Swans’ influential guitarist Norman Westberg returns with his most substantial album to date on the expansive, personal panoramas of ‘After Vacation’, a profoundly beautiful set of windswept soundscapes amplified by production from Lawrence English.
For the last 6 years Westberg has rendered a one-take representation of his studio performances, effectively presenting a series of naked meditations on the electric guitar with little or no over-dubbing. Now, breaking with tradition following the end of Swans in their current configuration, he opens up his sound to reveal a depth of tonal colour and harmonic possibilities that just weren’t there in previous outings.
His glacially slow panning shots now highlight a finer spectrum of notes with much deeper spatial relief, marking a sharp difference between his old and new sounds akin to switching from a cathode ray TV to widescreen HD. That’s partly down to Westberg’s renewed impetus and ambition, but also no doubt aided by Lawrence English’s production, which serves to breath patient, pregnant space between the notes and reveal compelling new aspects to Westberg’s sound.
That sound is significantly and fully realised in six parts, traversing from windless nocturnal desert scenes in the cinematic majesty of Soothe The String, to the opiated shimmer of Drops In A Bucket and the arcing, star-gazing poignancy of Norman Seen As An Infant on the A-side, before really zooming out on the B-side to reveal a dawning valley of slow rolling melodic fog and harmonic aurora in Levitation, and coming to rest in the homebound floral acoustic guitar strokes and lushly layered environs of the album’s closing title track.
One of the year’s most evocative quiet listens, After Vacation comes with a huge recommendation if you’re into anything from Ry Cooder’s classic Paris, Texas soundtrack to more contemporary variations on that theme from the likes of Tim Hecker, Stars of the Lid or indeed Lawernce English.
Nyege Nyege Tapes’ ace new sublabel Hakuna Kulala presents fresh new bass music from Kenya with Slikback’s rudely skeletal twyss-ups
Simultaneously familiar in construction yet wickedly alien to Western bass music frameworks, Slikback’s ‘Lasakaneku’ is yet another thrilling new delivery from East and central Africa that’s bound to baffle preconceptions of music from that region.
‘Acid’ is a ruggedly squirming zinger working on a grinding dancehall bump shot up with martial snares and mad, chopped up vocal - think a marten Equiknoxx - while ‘Bantu’ comes off like slow/fast and pendulous answer to SA Gqom, and ‘Ascension’ sounds like Don’t DJ doing minimal D&B. To our ears, ‘Just I’ has the rub ’n tug of ruggedest dembow beats, and the hot-footed torque of ‘Venom’ sounds like a mutant Rian Treanor, before escalating to a syncopated gabber coda.
Lotic takes a stunning lurch forward with Power, their début album for Tri Angle following from the Heterocetera EP, and the Agitations  mini-LP for Janus Berlin. Where we’ve previously alluded to strong comparison between the music of Lotic and Arca, here the Berlin-based American artist really comes into their own, using vocals for the first time - ranging from syrupy rap to tortured torch song - to perfectly gel their de/constructed R&B, ambient and avant-electronic style in a way we haven’t previously heard.
Power was originally intended as a study in empowerment, but circumstances changed when Lotic lost their apartment and the subsequent two years were spent in state of flux, with windows of opportunity to record coming only every three months or so. In those windows, Lotic formed a fractious mosaic of a musical self-portrait, consolidating various aspects of their character into eleven illusively iridescent and tightly-packed crystalline structures. The effect of Lotic’s revelation is equally enthralling, serving to light up the complexities of his sound from striking new angles and providing a natural (if processed and extreme) counterpoint to their favoured high-register twinkles and asymmetric arrangements.
We can imagine cuts such as the pent dembow bumper Hunted and the severely warped R&B drill of Nerve to kill it in the club, but the album is most interesting when it’s pushing at more oblique angles, as with the Total Freedom-esque rush of Power-drums against banking discord in the title cut, or exploring pure alien terrain in Bulletproof, while it all comes together most affectively in the warped hardscrabble texture and mutant torque of Resilience, and deeply sophisticated yet animalistic expression of Heart.
If you’ve been struck by records from Arca, Yves Tumor, Björk or Ziúr in the last year, this one’s a must-have.
Bjarki’s bbbbbb label grip Norway’s EOD for a frenetic album of Braindancing drill ’n bass built in the model of classic late ‘90s AFX, Squarepusher and Venetian Snares.
Since Rephlex scurried off some years ago, this sorta sound has ben scattered around various labels, with bbbbbb emerging as a natural home for the reflexions and expressions of the producers currently pushing dancefloor prisms.
Norway’s Stian Gjevik a.k.a EOD and CN, is a prime case in point with ‘Named’, his most significant physical release since Rephlex issued a pair of his 12”s in 2013, not long before the label disbanded. For all intents and purposes, ‘Named’ could have easily come out on the home of Braindance: from the giddy hyper jazz of ‘Exham Priory’ to the chops of ‘’sblood Thou Stinkard’, thru the haunted warehouse acid of ‘Edward’, to demented music box melodies recalling NYZ in ‘Zadok’, to the Radiophonic spectres of ‘Lavinia’, and the curdled, winking daftness of ‘Blasted Haeth’, you’ll find all the mental colour, jittery funk and emotional melancholy of Braindance at its best.
Yowling, white hot punk snot from NYC, 2018
“Stucco Thieves is the new LP by New York City's The Sediment Club. This new collection of nine songs marks 10 years since the band's formation in 2008. Stucco Thieves tells an abbreviated and frank series of human bankruptcy accounts from the post Pax-Americana perspective. The Sediment Club wrench and berate their instruments to make Stucco Thieves a concise, brutal landscape filled with tales that range from slapstick to cruel. Hapless characters embody greed, change form, and reflect on the crumbling infrastructure of a “cobalt ruin.” Stucco Thieves holds our shared predicament of doom in the casual pass of a snarl, “a dungeon shook,” and a dropped bag of dirt. Honey's chromosomes are dying fast, falling out of vogue, and turning to a “shadow soon.”
For 10 years, The Sediment Club have shown a commitment to dissonance while touring their brand of it extensively around North America, challenging audiences and rallying fellow outsiders. They will continue to do so into the next decade.”
“Chastity is a world of its own from the mind of Brandon Williams. Reflecting the working class background of Whitby, Ontario, Chastity’s songs are charged with the ethos of archetypal youth on the fringe. A project more aptly characterized by its intentions than specific sound or medium, Chastity stands to confront the struggles of those existing in the unseen, often silenced periphery. It is an artifact of youth culture constantly working to form community, bridging isolation with collectivity.
Visuals play a meaningful role in this world with Williams using his penchant for crafting consistently sleek, challenging imagery to personalize the narratives running throughout all of Chastity’s music — most discernibly, a call for the disruption of status quo.
It was clear from the release of Chastity’s first demos that this was not just “another punk band that can operate at only one speed.” Always concerned with the trending lack of accessibility and inclusivity in public spaces for the arts, the first Chastity show was held in Williams’ own bedroom where, packed wall-to-wall, the police were quickly called. But after the project’s second show supporting DC punk band Priests, Chastity was off to the races, sharing stages with the likes of Metz, Chelsea Wolfe and Fucked Up. All without a full length recording out.
Since signing with Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, Chastity has re-released those initial demos, along with 2 new singles and an EP, stoking the anticipation of the debut full length record, Death Lust.
Death Lust follows the plot of suffering to survival. The album begins on a tortured note with ‘Come' and builds toward the plummeting finale of ‘Chains’, evolving from start to finish in a crescendo of severity. Chastity explains, “Death Lust is about growing up death obsessed. It’s about the pain that it takes but the capacity that we have to overcome.”
Body/Head, the duo of Kim Gordon (CKM, Sonic Youth, Free Kitten) and guitarist Bill Nace (X.O.4,Vampire Belt, Ceylon Mange), release their second studio album, ‘The Switch’.
"Their debut album together as Body/Head, ‘Coming Apart’ was more of a rock record - heavy, emotional, cathartic, spellwork in shades of black and grey. ‘The Switch’ is their second studio full length and it finds the duo working with a more subtle palette, refining their ideas and identity.
Some of it was sketched out live (if you’ve not had the fortune of seeing them in that natural environment yet, see 2016’s improvisational document ‘No Waves’) but much of it happened purely in the moment. On ‘The Switch’, their vision and focus feel truly unified.
If ‘Coming Apart’ was dark magic, ‘The Switch’ works with light, though it never forgets that these approaches are two sides of the same coin and that binaries - black/white, near/far, emotion/analysis, body/head - are made to be broken open and that the truth of things is in the energy between.
Pariah returns from extended hiatus with debut album ‘Here From Where We Are’ on Houndstooth making up for time since his last outing in 2012, and a couple of Karenn slammers with Blawan over the interim. In the key of the moment, it’s an ambient record presumably meant to soothe your bones after a hard night raving, or indeed to ease your swede from the intensifying travails of everyday life.
“Arthur Cayzer was a relative late comer to dance music. He grew up in various hardcore and punk bands before moving to London and being swept away by dubstep. After just six months messing around making his own stuff on Logic, Pitchfork coverage piqued the interest of the legendary R&S, and over the next two years he released three EPs with the Belgian label. Each one showed subtle evolution and further established Pariah on the international scene.
Since then, Arthur has continued to DJ round the world and play live with Blawan as Karenn. Musically, though, he’s been adrift. With countless unfinished projects cluttering his hard drive, he felt he’d pressured himself into making the music people expected, rather than music that was an honest reflection of himself. It was only by taking a step back to analyse the music that has always resonated with him—and where, how, when and in what context it did—that gave him a renewed confidence in his work. After one track was finished, an album of coherent pieces naturally followed.
Although Here From Where We Are is inspired by a series of very personal reflections, responses and reactions, Arthur is keen for people to process it in their own way, free from interference. Opening with the transcendental ‘Log Jam’ which spills into the huge, empty and plaintive ‘Pith’, the artist distills his experiences into an album of nine moving, multi-layered tracks, where peculiar textures combine with rich harmonies and absorbing melodies into a heady mix of abstracted environments, formally structured songs and sound collages. Absorbing from start to finish, Here From Where We Are is a long overdue return and accomplished new direction for this rejuvenated producer.”
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch plays it like she means it on ‘Époques’, the french pianist and composer’s 2nd LP with FatCat’s 130701 label. It’s rare to hear a record that combines such direct gestures with keening experimental leanings while maintaining a palpable coherence, but that’s just what Emilie has done here. RIYL Max Richter, Richard Skelton, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dustin O’Halloran
“Witnessing an increased assurance and dynamism in both Emilie's playing and composing, 'Époques' marks a big step forward for the London-based artist. A bold and adventurous album that alternates between passages of emotive, sinuous solo piano; stirring compositions for viola and cello and some beautifully sprawling electronics, it has been masterfully pieced together to further reveal a unique and intelligent sense of artistry, and a composer who really does deserve your full attention.
Losing some of the chill of Emilie's previous album, 'Époques' sound is both warmer and more honestly, emotively grounded. With a more coherent narrative drive, it retains the former's gentility and intricacy, whilst at times unravelling or teetering towards a palpably edgy, aggressive point of collapse. Over the course of its 44 minutes, the record modulates in intensity and moves between passages of sublime beauty to menace and despair. The tone for the album is outlined within the first two tracks. Opening with the sparse piano of 'Martello', which flowers into life and draws itself around you with sinuous vines and rising clusters of piano, it then falls into 'The Only Water', a rich yet murky, subterranean dreamscape of electronics and strings that hover and saw like Richard Skelton before evolving into some dark chamber duet, whilst slowly everything peels away into layers of delay. 'Redux' is another solo piano track, a meandering drift that winds its own sweet way before falling off into the glowering electronics and spaced cello figures of 'Overflow' and the dark, consumed-by delay piano of 'Fracture Points'. The brooding 'Ultramarine' opens a sound-field that lies closer to film score – edging perhaps towards the sensibility of former labelmate Jóhann's Jóhannsson's brilliantly unsettling 'Sicario' soundtrack.”
Evil, wild-eyed industrial techno and gloomy doom core from USA’s Rita Mikhael a.k.a. E-Saggila
As with her previous form for Opal Tapes and last year’s Tools Of My Purpose 12”, the vibe is hardworking and darkly enigmatic, veering from epic gloom tramplers such as Glass Wing to cyberpunk techno on Reputation and bone-rattling hardcore sensibilities in Strive For Action and Your Hole in a way that strongly recalls everyone from Nkisi to AdamX and Xyn Cabal.
Don’t sleep; Rave!
The artistic director of Louis Vuitton has a grimy acid gurn off with Boys Noize…
‘Orvnge’ is a bare-bones jack track sparked up with the classic ‘Landlord’ stab and militant snares to enhance your swagger, while ‘??’ works to a barer 8-bar grime syntax, and the arse falls out of ‘Sirene’ with speaker buckling effect, leading to numbly spine-tracing arps and acid flares in a way recalling Errorsmith experiments.
Exploratory British violinist Laura Cannell presents captivating duets with André Bosman, who previously produced her ‘Quick Sparrows Over The Black Earth’ album, on a gripping session recorded live inside the 13th century stone walls of Ravingham Church in Norfolk, UK
“In wood and marsh and stone we make our reckoning”
Dispatched on Laura’s Brawl Records, ‘Reckonings’ is another prime example of her singularly experimental take on a cross section of ideas absorbed from early medieval music, traditional folk and renaissance and contemporary styles. Coupled with Bosman, she’s clearly an adept collaborator, as her previous works with Mark Fell, Sandro Mussida, Aby Vuillamy, and Rhodri Davies have proven, but we’d take this album as the strongest example of her strengths in union.
Laura plays violin with overbow and baroque bow, while André handles violin with amplifier and Rebec bow. The results are fiercely dissonant in a classic folk sense, as the two operate closely but with differences emerging in their bowing and the extra layer of disruption added by Bosman’s amplifier, which lends a wickedly coruscating bite to proceedings.
It’s definitely not your usual, pretty, cliched neo-classical work at all. There’s a snarling fire to their sound that seems to fulminate in the air, with each player bearing their fangs in a way that’s not aggressive but does connote a sort of slow, considered violence to our ears that’s much more effective than outright aggression. It feels as though they are absorbing and transmuting hundreds of years of hellish imagery and pain from the church itself into these recordings, giving a voice to lost souls.
‘Wandelaar’ is a time-dilating suite of solo piano, strings and electronic ambience realised by Haron Aumaj as the first release on a promising new Dutch label, Queeste - properly gorgeous stuff.
As first introductions go, Wandelaar is a memorable one. Over the course of seven pieces, Haron extends a modest invitation to his world with the spare, Roger Eno-esque air of solo keys and floating synth tons in Lotuseater, before opening out the vast symphonic panorama of Maangerij and seamlessly segueing into the windswept arps of Caverne with in a manner recalling a more tempered TCF.
The journey reaches a hallucinatory apex with the staggering proprioceptive sound design of Selenieten evoking febrile imagery of incomprehensible scale and dynamics, and we’re swept, dreamlike, into the playfully frothy, melodic keys of Foschia, which make for a stark contrast with the fleeting blue grey notes of Sepia that lead into the lip-tingling, head-thizzing expression of his Music for Elbows, charmingly evoking comparisons to Ryuichi Sakamoto at his most deliquescent, as much as a tipsy, sun-dazed Emahoy Tsegué-Maeryam Guèbrou work. It's an engrossing, brilliant album that comes highly recommended for those of you looking beyond Ambient-by-numbers fodder.
Naturally, Tresor 303 is a killer album of 8 driving acid studies by Italian maestro Donato Dozzy
On ‘Filo Loves The Acid’ Dozzy presents his first solo album since ‘The Loud Silence’ [Further Records, 2015]. But, where that album and his collaborations with Anna Caragnano, Bee Mask and Neel have tended to his experimental side, this is the first time that Dozzy has focussed on dance music for a long player, finally exploring the functions of his numerable 12”s in a broader, durational format, and with predictably immersive results..
It’s all supremely strong and slick gear, opening out with the panoramic pads and plangent tweaks of ‘Filo’ - named after his best bud, whom the album is dedicated to - before getting crafty with the slipping kicks of his ‘Vetta’ pounder and the overpronating drive of ‘Duetto’, to go hard for a late ‘90s skullhead style on ‘Nine ‘o Three’.
With ‘Back’ he brings a flavour of early ‘90s psycho-tribalist stompers, while ‘Vetta Reprise’ ramps the energy level to breakneck, and ‘TB Square’ settles its arse down to a more hypnotic swing jack, before ‘Rep’ rips out with a proper, brain-drilling riff and martial tattoo of the type you’d expect to hear in Tresor, cloaked in smoke and blinded by the strobes.
Yorkshire soulboy No.1, N.O.W., remixed in fine style by Moodymann, Illa J, and the group’s own DJ E.A.S.E.
Detroit vibes are set with Illa J’s slow glyding R&B bumps and the original version’s classicist combo of swanging subs and Sadie Walker’s burnished vocal, but the B-side heads for the ‘floor with DJ E.A.S.E.’s strutting club mix coming off like a mix of SoYo bass and filter house, while Moodymann seals the deal for 313 fiends with a super low slung booty shifter blessed with his personalized magic. Give this man a good vocal, he’ll give you a class remix!
Wild AF computer noise from Victor Moragues, cutting loose for the first time on Fluf
Morgues’ 0015A is perhaps the more sane of the two, whipping up warped chromatic convolutions with insectoid percussive pointillism and laser-guided stabs in meter-oblivious formations. You might struggle to dance to it, unless you have 17 legs, but its still a lot of fun.
On the other hand, 0015AA tilts headlong into rapid-fire, asymmetric atonality with intense, ravishing effect leaving the listener a puddle of meat and bones.
Infectious first release on Hakuna Kulala, a new sublabel from Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Tapes focussed on new club music explorations from the East African and Congolese Electronic Underground
Rey Sapiens drops three cuts of fizzing, weirdly abstracted soukous for the label’s début, relaying a taste of the hottest sound in Eastern Congo to dancers and listeners far removed from the sound’s source.
We’re familiar with soukous, but not with Rey’s mutant style, ranging from a blend of soukous and the kind of trippy, corkscrewing minimal techno FX you might expect from Romania on ‘Hakuna Ku Lala F’, whereas ‘Eya Eya 6600 volt’ places more attention on roving basslines, with glinting soukous guitars and whistles weirdly spun out with distant, rattling percussion to brilliantly sound like at least two different tracks playing at once, resulting the elusive 3rd track effect, and then there’s the stone cold oddness of ‘On est bon la Rey Dean Ca$h’, where he comes off like Él-G doing ketty Afrobeats - we shit you not!
Benjamin Damage runs two deep, wide and moody techno cuts for a 2nd 12” with his new home R & S following the demise of 50 Weapons
‘Malfunction’ shows off his sound designer skills in the melodramatic opening bars, before yielding a smartly offset techno roller with steeped synth voices, controlled tearout breakdown, and trancey flourish.
On the other hand, ‘Binary’ gets straight to it with deep, chugging swing and dreamy pads designed to get jaws rotating and eyes rolling in back of heads at 5am.
After establishing himself with rough but emotive house as Rimbaudian and jungle as Birds of Sweden, Armand Jakobsson unveiled his DJ Seinfeld alias to the world, first with single ‘U’, then with his Time Spent Away From U album on Lobster Fury in November 2017.
"Jakobsson approached his DJ-Kicks with the intention of representing all the things that made him fall in love with dance music more than a decade ago, as well as showing some of the progression that has occurred in that time and “reflecting the simultaneous fear of leaving something safe behind as well as the excitement of venturing into unknown territories, musically and emotionally.”
In order to make it as personal as possible, he called upon the many talented people around him making music. They returned with an enthusiasm that reminded Jakobsson of his own early passion, and in turn invigorated him and the whole process of assembling the mix. It was finally recorded at Inkonst club in Malmo because, recently back from years in Barcelona, he has not yet set up a studio in his hometown."
Hauntingly mystic roots reggae set crammed with cherry-picked classics and obscurities by Jackie Mittoo, The Gladiators, Alton Ellis, Horace Andy, The Manchesters...
“This is the second installment of deep roots Rastafarian reggae at Studio One and features classic music from some of the most important figures in reggae music – Alton Ellis, The Heptones, Jackie Mittoo, The Gladiators – alongside a host of rarities and little-known recordings, such as a truly rare Mystic Revelation of Rastafari seven-inch single, Willie William’s first ever recording ‘Calling’ and Horace Andy’s righteous (and equally rare) masterpiece ‘Illiteracy.’
Black Man’s Pride 2 extends the legacy of Studio One’s ground-breaking path in roots reggae which began at the end of the 1960s and continued throughout the 1970s. The album tells the story of how the rise of Studio One Records and the Rastafari movement were interconnected, through the adoption of the Rastafari faith by key reggae artists – everyone from the Skatalites and Wailers in the 1960s, major singers such as Alton Ellis and Horace Andy at the end of the decade, through to major roots artists such as The Gladiators in the 1970s – and how Clement Dodd consistently recorded this heavyweight roots music throughout Studio One’s history.
The extensive sleeve-notes to this album also discuss the links between Rastafari and Studio One in time and place, noting how both the religion and Clement Dodd’s musical empire had their roots in the intense period of pre-independence Jamaica in Kingston, expanded in the 1960s following the visit of Haile Selassie in 1966, and how roots music then came to dominate reggae music in the early 1970s. Also discussed is how the outsider stance of both reggae music and the Rastafari movement relate back many hundreds of years to the original rebel stance of the Maroons, escaped slaves who set up self-sufficient enclaves in the hills of the Jamaican countryside.
There is also a track-by-track history by the noted Studio One writer Rob Chapman (Never Grow Old). This new album comes as heavyweight gatefold double vinyl (+ download code), deluxe CD and digital album."
BleeD wrap up their first label compilation, starring trax by Peder Mannerfelt, DJ Nobu, Rote, Volte-Face
Look out for highlights in Peder Mannerfelt’s pounding Dig 6, the oily rolige of Depth Charge from Refracted, and the high-water tension of Shit Business by Rote, the duo of BleeD label boss Volte-Face with Daniel Avery.
Reticulated techno aces from Sigha
Rolling from the spheric carillon and scaly trills of Circular to the buzzing swarm of Gliss, and thru the acid wormhole of Flare to a sublime sort of gamelan techno in Hum recalling the unique resonances of the Colundi project.
Hardware-weilding Albert Van Abbe does his steely, brooding techno thing for Echocord Colour
The EP gears up with galloping kicks and dramatic string motifs on ‘Klangbilder 1’, followed by the floating, head-high jack of ‘Klangbilder 2’, before the hauntingly glum tones and opiated bass of ‘Klangbilder 3’ take hold at a more depressed tempo, and ‘Klangbilder 4’ renders a transfixing, beatless drone expanse recalling work by Alessandro Cortini.
Massive, mutant dancehall album from Miss Red and Kevin Martin a.k.a. The Bug, launched as the first LP on the latter’s Pressure label following the Flame1 project featuring Burial.
Taking what he needs from ‘90s digi dancehall and the environmental atmospheres collected on his travels, The Bug furnishes Miss Red with a concrète-cracked batch of riddims that neatly juxtapose her float-like-a-butterfly, sting-like-a-bee bars.
For the biggest excitement check out their hammering fast chat killer Money Machine, the ruddy acidic wine of Big, and the bashy swag of Slay, but it’s definitely best consumed hot in one sitting, where the textures and space of The Bug’s fiercely unique, biting point production can really take a hold.
Berlin’s Orbite extends an absorbing introduction to their dub house sound with the ‘Interstellar EP’, his first vinyl release, and the 2nd 12” issued by Echocord sub-label, Echo Echo
A-side is serene, strolling groove called ‘Skylar’ meshing windswept pads and synth voices to an effortlessly rolling bassline and clipped percussion recalling the hazy heyday of ‘00s minimalism, but with more fluid, earthy dynamic.
B-side is more varied, strafing from the heady dub poetry of ‘Moment’, featuring an unnamed and seductively ASMR-like vocal, to the gently scuffed textures, tidal sounds, and spheric bass of ‘Organi’.
Sully and Falty DL have a lark with a pair of 2 Bad Mice cuts off the ‘Gone Too Soon EP’
These remixes are classy. Sully lends his special spice to an artfully dextrous take on ‘Gone Too Soon’ making clear nods in the direction of Dillinja and Goldie, while Falty DL turns ‘Limit Of Paradise’ into a dreamy, E’d up ’91 style roller peppered with trademark breakbeat chicanery.
The first label compilation from PG Tune in a series of thematic installments. In the focus this time are Moscow raised producers and live performers, sharing a fresh vision of the globally evolving dancefloor universe.
Includes music by Philipp Gorbachev, Obgon, Interchain, DEKA, Dubrovsky and ushi333.
Thrilling south London producer Kamixlo takes his crown on ‘King Kami’ for Bala Club, following shots fired on PAN’s Codes series and production for Endgame and Blaze Kidd
Spearheading a virulent movement of rogue Latinx artists colliding dembow and dancehall rhythms with hardcore traces of gabber and noise, Kamixlo turns out some deeply rugged jams on King Kami, tilting in with the spiralling trance pads and slowed down, inverted kicks drums of Golden Trigger, and suztaining the percussive pressure into Mi Sabor, before the blunted introspection of I don't run from my demons... because sometimes I become them presents Kami’s more bittersweet side, and NXB4VA finds him embarking the pleasures of pure atonal noise...
Following his recent turn in Tbilisi soundtracking the protest against Bassiani’s closure to a massive crowd, Phase Fatale returns with ‘Reverse Fall’ for Ostgut Ton.
The beastly kicks, doomy synth voices and lip-biting 16th note arps of Reverse Fall sets the mood for a mean set taking the distorted half-step of Incision, the drilling high-wire tension of Blackbox, and a forceful, grungy zinger called Empty Whip.
Laurel Halo lands on Latency with a cinematic suite featuring Oliver Coates on cello and drums by Eli Keszler.
Making her first move since 2017’s remarkable ‘Dust’ album, Laurel takes inspiration from her score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the ‘Tao Te Ching’ in pursuit of a quieter, more tactile and elusive sound, moving deeper into a sort of twilight avant jazz realm that calls to mind the recently uncovered Luc Ferrari salvo on Alga Marghen as much as flashes of Conlon Nancarrow and the diaphanous swirl of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas.
It's immediately obvious that this is a special release in Laurel’s catalogue. Two 10 minute works bookend the release; the sublime title track with its oneiric mesh of woodwind, early electronic music gestures, and almost funeral organ; and at the opposite end, a stunning symphonic piece that unmistakably recalls Gas, but also unlocks that sound’s potential from the grid thanks to Keszler’s free meter and an embrace of kaotic harmony deeply rooted in Derrick May and Carl Craig’s Detroit classics.
But that’s not to discount the bits in between; they’re also brilliant. From her pairing of Keszler’s inimitable snare rushes with dark blue keys and smudged, plasmic electronics in ‘Mercury’, to something like Mark Fell commanding an underwater gamelan orchestra in ‘Quietude’, and the rapid flux of keys in ‘The Sick Mind’, this one has us rapt from every angle.
Dancefloor dreamer Vakula and french producer Rouge Mécanique version cuts from Dauwd’s ‘Theory Of Colours’ LP
Dauwd down strips his own ‘Analogisches Memories’ to a sylvan piano take for the entrée, while Rouge Mécanique takes ‘Murmure’ for a trippy, sun dazed stroll in the ‘Walking remix’, whereas their ‘Running Remix’ is driven by jabbing, effervescent jazz drums in brilliant style.
Vacuole holds his end with a deep blue house remix of ‘Macadam Therapy’ agitated by buzzing electronics to keep dancers in a state of hypnotic tension.