Wonderfully daft exotic synth adventures from a surely winking and besequined Elko B, frothing his organs like a long-forgotten bandmate to Señor Coconut who was chucked out of the band for smoking too much angel dust and getting his ruffles mucky. ‘Bingo Shuffle’ is the one for us
“Here we add a new classic chapter to tradition. A tradition known as the many exotic sounds of Maestro Elko B. The multi instrumentalist member of bands like ‘The Horse Head Bed’, ‘The Groovecats Deluxe’, ‘Dino And The Chicks’ and many more has once again composed a new solo album for Ekster. This fine and tasty selection of musical pieces vibrate colourful echoes ranging from blossoming fountains over casino-esque gambling. Space-cowboys play hide and seek with childlike innocence in an adult world.
Many of the songs on “Realm of Rides & Romance” have found its origin in Blijweert’s work as a composer of soundtracks for theatre, dance performance and artistic installations. Cinematic reflections providing EXO “Paradise Moods” by this multitrack one man band. Recorded from 2017 to 2020, Elko has expressed finding inspiration in chance, the Sphinx, the casino, the Decap organ, colonialism, bats and frogs.”
Pure Bugandan thunder from core Nyege Nyege Tapes unit, Nilotika Drum Ensemble, demonstrating the sort of drum circle tempest that has charged up all of the label’s revered parties since day dot
Revolving around seven drummers around leader Jajja Kalanda, Nilotika Drum Ensemble play devilishly complex rhythms owing to traditions from across the country, from the Iteso of eastern Uganda, to the Bugandan styles that encompass the capital city Kampala and their tribal south central regions. They’ve been at it for over a decade now, but the rhythms predate them by manifold more years, stemming from ancient central African traditions.
‘Ejokawulida’ rolls out a cascade of swingeing polymetric rhythms from the Iteso tradition that mesh and swarm in ravishingly complex patterns, somehow hingeing around a precise, internal logic of a quantum clock that can’t be read but only understood by dancing limbs. ‘Kekusimbe’ follows on a variant of Ugandan traditional music called Bakisiimba, where, to our ears, it feels like time is moving forwards and backwards simultaneously as the patterns switch on the spot between slow swagger and slow/fast palpitation with turbulent dynamic and discipline.
Blinders, both of them.
Apifera are the latest signing to Stones Throw’s growing roster of jazz innovators. The four musicians have come together for their debut album Overstand.
The group consists of Yuval Havkin aka Rejoicer (keys), Nitai Hershkovits (keys), Amir Bresler (drums) and Yonatan Albalak (bass). Rejoicer has released two albums on Stones Throw. Hershkovits has played in a trio with ECM Records musician Avishai Cohen. Apifera create organic-sounding structures, harmonies and arrangements intended to reflect the rich variety and equilibrium of the natural world.
Working intuitively, the quartet wrote and recorded Overstand mostly live in just three days, and the final album includes minimal overdubbing. Drawing on real-life spiritual and psychedelic experiences, often intertwined with nature, as a springboard for their music, Apifera showcases a sound that is free, improvisatory, and live.
"Our lives are expendable under most governments, secondary under a system of monetary rule. We are stock if you like, parts on a shelf for the purposes of profit, discarded at any moment if fabricated or non-fabricated crisis threatens productivity. This is constant, obviously and notably in the current pandemic. The masses cannot be present in the minds of ill-fitting leaders, surely? Or else the realisation of their catastrophic management would cripple their minds. Much like the human body can still survive without a full set of ribs we are all 'spare ribs’, preservation for capitalism, through ignorance and remote rule, available for parts."
A strong look for Mark Leckey, Jay Glass Dubs and Space Afrika heads - Dekalb Works’s debut poetically tap into a rich vein of surrealistic, hypnagogic magick with collages of UK & US regional voices and disembodied, enchanted electronics
After nearly 10 years in operation Where To Now? continue to pluck out the oddest bits from the contemporary undergrowth, with ‘Duologue’ counting among their very best in recent memory. It’s a witty, emotively elusive and curious listen described by the label as “Born out of a shared deep sociological interest of dialects and cultural frameworks, and the effects these have on meaning within modes of speech” and thus it works as a form of hauntology, lurking in a liminal space where their thoughts about cultural zeitgeists and nostalgia are scattered among myriad voices, from Deep South US religious laments, to something like a profane South Park character set in gyring psychedelic ambience, thru to the beautifully dour Burial-esque percussion and pads of ‘Play’, and what sounds like mushied West Midlands tones riddled into Bellows-like introspection on ‘for’.
Nu wave NYC house cornerstone AceMo finds the sugary sweet spot between Dilla, Masters at Work and Omar S with this deep, slippery collection of club trax.
Back in 2019, AceMo bottled the essence of a fresh wave of creativity in New York City with "All My Life". The young producer had been a staple of the underground circuit for a while at that point, and showed off his versatility with a slew of tracks that hovered around the deep house mode, but couldn't be constrained to one genre in particular. "All My Life 2" is the sequel, collecting tracks produced between 2016 and 2019 to remind us of a pre-COVID era when Brooklyn's influential techno and house community was setting the creative pulse. It's still there, simmering away and AceMo exemplifies that spirit.
Kicking off with 'Celestial Nights' we're immediately pulled into the back room swing, with tape-dubbed drums and the kind of organ bassline you'd expect to hear on a Masters at Work track. Ace's fusion is so joyful - we're sure we can hear kosmische riffs on those ascending synths - that it's hard not to feel lulled into the groove. 'New Daft Punk' is another highlight, with clacking lo-bitrate claps and snares alternating for maximum snap, but our fave moments come at the end as Ace goes in deep, with the Newworldaquarium-esque 'Yellow Leaf' and 'Phone Tag', that features his sister Yunie Mojica on sax and vocals.
Woozy and ineffably funky trypbient experimentation from Nigerian installation artist Emeka Ogboh. Like halftempo D&B crossed with Artificial Intelligence Warp or Mo'Wax "Headz"-era goodness, augmented with the organic vs cybernetic percussive shuffle of Amazondotcom or DJ Python... jaw fully dropped.
We're just a few days into the new year and have already been blessed with a record that's been stuck on rotation since it landed. Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh assembled "Beyond the Yellow Haze" for his 2018 exhibition "No Condition is Permanent", an installation that explored Lagos through sound and video, mapping out the transient, shifting nature of the cityscape. Splitting his time between the Nigerian capital and Berlin, Ogboh paints slow-mo electronic grooves that heave and wind hypnotically, pulling threads of influence from across the musical spectrum and stitching them into a vivid, unique cyberfunk vista.
It's temping to compare this album to the brittle, android funk of Warp's first "Artificial Intelligence" comp and Mo'Wax's influential "Headz". Those sets of vital post-rave experiments bloomed in the shadow of Detroit techno and British hardcore; here, Ogboh's slithering grooves feel like a similar reaction to the unrelenting minimal throb of Berlin, as seen through an outsider's eyes. Techno, both the boundless root sound that was born in Black America and Berghain's polished, pneumatic 4/4, is the magic bean that grows each track. Yet fertilized with Ogboh's Nigerian cultural experiences it takes on fresh character: TR-909 kicks are replaced with woodblock clacks; soul-dimming electronic drugdrones are swapped with lively marketplace chatter, cascading rainfall and bellowing car horns.
Ogboh is a master of restraint, giving DJ Python a run for his money as he slowly cycles through skeletal percussive loops that dodge and swing, rather than sit comfortably on the grid. Womping hoover basses appear occasionally, trapped in the space between the club and the afters, avoiding basic utility but imprisoning the memory of some messy function or another in some random city. It's a startling achievement, triggering warm feelings of familiarity and electroplating them, hammering them into a chromium world that's a couple of hyperjumps beyond Lagos or Berlin.
We're completely obsessed: whether you're into the burn'd mind haze of Burial, Tricky and Space Afrika or Amazondotcom and Slikback's lysurgic inverted club, you're not gonna want to pass this up.
Braindance torch carrier Perälä applies Colundi theory in a particular percussive new suite on his prolific AP Musik series
However much we might hanker for his seminal Astrobotnia styles, Aleksi Perälä’s current run of form always keeps us intrigued by his use of tricksy, tip-of-tongue tunings and fluid rhythms, and this lot are up there with his best.
From workouts that sound like Dolo Percussion working with stranger scales, to Far Eastern-sounding YMO electro, thru breakbeat driven Braindance antics, steppers techno to near gamelan styles, and trampling AFXian techno, this one’s a strong buzz.
First original Kode 9 trax since 2015! The Hyperdub boss makes up for lost time with two sharp shots of mutant juke chicanery at the front of 2021
To be fair he’s not been quiet over the intervening years, issuing everything from remixes of classic computer game music to rare dubs off his Katasonix label (run with Mark Fisher), but ‘The Jackpot EP’ firmly makes up for a lack of new solo gear with two upfront and elusive workouts that read the pulse of the times.
His title cut is a full frontal raver, channelling 30 years of futurist dancefloor energy into a bucking form of ghetto-tech that rolls off-the-bone between slamming 4/4 and drill-style swag, twysted with shearing chromatic synths. However, ‘Rona City Blues’ is the one for us, applying vapourized synth thizz to skeletal percussion and heart-racing subs in a wickedly tense, but barely there, mutation of early footwork-juke and the up-to-the-second styles also explored by Rian Treanor or 33EMYBW.
First ever international reissue of one of the most sought-after albums from the Black Fire catalogue, Lon Moshe & Southern Freedom Arkestra’s life-affirming ‘Love Is Where The Spirit Lies’ from 1977.
“Lon was creating his own path in his music life at this time,” remembers Black Fire’s Plunky Branch. “We had met in San Francisco and he had become an original member of JuJu during the early ‘70s. He then wanted to pursue his own music, primarily in jazz; he was an avant-gardist and loved Tribe, Strata-East and Sun Ra.” For his Love Is Where The Spirit Lies album, Moshe drew from musicians within the Black Fire stable. Oneness Of Juju’s Jackie Eka-Ete sang and helped to write songs and members of Southern Energy Ensemble contributed, including their bandleader Marvin Daniels. “The band name, Southern Freedom Arkestra, was a proud declaration that this music was from the U.S. South,” continues Branch.
“The civil rights movement had been led from there and the most serious racial animosities resided there. Lon had grown up in Southern Illinois, South of Chicago, and said that the racial oppression was as bad there as in the South. He wanted to fight back through his music and through his own actions. He found a way to bring energy and aggressive to the sweet sound of the vibes. He played with a lot of dynamism and speed. The most celebrated piece on this album, ‘Doin’ The Carvin For Thabo’, is a tribute to his mentor, the drummer Michael Carvin (also known by same as ‘Thabo’) who had played for Motown, with Freddie Hubbard and many more.
This first international reissue of the album features new sleeve notes including interviews and commentary by Lon Moshe, Plunky Branch and band members with original illustrated artwork by Mary E. Greer. Audio was remastered from original tapes by The Carvery.”
Tin Man sheds the acid, and the moniker, to reveal a wide-eyed suite of deep kosmiche ambient works produced under his real world surname; Auvinen
Johannes Auvinen is regarded among the best to ever wield a 303, but here commits his love for classic European synth music in a convincing style that holds up to comparison with inspirations ranging from Ash Ra Temple’s Jenseits to the iciest contours of the Sähkö label.
Rather than his usual all-night-long vibes, ‘Akkosaari’ is patently intended for the hours after the party has finished, and thus smartly finds its place in the seemingly endless post-party era of the early 2020’s. To give some measure of the meter he’s working with, it takes until halfway thru the album on ‘Kyläläiset Tanssii’ before any rhythmic structure appears, and even then it’s stark as fuck, in a Vainio-esque school of thought.
It’s arguably all best received in downtime states, when the contemplative effect of ‘Mummon Tarina’ will absorb listeners into a deep blue state of mind that’s beautifully sustained throughout the album’s haunted choral pads and chamber-like sense of slow, elegant purpose up to the ice-cavern ambience of ‘Akkosari’ at its furthest perimeter.
Dirty volley of breakcore and electro with a scuzzy frenchtek tang from Berlin’s Paàl
The Voitrax label boss works outside of his usual remit in a way that chucks us back to early ’00s hard rave styles, clocking up the dank breakcore nastiness of ‘Peace Keeper’ and the frenchtek rollcage of ‘Speed Dating’ in the higher BPMs, whereas the offset electro charge of ‘Problem With Privilege’ and ‘Highbrow’ work on a scuzzy electro angle, and he trades in more gristly, warped and noisy dubstep-industrial styles in ‘Red Sky At Night’ and ‘Bon Voyage.’
Gorgeous, sanguine ambient sound sculpture by Iranian composer Porya Hatami for iDEAL recordings, following blazing sides from The Gagmen, and Stephen O’Malley with Senyawa.
"35.256031, 47.013321, 27.081979" is an experimental sound art piece created by the Iranian composer Porya Hatami. Porya Hatami (b. 1981) is based in Sanandaj, Iran and he works with field recordings and puts these against electronic tones in different ways. He has released his music since 2012 and has released his works on a number of international labels and is collaborating with like minded artists."
Lisbon-via-London styled blends of 2-step, dream-pop, and trip-hop dedicated to the Tottenham Hale Premier Inn - RIYL Maria Minerva, Laila Sakini, Negra Branca
Inspired by “one night spent in and around” the titular Lomdon location, Elles lends sweetly smudged and dreamy vox to a suite of nocturnal co-productions with Violet, neatly reprising and building on the melancholy vibes of Elles’ 12”s for Violet’s Naive and Naivety labels.
It starts out woozy with the shimmering chords and tucked 2-step of ‘midnight 3112’, laced with flickering traces of Elles’ vocal, before coming off Burial-esque with the sparky but brooding 2-step of ’N17 ride or die.’
On the flipside, they cannily turn toward a sort of washed-out trip hop style in ‘Ice Ballad’ with the vocals kept just out of reach, over-the-shoulder in a style recalling Laila Sakini, and ‘inverno em londres’ rests the EP at perfectly slanted and enchanted ambient dream-pop angles.
Swans guitarist Norman Westberg hollows out emotional landscapes that should sing loud to fans of Stars of the Lid, Celer, Fennesz and Lawrence English (who incidentally helps out with the production). Toastier than a chestnut roasting on an open fire.
Room40 boss Lawrence English has assisted Swans' Norman Westberg on multiple projects at this point, so the two have a symbiotic sense of collaboration. Here, they channel distinct winter moods (the USA's big freeze and Australia's dimming light) into two brief, cloudy slabs of harmonic ambience as English chisels away at Westberg's string drones, fading them into smudgy euphoria.
There's no shortage of pillowy ambient music around right now, but 'Short Songs for the Long Winter' brings to mind the reliable simplicity of early Stars of the Lid, Manual or even Fennesz with its glacial, blissful mood. Lovely.