Reissue of a 1990 Chicago house pearl with delectable Mr. Fingers remix and extended percussive version
As one might know or predict, the Mr. Fingers mix is exquisite, working to his deepest side with booty-nutrifying groove underlining some proper saxomaphone sauce on the ‘Jazzy Instrumental’, while the ‘Gallifré Drums & Club’ cut works up a drier, drum heavy groove that blooms into a full body & soul workout.
Low Jack & Equiknoxx join Dominick Fernow’s Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement on a new double vinyl rendition of ‘Red Ants Genesis’. Recorded in winter 2017, it finds the Hospital Productions boss discovering strength in collaboration following the triumph of his ‘Ambient Black Magic’ classic, which was conjured with the crucial assistance of Juan Mendez a.k.a. Silent Servant.
Here, he works with Phillippe Hallais aka Low Jack who also tags in his pals Gavsborg and Time Cow from Jamaican digidub futurists Equiknoxx for a killer new dread dub of the title track.
On the tape’s original four extended tracks, Low Jack transmogrifies Fernow’s high volume microphone recordings of synthetic field ecologies with masterful sleight of hand in-the-edit, resulting in a hyperreal detachment and realignment of spatial proprioceptions executed with exquisite textural tactility. It’s far more oblique and desiccated than the relatively lush ‘Ambient Black Magic’ outing, rendering the stark durational immersion of their 30 minute ‘Red Ants (Mics)’ split over the first disc, while Low Jack’s percussive edits really come into play on the utterly gutted ’Shields Ferns / Brown Pine Magic’ and the slow, febrile push of ‘Papua Land (Live Edit).
But the biggest attraction here for some will be the curveball of an Equiknoxx revision of ‘Red Ants Genesis’. Surely one of the first meetings of Jamaican dancehall and dark ambient in existence, it’s a spellbinding piece of dub physics that demonstrates the endless, mutable imagination of Gavsborg and Time Cow in haunting and deeply mystic effect.
Purist contemporary drone studies stemming from the voice and the body as sites of resonant and psychedelic potential.
“Melbourne based artist Arek Gulbenkoglu presents his second full length album for Penultimate Press.
Following on from the 2017 release Three days afterwards, A gift like a hollow vessel sees a sharper scalpel at play resulting in a more nuanced release which unfolds a curious journey of suburban psychedelia.
Material source from voice and body sounds, recording of non-musical processes, actions and events, breath, tapes of animal sounds slowed and sped up, processed field recordings, electronics, percussion, tape delay, sample of old folkways records and Esperanto text to voice translations.
A gift like a hollow vessel is striking and intimate musique concrete. A work of confounding beauty as created by one of the most unique voices operating in orbit of psychedelic music as it appears today.”
Downbeat ambient music and grooves for “chilling out”, Amsterdam style. But it’s definitely more camomile tea than good Indica
“The self-titled double LP from Inner River is a journey of beautiful ambient, downtempo rhythms and otherworldly atmospheres. This mysterious dreamworld sounds emotive, mystic and divine – a personal story that remains fascinating until the very last minute. Whilst not directly aimed at the dance floor, this exceptional body of work highlights Atomnation’s innovative sound and is perfect for those lights down sets and playlists.”
All City trim John Daly’s ‘We Will Live Again’ LP down to six crucial cuts on vinyl
On the A-side there’s a squashed sort of breakbeat house raver with belting, jazzy vox by Barbara Vulso, plus the ruggedly bittersweet rave of ‘Wild & Free’ and the poised Detroit chamber flex of ‘Into The Northern’./
The B-side brings some UNKLE vibes on the brooding ‘Milestoens’, again featuring the big lungs of Barbara Vulso, along with the Lone-styled rave nostalgia of ‘Don’t Ever Stop Loving Me’, and the wide-eyed finale of ‘Dawn’.
Rick and Morty is the critically acclaimed, half-hour animated hit comedy series on Adult Swim that follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe.
"This release is the first official collection of music from Rick and Morty. All formats feature 26 songs, 24 of which are from the first 3 seasons of the show, and 18 of which were composed by Ryan Elder specifically for the show. The album also includes songs by Mazzy Star, Chaos Chaos, Blonde Redhead, and Belly, all of which have been featured in the show, as well as two new tunes from Chad VanGaalen and Clipping inspired by the show. The box set includes a special bonus track on a 7”."
‘Music Of Southern Laos’ presents an outstanding set of recordings made by Laurent Jeanneau (Kink Gong) in the landlocked, mountainous, South East Asian country
Highlighting a region and musics usually obscured from the the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry, ‘Music Of Southern Laos’ offers a rare overview of folk styles from the Champasak, Attapeu, Sekong & Saravan provinces bordered by Vietnam and Thailand, and home to a panoply of marginalised ethnic communities which Jeanneau places particular focus upon.
Given their proximity to Thailand, the music of Southern Laos perhaps understandably bears resemblance to the Thai folk-pop style of Molam in their singing, as documented in some of the LP’s most charming pieces, such as the slow, elegant sway of ‘Lao Lam Saravan’, but our personal highlights are the beguiling instrumentals, including the mesmerising metallic scrapes and glances of ‘Brao Lave Gongs’ from the Brao minority, as well as the beautifully drowsy ‘Alak Gongs’ of the Alak minority, played by three elderly performers surrounded by crowing cockerels and tropical fauna.
Colour us utterly enchanted.
London-based South African producer Esa blends Japanesedep house, UK rave, and and early Kwaito styles in the Mos Mos EP’ for his fans at Endless Flight
Up top he meshes lush pads and slinky house hi-hats with rolling breaks for a sweet early ‘90s sound on ‘Son Op’, saving an acid sting int he tail that he neatly laces into the Marimba-lead SA house vibes of ‘Bra Hugh’.
On the other side he plays deep in-the-pocket with his swaggering ‘Loindon Mix’, which Amsterdam’s Beesmunt Soundsystem rework with a slower tribal chug.
‘Music Of Northern Laos’ is the 2nd of two fascinating new LP’s recorded by the intrepid Laurent Jeanneau (Kink Gong) in the landlocked, mountainous, South East Asian country
Specifically illuminating music from the Luang Namtha & Phongsaly provinces, ‘Music Of Northern Laos’ provides a rare collection from a region which has been generally overlooked by the recently burgeoning ethnographic musical industry.
Replete with Jeanneau’s lucubrate liner notes and detailed track descriptions, it’s a totally transportive survey for both beginners and studious ears; covering a remarkable range of styles from the almost sea shanty-esque cadence of the qeej - bamboo pipes fitted with a reed - to quietly intimate acapella folk song; a beguiling demonstration of extended breathing/singing techniques on the tot, a fresh green bamboo played with reed; and thru to ululating songs about solitude; a rolling percussive piece played by a shaman; and a mad, buzzing piece somehow played with the palm of the hand on a bamboo tube.
Call Super unfurls two panoramic remixes of Kuniyuki Takahashi’s ace ‘Newwave Project’
Where Kuniyuki’s original project was a smart effort in bridging his original new wave inspiration with modern tech-house minimalism, Call Super’s remixes land firmly on the latter side, firstly on a low-key, dubbed-out and effortlessly swinging version of ‘Newwave Project 2’, and then with something like a Nu Groove/Italian dream-house styled version of ‘Puzzle’, lushed up with diaphanous pads and romantic atmospheres for the a prime, late night Tokyo sound.
Red D & San Soda team up as FCL for the mellow burn of ‘The House Music Track’, backed with a soul-infused Kai Alcé remix
Following their ‘Cherry Pie’ hook up on Alcé’s NDATL Muzik, Lady Linn blesses FCL’s original with a classically-skooled vocal, but to be honest we’re more partial to the remix, loaded with ruder square bassline and wicked Chez N’ Trent styled chords.
Organic melds of plaintive vocals, primordial techno and rustic folk with subtle electronic backdrops. Recorded in Talinn, Estonia and recalling elements of Cucina Povera, Fönal Records’ Paavoharju...
“The presiding spirit of “Muunduja” (Shifter) is a state of being between states, the warping of time’s arrow using sound. Maarja Nuut & Ruum’s music often lures us into unimagined conversations with elements of our psychic selves that we may have otherwise forgotten. Whether the listener reacts through out-of-body experiences, glitches in cerebral programming, or old fashioned magic is immaterial. We experience the phenomena presented to us, and we take new insights from them.
Essentially the recording of two musicians’ inner travels, “Muunduja” is a release that relies heavily on gesture and spirit. Rich, rounded and expertly arranged, the music is also presented as a series of contrasts, heavy on shifts of tone, texture and mood.”
Terekke herds his wooliest flock of ambient Improvisational Loops for Music From Memory following the cultishly-acclaimed Plant Age album for L.I.E.S.. This time he evaporates any trace of percussion to leave listeners wrapped up in billowing harmonic structures with a deeply meditative, almost anaesthetising effect set to resonate with a raft of new ears.
It’s perhaps not surprising that Matt Gardner a.k.a. Terekke conceived his second LP as an aid for yoga in the esoteric-functional style of those late ‘70s/early ’80s new age pioneers whose work is having such a strong effect on contemporary styles. As the original new age gear was crafted in response to emerging thoughts of AI consciousness, secular spirituality and as a means detach oneself from the capitalist reality of Reaganomics, in 2017, at the dog-end of capitalism, perhaps the need for this stuff is as great or greater than ever?
Unless you exclusively fxck with harsh noise or are a bit of a bastard, Improvisational Loops is almost guaranteed to melt your worries and soothe your mind, running the equivalent of a hot bath while simultaneously massaging your temples and holding a zoot to your lips so you don’t get the roach wet. Just bliss. It’s that good!
Berlin’s Driftmachine expand their classic kosmische inspirations along dub-wise 3D vectors in a fine 4th LP for the Umor Rex label from Mexico City
“Shunter, the new album by the Berlin-based duo, is their most ambitious work to date. Although instantly recognizable, featuring their trademark Kosmische and Avant-garde sounds, it also presents a new journey into abstract and hallucinatory worlds. Filled with eerie textures, their electronic visions are darker and more vaporous than ever.
Driftmachine’s fifth album (also the fifth one for Umor Rex) offers a new perspective on their ample sound spectrum and systemic narratives. Shunter overlaps and mutates their post-industrial-dub motives. It was conceived and produced in search of a very different kind of imagery, with sections of noise and field recordings intersecting with analogue sounds; a mixture of contrasted fragments, where the usual creative process of modular-synthesis leads Gerth and Zimmer to the discovery of a dark, hazy and diffused experience. There is a protean quality to the rhythmic elements, with tempos constantly contracting and expanding, a departure from the mono-beat-rhythms of "Nocturnes" and "Colliding Contours". The first half of Shunter is made of four pieces named "Shift"; although individually separated, they are conceptually linked and can be understood as a sort of score. Imagine a late stage of the industrial revolution, with the interaction between heavy machinery and human beings. The second half of the album is not completely separated, but it has three other substantial melodic moments. Somewhere between the hauntological and the realms of archive-music, a huge range of subterranean beats and distinct patterns dotting the landscape of early electronic and post dub music.”
Gorgeous outsider/quiet music, a very welcome introduction to the wonderfully charming and expressive music of Belgium’s Dominique Lawalree. He’s been recording since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label and counts Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music, so consider this first-ever retrospective of his recordings as an essential catch-up. . Huge recommendation if you're into Erik Satie, Elodie, AFX, Eno...
Entirely drawn from self-released titles c. 1978-1982 on Lawalree’s Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in nine parts - so quiet and intimate in fact that we feel like a privileged fly on the high ceiling of his apartment studio, twitching our antenna whilst the baby-faced maestro sups an Orval and strokes his keys and synths into thee sweetest tapestries.
In the enlightening liner notes by Britton Powell, Lawalree’s music is perfectly described as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” when compared with the music of Satie and Eno, with whom he clearly shares an affinity for subtle and meditative musicality, but the distinction lies in the inherent surreality of his music and its ability to entice and encourage closer listening, where the others tend to be background or static.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to his music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; always with a careful pop-ness that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom he’s currently working on a series of books analysing their music second-by-second, and has led him to meetings with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, where he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
Ahh, this record is just a dream.
An evergreen ambient classic and FACT's #10 album of the ‘80s, also in Pitchfork’s Top 40 Best Ambient Albums of All Time, Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence returns to its spiritual home on vinyl more than 30 years since it first came into this dimension.
On his 3rd album, self-taught synthesist Steve Roach made a break from his previous two sides of Berlin-skool kosmiche and ambient to foster a far more delicate, focussed yet heavy-lidded style of new age ambient music that was mercifully shy of the style’s more cloying cliches, favouring subtly phasing repetition and suspense over space soap opera dramatics or hippyish fantasy.
The result is a seductively minimalist suite of space music in three parts, gently flowing upwards and outwards to beautifully introspective ends on Reflections In Suspension, before Quiet Friend cradles your heart in diaphanous sheets of satin synth, and Structures From Silence imperceptibly returns to 0 in a creamy wash of aqueous pads that feel like a Vangelis romance theme slowed to alien temporality.
Ambient gold, this. Don’t miss!
Amazing record! Avant-pop enigma Leslie Winer slinks the plasmic, recursive matrices of Jay Glass Dubs in a brilliant but unexpected marriage of husky trip hop and psyched-out dub styles on Your Mom’s Favourite Eazy-E Song for Bristol’s excellent Bokeh Versions.
Finding common, scorched ground between Jay’s gutted structures and Leslie’s abyssal, esoteric insight, YMFEES serves to perfectly highlight the similarities and mutabilities common to both artist’s oeuvres, which have previously shared label space on The Tapeworm, and both share a keen lust for the dankest ends of the dub pool.
With Winer’s lyrics reprinted in swirling ellipses and contoured kerning on the inner sleeve, and presumably (and smartly) designed to mirror the elusive structure of Jay Glass Dub’s arrangements, the listener is offered some kind of star chart thru their no-man’s-land mental dub scapes of ricocheting riddims and droll reportage from the brink of consciousness.
In a dancefloor situation, we’d imagine these tracks to trigger some healthy bewilderment, as bodies get snagged on Jay’s cranky churn and heads spun by Leslie’s stream-of-non sequiturs in Woodshedded, or likewise bullied by the blown-out bass and genuinely spooked, over-the-shoulder vocal of About The Author. However, it’s most likely to be consumed in solitude, which is probably the most appropriate for really getting into the album’s strangest nooks, such as the deliciously OOBE-like detachment of No Famous Actors featuring Winer as HAL-like ghost in the machine, or the masterfully heavy-lidded drowse of Cogged featuring a barely-there Winer suspended above Dubs’ murkiest, hypnotic strokes.
What a beauty?! Don’t sleep!
Eleh shares this masterfully entrancing split with Caterina Barbieri, following in the shimmering wake of her extraordinary new album, ‘Born Again In The Voltage’.
Both artists entice a remarkably naturalistic yet patently synthetic sound on their respective sides, with striking harmonic similarities and timbral differences emerging thru their patiently minimalist, austere practice.
Caterina Barbieri’s ‘Bestie Infinite’ is initially Vainio-esque in its doomy asceticism, but her synthlines tend to keenly overgrow, overlap and curdle where Vainio’s were clipped, sustaining a stately stasis that gradually induces a levitating and expansive effect, if you close your eyes and let her music execute its magick.
Eleh’s side, ‘Wear Patterns’ works in subtle contrast with a poetic exploration of low-lying timbral topography. Again, it’s stately slow, but with a much more genteel appeal than Barbieri’s stealthy majesty, as Eleh keeps everything lurking between the sub and middle registers before only tremulously ascending into glowing upper frequencies in later stages.
'Le Coeur et la Raison' is a 12" album of synth-centric neo-braindance from French experimental electronic musician Yan Hart-Lemonnier.
"He has been active since the early 2000's releasing music under several monikers including; Edmünd Prinz, Edmond Leprince and Sir Edmund Et L'Autre (in conjunction with Aurelie Merle), on various record labels including; Darling Dada, You Are Not Stealing Records, GOZombie, Flan Records in addition to his own imprint Ego Twister, which he ran from 2004-2015. "Now this is quite something else, an echo from a lost decade, the vintage exquisite, the tailoring simply sublime arriving toned in a celestial chic, an oceanic lunar lost in beautiful isolation emitting love note transmissions into the galactic voids, arresting doesn't do it justice."
Dreamtime Return  is perhaps the definitive ambient album by Steve Roach. Its title and conception relate to Steve’s interests in native Australian culture and the idea of ‘dream-time’, a notion roughly translating to a ‘time out of time’, or a prehistory populated by ancestral figures with supernatural abilities.
Naturally, Steve uses indigenous percussion and his signature electronic palette, to bring the ancient, sacred idea of Dream-time to reality in a way that has since become canon to ambient electronic music, with clear antecedents in the music of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and FSOL among others.
"Since its release in 1988, Dreamtime Return has earned its reputation as a genuine classic. The two-CD magnum opus is one of the most important, widely known and highly respected release in Steve Roach’s vast body of work. It serves as an essential benchmark within the Electronic-Ethno-Atmospheric genre.
Roach’s travels in the Australian outback, along with studies of the native Dreamtime, and his desert walkabouts in California were the lifeblood for this recording which even today sounds like a transmission from the near future and the very distant past.
“Musically Dreamtime Return richly deserves its classic status, but Roach also deserves credit for leading electronic musicians out of their sheltered studios and into an active relationship with the landscape, the wider world, and deep cultural history. The whole genre is stronger and more relevant for his example.” – Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space Radio
Three decades after its release, the true expansive depth of this iconic masterpiece has been meticulously unveiled, revealing an entirely new listening experience. With this 30th Anniversary remastered edition, mastering engineer Howard Givens utilizes his years of technical knowledge with electronic music, an extensive array of analog and digital tools, and his passion for this seminal work, to restore the original sonic nature and visionary intention, taking the listener deeper into the dreamtime.
“Steve Roach demonstrates that electronic music’s greatest potential may lie in bringing our most elusive dreams and ancient memories into focus through potent, highly imaginative soundscapes. In addition to the atmospheric harmonies and rhythms that literally engulf you for two hours the artist’s compelling style is his uncanny ability to create the illusion of suspended time. Altered chords that breathe ever so slowly, floating textures, digitally sampled native timbres, and arresting special effects lead you through a gently unfolding maze of sonic dimensions that depict a sense of mystery and confrontation with the unknown. The effect is mesmerizing, increasingly introspective, yet curiously comforting as if the primitive wisdom and renewed connection to nature this music conveys is something you were craving all along. This is without question Steve Roach’s masterpiece.” – Linda Kohanov, (excerpt from) CD Review, August 1989
“Surrounding every masterpiece there is an arcane and indecipherable energy, a divine breath that blows. Works like Dreamtime Return change the course of history and accomplish a prodigious jump forward. It is a recording that has inspired a whole generation of musicians and that contains within its two hours astounding artistic intuitions, the starting point for all of the esoteric and tribal music that is produced today. The drones of the didgeridoo, the ceremonial drums, the alien ambiences, the voices from the past, the eternal silences, the tribal atmospheres, the dilation of time, and the sculpture of space have created the tribal-ambient genre, of which Roach was the first techno-shaman. The record can be considered a soundtrack for an adventure at the edge of time, an experience that has deeply and indelibly marked Roach, whose life from that moment will no longer be the same. The channel is open.” – Gianluigi Gasparetti, Deep Listenings, August 2005
"Dreamtime Return is more than a seminal recording that has influenced a generation of musicians. It’s a portal into a universe where technological designs merge deep inside primordial moods. Roach found the nexus of primal didgeridoo growls and synthesizer drones and orchestrated them into this techno-tribal opus. When you shout out at the edge of the world, Dreamtime Return is echo that calls back to you." - John Diliberto, Echoes Radio
A companion to his acclaimed Ravedeath 1972 set, Dropped Pianos collects sketches for that album recorded by Tim Hecker last year.
While on paper it might sound like something for completists only, trust us when we tell you that this LP is a beguiling listen in its own right: shorn of the disruptive electronic processing which defined Ravedeath, what you get instead is a series of exquisitely reverbed and layered piano instrumentals which showcase Hecker's gift for minimalist composition and mournful melody.
Richly evocative of rainy, post-war cityscapes, of mortality and of thwarted romance, it's another masterful offering from an artist at the top of his game.
The trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi,aka the Soundwalk Collective, are based between New York City and Berlin, their efforts span fine art and music, digesting anthropological, ethnographic, and psychogeographic study, through the lens of electronic sound - recording, processing, and synthesis. Marking the debut of the new imprint Dischi Fantom, Transmissions - a four LP anthology, gathers four previously unreleased studio compositions into a single sprawling set.
"Transmissions is a distillation of sonic worlds - its source material and recordings linked to specific locations, natural or artificial, collected by the trio over long periods of investigation, travel, and field work in the Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea, the Rub’ al Khali Desert, and the region around Odessa. Cacophonous and often chaotic, images drift in and out of view - the sounds of nature, captured frequencies, ambience, radio intercepts, voices, music, archival recordings - the list goes on. A careful ordering of chance encounter, captured in the search for beauty the chaos of the world. Across Transmissions' works - Ulysses Syndrome, Medea, Empty Quarter, and Bessarabia, emerges a startling post-modern realm. A sonic bubble of non-linear narrative, where concrete meaning eludes the ear - continuously changed by the listeners themselves. Published in an edition of 300 copies, and accompanied by a booklet (amazingly designed by Fabrizio Radaelli) which includes Black-Winged Night, an essay by David Toop, as well as a conversation between the Soundwalk Collective and Dischi Fantom founder, Massimo Torrigiani. A stunning start for the label, and a brilliant effort by one of the most interesting projects in the contemporary scene, this is one not to miss.
“I hear this displacement of refrains. I am not fixed within signs but adrift within signals. Like a bat or a dolphin, I hear scanned frequencies otherwise inaudible to my human limitations and these voices and tones captured from the aether seem to me to be our equivalent of those voices of gods who spoke ‘words that flew’; music asserts its regional and cultural affiliations and yet at the same time it drifts unmoored in the ocean of sound.” David Toop
Mutant electronics c.1978-83 from the Chen Yi commune in Chelmsford, including the obscure anthem ‘Rug’ primed for DJ detonation and fans of TG, CH-BB, and Severed Heads.
For the keener observers, this is actually a facsimile co-reissue of german label 90% Wasser’s 2006 release, with all tracks remastered from the original tapes by Simon at The The Exchange.
Drawn from some 30 tapes of unfinished material, including one tape of demos for a thwarted record deal with CBS, the compilation features some of the scant material that managed to escape the commune, where members were all into making music, but not so up for releasing it. Aside from a tape ‘The Hanging’ by one member (Chen 8), this bizarre set of cranky grooves, samples and field recordings is pretty much the only surviving and available output from this hugely intriguing time and place.
The bulk of material comes from both the aforementioned tape ’The Hanging’, and their never-to-be LP, ‘The Rape’, plus unused tapes for a planned Peel session, all serving to frame a properly mongrel and multi-limbed sound very much symptomatic of the era it was created. Funnily enough, though, it was all recorded to a high-end Studer A80 MkIV2 tape machine, which sealed it for posterity at the very least, meaning that the LP’s strongest bits such as the freezing cold and rabid stepper ‘Rug  and the reworked version of ‘Honey Money’ are firmed up for DJ play, while the rest of the LP’s more abstract dynamics scratch, bite, probe and beguile appropriate to the group’s original intentions.
Jazzy 1977 rework of a traditional Japanese wedding song, backed with Visible Cloaks’ weightless ambient electronic remix
The 1977 version was conceived by Jazz man Jun Arasaki and his group Nine Sheep, and executed in one take (this recording) on five sanshin, four winds, piano, bass, percussion and drums for a TV broadcast. It’s somehow solemn yet joyous in a slow and stately way, with lyrics describing how “beautiful buds unfold”.
Fourth World inhabitants and dreamers Visible Cloaks remix ‘Kajyadhi Fu Bushi’ in their own image, resulting a diaphanous, gauzy swell of harmonised synth chorales infiltrated by playful ghosts in the machine and weft with elusive traces of the original vocal to sound like a Google deep dream reverie of the real thing.
Five years on from Space Is Only Noise, the once precocious composer Nico Jaar pursues that album’s blend of dancefloor mechanics, hip hop and ambient electronic pop into the more refined, layered designs of Sirens; its follow-up proper after dallying with Dave Harrington in Darkside and scoring/re-scoring films by Jacques Audiard and Sergei Parajanov, and even racking up BBC Radio 1’s mix of the year for his 2012 Essential Mix.
Whether weaving nods to Alice Coltrane with funereal torch song in Killing Time, or sounding like gothic Trentemøller doing clattery, jazzed-up D&B on The Governor, and even smoky ’50s doo-wop mixed with desiccated rocksteady groove in History Lesson, whose title is perhaps the earnest key to Sirens, Jaar’s 2nd album is slightly trickier to date than its predecessor, yet detectable nostalgic for another time and place.
We’re most attracted to its quieter moments, as with the ether drift of Leaves and its gauzy smudge of brass, strings and pads infiltrated with what we’ll assume is a sample of Nico as a child babbling to his famous father, making for a nice, innocent contrast with the rest of his earnest, pleading croons.
Vox Populi’s adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun, reworked by by Japan Blues, Tim Karbon, Hiroaki Oba and Shizka for the 2nd volume of ‘Field Works’
Howard Williams a.k.a. Japan Blues opens with a strolling, neon-lit rejig of ‘Chapter V’, marking up his 2nd outing of the year after a remix of Kufuki’s ‘Dodome EP’, while French producer Tim Karbon reworks ‘Chapter VI’ as a dextrously fluid fray of darting percussion and smeared arps for the canniest dancers.
Hiroaki Oba brings the vibe up to speed with debonaire ‘90s deep house styles in the satin smooth flow of their ‘Chapter VII’ remix, and Inoue Shirabe a.k.a. Shizka melts ‘Chapter VIIII’ as a mystic, airborne shimmy with effortlessly elegant results.
In 2016, after reissuing two Bruce Haack albums, Haackula and Electric Lucifer Book II, Telephone Explosion began speaking with Ted Pandel (Bruce’s lifelong friend and business partner) about working on the 1970 masterpiece The Electric Lucifer. It turned out there was another matter that he wanted to discuss: finding a final resting place for the Bruce Haack archive.
"We were shown test-pressings of The Electric Lucifer board mixes from his Columbia studio sessions, countless pieces of written music, a large number of personal photos, an invitation from Raymond Scott inviting Bruce to play his newly created Electronium instrument (now owned by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh), poems, press clippings, and, most importantly, a heavyduty shelf containing 213 reel-to-reel tapes.
All of the chosen material on The Preservation Tapes is unreleased, has only been heard by a handful of people and showcases a relatively unknown period in Bruce’s musical career where Bruce was recording for Sparrow Records (who billed themselves as "America's best Christian music record label”). Bruce’s signature Farad vocoder continues to feature prominently, but the lyrical content is decidedly more religious. The Bruce Haack archive is now resting in the Provincial Archives of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada."
'Phase 3 : Thones and Dominions' has been one of the more elusive Earth titles so it's great to see this oft-misunderstood gem back in circulation again.
'Phase 3' was a difficult album for Earth, and marked a transition period in between the drone-heavy 'Earth 2' and the classic rock styled 'Pentastar : In the Style of Demons'.
The album includes destructive drone tracks such as genre high point 'Tibetan Quaaludes' juxtaposed against rock riff-fests like 'Song 4'. I definitely don't have a problem with this, but I seem to remember at the time when 'Phase 3' hit the shelves in 1995 it garnered a hell of a lot of negative press from people expecting a rehash of 'Earth 2'.
'Phase 3' was never going to rework the style they had so carefully initiated, and hearing it agin now- it's a strong, powerful record and one which shows a band experimenting with sound and form.
The aforementioned 'Tibetan Quaaludes' was one of the finest pieces the band ever committed to wax, and the free-improv influenced 'Site Specific Carnivorous Occurrence' is another high point in their career. Some of these tracks were recently rediscovered and reworked on the fantastic remix compilation 'Legacy of Dissolution', which has led many to look at them under a different light, and quite rightly too.
Any Earth fans who don't own this need to add this underappreciated classic to their collection, and while this might not be the easiest intrduction to the band's catalogue; it's without a doubt worth a look.
Rump-pumpin’ house, Amsterdam-meets-Detroit style, from an incognito source.
A-side they ride a kinky pump with sheer metallic Detroit riffs and eccie-triggering pads for the all-night dancers, before the B-side settles down to a beatless organ cadence whisking off into an airborne shimmy by the track’s end, working as a nice transitional tool or end of night come-down for the DJs.
A first physical release at last for this album inspired by Sergei Parajanov’s Armenian masterpiece The Colour Of Pomegranates — even if some of the music was composed before Jaar watched it.
"Already for Jaar a private emblem of change and upheaval, the fruit is broken open in the film: its juice seeps into a cloth, like blood, making the shape of ancient Armenia on a map. In hundreds of such moments of cultural and poetic saturation (including numerous different associations for the pomegranate), and in the film’s biographical, episodic form, Jaar found confluent ground for intimate, teeming musical reflections about his own life and Palestinian-Chilean heritage. “It gave me a structure to follow and themes to stick to. It gave clarity to this music that was made mostly out of and through chaos. It also gave me the balls to put it out.”
‘Much of Jaar’s most elegant and touching melodic work is nestled here, its power residing in its simplicity and willingness to speak to the heart and not the mind of the listener, in the language of lyricism, freedom, and emotional resonance held in common by his many paths and projects."
Another sterling pick from Sacred Summits, Morgan Fisher’s charmingly playful 'Inside Satie'  sees its first ever vinyl reissue on Lindsay Todd and Stuart Leith’s cult label.
Morgan Fisher has had a storied career as part of ’60s one-hit wonders Love Affair, thru to playing keys for Mott The Hoople in the ‘70s, and working on ambient, improv and soundtracks in the ‘80s alongside Yoko Ono, Haruomi Hosono and Dip In The Pool.
Inside Satie was recorded in Japan following Fisher’s move from the UK in the mid ’80s. Perhaps a perfect fit for the sophisticates of Tokyo at the time, the album adapts Satie’s timeless minimalism to a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments, highlighting and feeding into the similarities between Gnossiene and Gymnopedie and the new age ambient zeitgeist of Japan in 1985.
As a meditation aid, a coffee table staple, and a historic artefact, Inside Satie is a beautiful and warmly satisfying document totally worthy of reappraisal in 2018.
Black Truffle present breathtaking, mind-bending works from Alvin Lucier; premiering a pair of pieces written for and performed by Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley (Sunn 0))), Æthenor), and released thru the former’s indomitable Black Truffle label. Lovers of life-affirming avant-garde music of all stripes need to stop what they’re doing and check this one, pronto!
Both works offer an extension of Lucier’s “elegant explorations of the behaviour of sound in physical space” which have been ongoing since the ’60s, and includes his best known work, I Am Sitting In A Room , a piece that has practically become required listening for anyone with an interest in 20th century avant-garde music thought and practice.
Specifically, Lucier’s work places great focus on the infidelities of instrumental phenomena and closely tuned pitches, often using pure, electronically generated oscillations in combination with single instruments in order to both highlight and blur their tonal and timbral distinctions. This LP documents two works in this vein, firstly on Criss Cross, his debut work for electric guitars, written especially for Ambarchi and O’Malley playing one semitone each in duo, and secondly on Hanover, a much grander tribute to Lucier’s father, Alvin A Lucier, who is pictured on the sleeve in 1918 with the Dartmouth Jazz band.
The A-side’s Criss Cross is truly one of the heaviest things we’ve heard in years. With Ambarchi on the left channel and O’Malley to the right, the duo improvise on a single semitone, generating thick, viscous waves of wobbling oscillations that merge in transfixing formation at the middle . So far, so simple, but the effect - which alters brilliantly on headphones or with proper amplification - is just staggering, baffling the senses with a richly saturated, undulating sonic pressure to visceral, psychotomimetic ends.
The first time we heard this piece on headphones it just floored us, but then we tried on speakers and tried to conduct a conversation at the same time. The effect was something like an anechoic chamber - the conversation couldn’t happen because our voices sounded louder in our head than in the room. WTF?! Just to push it one step farther, I also tried listening on headphones while on a plane, and can only imagine what the EasyJet staff thought of my eyes rolling in back of my skull. Quite honestly, I haven’t heard anything quite like it since Zbigniew Karkowsi & Topher Davidson’s Processor, and that’s a proper percy.
The B-side’s Hanover is just as precise, but the intensity and tonal variation is multiplied by he number of players, including O’Malley and Ambarchi on electric guitars joined by alto and tenor sax, violin, piano and bowed vibraphone. Here the tones are far more pinched and slippery, streaking the stereo field in iridescent timbral dynamics and almost lilting cadence, and with a far more delicate, intricate appeal when compared to the other piece.
It almost goes without saying that a new Alvin Lucier work is worth your time, but in case you’re under any doubts - this LP is just astonishing, ingenious, preternaturally brilliant stuff.
Finally, Roland Kayn’s breathtaking cybernetic salvo, ’Simultan’; one of the most important works by one of the 20th century's greatest (if unsung) composers; all newly remastered from original tapes and reissued for the first time since the original 1977 release by classical music label, Colosseum. Huge Recommendation for followers of work by Jaap Vink, Leo Küpper, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Fullerton-Whitman, Autechre, The Hafler Trio...
Italy’s Die Schachtel, following the lead of Frozen Reeds’ and their 16CD edition of ‘A Little Milky Way of Sound’ in 2017, have the honour of reintroducing ’Simultan’ into the wild. Presented to the highest possible standards on the format it was intended for, the unfeasibly complex dynamics and revelatory perceptive spaces opened up inside ’Simultan’ are bound to generate jaw-dropping reactions with Kayn's growing ranks of followers and even the most hard-to-please fans of outer-limit composition.
Collapsing ideas from electro-acoustic, concrète, electronic, and computer music disciplines into what he termed “cybernetic music”, Kayn methodically and effectively worked off-the-radar towards a form of Artificial Intelligence in music from 1962 until his death in 2011. Building on his earlier studies with seminal figures such as Boris Blacher and Oskar Sala (whose FX appeared on classic Hitchcock’s), as well as time spent playing organ and piano with Ennio Morricone and Egisto Macchi’s exploratory Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Kayn devoted his life’s work toward realising what would become recognised among the most incredible, genuinely prism-pushing arrangements of sound ever recorded.
’Simultan’ is the first in a series of seminal Roland Kayn boxsets released between 1977 and his blinding masterpiece ’Tektra’ in 1984. While he had previously contributed ‘Cybernetics III’ to a Deutsche Grammofon split with Luigi Nono, ’Simultan’ was where Kayn’s ideas really came to fruition, and with results that practically document the birth of a new music, or a computer manifesting its first signs of sentience in sound.
Weighing in at six pieces clocking in at over two hours, it’s arguably a difficult, spasmodic birth when compared with the smoother contours and expansive arrangements of his subsequent releases, but that amorphous atonality and noisy unpredictability accounts for much of the attraction to ’Simultan’, which sounds like very little before it, or even since.
If you’re the insatiably curious, technically pedantic type, then many of your queries about Kayn’s music will be answered in the lucubrate liner notes included on the insert, which provide all the technical context one would need to know. But it’s better to just dive head-first into ’Simultan’ and let your head be consumed, dissolved into those micro-organismic diffusions and unfathomable chaos.
Mercifully this 2nd wind will prevail on further reissues of Kayn’s aforementioned run of boxsets up to and including ‘Tektra’. We advise making some space on your shelves and your calendar to spend some time with this incredible music.
Optimo on a roll with this this gobsmacking follow-up to the ace Iona Fortune LP and ‘Miracle Steps’ compilation
Penelope Trappes, a member of freak disco unit The Golden Filter, makes a spellbinding solo debut on Optimo Music with Penelope One; her chamber-like suite of deep blue songcraft about “being a mother in a dystopian world, with pensive words about swimming against the current as a female artist”.
Referencing the perceived freeness of Scott Walker and This Mortal Coil compositions, Penelope uses a minimal palette of mostly solo piano and FX to frame her spectral songs in a starkly beautiful sound which suggests, to our minds at least, a collaboration between Mazzy Star and Leyland Kirby, or Felicia Atkinson and HTRK writing for a Lynch soundtrack.
It’s a quintessentially adult and measured style, one porous to subtle atmospheric flaws and resolutely tempered with a calmness and plotted narrative that absorbs the listener like an episode of some American noir TV or film, and with a lingering, visual quality that likewise continues to phosphoresce in the mind beyond the credits reel.
A year’s worth of work is condensed into its 11, inch-perfect parts, all recorded in a small, rented piano practice room in London which she effectively turned into a sort of alternately vast and intimate floatation tank, using FX to defy its dimensions and give her thoughts acres of emulated room to breathe and manifest a genuinely sublimated sound.
Puppets opens with Penelope at the centre of wide, multi tracking herself into spare, airy dimensions of a Club Silence sound stage, with Gravel Mouth introducing a plaintive, modern blooze-soaked appeal in its trap tics and pealing guitar licks, establishing a pace and atmosphere for the album that percolates between its three gripping Untitled instrumentals and into majestic spaces such as Gone and the cracked fragility of The Hair Shirt, thru the slide guitar twang and sylvan R&B of Heartbreak, to the air-borne spectre of Low and the weightless, plasmic impression left with 9 Monkey.
It’s a truly remarkable album, womblike in its comforting sense of seclusion, and patiently awaiting your detached gaze and contemplation.
'Space Is Only Noise' is the first album by Nicolas Jaar.
By anyones estimations his arrival into the electronic music sphere has been unavoidable, receiving comparisons to Villalobos and AFX from The Guardian, providing one of Resident Advisor's most adventurous mixes to date and practically having Panorama Bar, Fabric and Bar25 eating out of his hands - all before he'd turned 20! His string of releases for the like-minded Wolf+Lamb Music and his own Clown & Sunset label besides remixes for Matthew Dear and Ellen Allien have defined his sound as purposefully slow, sensuous, and with a graceful maturity way beyond his years, all equally informed by HipHop and his Chilean heritage as he is House music and the furthest reaches of electronica.
Like the relatively recent pop/dance phenomena of Drag/Witch House, electronic Cumbias and Dubstep, his music signifies a sea change towards exaggerated energy efficiency, dropping the tempo to up the groove and deftly filling the space left behind with supremely sophisticated musical decisions drawing further comparisons to everyone from his beloved Satie and Mulatu Astatke to DJ Shadow. 'Space Is Only Noise' is far from being your conventional House music album and should be filed in your 'promising debut' stack.
An excellent Arvo Pärt primer...
"Arvo Pärt creates music of deceptive simplicity, and listening to his work can be a transformative experience. Imagine taking your ears on a retreat, and you’re some way to understanding why his work is so popular.
The Estonian composer underwent his own transformation in the 1970s, having explored dense avant-garde music in the early part of his career. He put himself through an eight-year creative exile, and emerged with a new, purer voice. The Arvo Pärt that many people are devoted to today (including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Björk) creates music that cleanses. A sonic detox."
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.
Rarely has an album owed so much to production... Low return with their most daring, experimental release in years, co-produced by James Blake's man at the controls B.J. Burton, at times verging on a layered, pulsing electronic sound you'd associate with the likes of Andy Stott. Doused in distortion, throbbing electronics, submerged vocals, side-chain effects - this could easily have been a nauseating exercise in modernisation; but instead the strength of the songwriting shines through for one of Low's best = a standout full-length for 2018.
"In 2018, Low will turn twenty-five. Since 1993, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker—the married couple whose heaven-and-earth harmonies have always held the band’s center—have pioneered a subgenre, shrugged off its strictures, recorded a Christmas classic, become a magnetic onstage force, and emerged as one of music’s most steadfast and vital vehicles for pulling light from our darkest emotional recesses. But Low will not commemorate its first quarter-century with mawkish nostalgia or safe runs through songbook favorites. Instead, in faithfully defiant fashion, Low will release its most brazen, abrasive (and, paradoxically, most empowering) album ever: Double Negative, an unflinching eleven-song quest through snarling static and shattering beats that somehow culminates in the brightest pop song of Low’s career.
To make Double Negative, Low reenlisted B.J. Burton, the quietly energetic and adventurous producer who has made records with James Blake, Sylvan Esso, and The Tallest Man on Earth in recent years while working as one of the go-to figures at Bon Iver’s home studio, April Base. Burton recorded Low’s last album, 2015’s Ones and Sixes, at April Base, adding might to many of its beats and squelch and frisson beneath many of its melodies.
This time, though, Sparhawk, Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington knew they wanted to go further with Burton and his palette of sounds, to see what someone who is, as Sparhawk puts it, “a hip-hop guy” could truly do to their music. Rather than obsessively write and rehearse at home in Duluth, Minnesota, they would often head southeast to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, arriving with sketches and ideas that they would work on for days with Burton. Band and producer became collaborative cowriters, building the pieces up and breaking them down and building them again until their purpose and force felt clear. As the world outside seemed to slide deeper into instability, Low repeated this process for the better part of two years, pondering the results during tours and breaks at home. They considered not only how the fragments fit together but also how, in the United States of 2018, they functioned as statements and salves.
Double Negative is, indeed, a record perfectly and painfully suited for our time. Loud and contentious and commanding, Low fightsfor the world by fighting against it. It begins in pure bedlam, with a beat built from a loop of ruptured noise waging war against the paired voices of Sparhawk and Parker the moment they begin to sing during the massive “Quorum.” For forty minutes, they indulge the battle, trying to be heard amid the noisy grain, sometimes winning and sometimes being tossed toward oblivion. In spite of the mounting noise, Sparhawk and Parker still sing. Or maybe they sing because of the noise. For Low, has there ever really been a difference?"
Steve Hauschildt’s grasp of synthesis reaches alchemical, intuitive levels of lushness in ‘Dissolvi’, keening towards a broadly appealing ambient-techno-pop sound without losing the enigmatic, abstract, deep space quality of previous efforts. It’s his finest achievement since striking solo from the influential Emeralds and, quite honestly, isn't a million miles away from late 90's IDM keeprs like Arovane's Atol Scrap. And on we go in circular motion...
“In search of the sublime, contemporary electronic musician Steve Hauschildt has designed grids and panoramas of sound across multiple releases through the rise and dissolution of his former band, Emeralds, an American touchstone of 2000s home-recorded psychedelic noise music. Consistent with his solo work is Hauschildt’s ability to coil his craft in precise, varied, and distinctly physical forms. Gently spinning arpeggios converse with post-industrial decay. Sonic fibers sway like pendulums from static melancholy to motorik bliss. Dissolvi, the artist’s first full-length with Ghostly International, engages sublimation from an ontological perspective: by dissociating the self. Hauschildt steps out from the singular path, for the first time in a traditional studio, to compose and arrange contributions from friends. As a result, his most collaborative work to date extends a vast, vibrating framework in which to consider the state of being.
The album's title — a reference to cupio dissolvi, the Latin phrase meaning "I wish to be dissolved" — needn't be taken one-dimensionally or as purely solipsistic. It does, however, serve an apt reference. Physiological phenomena are of interest to Hauschildt. These back-of-mind ruminations find their way out. Songs are cerebral in orientation, but beyond explanation, the music is truly visceral. Involuntary eye movement inspires the serene, sanguine-nearing-suspicious "Saccade." Hauschildt feathers soft percussion beneath the echoed refrains of Los Angeles musician Julianna Barwick, together shaping a svelte suggestion of the anxieties brought about by modern-day surveillance; if everyone is being watched constantly, there is no individual, no self, only a broadly monitored and clumsily cataloged populous. The work of Chicago poet Carl Sandburg comes to mind: “I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.” The individual dissolves into the taxonomic crowd.
Minimalist techno impulses provide a stylistic through-line for Dissolvi. Understated synth phrases and drum grooves take hold in selective moments, like synchronistic structures onto which nebulous mists, like the rapturous voice of Gabrielle Herbst aka GABI on "Syncope," cling to and cloud, producing a dazzling rift in consciousness. The 7-minute centerpiece "Alienself" reiterates this creative logic, burbling like an amorphous body of water on a low-gravity planet, on the verge of dissolving, but never fully dematerializing. The album was constructed in Chicago (where Hauschildt now resides) and partially in New York. "Much of it was recorded in a windowless studio which removed elemental or seasonal references to time in the music," says Hauschildt. "The focus this time was on mixing the album and incorporating a broader set of instrumentation. I describe my compositional approach as being quasi-generative." Embracing new methods and philosophical curiosities, and in turn, expanding the range of his repertoire, Hauschildt proposes a fascinating and profoundly rich experience in listening, being, and deliquescing.”
‘Metal Aether’ showcases Lea Bertucci's role as a performer, revealing four pieces that represent approximately 3 years of ideas and gestures for alto saxophone and magnetic tape. Expanding on 2014’s ‘Light Silence, Dark Speech’ as well as 2015’s ‘Axis/Atlas,’ ‘Metal Aether’ develops a language of extended technique for alto saxophone that is based on a spectral, psychoacoustic, and non-linguistic approach to the instrument.
"Much like the recordings of her previous NNA release, ‘Metal Aether’ continues to explore Lea’s acute interest in the nature of acoustics and the harmonic accumulation of sound, with it’s four pieces having been recorded in Le Havre, France in a former military base, and in New York City, at ISSUE Project Room. With her horn, Lea produces pulsing minimalist patterns, transcendent drones, and upper register squalls that envelop these spaces in waves of overtones, microtones, and psychoacoustic effects. Tracks like “Accumulations” explore evocative, ancient-sounding melodic figures, while tracks like “Sustain and Dissolve” relish in the microtonal relationships between overlapping sustained notes. Aside from the saxophone, Bertucci further interacts with physical space by fortifying these pieces with manipulated field recordings from diverse locations, ranging from Mayan pyramids to NYC subways. Other instruments such as prepared piano and vibraphone can be heard on this album, processed through tape to unite melody and texture together as one. Lea displays a firm grasp of the inherent possibilities of sound manipulation to maximize her music’s power through the recording process itself, mixing conflicting fidelities to achieve a deeper, more organic form of expression.
Throughout 2017, Lea fully dedicated her creative efforts toward exploring and informing her music through a variety of disciplines. In addition to recording ‘Metal Aether,’ she wrote and performed during multiple residencies, toured rigorously throughout North America and Europe, organized site-specific sonic events with the SITE:SOUND series, and published her first book “The Tonebook,” a collection of graphic scores by 17 avant-garde composers. Through these endeavors, Lea immerses herself in the essential principles of true musicianship: study, performance, curation, literature, and experimentation. It is with these tools that she connects herself with sound in all of it’s forms – live, recorded, situational, natural, and unnatural. All of these elements come together to inform the pieces found on this album, creating a sophisticated, multi-faceted, and highly personal body of work. ‘Metal Aether’ feels like the defining statement from an artist in elevated control of their form – a summary of concepts, ideas, and emotions given life from one’s mind and heart. Lea demonstrates the desirable ability to use her art to sincerely communicate in a language of one’s own personal
Amazing jazz slab from Japan, 1983, feat drummer Takeo Moriyama and a crack squad of players. First time vinyl reissue (also available on CD) of a highly sought-after 2nd hand release
“BBE Music is proud to present the next instalment in the J Jazz Masterclass Series: ‘East Plants’ by Takeo Moriyama, one of Japan’s finest jazz drummers.
A genuine ‘under the radar’ album known only to a handful of Japanese jazz collectors, ‘East Plants’ is now available once more, reissued for the first time as a double 180g LP, with exact reproductions of the original artwork, obi strip and insert. It also comes with the original notes fully translated. ‘East Plants’ is also available as CD and digital formats. This reissue is fully endorsed by Takeo Moriyama himself.
Originally released in 1983 on the Japanese VAP label, ‘East Plants’ is an essential album in the J Jazz canon. It’s an album that distils several key characteristics of Moriyama’s music: clearly articulated and inventive rhythms, open yet orderly arrangements, and an accessible groove balanced with a graceful control.
‘East Plants’ features no piano, just percussion, bass and reeds. From the luxurious raga-like build of the album’s hypnotic title track and the fierce post-bop workout of ‘Fields’, to the stately modal track ‘Kaze’ ( as featured on the sell-out BBE compilation, ‘J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1968-1984’), the album was, until now, a rarely acknowledged masterpiece. ‘East Plants’ shows Moriyama’s quintet at their most transcendent: delicate layers of percussion by Yoji Sadanari, a warm and pliant bass from Hideki Mochizuki, with colour and texture provided by the eloquent reed work of Shuichi Enomoto and Toshiko Inoue. And, overseeing it all, Moriyama’s discreet yet commanding drumming.
The BBE J Jazz Masterclass Series is curated by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden and is dedicated to presenting the very finest in Japanese jazz. The series will feature rare, long-lost and unreleased material presented in the highest quality reproductions of the original releases, fully licensed and authorised.”
Australian/Ukranian techno survivor Tim Jackiw unfurls in classic, lustrous, romantic style on Offworld Records - the same home of his coveted debut 12” ‘Science Of Sound Volume One’ over 20 years ago.
All material was produced and recorded 1994-1996 and beautifully reprises the sincerely intimate yet astrally scoped vibe of his diamond debut, rolling from the purring bass weight and lump-in-throat pads of ‘Half Moon’ thru the silvery moonlit house of ‘Waves (Lost Mix)’, to the Dan Curtin-esque rude depth of ‘Night Watch’ and the sci-fi romance of ‘Tears In Rain’ with deeply satisfying verve and timeless appeal.
Keith Fullerton Whitman never ceases to impress with his seemingly endless understanding of musical references and ability to flit from the most personally affecting music to constructions of an altogether more playful nature.
His "Playthroughs" album for Kranky is still one of the most played entries in our late-night listening pile and so every new release graced with his name is a bit of an event for us.
"Schoner Flussengel" is another vinyl-only release, following up last year's excellent "Antithesis" LP, stretching into six tracks of dense layering and momentarily spacious acoustic sequencing.Utilising processed, textured drones to computer-guitar-piano trio, two of the tracks here also feature the vcs3 synthesizer recorded at Soma in Chicago during 2001 with the aid of Casey Rice and John McEntire (Tortoise).
Not for the first time, but arguably the most significant, Pye Corner Audio crosses paths with Ghost Box for his first LP of 2016; a narcotically hypnagogic and dystopian trip entitled Stasis.
At least one leap year cycle since his last album with the GB’s, Sleep Games, right now this one feels like a stygian trudge into bleakest futures, operating at such a stoned pace that it moves slower than actual time, and by submitting to its temporal warp we’re allowed to regress back into a pre-digital epoch of paranoid cold, or even civil war atmospheres and paranoia.
It could almost be the soundtrack to a Ben Wheatley flick (low budget, not the over-glossy high rise) about British time travellers, forgoing Dr. Who queso for a more hard-boiled, furtive vibe about anachronistic assassins sent back to kill Nigel Farage at birth, only to uncover that he’s part of an exceedingly dangerous non-human race with ties to Johnson, Cameron and all the other pebble-people, so they round them all up and lock them in a hostel in Middlesbrough with a broken kettle and packet of poisoned monster munch between the lot.
Of course, that fantasy is all set to a soundtrack of wistful electronic mists and pulsating arpeggios that could be right out of some late ‘70s / early ‘80s synth library, and ultimately shows that whilst technology has advanced in the meantime, that ostensibly archaic music still reflects an underlying eldritch darkness contemporary and relevant to both eras, then and now.
Following that eye-opening box set on Vinyl On Demand and the crucial I Don't Remember Now / I Don't Want To Talk About It and Plaster Falling reissues, Superior Viaduct give life to John Bender’s third and final album Pop Surgery, recorded in 1982 and once again demonstrating Bender as one of the most inspiring discoveries of 1980’s sprawling wave scene.
"While all of Bender’s work draws from intimate home recordings—featuring the artist alone with various keyboards, analogue sequencers and tape delays—Pop Surgery remains the one that perhaps best distills his arrant deconstruction of the “pop” concept. These twelve frenetic tracks, meticulously stitched together with dubbed-out vocals and disjointed drum machines, stretch the boundaries of bedroom electronics.
Bender would forgo the handmade LP sleeves typical of his Record Sluts imprint. The cover depicts an imposing scrapyard crane, ready to pick up discarded objects with its bright red electromagnet, while the center labels détourn Columbia’s classic ’70s style.
“I pressed a single run of 500 copies,” Bender recounts. “The only review I remember railed at the poor production quality. The DIY era had clearly come to an end.”
One of the most important ambient releases of all time, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno's 'Fourth World Vol.1 - Possible Musics' deservedly receives the prime reissue treatment for the benefit of a new generation.
Originally issued in 1980 ℅ Editions EG, it converges the paths of two musical pioneers who were mutually searching for ways to consolidate world musics with the possibilities of tape, electronics and jazz-wise improvisation. Across five sweetly concise pieces and the 21-minute dreamscape of 'Charm (Over "Burundi Cloud")' Hassell expresses gorgeous, considered flights of fancy thru his heavily effected trumpet against a backdrop of Eno's rippling, rhythmelodic percussions and diaphanous synth tones as languid as they are subtly beautiful.
For us, from the spirited float of 'Delta Rain Dream' to the achingly lush peal of 'Ba-benzele' and aerial elevations of 'Charm ("Over Burundi Cloud")' it's the definition of timeless, enchanted music. Out of print for far too long, it's a must check for anyone with a taste for worldly dissonance and forward looking composition. RIYL Hieroglyphic Being, OPN, Tomuttontu, T C F.
Antithesis is taken from Keith Fullerton Whitman archives, featuring ensemble works featuring instruments played by Whitman himself with no computer interaction.
Each piece was recorded in one of the different apartments Whitman has rented since he lived in Boston and broadens the instrumental and compositional base of 'Playthroughs' with fender rhodes piano, viola, guitar and percussion.
The four tracks on the album verge from straight up drone to what sound like lost krautrock classics.
Steve Hauschildt follows his eponymous 2013 compendium for Editions Mego with this romantic lush-out for Kranky.
Hauschildt's first proper solo release since the group disbanded in 2012, 'Where is Fled' charts an alchemical, emotional spectrum of synthetic and natural timbre/spirit within 14 tracks of symphonic swell and resolution infused with processed crowd noise, piano and animal noises. Wandering its sleek gradients in headphones whilst looking at the album sleeve's CGI artwork feels like taking a mooch in No Man's Sky accompanied by the perpetually shifty looking Enya, pointing out new plants on far-flung planets while she coyly glances away, only to morph into Vangelis before scuttling away after a giant pink squirrel and leaving us with that most intangible sensation - am I dreaming or is this a Steve Hauschildt album?
Seattle-based stepper Homemade Weapons does dense, tense D&B for Samurai Music
Check for the hyperventilating, needle-point precision of ‘Subcept (RIP)’ and the crafty drum funk torsion of ‘Paroxysm’ with Torana.