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.
A frayed, knotty excurzion in lo-fi/dub tropics from Glasgow troupe, Grim Lusk. Imagine Golden Teacher at their loosest, most discombobulated, intersecting Vazz-like wave-pop and the cruddiest psychedelia...
“For those who are already familiar with Grim Lusk’s varied recording projects, established elements are further developed as sublimely demonstrated on the sample and loop based ‘Search’, a dub / lo-fi hip-hop excursion that shuffles and shimmers before becoming more narcotically lysergic. Free from constraints, we transcend into ‘It’s My Nature’, as all of that serotonin depletion is suddenly transformed into nutritional sustenance.
A gleaming, hallucinogenic, hypnotic collage of exotic rhythmic disco percussion patterns which blossom and take flight to the sky above like the wildlife on the front sleeve with uninhabited adventure and freedom; a luscious, evocative, beguiling anomaly. ‘Sea Club-Rush’ develops the experimental shape shifting, with a dense, sludgy quagmire of oddball techno discombobulations, before the record submerges into the deepest of voids, a k-hole induced sense of purposeful confusion and disorientation.
Depressurized as if drifting in the mysterious vacuum of space whilst subtle layers of distorted bass prod at you to keep you afloat, ‘It’s Happening’ utilises a descending Risset glissando to leave you barely clinging on to reality, almost as if you are experiencing an astral projection but trapped within a detached nightmare that you can’t escape. ‘Yes He Did’ has an infectious and killer bouncing boogie bass guitar spread over a lopsided beat which never quite settles; weaving in and out further bewitching your mind. The record culminates in the downtempo ‘Laces’, pulling you into the all-consuming squelch and pressure of the suction below; a claustrophobic suffocation that intensely builds up suspense, squeezing and melting as it develops. Reminiscent of Adrian Sherwood’s exceptional technique of incisively slicing, cutting and pasting manipulated dub / industrial percussion, ‘Laces’ works equally well at 45rpm."
Earth's Hex album, despite transgressing doom genre boundaries, turned out to be something of a touchstone for many artists in the field; its American gothic landscapes were quickly swallowed up as a new fixture in the death ambient vocabulary, and countless records seem to have been made since that have tapped into its stately Western gloom.
The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull is a natural progression from Hex, taking the same template of slow, simplistic progressions and low-end riffing whilst adding liberal smatterings of keyboard instrumentation - hardly the sort of thing you'd expect from Dylan Carson and co. Some of this material is actually rather... pretty. 'Hung On The Moon' is augmented by Steve Moore's Hammond textures and jazzy piano, transforming the repetitive doom structure into a far more interesting, matured sound, loaded with a harmonic ambiguity.
Another key additional musician is Bill Frisell, who clearly spent some time looking for his distortion pedal for his stint on this album. In amongst the riff-mongering belligerence guitar passages break loose to open up the narratives. 'Engine Of Ruin' is a particularly fine example, with an end passage decked out with arcs of vibrant string bends and expressive, melodic phrasing.
A considerable evolutionary shift, this album sounds like the work of a very different group from the more ominous, monochromatic work of their droning past.
Coil’s cultishly acclaimed Worship The Glitch features the group in dialogue with the ghost in the machine, an element they named ELpH and considered as much a part of the group as any physical member. Aye, you’d probably be right in assuming they were taking a lot of drugs during the creation of Worship The Glitch, and consequently the results stand out among their trippiest releases, comparable with the rugged space of early Pan Sonic and slightly later Mika Vainio releases as much as Philip Jeck’s ambient enigmas or a digital update of David Lynch’s Eraserhead OST. If you like this stuff, we highly recommend tracking down ELpH’s pHILM#1 10”, too!
“"Unexplainable" may well be the best explanation for the members of the UK based electronic outfit COIL. Making a radical shift from intentional accessibility, by means of traditional pop songwriting, to abstract happenstance, Coil had entered into a new phase in their career…uncharted waters utilizing what was then the newest computer technology, digital and analog synthesis and the newly formed ideas that something outside of themselves was steering the ship.
During the studio sessions that developed into what would become “Worship the Glitch”, Coil became aware of random compositions emitting from their gear, and were at odds with constant “accidents” that were perpetually plaguing the recordings. The band called these unintentional emissions "ELpH": a conceptual being that is one part physical equipment, one part celestial being… constantly playing the role of trickster, throwing a wrench into Coil’s methodology. Eventually, these accidents and mistakes were embraced by the band, and the process of misusing audio software to create intentional "errors" was adopted as a musical technique. The acceptance of the "mistake", and the use of discovered mistakes as intentional elements slowly became the drive and concept behind the album, thus birthing the title “Worship the Glitch.”
Originally released in 1995 on Coil’s in-house imprint Eskaton, Worship the Glitch was Coil’s first proper album-length attempt at conceptual ambient composition, with a radical focus on chance. Seamless vignettes of shattered electronics (though ebbing softly and in delicate balance with each other) provide an underlying uncertainty and discomfort to the listener.”
A new edition of Fennesz's evergreen Endless Summer album, this time with alternate Tina Frank artwork.
'Ohne Sonne' and '47 Blues' were hitherto available exclusively on the Japanese CD, and a new, extended cut of 'Happy Audio' concludes the album with a side-long, quarter-hour finale. As with the most recent reissues of Endless Summer, contemporaneous Fat Cat-released track 'Badminton Girl' is included, along with 'Endless'.
Endless Summer is often written about as a glitch-based, laptop-fuelled assault on the musical idiom of the Beach Boys' back-catalogue - revisiting '60s pop nostalgia from the vantage point of the postmodern, digital age - and sure enough the album recurrently sounds like Brian Wilson arrangements swallowed by layers of drone and distortion.
Indeed, you can hear the impact of this record every time someone plugs a guitar into a computer - everyone's been at it since this album came out. Fennesz is a great engineer, even the most interesting laptop-toting six-string wranglers have had a tendency to leave their instruments sounding thin and lifeless in this sort of sonic environment - or worse still, they just can't play properly. But just listen to the obliterated chords and morphed marimbas of 'Caecilia' (sounding better than ever on this edition), or the fiery, tactile plumes of 'A Year In A Minute' for an idea how it can, and should, be done.
Raw, deep and itchy techno from 1997, dished up for reissue by Prisoner of Sound Records
Originally dispatched by UK’s Ideal Trax in ’97 and now fetching a fair penny on 2nd-hand market, this reissue could hardly be more welcome to the old skool techno fraternity.
The first plate launches with the sputtering Brummie techno clatter of ‘9.2%’ and settles into slinkier grooves with the Chi-styled prance of ‘R-E-C’, and the dancing bones of ‘Fumbling 2C’.
On the 2nd plate, it’s back to jagged and wickedly off-beat techno with ‘Stringed Funk’, while ‘Dream States’ tens to a lusher Detroit style, and the mesmerisingly loose yet driving ‘H-V-CAT-R’.
SKRS INTL go double deep on this platter for Bokeh Versions/No Corner, twysting the styles of their LoversDedicationStation LP and the brooding Oran Vip / BwoyTestVIP 7” into more smoked out alleys of the dance.
Their sample trigger-happy collage style is rewired to leaner, more linear 4-track structures inside, with results smudging like a dark blue clash between Mikey Dread, Prince Jammy and classic Rhythm & Sound and Pole, in effect.
Up top, RunComeTest tumbles in slow motion around an MC Escher-esque dub staircase littered with evasive samples and mad DJ chat, then FurdaMurda plumbs more gaseous depths of the echo chamber with intoxicating, weightless dynamics.
Down below, TrialByFire stokes a rooted fusion of mellifluous singjay and charred bleeps laced with natty ohrwurms, while TroubleRoundDiCorner kicks up a heady fuss of squashed 8-bit tones and vaporous FX synched perfectly with stoned minds.
Killer cover. Mint sounds. Tip it!
Rod Modell saves some of his finest recent efforts for this divine release with Astral Industries - home of his acclaimed ‘Lanterns’ side and his Waveform Transmission LP with Chris Troy. What starts out tranquil subliminally surges into a fast dub techno flight, cannily in flux between serenity and ecstasy...
“Rod Modell returns as Deepchord for his first solo release on Astral Industries since inaugurating the label with his sought-after ‘Lanterns’ EP. Consisting of two stunning long-form pieces split on one side each, 'Immersions' captures the emotive, halcyon sound that Rod has long become synonymous with. Opening with glistening ambient textures, ‘Immersion I’ grows into an 18-minute piece of deep rolling dub techno. On the other side ‘Immersion II’ paints pristine soundscapes of soft, lapping waves, underpinned by submerged pulsations that rise to the surface to continue its deep space explorations. Two highly refined and inspiring tracks that sit on the apogee of this sound.”
One of this century’s first true modern classics, this 2004 album from Supersilent member and experimental shakuhachi-style trumpet player Arve Henriksen has long been a reference points for Jazz music of the most quietly absorbing variety, containing what must surely rank as one of the most beautiful opening tracks of any album in recent memory...
We’re not sure what took them so long, but Rune Grammofon finally get around to pressing Arve Henriksen’s Chiaroscuro  on wax, rendering its sublime, otherworldly, etheric appeal on the format most befitting of its classic status. Replete with the breathtaking Opening Image and that beautiful cover art now blown up to 12”x 12”, this gorgeous record is quietly awaiting a slot in any and all collections of contemporary ambient, classical composition.
Originally released on CD as the second solo album by virtuoso Norwegian trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, Henriksen - who was by then already esteemed on the jazz and classical circuit and for his work with the Supersilent ensemble alongside Helge Sten (Deathprod, who also mastered this LP) - this album deeply perfused and coloured the listening lives of ourselves and many, many others with an enchanted breeze of flyaway vocals, trumpet and percussion diffused with a sublime butterfly effect of electro-acoustic process.
"Chiaroscuro" ("light and shade") is quite an unbelievable listen - cinematic in a way that defies pastiche, a vast panoramic ocean of sound reduced to the most silent, heart-wrenching string arrangements, samples (courtesy of Jan Bang) and a whispered sweep of barely audible percussion (from Audun Kleive), hovering around Henriksen unique, mesmerising trumpet playing and broken voice.
Its incredibly gentle, diaphanous arrangements would, pretty understandably, end up licensed for TV and film, which is where many would have osmotically absorbed the likes of Opening Image without having a clue who made it. For us, it was a staple in our old shop, Pelicanneck [1998-2007] and therefore instantly redolent of the smell of fresh coffee and waffles and Carol Batton poetry. Over ten years later it still has that faintly nostalgic effect, but more in the comforting way of a ubiquitous classic which, no matter your exposure to it, will always hold a special place in your heart.
Alessandro Cortini returns with the third and final album from his SONOIO project...
“Prior to releasing a string of influential and widely acclaimed solo records under his own name on labels such as Important and Hospital Productions, Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails) self-released two albums under the name SONOIO (“It’s Me.”) in 2010 and 2011 in limited runs.
Praised for their complex and rich pop sound, strong vocal delivery and thoughtful compositions with impeccable production values, SONOIO’s “Red” and “Blue” (and the accompanying remix albums “Non Red” and “Non Blue”) made heavy use of Cortini’s expert manipulation of the Buchla synthesizer, releasing the single “Enough”, and remixing Ladytron’s “Houdini” before setting off on tour in direct support.
As activity with Nine Inch Nails, the demands of touring, and his other solo endeavors began to pick up, production on the third and final SONOIO installment was delayed. In 2014 however, after years of silence, SONOIO posted the single and video for the song “Thanks For Calling” exclusively on sonoio.org and quickly reignited rumors and hope for the release of the third album.
Opening track “I Don’t Know” and the mournful follow-up “Left” set the stage for the emotional ride, with reverbed synths over an acute mid-tempo beat – accompanied by astonishingly strong vocals, which those accustomed to Cortini’s instrumental works will likely be happily shocked by. Next, the aforementioned single “Thanks For Calling” starts slow, building over 4 minutes with Cortini whispering, speaking, building strength into the gorgeously delivered line: “falling to pieces” before the track explodes into a driving anthem.
The album then quite literally descends into “Pieces”, an instrumental effort that brings to mind Aphex’s Ambient Works – a submerged lullaby of electronics before re-emerging into “Vitamin D”, an energetic and pulsing track that snaps the listener to attention. A pattern of smart and intentional pacing and rhythm becomes apparent, as the listener is taken down through moody, effective dirges (“Bad Habit”, “Under The Sea”) and lifted up into a surprising guitar piece “What’s Before”. “I Don’t Know (Coda)” is the album’s effective and final track, with Cortini’s vocals muffled and echoing “I’m in the mirror, let me in….” before emerging loud and clear above a wash of howling synth*
Personal, layered and complex, “Fine” achieves greatness as both a singular example of deep and inspiring pop music, and as the final album – the closing chapter in the story of SONOIO.”
Stellar picks from the MFM camp; 21 obscure, outward-looking and disco-leaning peaches plucked from Europe 1980-91, including big highlights such as Nightfall In Camp’s sultry smudge of computer tones and Lena Platonos-like vocals in ‘Cada Día’, a heavily seductive swooner ‘Listen Over The Ocean’ by Violet Eyes, and the brassy electro swang of Sound on Sound’s ‘Depression’
“Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980-1991 is the second multiple artist compilation on Music From Memory and is compiled by record connoisseur Raphael Top-Secret and label man Jamie Tiller. The compilation brings together twenty one tracks from across the continent; exploring the more unusual and unexpected sides of Pop music during that period.
Drawing material from cult experimental artists such as Steve Beresford, Brenda Ray and Bill Nelson alongside one-off independent musical projects rescued from he fringes, ‘Unusual Paths’ focuses on a selection of tracks that go beyond the confines of mainstream pop music but which also transcend expectations of much of the ‘experimental’ music of the time. This is music with one foot in the avant-garde and another foot firmly rooted within the sensibilities of Pop; where jazz musicians detour into Synth-Pop, Punk bands break into Boogie jams, and student doctors jam out on off melodies with synthesisers and drum machines during their night shifts.”
Unspeakably beautiful dub from Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald’s Round Five, starring Tikiman, on the Main Street Records series.
Na Fe Throw It was the final instalment of the series, which ran concurrently to their Rhythm & Sound project, and presents brought Main Street Records to a sublime finish with nearly ten minutes of utterly blissed-out, magnetically attractive dub bass and lamenting vocals, also included as a starker dub.
Evergreen music. Every home should own the full set!
Chicago’s Stave (half of Talker with Karl Meier) pelts four techno mutations on Ruffhouse’s ace UVB-76 Music
Following 12”s for Shapednoise and co’s Repitch Recordings, Trensmat, and France’s alia recordings, Stave’s ‘ATK’ session unfolds four ways between the clipped canter and impounding drones of ‘ATK’ and the brittle, shuddering mass of ‘Silva’ on the A-side, before putting his weight behind brut primitivism of ‘Ambient Out’, and the dancehall doom of ‘Undead’ on the B-side.
Awesome 2nd volume of ‘Midnight in Tokyo’ jams, with selector Dubby taking over from Toshiya Kawasaki to pick a diamond-studded set of ‘80s jazz fusion vibes from Japan...
All but the most ardent Japanophiles will be new to the sounds in ‘Midnight in Tokyo Volume 2’, which takes the listener for a personalised cruise around Dubby’s hidden gems, collected over decades and perfectly picked to brief.
To play favourites, the delicious warped slump of ‘Hikobae’ by Genji Sawai is frankly unmissable, as are the glittery glyde of ‘So Long America’ by Yasunori Soryo & Jim Rocks, the slinky tickle of ‘Imagery’ from Katsutoshi Morizono with Bird’s Eye View, and the glam strut of Parachute’s ‘Mystery of Asian Port’.
The first in a trilogy of vibraphone solo albums by Berlin-based composer Masayoshi Fujita.
"This quietly exquisite album is like a book of illustrations, evoking scenes of natural beauty and poetic poignancy that combines climactic crescendos laced with electronic detail and luxurious melody. Stories is the beginning of Masayoshi’s mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight.
Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound. Focussing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often under appreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one."
‘Emotional Music’ is a beguiling suite of ambient electronica synpathy from L.A.’s Robert Girardin, marking up his début proper and first solo release with Palto Flats and Elon Katz’ Zero Grow. RIYL 0PN, Rene Hell, Visible Cloaks
“R. Girardin – Emotional Music is a collaborative release from Palto Flats and Zero Grow, a contemporary rendering of synthetic midi-fusion and DAW experimentalism. Drawing links between Rashad Becker’s textured compositional approach and the multicultural electro-fetishism of Benjamin Lew, Emotional Music uses known palettes in non-traditional methods.
In Emotional Music we are treated to Girardin’s tooling of the synthesizer as a spiritual instrument, one where the typical motifs of musicality and style degrade in favor of poetic modulation matrices and breath controlled hopefuls. Synthesizers occupy a special place in sonic energy, dependent on electricity for physical sound creation, void of voice without human intellect and touch. Emotional Music is a synthesis of both the human and synthesizer’s expressive logics; one of internal architectures capable only through external inlets and outlets.
R. Girardin is a Hollywood location scout living in Los Angeles. Recent work includes contributions to the score of Invernomuto’s film “Vers L’Europa Deserta, Terra Incognita,” and lectures on the aesthetics of decentered spatiality in Southern California at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland and UC Irvine. Girardin has previously released music on Italian label Hundebiss.
The artwork features a cover photo by Girardin and blind drawings by artist Roee Rosen.”
Gorgeous and essential archive material from master of ‘The Tokyo Sound’ and environmental music pioneer, Hiroshi Yoshimura, the latest unearthing on Chee Shimizu's 17853 - previously only available on a very limited Japanese cassette back early 80s.
Conceived for the eponymous exhibition of new wave, international fashion held by the Seibu department store at the Suzue corporation’s loft on Takeshita Pier, Tokyo on 18th September, 1983, the perfectly mannered 7-song instrumental suite of Pier & Loft was subsequently issued on cassette thru Fukusei Gijutsu Kohboh later that year.
The record sweetly captures a debonaire, technologically-enhanced style that we’d perceive as specific to the Japanese capital in early ‘80s: an economical and precise synthetic sound, with brightly cute motifs rendered to the rafters in soft reverbs and layered with an elegant simplicity that masks the measured intricacy of construction.
And while the insert notes ask us allow for some slight background noise and distortion form the original master tapes, it’s barely perceptible, and probably would have gone unnoticed if, like the music itself, it weren’t so fastidious in its precision and construction.
Six of the seven tracks are feather light and beatless, ranging from heart-melting romantic themes such as Horizon I’ve Ever Seen Before to the moon beam of Tokyo Bay Area - which are both long enough to let you really float away - whereas Wavy Patterned Icecream gives it a deft dab of beatless synth funk that melts into air, and Kamome Dayori continues that rhythmic theme on the downstroke into the album’s sole appearance of drum machines in the gently swinging budge of The Sea In My Palm, which warmly recalls something from Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack.
Carsten Nicolai concludes Alva Noto’s UNI-prefixed release cycle with UNIEQAV, the 3rd and most dancefloor-focussed instalment of the series. The follow-up to Unitxt  and Univrs  pairs pendulous minimal techno and electro rhythms with wide, sheer electronic drones in a way that strongly recalls recent Monolake output as well as Ilpo Väisänen in full swang. Comparisons aside, though, it’s unmistakably Alva Noto.
Pursuing the project’s roots in the dancefloor of Tokyo’s UNIT club to a satisfyingly logical endpoint, Nicolai rolls out 12 typically mercurial yet gripping sound designs defined by their fluid dynamics and seemingly fathomless dimensions intended to render the club or your head underwater, thanks to a still remarkable grasp of purified tonal minimalism/maximalism and studied sensitivity to proprioception.
The results are filigree yet robust, firmed up for deployment on the sickest sound system you can lay your hands on, but also highly pleasurable in a headphone or sofa-inclined context, keeping us rapt and twitching from the dubwise plong and looming pads of Uni Sub and the Robert Henke-esque pressure systems of Uni Mia.
The nervous skeleton of Uni Version flows into singular Alva Noto sounds in the jabbing pointillism of Uni Clip and the staggering scale of Uni Normal, with major highlights in the widescreen drama of Uni Blue, and footwork-like rapid movement join Uni Edit, while Anne-James Chaton’s vocal lend a sharp contrast in Uni Dna.
A Wolf Eyes masterpiece comes back to take your mind with this expanded reissue of their ‘Dread’  killer, re-cut at D&M and now featuring a bonus digital track taken from their ‘Sandpapered Eyes’ CDr
‘Dread’ is among the very earliest and gnarliest Wolf Eyes releases. It features the unholy trinity of John Olson in formative formation with Aaron Dilloway and Nate Young, each playing a fizzing and spitting disarray of tapes, electronics and guitars interspersed with scant vocals, and fundamentally catching the group at their most ragged and primitivist during a time when underground rock and noise was in need of new ideas.
The seeds planted in Dread sprout in the pavement cracks between sludge metal, avant-garde electronics and punkish No wave, establishing a low down and dirty sound that would eventually become known as Trip Metal. But it’s fair to say that their modern sound is generously polished when compared with these nascent, evil doings, where half-cut drum machines drunkenly slur in a torrid union with Nate Young's vocals, at times recalling throat-scarring hardcore, and at other reminding of Mark E. Smith with a bad cold on some home-brew.
In swapping out rock’s macho posturing for genuine, certifiable madness, and effectively reducing it’s structures to rubble, Wolf Eyes forged one of the most deadly records of the early ‘00s, which still remains utterly compelling today, 17 years on. And just in case you’re the insatiable type (you’re a Wolf Eyes fan, it’s most likely), the bonus cut of ‘Sandpapered Eyes’ should finish you off to the bone.
On Bloodline, Steven Julien a.k.a. Funkineven explore a charmingly personalized sonic ontology under his own name for the 2nd time following 2016’s self-titled album, coming into his own with a wickedly expressive meld of jazz-fusion and machine music.
Bloodline is concerned with paying dues to Steven’s ancestral roots, but it’s also an acknowledgment of influence of new age synth styles, Japanese electronics and the history of East London raving, adding up to a sound that’s brilliantly timeless and distinctly his own.
It’s a sort of hauntological soundtrack, if you will, traversing in a range of jump-cuts and fades from the filmic synth atmosphere of Hunt to a killer 303 + Linn drum combo in Roll Of The Dice, and ruggedly debonaire electro-bass on Bloodline, before swerving hard into mutant jazz-funk with Apache. The vibe then takes a super sweet turn with the percolated electro-funk of Queen of Ungilsan, and wraps up with the classicist ‘80s boogie-meets-new age strokes of Temple Rd.
After a blazing succession of Sound System heaters, Dug Out offers a spiritual session of seminal nyabinghi grounation from Dadawah circa 1974, perhaps the most mind-expanding, important spiritual dub reissue we've heard this last decade.
It's most likely a large influence upon the work of label head Mark Ernestus in his Rhythm & Sound guise, recalling the magical spirituality of classics like 'Making History' among others in the hypntoic, shuffling pace and intangibly smoky aura that seems to evaporate from the grooves with each listen. The group is led by Ras Michael, guiding a traditional set up of nyabinghi (ceremonial Rasta drums), bass, guitar, brass and Piano organ in four extended excursions over sublime, psychedelic terrain without a worry in the world.
As with much of the best reggae, much of the magic was elicited and embellished in post production, with Lloyd Charmers and Federal engineer George Raymond apparently staying up all night after the session to mix the recording, imbuing the tracks with a dazed, wide-open and echoing personal space. Keeping the standards impeccably high, the album was lovingly restored at Abbey Road and looks every bit the classic that it is. Big up Dug Out, this going to be on rotation round here for years to come.
Laurel Halo stakes an eagerly and widely awaited return with the beguiling 4.1 world techno dimensions of 'In Situ' for Honest Jon's after cutting her teeth with highly acclaimed albums and EPs for Hippos In Tanks (R.I.P.) and Hyperdub.
Arriving two years since the Ann Arbor-quartered musician began testing a new hardware set-up on 'Chance of Rain', Laurel has refined those slightly clunky experiments here with a fluidly dextrous approach to Afro-inspired, rhythmelodic drum programming taught by psychedelic jazz and cosmic electronica.
It's a mental playground of fantastic dancefloor geometries, blooming at every angle with refreshed ideas of alien scales and hieroglyphic drum patterns designed to be deciphered by bodies in motion and heads in flight.
With nods to Afrikan Sciences, Kerry Leimer and Actress, she commands her machines with a deceptively loose sense of control, encouraging them to chatter freely, coolly, resulting in the ingneous, midnight groove formations of 'Focus I' and the future primitive techno funk of 'Drift', beside the discombobulated topographies of 'Nah' and the footworking centrifuge, 'Leaves'.
Time will tell, but this may well be one of the 2015's most impressive, nuanced collections of new electronica. A massive recommendation!
Bubbling up from the archive, a brilliantly warped, acidic and intoxicating décollage of soundsystem shrapnel rinsed thru the echo chamber. RIYL Tapes, Raymond Scott, Ennio Morricone, Horsepower Productions
“Shimmering hologram oases belie the bone-dry heat inna this ya ghost-bloodcl@$t-town; When tumbleweed beliefs pose as the only sign of life, it's time to step into Death's saloon; Bust down the dusty double-swinging doors even the Preacher-man dares not enter!
The Bartender has run out of liquor and listening; Sullied Doves have danced their last number; Lawmen, levelled and long-gone, litter the dance floor; Bodied outlaws doubled and draped over the bar. When the only exit is a horse-drawn hearse; Face to face with Death, who will shoot first!?!
Step into this rattlesnake-ridden realm! Dancehall Showdown is a crazy non-place world where 60’s Spaghetti Westerns, 70’s Library Synth Records and 90’s Golden Era Dancehall come together for a death-defying communion inna Yard! The old posse of SKRS and MX7 ride once again under the banner of their co-run label, ICS Library Records, off into the fringes of sound-based reality.
SKRS' OG Papa Coolbreeze reinforces their select palette, "This album is our reiteration of influences ranging from Spaghetti Western era Upsetters to Raymond Scott's Manhattan Research Inc. to early Horsepower Productions. Now the soundtrack we paint, however, is something entirely unique on its own". Simply put: there's NOTHING like it out there!
Full disclosure: this LP has been shelved for well over 3 years now with the sudden disappearance of Oklahoma's now-mythical Digitalis Recordings, who were set to release it hot on the heels of their 2012 SKRS debut LP, TheCallFromBelow. Since then, we've laboured to break more ground and lay several more keystones in the growing SKRS/ICS groundation-foundation in order to withstand its intensifying expanse and weight. Now that the ground has been prepared, we've decided to take Dancehall Showdown back into our own hands and give it the proper love and nurturing we had always intended for it.”
Glass offers the sublime results of a collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto), as performed and recorded at Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut during the private opening to Yayoi Kusama’s installation marking the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth.
Making sterling use of the landmark architectural work’s pellucid dimensions, the pair fixed contact mics to its glass walls, which they effectively played as an “instrument”, rubbing it with rubber gong mallets to generate delicate tones which they combined with a sympathetic palette of singing glass bowls, crotales, keyboards and mixers.
The seamless performance of floating, weightless tones and exquisitely quivering timbres is without doubt one of their finest. For the duration we’re held static and spellbound by the pair’s interplay of microtonal shifts and plasmic chronics, keening the listener thru hazes of digital dust and vortices of angelic harmonics to locate, alchemise and resolve a rarified, deeply mysterious spirit before the piece closes.
As the follow-up to their OST for The Revenant  and the warbling keys of Summvs  before that, the achingly lush tension of Glass is perhaps the purest testament to the clarity of vision and endless minimalist mutability of this highly revered duo.
For the 1st time in over 30 years, The Chosen Brothers’ mellifluous roots reggae masterpiece ‘Sing & Shout’ returns, re-shuffled, abridged and re-cut to vinyl by CGB at D&M, Berlin
Most notable for the gorgeous ‘Mash Down Babylon’, which was versioned by Rhythm & Sound to classic effect in 1998 and now opens this new edition, ‘Sing & Shout’ is perhaps one of roots reggae's more overlooked efforts, but arguably also one of the most distinguished of its mid ‘80s era.
Recorded at Bullwackie’s studio in White Plains, NYC, by Douglas Levy, Sugar Minot and Bullwackie, ‘Sing & Shout’ blends classic roots lyrical themes and dub production with early traces of the digital drum machine and synth styles that would come to dominate the dancehall from this phase forward.
For this new edition, the now Berlin-administered Wackies deign to resequence the track-list, which now starts up with the evergreen original of ‘March Down Babylon’ (which has also been issued on a 12” with bonus dub + version this week) and the wickedly slow and easy digidub of ‘Jah Don’t Like That’ along with the mellow wooze of ‘Sing & Shout’ and the misty precipitation of ‘Dancing In The Rain (12” Mix)’, and comes to rest with woozy praises to Jah in ‘All Things (12” Mix)’.
Nice and easy definitely wins the day here. Unmissable!
Includes the first new Universal Indicator (aka Aphex Twin) track in two decades as well as bangers from Bjarki, Nina Kraviz, Biogen, DEKA and more...
Nina Kraviz pulls together a heavyweight compilation of techno (and related) bangers revolving Bjarki, Universal Indicator and Marc Arcardipane among other on ‘Don’t Mess With Cupid, ‘Cause Cupid Ain’t Stupid’
In 10 parts the set delivers weapons grade gear in ‘Pitch-Hiker’ from the living legend Mark Arcardipane a.k.a. Pilldriver, and likewise with the highwire hardcore tenacity of Universal Indicator’s ’15 c7’, while Bjarki lives up to the label’s name with his mind-bending banger ‘3-1 Tap Lush’, and Kraviz keeps her end up with the high velocity pound of ‘OPA’, and Deka does the damage with the martial acid of ‘Pearl (Nikita Zibeline Edit)’.
Following on from his works Stories and Apologues, Berlin-based composer and vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita returns with his new album Book of Life, the third instalment in a trilogy of solo vibraphone recordings.
"With Book of Life Masayoshi continues his mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight. Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow such as in Fog or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound, as with the title track. Focussing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often underappreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one.
“I think the vibraphone is capable of more interesting and beautiful sounds that haven’t been heard before. It’s quite a new instrument but it’s often played in a similar way. I feel that there is a lot more to explore with this exciting instrument.”
Book of Life sees Masayoshi expand on his compositional skills, bringing in more orchestral elements such as strings, brass and even a choir to interact with the vibraphone. And not just any choir — members of this chorus include musical friends Peter Broderick, Hatis Noit, David Allred and Shards who featured on Nils Frahm’s latest album All Melody. The instruments come to represent characters in Masayoshi’s stories, hinted at in each accompanying text contained in the album booklet, which Masayoshi recites at his live performances. They set the scene for each piece, for example “the choir in Misty Avalanche is meant to resemble the blizzard, while the vibraphone is the bird hovering above,” he explains.
The title track however, was unusual from the start; “Book Of Life is very different to my other songs. It was about humans, whereas the other songs are all about animals and nature. And it was improvised initially, whereas normally my songs are composed and planned. This one was free. I scratched the vibraphone bar as if I was writing something. An image connected in my mind: these two people meeting and sharing their lives. This image was the book of life.”
The upbeat lead single It’s Magical features two cellos and a flute as extensions of the vibraphone; “like a man who’s put artificial wings on his arms to attempt to fly like a bird, before an airplane was invented,” says Masayoshi. A different version of the song, called Spaceship Magical, also appears on the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary box set 1+1=X. “Like most of my songs, It’s Magical started from one simple phrase that I’d played again and again. But at one point I had two very different versions; one acoustic with orchestral arrangement, whilst the other had distorted guitars with electronic bass that perfectly suited the collaborative nature of the label residency when Robert invited me to participate.”
Deeper, jazzier tricks from LT, carrying the vibe to RSI from earlier appearance on YAM Recordings
It’s pleasant, summery stuff with noteworthy cuts in the jazzy NYC house sensibilities of ‘Untitled (Chesney)’, and, better yet, the gauzy jungle dream sequence of ‘Forest Floor’, which sounds like a melted LTJ Bukem.
Bradley Zero and Mali Baden-Powell offer extra production on the other two tracks, a jazzy breakbeat number named ‘Mesosphere’, and ‘North Circular’.
The desire to discover and delve into new and unexplored areas of music has turned attention on the Japanese jazz scene of the 1970s, often regarded as its gilded age.
"The recent compilation J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 threw much needed light on this fascinating era and presented a range of artists and music that surprised and delighted all who heard it. A key track on the compilation was one of the rarest and least known: Dead Letter by the Tohru Aizawa Quartet, taken from an album that was so elusive, some pondered whether it even existed.
The album, Tachibana, was recored in 1975 and, until included on the J Jazz compilation, was unknown except to a small group of obsessive Japanese jazz collectors. The privately pressed record was the only album made by the Quartet, four amateur musicians who were university students at the time. The session was financed by a local businessman, Ikujiroh Tachibana, who pressed up a few hundred copies to use as a business card. In the intervening 40 odd years since its recording, few copies have surfaced, making it an in-demand yet elusive artefact from the golden age of Japanese jazz. BBE Records are honoured to present a fully authorised reissue of this holy grail, licensed directly from the band themselves.
Tachibana has all the necessary components of a cult album: pressed in small numbers, a few mysterious and vague details about its origins, languishing in obscurity for decades and, above all, superb musical craftsmanship and skill. It can now be enjoyed by a new audience around the world. The album opens with the dynamic percussion workout Philosopher’s Stone written by the then law-student and drummer Tetsuya Morimura. It propels along with the band at full pelt, showcasing Morimura’s well-developed drumming style. For a teenage amateur player to compose and perform such an accomplished and impressive piece is a testament to the talent that the band contained. Philosopher’s Stone is followed by Sacrament, an epic modal composition by saxophonist Kiyochiro Morimura that fans of Wayne Shorter, Pharaoh Sanders and late-era John Coltrane will appreciate. After an extended intro the band drop into a heavy, churning groove, Morimura’s saxophone scorching above the volcanic rhythm section. Dead Letter, written by Aizawa himself, is an epic piano led symphony of spiritual jazz. Think McCoy Tyner at his imperial finest and you’ll get a favour: impact, emotion and power all suffuse to create a overwhelming experience. Amazingly, this is still the only Aizawa composition yet to be recorded.
The Tachibana album also includes two cover versions, both Latin favoured numbers delivered with élan and brio: La Fiesta by Chick Corea and the classic Samba de Orfeu by Luiz Bonfá. So, just five tracks in total, the sole existing evidence of an astonishing band, the Tohru Aizawa Quartet."
David Holmes channels Angelo Badalamenti in fine style...
“50 minutes of new, original music from David Holmes soundtracking Steven Soderbergh’s six part tale of passion, intrigue and deception.
Initially released as an interactive app in which the viewer directed the narrative - Mosaic is a six-part HBO series conceived and directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Sharon Stone. Mosaic is a twisting tale of passion, intrigue and deception focusing on the disappearance of a high-profile resident of picturesque Summit, Utah and the four-year effort by law- enforcement and civilians to discover the truth behind the crime.
With that in mind, Mosaic’s original soundtrack weaves as intriguing a tale. Recorded between Belfast and Los Angeles by Holmes, the album features a modern-day Wrecking Crew of musicians. Echoes of Maestro Morricone abound alongside the influence of avant-garde pioneers and Holmes' current soundtrack contemporaries in a selection of deep listening tracks.
To quote Mark Kermode, 'Mosaic' outlines Holmes’ expertise at “ratcheting up the tension” with strings, horns and synthesizers swelling throughout. As this tension peaks there is inevitable release - in rhythmic and harmonic tracks such as ‘What I Want Is The Red Room’ and Badalamenti-esque lounge eeriness in the likes of ‘Four Years Later’ - guiding the 20 cues presented on this release into a cohesive, full and nuanced album that reveals subtle and rewarding intricacies on each repeated listen. ‘Mosaic’ once again outlines Holmes as a modern master of the original soundtrack.”
Godfather of the current Peckham sound, Wbeeza turns out three deep warehouse jams for London’s Troy Town label and party series...
Landing 3 years since his 12”s for Arma and Secrtesundaze, ‘The OD’ is built for dirty, decadent nights in scuzzy joints, packing the deeply hypnotic acid momentum of ‘The OD’ alongside the lip-smacking garage swang and wavy lead of ‘Grove Park’ and the party-ready Detroit burn of ‘Bizzle Boogie’.
Reissue of proper keys-in-the-pot boogie disco
“Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the Sophisticated Ladies’ sought-after 1980 New York disco single ‘This Ain’t Really Love’, backed by a Mighty Zaf extended edit of their 1977 release ‘Check It Out’, and accompanied by interview-based liner notes. Here, the single will be available in its true 12” format, saving collectors and DJs alike from spending triple-digit figures on an original copy.”
Blondes’ Sam Haar goes solo with the richly textured deep electronica dives of ‘Euso’, his début solo album with Barcelona’s Modern Obscure Music
In ‘Euso’ Haar draws on his practice as an art technological consultant to diversify his bonds into more abstract and experimental electronic music designs than previously heard in his leftfield house-oriented work with Blondes.
“Modern Obscure Music welcomes Sam Haar to the imprint for the first album released by an artist other than label founder Pedro Vian. The album is entitled Euso. Sam Haar is a New Jersey born producer and sound artist. Influenced by both experimentalism and traditional dance music, Haar’s music is something uniquely his own. He is best known as being one half of musical hardware loving duo Blondes with Zach Steinman (neither of them are actually blonde). They famously favour machines over computers and provide hypnotic live shows. Blondes have released the majority of their discography for Rvng Intl., before jumping to R&S in 2017 for the more danceable Warmth album.
Euso is an intense exploration of sounds, textures and feelings, with field recordings laid over coarse soundscapes. Haar’s compositions are woven patchwork-like from the fabric of the sounds that he uses. There is a real feeling that his music is alive, due to the fluidity of his compositions and how the tracks mutate.
The album opener Paradiso offers colourful synthetics alongside running water and bold sounds. Hal (the Slip) features urgent percussion and hypnotic bass sounds, whilst Gold Coast sees vibrant synths do battle over emotive strings. Radial splits sounds and reforms textures in an ever-changing manner and Stabilis snatches lost dialogue over machinery type misshapen beats and poised synths. Awatsa is bathed in watery synthetics and is lifted higher by combo of strings and punched beats, as Hive offers wonderful synth based confusion. Plegadas rounds off the LP with eerie strings, ghosted vocal forms and enveloping synths. The Euso album is a powerful musical statement from Sam Haar.”
Optimo pull out and edit some '88-'90 dancefloor peaches from legendary Aussie industrial unit, Severed Heads.
The tuff and ecstatic proto-trance drive of 'Greater Reward' (1988) is given a 'Piano Power' edit by Optimo, riding killer kicks and flickering rimshots with slick keys and swarming tribal voices chopped at crucial points beside the original 12"'s irresistible dub mix.
The more exotic, chattering tribalism of 'Big Car (Crash Dub)' (1990) conjures images of stomping, tanned and nearly-naked Goan revellers, while 'All Saints Day (Saints Day Dub)' swings to ruddy industrial bass funk laced with lush ecto pads. Quite simply; they don't make 'em like this any more.
Highly recommended for your 'floor!
Jacking NYC house from erstwhile witch house queen Lauren Flax (ov Creep) for UTTU’s Dance Trax series
Leading on from her turn for NYC institute Nervous Records, and a previous hook-up with Kim Ann Foxman, Lauren rides the acid groove proper on ‘It’s Ours’, which Jimmy Edgar reworks as a slinkier metallic groove in the vein of Larry Heard’s Gherkin Jerks.
On ‘Your Mom Likes Flange’ she slips down tripper wormhole of recursive delays to a darkroom ready bass canter, before rubbing out the wilder ’Acid Ghetto’ and cutting loose with splashy chromatic riffs on the staccato jack of ‘Sequenc_tial Discord’.
“Last time we heard from the Growing Bin, Basso was sat at the water‘s edge, trousers rolled up, toes in the tide, savouring a Falanghina while Eleventeen Eston went with the wave. Now we move from the shoreline to the ocean shelf, led on an underwater adventure by young Parisian Shelter. Where previous releases have seen the synth-obsessed Frenchman take his inspiration from Caribbean rhythms or Balearic attitudes, this marine missive sees Shelter turn to the lavish world of the library, creating his an alternate score to Jean Faurez’ 1960 documentary short.
More submersible than snorkel, our journey begins in the very dark of the deep, mystical harp trills echoing through the inky blackness, picking up the bioluminescent shimmer of an Abraliopsis Squid. Gradually we make our way into the light, cruising past shoals of silver scales and underwater forests. ‚Immersion’ offers a placid, percolating rhythm and billowing pads, providing sonic symmetry for the dancing leaves, while the spheric soundscape of ‘La Vie A L’Ombre’ bubbles away like an underwater volcano. The optimistic ambience of ‘Plenitude Azotee’, brimming with delicate melody and glistening sequences, perfectly captures the wide-eyed wonder of a reef dive, before drifting into the serenity of ‘Parade’, an aquatic acquaintance of A.R.T. Wilson’s ‘Overworld’. A brief foray into shark fin funk sees out the A-side, before we’re back amid the beauty of the ocean floor; ‘Variation Abyssale II’ echoing the album opener but with even more poetry. The exotic and otherworldly sine waves of ‘Dans La Jungle De Varech’ simultaneously sound like a rainforest canopy, alien landscape and coral microcosm, expanding our horizons nicely ahead of the adrenaline rush of ‘Hors D’Haleine’. Shelter then sets us at ease with the tidal tonality and subtle shuffle of ‘Fumeurs Noirs’, a sublime synthetic suite, then leaves us to marvel at the soft focus splendour of ‘Synthii Outro’.
This is Jules Verne by way of Vangelis, just grab your goggles and take the plunge…”
Antony Naples & Jenny Slattery’s Incienso follow DJ Python’s Dulce Compañia - one of the albums of 2017 - with the debut LP of hypnotic ambient reggaeton pressures by Bailey Hoffman a.k.a. Beta Librae - co-founder of NYC’s Technofeminism events with Umfang.
Moving farther along the same line that gave us DJ Python’s unmissable album, Beta Librae smudges her vibes to a more mutable flux of feelings in Sanguine Bond, traversing beatless froth and pendulous dembow shuffle in the first side, thru to the intimate deep house humidity of Cosmic Machines, and deeper into underwater sonics on Urras, cosign up for air with the trickling Afro-Cuban lilt of Canis Major, and melting out into new age dimensions with Pink Arcade and closing on a surprisingly ace jungle/dembow mutation New Feelings.
Very safe to say: if you loved the DJ Python album as much as us, you’ll be allllllll over this one, too!
Trust Music From Memory to serve the loveliest thing you’ll hear all week with Orquesta De Las Nubes’ ‘The Order Of Change’ continuing their excavation of Suso Saiz’s 1980s gems with a sublime 10 track compilation showcase of his new age/ambient band
“Following on from a retrospective compilation of solo work and an album of recent work in 2016, Music From Memory continue to explore the work of Spanish ambient and experimental pioneer Suso Saiz. The subject of Music From Memory’s latest compilation focuses on Suso Saiz’s output as part of the group Orquesta De Las Nubes, formed by Suso Saiz and percussionist Pedro Estevan when the two met whilst studying a course on ‘Techniques of Contemporary Composition’ in Madrid.
Sharing a curiosity for American minimalist and Non-Western music, the pair began to share music through many listening sessions, during which the idea slowly evolved to try and make music together. Pedro’s partner at the time, soprano singer Maria Villa, would later join the two on vocals. With Suso’s sparse us of guitar loops, synthesizers, and drum computers in combination with the hypnotic percussion of Pedro Estevan and the wordless drifting vocals of Maria Villa, Orquesta De La Nubes would evolve as a group with a truly unique musical language; an ethereal and almost otherworldly musical realm.”
‘1/1’ is the soundtrack to Jeremy Phillips’ directorial debut, the film submerges the viewer into the mind of Lissa, a 20-year-old girl in rural Pennsylvania and her struggles with sex, drugs, love and loss. Liars have created an electronic soundtrack that reflects the film’s use of mixed media abstractions and multi-film formats, which undoubtedly stands up as an album in its own right.
"Created soon after Liars’ 2014 album ‘Mess’, these are the last recordings by Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill before Hemphill amicably left the band. In 2017 Angus Andrew released ‘TFCF’, Liars’ eighth studio album and Aaron Hemphill recently released Nonpareils’ ‘Scented Pictures’, his debut solo album. (Both albums are out on Mute, Andrew and Hemphill’s label since Liars’ debut, ‘They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’.) Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill were given the script for ‘1/1’ and, after reading it on a flight from LA to NY, immediately decided to take it on. “It was very heavy, it was very intense and by the time we got to New York, we’d read it. At that point, we hadn’t seen anything but we were on board just from reading the script,” explains Angus.
Soon after, Liars rented a space in Copenhagen and started work on the film’s soundtrack. The director, who up until that point had been using temp music to mark out where the score would go, gave the band descriptions for each of the cues. Instead of giving musical direction, he gave them emotional and descriptive language to describe what he wanted, such as “imagine you have a 100 piece puzzle, but you have 1000 pieces - what would that sound like” or “the character is submerged in water at 4am” or “an alarm clock won’t stop ringing.” Liars were delighted, “This was the perfect thing for us to hear, that allowed us to explore that feeling. At this point we still haven’t seen the film, we were going off the script and a few sample scenes. These descriptions were really helpful for us, and even though they were abstract, they allowed a lot of interpretation.”
Hemphill goes on to say, “We tried to find ways to take it off the grid. We would watch it, read the script and try to get a feel for the plot development and then base the music off of our memory.” The result is a fractured, emotional response to characters within the film. Without using visual cues that might allow the music to simply mirror emotion, Liars have delved deeper into the reality of some of the more complicated themes of ‘1/1’. Director and writer Jeremy Phillips has explained that the film was originally created in response to watching the films of John Hughes for the first time - after the director’s death in 2009 - and wondering what a Molly Ringwald film would look like now. Highly personal, he explains that it “started to connect me with the past, and dealing with depression and anxiety.”
Phillips has described the film as very much a joint production between all of the artists involved (he himself found specific inspiration in Liars’ single ‘No. 1 Against The Rush’) and some of the film was edited to work with the music, an unusual technique. The director explains, “I view this movie as ours, and that goes for everyone involved in the production. I wanted there to be give and take between everyone working on it.” This is particularly evident as the film was actually changed in some sections to adapt to the music.
Phillips goes on to say that “The music, how it functions in the film, is really the access point to the main character’s thoughts/feelings. It's a coming-of-age story, she’s very distant and the music guides you through the emotions, as both she and the visual language of the film keep maturing.”
Virgo’s seminal début LP comes back around on Trax for the first time, following the 2010 reissue on Rush Hour
First things first - there’s nae worries about the pressing; it’s loud and clear like most of the recent Trax releases. Secondly, do we even need to stress how good this album is!? From their balmy all-time classic ‘Do You Even Know Who You Are’ and the bleeping sonar depth of ‘In A vision’, thru to the lush suspense of ‘Take Me Higher’ and the lusting opulence of ‘Ride’, this is Grade A++ classic Chicago dance music.
Sextet is the second studio album by Manchester postpunk funk group A Certain Ratio, originally released by Factory Records in January 1982.
Self-produced at Revolution Studio, Sextet saw the original Ratio quintet of Donald Johnson, Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Simon Topping and Peter Terrell joined by co-vocalist Martha 'Tili' Tilson. Written and recorded following a transformative sojourn in New York at the end of 1980, the album reflects Latin, samba and even jazz influences (eg Skipscada; Day One), while still retaining Ratio's signature brittle funk textures, heard in full effect on Lucinda, Gum and trancelike floor filler Knife Slits Water.
First time vinyl reissue of Alice Coltrane’s last LP for Impulse! - remastered from original tapes...
“Originally released in 1972, Lord Of Lords was Alice Coltrane’s final album for Impulse! and the last installment in her awe-inspiring trilogy that also included Universal Consciousness and World Galaxy. While all three records featured strings alongside a jazz ensemble, Lords Of Lords stood apart from its predecessors due to the sheer size of the orchestra (12 violins, 6 violas and 7 cellos, arranged and conducted by Coltrane herself) and its refined, blissful performances – shining a vital light on the devotional path that she would follow for the rest of her career.
On the first two pieces, "Andromeda's Suffering" and "Sri Rama Ohnedaruth" (titled after the spiritual name for her late husband), Alice’s dazzling piano and harp blend perfectly with the blanket of strings, while the haunting rhythm section of Charlie Haden and Ben Riley and a magnificent, droning electric organ emerge immaculately on the title track and closer "Going Home." Coltrane's musical vision is bold in its imagination and cosmic in scope, yet remains intensely personal and immediate. Lord Of Lords points inward as much as to the beyond, recalling her classical roots and recasting Eastern modes to radically invert the American avant-garde and spiritual jazz traditions.”
Remastered and expanded reissue of a beautiful early K. Leimer album demonstrating his DIY Closed System Potentials method for painting lush electro-acoustic ambient scapes. It follows excellent retrospective compilations issued by RVNG Intl (a Period of Review) and V-O-D (Recordings 1977-90) to get farther below the surface, in the mind of his pioneering, homespun magic.
“Closed System Potentials is honest and intimate music, with the elements of DIY work ‘by hand’ that lends a realness and tangibility to the proceedings. Its juxtapositions are, to me, distinctly Northwestern: it is both alive and synthetic; homespun in execution, yet cinematic in aspiration; acknowledges global experimentalism of the time, yet reveals some isolation in its curious re-wiring of genre standards; grayscale in mood, but with an underpinning of hopefulness that, for me, recalls the futurism of the time.”
Mesmerising dream house with a lush, pastoral aura from Linkwood of Firecracker Records fame
Making his welcome first move in three years, the Edinburgh-based producer unfurls the rolling, gauzy beauty of ‘Mine Meld’ with its panoramic pads and effortlessly cushioned groove reaching Ron Trent-style levels of soul-warming subbass by the track’s end.
On the other side ‘Nae Drama’ bristles with rawer electronics and simmering tribal drum patterns laced with a swell of field recordings and wilder FX bound to bring the crowd to a frisky fever pitch, recalling some transfixing blend of Carl Craig and Ra.H sensibilities.
Another ace addendum to 0PN’s ‘Age Of’, including album cut ‘We’ll Take It’ plus two brand new productions and the brilliant, previously Japan-only bonus level, ‘Trance 1’
‘We’ll Take It’ finds 0PN in full-blown industrial sci-fi mode with some of his deadliest drum programming and churning synth torsion emulating the motion sickness of time travel, accentuated by additional production by James Blake.
‘Monody’ hears him plumbing a sort of proggy IDM uchronia, where the mid ‘70s folds in to mid ‘90s and mid-WTF we call this decade, and ‘Blow By Blow’ follows that logic to sound like a bastard organism imagined by Autechre and Steve Vai making its first tentative steps into a VR world.
Best of the lot is ‘Trance 1’, which previously appeared on the Japan-only edition of ‘Age Of’ and now blazes out on this release like the view of planet exploding in the rear window of an escape shuttle headed for new solar systems.
Bonus points for the ‘spliffy’ jeans-style avatar on the jacket!
One of the rarest records in the world, by ‘Os Mutantes’ before they were ‘Os Mutantes’, copies have changed hands for $5000...
"‘O’Seis’ are the core members of the mighty and legendary ‘Os Mutantes’ - namely Rita Lee and brothers Arnaldo and Sergio Baptista, accompanied here by Raphael Vilardi, Maria ‘Mogguy’ Malheiros and Luiz Pastura.
The record features anthemic, heavyweight, psychedelic rock on ‘Suicida’ b/w deeper, tripped-out MPB-folk on ‘Apocalipse’. Both tracks were written by Rita Lee, assisted by Tobe and Vilardi respectively. The term ‘holy grail’ is a little overused these days perhaps, but this definitely is one. Originally pressed and released by the band themselves in 1966, apparently only a handful of copies are known to exist (sources/numbers vary)."
"Nothing can stop a flutist. We can do whatever we want, whatever we feel. My flute, is a mirror of myself. I express feelings more easily with the flute than with language." This is what Jean Cohen-Solal said on the cover of his first album, Flûtes libres, renowned for its adventurous overdubbing of alto, piccolo and bass flutes, in treble or in C and ocarina.
"Mentioned on the famous Nurse With Wound list, the path followed by Jean Cohen-Solal included many exciting adventures in the 1970s, from his participation in the cult animation series Les Shadoks where his voice can be heard alongside the actor Claude Piéplu, to his proximity to the GRM where he worked alongside Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, Luc Ferrari, Guy Reibel and Béatrice Ferreyra, or his involvement in progressive music with Captain Tarthopom (1973), an album very much in the same style as that featured in Europe on the Vertigo label, but in an instrumental form, and even more audacious, without turning its back on the same classical influences as everyone else.
It is impossible to pin a label on Jean Cohen-Solal, he is the equal of his anglo-saxon counterparts Bob Downes, Harold McNair, Jon Field (Jade Warrior) and Jeremy Steig, just to mention the most creative of the bunch. His affinity with strings, already heard in his work with Serge Franklin, (author of the the ineffable Free Sitar) on Flûtes libres, is perfectly echoed here by the work of Jean-Claude Deblais, himself author of one of the little-known summits of sound illustration and French underground music: Le Miroir du fantastique."
L.A.’s Deb DeMure, a.k.a. Drab Majesty, captures the heart ache and glamour of his home city in the purple neon-lit wave pop of Careless, his debut album with NYC’s Dais Records and also his highest profile release to date.
Inspired by the range of characters on his childhood bus trips from “home in crumbling Hollywood to his grandmother’s apartment, nestled in the pastel pristineness of Beverley Hills”, as well as later troubles with drugs and the death of a loved one, Drab Majesty packages nostalgia and emotion with a sincerity that’s equal parts timeless pop romance and late ‘80s/early ‘90s Californian ennui, and it works a treat.
His candy flossed guitar reverbs are undoubtedly debted to The Cure in the best way from The Foyer thru Entrance And Exits, while the vocal harmonies float and flit between Robert Smith-style naval gaze and pure Paddy McAloon swoon, vaulted to sky-kissing levels of MBV sehnsucht in Unknown To The I, or like a less laconic John Maus produced by Cliff Martinez in the The Heiress, whilst Foreign Eye clearly salutes classic dancefloor Depeche Mode.
Really classy stuff. Tip!
Stunning HD orchestral // text-to -speech début by Tokyo-based artist and curator, Nozomu Matsumoto, a huge recommendation if yr into the augmented realities of TCF, James Ferraro, Mark Leckey, Goodiepal and Elysia Crampton, or the layered, highly evocative narratives of Mica Levi, Sam Kidel and Terre Thaemlitz…
Climatotherapy is Nozomu’s remarkable first vinyl release and début for The Death of Rave, conceived as a soundtrack for a health forecast given by Amazon’s Text-to-Speech interface Polly. It sounds like little we’ve heard before; an augmented reality rendered with soaring Hollywood strings and pristine arrangements evoking the hyperreal tapestry / idyllic ambient of Alva Noto’s Xerrox series paired with R&B folk tropes and a non-linear narration conveying Nozomu’s ideas with clinically emotive clarity.
The text-to-speech narration finds Polly curating our mental and moral energy into health; her prognostications framed by those strings to startling, uncannily calculated effect, using additional vocals and music to limn in HD an up-to-the minute and personal perspective on themes of morality in Artificial Intelligence which could be called key to Japan’s hauntology, also intersecting with the artist’s own experience of meteoropathic sickness, and its symptoms related to barometric fluctuations and psychic-atmospheric disturbance.
A strikingly singular work, ‘Climathotherapy’ effectively resonates with the novel musical sci-fi of James Ferraro, Elysia Crampton and T C F, as well as The Death of Rave’s own editions such as Mark Leckey’s IoT study ‘GreenScreenRefrigerator’ and Sam Kidel’s ‘Disruptive Muzak’. It’s a properly unique record of its times...