Dawuna’s sublimely brooding, formative work with his band Ot To, Not To, lands fresh on ears seduced by his standout ‘EP1’ and ‘Glass Lit Dream’ in recent years - RIYL Tirzah, Klein, LA Timpa, Wayne Phoenix, Mica, D’Angelo, The Weeknd.
‘It Loved To Happen’ spellbinds in a filigree lattice of half-heard vocal intimations and the gentlest instrumental touches that form a feathered bed of R&B edging on neo-classical ambient. Focussed time spent in its smouldering atmospheres can’t help but alert keener listeners to a real rough-cut gem, one that evokes a timeless late night soundtrack for loners and lovers. Anyone smitten with his 'Glass Lit Dream' album will be primed to the style, but also surprised by the cinematic appeal and folk textures between the sounds that give ‘It Loved To Happen’ such a strangely elusive yet immersive quality.
Strung out in the shadows between so many related styles, Ian Mugerwa aka Dawuna is a ghostly, glossolalic presence seemingly lost in his thoughts and spurred to express them by Noah Smith’s lissom strokes of acoustic guitar, with smouldering embers of electronic ephemera and field recordings fizzing like filament in the music’s lacunæ fissures. The effect is poetic and with acres of room, designed to encourage the imagination to fill in the gaps as the record unfolds from the dusky lament of ‘It Loved’ to the wheezing, folksy elegy of ’Shenandoah’ with its smeared accordion, drizzle and forlorn choral motifs feeling like a Mihály Vig soundtrack for Béla Tarr transposed to the witching hour in Brooklyn.
Quietly ravishing and bruised soul musick.
Special Guest DJ & Pontiac Streator are crimeboys, here delivering a debut album volley of ambient jungle and trip hop dub paying homage to influences including Vangelis, Burial, Silent Hill and the putative effects of N ₂O.
‘Very Dark Past’ is the pair’s immersive debut, with eight cuts that firm up a flux of etheric inspirations into a translucent body of aerosolised ambient and writhing rhythms primed for the back rooms. Working within etheric parameters established over recent years by their respective solo efforts and a plethora of collaborative projects by peers such as Huerco S., Perila, Exael, and Ulla,‘Very Dark Past’ digs into a now familiar vein of lathered cultural ephemera and rave nostalgia full of gauzy signposts and warm sentimentality that works a treat on stressed minds and bodies.
Titled tongue-in-cheek in key with their mode of prophylactic rave safety, the crimeboys step off from the gentlest ends of LTJ Bukem or PS1-style jungle into pulpiest/soft focus ambient dance. Bladerunner vibes prompt the opening lushness of ‘holodeck blue’, and ‘trippin’’ trades in filigree ambient jungle delicacy, beside the caress of ‘deja entendu (dub)’ and frayed echoes of Timeblind in ‘red shift’, while a sublime highlight of spongiform subbass and fractalised breaks in ‘sex and drugs’ gives way to Burial-esque 2-step of ‘haunted tattoo’ and a weightless lushness approximating DJ Crystal or Photek underwater in ‘days go by’.
Some hidden cuts on the vinyl edition too.
Originally released on 2nd May 2011, Mick Harvey’s sixth studio solo album Sketches From The Book Of The Dead.
"Sketches From The Book Of The Dead is Mick Harvey's first fully self-penned album; the 11-track album was recorded and mixed with David McCluney at Atlantis Sound, Port Melbourne with additional recording at Harvey's own Grace Lane music room. The record sees Mick Harvey (playing most of the instruments) joined by Rosie Westbrook on double bass and J.P. Shilo on accordion and violin, with Xanthe Waite contributing occasional ethereal backing vocals.
Containing an extraordinary investigation into a rarely scrutinised area of the human condition, Sketches From The Book Of The Dead is a truly unique piece of work."
"One Man's Treasure / Two Of Diamonds", Mick Harvey’s first two solo albums available together.
"Mick Harvey’s acclaimed One Man's Treasure, originally released in 2005, is a collection of original tracks alongside covers of tracks chosen for Mick’s personal connection with each track. These covers include First St. Blues by country-pop singer Lee Hazelwood, Tim Buckley’s The River, and Mother Of Earth by Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club. The creation of One Man's Treasure unravelled spontaneously, the majority of the album was recorded at Harvey’s home studio with him explaining, “It was something I was doing to entertain myself.” After receiving words of encouragement from Mute’s Daniel Miller, Harvey subsequently finished One Man’s Treasure at Atlantis Studios in Melbourne, using his time there to add instrumental and mixing refinements.
The second album included is Harvey’s Two Of Diamonds, released in 2007. Following the positive reaction to One Man's Treasure, Harvey was reinvigorated to record a new album. This time his band accompanied Harvey: Rosie Westbrook (double bass) and fellow Bad Seeds James Johnston (organ and guitar) and Thomas Wydler (drums), along with guest musicians Rob Ellis from P.J. Harvey's band (piano/drums) and Julitha Ryan (piano) of Melbourne’s Silver Ray. In true Mick Harvey fashion, Two of Diamonds is an eclectic collection of songs: obscure classics combined with original Harvey compositions, including ‘Out of Time Man’ which featured prominently in various TV Series including Breaking Bad, Orphan Black and The Tourist. Arrangements were kept straightforward, in a deceptively effortless manner, for an emotionally powerful punch, passionately delivered from the heart."
Charlie Megira partners with Michal Kahan for Charlie Megira Und The Hefker Girl via Numero Group.
"In 2006, Israeli garage-nik Charlie Megira took a sonic turn while partnered with Israeli multi-instrumentalist Michal Kahan. The duo wasted no time forging a new path, swapping Megira’s trademark reverb for echo, and guitar-noir for new wave.
Their third album together, Charlie Megira And the Hefker Girl is an unabashed continuation of gothy ’80s archetypes employed by Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Cure. With little impedance, the album fits into Megira’s ageless world of cross-pollinated genres and styles."
Originally released in 2002, 'Off-Road' finds old buddies David Grubbs and Mats Gustafsson joining forces for a rip-roaring collab that lurches from free jazz skronk and woozy drone to country-fried folk and percussive digital freakouts.
Grubbs and Gustafsson first met in Chicago when the Swedish sax virtuoso appeared on Gastr del Sol's 1996 tome 'Upgrade & Afterlife'. 'Off-Road' was the duo's second collaboration (after 1999's improvised "Apertura"), and subverted expectations, fizzing from slippery free jazz squeaking and hollering on the 12-minute 'Rendezvous Up North' into digital drone before it's even hit the two minute mark. Gustaffson's sax is reduced to spittle and whispers, while Grubbs' harmonium and laptop does the heavy lifting.
On 'Three if By Train', the duo are joined by experimental turntablist Henry Moore Selder, who interrupts guitar drones and metal sheet wobbles with stuttered loops. Selder appears again on 'Skiing + Shooting', underpinning Grubbs and Gustafsson's back-and-forth with low frequency rumbles. These moments elevate the entire set, lending an almost illbient quality to the recordings that straddles jazz, industrial music, improv and musique concréte - sounding better than ever on this new edition re-sequenced by the duo.
The original motion picture soundtrack for Women Talking by Hildur Guðnadóttir.
"Women Talking is a highly emotive and inspiring story, based on the best-selling novel by Miriam Toews, that follows a group of women from an isolated religious community who grapple with reconciling their reality with their faith.
Hildur Guðnadóttir’s affecting, ruminative score captures the film’s emotional complexity. rousing guitar-led motifs underpin the folk-influenced score, punctuated by unsettling percussion and mournful strings."
Half a century old but still brimming with heartical force, Count Ossie & Cedric ‘Im’ Brooks’ heavy rooted classic of nyabinghi drumming and deep Jamaican jazz resurfaces as an entirely unique and fascinating example of post-independence Jamaican and Afro-diasporic consciousness beginning to thrive in their music. Choice pickings for anyone under the spell of Dadawah, The Congos, or Mabrak’s Drum Talk LP.
“Count Ossie is the central character in the development of Rastafarian roots music, nowadays an almost mythical and iconic figure. His importance in bringing Rastafarian music to a populist audience is matched only by Bob Marley’s promotion of the faith internationally in the 1970s.
Count Ossie’s drummers performed on the first commercially released single to integrate Rastafarian traditional music with popular music: the vocal group The Folkes Brothers’ groundbreaking song ‘Oh Carolina’, recorded for producer Prince Buster in 1959. In 1966 his drummers greeted the momentous arrival of Haile Selassie at Kingston airport.
His legendary jam sessions up in his Rastafarian compound in the hills of Wareika, Kingston, are famous for the many Jamaican musicians who attended including The Skatalites players – Roland Alphonso, Don Drummond, Johnny Moore, Lloyd Knibbs – and many others.
The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970, a union of Count Ossie’s Rastafarian drummers – variously known as his African Drums, Wareikas or his Afro-Combo – and the saxophonist Cedric Im Brooks’ horns group, The Mystics.
The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari are the defining group in bringing authentic Rastafarian rhythms into the collective consciousness of popular music, their unique music is at once rooted in the deep traditions and rituals of traditional drumming and chanting alongside a forward-thinking, even avant-garde, artistry influenced by the likes of John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and other pioneering African-American jazz artists radicalised and charged by the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”
Singer-songwriter James Yorkston joins forces with Swedish band The Second Hand Orchestra once again, this time bringing in The Cardigans' legend Nina Persson to handle lead vocals.
Yorkston had never planned to follow up 2021's "The Wide, Wide River", a collaboration with the Swedish musical collective that features Peter, Bjorn and John's Peter Morén. But after a spell in his studio writing songs for piano, he sent them to The Second Hand Orchestra conductor Karl-Jonas Winqvist and the conversation began to develop once more.
A few conversations later, Nina Persson was introduced and "The Great White Sea Eagle" began to materialize. Persson's voice is the secret weapon here - it's not surprising given her history (we've all love The Cardigans, come on), but she elevates Yorkston and TSHO's sound effortlessly, sounding almost as if she's not trying at all.
Folksy, warm and surprisingly seasonal, the album's a mature collection that doesn't retreat into the shadows. Yorkston's songwriting is filled with life and has more in common with 60s psychedelic folk than the jangly pop he manufactured with the Athletes.
Giant Swan's club-oriented 5-track EP, Fantasy Food.
"Featuring all chopped up voices, echoing kicks and k-hole synth lines, this EP follows on from the Do Not Be Afriad Of Tenderness EP in early 2021, and the self-titled debut album that preceded it.
A duo consisting of Robin Stewart and Harry Wright, Giant Swan are one of the most exciting artists to emerge from the UK underground in recent years. With equal appeal to fans of hardcore punk or noise-rock as club kids and clued up electronica fans, he duo toured relentlessly pre-COVID, playing everywhere from Berghain to Glastonbury to support slots with The Horrors and IDLES."
Detroit veteran and Dilla associate Waajeed lands on Tresor for a much-needed assertion of the city's continued importance in the global techno landscape. Deep as f material for anyone into Galaxy 2 Galaxy, UR, Theo Parrish, Paperclip People, Floorplan.
Waajeed's been there and done that - he started out as a DJ and photographer in Detroit when Dilla, Baatin and T3 were about to found Slum Village; Waajeed even came up with the band's moniker, convinced them to release their now-legendary debut album and made the front cover. But while he's most famously associated with hip-hop, he's been releasing house and techno for years, putting out essential material on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, Carl Craig's Planet E, and his own Dirt Tech Reck label. He's also been feeding his expertise and experience back into the local community, founding the Underground Music Academy in 2015 in Detroit's old NAACP headquarters, and using money he collected from mixtape sales to pay for the reconstruction.
All this makes up the backdrop of "Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz", an album that's not just steeped in Detroit (and therefore techno) history, but helps assure its place in the future. Even the title itself is a nod to Underground Resistance's insistence on making the line between jazz and techno indelible - they saw techno as a way to interpret jazz with modern instrumentation, something that was obscured as the sounds traveled around the world like telephone.
It isn't a po-faced corrective statement - Waajeed is keen to remind us that in the face of state violence and oppression it's important to celebrate Black leisure and joy, and his music is a reflection of that. The tracks pick out and highlight the triumph and exhilaration that's always been present in Detroit techno, from the squelchy, sax-flecked funk of 'Motor City Madness' that references Galaxy 2 Galaxy and Carl Craig's epochal 'Bug in the Bass Bin', to 'The Ballad of Robert O'Bryant' - a lushly orchestrated, syncopated duster that feels as stylistically linked to Dilla's loose-limbed beatplay as it is to Theo Parrish's deeper-than-deep house investigations.
Untethered from a mainstream (global) reading of techno and dripping with personality, "Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz" is a sunny reminder of the genre's roots, and an assurance from the heart of Detroit that techno is more than pounding kick drums and dystopian FX.
Ghost Phone dial up serious R&B shivers and Bristolian blooz on their 7th self-released pearl.
Notably moodier and slung on the downstroke than previous editions, these six jams are typically silk-cut for late night glyde with a proper slow dance-to-the-bedroom sensuality oozing front to back. The sexiest essence of ‘90s soul and R&B is extruded thru a smokier, impressionist filter with results strongly reminding to an era of heavy vibes circa the late ‘00s.
They surely recall a heyday of Burial’s R&G in the woodblock crack and sultry swang of ‘Honey’, or Tri Angle’s fixations with ‘90s R&B via DJ Screw in the deep blue ace ‘Issalot’, while ‘Tell Me’ feels like a simmered down Clams Casino zinger, and ‘be The One’ is simply dripping with snake-hipped, satin shirt suss. We just gave the biggest chef’s kiss to the clinical Timbaland stop/start groove ‘Luvspace’, and ‘Her’ deals in the most sublime sort of hurt, hitting it right on the nostalgic G-spot for ‘90s babes and romantics diehards.
A joint release between Discos Nada & Litoral, Alcides Neves’ second LP 'Des (Trambelhar) Ou Não'.
"Somewhat of a concept album, this LP was conceived as having a predominantly experimental A-side and a more folky B-side, with songs influenced by Alcides’ native Northeastern Brazil. Alcides chose to release his second record independently as well, owing to the risk-averse nature of the labels at the time. Indeed, rather than adapting to the demands of the labels and making more romantic or commercial music, Alcides went in the opposite direction and released the most experimental record of his career.
The result is an album with distinct identities on each side but with an experimental bent throughout. The LP’s sounds are reflected by its striking cover, which collates some of Alcides’ artistic heroes - Frank Zappa, Gilberto Gil, Jimi Hendrix, Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky (to whom he also dedicated a song on the LP) among others, above an artwork in the style of Northeastern Brazilian folk art.
By blending traditional regional Northeastern elements with an experimental approach and influences from 20th century classical music, Alcides Neves crafted one of the most unique Brazilian records."
Wolfgang Voigt reshuffles his gorgeous Gas release ‘Oktember’, pairing the original vinyl B-side with the balmy drift of ‘TAL 90’ from the CD editions for a 20 year reminder of one of dub and ambient techno’s most effortlessly elegant and distinguished projects.
Originally issued in 1999 in between his albums ‘Königsforst’ and ‘Narkopop’, the two track 12” has now been resequenced in a sort of director’s cut edition that pairs the hippo’s heartbeat thud and scudding, autumnal strings of ‘Oktember’s original 15’ minute B-side with the sun-setting romance of ‘TAL 90’, where Voigt’s yen for yacht-rock guitar riffs is filtered thru a haze of cinematic strings loops, all suave as you like and practically smelling opulent.
It’s hard to overestimate the influence of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project on dub techno and so much music beyond - his grasp of its quintessence and tonal shading and shifts of colour rarely fail to take us to that place.
A joint release between Discos Nada & Litoral - one of the first independently released Brazilian records, Alcides Neves’ debut LP 'Tempo de Fratura'.
"Hailing from the Brazilian North East, Alcides Neves released his debut album a few years after moving to São Paulo, in 1979. The LP’s release coincided with the emergence of the city’s seminal Vanguarda Paulista movement, which led some researchers to locate Alcides within the movement. As the artist himself affirms; however, he did not fit into any established musical movements, and while it is perhaps possible to identify some influences, it is not possible to consider his music as belonging to a specific lineage either.
Alcides’ singularity and experimental disposition is on full display on his opening album, which revels in its own disformity and lack of external interference, made possible by releasing the LP independently.
The album translates to 'Time of Fracture‘, a fitting moniker for the context in the final years of the Brazilian military dictatorship. The eleven songs that comprise the album are proof that the album was not named randomly, showcasing a broad range of both experimental and folk influences, while also including lyrics that originally did not get past federal censors."
Astonishing archival works by Eliane Radigue, originally released along with Vice-Versa as a double pack, and now available as standalone LP. Listening to Radigue's music is a transformative, humbling experience. Her singular sound is best described by Michel Chion as "infinitely discreet... next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one's sleeve for attention."
Working since the late '50s under the tutelage of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry at RTF's Studio d'essai - the birthplace of musique concrète - Radigue created a body of work whose profound simplicity has only begun to be widely appreciated over the last decade or so. Preferring to work at night - once her children were asleep - her compositions were created using tones derived from an ARP 2500 synthesizer and manipulated on multiple tape machines, creating feedback loops and altering their pitch and duration to coax out quavering microtonal harmonics and ultrasound frequencies not usually perceived at their normal setting.
As practically anyone who knows her music will testify, there's really very little else out there that compares to the elemental tranquility and hallucinatory effect of her works. This album rescues three pieces from original tapes which have lined the walls of her flat in Paris for over 40 years: proposed for the 1970 Osaka Fair, 'Stress-Osaka' (1969) is beautiful and terrifying at once, sounding either like a 1000 strong squadron of B-52's heard from miles away, or a mouth-bound choir humming in unison, somehow subliminally joined by shrill gull-like hi-end repetition; the spectral beauty 'Usral' (1969) was employed for a kinetic sculpture by Marc Halpern, it's title "...a phonetic compression of ultrasounds slowed-down (ultra-sons ralentis in French)" reflecting the use of slowed-down Larsen effects from overlapping tapes to obtain her signature "progressive a-synchronized shifting"; the systolic suspension of 'Omnht' (1970) (one more night) is twenty minutes of slowly encroaching black bass mass and isolated, glassy highs, originally played from behind false dividing walls at a gallery instal and now leaving us for six.
An absolute masterpiece.
Vinyl reissue of Morton Subotnick's perilous dark side trip, 'The Wild Bull, originally released in 1968 following his seminal 'Silver Apples Of The Moon'.
Based on an ancient Sumerian (now known as modern day Southern Iraq) poem, it's another example of Subotnick's pioneering use of the Buchla modular system, perfectly demonstrating its then new-fangled sequencing abilities to explore fluid rhythm and pattern in a clean break from academic tradition's restrictive strategies of pitch and timbre.
Now, over 50 years old, it sounds strikingly fresh and vibrant, although that vibrant energy is employed to darkest ends as a "simple lament for the dead", and nothing less than a harrowing statement on the experience of war and its inevitable aftermath", according to Julian Cope's Head Heritage site. In contrast to the plangent, celestial highs of its predecessor, this album is painted in tangled low end knots and chaotic, clustered sequences evoking sensations of aggression, frustration and confusion over its tragically tortuous half hour length. 'The Wild Bull''s ancient prescience resonates deep than ever.
Cymande's debut LP remastered in 2022 at Abbey Road Studios, re-issued on Partisan Records.
"With the release of their self-titled debut album in 1972, Cymande emerged as innovators of the black British music scene. Taking influences from their Guyanese and Jamaican roots, the band fused reggae bass lines, Afro-tinged Nyabinghi percussion, psychedelic touches, and American-style funk into a unique sound they’ve since dubbed as “Nyah-rock.” While they were embraced in the US, back home they were largely ignored and soon forgotten by a music business beset by prejudice against homegrown black talent.
Cymande split in 1975 after releasing three albums in quick succession, but their music lived on as successive generations of artists and fans found and embraced their songs. Their far-reaching influence can be heard in the countless samples taken from their music over the last four decades, from pioneering DJs like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, to De La Soul, The Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr, EPMD, Sugar Hill Gang, Fatboy Slim, and The Fugees -- to name a few. They stand today as one of the most revered and sampled bands in the history of Hip Hop, House, and Dance."
Now over a decade old, this 2012 album is the soundtrack to acclaimed filmmaker Grant Gee's documentary about German writer WG Sebald. It’s been out of print since 2013 and remains a lesser known gem in The Caretaker catalogue.
'Patience (After Sebald)' is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss - an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald (1944-2001), told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book 'The Rings Of Saturn'. Much like The Caretaker's oeuvre, Sebald's works are particularly focused on themes of memory, both personal and collective, making Kirby the ideal candidate for the score.
Rather than thrift shop shellac, the source material for 'Patience' was sourced from Franz Schubert's 1827 piece 'Winterreise' and subjected to The Car perplexing processes, smudging and rubbing isolated fragments into a dust-caked haze of plangent keys, strangely resolved loops and de-pitched vocals which recede from view as eerily as they appear.
Half-century celebration of Fela & The Africa 70’s Afrobeat chop-ups packing politics for the party, newly bolstered with swingeing Ezra Collective remixes
The mellifluous, swaggering, horny originals showcase Fela variously reflecting on the detriment of European social habits to African culture, and warning against braggadocio, set to deadly cool grooves by an Africa ’70 unit propelled by Tony Allen and sporting Fela centre stage on tenor and alto sax. The version to ‘Lady’ is much shorter than the 13 min original, but still packs all the below-the-waist hustle and verve in its truncated length, while the naggingly uptempo ’Shakara (Oloje)’ is included in full glory with Allen’s needlepoint percussion keeping it toe-tip.
Ezra Collective follow works with JME and Jorja Smith with faithfully loose but tight instrumental remixes holding it down between a more Latinate take on ‘Lady’ and a broken beats/deep house-adjacent spin on ’Shakara’ underpinned by pendulous bass and harnessed to mix of live and programmed drums.
Summer-toned early ‘80s dancehall classics - vocals and dubs - surface on a first reissue of the sought-after showcase on Jah Thomas’ Midnight Rock, via UK bastion Acid Jazz
On rhythms by the Roots Radics, Robert French & Anthony Johnson share the mic in sweet style at Channel One Studios. Every bit as cool and deadly as that cover image, the session features big tunes in the buoyant bop ‘Sitting In The Park’ and its rude dub, plus an ever-relevant, rocksteady digidub killer ‘No War’ and its broodingly skeletal dub. The remastering by Nick Robbins at Sound Mastering brings it all up to scratch for contemporary heads, with choice tackle also readied in the cheeky ‘Rumour Dub’ and waviest digidub pressure in ‘Number One Lover’ with its wickedly warped dub foley heard even freakier in the ‘Lover Dub’. Heavyweight.
One of Coil’s most fêted longform works makes its maiden vinyl trip, all 50 minutes of wormhole ooze, now smeared over two sides of wax.
Up there with Coil’s ‘Time Machines’ or NWW’s ’Soliloquy For Lilith’ in the post-industrial canon, and echoing the sanguine psychedelic scope of La Monte Young & Marian Zalzeela’s zoned-out ‘70s staple as The Theatre of Eternal Music, there are very potent reasons why ‘Queens Of The Circulating Library’ is hailed among Coil’s finest.
Introduced by opera singer Dorothy Lewis, who also happens to be Thingpaulsandra’s mother, it glacially shears off into Indian raga-like drones with a proper hypnagogic traction that’s likely soundtracked thousands of minds on the cusp of semi-consciousness during the years since its release on CD in 2000. With 2nd hand copies now pretty pricey, and YouTube compression only allowing for less-than-optimal potency, this edition is primed to take psychonauts where the piece was intended.
One of few Coil works without Sleazy at the desk, it features music by Thighpaulsandra and lyrics recited by his mum, especially written for “her and mothers everywhere” by John Balance, which perfectly teases minds into its amniotic suspension. Attentive pursuit may produce dreamlike effects, subtly generating fractal peripherals while the lustrous core absorbs deep into its whorls. It’s the sort of piece that warrants looping endlessly or until it takes ultimate effect and you’re bezonked on the deck/sofa/bed. A great way to while away winter.
After crafting an all-timer with 2008's 'Hazyville', Actress set his sights on the unknown with a futureshock debut for Honest Jon's.
Wheras it's predecessor was composed over a staggered period of many years, Splazsh was fashioned in a fraction of that time, lending a tangible symmetry between shapeshifting tracks that defined and propelled the era. Of the 14 tracks, we'd previously encountered the first two, with the unstable space float of 'Hubble' appearing on a shady Thriller 12" and his remix of Various Production's 'Lost' reminding us that there are some deep cuts in the Cunningham discography.
From here in it's all about that longing, sealing the airlock and initiating pressure sequence with 'Futureproofing', before laying down 'Always Human' - can u even remember a time you didnt know this one? Showing resistance towards any categorisation, 'Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix)' swerves down a side street into a footwurkin' face-off by sliding to a mutilated mix of Jon E Cash and Chez Damier played underwater. Next we hit the erogenous interzone of 'Maze' and that incapacitatingly lush bassline designed to lock into your central nervous system and send shockwaves of piloerection to every fucking corner of your soul.
After that, we're cynically dumped into the Ferraro-esque Prince tribute 'Purple Splazsh', and on into the Detroit ghetto stalk of 'Let's Fly'. The dissonant robo-crunk of 'The Kettle Men' and closing entry 'Casanova' confirm that if anything, Actress only suffers from a surfeit of ideas. Proof, if it were needed, that there is a sprawling future beyond the stasis of so much contemporary electronic music.
'Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill’, originally issued by Type in 2008, saw Liz Harris’ now much-loved project take a leap from the filtered, tape-fuelled obfuscation of her earlier releases into the sort of smudged dream-pop soundworld she's now best known for. Trust us when we tell you that - before this record came out - we struggled to sell Grouper albums no matter how much we loved them. This album changed everything.
'Dragging A Dead Deer...' is far more resonant and upfront about its songs than any Grouper material that preceded it. Opening track 'Disengaged' offers a segue of cloudy, amorphous output into a mass of mesmerising magnetic hiss and soft noise, before Harris' guitar and voice finally emerge, reverberant and phantom-like, and yet - finally - comprehensible.
If you've previously struggled to make out Grouper lyrics, 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' offers a way in. Those dense recording techniques had become a unique production signature to the extent that it was virtually impossible to separate Harris' creative identity from that uniquely ghostly sound of hers. But on 'Dragging A Dead Deer...’ it felt like a conduit to her songs, rather than a barrier.
There are echoes of earlier work too, on the wordless atmospherics of 'Wind & Snow', but the overall impression is one of inspired creative renewal, and the unveiling of a songwriting talent that was previously content to dwell in the shadows, deflecting attention with smoke and mirrors.
Re-Calibrated & Re-Celebrated is the fourth release on Canopy.
"This time around the focus is entirely on the remixes, with the original titles from Nigerian Band The Celebrant to feature on the forthcoming reissue of their self-titled LP.
The remixes are built around the afro funk breaks and cosmic synths which the 3 producers have re- calibrated and re-celebrated to devastating effect. Stylistically the vibe sits between searing outer space afro funk and classy afro-disco.
A1. The Celebrant – Off Beats (OPOLOPO Tweak)
OPOLOPO dons his astronaut suit for his first outing on Canopy, propelling Off Beats into the off-world stratosphere in a remake that never rests in its irresistible groove. Weighting down the beat with shuffling house beats while his signature funky synth work augments the synth solos of The Celebrant. Together they ignite the rockets to raise this track into another dimension.
A2. The Celebrant – Off Beats (Captain Planet Remix) Captain Planet marks his return to Canopy with a deliriously danceable remake of Off Beats. Upping the tempo and adding a muscular flex he serves up a bassline with just the right amount of grit. Framed by this powerful electronic architecture, the horn lines and guitar solos do serious collateral damage. Impeccable production values combined with the scorching afro funk breaks make this an incendiary weapon indeed. Once the synth lines kick in, there is no doubt who is in control. Prepare to lift off!
B1. The Celebrant – Funky Music (Aroop Roy Rework)
Aroop Roy blesses Canopy for the first time with this remix of Funky Music, adding his infamously smooth and funky touch. The maestro is well renowned for his skill at flipping already killer material into highly addictive dancefloor bombs. Here he adds an undeniably groovy bassline to back the afro horn arrangements and interstellar synth solos. Setting it all ablaze he transforms these afro chops into a proper late night disco affair. When the Balearic pads ascend, the vibe simply levitates! Wide eyed and euphoric, this joint will sooth even the most savage of souls as they start to elevate into the aether."
Finally issued on vinyl again, the impossibly gentle, sad, life-affirming 'First Meeting’ is a record we’ve described as one of the loveliest chance-encounters we've ever had with music, and by all measures one of our favourite albums of all time. If you’re into anything from Erik Satie to Virginia Astley, Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label to Laila Sakini, or if you like the idea of timeless outsider music for piano, wurlitzer, bells, flute and voice, this precious selection of intimate wonders is ready and waiting for you to melt into. It might just change your life too.
‘First Meeting’ is an indispensable introduction to the wonderfully moving and expressive parlour music of Dominique Lawalrée - a singular figure who sadly passed away in 2019. Lawalrée had been recording music since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s Obscure label and counted Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music. It took until the first edition of this set compiled by Adrian Rew in 2017, however, for us to first encounter his work. Drawn from self-released material recorded between 1978-1982 on his own Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in 9 parts (15 on the expanded download version) - 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 he strokes his keys and synths into almost indescribably beautiful 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. Lawalrée is kind and generous with memorable melodies too, but layers his recordings with incidental room sounds and touches of more exotic, Eastern influence that reveal themselves with each new listen, perhaps even more so now thanks to Rashad Becker’s exquisite remastering, which sound like he’s removed a veil of cobwebs we didn’t even realise was there in the first place.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to Lawalrée's music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; conveyed with an honesty that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom Lawalrée analysed for a book of second-by-second analysis, culminating in a meeting with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, to whom he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
The set runs between the revelatory tape tekkers and raga-folk swoon of ‘Post-Scriptum’, to what sounds uncannily like an Arca piece in the warbling notes of ‘Please Do Not Disturb’, taking in the tear-jerking masterwork ‘Listen to the Quiet Voice’ and 14 mins of bucolic beauty in ‘Le Secret Blanc’ in its breezy stride.
Ahh, this record is just a dream.
Killer DIY/C86 avant-janglers for guitar, drums & vox somewhere on the spectrum between classic Sarah Records x Flying Nun, The Breeders’ ‘Pod’ and the Slint/Moin thing. Tipped!
Adrie’s sound is an angular but sweet ruckus that veers from fuzzed dreampop to lo-fi, countrified punk and garage, reminding us in places of everything from The Field Mice to Slint and The Breeders. The production is baked-in and oversaturated, recorded to 8-track Tascam portastudio, and capturing that specific late 80’s era without submitting to the trappings of nostalgia. What made that wave of lo-fi indie so creative and pure was more than just jangly chords and lackadaisical vocals, it was the blown-out self-guided production that stood in contrast to progressively more sterile releases from major studios at the time - a thing that Adrie nails perfectly on these 8 tunes.
It’s a sound that’s absorbingly mulched in a way that's completely at odds with contemporary engineering logic, and that's what makes it so addictive. 'Crucial Speculations' is almost revolutionary in its rejection of modern recording methodology - there's no autotune, no gridded drum patterns, no plasticky direct-injected digi-crunch guitar. It immediately reminds us of ramshackle US hardcore recordings and the charismatic run of Sarah Records, the Bristol-based indie imprint that released music from influential artists like Heavenly, The Field Mice and Boyracer. Elsewhere, 'You Don't Try' captures the wind-tunnel punkishness of Christchurch's Flying Nun, home to The Clean and The Dead C.
Our favourite moments come when Adrie strips things back to a whisper; on 'Stunned' her voice is pulled into sharp Nico-esque focus, echoing loudly over a faint rhythm, minuscule organ blasts and staccato guitar plucks. There's a theatrical grandeur to this one that separates it from Adrie's more maximalist material, and gives the album its unique character; 'Rocky Road' approaches a similar atmosphere, sounding almost like Beach House with its flimsy farfisa phrases, reverberating beat and disaffected vocals.
‘Blind Spot’ is an addictive, multi-layered listen - and one we just keep on going back to.
Recollections GRM’s revered series introduces acousmatic artist Bernard Fort with sides of macro-to-nano fractals and transfixing collage of Brainfever Birds in southern India that epitomise his working practice since the late ‘70s
Bernard Fort (b. 1954 in Lyon, France) is co-founder of the Groupe musiques vivantes de Lyon (GMVL, France) since 1976 and has dedicated much of his artistic oeuvre to the study of natural soundscapes, with a particular focus on that classic muse of french electro-acoustic and acoustic music, ornithology. His entry to the hallowed GRM series also characterises his fascinations with boundaries of distinction between “abstraction and figuration, natural and cultural”, with a poetic touch that feels very much of the gallic school of practice and gives his works, even at their most challenging, a sense of logic and meta-narration that lures deep into his work.
The one to check here is a continuation of his work found on the CD ‘Paysages Sonores De L'Inde Du Sud’, with ‘Brain Fever’, so named for the Brainfever Bird, or Common hawk-cuckoo resident to the Indian subcontinent, whose three-part call almost sounds like it says its name in increasingly louder repetitions (if you squint your ears a bit). Using sound images caught in the Aurovillian forest, near Pondicherry and the Bay of Bengal, Fort manipulates the bird’s calls in a setting that morphs from foreboding to humid and febrile, entangled with its synthesised reflections in an increasingly fraught call-and-response that works up to a sci-fi soundtrack intensity, only to pull back and leave us back in nature again, and then plunge back into echoes of raga strings and choral drift a la FSOL’s Amorphous Androgynous.
This pair of masterpieces by the pivotal 20th century pioneer and poet of musique concrète were previously only available on his ‘L’Œuvre Électronique’ boxset. ‘Music Promenade’ is an absorbing study of peacetime late ‘60s Europe, with chattering ladies and brass pomp intersected by fireworks/artillery and atonal blasts of serialist music, whereas ‘Unheimlich Schön’ effectively explores the inverse, with nothing more than whispered syllables wisping across the stereo field in utterly hypnagogic style. It’s a perfect example of Ferrari’s fascination with observing daily life, and finding poetry in the prosaic.
"Music Promenade', composed in 1969, has been realized from a certain number of recording I have done on journeys in different European countries. The first purpose of this realization was an acoustic installation based on four independent tape machines unfolding the tapes in loops. Thus this sound events scattered to the four corners of the hall met one another permanently in an aleatoric (generated by random means) encounter. The duration of the piece was indefinite. So the issue on CD is an immovable version of a possible stabilized mix version.
Each of the four tapes was about twenty minutes long (each tape has a different duration so that the cycles can never encounter in the same manner). The structure of each tape consists of a succession of short characteristic an dynamic sequences alternating with blurred and slight, sometimes nearly silent sounds. When one characteristic sequence encounters by chance a slight sound, this one colors that one. On the other hand, when an event sequence encounters another one, they perturb each other, for their good or for their evil. Such is life.When I consider this piece now, I notice that I am still working on the same principles of random variations that create encounters and superimpositions of cycles that combine themselves by alteration. This concept I called « tautology » in the 1960s is still present in my recent compositions.
- Luc Ferrari”
Alga Marghen close out their archival series of Éliane Radigue's unreleased tape and feedback compositions with its most startling set yet: two pieces, recorded thirty years apart, that zero in on her trailblazing genius, linking electroacoustic music, industrial noise, and meditative drone like a waking dream reprised.
Radigue is the visionary electro-acoustic composer whose work with microtonal tape music pushed the material parameters of sound as we know it. She studied with concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer at RTF in the mid ‘60s and worked as assistant to another legendary figure, Pierre Henry, between 1967-69, before embarking on one of the most remarkable and singular paths in experimental music. This final unreleased part of her ‘Feedback Works’ plunges us into hitherto unheard 1969 recordings placed beside a keeling hybrid of tape, field recordings and ARP from 1998 that’s bound to send heads reeling.
Like a transmission received from another planet or a Conet Project number station signal resembling the atavistic vibration of one’s own atoms, ‘Memoriam-Ostinato’ (1969) returns us to uncannily familiar territory and temporality with a 23 minute play of feedback artefacts that appear to sing and keen like the elements. If you let your ears defocus and attune to her pace, the effect is powerfully hypnagogic, vacillating between alertness and stasis, eerie calm and ravishing noise, in subliminally effective transitions.
Stranger still is ‘Danse des Dakinis’, a breathtaking work made at Mills College in 1998. Unable to bring her trusted ARP to the campus, Éliane used tape recordings from previous decades, together with new recordings of the creek by the college, to conjure a momentous work inflected with her howling early feedback techniques as well as ARP synthesiser recordings. By this stage in her life Radigue was a practicing Buddhist, so the work inevitably absorbs an even more restrained sense of calm, even when balanced by aesthetically tense synthetic burrs and water rushes that mimic the frothy buzz of tape-crumbled white noise. Dark but never tonally self-involved or ego-driven, the piece is a lesson in thematic clarity and textural world-building - effectively a denouement of her c.20th path before she ultimately discontinued work with electronic music in favour of instrumental research and composition.
We really can't recommend it enough.
As previewed on that mad double tape from PAN a few weeks ago, the incendiary debut sermon from undercover operative/s Honour now lands on vinyl, featuring tattered scraps of blown-out drill, dissociated jazz, and algo-mangled rave, stitching everything into fresh shapes driven by DIY noise and gnarled manipulations pushed deep into the red. Crazed, beautiful, completely essential gear if yr on that Hype Williams/Babyfather tip, DatPiff, Klein, Dreamcrusher, the Curl lot, 1995 epilepsy, Space Afrika’s hybtwibt? mixtape or Jog Mode...
Who might Honour actually be? Clues are laid out like a breadcrumb trail on their labyrinthine inaugural dispatch, initiating a bleakly cinematic narrative that’s punctuated by dub FX and obstreperous samples that lay out a life well lived. Honour infuse each gesture with screwy, confident storytelling unfurling ideas, feelings, rage - creative energies - into something abstract and yet completely focused.
We open on a haze of pistol clacks, electric piano stabs, 12-bit boom bap, and submerged, barely-audible chatter. It's a space that feels familiar but defiantly current: Honour have a command of the past, serving dream dust that's mined from tweaky '90s R&B, jiggy rap, DIY culture, punk and the bits of the rave continuum that haven't been completely rinsed by Goldsmiths interlopers, but here muffled under thick blankets of half-heard vocals and abstract noise. Beats are slowed to a Houston crawl, spliced with dizzy loops; soul and disco cuts are forced thru ferric saturations and weaved into nice 'n sleazy chipmunked day-zero garage; trip-hop is reformed into baroque, cavernous neo-trap, driving us into darker, more politicised ends.
And that's just the first side. On the flip, Honour treats us to a recording of a US preacher improvising over jittery jazz drums. "I didn't come here to say I just came to church, I came here to be the church,". Those words stick in the mind like gorilla glue, radically reframing the first side's cultural tapestry as something far more nuanced and sacred.
Alongside it’s second volume, ‘HBK Vol.1: Na God’ is some of the most major material that's appeared on our radar these last few months - providing uncompromising sonic myth-making irrespective of who may - or may not - be involved.
Eliane Radigue’s visionary, subliminal 1970 masterpiece is back in circulation, offering a beguiling musical experience in the transition from acoustic keys to etheric electronic feedback realms.
Without direct comparison to anything that came before, or after, it; ‘Opus 17’ signals the close of a period of singular experimental creativity during which Radigue dematerialised the properties of music into a bold new language of texture and sonic phenomena. For various reasons, ‘Opus 17’, like much of Radigue’s now-prized ouevre, remained a preserve of avant-garde loft space performances and archives at the time, and it would be decades before she received the acclaim due to her work. With the benefit of hindsight, it's perhaps understandable in the context of the elemental, geologic imperceptibility of her music, which takes listeners time to fully cotton onto, but once snagged there’s no turning back - perceptions of musical possibility become irrevocably altered.
For newcomers to Radigue’s infinite macrocosm, ‘Opus 17’ remains an ideal point of departure into an ocean of sound that includes some of the C.20th’s most mystifying recordings, such as her ‘Trilogie De La Mort’ (as found on INA-GRM’s essential boxset ‘Œuvres Électroniques’) and the incredible ‘Transamorem - Transmortem’. The five pieces of ‘Opus 17’ find Radigue at a height of her powers, glacially unweaving an elegant piano phrase of the opening ‘Étude’ over the proceeding 90 minutes (which may feel like much, much longer) thru the envelopes of a Buchla 100 series synthesiser at NYU. With nanoscopic fine motor control, she allows the phrase to decay, sublimate and combs its timbral artefacts thru the wires until the parts sing a remarkably altered song that seemingly feels like the room singing to itself. Of course we could draw lines to Alvin Lucier’s work here, but there’s something more peculiar, inexplicable at work in Radigue’s transitions between passages that is practically the definition of subtlety when it comes to drone music.
When you find yourself fully in the middle of it, or when the music stops and real life, normal temporality returns, the effect can be little short of epiphanic, leaving you wondering where the heck you’ve been for the duration. While Radigue’s music has practically become a byword for the enigma of drone music at its most powerful, there are many who’ve yet to succumb to her beautifully wilting, palpably transportive and transformative work. We envy them for what they’re about to encounter...
Swaggering, proggy jazz-rock fusion chops from 2016 resurface to the relief of Rune Grammofon heads who don’t fancy paying the now-steep 2nd hand prices for Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s cult recording.
“If "Black Stabat Mater" can be seen as moving into new terrains, then "Evil In Oslo" can serve as a summing up of the previous years, although there is also a clear link between the albums. While the nine live performances presented here all come from their first three studio albums, most are lenghty workouts again showing Hedvig as a very confident and accomplished solo guitarist. Recorded at Oslo clubs John Dee and Buckley´s, "Evil In Oslo" is simply a kick ass live album (never thought we´d ever use that expression, but there you go), with a very high level of musicianship and a perfect balance between freedom and discipline. These hi-res recordings capture both the energy level and all the details in a marvellous way, and this is simply a must have for all HMT fans! Alternatively, it´s the perfect introduction for the curious newcomer.”
NWW’s Colin Potter does early techno house!!! Or as close as he’ll get to it, at least, on a set of thrumming grooves benefitting from his patented, systems based tekkers. We rate you’ll agree; it’s a dream come true for fans of Tuning Circuits, Larry Heard, CTI, PWOG, Beau Wanzer, The Dad’s
Recorded between the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and very much redolent of contemporaneous industrial dance/new beat/EBM/proto-techno, ‘Ago’ hails the mad boffin at the knobs on six propulsive pieces of hardware-hewn 4-to-the-floor rhythm and hypnotic, layered electronics bound to do the damage in spangled nightclubs and the endless afters. It also notably features some of the earliest instances of Potter using an Atari computer for MIDI sequencing, which he acknowledges as feeling “a bit weird in those days”, and “Ironic really, given the situation now”, but likewise signifies how his music has both reflected and mutated modes of progressive electronic music since Potter’s earliest joints circa 1981 issued on his legendary ICR label.
Working at his studio in Tollerton - a tiny village in North Yorkshire, detached from the usual power centres of electronic music and the kind of dance trax explored here - ‘Ago’ depicts Potter at his most purposefully rhythmic. He’s clearly drawing on the whole dance phenomenon of the era, but with the custom style of detuned and unique electronic timbres that have always defined his work. It all marks a hitherto unforeseen aspect of his oeuvre, with a singular quality attributable to his earliest experiments with integrating old analog synths with new machines, and each cut thus fizzes with a mesmerising, direct energy and combustible thrill of the new that makes it all sound uncannily fresh some 30 years later.
Made in relative isolation from any notable dance scene at the time, the trax weren’t made for any specific club or soundsystem crew, as was much dance music of the time, but rather follow his nose for a mutant take on rhythmic electronics that better reflect the thrust of fellow northern outliers such as TG’s Chris & Cosey or parallels across the North Sea in Rene Bakkers’ Tuning Circuits and lowlands kin Psychick Warriors of Gaia or The Dad’s in cuts such as the gnashing bucker ‘No More’ or ‘Know No Thing’, as much as Larry Heard’s Chicago templates in ‘Know More’ and the 12 minute wonder ‘Washing Machine’, with an eerie sore thumb of eldritch waltz in ‘Malton’ that echoes his earliest gems.
What a revelation?! Maddest recommendations.
The 2004 debut Belbury Poly album by Jim Jupp, 'The Willows' set Ghost Box's hauntological agenda.
Rightfully reissued, it's especially nice to have the beautiful artwork to fondle and gawp at. An Algernon Blackwood quote on the sleeve sums the vibe perfectly "It's the sound of their world, the humming in their region. The division here is so thin that it leaks through somehow. But, if you listen carefully, you'll find it's not above so much as around us. It's in the willows".
Its frothy electronics, churning synth sounds and enchantingly off-key melodies are purely evocative of the Radiophonic workshop and the likes of Raymond Scott, but there's also a spooky element that defines this age from that, and it's that ambiguity between optimistic futurism and an underlying darkness of reality, that helps make this album so well loved.
For fans of Boards Of Canada, Broadcast or Moon Wiring Club.
Alga Marghen present these astonishing archival works by Eliane Radigue, originally released along with Feedback Works as a double pack, and now available as standalone LP.
Listening to Radigue's music is a transformative, humbling experience. Her singular sound is best described by Michel Chion as "infinitely discreet... next to which all other music seems to be tugging at one's sleeve for attention." Working since the late '50s under the tutelage of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry at RTF's Studio d'essai - the birthplace of musique concrète - she created a body of work whose profound simplicity has only begun to be widely appreciated over the last decade or so. Vice - Versa. Etc., originally conceived as a sound installation, was created using multiple tape machines, creating feedback loops and altering their pitch and duration to coax out quavering microtonal harmonics and ultrasound frequencies not usually perceived at their normal setting.
As practically anyone who knows (and probably adores) her music will testify, there's really very little else out there that compares to the elemental tranquility and hallucinatory effect of her works. Add the fact this composition was recently stereo synthesised by Emmanuel Holterbach, and you have a breathtaking document of some of the most intense and involving early electronic works you'll likely ever hear.
An absolute masterpiece.
Properly Entrancing recordings of Eliane Radigue’s ferric alchemy come to light again on vinyl, this time on a better vinyl pressing with calmer surface noise allowing for a finer grasp of her pulsing, filigree microtones and pealing timbral partials. Also, that new cover art is....!!!
Stunning Alga Marghen issue of two previously unreleased masterworks by Eliane Radigue recorded at Pierre Henry's studio between 1967-68. At this time she was working for Henry at his studio, given the enviable task of organising his vast sound library according to different criteria for use in his future compositions and also helping edit his masterpiece 'L'Apocalypse de Jean'. During downtime she had access to an unrivaled array of equipment and created these two compositions. Jouet Electronique' (1967) or 'Feedback on magnetic tape' features two Studer and two Tolana reel tape machines - Radigue would set one to record another and manipulate the discrepancies of phasing feedback loops, or "larsens" with delicate, fine-tuned pitching, "slightly caressing certain potentiometers" to elicit a range of low pulsations and very high pitched sounds as though she were playing a rather unwieldy instrument. The results are ethereal and often alien, yet conducted with an uncannily restrained and human sleight of hand.
Even more visceral is 'Elemental I' (1968) or 'Feedback of natural sounds on magnetic tape' comprises four movements associated with the four basic elements: water, fire, air and earth. Thanks to her former employer, the artist, Arman, she now had a small, portable Stella Vox which she used to record sounds in open air during walks around her home in Nice, capturing the sea, the wind, the rain and fire to form a small sound library. The sources in each section are discernable, but transformed into breathtaking abstractions at her home studiio.
A follow-up EP to Omar S’ Fuck Resident Advisor double-pack.
"Simply houses the four tracks that were on the album’s CD release but not the vinyl. They’re every bit as good as though, and thankfully Omar S now puts them on wax too. Crunchy, joyous, sample-heavy, Detroit house music from one of the best to do it. He has a unique way with grooves, ear for infectious samples and that all important bucket of charisma. Everything from the record’s title to its contents could only be Omar S."
AD 93’s brooding club sibling Lith Dolina yields its fully fledged debut of braindancey moods & grooves by Japan’s Bot1500 - introspective dance music for fans of Aleski Perälä, AFX, µ-Ziq, Wata Igarashi
After nesting a couple of cuts on Lith Dolina’s ‘Brabur Q-IH’ comp in ’21, Bot1500 follows in their mould of sweetly harmonised electronics and crisp, rolling rhythms on six tracks primed for rural raving and headphone strolls. ’Surreal’ is a fine addition to its particular quarter of electronic club music, neatly balancing ruggedness with bloozy vulnerability in ‘Pearl 2’, and recalling classic early µ-Ziq on the effortless breaks and swooning pads of ‘Chartreuse 8’. The puckered melody and insistent machine fizz of ‘Crimson 6’ hits somewhere between the wide-eyes of Aleski Perälä’s colundi-scaled techno and Wata Igarashi’s posh trance, and ‘Crimson 9’ goes on like a weathered Bjarki number.
Debonaire West Coast dance fantasy from LA’s Benedek on a proper deep garage-house, new jack swang and R&B pivot starring guest vox by Dreamcastmoe and Devin Morrison - a BIG look for fans of Janet Jackson, Steve Arrington, Tony Humphries, Ben Cenac, Funkineven
Flush with proper, hair-kissing funk and seductive soul, ‘Zebrano’ pays up on the shimmering FM synth promise of Benedek’s ‘Emotional’ EP of ’22 with a full 7-track suite nestling that EP’s highlight amid puckered strains of late ‘80s/early ‘90s suss, each brimming with juicy synth vamps, pleading vocals and thee rudest, glute-slapping bass chops. It would surely take a connoisseur to split the difference between these bits and the real, OG thang, such is the high levels of quality on show, with all tracks on board built to bang in the best redlit blues-party basements or mirror-clad clubs from California to Moss Side.
Ayyyye, we’re talking sheer class in the trilling electroid garage swang of ‘In The Air’ ft. Akua, and its sinuous remix, plus sure chromatic grease in the G-funked slyde of ‘Emotional’, with heart-in-mouth good times garage-house positivity on ‘Better Days’, and the Ben Cenac-alike NYC house haughtiness of ‘Peace of Mind’, tempered with the purring new jack swing slink of ‘Jak Moves’ and the ruggedly sultry, eastern-facing boogie zinger ‘Solar Panel’ all readied to put your silky parachute pants to deadly effect in the darnce.
Guaranteed to make you move at least 30% slicker (if only in your own head, at least).
Propulsive, chunky techno-house from Vancouver mainstay Big Zen doing it for the local titans Mood Hut
A member of Killer DJs with Alex Sheaf aka Dust-e-1, Big Zen is a regular spinner at parties across Vancouver and now joins the city’s internationally renowned label with a follow-up to his shots fired on Planet Euphorique and this year’s self-released 12”.
‘Prayer Bass’ plays it deep but haughty with rude bass pressure powering Detroit-style pads and arps, whereas ’Sugarcoated’ whips it Chicago-style with percolated groove and velvet chords ascending in proggy form. ‘Cash Splash’ is the nippiest of the bunch, edging on a sort of 313 garage-techno recalling Aaron-Carl and built with floating vibes for the eyes-shut dancers, with ‘Rumble Ball’ deploying more tribal house drums and cosmic pads for the 5am shunt.
A masterpiece of Lynchian ambient doom jazz and elegiac solemnity comes of age - primed to ease sore heads into 2023. Huge RIYL Earth, Low, Badalamenti, Sabbath...
The 4th album proper by Mulheim an der Ruhr’s inimitable slowcore band delivers an end-of-the-bottle vision of depressed yet life-affirming, instrumental lounge jazz, guided by the spirits of doom metal in a way that has become Bohren & Der Club of Gore’s calling card since the mid ‘90s.
Their follow-up to towering classics of a singular genre, such as ‘Gore Motel’ (1995), Sunset Mission’ (2000), and ‘Black Earth’ (2002); ‘Geisterfaust’ (or ‘Ghost Fist’) holds among their classic titles with four of the band’s original members contributing achingly well-timed downstrokes of doom riffage and tenebrous atmosphere that indelibly marks the memory and evokes the darkest romance of soundtracks to Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet with a rare intensity and vaporous nature distilled from what were formerly, mutually exclusive, stylistic bedfellows.
Then a 4-piece band operating in a vein of what they described as an “unholy ambient mixture of slow jazz ballads, Black Sabbath doom and down-tuned Autopsy sounds”, Bohren followed their nose quite unlike anyone else in the game, with results that have endured beyond the shifting sands of trend and time. An exceedingly slow 20 minute introduction, ‘Zeigefinger’ acclimates the senses to unique atmospheric conditions and an imagined mise-en-scene of long faces, candlelight and ice clinking whisky tumblers, following to the soothing harmonic glow of ‘Daumen’ and a breathtaking centrepiece ‘Ringfinger’ where their doom glower really peers in thru the window, culminating in the exquisite balance of saxy tristesse and incandescent, rope-knotting hope to ‘Kleiner Finger’, by which point you'll be thoroughly lost in their thoughts and ready to pour another.
A masterclass in disposing generic blinkers and getting to the heart of what matters.
Aye whats this? Omar-S’ FXHE with a deadly set of Ghettotech x Footwork energies from the Motor City, produced by Milf Melly & King Milo aka Hi Tech, cutting fast tempos with smudged strings and city-at-night romance. It’s full deadly gear, huge tip if yr into anything from Shake Shakir to DJ Nate to Alexander Omar Smith, you know it.
Hitting one of the label’s rarest seams of inspiration, Hi Tech tip the needle up to proper 150bpm+ tempos in a contemporary echo of classic jit steez. While FXHE is best known for deepest, rawest Detroit techno-house, Omar has previously touched ass at this tempo with ‘Jit’ off his debut LP, and more recently on ‘Ain’t No Real Pimps Anymore’, but never indulged quite to this extent, with Hi Tech brandishing a fully fledged combo of quick drums and glyding chords peppered with pitched vox that goes hard, we tell ya.
Built for DJs, the dance, and gas-guzzling road boats, Hi Tech’s debut efforts balance the upfront ghettotech rawness of jit, proper, with a more debonaire flair in 11 parts; tapping in with the Henny-flavoured neon wooze of the opener, and holding the line thru butterfly drums of ‘Big Prism’, to the female vocal kiss of ‘Poppin @ The Suite’ and ‘Funny F*ckwits’; pulling up to ruggedest rap on ‘$$$cashapp’, with MC ‘Milf Melo’ taking the spotlight on it’s juiciest highlight; and ‘I Swear It’s a Bop’ best revealing the sound’s shared DNA with Chicago footwork, beside a Future-facing curtain closer ‘Fitness By King Milo’.
Straight killers, don’t sleep!
Shocking 909 driven dancehall banger from Dug Out, the label run by Honest Jons and Hard Wax
Ruffest shot of 1988 ragga-techno from Tiger at his maddest. Nuthin' but a rattling 909 riddim topped by an incendiary, unhinged vocal and that's all you need! Seriously, we've never heard owt quite like it.
Hearn Gadbois - collaborator of Patti Smith, Meredith Monk, Yoko Ono, Wim Wenders, and The Master Musicians of Jajouka - heads up an enchanting album of post-4th world esotericism following from lines explored by Jon Hassell or Mecanica Popular
‘Rara Avis’ is, somewhat remarkably, only the 2nd solo release by a roving artist who started his career playing conga in jazz and funk bands in the Middle East, and became a consummate collaborator with leading lights of NYC downtown scene in the ‘80s, playing in the psych fusion band Saqqara Dogs and on Tzadik Records. Using custom self-built acoustic instruments and a smattering of electronics, Gadbois draws on multiple modes of traditional trance/ecstatic music in a wonderfully loose and rhythmically psychedelic style personalised by his restless Indian percussion techniques of hand and foot playing that animates his music with a gripping quality that lends itself to fringe ‘floors or lowlit home bops, forever flowing forward and outwards with the lushest concern for the listener.
His first solo release and vinyl debut, following 2002’s ‘Joinery’ CD concludes with that album’s title tune, beside 11 works previously scattered among compilations issued 1983-2020. Collected, they open out a kaleidoscopic showcase of imaginative modal fusion rich with heady spirits that could be termed, as he describes, as; “Mystery Psychedelic Crime Jazz (Tuba City, Flesh of the Spirit), Ayahuasca Hut Bachelor Pad Music (Night, Take the Waters, Wood), or Party Music that just fell from the sky or bubbled up through a crack in the earth (Flown Home, What the Goatherd Heard)”. Outsider in scope, and worldly with it, the set turns up some peachy highlights in the mesh of text-to-speech vox and rhythmelodic hustle in ‘Mojo’ recalling Paul DeMarinis jamming with Luis Delgado, thru to rolling tombak-like patterns resonating modern works by Mohammad Reza Mortazavi & Burnt Friedmann efforts in ‘Joinery’, with sultry late night NYC atmospheres reflecting Eli Keszler works in ‘Night’, or a funkier Muslimgauze in ’Flown Home’, offering a superb entry portal to his imaginative inner world.
One of the year’s great discoveries, finally on vinyl. ‘Sweet Harmony’ is a collection dreamlike baroque-classical and chamber-jazz, at the intersection of Tara Clerkin Trio, To Rococo Rot and Apartment House...Tipped!!!!
The first release on Paris’ excellent Latency label since 2020, ‘Sweet Harmony’ extends an unmissable introduction to the filigree cello, piano, and guitar delicacies of TLF Trio. Revolving Cæcilie Trier, Jakob Littauer and Mads Kristian Frøslev, the trio specialise in a finely de/re-constructed, sculptural take on free jazz and minimalism informed by “the stiltedness of Central-European Classical of the Late Renaissance and Early Baroque”. In the process they most carefully and elegantly loosen Classical templates, fluidly shapeshifting their acoustic gestures with quietly breathtaking and captivating measures of technical precision and tongue-tip, improvised spirit that leaves ample room for surprises and richly rewards repeat listens. It’s very special indeed.
Under a titular reference to the rave classic, which also offers a clue to their playful, almost pop-wise appeal, TLF Trio have us by a thread on their debut collaboration. Landing on the mind like summer rain with the exquisite tactility of their prelude ‘Passacaglia’, the trio adroitly morph between ultra sparse, Wandelweiser levels of minimalism puckered with ephemeral melody and fraught with string shivers in the balm of ‘Late August, Early September’, with the album’s only (possible) appearance of electronics in Claus Haxholm’s metallic beat, recalling To Rococo Rot works, that underlines the melancholy of ’Suite X’. Melodic leitmotifs return in ‘David’, practically dematerialised in acoustic space prizing near-dubwise decay and resonance, while the the record’s centrepiece, ‘Song’ characterises their incredible attention to timbral detail with its transition from low end drone to whistling high registers, and the barely there conclusion of ’Sweet Harmony’ ultimately feels as though waking from a dream.
Incredibly precious stuff. Don’t sleep!
35th anniversary reissue of anaesthetising Japanese ambient debut by Shiho Kabuki, holding a torch to her oft overlooked work in the fields of healing music and new age that shimmers with a lounge FM sheen akin to Badalamenti’s Lynch soundtracks.
“The Body Is A Message Of The Universe features floating shimmering synthesizer textures. It’s unique and extra ordinarily serene with shifting tone colors and spatial textures bringing the listener to a special magic place. It’s as beautiful as it ‘s captivating. There’s also a haunting edge to parts of the album sounding like what could originally have influenced David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti when they composed the soundtrack to the original Twin Peaks series.
“Creativity is the unfolding of the unknown realms within the self. Through our chosen ways of expression, each of us is daily creating a unique universe, a unique environment. The universe created by each and every being in endless repetition are messages of the universe. The breath of this music, expressed from my present environment, flowing through a myriad of places as environmental music is my expression of The Body Is A Message Of The Universe”.
Part of the album also saw a limited US CD release in the late 1980s which is hard to come by today. Although Shiho Yabuki continued her career in Japan, both as a musician and magician and became a pioneer of healing music in Asia, for most western listeners it was like Shiho was one of those mysterious artists who puts out an album and then is never heard from again. This is unfortunate, and something Subliminal Sounds hope to rectify. This release also features a couple of special tracks originally composed and recorded by Shiho in the late 1980s for the Japanese Kanebo Beauty Research Laboratory.”
BABii's collaborative mixtape SCREAMER, featuring Iglooghost, Jennifer Walton, kasus, Pholo, umru, and Warpstr.
"Fusing DnB, garage, and jungle with pop sensibilities, the project is a reflection of her experimental writing and production."
Delightful jammer from the semi-mythical Swell Maps / Television Personalities-affiliated Scottish indie pop janglers The Catburgers. Essential listening for any C86 or Flying Nun aficionados - think The Pastels, The Field Mice, BMX Bandits.
There are some bands that seem to exist more in the memory than in any tangible reality. The Catburgers have languished in obscurity since their 1980s Edinburgh scene debut, mulled over in quiet tones until tracks began to seep thru the digital ether and appear on SoundCloud over a decade ago. With help from the National Sound Archives, Copenhagen's FELT imprint has managed to rebake the original master tape for an EP that was recorded in 1987 for Dan Treacy's Dreamworld label. Somehow the record never initially saw the light of day - it was shelved indefinitely and the band inevitably evaporated.
Listening now it's easy to hear how they begin to complete a fuller picture of the Scottish indie scene; lead track 'Holiday House' is catchy and warmly simplistic, the kind of sketchily perfect rawness that would go on to inform music from Glasgow's The Delgados and their Chemikal Underground acolytes. Fittingly, Jowe Head from Brummie DIY/post-punk legends Swell Maps appears on short, rugged belter 'The Acid Tree', assuring us that The Catburgers aren't all whimsy. 'Diving for the Brick' splits the difference, retaining the bassy pace of its predecessor but returning to the swept-hair feels dump of 'Holiday House'. Lovely stuff.
Cult drummer Valentina Magaletti teams up with poet and novelist Fanny Chiarello on "Permanent Draft", an audio-visual manifesto for their ambitious new label.
Permanent Draft is set to be an all-women label that "aims to highlight works showing certain taste for fragmentary, irrepressible creation eruption and lo-fi experiments." This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who regularly tunes in to Valentina Magaletti prolific output; in the last few months the virtuoso drummer has put out more material than most of yr faves have in a decade.
On these two short tracks, Magaletti adds percussion and sonic abstraction to submerged texts from French writer Fanny Chiarello, who also contributes a series of poems to the physical release. If you managed to peep Magaletti's brilliant "A Queer Anthology of Drums", that's the best indicator of the style on show on 'Migraine', while flipside cut 'The Bitter Truth' is more restrained and ethereal, splicing Chiarello's French words with piano and shimmering textures. It's nail-bitingly short, but keeps us on our toes for what might come next from Permanent Draft.