Documenting Sound is a new series that will archive recordings made during these tumultuous months by an invited selection of artists from different disciplines and locations around the world. The series will hopefully provide a snapshot taken from the perspective of artists whose world we wanted to inhabit and then encapsulate in physical form for posterity. The only proviso was that the material should be recorded at home or its surroundings, without too much pre-planning or concern for convention. We encouraged artists to experiment with field recordings, found sounds, improvisation, spoken word, songwriting, collage - whatever felt appropriate and real. We were hoping we’d get to hear meaningful and unexpected work, but we also entertained the possibility that we'd get sent a lot of hastily recorded, throwaway hard-drive dumps. We couldn’t have predicted the creatively brilliant twists and turns that would unfold as the material started to come in though - the submissions have been properly inspiring. Over the next few weeks and months we’ll be sharing these highly personalised works of art with you, starting this week with the first instalment; recorded Spring 2020 in Los Angeles by Sarah Davachi.
In Sarah’s own words:
"I've been going through various stages of movement – some days I can't be motivated to do anything and other days I can spend long hours working on music and going deep into it. When I've been able to sit with making music, it's been incredibly meaningful and reconfiguring for me at this moment. I'm thankful to have the time in my studio, a room that is calm and quiet and feels quite distant from the outside world, and this cassette is essentially a reflection of that interiorized state of being.
The music on this cassette is a series of studies and sketches that extend the ideas of two different albums: one that is completed but yet to be released, and another that is in the process of development. The material here is mostly improvised and unedited. The A side is a collection of three acoustic studies for harpsichord, harmonium, and piano. My harpsichord has been my main instrument these past few weeks – I'm working on a record that will use a few different historical temperaments, and right now I've set it to a standard quarter-comma meantone, which is what you hear in this piece. These Renaissance tunings have such depth, a house of endless hallways, and it's been great solace to disappear into them temporarily.
The completed album I referred to is entirely composed of organ – different kinds, larger pipe organs and smaller reed organs and some electric organ – and lately I've really been enjoying the intimacy of smaller organs. I think that it's through this particular organ, a chaplain's foot-pumped harmonium which I acquired in 2014 and featured on Pale Bloom, that I've mostly developed my style of playing organ. My piano, an uncommon Mason & Hamlin model from 1886, is not something I record with often because it's about a half-step out of tune and in need of regulation. She's a special being, though, and in my normal daily routine I play her most mornings for an hour or so.
The B side is a collection of three electronic studies for Mellotron, electric organ, and synthesizer, all with tape echo. These are my chosen electronic instruments, and the ones through which I've always found the highest degrees of stillness and transformation. My Mellotron and my electric organ, a Korg CX-3, are especially frequent tools and the curiosities in those particular tones have kept me at rest over the years. I usually pair them together, but I decided here to go a bit solitary and spend time with each one alone. My synthesizers are like old friends, they were my first passion when I started collecting instruments, and this period of time has been a nice excuse to revisit some of them. Each one is unique, but my EMS Synthi AKS is the one I feel most closely connected to in terms of how it sounds and how it feels. My house in Los Angeles has some peculiarities, and I noticed while working with the Synthi that I was getting some radio interference – in order to bypass it, I had to turn the volume knobs up quite high. Some parameters on the Synthi tend to behave in an unusual manner when their knobs are pushed beyond around 7 or so, but I often like to incorporate that saturated quality so it worked out well."
Sarah Davachi / Los Angeles / Spring 2020
Beautifully serene and contemplative, ‘Landscape Architecture’ sees classical minimalists Christina Vantzou & John Also Bennett describe quizzical scenes on their follow-up to a sterling 2018 debut for Shelter Press, all recently mixed and self-released on the duo’s Editions Basilic imprint. RIYL Harry Partch, Félicia Atkinson, Jim O’Rourke, Luc Ferrari, Catherine Christer Hennix, Pan American.
Reprising the lucid dream-like dimensions of their debut ‘Thoughts Of A Dot As It Travels A Surface’, CV & JAB assuredly trace the finest line between etheric whimsy and a genuinely spellbinding sort of atmospheric mastery on their sophomore sequence. Fashioned from petalled classical and jazz keys blended with woodwind, richly enigmatic electronics and gently aleatoric intersections of street noise and bird song with water sounds, the album’s 10 parts and bonus track limn a drift through what they evocatively term as “remote thought gardens and conceptual collonades” with an elegantly sober and yet uncanny, deeply trippy effect.
Recorded over the course of three days during a residency in Brussels, Belgium during late 2018 and mixed at home in April 2020, the results are detailed with a sure-handed directness as ephemeral as spring light. They appear like a dream that lingers on the mind’s eye for the minutes after slumber, and which seeps into waking-life to create its own perpendicular sense of time and space. That effect has long been key to Christina Vantzou’s work, from solo to collaborations with The Dead Texan and Heinrich Mueller, and it’s now clear that JAB shares this gift for elegantly supposing and luring listeners into their ever-curious explorations of ambient classical metaphysics.
Deftly able to move in any direction, the duo recall the rapt effect of Félicia Atkinson’s poetic compositions in ‘Down a passageway’, while the brooding allure of ‘Phantom Tunnel’ remind us of the quizzical nature of Catherine Christer Hennix’s style, whereas the more explicitly electronic works such as ‘Pungent Lake’ and ‘The maître d’ is dead’ capture the sort of laminal ooze and woozy effect of Jim O’Rourke’s amazing 4CD set of 2019 in a more concentrated form.
Saturated in chaotic colour and pushing fugged-out and screwed neo-soul aesthetics to the Nth degree, ‘Embedded Content’ renders Demdike Stare at their most elusive and experimental, distilling edits made for their February 2020 Cafe Oto residency into a properly red-eyed and mazy sound running around a hypnagogic 6 BPM and sounding something like Mica Levi getting on it with DJ Screw at the GRM.
Cementing the quintessence of their set at Dalston’s experimental music hub, Cafe Oto, onto 40 minutes of ferric tape, Demdike basically got blazed on some Whalley Range dank and cooked up the pre-prepared stems from their performance - a mix of live jams, pre-edits, post-edits, and original (de)compositions - into a mad session that lurches from quaalude soul slugs to crushed and wickedly grouchy knocks that sound like Mica Levi and Franco Battiato getting high.
Prizing CDJs as their main tool for on-the-fly edits, sequencing and metric pliability, the duo mete out their most munted gear on the A-side, crawling from dragging drums and endlessly reverberating metallic dub to plunging soul downstrokes and dense, inverted junglist detonations, while the B-side throws down head-smudging ambient noise and a slopped edit of Franco Battiato via bird calls and blunted 2-step prang-outs. In the hands of anyone else this could be a mess, but here the elements are managed with a tempestuousness that speaks to their combined decades of manacled experience with raw, elemental electronics and textured samples. Unpredictable, devilish and ruff cut bizz.
Sweetly sore, contemplative chamber-pop missives from Newcastle’s Craig Pollard, returning to Slip with a subtle expansion of their quietly, confidently vulnerable style of songcraft - precisely puckered arrangements riddled with burred lyrics - imagine Mica meets Paddy McAloon.
“Competition makes a blue return to Slip with 'Repetititive Music': a sawn-off songbook of doting vocals and incisive, heart-ache instrumentals, carried with a soft swagger.
Poised between insistence and tenderness, 'Repetititive Music' is an assured, dreamy successor to 2018's 'You turned into a painting'. As ever, there is Competition's rare care and delight in the unadorned material of modern song. Chopped strings, keys, machines and speech are screwed with classical grace. A voice pines and frays as it circles. Beyond the cut and the loop something yearns and lingers.
Craig Pollard (aka Competition) is a quietly pivotal figure in Newcastle's musical underground, curating events as one half of the Wild Pop collective and operating across the city's artist-led communities. A collection of Craig's writing - 'Inside A Gleaming Feeling' - is forthcoming on Glasgow press The Grass is Green in the Fields For You.”
Twin Peaks sound-designer and David Lynch collaborator Dean Hurley returns with this long-in-the-making collage/mixtape/art project compiling/curating action movie scores with an emphasis on the extreme arp-laden testosterone-fuelled sampler/orchestra hybrid scores of the 80's-early 90’s - an absolute must-have for fans of FM and LA synthesis, digital samplers and hi gloss.
Going hard on the action sauce but holding the misogyny, ‘Big Balls’ is an expertly-arranged flashback to the hugely formative synth scores of golden-era action movies whose shooting budgets usually left 7 figures aside for the lead’s coke habit. If you grew up or watched movies during that era, you surely know exactly what we’re talking about, and if not then the music will definitely induce memories of muscle-bound megastars taking down helicopters with a machete and bumsliding over car bonnets against backdrops of explosions and such. You know the shit, and arguably for many the best part of those movies was their soundtracks, whose stacked and rippling arps, rocket-squeal leads and lush pads matched and properly heightened the on-screen excess in unforgettable and culturally osmotic ways.
The premise for ‘Big Balls’ then, finds Hurley - himself now part of the very highest tier of sound designers for film and television - drawing from a huge knowledge of this pivotal, unprecedented phase in maximalist soundtrack composition (which itself mirrored a wider phase shift from analog to digital studio production) to sure-handedly evoke all the sweat and fake blood of your favourite and most charmingly groan-worthy big Hollywood action hits. Using a panoply of extreme arpeggios, strutting 12bit percussion, sleazy basslines and syn-sax honks, he renders the finest sort of American cheeseboard that ideally highlights the style’s comical but practically avant garde tropes in a narrative-like flow and context bound to jog the imagination and have you acting out barrel rolls over the sofa and making home movies, The Wolfpack style, while under lockdown conditions.
Please send clips if you do.
Club dynamo Finn rains down 20 VIP purlers and most-requested bangers brimming with a blend of good times vibes and misty-eyed melancholy he’s patented over the past half decade.
Hailed recently in DJ Mag as a catalyst of Manchester’s singular hybrid club sound, DJ/producer Finn most smartly draws a line between hearty Northern Soul stompers, US garage-house and regional club styles, and UKG bounce - with a dab of French House - in the winning style that’s earned him a a cult and steadily growing audience in recent years. Like the Anz production reel Finn issued on his 2 B Real label last year, this one plays thru a stack of exclusive original productions, and also includes barrels of tracky dubs with cheeky samples that means you aren’t going to find these rugged and raw jams anywhere else.
Tapping into a rich vein of brio that links the North’s small town and big city club scenes of the ‘70s to their modern day equivalents, Finn works it out in timeless, anachronistic, and even Uchronic style, deftly re-jigging the timeline of US/UK dance dialogue in a directly jacking, swinging and bubbling way that’s properly Manchester and universally appealing to the floors from Chicago to Tbilisi.
Following soon after Finn’s work on the blink-and-miss Michael J. Blood 2LP, and ahead of a promised 4-track 12” for this comp, this lot includes bullets played by Teki Latex on Radio 1 and turns up ample proof, where needed, that Finn is a genuine force for good (times) in a world that really needs them right now.
A two hour Post-Apocalyptic Driving Music homage to Kraftwerk by genius synthesist Novo Line, in ode to Düsseldorf’s finest but also late ‘80s pulpy sci-fi soundtracks and cinematic rave scenes, massive recommendation if you're into Leyland Kirby, Laurie Spiegel, James Ferraro, 0PN, NYZ, Skanfrom, Depeche Mode...
Cult visionary synthesist Nat Fowler aka Novo Line enacts 2 hours of Post-Apocalyptic driving music in an extraordinary homage to Kraftwerk, late ‘80s/‘90s sci-fi, and cinematic rave. Spread over 3 tapes and accompanied by excerpts of an imagined graphic novel, it’s a real gesamtkunstwerk of pulpy, savant genius that highlights Novo Line among synth music’s most singular voices.
Outlining an absurdist story set 25 years in a future where oxygen is a commodity like oil, ‘Autobahn Zwei’ is a total and heavily functioning artwork ideal for the last few years of humanity’s guiltless consumption on the road. Over 12 tracks written between 2017-2019 and each averaging 10 minutes in length, Novo Line experiments with new midi-methologies to combine the sort of slow, electrifying EBM/new beat rhythms of his ‘Movements’ and ‘Dyads’ LPs with the cinematic scope of ‘To Qatsi And Die In LA’ (2019) in a riveting electronic saga that surely marks up as his magnum opus.
Across ‘Autobahn Zwei’ the sleek, futurist promise of Kraftwerk’s seminal 1974 ode to the road is craftily, anachronistically adapted to purpose with a riveting sense of narrative and a rolling, physical traction that Novo Line steers from the club into his own lane. Fine tuned with influence ranging from Maxploitation flicks to the fantasy art of Jean Giraud’s Moebius, the 1989 B-movie ‘How to Get Ahead In Advertising’ and that “rave” scene in Matrix, as well as his circle of pals in Berlin, Novo Line harnesses his era-consistent Atari computers and FM synths to motor forward with a thrilling, inexorable velcoity and masterfully expressive grasp of his machines’ tone.
Synching vintage circuitry into combustibly dirty, whirring, cranky designs that sound like Tesla’s haven’t caught-on in 2045, the album’s pulpy saga about a ruling corporatocracy BrazilCorp and its monopoly on artificial rainforest-produced oxygen is played out along a schism of real, imagined and synthesised worlds. From panoramic intro replete with viscerally smeared lense flare distortion, to the samples of the iconic *rump/H*llary debate from 2016 riddled into ’Never Going Back’ - where Trump’s tweets are voiced by synthetic birdcalls - and thru the adrenalised arps of ‘Rave Scene’ and the lip-bitingly dissonant tunings of ‘Sewers’, Novo Line surely induces the most inexplicable and oddest psycho-physiological reactions associated with probing new works of sci-fi genius.
With ‘Autobahn Zwei’ Novo Line draws a profound sense of originality from well-worn tropes with a style and effect that should be massively prized by any and all fans of proper electronic music. It’s a genuinely prism-pushing and seriously rewarding album for the journey.
Febrile dream sequence mixtape from Laila Sakini, eliding new age ambient, modern classical, art-pop and industrial energies over 90 opiated minutes mixed and recorded in Brussels, 2019 - a strong look for fans of CS + Kreme, HTRK, Jonnine...
Following up Laila & Lucy Van’s ‘Figures’ (2017) for Purely Physical Teeny Tapes, her mix spells out a sprawling world of influence in a carefully plotted trip that comes on in stealthy waves of romantic lushness, existential dread and celestial curiosity. You can go whistle for a soundtrack because it’s not forthcoming from her and we haven't a clue with most of it, which is always a good thing. Anyway, Sakini acts as an ideal spirit guide with the knowledge and patience to take you to strange, surreal, eerily poignant and otherworldly places without leaving the comfort of your living room.
“Laila Sakini is a Melbourne-born DJ and musician. Primarily performing at nightclubs, festivals, galleries and museums, Laila has also been involved in activities that circumvent the usual trajectory of a DJ. She has worked with poets, curated events and runs the Careful podcast series, enlisting established artists to produce original sound-based work with a simple topic or ‘mantra’ in mind. She presents semi-regularly on London's NTS Radio and has been a guest on LYL, Dublab and Red Light Radio, as well as producing mixes for the likes of LNCC, Goodhood and i-D magazine.”
Hakuna Kulala turn out the darkest Gqom on road with the ridiculously strong debut solo release by Infamous Boiz’ Menzi brimming with cyperpunk-cinematic sound design via hard-synched taxi techno drums. Massive RIYL DJ Lag, Nazar, Slikback!
Getting deeper than anyone into the mechanics and mindset of South Africa’s viral township techno sound, 27 year old Menzi Shabane makes seismic moves on the ‘Impazamo’ EP with six trax of gobsmacking Gqom pressure advanced by shocking levels of sound design detail and searing synth dynamics.
Menzi hails from the Umlazi township of Durban, where he rose to prominence as one half of Gqom pioneers, Infamous Boiz, whose influence is now felt shuddering from speakers in clubs across the world. Aside from producing, Menzi also runs the annual Gqom Bloq party, Festive Road Block Umlazi, and recently has supplied beats for some of South Africa’s biggest acts (Moonchild Sanelly, Mahotella Queens, Zolani Mahola and Zakes Bantwini), but it’s this EP for one of the hottest labels on the planet that will surely put his name on the global dancefloor map.
Daring to mess with the machinery of Gqom’s sharply defined style, Menzi opens it up like Hellraiser’s puzzlebox to truly invoke and unleash the sound’s darkside spirits. The title tune’s cinematic intro ratchets new levels of industrial drama to the sound that follow thru in the pained hollers and BM-style screeches of ‘Minimal Surge’ and the sheets of acid rain drone that soak ‘Underground Abaphansi’, while the percussive ballistics of ‘QGM’ and the jaw-dropping ‘Zulu Warrior’ recall the deep fwd sound design of Nazar’s experimental kuduro style, and Uganda’s Ecko Bazz plays the role of shaman or spirit guide in the pitch black midnight tone of ‘GQOM Tera’.
A staggering set packing the strongest Gqom tracks on road right now, ‘Impazamo’ is unmissable for lovers of dark, heavy and futuristic dance music from all corners of the club.
Founded in Lisbon, 2018, Candura is Andre Hencleeday and Pedro Coragem. Their debut recording, "/I", was released through GreySun Records (Portland, OR, USA) in October of the same year. In 2019, the duo presented a new composition live at Galeria Zé dos Bois, Out.Fest, Amplifest and during the closing of Rui Chafes' exhibition "Desenho sem fim (Endless drawing)" at Casa da Cerca. This piece now becomes the duo's second published work, "/II".
"Rui Chafes writes: "Candura is a mountain. It is also a deep forest, full of strobe shadows and dark roots falling from the sky. This music takes us to a pure and untouched space where time has no beginning and no end, a space for the un-born and for the un-dead. Maybe it is a sound coming from an era before the beginning of the world, from the deepness of time. Each concert of Candura is a rough and sharp journey (or a dive) while listening to the noise of blades cutting a feathery silence. During this voyage we remain awake, with maximum attention.
There is no space for rest neither there is for distraction. Here noise is silence and silence is noise. Suddenly, we hear a primordial and archaic howl coming from this distant ice-cold wind, piercing our stunned fragility. Nobody stays on land during this musical piece: Candura uproots people from their positions and takes them to another place. At the end of the concert, everybody feels paralysed, unable to move. Was it a birth? Where did it take us? To the beginning of everything or to the end of everything? Into life's turmoil or into the scaring crackle of death? We will never know. It is a very romantic and terribly positive music, closer to the voice of Nature than to the voice of Man. Maybe between those tumultuous points, between the silence trying to survive and the powerful hurricane that takes everything with it, that is where some inner peace can lay. When this journey comes to an end, we put our feet back on the ground and remain silent, empty of words. Our fragmented bodies have crossed a somber landscape of wreckage, looking for light through the shrapnel. Candura is an inner mountain." – Rui Chafes, Lisbon, Portugal, 1 March 2020"
Félicia Atkinson returns with a stunning album of sensurreal storycraft dedicated to abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler and featuring spectral drones, gongs, bells, piano and marimbas accompanying Atkinson’s voice. RIYL Éliane Radigue, Jim O’Rourke, Luc Ferrari.
‘Everything Evaporates’ is Félicia Atkinson’s exploration of liminal space between dream, memory and waking life, using a palette of gongs, bells, piano and marimbas alongside Atkinson’s own voice to describe and induce deeply hypnagogic states of mind
Through a series of sound paintings that make porous the divide between visual, haptic and sonic sensory perceptions, ‘Everything Evaporate’ arrives with uncanny timing to provide a soundtrack to deeply surreal times of aerosolised viruses and the rapid deceleration and contraction of the world around us. In it Félicia most sensitively uses her filigree sound design skills and quietly penetrative, poetic observations to limn and inhabit a half-way headspace, focussing on a neutral, subconscious zone of transition between the lived-in moment and out-of-body experience with serene, weightless, and introspective results.
Refining the themes of her previous LP ‘The Flower and The Vessel’, which was written and recorded on the road while touring and heavily pregnant, Félicia’s follow-up is inspired by those pauses and transitory periods in life that prompt reassessment of what she and we think we know. But with ‘Everything Evaporates’ Atkinson uses her studio to bring together a quietly soul-bearing performance and the melancholy feel of her compositions with a more detached, out of body sense of temporality where her stories beautifully un/furl in their own time and space.
Sublimating the instruments around her, the five extended pieces here evoke a shimmering sort of mindfulness in their ponderous pace and ethereal atmosphere, setting dream-like parameters where small events become magnified and seep inwards; language and sound entwine and unstitch at the real-time speed of calm, inquisitive thought, slowly emulating the transmutation of feeling and concluding in a musical threshold of unresolved pluralities that require the listener’s participation to unravel.
Nour Mobarak: voice and FX. Bana Haffar: modular synthesizer. Mastered by Juliette Amoroso. Illustration: Nour Mobarak. This cassette tape is a document of two live performances by the Haffar/Mobarak duo. Their mutual pleasure in variable tunings, granular synthesis, and structured improvisations shaped their collaboration.
"A lifelong expatriate, Bana Haffar was born in Saudi Arabia in 1987 and spent much of her childhood in the GCC. Through her switch from 10 years of electric bass to modular synthesizers in 2014, Bana is attempting to dismantle years of institutional "conditioning" in traditional systems of music theory and performance. She is interested in exploring sonic disintegration and coalescence into new forms and synthesized experiences.
Nour Mobarak (Lebanese-American, born 1985 in Cairo, Egypt) is an artist working with writing, music, performance, sculpture, and film making. Performances include the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Stadslimeit, Antwerp; Cafe OTO, London, and Cambridge University, Cambridge; among others. Mobarak has participated in exhibitions at Miguel Abreu Gallery, Cubitt Gallery, Rodeo, Taaffe Place, LAXART. Her writings have been published by De Appel/F.R. David, The Claudius App, and The Salzburg Review among others. Her music has been released by Ultra Eczema (Antwerp) and Recital (Los Angeles)."
The life recordings on this tape are raw, unedited transfers from Dungeness by Simon Fisher Turner made with a Sony Walkman Professional WM-D6.
With the voice of Derek Jarman recorded on 20 June 1992 in his cottage as he begins to write "Chroma", and sounds from around the nuclear power station in the fifth corner at the end of the globe.
Unmissable UK drill mixtape from Big Scraps, a keen scene observer presenting his critical and almost documdrama-style take on proceedings from the gulliest side of rap music in 2020.
After two rapidly sold-out releases from Tom Boogizm, Shotta Tapes hand over to Big Scraps for 69 minutes of prime cold cuts from the UK drill scene, mostly ripped off YouTube and Pornhub, in a canny survey of the now-notorious style which emerged in London at the back of the last decade in response to the hard new rap sound coined by Chicago’s Chief Keef back in 2012.
On ‘Now That’s What I Call Drill’ your guy Big Scraps takes a cold hard look at the scene with no filters but plenty of overdubs, arranging UK drill’s frankly terrifying, often controversial, yet transfixing tales of hood life reality into a uniquely gripping sort of noirish narrative or feature that faithfully, unflinchingly highlights the sound at its rawest, realest and most effective.
Rather than a mixtape-as-in-album, or a “club” or radio mix, Big Scraps’ mixtape rudely goes all the way on the layered arrangement, using sampled news reports on knife crime, looping up the songs’ faux-baroque intros, and overdubbing with idents, incessant sirens and horns to keep a low-key but palpable cadence of tension between the tunes’ variable bitrates that practically portrays their mix of postcode-war reportage, hyper-violent fiction, and deep-fried crud life with the skill of a docudrama editor and director more than your regular DJ mix.
Hypnotically transitioning between drill’s slower, doomiest styles and aggy mutations that echo the coldest grime and jungle as much as US sounds, ‘Now That’s What I Call Drill’ has the balls to call it and add their own, respectfully distanced perspective on the undisputed heavy and darkside sound of England’s young, urban population right now. It’s another 100% killer collectible from Manny’s Shotta Tapes - the most reliable mixtape dealer on road right now.
Aporia is a New Age album from Sufjan Stevens and his step-father and record label co-owner, Lowell Brams.
"In the spirit of the New Age composers who sanded off the edges of their synths’ sawtooth waves, Aporia approximates a rich soundtrack from an imagined sci-fi epic brimming with moody, hooky, gauzy synthesizer soundscapes.
The album may suggest the progeny of a John Carpenter, Wendy Carlos and Mike Oldfield marriage but it stands apart from these touchstones and generates a meditative universe all its own. This is no mere curio in the Sufjan Stevens catalogue but a fully realized collaborative musical piece."
London’s Acolytes emulate the effects of a Salvia-induced permo with their psychotomimetic salvo for Haunter Records
Leading on from a class mix extruded for Richard Sides’ Bus and their two LPs with Luke Younger’s Alter, ‘Stress II’ juggles a madness between 10 minutes of digitally chewed percussive onslaught in ‘கொந்தளிப்பை’, the shatterproof tension of ‘Stress II’, and what sounds like the ratchet loops of Tanzanian Singeli in ‘Hitch Loop’.
The elusive Few Crackles lot deliver a lux box set featuring a mad lineup of mixtape selectors; Felix Hall, Jon K, Mother, Ntn & Ssabae and Lil Toby (compiler of the seminal Now Thing comp on Mo Wax). Each of them has a full tape side, (Jon K has two), trust that the selections are wild, weird and deadly.
Apart from their soundsystem parties in Paris over the last few years, Few Crackles came to our attention with the release of an untitled 7” from Бassae a couple of years ago - you know, one of those records that arrives with basically no info but which you just know yr gonna need to grab. Anyway, based on nothing more than a couple of 60 second clips we were getting emails about it for months from people trying to snag one.
Fast fwd two years and the label now re-emerges with what must rank as the dream lineup of riddim selectors packed into one package, no need to really list thru the credentials of any of them - except to say that you should expect the unexpected and prepare for years of detective work and the lonnng wants list yr sure to end with after rinsing this lot.
UK techno experimenter BNJMN stresses a more cyborganic sound as Body Portals
In pursuit of the dancefloor-swerving ambient themes of his BNJMN album ‘Pyrrhic’, as Body Portals he moves sideways into a caustic textured interzone that resembles a sort of industrial cyberpunk soundtrack full of sore mælodies and bunkered noise oppression.
“Recorded in 2018, "End Compass" is a unique sonic vision right out of the traps. The 6 tracks are unadulterated; a full-on assault in places yet subtle and gentle in others. Drums are bent, synths are culture vultured and combined with skyscraper ambient sheets of noise which have been sculpted and manipulated to create something singular and intoxicating.”
Ruskin and Broom’s electronica duo The Fear Ratio knit ruggedly offset rhythm programming with atmospheric anguish in their 2nd album for Skam.
"The duo, who are long-term collaborators have created their own signature style with abstract synths, heavy basslines and experimental soundscapes that fit somewhere in between IDM, electronica and ambient.
Their acclaimed debut album ‘Lightbox’ was initially released in 2011 on Ruskin’s Blueprint Records, featuring remixes from Warp aficionados Plaid and Deadhand. Soon after they formed a long-lasting relationship with cult Manchester based label Skam, with the follow-up album in 2015 ‘Refuge of a Twisted Soul’. 2018 saw a four track ‘Live EP’ release made up of exclusive versions of their Autechre supporting slot at the Great Northern Warehouse in Manchester,
Several years and various solo productions later, The Fear Ratio return with an album that solidifies their reputation as experimental producers. From the ethereal opening bars of ‘Sender’ slowly twisting into a brooding dub breakbeat, to the staccato, bugged out atmospherics of ‘Grey Code’, ghostly electronics of ‘Small World’, tripped out, schizophrenic hip hop haunting bass of ‘Game Plan’ and sun-dappled keys of ‘The Final Vision’ Broom & Ruskin flex their techno muscles ever further beyond the floor."
Room 40’s A Guide To Saints label host Del Lumnta’s inquisitive, nascent experiments with modular synthesis, pushing deep into weightless abstract ambient interzones flushed with iridescent melodies and culminating in a captivating 17 minute improvisation for Organelle on the B-side
“From Del Lumanta: Preparations was my first time experimenting with modular synthesis. The recordings on the first side of the tape are taken from performances during Sydney Festival’s Masters of Modern Sounds at the Art Gallery of NSW in early 2019. I was asked to respond to the gallery space. I spent my visits thinking about institutions. How I approach them, and how I work within them. What are their conditions for labour, how do they condition what I do? I often feel guarded when entering these realms.
Side B was an improvised recording made a few weeks after winding down from the event using an Organelle. Here, I felt focused on the idea of resources, particularly resources that have nourished my disciplines. I thought about their endings.”
Bocian Records give Kevin Drumm’s grim archival piece gtr/synth 2000 some room to breathe on tape, presenting the full 40 minute work which was excerpted as Old Shit on Drumm’s Necro-Acoustic boxset.
Compared with the pensive hi-register focus of his recently reissued Interference, for example, this is a much older, tempestuous Drumm working in the bowels of his sound, eking out a grittily textured roil of guitar and synth in a way that defined his late ‘90s explorations of the guitar as a member of the forward-facing Chicago school.
To be specific, he uses prepared guitar and analog synthesiser here to create an immersive tangle of atonal shards and viscous drone, the sort of stuff that feels like committing yourself to a pool of quicksand in the hope that there’s something worth it below the surface.
What occurs down there is a lightless and intensely physical experience, as though systematically dissolving your flesh and bones thru attrition into you’re nourishing the earth around your emulsifying cadaver.
Room 40’s A Guide To Saints label serve horizontally inclined and richly oneiric mesh of piano, bowed cymbal and open-window atmospheres from Australia, warmly tipped to fans of Elodie and Tape Loop Orchestra
“Dream-like extended duration work from Brisbane duo Primitive Motion in collaboration with San Diego musician Anthony Burr. Breath of Light Remains is an improvised work recorded at PM HQ during one of Burr’s sojourns to his Australian home town. Summertime neighbourhood sounds of children playing, local birdlife and cicadas drift into the home studio as the trio arc sound around the room and beyond, colouring the air in shades both light and dark as time stands still.
Anthony Burr has enjoyed a distinguished career both as an improviser and reader of contemporary composition. He has recorded key works of Alvin Lucier and Morton Feldman and has played with Jim O’Rourke, John Zorn and Laurie Anderson. He has released work in duo form with both Iclelandic bassist /composer Skúli Sverrisson and Australian pianist/composer Anthony Pateras. While principally renowned as a clarinettist, on Breath of Light Remains he drops time-dissolving notes from the piano in a beautifully measured and delicate performance.
Primitive Motion is the collaborative project of Brisbane artists Sandra Selig and Leighton Craig. Over the past decade they have recorded an extensive body of work, with five albums released to date of
their otherworldly musical dialogue, including a previous Guide to Saints edition. Their visual/audio collaborations have been exhibited, with a major work included in the 2010 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. They have recorded and performed outdoor improvisations responsive to the natural environment, and on this release weave a group tapestry of floating sound with Burr that dissolves into the fading afternoon.”