Longtime associates and Magic Mountain High m8z, Move D and Jordan GCZ (ov & Jordash fame) cook up two killer, deep electro-jazz-house courses
On the latter’s Off Minor label, unfolding the slinky, kinky analog trip of Urgence 1 on the front, and then taking that louche Kunststoff vibe even smokier and spectral on the B-side’s Urgence 2.
Tessela and Truss’ convulse a 3rd Overmono session, scaling from elegiac synths to ragged jungle-tekno and back again over the course of four tracks.
Inulin skates in on icy bed of synths to flex out like a long lost Jega ace, then Phase Magenta launches into rumbling, tranced-out ‘ardcore tekno pressure, and Pom follows a more squashed and slaty line of enquiry somewhere between Andy Stott and Arca, with the beatless synth orchestration Harp Open bringing matters to a majestic, ecclesiastic/ecstatic close.
Limber deep house by the Baltimore baws
Carrying an effortless momentum between the sub-stroked swang and melting chords of The Power, thru ruggeder broken beats in K II S, and an itchier re-lick of The Power by Atjazz.
Faust’s Hans Joachim Irmler meets Carl Oesterhelt ov F.S.K. for an orchestral dedication to Isidore-Lucien Ducasse’s poetic novel, Die Gesänge Des Maldorer, with each piece corresponding to the novel’s six cantos.
First ever reissue of a fiyah space-age funk record from Nigeria, 1978. Worth it for the big, synth-riven cut Bad City Girl alone. 2nd hand copies are known to trade for an absolute packet, so don’t sleep on this one!
Livingstone Studio present the first official reissue of Grotto's Grotto II: Wait, No Hurry, originally released in 1979. "Odion Iruoje was the A&R manager at EMI at the time,' Benson says, 'and he auditioned us, liked the material and signed us.' Odion Iruoje of course had groomed and produced Ofege. Now he was looking to repeat the formula with other high school groups such as Tirogo, Apples and Question Mark. Grotto's deep rock would be a welcome addition to this 'schoolboy rock' series.
Work on their album started immediately, with Iruoje in the producer's chair. Adapting to the tastes of the times -- as well as their own maturing musical sensibilities -- Grotto started transitioning from acid rock towards sleeker, more dance floor-friendly grooves. 'As I grew older I think I got a bit jazzier,' Benson says. 'I also listened to Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Isley Brothers, Prince and a lot of funk groups from that era.' 'Hard rock was the content of the first album,' Amenechi agrees, 'and funk/jazz/R&B the focus of album number two. Especially with the late Toma Mason Jr. joining as bassist.' The group's second album, Grotto II: Wait, No Hurry (released in 1979) reflected the growing sophistication of its members' musical outlook. Fat, funky bass grooves rubbed shoulders with jazzy flute lines; space-age synthesizer tones punctuated good, old-fashioned crunchy rock riffs."
Rogue white label styles from some G called Tribe Of Colin on John T. Gast’s 5 Gate Temple - ayyyye, you do the math…
The follow-up to Tribe Of Colin’s 2015 tape/digital release Fruits Of Zion retains that issue’s sense of mystery and dread intrigue but packs more dance-driving energy this time around.
Noir Body (the message) locks into the A-side, leading off with a downpitched sample of Sun Ra (?) and stretching out a heaving, chugging tract of blunted fantasy dance.
B-side is better yet, with Lion 5 sounding like a ritualistic after-hours Spiral Tribe techo-steppers cut, then dropping out into a dub wise Skit, and hustling up the flailing drum drums of Lead & Demonstrate for advanced, air-carving movements by hypnotised bodies.
Consummate collaborator Fred Walmsley aka Dedekind Cut tags in Mica Levi, Prurient, Elysia Crampton, Jesse Osborne-Lanthier, Dirch Heather, and Zack Hill for a multi-tiered, heavily abstracted session following from the $uccessor album for NON, his American Zen album with Hospital Productions, and collabs with Chino Amobi and Rabit.
Yeh, he’s been a busy cat of late, and his latest self-released trip, recorded between fall 2016 and summer 2017 shows no sign of that creative energy abating. In almost palindromic form, The Expanding Domain rises and falls with absorbingly dramatic cadence, entering with the decompression chamber ambience of Cold Bloom and the escalating terror of Lil Puffy Coat in solo mode, to bring in Dirch Heather’s soured synths and Osborne-Lanthier’s deconstructed EDM palette on the unrelenting anti-banger Fear In Reverse II, then calving off into an electrical storm with Prurient on the title cut, and bringing us back to a numbed null point with Mica Levi’s silvery piano refrain and Elysia Crampton’s angelic touch in Das Expanded, Untitled Riff.
If you were in any doubt as to this guy’s breadth of vision, this EP will see you right.
Stunning retrospective of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’s devotional works collated from the private tape archive of the Avatar Book Institute. Seriously, this one's a proper head melter...
Luaka Bop commence a new series of releases themed around the global spiritual diaspora with this superb collection of rare devotional works from Alice Coltrane. Sure, everyone knows how great ‘Universal Consciousness’ (especially after that Superior Viaduct reissue from a few years back) but ‘The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda’ hones in on a period of her life that is less widely-known.
Undoubtedly moved by the passing of her husband John Coltrane in 1967, Alice embarked on a spiritual reawakening that took her out of the public eye and culminated with the establishment of a 48-acre Sai Anantam Ashram in Malibu, California in 1983. This secluded ashram gave Coltrane the freedom to explore her spirituality through music unfettered, performing countless solo bhajans, and group kirtans and experimenting with them and synthesizers using the complex structures learnt from jazz.
These would soon form a series of cassette recordings that were privately distributed throughout the ashram community on Coltrane’s own Avatar Book Institute label. After some rather iffy, illicit vinyl editions of those tapes recorded off YouTube made the rounds, it’s good to hear this music in newly-remastered form from the original masters (by engineering legend Baker Bigsby, no less) on this Luaka Bop collection.
And how vibrant it sounds! There is clearly a vast intersection of styles at play throughout, interspersing the spiritual incantations of the Vedic devotional chants with some unique song structures and uplifting synthetic experiments. You can easily foresee the likes of Flo Po, Antal and Four Tet playing Oh Rama and Rama Guru, two of the more rhythmically-bound kirtans that act as spiritual jazz precursors to Detroit techno with illuminating synths that would make Carl Craig blush with envy. At other times, it is Coltrane’s voice which acts as the guiding force, orchestrating a wonderful harmonious call on Om Shanti.
Hopefully this is the prelude to a wider LB campaign of Alice Coltrane reissues from the Avatar Book Institute era.
Remastered edition of Throbbing Gristle's best known and most suavely subversive LP, the one that completely re-defined the meaning of industrial music.
Referencing the band's influences outside of the avant-garde - among them ABBA and Martin Denny - it's the most outwardly accessible thing they ever recorded, but it's not without its harder, grimier moments, like the pummelling 'Discipline', with P.Orridge barking orders at you like the SM drill sergeant of your nightmares.
The shorter instrumentals are especially satisfying: we open with the droning, dysphoric ambience of 'Beachy Head' (think Eno's On Land via Lustmord), a paean to the suicide hot-spot that appears on the album's cover, while 'Tanith' and 'Exotica' sound like a seriously strung-out, sleep-deprived jazz ensemble channelling Aphex's Selected Ambient Works II.
Of course it's the "pop" numbers which stand out: Gen has never sounded so drolly superior as on 'Convincing People' and 'Persuasion', while the Cosey-vocalled, Carter-helmed 'Hot On The Heels Of Love' remains an absolute game-changing masterpiece, its influence on techno, disco and electro-pop as profound and palpable today as it ever was.
Stop listening to what you're listening to, and listen to 20 Jazz Funk Greats instead.
An excellent Arvo Pärt primer...
"Arvo Pärt creates music of deceptive simplicity, and listening to his work can be a transformative experience. Imagine taking your ears on a retreat, and you’re some way to understanding why his work is so popular.
The Estonian composer underwent his own transformation in the 1970s, having explored dense avant-garde music in the early part of his career. He put himself through an eight-year creative exile, and emerged with a new, purer voice. The Arvo Pärt that many people are devoted to today (including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Björk) creates music that cleanses. A sonic detox."
Rod Modell returns to Soma with a slow-baked batch of rolling dub techno in Auratone some two years since Ultraviolet Music and reissues of myriad, related projects over the interim.
This is full fat DeepChord, swollen with bass and bristling with combustible, oxidising textures that their legion disciples will relish. Includes some sweeter highlights in the roving subs and dancing melodies of Wind In Trees and the insistent mesh of ghostly, pealing partials with pneumatic bass in Point Reyes.
“A foray into deep, organic, cinematic dance music. Subterranean bass, intercepted alien transmissions, and stripped down dance-beats meld with sheets of sounds that roll over the listener like waves lapping up on the shore. Shimmering, watery, brain hemisphere synchronization tones caress and melt stress away. Dance floor friendly tracks that work equally well in one s private listening space. Immersive music with a distinctive aquatic quality. Inspired by Detroit & Berlin s dance genres, but tempered by more ambience / atmosphere than one would expect from those genres. Music without harshness or rough edges. Fuzzy, out-of-focus, soft-sounds that slip in and out of the listener's consciousness.
Uniquely melds current dance rhythms with lushness and spirituality. Synesthetic sounds that trigger sensory experiences in cognitive pathways other than hearing smells of perfumes, thoughts of colours, and altered perception of time and space. Psychoacoustic, cerebral, electronic listening music for those wanting a different experience than the current harsher, darker dance trends are offering. Responsibly made gentle music designed from the ground-up to have a positive effect on the nervous system and leave the listener invigorated and recharged. Chi-building sonic balm. Timeless, exotic dance tracks for a new school of electronic music enthusiasts who are searching for beautiful sounds, crafted with a higher purpose in mind.”
Belgium’s JJ Funhouse follow up aces by Mittland Och Leo, Milan W. and Gust De Meyer with this archival survey of Hanjo Erkamp’s synth-curious solo work as Dr C. Stein with Selected Works 1983-1988, dating back to his time with minimal wave faves Ende Shneaflet and Doxa Sinistra and their Trumpett label - which has previously been given the V-O-D reissue treatment. Considering that background, the vibe is mostly lush, bright and creamily melodic, just how the vinyl looks.
“Dr. C. Stein is the name Hanjo Erkamp used for his solo work. Being a big part of the Trumpett tapes-family, he was also a member of the industrial outfit Doxa Sinistra and a crazy studio collective called Ende Shneafliet. This band was responsible for more then 70 tracks of minimal wave madness, not bad knowing they existed not much longer than two years.
Trumpett tapes was a tape label operating from the island of Texel and the village of Heiloo in North Holland between 1981 and 1985. They were spewing out releases made by a changing combination of people, all being part of a circle of five like-minded souls: Frank Brinkhuis, Edwin Brinkhuis, Jan Popma, Brian Dommisse and the doctor himself: Hanjo Erkamp. The Trumpett members operated from their homestudio where they managed to create a new electronic sound. Being more close to the North Sea then any dark urban area, their take on the doomy template of New Wave was rather airy and often cheeky, without losing the minimal stomping force and brutalist fun found in home taping. They created tunes that were as strong, if not better, then the ones made by their better known peers.
From 1997 on, Trumpett tapes became the Trumpett label and started releasing CD-R’s filled not only with this old tape-work but also with selections of well kept nuggets from a staggering vault of unreleased eighties recordings. With the new love for early synthesizer music and all things minimal and wavy, Trumpett’s fame was getting bigger and labels like Vinyl on Demand, Enfant Terrible and Treue um Treue began releasing parts of this treasure on limited vinyl.”
Dutch electronic music veteran Michel Banabila’s earthy ambient works Trespassing / Marilee make up the excellent 2nd release on Séance Centre, a promising new label extending the reach of Invisible City Editions’ Brandon Hocura.
The 1st disc spies material written over the last 20 odd years, acting as a bridge between work made during his years in an Amsterdam squat and his contemporary practice, taking in slanted tribal rhythm trips, finely sculpted ambient wormholes, and daubs of ambient boogie recalling K. Leimer and co, all manifest thru myriad synth voices and haunting electro-acoustic space.
Banabila’s debut album Marilli  is given its first ever reissue on the 2nd disc. Now sought-after and expensive on the 2nd hand market, Marilli is one for hose sides that needs to be heard to be believed, as he basically offers a DIY, squat-built take on Eno and Byrne’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts that charmingly sounds like that classic record, but much more lo-fi and frayed around the edges, as though half recollected from a heavy LSD trip.
Finders Keepers come up roses again with dazzling, never-before-heard live documentation of two Buchla 200 concerts recorded in 1975 by Suzanne Ciani. Rightly heralded as “a distinctive feminine alternative to The Silver Apples of the Moon”. The words “Holy Grail” and “revolutionary” spring to mind! Remarkable stuff for any synth fetishists or historians of the future.
“This spring Finders Keepers Records are proud to release an archival project that not only redefines musical history but boasts genuine claim to the overused buzzwords such as pioneering, maverick, experimental, groundbreaking and esoteric, while questioning social politics and the evolution of music technology as we’ve come to understand it. To describe this records as a game-changer is an understatement. This record represents a musical revolution, a scientific benchmark and a trophy in the cabinet of counter culture creativity.
This record is a triumphant yardstick in the synthesiser space race and the untold story of the first woman on the proverbial moon. While pondering the early accolades of this record it’s daunting to learn that this record was in fact not a record at all… It was a manifesto and a gateway to a new world, that somehow never quite opened. If the unfamiliar, modernistic, melodic, pulses, tones and harmonics found on this 1975 live presentation/grant application/educational demonstration had been placed in a phonographic context alongside the promoted work of Morton Subotnick, Walter Carlos or Tomita then the name Suzanne Ciani and her influence would have already radically changed the shape, sound and gender of our record collections. Hopefully there is still chance.”
Led Er Est’s Sam De La Rosa strikes cold and emo on his 2nd solo 12”, pursuing the feels of his Chameleon debut into a pair of icy minimal wave songs plus two expressive instrumentals.
Sam’s well skooled songwriting chops bloom into play on the A-side with the jagged, cyber-gothic slow burn and swooning vox of Earth Wart, and with a steelier bite offset by sensuous, druggily emoting vocals on I Hear The Swine.
On the B-side he drops the vocals in favour of more layered, melodic synth work, resulting a real gem in the Silent Servant-esque dark dancefloor kink of Racist Cops On A Jog, before fading out with the wilting neo-folk guitar and electronics cadence of R.E.D.
Lucerne, Switzerland’s Hallow Ground follow that COH plays Everall zinger with Martina Lussi’s claggy mix of queasy ambient, field recordings and lop-sided minimal techno
“On the LP Selected Ambient, Martina Lussi brings together a collection of sound material from her practice to date. The material oscillates between electroacoustic composition, sound art, and live performance. The pieces are named after precious gemstones, all of which are traditionally ascribed with special powers. In using these names, the artist seems to refer to the esoteric roots of the genre invoked by the LP’s title. The compositions, however, resist the genre’s characteristically naïve re-enchantment of the world and distrust holistic esotericism’s promise of healing and restoration. Instead, they are defined much more by an interest in affective uncertainties. The gemstones don’t speak, and they don’t convey the mythical forces ascribed to them—rather, they rest in their own materiality. They don’t want to affect or influence—they simply want to exist as witnesses of/to the ultimately incommensurable reality that lives beyond our own horizon.
“Sodalith” is characterized by a melancholy sensibility; the piece is carried by a boundless synthetic surface over which a guitar melody swirls. At first, “Citrin” seems to want to unravel into orbiting, meditative qualities, but in the second part, the mood collects in the peculiarity somewhere between sustained calm and frequently disrupted rave euphoria. “Achat,” which borrows most clearly from the electroacoustic tradition, develops relatively late and unexpectedly into a subtle techno track that then repeatedly interrupts the very momentum it has engendered. Lastly, “Opal,” which was originally written for Lussi’s installation “Composition for a Circle,” writhes in seemingly stochastic contortions that lightly shake the centripetal dynamic of the piece.
In these four compositions as in other works, Lussi creates a sound world in which circling correlations raise more questions than they answer—in contrast to esotericism, which insists on imbuing its material with meaning. Lussi therefore facilitates a listening experience that refers to ambient at its best and most radical: her music represents neither a dissolution of the self in complete uncertainty nor a contemplative internal landscape, but rather a tremulous hovering over the border between the two.
Martina Lussi lives and works in Lucerne. She holds a Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice. In 2014, Lussi’s debut EP, “Komposition O08”, was released on Präsens Editionen. Lussi has performed work between the disciplines of sound art and music performance at places like LUFF (Lausanne Underground Filmfestival) or the festival Oto Nove Swiss at London’s Cafe Oto.”
Killer album of glowering drone and clanking percussion from Martin Maischen aka Goner.
Flanked by noise-cellist Unter Lala and Mark Godwin (a musician/sound engineer whose discography includes work with Coil), Yogascum feels like a ghosted, atrophied and entropic versioning of hard-edged dancefloor sounds chanelled through the darkest recesses of your mind.
Over the first extended side he explores peripheral deep and complex drone works, plumbing a space somewhere between Mohammad’s deathly invocations and the dense dankness of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement with a combination of greazy, slyding pitches, peripheral tones and dense electronic oscillations roiled in vast electro-acoustic space.
The other side, however, is given to beat driven structures, with YS 2 involving Mark Godwin on a clanking, ritualistic rhythm that sounds like it managed to escape from Coil’s latter-day archive, whilst also recalling his work as ZK for Skam, whereas Endtitle catches Goner solo on a dense rhythmic tip.
Alex Zhang Hungtai explores forlorn, strung out avant-industrial and rhythmic noise feels as Love Theme for Luke Younger’s Alter after laying his Dirty Beaches alias to rest in 2014, and more recently guesting on Dedekind Cut’s American Zen album
“If there's a single guiding motif to this debut recording from Love Theme, it's the melancholic throb of love learnt and love lost, a descent that tumbles and slips through the overall feeling of looking back. As intimately and carefully as its parts cohesively lament a narrative, it's the after-image that catches your breath, like a memory morphing as it is observed.Comprised of Alex Zhang Hungtai of the now defunct project Dirty Beaches, along with Austin Milne, and Simon Frank, 'Love Theme' is arranged from an improvised session with twin saxophones, synthesizer, percussion, drum machine, and voice.
Over the course of a year the material was edited remotely from the members' home cities of London, LA and Taipei.The record's sullen ambience is never left too long to set in. The aching wane of the saxophone arrangements frisk the propulsive aggro of the mixed percussion, forcing a melancholic halo upon the queasy stupor of the synthetic swing that closes each side of the record. It's a bizarre lust for life that's being divined from equal parts dislocation and invigoration, a potent remedy which perhaps Love Theme can call their own.
Percolating and finding form over time, the record instinctively follows a travel narrative, moving across a series of landscapes, reflecting the innate experiences of the expressions and voices that were first collected in South London back in February 2015."
Terekke takes L.I.E.S. over the 2017 finishing line with his sublime debut LP, Plant Age - the label 100th release. If you’ve been wowed by his handful of Terekke 12”s to date, take it on trust that this one’s his best so far. For everyone else, this is some of the loveliest, fugged-out deep house you’ll hear all year.
In the mould of his much loved singles, Plant Age finds the Amsterdam-based producer lushing out in eight ways, all linked by the classic spirits of deep, ambient and dub-house styles. It’s surely an analogue bubblebath for the soul - the kind of careful, caressing music to put on at any time of the day to ease your worries.
With xanax-like efficacy, he conducts a deeply anaesthetising drift from the watercoloured chords and elusive, Sprinkles-like bass on Tack thru cotton-built deep house in BB2 and delicicious, barely-there ambient structures in Swim, then sending gentle shockwaves thru the smoke with his doubles stepper Mix91, before pushing off into purely opiated 4th world zones in JQM, and kissing off with the aqueous smudge of Closer.
Gorgeous ambient music. RIYL Satie, Elodie, AFX, Eno
First Meeting, as the title cannily suggests, forms a very welcome introduction to the wonderfully charming and expressive ambient music of Belgium’s Dominique Lawalree. Aye, we’ve never heard of him before, either. But he’s been recording since 1976, almost appeared on Brian Eno’s short-lived Obscure label and counts Gavin Bryars a long time friend and fan of his music, so consider this first-ever retrospective of his recordings as an essential catch-up.
Entirely drawn from self-released titles c. 1978-1982 on Lawalree’s Brussels-based Editions Walrus (what a name?!), First Meeting reveals a quietly sublime and intimately idiosyncratic sound in nine parts - so quiet and intimate in fact that we feel like a privileged fly on the high ceiling of his apartment studio, twitching our antenna whilst the baby-faced maestro sups an Orval and strokes his keys and synths into thee sweetest tapestries.
In the enlightening liner notes by Britton Powell, Lawalree’s music is perfectly described as “wallpaper; ornate and repetitive” when compared with the music of Satie and Eno, with whom he clearly shares an affinity for subtle and meditative musicality, but the distinction lies in the inherent surreality of his music and its ability to entice and encourage closer listening, where the others tend to be background or static.
There’s a beautiful nuance of consonance to his music that tantalises the ear with its warbling harmonic complexity and elegant pacing, yet it’s never challenging; always with a careful pop-ness that points to his equal appreciation of Satie, Feldman and Stockhausen as much as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, the latter of whom he’s currently working on a series of books analysing their music second-by-second, and has led him to meetings with The Beatles’ engineer, Geoff Emerick, where he pointed out mistakes in the classic recordings which nobody else has ever noticed.
Ah this record is just a dream. Warmest recommendations.
At bleedin’ last, Cosey Fanni Tutti’s legendary solo album, Time To Tell  sees a proper, if edited, official vinyl reissue - MAGAZINE INCLUDED! - on her and Chris Carter’s Conspiracy International label. In fact, with Cosey’s utterly mind-blowing autobiography, Art Sex Music now in circulation, putting history to rights and stoking febrile interest around her inspirational, nonpareil oeuvre, the timing could hardly be any better to reissue her most sought-after and inarguably definitive solo release.
First issued on tape in 1983, some years after the initial demise of Throbbing Gristle and the start of of Chris & Cosey, and just prior to the emergence of their multimedia CTI alias, Time To Tell documents Hull’s greatest daughter, Christine Carol Newby aka Cosey Fanni Tutti, ‘fessing all about her long-running art praxis involving a deep penetration of the British sex industry - from nude modelling to striptease and transgressive performance art - all set to her signature, exploratory electronic sculptures and drily angelic delivery.
For this hugely important reissue of Cosey’s only solo record (yep, only!), she worked with husband and creative partner Chris Carter to edit the original two track release, trimming down some of the longer parts to optimise audio fidelity, and also incorporating The Secret Touch which was included on the Time To Tell (Special Edition) CD release in 1993/2000.
Thus the release spies three distinct strands or aspects of Cosey’s sound. The first, longest and most comprehensive is the LP’s title track, which, as far as we can tell, appears in a slightly abridged version, but still ties up all her key sonic themes, from pulsing, sensuous synths, sky-licking guitars and brittle drum machines to her achingly seductive Yorkshire accent, drily recounting her experiences and inside/out perspective in the sex industry. Tell us this isn’t one of the most alluring 20 minutes of the ‘80s ever recorded, and we’ll tell you to do one.
Ritual Awakening comes on the B-side. Here the drum machine drops away and Cosey’s hushed vocals take a new, diaphanous form, refracted in a diamond-cut prism of electronics with near-cinematic strings, feeling out unreachable edges of the lushest void. Then we’re stranded in The Secret Touch, where her sallow synth strokes hint at an aquarian sort of new age, melding with reverberating, Denny-esque guitar against an unfathomable backdrop of possible field recordings and almost raga-like drones on her signature Cornet.
We could hammer on about this one all day, but suffice it to say: this is a totally essential purchase!
Perfectly elusive pop, ths second eponymous 12” from CS + Kreme for Canada’s Total Stasis proves that their 1st EP - one of our favourite releases of 2016 - was no fluke, but rather the foundation of a genuinely sublime sound.
This one knits in contributions from Nigel Lee-Yang ov close associates HTRK, plus flute by local peer Ela Stiles (Bushwalking, The Rangoons) and sax from Jack Doepel, to reveal subtle new shades and aspects of a heart-rendingly classic style.
Dispatching a necessary dose of dusky, southern hemisphere feels to our chilly northern swedes, Conrad Standish and Sam ‘Kreme’ Karmel (F Ingers) have us utterly rapt again with four mirage-like songs that place Standish among the underrated songwriters of recent times, while finding Karmel fluidly firming up the more abstract inclinations of his work alongside Carla Dal Forno in F Ingers for Blackest Ever Black.
Recorded as intimate “jams” with their pals, the four cuts testify to a knowing, close relationship between the duo and their associates, the sort of mutual familiarity that makes listening to their recordings feel somehow voyeuristic or as though we’re privy to a deeply private sound.
Their sound is anything but unapproachable. In the EP opener, Whip, featuring Nigel Yang’s seductive guitar glances laced to feathered 808 and gorgeous, willowing string arrangement, we hear a sort of follow-up to the coolly insistent resolve of Devotion from the 1st CS + Kreme record, while Sisters is darkly alluring thanks to the unaffected modesty of Standish’s vocals and the mutable sensuality of Karmel’s deliquescent synthlines and filigree dub-trap tics.
And they aren’t even the strongest songs. For us, they come on the B-side, in the form of instant classic Roast Ghost (Swimming Thru The Pillars Mix) with its fathomless and incredibly evocative sound field coloured by plaintive keys, a super hushed Standish and that 808 patter, before Portal polishes us off with plunging bassline, noirish piano plumes and one of the most gripping sax lines you’ll shiver to in 2017 - imagine Vazz and Wim Mertens jamming after a quarter of opium-laced hash.
A massive recommendation!
Squashed, bouncing house dubs
“Optimo Trax presents a 4-track EP from Germany’s Mathias Schober, head honcho of Berlin’s Lossless label. As always we prefer to let our artists do the talking. Here’s what Mathias has to say about this release -
The idea behind all tracks on the EP was a simple setup of drums and one synth that would do a main sequence/sound, yet there’s a lot of detail in all of them. ‘In A Certain Way’ features a 808ish beat with a main sequence coming from a tiny monophon synth called Atmegatron - 8Bit love, it turned out being much more music than I thought it would be when I set everything up.
‘But What Rules Are Made For’ is the same setup but the sequence is a 101 and so are all the washed out fx synths. On ‘Is To Break Them’ I went a different route, I had the dub, delayed stabs synth first as I was messin’ with my Moog and a Space Echo - which btw is used on every single track I release, if you haven’t noticed yet.
So I was trying to build something around those stabs in order to fit the track to the others and so I ended up with another sequence coming from my Moog. As there was still space on the record, I decided to add an ambient version of ‘Is To Break Them’, I love the ambience on this track. I hope that my love for dub sounds is obvious enough on these tracks. Happy I found such an excellent home for the EP!”
From the Rühr’s genteel capital, Wuppertal, Colkin cocks the chummy deep house chuff on No Rush
Plus a synth-only Dream Synth miniature, and a hyaline mix form Luv*Jam that sounds like Palmistry, before Wuppertal’s own Maria Basel lends thizzy, cassy-esque vocals to Luv*Jam’s Dream Nip version, and then left floating a cappella on the Dream Vox mix.
Kalbata jacks his mystic, dub-wise trade at house tempo for Optimo Trax
Cosign up with what sounds like spy-trance at half speed and fronted by a flute-playing imp on Enkuan Pt.1, then on a slippier, Dozzy-esque trip in Pt.2, before that flute player comes back in to earn some more acid tabs on Pt.3.
Swanging electro-jazz-house knockers, plus one killer Urban Tribe or DJ Dez-style Detroit hip hop nugget in Summary
Closing out the year with a 4 track EP from producer Colm K. Inspired by a variety of styles and musical sources with one common thread throughout: samples. 2 tracks for the dancefloor and 2 dusty reprises, most of the music found here is a collage of sounds that zig zags from the soulful thump of Seeing to the laid back strain of Summary.
Ekster offer an enchanting almanac of adult contemporary ambient and electronic chamber music, pulling together label regulars with a strong haul of friends and peers including Suzanne Kraft, Gigi Masin, Jonny Nash, plus intriguing new names such as Fregnacciarius, Rembrandt Redandt, and Componium Ensemble.
With typically poetic, timeless form, Ekster provide a subtle, meditative backing track to modern times, trustingly sequencing the vibe for an unchallenging yet curious selection that hinges around two tracks from Roman Hiele - the bubbling vignette Buchla For Sunday and the gently unfolding, airborne tapestry of Birdwatching - alongside fine showing from their Belgian label family including Hantrax, with the chiming electro-jazz nocturne Walking With Raven, and Elko Blijweert on the sweetly Crepuscular Verletzetes Reh.
Foraging farther into the Belgian field, we also find a feathered piece of piano and strings by Politick in Misolidio, and the curdled harpsichord of local legend Roger 3000 on Nuptiale, while the set also introduces a handful of new Belgian artists, strikingly so in Fregnacciarius’s floating jazz-fusion work Ferragosto and Milan Warmoeskerken’s wistfully hyaline chimes in Glaasjes. And it almost goes without saying, but the three pieces by Kraft, Masin and Nash are all stripes of sublime, serving some of the comp’s most alluring highlights.
For the impeccable MAT label, Denamrk’s Central tends hitherto little known ambient aspects of his sound as Palta with a fine selection of feathered rhythms and gauzy, painterly sounds.
Nesting amid good company for this kind of thing, Universel quietly unfolds scuttling, jazz-wise geometries and keening subaquatic chords in the title track, then drifts with scratchy tribal drums and tropical greenhouse sounds in Tabt Optagelse into frayed, frothy new age feels in På Gensyn.
It would appear he indulges those experimental urges in order to prepare listeners for full immersion in the B-side, where At Ville takes hold with subliminal effect, buoying ears on a bed of viscous bleeps and synth fronds with the lushest, entrancing intent, before Optagelse 16A smudges aut into purest balearic atmospheres.
Japanese composer/demi-god Ryuichi Sakamoto presents an exquisitely oneiric and elusively spiritual new album inspired as much by the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia as the magic of Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal septet of celluloid classics.
It’s been some years since Sakamoto has placed his name at the top of a solo album proper - as opposed to his swathes of collaborations and film scores - and we can promise that the results herein are definitely worth the wait.
Imagined and realised after a period of fright with his health, Async captures Mr. Sakamoto at his most wistful and wonderful, meditating on the existentialist, ontological themes and atmospheres of Tarkovsky’s work from both a gauzily impressionistic aspect, and a quite literal one, employing readings of Tarkovsky’s poetry (poem transcribed in the liner notes) in a variety of languages from a coterie of contemporaries including long time collaborators David Sylvian, Bernardo Bertolucci (for whom he composed the OST for The Last Emperor) and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), among others.
Embracing both the fluidity and flux of Tarkovsky’s water analogies as well as the harmonic chaos of Harry Bertoia’s lush metal rod clangour, Sakamoto melds feather touch acoustic keys with field recordings, shimmering electronic patinas and signature synthesiser flourishes in a suite that beautifully lives up to and even transcends its influences, revealing some of the most achingly emotive yet often abrasive and abstract work in a catalogue now spanning over 40 years of exemplary work.
Beyond maybe Scott Walker, we can hardly think of another artist who has continued to expand their oeuvre over such a long period of time, and with an appeal quite like this, albeit respectively unique to their work. But Sakamoto really is in a league of his own here, utterly absorbing us with the dappled keys, organ haze and stereo starting doom synths of Andata, thru the stark Sonambient emulations of Disintegration to the romance of ZURE and the almost Toshiya Tsunoda-esque sensitivity of his field recordings woven into Walker or Honj, with humbling moments to be discovered in the switch from disorienting cinematic dialogue in Fullmoon to the legit Ligeti style violence of Async, and again in the curdled chromatics of FF and the Gas-eous swells swirling about Garden.
Björk blooms her most impressive album in a good while with Utopia, featuring co-production by Arca and even a guest spot by Rabit, who both aid in buoying her astonishingly lush and romantic new song cycle. As sincerely optimistic as the title may suggest, Utopia is, by Björk’s own description, her “tinder album”, projecting a positive answer to the tortuous soul-searching of Vulnicura.
We can take or leave a lot of Björk on most days. But this one got us right thurrr. Whether that’s due to the seamless integration of Arca’s virtuosic flourishes, it’s difficult to say. However, the embrace of space and nature, both real and emulated, within Utopia lends an intoxicatingly out-of-body sensation to its songs which beautifully leavens her sometimes overwrought delivery, serving to free up her spirit in the most literal and fascinatingly intangible terms.
Where Arca was brought in at the late stages of Vulnicura to warp its edges, their working relationship immediately spilled over into the recording of Utopia, forging a symbiotic and hugely fruitful relationship with the artist he formerly called his idol. Now creative partners, their powers are multiplied, manifesting the longest single piece of work in either’s catalogue, and arguably their most seductive.
You can literally hear her beaming while she sings over swooping subs, gamer FX and pirouetting harps in Awakening My Senses, whilst the folk phrasing and prettiness of Blissing Me perfectly counters her operatic tendencies. Conversely, the adroit looseness of Arca’s rhythms acutely mirror the expressive meter of Björk’s classical inflections in Body Memory, one of the album’s longest, most immersive highlights, and equally in sweetly fractious form to giddy effect on Losss, which benefits from Rabit’s push ’n pull production.
And even when talking frankly about the darker side of that tinder life in the couplet of Courtship and Sue Me, she pulls off delirious, rugged - but not overbearing - rhythms and skyward-zipping flutes keeping her spirit decidedly up and forward-looking in a way that also informs the album’s heart-cupping conclusion, Future Forever.
Finders Keepers unveil a real pearl from their stewardship of Ciani Musica Inc.: presenting Suzanne’s ‘Silver Apples Of The Moon’-like electronic score for Gian Carlo Menotti’s satirical opera for children; ‘Help, Help, The Globolinks!’
“As faithful guardians of the Ciani Musica Inc. studio vault, Finders Keepers twist the key and return to their collaborative series of previously unreleased music from one of the most important and influential composers in multi-disciplinary electronic music, Suzanne Ciani. This electronic soundtrack for an operatic, ecological, scholastic, science fiction theater production for children of all ages not only further reveals Suzanne's vibrant and versatile skills as an experimental musician and narrative sound designer, but also highlights her European heritage -- working to the script of Milanese librettist Gian Carlo Menotti and a cast of forward-thinking fellow Italian-American creatives (including Giorgio Armani and Fiorucci in the wardrobe department).
Originally written and performed in 1968, and gaining worldwide acclaim throughout the 1970s, Gian Carlo Menotti would update and revise his play for the turn of the '80s which called for a new approach to the music and sound effects -- all of which would make their world premiere in New York high school theaters in April of 1980. Suzanne on the original: "The original production had been in 1968 and I felt that the electronic music component could be more playful and less abrasive than the original production." For Help, Help The Globolinks!, Ciani would give Menotti's well-traveled aliens a brand new voice and with reinvention she communicated with a young audience keen to hear the genuine sounds of the future while retaining melodicism and personality. Unlike many successful electronic composers, Suzanne managed to evade the obvious typecasting of her music through the medium of shlock sci-fi cinema; within the realms of opera and education Suzanne found her perfect channel -- scratching her other cosmic cinematic itches with android music in The Stepford Wives and as "the first female composer to score a major Hollywood movie" with The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981).
Furnishing a plot of an ecological alien intervention worthy of a Magma youth starter pack and realigning early pioneering electronic operas such as Karl-Birger Blomdahl's Aniara or Remi Gassman's Electronics (CACK 004B-LP), this virtually undocumented work by the hardest working woman in VCO business is finally preserved after just a handful of exclusive theatrical airings over 35 years ago. Ciani's combined roles as an abstract artist and an astute technician are in equal measures here, a rare duplicity which is essential to The Globolinks!.”
No nonsense hard jaw EBM form Phase Fatale, dispensing a proper workout for Jealous God’s 15th release.
Cementing his spot at the top of the EBM techno table, the Berlin-based NYC transplant grinds out the blank-eyed and noisy toil of Breathe and nails a mean af 16th note slammer to the wall in iMirror.
Turn it over and you’ll encounter the beastly trample of Pressure and razor-toothed industrial swang of Cell.
Oliver Ho aka Broken English Club is the latest consort to Jealous God, the beautifully curated label administered by James Ruskin, Juan Mendez and Karl O'Connor.
Miles away from Ho's best known output as Raudive and under his own name, his 'Jealous God 04' dices with depressive and awkward post-punk, new wave and industrial memes over five icy cuts laced with speed-tweak noise and his own, blunted vocals. From the primordial no wave dub beginnings of 'A Square Shaped Room' the session takes shape with the drugged, sluggish electro-wave ace 'Boxes' and the dry, rasping delivery of knowing vocals and dissonant drones in 'Birth Control'. B-side, 'Casual Sex' is the record's most obvious dancefloor tune, mustering a muggy but lucid chug hypnotised with adder-charming whistle and Genesis-aping vocal beside the suffocating, skin-crawling atmosphere and malformed wriggle of 'Plastic Bag'. Best Jealous God yet? It's a toss up with the Powell remix…
Shackleton curves back to Woe To The Septic Heart! with British-German singer-songwriter Anika as his new vocal muse, who lends a refreshing new spirit to his sound following collaborations with Ernesto Tomasini and Vengeance Tenfold in recent years.
Perhaps knowingly timed for release with UK summertime, Behind The Glass is a decidedly mid-summery album full of semi-pastoral psychedelic themes and production in Shackleton’s signature style, equal parts Wickerman soundtrack and Jarman-esque uncanniness with a dash of worcester sauce sourness dosed direct to the pineal gland.
Think ritual dogging sites, lost Spiral Tribe members attempting to find their way out of a nuclear bunker for 20 years, or pagan aliens descending at full moon over Welsh glades. The production, as ever, is incredible.
The Basic Channel don meets the folk musicians of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for a beguiling exchange and fusion of traditions crossing paths between haunting acapella vocals, virtuosic instrumentation and sublime, dub-wise 4th world panoramas.
Locating MVO diversifying his bonds along outernational vectors, just like his BC bandmate Mark Ernestus with Ndagga Rhythm Force or Obadiah, the results form a series of studio portraits and wistful, impressionistic abstractions. They transport us to a place well off the usual map, to rugged lands once crossed by The Silk Road, where preserved, ancient traditions still reveal ghostly traces of the voices and sonic cultures which passed thru them.
The original arrangements of Ordo Sakhna range from complex, airborne string flights to nerve-jangling mouth harp pieces and a few stunning acapella pieces, which to our untrained ears resemble both Middle eastern, Indian classical and Chinese traditions, whilst the Drums track would appear to catch MVO in lissom fusion with live percussionists.
The multiple MVO dubs are a huge attraction, too. None more than the jaw-dropping Facets, where drums are swept in mountainous dynamic across the stereo field, joined by Hassell-esque dream tones and twanging mouth harp in one of the master’s most abstract, mercurial works in memory, whilst Bishkek, May 2016 catches them in live form at the Kyrgyzstan edition of Unsound festival, and the rolling Draught, and its version frame the spirits of Ordo Sakhna in his signature dub techno style, with results comparable to Shackleton when he removes the straight kicks.
Burial skulks back to the ‘floor with the deep, bumping swang of Rodent, backed by a footwork flexing Kode 9 remix.
Switching tack from the sublime, beat-less Subtemple 12”, Rodent follows in the vein of Burial’s remix for Mønic’s Deep Summer with a tender grip on deep garage house styles, cruising out on a 120bpm chassis flecked with looped R&B vox, ambient synth voices and flinty percussion, with a certain crackle of anxiety that’s more minutes-before-come-up than anything darkside. Eyes down in the darnce.
Kobe 9 ain’t having any of that on his remix, tho. His take on Rodent is razor sharp, alert and hungry, pinning scuttling footwork hi-hats and palpitating subs around that vocal motif at a quickened pace akin to tracks off his excellent Nothing album, drawing a jagged line from his ‘90s junglist roots right up to the modern nanosec.
Well, this is just lovely; Hiroshi Yoshimura’s soothing electro-acoustic ambient suite, Music For Nine Postcards  is made available outside the Japanese market for the 1st time, unfurling the Tokyo-based artist’s delicate, minimalist masterwork inspired by Satie, Schaefer and Eno to whole new generations in need of blissed sonic respite. Unless you’re a bit wadded or simply helpless to the charms of early ‘80s Japambient records and bought a dead expensive original, it’s maybe likely that you’ll only get to hear this one via YouTube otherwise, so the opportunity to hear this beauty in full fidelity, at a reasonable price, is not to be missed!
"Despite his status as a key figure in the history of Japanese ambient music, Hiroshi Yoshimura remains tragically under-known outside of his home country. Empire of Signs–a new imprint co-helmed by Maxwell August Croy and Spencer Doran–is proud to reissue Yoshimura’s debut Music for Nine Post Cards for the first time outside Japan in collaboration with Hiroshi’s widow Yoko Yoshimura, with more reissues ofHiroshi’s works to follow in the future.
Working initially as a conceptual artist, the musical side of Yoshimura’s artistic practice came to prominence in the post-Fluxus scene of late 1970s Tokyo alongside Akio Suzuki and Takehisa Kosugi, taking many commissioned fashion runway scores, soundtracking perfume, soundscapes for pre-fab houses, train station sound design – all existing not as side work but as logical extensions of his philosophy of sound.
His work strived for serenity as an ideal, and this approach can be felt strongly on Music for Nine Post Cards. Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture.
This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it.
Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly."
Tom Ware is a Grammy nominated engineer, producer and musician from Omaha Nebraska.
"Throughout the 70s and 80s Tom was the drummer for many bands, including Norman & The Rockwells, Toy boat Toy boat Toy boat, and Hit N Run. Because of his love for electronics, mechanics, and machines of any kind, he was always the only one who truly knew how pa systems worked. Tom got an entry level job at a Rainbow Studios and would work at the recording studio during the day, play evening gigs till 2 in the morning, then go back to the studio and work on new ideas all night. During these teeth cutting sessions, Tom worked by himself, following his instincts and creating sounds he loved to listen to.
His reckless abandon approach and thrill to learn was a high octane fuel that resulted in his first solo self-titled album. The album’s 10 songs were recorded and mixed between August & December of 1983 and self-released in early 1984. The album would be re-released in 1985 by independent Krautrock/Kosmische Musik label Sky Records in Germany and re-titled ‘The Fourth Circle’. Some of the instruments used on the LP were a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, & Pro One, Simmons SDSV electronic drums, Roland TR-606 drum machine, & Hammond B3 organ. While recording this album Tom was influenced by new wave sounds of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the Berlin and Düsseldorf schools of pulsing synth music and the celestial realms of Jean Michel Jarre.”
Black Editions present the first ever vinyl edition of Tokyo Flashback, the legendary 1991 compilation that defined the Tokyo psychedelic movement and first brought it to the outside world.
"Tokyo Flashback is one of the most iconic compilations in the history of underground music. Originally released by Japan's P.S.F. Records, Tokyo Flashback defined the breathtakingly unique and previously obscured musical movement that had been developing in Japan since the late 1970s. The compilation features some of the earliest released recordings by Keiji Haino, High Rise, Masaki Batoh's Ghost, White Heaven, Fushitsusha, Kousokuya, and Marble Sheep. It captures the excitement and energy of a Tokyo awash in Technicolor and deep blacks; the music echoing krautrock, psychedelic freak-outs, garage, and no wave. At the same time it reveals astonishing, totally idiosyncratic expansions of rock music.
In time, Tokyo Flashback expanded to a synonymous nine volume series that, over the following two decades, unveiled Japan's ever evolving soundscapes to the rest of the world. Tokyo Flashback is a defining statement of late 20th century Japanese psychedelic music and an essential primer to the world of P.S.F. All tracks are exclusive, this edition features the first time translation of the original liner notes. Black Editions' deluxe edition is entirely re-mastered and marks the first release of Tokyo Flashback outside of Japan and it's first ever vinyl issue."
The debut release by The Slowest Lift (Sophie Cooper and Julian Bradley) presents a new chapter in the long-running tradition of radical English music duos.
"Originally formed via a commission from the Supernormal Festival, Cooper (an accomplished solo performer and collaborator) and Bradley (from frequent VHF delinquents Vibracathedral Orchestra) play a kind of gentle postindustrial psychedelia, with Cooper’s lovely vocals floating over a collage of live and electronic performances. The songs are a blend of straightforward performance and eccentric bricolage, with rude electronic interjections sitting comfortably alongside delicate guitar and keyboard melodies. Zoviet France-like low-fi atmospherics compete with Cooper’s voice for air on tracks like “Crystal Fracture” and “Hi From The Skyline Swim,” while the duo’s surprising cover of Duran Duran’s “The Chauffeur” deep on side two sneaks in perfectly, a mini-pop music drama reimagined as pure hallucination."
After years in duo with Dusk, Keysound’s Martin “Blackdown” Clark ventures solo with the weightless etudes of Those Moments, neatly incorporating both sampled vocals and original bars from Trim and Farrah to put a succinctly poetic spin on the ‘weightless’ movement coined by Mumdance & Logos.
It’s effectively a soundbwoy’s fever dream, leaving the beats behind to focus on what are effectively the zoomed-in and extended breakdowns of ‘ardcore ‘nuum styles, the bits at the start of records and between the grooves where the tension pensively floats before the next rush.
The rush never comes in Those Moments, but the tension holds tight in all parts, subtly modulated between salty glare of Abundance and the horizon-scanning gaze of Halcyon Skies, turning up a strong moment for the DJs on the impending, Optical or Logos-like pressure of Who Does It (KSA) featuring spare bars from Trim, and some almost uncomfortable insight with the brooding intimations of Those Moments.
Restored and remastered by Chris Carter from 24bit 'baked tape' digital transfers of the original first generation analogue master tapes.
The tragic death of Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson earlier this year signalled the end of Throbbing Gristle, whose surviving members are currently working to complete their final album before retiring the name. It couldn't be a more appropriate time to revisit their revolutionary records of the 1970s and 1980s, remastered by Chris Carter and reissued on Industrial Records.
Their first proper album, The Second Annual Report is essentially an edited collection of live and studio takes, and still sounds fresh and uncategorisable. 'Slug Bait' has lost none of its transgressive power: the ICA recording foregrounds Genesis P.Orridge's gleefully macabre lyrics (inhabiting the mind of a particularly nasty murderer), while the shorter Southampton and Brighton versions emphasise the minimal synth drones and sampled voices. 'Maggot Brain' sounds like 60s psychedelia that's taken a wrong turn and ended up in hell, while 'Live At Rat Club London' is probably the closest thing on here to the common conception of industrial, all disorientingly looped spoken vocals, brutally mechanized percussion and needling synthesizer jabs, while 'After Cease To Exist''s oppressive atmospherics - taking up an entire side of the original LP - pretty much gave birth to the entire dark ambient genre. The comparatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, Kraftwerk-influenced single 'United' - the tune that ushered in a million inferior cold wave pop bands - is included along with its gloriously compressed and distorted B-side 'Zyklon B Zombie'.
It's insane to think The Second Annual Report came out in '77, the same year as Never Mind The Bollocks. Pause for a moment and reflect on that, then press the buy button.
Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Bill Orcut make for a riveting set of contrasts between their styles on the 1st instalment of Unrock’s Saraswati Series, which has since issued a string of releases from mould breakers and makers such as Eyvind Kang, Tashi Dorji, Ava Mendoza and Sam Shalabi.
Bishop unfurls 20 minutes of spellbinding improvised pan-blues instrumental narrative to leave you either floating or on the edge of your seat with Shades Of Zurvan on the Kali side.
That’s sharply contrasted with Harry Pussy guy Bill Orcutt’s handful of shorter, jagged piece on the Saraswati side, regaling ragged tales of debauchery, astrophysics and geology encrypted into his digit-slicing chops and glossolalic keen. Seriously, how has this guy got any fingers left? Or did he have spare ones to start with?
A key piece of Arvo Pärt’s peerless canon, Für Alina is the Estonian composer’s beautiful dedication to a friend’s 18 year old daughter who had just left to study in London. First performed in Tallinn in 1976, Für Alina has become one of Pärt’s most-loved and widely appreciated works - regarded an early, defining example of his signature tintinnabuli style.
For this reissue, the great Mississippi Records have teamed with Oregon’s The Ajna Offensive to gather their favourite Arvo Pärt pieces as a sort of compilation, rather than a direct reissue of the title piece, which has previously appeared on various ECM releases. It's a lovely and exquisitely well presented package.
It features two contrasting takes on Für Alina, opening with Alexei Lubimov’s, bright, if almost impending and fearful take, which subtly differs from the slower, spacious yearn of Jurgen Kruse’s version on the other side, while the rest of the LP is taken by a number of string variations on Spiegel I’m Spiegel, which has formerly accompanied the title piece on ECM releases.
The other special thing about this pressing is the appearance of Alexei Lubimov’s Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka (Variations for the recovery of Arinuschka), another time-stoppingly wonderful solo piano piece, written by Pärt in 1977, and also the inclusion of Fratres, performed by Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe on violin and piano.
An infinite evergreen.
The London-based jazz experimenters pay lovely tribute to Arthur Russell’s timeless, far reaching styles
“The second Hello Skinny album, Watermelon Sun conjures images of the languorous, dreamy escapism its title suggests. Channelling influences including UK jazz, New Jersey house and Chicago footwork, it’s the melodies – played on trombone, tenor sax and the keys – which are the bright-shining, consistent thread throughout. The solo project of esteemed drummer Tom Skinner (whose other recent projects include Sons of Kemet and Owiny Sigoma Band), the album features influential trombone player and composer Peter Zummo (a friend and collaborator of Arthur Russell, who’s recently released new material on Glasgow’s Optimo label).
Over the past thirty years, dance music has splintered off into a myriad web of different styles and tribes. But in the beginning, things were different: starting with New York’s late ‘70s disco boom, the city’s fertile club scene co-mingled hip-hop, R&B, punk and the avant-garde. For Hello Skinny, that open-minded attitude serves as inspiration for Watermelon Sun. Recorded in free-form, improvised live sessions, it sees that broad-minded club lineage channelled through London’s genre-blurring, jazz-influenced vanguard.”
Jaw-dropping 1st ever compilation of Gökcen Kaynatan’s maverick Turkish electronic experiments and dancers - a mind-melting instrumental array of bubbling drum machines, fuzzed-up psychedelic surf guitars and frothy microtonal synth geometries dating back to 1968. Basically the missing link between Ilan Mimaroglu, Baris Manco and Mustafa Özkent. Finders Keepers absolutely on-the-money here! Unmissable for any exotic disco or Anatolian rock freqs.
“The missing component in the history of Turkish pop and one of the earliest exponents of Turkish electronic music alongside İlhan Mimaroǧlu and Bülent Arel, Gökçen Kaynatan electrified the rock and roll scene of the late 50s/early 60s – sending teenagers wild with his custom built guitars and back lines – helping charge the climate for the birth of Anatolian rock. Then, from the sanctuary of his private studio, he revolutionised the industry with his pioneering use of electronics whilst hanging the sonic wallpaper in the living rooms of an entire generation of telly addicts as in house composer of choice for Turkey’s first national television channel TRT 1. Despite having a modest discography of only four 7” singles to his name his influence is a major current that flows through over 50 years of Turkish pop culture.
Compiled with unparalleled access to his private studio vault, Finders Keepers proudly presents the first-ever collection of Gökçen Kaynatan’s pioneering early electronic works. Featuring a selection of his experimental pop and rock recordings dating from as early as the 1968 it features both of the highly sought after 1 Numara singles – including a never before heard extended version of Evren – as well as previously unheard archive material and songs recorded for and broadcast exclusively on TRT 1 – most of them never to be repeated. In helping Gökçen end his self-imposed 44-year exile from the record industry we can now share with you the first of these important recordings from a genuine maverick who helped shape the face of modern Turkish music, as well as shedding some light on the rise of one of Anatolian rock and pops must fruitful and experimental periods that began with the arrival (and subsequent explosion) of domestic synthesisers on the Turkish scene.”
The Saraswati Series, mostly string orientated, zigzags between the lines where underground and High-Art performance overlap.
"Out jumps the first part of our actively anti-Western sub series : the “Puppet on aString” twin albums!Osama Shalabi, a born Egyptian (best known for his work with Shalabi Effect & Land Of Kush), is an expert playing theOud, a traveler between the eastern and western worlds and long time contributor to the Montreal scene. Sam -whospent the last few years home in Cairo- breathes his own sense of space and time through the epic „Tamara”, an 18minute long melodic, delightful improvisation.
The other story starts in Agouza, Cairo, where Sam Shalabi & Alan Bishop spent some time jamming . They’d run free,lose form, find intensity, and wound up creating a contemporary version of oriental psychedelic free form. A mindblowing, wild, never mellow Cairo night, now documented here. It‘s getting intense: A north-African sand storm.“Mother Of All Sinners” will be released as a one-time limited run pressing on 140g. vinyl. It has an extra heavy de-Luxe cover and a solid printed inlay."