Kazakh violinist Aisha Orazbayeva presents her latest album Telemann Fantasias, works by German composer G.P. Telemann published in 1735.
"Orazbayeva's performance of these pieces range from personal and stylistic interpretations to versions marked by the distortion and fragmentation of the material through the use of contemporary violin techniques.
The variety of extreme colours, sounds and tones illuminates the polyphonic character and phrasing of the music, while also adding unfamiliar and distant qualities. This approach to interpreting old repertoire reflects her work in improvisation and as a performer of new and experimental music.”
One-off Japanaese pressing of this limited CD compiling both of Burial's 'Steet Halo' and 'Kindred' EPs, originally produced exclusively for the Japanese domestic market.
All six tracks in their full length versions, totalling 50 minutes of music not previously available on CD, packaged in full size jewel case with Japanese obi-strip overlay.
This summer, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Editors’ Justin Lockey and his brother James came together to release their debut album as Minor Victories. Currently in the midst of a run of live shows throughout Europe, the band are pleased to announce their utterly stunning instrumental interpretation of the self-titled record, entitled Orchestral Variations.
Deliciously uncompromising sound design from Gábor Lázár, performing a sort of virtuosic hyper-rave bondage on your ears with Crisis Of Representation; his first release for Shelter Press after a pair of releases with The Death of Rave - including his acclaimed collaboration with Mark Fell, The Neurobiology Of Moral Decision Making - and the ILS album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!? before them. If you're into mad sound design, this one comes highly recommended.
Mostly pieced together in 2015, but utilising material made as early as 2011, Crisis Of Representation forms a direct continuation of Lázár’s increasingly incisive composition techniques, offering 7 pieces (+1 bonus on CD) which unknot the same nasal drip motif in myriad permutations of possibility. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to draw an economically short line from his to Mark Fell’s music, but where Fell’s Linn grammar and SoYo accentuation tends to clip itself, Lázár’s compositions ribbon off into unnaturally fluid flights of mercurial, polychromatic acrobatics.
We could imagine that this deeply abstract yet soberly conceived techno sound is antithesis to casual listening. But, if you’re game enough to follow Gábor into the wormhole, and have the head for intense, elusive sonics, then you’ll be embraced by a unquantifiably psychedelic experience quite unlike any other, where notions of “proper” musical convention are upended and rhythm, pitch and tone become fused by your head into scintillating psychoacoustic formations of perpetual tension and amorphous resolution.
"The best ambient album i've heard in an ice age, an album of terrifying, desolate and all-enveloping beauty" David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 1997
Biosphere's 'Substrata' is a rarely topped pinnacle of the '90s ambient canon. On its 18th birthday, the album's producer Geir Jenssen's Biophon label treats it to a subtle facelift at Pole's mastering desk, reanimating the still-mindblowing likes of 'Sphere Of No-Form' in all their captivating and frost-bitten wonder.
As far as end-of-the-world isolationist music and sound design goes, this album remains one of the most affective we've ever heard. Essential listening for fans of the cold, life-affirming music of Thomas Köner, Mika Vainio, or Deathprod.
Reissue of DJ Sprinkles' classic Midtown 120 Blues, self-released by Terre Thaemlitz through his own Comatonse imprint
Bringing deep house back into contact with its club culture roots, Terre Thaemlitz has created one of the most essential house albums of the last few years with 'Midtown 120 Blues'. Terre was originally working as a DJ under her Sprinkles alias in the gay clubs of midtown Manhattan and New Jersey in the late 80's when deep house began to blossom. It's this early period of House history which Terre has beautifully recreated over 10 tracks, making a pointed comment with the intro track taking shots at Strictly Rhythm for becoming 'Strictly Vocal' and pulling no punches towards "Most Europeans who think deep house means shitty hi-NRG vocal house".
With the intentions made clear, Terre develops a masterpiece of serene melancholy and sublime deep house crafted with the skill and dedication of someone who you can truly believe lived this music at that time. From the rich subbass driven tones of 'Midtown 120 Blues' with plaintive pianos slowly encircling one another, to samples of drag queen monologues over the deepest ambient brushed rhythms on 'Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)' or head-meltingly warm chords and caressed percussion of 'Brenda's $20 dilemna' - this will suck in and swallow any deep house lovers in one go.
A total pleasure.
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 hear in 2016, 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.
Mica Levi is without question one of the most interesting producers working today, with numerous strings to her bow she has repeatedly wowed us with everything from skewed rhythmic edits to her chopped & screwed take on classical arrangements, hooky 3-minute pop tracks to squashed Urban mixtapes - always seemingly side-stepping expectations with a singular approach to everything she's put her hand to.
Following her standout, brilliantly unnerving score for Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin a couple of years back, Levi now returns with her second high-profile soundtrack, this time for Pablo Larraín’s Jackie.
There are some pretty amazing interviews with Levi around at the moment (both written, and a couple of totally hilarious Video ones where she makes no concession to what’s expected of her - go find them!), and the tiny insight she gives to the recording process does very little to explain quite how she manages to make a sound so utterly identifiable as her own, regardless of the scale of the production. You’ll find out that she likes to look out of the window when she’s writing, for inspiration, and that despite a classical grounding (at Guildhall) she likes to layer strings in such a way that they attain a kind of school-band quality to them, ever so subtly messing with harmonics in a way that defies tradition.
And that’s the thing with this incredible soundtrack - it sounds rich and beautiful and hugely accomplished, but also ever so slightly off. The use of silence, dissonance, recurring motifs that accelerate and unravel as the soundtrack goes on... is quite something to behold. It’s a hugely confident, self-assured and above all gripping score that is never emotionally heavy-handed, nor does it ever sound like it's trying too hard.
Rather than adapting herself to convention, Levi has re-moulded the genre itself to fit around her acutely non-conformist approach to composition and production and, in the process, has in some way re-set our expectations of what a film score can achieve. She’s done that twice now, on her first two goes at it, which is really quite staggering.
We’ve said this so many times now it almost goes without saying, but there really aren’t many people in contemporary music leaving quite as indelible a mark across so many different genres and sub genres as Mica Levi, in a way that, in our opinion, hasn't really been seen since Arthur Russell or Prince.
The PAN label's premier purveyors of “chamber doom” return with a new cycle for longtime alibis, Antifrost, following their acclaimed folk trilogy of LPs between 2014-15, and the still-resonating tones of Som Sakrifis (2013) for PAN.
If you’ve encountered any of the aforementioned, you will have a very good idea of what to hope for in the 3-part Pèkisyon Funebri; namely a majestic sense of struggle against the flattening feeling of despair and fatigue that haunts our times.
This is music which appears to carry the weight of the world on its shoulders whilst wielding a cello and bow in its heavy limbs, dredging the psyche for signs of life which are found and coaxed from their holes to emerge as churning low-end gestures who reinforce their dual resonant frequencies in slow, wide vortices aimed at centring and quaking your thorax.
Subterranean in their prostration but sidereal in hope against the frustrations that we can only imagine must be felt in Greece right now, Pèkisyon Funebri is a masterful reminder that even at the lowest ebbs there is solace and resilience to be found if one remains faithful to the search.
'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 xx’s anticipated third album, ‘I See You’, is the follow up to the band’s two previous albums ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’.
‘I See You’ marks a new era for the London trio of Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith, both sonically and in terms of process - while ‘xx’ and ‘Coexist’ were bothmade in relative isolation in London, ‘I See You’ was recorded between March 2014 and August 2016 in New York, Marfa TX, Reykjavik, Los Angeles and London and is characterised by a more outward-looking, open and expansive approach.
Produced by Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald, ‘I See You’ is The xx at their boldest yet, performing with more clarity and ambition than ever before."
Groove-driven psych-rock from the Montreal stronghold of Constellation Records.
“Psychedelic rock, krautrock, desert rock, punk rock, noise rock, afrobeat, experimental pop, post-rock, electronic; all are touchstones for Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche. Their multi-movement durational music arguably combines trance rock and audio collage above all - a diced and spliced approach to longform multi-movement groove music played by a stripped down quartet of two guitars, bass and drums, synched to pre-recorded electronics and musique concrete.
The band's unique restlessness and inventiveness seduces with shifts, turns and dovetails, consistently destabilizing its own inexorable musical logic in highly satisfying fashion. Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche deploys a panoply of buoyant musical ideas, subtly sumptuous sonic treatments, and joyous stylistic nods - while remaining fundamentally devoted to working the groove from a kaleidoscope of angles. Their sound always seems to be escaping overt homage or retro tendencies; neither freighted with reverence nor weightless with irreverence, the music of Avec le soleil routes and uproots itself along its own refreshingly untrodden path.
Pas pire pop, I Love You So Much is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop that sounds like no other. Quite literally: the needle drops on “Trans-pop express” with Avec le soleil in full swing, playing a musical theme that had been submerged at the end of Zubberdust’s closing track, now developed in the full kaleidoscopic light of day. Unfurling over 10 minutes of sinuous bass, chiming guitars and wordless vocals, “Alizé et Margaret D…” opens with naive melody lines played on dry staccato guitars, peppered with ragged vocal calls, before transitioning through some unison riffing into one of the band’s signatures: clean, methodical, exuberantly layered grooves perhaps most reminiscent of Remain In Light era Talking Heads.
Nothing the band has recorded to date quite drives home the fascinating sonic identity they’ve forged from their overflowing toolbox of techniques and influences more than “Tourner incessamment dans l’éclatement euphorique…”, the 20-minute tour de force that comprises Side Two of Pas pire pop.This is post-modern psychedelic trance-pop the likes of which we can honestly say we’ve not heard before.”
It has taken 20 years for Mick Harvey to resume his project of translating Serge Gainsbourg’s songs into English and following the release of Volume 3 - ‘Delirium Tremens’ in June, Mick Harvey now delivers the final in the series, Volume 4 - ‘Intoxicated Women’.
‘Intoxicated Women’ contains many duets and songs written by Gainsbourg, mostly during the 1960s, in a period where he was focusing his songwriting on singers such as France Galle, Juliette Greco and most famously, Brigitte Bardot. Here Harvey has enlisted the talents of guest singers Channthy Kak (Cambodian Space Project), Australian singers Xanthe Waite (Terry, Primo), Sophia Brous, Lyndelle-Jayne Spruyt and Jess Ribeiro and the German chanteuse Andrea Schroeder plus a special appearance by Harvey’s son, Solomon.
On his long-awaited 2nd LP for Houndstooth, Ross Tones a.k.a. Throwing Snow takes influence from the cyclical nature of life itself as the diving board into a dreamy album of elusive and emotive electronica themes and razor-sharp drum programming.
Divining complexity from simplicity, across Embers Throwing Snow uses a variety of production techniques - electronic, acoustic, aleatoric - to grow relatively elemental sounds into more intricate structures, which he neatly proposes as a model, or allegory, for the processes of pattern evolution and cycles of birth and decay fundamental to the laws of nature.
In effect he’s produced Throwing Snow’s defining opus; a lushly colourful batch steeped in eldritch whirligig melodies and curdling harmonics, grounded in earthly rugged rhythms, but with billions of years of starlight twinkling in its eyes.
Streamlined big room pumpers from Fjaak.
After introductions made five years ago on Baalsaal Records, Fjaak have refined their sound to the slickest big room templates here, aided by Rødhåd on Offline and teaming with their Monkeytown label bosses, Modeselektor, on Fjkslktr.
Wake in Fright, the second full-length by the New York City duo Uniform, is a harrowing exploration of self-medication, painted in the colors of war.
"Following the Ghosthouse 12", whose A-side Pitchfork called “their most relentless track yet,” vocalist Michael Berdan and guitarist/producer Ben Greenberg return with a new batch of even more punishing songs that incorporate elements of industrial music, thrash metal, harsh noise, and power electronics.
“This record is primarily about psychic transition,” Berdan explained. “The distress that these songs attempt to illustrate comes from a place of stagnation and monotony. This is what happens when old ways of thinking become exhausted and old ways of coping prove ineffective. Something must change or it will break.”
The characters Berdan brings to life in his lyrics quit using but have ruinous relapses (“Habit”) or struggle as their resolve crumbles (“Bootlicker”); they use alcohol to ease their insomnia but and are helpless when they get sober and stop sleeping again (“Night of Fear”); they’re existential misanthropes trapped in dead-end lives (“The Lost”).
Greenberg sets these stories to menacing guitar and samples of literal sounds of war — the kick drums are bombs going off, the snares are gunshots. He drew the record’s immense sample library from action movies, Foley sound packs, field recordings, and more, and the result is devastating. The guitar is also as crucial as ever, and now as indebted Slayeras it is to Big Black. Greenberg conjures up massive riffs and shredding solos, pushing the band deeper into the metal world whose borderlands they’ve long stalked.
“We are surrounded by war and the whole world is burning and it doesn’t seem like there are any appropriate reactions or responses left anymore,” Greenberg elaborated. “This music is our response to and our reflection of the overwhelming violence, chaos, hate, and destruction that confronts us and everyone else in the world every day of our lives. When we play, I don’t feel powerless anymore. I hope this record can help others transcend their anger and frustration.”
NYC's foremost tape loop digger is back with a gorgeous album based around his highly-acclaimed show of the same name.
After a run of much-need archival issues based around Basinski’s seminal The Disintegration Loops series, the New Yorker finally delivers some fresh material for Temporary Residence in the shape of A Shadow Of Time. Formed of two extended compositions, the album has origins in the performances of the same name Basinski gave throughout 2016 and finds him exploring themes of fatality through the decaying medium of his trusty reel to reel players.
The title track finds Basinski again working with his unwieldy Voyetra 8 - a synth he last used on his 2001 LP Watermusic - on a composition dedicated to a friend who took their own life. A year in making before debuting at London’s Union Chapel in February last year, the 23-minute A Shadow Of Time recalls the best moments of The Disintegration Loops, as Basinski wrings out a captivating assemblage of plaintive drones and exquisite melodies.
Face down, For David Robert Jones is obviously a eulogy to the Thin White Duke and was originally commissioned for a performance at LA gallery Volume in the weeks following Bowie’s passing. Here Basinski cannily incorporates some ancient tapes loops chewed up by his “roommate’s cat in New York, this big fat motherfxcker,” with elements of Bowie’s work including his saxophone playing from Low closer Subterraneans.
Manchester’s legendary, pivotal post-punk unit comprising Linder Sterling and Ian Devine, a.k.a Ludus, are subject of this long overdue anthology from Les Disques Du Crepuscule, collecting all tracks from their early compilation, Nue Au Soleil (Complètement) plus stacks more single, album, Peel Sessions and rare live cuts in the same place, for the first time.
The undoubted locus of Ludus is Linder Sterling; originally an art school student from Wigan who came to study in Manchester, Linder was there at The Sex Pistols 2nd show at The Free Trade Hall where she met Pete Shelley and subsequently became a main muse for Manchester’s punk scene, becoming instrumental to the inception of New Hormones for her definitive collage cover art on the Orgasm Addict 7”, later contributing to Factory with her Menstrual Abacus (Fac 8) and a part in Factory Flick (Fac 9), before her notorious meat-dress made from discarded chicken meat debuted at the Haçienda in 1982 - at the end of the period under review here - decades before Lady Gaga copied her.
But that’s not to discount Ian Devine input to Ludus, too. Moving from Cardiff to Manchester in 1979, he quickly expanded the Ludus remit from punk via the improvised musics of Evan Parker and Derek Bailey, and played foil to Linder’s remarkable vocal range, which variably referenced Meredith Monk, Annette Peacock, Yoko Ono, Urzula Dudziak.
So it may well come as a happy surprise that Ludus don’t really sound like any of the above, at all. As you’ll cop across these 29 songs, they excelled in making a loose yet compact form of avant-pop equally open to punk’s melodic spikiness and the freeform clatter of improvisation, and wherever the feeling takes them - for example, from the mesh of rolling tribal drums and Linder’s soaring operatics in How High Does The Sky Go? or frolicking no wave jazz skronk in Howling Comique, thru to svelte, lilting palm wine guitar and Antenna-like bossa pop in The Escape Artist, to pieces which recall a prototypical Mr. Bungle in Mother’s Hour, or e subversive disco-pop on Little Girls - perhaps most definitely in the Peel Session recording of Vagina Gratitude - with Linder’s always pointed lyrics exhorted and puckered in styles ranging from yelps and shrieks to piercing extended technique and animalistic or orgiastic glossolalia.
It’s maybe baffling that Linder isn’t better known by the generation who followed her, but thanks to the fact her son, Maxwell Sterling, is now making brilliant music of his own, including collaboration between the pair, this anthology will serve a necessary introduction, where needed, to this pioneering, challenging and important artist and her band.
Dominic Thibault grapples with notions of *[SELF] in thorny, abstract and detached musique concrète terms for Entr’acte. Make sure to clock the pulsating, discordant mass of To *Believe and the cold, eviscerated dimensions of To *Negate. RIYL CoH, Pita, Florian Hecker.
“*[self] is a musique concrète composition based on the concept of ascetic ideals. Its eight movements are inspired by the desert journeys of those prophets in search of purity and simplicity through self-denial. It questions the pertinence of such voluntary pittance in order to obtain redemption.
Composed between July 2013 and February 2015. A string trio version of the piece also exists in which this electronic version is interpreted as an audio score coupled with a graphic score by Paul-Antoine Gauvreau. The string version was premiered in Manchester by Distractfold Ensemble. The electronic version was premiered at the Akousma Douze festival in Montréal.”
Marconi Union’s 2009 album hovers back into earshot as an expanded 2CD set with bonus disc of complementary pieces.
Despite neither artist having visited the city prior to this album, they take Tokyo’s representations in film, music and literature as the cue for an impressionistic suite of Eno-esque ambience that likely rings true with other, putative perceptions of the global megatropolis.
”Passage” is the second collaborative album from London-based Ulrich Schnauss and Danish producer Jonas Munk. 11 tracks of breezy, blissed-out electronica and colourful ambient.
"As the album title denotes, there's a sense of movement in the music these two producers create together: a Schnauss & Munk composition starts one place and ends up someplace very different – something that can only rarely be said about electronic music, which traditionally has focused it's energy on texture rather than composition. Sometimes their vivid, expansive soundscapes feels like the sonic equivalent of gliding towards the horizon through a panoramic landscape on a train.
One's perspective changes slightly when in motion from one place to another – continously Approaching new things and leaving others behind. There's a prismatic, multi-dimensional quality to these 11 tracks, likely stemming from the fact that these two producers each have worked with a wide range of styles and musicians throughout their 15+ year careers: Ulrich cut his teeth as a drum and bass producer in Berlin, before releasing a string of highly influential neo-shoegazy records on labels such as Domino and City Centre Offices. Since moving to London in 2006 he's been a member of bands such as Engineers and Longview and remixed artists ranging from Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys to Mojave 3, and since 2013 he's been a member of legendary band Tangerine Dream.
While Jonas Munk initially became known to the post-rock and electronica communities via his Manual albums on Morr Music, he's also had his hands in psychedelic rock (he's a noted producer in the European psych scene) as well as film soundtracks and experimental minimalism. Both Ulrich and Jonas, however, have the skills of seasoned producers to weave the multitude of influences together in a well-defined sonic aesthetic. The result is a compelling set of melodic electronic music that echoes the past, yet feels fresh."
Bright, flighty folk-pop from modern day Mali, dispensed by Awesome Tapes from Africa, ‘cos they are
“Awa Poulo is a singer of Peulh origin from Dilly commune, Mali, near the border with Mauritania. Largely pastoral and often nomadic, Peulh- (or Fula-)speaking peoples are found from Senegal to Ethiopia but predominate in the Sahel region of West Africa. Awesome Tapes From Africa is proud to release Poulo’s newest recording of highly virtuosic folk-pop, fresh from the studio, broadcasting her vision of Peulh music beyond the grazing grounds and central markets of her remote home region in southwestern Mali.
It’s not very common to find a female singer performing publicly among the Peulh. But Poulo’s mother’s co-wife is Inna Baba Coulibaly, who is a celebrated singer most Malian music fans know. Coulibaly herself was brought into music by forces outside her control when a regional music contest required an entry from her village and she was chosen to be a singer. So, set in motion by a surprising series of events, young Poulo’s entree into the music world was auspicious as she gained popularity across the region. After several locally released tapes and CDs, this record is Poulo’s first internationally-distributed record.
On Poulo Warali, she and her band combine the hallmarks of Peulh music—warm flute floating over cross-rhythmic n’goni (lute) riffs and resonant calabash gourd hand percussion—with broader Malian sounds like lightly-distorted guitar and a heavier, rollicking inertia. Shape-shifting layers of rhythm and woody overtones match Poulo’s commanding voice in a jocular yet deliberate dance.
This is a relatively rare example of Malian Peulh music played in a modern, cosmopolitan context, reflecting the mixed society of Dilly, where Bambara, Soninke and Peulh-speaking people live among each other.
Poulo’s conscious lyrics about community concerns speak to the distinctive identity of her broadly-flung people. While Peulh represents less than 10% of Mali’s melting pot of languages, the dynamic music here powerfully resonates well beyond the linguistic borders.”
Epoch is the final album in the trilogy beginning with 2011’s Dive, 2014’s Awake and culminating with this year’s Epoch.
"Epoch hones the sonic aesthetic of Dive while drawing on the kinetic energy of Awake, it explores darker themes and new musical territory. Earlier this summer Tycho released their first single “Division” and just last week released their second single and title track, “Epoch.” The surprise album is available digitally today and for physical pre-order now.
When discussing the surprise element of this release Hansen said, “I've never been fond of the ‘hand in the album then wait 4 months for it to come out’ release schedule and with the prevalence of streaming and digital distribution it felt like the right time to step outside that way of doing things.” He continued, “I wanted to be more connected to the people consuming the music. There is a kind of visceral fulfillment you get from sharing something that you've just created with other people. We just finished mastering the album in late august so it will barely be a month old when people hear it. That's a very satisfying feeling as an artist.“
Epoch was produced and recorded by Hansen predominantly in his home studio in Berkeley, California. The album was arranged alongside long time collaborator and partner in the project, Zac Brown. Brown contributed bass and guitar parts to the songwriting process. Rory O’Connor performed drums on the album. Hansen sees Epoch as a multi-dimensional artistic vision at the confluence of his graphic design work via ISO50 and music with Tycho. The graphic presentation of album artwork is as important as the music itself. The keystone is the central image of Epoch and the colors scheme red and black. This is a stark contrast to the almost rainbow palette of Awake."
Première release of a pivotal piece by important American composer, Julius Eastman.
After more than 40 years, Julius Eastman’s Femenine - a euphoric, colourful, and inventive work by the brilliant but criminally overlooked composer with the S.E.M. Ensemble - finally sees the light of day thanks to Finland’s Frozen Reeds, bringing to life a wondrous iteration of the highly fertile 1970s north american minimalist/modern classical nexus for a whole new generation of ears.
Notable not least as the only known recording of Femenine, recorded live in 1974 at Composers Forum in Albany, New York - which makes it only the 2nd CD with Eastman’s name at the top - this release also documents the composer on piano (whilst wearing a dress, as it goes) and features his unique innovation, a set of mechanised sleigh bells, rattling throughout the 72 minute performance, which, in a way, neatly characterises the artist’s wide-open, pioneering idiosyncrasies and dichotomies for anyone new to his work.
Un/fortunately, depending your perspective, far too many folk will be new to his work or even unaware of Eastman’s involvement in some true totems of the time; whether that’s as lead vocalist on Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs For A Mad King (1971), playing keys on Dinosaur L’s disco-not-disco classic 24→24 Music (1981), or conducting Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning (1983). And we say too many folk, because, all considered, until quite recently, Eastman has been long overdue the shine afforded to many of his peers and contemporaries.
As a Gay, Afro-American new music composer, pianist and vocalist in the ‘70s, Eastman’s work was innately politicised and exceptional by the nature of its provenance, not to mention the music itself, which pulled from his personal history as much as wider social movements to represent a uniquely fluid perspective on minimalist music’s rigid process and presentation right up to his untimely death, aged 50 in 1990.
With that in mind, Feminine stands at a crossroads between Eastman’s earlier chamber work Stay On It, and later pieces such as his iconic, majestic Evil Nigger and the ambiguous flux of emotions in Gay Guerilla; sounding quite unlike any of them thanks to its sense of communal joy (there were somewhere between 12 and 15 players) and the polymetric meter of his mechanised sleigh bells, coupled with a display of massed, pitching tonal colour that moves with the kind of deliquescent, flighty optimism that’s hard not to be wowed by.
Ultimately, it genuinely lives up to the mantle of “new music” and presents its ideas in a deeply refreshing, insistent, yet never-cloying manner.
A huge recommendation.
Definitive performance of an 88-minute piece for trio written in 1983, recorded in 2000.
"In 2000, Eberhard Blum (flute, alto flute, bass flute), Nils Vigeland (glockenspiel, vibraphone) and Jan Williams (piano, celesta), Morton Feldman’s close friends and collaborators, came together once more as “The Feldman Soloists” to perform Crippled Symmetry, the trio Feldman composed for them, on the 25th anniversary celebration of June in Buffalo, the festival he founded.
The recording of this concert is now finally available on CD, and is destined to become the reference recording of this work. It is required listening for all fans of Feldman's rich, hypnotic world of enigmatic harmony and mnemonic echo. Mastered by Denis Blackham, and presented in a card package which unfolds to reveal the musicians' "butterfly-like" arrangement on stage. "This turned out to be one of the best performances that we had ever given together. The rare and indescribable ‘magic moment’ of occasion and ambience seems to have inspired us. T
he recording of the concert belongs to my most valued sound documents. When I listened to it for the first time, my immediate reaction was: this performance ought to be available on CD. Now, ten years later, it is.” - Eberhard Blum"
Trust Wiley the Godfather to set grime’s levels in 2017 with his most intense, bruising album for years, even ever?
It’s an unmissable return to root, with a frankly starving Wiley flanked by practically everyone - Frisco, Devlin, Jamakabi, Manga, Footsie, Flowdan, Pres T, Ghetts, Ice Kid, a.o. - all demanding your attention over fierce AF production from a mix of veteran producers - JME, Scratchy, Rude Kid, Maniac, Dot Rotten - and a sharp-shooting yung squad; Darq E Freaker, Predate, Swifta Beater, Morfius, Teeza +++.
At seventeen tracks and just under an hour long, Godfather is quantitatively substantial. And the quality? It’s got that in buckets; a firmest balance of OG grime aggression, gyal tunes and bubbling club trax that lends itself to earbuds, German whips and raves alike.
We’re alllll over the rabid Bang, featuring a barking Ghetts over cutthroat production by Maniac, and likewise the blazing future-shock of Bait Face, crafted by Roll Deep lynchpin, Scratchy, whilst the ‘round-the-block baroque of Like It Or Not sets killer new levels for UK grime/trap, and then you’ve got the dizzy highlight of Laptop, produced by Morfius, and utter gutter business from Wiley, Flowdan and Jamakrabi on Pattern Up Properly, plus foundational business in Birds N Bars, and straight up killers for club and radio in Back With A Banger and the soul flow of U Were Always, Pt.2.
This is the CD that every grime fiend needs - from the freshest cadets to time-served roadmen and lapsed, Volvo-toting elders - if just to prove an argument in years to come that Wiley made and shaped grime like nobody else. And if this actually is his last album (who the fxck knows with him?), then he’s effectively shut down the game, ‘cos the new generation really have to step up to this one.
Essential UK music.
New music from Simon Green aka Bonobo.
"A contemporary of artists such as Four Tet, Jon Hopkins and Caribou, Bonobo also counts among his famous fans the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Disclosure, Diplo and Warpaint. His 2013 album “The North Borders” went Top 30 in the UK and was number 1 in the electronic charts in both the US and UK. In support of that record, the 12-piece band Green runs played 175 shows worldwide, including a sold out show at Alexandra Palace. Bonobo has built a large, loyal and engaged global fanbase: over half a million album sales and over one hundred and fifty million streams on Spotify point to the levels of success achieved by this quiet, self-effacing man.
It might be difficult to imagine it, but “Migration” will take his beautiful, emotive, intricate music to an even bigger audience. “My own personal idea of identity has played into this record and the theme of migration,” Green explains. “Is home where you are or where you are from, when you move around?” The personal, it seems, can also be universal.”
Arch minimalist Thomas Brinkmann presents A Certain Degree of Stasis in two parts of variably “fierce digital textures” and “sustained crystalline calm” in counterpoint audio response to Agnes Lux’s starkly monochrome visual work, which is reproduced on the cover artwork. The work is intended to be played individually, in conjunction, or together with previous releases on the Frozen Reeds label.
Disc 1 tends to the “fierce digital textures” quota with 40 minutes of sustained guitar feedback heard in an ether dream, dissolving into acres of free-floating space like Oren Ambarchi or Keiji Haino caressing a wounded axe in the dying moments of its existence, its life coruscating and calving away before its eyes.
On the other disc he subtly inverts that aesthetic, reducing the lead to a discordant ember flickering below layered drone harmonics pregnant with anticipation for a haunting sound image that only reveals itself through duration.
Its mesmerising, uncompromising stuff.
Two years after the release of his debut album ‘Tremors’, SOHN is back with ‘Rennen’.
"In between records, the London-born artist has traded Vienna for the warmth of Los Angeles but the influence of his former home still lingers (Rennen is a German verb meaning ‘to run’). Resuming a nocturnal schedule - as he did with ‘Tremors’ - SOHN spent a month writing alone in northern California, recording until the morning most days.
Including singles ‘Signal’ and ‘Conrad’, the ten songs of ‘Rennen’ are confidently direct and focused. Consciously exercising restraint, SOHN has used only a handful of musical elements on each track, eager to allow the spotlight to shine onthe vocals, melodies and rhythms. An ambitious exhibition of both his personal and artistic growth, ‘Rennen’ confidently displays the evolution SOHN has undergone in just two short years.
It’s also a starter’s pistol ringing out loud and clear with an unmistakable message: it’s time to run again and he’s ready."
Debut album of melancholy electronica. Recorded at Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Greenhouse studio in Reykjavik, Iceland (home to his Bedroom Community).
“A ‘soft error’ is computer language for a faulty occurrence in a digital memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. When associated with music making, it’s a name that inevitably suggest the notion, or even celebration, of happenstance and serendipity, and that’s certainly part of the spirit evoked by Mechanism. A largely electronic pairing, Soft Error are otherwise known as Tim and Rupert, both of whom have musical backgrounds in dance music / DJ culture and composition for film, theatre and TV respectively. Soft Error, however, represents a thrilling new artistic beginning rather than being simply another musical ‘project’.
Mechanism offers a fresh and singular brand of musical intrigue by reaching back and forward simultaneously – drawing from the innovative, propulsive thrum of 1970s Krautrock and the grainy textures and tonalities of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop on one hand, the symphonic, futuristic soundscapes of composers like Cliff Martinez, John Carpenter and Jon Hopkins on the other.That said, there is also something wonderfully timeless about the nine, finely wrought essays on Mechanism, across which synthesisers, keyboards and drum machines are deployed for their sonic and emotive possibilities, rather than as a nod to any particular niche or trend. Indeed, Soft Error demonstrate a facility for fashioning both intimate textural detail and strong melody, often in the same song.”
At last, a chance to hear the debut album of motorik jags from Stereolab’s Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth, together with Holger Zapf as the Cavern of Anti-Matter power trio - originally issued on Berlin’s Grautag Records, now reissued on Duophonic.
Revolves a heady rush of references to Bowie’s Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family, Mahogany Brain’s Bloody Hide and Seek in The Rain and Hot Elbow, and the front cover to Heldon 6 shaped into 16 high velocity, high sheen rockets bound to ignite the tastes of classic kosmiche and psych fiends.
A Winged Victory For The Sullen, the otherworldly collaboration between Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, commence the New Year with their third full-length.
"Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran first met the director Jalil Lespert after he had discovered A Winged Victory For The Sullen on a music search online. After listening to their music, he immediately knew: "it was the sound of my new film". With an excellent cast of France’s finest actors Romain Duris, Charlotte Le Bon, and the director himself, plus a script filled with tension, sexuality and darkness, they knew there was a lot of musical territory to mine. It was agreed that they wanted to explore more analogue electronique experiments as well as working with a large string ensemble, to create something that felt very modern and still cinematic.
“Despite A Winged Victory For The Sullen being associated with film score type music, trying to survive the process of creating the modern film score is not for people with fragile egos. It requires those who arethe most responsive to change. The director and the film presented a new set of challenges, so we decided to stop thinking about cinema as an object, and moved closer to using the film’s images as triggers for experiences. The more we were able to let go, and see the music as something that happens, like a process – not a quality, the more we were able to reach a place that sounded like us. It was as if we were making our first record all over again, except being filtered through another language littered with dead metaphors”, the duo elaborate.
The recording sessions began with their long time sound collaborator Francesco Donadello in the form of some modular synth sessions in Berlin. Dustin and Adam began working from the script in their own studios, and after filming commenced they continued to create music that could be used for first edits of the film – each day getting new scenes that triggered ideas that would become the base of the film score. Over the course of the next few months the two slowly crafted the music with weekly discussion from their studio to the editing room.
The final sessions to what is now the score of Iris were recorded with a 40-piece string orchestra at Magyar Radio in Budapest.Upon label founder Robert Raths' request the over sixty minutes of material were then edited down to a concise album listen at forty-one minutes with a physical release set for January 13, 2017. The digital bonus track edition includes two solo pieces by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie entitled The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 2 and The Endless Battle Of The Maudlin Ballade Part 3, as well as tracks by Petite Noir, dOP, DJ Pone and The Shoes which feature in the film. The artwork was created by Berlin based illustrator Stephanie F. Scholz who also created the iconic cover for Nils Frahm's Music for
The Motion Picture Victoria."
Gideon Wolf offers a trip to the staggering wilds of Scotland’s NW Highlands on this beautiful, bespoke edition for Fluid Audio's Facture label. If you're into Richard Skelton, Max Richter, Rachel's etc - you'll love this.
Intended to be taken from the comfort of your armchair, the windswept strings and neo-classical gestures of Year Zero capture the almost ineffable beauty of that region’s dramatic topography and timeless nature.
Gideon Wolf enlists a multi-instrumentalist ensemble to assist him for this set of rich, melodic drone pieces with incredibly detailed packaging to boot.
Experimental suite of monochord songs intended to push new players to pick up the six string and have-a-go. Stars various members of Glasgow’s indie firm
“Chord changes are a luxury made possible by technical competence.
Back in 1977 when I picked up a guitar the first chord I learnt was E minor. I could’ve stopped there and written this album. All I needed was a capo and some lyrics. But, tethered by notions of song craft and aspirations of virtuosity I learnt to play the instrument with greater complexity. Now middle-aged, I would like to think myself able to transcend such considerations.
The first song you hear on this record is in E minor. In fact, it is E minor and nothing else. The next song is F minor - made possible by placing the capo on the first fret and forming the same shape with my fingers one fret up. The song after that is F sharp minor. You see a pattern. It’s a series all the way to the 12th fret and full circle back to E minor, except one octave up. It’s high concept, low technique. fleshed out with vocal melodies and added instrumental flourishes from friends and family.
Learning E minor at the same time as me was Pete Aves. We were the guitarists of pre-teen acoustic punk band The Rejects. Subsequently he has worked with Petula Clark, Lee Hazlewood, Jarvis Cocker, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the High Llamas. Now he’s back working with me.
Madeleine Hynes was one quarter of the avant primitivist Leather Mole.
Frances McKee is still one half of the legendary Glasgow band The Vaselines.
Andrew Paine is a Glass Redux recording artiste and bassist for The Flexibles.
Classically trained violinist Jane Sayer has produced techno records as Johann Sebastian Barking.
Sorley Youngs is the singer and guitarist of The Flexibles.
Guest appearances aside, this remains a collection of songs that can be covered by anyone within hours of picking up a guitar. Liberated from dexterity, all that is required is the holding down of two fingers and a steady strum. At the core of each is one chord. The rest is scenery. Richard Youngs 2016”
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis present a suitably epic, wondrous soundtrack suite for Mars, a fictional TV series telling the story of the first astronaut crew on a mission to Mars in 2033.
The follow-up to Cave and Ellis’ score for the Hell or High Water approaches that most classic Martian muse thru varying strategies ranging from their atypical doomy croon to sweeping string panoramas, sparkling keys and pensive electronic minimalism, with room left for unexpected turns of noisy drums and distorted textures recalling shades of Scott Walker’s The Childhood Of A Leader soundtrack.
Gorgeous solo harp recordings of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte and Lou Harrison from Gabriele Emde, who debuts with the most excellent Edition RZ label in the same week as their debut from Clara Iannotta. This is the sort of album you came here to look for… Warmest recommendation!
“Gabriele Emde-Hauffe was born in 1953 in Darmstadt, Germany. She received a humanistic education at a local grammar school in Darmstadt and started studying the harp after her A-levels, first in Darmstadt and finishing in Cologne. Conducted by Péter Eötvös, she worked out modern chamber music and modern improvisation by J. G. Fritsch and Vinko Globokar. Passing her exams in 1980 and 1981, she continued her studies of musical science at Cologne University, based on her thesis, "The Harp between Myth and Reality." From 1981 to 1983 she was a member of Die Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and Ensemble Modern, and collaborated on productions of contemporary music with Ensemble-Köln and Ensemble 13, as well as the NDR-Sinfonieorchester Hamburg. She has performed the solo harp at various international festivals, among them many premieres and international radio, TV, and record productions. At the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, she toured North America in 1982, presenting Walter Zimmermann's works, and also performed in South Korea; her career as a performer has included performances of contemporary music by Berio, Boulez, Cage, Globokar, N. A. Huber, Schönberg, Stockhausen, Webern, I. Yun, B. A. Zimmermann, and W. Zimmermann. Until 1992 she taught harp classes in Cologne and Düsseldorf. Since 1991 she has been teaching her private harp class in Darmstadt. This CD contains recordings from 1985-'87 of pieces by John Cage, Hans Otte, and Lou Harrison.”
This 1997 release by the great Edition RZ label documents a pair of site specific performances by Akio Suzuki, a Japanese musician, inventor, instrument builder and shaman, recorded on the volcanic northern coast of Takano, Kyoto.
They first part is a durational piece, 53 minutes in length, the other is 6 minutes long, and composed/performed 3 days later in late October, 1997. In both pieces the sound of wind “breathes” in and out by caves, accompanied by the distant chirrup of crickets from the meadows above and the sparse presence of shrill whistles, rubbed glass tones and softly blown bamboo pipes, really not a lot else.
In a sense it’s an exercise in listening to nature in its unprocessed, natural state, and zen-like, meditative in effect; providing rarified time and space for contemplation.
This is one of the few instances of Korean Classical Court music that we’ve stocked, and every time it stops us in our tracks. To our native western sensibilities the music is captivatingly slow and dissonant, and with a measured, stately quality of its own. These recordings of compositions made in the 15th century are totally fascinating, maybe an acquired taste, but arresting any way you hear them.
"Yŏmillak is the most extended piece of orchestral court music surviving in Korea and it has for many centuries been used for royal processions and at banquets. Yŏmillak is the piece notated in the oldest surviving Korean score - a score contained in the Annals of Sejong, written in 1454.
The piece originally consisted of ten movements, but three were discarded over time, leaving just the seven movements heard here, and different variants evolved, distinguished in terms of orchestration and size; two of the later (19th century) versions, Kyŏngnokmugang Chigok and T'aep Yŏngch'un Chigok are contained here. The final piece, Sŏilhwa Chigok, is an additional orchestral suite."
One of only two CDs to bear his name at the top, Edition RZ’s Michael Von Biel collection presents a hardcore haul from the nebulous 1960s avant garde, including one blinding, 13 minute piece of electronic composition commissioned from Von Biel by Karlheinz Stockhausen - his tutor at Darmstadt - which resulted in him repeatedly breaking the sliders on the desk during its creation! No messing, it’s worth it for that one alone - you won’t find it anywhere else! (just checked youtube and discogs) - but his patent taste for noisy dynamics and twist on convention elsewhere on the CD also make this a bit of a must, if you’re into that kind of thing.
“2004 release. Michael von Biel's musical production at the beginning of the 1960s was clearly marked by the expansion of the musical material. "Quartet No. 1" (1962) and even more, "Quartet No. 2" (1963) are noise compositions whose expressiveness rests essentially on the discovery of new sonic possibilities and performance techniques. Bowing with excessive pressure, playing behind the bridge, leading the bow in a diagonal direction, hitting the tip of the bow on the body of the instrument -- these are the techniques with which the sound of the strings enters into the realm of noise. Whereas in the first quartet, the areas of musical sound and instrumental noise are still largely set off against one another, in the second quartet, the concept of a music based solely on noise is realized without compromise. Both of the compositions Quartet with Accompaniment for string quartet and cello (1965) and "Jagdstück" ("Hunting Piece") for 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 horns, 2 tenor tubas, contrabass, tape, e-guitars and electronically amplified barbecue grills (1966) are based on the contrast of divergent sound worlds. Before attending the composition courses of Karlheinz Stockhausen in Darmstadt for three years in a row starting in 1961, von Biel studied one year with Morton Feldman in New York where he met David Tudor and John Cage. Earlier than for most European composers, approaches in aesthetic thinking which couldn't have been more different from one another collided in his consciousness, and this occurred at a point in time when their music-historical consequence could not yet be foreseen.”
Italian ambient maestro Gigi Masin wins our hearts again with this sublime, impressionistic soundtrack to Il Silenzio Dei Tuoi Passi (The Silence of your Steps), Stefano Gentile’s photo book focussed on Venice at night.
Venezia is certain to strike a chord with anyone lucky enough to have visited the city, and even if you haven’t, it’s a beautifully evocative package, marrying Masin’s balmy drift of solo keys and chiffon synth pads with absorbing imagery of the city’s narrow ginnels and, all softly lit by lone street lamps that mirror the music’s plays of light and shadow.
Unfortunately our Italian is beyond mediocre, so we can’t really tell you much about the liner notes, but the symbiotic images and music convey far more than we could ever spell out here.
Angular, difficult experiments in new composition, symbolically framed around subconscious repression and the flux of fantasy and reality. Yeah, it’s not easy listening, but there are some fantastic, clattering and delirious ideas contained within.
“Edition RZ presents a performance of French composer Clara Maïda's work In Corpore Vili. Performers (Studios): Ensemble Resonanz, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Arditti String Quartet, Heather O'Donnel (Elektronisches Studio der Technischen Universität Berlin; Studio für Elektroakustische Musik der Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
"During the first years of my compositional research, my goal was to mark out, in my music, the flux of the psychic energy at work in the unconscious and its underlying structure. At the time, I was going through an analytical process favoring access to this unconscious activity, and my readings in the field of psychoanalysis were helping me in the effort to elaborate a musical thinking likely to account for this psychic complexity, which only appears through unintentional acts and words, or in fantasies and dreams. A whole structural and formal model for a potential music was emerging then, since only the plasticity of the world of sound seemed to be able to suggest this mobility and instability, which endlessly alter the configurations of the components of the unconscious." --Clara Maïda”
The followup to Light In The Attic’s game-changing I Am The Center box set, "The Microcosm: Visionary Music Of Continental Europe 1970-1986" was 3 years in the making and is the first major overview of key works from cosmically-taped in artists needing little introduction — Vangelis, Ariel Kalma, Gigi Masin, Roedelius, Ash Ra Tempel, and Popol Vuh - plus unknown masterpieces by criminally overlooked heroes like Bernard Xolotl, Robert Julian Horky and Enno Velthuys...
"Whereas I Am The Center called for a reconsideration of an entire maligned genre, The Microcosm requests nothing more than an open mind to consider this ambient, new age, neuzeit, prog, krautrock, cosmic, holistic stuff, whatever one calls it — as a pulsating movement unto itself, a mirror refracting the American new age scene in unexpected, electrifying ways, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the universality of the timeless quest to express “the Ineffable” through music.
Drawing from major label budgets and homemade cassette distributed circumstances alike, The Microcosmdemonstrates a depth of peace profound to behold, and clearly expands the boundaries. Lovingly conceived and lavishly presented by producer Douglas Mcgowan (Yoga Records) and liner notes contributor Jason Patrick Woodbury (Pitchfork, Aquarium Drunkard), The Microcosm features stunning cover paintings by Étienne Trouvelot, and labels by Finnish savant Aleksanda Ionowa."