The prodigal return of Venezuelan artist Carlos Giffoni to the avant-electronic music scene he was instrumental in shaping with the seminal, hybridising No Fun Fest and No Fun Productions label, which was home to debut releases by Oneohtrix Point Never, and classics from Haswell and Prurient during the late ‘00s to early part of this decade. If yr into 0PN or Keith Fullerton Whitman, this album f u c k i n g r u l e s
Carlos’ first new release in 6 years, Vain was drawn from hundreds of hours of improvisations made at his Malibu studio, offering a tumultuous narrative in affective abstract swells and pulsating rhythms that trigger curious sensations and emotions ever familiar to his variegated, extreme, yet essentially organic output.
Despite not releasing anything for the past 6 years, Carlos still sounds like he lives and breathes electronic music. Where those ‘noise’ artists who originally played at No Fun Fest and released on his label have arguably carved out major career paths from myriad mutated genres, Carlos’ music still feels captivatingly ancient yet advanced and uncannily hypnotic.
In a cascade of minimalist arps and cloud dynamic harmonies, the album’s story starts in the vortex of Vain’s Face and sweeps thru the granular flux of The Desert to a staggering piece of noise techno dissonance in Erase The World, which calves away into the curled plunge of Hands and the anxious needling of We Pay The Price. At the mid-way point it turns lusher with the pulsing and coruscating kosmische tang of Stop Breathing, leading to the metric complexities woven into Faith and Pain and the heightened high-register sensitivities of I Can Change, whose shatterproof hyaline steeples ultimately deliquesce into the shimmering beauty of Sun Rain.
With hazy resolution and ambiguity of effect, the record works its magick in memorable style. Like the best abstract sonics of Peter Rehberg or Keith Fullerton Whitman, an intuitively applied formula of geometry, rhythm, tone and timbre add up to inexorable effect, rendering the closest possible connection between the machines and the artist’s pathos.
For syntesthetes and attuned listeners, the effect is likely to conceive new colours on the mind’s eye, and move them to finer states of emotive response. In others words: it’s a seriously good listen.
Magisterial, glacial, attention-demanding and powerful exposition of Buchla 200 synth tones mapped to acoustic woodwind and brass by a promising young composer; Stockholm’s Kali Malone. A strong tip to fans of work by Caterina Barbieri, Emptyset, Sarah Davachi.
Arriving in the resonating wake of her self-released solo début Velocity of Sleep , and flanked by the recently issued Organ Dirges 2016-2017 tape for Ascetic House, the Cast Of Mind LP gently but grandly expands the constellation of Kali Malone's solo releases, next to her Upper Glossa collaborations with Caterina Barbieri, a tape with Ellen Akrbro, and acclaimed live performances.
Joined by Yoann Durant (Alto Sax), Isak Hedtjärn (Bass Clarinet), Gabriella Varga Kalsson (Bassoon), and Mats Äleklint (Trombone), Kali’s Buchla 200 Synthesiser forms the basis for a quartet of diaphanous and slowly unfolding electro-acoustic landscapes that externalise a highly personalised form of emotive topography.
In the titular opener, wood and brass trace the swooning ellipses of Kali’s Buchla contours in stately procession suggesting a sort of resigned march to battle, before the Buchla appears to dominate in the warped streaks of Bondage To Formula, but listen closer and it’s harder to tell whether it’s electronic or organic sources so fully lending flesh to her rich sound field.
The answer to that question is much clearer in Arched To Hysteria, whose keening, hunched electronic forces hold powerful potential to conversely induce paranoia and heavily hypnagogic effects, whilst Empty The Belief yields a lustrous, Raga-like drone capturing a marriage of Buchla and bassoon at their most transcendent and steeply attractive.
This one should be filed for reference and safekeeping beside recent transmissions from Sarah Davachi, Anna Von Hausswolff, and Catarina Barbieri = properly good.
Batu really cuts loose on this highlight from his brilliant Rebuilt EP with XL.
The most devilish drums and bass work we’ve heard on a Batu track, then comes that wicked AFXian hook. Don’t sleep on this or the rest of the EP!
Miss Red rides a ruffneck, bubbling riddim on Dagga, the 2nd drop on The Bug’s Pressure label following his Fog link-up with Burial.
Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug hisself provides the saw-toothed and harshly filtered production, with Miss Red pinched and squeezed between its ragged teef.
Antony Naples & Jenny Slattery’s Incienso follow DJ Python’s Dulce Compañia - one of the albums of 2017 - with the debut LP of hypnotic ambient reggaeton pressures by Bailey Hoffman a.k.a. Beta Librae - co-founder of NYC’s Technofeminism events with Umfang.
Moving farther along the same line that gave us DJ Python’s unmissable album, Beta Librae smudges her vibes to a more mutable flux of feelings in Sanguine Bond, traversing beatless froth and pendulous dembow shuffle in the first side, thru to the intimate deep house humidity of Cosmic Machines, and deeper into underwater sonics on Urras, cosign up for air with the trickling Afro-Cuban lilt of Canis Major, and melting out into new age dimensions with Pink Arcade and closing on a surprisingly ace jungle/dembow mutation New Feelings.
Very safe to say: if you loved the DJ Python album as much as us, you’ll be allllllll over this one, too!
Knekelhuis pluck out a top shelf Italian cosmic disco obscurity for reissue with Meo’s ‘Fine Corsa’ , delivering a taste of the sophisticated, syncretic styles played at Rimini’s Melody Mecca. Vibes for days on this one, but the shifty syncopation of ‘Monday’s Coma’ is worth the price of entry alone
“Meo, pseudonym of Daniele Mei, is a cosmic dj from Rimini, Italy. Fine Corsa was his first record, released in 1985. In those days Meo was active in what was later considered to be the most famous Afro Dance Club in Italy: Melody Mecca. This release is an intensely creative hybrid of many styles and many colors. Even up until the present day this record continues to be very important in some preeminent European clubs. Now remastered by Brandenburg.”
CD single meeting of Dirty Three's Mick Turner and the Bonny Prince Will Oldham, originally issued back in 2000. Six tracks of lof-fi, dusty country rock featuring words adapted from Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore's 'Gitanjali'.
Alec Lee treads a fine line between Chi house and acid jazz on this session for the grown-ups who’ll see it thru ‘till dawn
“Alek Lee’s second 12” on Antinote starts with an uptempo opening to a rather downtempo record. Playing with some of the genre (namely, deep house) codes like the use of a politically-aware speech or vibes, Alek Lee can’t resist to give Time his special treatment nonetheless: using some of his dubby tools and bringing in a warm trumpet he takes the song onto a rather windy road. Don’t fall for it though: Time is a red herring...
The next song is without doubt more immediately recognizable as an Alek Lee’s tune with its slightly Pink Floydian vibe and its overall jam feel. On Kesef, the musician whispers in a tunnel of sound effects, joined by his beloved melodica and a nonchalant electric guitar.
Those who dug his previous EP might want to check out Colors and its nemesis - Dark Colors - on the flip side. Borrowing some of the ingredients he put into Sfarot, Alek Lee cooks a set of two eerie dubs. On Colors, the dark and thumping instrumental backs the voice of an impossible child, a creature bred in Tel-Aviv musician’s most twisted fantasies. Meanwhile, Dark Colors paradoxically takes a much more sentimental path. No voice this time but an emotionally-drenched melodica-lead breaking through a foggy environment of ominous synths and enigmatic noises to round off Lee’s mistier record so far.”
Martyn is back at his ruder garage-techno tricks for Steffi’s Dolly label
Swanging on a darker garage pivot with 41W, and a smart redefintion of Body Music with the clipped brukbeats and brooding bass steering just the right side of aggy, leaving Angels to cool off in a rolling UK/Detroit style.