After two feverishly received albums as King Krule, plus another low-key outing under his own name, the 25-year-old from Peckham in South London adds further depth and substance to his oeuvre with another wondrous long-player called ‘Man Alive!’. It arrives packed full of his trademark sonic ambition and compositional skill, as well as the now-familiar corrosive lyricism and lurid social observation.
"In an accompanying video, his first foray into directing, Archy Marshall’s long-time love of cinema seeps, pulling influences from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic The Passion of Joan of Arc while still creating a typically wry King Krule visual."
Remarkable collaboration between inventor, synth pioneer and EMS co-founder Peter Zinovieff and preeminent cellist Lucy Railton, capturing a life-altering dialogue between two figures with a more than 50-year age gap between them, and with very little shared musical vocabulary. Pursuing common ground through an open-ended series of conversations and experiments, the pair somehow produce what we can only describe as creative alchemy; transforming banal conceptual triggers into a work seeping into almost mystical dimensions, with immense personal resonance.
Initially conceived as a live project between the pair and performed at various festivals internationally between 2016-2017, this 35 minute recording feels like just one possible manifestation of an ever-evolving process, a one-off reproduction of an impossible image. The pair started working instinctively, playing to each of their strengths - Railton’s radical ideas, energy and technique, and Peter's inventive, impulsive thinking. Fuelled by their surroundings and through an exchange of ideas, the process they eventually embarked on saw Zinovieff model a computer-synthesised composition made from a series of Railton’s cello improvisations, creating a complex cluster of intricate parts that couldn’t ever be performed by human hands. Over the resulting web, Railton added solo cello to create a kind of double-helix where you’re never quite sure where one sound begins, or ends.
In essence, Railton’s cello provides a radical variable - a sort of spirit in the machine - which is diffused, inverted and scattered by Zinovieff. At the atomic level: chaos reigns. Zoom out a bit, though, and you start to see filigree detail and shapes emerge. It’s this intangible aspect that makes the piece so much more than just a document of process, or experimentation.
It’s worth noting that Railton is here the catalyst for what can be considered Zinovieff’s definitive work in an illustrious career spanning 60 years; RFG is, remarkably, his first ever album. And despite its unwavering, un-sentimental spirit - it’s an album that ultimately speaks to a very modern human condition; the search for common understanding when there is so much that separates us. Inter-generational differences. Our interaction with, and perception of, the world around us. Our relationship with technology. And despite that very academic-sounding title; our individual need to find and nurture the things and ideas that bind.
Inimitable Texan electro droid Cygnus can’t help but do it his own way on this class batch for Glasgow’s Craigie Knowes label
Although comparable with work by E.R.P., Æ, Gerald Donald, there’s a level of detail and amorphousness to Cygnus’ productions that couldn’t really come from anyone else. Over all five cuts he crams tight vamps and semi-organic flourishes at ever opportunity without losing the all important flow, resulting stellar stuff between the sloshing, romantic writhe of ‘Ebony Starlight’, the quicksilver run of ‘My Secret Data’, his Bitsream-esque downstroke ‘Metroid C64’, and the filigree tweaks of Connection Error’.
‘Lick In Heaven’ offers the juicy first taste of new Jessy Lanza material since 2016
Working again with the signature touch of Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys), Jessy warmly remind us of what we all loved about her first two albums, puckering up lyrics about “being angry with people and not knowing what to do about it” over her rude SH-101 bassline, and a nagging chorus beautifully shaped by Greenspan. Bodes very well for a new album...
Tlamess (Sortilège) is Oiseaux-Tempête's first original soundtrack composed for the second feature film by critically-acclaimed Tunisian Director Ala Eddine Slim (Festival de Cannes' 51st Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, BFI London, ADF Argentina, Geneva GIFF, Rome Medfilm Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival).
"Combining hypnotic feedbacks and synthesizer orchestral work, drifting ambient with shamanic beats, TLAMESS (Sortilège) O.S.T was entirely improvised while watching the movie's rushes. On those sessions that took place between Mikrokosm recording studios in Lyon and Magnum Diva home studio in Paris, we find OISEAUX-TEMPÊTE's quartet core team: Frédéric D. Oberland, Stéphane Pigneul, Mondkopf & Jean-Michel Pirès (Bruit Noir). Fully instrumental, including extended versions and unreleased tracks, this immersive film score is also their most electronic album to date."
Spritely harbinger of doom Grimes coughs up her long-in-the-making grungy riffs on climate change and modern worries in a hugely anticipated 5th album of puckered, penetrative pop brilliance.
Under the ‘Miss Anthropocene’ mantle, Canada’s Claire Boucher aka Grimes transmutes the psychic anxiety of modern life into a 10 song concept album about an “anthropomorphic goddess of climate change”. The record has a much darker vibe than 2015’s ‘Art Angels’, and sees her craftily come to own the media’s implications that she’s some sort of “villain” due to her relationship with Tesla founder and multibillionaire, Elon Musk; taking on a sort of anti-hero role or caricature inspired as much by fictional characters such as The Joker as the gods of Roman mythology in order to personalise and make relatable the almost hard-to-grasp scale of climate change, rather than guilt-trip you into doing your recycling.
It’s surely fair to say that ‘Miss Anthropocene’ is the ultimate manifestation of Grimes bittersweet style of cyberpunk techno-pop. All the ideas found on her run of albums since 2010’s ‘Halfaxa’ are now distilled and refined into a sound that hits the spot dead-on, twisting the last 25 years of emosh pop and prevailing underground trends - from grunge and nu-metal to ethereal wave styles - into her singular, subversively ironic strain of wavey techno-pop. It’s a sound that will surely resonate with anyone over the age of 30, and we can only hope that the irony isn’t lost on youngsters taking up the fight against climate change in earnest, as Grimes’ POV appears to acknowledge and smudge a subtle cognitive dissonance between the broad sections of society termed boomers, Generation X, Xenniels, Millennials, and Generation Alpha thru her self-produced and written palette of sonic and lyrical references.
From the cold breeze of LP opener ’So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth (Algorithm Mix)’, with vocals placed high in the mix over stark, roiling electro, to the relative optimism of ‘Idoru (Algorithm Mix)’, which is flush thru with bittersweet melodies recalling her early records, the album is a richly absorbing and entertaining experience, enlivened with mutual souls such as Pan Wei-Ju on highlight ‘Darkseid’, and I_o in the proper power pop of single track ‘Violence’, which shares a confidence in common with ‘My Name Is Dark (Algorithm Mix)’, while ‘You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around’ mixes cartoonish and melancholy in equal measures, and ‘Before The Fever’ highlights the generational/stylistic/emotional difference between Grimes heart-on-sleeve style of pop and, say, the numb shrug-pop of Billie Eilish.
Extreme high energy dance music from Mali’s DJ Diaki; a thrilling introduction to the style of ‘Balani Fou’ - or ‘Crazy Balani’, as favoured in the Malian countryside. One tape of original productions, one tape of DJ mixes - the latest and most lavish Nyege Nyege Tapes release to date (i mean, who gets a reclaimed tape clamshell screen printed on all 3 sides???)
A proper party starter hailing from 20km outside Bamako, Diaki Kone is a producer/DJ and originator of the Balani Show style that favours rapid coupé decalé rhythms lit up with whistles and crashing cymbals. The style was conceived by Seydou Bagayoko in the late ‘90s as a cheaper alternative to Balafon groups used for celebrations and dances, and was progressed by his apprentices DJ Diaki and DJ Sandji in the 2000s, resulting in the current style of ‘Balani Fou’ (or ‘Crazy Balani’) which favours remixes made on-the-fly with additional drum pads and sometimes synths, as heard in this exhilarating double tape which introduces the style to listeners beyond the region.
Balani Show hit a peak in the 2000s, with DJ Senateur performing on Malian TV, but in recent years it’s returned to its road level roots, soundtracking block parties and neighbourhood shindigs. Shows are high energy affairs, and get even more raucous in the country, where dancers prefer faster tempos than in the city, occasionally leading to moral panic at the sight of young ravers dancing provocatively at night, and attempts to ban the sound which has resulted in fewer Balani Shows in Bamako.
But DJ Diaki lives in the country and it’s different there, where he pushes the rhythms to body-rattling breaking point in the hypnotic style of Balani Fou. This set showcases 10 original productions in this mode on the first tape, ranging from the breathtakingly frenetic ‘But Show DD 1 Mix’ to the entrancing melodic appeal of ’Shekey Mix’ and the thrilling percussive pelt of ’Show Time Mix’, all primed for the nuttiest DJs and dancers. Meanwhile the 2nd tape’s two mixes put it all in context across seamlessly-blended 30 minute jags recorded in Sanankoroba during 2018-2019, that bring you as close as possible to the crazy energy of Balani Show without actually being there.
Super strong stuff. A must for anyone who loves the reckless rave of Tanzanian Singeli or hardcore dance music of any strain for that matter.
Luscious first survey of late ‘80s/early’90s work by Brazilian anthropologist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Priscilla Ermel; a beautifully “universal” dream sequence of sound owing to indigenous Brazilian music, Tai Chi and new age synth styles
“Music From Memory is delighted to announce a retrospective of an artist long-loved by the label, Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Priscilla Ermel. Origens Da Luz brings together a selection of recordings drawn from a body of work that was originally recorded between 1986 and 1994.
Priscilla was raised in a musical family in São Paulo and learned the cello and guitar at an early age. She then embarked on a deeply personal musical journey that would travel from origins rooted in Tom Jobim and Chico Buarque to recording the music of the natural world and the communities around her. A film-maker and anthropologist by training, Priscilla is a lifelong student of a universal music. Disillusioned with contemporary European classical music, she spent long periods living with indigenous populations in Brazil, collecting instruments that she would later combine with synthesizers and field recordings. After studying with the renowned Taoist master Liu Pai Lin, she integrated the slow-moving pace of Tai Chi into a music that connects intimately with a multiplicity of cultures at the same time that it unmistakably reflects her Brazilian soul.
Combining sounds drawn from the history of Brazil with her own explorations of analogue sound technology, Priscilla’s music opens up a mystical space, where ancient and modern evolves into a new language. Compiled by John Gómez and released on 2xLP, Origens Da Luz offers a panoramic view of this artist’s unique and mesmerizing sound world.”
Delicious dose of Belgium gloom-pop from who else but Stroom, holding a candle to the mid-‘80s run of Gerry Vergult’s Fred A. output in a charming shadowplay of dark comedy and cabaret or Belgian “kleinkunst” conjuring imagery of lowlit bars, lofts and drizzly cobbled streets...
“A first appearance of Fred A. – the brainchild of Gerry Vergult – was noted in ’84. Gerry, who already had a foothold in the music scene with the Flemish cult ensemble Aroma Di Amore, was in need of a new creative disguise, to get some ideas out of his system. He managed to get three of his tracks on a split-album with Le Travo and his wistful song ‘November’ even became a modest radio hit. The minimalistic disposition of Fred A. was reinvented when Gerry accidentally met Gerrit Valckenaers. Upon their very first meeting, Gerrit proved himself a virtuoso on the primitive synthesizer that Gerry just had bought and G and G decided to team up. A second record was wrapped up shortly after and the tone was set.
In line with the artist inside Gerry, Fred A. was a two-faced act. His musical grasp to the new wave-movement was countered by his lyrical love for Flemish and Dutch ‘kleinkunst’, and his progressiveness as a composer was in stark contrast with his restraint as a performer. With Fred A., Gerry had unintentionally – and to his regret – manoeuvred himself into the role of frontman. This resulted in a short-lived career as a live act, with only one single gig as Fred A. in a local venue in Leuven in ’86. Somewhere below the current, Fred A. would always remain a living room project.
The often downhearted lyrics in Gerry’s songs were most of the time autobiographical. “The explicit nature of my lyrics was closely tied to my personal life. To this extent that I almost feel embarrassed when I look back at it today. I often ask myself why I needed to put things that way, but I just had to write some things off my chest.” Despite his lyrical talent, Gerry never felt like a writer, neither he ever felt like a singer. “Every single day I had 10 musical ideas welling up, but for 10 lyrical ideas it took me a year.” It caused Gerry’s productions to gradually drift towards the instrumental and after a failed attempt to reinvent his old work under a new alias, he finally drew a line under his Fred A. remnants.
‘De Angst Voorbij’ is an anthology of those remnants, with eight songs derived from the most fertile period in the musical career of Fred A. The record translates how Gerry opened up again to his late musical endeavours, recalling the 30-years younger version of himself. “The music on this record is a testimony of my life back then. It is delimited in time, that’s why this whole feels coherent to me. It shows who I was back then and what I stood for. And that’s worth cherishing.”
Bullion meets Diego Herrera (Suzanne Kraft) on an achingly sweet deep pop diamond from his new EP
‘We Had a Good Time’ feels like the prelude to a summer evening storm, with woozily heatsick synth chords and hand-cranked drum machine buoying Bullion’s humbly gorgeous vox, all sparingly lit up with crashes of incoming thunder. Actually, is it a prelude to the storm, or an elegy for what happened? Either way, it’s great.
Contemporary dark ambient shadow-casting from Dutch producer Samuel van Dijk aka Multicast Dynamics and techno artist Mohlao
“Multicast Dynamics returns with a sixth studio album but one that marks something of a new chapter. Ancient Circuits is a departure from previous works on Denovali and one that stands the project aside as a powerful electronic act that tells stories while also serving up heavy hitting soundscapes that are persuasive, unexpected and disturbing.
By now, Multicast Dynamics is revered for absorbing and journeying albums that are as immersive as a film or evocative as an audio book. Since 2015, long players like Aquatic System, Outer Envelopes, Continental Ruins and Lost World have explored imagined civilisations and futuristic histories in infinite detail.
Ancient Circuits is another album with a very real sense of space - it places you in the middle of a sparse yet richly detailed world, with sonic illusions and synthetic realisations from a post-human world. Listening to this album is like being lost deep in the fabric of space itself, where ancient cosmology and modern technology intersect.
Each of the four 25-minute pieces are clearly demarcated yet sequential stories that introduce new characters and are drawn out of long and complex studio experiments. They are collages of sound that glimmer, disturb, shine, dive deep and explore new realms. Sonic gradients and electronic pulses add dynamics and drive as you zoom in to microscopic levels of detail and revel in the information and density you find when you get there.
This album is about technology that is well advanced yet no longer in existence today. An interface that has been heavily decayed after surviving many waves of history and extreme conditions and shows the signs of heavy wear and tear. It could well be a type of interface located in a hidden room, surrounded by organic debris and material decay, but one still responsive enough through a series of toggles, switches and dials to manipulate a sensory world.
Ancient Circuits is ambient so arresting that it pulls you deep inside. It is suspensory, storytelling music that keeps you on edge. It is as emotionally stirring as it is mentally evocative. Once again, it's an album that finds Multicast Dynamics draw together visual art, sound design, cinematic ideas and conceptual thinking to come up with a work that is a multi-sensory exploration that puts you as the central character in an expressive musical world.”
Zinging lead cut from the debut by Aya & Air Max ’97’s A2A duo for Local Action
Pulling together their considerable, clinical programming talents ’Turf’ is a mutant mix of hardstyle riffs and hard-stepping garage motion riddled with the level of detail you’d expect from either of them. Killer then, aye.
So you’ve heard a billion and one 4th world types emulate Afro-New Age styles, now here’s the real thing from Justus Nnakwe aka Jay U Experience, a Nigerian artist recording in NYC, 1993. This is a total pearl, we tell thee.
Uprooted by the excellent Left Ear Records after recent Soundway and Now-Again reissues of Nnakwe’s late ‘70s psych-rock jaunts with People Rock Outfit and The Hygrades, the ‘Abuja EP’ catches him years later formulating glittering rhythmelodies and saucy basslines on synths and drum machines, channelling the charms of his early work into a whole new paradigm.
The results are totally primed to dovetail with LER’s expanding international roster of oddities. On the A-side the promise of ‘Back To Motherland’ harmonises glyding pads and warm FM bass with lilting melodic percussion in creamiest style, and ‘Ancestral Call’ follows with delicious flutter of tuned drums and natty brassy melody that feels so much more effortless than the genre’s more cod pieces. The B-side sustains the charm with breezing chime trees and syn-flutes synched to grunky acidic bass in glyphic flow on ‘Okokobioko’, and ‘Abuja’ saves a twist in the tale to tread a fine line between pensive darkness and utopian new age feels.
The superb debut by Bristol’s Tara Clerkin Trio’s is a beguiling side of smoky, blue, jazz-wise chamber-pop and trip hop comparable to a less lofty, more earthed Julia Holter record
“Tara Clerkin Trio present their self titled debut LP on Laura Lies In. Similar to that directorial effect of filming at double speed and then slowing down for playback, the record ambles with assurance, expertly paced.
Opening with a jovial cacophony before the beatific ‘in the room’ confidently relieves, washing away any unease with an innately alien familiarity.
Coming to with the padded percussive patterns of 'Helenica', taking a moment to remember where you are in this temporal smudge. The serene contemplation of 'Any of these' signals we're homeward with a dependable afterglow, a friend you don’t need to thank for a good weekend.
A record existing disconnected from the daily getyadowns, a holiday from life, optimism as resistance against mundanity, something extraordinary amongst the ordinary, positively grey.”
Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell, and David Sumner’s trippy techno supergroup move onto the next stage of LSD on their own label
Trust they’ve not gone reggaeton or fucked with formula in any way, delivering the purest strains of techno between the iridescent wormhole dynamics of ‘Process 10’, the grindingly funky lag of ‘Process 11’, and the pounding, ascendent sensation of ‘Process 12’.
Reissue of two mesmerising, ‘90s ambient house doozies, salvaged from obscurity by Melbourne’s Left Ear
Both tracks originally appeared on a 4-track 12” released by Shakti Science Records in 1995, but Left Ear has given them the space and time they deserve, cut a side a piece at 45rpm and freshly remastered for optimal effect.
On the A-side, ‘The Dawn of Birds’ is a languid pearl sloshing around on swollen dub bass and wooden percussion while the synths keen and sigh with ancient appeal, leading to a cracking Arabic drum break and back out, like Pablo’s Eye jamming with Bryn Jones. B-side, we’re utterly entranced by ‘Camels In Desert Air’, which uncannily recalls Terry Riley’s ‘Embroidery’, but looped up, filtered, and shackled to a slow house beat.