CV & JAB is Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett, two artists that might already be familiar to many of you from their individual work over the years for the Kranky and Spectrum Spools labels. Together they have made this slowly engrossing album for Shelter Press - who else - perhaps one of the most elusive, uncanny and multi-layered “Ambient” albums we’ve heard in what feels like a long time, a worthy follow-up to a frankly astonishing sequence of releases on the label that started with Felicia Atkinson’s modern classic 'Hand In Hand'. If you’re into anything from Chris Watson’s field recordings to Vangelis and Badalamenti at their most romantic and evocative, or even Boards of Canada’s early forays into wildlife documentary pastiche, this one will sooth your mind like nothing else.
The album is a musical interpretation of Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface, a 90m panoramic wall drawing by Zin Taylor (a reproduction of which is included as a fold-out poster that comes with the vinyl edition). Through 10 tracks they render beautiful electro-acoustic meditations on the passage of time, which follows-on from their co-work on Vantzou's No. 3 album.
Vantzou brings a wealth of experience working between auditory and visual mediums to John Also Bennett’s synthesized and acoustic sound sensitivities, which have recently applied to his action in the Forma trio and a compilation of Pauline Anna Strom’s amazing Trans-Millenia Music for RVNG Intl, with a purposefully slow and immersive flow of acoustic piano and flute wrapped up in remarkably plasmic, spatially detailed synth contours.
In 10 parts, through a combination of literal track titles and abstracted allegorical inference, they describe the movement and feelings evinced by Zin Taylor’s massive tableaux, variously transposing his imagery of Cactus with Vent into webs of crystalline harmonics that acquiesce to brownian motion, or, as with the transition of Alfred Hitchcock Haze to Rock House With Door, a vividly synaesthetic transcription of figurative drawing to brooding, doomily Lynchian sound that brings to mind a wealth of captivatingly dank and alien imagery.
The vinyl package includes a miniaturised print of Zin Taylor’s Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface to peruse while you listen, so that you, like Christina and Bennett, can also make your own interpretation, and see how far their sonic translation differs with your own. Or then again, you could ignore it entirely and let yourself drift inside their free-formed dimensions without the cues. Either way, you’re in for a beautiful, open-ended and unpredictable trip.
Martyn Bootyspoon flounces into the dance with a crackshot début EP cubing the roots of Chi-house, Ballroom and grimy, FWD electronics for the leading lights at Fractal Fantasy. Following his 'Don’t' hook-up with Zora Jones on the Visceral Minds 2 comp, Bootyspoon’s fully fledged solo flight is a lusting future funk session steeped in club hedonism and destined for widespread dancefloor damage.
Perfectly tessellating with the Fractal fam’s sound, Bootyspoon toggles a killer blend of properly upfront styles and techniques with a feel for more classic styles that adds something retro yet fresh and soulful to the label.
Silk Eternity is riddled crafty rhythm programming and virulent vocaloids that set the EP apart from his field at every turn. Whether retrofitting c*nty ballroom with classic Chicago drum machines and wickedly bitchy vox on Spread That Kat; going hard for instrumental Jersey and B-More pressure in Steam and The Grid; or perfectly serving the rave what it needs thru the spaced out dimensions of Helicoptah Dance - “sh*t is tantric, maximum lust!” - or flipping classic ‘90s dancepop samples into a head-spinning blend of Viennese keys, Senni-esque Arps and slathering trills on Ease U - Bootyspoon’s music is set to make a big impression everywhere.
Neo-classical maestro Keith Kenniff (Helios, Sono) rings in his first new album in three years with Cricle, a warbling streak of solo piano keys swaddled in iridescent strings, sounding out a hazily submerged and nostalgic feeling.
Prolific electro producer Roel Dijcks a.k.a. Ekman stretches out on stealthy search ’n destroy manoeuvres for Shipwrec in his sophomore album
Primus Motor gives Ekamn room to explore a broader range of vibes than his 12”s, giving closer attention to minimalist pressure systems with the likes of his i-F-esque Polymath8 and the slippery acid tone of Mills Constant, along with more evocative, spaced-out and melodic feels e To The Pi i, and the ruggedly bittersweet Goldbach Number, saving his sharpest dancefloor moves for the pendulous Riemann Zeta Function.