Ferric experts Hospital Productions host this, the tape edition of Godflesh’s latest sludgy slapdown Post Self, following its LP and CD issues on Justin K Broadrick’s Avalanche Recordings.
This is Godflesh in beast mode, bullishly churning a slightly abbreviated tracklist of 10 tracks (there’s 13 on the formats) that kick off with the feral lurch of Post Self and variously take in Metal club dancefloor juggernauts like Parasite, No Body, and the outstanding, even sexy roiler Mirror Of Finite Light, before taking the vibe downwards, inwards on the spirit-sousing Be God and the dirge of The Cyclic End, before properly baring their gnashers in the diesel-spitting chops and hackle-raising synths of Mortality Sorrow and the grunting tackle of In Your Shadow.
Heavily satisfying. You’ll be picking bits out of your teeth for weeks after chow down.
Cooper Crain, Dan Quinlivan, and Rob Frye head for the horizon on their newest Bitchin Bajas buggy, leading on from a 2016 tour and series of collaborative live releases with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Olivia Wyatt.
Sharing its title with a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in the USA, Bajas Fresh catches the trio at their earthiest and lushly psychedelic, naturally sprawling their classically-schooled, dilated vision of krautrock, kosmiche and North American drone and space jazz traditions across seven tracks.
Notably, they embed a beautifully sanguine cover of Sun Ra’s Angels and Demons at Play in the album’s sequence, sweat-lodged among the astral coordinates of Circles On Circles and the windswept jazz of Yonaguni featuring Ghost’s Masaki Batoh, before syncing with a rich history of transcendental drone exploration in the magnificent, side-long and sidereal scope of 2303, where they consolidate contributions from Nick Broste (Trombone), and Ben LaMar Gay (Cornet) into its deeply anaesthetising harmonic smudge.
Hayley Fohr tends to her Circuit Des Yeux alias after last year’s country excursion as Jackie Lynn, returning to relay a compelling tale about a pivotal, existential awakening she experienced in early 2016, all delivered via her signature vocal - somewhere between Nico, Diamanda Galas and Scott Walker - against a varied topography of brooding brass, stirring folk strings, arpeggiated keys and synths, and intermittent rocking squalls.
Reaching For Indigo is arguably set to become a modern classic in the same vein as her In Plain Speech [2015, Thrill Jockey] record, mostly thanks to a number of standout songs such as the plaintive power of Brainshift and Black Fly at its prow, and the natural, dreamlike possession of her swelling Geyser beauty and the free-floating kosmiche elegy, Falling Blonde.
It takes some sort of special virtue to make an indie-folk record that doesn’t sound super cliché nowadays, and evidently Circuit Des Yeux has it in abundance.
The Peckham/Paris-based Panatype label scoop another lovely debut with Bernard Baum’s curious offering of small sound ambient scrabble and drizzly dub-house environments following up Home, the sublime first release by Newcastle’s Schuttle. In a similar, drowsy late night style, this one nestles somewhere between the sweetly decayed ambient foliage of Huerco S, Phil Struck and Cotton Goods.
With only a two hour soundcloud mix to his name prior to After, Bernard Baum arrives hazily formed from the internet ether with a gently intoxicating suite of rustling ambient textures and drizzly environments, drifting half-consciously from the anaesthetised atmosphere and stumbling dub groove of Cromis, to feel his way thru gently textured tracks with a really intimate sort of tactility, from the woolly chords of Onra, to the gently coruscating metallic tang and bittersweet underwater melodies of After, before coming up for air with the Huerco S-like dub house buoyancy of Atoll. The B-side then leads back inside, introspective into the haptic rustle and buzz of Cold Agriculture, to float Enter The Void style on the slow ambient jazz chords of of Coming Down In SE5, then stranding us at the ambient outlasting Atoll (Beatless Mix) in a sort of palindromic, Moebius strip resolution, ready to go from the top again.
Mumdance, Logos and Shapednoise reconvene as The Sprawl with a 60 minute mixtape recontextualising William Gibson’s Neuromancer with fragments of the audiobook narration mixed with exclusive, original new solo and group material by all members, plus implanted flashbacks of hardcore techno and mutant musique concrète. The mix simultaneously elucidates and obfuscates The Sprawl’s sci-fi rave hauntology in advance of the imminent arrival of the second in their 12” trilogy.
Triangulating the three conspirators’ vision between Mumdance’s hardcore bruxism, the cinematic imagineering of Logos, and Shapednoise’s clinically atonal/arrhythmic noesis, Reel Torque Volume 17 induces a synaesthetically-enhanced spectrum of cyberpunk sensation and intrigue. In effect they emulate the psychological, neurological, and physiological effects of a consciousness uploaded to the weightlessness in hyperspace and how that relates to the narco-auditory complex of rave and electronic music which is so unavoidably influenced by Gibson’s prophetic tome.
Adapting the visual language and syntax of film and computer games, rave tapes and radio plays with an acutely, synaesthetically heightened impact, the mix flows from future primitive vocal rituals to new age tropes shaped as seductive commercial idents, while shocks of shuddering noise black out the senses with picnoleptic overloads of data and muscle memory-triggering jolts of jungle virtually render and reprogram the body cyborgian.
Reel Torque Volume 17 is a visceral and delirious experience, vividly expanding the The Sprawl’s abstract world and perfectly setting the scene for imminent new chapters in their ongoing saga.
‘The Greatest Gift’ is a mixtape of outtakes, remixes and demos from Sufjan’s 2015 album ‘Carrie & Lowell’. This collection serves as a companion piece to the ‘Carrie & Lowell Live’ album (and as an expansion to the original album).
"In the same way the live show featured re-interpretations of the songs from ‘Carrie & Lowell’, the mixtape unveils new remixes by several longstanding collaborators including Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro), Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) and James McAlister (aka 900X). The album also features Sufjan’s own remix of ‘Drawn To The Blood’.
‘The Greatest Gift’ features four previously unreleased new songs, ‘official’ outtakes from ‘Carrie & Lowell’ (they were recorded at the same time as the album). These include ‘Wallowa Lake Monster’, ‘The Hidden River Of My Life’, ‘City Of Roses’ and ‘The Greatest Gift’. This new material, in its investigation of love, life, death, God and the beautiful state of Oregon, serves as a contemplative companion to the original album."
New Atlantis co-founder Deadboy inhabits his J.V. Lightbody alias for the label’s lush 2nd release with 12 beams of golden, shimmering vibes exploring “the inner realms of consciousness, space and time” under track titles referencing the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, the ancient chinese book of changes whose wisdom still resonates with the modern day.
Tapping into a new age zeitgeist which has bubbled up strongly in recent years, possibly thanks as much to a swell of reissued classics as a societal need to assuage anxieties imposed by the modern world, Inner Work arguably serves its purpose in a beautifully absorbing manner. Working to a similar brief as Yamaneko’s recent Spa Commissions for Local Action, Lightbody offers the listener tender space to unravel thoughts and dreams thru sheets of diaphanous, pastel-hued harmonies and wistful melodic flocking which, at best, offer transcendence from earthly matters, and at the least a very sweet distraction from what ails ya.
Effectively an antibiotic for SAD, or a magnetic dose of vitamin D for overworked souls, Inner Work gets right under the skin with assured efficacy, and should be warmly recommended to anyone who has encountered and fallen for the likes of Laraaji, Pauline Anna Strom or K. Leimer in recent years, or likewise been smitten by Yamaneko’s gorgeous new turn.
Seekersinternational serve intoxicating tropical ambient dancehall chutney with the Gunman Cult Classics Mix for the the’ ICS Library Records label. If you put this one side to side with their cultishly loved output from the last few years, the SKRS effectively have your whole summer seleks sorted out for 2017.
The new age badmen twist and dub convention inside-out here, meshing a slew of dancehall and R&B acapellas with lush ambient strokes, rudest boogie and sidesteps into subcontinental and far eastern sounds to coolly put a fresh - yet, crucially, faithful - spin on the dancehall/dub prisms which they’re clearly infatuated with.
Absorbing heat by everyone from Gappy Ranks and 1991 to Tom & Jerry and O$VMV$M, and rubbing in special oils from Gwen Guthrie to Jody Watley and Luciano, the results are stewed in fuzzy dub FX and practically melt before your ears, ready to spread on balconies from Hulme to Barbados.
Trust this is no dilettantish half-stepping or stylistic dabbling; their picks are pure gold and the way they put them together is just A++, primed for a long, hot summer...
Class debut of lucidly imaginative and abstract electroscapes from Manchester’s Andy Brown aka AB2020; making his maiden mission on Sheffield’s Computer Club with the Cybotronian industrial sci-fi soundtrack styles of Sagittarius.
Built atom by atom in his hardware-filled pod and conducted with a proper, late night sense of dramaturgy, Sagittarius covers a lot of ground within AB2020’s chosen dimension - taking the listener from Alice Coltrane-like string sweeps and alien bleeps in Lacu to the Carpenter-esque finale of Nuworlds via the synaesthetic tweaks of Permafrost and pulsating Drexciyan techno in the two parts of Subsurface Ocean plus a smart dose of clipped electro acid on Terraform and some excellent pieces of chromatic techno mystery in Cogewn and Exic that recall Jeff Mills’ recent deep space explorations.
Two birds, one stone: BAT brings his Excavated Tapes 1992-1999 to a close with Vol.3, which also appears as the last release on Astro:Dynamics, who’ve delivered some choice releases from 1991, Samoyed, Dynooo and El Kid/Sam Kidel in their seven years of activity.
They’ve clearly saved BAT’s best for last with six of his quietest, seductively uncertain hardware improvisations, covering Actress-gone-Memphis knocks in HiFi 120 Side A CJa, thru to barely-there, Bellows-style crackle in Lesson 15 Side A Chmycncrt, the fractured ambient crumbs of Voice Thing Side A Crck, and a lushly knotted, curdled dub chords in 94 Side A Twentyish.
Toodle pip, Astro:Dynamics. Was lovely listening to ya.
What does the sun sound like? L’Orange, L’Orange, Gregg Kowalsky’s (Date Palms) first solo album in eight years, might have the answer.
"Its vivid music – sourced from analog synths and mixed on a laptop – arrives in rays of sound that shine skyward. There are many moods in each track, but the overarching aura is one of brightness and optimism. Hence the album title, which nods toward the radiant hue of our life-sustaining star.
The warm atmospheres of Miami (his birthplace) and Los Angeles (his home of 3years) infuse the luminous ambience of L’Orange, L’Orange. Kowalsky points to the album’s second track, “Maliblue Dream Sequence.” Its lapping synth waves mirror the time he spent working on the record at a friend’s home in the beachside city of Malibu. But you can hear echoes of blue “Tuned to Monochrome,” to the rising rhythm of “Pattern Haze,” to the sandy layers of “Ritual Del Croix.”
L’Orange, L’Orange isn’t just about brightness and bliss. It’s also about engrossing your mind – creating an omnipresence not unlike that shiny orange orb whose ubiquity defines our days and whose absence fills our nights. For Gregg Kowalsky, music can have that same kind of overpowering effect. The sounds of L’Orange, L’Orange can calm your nerves, warm your mood, and maybe even enlighten your mind."
Dâm Funk does it with serious finesse in his debut Garrett outing for Music For Memory, who’ve managed to coax out a sublime insight to his Private Life from LA’s most fêted funkateer. Best believe this is the slickest thing you’ll encounter all year - like glyding on rainbow in silk underwear.
For Damon G Riddick’s legion fans it doesn’t come much better, especially seeing as he’s been shy on the release front since 2016’s DJ-Kicks and the odd short format serving in recent years. Anyway this makes up for that gap in spades, swooping in with the gilded dawn of Apocalyptic Sunrise and taking it there with track, from the pointillist drum patter and arcing chords of Right Now thru the loose and sprawling vibes of Slow Motion, to chrome-squirting G-funk on It’s Time, with 12 minutes to cool out in the serene waters of Angel Reflections, before taking it Home on the downstroke to the sun-warped bliss of The End Theme.
Summer 2017 is officially heya.
Echanting, fascinating collection of Chilean folk songs, mostly vocals and guitars, with introductions by Violeta Parra, but also some ace runs into accordion and music box melodies and martial percussive pieces. Interesting for anyone looking to the Bolivian folk roots of Elysia Crampton
“Death Is Not The End reissue a rare early LP from Chilean songwriter, folklorist and visual artist Violeta Parra.
In this collection, Volume III of Parra's Folk Music of Chile series, Parra introduces us to the Cueca, a traditional folk music style and Chile's national dance, which is sung and danced at parties and festivities. Although Cuecas were played on the radio, Parra introduces listeners to popular forms of Cueca she recovered in her field work collecting traditional songs. Navigating Chile's thin land mass from Santiago to Concepción, Parra heard people in the countryside performing these songs. In her introduction, Parra identifies four types of Cueca: the short Corta, the waltz Valceada, the long Larga voluntaria, and the Balance/obligatoria where the singer individually calls on a man and then a women to dance. Casting herself in the role of ethnomusicologist, this intense musical investigation of Chile's popular folk song traditions went on to greatly influence Parra's own songwriting. The connection with her country's traditions earned her the reputation as Chile's foremost poet and folk singer.”
Yamaneko, aka Talbot Fade, bravely tackles a most painful subject in the best way he knows how: the emotional, metaphysical transcendence of organised electronic sound.
Written in the year following the death of his mother, and mantled in reference to Meiro Koizumi’s succinct and quietly traumatising video installation, My Voice Would Reach You can be taken as a bardo or form of keening music, rendering a beautifully elegiac lament for a beloved soul, described in diaphanous ambient chorales, textured field recordings and oceanic drones with often gut-wrenching effect.
Broaching a subject that still, unusually, prompts uncomfortable reactions in the western world, My Voice Would Reach You conversely seeks to offer comfort and solace through an abstract exploration of “grief, acceptance, dreams, maternal influence and communication across astral planes.” Drawing on the titular installation, as well as his mother’s record collection and the immersive depths of RPG computer games - specifically FromSoftware’s range of Souls and Bloodborne titles - Talbot Fade suggests space for reflective mediation. But, like those games and the album’s subject matter, don’t expect it to be an easy experience.
In its four movements, My Voice Would Reach You occupies wide-open yet elusive ambient terrain with Gas, Tim Hecker and The Sight Below, yet when taken with the album’s themes of loss and nightmarish conditions, its isolationist detachment adopts a sincere gravity of meaning in the plangent pall and cinematic strings of Red Jeweled Brooch and chokingly so by the time you catch windswept tears in Forgiven by the Light of Spring, whilst the entire B-side’s is spent on the arcing consolation of Depths of Spring, “ushering lost souls into a new childhood”.
Compilation of new music from GETME! artists old and new including Lil Jabba, Becoming Real, Hello Skinny, Kit Grill and more.
"A mixed bag of sounds and genres with the likes of Kit Grill delivering his signature minimal sound, Hello Skinny jamming out with a jazz / funk flare, New York's Lil Jabba delivers his sinister mutant take on club music, Becoming Real takes us on a techno led work-out, Lixo explores tribal percussion and heavy grooves, Nicky Otter experiments with squelchy arpeggios and progressive synth lines whilst Erosion Flow soothes with ambient nuance and stripped back drums. Ten new tracks for ten formative years.
Run with love by Alex Hislop(AKA producer LIXO) GETME! has always been known for their brave and eclectic output. From it's humble beginnings as a club night in a West London pub in 2006 to now being one of the most well respected alternative institutions in the city, GETME! have long been pioneering music that isn't so easily definable."
Bristol’s No Corner celebrate 5 years of singular-minded dub mutations with a killer gangbang of classic and new, exclusive gear from El Kid (Sam Kidel), Asda, Seekersinternational, Spiritflesh, October, Jabu, Andy Mac & Ossia, Lurka, Lily, Hodge, October, O$VMV$M, Mark, Japan Blues and more.
Since its inception in 2012, No Corner the label has been a wide open meeting place for contemporary dubbers of all stripes, setting a rooted yet loosely mutable precedent that strongly echoes Bristol’s sound system heritage and is best defined as a product of that city’s post-punk, house and dubstep-drenched environment.
At 28 tracks wide, there’s a lot to take in, so we’ll head to our highlights. The Asda tracks by Seb Gainsborough (Vessel) and Chester Giles (Jabu) exemplify the breadth and dilated focus of the label somewhere between dub poetry, chamber music and concrète, best in the wist of The Desire for Light and Stars and Jubilant Songs, and no less in Japan Blues’ cracking, dub-weighted remix. Filter Dread’s Oddity meanwhile renders lushly vaporous traces of techno and up-to-the-second electronica, and Vessel’s Psychosis remix of We Need Mirrors by El Kid (Sam Kidel) spies a lesser heard, cranky niche of their industry-dub aesthetics, whereas Seekersinternational dub it hauntological on TekWeh.
However, the main thrust of the set leans towards recent, new and upcoming No Corner sounds, taking in the elusive smoke curls of Hodge’s Body Drive along with new introduction to the label such as Kinlaw with the hall-of-mirrors chords of d.3 Hash and Lurka on the weightless pressure of Friday Night Sit In The Dark, plus highly promising new projects in Spiritflesh’s echo chamber excursion, Ever Impending Doom, an exclooosey SKRS dub, TroubleRoundDiCorner, a steeply abstract one from Robin Stewart (Giant Swan), and the gully drill of Wu-Yen’s Splurge.
Cooked up especially for Samhain ’17, Croww nests a vanta-black tape of alchemical blends, special edits and original material with 'Heal Then Maim' for Faktion’s Reel Torque series.
Leading on from the decimated Slipknot mutations of Croww’s debut LP, Prosthetics for The Death of Rave, the mix encrypts a puzzlebox of ideas and themes ranging from British Murder Boys’ dalliance with Jim Jones, thru collisions of Mayhem and Conrad Schnitzler with Chino Anobi, to raging flashcore and junglist ballistics, wretching a phantasmagoric demonstration of the Manchester-based artist’s fiercely unique DJ style.
It simultaneously looks within and beyond the dance in a way that echoes the brvtalist tapestries of Rabit’s Halcyon Veil cohorts as much as the alternative timelines of Manchester’s afterhours culture. It’s a visceral meditation on body horror/body politics that crosses serrated lines between the dance, headphones and supernatural, noumenal dimensions, boldly following a non-linear path between expressive, out-of-body abstraction and kinaesthetic physicality with a confidence and vision beyond his years.
In a contemporary scene flooded with marketing/business students-as-artists and careerist DJs treating dances as focus groups, more power to Croww for having the nous to see thru it all and carve his own meta vectors across time and style. It ain’t for everyone, but those that know will go nuts for this tape.
After a long hiatus, Hyetal comes of age as a dance-pop artist in the mould of Jam City with ‘Youth & Power’, incorporating synths and songwriting by Gwilym Gold and post production by James Ginzburg (Emptyset).
"Coming together over three years since his critically acclaimed last album, Hyetal completes his transformation from off-kilter dance music producer to futurist pop visionary on Youth & Power. 'Previously my approach to writing music was very rooted in escapism,' says David Corney aka Hyetal. 'I began experiencing a sense of detachment in my life which led me to question how healthy this approach was. I wanted music to help me feel connected again.' Wrenching his music free from the 'confines of computer grids' and pushing melody to the forefront, Youth & Power's texturally rich, psychedelic palette is littered with live played synths, electric guitars, drum machines, processed noise and 'some under-loved 70s home keyboards' recorded at Hyetal's South London home studio.
'I'd describe it as experimental pop music,' says Hyetal. 'the sound is in part a return to music I was listening to as a kid, more song- and instrument-based.' Youth & Power is Hyetal's debut as a vocalist, also scrapping samples in favour of live instrumentation and hook-laden songwriting laced with myriad influences. 'I took some time out to teach myself how to sing using an app on my phone. At first I found my vocals worked best for me when there was some distance from the natural sound of my voice so everything was abstracted through a few different processes.' he explains, 'As I became more comfortable singing I decided I wanted to contrast this approach and use some natural sounding vocals that embraced the imperfections'. The album strikes a balance between robotic Kraftwerkian simplicity and soulful organic pop, contrasting the various pitch-shifting and abstracting vocal effects with sharply concise lyrics. Semblances of Hyetal's origins in Bristol's early dubstep movement are still present too, deep inside the album's meticulous rhythm beds. Elsewhere chiming retro keyboard notes and drum machine beats at times recall the likes of Yellow Magic Orchestra contrasting against waves of guitars and noise which bring to mind the influence of Bauhaus and other post punk experimentalists.
Written as a form of catharsis for Hyetal in his search to return his music from detachment, Youth & Power seeps a sense of hope. 'I found from a distance the most immediate workings of humanity can appear extremely brutal', says Hyetal, 'but when looking through this lens you miss the beauty that happens in the moment.'
After a period of silence and despair, British synth-wave group Natural Assembly returns and this time for Hospital Productions.
"The band has developed in their time off, pushing the atmosphere with the welcome addition of foreground cold guitar background-gaze vocals. A new version of their amazing underground classic track ‘When We Two Parted’ appears here reworked with new guitar modes. Natural Assembly has returned and the malaise carries on. You can see it in the eyes."
After almost a decade in incubation this incognito down-time project from two of the UK's most esoteric and fastidious purveyors of the "absolute obsolete" finally comes to fruition via a handful of club-recordings from carefully selected European events which were open minded enough to de-robe the audio-visual theatrical-trash / industrial-post-punk / battered-disco of La Stanza Nera.
Scraped from the shelves of hundreds of Minimal punk 45s, free-jazz unknowns 8mm reels, VHS tapes and repetitive mechanical funk Canty and Votel reveal an inverted side of their combined personality which has previously taken projects like the euphoric modular-electronic Neotantrik (featuring Suzanne Ciani and Bruno Spoerri) and longstanding Demdike Stare / Votel art collabs to almost every major city on the map.
Conceptually based around obscure art-house theatre and black-room cinematic dream sequences La Stanza Nera draws from a bottomless well of restrained uniformed film collages meshing trash cinema, agit-theatre, high-art and low-fidelity (in collaboration with Neotantrik's Andy Rushton) complete with a drum-heavy soundtrack of irreverent metallic disco and plastic punk... not exempt from the duo's stylistic bolt-holds of avant-garde noise and fringe-giallo sound effects).
Exacted with typified trail-and-error technique from seldom aired vinyl and cassette sources splicing treasure to trash and channelling tequila and tin-foil this series of unique one-off sporadic events and recordings come as a much welcomed outlet for Canty and Votel to combine the sleazier corners of their enviable record collections and provides an extra glimpse into the uncompromised reaches of this longstanding duo's private inverse-pop penchants.
Bombed-out power electronics by Rusty Kelley in his Country Club manner, new on Hospital Productions.
Launching combustible kicks against a wall of sampled voices, sirens, banking distortion and his own, throttled vocals calling for (or denouncing, we’re not sure) genocide and such. Proceed with caution!!!
Bittersweet, downbeat electronica ushered in careful, minimalist style with a pop appeal betraying the artist’s indie-pop background
““By restricting myself, I feel like I'm connecting with a larger arc of producers throughout time,” explains Leo Maymind. “People who were crammed into a corner of their bedroom with headphones on while the rest of the world was out gallivanting.”
Following nearly a decade entrenched into the Brooklyn DIY scene, a move to Los Angeles signalled a change in approach for Maymind, limiting his gear to a small tabletop hardware setup, sometimes as little as a single drum machine and a rackmount effects unit. Illumina is Maymind’s first full length release since this change of location and approach, focusing in on the liminal and transitional moments within the musical spectrum. The limited timbres across Illumina shift and evolve before your ears, each track unfolding at its own pace. Sometimes they reach a resolution; other times simply fading off into the ether.
“I think the commodification of music and having streaming available at all times has made listeners very impatient,” says Maymind, “even when it comes to ambient or drone music.” Illumina battles against this, the deep buried rhythms consistently getting disrupted by stray new percussive notes, or the gently sketched melodies getting spliced overhead, mutating into new textures. Inspired in part by his own stuttering problem, this element of aleatory interruption informs Maymind’s adroitly crafted minimalism on Illumina. “I wanted to make music that mirrored life more closely,” says Maymind. “Things cutting off sharply—life is full of twists and turns.””
Pompin’ teutonic techno riddled with playful nods to classic krautrock and Kölnisch ‘90s dance music...
“Hailing from Cologne, Mikrovolt is the nom de plume of music journalist and radio author Veit König. Recorded sporadically over the last six years, his first release I is the culmination of a hitherto undocumented musical journey. König has always made music for the last two decades, initially starting more pop-oriented before heading into a space disco direction, ultimately arriving at the retro-robotic synthesizer kraut of Mikrovolt’s I.
Assembled in his DAW from a host of vintage organ, mellotron, drum machine, and rhythm loop samples, König stays true to this music’s cybertronic roots, locking into epic robotic pulses that sprawl into futuristic jams. König colors the synthetic palette with guitar, harmonica, or other percussion when necessary, but it’s his dab-hand for driving grooves that defines the music here. While the influence of classic German acts like Neu!, Cluster or Kraftwerk is discernible, Mikrovolt’s sprawling minimalist grooves owe just as much to composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, Italian horror movie soundtracks and the era of techno and electronica in which he grew up.”
Low-key, decayed and moody ambient electronica from Switzerland via Mexico City and Chicago.
“Recorded with a modest hardware setup in Geneva - one drum machine, a few synths, a sampler, plus effects - the ten miniatures on LEVELS’ debut S/T are nonetheless dense in atmosphere and mood, often immensely beautiful beyond their means. As suggested by the project’s name, each track has the feel of a new level on a video game; a new environment to explore, to feel around for new clues, and ultimately to conquer.
Referencing classic anime, movie, and videogame scores, LEVELS’ willfully minimal sound palette is designed to give the listener a cinematic sensation. The sparser and more lo-fi sounds on side A have the listener tentatively exploring futuristic new spaces, wandering hallways of ambient beds and kick drum heartbeats. However, the busier rhythms and crisper melodies of the second side tell of the action that happens next, picking up the pace for keyboard-heavy chases, drum machine action sequences, and some gorgeously redemptive emotional peaks.”
Following a decade playing bass for Disappears, Damon Carruesco aka TüTH forwards a more expressive solo sound with the meterless greyscale prangs and looming drone shadows of Transgression
“Aiming to search out his own limits, potential, and abilities as an artist, the atmospheric sounds on Transgression are Carruesco’s attempt to make atmospheric electronic music that exists outside of "the grid". Transgression draws from field recordings and hand-made sounds, taking key inspiration from brutalist architecture, the acousmatic music of Romanian composer Iancu Dumitrescu, and the passing of somebody very close to the artist. Throughout Transgression throbbing tones play out into cavernous otherworldly atmospheres, while bass demons collide with far icier synthesizers issuing moody melodic patterns.
The references for this deeply abstract music are few and far between - the most fractured and sparse dub, Tangerine Dream’s earliest primordial trips, György Ligeti’s creaking galactic symphonies - so with Transgression, TüTH has appeared as his very own, unique, and fully fledged new voice.”
Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen's Kiamos duo follow their 2012 debut 12" with a fully fledged LP of posh dance music.
Both artists approach the project from similar angles, marrying mutual taste for mnml tech-house rhythms with more mannered neo-classical sensibilities. It includes the previous single track, 'Thrown' plus seven new compositions, at best in the elegant swing of 'Swayed' and the melancholic electro-house shuffle of 'Bent'. "“We decided to start almost completely over with this record, so most of the material is written this year with the idea of making a record that can stand as one piece rather than a collection of songs. I am very excited to get a proper record out exploring a different territory than I am used to. I touch a lot on electronic genres in my own music but never have the opportunity to go full out electronic like we do here.” – Ólafur Arnalds. “
The Kiasmos project has been around since 2009, but because of all our other projects we never really got the time to sit down and write all the tracks we always wanted to. So when we early this year finally found the time to sit down and make a full length album there was so much we wanted to try out. The result surprised us a bit, it's deeper and more emotional than we imagined it to be, but that's the beauty of being able to make an album.” – Janus Rasmussen"
A 45 minute mix of previously unreleased Untold productions with a 45 minute studio-recorded live PA by Duckett, following on from Hodge and Don’t DJ’s initial edition.
Untold runs the gamut of lop-sided techno, digi-dancehall drops, pneumatic grime and deconstructed club stuff drawn from no less than 25 unreleased dubs on his side.
Duckett draws for a special, studio-recorded live PA on his turn, wiggling thru spades of slinky minimal tech-house and bleeping, grubbing electronic mutations.
Co-founder of Berlin’s Fith, Enir Da saddles up a brooding “imaginary soundtrack” featuring his bandmate Dice Miller’s vocals on one track, but mainly exploring a forlorn instrumental solo sound strung out somewhere between the intros of GY!BE, the Western filmic influences of Monte Cazzazza, or the dustbowl atmospheres of Jon Porras.
Definitely one for those who like to sketch full scenes on the back of their eyelids while in darkened rooms, Accalmie conjures an impending tension across its 38 minute span, animation the sort of sound that comes from a lifetime absorbed by the subtleties and enigmatic emotive signposts of underground and classic cinema and its soundtracks.
Reverberating guitars, electronic contours and stripped percussion frame its seven parts, arching up with a blood red dawning vibe with the horizon-scanning guitar jangle and cantering drums of Desert, teasing tape loops into slow swirling dust devils around Dice Miller’s gently plangent vocals in How I See You, and seemingly diffusing her into dynamics gasps around the electronically swept L écume, whilst the honky swagger of Present suggest some kind of quizzical saloon scene, and Sky and Colours smartly ties it all together with an uncertain, dreamlike resolution of scrabbly electronics and minor key molasses bass shift.
The erstwhile wild man of Can captured in full flight, backed by the best Berlin had to offer that night.
“Damo Suzuki in performance with Château Laut, recorded at Ausland, Berlin, 30.iv.2010 by Stephan Laackman.
Château Laut's Stefan Fähler writes: I contacted Damo in 2009. He didn't reply immediately and at one point I just forgot about it… So, it was a huge surprise when he replied, exactly a year to the day later, explaining his email's calendar was weird and he had only just now received my mail. Quickly, we arranged all details for our concert-to-be.
We first met a couple of months later, at the airport. We picked him up in the morning and were stoned just an hour later in our kitchen. The energy for the whole day was so peaceful and warm. On the way to soundcheck we saw barricades and police vans on the streets in readiness for 1 May – a date famous in Berlin for rioting and protest. We joked about this predictable riot, marked in calendars for all to see.
The gig at Ausland proceeded organically. We shared many beautiful moments, both on and off stage. Damo was so much into the atmosphere and the crowd that, after our main set, we went on-stage a second time. Afterwards, we crashed at our place, downing a couple of whiskeys before going to sleep, happy.
We kept in touch. He became something close to a spiritual mentor for me. He gave us contacts around the globe for travels and put me in touch with many nice people. He once said to me, one of the most important things in life is to travel. We were glad he stopped by our place on his journey. – Stefan Fähler, Berlin, 23.viii.2017”
Mesmerising instrumental blues duets from Toronto’s Kevin and Patrick Cahill, whose symbiotic, fraternal connection is beautifully self-evident on this, their 2nd tape for the UK’s blues obsessives at the Death Is Not The End label.
On Fayet the brothers regale a quietly captivating narrative or dialogue in two extended parts, gently stereo panned - or just recorded that way - in a hushed but urgent back and forth that leads us upriver, across mountain trails and inside the log cabin of their shared mind.
One for autumn days with the rambleman.
Jay Glass Dubs melts Guerrilla Toss’ hyperactive post punk styles into air on this killer overhaul of tracks from the Boston band’s GT Ultra LP with DFA, resulting a spellbinding sound holding etheric space between Maximum Joy and Golden Teacher, for example.
If you know anything of either act, you’ll be aware of the gulf between their respective styles. And while it’s maybe fair to say that Guerrilla Toss have refined their sound slightly for the new DFA release, when compared with the zaniness of their Tzadik, NNA Tapes and Feeding Tube Records releases, Jay Glass Dubs has radically diffused their mad energy into something practically unrecognisable, far more elusive here.
Like Mad Professor with Massive Attack or Dennis Bovell with Golden Teacher, the selected song structures of GT Ultra are progressively dissolved and and sublimated in the echo chamber in a woozy declension from the D&B-style intro and thunderous pressure of Skull Dub to the nagging, almost Forest Swords-like plangency and steppers roil of String Dub, then coming to pool in the horizontal scan of TV Do Dub, and letting it all ride out for ten minutes of reclined trip-hop in Can I Get The Real Dub.
The curious label arm of Lucerne’s zweikommasieben magazine, Präsens Editionen introduce local artist Bella Winnewisser and Berlin’s L. Zylberberg with this trippy little split tape, making up the label’s 10th release after scattershot releases ranging from a Raime lathe cut to a C60 by Robert Turman.
Both artists are new names to us, at least, and PE-010 gives a subtly enigmatic account of esoteric sounds that should lure listeners you farther down their respective rabbitholes.
Lucerne’s Belia Winnewisser blesses the A-side with a brooding three part suite of concrete electronics and vocals that speak to her background in goth unit Evje as well as the darkwave duo a=f/m with Rolf Laurels, who has previously released on Präsens Editionen. Belia’s Mattress of Wire is a dank display of bruised toms, keening drone and eerie strings, like Bourbonese Qualk at a tea dance with The Caretaker, whereas the percolated ambient steppers drums and choral motifs of Voices comes across like Karen Gwyer meets Kara-Lis Coverdale, and the stark mix of industrial and new age elements in My Life Is Your History feels like a blissed out Burial Hex piece.
The B-side is taken by Chatter from L. Zylberberg, a regular at Berlin parties; Sameheads, Griessmühle, O Tannenbaum. Hers is 15 minutes of ethereal kosmiche electronics with a certain sylvan quality, like strolling a secret garden of artificial flora under synthetic moonlight.
For fxck’s sake, Ste Spandex mind-dumps his debut album on Cerberus Future Technologies: the home-baked label home to his myriad, nefarious disco activities involving Licking Mirrors, The Zest and Montauk Boys (which could get you locked up in some countries if done at the same time).
The Video Collection follows Spandexedrine’s pair of EP’s for Red Laser Records, and one for Tusk Wax, with 17 tracks harvested from recording sessions at The Brown House and The Boneyard over the last 5 years, including a handful of guest vocals by his bae Sarah Bates and pal Crispy Duck.
Huffing influence from Detroit, Chicago, New York and Brescia, as well as the last 30 years of Manchester club/disco history, he turns gold into potent crud, most often improvised on banks of vintage (read: a bit knackered) hardware and all recorded direct to VHS - Jamal Moss style - for that crudest, shabby chic crunch.
That said, these are some of the smartest, punchiest cuts in his special medicine cabinet, roving from the Italo/dub techno hybrid of Mother Tiger, thru strapping EBM torque in Untitled, to bandy-legged cosmic dub in Orgone Matrix Material and with two highlights in the aforementioned vocal pieces, namely the DMT-affected whorl of Ducky’s First Blast, and particularly Sarah’s spot on the chugging boogie flare, Got To Give The People (Album edit).
African Ghost Valley gets right down to the nub of it with DMIR, a dubwise package of prolapsed rhythmic noise rumble and atonality perhaps best described as the bridge between Thought Broadcast, Uon and Wanda Group.
DMIR is dub-noise in effect. Luring us in with the unheimlich mystery of Curo’s moist, gravelly ginell, he offers scant handrails inside, with the oceanic NK only offering the faintest, plasmic resonance of scudding dub chords to keep your head above, before Tanz consumes all light into its viscous black mass.
Viv finds him inverting that aesthetic as easily as he shifted shape between the first two, leaving us in eviscerated sci-fi terrain to be welcomed by the first light of a phosphorescing harmonic presence, then DMIR slydes along that scale into denser, overgrown noise, smothering the chords until then glint there in the last strokes, where Timothy appears as the most tangible silhouette of murky, acidic ambient dub recalling Helm’s Olympic Mess sound.
Uncannily Coil-esque meditation aid from Cera Khin & Ossia, reprising their duo heard on the sold-out Blue Baboon [JSMË, 2016] mixtape, but this time with a dangerously heavy-lidded appeal perhaps best received during chemsex come-downs or particularly tedious, packed-out commutes for optimal effect.
The first product of Cera Khin and Ossia’s Lazy Tapes, Guided Meditation is just that: a suite of sounds for the moments after your head has (or wants to) hit the pillow; meshing slopped ’n screwed vocals in an Alvin Lucier-meets-DJ Screw style on a stygian descent into the sandman’s hands, which just happen to be plastered in rubble and fragments of metal as the trip becomes denser and slips your lucid dream past possible hyping jerk triggers to a sort of burial at sea by the time it finishes.
Where the collaboration ends, Cera Khin picks up with her first solo material. On Frogs In My Bed she commits a bleak tract of echoic croaks and wide-open spatial dimensions recorded on a trip to Tunisia, proving a real patience and sleight of hand when it comes to dream-state atmospheres. Ants Don’t Have Lungs follows with a stranger blush of anaesthetised, chromatic convolution collaged from field recordings into a steeply hallucinogenic finale with an effect that Coil would surely have approved of.
Originally released in 1991 as a limited run of 100 self distributed cassette tapes.
The 5 tracks touch upon Ambient, Dub, House and Balearic styles and show an ambition to create timeless music in the vein of Ultramarine and The Orb. 25 years later these songs finally reach a wider audience....on cassette, again....
Memorias Vol.1 - Bugandan Sacred Places is based on a series of recordings made by Ross Alexander in 2016 at sites of sacred importance to the Bugandan Kingdom and other associated clans.
"These recordings were combined with recorded sounds from urban Kampala, extracts from a recording session with musician Albert Sempeke and the sounds of a Nilotika Collective drum circle. Further notes and tones were added using the Yamaha DX7 and programmed FM synthesis.With deepest thanks and praise to the people of Uganda, Albert, JaJa and the Nilotika collective, Arlen, Derek, Richie Tevin, Vincent the driving king, Nessim and the Nyege Nyege tribe! Love is peace, and freedom is harmony! "
Vicki Bennett’s People Like Us in often hilarious effect with 30 minutes of collaged Early Radio Works prodding the soft, protruding underbelly of talk radio, radio plays, and MoR music stations.
All material on the 1st was collaged from recordings made between 1992 & 1999 - Originally released on Lowest Common Dominator (1994), Jumble Massive (1996), Beware The Whim Reaper (1996), Lassie House (1997), Thermos Explorer (2000) & A Fistful of Knuckles (2000) - and the 2nd comes from her Guide To Broadcasting (1994) & Thermos Explorer (2000).
Miami’s Marks pulls back to Coyote Records with a wickedly cold, stripped-down fusion of footwork, drill and grime components. Coming off the back of his Green EP in 2016, this one goes shades darker and ropes in Spokes on a stellar cyberpunk trap remix.
Drain is an icily perfect example of Afro-Cuban drum patterns applied to eerie grime/drill dimensions; South Cold glares with dissonant synths and hard-bitten, reticulated percussion on a tight-belly halfstep[/triplet waltz; Lantern and Dash are like schizzy sides of the same coin - like medieval themes for snow-slinging trap baws.
What those riddims perhaps lack ion spatial sophistication, Spokes makes up for with a staggering remix of Drain that sounds like it was ripped right out of the upcm,going Bladerunner OST, framing the original deeper in-the-mix against snarling brass flares and reverb contrails, precipitating a toxic shower of Salem or Araabmuzik-style hardstyle/trap rhythms.