous playing adds a special colour to the album. The duo draw from a unique combination of contemporary classical, jazz, electronic music and film score, and spent the first few years of their partnership composing essentially to picture."
Global Communication are Tom Middelton and Mark Pritchard. They began recording in 1991 and in a short space of time released a huge amount of music collectively and individually, in a broad range of styles, including records under names such as Link, E621, Reload, The Chameleon and Jedi Knights. It’s the work they made together as Global Communication however that has proved to be the most enduring.
"This is in no small part down to the formidable reputation of their sole studio album, 76:14, widely considered to be an ambient techno classic, hailed by The Guardian as "an unfathomably beautiful out-of-time masterpiece" and no.11 in Mixmag’s best dance albums of all time.
This new anthology is the most definitive overview of their music to date, issued on the group’s own Evolution label and remastered from the original DAT tapes, with care taken to retain the full dynamics of the original recordings. Every detail has been painstakingly overseen by Tom and Mark, accompanied by in-depth sleevenotes by Ben Cardew and beautifully updated sleeve designs by Mark Gowing. As well as 76:14 presented in stunning new sound quality, it also contains two other albums. Pentamerous Metamorphosis was their revolutionary full album overhaul of the Blood Music album by labelmates Chapterhouse. Whilst retaining some elements of the shoegaze guitar music of the original recording to use as building blocks, Global Communication essentially crafted their own album out of the results, and the result is a lesser known but equally fine-crafted companion to the much-loved 76:14.
The third record in this set is a special compilation Mark and Tom have assembled of classic non-album 12” tracks and radical remixes of other artists, something also flipped on it’s head by a brand new cover version by Lone (R&S Records) of the anthemic 5:23. Curated Singes & Remixes highlights that even within the framework of Global Communication, Tom and Mark were music enthusiasts first and foremost and their restless experimentation did not rest on one particular musical genre. As well as the tracks from debut EP, Keongaku, which signposted what was to come with 76:14, there’s also the house classics “The Way” and “The Deep” and their stunning reconstructions of tracks by The Grid and Sensorama (Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke). On the CD is a previously unheard cassette demo of 7:39 which will be a must-hear for fans of the group."
David First likes to use the phrase “the virtuosity of slowness” to describe his musical philosophy.
"In The Consummation of Right and Wrong, he and his 8-piece ensemble, The Western Enisphere, practice this virtuosity to great effect in closely examining the universes that fall between the cracks of convention, reflecting a wide continuum of complex relationships, all the while giving us music that is simply ravishing to listen to.
This is "drone music” as dynamic organism, moving from compact and ruminative to spacious and serene and back. In this 3-CD, 2.5 hours of sonic tessellation, First has alchemized his own personal opposites like never before, combining and transmuting his free-jazz experience with avant-legend Cecil Taylor, his influential noise-rock & roll band Notekillers, his longabiding love for minimalist, mathematical excavation on dozens of instruments, and a highly refined ear for pop-melodic architectures into a singular, epic set of vibrational possibilities that leaves very few stones unturned in his ongoing quest for the resolution of all extremes."
This slice of proto-power electronics was released in 1981, marking Whitehouse's turn towards more minimal, elemental sounds which somehow instill an even more uncompromising aesthetic, departing somewhat from the comparatively palatable industrial outbursts of prior releases.
The album brims with devilish noise tracts, making microscopic transitions from the squealing unpleasantness of 'Shitfun' (featuring Bennett shouting out his various electronically disfigured obscenities) to the alarm-mimicking, binary-tone noise twitches of 'Socrastination Day'. Excruciating.
Losing someone close to you creates an almost phantom limb-like effect. Often, it feels like they’re a phone call away.
"But that instant between when you reach for the phone and when your brain delivers the new reality to you is a strange, momentary eternity. It’s both an uncompromising void and maybe as close as you’ll ever come to communing with that loved one again. On her new song “Sandwiches,” Gordi harnesses all the sadness and glory of this feeling into a soaring, post-new wave anthem. One of the first true Gordi “guitar songs,” it shimmers with the lush-yet-fragile momentum of The Cranberries’ classic “Dreams.”
Gordi wrote “Sandwiches” as a tribute to the matriarch of her family. Her late grandmother was, in Gordi’s words, “a great feeder of people.” So when she fell ill, Gordi and her mother took it upon themselves to nourish the visitors gathered around her hospital bed. As they passed around sandwiches, “someone called out that she was gone.”
The gravity of the moment was poignant for its softness and mundanity. Gordi approaches the totality of a loved one’s life as measured in the small memories that stay with us. She sings, “When I think of you a movie-reel of moments plays / We’ll be in the car or after mass on Saturdays / You’ll be walking down the driveway, you’ll be in your chair / You’ll say ‘See you round’ or ‘Say your “Three”’ / And now you’re everywhere.”
Gordi called on long-time collaborators and Bon Iver production duo Chris Messina and Zach Hanson to make “Sandwiches” at her family home in Canowindra, Australia — an old cottage littered with some of Sophie’s favorite pieces of musical arsenal combined with some flown in from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The tiny farm town where her family has lived for over a century, Canowindra, and the heart of the matriarch, is embedded in this song. “Her whole life was in Canowindra…we made it in a house that’s a hundred meters from her house.”"