Klein debuts on Hyperdub with an intuitively avant blinder, the Tommy EP, dropping a pin at the label’s farthest flung coordinates, somewhere between concrète R&B and soul-wrenching jazz noise. Very safe to say, if you were into Klein’s Only LP, this one’s a peach..
We pick up in Prologue with a candid glimpse of Klein in the studio riffing on Mariah Carey along with her pals - Atiena, Jacob Samuel, ThisisDA, Eric Sings and Pure Water - we’re dropped off 25 minutes later at the glitching jazz chord chops of Farewell Sorry feeling dazed and seriously wondering, wtf just happened?!
To offer some kind of description, the London/LA-based artist takes the cut-up, collaged themes and techniques of Only to beguiling new degrees, flinging the listener thru a maze of idiosyncratic gestures from clouds of diaphanous, operatic vocals in Act One to the tenebrous R&B of Cry Theme and the rainy parade of Tommy, then crushing ‘90s soul and jungle like you’ve never heard in the all-too-short Runs, and even some sorta grungy jungle trample in Everlong, while B2k is possibly best described as kitchen sink hypersoul.
It’s anarchic, unsettling and steeply unique stuff, largely thanks to her distinctive concrète palette - no recognisable plugins or owt here - but also thanks to a balance of daring, knowing, and playful boldness that makes it clear she couldn’t give a f*ck about trends or convention, which is evidently all too rare nowadays.
The trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi,aka the Soundwalk Collective, are based between New York City and Berlin, their efforts span fine art and music, digesting anthropological, ethnographic, and psychogeographic study, through the lens of electronic sound - recording, processing, and synthesis. Marking the debut of the new imprint Dischi Fantom, Transmissions - a four LP anthology, gathers four previously unreleased studio compositions into a single sprawling set.
"Transmissions is a distillation of sonic worlds - its source material and recordings linked to specific locations, natural or artificial, collected by the trio over long periods of investigation, travel, and field work in the Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea, the Rub’ al Khali Desert, and the region around Odessa. Cacophonous and often chaotic, images drift in and out of view - the sounds of nature, captured frequencies, ambience, radio intercepts, voices, music, archival recordings - the list goes on. A careful ordering of chance encounter, captured in the search for beauty the chaos of the world. Across Transmissions' works - Ulysses Syndrome, Medea, Empty Quarter, and Bessarabia, emerges a startling post-modern realm. A sonic bubble of non-linear narrative, where concrete meaning eludes the ear - continuously changed by the listeners themselves. Published in an edition of 300 copies, and accompanied by a booklet (amazingly designed by Fabrizio Radaelli) which includes Black-Winged Night, an essay by David Toop, as well as a conversation between the Soundwalk Collective and Dischi Fantom founder, Massimo Torrigiani. A stunning start for the label, and a brilliant effort by one of the most interesting projects in the contemporary scene, this is one not to miss.
“I hear this displacement of refrains. I am not fixed within signs but adrift within signals. Like a bat or a dolphin, I hear scanned frequencies otherwise inaudible to my human limitations and these voices and tones captured from the aether seem to me to be our equivalent of those voices of gods who spoke ‘words that flew’; music asserts its regional and cultural affiliations and yet at the same time it drifts unmoored in the ocean of sound.” David Toop
Berlin's enigmatic Errorsmith has at long last delivered a debut album worthy of all the angst and hyperbole associated with his cannon of work to date.
Errorsmith first came to attention with the release of two legendary 12"s under the alias 'MMM' - future disco electroid monsters penned in collaboration with his mate Fiedel, fast becoming club anthems in Berlin and regular fixtures in Gescom DJ sets for years on end.
Finally followed up with the Debut Errorsmith 12" a couple of years later, the sound developed into a more academic, fractured, sculpted stretch of loops and cut-ups, alienating the dancefloor brigade somewhat, but leaving in its wake a slew of admireres. In the years since Errorsmith 1, collaborations have followed with I-Sound and DJ Scud, and a fruitful tribute album for Hamilton Bohannon recorded with fellow Berlin cut-up House pioneers Soundhack under the memorable 'Smith 'n' Hack' alter ego.
And so onto this bizarre and totally crazy debut album, a brilliantly original and sometimes grating display of visionary sound-sculpting skill, made with a bare minimum of hardware, looped, spliced and re-edited into a body of work that at times unleahes adrenalised dancefloor edits, while at others constructs pieces best used as soundtools for playing in or out.
As a display of visionary sound sculpting and untouchable editing technique, 'Errorsmith 2' ranks as one of our favourite albums of 2002!
Lindstrøm launches his most concerted pop effort with 4th solo album, It’s Alright Between Us As It Is, neatly incorporating vocals by Jenny Hval, Frida Sundemo, and Grace Hall in a seamless segue of seven sleek and disco-ready songs adapting 40 years of dancefloor history to a timeless but fresh style.
Spire lifts off with lagging ‘70s drums and Vangelis-style synth streaks, tailing off into the lattice of latinate ‘80s arpeggios in Tensions, and a purring beauty named But Isn’t It starring Sweden’s Frida Sundemo, and something resembling ‘90s trance breaks for disco mums and dads with Shinin feat. Grace Hall.
Drift gives room for some twanging instrumental expression, and Jenny Hval voices the album’s most impressive piece with a hushed, cryptic performance on the bittersweet acidic twyst of Bungl (Like a Ghost), fading out into a neo-classical keys and tempered symphonic lift of Under Trees.
Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran traverse the outer reaches on this killer Visible Cloaks document for RVNG.
We just knew last year's debut Visible Cloaks offering for RVNG, the Miyako Koda-featuring Visible Cloaks single Valve, would be the prelude to something greater from Ryan Carlile and Spencer Doran. Reassemblage marks the Portland pair's second album and further expands upon the Visible Cloaks 'verse, calling on Motion Graphics and Root Strata alum Matt Carlson for assistance.
Inspiration for the album stems from a video essay of the same name by Trin T Minha-ha, which explored the impossibility of ascribing meaning to ethnographic images. With this in mind, Visible Cloaks set about transposing the inherent futurism of acts discovered on their inspirational Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo mixes well into the 21st Century through modern sound design.
This results in an album whose eleven tracks possess a startlingly lucid and vibrant vision, forming new structures and ideas in the process. The aforementioned Valve features early in Reassemblage, Miyako Koda's presence gaining even more meaning within the context of Carlile and Doran's intentions for the album.
Elsewhere, vocals are deployed with a more abstract bent, VC playfully skewering Matt Carlson's voice through digital manipulation on Neume for one of the album's forays through musique plastique. Circles offers a genuinely spine-tingling moment of modern classical, whilst Motion Graphics follows his avant-jazz Future Times gripper with some illuminating assistance on the digital tranquility of Bloodstream.
Wonderful stuff all round.
John Duncan and Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio) explore the greyest areas of psychoacoustic and psychosexual drone noise back in 1991, newly remastered for this reissue on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle.
“Black Truffle is thrilled to announce the first reissue of legendary performance and sound artist John Duncan's forgotten gem Klaar, originally released by Extreme in 1991 and partly created in collaboration with Andrew McKenzie (The Hafler Trio). Duncan is perhaps most well known for his notorious early performances pieces, which explored violence, self-denial, and the establishment of extreme psychological and physical states in both artist and audience. Alongside these transgressive experiments, Duncan began to create audio works primarily using short wave radio. Where some of Duncan's earlier recordings are composed of magnificently sculpted but abrasive walls of noise, Klaar, recorded while Duncan was living in Amsterdam, occupies a more meditative territory.
Opening with 'Delta', which layers long tones seemingly sourced from slowed down voices over a distant, watery field recording, the remainder of the first side is occupied with the epic title piece, which arranges shortwave radio abstraction, vocal experiments, and field recordings (street sounds, fireworks, monastic chants) into an episodic cinema for the ear. The second side is dominated by the long, brooding 'The Immense Room', where layers of shortwave interference and field recordings are gradually built up into a pulsing, wavering bed of sound infused with a subtly disturbing sense of psychological unrest. This rises to the surface near the end of the piece as sexual moans and ominous rumbles crisscross the stereo image before being abruptly brought to a halt.
A singular work of electroacoustic composition, Klaar is both compositionally sophisticated and infused with a sense of mystery and a vital reality often lacking in more academic experimental music; it sits proudly alongside contemporaneous recordings by Duncan's friends and collaborators Jim O'Rourke and Christoph Heemann and is a must for anyone interested in their work.
- Francis Plagne”
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.
NYC/Berlin’s Hayden Payne aka Phase Fatale extends his Redeemer album tracks for proper ‘floor pressure on Hospital Productions.
Order Of Severity lives up to its mantle across the entire A-side, expanded and cut deeper for bass frequency response and allowing the growling mid-range guitars to really cut the the mix, whilst Silent Servant’s input really shows int he 2nd half.
Operate Within hunts down a more typical EBM sound accentuated with clenched snares and raging bass torque on the B-side, next to a cold, killer, blank-eyed augmentation of Spoken Ashes.
First ever reissue of a seminal, ambitious fusion of Congolese vocals, likembe and rhythms with analog electronics and free jazz leanings, 'Noir Et Blanc' is justifiably hailed as one of the first and most influential records of its kind, or “in the same class s Byrne & Eno’s Bush of Ghosts… an imaginary collaboration between DAF and Fela Kuti” as the UK’s Melody Maker astutely put it in 1983.
Ever since its original release in 1983, Noir Et Blanc’s nine songs have informed countless DJs and dancers from the NYC new wave to Italy’s cosmic selectors and, pivotally, the swell of Belgian music that fed into New Beat and early techno. It’s no less than a stone cold classic and requires your attention pronto, if isn’t prized enough already.
In unprecedented form, Noir Et Blanc distills and renders the electric buzz of artists breaking new ground. It features Bony Bikaye, a Congolese musician obsessed with the possibilities of progressive German and American musics as much as his indigenous traditions, working with french synth nerds Claude Micheli and Guillaume Loizillon as CY1, and Algerian-born Pierre Job aka Hector Zazou, who all converge a radical attempt to mesh the mutual themes of disparate styles at the service of the ‘floor. Zazou himself has something of an eye-watering CV, having been involved with a huge number of influential projects, from ZNR to La Perversita and beyond; one of those producers with a crazy sprawling body of work you would do well to sink into.
Inarguably, the results have withstood the test of time thanks to the combination of Bikaye’s warm vocals with the minimalist tang and nudge of CY1’s metallic rhythms and Zazou’s wide scoped vision, songs such as the infectious modular dancehall prototype M’Pasi Ya M’Pampa and the roiling, alien plongs of Woa or the grubbing acid of Keba still sound utterly outlandish, out of space and time more than 30 years later, and notably feature some of the funkiest performance ever by Fred Frith.
Now ripened for rediscovery by a new generation of clued up selectors, the timeless qualities of Noir Et Blanc clearly resonate as strong as ever with the modern scene, sounding at times uncannily close to TV on the Radio clashing Congotronics, and just as likely to be played by Vladimir Ivkovic as Jon K or ATFA’s Brian Shimkovitz.
Basically one of those records that forms the square root of everything right now, and loved by those in the know.
Jlin breaks thru the Chicago footwork ranks with one of the scene's most fascinating, essential mutations in 'Dark Energy', co-presented by Planet µ and Jamie Kuedo's very promising new Knives label.
It's quite possibly the most distinctive contribution to footwork since the RP Boo album and Rashad's jungle splices, and, in such a fast-moving (quite literally) and active scene, that's gotta be saying something. Keener Chi watchers may have previously checked Jlin's standout 'Erotic Heat' and 'Asylum' joints on the Bangs & Works Vol.2 compilation but, since then, the Gary, Indiana-based producer has honed an incredibly tight new style and pattern, exhibited here with shocking impact. Rather than breathlessly frantic chops and hyper momentum, she favours offbeats and more spacious arrangements, but isn't afraid to lace them with visceral, forward tones; as with the zig-zags of 'Infrared (Bagua)' which sounds like an alien instrumental version of Usher and Luda's already mental 'Dat Girl Right There', full of quarter, half and triplet rhythm switches, or in the razor-edged synth strobes that scan Holly Herndon's vocal in 'Expand'.
Factor in the frankly unhinged hyper-tech flux of 'Abnormal Restriction' and the richly expressive percussive motifs of 'Unknown Tongues' or the adroit brutality of 'Guantanamo' and you've got something really, really special. Incredible stuff - Massive recommendation!
Burial’s eponymous debut LP is a defining beacon of post-millenium dance and electronic music. Written between 2001-2006, the follow-up to his debut 12” South London Boroughs, further consolidated what were previously mutually exclusive strains of music with unprecedented guile, vision and emotive impact, done to mind-blowing and award-winning effect.
In 2016 it’s easy for folk to forget that prior to this album, aside from a select handful of producers such as Horsepower Productions, El-B or Kode 9, effectively nobody was writing tracks circa 138bpm and using this kind of palette of samples, textures and spaces to the same ends as Will Bevan, a.k.a. Burial. And still, even fewer of them were writing without the dancefloor or radio squarely in mind.
Enter Burial, whose impressionistic, unquantized soundscapes reset the neuroses of Teebee and Bad Company’s neo-D&B with a romance and swing better associated with Steve Gurley and El-B, whilst also listening to and channelling the atmosphere of his environment in a way better likened to the spaces explored by Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, but animated like a Massive Attack album produced and collaged by Chris Watson; albeit a Watson raised in suburban British sprawl and smoky bedrooms playing tense computer games and watching classic anime and thrillers on VHS, or whatever obscure foreign flicks Channel 4 had on late at night.
Honestly, nowadays that period seems eons away - especially in light of streaming services where you can find thee most obscure art at the touch of keyboard - but back on original release, this record nailed an atmosphere, even a lifestyle, that was lived by many souls on the peripheries who couldn’t be arsed with the menu offered by provincial high street clubs or cable TV, or a culture artificially inflated by major labels and the media.
It almost feels daft and futile trying to explain this to anyone under the age of 30 - or those cold hearted cynics who roll their eyes at the mere mention of his name - but, quite honestly Burial’s music nailed the vibe so heavily that it felt like déjà vu, uncannily weaving together the disparate strands of culture that meant so much to the artist, and by turns, us the listeners.
There are still tonnes of naysayers, but fuck ‘em - Burial’s music is hugely danceable and mixable by the right DJs, but there’s no denying that it probably sounds best in bedrooms or headphones where you can give it your full attention, or vice versa.
Despite the temporal dislocation, the 2007 smoking ban, and the sign-posted, rictus rigidity of too much modern dance music, we’d still love to think there’s a whole new generation out there who will get and love this record as hard as we did, and do.
Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) metamorphosize into The Belbury Circle, incorporating their pal John Foxx on two tracks of Outward Journey.
Pulsing with proggy soft trance riffs and draped in nocturnal atmospheres, it’s one for driving your car late at night thru the conurbations, commuter villages and gentrified docklands of a pensive Brexit Britain, turning up two standout moments in the John Foxx-led highlights of Forgotten Town and the beautifully wistful Trees, with plenty of time of reflection over your milky tea on Café Kaput and the twinkly gaze of Departures Inc, with a wistful guitar solo worthy of an Alan Partridge-style despairing breakdown in a lay-by.
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!
Reissue of Mika Vainio's final album under the Ø moniker...
Following on from the crushing technoid scapes of 'Kilo' under his own name and the blackened alloys of his ÄÄNIPÄÄ album with Stephen O'Malley, 'Konstellaatio' reveals the revered producer at his most sensitive, teetering on the brink of the abyss and projecting to the stars. Between the goosebump-inducing panoramic pads of opener 'Otava' and the twinkling electro-dub of closer 'Takaisin' we're made privy to some of the strongest material in his whole oeuvre, and we really don't say that lightly.
His tactile manipulation of bass and sub-bass dynamics and spacious application of pure, isolated frequencies is just mindblowing, evoking imagery on sub-atomic scales. Far from being an academic exercise in production, there's an awe-inspiring and compelling sense of pathos and wonder at its core owing as much to the grandeur of Beethoven as it does the diffuse sound sculptures of Parmegiani.
It's pointless listening to this material on shit speakers because you're gonna miss half of it's extreme subtleties, but for those who know and care about this music, prepare to bunker down with one of Vainio's finest.
Hyperdub reveal a spine tingling ambient episode in the Burial saga, finding the enigmatic protagonist pursuing the atmospheric themes of Nightmarket - the B-side to his previous 12” - into a liminal grey area of esoteric, sino-futurist techgnosis in Subtemple / Beachfires.
Implanted in the subterranean consciousness in the wake of Burial’s distinguished remix for Goldie’s Inner City Life, the reclusive artist’s latest episode frames some of the most enigmatic material in his era-defining catalogue, effectively removing the beats entirely and leaving us wandering acres of negative space lit up by cryptic sonic signposts and paranormal disturbances.
On both sides he uncannily echoes aspects of the Ghost In The Shell soundtrack as much as Nguyen Van Phong’s spectral Yin Yang gong loops and experimental funerary rites, as divined by the 3rd Ear/IREX project and archived on Reel Torque in 2016; dialling in encrypted patterns of crackle, cinematic dark ambient strokes and snatches of dialogue seemingly intercepted from the ether.
With Subtemple he appears like a safecracker or furtive agent tapping clandestine discussions from Shanghai; in headphones it feels like listening into important but impenetrable messages left by a time jumper in an evacuated mollusc. Beachfires follows with the equally illusive/elusive shimmer of wind chimes and fallen angel cries calcifying around the pineal gland, again with totally beguiling electro-acoustic depth of field and prompting all kinds of fevered speculation.
A pattern or narrative seems to be forming, or perhaps revealing itself in an inverted entropic schematic. Either way we’ve just got that Burial feeling again, and there’s scant few artists who can keep us rapt so consistently.
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.
Ivan Smagghe and Rupert Cross indulge another retro-futurist fantasy. File next to your Ghost Box collection...
“When experiencing zero gravity in a space station, or bouncing weightless across the moon’s surface, looking back at Earth-as-one, most astronauts feel dizzy at the immensity of the journey they have just undertaken. A near revelation , this sudden awareness is named the Overview Effect.
Once back on Earth, these astronauts are changed. The cognitive shift of the Overview Effect plunges them into a state of melancholy: for hours at a time, they remain lost in thought. When they eventually come out of these periods of aphasia, the astronauts are unable to express what they have experienced, but often recall having heard "strange music", similar to the music they claim to have heard close to Venus or on the hidden side of the Moon.
Smagghe & Cross's second collaboration (recorded chronologically before the MA album, released last year on Often) is the first attempt to recreate this celestial music, which up until now, had only existed in the minds of enlightened spacemen. It is reminiscent of the sound of meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere, of probes sent to infinity and beyond, their echo slowly fading from the control screens. Smagghe & Cross have boldly taken the step from the strobe lights to the Milky Way
For the past two decades, Ivan Smagghe has perfected the art of making spaced-out clubbers dance, has ridden a Fine Line and run his label Les Disques de La Mort. Rupert Cross is a London-based composer who has worked with Michael Finissy and Julian Anderson as well as writing music for television and theatre.
Before/after MA, an album which sat on the fringes of experimental music passed through a industrial particle accelerator., S&C give you the tracks codenamed Timothy Dalton (according to Ivan, "The laser sound in the track reminded us of Flash Gordon"). Neither pop, nor psychedelic, nor ambient, nor house, nor techno, nor post punk nor even new wave are spared, but none are singled out.
To nurture this proto-album, which targets paradise by plunging us into the abyss, the duo also called upon the talents of Tim Felton, the outstanding guitarist from the cult band Broadcast.
When listening to Timothy Dalton, the temporal and stylistic boundaries disintegrate to give way to all sorts of speculation: imagine the beardies from Tangerine Dream being kidnapped by Soft Cell, C86 and 1988, the Silver Apples composing a space opera with the help of an electro cardiogram monitor. Or the Wizard of OZ reviewed and reworked by Psychic TV.
Eight tracks take us from the New Orderey beaches of Ostend to the rings of Saturn, and gradually unfold before our eyes like a machine to travel through time and space. So what if Timothy Dalton was a one-way ticket to the Twilight Zone?”
At long last, here it is, a gorgeous new edition collecting a treasure trove of previously unreleased music from The Remote Viewer - a band that's very close to our hearts - a decade since their last release. These dustry hybrids of ambient and pop electronics come to you with our highest possible recommendation, especially if you're into Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, To Rococo Rot, SND or Hood...
Once encountered, the exquisite, low key charms of Craig Tattersall, Andrew Johnson and Nicola Hodgkinson’s The Remote Viewer leave an impression that lingers long after their records stop playing. A decade since departing with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better , Other ideas recalls their lower case sound as you’ve never heard it, presenting ten previously unreleased songs drawn from minidiscs “before the last functioning MD player in Prestwich gave up the ghost”.
Perhaps the greatest champions of drizzly, Lancastrian mood music ever known, The Remote Viewer formed as a splinter group from Leeds-based Hood with their eponymous 1999 debut, taking the opportunity to pursue a fragile, downbeat strain of electronic songcraft and experimentation that quietly held steady against the grain of much electronica during that era. Over the course of four albums and four EPs, they addressed ambient pop music’s barest essentials with a succinct blend of miserablism and refined, adroit technicality that they could safely call their own, and more or less sprang a whole scene of copycats in their wake.
Us. In happier Times is The Remote Viewer’s typically ambiguous title for this collection; ten grainy and richly evocative pieces of haptic scrabble and jaded gestures as inviting as a warm brew and a 2-bar heater on a p*ss wet night. It’s the sound of glacial english valleys after-hours, finding them animating ambient embers and wilting pop hooks with clipped, Teutonic glitches and subby pulses. The results form a curious and emotionally intelligent adjunct to then-contemporary dance or pop musics, a sound best received on punctured sofas in small coffee shops and living rooms, one which will forever remind us of wet mornings back at the turn of the century.
With the flickering fizz of Tonight it feels like Spain we hear all three members in intimate dialogue, opening a session that variously takes in SND-like garage minimalism and what sounds like Muslimgauze fever-dreaming in 2-step on Complaining of feeling unwell, or a pre-echo of autonomic D&B in the Arovane-esque nerve pinch of The Sound of old Helmshore, whereas This old face dates me is like a prickly Arran to the suave, cashmere gentility of To Rococo Rot, and the crackling group harmonies of lullaby closer When it was over forms possibly the loveliest finale to any record you’ll find this year.
<3 <3 <3
Dawn People’s ‘The Star Is Your Future’ is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte.
"The pair’s mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track album, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity and purpose.
Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70s jazz fusion, Krautrock and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.
Dawn People’s dense, funky and psychedelic music is the result of the wide range of musical influences of the collaborators. Nick Forte’s resume spans influential hardcore punk band Rorschach, post-punk outfit Beautiful Skin and recent underground sensation Raspberry Bulbs. With Dawn People, Forte digs deep into his own childhood nostalgia: making mixtapes from the early NYC hip hop show ‘Rap Attack’, watching Christian Marclay experiment with vinyl on the TV show ‘Night Flight’ and his first musical instrument, the Casio SK1 sampler keyboard.
Peter Negroponte is a virtuosic drummer and guitarist whose influences are rooted in rock & roll, jazz, funk, fusion and free improvisation. In reaction to his brief stint at the New England Conservatory, Negroponte sought to transcend what he felt to be an esoteric approach to making ‘experimental’ music by forming the psychedelic art-rock-noise-funk band Guerilla Toss. He has worked with an array of contemporary DIY labels such as Feeding Tube, NNA Tapes, Digitalis and John Zorn’s Tzadik.
The sound of this album harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early to mid 90s, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock and David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork’s Eric Harvey recently described as “recombinant pop,” which is applied to “adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music.”
‘The Star Is Your Future’ shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive and mesmerizing.
For fans of Cornelius, Air ‘Virgin Suicides’ OST, Beastie Boys ‘Check Your Head’, Stereolab."
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!.”
ASC baffles your internal metronome with the railing rhythms of Point Of Origin his latest dispatch from he great area twixt D&B, techno and concrete electronics.
Last Known Coordinates locates him travelling at high velocity driven by clod-hopping drums and fine-tuned bass propulsion; Point Of Original clocks him keening into halfstep gravity; Ground Tracer identifies a thrumming techno sound compatible with Regis or Mønic rollers; Collider works out rollicking mechanics recalling the new Sam Kerridge sound.
What does the sun sound like? L’Orange, L’Orange, Gregg Kowalsky’s (Date Palms) first solo album in eight years, might have the answer.
"Its vivid music – sourced from analog synths and mixed on a laptop – arrives in rays of sound that shine skyward. There are many moods in each track, but the overarching aura is one of brightness and optimism. Hence the album title, which nods toward the radiant hue of our life-sustaining star.
The warm atmospheres of Miami (his birthplace) and Los Angeles (his home of 3years) infuse the luminous ambience of L’Orange, L’Orange. Kowalsky points to the album’s second track, “Maliblue Dream Sequence.” Its lapping synth waves mirror the time he spent working on the record at a friend’s home in the beachside city of Malibu. But you can hear echoes of blue “Tuned to Monochrome,” to the rising rhythm of “Pattern Haze,” to the sandy layers of “Ritual Del Croix.”
L’Orange, L’Orange isn’t just about brightness and bliss. It’s also about engrossing your mind – creating an omnipresence not unlike that shiny orange orb whose ubiquity defines our days and whose absence fills our nights. For Gregg Kowalsky, music can have that same kind of overpowering effect. The sounds of L’Orange, L’Orange can calm your nerves, warm your mood, and maybe even enlighten your mind."
Definitive compilation drawing together the original Digital Soundbwoys of Jamaican Dancehall culture, compiled with the help of Steve Barrow.
Reggae music is made to be played in the Dancehall, it is a functionalist music of the highest order and in the early 1980's when producers started switching onto digital instrumentation, and found they could produce far more powerful and effective sounds to play on their friends rigs, the whole culture of Jamaican music changed irreversibly.
This first volume of the two part vinyl set collects a wicked selection of out-and-out classics from Yellowman's 'Bam Bam', Tenor Saw 'Pumpkin Belly', Chaka Demus & Pliers' international 1992 hit 'Murder She Wrote', Junior Murvin's nut crackin' 'Cool Out Son', Ini Kamoze's Taxi sound special 'World A Music', Cutty Ranks' 'Chop Chop' and tonnes more nice-up sounds. Of course there's the obligatory and massively interesting liner notes too from Steve Barrow and the glorious full colour picture sleeves in classic Soul Jazz style. If you're into any form of dance music today, you really have to pay your dues and invest in this wicked set of pure dance history.
London’s First Terrace Records bring together two generations of electronic sound explorers on one disc; pairing Portland, Oregon’s Holland Andrews, aka Like A Villain, with Seattle’s K. Leimer, veteran of Savant and Palace Of Lights, for a stark contrast of incendiary extended vocal technique and free-floating ambient structures.
On her side, Holland follows up her role in Peter Broderick’s The Beacon Sound Choir with an escalating transition from glacial, elemental vocal layering to flammable, airborne harmonics and a primal/futuristic climax that sounds like Björk in duet with Diamond Galas while sharing a massive bottle of whiskey and battered microphone. By the end of the 20 minute piece you’ll understand its alternative title; I’d Rather Not Talk About It.
The B-side catches K. Leimer in wistfully elegant form with the hazy recording of what sounds like a Japanese lady speaking in German, embedded in swelling strings and arcing electronics on Chance Favours Pattern, before shapeshifting between selector-acoustic ambient in the Eno vein with The Melancholy of Departure (1916), the flustered percussion of Noise Coiled Sleep, and autumnal tones of Small Coloured Enclosures.
Idle Hands put a dork on it with stripped, bouncing techno tax by Berlin’s Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg
“Following a run of local transmissions from A Sagittariun, Crump, Rob Smith and Atki2, Idle Hands turns its attention to Berlin and the straight-up, no-nonsense techno thrust of Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg. Both respected artists and DJs in their own right, the pair have been turning out 12s together for The Free Spirit Society, Klasse and Crime City Disco over the past few years, but most importantly they've been steering the excellent UFO Station Recordings as a vessel for their punchy, primal techno tracks.
The sound on this EP taps into the pure form of stern, dark dancefloor tackle favoured at Idle Hands – no extraneous filler, plenty of space in the mix, but equally built with warmth and personality rather than monochrome functionality. If you need further proof, just look to the fact the EP is named after a Swedish soap opera from the 90s.
The bleeps and bass tones that pulse through Taggen are so finely crafted they need not skip and dance around the arrangement. The melodic interplay on Klimax is subtle but ultimately uplifting and optimistic where so much techno concerns itself with oppressive gloom. Bimbo finds the pair embracing a more psychedelic approach, but even here the modulating effects processes are kept within certain boundaries so as to not dilute the impact on the floor. After all, this is music to dance to, to be felt over a large system (where possible).
Moving from leftfield bass excursions to minimalist 2-step, UK techno and now onto this much more continental sound, theMälarviken EP continues to widen the range of Idle Hands' musical tastes without losing sight of the complete picture.”
Unknown Path investigates areas of the grey area akin to Aught’s Xth Réflexion in Pathfinder, Vol.1
Yielding a static yet kinetic sound built from charred bass, textured drums and billowing noise artefacts.
Helplessly infectious, slo-mo house from early ‘90s Durban, SA, dug up and reheated by ICE for your dancing needs. There’s been a lot of killer kwaito reissues in recent years, and this is the cream of a rediscovered crop.
Originally issued on tape and a white label 12”, Amajovi Jovi was a rallying ccall to the dance, which, in light of the post-apartheid era, could be considered a subversively rebellious gesture of zulu solidarity.
At the intersection of Chi/NYC house, West coast hip hop and zulu traditions, the six tracks work a bedevilling effect at circa 100bpm, pairing louche zulu raps with nagging garage-house hook in Amajovi Jovi, then like some squashed screw of Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer in the killlller Student Night, whilst the swing of dedication comms off like a strange dancehall tune.
The most curious charms, however, belong to Sandy B’s nods to Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, in the unique hip-house mutation Lafaki (Doggy Style) with its smooth G-funk chords, or most definitively with the crunchy breaks of Party Time.
Born Free boss Samo DJ clears his archive of three ruff cut house gems for Born Free 31
Scaling from field recordings and woozy flutes to heavy-lidded house swing and more abstract, cut-up textures in Zsou, then rolling out a super smart electro-house thing in Janet, pecked with cowbells and dusty dub chords, and cutting zig-zags across the rug with Mannen från Mallorca.
We were gonna write summat on these but decided to copy/paste these sales notes cos they're just too fucking funny. nice one Alan.
"Serial killing was one of history's greatest art forms. Now it's becoming almost impossible to get a skull-drilling startup off the ground unless you murder for the corporations or governments where you have highly organized protection from any enforceable law but at the expense of sacrificing all the glory for the anonymity required to maintain employment. So, unfortunately, the days of any zit topography random commoner being able to string together a few killings to hit the big time before being caught has almost come to an end. Sad. This record, the third and final volume of my new three-LP set called Heathen Folklore, could serve as somewhat of a manual of inspiration on how one could start such a career, as risky and unpopular as it is. It gets much more fucked-up than the previous two LPs, and sometimes I think it's the best one due to that aspect.
I'd have to give it one more listen but I also think this is the LP with coded messages that could trigger an unsuspecting listener to start his/her career in extreme behavior. But killing isn't everything you know. There are many more ways to express yourself and reach the top of the charts these days. In fact, I saw Burt Bacharach three weeks ago gripping a huge fucking machete while chasing modern dance music architects off his champion ship and into deep water where they hopefully became shark bait. And to set the record straight, Jimi Hendrix did not fake his death and become Morgan Freeman nor was Hunter S. Thompson directing snuff films. But most of that other weird shit you hear about these days is probably true. And I'm working on a film called 'Being Alvarius B.' where all of you loser fucks crawl into my brain and see yourselves from my perspective and then commit collective suicide because you finally realize I was right all along. And I am. Can't wait to make more albums so I can write these album descriptions. Cocksuckers."
A masterpiece of Italian ’70s free-jazz, N.A.D.M.A.’s Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York is, by any measure, a super rare and sought-after record (2nd hand copies trade for over £170) which makes this first ever vinyl repress fairly invaluable to free-jazz nuts and investigators of this prime period of Italian music.
In five parts, Franco Pardi (Alto saxophone, Bugle), Otto Davis Corrado (Baritone and Soprano Sax), Mino Ceretti (Contrabass), Ines Klok (Harp, Tmbura, Violin), Davide Mosconi (Piano), Gustavo Bonora (Viola, Violin), and Marino Vismara (Violoncello) democratically hinge around percussionist and band-leader Marco Cristofolini, falling well off-centre of jazz convention in head-melting variations of Afro-American and Indian lines of thought that sprang from the well of ‘60s jazz.
“Within the history of the Italian avant-garde, N.A.D.M.A is as obscure as they come. Mosconi later came to note as a solo artist and photographer, and Pardi and Vismara within the worlds of visual arts, but beyond a scattering of releases, Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York is the lone document to have surfaced from most of its contributors. Details surrounding the band and the record are incredible scarce.
Despite the mystery, with hindsight, they rise as a definitive gesture of the movement to which they belonged. The Italian avant-garde is among the most rigorously democratic of any of the movements within 20th century sound. Like their more well know peers in Aktuala, N.A.D.M.A grew from this spirit, but realized it in far more radical forms. They are among the wildest of those connected to the movements of free-improvisation and jazz. The group's lone 1973 release is unlike anything else of its day. Soulful as hell, it blends a remarkable range of instrumentation and cross-cultural reference -- a wild imagining of the potentialities of modal folk traditions, gathered in the writhing aggressive form of free-jazz. It is an album so remarkable and striking -- among the greatest and most accomplished European efforts within the form -- that there is no explanation for why it has remained so unacknowledged through the years. It is a towering, bubbling, brilliant achievement in sound.
Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York is among the greatest documents of Italian music, and among the most important within the canon of European free-jazz. As seminal as they come. Not to be missed on any count.”
Die Schachtel reboot their Zeit Composers Series with Untitled Noise’s eponymous and self-explanatory session of arrhythmic, atonal sound pressure. Untitled Noise is the duo of Michelle Lombardelli and Luca Scarabelli’s debut release, articulating noise as noun and verb in voices ranging from raging tirade to slow, crushing techno and dark, blue jazz tones. A strong look for followers of Prurient, Kevin Drumm, Masami Akita.
“For the last hundred years, the line dividing music from visual art has grown increasingly obscure. Music has provided inspiration for countless artists, while art has offered the conceptual terms for music to break its own rules. Particularly within the contexts of punk, and experimental music, art schools have fed the ranks -- gifting countless rebellious and visionary minds. These are open worlds, between which positions and ideas freely meet and speak. Within it all, there lies an often unmentioned realm, far less easily defined, skirting beyond tangible grasp -- sound and music made by visual artists, which might not be music at all. Joining Die Schachtel's already singular catalog of ambitious sonic adventures from Italy, this is the strange, incongruous territory of Untitled Noise, Michele Lombardelli and Luca Scarabelli's debut release. Michele Lombardelli and Luca Scarabelli are two respected visual artists who have been active in the Italian contemporary art scene for many years. While joint their project, Untitled Noise, is positioned outside of sonic manifestations of visual, artistic, conceptual terms, it cannot be entirely dislocated from this spectrum of thought. While it is not art in the visual sense, it equally makes no claims toward music, something which only the intellectual frameworks of the art-world tend to allow. Untitled Noise is a gathering a phenomena -- challenges, organizations, and interventions through sound -- an occupancy of those territories which exists just beyond our ability to define.
Evolving over four sides of this double LP -- each dedicated to a single work, one sliding seamlessly into the next, the album is an aggressive, textural gesture in noise. Built from electronic sources and tradition instrumentation, shifting between pure abstraction, sublime drone, rhythmic pulse, and broken flirtations with jazz, it rises as a melting pillar in sound. Drawn from recordings in both studio and live contexts, Untitled Noise marks the return of the Die Schachtel's sub-imprint Zeit, dedicated to ambitious contemporary gestures in sound. Where music meets the realms of art, and what is known falls away; A joining of worlds, which not to be missed.”
CoH Plays Everall is a remarkable turn by singular synthesist Ivan Pavlov, who pays tribute to the late UK electronica/industrial pioneer John Everall (Tactile/Sentrax) with six transmutations of analog material originally meant for a collaboration between the two artists, plus CoH’s Hunger collab with Jhonn Balance ov Coil.
Working somewhere between Powell’s recent New Beta jaunts, Lorenzo Senni’s circumvented trance arpeggios, and the rapid ear movements of Gábor Lázár, it’s by far some of the most colourful, kinkily swung gear we’ve ever heard from Pavlov aka CoH, but trustingly articulated with a cold northern melancholy.
Proceeding from Hallow Ground’s reissue of CoH’s Soisong and their recent issues of Dedekind Cut and Siavash Amini records, CoH Plays Everall is a real credit to their catalogue, not least as a great tribute to Everall, but also as one of the rarest glimpses of CoH in kinetic action, gambolling between electric blue nEuro-trance pulses in 2016 to the TCF black MIDI styles of Wavetrap and the hyper, head-pinching strobes of Overbeat with an energy bordering on gleeful that we’ve hardly heard from CoH before.
Seriously, any lovers of razor-sharp, forward electronics from Errorsmith to Lorenzo Senni need to check this, pronto!
Echospace presents a deluxe vinyl edition of his Radius project, Obsolete Machines, nuzzling your cochlea with a painstakingly restored demo of Steve Hitchell’s earliest work, initially recorded live to tape between 1995-2000, now restored to gauzy bliss and handsomely repackaged. Oceanic, intergalactic, timeless; total manna for dub house ambient fiends!
The first plate rolls out 20 minutes of low-lying, billowing dub chord cloud dynamics with Ethersonic, backed by the stately stepper Etherscapes on a kinda thrumming, danker Ruff Way flex, beside the silty shift of Oscillation Range.
On its 2nd plate, you’ll find cv313 reshaping and reprising Ethersonic over both sides, convecting near enough 40 minutes of waterlogged dub chords, subterranean bass and scratchy percussion in the Reshape, and a more direct, upfront sort of steppers house in the Reprise.
Lock up your pets; Blackest Ever Black let Regis off the leash in two seek and destroy missions - his first new 12” in three years - coming quick on the heels of the unarchived Live In N.Y.C. 12” for Veronica Vasicka’s Cititrax.
A-side’s Version 1 is the greedier of the two, roving with that look in its eye from the first mauling bar of grumbling bass and incendiary distortion, thru a serpentine groove dissolving EBM, industrial noise techno with slow-burning, venomous effect until the final passage of paralysing strings by Asylum Ensemble.
B-side’s Version 2 appears to start on the dissecting table with the SAW-like sound of knives sharpening and talons clicking in the background, before untangling one of his fiercest lemon endeavours; a bitterly gleeful tussle of strapping EBM bassline and whipcrack snares with an over-the-shoulder vocal in the breakdown, before calving off into the abyss.
We can think of few artists who can come out of hiding so occasionally, yet remain at the front of their game, as Karl O’Connor does with The Master Side in both versions.
Take note, the master is in session.
We were gonna write summat on these but decided to copy/paste these sales notes cos they're just too fucking funny. nice one Alan.
"Volume One of three new LPs I am releasing simultaneously called Natural Wonder, this is the more melodic, savvy one and you might like it. Maybe I'm lying and it's the innocent, straight record so maybe you should get Vol 3 (ABDT 059CLP) instead if you're in a darker mood. But that's not really true either. Or maybe it's one of those records that grows on you the more you continue playing it... like a cancer. The musicians who played on all three albums don't deserve to be involved in these kamikaze promotional descriptions so don't blame them for any of this. They played so well on these records, in fact they play much better than you do, and their performances deserve a 'Whammy,' which is the awards show where I'm in charge and the winners get to shoot members of the music industry academy dead in their seats.
That's where it's all headed you know. . . . The modern world of record making has become so fucking dull and obedient that someone has to ram a poison dagger up your asses and since you're all under hypnosis, I promise you won't feel a thing. I could pay Dougie Jones to write this piece to match your intellect or hire a publicity company to promote it but who really gives a fuck? I'm still making records for myself and the rest of humanity doesn't speak my language anyway. By deciding to write my own album promos, I can perform some market research. For example, this album description text will undoubtedly be copy/pasted by most online retailers onto their respective sites because they don't write their own new album reviews or get too excited about music, they simply want to create the illusion that they're in business to sell records. So I could put something like: Fuck all website retailers that copy/paste this description onto their site because they are too fucking cheap, lazy or chicken shit to have an opinion to write individual album reviews -- and they probably wouldn't even notice while doing it. Anyway, back to my new album. These songs are pretty good, most likely way better than your songs, and I don't even have time to be a real songwriter, so what does that say about you? It says that you suck. And most of you do. But you should buy my new three album set because it's probably as good or better than any other LPs that will be released this year. But if you aren't ready to go all-in with confidence, then forget it. I don't want any mudskipper sub-species of the crayfish to buy my records. There are always a few speculators who'll pick up the extra copies you won't buy anyway."
Never previously issued on vinyl - a super rare Library Music LP from Japan - the sublime soundtrack for a 1986 runway show of Japan’s Mitsuhiro Matsuda’s Nicole brand.
"Jun Fukamachi’s highly coveted Nicole (86 Spring And Summer Collection - Instrumental Images) album, originally recorded in 1986 for celebrated fashion designer Mitsuhiro Matsuda’s Nicole clothing brand and never officially available before.
Only ever distributed as a limited promotional item offered to attendees and participants of the 1986 fashion show for the Nicole brand’s Spring and Summer collection, Fukamachi’s moody magnum opus has become a sort of Holy Grail for fans of Japanese ambient, jazz, and synth music alike…and rightly so!
Meticulously conceived, smooth and subtle, Nicole sounds like it came from an ethereal land where Erik Satie and Art of Noise lived together, a sublimely cinematic listening experience perhaps best described by renowned Japanese music writer Masaharu Yoshioka aka The Soul Searcher:
If you are driving down the Autobahn at 160 km/h, or even 80 km/h, and Jun’s music starts playing on the car stereo, the windshield will instantly turn into your own personal silver screen.”
MC/Producer Rocks FOE draws strength from the everyday struggle between internal and external forces, tells you all about it on a set of blocky UK hip hop big beats and more up-to-date trap and rap beats, with highlights in Fight The Good? Fight and the slow soul stroke of Red Hand of Ulster, saving best for last with Into My Own Hands.
“Rocks FOE returns to Black Acre with new, eight-track project ‘Fight The Good? Fight’ — a dark and conceptual record built around the notion of, according to Rocks himself, “everything being an internal and external battle”.
A powerful lyricist and complex story-teller, Rocks’ sound combines hyper-fierce spitting with his own, abstract beat sketches. Having released his impressive debut EP, ‘Legion’, back in 2015 — a raw, self-produced grime-rap hybrid — he has since remained dormant to the outside world, bar a quick-fire feature on Commodo’s ‘How What Time’ LP in 2016.
Written over the course of that period and entirely self-produced, ’Fight The Good? Fight’ digs deeper than ever before into Rocks’ psyche, drawing on both religious elements — “I was more or less force fed it when I was younger” — and his own experiences for much of its lyrical inspiration. He talks money, love, confusion, happiness and ambition to tell the story of his own every day battles.
Musically, ‘Fight The Good? Fight’ also broadens horizons, with Rocks widening his scope to take in sounds from beyond the sprawling urban landscape of his home town of Croydon. On tracks like ‘Nitty Gritty’ and ‘Into My Own Hands’ for example, the two tracks that bookend the record, he flows at trademark lightning speed over crunchy rap beats, but its on cuts like ‘Downpour’ and the wandering spoken-word of ‘Red Hand Of Ulster’ that he unmasks a new, more vulnerable guise. Toning down his flow to reflect and take stock, it is in these solemn, inward moments that Rocks shines the brightest.
Comfortable spitting acapella, off-beat or even in spoken word — over straight-up rap beats or woozy Commodo instrumentals — he has long been considered one of the UK’s most compelling young lyricists, but on ‘Fight The Good? Fight’, Rocks addresses his demons, calls out bullshit and comes of age proper.”
Almost 25 minutes worth of extended versions of tracks from the Negative Fascination album...
If we've got any gripes with Silent Servant's stunning debut album 'Negative Fascination', it's that some of the dancefloor tracks were just a touch short. He's heard our collective prayers and corrects that with these extended mixes, due out on 12" shortly. Album closer 'Utopian Disaster (End)' is now nearly 2 minutes longer and primed for hypnotic DJ use with a Sunn 0)))-like outro.
'Strange Attractor' is nearly twice as long and with a more subtle, building sense of tension and release, while 'Invocation Of Lust' is slightly extended for DJ play (and this only just occurred to us - doesn't it sound a bit like Maxi Jazz is about to come in with "I can't get no…"?). DJs, dancers, you know what to do… TIP!
Japan’s highly collectible City-2 St. Giga label return with this string of rugged ambient house pearls by Anthony Naples.
For his 2nd EP of the 2017 so far, Naples cooks up a very satisfying breadth of variation and vibe in Love No Border, roving from swung deep house with nagging acidic synths and tropical drum machine hits synths in The Vision (Mix NY) thru the reverberating acid house coordinates of Uforia, and a lush vignette named Glo on the A-side, to the rudderless disco loop froth and grind of Moon on the Beach on the B-side, following into a cold wave pinch entitled Age, and the Shinichi Atobe-esque floating strut of Speak To Me More.
Think quick if you’d like a copy…
Thunderous EBM tumult from Spoiled Drama, a new name to the fray on the Fleisch label outta Germany.
Check it for body-grappling highlights in the steaming charge of Another Death Experience, the strapping, churning bulk of Axiom, and the snotty banger Kisses Are Out Of Fashion, especially if you like Nick Klein, An-i or Broken English Club.
Expanded (with 8 new tracks) version of Princess Nokia’s self-released debut mixtape, 1992 including the recently released single G.O.A.T. along with standouts such as the haunting, sharply pointed Brujas and the brassy bang of Kitana.
Assuming you’re cool af and already know the original mixtape, we’ll step right onto the new cuts, covering golden era hip hop in ABCs of New York and the backpacker beats of Goth Kid, plus a pure heat-seeking missile in the stuttering keys and drill bounce of Flava, and checking out on a deep south party flex with Chinese Slippers.
Heads will roll for this one!
Charmingly loose and dusty jazz-house chops from Max Graef on Schwarz 12
A new label related to the Oye Record shop in Berlin. Check it for a smart twist on the STL-via-Theo Parrish aesthetic in Thrillhouse + Bonus Beat, for a neatly damaged piece of percolated ghetto jazz in Unbiskant, and a pair of tricksier dancers’ specials in 2 Cool For You and Really Graef Bro.
We were gonna write summat on these but decided to copy/paste these sales notes cos they're just too fucking funny. nice one Alan.
"This is Volume Two of my new three LP set, and it's called A Mark Twain August. Now don't go asking me what the fuck that title means but I will say that it may be my favorite of the three. My 'fans', all 133 of them, are pretty smart. I used to think only 67 people mattered on earth, now it could be far less, but it's beginning to trouble me how I've actually accumulated 133 fans. So if you're not a moron, I don't mind if you buy this record. I made more copies than I have fans so I need to expand on the audience a bit but I don't want fucking idiots buying my albums. A brand new car loses value the moment you drive it home, but my records will always go up in value (like my Dodge Ram Van which tripled in value when I drove it off the lot) so this is also an investment opportunity. If you were to walk slowly on a hot bed of coals you may discover that Don McLean never actually drove his Chevy to the levy and that the singer-songwriter is dead, just like all the poets.
What do contemporary poets and the entire Indonesian population have in common? Most of you cannot name even one of them. Homo Sapiens now love to complain and act as if they know how the world works by 'expressing' themselves on their social media networks -- that's become the new poetry. And I think there are only nine people writing songs today that I respect, I'd have to check to make sure. And the Thinking Fellars were a great band -- I could name a dozen more from the past 30 years that I'd call contemporaries, but that's about it. . . . And I almost forgot to mention that Mark Twain's old banjo appears on this record. Oh and this is better than that Wolf King of LA album by Papa John Phillips, for all those who got mesmerized by it 30 years after it came out. There's only three or four good tracks on that and A Mark Twain August has six great tracks on it, at least. "
Kenny Dixon Jr's 'Forevernevermore' was his third album and is perhaps his definitive opus - a pure, deep, late night Detroit classic that has birthed countless immitations since its release in 2000.
It really is pretty definitive - and it holds up beautifully almost 20 years later, from his take on Chic's 'Don't you want my love' to 'The thief that stole my sad days' - there are just too many certified classics here to mention. Quite apart from anything else, Forevernevermore manages to sound experimental, sophisticated, fucked and joyous all at once - making reference to classic Piano House one moment, and deepest Techno the next, his vocal narrative offsetting pure euphoria with a sharp dose of Motor City realism.
In terms of classic House music, few have come close to anything you'll find on this album - a perfect distillation of light and shade from one of Detroit's greatest ever.
Sugai Ken follows in the vein of RVNG Intl’s Visible Cloaks release with an exquisite meditation on traditional Japanese percussion and 4th world electronics ruptured by unpredictable runs into more abstract terrain. RIYL YMO/Haruomi Hosono, Visible Cloaks, Foodman...
UkabazUmorezU works like a stage set or a variegated series of sonic scenarios, at once smartly demonstrating his compositional versatility as well as a dilated vision of the connections between Japanese tradition and western-rooted electro-acoustic practice. In a way it resonates with Visible Cloaks’ perspective on Japanese electronics as much as Foodman’s dextrous mutations of Chicago footwork, but still it’s weirder and more enigmatic than either of them.
In his own words, UkabazUmorezU is intended to reflect a “style that conjures [the] subtle and profound ambience of night in Japan.” Arguably, for someone who has never visited or experienced night in Japan (us), it does so as richly as a Murakami novel, sensitively using electronic instruments and process to emulate and evoke an intimate sense of the spiritual, supernatural recalling the effect of, say, Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell OST, but again, with a more elusive, amorphous and playful quality of his own.
Ultimately it’s a beautifully and subtly suggestive album, skillfully making use of pregnant lacnuæ and negative space, but also riddled with flighty melodic figures, and prone to wonderfully disorienting jump-cuts that ping us from serene garden and temple scenes to stranger, bestial ginnels of the Japanese mindset with an effortless sleight-of-hand.
Daft, haywire, hardware techno jams. Clifford Sage’s artwork is great, though.
“Alien Jams presents a new release by Wilted Woman called Home Listener. After releasing the amazing "Diary of a Woman" on She Rocks! earlier this year, WW is back with this sublime 5 track EP. From the onset, playful synth patterns mingle and coalesce, spiralling towards dizzy culminations. At times wobbly and disjointed, WW creates stunning compositions that would work magic on the dancefloor. Each track of Home Listener feels like its own paranormal entity, living organisms that develop and grow as the music unfolds.”
Brooding but ecstatic electronic fancies for fans of Posh Isolation, Lettre D’Amort’s Chams is the 1st release on Parisian label, Abîme.
“Lettre D’Amort is a deeply personal collection of songs that were born out of transcendental experience Chams had during his teenage years. Growing up surrounded by the Alps and raised by an alpinist father, he always felt like those high mountains looming over him were "sacred places where the beauty and fear of nature merge to shape a unique atmosphere of vulnerable plenitude."
A few years ago, he went on a solo journey across the Alps and came back a changed man. His solitary journey had compounded his view of the Alps as a place of beauty and fear, and that nature is to be admired from a wary distance. From then on he started making music with the aim to translate the epiphany he had in those high altitudes into a work of art. This EP, which features on the front cover a photograph taken by his father on one of his expeditions across the Himalaya, is the first accomplished result of this project.
In terms of the sonics Chams has created, what is striking is how the EP is one of contrasting impulses. On the one hand, Chams employs bright and minimal sonics and upbeat melodies that have something of a childhood naivety to them. On the other hand, these sounds compete with darker impulses which refuse to give over to the optimism that we are initially presented with. Nowhere is this more evident than on 'Ultraviolence', where agonised screams compete with a beautiful synth melody. These two contrasting impulses evoke the childhood and upbringing of Chams, who recognises that nature is something to be both admired for it's beauty, and feared for it's tempestuousness and inability to be tamed. Despite Chams holding these two impulses in a tension with one another throughout the EP, the work as a whole is unified and coherent in its aims, and serves as a wonderful introduction to a producer wrestling with the fundamentals of life.”
Reginald Omas Mamode IV follows last year's self-titled debut album with 'Children Of Nu'.
"The 20 track album draws influence from the world around us, everyday life. As we witness rising poverty, global events, political and ethnic divisions - these factors prompt some of Reginald's themes and call for humanity to recognise we are all interconnected. We are all related. We're all brothers and sisters with common ancestry, common history and a common origin regardless of race, geographic location or belief systems. Love and compassion are universal feelings/practices we all should embrace and apply to all aspects of our lives, our interactions and our relationships, regardless of the kinship'. - Reginald Omas Mamode IV Children Of Nu' encompasses Reginald's musical and sonic influences - Afro Roots music through to jazz and soul. It draws from Africa as much as the west, an attempt to make a record that can exist in many contexts, the present, the future and past.Recorded with freedom - most tracks remain from the first take - the process of creating 'Children Of Nu' was an open ended development from a natural, intuitive, starting point. Made with minimal thought of how tracks would end up, the music was led through the creative process. Born of a moment, each track is an attempt to capture that instance, mood, feeling or subject.
Last year's self-titled debut album was warmly received, collecting critical success including Mojo ( A brand-new-retro delight'), Mixmag ( Peckham beat brilliance'), Record Collector ( Equal parts D'Angelo to J Dilla'), The Wire ( Soul music turned all the way inward') and a Bandcamp Album of the Day ( Breathing lifeforms that are equally steeped in hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz'). It was also nominated for 'Album of the Year' at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards 2017. Along with Mo Kolours, Jeen Bassa, Henry Wu, Al Dobson Jr and Tenderlonious, he's helped forge in the 22a co-operative what The FADER calls a kaleidoscopic patchwork of hip-hop, house, and groove investigations bound by one thread: a timeless belief in rhythm as a universal language’.”
RVNG Intl parse Pauline Anna Strom’s incredible new age recordings on this collection of boundary-smudging synth journeys, containing material originally released between 1982 and 1988. They've spent almost a decade trying to bring this collection to life, kudos to them once again for compiling and conceiving it with so much care and attention to detail.
Drawn from seven obscure tape and vinyl releases made between 1982 and 1988, Trans-Millenia Music lives up to its mantle with a sense of ancient knowledge transposed into the contemporary future of the 1980s, realising a latent, transcendent sound that was perhaps just waiting for technology to catch up so it could speak freely.
Through the circuitry of pioneering synth tools, the blind composer and keyboardist from San Francisco feels out a spectrum of unfathomably celestial and synaesthetically-heightened sound colour along myriad, psychedelic vectors, haptically connecting diffuse spatial coordinates with a gossamer web of FX and morphing filter envelopes.
It’s music for oceanic introspection, beckoning listeners to fall deep inside themselves and diffract profound visions through their own lens, where you can interpret her descriptions of sonic flight in Crusing Altitude 36,000 Feet and In Flight Suspension, or decode the entheogenic synth voices of Mushroom Trip according to your own understanding of the cosmos and its play of energies, and draw your own meanings.
Gorgeous music, highly recommended if you're into Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Speigel or indeed Midori Takada.
Riveting compendium of stark, raw blues by an erstwhile sparring partner of Loren Connors, recently salvaged from an old shoebox of tapes, restored by Taylor Deupree and mastered by Carl Saff.
"I would go as far as to say that the few recordings that exist of these Robert Crotty sessions are among the finest and most beautiful blues documents of all time." -- Loren Connors
In the years 1978 to 1981, Robert Crotty would show up on Loren Connors’ doorstep in New Haven, Connecticut with his tiny, almost toy guitar. The two would then spend hours playing acoustic blues, the likes of which was absolutely staggering in its truthfulness.
Robert Crotty with Me: Loren’s Collection (1979-1987) is the first anthology of the late bluesman’s work, as selected by his former playing partner. These are the unheard tapes of Crotty and Connors communing with the spirits of Delta and County Blues through their own revisions of standards and tingle-inducing improvisations. These also some of the legendary Connors' earliest available recordings showing the development of iconoclast guitar style and vocal moan.
Crotty was a New Haven lifer and linchpin of the region’s blues scene yet, he never achieved much recognition outside local bars and house parties — until now. The album features never before heard recordings, unseen photos, liner notes by Connors and Crotty’s brother plus a bonus CD: the first-time reissue of Crotty’s ultra rare sole LP Robert Crotty Blues and Prove It! 7-inch -- both released on Connors’ private St. Joan imprint in the late 1980s.”