Retro-futurist prog-pop made on modular synths.
“In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still-blooming discography that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself. The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough EARS, chronicles four defining cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP.
The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself, existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,” which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness here, but it's elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but underreported moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up another highlight in the form of “In The World But Not Of The World” which serves its subject well with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near-Bollywood low end pulse.
Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut “Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am” recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU-based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On “To Feel Your Best” this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles-oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.”
After leaving us hanging for too long, the enigmatic R&B starlet pays up on the promise of her Cut 4 Me mixtape and Hallucinogen EP with an impeccable album of proper, star-dusted songs about love and life as “…a black woman, a 2nd generation Ethiopian-American, who grew up in the ‘burbs listening to R&B, Jazz and Björk”. Yh yh, count us in!
Sweeping us up in the heart-in-mouth dream sequence of Frontline’s sylvan soul and gently fading with the deliquescent sensuality of Altadena at its curtain close, Take Me Apart is arguably a modern classic blessed with widely resonating appeal. Marking a sublime demonstration of Kelela’s personal development over the years since literally everyone jumped on Cut 4 Me, her first opus is a more mature, layered and more coherent set which defines the difference between a mixtape and album thanks to its fluid logic and and intimately involving narrative structure.
Jupiter allows a moment to catch your breath in its bittersweet pirouettes before the rugged LMK - the album’s lead single - takes hold, triggering an amazing 2nd half loaded with Arca’s tell-tale pitch bends in the boogie knuck of Truth Or Dare and the almost industrially-toned drums and maaaad wide bass on S.O.S., but we’re not sure who’s responsible for the radioactive lead line of Blue Light, or the Burial-esque 2-step of Onanon, and it doesn’t really matter anyway, cos Kelela’s really the star of the show in every part.
RIYL Steve Gunn, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ryley Walker, Itasca, Bill Callahan, Joan Shelley, Kurt Vile, Angel Olsen & Joni Mitchell.
"On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date. The most fully realized statement to date from Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence. “I wanted to make a rock and roll record,” Lindeman explains, “but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock and roll.” The result is a spirited, frequently topical tour de force that declares its understated feminist politics, and its ambitious new sonic directions, from its first moments.
Opener “Free,” with its jagged distorted guitar, is wryly anti-freedom—how very un-rock-and-roll!—in response to mansplaining chatter: “Was I free as I should be, or free as you were? Is it me that you’re talking to? I never could stand those simple words.” Lindeman’s songwriting has always been deconstructive, subtly undermining the monoliths of genre with her sly sense of complexity and irony. She has generally been characterized as a folk musician, and yet with its subtext of community and tradition, the term “folk” has never quite fit The Weather Station’s work; the songs are too specific and lacerating. So appropriately, Lindeman’s so-called “rock and roll record” suspiciously stares down those genre signifiers—big, buzzing guitars, thrusting drums—and interweaves horror-movie strings and her keening, Appalachian-tinged vocal melodies. Reaching towards a sort of accelerated talking blues, she sings As she hits the climax of “Thirty,” a poignant, bittersweet story of a passing crush, you realize she has been singing incessantly forthe last two minutes, with nods to gasoline prices, antidepressants, a father in Nairobi—how she “noticed fcuking everything: the light, the reflections, different languages, your expressions.” On past records, Lindeman has been a master of economy. Here her precisely detailed prose-poem narratives remain as exquisitely wrought as ever, but they inhabit an idiosyncratic, sometimes disorderly, and often daring album that feels, and reads, like a collection of obliquely gut-punching short stories.
The characters of The Weather Station are navigating the unknowable, the frontiers of anxiety, empathy, and communication. On “Power” Lindeman expresses desire for strength and control as decline rather than ascent. “Black Flies” conjures a natural world as discomfiting andforbidding as the distances between us: “Straight line of horizon, and the ocean painful wide … Every crooked wordspoken still ringing in your ears like the whine of mosquitoes.” Heatstricken “Complicit” raises the specter of climatechange; as “all the hot winds blow,” and her guitar knots itself into a helical riff, Lindeman reminds us, “you and I, weare complicit” in the escalating disaster.After two records made in close collaboration with other musicians Lindeman self produced, taking full creative control for the first time since her debut. The band comprised touringbassist Ben Whiteley, drummer Don Kerr, and disparate guests, including Ryan Driver (Jennifer Castle), Ben Boye (Ryley Walker), and Will Kidman (The Constantines). The cover of Loyalty memorably featured the back of Lindeman’s head. On the cover of this record, by contrast, shestares directly into the camera, insouciant in blue jeans, frozen in an artless, almost awkward pose. The Weather Stationis her most direct and candid record, and the first one to include tracks one might characterize as pop songs. Throughout, the record grapples with some of the darkest material Lindeman has yet approached: it is, according toher, the first album on which she touches on her personal experiences of mental illness. And yet the gesture inherentto the record is one of unflinching embrace. Despite it all, the characters “fall down laughing, effervescent, and all overnothing, all over nothing.” “Well, I guess I got the hang of it” she sings wryly, “the impossible.” By saying more than everbefore, The Weather Station seeks to reveal the unnamable, the unsayable void that lies beneath language andrelationships. It’s willfully messy and ardent and hungry. And that, perhaps, is very rock and roll, after all."
A new name on Livity Sound
I-III plays deep into the label’s signature, rolling style with the rippling, Afrocentric drums, Detroit chords and subtle electrical disturbances of Dolce designed to enhance your hustle, then Bun So Nude heads down a slippery wormhole of almost Indian-sounding drum cadence synched to proper, bulbous subs and not much else, but that’s all you need!
Dmitry Evgrafov makes a captivating vinyl debut on Fatcat’s 130701 label with Comprehension of Light following his label debut Collage  and the digital release of The Quiet Observation . Fans of label alumni Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dustin O’Halloran or Hauschka would be remiss to sleep on this one!
Notably accompanied by Abul Mogard on one piece, and Iskra String Quartet (The xx, Radiohead, Jóhann Jóhannsson) for half of the album, with Benoit Pîoulard adding atmospheric detail, Evrgrafov works to the full extent of his still nascent but impressive talents, presenting what he sees as “…a chance to manifest my deepest and strongest belief - the inevitable necessity of some inner moral law that is meant to guide us through daily hardships and make us grow, better, stronger, kinder and smarterer”.
Taking that into account, and the fact that his previous LPs were perhaps better regarded as collections of unconnected material written for commercial purposes - adverts, film, TV etc - it’s therefore best to consider Comprehension of Light as Evgrafov’s definitive artistic statement, displaying the full spectrum of his palette, from grained ambient noise thru rustic string orchestration and feathered solo keys to subtle electronic treatments, all following a redemptive narrative arc that feels like the first proper step in his young oeuvre.
Kiasmos return with a new 12” EP.
“To write new material felt like a new beginning for us after two years of touring. The plan was to write something a tad darker than our previous stuff. Spring in Reykjavík had other plans though, as this turned out to be our brightest release to date.” — Janus Rasmussen
“Stimming was one of the reasons we started making four-on-the-floor music and we have been listening to Bonobo since we were young, so it was a great honour that they wanted to contribute remixes for the EP.” — Ólafur Arnalds
The EP closes with remixes from British producer Bonobo and German electronic musician Stimming, taking tracks Blurred and Paused into different coloured realms.
The cover art featuring the Kiasmos symbol is by long-time Erased Tapes collaborator Torsten Posselt at FELD."
Oren Ambarchi puts a quid in the jukebox for a 2nd session of Stacte Karaoke, catching the esteemed guitarist riffing on classic rock - and we’re talking Classic, yeh.
A ‘mare for some, manna for others, Stacte Karaoke II is like walking into a outback bar in a parallel dimension, where the jukebox doesn’t glitch but actually starts riffing on and recomposing whatever tune you dial in.
It’s a madness, we tell ya.
Theme plumbs the grey area between dub, D&B, and techno in eleven parts for Samurai Music, site of his Theme EP and Scenes 1-4 back in 2014-15. Trust there’s no major change in his sound, just gritty, moody variations on a Theme, with highlights for fans of FIS, Pessimist or Felix K in ‘Passage 2’ and ‘Passage 10’
“With a sum total of 2 12”s released for Samurai Horo and Red Seal, Theme has a sparse but vital discography. Fusing Dub Techno, Ambient and Half Time Drum and Bass, the Theme style developed as a uniquely Berlin influenced take on 170 BPM’s post autonomic developing progression.
Following a 2 year gap since the last release, the Theme debut LP ‘Passages’ builds on this style by accentuating and extending the ambient ‘passages’ and experimenting with beat structures to create an intricately constructed and textured journey. There is nods to the form that has made the Theme style stand out (Passage 6, 8, 9), beautiful ambient tracks that soothe and guide (Passage 1, 4, 7, 10) but the glue that affirms Passages as an accomplished long player comes from percussive workouts that hover around various BPM’s and genres (Passage 2, 3, 5).
Passages should really feel like the pinnacle of a journey for Theme, but instead it feels like the start of an all new chapter in musical form for a musical nomad who has found solace in leaving behind any constrictions and templates.
If you listen closely to Passage 11, you hear the sound of a new life beating from the womb of it’s mother, a fitting metaphor for the birth of the new Theme.”
"I try to perform as honestly as possible" — the soundbite borrowed from late dancer Dudley Williams for this record's second track could have been uttered by The Mole himself.
"It's this candor that has allowed us to bear witness to a very marked and very audible transition from his days as a producer in Montreal to becoming a part of the Berlin scene. And what we have here is one result of that very explicit sonic metamorphosis.
De La Planet is our dyslexic subject's third studio album, one that stays true to his ethos of weird above all in the best possible sense. And yet it feels like something distinctly new. Tapping his enormous reservoir of vinyl and sampling the odd film have acted as complement to the jaw-dropping arsenal of synthesizers at de la Plante's disposal—a battery of machines he's been quietly improving his skills on during the past few years. Or not so quietly, perhaps. The man himself would probably say "I'm coming out of the woodshed", and go off on a tangent about Sonny Rollins and his saint of a wife. But that's a story for another sheet.
While the days of Franco-Canadian dollar-record digging are behind him, this album is nothing if not quintessential Mole. And the opening Harmony Day makes sure to let us know we're in for a beautifully strange ride. But not without a dance floor throwdown first—by way of the symphony of pleas, bargains and one-line artist manifestos that is Going With The Hat Man. From its own dizzying heights through to the sci-fi inflected thumps of Braineater Returns, all the way to He Frank's earworm of a wonky cowbell, it's a charter through seldom explored lands. After The Hat Man gets the instrumental treatment, we proceed to Sandwich Time Is Coming, which sounds like a sonic wink at the portrait of Prince presiding over Colin's turntables—or is it the Klee illustration of a man expelling a smiling turd right next to it?
Either way, this one smells like it's 4:20. Which makes sense, as just one track later we get "I like to get high. So what? Don't you?" And there's no arguing with that thick percussive groove. The cinematic ambiance of Soft Translation and esoteric ripples of River Highways round out the trip, before Time Out sends us on our way with an early-aughties beat to march along to. Ding ding, time's up. This trip through La Planet is completed. Though we're tempted to jump the fence, relax and stay a while.
But wait, there's more. Call now and you'll receive a modular-only bonus track harkening straight back to the 80s. That's right, this underwater love song goes out to all the Elle Macphersons formerly populating those teenage bedroom walls out there. Romantic, eh?"
Larry Conklin bought his first guitar, a Gibson J-45, in 1970, after he got out of the army. "I taught myself to play. I wrote songs and instrumentals (at that time Bert Jansch was my guiding light). I listened to a lot of people - Leo Kottke, John Renbourn, Django Reinhardt, Lonnie Johnson, Robert Johnson - and especially Rev. Gary Davis, who played only with his thumb and index finger as I did."
"Larry's first record, Jackdaw was self-released in 1980 and includes beautiful solo 12 string acoustic guitar tracks, as well as gentle acoustic duets with violinist, Jochen Blum. Larry met Jochen in Florence, Italy, in 1980 and commented that "his violin playing put excitement into my music. It was special. I pressed 300 copies and sent them out into the world."
Larry wrote "The Diamond Cutter" in 1978 while going to Seattle Community College, in a creative writing course. The inspiration for the song, according to Larry "was a girl who wrote a poem to a departing lover - You only deal with cut glass. I deal with diamonds. I introduced myself to her as the Diamond Cutter." In 1985 while living in Berlin, Larry got a letter from a woman in Seattle who informed him that Charles Royer was running for a third term as Mayor of Seattle and that "The Diamond Cutter" was being used as a campaign song. Royer won, November 5th 1985.
Post-Jackdaw, Larry moved to Europe and in 1987 began recording for Tukan Records. In the 21 years that he lived in Europe, Larry toured and recorded with John Renbourn as well as blues artist Sidney ,Guitar Crusher, Selby. Larry returned to the United States in 2002 and now lives in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. "My ambition these days is to work up the perfect set list, an evolving challenge, but on any night when I am playing in Hilo I will play "The Diamond Cutter". It's on my set list. It somehow led me here."
It’s All True is an opera-in-suspension from New York ensemble Object Collection based on the complete live archives of iconic underground band Fugazi.
"Grounded upon the DC post-hardcore outfit’s 1987-2002 Live Archive series, composer Travis Just and writer/director Kara Feely’s work uses only the incidental music, text and sounds, none of Fugazi’s actual songs. An obsessive leap into 1500 hours of gig detritus – random feedback, aimless drum noodling, pre-show activist speeches, audience hecklers, police breaking up gigs – is the foundation of an ear-body-and-mind-flossing 100 minutes for 4 voices/performers, 4 electric guitars/basses and 2 drummers. It’s All True is overloaded, maddening, mundane, properly funny, and a radical incitement to action.”
Bottin crafts propulsive, disco-laden scores for films not yet made, and introspective, mind-expanding cuts designed to ensure that people who want to dance never get caught up in conventional experiences.
"Each moment with Bottin is a memorable one. One thing that sets I Have What I Gave apart from his pioneering Horror Disco and much-loved Punica Fides LPs is that this time around Bottin didn't see to it to create a concept-album structure. Everything came at once during the writing and recording process, which no doubt gives the album its intensity and sense of immediacy.
But even if the album didn't come about in a series of tightly crafted experiments, it doesn't sound messy or chaotic. It's just the opposite. Bottin has managed to take bits and pieces of sounds, some short loops and orphaned arpeggios, and a handful of vocal samples, and put them t ogether into an album that unifies 10 songs of divergent trajectories into an outstanding body of work that absolutely kills."
Debut album from Reptaliens featuring members of Blouse, Wampire, Brainstorm and Woolen Men.
"Portland, Oregon’s Reptaliens is the husband and wife team of Cole and Bambi Browning. The couple met on a basketball court while filming a music video for a mutual friend’s band that didn’t exist. The two knew almost instantly they were soulmates; after dating for six months they married under a blanket of smoke from the season’s forest fires.
Named in reverence for their interests in cult mentality transhumanism, and conspiracy theories, Reptaliens quickly evolved from a bedroom recording project to a full-fledged band that explores fringe pop culture through analogue synthesizers, electric guitars, melodic basslines and Bambi’s lulling vocals. The pair’s songwriting mirrors their strong connection. As Cole says, “Bambi and I write all the music. Sometimes we work together to construct songs and sometimes I’ll come home from work and she’ll have a masterpiece finished and perfectly crafted. We both add to each other’s songs and none really seem completely Bambi’s or mine. We do everything together.”
Inspired by all things science fiction, writers like Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami and music ranging from Paul McCartney / Wings to African artists Francis Bebey and Nahawa Doumbia, the band creates psychedelic, chameleonic dreamscapes that fall sonically and visually somewhere between abstract expressionism and surrealism. These ideas and influences all coalesce on ‘FM-2030’ - named after the renowned transhumanist writer and philosopher - the band’s debut album on Captured Tracks.
Thematically based around obsession, Bambi says she “gravitates toward other people’s obsessions and draws inspiration from them. I like to think of method acting and personify myself as the obsessor, writing from their perspective. I love pretending and creating around these personalities.” This play-acting on record translates to the band’s sincere and theatrical live performances that involve homemade costumes and on-stage guest appearances from a giant reptile man.
‘FM-2030’ was recorded at famed Portland studio The Green House with Riley Geare. As longtime active participants in the Portland music scene, Bambi and Cole called on a number of talented musicians for Reptaliens’ recordings and live performances, including Julian Kowalski (guitar), Bryson Hansen (synth) and Tyler Vergian (drums). However, Cole is quick to note, “Reptaliens is a concept more so than a band or any group of individuals. Those who are willing to let go and open themselves up to new experiences will be rewarded and emboldened. Those who want to turn away will have no choice but to look. The truth is out there."
Tokyo’s Kouhei Matsunaga with a lucidly crisp set of breakbeat techno an electro tricks for DFA Records continuing his world tour of labels after 12”S with PAN, Important, Raster-Noton, Diagonal, L.I.E.S.
The prolific multi-monikered artist covers a usual breath of nuance across the 8 tracks of Exit Entrance, weaving between Rian Treanor-esque, avian electronic mixed with crunchy garage in Meeting to fiercer, grungy pressure recalling Diamond Version in Dignity, taking in a glassy beatless apex with Notice and a killer lash of bendy acid techno with Dented.
Gebrüder’s gon’ work make it squelch
Wolfgang Voigt & Reinhard Voigt team up to trample out the strange, haunting acid swagger, sepulchral synth voices and squirrelly electronics of Sanfte Grüsse in a Grungerman style, backed with the frozen alarm bells and dry-humping motorik techno momentum of Durchdringdring with unmistakeable teutonic discipline.
Hypnotic minimal techno from Tresque, who’s maybe better known as Geneva’s experimental improvisor D’Incise, who has changed tack to techno with heavy, physical effect in the Lensomni EP.
We haven’t really heard anyone go so hard in the pursuit of minimal techno like this since the ‘00s, with unrelenting, brain-bugging effect recalling Thomas Brinkmann or Wolfgang Voigt’s more abstract angles in the steely monotone grind and barely perceptible shifts of Terapung-Apung, and wickedly offset polka pump in the disciplined march of L’Esvelh.
Purified electro pressure outta the southern hemisphere
Jensen Interceptor gets it damn right with the precision-tooled 808 percolations and subtle, floating pads of Glide Drexler, then with frankly reckless levels of 4:4 ghetto-bass in the mechanics of Carter’s Green Factory, and cold killing it with Not Phased’s trepanning snares.
Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) embraces the lush maximalism of ‘70s ’Process Music’ and mannered ‘80s pop minimalism as Beast, making a radical but logical departure from his atomically-detailed modular synth recordings released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex over the past decade.
Joining the Pre-Echo label for this stylistic change of wind, Holtkamp presents the most rhythmically focussed material in his catalogue of solo and collaborative works. The dreamy fluidity of his more granular, diaphanous sounds is now shaped into cascades of mind-melt harmonic contours urged by piquant, pointillist patterns with mesmerising results.
This change in direction stems from a finer realisation of live light-to-sound techniques, using 3D lasers to represent every aspect of the performance - from modular synth to VSTs and the shifting patterns of his “Color Phase” light installations - in a way that artists have been pursuing since Tony Conrad’s earliest experiments and far beyond. However, it’s really only now that Holtkamp has managed to exert such a filigree level of control over his instruments, and with deliciously, synaesthetically sound effect.
On the first of two Beast volumes we hear this ‘Process’-oriented approach at its rawest and most hypnotic in three parts edited from real time performance; firstly in Yesterday with a gloriously effervescent yet precise side of chattering Reichian percussion and brownian electronic squabble that precipitates Can-like rolling breaks and beautifully moody bass synth swells with ‘floor-reedy urgency, then with the more pastoral swell and bustle of Today, and in a duskier projection of creamy harmonic washes and needling rhythmelody called Tomorrow which distinctly resonates in the air with Crepuscular ’80s belgian pop-classical gestures.
There’s no doubt Holtkamp is entering a crowded field with this sound, but the clarity of his execution and naturalistic development of each piece’s symbiotic, synaethestic bind of rhythm, harmony and spatial dynamic is little short of breathtaking and self-evidently worthy of your time, even if you think you’ve heard it all before.
'Colleen Et Les Boites A Musique' ("Colleen and the music boxes") is Colleen's most arresting and sublime offering to date - constructed entirely from the impossibly beautiful sounds of chiming music boxes.
Opening with the clanking and winding of 'John Levers the Ratchet', this is the perfect introduction, as if the record were being wound like a music box to run across its 40 minute life-span before returning to stillness.
The music box has, of course, been used before within a contemporary framework (Aphex Twin's "Nanou" for one), but the way Schott composes seems so obviously matched with the mechanical and naïve qualities we hear that she seems to own the concept.
"Colleen Et Les Boites A Musique" is in fact so sublime that her output to date seems to have been merely leading up to this serendipitous moment - concept and execution coming together for a wondrous display of simplicity and beauty. Like the soundtrack to your favourite half-remembered fairytale, you won't find a warmer, more inviting record this year.
If Colleen were a painting she'd undoubtedly be a George Morland, combining a sense of the innocent and rural within a broader, more wraithlike landscape.
Her second album for Leaf, 'The Golden Morning Breaks' sees Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) furthering her beguiling strain of purely instrumental, folk-speckled psychedelia.
First up is the welling instrumentation of 'Summer Water', a fuzzy hearted collection of ethereal melodies structured in a style very similar to that of Russian composer Petrovich Mussorgsky. The muted mood continues on the rimy 'Floating in the Clearest Night', a song so fragile and diffused it's almost not there, whilst 'Sweet Rolling' brings to mind warm winds and falling blossom.
Possibly the stand-out moment on 'The Golden Morning Breaks' is the haunted music box and backwards tape effects of 'I'll Read You a Story', where heavy harps are plucked ominously against a brooding, yet effervescent, backdrop. It's almost inevitable that comparisons will be made with 'The Golden Morning Breaks' and Mum's first album, but whereas the Icelandic quartet relied on elfin whimsy too often, Colleen is a far more textured and complex artist who will reward repeated home-listening.
Torske & Thomas chase up their Square One collaboration with Arpe
Hustling classic synths and swinging krautrock disco beats on the 12” version, along with a more disco-dedicated and acidic remix, and the swaggering star of the show, a 12 minute Drum Version thats all about the percussion and nowt else, and that’s all you need!
On the 2nd of two entrancing Beast volumes, modular maverick Koen Holtkamp (Mountains) further distinguishes his new, rhythmelodic velocity in four studio-based iterations, making a subtle contrast with the live performances of Volume 1, and beautifully exemplifying the distance travelled from his earlier works released by Type, Thrill Jockey and Umor Rex since the late ‘00s.
Hemming the finest line between the ‘Process Music’ approach of ‘70s minimal/maximalists Jon Gibson and Steve Reich, and the kind of breezy, lush pop minimalism gestured by Wim Mertens, Holtkamp has conceived a wonderfully absorbing bind of rhythm, melody and harmonic dynamics that seems to defy gravity and may even suggest dancing for certain souls, which is something we would never have remarked about his earlier, tonal-based compositions.
Like Volume.1, this 2nd LP derives from Holtkamp’s audio-visual performances centred on the physical properties of light via 3D laser projections. Using a system that models the sonic syntax of his modular synth and VSTs in constantly shifting projections, he has arrived at a richly synaesthetic bind that takes the early A/V experiments of Tony Conrad and many others since into his own, unique world.
The four parts of Volume. 2 were generated and edited in the studio and are arguably bound tighter than their predecessor, resulting more crystalline structures and a more pinched, puckered sort of elegance that subtly contrasts with Vol.1’s free-flowing blooms. That’s clearly in effect with the lissom curves and clipped, airborne waltz of Look Out, while the glittering cascade of Chase Scene sweetly define that paradoxical feeling of poised stasis within a rapid flux, harnessed only by its dembow-like rhythm, before the lofty brass of False Bottom seems to describe a sea cruise where you see the cosmos reflected in a nocturnal lagoon, and Taipei Hideaway gives breathlessly ecstatic close recalling the black MIDI rushes of TCF or Lubomyr Melnyk meditating on a particularly strong swedger.
It all adds up to an impeccable example of that rare effect when listening to electronic music, of glimpsing an underlying code or pattern of transcendence that’s pretty much life-affirming in its revelation. Proper trance music, in others words.
Sub Rosa tend to Belgium’s punk roots with a 1st ever vinyl pressing of Digital Dance 002, the originally self-released tape of skeletal no wave grooves starring a handful of influential notables such as Stephan Barbery (Snowy Red), Jean-Marc Lederman (Fad Gadget, The Weathermen), and Alain Lefevre (The Durutti Column, Blaine L. Reininger).
Raw and uncut, as opposed to the studio-buff sound of their Total Erasement LP, Digital Dance 002 renders a survey of the band going thru swampy, jangling motions in 1981, taking in sludgy jams of lo-slung bass revs and primitivist drumming interspersed with more angular and opiated concisions, all sounding like the work of a pretty stoned gang feeling out their instruments.
It’s all remastered from original master tapes, which were presumably a bit knackered, so you’ve gotta allow for a lot of tape hiss and scuzz, with results recalling an adjunct to the nascent output of Spain’s Xeerox or NYC’s DNA.
Walter Gibbons was a crucially important figure in the history of dance music, one who has become particularly renowned for his pioneering of the remix as an art form.
In addition to taking up residency behind the turntables at New York's Galaxy 21, Gibbons was among the first artists to make his own reel-to-reel edits of tracks, extracting the maximum dancefloor potential from the source material. He's also gone down in history as the first DJ to be given access to multitrack tapes, and his resultant remix of Double Exposure's 'Ten Percent' in 1976 might be regarded as the point of genesis for the remix as we know it today.
The tag 'Jungle Music' was given to Gibbons' work due to the DJ's tendency to extend tracks to the ten minute mark with prolonged percussion sequences and tribal breaks. Across this double disc collection, the good folks at Strut have set about compiling Gibbons' key works through the 1970s and 1980s, taking in material from Gladys Knight and Bettye Lavette, but also the next generation's house, electro and post-punk, with works by Arthur Russell, Dinosaur L and Strafe among others.
Dark Entries present this massively expanded edition of Severed Heads’ pivotal album Come Visit The Big Bigot  in the wake of its 30th anniversary. Basically there’s a lot of industrial reissues in circulation right now, but this one blows most of ‘em out out of the water!
Originally realised some seven years into Severed Heads’ lifespan, …Bigot finds the endlessly innovative Tom Ellard at the peak of his inventive powers, blending synth-pop with industrial/post-punk disciplines and rogue concrète chicanery in a way that laid the ground for so much other music to come; from AFX to Hot Chip, Coil and Powell.
Everything in Come Visit The Big Bigot is layered, kerned, pinched and manipulated to painstaking degrees, yet all done at the service of the ’floor and sparking dancing bodies, minds in a classic sense which has fed forward into IDM, braindance and even the biggest stadium EDM and dance-pop, in its own way.
Adding seven tracks to the original LP’s twelve, Dark Entries offer a definitive survey of Severed Heads in their fecund prime, at a crucial time when industrial dance music was spanning the globe, during the same year in which they toured with Skinny Puppy and the 1st time they released a record simultaneously in EU, USA, and their native Oz.
Just hold up any of these productions to almost anything else from 1986 and the difference between SH’s crystalline density and clinical execution in shots such as the delirious Propellor or the warped pop of Phantasized Persecutory Beast speak volumes to their pioneering thrust. Likewise the extra tracks, mostly taken from B-sides and remixes, give more room to marvel at Ellard’s ingenuity, as in wayward highlights heard on the unhinged jack of George The Animal, and the staggering detail of Nature 10, which arguably sounds more futuristic than anything else from the last 30 years.
Eccentric, polymetric polyphonics from inquisitive Australian sound artist Ross Manning, returning to Lawrence English’s Room40 with a scattershot batch of pots ’n pans rhythms and noise. Sometimes sounds like a rabble of thumb pianos, at others like a flock of pigeons in Harry Bertoia’s studio, or a Bruno Spoerri installation, but all played by motorised instruments striking strings and harmonically interesting objects.
"in august this year, ross manning opened his first major survey exhibition, dissonant rhythms, at brisbane's institute of modern art. as part of the exhibition a monograph and lp edition, titled reflex in waves, were prepared to celebrate this milestone. reflex in waves brings together a series of sonic approaches manning has been developing for over a decade. specifically, manning's work is concerned with waves and the impacts of their resulting vibration. quietly producing audio works out of his studio in yeronga, on the south side of brisbane city, manning's works are based on a series of deeply personal instrument designs, tape manipulation and other exploratory approaches. his instruments, which are often percussive, use harmonically related materials that are activated by motor-driven strings. the resulting sound is a chaotic but pulse-like cluster of harmony. developing sets of uniquely pitched materials, manning's instruments each maintain a distinct quality. no two instruments sound alike and although the way in which they are 'performed' may be similar, the resulting sound is anything but familiar."
Under his guises Blessed Initiative and Ketev, as well as his own name, composer and sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman has explored extended techniques and processes to forge new sonic textures and musical forms. Compound picks up where the previous solo work under Glotman’s own name - 2015’s Études - left off. The acoustic sound palette has now expanded from solo contrabass into a trio including pianist Rieko Okuda and percussionist Marcello Silvio Busato.
"Glotman guides the trio into utilising sounds from the edges of their instruments’ abilities - arguably mere byproducts of harmony - and through improvisation, repetition, and post-production, conjures new sonic bodies over two sidelong pieces. His guidelines for each improvisation gave the players autonomy to emphasise the microscopic details of certain sounds: the shudder of a piano key, the hum of a cymbal, the incidental click of a plucked contrabass string. The recordings were then layered and reformulated by Glotman into two separate structures to complete the composition process. Both ‘Veil’ and ‘Revelate’ utilize the full spectral potential of each instrument, revealing new rhythmic patterns and harmonic content in the process.
Taking Glotman’s microscopic focus on instrument noises he put began on Études as a starting point, the trio on Compound ultimately bring into question both density and contrast, rhythm itself losing its stricter structures and becoming a purely pattern-based driving force in the music. The resultant unit contradicts and opposes itself, all sorts of clashing rhythms and melodies coexisting within the body of the two compositions of evolving sonic architecture.
Based in Berlin, Yair Elazar Glotman is a classically-trained musician and sound artist. Besides previous works on Subtext including Études, a collaborative score with James Ginzburg experimental film Nimbes, and the eponymous debut of his Blessed Initiative project, Glotman has released music via Opal Tapes and others under the nom de plume Ketev."
Munich-bassed rave hooligans Ruffhouse drop their 1st plate, loaded with tracks and dubs by Pastiche, Top Shotta x Danny Scrilla and SCNTST, after a pair of well-received label compilations.
Copenhagen’s Pastiche boots off first with the Jersey-meets-grim hybrid 122 Eden Beach, which is duly tweaked as a sort of bleep techno/grime thing by label boss Sverre aka Top Shotta with Munich’s Danny Scrilla.
Solo again, Pastiche plays like Burial’s distant cuz in the nocturnal ambient jazz panorama, Street Lights, rearranged by SCNTST as a pitching sort of break step garage swinger.
Absolutely classic full length featuring nine tracks by Glass Candy.
The band's reworking of Kraftwerk's 'Computer Love' and the summery, retro disco of 'Rolling Down The Hills' have been given the re-recording treatment, having already showed up in different versions on the super hip After Dark compilation.
The duo's Italo-influenced sound is in fine form on B/E/A/T/B/O/X, with vocalist Ida No bringing some much needed personality to the genre, while Johnny Jewel (these probably aren't even their real names are they?) lays down some great synth passages on 'Last Nite I Met A Costume' and the slow funk of 'Candy Castle'.
Monotonous greyscale rhythm drills from Shane English for L.I.E.S., following suit with his General Dimensions  LP a tape for Unknown Precept, and collaboration with Beau Wanzer.
A-side dishes up the blank-eyed, mid-tempo grind of 1111, with a brute bass spooked out by distant bells and groaning atmospheres, before Land-Lock ups the ante with sparkier electro drums and ear-worming vocal abstraction, but little concession to ‘progression’ or anything so frivolous.
That ascetic aesthetic informs the B-side, too. Drip dispenses tightly grained slow industrial techno la ADMX; Icon sounds like a steel factory having an after-hours bashment; and Over the Railing peers back a darkly detached scene of distant church bells and threadworn bass pulse.
Students of Decay proceed that tremulous Sarah Davachi beauty with Caroline No’s equally captivating collection of songs, No Language, firming up as the Melbournian’s debut solo album after nearly three decades of providing vocals and guitars to Antipodean indie-rock and pop units. If Mazzy Star was raised on Flying Nun records, she may well have ended up sounding like Caroline No.
“Recorded in early 2015 and originally released as a micro edition cassette on World News Records, No Language is the debut collection of songs by Melbourne’s Caroline No. The group’s unique, beguiling sound sits somewhere between archetypal Dunedin pop and languorous, textural improvisation. No Language was spontaneously recorded with one microphone and the serendipity of the session proves tactile in the listening experience. We hear heavily reverbed laughter, coughing, fits and starts with various processing equipment, all of which contribute wonderfully to the ephemeral nature of the music. On “Up To Downtown” vocalist Caroline Kennedy implores the band to “just try to stay in time” before lurching into what, against all odds, turns out to be a remarkably anthemic earworm of a pop song. Closer “Roomer” incorporates granular processing (perhaps a pedal someone forgot they’d brought to the session) to endearing and startling effect. Ultimately, No Language is a marvelous balancing act of a record, drawing from pop, free improv, and psychedelia in equal parts to arrive at something timeless.”
Lone spells out his influences for the DJ-Kicks series
A winding session taking in shoegazey electronica, wonky hip hop, jazzy Detroit house and blue indie rock along with two exclusive numbers, the dusty NYC deep house of Arc and Saturday Night.
Strong debut album ruminating on the socio-political rifts in modern America, among other issues, set to production by The Roots, oddCouple, Peter Cottontale (Skrillex, SZA), and featuring Chance The Rapper, Noname, Saba and Nico Segal. Make sure to check for the psychedelic bounce of LSD and the wobbly knock on VRY BLK!
Gritty but warmly seductive tape experiments from Alex & Léopold aka Radiante Pourpre, originally issued on tape in 2014 thru the Paris-Bordeaux-Marseille label and collective, Simple Music Experience, and now cut to vinyl by Antinote.
With a murky fidelity lodged somewhere between The Caretaker or Tape Loop Orchestra’s wistful clag and the kinetic air of Bellows/Giuseppe Ielasi/Nicola Ratti, Radiante Pourpre quietly does its dilapidated thing, coaxing tape loops into lolling figures-of-eight that feed into a fizzing harmonic mulch, bubbling with nods to ghostly, bygone lounge and bossa nova styles like some sort of ferric tempura for the ears.
Austin, TX’s Holodeck reclaim their boys from the Upside Down for reissue of the LP variously known as Survive, HDXV, or HD015 for this edition.
Landing just ahead of a 2nd season of Stranger Things, the cult TV phenomenon which benefitted from S U R V I V E’s soundtrack, this LP is a perfect, in-demand reminder of what pushed the Texas synth trio into wider popular consciousness.
Complementing IDIB's deluxe reissue of 'Night Drive', the label present a buffed up edition of Chromatics' breakthrough single 'In Shining Violence', retitled as 'In The City' and including five new tracks.
The eponymous lead cut was already antiqued anyway so it's definitely not lost any of it's dilapidated disco lustre, in fact it's just as addictive today as when we heard it first in 2007. For the spotters, their 'Hands In The Dark' track from the 'After Dark' comp is also here, retitled as 'Dark Day' and remade with extra-swoony guitars, next to a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire'. Back to the 'floor they drop the vocodered slow grind of 'Lady', and the dramatic Drag pop of 'Dagger Moon', compatible with the likes of Balam Acab, and usefully provide an instrumental of 'In The City' - but really, who doesn't like that vocal?! Awesome.
Turin’s freakiest kick off the G.O.D. CUTS series with Traag’s Money Orientated; five pieces of post Detroit techno and EBM with a noirish sci-fi atmosphere accentuated by snippets of whispered and suggestive dialogue looped and placed with psychotomimetic effect recalling output from Phork, Dale Cornish or Moon Pool and Dead Band...
“The first Ep of this series couldn't be by any other but Travis Galloway and Chris Durham aka TRAAG. The Detroit based guys have inaugurated the Gang of Ducks imprint with the magnificent White Wall ep and after that, in 2014 they released a mini-lp named UPN 50, one of the most appreciated outputs of the label.
Money Orientated ep explores the most narcotic side of their sound, which takes influence from the Michigan noise scene spitting out some bad washed EBM beats. The 5 tracks follow one another perfectly, proving that the Traag sound has become a solid thing.”
Sam Kerridge launches a major rethink of his style with the high-velocity tempos and razor-toothed bite of The Silence Between Us, new on Downwards.
Toiling somewhere between Ueno Masaaki’s Vortices for Raster-Noton, the pitching pelt of La Peste for Hangars Liquides, and the machine convulsions of Somatic Responses, he goes balls-to-the-wall with the breakneck momentum of Possession/Control, harnessing reverse-edited kicks, helter-skelter EBM bass and spectrographic noise ghouls in a surge of searing rave energy.
Flipside, those knotty, strobing pulses keen thru empty stomach inversions and bursts of tangled EBM synths on Ascension, which is effectively a snappier edit of the A-side, whilst Radical Possibilities of Pleasure sounds like a field recording from a french hardtek invaded by dildo dibble in choppers and riot gear railing lasers against any unlucky dancers.
Killer digickal reggae originally reelased in 1990 and now reissued on vinyl for the 1st time.
This album appears in the wake of Cubiculo’s previous reissue of O. Maddo’s Hear Mi Name Call, which arrived in tragic circumstances, coming from mastering only a day after the artist had died in 2016. Includes proper DJ tackle in the hard but sweet bubblers Gun Talk and the lovers style of This Lady.
The wonderful Bokeh Versions present outernational, radiophonic dub excursions from Osaka’s 7FO. Imagine Delia Derbyshire on a scuba-diving holiday in the Caribbean with Joe Meek; this is what they might make during nights ashore. Francesco Cavaliere features on Water Vapour!
“BKV013 is infectious, Osaka-matured, aquatic dub from 7FO. 7FO-san has been in touch with Bokeh for over a year and kindly showed them round Kyoto on the BKV Japan world tour (we ate a baby squid that had a boiled egg where the brain used to be - crazy).
This is 7FO's first proper wax outing after homegrown albums made local waves with his fusion of Japanese new age and dub miniatures. Previous albums also had mastering credits by Bokeh alumni and Osaka mixing desk alchemist Kabamix.
2016 saw 7FO reach wider audiences with Water Falls Into A Blank, a cassette and multi-media project via RVNG Intl's Commend See series. Bandcamp user Standard Greysummed it up best:
If Joe Meek lived on to collaborate with Harry Hosono and Inoyama Land and make idiosyncratic dubbed out Japanese Minyo and off-world colony exotica...
'Water Vapour' features the enigmatic Sea Urchin - the duo of Francesco Cavaliere (on FX) and Leila Hasan (on otherworldly vocals). They've released an LP for Belgian imprint Kraak and Francesco notched a 2016 highlight with his solo LPs on Hundebiss.
These is the 4th Bokeh release to come out of Japan…..”
John Daly blesses Dublin’s All City Records with a seductive full album of West 2 West material after making an incognito appearance as West 2 West on their 1st Jheri Tracks Compilation sampler, and exploring similar vibes on last year’s well received album, The Smoke Clears.
The boogie slouch is in fuzzy effect on 12 gauzy, offbeat grooves married with wavey synths and new age atmospheres, hardly troubling the ‘floor but still with enough momentum to get you swaying at least, with results best filed somewhere between Actress’ Thriller bits, Leatherette at the most stoned, or the kind of 313-based beats built by DJ Dez, Detroit Escalator Company or Urban Tribe.
A flipping big yes to this cranky AF, heavily-cut-up concrète beating recorded in 1963 by Karel Appel - a Dutch artist, who, as he exclaims, “I Do Not Paint / I Hit!”, and is best known for his abstract-expressionist “hits” since the ‘50s. That’s him looking like an Audint member on the front cover, and going ham on the kettle drums on the back. What a guy?!
Sounding something like Sun Ra meets Gottfried Michael Koenig for a noisy night ‘round Varèse’s place, Musique Barbare Van Karel Appel is a raucous and captivatingly unhinged blow-out transposing Appel’s intuitive, inner-child-like approach to the traditional canvas onto a sonic backdrop of wild, beat-up drums, electronic devices, and hacked-up varispeed tape FX at the University of Utrecht.
It’s never been reissued since the original release in 1963, and therefore trades for a lot of money 2nd hand to those in the know; which isn’t us by the way - meaning it’s landing some serious punches on our unsuspecting bonce.
With a sense of unadulterated, unquantised freedom akin to Harry Bertoia’s also-just-reissued Sonambient collection, Appel treats his palette with a shockingly loose and tactile fashion, sending keys and careening drums skittering down flights of imagined stairs to explosive impact zones and frantic junctures of jagged, non-melodic colour.
There’s three pieces, each as mad as the next, sending us spiralling from the arrhythmic playtime of Paysage Electronique to the hoarse holler and relatively concise, proto-No Wave jammer Poème Barbare, and, a full side roll-out of crashing timpani, wigged-out organ fiyah and spoken word in Le Cavalier Blanc.
You can safely consider our minds blown, and take that as a warning/heavy-recommendation for your own swede.
Officially available to download for the first time, including Napalm Death’s Mick Harris and Nick Bullen as Scorn, plus some hypnotic Seefeel oddities, but most worthwhile for the transfixing, rare recording of a Yanomami Group Healing ritual made by David Toop.
“Third record of a thematic series of 9, published from 1993 to 1998 called Utopian Diaries. Ancient Light and the Blackcore was released in 1995.
“It begins with Scorn at his best, Naked Sun with M.J. Harris (Lull, Painkiller) & N.J. Bullen. Followed 3 new tracks by Seefeel (As if, As track & As well) recorded during the sessions of Seccour. The first rhythm is made with scratches - at the end of the pieces we discover extraordinary recordings of an intoxicated and painful ceremony of some Amazonian Shamans - recorded by David Toop in the rainforest of Southern Venezuela (communauty of Yanomami) in november 1978. Noted in the booklet, an important text written by David Toop: 'Technicians of the Subworld', about his trip and more generally about the relation between music and intoxication (the shamans as a vivid exemple). Why are you there? the large track by Timothy Leary (voices) & DJ Cheb i Sabbah (production) is the last piece that ended this other film without image.”
First major retrospective of James Dean Brown’s legendary Hypnobeat in over 30 years!
For the uninitiated, Hypnobeat have been a dirty electronic concern since 1983, working with everyone from Tobias Freund to Helena Hauff in their time, and responsible for an endless slew of haywire, driving hardware improvisations comparable with proto-techno, EBM, electro and tribal psychedelia, but basically best referred to as Hypnobeat. Inside Prototech, you may well recognise Kilian from inclusion on a Light Sounds Dark compilation, but unless you’ve properly neeked out and collected their hard to find tapes, the rest will be new and very tasty to anyone who likes their jams live and dirty, a la Smersh, Frak, $hit & $hine, Not Waving. All tracks remastered by George Horn at Fantasy studios, Berkeley.
“Dark Entries and Serendip Lab have teamed up to release ‘Prototech’, the first vinyl retrospective by German electronic trio Hypnobeat, recorded 1984-86. James Dean Brown and Pietro Insipido formed Hypnobeat in 1983, but it was the addition of Victor Sol only a few months later that found the project reaching, as Brown puts it, “the desired level of technical sophistication.” In time, Tobias Freund also lent his talents (and equipment) to this loose-fit sonic scheme, where the protagonists sought a new, electronic manifestation of mankind’s tribal music roots. Two cassette releases surfaced – 1985’s “Huggables”, and “Specials/Spatials” the following year. By this point the Frankfurt-based group had already explored fiercely mechanical creative expression through various configurations of hardware and personnel, revolving around core ingredients such as the TR-808, TB-303 and MC-202. The project lived on in spirit as Brown activated Narcotic Syntax in the 90s. While a more modern, digital concern, rooted in the Perlon label family, NS still channeled the Hypnobeat concept of a “new tribalism”, not least on their “Provocative Percussion” double 12″ released in 2006.
For all the punky veneer, there are instances where these tracks reach staggering levels of sophistication, not least on “Slash! Buffalo Eats Brass” with its intricately programmed 303 lines and nimble beats that sound a far cry from most machine music made in 1986. Prescient “Can God Rewind?” is also dazzling in the complexity of its percussion and the richness of its synth lines in C as they throb out a bastardised version of acidic Disco straight out of the rhythm collider. Elsewhere, some tracks are more primal in their execution. Visceral opening track “The Arumbaya Fetish” was a cathartic venting of Brown’s least favourite sound on the 808, the iconic cowbell, while the astounding proto-Acid miniature “Moon Jump” places limber 303 lead lines in a hail of thunderstruck patterns. “Kilian” has a stripped down quality that speaks more to the industrial era that Hypnobeat was conceived in, and “Mission In Congo” is a raw, reverb-soaked drum workout that captures the percussive-obsessive nature of Hypnobeat perfectly. Six of the seven tracks selected on this collection were primarily powered by two 808s. “I am amazed that the release sounds like we really had a plan back then…” states Brown, but this accidental magic is in fact the raison d’etre of Hypnobeat. They weren’t the only ones prefiguring the next big revolutions in electronic music in the mid 80s, but there certainly weren’t many artists stumbling across modes of expression that sound so relevant today.”
Hyperactive anime soundtrack styles - think Squarepusher meets Foodman
“Iglooghost presents his debut album “Neō Wax Bloom”, almost two years to the day since he made his debut as a teenager on Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint with the “Chinese Nü Year” EP - four tracks documenting the time-traveling adventures of a gelatinous worm-shaped creature called Xiangjiao. Expanding on this story, “Neō Wax Bloom” follows the events surrounding two giant eyeballs crashing into the mysterious world of Mamu. Across its 11 tracks, Iglooghost builds a typically intense, hysterical, borderline batshit crazy soundtrack, introducing new characters to his fantastical world and inviting back old friends Mr. Yote and Cuushe for the ride.
In the words of Iglooghost:
“When a pair of giant eyeballs crash into the strange, misty world of Mamu, the mysterious forces that govern nature itself are disrupted. A life cycle of transforming creatures is thrown off balance, and the odd looking inhabitants of Mamu are forced to adapt to this calamity. These inhabitants include Yomi - a multicoloured pom-pom monk; Lummo - a wise blind witch training a band of melon coloured babies; and Uso - a sneaky bug thief hidden in a green cloak - as well as many others. As their respective stories begin to interlock, the mysteries surrounding the giant eyeballs are slowly revealed.”
Previously unreleased recordings by a co-founder of Smegma, one of USA’s pivotal free-improv groups
At the heels of their Smegma LP, Alga Marghen peer into the early recordings of their co-founder, Eric Stewart aka Ju Suk Reet Meate. Much like his pseudonym may suggest a greeting in a Yorkshire butcher’s shop, his sound suggests a documentarian approach to uncovering the oddness of upended convention, revealed in two extended movements recorded with no remixing or overdubs, and now released to the public for the 1st time.
Comprising exclusively unreleased solo material, this is quite the historic artefact, looking right back to the earliest period of his involvement with Smegma in the A-side’s four-part Something New Opus I-IV (1975-1977), which takes in spindly, bluesy string figures and unnervingly acousmatic magick with two sections of frankly fuck-knows-what smears of free jazz, concrete electronics and thumb pianos, while the B-side’s Or Feets Opus I-III (1980) checks out three solo pieces ranging from psychey guitar jamming, extended vocal technique and plunderphonics to an amazing piece of processed vocals and The Caretaker-esque shellac warping with a proper outsider bent.
“Sidestepping all normal expectations on this album, Ju Suk Reet Meate (founding member of Smegma) directly goes about casting musical spells, utilizing primitive "inner mind" techniques on hammered dulcimer, tape loops, thrift store records, a homemade synthesizer, electric guitar, saxophone, mouth sounds, and manipulated christian radio broadcasts. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, these previously unreleased recordings reflect a similar "inner-mind over limited technique matter" aesthetic as the acclaimed but seldom heard classic Solo 1978-1979, originally released on Pigface Records in 1980.”
One of the rarest Vangelis soundtracks of all surfaces on vinyl for the first time - and it’s an absolute peach.
'Amore' was released in 1973 and was Vangelis' second collaboration with movie director Henry Chapier, after recording a score for the highly obscure film 'Sex Power' a year earlier. While an LP was released for the 'Sex Power' score, in very limited quantities, nothing was released of the music for ‘Amore’, nor was the film viewable until it's eventual release on DVD a few years back.
The recordings have been surfaced from the archived masters of the album and includes half an hour of previously unreleased music - an incredible mix of highly atmospheric Library music styles and that inimitable production style, check the widescreen synth vistas and pulsating beat of opener ‘Venezia’, or its more harrowing counterpart on the album closer “Amore” for some idea of the delights held within...
Pablo Valentino drops a batch of disco-house track on his and Danilo Plessor’s MCDE label in honour of his 4 year old son, Hugo-João, and four years since he started working at the label.
A-side dispenses the lo-slung, funked-up beatdown of My Son’s Smile replete with Hugo-João’s gurgles in the breakdown, whereas Atlantic’s Calling (One For Portugal) pushes a smoother sort of deep house burn.
B-side, Brooklyn’s Ge-ology, who was last heard on Dekmantel and Sound Signature, brings the plate up to date with an infectious orchestration of piquant electronics and blustery chords on a rolling, broken rhythm, leaving Valentino on the DJ Dez style downstroke of Good Ol’ Days to close.
10th anniversary reissue of Puzzles, the record that really helped introduce both All City the label and Hudson Mohawke the producer to a wider audience all the way back in 2007 - the year dubstep broke the mainstream, the government snubbed our snouts in clubs, and bankers had a laugh, which all makes Mike Slott and HudMo’s Heralds of Change moniker seem uncannily prescient.
Puzzles was among a raft of new releases in 2007 that ushered in the whole wonky hip hop phaseshift, which in retrospect can be heard as a kind of retaliation against dubstep’s (by then) cartoonish rave antics by focussing a return to the jazzy boom bap principles of American hip hop proper, only with one leg shorter than the other.
The six tracks inside have coolly withstood the test of time, with smoky nuggets to be (re)discovered in the hazy lean of Future and the fractal groove displacement of A Muse, reserving a definite scene highlight in the 8-bit glitter and skudged knocks of Spotted and their Timba or The Neptunes-styled banger, Work That.
Mesmerising side of two previously unreleased Charlemagne Palestine pieces, recorded by Mayo Thompson and Kurt Munkacsi, effectively revealing the groundwork for his early masterpiece, Four Manifestations on Six Elements in 1974 at the grand theatre of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.
Untouched and unheard by Palestine for more than 40 years, a recent listening session between Palestine and Alga Marghen revealed moments of genuine beauty in the tapes which totally warranted this release, both as a historical document of the time surrounding one of his most important recordings, and as a striking new release in its own right.
Four Manifestations on Six Elements is easily one of our favourite pieces by the stuffed toy fancier, and thus it’s a total pleasure to wrap our ears around the sessions that went into its creation. On side A we find the 15 minute Voice Piece, recorded in the night of January 25th, 1974 and revealing Palestine’s cirrus falsetto occasionally rising over airborne clusters of sustained Bösendorfer chords that ebb, flow and pulse with effortlessly natural grace. By the end we’re practically floating into the 2nd set of recordings, made the same night and the next, in two takes of Bösendorfer + Voice, with more soothing, lulling cadence in Take One, where the falsetto really comes into play, and then in Take Two’s radiant ten minute play of swirling bass and shifting overtones again with that ethereal, almost childlike vocal.